By now, it’s hard to consider BTOB as a rookie idol group: with “New Man” as their ninth mini-album release on 7th November 2016, BTOB are climbing the ranks as one of Generation Z’s most popular K-Pop groups. With the release of “New Man”, BTOB are presenting a very new side to them and their sound, which is refreshing and engaging. If you’re a diehard BTOB fan, then this EP will very much appeal to you.
What a way to open an EP. ‘New Men’ is the intro into the EP, and opens with – I must confess – a rather awkward Peniel declaring: ‘We’re new men now. And we’re gonna make you feel things: new things, you’ve never felt before.’ Otherwise, as an intro, this track is a good ease into whatever ‘new things’ BtoB will do for their fandom.
(Pray) I’ll Be Your Man
When ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ starts playing, the intro track is completely validated: Peniel again opens with an underlying dramatic piano rift followed swiftly by a beautiful violin, before slowing down into a rock ballad-dance track that totally caught me off-guard. As the title track, ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ definitely works: the vocals are fantastic, the rap lines cut in at the right time and complement the more dance elements of the track, whilst the piano-strings-and-electric guitar trio harmonise surprisingly well. This track is fantastic, and is definitely something new!
‘Love Drunk’ continues with the same mellow strings-influenced sound as ‘I’ll Be Your Man’, but the opening use of the acoustic guitar makes this track. ‘Love Drunk’ is a mellow acoustic ballad that really calms you down after being riled up by the title track. Again, this track really works and shows a very different side to BTOB.
Things become a bit more animated with ‘I’m Bored’, a jazz/blues-influenced track that incorporates the pipe organ, brass, and a jazzy beat. It’s a really fun track and doesn’t completely remove us from the mellowness of ‘Love Drunk’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Man’, which is refreshing. All the vocals work well together, and even the rap works rather than completely pulling us out of the tone of the track. It’s a fun and lively track and just works. And the post-rap whistle…well, it works is all I can say!
Yes I Am
‘Yes I Am’ opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar that grabbed my attention from the outset. As the track continues, the strings and drums are used to support all the vocals. This track is uplifting and sounds inspirational and hopeful. Again, this track doesn’t cut us off from the previous track and we can feel a sense of natural development as we progress through the EP.
Things speed up with ‘Come Over’ that has that same brassy jazz sound like ‘Love Drunk’, but is much more fun, enjoyable, and lively: all the members seem to be having fun, whether vocals or rap, both of which work well together to make this a track that you’ll just want to get up and dance to straight away. This is another track and you’ll have on repeat!
‘Melody’ is the probably the most ballad-like track: however, it’s definitely not pop and fits more with light R&B and acoustic music. It’s another mellow track, without the inspirational tone of ‘Yes I Am’ which was more holistic and incorporated everyone: here, ‘Melody’ is really focused on individual voices and how individual voices can build the track whilst working with each other. It’s not my favourite track on the EP, but it deserves a definite listen.
CONCLUDING REMARKS: Overall, this EP is a solid release: it definitely shows a new side of BTOB that we haven’t yet seen and plays with certain genres and does them well. Whilst there were no particularly iconic tracks, all the tracks were strong in themselves and brought something new by building on each other than being disparate in genre and theme. This EP is definitely worth your time if you haven’t yet had a listen!
Review written by Tariq