B2ST are under Cube Entertainment, a subsidiary of JYP, but what puzzled me the most was that last year, Cube signed a deal with Universal Music - this EP could either been done with American producers or with America in mind. After all, their sister group 4Minute was already featured on an Amerie remix.
There are a few very fine and small but recognizable clues on this that it could just be for the US in the near future - there's a lot more English in it than the group's first release and the production has just gone from mediocre to FANTASTIC. I don't just mean they got new producers, I mean they got DAMN good ones.
The basic material can still be improved and most of the album sounds like R&B staples but then again everything sounds the same in Korea - what's drawing me in is the production. Like, this is better produced than all the other crap that's out right now.
I was really, REALLY let down to find out that the song on the teaser ISN'T the lead single/track - it's sort of an intro. The song I was digging yesterday is actually called Just Before Shock, 2 minutes long. Regardless, it's one of the first kpop songs that have genuinely made me smile. Heck, I don't think I've ever smiled listening to a kpop song. Damn. It's as American and as R&B-ish as it can get but considering their previous sound, it's an upgrade - the production on this song is just WHOA. This is tied with Genie for one of the best-produced Korean songs I've heard. It's epic, it's got a gorgeous piano line and when it explodes it's like WHOA. Now I wish I had damn good earphones to listen to this. I wish this was the lead single - seriously.
So now what does the lead single sound? Like a B2ST single. To a certain extent I'm glad they grew and didn't completely change but a part of me absolutely ADORES the previous track. But back to the fact that I'm happy - goes to show there is some semblance of musical growth in kpop after all, thankfully. B2ST are really growing on me, and this new single has just made me appreciate them even more. It's catchy, it sounds like something from Cube Ent and it's well-sung, the vocals are strong. If there's one compliment I can give this band, it's that they're probably a lot better in the vocal department than a lot of other boybands. I'm not saying they're the best, there are better bands, but considering that their main competition is MBLAQ, these boys have nothing to worry about. The single is a lot less pop-y and a little more mainstream, although I don't think they can crack the US with this - their best shot is with Just Before Shock.
To be completely honest with you, Special sounds like something for the US. B2ST are surprising me more and more with a well-produced album - I never knew Koreans had it in them. The vocals are a little too throaty for my taste (I can feel my throat cracking just listening to them) but the production is pretty darn good. The eurocrap loops can get a little too annoying for my taste as well but most of the time the song is bearable. I just can't stand the vocals though.
In comes one of my favorite tracks on the album, 내 여자친구를 부탁해 (My Girlfriend? Or something like that.) - it's like a continuation of Just Before Shock in terms of style. I like the chorus, I like the epicness of the entire thing and surprisingly, this is one of the few songs with rap parts that don't annoy the heck out of me. And here we go again with the 'are they breaking the US?' thing - the hook is in English. A girl can dream, right?
And to close off the album, Easy. I'm not gushing about this track as much as I am the others, but the verses are TO DIE FOR. lol. Gorgeous, gorgeous melodies. The hook isn't my type but the rest of the song is cool - reminds me of one of the tracks off their first EP.
This EP is well-produced, well-sung and well-made - it shows B2ST's growth and who they are as musicians. It PROVES that they're worth my time and they're worth listening to more than just a few times. They have a long, LONG way to go in terms of musicality (with the linear instrumentals and all) but they're one of my only hopes of having REAL musicians in Kpop.
No sum-up, since this is an EP. lol.