JBJ95 Discovers a “Spark” in Latest Release
The former Produce 101 Season 2 duo Kenta and Sanggyun have once again returned to the K-Pop realm! After venturing away into a sound more focused on EDM in the “Awake” comeback, JBJ95 has returned to a style closer resembling their initial debut. Featuring title track “Spark,” the album of the same name boasts five new tracks in total.
The Title: “Spark”
If there’s one word that can describe “Spark,” it would be romantic. The sweet and light pop track is accompanied by Kenta’s smooth and pleasing vocals, coupled with Sanggyun’s dual skills in rapping and singing. It’s easy to feel the happiness in this track at the bridge of the chorus that repeats “never, never, never let you go, I’ll never let you go.” Musically, it’s quite different from the last comeback “Awake,” which had a heavy EDM influence and an overall electronic sound. With “Spark,” the melody feels more organic, with much less focus on the synthesizer in comparison. More or less, it’s a standard pop love song that’s brought to its peak by Kenta’s voice.
The music video is the real treat. Much like the debut video of “Home,” “Spark” has a very clear story to tell through its visual elements. While “Awake” had no storyline to speak of, “Spark” returns back to visual storytelling in a very powerful way. In the video, we see Kenta hard at work at a typewriter, with Sanggyun in different scenes with a faceless girl at his side. It becomes clear that Kenta is the author of Sanggyun’s love story. The duality of their characters is refreshing, and Kenta certainly plays the role of a hard-working author quite well. Not to mention you will likely find yourself falling in love with Sanggyun, with multiple breathtaking shots of the rapper and sweet, romantic moments with his faceless girl.
SPARK kicks off with the catchy and jazzy “In The Morning,” an addictive track that reminds me quite a bit of the B-sides on their debut album. Kenta and Sanggyun both have voices perfectly fit for this coffee shop-feeling melody, kicking off the album with an incredibly strong start. “Unreal” piggybacks off of this sound into a more acoustic-based track that has a certain lightness to it. The vocals once again come to the forefront in this track, pairing well with the melody and rhythm.
“Hey, Summer” mixes it up, following “Spark” and adding a more generic pop sound to the album. Personally, I feel like it is the weakest track on the album, as there isn’t really much that allows the track to stand out in any capacity. It is not downright bad, though, and that’s worth something. Concluding the album is the bluesy “Crush,” a track lamenting unrequited feelings. The theme is reminiscent of AWAKE’s album opener “Friend Zone,” but shifted into a more fitting rhythm that showcases the emotion of the track.
Ever since following the boys with JBJ, I’ve been very excited for a release from the duo that is now permanent, a luxury not often granted by disbanded groups. Kenta and Sanggyun have definitely been exploring different melodies to find their sound, but I believe with this album it’s becoming clear where their strengths lie. There’s enough musical diversity on this album to keep it fresh, but also a clear cohesiveness of the tracks. I’m excited to continue to watch the duo grow as artists going forward.