Day6 -- The Book of Us : Negentropy - Chaos swallowed up in love
There's something deeply nostalgic about Day6's latest EP in the "The Book of Us" series. Something that stirs a memory of simpler times and music that was unfettered with the worry of being "not deep enough" or "too pop." Unlike some of their most recent releases, the pop here feels unforced, unhurried, pure and unapologetic. Knowing that they construct these pop sensibilities themselves adds a layer of realism to the glamor of pretty pink bubblegum. It's hard candy surrounding a sweet center that isn't ironic or sneering.
Day6 goes into their music full-heartedly and without pretense. This makes the music that much more impactful to those who have a mind to really dive into traditional pop music the likes of which have rarely appeared in earnest since the turn of the century. (And, no, I don't consider most of the pop offerings in the last few years truly embracing of the pop aesthetic. More pandering to the whims of baby audiences who think they're too mature for the stuff simply because they don't understand the inherent technical brilliance of it alongside other more "serious" genres.)
Mixed effortlessly into the overt pop of the songs is the signature edge and growl that Day6 has been able to exhibit since their debut. Again, nothing forced. A natural aspect of their music that thankfully JYP has allowed them to explore. Just how much, I'm not sure (as I've not followed much of Day6, and even less of JYP). But what they have been given license to do is fully immerse themselves in both pop and rock genres, allowing them to compliment each other instead of combat each other. Not a tug-of-war. More a seesaw: both working together to make the vehicle move, the talents of each band member at the center to keep the contraption going.
Undercutting all of this, of course, is the musicianship exhibited. No, they're not the best musicians, but they most certainly have the skill to compliment each other. Coupled with the emotions behind their vocals, no matter the music's subject matter or tone (but most notably when they reach for the inherent heartbreak of balladry as in track "above the clouds"), Day6 continues to impress and add more elegance to their discography. In parts it's almost hard to believe just how genuinely good the music is. Track "ONE" is the culmination of everything that makes the band up: emotive vocals, steady harmonies, well-crafted melodies bolstered by simple yet commendable musicianship.
A band that a surprising six years after their debut is still very highly underrated for its merits as a band alone. Negentropy is an incredibly crafted piece of music from this group of young men.