MBLAQ - 'Winter'
Proving they are anything but 'Broken,' MBLAQ returns with their 7th mini-album 'Winter.' I've heard that they won't be promoting the new mini-album, which is an odd thing. I don't think there's even a video.
"Live in the Past" is apparently the intro song, a short piano track that sets the tone for the album. It's pretty and reminded me of nothing so much as bright orange leaves falling from a tree. An appropriate tune for the cold season.
The second track, "Spring, Summer, Autumn, and..." is a melancholy ballad with velvety harmonies and emotional vocals. I like Lee Joon's sustains a lot here. The lyrics talk of remembering and trying to forget as the seasons pass. Mir's rapping seems more emotional here, achieving more than just a sick rhythm.
They up the tempo for "You Ain't Know," which is definitely more my speed. It's a solid soft rock ballad with earnestly sung lyrics. The boys are saying they're alone and exhausted. It's not the happiest of songs, despite the tempo.
"Say It Will Be Okay" puts them back in ballad mode again. I like G.O's parts here. FIESTAR's Hyemi puts in an emotional performance, as well. All of them convey the sadness of this song quite well. There's kind of a push and pull to the lyrics, where one minute they're saying "stay," and the next "go." The song ends quietly with a whispered "love me, hate me / love me, or love me not."
The unplugged "Rust" finishes off the album. It starts like the original with Mir saying "My heart is rusted." While the stripped down instrumentation serves to highlight the boys' vocal abilities, it also kind of removes the experimental nature of the original. I'm torn as to which one I like better, but I'm kind of leaning towards the 2011 version.
A couple criticisms: the album was way too short! I guess I should be glad, though, that there were no instrumentals or filler tracks. All of this was majestic, tear-jerking MBLAQ. The other quibble I had was there was far too little of Mir. I would have liked to hear more of his raps on this disc.
Other than that, this EP was very mournful and tender. The boys definitely sounded like they were in pain here. They should have enclosed a box of tissues along with the album, so you could dry your eyes. Maybe in the re-package ;)
The themes that were on 'Broken' appear here, fully matured. There was less falsetto on this album, and 'Winter' is largely guided by piano rather than guitar. Heartbreak in miniature. Like their last album, the boys had a hand in composing and arranging the songs here, too -- it's always a good thing when a band has at least a measure of control over the material. Overall, I think they did an awesome job.
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