I’ve always been curious as to why Bolbbalgan4 never fails to come up every time I check the charts. From last year’s “Galaxy” to this year’s “Some,” these girls have dominated every single digital chart in Korea for a long time now, and one can only wonder what it is about their music that they enjoy such longevity on the charts. Not having any idea what they sounded like, I checked out their recent single, and by the time the chorus hit, I finally realized why a lot of people love them.
Their Music, Lyrics, and “Some”
For starters, Bolbbalgan4’s music is very simple and honest. They sing of emotions that are relatable, which is why it’s hard not to get absorbed in their lyrics. Brilliantly written from a perspective of a woman in love, “Some” is a perfect example of that. It has lyrics talking about a girl who runs towards a guy she likes unconditionally, determined to establish a “some” relationship with him. There’s a line in the last chorus that goes “I am discouraged and giving up today, too” that gives a hint of a one-sided love, and it remains my favorite part of the song because it’s the most honest. They chose brilliant words to establish the whole idea of a girl in love, and then brilliantly hit you with a reality that rips your heart into pieces.
They sing all of this with a melody that’s very laid back and catchy, perfect for the acoustic-pop vibe the group’s sound has. Because the duo’s songs usually contain an easy-going hook, it’s virtually a given you’ll get hooked on a lot of their tracks. “Some” had all of those elements in its composition, but I think the biggest reason why its catchiness is so effective is because of the use of rhymes in the track. The “show me, don’t show me” line during the pre-chorus is the perfect example of this, and it does a good job in building up anticipation for the chorus.
Already hooked on the group, I went on ahead and listened to their entire discography. Overall, I think “Some” is their best title track so far, but RED PLANET remains their best release. While I think Red Diary Page 1 is good, I couldn’t help but notice that it lacked cohesiveness as a whole. Nevertheless, tracks from the album are pretty much above average, and “Blue” is even growing into one of my favorites. However, the five tracks sound quite different from one another, far from the way in which every single track from RED PLANET feels like they were written for each other.
Another reason why RED PLANET remains their best release thus far is simply because it has, in my opinion, the better songs. There isn’t a single bad track on the album, and it has very carefully-produced content. My favorites from the album are “Freesia,” “Chocolate,” and, of course, “Galaxy.”
Had I heard this album when it was released last year, I would have probably ranked it high as one of my favorite albums of 2016. As a whole, the album has a lot more R&B influences compared to Red Diary Page 1, and it works in their favor, especially to the advantage of main-vocal Jiyoung, as her voice fits the genre perfectly. I tried to find out the reason why a lot of people can’t stop listening to them, and other than their music being catchy and honest, I also believe that Jiyoung’s vocals have a lot to do with it. She has a voice perfect for singing about love and heartbreak, and her vocal technique doesn’t make their songs hard to listen to. Jiyoon’s rapping voice, on the other hand, is very crisp, and it was a pleasant surprise to hear her rap in a lot of tracks on RED PLANET. However, it’s a pity she doesn’t rap in “Some” at all.
Can’t Get Enough
I cannot forget the day I first heard “Some” because it was love at first listen. I’ve always loved music from the genre that they do, but there’s still something different from the duo’s music that makes them even more special. It’s hard to grasp what their best qualities as musicians are because I feel like all of their elements work perfectly together. From their vocals to their lyrical components, everything is there to complement and make each element better. However, if I were to pick a favorite thing about them, it’s their simplicity. As I’ve said, their simplicity makes their tracks even more relatable, and if you’re a musician who aims to have your songs reach out to others, you definitely want to take that route. There’s nothing else to say about Bolbbalgan4 other than they are very effective musicians. They are a fresh act, and I honestly can’t wait to hear part two of Red Diary, or whatever they have in store next.
Now, excuse me as I watch their episode of Weekly Idol.