Apparently all our whining over their past few sub-par ballad releases was not in vain, as BTOB have come back with a rich vocal-centered mid-tempo dance track in “I’ll Be Your Man.”
I think we’ve all feared that BTOB would never be allowed to go back in this direction, and now that they have, it’s reminded me even more of just why I love it so much. The inclusion of strings in this instrumental is a huge strength and adds the perfect amount of richness and drama the melody demands. The melancholy piano, the build both within the melody and the actual beat, and the crying guitar in the background of the pre-chorus adds to the foreboding drama of the song. Which is more than fitting for the drop into the emotionally belted chorus.
The rapping had me concerned slightly, but overall I think they did a good job balancing it all. I think it breaks up the heaviness of the vocals, while the speed at which they’re delivered makes them feel just as emphasized as every belted note. Also, it was refreshing that Peniel‘s English verse and lines throughout the song were not terribly awkward. Although he is a native English speaker, for someone who probably learned how to rap specifically for an idol group in Korea, his flow and lyrics are unoffensive. Are they necessary? Probably not, but they never deter from the overall effort.
As rich and dramatic as the track is, the music video matches it very well. While the plot does feel a bit cliche, I thought they did a great job of giving off an excellent experience for the viewer overall.
The music video begins with the foreshadowing of the guard post, and goes throughout various shots of the members individually “roughed up” in their own sets. The main plot implies that Minhyuk‘s girlfriend, coincidentally Elkie of CLC, is in danger and they have to save her.
But, to slightly save the trope, we find that it was actually the girlfriend who set everything up herself.
BTOB clearly making the statement that these hoes ain’t loyal, confirmed.
In addition to the plot, the general church imagery added to the rather ornamental feel, and the choice to have their main dance outfits be full red velvet suits was appropriately luxe. I appreciated that they still managed to incorporate solid dance shots in with everything else that was happening.
One of my favourite parts of the MV was the clear visual shift that paired with the songs bridge, which was also right before the big plot twist reveal. It’s a rather small detail that really aided in the visual drama and listening experience. The palette shifts from the rich sets and colors to very minimalist shots of the members, letting the viewer know that something of importance was about to occur, and I thought it was really well done.
The fact that BTOB’s latest release is more reminiscent of their earlier songs like “Insane” and “Irresistable Lips” is a huge step in the right direction. While it’s not a full push towards what a lot of BTOB fans (and casual listeners) would like, it’s certainly given me hope that their agency has not completely dedicated them to being a ballad group for the rest of their career. Everything about this comeback feels very full and luxurious, and their skills are still on full display. Hopefully, this is a change that signifies they are not going to let BTOB become stagnant.