Only three months after their enigmatic debut, B.A.P. released their second mini-album entitled Power. When B.A.P. burst on the scene with “Warrior,” people took note of their aggressive musical style combined with skilled rapping and vocals. The debut mini-album, Warrior, was a four track introduction to whom many believe will be the next big boy group. As promotions for “Warrior” began to wrap up, fans (because I refuse to acknowledge “Babies”) were dying to know when B.A.P.’s next promotion cycle would be. Luckily, they didn’t have to wait for long. TS Entertainment announced B.A.P. would release their second mini-album Power on April 27th.
Initially, it really seemed as if they were jumping the gun. Three months? Let’s have a Secret comeback first please. However, Secret is an established group in Korea, while B.A.P. still has something to prove. The main concern with this comeback was whether B.A.P. would show growth as a group and refrain from releasing “Warrior 2.0.” TS eventually revealed a teaser for “Power” which only fueled my fears of what looks to be another Super Junior fiasco. Finally, when the full Power mini-album was released it became clear that B.A.P.’s music was stronger when viewed as a whole. “Warrior” became better when viewed with its “filler” tracks. The same applied to “Power.”
When comparing Power to Warrior, the most obvious difference is how rock-influenced Power is. While Warrior made it clear that B.A.P. is a hip-hop group, Power shows listeners how much the idea of a “hip-hop group” can be stretched. When one thinks of hybrid hip-hop genres, they generally lean towards electronica (Big Bang) or pop (Supernova). Rap rock is a completely new sort of sound to K-Pop causing B.A.P. to further separate themselves from the rest of the rookie playing field. Even in Western Music, there are few rap-rock inspired groups: Linkin Park and Red Hot Chili Peppers come to mind. Give B.A.P. a band and it’s just one more argument for B.A.P.’s overseas appeal.
Power was produced by Kim Tae-sung, Kim Ki-bum, and Kang Ji-won; the same staff that produced Warrior and other songs like Secret’s “Magic,” “Madonna,” “Shy Boy,” and “Starlight Moonlight.” Leader Bang Yong-guk once again lended his lyrical abilities and wrote his own raps in each and every song. The theme of Power revolves around the idea of instigating change in a corrupt world. Whether this speaks about the Korean Entertainment Industry is left for interpretation (and a different article).
Fight for Freedom (intro)
The best type of intro song is one where you want a full version. “Fight for Freedom” falls into that category. The first track of this mini-album starts with a heavy bass line which then layers itself between electronic synths and catchy guitar riffs. The production team manages to insert many background effects while masterfully keeping the song from sounding overwhelmingly “noisy,” even with strong voices that accompany it.
The title track of this mini-album, while equal to “Warrior” in terms of impact, fails slightly on delivery. “Fight for Freedom” uses background instrumentals and effects with great finesse while “Power” isn’t made with such a deft hand. The glass breaking and muffling of Zelo‘s rap makes me believe the song was made with the music video in mind. This makes for a good video, but as a song it becomes confusing. This isn’t to say “Power” is a complete mess. “Power” utilizes group harmonies instead of completely segmenting parts, making the group sound more cohesive than they did three months ago.
What the Hell
This song is extremely reminiscent of a Linkin Park song, with chilly synths and fast-paced raps that are occasionally broken by smooth vocals. In terms of title tracks, “What the Hell” serves as a better representation of this album than “Power” does. (One can imagine the problems MOGEF would give them, though.) The producers really run with the guitar melodies throughout the song, but that’s a good thing. The end would especially make many rock fans go crazy. Rapping plays heavily in this song. Even Himchan gets a short rapping solo showing that he is at least capable of rapping at a non-embarrassing level.
It’s All Lies
It should be known that this is the only track (including those in Warrior) that doesn’t start with Bang’s deep voice. “It’s All Lies” is the fourth and final track in B.A.P.’s second venture into the industry. I actually like B.A.P.’s slower songs (like “Secret Love”) more than I do their title tracks. If “What the Hell” is the rappers’ song, then “It’s All Lies” is definitely the vocalists’ song. Everyone trades their screaming choruses for sensual arias that really showcase the overshadowed vocalists (Daehyun and Youngjae). My only gripe is that the song cuts out rather abruptly.
Overall, Power has impeccable production, substantial lyrics, and great voices. The songs progress logically in the sense that the tempos of each song easily flow into one another. Similarly the overall concept of the album is clearly expressed throughout. Power is an album that was given much thought, and while I was skeptical at first, it’s a very enjoyable listen. (It should be longer!) If this is B.A.P. after three months, then it goes to show that their next release will be something worth anticipating.
(TS Entertainment, heodot)