I’ll never be able to forget B.I.G’s (Boys In Groove’s) auspicious debut back in the summer of 2014. Hello was so lyrically cringeworthy that it almost became a case of “so bad, it’s actually good.” But more than anything, it just made me feel sorry for the guys. What a lame debut song to be saddled with. Since then, they’ve released a handful of strong — if not particularly memorable — dance pop, highlighted by last year’s excellent Between Night ‘n Music. The newly released Aphrodite (아프로디테) feels like their biggest leap forward yet, but is it enough to break them out of continual rookie status?
Aphrodite‘s jackhammer beat should at least alleviate some of B.I.G’s recognition problems. In fact, where the song’s melody veers decidedly toward the generic, the production absolutely shines. Big percussion, sprinkled with surging electric guitar, symphonic stabs and some deliciously funky synth accents combine to create an incredibly energetic hotbed of instrumental hooks. This gluttony of ingredients could easily result in an overstuffed, chaotic mess, but the song takes its time. There’s a wonderful moment during the middle eight, which strips back the vocals to focus on an extended drum break before giving way to the final chorus, with its dramatic rock guitar accompaniment.
While Aphrodite‘s melody doesn’t reinvent the wheel, its wholly competent and supremely catchy. The first half of the chorus feels a bit too familiar in structure, but quickly builds to a gorgeous harmonic crescendo. It’s an unexpected turn, and one that works well to offset the more common kpop tropes the song bases itself around. The rap verses, sprinkled throughout, flawlessly support the already addictive beat and add to the drama on display. I can’t say I expected much from this release, but Aphrodite is easily the strongest track B.I.G have given us so far.