BEAST – HIGHLIGHT
5. When I...
6. I'm Curious
7. Found You (Junhyung solo)
8. Baby It's You (Doojoon & Kikwang duet)
9. Come out (Yoseob Solo)
10. I'll Give You My All (Dongwoon solo)
11. Good Night
12. Ribbon (Instrumental)
Since their debut in 2009, B2ST has gained much attention, even hitting the international charts. Now they're back again to 'Highlight' their unique charms. It's their third studio album, and their first Korean release since Hyunseung's departure. The album contains 12 tracks including the title track "Ribbon," and the pre-release tune "Butterfly." It should come as no surprise to fans that the whole album was written and composed by members, notably Yoseob, Kikwang, Dongwoon and Junhyung.
"Ribbon," as I've said, is the main single. Yoseob hits the high parts, managing to fill in for the parts that Hyunseung might have had and sounds eerily like him as well. Junhyung totally nails the emotional rapping on this tune, turning it to singing seamlessly, lending some edginess to the tune. It's definitely mid-tempo and not my thing, but I like it the more I hear it.
Kikwang gets most of the vocals on "Butterfly," managing to be tender and heartfelt. Each member gets a turn, but it's Kikwang who hits the heartstrings. Doojoon, Junhyung, and Dongwoon pull out their best chops, hitting emotional falsetto to carry the tune. The melody is spare, allowing each member's vocals to shine, and the emotion here is never overwrought. A beautiful song about loving someone who's not around anymore, holding onto the hope they'll come back.
"Highlight" has a fierce beginning. It falls a little flat in the first verse with the harmony, but just as quickly picks itself up and shakes off the BS. Everyone sounds frustrated and a little angry. It's got a great hook that you chant right along with them: "Hot n Fun Hot n Fun Hot n Fun Hot n." The reason for their discontent is obvious: they're young and bored and eager to do something. And this song is perfect to channel the angst that goes along with that feeling.
"Found You" is Junhyung's solo, written, composed, and sung by him. This is one of three club bangers on the disc, and IMHO the best song. Since he handles all the vocal duties here he shows off his range. From rap to falsetto to clean singing, the B2ST producer does it all and does it well. Slick, danceable, well-packaged, this is a solo song that does exactly what it's supposed to do -- showcase the skills of a talented member.
After Junhyung's impressive solo, Doojoon and Kikwang team up for "Baby It's You." This is the second dance tune, and I love the feel of this one. Their voices go extremely well together, including the ad-libs and vocal flourishes. The chorus is extremely satisfying -- lush and hooky at once. I like how it ends -- tenderly and a bit raw.
There's a couple more ballads on here as well as a few mid-tempo tunes. It seems as if the last half of the album drags, like they started out strong and put their best foot forward, but then slacked off during the rest of it. But the songs on the second half aren't bad, it's just that they pale in comparison to what's at the beginning. I think spacing the tunes out would have better served the album. Though, I can tell you it's a potent combo of bangers and ballads that should definitely be the highlight of your listening experience.
MV REVIEW - "BUTTERFLY"
You can see the boys being morose, hanging out in a living room set up in a meadow. Butterflies flit about, landing on furniture and fingers. Sometimes they're laying in a field of brightly colored blooms. At the end of the day, floodlights come on and they're all together, singing sadly.
I can confess to not being a fan of this setup. It's obvious that they put some thought into it, but it's a very static video. The music is slow, true, but there's not a lot going on in the MV itself. If you're attracted to them, it's probably a big gigantic plus -- they're impeccably dressed and flawless as always -- but to me there wasn't enough to hold my interest.
My judgement is just a resounding 'meh.'
MV REVIEW - "RIBBON"
Smashing clocks, giant keys, and glowing carousels are just part of this MV. In direct contrast to "Butterfly," "Ribbon" changes environments and scenes, never having quite the same look even if they hit the same location again. The boys dance, too, which just adds some goodness to the whole thing.
Rhyme or reason? It boils down to loneliness, as memories are fished out of a storage locker. The clocks? Because time is the one thing that was not on their side. This MV has much more to recommend it than the other one and manages to be much more than the sum of its parts.
Well-filmed and nicely put together, "Ribbon" is a fun watch.
* MV scores are combined for Relevance, Production, and Concept.