[Review] BAP’s Youngjae provides unbridled pop fun on “Forever Love”

Back in 2012, K-pop found itself lodged within an EDM trend. But, it didn’t sound like today’s EDM, where stop/start structures and instrumental drops abound. This particular trend tethered huge choruses to the euphoric beats of club music, resulting in many classic comebacks. Some of you are probably going to call me basic or stuck in the past, but I miss this style of K-pop dearly.

Every once and awhile a new track comes along that recalls this simpler, more anthemic sound. Sometimes, they materialize from the most unexpected of places. Such is the case with B.A.P member Youngjae’s second solo release. His debut dropped back in the spring, but was too generically tropical for me to waste time reviewing. “Forever Love” is relatively standard as well, but in a way we haven’t heard in ages. I adore its pulsing, insistent beat, I fawn over its mammoth, chugging chorus, and I give a standing ovation to its straightforward, momentum-building structure.

Going solo has freed Youngjae to record music unlike that of his former band. In fact, I doubt many of today’s idol groups would even mess with a song like “Forever Love.” It lacks the cool,edgy factor that most male acts tend to pursue nowadays. But in place of angst-filled brooding, we get the kind of chest-beating, feel-good melody that acts as a musical generator — spinning energy as it climbs toward its cathartic hook. This is present from the very start, as “Forever Love”opens with dramatic, layered vocals before pulling back to its guitar-assisted verse.

From here, the rest of the track plays out in a refreshingly unencumbered way, hitting all the peaks I’d hope for in a song of this nature. It may not come close to high art, but my god I’ve missed hearing K-pop songs with this kind of unbridled pop spirit.

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IATFB says: Certainly a throwback in certain aspects, though unlike those unforgettable numbers, “Forever Love” does lack a certain immediacy in terms of the hook burying itself into your brain. That said, I’m basically expecting it to grow on me even further than its already strong initial impression.

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