BOYS REPUBLIC - BR:EVOLUTION
1. Get Down
2. Eyes On Me
4. A Song For You (One Junn solo)
5. Get Down (Inst.)
Boys Republic have been going for awhile now, debuting in 2013 under Universal Music and Happy Tribe Entertainment. Gaining not inconsiderable attention from their first two albums 'Identity' and 'Real Talk,' it's been a couple years since the last mini-album. They consoled fans with the single "Hello," but now they're back with a five-song EP 'BR:evolution.'
Since I have an itch for strong, fast-paced songs, this band apparently heard me. Their title track "Get Down" scratched that itch. "Get Down" starts out strong with the boys chanting, and then a killer rap by Minsu starts it out. Down-pitched voices, pounding beat, and a belted complete this powerful anthem. Sungjun has a couple rap parts, one with the down-pitched sample, and the other with his natural voice. Both of them are fire. The song is about a breakup, but they're not taking it lying down -- they're out for revenge.
"Eyes On Me" is a mid-tempo pop tune that manages to distinguish itself from most of the other mid-tempo tunes with some time changes, smooth bridges, rap breakdowns that make this work. They've got more than just smooth croons, it sounds like there are some energy and emotion behind the vocal. There are synths that bleep and buzz happily behind the singers as well. It's upbeat and hooky, and a nice complement to "Get Down." They're singing about a girl, and ultimately, it's more than just her eyes on them.
"V.I.P." continues that fist pumping foot pounding beat and starts with a tiny rap that leads into the smooth main verses. There are some interjections and repetitions during the body of the song, and the chorus is a silky, energetic pay off. There's even a rap after the first chorus making you sit up and pay attention. They've got some serious vocal chops here. If I had to choose between this and the title track I'd be hard-pressed to do so. The lyrics let you know it's about a girl and how she is their V.I.P.
"A Song For You" is One Junn's solo, where they slow things waaay down, and it was a bit of a letdown for me. Not only is it slow, it doesn't sound all that great. It's a ballad, and while I'm not much for ballads, this one left me particularly cold. One Junn's voice cracks during the high notes, sounding strained and thin. It's almost like he went from one song to the next with no rest for his pipes, which makes this song more grating than endearing. It's about being lonely, and how this song was written for an ex.
Overall, they present a strong image upfront, which I like, and then it slides quickly downhill with that last one. Not only was it not skillfully done but it was also inappropriate. The rest of the songs were slick, body-moving tracks, with moments that let you think they might also be accomplished balladeers, but alas, it was not to be. I really liked that they weren't whining about a breakup, and they sounded every bit as fierce and dominant as my favorite girl groups -- until the last song. My advice? Skip the last track. The first three tracks are dynamic and robust, well worth the price of admission.
The members of Boys Republic are terrorists in this new 19+ MV!
Terrorists. That's about the only word I can think of -- maybe violent dictators, but they're holed up in a cave. And there is some serious violent imagery. Severed heads roll around, people get stabbed and blood splatters the camera. They show guns being toted around, clips ejected, as men in masks prowl about the set. Most of the time, I laugh at the 19+ rating. Not this time.
There are flames, weapons, flags, and black leather, all the hallmarks of a deadly scene with threatening dudes. To coin a phrase, "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know" (with apologies to Lord Byron). I'm not sure there's much plot here, but it's definitely exciting.
In addition to hyperviolent scenes, we also get treated to some dancing shots. These guys can definitely dance! There are some nods at b-boying and sweeping dance moves that flash from one movement to the next. It looks challenging, and these boys are certainly up to the task.
YMMV on this one. Did you love series like 'IRIS' and 'Athena?' Then you'll definitely want to see this. If 'Coffee Prince' is more your thing, then likely not. I can tell that this is flashy and intriguing, arresting and thrilling. And probably more than a little shocking. If you don't like images of violence, seriously give this one a pass and just enjoy the song. If you're like me and you like breakneck action and have a strong stomach, then you're in for an interesting 3:18.