After an extended break in which they were not missed by many, Brave Girls is back with an almost completely overhauled roster with their “Deepened” comeback. Considering that the group is near unrecognizable, it would have been hard to fault Brave Girls for going in a new direction as the last iteration of the group didn’t enjoy much success. However, “Deepened” surprisingly sounds like a Brave Sound throwback single – a slower R&B jam that plays more to Brave Brothers’ strengths than that of the Brave Girls’ itself.
“Deepened” is the sort of production that Brave Brothers excels at crafting. While the producer is fairly multi-faceted and has worked with nearly everyone in the damn industry, Brave Brothers is usually at his best when he’s making slick disco dance beats (basically all his SISTAR-related material, Dal Shabet’s “Someone Like U”), and rich R&B tunes (After School’s “Because of You,” Hyorin’s “One Way Love”) as opposed to his pop-friendly work which ends up too often sounding like songs that any producer could have put together (his work with 4Minute are the worst offenders in this regard). “Deepened” (which Brave Brothers produced in collaboration with Maboos and JS) definitely falls somewhere between the sultry dance and R&B genres that Brave Brothers executes so well. The percussion and bass immediately hit with all the deliberate pacing of a freight ship but the heaviness of the impact is helpfully balanced by prominent light snare raps and the predominately middle-register vocals of Brave Girls which are also given an undeniable slick sheen that helps combat the general sparseness of the track. However, while the sheen mostly works in the song’s favor, it is not without it’s drawbacks. “Deepened” meanders towards its conclusion with a series of serenading “ooohs” and “awwwws” but the inorganic polish of the vocals mitigates a lot of the impact that those moments should have had and it robs the song of a climactic finish. Indeed, the most lively part of “Deepened” ends up being the rap but even that sounds more like a concession to genre standards than a logical extension of the composition. In all, while “Deepened” mostly works as a Brave Brothers track, the heavy-handed way that the vocals are handled (whether as an artistic choice or because of the talent of the members) keeps “Deepened” from being a great song.
As for the video, it is surprisingly well-made. Sure, “Deepened” has its standard dance-in-a-box set. And yes, the choreography isn’t going to wow anyone. Still, for a video for an essentially new group that has garnered little hype, “Deepened” features some great camera work and excellent set pieces. The apartment stairwell shots are fantastic on their own but the way that the camera is able to pan from Brave Girls’ “apartment” to the stairwell is particularly impressive and gives the whole video a sense of expansive breadth that claustrophobic dance-in-a-box videos usually lack.
The slow pans and lack of incessant cuts also allows the viewer to revel in the video’s visual depth which does a hell of a lot to make shots like these work.
As for the mostly-new Brave Girls themselves, the athleisure concept isn’t going to win any innovation awards but it’s about a safe and fool-proof wardrobe as one is going to find and there’s no denying that the group rocks the gear well.
“Deepened” isn’t the best single to ever be put out under the Brave Girls name (that honor still belongs to “Do You Know“) and it doesn’t do much to correct what likely caused the original group to fade out of public consciousness – a mixture of not-very-pop-chart-friendly beats, forgettable hooks, and average vocals. Still, despite its flaws, “Deepened” is a fairly enjoyable track for those (like me) who really enjoyed Brave Girls the first time around and like Brave Brothers’ more deliberate offerings. The beat is one that can be replayed endlessly without really wearing out and the vocals are easy on the ears, even if they rarely do anything to amaze. If this version of Brave Girls is given more opportunities to put out music like “Deepened,” I will certainly not complain.