Album Review: B1A4 – Rollin’

Release date: September 25th, 2017

Tracklist:

  1. Rollin’
  2. 너는 내가 필요해 (You Need Me)
  3. Love Emotion
  4. Smile Mask
  5. 내게 전화 (Call me)
  6. 아이처럼 (Like a child)

Total Runtime: 00:20:40

Recommended for:   B1A4 fans, people who like diversity and versatility in genres, fans of electro-pop, dance and pop-rock sounds.

Not recommended for:  People who don’t like laid-back albums but prefer a more punchy sound, people who don’t like a variety of styles but stick to only one genre, fans of heavily vocal-based and emotional tracks or ballads.

Almost a year after their last comeback, B1A4 finally returned with a brand new album. Mostly written by the group’s consolidated composer Jinyoung with the help of Baro for the rap making, this album seems to contain B1A4 signature vibrant sound together with a new kind of modern and trendy style. The EP comprises of 6 tracks.

TRACK REVIEW:

  1. Rollin’

It definitely takes a few listens to totally understand “Rollin’”. The title track presents itself as a tropical house based song, something listened and re-listened many times already. However, the apparent linearity of the starting tune blends itself in a larger “band sound”, characterized by rock elements, heavy percussions,  choral vocals that we may surely hear in a stadium as an anthem. It definitely illustrates a fun and energetic atmosphere. The build-up to the chorus is easily one of my favourite parts, coupled with the drop into the catchy chorus that seems to repeat infinitely “I’m rollin in the, rollin in the, rollin in the deep”. It gets addictive the more and more you listen to it. Some synth effects also add to the vibrant and energetic sound, contrasted by the mellow verses and bridge.

  1. 너는 내가 필요해 (You Need Me)

This track is a bit of a mix of everything. It starts slower and kinda mellow but then builds up momentum soon after, when we have a very groovy, laid-back EDM sound. The verses then are accompanied by an electronic and synthy sound, 80’s disco style. The chorus is like a loud explosion with some game-like effects and a bit of a rockish sound too that then flows again into EDM. Baro’s rap parts seem unfitting as a whole. The bridge slows down everything again, with piano and a dreamy mood, then picks up pace soon after with Baro’s rap synths effects and violin strings. In general, this track is made up of scraps from diverse genres melded together to create a very experimental tune, and it’s one of my favourite in the album.

  1. Love Emotion

A very classy and sensual song, with a sexy beat typical more of an R&B tune. It has a very sophisticated sound and the light vocals bring out all facets of the instrumental that employ also a light synth effect and diverse, unique features. The chorus, albeit a bit predictable, is nice but the startling and fabulous part is the twisting EDM sound that immediately follows the chorus that sounds like something used in a 50’s movie soundtrack.

  1. Smile Mask

“Smile mask” is a song that I could easily find in a CNBlue or FTIsland album. It has all the elements of a pop-rock tune and that’s why it’s one of my favourites. It starts with sad guitar strings then picks up pace with an electric guitar sound, very reminiscent of some J-rock style tracks. It slows down a bit with Baro’s rap accompanied by piano. It has a great energy altogether and it definitely proves the versatility of the group’s style. Jinyoung’s vocals and falsetto brings more emotion to the bridge. The last instrumental part is particularly remarkable.

  1. 내게 전화 (Call me)

“Call me” starts with a hint of EDM, some influences of 80’s sound molded with a kind of soft R&B sound. It’s a very chill and laid-back track, and the breathy vocals also adds more to the atmosphere. In particular, Sandeul and CNU ‘s rasping falsetto, with echo in the second part, is breathtaking and, thanks to it, seems like I’m listening to a jazz song all of sudden. It’s one of the b-sides that stands out the most and another favourite.

  1. 아이처럼 (Like a child)

I don’t know if the last song can be classified as a ballad or a power ballad. But it’s surely slower, soulful, classy and emotional, but still powerful enough to be considered anything but a plain sad ballad. It’s a song that I would actually listen to in a café sipping hot chocolate. It’s really harmonious, smooth and snazzy. The background piano is the dominant instrument and the vocals are also very soothing and calming. The last chorus is a bit faster than the rest and it brings the song to the final touching climax.

Review overview
Summary This album is an unexpected but pleasant journey from a genre to another and it enhances the consistence of a group that matured a lot musically and it's confident enough to experiment with different sounds. Despite the fact the title track is probably the weakest track in the album, even though it's quite original, the b-sides are where it's at. They all shine by themselves for some particular features.
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