Reviews for the new releases of this week will be posted in the coming days. Apologies for the delay.
Returning to the stage this past Monday was Lovelyz, who has returned with Beautiful Days. This new song is the title track off their 6th mini-album, Once Upon A Time, which also dropped the same day. We last saw the group through their Lost N Found promotions back in November last year. It has been relatively quiet from the girls since then, especially after what can be seen as a successful year for the group in terms of promotions (2018 saw them win their first music show and third set of concerts).
Given that the industry is now at full speed for the upcoming Summer season, it expected that some releases suiting the Summer season will be flowing in right about now. And you can definitely leave it to Lovelyz to bring a refreshing tone with their suitable track. I find the song to be quite light despite it being heavy with some synths. It is definitely extremely difficult to get that balance and Lovelyz nails it. The instrumental was nice. Once again, they go for a retro synth-pop but I like the mix of classical for the bridge. The vocals were nice but they didn’t offer anything new to really comment about. What Lovelyz does is stick to what they do best. The song felt safe than anything else, fitting in what I would consider a little too neatly with the rest of their portfolio. Beautiful Days is still listenable and definitely something you would associate with the group. But it just didn’t feel memorable when you consider the song as a whole.
I think pairing the song with the music video made the song feel a lot more beautiful. I am not exactly sure about what the video is about. But maybe that ‘association to Lovelyz’s past track’ was intentional. I say this because I noticed some aspects of this video showcasing some of their past concepts. The ball with the solar system rolling around reminded me of the spinning shots in Destiny. One of the members was holding a picture of the group during their Twinkle promotions. And the colour scheme for one of the dance sense is giving me very strong flashbacks but I cannot pinpoint which comeback (I think Destiny). But this won’t impact what I said before. I personally think it is a nice video for the group. It looked elegant and hazy filter didn’t impact the overall colour scheme of the video.
I think the performance is the best aspect of the group’s comeback. They bring a feminine charm that I cannot help but watch from start to end. I really like the complexity of the chorus and the fact that they kept in sync with each other. You usually don’t get that feeling with female groups. But given that they are from the same company who brought you Infinite (the original kings of that noticeably in-sync choreography), it was a given.
Making their return a few hours ago is GOT7 with Eclipse! This is the group’s first comeback since Lullaby and Miracle as a full group. More recently, the group has been focusing on subunit and solo endeavours with the debut of Jus2 (JB and Yugyeom with Focus On Me); the return of actor Park Jin Young; and Jackson’s Oxygen release around one month ago. More exciting is the future, which has the group going on another world tour (Spinning Top) right after wrapping up promotions for this new release.
Eclipse is one strong release. Literally. I think the first thing that really jumps out at me is its extremely powerful chorus. It is robust, rough and really edgy. All of which fits in with their powerful image. Some parts did seem a little noisy and I think there was some ‘drowning out’, however. But I think their vocal performance (especially Youngjae’s) in Eclipse is one of their best and pairing the vocals with this chorus was definitely a very smart idea. The rapping is also quite good but I didn’t think it was the star of the release, unlike their past title tracks. I think the dubstep breakdown was expected, especially with the rough texture for the chorus. I did like it, so I am not complaining here. I also like the complete slow down for the bridge. I thought that was interesting. I think the biggest letdown was the verses as they were very forgettable (hence why I thought their rapping wasn’t the star). Overall, Eclipse is, what I would say, a decent track.
So I am reading some thoughts about the music video and it seems like not many people are impressed. One of the reasons is the shares the same production format as Look,Dalla Dalla and Fancy. I personally don’t think it is that bad and actually enjoyed it for the most part. It does seem like it is starting to become overused by JYP Entertainment but that can only be confirmed by a few more releases from other artists. I think what did prevent me from having the same thoughts was the more theatric nature of the video. The spinning was rather cool and I think the camera angles and CGI complimented this really well.
From what I can see in this video is that the performance is definitely shaping up to be one of their most intense routines. That is expected given the nature of the song. I just wonder if the stage will be as amazing, given that some of the camera angles in the video cannot be pulled off on a live stage. I really like that spiral effect they have during the chorus. And that dance break looks awesome!
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.5/10
It is quite surprising to see how long some artists are active in the industry before they get to release a studio album. For Oh My Girl, it has been four years since their debut back in 2015 and the group has just released this first studio album. It has definitely been a long time coming, especially after all the great mini-album releases we got from the group over the years. The Fifth Season contains 9 songs including the title track of the same name. The album also contains an instrumental track for the title track as well but due to the nature of the review, I won’t be having a look at it. So let’s start off the album review right now!
2. Shower (소나기) – Opening the track up is typical pop instrumentation that doesn’t differentiate them from other girl groups. And this typicalness flows onto their chorus, so there was that feeling in the air throughout the length of the song. I think similar comments can be made about the vocals and rapping. I did hear some attempts to disrupt this typical feeling with some textural changes in their voices, particularly around the second pre-chorus. But they weren’t that successful. There isn’t anything bad about a typical song, Just Shower ends up being a song to attract some yawns. (6/10)
3. Case No. L5VE (미제) – Now this is the type of song that I want. It does fall within that typical nature once again. But this one has enough to keep the yawns away (hahaha…). There is also a lot of textures in this song, which keeps it interesting and makes the song fun. Firstly, the chorus has this cheerful and happy pop tone to it, which I am enjoying. Secondly, there is a lot more rapping (and they last for longer periods), which I thought was a really nice build up to the chorus. Thirdly, I really liked the elegant nature of the vocals, which made the rest of the song so flowy. Overall, Case No. L5VE was definitely an ear-catching piece. (9/10)
4. Tic Toc – As soon as the song opened, and I heard the first member, I honestly thought I was listening to the wrong artist (I had to make sure I wasn’t listening to Twice). Tic Toc was a catchy and upbeat pop song that really gets me into a cheerful mood. Mimi’s rapping, once again, worked wonders in this song, giving it a needed injection of intensity. I also like the vocals and the melody that they have in this track. I find the melody to be an attractive part of the song. I also enjoyed the ‘Tic Toc’ Mimi (I think) says throughout the song and the mini outro we get, which dragged the song out by a few more seconds with an instrumental that I enjoyed. (8/10)
5. Gravity (유성) – So far, we have heard of a lot of pop tracks, but they do fall under that typical nature (sorry for the repetitive use of that word). Gravity changes it up slightly. While the song does delve headfirst back into the pop genre, the song does have a very dynamic appeal that comes from the chorus. I thought the ‘Gravity~’ hook they used was beautifully done and it sounded like you were floating away while listening to it. The instrumental ‘felt very wide’ and spacious, making the ‘Gravity~’ repetition very impactful. I also really think the elegant melody returns in this song, which I think is another positive aspect of the track. (8.5/10)
6. Crime Scene – Crime Scene is another fun sounding and vibrant track. I thought the title was very intriguing, given that I do enjoy crime myself. So, naturally, I gravitated towards the lyrics for this song. The song is being attracted towards your lover and the confusion that surrounds it. In the song, they question why they are being pulled to their partner. Though, I don’t get why they are ‘Chillin’ your love’. That is the only clue I haven’t cracked yet. Even though it does sound very odd in the song’s context, I found it to be very catchy and almost addictive. I really like the vocals and rapping in this track. I also like the slight change in tempo they gave us for the second half of the chorus. It made the song feel less linear. (8/10)
7. Underwater Love (심해 (마음이라는 바다)) – Underwater Love directs itself towards the ‘mandatory ballad’ of the album. It doesn’t get there exactly as it diverts with a pretty R&B instrumental. While I don’t regularly enjoy the ‘mandatory ballad’ track on the album, I find this one to cut the vibrant and upbeat nature of the album thus far quite well. I don’t find it as boring as I had expected it to be. The vocals are nice and I really like the soft whisper-like rapping tone in the song. Overall, I find it to be a decent track. (7/10)
8. Vogue – Vogue is sung by Mimi, Yooa, Jiho and Arin. And it is my pick for the best song on the album. Like I don’t think you can keep me away from this track. Vogue pays either pays homage to Madonna or the artist and her song heavily influenced the production of this song. But either way, it is done in a spectacular fashion as it goes straight for Madonna’s well-known style. It has this very mature sound to it that I did not know Oh My Girl had in them. The vocals are on point and damn, the verses are so good. They manage to give the chorus an upbeat feel, which I think manages to get the song to fit in with the rest of the album (and Oh My Girl’s releases) but at the same time make the song even more dynamic. (10/10)
9. Checkmate – Ending the album is another vibrant track that is bound to get you ready for any event. I think the use of brass in this song really makes it appropriate for parties. YooA is proving to be the star of this album. While I haven’t singled any member this far into the review, YooA has continually showcased herself in a very bold manner. Her vocals at the very start of the song was definitely a wake call for me. I also liked how the chorus was very sharp. This gives off a nice and impactful punch every single time, making it a very powerful track. I think the song had a lot of great hooks, making it extremely addictive. It is a great and very strong ender to the album (10/10)
The next song on the review list is Soyou and Ovan’s collaborative single, Rain Drop. This was dropped on Thursday of this past week and has since risen steadily towards the top end of the charts. For those who don’t know, this is very typical of many collaboration singles featuring Soyou. I will avoid naming such songs (as I think I do that will every Soyou related review and hence will be quite repetitive). The other half of the collaboration is Ovan, who is a Korean hip-hop artist and rapper. He made his debut back in 2017 and have many singles under his name since his debut.
Rain Drop is more like a cafe style of song, rather than a ballad as my previous draft of the review had stated. There is a slightly jazzy influence in the instrumental, which is slightly appealing to my ears. At this very stage of the year, I am wrapping up my semester of studies and currently on the hunt for soft songs to work with. This track practically ticks that major box for me. I find the vocals to be soothing and calming to an extent, which is also another box ticked for me. There were some moments that did have a certain typical nature to them. But for the most part, I thought the vocals were good. I did like the slight rapping tone Ovan brought to the bridge of the track, which attempted to throw an interesting texture in. Overall, I think this would be a nice song to add to my study playlist, as previously stated). Though, I am not too sure if it would fair well in a more recreational playlist due to the very nature of the track.
I am not too sure about what is going on in the music video. I have an idea but since the events were jumbled about, I am not exactly confident in my story that I have formed. The video showcases a cute couple from the moment the female character made her move on the male character (and thus starting their relationship) up until the moment that she leaves him on a rainy day (‘I watched you go away without an umbrella‘). However, in the end, it is another rainy day that brings her back. We see the male character slightly surprised at the end after seeing his former lover swiping her wet hair to the side. It is a slightly interesting story, especially with that twist at the end. I do want some closure with the story though, given that twist.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.4/10
The digital dominating ballad duo, DAVICHI, has returned with their latest comeback, Unspoken Words. Since the release of their latest single and mini-album, the pair have already taken over the major charts. This is especially worth noting as we find ourselves in another period of tough competition from other artists who have been dominating the charts for the past few weeks. We last saw Davichi through their Days Without Youpromotions, which also featured Kang Daniel in the music video.
DAVICHI is sticking to what they are known for and do best with, as Unspoken Words is another ballad. And as per their chart performance, it seems like this track will be another successful ballad from the duo. The ballad is quite warming and extremely comfortable, which I tend to associate with a Wintertime ballad. But there is a little energy making it appropriate for the upcoming warmer season. I think the instrumental is very beautiful, with the classical instruments building up to a pretty decent peak. It pairs extremely well with the member’s vocals, which I really think is shown off proudly in this track. As the instrumental builds, so does the vocals, which is pretty much ideal. I particularly found that small harmony moment between the members to be a stunning moment in the song. I think the song is quite strong but it just doesn’t jump out at me as their best. I do see myself getting bored with it, as ballads do come and go quite often nowadays as per my listening routine.
Given the title, you think the song would be emotionally driven. But with the majority of ballads, I tend to discuss an emotional sound. If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t touched upon that yet. I didn’t really hear that emotional connection. I find that quite interesting. But the emotional side of this comeback was felt more profoundly with the music video. We are shown a young female, standing at the beach and reminiscing about her past relationship. While doing so, she is brought to tears and this implies that she has some ‘unspoken words’ to her former partner. I think this provides a stronger mechanism to provides the song’s message, as images do end up being as powerful as the audio. I also liked the contrast of colours. It was colder through the sadder moments, while definitely colourful and warming in the happier memories.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8/10
Since the promotions of Cactus and Callin’ in 2017, A.C.E went on a mini hiatus due to each member’s participation on different survival shows. Jun and Chan participated in The Unit (with Chan managing to place ninth and debut as part of UNB); while Wow, Kim Byeongkwan and Donghun participated in MIXNINE (with Kim Byeongkwan and Donghun making it into the final group). As the final groups of MIXNINE were unable to debut due to logistical reasons, A.C.E announced a 4-member comeback (excluding Chan due to UNB promotions) with Take Me Higher last year. Today, the group return with all five members and the title track, UNDER COVER
A.C.E ditches the light and bright concept they went for in Take Me Higher for this comeback. Instead, the group returns to the intense sound that it debuted with. To be even more accurate, the group managed to return with a more concentrated version of the intensity we got back then. UNDER COVER‘s instrumental opted for a rock-based instrumental over the usual dance synths to really throw us into the deep end of all this energy and intensity. Given the current industry’s direction, this makes the track very unique and I don’t mind this difference. While the song does allow for strong choreography, the song also managed showcased a lot of amazing vocals. Even the rapping was awesome. Both managed to fit in well with the impactful nature of the instrumental and surprisingly, they were not drowned out in any way. I think the track is a very powerful and hardcore form to mark their return to the stage. I do quite like it and I can expect many repeats listens, especially when I need that instantaneous rush of energy.
I think the music video works really well with the song (with the exception of one section). I liked the edginess they brought along through their red military jackets and the dark nature of some of the shots. I just think the choreography scenes in the tiled white rooms to be ill-fitting. It just felt too bright and colourful for this track. Also, I would have liked the song a little more if they brought down the brightness. I think edgy does well in a darker setting and this could have been showcased a little more. I liked the overlaying of some words on the screen. I thought that gave a possible aesthetic vibe and wished they did more of it throughout the video to really add to this vibe.
No live performances yet. But I think what is shown in the music video is definitely a lot already. The dance moves were pretty amazing as well, complimenting the intense style of the song. It is definitely a powerful routine and probably very hard to pull off while singing live.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 7/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating -8.4/10
Despite approaching the end of the week, we continue to see an influx of releases. To avoid adding to the massive backlog of reviews from early in the week, I will tackle a release from today. The release chosen for this review is Ladies Code long-awaited comeback with Feedback. It has definitely been a while since we heard from the trio. I was shocked to find to their last release (The Rain) was three years ago. Since then, the members embarked on their solo careers with Sojung and Ashley making their respective debuts with Better Than Me and Here We Are (both of which I did not review).
While I did expect Ladies Code to make a comeback with something to go beyond the mature yet aesthetic nature of The Rain, it was rather interesting to hear something a little more towards the original roots of the group. We aren’t going back to their catchy retro days, however. Feedback does take a page out of that chapter and combine it with the mature sound from their more ‘recent’ releases. Together, we get a jazzy and lively track. If we were to compare Feedback to previous releases from other groups, it does sound like a cliche sound to return with. But Ladies Code has the amazing vocals to fall back on, which I think did appear in this song. But not to the extent that I hoped for. I felt towards the end of the song, they could have gone even further with high notes and ad-libs, as this would bring an additional dimension forward. It is also the vocals that also reminded me of The Rain, as I heard some similar moments (like the pre-chorus) I felt the chorus was also catchy and definitely made this song pleasant. I can definitely see myself listening to this track to get myself into a good mood, especially with all the work I need to complete.
I want to say it is was a nice video. But given my comments that I am about to make in a moment, I think I may be a bit generous. Once again, not the most impressive or mindblowing video out there. But I think they did a good job of showcasing that vibrancy that I mentioned before. I liked the golden lighting, which really made it feel Summery. I didn’t really care for their scenes with the guy or the solo shots of the members doing their own thing (they were forgettable for the most part). It was the choreography shots that really made this video good. Not sure why this is the case, as these only made a small portion of the video, but I guess it was the most lively moments of the video.
As indicated above, the performance was quite lively and animated. I enjoyed watching it and thought their moves were decent. The moves seem to really allow the members to focus on their vocals, which I think allows them to shine the most on stage.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 6.5/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.6/10
Joining yesterday’s rush of music (and music video) releases yesterday is BVNDIT’s surprise comeback, Dramatic. For those who don’t remember who BVNDIT are, they are a new female group who debuted last month. Consisting of five members (Yiyeon, Songhee, Jungwoo, Simyeong and Seungeun), the group made their debut with Hocus Pocus, which is featured on the group’s debut single-album, BVNDIT, Be Ambitious!.
Unlike the song’s title, Dramatic was not as dramatic as I had expected. I thought the song would be more loaded and heavier. But the song ended up being on the light side. However, besides that, I thought it was a pretty ear-catching song to follow up with after their debut track. I think the best aspect of the song is its instrumentation. I find the rough dance up and down rhythm to be very intriguing and addictive. The short bursts of flute gave a nice detail to the verses. which I personally thought was a cool addition to the song. The way the song was presented meant that we didn’t get an opportunity to hear their stronger vocals. But given that logic, I thought the rappers fared better and did shine in this song. I think the only thing that could have really made the song better was a hardcore dance break. I was low key expecting that to occur. Despite the fact that it would be a cliche move, I think it would have given the song a more dramatic vibe and definitely made the song more appealing with an additional rush of energy.
Unfortunately, we do not have a full-fledged music video with this release. Instead, the ‘music video’ was a performance video, with some additional close up shots. But the main focus is on their choreography (and hence I shall discuss that section of the review here as well but I will rank them separately). This focus isn’t the end of the road as I think they do a pretty good job. One example is through their outfits, which were very fitting. The olive green coloured and black coloured outfits definitely matched the vibe of the song. As for the choreography, I thought their overall routine was extremely suitable for the song. There is a slightly edgy vibe in the song which they channel well. I really enjoyed the moves for the chorus and the post-chorus hook. I think they were the coolest out of the 3 and a half minutes.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 7/10 Performance – 8.5/10 Overall Rating – 7.6/10
Also making their comeback today is Winner with Ah Yeah. This is the group’s first comeback since their Millions single, released back in December of last year. Ah Yeah is also the title track off the group’s second-ever mini-album, which is titled as We. Interestingly, both EXID’s and Winner’s mini-albums released today share the same name. I am not sure whether this will be an issue or everyone will ignore it. But definitely an interesting situation. (Note that EXID previously had a title track titled Ah Yeah as well).
But we are here to focus on Winner’s Ah Yeah for now. Ah Yeah has this brightness that just pops, making it perfect for a Summer’s release. And given that style, I think it picks up nicely from where Millions left off. The way the song starts with the guitar doesn’t seem to be as refreshing as you want. It felt very ‘done before’ and lacked ambition. But once the song starts picking up during the pre-chorus, the song slowly gets interesting. It just doesn’t last too long, however, as the chorus feels very standard in today’s tropical trend. I did think the chorus did fare a little more better as it gave the song that brightness mentioned before and the repetition of ‘Ah Yeah‘ was quite catchy. The vocalists were good but I think the song allows the rappers to really zone in both their rapping and vocals. I did like the background chanting of the chorus at the end of the song, which once again, brings the track together to add an extra vibrant aspect. But other than that, I think the track falls short due to its alignment with the typicalness of today’s trends.
Matching the bright and vibrant atmosphere of the song is an equally bright and vibrant music video. The members all seem to have fun, while playful introduce the song’s lyrics (My interpretation of the lyrics is after a breakup, they can no longer be friends with their ex and rather become strangers, even though their lover wants to remain as friends). There were some wacky moments during their playful poke at the song’s message. I think the weirdest has to be Mino’s lobster hand and leg. Especially the leg. That made me laugh.
Based on what I see in the music video, their performance seems simple in comparison to other choreographies. Not that I am complaining because their instrumental doesn’t really call for anything complicated. Simplicity is key sometimes and I think this is one of the times (and they nailed it). The dance still looks fun, which goes hand-in-hand with the song.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.8/10
EXID returns today!. If you haven’t heard yet, EXID will be entering an indefinite hiatus as Hani and Junghwa chose to not renew their contracts with their current company, Banana Culture. Despite the label changes, the group will be remaining together (just under various companies). But given how groups who are scattered between companies don’t make comebacks, it does look quite grim for EXID (even though they are still contracted in Japan as a five-member group and seem confident that they will be returning as a quintet sooner than later). But this means that this will be their last comeback for some time. And as an avid EXID fan, I am very saddened to hear this news.
Their latest title track is titled Me & You and I think it is another fantastic song to their portfolio. It is a little different (like I Love You) from their more popular hits like Up & Down and Ah Yeah. Firstly, the song seems to conform to trends in the industry nowadays. I am referring to their instrumental only chorus, which I thought was a really good beat drop. It particularly contrasted nicely with the more acoustic start and almost still-like verses. Secondly, I also liked how the song focused more on vocals/raps, rather than repetitive hooks. In particular, Hyerin managed to use her vocals that she built up during Solji’s absence in the song, which I was slightly worried that she would not be able to anymore. All other members sound really nice and LE’s rap provided a very appealing rush of energy and intensity. I like that buildup to the party-like and dynamically instrumented ending of the song, once again contrasting nicely with the verses of the song. It does cap off the energy well. Personally, I don’t find the song as catchy as their previous tracks. But I do predict that the song will become very addictive very soon (especially after writing this review due to my repetitive listens).
I think the contrast between the verses and the more upbeat chorus/ending was shown well in this video. The verses were highlighted by the use of black and white scenes, along with the lack of movements within the red sets (with the latter being very elegant looking). I thought the members looked very beautiful in their wedding inspired outfits during these closeup scenes. But the chorus and end take a turn by showcasing more of the choreography, shaky camera shots and the neon party outfits. Both are highly fitting with their parts of the song. I like the music video and thought it was rather cool.
Due to an injury, LE’s participation in the performance was quite limited. While this can’t be helped, I did miss her during the chorus. I really like the elegant nature of the choreography during the pre-chorus, before they get into the more intensive chorus. I thought the ending section was really cool and definitely the moves made the ending feel more bombastic.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.8/10
Yesterday, Weki Meki made their return to the stage with their latest single, Picky Picky. Once again, I was a tad busy to actually write any reviews yesterday. But it is here today. This is Weki Meki’s first comeback since the dynamic release of Crush in October of last year.
Picky Picky continues their ‘girl crush’ sound that they had as part of theirCrush release. I thought the track had a nice edgy tone, which I really enjoyed. A prime example of the edginess came during the start and end of the song, which I thought was very addictive. The autotune really helped out with this section. The main hook of the track, the ‘I’m So Picky Picky‘ repetition was also quite nice but it wasn’t as impactful as the intro and outro of the track. But as the hooks drew my attention to the song, the verses became very forgettable. I am not sure why that is the case though. I thought the vocals were nice but they weren’t as memorable. The rapping was amazing but that is because I am already biased and the rapping in the song was mainly the intro/outro of the track (which I have already stated that I really enjoyed a few times). Overall, the track had a pleasing rush of energy and ended up being a decent track to follow on from the likes of Crush.
But I was not impressed was the schoolgirl concept they went with. Compared to the previous comeback (which is my standard for this review, if you have not realized), the use of a school girl concept for an edgy concept was rather odd and looked out of place (especially since they went with a private school girl look). Maybe it was their intention to be different but it just doesn’t work for me. What also didn’t work for me was their use of aegyo in the video, which also seemed out of place. It isn’t as overwhelming as other videos but there was enough to cause a negative reaction. As for the plotline, the girls blow up the science lab; get detention (which forced them to clean the music room); they ended up discovering a whole bunch of guitars, and started their band. I liked it as it went with the edgy sound but did not see where the aegyo really fitted in. For the most part, it is bearable but the above are thoughts I have in the back of my mind.
While I thought the verses in the song were forgettable, the opposite happened when it came for the choreography. I thought the moves for the verses looked dynamic and more interesting than the chorus. The main hook of the song felt slightly awkward for some odd reason. I really liked the final set of moves, where they moved as a group with the exception of one member. On top of that, I thought how they ended with the start was rather cool.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 6/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 6.9/10
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
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
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
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
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