[Review] Crazy Sexy Cool – ASTRO

November is proving to be one KPOP party with the number of confirmed comebacks for just next week alone. Kicking off the November comebacks is ASTRO, with their latest title track, Crazy Sexy Cool, and mini-album Dream Part 2. The boy group previously promoted Baby in June, serving as the main song of their Part 1 of the Dream series.

Listening to the song for the first time, I am worried that the song doesn’t have that needed impact. The start of the song is very underwhelming and slow. But the song does get better along the way, with that thumping bass during the chorus. The instrumental is quite funky, described as a nu-disco genre, but it doesn’t feel that way. I am not too sure what exactly it sounds like (it is not bad, so don’t misunderstand), I just can’t place my finger on it. There isn’t much of a hook, in my opinion, that leaves the song forgettable for the most part. The vocal and rapping work in the song is quite good and the instrumental (during the chorus) adds energy to make it sound more lively. That part just before the chorus, where they strip everything away, is pretty damn good.  To sum up, it is a pretty nice song to listen to. If there was a more decent hook, I would have enjoyed it more.

Curious boys meet Narnia? Mistaken boys believing things they are seeing in the dark? I have no idea what this video is about. They happen to see a silhouette which somehow leads them to their wardrobe, which leads them to different places. Following the silhouette, they have a few wardrobe changes along away (a perk of having a magical wardrobe?), until they realize that the silhouette was a figure of their imagination. That’s my understanding. Though those plot twists at the end make things a little more confusing. But I will admit, it was fun to watch. It was a great video, which went well with the song.

Their performance is okay. Not exactly memorable but it has that ASTRO vibe that reminds me of their past choreographies. Maybe that is because they are performing it but it feels just right for them.

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

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[Review] Baby – ASTRO

ASTRO is back with a brand new mini-album, titled as Dream Part. 01. Baby is the title track for the mini-album. ASTRO previously returned (without promotions) with their fourth and Winter-themed mini-album, along with the track Should Have Held Onto You in February.  The group has also been announced perform at their first concert in July this year.

Fitting in with the upcoming Summer season in South Korea, ASTRO’s Baby is a great song to open up the extremely close season (Excuse me, while I start shivering down here in Melbourne). The overall sound is fresh and bright, which are ideas that you associate with Summer. The sound also goes hand-in-hand with their previous releases. The song is rooted firmly into the pop sphere, but there is a strong tropical sound that comes out of it. The vocal work is great here and the raps seem to come in at the right time. It’s the type of song that you wouldn’t mind dancing to or you can’t help smiling too. The only thing I have against the song is that it isn’t as catchy as I wanted it to be. Not necessarily a bad thing in this case though, because I would listen to it either way for that Summer feel. There is something in the chorus that would perk my ears up, but it isn’t at the level I want it to be. But overall, great song!

The music video features the guys working in a cafe that serves 6 different coloured soft drinks. And each member represents a single colour. Moonbin is red, Eunwoo is blue, JinJin is green, MJ is orange, Sanha is yellow and Rocky is indigo/violet. And each drink somehow transports you to a different coloured room, with each respective member in there with you, having a bit of fun. The use of colour is obvious but it goes well that Summer season. I liked how the rooms were next to each other and would have liked for a longer montage to be shown of the rooms next to each other. There was one thing though. As the music video progresses, the video seems to lose its touch that it started off with. But that might just be my perspective. But overall, great music video, as well!

And here is a great (should find a new word to use) choreography. Something that left me surprised was their footwork. All of their previous performances have proven the group to be great dancers. Likewise, this performance does as well! Like most of the performances this year, not that memorable. But nonetheless, you should check it out!

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

KPOPREVIEWED 2016 Awards – Part 2

Click here to see the list of nominees for this year’s awards and scroll down to find out who wins!!!

If you have yet to see Part 1 (which also explains this corner) please click here.


BEST MALE ROOKIE GROUP

2016 saw a lot of new boy groups make their debut on the stage. Compiling the list of nominees for this section was extra hard because there were so many great debuts that just missed out on a spot on the list. The winner of the Best Male Rookie Group 2016 is Astro, who made continuous comebacks after their debut, pushing them into the spotlight. Honourable mentions are given to VRomance for their debut song, She.


BEST FEMALE ROOKIE GROUP

Like the male rookie group section above, a lot of girl groups made their debut in 2016. And a lot of them provided us with the hottest tracks of the year. WJSN, otherwise known as Cosmic Girls, made their debut with Mo Mo Mo and came back with one of the best tracks of the year: Secret. They are my pick for Best Female Rookie Group. Honourable Mentions goes to BlackPink and I.O.I (It was very hard to choose for this category).


BEST MALE SOLOIST

As every other year, solo artists are debuting and making comebacks. 2016 saw the long-awaited debuts of some main vocalists of different idol groups and the return of solo artists that we have known for a while. The winner has to be Zico (Block B) with his ballad track: I Am You, You are Me. This one track alone has been a chart topper and gave the rapper a new side. Honourable mention goes to Eric Nam and his surge in popularity this year with his releases.


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

2016 was a very big year for female solo artists. Like the male solo artist awards, big names came back, while long-awaited debuts were made. My pick for the winner of Best Female Soloist goes to Taeyeon (SNSD). Her singles have been remarkable thus far. Honourable mentions goes to Hyosung (Secret), whose song is still being replayed, half a year after release.


BEST MALE GROUP

So many to consider. Can’t count with my fingers for this category and the next. But it has been a big year for male groups (and likewise female groups). Out of all the artists, I have to pick Seventeen as the group that stood out the most and hence are the winners here. As for honourable mentions, GOT7 takes it this year.


BEST FEMALE GROUP 

As mentioned above, girl groups have also had a very big year in KPOP. And there were too many to count as well. But my overall pick for Best Female Group has to be Mamamoo. 2016 has been their best year yet and I hope there are even better years to come. Oh My Girl receives honourable mentions for their releases of high quality and catchy songs.


BEST ALBUM

Now, I promised album reviews this year and my apologies, I failed to deliver. I asked you guys again (thanks to everyone who contributed to the survey) and album reviews are still something you guys want. I can’t review every one of them, but I will try my best to cover the main and biggest releases. As for 2016, Wings released by BTS as their 2nd Studio album is my pick for best album. I also thoroughly enjoyed the songs released by B.A.P as their third studio album, Carnival, which also takes Honourable Mention.


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

Many great videos were released this year. From amazing plots to great cinematography, or just the standard video that looks amazing, 2016 had it all. My picks for both the winner and honourable mention were videos that were long in length, but one focused on an action-packed story and the other for its complexity. The winner is B.A.P‘s Skydive and honourable mention goes to BTS‘s Blood Sweat & Tears.


BEST DANCE/PERFORMANCE

And as with every year, KPOP groups and solo artists have amazing dances that should be commended. There were so many top contenders, that it was quite hard to compile the list of ten. But nonetheless, my pick for best dance would have to be GOT7‘s Hard Carry and honourable mention goes to The Eye by Infinite.

 


BEST SONG OF THE YEAR

The hardest award to decide for. Hahaha… I put down 22 songs for this award. 22 amazing songs. And now I have to narrow the list to just 1. The difficulties. That being said, I won’t announce it words. Just watch the video below. But before that, let’s look at the honourable mentions that I manage to narrow down from that list of 22. Hover over the pictures to find out who and which song were picked. Note that these honourable mentions or the winners are not chosen via the end of year charts, but my thoughts alone.

And my pick of Best Song of 2016 goes to……

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VERY NICE – SEVENTEEN

Congratulations to all winners, honourable mentions and nominees. Everyone in general!!

[Review] Confession – Astro

Astro is back in the season of Fall with a brand new song, Confession. This is their third mini album to date since debut, with their previous releases including Hide & Seek in Spring and Breathless in Summer.

To me, Astro’s songs keep on getting better and better. Currently, they are probably one of my few picks to be the best rookie of the year. The song boasts a very strong and defined instrumental that shows off guitars and drums (aka. a band). The vocals and rapping by the band are superb in this song. None of their parts seems to be awkwardly placed or irrelevant to the song. The combination of the song and vocals make it feel as if it is an anime opening song. More on that a little later, though, but sounds perfect for an anime. There is just one thing that disappoints me and that is the ending of the song. It is too sudden. Just by writing this review and playing the song in the background, I honestly thought that YouTube crashed or something. It’s quite disappointing since the song is quite good and is left hanging like that. As if the producers had no idea how to properly end the song and left it as it is. The song peaked (for me) at the end, so the ending pretty much ruined the upbeat and happy feels that I was getting from the song.

Now, about that anime opening. I am reading everywhere that this video reminds people of the drama W(which I believe is anime or manga as well). I haven’t watched W yet but I know enough to agree with some people who say both drama / video are similar. Not saying one copied the other, just very similar. Essentially what happens is at the start of the video, the girl confesses to a guy with her drawings but is rejected (quite harshly, may I add). She then goes around being alone. Astro is part of her drawings and follows her around. Not sure if she sees them, but they are a part of her imagination. Towards the end, when all the members are gathering around her, Eunwoo remains behind and sheds a tear. He probably realises that he is just a fragment of her imagination or an image on several pages, and that means he will never be with her. I enjoyed watching the video. The way it was shot looked really cool. The close up shots looked as if they were introducing characters in a TV show or anime as well.

The dance by the group was quite cool. This time around, the group still went with that playful vibe and added a cool vibe as well. Their movements are a lot more precise and in sync with each other.

Rating – 8/10

[Review] Breathless – Astro

It has been a few days since my last review and I (once again) apologise for that. I have restarted the second semester of the year and will be a little slower with reviews. I should still be able to publish reviews, though. Which leads me to Astro! They have returned with a brand new mini-album and their newest track, Breathless.

As you may know from my previous review of the guys, I was not as fond of their debut track, Hide and Seek. This song, however, is definitely an improvement. It isn’t the best song out there at the moment, but it is still a good song. It is a lot catchier and it suits the Summer season really well. Give it a few listens and I guarantee you will be singing along (that is what happened with me and this song). The instrumental puts you at the beach straight away. Upbeat, bright and fresh. The rapping is pretty good (but ain’t impressive). The vocals are pretty good as well. The chorus sounds pretty good because there are backing vocals there. The verses do sound a little bit empty and dry. Maybe a tiny bit of backing vocals will improve the verses, it doesn’t need to be as excessive as the chorus. The “Ppa Ppa Ppa Ppa” is really addictive and those “shouts”that they do after the “Ppa Ppa” do leave a good impression on me. The guys are definitely improving with their songs.

The music video is okay. They call it a music video, but from start to end I feel like it is more of a promotional run of that orange soft drink. The essence of the video is basically the guys are the orange soft drink bottles that we see with the girl constantly. It makes it funny, but yeah, it would be the perfect product placement video if the product actually existed. The video fits the Summer vibes of the song and it situates you perfectly at the beach. The guys also come in different colours. I don’t know you, but that duck is definitely the highlight of the video. Following the girl around and all. Beside that, there isn’t much else to the video. Not a video that I would go to watch constantly, but it was okay.

The dance can described simply as “cutesy concept with the guys trying to act cool”. I don’t think it is a great performance. Like their debut, not that impressive. Though, it looks like they are having the time of their lives on stage.

Final Rating – 6/10

Rewind: February 2016

Welcome back to another monthly rewind. February is officially gone and it went super fast (despite it having an extra day, as this is a leap year). Before we all know it, March is gone and April passed us like the wind. Let’s get started shall we?

Major News

I think there are two major news that we need to cover. One that talks good about one band, and the other isn’t that good. But bad publicity is good publicity right?

GFriend made their comeback at the end of January 2016, but managed to sweep the charts with their newest mini album and title track, Rough. And when I mean “sweep the charts”, the girls stayed at the top  of the digital for over hundreds of hours, a proportion of those hundreds of hours were actually perfect all kills (which are apparently extremely hard to get, but the girls did it somehow). This led them to win their first music show trophy since debut and they managed to do pretty well. And when I mean pretty well: Triple Crown on Show Champion, MCountDown and Inkigayo, 4 trophies on Music Bank and 2 on SBS The Show. That is a lot. Their hard work has finally paid off, with the help of their fanclub and fans.

In other news, Beast is in the limelight for the wrong reasons. Hyunseung was caught falling asleep during an interview, which disappointed fans and garnered a lot of criticisms. Falling asleep in an interview seems a little too much my opinion, but it just shows how tired they artists are with multiple schedules in one day, concerts, comebacks, practice, interviews, the lot. Junhyung also saw some criticism when he failed to attend a fanmeet due to sickness, but somehow managed to attend his friend’s (Jung Joon Young) birthday party. While it was cleared up with Junhyung, Cube Entertainment and Jung Joon Young each making a statement saying how he came for only a few moments, just to drop off a present. Honestly, some people need to give these guys a break. Sometimes, you need to take a sickie (or sick day) just to go somewhere or to relax and take it slowly. So why are these people so annoyed with that, when they probably do it too, when everything becomes too overwhelming?

Major Comebacks

Number of groups made their comeback this month. 4Minute, Winner, Mamamoo, B.A.P, Taemin (SHINee), NU’EST, Rainbow (even though some are speculating this will be their final release) and many other smaller, rookie bands.

Major Debuts

Astro is the first group that comes to mind with their debut this month. Actually, it is probably the only group that debuted in February that I have reviewed thus far. Their title track is Hide & Seek.

AOA has been around since 2012, but they recently debuted a brand new subunit called AOA Cream. Odd name for a subunit though. Chanmi, Hyejeong and Yuna make up this group. They made their debut with I’m Jelly Baby.

Polls

I am skipping polls this month as I am a little busy. I will be able to write about one of the polls that I have made in next month’s review.

Top 5 Songs of The Month

  1. You’re The Best – Mamamoo (reviewing coming soon)
  2. Feel So Good – B.A.P
  3. Whoo – Rainbow
  4. Hate – 4Minute
  5. Galaxy – Ladies Code

Just a small note: I have started university again, so the rate at which reviews come out will decrease dramatically. And I have to go in everyday, so it is going to be hard to make some time.

Hide & Seek – ASTRO

One of the newest groups is in town and Fantiago Entertainment is bringing you a brand new boy group. Astro is a 6 member boy group, that recently debuted with their first mini album, Spring Up and their title track, Hide and Seek. The group is made up of MJ, Jin Jin, Cha Eun Bin, Moon Bin, Rocky and Yoon San Ha. Let me give you a perspective on their age. Beside MJ and Jin Jin, I am older than the other four members. Damn, they are growing up fast.

It is an okay song. There really is not much to differentiate the song from other KPOP songs. It’s your typical bright boy group song that we tend to get from smaller companies. Not as bad as cutesy boy, but like most boy groups who tend to start off with a bright song (for some reason). Not really impressed. There was nothing that wowed me. I mean, they seem to have everything down solid, from vocals to rapping. The song itself sounds like something we would have gotten from 2011-12 in KPOP and those songs themselves sounded ordinary then. I guess one way to describe the song is: it’s flat. There were really nothing that brought the song to an amazing level but nothing that made it a bad song. A just okay song. It’s upbeat and somewhat catchy, which I guess is a plus. There is one thing that I can say about the song that really does set it apart from others and that is it made me smile. It has this bright and happy feel to it, which I like. Was I impressed? No, not really, but I wasn’t repelled away with how boring the song was. I found it easy to listen to, I guess.

The music video has this really interesting concept (and it was great). It is like the guys and the girl were in two different universes, and the only way they could see each other was through a mirror that was oddly placed in weird places, such as how did the mirror appear in the alley way at night? Anyway, they have this odd connection and I guess they could follow each other around. In the end, the girls wakes up and finds out that these boys were Astro. The girl painted on the guy’s back, which was kind of weird in my opinion. Like the song, the video also puts a smile on my face. To see the guys and the girl both happy made me smile. She was super cute, and the guys don’t look like they were forced into being fake happy boys. Their smile carried over to my face whenever I watched the video.

The dance, its fun, but not impressive. Don’t have anything to say.

I am going to go straight to the score, since I just be repeating what I said above 5 times already. 5.5/10