Finally, after an almost two-year wait, Monbebes have been rewarded for their patience: MONSTA X, Starship Ent’s rookie boy group, have finally released their first full length studio album and the conclusion to “The Clan” series. On 21st March 2017, MONSTA X finally released “The Clan Part 2.5: Beautiful” (TCP2.5). It’s an album that was soaring through the international charts in the US, Japan, and Canada and other countries. This album in particular has gained MONSTA X a lot of attention, and understandably so: this album is a brilliant demonstration of their skill and particular style, which makes it a winning album. So let’s get straight into it!
Ready or Not
MONSTA X, in their typical MONSTA X fashion, open with a party track—the heavy rap-based electro-synth dance ‘Ready or Not’—to ease into their album. It’s a great intro into the album, with a sound that we’re familiar with from MONSTA X. The bridges and choruses are really well done vocally and contrast well with the rap lines, without losing the ferocity that the track is trying to convey. At any rate, this track is just an vocal introduction to what’s to come!
And we are eased into the appropriately named title track of the album, ‘Beautiful’, a hip-hop/synthopop and dance crossover with beautiful melodies and melodies that create a sense of urgency that we got in their ‘All In’ and ‘Hero’ but with the beauty and gentleness of ‘White Love’ and ‘Sweetheart’. It’s a brilliantly produced track and, whilst Jooheon’s intro is slightly jarring, by the time we get to the vocal bridges and chorus, we are blown away. It’s a beautiful track and one that deserves its place as the title track.
‘Incomparable’ eases us into sounds being produced by US artists like Kygo and Major Lazer, before moving into a more MONSTA X-esque energetic track that—unfortunately—is slightly too jarring. The verses are brilliantly executed (and those harmonies are brilliant!) But here, we get a track that sounds familiar to ‘Hero’ and that’s probably why we’re not feeling it…it’s nevertheless a great track and one that follows nicely from ‘Beautiful’.
Things slow down with ‘Need U’, a cool, jazzed-up and playful R&B track that, compared to the chaos of ‘Incomparable’, is totally welcome! It’s such a lovely track that would fare very well as a single track. It’s a track that harkens back to those early noughties R&B tracks but with a definite Hallyu twang that makes you love it from the first few seconds. This track is a definite winner!
In total contrast to ‘Need U’, the album moves into the heavy and rather chaotic ‘Oi’, a track that does the rap/hip-hop melodies and instrumentals far better than ‘Incomparable’. It’s a heavily synth-based track that shares the energy and craziness of EXO’s ‘Monster’, without the same sophistication. Whilst we know that this is definitely MONSTA X’s preferred style, it’s a hard listen if you’re not into this genre!
‘Miss You’, on the other hand, shows MONSTA X’s efforts to expand outside of their comfort zone, and ‘Miss You’ like ‘Need U’ brings MONSTA X to the forefront of our list again. ‘Miss You’, a track crafted by I.M. and Jooheon brings together vocals and rap-making as well as synths and pop instrumentals together beautifully without losing the feel of the track. It’s a very well produced track and a style that MONSTA X should start honing.
‘Calm Down’ moves back into another rap-heavy party dance track that uses heavy drumlines, rap lines, and synth instrumentals that are used far more naturally. Again, it’s a track in a genre that not everyone will find appealing, but it screams MONSTA X and keeps you listening to the end.
All I Do
Surprisingly, we move into a light funk-influenced pop track in the same vein as ‘I Need You’. It’s definitely synth-based and definitely electronic, but it has a sound atypical of MONSTA X and yet definitely executed by the boys. ‘All I Do’ is definitely a party track and one that is less jarring than more heavily rap-based tracks, and it’s track that everyone will move to!
5:14 (Last Page)
‘5:14 (Last Page)’ is MONSTA X’s highly anticipated ballad, and one that doesn’t leave you depressed and sullen! It’s an upbeat and sweet synthopop ballad which is soft on the ears. What makes MONSTA X such an amazing group is their ability to do tracks like ‘Oi’ as well as ‘5:14’, only demonstrating their skill and talents. ‘5:14 (Last Page)’ is a lovely track and a nice ease into the conclusion of the album.
I’ll Be There
The outro moves us into another ballad, ‘I’ll Be There’, a slightly slower and arguably more heartwarming conclusion to the album. It’s a lovely track but one that could have done without given ‘5:14 (Last Page)’. Nevertheless, if you were wanting something softer, then ‘I’ll Be There’ is the track for you!
As MONSTA X’s first studio album, this is a definite winner. It has only been two years since their debut and whilst they didn’t receive as much attention with “Trespass” and “Rush”, “The Clan” series has definitely changed that: this album is an absolute winner. It’s an album full of MONSTA X’s personality as well as attempts to branch out of their comfort zone and give us something a little bit different. All I can say is: if MONSTA X keep releasing music like this, then we need not ever worry!
Review written by Tariq