You would think anniversary fan songs would be something to look forward to. In reality, they tend to veer toward sentimental schlock that shares little connective tissue with the rest of an artist’s discography. Music like this is often referred to as a “gift to the fans,” but in my opinion the best gift an artist can give is a killer comeback with an excellent song.
B1A4’s 10 Times honors the group’s tenth anniversary since debut. But if we’re being honest, it feels awkward to hold this celebration without Jinyoung and Baro. I’ve got nothing against the trio of remaining members. Each brings something vital to the group. But, B1A4 haven’t felt like B1A4 for some time.
To their credit, they imbue 10 Times with a more dynamic arrangement than most fan songs. There’s no rule book stating that these releases have to be ballads, and I’m happy to hear the track kick up its tempo every once and awhile. If I had it my way, we’d take the excellent percussion from the bridge and reportion it across the entire song. After all, this is a celebration, not a slow dance! 10 Times is at its best when it’s building. This surge rarely results in anything more than a fake-out beat drop, but the journey is pretty satisfying.
Still, I’ve always seen B1A4 as an off-beat group, zigging where others zag. 10 Times could have embraced a sense of adventure, taking those cheesy caveman chants from the chorus and using them as the backdrop for a hands-in-the-air assault of every element that’s made their legacy so exciting. Instead, we get the expected sentimentality — bolstered by just a touch of B1A4’s bold spirit.