The dreadful and highly anticipated wait is finally over as Block B graces the Kpop scene once again with their wildly alluring presence and outrageously addicting music. After 8 long months, the group has finally returned with their first full length album “Blockbuster”! Many BBCs were thrilled to find a total of 12 tracks in the album, 2 being instrumentals and 8 of which were newly composed by none other than the leader of Block B, Zico himself. Within the first two weeks of its release, many of the songs in the album have already made it to the top ten lists of various music charts and the album landed in 10th place for the Billboard World Albums Chart! Whether people wish to acknowledge this or not, this comeback album is sure to be a block buster!
The album starts off with a dazzling song called “11:30”. Upon hearing the first couple of seconds of the track, one can already groove and sway quite easily with the smoothness of the song. The beat is distinct but simple with heavy R&B influences in its arrangement. Just to signify some commonalities, the feel and sound of this song is actually quite similar to the style presented in Shinhwa’s Minwoo’s solo albums. Lyrically the song narrates the anxious but happy preparation a man makes before meeting his girlfriend for a date. This song is an automatic addiction and will constantly be on repeat once you listen to it.
The second track is a short interlude that is comprised of orchestrated devices, enticing listeners to be prepared for what’s to come.
The title track “Nillili Mambo” follows up with its mad and exciting composition of musical extravagance. Nusoul, a participant of Superstar K, helped Zico compose and finish this song. According to Zico, it is a Hip Hop track seasoned with a theatrical orchestra and dance music arrangement. The main instrumental pieces used were string and brass, filled with middle to high register ranges in order to heighten the mood of the song. To smoothly sift through the composition of the song, reverb and delay effects were used to widen the sound space. Since the progression of the song was already so elaborate, a simple kick and bass pattern was implemented into the song. Everyone in the group also managed to wonderfully contribute to the song by adding their personality into the lyrics through the use of their unique vocals. This pirates and adventure themed song definitely leaves an impression on all those who listen to it.
“Mental Breaker” is the fourth song and as a brilliant surprise to BBCs and other fans, Zico finally unveils his vocal abilities in this track. The song contains a bouncy lead bass with a strong rhythm and beat protruding through the funky melody. This track is about the mental breakdown of a guy who is in a frustratingly head aching situation for he doesn’t know whether or not the girl is with is really with him. Does that make sense? If it doesn’t then well, I guess you get the point of this track. It’s a fun, crazy, and brain f***ing song.
As a stark contrast to the previous songs, “No Joke” is deeply rooted in Hip Hop and features the rapper line; Zico, P.O., and Kyung. This track basically slanders the recurring and unoriginal products of main stream music while explaining how one must work hard to push pass these societal standards in order to truly be something incredible. With its heavy and apparent bass booming from behind the simple but catchy tuneful mix, this track slaps! The noticeable whistle that melds with the beat of the track also adds to the appeal of the song by balancing out the hard tempo with an erratic tune. It just goes so hard I don’t even know how to explain. All I know is that once you come upon “No Joke”, it’s over. From there on out, you’re bobbing your head, moving your body, popping and locking, tutting and krumping, and discovering more swag dance moves you never knew you possessed.
To mellow out the tone of the album, “Movie’s Over” possesses a softer and easy flowing R&B arrangement. The song is able to grab people’s attention right away with the guitar session’s intro and B-Bomb’s silky vocalization. The song is about finally being able to get pass the hardship of a break up by moving on. Again, Zico also sings in this track, delighting many fans as well as frustrating others. The debate here is that there are four vocalists in the group, Taeil, Jaehyo, B-Bomb, and Ukwon, who already have so little lines and so why is it that Zico gets to sing the most? However, Zico has already explained before that all of the members “audition” for parts of the song and those parts are given to whoever suits them best by majority’s vote. Therefore, the group agreed for Zico to sing the most. Although I do want the other vocalists to sing more, I just appreciate the fact that I get to hear Zico finally sing. Hopefully the other singers of the group will be more prevalent in future songs once they improve their vocal abilities. However this is not in any means, my way of degrading the amazing talents that the vocal line already possesses.
The seventh track is lead vocalist Taeil’s solo song entitled “Where are You”. This song is rather unexpected from a group like Block B but yet again, Zico proves his ability as a composer by creating this soothing ballad. It is soft, quiet, and simple, allowing Taeil’s powerful and smooth vocals to shine through. The song portrays the complex emotions that run through a person who still longs for their past love, wondering where they are now. This track is very nicely put together and functions as the tool to tell listeners that Block B is more than just a generic “Hip Hop Idol” group.
The last new song is called “Romantically”. It possesses elements from Jazz and R&B with key points in Hip Hop. The way this whole song is composed makes it very alluring and will be able to draw in listeners from all over with its lustrous arrangement. All of the members were also evenly featured in this song and boy, did they amaze me with their vocal talent. Now, I know that Taeil possesses some awesome pipes but to clearly hear Ukwon, B-Bomb, Jaehyo, and even Kyung sing so soulfully just blew my mind. Now they may not have voices that are as powerful as other singers, but the simple fact that they are able to carry their voices in such a soothing manner grants them an A+ in my book. The scatting that Taeil delivers is also really amazing and adds even more spunk to the song. The title says it all, this song is extremely romantic and sexy, setting quite a sensual atmosphere for those who listen to it.
Overall, I feel that this album is not cohesive in the fact that the songs ran wild in every which way but I still love it so much. Despite the stigma that Block B possesses in the public’s eye, I believe that this group truly possesses something unique and special. They will be able to go far and this album is solid proof of their abilities to do so. Please help support Block B by purchasing “Blockbuster”; you may feel that their style is somewhat off and unpleasant at first but trust me, their music will reel you in and you will forever stay.
This is the MV for the title track “Nillili Mambo”
Review By: Samantha Her & Alona
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