South Korean group Monsta X's newest lead single, “Alligator," begins with an ominous siren, pulsating before the rhythmic refrain "alli-alli-alli-alligator" drops in. Few sounds could be more fitting to herald the return of Monsta X, who have made a name for themselves as K-pop's bad boys. Brimming with power, raw emotion, sensuality, and confidence, the track and its accompanying visual set the tone for the band's newest EP, Take.2 ‘We Are Here.'
"Alligator" is a haunting, high-energy EDM/pop track that is all about seduction — likening falling in love (or rather, lust) to falling into a swamp — sinking so deep underwater that it seems unlikely anyone will ever surface. "I feel like I’ve already fallen, and I can’t escape/ I’m pulled into your swamp /You’re pulled back into my swamp […] When I’ve made up my mind, I’ll never let go," the men sing during one of the verses.
Featuring lyrics written by Monsta X rappers Joohoney and I.M., as well as Daniel Kim, Cage and Lee Suran, "Alligator" showcases the impressive range of each of the group's members, from the gruff, deep spitfire bars of the rappers to vocalists Kihyun and Wonho's soaring belting of the chorus. The trills in the refrain add a nice syncopation to the rhythm as well. “The main focus of 'Alligator' is its storm-like melody. Once you hear it, you will never forget it,” said member Minhyuk in a press release.
The visual further illustrates the fantastical theme, weaving imagery of the Seven Deadly Sins throughout (snakes and apples, among others), much like the video for their October 2018 lead single "Shoot Out." Fire, barbs and darkness punctuate the music video with high drama. As the seven band members dance together in what looks like a grassy swamp, images of an alligator rising to the surface of water and back under flash in between the scenes.
Each member is also placed in a different setting: Hyungwon in a room full of clocks (time travel has always been a motif throughout Monsta X's music videos), Kihyun in a space where the walls are covered in equations, Minhyuk in a room decorated with flowers, and band leader Shownu in a room with white mannequins adorning the walls. These are just some of the intricate spaces that the audience is pulled in and out of during the dynamic, fast-paced visual. At its center though is, of course, the band's illustrative and emotive dancing, with the key choreography imitating the creeping of the titular reptile.
Take.2 ‘We Are Here’ follows 2018's Take.1 ‘Are You There?’ EP, which debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's World Album Chart following its October release. In addition to "Alligator," Take.2 ‘We Are Here’ features nine other tracks, one of which is "Play It Cool (Korean Version)," a collaboration with two-time Grammy nominated DJ and Producer Steve Aoki.