Review

Debut Re-Evaluation: 100% – Bad Boy

100% - Bad BoyK-Pop debuts can be tricky things. At times, they’re the best song a group delivers. Sometimes, they’re the only song a group delivers!

But, debuts can also be huge wtf moments in an artist’s career. In this feature, I’ll be looking back at debut songs through the prism of time, re-evaluating how well they hold up and how representative they are of an artist’s eventual singles run.


Debut Date: September 18, 2012

Review:

In some ways, Bad Boy (나쁜놈) is product of its time. In others, it still feels fresh today. I think this dynamic makes it brilliant, and has kept it vital all these years.

100% debuted as the second boy group from Top Media, though member Rockhyun had originally debuted as one half of the agency’s first pursuit: the short lived Jumper. When I consider the group’s legacy, my mind immediately goes to their vocal prowess. But although Bad Boy rattles off a few satisfying power notes, it’s much more concerned with its propulsive dance beat.

The track opens with a waterfall of distorted electronics, soon giving way to a percolating beat that is surprisingly minimalist. This empty space doesn’t last long, as Bad Boy clobbers us with insistent percussion. Its verse builds quickly, leading into a soaring vocal refrain, underlined by brushes of strings. This adds great drama to the track, which only grows during the second verse.

In this way, Bad Boy blossoms like many of my favorite K-pop tracks. It’s very Infinite-esque, actually. The track is single-minded, rarely pausing for breath. The rap is incorporated seamlessly, and the chorus is punctuated by a catchy chant that only adds to the instrumental’s driving rhythm. As with most of 100%’s work, Bad Boy is criminally underrated. And during K-pop’s strongest year, it threatened to get lost in the shuffle. But, it’s endured the test of time.


Does the song hold up?
Yes, even with some dated production choices

Is the song stronger or weaker than most of the artist’s title tracks?
When it comes to 100%, it’s in my top two.

Does the song represent the artist’s music going forward?
No. Their follow-up Want U Back has a slightly similar style, but they soon moved onto different sounds.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.5


~

8 thoughts on “Debut Re-Evaluation: 100% – Bad Boy

  1. This debut is incredible!
    One of the greatest aspects of 2012 was the amount of power-rookies we got, I love NU’EST, 100%, EXO and B.A.P-especially there first years!

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  2. incredible song – my favorite of theirs along with better day. justice for rockhyun who continuously sings his ass off for each comeback.

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  3. Nick! One question.
    Which year do you think has better months? 2012 or 2013?
    And which year was more consistent? 2012 or 2013?

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  4. I mean, what can I say. What Snuper are to you, 100% is to me. I love their music and will cry to the end that they never ever succeeded the way they could. I remember hearing this on day one and loving it. I remember being so disappointed after their hiatus, loving it when they came back as well. Then, the Minwoo tragedy happened, and I was crushed. All this while later, and I think that was the turning point. I really have not loved a song from them since then, though I liked a few. I wonder if they will come back, and I hope it will be as good as their old songs. RIP Minwoo.

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  5. This is still one of my favorite running songs, for the same reason that INFINITE’s ‘The Chaser’ is one of my favorite running songs: aside from being just really damn good songs they have a momentum that just keeps building and building.

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  6. Despite the nature of the beat, the song doesn’t get me moving until the chant. I like everything the guys do but the production threw me off at some points like the beginning. I definitely prefer “want u back”. The chorus sticks better in that song too

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