We previously covered the K-pop boy group Boys Republic during their European tour where they stopped in London to see their UK fans, and even got a little personal when we had the chance to interview them before their tour. Off the record, we asked when their next release would be, and they told us to wait patiently as they were working hard for a new concept and comeback – with this new release, it looks like it was worth the wait!
Boys Republic are known for their mellow romantic releases such as “Hello“, the fun and cutesy K-pop classic releases such as “Dress Up” and “L.I.U“, as well as breaking into the dance scene with “Video Game” and “Party Rock“. But as times change, so does their style. “You Are Special” brought out the rebel within the members, whereas sexy gentleman chic was announced with their release of “The Real One“. But nowadays it seems that K-pop fans want more powerful and dominating music videos, with catchy tunes and lots of artistic eye candy. With Boys Republic and Universal Music being on the ball with pleasing their fans, they have heard your calls and gone for something completely different than what many would have suspected.
[BR:evolution] is the new album, which in its own title is about the evolution of Boys Republic. Released on 30 March, the album consists of four songs and one instrumental of the main title, boasting a mix of dance, pop and a ballad. Initially from the teaser photos it was unclear what to expect, with the black leatherette look, the images were theatrical yet slightly on the apocalyptic side. One of the key things to note was how different each of the members looked; their boyish charms making way for strong, handsome looking men.
Each member released a teaser video along with a teaser image. They started with Minsu who now donned bright white blonde hair whilst wearing a mixture of jumpsuits and leather coats. The sound clip sounded like part of the chorus (something entertainment companies do to tease their fans) and the theme certainly looked post-apocalyptic (and can we just point out how on point Minsu’s make up is). Second to make an appearance was SungJun and the apparent post-apocalyptic theme is more than that, you see SungJun spray silver paint onto his teeth and face which is representative of the movie Mad Max: Fury Road. The leader of the group OneJunn brings the bad boy vibes and gives fans the idea of scale to the set of the video. Being the youngest, SuWoong brings a new element of manliness and growth to the group and through the small clips presented you get a feeling that this is his transitional stage. Lastly we have SunWoo,who looks like a total boss and is full of charisma.
The teasers alone were enough to stir up excitement for their album, which starts with their single release “Get Down”, which is powerful and upbeat. This is nothing compared to their previous works and feels like listening to a completely new group. The combination of soft and strong vocals with the balance of heavy drums and base work really gives the song a catchy and pleasing sound. It’s also a very fast growing favourite with or without the music video! “Eyes On Me” sticks with the powerful backing music, but it’s bought down with more powerful lyrics, yet not so powerful with the vocals. There is a lot of playing with pitches of the vocals and the music through this song, nonetheless it makes a point and represents the members well.
“VIP” has a slightly retro sound that I usually associate with Boys Republic’s songs. It sounds like old school K-pop, but has a natural mix with the modern day sounds that the group releases. It has the usual vocal, chorus, rap ratio that creates a catchy and upbeat song. Although this isn’t as powerful and growth-worthy as the previous songs, the feeling is that this is a track to show where they have come from, which fits well with the concept of the album. Finally we have a song that has completely blown me away in terms of not only showing growth, but the strength of the album. “A Song For You” is a solo song performed by OneJunn, and although we all know that K-pop idols are incredibly talented, this is the first time we have truly heard the leader of the group showcase his vocals to (what I feel is) his full capacity. As ballads go, this has all the elements of a great song – soft piano, soft vocals and beautiful heart touching lyrics. But in terms of a Boys Republic ballad, this is something completely new (exactly like “Get Down”). There is a sense of evolution and growth just within this song that is totally enthralling and is one that ends the album on a beautiful note.
In conclusion, there is a feeling that this is one of those albums that needs to be purchased as a physical copy, not just digital. And if the “Physical Album Teaser” is anything to go by, you will be getting a photo book worth keeping and a photo-card for your collection as well!