Feature

Bite-Sized Album Review: History – Desire

History - DesireK-pop history is stuffed with great albums, and there’s only so many Buried Treasures and Battle of the B-sides features available to cover all these noteworthy tracks.

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.


History – Desire

History - I Got U

Released June 23, 2014


1. I Got U


As problematic as Thicke’s Blurred Lines is, we can thank the song for kickstarting a bass-heavy trend that worked its way into K-pop during 2014. I Got U improves upon the sound, opening this incredible album with an indelible groove. The melody follows suit, hugging the instrumental for maximum rhythmic impact. I love how this track never slows or falters. It only becomes more addictive as it goes on. This is maximum funk overload, and I am here for it!

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

2. Psycho (싸이코)


Following I Got U is a tough challenge, but the guys keep the funky sounds coming with the upbeat Psycho. Despite its title, the song forgoes angsty darkness for a sharper pop sound. There’s still plenty of pathos to be found, similar to VIXX tracks of the era. But the best thing about Psycho is its multi-part chorus. The song doesn’t simply opt for one killer hook. It stacks refrains on top of each other. I also adore the brief Bohemian Rhapsody-esque vocal flourish during verse two! And then there’s that super cool synth line during the bridge. This is just stuffed with musical goodies.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

3. Nobody Nowhere (태양은 없다)


The energy dips just a bit here, though Nobody Nowhere is still quite up-tempo. Spanish guitar joins the mix, ornamenting a strummed, shuffling instrumental that pulses with emotion. This is such a solid example of 2014-era K-pop b-sides. It feels classic in approach, yet specific in its intentions. The melody weaves this way and that, culminating in an emotive chorus that drives the sentiment home. The overall effect is reminiscent of their excellent 2013 title track What Am I To You.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

4. It’s Alright


We’re back to a sleek funk assault with It’s Alright. The percussion hits hard right from the start, soon joined by nimble rhythm guitar. The hooks are brighter this time around, but just as potent as earlier tracks. The guys really sink their teeth into the beat, imbuing even simple melodies with real life. The harmonized chorus is a treat, along with the charismatic rap that drives the second verse (without shifting tempo or energy!). SHINee fans will love this one.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

5. Blue Moon


Moving back to darker sounds, Blue Moon maintains the energy of the four songs before it. Its swirling – almost mystical – sound puts a great cap on the album. I love the blend of slower melody and driving beat. The contrast makes for a striking arrangement. History’s vocals sound amazing as always, especially as the bridge filters out to reveal a beautiful blend. In fact, the final third of the song is incredibly dynamic, pulling back and surging forward.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

Album Rating: 8.8


2 thoughts on “Bite-Sized Album Review: History – Desire

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