Jun 3, 2015

BTS' "The Happiest Moment In Life, Part 1" Is Just That

Bangtan Boys - In The Mood For Love Pt.1

This review is long overdue, I know, but this past few weeks have been so busy and I just haven't had the time to sit down and write this review. Currently it's a little more than a week until I graduate and now that my grades have been finalized I will have time to start posting normally again.

Anyhow, BTS recently came back with a new album "The Happiest Moment In Life, Part 1" and title track "I Need U", for which I wrote a review and later more of a rant. As unaffected as I was by their 2014 release "Dark & Wild" it made me have much higher expectations for this mini, and thankfully I was not let down.

Suga receives the honor of opening the album with a 2 minute rap intro, and I would say it is an excellent way to start of this group's 4th mini album. Although no one in the group beats Rap Monster in the rapping department, Suga is also very talented both as a rapper and a composer. This intro revolves around him playing basketball at the playground whilst reflecting on his life and the concept of happiness, and although I find his rapping a bit too aggressive throughout the entire track it's a well done production. The heavy breathing in the beginning and end of the song not only fits with the lyrics of him actually playing basketball but is also very effectual for the frustration and confusion that permeates the track.

Bangtan Boys - In The Mood For Love Pt.1
Following is the title track, and the most superior song on the album, suitingly called "I Need U". I loved this song instantly when I first heard it, and my opinion hasn't changed since. This song is quite special because while it sounds fairly different from their other title tracks, it still sounds very typical for them. It's a lot more electronic with even some dub step samples thrown in here and there, yet it's still not striking enough for it to stand out in an odd way, in fact it makes the song all the more enjoyable.

There honestly isn't a single part of the song I don't like; the melody is great, the musical production is gorgeous, the rapping and vocals are all on point and the dynamic structure is flawless. Not to mention the lyrics, whom are heartbreakingly raw and moving and prove that BTS can sing about love and emotion and doing an even better job at it than most other groups. I said this in my MV review but it needs to be said again: this is one of their best songs yet and by far their best title track. 

The next song is "Hold Me Tight", and with this track the tempo slows down and the intensity lessens severely from the previous tune. "Hold Me Tight" is a R&B inspired love declaration and features some impressive efforts from the team's vocalists. Like many of BTS' similar songs the rappers handle the verses and the vocalist deal with the bridges and choruses, and it is a concept that works for them wonderfully. I especially enjoy Jimin's sultry vocals for this song, and I'm happy that he finally got to take center stage for once. 

Bangtan Boys - In The Mood For Love Pt.1Up next is the reocurring skit of the album, and this one is titled "Expectation!". It's a two ️ and a half minute long conversation where the members freely discuss the topic of expectation, in particularly their own material. It's initially about how they known it's better to have no expectations at all but it's hard not to, but later it becomes a discussion Jungkook's upcoming copyright fees and taxes. I personally love these short sketches, as they allow fans to become more intimate with the band members as they joke around. 

Following the skit is "Sick", and it is with this song that the party vibe truly kicks in. The song is basically the members bragging about how "sick" they are, in a good way of course, and how well off they are right now. Having done songs in the past such as "Just One Day" which deals with some of the hardships that come with idol life, dating in this case, it's nice to see them sing about the positives as well. I also really like the song's structure and dynamics, as it thrives itself on building up until the beat drops in the chorus, all while sounding extremely dance-y and club-like.

Bangtan Boys - In The Mood For Love Pt.1
Continuing the theme of fun, uptempo tracks about bragging is "Fun Boys", in which the members invite you to their own party, and it sounds like a fun one judging by the lyrics. They sing about how the best way to have fun is to act a bit strange and careless, and throw away all your worries. In many ways, this song reminds me of "Rise of Bangtan" from their 2013 release "O!RUL8,2?", especially the playfulness of the rapping and singing, but unfortunately it isn't nearly as good. However, Jungkook's husky vocals are everything in this track.

"Converse High" is the next song up, and yes it is indeed about the actual shoe brand. Musically it's extremely standard for this group with the laid-back vibe and easy-going layering of instruments, but the lyrics are all the more interesting. This song is based on Rap Monster's endless love of red Converse, and how he imagines his ideal girl in them. The members all tag along and join the praise-fest without much complain. Well, apart from Suga who comes along and raps about how much he despises the brand, which adds something unique and extra to the track. Additionally, the vocals are gorgeous and the melodious bridges especially captured my attention with their sweet nature.

Now this is where I thought the album would move over to the outro, but there was in fact another song in between. I guess that says plenty about how interesting I found "Move" when I re-listened to the album the second and third time. Musically it's not too different from the previous track, but it's not nearly as intriguing or captivating. The saving grace however is, of course, the lyrics. The members reflect on their trainee days, early life and big dreams, and how they're now about to move, both figuratively and possibly literally to a bigger place and brighter future. It's as bittersweet as can be, which is a genre the boys have mastered well enough, and you can tell it comes from the heart.
Bangtan Boys - In The Mood For Love Pt.1
"Love Is Not Over" is the actual outro of the album, and it's very much like a typical BTS outro. It's short, sweet and a perfect way to round up the mini. The rappers of the team step back and allow the group's four vocalists to shine, and indeed they do. The track is the most R&B out of them all, and it works great with the vocals and the simple but beautiful melody.

I was honestly really happy when I first listened to this album, especially after my indifference for their "Dark & Wild" release. I can't quite put my finger on what it was that made me have those feelings towards the album, but I'm thrilled that they've put out a mini that truly enjoy from start to finish.

As usual, BTS' strongest asset musically are the wonderful lyrics, that deal with a huge variety of topics that all somehow deal with youth and adolescence, making them very relatable. This album is no exception, and I also find that the vocalists have improved tremendously which is great, even though the music they make require less vocals since it's so rap-oriented. It definitely appears as if BTS are making more progress as time goes by, and that makes me ridiculously excited for Part 2, whatever that might be.

Highlights: "I Need U", "Sick", "Converse High"
Least Favorite: "Move"

Score: 4,15/5

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