B1A4: Rollin’ Review

Wow, this song is a happy pill. Just the first few seconds of “Rollin’” had me smiling like a maniac upon first listen. I’m still smiling like a maniac while writing this. It’s not that I’ve been anxiously awaiting B1A4’s comeback or was particularly excited for it in any way. Before this, I’d never downloaded any of their songs, and I didn’t know most of the members. This title track changed all that quickly. In “Rollin’,” B1A4 has got it bad for someone and is wallowing in the depths of their feelings, but the song itself reaches spectacular heights.

The opening bars put me in a good mood right away because I hadn’t expected such a bright, mellow composition. I was anticipating a gentle pop-rock ballad of the type B1A4 are known for, or alternatively, a 360-degree concept switch to some sort of hip-hop sound (I mean, who didn’t think that for a second when they saw the title “Rollin’”?). But instead I was fed buoyant tropical pop, sweet as candy, and the mood was infectious.

The beat following the opening, where the Sandeul sings for the first time, mitigated my glee just a little bit. It felt a little flat somehow, as if the dynamic had fallen into complacency, and it remains my least favorite part of the song, only because it sounds a bit—well—unoriginal. Of course, I realized after listening further that the complaint about complacency is invalid, because immediately afterwards, leader Jinyoung’s drama-filled prechorus began and melted away all my doubts. This moment is an example of Jinyoung’s wonderful composition skills. The way the percussion cuts into the offbeats is so vibrant, so evocative, that it stops the song in its tracks while simultaneously propelling it forward. The prechorus sent me starry-eyed and rosy-cheeked onto the exuberant chorus of voices that follows: “I’m rollin’ in the, rollin’ in the, rollin’ in the deep…” The choral swell makes for an explosive segue into a hook at least the size of a stadium, the kind that makes you want to get up on someone’s shoulders and wave your arms along with the rhythm.

The sheer enormity of the choruses sustains the song’s energy through gentler moments, until the bridge breaks from the electronic instrumental and instead brings in the warm sound of a guitar. Here the momentum snowballs through a long, rich buildup and finally turns to pure exhilaration in the last refrain. While the tropical sounds ostentatiously take the helm, it’s the rock elements—that guitar, the percussion, the choral vocals—that form the song’s heart and soul. The rock influences turn what could have been a run-of-the-mill pop song into a euphoric anthem. Kudos to leader Jinyoung for composing such an exuberant, and stan-attracting, title track.

The rest of the mini-album was solid every step of the way through. I did feel that it could have used some more ups and downs—the energy level remained uniform from “Rollin’” straight to the fifth track “Call Me,” and the lack of significant auditory variation made it hard to pay attention through it all. On an individual basis, though, every song is well-written and charming. For me the biggest highlight aside from “Rollin’” was “Like a Child,” the sixth and final track on the mini-album. The phrasing of “Like a Child,” a mid-tempo ballad, had me clutching at my heart the first time I heard it. The lovely chorus is composed to showcase B1A4’s exceptional vocal control, not counting Sandeul’s voice, which will always be bigger than the boundaries of pop. That’s ironic seeing as it was Sandeul who wrote the song, but it’s just another testament to the power of B1A4’s self-composition, which yields better music than teams of songwriters at much bigger companies. As you can tell I’ve been thoroughly dazzled by this comeback by B1A4, and I’ll have “Rollin’” on repeat any time the sun is out over the next week.


ROLLIN’: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? BOP! Bop bop bop bop bop!


Take a look at B1A4’s “Rollin’” MV below:

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