B.I.G have been on hiatus for over two years. In that time, a member has enlisted, another member has been added, and the guys struggled through the failed opportunity that was KBS’s The Unit. Although I’m an eternal optimist, I’d long since given up hope that B.I.G would ever return to the idol landscape in any meaningful way. But to my surprise, Illusion was announced last week as the group’s new single album. It’s even paired with an Arabic version – an unusual approach for K-pop.
Despite their underrated status, B.I.G have delivered some very strong tracks in the past. Songs like 1.2.3 and Aphrodite were better than they had any right to be. Sadly, Illusion doesn’t match up. Though it’s a solid offering in its own right, it rehashes too many of K-pop’s overused trends to stand out. There are a few Arabic influences thrown in, but Illusion reads as more Latin-inspired to me. Its chugging, tropical percussion feels ripped from any number of tracks of the past few years, keeping a steady beat but failing to bring anything new to the table. The production briefly revs up during Illusion’s chorus, injecting a pleasant splash of synth. But overall, the instrumental never pushes itself to be interesting or unique.
The same could be said about Illusion’s melody, which is oddly bland. The chorus has an unconventional structure, drawing on the guys’ falsetto for a smooth refrain that nevertheless lacks impact. The rest of the track is your standard, meandering boy group fare, changing direction too often to establish any memorable moments. There a peaks of potential, but in the end Illusion doesn’t quite know what to do with itself.
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