South Korean boy band HIGHLIGHT, formerly known as BEAST, released their Outro EP today (Nov. 20), saying farewell to their fans for the time being through the poignant album fronted by the single “Loved.”
Brooding in its synthpop intensity, “Loved” is an evocative dance track that blends HIGHLIGHT’s reflective vocals with rhythmic strings, and is dominated by a bright, EDM choral drop with soaring violin riffs. The darker vibes recall some of the act’s earlier songs like 2014’s “12:30” and 2016’s “Ribbon,” both released as BEAST, emphasizing their tender vocals and affinity for dance music all in one.
The single was released through a hazy video that features four of HIGHLIGHT’s members reflectively serving up their verses as they grapple with the past, and intersperses the more dramatic moments with dance scenes that feature the sharp, expressive choreography that the boy band became known for in the earliest days of their career.
Since rebranding as HIGHLIGHT last year after parting ways with former label Cube Entertainment, where BEAST began in 2009, the quintet has largely veered towards a optimistic, motivational tracks for their album’s singles, but “Loved” takes things to a bit of a more nostalgic place while serving as the last single the group will release ahead of an impending hiatus as members begin their service in the South Korean military; leader Yoon Doojoon is absent from the single and music video as he enlisted in August, though he appears on the album with his solo track “Nightmare.”
Along with the single and “Nightmare,” HIGHLIGHT’s Outro also features “Wind,” a jazzy duet from Yoseob and Dongwoon, and the upbeat party track “Leave Me Alone” from Junhyung and Gikwang. All but “Wind” was co-composed by Junhyung with Kim Tae Joo as Good Life, while Yoseob and Dongwoon co-wrote “Wind” with Gyuberlake. Aside from Doojoon, all of the members had a role in writing lyrics.
Since beginning anew as HIGHLIGHT, the quintet saw two EPs, Can You Feel It? and Celebrate, peak at No. 9 on the World Albums chart in 2017. Outro is their first album of the year, but they released the single “Take Care” in October.
Watch the music video for HIGHLIGHT’s “Loved” here: