Block B’s fifth mini album, “Blooming Period”, released on 11 April 2016, has been much awaited. It is the group’s first album in 1 year and 7 months since their last one, “H.E.R.”.
Though I only started getting into Block B’s music towards the end of last year, I had much anticipation for this release after listening to their past works, and in the meantime, Zico’s solo works.
With Block B, you never know what to expect from them. Or you thought you know, but they will surprise you in unexpected ways – much to the credit of the very talented Zico, their frontman and producer.
The album opens with 몇 년 후에 (translated: A Few Years Later), the first single to be released two weeks before the album dropped. Of neo soul genre, it is soulful and groovy and presents a more mature sounding Block B both musically and vocally. The vocalists, especially, shine on the track, along with P.O’s rap part. The intricacies of the song arrangement can be heard on the instrumental version of this song, which makes up the last track on the album.
I would use one word to describe the title track, Toy: brilliant. An intriguing theme, great storytelling with the lyrics, catchy melody, strong hook (“I’m your toy”) and a song arrangement that adds variety and dynamism to the song.
사랑이었다 (translated: It Was Love) was originally a track on Zico’s digital single, “Break Up 2 Make Up”, for which Luna of f(x) lent her voice. This time around, it is positioned as a Taeil’s solo. I never paid much attention to this song previously but Taeil’s rendition made me sit up and listen. For now, I’ll just say it’s a really beautiful and haunting song.
Park Kyung wrote both the music and lyrics for Walkin’ In The Rain, with Zico and Score Megatone sharing lyric writing and composing duties respectively. It’s a straightforward, upbeat pop song. It may not be as outstanding compared to the rest of the tracks on the album, but it’s hard not to bounce along to the rhythm.
The song with the most attitude on the album has got to be 빙글빙글 (translated: Round And Round). Written by Deanfluenza (also known as DΞΔN in his singer role), it’s the only song in the album that is not written by Zico. B-Bomb and U-Kwon sing on this track, with Zico taking on the rap parts. Considering the style of the song which is somewhat BASTARZ-esque (here’s a sampler), it cannot be more appropriate that U-Kwon and B-Bomb take on vocal duties for the song.
Something great to see from this album is that individual members get to show their individualities on the different tracks. Perhaps, it’s a reflection of how much the team has achieved in the last two years, where they embarked on solo or unit activities.
With only six tracks – of which one was previously released and another is an instrumental version of one of the singles – totalling just slightly over 22 minutes in length, the album might seemed a tad short. In my opinion, it says what it needs to say and sets the stage for more to come from Block B.
I’ve not gotten tired of the songs yet although it’s the only album I’ve been listening to since its release. I’d rate it a 4 out of 5.
Check out the songs from “Blooming Period”: