Less than six months following the release of One of a Kind, MONSTA X returns with their 10th mini-album No Limit. Starship Entertainment’s six member group made up of Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney, I.M, and Shownu (currently serving mandatory military service), curated a project that embodies the group’s fire and intense essence. No Limit features seven tracks full of aggression, heat, and love for their fans, MONBEBE. Being known for their contributions on prior albums, the members again infused their charisma and personality into the project by contributing to the creative process in regard to lyrics and composition. Joohoney produced and collaborated with member I.M on the title track, “Rush Hour,” and Hyungwon self-produced “Just Love,” and “Mercy.”
The album opens up with the explosive title track, “Rush Hour.” An aggressive first line, “Eat this,” sets the tone, showing fans the chaos about to unfold. The song melds electro-pop and hip-hop tones to supplement the back and forth between vocal and rap verses. The title “Rush Hour” signifies the group’s ability to uphold their creative identity and stand out when comparing themselves to the overly saturated, traffic jammed music industry. As of November 26, MONSTA X secured a first place win on Music Bank, the third win of this promotion cycle.
Up next, “Autobahn” maintains the intensity with electric synths, high energy beats, and unapologetic seduction. Deriving from the German word for highway or freeway, “Autobahn” embodies infinite possibilities and the limitless of their potential. The lyrics, “I like to take you far away / Like no limit highway / ‘Cause I’m afraid to reach / Why would I stop right here / Step harder autobahn,” further emphasizes MONSTA X’s realization that the extent of their abilities remains undefinable and only they can decide when they’ve reached their limit.
Slowing down the rhythm, “Ride with U” incorporates hints of trap and funk beats. Rappers Joohoney and I.M shined on the track with their velvety, sensual vocals. The hazy melodies complement the lyrics, “Falling in love, thrill loving / Wake up the silent night, zero to hundred / The resounding symphony / A thrilling tremor of the wind / Whenever I’m with you,” to encapsulate the message of feeling both complete contentment and thrilling moments of ecstasy when spending time with a loved one.
“Got Me In Chains” follows to illustrate an overwhelmingly intense yearning that creates the feeling of being imprisoned by desire. Techno beats melded with R&B rhythms create a cloudy atmosphere that magnifies the complexity and struggle to break free from metaphorical chains. “I can’t stop this like I’m addicted / Even though I know you’re a poison, like this / Even if you tear me up, I’m glad that it’s you,” describes the depth of this significant other’s hold over them. Despite knowing that someone only offers hurt and emotional turmoil, the mere fact that this person remains in their life makes it worth it.
Switching up the energy, “Just Love” describes an authentic love that can prevail through both highlights and hardships. In the act of reassuring someone of their pure intentions and feelings, MONSTA X soothes fans by singing, “Don’t worry I’m here to stay / You got me always, you got me always / I will always stay by your side.” The use of guitar throughout the track produces a comforting sound that makes the message feel genuine and personal.
Turning dark and hazy, “Mercy” dramatically enters with the use of gothic elements to describe the want for someone despite knowing they bring nothing but pain. With a sense of glooming wickedness, the group desperately pleas “I wanna run into the fire again and fall into you deeper / Deep wounds that have already opened up / I get hurt even though I know you are my pain / Unstoppable continuous pain / Even if it lasts, my scars won’t forget you.” They unapologetically admit that their hearts crave another, even if heartache remains as the only option.
The mini-album rounds out with the more vibrant, positive track “I Got Love” to heal fans from the rollercoaster of emotions felt by previous songs. Acting as a continuation of “Heaven” from their previous album One of a Kind, MONSTA X engulfs fans in warm, comforting sounds when describing the progression of falling in love. Delicate lyrics such as, “Before I knew it I was filled with you / And even trivial moments became you,” innocently explains that love creeps up, usually unexpectedly. The heartwarming melody and theme leaves fans feeling content and gratified.
MONSTA X’s No Limit personifies the group’s ability to stand out in a congested industry. By radiating confidence and refusing to conform, they have created a unique identity unable to be replicated. With a variety of genres and an array of messages, MONSTA X once again proves their duality and skill to constantly adapt in a way that stays true to who they are.
Make sure to stream No Limit on all platforms and check out the music video for “Rush Hour” linked below.