Just the other day, I was going through my old B1A4 albums and realizing just how much I miss their presence in K-pop. Nobody has taken up their bright, quirky mantle. To be fair, they’re difficult to replicate since so much of their material was self-produced, but when Jinyoung comes back from the military I hope that he’ll consider writing for other idol groups. Nobody writes a K-pop song quite like him.
As far as I know, Sandeul wasn’t as big a behind-the-scenes presence in B1A4’s music, but he’s taken the reins for his solo career. He co-composed new track Smile Box (작은 상자), tailoring its tender coffeehouse style to his always-solid vocals. With that said, I don’t think Sandeul and I share many musical preferences. I can admire the artistry of a track like this, but it’s not something I’d listen to often.
Smile Box is as much about sentiment as it is song. Its acoustic-guitar led instrumental has a comforting warmth. It’s the kind of sound you want in the background when lounging in bed on a summer morning. Sandeul’s vocal elicits the same feeling. It almost doesn’t matter what he’s singing. Even when the melody devolves into errant whistling, the entire thing is so hushed and pleasant that you hardly notice. This kind of music certainly has its place, but I can’t help but wish that it rekindled some of that magic we got from B1A4. Oh well, at least Sandeul is still releasing material. That’s more than I can say for the rest of them – at least for the moment.
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