Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Album Review: INFINITE's Over the Top

As I've mentioned before, I love the South Korean boy band INFINTE. On July 21, 2011 they released their first full album, Over the Top which consists of 10 fresh, new songs. Here are my thoughts of this album!

OVER THE TOP. One thing I love about INFINITE, among other things, is their intro. They make their intros as if it leads the listener into the album and to a certain degree becomes a sneak peek preview to what you'll get the rest of the way. The intro is not some unfinished song or a bunch sounds mushed together. This particular intro is so cool because it's filled with grand strings music, which is always a winner.

내꺼하자 (Be Mine). I've mentioned before that I'm not too fond of their title track. After I wrote that, I thought to myself was I too harsh? The answer is no, probably not. It's not the song's fault. It's just that I was expecting way too much. BTD is one devil of a song and creates such a high par, so blame it. It's actually a great song with awesome guitar riffs, though not as significant as "Come Back Again", but still an important part. The sound is retro, almost Michael Jackson-esque. INFINITE does some of the best retro inspired songs in my opinion so I'm not complaining here. I'm glad that the vocals are spread a little more evenly, except for Sungyeol who only has to say "Do you hear me?" twice in the whole song. That dude has to step it up man.

3분의1 (1/3). The beginning sounds like a MR removed video, if you've ever heard of one. It was a cool addition to the song and provided that extra kick. They went with a yet another retro-inspired sound. And the use of autotune, thankfully not a lot. But it's still annoying. The chorus also has a lot of falsetto which sounds somewhat awkward. In this song, the two rappers got to sing some lines. But what happened to Sungyeol and Sungjong? In the chorus? By the way, Hoya is a cool singer. He's just a cool person overall.

Tic Toc. This is the song that reminds me of my beloved BTD. I wish they would perform this song. It has that grandness that BTD offers, at least compared to the other songs. It's upgraded but toned down. BTD was like all hyper and awesome, but Tic Toc is cooled down. I love how towards the end they stopped all music for half a second to build up tension with only the sound of a ticking clock, then continued by Dongwoo's awesome rap. Is it better than BTD? Hell no. But it's the closest to it, and I also like comparing songs just for the sake of it.

Julia. I heard this song created war amongst the fans. I'm just kidding. But whoever's named Julia is one lucky girl. Who is this Julia? Julia Roberts? Who knows. Maybe the writer is a huge fan of Pretty Woman. Who knows. This is a slower song, but I wouldn't call it ballad yet. If, again, I were to compare with their previous songs, I realized there isn't one. I was about to say "Can U Smile?" but not quite. One thing that, at least for me, is quite uncomfortable about this song is the falsetto. You can say that I'm not a fan of falsettos. It's not one of my favorite songs from this album.

Because. This is leader and main vocalist Kim Sunggyu's solo! Yay! I'm so excited because I love him to bits. He just has that voice, you know? This song is written by a member of rock band Nell, fellow label mate and Sunggyu's favorite band. I only know one of Nell's song but this song sounds like it would come from Nell. I love the fact that he chose this genre over ballad which is the typical song for voice display. Besides, this song is alternative rock! When else will a boy band do an alternative rock song? The opening is really cool too, because I just love a good, dramatic drum roll.

시간아 (Time). The second solo song of the album, this time by co-main vocalist Woohyun. Woohyun's voice is that typical ballad voice, husky and soothing. It's no wonder they chose a ballad for his solo song. The thing is, I don't think INFINITE is the best at mellow ballads, although "마음으로.. (Voice Of My Heart)" was a well-earned effort. This song displays Woohyun's voice quite well. It's nothing new and they used all the tricks in the book. Not my favorite and surprisingly difficult to like. Woohyun's vocal range is amazing though.

Amazing. A very light and refreshing song. To me, INFINITE is best when they go for strong, especially when there's visuals involved. But this song is a surprise to me. It's definitely not a song I associate with them. It has a light beat and is easy for the ears. When I heard this song, it actually reminds me of Jesse McCartney in his early days, for some reason. If you're looking for a comparison, that's my closest bet.

Crying. One of my most favorite songs in this whole album. I'm a sucker for well executed rap songs. It stars INFINITE H, which is apparently a sub-unit consisting of the two rappers, Hoya and Dongwoo, and featuring Baby Soul. With the exception of Baby Soul's sweet voice, this whole song is rapped. I love how they channeled Epik High and decided to rap melodically. Thankfully they did well because I haven't heard of anyone rap melodically done the Epik High way and sound good. It's a good balance of strong rap, good beat, and sweet singing.

Real Story. This is a good mid-tempo ballad. Surprise, surprise this song is sung by all members and distributed quite equally. They're a little more generous when it comes to ballads. The chorus is sung dominantly by Myungsoo aka L. I knew he had it in him. The song is reminiscent of "붙박이 별 (Fixed Star)". It's a good song, but nothing special.

What I love about this album is that everything is brand new. We get to hear how they improved, which you can't do if there's only reused songs. Their sound isn't all too far from their previous works, but their skills are upgraded which is a good sign. There were songs I absolutely adored, like "Because" and "Crying", but the rest didn't wow me. "Be Mine", "Tic Toc", and "OVER THE TOP" are honorable mentions. The rest of the songs were okay, mostly because it takes one hell of a voice to wow me with ballads. It's a great improvement from when they started. I'm definitely excited to what other things they have up their sleeves. INFINITE has one bright future ahead of them.

Final Verdict: 7.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment