B.A.P – First Sensibility
Tonight, I’m going to review B.A.P’s latest album, First Sensibility. B.A.P is a Korean boy group from South Korea, made up of six members, as follows: Bang Yongguk, Kim Himchan, Jung Daehyun, Yoo Youngjae, Moon Jongup, and Choi Junhong (AKA Zelo). I listen to a variety of music, including K-pop, but B.A.P is by far my favorite Korean boy group and definitely in my top ten list of musical groups/artists all together. Their music tends to be very powerful, carrying strong messages and featuring lyrics that don’t always focus and revolve around love and romance. Of course, they have their occasional light-hearted romps into romance, but as a whole, they do tend towards a more powerful group.
First Sensibility is their first full-length studio album and it was released on February 3, 2014. It’s a little late but since I’m going to the concert in April, I figured I could celebrate with a review!
Bang Yongguk is credited in the lyrics of every song, so he had a strong hand in the creation of this album. Because of that, I think this album is especially personal for him, at least, if not the entire group.
So what about the songs? Let me go through each one and review them piece by piece.
Listen along here!
First up is B.A.P (Intro). As the title suggests, the song is a short 1:28 introduction to the group. It features a very typical B.A.P sound, with the electro-pop sounds, the distinctive rapping style of Bang and Zelo. Bang is low and smokey as usual, Zelo complementing him with his higher, more staccato rap style. Mostly, we’re delving back into the group, since they remind us that they’re back again! Considering these guys make a comeback every couple of months, we’re not surprised but we definitely want to see them keep up the hard work. B
The next song is 1004 (Angel). Starting slow and soft and building up to a relaxing croon, we are greeted to a new almost rock ballad sound. The emotion in the vocalists’ voices are absolutely beautiful, particularly Daehyun and Youngjae. They are the main vocalists and it shows. However, their longing sound is punctuated by the tougher sound of Bang’s low raps. The song is the sad tale of losing somebody you love and trying to get them back. This is one of their forays into romance and it really pays off. Very delicate in some parts, very powerful and moving in others. I especially love when their voices all come together and then the music stops and the lyrics are softly murmured, then Daehyun leaps in with his unbelievable talent. A+
The third song is 쉽죠 Easy. As the song title implies, this song is easy listening. It’s a very smooth song, quiet. The piano sound especially gives it a sort of classy lounge feel. Here is another song full of longing and remorse, but less powerful. It’s definitely more relaxed, less desperate than 1004 (Angel) is. This isn’t really one of my favorites, but you can’t deny that the talent and feeling is there. C
The fourth song is Spy. This song is a funky, old school hiphop sound. Very, very reminiscent of older B.A.P work! The tune is jaunty. The lyrics sound a little shy but at the same time a little stalkery in some parts. I love the vocal job in this song, though. Very fun, sassy, entertaining to listen to. You just want to dance to it and something about the horns in the music makes it very “big band”, too. B+
The next song is Check On. This song, while the music is a little sway worthy, lacks a little something for me. The lyrics are kind of typical of American pop music, which is about dancing, ladies, dressing, looking good, that swag thing. Not really a fan. C-
The sixth song is Shady Lady. A very lazy song, reminiscent of the Coffee Shop sound. Despite the way the title makes it sound like it’s a song about a cheating woman or somebody sneaking around or lying, this song is actually about how a women in the shadow, with low self esteem, is still beloved and shiny in the eyes of the boys. The message is cute but it’s also important: women spend so much time obsessing over how they look. Sometimes, it’s nice to hear we’re great the way we are. Shady Lady is a bit like Korea’s version of “Just The Way You Are,” I suppose. B
The seventh song is Lovesick. WOW. I love this song. Finally, we’re hearing more from Jongup and Himchan and guess what? They have a beautiful pair of voices. In the past, it was difficult to tell if I liked their voices or not, since they only had a line or two each per song! But this time, we’re getting an actual listen as they both get a whole verse! You can tell Jongup’s not totally confident yet, but man, when he is! Daehyun and Youngjae still steal the show, though. The song itself is a love song, exactly as you would expect by the title. A
The eighth song is Bang X2. This is one of my favorites on the album. So, so very different. When I first heard it, I thought they must have given me the wrong file on accident! Hard rock music? On my B.A.P? No, it’s B.A.P and it’s glorious. I didn’t even recognize Bang’s voice, that’s how crazy this song hit me. Daehyun’s voice, beautiful as always. An empowering song, too. I always love songs about throwing it all away and just living. A+
The ninth song is S.N.S. Usually, S.N.S means Social Networking Site, so the fact that it’s talking about tweeting them a mention makes sense. The song itself is about romancing a sexy lady over twitter, I imagine, from the lyrics. This another one of those funky types of songs. Catchy, but not very special, despite the lyrics. B-
The tenth song is Body & Soul. It’s a testament to the boys growing up, since it’s probably the sexiest song on the album. Even the music reminds me of old 90s style sexy R&B. This is probably the most subdued I’ve ever heard Daehyun, which (as much as I love him) is nice to give others more of a chance to shine. (And he’s still there, belting out his lungs.) The most fantastic part of the song is Jongup’s high note! Baby! That’s beautiful! A
The eleventh song is Save Me. Another one of my favorites. I love the 90s alt rock sound at the beginning. I squeed like a fangirl when I heard it for the first time and it’s still one of my favorite songs from the album, a month later. It’s another break up song, about a man with a crushed heart, bitter and calling out for help. I love this song, what can I say? There’s nothing about it that I don’t like. The lyrics, the background shouts, the desperate rush of the rapping parts, the soft urgency in the vocalists’ parts. Just… Perfect. A+
The twelfth song is B.A.B.Y. This song was made for the the fans of B.A.P (affectionately called babies). The lyrics themselves sound more like they’re falling slowly in love with somebody they can’t live without now. Which I suppose is pretty much how it is with fans, right? 😉 I think it’s a sweet and light song. B+
The last song is With You. Aw, look, we’re at the end of the album! Another light and affectionate song, I adore this one. It’s very soft and almost like a lullaby. We all need a little fluff in our lives. There’s not much else to say about this song, but I really love it! So… A!
So all in all? I’d grade this album as an A or a five out of five stars. There are a few songs on it that I don’t love dearly but there’s nothing on here that I want to smack my head against a wall for listening to. There’s a good mix of music on here, even spanning genres and I love it. I think there’s something for nearly everybody on this album and I think you should definitely check it out!
You can buy it here!