상상은 여권이 필요없는 여행이다
I decided to wait until B.A.P released all three promotional tracks then reviewing them all together, but since their final release I have been a little hesitant to write anything. This is primarily because I have so little to say, so what’s the point of writing anything? But I’ll say what little I have to say because, well, it doesn’t cost anything.
First release: “커피숍”
So “Coffee Shop” might actually be my favorite track of the three. It’s a really laid-back, light-jazzy, coffee-shop (see what I did there? ^^) sort of song that appeals to the type of music I like when not listening to typical mainstream pop. The vocals are soft (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, HIMCHAN!) and the raps flow nicely among the vocals without standing out too much, which is actually something B.A.P frequently does well. In terms of meaning, it’s a simple sort of song about being at that tipping point after a breakup where there are some things that are still painful or reminiscent, but things are getting better. The mv is fairly boring but all in all the presentation is appropriate for the pre-release song that it is. It kind of reminds me of Block B’s “눈 감아 줄게”; these songs show the relaxed music some groups create when they’re not taking themselves too seriously and there’s not a huge amount of pressure from fans or their company.
Second release: “허리케인”
Soooooooo I like to pretend “Hurricane” doesn’t exist, and if it does exist, that it wasn’t released by B.A.P. It’s a great pop song, but it’s not a great B.A.P song. I don’t mind the fact that they released songs like “하지마” and “대박사건” because they were obviously experimenting with different styles and I don’t begrudge them that. Just because it’s not to my taste doesn’t mean I should unsheathe the pitchfork. But B.A.P are better than “Hurricane.” It’s not experimental in terms of sound, and in terms of meaning I frown upon superfluous self-aggrandizement (unless you’re 2NE1 busting out “내가 제일 잘 나가” because I am hypocritical and that song is FUCKING AWESOME). This video is your everyday flashy kpop mv, although it does feature some incredible dancing and the Vegas setting reinforces the superficial nature of the song. Ultimately, all “Hurricane” amounts to for me is a song that I dance around to in my living room.
Third and final release: “배드맨”
“Badman” is EXACTLY what I demand of a B.A.P release: the grungy, gritty, high-energy intensity, ripe with meaning, that simply is not paralleled in the rest of kpop today; a song where B.A.P are not afraid to take musical risks that pay off. It channels their charisma from “Warrior” and “Power,” thus retaining the B.A.P-ness despite being an entirely different sound.
Now speaking of entirely different sound, there has been some controversy surrounding “Badman,” as Bang Yong Guk has been accused of plagiarizing Shinhwa’s “We Can Get it On.”
The Shinhwa song in question:
I am not 100% flabbergasted that these accusations have arisen, but it took another comment on YouTube pointing out the area that is similar (around the 3:00 mark) for me to even begin to notice the similarity. I am most likely being biased in my assessment, but it seems to me that what few existing musical similarities between the two songs are minimal, and thematically the songs are psssssssssshbthaHAHAHAHAH NOT EVEN REMOTELY SIMILAR, NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. Please forgive me for what will be a rather thorough slandering of kpop gods, but Shinhwa’s “Can We Get it On” gives the impression of merely being Justin Timberlake-wannabe nose-dribble. Moreover, it’s not even a title track from an album (Volume 9) that received minimal promotions. Who. the fuck. would have the time or inclination to seek out and plagiarize this song, even minimally?
If I were to focus on anything to criticize about “Badman,” it would certainly not be the ostensible plagiarism; it would be about the video and the racial depictions that had me squirming more or less every second. Every single person in that video aside from B.A.P was black. EVERY SINGLE PERSON. Yes, I realize the video was shot in Detroit. But EVERY SINGLE PERSON. And you’ve got riots, shady dealings, and basketball. Now I know not everybody can be the pinnacle of diversity that Xia is, and I appreciate the fact that B.A.P is trying (hey, all their videos were shot in the US! ㅡ.ㅡ;;), but it felt beyond awkward. It gave the impression they were attempting to insert themselves into a culture that they were completely ignorant of, and made a more of a mess rather than helped.
All in all, I think these three promotional tracks are more good than bad, don’t besmirch B.A.P’s name, and were well-chosen as promotional tracks, for the most part. I will certainly continue to look forward to what B.A.P come up with next~