The Dreaming is MONSTA X’s second English-language album, an incredible feat for the globally admired K-pop boy band considering that MONSTA X leader Shownu is currently serving South Korea's mandatory conscription; he still appears on the album. Kicking off with one of the greatest pop choruses of the year is the soaring “One Day,” their third Top 40 pop radio hit; aside from BTS, they are the only K-pop group to achieve such a success. The Dreaming is similarly euphoric: “Whispers in the Dark” is The Weekndesque retro synth-pop; “About Last Night” offers Jonas Brothers-style ’80s-nostalgia and good cheer; the sextet sings songs equal parts romantic (“Blame Me”) and erotic (“You Problem,” “Blow Your Mind”).
The choice to record in English is undoubtedly a clever marketing move: Anglophone listeners who’ve been curious about MONSTA X but have yet to dive in might find themselves connecting to the songs, the same way BTS’s “Dynamite” and “Butter” ushered in a new wave of fandom for the K-pop group. But simply recording in English isn’t enough, and MONSTA X has put in the work—each of these 10 tracks could very well be a single, making for an eclectic collection of addictive ’90s hip-hop and boy-band worship.