Since returning to its label after its 2014-15 lawsuit, South Korean hip-hop/pop/rock band B.A.P has released two mini-albums, and at the end of March, the men released their first Japanese album, “Best. Absolute. Perfect.”
Since its debut in 2012, B.A.P has released its songs in Korean (with English lines strewn in), but have also recorded Japanese versions and released them singly over the course of the four years. This album is a compilation of these works. With 10 of these works, in addition to three new songs, these talented musicians have done it again, reaching fans all over the globe.
The album opens with one of the new pieces, an intro song called “New World,” which is primarily in English (save for two Japanese lines). The opening lines, “We are under attack / This world is full of lies and deceptions,” automatically draws the listener in, as one hears shouts of military orders. Likely making a reference to its lawsuit in some lines, the listener already encounters an emotional journey in the first minute of the album.
The second song, “Kingdom,” is another new track, a personal favorite, and the primary promotional single. Set in its famous “rebellious bad boy” style, B.A.P gives another hard rock-inspired number about fighting for freedom and happiness and refusing to give up.
“Back in Time” comes next, the last new song. However, the track leaves much to be desired. Melodically, the song lacked a climatic moment of inspiration, and remains fairly stagnant and bland.
Then come the 2013 hits “Excuse Me” and “Hurricane,” great upbeat songs – the former about the absurdity of arrogant people thinking they’re better than you; the latter about coming in like a hurricane, popularity spreading all over the world.
Also from 2013 comes “Coffee Shop,” a slow piece with evident R&B influence. A heartfelt song about going to the coffee shop you used to go to with a lover, reminiscing on memories as you move on.
“One Shot,” (2013) one of the group’s biggest hits, follows, a brilliant darker hip-hop piece about only having one chance at life, giving everything your all, going against the world and following your dreams.
“Stop It” and “Crash” (2012) follow, two adorable pop-based love songs.
“Dancing in the Rain” (2012) is next, a personal favorite, a catchy pop song with intertwined love and sex themes.
“No Mercy” and “Power,” two more hits from 2012, follow. These songs also tinker with the darker sounds of hip-hop. The latter is a personal favorite for its strong message about fighting against injustice.
“Warrior,” the band’s debut song, rounds out the album, a powerful song about truth warriors rising up.
In this album, the listener encounters the amazing rapping capabilities of leader Yongguk and Zelo, the great supporting vocals of Himchan and Jongup, and the powerhouse vocal talents of Youngjae and especially Daehyun, notorious for his emotional high notes.
Though many people may not care to listen to music in languages they don’t understand, B.A.P is a testament to the universality of music. Blending multiple languages in its songs, B.A.P brings the world closer together through music that is easy to dance to, and may even teach you new forms of communication. Its melodies stir something in the listener that make you feel what the song is about, even if you can’t understand the words. Translated, these words are lyrically emotional and universal, and show that though we come from different cultures, we’re not as different as people may believe.