[Double Review] Help Me + From Seoul – Block B BASTARZ

Last week, Block B BASTARZ (comprised of U-Kwon, B-Bomb and P.O) made their comeback with their third mini-album, I’m A Mess, since their subunit debut. Apologies that it took this long to review a song from this new release. Within the album, Help Me is the title track. But as the pre-release track From Seoul also has a music video, I will be reviewing both today. This is Block B’s first release since the departure of Zico last year from the group.

I am not a major fan of BASTARZ’s releases (I honestly do not remember their last one), so I wasn’t expecting too much the first listen in. However, Help Me takes a sleek approach with a jazz influence on the hip-hop based foundation that the song is supported on. And it is safe to say that I am loving it. I really like how focused the song was on the vocals, which was all fantastic. The most striking part of the song has to be P.O’s first half of the chorus and it is the very thing that got me hooked to this song. It is very unique, so it ended up being very memorable (and extremely addictive).

From Seoul continues the jazzy influence, but this time the foundation is an R&B track. The song isn’t as heavy as the previous. In fact, it is lighthearted and talks about having a good time with friends. I like how the jazzy influence was more profound and the vocals were lower in tone, which made the song quite smooth as well. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that striking about the song so it isn’t really a memorable piece for my personal taste. It is still quite good but unfortunately, Help Me outranks From Seoul.

Help Me is a more emotionally driven song but the video is quite twisted in a way. Kicking off the music video, it is landed a 19+ rating, which gives us a foreshadowing of blood and cigarettes. Tame to what I am used to, but remember this is stuff that Korea doesn’t have much of. The video shows the members disoriented (for whatever reason) but it clearly caused by the breakup with their partner. They find themselves in sticky situations like a car crash, a murder scene (I presume) and in the middle of a forest, so they have to beg for help (hence, the title). They also seem to be dressed for a wedding, given the flower on their lapels. Maybe they got stood up? From Seoul departs from the darkness in the other video and matches it lighthearted sound with a video consists of the trio having fun around Seoul. And it too was a nice video as it goes well with the song.

Help Me
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

From Seoul
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

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[Review] Make It Rain – Bastarz (Block B)

Block B launched their first subunit back in 2015 with Conduct Zero. U-Kwon, B-Bomb and P.O make up the subunit. Now, the subunit has returned with a brand new mini-album. While the subunit did release three music videos for Selfish & Beautiful Girl, Make It Rain and That’s Right, I will only be reviewing their main title track, Make It Rain due to time constraints.

Make It Rain serves as a great continuation from Conduct Zero. The songs seem to go well with each other and Make It Rain is like a nice sequel. I do find it a better than song than the predecessor. This song has a cleaner sound and quite tame compared to their previous song. I wasn’t much of a fan of their previous track, so this sounds a lot better. Like what other people are saying, the song focuses more on the vocal side. The song doesn’t pack a punch until you reach the chorus, thanks to a really nice buildup prior to the chorus. Never a big fan of rappers singing. Some of them have been great, others have been disappointing. P.O falls in between this time around. However, it was the only part which I liked about the whole song. The chorus overshadowed the verses and kind of shoved U-Kwon and B-Bomb away from the spotlight. They had good parts (i.e. their vocals were highlighted) but it failed to capture my attention. There was no hook in the song to me. The only hook in the entire song was the in the chorus and that hook was repeated over and over again. Overall, it was an alright song. Can’t really give them any more than an ‘alright’, to be honest.

I have little to no clue on what’s going on in the video. I have watched it a few times. Besides agreeing that the entire video carries elements that match the song, there really isn’t much else to the video. I have to say the way the video was shot looked really nice and amazing. It’s choppiness and roughness (can I describe it as that?) went really well with the choppy sound in the video. Gave a nice chaotic feel to it. The special effects also added to it as well. Don’t even ask me about the content of the video. I watch with wide eyes and then just go to another tab, leaving the song to play. To me, it seems like they are mobsters of some kind and enjoy gambling. I assume drugs are mixed up somewhere (I assume the stuff they see and their wobbly visions are like hallucinations). Minus the content, the outer layer of the video looked pretty good and (as I mention for the third time) matched the song a lot.

Like the music video, the performance was made to look a little chaotic. A lot of flailing arms and hands. I think the performance looks pretty good. They showed a performance with more precision and allowed the main dancer of the group U-Kwon to show more style and talent on the stage.

Rating – 6/10

Conduct Zero – Bastarz (Block B)

Another form of BBB. Not Dal Shabet, but Block B’s first and newest subunit. Yes, Block B has formed their first subunit consisting of P.O, U-kwon and B-Bomb. The subunit is known as Bastarz. Block B has been gaining fame in the past year. They changed their style and went for a more casual comeback last time with H.E.R, hitting all the female fans in their hearts and earning the boys a place on their bias list. Zico has been quite involved in the past year with a lot of solo work (including this solo releases such as Tough Cookie). The band also made their Japanese debut with the Japanese version of Very Good at the start of the year.

Not a big fan of the hip hop genre. There are good songs from the genre that I personally like, but I am more into the more laid back kind of songs, not a big fan of intense songs most of the times. But while the song was definitely had it hip hop influences, I also noticed a lot of more modern and electronic sounds. I did not like the start of it. The blaring of the sirens and that banging sound got to me, in a bad way.  Another thing was the chorus. That was not enjoyable. I did like the vocals and I thought P.O’s rough rapping vocals were bad (but not sure if him handling the chorus was the best choice in my opinion). I don’t see what Bastarz is mainly for. Block B has been experimenting with various sounds for their past few releases, with ballads, pop songs, hip hop and rock songs on their list. This is more of a “side” thing in my opinion. They don’t seem to go into anything new. BUT for once they focused on the vocalists of the band. I am glad that this is happening.

You guys probably want to kill me now, but I did not enjoy the music video. Like I can sit through it and not cringe (bonus points for that), but it really is not a music video that I personally want to go back to. The music video is rated 19+ which I don’t understand. They only problem I can see with the music video was the girls wearing their underwear (or bikini, but I think it is underwear). But hey, they still got the other areas well covered, there really is nothing wrong with that. There was a lot of focus on the upper chest areas during the music video (which I am not going to complain about). Just putting it out there, but they have nice bodies. But I don’t want a hot girl chopping up meat like that. Firstly, she has no idea what she was doing (from the looks of it) and I have no idea what was going on? From a party dance floor, to an abandoned warehouse, to a butcher’s freezer? Yeah, I was confused. I did not like the shakiness of the camera (even though it matched the song quite well).

The dance was so so. Not going to say much here, but it really is nothing that I thought was outstanding or worth commenting on. I just thought that this dance was slapped together a little too quickly.

Overall, it was an okay comeback. Not really making me reach to press the replay button. Sorry this review went up so slow. I have been very busy (and exams are coming up soon). 5/10