[Review] Woman – BoA

The Queen Is Back! BoA has officially returned with her 9th full-length album and her latest title track, both titled as Woman. For a while now, BoA hasn’t had the opportunity to make multiple comebacks (with promotions) within a year (her last was One Shot, Two Shot, released earlier this year), which is a very interesting observation. The Queen touches on a very important topic within the song, female empowerment, which could not have been released at a better time, with the topic all over the news (and dominating the entertainment industries around the world).

And as much as I really like how the idea touches on such an important topic, I am not too fond about the idea of having a guy say ‘Woman’ throughout it. It is striking and it does have a certain level of impact, especially the way it is presented. But I felt like a woman’s voice saying ‘Woman’ could have been more suitable, context-wise. What was even more striking was the sound of those high heels. I thought that was a very nice addition to the song which shows how confident BoA was with this song. The instrumental was nice but it did feel rather standard.  I really like her vocals in this song because there were moments that were delicate (such as in the verses) and extremely powerful (like during the chorus and build up to the chorus). Overall, this song is pretty good.

Hands up if you think BoA looked amazing throughout this video! Mine is definitely going up. Never did I expect to see anyone in KPOP pull off a full-body leopard print suit. But damn, BoA rocked it. But my favourite scenes of BoA were when she is wearing those hats. Love it. What I didn’t like was how unnatural her blonde wig looked. If you look closely, you can also see her black hair underneath. It just looked out of place in this video. But everything else (along with every other element of the music video) looked amazing.

A very impressive choreography that was showcased in the music video. I thought everything was very cool and showed off confidence very well. But the most mindblowing part (and I think no other KPOP idol has ever attempted before) has to the very start when she is walking upside down! Like that was shocking yet so right for this performance/song/comeback!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10

 

 

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[Album Review] One Shot, Two Shot (1st Mini Album) – BoA

BoA, for her first time in her career, released her first mini-album. It is something you just don’t really notice until someone tells you but once you are aware of it, you are amazed. Her solo comeback in South Korea also coincided with her solo comeback in Japan, where is also quite famous. The title of her mini-album, One Shot, Two Shot, is also the name of her title track. The mini-album also features two recent tracks of BoA, which I have reviewed separately as they were released.

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One Shot, Two Shot Album Cover (Source: ALLKPOP)

1..One Shot, Two Shot (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of One Shot, Two Shot. (8.5/10)

2. Everybody Knows – This track has a very chilled vibe. Interestingly, the song doesn’t peak, which gives it a unique and distinct charm. It started off with some ear-catching synths, which also featured in the chorus. For the most part, the song was quite soft with its instrumental, which is why I thought the intro synths were cool. Also fitting in with the soft instrumental are the soft vocals that BoA presents us. I think the piano during the bridge was the strongest moment of the entire track, with it also going well with the soft instrumental but at the same time contrasting nicely with the synths and chill vibes. (8/10)

3. NEGA DOLA (내가 돌아) (Pre-release Track)Click here to read the full review of NEGA DOLA. (7.6/10)

4. Your Song (ft. Junflo)Your Song features strong hip-hop influences, which isn’t anything that new. However, the reason why I think this is another strong track from the list is due to the how the vocals of both BoA and Junoflo compliment with each other. BoA brings that softness mentioned previously to the track, while Junflo brings a certain degree of harshness through his rap. The ‘That’s My Jam, That’s My Song’ and the ‘I Hate You Girl’ repetition is quite addictive. The changeup in the bridge allows the song to feature an awesome dance performance and while it does seem unexpected, it works wells with the song. (9/10)

5. RecollectionRecollection manages to give off an epic feel, despite it being easy-going. Once again, BoA’s vocals are on full display throughout this song. You can’t really say that the beat dropped in this song, as there is more of an inclination in the beat when the drop should have been present. That being said, the instrumental did not have much going on besides a very appreciating funky beat during the chorus. Besides that, I don’t have much else to say regarding this song. (8/10)

6. Always Always (ft. Chancellor) – I personally did not notice the constant thumping in the instrumental until it reaches Chancellor’s part. I mean it was always there from the very start but it felt more prominent during Chancellor’s part, so I really didn’t notice it during BoA’s verse. I bought BoA shined (yeah, a common theme in this album) but Chancellor was very close to having his part being overshadowed by the instrumental. The chorus was also very flowy and the ending of the song had a minor difference to the rest of the song, which was interesting, (7.5/10)

7. CamoClick here to read the full review for Camo. (9.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

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One Shot, Two Shot – Snapshot from Music Video (Source: FUSE)

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[Review] One Shot, Two Shot – BoA

BoA made her debut way back in the year 2000. Since then, she has released a total of 8 Korean full-length album. 18 years on, however, marks BoA’s return with her very first mini-album, which shares the same title of  One Shot, Two Shot as the title track. It is definitely remarkable to think that this is her very first mini-album. The mini-album also features Camo (an SM Station track from last year) and this year’s earlier release, NEGA DOLA.

One Shot, Two Shot is another great song to add to BoA’s portfolio in recent times. We saw a snippet of EDM in her portfolio when BoA released Camo last year and I was immediately a fan. One Shot, Two Shot follows the same trend, taking on deep house. The verses seem so-so but the good stuff happens during the chorus. It becomes more lively and upbeat, which is something you might know I prefer. I love the instrumental during the chorus, as well, for its seductive and sexy nature. The ‘One Shot Two Shot‘ repetition during the second half of the chorus was quite addictive. Her vocals shined throughout the vocals, almost going husky in some parts. The bridge of the track was nice but I feel like the launch back into the final chorus could have been more energetic, in my opinion. But overall, definitely another song to check out.

The music video was made up of two sections. Choreography and the train station scene. A little confused about what was happening in the video. Mainly from what I can make out, BoA is an assassin (dressed up in leather in an area where there is no one else does give off that vibe). She dances with her victims, which I guess is a luring method (as she successfully does it to the guy). After a few minutes of interpretive dancing (I think), she shoots him dead. But he later wakes up (which is confusing). But the storyline is definitely interesting. I like the choreography shots as well, particularly the close-ups of BoA with the backup dancers in the background. The rest of the dance shots were simple but definitely elegant.

I am loving the dance that we can see in the music video. I love how sharp the first batch of moves are. The start of the chorus was awesome and the part at 3:16 of the music video where male dancers line up and copy her moves one-by-one as she moves along the line.

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

[Review] NEGA DOLA – BoA

BoA is known as the Queen of KPOP, proven by her massive portfolio of releases Korea. In the past few years, her promotions in South Korea have dwindled to only a few singles as part of the SM Station releases, most notably Camo (released last year). But after 3 years of no music promotions in Korea, BoA is back with her latest single, NEGA DOLA.

NEGA DOLA is a dance track that mixes electronic synths and a Latin twist to the song, which ends up giving the song a lot of character. This Latin twist is present throughout the song but it is the most dominant during the start, the bridge and the very end of the track. The concoction is a little quirky, but very fitting for the song (more on that in just a moment). While the rapping to this song is definitely a potential downfall for this track, the vocal elements by BoA are really good. I love the way she sings ‘Nega Dola‘ in the song, which means ‘Going Crazy’ (from what I can find out about it). It does feel like a little crazy. I also particularly like the when she brings out her power vocals at the end of each chorus, which I think also adds to that character comment I mentioned before. Overall, it is quite a nice song to listen to, particularly if you want to listen to something that is a little more different to your usual releases.

There is nothing as crazy as an upside down room. Essentially, the video is an odd mixture of an upside down room, your standard choreography shots and a lot of target practice. But I feel, given how the song does sound, they could have gone for a wackier concept, which would have fitted well with the meaning of the song. I am not a major fan of her panda ears hairstyle but her outfits are on point.

BoA has not disappoint with any of her performances from what I remember (don’t fact check that by reading up on the old reviews. I don’t remember what I wrote 5 years ago). I really liked the dance moves during the chorus, particuarly the very start of the chorus. The start and end of the performance was also quite cool looking.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Camo – BoA

BoA has made an unexpected comeback with CAMO. I remember reading live updates for the Produce 101 Season 2 final and coming across an article indicating that BoA (who was hosting the final) was dropping a new single, which came out a few hours ago. It has been a while since we have seen BoA actively on stage. From memory, she was last on stage for Kiss My Lips promotions, which was 2015. Since then, she was released a few singles under SM Station such as Spring Rain (2017) and No Matter What (2016).

I am screaming. Internally, so I don’t sound weird. I was blown away when I saw the teasers. But the entire track is on a whole new level. BoA goes with a dance track that sounds uber sensual and amazing, nonetheless. The song flows very smoothly. There were no rooms for gaps. Even the lead into the chorus was not that apparent. I thought that was very interesting. The intensity of the song is very subtle, but it is there. When I finished listening to the track, I released a breath that I did not even know I was holding in. That is a sign of a possibly great track. I haven’t been impressed with BoA’s recent (okay, 2 years old) releases, but this is amazing. Throw in her vocals, I thought everything was spectacular. The best part was just before the final chorus. I don’t know how to exactly describe it without butchering and destroying that part, but it was about the 3:00 mark. It was extremely climatic and the buildup was pure bliss here.

Though there isn’t an official video out for this song yet on YouTube (that, or I can’t find it), you can catch the video by watching it on the Naver website, which was where I found the video initially. Once there is an official music video, I will update the post accordingly. I have little to no clue about what is happening the video. It seems like her body is like a chameleon and hence, she can blend into things. I don’t know. Hence, CAMO = Camouflage. That is about as clueless as I can get. However, despite that, I can comment on how things look in the video. And I think everything looks stunning. From the aesthetics to BoA herself, it is one beautiful and breathtaking video.

BoA is known as the Queen of KPOP and there is always one thing you associate with BoA. That is the choreography that she has for every single track. Matching the aesthetics of the video, her choreography is amazing here. It is snappy and very sharp. She does not hold back whatsoever and I think that is an amazing aspect of the choreography. Now, can we petition for a full dance practice or a dance version of the music video? I would love to see the entirety of the performance.

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

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[Review] Spring Rain – BoA

BoA is finally back with a new single, in the form of  SM Station release. It has been a while since we heard from the soloist. Last year, she also participated in another SM Station release, No Matter What, which also features Beenzino. Prior to the release of Spring Rain, she called her company out for writing her name incorrectly on the teaser image.

Spring Rain is another experimental track that goes nicely with all the other SM Station releases. The song also delves into the R&B genre. I have probably heard this style before somewhere but there is something that makes this song quite unique and fresh. The first is her voice. The song really allows her voice to shine. From the chorus to the long note at the end, everything sounds amazing with her voice. The second aspect is the instrumental. It is honestly quite calming and refreshing. The song’s lyrics aren’t exactly bright as other Spring songs, such as Would U by Red Velvet. However, the instrumental has a bit brightness to it, while still complementing the darker lyrics. It is honestly a type of instrumental that I wouldn’t mind listening to by itself. There are whispers at the start and the end of the song. I don’t mind them and they seem to contribute to the aesthetics of the song. However, they really don’t do much to the rest of the song and sound like it belongs elsewhere, rather than this particular single. That being said, the song overall sound pretty good, as well.

Once again, SM Station has gone with a video with a lot of aesthetics, which works well with the song. I personally love videos with odd camera angles and the way filters were applied to the video makes it look urban and industrial. It is like they took a whole bunch of stockpiled videos and manage to work it with their idea of the music video. The video itself shows a couple at the start of their relationship and (what I assume) the breakdown of their relationship. While the video was edited to be in slow-motion, the acting the video is quite good. Their scenes together don’t seem to do much, but when they are by themselves (i.e. the lady walking around and the guy just laying on the bed), the scenes become stronger and adds more meaning to the video. Overall, it was a nice video that went well with the song.

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

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.

 

[DOUBLE REVIEW] Who Are You + Kiss My Lips – BOA

This is the first BOA comeback that I am reviewing. I believe the last one was Only You and I never got around to it. For those who don’t know, BOA is a very popular female soloist in Korea who has been around since the early 2000s and have proven to be one of the most successful acts in Korea at the moment. She was only a young teen when she made her debut, and now, is more known as the Queen of KPOP. She is now 15 years into the industry and is still going strong.

Overall, her songs are nice, just the recent ones have been very bland and boring. What happened to those big hits like Hurricane Venus? Her last comeback, Only You, really lacked colour and feel. So that was overall very disappointing. Now she returned with two songs, to me, had the same initial feelings with Only You. Who Are You? is more of a romantic pop song that sounded okay. I don’t have much against her, but her voice suits the songs with more of a dance feel to it. The song has a nice instrumental and fitted the Spring weather quite well. I don’t think the rapping was needed. It wasn’t bad but it disrupted the feel of the song for me. Kiss My Lips was more of a subtle dance song. The dance feel was there, but it wasn’t as big as her other pop hits. Not a big fan of the start of the song. It sounded very weird. The rest of the song was very boring. It lacked appeal and catchiness for me, which was very disappointing. Though I can see how the song is a pretty good song, it just “misses the beat for me”. But as I said before, 15 years in the making and there is no signs of stopping. I am 100% sure that BOA will put something out that I will enjoy one day, just not this time.

As the music videos go, I don’t mind them. Both a ridiculous at some points, but it works I guess. Like in Who Are You, it is an okay video. You could tell that is was going to be something long the lines of a romance plot. But what’s with the random CCTV shots of her dancing (and it is sad to admit that I look like that at parties)? And the random scene where she randomly flies and jump to her next destination? It makes so little sense, but in the end, she got to the “one she was hoping for”. Someone should like mention that Sehun is like 6 years her junior… -runs away-
As for Kiss My Lips, I thought it was a very stylish video. Just those close up shots of her in the white room and the different coloured lights and patterns projected really disappointed me. I can’t see her face for half of them because it was so dark. And you probably know I already hate them, even though they are meant to look arty. But beside, it was a nice video that was clean and the dancing set fitted the overall song quite well.

As for the dance for Kiss My Lips, I thought it was a little boring. I like the Vegas style fans and I guess we can see that Femme Fatale concept she is going for in this comeback with this song. Though, it was not as impressive as Only You’s dance though.

I feel like I did 3 reviews for some reason. But BoA’s comeback was deemed as successful. Just SM really needs to sort out their problem with overlapping comebacks. SHINee, EXO and BoA are promoting at the moment. Kind of excessive. I don’t want to start any wars, but SM’s money hunt is going a little too far. Also SNSD is due to comeback this month as well. And this is why SM has overworking controversies. Didn’t want to leave this review on a bad note, but I had to address it somewhere. Maybe a rant article in the future?

Who Are You? – 3/10

Kiss My Lips – 3/10

Which BoA song did you like for this comeback? Kiss My Lips or Who Are You? Results will be published in the Rewind article for June, in July.