LABOUM – 'TWO OF US'
3. You're the Light
5. Stay There...
6. Two Of Us
7. Actually, This is a Secret
10. Firework (inst.)
LABOUM has just dropped their new album, 'The Two of Us,' their first-ever LP. It has nine brand new tracks, and an instrumental. The band took an active hand in this one. Soyeon co-wrote "Firework," "Satellite," and "Two of Us," co-composing the latter two. Yujeong had a hand in composing and writing the lyrics for "You're The Light", and "Stay There...", Haein has a writing credit on "Hush", and Solbin co-composed and co-wrote the lyrics for "Diary".
"INTRO" is well, an intro. It's electropop, and super short. It also seems to give us no indication what the album sounds like. Now "Firework" is a lot better. It's interesting because the vocals were sampled to be upfront and in your face. I like that -- it's a different sound than we're used to and works so well with the acoustic guitar on this track. "You're the Light" is a pretty pop number. The nice thing about this song is the layering effects. Plus these girls really can sing, and it shows here. I even like the rap here, despite the fact that it's too short. We transition to softer pop with "Satellite." It's almost a ballad, but not quite that mellow. They have more of a beat and a slightly higher tempo. But it's just what you need for a rainy day. If you're trying to relax, this is your song.
"Stay There..." is a rather different ballad. It kind of has that power ballad structure, except the girls manage to sing beautifully throughout. There's not really any stratospheric vocals here. It's a nice tune buoyed by the electric guitars in the chorus. Yujeong has main vocal duties here. "Two of Us" gets the higher tempo treatment. I have a feeling they were considering this as the title track. This one is pure club-banger, with that pop-rock aesthetic. You have that feeling of rising tension in the main verses, and they-next level the vocals in the chorus. I like this one a lot. Soyeon gets this one to herself and kills it. They go soft R&B on this one. "Actually, This is a Secret" has some subtle jazzy horns and a thrumming bass line. The synth drums really work in its favor, as do the retro flourishes. And this song shows they can really tackle any genre. ZN is on vocals, and her smooth vocals make this a jam.
In "HUSH," Hae In takes the vocals for another soft R&B one, different from the last one. This has more of a bluesy feel than "Actually". And as much as she has the high-pitched voice seems more suited to a cutesy style, she really brings it here. It's different, and it blows me away whenever I listen to it. Solbin handles "Diary," a ballad that's done right. She has an emotional register and a beautiful singing voice that makes this one pop. She sings to a piano accompaniment, and it never strays from that, never tries to rise to an orchestral crescendo. Instead, they take a step back, and she does that quite well herself.
LABOUM has outdone themselves this time. They alternate between pop and R&B, softer and harder tracks, without missing a beat. Bluesy offerings like "HUSH" share a space with club-bangers like "Firework" and they all feel like they belong here. And the vocals on 'Two of Us' are just stunning. I'm really going to have to listen to their back catalog, but I don't remember them sounding this good. If I forgot, then shame on me. But if I didn't, then raise a glass. These gals are pretty amazing, and they turned in a top-shelf collection here.
In "Firework," there are actually no fireworks, which might be disappointing to some. Though the girls are draped elaborately in lovely, elegant costumes and dance through flower-festooned sets. Seriously -- nearly every set seems to be decked out in flowers.
Not sure what the reason is for the flower fetish, but the bouquets do add some much-needed color. One of their main sets not only features flowers but also white drapes that camouflage the plain, ugly white-painted brick wall behind all of that. Sometimes it seems like they're in a warehouse or industrial area.
And while that's not a bad thing, I think the creators wanted you to focus on the girls themselves. They're lovely, and sometimes strike poses that invite the male gaze. And they do a fantastic job of it, giving good face wherever possible.
That's not all they do. Of course, we have to have the obligatory dance scenes. They kill it there, too. While the choreo is nothing stunning, at least the girls are in sync and the movements seem interesting at least. I can't be too hard on 'em here, but MVs these days seem to have less and less dancing.
Overall, I can say I enjoyed it, even if I watched it with a critical eye. There were just little cracks in the fantasy that found their way through, and that's not what the filmmakers intended, I'm sure. They may have lingered too long, and the warts became more apparent. Still, I can't say I hate it, though the awesome song the MV is married to might have something to do with it.
MV SCORE: 7.6
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3