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While T-ARA returned earlier this week, another 2nd generation KPOP group returned two weeks ago (shame on me for not covering them sooner). 2AM, known for their ballads and being a brother group to 2PM (who also made their grand return earlier this year after a hiatus), has returned for the first time in over seven years! The quartet (made up of Jo Kwon, Changmin, Seulong and Jinwoon) was last on stage together with Over The Destiny, way back in 2014. Since then, the group parted ways for their solo careers, venturing into music and acting careers, along with their military enlistments. Earlier this year, the group confirmed a reunion was on the cards, and on November 1, they released the mini-album, Ballad 21 F/W, and double title tracks Should’ve Known and No Good in Good Bye.
Given that ballads is what the group is known for, it comes as no surprise to anyone that both Should’ve Known and No Good in Good Bye are both ballads. And it comes as no surprise that both ballads sound amazing, given that they mastered the style back during their prime. Should’ve Known has the edge for me, however. I feel the instrumentation of Should’ve Known was a bit more complex, with acoustic guitars, classical strings, piano and drums coming together to form up a ballad that feels timeless. In addition, the melodies in Should’ve Known brings forth that unconscious swaying that I use to measure the effectiveness of the ballad more readily. They also help make this ballad more memorable. The members’ voices appear to be more piercing at times and are quite commanding throughout the song, which gives off a jolting effect that keeps your actively engaged. I also enjoyed the harmonies that made up the second verse.
But while I do prefer Should’ve Known, No Good In Good Bye is still a good ballad. No Good In Good Bye has a more straightforward classical instrumental. But it also has its individual style. Instead of acoustic guitars, electronic guitars are used instead, and there is a bit of a delay at the start of the chorus, which helped added some punch to the background and make the song more engaging. When it comes to the melodies in No Good In Good Bye, I find it a bit lacking (relative to the previous song) and hence not as engaging. They were undoubtedly present and evoke that same swaying effect. But the melodies in this ballad just don’t seem as memorable as the other song. However, the vocals were powerful (and commanding like the previous song), which worked well with the classical instrumentation. I also felt the emotions from the members a bit more in No Good In Good Bye. So essentially, which song I preferred seemed to come down to the tiniest of details, and in this case the melodies in Should’ve Known was the additional element that really sold me the song.
The main purpose for this review, however, are the music videos. Talking about them separately will just be confusing, so they need to spoken about together (hence the double review format). I find the pair of MVs to be quite creative and unique, even though they might sound mind-boggling at times. Should’ve Known‘s music video starts with the ending of No Good in Good Bye‘s video, while No Good in Good Bye‘s music video starts off with the ending of Should’ve Known. So essentially, you are stuck in a loop. Whichever video you pick up first is the starting point of the story you get, which then leads into the other video. So if you start off with Should’ve Known, you find the story starts off with Kim So Hyun (the female actress) breaking up with Lee Jun Ho (the male actor). She regrets her decision and the memory of her boyfriend brings them back together. In No Good in Good Bye, the video begins with their reunion and the restart to a happy relationship, to which Kim So Hyun breaks off at the end of the video. If we start off with No Good in Good Bye, we see a happy relationship between to the two that ends up with Kim So Hyun breaking it off, before realizing her mistake in Should’ve Known, to which the pair reunites at the same train station they had broken up in. I liked how the video works both ways, and how they worked in tandem with each other with the small details of the letter than Lee Jun Ho writes and leave behind for her and the hair tie scene as a reality/memory.
Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10
No Good In Good Bye
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10