[Year-End Special] Infinite – Back

If you have been following my posts here, you probably have noticed that I have a slight bias toward girl groups in that boy bands tend to turn me off so I write less about boy bands. Infinite is one of those rare bands that happen to be appealing to me because they have a consistent sound that they churn out with every release and, of course, they are a very handsome bunch of guys. Their music has such a classic, retro quality to them and yet always remain very well-situated in the realm of K-pop.

“Back” is the release that I most enjoyed from them this year because of the drama and angst that is infused into every facet of this production. The song is intense and dramatic, from the sudden breakdown to the forlorn piano line. The music video is equally as intense, being essentially equivalent to a trailer for some action-packed movie. Everything about this release screams action and screams classic K-pop boy band. Whereas girl groups tend to favor sexy, racy concepts, boy bands tend to favor angst and, boy, does “Back” have angst. Theatrical and moody, “Back” is the type of release that I originally envisioned K-pop boy bands to produce when I first got into the genre.

Report Card

Concept: B

Loved the whole action-packed movie trailer music video. Loved the boys’ outfits and fighting faces. Choreography was amazing as usual and I especially loved that very theatrical bit in the beginning. Disliked the generic lyrics and general premise of the song, though – I mean, talk about desperate. Move on, Infinite; if she don’t like you no mo’, let her forget about you.

Cohesion: B+

Infinite’s signature retro sound is so consistent across every release that I just gotta give them props for being so cohesive with that theme in general. The sense of desperation and longing were conveyed through the lyrics and through the music video. Nothing seemed out of place with this release and the only thing preventing “Back” from receiving an A is just the fact that it wasn’t particularly a stand out release – it stuck with the theme but didn’t do anything new with it.

Execution: B

The orchestral instrumentation combined with the retro electronic backing create a very potent piece of pop and, while Infinite isn’t the first to release something like this (BEAST’s infamous “Fiction” comes to mind), they certainly pulled off this theatrical sound well. Infinite is blessed with two vocal powerhouses and they are utilized to their fullest in this track. Unfortunately, having vocal powerhouses means someone has to get the short end of the stick and both Sungyeol and Sungjong got the really, REALLY short end of the stick for this song. Neither have any significant lines (Sungyeol gets to whimper for two lines during the bridge; I feel for the kid) and are severely overshadowed by everyone else in the group. Besides the line distribution injustices, it was a fine performance, very typical and in the range of Infinite’s skills.

Final Grade: B

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