[Album Review] Absolute Zero (1st Mini Album) – BAEKHO

Apologies for the lack of song reviews – it has been a slow week in KPOP due to the Korean New Year. I will be reviewing two comebacks from this week tomorrow. For now, here are some album reviews I have pre-written, but for some reason failed to pre-schedule.

The next album to be reviewed on this blog is BAEKHO’s solo debut mini-album, Absolute Zero. This mini-album dropped in October 2022, over 10 years after BAEKHO made his debut as part of NU’EST (which sadly disbanded earlier this year). Featuring the title track No Rules and five additional side tracks, this mini-album made me think about why we didn’t get a solo release from BAEKHO sooner. This entire mini-album is testament of BAEKHO’s artistry and potential, and it is truly disappointing to know that it has taken 10 years for his company to give him an opportunity to shine and put himself out there. Absolute Zero has some really great tracks, many of which I would recommend to people who want to discover a new artist. Hopefully, there are more great tracks from BAEKHO on the way, as PLEDIS Entertainment definitely has a strong artist in BAEKHO. For now, continue reading my review to discover some gems from BAEKHO.

Absolute Zero Album Cover

1. Festival in My Car – While it has been a while since we heard from BAEKHO, I am sure he did not sound like this in the past. Festival in My Car brings out a raspier and huskier tone and lower register from BAEKHO that I am absolutely digging. This paired with the rock guitar (that creates a wonderful centerpiece in the instrumentation) and the band instrumentation creates such a piece that has soaring potential. Also soaring is the momentum and intensity once Festival in My Car hits the chorus. All of this helps create a strong number to kick the mini-album off with. (9/10)

2. LOVE BURNLOVE BURN is next up on the mini-album. Synth-pop and guitar riffs come together to create the backing piece of LOVE BURN. While I am unsure what came first, the instrumental pairs extremely well with the melodies of this track, which I think is the highlight of the song. The melodies just give LOVE BURN so much character and personality, which I think is enough reason to say that LOVE BURN edges out the previous song. Throw in passionate and husky vocals from BAEKHO, and you have yourself another strong and captivating track to enjoy. (10/10)

3. No Rules (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of No Rules. (8/10)

4. We Don’t Care No More (ft. June One of Glen Check) – Collaborating with June One of Glen Check, We Don’t Care No More delves into groovier and funkier territory. But the track still falls into the synth-pop realm and features guitar riffs, just like the other side tracks on the mini-album before it. Both BAEKHO and June One brings something different to the song during their respective verses and choruses. BAEKHO has a nasally tone in this track, whereas June One brings out a hollower tone to his vocals. Yet when they sing together, they blend really well with one another to create what felt like one person singing. Melody and hook-wise, I felt We Don’t Care No More definitely excelled. (9/10)

5. BAD 4 U – Taking the album into R&B territory is BAD 4 U. I did like the beat to the song and how natural the song felt for BAEKHO. The melodies and lines just flow so smoothly from BAEKHO. However, it is the most standard sounding track on this mini-album. It isn’t really the most innovative track out there. I am also not a fan of the ending, which felt abrupt for my liking. (7/10)

6. WANNA GO BACK (ft. Sik-K) (변했다고 느끼는 내가 변한 건지)WANNA GO BACK is the mini-album’s most powerful track, bringing forth a punkish rock sound to the mini-album. I liked how BAEKHO’s vocals becomes hoarsely, which really compliments the punkish rock influence. Sik-K’s rapping is autotuned, which I thought was interesting initially. But his rapping definitely adds an even rougher texture to WANNA GO BACK. I do wish the instrumental went a bit harder into the rock influence, just to give that wow factor. The guitar solo at the very end is definitely a step in the right direction. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

Absolute Zero Teaser Image

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