By their very nature, ballads are difficult to write at length about. The vast majority follow a similar template, with a greater focus on performance and sentiment than novel production touches. But, when a ballad hits, it hits big. This was the case for BTOB’s late-career breakout It’s Okay, which reinvented them as a compelling vocal group. They’ve released plenty of ballads since, but it’s been awhile since we heard them deliver a good old fashioned belter.
This idea provides the framework for BTOB-Blue, a sub-unit made up of the group’s vocal line. When It Rains (비가 내리면) is their second single, and really gives their voices space to shine. The song itself is formulaic to a fault, as it builds from the softness of its opening verse to the vocal bombast that makes up the climax. But with a ballad of this nature, most listeners would likely feel a bit shortchanged if it subverted expectations.
And really, the first two thirds of When It Rains don’t really matter too much. The song is all about its explosive finale, where the guys’ voices join together for the kind of aural fireworks show that makes a slow build worth it. This series of extended power notes is first hinted at during the second chorus, which ups the drama before the floodgates open for the final key change. Electric guitar enters the fray, and the guys form their own version of a K-pop gospel choir, knocking listeners flat with the sheer audacity of the arrangement. At worst, it’s all a bit turgid in its overblown sentimentality, but that same sense of emotional bloat is difficult to resist.