[Album Review] Dystopia: The Tree of Language (1st Studio Album) – Dream Catcher

It is time for another album review! And (once again) it an album that I should have reviewed a while back. I am talking about Dream Catcher’s very first studio album, Dystopia: The Tree of Language. It is definitely long overdue for the group as it has been four years since their debut (officially) and countless intense and unique comebacks. The album, released mid-February, features the title track Scream and 13 new tracks. Per usual, I will review all tracks excluding the intro, outro and instrumental tracks. Let’s get going!

Dystopia: The Tree Of Language Album Cover

2. Scream (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Scream. (10/10)

3. Tension – The title gives us a little teaser of the tension and intensity the song will feature. And it blasts you with just that from the very first second in which the song started, opting for a predominately rock instrumental. For all you dedicated fans of Dream Catcher (otherwise known as InSomnia), this is something we all know is within Dream Catcher’s repertoire, given this is the style that they debuted and consistently pull out. But rather than being the same as the past songs, Tension manages to make it refreshing. The song features a change in the intensity throughout the song but manages to make it well balanced. There are also interesting vocal textures thanks to the use of autotune (Dami’s line just before the chorus is just perfect) or a more delicate backdrop (see the bridge). (9/10)

4. Red Sun – If you think the title track is amazing, wait until you have a listen to Red Sun. The song seems to go towards of a hip-hop based sound, which I think it is unfamiliar territory for the group. But it keeps that edgy sound that we know Dream Catcher for. But there is more to the instrumental than just hip-hop. It is haunting in some parts and employs trap synths in other parts. The vocal work brings very interesting and mature twist to the song, as well. The repetition of the title post-chorus and the overall aesthetics are very memorable. Red Sun ticks all the boxes for me. (10/10)

5. Black or White – As we go down this list, the songs get more interesting. There is no going back with this album. I love the thumping beat at the very start, the orchestral touch during the pre-chorus, the funkiness we got in the chorus (on top of the orchestral touch). In addition to that, I really liked how they autotuned the main hook to be part of the instrumental for the bridge. Their vocals and Dami’s rapping fitted right into the track, like a key and lock. Altogether, Black Or White is another mindblowing, addictive and very unique song. (10/10)

6. Jazz Bar – Like how the title suggest, the song delves into jazz. It is a very subtle groove to the song and its flows effortlessly from start to end. The melody was very pleasant and the chorus was satisfying good. Their vocals were very refined and delicate, matching with the jazzy nature of the song. But the real winner in this song has to be Dami. How awesome does she sound? Her nasally voice just works wonderfully in this song and has to be the best section of the song. (9.5/10)

7. SAHARA – We now return to a song with a rock touch (aka. the group’s roots). And it is a good song. But I don’t think it is as good as what we have heard so far. I found the verses to be forgettable for the most part. I did enjoy the rock rush the song had incorporated during its building up moments and during the chorus. Sadly, I also found the hook in this song to be rather weak. But I did enjoy their vocals and Dami’s rapping was pretty decent. As you can see, I would better describe as the song to skip on the album. (7/10)

8. In The Frozen – We re-enter the more interesting sounds on the album. In The Frozen starts off like any other dance track and it remains locked in that gear for majority of the track. It may sound like I am trying to saying it is typical, but I still liked it. There is an adventurous tone to the song, in my opinion. It just took its time to build up. But once we reached the final chorus, everything dropped (or should I say twist) and the entire song’s dynamic changed through the tempo, the incorporation of the song’s title and Dami’s ‘Limit no more’. This is pretty unique from other dance tracks, which once again brings another interesting song to the album. (9/10)

9. Daybreak (새벽)Daybreak delves into the R&B genre. It seems like Dream Catcher is captialising on the number of songs by showing a lot of variety in their sound, yet still showing some of their roots in others. The instrumental has this deep yet striking beat, which reminds me of Red Velvet’s Be Natural (a song I felt was boring at first but has grown on me over time). The vocal and rapping work brings life to the song and adds a sense of refinement. The ending is one of those abrupt kinds, which I still don’t like. But overall, another nice song. (8/10)

10. Full MoonFull Moon was a single for the fans by Dream Catcher, released back in 2018. As you can tell by the rock influences in this song, it is one of the many songs by Dream Catcher that I refer to when I talk about their roots in this review. This is one is a little more straight forward and doesn’t really do add to the sound that we are already familiar with. But this was released in 2018, when the group was still cementing their footing in the industry. I enjoyed the momentum of the song and remember head banging to it every time I had listened to it in the past. I also love the delicate ‘Full Moon’ ending to the chorus, which contrasts strongly with the rock sound that dominates the rest of the chorus. Great track, overall. (9/10)

11. Over The Sky (하늘을 넘어) – And here is another example of their roots, released in 2019 for their fans. The way this song starts off reminds me of many opening themes to animes. They literally throw you into the mix and they probably have no regrets. It is a little overwhelming at first, but you get used to it with multiple listens. Their vocals add more of a cheerful tone to the song and the melody/hook feels very pop-like in comparison to the rush of rock energy that we get in this song. But the two merges neatly with each other and sounds very decent, overall. (9/10)

14. Paradise (Siyeon Solo) (Pre-Release Track) – Not exactly sure if this was ever marketed as a pre-release track, but the final song on the album (even after the outro) Is Siyeon’s solo debut, Paradise. Paradise reminds me of old Western pop tracks and takes on an instrumental profile of a dance track through its use of EDM. But vocally, the song is steered towards the ballad domain. But it is not one or the other. However, the use of the dance instrumental gives it an engaging appeal, while Siyeon’s vocals are on full display in this song. I do feel this combination is rather safe and feel like the song would have been epic if the producers pushed in one or both regards. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

Dystopia: The Tree of Language Teaser Image

[Album Review] Dark Side Of The Moon (1st Mini Album) – Moonbyul (Mamamoo)

It is time for another album review (and I am in the process of drafting another one for Sunday!). As you can see I am busy catching on album reviews that I should have published weeks ago (major hint for the next album review). As you can also tell from the title, I will be reviewing Moonbyul’s very first mini-album release, Dark Side Of The Moon. It features the title track Eclipse, which was also released on the 14th of February 2020. Moonbyul has since wrapped up promotions for her solo release (which is another reminder of how overdue this album review is). So without further delay, here is my album review!

Dark Side Of The Moon Album Cover

1. Eclipse (달이 태양을 가릴 때) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Eclipse. (9/10)

2. Mirror – When there is a choreography routine, the vocals and rapping are usually ‘reduced’ in KPOP to facilitate a flawless routine by the artist. And Moonbyul’s Eclipse is no exception, especially since the choreography was very powerful. Mirror, a song about the realization of the need to let go in a relationship, zones right into Moonbyul’s rapping and vocals, layered on top of a very soft and delicate R&B instrumental, filled with piano and synths to add definition to the song. I really liked how Moonbyul went into a higher tone for the end some of her lines. It really creates an interesting melody and also demonstrates more of Moonbyul’s range. Her rapping gave the song some edge and the way her rapping was packaged was perfect for the softer tone. (9/10)

3. ILJIDO ILJIDO provides the album with a little more light-heart nature, which was definitely absent through the two songs preceding. From what I understand, the song is about wanting more in life. I find the song to be very well balance and I think Moonbyul’s huskier vocal tone was very fitting for this song. The song features another light instrumental and featured a jazzy instrumental break. Prominently featured in the instrumental are flutes and I believe they sampled Hwasa’s Twit, as the flutes here sound very similar to the latter song. I do think the song is a little safe and traditional, but it is still pleasing to listen to. (8/10)

3. Moon Movie – How awesome is Moon Movie? I am declaring this is the hidden gem of the album, even before we dive into the song. Kicking it off is a really alluring piano piece that replays throughout the song. The track’s beat is equally as alluring. The combination of all makes this track stand out in my opinon. As mentioned many times previously, I am not a major fan of the hip-hop genre. But Moon Movie delves into the genre in such an appealing fashion that I cannot help but enjoy it. Moonbyul’s rapping is so rhythmic and it just pulls you into the song even more. (10/10)

4. Weird Day (낯선 날) (ft. Punch) (Pre-Release Track) – We get a simple jazzy instrumental in Weird Day. It is then paired with the sweet vocals from Punch, along with Moonbyul husky vocal tone and soft rapping. And you effectively have created a really amazing track. The track shows how versatile Moonbyul can be, a key skill needed in the industry nowadays. The melodies are really nice and the track is very peaceful to listen to. The only problem, it goes by so quickly despite it going for 3:15 minutes. Other that, I liked this pre-release track (9/10)

5. Snow (눈) (Pre-Release Track) – We end the album with a ballad that was first unveiled in December. And this is a beautiful ballad that focuses purely on Moonbyul’s vocals. I like how Snow manages to incorporate some rhythm to the song, as if Moonbyul is rapping. The harmonies with the backing vocal really make this a strong track. I was going to say that the song feels very versatile, but the Winter theme kicks in later in the song in my opinion, which restricts it to only the Winter season. If it didn’t do that, I think I would have given the song a slightly higher rating. But it is still amazing nonetheless. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Dark Side Of The Moon Teaser Image

[Album Review] i DECIDE (3rd Mini Album) – iKON

It is finally time for me to sit down and knock out some album reviews that has been sitting on my to-do list. First up is for a comeback that occurred in early February, which means this review is almost 2 months late (really sorry for this). For those who may not remember this comeback, iKON returned with Dive at the start of February, their first comeback since the departure of B.I from the group. It was reported that the group had to re-record the album again and hence the comeback delayed to earlier this year. Let’s have a closer (and belated) look at the album.

i DECIDE Album Cover

1. Ah YeahAh Yeah kicks off with a rolling marching drumbeat. It gives the song an epic lift-off. While there was a bit of dramatic flair to it, the song moved into more of a rock sound, which makes complete sense. More unexpectedly was that there was a perky melody and tone to the song, which I don’t mind. But I would have loved for the rock sound to add onto the dramatic flair we got. The group handled the song well, despite it containing parts that we all know B.I once filled. There were two parts that I didn’t enjoy. First the trap-like breakdown for the bridge. We all know how overused this is now and it is becoming more and more obvious with each song. And second, iKON keeps on pulling out the anthem card. It is becoming slightly overused and this might ruin the appeal that card has. (8/10)

2. Dive (뛰어들게) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dive. (7/10)

3. All The World (온 세상) – We get a blast of 90s energy in this song at the very start, before the song settles for a pop sound. Everything in All The World is very vibrant and lively, a side of iKON that we get to see from time to time. The group’s rapping and vocal delivery really made this song feel so much more energetic and appealing to fans. And based on the comments from other listeners on YouTube, the song’s lyrics add to that regard, as well. Once again, they pull out the anthem card for the end. Here, however, it did feel like it made more sense and helped create a wholesome profile for the song. (8.5/10)

4. Holding On (견딜만해) – Following the same tone and energy as the previous track, Holding On brings in the vibrancy with some brass. Within the instrumental seems to be also some orchestral and classical instruments, all built to form an upbeat and playful track. This is a vocal centric track, containing no rapping sequences. The raspy vocals brought to you by Ju-ne and Bobby was an amazing texture. The ad-libs at the end were pretty good and I loved how the instrumental moulded around them. The chorus was catchy and definitely got me in a good mood (especially since the lyrics give empowerment to those who recently broke up). The song also pulls the anthem card out towards the end, but it was more for a backing rather than straight up singing the final chorus (as previously done in the above songs). (9/10)

5. Flower (너란 바람 따라) – The album ends with a song that is almost like a ballad. When I look at the lyrics of the song, I can’t help but think that iKON is paying homage to their former leader. Lyrics like ‘Hope your way is not painful, Hope you just smile happily’ strongly suggests that mentioned meaning. And I am sure this provokes tears in loyal fans of the group. I really like how the instrumental takes a slightly heavier tone, suitable for the song’s message, as opposed to following the upbeat tone that preceded the track. I also find the instrumental to be rather soothing with the acoustic guitar and violins and in despite the drum beat we do get. Vocally, the group did amazing and Bobby’s rap gave it that little push. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

i DECIDE Teaser Image

[Album Review] Universe: The Black Hall (1st Studio Album) – Pentagon

Can you believe that I posted another album review on schedule? It sounds crazy. And another wish that has managed to come true is that Pentagon finally has their first studio album!!! It has been a wish that I (and many fans) have been look forward to ever since their early days and they have finally given us what we all wanted. The album is titled Universe: The Black Hall and this was released early February. The album features Dr. BeBe as the title track and also the Korean version of Happiness (a Japanese single they promoted last year) among other new songs.

Universe: The Black Hall Album Cover

1. Dr. BeBe (Dr. 베베) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dr. BeBe. (7/10)

2. Asteroid – The song opens up with this catchy squeaky disk-scratching-like synth that plays in my head even after the song finishes. The song, with a title about a large rock in space, does have this space-like vibe to it. What I really like is that the song isn’t that serious compared to Dr. BeBe, which means it isn’t as heavy as a result. The track has a decent dance backdrop and all these instrumental elements and characteristics make the song very appealing. The vocal work was also quite good, but I feel like the rap was the more dynamic out of the two. But either way, it made the song stand out. (9/10)

3. Shower of Rain – To me, Shower of Rain sounds like it is a title for a ballad. So, I was thoroughly surprised with how upbeat the pop track was. It started off with distorted sounds and slowly moved into a fulfilling and loaded instrumental. It peaks during the chorus and really helps give the song that bold effect. I love the way the song manages to strip itself down in the later parts and then return to the loaded sound right after. What also really surprised me was the vocals. I know Pentagon has good vocals, through some of their amazing works in the past. But Shower Of Rain has to contain of their best efforts yet. In additional to that, I liked the way they ended the song by getting everyone together to warn their partner to not leave them. (10/10)

4. Die For You – We get back into grungy and edgy side of Pentagon through Die For You. The instrumental takes on rocks, along with dance track synths. This sounds likes something we have heard before from other artists, but I feel like there is a sense of uniqueness to the song, based on how they layered the two sides of the instrumentation (i.e. the rock seems to come through and is not masked in any manner by the dance synths). The English in this track really stands out and really give off a sense of the dark side of the song. Vocally, the group stood out. But this time around, I thought the rapping was a little underwhelming, (8.5/10)

5. Talk – Pentagon brings out the acoustic guitar for Talk. They pair it with simple synths that give it a little more character that if they went just the guitar along. This keeps the song in line with the dance heavy tracks and ease us away with stripping the synths out completely. Vocally, the song was like a ballad and I thought there was a decent equilibrium that the group managed to strike between the raps and vocals. Both sounded good on their own and went well with the track. The track just didn’t feel like it up to par with the rest of the album. (8/10)

6. The Black Hall – I found The Black Hall to be a classy song when it first started. When the song’s main synths started to come in, I thought this classy vibe would be lost. But instead, the song manages keep the classy feel as it goes along. The vocal work is the main element that keeps this going, with its sensual styling. The way they dragged out ‘The Black’ felt so unique with their breathy voices. Going back to the instrumental, the synths ended up being very appealing. The bridge was also a standout part, as it built up quite fast and help give out a further rush of energy to the song. (9/10)

7. Worship U – While you could tell the song was going to be a dance track, the explosion of energy we got in the pre-chorus and chorus respectively caught me off guard as it just seems to come out of nowhere. And while that may be a recipe for disaster, that wasn’t the case of Worship U. The explosion of energy really helped make the song be addictive and bold. The delayed start to the final chorus made the ending feel so much more defined. I just wished the melodies and hooks were a lot stronger, which would definitely helped the song be more appealing. (8/10)

8. Zoom Up – The lyrics to Zoom Up seem to go in a sensual direction. I found that to be rather interesting. It is paired well with a very intense synth-heavy dance instrumental. It also used a traditional guitar of some sort at the start and end of the song, which I thought was a very peculiar highlight in the song. The vocal work and rapping sounded pretty good, though I felt like they had to compete in order to be heard. Furthermore, there wasn’t much of a separation to the chorus and pre-chorus, which I thought was odd. I was waiting for the chorus to come, but it never did. It wasn’t until I heard more of the song that I realized the Zoom Zoom Zoom Up part was the chorus. But it still works. (8/10)

9. Camellia – After so much upbeat tracks, we finally reach the ‘mandatory ballad’ zone of the album. First up is Camellia. It is a standard ballad in terms of instrumentation. It seems to incorporate a bit of slow rock in addition to the typical ballad nature of the song. But it is the type that makes you sway along to the music, which we know is my official criteria for a good ballad. What I think the group nails perfectly are their vocals. The melody and their delivery were very beautiful. The rapping as well was tweaked amazingly. Last time I felt strongly with a Pentagon ballad was Beautiful, which is still one of my favourite tracks from the group to this day. (8/10)

10. Someday – The second ballad on the album is Someday, which features the main vocalists of the group, Jinho and Hui. It is another beautiful track from the group. The duo relies on a typical orchestral sound for the ballad. But I like the way this wraps around the duo’s vocals in such a warm manner. While we are also mentioning vocals, both sounded spectacular. Each sounds so damn good on their own and their harmonies are really breathtaking. What makes this an even more special song is that the duo dedicated this song to their fellow members, making the meaning even more touching. (10/10)

11. Happiness (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed Happiness when the song was first released in Japan. Click here to read the full review for Happiness. (6.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

[Album Review] Red Moon (4th Mini Album) – KARD

I have been a little slow with the album reviews for the past few weeks. I apologise for this. Originally, I was planning on posting a series of album reviews this weekend. Bit I have dropped those plans due to another busy week which prevented me from drafting up multiple album reviews. However, I am sticking to the usual schedule of two album reviews, so keep your eyes peeled for them (this one being one of them). Today’s album review is for KARD’s latest album, Red Moon. The album features the title track of the same name and Dumb Litty, which was released last year.

Red Moon Album Cover

1. GO BABY – Kicking off KARD’s mini-album is GO BABY. With KARD’s tracks so far, I enjoy the intensity and explosive nature of their instrumentals, which make their deliver of lines and rap sequences feel so much more impactful and powerful. GO BABY is a step in the opposite direction. The instrumental is very tame and hence it lacks that same reach as their title tracks or my favourite b-sides tracks. The song has a decent melody and hook, but it just isn’t as memorable as their previous tracks. Even the energy suffers and this bores me. (5/10)

2. Red Moon (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Red Moon. (8/10)

3. Enemy – We venture into new territory with the next two songs. The group splits and pairs with the member of the same gender, which I don’t think KARD has ever done before. Enemy is performed by Jiwoo and Somin, the female members of the group. The song opens with a very strong melodic hook, paired with a slight rock influence in the instrumental. Given that KARD’s main sound is hip-hop house, the song takes a few multiple turns, dropping both hip-hop and house separately into the track. And I thought this was a very cool sound. Jiwoo’s rap is definitely slayed, while Somin’s vocals shined. (8/10)

4. Inferno Inferno is performed by the male members of the group, BM and J.Seph. And like what the title suggest, Inferno is a very intense and powerful hip-hop track. Both J.Seph and BM do not hold back in this track and I definitely like this side of the duo. It contains a growling chorus, which I think is very unique in the KPOP context. I also liked how they had different forms of line delivery, with the help of some autotune. But this helps keeps the song interesting. (8/10)

5. Dumb Litty Click here to read the full review for Dumb Litty. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

Red Moon Teaser Image

[Album Review] Map Of The Soul: 7 (4th Studio Album) – BTS

There is no doubt that BTS’ return is the biggest comeback of the year so far (or even possibly the entire year – and that might be saying something since we are only in February/March). The group’s fourth studio album, Map Of The Soul: 7, features a whole stack of new songs, their pre-releases tracks from January and the tracks from their 2019 Map Of The Soul: Persona mini-album (which features the title track, Boy With Luv). The group has already sold over 4 million copies world wide and have topped the domestic and international charts upon release, as they have been doing with many of the releases. Let’s see how good their latest album is this time around!

Map Of The Soul: 7 Album Cover

Tracks 1 to 5 can be found on the album review for Map Of The Soul: Persona, which I have previously reviewed. The song ratings I gave in that album review were not considered in the album rating (i.e. only new songs contributed to the this album’s rating).

6. Interlude: Shadow (Suga Solo) (Pre-Release Track)Click here for the full review of Interlude: Shadow. (9/10)

7. Black Swan (Pre-Release Track)Click here for the full review of Black Swan. (9/10)

8. Filter (Jimin Solo) – The first of the few solo tracks on the album belong to Jimin. There is a slight Latin feel to the song, thanks to both the melody that Jimin applies over the predominately acoustic guitar in the instrumentation. But rather than being in your face about, the song manages to keep it on the down low, which I thought was interesting. The song has a very smooth run and Jimin’s vocals seems perfect throughout the song. The song doesn’t reach a peak, however. I think that is the only issue with the song as it felt like it was stuck in the neutral gear. (8/10)

9. My Time (시차) (Jungkook Solo) – Similar comments about being stuck in neutral gear can be said about Jungkook’s solo track for majority of the song. But what My Time manages to do in its final chorus was change its gear and give the song a much-needed peak. Jungkook’s song falls under the genre of R&B, while the instrumental is given a modern feel with its synth basis. Jungkook’s vocals must also be applauded as he gives the song a very mature and captivating feel. I mean, look at the way he ended the song with his constant ‘ah’s and ‘ugh’s. (8.5/10)

10. Louder Than Bombs – I was already intrigued with Louder Than Bombs with just the title itself. I had expected a really pop and colorful track (for some unknown reason). But we got something a lot more interesting, much darker and captivating all at the same time. The thumping instrumental and the mysterious vibes we get from the song really draw my attention in. Throw in the higher pitch vocals from the vocalists and the very deep voices that the rappers channeled, you basically have a recipe that will make me return for more. The way the song built up was very subtle and occurred without you even knowing. This is one of the best songs on the album, I can’t emphasis that enough. (10/10)

11. On (Title Track)Click here for the full review of On. (10/10)

12. Ugh! (욱) (RM, J-Hope & Suga) – The rap line is the focus in this song, and you can tell that it is going to be something on a different level. The energy that the trio manages to bring to this song with their line delivery and the hip-hop based instrumental really makes this track a strong one. Suga is fast becoming my favorite rapper of the group and his presence in this track really consolidates his position. However, that isn’t to say that RM and J-Hope were letdowns. They were equally as strong, and I enjoyed the part where they passed the baton to each other at the end. Also, the song became quite explosive at the end with all that gunfire. It drew the song to a close in a manner that really felt like icing on the cake. And it makes me want to see a performance this track, as I would suspect it to be lit! (9/10)

13. 00:00 (Zero O’Clock) (Jin, V, Jimin & Jungkook) – When you think of the vocal line of any group, you would expect them to be singing a ballad as it is easier to show of the vocals in that capacity. I guess the case applies even for BTS. But Zero O’Clock is no slow or depressing ballad. There is some light in this track, thanks to the member’s vocals. The instrumental also this inspirational vibe to it, which matches the song’s lyrics of hoping for a happier day. I thought the unit sounded pretty good, especially at the end when the song reaches the climax. The song also has a melody that makes we sway along, which makes it a good ballad in my opinion (as I have mentioned before). (9/10)

14. Inner Child (V Solo) – V, over the years, have been shaped to be the one with the most interesting vocals due to the huskier tone that he brings to the group. And that hasn’t been focused too much on in the past during the group tracks. His huskier voice definitely is full capitalized in this pop track. You know I love a good buildup and Inner Child has this. The chorus is fantastic, giving us that blast of energy that I think is so good. It makes the song feel so fresh and the feeling remains every time I play the song and when the chorus comes around. This is also one of the best tracks on the album and I highly recommend it. (10/10)

15. Friends (친구) (Jimin & V) – This is another track that has a good blast of energy during the chorus. And the way the instrumental manages to perfectly execute the explosive nature of the chorus makes it so addictive. It is a song that I get stuck on each time I listen to the ballad, unable to move to the next as I am so keen on replaying this track constantly. I just want to kick back, put this song on repeat and nod along to it. Jimin and V reflect on their friendship in this track, so there is a lighthearted and fun tone to it. At the end, when they bring the more inclusive feel to the song with the backup vocals, it just makes the song a lot more wholesome. (10/10)

16. Moon (Jin Solo) – With V, Jin is also an underrated vocalist. And I have mentioned this time and time again in past album reviews. Moon continues the album’s momentum with its energy. At the helm is Jin, which pushes his vocals in a manner that suits the song so nicely. The vocals lay on top of a upbeat beat and some guitar beat. It is a catchy number, with infectious energy. I just feel the instrumental drags it down a bit by being a little too consistent. It needed some definition. But it’s a good song from Jin, nonetheless. (9/10)

17. Respect (RM & Suga) – And we get more of the energy through RM and Suga’s collaboration track. The song throws you back to the 90s with its urban hip-hop beat and the many instrumental effects. The way they shout ‘Respect’ throughout the chorus is a very 90s thing, as well. They delivery is pretty good, with autotune weaving in and out of the song. The energy is also quite infectious, and I love how the energy rubs off on me. I mean, this is the track that you want to play while walking down the street on a good day (to make it better, obviously). (9/10)

18. We Are Bulletproof: The Ethereal – The album takes a slight serious turn with The Ethereal. It isn’t really a ‘happy’ track, as per the energy that preceded the track. But this one encapsulates where the members are at in their career. They are strong, they are bulletproof. And it all thanks to their fans, whom they thank in this track. This track displays amazing vocals and rapping, on top a very warm, trendy and dramatic instrumental. (10/10)

19. Outro: Ego (J-Hope Solo) – The album returns to its infectious and upbeat energy for the outro track. Performed by J-Hope, I love the fast incline to the fast tempo (and the fast tempo, in general) the song had. The entire track was 3 minutes, yet it felt only like one minute. It just makes the song so captivating and groovy. I find the outro track is also be very festival-like, especially in the last few seconds. Because why not end the album with everyone dancing along. J-Hope’s playful side also got to shine through in this track, with the upbeat nature being an excellent platform. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

[Album Review] # (2nd Mini Album) – LOONA

No reviews today. But I thought it might be a good opportunity to get the album review that I am holding onto out or else everything else will be pushed to a later date (which screws with another break I am planning to have). The artist in focus today is LOONA, who returned with # and their latest title track, So What. This is the group’s first comeback in a year since Butterfly. The group did release 365 as a single back in December and this is also included as part of the album. For those who didn’t read my So What review, (spoiler alert) it is epic! So let’s see how the rest of the album fair.

# Album Cover

2. So What (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for So What. (10/10)

3. Number 1 – The album is co-produced by Lee Soo Man, who some people may know as the SM Entertainment CEO. So, I was wondering if we would hear some influences of the big company on the album. Number 1 confirms this, with a song that is right up BoA’s alley. The entire time I was listening to the song, I could imagine BoA singing this R&B track, as well. And while this may sound like a good thing, some of you might not know that I am not really a big BoA fan (some of her tracks are good, others sound very plain). The plainness comes through in this track and this leaves me disappoint. I do find the vocals to be elegant and delicate in this song and there is a nice melody. But, not really enough appeal from the instrumental department, in my opinion. (6/10)

4. Oh (Yes I Am) – Another very typical instrumental. Oh (Yes I Am) attempts to exploit the trap genre of music that has been very dominant over the last few years. I think the chorus and pre-chorus are pretty good examples of fresh usage of the genre, given that the energy that does come from the song is very promising. Another way of thinking about the song is that it is pretty much a tamed and held back version of GWSN’s title track. This is also a really good set up for the rappers, who are given another opportunity on the album to shine. The genre’s usage in the verses, however, was very boring and I didn’t enjoy this part of the song as much. I thought the vocals were good, especially with the ‘Oh~’ that we get every now and then in the chorus. (8/10)

5. Ding Ding Dong – After Number 1 and Oh (Yes I Am), I was wondering when the album will start to infuse some energy into the album. And we get it through Ding Ding Dong, which is probably more of a cutesy and innocent sound. It does sound like the group is stepping back from their routes through this song. But I reassure, it is still a good song nonetheless. The instrumental contains a slight jazzy like touch, which is where the energy comes from. The rapping is very typical in this track for a LOONA track, but I guess that is because of the innocent side of the track. The vocal work is a strong point in this song, especially Chuu’s parts in the bridge, which I thought gave the song a really good peak. (7.5/10)

6. 365 (Pre-Release Track) – This pre-release track was released back in December 2019. It was a ballad, suited for the Winter season that we had just left. There is a warming feeling to the song, thanks to the piano and the vocal work of the song. There is also a few Christmas-related touches in the song. The chorus is probably the best part of the song, which is where I start to sway along to the music (those who have been reading my blog for a very long time would know what this means). It isn’t the strongest song on the album and I didn’t really think much of it when it was released. But writing the review now, I find it a nice track. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

# Teaser Image

[Album Review] Labyrinth (8th Mini Album) – GFriend

Apologies for the random publishing dates for these album reviews. I expect all my reviews to normalize back to the usual days in the coming weeks.

GFriend have returned and took the past week by storm by taking the top spots of the Weekly Music Shows with their most recent comeback, Crossroads. Today, I will be looking at the rest of their album which is titled Labyrinth. Within the review, you will notice that they experiment with their sounds but stay relatively safe for their title track. More on that very soon (literally as part of the review of the first song on album). But I find that very interesting. Let’s see where their side tracks sit relative to the title track, Crossroads.

Labyrinth Album Cover

1. Labyrinth – In my Crossroads review, I mentioned that the group’s sound is becoming a little too consistent and this might be an issue if they were to keep to the same sound for their future releases. If we were to get a change in sound from GFriend, something like Labyrinth would be amazing. The start of the song reminded me of Fingertip, a previous title track of theirs. I really like the melodies in this song. Paired with a funky techno-like dance beat, the song is a great opener and track from the ladies, overall. All of this helps make the song extremely addictive and I keep on coming back for more. It is okay for GFriend to keep some of their influences in the track, as they did with the electric guitar during the bridge of Labyrinth. (10/10)

2. Crossroads (교차로) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Crossroads. (7/10)

3. Here We Are – The verses in this song were very unimpressive. It was a pretty bland start and I was wanting to pass the song the first few times I was listening to the album. But it until the song starts building up during the pre-chorus that the song has a kick to it. And the kick delivered a pretty solid chorus full of harmonies and melodies that highlights the best of the group’s vocals. I find it a very wholesome song, where the group longs to return to the best moment of their past or dwindling relationship. The bridge brings out a new sound that we haven’t heard from the group, opting for a slight anthem-like vibe. (8/10)

4. Eclipse (지금 만나러 갑니다) – Here is another good change to the group’s sound. This one would be considered to be in more familiar territory, as it retains the group’s classical instrumentation. But they seem to add a little Latin influence into the mix. There were also moments that I thought the song had a ‘diva-like’ vibe to the song, which I would love to hear the group explore more. Regardless of the slight touch add to the song, I thought the energy coming from the track was very encapsulated. There was a rush to the song but it wasn’t necessary a rush that we would associate with in this era. The vocal work is quite nice in the song, even though it seems a little linear for the most part (Yuju helped recover this at the end, but I would have liked to hear more character throughout). (9/10)

5. DreamcatcherDreamcatcher is a very soothing song, suitable for a song about dreams and how their partner/crush is recurring in them. I don’t think this is very new territory for the group, as there is an ongoing trend on this album regarding ‘new sounds’. The way the group does perform the song do give is a refreshing feel. Their vocals are also very delicate, which makes sense regarding the theme of the song, and I thought the song had really good hooks/melodies to help drive the song and make it even more appealing. (8/10)

6. From Me – The final song on the album is a ballad. No surprises there, as this is commonly the place for the ballad of the song. The way the song started, I thought that there was a chance that the song would not be a ballad given the heavy thumping beat. But the song develops in that direction regardless. One thing that does make this song very appealing to me is its acoustic guitar that builds on and on as the song progresses. I thought that was very cool. Their vocals shine in this song, as you would want with a ballad and I think their vocals get even better towards the end. So, it is another song to listen through all the way! (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

Labyrinth Teaser Image

[Album Review] Reminiscence (1st Mini Album) – EVERGLOW

Sorry about another day late album review. It was a bit busy yesterday, so I couldn’t finalize and publish it in time. But here it is now. The album that I had chosen to focus on this weekend was EVERGLOW’s Reminiscence. This is the group’s 1st mini-album since debut. For those who missed my song review, I was astounded by the explosion of energy for Dun Dun. So, it definitely got me excited for the rest of their album. I can give a short teaser to the album, which is pop. What does that mean? Continue to read to find out.

Reminiscence Album Cover

1. Salute – This is the KPOP that I loved so much back in the day. It is very energetic and bright, very different to the tough and charismatic side of the group that we see through their title track. However, at the very time, the song aligns with what we know of the group without a doubt. The song has this anthem like feel during the verses, while the chorus takes a really pop turn that I find so catchy and lively. The vocal work in this song is amazing. Definitely a standout on this album. I do feel that I cannot listen to this song repetitive as I would get tired of it, which is essentially the only flaw I can see in the song. But for now, I am loving it. (9/10)

2. Dun Dun (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dun Dun. (10/10)

3. Player – With EVERGLOW, the mini-album is expected to be loaded with intensity and toughness. But the first song and the last song on the album (read below) really goes against this expectation. Player doesn’t, which I think is a side-track that we can say was coming our way. The chorus is very intense, expressing that they are the main character/player. Definitely a unique show of confidence. There is a nice ethnic sample during the chorus, which we were teased with towards the end of Dun Dun. What I personally don’t like is the pop pre-chorus. It sounded very immature and lacked finesse that the rest of the song had oozing. (7.5/10)

4. No Lie – The verses in this song for some reason remind me of the pop songs that Western songs had during the ‘00s. The chorus, however, is more during this era. I do find it an odd mix of R&B and pop. But it works really nicely, and I do enjoy the song. It does lack boldness, which was heavily employed during the first two tracks of the song. There seems to be a slight foreign touch through the chorus, which I like. The song is rather catchy, which helps the song become very appealing. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Reminiscence Teaser Image

[Album Review] A New Trilogy (2nd Mini Album) – Lovelyz

I have noticed my clear lack of Lovelyz album reviews. They always seem like a hit or miss to me. But hopefully that will change soon as I plan to revisit some of their albums, including the ones that I consider to be ‘miss’ from the past few years. Today, I thought I revisit an album from the group which includes Destiny, one of their more memorable title tracks. The album is called A New Trilogy, which was released in April 2016.

A New Trilogy Album Cover

2. Destiny (Title Track) (나의 지구)Click here to read the full review of Destiny. (9/10)

3. Fondant (퐁당) – As the title of the song suggests, Fondant is a very sugary song. It is definitely brings out their cute side that we don’t get so much in Destiny. What I do like about the song is that it isn’t overly sweet. It does feel like it goes in that direction, but the really cutesy moments are quite limited. The vocals parts are sung at a higher pitch than usual to give off that cutesy feel. But after all these years of reviewing, I have found that to be bearable at least. It is more of those saturated moments that gets me otherwise. There is a nice melody and everything is quite light, which are elements that I really enjoy. (8/10)

4. Bookmark (책갈피) – To me, Bookmark can be a versatile song. It has the slowness and calmness of the ballad, while the instrumental does feature enough for it to have a nice choreography. Despite this, Bookmark is showcased as a ballad based on a performance I found. I thought the instrumental was a very nice. As mentioned, it combines the best of both worlds. But the piano does shine very nicely. The vocal work in this song was also quite soothing, while the rapping was a surprised addition that worked well with the setup. (8/10)

5. 1 cm – Another cutesy track from the group. But this one has an 8-bit like sound in the instrumental, which I thought was unique and added to the cutesy side of the track. It also provided a really bright and vibrant energy that you can’t help but smile at. I also like how the song sounds very ‘Lovelyz’, fitting extremely neatly into their discography. I also liked the delay drop to the chorus and the harmonies in this section, which really helped provided definition to the song. (9/10)

6. Heart (Handle with Care) (마음 (취급주의)) – The song also has a second title, Dear You. This one adds a little more energy to the song with an upbeat instrumentation. Like 1 cm, Heart does a good job of fitting into Lovelyz’s discography. The verses and bridge have that really sweet and cutesy tone to it that we have all grown to associate with Lovelyz. The chorus does stray away from their sound, however. It doesn’t feel like a Lovelyz song during chorus. I am not sure why, but it might have to do with the way they all harmonized and sung together. There is a charm to this as well, as it really become addictive to listen to. I also love the addition of electric guitar to the final chorus, as that it what the song really needed. (9/10)

7. Baby Doll (인형) – The way the song started instrumentally, along with the filtered/autotune vocals, really made the song sound haunting. I am not sure whether this is their intention, but that is what I tend to feel when I hear a music box like sound. Another way to look at it is that the song sounded very elegant or fairytale-like, which might be the more appropriate direction of the song. The vocal work seems to support either interpretations and sounded amazing when you consider both viewpoints. It isn’t my favourite track on the album, but it is alright. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

A New Trilogy Teaser Image

[Album Review] Face Me (3rd Mini Album) – VERIVERY

Apologies for my lack of album reviews over the last few weeks. A lot has happened in the past few weeks which prevented me from drafting and publishing these album reviews. But now that everything is stable again, I am able to restart posting reviews and album reviews as previously announced. We kick start the album review segment for the second time this year with VERIVERY’s comeback. They returned last month with Lay Back and their third mini-album, Face Me. Let’s see how the album fared as part of their latest comeback.

Face Me Album Cover

1. Photo – To me, Photo sets the tone for the album. It starts off with a rap-whisper sequence and this slowly builds into a decent rap verse. The vocals start to come through alongside the rapping. All this happens with a minimal background that is laced with heavy bass. That is up until the pre-chorus where the song picks up, leading to a paced but unique chorus. It doesn’t go for a slamming drop, but it is definitely a change in momentum. I really liked this section as it really sets the song apart from the rest of the album. The rest of the song copies the exact same set up. But due to its uniqueness, it doesn’t feel repetitive (maybe many more listens might change this). But Photo really opens the album in a way that yells out that there is a change in their sound, and it is worth checking out this change. (8/10)

2. Lay Back (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Lay Back. (7/10)

3. Paradise – We start with the clock ticking and then are launched into the very familiar tropical house genre. It isn’t a complete launch (like as we do with the chorus), but you can definitely tell the direction of the song within the first few seconds on the track. I thought the song was nice, with the brightness in this track cutting the intensity that was thrown at us. It doesn’t feel heavy and the sound isn’t the ‘in-your-face’ type. My only complaint was the chanting (or shouting) during the chorus really cheapened the song for me. I did like the rougher texture during the opening of the final chorus. But the rest of the choruses felt a little too cliché. (7.5/10)

4. Curtain CallCurtain Call is a pretty standard pop track. There is a nice beat to the song, which I think is one of the song’s main draw points. The rapping in the song is also another strong aspect and I definitely wanted to hear more of it as the song went along. The vocals did feel like it was the weakest part of the song as it didn’t feel like it was mixed in nicely. One example of this was the chorus. The vocals were used as a launcher into the chorus, but instead it cut the flow of the song and it felt like it was just awkwardly placed on top of the instrumental, rather than incorporated into the song. Overall, it was okay. But it was definitely the weakest of the bunch. (6/10)

5. Moment – We end of the album with a ballad. An expected move when it comes to many albums in the KPOP sphere. Coming off the previous song, I did think the vocal work in this song was a lot better. I do get the same impression that the vocals were laid over the top of the instrumental, but that is the nature of most ballads. The harmonies with the backing vocals, the acoustic guitar focused background and the softer nature of their voices do help out in this aspect, making this track extremely pleasant and calming. (8/10)

Overall Album Review – 7.3/10

Face Me Teaser Image

[Album Review] First Collection (1st Studio Album) – SF9

This is a studio album review. It is lengthy.

SF9 made their return last Monday with Good Guy and their very first studio length album, First Collection. And a bigger congratulation to the members as this comeback has scored them their first (few) wins on the weekly music shows that we see each weekend. Good Guy scored first place on MCountdown and Music Bank this week, further proving that their popularity is growing between comebacks. Good job to the group and hope to see more wins the future, as they do deserve it. But before we go anywhere into the future, let’s have a close look at what their first album had to offer.

First Collection Album Cover

1. Good Guy (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Good Guy. (9/10)

2. Am I The Only One (나만 그래) Am I The Only One could easily have been a title track. There is a very classy profile to this track that I think many people might miss if they gloss through the album. I find this contrasts in a very distinct manner, as the song talks about being the only one in a former relationship to have their thoughts linger towards their former lover. The chorus was really smooth, and I thought the husky vocals Inseong brought to the song really ‘upgraded’ the song. The rappers also stood out in this song, which their parts providing a little interesting push and texture. There is a lot more that I wanted to say about this song. But due to the nature of the album review, this is not possible. However, I think the song can be described in one word: perfection. (9/10)

3. Shh – Another fantastic song on this album comes right after a perfect song. I like how seductive the song sounds. The limited brass that featured in the instrumental (during the pre-chorus and ending) was very smooth, while the guitar helped make the song groovy. I liked how they amped up the bass for the chorus, which made the instrumental sound so bouncy. I thought every member sounded really good in the song. The rappers did not have much of a presence in this song, relative to the second track. But their parts sounded really good, complimenting the vocalists and their slight seduction. (9/10)

4. Lullu Lalla (룰루랄라) – I wasn’t exactly sure what direction the song would take, given the song’s title. But once I heard the pop sound and the upbeat instrumentation, it all made sense. The instrumental or backdrop to the song was very vibrant, which I thought gave the song a strong appeal. There is a much brighter tone to the song, which does take everything we have heard in a different direction. I thought it was a nice palate cleanser, given its position after a number of intense tracks (the intensity in some was more subtle). There is a bit of autotune to the song, which I thought gave good textures to the otherwise traditional sound. The vocals and rapping were good. (8/10)

5. One Love One Love is another upbeat dance pop track. But unfortunately, it sounds pretty typical for its pop sound. And hence I find the song not as impressive when compared to the song around it. What the song does good is that it pushes forward with an instrumental that just keeps on going. I thought this was a good aspect of the song, as the flow does not get cut for majority of the song. The only break in the instrumental comes just before the final chorus and it does so in a neat manner. The momentum returns in full capacity for the final chorus and gives the song a decent ending, ending with how it started. (7/10)

6. Like The Hands Held Tight (널 꽉 잡은 손만큼) – Chosen as a secondary promotional track (i.e. promoted during their comeback week), Like The Hands Held Tight is a mid-tempo R&B track that sounds pretty decent. It shows off their classy side, as mentioned earlier in the review, and this makes this a good lead-in to their actual comeback title track. The track also reminded me of their O Sole Mio era, based on the way Taeyang sings ‘Take My My Hand’. To be honest, I wanted a little more to the song. I wanted it to be more engaging. The instrumental was bland and needed to be spice up in some capacity. The song would have benefited from this and developed a more engaging appeal. (7/10)

7. Fire (타) – For a song named Fire, I expected a little more when it came to the verses. I expected it to come roaring at me, as other tracks titled Fire have done in the past. But I thought the start (and second verse) was pretty tame in comparison. The chorus does make up for the flawed start by amping up the instrumentation, tempo and energy. The hooks were very catchy and addictive. I did place a huge question mark over the rapping, because I thought it needed more intensity. But more listens have removed this question mark. The vocal work was also quite good as well. (7.5/10)

8. Stop It Now (더 잔인하게) – Despite the song being on the shorter side, I thought Stop It Now was a very good song. There is a slowness to this song that I thought was aesthetically pleasing. I personally don’t think the song was ‘slowed’ to be seductive, though I am confident that these guys can pull off a concept of that type. Instead, the slowness drives the song. I liked how the beat is accented in this song, make it even more powerful. The vocals are dragged out, but in a way that works with the rest of the song and doesn’t feel unnecessary. The rapping is a tool used to add intensity to the song, making it even more engaging. (8.5/10)

9. Dance With Us (춤을 출 거야) – Given the title, I thought it was going to be vibrant and fun sounding. I wouldn’t say I was 100% right, but I was thinking in the same direction. What I didn’t expect was the song’s first verse to be very similar to Pentagon’s Humph!. It gave off the same vibe. The rest of the song doesn’t really sound the same, however. I did expect a little more ‘dance-centric’ or lively sound in the instrumental as the tempo may come off sluggish to some. However, I thought that the song was interesting as it is and had a SF9 profile to it. The ending was very unique, as the members kick up the tempo and give us that lively sound, I had desired. It was just short-lived. (8/10)

10. Beautiful Light – Based on my YouTube search, Beautiful Light was revealed at their concert last year. I seem to can’t find an English translation for the song. But given its position as the final track on the album, along with its performance at their previous concert, Beautiful Light is probably a track dedicated to their fans. The upbeat and happy instrumental is very upbeat and different from their usual style. There is a nice melodic ring to the song. The vocal work and rapping were also very good. Thus, ending the song on a happy tone. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

First Collection Teaser Image

[Album Review] Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer (4th Mini Album) – ATEEZ

ATEEZ returned at the start of last week with Answer and a surprising continuation of their Treasure series. As mentioned in the song review I published last week (link below within the album review), Treasure is made up of 4 mini-albums (including this one), 1 Korean studio album and 1 Japanese studio album. Throughout this series as well, we have seen ATEEZ’s popularity grow exponentially and this latest album is bound to continue their growth into the future. The album contains an outro track as well but it will not be included in the final album rating.

Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer Album Cover

1. Answer (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Answer. (10/10

2. Horizon (지평선) – All of ATEEZ’s tracks that I have grown to really enjoy (or enjoyed from the first listen) have been of an intense nature. Horizon fits in perfectly into this description, going with a strong dance instrumental that is bound to get you excited. There is this voice in the instrumental that is very yodeling-like. I thought it was a good addition to the song during the chorus, as it added an extra layer of character to the song. However, I felt that its addition at the start of the verses to be conflicting. It masks the vocals that kick off the song and makes it a tad messy. Horizon features awesome vocals and rapping as well, which makes another great addition to their discography. (8.5/10)

3. Star 117Star 117 is more of a ballad and it brings us down from the thrill of their title and preceding track. I thought it was rather soothing, with its flowy melody and touching band instrumentation. There is a little more of the instrumentation, with a rolling drum beat and electric guitars at the end to give the song that peak. Vocally, I think this is an excellent song. It shows off their vocals in a pleasant manner without going into the ‘high note’ territory. The rappers also sing in this song and I honestly can’t tell as they all sound so good. (9/10)

4. Precious Precious may be familiar to some fans as ATEEZ previously included a shortened version of the song on their studio length album, Treasure EP.FIN: All To Action. On this album, however, Precious is a full-fledged song going for almost 3 and a half minutes, featuring the same raps as the Overture track did and includes some new vocal work that we have heard yet. My previous comments regarding the instrumental and rapping (‘suspenseful and intense’, ‘on-point’ respectively) still stand. The vocals and additional rapping added to the song this time helps fill up the blank space and adds a more grounded feel to the song. (8/10)

5. Outro: Long Journey – Kicking off the entire Treasure series was the Intro: Long Journey, which started off Treasure EP 1: All To Zero. That track spoke about finding treasure and dreams. The outro is about how they found the treasure and their dreams over the course of the series. But at the same time, there is more to the story based on the line ‘Can you hear those voices?’. The ending is tweaked a little to include what fans are speculating to be a teaser to new song/release for the future.

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer Teaser Image

[Album Review] Solo Day (5th Mini Album) – B1A4

The first Past Album Review (PARs) of 2020 goes to B1A4. I thought I revisit them as it has been a while since we have heard from them (they are another group to have hit the age of military enlistment and are currently inactive due to this). The album chosen is Solo Day, which was released in 2014 (July 14th, 2014 to be exact). It featured the title track of the same name and 5 other songs (two of which are standout tracks, in my opinion). To see what they are, scroll down below.

Solo Day Album Cover

1. Solo Day (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Solo Day. (9/10)

2. You Make Me A Fool ( 내가 뭐가돼) – What really stood out to me in 2014 and what still stands out to me today with You Make A Fool (hereafter Fool) is the casual vibes. The lighthearted nature of the guitar strumming and refreshing tone that their vocals and rapping bring to the song really make it a nice sound. It is easy on the ears and I liked how they managed to get everything mould over the simple instrumentation that the song has. Fool is one of the many examples of Jinyoung’s songs that has blown me away. (10/10)

3. Are You Happy (With Him)? (잘돼가) – I liked the R&B and hip-hop infused side of this song. I think, at the time of release, B1A4 was known for more of their pop sound and energetic pieces. This is a mature side of B1A4 that sounded really good. Baro was extremely well highlighted in this song. His rapping really worked extremely well with the song, which featured a ‘golden’ instrumental feel. The other members do a good job as well, complimenting the song as well. There was good melodies and textures when it came to the singing. But Baro still managed to shine over the top. (8/10)

4. A Glass Of Water (물한잔) – This is one of the non-title tracks that I really enjoyed back when it was released. A Glass Of Water also made it onto a potential 5 Favourites post. But I cut the segment before even publishing that particular post. If I remember correctly, the song was meant to be A Glass of Soju. But as their fans were underage, it was changed to Water. It is another Summertime song that feels refreshing every time you listen to it. It is lighthearted and very B1A4-like (when it was released). The vocal and rapping was ideal and the instrumental really made it attractive to the ears. The hooks were also addictive, as well. (9/10)

5. Drive – I think out of the songs on the album, this one is most skippable. Drive does have a vibe that would suit a nice breezy drive. I liked the slightly bouncy nature of the instrumental. But it just didn’t feel different to song released by any other male group in the industry. It also didn’t peak and felt flat towards the end. The vocals did sound wholesome, while the rapping did help push the song along. But other than that, there isn’t much else to the song worth mentioning. (7/10)

6. You (ft, Sunmi)You ends the album with a surprising feature from Sunmi, who at the time only became recently active again through the release of 24 Hours, which pushed her back into the spotlight. It brings back B1A4’s mature sound and the group pairs well with Sunmi’s husky vocals. But when I listen to the song, I thought the two parties had a barrier that really prevented them from coming together neatly. There were good harmonies in the song, which I enjoyed. But I just thought they felt distinctly apart. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

Solo Day Teaser Image

[Album Review] The ReVe Festival: Finale (3rd Studio Album) – Red Velvet

Red Velvet made their comeback with Psycho and their third studio album at the end of 2019. Unfortunately, it was not part of the 2019 album review lineup due to its late release and hence it becomes the first album review to be released in 2020 (which obviously is occurring today). This studio album features 4 new tracks (including the title track, Psycho) and all the tracks that was part of the ReVe Festival series (to be linked within the review). These will not contribute to the final rating, however. In other related news, Red Velvet is no longer promoting Psycho due to the injuries that Wendy sustained during the 2019 SBS Music Festival rehearsal.

The ReVe Festival: Finale Album Cover

1. Psycho (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Psycho. (9/10)

2. In & Out – Red Velvet delves into R&B pop for this track. To me, the track felt like if a song from the group’s Red side was remade for their Velvet side, with the song feeling and sounding like it was polished and refined. There is a smoothness to the track, which I thought was very cool. I really like the heavy beat that features in the instrumental, followed by the trap sounds that really give the song some character. I thought the group’s execution of their vocal and rapping were top notch and worthy of a listen. As for the lyrics, the song portrays an on and off again relationship that they are experiencing. (8/10)

3. Remember Forever Remember Forever is a pop ballad that is bound to get you swaying along to the music. I really like that flowy side of the song, which really makes the song appealing to me. There is a grand nature to the song, which really made it feel extra special. I also enjoy how they incorporated some rapping. Usually, I wouldn’t be a fan of this tactic. But it worked really well this time around. Finally, I really enjoyed the harmonies that all the members contributed to at the end by singing together, bringing the series to a close in an inclusive and warm manner. (9/10)

To read the album review for The ReVe Festival: Day 1 (Sunny Side Up, Milkshake, Bing Bing, Parade & LP), click here. For the full review for Zimzalabim, click here.

To read the full album review for The ReVe Festival: Day 2 (Carpool, Love Is The Way, Jumpin’, Ladies Night & Eyes Locked, Hands Locked), click here. For the full review for Umpah Umpah, click here.

16. La Rouge – A special track included at the very end of the third studio album is La Rouge. La Rouge is actually the name of their recent concert and the track itself was also performed at the concert. I thought the instrumental was very ear-catching, going with that 1930s sound in modern way. The upbeat chorus also made the song appealing. Vocally, the members sound very sensual and different from their past tracks/styles (referring to both their Red and Velvet side that we have heard so far). It is a pity that this is a bonus track, as I would love to see more live performances of this track. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

The ReVe Festival: Finale Teaser Image

[Album Review] Moment (2nd Mini Album) – Kim Jae Hwan

Kim Jae Hwan is nominated for Best New Male Soloist in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Begin Again is also eligible for Best Song of 2019. To support Kim Jae Hwan, click here to vote before the 31st of December, which is in 2 days time.

Kim Jae Hwan is the focus for the final album review for the year and decade. I will update when album reviews will return in the new year on a later date. In the meantime, we will be diving a little deep into the soloist’s second mini-album, Moment (which features two title tracks, The Time I Need and Nuna). Kim Jae Hwan also joins the list of former Wanna One members to return a second time this year. I believe that leaves Ong Seong Woo as the only member to have one comeback this year, but he has been confirmed to be coming back in January 2020.

Moment Album Cover

1. The Time I Need (시간이 필요해) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for The Time I Need. (7/10)

2. After Party – While after parties tend to be full of celebration, Kim Jae Hwan’s After Party is a slow tempo track that delves into the R&B genre. I think the song is very straight forward and appealing to listen to as Kim Jae Hwan’s vocals feel very spaced out. It isn’t like other songs everything feels tight and loaded. I also enjoy the piano in the background and the simple percussion. He starts off the song in a rapping-like manner, but it progresses to showcase his vocals. I also like the inclusive nature of the chorus, which had him and the backing vocals singing together. I really like how his lyrics is remaining faithful to his partner, despite going to the after party and staying out all night. So wholesome. (9/10)

3. Nuna (Title Track) – As mentioned a few weeks ago, I do not review tracks without a music video. Nuna unfortunately fell into this category, despite it being one of Kim Jae Hwan’s title tracks for the album. The track is a lot more playful and vibrant, reflecting well with the song’s lyrics about being the younger person in the relationship. I like this vibe, which I also believe stay true to his age and personality. I thought the hooks were very catchy and aided the song in its playful tone. And based on the comments in which I am reading off YouTube, it seems like Nuna has many fangirls excited. (8/10)

4. Who Am I Who Am I goes into the soft rock genre, which I really enjoyed. The track features his vocals in a very pleasing manner, and this really made the song stand out for me. Other that that, there really isn’t much else to the song. But it is honestly great as simple as it is, and any additional features would be unnecessary and potentially destructive. I wished I had a little more to say to the song, but I don’t. (8/10)

5. Paradise (파라다이스) (ft. Park Woojin from AB6IX) – This is super exciting track as it brings together another two former Wanna One members, which shows that they do keep in close contact with one another. Paradise seems to have a slight tropical influence to it, opting for a more typical EDM sound in this day and age. But it doesn’t get intense and remains quite light, which I quite like. The light nature is also an accurate descriptor for the melody and hooks, which I think makes the song quite pleasant. Park Woojin features a rapper in the second verse and he brings a sleek feel to the song. (8.5/10)

6. ZZZZZZ seems to expresses the feelings that is present when you are spending the final moments of the day with your partner, even if they are not physically there. It is another wholesome song, which no doubtly goes extremely well with the soloist’s personality. It does have a typical feel to it, as the instrumental isn’t technically fresh or unique. However, the ZZZ that Kim Jaehwan repeats during the chorus is very catchy and I can confirm that a few listens to the song will have this hook engraved into your memory bank. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

Moment Teaser Image