by Kya Brogdon | 14 August, 2023
After releasing an album earlier this year and announcing Asia dates to their current tour, The Boyz surprised fans (aptly named “The B”) with news that not only would the group be coming back with another full album, but they would also be releasing it installments - a total of three EPs dropped over the next five months to create the entirety of their second album, Phantasy. The first installment of this series, Christmas in August, consists of six songs in which the members tell stories about the excitement of a whirlwind summer romance.
The title track for this album is called “LIP GLOSS.” Similar to their 2021 title track “THRILL RIDE” - which they actually reference in verse two - “LIP GLOSS” is a bubbly, bright song that was instantly at the top of my summer playlist. Comparing the feeling to a new romance to the excitement of Christmas time, the members sing “한여름의 Christmas / 파도처럼 밀려드는 new romance” (translation: “A Midsummer Christmas / New romance crashing in like waves”) and “Say all I want is you / 우리만의 Christmassy summer” (translation: “Say all I want is you / Our Christmassy summer”). The music video runs long, at just over six minutes, because we get to watch the song twice within the same video. The first portion follows the members as they attempt to flirt and look cool in front of the female lead; in the end they all have a giant party on the beach to celebrate the summer. In this party atmosphere, we enter the second portion of the video where the song plays again and we get to watch the dance choreography. Combining the performance video and the story video into one isn’t something that I’ve seen very often, but I think it’s a really cool idea. When having two different videos, fans often have to choose which one they want to watch, but since both options are included in the same video you no longer have to choose, and it also allows fans an extra listen to the song. The way the song ended and started over again flowed so seamlessly I didn’t really even notice it until my second time watching it through. I am a lover of both choreography centered videos and story centric music videos, so “LIP GLOSS” was absolutely the best of both worlds.
For the b-sides “Lighthouse,” is one that I did not expect to love as much as I do. I was expecting a soft song based on the title, but I was pleasantly surprised at the upbeat, pop-synth melody we got instead. Similar to “LIP GLOSS,” “Lighthouse” is another bright, catchy, summer anthem that had me dancing along immediately. The backing “Oh-eh, oh-eh, oh-eh” throughout the song is so fun to sing along to, and the lyrics are sweet and endearing. The chorus reads “Let me shine like a lighthouse (Oh, like a lighthouse, yeah) / 그 빛을 난 따라가 / Let me shine like a lighthouse (Oh, like a lighthouse, yeah) / 흔적들을 찾아가 ('Cause you know how to know, how to) / Light, light me up, light, light me up / 그 곳에 닿게 날 / Light, light me up, 내가 원한 건 / Baby, shine like a lighthouse” (translation: “Let mе shіne like а lighthouse (oh like a lighthouse yeah) / I follоw that light / Lеt me shine lіke a lighthouse (oh like а lighthouse yеah) / Find the traces (cauѕe you know how tо know how to) / Light light me up / Lіght light me up / Lеt me reach thаt plaсe / Light light me up / Light, light me up, what I wanted / Baby, shine like a lighthouse”) - listeners are immediately brought into the excited mindset that is having a crush on someone.
“Fire Eyes” is my favorite b-side, and it opens with what is perhaps now my favorite opening to a song ever. The synth- style video game-esque melody is absolutely dreamy and sets the tone off the song from the get go. The entire song is like an 80s romance movie with a modern edge condensed into three and a half minutes. There are some songs you hear that you can just envision being performed at concerts – this is one of them. The beats are perfect for the audience and the members to jump along to, and I can already see the future concert vlog set to this song. The lyrics are also uplifting themselves, with the chorus reading “Tonight, 달 끝까지 이어지는 free ride / 꿈을 꾸듯 찬란히 눈부신 we're destiny / Don't stop the fire, fire, fire / The fireworks in your heart.” (translation: “Tonight, a free ride to the end of the moon / Brilliant and dazzling like a dream, We’re destiny / Don’t stop the fire fire fire / The fireworks in your heart”). There is nothing but joy and celebration embedded in this song; I think it’s easily going to become an iconic b-side for The Boyz. Although a bit of a long shot, I hope to see them perform this at KCON LA later this month.
Overall, I love this album so much. Aftering their last comeback sounding edgier and darker, I was expecting a similar sound - but I love that we’re back to The Boyz making bright and bubbly music. This album perfectly fits both the overall series name of Phantasy and the specific title of Christmas in August. “LIP GLOSS” sounds like a summer song and the dreamy synths on the b-sides remind me of the twinkling lights that come around at Christmas time. Despite summer sounds and Christmas time not really going hand in hand, both seasons are filled with hope and celebration and love. This has easily become one of my favorite The Boyz albums, and I can’t wait to see how the next two parts in the Phantasy series sound in comparison to this.