As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.
Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
Q&A – Cherry Bullet
Woowa – DIA
Side Effects – Stray Kids
The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl
Zimzalabim – Red Velvet
Valkirye – ONEUS
No – CLC
Sunrise – GFriend
L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon
I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.
Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!
DIA returned two weeks ago with Woowa and their latest mini-album, Newtro. Unofrtotuately, the group’s latest comeback hasn’t got much attention from what I have noticed. And from what I understand, the physical albums were delayed and hence this impacted their chart performances. Very disappointing. But that is why today’s album review is here! I enjoyed all the songs on the album and I want to let you guys know about these songs as well!
2. No (안할래) – Following right after the addictive Woowa is No, which is another favourite track of mine. I find the song to be very dynamic with its vibrant use of that squeaky synth during the instrumental. Usually, I would find such a thing annoying, but it really popped well in this song. The lead up to the chorus was probably my absolute favourite part of the song as it gave the song a little flair in a memorable way. I also liked the keyboard that featured during the bridge of the track, which I think flowed really well with the rest of the song. The vocals were also extremely nice, another highlight to No.(9/10)
3. 5 More Minutes (5분만) – 5 More Minutes begin with a sing-rap sequence which was rather nice. Based on this, you can tell that this was going to a typical pop song. The chorus practically confirms this with no unexpected changes in the music. It is a sweet song that managed to bring about a smile, which I think the main aims of the lyrics were to do. The song focuses squarely on the vocals of each of the members. I personally won’t say DIA is known for their vocals but this was a fair effort and I really liked how innocent they sounded in this song. I also like how they didn’t go down the sad ballad route, which was a nice change up to normal expectations. (8/10)
4. Crescendo (손톱달) – While I liked most of the song, Crescendo started off with this really odd synth that really sounded like it was off-tune. Apart from that, everything else about the song was rather likeable. It sounded like it started off with a sweet sound, like what we were presented in 5 More Minutes. However, the second verses bring a bit of trap into the song. Interesting and not entirely misplaced. Once again, the vocals were at the forefront of the song, with the members singing at a higher pitch and in falsetto. I also think this song showcased the best harmonies from the members than any other song on this album. (8/10)
I know that I promised reviews for songs last week but I just finished scheduling them and they will be spaced out this week! But there are two exciting comebacks that I wanted to write about tonight so I will be prioritising them first. The first comeback is by DIA, who has returned with Woowa. This is the group’s first comeback since WooWoo, released 7 months ago. WooWoo also earned the group’s first weekly show win ever! Hopefully, they can win again this time around with Woowa. Unfortunately, the group will have to do it without Jenny, who is not participating in this round of promotions.
Woowa starts off with a power rush of energy that really gets you excited for what is to come. The instrumental, particularly the main instrumental hook of the song, delves into a techno-funk sound. There is a very powerful retro vibe to the song which I am loving. This combination results in a very groovy and upbeat track that I just want to dance to. I really like the tiny bit of brass you get during the start of the bridge and I actually want more of it in the song. The vocals were pretty nice. At first, I did feel that they were relatively plain, especially towards the end. But I guess the song is growing more on me as I don’t seem to feel that way anymore. The rapping is what I disagree with. They go with an ethnic sound which I don’t think suits the song’s groovy vibes. It does feel distant to the chorus and it does cut the flow of the song. But aside from that, I think Woowa is a really good track. It is getting pretty addictive.
The group goes to the roller skating rink in their music video. Besides that, the video is rather typical. It goes between choreography shots to close-ups of each member posing in areas associated with the rink. So there isn’t really anything to really comment on. However, I did like the set for the choreography scenes. The flashing lights are quite suitable for the song and I think the slight push of purple throughout the video really goes well with the dark lighting at the rink.
The choreography was quite nice as well. I really like the intro part, which was extremely fitting for that section and its tempo. It seems like the choreography went with a flaunting touch as the girls do a lot of that in the performance. I felt that they could have gone with something a little more relaxing or fun as the song seems to really go in that direction.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 7/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8/10
DIA joins the Summer comeback rush with a brand new mini-album, Summer Ade. Featuring on their 4th mini-album to date is the title track Woo Woo. The group was previously meant to make their comeback last month but ultimately delayed it to August to ensure a higher production quaility. This is DIA’s first comeback since Good Night was released and the departure of Eunjin. Some of the members of DIA also participated in The Unit, with only Yebin making into the project group, UNI.T.
Woo Woo is a very Summery song with the instrumental providing a very refreshing feel. Initally, I thought the song was quite boring. However, within a day, I can say it is quite catchy and can potentially become addictive. It isn’t their strongest release to date but it does a good job trying to catch up to their strongest release (Can’t Stop). I thought the chorus had a nice melody and the ‘Woo Woo‘ hook was really cute. On top of that, I really liked the vocal sections of the song, which were quite itneresting section. I thought the rap sequence was rather dry but did like the incorportation of Lee Hyori’s famous line of ‘Just One 10 Minute‘ from 10 Minute. Overall, I thought the song was good and as I said, I think the song has potentially to be replaying in my head (it has already started).
When you think of Summer, you think of the beach. And that is what the video starts off with. There seems to be a mini competition embedded in the music video where you have to find some items (like a scavenger hunt). Something similar popped up in Momoland’s BAAM but I don’t there were any prizes invovled. It progrsses into a very typical music video shot on sets we have seen many times and the overall feel doesn’t relly allow it to be differentiated much. There were a number of cute scenes that I thought were nice, such as the hiding from pizza scenes at the end. I am a tad confused with the ringing telepohone at the end. But other than that, it was a fair video.
I thought the choreography for this comeback was quite nice. It falls into the cutesy category but it works well with the song, especially the moves for the hook. Furthermore, I really thought the dance break was really cool.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 7.5/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8.1/10
DIA has made their return to the stage with their repackaged mini-album and the title track, Good Night. They made their last comeback a month ago with Can’t Stop, which has become my favourite track of the group since their debut.
Good Night is not their worst song but it is not their best song. It brought a smile to my face the first time around when I listened to it. And it suits the girl’s vocals quite nicely. But to be frank, that smile isn’t going to last. I can literally feel it dying off. Why I say that? Well, the track is their attempt at the tropical sound that has dominated KPOP for the past year or so. And while I do find their attempt appealing to an extent, the song doesn’t really get far. They were on a roll this year but it might just have stalled with this song. The tropical influence, I have to admit, is in your face. There is no escaping it. I don’t find it catchy nor does it have that element that makes me want to go back to it like Can’t Stop. There is an interesting mix of people doing vocals and raps this time around. Personally, I think the song could have done better in the Summer season and to appeal to listeners, despite it being a little cliché, they could have done something for the Fall season.
The video is incredibly boring. I don’t find much captivating about it. The girls are having a bit of fun and hanging out with each other. There really isn’t much else to say about the video. I did notice Chaeyeon seemed to get a large bulk of the video, espeically at the start of the video, while some members didn’t get any screen time until the end of the video. And while I have nothing against her, I think the company should start looking at other ways to get the girls well known (I already know two members are in The Unit but maybe look for other things for the other members to do during their non-promotional periods?).
The dance seems to be just fan service for their fanbase. The girls act cutesy in a cheesy way basically for the majority of the video. There is a set routine but it doesn’t feel like much for the song.
Song – 6/10 Music Video – 4/10 Performance – 4/10 Overall Rating – 5/10
DIA is also another group to make their return with a brand new song Can’t Stop (or E905). While DIA’s return is welcomed, the promotion of their comeback felt very sudden and that is an issue that I find common throughout the industry. But nonetheless, this is DIA’s first return since their promotions of Will You Go Out With Me?earlier this year.
Can’t Stop is your traditional KPOP girl group song. There isn’t new about it, but it has a very refreshing sound that I can’t help but go back to. The vocals in the song are quite nice and the instrumental is something that I totally dig. Sure, the violins were made to fit the cute sound, but it still sounds amazing nonetheless. The chorus wasn’t exactly catchy but there was enough to make you want to go back for more. Moving to some of the things I didn’t like regarding the song. The ending was sloppy and didn’t give time for the song to actually end, in my opinion. It felt like a knife came down at that exact moment onto the song. The rap sequence for the bridge was disappointing. While I know the members had moments in the past where their rapping was quite good, the way it was edited and presented in this song felt awkward and mismatching. Overall, I think this is their best song yet, despite there being some things that don’t suit my taste.
I actually think the school-girl concept fits them quite nicely. The entire video revolves around the girls having fun during school time through sports and just hanging out in general. And while I did like all the scenes, it seems like the photo booth seemed a little dis-coordinated from the rest of the video. It didn’t match the school theme of the video. The cinematography was quite nice. The camera angles and work did feel a little too overdone, but it wasn’t too bad. While it did seem like Chaeyeon had fewer scenes this time around, her close-ups were just a subtle way of marketing her, compared to the rest of the members, who had to share scenes with each other. But overall, nice video to watch.
I actually liked their performance. Though it keeps to that traditional side of KPOP, those kicks at the end of each chorus were amazing. Not exactly fond of that ribbon that features during the verses, but everything else looked great!
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8/10
DIA has returned with their first full-length album, YOLO. The title track off this album is Will You Go Out With Me?. This is their first comeback since Mr. Potter, which was released last year. DIA also collaborated with Hong Jin Young and Kim Yeon Ja for their pre-release. This is also their first comeback as a 9-member girl group, with the recent addition of Jueun and Somyi.
I have not been much of a DIA fan since their songs haven’t really caught my attention. I am on the fence for this one, which I guess could be considered as a start. The song is made to sound overly cute, which annoys me to an extent because it sounds exaggerated. However, through that overload of exaggerated cuteness, the song has its moments. The “어머어머어머어머” or “eomeoeomeoeomeoeomeo” did catch my attention. The chorus was also quite catchy. The instrumental doesn’t stand out, but it adds a little more liveliness to the song with its consistent and bright sound. However, there were parts that I didn’t really enjoy. First of all, that exaggerated cute sound I was talking about. Secondly, the opening rap sequence just sounded odd. Thirdly, those small speaking segments in the middle of the song. I just am not a fan of them and their use just doesn’t change it (awkwardly sounding). Overall, it is an okay song. I can’t say it is terrible, but at the same time, I can’t say it is a good song.
The music video shows the members in Tokyo (I think). The majority of the video is having them wander around the city and show shots of them having fun. Chaeyeon is the main member of the video and she wanders the street, wondering if she should contact her crush. She does have a few scenes where she does contact him through messaging and they were cleverly inserted into the music video alongside the scenes shot outside. The video reminds me of their debut music video, which also showed them wandering the streets in Hong Kong. Overall, I thought it was a pretty nice video to watch. It was smart and it worked. Not too sure on their marketing for this comeback though.
The dance was actually fun to watch. I see hearts everywhere in this choreography, which is pretty cool. Their first heart formation during the chorus was really hard. Let’s just say, it looked cool and it looked easy. But I tangled my arms and that is probably another reason why this review is out a few days late…
Song – 5/10 Music Video – 7/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 6/10
DIA has made an unexpected comeback with a Harry Potter themed comeback. Where my two favourites in life merge together and become one. How do you think this turned out? DIA previously made their comeback with On The Road just a few months ago.
The song was a major disappointment. Compared with their previous track, this song barely makes it anywhere near. Supposedly Harry Potter themed, the song has the very subtle magical influence when it came to the instrumental. The soft percussion (I believe they are cow bells) was the only there that fit the promises that were made. Besides that, the song becomes the general and bland pop song. The lyrics contained various Harry Potter spells (only like 5, three of which was towards the start of the song). And I pray the way the girls pronounced the spells were like how Koreans pronounce it. Or else if they were trying the mimic the way English speakers, they completely butchered the words. What’s missing from the song? Maybe appeal, some sort of hook or catchiness. Something that makes the song interesting. The vocals were okay, not the best. The rapping was better but it wasn’t a nice fit with the vocals. The song was just so bland and boring. As I said at the start, a major disappointment.
Not exactly sure if copyright was an issue to the makers of the video, but I would probably say that this video have very cheap and horrible references to Harry Potter. Some of them were obvious, such as the train ride – Hogwarts Express and wands. Others really had me shaking my head in disbelief. Let’s focus on that. Mr Potter = Rabbit. Ugly, grey rabbit. Why not cast a person to the video, who acts as Mr. Potter? It makes a lot more sense than a rabbit. Ouija board? To summon what? The pink sets? To make the video cutesy, when Harry Potter is more of a dark story? Unfortunately, the more I write about the video, the evident it is: this video was a train wreck before it even left the station. I wanted spells, I wanted more of a stronger Harry Potter influence that keeps the elements true to the story. Urghhh… As a Harry Potter fan, I am deeply disappointed. I had such high expectations and it all comes crumbling down.
Suspenders? Harry Potter? What??? About the actual dance, the choreographer is the same person who made Expectation’s dance for Girls Day (hence the use of suspenders and the similar movement). Do I think of it as a rip-off? Yes. Do I mind it? No, not really (I actually think it is the most decent part of the whole comeback). It would have been nice to see an original dance, but given how now I think the whole comeback was planned within 5 minutes….
DIA has returned. This is my first time reviewing the girls. For those who are unfamiliar with this new girl group, they are currently a seven-member girl group under MBK Entertainment, which also houses T-Ara. They made their debut last year with Somehow and also released My Friend’s Boyfriend. On The Road is their first comeback for 2016. Some members of the group featured on the Produce 101 show and is also part of IOI. Currently the lineup of the group includes Eunice, Hui Hyeon, Jenny, Yebin, Eun-Jin, Chaeyon and Eunchae. The group’s former leader, Seunghee, withdrew from the group once her contract with the company expired at the start of the year.
The song is quite good, but it isn’t amazing. It didn’t blow me away and I am a little disappointed by it. It is a catchy song and I think that is why I like it. Particularly the chorus. The somewhat long note at the end of each chorus gives the “quite standard catchy” chorus more of a hook to it. It is a great song to have to play on in the background. The song isn’t heavy nor extremely loud, so it won’t distract you in any way. Their vocals compliment the overall balance of the pitch and tempo of the song. Same as the rap. Neither overpowered the instrumental or any other components of the song. What this song needed more of is harmony. They already sound quite good, but a little more background vocals or harmony with the other members could have made the song a lot better.
The music video was pretty boring. Again, it was quite standard and that was disappointing. Such a good song, with such a bland video. Basically, it is that formula of closeups and choreography, nothing more to it. There are some other shots with the girls and a guy, but there isn’t anything to talk about in those scenes. I want to say and speak about the video more, but there honestly was nothing to talk about.
The dance was boring as well. I am not fond of their live stages. But I guess the dance does fit the song. It is very underwhelming and lacks a lot of appeal. Maybe because the song isn’t heavy and “loud” that they adopted this style of dance, but overall, I would have like something with a little more powerful. (I guess I am all powerful choreography this and powerful dance that nowadays).