Mastermind: Beast

Beast just won their first Music Bank! 😀 I am beyond ecstatic, and serious kudos to them. They are a group full of talent, and their minialbum is selling well amidst heavy full albums out there from 2NE1 and SHINee.

Let’s talk about their new tracks. Automatically, Beast wins best album title of the year. Mastermind. It’s like Kpop finally stopped choosing cliche/nonsensical English phrases and decided to start reading Foucault. But of course, this seems to not have helped Beast’s Engrish as all as Kikwang still lovably confuses his verb tenses, but Omarion loves Beast, so we’ll forgive them for not being quite so perfect.

And I totally stole this from AA-Chan’s blog.
Cube’s got the aesthetics down pat – gorgeous cover.

Actually, if you have read my earliest posts, you’ll know that Beast really had to work to earn affection from me – I really hated Shock of the New Era for the longest time due to the combination of music style and Engrish. But there’s something I need clarify.

I love Cube as a company. CEO Hong is one of the most respectable men out there in the Korean entertainment industry – he has the business savvy and has worked with the best, as a previous high-up in JYPE. More importantly, he has one of the best understanding of the human psyche I’ve seen in a businessman – the man understands the pain, pride, uncertainty, and general psychology of the adolescent idol so well that he would probably be an excellent teacher or psychiatrist. He also has a very concrete sense of the type of music he wants to make, which is very much reflected in what his flagship groups, 4minute and Beast, perform (G.na’s stuff is a bit different). This is also Cube’s greatest musical weakness – there’s a lack of diversity.

As a listener you must make yourself mold to their music, when it really should be the other way around. Beast’s tunes have more or less stayed true to their debut style, usually heavy electrobeat dance tracks. Half the time their songs sound very generic and the formula becomes predictable: Doojoon/Dongwoon openers, Kikwang/Hyungseung the more technical verses, and Yoseob with occasional Hyunseung backup belting out the choruses, with a sprinkle of Junhyung’s rap. This would be an excellent formula if Beast were just another mediocre group. However, they’re not. Of active boy bands, Beast ranks at the top with SHINee (and Big Bang, whenever they comeback) as outstanding live performers. These boys can sing, dance, and if I were Cube I’d be giddy with joy just trying to get as many line-distribution combinations out of them as possible. Their choreo is, however, always tight and unique, which is what finally drew me into Beast. And if all else fails, PLEASE AT LEAST LET JUNHYUNG SING – his timbre is really rich.

Let’s run through their minialbum, shall we?

Mastermind – standard intro piece, thank goodness it doesn’t outshine the title track this time. I actually really liked the triplet

Soom – Something about this song just seems more sophisticated than Shock. Performed live, it doesn’t quite have the sharpness and complexity of Shock, but it makes up for it musically. I personally really enjoyed the direct integration of “breathe in breathe out” into the choreo – honestly, had they tried to be “creative,” it would’ve just looked tacky. And beginning circle dance? OMG. Once upon a time I had a dream that SHINee would promote Obsession and engage in some kind of epic circle dance/position shift a la Replay, but Beast were the ones to pick up on my brilliant suggestion, so +1000000 brownie points.

Tl;dr: I dig Dongwoon’s long note at the beginning (though the effect is ruined by the rapping), somehow the heartbeat slow start transitions logically into the techno verses and choruses, Yoseob is amazing at belting, I wish they’d let Dongwoon/Doojoon sing at slightly higher ranges/otherwise switch things up, but overall I’m enjoying this song WAY more than I had ever anticipated to. And pay attention to their choreo – there are lots of subtle details that make you appreciate their preparation even more and make Beast flow like one group instead of synchronized individual members. Kudos to Prepix!


Credit: beastofficial

V.I.U. – Please watch the end of the Soom practice video. I have no more comments. It’s a fun song, and Kikwang has a Junho-worthy booty. The song may be forever ruined and/or cherished.


Credit: hawoosin

Break Down – I don’t know why, but I feel like every group has released a song that sounds like this. Actually, scratch that, this sounds like a song taken straight from 4minute’s discography. I’m both happy and miffed at this. Since Beast has considerable vocal talent, they can turn a mediocre song into something enjoyable, and this semi-attempt at upbeat R&B is all too rare in Beast discography. Very generic but still enjoyable.

Clenching with a Tight Fist – Again, kind of generic, featuring Yoseob warbling over everyone else with an occasional Hyunseung appearance (who I just discovered holds back his voice quite a bit for vocal control – there’s talent untapped there). Attempts the angsty but doesn’t quite hit it, but the piano arrangement is lovely, their voices are good, and I nod along.

So congrats, Beast, on your first Mubank! May many more come your way.

Hyunseung you are so weird and adorable ❤