[Review] INCEPTION – ATEEZ

Without a doubt, ATEEZ is one of the groups to look out for during 2020. After a successful year of promotions and non-stop releases, the group rounded out their Treasure series earlier this year with Answer. So what was next for the group? Well, they were meant to embark on their Map The Treasure world tour. But that has been postponed due to the ongoing global health pandemic. And since then, we haven’t heard too much from the group, aside from virtual concerts and some special stages. But that all changed yesterday, after they returned with their fifth mini-album Zero: Fever Part 1. On this mini-album were two tracks (INCEPTION and THANXX) that fans got to vote to become the title track. In the end, INCEPTION was announced as the title track for this comeback.

The entire Treasure series has really built the group a powerful and explosive reputation. That is what I remember and think of the most when I hear of ATEEZ. INCEPTION, to me, felt like it stepped back from this reputation. It felt underwhelming and relatively safe. While it did have a powerful and explosive profile, it neither rivaled or exceeded their past releases, which is disappointing. Take that instrumental break we get after the first chorus. While its placement dared to be a bit different, it felt very weak thanks to the use of unexciting hollow drum synths. That section would have been a great catalyst to amp up the rest of the song and increase the intensity by many magnitudes. But it just fizzled and didn’t really help boost the song. And hence the rest of the instrumental stayed relatively linear and didn’t get exciting as it could have been. The song did have some positive aspects, however. These mainly revolved the members. Its quite a vocally-centric song. The melodies have a pleasant ring to them and I find them to be potentially catchy (I need more listens to confirm this). The rappers did a really good job of increasing intensity in the song. And both aspects come together to form a powerful bridge, which was my pick of best moment. But at large, INCEPTION has all the elements to be their next big track, but it unfortunately underwhelms.

I am confident to say that there is a plot line in this music video, given that the fans got to see story line previews prior to selecting the title track. From what I got out of the lyrics and visuals, it looked liked the members are trying to get back into a dream they once had of their lover. But each time they do so, the setting gets more worse, as if foreshadowing how dangerous this lover is. The music video starts off in a brightly lit classroom (kind of an innocent dream). But later in the video, we see the classroom supposedly ‘lit’ on fire. It gotten so bad that Hongjoong entered a dream of nothing (and from the ending, it looks like he is stuck in that dream). I wonder how the next music video will link up. Everything looked quite good, though I must question whether Seonghwa’s abs reveal was necessary for this particular music video.

Performance-wise, INCEPTION delivered, as well. You can tell that they were extra powerful with their performance given the energy and effort you could see behind each of their moves. I liked how they split into two groups for the second chorus. I also surprisingly enjoyed the dance break they had during the instrumental sequence that I previously described weak. When I listen to the song by itself, it definitely comes off weak. But when you see the moves they put together for that part, it actually helped the sequence come off intense.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist-Based Categories

It is that time of the year again where I announce the winners for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. In December 2019, I allowed the audience (you all), once again, to vote for their favourite songs and artists for the December 2018 to November 2019 period. Thank you to all who voted and particpated in the KPOPREVIEWED Awards this time around. Even more people voted this year, making this year more intense than ever in many categories. This post will focus on the artist-based categories, which will involve the New Artist categories, Elemental-focused (i.e. rap, vocals etc.) categories and Best Artist categories. The winners for the artist categories will be posted in an accompanying post today, while the Top 100 songs of 2019 will be posted tomorrow.

Here is how things are going to work. Each category (aside from the non-fan voted categories, which are specified) will have a WINNER (the song/performance/video that ranked first), a Honourable Mention (the song/performance/video that ranked second) and a KPOPREVIEWED Choice (my personal choice if I voted, which I didn’t include this year). And let’s go!


Best New Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Ha Sung Woon, HUTA (Lee Min Hyuk – BTOB), Kang Daniel, Kim Jae Hwan.

WINNER – Baekhyun (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Kang Daniel
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – HUTA (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB)


Best New Female Soloist

Nominees: Hwasa (Mamamoo), Jeon Somi, Kim Ji Yeon (Kei – Lovelyz), Oh Ha Young (APINK), Sulli

WINNER – Hwasa (Mamamoo)
Honourable Mention – Sulli
KPOPREVIEWED – Hwasa (Mamamoo)


Best New Male Group

Nominees: AB6IX, CIX, ONEUS, TXT, X1

WINNER – TXT
Honourable Mentions – ONEUS
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – AB6IX


Best New Female Group

Nominees: BVNDIT, Cherry Bullet, EVERGLOW, ITZY, PURPLEBECK

WINNER – ITZY
Honourable Mention – EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – EVERGLOW


Best Band

Nominees: DAY6, FT Island, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE

WINNER – DAY6
Honourable Mention – N.Flying
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – DAY6


Best Vocals

Nominees: AKMU, Brown Eyed Girls, Chen (EXO), IU, Mamamoo

WINNER – IU
Honourable Mention – Chen (EXO)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – IU


Best Raps

Nominees: J-Hope (BTS); Jackson (GOT7); Mark (NCT); Ravi (VIXX); Zico

WINNER – Mark (NCT)
Honourable Mention – Zico
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Zico


Best Subunit

Nominees: Block B Bastarz; EXO-SC, Jus2, NCT 127, NCT Dream

WINNER – NCT Dream
Honourable Mention – NCT 127
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – NCT Dream


Artist With Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Seventeen (5x)


Rising Star

Nominees: ATEEZ, CLC, N.Flying, UP10TION, VICTON

WINNER – ATEEZ
Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – CLC


Most Underrated Artist of 2019

Nominees: A.C.E, Dream Catcher, LOONA, ONF, Pentagon

WINNER – Dream Catcher
Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – LOONA


Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), Nam Woohyun (Infinite), Taemin (SHINee), Yesung (Super Junior), Zico

WINNER – Taemin (SHINee)
Honourable Mention – Zico
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Nam Woohyun


Best Female Soloist

Nominees: Ailee, Kim Chungha, IU, Park Bom, Sumni, Taeyeon (SNSD)

WINNER – IU
Honourable Mention – Kim Chungha
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Chungha


Best Male Group

Nominees: ASTRO, ATEEZ, BTS, DAY6, EXO, GOT7, iKON, MONSTA X, NCT, NU’EST, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, Stray Kids, The Boyz, WINNER

WINNER – EXO
Honourable Mention – BTS, ATEEZ
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Stray Kids


Best Female Group

Nominees: (G)I-DLE, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, IZ*ONE, LOONA, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

WINNER – TWICE
Honourable Mention – Red Velvet, Mamamoo
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Oh My Girl


And that brings us to the end of the Artist-Based Categories for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t seen the Song-Based Categories yet, click here.

Tomorrow, we will get to see which artist ranked on the Top 100 of the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Charts, where the song that ranks first becomes the ‘Best Song of 2019’. Remember this is decided based on the votes for Best Song of 2019 (50%) and the Weekly KPOP Charts that I post every Sunday (50%). You can find out by clicking here (hyperlink will be updated once the post is published).

[Album Review] Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer (4th Mini Album) – ATEEZ

ATEEZ returned at the start of last week with Answer and a surprising continuation of their Treasure series. As mentioned in the song review I published last week (link below within the album review), Treasure is made up of 4 mini-albums (including this one), 1 Korean studio album and 1 Japanese studio album. Throughout this series as well, we have seen ATEEZ’s popularity grow exponentially and this latest album is bound to continue their growth into the future. The album contains an outro track as well but it will not be included in the final album rating.

Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer Album Cover

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

2. Horizon (지평선) – All of ATEEZ’s tracks that I have grown to really enjoy (or enjoyed from the first listen) have been of an intense nature. Horizon fits in perfectly into this description, going with a strong dance instrumental that is bound to get you excited. There is this voice in the instrumental that is very yodeling-like. I thought it was a good addition to the song during the chorus, as it added an extra layer of character to the song. However, I felt that its addition at the start of the verses to be conflicting. It masks the vocals that kick off the song and makes it a tad messy. Horizon features awesome vocals and rapping as well, which makes another great addition to their discography. (8.5/10)

3. Star 117Star 117 is more of a ballad and it brings us down from the thrill of their title and preceding track. I thought it was rather soothing, with its flowy melody and touching band instrumentation. There is a little more of the instrumentation, with a rolling drum beat and electric guitars at the end to give the song that peak. Vocally, I think this is an excellent song. It shows off their vocals in a pleasant manner without going into the ‘high note’ territory. The rappers also sing in this song and I honestly can’t tell as they all sound so good. (9/10)

4. Precious Precious may be familiar to some fans as ATEEZ previously included a shortened version of the song on their studio length album, Treasure EP.FIN: All To Action. On this album, however, Precious is a full-fledged song going for almost 3 and a half minutes, featuring the same raps as the Overture track did and includes some new vocal work that we have heard yet. My previous comments regarding the instrumental and rapping (‘suspenseful and intense’, ‘on-point’ respectively) still stand. The vocals and additional rapping added to the song this time helps fill up the blank space and adds a more grounded feel to the song. (8/10)

5. Outro: Long Journey – Kicking off the entire Treasure series was the Intro: Long Journey, which started off Treasure EP 1: All To Zero. That track spoke about finding treasure and dreams. The outro is about how they found the treasure and their dreams over the course of the series. But at the same time, there is more to the story based on the line ‘Can you hear those voices?’. The ending is tweaked a little to include what fans are speculating to be a teaser to new song/release for the future.

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer Teaser Image

[Review] Answer – ATEEZ

When you thought the Treasure series came to an end, ATEEZ throws another comeback right back at you. Today, the group returned with Answer and the album, Treasure Epilogue: Action to Answer. This is the group’s sixth installment (and possibly final – don’t quote me on that) of the Treasure series. Five of the installments were released in Korea and a sixth was released in Japan last year as well. Their previous comeback, Wonderland, occurred in November of 2019.

Another amazing song from ATEEZ. This time, however, the group pushes you further into the barrel, effectively trapping you in a deeper sound than their already quite intensive Wonderland comeback that they left us with. The song isn’t intense in the moment, in my opinion. Instead, it has that impression once you finish the song, reflecting upon the powerful energy that was exuded from the song. Answer starts off with more traditional instruments, before the hip-hop infused synths kick in. What it is interesting, is that the song manages to keep the two different sound going concurrently. I really liked the flute that was incorporated in the pre-chorus. I also liked the vocals in the song, especially how they keep on layering it on, contributing to the intensity that I have mentioned. The raps were quite powerful, but they sat more in the back-seat this time around. When I listen to the song, I cannot point out any flaws. And that, along with every other praise, earns Answer a perfect rating.

I assume that because it is one series, the music videos have to be interlinked somehow. It is a trend that is ongoing in Korea and I think it applies to ATEEZ’s Treasure series as well. This video is clearly connected to HALA HALA/Say My Name music video, as it features the members in their black hats and outfits. The other alter egos this time are the ATEEZ members in their Answer era. The start and end of the music video, showcasing the white and black masked figures seem to allude to something else. But as I am aware/from my memory, these characters never appeared in the other music videos (though they seem familiar somehow), which may suggest more is coming our way.

The choreography was definitely quite good. The hip thrusts did seem a little wild. But the rest of the choreography was definitely as intense as the song. And this is all expected from ATEEZ after the reputation they have built themselves throughout 2019.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10

[Review] Utopia – ATEEZ

ATEEZ is nominated for Best Male Group, Best Male (Group) Choreography, and the Rising Star category in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support ATEEZ and your other favourite artists before the 31st of December!

2019 has been one crazy roller coaster. There have been many up and downs this year, which I am sure even the newest of fans are able to name a few. One particurlar group that has been experience the more positive events of the year is ATEEZ. They have had three comebacks this year in Korea and recently made their debut in Japan with Utopia. And as we find ourselves on a Saturday, I thought I bring back Japanese reviews for the remainder of the year, as there is a fair amount of Japanese tracks I need to review.

Utopia was originally released as part of the group’s 3rd mini-album (Treasure EP.3: One to All). I never wrote an album review for it, which leaves the songs on the album open for a review (which is obviously why we are here today!). The first thing that comes to mind when I hear Utopia is that it is a lot more colourful and vibrant, matching up with the title tracks of their 3rd mini-album, but basically different in that sense to any of their other title tracks. The track does align with their the rest of their promotional singles, as the chorus in Utopia is quite powerful. It packs a punch that makes the song so appealing! The instrumental has this edge thanks to its dynamic percussion and upbeat tempo that just keeps on giving. The vocal line was really showcased in this song, particularly during the chorus, but this also gives way to a very addictive post-chorus hook. The rapping as well works very well, enhancing the song further and giving it a very edgy touch. I also really like how the song slows down at the end, calming us down from the high they gave us in Utopia.

While I was very impressed with the music video, I couldn’t help but think it got a tiny budget. I say this because ATEEZ has had grand sets in the past or were flown to countries with strong and picture perfect scenery, which suited the song that they were filming for. Here, they filmed in a rather simple set and it was pretty much bare. They could have been going for a minimalist vibe, but the way the video was edited didn’t give off that impression (i.e. the editing made the video feel busy). But nonetheless, all the scenes were very crisp and the lighting/colour really reflected the brightness/vibrancy that the song had maintained.

ATEEZ is nominated for Best Male Choreography for Say My Name. And it seems like Utopia is a clear indication to why they would deserve the performance. There was always something happening in the choreography, despite the tempo being fast or slow. There was a captivating and alluring dynamic to the choreography that made it a strong routine.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

[Album Review] Treasure EP.FIN: All To Action (1st Studio Album) – ATEEZ

ATEEZ returned in early October with their very first full-length album, Treasure EP.FIN: All To Action. This full-length album brings the Treasure series to a close, which also features 3 mini-albums. Unfortunately, I only got around to reviewing one of them so far (Treasure EP.2: Zero To One) but I am quite sure you might be seeing the other two mini-albums next year in the PARs (Past Album Review) segment. But until then, let’s have a deep listen with the full-length album, which I am extremely satisfied with. The album also contains one intro track, one interlude-like track and one outro, but I have chosen not to include them in this review.

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Treasure EP.Fin: All To Action Album Cover

2. Wonderland (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Wonderland. (8.5/10)

3. Dazzling LightDazzling Light starts with a dramatic guitar or piano piece didn’t add really add much to the song. The song then quickly progressed to a synth-based dance track that is more of ATEEZ’s territory. I really liked the EDM drop to this song as it made the entire song very vibrant and intense. I also like the vocal moments in the song, such as the pre-chorus. It gave a beautiful touch to an otherwise robust and very powerful tone. The bridge is a little bit of a mess of rough synths that I didn’t like standalone, but it paired well with the chorus instrumental drop. The rapping was also quite good though I wanted a little more intensity from this aspect. Overall, Dazzling Light was one fantastic song that I really enjoyed from this album. (8/10)

4. MIST (안개)MIST introduces us to the softer side of ATEEZ. I really liked this song as well, for this one aspect. That being said, the song still manages to incorporate a fair number of synths into the mix, hinting a possible dance for this song. Synth or not, the song does give way to amazing vocals heard from start to end. I was thoroughly impressed by each vocalist in this group from this song alone. I also like how the rappers still manage to keep their intense and rough tone, which I thought contrasted nicely with the smoother aspects of the song (i.e. vocals). The saying ‘stay true to your roots’ applies well to MIST. (9/10)

5. Precious (Overture) – I will not be including this in the final review. But wow, this is one suspenseful and intense piece of music. The rapping was on point and the harmonies in the background really pulled everything together. I find it interesting that it is titled as an overture (which upon searching up its meaning, is an opening for a musical piece) rather than an interlude (a musical piece that pulls sections together to make a cohesive piece).

6. WINWIN is a lot more energetic and upbeat than their previous tracks on the album. It is another intense hip-hop dance track that ATEEZ nails. I really liked the fast beat in the second half of the chorus, which really enticed the song for me. That is very closely followed by electronica we got just before launching in the final section of the song. I also liked the keyboard outro, which made the song intriguing. These are small details that I thought transformed the track into such a cool piece. The vocals are good but I think the rapping was the real winner, along with the repeated ‘Rocky’ reference in the chorus (because who doesn’t love a good Rocky reference)! (8/10)

7. If Without You – ATEEZ returns to their softer side through If Without You. It also loses a lot of the synths that we heard from the group through their other tracks. With this sound, it conforms to the typical male group sound. It is a nice temporary change and I quite like it. You get to hear a wholesome side of their vocals and I thought the rapping wasn’t too bad. There are a few things that I didn’t enjoy about the song, namely the ‘Wah’ and ‘Ah’ that they do in the background. It felt really awkward and stole my attention from the vocals and rapping sections. (7.5/10)

8. THANK U (친구) – When I look at the lyrics for this song, it seems like THANK U is a song dedicated to their fans (Tiny). With that, I don’t want to be overly critical as that would just ruin the atmosphere for a meaningful song. The good thing is that ATEEZ does a nice job so I don’t need to be critical in any way. I really liked the slight rock influence we got in the chorus and the chorus was quite catchy in my opinion. I liked that mini outro of harmonies they did, which felt random but worked nicely with the rest of the song. (8/10)

9. Sunrise – I have my pick for the hidden gem on this album. Sunrise is a song of encouragement. It just doesn’t do it in a stereotypical way, which is why I find it so appealing. Firstly, the song starts off in a very peaceful manner. Then they add that ‘No matter what…’ robotic singing filter which was a nice textural change. They then turn the song into a stomping beat, which kind of feels like they were making a statement out of it. It all somehow comes together nicely and ends up taking us on a textural rollercoaster along the way. I also liked how they all sing together at the end, which really takes the track home one last time. (10/10)

10. WITH U (걸어가고 있어)WITH U is the final song on the album. It is also quite unexpected. I have described a few tracks as being soft due to lessening reliance on the synths that ATEEZ has heavily used. But this one is their softest in terms of style on the album. I think with the laws of albums, you probably have guessed my description so far has alluded to a ballad. Yeah, it is pretty typical, but I find their execution to be on point. Vocals and rapping felt very fitting for the stylistic change. I personally wouldn’t mind having heard a few more of this genre from the group (provided they know how to spruce each one up to make it sound slightly different). (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

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Treasure Ep.FIN: All To Action Teaser Image

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[Review] Wonderland – ATEEZ

The next comeback one this very intensive comeback week is by ATEEZ. 2019 is already a jam-packed year for the group, with the group returning with Say My Name, HALA HALA, Wave and Illusion just within the first 10 months of the year. And as there are less than 3 months to go, there is time for another comeback. Today, the group returned with Wonderland, which is also the title track off their very first studio album, Treasure EP.Fin: All To Action. ATEEZ has also been exceptionally busy since their last comeback performing at every KCON and has also embarked on an Australian tour as well.

Wave took a break from all the intensity that I think many fans have associated with ATEEZ since their debut to fit the more brighter summer season when Wave‘s release occurred. Wonderland returns to that intensity level from their past. Though, I am pretty sure they exceeded it. The song has a very grand and epic start, that I find fitting for this style and the group. It is as if they took the Pirate King instrumental and amped it in a way that made it very different from the original track. There is a lot of energy in this track as well and that is thanks to their suspense building. Those beeps and pause just before the pre-chorus was very impactful and do the job. The vocal work was pretty good. But once again, the rappers of ATEEZ shine very brightly in this song with their rough and strong delivery. I do find the song to be less catchy as I had hoped. But like yesterday’s review, the song might need a few listens.

To compliment the epic and grand nature of the song, the video was equally as epic and grand. It was very dark and I like the vibe this gave off. You can tell by the many scenes and the overall quality of the video that their company went all out to ensure that this will be the best video out of their releases thus far. The camera shots managed to make everything feel so much more intense and made the video feel a lot more fierce. I really liked how they also extended flag-waving into the border of the box. That looked cool and unique. As this is the final section of their Treasure series, I wonder if the videos are linked together in some way. That isn’t something to work out now, but it would be interesting as the videos felt very different from one another.

That epic and grand vibe also infiltrate the stage performance. I think ATEEZ have proven themselves to be an upcoming performance group. This routine and their past ones have also showcased their talents in the performance department. I liked how their entire body shakes in this video. I also like their arm movements throughout the choreography, which kind of reminded me of tutting.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Review] Illusion – ATEEZ

Two weeks ago, ATEEZ made their comeback with two music videos. The first was for WAVE, which I reviewed on the day of release. The second music video is for ILLUSION, which I said I would review at a later date. Fast forward two weeks, we find ourselves looking a little closer at ATEEZ’s ILLUSION. In other related news, ATEEZ won their first weekly music chart with WAVE on MCountdown last week.

To me, ILLUSION sounds like the song that you would expect if we were to put all ATEEZ’s title tracks onto a spectrum. The song isn’t as upbeat and bright like how WAVE turned out, while it isn’t as intense as Say My Name (from earlier this year). However, there was a level of energy that makes it quite suitable to follow off WAVE and a level of fierceness in their vocal and rapping delivery that brings it in line with their past tracks. It isn’t a track that stands out within the first listen. There isn’t anything ‘new’ offered in this track that adds a layer of uniqueness to the group (as I had already established).  So, it took me a good few listens to get into the track. I personally find the rappers to stand out the most in this track, with it feeling like a dominant component. Even the rappers filtered onto the vocal sections, which I thought gave off a decent effect. There some good hooks in the track but it could have been better if they were more profound to make the song feel more blastable.

Based on the ending of ILLUSION’s music video, it might be the prequel to the fun that existed in the WAVE music video. The location they end up in the final sections of the song is those which we find them in during WAVE. Using this mentality, the group would be in dream-land for this video, which makes sense given the different backgrounds, flying pirate ship, floating objects and the purple island they end up exploring. But it is another fun-filled video to enjoy. The only thing that confuses me is the ‘Open Your Eyes‘ whisper we get at the end. It doesn’t seem to connect to WAVE, so my guess it is hinting towards something larger.

What I think the performance for ILLUSION could have benefited from are freestyle moments. Moments that are more like on stage improvisations. If these were embedded in these routine, the performance could have been more lively and fun, fitting in with the atmosphere of the song. But what we got is already quite energetic and upbeat, so it is good enough.

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

[Review] Wave – ATEEZ

And I am back! Thank you for putting up with my disappearance. Without any more delays, let’s jump right back into the review grind! I thought I start with more recent releases and ‘work my way’ backwards. The first artist up is ATEEZ, who returned yesterday with WAVE and ILLUSION. As I will be trying to catching up on many reviews as possible, I have decided to review WAVE first and return to ILLUSION another day. We last saw ATEEZ through their Say My Name and HALA HALA promotions earlier this year in January.

WAVE features that tropical sound that is heavily overused by industry due to its perfect fit for the Summer season. And while that could be a good cue to start rolling eyes, the song does feature a number of great elements that really throws out that belief of being ‘another’ tropical house track. The first has to be the inclusion of ATEEZ’s intense style that we have seen from day dot for the group. While this isn’t as heavy or serious, I find the song having a good balance between their serious nature and the lightheartedness of the bright season. The second has to be the guitar, which I find really refreshing. It adds to the lightness of the track and really drives the song melodically, which isn’t something I found happening that much in their previous tracks. The vocals and rapping is the third element that makes me enjoy the song. The vocals add to the melody-driven side of the song, while the rapping adds extra texture to the song, which I find to be equally as enjoyable. Overall, WAVE is a nice track. Sure, it turns towards something typical but the group manages to make it one of their own.

When you think of the title WAVE, the first thing you will think of is the beach. And well, we get fairly close to a beach for this music video. While I think a small section of the video is set by a beach, the main ‘wave scenes’ we observe are along the coastline. And I think the coastline is at a place that has featured heavily in past music videos. On top of that, the video showcases the guys having fun at a local supermarket and at a skate park. Not exactly an eventful video when you watch it but definitely quite fitting for the song’s atmosphere and the season they are in.

If their past performances had intensity, then the accompanying choreography for WAVE has personality and character. All smiles throughout the performance, which is a little foreign for ATEEZ in my books. But I like how fun they make the dance, especially with those facial expressions and smiles.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Album Review] Treasure Ep. 2: Zero To One (2nd Mini Album) – ATEEZ

It is time for another album review (though this one should have been released yesterday). And the artist I have been dying to delve into their discography is ATEEZ. I, unfortunately, did not get around to reviewing their first mini-album but I thought I did. Don’t you hate it when you have those moments? Anyway, I will return to do their first mini-album sometime in the future but until then let’s have a closer look at Zero To One, which features the title track, Say My Name.

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TREASURE EP2: Zero To One Album Cover

1..HALA HALA (Hearts Awakened, Live Alive)Click here to read the full review of HALA HALA. (9/10)

2. Say My Name (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Say My Name, (9/10)

3. Desire – I find this song very interesting. It is mainly the instrumental that does a lot of the intriguing appeal work for me. The start is distorted in a way that really sets the aesthetic tone of the song. The verses felt the song was going to be upbeat and energetic. But the fake drop featured in the chorus really gives it an unexpecting twist that makes the song appealing. The vocals and rapping were nice. But I think the best part of the song has to be the bridge, which was very motivating to listen, and it also started this adventurous tone in the instrumental, which I thought was another great twist in the song. (9/10)

4. LightLight features a jazzy R&B instrumental, which I think is ideal for a café setting. The song is slower paced than their previous tracks on the album, which I think is also quite nice. I like how the rappers sang or rap-sang in the song. The main rapper who had the raspy voice was just perfect for this song and his part stood out the most for me. I think the song a little on the mediocre side but it was still nice to get something a little more wholesome and softer from the group. (7/10)

5. PromisePromise is a more typical approach to an EDM dance track. But it does a good job of showcasing the members in both areas of vocals and raps. That high note was really cool and the rapping was, as usual, giving the song that needed level of intensity. The song had a very vibrant instrumental and the drop made the song feel energetic. I also thought the song was very addictive with its strong and dominant hook. It may be a standard route but it is still quite good. (9/10)

6. From – Based on the information I gather for these reviews, From was actually a pre-debut single for the group that was omitted from the first mini-album (though I am not sure why). There is also a music video for this song, which you can view here. Listening to the song, you get laid back vibes and light-hearted despite it going for the EDM route. I liked the vocals, especially in the pre-chorus and the rapping also standout. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

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TREASURE EP2: Zero To One Teaser Image

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[Review] HALA HALA – ATEEZ

Last month, ATEEZ returned with their first comeback since their debut, Say My Name. As part of the teasing process for their comeback and second mini-album (album review coming later this weekend), the group had released a Performance Video for the track HALA HALA, which lasted 1:29 minutes. Now, almost a month later, the group has released a full music video (or another performance video) for entire HALA HALA track that was also featured alongside Say My Name on the Treasure Part 2: Zero to One mini-album.

I liked how the song first started off soft. Knowing ATEEZ and the tracks they have done so far, this softer start really creates a tense atmosphere. It gradually builds up, peaking off during the pre-chorus vocal part. Vocals here were superb and this showcased more of the group on that side of things. The chorus has one of those fake drops, which I think was an interesting choice and definitely gives the song some aesthetics. The rapping in the second verse and bridge was perfectly rough for the song. And I liked how they changed the final chorus up to really give the song that peak ending. I think the song was a really good track to follow up with. The hip-hop influence was strong and I felt like this further extends their potential. It isn’t your typical song, so I understand how this may not be for everyone. But for someone who is looking for a new group to follow, this song just solidifies the need to pay attention to ATEEZ.

I will be completely honest. The black outfits, along with the mask and wide brim hats really give me the creeps. It is actually quite mysterious. The same outfit appeared in the Say My Name video but I am still a little confused on why they don the outfit in the earlier video. They do take it off towards the end, showing a smear of blood on the corner of one of the member’s mouths, so I guess the idea of vampires has to be thrown into the possible theory mix. This video just leaves me with more questions. Apart from that, I thought the performance video was well put together.

I don’t know about you but I wanted more stomping in the performance. The song was perfect for just that. But everything else we got was equally as good. I really liked that slow fist slash that appeared during the first pre-chorus. I thought that was rather cool to watch. The chorus itself looked dynamic and the entire performance does a good job of showcasing their skills in dancing.

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

[Review] Say My Name – ATEEZ

ATEEZ made their debut towards the end of 2018 with two title tracks – Pirate King and Treasure. Both tracks and their mini-album, TREASURE EP.1: All to Zero, has gained a lot of attention from what I can see. And with that, the group is continuing their momentum, just months after wrapping up their debut promotions, by returning with their first comeback, Say My Name and the mini-album, TREASURE EP.2: Zero To One.

The first that popped into my head was the familiarity with some of the melodies within the song (i..e during the very start of the song and the pre-chorus). I just can’t pinpoint the name of the songs that it reminds me of. I am not too troubled by this as this does bring back a sense of nostalgia. I liked the instrumental to the track, with a strong presence of hip-hop influences apparent in the song. I really enjoyed the guitar in the verses and the intensity that the pre-chorus also brings to the song, connecting more subdued verses and the dramatic chorus together in an effortless manner. Vocals were really good in the song but once again, the rappers are the ones that manage to bring the punch to the song. The ‘Say My Name‘ repetition gave the song an addictive nature, partly due to the rough texture we get from the rapper who sang that part, which leaves a strong and lasting impression. Overall, another excellent track from ATEEZ.

Based on what I can see, the sets for this music video looks insanely expensive. I don’t know why I think this but the sets do remind me of BTS’s sets. The music video features a very mysterious plotline, which I don’t get whatsoever. It just left me confused and the lyrics didn’t help at all. Besides the plotline, there were choreography shots which I thought, with the help of editing, looked really cool. The very shots at the end that snapped between their members dancing in their more casual outfits and the members dancing with the black outfits/hats that they wore in their teaser images, were a clear example of this.

The choreography for this comeback is freaking amazing. There is one move that I thought looked so cool, that it screams attitude and is the one scene that replays in my mind. I am talking about the move at 1:36 of the music video. The rest of the choreography was full of intensity and energy, matching it extremely well to the song.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Performance – 8.7/10

[Review] Pirate King – ATEEZ

ATEEZ made their debut at the end of October with Treasure. Since the release, the group have been actively promoting both Treasure and Pirate King on the weekly music shows. In my Treasure review, I did state that Pirate King was some sort of pre-debut single for the group and I believe I misstated that it wasn’t included in the actual album release (I was wrong with this latter bit). Their debut allowed for the release of the music video and proper promotions for the track, bumping it up to title track status.

When I heard the ‘Pirate King‘ titled, I expected something along the lines of Pirates of the Carribean. Don’t ask me why that is the first thing that popped into my head but it just did. The song isn’t anything like that official soundtrack. Instead, we get a very bombastic EDM track, which did have a slight theatrical flair and actually could be a part of a soundtrack to some sort of grand movie. I really like some of the synths in the song, which added electrifying details to the song to make it very appealing. The main concern with the song was that the instrumental was quite heavy and loud (not really an ideal track to blast over and over again). One of the possibilities that this could lead to is the overshadowing of the vocals and raps. However, this wasn’t the case as both vocals and raps were definitely well-heard and clear. And like their debut single, vocals and raps were on point!

We don’t have an actual music video for Pirate King, but instead, we have a performance version. For those who are new, you can get two official videos for a title track – the actual music video and a performance version (if there is choreography involved, though this one tends to be optional for some groups). Usually, you get the performance video in one set only. But we are treated to various sets for this video, which I believe to be the same deserts observed in the Treasure music video. It is quite good and the editing between the sets was great.

Amazing performance. The way they moved looked so cool. I particularly like the formation at the start of the second verse and the chorus. And that ending was so powerful. Honestly, I think I know which group I need to look out for (performance wise) next year!

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

[Review] Treasure – ATEEZ

Make their official debut this week is ATEEZ, an 8-member male group under KQ Entertainment. The group is made up of Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San Minji, Wooyoung and Jongho. Four of the members (Jongjoong, Minji, Wooyoung and Jongho) participated in the survival show MIXNINE. Treasure is their debut title track, which comes from Treasure EP1 All To Zero. They did also release a music video for Pirate King (review coming soon) but it is interestingly omitted from the Treasure album.

Starting off the song is a whole verse of rapping. I think this is a great opener to the group as they boast some skilful rappers as part of their lineup. I like it even more as they put the rapping over that ‘movie style’ wind sound, giving us an opportunity to really process their rapping alone. We then have given a little taster to the vocals in the pre-chorus. Nothing too special however the two lines (the one with everyone joining in and the one split between Wooyoung and Jongho) give off some nice textures to the rest of the song. The chorus felt epic and definitely a major highlight. However, the winning combination has to be the bridge where some of the vocalists and rappers come together to provide a very epic climb to the peak of the song. And it just feels amazing alongside the drum beats we get (building suspense) prior to the final chorus. I would have liked to hear more vocals in the song (on their own) but what we have is an excellent debut song.

Whoever decided to the shoot the video in the desert is incredible. What I have failed to mention about the song thus far is that is rather intense. And the video does a really good job at channelling this intensity.  Interestingly, they didn’t need a military bridge of backup dancers or crazy flashing lights to show off this intensity, They just had themselves, some beautiful yet deserted backdrops and the desert as ways to show off dominance. Their presence was very powerful as well.

To me, the choreography scenes in the music video didn’t feel like they were up to par with the song. It felt much weaker and I was a little disappointed by that. I cannot say for sure, as I cannot seem to locate a live performance for Treasure (they have only begun promotions for Pirate King – which is rather confusing). So I will update the performance section once there is a performance available.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10