Beast has come a long and arduous way since their debut in 2009. From being known as the recycled group to setting up their own company, Around Us Entertainment, the idol boy band had gone through numerous ups and downs in their career, particularly over the last two years. They have suffered the loss of a member, the loss of their original company, Cube Entertainment, and most recently, the loss of the right to promote under their original name.
As mentioned in the previous Side B segment that featured Beast, while the group has always chosen hard-hitting dance songs as their title tracks, they are also remarkably well-versed in the art of emotion. In particular, they have a way with break up songs. Across the years, Beast has very creatively dealt with this subject matter from multiple points of view, and with varied musical styles. Today, as they close a chapter on the careers, let us take some time to go over some of their best break up songs.
“On Rainy Days” Fact and Fiction
One of my favourite ballads of theirs, to date, is “On Rainy Days”, and it is impossible to talk about Beast’s break up songs without mentioning this one. Apparently, the members had teared up during the recording of this track, overcome by emotions — and it is not difficult to see why.
The track begins with extra-diegetic sounds of falling rain, which then give way to the plucking of an electric guitar. What really gives this track its edge, however, is how well the melody is carried by the members’ voices — Hyunseung, Kikwang, and Yoseob, in particularly. The song is pitched at a range that falls somewhere in between the chest and head voices of the members. As a result, they often have to either switch to falsetto in the middle of a phrase, or strain their chest voice to reach the note. Because of this, there is the effect of heightened emotions and a certain heart-wrenching quality to the song as the boys sing about memories of a lost love.
“When I Miss You” Midnight Sun
While “On Rainy Days” was heartbreaking, “When I Miss You”, a track from their fifth EP, Midnight Sun, explores heartbreak from a slightly different perspective — from that of one who has been able to say that they are okay, finally. There is a touch of melancholy in both the music and the lyrics, but it is a wonderful song that perfectly encapsulates the idea of being at peace with simultaneously caring very deeply for somebody, while still being able to say that they have moved on. It is a refreshing change from the commonly over-used trope of anger and hate in break-ups.
When I was with you, before I let you go
I loved you with all my strength
So I have no regrets
I thought the person for you was me
But I guess it’s not
“Will You Be Alright?” Hard to Love, How to Love
With “Will You Be Alright?”, Beast, again, demonstrates their lyrical prowess by examining the end of a relationship from yet another perspective. Focusing, this time, on the other party, they wonder if their ex-lover will be okay without them. Although this approach does come off slightly condescending, a slightly more palatable manner of interpretation would be to first look at the context that is set out by the verses.
Think of it twice, think it through again
(If you leave me) Will you really be alright without me?
Because you’re clumsy at everything without me
Because the you that I know is like a child
Where are you going? Why you wanna go?
Where are you going? Oh, oh why do you want to go?
In the end, you start to cry, what am I supposed to do now?
How can I let you go? You are going to fall apart
Given this situation, it then becomes clear that firstly, their lover is just as unwilling to let go of the relationship. Secondly, they know their lover well enough, and care enough about them, to worry about them in the event of a break up. In light of these factors, the song then takes on a slightly sad but sweet tinge, and casts the chorus in a better light.
“Close My Eyes” Time
In their special 5th anniversary EP, Time, Beast finally takes the traditional route in lamenting a break up, taking on the role of a lover who can’t move on with “Close My Eyes”. Focusing on how they keep waiting for someone who has already moved on to somebody new, the music reflects this sentiment through its rather circular shape. From start to end, there is very little movement forward musically, and in particular, the main motif moves rather circularly around its tonal centre. Every time you think that the song might be progressing into its climax, the main motif makes a reappearance, reinforcing the idea of the singer being unable to go anywhere.
“Curious”, from the last album produced under the name “Beast”, brings us to a close. Another break up track from the point of view of someone who hasn’t been able to move on, the song creatively describes this inability to get over things with the expression of “being curious”. Rather than describing the agony of the break up, this track transforms the pain of it all into something mundane — and it perfectly captures just how simple, yet complex, break ups can be. There is great beauty in encapsulating the complicated in such simple terms.
Even when I see a pretty girl
Even when I do fun things
Everything gets boring
Nothing is fun, my baby
I’m still curious about you
Come 20th of March, we will welcome a new era for the band as they promote under their new name “Highlight“. While it is a pity that we will have to say goodbye to Beast as we have known them for over the most part of the last decade, good things come to an end only for better ones to come together. Here’s to many better days ahead for Highlight!