With 5 years in this competitive industry (and thriving) it can be said that Infinite has indeed grown plenty since their debut days and can now be considered veterans. I decided to do a follow up of the Part I Vocal Analysis I did back in mid-2012 as a sort of catalog of their growth.
Music-wise, INFINITE sound has retained its sound. I still hear their characteristic 80s-blended indie-pop sound that has followed them since debut days, but with greater diversity in recent years. They’ve had a few less successful releases in the past years, but every song is nevertheless musical gold. Every piece is meticulously crafted, with interspersed melody and harmony lines that not only fit together, but also play to each members individual strengths.
In my post before, I had mentioned that while Sweetune has never missed their mark with Infinite’s releases, too much Sweetune had allowed Infinite’s musicality to somewhat stagnate. Hence, it was a refreshing change when Woollim brought Rphabet under their roster to change things up for Infinite in 2013. I really do like Rphabet’s works with Infinite, perhaps even more so that Sweetune. I feel like Rphabet tends to experiment more with their sound, and songs like Back and Destiny, which essential moved away from Infinite’s retro sound, modernized it a tad, remodelled and represented what essential makes Infinite who they are, while not at all losing the group’s identity. I also really like how Infinite has moved away from the normal uptempo peppy dance music. Back, my undeniable favorite release to date, meshed ballad with synthesizers and guitar riffs, and strayed away from the rapping bits (Hoya and Dongwoo certainly pulled off the vocals). Their newer music is also a lot more rock and a lot less mainstream I feel? It’s more evident in their Japanese official and unofficial releases (Dilemma, Telemonster) and I do see the viability in Woollim pushing Infinite into this new direction in future.
In terms of the members’ individual vocal abilities, Infinite too has made much improvement. It is nice to see them all working just as hard on their weak points 5 years into debut, and the marked development in each and everyone of them, I feel, stand testament to their work ethic and mindsets in the industry. As mentioned before, we do see more of the members’ strengths being displayed, and every member now has a sort of niché style in their music. It’s no longer just about the group as a collective, but also about each and every member when it comes to their releases. Of course, in many ways, I still cannot say that they stand on par with the vocal capabilities of many K-Pop vocal legends as any of the TVXQ members, stylistically not as developed as the likes of Big Bang, and even the vocals of certain select members of their hoobae group EXO. Note that I am not trying to put down Infinite here or compare them with other groups (No fanwars please!). I do think they hold their own against the other groups, but what does indeed make them a strong group certainly does not lie in sole vocal poweress. One of the greatest strengths of the group is how each and every member adds something to their sound – and this ‘Infinite’ sound, I’ve come to realize, cannot exist without the members themselves. I’ve watched rookie group Alphabat cover one of Infinite’s easier songs, Nothing’s Over. Perhaps vocally the rookies are not as strong as Infinite, but nevertheless, with a different set of voices, the song no longer worked for me. There was no Infinite sound despite the song being exactly the same. Another great improvement I feel is in the overall stability of their voices while dancing. While Infinite has always been good live performers, I do see that their world tour and the constant schedule of performing live certainly helped to build stamina and stability in all the members.
There has been a much more even spread in lines for their recent releases so we do get to see a lot more of their individual vocal abilities. Without further ado, let’s move into discussing the members (in no particular order):