Jul 25, 2014

Infinite's "Back" Comeback Post

Usually when idol groups promote follow-up tracks, it's not less than a month after they wrapped up their prior promotions. As a fan of Infinite, I'm always happy for new stuff, but I also care deeply about their health and well-being. As much as I enjoy seeing them back on shows and on stage, I sincerely hope they have had some rest in between and have not just kept on working. Although, they have had time to learn and record new tracks, put together a new choreography and shoot a video so my guess is they have been pretty overworked. Nonetheless, as you might have read on my mini-rant about the teaser video, I was really excited about this comeback. It seemed fresh, thrilling and the song sounded great too.

The Song

I did like "Last Romeo" quite a bit, but I wasn't too crazy about it. It lacked some kind of impact, and it didn't feel as exciting as their earlier tracks no matter how much I tried to force myself to love it. Like I said in my review, there was really nothing wrong with it, but everything about the comeback felt strangely familiar. It was a safe, well-known concept and song, so even though it was good it wasn't as great as we know this group is. 

"Back" is produced by Rphabet, the mind behind "Destiny" from last year, and you can tell this isn't the ordinary Sweetune track. Unlike "Last Romeo", this song has a more clean cut electronic sound and the structure is more like "Destiny" with the many instrumental parts and somewhat (at first) confusing structure. While this still feels like Infinite, it's not in any way in line with their "standard" sound that sets them apart from other groups, but this I prefer this song over their main title track a thousand times over. The quiet, eerie opening sung so wonderfully by Sunggyu, Hoya and Woohyun is beautiful, and than the beat drops and I'm just taken back by how unexpected yet smooth the transition is. Another rare aspect about the song is the lack of rapping, and while Hoya usually gets a few singing lines on top of his rap parts, Dongwoo's magical voice is usually underused. This time however, he gets an entire line to himself and despite me wanting to hear him even more, I am so thankful that he gets to showcase his vocals too. For a song like this, there's no need for an obligatory rap part, and since this group's rappers are great vocalists too I'm not at all missing those bits.

This song is strong, and as I'm listening to it all that hidden disappointment about "Last Romeo" I tried to convince myself didn't exist rose to the surface. I feel like this is the kind of music this group should be doing to keep their signature sound yet evolve and develop musically at the same time. I do like Sweetune and I think they have done a great job with Infinite, but it's definitely healthy and nurturing to work with more than only one producer.

Score: 4,5/5

The Live Performance

I actually watched the live performance before I watched the video, because they held their comeback stage before the video release and I just couldn't contain myself, but that was definitely the better decision. I think I watched this performance about five times in a row because of how amazing it was. It starts out slowly and carefully, like the song itself, but later grows and explodes into the chorus.

First of all, the choreography is amazing and definitely one of better ones we've seen by this group for a long time. Secondly, everyone sounds fantastic and seem to have working microphones, and the line distribution is surprisingly even which is not often occurring with this group. Thirdly, the entire stage is so well put-together and they perform with such precision, emotion and awareness. The song is dramatic but in a repressed and sensitive way, and is pretty much the opposite to "Last Romeo" which was more explosive and aggressive.

And finally, the styling is gorgeous and I can't even remember a time where all of the members looked this good. Even members prone to terrible styling decisions like Sungjong and Dongwoo look beautiful and I have never been more attracted to Sunggyu in my entire life. Also, Myungsoo aka L is blonde, and he never changes his hair! I love all the clothes they're wearing, and I thought I could never find anything better looking than the regular suits, but I'm pretty sure these outfits take the price. The combination of a long, flowing black top, simple white shirt and black jeans sure seem like a boring, safe choice, but Infinite sure knows how to wear them with grace.

The Video

Not going to lie, this video is ridiculous. I pretty much knew what was coming when the video teaser was released, so I can't say I was let down in any way, but yeah, this video is quite extreme. While there is a type of  back-story and plot and a few nicely shot dancing sequences, about 80% of this video is just the boys getting their butts kicked by some really creepy looking dudes. The main characters of this video are mostly Sunggyu and L, as well as the kidnapped girl whom I assume is the former younger sister judging by the flashbacks where she seems to be crushing on the latter while being all cute and lovable. I really don't see any reason for her kidnapping, but an idea that springs to mind is that Infinite's rival gang abducts her because of unknown motives, but Infinite are not be messed with. I mean, they have umbrellas. How do you compete with that?

Yes, this video lacks substance and I'll probably be watching the live performances instead, but it isn't a bad video by any means. The seriousness of the the song matches quite well with the theme of the video, and it's definitely a serious effort they're putting into it as well. The entire fight seems to be taking place in an abandoned storage building, where the walls are covered in spray paint and motorcycles just happen to be nicely positioned in the background. It's all very gimmicky, in pretty much every sense of the word, but then again a lot of K-pop videos are so I can't really hold it against them. I do really like the coloring of the video, and the contrast between the bluer, colder tones and the burning red.

Apart from the over-dramatic, unrealistic fight scenes and the members' terrible acting, the video provides quite a lot of eye candy. I have seen far worse "gangster clothing" for these type of concepts because while they do look slightly tougher than usual, they still look quite fashionable for being in a gang. I really like the upgraded band logo, now with burning wings, because if they are running an criminal organisation they must have something to bind them together. Their "dancing" clothes are, as said previously, absolutely perfect, but they even have my approval as "bad boys". Sure, the fake blood and bruises are way overdone, but the entire video is really exaggerated so those things really don't bother me too much. At times I almost find it a bit comedic, but hey, who doesn't like attractive boys with beat-up faces?

MV: 3,4/5


I am in love with this comeback. It slays in all the ways "Last Romeo" didn't and is both an advance in musical growth and performance abilities. Sure, the video is a bit cheesy, but the song and choreography are so good and they all look perfect. Thank you, Woollim, for proving how much this group still has to show.

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