I didn’t think it was possible for Block B to build upon the recent quality of their music. I thought for sure this album would be a step in the wrong direction. I was completely wrong. Her deserves nothing but plaudits, awards, and fan support. It’s been the only thing on my stereo all day. And Block B deserves some recognition. Their last single, “Jackpot,” very possibly could be the most innovative song of the year, but it was released just before the Sewol Ferry tragedy, and promotion was not possible. I just hope Her can climb to the top even against stiff competition from perennial favorites, Sistar and HyunA. Here’s what you can expect.
1. Extraordinary Woman
It’s hard to ask anything more from an opening to an album. “Extraordinary Woman” is, well, extraordinary. It’s a great blend of ballad and rap, with plenty of jazz elements included. It’s also sure to make you nod your head. There’s a funky beat that will drag you along, even when it slows right down to vocals only. “Extraordinary Woman” needs to be promoted as an auxiliary single, because it’s that good.
Block B have become masters of integrating multiple genres into their music. Or, rather, Zico has mastered it. “Her,” the title song of the album, goes from choral, to jazz, to rock, to rap, and it transitions so smooth you won’t even feel the gears shift. Though it doesn’t incorporate quite as many instruments as their previous single, “Jackpot,” it’s still very much in that vein. The refrain, especially, is pure Zico genius, a shout chorus with with a quirky inward clench on the “uh uh.” The beauty of a good Block B song is that you won’t get tired of it. Not during the incessant promotional period. Probably not ever!
We’re glad the music video dropped the anonymous woman from the teaser. We didn’t need a literal “her.” We didn’t need to watch boys chase girls. Block B isn’t built for cliche. They’re built for pushing boundaries. They’re built for kicking ass and taking names. Apart from the zany antics, the random ostrich, the interruption of the Block B show, our favorite moment is toward the end, when Block B performs on stage while their duplicates play the music for their performance. It is emblematic of the group that takes such an active role in the production of their music.
3. Hold Me Now
If nothing else, this album stands as a testament to the creativity and skill of leader, Zico. With the exception of “Hold Me Now,” all songs on the album are composed, arranged, and put to lyrics by the wunderkind himself (with some help of course). So what’s the deal with “Hold Me Now”? It’s the only ballad, that’s what. “Hold Me Now” is forgettable, but it’s also a reminder of just how lucky we are to have the crazed genius of Zico. U-Kwon knows what I'm talking about.
I have to evaluate Her for what it is: a single album with only three new songs. “Extraordinary Woman” and “Her” are amazing. They are worth the money. Seriously, stop reading and go buy this album. You’ll forget all about “Hold Me Now,” but that shouldn’t bother you one bit. You’ll be having too much fun listening to the others.
Zander Stachniak is a southern-born, Chicago-based writer who first discovered Kpop through ShoutCast Radio. His biases are f(x) and Block B.