[Article] Billboard | September 18, 2014 9:44 PM EDT
The established boy band return with a multifaceted, super-strong set of throwback-inspired R&B-pop jams
Last year, 2PM broke a two-year hiatus from the Korean scene with the mature Grown album. The record mixed the act’s classic R&B style with different genres like pop, dance and electronic. 16 months later, the guys are back with Go Crazy!, another full-length that shows them sticking to their R&B roots, but adding funky, unexpected new twists.
The title track opens the LP with a bouncy, high-octane EDM sound established from the start. But once the melody kicks in, a disco motif is added with a walking bass line, dramatic synth-strings and peppy guitar strumming added to the production. Neither an homage to the funk era nor a EDM banger, “Go Crazy!” compellingly straddles the line between the two, making for an all-the-more impressive single.
2PM “미친거 아니야?(GO CRAZY!)” M/V
The “Go Crazy!” video shows the guys doing just that, from performing choreography that looks like the guys are riding motorcycles in a neon video set to doing a conga line in a billiards hall. 2PM’s last videos, 2013’s “Comeback When You Hear This Song" and "A.D.T.O.Y.,” were much darker with the former visual focused around the seven deadly sins. After trying out such a heavy theme, it’s fun to see the boys let loose on camera with the last 20 seconds dedicated to the guys goofing off. In fact, the band even recorded a "party" version of their new video. Smart stuff.
More cuts on Go Crazy! also follow the theme of the title track’s throwback-tinged sound.
"Mine" is the smooth, relaxed counterpart to "Go Crazy!" with its slinky synth-strings and falsetto-driven chorus, sounding more in the vein of recent Pharrell productions. The guys are still having a good time (at one point promising, “We’re going to drink crazy all night, everything’s going to be all right”), but the slick knob twiddling and their confident delivery make it the more subtle, mature approach to going wild.
The guys get their jazzy side on with “She’s Ma Girl,” which opens with a sax solo and features a brassy theme throughout, and the snappy, piano-centered ”Boyfriend.” Meanwhile, “Like Tonight,” “Awesome!” and “Goodbye Trip” all have a distinct ’80s power-pop sound with heavy synthesizers made modern with bleeps, bloops and other EDM embellishments.
That’s not to say 2PM aren’t winning on their modern-day productions either. “Pull&Pull” is a forward-thinking R&B track oozing with gooey harmonies. Meanwhile, the guys’ sound right at home on the Korean remakes of EDM-centered Japanese singles “Beautiful” and “I’m Your Man” (below).
Billboard last identified 2PM’s Grown album as being filled with “strong, but somewhat safe” material. On Go Crazy!, 2PM finds the perfect recipe for growth by stirring in unexpected sounds without straying too far from their R&B-pop roots.
2PM “미친거 아니야?(GO CRAZY!)” & “I’m your man (Kor ver.)” Comeback Stage @ KBS Music Bank 2014.09.12