UP10TION Discovers the Unattainable “Blue Rose”
It’s been eight months since we’ve gotten a full release from seasoned boy group UP10TION, and while the wait was difficult, the return did nothing less than blow us away. The group has been noticeably improving with each release since their debut in 2015, and the latest comeback only pushes the group further up the totem pole. If you’ve been sleeping on these boys, it’s time to open your eyes and welcome them into your world.
Title Track: “Blue Rose”
Where to even begin with this release? Based on the cryptic teaser images with the apparent detective concept, a different musical angle from the group should have been expected in “Blue Rose,” but even that couldn’t prepare us for the beauty of what the group had in store. Just from first listen, it’s hard not to become intoxicated by the intensity of the melody and its powerful performance.
The melody has a powerful and passionate feeling, with a melancholy classical opening that quickly shifts to a sinister aura before opening up to the first rap verse. The surprising shift from light to dark accelerates the zealous undertones of the lyrics and meaning of the main symbol in the song: the blue rose. The song steadily crescendos toward the climax in the melody, where the intensity hits a breaking point. It’s hard to even properly articulate the impact of this powerful and somewhat dark melody, but it’s sure to leave an impression on the listener in a way many other title tracks have failed to do in the past.
The symbolism behind a blue rose fits the fierce delivery of the melody; the blue rose signifies the unattainable and mysterious, as it is not naturally created, and thus can often symbolize an unrealizable dream. This symbolism is also visually expressed in the music video through the use of intensely bright color filters in low light that leave the faces of the members difficult to decipher, as well as generally enigmatic facial expressions on the members when they are shown clearly. The choreography is sharp and crisp and delivers a punch on par with the staccato nature of the melody, tying the entire piece together perfectly.
Personally, I would pin this as one of the best releases in the second half of the year, if not the entire year. The music video is a perfect expression of the mystifying track, and the choreography is stunningly in sync as well. Even if you have never paid UP10TION much mind, take a few minutes to experience this piece of art.
Mini-album Laberinto features seven new tracks for fans to enjoy. The album opens up with intro track “Laberinto,” an enigmatic instrumental track that builds tension up to the title that follows. “Burning” begins the B-sides and lightens up the atmosphere from the title track, with a lighter EDM sound fit for a summer bop. This feeling is carried through with the next song “Turn Up The Night,” which has a bit of a retro-funk vibe to it and presents a totally different musical catalogue from the group that is still very enjoyable. On to the second half of the album, we have “Midnight,” which brings a bit of a slower tempo but maintains the overall airy tone of the B-sides. Rounding out Laberinto are the tracks “Happy Birthday” and “With You,” with both maintaining the less intense air of the title and fitting into the overall softness of the remainder of the album.
While still a solid release album-wise, it’s a little bit jarring for all of the album B-sides to totally contrast the powerful vibe of the title song. In my personal opinion, mixing up the musical genres instead of sticking to these two very distinctly different sounds on the album would have made the release smoother, but I’m also quite biased to the intensity of “Blue Rose” over the traditional bright sound of the album B-sides. That, however, does not overshadow the solid release of this entire album, nor cancel out the talent showcased within it.