Song Review: B1A4 – Rollin’

There are few “sure things” in k-pop. but the beauty of a self-produced group is that you can be assured of some sense of musical consistency. B1A4 has been that group for the better part of their career, driven primarily by the songwriting prowess of members Jinyoung and CNU. Leader Jinyoung has been in charge of every title tracks for the past five years, and Rollin’ continues this successful pattern by delivering yet another instant surge of dynamic pop prowess.

One thing Jinyoung knows especially well is the power of lush song arrangement to create moments of aural euphoria. His best work has a way of rushing over you, enveloping listeners in sweeping soundscapes that blend catchy pop hooks with a shot of pure emotion. The final moments of Rollin’ are among this year’s most stirring climaxes. I was worried when it was announced that B1A4 would become the umpteenth k-pop group to tackle the tired tropical house trend this year, but as with 2017’s strongest examples of the genre, Rollin’ blends its overdone elements with classic production finesse. In this case, Rollin’s tropical frame is given an anthemic rock makeover, augmented with heavy percussion and stadium-sized vocal layering.

For its first twenty seconds, Rollin’ is that same song we’ve heard over and over, fueled by familiar chirps and electronic percolation. But as soon as Jinyoung’s dramatic pre-chorus hits, Rollin’ elevates into a grand, sprawling slab of pop music that feels more immense than anything we’ve experienced all month. Though it substitutes an instrumental breakdown for the type of fleshed-out chorus expected from B1A4, this is the rare case of that structure working. Rather than pare down the track’s sound, this swirling hook increases the sugar-rush intensity that makes Rollin’ such a treat. By the time we hit the guitar-fueled bridge and round our way into the explosive finale, any concerns about the song’s simplicity are washed away by the pure thrill of its energy.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING  9.5



13 thoughts on “Song Review: B1A4 – Rollin’

  1. B1A4 are among my top favorite kpop artists, and although I was worried by the tropical teaser, I should’ve known that jinyoung would hit us with one of the best tracks of the year. It’s such a fun burst of energy as fall rolls in and summer dies down. Isnt 9.5 the highest rating you’ve given all year? If so that’s incredible and totally well deserved 🙂


  2. I’m actually quite surprised you reviewed this so positively.
    For me this is a massive disappointment from B1A4 who are arguably my favourite male group in Kpop. The drop is pretty underwhelming and the lack of vocals from such a talented group I think is a shame. Granted I don’t think the song is bad it would probably get a 7.5 from me by your standards but its definitely my least favourite release from B1A4 since their very early days.
    The lack of chorus is even more annoying when Jinyoung has written so many incredible melodic choruses before however it shouldn’t be judged on that.
    The tropical house trend seems to be grinding on you LESS with each release…I think I’m well and truly over it


    • It’s funny, because I feel equally surprised but from a totally opposite perspective. As I read comments and opinions online, it seems like the majority are feeling the same disappointment you are. I haven’t felt this much disconnect when it comes to a k-pop track in a long while.

      I definitely have my well-documented issues with tropical house, and Rollin actually follows a lot of the same structures I complain about all the time, but for me it was just an instant rush. It may adhere to many of the genre’s tired elements, but somehow it sounds unlike anything else released this year. To me, the drop feels more like a natural expansion of the hook rather than a tacked-on afterthought meant to cash in on current trends. But then again, I’ve heard many people argue the complete opposite, so I’m wondering what I’m hearing differently than others?


      • I do find it is growing on me, I initially may have been a bit dismissive purely on the tropical aspects of the instrumental and not given some bits of it credit.
        For the the drop still is a bit hollow but the build up to it is actually pretty amazing and I actually am really into the bridge and then the drop into the guitar, although that almost choral refrain is weird in the mix for me whenever it occurs.
        It definitely puts B1A4’s stamp on this trend and is kinda their own thing whereas songs like Hola Hola and Island could swap groups and it wouldn’t matter, but i think this is a little more unique than I gave it credit for initially.
        Definitely the weirdly tuned vocals over the top of the drop are odd and I am left wanting some more bass or something more exciting there. To me it just doesn’t quite work but I guess it’ll come down to personal taste in the end.
        I do hope they do a re-package or something because they are always so good to have new music from.


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  6. Love your highly finesse and well-thought reviews. I have a lot of anxiety over this mini album before its release and B1A4 has proven to me once again of their musical prowess and invincible charm in producing amazing music.. Thanks for confirming and endorsing that I have good taste in music… :))))


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