B1A4 have recently switched agencies for their Japanese material, signing with the massive Universal Music Japan. While this irritates me on a personal level since Universal almost never uploads full versions of music videos, it’s certainly an upward move for the group. I love how both of their j-pop labels have let them compose most of their material, just like they do in Korea. J-pop releases by Korean idols so often jettison a group’s core sound for something more suited to Japanese taste. B1A4’s music is so consistently good because they write and produce it themselves, and You And I is no exception.
Composed by leader Jinyoung, the song will sound familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the group’s back catalog. It’s a sunny, big-chorused pop song with bright instrumentation and easily hummable hooks. In other words, it’s exactly why I adore B1A4. The track kicks off on an energizing blend of pop guitar and filtered synths, giving the verses a forward-moving drive. You And I‘s chorus isn’t quite as big as some of the group’s classic material, but does a nice job blending the anthemic with the nuanced. Jinyoung has a knack for tying together multiple melodies to create something that feels simple on the surface, but engaging enough to keep listeners coming back for more.
With You And I, the punchy refrain is contrasted beautifully with Gongchan’s sweeter, softer post-chorus. If anything holds the track back, it’s the instrumentation. The sunny beat and surging pre-chorus build is nearly there, but the production as a whole feels like it needs one more kick to bring it to the level of the group’s best material. The song is almost too wistful for its own good, limiting its pop power. Of course, B1A4 are one of the best-produced k-pop acts out there, so this is more of a constructive criticism than any sense of disappointment.