[Album Review] To. Day (2nd Mini Album) – fromis_9

Fromis_9 Group teaser Image for To. Day

Welcome back to the Past Album Review segment, where I look at an album from an earlier year. Today, I will be focusing on fromis_9’s second mini-album, To. Day, which features the title track, DKDK. The album was released back in June 2018 and did not feature Jang Gyuri as she was participating in Produce 48 at the time. The reason that I chose fromis_9 for an album review this time as it has been some time since we last heard from them (their most recent single was FUN!, which was released back in Summer of last year). Hopefully, we will hear news of a fromis_9 comeback soon. But in the meanwhile, here is an album review to suffice that fromis_9 desire.

To. Day Album Cover
To. Day Album Cover

1. Close To You (다가가고 싶어) – The album opens up with a short track. Not short as like an introductory track like on other albums, but it might be able to pass as one. As there are lyrics (the narration), instrumentals and the song goes for a much longer period than standard introductory tracks, I will be treating it as one. The members narrate some words about falling in love over extremely light and soft instrumentation. Their narration is actually quite sweet-sounding and works well with the soft instrumentation. I did have a read through the English translations, and everything came off as innocent and wholesome, suitable for the cutesy image that the group started off with. My only problem is that the start and end made it feel like a full-fledged song, so I was a little disappointed when there weren’t those usual elements standard to a song (i.e. vocals, melodies, hooks etc.). (5/10)

2. Think Of You (너를 따라, 너에게) – While I do like the pop sound of Think Of You, I find the vocals to not fit as snuggly into the song as I had hoped. Take the first pre-chorus, as an example. They tried to infuse some rapping into the song through a rap-sing delivery. They might have done this for a cute effect, but it just felt uncomfortable in my opinion. The same thing can be said about the bridge. The vocals felt confined or very narrow-minded with that cutesy concept. I felt that they could have thrown in some good high notes then to begin the wrap-up procedures. What I did like were the melodies during the chorus, which felt very Fromis_9-like to me (see their debut track and DKDK, below). I also thought the instrumentation was quite bright and nice, which really helped make the song appealing to me. I just wish the vocals were more refined and polished. (7/10)

3. DKDK (두근두근) (Title Track) – I originally gave this song a 7/10 ranking. Upon reconsideration and the amount of time has passed, I had decided to bump the song up by one ranking. Click here to read the original review for DKDK. (8/10)

4. 22Century Girl (22세기 소녀)22Century Girl feels like your typical KPOP track from a female group, but it leans somewhat away from that label. Firstly, I like the Summery vibes. It is very refreshing and fun listen. The instrumental has a lot of textures going on, thanks to the various sound effects that the producers had inserted. It makes the song interesting and less mundane than other tracks. The chorus surprisingly has fewer effects in comparison to the verses (or they were a lot more subtle to notice), making it sound relatively normal. This helps makes the song feel less noisy, which could have been the descriptor I used if they maintained the use of random textures throughout the chorus. I also like how their vocals help ground the song, yet they sound very bubbly and bright. And such, it makes the song appealing to listen to. (8/10)

5. CloverClover puts the group’s vocals into the limelight. All the members sounded really nice in this song. In particular, I really like the raspy nature of Jisun’s voice at the start of the song. Jisun alone caught my attention (good job Jisun!) and had me listening to the rest of the song. It is a sweet song, with a nice pop instrumental. There is a bit of guitar in the instrumental, alongside the synths that form a fair portion of the instrumental. I like the melodies. While they help create the feel of your typical KPOP track, they also give off a nostalgic feel, reminding me of some songs from earlier in the 2010 decade. And because of this, I will be revisiting the song often as it is now on my playlists. (10/10)

6. First Love – It seems like the song following DKDK on this album are superior, in my point of view, then the songs preceding the title track. First Love has the same effect. It is a strong upbeat number to end the album on a much more positive note than how the album started. Like in the previous song, First Love brings out some nostalgic vibes. I personally feel that this song could have been a dynamic number from APINK. I like how the instrumental has a bit of texture to it, thanks to the guitars. I also like the energy that the group brings to the song, thanks to their vocals and melodies. The hooks were catchy and fun. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

  • Lee Na Kyung To. Day Teaser Image
  • :ee Chaeyoung To. Day Teaser Image
  • Son Ha Young To. Day Tease Image
  • Lee Sae Ron To. Day Teaser Image
  • Park Ji Won To. Day Teaser Image
  • Lee So Yeon To. Day Teaser Image
  • Baek Ji Heon To. Day Teaser Image
  • Noh Ji Sun To. Day Teaser Image

[Review] FUN! – fromis_9

It is time to get back on the ‘catch-up train’. Making their return last Wednesday, alongside WJSN and BoA (review coming soon!) was fromis_9, with their latest comeback single, FUN! And with a title like that and past fromis_9 songs, you can definitely expect the track to go one particular direction. This is the group’s first comeback since the release of the forever catchy Love Bomb back in October of last year.

I think we can all agree that the track is loaded with colour and energy, which goes hand-in-hand with its title name and the group’s identity. The song is best described as ‘fun and whimsical, which I think are all words that could have described their past title tracks thus far. The chorus stands out for obvious reasons. That downward spiral effect that the chorus has is very unique. And the short ‘Fun’ punchy hooks are very memorable. The vocals were quite nice and I liked them best during the slower pre-choruses. I found it interesting they gave the slight hip-hop twist to the vocal fragment of the second verse, while the rapping continued the momentum from the chorus. Another very unique touch to the song. I think I enjoyed every part of the song. I just felt the instrumental break could have potentially gone that extra length and have been more quirky to be a perfect fit, but it is fine as it is.

I actually think this was a very cool music video. The video is a whole heap of tiny informercials, showcasing a number of familiar brands. But the group puts a spin on each of these brands by incorporating their name. So basically the video introduces us to ‘Funta’, ‘Fromi Sweat’, ‘Bomb Noodles’, Fromis (a play on Adidas) and ‘Funsilk’. Unidentifiable is the green apple drink and I think the only legit company in this video was ‘Clear & Clean’. I also like their ‘NG sequence”. Not sure if it was real bloopers or staged, but it showed the members having an enjoyable time. Overall, a very ‘fun’ music video.

I love how energetic and cutesy the performance is. It is a song that begs for a lot of energy, and the performance serves that energy in a very enjoyable and organised manner. While it does look like a complex routine, I find it amazing how the members don’t look like they went through 3 minutes of cardio and movement.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[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)

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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)

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WINNER – Woman (BoA)
Honourable Mentions – Siren (Sunmi) & Dance The Night Away (TWICE)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – I Love You (EXID)


Best Special Performance

This is not a fan-voted category.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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

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


Most Viewed Review of 2018

This was not a fan-voted category

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WINNER – Boom Boom (Momoland)


Best Concept

This was not a fan-voted category

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WINNER – Love Bomb (fromis.9)


Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan-voted category.

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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)

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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.

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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!

[Review] Love Bomb – fromis_9

Apologises for my absence for the past few days. This is my final week of the semester, so test and assignments were everywhere. But now, with that out of the way, let’s have a closer look at Love Bomb which is the new title track from fromis_9, which was released a few days back. This is the group’s first comeback since DKDK. It also features the return of Jang Gyuri, who took a short hiatus from the group to participate in Produce 48.

Since it came out a few days ago, I cannot stop playing the song due to its addictive nature. One of the aspects of the song that I quite liked was the beat I liked how they used the same simple and consistent beat of the verse in the chorus. Just that the producers filled in the gaps between the beats with other instrumentation to give off the impression that it was fast. I love that sudden jump from verse to the chorus which you knew was coming but it still manages to creep up on you. The melodic hook (La La Love Bomb) that begins the chorus was also amazing and it is my favourite part of the song. I love the song’s lively nature, which goes well with the cutesy sound that fromis_9 has associated with them. The song also contained great vocals and rapping. The layering of vocals at the end felt a little too long and excessive in my opinion. But it is one awesome song.

The concept was quite obvious. They would go with the ‘bomb’ concept, which sounds awfully violent at first. But the girls use their youthful and cute charms to turns this into a cutesy concept. The revelation that they were grenades towards the end was rather interesting. I liked the visual effects that they used, which felt fitting for the ‘bomb’ concept. I also like the deep red they used for the video, While they wore red as well, the members managed to stand out, which I thought was cool.

I liked their energy on the stage, which I thought was nice for the upbeat song. I liked the dance for the chorus, which I thought was simple yet complex at the same time. I did expect something a tad more explosive, which would have tied into the ‘bomb’ concept but it is still pretty good.

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

[Review] DKDK – fromis_9

fromis_9 makes their return with DKDK (두근두근 – the sound of a thumping heart). This is fromis_9’s first comeback since To Heart, which was released earlier in the year. The group is currently short one member as Gyuri is now participating in the Produce 48, another survival show (since fromis_9 was formed through the survival reality show, Idol School). 

DKDK stays within the sound that the group has debuted with. It has a cutesy sound that is extremely hard to look down upon. It isn’t overly exaggerated and for that, I am quite grateful. I think we can attribute that to their vocal work, which I think is quite good in the song. Once again, the song suffers from that standardness that I mentioned in the To Heart review. To me, the verses and chorus weren’t that great highlights of the song. It doesn’t make it memorable. On top of that, the song doesn’t really have momentum or any sort of energy that makes it a song that I continually replay. That being said, the song is still listenable. There is one standout moment that does have me coming back. However, it is purely for the ‘Dugeun Dugeun‘ hook right after the chorus. It is unique and extremely catchy. If the rest of the song was as catchy and memorable, I think the track would have been a total hit.

The way the video was shot remind me of LOONA predebut music videos. I assume the same director or producer was used. I think the video simply shows the girls becoming obsessed with cats (which I assume represents their true love). They go to catch one, which happens to be the biggest cat out there. Not sure what to make of the plot other than that simplistic understanding of it. So do share any other theories. Really like the start and the end of the video how the girl (and in the end – the cats) appear one by one, in time with the music. Overall, it was a good video to watch which appeared to complement the cutesy vibes of the song.

The performance is quite lively and energetic, which reflects well with the song. I particuarly like the few seconds at the start once the clapping begns and they were all in sync. I liked how they got into their final formation at the very end of the performance. But I feel like they could have tidied that section up a little bit to make it more appealing visually. Overall, nice performance.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

 

 

 

 

[Album Review] To. Heart (1st Mini Album) – fromis_9

Once again, I am delayed with another album review. Fromis_9 made their formal debut with To Heart last month on the 24th of January. They previously made their first appearance on the stage of MAMA in Japan with Glass Shoes and that particular version of their pre-debut song is featured on the album. It is another relatively short review as it is a mini-album but I thought the album had a decent selection of songs that I wanted to write about. So without further ado, here are my comments on Fromis_9’s first mini album.

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To. Heart Album Cover

2. To Heart (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for To Heart. (8.2/10)

3. Miracle (환상속의 그대) – The first thing that jumps out at me is the use of the EDM instrumental for such a sweet and cutesy song. Its use here is not overwhelming, allowing for the vocals to be heard clearly. The chorus did feel more pop but that isn’t really an issue. I like the slow down for the ‘dugeun, dugeun‘ (just before the chorus) and the ‘Love Me, Take Me, Kiss Me‘ lines at the start of the song. The only thing that I think would have made the track more memorable is a catchier chorus. This particular song relies heavily on the instrumental for both character and appeal. A more defined and catchy chorus would have made relieved the instrumental of that burden. (7.5/10)

4. Pinocchio (피노키오) – Suiting the title, there is a playful sound to it. The chorus did seem to divert towards a more tropical sound as well, which left me smiling. It actually thought it was a TWICE song before actually remembering whose album I was listening to. The instrumental worked well with the vocals and raps to make the song attention-grabbing. Sadly, I am not that keen on the bridge, as the EDM seemed to come out of nowhere, but it was still listenable. (7.5/10)

5. Be With YouBe With You is your standard pop song, though, for a second I thought they were going with a ballad from the very start. I like the no vocals section of the song and I thought it had a sweet feel to it. For some sections, it reminded me of 90’s KPOP such as Fin.K.LBesides that, there wasn’t anything that special about it. (6.5/10) 

6. Glass Shoes (유리구두) (MAMA version)  – Click here to read the full review for Glass Shoes. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

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To Heart Teaser Image

 

[Review] To Heart – fromis_9

From another trainee survival program to their first big performance on the stage of the 2017 MAMA Awards held in Japan, fromis_9 has started out big. Now, they are back with their official debut track and mini-album, which both share the same title, To Heart. The MAMA version of their pre-release single, Glass Shoes, is also featured on the album.

To Heart is a decent song but it does suffer from that standardness that I tend to mention when I don’t think the song is that unique. This isn’t a major problem as the song does feel somewhat fresh from its upbeat and bright instrumental. I love the classical feel that the pop instrumental gives off, particularly the violins at the start (which were definitely ear-catching). At certain points, it felt like the song was definitely pulsing or thumping, which creates a really addictive and catchy beat. The vocals were equally as bright and energy filled as their instrumental, which goes hand-in-hand with each other. I do like how the vocals lead into the raps for this song. While it does go over 3 minutes, the song does end up as a blur sometimes, which isn’t another major problem but rather a surprise when the ending appears out of nowhere.  For a debut song, To Heart does the job quite well.

I love how they started with a home video of one of the members playing the violin and this leads perfectly into the song. I like the overall presentation of the music video, reminding me of Lovelyz’s past videos and GFriend’s school concept. But in a way, there is a different level of aesthetics given off in the video with it not being in a box. I actually like their outfits, which seemed to be a little posher and fancy. It is genuinely a great video to watch.

I really like their fist motion that they make during this performances. Looks really cool and could be the next big trend. I also like the ending for their performance as well (when they hold hands). For the most part, the performance was definitely upbeat and energetic like their song, so what more can you ask for?

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Glass Shoes – Fromis_9

Fromis_9 isn’t technically a debut but rather a pre-debut single. The 9 member group was formed from the Idol School program, which I didn’t follow at all. However, I did happen to watch their performance at the MAMA in Japan this year and that was definitely a good way of getting exposure for the new group. Naturally, I checked out their song the next day (its actual release date) and that is where we find ourselves.

Hearing for the first time, it was an unexpectedly catchy track. And I was thoroughly impressed with the execution of the song. It was quite colourful, something you don’t get much around this time of the year. The ‘Bingeul Bingeul Bingeul Toc Toc‘ repetition at the start and throughout the song was extremely addictive and catchy. It sounds like your standard pop song overall. But there were some moments throughout the song that made it unique, such as the repetition already mentioned. The song itself felt like it was heavily influenced by the usual JPOP (Japan Pop) sounds. The instrumentation was quite nice, especially the electric guitar. The vocals and raps didn’t seem to be that impressive but the rest of the song made up for it.

The comments regarding the Japanese pop influence can also be said regarding the music video. The widespan shots and the school uniform that the girls wore in the video reminded me of some of the Japanese music videos I have watched previously. It was a nice music video to watch overall. They nailed the cute concept without going overboard. The pastel colours were nice and the golden brown colour light in some of the shots reflected well with the Autumn season.

The choreography was indeed nice but it just didn’t have that memorable factor that I always want to see. Their vocals performance at the MAMA awards were pretty good.

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