I’ll admit, I didn’t know about 2BiC until their comeback performance on SBS Inkigayo. I think I’m one of the only people that recently adopted the habit of regularly watching a music show all the way through, and when 2BiC opened Inkigayo with their title track, “Love Again,” I was blown away. Their vocals are incredibly rich, full, and powerful. Heck, I didn’t even know that Ailee was featuring in this song until I looked into them, showing how well the arrangement lets the artists stand on their own. Though Ailee’s contribution most likely draws in the demographic that enjoys her music.
For those that may not know, 2BiC is a duo put together by the same composer that has regularly composed for SG Wannabe: Jo Young-soo. The group’s name is short for “To Be Continued,” meaning to indicate artists that are determined and resilient, always pressing forward. Members are Ji-hwan and Jun-hyung who both have great vocal talent and similar vocal tastes, allowing for them to work well together. Their debut was earlier this year in March with the single, “Made Yet Another Woman Cry.”
Their mini-album HU+MAN was released in June and consists of five tracks, a piano version of the song “Promise You,” an instrumental of the title track. Of the five tracks, three were released beforehand as singles: the debut track “Made Yet Another Woman Cry,” a song featuring Davichi, “On Nights Like This,” and a single released earlier in June, “Promise You.”
To get us started, here’s the title track, “Love Again,” featuring Ailee:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfHXH4l_RVs&w=560&h=315]
Ailee starts the song off with her surprisingly good rapping as a member of 2BiC ad-libs in the background. The background track is muted in comparison to the outstanding vocals, which allows for the song to be about the singers. The feel is of a song you’d hear on a station for smooth jazz and R&B, which is perfect for the song, though the beat is a tad fast, perhaps making it more modern and suited for a wider audience than otherwise. The music also lightly follows along to the melody as opposed to stayed the same throughout the song. While Ailee’s rapping was a surprise, I’m not sure if it fits the song. It was very hard-hitting and created a strong contrast to the smooth voices of the rest of the song. As their Inkigayo performance showed, that portion wasn’t really necessary, and the song may have been better with a different style of rapping at the beginning or without it altogether. However, what Ailee does provide is the other point of view in the lyrics. While 2BiC croons, begging their love to come back, Ailee’s parts reveal the lover hurt from cheating and how she is most definitely not going to come back.
The second track, “Promise You,” is a sweet, medium-tempo ballad. The background music is simple drums and guitar. The magic comes into play when the voices in play in the background are recognized. This duo was made for their vocals, and it’s clear when the track is full of vocals from the primary melody being sung to the little supports in the background that harmonize well to make the music. To keep in the vein of being a sweet ballad, the climax is a bit softer than a power ballad would have, which at first was a little unexpected, but after a few more listens, it suits the overall color of the song better. The song definitely plays up vocal ability, which is to be expected from the duo.
The third track on the mini-album is “Lady Lady” featuring 79. This song truly keeps it simple with guitar, drums, and voices initially. The melody is wonderfully addicting, and the vocals build upon one another well. The vocals are all about keeping the rhythm while still having that artistry in between. 79’s rapping is welcome as his higher pitch and thinner tone match well with the continuing music and feel of the song. This song gives off vibes as one suitable for a campfire and a guitar, and it’s definitely a strong track on this mini-album. It’s the only song other than the title track that wasn’t heard before the mini-album was released, so it’s a pleasant present for fans that listen to the album.
The fourth track is 2BiC’s duet with Davichi, “On Nights Like This.”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN4jkMs9ZqM&w=560&h=315]
This collaboration was a good idea. Both groups are skilled in vocals. The first minute and a half belongs solidly to Davichi, but the rest of the song is a good mix of 2BiC and their harmony with Davichi. Overall, the song continues the trend of sweet and melodious that this mini-album has been bringing, which is a change from the more powerful title track. The consistent piano chords during the chorus help move the song along, saving it from what could have seemed like a slower song. The line “I’ll be missing you” is particularly addicting, adding to the appeal of the upbeat song. It’s unclear as to whether the lyrics speak of friendship or love, but it’s irrelevant as the importance lies in the significance of that relationship, whatever it is. The song seems to fit well with spring, summer, any time that’s full of lightheartedness, even winter holiday festivities.
The fifth song is 2BiC’s debut track, “Made Yet Another Woman Cry.”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnyBfRF2ZdE&w=560&h=315]
A powerful debut track, “Made Yet Another Woman Cry” is suitable as an OST or accompaniment to any dramatic release. The orchestral background track creates soft waves with the music, as do select guitar portions. The emotional expression by the vocalists is top notch, appropriate expressing the sorrow within a relationship, of losing another, and how you can love so much yet have only so much to give. Because of the moving music and emotions expressed, the song moves along at a good pace, reaching a height that’s followed by a soft bridge back to the power that 2BiC is capable of. Near the end, the guitar briefly gets the melody, letting the vocalists lets out pure notes of anguish until they once again reclaim that melody. The last notes of the song are in a different key that end the song on a higher note despite the sadness throughout the song.
The piano version of “Promise You” takes the original and turns it into a meaningful ballad. With nothing but vocals and piano, the song takes on a more solemn turn, really making the lyrics into a promise to the listener. In this version, the vocals also seem to be more expressive as they’ve abandoned the sweeter and lighter tone of the original.
2BiC is a wonderful find for me as they demonstrate vocal excellence in their songs. They’re able to strongly sing notes and dip back down into those softer tones as necessary. HU+MAN presents a solid first mini-album from the group, though I would have liked to see more of the side presented by their title track, “Love Again.” That track gets down and gritty in comparison to the rest of the tracks on the mini-album, and that would have been something to explore as opposed to bringing in two songs that were already released earlier in the year. In another sense, that track is almost out of place because it’s the only track that goes that route: the other tracks tend less towards that R&B route. As an introduction to the duo and representation of their capabilities though, this mini-album did them justice, earning it a 4.5/5 in my book.
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