Aug 21, 2015

Beast's New Mini Is The Good Kind Of "Ordinary"

Beast to me equals quality music. No matter what I can always count on this six-piece to deliver songs that are well made and well performed. Every album since "Fiction" in 2011 I've loved, despite them all having quite different styles. Their most previous mini, "Time", showcased yet another side of the group, a more relaxed and simplistic style of music, and now they've come back with "Ordinary", which is an album that continues that same musical pattern.

The opening song is also their choice of promotional single for this comeback, and it's called "YeY". When I first heard it, combined with watching the MV of course, I couldn't believe my ears. Beast has always had great title tracks, but I was not feeling this one. However since I was planning on reviewing the album I knew I had to give it more tries, and so I did. Unfortunately I still disliked by the second listen, but by the third I had gotten used to it to the point that it no longer sounded that bad and by about the fifth listen I kind of enjoyed it in some strange way. Let's be real: the song is pretty noisy, and for a group that's known for their polished, clean-cut sound it took me by surprise.

It's basically your standard EDM-inspired party track and it's not that Beast hasn't done up-tempo dance songs before, but this one just has so much going on in it. The verses are fine, but as Kikwang takes over and the build-up intensifies all the various beats and layers in the instrumental come together and it sounds a bit strange, at least to me. It's like the melody and the music don't truly match, and that feeling follows into the chorus. Lyrically it definitely matches though, as it's a party anthem from head to toe and revolves around partying as a way to escape the real world and all the struggle.

"Gotta Go To Work" is the next song and finally I can breathe out. The Beast we all know and love are back. This song was this comeback's mandatory pre-release, and it does sound very similar to plenty of their other pre-releases. The vibe is totally chill and it has that comfortable mid-tempo pace, and paired with a relatively simple instrumental it allows the members' voices to shine. A song like this could easily have been somewhat boring given its premise, but I definitely don't think it is. Not only are the lyrics totally cute, as the members sing about not wanting to go to work in order to spend time with their loved one, but the flow of the track is extremely jam-able and easy to hum along to. As always, the line distribution is glorious and I love Junhyung's rap-singing in the chorus, as it suits the casual mood of the track perfectly.

beast ordinary hyunseung
The mood softens a bit for the sexy jam of the album; "Sweet Room", which is about seeing the person you like being with someone else and them being seemingly unhappy, and instead you wish they'd come to you because you can be there for them for real. You're their "sweet, suite room" where they can relax and feel safe. The song is pampered with plenty of horn instruments, especially in the powerful chorus which is contrasted nicely by the smoother verses. Hyunseung takes the lead for the main vocal work, and although I'm not the biggest fan of his voice I have to say he sounds good.

"At That Place" is probably, next to the title track, the most amped up song on the album. And with that being said it's still much, much more calm and collected than said track. "At That Place" is about a man who has been dumped and looks back at all their happy memories, wishing somehow she'd come back to him and promise they'll be a better man who makes her happier. The feeling of regret and sentimentality lies heavily over the track, and the members do a great job conveying the emotions. Although this this the type of song I'd normally want this group to do, considering their past musical releases, I actually think it's one the album's weakest tracks. For me it's not particularly memorable, and maybe it's just because of the fact that it's less low-key than most of the other songs but not as hard-going as "YeY", which makes it seem a bit pale in comparison.

BEAST ‘Ordinary’ Teaser pictures - beast-b2st PhotoThe following song also has a stronger beat and drive to it, but the vibe is totally different. "Take It" is not as poppy nor as synth-heavy as the prior, but relies more on sounds of guitars and drums. To me this song is very representative of Beast's general sound as of now, and the melody too feels familiar. The half irritated, half disappointed mood of the lyrics is eerily present in the song's construction and chord progression, and the minimalistic yet impactful way of using the various instruments is really impressive. It's a sound that this group has completely mastered.

It's the final track on the album that is also my definite favorite, as "Oh Honey" gives me everything I wanted Beast to sound like for at least one song on this album. Like the former song the background instrumental is clean and classic, but it's the memorable guitar pattern played throughout the song that is the main highlight. Like with "Drive" from their last album I seem to be drawn to these kind of songs, whom of which are revolving around a single guitar loop.

beast ordinary dongwoon
Additionally this track also has an amazingly catchy chorus with the drawn-out "Oh honey" being the most memorable part of it, and it has yet another hook in the form of the seducing "Oh na na na na". I personally think this song is magical to listen to, but I'm the most impressed by how well they've captured the confident, sensual feeling in the lyrics in the actual music.

When I first listened to "Ordinary" I didn't quite know how I felt about it, and not in either a good or a bad way. To me it seems like Beast has more or less found their niche and are content in producing songs that fit into those margins. They've literally grown up before our eyes, if not physically but definitely musically, and what we have now is a Beast that has a mature, smooth and relaxed sound. For that reason I find it strange that "YeY" is even on this album, because it's so different from every other song on it. Although I do miss the style they had in the past I'm happy with what they're doing right now too, because with Junhyung and his composing team Good Life they've built themselves a sound that defines them and also suits them more tham well. All the members sound, as always, wonderful, and although this mini might now be my favorite of theirs it's a pretty great one nonetheless.

Highlights: "Gotta Go To Work", "Oh Honey"
Least Favorite: "YeY"

Total Score: 3,8/5

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