[Album Review] Inside (1st Mini Album) – BTOB 4U

BTOB 4U is nominated for Best Subunit in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support BTOB 4U and your other favourite artists of the year. Remember to vote before the 31st December as the poll closes on that day at 11:59 PM AEST.

BTOB recently returned in the form of the subunit BTOB 4U, which consist of members who have left the military (i.e. Eunkwang, Minhyuk, Changsub) and Peniel who didn’t enlist as he is not a Korean citizen. The unit made their debut a little over a month ago on the 16th of November with the single Show Your Love and the mini-album, Inside. And while the military tends to be a period of uncertainty for many male idols, BTOB 4U showed that they still have the love of Melodies (their fanclub) by winning their first award on SBS The Show. Let’s see what BTOB 4U has to offer on Inside, aside from the title track that we all know of.

Inside Album Cover

1. Show Your Love (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Show Your Love. (8.5/10)

2. TensionTension showcases a whole new sound for BTOB, something that BTOB has never attempted before. It is so sleek and classy sounding, and I also detect some sensual vibes throughout the upbeat nature of the song. Tension starts off with some plucking of acoustic guitars, before moving to a funky instrumentation. I found the song to be catchy, both lyrically and the way the word ‘Tension’ just roll from their mouths. Peniel’s rap also brings a bit of a flair to the song that works really well with the rest. (10/10)

3. Bull’s Eye – I am standing while writing this album review and I just cannot help but dance to Bull’s Eye. The energy that comes from this song is quite infectious. Bull’s Eye takes on board an alternative rock sound that is filled with very catchy moments. I liked how each member shined in this song. The vocal delivery of the two vocalists in the pre-choruses and bridge left me stunned. The rappers each brought a unique edge to the song. I also like it how the song doesn’t stay in one lane, but strays in different directions to give it a bit of a chaotic, yet interesting vibe. (10/10)

4. Mirage – To me, Mirage brings us back to a version of BTOB that we are familiar with. But remember, this is a BTOB 4U song and there are some differences. Mirage is vocally centric and melodic. The vocal work is smooth, with both Minhyuk and Peniel joining the vocal lineup for the song on top of their duties as rappers. All of this is done over an upbeat but moody dance instrumental. The overall balance is definitely something to commend the song for. (9/10)

5. Alone – The way Changsub starts off the song with just a deep and husky voice was amazing. Once again, we amazing vocals from Changsub, Eunkwang (example: the start of the second verse) and Minhyuk (example: the end of the song). This indie ballad was beautiful to listen to and the way they harmonized was so soothing to listen to. Peniel joins in as a rapper per his usual position. He has a real knack of incorporating his raps into these songs. I thought a rap sequence wouldn’t work in this song, but Peniel proved me wrong in this instance. Overall, Alone was a beautifully conceptualized song to end the album with. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.5/10

Inside Teaser Image

[Review] Show Your Love – BTOB 4U

It has been a while since we heard from BTOB. All the members (with the exception of Peniel) over the last two years enlisted in the military. Some members have completed their enlistment while other are close to finishing. For those who have completed their enlistment (Eunkwang, Minhyuk and Changsub), they have regrouped (with Peniel) for unit promotions under the new name BTOB 4U with the new single, Show Your Love. The new single is also the title track off the unit’s first mini-album, INSIDE.

Show Your Love is a moombahton dance track that (fun fact!!) fellow member Hyunsik wrote prior to his enlistment. I have to admit the backing of Show Your Love is a typical for this era of music. But it was still refreshing and enjoyable to listen to. And it also gives us a BTOB fix. It is a nice change up to BTOB’s usual works, which have focused primarily on vocal centric tracks and ballads pre-military. Obviously, a subunit is able to explore and experiment with different sounds and genres. But this doesn’t feel like a unit release. Show Your Love feels very BTOB to me. I am instantly taken back to Only One For You thanks to the song’s melody. Show Your Love is just a more energetic and upbeat version of the mentioned title track, with an instrumental that really knows how to amplify the vocals and melodies. Eunkwang and Changsub handle this department with ease and the combination of the vocals and instrumentations makes the song sound explosive. Peniel and Minhyuk focus more on the rapping. Their rhythm was really good and they add some intensity to the song. If I were to pick a singular member who shined the most in Show Your Love, my pick would be Peniel because he has more opportunity to shine and his rapping was probably the most memorable in the midst of the other three members. But that doesn’t mean the others didn’t shine, given that Show Your Love comes together really well and fulfils that BTOB craving that I am sure we have all experienced over the last two years.

Based on the comments section of the music video, the members portray the different forms of love that can exist. Other fans have also noted that each member is portraying a character who experiences love in some form in their movie (given that Minhyuk’s is clearly representing the very infamous story of Romeo and Juliet). I do prefer the former option as I cannot pinpoint what the original movies Eunkwang, Changsub and Peniel are showing. Changsub is showing a toxic relationship, Peniel is showing self-love, Minhyuk tells us the story about willingness to die for a lover and Eunkwang portrays a same-sex love story. Each of these stories have ‘love’ as the running theme, fitting in with the song’s call to ‘Show Your Love‘. The end of the video shows the four member reuniting thanks to a simple card. They walk to an old warehouse and we are left with the image of the four members smiling over a glowing golden light. We aren’t shown exactly what they see. But my guess is we might be seeing the remaining members, who might be forming their own subunit when they return and they would reunite with BTOB 4U at the end of their video. Who knows…

The added bonus of an upbeat song is that BTOB 4U is able to show off more dance moves. I really like the start of the performance with the three lines of dancers/members. I feel like that is made to be an optical illusion as I could only see Peniel move to the middle line and when Minhyuk/Eunkwang appeared, my mind was blow. I also liked the part when Minhyuk suddenly kneels (it had an epic feel) and the cute little ‘LOVE’ letters they made with their hands at the end of the video.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10