Notes: This release was a cool genre expansion for them, but I thought it felt a bit unbalanced to me, JunHyung had a LOT of lines, not that I really have problem with it. I would love to hear Hyunseung rap though, like really rap, and Yoseob too possibly with bouncing call & response lines to help them keep rhythm with JunHyung like YooChun & JaeJoong had in Been so Long...
Top Track: Intro & Encore
Top Track Notes: I like it best when it's hard to choose. I picked two this time because Intro's only a minute and a half so I'm calling it a partial song. The next on my list is easily How to Love and then I'm Sorry. Over all, a great release.
Final Score: 8.5/10
Shadow is a solid track. There's an impressive use of harmony, elegant counterpoint. The melody sits high in the listener's awareness but the fill supports it well and the gritty beat keeps everything grounded. Rhythmically it slides along with a sort of smoothe regularity that's broken up by decorations that compound and lead the song to develop well. It's fluid and incredibly catchy, as expected from these fabulous guys. Haunting and beautiful and yet still it's still just a fun track to have playing at a party.
I give it an 8/10: Fabulous!
Intro has a sweet multi-dimensional beat. It's beautifully spatialized and the chant-vocals contrast nicely with the rap. The rhythms develop energetically, and the dedication is just lovely. Bad ass Gregorian monks meet SPN & Buffy at Boys in the Hood. I feel like a cherished little princess and a kick ass evil sorceress / demon slayer at the same time.
How to Love is soft and sweet. I like the pseudo raps Yoseob and DooJoon had with JunHyung double-tracked for support and actually I just love the double-tracked-other-voices in general. Sometimes it's support (as in the raps) and others it's for harmonic interest and it really works well. The oohs in the bridge slows it all down without putting the breaks on the melody. It all just flows together in a smoothe & polished track.
Be Alright starts off very refreshingly. It then slides right into the synth-heavy R&B Beast does oh so well. Again, the double-tracking and the harmonic decorations are layered in fantastically. It makes the singer-transitions seamless. Lyrically this one doesn't evolve as well as the others, but it's catchy as hell and you can sing along by the second chorus.
I'm Sorry was not my favorite as a single. I think mainly it just wasn't what I was expecting. I took a while to warm up to Beautiful Night when that came out of the blue too, and that's one of my favorite songs from last year. This one has already started to grow on me. It feels very summertime chill, late night poolside in a fancy resort with a broken heart and a sweet cabana boy willing to open up some liquid courage, after hours and free of charge (I'm aware that it has next to nothing to do with the lyrics, but I'm a writer and that is the fic I would put to this). Track wise it's not exceptional, but it is constructed well and it has significant harmonic interest, & like all Beast songs worth talking about (which is quite frankly almost all of them), it has a great sense of space and energy.
Will You Be Alright kept up the cabana boy idea in my head. Maybe I just really need a vacation, preferably with Beast on a beach in the middle of nowhere, but that's really what is sounds like to me. A little country-western twang was thrown in under the main melody too, some of the guitar decorations are very country. The track isn't incredible, but it's nice relaxing music that is melodically interesting enough to really listen to. I would not be surprised to hear it in a drama OST.
You're Bad initially reminded me of an acoustic-rock Fiction, but that only lasted a few seconds. The stretch in the chorus contracts nicely into the second verse and the rap bounces in with cool flair and out with the same smoothe swag. The bridge feels like it slows down, using the same trick from How to Love but the drums here bring up the energy before it settles.
Encore wraps it all up with spark and sass. It's great fun and energetic, the high synths bounce through it and the mid-line vocals just float. The lower lines fill it out and mesh harmonically with the high trills and the bass is just fabulous. The one thing is . . . someone should have told them that Encore is a French word and instead of pronouncing it 'An-core' it's 'On-core'. Usually the Engrish doesn't bother me, but this one kinda does for some reason. *shrugs*
I give them a 9/10: Blissful!
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