Notes: I love these boys. I really wish they were more popular, because they have a really unique sound in the kpop world, it's a sort of Aegyo-high sound, but keyed towards an apparent aggression and very rap-focus. I like it. They're also hyper-masculine goofballs in their promotions & MVs which is a unique image in kpop. Usually, it's that the members just goofy BTS & hyper-masc onscreen, BIGSTAR has managed to seamlessly merge the two styles into one. And then, about this album on it's own, I was surprised by it. There's a ton of new sounds for BIGSTAR, which shows great style / concept flexibility, and most of the tracks are pretty well done, but I just didn't like most of them all that much. Run & Run is easily my favorite, with Shake It in second place and Hooligan in 3rd.
Top Track: Run & Run
Final Score: 7/10
Run & Run is a fantastic track. They've got a very high synthy-ness that has BraveSound's signature sound laced inside of it, but is still completely unique. The song is well constructed, balanced and spatialized, making fantastic use of harmonics and ear-attention to draw the feel of the song about the listener without needing to make sweeping gestures of music, all of their songs really are. This song in particular mainly uses the lower harmonics and the high sound effects to spatialize. The vocals are remarkably crisp, held inside a bubble of sound that's not hit with interference by any of the other elements, which is unfortunately rare for kpop. A lot of kpop tracks have 'fuzzy' vocals, that sound rough because other parts of the song's sound overlap destructively with them.
I give it a 8/10: Fabulous!
Be Brave works well as an Intro because it's dramatically different than anything else they've released. Of course, we all know there's a few interesting lines in it. I'm cool with the porn star reference, sexuality is something that Korea, and the rest of the world for that matter, really need to develop a healthier relationship with . . .The notion two lines later does bother me however, the 'kill the girl' notion. I'm pretty sure that he means kill as in make fall in love, but still, not my favorite notion. *shrugs* Other than that, I'm okay with the arrogance vibe. Arrogance is fine in my book as long as there's respect for the fans. Musically speaking, it's a unique sound for them, much deeper, with much more typical rap-star sort of vocals and has a much more straight-up aggressive style than the songs BIGSTAR has released previously. I like the genre expansion for them, especially with the element of the electric guitar, but I would worry that they might fall into proto-typically dull American rap. The song's form is pretty simple, but there's a few really great rhythmic surprises, and some really strong style experiments. I like this song, & I'd like to hear more like it from them in the future, but I'd be sad to see it become their usual.
Hooligan has a great vibe. Lyrically, it's a nice F the world, I'm awesome sort of thing. Agian, it's not at all like anything they've released before. It's another genre-expansion, though this one is a bit closer to their norm, with even the rap sections being focused more on the upper range than not. The chorus is catchy and the verses demonstrate fabulous rap-skills, but over all the song doesn't seem to take a listener anywhere but around in small circles. Still, I like hearing this from BIGSTAR, there are a few moments of really good harmonic expansion, and some neat, sidestepping movements of rhythm & melody. It's not my favorite song from BIGSTAR, but it's still a pretty good track and it would be nice to have them give this genre another shot in the future.
Shake It is another completely unique song, but this one has been done fabulously. It has an utterly unique sound, but not at the expense of style or sophistication. The sections are all very specifically defined and evolve as the song progresses, there's elements that are a bit too repetitive, but the lyrics are made use of thematically. It's well spatialized and the harmonic elements are well placed for emphasis. It's much closer to their usual style than the first two non-title-tracks, and the crisp vocals sit nicely in the bubble that exists most of their songs.
Poisonous Girl has a similar feel to what you would get by squishing the previous three non-title-tracks together to make a single song. Lyrically it's fine, if a bit repetitive, and melodically it has interest and harmonic counterpoint, and there's some good rhythmic transitions... It's decently balanced and spatialized. I particularly don't like the ultra-deep voice, but honestly I just don't really like this song as a whole. Technically speaking it's a solid track, but I'm really not feelin' much love for it. I don't have any specific reason, I mean it has a neat flair to it and it's well executed; and with the exception of the dying-frog voice, everything in the song is necessary and used well. I just don't like it.
Over all i give them a 6/10: Good Job.
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