Saturday, July 23, 2011

Muse of the Moment: INFINITE

Today I want to introduce you to a little corner I'd like to call Muse of the Moment. Now, this muse can be anything from music, people, movies. Anything really. It's just a little corner for my personal ramblings. Nothing more.

So who am I going to ramble about today? It's the Korean boy band INFINITE! Such an amazing group that is extremely underrated.

A little background check. The boy band debuted in June 2010, so that's roughly a year ago. They first gained tremendous attention from being a boy band that was produced by Epik High, a highly popular rap trio that is famous for their witty lyrics and melodic rap. Apparently this statement is false, but it did give them the attention they needed. The truth is this boy band is under the same company as Epik High. It's not as significant as the first statement but it's still pretty huge. Why? Because Woollim Entertainment, the company they're under, is originally home to non-mainstream music talents, being Epik High as one of them. I think this is quite similar to Big Bang and YG Entertainment five-six years ago. I won't ramble on too much about this. Maybe another time. But being in a musically-talented company does have its benefits.

They first debuted with "Come Back Again" from the mini album First Invasion, a nice dance number with strong retro rhythms and a fun guitar riff. The singing wasn't that special, to tell you the truth. It wasn't all that mind blowing, but it was good. What's great is their dancing. Till this day INFINITE is known for their seemingly effortless yet tight dancing. They followed up with the single "She's Back", still from the same mini-album. This track is more upbeat, more fun, and the perfect song for a summer afternoon.

After a few months of hiatus, they returned with "BTD (Before the Dawn)", a darker, stronger, more grand song compared to their debut songs. This is the song that, I think, really showed what potential INFINITE has. It is, to me, their best song as of yet. This song has everything. Amazing music, great vocals, awesome rap, tight dancing, cool concept. It is also the song that attracted me to them. One the best thing about this song is the dancing. I mean, it's just mind blowing. Observe:

Sadly, this single didn't win them anything. Not surprising, actually. If you're not from the Big 3 companies (SM, YG, JYP) you're not expected to win anything in your first two years, or ever really. Nevertheless, they still continued to churn out great songs. Their next single, "Nothing's Over" took a 180, giving them the boy-next-door image. A little naughty, but still approachable. It's a fun mid-tempo song with a great beat and an easy dance that is follow-able. But I guess for me, well, anything dance-related are extremely difficult.

After being blown away by their talent, I was awaiting for their new comeback: a full album titled Over the Top. Thank goodness this album is 100% new. If you must know, K-pop tends to release "full albums" that are made up of old singles and remixes *cough*JYP*cough*. I won't talk much about the album itself. That will come in another post. But what I will talk about is their title track "Be Mine".

"Be Mine" is reminiscent to their debut days because this song reminds me a lot of "Come Back Again", and maybe a mix of BTD in there somewhere. It has 80's electronica beats with a rock twist. The song's main point, or at least in my opinion, is when they shout "Oh!" It sounds weird when I type it out, but it's pretty addictive actually. Don't forget the next epilepsy dance that comes along with it. In the middle of the song they had a dance break which, when heard with audio only, is not that special but again INFINITE is a group that is best enjoyed with both the eyes and ears. Here is the official music video for newest title track:

Maybe I was anticipating too much from them or maybe I was just overwhelmed with the awesomeness that is BTD, but to me, sadly, "Be Mine" is under par for an INFINITE title track. They've consistently released amazing title tracks and "Be Mine" just didn't cut it. I'm not saying that it's a bad song. It's a really good song actually. But I'm not sure if it's the right choice for a title track, if you know what I mean. For me, a title track has to be in-your-face and attracts one's attention right off the bat on the first listen. I thought the trailer was so well-made though, and maybe that's why I had such high anticipation for it. But I do love the fact that INFINITE didn't resort to the infamous repetition to the title track. Or any use of the annoying autotune, which I think is extremely unnecessary for any occasion.

One thing I'd like to point out about this amazing group is that they have some of the best live performances out there right now, at least in K-pop kingdom. I think the only group that can rival them, or let's just say better than them, is TVXQ who is known as the kings of live performance. I've watched their live performances for BTD which has a grueling choreography compared to their other songs or any K-pop song, really, but they still sang 90% live (minus the autotuned part) plus flawless choreography. I think the group has to thank their leader/co-main vocalist Kim Sunggyu. He is the one, at least according to my ears, who sings the chorus of the songs, which is usually looked over by other groups. But man, this boy has awesome metabolism. He sings like he's only standing still! I will do a spazz post on him one day.

Overall, I think INFINITE can well become one of the best boy bands that have ever graced the K-pop scene. I may be exaggerating a little, but I don't think it's that far fetched. They have the talent, the passion, and they've showed great development throughout their career. I think a lot of us, especially their fans, INSPIRIT, believe that they are one of the most underrated groups out there. They have great songs, strong live performances, tight dancing. They're also starting to make creative contribution to their songs, which is always promising. They just need that one great song to push them even higher and finally get them the recognition they deserve. I see great things in their future. Please look forward to their success!

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