Wildly popular Produce 101 Season 2 spinoff group JBJ have released their third and final title track. “Call Your Name” functions more or less as a goodbye song to fans, tapping into a poignantly melodic vein of EDM full of “don’t forget”s and “this isn’t the end”s. Compilation album “New Moon,” which includes all the music from JBJ’s previous two mini-albums, also includes two new album tracks in addition to the title track. As of the end of April the group’s activities are officially over, and—god, I hate to say it—the rush to wrap things up seems to have affected the music quality. It’s no secret that the last several weeks have been a mess for the project group: each of the individual members’ separate agencies were scrambling to come up with a way to delay the group’s contractual expiration date and squeeze more money out of the arrangement, while YG Entertainment declared plans to pull member Hyunbin from the lineup. The members and fans themselves seemed to be floating in limbo, which makes the hasty conclusion of the project feel even more jarring. At least all six original members were able to participate in the final release, but that’s about the only positive about this story’s ending.
My complaints about “Call Your Name” and its two accompanying side tracks, “Be Joyful” and “Just Be Stars,” are similar to the issues I had with JBJ’s previous comeback. The production is just lacking. There’s no balance or depth in the electronic instrumental; the mixing feels flat; the percussion is overly loud and mechanical. Layers of echo too often obscure the members’ vocals, and at other points—take the high note into the final chorus—they sound cut-and-pasted instead of natural. It’s a shame, because it’s neither what JBJ themselves deserve nor what the composition of the song deserves: the melodies in “Call Your Name” are perfectly suited to a goodbye song, combining nostalgia and hope in a way that maintains a comfortable sweetness without being too predictable. It makes you feel like JBJ’s management messed things up big time, or else they just didn’t care enough to end the project on a quality note, which is absolutely disappointing. We can only hope that the members’ respective agencies will invest more resources into them when they redebut as members of their own permanent groups.
CALL YOUR NAME: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? I feel bad. I don’t wanna say it.
Take a look at JBJ’s “Call Your Name” MV below: