2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Results

**drum rolls please**

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

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

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

BEST MALE GROUP DEBUT

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Wanna One

Author’s Choice – Wanna One


BEST FEMALE GROUP DEBUT

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Dream Catcher

Author’s Choice – Dream Catcher


BEST SOLOIST DEBUT

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Kim Chungha

Author’s Choice – Jung Sewoon


RISING STAR

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Monsta X

Author’s Choice – NU’EST W


BEST SUBUNIT

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SEVENTEEN Performance Unit

Author’s Choice – Gugudan 5959


BEST CO-ED GROUP

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KARD

Author’s Choice – KARD


BEST MALE SOLOIST

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G-Dragon (Big Bang)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

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IU
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Sunmi

Author’s Choice – Sunmi


BEST VOCALS

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BTOB

Author’s Choice – DAY6


BEST RAPPER

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Zico (Block B)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST JAPANESE SONG BY A KOREAN ARTIST

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One More Time – TWICE

Author’s Choice – One More Time (TWICE)


BEST COLLABORATION

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Honey Bee – Luna, Solar, Hani

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


BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

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Don’t Wanna Cry – SEVENTEEN

Author’s Choice – Gashina (Sunmi)


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

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Peek-A-Boo – Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – You In Me (KARD)


BEST MALE GROUP

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B.A.P
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EXO

Author’s Choice – SEVENTEEN


BEST FEMALE GROUP

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Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – Red Velvet


BEST NON-TITLE TRACK SONG

Beautiful – Pentagon


BEST ALBUM

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Palette – IU (4th Studio Album)

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

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

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[Album Review] Universe (6th Mini Album / 2017 Winter Album) – EXO

Welcome to the first album review of 2018 and we are starting off with the last major release of 2017. EXO returned on the 26th of December with their 2017 Winter album, Universe, which has become the fourth Winter album release of the band. The track has yet to be performed on any of the weekly music shows but was performed at the MBC Music Festival that occurred on the 31st of December. This album has caught me off guard with its high quality and has officially become one of my favourite releases of 2017. Scroll down and read the review to find out why I think so!

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Universe Album Cover

1 & 2. Universe (Korean and Chinese Versions)Click here for the full review of Universe. (10/10)

3. Been Through (지나갈 테니) – To me, this is the best song on the entire album. It grabbed my attention from the very start with its addictive nature and the overall aesthetics of the song. The vocals were really smooth, with some of the members using a huskier voice. The use of their voice has an added layer of percussion after the chorus added a nice touch and ‘o-whoo’ was oddly fascinating. The song had a nice launch into the chorus and it leaves you breathless. The instrumental was a show-stealer with its hollow effect and sounds. (10/10)

4. Stay – The song starts off like a ballad but it slowly builds up to something quite upbeat. In a way, this make the song unique because it still manages to hold back its energy and not overwhelm the listener with too much energy. The song has extremely strong chill vibes. The speed of the rap sequences contrasted with the mid-tempo pace of the song but I felt the autotune was unnecessary. The way the song ended with the ‘Stay’ sung by Suho, accompanied by the piano, was haunting but well done. (9/10)

5. FallFall features a guitar dominate instrumental. There were a few subtle synths thrown into the song around the rap part and they surprisingly fitted in well with the song. Once again, the vocals and raps were on point. The chorus was probably the main highlight of the song with its dramatic ‘Fall’ repetition (also my favourite part of the song). The addition of the ad-libs in the second and third choruses kept the song from getting too repetitive. (9/10)

6. Good Night – This is the least interesting song on the entire album. But that being said, it is still a decent song to listen to. It is a soothing ballad, with all the members singing and shining in the song. The ad-libs that were layered on top of the main vocals of the song gave the song a more artistic twist. (8/10)

7. Lights Out – EXO ends their album with the vocals of 4 members (Suho, D.O, Chen and Baekhyun). The song does feel a little stagnant as the instrumental doesn’t really develop in any way. However, the vocals were the main driving force of the entire track. The falsettos which made up the chorus really gave the song some character, while the slight use of the choir in the background made the song feel more intense and aesthetic. Overall, it was a breathtaking song. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

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Universe Music Video Screenshot

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[Review] Universe – EXO

EXO is nominated for Best Music Video and Best Boy Group. Some of the members are also nominated in other categories such as Best Japanese Song By A Korean Artist and Best Collaboration. Get voting to support them as voting closes in a few days. You can vote by clicking here!

EXO has made their return with their annual Winter mini-album, which also shares the same title of the lead title track. Universe follows the success of EXO’s previous Winter tracks such as Miracle in December, Sing For You & For Life. The album was originally meant to be released prior to Christmas However, its release was delayed until after Christmas due to the death of SHINee’s Jonghyun.

And Universe lives up to the expectations that were set by EXO’s previous Winter tracks. Universe has a very simple feel to it, especially with the lone piano in the instrumental at the start. The addition of more instruments builds up the song, turning it into a dramatic piece of music. And I totally dig this style. The other major component of this song has to be the vocals, which are breathtaking. I particularly thought the chorus was extremely well done with that “I Search the Universe‘ very addictive for some odd reason, Finally, that slow down in energy at the very end where they ease away from that dramatic sound and taking us back to the very start was very nice. It completes the song perfectly, in my point of view, making this track one of the best.

The entire video has this brown colour type of palette, which gives off a warm feeling and compliments well with the song. The barista and coffee concept also seems to add to that warm feeling, which I think is quite perfect. There are also a number of scenes within the video that show two people being tied together. But that knot break apart and the EXO members go searching the entire ‘Universe‘ for the part of the rope. My interpretation may be a little weak but that is what I could gather from some sources. I really like the how the bass in the song is timed well with the vibrations on the coffee, making the video pair well with the song. It is a really nice video to watch, overall. 

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

[Review] Bye Babe – Chen (EXO) & 10CM

Every time I have paused to do an SM Station review (which I haven’t done in the past few weeks), it always ends up being a ballad. In the coming days, due to the lack of comebacks this week, I will be catching up on some of the SM Station releases I have missed in the last 3 months or so I have not looked at the tracks (one of them is a dance track – take a guess which one). Today, I am starting off with Chen’s collaboration with 10CM, Bye Babe.

Bye Babe is not a ballad, which caught me off guard the first time I saw it. Instead, it is an extremely funky guitar dominating song that feels bright and vibrant. It does fall towards the indie side, which 10CM is known for. It has me tapping along and that brightness just makes you smile. The highlight of the song for me is actually that crunching effect that the guitar produces to open up the chorus. Very ear-catching and unique (for me at least). Another standout for this track is the obvious vocals. Chen’s vocals felt just right for the song. It complemented well with 10CM’s vocals and the harmonies that the two produced makes the song so much more enjoyable. If you can’t tell by my comments, I pretty much enjoyed the song. Great collaboration.

The music video states that it is the ‘live version’. So my guess is that the entire song and instrumentation was recorded in the video? That is quite cool. Overall, I thought it was a good video despite it only showing the two artists singing, while the other people in the background are playing the instruments. The layout and the setting were quite awesome. The warm colour filter worked well with the song.

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

 

[Album Review] The War: The Power of Music (4th Repackaged Album) – EXO

This is the second album review for today, which hopefully covers last week’s missing album review. EXO is back with their repackaged album, The War: The Power of Music. I also vote this album for ‘cheesiest album title’ of the year. Anyway, I previously reviewed The War album and that will be linked in the post below. I will only be reviewing the new songs for the repackaged album. So let’s get this show on the road!

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The War: The Power of Music Album Cover

For all other tracks on the album (tracks 1, 4-6, 8-12), CLICK HERE!!!!!!

2. Power (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Power (9.5/10)

3. Sweet Lies – It is the odd one out for the entire album. And I am a little torn. A part of me finds the track very interesting. The RnB infused electronic style of sound isn’t something that you find often in KPOP. And it somewhat stands out. The vocals were great and the raps were just on point. But even after a few listens, the track isn’t memorable. I know I highlighted some elements that I liked about the song but that is only when I listen to the song with intent to write about it. Just listening to it with the rest of the album, on the other hand, means it gets swept under the shadows of the catchy Power and disappointing Ko Ko Bop. (7/10)

7. Boomerang – The track is more up my alley. But once again, it does fall short compared to others on the album. The synth-heavy RnB centered instrumental was standard but pretty nice. The vocals were good, bringing a rougher side out of some of the vocalists in my opinion. I am not a big fan of the ‘Hey Hey Hey‘, as they felt awkwardly placed. I don’t think there were any rap portions to the song, as Chanyeol opted for singing in the second verse and Sehun only ended up with 6 words (Tik Tak Boom). In my opinion, if the song had a stronger hook, I would have enjoyed it a little more. And think it would have complimented the other elements. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10 (only songs reviewed in this post)

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Power Music Video Screenshot (Source: Soompi)

 

 

 

[Review] Power – EXO

The return of the superpowers that EXO debuted with! Per tradition, EXO has made their return with the repackaged album of The War, which has been renamed to The War: The Power of Music. This repackaged album features all the songs from The War (such as Ko Ko Bop) and it also features 3 new songs, one of which is Power.

EXO went with a totally new sound with Power. From their reggae influenced Ko Ko Bop, Power centres itself within the genre of Pop. I personally like this. It is right up my alley. Sure, it isn’t a brand new sound nor does it experiment with anything. But sometimes, you just need to return to the good old days and listen to some pure pop (like what I grew up with). What I initially thought was the song felt like your typical EXO side-track that you would find on the album, not a title track. But don’t get me wrong, this is one really good title track. The intensity from the instrumental was just right and paired well with the other elements of the song. I like the bright atmosphere, which suits the exiting Summer season which just ended in South Korea. The song itself is catchy. The “We Got The Power” line rings in my head even after the song ends, which is indicative that it is going to be one catchy song. Vocally, this is an amazing effort from the group. I felt everyone shined equally and it was definitely one of their best (in my opinion).

But I don’t think the song is the main focus of the comeback. It has to be the music video. I watched 5 minutes of what? I don’t know. No one knows. I personally thought that they despised their superpower debut. But it seemed to return in this comeback. Just it is hard to decide whether this is a recovery from that debut or if it adds to the shame that I believed they expressed in the past in regards to it. The acting was cringy. I’ll say that. And the way they posed for their individual shots. But it all adds to the humorous side of the video which I thought was an aspect of the video that was appealing. I personally felt the robot invasion theme was more suitable for an album titled as The War. Sighs. It has come to the point where I am going to say I like this video quite a bit. It is better than saying I want to roll up into a ball and cringe on their behalf.

[Updated] The performance was not what I expected for some odd reason but I like it. I am actually slightly addicted to it. My favourite part was the slow motion stepping at the end of the song. Besides Kai’s winks going viral, Power gave them room to be a little carefree and that is what I enjoyed the most about it.

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

[Album Review] The War (4th Studio Album) – EXO

A few days ago, EXO made their highly anticipated comeback with Ko Ko Bop. I did make a sneaky post in the comment section, saying I would make an album review for EXO’s 4th studio album, The War. So here it is.

But before we delve into the album review, I just want to take this moment to notify you all that album reviews will be released on a weekly basis every Monday starting on the 31st of July. This is so I can keep track of things and not go overboard with the number of album reviews as I did in the past few weeks! Now, onto the review.

 

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The War Album Cover

 

1..The Eve (전야) – The album opens up with one killer track. As soon as the song plays, you are attacked with amazing vocals from the members. The slowness of the track was also another interesting aspect. While I don’t the track changed much, you could feel the build up through the instrumental, which creates a tense atmosphere, which ended bringing their vocals/raps into the spotlight. (9/10)

2. Ko Ko Bop (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Ko Ko Bop (6/10)

3. What U Do? – This is my personal favourite of the entire album. Like the first track, the vocals of the members are put into the spotlight. I love the dynamics of the track, which made me want to get up and dance. The chorus was super catchy and has the ‘What U Do‘ (which all the members participate in) ringing in my head after the song finishes up. (9/10)

4. Forever – This track could have received the same comments as What U Do and The Eve. But I wasn’t impressed with the introduction. It was intriguing but it didn’t feel like it leads well into the rest of the track, which turned into one epic song, which could have rivalled the two songs mentioned. Once again, the vocals are on point, but I thought the first half of Chanyeol’s raps could have been better. The raspiness and speed during the second half were felt needed in the first half. (8/10)

5. Diamond (다이아몬드) – A part of me wants to like the track. It has an interesting yet strong beat. The instrumental has a Middle Eastern influence, which you should know, usually ticks the box for me. However, I didn’t like how the rappers kept on adding small parts throughout the song. To me, it gets annoying after a while and just feels likes a ‘remember me’ technique. It also wasn’t a memorable song, compared to the predecessors in this album. (7/10)

6. Touch It (너의 손짓) – And like Diamond, this song wasn’t that memorable. Instead, it seemed to have gotten lost in the mix of good and disappointing songs. Which was a pity because when it is by itself, I got a good sense of its groovy and funk vibes. The vocal work and rapping were pretty good. I love the ‘na na na‘ at the end of each chorus. It was the catchiest part of the entire track and the accompanying female background vocals suited the groovy vibe, so nicely. (7.5/10)

7. Chill (소름)Chill is a chaotic mess and I say that in a bad way. To me, it felt like all the aspects you could ask for just did not work well together. The instrumental felt like one mess, with all the different elements not coming together well. Furthermore, there was an odd mix of styles, which didn’t sound ear-catching to me. The same could be said about the raps and vocals. Overall, not a song that I would want to revisit. (4/10)

8. Walk On Memories (기억을 걷는 밤) – This is one amazing song. The melodies in this song are definitely one to die for. The vocals in this song are just blissful, where all the members are singing. The harmonies as well. Even the instrumental was beautiful. The aesthetics of the song is on another level and it just leaves me breathless and speechless. (10/10)

9. Going Crazy (내가 미쳐) – Two things caught me by surprise with this track. Firstly, the sudden breakdown. It was unexpected but I felt it went with the rest of the song nicely (unlike in other tracks). It did give the track a more ‘out-there’ feel, which I guess is the ‘crazy’ side of the track. The second thing was that sudden high note at the end of the song. And everything else in between sounded like a really good. It is safe to say that the album ends on a good note. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.7/10

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The War Teaser Image

 

[Review] Ko Ko Bop – EXO

EXO has made their return to the stage with their brand new fourth album, titled as The War. The main title track for the album is Ko Ko Bop. Unfortunately, Lay was unable to participate in the album due to his schedule in China, hence why he is missing from the promotional activities. This album alone has already broken a record, prior to the release of the album, proving to everyone the group’s popularity and fandom’s dedication.

The song was disappointing at first glance. A number of listens later and the same perception still holds. I am not exactly into the reggae style that they went with, but I am not turned off by it, as well. It gave the song its unique side. There were some catchy moments, but I don’t think there was enough to make me fall for the song immediately. While the breakdown did make the track interesting to an extent, it just didn’t work with the rest of the track. Their vocals don’t seem that great this time around, which was a disappointment. I was expecting some sort of intensity from the members, but the energy felt very lacking. I know it was a more chilled song, but that doesn’t mean the energy has to be low. The only member I felt did a good job was Chanyeol, whose rap suited the song. I may not have enjoyed Lotto, but this does make Lotto seem like a decent song.

I feel like the music video would raise a few eyebrows. Not referring to the abs or the chest exposure, though, which I am sure would have fans replaying the video purely for observation purposes. But how the video seems to allude to some ways of ‘having a good time’. I am referring to how some of the members look a little stoned. I honestly hope that I am looking at the video is a completely wrong way, but that is what I am getting from it. I say that because of the perception of drugs in South Korea is extremely looked down upon. Personally, I thought the video was could have been better. The guys displayed a carefree and hippy-like image, which I thought was okay. When I look at other EXO videos, I do see more flashy or intense concepts, so this seemed like a step back, though they may not be a bad thing. It seemed fitting for the song, but I am not sure if it is a concept that suits the members. Not a major fan of some of their outfits or hairstyles, as well.

Although we only saw glimpses of the choreography, I think I can say it is quite good. I will return to this part once a stage performance has been uploaded. And while I did not like the breakdown music wise, the accompanying dance for it looked amazing. It calls for some intensity and I think the parts I saw brought just that.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 6/10

 

[Review] Young & Free – Xiumin (EXO) & Mark (NCT)

SM Station tracks have been continuously released on a weekly basis. However, I haven’t reviewed them for a while because I don’t really consider some of them as KPOP. If they feature a KPOP artist, such as this track, the likelihood of it being reviewed will increase vastly compared to tracks that feature indie artists (such as the releases of the past month). Young & Free is this week’s release, which features Xiumin from EXO and Mark from NCT.

Young & Free sounds okay. That is probably the best I can say about the song. It has a nice piano instrumental that remains consistent throughout. While I did describe it as nice, there wasn’t anything that made it interesting. And that left it feeling a little bland and dull in nature. Xiumin’s vocals are okay. I have heard songs where his vocals ended up shining a fair bit, such as in EXO-CBX’s Hey Mama. Here, it didn’t have that backing or support from another artist and that is why I thought it fell a little short. Mark’s rapping is probably the one thing that I did like from the track. Though, I have to admit that Mark’s rapping did feel a little disjointed from the instrumental. His raps do suit more refined or upbeat songs, such as his works in his respective NCT subunits. The song tried its best to remain catchy. But while I do acknowledge that some people would find it catchy and addictive, the hooks present in the song didn’t do much for me.

That paleness is back once again. Once again, it is not bothering but just another observation. Throughout the video, we see Mark and Xiumin hang out with each other and show off their budding friendship. So, there isn’t much else to say about that. Not sure about the ending. Does it mean that they have a very strong imagination? As if they were outside the whole time, but believed they were on stage? Overall, it was a nice video to watch and the song felt fitting for the video.

The video did also show a small section of the choreography. I thought it was nice and also fitting for the song. It’s something simple and easy-going for the song and I personally like that.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[Review] Ka-Ching – EXO-CBX

EXO-CBX will be making their official debut on the 24th of May, with the drop of their first min-album, Girls. While that date is two weeks away, they have already released the short version of the music video and gave a full performance for their debut track.  The EXO subunit previously made their Korean debut with Hey Mama last year. This is the third JPOP review of the four I promised, with the last one being released later today.

I was genuinely curious what style the subunit would go for. Hey Mama was so good and was a song that was more up my alley. Given that this release is more for the audience in Japan, it would be interesting to see what style the song delves into. And I am glad that I clicked on this song. Ka-Ching really catchy to listen to. Even after the song ends, I want more of it. The instrumental sounds like a soundtrack for the playboy who just arrived at a Las Vegas casino and has a bit fun in the casino. Which is obviously appropriate for a song that revolves around money. I love the vocal work in the song, especially the buildup during the pre-chorus. The “Ka-Ching” that is engraved into our minds by the end of the song sounds alluring and does a good job of keeping that catchiness of the song. Trust me, but “Ka-Ching” is probably the one thing you will remember for a while after listening to the song. The one thing that doesn’t sit well with me is the rapping in the song. It was pretty bad, to the point where I has to be one of the worst rap sequences I have heard in a long time. The song needed a rap sequence, just not that one. But overall, the song was pretty good.

I am honestly not too sure about the music video. A part of me likes it. Another part of me wants to ask what was going on during the circus scenes. Not exactly sure about those backup dancers and their creepy makeup. Sure, they added a little colour to the video to give it a more vibrant feel, but it looked really scary. The green screen for the circus background has a lot going on, so it felt overwhelming and complicated. The casino scenes looked a lot simpler and felt more open but those backup dancers were still there. I like the speech bubbles and the comic themed writing that appeared. Just not the word art for the line “We’re on a payroll”.

Getting on the trend of body rolls, Ka-Ching makes use of the body rolls during the chorus. It actually looks quite cool. My favourite part of the dance is the end, which isn’t shown in the music video linked below but rather the live performance that you can search up on YouTube, where Baekhyun starts off, then Chen and Xiumin, then the backup dancers.

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

 

[Review] Take Me Home – Baekhyun (EXO)

Baekhyun’s recent solo release is the third song in the SM Station Season 2 project. Red Velvet’s Would U and Ten’s Dream In A Dream are also other songs in the project. For a review, I don’t think I ever repeated the artist’s name so many times before.

Baekhyun went with a ballad that does a pretty good job at bringing out his vocal’s capabilities. His vocals are on point throughout the song. Take Me Home fits perfectly into the season of Spring, with its more upbeat and brighter melody. Complimenting the Spring season, you can hear the romantic vibes that Baekhyun and the instrumental try to get across to the listener. But the instrumental is pretty standard, and there isn’t anything to comment on. I love how his voice buildups in the song, rather than the instrumental. That, or you can hear the buildup in his voice more apparent here. The song doesn’t have me coming back for though. It is the type of song that you would be happy to listen to, but you don’t necessary go back to replay it. There wasn’t a memorable moment that I tend to look for in ballads. Overall, it is a beautiful song but probably not one for me.

The video compliments the song quite nicely. I expected the video to be more on the dull side, but it wasn’t. The entire song was about how Baekhyun wanted to help his friend (the girl) get over her ex. The whole video shows Baekhyun’s attempt of moving her attention away. In the end, he successfully drags her away from the memories that sadden her by getting her to do a small dance and finally sharing a smile with each other. The end shows him holding the picture and the flower, but no friend was present, suggesting that she had moved on and his job was completed. My initial thoughts of Baekhyun’s attempts to get her mind off of things was that he was flirting and was consistently rejected. I guess lyrics and some fan comments do go a long way. As I previously said, it is a nice video to watch.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7/10 

[Review] Let Me Love You – Junggigo & Chanyeol (EXO)

Another cross-company collaboration has been unveiled (last week). Last time it was Soyu & Baekhyun’s Rain. Recently, I reviewed Honey Bee, which featured Luna, Solar and Hani. Now, Junggigo and Chanyeol from EXO has come together to give us a new song. Both of these artists are quite successful in their solo work. Junggigo is one-half of the ‘Some’ collaboration and Chanyeol has been ranking high on the charts with his solo OSTs. Hence, making this song something to look forward to.

Let Me Love You is a ballad and RnB infused track. It sounds very smooth and ‘easy on the ears’ (if you understand what I am trying to get at). The song itself is pretty simple, with no aspects of the song overcomplicating it, hence something that is quite nice to listen to. The song also is the type that gets you swaying along to the music. That is one of the signs it is a pretty good ballad, in my point of view (which when I say it, sounds a little odd). Both Junggigo and Chanyeol sounds amazing in the song. This is expected of Junggigo (just haven’t been digging his recent releases) but I get surprised every time I hear Chanyeol sing, though. He is a rapper in EXO yet he has a very nice voice when singing, which was unexpected when I discovered that he could sing. There really isn’t much else to say about the song. I will just happily listen to the song in the background, while I continue on with the review.

When I saw images of the music video, I thought the song was a soundtrack for the new Power Rangers film that is due to come out this year (who else is excited about the new Power Ranger film?). But then it turns out to be just a simple music video with a Power Ranger type of setting. The video does make me chuckle a bit, though. The moustached Power Rangers battle a giant cockroach. Actually, now I think about it, the Power Rangers are probably just pest control dressed in funky clothing to make their work a little more interesting. But it turns out there is a romantic twist with the guy playing the cockroach having a mad crush on one of the rangers. It seems like she is also interested as she is the only person to pay attention to him (the other rangers and staff don’t seem to care about him). While the two hang out, everyone packs up, leaving the two ‘friends’ behind. They spend even more time together, to the point where the girl can’t seem to kill her love when they working on set for the film or show they are shooting. They are a very cute couple and watching the guy walk around with the costume on made me go “awwww” for most of the video. Couple goals 2017? Wait… Sorry, it should be #CoupleGoals2017. That’s the way to write it in 2017.

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

[Review] Rain – Soyu (Sistar) & Baekhyun (EXO)

Another collaboration between two of the biggest idol names in the business at the moment. Soyu (from Sistar) has many collaborations to her name, such as Some with JungGiGo and Stupid in Love with Mad Clown. Baekhyun (from EXO) collaborated with Suzy for Miss A for Dream and have participated in OSTs for popular dramas in the past. All the collaborations and songs that the two have participated ended up being successful and high charting songs.

As expected given their portfolio, the two went with a ballad. It is one of those extremely slow ballads that people tend to shy away from. Even I do that to some of the songs of that nature sometimes. The combination between Baekhyun’s sweet vocals and the huskiness you hear with Soyu’s vocals is something you expect to be fantastic. And for the latter half of the song when they sing together for the final chorus, we got that fantastic feel. But the start of the song just didn’t have that same feeling. You could hear their vocals in the purest form (i.e. there is nothing shadowing or covering their respective parts) and that is good. But with a slow ballad, that seemed to drag out the song. While I am not too troubled by that now, it was something that I had to get used to after multiple listens to the song. But there is something else. Changing from Soyu to Baekhyun felt too instant and too fast. There was a second of silence and that was it. That silence felt like it two songs were ‘joined’ together as the two have different voices. A nice transition that eased in Baekhyun’s part would have made the song nicer as I felt the song needed that transition.

I am not a big fan of the video. There wasn’t anything of interest in the video. I just play the video mainly for the song. But you guys may like it. The video simply shows a young girl wandering around in the rain (or course with an umbrella). We do see that she is thinking about someone as shown via her drawings in her book and on the blackboard. While the video is not my cup of tea, the video is beautifully shot. Just by watching the video, you can’t help but smile when the girl in the video is happy and joyfully jumping around, which is quite cute.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[Review] For Life – EXO

EXO made their return with a special Winter album and the title track, For Life. This is not their first time releasing a Winter album, with Miracles of December and Sing For You preceding the track. The release also serves as their 5th mini album, to date.

EXO returned to their ballad songs with the release of For Life, which makes the most sense as ballads give you warmth and suit the colder season in South Korea. And what they are doing is amazing. Not saying that they should just go to ballads now on (I don’t think many people would react well to that), but what they do every Winter with their ballads is amazing. For Life consists of a very nice balance of strings and piano in its instrumental. It doesn’t sound grand, but rather simple, which I think is a charm of the song. The guys sang the song beautifully, even the rappers participating in the vocal work this time around. The verses sounded a little dry and boring. But the chorus was what blew my mind. It caught my attention from the very start and it sounded amazing. It is a little hard to explain in words here, but if I were you and you wanted that ballad fix of yours, this is the song to go to at the moment.

I like the plot of the video. One-half of the video was made to look like the guy was looking for the girl, with the bracelet as motivation to finding her. The second half consisted of her looking for the guy, to give the bracelet to so he can find her in the future. The video stars an actress to whom I don’t know the name of and the following EXO members: Chanyeol, Kai and Suho. Each of the members and the actress did an amazing job in the video. While the song is quite slow (and the video is quite fitting in terms of tempo), the video was surprisingly interesting to watch. I thought the video would be boring, but in the end, the video was a stand-out for ballads overall.

Rating – 9.5/10

[Review] Hey Mama – EXO-CBX

EXO has made a comeback with the reduced form of 3 members. Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin had joined forces to form a new subunit and perform as a trio on stage.  It has been previously rumoured that EXO would launch a subunit.This is not their first release as a trio. The three has released an OST for the drama – Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. As per any EXO release, the song and album have topped charts as soon as the release was dropped.

The song is freaking amazing. I liked everything about it. I had my doubts about some aspects, but those doubts were crushed as soon as I started listening to the song for the first time. The song has a very dominate retro vibe (very funky and reminds me a lot of the disco era), which I like a lot. I loved the very dominate guitar sounds in the instrumental. It made the instrumental interesting and added an extra layer of depth to the song. Even the vocals of the song were really good. Baekhyun and Chen are known to be the powerhouse vocals in EXO. This song does justice to that fact very nicely. Chen even got the spotlight on him for his amazing high note at the end of the song, which does show to the world the hidden gem in EXO. Xiumin sounds amazing here and it is a pity that the line distribution for EXO songs isn’t in his favour sometimes. Even his rapping caught me off guard (but for good reasons). Baekhyun rapping is something that I am on the fence with. Works in this song, but sounded weird. An excellent song, in my books. And extremely catchy. Definitely, a song that will be replayed constantly.

The video shows a more playful side of the trio. EXO music videos are quite dark or masculine. This video moves away from that and gives the members a more colourful side to them. Have little to no clue on what is going on in the video. It seems like Chen and Xiumin are hard at work, but with a little persuasion from Baekhyun, they join Baekhyun in some sort of rebellion against society. The red papers seem to be important, but the pages are ultimately trashed. Even the rest of society are too busy banging their drinks on the tables. But with the trio stepping up onto television, everyone breaks free from the really boring drinking-banging ritual and join on in with the fun. Because life is only great, when you have fun. They even threw in a side romance for Chen in there. There is also a nice refreshing feel from the video. I feel like this is a music video that is easily relatable to and it isn’t over the top or complex to read. It’s simple and straight to the point (provided my interpretation is right).

The choreography is pretty cool as well. It looks cool and fits nicely with the song as well. The love their hand movements during the “Ooh, Ooh” that appears at the end of each chorus.

Rating – 9.5/10

 

 

 

[Review] Lotto – EXO

EXO has returned with their latest repackaged album, Lotto. If you don’t remember, EXO made their previous comeback with Monster and Lucky One back in June. In the brief absence, the band have been busy with international and domestic concerts (both solo and company). Unfortunately, though, this comeback have been riddled with problems. The majority of the members have been injured or currently sick. Yet they still manage to pull through and perform every week for this promotion run. It shows their passion and determination for the fans, but like any human being, they need rest and a break. A long massive break! And that goes for all artists, KPOP or not!!!

For those who don’t know, I am not a big fan of autotune. Yes, I do enjoy it to some degree, especially when it is used interestingly and in small doses. However, a song that is autotuned from beginning to end really irks me. Not all the time, as a few songs with autotune all the way through it, have been my favourites. But from experience, the majority of the songs of that kind do disappoint me. Moving back to this song, though, I am a little torn. I am extremely disappointed with the copious amount of autotune, but I am digging the instrumental and it is quite catchy. From the vocals and rap, everything has been laced in autotune and I can’t help but shiver from it. I do much prefer the live versions (or the stage version) where the autotune is reduced and you can clearly hear the vocals and rapping work. With that alone, the song is quite good. We (and I) already know that the group is capable enough with the autotune. I just cannot get over the autotune. The instrumental (at the start) sounds a lot like RnB back in the day. I do like the electronic components in the background. I am totally in love with the short instrumental bit for the dance break.

The music video is a lot dark and shot in a way that resembles Monster’s music video. The camera angles, the wide panning and the overall way the camera moves (should have said that from the start) seem quite similar (probably the same director). I like it very much in this video. It captures the scenes pretty well and gives the video a nice “story” feel to it. Anyway, like the song title suggests, the video is made purely with the idea of gambling and money surrounding it. Yes, even Suho is burning money.  The guys went for a more edgier look and style for this concept and I do think it suit them. I am a little surprised about the content of the video. For a video which promotes gambling, the people who rates the music video put down a rating of 15+. That’s okay an all but doesn’t this video send a bad message to the younger kids. I am quite sure there are many mature fans who know what is right and wrong. But I am a little concerned about the younger generation. I won’t hate on the video for showing all of that plus some activites that are illegal (in my country at least), but I think something should be said about those who puting ratings on the video. Minus the ethics of behind the video (will refrain from going into a huge debate), I actually do like this video quite a bit (more so the imagery and viewing pleasure).

As for the dance, I like it as well. It suits the song pretty well. Love the “pokie machine handle” dance. It fits in with the sound/concept of the song but at the same time, emphasises the sexy and ediger side of the guys. I do also like the dance break they have. That is probably the most memorable part of the dance. If I were to use a word to describe the dance, I would say “cocky”. Their facial expressions and some of their dance moves give off that vibe.

Final Rating – 6.5/10