Saturday, June 23, 2012

[album review] bye bye badman - light beside you

Bye Bye Badman - Light Beside You
Released: November 3, 2011

1. Purify My Love
2. 테칼코마니
3. 노랑불빛
4. W.O.S
5. 인공눈물
6. Golden Nightmare
7. Bee
8. Low
9. About You Now
10. 5500-2


Bye Bye Badman is a rising starlet in the Korean indie scene at the moment, winning Hello Rookie of the Year last year and appearing at various music festivals. I only came around to checking out their 1st album this week, and I am thoroughly impressed by this album. With a Brit-pop inspired sound that's polished and rough at the same time, Bye Bye Badman is a band that shows maturity and professionalism that's surprising for their age. (The band consists of high school friends who are 21-22 years old) A lot of their lyrics are in English, and the lyrics in English are quite lovely as well.

There are some songs on the album that are upbeat and fun, like Purify My Love, 데칼코마니, 인공눈물 and Golden Nightmare that sound a lot like Brit pop, reminiscent of bands like Oasis and maybe even Blur. And there are some songs that are just plain light rock-n-roll, like 노랑불빛, and Low, that are quite fun. These songs are good and I'm sure they're fantastic live, but I found them a bit too generic. The Brit-pop songs, especially, come off as trite at times with obvious patterns in their development.

What really got me were the band's calmer songs. The ballad track W.O.S. is impressive with its string arrangement, while the last track 5500-2 is fascinating and not boring at all despite the length. However, the definite highlight of the album for me were Bee and About You Now. These songs are long. Bee is almost at 7 minutes while About You Now is six minutes long. But I found these two songs especially noteworthy: these songs have a sense of maturity that sets them apart from the rest of the album. Bee develops beautifully during the 7 minutes, with dreamlike sounds and great lyrics ("should have seen all the stars in your garden / I'm out of time"). All the layers of sound in this song, paired with the vocal Jung Bong Gil's singing, are beautiful, and when the song ends it's almost sad to see it go. It definitely left a strong impression on me.
About You Now is the other song that I really liked. The song is sung completely in English, and its lyrics are wonderful. "About you now, I was wrong, I'll let you in my hole", "I tried to be your star", "there's nowhere to go / it's all about you now". Simple but lovely lyrics. I really appreciate the lack of breaks between the verses, It was nice to hear something different after the generic patterns of the more upbeat songs. My bias for the slower songs is obviously because of personal tastes, though - I guess I'm in the mood for more emotional, grand songs at the moment.  

The album has an underlying theme of "light" (hence the album title, Light Beside You), which I found very interesting. In certain instances, the voice of the songs yearns to be "your light", and at times, it is your light. And in other moments, you are the light that he sings to. I think that's why Bee and About You Now are my favourite tracks. Because he "tried to be your star", but he's "out of time" with "nowhere to go" - and now "it's all about you". These songs aren't even consecutive, but they work so well together! (Although I might be pushing it too far, haha)

I see a great future ahead for Bye Bye Badman. Obviously there's room for improvement, but this is a solid start-up for the rookie group and I'm excited to see what they do next. 

No comments:

Post a Comment