[Review] B1A4 continue run of quality in Japan with lush, melodic “Do You Remember”

Over the past few years, B1A4‘s Japanese releases have become a welcome continuation of the sound they’ve established in Korea. The group self-produces almost all of their material, and that extends to music composed for the J-pop market. This has proven to be a treasure trove for fans like me, as it means more title tracks produced by leader Jinyoung. New single “Do You Remember” retains his lush, ultra-melodic style, even if it might not be as explosive as many of the group’s best singles.

The song unfolds over an ornate backing of strings that largely takes the place of percussion, giving “Do You Remember” a slightly elusive, ephemeral tone. This is only compounded by the track’s mixing, which feels slightly too compressed for such a grandiose arrangement. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like there are some strange things going on with the audio levels, which causes some elements to stick out too prominently while others get buried.

This is a shame, because Jinyoung’s songwriting prowess is on full display here. “Do You Remember” is a continual crest towards pop euphoria. It almost feels like an extended introduction, never quite building to the crescendo that it promises. The guys’ layered vocals sound tremendous, and it’s hard to fault the song’s majestic ambition. The problem is that we’ve heard B1A4 tackle this sound more successfully in the past. By their own standards, it feels as if it’s missing that extra something special that might send it over the top. Of course, “B1A4 standards” are ridiculously high, so even under that criteria it’s hard to fault the song in any major way.

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