Album Review: Highlight – Celebrate

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Tracklist:

  1. Celebrate
  2. (어쩔 수 없지 뭐) Can Be Better
  3. Take On Me
  4. Who Am I
  5. Love Like This
  6. (어쩔 수 없지 뭐) Can Be Better (Inst.)

Total runtime: 00:19:11

Recommended for: Highlight fans; people who like EDM, electro-pop and dance pop

Not Recommended for: People who like experimental sounds; and opposites of the above-mentioned categories.

After leaving Cube and changing their name (for they were formerly called BEAST/B2ST), Highlight kicked the year off with a bang and proved that Legends are here to stay forever. Despite the change in brand name, they saw a successful comeback, which lead to mounted expectations for their next release. They have finally comeback with another mini-album in the hopes of securing a spot as one of K-Pop’s leading boy groups.


Track Review

  • Celebrate

Kicking off the album is the fast paced “Celebrate”, an electro-dance pop song with a little too much auto tune for my liking. While it is sure to make one want to dance, it is nothing special musically and follows the exact same formula that most boy group dance songs follow. This may not be too bad, but it is disappointing especially coming from this particular group. The vocals could have been excellent had they not been too drowned out by the loud backing track. It’s a nice starter for the album, but it is understandable why it was not chosen as a title track.

  • (어쩔 수 없지 뭐) Can Be Better

“Can You Feel It” is a very fun and energetic song, and quite wonderfully shows Highlight at their visual peak. The music video is simple yet engaging, not too clustered with scenes of choreography but filled with scenes of the boys having fun. It has a great balance of being colorful yet mature, and the group’s personal humor makes it worth watching.

As a musical piece, it is not pushing any boundaries. It does feel reminiscent of Block B and B1A4, yet this does not mean that it is not enjoyable. It is quite catchy and the backing instrumental feels safe but well done. The rap verse was engaging but felt way too short and the vocals were good if at all muffled by the group trying to fit a specific sound. Highlight is known for their strong vocals and their earlier songs (like “Fiction”, “Shadow” and “12:30” for example) show how versatile and gifted a group they are. For someone who likes this part of the group, “Can Be Better”, ironically, lives up to its name.

  • Take On Me

At first, I thought this would be a ballad but I was pleasantly surprised when it went for a more tropical sound. The chorus is so strong and catchy, and even the breaks do not feel monotonous (something that is common with tropical house and EDM songs). Unlike the previous two tracks, the vocal performances in “Take On Me” are very distinct and not drowned out. They, in a wonderful way, add more to the overall melody of the song. This song is definitely going down as one of the more enjoyable Highlight b-sides I have ever heard.

  • Who Am I

As I suspected from the title of “Who Am I”, this is on the mellow side and it is done in glorious Highlight fashion. More than any song in this album, this track clearly showcases the group’s vocal strengths. One thing that I loved about it is the musical effect resembling a Sōzu. It adds some wonderful serenity to the track and provides an all enjoyable experience.

  • Love Like This

“Love Like This” is another angst-filled track that mixes trap and R’n’B, in a very pleasing fashion. At times, the trap portion of the bridge feels mismatched with the vocals but the boys recover their sound quickly and the song gets better. This also has the best rap verse in the entire album. It is a wonderful way to end the album (if one ignores the up-beat instrumental for the title track). For those who like soothing R’n’B jams, this is definitely the song to listen to.

Review overview
Summary This is, overall, a nice album....but that is it. It has some strong tracks here and there but it pushes no boundaries and does not try to propel Highlight to new musical heights. It was a nice effort, but not the group's best.
3.5
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✿ OH!Press’ resident Red Velvet stan ✿

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