[Review] AWay – Jeong Eunji (APINK)

It has been a while since we have heard from Jeong Eunji as a solo artist. Her last solo release was titled Be There and this came out in 2018. However, we have seen her more recently through APINK’s comebacks, such as %% in 2019 and Dumhdurum a few months ago. A few days ago, Jeong Eunji made her comeback with her fourth mini-album, Simple and the title track, AWay.

Jeong Eunji’s solo releases have shown us her ability to be versatile in the ballad realm. If I remember correctly, her solo debut track and first solo comeback (Hopefully Sky and The Spring) were folksy ballads. Her most recent solo release was more acoustic based. And now, she takes on a momentum-heavy pop sound approach with AWay. One may argue that this isn’t a ballad and I understand what you mean. But given the lack of choreography and how it is vocally-centric, I would say it is coming from a ballad root. It just has a different instrumental style to the more typical ballad. As mentioned earlier, there is some heft to the song that adds impactful energy and an epic vibe to the song. It also feels refreshing and suitable for the Summer season. It carries her vocals and forces her vocals to soar (which she handles really well). This, in turn, adds even more momentum to the song. The chorus had good hooks that helped made the song somewhat memorable. I felt that the hooks had to compete with the instrumental to be the standout memorable element of the song. In the end, I felt that the instrumental, due to its nature, nudged ahead of the other. Overall, all the elements in AWay works neatly with one another, forming another great song to go under Jeong Eunji’s name.

It is a pity that this comeback isn’t being promoted. This song really needs to be out there on the music shows for it to gain attention. I just don’t want this to be another forgotten song. But I guess we just have to settle for a music video. The song is about wanting to escape the feeling of being lost. Majority of the music video was essentially seeing Eunji being stuck in this lost feeling. Despite her life changing around her (i.e. the change from the green fields to the yellow sand), that lost feeling remains. We don’t see her resolving this predicament that she in by the time the video wraps up. She sings about charging back up to help escape that feeling, which I assume she does through the video’s happier moments. Apart for that lack of explicit resolution, it is a fine video that compliments the song well.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Album Review] Look (9th Mini Album) – APINK

It is time for another album review (sorry that this is another day late again). Before I slip back into reviewing some of the earlier albums released in April, I wanted to review two album this weekend that would be considered more recent releases. The first album is by one of the most senior female groups currently still active in the industry. Actually, I think APINK one of the only remaining groups to have debuted in 2011 to actually be actively promotion. Their latest mini-album is titled Look and features the title track Dumhdurum, among a number of other songs.

Look Album Cover

1. Dumhdurum (덤더럼) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dumhdurum. (7/10)

2. YummyYummy is a classy upbeat R&B number that has a groovy instrumental. That aspect one a really attractive as it felt refined and bold with the thumping and percussion. What drew me in even more was the vocals. I liked how each member stood alone in the song and wasn’t masked by the instrumentation in any way. The song had a really nice fluid melody and I liked how it picked up at certain points, which help with adding definition to the song. An example would be Bomi’s section in the verses, which had a good wow factor to it. Another would be the ‘Do It Do It’ sung by Namjoo. (9/10)

3. Be Myself (JJR Unit) – This is a JJR unit track, consisting of Chorong, Eunji and Namjoo. Be Myself is your typical pop track. Its main instrumental centerpiece is synth beats that keep the song lively and bubbly. And I like how the upbeatness of the song suits the message of the song of being one’s self, as the title suggest. Eunji had an impressive display of vocals towards the end. Namjoo was pretty much forgettable for me, as I don’t remember much from her in this song after finishing a listen to it. But the main star is Chorong, who contrasts with her nasally vocals. The other two have clear and crisp vocals, but Chorong brings a little texture, boosting the song in my opinion. (8/10)

4. Love Is Blind (Y.O.S Unit) – We get another upbeat track. This time it comes from the Y.O.S Unit, which consists of Bomi, Naeun and Hayoung. It is a little odd situation as I had expected this unit to have a more dynamic and appealing track as opposed to the other unit. But the situation ended up being switched. There is a bit of a fun vibe that cannot be denied. I just feel that the song doesn’t go past that appeal, which is quite disappointing. Not even the hooks or melody offer much appeal beyond typical. Same thing can be said for their vocals. (6/10)

5. OverwriteOverwrite is the first ballad on the album. But it isn’t that slow and typical natured ballad that one would usually think of. There is a beat to this ballad that gives it some energy, along with a really nice orchestral touch. The piano melody was also really beautiful. The vocal work here is superb as you can once again hear all the members very strongly. The melody that the vocals carry was also quite nice. I also enjoy how they sing the title of the song, bringing a slight twist to the end of the third ‘Overwrite’ that they sing. (9/10)

6. Moment – The second ballad-like song is Moment. This features an explosive instrumental, which is also very different for a ballad. There are orchestral roots to the instrumental, but I don’t think it is a clear-cut classical piece due to that explosive nature. Their vocals in this song is something to be talked about. As the instrumental is a little louder than usual, the group has to up their vocals in order to be heard. I did wish they pushed a little further as I felt (just) some of their vocals got lost in the instrumentation or felt overpowering. Not really a major issue, as for the most part they sounded good! (8/10)

7. Everybody Ready? – We end the song with a very fun song. It has an instrumental that will blast you and definitely get you pumped, as the members ask you if you are ready. For those who don’t know, Everybody Ready? was released in April 2019 as part of their 8th year anniversary celebrations. Dedicated to the fans, it features fans cheering them on as they sing in this loud yet enjoyable song. It is a lot different to their other fan-centric songs that they have released in the past, which were a lot less energetic and more melodic. But definitely a strong hidden gem on this album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

Look Teaser Image

[Review] Dumhdurum – APINK

The first major comeback comes from a group that has been around for 9 years in the industry. Given that most groups end after seven years under their belt (or much less), this is definitely a grand feat. I am talking about APINK, one of the many groups that managed to make cutesy concept work in their early days (see Mr Chu and No No No, as examples) and have more recently reinvented their sound to be more mature (see I’m So Sick and %%). Today, the group returns with Dumhdurum, which features on the group’s ninth mini-album.

The instrumental of Dumhdurum has a very strong disco vibe. We all know that a retro tune, such as a disco number, can be very addictive and unique in this current environment of EDM and other modern electronic genres. And for the most part, APINK nails the track. The instrumental wasn’t exact replica of 70s disco. But it was subdued to fit in with the mature sound that the group has managed succeed in their last two comebacks (linked above) and gave off a strong modern profile. I really liked their dance break instrumental that was inserted into the chorus, which was probably the most exciting part of the song. It also brought a lively energy to the song. I also find that rap speaking line that ends the chorus to be rather dynamic. Altogether, it helped make the chorus become memorable and appealing. My only issue with the song was how boring the vocals were during the verses and bridge. Riding the high that the chorus provided, I don’t remember much of the verses or bridge, which is hugely disappointing. They could have changed it up with some vocal textures or small vocal details along the way. Something to really grab my attention, rather than have it all in neutral gear. ‘

A similar comment can be made regarding the music video of Dumhdurum. The choreography scenes were probably the most exciting sections of the video. There were some close ups showed off the visuals of each member alongside the choreography shots. But in the end, this resulted in the video feeling like that very typical close up and choreography combination we see so often (i.e. a boring default). The video was partly set on a train and I wondered what that was all about. I am guessing there is a storyline in the video that I have missed, based on their individual sets, which all look like there is some meaning behind them. The name Marcella appeared at the start and a Google search yielded nothing that could pinpoint to a storyline. Does anyone have any theories? Let me know below.

The choreography looks good. From what I see in the music video, it definitely looks very dynamic and powerful. That dance break section looks really promising. Can’t say much else unfortunately, as we are pretty much limited to the music video for now. But I am sure the same feelings would carry over into the live performances.

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

[Review] Don’t Make Me Laugh – Oh Hayoung (APINK)

My final review for the night is for Hayoung’s solo debut. For those who don’t know, she is one of the members from APINK, one of the few groups still going strong since their debut in 2011. She is also the second member of the group to officially go solo, while the group is in between comebacks. Don’t Make Me Laugh is her title track for her solo debut mini-album, OH!.

While it was expected that Eunji would be the first member to go solo from the group, I would have expected Namjoo or Bomi to be the second. Instead, Hayoung comes by with this really nice track. I find the industry tends to enjoy either heavy dance tracks or slow ballad tracks. Sometimes, they enjoy tracks that find themselves in between the two styles. And Don’t Make Me Laugh is one of these tracks that deserve to be put in the spotlight. I really like the light tone the song brings, which undoubtedly compliments her vocals. Her parts in APINK tracks have never stood out for me. But this song makes me want to revisit all those parts from the past. I also enjoyed the autotune they put on her voice to give the song some texture. It didn’t go over the top with it, which tends to be the case in some songs. But not this one! The chorus had a really soothing pop melody and I like the small laughter at the start. I can see myself easily repeating the song multiple times with this track and I don’t think I would ever get tired of it.

The title of the track is very intriguing. But essentially the track is all about the moment someone falls in love. In the video, Hayoung basically falls for the barista and starts imagining all their potential dates. This makes her feel super giddy, which in turn results to her laughing in the cafe. At the end of the video, we see the guy noticing her laughing, which he finds cute and he starts to approach her. The final moments of the videos show a closeup of Hayoung’s face reacting to the unexpected movement in her direction, which I thought was rather funny. The video was well-presented. Even though it was all inside, they did a good job of replicating the outdoors and the video was very bright, fitting the Summer feel nice.

I like how the lightness of the song flowed into the choreography. Overall, It felt flowy and breezy. At the same time, there is a very nice innocent feel to it. Another thing that I would like to mention is that she sounds wonderful on stage with this track. Once again, I have never taken notice of her on stage. But watching her perform, I am wondering why I haven’t paid more attention to her!

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

[Album Review] Percent (8th Mini Album) – APINK

It is time for another album review. And this time, the focus is on APINK, who made their comeback at the start of last week with %% (Eung Eung – if you are wondering how this is pronounced). This title track is featured on the group’s 8th mini-album, Percent. You will notice (as I have stated it quite a lot throughout this album review) is that the group had taken a more mature approach with their music, which is many miles away from their previous albums. Let’s see how I liked these track by going forth with the review.

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Percent Album Cover

1..%% (Eung Eung) (응응) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for %%. (8/10)

2. Hug Me (안아줘요)Hug Me is an R&B track that brings out their mature side very well. I really liked the instrumental to this track as it has a no-nonsense type of vibe, getting straight to the point without dwindling between genres, which is something that occurs often in KPOP. You also get that sense of confidence from the members, who do an amazing job with the vocal side of the song, which is something I also quite like. It isn’t necessary memorable when you think about the track in a melodic sense. But it was still good. (7.5/10)

3. What Are You Doing? (느낌적인 느낌)What Are You Doing? Is another R&B track but it is a lot more upbeat and what I would consider dance-centred. I say this because the song has a club vibe and also an instrumental break, fitting for a dance break. It has a very addictive nature, which helps with the memorability factor that I tend to comment about it. Vocally, it is decent. Not necessary their best vocals on the album. But that short line in which they speak just before the chorus was definitely the key point of the song. (9/10)

4. Push & Pull (줄다리기) – We now encroach into something more upbeat. It has been building up since the title track. There is still a mature vibe to the song but there seems to be a nice retro influence in the instrumentation, which I quite liked. I particularly liked the way they changed the pre-chorus up to give the song an extra rush of energy, setting the chorus up. The bridge of the song featuring some rap-speaking, which is a rare element in APINK songs but something that I would love to hear more of in these mature songs. (9/10)

5. Enough – We continue the retro influence and mature sound with Enough. And like the preceding song, it is also continuing with the upbeat instrumental. I think the right word to describe the song is that is rather soft in nature, which is one of the song’s main charm. The vocals in this song were nice and conform well to the main charm. But I think the real winner of the song is the rapping. As mentioned previously, APINK rarely attempts raps but once again, if this the quality that they put out with the rap sequences, I will love to listen to more. (9/10)

6. Memories (기억 더하기) – The only thing missing from this album is the ‘mandatory ballad’. And Memories ends the album with just that one track. I have to admit that it has a rather touching sound to it. Most of the time, artists slap a very typical ballad onto the tracklist in the hope it makes up for the ‘mandatory ballad’. But while the instrumental is typical, the members give the song that much needed emotive element, through their vocals. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

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[Review] %% – APINK

After the release of their successful hit, I’m So Sick, which featured a change in image from their well-known cutesy style, APINK has returned with a brand new song, %%. While you may be tempted to pronounce it as ‘Percent Percent’, the actual pronunciation is ‘Eung Eung’ as when you slightly spin the percentage sign, you get ‘응응’. In other news related to APINK, they had their concert last night where they performed %% for the first time and Eunji had a solo comeback in the later parts of 2018.

%% is another complete changeup in their sound. It is probably their most sensual sounding song yet. The instrumental is very subtle. It is present but it doesn’t seem to be as noticeable as other girl-crush songs that we know of in KPOP, such as I’m So Sick. But I like that, as it forces the vocals to be the main attraction for the song. I thought their vocals were nice. Instead of going for a strong sound, their vocals sounded a lot lighter than usual, which goes extremely well with the subtle instrumentation I mentioned previously. The song itself is catchy and like my previous review, I can see the song growing on me. I really like the ‘Eung’ that features after each ‘Eung Eung‘ sung by the members. It sticks out for all the right reasons and gives a slight accent to the song. I think the song does lack that kick which could make this track a lot stronger and more profound. But over than that, I see this as another great song from APINK.

For a girl group named APINK, I think this is one of the few videos which feature pink as the main colour. There also seems to be this hazy look hanging over the video, which I guess is their way of doing something mysterious. Anyway, the video seems to be showing the members collecting ingredients for a potion of some kind, which was later shown to create a heart for their ‘man’, represented by the floating tuxedo. This goes well with the lyrics to the song. I liked their close up shots and the post-production editing on the video looked cool.

The choreography was awesome. I really liked the introductory dance they had at the start. They seemed to match the moves to the subtle nature of the song but they did it which attitude, so their moves looked much stronger as a whole. Once again, I need to wait until I see a full performance to be sure,

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Being There – Jeong Eunji (APINK)

Also making her solo return today/yesterday (depending on your time zone) is Jeong Eunji, with Being There. The last time we saw Jeong Eunji promote solo was last year with The Spring. More recently, she appeared in the drama, Untouchable (if you enjoy thriller and mystery, this is a K-Drama that I highly recommend) and APINK’s latest comeback, I’m So Sick.

Give me any synonym to the word ‘Beautiful’ and they can all be used to describe the song. The vocals are what drives this song and give it that beautiful sound. Her voice was so captivating in this song that I had to stop whatever I was doing and listen to it in its entirety. The best part was when she sang with no instrumental in the background. This was a really lovely moment of the song that really had an impact for me. The song has a soothing instrumental, made of guitars and piano. It is quite warm as well, suitable for the cold Autumns. This gives light to the song, which touches on missing home. I like how she does that, as it can be an emotional topic for some people.  Do check out this song if you want a nice ballad to listen, especially if the weather is getting colder.

It is an 8-minute long video that does a wonderful job of showing the song in a visual format. Jeong Eunji lives in the city and has a very set routine for her life (like most people who live in the city). However, she makes a snap decision and boards a train en route to her hometown. Once she arrives, we see her return home, greet her mum, share multiple meals and take in the memories she had at the place where she grew up, going hand-in-hand with the lyrics of the song. What I liked about the video was the focus on was Eunji. We never got to see her mum nor anyone else in the video. But we got to see Eunji take in her surrounds and have a beautiful smile throughout the video.

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

 

[Album Review] One & Six (7th Mini Album) – APINK

APINK recently made their return with a completely different image than what we have seen ever before. APINK’s latest title track, I’m So Sick, takes on an exciting mature concept, which is proving to be quite successful. I’m So Sick is also the title track of the group’s 7th mini-album, One & Six, which is the focus of today’s album review. Apologies for the lack of Sunday’s album review. I was so busy that I had to cancel it. It is here now, so let’s move!

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One & Six Album Cover

1..I’m So Sick (1도 없어) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of I’m So Sick. (9/10)

2. AlrightAlright is your typical pop song when you just glance over the track. However, when you listen to it, you notice it is a lot more than the ‘typical pop song’ description. Overall, the song felt fitting for the group who establish what can be described as a ‘lovely’ vibe and hence I thought it was a good selection for a promotional track. Starting off the song were these beautiful sounding twinkles, which gave me shivers the first time I heard the song (which is a good thing). The chorus was catchy with the ‘Alright’ repetition and melody. I particularly liked the drop, as it felt just right for the entire song. I really liked the suspense created before the final chorus. (9/10)

3. Don’t Be Silly – The song felt very mature, even more than the title track, which I think is a rather interesting direction for the group. But they pull it off well. The song feels like an R&B dance track with an extra something that makes it work for APINK. I thought the chorus was quite good, despite the questionable English. I liked the epic feel in the bridge, which was my favourite section of the song. I was disappointed, however, when the song didn’t carry on that epic feel into the final chorus. But other than that, it was a good song. (8/10)

4. Forever Star (별 그리고..) – Forever Star is just your typical ballad from a girl group. While the rest of the album did showcase some great ‘typical’ songs, Forever Star doesn’t really feel great. Instead, it felt a little bland and doesn’t really capture my attention on the album. But it was still listenable. It did feature good melody and nice harmonies. It was quite delicate and did a good job keeping that innocent sound that the group is widely known for. (7/10)

5. Promise Me – With the piano in the first few seconds of the song, I thought the song was going down a ballad route. But the way the clock was ticking soon after gave me a hunch that it wasn’t going to be a ballad. This proved true once the violins kicked in and you could hear many synths during the chorus. Once again, I liked how the chorus felt and hook made the song quite catchy. It had a particularly happy tone, which appealed to my personal taste quite well. The song did feature great vocals from all members, but the spotlight was on Bomi and Eunji (especially the end). It is also one of my favourites on the album! (10/10)

6. I Like That Kiss – A review or description of the song will not do it justice. I highly recommend you give the song a listen as it is extremely hard for me to explain in words. The energy on this track and its quirky instrumental makes the song stand out, particularly that changeup prior to the chorus. The chorus was extremely addictive with the title repetition. The bridge was extremely unexpected, going for a remix style feel in the first half and a totally different sound in the second half.  As I said, my description isn’t enough, and you should check it out for yourself. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

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I’m So Sick Music Video Image

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[Review] I’m So Sick – APINK

APINK is a group once known for their cute concepts and addictive songs. This time around, APINK returns with a completely different image and concept. The ladies of APINK are back with their 7th mini-album, titled as ONE & SIX, which also features the title track, I’m So Sick. We last saw them on stage last year with Five.

Right off the bat, you can tell that the song has a completely different feel to any of their previous releases with those background vocals at the very start (and throughout the song), which are used as instrumentation. They do sound quite questionable but it definitely attracts your attention to the song. The verses were a little interesting, as they seem to be a more bright and cutesy feel to it, which contrasts interestingly with the rest of the song, particularly with the chorus. I thought the upbeat instrumental was really nice and provided an addictive atmosphere. The ‘Bye Bye‘ line in the chorus was quite catchy, with it (along with the background vocals) being key memorable moments of the song. I also thought the electric guitar at the end of the bridge (prior to the of the final chorus) was extremely well-suited for the song and would have loved to hear a bit more of it throughout the song. Overall, I’m So Sick is a really good song that will be on my replay list for days to come.

The lyrics of the song basically tells of a simple message. That the girls are sick of the love they are receiving and are losing interest in their relationship. In the music video, the members do a good job of portraying that. They look really disinterested in what they are doing, while still staying in character throughout the video. It is a very bold video, given its concept and stylistic approaches. This is definitely their most mature look yet. I thought the sets were nice and definitely something that really looks visually appealing.

I thought the performance was extremely fitting for the song. Very mature and sensual at times, words which I never thought I would use to describe APINK. I feel like they could have been a little sassier with some moments, as that would leave a longer lasting impression on the audience.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] Pink Up (6th Mini Album) – APINK

APINK are one the leading girl groups in the industry and they are back with a brand new mini-album for all their fans out there. The mini-album, titled as Pink Up, is their 6th mini-album to date. To be honest, I really need to think of a better way to open up these album reviews. I apologise if I bored you. So let’s continue one!

Pink Up Album Cover

 

1..Five (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Five (7/10)

2. Stinging (콕콕) – Stinging is a very mature sounding track, which is a complete turnaround to their first song on this album. While they do keep a small playful sound to it, it felt more sensual, which is unexpected. The girls do a wonderful job with using their husky vocals, which fit very nicely. The small rap sequence was nice as well. I would love to say it was catchy with its funky instrumental, but rather, it didn’t feel like a memorable track. (7/10)

3. Eyes – Eyes was nice but it lacked a selling point. It just didn’t stand out compared to the other ballads present on this mini-album. I did like how they were going to drag out some of the lines and each member did shine vocally in the song. I would have loved it if there was something that gave the song a bolder side, rather than feeling a standard ballad. (6/10)

4. I Like It – While I don’t think it is worthy of ‘title track’ standards, this song is perfect as a non-title track. It was quite catchy and felt uplifting after the previous two tracks. I love the instrumental, which gave the song a nice foundation, but the vocals felt like it gave the song some life. It falls nicely under the cutesy portfolio that we know and associate APINK with. (8/10)

5. Evergreen – This is one amazing ballad. Eyes didn’t have that bold effect, while the changes in Evergreen was that bold factor that I wanted. It gave the song energy and emotion to motivate us. The vocals are amazing and their best on this mini-album. Listening to the album the first time yesterday, this song caught my attention and was the one song I was looking forward to writing about. (10/10)

6. Always – Another great song. I liked the simpleness of the instrumental. A nice step back from all the electronic songs constantly released. What I loved about this song is that the chorus was super catchy and nice-sounding. I loved the harmonies present in the chorus. The verses felt empty and dry in comparison. It felt like the chorus was sung by all members, while the verses felt unsupported. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

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Pink Up Teaser Image

[Review] Only One – APINK

APINK has finally returned with a brand new album. This is their second album to date, their first being L.U.V released back in 2014. They did promote Remember, last year, as a mini album as well. APINK have been busy with solo promotions, dramas and variety appearances.

I am going straight to the point. I am hugely disappointed with the song. APINK is known for their cutesy songs, which have all been catchy and easy to get into. But this move from that side of the girls to a mature sound doesn’t seem right for the girls. I do like the song to an extent, but I feel that the song wasn’t made for them. The overall vocal work and the sound gave sort of awkward vibe.  The rhythm of the song is quite nice. Instrumental has a nice retro vibe to it, which makes the song soung decent. You can tell that their vocals have improved a lot in the song, but some parts just didn’t seem right (also some of the members do sing in a very monotone way, which I have noticed for the past few comebacks) . There was a great imbalance of volume in the song. The chorus was pretty loud and clear, the verses on the other hand seemed a little low (I think that was because of the higher pitch during those verses). Overall, they were quite weak and made the lead into the song quite boring. There isn’t much colour to the song, which is disappointing. Maybe pour a little more emotion into the song or push the girls a little more deliver something more different, in terms of sound.

Music video was another let down. Though, I can bear this one more than Remember. The girls did deliver with a more mature concept. No more cutesy smiles or cute dance moves. Smoke, grey filters and long dresses (those boots can go) apparently make up for a mature video. Though, throw in a few breathtaking shots of roof tops (yes, I know 2PM used the same rooftop – read somewhere that it is in some university in South Korea) and the video looks quite nice. The rest of the video looks pretty generic. They should throw away those shots where the girls are sitting around and singing in the midst of a rainforest  room full of plants. It just makes it boring and bland.

Another disappointing component (and the final component that I discuss in each review) is the dance. There are hints of cuteness in the dance, but overall, the dance looks boring.

Rating – 4/10

Hopefully Sky – Jung Eunji (APINK)

Before I run out of time, let’s do the final review for the weekend. It has been something that fans have wanted for ages and finally Jun Eunji, the main vocalist of APINK, has officially made her solo debut on the stage. Well, she has had solo stages before and collaborations, but this is her first solo release. She joined up with Hareem, which I believe is a folk musician in South Korea for her song: Hopefully Sky.

It is a really nice ballad. At first, I was weirded out by the song, like all folk songs. But this one grew on me. I hear this song on my playlist and I can’t help to listen to it. First of all, it is very easy on my ears. Move aside heavy dubstep or really slow ballads. This has the right pitch, tempo, rhythm etc. It had the perfect ratio between vocals and instrumental. It was also somewhat catchy. The only thing I would say about the song is that is was very boring. It did feel dry for a while and it still has that dryness factor to it. If I can somehow shake that off when I listen to the song, it would be amazing. It just happened to stay from the first time I listened to the song til now. The lyrics and instrumental remind you of Spring and I think it did an excellent job about.

I have yet to watch the video, so these will be my initial reactions. I just expect the video to be of Eunji staring off into the blue skies and sitting in some sort of green grass patch or flower garden. Cause that is what the song gives off. Okay, watching the video, it just does not seem like that. Instead, Eunji is making most of the Spring weather and scenery in what seems to be her home town (or the setting is meant to be her hometown). Visiting schoolyards, some really beautiful artwork on the sides of buildings. She even sings on top of a rooftop which shows a really nice view of the town in the video. First impressions tell me that this is a very beautiful video, for a very beautiful song.  The cherry blossoms made the video seem much more pretty and romantic. I think it was a very well done video.

Overall, as I mentioned above: a very beautiful comeback. No wonder it topped charts as soon as it was released. 9.5/10

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

Probably one of the biggest award ceremonies for music and also probably one of the most prestigious, the 30th Golden Disk Awards (GDA) was held on the 20th to the 21st of January 2016. The GDA was supposed to be held in China but was moved back to South Korea due to the recent earthquakes that occurred there just 1 or two weeks before the scheduled event. Even though many people were shocked and feared the award ceremony would be either postponed or cancelled, the ceremony went off without a single hiccup and was broadcast live in both Korea and China.

What I like about this particular awards is that is focuses on both the physical albums and downloaded songs of the year. In other words, more awards for everyone. It is also nice to see who excelled in what (hahahaha…). The digital awards were handed out on the 20th of January, while the physical album awards were handed out on the 21st of January. The award show on the first night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Jong Kook and Seohyun (SNSD). The second night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Leeteuk (Super Junior) and Krystal (F(x)) I have recapped the award winners on the two nights below.

Disk Daesang (Album Of The Year) – EXODUS (EXO)
Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) – Loser (Big Bang)
Disk Bonsang (Best Artist) – APINK, VIXX, F(x), BTS, CNBLUE, Jonghyun (SHINee), EXO, Beast, Super Junior
Digital Bonsang (Best Artist) – Red Velvet, EXID, AOA, Zion.T, Park Jin Young, Sistar, Taeyeon (SNSD), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Big Bang, Girl’s Generation
Best New Artist – GFriend, iKON, Seventeen, Twice
Popularity Award – SHINee
Best Rap / Hip Hop – SanE
Best Rock – Hyukoh
Global Popularity Award – EXO
Best Group Vocal Award – BTOB
Best Solo Vocal Award – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue)
Best Male Artist Award – Big Bang
Best Female Artist Award – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Next Generation Star Award – Monsta X

Once again, this wide spread of award winners seem to be more representative of main stream KPOP. Not that I am complaining. Most of the award recipients were similar to the Seoul Music Award 2016, however a lot more artists won in this ceremony, since their was more rewards. Not that I am being a hater or anything, but Kyuhyun’s bonsang award seems a little far fetched. From memory (correct me if I am wrong though), his song never charted high on the charts and likewise Super Junior barely makes an impact on the digital side of the music industry. So I am a little suspicious of how he managed to get an award for a digital bonsang. Saying that, he did sell a lot. Like a lot on the physical side. But beside that, I think it was a nice range of artists who won and I think it is accurate (as in which artists managed to shine the brightest in 2015).

I really need to think of ways to start off the different sections, but once again… I think out of the all the ceremonies that have already been broadcast (NOTE: I am typing this prior to the Gaon Chart Awards), GDA has the best performances. Why? Because many of the artists performed multiple songs and I really enjoy how some artists (or their producers) integrate different songs together. GFriend, Red Velvet, EXID, Seventeen and BTS had the best stages on the nights. Some artists performed some songs that were released in the past (in previous years, such as EXID’s Up & Down, VIXX’s Error, Sistar’s Touch My Body etc.), which I kind of liked, but, the songs were released last year… so maybe a little outdated. But overall, the performances, I think, were to a very high standard and pleased me (*points at myself* and *acting as the biggest critic of all time*).

Below are just the few performances that I found and slapped together in a playlist format in no particular order.

For a last minute change to the ceremony, it managed to do pretty well in my books. Awards, performances. Everything was just great. There is one more to go of this season’s award ceremonies, which will be coming out in the coming days. Until then, bye!!

 

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

The Seoul Music Awards is one of the award ceremonies held the year after for the year before. For example, the award ceremony for the 25th Seoul Music Award was held in 2016, but celebrates the flourishing artists of 2015. Understand yet? Well now that hard to understand concept has been dealt with, the 25th Seoul Music Award ceremony was held on the 14th of January 2016, in Seoul. It is said that this award ceremony is one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies for the year as it recognises the popular and talented artists of the year. Selection process for winners on the night are as follow: 20% mobile votes, 10% Popularity Polls, 40% music sales (both digital and physical album sales) and 30% judging panel’s scores. Only artists who released singles or albums in 2015 are eligible to win.

Like all ceremonies, a number of actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the event to give out awards. The night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, EXID’s Hani and Honey Lee. All artists that received the award on the night performed on stage (minus those whose awards were accepted on their behalf by label mates – Big Bang is who I am trying to refer to).

Just to recap the awards winners of the night:
Bonsang Awards – EXID, Red Velvet, Taeyeon (SNSD), VIXX, Yoon Mi Rae, Zion.T, BTS, EXO, APINK, Sistar, Big Bang & SHINee.
Best New Artist – iKON, GFriend, Seventeen
Performance Award – Hyukoh
Best Trot Award – Hong Jin Young
Best RnB Award – Sane
Best Ballad Award – BTOB
Best OST Award – Jang Jae In (performed with Wonwoo (Seventeen) on the night)
Male Dance Performance Award – Monsta X
Female Dance Performance Award – Ailee
Mobile Popularity Award – Kim Junsu (JYJ)
Hallyu Special Award – EXO
Record Of The Year (Digital Release) – Bang Bang Bang (Big Bang)
Record Of The Year (Physical Release) – Kiss My Lip (BOA)
Daesang Award (Best Artist Of The Year) – EXO

The Bonsang awards seem to be more representative of the mainstream KPOP this year. Finally, Seventeen get their Best New Artist award that I think they truly deserve. Most likely they got it for their record breaking album sales. And finally some people decided to pay attention to BTOB. I am not technically fond of their ballads in the past year, but hey, it looks like South Korea is finally paying attention to them. Ailee’s award is one I am not exactly sure of. I don’t think it was the best dance performance of the year. I think that belongs to a particular rookie who was present on the night as well. Regarding Kim Junsu, who was apparently not invited to the ceremony despite winning a key award on the night, there is some shady business going on. But hopefully, when this matter is resolved, justice for Junsu and JYJ will occur. 2015 was a step forward for them, with the introduction of the JYJ Law.

Ailee should not have been pestered for the cameras catching her “on her mobile”. The netizens make it sound like she was too busy texting another person or was too busy looking at pictures of food. Put simply, she was just downloading an app to support SHINee and was later seen supporting Boa. People should really see the bigger picture (or in this case, wait for it) before making a big deal out it. Also, Boa’s award. Even though it was nice to see her win something, I agree with a lot of people who say she got the award just because of her senior status. It was her 15 year anniversary and she probably wouldn’t have received any award for her album if she debuted later on. Also, Starship should not deprive Sistar of any chances to get on the stage. They looked like they really enjoyed being there and were probably excited for their first stage together in what seemed to be 6 months.

Performance wise, I actually did not pay that much attention to the performances in this ceremony. Some of them were disappointing to watch, while others just did not appeal to me or make me want to watch. All I am going to say is the few that I did manage to watch (mainly the first half) were okay. Just minus the introduction for EXID’s performance. That was shocking. Stand out was probably GFriend’s intro. While their fan chant came to a close second. I don’t why I feel that way regarding the performances, I just was not feeling it. For the past few years which I have been watching the SMA ceremonies, their performances are by far the weakest of all ceremonies. Below I have put a handful of performances that I could quickly find into a playlist from the night.

Well, that is it for my wrap up of the Seoul Music Awards 2016. Hopefully, next year is better. Less controversy and better stages required to make this an award ceremony that I can look forward to.

 

Recap of MelOn Music Awards 2015 and Thoughts

The MMA or MelOn Music Awards were held on the 7th of November 2015. MelOn does not refer to the fruit but rather the music chart and on-line music store in South Korea. It is held by LOEN Entertainment, which owns the music distribution company. The music award has its own unique criteria where it only calculates digital sales of artists in the past year and incorporate these sales with on-line votes of fans.

The following artists, groups and actors attended the ceremony: Big Bang, Yoona (SNSD), Hyukoh, Hyorin & Dasom (Sistar) (did not perform), Toy (did not perform), APINK, Zion.T, Sane, iKON, GFriend, Mad Clown (did not perform), Hong Jin Young, BTS, Red Velvet, EXID, Monsta X, Winner (did not perform). Actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the night as presenters.

The show on the night was hosted by Yoo Byung Jae and Seo Kang Joon. They were shortly joined by Lee Boo Yi, Kim Shin Young, Kim So Hyun & Irene (Red Velvet). The red carpet was hosted by Youngji (Former Member of Kara) and Seo Yuri.

Below are the winners on the night. Afterwards, I have left some comments regarding some awards:
Top 10 Artist – SHINee, Girl’s Generation, Hyukoh, Toy, Big Bang, Sistar, EXO, APINK, Zion.T, Sane.
Best New Artist – iKON & GFriend
Best Rap/Hip Hop – Mad Clown ft. Jinsil (Fire)
Best Ballad – Baek Ah Yeon ft. Young K (Shouldn’t Have)
Best RnB – Naul (Living In The Same Time)
Best Rock – Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer)
Best OST – Loco & Yuju (Spring Is Gone By Chance)
Best Trot – Hong Jin Young (Love WiFi)
Best Pop – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk)
Best Male Dance – BTS (I Need U)
Best Female Dance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Folk – 10cm (Sseudam Sseudam)
Best Indie – Standing Egg ft. Wheein & Obroject Yundak (The Sunlight Hurts)
Netizen Popularity Award – Big Bang (Bang Bang Bang)
Hot Trend Award – Infinite Challenge (Yeongdong Expressway Music Festival)
Best Music Video – Park Jin Young ft. Jessi (Who’s Your Mama?)
Song Writer Award – Teddy
MBC Music Star Award – EXID
1theK Performance Award – Monsta X
Album Of The Year (Daesang) – EXODUS
Song Of The Year (Daesang) – Bang Bang Bang
Artist Of The Year (Daesang) – Big Bang

I personally think above is a fair spread for award winners. While I am not knowledgeable to comment on categories such as Best Indie and Best Folk, the rest show 2015 in its glory. Once again, I think Seventeen deserves the Best New Artist award and GFriend finally got what they deserved (it’s a good thing. Kind of sounded like I was hinting at something bad). Sistar and APINK’s Top 10 awards caught me off guard since they were quickly taken over by other artists on the digital charts and failed to be up to par with the other artists. I am glad to see Kim Sung Gyu win something for his album. It was really good.

And as per usual, there were performances that night from the groups who won awards. Performers included: Hyukoh, Big Bang, APINK, Zion.T, Sane, BTS, EXID, Red Velvet, Monsta X, iKON and GFriend. It would have been nicer to see some more artists who won from the night perform. I think best performance of the night was BTS with their cool jackets that had light coming off them. A very large portion of the show was dedicated to Big Bang, which had people talking. Sure, they won a lot of award, but I agree with majority of the audience. Big Bang’s performances just made it feel like one Big Bang concert. Sure, they won prestigious awards, but it just robbed the other artists of their night, who also put hard effort into making 2015 their year. Would have I gotten angry over the fact they turned the award show into a mini concert? No, but maybe they should have dropped one or two songs.

Overall, I think MMA15 was pretty fair. They had a large variety of winners (mainly because they have a lot of categories) and minus that small complaint regarding the performances, the show was great. Oh, but damn was the presentation of the awards cringe worthy. Probably this ceremony takes the award for  “Worst Presentation of Awards” award. Could have done it in a way where the presenters did not feel that ashamed of themselves.

 

 

End Of Year Charts 2014

Welcome to the end of the 2014 charts. This chart has every single song that was released from the 1st of January 2014 to the 1st of December. I left the nitty gritty stuff out (aka. the numbers I used for the ranking) and made sure that everything was fair. So that means for songs that were released towards the end of the year would have received some extra increment to make sure that they were levelled out with the songs released in January. Other numbers used included whether songs were on the YouTube Playlist of The Month and each song was re-reviewed in categories of “song, music video and dance”. Below are just some interesting facts that you may enjoy in regards to this chart.

  • The very first song released to be included on the charts are Rain’s 30 Sexy and La Song. The last song released before the cut off date was Infinite F’s Heartbeat.
  • T-Ara’s Sugar Free (2) was the only song throughout the whole chart to score the maximum of 40 for the song re-review.
  • VIXX is the first boy group to appear in the charts at 14th place with Eternity.
  • As touched on above, this year the charts are dominated by the girl groups, with 13 boy groups versus 37 girl groups (repeated groups not excluded).
  • Heavily promoted songs tend to rank higher than songs that were released as a single and not promoted.
  • The following artists achieved the next few positions after 50th place: SPEED, Crayon Pop, Z:EA, Zhou Mi (Super Junior), BTOB, Infinite, UKISS, AOA and Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
1 Something Girl’s Day
2 Sugar Free T-Ara
3 Up & Down EXID
4 Monday Blues Sunny Hill
5 Piano Man Mamamoo
6 Darling Girl’s Day
7 I’m In Love Secret
8 Mr. Chu A Pink
9 Yasisi NS Yoon G
10 Red Light F(x)
11 One More Fiestar
12 Good Night Kiss Hyosung (Secret)
13 Ain’t Nobody HA:TFELT (Yenny – Wonder Girls)
14 Eternity VIXX
15 You Don’t Love Me Spica
16 So Wonderful Ladies Code
17 This Is Love Super Junior
18 Luv APINK
19 Like A Cat AOA
20 B.B.B (Big Baby Baby) Dal Shabet
21 Good Luck Beast
22 Cha Cha Rainbow BLAXX
23 Full Moon Sunmi ft. Lena
24 Error VIXX
25 Catallena Orange Caramel
26 My Copy Cat Orange Caramel
27 Don’t Look At Me Like That Song Ji Eun (Secret)
28 Back Infinite
29 8Dayz Megan Lee
30 What About You? Laboum
31 Dont Touch Me Ailee
32 I Swear Sistar
33 Singing Got Better Ailee
34 1004 (Angel) B.A.P
35 Danger BTS
36 12:30 Beast
37 Mr. Ambigious Mamamoo
38 Lonely B1A4
39 Beep Beep BTOB
40 Mamma Mia Kara
41 I Need You Bestie
42 Solo Day B1A4
43 Whatcha Doing Today? 4Minute
44 Pretty Age 25 Song Ji Eun (Secret)
45 1 Minute 1 Second Jiyeon (T-Ara)
46 Peppermint Chocolate Mamamoo ft. K.Will & Wheesung
47 FxxK U Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
48 Touch My Body Sistar
49 Evanesce Super Junior
50 Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms HIGH4 ft. IU

THAT’S IT!!! 2014 IS OVER AND 2015 IS APPROACHING. WISHING YOU ALL (IN YOUR RESPECTIVE TIME ZONES) A HAPPY NEW YEAR. I only have 6 hours to go and I am excited. Party hard (but not too hard) and I will see you next year!! aka. in the next few days ^^