[Review] Senorita – VAV

One of my favourite underrated male groups has returned to the stage. If you do not know this group, I highly recommend you check out some of their past tracks (which I have linked at the end of this paragraph). VAV has returned with a brand new single, Senorita. This is their second comeback of the year, after the release of Gorgeous and Spotlight earlier this year.

VAV’s comeback is obviously a Latin-influenced track, which is definitely an undeniable trend now. Last week along, 3 artists (Super Junior, NCT 127 and VAV) made their comeback with the Latin sound. But unlike the other two tracks, I found this one to involve fewer synths and felt a lot more acoustic. I thought that was quite nice, especially in a climate where electronic and Latin tends to be smashed together to become modernised. Instead, it forms a pleasant sounding track that isn’t drowned out by instrumentation. Vocally, I thought it was a good song. The rapping was also quite nice. However, I felt the song could have gone an extra length to be more memorable. There are hooks but there just wasn’t enough of a strong hook to really make it that addictive track that we commonly seek for in a KPOP track. Overall, it was good but it could have been better.

The music video was okay. I really like the golden colour that the video featured which felt very fitting for the song and its roots. Everything else just felt standard and didn’t really become that eye-catching or overly amazing.

I thought the choreography was quite nice. Nothing spectacular once again. But I thought there was enough to be appropriate for the song. I like their air guitar skills that they played at the start of the performance alongside the Spanish guitar instrumental.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.7/10

 

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[Review] Crush – Weki Meki

With the ongoing issue regarding Fantagio, I did not expect to hear the return of their artists to the stage so soon. Astro surprised me with their special mini-album and Always You release. And now Weki Meki has returned with their second comeback of the year, the first being La La La. Kicks Kicks, the group’s first single album dropped on Thursday with Crush as the title track.

Crush gives off the same vibes as BLACKPINK’s songs do. However, it seems to be more pop than the hip-hop sound that BLACKPINK tends to go for. Crush is a tad messy with its overload of sound. It does get overwhelming during the initial listen but the song does grow on you as you listen to more of it. I thought the verses were good and I did like the explosion of instrumentation for the chorus (which is what I want when it comes to the most upbeat songs). The chorus was quite catchy but I felt they could have lowered the instrumentation a small amount because their voices were a little overshadowed by the music. I am also not a fan of the ‘Crush’ at the end of the first chorus (and end of the song). It just felt like it was thrown in there and didn’t really serve any purpose to the song. Vocals were okay and I thought they could have given more of Yoojung’s rap lines to another member. But overall, it was still a good song.

Watching this video, I felt like it was a BLACKPINK video mainly due to the presence of the black and pink throughout the video. I liked their concept but felt they could have fully committed. I didn’t like the producers presented the girls as cute and innocent when it came to what could have been an edgy concept. It just defeats the purpose of the ‘girl crush’ concept, in my opinion. Everything else was quite good just the execution of the video was a complete mismatch.

Their dance was a lot sexier and maturer than their previous comeback. And this does suit the song to an extent. It also proves my point in regards to the music video. Because when you see this dance routine, you do not think of cutesy girls.

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

[Review] Regular – NCT 127

2018 has been one busy year for NCT. They started the year off as NCT 2018 and returned with a studio album, which featured songs from each of the three subunits. NCT recently made their comeback with We Go Up. SM Entertainment has also confirmed that a Chinese subunit will debut later in the year. NCT 127 also made their official debut in Japan with Chain. And now, NCT 127 is back with Regular, which the title track off their latest full-length album, Regular-Irregular. Woah!

I don’t think anyone expected NCT to go with a Latin sound, given their past work never fitted any of the ongoing trends of the industry. But it is a new twist in their portfolio that sounds somewhat fresh, as they managed to keep to their roots by infusing it with some trap. It is an interesting combination that works well with each other, in my opinion. It is just – I don’t mind the sound but I am not too keen on the ‘final product’. The song lacks a memorable chorus. Yes, there is intensity but hook-wise, I don’t really find it appealing. It just felt generic. While the rapping and vocals blended well with each other, they don’t really stand out, against each other or when heard with the instrumentation. I think the best part of the song would have to be there start-stop bridge they had. Overall, I feel like the song, to an extent, was good but it just wasn’t enough to really become a hit for me.

I did like the music video for this comeback, which felt really edgy and intense. The video featured great cinematography which really did a good job of capturing not just the members but also their surroundings. The black and white choreography scenes did look a little too plain, reminding me of some of their stuff earlier in the year. I also like Mark and Taeyong’s floating star scene, which looked cool. Same could be said about their individual close-ups. Them bringing many people in at the end of the video looks like the producers are taking a page out of BTS’ music videos. But it is done in a way here that looks boring.

The choreography for their comeback was definitely my pick for the highlight for the entire comeback. It fits in with that Latin sound, while also accommodating to the trap side of the song. I quite liked their footwork in this routine, which looks amazing on stage.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

 

[Review] Love Bomb – fromis_9

Apologises for my absence for the past few days. This is my final week of the semester, so test and assignments were everywhere. But now, with that out of the way, let’s have a closer look at Love Bomb which is the new title track from fromis_9, which was released a few days back. This is the group’s first comeback since DKDK. It also features the return of Jang Gyuri, who took a short hiatus from the group to participate in Produce 48.

Since it came out a few days ago, I cannot stop playing the song due to its addictive nature. One of the aspects of the song that I quite liked was the beat I liked how they used the same simple and consistent beat of the verse in the chorus. Just that the producers filled in the gaps between the beats with other instrumentation to give off the impression that it was fast. I love that sudden jump from verse to the chorus which you knew was coming but it still manages to creep up on you. The melodic hook (La La Love Bomb) that begins the chorus was also amazing and it is my favourite part of the song. I love the song’s lively nature, which goes well with the cutesy sound that fromis_9 has associated with them. The song also contained great vocals and rapping. The layering of vocals at the end felt a little too long and excessive in my opinion. But it is one awesome song.

The concept was quite obvious. They would go with the ‘bomb’ concept, which sounds awfully violent at first. But the girls use their youthful and cute charms to turns this into a cutesy concept. The revelation that they were grenades towards the end was rather interesting. I liked the visual effects that they used, which felt fitting for the ‘bomb’ concept. I also like the deep red they used for the video, While they wore red as well, the members managed to stand out, which I thought was cool.

I liked their energy on the stage, which I thought was nice for the upbeat song. I liked the dance for the chorus, which I thought was simple yet complex at the same time. I did expect something a tad more explosive, which would have tied into the ‘bomb’ concept but it is still pretty good.

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

[Review] BBIBBI – IU

All bow down in the presence of the digital queen! IU has made her return to the music scene with BBIBBI. This new release celebrates her 10th year since debut and it quite clear what she has accomplished so far in her career. The last time we saw IU on stage was through Palette and more recently, in a collaboration with Zico.  And as we speak, her latest single has already topped some charts.

BBIBBI is a little different to anything we have gotten from IU in the past. I personally not sure how to exactly describe the song. It has those common pop elements that I associate with the genre but there is a certain level of aesthetics that doesn’t really make it fit into that category. I was going to say a tiny bit of R&B but once again, the aesthetic doesn’t make it fit into that label. Whatever the music style, the song is very nice sounding. It is modern and I like its soothing effects. IU’s vocals bring a certain level of innocence to the song but also some complexity. The chorus was quite addictive. I love the odd bumping synth in between the first chorus and the second verse, along with the very peculiar bridge that she presents us. It is a song that I don’t stay for the energy but rather for the interesting vibes that come off it.

The music video takes on a little odd factor but I think it is fitting for the message she is attempting to get across. The song is about giving a warning to others and being your individual self. It is a nice video. I would say it is rather plain but you are trying to guess what she means with the certain clothing she is wearing and what she is doing throughout the video. I thought her mini dance routine was really cute, with her facial expressions being the highlight during that scene. Overall, it was a good video.

Not technically sure if she will be promoting this track. Since it is just a digital single, I don’t think that seems to be the case but who knows!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

[Double Review] Nothing Better + Searchlight – Seven O’Clock

Seven O’Clock is back with their first comeback since their debut with Echo over a year ago. But there are a few things different with this comeback. The group recently switched to a different management company and is now managed by Forest Network. Vaan has also exited from the group, while A-Day is now known as Hangyeom and Younghoon is now known as 2Soul. Today, we will be reviewing both Nothing Better and Searchlight, which is featured on the group’s second mini-album, #7.

Nothing Better is one awesome song. It is an upbeat song that features very different sections that manage to fit in well with each other. There is a brass section that really grabs your attention (at the start) and really has an addictive hook (within the song), a verse that features an acoustic sound which has a nice rhythm and a really rocking chorus. All of these sections I liked standalone and also all together, which is an interesting combination. The vocal work and rapping were all to an excellent standard. I feel like the song could have been a little more energetic as it went along, as that would have been more interesting.

Searchlight is another good song. It sticks to one style but there is still enough textures to really gain some interest. The song overall gave me Big Bang vibes (like 2011 Tonight vibes), which gave the song a nostalgic factor. While the instrumentation I thought was rather plain, the addition of the acoustic guitar and the vocal melodies gave the song a smooth surface, which I like. The rapping was also quite nice. The only thing that really bugs me with this song is their lack of commitment with the hook. The ‘You’re my searchlight’ line (where the word light went ‘up’) would have benefited from a few more repetitions. I liked it but it just didn’t feel like there was enough of it. But besides, amazing songs.

Nothing Better got the short end of the stick with this comeback. And I understand, they come from a small company so budget-wise, there might not have been enough. But given how Searchlight got a better budget,. why would you need to have a music video for Nothing Better? Their concept wasn’t even clearly defined going between school outfits, hoodies and casual wear. Searchlight had the much better music video with a concept that you can easily label as ‘hanging out’ or ‘group trip’. It felt more cohesive on so many levels. It did give off a summery vibe, however, which felt mismatched for the fall season.

We don’t really have a live performance from the group (or I can’t find one) for both tracks. However, the music videos do feature enough for me to say the following. Both routines were not a let-down. Instead, they felt fitting for both tracks and really hit the mark.

Nothing Better
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

Searchlight
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] You In My Eyes – Snuper

Snuper is back with a brand new single, a few months following their amazing Tulips comeback. It doesn’t have an official English title but everyone has been using the literal English translation, You In My Eyes, everywhere I look. The track features on a special mini-album, which shares the same name.

Following the likes of Tulips, I expected another amazing song. However, You In My Eyes seems to fall into a more traditional category and doesn’t really sound as aesthetically pleasing as their previous comeback, which is a tad disappointing. However, the song isn’t too bad. There were a few aspects which I thought were nice. The chorus was relatively catchy, though I think it could have been more dynamic rather than straight repetition. The instrumental was quite nice as well, where some of the synths that acted like transitions between different parts of the song were quite cool. The vocals were also quite loud and very expressive, particularly the very first line that grabbed your attention for the very start. I like the rappers, who deep voice added some texture to the song, which I thought made the song less repetitive and plain. The only thing that was a letdown was its plainness.

It seems like the music video was more of a fan service thing. Not the type where it features behind the scenes shots, however. There isn’t too much to the video besides a bunch of close-ups and choreography shots. So, there really isn’t too much to talk about. I liked the idea of how the group ended with what seems to be the end of their live performance.

The choreography, for some odd reason, did not look finetuned. It felt like something that was thrown together towards the end of production for their comeback. There were a few good moves, such as the move at 1:18, which I think looked cool (and offered something that I like from their previous comeback). Other stuff, such as the body roll, looked a little awkward to me.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[Review] One More Time (Otra Vez) – Super Junior & REIK

Super Junior has returned with their special mini-album and the title track, both titled One More Time (or Otra Vez in Spanish). This is the group’s first comeback since Lo Siento promotions earlier this year (which featured both the Leslie Grace and the girls from KARD) and it is also the first comeback for Ryeowook, who recently finished his mandatory military enlistment. For this comeback, Super Junior collaborated with REIK, who is a well-known band in Mexico.

Once again, Super Junior has jumped on board with the Latin trend. Personally, I thought Super Junior would have moved on from this style already, so I am genuinely surprised that they are having another go at the genre. It isn’t a bad song in any way. I just thought there would have been something more to really make it stronger. Instead, I got a lacklustre feel from the song. The main infusion of energy comes during the chorus but I felt that was quite plain. It just didn’t have a memorable feel to it, which is a little disappointing. I was expecting a rap sequence to be thrown in there, as that may lift the song a bit. But there was no rap sequence. The vocals were good but I felt they could have been built more. I did like the ad-libs for the song, towards the end of the song from both Ryewook and Yesung. The song doesn’t really appeal to me, overall.

I thought the sets (or are they real rooms?) for the video were stunning backgrounds for the Latin-based song. The colours and patterns really feel suitable for the style. While it was a standard music video, there is a section which I cannot help but cringe at. Unfortunately, the scenes with REIK and Super Junior together (where REIK is just playing instruments and Super Junior is hyping behind them)  looked really awkward and boring. Not sure what they were trying to accomplish there but this song doesn’t really beg for that type of scene. Maybe if the members danced around REIK, that would have been more suitable. Just what we got wasn’t.

And it seems like there is an imbalance of energy between the song and the choreography. I fear that is the case but as we have not seen a full performance and the choreography scenes didn’t last too long to really ‘feel anything’ from them, I will be returning in the near future to re-write this section.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – TBC
Overall Rating – 6.4/10

[Album Review] New Kids: The Final (2nd Mini Album) – iKON

As mentioned previously, iKON has returned with their third release of the year. The group started off the year with Return, their first studio album and the insanely popular title track, Love Scenario. In August, the group returned with their first ever mini album, New Kids: Continue, which featured Killing Me. And now, the group has returned with New Kids: The Final and the title track Goodbye Road (link for this is posted below). Today we will be having a look at their latest mini-album, so let’s not delay any more.

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New Kids: The Final Album Cover

1..Goodbye Road (이별길) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Goodbye Road. (8/10)

2. Don’t Let Me Know (내가 모르게)Don’t Let Me Know falls into the category of an upbeat track, very different to their title track. But while this was upbeat, the song wasn’t as intense as their past dance tracks. Instead, it felt like a traditional pop sound. The song was quite plain, without much to really make it feel that special. The chorus was relatively simple yet addictive. The group opted for their anthem style ending for the chorus that they do regularly (i.e. when all the members sing together). Vocally, the song was quite good, and the rapping was, per usual, amazing. I personally like iKON’s more intense side, but this was still pretty good. (7.5/10)

3. Adore You (좋아해요)Adore You combines the bright nature of the previous song and matching it with the tempo of the title track. This becomes a winning combination as it manages to develop a very powerful ballad. I like the simplicity of the instrumental, going for a raw and acoustic sound instead of the usual synths. Like the previous two songs, amazing vocals and rapping once again from all the members. I particularly love Yuhyeong and Jinhwan’s vocals during the bridge, which gave the song a nice peak. Once again, the group opted to sing together for the final chorus, which felt very fitting for the song. (9/10)

4. Perfect (꼴좋다) – The initial comments made for Adore You can also apply to this song. But it ends up having a completely different sound, which I think was a nice relief. I think this song is more ballad-y than the previous track as it doesn’t really move anywhere. Great vocals once again and the rapping was quite good. I like the ad-libs for this track, as they felt improvised rather than rehearsed. I think if I were to be critical about anything, it would be the ending. It just didn’t feel right. I felt like a fade-out would have been nicer (and less sudden) but also it would complement the stylistic choices of the song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

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New Kids: The Final Teaser Image

[Review] She’s In The Rain – The Rose

The Rose is officially back with their latest song which proves that Autumn is in full swing across South Korea.  The title track, She’s In The Rain, is featured on the band’s 2nd mini-album, Dawn.  We last saw them on stage with their awesome perfect sounding song, Baby.

When you listen to She’s In The Rain, you can’t help but think about how fitting it is for Autumn. More specifically, a rainy Autumn’s day (with a small breeze that makes the leaves fly about). It starts off quite plain. Nothing too special with its sound and rather typical for an Autumn release. What they did a good job with at the start and throughout the rest of the song was channelling their emotions. You can hear the sorrow in their voices, which I thought was quite cool, considering the plainness. The song then built up to more of that band feel I think we all expected at the start with. And this wasn’t too plain as it brings the rock element into the ballad song. A burst of energy that won’t remain forgotten. What I also like about the song is the English. For a moment, I thought the song was more in English and less in Korean. But it is the way they scattered the English throughout the song, which made it very interesting. On top of that, since I can see a few people mentioning it in the comments on YouTube as well, the transition from ‘She’s In the Rain‘ to ‘We’re in the Rain‘ in the final chorus was very nice and subtle. Overall, She’s In The Rain is a fairly good song.

Once again, The Rose unveils an aesthetically pleasing music video to compliment the song, which really works wonders. I thought the black and white images were cool. The scenes with the girl and the photographer were nice as well, which went hand-in-hand with the lyrics of the song. The slight colour presence was also fitting for the song. It didn’t make the video feel too flashy or standout too much. Instead, it opts for a somewhat monotone look and appeal.

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

[Review] All Night – Soyou ft. SIK-K

Making her solo comeback after almost a year’s absence from the KPOP scene is Soyou. The last time we saw her on stage was with The Night, which was released back in December 2017. Her latest comeback is All Night, which features on the second half of her 1st album, RE:FRESH. Known for her ballads and love songs, Soyou opted for a dance-centred comeback which turns on the heat and makes things very interesting, as you will know of if you continue reading.

All Night takes the on the growing trend of Latin influences, specifically the more traditional musical style of tango. I think using this style of music allows for her breathy voice to really shine and lift the sexiness level to a whole new level. It is also an interesting sound, as KPOP tends to steer towards a pop sound, rather than going full out with the tango. I thought the chorus was really dynamic with its presentation. I like how her lines went and it made the song memorable. There was a jazzy number during the bridge of the song, which I thought liven things up. SIK.K also featured with a rap, which gave the song some intensity and modern flair. His part didn’t technically go hand-in-hand with the rest of the song but it wasn’t to the point where it felt too awkward. Overall, I like her new song quite a bit.

Oh, how the world of ratings in South Korea never makes any sense. How this video got a 15+ rating beats me. The entire time I was totally speechless and surprised at how sexual the video got. But it definitely matched the very sexy sound of the tango. Soyou plays the role of a cat (who transforms into a human) and basically seduces her partner (or in this case, a stranger at the bar). Things get quite steamy towards the end of the video. I thought the editing in this video was really well done. The turning transitions between Soyou/Male Lead and Soyou’s dance break were really well done.

I thought the smooth movements during the verses and the sharp movements for the chorus were really ideal for this song, as they remind me of the tango a fair bit (I may have watched a bit of Dancing With The Stars growing up). I liked how sexy the performance got and I loved the dance break at the end.

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

[Review] Into You – Yuri (SNSD)

With uncertainties on when a full group comeback will take place, the members of SNSD have taken the solo route for the time being. With a number of the members well-known for their acting, others have embarked on their solo careers as singers. Yuri is the next member to join the solo music career with her debut single, Into You, which features on the mini-album, The First Scene. Yuri also recently ‘debuted’ alongside Sunny, Taeyeon, Yoona and Hyoyeon as members of Oh!GG, who recently released Lil’ Touch.

Into You is a simple sounding pop track that has notions of tropical throughout it, especially during the chorus. It is here, at the chorus, that you find the strongest section of the song. The chorus doesn’t change but there is an air of familiarity that I just cannot shake off. It is like I have heard the tune somewhere before but I just cannot identify it at all. And it is this air of familiarity that makes it appealing for me. Her vocals were quite nice and felt fitting for the song. I liked how she stayed within her boundaries for this song. The major issue with the song is its plainness. I personally like it. But I understand why some people would think it is plain. On top of that, I fear that if I listen to the song too many times, I would get tired of it quite easily. I would have liked to have heard something that gave the verses and bridge of the song some life (e.g. a rap sequence from a featuring artist). But besides that, I think it is a good song.

Like the song, the music video does have that plain feeling. I personally find Yuri one of the most beautiful people in KPOP. And the music video does a good job of showing off her beauty and figure. But other than that, there isn’t much to the video. I found the sets very bland. There were some scenes to give some mysterious vibes but they were easily forgotten. The only scene which I like was the dancing in the water but even that has been done multiple time before.

I thought the choreography was rather nice. I thought the hip-swaying was perfect for the chorus. I thought the dance breaks were rather nice as well but I preferred the ending one as Yuri was moving more. I like the aesthetics the stage brought, which went well with the song.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Album Review] WJ Please (5th Mini Album) – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

WJSN recently returned with this latest title track, Save Me Save You and mini-album, WJ Please. WJSN also confirmed they are a growing group this week as they won their very first weekly music show award on SBS The Show. While The Show is a relatively small weekly music award, it shows the groups appeal to the public with their music and concepts. Congratulations to the girls! And to celebrate, let’s take some time to have a closer look at the other songs on their mini-album.

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WJ Please? Album Cover

1..Save Me Save You (부탁해) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Save Me Save You. (Originally a 7/10. However I wish to change this to a 8/10. It has grown on me a fair bit)

2. You, You, You (너, 너, 너)You You You changes up the album with a ‘sunnier’ track that is filled with so much more brightness and innocence. The track feels like it is perfectly suited for the Summer season, which South Korea had just left. To me, the instrumental felt like a well-balanced mixed between their fantasy concept/sound and that Summertime vibe, which I have already mentioned too many times. This means it is well suited for the group’s portfolio. You You You featured nice vocals and a really cool rap sequence, which I really enjoyed. For once, I thought the fading out at the end was perfect as the leading out moment. The track just felt like it ended too quickly and was mushed together at some parts. But overall, great b-side track. (8/10)

3. I-YAH (아이야) – Once again, an orchestral instrumentation automatically earns points with me (as you may know). And it doesn’t stop throughout the song, maintaining a consistent level of energy throughout the entire track. I like how powerful this track was. It reminded me of Infinite’s instrumentation, which is well known to incorporate (or find a way to incorporate) the orchestral side of music. The instrumentation is only one part of the deal, with the vocals and rapping being the other part. Both aspects were extremely powerful. As much as I loved the vocals in this song, I think the rapping had the edge. This song is memorable with all these parts working together. (10/10)

4. Masquerade (가면무도회) – Starting off this track is a ballroom piece of instrumental which felt elegant. This elegant feeling continued to feature as the song continued into a smooth sounding dance track. The verses were nice but not major standout sections of the song. Instead, that honour is given to the chorus which has a burst of energy which makes it extremely appealing. I would have liked to have heard a stronger hook, as what we have doesn’t really hold me in place (I am more there for the burst of energy). But once again, amazing vocals and rapping from the members again. (8/10)

5. Hurry UpHurry Up is an upbeat retro song that is their most direct contact with the familiar and popular style in KPOP. And while it is bright and sunny, like You You You, it is their most lacking track. It just feels like a song that you get on Hairspray but was easily forgotten. There were some good vocal moments in the song and I like how the rap was incorporated into the song. But besides the retro instrumental and their vocals, the song was quite plain. It didn’t feel catchy or addictive, like other retro songs from other artists. (6.5/10)

6. You & I (2월의 봄) – This serves as the ballad on the album. You & I has this soothing feeling from the start and I like how they carried that throughout the entire song. It is a good track to end what seemed to be an upbeat album. It was a tad slow for my liking and it did feel rather plain. The instrumental could have been a little more interesting, but it paints a calming atmosphere, which goes back to my previous points. I like the harmonizing in the song. But I feel like the rapping and high-note felt unnecessary and cut the atmosphere in a way that spoiled the ending. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10 

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WJ Please Teaser Image

[Review] Get Myself With You – S.O.U.L

An unexpected release found itself in my subscription box last night.  S.O.U.L (Sound of Ultra Light) is a new project group consisting of ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo, Ahn Hyo Seop, Jang Yuan (who I believe is a trainee) and Bang Jae Min (who appeared on High School Rapper). Little else is known about this group as I don’t think there was any teasers or information in the lead up to last night. Their song is titled Get Myself With You.

And it is a pretty decent song. It has this groovy and somewhat upbeat R&B instrumentation that makes the song quite appealing. The vocals, however, cancels out the mid-tempo feel, which I am not 100% a fan of. The vocals I liked. It is just how they worked with the rest of the song didn’t feel right. As the song remained at this speed for the majority of the song, it felt repetitive and bland towards the end. Actually, the entire track felt monotone. The chorus felt just like the verses with a little bit of catchiness (but not too much). I think the best part of the song has to be the rapping. It gave the song a little bit of a changeup and altered the tempo for a few moments before reverting back to the original tempo. I didn’t like how the rapper had to wait until the very end to get a short section. I think if they included him throughout the song, it would have cut the repetitiveness and made it somewhat more appealing to me.

The music video was quite nice even though it seemed to be a commercial for that yellow drink at the end. I really liked the bright colours, which worked well with their youthful charms. The only colour which I didn’t like was the choreography scenes but they weren’t ideal. Too dark for my liking. Also, the dance looked like it was made on the day just before the camera on. It looked awkward and very stiff. The one thing that did annoy me more than anything else was that all the vocalists got their solo shot during their sections of the song. But when the rapper had his section at the end, he was not given any solo time, which felt unfair for him. Maybe for technical reasons, they couldn’t show it but either way, it was disappointing.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.4/10

[Review] Airplane Mode – NOIR

NOIR have been teasing their comeback from a few weeks now and they have finally dropped their title track, Airplane Mode. I’ll be honest, their concept and teaser images got me interested in this comeback.  Airplane Mode features on the group’s first mini-album titled TOPGUN.  This is their first comeback since their debut with Gangsta, which occurred back in May.

Airplane Mode is one smashing song. I am totally digging the new song because it oozes intensity and it is one of those powerful tracks that really make an impact. The song started off busy, with heavy bass and a very strong beat. This continued into the first verse, which was filled with rapping. It was followed by a vocal segment, which opened up the pre-chorus, which was followed by some more rapping. What I liked about the song also is how the rappers weren’t confined to one segment. Instead, you can tell the song was made for them and their parts were scattered throughout the song, reminding you of its intensity and power. I liked how the pre-chorus built up, making the chorus sound so much more epic and there was a dramatic flare, which I enjoyed. The rest of the song does share the same structure but I just don’t see myself getting bored of it. I enjoyed the final epic ‘smash’ (the one at 2:45 of the mv), which was a great moment. It is a song I highly recommend you blast out loud if possible as you will not be disappointed with it.

Given the song’s sound, it was clear that a very dark and edgy concept was required for the video. And that is what we got exactly. There is no shortage of these two aspects, which felt extremely fitting for the song. There isn’t really a plotline to the video, with what seems to hint towards a rebellious side of the group, serving as close-up shots to the group. With that, I think they could have done something more. The video could have used a plotline to really drive the video and make it much more interesting. There isn’t much else to say besides that they nailed the video to the song.

The choreography was also intense and I quite liked it. I liked all sections of the dance and they managed to include an airplane formation at the start, which I thought was pretty cool (at first, I didn’t expect it because it felt too ‘easy’ to go with that imagery on stage – not the execution but the idea). But I was glad they proved me wrong. All were amazing!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

 

[Review] Goodbye Road – iKON

iKON has already been through a very busy year and they haven’t finished just yet They have just dropped their latest title track, Goodbye Road. Multiple comebacks within the span of less than a year from a YG Entertainment group are rare if you do not know. The previous 2018 iKON comeback title tracks included Love Scenario and Killing Me. I can’t really find any information on this but I am not too sure if these releases were intended to be a trilogy but all of these songs (including Goodbye Road) featured on the New Kids series.

Goodbye Road can be described as an emotionally driven track with elements of a ballad and a dance track combined into one. It just doesn’t top the insanely epic drop that we got in Killing Me if you are going to ask me to pick favourites.  The instrumentation combines an orchestra and a mid-tempo beat that allows the song to fit neatly into iKON’s iconic hip-hop portfolio. I also like how it fits in with the season of sad songs that we might have just stepped into. I like how impactful the vocals are and the rapping was toned down to be more fragile than rough and growl-like. However, there were two sections of the song that felt out of place. The first is the ‘Check it Out‘ line, which just felt like it was filling the void and out of context. The second had to be the ‘Na Na Na‘ which attempted to make it feel more cheerful than what it could ever be. But other than that, it was a nice song.

The music video had this Autumn and dull colour tone to it, which felt fitting for the song’s direction and the season. I applaud the acting from the lead actress, who alongside the group members, did a wonderful job of captivating me (and possibly the rest of the audience) with their acting abilities. They managed to summarise the heartbreak and sorrow within a few minutes without fluffing up the storyline or going overboard in any way. Thought the setting was quite nice, though I wonder why they opted to go outside for this video whereas their previous music videos stayed within the confines of a studio.

As mentioned earlier, the song has elements of a ballad (i.e. the orchestral instrumentation) but there was also a mid-tempo beat allowing for the song to be transformed into a dance track without the unnecessary synths of today’s music. From what we can see, it looks nice and fitting for the song. Definitely well-balanced.

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