[International Song Review] BTS, Stray Kids, TWICE, Dream Catcher, Lee Jun Young (U-KISS)

It has been a while since I stuck my head into the world of Japanese releases made by Korean artists. So today, I will be reviewing Japanese releases from BTS, Stray Kids, TWICE, Dream Catcher and Lee Jun Young (from UKISS). Some of these are recent and some of these dates back to the start of the year. Early this year, I reverted to a bulk review post for International releases by Korean artists as they go global. If you would like to see the two bulk review posts that I have released so far, you can do so by clicking here and here. If you know of any other international releases (that have a music video), please comment them below so that I am aware of them!

Stay Gold – BTS

Out of all the releases on this list that I have chosen to review today, Stay Gold has to be the most generic. While the song does shine a golden light onto their vocals and rapping, the pop ballad just doesn’t have much to hold my attention. The lyrics of Stay Gold directs the song down the inspirational path, but the overall atmosphere of the pop ballad did not have that same feeling. And no amount of good vocals can compensate for that. The instrumental felt very mostly linear and the titular hook was just repeated too much throughout the chorus. Obviously, this is intentional to get the hook stuck in your mind. But by the time we get to the pre-chorus, it just feels too overdone and dried out. Lights (last year’s Japanese release) is quite similar in terms of its ballad direction, but there was a soothing feeling and attractive instrumental. The music video seems to show that no matter what dark place you in, there will always be light somewhere in it. At the end of the video when V touches the tree trunk, the golden lights that come from the tree and into the dark hallways may symbolises that is BTS is the guiding light for their fans (which I am sure is the truth for most fans). It was a nice video, with a good meaning. (7.2/10)

Top – Stray Kids

Top is Stray Kid’s first original Japanese single and since its release, we have seen a Korean and English version. It is also used as a theme song for the Japanese anime, Tower of God. When I listen to Top, I get this really cool epic vibe to the song which leaves a very strong impression on me. It starts off with some dramatic violins before adopting a rough and heavy synth base for the chorus. And it is this combination that really helps makes Top become one of their most powerful releases to date. The rappers benefit with this rough style of music, with both their rough textured delivery and angst shining throughout the song. The vocal moments were meh, in my opinion. But the slowdown we get to give way to the vocalists do help make the drop more epic. For the music video, I really like their spaceship premise. It is fitting with the epic vibes of the song. Standlone, it is still pretty cool setting. It is a song all about gettng to the top, no matter what. We see the members struggle as the road to get to the top becomes difficult, but they always perservere. I do wonder what Seungmin and I.N were meant to represent as they walk into the light. Are they the ones that gave up? Not too sure. As for the choreography, powerful and epic, just like the song. (9/10)

Fanfare – Twice

TWICE’s recent Japanese release is Fanfare. The song’s instrumental just keeps coming for you and it might be overwhelming for some. Even I had to debate whether I should say the instrumental assaulted us with its noise or was just very overpowering but bearable. For the time being, I am leaning towards the latter, as it doesn’t seem to much as everyone else is saying. But if you caught me on a bad day, I might be going with the first option as my description of Fanfare. I really like its energy and powerful upbeat nature, which is all highly suitable for the Summer season. The marching band adds a fun and robust feel to the song. It might be overpowering, but the members bring a bright tone to the song to help level it out. The song’s hooks were catchy and I would gladly add this to my playlist if I wanted to infuse some energy into my day. For the music video, it looks like a bunch of ill-fitting closeup shots and a stage-like set up for their choreography scenes, where the members are dressed in marching band gear. I assume those closeup shots are meant to give off a happy and joyful impression to match the lyrics of the song. Though, I do question Jihyo’s scene, which is a world full of laundry. No one ever enjoys laundry, it is such a chore. For the choreography, I thought it was pretty good. Not their most impressive routine, but still fun and bubbly. (7.4/10)

Endless Night – Dream Catcher

Endless Night is one of the older releases in this post, dating back to March of this year. While Dream Catcher has been long associated with bringing the J-POP rock sound to K-POP, Endless Night feels like it brings a Western rock influence to the Japanese industry, which was rather unexpected. It is also a lot moodier than any of their other title tracks. But while these are different directions, Dream Catcher makes it work. I do just wish their vocals and rapping had a little more oomph to them, which would help make the song more appealing. Aside from the chorus, everything else was rather forgettable and dry. For the music video, I really liked the use of colours. It just makes this otherwise boring music video pop, which definitely helps with the video’s appeal. Wait, but why do I find the video boring? Well, the video takes on that typical closeup and choreography formula that I have grown to dislike. I do admit the closeups seem to try to be aesthetic, but they don’t just hit the mark like other music videos. The choreography looks pretty good and works pretty well with the song. The chorus has to be the best part of the routine for me. (7.4/10)

Come Alive – Lee Jun Young (U-KISS)

Lee Jun Young is probably more known as an actor, rather than UKISS member. At the end of 2019, he reminded fans that he is a singer with the release of his first single album and Curious About U. Right after his domestic promotions, Lee Jun Young also released his first mini-album in Japan, featuring a number of solo singles from the second half of 2019. It also featured Come Alive, which was formally released at the start of 2020. It is a fun hip-hop dance track, that is both bass and brass-heavy. It is quite addictive that I am always nodding or tapping along to the beat when it appears on my playlist. The song is pretty dynamic when it comes to the verses. His rapping is quite captivating and alluring. I really like how the song punctuates some of the lines with the added emphasis of the ‘You‘ and ‘Do‘ (and associated Japanese words). His vocals are also quite good. There is a good beat to this section to help give it a club feel. At first, I didn’t like how dragged out the ‘Come Alive‘ felt. But after multiple listens, it has definitely grown on me significantly. The music video has this urban feel to it, which was nice. It just didn’t have anything more to it worth talking about, unfortunately. For the choreography, it fits in with the urban hip-hop feel that both the song and music video had. I do like how clean and smooth it felt during some parts of the choreography. Other than that, it is just another case of not his best, but still good. (7.5/10)

[Review] Eight – IU ft. Suga (BTS)

You take the digital queen of KPOP. You take one of the members of the most popular KPOP group in KPOP. You put them together in a room and apparently that equates to Eight. If you couldn’t tell about the title of this post, I will be having a looking into the collaboration single that came about when we combine the likes of IU and Suga from BTS. And that collaboration single is set to dethrone every other song at the top of the charts, given the power of the two in the industry. After all, they have already debuted at the number 1 position for two of the domestic charts and they are rising fast on the rest of them. After all, it is what IU and BTS does best.

The song is produced by Suga and IU themselves and it all about being 28 (which is also the Korean age of both IU and Suga this year). The song takes the form of a pop rock track, which already sounds amazing. I liked how mellow Eight started off as and how fast it was to ditch that sound to become an epic pop rock song that I could rock out to. That is really big tick in my books. To me, it is like the song mashes up IU’s pop rock Blueming and BTS’ more modern influence. I do think Eight could have used some electric guitar riffs to really give the final chorus a little something different to the rest of the song. Or would this be a little cliche? The song just felt a little too consistent as I was listening to it after multiple replays. Though, this doesn’t stop me from pressing the replay button. IU’s vocals never seem to disappoint, with this song highlighting her vocal abilities in the same way as her ballads and well known hits have always managed to do. Her voice comes off very refreshing and suits this pop rock style a lot. Suga has a very limited section in Eight, but he comes in with a really cool whisper and he continues the momentum of the song without diverting to a new or different sound. The only other flaw of the song is how short it was. But after all, it is a short but sweet song.

The music video starts and ends off with IU in this futuristic world. It seems like the machine that she gets into is a memory machine that replays memories in her dream. The memory that we see on our screen is what I presume to be an experience at the age of 28. She takes care of a lizard or gecko that she really loves. One night, she has a dream that she is on a plane and her lizard is on the outside of the plane. The plane experiences turbulence, waking IU up. IU runs downstairs to find that her lizard pet has gone into the wild. IU, in another dream, goes looking for her pet. But soon realizes that her pet had evolved into a dragon like creature. Knowing that her lizard pet is well and moving on with its life, she moves on with hers as she flies away to her destination. I thought the video was really cool. I liked how they showed four versions of IU without confusing us as they used a different style of each. They used a human form for Futuristic IU and memory IU, while animated 3D IU (which may have included 3D animated Suga) and cartoon IU for the different dreams. Overall, a fantastic video.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Album Review] Map Of The Soul: 7 (4th Studio Album) – BTS

There is no doubt that BTS’ return is the biggest comeback of the year so far (or even possibly the entire year – and that might be saying something since we are only in February/March). The group’s fourth studio album, Map Of The Soul: 7, features a whole stack of new songs, their pre-releases tracks from January and the tracks from their 2019 Map Of The Soul: Persona mini-album (which features the title track, Boy With Luv). The group has already sold over 4 million copies world wide and have topped the domestic and international charts upon release, as they have been doing with many of the releases. Let’s see how good their latest album is this time around!

Map Of The Soul: 7 Album Cover

Tracks 1 to 5 can be found on the album review for Map Of The Soul: Persona, which I have previously reviewed. The song ratings I gave in that album review were not considered in the album rating (i.e. only new songs contributed to the this album’s rating).

6. Interlude: Shadow (Suga Solo) (Pre-Release Track)Click here for the full review of Interlude: Shadow. (9/10)

7. Black Swan (Pre-Release Track)Click here for the full review of Black Swan. (9/10)

8. Filter (Jimin Solo) – The first of the few solo tracks on the album belong to Jimin. There is a slight Latin feel to the song, thanks to both the melody that Jimin applies over the predominately acoustic guitar in the instrumentation. But rather than being in your face about, the song manages to keep it on the down low, which I thought was interesting. The song has a very smooth run and Jimin’s vocals seems perfect throughout the song. The song doesn’t reach a peak, however. I think that is the only issue with the song as it felt like it was stuck in the neutral gear. (8/10)

9. My Time (시차) (Jungkook Solo) – Similar comments about being stuck in neutral gear can be said about Jungkook’s solo track for majority of the song. But what My Time manages to do in its final chorus was change its gear and give the song a much-needed peak. Jungkook’s song falls under the genre of R&B, while the instrumental is given a modern feel with its synth basis. Jungkook’s vocals must also be applauded as he gives the song a very mature and captivating feel. I mean, look at the way he ended the song with his constant ‘ah’s and ‘ugh’s. (8.5/10)

10. Louder Than Bombs – I was already intrigued with Louder Than Bombs with just the title itself. I had expected a really pop and colorful track (for some unknown reason). But we got something a lot more interesting, much darker and captivating all at the same time. The thumping instrumental and the mysterious vibes we get from the song really draw my attention in. Throw in the higher pitch vocals from the vocalists and the very deep voices that the rappers channeled, you basically have a recipe that will make me return for more. The way the song built up was very subtle and occurred without you even knowing. This is one of the best songs on the album, I can’t emphasis that enough. (10/10)

11. On (Title Track)Click here for the full review of On. (10/10)

12. Ugh! (욱) (RM, J-Hope & Suga) – The rap line is the focus in this song, and you can tell that it is going to be something on a different level. The energy that the trio manages to bring to this song with their line delivery and the hip-hop based instrumental really makes this track a strong one. Suga is fast becoming my favorite rapper of the group and his presence in this track really consolidates his position. However, that isn’t to say that RM and J-Hope were letdowns. They were equally as strong, and I enjoyed the part where they passed the baton to each other at the end. Also, the song became quite explosive at the end with all that gunfire. It drew the song to a close in a manner that really felt like icing on the cake. And it makes me want to see a performance this track, as I would suspect it to be lit! (9/10)

13. 00:00 (Zero O’Clock) (Jin, V, Jimin & Jungkook) – When you think of the vocal line of any group, you would expect them to be singing a ballad as it is easier to show of the vocals in that capacity. I guess the case applies even for BTS. But Zero O’Clock is no slow or depressing ballad. There is some light in this track, thanks to the member’s vocals. The instrumental also this inspirational vibe to it, which matches the song’s lyrics of hoping for a happier day. I thought the unit sounded pretty good, especially at the end when the song reaches the climax. The song also has a melody that makes we sway along, which makes it a good ballad in my opinion (as I have mentioned before). (9/10)

14. Inner Child (V Solo) – V, over the years, have been shaped to be the one with the most interesting vocals due to the huskier tone that he brings to the group. And that hasn’t been focused too much on in the past during the group tracks. His huskier voice definitely is full capitalized in this pop track. You know I love a good buildup and Inner Child has this. The chorus is fantastic, giving us that blast of energy that I think is so good. It makes the song feel so fresh and the feeling remains every time I play the song and when the chorus comes around. This is also one of the best tracks on the album and I highly recommend it. (10/10)

15. Friends (친구) (Jimin & V) – This is another track that has a good blast of energy during the chorus. And the way the instrumental manages to perfectly execute the explosive nature of the chorus makes it so addictive. It is a song that I get stuck on each time I listen to the ballad, unable to move to the next as I am so keen on replaying this track constantly. I just want to kick back, put this song on repeat and nod along to it. Jimin and V reflect on their friendship in this track, so there is a lighthearted and fun tone to it. At the end, when they bring the more inclusive feel to the song with the backup vocals, it just makes the song a lot more wholesome. (10/10)

16. Moon (Jin Solo) – With V, Jin is also an underrated vocalist. And I have mentioned this time and time again in past album reviews. Moon continues the album’s momentum with its energy. At the helm is Jin, which pushes his vocals in a manner that suits the song so nicely. The vocals lay on top of a upbeat beat and some guitar beat. It is a catchy number, with infectious energy. I just feel the instrumental drags it down a bit by being a little too consistent. It needed some definition. But it’s a good song from Jin, nonetheless. (9/10)

17. Respect (RM & Suga) – And we get more of the energy through RM and Suga’s collaboration track. The song throws you back to the 90s with its urban hip-hop beat and the many instrumental effects. The way they shout ‘Respect’ throughout the chorus is a very 90s thing, as well. They delivery is pretty good, with autotune weaving in and out of the song. The energy is also quite infectious, and I love how the energy rubs off on me. I mean, this is the track that you want to play while walking down the street on a good day (to make it better, obviously). (9/10)

18. We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal – The album takes a slight serious turn with The Eternal. It isn’t really a ‘happy’ track, as per the energy that preceded the track. But this one encapsulates where the members are at in their career. They are strong, they are bulletproof. And it all thanks to their fans, whom they thank in this track. This track displays amazing vocals and rapping, on top a very warm, trendy and dramatic instrumental. (10/10)

19. Outro: Ego (J-Hope Solo) – The album returns to its infectious and upbeat energy for the outro track. Performed by J-Hope, I love the fast incline to the fast tempo (and the fast tempo, in general) the song had. The entire track was 3 minutes, yet it felt only like one minute. It just makes the song so captivating and groovy. I find the outro track is also be very festival-like, especially in the last few seconds. Because why not end the album with everyone dancing along. J-Hope’s playful side also got to shine through in this track, with the upbeat nature being an excellent platform. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

[Review] On – BTS

We end the week with the return of the KPOP group that is breaking records left, right and centre. BTS has broken more ground that any other artist in KPOP ever in the industry. And yet they continue to do so with every comeback. Today, the group returns with On, the title track from their fourth Korean album, Map of The Soul: 7. The album also features all the tracks from their 2019 mini-album, Map of the Soul: Persona, including Boy With Luv. The album also features Black Swan and Interlude: Shadow, which were pre-releases back in January.

One of my previous complaints with BTS previous comebacks (they were still good songs) was that it was catered to the Western industry and consequently lost the darkness that I really enjoyed from BTS back in the day. While On isn’t totally a dark track like Fake Love or Blood Sweat and Tears, the song is a step in that direction with its edgy vibes. I love the marching drums in the instrumental. It keeps the song coming at you in a consistent manner, driving the song along with a subtle yet heavy intensity. The subtle voice synths (what is the technical terms for this?) in the chorus that were made to match the style of a rolling drum beat was also quite cool. The dance break took me by surprise when I heard the first time. It takes a slight trap influence and infuses it with brass and some electric guitar, which I think is really cool. The vocal work was superb (loving how Jin got more lines than usual) and the rapping was, as always, top notch.

The music video is awesome. There is an epic feel to the video thanks to the wide shot and the very familiar backdrop. I am sure it has appeared on other shows and videos before, but I recognize it from American Horror Story. The lighting is also quite bright, while everyone else is dressed in black. There is a strong contrast with the backup dancers and the scenery. In the end, the members pop, which I think is really cool. They are in a mixture of black and white, so they do standout in the crowd. I also liked how the video was set up and made to look like the members (for some parts) appear out of nowhere. Whether that is part of the choreography, I am not sure. But it looks fantastic either way.

The choreography was also a standout. The chorus, for one, was pretty memorable by the end of the music video. Especially when it came to the raining lyrics. The circular motions they made with their hands somehow keyed into my mind. The second part has to be the dance break. Intense, edgy and very tough, bringing me back to my favourite eras of BTS releases. I do wonder, with such an extravagant music video and routine setup, how they will pull off comeback stages. It is either going to be mind blowing or over the top.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.8/10

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Song-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 participated 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 song-based categories, which will also involve the Performance categories, Best Music Video, Best Concept and the most voted song (by you all). 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 Special Performance

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Egostistic Cover (AOA) at Queendom

Best Concept

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – HIP (Mamamoo)

Best Solo Choreography

Nominees: Blue (Ha Sung Woon); Focus (Kim Dong Han); Gotta Go (Kim Chungha); LALALAY (Sunmi); L.O.V.E (Park Ji Hoon); Twit (Hwasa – Mamamoo); WANT (Taemin – SHINee); What Are You Up To? (Kang Daniel); What You Waiting For? (Anda & R.Tee); Ya (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB).

WINNER – WANT (Taemin)
Honourable Mention – Gotta Go (Kim Chungha)

Best Male (Group) Choreography

Nominees: All Night (ASTRO); Boom (NCT Dream); HIT (Seventeen); Hollywood (AB6IX); Humph! (Pentagon); Love Shot (EXO); RPM (SF9); Say My Name (ATEEZ); Side Effects (Stray Kids); You Calling My Name (GOT7).

WINNER – Love Shot (EXO)
Honourable Mention – HIT (Seventeen)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Side Effects (Stray Kids)

Best Female (Group) Choreography

Nominees: Bon Bon Chocolat (EVERGLOW); Boogie Up (WJSN); Butterfly (LOONA); DALLA DALLA (ITZY); HIP (Mamamoo); Pinky Star (Run) (GWSN); Sunrise (GFriend); The Fifth Season (Oh My Girl); Violeta (IZ*ONE); Zimzalabim (Red Velvet).

WINNER – Butterfly (LOONA)
Honourable Mention – HIP (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Zimzalabim (Red Velvet)

Best Collaboration

Nominees: Blossom (Eunha & Ravi); Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey); Don’t Need Your Love (NCT Dream & HRVY); I Wanna Be (Key ft. Kim Soyeon); Spring (Park Bom ft. Sandara Park)

WINNER – Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey)
Honourable Mention – Don’t Need Your Love (NCT Dream & HRVY)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey)

Best Music Video

Nominees: Abandoned (Brown Eyed Girls); Above The Time (IU); Crown (TXT); Feel Special (TWICE); HIT (Seventeen); Love Drunk (Epik High ft. Crush); Noir (Sunmi); Snapping (Kim Chungha); You Calling My Name (GOT7); Zimzalabim (Red Velvet)

WINNER – Obsession (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Feel Special (TWICE)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – HIT (Seventeen)

Best International Song By A Korean Artist

Nominees: Breakthrough (TWICE – Japanese); Flower (GFriend – Japanese); Lights (BTS – Japan); Moonwalk (WAYV – China); Someone’s Someone (Monsta X – US).

WINNER – Breakthrough (TWICE – Japan)
Honourable Mention – Moonwalk (WAYV – China)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Breakthrough (TWICE – Japan)

Best Official Soundtrack (OST)

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – We All Lie (Ha Jin- Sky Castle OST)

Most Viewed Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Goblin (Sulli)

Most Viewed Album Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – BXXX (Ha Sung Woon)

Songs With Most Win on Weekly KPOP Charts

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Time Of Our Life (DAY6)
WINNER – HIP (Mamamoo)

Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Ten Nights (Mamamoo)

Best Album

Nominees: Love Poem (IU); Narcissus (SF9); Purpose (Taeyeon – SNSD); The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6); Want (Taemin – SHINee)

WINNER – Love Poem (IU)
Honourable Mention – The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6)

Most Voted For Song of 2019

WINNER – Obsession (EXO)

And that brings us to the end of the Song-Based Categories for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t seen the Artist-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%). Will EXO’s Obsession become the ‘Best Song of 2019’ officially? You can find out by clicking here (hyperlink will be updated once the post is published).

[Review] Black Swan – BTS

In addition to Interlude tracks, I don’t often review pre-release tracks. The main reason for this is that there usually isn’t any music video (which would reduce my review to a 2 paragraphs. Last week, BTS unveiled Black Swan, the pre-release track off their upcoming album release, Map Of The Soul: 7. Accompanying this pre-release track is an art film, which I have decided to be the music video for this release. Hence, this fulfills the criteria for a review. Map Of The Soul: 7 has been confirmed for release on the 21st of February 2020.

The more I listen to Black Swan, the more I find it to be extremely calming. There is something about the song that just relaxes me. It might be the instrumental, which doesn’t go into any ‘hard’ territory and remains relatively light throughout. The Eastern influences that you can hear in the instrumental give off complexity, definition and personality. All elements that you definitely want to find in a song. The more modern trap beats keeps it grounded and adds robustness to the song. The combination comes together nicely and allows for a flow like water trickling over a riverbed. Their vocals could also help make the song feel calming. Their harsher vocals (for both rappers and vocalists) were not present in this song. Everything was a lot softer and more melodic, which helped smooth out the song even further. The use of autotune usually would have countered this. But somehow, BTS managed to utilize this element without disrupting the atmosphere. If I was to be honest, I didn’t feel this way about the song the first few times I heard it. It felt awkward and I just didn’t get it. But more listens definitely helped out and I am looking forward to the rest of the album when it comes out in February.

The art film contains a slightly different version of the song, where the song features more traditional instruments and a more acoustic profile. And I think this version really helps make the choreography stand out. I find the following explanation to the performance to make a lot of sense and is more detailed that whatever interpretation that I would have made.

To me, the level of aesthetics in which the art film reaches is a very fine point on any scale. That takes a lot to do and the producers nailed the film perfectly, capturing everything that needed to be captured. It is definitely one of check out. I highly recommend it.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] Interlude: Shadow – Suga (BTS)

This review contains my personal opinions regarding the song and music video. This is my interpretation and mine only.

This is the first time I am doing a full review for the Interlude track for BTS (or any artist). Why am I finally doing a review for the Interlude track? Well, I have noticed that these are actually tracks worth talking about themselves. The music video that accompanies these tracks also tend to be full of symbolism and hence there is more to talk about. The Interlude track is titled Shadow, courtesy of Suga. It was the first track unveiled after the announcement of their upcoming comeback in February with Map Of The Soul: 7.

There is something haunting with the start of the song in the ‘I Wanna Be…‘ montage. Suga’s signature husky and low tone brings this section to life, making it a memorable part of the song. Suga then start to throw lines at us through the rapping. And it is in this part do we get more of an idea of what the song is all about. Essentially, the ‘I Wanna Be…‘ montage at the start is more like the dream that we keep on repeating to ourselves to help make it a reality. But the verses and chorus paint a darker picture. That sometimes this dream isn’t somewhere we would want to be. In this sense, Suga says as part as of the world’s leading musical act, he is lonely and is often followed by a dark shadow that stays with me no matter whats. He doesn’t want to fly nor does he want to fall from the top. The rock sound in this part was really good and well accented. He then repeats the montage and then the song manages to flip a switch. It becomes a lot more intense and powerful. Suga’s rapping becomes more erratic and chaotic, as opposed to the control at the start. In the lyrics, I think he is referencing that darker side, which I thought was interesting. There is a lot to take in, but I thought Suga nailed this track with a very likable backdrop/instrumental.

I think my interpretation of the song lyrics and the musical intentions of the song reflect well with the music video. Remember that this might not be the actual interpretation. We see shadows at the start, with Suga standing in front of door. I think this foreshadows the shadows that will follow him once he rises to the top. We then see the same corridor with Suga, but no shadows, which shows his desires prior to realizing the darker side of show business. He runs, which shows his climb to the top. This lands him on the stage, with everyone watching. In this era, social media is like a double-ended sword. It help create his career. But at the same time, it allows for the focus to be too much on him. There is a scene in which the camera angles continually changes but the focus remains on him the entire time, further emphasising this part. The more erratic part of the song shows cameras directed at him, similar to how paparazzi tends to get. We see the shadows run after him. But we see human hands instead, showing that some fans can be the shadow. Overall, I thought this was a really cool video. The different ways symbolism was shown in the video was really profound. The post-production also helped out.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Special] My Favourite Performances from the 2019 End Of Year Music Festivals

At the end of each year, the three major broadcasting companies in South Korea (SBS, KBS and MBC) organises and broadcast a very fruitful and dynamic music festival, bringing together the top KPOP acts of the year. 2019 is no exception and with a year as busy as 2019, it is often quite hard to get invited to these festivals. And with each show running for a couple of hours, different stages/performances/remixes of the year’s hits and one-of-a-kind collaborations, it is often hard to keep up with these festivals. Today, I have decided to organise a list of performances from each of these three festivals that I thought were excellent, different and worthwhile in checking out. I have done this before but over the years dropped it as I had very little time. Now that I have some time on my hand, I thought I return to this segment for the 2019 festivals.

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

When we talk about the SBS Music Festival, we need to address the issue of safety. After all, it costed Red Velvet full group promotions for their Psycho comeback, due to injuries sustained by Wendy due to the unsafe nature of SBS stage. We did manage to get one full lineup of the group performing Psycho on stage as it was pre-recorded. because of that, I put Red Velvet’s Psycho performance on my list of favourite performances from that day. Other performers also had falls on the SBS stage, from what I remember reading. Other stages at stood out for me were:

  • Stray Kid’s Miroh – I did not know how Stray Kids could top Miroh’s intensity by rearranging the performance to be even more intense.
  • NCT Dream’s Boom & NCT 127’s Superhuman – Both tracks had a really cool dance addition to it. On top of that, we got to see the same ‘switching of jackets’ that Mark did at the 2018 SBS Music Festival between Dream and 127’s performance. Only this time, it was Haechan!
  • Oh My Girl’s Bungee (X-mas Version) – Always good to have a X-mas themed remix on Christmas Day. It made Bungee, an already vibrant and colourful track, more suitable for the season.
  • Mamamoo’s Gogobebe – The rock remix for this performance was superb.
  • Seventeen’s Home and Snapshoot – We got to see a warmer side of the group and the more joyful side, especially after all the darkness we got from HIT and Fear.
  • TWICE’s Medley of Tracks – I really liked the band element to their performance and how they tweaked the concept for Fancy and their more light hearted tracks. I just wished the band was DAY6 (where is DAY6 in all of these festivals), which would have made the performance even more worthy of a view.
  • BTS’s Dionysus – I have always been a fan of BTS’s darker side. This performance is a return this side, which I greatly appreciate.

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

I personally did not have much interest in the KBS Music Festival as I thought the stage looked really bad and the camera work wasn’t the best. This wasn’t also the only problem that occurred that same night. APINK’s %% performance was cut short, disappointing fans, APINK and viewers in general. If I were to choose one standout stage, it would have Golden Child’s Wannabe stage. Their dance intro was very good and showed off intensity that was aligned with their new look/concept. And I really liked how smooth the transition between dance intro and actual song was. Only a few toehr performances caught my attention and they include:

  • Song Gain’s Introductory song – Song Gain, for those who don’t know is a trot singer that trended this year. For Song Gain’s performance, she managed to incorporate all artists into her song, which I think would be a challenge.
  • NU’EST Love Me – It wasn’t so much their choreography or song that caught my attention. But I thought the raised stages for the end really highlighted the good parts of their overall choreography, providing what could be said as an epic end to their stage.
  • ASTRO’s All Night + Blue Flame – I was waiting for ASTRO to do All Night in some capacity during these festivals. But with Moonbin out of action, it seems like the group would opt for the 5-member Blue Flame instead. So automatically, ASTRO’s stage for All Night alone would make this list. Blue Flame ended up being very epic as well, which is why their entire segment is on this list.
  • Oh Ha Young, Joy and Yerin Mr. Mr. collaboration – I haven’t heard this song for some time now and I really enjoyed this throwback. Also surprised that they covered the entire song, which usually isn’t the case.

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

MBC’s Music Festival is one to always watch. Their stages always have a look that shows that they have been planning for a while. The collaborations for this festival are always something to talk about. And why not watch it live as the year goes out! There is nothing like ending 2019 and start 2020 with KPOP! However, the MBC Music Festival was also plagued with an early termination issue. This time around the victim was Kim Jae Hwan, who only got to perform Nuna (he should have performed The Time I Need as well. For standout performance, I am putting down ASTRO and Oh My Girl’s creepy and jazzy cover of IU’s Red Shoes. It was different and colourful. Other stages to check out:

  • Stray Kid’s Side Effects – Another intense song that they managed to upgrade and make darker. The creative minds that put together these stages for Stray Kids are killing it (and need a pay rise instantly).
  • Seventeen & Mamamoo Collaboration – Two of my favourite groups have come together to form one dream team. And this was such an amazing stage.
  • Seventeen’s HIT – Mingyu shouldn’t be playing with fire. It is dangerous. But one epic opener to the stage. Also, somehow Seventeen managed to insert a dance break in the midst of the stage, which I think earns a mention at the very least.
  • Hyuna’s Flower Shower – Her choreography is essentially the same as the one she performed in the past. But the chorus instrumental is changed slightly, which I thought made the stage a lot cooler for the end of year festival.
  • Taemin’s Move & Famous – MBC’s Music Festival had a theme, The Chemistry. And you can’t have a theme about Chemistry without Taemin. While he didn’t do anything special to Move‘s stage, his dance alone is already 100% fitting for a ‘Chemistry’ themed music festival.
  • (G)i-DLE’s Lion – Another reason to why we need to look out for this girl group is their special stages. Lion is practically a game changer for the group.
  • Lovelyz’s Beautiful Day – I really like their ballad start to their stage and how they built it back up to the original song in an effortless manner.

[Review] Lights – BTS

It is completely surprising to see how far BTS has led the industry. They started as a group from a small agency and are now global stars throughout the world. And while they are at the forefront of the KPOP industry, this hasn’t stopped them from focusing on their JPOP market venture. A few weeks back, BTS made their Japanese comeback with a brand new single, Lights. The single is featured alongside the Japanese version of Boy With Luv (which they returned to Korea with earlier in the year) and Idol (their breakout single last year).

It has been a while since I reviewed a Japanese single from the group. To be fair on my part, it is scarce with the majority of their Japanese releases being Japanese versions of their Korean title track. But there have been a few, with For You being the most memorable. Similar to For You, Lights opt for a more ballad approach with their track, departing from the usual upbeat tracks that dominate their promotional cycles in Korea. And I appreciate that, as sometimes dance tracks can get overwhelming over time. What I like about Lights (and these types of tracks) is that it showcases the best of the group without wasting too much energy. Lights ends up being soothing and the only energy you are using is by swaying along to the music. Their vocals were very dreamy and the rapping was quite calm and relaxing to go well with the song. The song talks about supporting each other during a hard time, with the group depending on the audience as the light that leads them out of the darkness.

I thought the music video was quite nice. Instead of showcasing choreography throughout the video, the video focuses on a small storyline. But I think the bigger picture shows that the members will not be happy alone. Instead, they are happiest around each other. Set in a movie theatre, the group is shown to join one another and watch what I think is a home-video (as opposed to an actual movie), reflecting upon their time together and how it brought them joy. There might be some other meaning that I haven’t pinpoint yet, so share if there are other theories. I know the Armys are always creative in this field.

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

[Album Review] The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever (1st Compilation Album) – BTS

Due to the many songs on this album, this post is quite lengthy. You have been warned. 

BTS is undeniably on the very top of the world due to their explosive global popularity. And this popularity grows with every new release. However, I do prefer more of their older releases. One of them has to be the album series that started off cementing their popularity domestically by earning them their first wins in South Korea through the weekly music shows. This album series, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, is made up of three different releases. The first is Part 1 (their 3rd mini-album, released on April 2015), Part 2 (their 4th mini-album, released on December 2015) and Young Forever (their first compilation album consisting of the songs from the two previous mini-albums, along with 3 others and this was released on April 2016). Let’s have a quick look back on these releases.

The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever Album Cover

Disc 1

1..The Most Beautiful Moment in Life (Intro Track) (Intro: 화양연화) – Opening up the compilation album and 3rd mini-album is this introductory track. Suga takes the reins of the track, being the only member to actually be in the track. His rapping is phenomenal. The breathing that fades in tells you to expect something that will blow you away and the breathing that fades out is literally me after listening to the song. A lot of deepness in his lyrics as well. (9/10)

2. I Need U (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for I Need U. (10/10)

3. Hold Me Tight (잡아줘) – Included on their 3rd mini-album, I am sure this type of track would have excited fans and listeners back when it was released in 2015. Listening to now, it seems like a very typical R&B track for BTS. There was a great display of vocals, especially towards the end. Their rapping was toned down to fit the more soothing nature of the instrumentation. I did think that this was a great track to follow up the I Need You title track, as it keeps some of the previous vibes but channelled it through to a slightly slower and paced track. (7.5/10)

4. Autumn Leaves (고엽) – Included on their 4th mini-album, Autumn Leaves was produced by Suga. This comes by no surprise as listening to all the members on the track, Suga fits in perfectly. Apart from Suga, the vocal line sound exceptional in this song. I also like the analogy that is made in this song. The members are like Autumn Leaves when they are trying to hold onto their lover. They do not want to fall but they will eventually. The instrumental was probably the most boring part of the track, as it feels very BTS now. (7/10)

6. Run (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Run. (8/10)

7. Ma City – Featured on the 4th mini-album, Ma City was an upbeat addition to really bring up the energy. The tracks that are on the 4th mini-album/this album has been very depressing or serious. So, some light is much appreciated. The song references several Korean cities including Ilsan, Busan, Gwangju, Daegu (which I am sure are the member’s hometowns). The pride they have is showcased effortlessly in this catchy track. As it stood out on its original/this album, I thought the track was quite infectious as well. (8/10)

8. Crow-Tit (뱁새) – One of the standout tracks from the 4th mini-album was Crow-Tit. The track is heavily doused in the hip-hop genre, which I think it totally up BTS alley. I remember not being much a fan of the track for the same reason. Now that I have reviewed several tracks of a similar nature, I see the appealing side of Crow-Tit, just not to the same extent as long-time fans. The energy and its message about double standards for the way the younger generation is perceived are also quite memorable. (7.5/10)

9. Dope (쩔어) – While writing these PARs, I revisit my past reviews to see how my thoughts about the song have changed. While I don’t increase the score of a song that is already ranking quite high, I have decided to make an exception for Dope, which has become one of my favourite BTS songs ever. Therefore, I have changed the 9/10 to 10/10. Click here to read the original review for Dope. (10/10)

The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 1 Album Cover

10. Fire (불타오르네) (Title Track) – For similar reasons above, I have decided to increase the original score of 7.5 to a 10. It is Fire. One of BTS’ most iconic tracks to date. Click here to read the original review for Fire. (10/10)

11. Save Me (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Save Me. (9/10)

12. Epilogue: Young Forever – This is one of the new releases featured on the compilation album. It also got a lot of fanfare as it was released as a pre-release track with its own music video. The track is standard for the group, but I think the vocals and raps (one of their best efforts yet) lifts the entire song to a whole new level. Even before pressing play, I can hear the echo of the line ‘Forever, we are young’ in the back of mind, showcasing to me the song’s longevity in my own books. While I never wrote a review for this track, it has continued to blow me away after 3 years. (9.5/10)

(Note Track 5 is a Prologue Version of Butterfly. Due to the length of this post, I have only elected to review the original form of Butterfly.)

Disc 2

1. Converse High – The praises for the shoes in this song is quite high. While the focus should be on the girl wearing the shoes, Converse High does a pretty good job at promoting the footwear instead. The track is a nice song. But to me, it is a step away from their usual stuff as it is quite bright and very neutral. And because of its neutral gearing, I find the track to be quite a bore. Nonetheless, it is still good in some respects but not their best. More of a filler track for me. (7/10)

2. Moving On (이사) – Also featuring on their 3rd mini-album, I find Moving On to be more BTS appropriate and interesting compared to Converse High. I think the track brings out the best of the vocal line. Each vocalist sound so smooth in the track. In conjunction with the melody, I find the song to be very memorable. I also like how nice the instrumental sound. It is soft at times when it is needed to be and gives off a pleasant atmosphere overall. (8/10)

3. Whalien 52 – The song is about a whale who could sing but no other whale could hear its voice. The poor whale becomes lonely, as no other whale wants to be around the one who supposedly can’t sing. Yet, the lonely whale continues to sing until it is heard. Perseverance and persistence, that is the message of this song. And BTS portrays in a nice track. It felt more pop-ish thanks to the upbeat vibes from the instrumental. But other than that, I found the track to be skippable. (7/10)

The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Part 2 Album Cover

4. Butterfly – To me, Butterfly is one of the best ballads that I have ever heard during the many years I have listened to KPOP (I think it might be 10 years or so of KPOP for me, to put it into perspective). There is something so beautiful about this emotional track that makes me come back to the track time and time again, despite it being released 3 years ago. The vocals literally glide along and the rapping fits in perfectly. Maybe it is because BTS is known for their intense songs, that something so fragile managed to stand out from the pack. (10/10)

5. House of Cards – Formerly outro for the 4th mini-album, BTS included the entire track on the compilation album. A dream come true for those who wished that intro and outros should be a full song. Performed by the vocal line, the song opens with a very dramatic feeling. Then comes the singing (which is amazing, once again), which helps builds the suspense that we have already experienced. The song talks about love in a dramatic sense, which matches the song’s initial atmosphere perfectly. (9/10)

6. Love Is Not Over – The final song on the album (apart from the many mixes/remixes featured after this one) is Love Is Not Over, the outro for the 3rd mini-album. Like above, the full version of the R&B track is included instead. Going back to what I have said for some other tracks, this one is rather standard. Both the singing and rapping was pretty good. The melody was quite nice. It just wasn’t a standout track so I didn’t pay much attention to it. (7/10)

Track 7 to 11 are alternate versions of I Need You, Run and Butterfly.

Overall Album Rating – 9.6/10

The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Part 1 Teaser Image

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[Album Review] Map Of The Soul: Persona (6th Mini Album) – BTS

Left right and centre, BTS has been all over social media (for me at least) for their comeback on Friday with Boy With Luv. This title track featured on their 6th mini-album, Map of The Soul: Persona, which was also released on the same day. So, it would be a major pity for me to delay the album review to next weekend, especially since BTS is getting so much attention. They have been confirmed to now be the fastest video to be viewed 10 million times on YouTube, whilst also be the first KPOP act to perform on Saturday Night Live. They have also broken even more records on other platforms since I published my review for Boy With Luv (link below). Phew, a lot of stuff to keep up on! But here is my review as a treat!

Map Of The Soul: Persona Album Cover

1..Intro: Persona – Performed by just RM, the introductory track to the album centres on rapping, as this is RM’s forte. The song has an urban rock type of vibe to it, which I quite like. And while it does fall into that description and still manages to fall into the hip-hop roots, the song is very light, and this makes it an excellent taster to the album. Unlike most introductory tracks, Persona lasts around 3 minutes but somehow still goes by quite quickly. (8/10)

2. Boy With Luv (작은 것들을 위한 시) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Boy With Luv. (8/10)

3. Mikrokosmos (소우주) – The third track of the album, Mikrokosmos, seems to continue this lightness that we have heard thus far on the album. But while lightness would be a good term to really describe the song, I found it to be quite a vibrant pop track with wholesome lyrics. I think the track does a good job of showcasing the vocals of the members despite nothing technical or over-the-top being shown to the listener. I also thought the rapping was well-tweaked for the track as they still manage to show themselves as rappers but in a more appropriate manner for the track. Overall, I thought the melody was nice and hence it stood out for me. (9/10)

4. Make It Right – Before we jump ahead, Ed Sheeran does not feature in the track. Instead, he is one of the writers of the track. And a collaboration between the biggest boy group and soloist is probably a killer move. Truthfully, I am not a major fan of Ed Sheeran, but I think the song turned out well. That lightness continues from the previous track. I really do like the pop vibes and the unique the instrumental felt with the brass throughout it. To me, the vocals win in comparison to the rapping (not that the latter was disappointing because it wasn’t). I thoroughly enjoyed the low and husky voices of some of the members, along with the amazing harmonies that you can hear between all the members. That final line to the song was superb (and probably the most impactful part of the song). (8/10)

5. HomeHome kicks the energy up a tiny bit, which I greatly appreciated after all those light tracks. The song doesn’t explicitly repeat ‘Home’ in the lyrics. Rather ‘Mi Casa’ which is Italian for ‘My Home’ was used instead. Once again, great vocals and rapping fill up the track. There is this sense of warmth to the song, which I find very appropriate for a song titled as Home. Besides that, however, doesn’t really feel impactful or memorable. It is nice to listen to but isn’t one that I would go out of my way to find. (7/10)

6. Jamais VuJamais Vu features only Jin, J-Hope and Jungkook. The title, Jamais Vu, is a French phrase that means ‘familiar however it hasn’t happened yet’. It is a heartfelt and emotional track with chilling vocals that really leave a lasting impression on you. J-Hope’s raps are also very well done, with the husky rap-speaking concept being well used here. I also enjoyed the minimal instrumental they used in this song, which leaves the vocals to do much of the speaking. My only vendetta against the song is that it feels choppy, which I am not too sure if it was intentional. I don’t really enjoy the flow of it all too much but I would listen to it again for the other elements. (7.5/10)

7. Dionsyus – Ending this album is Dionsyus, the Greek God of grape-harvesting, wine, winemaking, ritual madness and theatre, along with a few other things. But the ones I listed seemed to be referenced in the lyrics of the song. To match the lyrics, the song seems to delve into the rock and hip-hop genres, cultivating into something quite suitable for hyping up a crowd. It is a little heavier than the intro track, which I think is suitable here. But it isn’t too heavy to really make you expect more after this track (and hence is an excellent finisher to the album). I also really like RM’s suspense-building tactic used in the bridge. While the song does kick it up even more for the final chorus, giving the song that peak it needed, I wanted it to go more hardcore, as I think this would literally end the album with a bang. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

Map Of The Soul: Persona Teaser Image

[Review] Boy With Luv – BTS ft. Halsey

Making their grand return today is BTS with Boy With Luv. And with their current worldwide popularity, Boy With Luv continues to break even more records than ever before. Topping charts as soon as the song is released, while also doubling the number of pre-orders for their latest mini-album (also dropped today) compared to their previous release, are just some already making news. So, it is super exciting to even be writing review for such a worldwide artist! We last saw BTS through their IDOL comeback in August last year.

If you are a longtime fan of the group, you may be familiar with another BTS title track, Boy In Luv. While the titles are similar, the songs are very different. Actually, it is very different compared to any other their past tracks, which were all dance heavy. To me, Boy With Luv still goes towards that dance route but in a lighter and more mellow pop direction. It also seems to focus on more of the vocals, as I thought the rapping wasn’t as prevalent. While we are on the topic of vocals, I thought each member managed to match the lighter sound and I think we got a chance to hear them in a wholesome manner, which contrasts from their autotuned and louder volumes in dance tracks. Suga and J-Hope didn’t shine as much, as their parts didn’t stand out as much. RM, however, benefited from a kick in the beat of the instrumental, which I thought was a major difference between the rapper’s section. The main confusing point has to be Halsey’s featuring parts, which was only certain parts of the chorus. I think she could have been omitted and everything would remain the same, honestly. Overall, the question remains: do I like it? Boy With Luv is different and foreign to me. But it is still pleasant, which I think I can enjoy even more down the road.

The music video seems very typical to me. It didn’t have that wow factor like most of their other videos. Though, there is most likely a hidden storyline in the midst of the video. Maybe it will have that wow factor then! I did like the more down-to-earth and more playful vibes the member got to portray. It did make the video feel a lot more casual and laidback. I think, to me, the most memorable parts had to Suga and RM’s rap parts. The change to darkness to let them be the main focus worked really well, and I wished some of the members got something similar. Well, they did but it didn’t seem as bold as RM or Suga’s.

Also going with the light trend is the choreography. Nothing too complicated or extremely energetic in this performance, which I think is rather nice and probably beneficial for the members, who have been overworked with complicated and intense choreographies. This is all based on what I saw in the video, by the way!

Song – 8/10
Music Video  – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Song Categories Results

Welcome back to the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards! On the 1st of December 2018, I presented my readers with many categories filled with talented and deserving nominees for the 2018 KPORPEVIEWED Awards. For the month of December, all of you voted for your favourite artists and songs from January 2018 to November 2018. And today, I present to you who the winners of each category were.

This is the second section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best Male and Female Choreography, Best Album and Best Song of 2018.

In addition to the fan-voted categories, I have also included 5 categories that were not fan voted and I had personally selected the winners (or were determined throughout the year). They include Best Special Performance, Best Concept, Best Non-Title Track, Most Wins on Weekly KPOP Charts segment and Most Viewed Review of 2018. They are labelled clearly.

Each category (with the exception of the non-fan-voted categories) will have a WINNER (the artist that received the highest amount of fan votes), Honourable Mention (the artist/group that received the second highest amount of fan votes) and KPOPREVIEWED Choice (who I voted for).

So, drum roll please, for the winners of the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Artist categories.

Best Male Choreography

Nominees – Fake Love (BTS), Tempo (EXO), Lullaby (GOT7), Thanks (Seventeen), Now or Never (SF9), Black Heart (UNB)


WINNER – Thanks (Seventeen)
Honourable Mention – Fake Love (BTS)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Lullaby (GOT7)

Best Female Choreography

Nominees – Bingle Bangle (AOA), Woman (BoA), I Love You (EXID), Time For The Moon Night (GFriend), Siren (Sunmi), Dance The Night Away (TWICE)


WINNER – Woman (BoA)
Honourable Mentions – Siren (Sunmi) & Dance The Night Away (TWICE)

Best Special Performance

This is not a fan-voted category.


WINNER – Dreams Come True (WJSN) at KCON 2018 Japan

Best Music Video

Nominees – Bingle Bangle (AOA), DDU-DU DDU DU (BLACKPINK), Fake Love (BTS), Love Bomb (fromis.9), Really Bad Boy (Red Velvet), Now or Never (SF9), District 9 (Stray Kids), The Chance of Love (TVXQ), Yes or Yes (TWICE), Spring Breeze (Wanna One)


WINNER – Fake Love (BTS)
Honourable Mention – DDU-DU DDU-DU (BLACKPINK)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Fake Love (BTS)

Best Japanese Song Released by a Korean Artist

Nominees – Electric Kiss (EXO), Memoria (GFriend), Chain (NCT 127), Call Call Call (Seventeen), BDZ (TWICE)


WINNER – Electric Kiss (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Call Call Call (Seventeen)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Call Call Call (Seventeen)

Best Collaboration

Nominees – Still In Love (Lee Hong Ki & Yoo Hwe Sung), Wow Thing! (Seulgi, SinB, Kim Chungha, Kim Soyeon), Dinner (Suho & Jang Jae In), Page 0 (Taeyeon & Melomance), Love It Like It (YDPP)


WINNER – Wow Thing! (Seulgi, SinB, Kim Chungha, Kim Soyeon)
Honourable Mention – Still In Love (Lee Hong Ki & Yoo Hwe Sung)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Love It Like It (YDPP)

Song With Most Wins on Weekly KPOP Charts segment

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Heroine (Sunmi) & Bingle Bangle (AOA)
[3 Weeks Each]

Most Viewed Review of 2018

This was not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Boom Boom (Momoland)

Best Concept

This was not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Love Bomb (fromis.9)

Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan-voted category.


WINNER – Dystopia (Cross Gene)

Best Album

Nominees – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS), Don’t Mess With My Tempo (EXO), The Story of Light – Epilogue (SHINee), Something New (Taeyeon (SNSD)), 1÷x = 1 (Undivided) (Wanna One)


WINNER – The Story of Light – Epilogue (SHINee)
Honourable Mention – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS)

Best Song of 2018

Nominees – All title tracks released from January 2018 to November 2018.
The following song had the highest fan votes in the Best Song of 2018 category. The fan votes in this category will also contribute to 50% of the End Of The Year charts.


WINNER – Good Evening (SHINee)

And that completes the Song Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Artist Categories were previously posted so you can access it by clicking here!

And for the End of Year Charts – they will be out tomorrow. I will update this post with the link once it is out.

Thank you for all voting and checking out who you all selected to be the winners! I hope to do this again for 2019!

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist Categories Results

Welcome back to the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards! On the 1st of December 2018, I presented my readers with many categories filled with talented and deserving nominees for the 2018 KPORPEVIEWED Awards. For the month of December, all of you voted for your favourite artists and songs from January 2018 to November 2018. And today, I present to you who the winners of each category were.

This is the first section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best New Groups, Best Female and Male Groups and many others.

Each category will have a WINNER (the artist/group that received the highest amount of fan votes), Honourable Mention (the artist/group that received the second highest amount of fan votes) and KPOPREVIEWED Choice (who I voted for).

So, drum roll please, for the winners of the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Artist categories.

Best New Male Group

Nominees – ATEEZ, NOIR, Stray Kids, The Boyz, UNB


WINNER – Stray Kids
Honourable Mention – The Boyz
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Boyz

Best New Female Group

Nominees – fromis.9, (G)I-DLE, IZ*ONE, LOONA, NATURE


Honourable Mention – LOONA
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – fromis.9

Best New Soloist

Nominees – Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), LONGGUO, SOHEE (ELRIS), Yuri (SNSD)


Honourable Mention – Leo (VIXX)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Dong Han

Rising Star

Nominees – (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Pentagon


Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Momoland

Most Underrated Artist of the Year

Nominees – A.C.E, CLC, N.Flying, KARD, Snuper


Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – N.Flying

Best Unit Group / Subunit

Nominees – EXO-CBX, NCT 127, NCT Dream, Oh My Girl BANHANA, SNSD-Oh!GG


Honourable Mention – SNSD-Oh!GG

Best Male Solo Artist

Nominees – Eric Nam, Hwang Chi Yeul, Jung Sewoon, Samuel, Seungri (Big Bang)


WINNER – Seungri (Big Bang)
Honourable Mention – Eric Nam
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Eric Nam

Best Female Solo Artist

Nominees – BoA, Hyolyn, Kim Chungha, Sunmi, Taeyeon (SNSD)


WINNER – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Honourable Mention – Sunmi

Best Band

Nominees – DAY6, IZ, N,Flying, The East Light, The Rose


Honourable Mention – The Rose

Best Raps

Nominees – B.I (iKON), Ilhoon (BTOB), Jooheon (Monsta X), Mino (WINNER), RM (BTS)


Honourable Mention – Mino (WINNER)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Jooheon (Monsta X)

Best Vocals

Nominees – BOL4, BTOB, Hwang Chi Yeul, Mamamoo, Minseo


WINNER – Mamamoo
Honourable Mention – BTOB
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Best Male Group

Nominees – BTOB, BTS, EXO, GOT7, iKON, Monsta X, NCT, NU’EST W, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, SHINee, VIXX, Wanna One, Winner


Honourable Mention – SHINee

Best Female Group

Nominees – AOA, APRIL, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)


WINNER – Red Velvet
Honourable Mention – BLACKPINK
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Artists Who Topped The Weekly KPOP Charts The Most in 2018

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Monsta X, Seventeen & Sunmi

And that completes the Artist Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Song Categories will be unveiled shortly and you can access it by clicking here!

And for the End of Year Charts – they will be out tomorrow. I will update this post with the link once it is out.

Thank you for all voting and checking out who you all selected to be the winners! I hope to do this again for 2019!

[Album Review] Love Yourself: Answer (3rd Compilation Album) – BTS

With BTS making their ‘IDOL’ comeback this past Friday, I think this is the fastest I have ever put out an album review for anyone. And while I had planned to do this as soon as I read the news of their said comeback, I never had expected so many high quality songs. Every new song on the album was a gem and I cannot wait to get straight into the review.

A compilation album is, put simply, a collection of past songs from other albums. BTS did insert 7 new songs into this album, which is the focus of the album review today. Joining these new songs are the song the group previously released as part of Love Yourself: Her and Love Yourself: Tears. Due to the amount of songs on the album (25 songs), it would be really crazy for me to put all the songs on this particular page. So, if you are looking for a particular review for another song from the other two mini-albums, click on the links below. Beside that, let’s get this show on the road!

Love Yourself: Her Album Review
Love Yourself: Tears Album Review

Love Yourself: Answer Album Cover

2. Trivia 起 Just Dance (J-Hope Solo) – If you have been visiting my site for some time, you would know that I tend to prefer vocals over rap. But one of the things I love more than vocals are when rappers sing, as they tend to have a underrated voice. This is exactly what we have here. J-Hope’s verses just pull you in. And while that gets me hook, the chorus is another selling point that gives this song an amazing club vibe. The vibrating synth is also extremely addictive. Overall, the first new track of the album starts off these new releases with a banger. (10/10)

3. Trivia 承: Love (RM Solo) – The song kicks off with a very light hip hop sound that makes it appeal. While the sound might be a little too cheerful for RM (I for some reason associate him with a more dark/serious tone), this does not hinder his delivery and presentation of his lines, which felt very effortless (which is usual for the rapper). Once again, the singing was also top notch. Towards the end, there was an anthem like sound infused into the song, which made it the most exciting part of the song. (8/10)

5. Trivia 轉: See Saw (Suga Solo) – Starting off Seesaw is Suga’s husky vocals which sound like a blessing to my ears. His song takes us on the R&B route, which I think is an excellent move given the previous two songs (above). I like the use of background vocals in the song, which give it a little more backing. The instrumental is nice and smooth. But it is not as interesting as the other songs that I have already reviewed. It is a good track to kick back to, however, which is why I do enjoy it. (8/10)

13. Epiphany (Jin Solo) – Like the other two Love Yourself albums, we have a solo pre-release from Jin. This is one amazing song (and I felt that in just the first few seconds of the track). It gives Jin the opportunity to show something off which he doesn’t have the opportunity (I think I have said this in the past for his other solo releases). I love the instrumental of this, appealing to my taste in rock-ballad music. Overall, this is a show stopper on so many levels. (10/10)

14. I’m FineI’m Fine starts off same as Save Me back in 2016. However, it soon became distorted and we have a completely different sound, which falls along the line of Western pop currently. I liked the fast pace chorus which really gives off a very impactful push. It is also quite addictive. Once again, the rappers shine in this track. Particularly Suga, who had a awesome sequence. But that doesn’t mean the vocalists did not get any spotlight as their vocal work was amazing Going back to how the song is similar to Save Me, the lyrics is like a response to Save Me, which I thought was nice. (10/10)

15. IDOL (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of IDOL. (9/10)

16. Answer: Love Myself – Ending my review today is Love Myself, which is another perfect song from the group. Everything about this song is totally terrific. The vocals and harmonies were superb, while the rapping was toned down to fit this peaceful and more brighter sound from the group. The instrumental is well balanced, which is something I liked quite a bit. The lyrics of the song were quite touching as well. Looking back, my description/review doesn’t do the song justice, so my advice is to go and listen to this amazing song. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

Love Yourself: Answer Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp


[Review] IDOL – BTS

After another highly successful comeback this past May 2018, BTS is back to conquer the stage again. BTS made their highly anticipated comeback today with IDOL and the third part of their Love Yourself trilogy. And with their latest comeback, it is expected that the group will extend their reach into the international market. They have already come so far with collaborations with Steve Aoki and Nicki Minaj, who featured on another version of their title track.

IDOL isn’t what I had expected, given what DNA and Fake Love sounded like. This seems to be more hip-hop dominate and party anthem-like, which sounds pretty good. The song opens up with the rappers taking on the verse. And while they do sound great, it did feel like they were shouting a little too much. The vocals come right after for the pre-chorus buildup and I had similar thoughts in term of shouting, though it provided a great launch into the chorus. I really liked the burst of energy and upbeat nature of the chorus, which takes the track to a whole new level. It was quite catchy to my ears.  I also like the instrumental of the song, which really built up as it went along. If you listen carefully during the verses, they seemed to be a dramatic underlayer, with the upbeat sounds on top. I found that very interesting. The saxophones definitely brightened up the track and provided a nice sense of appeal. I have to admit though, the song isn’t my favourite from the group, but it quite up there.

Right off the bat, the video seemed to be quite noisy as there were more things going in the foreground of the video and the background of the video, than usual. And this video seems to be a little out there, compared to their previous music videos. And I have no idea what is going on in the video, as the scenes seem to be very odd. I have yet to watch any theories on the music video, but I assume they will be plentiful in a few hours. There were some aspects that felt very familiar. Some of the scenes reminded me of Fire and Not Today. For example, the choreography scene where there was a tonne of backup dancers reminded me of Fire. The colour palette and sets in this video reminded me of DNA‘s music video.

Choreography wise, it looks good. We don’t see too much in the music video but there seems to be enough to conclude that this is going quite a performance. There seems to be amazing footwork during the chorus and the overall feel does a good job of hyping up the song. I may return next once I get a better look at the performance!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10