INFINITE – “Be Mine” (내꺼하자): These guys just keep getting better!

I only write a post on K-pop when there’s something good out and it deserves the attention. Rest assured, rookie (are they still?) boy band INFINITE are one of those acts that always deliver something good, and a group I truly feel deserves the attention!

There have been quite a lot of new entrants in the Korean boy band scene the last two years. Like the (many, many) girl groups, some are good, and many of them… you’ll never hear of again after their debut single.

Infinite Over the Top album cover Korean boyband
The fashion? No comments

Woolim Entertainment‘s INFINITE falls under the category of ‘debuted well, and then kept growing stronger with every new release’. The boys hit the music scene last year with “Come Back Again,” a funky guitar-tinged single that was good enough to draw me in. The one thing that really struck me about INFINITE was how in-sync they are with their dancing! Just watch their live performances and you’ll know what I mean.

She’s Back” came next and then earlier this year, INFINITE made a comeback with their second mini album Evolution.  Though the title song “Before the Dawn” did well, the song from the album that I liked more was “Hysterie,” mostly because it was such a classic Michael Jackson inspired jam.

Two months later, INFINITE released “Nothing’s Over” (though, to me it sounded more like “Nothing Sober” :)). Regardless of their ‘Engrish,’ it was still a good fresh single accompanied by a unique music video. Their live performances of “Nothing’s Over” was a joy to watch. The release also included a remake of the song “Can U Smile“– and this song remains to me one of INFINITE’s best songs to date!

Inspirits (what INFINITE fans are officially called) didn’t have to wait too long for their idols to return to the K-pop charts. They’re back with another great track!

Be Mine” is from INFINITE’s first full length album ‘Over the Top‘. The track is in my opinion their best single to date! Very hard edged with the guitar hooks (the group’s signature style) and yet, clearly influenced by dance pop from the 1980s. Whoever their producer is surely deserves a lot of the credit. Of course, the boys are the ones who do justice to the song by bringing to life. Can’t wait to see them perform “Be Mine” on the music shows!

Infinite members Be Mine MV Over the Top k-pop boyband album

Here’s a mini-review of the album ‘Over The Top’:

1. (Intro) – A 54 second teaser of what to expect from the new few tracks

2. “Be Mine” – Already wrote about it above. Definitely the best track on the album! – 4.5/5

3. “1/3” –  Smooth track, but lacking in some ways. Should have pushed this down in the track list This track has grown on me in the last few days, and I like it a bit now – 2.53/5 (I did say a ‘bit’ :))

4. “Tic Toc” – Mediocre and the chorus has bits of “Before the Dawn” – 2/5

5. “Julia” – The song sounds a lot like this song and I don’t know what the “A, I, O, I, A…” in the beginning is supposed to signify. – 3/5

6. “Because” – A solo track by Sungkyu. The English is a tad distracting and to be honest, it’s not a very good song. – 2/5

7. “Time” – Another solo track but this time Woohyun fully in charge of lead vocals. Sounds like one of those ballads that end up on the OST of a drama. Good voice though! – 3/5

8. “Amazing” – Decent track. One in which the rap, despite being brief, really stands out. Should have moved this higher up the album order. – 3/5

9. “Crying” feat. Baby soul – The song kicks off with a woman singing, while the boys slow rap the rest. Boring. – 1.5/5

10. “Real Story” – Take the beats out of of Chris Brown’s “With You” and overlay it with Korean lyrics and a slightly different tune, you get this song. – 1/5

Sadly, most of the songs sound very unoriginal and lacking any real inspiration. Had they replaced some of the songs I rated with a 1 or 2, with “Nothing’s Over” and “Can U Smile” (Remake), I would have easily bought the album. But instead,  INFINITE’s ‘Over The Top‘ just feels like an album with an extremely good lead single, while the rest of tracks can be best described as album fillers.

My rating: 2 out of 5 (Poor)

Inspirits will cry foul and dismiss this review saying things like: “You are SO wrong!” “What’s wrong with you?!” and what not. So please note: this is my take on the album. It’s okay if you don’t agree with me. Trust me, I know good music when I hear it. And it’s not the first time this year I’ve been disappointed by a group that I like.

———-

I’m not the kind of fan who will support or praise an artist “no matter what”. Especially when they release mediocre songs. I’ve noticed K-pop fans (especially in S. Korea itself) who will outright defend their favourite group, ask for mass collective purchases of an album, all in the name of ‘support’. But you have to understand how damaging that can be for creativity. Fans like that only make producers of content lazy, and in the end, it’s those fans themselves who are being betrayed.

I’m not calling out INFINITE for “betraying” their fans. They haven’t. All I’m saying is, this being their first full album, ‘Over The Top’ could have been so much better. It should have been.

If there’s a boy band that isn’t from a major label (SM, JYP, Cube, or YG), that I believe is going to be big, it’s INFINITE. They have the musical talents to be the “next big thing”. So I’m not losing faith in these guys and I do hope this album makes Woolim Entertainment enough money to give the boys a bigger dorm.

What, you Inspirits thought I didn’t know about that? 😉

Edit (01/09/2011): INFINITE WON THEIR FIRST AWARD!

I’m so happy for them! I wrote this review on 27th July and on 1st September, more than a month after they released “Be Mine”, INFINITE finally won an award on Mnet’s MCountdown! They deserved this for all the hard work they put in to each of their performances. I knew Super Junior would steal the show(s) in August with “Mr. Simple” due to their immense popularity, but I’m so happy INFINITE finally got recognized! Edited this review with this news because… well, I felt like remembering the moment! 😀

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14 Comments

  • Keya

    24/07/2011

    You made a very good point regarding their “album fillers.” 🙂
    I really don’t understand why many fans of KPOP groups just support and support, I mean that is NOT really bad, but like you said. It distorts creativity. Also, wouldn’t they want to bring out the best in their idol groups? It really does affect the way the producers create songs. 🙂 Sorry, if I like, just repeated what you said. xD

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Why ‘sorry’? I should be saying THANKS! 🙂

    When I wrote this review, I was expecting mostly negative feedback from hardcore Inspirits, because online, they were leaving comments on each song as if they were truly amazing — which the ‘album fillers’ are not. So thanks for agreeing with me, and for being the first comment on this review.

    I still ‘support’ INFINITE and do hope they get pretty big, because their talent deserve it!

    [Reply]

  • HLee

    26/07/2011

    I consider myself a pretty big fan of INFINITE–I’ve been obsessed with them since their song “Come Back Again”, but I have to agree with you on this one that it was somewhat disappointing.

    Like Keya said, I don’t think it’s THAT terrible, but it definitely wasn’t as good as some of their previous songs.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Yeah, aside from “Be Mine,” I haven’t listened to the album again after writing this review. Hope Woolim Entertainment make up for this by coming out with a re-package album with a better collection of songs.

    [Reply]

  • tokidoki_sama

    02/09/2011

    Hm… well I don’t agree with calling them album fillers because I genuinely enjoy listening to each song. Because and Amazing are my favorite tracks on the album. And the composition of Tic Toc is just awesome. The only song I’m not that fond of is Crying because I’m not the hugest rap fan. But don’t worry… even if I’m an Inspirit and I don’t agree with your review, I won’t hate on you. LOL Everyone’s entitled to their own oppinion and you weren’t rude about it so I have no issue with it. =D Keep being awesome and reviewing kpop. =DDD

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you for your opinionated comment 🙂 Despite how I feel about this album, my liking for INFINITE hasn’t changed one bit!

    [Reply]

  • Jolyn

    04/09/2011

    I really really agree about the album fillers part. One big problem of many new albums released in South Korea is that they try to have full length albums (to so called secure the group’s ‘senior’ position in the music industry) but they do not put in effort in making every track good. It seems like they spent months on the title track but a few days for the rest of the tracks. That is, to me a Really Lazy way of producing an album. In the times where mini albums are really common, people get excited when full length albums are released (and then they get disappointed by the tracks).
    Honestly, i prefer mini albums (with the exception of Super Junior, who releases a big album annually) as they seem to have more ‘substance’.
    The company can spend more time working on lesser songs than trying to accomplish 10 songs with the same time frame. (which is usually a bad result, but i contradict myself by saying that some full length albums like Beast or 2am are not bad)

    on a lighter note, congratulations for infinite’s win! (i was wishing that they won even earlier with Before the Dawn which in my opinion was great)

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Yup, a lot of K-pop albums suffer from the lack of good full length albums. The last good full length I heard was 2AM’s “Saint O’Clock”, the only good one from last year.

    And I agree, INFINITE should have won two comebacks ago! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Jolyn Reply:

    Oh yes! Really loved 2Am’s Saint O’Clock that I even went to buy the album even though im not their super fan 😛
    To me, an album is good when there is cohesion and that listening to it is a pleasure (the tracks flow well) and there is this ‘theme’.
    Many a times, i find that albums just lack that ‘theme’.
    Take Super Junior for example, Im their big fan, but honestly, they do NOT have fantastic full albums.
    If I were to listen to each individual song, I would be marveled and feel that many of the songs are actually good. But if i put them into an album, then to me the individual songs just lose their shine..
    Even when each song is great on its own, when 12 good songs are placed together in an album, it seems like a compilation to me.. Because there is a lack of ‘connection’..
    Im really particular about the order of songs in an album (i dont know if its OCD or anything :P) and also the why certain songs are put in when they obviously dont fit to be in it..

    omg sorry for this super long comment, just that i really have alot to say about this whole thing about albums 😛

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    He he, go ahead. Write all you want, I read the whole thing! 🙂

  • ritsuka

    21/02/2012

    erm… nothing to say… that’s almost correct..
    i agree with you…but in a fact i still INSPIRIT…i like them truely…
    so INFINITE guys.. you must work hard and show good music and always strive to success…
    fighting!!

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    I’m still an Inspirit too, despite what I wrote above about the album. I’m sure they’ll keep getting better.

    [Reply]

  • Just wanted to point out...

    29/06/2012

    Over The top actually scored pretty high with critics at the Korean Music awards. They were in the top 10 albums of 2011. This is also the album that elevated Infinite and made them known as one of the rare idol groups who emphasize musicality over trends. What are your thoughts on that?

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Critical acclaim may have been there, but it was with “Be Mine” they achieved both critical and really good commercial success.

    [Reply]

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