[Album Review] The Story Of Light EP. 02 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

SHINee’s comeback is in full swing with the release of the second part of their 6th studio album, The Story of Light. The group previously returned with Good Evening and the first part of the said album on the 28th of May. They are due to release the third part and entire 6th album this upcoming Monday (25th of June) and I may push the album review for the third part for next weekend (depending on how much work I can get done). But we are here for the second part of the album, so let’s get going!

SHINee-TheStoryofLightEp2-2
The Story Of Light EP. 02 Album Cover

1..I Want You (Title Track)Click here for the full review of I Want You. (7.5/10) 

2. Chemistry – I personally don’t know how to interpret the song. I feel like they could be hinting at something else but it felt more of the sexual nature (with a bouncy vibe). The instrumental develops into something that felt more standard pop. It also felt like the song’s boundaries were literally pushed out by the vocals and I felt this was a good technique to reel listeners in. I personally liked the pre-chorus and chorus, which definitely hooked me into the song. The song needed a rap sequence and that was delivered but it started off muffled which I did not get. Overall, the song was quite energetic, which was one of the other charms of the song. (8/10)

3. Electric – I personally like Electric. The song itself features an instrumental that feels like an electrical pulse and thumping effect combined. The song is about the adrenaline rush you get when you meet that special someone. I thought the drop to the song was really interesting and the repetition was extremely catchy. It also features great vocals, particularly around the bridge of the song. I think the only part of the song that leaves me disappointed is the rapping. I feel like it could have been more intense but overall, it was still a good song. (9/10)

4. DriveDrive has to be my pick for the weakest song on the album. But weak doesn’t always equate to bad.  The verses didn’t stand out too much, leaving the song lacking in memorability. However, the heaviness of the pre-chorus and the instrumental during the chorus definitely provided was probably defining moments of the song (just it didn’t seem to be enough). Like most ‘weak’ songs, this one has a few likeable elements that stood out for me. The harmonies in the pre-chorus and the vocals were actually good. On top of that, the rap sequences were noticeably absent, as they have yet to satisfy me in that department. (7/10) 

5. Who Waits For Love? (독감) – I have to give this song the vote for best song on the album. Who Waits For Love? is a song about not being able to move on after breaking up and how the pain remains. The vocals in this song were superb, particularly Taemin and Onew, who stood out the most (I don’t know who did that high note but damn). The song also manages to satisfy my hunger for the rapping, particularly the section during the bridge. I liked how the song took on a slower tempo, which allowed the chorus to pop and be quite bold. Also enjoyed the fading out at the end, giving the song a peaceful yet somewhat unique feel. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

SHINee-TheStoryofLightEp2-3
The Story Of Light EP 02 Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

Advertisements

[Album Review] Beauty & the Beat (1st Mini Album) – LOONA yyxy

Wrapping up LOONA’s pre-debut project is LOONA yyxy, which is the subunit of the 12-member group, made up of Yves, Chuu, Go Won and Olivia Hye. Beauty & the Beat is their first mini-album and presents us with love4eva as the main title track. I thought that I shouldn’t avoid this particular album, especially with the quality of LOONA’s predebut solo exceeding my debut when I reviewed them a few weeks ago (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). So here is my album review for LOONA yyxy’s first release.

loonayxyy-beauty&thebeat-2
beauty&thebeat Album Cover

2. love4eva (ft. Grimes) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of love4eva. (8.5/10) (I have noticed some issues with this particular review – spelling mistakes, missing performance review and incorrect member identification. I will fix it as soon as possible. Just feeling a little ill today so I will try to do it tomorrow).

3. frozen – The song (and the verses overall) focused on a softer sound while the chorus takes a more explosive approach, where the latter was my favourite sections of the song. Honestly, the thing you think of every single time you hear the song is how these two polar-opposites manage to go together. However, you remain surprised that it works each time. The contrast between these two makes the song interesting. I also liked the vocals, with certain moments (such as the high note) showcasing their abilities. The rap-speak right after the high note was a smart way of delaying (and creating suspense) to the final chorus. Overall, a very enjoyable song. (9/10)

4. oneway – This song is a ballad which was apparently on hold for a May 2019 release (according to the teasers) for LOONA the Ballad. It is unknown why they released early though but I am glad it does. Like the previous track, it also presents their vocal capabilities. The instrumentation felt very typical of a classically styled ballad however it did give the song a very grand feel. Overall, I felt the song was a little dry for my liking but its elements allowed it to stand out. (7/10)

5. rendezvous 18.6y – Finishing off the album is a retro-like sound, which I thought was a little odd at first. I don’t know but the song felt a little out there. However, it is one of my favourites off this album. Their vocals weren’t exactly the strongest here, however, there was this youthful element which really made the song sound light and sweet. The instrumental was nice and had a lively feel. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

loonayxyy-beauty&thebeat-3
LOONA yyxy Behind The Scenes Shot

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Sunset – Kim Dong Han

Last week, we saw the start of the return of the JBJ members as solo artists after the disbandment of the group, 2 months ago. Today, former member Kim Dong Han made his solo debut with Sunset (as the title track) and D-Day, his 1st mini-album. The album also features Kim Sang Hyun in the 4th track, who was also part of JBJ.

Sunset starts off soft and almost silent. There wasn’t much to the instrumental, simple clicks being the centre stage of the first verse. There was a slight incline in the route that the song was going to go with and I was hoping that the song would have a grand drop. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. It did pick up but I personally thought it wasn’t bold enough. Despite that, however, the song does gain some momentum (ever so slowly) afterwards and it does evolve to be a really nice song. The most unexpecting section of the song is when it climaxes at the instrumentation EDM break. That caught me off guard and quickly drew my attention. It just felt a little too extreme for the rest of the song, hence why I was caught off guard. It did give the song some edge but I think there would have been other ways to show some edge without going to a bridge like that. Other than that, I did like how Kim Dong Han sounded in the song, with his voice being another strong element of the track. Sunset was, overall, a great song, minus the theatrics of the dance break.

The music video was quite good. With the Sunset being the title of the song, you expect the music video to go with an orangey-red colour palette, which is exactly what we got. However, there were other colours employed throughout the video which I thought gave interesting contrast, such as the blue/purple (which I assumed represented night time) during some of the scenes and the dance break. His solo shots and overall cinematography of the video was nice.

I didn’t pay too much attention to JBJ as I hoped for. And for that, I am not really well-versed in each member’s abilities. However, Kim Dong Han can dance and thought that the choreography does the job with the song perfectly. My favourite move, out of the entire routine, was the start of the second half of the verses (see GIF below).

kimdonghan_choreo.gif

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

[Review] Only One For Me – BTOB

After a very successful comeback, BTOB has finally returned with their 11th mini-album to date. This Is Us (the mini-album’s title) features Only One For Me, which the title track and the pre-release single, The Feeling (which was released last week). As mentioned previously, the group made a very big splash in the industry last year with their Missing You track, which charted extremely high during their promotional run.

Only One For Me takes BTOB’s vocals (made popular by their ballad triology and Missing You comeback) and combines it with a Summer seasonal instrumental. While that combination doesn’t really make sense in my head, it works really well. And the melody for that section of the song was quite light and drifty. The song does manage to have a changeup, which you can hear in the second half of the chorus, where the group comes together as one and chants their way through. It gives the song a catchy  foundation, which I gladly appecaite. It does maintain the instrumentation but the major change is how they vocally put themselves forward. The song does return to that melocdic flow that it started off with, kicking up a notch for Peniel’s ‘hype-feel’ and Minhyuk’s powerful rap sequence. Vocally, the group sounded amazing. I really like the song and if you enjoyed their previous track, this is something you should check out.

I liked the opening shots with the members returning from some formal event and kind of kicking it back. They split up from each other doing their own thing. But I like how they managed to show the members in a one-shot motion, the camera shifting focus from member to member when they enter each other’s screens. The video then goes to some wharf, which the members relax on (while still in their formal gear). And then there were night shots with the members in more casual wear. It was a nice video to watch, complimenting the song’s ballad-y feels. I like how the shots were smooth, which also complimented the song.

Whether they actually have choreography with this song, I don’t know. Once a proper live performance is released, I will return to update this section accordingly. The live performances so far don’t have any choreography. But given their last comeback, we shall wait and see.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10 (may be updated)

 

[Review] Something New – Taeyeon (SNSD)

The announcement of  Taeyeon’s comeback and 3rd mini-album appeared out of the blue last week. She is known for her chart-topping hits, such as I and Fine. And with the release of her new mini-album, she will most likely add Something New to that list, with the release of both her mini-album and title track today. Taeyeon previously released This Christmas last year as a special Christmas single.

Opening up Something New is an autotuned yet harmonizing acapella-like introduction which really engages you. It isn’t something that you hear all too often hence why I found it intriguing. The song then takes a turn and progresses into a more upbeat territory which remains for the rest of the song. It takes on a neo-soul urban pop genre mashup, a first for Taeyeon, who has experimented in the past with different sounds. I really like the funky and groovy sounds you get from the song, which really puts it in an even more interesting light. I also liked how light her voice feels in this song, especially during the chorus. There is this balance between her voice and the instrumental, with the latter being bold yet still complimenting the vocals. I really liked the prechorus and the bridge of the song, as those moments stood out the most for me. The chorus had a decent hook but it wasn’t exactly the selling point for me. I think, just based on the different sound itself, the song does feel memorable. Overall, it is a nice song. 

The music video starts off with Taeyeon’s makeup all over the place. We see a snippet of the video to come but you don’t really realize what is about to occur. The video then goes back to Taeyeon (who is beautifully presented) arriving at her hotel (?) and walking the red carpet inside here, with a sea of photographers and fans waiting for her arrival. It seems behind closed doors she is a taregt for everyone, with the bodyguard in the lift and the room service maid attempting to kill her. However in both scenarios, she emerges victorious and I assume their bodies in luggage. At the end of the video, we see her tossing all her luggage out into the sea and shooting them for good measures. Cash spills out of some of them. While I am not sure how the video exactly fits in with the song, someone on the YouTube comments suggested that the people out to get her were the haters and Taeyeon is fighting back. Makes sense. At the end, I think it was revealed that everything we had watched was a movie within the video, though I am not too sure. I thought it was a well produced video with an interesting plotline.

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

[Review] DDU-DU DDU-DU – BLACKPINK

BLACKPINK is officially back. And finally, it isn’t a single. Instead, this is BLACKPINK’s first comeback with an actual mini-album. DDU-DU DDU-DU (뚜두뚜두) is the lead title track off their first mini-album, Square Up. Their last comeback was As If It Is Your Last, which was released back in June 2017. Since then, they did release a mini-album of their past hits in Japan and also released a very questionable lightstick.

DDU-DU DDU-DU has already topped the charts in South Korea and I can see why. First listen in and I was already enjoying the song. It takes on the hip-hop sound which their respective company centres around and they turn it into something that BLACKPINK can only release. I love the bass and the beat in the song, which really hypes up the song. The verses are made up of raps, while the pre-chorus focuses on the vocals. Can I just take a moment to just point out how the members sound flawless in this song, especially Jisoo and Rose during the pre-chorus. However, the standout section of the entire song has to be the chorus itself. I really like how simple it sounds but also it also presents a really catchy sounding instrumentation. I also like the change-up at the end with the exotic/foreign feel and the fast-paced flute (not too sure of the instrument), which ended the song on a bold yet strong note.

To me, the music video is BLACKPINK’s version of I Am The Best. The entire video shows BLACKPINK as strong and fierce women, which goes hand-in-hand with the song’s message. But there were some scenes that made me think of 2NE1’s famous video. The entire video is definitely on another league with me liking every single scene and set. I really liked the giant chessboard, the Audrey Hepburn/rain scene, the chandelier, the post-apocalyptic dance set and literally everything else that I haven’t listed. Each member looked flawless and bold with their stylistic choices.

It seems like the ‘gun’ dance that opens up the chorus (and occurs at the main hook) is going to be the next big thing. Actually, the entire choreography during the chorus looks amazing, with the group not holding back on the fierceness. While the entire performance isn’t out yet, I have high expectations. From what I saw in the music video, I think I can confidently give a rating.

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

[Album Review] Kratos (3rd Mini Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos was published on Monday, Wednesday for Hades and Friday (today) for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Kratos was released in October of 2016 and is the final part of their Greek mythology trilogy. Kratos is the Greek God of War, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was The Closer, which I reviewed previously. Kratos, along with the other two singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

vixx-kartos-2
Kratos Album Cover

1..The Closer (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of The Closer. (9/10)

2. Desperate – Opening the song is a very dramatic yet haunting introduction which fits perfectly into VIXX’s portfolio. And this same haunting effect followed throughout the verses. However, what I really liked is how the song sudden turned into an EDM based chorus in a matter of seconds. It was unexpecting but it does really make the song intense enough to become memorable. Both the vocals and the raps were perfect and it is an example of a song that has me coming back for more. (10/10)

3. Shooting Star –To me, Shooting Star felt like your standard pop song. There were few elements in the song that did leave me intrigued such as how the vocals were presented and how Ravi’s raps appeared throughout the song (instead of being condensed in a single section). The song just didn’t have enough to become memorable and have me coming back. Despite that, it was still a decent track. (7/10)

4. Good Night & Good Morning – The song is about wanting to break up. It is a lot softer in terms of volume as compared to their previous song, going with an R&B type of feel. Ravi opens up the song by singing, which is a rare event in the VIXX discography world. The touch of autotune was nice. Once again, I thought the vocal work was pretty nice, with Leo’s vocals during the chorus is the most memorable. There was also a pause towards the end of the song which made you assume that it was finished. I personally thought the song could have ended there, with the extra bit being an ‘excess’. (7/10)

5. Romance Is Over (로맨스는 끝났다) – This song is your standard ballad to have on any album. It showcases good vocals. Within the instrumental, I liked the drums and how it helps create a nice build-up to the chorus. Ravi’s rap was also quite fitting for the song, fitting neatly into the more delicate instrumental. My only issue with the song is the abrupt ending in the instrumental. But other than that, another good song. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

VIXXKratos-1
Kratos Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Falling In Love – Woo Jin Young & Kim Hyun Soo

You may have heard about it on the various news sites that report KPOP news. MIXNINE’s male group will not be making their debut as previously planned. Plans fell through and it allowed some groups to make their comeback or (in this case) make their debut. Woo Jin Young and Kim Hyun Soo both come from Happy Face Entertainment, home of Dal Shabet and Dream Catcher. Ranking in 1st and 14th place respectively, the two definitely have potential and their company is not putting their appearance to waste.

Falling In Love is their main title track for their debuting promotions. And while the song takes on that tropical sound once again, there were a few quirky moments embedded in the instrumental which really gave the song a fun and vibrant feel. Kim Hyun Soo sounds awesome vocally, which his parts reminding me of a good Summers day. Jinyoung has a deeper voice, which gave the song some nice contrast between the two members. I would have expected him to feel a little awkward (his voice is more fitting for serious and ‘dark’ songs, in my opinion) but he manages to settle into the bright song quite nicely. I did like the bridge, where Jinyoung sang and Hyunsoo rapped for a few seconds, that was nice. The chorus had a nice hook. Nothing that is instantly memorable but with a few more listens (and rainy days here), I will be playing the song a few more times to remind me of the nice warm days of Summer.

It was a good video to watch. Once again, the Summer vibes could be felt from different aspects of the video, from their expressions to the sun shining outside. The video also features Yoohyeon from Dream Catcher, whom the duo fall in love with as soon as they see her. I like the chemistry between the artists and while it was kind of cliche, everything felt quite nice.

I personally think they could have put their backup dancers in something a little more nicer than oversized white shirts and brown shorts. It was a nice routine to watch. The only thing that annoys me is that Hyunsoo should lose the glasses because it makes him look like he is exaggerating his facial expressions. But that might because of the performance I am watching.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] Clover – LONGGUO ft. Yoo Mi Rae

With the recent disbandment of JBJ, a few of the members have announced that they will be launching their solo careers. Jin Longguo is the first member to embark on a solo career post-JBJ, with his solo debut track dropping earlier today, titled as Clover. It features very well known hip hop artist Yoo Mi Rae. For those who don’t know Longguo is one-half of the duo Longguo & Shihyun and is currently under Choon Entertainment.

Clover is a decent R&B track. It isn’t the best track out there but it is still something that I wouldn’t mind putting on every now and then to unwind. The R&B vibes that come from this track do put you in an easing state, with the instrumental being its main driver. His vocals, while they were good at some points, it felt like he was pushing himself at other parts. His section of the bridge (before final chorus) was probably his best moment. The song wasn’t that memorable, with his chorus not being that catchy, despite the presence of the repetition of the song’s title. I did like Yoo Mi Rae’s featuring, as her voice compliments this R&B style so well. I also liked how her sections did not feel like it was going overtake Longguo’s vocals as her past songs may be indicative of her potential to overtake. Overall, it was okay.

The music video was kind of dry for my taste. But I felt like the music video complimented the song nicely, fitting in with its laidback vibe. I like how the colours of the video and the clothing that he wore were also fitting for that vibe. There just wasn’t anything else engaging about the music video to really make me want to watch it.

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

[Album Review] Hades (6th Single Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos was published on Monday, Wednesday (today) for Hades and Friday for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Hades was released in April of 2016 and is the second part of their Greek mythology trilogy. Hades is the Greek God of the Underworld, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was Fantasy, which I reviewed previously. Hades, along with the other two albums/singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

vixx-hades-2
Hades Album Cover

1..Fantasy (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Fantasy. (8.5/10)

2. Love Me Do – Once again, I like the upbeat vibes of the song, which do give the song some energy. The song just feels repetitive by the time you get to the end. However, the song doesn’t really let go, which I think is an important charm of the song. There are some other elements of the song which I liked. There is a sensual sound to the song, which is part of the appeal of the song. I thought both Hyuk and Hongbin sounded really nice in this song, alongside the great vocals from the other members. Overall, Love Me Do is one great side track for the group, fitting in with the dark vibes of Fantasy. (8/10)

3. Butterfly Effect (나비 효과) – The song had a mid-tempo instrumental despite falling into the ballad domain. The song had some good vocals and sounded like a nice confession song. The rap sequence was nice and I liked the roughness that it gave the song. The song just didn’t really appeal to my personal taste and felt like a standard ballad in my mind. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

vixx-hades-3
Hades Teaser Image (Creepy)

[Special] Missed Reviews – Music Videos

Please note these special posts are designed to be long and may require some time to read (if you plan on reading the entire post).

In some cases, some groups extend their promotional period by promoting a new song. And in some of these cases, the groups also released a music video for the follow-up song. Usually, these music videos are released after I have published my album review and hence I don’t go back to do a separate review (as I have already done a short one for the song). So, I dedicate this week’s special post to return to some of those missed music videos and do a quick rundown.

Initially, my plans for this post would be over two weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough for two weeks. So I have scrapped the second week and will do the entire list of 6 songs today. I may return to do more ‘Missed Reviews’ special posts in the future, in case I find myself in a similar position.


Lady – Golden Child

As part of their Miracle album promotions, Golden Child followed up their It’s U promotions with Lady, which received a 9.5/10 rating on the respective album review. I actually think the group, despite their youthful charms, can do extremely well with this mature concept. The heartbreak can be seen throughout the video, as the members deal with their one-sided love. While dancing on top of a building has been done before, it looks really good here. I feel like when the members all sing together, the video could have focused entirely on all the members in the choreography shots (like for the first chorus) as they enhance the epic sound of the chorus. But overall, it is one good video that compliments the song perfectly.


Black On Black – NCT 2018

I wanted to review Black On Black like a normal song-mv-performance review, however, they didn’t get around to promoting the track until weeks after the album (and album review) was released. On the album review, the song was given a 7/10 ranking. Black On Black was a relatively simple video, which showcases a very complex choreography. The members were all wearing black, fitting for the song’s title. What I did like was the set of the video. Despite it being the one set, it was shown in 3 different lighting settings, which made it feel like 3 different sets entirely. I know the ending was meant to show all the member but I found the random zoom up into Taeyong’s belt really odd. Other than that, pretty good video.


Yestoday – NCT U

It was clear that NCT received a large budget for their multiple music videos and I guess there was enough left over for a 6th music video. Yestoday is sung by NCT U (made up of Taeyong, Doyoung, Lucas and Mark) and received an 8/10 rating. It is okay to say that I like this music video more than some of the others? Because I was very impressed with what was given to us. While the song had this jazzy feel, I felt like the video was more edgy, which I thought was a great contrast. Simplicity was the key but they did a lot of the video post-production which made it likeable and interesting. I liked the random inserts of images that flash by throughout the video.


SObeR – Suzy

At the time of writing any of the reviews, I don’t think I was aware of any news that Suzy had shot three different music videos for four of her tracks. The first of which is SObeR, which received a 9/10. And with that title, it kind of makes sense that the video will be set partly in a bar. To me, it was a ‘fun’ themed video, where Suzy acted wild and drunk, in order to woo her interest. In the end, she confessed that she wasn’t sober, which I guess could be a fun game at the club (PS. Not a club person here). I thought the various sets or places she filmed at had this elegant vibe which suits Suzy, who is considered to be South Korea’s top actresses. I also liked it how she didn’t go over the top in this video, which could easily have occurred. But it kept to her image and ended up being a nice video to watch.


Teenager – GOT7

This is the one video released last year which I never got the chance to look at. Teenager was featured on GOT7’s 7th mini-album (7 for 7) and I gave the song an 8/10 rating. The video focused primarily on the choreography. Despite that, it was still a high-quality video which I thought it was rather cool to watch. I really liked the visual effects that were shown at the start of the video. I like how the video cuts between black and white to colour. Also liked how the background complimented the hip-hop style of the song, while also adding an edge. The members also looked good (including Jinyoung’s golf pants). It is a simple video done well.


One and Only One – GOT7

One and Only One is the pre-release single for GOT7’s 8th mini-album, released earlier this year. It received an 8/10 rating, as well. What we have isn’t technically a music video. Rather, it showcases the song for a minute and that is all. I did like the blue background and how simple the video was (like above). I think if we got a longer video with some flashing lights and maybe a few different colours in the background, along with Hyolyn actually featuring the video and some choreography, the video would have been amazing. Or at least, what I think the video could have been.


Distance – CLC

Distance is a single off their 7th mini-album and the accompanying music video was released after promotions for Black Dress ended. In the respective album review, Distance received a 7/10 rating. The music video, on the other hand, would have received something much higher. I don’t know how to exactly describe the video. It can either be about heartbreak or something more sinister. The cutting of the rope can be about breaking up and physical distance. But the members disappearing, the blindfolding and just the fact they wear white alludes to something else. I have no idea what it is, though. On top of that, I thought it was a really nice video that complimented the softer nature of the song.


Thanks to all who stuck around to the end. This wraps up this special post (for the time being as I may bring it back as more music videos or songs accumulate). I will be back in two weeks time with special posts dedicated to even more music videos, so do keep an eye open for those! (Or make it easier by following me!)

[Review] Strong – WJMK

As mentioned over the weekend, I will be going back to review some songs that I have missed over the past month. Today’s review is Strong, a collaboration between WJSN (Cosmic Girls) and Weki Meki. A total of 4 members make up their project group: Seola and Luda (from WJSN) and Choi Yoo Jung and Kim Doyeon (from Weki Meki). While I am not exactly sure as to why they collaborated, it may be the female version of YDPP, who ended scoring a CF deal with Pepsi.

I thought it would be an interesting collaboration and my expectations for the project single skyrocketed given how much I enjoyed YDPP’s Like It Love It. But the song ended being more boring and typical. It is still listenable, so don’t worry. However, I think the song could have been more dynamic and interesting. The song did have some strong moments and I wished the song built on top of these moments. Yoojung’s rap was pretty good, giving the song some momentum and managed to make it less repetitive. The chorus had a nice melody, which can become someone’s new ringtone. I just wasn’t impressed with the singing. Maybe it was the amount of energy that the song could have used via the vocals which could have given the song some more life into it. The pre-chorus was just a little too dramatic for my taste. Overall, Strong isn’t my cup of tea.

The music video goes into the cutesy side of KPOP. And while there have been some great cutesy videos from KPOP, I think this one misses the mark. While I like the sets and the colours of the video (which was all very vibrant and bold), I didn’t enjoy the acting. It was awkward and felt too exaggerated in some parts. And the addition of the serial killer in the background and long-haired Grudge lady was an attempt to serve as the humorous relief. But instead, they add to the video’s exaggeration.

I think the cutesy concept worked the best in the performance. I thought the choreography was nice and it didn’t seem to be as exaggerated as the music video turned out to be.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance –  7/10
Overall Rating – 5.1/10

[Review] I Want You – SHINee

SHINee is still celebrating their 10 year anniversary with another part of their 6th full-length album, The Story of Light EP. 02. The title track for this part of the album is I Want You and you can expect an album review for the second part in the weeks to come. They previously released the 1st part of their 6th album (which I have reviewed) and the title track, Good Evening, two weeks ago.

I Want You continues the EDM sound with the song entering the tropical house genre of EDM. The song is good, with great vocals and raps from the members. The harmonies heard at various sections of the song (like the pre-chorus and chorus) really gave the song some identity and profile. Taemin’s high note is just extremely smooth. The chorus was moderately catchy and it uses melodies as the main driving point and hooks as its memorable pitch towards the audience. My only concern with the song is that it falls within ‘typical’ territory. I personally don’t find anything unique or memorable enough for my memory bank. Instead, it is plain and a standard song. Don’t get me wrong, I like the song. Just compared with Good Night, I Want You falls behind it.

I am not sure of the connection between the two videos that SHINee has released thus far. I am interested in knowing how they connect. My guess is that they get sucked into some odd world when they look and reach into the well. But apart from that, the videos don’t really connect. Parts of the music video for I Want You takes a more humorous approach, particularly the scene where Onew is smiling while being sprayed by the glass. Actually, most of the video seems a little far-fetched. The video does have strong retro vibes with the hazy filtering and the use of green screen. I personally thought it was a good video, as well.

There isn’t a live performance for the song yet. However, I think there might be enough to write this section within the music video. Really liked the dance move during that instrumental break during the chorus. Also, I liked the ‘Oh Nah Nah’ moves for the pre-chorus (?). Overall, the dance was extremely fitting for the song and the members seemed more connected to their performance this time around.

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

 

[Album Review] Zelos (5th Single Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos will be published Monday (today), Wednesday for Hades and Friday for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Zelos was released in April of 2016 and is the official start to their Greek mythology trilogy. Zelos is the Greek God of Jealousy and Rivalry, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was Dynamite, which I reviewed previously. Zelos, along with the other two albums/singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

vixx-zelos-2
Zelos Album Cover

1. Dynamite (다이너마이트) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Dynamite. (8.5/10)

2. Six Feet Under (늪) – The song is quite vibrant and upbeat, similar to Dynamite title track. However, it keeps to VIXX’s true side of darkness through the lyrics and it’s instrumental gives off an edgy vibe. The pre-chorus is quite mysterious (in a good way). The way the line ‘Six Feet Under, That’s Enough‘ is sung throughout the song is super addictive. I also liked the vocal work in the song. Likewise, I felt the rapping was intense and you are basically thrown into it, which works wonders. (8/10)

3. Farewell Hands (손의 이별) – This is a ballad, which is about parting ways after losing chemistry in a relationship. The vocals are really well done, conveying the heartbreaking emotions well. The English lyrics that is scattered throughout the song seem to be well fitted for the song. There is a nice melody, particularly during the chorus which sounds nice. The instrumentation is quite standard, which seems to be the only thing that I can hold against the song. Other than that, the song is still fairly decent to listen to. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

vixx-zelos-3
Dynamite Music Video Gif

[Review] Hocus Pocus – PTL

As I mentioned yesterday, I am returning to do some reviews of songs that I have missed out over the last few weeks. Today’s focus is on PTL’s Hocus Pocus which was released almost a month ago. Planetarium Records (PTL) is a 5 member project group currently under a company of the same name. The members consist of Jinwoo, Villian, Gaho, Moti and June. Information on the group is quite limited so I don’t have much else to offer besides that they released songs earlier in the year (Blind and Blah).

I happened to stumble across the group when the song first came out and knew I had to review it. Apologies it took so long. Hocus Pocus is one damn catchy song that always blows my mind when I listen to it. It takes on the R&B and hip-hop genre quite nicely. For those who don’t know, I don’t really review songs from artists who do these genres unless they are big KPOP artists. But Hocus Pocus definitely has great energy and a groovy atmosphere that was hard to pass up. I thought the instrumental was extremely dynamic, with the muffled bleeping at the start of the song really intriguing. The raps and vocals in the song are quite good, part of the reason why I decided to put this on the ‘To Review’ list. The verses and the chorus really pushed the song along, with the latter being a very catchy part of the song. It may not be appearing on my Weekly KPOP Charts but I can assure you I have been listening to the song every single week.

The video seems to show the members trapped inside the confines of this place. But I guess it shows the members making the most of it. As you can tell, I have no clue what is going on in the video. I assuming Yoda, Zeus and Buddha make an appearance for a reason (at the very start of the video on the sheets of paper). However, it was a decent video. Despite not having heard of the group or the company before, it seemed like they had a decent budget for the video as it appears to be high quality and the sets didn’t seem to be on the cheap end of the market. The energy in the song was also channelled nicely through the video, which makes them a good match.

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

 

[Album Review] 1÷x=1 (Undivided) (1st Special Album) – Wanna One

Just one week ago, Wanna One dropped their very first special album. Light is the main title track for this album release and it also features 4 songs, produced by well known artists in the industry and is performed by a special unit of members. Zico, Heize, Nell and Dynamic Duo collaborated with Wanna One for this album. It is the group’s best album yet in my opinion and it is definitely an album that sets the bar high for any future release.

wannaone-undivded-2
1 ÷ x = 1 (Undivided) Album Cover

1..Light (켜줘) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Light. (8.5/10) 

2. Kangaroo (캥거루) (Triple Position – Kang Daniel, Kim Jaehwan & Park Woojin) (Prod. By Zico) – It isn’t surprisingly to hear this song was produced by Zico, mainly because the song just screams out his presence. It grew on me since the first listen and has become a really catchy song with its upbeat and hip-hop vibes. I thought the song played towards the strengths of each member (in both rapping and vocal domains). I thought the chorus was quite lively and it was a song that brought some happy energy to the somewhat serious album. (9/10) 

3. Forever and A Day (영원+1) (Lean On Me – Hwang Minhyun, Yoon Ji Sung, Ha Sungwoon) (Prod. By Nell) – This particularly song was a beautiful ballad. Right after my first listen, I scrambled to figure out what the lyrics meant because it was so heartfelt and the emotions poured in the song really drove the song. For those who don’t know, it felt like the farewell song we expect them to release when they come to the end of their contracts. I love the song’s swaying effect that can be felt right in the melody. But what I love the most about this song is how it has given me a chance to hear some amazing vocals from the group. In particular, Sungwoon’s. Because let’s be frank, he has yet to shine in any of Wanna One’s songs. (10/10)

4. Hourglass (모래시계) (The Heal – Ong Seongwoo & Lee Daehwi) (Prod. By Heize) – Another song that really hits you in the feelings. The R&B song is heartfelt and beautiful, as well. Like the previous song, it too can be mistaken for a farewell song (check out the lyrics, they are amazing yet incredibly sad). Both member’s vocals were on point. I really like Heize’s featuring in the song, which further adds emotions into the song. The harmonies at the end were nice and the piano leading out of the song was great. My favourite part would have to be the entire second verse, with Seongwoo’s rapping and Daehwi’svocals at the ‘Don’t let yourself cry’ line. (10/10)

5. 11 (No. 1 – Park Jihoon, Bae Jinyoung, Lai Guanlin) (Prod. By Dynamic Duo) – While I have loved or enjoyed so far on the album, I felt that 11 was the weakest song on the track list. I don’t exactly hate the song but it just doesn’t appeal to my taste. It takes on a hip hop and R&B vibe, while also keeping to a sensual sound. I personally find this interesting because they have chosen some of the youngest members to perform the song and it also gives us a chance to experience some variety in their sound. Dynamic Duo’s featuring was nice and Jinyoung’s vocals stood out for me. Other than that, I wasn’t into the song. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp