Review

Buried Treasure: BTOB – Higher

BTOB - HigherA K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


BTOB’s new album is strange in the fact that its second half is much stronger and more varied than its first. Usually, artists lead with their most ear-catching material. Be Together is a rather subdued affair. Even its dance tracks have a soft air of sophistication. But then — ten tracks in — we have Higher, which rocks out with full abandon.

This song just rips the entire album open, offering a jolt of excitement that contrasts everything around it. Rock guitar chugs along, giving way to aggressive percussion as Higher barrels toward its chorus. The second verse offers a fun retro breakdown, funky and brisk and surprisingly well-calibrated to the other pieces of the song. A half-time bridge is less welcome, but the constant presence of guitar ensures a sense of continuity. And, this segment builds toward a satisfying power note before Higher climaxes with an insistent refrain. The drama of the arrangement feels well-suited to the Kingdom: Legendary War competition, which makes me wonder if it had initially been pitched for that series.

Whatever the case, this is the dynamic sound I wish the guys had returned with. We know they can deliver a comforting ballad, but a big rock track would have showcased their vocals in a different way. I’m sure Higher would make for one hell of a stage performance as well.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

4 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: BTOB – Higher

  1. Hard agree on this one!! A stage performance would have been lit! Highlights everyone nicely and is a blast from start to finish! Even I enjoy this sound from BTOB more than their ballad style – like honestly I might even say my all time favourite kpop song is their debut Insane! ❤️ I can listen to that on loop forever and I really wish they go for that kind of a song again! It will 💯 stand out and I really can’t think of any groups today who can do that kind of song…

    Also really happy to hear Hyunsik and Sungjae – their vocals are really adding to the color 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally agree! It wouldve made a much greater impact on their comeback. I’ve also been longing for even just one segment where they come out as a full on rock band haha. They’re very talented and versatile.

    However, I also love that they stayed true to themselves. They never really follow the norm, they break it. I feel like the later tracks in the album are them saying that “Yeah we know we can show the world that we can bigger, better, bolder and wilder.” Yet BtoB – the adorable dorks that they are – would rather reflect on their humble beginning and perform a tribute to their Melodies on their 10th Anniversary, reaffirming their promise to them and to each other that this is still only the beginning of our journey, we will keep singing together forever.

    This kind of behaviour is why, after so long, I finally settled on a fandom family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s normally not the kind of rock song I turn to feed my need for riffage, but this OTT passionate performance just drags it kicking into my like column. I can see it really growing on me.

    Like

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