As B.A.P come off the high of a VERY successful new single and go through their world tours, I wanted to highlight some of B.A.P's talents in creating really strong albums in general! I have a strong love for their production value and their strengths in highlighting different voices.
I should mention that these are in chronological order, not a ranking order! Also these do not include any japanese original tracks, since I've not been able to listen to all of those.
Although the song mixing at this point in their career, back when they first debuted, is not so hot, the fact the song remains so memorable and interesting is truly a kudos to their initial producer. The interesting hook in the backdrop of the music and flawless transition between sections of the song is one of B.A.P's production strengths, even from this early!
This is one of those songs that surprisingly doesn't get tired on multiple repeats, it's never once come off my playlist since it first released.
Check out the fun live version, back when they were still in the six blond heads in a pea's pod phase!
2. Dancing in the Rain
Some of my favourite B.A.P songs are their cheerful upbeat songs that manage to be very light without being a snoozefest, like Stop It or Crash! Dancing in the Rain follows in those traditions. The lyrics are very light and generic, but the backdrop beat is super complex and it's incredibly catchy (watch at your own peril, lest you hum this all day). Plus songs like these tend to highlight sub-vocalists Jongup and Himchan who don't get as much of a chance to shine.
It also opens itself up to fun remixes in their lives!
3. Excuse Me
Although it was a title track in their Japanese version of the album, it was still a b-track first for the korean version, and Excuse Me deserved its upgrade: it's slick, catchy, and very anthem-like. The large use of sax, electric guitar and synth really helps this song pop out and the rap is some of their best (at least in the korean version) and there's some really fun choreo for it!
Also the vocals are worth a shout out in this one, their powerful without being overpowering, which I always appreciate from B.A.P.
This soulful song from their stupendous First Sensibility album is really reminiscent of a lounge singer in a small club, in the wee hours of the night, despite the heavy presence of rap involved in the song, which is an impressive vibe to build. Although their backing track is rather sparse on instrumentation, the melodies they do use are very complex, which only highlights the vocalists and harmonies! Their adlibs for this are also very complex without being overpowering, which is the song's highlight!
If I ever had to pick a favourite song of B.A.P's, SPY would be up there! With a really catchy refrain, fun harmonies, adlibs and harmonization, plus a funky, silly choreo, this is B.A.P at their most relaxed, and you can often tell, from all of their live performance. I particularly enjoy SPY for the fact that it both showcases Daehyun's easy belting and adlibs, but also emphasizes Youngjae's more R&B style, which is rarely easily accomplished in just one song.
Many of the live stages are gone from youtube now, sadly, but it's worth watching all of the ones left, if only for Jongup and Zelo's differences in the dance break.
6. Take You There
I'm not so much of a fan of the songs within B.A.P's transition period after the lawsuit, as Yongguk was figuring out how to compose without any external producers' help, since most of the songs seem to be missing that little extra touch that made B.A.P's sound B.A.P, but Take You There was a nice harkening to Coffee Shop and Crash, in a cheerful, lowkey song in a tribute to B.A.B.Y.Z! (the superior fansong to BABY, if we're being honest here)
It serves best as a nice showcase of Daehyun and Jongup's vocals and how much they've grown!
Noir is filled with b-side jams, just like First Sensibility, it's a supremely produced album! But Killer gets a high mention for the superior mixing! It's very clean, very balanced sound between all of the scatting of the backing and the vocals, and that makes the already jazzy, catchy song even more slick and smooth! The rap is also not overpowering, despite adding a new dimension to the light song, which is a nice touch!
8. Ribbon In The Sky
This song is an especial shout-out to one of B.A.P's repeating musical motifs: dramatic violins. It mostly comes out to play in title tracks like One Shot, 1004 and Power, but also shows up in tracks such as Coma and Goodbye. However, Ribbon In The Sky takes that musical motif to an even higher level, combining it with a lot of dfferent types of vocalization, beyond just singing and rapping!
Lyrically, it's also a little harkening back towards what a lot of old B.A.P songs were about: calling out social injustices and the darker, more angry lyrics combine very well with the atmosphere of the song!
9. I Guess I Need U
I am almost always a huge anti of high-pitched synth squeaking in songs, but I Guess I Need U makes it work in a way that I almost hate. I am also consistently annoyed with people who tell me to 'look at the high pitched notes he hits in this song!!' all the time, as if those are the only vocal techniques that matter (#AltosExistTooYouKnow). That being said, these adlibs by Daehyun and the squeaky synth track combined with the minor key is amazing. Dark and sultry, the song is surprisingly easy to remember, after just a couple of listens, in a way that isn't quite catchy, but memorable.
Their live performance for this song is also one of my favourite live performances EVER, it sounds very much like they ate the CD.
B.A.P have a lot of rock inspired songs in their discography from Bangx2 to Wake Me Up to 1004, but Dystopia feels like a very slick, well-produced song with a lot of their strengths in their vocalists and rappers being emphasized by the backing track! I really appreciate the very traditional rock guitars being combined with the record scratches of old-school rap, contrasting to Daehyun's angelic voice and the fall away of the backing for their pre-chorus. It's a very cool musical effect that somehow works better than it should.
The lyrics are also very nice, very reminiscent of the old-school B.A.P making their comeback, after a lot of very generic sounding lovesongs!
What do you think, omona? Did I miss out your favourites? Am I completely wrong? Anybody have an order of favourites? Would anybody be interested in a Secret version?
Sources: Andy Heo | Hyalda Adlyah | KookieCane13 | Chups Galaxy | theultimatedodo | kimoi212000 | 1TheK | cheon sa | 2 | 3 | KBS World TV | SBS Inkigayo | MBC Kpop | HITTSubs