Now that Block B is finally back, I find that 90% of my fandom time is once again devoted to these seven boys. These days, I’ve been listening to their first 12-track full-length album, ‘Blockbuster’, on repeat. Because it’s that good. They’ve definitely made good use of those eight months since the controversy that made them halt their ‘NanlinA’ promotions in February.
There are two songs (‘Halo’, ‘Did You Or Did You Not’) that are off their previous mini albums ‘Welcome to the Block’ and ‘New Kids on the Block’, which is a little bit of cheating on their parts, but I do enjoy them both so I’m not complaining… much.
I’m not really sure why, but listening to this just makes me feel like doing incessant body waves across the room (particularly during the ‘baby, I~~~’ part); it just evokes that kind of response – partly because of memories of U-Kwon‘s teaser as he dances sensually and then leans against a wall. This is what some would call a baby-making song, I mean, even the lyrics seem to hint at it: ‘I become excited for no reason oh / (do you want it) / if you think like I do’. It’s got a very distinct chill, R&B vibe, which is easy to get into and a nice opener and lead-up to the louder, more dramatic title track.
Nillili Mambo (닐리리맘보)
It’s no surprise that this is the title track since it has a lot of mass appeal, and seems to be most in line with Block B’s current image as fun-loving but badass guys. The pirate concept that they went with for the MV was a great choice, since it’s so unique and helps showcase their vibrant personalities. Part of the reason why I prefer this comeback over ‘NanlinA’, is that while that was energetic and catchy, it was a little too cool for my tastes and didn’t come across as as much fun.
‘Nillili lalala nilliliya nillili mambo’ and P.O.‘s ‘we bobbin’ to the music music this song is groovy groovy’ are probably the two lines that’ll you’ll find hard to get out of your head after a few spins. Besides the hook, the sweeping orchestral music also feels very grand and pushes the song to more powerful territory that definitely makes an impact. It’s the kind of song that has the ability to convert non-fans into BBCs, in my honest opinion. I also absolutely love Taeil‘s and U-Kwon’s lines here simply because they sound so good.
This song is so much fun! ‘Mental Breaker’ starts out with a very oriental intro before the ‘ooh ooh!’ interjection comes in and its dance fever from then on. I love that every single time I listen to this song, I picture Kyung shaking it all over town like he did in the teaser; it just brings a big smile on my face. The lyrics are essentially about being in this sort of relationship that’s not been defined, so you don’t know if the girl is your girlfriend, or if she simply looks at you like an older brother – so quite the headache-inducing situation to be in. The entire song has a very funky feel, with influences of Euro-pop, which may be due to the fact that it’s composed by two Swedish guys, Marcos Ubeda and Kevin Borg. And the teaser aside, Kyung’s rapping shines here for me, because you can tell he’s totally embracing the infectiously upbeat attitude of the track.
No Joke (장난없다)
It seems like every album they put out, there’ll be one track that’s full-on rap – previously it was ‘LOL’ and on here, it’s ‘No Joke’, a combined effort of our rapper line made up of Zico, P.O. and Kyung. Unpopular opinion time, but this is probably my least favourite track, which actually isn’t saying a lot in an album full of gems, I guess. Just that this one’s perhaps one that’s just a little less shiny for me.
I can definitely see why people rave about this track because it’s totally badass, but it’s really a matter of preference since I usually prefer their more melodious songs – some singing or hook to balance out all that hard-edged rapping. And was I the only one who had to look up the lyrics to realise that Zico was actually chanting the words ‘No joke no joke no joke’?
I was interested in listening to the full number ever since I heard it in P.O.’s dramatic movie-like teaser, and this is definitely another standout in the album, one I think would be a great follow-up to ‘Nillili Mambo’. Co-composed by Zico and Superstar K4‘s Gye Bum Joo, this track features our leader on the bulk of the vocals, and really, who knew he had that in him? Zico’s singing voice isn’t very powerful but it has a certain raw quality that’s able to effectively bring out the emotions in this song, though I do wish the line distribution was a little better and that the other members got to showcase their vocal abilities more too. This song is so soothing to listen to, and the only thing I didn’t quite like was Kyung’s rap bit that felt a little rushed and out of place here.
Where Are You
This is a full on ballad, and a first-time solo offering from main vocalist Taeil, who wrote the lyrics and composed the song. It starts out pretty generic but once the chorus hits, I’m hooked. It sounds like a track you’ll find in a drama OST, perhaps playing as the credits roll at the end, but what’s so lovely about this song besides his beautiful emotive range and the wonderful control he showcases, is just the sheer fact that he’s really selling the song. Listening to this, I’d without any hesitations believe that he’s completely head over heels in love over the girl he’s singing about. Swoon-worthy.
Written by maknae P.O., this is my favourite track, hands down. I’m sure this will probably change after a few more listens of the album, but right now, I’m completely smitten with it. It’s just so sexy. I love the line distribution here and that B-Bomb and Jaehyo get a substantial amount of lines, although this does mean that main vocalist Taeil gets the shorter end of the stick. But it’s worth it just to hear B-Bomb singing the chorus, which is incidentally my favourite parts of the song.
The whole number has a very jazzy vibe, and I’m not sure who does the skatting here but I may or may not be in love – it’s such a wonderfully appropriate addition. This is one song I really would like to see them perform live. It’s great that Block B aren’t afraid to explore uncharted territory and divert a little from the distinct hip-hop sound that we’re used to; it just goes to show how versatile they are and how they can essentially rock any style.