[Review] UN Village – Baekhyun (EXO)

As mentioned previously, EXO is currently focusing on solo and unit promotions due to the impending military enlistment of the members (with Xiumin and D.O already in the army). We have seen solo tracks from Chen, Xiumin, D.O and Chanyeol so far this year and will be seeing the debut of EXO-SC (a unit consisting of Chanyeol and Sehun) in less than one fortnight. But today, we turn to a different member. Making his grand (official) solo debut today is Baekhyun with UN Village and his first ever mini-album, City Lights.

One thing I am glad that Baekhyun didn’t pick is a ballad title track. So many main vocalists go down this route, it quite often becomes a very large cliche in the industry. Instead, UN Village is an R&B track. And even then, it isn’t necessarily your typical R&B track as well. What is great about this track is that it shows off the individuality and personality of Baekhyun quite well. This is a common goal for solo promotions (especially for idols coming from groups). But is often not achieved due to urge to follow trends and cliches. What I quite like about UN Village is that it shows off his vocal colours. It’s smooth and almost teasing, which I think begs us to replay the song. The chorus was very well done and its melody is quite memorable. The instrumental gave off an aesthetic atmosphere, which further compliments his vocals. And also, this one of the times where consistency works as an advantage, which maintained the aesthetics. Overall, it is one damn good debut track.

Complimenting the song’s aesthetic atmosphere is an equally aesthetically pleasing music video. The video puts Baekhyun’s visuals on full display. It showcases him singing in different lightings, often quite dark and with very little colour (except for the one dominant colour). Apart from the subtle visual display of the singer, I found the sets to be very interesting. The song sings about taking a special someone to a hill behind UN Village to show them the night sky (taken from Soompi). But the way the video was shot, it looked like Baekhyun was showing us the very appealing sides of hidden laneways and alleyways within a city, which I guess is quite similar to showing us a hill behind UN Village. The ending with him laying on a table (and a woman, presumably his lover) walking by him is very confusing as I am not exactly sure how it contributes the video. Maybe I missed a few details here and there, so please let me know how this scene adds to the story.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10


[Review] That’s Okay – D.O (EXO)

To me, a missed opportunity with EXO is the lack of solo promotions for the Korean members. It wasn’t until this year, 7 years after their debut, are they finally focusing on solo promotion, given that it will be the main driver for EXO’s immediate future. This is because of impending military enlistment. Xiumin enlisted earlier this year and the next member to follow him (shockingly) is D.O. For those who don’t know, today is actually D.O’s enlistment date. And to coincide with his departure from the public eye for the next 2 years, D.O also released a special single as part of SM Station.

That’s Okay is the title of this special single. And being a solo single, That’s Okay puts D.O’s slightly raspy voice on full display. I like it how the song isn’t sung in a straight forward manner. There are some textural aspects present thanks to the melody and the way he ended some lines, allowing him to showcase some techniques that he never got a chance to show off within EXO releases. The way he harmonises with himself is also beautiful, a very obvious sign of a good ballad. Knowing that is he is one of the main vocalists of the group, it is expected that the single would be a ballad. But it is a good ballad. It is mainly acoustic, with guitars being the only instrument in the instrumental. And I like it this way because it doesn’t sound overly emotional, which could have been a cliche thing to do. The lyrics also don’t go into an emotional overdrive, with D.O telling you that time will heal all wounds, regardless of how deep they are.

The music video for this release is animation. I am not sure if there are any laws that prevent D.O from appearing in the music video (as Xiumin did for his single), given the complexity of military enlistment, as it would have been nice to see him one last time (before he goes away for two years). But the animation was quite nice. A guy finds a sad looking cactus and brings it home. His nurture over time helped heal its limp nature and it regained some flowers. On the flipside, it was revealed that the guy lost his dog and this caused him to stay indoors. And I am certain the flowering cactus ended up nurturing him over time, showing him that no matter what state you are in, there is always a way to get back up. You just got to let time do its thing.

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

[Review] You – Xiumin (EXO)

Once again, we return to the topic of military enlistment. This time around, the male group in question is EXO and the member enlisting is Xiumin, the eldest member of the group. While Xiumin said his goodbyes to the members and fans yesterday, he bids farewell once again today through this week’s SM Station release. The song dropped a few hours ago and is titled You. A fortnight ago, Chanyeol releases his solo single SSFW (so if you haven’t heard it yet, click the title!). But we are here for Ximin, so let’s start the review!

Xiumin’s message in You is very simple. He expresses gratitude to everyone around him. And in order to sound meaningful, it is obvious that the ballad route would be chosen. The ballad ended up being typical in nature. That would be the best way to describe it. The instrumental was just plain but I think it did enough to really provide that blank canvas for Xiumin’s voice. We all know that Xiumin isn’t the most talented vocalist of EXO but I think he has an overshadowed voice. There have been songs by him in collaborations and units that do bring out the best of him. You does that as well. I really like his raspy vocals, which really made the song a tiny bit more interesting. I like how he manages to go along with the building instrumental and ended giving the song that needed climax. But I am not particularly drawn to the song melody wise nor do I find it memorable. But I am sure fans of the artist (and group) will.

A lot of the video seemed to be just a reflection for Xiumin. We see Xiumin staring off into the distance, taking in the sights and the fresh air. There isn’t really anything to talk about. The reflective nature matches the song’s message and tone. But other than that, I think I would be rambling on.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.8/10

[Review] SSFW – Chanyeol (EXO)

Intriguing teasers of a yellow car popped onto my news feed last week and it was later revealed that Chanyeol was the driver of the car. The teaser was for Chanyeol’s first solo track, titled as SSWF, which stands for Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. The single is released as part of SM Station Season 3 and will be released in 3 different languages (Korean. Chinese and Japanese) for many more fans to enjoy the song. This is the first EXO release since Chen’s solo debut earlier this month.

I was not sure what I was expecting when it came to SSFW. But I don’t think I expected to be hearing music that was so light and airy. The song felt fitting for the breezy weather, as I think it would be a nice listen as you have a stroll in the park or along the beach. When it comes to Chanyeol, you can always expect husky and raspy vocals. His rapping tone is already very deep, so the vocals were a given. The song manages to flaunt his extremely attractive voice to the listeners. I did like his voice in the second verse, which brought onboard a slight rapping tone, which I think gave the song slight variety. I thought the instumental was rather pleasant and contrbuted to the song’s light nature alongside the vocals. The song to me is nice at the moment but personally I do not see the longevity of it. I think I would get bored of the song if I was to continually replay it, which has been the fate for all the SM Station releases this year.

The song relates love to the four seasons, which may be similar to Taeyeon’s recent release,Four Seasons. However, Chanyeol relates his love to the more warmer seasons and wants to be together with his lover to “chase the cold away”. That is quite cheesy but it makes sense. The video shows cases, what I think, is all the seasons except for Winter. There are a lot of sunny seasons as that is the main focus, while the ending was overwhelming brown to reflect upon Autumn. Going back to how I thought the song would matchy a breezy day, the video manages to encapsulate that through the car rides with the window rolled down. I think this was a great representation. To me, it was a nice video for the song.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] Beautiful Goodbye – Chen (EXO)

As groups progress with their careers, we see a lot of the members branch out into solo careers. EXO is a fine example, with many of the members excelling at their solo careers, such as acting, collaborations and OSTs. What we have not yet seen from the members in Korea is actually a solo album! Lay took the honours as the first member to have a solo album, but that was released in China. But today, Chen will be the first Korean member to release a solo mini-album, April, and a flower, today. The title track from this mini-album is Beautiful Goodbye.

Given Chen’s amazing OSTs in the past, it was highly expected that Chen would go down the ballad route. And Beautiful Goodbye is a breathtaking ballad. A few reviews ago, I mentioned that there are the types of songs that you have to stop what you are doing and listen to it that way in order to fully appreciate the song. This is another perfect example of this. Beautiful Goodbye features only piano in the instrumental. As it is the only instrument in the song, it is extremely striking especially during the moments when the song ‘builds up’or peaks. Chen’s vocals compliment the piano. It doesn’t push himself in this domain nor does he reach ‘powerhouse’ mode. Instead, I find his voice to be very moving and also well-balanced.  This combination works in harmony and it leaves us with a fantastic song to listen to.

I also like how aesthetic the music video is. It isn’t artsy in any way but rather it is simplistic. It is all shot outside, with a very large tree-trunk like structure in the centre of the video. Within the centre, we find Chen and a piano player, whose piano is embedded into the structure. Surrounding them is are many female dancers, all dressed in a pale pink-ish colour that really works well with the setting. That is pretty much it to the video. I came across a news article today that stated that the video took 6 hours of filming and that Chen was concerned about whether he conveyed the right emotions. Well, those 6 hours paid off and Chen did wonders in the video.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

[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!

[Album Review] Love Shot (5th Repackaged Album) – EXO

The 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards are in full swing and voting is still opened. Did you know that EXO is nominated for Best Subunit, Best Male Group, Best Male Choreography, Best Japanese Song by a Korean Artist and Best Album? Click here to vote for EXO!

EXO returned during the week with their 5th repackaged album and the title track, both titled Love Shot. This comes after EXO released their 5th studio album, Don’t Mess Up With My Tempo, which featured the unique Tempo title track.  Unlike previous years, Love Shot was released in place of EXO’s yearly release of a Winter album and single but keeping in the tradition of their yearly studio and repackaged album. The new album consists of 3 new tracks, which I reviewed below, along with the Chinese version of Love Shot (which I have not included in the review).

Love Shot Album Cover

Love Shot features all the songs from the Don’t Mess Up My Tempo album, which I have previously reviewed. If you wish to check out the song reviews from the Don’t Mess Up My Tempo album, please click here.

1..Love Shot (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Love Shot. (7.5/10)

3. Trauma – I personally like how classy Trauma sounds. The intro to the track (the ‘La La La’) really sets the rest of the song in place. I liked how upbeat the instrumental felt despite how soft the actual music was. It was rather interesting. I also liked how their vocals were very compatible with the song, which was also a softer tone than usual. When I write these reviews, I listen to the track several times to really be sure about what I am writing. And every time I listened to Trauma, Chen’s mini falsetto in the chorus stands out for me. Also, like the vocals, the raps were very well suited for the song. They do bring an edgy vibe to the song, which breaks the classiness of the song for a slight section. And I quite like that too. (9/10)

4. WaitWait is an acoustic ballad that goes straight to showcasing EXO’s vocals from the very first second. And it is a very beautiful sounding song, with the acoustic guitar being the only instrument in the song. The rest of the song relies on the said vocals and the nice harmonies that you can hear throughout the song. The chorus features harmonies with all the members, while the verses feature harmonies between the singer and background vocals. Looking back at the song, I find it extremely hard to really pinpoint anything I dislike about it. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10 (This incorporates the scores of all 13 songs on the albums)

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[Review] Love Shot – EXO

The 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards are in full swing and voting is still opened. Did you know that EXO is nominated for Best Subunit, Best Male Group, Best Male Choreography, Best Japanese Song by a Korean Artist and Best Album? Click here to vote for EXO!

EXO has returned with their 5th repackaged album and their latest title track, both titled Love Shot. Last month, EXO returned with their 5th studio album, Don’t Mess Up My Tempo. Promotions for Tempo were quite short, causing anger to be directed towards SM Entertainment for their lack of promotions this year as a group. It does seem like EXO will be promoting their repackaged album and title track for slightly longer as their album promotions will crossover with the End of Year music festivals and award ceremonies that start 2019 off.

Love Shot is a pop dance track filled with a balanced level of thumping bass and it feels a lot more comfortable than what Tempo felt like. It flows a lot more nicely, with smoothness being a keyword used to describe the song.  I think what I like about the song is its addictive chorus. It may be a simple hook but it is keyed into your memory by the time the song ends, so you just want to replay the song to relive the chorus. The vocals in this track were also a strong point, adding to the track’s appeal. I really liked D.O’s ‘People come and people go‘ start to the bridge, which I think was more memorable than the already addictive chorus.  Once again, I also liked the rapping. It is perfect for this sensual sounding song but I have to admit that it doesn’t top the energy and intensity we got from Tempo. And that basically applies to the entire song. But nonetheless, EXO’s Love Shot was a great song to mark their second return to 2018.

EXO has their guns drawn for their music video. There is a plotline somewhere in the video, with the way Suho walks away with a SWAT team by his side and everyone is confronted by the SWAT team when they came to rob the bank (of flowers). While it does feel cryptic and confusing, the plotline does seem fairly interesting. Also, when I thought of ‘Love Shot‘, I thought of drinking rather than guns. But I liked the way they incorporated alcohol into their guns, which is pretty aesthetic. But at the same time, not too effective when it comes to robbing a bank. I also thought the closeup shots throughout the video showed off great visuals of the members.

But I think we cannot pass the choreography for this comeback. Like the song, the choreography seems to take a sensual approach, reminding me of the moves they pulled for The Eve. I liked the incorporation of the small “handgun” in their body rolls for the choruses. As for the verses, we just have to wait and see. But it looks good from the music video end.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Album Review] Don’t Mess Up My Tempo (5th Studio Album) – EXO

EXO has returned with their 5th studio album last week, titled as Don’t Mess Up My Tempo. Their lead title track was definitely a rollercoaster of sounds and tempos and it is titled as simply Tempo (link below). Today, the focus is on their album and can I begin by saying how impressed with every song on this album? So without any more delays, here are my thoughts on the album.

Don’t Mess Up With My Tempo Album Cover

1..Tempo (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Tempo. (8/10)

2. Sign – When you listen to both Tempo and Sign side-by-side, Sign is the better choice for the title track. Firstly, it doesn’t feel erratic. Secondly, the autotune section that follows the chorus was done wonderfully. It gave the song an intriguing factor while being an excellent addition of texture, which made me like it. While it does feel a little more mainstream, it is a solid track from start to end. Amazing vocals and raps (though I will admit that I prefer the rap sequences from Tempo) were also included in this song. The instrumental was intense and fell on the R&B scale, while also containing a mixture of synths of dubstep and other EDM. It was a great song. (9/10)

3. Ooh La La La (닿은 순간)Ooh La La La seems to be EXO’s answer to the ongoing Latin trend that has hit KPOP and SM Entertainment as well. And it is not that bad. The song is a lot softer than their other songs (or any of the Latin-influenced songs that we have heard), giving us some relief to the intensity of this album. I really liked the vocals in this song. They were husky and low, which was something different for the group. The harmonies throughout the song (in particular the chorus) were perfect and it made the song flow effortless. There wasn’t rapping in this song, which I was kind of expecting. I am not too troubled by this as the vocals were on point. (8/10)

4. Gravity – The start of Gravity reminded me of Power for a brief second. But the song is not like Power at all. It has a dance techno instrumental which I thought was refined. I would have described the song as smooth but we lost that smoothness factor as the song went along. The vocals matched the song perfectly. They made the song feel cohesive and stand out for all the right reasons. What I loved about the song even more is the presence of the raps, which fits the bill well. They kicked the song up a notch and made the song feel right for a club setting. (9/10)

5. With You (가끔) – I think I found one of the most beautiful songs on the album. It starts off off-tuned, which I thought was going to be mean an awful track. But I was genuinely surprised with the direction the song took. The vocals (which added the beautiful factor to the song) took a soft ballad approach, yet the instrumental was fast tempo dance vibe. This is a very interesting combination. And I would not have expected it to work. Yet it does, and I can’t help stopping but marvel at this song. I really liked the continuous build-up in the first verse, which must be my favourite pick for inclination in any song. The rapping was nice but not their best on this album. (9/10)

6. 24/7 – It started off as another song. The whistling at the start was intriguing yet I lost interest in the song somewhere in the first verse. When the chorus kicked in, there was more than a kick to the song. I would like to describe it as more of a subtle explosion. It got my attention back to the song. As the song went along, there was a gradual build-up in the intensity of the song, which made it bold and appealing. The vocals were soft yet husky at points, which I think really gave the song some character and body. I prefer the final chorus as this is when the song full reaches its peak and doesn’t feel in any way related to how it started, yet still managing to remain true to the song’s roots. (9.5/10)

7. Bad Dream (후폭풍) – I like the way the song sounds but I can’t really figure out a way to describe the song to show this. I personally felt the instrumental could have been more interesting and developed a little more. The instrumental felt jazzy and R&B-ish, mixed nicely with some house. But it felt plain and didn’t really stand out. Same can be said for the vocals and raps. Yet when I listen to the song, I can’t help but groove along. I think a good comparison would have to be The Eve, as I can imagine the group going down a sexy route with this performance. (8/10)

8. Damage – When the song first started, it felt like something you would have gotten back in the day in KPOP. Chanyeol’s raps start the song off in a really pumped-up manner and this momentum continued into the vocals. The chorus was quite epic with a dramatic movie sound to it. I really liked how they incorporated classical instruments into the intense instrumental, particularly in the second verse, which basically a dream for someone who enjoys an orchestral piece. The bridge takes on a classical feel, stripping away the dramatic vibes of the song, which was a nice contrast. Sehun’s responsibility of saying E.X.O reappeared in this song, paying a nice throwback to EXO’s younger days. Altogether, I liked the song. (9/10)

9. Smile On My Face (여기 있을게) – Doing a complete 180° on the album is Smile On My Face, which is a pretty nice ballad. It showcased the vocals of the group and gave us an opportunity to focus on a softer side of the group before we end the album. There were no raps in this song, but I kind of expected given the ballad nature. It isn’t technically a stand out song on the album. It felt like it was there to give us a chance to catch our breathes from enjoying the more intense and dance-based tracks on the album. I like the melody and the swaying nature of the instrumental (which earns a tick from me!). (7.5/10)

10. Oasis (오아시스) – This was a nice closer for the album. There was a very certain level of hope which you could feel in the way the song sounds, which makes sense given the lyrics’ meaning. Vocally, there were many nice moments that make you feel warm and fuzzy. I think this track would have nice to listen during a walk on a nice warm day with blue skies. A cool breeze would make it even more exceptional. I would have expected some rapping in the song, to give the rappers a chance to feature in the closing of the album. But that could have easily changed the dynamic of the song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

Don’t Mess Up My Tempo Teaser Image

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[Review] Tempo – EXO

EXO is officially back with their first comeback in over a year. Usually, EXO makes at least one comeback before the end of the Summer, which has been the case for a few years now. So once Summer ended, I noticed a lot of concerns and memes appear online (such as the group’s continuous performances of Ko Ko Bop and Power – when we last saw them). Their title track, Tempo, is featured on the group’s 5th studio album, Don’t Mess Up My Tempo and it also the first comeback to feature Lay since Lotto.

Bare with me, as the song contains a number of individual parts that were pieced together with hopes to make a decent song. And for the most part, the producers did a good job. Unfortunately, some parts just didn’t work for me. The song started off with an intro, which felt like typical but featured Chen’s heavenly vocals. We then get thrown straight into the very addictive chorus, which is accompanied by squeaking sounds (with how you perceive the squeaky effect directly affecting the way you perceive the lyrics of the song). We then approach the deep-voiced section (performed by Xiumin in the first verse and Baekhyun in the second verse). This attracted a massive ‘no’ response from me. The rapping follows with Sehun and Chanyeol (in their respective verses) doing an amazing job with their sections. Vocals follow after each rap section but I am not amazed by that. I am, however, amazed at the bridge of the song, which slows down the tempo at first and then managed to throw in some acapella. The concern is that does mess with the tempo, contradicting the ‘Don’t Mess With My Tempo’ hook. But it sounds amazing. I did like the way they brought us back to the original chorus to really bring it home and feel upbeat once again. The instrumentation was funky but changed as it went along, adjusting its ‘tempo’, for example. To be honest, the song is a mess. It is a good mess, just with some unnecessary parts.

I wonder what their concept is for this comeback. Their teasers hinted towards motorcycles but that doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of the visuals for this comeback. What I saw was very edgy and seemed to be very aesthetic, using a lot of traditional elements for a KPOP music video. I quite like the video for that. I personally think each member looked really amazing in this comeback, including Lay who was featured in a few scenes (scarcely, however). Everything in this video seems to very elaborate, resulting in a very detailed production. I also liked how everything changed accordingly to the tempo of the song, which I thought was rather cool.

The winning part of this entire comeback is the dance performance. I thought the chorus was extremely dynamic and looked amazing on stage. The performance from today saw the members wear military outfits, so that confused me even more, in terms of the concept. I liked their energy and power they had behind each move and enjoyed the details throughout the dance during the acapella section.

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

[Review] We Young – Chanyeol X Sehun (EXO)

Before I get stuck back into the catching up phase of the week., I must interrupt this plan with a new release. Chanyeol and Sehun, the rappers from the widely known KPOP boy group EXO, have come together as solo artists to collaborate under the Station X 0 project that has been ongoing for a number of weeks so far. We have seen Taeyeon & Melomance’s Page 0 and Baekhyun & Loco’s Young releases already, so check out the reviews if you haven’t yet.

I personally thought the two EXO members would have out with a song that is more rap heavy, given their positions within the group. However, that does not seem to be the case as they went with a more cheerful sounding pop tune, which I thought was still quite good. As many of you guys know, I have a mega soft spot for any rappers singing. And we are all familiar with Chanyeol’s voice. Sehun, on the other hand, usually gets the least amount of lines in EXO songs and isn’t well known for his singing. Hopefully, this song changes that as he has a pretty good singing voice. There is rapping infused into the verses but it isn’t in the limelight compared to the vocals. We Young is also quite catchy, going with an addictive repetitive hook. There is also a sense of inclusiveness, which I thought was pretty good. Not too keen on the ending, though as it felt quite sudden. But other than that, it is a good collaboration.

The music video puts Chanyeol’s biceps and Sehun’s abs to work. Hahaha… I did find it a little odd for the presence of abs in the music video but I guess it gives some appeal to some of the fans. Other than that, I thought the spinning platform they were on was a good idea as transitions throughout the video. It looked cool. And when they revealed the wider shot consisting of the fake grass, it looked like they were in the clouds, which I thought was quite cool. The dancing seemed to fit the tune of the song, going with a chilled route and the lyrics.

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


[Review] Young – Baekhyun (EXO) & LOCO

The second single of Station X 0 is officially out. Last time, we heard from Taeyeon and Melomance on Page 0. The second single, Young, features the collaborative efforts of Baekhyun (whom we all know from EXO) and Loco, who we all know as a leading hip-hop artist. It seems like each of these songs have some sort of empowering message, based on the release of the first two singles. Can’t wait to see the rest of the releases.

Young is an electro-pop track that is extremely serious sounding. The atmosphere that is presented when you listen to the song isn’t one to be taken lightly. In my opinion, the song beckons you to determine what they are trying to get across to us. To quickly summarise, the song sends the message of being yourself and not to conform to the ‘expected’ image. Putting the message aside, the song features Baekhyun’s signature vocals, which fluctuates every now and then, giving the song some texture and drive. The song also features Loco and his rapping voice, which adds those elements and drive the song even further. Together, they don’t share any parts. However, they still compliment each other quite well, making this another great song from the SM Station project.

The music video expresses just what the message of the song says. However, the expectation set upon people are the rounded balls they are moulding together throughout the video. The way the people are working and walking around expressionlessly (illustrated by the paint splashing scene with Loco) shows that they are conformed to the standard and extremely bland societal normals. The way Baekhyun and Loco act, along with the disfigured ball at the end of the video shows how we should be acting and how we should be ourselves.

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

[Review] Horololo – EXO-CBX

With the subunit just finishing up their unit promotions in Korea with Blooming Days, EXO-CBX is looking at Japan for their next hit. Horololo is the title track off their upcoming first album in Japan, which is titled Magic. This is the subunit’s first comeback in Japan since their debut with Ka-Ching!. This is also my first JPOP review in a very long time. I have allocated Saturdays in the month of May for Japanese songs sung by the Korean singers that I review often on this site.

I think the first thing that jumps out at you is the chorus. It had me a little speechless the first time I heard it and it felt a little ridiculous the many listens that followed. But hey, they made it work and now it is the one thing that I am constantly hearing my head. The vocals and raps were nice. The chorus also added some intensity and energy into the song, which made me enjoy it to an extent. However, when you take the chorus away, the song was rather plain. It was like a rollercoaster. Song started off on a low and once we reached the chorus, we were at a peak. And then this repeated once we got back to the verse.

I wasn’t exactly sure what they were trying to get through with the video. It just felt like a bunch of sets purchased randomly and the production team just went with it. One moment they are in an olden styled reporter or detective office, the next they are on the streets and then they stop at a countryside train station. The cinematography did manage to channel the energy with the camera angles, so I guess that is a plus. But it just felt like a standard music video.

The choreography was extremely well suited for the song. Especially with the hook like that in the song, it doesn’t really offer much room for creativity. It also worked well with the intensity and energetic vibes highlighted earlier in the review.

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.2/10


[Album Review] Blooming Days (2nd Mini Album) – EXO-CBX

EXO-CBX made their long-awaited return with their second mini-album last week. The title track and mini-album share the same name, Blooming Days. A common theme that you will continually read throughout the review are comments in regards to how awesome the vocals and harmonies are within the album. For other comments, scroll down below!

Blooming Days Album Cover

1..Monday Blues – Opening the album is a smooth R&B track which features amazing vocals and harmonies. It is one of those songs that I can’t help swaying along to (which is a good thing though). It is rather slow-paced but it still features a decent chorus that seemed catchy. I really liked the ‘owoo-owoo-owoo‘ repetition, which was my favourite part. I am not a fan of the bridge, however, which felt rather boring when compared to the rest of the song. But overall, it was rather easy on the ears and felt like a well-paced song for the opener, leading onto the title track. (8/10)

2. Blooming Days (花요일) (Title Track) Click here to read the full review of Blooming Days. (9.1/10)

3. Sweet Dreams (내일 만나) – The song has a moderate upbeat nature, which made the track extremely pleasant to listen to. Also featuring (and it seems to be a common theme in the album) are the harmonies and amazing vocals from the trio. I can say everything about the song was decent however it just didn’t seem to catch on. Likewise, the song just didn’t seem to peak, instead remaining consistent with how it initially started. (7/10)

4. Thursday – Returning to another R&B (and somewhat jazzy) song, first impressions for this track was that it was rather soothing and calming to listen to. The chorus shined brightly as the chorus was a lot louder compared to the verses, with the contrast working extremely well. Out of all the songs on the album, I like the vocals here the most. Especially, that falsetto bridge where Baekhyun and Chen alternate. (8/10)

5. Vroom Vroom – Upbeat track that sounds like was it was going to be an addictive addition to the album. And that it was. The chorus was rather unexpected, being dominated by loud synths that competed with the vocals. Yes, it was rather chaotic but it worked surprisingly well. The retro vibes were also quite strong. Also, almost non-existent on the album so far are the raps, which were nice and well-fitting to the song. (9/10)

6. Playdate – While this song showcased great vocal work and harmonies as well, it felt relatively plain and just didn’t feel captivated. It seems like a sweet swoon designed to swoon some fans but it just doesn’t really appeal to me. The falsetto was nice and the bridge was rather good. (6/10)

7. Lazy (휴일) – Like the previous track, I wasn’t really falling for this track. It had a nice sound and was pleasant sounding. I thought the chorus was rather simple, yet classy and elegant. The instrumental break was interesting, with a somewhat quirky synth in the background.But it just didn’t feel as memorable as I had expected it. Once again, nice vocals and the harmonies were great. I also felt the ending was a little too soon, as they should have eased off with the song, instead. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.6/10

Blooming Days Teaser Image

[Review] Blooming Day – EXO-CBX

EXO-CBX has made their grand return with Blooming Day and their 2nd mini-album, which also shares the same name as the title track. It has been over a year since their subunit debut with the addictive Hey Mama!, which I am always grooving to when it randomly starts playing on my phone. Given that testimony, I am extremely excited to hear what they have in store for us.

Blooming Day is extremely groovy. That is the first thing that clicked in my head once the chorus kicked in. But it isn’t the type of groovy like in Hey Mama. Rather it employs a more subtle approach to present that grooviness, which allows the song to become more impactful. I really like the start of the song, which felt very minimalistic with the drum beat in the background. What was a little interesting was how every so often they included a drum beat that had a rough texture, which I thought was cool. I thought the chorus was quite nice, with the softer first half and the louder ‘Oh Baby‘ second half. What also screams at me (not literally) are the vocals, which just sound so smooth in this song. It goes well with the subtle nature of the instrumental. When they sing together during the bridge, my breath was taken away (especially when Chen’s high note was thrown into the mix). In summary, while it does sound a lot different to Hey Mama, it manages to have the same effect on you!

While I don’t think it was their intention, the video actually came off as mysterious. They were lurking in the trees (or bush) and some of their solo shots just added extra mysteriousness (especially in the wide shots with no one else). There was one particular scene where Baekhyun shoots Chen in the head with the slingshot. That reminded me of Red Velvet’s Russian Roulette (by the way he fell). It is another aesthetic video that is visually appealing. The minimalistic vibes in this video work extremely well with the song. Overall, I thought it was a nice and pleasant video to watch.

[Updated] I liked how everything was well-timed to each drum beat and clap. It made the entire choreography quite cohesive with the song. Besides that, I didn’t find this choreography to be that memorable. I guess that is due to the level of seriousness that weighed down the performance.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10 [Updated]
Overall Rating – 9.1/10 [Updated]


[Double Review] Do You Have A Moment & Dinner – Suho (EXO) & Jang Jane

At the start of the week, it was announced that Suho (leader of EXO) and Jang Jane (vocalist from MYSTIC89) were going to collaborate for two new singles. The first is Do You Have A Moment, which was released on Friday by MYSTIC89. The second is Dinner, which was released just a few hours ago (on Saturday) as part of the SM Station Season 2 lineup. Both songs are said to be in regards to a relationship, where each song was written at various points of a relationship.

Do You Have A Moment can be described as a pop ballad. It has a soft piano based instrumental which does seem a little ordinary for my taste. It could have used other instruments to keep the song a little more interesting towards the end and given the song some freshness. The start felt like it could have developed into that typical ballad song but once we reach the first chorus, the song features a cheerful sound, setting the tone for the rest of the track. The vocals here are really nice, with both singing complimenting each other.

Dinner has a more serious and seductive tone to it, which I actually like. Like in the previous song, their vocals are the strong point of this song.  Their solo sections were on point. When they sing together (such as the chorus), they change up the dominance between two depending on who’s part of the song it is. The instrumental is the complete opposite of the previous track, going for synth-based and pairing with the slight autotune which I think I can hear. The main part of the song which has me second-guessing is the bridge. I think they were singing ‘Love Love Love’ but it came out to be more like ‘LOL LOL LOL’. But besides that, it was a really good song to listen to.

Do You Have A Moment’s music video reflect the lyrics in a very literal sense. Essentially, the lyrics of the song are about making the first move towards the person that catches your eye. The video is done is a cafe like setting, where both singers don’t really face each other, clearly acting out the lyrics. It literally ends with both singers finally facing each other, already clearing the first (and the most daunting) step of all.

The music video for Dinner also goes well with the lyrics of the song. Judging from the video, the two are experiencing a breakdown in their relationship, illustrated by the lack of chemistry they share when at the table together or when one of them is completely absent. I like how they started off with the final scene (the clock) from the previous video and used the same set to show the difference between the two stories. I also liked the lighting and the extra sets that were used.

Do You Have A Moment 
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

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