Single Review: After School – “Bang!”

Tracklist:
1. Let’s Do It!
2. Bang!
3. With U
4. Bang! (Inst.)

This is After School’s third single, which was released on March 25, 2010.

Pretty hot, but I could do without those ugly hats.

~

Of all the single/album concepts I’ve seen since getting into K-Pop, marching band is one I never thought I’d see. Starting off the single is Let’s Do It!, a fairly short (just under a minute and a half) introduction with multiple drum lines and a “brass section,” just like you’d find in an real marching band. It’s kind of hard to give a real critique on this little ditty – it is what it is, pretty much. The real meat of this single is yet to come.

Bang! is exactly what you probably think it is: K-Pop’s take on a marching band, complete with hard-hitting hip hop beats and synths blended in with the typical fixtures of snare drums and brass-sounding instruments. Vocally, there isn’t much to comment on here – a lot of the verses consist of cheerleader-esque shouting (which are pretty catchy) , and the ones that involve actual singing are only fair. I did end up enjoying the song, but I can’t help but wonder – what happened to that new member, Lizzy? As far as I can tell I don’t think she got a solo. Ah well. Maybe next time. Good song!

Okay, so here we have With U, a ballad. It starts out as R&B but then kind of unfolds into a sort of hybrid between R&B and rock. This is a really nice song in any other context, since the music and vocals are both pretty good, but I don’t get it. Why on this single? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense after the previous two songs, which both had a specific idea to them. I guess this song would have fit in better on the Because of You single, but here it’s just kind of…there.

Summary: With K-Pop, everything has to have a concept. Everything. One can never just put out a song and video and be done with it – there has to be a specialized, ridiculously specific image to convey, and one must keep that image up until the promotions for said song are over. Well, I will admit that “marching band” is one of the more unique concepts I’ve seen, all thanks to the group’s leader Park Kahi. The first two songs on the single stick to the theme with reasonable production quality and gusto to spare. The main problem I have with this single is that it flukes out on its own concept on the last song, even though it’s a good song in its own right. I guess I would have liked to see them stick with the theme until the very end.

Single Grade: B-
Recommended Tracks:
Bang!

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