Teen Top: aRtisT album review
I’ve never been a huge fan of Teen Top. Although I have friends who are very into them for their music and style, I just never seemed to find time to properly listen to their music or religiously watch their performances (though I’ve to admit that songs such as ‘Crazy’ and ‘No More Perfume on You’ were really catchy). That said, I decided to give their third mini-album ‘aRtisT’ a shot.
Produced by Brave Brothers (who were also behind their ‘Crazy’), the song sounds right off their factory of predictable-sounding songs. Some of them are great but others are…well, has anyone heard SISTAR’s ‘Push Push’? I’m glad ‘Alone’ was in a completely different league.
Anyway, like I mentioned, I thought previous hits of Teen Top were pretty infectious, but ‘To You’ seriously tops the list. Some people say that the song has a slightly retro feel to it, but I don’t really hear it. I do love everything about the song though – the fact that it has a great upbeat tempo that isn’t too rushed and that it’s basically very easy on the ears. The ‘whoo woo hoo whoo woo hoo’ lyrics are madly addictive and do very well at contributing to the song’s likeability – much like HyunA and Hyunseung’s ‘Troublemaker’ for its infamous whistling hook.
What I didn’t like was the fact that out of all the songs on this album, three were different versions of ‘To You’. I understand that most albums generally include the instrumental version of the title track, but the R&B version of ‘To You’ is more dreary than necessary.
Oh how I’ve missed songs like these. No gimmicky electronic tunes or an overload of auto-tuning – it’s a feel good, frills-free track that fans and non-fans alike will love and be snapping their fingers to. ‘Baby U’ reminds me a lot ofBeast’s ‘You’ from their ‘Fiction And Fact’ album because both songs are examples of good pop music in K-pop today that don’t try too hard.
I love that the song strips down the fanciful layers behind Teen Top’s comeback image (different coloured hair, anyone?) and ventures into an R&B pop sound that is easy on the ears and gets you hooked on the first listen. The rapping here is also cohesive and adds texture while not taking attention away from the main singing.
‘Shake It’ isn’t anything outstanding, mostly because the song is all over the place. The backing music isn’t strong on its own and the rapping is out of sorts (it seems injected in at certain parts just for the sake of it), making the track terribly messy. This song seems like a stab at trying to instill a more upbeat, party-like vibe into the album, but failing because of its lack of a proper grasp on what genre it actually intends to venture into. For that, it makes ‘Shake It’ a filler track on an album that’s already lacking substance.
‘aRtisT’ isn’t one of the best mini albums around, but it’s evident that these young boys have a lot to offer. I’ve acknowledged that they’re all good performers from watching their live stages – their energy is infectious – but I worry they might be the type of group that eventually ends up churning out only hit singles instead of good albums.
Also, this mini album is really, really…mini. Like, minuscule small. Taking away the opening ‘aRtisT’ introductory track along with the R&B and instrumental version of ‘To You’, we’re left with only three songs. I guess it’s a huge relief that both ‘To You’ and ‘Baby U’ are great songs, but I wish that instead of shoving them into a lousy excuse for a mini, T.O.P Media could have waited a little more and release a proper, well-produced album instead. I’m also looking forward to hearing more from the rest of the members with the exception of Niel, who has already proven that he makes up the bulk of Teen Top’s sound.
Also, is anyone wondering what’s to become of their whole appealing-to-noonas concept once all of them are of age? Me neither, but I’m hoping that we’ll all be significantly surprised.