Review

Song Review: Just B – Damage

Just B - DamageLike many newly-debuted groups, Just B boasts a line-up of familiar faces. Its members have established some notoriety through variety programs I-LAND (Geonu, JM), Under 19 (Bain, DY) and The Fan (Lim Jimin). Given this built-in fan base, their debut arrives with heightened expectation. And with word that title track Damage would be co-produced by B.A.P’s leader Bang Yongguk, curiosity reached a peak.

While Damage may not bring anything new to the overcrowded boy group table, it pulls off its familiar tricks very well. If an act is going to debut with this kind of overdone “dark” concept, they had better bring the drama. Damage heaps theatrics onto its EDM frame, with a chorus anchored by a hefty slab of synth and distorted choir of vocals. This overwhelming production makes up for the fact that the hook is little more than a simple chant repeated with panache. K-pop has always had a way of taking simple elements and making them sound larger than life, and Damage does this in a very satisfying way.

While the chorus stands as an obvious highlight, the song’s verses don’t simply fade into the backdrop. Damage opens with a catchy vocal hook that weaves its way through much of the track, helping to forge its chant-along fervor. Throughout the bombast, the guys’ vocals are placed front and center. They sound fantastic, especially when layered during the verses’ more rhythmic moments. A few descending spirals of melody give these segments plenty of movement and spontaneity, without making the song feel like a random hodgepodge of refrains. It all adds up to a polished debut, immediately establishing Just B as a rookie group to watch.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

28 thoughts on “Song Review: Just B – Damage

  1. Oh, Nick, we are miles apart here, maybe high 7’s at best for me. Above average standard dark theme boy band fare. The boys themselves are fine. But this is where I lament again about the state of kpop as a business.

    The songcraft is rather workaday. I found myself sighing out loud throughout, as the structure of the song is so predictable.

    Intro with the vocalise sample hook
    4 bars verse
    4 bars sung pre-chorus
    2 bars intense spitfire rap prechorus, next 2 bars bring back the singer and cue the snare
    Brief drop out, start the chorus on the 7 beat
    Chorus, important word Damage!, add intense synth wash, add the semi-drop and fierce choreo
    4 bars more intense choreo with sung adlibs
    Boom crash to introduce the second verse
    And so on

    I swear the songwriters and producers just open up the same file as last time, and copy over sections with some newer melody, new enough but different enough, like a machine cranking them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love this one! I mean it really sounds so legendary and full head on powerful to me. Everything about the song is just mind blowingly interesting and fascinating. The chorus really left a mark there. The arrangement, songwriting and production are all top-notch as expected from one of rap’s best producers. This will be in rotation for a while!

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  3. The rap is REALLY B.A.P like haha. I’m in two minds, I can take or leave the verses but I did not expect the chorus at all. It actually went for something different from what I expected. I don’t really watch those predebut show things so I’m not familiar with anyone but Lim Jimin, but I shall keep my eye out on this group since they seem like they got a lot of talent. They just need the right songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you haven’t already, watch the debut stage of the b track “Get Away.” Lim Jimin, who is their rapper (!) absolutely kills it….another YONGGUK song.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so happy to see Lim Jimin finally debut in a group. His solo stuff was excellent, but he’ll have more opportunities in a group.

    The song itself is pretty bland. Kpop certainly could use some fresh ideas, but at least I don’t find this poorly made or annoying, just uninspired. Hopefully they build more of an identity later on.

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    • I know, right!? I was so distracted trying to figure out what was going on with the football (or rugby maybe? Football uniforms don’t have shorts) + District 9-ish dystopia concept that I couldn’t figure out if I liked the song or not. The snips of choreo made me want to watch live stages though, so maybe it’ll grow on me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, so the one dude is holding a football and the helmets look like football helmets, but the shorts and elbow pads are from a hockey uniform. This actually makes me feel better – it’s just nonsense meant to look cool.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Didn’t see any music show perfomances yet, but this showcase clip is good (especially because you can actually see the choreography unlike MVs or music shows).

        The choreography is great and the song is growing on me too. Not really finding much that stands out on the mini album though besides the first two songs.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like this, and was very pleasantly surprised with the album track “Get Away,” which seems to come just when, after Blitzer’s debut, I’ve been left wondering if perhaps K-pop producers are afraid of actually going hard in their “hard” songs. But that’s me, as a former rock fan/slight metalhead, sometimes wishing there was some oomph behind all the bg posturing. I realize that approach might alienate fans with long-standing, bonafide pop fan credentials like Nick, though.

    This song has a lot more of a pop DNA than Get Away, I think, while still managing to sound larger than life. I LOVE (and I don’t use all caps very often) all songs with this sound they’re using in the chorus background (I don’t know what to call it. Any help so I can find more songs like these is very appreciated) I was instantly reminded of IN2IT’s Snapshot, a huge favorite of mine. The pre-chorus sounds a lot like the Taiwanese bg SpeXial, which is a sort of ironic bonus for me 😁

    Now, if this group will be a vehicle for Bang Yongguk to make more songs like these two, you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye out for them.

    Also, in a perhaps shallow aside, I can’t help but notice some of these dudes don’t look *quite* like the current impossibly pretty boy standard for K-pop groups, so that gives me some hope. If they look like BAP they might sound like BAP 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Get Away” is freaking amazing – this is my favorite kind of kpop for sure. Have you listened to P1Harmony’s two EPS and GHOST9’s first three? Lots of good stuff in there. P1Harmony’s single “Breakthrough (full version)” is one of my favorites. The recent release from PINK FANTASY is probably on your radar already, but if not, the b-sides are great too. ATEEZ don’t go rock as often as I’d wish from BLOCK B’s juniors, but their covers of “Black Cat Nero” and “Rhythm Ta” hit the BB sound (sadly I don’t think either are available streaming but they’re on YouTube). Last but not least, I cannot recommend VANNER enough to anyone who likes the rock/metal sound. “Form” is great (the MV is fun too – I’m not sure why Nick didn’t review it), and V, and 5cean both have several excellent bangers hidden in the b sides.

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      • Lol, rereading your comment I realized you were asking about songs with that specific instrumental, my bad! I can’t quite figure out which bit you’re talking about, but maybe some of the suggestions above will hit it, assuming they’re not all old news for you.

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        • Nah, it’s ok. I was actually quite surprised by just how much your list resembles the groups and songs that stood out to me in the past few months (months? A year? Lost notion of time a while ago already) right down to Vanner’s Form. Although P1H has been something of a mixed bag for me. Their two promoted tracks were fiiiine(-ish) but I found nothing of interest among their album tracks. I guess I’m not a fan of the particular sound they’re aiming for. Same with Epex, sadly.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Someone else who likes “Form”? I might cry! My favorite P1Harmony songs are Breakthrough, Nemonade, Reset, and Pyramid, but I really love hip-hop as well as rock, and I suppose they lean more in that direction than GHOST9 or BLITZERS. EPEX didn’t impress me at all.

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            • “EPEX didn’t impress me at all.”

              Same here. I have something of an emotional investment in those kids, but that debut was a fiasco on all levels. 😒

              Liked by 1 person

              • Aw, that’s too bad – I don’t really follow news about groups I’m not into so didn’t realize it was fiasco-level bad. I genuinely try not to get emotionally invested in any groups, especially new ones – so far my only real failure is A.C.E, those ridiculously scrappy and talented dorks.

                Liked by 1 person

              • I’m not sure I would call it a fiasco, given how popular they are – 30 million views. I’m not a big fan, but they seem to have great prospects.

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                • I’d hope so. Phew. Can’t throw them under the bus for a bad debut, can we? 😅

                  But what I meant by fiasco wasn’t the numbers but the fact that they teased a meaningful concept and then dropped something that was almost a random, ehem, “lurching” yoloswag song, with some lyrical gems like “spreading widely like Covid.”

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                  • OMG I LOVED FORM!
                    Also, while I think Epex’s Lockdown was alright, their Sling Shot is really good. I think it pulls from slow jam r&b, trip-hop, and post-punk without sounding like some kind of Frankenstein’s monster. And their vocal harmonies are rock solid.

                    Like

    • “Now, if this group will be a vehicle for Bang Yongguk to make more songs like these two, you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye out for them.”

      SAME HERE.

      Liked by 2 people

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