The 2019 Grammys
Recording Academy's Neil Portnow on Grammy Nominations: 'I Think We're Incredibly Relevant and on Point'
2019 Grammy Nominations: The Snubs & Surprises
2019 Grammy Nominations: Yes, There Are More Female Nominees This Year (But Maybe Not the Ones You'd Expect)
BTS Album Earns 2019 Grammy Nomination: Here's Why It's Important
BTOB Impresses with 'Brother Act.' Album: Critic's Take
Korean boy band BTOB return to prominence in the K-pop industry with their new album Brother Act., released Monday (Oct. 16).
Led by the emotive pop rock ballad “Missing You,” the band’s second studio album reintroduces the septet to the limelight with their harmonious brand of pop music. Featuring an array of light and vocally-driven tracks, plus a few dance-oriented ones, Brother Act. has been well-received in South Korea, where the boy band topped local charts.
“Missing You” is a piano driven, swaying pop ballad with mellow soft rock vibes. It was released alongside a melancholic music video, which depicted the members of BTOB going through hardships and reflecting on their lives, with the intensity of the emotions deepening in time to the tune’s increasing intensity, climaxing before landing softly with the closing verse.
The 13-track album -- 12 of the songs were released digitally, with a bonus song on the physical album -- features songs co-written by members of BTOB, with Im Hyunshik, Jung Ilhoon, and Lee Minhyuk prominently credited as co-composers of multiple tracks, including the single, which Im had a hand in.
Brother Act. is structured like a musical or concert, beginning with the piano melody of “Prelude: A Day,” interrupted by “Interlude: Brother Act." -- which had the members discussing the album -- and coming to a close with “Finale: Our Concert,” a soaring, uplifting track dedicated to BTOB’s supporters.
While the album is primarily ballad-based, to fit the style of music that’s turned BTOB from an underrated dance-pop focused K-pop act into one of South Korea’s most popular vocal groups, a handful of songs explore the septet’s musicality beyond the sentimental side, which the group previously showed on tracks like "My Lady" and "Dreaming."
The extremely satisfying “Red Lie” is a subtle take on the soft house trend, blending acoustic instrumentals with gentle, airy synths, whereas “Blowin’ Up” recalls BTOB’s earlier quirky dance songs thanks to its festive, hip-hop pump-up vibe. Meanwhile, “Guitar (Stroke of Love)” offers the strongest refrain on the album ("I just wanna play guitar" wails Eunkwang), drawing on electropop and bossa nova elements to create a mercurial track that is part romantic ode and part hype track, as the members compare a woman to the titular instrument.
After years of relative obscurity, BTOB rapidly became a favorite in South Korea’s music industry for the group’s effusive vocals. The new album is their second one of the year, following after March's Feel'eM EP, which peaked at No. 15 on the World Albums chart.
Upon its success on Korean music charts, the members of BTOB took to social media to express their thanks.