BEAST – “BEAUTIFUL NIGHT”
2011 was a glorious year for BEAST and it was only fitting to see them keep the momentum going in 2012.
This year, rather than aiming for the angst of “Fiction“, they headed the exact opposite direction for their 2012 single “Beautiful Night“, which took cues from the party vibes of the summer, and unloaded an array of bright synths and a trendy beat. We were so accustomed to BEAST being mopey, that for a few moments this entire song felt uncharacteristic of them. But as the song unfolded, so did most preemptive expectations of their music. This release was so good, that it couldn’t have come from anybody else.
“Beautiful Night” felt like a reinvented version of “Bad Girl“, musically, which is the one song that helps me remember that this fresh new phase in BEAST’s music derives from a style they’ve done before. Not executed properly then exactly, because “Bad Girl” was pretty freaking bad itself, but now that it’s polished, it’s a clear sign that BEAST and Cube Entertainment have come a very long way since their humble beginnings. Both entities have grown, and it shows in spades today. – McRoth
More from BEAST this year:
‘Midnight Sun’ Mini-Album Review
“I Knew It” Single Review
“Living Without You” Single Review
“Beautiful Night” MV | “I Knew It” MV | “Midnight” PV
BIGBANG – “BAD BOY”
Wannabe-gangastas or not, “Bad Boy” laid down more swag than K-Pop was ready for and made the guys of BIGBANG sound totally badass over an urban beat and slick melodies.
“Bad Boy” has a really nice groove that is carried through the bass line with subtle crisp snaps cutting through the tension. I even think they could have gone without all the ambiances in the background, because “Bad Boy” has such a strong flow that it would have been even more masterful with a simpler arrangement. Having just the drums, piano, and percussion leading Big Bang down the ghetto streets of New York City would have been excellent, you guys. – McRoth
More from BIGBANG this year:
‘Alive’ Album Review
“Blue” Single Review
“Blue” MV | “Bad Boy” MV | “Fantastic Baby” MV | “Monster” MV
BLOCK B – “NILLILI MAMBO”
They have had it rough this year, but if Block B knows anything it’s how to keep it moving, and that they certainly have. With promotions for “Close My Eyes” clouded with controversy, the feisty boy band returned with the reincarnation of “Nanrina” from earlier this year – “Nillili Mambo“; this time, with twice the fierceness and even more thrills and shrills to boot.
“Nillili Mambo” is Block B’s most ambitious single to date and one of their most eccentric yet. Lathered with big strings that trill in suspense every two measures, brass ferocity, and a dynamic melodic style, this song is as theatrical as they come. Yet Block B manages to inject just enough mainstream appeal for it to spark with excitement and intrigue in the ear of the beholder. And let me tell you, my ears are twerqing. – McRoth
More from Block B this year:
‘Welcome to the Block’ Album Review
“Close My Eyes” Single Review
‘Blockbuster’ Album Review
“Nillili Mambo” MV | “Nanrina” MV | “Close My Eyes” MV
BOA FEAT. THE QUIETT – “LOOKIN’”
BoA might have hiccuped during her Hurricane Venus era, musically, but she (thankfully) returned to her roots this year with the release of ‘Only One‘: BoA’s 2012 comeback mini-album.
Yet, it wasn’t until she dropped “Lookin’” featuring The Quiett for Younique Unit a while later that it fully hit me – the old BoA is back, y’all, and she’s here to stay. And I’ve been a happy camper ever since.
“Lookin’” pits BoA against a swift hip-hop beat, sprinkled with glittery synths and a light guitar riff, that she prances over with her unique nasal singing. The drops are so well defined and tight that you can almost picture BoA dropping mad skills on the streets to this track. It’s a fresh example of how BoA can remain contemporary without sacrificing quality for trends and silly shenanigans. She knows who she is as an artist and this song encompasses everything there was to love from BoA’s old school tunes and everything there is to expect from her in the future. – McRoth
More from BoA this year:
‘Only One’ Album Review
“Only One” MV | “Only One” MV (Dance Version) | “The Shadow” MV
BTOB – “WOW”
Ano the award for Most Improved goes to … BTOB!
Some say that K-Pop is stuck in the 90s, and there hasn’t been a release this year that supports that statement as strongly as BtoB‘s ‘Press Play‘. With the 90′s revival smash “WOW” at the reigns of one of the year’s most impressive rookie albums, BtoB have hit a gold mine when it comes to musical identity and specialty. The biting snares and full-on new jack swing production was executed beautifully in “WOW”, and the fact that I have yet to tire from it is a testament to Cube’s success with this enthusiastic number.
True to its name, “WOW” surprises with its slick use of falsetto in the pre-choruses and countless hooks and whistles that chime in every other measure. It’s a thrilling single if I ever heard one and, hopefully, one that has paved the road for more to come. – McRoth
More from BtoB this year:
‘Press Play’ Mini-Album Review
‘Born to Beat’ Mini-Album Review
“Father” Single Review
“Insane” MV | “Father” MV | “Irresistible Lips” MV | “WOW” MV | “I Only Knew Love (Lover Boy)” MV