Since their return in late 2015, B.A.P have swung wildly between concepts and tones, giving us lighter fare like Feel So Good and That’s My Jam sandwiched between the edgier Skydive and Young, Wild & Free. They’ve maintained a remarkably high quality throughout, and that doesn’t change with new single Wake Me Up.
Wake Me Up draws an effective middle line between the group’s melodic and aggressive sides, contrasting hard-hitting rap verses with one of the best choruses of their career. The track is beautifully produced, swinging forward on a dense, electronic beat that keeps the tempo relatively slow without sacrificing any energy. The combination of swirling atmospheric synths and stadium stomp gives the instrumental a potent power that steals attention immediately. The chugging guitar during the verses recalls classic adrenaline-pumping anthems like Eminem’s Lose Yourself, and adds needed support to the extended rap segments.
But Wake Me Up‘s true strength lies in its dramatic chorus, which pairs a spiral of filtered falsetto with an anthemic refrain that rushes in like a tempest. I love how the melody hangs on longer than you’d expect, taking a syncopated approach that diverges from the lockstep beat that frames it. In another song, this hook may have seemed too busy or wordy, but it’s perfectly realized here. B.A.P’s music has often been about big statements. I’ve always appreciated their ambition, even if the actual songs didn’t quite match up with their messages. But Wake Me Up feels like a declaration — the kind of song that could inspire more than just a fanchant or two. In its own way, it’s the most convincing the group has sounded in years.