MBLAQ are a 5 member group under J.Tune Entertainment that debuted back in 2009. They were actually created by K-Pop sensation Rain, which led to a lot of excitement during their beginning. They often embrace quite dark and cool concepts, but have also been known to show softer and sillier sides through their music. Anyone who has seen the guys unleashed on variety shows will be familiar with their strange humour and distinctive characters. Interestingly, 2NE1’s Dara is also a well-known MBLAQ fan (a.k.a A+), but this is not so surprising when you know that her younger brother is MBLAQ’s very own Thunder!
Despite the hard work of Seungho, Thunder, Lee Joon, G.O and Mir, the group have yet to win any music show awards with their past singles. Perhaps their latest single ‘Be a Man’ from their 6th mini album will change that?
You can watch the MV below:
This concept is quite stripped-back, starkly contrasting many K-Pop acts that go for a much more in-your-face flavour. Each member has returned to more natural hair-colouring aside from Thunder who has gone for a dusty blonde. The entire video has a blue-gray hue to it and the members are all dressed in pale grey or black suits.
The entire video plays with the idea of venetian blinds – the camera is often peering through them or we see the members and mysterious pretty lady bathed in singular strips of light. This gives the overall feeling of voyeurism, which might be to do with the song’s message of not being able to let someone go at the end of a relationship. You feel shut out, but equally cannot stop yourself from peeking in. This concept may be a little boring to some, after all it doesn’t exactly have the pizzazz and all out theatrics we are often shown in K-Pop. However, I am really glad to see a more mature and refined side of MBLAQ. It is an image that is effortlessly cool in its simplicity.
The dance-routine for this song is not exactly adventurous or mind-blowingly brilliant. It involves a lot of shuffling and slow-stepping around with flicking arm movements. It sounds even worse when it is explained like that, doesn’t it?
Having said this though, the choreography does go very well with the song. The slow beat means that the guys can really labour over each movement and give it their full emotion. The members make a fist and bump the left-side of their chests along with the beat; this could be taken as a variation of beating one’s chest – a symbolic gesture of primal masculinity as the members will themselves to ‘be a man’ and move on. It is definitely something that fans can copy easily and anyway, it is quite difficult to not move in such a stomping way when listening to the thudding beat of this song.
As aforementioned the song is very clunky, this is not meant in a bad way at all though. It really helps you feel the frustration and raw emotion behind the lyrics. Even with this power, the soft and potent vocals of Seungho and G.O are smoothly spliced in between. Add to this the almost whispering sound of the verses and Mir’s signature rapping and you are left with a song that has many layers.
The chorus itself is very catchy indeed, and the beautifully ghostly hum that features predominantly at the start and finish off the track gives it a very dream-like and hypnotizing quality. This may not be a song to everyone’s tastes, especially for those that like their music to pack a punch, but it can be argued that it can easily latch on to a listener and grow rapidly in their favour.
Mir’s cute Harry Potter spectacles! They are the sort of fashion item that shocks you and makes you laugh at first, but once you get used to them, they look quite sweet on the rapper.
Overall UK Potential – 3.5/5
This single can certainly get into your head and it has a melody that will be infectious for the majority of people who give it a listen. Of course, it is not particularly unusual or edgy, so it is unclear if it would really make a mark on the UK mainstream if given the chance to do so. It is for this reason that I would recommend it to a friend that is already fairly familiar with the crazy side of K-Pop, but looking for something with a little more depth and substance.
Hopefully it is the single MBLAQ need to get some well-deserved awards and recognition!
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