2PM made their return June 5 with No. 5, an album that focuses on their more mature sound. 2PM’s vocals did improve as there are stronger harmonies. While 2PM sound more mature, No. 5 isn’t among their stronger albums. The 12-track album is ballad and mid-tempo track-heavy which may delight fans of, say, 2AM, but the typical upbeat, fun tracks we usually get from 2PM are just a blip on the radar here. Sadly, subject matter comes across as repetitive and contrite despite vocal improvements, especially since it feels like they’re trying too hard to come across as manly and grown-up with many songs focusing on cheating and sex.
Opening the album is “My House,” a song about a potential one-night stand. “My House” is a solid track and a choice for promotions (even though promotions were extremely short) since it highlights Teacyeon’s rapping and the rest of the members’ improved singing abilities. There’s a good amount of high and low notes that make the song enjoyable. The lyrics are not among 2PM’s best as they are simplistic and repetitive, but the way they’re sung helps the track immensely. Around the 2-minute mark with the echoing lines sounds cool and enjoyable.
“Nobody Else” is a sensual song about being attracted to a woman, but it’s shallow and more lust-filled than romance-filled. The rap is the highlight in “Nobody Else” since it somehow makes the song feel more sensual. For this song, overall vocals weren’t as sharp as they could have been. There are moments when some of the vocals fade out awkwardly, and this could be due to audio quality or just a weak performance. With this, the chorus can be somewhat grating. However, the song has unique instrumentals that help it stand out a little.
Next up is “Hallucination,” a poetic breakup song that sports some of 2PM’s best lyrics. While it sounds like a possible Backstreet Boys throwback song, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The R&B beat sounds nice with some of the upbeat tones, making the song interesting. The vocals work well as they are softer than vocals for other songs.
“You’re Not the Only One” is easily one of the best songs on No. 5. While the lyrics suggest both parties in the relationship are cheaters, the song is easy to get wrapped up in due to its execution. This one highlights 2PM’s growth best due to the well thought-out melodies and amazing high notes.
Track five is “Hotter Than July” and is about lust and sexual relations. The song has a sleazy lounge feel, which indicates further what the song is about. Taecyeon’s low rap breathes life into the song, but he’s the only one that barely saves it. “Hotter Than July” is a forgettable track that is lifeless, so there’s a reason why it’s buried in the middle of the album.
“About to Go Insane” brings the synth and sound of some 2PM hits of yore. The song is necessary since it assures the audience they didn’t die in a sea of ballads. The 80s-sound and tease-filled lyrics play well into the album’s theming.
“RED” comes in as the seventh track and brings a return to the balladesque, R&B sound. “RED” has a generic feel to it as it’s more of a standard R&B track and falls under the category of “standard K-Pop album track.” The lyrics are romantic and sexy, and Taecyeon is just awesome. However, the song isn’t anything special since it sounds similar to many other K-Pop songs by different groups. It proves 2PM can be sexy, but it doesn’t prove they can stand out.
“Wanna Love You Again” is another baby-making track. The falsetto works for the track, but that’s about it. “Wanna Love You Again” is a snooze-fest that has a Boyz II Men feel. Songs like these are designed to make fans feel like the band could be potential love interests. While it’s an effective tactic, it doesn’t make for interesting music if the song is paired with a monotonous, sleepy beat. “Wanna Love You Again” needed a different beat to remain interesting because the singing is good. The harps are an interesting inclusion to help make the track a little less mundane, but the tempo needs to change.
Track nine is “Know Your Mind,” a song about falling in love. The song has a more upbeat vibe, which is plus. It is another R&B track, but it doesn’t feel as standard as other tracks on the album. The main issue with “Know Your Mind” is that the sound quality isn’t the best. The chorus fades from quiet to slightly loud, and instrumentals drown 2PM out. Sometimes it felt like they were singing in a distant tunnel and trying to project their voices. Some of the vocal distortions assisted with making the song feel this way too. It’s hard to tell if this was intentional or just poor production quality… unless 2PM were in the girl’s mind literally getting to know her mind and we’re just hearing the echoing of their voices inside the girl’s cranium.
“Magic” and “Jump” contain the sound many love from 2PM. The dance tracks save the album from being completely lifeless as they’re playful, flirty, and fresh. With “Magic,” there’s a good amount of swing in the beat; whereas “Jump” is synth and EDM heavy. “Jump” definitely feels like a night of clubbing, so it’s refreshing for that reason because it feels like a remix track. “Magic” and “Jump” definitely recapture the fun element that is 2PM.
Finally, “Good Man” brings back the seductive vibe from “Wanna Love You Again” and “RED.” The track has hints of Motown, making the song feel old-but-new again. There is a lot of saxophone involved in it, so it feels like 2PM hired Kenny G. to join them to try to add romance. The sax addition makes the song different, so that’s okay. However, it’s just another slow song, so the album closes with a fizzle than a bang.
Maturity is definitely the theme for No. 5. Apparently for 2PM, mature means slowing down the content and sexing it up. The album needed a better balance between “mature” and the usual 2PM sound we hear in title tracks to help with the transition. No.5 wasn’t their best album, but it’s enough to keep fans happy. No. 5 earns a 2/5.