If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that boy bands are top-priority to me -- my favorite K-Pop act is DBSK and I'm always eager to check out new releases from boy bands, more than I am for girl groups. (I have my girl group favorites though.) And there has definitely been enough boy band material out recently to feed my boy band fixation and make up for JYJ and DBSK's dry spells. (They're ending though, because the JYJ album is FINALLY coming out!)
g.o.d. - "Saturday Night" (4.2/5)
From the few g.o.d. songs that I've heard in the past (the staples basically, like "One Candle") I've always liked them -- the JYP sound is very clear, and I think Kim Tae Woo's voice is swoon-worthy in every sense of the word and really suits their musical direction. So I liked "Saturday Night," cheesiness and all -- because these guys know how to carry a song like this. The cheese is tempered by the smooth vocals, sophisticated almost, and the potentially weakening grace of the melody is given a good kick by the gutsy, confident rap verses that really ooze character. It's very g.o.d., but also very current -- this sounds like something younger boy bands will do, but this particular song is really best-executed by a band as technically-refined as g.o.d. I need to hear the rest of the album now!
GOT7 - "A" (5/5)
This was the song that made me go, "so does that mean I have to pick a GOT7 bias now?" -- and for me to say that, they did everything right with this comeback. Needless to say, "A" put to rest every single doubt and fear I had about them and their future. This is such a fun, light-hearted, but extremely well-executed package. As a song it's extremely catchy without being annoying -- because the melody is too pretty to be a pain. The arrangement is tight, all the dynamics are well-pronounced with explosions to balance out the very smooth melodies and instruments. But beyond the song itself I really have to commend GOT7's execution of the song -- not just on the recording, but also during live performances. The vocals are rich, and each line brings out the best in the member handling it. "A" is infinitely better on stage when the song is paired with choreography and GOT7's practically electric stage presence. These guys know how to perform -- they know how to please their audience and interact without compromising the choreography and song. It's an absolute pleasure to watch live performances of "A" because GOT7 aren't playing around, they're genuinely enjoying what they're doing -- and that's what a performance should be.
Infinite - "Back" (4.2/5)
It's been a few days since I first heard "Back," and I'm still half-and-half. On the one hand, I get it -- it's a progression that makes sense for Infinite, and seeing as I thought they plateaued with their more recent releases a progression is exactly what they need. "Back" is their slick sound with synth-heavy, epic yet catchy melodies but given a darker twist with a darker arrangement and a more sombre approach to the same elements. In theory, on paper, that's great -- and when I think about it while listening to the song it makes perfect sense. They also deliver it well -- the production is tight, everything is in place. But for some reason "Back" isn't wowing me like how "The Chaser" or "Come Back To Me" just blew my mind with fireworks left and right and guns blazing all over the place. All things considered though, "Back" is a song that definitely has an important place in Infinite's repertoire and if they can refine this progression in their next few releases, then "Back" will become a pivotal song for them.
Tohoshinki - "Sweat" (5/5)
I love this -- I love love love loooooove this most recent Toho single. After a pretty dry promotion cycle last year, with "Tree" being a bore for the most part, I'm way more pleased with how this year is shaping up for DBSK and now Tohoshinki. I like this twist on the "big band," "swing"-ish sound they started off with in Korea earlier this year -- it's a lot more current, and it makes for a much stylish sound. Yunho and Changmin can sing pretty much everything, but they've always been the members with the more "current"/contemporary-sounding voices during their five-piece days (Jaejoong was the J-rock voice, Junsu was the ballads guy, Yoochun had the 90s R&B timbre) so songs like "Sweat" really bring out their strengths. The song itself is spot-on -- the production is very rich and along with the instrumentation gives the initially-slick song some much-needed guts and the dynamics are to die for and extremely pronounced, sustaining listeners' attention spans for the entire three and a half minutes. I've had this on regular rotation since it came out!
Did I miss anything? If I did, mention me on Twitter or send me a question via ask.fm, and I'll see if I have enough material for a part 4! Or maybe I can whip up a full-length review over the next few days? :D