[Album Review] This Is Us (11th Mini Album) – BTOB

BTOB recently made their comeback with their 11th mini-album, This Is Us. It features a total of 7 songs in total, including the title track (Only One For You) and the pre-release single (The Feeling). While the title track was described as a follow to their vocally-centred Missing You comeback last year incorporated with a Summer feel, the rest of the mini-album shows a variety of different genres that show off different sides of the group. So scroll down below for the review of each track on the album!

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This Is Us Album Cover

1..Call Me – Starting off the album is Call Me, which I can easily describe as a great opener to the album. The entire song had this ‘party hype’ vibe to it. It did start off a little slow, however once Ilhoon’s rap appeared in the first verse, the song instantly becomes so much better. I really enjoyed the chorus, with the great vocals during the first half and the unexpected trumpets which gave it a nice touch. The ‘Come and join your part, you’re the one and only’ hook was addictive. I thought the vocals and rapping were great. Combining that with the overall atmosphere I got from the song, this was easily one of the best songs on the album. (9/10)

2. Only One For You (너 없인 안 된다) (Title Track) – Click here for the full review of Only One For You. (8.5/10)

3. Yeah – The song had a nice laid back type of feeling to it, which made it easy to listen to. It also incorporates a summery feel to the song, which results in some brightness. Overall, I wouldn’t say the song was exactly memorable but it was still decent. The vocals were good but they weren’t amazing, like other songs on the album. Instead, the rapping here was component I liked best in this song. Likewise, I thought the xylophone was quite cool, just the rest of the instrumental felt lacking. (8/10)

4. Blue Moon – The song is the jazz central of the album. Compared to the previous songs, there was a hint of seriousness, which I thought was rather interesting. Despite that, the song maintained it upbeat-ness, with the instrumental described as groovy. I enjoyed the piano instrumental break and I thought the rappers incorporated their sections very creatively into the song. Vocals were amazing. But I think the winning component/moment in this song is the final chorus, which layered everything from vocals, raps and instrumental into a ‘show-stopping’ moment for the entire album. (9.5/10)

5. Icebreaker (Rapper Line) – This is a fun sounding track that is full of energy and brightness. While that is usual mechanism of getting me to enjoy the song, there is a few things that do stand out that you don’t think too much of. Firstly, I liked how the 3 members evenly participated in the songs (usually they are given one small section or one member outweighs the other two in terms of lines). I thought the hip-hop vibes in the chorus were nice. And it was expected that clean delivery of their lines, given their past works. Secondly, the best part of the song is unexpectedly Peniel, who usually is the member who is under appreciated in their group. His section was good and the little monologue at the end was hilarious. It gave the song a unique and standout moment. (9/10)

6. 1,2,3 (BTOB-Blue) – While the rappers got their own song, I am glad the vocal line of the group also got their own song. It is a R&B song that showcases their husky vocals (which, at times, felt almost like a whisper). Not sure of that repetitive synth in the background, which felt like it was depressing ‘Uh, Uh, Uh’. It did give an interesting texture to the song but it did get annoying towards the end. I personally felt like the song was so soft that you can easily miss the track. But other than that, it was a nice song to listen to. (7.5/10)

7. The Feeling (Pre-Release Track) – This song was released a week prior to their official comeback. It takes the form of a ballad but it has a modern/non-traditional instrumental and is upbeat in terms of tempo. What makes this track standout even more is the great vocals and rapping. It is another track that is pleasant and ‘easy on the ears’. I liked the silence during the song verse for the rapping and how all the members came together for the final chorus, which rounded out the song nicely. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

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This Is Us Teaser Image

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[Review] Only One For Me – BTOB

After a very successful comeback, BTOB has finally returned with their 11th mini-album to date. This Is Us (the mini-album’s title) features Only One For Me, which the title track and the pre-release single, The Feeling (which was released last week). As mentioned previously, the group made a very big splash in the industry last year with their Missing You track, which charted extremely high during their promotional run.

Only One For Me takes BTOB’s vocals (made popular by their ballad trilogy and Missing You comeback) and combines it with a Summer seasonal instrumental. While that combination doesn’t really make sense in my head, it works really well. And the melody for that section of the song was quite light and drifty. The song does manage to have a change-up, which you can hear in the second half of the chorus, where the group comes together as one and chants their way through. It gives the song a catchy foundation, which I gladly appreciate. It does maintain the instrumentation but the major change is how they vocally put themselves forward. The song does return to that melodic flow that it started off with, kicking up a notch for Peniel’s ‘hype-feel’ and Minhyuk’s powerful rap sequence. Vocally, the group sounded amazing. I really like the song and if you enjoyed their previous track, this is something you should check out.

I liked the opening shots with the members returning from some formal event and kind of kicking it back. They split up from each other doing their own thing. But I like how they managed to show the members in a one-shot motion, the camera shifting focus from member to member when they enter each other’s screens. The video then goes to some wharf, which the members relax on (while still in their formal gear). And then there were night shots with the members in more casual wear. It was a nice video to watch, complimenting the song’s ballad-y feels. I like how the shots were smooth, which also complimented the song.

[Updated] As expected, there was choreography in the performance of this song. I really liked the dance for the second half of the chorus, which looks even better when the fans are harmonising along with the song. Also, I thought Changsub’s solo moment at the very start of the song was quite nice, as well. It was a pleasant routine for a very pleasant sounding song.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10 
[Updated]
Overall Rating – 8.2/10 [Updated]

 

[Review] She’s Gone – Jung Ilhoon (BTOB)

Jung Ilhoon, the main rapper from boy group BTOB, has featured in many tracks of other soloists and groups. On top of that, he has also developed as a producer over the years. Now, he has made his official solo debut with She’s Gone. It is the main title track featured on his debut mini-album, titled as Big Wave.

Let me start off by saying that this is an excellent song. What makes She’s Gone so good, for me at least, is that the song grows as it progresses. Rather than having a slight buildup, the entire song is built up with various sounds and textures as it plays, which makes it a very interesting track. Not only that but it gives the song some character, making it a song to check out. The song is heavily centred around the hip-hop genre, which was expected. Starting off the song, however, is a guitar riff that reminds me of country music. It then progresses into something similar to rock, all the while keeping true to the hip-hop sound.  Ilhoon both sings and raps in this song. The rapper Ilhoon has been seen multiple times before but his raspy vocals (which we don’t see often) make this track even better. The choruses are amazing drawing my attention to the song. In particular, the accumulation of all that energy in the song is presented in an explosive manner during the final chorus, which makes listening to this song worthwhile.

The entire music video is quite fast-paced, which matches the tempo of the song. Everything in the video was filled with angst and had an edgy vibe to it, which makes sense. The song is about the feeling you would get after seeing an ex-lover whom you did not part ways on a good note. So all that feeling was portrayed well in the music video. It is a good video which pairs well with the song on so many levels.

I feel like the dancing in the music video was more suitable for the live performance. Mainly because the choreography we do see on stage is relatively slow and not that energy packed like the song. That being said, I can’t help think the slowness in the dance seems to contrast nicely with the song and I was quite satisfied when I watched the performances.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.9/10

 

[Review] So Do You – Seo Eunkwang (BTOB) & NC.A

A few days ago, Seo Eunkwang and NC.A joined forces with a new duet, So Do You. We all know Eunkwang as the main vocalist of BTOB, while NC.A is a soloist who recently participated in the reality rebooting show, The Unit. NC.A also placed in the top 9 ranking at the end of the showing, earning her a place in the upcoming group UNI.T. They aren’t necessarily the first two artists to put together but their latest track proves otherwise.

So Do You captivates me for one particular reason, vocals. Both singers make this song so interesting to listen to. Their solo parts just confirm their skills in the singing department. I just like how they voice climbed higher as the song progressed, pushing the song further than the previous second. But when the two comes together, there is a clear balance between both singers, allowing harmonies to sound so good. Despite the content in the middle (i.e. their vocals), the song started off soft. More interestingly, the song ended on a much softer volume, which is an intriguing yet contrasting aspect of the song. The instrumental wasn’t that impressive, which left the biggest emphasis on the vocals. Needlessly to say, whoever wanted these two to come together was definitely on the right track and it resulted in such a good song to listen to.

The song is about the memories we have of a past lover so it would make the most sense to show that storyline in the music video. Interestingly, the video opens to Eunkwang and NC.A singing on the streets, with the male character of the music video stumbling into the picture. Listening to the song, he starts crying and reminiscing about those fond memories he had. We see the couple act our their lovey-dovey days and see the relationship progress to a sad breakup. At the end of the video, we also see the female character run into the guy, who is still busy crying. Yet, we do not know what happens afterwards. The idea of the video is quite great and fresh in a way. The thing I would change was to make him cry later on. It just felt too soon to have him start crying at the start of the video/song.

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

2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Results

**drum rolls please**

It is time to announce the winners of the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. This is the first year ever that you (the readers) got the opportunity to vote and pick out the winners of each category (excluding a few). Let me just start by saying thank you for all those who participated in the voting process, as you all made this possible.

This will be an EXTREMELY LONG post and it will be gif heavy so it may take a while to load up. If you have a slow internet connection (like me), you can still view the winners (along with the nominees if you missed the voting period/want a reminder) by clicking the link here.

The respective gifs for each category represent the winners which you voted for, while I have put down my pick for the category. I have opted to not do a commentary this year due to the already long length of this post.

BEST MALE GROUP DEBUT

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Wanna One

Author’s Choice – Wanna One


BEST FEMALE GROUP DEBUT

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Dream Catcher

Author’s Choice – Dream Catcher


BEST SOLOIST DEBUT

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Kim Chungha

Author’s Choice – Jung Sewoon


RISING STAR

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Monsta X

Author’s Choice – NU’EST W


BEST SUBUNIT

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SEVENTEEN Performance Unit

Author’s Choice – Gugudan 5959


BEST CO-ED GROUP

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KARD

Author’s Choice – KARD


BEST MALE SOLOIST

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G-Dragon (Big Bang)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

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IU
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Sunmi

Author’s Choice – Sunmi


BEST VOCALS

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BTOB

Author’s Choice – DAY6


BEST RAPPER

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Zico (Block B)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST JAPANESE SONG BY A KOREAN ARTIST

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One More Time – TWICE

Author’s Choice – One More Time (TWICE)


BEST COLLABORATION

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Honey Bee – Luna, Solar, Hani

Author’s Choice – Bye Babe (Chen & 10CM)


BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

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Don’t Wanna Cry – SEVENTEEN

Author’s Choice – Gashina (Sunmi)


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

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Peek-A-Boo – Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – You In Me (KARD)


BEST MALE GROUP

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B.A.P
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EXO

Author’s Choice – SEVENTEEN


BEST FEMALE GROUP

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Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – Red Velvet


BEST NON-TITLE TRACK SONG

Beautiful – Pentagon


BEST ALBUM

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Palette – IU (4th Studio Album)

And there you have it, the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Award Winners. Congratulations to all! Hopefully, the artist’s that you picked came out on top and were victorious.

As for the BEST SONG OF THE YEAR award, it will be published in a separate post. For this year, the winning song will be the song that tops the End Of Year Charts (to be published on the 15th of January).
NOTE: YOUR VOTES MAKE UP 50% OF THE END OF YEAR CHARTS, WITH THE OTHER 50% CONTRIBUTED BY ME.

[Album Review] Brother Act (2nd Studio Album) – BTOB

BTOB has returned with their second full-length album, Brother’s Act, which is based on the movie, Sister Act (starring Whoopi Goldberg). The album returns to the group’s ballad roots that earned them recognition for this vocal and rapping skills, which they previously displayed in their ballad trilogy. And given their performance so far on the charts, this return is much appreciated by fans. Please note that I will not be looking into the Prelude or the Interlude of this album.

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Brother Act Album Cover

2. Missing You (그리워하다) (Title Track)Click here for full review of Missing You (9.5/10)

3. My Lady – My Lady is one of my favourite tracks off the album. The instrumental is definitely my style of music, so I started liking the song before I started paying attention to the other elements. Vocally (for both the singers and rappers), the song is on point. There was a nice balance between the members and the soft pop instrumental. My favourite parts of the song were definitely the “Give It Up” lines at the start of the pre-chorus and when Peniel started singing his lines. Finally, some light on who I think is probably one of the underrated members of the group. (10/10)

4. Red Lie (새빨간 거짓말)Red Lie is a track that literally begs their significant other to stop lying to them and just break up because there is nothing more between them. My assumption with the title is the Red Lie is referring the girl’s red lips. The instrumental is quite nice, with the guitar giving the track a little colour and avoiding the ‘typical’ ballad trap. I would like to see them perform this song, as well. The upbeat instrumental of the chorus makes me very curious about that accompanying dance that they could add in alongside the song. (9/10)

5. Blow Up (신바람) – You can always expect BTOB to throw something quirky in the mix. Their performances for Blow Up were amazing. It is exactly what I would have expected if their personalities off stage and their music clash. Blow Up is the party track that definitely gets the party started. It is also a nice change for the album, which places a great focus on ballads and softer forms of music. (9.5/10)

7. Na Na Na (나나나)  – Catching me off guard with this song is the fabulous intro that Sungjae delivered through his vocals. His vocals are so fitting for this song. Nonetheless, the other members do a great job but the real winner has to be Sungjae in this song. The song is essentially that Autumn track that you would listen to while having a walk in the park. And it is also a great track to sway along to, especially with that consistent thumping and guitar strumming instrumental. (9/10)

8. Dream (꿈에) – While it is good music, Dream fits right in with that typical ‘ballad’ stereotype. It is the one track on the entire album that I thought they could have spruced it up a bit. Most likely they composed the song that way to mimic a lullaby, but to me, it is the weakest song on the album.  That being said, the vocals do add an element of appeal to the song. It is the raps that I thought were a little awkward for the song. (6/10)

9. Guitar (Stroke Of Love) – For a song with the title “Guitar”, there isn’t that much guitar in it. Until I looked into the lyrics and realized that they weren’t really talking about the instrument. Instead, the lyrics a little suggestive. Okay, not a little. They were downright sexual and it was not a misunderstanding scenario. “I’ll hit that G precisely, We’ll be making sweet music tonight, Let your neighbours know your name right now”. But musically, it is a more upbeat track that gives you some relief from the ballads you have been exposed to. (8/10)

10. Running Into Breakup (이별을 만나다) – The song is about when the guy is accepting the fact that they can no longer be together. Running Into Breakup does feel a tad bland in my opinion. But what saves it is the rappers, who display a great example of how raps should be in ballads, along with the swaying element that you probably know I seek in ballads now.  (7/10)

11. Fly Away – This particular track is definitely one of the more pleasing tracks on the entire album. There is some warmth that comes from the sounds of it. The contrast between the minimal verses to the explosion of sound you get for the chorus was definitely one of biggest highlights of the song. The only thing that I have to say (once again) that does take the appeal away from the song are those autotuned parts at the end of the choruses. (9/10)

12. Finale: Our Concert (Finale: 우리들의 콘서트) – The album ends off with another sweet pop ballad, written for this fans. And it is extremely fitting to end on a more happier note, rather another love story. All the members shine brightly in the song, with the feel of inclusion quite prominent in the song. I love the epic instrumental and that section where everyone is singing in the chorus. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

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Brother Act Teaser Image

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[Review] Missing You – BTOB

BTOB is back with their brand new full-length album, Brother Act. The album is their first major release after Movie earlier on in the year. Since then, however, they embarked on giving a different side of themselves through solo releases. This project, known as Piece of BTOB, started in April and ended in September. I did a quick review of each track and you can find that review by clicking the link above.

Missing You is described to be a ballad and it turns out, it is a really good one. BTOB has flaunted their skills through their ballad trilogy in the past but there is something about this one that makes it sound better. The instrumental is already a big plus in my books. The guitar and the soothing nature of it just make me feel warm.  But the bigger winner when it comes to ballads are the vocals. Listening to the track, you can feel the emotions that oozes from the song. And don’t get me started on how good they sound. The raps actually give off an interesting feeling. While they add a little more variety to the song, it also adds a contemporary feel and uplifts it, to an extent. But what got me was that final chorus, where everyone chants the lyrics. It caught me off guard and I had to take a moment to settle myself down from the grand feel I got from it. Overall, amazing song.

Personally, it was a good video to watch. It opens up with Hyunsik playing the piano and writing some music. For some reason, the scene was quite haunting but the notes he played were so familiar. The video then shows each member reflecting on losing a loved one. A lot of screaming and anger ensues. They end up coming together and have a walk in the desert, which was interesting but confusing at the same time. The darkness and brown hazy colour palette of the video made it make serious and emotional to your eyes. Their acting is phenomenal and probably made the video much more enjoyable to watch.

[Updated] Due to some requests and more information coming to light regarding the performance, I have decided to redo my updated performance review. BTOB had incorporated sign language into their choreography, which definitely makes the whole performance more intriguing to watch. The way they managed to include the language was incredibly smooth, fitting right in and flows well with the other elements of the comeback.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10 [UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 9.5/10 [UPDATED]

[Special Review] Piece of BTOB

With BTOB making their return in a week or so, I thought it would be nice to take some time to look at some of their solo tracks that they have been releasing since April. Piece of BTOB is a project where each member released a song each month (or so). While I could have reviewed the songs as they were released, I decided one massive post once all the songs are out. And without further ado, here are the short reviews for all of the Piece of BTOB project singles.

At The End – Changsub
(Release Date: 24th April 2017)

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To start off this review, I have to declare that this is my most favourite single out the entire project. Despite this being out for longer, the pop-rock track is extremely addictive after just a few replays. I love the build-up in the background with the instrumental. But it is Changsub’s vocals that make me come back for more.

Fancy Shoes – Ilhoon
(Release Date: 30th May 2017)

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Ilhoon brings his signature raps to the table with Fancy Shoes. And we know how good he is, given his track record through the many BTOB releases. But it seems like I am the only person who thought the song was a little disconnected. Like the instrumental and Ilhoon’s rap doesn’t seem to go with each other. Compared to the other songs, I just didn’t feel a connection to the song.

That Girl – Peniel
(Release Date: 27th June 2017)

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Out of all the members, I wanted to listen to what Peniel would release, mainly because there has never been a chance for the rapper to shine in the main title tracks. That Girl is entirely in English (yes, I can finally understand) and it was a catchy track to fit in the Summer season. I was caught off guard when Peniel went into the chorus singing, as we know him to be a rapper. He has pretty good vocals and it gave the song that refreshing feel.

Swimming – Hyunsik
(Release Date: 24th July 2017)

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The ‘Alternative’ genre is very rare in KPOP, but it does exist. And since it has been a while, Hyunsik’s Swimming is a very fresh sound. The alternative rock sound makes the song implant the feeling that you get when you float on water into your mind. It is almost dreamy. I have only stumbled upon Hyunsik’s vocals more recently and this song just further proves his vocals skills to me.

Purple Rain – Minhyuk ft. Cheeze
(Release Date: 10th August 2017)

Minhyuk’s solo is the only release that has a featuring artist, Cheeze, who brings her husky vocals to the song. Minhyuk does a mixture of singing and rapping, which does sound awesome. Paring the two together, you get quite an intense track. Cheeze brings an emotional sound, while Minhyuk brings intensity. Personally, the track was quite good but it just doesn’t have that addictive nature, like other ballads in this mix.

Paradise & Tell Me – Sungjae
(Release Date: 30th August 2017)

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Paradise is an upbeat love confession type of song, which I think fits Sungjae’s personality nicely.  The sound just feels very cheerful and bright, something that you come to associate with Sungjae. His vocals just don’t stand out in the song. The more emotionally centred ballad, Tell Me, seems more suitable for his vocals. It is the song type that gets you swaying alone, which is something I like I lot in ballads.

One Day & That Time – Eunkwang
(Release Date: 19th September 2017)

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Ending the entire projects is Eunkwang, tackles the very big feat with two ballads. That Time is a spectacular ballad that drew my attention with Eunkwang’s vocals and the impactful instrumental. It ticks all the right boxes in my books for a great ballad! Especially, the choruses which blow me away each time I  listen to the song. One Day seems to replicate that exact same feeling, despite it having a different melody and sound. The chorus is equally as impactful and Eunkwang’s vocals are just spot on.

[Review] L.U.V – BTOB

Due to this week’s lack of releases, I have decided to take some time and focus on the Japanese releases by KPOP groups. For the next two days, I will be releasing reviews for Japanese songs released by Korean boy groups. I will find some time (most likely after my exams) to do some reviews for JPOP songs released by Korean girl groups. Today’s focus is BTOB’s L.U.V, which was released in June last year. This is BTOB’s first single to top the album charts in Japan.

Out of all the song that I have chosen to review, BTOB’s L.U.V is the only one from last year. That is becaucse in the four songs, L.U.V has been my favourite and left the biggest impression. This song alone cements their vocal capabilities and continues on from their ballad trilogy (It’s Okay, Way Back Home and Remember That). The raps in the song are equally as great. But I think the vocals still steal the show. The ad-libs, which are commonly found at the end of the song, feature after the first chorus, which makes it different. Out of all of the BTOB ballads that I have heard, I think this one showcases the most emotions in both vocals and raps. I love the layering towards the end of the song. The ballad has the traditional ballad instrumental, which isn’t anything fancy, but it accompanies the vocals and raps gave a really dramatic theme to the song. Overall, I pretty much enjoyed the song, from when it was released to even today!

Matching the emotions felt in the song, the video showcases the same emotions into a story format. The main story featured was with Hyunsik and his partner. She had already passed away and Hyunsik cannot stand being without her. So he jumps off the top of a building to his death. At the end you see him running to his girlfriend in the afterlife, which I supposed shocked her. The other members are also featured in the music video and are there for more symbolic reasons, such as Changsub with the ballons, which represents the loss of one, then two lives. The use (or lack of colour) in the video was amazing as well, showing both sides of life in a very intresting way. The member’s acting is quite superb. Overall, it is a well thought out video that accompanies the song perfectly.

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

[Album Review] Feel’eM (10th Mini Album) – BTOB

A few days ago, I posted my personal review for BTOB’s newest title track, Movie. I also mentioned in the review that I had plans to do an album review for their 10th mini album. And I am trying extremely hard to keep my promises. But needlessly to say, here I am with the album review!

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Feel’eM (1oth Mini Album)  Cover

 

1..Just Say It (말만 해) – The mini starts off with a jazzy number. It actually sounds quite good. I know this may be only me, but it sounds similar to their title track. The only difference is that Just Say It sounds better. Everything fitted perfectly into the song. From the easily transformed vocals to the (harder to fit in) rap sequences. You really do not expect raps sequences to fit in with a jazz number, but here it works. The vocals are superb, especially those higher notes sung during the chorus. While there was a more defined and ‘louder’ beat in the title track, everything about the instrumental in this song is perfect. The snaps to the guitar dominated instrumental, everything felt right. (9/10)

2. Movie (Title Track)click here to see the full review for BTOB’s title track (6.5/10)

3. About Time – The ballad track sounded good. The sudden silence acted like a drop, before launching back into the chorus. It should have worked, but I felt it was an unnecessary feature of the song. Once again, the raps sequences are quite nice. The vocals are held back to fit the nature of the song. And while it does compliment the song, it makes the song feel extremely weak sounding. (6/10)

4. Rock N Hiphop (빨리 뛰어) – The song seems like your standard B-side track. It doesn’t sound like a track that would stand out but still fits in with the rest of the album, hence it is included in the tracklist. Listening to the song, I wasn’t that fond of it. The vocals and raps sounded standard. It wasn’t until the end of the track did I start to take notice but by then, I thought it was a little too late. Given the title, I thought this would be a more upbeat and funky track but sadly it wasn’t. (5/10)

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Someday Pre-Release Album Cover

5. Someday (Pre-release Track) – The mini album ends with probably the strongest song on the entire release. It is a pity that there is no music video because I would have jumped at the chance to review the song. While it is a slower ballad track, everything (vocals and raps) sounded quite nice. But I feel like the vocals stole the show here. The instrumental was traditional in the sense that is how most slow ballads end up sounding like, but it gave the song a much grander feel. Everything complimented each other and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the track on repeat. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating 7/10

Teaser Image for BTOB’s 10th Mini Album

 

 

[Review] Movie – BTOB

BTOB has made their return to the stage with their 10th mini album, Feel’Em and the title track Movie. They last promoted I’ll Be Your Man in November of last year and Remember That in March of last year. The group was also active in Japan during 2016 with multiple releases. And if you are looking for an album review for their 10th mini album, which will also include their pre-release track, Someday, expect it this weekend, if time permits.

Movie brings the guys back to their fun and lighthearted days in music. While you may argue that is probably every other day in their lives, I am referring to the period where they released songs like You’re So Fly or Beep Beep. Unlike though songs, the group utilises a more funky instrumental, which uses more standard instrumental rather than synths or any electronic sounds. That alone brings out the lightheartedness and brighter vibe. While BTOB has shown off their vocals through their past releases of ballads and subunit releases, the group’s vocals for the song are quite underwhelming. The same goes for their raps. While both fit the song quite nicely, I personally wasn’t blown away or impressed with what I heard. However, the vocals and raps do show how much they have improved and grown since debut. There was, however, parts of the song that I enjoyed quite a bit. The small sequences that Ilhoon and Minhyuk have after each chorus, for example, do seem like they mismatch with the overall sound of the song. But for some reason, it fits in quite nicely and gives off a much-needed ‘palate cleanser’. In other words, the parts do keep the song interesting and make the song, along with its catchy chorus, quite memorable. For how long though, I don’t know. It all depends on their promotional cycle now (and my randomising playlist for 2017).

Like the song, the music video also goes for a more fun and lighthearted concept. The video itself is about the guys having fun by filming themselves. However, in their minds, their acting is Oscar award worthy. Oh, how imagination can take you a long way. The video is quite heavy on the comedy and it actually makes the video worth watching. While the sets and individual scenes plain and boring, their comedic acting (or is it really acting? These guys are already like this in the real life – or at least when they are off stage) save the video from boredom. But as I just said, there isn’t anything else that is flashy or impressive in the video.

Likewise, the choreography didn’t stand out. It isn’t as memorable or catchy as some of their previous dances. The song doesn’t really have any parts that could lead to a more eye-catching choreography, but what we see is something that fits the feel and sound of the song. I do think they also inserted a bit of their previous choreography for I’ll Be Your Man. Not sure if it was just a coincidence or intentional.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

 

[Review] I’ll Be Your Man – BTOB

BTOB has returned with their brand new 9th mini-album. They last returned with a ballad, Remember That, at the start of the year. This is also their first comeback in 2 years with a dance track. The group become popular for their romantic ballads which they have been releasing for the past two years.

The song is pretty good. You can really tell that they took what they became known for (their vocals) and did an amazing job with combining it with the dance track. That high note where all four of the vocalists join together sounds amazing. It also allowed their rapping to shine a bit more. Their rapping in the past in the ballad songs have been pretty good as well, but this song allows them to become a lot fiercer and more powerful. That part of the bridge where the vocalists are all belting out their high note and the rappers are rapping quite furiously sounded really amazing and probably gave the song that peak it needed. The actual song was a wonderful mashup between a ballad and a dance track. Gave the song a more grand and darker feel. I loved the classical mash-up with the electronic sounds in the song. The song just did not seem to be catchy enough. There wasn’t much of a hook to it, unfortunately. That being said I will (and have) continuously relayed the song because I want to listen to that fierceness and powerfulness that the song has since I missed it so much. I did think Peniel’s rapping after the first chorus was a little weird but listening to the song a few more times made that part fit in perfectly into the song.

The music video tells an interesting story. The video matches that grand feel and epicness that the song oozes with. It seems like the guys are trying to escape some sort of regime. Within the confines of a church, the group assumes they are safe, but become under attack. Also within the church, they meet a girl, who is played by Elkie from CLC. It seems like Minhyuk falls for her. You think everything is okay until the plot twist is revealed. The girl turns out to be part of the regime that the guys are running away from and in the end, Minhyuk is caught, stripped and hanged upside down in the snow. I assume they are all killed in the end. I actually like these types of plots. They should be made into movies. They sound pretty cool and perfect for the big screen sometimes. I really thought the way they shot the video was pretty cool. Some of the camera effects occurred at the right time with the beat of the song.

While I do rave on how powerful and grand the song was, the dance felt short of that. It was quite underwhelming and looked a little off. Sure, they were tried to show off their masculine charms, because this is a song about being a woman’s man, but it seemed quite weak. I am not actualy referring to the part of the choreogrpahy where they are praying, but rather the parts where they actually directly show that they can be a man, such as the chorus. It seemed like they were trying to hard.

Rating – 8/10

[Review] Stand By Me – BTOB Blue

BTOB, for the last year and 9 months have been garnering a lot of attention for their ballads. From their latest promotions to their Immortal Song stages; Eunkwang, Sungjae, Hyunsik and Changsub have been showing their talents (in terms of vocals) for the industry and world to listen to. The 4 members have formed a subunit, releasing the song, Stand By Me.

BTOB has great songs. They don’t consistently put out good songs, but they do every now and then. This song is, unfortunately, one of the songs that are more  leaning to the not-so-good side. Not saying it is terrible, it just leans to that side because it isn’t as memorable as I want to be. BTOB is vocally talented (as seen per their latest Immortal Song stage). This one really does not showcase the same level of talent. It almost sounds like they are holding back. The song sounded very dull and didn’t consist of any parts that I would consider as “highlights”. There was a hint of catchiness to the song, though, but it wasn’t enough. To me, if the vocals were mindblowing or the song had a very strong melody to go along with the vocals, then yes, I will be going back to the song many times. All of that being said, the song is still good to listen to. The instrumental does make you sway along to the song. Maybe if I listened to the song more, I would grow to like it, but what I have explained above, is what I currently feel about the song.

Likewise, the video is incredibly dull. Emphasis on ‘incredibly’. I understand that there is a very limited amount of space to move about creativity when it comes to a song that is much slower than others. But I have reviewed numerous slow songs with such amazing videos, so this falls quite short. The video only consists of shots of the members singing. That’s about as exciting as the video gets.The video is well edited. To me, I am quite sure that the video was shot in individual sections and edited into a one-shot video, so some effort was placed. I do have two minor problems with the video, though. The dry ice / fog was not needed. It just made the video look odd. And the other thing, the lighting in the video. It just did not fit the emotion the song had. It was more of a distraction. I also imagine someone standing in the corner and turning the knob to adjust the dimness for some odd reason (I know this isn’t probably what happened). Yeah, I am odd like that.

Rating – 4.5/10

Remember That – BTOB

BTOB has finally returned after a highly successful year last year. The last year allowed the boys to sweep the ballad awards at the start of the year, for the previous year (there was so much grammatical errors there, don’t judge). And once again, BTOB has returned with a Spring ballad to warm everyone’s hearts. Solo wise, Sungjae and Minhyuk have been enjoying a lot of popularity through their acting. Not exactly sure of the other members, but I have seen them here and there, every now and then.

Once again it is a RNB ballad. My same opinion applies: I preferred hip hop and pop music BTOB. However, this is an excellent song that sounds really good. The song has this very sweet vibe to it (despite the lyrics singing the total opposite, as the song reminds of the happy times they once had and cannot get back). While listening to the song, I cannot help but smile, as it has the tune which you would associate with happy memories. Or at least, that is what happened to me. I think that is due to the vocals. There is no hint of sadness in their vocals and that brings that sweet vibe into play. Vocally, this song is stunning. Even Ilhoon took a stab at singing. Sure, he isn’t the best singer out there (he is their main rapper), but he manages to sound really good and suits the song really well. I would have thought that Minhyuk would sing instead, but he stuck to rapping the very last part of the song. Sungjae, Eunkwang, Changsub and Hyunsik all sound really good (mentioned it already, but you must know). Peniel, still a little confused on his role in the group, but those small lines he gets really fit his voice and rap really well. The instrumental also gives off that Spring feel, which I really like (It is Autumn and cold here. I need the sun and warmness. This song delivers). Overall, great song.

This is a nice video, but a little boring to watch. Minhyuk reflects upon his past relationship when Spring comes rolling by. He unlocks the room, as if he is unlocking his memory bank. Inside the room there are objects that he associates with those happy, but at the same time, heartbreaking moments. The other members just look pretty and end up noticing the Spring rolling through. Though it looks like they are experiencing the exact same thing and having the exact same feels. Love the use of the cherry blossom, which is used to symbolise the Spring (and is often used as symbol of love in a lot of Korean associated media). The wind was really nice (and probably felt nice, especially under all that nice sunshine). Minhyuk’s and Jo Bo Ah’s (the lead actress) acting was pretty good, but it did make the video feel very dead. Their chemistry wasn’t protrayed as well and the addition of the members made it feel very detached from the song. Just my thoughts though.

The dance… Yeah, there wasn’t much of a dance. Finally, ballads without the dance. I smell the fresh air already. It was actually more like “movement around to microphone stands to get everyone a chance to stand in the middle and have the spotlight on them”.

Overall, I think it was an excellent comeback. Definitely a song to “remember”. 9/10

 

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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