JBJ – FANTASY
1. J.B.J. (Intro)
3. Say My Name
4. Ride With Me
5. As If In A Dream
Straight out of Season 2 of Produce 101, comes the band that was wanted by fans, JBJ! The fans of Produce 101 voted and seven contestants ranked between 20-30 made the cut: Takada Kenta, Kim Yong Guk, Kim Sang Gyun, Kim Dong Han, Noh Tae Hyun, Kim Tae Dong, and Kwon Hyun Bin. The name is an acronym for "Just Be Joyful." Their debut EP is appropriately titled 'Fantasy.'
The EP kicks off with a powerful intro track, "J.B.J. (Intro)." I love the fact that this is primarily rapping. If I was expecting a weak intro, I'd be totally wrong. Title track "Fantasy" is a kickin' club banger as well, continuing the tough image created by their intro track. The harmonies here are forceful enough, and hip hop and some electric guitars make this one killer ride.
Pounding jackhammer rhythms and some growly raps introduce "Say My Name." It's an interesting study in contrasts, as the main verses are beautiful harmonies, but the chorus gives us loud synths and absolutely fire hooks. What a great jam! "Ride With Me," is very much pop in every way that counts. It's a sweet, upbeat bop. It's not amazing but it's not bad either. "As If In A Dream" is a nice, light R&B ballad, and they croon for all they're worth. I like some of the piano and organ flourishes here.
The energy on this EP is almost palpable. I like the power in the vocals and the songs themselves are quite catchy. The fans chose wisely -- these boys pop in every way possible. I don't know if they'll continue, but frankly, my ears are wanting to hear more.
To go along with the attitude and power, JBJ has released a striking video.
There's no real narrative here -- if there is then it's horribly disjointed. Still, that doesn't keep it from being awesome. They are apparently in search of a puzzle piece and that leads them to a variety of locations. A meadow prevents this from simply being a boy in a box MV, not to mention the effects they unveil.
They've got bright lights, bright colors, and some slow-mo going on. Not to mention the different sets. Maybe they filmed this all one soundstage, but it doesn't look like it at all. For a debut video, this is impressively done.
The dancing is also quite good, though I do without the crotch grabbing. Whatever you've got down there, I don't need to know about it. I'd be remiss in not mentioning that the choreo was quite direct, bold, and forceful. There's a reason you picked these seven guys.
Overall, the MV is dynamic and eye-popping. Elegant shots keep it from being a hot mess, and it goes right along with the 'Fantasy' title of the album. It's almost like they're wandering around in some magical tale. And I think that was the point. Well done.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3