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.
Wow . . .
BigStar has literally taken every ridiculous internet trend and made it even more ridiculous. The MV has no really cohesive story, but definitely has interesting visual elements that keep you paying attention. And they're clearing have so much fun that if you manage to make it through without smiling at least once, you're lying. They've incorporated every visual genre in Kpop, at least for a breif moment, and mixed it all together into a hilarious farce; from the dark gangster, tough-guy thing, to the bright colors of the flower-boy trend, from party-MVs to Choreo-MVs, even with a ridiculous stab and the Story-type-MVs. They even make fun of the music-tendancyto use dramatic sets and such by throwing one in as the result of a hallucination inside a hangover. There's color to the extreme, styling that can't even be described . . . it all circles so far past ridiculous that it's almost able to look good. And certainly the boys look fabulous, these are some of the best hairstyle they've ever had. From their debut with Hotboy to Think, and then I Got The Feeling . . . they've had some interesting looks, but they've always been great sports about it and they've always made it work. I'm not sure if it's the overwhelming confidence they're due to have for their talents, or just plain idiocy, but they manage to pull off the dumbest of things.
The Choreography in this MV is fantastic. They literally charge from scene to scene like morons looking for a Frisbee's landing spot by chasing it on the wind. The moves play with the words perfectly; my favorite example is at :56 when the line 'everybody put your hands up' as he flips over himself. It's a great surprise, because everyone listening knows the idea of hands up in MV's so you don't expect anyone to put their hands so opposite of up that they hit the floor, but it's timed so perfectly that by the time the lyric gets to the word 'up' his hands rise up from the floor to over his head, far further than the usual rise of from the sides to just over the head. I really like it. I also like flips, so that might have something to do with it. But anyway, the choreography balances strong moves that are dramatic and powerful and filled with a distinctly masculine charm with moves that have comedic value along with a significant aegyo index. The focus-member shifts are elegant and smoothely done and work absolutely perfectly.
Think is definitely the best release that BigStar has released so far, but all of their songs are solid. They've got a unique sound in Kpop, very rap-heavy but not with the deep bass resonance of most rap heavy groups like debut-mates B.A.P. They've got a very high synthy sound that has BraveSound's signature sound laced inside of it. The songs are all well constructed, they're 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. This song in particular mainly uses the lower harmonics and the high sound effects to spatialize. The vocals are remarkable crisp, held inside a bubble of sound that's not hit with interference by any of the other elements.
The other thing I really like about BigStar is that their sound is tremendously consistent. They're a lot like BEAST in that regard, they can put out a track in any one of a dozen genres and it still sounds exactly like the standardized BigStar sound. They've got some killer talent and they really should be much more popular than they are.
I give it a 9/10: Blissful!
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