There are some K-pop voices that instantly take me back to a different generation. Yang Yoseob’s tone was vital to the early 2010’s, gifting Beast’s music with a unique quality. Its clarity and lightness are immensely calming, capable of delivering powerful dance tracks as well as more typical ballads. In short, I could listen to him sing anything. However, that love is put to the test when it comes to new single Brain.
To be honest, if I didn’t run a K-pop review blog, I’d probably not approach this song at all. I find Brain hopelessly dull, despite my fondness for Yoseob’s performance. Like much of his solo work, the song finds a juncture between alternative R&B and coffeeshop, but fails to do anything interesting with those genres. Muted guitar and gentle percussion make for snoozy bedfellows, rarely rising above a hushed whisper. The track is just sprightly enough to dance to, but it’s a subdued sway rather than a head-to-toe workout. That’s fine. Not every song has to pull you to the dancefloor to be successful.
The biggest problem I have with Brain is that its melody isn’t engaging. Obviously, Yoseob is singing all the way through. Yet, the songwriting feels inert. Nothing’s really happening. The chorus opts for a slinky bit of drama, but never builds toward one knockout moment. A few days ago, I wrote a critical review of NCT 127’s Sticker. I still think that song is a mess. But, I’d always opt for an obnoxious mess over something that puts me to sleep. Pick your poison, I guess…