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[Album Review] Beast – Midnight Sun (***)

23 Jul

After a stellar year atop everyone’s list of favorite artists in 2011, Beast comes back with their fifth mini-album, “Midnight Sun.” Because I truly loved their last album, I have very high expectations for their next. Inevitably, when they’ve set such a high standard for themselves, people would want to hear more and would anticipate an album that is as good as their previous one (Gee I wonder how Adele will follow up her album, that’s got to be a tall order).

As a general overview, I’m disappointed with the music of this album. I was hoping for a better sound considering the caliber of Fact or Fiction but instead this one lands more like a thud than a boom. Try as I might to not compare it to their previous one, but it’s difficult.

The best song on this album is “Midnight,” arguably the song that ought to have been the title track of this album. The sound here isn’t unlike “Fiction” but with a far livelier instrumental. I especially love the pulsating synth here as it contrasts the piano chord that encompasses the entire song. What generally surprises me about this track is how noticeably un-Beast like it is. It reminds me a little of a Big Bang track more than anything with its synths and electronic sounds.

The title track, “Beautiful Night”, is definitely an interesting track that grows more as you listen to it but it gets tiring after a while. I especially love the sound of the song–the powerful synths reminds me of summer club tracks from David Guetta–more than the actual singing. My problem with this song is how monotonous and dull the members are. They sound really distant and as much as I like the chorus, it does drag at the beginning before it reaches “I’m yours.” Another problem is how weird the structure of the song is–usually, songs crescendoes to a higher octave or to a busier ending (a climax). Here, the bridge builds up to a last chorus that is as dull as it ever was at the beginning with little added flair.

From there the album seems far less well-oiled. “Not Me” is interesting only at the beginning with the horns mixing with the chimes and synths but then the song ends up dampening the mood with the late-song rap that hinders any forward movement. Unlike SISTAR’s rap at the end of “Alone,” the song doesn’t build up to it but rather feels more tacked on and it doesn’t necessarily fade out as well as “Alone” does.

“When I Miss You” is a sweet song that features the boys’ best vocal performance in this album without sounding self-indulgent at all. It’s a dreamy track and I really thought that it’s a pretty standard track that doesn’t aim to be showy at all. “The Day You Rest” feels slightly self-indulgent only because it drags a little too long and the instrumental isn’t really nice to the ears. The monotony of the music hinders the freshness of the vocals as well.

The closer, “Dream Girl” is appealing but pretty standard. I love the “oohs” that the boy does here. It’s an R&B track that is unfussy and builds up to a nice finish that reminds me of the best parts of Fact or Fiction.

The album has its moments where I had to shake my head or roll my eyes but otherwise it’s a pretty standard pre-Fact or Fiction album for Beast. This isn’t their best material at all but it definitely has great songs and experimental sounds that sometimes do not pay off well. However, Beast showed so much promise in their last album that I can’t help but be excited by their music nowadays. Here’s hoping for a better outing next time.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Clarence

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