BTOB – “Insane” and “Imagine” review: As k-pop as it gets

So there’s another new boyband in the market. This time, it’s from Cube Entertainment, the company behind B2ST, 4Minute, G.Na and A-Pink. Since B2ST is a six-member boyband, Cube can’t put out another six-member group, right? Presenting seven-member boy group BtoB, which stands for ‘Born to Beat’ – not ‘business-to-business’ as is the usual parlance.

BtoB insane kpop MV screencap
Not going to comment about their looks... because they look like what you would expect a k-pop boyband to look like

BtoB was officially announced and made their debut in the same time it took EXO to come out with five teasers. And the only reason I’m writing about a rookie group like BtoB is because, well, I quite liked their music.

The first ever single from BtoB to be accompanied by a music video is “Insane”:
The song won me over on first listen itself. It’s not a fantastically original song by any means, but I guess that’s why I liked it. At a time when labels like SM and the like are ever increasingly working with Western producers for a ‘new’ sound in a bid to crack the international market, a song like “Insane” is pure unadulterated K-pop. The music video stars A-Pink’s Chorong and the concept of the MV is, erm, her cheating on all seven of them? I don’t know, but the MV is nothing great. The choreography is serviceable and BtoB’s first live performance showcased they’re actually pretty damn good vocally. I’m rating “Insane” a 4/5.

The second single is the ballad “Imagine”:

… and this too won me over on first listen! Sure it reminded me of B2ST for a second, but judging the song on its own merits, I love the chorus, the beats and the persistent hook throughout the track. The only negative to point out is the English lines being murmured during the bridge. It’s clear the guy isn’t fluent in the language, but jeez, at least put some emotion in during the recording process. Other than that, “Imagine” is another finely crafted song (by k-pop standards). – 3.5/5

Both songs may sound fairly similar to what B2ST may sing, but that’s because both of BtoB’s debut tracks were produced by Seo Jae Woo, who has composed songs for other Cube artists such as 4minute and B2st. That’s expected of Cube, who would dig through material B2ST never ended up using and give it to BtoB. Even if the songs were hand-me-downs, BtoB has done a good enough job to make the songs theirs.

BtoB member boyband k-pop CubeBtoB are the only rookies I’ve written about after AA (who also debuted with a two-song release), so you know I’ve added them to my k-pop radar. I just hope they don’t take misstep like B1A4 did this year and continue down the strong path they have made with their debut.

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  • Tshering


    I agree. They are very promising debuts. I think you also made a review about Block B. Anyway they sound a lot better than B1a4(not a fan of them). But Exo is still at the top on my list with the unique What is Love. Bap is another strong debut this year, with incredible stage presence.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Block B debuted last year, so I didn’t consider them a rookie group when I reviewed their 2012 release.

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