Sub Units are one of the best ways to get to know individual members of larger K-Pop groups. Super Junior, Girl's Generation, After School, and several other groups have formed subunits with two plus members from the group for a Mini or Single album. You get to focus on just a few members who match each others style really well, and hear something that's a bit different from the groups usual music. I was excited to hear about Sung Kyu's solo album, but even more excited for Infinite H! I've been waiting for the perfect album to start off the year with, and I think I found it with Fly High!
Infinite H's Mini Album "Fly High", released January 11th 2013!
Infinite consists of seven members, and this sub group features the two rappers from the group. This unit consists of Jang Dong Woo (Dongwoo), born in 1990, and Lee Ho Won (Hoya), born in 1991. Needless to say, this is a Hip-Hop album! Even though Infinite's style is usually Electronic, retro-sounding, throwback music, Kim Sung Kyu released a Rock album, and Infinite H released a Hip-Hop album. I think the diversity of their break off projects really shows each member's range of talent, which is why Infinite is so talented overall. I really have a thing for Korean Rap and Hip-Hop lately, and this album feature two excellent rappers, along with several guest artists that I adore. This album is fantastic, and the art work is really simple and cool. It's important that the art work tells you a bit about the group, and the music, that you're about to listen to. The bright neon colors, in a carefree kind of splatter pattern, seems to express the kind of up-beat Hip-Hop that you're about to hear. I also love the details on the font, and the kind of 3D feeling it gives off. Really well done! Enough about the cover, let's move on to what's inside!
- Victorious Way
The first song is a few minutes long, but I consider it to be an intro nonetheless. Similarly to Block B's Blockbuster album, there's a '80s-'90s Hip-Hop sound to their tracks. I love the throwback sound with a twist, from this song especially. The amount of skipping/turn-table style effects in this song is pretty ridiculous. I don't mean that in a bad way, but that's the reason I consider this more of an extended intro, especially since the same sound starts off the next song. There's also the addition of the deep sounding beats that add an edgy vibe to it. It's a great opening song for the album, because it's like an introduction to the duo and what they think of their self.
- Special Girl (Featuring Bumkey)
This is the song that the Music Video was made for, and I love this video! (You can watch the official video from Woollim Entertainment Here if you haven't seen it yet.) First off, this track was composed and arranged by Primary, who put out one of my favorite albums from all of 2012. You can instantly tell when you watch, because of the cardboard "Bird" mascot in the video, and the sound is also pretty distinct. Even though it's simple, the dance for this song is awesome because it was executed so well and looks so smooth! I'm not one to freak out over dances, but for some reason I just loved this one. The theme is also creative, with the nervous actor who is in love with his co-star (since being an "Actor" is mentioned in the lyrics), mixed with Dongwoo going to see the girl, who has a line of guys outside of her door (also mentioned in the lyrics), and the colorful sets for the dancing scenes. The video reflects and enhances the meaning of the song, telling the story that the lyrics do already, instead of going for a random theme that only sort of matches them. It made me laugh and smile, it's just really well done!
As for the song itself, it's also really smooth and entrancing! I like the use of effects throughout it, and the chorus is definitely my favorite part, with the "Oooos" that have the perfect tone and volume. In the studio recording it's Bumkey who sings the Chorus, though in the live performances Hoya and Dongwoo sing it. Both versions of the chorus sound great, so I can't really say that I have a favorite. Both of their voices have a unique tone that work perfectly with each other. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about this song, but it just has the "it" factor to me. There's something about it that makes it great, maybe it's the balance of the instruments and the beats that are layered throughout it, or the way their voices match the music perfectly, but I can't listen to it enough. I know it's only January, but this has to be one of my favorite songs of the year, and it probably will continue to be over time.
- When You're Not There/니가 없을 때 (Featuring Zion. T)
Zion T is one of my recent favorite artists, I loved his appearance on the Primary album and started following his career ever since I heard him. I think he works perfectly with Infinite H, and made a great addition to this song. This song had a classic and fluid Hip-Hop sound to it, and the vocals and flow are outstanding! I love the harmonies that they pull off, and the way that throughout the song they repeat each other, creating a type of echo effect. The music sounds a bit like Electronic Jazz with a Hip-Hop attitude, it's an interesting sound and is one of my favorite types of music now. This song, and whole album really, is best listened to with headphones, so that you can hear all the different sounds put into one song. The lyrics are really sweet and honest, as they go on to say that when the person they love isn't there everything they do feels a bit lonely and not quite right. I think it's realistic too, because I know when I feel lonely I just sit there watching TV by myself or go for a walk to clear my head, but they don't really help unless the person I want is there with me. Overall, I love this song, and the slight melancholy sound of it compared to the more upbeat songs before it. (After this review was written they released a MV for this track, which you can watch Here!)
- I Can't/못해 (Featuring Gaeko of Dynamic Duo)
This song has a similar sound to the previous song, with the same Jazz Lounge sounding beats that support it (It reminds me a bit of "Question Mark" off the Primary album). They actually performed this song live for the Infinite H Showcase, which you can watch Here, which was the first time I heard it. This is another touching love song, though this one is about a confession and not about being apart. The lyrics are all the thoughts going through the guys head, how he knows they would be perfect for each other and how cute he thinks the girl is, but he can't build up to courage to tell her. I think they did a great job expressing the emotion through their vocals, there's a slight disappointed/sad sound, like they're beating themselves up for not being able to confess. The string section in this song really adds to the sound, and the fast sound of it accompanies the percussion perfectly. This song also has great harmonies, though this time they are more together instead of an echo of each other. I especially like the transition to the chorus, and the chorus itself. I think the Rap is paced really well, and goes into the singing parts of the song seamlessly. Plus, having a member of Dynamic Duo featured made me love this song even more!
- Fly High (Featuring Baby Soul)
After a few bittersweet songs, the album ends on a high note, literally! This song features a female artist on it, who is none other than Baby Soul! She has a gorgeous voice, and the higher vocal range of a girl did a lot for the song. This song really makes me tap my foot and bob my head to the music, and seems like the perfect song to play at a party to bring up the mood. One of my favorite elements of the song is the wooden percussion sound, it sounds so rare and I spent a couple times listening to the song just to listen to that instrument. This is really a carefree and bright sounding song, that matches the album art perfectly. It's one of those songs that you turn up when it comes on the Radio, and you can instantly fall in love with it. This is the perfect song to end a superb album!
There you have it, Infinite H's first Mini Album! I really hope that this isn't their last either, because I bet they'll continue to get better in the future. The collaboration with different artists, and Primary, made for a great Hip-Hop album, as well as a great way to start the year! Though I love Infinite's music, Infinite H is definitely one of my favorite groups now. This style of Hip-Hop/Rap is getting more popular lately, and they did an awesome job with it! (Also, the English is done well, which is always a good bonus.) Overall, this is an album that's worth checking out! And if you've already heard it, or own it, let me know what you thought of it! If you want to own this wonderful album you can buy it for around $15 online at YesAsia or KpopPlus! You can also buy it digitally on iTunes for about $5, but sadly it's not on Amazon Digitally yet. I hope you enjoy this album as much as I do!
See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,
p.s. LOEN Entertainment's official YouTube channel has the live performances of the different songs from the showcase, which are also great versions!