Dec 30, 2015

Late 2015 Boy Group Comeback Recap - Madtown, The Legend & Royal Pirates

It's time for another compilation review post! This time I'm directing my attention to the boys, because there were a few comebacks this fall that I wanted to review but didn't have the time to write separate posts for. Overall I must say that right now I'm definitely more a girl group stan, and I think that this year the girls have been far more dominant too, but it doesn't mean I'm ignoring all the boy groups out there. Three comebacks that stood out to me were three vastly different groups; Madtown, The Legend and the Royal Pirates.

This seven-piece hip-hop group was the first group to make a comeback on November 11, and I was actually a bit scared to see what Madtown would put out considering my dislike of their earlier title tracks. Don't get me wrong; I don't like the group, no not at all. I think they're insanely talented in both rapping, singing and dancing but their company isn't their best friend. So far the songs they've put out have been, well bad, and not because they themselves are bad but because the songwriting and production of the tracks have been underwhelming to say the least. This time however I'm actually quite enjoying their newest song "OMGT", and hopefully this can be a turning point for the group.

The song itself isn't amazing, but man is it better than their other title tracks. It has kind of an electronica feel, but still remains that urban hard-hitting hip-hop beat, especially throughout the chorus. The instrumental is surprisingly well done and the layering of the beats and percussion samples isn't overdone but perfectly appropriate for the song's vibe. It's definitely a track more on the fun, lighthearted side, and you can tell especially in the bridges that the mood switches to a softer sound.

Although the chorus is mostly an instrumental loop followed by the words "Oh my God, thanks" it's quite infectious and not at all cringeworthy in the way both "YOLO" and "New World" were. This feels like the song and sound they've been wanting to achieve since debut but haven' t managed to produce until now, and I'm they're developing and are starting to put out better music.

The video is a huge improvement as well, because now I can finally watch their handsome faces without feeling embarrassed by the horrible production quality. For being a low-budget video this MV hits all the right spots, well apart from the casual objectification of their female interest's body, and it manages to be both funny and charming without trying to put on a hard, rough hip-hop image. It consists mainly of the boys messing around with each other and the camera in various colorful sets, both indoor and outdoor, and I really like both the styling and the props used in the different scenarios.

The video's definitely a great watch, and not only because of how handsome the members are. What makes the video though is them dancing in front of a shrine built for the hot girl they're so thankful for existing, and also literally making a worship circle around it. I think it goes to prove how obsessed they are with her which is kind of scary but the outcome is hilarious, especially with their "raise-your-hands-to-the-lord" dance to go along with it. Overall this comeback has done nothing but impress me, and if they continue this way I might even begin to stan them more properly

Song: 2,5/5
Video: 3,2/5

Next up is The Legend who made their comeback on November 16, returning with a different side of themselves. Prior we have seen this group do both uptempo pop songs ("Left Out" and their most recent single "Shadow"), rockier tunes ("Lost") and ballads ("Trace"), but this time they've come back with yet another sound that fits them perfectly. I guess with such a talented group there's few genres you can't do.

legend - jaehyuk The title of their newest is called "Nail", and it's a really smooth and sexy R&B song with amazing vocal work from the members. I have to admit that these kind of songs usually aren't my cup of tea, as I often find them boring, but this one is actually pretty good. Sure, it's not a track I necessarily would put on but I have absolutely no problem listening to it every now and then. Of course the vocals are the best part of it, because they have a couple of spectacular vocalists (Listen and Jaehyuk) and a pretty solid rapper as well in Lito. Overall it's a good track and it definitely highlights their strengths, which is nice to see.

The video is also surprisingly well done for being low-budget, and unlike some of their other MV's it does a better job in hiding it. The entire thing is filmed entirely in black and white, which I definitely think covers up the cheapness of the sets, and it also adds to the sexy, classy feeling that the song exudes. All of the members are well dressed in dapper suits and there's a good balance between the solo scenes and the choreography shots. I also appreciate the play with lightning, which is a nice trick that the black and white enhances, and it does make them all look even more attractive than usual. The problem with the MV though is that that's pretty much all there is.

legend  - litoAlthough the choreography is very nice and they all execute is extremely well, there's isn't really anything drawing me in. There isn't anything inherently wrong with any of the parts; I mean, the song is fine, the styling is great and the classy, sexy theme is appealing, but there's nothing that's making this MV and comeback stand out among the masses. I suppose that's the main problem with The Legend, because apart from coming from a small, non-influential company with trouble promoting them properly this groups lacks a stand-out factor. If they can only achieve that then I truly believe that they can go places in the future because all the other factors are there, but unfortunately I don't think this comeback will be it either.

Song: 2,75/5
Video: 2,85/5

Last but not least I'm going to briefly discuss Royal Pirates' comeback with "Run Away", which took place exactly a month ago on November 30. Now, the story behind this comeback is actually very sad, but it explains why this song has a slightly different sound than their other, earlier stuff. You might notice that the bassist, James, isn't on his bass for this comeback, and the reason why leaves me with a lump in my stomach. He got into an accident earlier this summer involving serious injury on this wrist, and left him unable to play the bass, for how long more I'm not sure. I've been following his updates on his Instagram and I can tell you that it looks bad, and I feel so sorry for him. Nonetheless this meant that he had so resort to some other instrument for the time being, so now James is in charge of what looks like keyboard and synthesizers.

The song "Run Away" is still very much a rock song, maybe even with a darker sound than their previous material, but the electronica elements are definitely present. I wouldn't necessarily call this a negative progression though, because incorporating synths and electronic beats into rock music is a fairly common thing for bands to do at one point in their career (like what CNBlue is semi-doing right now for example), so it's possible Royal Pirates would've gone down this path sooner or later anyway. Anyhow I like the song a lot and I definitely like the way the synths and traditional rock instruments clash, with the distorted guitars being one highlight for me (I love it when they go hard on the guitar). I haven't been much into Royal Pirates before which is weird because I am a rock girl at heart, but now I think I might have to give them an honest chance after all.

The MV isn't much else but a showcase video of them rocking out on their respective instruments in a dark set, with some other shots inserted here and there. There is an attempt at some kind of plot or story but the main focus obviously doesn't lie there which makes the different shots of the band members a bit confusing to attach to a theme of some sort. But quite honestly I don't care too much about that because those parts are overshadowed by their band performance, which is much more enjoyable watching. Like idol groups would show their power in their dancing Royal Pirates shine the most when their on stage with their instruments, playing their hearts out. All of them are clearly into it and it definitely draws the viewer in as well, and frontman Moon makes an emotional impression with his stunning vocals and guitar playing.

Song: 3,75/5
Video: 3,25/5

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