Hot K-pop band B.A.P. ditch masculinity for softer look

Hot K-pop band B.A.P. ditch masculinity for softer look
Band member Jongup from of K-pop boy band B.A.P.

Ardent fans of muscular K-pop sextet B.A.P might be forgiven for doing a double-take after checking out their handsome idols' new single, Coffee Shop.

Laid-back and breezy, the smooth, soulful R&B track sounds nothing like the adrenaline-pumping, heart-racing material they've put out so far.

Visually, the boys - who are best known for flaunting their biceps and milking their machismo for all it's worth - have also taken the intensity level and in-your-face directness several notches down.

Their past chart-topping hits Warrior, Power and One Shot feature B.A.P sparing no expense to show off their manliness - cue scenes of them pumping fists in front of giant robots, doing push-ups, repairing fast cars and posing with motorbikes and guns.

Coffee Shop is shot entirely in the US, with all six members of the boy band looking pensive as they take a leisurely walk down the picturesque streets of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City and San Francisco.

Going by the latest statistics, this transformation seems to be a move in the right direction. The somewhat artistic music video, free of B.A.P's usual contrivance, has garnered nearly 1.7 million views on YouTube since its release three weeks ago.

Critics have given Coffee Shop the thumbs up too. It is the first single taken off their yet-to-be-titled new EP and is slated for release later this year.

South Korea's online music channel MWave calls the song "bittersweet, simple and relaxing", while US-based Korean entertainment website Seoulbeats said it was "nice to see them for once lay off the excessive streetwear... it showcases their versatility, proving that they are not just about high energy dance tunes and forceful concepts".

Not bad at all for a rookie group with only two EPs - No Mercy and One Shot - to their name.

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