[MV & Album Review] TEEN TOP – ‘High Five / Love Is’

[MV & Album Review] TEEN TOP – ‘High Five / Love Is’

TEEN TOP comes back as a quintet to give their fans a ‘High Five.’ Joe.L’s departure was an emotional affair for the band, but they pulled it together for a 2017 comeback. Not only that, but they offer up 11 tracks for your perusal. 

“Origin,” like 99% of intro tunes, has echoes of the title track. Specifically Niel’s falsetto. The rest is some odd electronic mashup that I’m guessing was meant to sound somewhat romantic. It’s okay as intro tracks go, but hardly the highlight of the album.

The title track “Love is” starts with this high, clear falsetto that I totally thought was a girl singing at first. It’s not — it’s Niel. I like the pounding beat that it ends up with. I was a little worried at first, but I needn’t have been — it is a totally kickin’ track. The boys sound fierce here, and definitely not happy that “love is gone away.” I would have dispensed with the intro track, and put this one in the top spot.

They turn it down a notch on “Because I Care,” a sort of R&B-inspired tune. I love the vocals here — many of them are as smooth as white tea. But this isn’t old school by any means, and it takes about half the song to bring that thought home. It is a really pleasant tune, though, and they do a great job with it.  

“Call Me” is another club banger. It’s different than “Love is,” and that is a good thing. You still have the top shelf vocals and some sick raps early on and at the end. One good rap deserves another. The beat is a fun one, upbeat and thin until we hit the main melody, then it becomes positively slamming. These kind of songs are better felt than actually analyzed, though. Entirely danceable and cool.

“I Love Girl” is more R&B, but this time it resembles funk more than anything. It’s noisier and the technology used is more evident than “Because I Care.” I like this one a lot more, it sounds less restrained, louder, and a lot more genuine. And some of the synth lines are absolutely gold, not to mention some of the effects with vocals. The raps are also awesome as well.

The amusingly-titled “Make Me Sick” is also slower. It more resembles pop than R&B, though it has some nods to the latter. This song sounds a little less imitative than the other ones and more original. It sounds a little more like some of their old tunes, and at the time it reminded me of BASTARZ’ first EP.  It’s a little rawer sound, with some interesting chords. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first, but repeated listens got me hooked.

Strangely, “July” and “Mirror” are the only ballads on the entire album. It’s unusual, but also a welcome change. With only two, you need to turn up your game on both of them. They’re both very different, which also a good thing. “Mirror” has more of the grandiose production to it, while “July” is quieter, more tender. I frankly prefer “July” to “Mirror,” possibly because it does feel more emotional in some ways. They’re both good, but “July” is better.

Hopefully, I’ve given you a good idea of what this album sounds like. If you like dance tracks and R&B ‘High Five’ will be right up your alley. Spring has sprung, and summer is just around the corner, so this is definitely one to brighten your days and put a spring in your step, not to mention a worthy comeback for TEEN TOP.

The MV appears to be a “boy in the box” affair, with the boys dancing in somewhat cramped locations, and never leaving the soundstage in general.

But they manage to pull it off, I think largely because of lighting and presentation. Most of the individual shots are with unique or colored lighting, playing up the contrast between light and shadow. The boxes they dance are actually kind of cool, and there are some weird distorted sensations of space in some of the shots.

The dancing is actually really well done. They whirl and reach, get low to the ground only to spring up once more. They’re vigorous about it too, giving a ferocity and energy to the whole thing. The dancing is better and more animated than in most recent MVs.

Yes, you could crucify this as another box vid, but that would be missing the point. Was it fun? Undeniably. The music probably helped more than a bit, as the song is a fantastic uptempo track. Also, if you’re a fan of TEEN TOP, you won’t want to miss out on another chance to check them out. Thumbs up.

SEE ALSO: TEEN TOP give a glimpse of ‘Love Is’ practice session

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