Review

Song Review: JBJ95 – Spark

Neither of JBJ95’s past title tracks were instant hits with me, but both proved to be growers over time. While trendy, their music doesn’t feel like typical idol fare, focusing on sentiment over performance-driven gimmicks. This approach isn’t very flashy, but it’s well suited to a vocalist/rapper duo like them. New single Spark (불꽃처럼) shimmers with atmospheric 80’s synth, which might as well be specifically tailored to my taste.

I love these kind of mid-tempo, synthpop songs. We hear them every once and awhile in K-pop, but rarely as title tracks. They’re not showy enough for most groups, but they have a resonant quality that tends to stand the test of time. For me, Spark is JBJ95’s most immediately engrossing track yet. Its opening collage of synths is par for the course, but is quickly followed by a shot of pop melody that feels both familiar and refreshing in today’s hip-hop heavy landscape. Kenta’s expressive voice proves a perfect match for this mood. The contrast with Sanggyun’s playful rap has never worked better.

What I like most about Spark, though, is that it constantly seems to be growing. It kicks off as a whisper, but snowballs into more vivid territory as the synth-fueled instrumental gains steam. Too often today, EDM structures force a song to fit within a stop/start arrangement that lacks the kind of fluid storytelling pop songs can craft so well. Melodically and sonically, Spark has a natural arch that makes it a very satisfying listen. The chorus resounds with multiple hooks, underlined by chugging electronics that add weight to the track. Spark could easily by the modern-day answer to a John Hughes movie soundtrack, and that’s no bad thing.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

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2 thoughts on “Song Review: JBJ95 – Spark

  1. This is a very nice, pleasant song. I mean pleasant in a very nice way. It isn’t ambitious, but easy on the ears and well done. I also enjoyed their “Home” song, less so “Awake”.
    One benefit of being a duo is that the lead singing timbre is consistent throughout, and without the constant shifting to yet another member for one line each. It makes the song and their overall sound much more holistic. It is actually sung through – same reason I enjoyed the Kim Jae Hwan and Nam Woo Hyun releases earlier this year.

    Like

  2. Oh my gosh THIS is what I’ve wanted. It suits them so much.
    It really does sound like a B-side I would have whined about being better than the title track though

    Liked by 1 person

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