Enthusiasm for this group’s comeback has been relatively high lately. Partly because they’re one of the more successful rookie groups that debuted around this time last year. This release marks BEAST‘s third mini album (and I read somewhere there’s a part 2 release set for November, correct me if I’m wrong). By now, they should have a firm grasp on the kind of music they want to deliver to the masses, at least at this stage of their Kpop career. So, how are things sounding in BEAST’s brand new ‘Mastermind‘ mini album? Well, in one word: Better.
I wasn’t much of a fan of their second mini album (Shock of the New Era), and don’t even get me started on their debut EP. From their humble beginning, I had deemed them absolutely worthless. Useless. Pointless. And just the fact that BEAST is made up of major rejects of other, much influential groups only reassured my initial judgment.
But being the considerate man I am, I always give everyone a second chance. In this case, a third. I mean, it doesn’t hurt me to listen if I’m willing to do so. At least, for the most part. And they have showcased their singing competence outside their promotional material at one point or another.
‘Mastermind‘ opens with the title track (as in the song with the same title as the EP, not the single) and I started feeling it once the rapper was done talking. Really, I don’t like that guy and I would prefer he be absent in their songs, if not entirely removed. It’s just that he reminds me too much of HyunA and her toxic role in 4Minute. He’s a male copy, basically.
The song has all those evoking nuances that pop music tends to posses to give songs that epic-sound. Haunting strings, great drums, etc. And it works. It segues into the single ‘Breath‘, which should have an MV release soon. I like this song. It has that ‘uumph’ I enjoy hearing in pop music and the way the strings were used at the end was a major plus. They mimicked the grungy noises they’ve got going on here to really bring this song together.
I always have an issue with Cube’s use of English in their music because 1.) their artists aren’t particularly fluent enough to pull it off, and 2.) it’s just used in really awkward ways. However, it’s tolerable in ‘Breath’. MUCH more than in ‘Shock’. The song would have been better off without the Engrish, but that’s just me.
‘V.I.U.‘ sounds like something 2PM would take under their wing, and with either group, it works really well. At least up until the chorus, which is one of the most annoying ones I’ve heard all year. BEAST sounds good, though. They sound even better in ‘Break Down‘, the mid-tempo R&B song. It isn’t necessarily catchy, but I kind of like that. It reminds me of Taeyang‘s musical style, but the actual song structure is that of 4Men‘s ‘Baby Baby‘. Granted, they will NEVER reach 4Men in the vocal department, but just the idea that they appreciate them enough to make a song that follows the same structure is note-worthy. If the instrumental played off of the melodies a little more, this song would most likely be my favorite from this group. Ever. But no, that goes to the following song.
The last track is the ballad ‘Clenching a Tight Fist‘, which was released in advance. This right here is what drove me to listen to their comeback EP in its entirety to see if they had really stepped up their game. And you know what, they kind of have.
This song travels at a comfortable pace for a ballad. It’s not too drowsy for the masses. Yoseob not only sounds great in this song, but the entire EP. He is the lead vocals, after all, but you know what? I actually like Hyunseung and Dongwoon’s singing a little more. I’m a fan of richer voices like Dongwoon’s and it’s a shame they think he has to have this hella-broad range to get a part on any song. He sings one stanza in this, that’s it! BS.
I appreciate that this group is veering away from the over-processed mess that tends to happen to their label mates 4Minute and are including great instrumentals to help polish their sound. I don’t necessarily love it, but will acknowledge their efforts with an enthusiastic “Good Job!”