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Friday, September 05, 2014

Track-by-Track: B1A4 - Solo Day

B1A4 have been my major discovery this year. As I get more and more familiar with the K-Pop world, I'm continually surprised at how many awesome groups exist outside of the "big three" agencies. Luckily, I got into this band right before their newest mini-album was released. A note about any K-Pop review I do: I am not a Korean speaker. I search out translations of the lyrics when it interests me, but lyrics are definitely not something I'm focusing too heavily on in these reviews.

1. Solo Day - The band bills this as "country pop," but I'd say it's better described as "sunshine pop." This is the kind of music that makes you feel like driving around in a convertible, speakers blaring under an open sky. It's one of my favorite K-Pop songs of the summer, with an outstandingly fun music video to accompany it. 10/10

2. You Make Me A Fool - Moving from a summer day soundtrack to a soulful summer night acoustic campfire track. I must confess, this one took me longer to get into, mostly because it's quite slow and delicate sounding and I usually like my music more bombastic. Still, it's grown on me immensely and become one of my favorite ballads from the band. 8/10

3. It's Going Well - The music starts off slow, sultry and beat-driven before launching into a big sing-along chorus. Like the others before it, this has got a total summer backyard barbecue feeling to it. It's definitely on the more r&b side of the band's catalog. It's a solid addition to the album. 8/10

4. A Glass Of Water - A song about literally needing a cup of water (though apparently it was initially about alcohol... and I feel like it still kinda is). Other than Solo Day, this is definitely my favorite track, and one of the band's best ever. An uptempo, party track with an anthemic singalong hook, it gets even better as the beat drops out for a surprisingly melodic middle eight before launching into that mammoth hook once more. 10/10

5. Drive - We're back to that summery r&b pop that flavors most of this album. It has an American feel to it, like something that Usher would've performed at his peak. It's a laidback track, for sure, and as such doesn't overly stand out. Still, it retains the general vibe of the album, which is quite strong when taken as a whole. 8/10

6. You (ft. Sunmi) - Another solid, pleasant track in an album full of them. This sounds like it might be a bad thing, but it really isn't because sometimes a cohesive album is more than the sum of its parts. It would be repetitive to say this is a midtempo, summery r&b track, but it is, and it's another good one. Maybe not quite as good as the ones that come before it, but a nice closer nonetheless. 7/10

Album Grade: 8.5/10 Highly Recommended

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