[Review] Reminisce About All – ONEWE

It is a new week and we have a new group kicking off the many releases of this week. ONEWE, formerly known as MAS, is a brand new band under RBW Entertainment, which is also the company of Mamamoo, VROMANCE and ONEUS (who also made their earlier debut this year). ONEWE is a five-member band consisting of Yonghoon, Harin, Kanghyun, Dongmyeong and Cya. Previously, the group was part of The Unit: Idol Reboot Program, with Dongmyeong being the highest representative of the group, ranking in 16th place. Today, they released their first single-album, 1/4, and the title track, Reminisce About All.

I think if you want to be part of RBW, you need a lineup that boasts great vocals as this is evident by the band’s labelmates. ONEWE seems to be the perfect addition. I was drawn to the song within the opening seconds of the track. The vocals were captivating and I enjoyed how it built along with the song. The harmonies between the two singers in the group were probably one of my favourite parts of the song. But that is the vocal side of the song. Now, let’s move onto the instrumental. Not often do I think a ballad has the capability of being dynamic in nature. But dynamic is probably Reminisce About All most accurate descriptive term. The song starts off as a ballad. A simple piano and violins. Paired with the vocals, I think this was a breathtaking section of the song. Slowly, they added more instruments. The guitar crept up on me and I didn’t notice the moment it was added to the song. The drums were the most prominent addition, coming in during the peak of the track. This order of instrumentation is different from other bands and I think this is a pretty unique way to start. Overall, I found the song to be very aesthetically pleasing and appealing to my affinity of ballads.

The golden brown colour in this video is extremely suitable for the tone of the track. Since it is a song about reminiscing, a reflective atmosphere was desired. But using the golden colour tone, stillness in the video and slow camera movements, this reflective set up ended up being very aesthetically pleasing as well. There isn’t much to the video besides the fact the members are positioned in a circle and they are simply performing. But altogether, it was a well thought out video.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.7/10

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[Album Review] D-HOURS AM 7:03 (3rd Mini Album) – Kim Dong Han

Here is the album review for today! (It is on time, so I am quite happy). Today’s album review will be for Kim Dong Han. This is the first time I am writing an album review for him, since his debut last year. And I managed to skip his first two mini-albums as I didn’t find them interesting enough to talk about. I was planning on skipping this mini-album as well and focus on other artists. But I had an empty slot and needed a short album to review, so I decided to go with it. I did enjoy a few of the tracks on the album, as you will see below.

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D-HOURS AM 7:03 Album Cover

1..BebeBebe kicks off the album with a groovy R&B tune. I would have described the song to have a smooth texture but the instrumentation they went with didn’t really have that smoothness. Instead, the vocals are the main driver for the smoothness in the track. Talking about the vocals, they were nice. Kim Dong Han doesn’t strike me as the best vocalist of all time, but Bebe manages to showcase a pretty good set of vocals. The build-up to the high note at the end of the bridge was impressive. I just wished he changed up the final chorus a bit to really carry that same momentum, instead of returning to something we have already heard a few times. (8/10)

2. Focus (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Focus. (9/10)

3. Make Me Crazy – My first impression with Make Me Crazy was that it was a typical pop R&B track. Nothing too special. But it is one of those songs that you need to listen to it a couple of time to really get into it. I thought the instrumental did have dynamic appeal through its use of many synths and effects. From what I heard, some were quite in-your-face, while others were subtle in nature, which created a very loaded yet appealing atmosphere. I also enjoyed the acoustic guitar in the instrumentation. I did like the bright energy that came from the song as well, which made it even more appealing as I listened to it some more. His vocals were really nice, especially that short falsetto at the start of the chorus. (8/10)

4. Everyday, Everyday (매일매일) – Once again, the mandatory ballad returns. Everyday, Everyday is a soothing and delicate ballad, which forces Kim Dong Han to take a completely different route when it comes to his vocals. Like most dance tracks, Kim Dong Han’s vocals tend to be very rough and harsh, fitting for the dance style of music. But in this track, he opted for a more fragile and pleasant touch, which is obviously more fitting for the slower genre. But while the instrumental provided the slowness, it was rather light. This made his vocals become the centre of attention. And this is his best presentation of vocals thus far on the album (and in any of his other title tracks). (9/10)

5. IdeaIdea returns Kim Dong Hand to his usual dance style. But the track seems to conform to the current Latin trend that is still ongoing in KPOP. It isn’t as strong, with the trend being quite subtle in nature. There is a certain level of brightness to the track, which I think was a drawing point for me. I also like the quirky nature of the instrumentation, especially during the chorus. It isn’t a crazy style of quirkiness, as the song does have a definite matureness to it. But it is enough to make the usual synths feel very different and showcases a different effect on them. I am not too into the hook of the track, which I thought attempted to be impactful but ended up being weaker than expected. Similarly, his vocals share the same comment. (6.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

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D-HOURS AM 7:03 Teaser Image

[Album Review] Veri-Able (2nd Mini Album) – VERIVERY

Apologies for the delayed release of this album review. It was meant to be published yesterday but I decided to focus on my assignment last night (as I was one task away from completing it). Now that has been wrapped up, I can spend my weekend catching up on these posts! Today’s focus is on VERIVERY’s latest mini-album, Veri-Able. I never got around to reviewing this first mini-album (Veri-Us) as I passed over to it because I didn’t find any songs interesting. This time around, however, I did find some songs interesting enough to talk about, so that is why we are here today.

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Veri-Able Album Cover

1..From Now (딱 잘라서 말해) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for From Now. (8/10) – Note that I did mention that in the From Now review that I wanted to hear something that was different. I have bumped up my rating from a 7.5 to 8 on the review, as I realized (after listening to this album) that retro does pretty much suit them and the album pretty much shows off variety.

2. Love Line – To me, Love Line sounds like a typical pop track. But there is more to track than its typicalness. The song kicks off with some keyboard and it gradually builds to its catchy chorus. I like how the track is smooth and the melody just comes off with ease. The vocal work was pretty good and the rapping complimented the melody and overall vibes of the track. I think this would be a good song to follow up with after promotions end for From Now. I can see a very pleasing performance to match the song. I think I like the ending the most, where they all come together. It makes the song feel very inclusive and really supports the hook of the song. (9/10)

3. All I Do (나 집에 가지 않을래) – Changing the energy of the album is All I Do. Coming from two fun and upbeat songs, this ballad start was very unexpected (I did expect slight ease from the upbeat songs prior to this one). And like most songs, All I Do manages to change it up a bit, which I was grateful. The ballad start was good, but I couldn’t see 3 minutes worth of it. The song ended up transforming into this 80s pop ballad, with retro synths. And I quite enjoyed it. I liked how they kept the momentum going for the second verse but opted for a middle area between the two styles, so the track didn’t depart entirely from its opening parts. I also enjoyed the layering in the with the vocals and the raps, giving it a very nice texture. (8/10)

4. Get Ready – VERIVERY’s pitch to us is retro-sounding tracks if you have not realized yet. Get Ready is probably their strongest pitch that really reminds me of the 90s. It is a fun track, loaded with energy and intensity, which are all things I like. It is also quite fast-paced, so it does become overwhelming slightly. But it isn’t too overpowering as you get used to it eventually. The track also boasts strong vocals and rap sequences, which I think adds to the fun side of the song. I also enjoy those deep sounds in the background (that the members make with the help of autotune). Interesting textural element and it adds a quirky vibe that I cannot forget. (9/10)

5. Light Up – The song that the group did opt as a secondary title track during their first week of promotions was a slow building tropical house track. Their retro pitch thus on the album was really good and I wanted them to continue this moment. So to see them end the album with a track that conforms to modern trends rather than play on that retro pitch was disappointing in a sense. And because it was slow building, the track felt it was their weakest. I guess I wanted a strong drop and something to really continue the energy from the previous track. But I liked the crispness of their vocals and the rapping was nice. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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Veri-Able Teaser Image

[Review] Runaway – Eric Nam

Here I am, slowly catching up on reviews once again. If you noticed, I didn’t release an album review yesterday. That will be released later today! But today, we are here to have a closer listen to Eric Nam’s Runaway. This is the male soloist’s first release since Miss You back in October of last year. More recently, Eric Nam started a podcast called K-Pop Daebak, which talks about the recent releases in the industry. I personally have not listened to it yet but since it is growing in popularity, I might start once I have more free time.

It seems like the industry is slowly approaching the warmer seasons. Runaway is best described as a tropical based dance track, which has been KPOP’s go-to sound for the Summer season for past few Summers. But it uses some acoustics within its instrumental to really make this track feel different from the rest of other typical tropical dance tracks. Together, Runaway ends up being laid back and refreshing, which is perfect for the fast approaching heat. Eric Nam’s voice was very calming and delicate, which I think suited that laid back and refreshing vibe. The melody was very nice and the chorus was very catchy in my opinion. I think the only disappointing aspect of the song has to be the shortness of the track. I am not sure how it would turn out if it was longer but I did want more, as it went by quickly. Overall, Runaway was a pleasant track that gets me excited for the Summer season of music ahead. Note that I am currently suffering in the cold as Australia is currently in Winter.

The music video was filmed with a home video concept. You know, the home videos we all have of a holiday in another city or country with our family. The one that we don’t want anyone to see because you were doing some weird because you were with family (i.e. those you are most comfortable with). I thought it was a nice video. It was light, matching with the song’s overall vibes. While the song talks about wanting to run away with your significant other, Eric Nam and his friend in the video is shown to be running away to have fun. I also liked how the majority of the video was shot at night and the lighting also helped with making it light and refreshing video.

The performance was nice. The main focus was on his vocals and the choreography comes second in this case. I thought the dance moves were relatively simple and that goes well with the light and laidback vibes of the song.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] You – Xiumin (EXO)

Once again, we return to the topic of military enlistment. This time around, the male group in question is EXO and the member enlisting is Xiumin, the eldest member of the group. While Xiumin said his goodbyes to the members and fans yesterday, he bids farewell once again today through this week’s SM Station release. The song dropped a few hours ago and is titled You. A fortnight ago, Chanyeol releases his solo single SSFW (so if you haven’t heard it yet, click the title!). But we are here for Ximin, so let’s start the review!

Xiumin’s message in You is very simple. He expresses gratitude to everyone around him. And in order to sound meaningful, it is obvious that the ballad route would be chosen. The ballad ended up being typical in nature. That would be the best way to describe it. The instrumental was just plain but I think it did enough to really provide that blank canvas for Xiumin’s voice. We all know that Xiumin isn’t the most talented vocalist of EXO but I think he has an overshadowed voice. There have been songs by him in collaborations and units that do bring out the best of him. You does that as well. I really like his raspy vocals, which really made the song a tiny bit more interesting. I like how he manages to go along with the building instrumental and ended giving the song that needed climax. But I am not particularly drawn to the song melody wise nor do I find it memorable. But I am sure fans of the artist (and group) will.

A lot of the video seemed to be just a reflection for Xiumin. We see Xiumin staring off into the distance, taking in the sights and the fresh air. There isn’t really anything to talk about. The reflective nature matches the song’s message and tone. But other than that, I think I would be rambling on.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.8/10

[Review] The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl

Returning yesterday is Oh My Girl, with The Fifth Season (SSFWL). This is the title track off their very first studio album, The Fifth Season. Based on the title of the album (and lyrics), it seems like the members are making reference to Love being the fifth season, in addition to the commonly known Spring, Summer, Fall (or Autumn) and Winter. The idea of the 4 Seasons seems to be a popular concept this year, with Taeyeon and Chanyeol each releasing songs about the seasons. But we are here to review SSFWL, which is their first comeback since Remember Me.

SSFWL returns to the fantasy-theme tracks that have been the centre of Oh My Girl’s portfolio. And I found this return to be quite strong, supported with amazing melodies and beautiful vocals. The chorus was by far my favourite part of the entire track. The melody at the start of the chorus was very profound and woke you up from the slightly bland verses. The second half of the chorus (i.e. the ‘La La La…‘) gave an extra kick to the song. And it was this combination that really made the chorus feel bold but perfectly fitting for the fantasy sound they were aiming for. And as I said, vocals were very nice, as proven by the chorus (and bridge). Mimi’s rapping was probably the surprising limit. I really liked how husky her parts were and this was quite impactful. I also enjoyed how they ended the song, which really the cherry on top for SSWFL. I think it is extremely safe to say that I really enjoyed this song and wouldn’t be surprised if this dominated my playlist for the next few weeks.

The music video shows the members in sets that can easily be identified as the different seasons. Binnie is experiencing Winter, due to the amount of snow available. Hyojung is in Summer, shown through the availability of a refreshing drink from the fridge and the vibrant green fauna. Fall is experienced by Jiho, who is on a train in appropriate attire, surrounded by a warm golden vibe, while Spring is experienced by Arin, as she walks through the fields and flowers. I assume YooA, Seunghee and Mimi are in certain seasons as well. But it is when the members join each other, does the fifth season (filled with joy and happiness) come apparent. Thought it was a very nice video to showcase this.

I thought the performance was pretty good. I really thought that running-like move in the chorus was cool. The entire performance looked very graceful, which fits in with the fantasy tone and concept of this comeback.

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

[Review] Hold On Me – Nam Woohyun (Infinite)

One of the groups that I want to continue to see in the future is Infinite. Their releases in the past have also been outstanding and with the military enlistment period upon the members, I want something Infinite related in this Infinite-drought. Woohyun is probably my favourite member and it isn’t just because he is the one to break the Infinite-drought. Woohyun returned today with Hold On Me, his third solo title track.

While Woohyun is my favourite member of the group, his previously ballads quickly wore off after their respective releases and reviews.  You can’t really help that if all you release are ballads. However, Hold On Me departs from this ballad train and jumps onboard a more upbeat and energetic train. Kicking off the track are some guitars that really perk your interest, particularly if you were expecting a ballad track. We were treated to some of Woohyun’s vocals but I did not expect such an early featuring of Junoflo right after. I liked the raspy texture he gave the song and the way they managed to blend together was very interesting. I think the best bit of the song has to the pre-chorus and chorus combination. The buildup was nice and the chorus had a rush of energy/colour (thanks to the vibrancy of the guitar), making the track quite memorable for me. Woohyun’s vocals were really nice, with the bridge of the song probably showcasing his vocals the best in the entire song. Overall, Hold On Me serves as a great drought-breaker and provides a fresh take of Woohyun!

The music video shows Woohyun remembering a past lover. Woohyun looked like he never moved on from his breakup, as the static on the television reminded him of his girlfriend and his place doesn’t look like he ever stopped drinking since that heartbreaking night. Towards the end, he does find her. But she seems to be a memory within his mind and the static effect is shown alongside her, representing the fact that she is now just a memory (and not a partner). I thought it was an interesting video. I did like the choreography set (I don’t think it was a real cityscape, which was rather disappointing). I think it would have been better with an actual cityscape, like his solo shots.

The choreography looks good. It isn’t as intense as other Infinite releases in the past but it is getting there. I think Woohyun focuses more on this vocals for these performances, which I think is the more appropriate thing for Woohyun, as his vocals his main weapon (though his dancing is as well).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

 

[Album Review] Happily Ever After (6th Mini Album) – NU’EST

For the past three years, we have seen NU’EST in a number of forms and media. Firstly, four of the members participated in Produce 101 Season 2. The show led to the formation of Wanna One, which featured Minhyun as a member. This resulted in Baekho, JR, Ren and Aron forming NU’EST W in the meanwhile to promote the group. So for the last three years, there has not been a straight NU’EST release. Until last Monday, when the group made their return as a five-member group with this very mini-album and Bet Bet. So, I join fans today to admire their new release (and review it as well).

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Happily Ever After Album Cover

1..SegnoSegno is a very soothing track to listen to. The song is about longing to be with their partner and the lyrics were very fitting to be their first song in three years as a full group. While it is soothing, I liked the direction that it went in with (as the song manages to incorporate multiple dance break hooks that were creaky but had a very rustic feel). I really enjoyed the vocals in this song, with all members (including JR) singing. I particularly like the line ‘Baby Don’t forget about my mind, Don’t forget about my heart’. The harmonies and delicacy make this line so memorable and impactful for me. (8.5/10)

2. Bet Bet (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Bet Bet. (9/10)

3. BASSBASS is probably my pick for the best song on the album. Before writing these album reviews, I have already listened to the album to decide whether it is worth reviewing. BASS was the very first song to draw my attention. The most important aspect of BASS is, well, its bass. Together with its very sleek and aesthetic approach with its sound, I would describe the song as very dynamic. The vocals were so nice and the main centrepiece of the song. JR’s rapping definitely provided the smooth song with some texture, but I felt it was rather limited (I wanted more!). The repetition was definitely a memorable highlight of the track, along with the instrumentation. (9.5/10)

4. Talk About Love – As I have always stated before, I always find there to be a ‘weak’ song on the album (note the quotation marks). In Happily Ever After, it comes in the form of Talk About Love. The song is probably their tamest work on this album as it doesn’t really emit that much energy. However, you can feel the smiles that come from the members in this track by the time the song wraps up. I thought it was also a good track to showcase their vocals, with JR providing texture to the chorus. I just wanted more substance to the track to really bring it to the same level as the rest of the album. (7/10)

5. DifferentDifferent is something that I haven’t heard at all yet. It is very… different. The most obvious section that needs to be talked about is the chorus. It is where the song strays away from the majority of other strong. I like the energy that it emits and the lead up to it was superb. Overall, it is a groovy song to dance to (or in my case, awkwardly move my body around). The vocals were sleek and I thought the rapping really added to the song. JR’s I Like That was probably the biggest standout point, apart from the chorus. And the best thing about the track? Its uniqueness gets you to come back for more! (10/10)

6. Fine – This is the song that plays at the end of the Bet Bet music video, where Minhyun wakes up and rejoins the members. Despite its heaviness in terms of the instrumentation, the song manages to give off a very light feel. I think is because the heaviness came during the chorus (with the dubstep-like instrumentation), whereas the vocals and raps during the verses gave the song that lightness. Together, it is a very intriguing contrast. And since it was felt, it was pretty successful. I really enjoyed the powerful side of the vocals, something that hasn’t really been shown us just yet on this album. Baekho really blew me away in this track. A performance for this track will definitely be highly requested by fans and I might join in on this request! (9/10)

7. Universe (별의 언어) (Minhyun Solo)Click here to read the full review for Universe. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

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Happily Ever After Teaser Image

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[Album Review] HEART*IZ (2nd Mini Album) – IZ*ONE

I am so sorry that it took me an entire month to write up this album review! Despite April being a relatively quiet month for KPOP releases, I have been extremely busy with my studies and the few releases did come out had a lot of interesting albums that I felt that it would be more interesting to review. Hence, this bumped HEART*IZ around. Just I have been so busy that I haven’t listened to any recent albums, so I thought I take this opportunity to finally look at IZ*ONE’s second mini album. After all, they always say ‘better late than never’.

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HEART*IZ Album Cover

1..Hey. Bae. Like It. (해바라기) – Starting off the album is a combination of cuteness and typical tropical-esque instrumentation. The combination of the two actually works well, with the cuteness in the vocals not too overwhelming and the tropical side of the instrumental was quite refreshing and bright. I also enjoyed the lightness of the track, which really made it a promising starter to the album. I think the only downfall is the typicalness that the song suffers from. But apart from that, I like this track (which is also titled Sunflower as well). (8/10)

2. Violeta (비올레타) (Title Track)Click here to read my review for Violeta. (8.5/10)

3. Highlight –Highlight starts off with what seems to be an edgy sound. It gave me hip-hop vibes, so I was excited to see what direction the song was going in. They seem to lose this for a bit of the verse, but it returns for the pre-chorus. The entire verse seemed to be a nice steady incline to the minimalistic chorus, which featured a simple beat and the lines ‘Highlight (Look at Me)’. I did not know what I had expected the first time around but the chorus did catch me off guard (but I think it is quite sophisticated this way). I also liked the saxophone touch for the final chorus, which delivers a different feel altogether. Both the vocals and rapping were nice in this track. (8.5/10)

4. Really Like You – We now come to a ballad. Really Like You is an acoustic track that showcases some of their vocals. I thought it was a rather nice song, even though I felt it was a little messy when it comes to the melody. The way they sing with their airy voices and the floaty instrumental reminds me of Berry Good’s My First Love, which was also a similar concept (but Really Like You isn’t as heartfelt as the latter song). It was a nice break amid all of these dance-centred tracks. (7.5/10)

5. Airplane – Following Really Like You, I think IZ*ONE strengths are definitely in more upbeat songs. While Airplane seems a lot more comfortable for the group, the song felt like it went in the ‘typical girl group debut title track’ route, where the song ends up being too bright, youthful and poppy. Even the rapping reflected and the main hook in the chorus reflected this thought. The group does nail the track perfectly without any hitches or awkward patches. I do have a special playlist on my phone for songs like this and I think Airplane will fit perfectly into it. (8/10)

6. Up – I think out of all the tracks on the album (besides Violeta) Up is probably my favourite sidetrack. It does fall within that ‘typical’ category once again. But there is a fair amount of appeal in the track to make me become drawn to and enjoy it. The instrumental was very nice, especially the bounciness at the start of the track (that is ongoing throughout the track). I also like the bright vocals in this track, going perfectly with the pop vibes of the song. The track was very addictive with the hooks and vibrancy of the track being pretty much unforgettable. (9/10)

7. I Want To Be A Cat (고양이가 되고 싶어) (Korean Version)I Want To Be A Cat (otherwise known by the Japanese title, Neko ni Naritai) was previously sung and performed by Sako, Yuri, Yeni, Nako and Minju on their Japanese debut album. But the Korean version is sung by all the members of IZ*ONE. I really like the more chilled sound that the song had going on. It is rather different from the harder pop styles earlier on in the album. I did like the vocals, which were showcased well. The melody was pleasant. I just thought the song could have done a bit more in terms of memorability. But other than that, it was decent. (7/10)

8. Happy Goodbye (Korean Version) – Otherwise known as Gokigen Sayonara is also from the group’s first Japanese album. Listening to the track, you can tell it was distinctively J-POP previously, as it has all of those elements that make J-POP what it is. I am in no way saying that the Korean version is bad. I really like the chorus, which was catchy vibe to it. I also enjoyed the slightly techno-pop instrumental (which is once again a distinctive sound for J-POP). I also enjoyed the song because it was light and pleasant as well. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

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HEART*IZ Teaser Image

[Review] Spring Again – Golden Child

Also returning today is Golden Child. Unfortunately, it isn’t their usual full comeback. Instead, Spring Again is the main track from their first special single album. At this very stage, I am not sure whether there will be any promotional stages for this release. But despite that, we must push on with the review! We last saw Golden Child through the group’s previous promotional comeback, Genie, which was released at the end of October 2018.

There is no doubt that when you look at the title, you will automatically think that it is a Spring song. And as long as Korea is experiencing Spring, the influx of Springtime songs will continually bombard the charts and our devices. Spring Again is your standard Spring track. While it sounds like I don’t perceive any element as mind-blowing, there were some good points about the song. I thought the vocals were very melodic and flowy, which is something I personally do enjoy. This paired nicely with the instrumental, which incorporated whistling and classical instrumentation to become a pleasant canvas for the vocals. The harmonies were also quite nice. The rapping gave a little definition to the song and provided something that usually isn’t there when it comes to other Spring tracks. Overall, typical may be part of the description for Spring Again but it was still a decent track.

Unlike past Golden Child music videos, Spring Again lacks choreography. It was quite obvious that with the idea of a Spring track, along with the fact that it was a special single, the ‘performance’ aspect of this release would be omitted. Instead, the video shows the members in a pleasant fashion. Cherry blossoms were in the background and the members were having an outing to look, smell and play within the midst of these flowers. Other than that, there really isn’t much to the video. I know the seasons are getting warmer but I found the greyness of the video made it look cold and dreary. I think if they went with a more colourful approach to fit the warmer temperatures, the video would be fun and vibrant. It would have also been a nicer fit for their music portfolio.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] 4:44 – Park Bom ft. Wheein (Mamamoo)

If Park Bom was still under YG Entertainment, we wouldn’t be able to see much of her in the near distant future. But the good news is that Park Bom is no longer under YG Entertainment and therefore we are able to see her more often. Back in March, Park Bom returned with her first solo single in 8 years, titled Spring and featured fellow 2NE1 member Sandara Park. Within a month and a half, the soloist has returned with 4:44, which features Mamamoo’s Wheein. And in a recent interview, Park Bom hinted towards other comebacks within the year! So rejoice Park Bom fans, she is here to stay!

From the very start of 4:44, you can tell that there is a heavy emotional tone to the song. It also tells you what type of direction the song would go into. Despite being in a time of sudden changes, I think vocally-centred and emotionally-based songs don’t become affected by such trends. But a trend that did affect the song is the use of an electronic instrumental for this R&B ballad. Even some of Park Bom’s vocals are autotuned. I am not too bothered by as they all blend well together. But they could have been a little lighter with the autotune. I find 4:44 very interesting for two reasons. Part of me finds certain moments quite nostalgic as it brings me back to her earlier solo works. Leading right after is that the Park Bom’s voice is very husky and airy in this track, reminding me of Soyou’s vocals when her collaborations were the go-to track to download. I think Wheein gave the song some lightness and crispness. Her part had a slightly faster tempo and this gave dynamic appeal. I also liked Park Bom’s ad-libs during Wheein’s feature, which I thought were rather cool.

Once again, the emphasis is on the colour blue. It definitely made itself the centre of attention. Apart from that, there isn’t a whole heap going on. Park Bom, for the majority of the video, walks around. I like the idea but I think she could have been a little less rigid while walking, which would have made the video appear softer. I also understand that Wheein wasn’t in the video. Many times, featuring artists cannot fit music video filming into their schedule. But getting the main actress to lip-sync doesn’t really cut it for me. And the small opening of the mouth really annoyed me. Maybe there was an artistic reason for this. But I just thought the lip-syncing was unnecessary.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Review] Focus – Kim Dong Han

For the first time this week, I am able to post two reviews on the same night! This review will be for Kim Dong Han’s latest release (which just dropped a few hours ago). The song is titled Focus and is featured on the artist’s third mini-album, D-HOURS AM 7:03. We last saw Kim Dong Han through his Good Night Kiss promotions back in October 2018. Deviating from the review slightly, I like to inform you that Kim Dong Han was my pick for Best New Soloist in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Now back on the review!

Focus is rather interesting. The song is all about focusing on your lover, yet the instrumental was rather choppy, creating a nice contrast to the usual expected peaceful conditions when you want to focus on something. And this definitely gives off more texture when compared to other songs. I really liked how they used the ‘Focus on You’line as p[art of the instrumentation as well. A dynamic touch to the song, if you ask me. Kim Dong Han also showcases his vocals in this song, which I thought really popped on top of this electronic instrumentation. I particularly like the way he sang (or maybe rapped) the pre-chorus section, which was another textural device but also very captivating when compared to the other sections of the song. I think the song could have benefited from a rap sequence via a featuring rapping. I think this could have boosted the song and made it more intense. But what we got is already very good, so definitely no complaints from me.

I don’t think there is much of a plotline to the video. But all the close-up shots that focus on Kim Dong Han seem to fit aesthetically with each other. Kim Dong Han’s visual game is rather strong, making this very appropriate for a song titled as Focus. I really liked the emphasis on the colour blue during those choreography shots with the blue set and Kim Dong Han’s blue pants. I think the music video is definitely captivating despite there not being much content int eh video besides close-ups and choreography shots.

But something that I am extremely excited for is the performance. It is his strongest effort and display of energy yet. His enthusiasm alone in the music video really makes me keen to watch his live performances. As for the dance, a lot of complex moves are present. My favourite so far has to be the jumpy moves during the post-chorus. But everything else looks amazing!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 8.9/10

[Review] After Party – SPECTRUM

The last few days I have so busy but managed to find time to write one review per day. Monday saw the release of three songs. I have already reviewed the releases from NU’EST and The Boyz. Today, I will be reviewing the third song, which is After Party by Spectrum. This is Spectrum’s first comeback for 2019 and is it also their first comeback since What Do I Do?, which was released back in November 2018.

After Party doesn’t really envoke the desire to continue partying after the main event. Rather, it feels like a song is more light than party-theme and is more about having a good time at that very moment. And actually, the lyrics reflect that. The song takes on the tropical island style of music, so it doesn’t offer anything new. And that is the case for most of the song. I found the vocals to be fitting for the track but not really mind-blowing. I did like the autotune and the rapping, which gave the song some texture. There is a fun element embedded in the song which you can’t help denying and I think the song comes together well to really bring that out and make it somewhat appealing. At least, it wasn’t just plain. The chorus was nice, with the post-chorus hook (the ‘Say La La La‘) being quite catchy. Though I did expect something with a little more hype and energy based on the title, After Party was a relatively chill song that I wouldn’t mind play once in a while.

The video seems to match the lightness and fun side of the song. There are no parties in this video, with the members mainly just having fun and hanging out. And since the video was just that, I don’t really have much to talk about. Because of that, it is one of those videos that you watch once and don’t really have the desire to rewatch it as it is fairly straight forward. Compared to other videos, this one does fall short. But it was rather fitting.

Like the video, the performance went in a fun direction. There really isn’t much else you can do. There really aren’t complex moves as the song doesn’t allow them to fit in. Hence, the dance was rather simple and was quite playful. My favourite part has to be the post-chorus section, which incorporated that Fortnite dance.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

[Review] Bloom Bloom – The Boyz

Also returning yesterday is The Boyz with their latest comeback, Bloom Bloom. This is the group’s first comeback since their 2018 comeback, No Air, which was released back in November. Since then, the group won Best New Male Artist at the MelOn Music Awards in December and embarked on an Asian Tour at the start of the year. They were also my pick for Best New Male Artist for 2018 in the KPOPREVIEWED Awards.

Bloom Bloom is a dance-pop track that is flowery enough for the Spring season but as intense and energetic as you expect with a Summer-focused song. Hence it exists in a limbo between the two, perfect for this time of the year. My first impression of the song wasn’t that great, as I wanted a song to have a kick like their previous tracks that I have enjoyed such as Right Here. But Bloom Bloom’s kick is a lot more subtle and the song has definitely grown on me with more listens (hence, if you don’t enjoy the song, I’d say give it a few more listens). The ‘Bloom Bloom Pow‘ start is definitely impactful. Usually, you would say ‘Boom Boom Pow‘ instead. But the extra letter makes sense for the song that focuses on innocent love and flowers. I thought the raping was overly dynamic for the song. They could have toned it down slightly to make it a little more fitting for the rest of the song. Vocals were pretty good. Overall, Bloom Bloom may not be my preferred sound for the group but it fits in well with their previous songs.

Going hand-in-hand with the lyrics and the title of the track, the song takes on a bright concept. The school-boy concept also returns through this comeback. The main action occurs on the baseball field, with it providing distractions in the form of a dying plant, which the members look after. A powerful whack of baseball also caused a spaceship to fall from the sky. This lead to the discovery of a special ball, which causes fireworks in the sky and the moon to ‘bloom’ in flowers. Overall, it was a nice video that was fitting for the song.

The dance was pretty nice as well. Once again, I like the energy that comes from the chorus. I also like the blooming effect they have in the background (with the members jumping up and down) just before the chorus kicks in, along with the wider movements in the chorus (which kind of give off the same effect).

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

[Review] Bet Bet – NU’EST

The mini Wanna One reunion occurred last week and it continues onto this week with the Minhyun’s long-awaited comeback with NU’EST, returning the group to its original 5 members. For those who do not know, 4 members of NU’EST (JR, Baekho, Ren and Minhyun) participated in Produce 101 Season 2, with Minhyun emerging to be part of the project group, Wanna One. JR, Baekho and Ren rejoined Aron to become NU’EST W during the time Minhyun was absent. Unfortunately, this meant that NU’EST has not promoted as a 5 member group since the release of Love Paint, released back in 2016. But that changes today!

Bet Bet is the name of their new title track. The first impression of the track was that it features a very intense sound that manages to do a good job of captivating me. While the foundations seem to very standard and plain, I think the various effects really made it appealing to me. The high pitch wailing effect and the drumbeats that are heard throughout the song really give the song a unique definition, which I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the rush of energy that the chorus gives us, which is something that I really enjoy in other songs.  Vocally, I think the song is really good. Baekho’s vocals that kick off the chorus really does reach out at you, which I think is fantastic as it matches that rush of energy that I am talking about. I also liked the vocals in the pre-chorus, when the song slightly slows down. The rapping (by JR) is also very good. Overall, I think Bet Bet is a fantastic song for the group to return as a whole. I just hope next time around, they go with something a little different or unique like their past releases, as that was what I was yearning for.

The music video, as confirmed by Pledis Entertainment, completes the storyline shared between Overcame, Love Paint and Universe. It starts off with the Queen sitting in her throne. She seems to have all the members trapped in her world and they are trying their best to get out of it (I think this is suggested by the chess board, where Baekho versus her with all the pieces but she only plays with the queen). Minhyun seems to be a little more daring and climbs to her throne and looks closely at her eyes (which has been covered by since the start). This may have flustered and distracted her, allowing Baekho to win against her in the chess game. I am not too sure about the other members, however (I am not familiar with the card game or the casino based game they are playing, so I can’t really tell what’s going on). The second half of the music video is Minhyun’s awakening (presumed from the end of Universe), where he rejoins the others in Utopian world full of colour and plants (and based on this, they escaped the Queen’s grasp). As you can see, my interpretation is a little choppy. So, feel free to throw your thoughts into the comments below! Maybe I am wrong. But whatever it is, it is shaping to be a very interesting music video theory post.

The choreography for this was very cool. Aron was noticeably absent from the choreography shots in the music video, which I presume was due to his injury. But based on the showcase, he is back performing. I liked the fierceness of the chorus, particularly the sliding and kneeling move.

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

[Review] Tu eres – NEWKIDD

Making their debut in the past week is NEWKIDD. They may actually be a familiar name with two subunits of the group making their debut in the past, along with NEWKIDD member Ji Hansol making into UNB through the survival reboot show, The UNI+. So, the group has some experience on the stage already. But here is a quick recap before we dive into Tu eres. The group is a seven-member male group (consisting of Jinkwon, Ji Hansol, Choi Jiann, Yunmin, Woochul, Kang Seungchan, and Hwi) currently under J-Flo Entertainment.

To me, Tu eres is a standard house dance track. There really isn’t anything that flashy about the instrumental to really set it apart from the competition. The start was promising, especially with the keyboard or piano. But once the beat became comfortable, I wasn’t really that blown away. What did manage to really reel me into the song were the vocals and the raps. The vocals were quite crisp, clear and showcased proudly over the instrumental.  The raps gave the song a dynamic feel and a sense of boldness that I didn’t really register with the rest of the song. Together, I think they did a lot in place of the instrumental which, once again, featured more standard elements than anything else. The song didn’t seem catchy, which is disappointing as you want a debut track to be memorable. But then again, many groups have come back from non-memorable debut tracks in the past, so there is always room to improve, especially when they did demonstrate potential.

The camera quality for this debut music video is on point! I think this already has me biased. The content doesn’t seem to have much, with the video focusing mainly on choreography and close up shots. The video is set in a foreign outdoor marketplace, similar to the concept that the (G)I-DLE’s LATATA and Hann music video. The video was also situated in this classy black backdrop scenery, with the now normalised water dance shot. Together, they may seem like ideas done before but I think it was a nice video regardless of that.

The choreography shares the same fate as the music video. Nothing new but it was still enjoyable to watch. I did like the energy they put into their moves. Apart from that, I don’t have much else to comment on.

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10