I’ve always enjoyed HIGHLIGHT’s music (formerly B2ST), but I’m definitely a casual fan, not a true B2UTY. Like many people, I was really into the boys during their peak with “Fiction” and “Beautiful Night,” but I naturally drifted away as new groups debuted and captured my attention.
HIGHLIGHT are now on my mind again thanks to the release of their latest mini-album, Can You Feel It?. It’s the group’s first independent release after splitting with former label Cube Entertainment, who stubbornly kept the rights to the name B2ST. While fans were probably disappointed that HIGHLIGHT had to re-brand and start over again as independent artists, I’d say it’s a good thing. The reboot has reignited my interest in the band, and Korea seems to feel the same way if HIGHLIGHT’s incredible performance on the digital charts right now is anything to go by. It’s a classic case of what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
After focusing primarily on ballads for the last few years, HIGHLIGHT’s new single, “Plz Don’t Be Sad,” is a welcome return to uptempo pop. Thankfully, they haven’t done the faux-swag hip-hop style that’s so popular with boy bands right now, instead keeping things bubblegum and super fun in a way that they haven’t done this well since the spectacular “Beautiful Night.” And beneath the glossy surface, there’s a deeper meaning hidden in the lyrics, with HIGHLIGHT comforting B2UTYs who have been upset by the recent changes in the group.
It was a risk for HIGHLIGHT to choose a bright song with a cute concept over a ballad, since the latter usually does much better for them on the charts, but it was the right move. “Plz Don’t Be Sad” feels like a celebratory moment, the beginning of a new era, and a victory over Cube.
With the exception of the europop banger “Can You Feel It?,” the boys have wisely filled the rest of the mini-album with melancholy mid-tempos and ballads that they’re best known for. They’ve covered all their bases this way and will appeal to new and old fans alike. For me personally, I’m playing the upbeat stuff and skipping the slow jams, but for many others it will be the other way around.
So, for anybody that’s been worried about HIGHLIGHT’s future, don’t be - it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of life left in the band yet.
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