[Review] BRAIN – Yang Yoseob (HIGHLIGHT)

After taking a few days off after my album review blitz, I am back with a review of Monday’s main release, BRAIN, by Yang Yoseob (from HIGHLIGHT). The new song is featured as the title track of Chocolate Box, Yoseob’s first ever studio album since his debut 12 years ago. This is also Yang Yoseob’s first solo release since Star and Where I Am Gone in 2019 and his release from the military. Earlier this year, Yoseob returned with his fellow members of HIGHLIGHT for Not The End and The Blowing promotions, marking the end of a two year hiatus for the group.

To me, BRAIN is a fairly straight-forward R&B track. It is always nice to hear something that you can describe as pure and not overly processed or potentially muddled by other influences (which is more so the case of today’s KPOP music). It is also a nice throwback to how Yoseob started his solo career, which was also an R&B track (see my review for Caffeine).I wasn’t a fan of his debut song back then, but I would say my music tastes have matured over the many years since then and can appreciate a song like Brain now. A few elements pop out at me in the newer song. Within the instrumentation, I found the muffled flute to be quite an intriguing centerpiece. At first I didn’t like it, but it drew my attention in quite quickly and dragged out a few additional listens out me. The bass was a much needed element in BRAIN, adding definition to the instrumentation and the song overall. The rest of the instrumentation was more on the typical side of the spectrum and hence the muffled flute and bass really did wonders to make it more attractive. Another element within BRAIN was Yoseob’s vocals. His vocals are smooth and perfectly suited for the R&B genre, and I felt that BRAIN really highlighted that and presented his vocals extremely well. I particularly like Yoseob’s vocals during the bridge, as they seemed to push the song’s boundaries. It might be minute, but it was definitely appreciated. The melodies that he brings to the song also gave BRAIN a tinge of memorability, which works hand-in-hand with the other memorable elements of the song. Overall, BRAIN is a pretty decent song. I am not head over heels for the song, but it is a great return to form for Yoseob and highlights his skills in a manner that is clear and pure.

As for the music video, it is fairly typical. But it was still fine to watch. I did like how the stylist(s) for this comeback changed Yoseob’s image for this comeback. He looks very mature in this music video in his outfits, which is rather different to the image that I am more familiar of him (for those who are wondering, I am much more familiar from his youthful image back in the early days when he was promoting under the name of Beast). Elsewhere in the video, I felt some of the sets provided a bit of sophistication and classiness to the music video. The lighting added a bit of a dramatic flair, especially around the peak of the song.

Choreography-wise, it matched the vibes of the music video. I thought it was classy looking and there was a tinge of sensual energy. It was also elegant and smoothing looking as well. I particularly like the slow shuffling in the chorus and the slow swinging of the legs in the post-chorus hook. I feel like the choreography really lifted up the song, for me.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 7/10
Choreography – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.2/10

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