Posted At: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 12:22 PM
Posted To: 5.koreamusica
Subject: [Pre-Release Review][Single] M.I.B “Nod Along!”
M.I.B has suffered something of an identity crisis over the year since their debut, awkwardly straddling the line between hip-hop artists and manufactured idols in a way that hasn’t quite resonated with the public yet. Coming out of Jungle Entertainment’s impressive roster of artists (Tiger JK, Yoon Mi Rae, Bizzy, Leessang, and others), any new artist has a high bar to clear if they want to meet listener expectations in both artistry and skill. M.I.B didn’t quite reach that level in their previous releases- a fact that the members themselves have readily admitted in interviews- but they’re ready to turn over a new leaf with their latest track, “Nod Along!”.
“Nod Along!” is not only the group’s most ambitious effort so far, it’s also their most up-to-date, picking up on a number of current trends in hip-hop/pop, such as a blend of orchestra instruments and hip hop beats, an eclectic arrangement that bounces back and forth between several distinct sounds, and 90′s-inspired drum beats in the rap sections. The rapping on this song is the most complicated and dynamic that we’ve heard from the group so far, the singing is more extensive and better incorporated than ever, and makes use of some really pretty harmonies. Even though the arrangement is unusual, the chorus has a nice sound and a memorable melody line. When you break it down into all of its component parts, this song has some really great potential.
However, the song shows us some rough edges. Both Kangnam and Cream have nice voices, and the song would have been better showing that off instead of hiding under misplaced autotune, when we do finally hear them sing without autotune toward the end of the song, the sound really comes together nicely. The unconventional structure, while on-trend and interesting, makes the song far less radio-friendly than say, “Celebrate” or “Only Hard for Me“. It’s also a bit difficult to categorize this song- it’s not an emotional ballad or a punchy party song, and while it’s not quite out-there enough to be considered experimental it isn’t really straightforward enough for a standard top 40-type song. Fans do need something to get a hold of and rally around, and “Nod Along!” comes up just a little short in that respect. If they ever do a repackage of this album, a good remix would really serve this song well.
That said, it’s good to see M.I.B coming into their own with a song that is less generic and more special than their previous releases. The guys in this group have personality to spare, and the eclectic nature of this song gives them a pretty wide range of ways to show that off. We’re still waiting to see M.I.B dial things all the way up to eleven, but “Nod Along!” is definitely their best song to date, and it shows us that they’re headed in the right direction.