[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

 

[Review] Chaser – UP10TION

UP10TION made their Japanese comeback one month ago today with Chaser. Yeah, it has been some time since its release and I apologise for the delayed review. Actually, it was meant to be reviewed last Saturday but due to personal reasons (and most likely tiredness), I decided to delay it until this week. Hence, it will be one of the two JPOP reviews published this week. So, let’s stop chasing the review so you can have a read of my thoughts about it.

At first, I thought it would be the Japanese version of Runner as the two words used in the titles are essentially synonyms of each other. However, they turned out to be different. Chaser has a very intense feel to it, which I actually like. The suspense built during the pre-chorus and the actual drop to the chorus definitely made the song sound so good. I liked how the vocals were louder than the instrumental, as it could have been easily drowned out during the chorus if it was any lower. I liked the vocals to the song, especially how breathy the verses were. And I liked how the rapping gave some impact and wasn’t just thrown into the song. It could have had some more individuality, considering the use of EDM by Korean artists in the JPOP industry. But overall, Chaser is definitely a great song.

The music video was good but it could have been a little more interesting by throwing in a short storyline. We are shown a very dark city (possibly futuristic), Wooshin running, a golden stopwatch slowly dropping to the ground and time reversing. I have no idea what to make of this. There was some intensity but I think it would have been better with some more background. I like the use of lights in the open space for the choreography shots, which matched the sound of the song very well.

The choreography is another positive aspect of the comeback. I personally do not have much else to say in regards to choreography. But I liked its energy and (once again) the intensity it delivered alongside the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] Livin’ It Up – MONSTA X

Monsta X is back with another original Japanese release. Livin’ It Up was released two weeks ago and is the group’s 4th Japanese single to date. I was going to review another artist’s Japanese song this week but decided to go with Livin’ It Up because it was a far more interesting song. The group previously released their first full-length album in Japan (Puzzle was the title track of the album) and are currently on their world tour, if I am not mistaken.

What is becoming evident is that some groups (including MONSTA X) are releasing more intensified EDM songs in the Japanese market. And the release of Livin’ It Up confirms this. The song falls into that EDM category, mixed with some hip-hop vibes and a groovy instrumental. Note that it isn’t retro groovy built does give the song a more light-hearted energy, opposed from something a little more hard-hitting you expect from EDM. Jooheon and I.M’s raps definitely give it some roughness and edge from their deeper tone, while the vocalists bring some melody in their parts. Overall, I thought the song was rather appealing. I feel like if the song chorus had a stronger hook, I would have picked up the song a lot sooner (as I thought it was relatively plain when I first heard it).

The music video was mainly made of choreography shots and some close-ups. Some of the dance shots gave me Beautiful vibes, mainly due to the platform they were performing on. I have to be honest though, but I thought the video was rather plain. I didn’t really feel the energy like some other videos from watching the video, which left it underwhelming. If the camera work showed some more energy and punchiness, it would have matched the vibes of the song a lot better.

The choreography was good. It wasn’t as intense as I hoped for but it was a perfect balance between that level of intensity that I wanted to see and the lighthearted sound that came from the groovy nature of the track.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Summer Night – 100%

Last week, I decided to review 100%’s recent Korean comeback, The Grand Bleu, instead of the intended Japanese week. With some shuffling around, I will be reviewing their recent Japanese comeback, Summer Night, which is their 4th original single in Japan. The music video for this track was released at the end of June, so apologies for the really late review.

The song has this pretty decent tropical influence club beat as its instrumental which makes the song explosive, particularly around the chorus of the song. It does feel very standard around the verses which seems to show more of that tropical influence. But that isn’t too off-putting, especially with a cool chorus like this that picks up the song just at the right time. However, the vocals are the one aspect that had me diving for more. The way Rokhyun sings the chorus feels very JPOP-like, reminding me of some Japanese pop vocalists that I listen to. The other members do a pretty good job. One way of describing the song is that it is like their Korean vocal-driven songs were smashed with this style of EDM (which works really well). The rapping was also quite good and was another moment that I really liked. Overall, 100% did an amazing job with this song.

As much as I find the colour blue very refreshing, I can’t help but notice how blue the music video was (literally!). It felt like it should have been overused, particularly at the start. But after the first chorus, they changed to multiple shades of blue (in their outfits), which really cuts the heaviness of the blue. And for that, I actually thought it was an interesting of colour. I did like the helipad setting for the choreography, which I still think is really scary yet really beautiful at the same time.

The choreography was good and felt fitting for the song. Not else to say other than that, to be honest.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

 

[Review] Stay – Taeyeon

I took a little break from my JPOP reviews last week because I was honestly running out of reviews to write. During that week off, I did find a few others so the JPOP reviews live on! Today’s focus will be on Taeyeon’s solo debut in Japan, Stay, which was released on the 30th of June. Taeyeon also recently made her solo return in South Korea and I reviewed both her title track (Something New) and album (Something New).

Right off the bat, the first impression I had of Stay was that it could be the Japanese counterpart for Taeyeon’s iconic I. While Stay does not have the explosive vocals, the energy and colour between the two are commonly uniform. It does do a good job at showing off the soloist’s vocals, which does serve as a good reminder of how she started off in KPOP as a solo artist (especially given how all her Korean releases have been more of the unique nature). What I also liked about the song was its peaceful nature. It didn’t employ EDM or synths, instead opting for a more traditional sound and instrumental, which allows her vocals to shine more. I did think the bridge was a little too different from the overall feel of the song and I haven’t been able to get used to it so far. Other than that, it was a good song.

I really liked the golden lighting that they had throughout the video, which does compliment the song. It gives a warm atmosphere, which does go quite well with the song. Going back to the idea that this is the Japanese counterpart of the I debut, the music videos are quite similar. In both videos, it seems like she is rediscovering herself by putting herself into a foreign environment. Likewise, the golden fields in this video remind me of the green fields in the I video.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] #Cookie Jar – Red Velvet

We have seen a number of Korean artist make their first step into the Japanese market. Joining artists such as Seventeen and GFriend, Red Velvet will be release their anticipated Japanese debut mini-album and single, #Cookie Jar, in July. This is the group’s first Japanese release since their debut in 2014 and it features the Japanese version of some of their biggest Korean hits, such as Russian Roulette, Dumb Dumb and Red Flavour. Today we are here to have a closer look at their debut single, so let’s get going!

#Cookie Jar was a little tame from what I had expected. Given Red Velvet’s portfolio of different and unique Korean hits (combined with the well-known oddness that Japanese media is known for), I had expected the track to be wild, at the very least. But instead, the song takes a more standard pop sound. I would have liked if the song had a little more colour to it. While the song is colourful, I little pinch of quirkiness would have allowed the song to become more memorable and unique in my opinion. That being said, the song does feature a decent retro instrumental, which gave it some colour. The chorus felt fun, with the ‘#Cookie Jar‘ opening to the choruses and the ending of the song being the most memorable moments of the song. For the vocals and the raps, I just didn’t feel like it was their best effort but they still sounded good. Overall, #Cookie Jar was a decent track for their debut but it doesn’t live up to what I had expected.

With the title of #Cookie Jar, it was expected there be a sweet theme for the video. And that is what we got exactly. Though I am not sure how the sweet theme presented in the video reflects the lyrics of the song, especially the ending of the video when they find out all their foods isn’t that fresh and edible. I really liked the colours that they used in this video, with some of the sets reminding me of the colour palette that they used in Russian Roulette. It was a decent video to watch, overall.

From what I could see in the music video, the choreography can be described as mediocre as best. Other than that, I wasn’t impressed with what they had presented us with.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10