[Review] Blooming Future – ASTRO

It is Saturday, which per the post schedule means a Japanese review is coming your way. I was originally going to do another release from a few weeks back. But ASTRO dropped their Japanese debut, Blooming Future, just this week (It did feel a little out of the blue as I did not see any news or teasers beforehand). And to avoid any delay, I decided to write the review for it today! Blooming Future is featured on the group’s first Japanese mini-album, Venus, alongside the Japanese version of Baby, All Night and Always You.

Blooming Future (or Hanasake Mirai) is a pretty decent beginning for their Japanese career. I felt like the direction they were going for was really good, with it fitting both ASTRO’s youthful charm and the typical upbeatness we tend to hear from Japanese releases. However, listening to the song, I felt like it lacked definition. The song felt very consistent throughout and didn’t seem to depart the synth sound that they were aiming for. I feel like if there were some bass or background vocals during the chorus, for example, the song would have had that added definition to really make it sound better. Apart from that, the song was pretty good. I liked the vocals and the funkiness that the Rocky and JinJIn brought to the song through their raps. The instrumental was actually quite good., apart from what I mentioned above. I did like the lightness during the verses. But like I said, the chorus could have had more to it.

I guess to fit in with the lightness of the track is a very minimalistic vibe to the music video. There wasn’t a whole lot going on during the music video, especially when we talk about the sets. And this allows the individual members to really pop out. The video consisted of solo and choreography shots. I did feel the editing could have eased on the number of cuts throughout the video (i.e. when the scenes change to the next one). They felt very sudden and cut the flow of the music video, especially in the chorus, which prevented me from admiring the members (hahaha…).

From what I can see in the music video, the choreography looks decent. But due to the magnitude of cuts (mentioned above), it was really hard to really focus on anything. Unfortunately, we don’t have a live performance of it yet, so I guess I will have to rank according to what I saw in the video.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

Advertisements

[Review] Wakey-Wakey – NCT 127

Before we tick over to Sunday, it must be time to have a closer look at a Japanese release! The last we saw NCT 127 was through Simon Says in Korea and Chain in Japan. But as we are fast approaching mid-2019, we break the short NCT drought with Wakey-Wakey. This is the title track off their very first Japanese album, titled Awaken and is due for release mid-April. But due to the nature of the Japanese market, we are given the treat (and some long hair) a few weeks ahead of time.

Wakey-Wakey seems to take on the Black On Black side of NCT which we saw early last year. I would say both songs are quite similar in effect when you listen to them side-by-side. But by no means are they the same song. Wakey-Wakey focus on more brighter sounding instrumentation (with a lot less growling), featuring a lot of trap synths and a slight touch of R&B when you consider the vocals and the very start of the song. It suits NCT 127’s style remarkably. I think the very first thing that really grabs your attention with the song is the squeakiness of the instrumental. You may think this would be an off-putting element for me but I was actually fond of it because it gave something extra to the song. As mentioned, the vocals are nice and we are also treated to the return of Haechan (who only participates in the audio and music video for this comeback). I think the raps were also quite cool but I wanted more intensity alongside it, similar to the intensity brought upon by the dance break at the very end of the song.  Likewise, I didn’t really fall for the verses as much as compared to the rest of the song.

Matching the brightness of the song, the music video was intentionally colour for the most part.  I thought the sets were elaborate, especially during Haechan’s scenes. He doesn’t get to interact much with the other members but is still centred, which I thought was interesting. There has to be a reason for that right? (My assumption is that the members are trying to wake him up). Regardless, glad to see him back. What I am not too glad to see is Johnny’s long hair. I try my best not to comment on looks but sorry, it had to be touched on. (This is similar to any mullets or dreadlocks we see in KPOP. It just doesn’t work).

The choreography was quite cool  Going back to the start where I said the song sounded like Black On Black, the performance also reminded of Black‘s performance. Similarly, the start reminded me of EXO’s Tree of Life (I think that is what it is called) that featured during the group’s Wolf promotions. But they put their own spin on it.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Review] Flower – GFriend

It has been a while since I wrote Japanese review despite the influx of Japanese songs by Korean artists. I will try my best to get around to them (I hope). To re-kick things off (hopefully) is GFriend’s third Japanese single, Flower. For those who are wondering, Memoria was their first original Japanese track and first Japanese single, while the Japanese version of GFriend’s Sunrise (their Korean title track from earlier in the year) served as the second single.

Flower starts off miles away from a typical GFriend song. The song opens up with a very strong tango presence. And I quite like this. The song then loses this tango sound, evolving into something along the lines of GFriend that we know of. However, the tango comes back once more for the dance break, which I am so glad hangs around for a slightly longer period than any of their recent tracks (I am deprived of a long dance break from the girls). What makes this track even nicer is that while they do lose that tango sound, they manage to keep the momentum up with some orchestral pop and really keep things upbeat. I thought their vocals were quite refreshing and each member was extremely clear. So big ticks in that aspect. My favourite part has to be the second half of the chorus, as I found the ‘Piriririri’ and the ‘Surururu’ to be extremely addictive. I think the winning element has to be the instrumental but everything else was pretty good as well.

The music video featured a lot of nice colours. It was very vibrant and really matched the upbeat vibes of the song. The comments on the YouTube video also suggests that some of thr patterns and the fabrics are from other countries and cultures. So to think that this is a very multicultural music video makes me very happy. As the song titled Flower, flowers themselves also make a presence in this music video. The best flower in the entire video has to be the flower mural in the background of the choreography shots!! Overall, a nice video to watch with the song.

I also really like the choreography. Of course, the winning part has to be during the start and dance break (i.e. when there was some tango in the song) but the chorus dance was equally as pretty.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Double Review] Because I Love You + If You – Yesung (Super Junior)

Yesung finally makes his first return as a solo artist since his 2017 promotions of Hibernation and Paper Umbrella. But if you are expecting a return to the South Korean stage, then you have to come back next month as he will be returning then. In the meantime, Yesung recently releases his first solo album in Japan titled Story. The album features two title tracks (Because I Love You and If You) and both are connected via the music videos (hence why today’s review is a double review). Yesung also recently collaborated with Chungha for Whatcha Doin’ and Bumkey for Carpet.

I am not sure if I have ever reviewed any Japanese ballads before so this may be a foreign land for me. Both songs are of this nature and both are quite similar to the ballads we commonly get in Korea. For Because I Love You, we get a jazzy-like style instrumental which I thought was nice. Though I did think his raspy vocals were a little too soft towards the beginning and they were on the verge of being drowned out. The ending was a lot better as you can hear him pushing himself and this resulted in his voice standing out on top of the instrumental a lot better. If You takes on a typical approach with its ballad. A very nice but pleasant sounding instrumental made up of guitar and an orchestral touch. I really like his vocals here as they seemed clearer.  It also has a nice melody that gets me swaying along. The only flaw is that it feels too ordinary. I think if I were to pick one of the two, If You would be my clear winner.

Because I Love You starts off our story. Yesung is probably holidaying in a European country and passes by this lady who attracts his attention. She is in a rush, so he doesn’t get a chance to talk to her. Later, Yesung stops by a restaurant and the exact same lady from before is his waitress. He becomes nervous and distracted from his work and slowly begins imagining them dating. After his little daydream, he rips a page out of his diary and writes a message. He leaves it on the table and leaves. The waitress comes out, clearly interested in him and finds the note. This leads us onto the If You video. If You shows Yesung waiting around for someone, presumably the waitress. She is seen walking around holding the note that he left for her. Both of them visit different places that appeared in his daydream and both end up meeting each other at the same place where his daydream ended (at night by the river). She hands the note over, revealing to the audience that he wrote ‘Because I Love You’ on it and they both share a smile. I liked how both videos tied in with each other and allowed the story to really progress rather than jamming it one video and making it confusing.

Because I Love You
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

If You
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Review] I Want To Say I Love You – IZ*ONE

What makes IZ*ONE unique,, in comparison to I.O.I and Wanna One, is that they incorporated trainees from Korea and Japanese members from AKB48. This allows the project group to debut in Japan, which their other Produce 101 counterparts have yet to do. And this event occurred last week with IZ*ONE making their Japanese debut with I Want To Say I Love You or Suki to Iwasetai. The actual song isn’t available until later this week but as the music video has been revealed in full, I thought we might as well have a closer listen/look at it.

My experience with the JPOP culture and industry is very limited. But Suki to Iwasetai does remind me fondly of the sounds and music that I commonly associate to mainstream JPOP, particularly girl groups. I don’t know how to exactly describe this particular JPOP sound, however, so that ends that observation. But I did like the piano and violins in the background during the chorus. Talking about the chorus, I also enjoyed the small blast of energy they give us.  I did think the vocals were nice. They didn’t seem as clear as their Korean releases but it works with this JPOP sound that I have linked to the song. And the combination of the vocals and instrumental does make the song quite catchy. There is a side to me where I think they could have gone beyond this but it was a good track to start off their careers in Japan, from what I know of.

The music video is the main element of this debut that I wanted to talk about. I really liked the colours in this video. The backgrounds and scenery the producer chose for this video was definitely a highlight of the video, as they looked spectacular. The cinematography also complimented the choreography and amazing scenery. I liked how that choreography scene with the light strobes was set up. Aesthetics through the roof. I also thought the landfill set looked really cool and pretty with the colours. But my question is – did they really film at a landfill site? But once again, aesthetics.

There might be two choreography version to this debut, which I think is really interesting. The first would have to be the one performed on the road, whilst the second one is with the long coats. And I thought both were equally cool looking and definitely left a longing impression of their style.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Review] Cosmos – Pentagon

Pentagon is back with a brand new Japanese single. Cosmos is their first original Japanese single, which follows the release of the Japanese versions of Shine and Violet last year. The new track is also featured on a mini-album of the same name, which includes 2 other original tracks from the group. This is also their first release since Naughty Boy in South Korea.

What stands out the most in Cosmos is the guitar and dance music mixture that makes up the instrumental for the song. There were also other elements such as the keyboard and synthetic violins that acted like that small detail that really makes up for some bareness from the more prevalent sounds. I thought it was a rather dynamic and interesting sound to really bring out the best of Pentagon. This instrumental just goes perfectly well with the vocals and the rapping that each member brings. It did seem a little overwhelming and messy at first. But those feelings did die down for me. What I have yet to mention is my favourite part has to be the synthetic violins that made the song feel staggered at the end of the choruses. While I don’t have much else to say regarding the song, I quite liked it overall.

The instrumental has a bunch of solo shots of the members reminiscing about their previous lovers. But I think towards the end, they let go of those memories and go on with their lives. Those shots are pretty much standard. But something stood out for me within the music video. Those black and white choreography shots look stunning. I really thought that was very classy and edgy at the same time (even though they were wearing suits throughout those shots).

I don’t really have much to say about the choreography. Mainly because we only saw small snippets, so there really isn’t anything that I could personally see worth discussing. The only part we got in full was the dance break at the start of the song and that was good.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] Sappy – Red Velvet

It is time for the first JPOP review of 2019. And starting of the JPOP rush for this year is Red Velvet with their brand new single, Sappy. The popular female group made their Japanese debut last year with #Cookie Jar, the title for both their debut single and mini-album. Since then, the group returned to Korea to release and promote Power Up and RBB.

Sappy has a lot going on and that is partly due to the instrumental of the song. But let’s backtrack for a moment and go from the start. I am not a fan of how they started off the song. It started off with straightforward hushed vocals singing ‘Sappy Boy‘ with the repetitive trumpet as its main attraction. That was okay. But the instrumental break that follows right after felt overwhelmingly messy. And, to me at least, felt off tune and disconnected. Moving along to the verses, I can see signs of an improvement in sound. It was extremely crisp and didn’t feature anything that I thought was off tune. I did notice their vocals seemed to be weighed down and that their voices had a lower tone. Don’t know why but I am not too bothered by it. The chorus came along and it too was a tad overwhelming at first with its many layers in the instrumentation. But it has since grown on me and I thought it provides a nice burst of energy and sweetness to the song. It was also quite catchy. So overall, Sappy was quite nice with the exception of that part.

Suiting the song and the group perfectly is the brightly coloured music video. It starts off as a standard music video, with the normal close up shots of the girls doing things. And then the music video becomes like a ‘Spot the Difference’ game. Come to the think of it, what was the concept for this comeback/music video? It does seem a little over the place, like the song at times.

I wasn’t impressed with their last Japanese dance. But this, it was good. I liked all of it, which I thought was fitting for the song. To match the fast tempo of the chorus, their moves became liked quick jerks, which I thought looked really cool. And then when the song slowed down, they moved into slower and wider motions, which was a good progression.

Song – 7/10
Music Video  – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] Amor – BoA

BoA is nominated for the Best Female Choreography and Best Female Soloist categories for this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t voted yet, click here to do so as closing closes in 2 days!

BoA’s busy year has yet to end with a brand new Japanese release. Amor was officially released on the 26th of December and a music video was dropped a week prior, allowing for this review to be written. BoA previously released One Shot, Two Shot and Nega Dola and more recently Woman in Korea this year. She also made her Japanese comeback at the start of the year with Jazzclub.

BoA is on board the Latin trend train that has basically taken hold of the KPOP industry this year. While BoA has yet to address this trend in her Korean release, Amor does it for her Japanese releases (and I think this is the first Japanese releases that I have heard given my small spectrum of JPOP to include a Latin influence). Amor doesn’t actually feel like it stems from an overused trend. Instead, there is an air of freshness that I actually like from the song. There are other influences in the instrumental that keep it interesting and very upbeat. But the aspect that I love the most about Amor is her vocals. She sounds standard during the verses but I love her slightly higher pitch during the pre-chorus and choruses. They made the song memorable for me. Overall, I quite like this song.

I thought the video was very standard. It just felt like any other music video released in Korea. There was a sense of elegance to the video due to the presence of BoA. But that was the only interesting vibe that I got from the video. Some of her outfits looked really good. Other outfits looked really odd and didn’t match the song whatsoever. There was a small plot (I think) to the video but that was covered up entirely by choreography shots.

Luckily, the choreography was good enough to cover the above. It is, once again, fitting for the song. I really liked her dance break, where she danced with the male backup dancer. I thought that was the best bit in the entire choreography, with everything else looking nice.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.2/10

[Review] I Won’t Let You Go – GOT7

With less than 10 days to go before voting closes, make sure you support GOT7 for the  Best Male Group and Best Male Choreography categories in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to vote!

GOT7 is kicking off 2019 with their promotions for their latest Japanese comeback single, I Won’t Let You Go, which is featured on the group’s 3rd Japanese mini-album (which shares the same title). GOT7 was previously in Japan earlier this year to promote THE New Era. Like the usual promotional schedule for Japanese releases (I honestly do not know why this is the case), the music video for I Won’t Let You Go was released this week and hence why I am reviewing it today!

I Won’t Let You Go is more in line with GOT7’s Korean releases rather than their Japanese releases thus far. All of their Japanese releases have been heavily doused in EDM, while this song feels like a typical dance track. But by doing this, the song allows GOT7 to focus on a vocally driven comeback, which I think they execute perfectly. The rapping itself is still good. But with both the vocals and rapping, you are able to sense the emotional side of the song. This is a new side for GOT7’s Japanese release. The dance instrumentation was rather typical. I didn’t find anything too outstanding about, besides the fact that the instrumentation chosen allows the song to be quite fitting for the more colder months that both Japan and Korea are experiencing. I do miss that edge that they had with their previous tracks, however, which I think could have levelled up the song and made it more appealing.

I read somewhere that there might be hidden messages in this music video, based on the placement of objects and the screens showing the bird (which represents the fans of GOT7). And I think it is highly likely that is the case. From the moment I saw the placement of those antennas, I knew something was up. But what that message is, I have no idea. What I can tell you is (and you probably can see for yourself) the music video is more emotional than ever. Their powerful dancing and solemn looks into the camera really sends off those signals. I liked the golden feel the video gives, which match perfectly with that emotional element and vibes from the song.

And as mentioned previously, the dance looks very powerful. In the music video, I see Jinyoung, Jaebum and Yugyeom have solo shots. Not sure if it I part of the video but I would like it to see each member have a solo moment as that would make the performance so much more impactful. Everything else that I saw in the video looked pretty cool as well.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] 28℃ – 100%

A lot of groups are sneaking in last minute releases and comebacks just before 2018 wraps up. 100% is one of the group still sneaking in a comeback despite having a very busy year themselves. While they lost their late leader Minwoo (R.I.P) earlier this year, the boy group persisted through the shocking loss and managed to have one Korean comeback (Grand Bleu and Heart) and 3 Japanese comebacks (Song For You, Summer Night and now 28℃). And today, we will be having a closer look at their most recent track, 28℃.

Unlike their Japanese tropical house releases during the year, 28℃ goes with a pure EDM sound. But while I want to hear something a little more adventurous from the group, 28℃ manages to hold its ground quite strongly. I think listening to the first verse really blew my mind. It sounds so beautiful and this definitely caught my attention. I like how their vocals sounded while on top of that minimalistic instrumentation canvas. It may not be much to some people but it was quite appealing to me. The drop was standard when you reflect upon the track but the buildup made it feel very powerful. The rapping in the second verse was done is a way where it didn’t rely on the strong intensity that rappers usually bring but rather its lightness, which I think this goes with the ‘beautiful’ nature of the verses. The rapping for the bridge was another story as it injects the dong with the intensity, which as needed by then. Overall, while it was still a standard sound, the timing of elements in this track and its balance made it very appealing.

The music video doesn’t really have much going on in it. There were closeup shots and choreography shots, just like your standard music video. I did like the setting that they chose for some reason despite it being a cliche choice. I also did like the sets. Nothing really else to comment on in regards to the video.

I did like the choreography, however. It depicts tension through the first pre-chorus collar-grabbing and closeness between each pair. And while the chorus felt standard (song-wise), their choreography showed off some moves that looked quite cool overall.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] Under My Skin – Taemin (SHINee)

For this week’s Japanese review, we will be covering Taemin’s Under My Skin, which the music video was released last week, despite the actual album being released digitally on the 5th of November. Under My Skin is one of the lead title tracks off Taemin’s first solo album, titled after the singer himself. The other two singles are Eclipse and Mars. You may recognise some other tracks on the album including the Japanese versions of Taemin’s Korean hits such as Drip Drop, Press Your Number and Danger.

Unlike any of his other singles,  Under My Skin focuses on one major element, vocals. And this emphasis creates an epic song. Sure, they may not be powerhouse vocals like from other vocalists in the industry. But they are definitely very strong. The song is a ballad but it mixes in some soft yet grand electronic influences throughout the song. Combining this with some piano and drums, and you have what I would consider being a modern take on a ballad. But it is his vocals that make the song feel loaded and aesthetically pleasing. I like that throughout the song his vocals done push into a higher note, which keeps the song grounded yet extravagant in many ways. While I do enjoy this track (and style choice), I do think this choice is rather mediocre in comparison to his Korean releases. I feel like the linked Korean releases in the introductory were much more impactful and well suited for Taemin.

There isn’t much to the video besides the fact that is quite aesthetically pleasing. Taemin is shown to be singing on top of a mirror, which is placed along the beach or a field. The strong breeze makes everything feel so cool and epic, though I am not much of a fan of his black outfit. His red jacket though.. We don’t have much choreography in the song but the ending was extended to allow Taemin to do his thing in the dance department. You don’t really get to see much, however, as it is cut short due to the presence of more closeup shots of Taemin and well, it is too dark to really see anything.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Jealous – TVXQ

TVXQ has a very extensive career in Japan. While their Korean releases have been dropped down to once a year (or in some cases once every few years), the duo continually releases new Japanese songs. Their last release was in the form of their ninth studio album, Tomorrow, which features the singles Reboot (which I previously reviewed) and Road. Today, we will be looking at a much newer release, Jealous, which has yet to feature on any album.

It is genuinely nice to see a Japanese release not depending on EDM of any kind. Jealous instead employs a very dramatic flair and some deep brass to really make the song pop. And I like this unique sound, as it quite cool. The verses were a little plain for my liking. Other parts were a lot more likeable. The pre-chorus was a little different, reminding me of chanting (without the chanting – if that makes any sense). And the chorus was spectacular. It was simple yet it was extremely dynamic. Here, you can hear the dramatic nature the most and the use of higher pitched vocals gave it a very edgy vibe. The bridge of the song was probably the weakest part of the song. It felt too similar to the rest of the song and didn’t feel like a pivotal point in the song. But besides that, Jealous is a pretty decent song.

I am unsure if the set is real or if it fake (i.e. CGI). It looks so good and I want Korean music videos to start adopting these sets as they will really kick the ‘box sets to the next level. I like how the sets were very classy looking and TVXQ were extremely good-looking in their close-ups. I also liked how they brought a dark theme to the video. I also thought their ‘casual’ wear scenes were very fitting. Overall, it was a very good music video.

I think the moment that stole the show for me was the second chorus when the two of them were dancing with the female backup dancers. For some reason, that felt rather different and I liked their different feel. It was a nice performance overall.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Reincarnation – VIXX

I hope you all are enjoying these Japanese reviews. I know I have dropped them for the last few weeks due to my studies but now, with more time on my hand, I will be returning with weekly Japanese reviews. VIXX recently returned to Japan with their next single, Reincarnation, which is also the name of their 3rd album in Japan. The album also features the Japanese version of Scentist and Shangri-La, while also contains a number of original Japanese songs.

Reincarnation feels rather typical. It doesn’t really offer anything new to the listeners as the song goes jump on board of the EDM train, with some drums layered in the background, This combination does bring some intensity but it masks any impacts that the song attempted to make. I guess the added bonus of this is the tempo, as it is quite fast paced. However, I don’t get why they stripped away the instrumental in the moments leading up the chorus. It completely stole any energy that the ‘Flashback’ buildup (which was my favourite bit, by the way) had. I thought the vocals were nice, while the rap sections were rather interesting, giving the song some different textures. I felt like I focused on a lot of negatives for the song so I will end up on a positive note. The delayed start to the final chorus (where they only had drums) was a winning moment.

I am a little disappointed by how the members had little to no interaction with each other in the video. There was a “dance version” but the choreography scenes were edited into the original version, so there wasn’t really anything new there. But despite that, they managed to tell what I believe seems to be a complete story. I just have no idea what it is (so there isn’t anything new with me as well!). If you know any theories, please post them below! There is a lot of colours, which I quite like. And a lot of reverse action going on, which was interesting. My favourite section has to be exploding clouds in the background of one of Hongbin’s solo scenes.

With the performance I watched for the review, I thought the choreography could have been more intense fast paced. Like they slowed down when required but I felt like they could have picked up the pace for the chorus. The dance break did look cool and probably was the most intense section of the entire performance.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

[Review] Breaking Down – DAY6

DAY6 has returned to Japan with a brand new single titled as Breaking Down. Earlier this year, the band their Japanese debut with If We Can Meet Again and returned with Stop The Rain after a few months. Now, the band has returned with not just a new single but will be releasing a new album, titled as Unlock, shortly.

It seems like DAY6 is sticking to that one style for their Japanese comebacks, as the songs have approached the spectrum of rock in one way or another. Breaking Down is their most intense Japanese release yet, with energy and intensity thrown right at you from the very start. There is also an electrifying feel to the song, attributed to the electric guitars of course, that really makes me sit on the edge of my seat for this song. The chorus was really exceptional, kicking the song to a new level and that short vibration-like synth in the middle of the chorus was well-placed and somehow filled an empty void which I did not know exist. I also like the instrumental breaks and the way their vocals leapt out at you. Lastly, I liked the mixture of English and Japanese in this song. The verses at the start were purely in English, while the pre-chorus and chorus itself were Japanese. While that doesn’t sound that amazing, I personally felt it was very cool.

I think the way the video was put together was even cooler. The song was intense and they managed to use only a strip of the screen to really show off some edge. It felt just right and watching the video, you would expect no less. The use of colours in the background only allowed for the individual scenes to really pop out and it allowed for each of the members to be emphasised as they ‘scroll’ pass. The editing was awesome and it is a very original idea.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] Memoria – GFriend

This is probably the fastest time I have ever done a review for a Japanese release from its release date. GFriend recently made their Japanese debut with their Korean hit Me Gustas Tu (the Japanese version, of course!) and now they have returned to Japan with their first original song, Memoria. While its music video and full song were released together on YouTube this week, it will officially be out in October. I personally do not know how the Japanese music industry work but since everything I need to write a review is available, let’s get stuck right into it.

Memoria is a little different from their previous Korean songs. Their Korean title tracks have been mostly upbeat and more youthful sounding. Memoria goes for a complete changeup, opting for a more emotional and mature sound while having a slower tempo. It is quite nice, the soothing nature of the song, making this very appeal for my taste. I do find the song somewhat a little too typical of some Japanese releases but that is a common case with most Japanese releases. What I really like about the song’s instrumentation is that while it was soothing and beautiful sounding, there was room for their signature electric guitars during the bridge/climax of the song, which is very GFriend. The vocals in this song are also excellent, as the slower nature allows for the vocals to be prioritised. Overall, their first original Japanese song is definitely one to remember.

I thought this was a very nice music video. The golden colour palette felt very fitting for the nature of the song. The music video seems to show the members struggling through their lives. I think the main point is that each member is lonely but I think injuries, body image, artistic block and other issues were touched upon. At the climax of the song/video, we see each member has a friend, while the other is sleeping, meaning that they still have a friend. Once the member sleeping wakes up, they realize this and starts running to each other, with the ending showing the regrouping of the members. It is definitely a good concept fitting for GFriend.

I thought the choreography was rather nice. We don’t get to see too much but what we could see seemed very graceful, which I think is fitting for the group’s image. I did like their purple outfits during the choreography scenes as they were rather striking.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Review] BDZ – TWICE

It has been another busy for TWICE with multiple comebacks in both Japan and South Korea already this year. And they recently made their return to Japan with the single BDZ, with the title track off their 1st Japanese album, which will be released in a few days time! TWICE has already returned with What Is Love?, Dance The Night Away, Candy Pop and Wake Me Up (which I have all reviewed!). For this review only, I have decided to review the music video first and then the song, as I think my thoughts would flow better that way.

Opening up the music video is a very dramatic and dark voiceover, which details how the Lovely was kidnapped and locked up by some disgruntled people, causing the world to enter very unpeaceful time. TWICE is here to save the day, as they hatch a plan to free these Lovely from capture and restore happiness. They distract some of the guards, while put laxatives in the bosses food to cause him to be locked in the toilet. Some of these situations were a little ridiculous but quite funny, which pairs well with TWICE’s image. Once they had successfully completed the mission, they were cornered by all the guards. But with the help of Jeongyeon, who was overseeing the entire mission remotely and the Lovely themselves, the mission ended with happiness. As cheesy as the story sounds, it was honestly put together and interesting to watch.

Moving onto the song, I thought the girls honestly changed up their concept this time around given the dramatic introduction to the video. However, as soon as the ‘Like a bulldozer, Like a tank, Like a soldier’ kicked in, I felt very betrayed. Sure, the song is definitely right up TWICE’s alleyway with its cutesy sound and upbeat pop vibes. But I thought there would be an edgy factor (at the very least) to this comeback. That being said, I have to admit, the song was quite catchy and all the normal elements I talk about (vocals, rap, instrumental, memorability etc.) were pretty well done. Oh, as for the title, I think BDZ stands for Bulldozer, which is the took the literal spotlight in the hook of the song and the music video itself.

I thought the choreography for this comeback was quite good. I like the chorus with the small jumps and the overall aesthetics of it. It isn’t one of their catchiest dances but I like how it wasn’t as simple, allowing the girls to showcase their skills.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10