Here’s my huge post on B.A.P’s One Shot Album. I’m not a professional on these, so most of this is personal opinion and thoughts. It’ pretty long so bear with me if you read.
Before diving into this I want to mention that it’s quite a shame I’ll have to post this when Himchan is still recovering from his injury. I really wanted to go in-depth on the members on stage since he has such a significant role in One Shot, but things do happen. I wish him a speedy recovery so that he can rejoin the other members soon.
After an entire year of nearly non-stop promotion, the boys have returned bringing elements from their Warrior/Power eras and expanding on their music with the One Shot album. I have never been disappointed with their releases, but this album in particular has really surpassed my anticipation and the group has really created something special. They were much more involved in the creation of this album than the last 2, and upon listening to the songs and watching the video, you can pick their personal touches here and there. It has a lot more rapping, which many fans have missed since Warrior. Not only that, but the vocal roles have been given a lot more diversity throughout the tracks. I’ve always admired the boys’ willingness to create a wide array of music while still avoiding the usual streak of typical kpop tracks (overly heavy synths, dubstep, etc). This album features strong orchestra and lots of guitar for a very cinematic, dramatic and emotional effect. Yongguk and Zelo are the real stars of the album, as their rap sections stand out the most and give the album a really firm personality. Daehyun and Youngjae have reached a greater sensibility as vocalists and explore their ranges through these 5 songs. Himchan and Jongup who are normally pushed aside are showcased much more here and they deliver beyond expectation. One Shot is an album that really concentrates on the fierce music and concept of the internal fight.
Punch as the first song, works very well as an opening. I’m glad it isn’t just an intro track (as many babys would agree that the intro tracks are great), but actually a full song, which could also work as the 2nd title song in fact. The group is known for their exciting and energetic persona, and Punch is quite a bundle and that and more. Daehyun’s signature high notes and Zelo’s speed rap are showcased very nicely here. Not only that, but the addition of the whistle as the group’s signature sound effect is featured here as well. I was initially bothered that One Shot would not feature the whistle sound (since it is after all such an important piece of B.A.P), but after finding it would be in the fan chant and in Punch, I understood the compromise. As I mentioned in my Hajima review, I wasn’t sure how long B.A.P would continue to use the whistle in their title tracks since it adds another level of difficulty when creating the music. Here, they’ve kept it in opening track so that it would not distract from One Shot because frankly, the song does not need the whistles and having the babys bring that element to the stages makes it all the more exciting.
One Shot (Song)
This song is not only powerful in melody, but the lyrics have an excellent message that states to work hard if you want to achieve something and to never lose out on opportunities. One Shot’s main features are Yongguk and Zelo, as they have been given the verses, composed primarily of rap. Also the One Shot hook is sang by Yongguk which is the most memorable part of the song. Himchan has been given significant lyrictime in this song, which is a pleasant surprise from his usual 1 or 2 lines of low phrases. In this song, his voice along with Jongup’s, have been served justice and their talents are showcased very well here . Daehyun and Youngjae, who usually do the chorus, have also done an excellent job carrying the song with their voices. I enjoy the fact that B.A.P likes to remake their famous references into songs (Yes sir catchphrase into the Yessir song, Dancing in the rain to Rain Sound, One Shot which is a line Power and Daehyun sporting boxing gloves in the Stop it album which could translate to Punch). I’m sure they don’t do that on purpose though, because each song has stood out on its own. One Shot definitely brings out the best in each member. The parts aren’t split up too evenly; Jongup as usual has the least lines. But as I’ve said before, he is their showman and his strengths lie on the stage performing the choreography. As far as a title song goes, this is definitely what B.A.P is made of and they can personally call this their own.
Rain Sound (Song & MV)
Rain Sound is a lovely contrast against the tougher tracks in the album, since the focus is on the vocals. It was a good choice to release earlier as it’s a gentle song, with the same emotional intensity as the others. Here’s a more in-depth look at the song and video which I wrote last month: link
Wanting to add to that, I noticed what a great job TS did connecting the 2 videos with such things as the shooting (members die in both vidoes) and their darker clothing style. Also the hospital scene could have maybe hinted to the song Coma?
I’m particularly fond of Coma, since B.A.P has never really had a song with this type of feel. It’s haunting and mesmerizing, and each member’s part is very gripping. The many different layers of instruments and sound effects make it all the more interesting. Himchan and Jongup who sing the build-up lines are the most memorable with their sharp vocals. Daehyun and Youngjae sing in hushed tones near the end, something they have never tried before. There’s also a surprise line from Secret’s Song Jieun who seems to now be B.A.P’s go-to vocal when they want a female cameo. I’d like to see how they would perform this live, since it’s very dramatic and heavy.
Unlike their other albums which usually end on a ballad sort of track, Zero is a yearnful song. The lyrics criticize societal views on fame and makes a note that they want to stand out. It isn’t a very usual B.A.P sounding track, but the message, uplifting melody, catchy chorus and combination of singing from the boys make it another unique addition to their collection. It’s a nice way to end the album, which is really just a big story.
One Shot (MV)
The video for One Shot really proves how much bigger TS wants to take the group. Since Warrior, they have been taking great lengths to create visually stunning videos and One Shot is probably their best one to date. Like Stop it, this has a plot, only this one could really be the setting for a movie. The general story is that B.A.P play the role of thriving gang members. When Youngjae gets kidnapped, the boys set out to rescue him by means of robbing money for the lavish $10,000,000 ransom he’s been put up for.
They then make their trade with their rival gang in a subway. Of course, villains will be villains and they end up killing Youngjae anyway. This causes a mass shootout where everyone ends up dying. In a very TS fashion however, there is a surprise; the video doesn’t end there and the story rewinds to the point of the trade. In the 2nd ending Youngjae is revealed to be a cop that betrays B.A.P and the rival gang in a surprising plot twist.
What I like about this MV is that the viewer gets to decide how they interpret the end of the story. And of course, this has caused much controversy among the fandom regarding Youngjae’s role. I personally prefer the second ending to the first. It’s a lot more realistic and seeing all of the boys die is quite a heartache. Youngjae himself mentioned that the role was nothing more than a role and he was only acting to play the part as best he could. His acting was especially impressive and admittedly, Youngjae was really the star of that video, like him or not. B.A.P’s acting as a whole was pretty good as well. They seem to be a lot more comfortable acting now than before (most likely because they wanted to do this concept) so hopefully in the future they will continue that streak. Non story line highlights in the video were the massive Matoki statue, an awesome way to represent their mascot, and also the tank which takes a nod to Yongguk’s “love” for war as seen in Tadah and his matoki counterpart Shishimato.
Zelo’s dance solo was also very amazing to watch and it’s a reminder at how multi-talented he is. In the other dance scene the group is seen dancing outside of jail cells which foreshadows the 2nd ending of the video.
Normally, I’m not too fond of MVs that feature other songs from the album (mostly because this means it hints at continuation) but here, the songs have matched up perfectly to the scenes in the video, and everything is contained in this single story, so I think the 3 songs (Punch, One Shot and Coma) worked effectively to share that. The cinematography was gorgeous as they combined locations in Korea and the Philippines to really achieve the look for their gritty gang scenes.
The shots were also readable, and the story is easy to follow along. Composition-wise I’ve noticed in nearly all of the scenes, the members mostly enter facing to the right (The ship going right, Yongguk and Zelo walking in the street, Daehyun and Jongup entering the alleyway, The group arriving for robbery, the group arriving to the subway) where as important scenes were left-facing (most of Youngjae’s scenes, which illustrates some contrast between him and the rest of the group). The only criticism here is the discontinuity of a few shots that babys have noticed, most noticeably in the shootout scene where the bodies are at different spots in each shot, since a scene like this is hard to replicate exactly the same over cuts (but really something you’d never spot unless someone points it out).
One Shot (Live Stages)
One of the key factors to One Shot’s edge is the intense choreography, the most intense since Warrior and Power. B.A.P are known for their stunning floorwork, and this song features a ton of it, from the push up move, to the floor air thrust, to the floor drop. In fact a lot of times they aren’t singing they are on the floor.
Another of their specialties are their stunts which can be seen in the leap frog move with Jongup and Himchan (Youngjae here).
In addition to those there are also the other key dance moves that define the song such as the head bob and the jumping in the chorus.
It’s a very powerful and charismatic dance that is sure to catch the eyes of even non-Babys.
Youngjae as Himchan’s substitute
There has been a lot of conflicting feelings about Youngjae substituting for Himchan during the past stages and I would like to address that here. Yes, we do all miss Himchan dearly. Out of all the members I actually wanted to see him sing his lines the most. But Youngjae is doing the best that he can to fill the spot while he recovers. I think TS made the right choice of having Youngjae take his place. Why Youngjae? Yongguk and Zelo have entire verses of rap to themselves. Jongup, who I thought would take the spot, could have possibly done it. But he needs Himchan to dance off of, and if he had done his sections, the song would seem imbalanced. So that leaves Daehyun and Youngjae. Daehyun has been known in the past to make mistakes in choreography, especially in freshly learned dances, and he needs as much concentration as he can for his high notes, so the choice had to be Youngjae. They smartly played up Youngjae’s cop character in the changes to the dance which was clever.
Listening to Youngjae sing Himchan’s parts you can easily tell that he’s forcing his voice lower than it usually is, which must be uncomfortable. So, if you’re displeased that Youngjae has to fill Himchan’s spot, please cut him some slack. He’s doing his best and I’m sure Himchan is thankful they were able to accommodate the performance for 5 while he rests. Let’s hope that he recovers soon.
Overall I am proud to say that this is an album that proves that B.A.P is not only strong in the vocal area, but in rap and dance as well. It’s a well-balanced and mature album. It is a reminder that B.A.P has and always will be a powerful group determined to break out of the shell of kpop and make a name for themselves. One Shot will be an era that not only Babys will love but an album that will be a remembered for 2013 in K-Pop. And remember, One Shot is not a Warrior 2.0. Warrior is Warrior. Power is Power. No Mercy is No Mercy. Crash is Crash. Stop it is Stop it. And One Shot is One Shot. Each of B.A.P’s eras have featured something the others haven’t. And together they have made them stronger and helped them grow further as artists. Here’s to the success of the group. Let’s continue to support them on their promotion and for their upcoming concert.