[Album Review] The Ruby (6th Mini Album) – APRIL

APRIL has returned with their 6th mini-album, The Ruby. This is my first time reviewing an APRIL album and I couldn’t pass the chance when I was very impressed with all the songs on the album. Featured on the album is Oh! My Mistake, which actually topped the KPOPREVIEWED Weekly KPOP charts for last week! So without any further delay (as I have a number of reviews to write tonight), let’s start.

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The Ruby Album Cover

1..Oh-e-Oh – The first song on this track list is only a small teaser into what it going to come on this album. Oh-e-Oh has a super energetic and bright instrumental, which one of the main reasons why I enjoyed the song. The chorus is incredibly infectious, especially the killer opener to the chorus (which is just the title of the song enthusiastically projected out loud). Throw in their vocals in the song and you get a very refreshing feel to the song that starts this album on a very fun yet exciting note. (10/10)

2. Oh! My Mistake (예쁜 게 죄) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Oh! My Mistake. (9/10)

3. Love Story (이야기)Love Story is one of the songs that sounds so typical and has been attempted before. But before you jump at my throat, it is also one of the few songs that sounds so typical yet nailed well so you don’t really grow tired of it. I thought the chorus was super catchy and the hook (title repeated post-chorus) was very addictive. Vocal work for this song was also amazing. However, the autotune at the start of the second verse felt very out of place and didn’t feel right. But other than that, another good song. (9/10)

4. Love Clock – I don’t mind the song but it probably my pick for the weakest song on the entire album. There is a nice melody and the ‘Ring My Bell’ lines gives me some nostalgia. The chorus wasn’t as strong as I hoped for. I like the falsetto during the pre-chorus, which was by far my favourite section of the song. I also liked how they extended the second and final chorus (compared to the second chorus) which pushes the song to be slightly catchier. The song itself is still good but it doesn’t have me falling for it as the others did. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

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The Ruby Teaser Image

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[Review] Oh! My Mistake – APRIL

APRIL has returned with a brand new song, Oh! My Mistake. This is the group’s second comeback of the year, with the first being The Blue Bird which was released back in March.  Oh! My Mistake is featured on the group’s 6th mini-album, The Ruby.

Oh! My Mistake takes on a completely different sound that was completely different from my expectations. APRIL has made comebacks with bright songs, while also some mature sounding track due to the instrumentation that they went with. However, this felt powerful but in a very subtle way. It feels linear or monotone at first as it doesn’t feel like it builds up to the extent you want it to. However, the pre-chorus builds up in a way that really gives the song some punch. The chorus was also quite catchy, especially with the hook in the second half. Looking back, the buildup was there but it wasn’t as profound or that obvious like in other songs. The song has this retro sound which feels really cool. I thought the instrumental break was a well-done connection between the retro sound and our current era. I personally like this song and think it is a great addition to their portfolio.

The music video had elements of the retro era such as the VHS tapes at the start and the end of the video. I liked the direction they took. APRIL is a group that I usually associate a really strong cutesy charm too, as this has been utilised in their comebacks on numerous occasions. But there were no cutesy charms here. Instead, they looked mature and it really suited them.

While there isn’t a live performance for this comeback yet, there was enough in the video for me to say that it looked really nice. It isn’t your most energetic routine but it was formed in a way that suits the perceived linear nature of the song. They showed some of the pre-chorus routines which I liked, along with the routine in the second half of the choruses.

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

 

[Review] The Blue Bird – APRIL

APRIL is back with their newest track, The Blue Bird. The Blue Bird is the title track off their 5th mini album, which is titled as The Blue. This also marks their Take My Hand comeback since September 2017, the final of three 2017 comebacks (the others include April Story and Mayday).  Jinsol and Naeun also formed a special subunit for a track in February (which I somehow completely missed).

The Blue Bird reminds of the April Story, in the sense, it (predominately) features an orchestral style instrumental. This return does bring them back to that mature sound which I liked with the earlier track. And while they did bring that back, they did manage to keep it from becoming too similar. The drums that featured in this song seemed to be a lot bolder and more defined, giving the song some energy and a more upbeat vibe. The bridge was also quite fresh, which removed the classical influence and moved into a more pop-based sound. It didn’t last long but it gave the song some relief from becoming too repetitive. Vocally, all the members sounded good. It isn’t impressive but their vocals pair well with this style. My favourite line is just before the choruses and the final line in the song, ‘I have something to say.’ I thought the way it sounded was just beautiful and was my highlight of the entire track.

I liked how the video wasn’t oversaturated in blue. And I am glad because it would have made it a little overwhelming to watch. Instead, the blue colour was featured as small details such as the teddy bear, the blue sky, the flower petals on the floor. Their blue dresses were bold yet it worked well with the rest of the video in the background. On top of that, I really liked where they set the video. It gave off a classy vibe and made everything feel graceful and warm. Overall, it was a nice video to watch, pairing well with the song.

I unfortunately don’t think there is enough choreography in the video to write anything about it. Though I will be honest and what I can see is rather plain. I will return once a live performance is released (PS. there are a few from last week which I will be updating tomorrow).

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10 
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Take My Hand – APRIL

April has returned during the week with their third comeback of 2017. The girls made their first comeback at the start of the year with April Story and in May with Mayday. Their third comeback is in the form of their 4th mini-album, titled as Eternity and the title track is Take My Hand.

Take My Hand has one powerful instrumental. From the very start to the end, the instrumental has been the standout aspect of the entire song. The mix of classical with the electronic synths sounds really cool. Their vocal work in this song is pretty good. But the song is far from perfect. The first major observation is that the song didn’t have that catchiness that makes many KPOP songs addictive. Going hand-in-hand with that observation is that the song does really peak as well. It remains relatively neutral and it would have been better to have it kicked into a more addictive gear with a hook. The next thing I noticed was that the song seemed to be jammed together. Rather than having small breaks along the way, it felt more like a blur and in combination with the idea that the song doesn’t have any catchy moments, the song does fall behind its competition and the girl’s previous tracks. While there are aspects that I like, the song does fall short.

The few times I have watched the video, I thought it was boring. But after looking into it in detail, it actually became quite interesting. Essentially, the plotline is that the girls are shy and are hesitant when it comes to confessing to their crush. Their crush just seems to brush things off and goes on with his day. Wanting a second wish, they find this prayer that allows them to have a second chance at confessing to the guy, which in the end, they manage to get. Quite an interesting storyline, considering how it fits in nicely with the accompanying English lyrics. The choreography scenes look great but I am not a major fan of their outfits this time around. Not one to mention it, but it was one of the first things to pop into my head when I watched the video the first time around.

The performance is quite nice, but it doesn’t have a memorable move or sequence. I did like their jammed-packed chorus because there was a mix of elegance but also a little abstract from what I can see.

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

[Double Review] Mayday + Lovesick – APRIL

APRIL previously made their comeback at the start of the year with April Story. That was their first comeback where they introduced their two newest members, Rachel and Chaekyung. Now, the girls are back with their newest title track Mayday. From what I got out of the news articles regarding their comeback (I mainly skimmed over them), I did not expect a second music video for Lovesick. However, since it is already released, why not make a review for it as well? Let’s get the show on the road!

While the verses were very dry and lacking, the chorus is what makes Mayday so good. Overall, the song seems to bring together the cute side of their past comebacks but also that mature sound we were given a taste of, at the start of the year. There is also something familiar about the “Mayday, Mayday” melody at the start of the chorus, which made we return to the track a few times already. The instrumental was kind of messy and very loaded. They smashed different sounds, which sounded okay, but it wasn’t great. As for their vocal work, it was okay. Not their finest but still good.

Comparing the two songs, the vocal work of Lovesick is much better. They sounded clearer and more appealing to me. The song was drier than Mayday, which was a disappointment. I say that because I was drawn to the song for its string based instrumental, which (for those who don’t know) I am a total sucker for. The instrumental may be a lot more simple in this song and almost felt empty, but I still fell for it. Overall, it isn’t that catchy and I actually do prefer Mayday over Lovesick.

Like the song, I do prefer the music video for Mayday over Lovesick. If you have read my many past reviews (I have over a thousand of them), I place a huge emphasis on colours and filters, which I think I shouldn’t do. But, the video for Mayday was more bolder and vibrant with its colours, while Lovesick felt pale and didn’t have the energy to help fuel its potential cute concept. There wasn’t else to the Lovesick video. It felt more like a video for fans more than anything else. Mayday was loaded with extra scenes and fitted the bright sound of the song. I also liked the retro theme that they had going.

Both dances were very cute and matched their respective songs. To me, Mayday had more of an impact to it, which made it more enjoyable to watch. Lovesick had your typical cute concept moves, while Mayday had a little more fun to it.

Mayday
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

Lovesick
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 5/10
Performance – 5.5/10
Overall Rating – 5.5/10

 

[Review] April Story – April

April has also returned with a slight adjustment to their lineup. They last promoted as a 5 member girl group back in April 2016 with Tinkerbell. Hyunjoo was put on hiatus due to health issues and later in 2016, she ended up leaving the group. In her stead, Chaekyung and Rachel were added to the group, transforming the group into a 6 member girl group. They released their 3rd mini album Prelude and title track April Story on the 4th of January this year.

Another great song. This time April has gone with a very nice orchestra instrumental (with the addition of guitar riffs throughout the song) and something that has a grander sound than anything they have released. The group also adopted a more mature sound with this comeback. Vocally, this song gives the girls a little boost in recognition. While there aren’t any high notes, like in their past songs, each member sounded amazing. Well, for the 3 members or so who sung. I watched those line distribution videos once again. And this song probably was the worst line distribution of all time. 1 member got 2 seconds worth of lines and another member got no lines whatsoever. Instead, the majority of the song was dominated by 2 vocalists, who took a combined 73% of the song (Line distribution as my source here). Now I am reading that some of the members may not be vocally equipped or fluent in the language. So why make them debut? It doesn’t make sense. But I guess that can be talk for another day. The song just felt a little underwhelming, if I was to say anything else. Minus the line distribution, I enjoyed the song a lot.

The music video was quite underwhelming as well. Let me start off by getting something off my chest: that hair needs to go. Now that has been recorded and published for the word to see, I can focus back on the review. The video shows the girls as dolls, who seem to be eying the guy. It seems like the girls like the guy and dream that one day they can walk into the door of the store for him to see (i.e. the ending). The plot was okay and quite innocent. Just the video felt dull and unappealing to watch. Maybe given their past videos, I expected something with a little more colour. But then again it is Winter, so the dull filter is in style. And here I am rambling.

The choreography was quite good for the song. It was quite elegant and very classy to watch these girls dance. The ending in the video seemed messy, so the expectation was the stage was going to have a messy ending. But on the stage, it was perfected and they all look in sync.

Rating – 6/10

[Review] Tinkerbell – APRIL

April has finally returned with a brand new song, Tinkerbell. For those who don’t remember, April is a 5 member girl group which debuted under DSP Entertainment last year. They made their debut with Dream Candy and made their comeback at the end of the year with Muah!. With their second comeback, one of the members (Hyunjoo) had gone onto temporary hiatus to recover from some health issues. Just note that she hasn’t dropped out of the group and says she will return once she is all better.

The song is pretty cool. All these bright and cutesy songs all remind me of the days where girl groups made their debuts and comebacks with aegyo sounding sounds. Only now, they seem to be more ambitious and creative, in terms of style and sound. The song is really addictive and I lipsync to it (and I am proud of it!) every time I hear it play. Probably a song I managed to replay constantly when it first came out. It has been a while since their comeback, so the song has naturally settled. Their vocals were on point on this song and since their debut, they have grown vocally. I have said I am a sucker for high notes, but honestly, I have yet to decide whether the “high notes” at the end of the song are actually high notes or just someone yelling into the microphone. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds really nice. Just sometimes I feel like it is a little excessive. Chorus is catchy. The bright tone and pop based instrumental really brings out the smiles when I listen to it. I think that what makes the song so great, that makes you feel good and smile more.

The music video was too boring for my taste. I feel like there could have been so much room for creativity with just the title “Tinkerbell” and they just release a music video full of flowers in a forest? However, they got the small size of the character and also the beautiful (yet childish) looking dresses. They acting is okay in this video. A lot better than in their previous videos. The sets look nice, though. I just think the video is very boring and that doesn’t fit the bright and happy tone of the song.

The dance overall is pretty nice. It was literally what I wanted to see when I first heard the song. It isn’t an amazing dance but it fits perfectly with the song.

Really sorry for the short review. They are going to be short reviews for the next few weeks, though, sorry to say that. Exams coming up. Overall, the song was pretty good. Music video could have been much better. 6.5/10

Muah – APRIL

APRIL has returned with a song that pleases me and sounds 100% better then their debut song. This song is much more lively and energetic than Dream Candy, which they released a few months back. And I personally like that aspect of the track. You can tell just from the sound of the track of how fun and colourful the track is. While the highlight of the song was “Muah, Muah, Muah”, I think over words could have been used in place of muah. I honestly heard “Wah” when I first listen to the song. The vocal work for this song and the rapping were amazing. Not 100% sure what they sound like on stage, but this song gives me high hopes. The instrumental sounds pretty ordinary, but I don’t think it effects my perspective on the song that much. It is quite catchy and pretty addictive at the moment. Overall, I like it a lot.

As for the music video, that colour that we find in the song is evidently here in the music video. The video itself is a lot more interesting than Dream Candy. So the whole video is about them falling in love with one particular guy. Like all five girls, falling in love with only one guy. The same guy. Hmmm… Honestly, KPOP needs to invest in more people to act in these videos. Almost every KPOP video is about 1 guy or girl and the whole band falling in love with them. Kind of ridiculous. Every time I watch a music video that has this kind of plot, I kind of throw the video to the side. But the weirdest bit is that the girls become angry at each other, but make up with kisses. And fake kisses at that. Ummm… For some reason this sounds like something coming out of a high school. And really, these girls (in their girl scout uniform) look like their barely at the age to even be loved by a dude who looks way too legal.

The dance is really not that impressive. There really is nothing that grand about the dance. It’s cute and all, but with competition in the industry at the moment, this dance is going to get them no where. But I have to say the “muah, muah, muah” dance seems very bouncy and seems to be the cutest moment of the dance.

Overall, great song, interesting video and ordinary dance. I think you guys need to just read this line, and it summarises the review in just a few words. Hahahah… 6/10

Dream Candy – APRIL

A brand new group is on the block. Coming straight from the very company that formed FinkL, KARA, Rainbow and AJAX, APRIL is probably the youngest KPOP group at the moment. Yeah, they just debut and their youngest member is 13. I’m nearing 19 and I am starting to feel a little old. The oldest member is my age, and here I am trying to figure out how to make money grow on trees. This girl group is dubbed as the “next generation FinkL and Kara” (well, that is what their company claims). The group members as Somin, Chaewon, Hyunjoo, Naeun, Yena and Jinsol. Somin in particular has been a past member of Puretty (up until their disbandment) and both Somin and Chaewon participated in the Kara Project.

This is a pretty weak song for a debut. It really does not live much of an impact on the people who listen to the song. It just sounds like a song from a group that will just disappear. Not saying it is bad or anything, it just doesn’t tell the world how great this new group is. The song itself managed to work as an introduction to the band, but it is rather disappointing. Rookie girl groups like GFriend and Lovelyz had debut songs that got people to remember them.  They were catchy and powerful. But this, it is weak. Not catchy, not addictive. Their vocals are so-so. I am sure they will improve with future releases (like every other band). The song did have more of a Christmas but Summer (and princess) feel to it, in my point of view. While there are many intense songs, it is quite nice to get a song like this from time to time that is soft and calming. But yeah, they should have gone for a much stronger song to showcase their talents.

As for the music video, it was rather boring. I was easily distracted by other things and that took me away from the video. They are cute and definitely suit the cute concept, but I am sorry. This just does not do a good job at appealing to me. I honestly be creeped out if I woke up with a lot of plants growing next to me. I guess in this video, they went on a quest to find the unicorn. I wasn’t really that clear cause the video is basically 90% of them being cute and 10% of actual unicorns, so… I feel like DSP should have invested a little more into the music video. The sets, they look cheap. I am not expected everything to be made out of diamonds and gold, but there is that cheap feel accompanying the video. Also their dresses. The solid colours work. The German inspired dresses need to go. Also, those lacey bottoms to the dresses can go. That is so out of fashion. And that is coming from one who knows nothing about fashion.

For the dance, this is quite weak. Nothing wowed me. It was just a standard, boring dance. For their expressions, I feel like maybe they only just debut. But they look quite stiff and awkward on stage. But it is far too early to criticise them on that.

They are in need of a strong comeback. Debut didn’t do wonders for them, which is disappointing, because there was so hype around these girls. 4/10