Block B – Nillili Mambo

Block B’s career has been one hell of a roller coaster, hasn’t it? Their debut songs weren’t exactly groundbreaking, but they eventually managed to gain some attention with their breakout song, Nalina. For a second, it seemed as though the group was heading to the top of the charts. Unfortunately, they took their belligerent bad boy image a step too far, and managed to enrage an entire country with a few careless remarks. The controversy almost derailed their entire career. After taking most of the year off to allow the controversy to blow over, Block B has returned with a new song, Nillili Mambo. 

Fan were wondering how the controversy would effect their sound. Would we see a more sobered Block B? Would they take their bombastic attitude down a few notches in fear of offending? Would they be forced to do…aegyo? *shudders* Well, after a first a listen to Nillili Mambo, its clear that the Block is back and ready to conquer. This new song picks up exactly where Nalina left off, and adds another layer to their evolving sound.
Block B is known for a dirty and grimy hip-hop style. What better way to highlight that image than by implementing pirate themed styles and sounds into your music!? Nillili Mambo begins with a dramatic, string and brass heavy orchestral arrangement that could have come strait out of a Pirates of the Carribean movie. It works really well with the thumping bass and hip-hop beat, and creates a really unique sound. For the first time ever, I feel like this is distinctly a Block B track. They’ve managed to evolve their sound and do something different, while still playing into their own artistic identity. I sure hope that BAP was paying attention….
Vocally, these guys don’t disappoint. Line distribution is much more even than in their past songs, which is nice since each of the group’s seven members has a distinct voice and delivery style. Zico and Kyung really stand out with their gruff voices and in your face styles. Their rap verses are the song’s stand out moments. Jaehyo and Taeil’s strong vocals have also never felt so cohesive with the group’s sound. This song definitely plays into each member’s strengths, and makes the cringe worthy English almost bearable. 
This leaves us with one burning question…what the hell is a Nillili Mambo? Since the answer can’t be found in the English or Korean languages, nor a google search, I’d say that puts it in the same boat as Nalina. I don’t know. I don’t care. But I’m listing to it, and it sounds great! In fact, its surprisingly fun to sing along to the song’s chorus in a slurred, drunked shout. How else would you feel singing “Ni li li na na na na Ni li ni li mambo mambo!” 
The song’s choreography is a little strange, but once again, it works with the group’s free and unleashed image. These guys aren’t known for pretty boy looks and in sync choreography! They have more attitude and swagger than many other groups, and it really is nice to see a group who isn’t overly concerned with how they look, or how they come off to the public. Sure, it got them in some hot water, but it seems to have only strengthened this still rising group!
Final Score: 4/5


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