The album format has always been special to me. Whether it’s a full-length or mini, albums have the opportunity to tell stories and develop an act’s personal style. Occasionally, I dive in and offer in-depth track by track reviews, but sometimes a bite-sized overview is just as fun.
That’s what this feature is all about: sharing notable albums and offering some quick thoughts about what makes them tick.
Boyfriend – Love Style
Released June 13, 2012
1. I’m In Love (Intro)
As intros go, this is pretty standard Sweetune. I find it iconic, but that’s probably just because I’ve listened to this album so much! The angular synths offer a taste of what’s coming next.
2. Love Style (러브스타일)
Love Style is a concentrated pop glory, with each segment strong and catchy enough to work as a killer chorus. When thinking about modern K-pop’s inconsistent structures, this track is even more of a wonder. Sweetune are masters of melody, and that skill is infused in every second. The jerky, jagged synths contrast well with the bubblegum hooks, perched over a ridiculously addictive guitar riff. Even though Boyfriend have a couple songs that surpass this, pop music doesn’t get more perfect than Love Style.
One of the reasons I wanted to write about this album is that it’s the perfect amalgam of producers. You’ve got so many of my favorites here. Superhero is produced by the Monotree team, and its brisk, bright sound echoes Sweetune tracks of the era. The song is light and fluffy, and moves at a clip. The verses offer a rugged synthline, but the buoyant chorus is where Superhero really soars.
4. One Day (소나기)
We’re back to Sweetune with One Day, and you’ll know it from the very first waft of vocals. As with the entire album, melody is the star here. The song feels like an aural caress (and not as creepy as that sounds!). The seesawing synth keeps tension, while the chorus expands with a weightlessness that’s so satisfying. I adore the backing vocals here. Nobody arranges songs like this anymore. And that guitar in the bridge? It’s just wonderful.
5. Wonderful Girl (완전한 여인)
Wonder Girl comes courtesy of Hwang Hyun, who now produces all of ONF’s title tracks. This is an early taste of what a genius songwriter he is. The track has a harder edge than most of the material on the album, but climaxes in a rousing singalong that matches the punchy energy of the instrumental. This could have easily been a SHINee b-side. High praise, indeed!
6. Do (쉽게 보지마)
Apart from the title track, this is my favorite song on the album. We’re back to Sweetune for the finale, and they close things by replicating Love Style’s funky sound. I love how rhythmic the song is, driven by stabs of synth and a rollicking beat. But, it’s the chorus that steals the show. I dare you not to sing-along. Sometimes simplicity is best, and Do makes the most of its fist-raising hook. But, the track also leaves room for a standout bridge, which punches through the lockstep structure with surprising firepower.