Music Review: BIGSTAR "Blossom"

I've been doing a lot of reviews on Acoustic and Indie bands lately, and so I wanted to write about some Rookie groups in the K-Pop world as well! There are a lot of big names in K-Pop, and in 2012 we have had a lot of bands debut. Some have gone big fast, like B.A.P. and NU'EST, and others fizzed out. The new bands and groups that I review need to be ones that stand out among the vast list of newbies, so I like to think that they will last longer than most. While Korean music has it's own sound, no matter the genre, from Acoustic to Pop, each band needs something to stand out as well. So, on to the review on BIGSTAR, who promise to live up to their name!

Big Star's first mini album Blossom, released October 8h 2012! 

I don't know too much about the band, except their names and why they stood out to me. The members are older in their age range than other bands debuting right now, though some of them are younger most were born in 1992 or earlier. Being in your twenties may seem young, but since most groups are fifteen to seventeen, they're older in comparison. This give them the opportunity to have a more mature feel to their music, and attract an older audience as well. The members are Lee Young Jun, who is the oldest member born in 1990, and is a rapper and vocalist. Kim Rae Hwan is the main vocalist, and who was born in 1992. Next is Oh Gwang Suk, aka Feel Dog, also born in 1992, and is the rapper, vocalist, and leader for the band. After that is Jung Sung Hak, who is also raps and sings in the band, born in 1993. Finally there is the Maknae, Kim Dong Hyun, the last vocalist in the group. Some interesting things are that the oldest member isn't the leader of the band, like they usually are. It was odd for me to see the third oldest being the leader, so I assume it's based on overall skill instead of age? The other thing is that they all have competed and won in National Dance and Hip Hop competitions in the past! They all took part in different ones, but the talent runs throughout all of the members, which is why is makes sense that there are so many rappers in the band, and that they do really well with Choreography. They debuted summer 2012, and are under Brave Sound Entertainment, who is growing in the K-Pop world as far as companies go!

They released a Single album in the past, and this is their first official mini album. It's a slight difference, since there aren't many more songs on this album compared to the last, but it's good for the band to release another album. I like the cover art for this one, I think it suits their image. While the album is Blossom and has a flower on it, showing a more traditional side, it's re-vamped to look more futuristic to fit the style of the band as well. I like the old school 3D, connect-the-dots, look of it. It's simple and also stands out. Unlike other bands, their mini album does not have any songs from their single album or debut, they give you all new songs. I'm really glad to see this because there is nothing as disappointing as buying the artist's new album only to find that you already own 1-3 of the songs already! I think that it shows talent and respect to the fans to not just release the same songs over again. Since they all have a Hip Hop background, their music has the same kind of flavor. It's still in the K-Pop genre, but they tend to focus more on Rap, which is evident when you look through the profiles and see that they have three rappers in the band. It's refreshing to hear some R&B and Hip Hop influenced music in the K-Pop world, so I like their new album a lot. They released MV's in the past for their mini album, including Hot Boy and Big Star, and they released one for this album as well. I'll talk about their new MV more in the song section.

- Shut Up 

This is the intro, so it's a shorter song than the others. It's more of a rebellious song that's about how they are going to be themselves, no matter what other say to them. It's also a bragging song, about how they are new but are going to take over the K-pop scene. I honestly find it a little funny, how the song sounds like a taunting kid at the beginning, and shows off the attitude of the band. They made a short MV to go with the song, that's really simple and is just lyrics, words, with different backgrounds and visuals. It's fun that they took time to make a video for something this short. A lot of people wanted this to be a full song, and in the future they may release a full version (like BIGBANG did with Alive), at least that's what I hope!

- Think ( 생각나 )

The next song on the album is the one that they made the main Music Video for. The video is really interesting, starting off with Kim Rae Hwan (the main character for the MV) playing the piano in a tunnel, who is later joined by different dancers throughout the video. I like the melancholy lighting that the tunnel has, with the blue-grey tones, and I think it matches the feel of the song really well. There's also motorcycles and fast cars, and all of the other cool things you would expect to see in a K-Pop video. The video is highlighting flashbacks of happier times with the girl that the man loves, and shows him being tormented by those past memories in the different spots that they took place. It ends with a short dances number with the entire band, and the one member, who played the main character, crying as he rides on his motorcycle alone. I like how this one really highlights one relationship, instead of having the entire band in love with one girl, it makes me feel more connected to the story. If you don't like depressing videos, you can also watch the Live Performance, which highlights their dancing and singing alone. Without telling you what the lyrics are, it should be obvious by now that this is a sad song. You can read through the lyrics Here, because it would take a long time for me to type out my favorite lines, because they are all strangely beautiful. The girl just says she's "over him" and leaves without another word, and it's really about how he feels. He loves her, misses her, but at the same time wants to curse because he's so angry. He wants to forget about her, wonders who she is with and if she remembers him, and can't stop from dialing her number over and over. It's so honest and sad that I can't help but love it, it really hits me and makes me want to cry. The music is done really well to match this, with the piano and the effects of the breathing and the orchestral sounds as well, the electronic music and percussion is really limited for this one, and when it's done it matches the softer parts. I also love the vocals for this, with the high, soft, sounding singing mixed with the harsh, deep, sound of the rap conveys the emotional confusion of the lyrics so well. Overall, this is the song that originally drew me to the album, and has to be my favorite song off of it.

- Close My Eyes ( 눈감아 

This song seems to continue the theme of the previous one. He knows that the girl is cheating on him, and he just wants her to say why, and he loves her too much to let her go so he is just closing his eyes and letting it happen. It's such an honest song, and it hurts to see a person feeling that way. Because you think "how could they forgive her? How can they be understanding of that?" But the person who is in that situation just doesn't see it that way, they are just trying to hold on to the person no matter what they do or how they hurt them. It's that transparency in their lyrics that makes the band stand out, because only when you go through something like that can you write such moving lyrics, and you have to be entirely honest as well. They perform the song well also, giving a lot of emotion to the lyrics with the strain on their voices. The sound is similar to the last, in that the band has a musical style, but they are also different sounding songs. I love the opening with the high notes, and the slow R&B beat throughout the verses. They do a really great job of blending the singing and rap sequences, so that they all sound smooth and connected. There are subtle background vocals that harmonize during the song, and have that same "stretched out" sound that the music does. The effects add to the song, instead of distracting you from it. I like the sound that their songs have where the effects and electronic parts are subtle enough that it's really the vocals that take charge instead. The English is also great, and they have wonderful pronunciation. This sad song is another A+ in my book!

- What Should I Do Tomorrow? ( 내일은뭐하지? ) 

The song can also be translated "What Should I Do?" or "What Do I Do?". After going through a breakup, and their life revolved around that one person, they think "what should I do tomorrow?" It makes sense that you would question what to do with your time, when the person you spent it with the most is gone. It has that old school pop sound, with that acoustic guitar sounding rhythm, the chimes, and the futuristic sounding effects. This one didn't stand out to me as much as the others, it's not that I don't like it but it's not my favorite. It's another really sad song, ending with, "Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, without you, are meaningless to me." This one focuses more on singing than rapping, which may be a nice break for the album, but I really like the rap parts of their songs the most. The song fades in (which is funny since it opens with "I feel like I'm fading away"). What stood out the most to me was the English really, I was impressed by how well they wrote and pronounced the English parts of the song. I liked being able to hear the vocalists though, and think that they are really talented. I also loved the harmonies, especially the parts with the really low notes. Once again, the song is great, it's just not my favorite off of the album.

- New Person/Someone New ( 새로운사람 )

This song is similar sounding to the last, but I prefer it to the other one. To end the album, this song is about finding a new person to replace the one that left you, yet you still can't get the last person out of your head and it doesn't feel right. I loved the use of the building and fading effects, and the piano in the background. The rap and sing were both great, they really know how to balance between rasp and smooth, high and low, which makes for great music. The song ends suddenly, stopping the album.  I wish that this song was longer, because it seemed to go by so quickly for me, even though it's over 3 minutes long. I was drawn in and I didn't want it to end, and I didn't want the album to end either! There's not much more to say about the song, you'll just have to listen to it yourself.

There you have it, a very sad sounding comeback album! For people who don't want a peppy, love-focused, pop CD, this is the album for you! I actually really liked that it had the same theme of breakups, but had different kinds and time during them. The music is down to Earth, and the tough image that they have somehow brings it to life. It's not cutie boys singing about their pain, but is people with that Hip-Hop attitude that seem coarse on the outside, but are really deep people. I don't just like the album because it's sad, I like it because it sounds honest and it's because they can show their pain through lyrics, vocals, dance, and music that I connected with them and wanted to hear more. Their past album was good, but I think that they keep improving with every song they put out! You can buy this album for about $15-$17 Here, or any other site you prefer, and you can also buy it digitally on iTunes for $5 Here! It's really worth listening to at least once, and I think it's a good one to have in your music library. This is on my "Music to Buy" list, and I hope to get at least a few songs off of it. Let me know what you thought of their newest album as well! I'm definitely looking forward to what they will have to offer in the future, and look forward to their next album! (I hope for their sakes that they have something happy to sing about!)

See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,

(P.S. I uploaded another video from my vacation, I'm trying to get them all posted so I can move on to more recent videos! Click Here to watch!)