If there is one rookie band from 2012 that everyone knows, it’s B.A.P. How could you not when they’ve released three mini albums (No Mercy, One Shot and Badman), one repackaged mini album (Crash) and three singles (Warrior, Power and Stop It), in just over a year? Additionally, they’ve embarked on a concert tour that has included four US cities, they’ve released two of their three title tracks prior to “Badman”, and a picture of them was infamously used by One Direction in their own music video.
Now, six months after One Shot, the Best Absolute Perfect are back with their latest mini album, Badman. Released on 6 August, it contains six songs; it was also boasted to have tracks that would be different to what the group had done before.
So, did the album live up to the group’s name?
From the get go, shots are fired with the intro track, “Whut’s Poppin’”. Invoking the feel of impending epic-ness, while making you feel energized just by listening to it, this song is the perfect way to start off an album. But what really sticks out are the lyrics. Specifically, one loaded line will either make you raise your eyebrows or clap at their courage.
“We’re different from those girly looking kids.”
But they don’t stop there. They go on to declare that they will “overturn this messed up chart” and that they are different from those who fear failure.
The second track is “Badman”, the third MV for this mini album. While I do think it is a bit of an overkill to have three title tracks for a mini album, it isn’t the first time and it will likely happen again.
“Badman” definitely belongs in the ‘Badass Title Songs’ category of B.A.P’s discography. Like in “Warrior”, “Power” and “One Shot”, “Badman” contains social commentary in the lyrics. Bang Yongguk wrote the lyrics after observing news reportages, and prior to the album’s release, we were told that its message would reflect the instances of robbery, murder and sexual harassment commonly found in the news. It supposedly draws attention to the many problems in today’s society. This alone I applaud him on, but the quality of a song is not plainly decided by the intent of its lyrics.
Without any knowledge of the lyrics, “Badman” comes off as a good song with minor issues. For one, the transitions between the verses, dance breaks and rap parts could’ve been made a lot smoother. In comparison to “One Shot”, in which the group had perfected this transition, this song was slightly jarring to the ears at first listen; it was quite apparent that the transitions were tough to do. “Badman” also lacks that climax — it holds your attention, makes you want more, and then it closes off, making you wonder if you missed that culmination of emotions.
Watching or listening to the song with subtitles really heightens the experience; the song fulfills much of what it was intended for, until after Zelo’s rap break, that is. Thereafter, it loses its way and becomes a repetitive mess.
Aside from these gripes, the song is great title song material. It starts off perfect — sexy, even. Instrumentally, it holds the attention of the listener. B.A.P will surely take this song to another level in their live performances. As a title track, it does the purpose of showcasing what B.A.P wants to do with their career. They have moved away from their Matoki gimmick and seemingly, they will continue to do so.
The third track is “Excuse Me”, my personal favorite from the mini. It extends from that epic feel of the previous two songs without being stale or boring. There are just so many things right with this song — the emoting and technical transitions are natural without being heavy like “Power”.
Like in “Whut’s Poppin’”, they also fire some shots.
“Put down your fake awards.
Your music is really an error to K-pop.”
After three energizing songs, we then relax with “Coffee Shop”. The jazzy sounds and the accompanying piano make a fitting break; the song presents a different side of B.A.P. The first title track MV released for this mini album, “Coffee Shop” adds a quieter gradient to the line-up.
The fifth track is “Bow Wow”. It sounds good, it ticks off all the boxes one looks for in a good song, but then you get the lyrics. I personally found that the lyrics were a big turn-off.
“Even when I try to think up an excuse, I get caught.
I’m kind of tired of one girl, a kind girl.
You probably know, but all guys are the same
It’s alright, I don’t care.”
I don’t know about you guys, but I wish I hadn’t looked at the lyrics. It’s problematic lyrics for an otherwise musically fulfilling song, which is a shame. It could’ve been more, and it could’ve had a plot twist at the end, but it ultimately ended with the same tone, excusing wandering eyes of a male by saying “Hey, women do it too!”
The mini album closes with “Hurricane”. While I had hated “Hurricane” initially, as a title track, it does redeem itself when aligned with the other songs. Horrid Engrish aside, this is one of those “I Am The Best”-ala-2NE1 types, where it makes a person want to get up and dance. It’s clearly a party track that one would never associate with B.A.P, which is a welcome experimentation on their part.
From start to finish, the mini album is a joy to listen to. It’s cohesive, without any track sticking out like a sore thumb. I do wish the album ended off with “Coffee Shop” instead though, as its current placement presents an odd dip between “Excuse Me” and “Bow Wow”. The mini album shows the growth the group has gone through and is representative of not just their continuing maturing sound, but also the group attempting to shift from idol to artist. Overall, the mini album isn’t that bad at all and I give it a 4/5.
Seoulmates, what do you think?