Giving into temptation has never been more enticing than when being lured in by THE BOYZ. Despite their innocent name, the 11 young men returned on February 20 with their eighth mini album to prove they are continuously maturing. Demonstrating their versatility and growth as artists, members Eric, Jacob, Kevin, Q, and Sunwoo participated in the songwriting of four of the tracks, “Awake,” “Blah Blah,” “Horizon,” and “Savior.” With a darker edge and an affinity for fallen angels, BE AWAKE, marks the continuation of the group’s story from their previous EP, BE AWARE.
Well-known for their boyish charm, THE BOYZ have been typically associated with brighter concepts. Even “WHISPER” with its slightly risqué nature was upbeat and saturated with a vibrant color palette. But BE AWAKE sets the story straight immediately—THE BOYZ are not here to play around anymore. And who doesn’t enjoy watching the good BOYZ turn bad?
Lead vocalist Kevin kicks off the album in “Awake” as he bewitchingly sings, “I’ve got a growling thirst inside of me / A desire to be real / Lend me your ear.” The R&B opening track sets a tantalizing tone and steadily builds its way up into a seamless transition to the EP’s title track, “ROAR.”
With an alluring whistle motif, “ROAR” is all about THE BOYZ’s descent into darkness as they warn listeners, “Fallen angel is my name / I turned my back on paradise.” Written by KENZIE, who has created tracks for notable artists such as NAYEON of TWICE, NCT, Red Velvet, and SHINee, “ROAR” adds another hypnotic earworm to THE BOYZ’s discography.
“ROAR” is accompanied by a visually pleasing music video directed by Rigend Film that accentuates the freedom that comes with losing one’s wings. Grainy night time shots create an eerie ambiance, while THE BOYZ proudly dance under falling feathers and rain. Their smug smirks, however, serve as a reminder that they willingly traded their innocence for independence.
There is a sultry feel in the air as the 11 members move in sync with fluid body rolls that match the tracks’ rhythm. But the most notable part is the way they utilize their skills to move as one whole unit, feeding off one another’s movements and energy, such as when being pulled by visual Younghoon’s control. Choreographed by Mihawk Back, who is well known for his illustrious work with artists such as BoA and EXO, “ROAR” is both an auditory and visual delight.
Easy To Fall For
THE BOYZ have taken a more mellowed-out approach to their signature feel-good vibe with their eighth EP. B-side “Blah Blah” is a warm track with bouncy synths and a groovy guitar melody that is fitting for a laid back summer evening. Meanwhile, “Savior” takes a funky spin on R&B with an array of electronic beats and vocal runs that highlight the member’s individual tones. This B-side explores a sonic spectrum genre-wise, but the result is a unique and fresh sound that has never been done by THE BOYZ before.
As the pace slows down, sweet harmonizations pour out from the group in “Horizon.” Full of heartwarming sentiment, the chorus shares the message, “You became the horizon / You are my every breath.” This ballad is emotionally-charged with an acoustic guitar melody, swelling orchestral strings, and percussion that lifts the track to a delicate close.
With deep chants and a heavy electronic influence, THE BOYZ close out their eighth mini album on a high note with their final track, “Diamond Life.” This high-energy song leaves listeners wanting to see what the future holds in store for Sangyeon, Jacob, Younghoon, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Kevin, New, Q, Juhaknyeon, Sunwoo, and Eric.
To Growth And The Future
BE AWAKE is a testament to THE BOYZ’s upward growth as they continue to delve into more mature themes through their music. The K-pop group has found a way to stay true to their romantic and introspective roots while also evolving sonically. This EP highlights their development in their dance, lyricism, rap, and vocal ability, leaving the door open for a bright future ahead.
Want more of THE BOYZ? Check out our breakdown about their special single “All About You” here!