[Album Review] Love Shot (5th Repackaged Album) – EXO

The 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards are in full swing and voting is still opened. Did you know that EXO is nominated for Best Subunit, Best Male Group, Best Male Choreography, Best Japanese Song by a Korean Artist and Best Album? Click here to vote for EXO!

EXO returned during the week with their 5th repackaged album and the title track, both titled Love Shot. This comes after EXO released their 5th studio album, Don’t Mess Up With My Tempo, which featured the unique Tempo title track.  Unlike previous years, Love Shot was released in place of EXO’s yearly release of a Winter album and single but keeping in the tradition of their yearly studio and repackaged album. The new album consists of 3 new tracks, which I reviewed below, along with the Chinese version of Love Shot (which I have not included in the review).

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Love Shot Album Cover

Love Shot features all the songs from the Don’t Mess Up My Tempo album, which I have previously reviewed. If you wish to check out the song reviews from the Don’t Mess Up My Tempo album, please click here.

1..Love Shot (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Love Shot. (7.5/10)

3. Trauma – I personally like how classy Trauma sounds. The intro to the track (the ‘La La La’) really sets the rest of the song in place. I liked how upbeat the instrumental felt despite how soft the actual music was. It was rather interesting. I also liked how their vocals were very compatible with the song, which was also a softer tone than usual. When I write these reviews, I listen to the track several times to really be sure about what I am writing. And every time I listened to Trauma, Chen’s mini falsetto in the chorus stands out for me. Also, like the vocals, the raps were very well suited for the song. They do bring an edgy vibe to the song, which breaks the classiness of the song for a slight section. And I quite like that too. (9/10)

4. WaitWait is an acoustic ballad that goes straight to showcasing EXO’s vocals from the very first second. And it is a very beautiful sounding song, with the acoustic guitar being the only instrument in the song. The rest of the song relies on the said vocals and the nice harmonies that you can hear throughout the song. The chorus features harmonies with all the members, while the verses feature harmonies between the singer and background vocals. Looking back at the song, I find it extremely hard to really pinpoint anything I dislike about it. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10 (This incorporates the scores of all 13 songs on the albums)

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[Review] Hair In The Air – Yeri (Red Velvet), Renjun, Jeno & Jaemin (NCT)

Both Red Velvet and NCT are nominated in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Voting is underway and if you haven’t voted yet, click here to do so now!

For this week’s SM Station release, Yeri (from Red Velvet) and Renjun, Jeno and Jaemin (from NCT) join hands together for the special release of Hair In The Air, which is the main theme song for the new television series – Trolls: The Beat Goes On. The song features on a special OST album for the show and the album also contains a second track, Best Day Ever, featuring Haechan, Chenle and Jisung (from NCT as well). But we are here for Hair In The Air, so let’s get going.

Hair In The Air goes for a fun-filled and vibrant sound, suiting the animated show it will represent in South Korea. It has this positivity atmosphere that makes you want to smile and dance to. The pop instrumental for the song was consistent (in a good way) and gave the song that fun factor which I have already mentioned. It is super addictive so I can see it being used as a children’s show theme song. Yeri and Renjun take cares of the vocals in the song, while Jeno and Jaemin rap in the song. And I personally enjoyed both the vocals and raps in the song as they both add some flavour and textures to the song. It may just be a standard song to some but I thoroughly enjoyed its lightheartedness.

Like the song, the video is pretty much a lighthearted video. Not really meant to be taken seriously. Since it was for Trolls, I had expected some sort of Trolls animation throughout it. But instead, we have a party themed video with Yeri and the 3 featuring members from NCT. But it seems that this party is all in the book that Yeri is reading. There is a small bit of choreography for the video to compliment the fun style of the video. Rather simple but I enjoyed it.

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

[Album Review] Present: You & Me (2nd Repackaged Album) – GOT7

OT7 is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Male Choreography in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you have yet to vote for GOT7 and your other favourite groups, click on the link here to do so!

GOT7 returned last week with their repackaged album, Present: You & Me. This album features the title track, Miracle and Lullaby. It is a different repackaged album, however, as normal repackaged albums are renamed but have only one to three new tracks. You & Me has a total of 12 new tracks on the album, which is basically a second album. The unit and solo tracks were all previously performed at GOT7’s concerts and this is the first time we have seen a studio version of these songs. I also want to clear up another detail. This isn’t the group’s first repackaged, as Mad was repackaged into a Christmas album back in 2014. But we are here to focus on Present: You & Me. Note that this is a very long review.

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Present: You & Me Album Cover

1..Miracle (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Miracle. (7.5/10)

2. Take Me To YouTake Me To You has the potential to be a contender for title track status. It combines the artistic style that I felt from each of their individual songs in their Present: Me album, combined with their usual dance style of music, allowing for some choreography to easily be performed for this track. I like the soft nature of the song, as every element in the song felt refined and soothing. Even the rapping reduced its energy and power. For the most part, I liked their execution of the song. I just felt that Mark’s “Taking Me, Taking Me’ could have been a little louder as it could have been easily missed. (9.5/10)

3. Come On (안 보여)Come On is a mix between a pop dance and hip-hop. And thus, it is an ideal song that fits in nicely into GOT7’s portfolio. I think it is a pleasant song to listen to. Nothing is heavy in this song, which is a plus in an industry filled with dance-heavy tracks. I also liked the melodies in this song and each member sings in one form or another for this song. Jackson stands out as he takes the lead for the chorus, singing rather than rapping for a change. His voice in this song is memorable and gives the song an interesting texture. (9/10)

4. 1:31 AM (잘 지내야해) (JB & Youngjae)1:31AM is one of the three songs on this album which was first performed in 2017. 1:31 AM is a ballad that highlights the vocals of both JB and Youngjae in a fashion that we don’t hear often in their group songs or solo tracks. It is a little slow for my liking, but it has a very nice melody and the lyrics to the song are just very touching. The one thing I wanted with this song is harmonies, which was lacking as the two vocalists do not sing together at all (which is slightly interesting). (8/10)

5. Higher (Jinyoung & Mark) – Jinyoung and Mark’s collaboration starts off as a typical pop song. Jinyoung’s signature vocals and Mark’s deep rapping voice dominates the start of the song as well. The chorus goes electronic with an explosion of colour and sounds that create an upbeat and unmissable energetic atmosphere that is bound to get you dancing. There is also a fun element to the song which makes it perfect for a concert. (8/10)

6. I Love It (Jackson, BamBam & Yugyeom) I Love It is the shortest track on the album, with Jackson, BamBam and Yugyeom only singing on this track for around 1 minute (and they all sing!).  I think their vocals on this song shine the brightest (sorry to the other members) on the album. It literally took my breath away. The instrumentation was lovely and the melody was beautiful. The biggest sin this track has associated to itself is its shortness. (9.5/10)

7. WOLO (Jackson, BamBam & Yugyeom)WOLO is the third song on the album that was first performed at their concerts last year. WOLO stands for ‘We Only Like Once’ and we can categorise the song as part of the hip-hop genre. They do most of their rapping and singing during the verses, leaving the electronic dubstep to do most of the talking in the chorus. And it is the type of drop to really excite me for a performance. I liked the alternating lines to the chorus and each member of the trio shined in this song. (7/10)

8. King (Jinyoung & BamBam) –It was interesting to see where this unit would take us since both Jinyoung and BamBam’s personality is very different. This would be a hyped-up party track that would fit right into BamBam’s alley. Jinyoung’s presence was definitely a shocker (in a good way). I am not a fan of autotune usually, especially when it is overused. However, I find its use in this song well balanced, despite the entire track being in that electronic filter. It builds up the tension and not once did it feel obnoxious. I like both member’s tone, with Jinyoung bringing fierceness and BamBam bring energy to the song, It is one stand-out yet surprising track. (9/10)

9. Think About It (JB, Mark, Youngjae)Think About It is another R&B song for the album. And it brings together JB and Youngjae’s vocals and Mark’s rapping. Together, you can tell the powerful direction that this track is going to take. And while the song does go in that direction, it is the most underwhelming song on the album. The song has a drifty melody with only the vocals and raps to keep it grounded. The instrumental is very minute compared to the vocals, which seem to overpower the instrumentation several times. I think if the instrumental had some sort of extra definition, the track would have been a lot more cohesive. (6/10)

10. From Now (이젠) (Yugyeom Solo) – Yugyeom doesn’t get much of a chance to really show off his vocal capabilities in GOT7 songs. From Now does just that. His solo track, From Now, is an R&B track, which is familiar territory for the dancer. And not only does he bring smooth vocals, but he also packs a punch with the delivery of his lines. There were parts in the chorus that felt powerful and they left me shocked. I really like his harmonies with the background vocals in the bridge. The instrumental was honestly a bore but his vocals did an amazing job at saving the song. (7/10)

11. Hunger (Jackson Solo) – This is one epic song. It makes me hungry for more. It is another short track (with another 20 seconds compared to I Love It). But it is extremely feisty and delivers all the energy you think Jackson has into one powerful track. Unlike the other songs which he focused on vocals, Hunger takes us back to raps that we know Jackson best for. I also liked his lyrics, which were all in English. (8/10)

12. Phoenix (Jackson & Yugyeom) – The final unit track follows neatly from Jackson’s Hunger. It is another feisty track, just with less power and impact. Jackson’s rap was once again in English, while Yugyeom handles the Korean in his vocal parts. There was a pause in the song, which I think acted as a suspense mechanism for the stage. Not sure why it was included in the studio version as it cuts the flow of the song and made the song feel awkward. But other than that, it was another nice track. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

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Mark’s Miracle Teaser Image

[Review] Love Shot – EXO

The 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards are in full swing and voting is still opened. Did you know that EXO is nominated for Best Subunit, Best Male Group, Best Male Choreography, Best Japanese Song by a Korean Artist and Best Album? Click here to vote for EXO!

EXO has returned with their 5th repackaged album and their latest title track, both titled Love Shot. Last month, EXO returned with their 5th studio album, Don’t Mess Up My Tempo. Promotions for Tempo were quite short, causing anger to be directed towards SM Entertainment for their lack of promotions this year as a group. It does seem like EXO will be promoting their repackaged album and title track for slightly longer as their album promotions will crossover with the End of Year music festivals and award ceremonies that start 2019 off.

Love Shot is a pop dance track filled with a balanced level of thumping bass and it feels a lot more comfortable than what Tempo felt like. It flows a lot more nicely, with smoothness being a keyword used to describe the song.  I think what I like about the song is its addictive chorus. It may be a simple hook but it is keyed into your memory by the time the song ends, so you just want to replay the song to relive the chorus. The vocals in this track were also a strong point, adding to the track’s appeal. I really liked D.O’s ‘People come and people go‘ start to the bridge, which I think was more memorable than the already addictive chorus.  Once again, I also liked the rapping. It is perfect for this sensual sounding song but I have to admit that it doesn’t top the energy and intensity we got from Tempo. And that basically applies to the entire song. But nonetheless, EXO’s Love Shot was a great song to mark their second return to 2018.

EXO has their guns drawn for their music video. There is a plotline somewhere in the video, with the way Suho walks away with a SWAT team by his side and everyone is confronted by the SWAT team when they came to rob the bank (of flowers). While it does feel cryptic and confusing, the plotline does seem fairly interesting. Also, when I thought of ‘Love Shot‘, I thought of drinking rather than guns. But I liked the way they incorporated alcohol into their guns, which is pretty aesthetic. But at the same time, not too effective when it comes to robbing a bank. I also thought the closeup shots throughout the video showed off great visuals of the members.

But I think we cannot pass the choreography for this comeback. Like the song, the choreography seems to take a sensual approach, reminding me of the moves they pulled for The Eve. I liked the incorporation of the small “handgun” in their body rolls for the choruses. As for the verses, we just have to wait and see. But it looks good from the music video end.

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

[Review] The Best Thing I Ever Did – TWICE

TWICE is nominated for Best Female Group, Best Female Choreography, Best Music Video, & Best Japanese Song by a Korean Artist. Help support TWICE in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards by clicking the link here to vote

If there is one girl group that kept busy in 2018, that girl group would be TWICE. Onces (TWICE’s fandom) were treated to 3 Korean comebacks, What Is Love?, Dance The Night Away and Yes Or Yes throughout 2018. On top of that, multiple Japanese releases such as BDZ and Candy Pop. Now, the female group has returned for one last time in 2018 with a reissued version of their Yes or Yes mini-album, The Years of Yes. The lead title from this new mini-album is The Best Thing I Ever Did, which is the focus of today’s album review.

The Best Thing I Ever Did is a sweet sounding ballad that suits the youthful style of TWICE’s releases and the upcoming Christmas holiday. It isn’t that emotionally driven style of a ballad, which I think would honestly a little awkward for me as that isn’t the mature style of music that I am used to when it comes to TWICE. I think what stands out for me is the vocals of the group. TWICE has been subjected to some criticism for their weak vocals but this song proves otherwise. I thought the rap-talking in the song was also quite nice. The instrumentation is also another positive for the track, as it gives off a warm feeling and some of the details in the instrumental were added for a cute effect. It isn’t your typical TWICE song as the song is miles away from what they usually do. But it is a nice ballad for their fans.

The music video for this song is more of a fan service. But rather showing us that typical behind the scene fan video, the producers of this music video were smart with the way they presented it. It was shown as a movie and the members of TWICE were watching the movie in the cinema. It was a great way to show the members reminiscing about their career so far and it was fitting for the lyrics of the song. The music video also shows the members having a little fun at the dinner table and in the snow.

Correct me if I am wrong but I remember reading somewhere that there will be no promotions for this new release so we won’t be able to see a live performance for it. If there is a performance, my prediction will be that there won’t be any accompanying choreography due to the nature of the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Gone – Lee Changsub (BTOB)

BTOB is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Vocals in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t voted for BTOB yet (or any of your favourite artists), click here to vote right away!

With the impending military enlistment of Changsub confirmed for next year, he is saying farewell (for the next two years) through a solo debut mini-album titled Mark and the title track, Gone. This isn’t the first time I reviewed Changsub’s solo work, as Changsub released another solo single as part of Piece of BTOB, At The End. BTOB also returned a few weeks back with Hour Moment and the single, Beautiful Pain as a parting gift to their fans before the military enlistment of each member.

Given Changsub’s vocals, it was expected he would go with a song that would show off his vocals. Gone does just that. It is a ballad that has a standard ballad instrumentation but manages to incorporate some flair into the song. The buildup instantly comes out of nowhere, which was a great way of offsetting the slow start to the song, which I felt made the song feel too standard. So, this buildup was definitely needed. His vocals start off really nice, matching that slow, soothing sound. But it built up at the same rate as the instrumentation’s buildup, remaining as the main focus of the song. And I liked how powerful his vocals got, which really gave the song a needed kick. Despite that, I like his soft touch to the ending, which made the song feel like it ended as a complete circle. Overall, a pretty cool solo debut ballad.

The music video features APINK’s Chorong, who I found out are friends in real life, based on what I am reading. I not 100% sure on what the video is about and I have yet to find English lyrics to really give me hints. But here is my take on it. Changsub is a top celebrity, who is tired of his work. He decides for a night out at a small bar, where he meets Chorong, who is a singer at the bar. Chorong is verbally abused for probably being a poor singer and she is about to attack her abuser when Changsub stops her and drags her away. She thanks him by inviting him back to her part-time work to have a soft jam session. He writes a song with her in mind and he performs it at the same bar. He is slightly nervous, but Chorong is present to support him, which leads to a successful performance. It was a nice video to watch, overall.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Days Gone By – DAY6

Before we get into the review, I just want to let you know that DAY6 is nominated for Best Band for their Shoot Me comeback earlier this year. Click here to vote for DAY6 and your other favourite artists

DAY6 has returned with the part 2 of their Youth series, Remember Us. The title track for this album release is Days Gone By. This is the band’s second comeback of the year, after their Shoot Me comeback in June. Since then, the band has been busy in Japan with their first album and comebacks. 2018 also seems to be a very big year for the band, as they won the Best Band award at the MMA and are nominated for the same award at the MAMA’s (with the winner will be announced later this week). Let’s hope they have the same success for this comeback and 2019.

From the very first second, Days Gone By screams out retro. The first few seconds reminded me of the style of song that I would associate with Michael Jackson, especially from the 70s and 80s era. I think we can attribute this to their rocking instrumental, which used that retro synthesizer on the keyboard. Kind of the go-to instrument/sound if you want something very retro. And I liked how they stayed with the sound and did not stray away from it, which is the more common thing to do in today’s music industry. I liked how their vocals blended well with the instrumentation. Neither felt overpowering but both were equally strong. Jae’s husky vocals, in particular, were my favourite. I think want makes me a major fan of the band is their versatility. We have seen a range of sounds, especially through their monthly releases. And now that they have ticked retro off that list, I am excited to see what is next.

Following the retro concept, the music video was very retro as well. The use of green screen through this, giving off a kaleidoscope effect of each member’s shots was definitely something very big from that era. For once the lower quality footage was intentional and fitted in well with the concept. I also liked the instrumental section, where they played their instruments and had a little fun, while all we could see was the silhouettes of each member. It isn’t technically the most amazing music video ever. But you can tell that they thought through this concept logically and managed to incorporate many ideas into the video.

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

[Album Review] RBB (5th Mini Album) – Red Velvet

Red Velvet is nominated for multiple categories in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to vote and support your favourite artists.

Red Velvet returned at the end of last week with another new track, RBB (Really Bad Boy), which is the same title as their fifth mini-album. This is the group’s 3rd Korean comeback this year, where each was marked with an album review (The Perfect Red Velvet and Summer Magic). RBB features 6 tracks, with the final song being an English version of Really Bad Boy (and per usual, I did not include that in the album review). So without any further delay, here are my thoughts on the album.

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RBB Album Cover

1..RBB (Really Bad Boy) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of RBB (Really Bad Boy). (9/10)

2. ButterfliesButterflies is a light pop track that really appealed to my taste within the first few seconds of listening to it. To me, this is a typical yet perfected Red Velvet b-side track and I liked it that they chose this as the second promotional track to promote during their comeback week. The vocals were on point. While they weren’t as grabbing as RBB, the vocals here were soothing and very delicate, matching the atmosphere that the song had created. The soft rap-talking during the bridge was also quite nice. Overall, it is an amazing track that I think the word ‘beautiful’ sums it up perfectly. (9/10)

3. So Good – I think this would be a nice mix of their Red and Velvet side. It is an R&B track that offers smoothness. So Good has a nice melody and this makes this song quite catchy. I personally like the vocals in the song, despite it being quite plain, if I was to choose a word to describe that element of the song. I did like the ad-libs that threw throughout the choruses, giving the illusion it was rather busy and textured. So Good also offers a few twists, such as the vocals starting off the second verse and the ending, which brought different colours to the song without stray too far from its original sound. (8/10)

4. Sassy Me (멋있게)Sassy Me throws uniqueness at you in any form. The vocals during the verses have that slight groaning ending to each line. I can see how this would turn people off, but I thought this was a very interesting effect to grab your attention straight away. I really like the instrumentation of the song. The brass in the song was extremely short, sharp and repetitive. However, not in an annoying way. As usual, their vocals were amazing, but I loved how they progressed to that amazing high note at the end of the song. Sassy Me is probably my most favourite track on this album. (9/10)

5. TasteTaste’s sound isn’t my cup of tea. So I am having a hard time getting into the song. The song is best described as a hip-hop centred sound. But I found it to be quite slow and the instrumentation was rather bland, compared to the rest of the songs on the album. However, props must be given for Yeri, Irene and Wendy’s rap sequence, which caught me off guard and made me backtrack a number of times to be sure I was listening to the song correctly. It isn’t the best rapping but it gives the final track on the album something unlike any of their previous tracks. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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[Album Review] Regulate (1st Repackaged Album) – NCT 127

NCT is nominated for Best Male Group, while NCT Dream and NCT 127 are nominated for Best Subunit. If you haven’t voted for NCT or your favourite artists yet, then click here to vote!

NCT 127 made their comeback with the repackaged version of their first studio album, which has been retitled Regulate. Leading the repackaged promotions is Simon Says. I debated whether to create a separate album review for this as I would only be reviewing one new song. I decided to do it anyway in order to help support NCT in the KPORPEVIEWED Awards (see above). Initially, it was meant for publishing on a later date but due to some scheduling changes, I have decided to publish today. I hope you don’t mind this really short album review.

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Regulate Album Cover

Regulate features all the songs from their Regular-Irregular album, which I have previously reviewed. If you wish to check out the song reviews from the Regular-Irregular album, please click here.

4. Welcome To My Playground – The song, compared to the songs on the Regular-Irregular, has a more bright and playful tone. It is a different side of NCT 127 that we saw briefly in Touch but incorporates that hip-hop genre that NCT has been marketed towards. The verses were half Korean and English, which I think was a smart way of interacting with both their Korean and international fans. The song was quite soft and I actually liked the prolonged build up in the verses. It made the chorus a lot more dynamic. I also liked the jump and fast-paced nature of Mark and Taeyong’s rap sequence, which gave the song a profound kick of energy towards the end, ending the song on a very energetic note. (9/10)

9. Simon Says (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Simon Says. (9/10)

12. Chain (Korean Version) – I previously reviewed the Japanese version of Chain. I did feel like the song was a lot slower when it is in the Korean language. It might just be me, however. Click here to read the full review of Chain. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10 (This incorporates the scores of all 12 songs on the albums)

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[Review] I Dream – Elkie (CLC)

CLC is nominated for Best Female Group and Most Underrated Artist in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to vote for CLC

One of the many groups that I have grown concerned for is CLC. One of the many problems they face is their lack of promotions, with Cube Entertainment pushing their more popular acts onto the stage. Notice how each of Cube’s artists have two releases in 2018 and CLC has only one (Black Dress). Now, their main vocalist, Elkie, has made her solo debut. But once again, no promotions. Actually, I don’t think many people caught wind of her solo debut due to the lack of promotional material in the lead up to her solo debut. As upsetting as it is, I hope my review isn’t too late and will hopefully introduce Elkie and CLC to a wider audience.

Elkie’s solo debut song is titled I Dream and it is a ballad. I find this ballad very typical but in a good way. It has all the aspects that I think makes it a good ballad. That swayable effect that I mention often as a criterion for my personal taste is ticked off here. And going hand-in-hand with that effect is the soothing nature of the instrumentation, which is made up of piano and soft violins (which, once again, is rather typical). Her vocals are really nice. I know of her capabilities given her work in CLC songs but this shifts a new focus towards her for me, which I think makes this a pretty decent solo debut. I also think there is a slight hook in the chorus of the song when she sings I Dream. I find it somewhat memorable. Altogether, everything is coming together well. Maybe she could have gone for something much more memorable, but I Dream was very nicely done.

There were many shots throughout the video that showed off her beauty. I thought the video showcased nice scenery, regardless if it was just a simple walk in the park or those nightlife images. I haven’t looked into the lyrics but based on the video, it shows Elkie trying to find herself and determine what her dreams are. It is a nice video that matches the song really nicely.

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

[Review] Blue Rose – UP10TION

Vote in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards and support your favourite artists. Do so by clicking here

Continuing the blue theme for the last few reviews (Onew’s solo release, titled Blue and Mamamoo’s album review for BLUE;S)  is UP10TION’s latest release, Blue Rose, which is featured on the group’s 9th mini-album. This is the group’s first comeback since the release of their special single, So Beautiful back in August of this year. The group has also been active in Japan with their Chaser comeback.

Blue Rose starts off with what seems to promise to their most edgy sound yet. And they do a pretty good job with maintaining that level of edginess throughout the song. The rapping during this start (along with the rest of the rapping) was really cool, giving the song a really rough exterior. The instrumental gave the song a powerful kick, especially during the choruses. I really liked that brief pause after the first line of the chorus, giving that striking impact to the song. The bridge was also quite nice, bringing in a minimalist dance break, which I thought was quite cool. However, there were some things that hold is back from being an amazing song. The vocals felt bland. Because the song felt like the first verse/chorus was just copied and pasted, it left the vocals hanging and not really build up all that much. I felt like they could have spiced the song up a tiny bit towards the end, which would have made it a lot more interesting.

The music video seems to show two opposing sides. The more casually dressed UP10TION seemed to represent the fugitives, while the smartly dressed UP10TION shows the Chasers (based on the teasers). The fugitives have the Blue Rose, which the chasers are trying to obtain. We don’t really see any plot development, as the teasers made it out to be, which was a mega disappointment. In the end, we just see the chasers confront the fugitives and the video ends there. Pretty boring, if you ask me. Where is the action or the mystery? Moving to more positives, I liked their outfits and sets of the video, which I thought was classy.

Looking at the dance in the music video, there seems to be a sensual side to the performance which I think fits in with their sound really nicely. I also enjoyed that minimalist dance break hat they had, which I thought was quite cool. It is something a little different to usual dance breaks (which tends to be intense and powerful).

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

[Album Review] BLUE;S (8th Mini Album) – Mamamoo

Mamamoo is nominated for Best Female Group and Best Vocals for this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support Mamamoo and other artists!

Mamamoo returned a week ago with Wind Flower performing the new song on some of the weekly music shows and also the MelOn Music Awards over the weekend, where the group was one of the Top 10 Artists for 2018. Wind Flower is featured on the group’s 8th mini-album, BLUE;S, which is the group’s album release for the Autumn season and is the third comeback in their seasonal comeback series. Before we get blown away, let’s dig into the album.

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BLUE;S Album Cover

The album contains an introductory track (가을에서 겨울로) but like most of my album reviews, I have opted to leave it off the review.

2. No More Drama – Following the soft intro track, No More Drama jumps right at you with its title and its blowy sound. It is the track that I would like to listen on a nice breezy day as the song’s vibe fit that environment. It could easily fit onto an official soundtrack to a movie. The chorus is extremely catchy, and the upbeat nature of the song makes it stand out. It doesn’t help that the vocals were explosive. The raps started off low, which was surprising at first as the song doesn’t really call for that. However, it remains fitting nonetheless. The ending was nice, but I was expecting a little more afterwards. But still, great song! (9/10)

3. Wind Flower (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Wind Flower. (8/10)

4. HELLO (Solar Solo) – Blue is Solar’s colour based on the Paint Me music video. So, her solo track is featured on the album. I like the bright tone that features in this track, which allows a sense of hope to be portrayed throughout the song. I would have expected an emotional driven ballad but that would have been cliché. I liked this style and direction, which was intriguing. Her vocals is at the forefront of the song and really blows you away, especially during the chorus. There is an epic vibe fitted into the song which makes this song extremely memorable. I liked the lyrics of the song, which seems to allude to the restart of a relationship. (10/10)

5. Better Than I Thought (생각보단 괜찮아)Better Than I Thought is the song to get lost in. Its acoustic sound starts off the song and slowly the other instruments filter in, allowing the song to build-up in a fulfilling manner. Like all their songs, their vocals are on point. Moonbyul, in particular sounds amazing with both her rapping and singing being my picks for highlights in the song. I also liked the autotuned vocals effects they added to contribute to the instrumental. It gave texture but a nice detail to fill the void during those sections. (8/10)

6. Morning – Finishing off the album is this R&B ballad track which sounds like a track from an OST to some beautifully written romance movie. The vocals that Mamamoo went with weren’t powerhouse but rather delicate and fragile, which fits the meaning of the song and the orchestral-like instrumentation. Everyone shone in the song, so it was hard to really pick a favourite. It was also rather hard to pick a favourite moment as well. What makes this song so nice is that it had that swaying effect that I love when it comes to good ballads and it ended the album on a very soothing note. (9/10)

Overall Album Review – 8.8/10

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BLUE;S Teaser Image

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[Review] Blue – Onew (SHINee)

SHINee is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Album in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support SHINee and your other favourites by clicking here to vote.

2018 has been a jam-packed year for many groups, with SHINee being a prime example. SHINee returned in 3 back-to-back comebacks (Good Evening, I Want You & Our Page) and a special single (Countless) to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Since then, the members have embarked onto solo promotions, including Taemin’s Japanese releases, Minho’s movie filming and the recent solo debut for Key with One Of Those Nights. This leaves just Onew who is due to enlist in a couple of days. But this isn’t stopping SHINee’s leader from launching his solo career with the title track Blue and the mini-album, Voice.

Even though I just launched the KPOPREVIEWED Awards for 2018, I am already thinking ahead for 2019. And you can just blame the one listen I had to this song. Blue is a ballad, which isn’t unexpecting. But what is unexpecting is how amazing the song is. And amazing is probably an underwhelming description. It is one of those ballads where the orchestral instrumental and Onew’s vocals tell a story. It has that dramatic flair to really make you feel emotional and if I were to judge the ballad based on that, I would say it was highly successful. The instrumental was stunning. But it is his voice that gets me. You can feel the pain. You can feel the sadness. Onew does an amazing job of bundling all of that up in a matter of 5 minutes and leaving us in awe of the song. Literally, my only complaint about the song is why we didn’t get this sooner!

Once again, the comment section for the music video theorises about the meaning of the video. And I agree with what is being said. This is Onew’s recount of the events, beginning with his hiatus due to a scandal that occurred last year. Due to this scandal, he had to go on hiatus, which is presented by the isolation in the video. The diamond represents SHINee, as there are five diamonds in the mirrors. The shooting star attracts his attention to bring the diamond outside. He proceeds to go outside, walking past fishes, flowers (which I don’t know the meaning of) and blindfolded people who seem to stare at him (maybe due to his scandal). At the end of his walk, he recognises one person (the theories suggest he recognises the late Jonghyun) which surprises him and the diamond is lit up. He takes the diamond back to his house, meaning that these turn of events have told him to take another path and to return to the world. Whether this is correct, I don’t know. Like the song, you can feel the emotions throughout the video and you can tell that Onew is acting in this video based on experiences due to it feeling so real.

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

[Review] Turn It On – Laboum

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After their mature Between Us comeback in July, Laboum has returned with a brand new song, Turn It On. This new song features on the group’s 6th single album, which is titled as I’m Yours. Since their last comeback, Laboum has been busy with their Japanese Hwi Hwi debut and ZN completed her promotions as part of UNI.T (but unfortunately did not participate in their final rounds of promotions).

Turn It On takes that mature side of Between Us and combines it with the currently trendy Latin phase that KPOP is going through. What does set this song apart is that Latin sound isn’t too strong, allowing for the mix of some pop influence to be brought into play. Sure, all of these are pretty standard sound in KPOP nowadays but it is rather fresh, if I was to describe the sound of the song.  I did like the vocals in this song. Nothing that special but the vocals did feel a lot more interesting than their previous track. The hooks in the song weren’t as strong as their previous songs but there was a nice melody of them that made them appealing. I did like the bridge even though it was really short. The use of that ‘wide stereo’ filter on top of the voices was extremely fitting for the song, leading nicely to the high note and final chorus. I personally like this song but given the style they went with, I would understand why some people wouldn’t.

The music video starts off with a zombie (played by Jun from UKISS) running after one of the Laboum members (Solbin). Soyeon shoots Jun and the members of Laboum bring him back to their mansion. They begin therapy to take the zombie infection out of Jun and make him human again. They gave him music, food, smells and human touch, which caused his zombie nature to slowly disappear. In the end, however, the girls get attacked by another pack of zombies and become zombies themselves, while Jun returns to human form, not knowing what will occur to him when he meets the girls. The music video overall is quite nice and definitely well invested. The only problematic section is the credits. They could have timed the ending a lot better. The music randomly cuts off when the video ends, cutting the nice flow of the video. But other than that, I enjoyed it.

I thought the choreography for this comeback was quite classy. It plays towards this mature side of Laboum without going overboard, which I think was pretty cool. It also fitted in with the upbeat vibes of the song. I did like the bridge of the performance, which I think was their best moment.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Milkshake – FANATICS-FLAVOR

Many of your favourite rookies of 2018 are nominated including Stray Kids, The Boyz, LOONA and Nature (plus many more). If you have yet to support your favourite rookies, click here to do so now!

It is interesting to see more companies do pre-debut promotions for their groups. FANATICS is an upcoming girl group from FENT, with the currently confirmed lineup: Rensika, Doah, Chiayi, Yoonhye, SangAh, and Hyewon. While the official debut date hasn’t been set yet, the group have already kicked off promotions with a subunit. Doah, Chiayi and Yoonhye formed a subunit named FANATIC-FLAVOR and released their first single, Milkshake, last week.

Milkshake could have been better if the instrumentation was a little more energetic and fun sounding. I personally feel that the song lacked these elements, which is why I am not that interested in the song. I feel like the song could have been more memorable with more of these elements. The instrumental is synth-pop, with its sound reminding me of some arcade games (which probably inspired part of the music video). I did find their vocals a little interesting. It wasn’t 100% expressive as other groups, but the way the vocals and the instrumental blended together gave the song an innocent sound, which I think fits the concept well. And that is one of the main charms of the song. The song isn’t terrible in anyway. It just isn’t a song that I would be playing constantly. However, I wouldn’t mind putting this song once in a while.

I think the winning part of this debut is the music video. While I tend to be harsh towards cutesy concept because it is so overdone, I couldn’t help but enjoy this one due to its oddness. The girls want some sort of dairy product (let it be milkshakes, ice-cream or just plain old milk). But they face a shortage due to one tired (and possible selfish cow). While trying to steal some milk from the cow, it wakes up and then there is arcade game like fight showdown between the two, resulting in the cow being knocked down. They then successful fulfil their desires for a milkshake. The music video concept doesn’t scream norm, but it is a light-hearted takeaway from reality, which I really liked.

As for their performance, I am not really much of a fan. I don’t find it impressive but it was fitting for the song. It is cutesy but like the song, quite unenergetic.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.4/10

[Review] Miracle – GOT7

GOT7 is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Male Choreography in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you have yet to vote for GOT7 and your other favourite groups, click on the link here to do so!

It is December! So it is time to get the Christmas tree out, hang up those stockings and put on your Christmas song playlist. And kicking off the Christmas season for this year is GOT7 with their newest single, Miracle. Miracle is featured on the repackaged album of Present: You (which has been renamed appropriately to Present: You & Me) and is amongst 12 new songs, making this album extra special if you want to give it as a gift (or receive it as a gift).

Following their Confession Song Christmas release in 2014, Miracle was expected to go down down the same stylistic route. It is a ballad and a much slower one if we were to compare. It is quite soothing and has a warm feeling to the song, which is definitely intended. The instrumental was an orchestral based instrumental, with a gradual buildup to its climax (i.e. the end of the song). I thought the vocals were nice, with Yooungjae and Jinyoung being the two members that stood out the most in the song. I liked it when the rappers started, the instrumental was kicked up a notch, adding to the colour of the song without making the rap sequences feel out of place. Based on my comments, I guess I like the song. I am still on the fence because I never expected GOT7 to do anything so ballad-y and hence this new song is foreign to me. Who knows what a few more listens to the song will do.

GOT7 plays the role of Christmas Ghosts for the young girl who is unable to play with the other children when it comes to Christmas times. The reason why? I have no idea. The entire video is rather innocent, giving the young girl a chance to experience the snow and season. Based on the ending, it does seem like it just in her dreams. I thought it was a nicely put together video, with everyone having their own thing to do around her. It isn’t a video to really play repeatedly but it was a nice video to fit in with the song and holiday.

I am not sure if this song will be promoted. My guess is it isn’t, based on the lack of promotions for Confession Song. Hence, I will skip this section.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10