JBJ95 – 'SPARK'
1. IN THE MORNING
4. HEY, SUMMER
Vocalist/rapper duo JBJ95 is here to cool you down with their newest EP 'Spark.' 5 new tracks are headed your way, including the title track "Spark." This is their 3rd EP.
Starting out quiet and unassuming, "IN THE MORNING" is an R&B tune. It's slow and refreshing, and you want to lay down your cares, sink into the couch and listen to this. Or maybe grab some ice tea and sit in the sun and work on your tan. It's quite mellow, though it does have some light rapping in the middle. "UNREAL" is a more playful tune, with a tropical house beat and the boys just singing their hearts out. It's a laid-back song, with some folk accents, and gives you a better feeling than the wall of EDM that some bands are putting in their tunes. "SPARK" is a mid-tempo synths tune. From the opening synths, you get the sense of waves crashing on the shore and wide-open spaces. Kenta really lets loose on this track, with a beautifully expressive voice. There's some rapping, but Sanggyun sort of half-raps and half-sings here. And it works. Probably one of their best yet, and it matches the chill nature of what we've heard so far.
"HEY, SUMMER" is actually a little more my speed. It's still mid-tempo like the rest of the EP, but it's got an urgency to it. A sort of tension that builds nicely in the main verses, and then comes to a head with that first rap line. And the two singing about a summer night is magical. They even forgo the techno and instead opt for electric guitars during the dance break. A serious jam. They slow it down for "CRUSH." It has a folk style backing track, and the guitar works well. The synths come in and smooth it out, particularly during the chorus. They don't drown them out -- far from it, the synths enhance the boys' vocals. The occasional ringtone gives the song a little weight. It's a mellow way to finish out the album.
But then again, most of this album is mellow. It's not what you'd expect from a summer release. Most of these are happier, brighter affairs, with dance tunes galore. This EP has more of a sit back and chillax atmosphere. That doesn't make it bad, though -- far from it. The songs are still happy, just in a different way. And that makes all the difference in the world.
In this interesting MV, Kenta is the writer, and Sanggyun is one of the characters.
The scene opens with Kenta drawing wide the curtains, and sitting at the typewriter. Sanggyun meditates before finally taking a swim in the pool, and his girl brings a towel to him afterwards. There are hints of a love that possibly went bad, as Sanggyun tries to hold hands with her, or is unsure what to say sometimes. There are scenes of the two frolicking and playing around. As the MV progresses, we learn the book Kenta is writing is called 'Spark.' And the ending? I won't spoil it for you. Suffice it to say it's satisfying and kind of meta.
This MV is quite well shot. There's not that much going on, but it all builds a coherent narrative. It doesn't so much come out and say it, but it implies, and the note left on the book exhorting the reader to check out the last page brings everything full circle.
Did I expect the characters in his book to be real? Not really. But it makes for a fun ending, and the fact that Kenta is a writer (at least here) speaks to me. It managed to surprise me, and was an enjoyable MV overall.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0