K-Pop Comeback Spotlight: ATEEZ Heats Up The Industry With “ZERO: FEVER Part.2”
ATEEZ proves their unstoppable leading force in K-Pop with their newest album, ZERO: FEVER Part.2, containing a series of confident and fiery tracks.
Since their last comeback with ZERO: FEVER Part.1 last July, ATEEZ continued to prove their status as one of the leading boy groups of K-Pop’s fourth generation. Upon its release, the group smashed various sales and charting records, amassed praise from some of the largest stars of the industry, and racked up a packed schedule to match their exponential global demand.
Now, ATEEZ makes their highly awaited return with ZERO: FEVER Part.2, a fiery expression of confidence, authority, and perhaps the group’s most heated project to date.
Comeback Countdown Timeline
ATEEZ announced their comeback on February 4 with the first teaser image for their newest project. This marked their first comeback for this year, summoning theories as fans scrambled to decode the meaning of the tree featured in the image and its caption, “FROM THE NEW WORLD”.
— ATEEZ(에이티즈) (@ATEEZofficial) February 4, 2021
Following their initial comeback announcement, ATEEZ raised excitement with two concept photos. One read “I’m The One In My Zone”, teasing future lyrics, while the other was the first group concept image with the album name, ZERO: FEVER Part.2.
Ramping up momentum for the upcoming release, ATEEZ unveiled an official comeback scheduler outlining the eventful month to come.
— ATEEZ(에이티즈) (@ATEEZofficial) February 7, 2021
Beginning their full-fledged comeback promotions, the group revealed additional group concept photos as well as individual member shots. The members impressed with the vibrant photoshoot. Additionally, the images piqued fans’ curiosity as they included props relevant to ATEEZ’s narrative storyline such as a puppet, a whale, and a turtle.
Despite the brighter images, the subsequent concept video indicated an ominous turn in the comeback, as the idyllic nature scene was soon disrupted by burning flames within Hongjoong’s eye.
Following the burning end of the prior teaser video, ATEEZ released a new image, illustrating a heated turn for their additional concept. The photo is a reference from their previous track, “Say My Name”, as this image could also be seen hanging on a wall during its music video.
The group’s second concept video built on their worldview as fellow KQ labelmate, Maddox, narrated a story of boys who journey in darkness and whose voices “awaken the world”. The blazing video raised expectations for the teasers to follow.
ATEEZ surprised fans with a bonus round of images, once again recalling “Say My Name” in a poster featuring its lyrics, “Zoom in here, cause I’m the captain”. Including an individual shot of “both the leader and captain”, Hongjoong, as well as an eerie group image, the post intrigued fans for its possible connections to ATEEZ’s storyline.
[📜] ATEEZ(에이티즈) – ZERO : FEVER Part.2
I'm both the leader and captain.
— ATEEZ(에이티즈) (@ATEEZofficial) February 16, 2021
Meanwhile, the concluding rounds of concept images highlighted the members’ intense expressions in the edgier photo shoot.
The members’ solo photos illustrated their versatility as they encapsulated a darker look with bold makeup and styling.
One of the most revealing teasers, the tracklist, thrilled fans by unveiling the titles of the seven songs on the album, raising curiosity with an English song as well as a remix.
— ATEEZ(에이티즈) (@ATEEZofficial) February 23, 2021
ATEEZ began to wrap up the end of comeback hints with a performance teaser for their title track, “Firework (I’m The One)”, which trended worldwide on YouTube shortly upon release. Additionally, the group released an album teaser, providing fans with short snippets of the tracks to come.
Lastly, the group released a music video poster followed by a short clip of the video before their official comeback date.
ZERO: FEVER Part. 2 First Impressions
ZERO: FEVER Part. 2 stoked the flames of the fire left in the wake of its predecessor, ZERO: FEVER Part. 1. The result is ATEEZ’s most heated project yet–a self-assured, confident listening journey that dips its toes into various genres and encapsulates the unique color of the group that only ATEEZ themselves can pull off.
“Fireworks (I’m The One)”, is an anthemic title track representing the passionate album as a whole. In the energetic EDM song, ATEEZ expresses the fervor of their identity and performances, as they emerge within the K-Pop industry with a zeal no one could fully anticipate. The song’s alluring trap beat pushes the melody with a ferocity that makes the listener feel the artists’ hunger and ambition. As the members powerfully assert, “Don’t stop me,” it’s clear that no one could even if they tried, as ATEEZ burn up the music industry with one project after the next.
Following this is “The Leaders”, a song potentially coined after ATEEZ’s common modifier as “K-Pop’s fourth-generation leaders”. The intense hip-hop track highlights the members’ rapping skills as an entire group, while the song’s playful ad-libs are evocative of the high spirits underscoring their aspirations. The cleverly penned lyrics discuss their intentions to embody their role as leaders, with confident attitudes to match.
“Time Of Love” is a standout in the album as one of its brightest tracks. In the upbeat, feel-good song, ATEEZ provides wisdom on the happiness and pain of others, insisting that these shared experiences should foster understanding and empathy. With words like, “Everyone feels pain the same way / Let’s tell each other, ‘I won’t hurt you'”, the funky disco-inspired tune is both comforting and inspiring, indeed shaping a “Time Of Love”.
Subsequently, “Take Me Home” thrills fans with a surprising jolt of ’80’s disco synth fused with R&B. The slower melody carves a space in the album where the vocal strengths of each member can shine, while its saxophone solo outro provides listeners with a disembodied experience. This type of song for ATEEZ is unprecedented and illustrates their admirable versatility and skill.
Meanwhile, “Celebrate” is another cheerful companion in the album. The fan-dedicated track celebrates ATEEZ’s fandom, ATINY. Originally released for 24 hours on the fandom’s anniversary, the track made its home on ZERO: FEVER Part. 2. In the identity-focused album, its inclusion shows the members’ warm gratitude for ATINY who have had a monumental part in the group’s experiences so far.
“Take Me Home – English Version”, shows the group’s dedication to staying connected to their huge global following. The melodic track discusses themes of loneliness and aspiration, and its English lyrics convey its message to global fans immediately. Notably, the group kept its Korean rap to allow its original meaning to shine.
Lastly, concluding the album is “I’m The One- HEAT-TOPPING Version”. The remix rounds out the album in grand fashion, again communicating to global fans with its English lyrics. The track also calls attention to the album’s impressive production work as the remix provides a completely new listening experience to the title track.
“Fireworks (I’m The One)” MV First Impressions
To match ATEEZ’s most powerful album to date, the music video for “Fireworks (I’m The One)” is equally as impressive.
ATEEZ takes viewers on a journey through the desolate desert and in a dystopic underground bunker, showing the members preparing for battle. In the gloomy atmosphere, the members emerge with a fiery ambition to reclaim the barren world. Emphasized by ATEEZ’s expressiveness and unrivalled performance strength, viewers remain enthralled as they are taken along for the ride.
The music video is rich with references to ATEEZ’s conceptual worldview, displaying their utopia encompassed in flames and dust. Additionally, its final scene marks the return of the villainous ‘Masked Man’ seen previously in the “Answer” music video. The video concludes with an ominous instrumental playing, while ATEEZ remains nowhere in sight as the Masked Man stands alone before a burning tree.
The ambiguous end leaves fans with much to unpack regarding the development of the group’s storyline and subsequently, their next project.
Image Source: KQ Entertainment
Video Source: KQ Entertainment