The Korea Herald


[Album Review] Bolbbalgan4’s toned-down new album is relaxing

By Hong Dam-young

Published : May 30, 2018 - 14:44

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“Red Diary Page.2”

Loen Entertainment

Bolbbalgan4 has done it again. As if to nix criticisms about its allegedly self-repeating sonic pattern, the singer-songwriting duo have put out a completely different style of music in their new album “Red Diary Page.2.”

And their efforts came to fruition, as the self-made collection is powerfully relaxing.

The duo’s biggest hits “Galaxy” and “Tell Me You Love Me” mesmerized listeners with shockingly bubbly melodies that transformed the most conventional love songs into pop sensations, but “Travel,” the lead track off the new album, is nothing like its predecessors.

As indicated by the title, the head-bopping pop-rock song explores the excitement of traveling, a good topic choice for those who may have grown tired of Bolbbalgan4’s tickling love songs. The moment you listen to vocalist Ahn Ji-young’s note-bending “Take me to London, Paris, New York City” refrain, you’ll immediately feel the impulse to hop on an airplane and turn off your cellphone -- just like the song tells you to do.

While it’s lyrically clunky and loaded with cliches, the song is not disappointing thanks to the magic of Ahn’s juicy vocals that perfectly fits the song’s upbeat energy.

The rest of the six-track EP is also full of gems. As appealing as the lead track are “Starlight” and “Lonely,” two mellow acoustic tunes that play up the duo’s strength with ballads.

Led by the pure sound of piano and string orchestra, “Starlight” secludes the listener from the rest of the world, the kind of song that can perfectly spice up a sentimental nighttime drive. “Lonely,” a poignant break-up song reminiscent of the band’s “Hard to Love,” also minimizes background sound to highlight breezy vocals.

For those who’ve questioned guitarist Woo Ji-yoon’s contribution to the album -- Woo has always been overshadowed by her formidable partner -- listen to “Clip,” a beautiful nylon-string guitar-led track created entirely by Woo. Her songwriting and composing ability shine in this coming-of-age track, making perfect harmony with Ahn’s pure vocals.

Meanwhile, “Hey, Teddy Bear” is a bittersweet track that uses the doll as a symbol of a breakup, giving off the vibe of Taylor Swift’s early country songs.

Due to its self-producing system, Bolbbalgan4’s new album isn’t entirely eye-opening, with some of the tracks still showing the influences of the duo’s early works. But what else can we ask for? The album is beautiful and relaxing.