[Album Review] Take A Leap (4th Mini Album) – Golden Child

Last month, Golden Child made their comeback with a pretty captivating track, ONE (Lucid Dream). This song is the title track off their fourth mini-album, Take A Leap and is the focus on today’s album review. What I did not know about this comeback is that it was connected with their two earlier releases. So if you haven’t checked out my review for Wannabe and Without You, along with my album review for their first studio album, Re-Boot, then you can do so by clicking on the hyperlinks. But if you want to find out what my thoughts were for Take A Leap, then you can do so by continue reading!

The album cover for Golden Child's fourth mini-album, Take A Leap.
Take A Leap Album Cover

2. ONE (Lucid Dream) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for ONE (Lucid Dream). (9.5/10)

3. OMG (훅 들어와) – To me, OMG is the merging of Golden Child’s upbeat and fun-sounding debut roots and their current mature sound. The song is definitely quite bright and energetic, but it is more subdued and refrained from going too youthful. It is a nice combination. There was a funky nature to the instrumental and it had a much-appreciated casual feel. The vocals and rapping were pretty clear and nice. If I had to pick a favourite moment in this song, it would be Tag and Jangjun’s rap sequence at the start of the bridge, layered on top of that really funky bounce-like synth. It was a pity that their melodies were a bit standard and I had wished OMG had more punchy hooks. But overall, a pleasant song to listen to. (7.5/10)

4. Moment – For a brief sequence, Moment began like a straightforward ballad. But as the song progressed soon after, we had more of a pop melody come through, and so the song ended up developing into a pop ballad. I really like this track as it reminds me of one of my favourite Golden Child sidetracks, Lady. It may not have had that same defined instrumental, but it was still on par as that 2018 era. I like how warm their vocals and rapping felt and how it really made the song blissful. Particularly the pre-chorus sequence, which had the best of both worlds. I really like the vocal melodies, which had a really nice flowy nature to them. I also liked it when their vocals got a little breathy during some parts, which added a nice colour to this song. (9/10)

5. Make Me Love – The song kicks off with a distorted ‘Stardust’, which really throws off you off. As the song went on, I just kept on thinking how random that distorted voice was and pretty much couldn’t get over it. But apart from that, Make Me Love is a good track. I really like the moody atmosphere. It is really intriguing. By while it was captivating (to an extent), I wanted more from it. The instrumental was pretty standard, and it also felt fairly spaced out. There wasn’t anything necessary special about it and I wished that it was a tad stronger. This would have lent a hand to help bolster up their vocals. The rappers faired better with this song. Their parts had a slight oomph, which really made their parts stand out more, compared to the vocalists. Tag’s rapping in this song was pretty memorable and suited that moody atmosphere that I enjoyed. (7/10)

6. H.E.R (그녀에게)H.E.R has this very airy nature, which would help make this song a suitable one to listen to while taking a nice stroll somewhere where there is a nice breeze. The use of synths and the piano in the background is a classic combination in this current KPOP era. But there is something refreshing about this song that makes it quite addictive. It might be that these two sides of the instrumental felt pretty light (relative to the other songs on the album). And I appreciate that quite a bit. This just makes the song sound so calming and pleasant. In addition to that, the light nature of the instrumental really helps highlight their vocals and rapping, which once again, is superb in this song. Their vocals and rapping felt like a perfect match to the lightness of the instrumentation, so it was a very well put together track. (9/10)

7. Pass Me By – It seems like Golden Child has saved the best song for last. Pass Me By is a ballad, though I can imagine a dance routine to pair alongside this song when it is performed on stage. The classical instrumental was truly beautiful and stunning. I really enjoyed the deep bass thumping we get throughout the instrumental. The strings really keep the song true to its ballad roots, while the percussion gives it a strong beat. And the piano was just riveting. Aside from the instrumental, I need to praise the vocals in this song. Pass Me By has Golden Child’s best vocal work ever. Not just on this album, but every song that I can think off from the top of my head. The vocal melodies were really captivating. But as much as I want to give the song a 10/10 rating, I can’t. There is no indication that it was a vocal line song, so I have to assume that this was a whole Golden Child song. And yet Tag and Jangjun had no lines. Such a bummer. I am sure they could have had one vocal line somewhere in this song. (9.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Take A Leap Group teaser Image
Take A Leap Teaser Image

[Review] ONE (Lucid Dream) – Golden Child

Recently, Golden Child participated in Road To Kingdom but was eliminated after the first round for having the least amount of points out of all the teams. If you are interested in my thoughts of their performances in the competition, you can view Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the special review series. But while the group did not last as long as we hoped, they announced their comeback soon after and hence why we are all here today. Golden Child returned today with their 4th mini-album, Take A Leap, which features the title track, ONE (Lucid Dream). The group pre-released the music video for this comeback 18 hours prior to the official release, but I was asleep then and was not able to review it. Instead, the group has landed on the top of my review list, so let’s get cracking.

The group has definitely gained attention with their dark sound and mature change, which contrasts greatly from their more brighter and energetic releases. In addition to that, Wannabe and Without You has become some of their best works in my opinion. But it seems like Golden Child hasn’t completely unleashed their new sound as ONE (Lucid Dream) raises the bar even higher than those other tracks can reach. The song’s instrumentation is quite unique and individualistic, something that will definitely allow the group to standout in a sea of typical and generic releases that will be due throughout Summer. The verses are made up of a very strong electronic vibrating synth and strong thumping beats. It feels quite grounded and impactful. The pre-chorus opts out of those two elements and goes for a more floating-like vibe, which really adds some smoothness to the roughened song. The chorus opts for some funky beats that adds character to the song and this fuses with some violins in the second half. The hooks just glide over and this too helps gives the song some smoothness. From where the song’s bridge should have started, ONE opted for with heavily distorted and high pitched vocals that form part of an instrumental break, before throwing us into dance break to end the song. I feel like Golden Child could have kicked it up a notch in this section to give the song a much needed climax. It just feels like a missed opportunity in my opinion. After all, they ended the song without diving into a final chorus. But it is still a very strong piece, regardless thanks to everything they had set up prior. The vocal work and rapping delivery are just on point. I liked how they kept their vocals relatively linear in comparison to the instrumental. This really helps add definition to the background and adds some contrast (that you know I like). My favourite part has to be the whispering in the first verse! Overall, a very strong effort, just a shy away from that perfect label.

So I wasn’t aware that Wannabe, Without You and ONE (Lucid Dream) were a trilogy until I scrolled through the comments to see what some viewers thoughts on the music video were. Why am I always the last one to find out that a string of comebacks are trilogies or a series of some kind? Based on those comments, Wannabe was about becoming the best version of oneself. Without You was getting lost in that idea. ONE is about realizing that best version of oneself was them originally. That is a pretty interesting interpretation of all the music videos. As for ONE by itself, the visuals for this music video was really cool. The visual effects were very strong. For the some of the individual scenes, I couldn’t tell if they were dreams or nightmares, which forced me to watch the music video a few times this morning to try to work it out. Some of them were obvious, others were a little hard to decipher. But I can agree that all of them were aesthetic.

This performance is very captivating. It, in a visual sense, looks very aesthetic as well. I really liked how they made it punchy once the song enters the first verse. I like how there was a lot of twisty formations and ‘over and under’ type of movements as they move around. The moves for the chorus has this subtle smoothness to it which matches perfectly with the music. And the dance break ends the performance on a very strong sense.

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

[Special] Road To Kingdom Review – Round 2 ‘My Song’

Welcome all to my very special review to Road To Kingdom. I may have been very silent about the recent series. But I have been eagerly awaiting each performance to appear on YouTube after broadcasting on Thursdays to see what Golden Child, ONEUS, ONF, Pentagon, The Boyz, TOO and VERIVERY have prepared for us. In this special review series, I will be going through the actual rankings that came about from the first three rounds, short reviews of each performance and how I thought the rankings would go! This post will only cover the second official round (i.e. My Song). Please remember, these are my thoughts only. Feel free to comment your ones below.

My Song (2nd Round)

As part of the third and fourth episodes of the competition, the participating groups had to choose of their past songs and rearrange it for this round. The stakes are high in this round, as the rankings and points from the 1st and 2nd round together would determine which group would be eliminated from the competition. I will outline my thoughts on the elimination that occurred and who I thought should have been eliminated the end. Like in the previous round, I will be focusing on their arrangement, concept and choreography.


Wannabe – Golden Child

The original version of Wannabe is already quite sleek. Yet, their rearrangement somehow is more sleeker. They sampled Caprices No. 24 by Paganini, which is a stunning and well-known violin piece (just watch Joochan played it on the violin during the performance). The rearrangement of the song incorporates and emphasises the instrumental melodies with the use of orchestral instruments. And while this is very intense already, they add electric guitar riffs to top it off. With regards to the concept, it seems like their aim to reach for the white violin which is above the group while they perform, though its significance is unknown. Only the start and end of the performance seems to focus on the suspended white violin. I wished they somehow presented the significance of the white violin on this stage to give us some context (I think they tried to, but it wasn’t obvious). The rest of the performance is detached from the violin. The start is very dramatic and I really liked the ‘under and over’ moves they do. It looks complicated and well timed. As they kept the melodies of the original, the original choreography was also included neatly into the performance. I liked how intense and powerful the choreography was that accompanied Joochan’s violin solo. Actually, all the new elements in their performance can be described in the same way. This is definitely a step up from their 1st round performance.


Lit – ONEUS

What I really liked about this version of Lit is that ONEUS didn’t try to reinvent it. Instead, they kept true to the original and emphasised the folk elements of the original version. For the most part, the two version sound quite similar and that could potentially be a downfall to the stage. But instead, they made everything more defined and dynamic, giving an extra surge of energy to the original version to get to this version. And they just continued with the momentum as they progressed in the song, which makes the arrangement very appealing for me (just listen to Seoho’s rap sequence). As for the stage concept, it seems like ONEUS is playing on the ‘Kingdom’ part of the show. The folk elements lends very well to historical Korean times (when there were emperors etc.). A very recent adaption of this era in media is the Netflix Korean zombie show, Kingdom (see the pun? – I also highly recommend Kingdom, if you like zombies and horror). The peak of the performance incorporates zombies, which I thought was a genius and unique idea. And this allows them to intensify their choreography and also execute a wardrobe change, though I had a feeling it was coming based on their robes. I also thought the presence of all those traditional Korean elements on stage made it look cooler and set the overall tone of the performance. The concept alone stands out, the ending was bomb and this stage a strong contender.


The We Must Love (We Must Love & Moscow Moscow) – ONF

Intensifying the song seems to be the route everyone is taking. So far, the intensification is quite unique between performances. ONF’s rearrangement of We Must Love incorporates an orchestra and combines it with the electronic components of the original We Must Love. It then flows into a rock sound, before settling on an amplified version of the original. I particularly like Wyatt’s rap sequence, which is followed by MK’s vocals. That section purely thrived on intensity and ended up being the most powerful moment. The performance closes with a bit of Moscow Moscow, which I believe helps bring the story on stage to a close. Regarding the stage’s concept, Yooa (from Oh My Girl) features as the ‘puppet master’ that has kept the group under her control. I think she is has somehow casted a spell over the members (I feel that this is what that section of Moscow Moscow alludes to), as every time she leaves, the other members find themselves going back to her. This is just my take on the story and it might have missed some points, as I have kept it brief for the more important parts of this review. The choreography. While there isn’t any crazy stunts, I find the performance to be very graceful during the more ‘quiet’ moments of the stage. Take that beautifully executed start with Yooa in the middle and the members ‘waking up’. I also liked the solo sections, as there is always something going on aside from the choreography (i.e. conducting, masks, interaction with the backup dancers etc.). Wyatt’s and MK’s section mentioned above was particularly strong, along with the clock formed by the back up dancers and J-US and Yooa’s partner dance in the middle of the performance. Another strong showing from ONF.


Shine & Spring Snow – Pentagon

Pentagon departs from their particularly strong performance from the last round and brings a more fun and lighthearted feeling to this round. And there is a particular reason for this, as it allows the members to incorporate an emotional send off to Jinho, who performed with the group for the last time before enlisting in the military. I don’t understand Korean well, but I have to admit that I have tears in my eyes every time I watch this. It shows you that bond Pentagon has managed to form with one another, something that not many groups have. Essentially, that is the concept of the performance. The Western cowboy theme at the start threw me off, as I didn’t expect it to precede Shine. I liked how they bolstered the instrumental for Shine, which made this a strong performance in its own way. Shine was cut short to allow the members to say goodbye to Jinho via the big screen (and cry on the side), before the group returned with a ballad-y opening and subsequent energetic ending with Spring Snow. It seems that the members performed live (I am unaware of the rules regarding to lipsyncing on this show), but I just want take a moment to applaud Jinho for singing effortlessly while crying in Spring Snow. That is a very good talent to have. As for the choreography, they incorporated the original dance into it (tick), while also reinventing it by mixing it up with luggage (big tick). Their use of the luggage was quite fun and added a nice new element to the performance.


Reveal (Catching Fire) – The Boyz

It seems like the use of classical and rock instruments to amplify a song is the trend in this round. The Boyz choose Reveal as their song choice. For me personally, I felt like was a weak song to choose, as they have other more dynamic and strong songs, such as No Air. The good news is, The Boyz proved me wrong. The arrangement starts off with a soft orchestral instrumentation, accented with deep thumps. The first verse ends with the impression of an epic drop, but instead we are treated to a fake drop. I don’t mind this as it just adds to the suspense of the performance. From the start of the second verse, we enter and gradually build to an epic drop that is the second chorus. It truly felt like we entered a war battle with this drop. But I note that this isn’t the intense form. That is withheld for the final chorus and closing segment of the performance, which features a faster pace of those deep thump and rock elements I mentioned at the start. For their performance concept, the crown they stole is stolen by another person. The entire performance seems to be preparation for battle to get the stolen crown back. And it is an epic (recurring word here!) performance. From the start, some of the members are part of a picture frame. Very peaceful but also very ominous. While they moved about when they were in focus, they remained frozen in the background of other shots (like an actual image), which eagle fans noticed. Other standout moments has to be when the two structures crash into one another (i.e. the second chorus) and the entire final chorus/closing sequence.


Magnolia – TOO

TOO is very limited with their song choices, as they just only made their debut recently. Balance is the key for this arrangement. The rappers who had the bulk of the verses added a little intensity and ‘dark energy’ through a mildly hip-hop approach. The vocalists have the cleaner sections of the song, showing off their vocal skills a bit. For the dance break, it seem like there is struggle between these two fractions in the music. J.You’s section (for reasons I will discuss later) appears heavenly sounding and very different to the two fractions. When the two fractions collaborate for the final sections of the performance, there is a much more profound sense of intensity that wasn’t apparent earlier in the performance, which helped bring a cohesive feel to the performance. It appears the concept also relied on balance. The rappers were part of the darker side, while the vocalists were part of the lighter side. J.You played the role of a God or angel, essentially bringing the two fractions together when they kneel down at the very end. J.You also holds a scale and it is balanced throughout the performance, providing further proof of this concept idea. The choreography was quite good. It becomes intense and shows off more of their capabilities after J.You’s solo part. The fighting scene was well choreographed that J.You was able to walk through with the balanced scales and had his eyes closed the entire time. I just wished the final moments of that sequence where he opened his eyes to ‘kill’ the fighters ended with him doing some urgent stomping, as his light walk felt weak for someone who just killed by opening his eyes. But the killer point of this performance is when Chan ‘kills’ Woonggi by twisting his neck. That definitely leaves a strong impression on the viewers!


Photo – VERIVERY

VERIVERY is the only group to choose a side track, rather than a title track. That is a very interesting decision, as Photo wouldn’t be well known. But it is a risk VERIVERY is willing to take. VERIVERY amplifies and intensifies their performance using rock elements, skipping the classical side of the intensification process that other groups had. The whispering moments in this arrangement was really cool and this adds a further level of intensity to the performance. They had an EDM-based dance break towards the end that allowed them to show off their dancing capabilities before returning to the intense whispering and familiar melodies of Photo. Even though they managed to amplify a weak choice, it doesn’t mean they nailed it. A lot of riding on their stage and they knew they had to make it powerful in a unique fashion. It is only this way does a choice of a weaker track is forgotten. Well, VERIVERY did just that with a horror-based concept. We start off the performance with Kangmin whispering the lyrics on a bed and the hands of two other members coming from under the bed, like a ghost reaching out for you while you are sleeping. The performance is injected with a blast of energy thanks to the introduction of those rock sounds and everything on stage looks chaotic for a moment. The performance settles down for a bit, before delivering the most frightening sequence of the entire performance. When four of the members and 7 of the dancers sit/stand on the bed, a female ghost appears in the background. You may not notice from afar (which makes it scary), but the camera zoom rights in on her, effectively scaring you regardless. Another scary part has to be just before the second chorus, where there are members twisting heads and being pulled for the bed. The group synchronises and showcases very sharp movements during the choruses and for the dance break. The ending brings back that chaotic touch, just before Kangmin wakes up from a dream. For a moment that looks like the case, but another member creepily stands behind him, telling us otherwise. I loved this concept.


And the rankings….

This was a very hard round to pick out a ranking from. Each performance was unique and I would gladly listen to these new arrangements of their tracks any day. But I have come up with an order, as promised. VERIVERY nailed their performance with the horror concept and earns the number one rank. The seventh place rank unfortunately is given to TOO. Not because their performance was weak or didn’t hit the brief, it is just I felt everyone else had a stronger performance.

PerformanceArtistActual RankingMy Ranking
RevealThe Boyz#1#4
LitONEUS#2#5
The We Must LoveONF#3#2
PhotoVERIVERY#4#1
Shine + Spring SnowPentagon#5#3
MagnoliaTOO#6#7
WannabeGolden Child#7#6

At the end of the second round, the group with the least points when combining the first and second round points was to be eliminated. Golden Child came in last under this system and hence was eliminated from the show. This was quite harsh, especially since we were only unmasking their potential. The good news is that an early departure allows them to make a comeback sooner, and that will happen tomorrow! Unfortunately, I also said I would be choosing a group to leave the show. And that doesn’t really bring any good news to any group. While I just mentioned speak of their potential, I have some bad news to share. Based on my rankings, Golden Child would have left my version as well. The ranking after the two rounds is below.

RankingArtist
#1VERIVERY
#2The Boyz
#3ONF
#4Pentagon
#5TOO
#6ONEUS
#7Golden Child

Sorry that I wasn’t able to bring any better news to all the Golden Child stans out there. If I had my way, no group would be eliminated. I am excited for Golden Child’s comeback tomorrow and can’t wait for their new release (the teaser/highlight medley looks and sounds promising)! Also check back tomorrow, as I will be posting the fourth part of the Road To Kingdom review series (i.e. Round 3 Part 1 -‘Collaboration’).

Preliminary Round – Preliminary 90 seconds Review & Rankings
1st Round – Song Of King Review & Ranking
3rd Round Part 1 – Collaboration Review & Rankings
3rd Round Part 2 – Your Song Review & Rankings
Final Round – FINAL Review & Rankings

[Special] Road To Kingdom Review – Round 1 ‘Song Of King’

Welcome all to my very special review to Road To Kingdom. I may have been very silent about the recent series. But I have been eagerly awaiting each performance to appear on YouTube after broadcasting on Thursdays to see what Golden Child, ONEUS, ONF, Pentagon, The Boyz, TOO and VERIVERY have prepared for us. In this special review series, I will be going through the actual rankings that came about from the first three rounds, short reviews of each performance and how I thought the rankings would go! This post will only cover the first official round (i.e. Song Of King). Please remember, these are my thoughts only. Feel free to comment your ones below.

Song Of King (1st Round)

We enter the second/third episodes of the show and the 1st official round of the show. This round is where the groups pick a song by a more well known and experienced group to cover. For my comments this time around, I will focus on the music rearrangement (relative to the original songs), concept (use of stage, props and visuals) and choreography. As this round contributes to the group’s ranking, I will be writing a bit more than above so you have more of an idea to how I felt about the stages.


T.O.P – Golden Child (Original Artist: Shinhwa)

When it comes covers in KPOP, most old school KPOP tends to be the default choice. Golden Child’s choice of T.O.P (by Shinhwa) has its benefits and drawbacks. It is a well known song and if covered innovatively, they could ride on the song’s back to the top of the ranks. But since it is well known, many people would be more critical of a poor version of it. Golden Child’s execution seems to be a little lacking. While they seem to have a unique angelic concept going on, I find the performance and arrangement stayed in its slow state for longer than expected. I didn’t mind its slowness at the very start as it fitted with the concept, but I wanted the song and performance to pick up a little sooner. The performance and song starts going in that direction that I desired once we get to TAG and Bomin’s section of the performance. We get a a blast of edginess and energy, through Jangjun’s rap sequence. And the final chorus of the arrangement feature electric guitars that really pump up the energy. And they also incorporate the infamous melody. Choreography wise, I really enjoyed the dance break towards the end of the performance (i.e. with the fans and back up dancers). I also applaud them for their inclusion of the original choreography, as well. I also enjoyed the white and black feathers that dropped from the ceiling, which really helped bind the everything together visually.


Warrior’s Descendant – ONEUS (Original Artist: H.O.T)

Similar comments can be made about ONEUS’ choice of song. The song is quite well known, so it has those same drawbacks and benefits. The arrangement of their version really helps makes the performance quite strong. Right from the start, we are thrown a rap sequence that is very textural and ‘loud’. The cover also takes on a modern hip-hop vibe, which I think goes hand-in-hand with their high school rebellious concept (reminds me of BTS back in the day). I also liked that they made the entire song more dynamic than the original. The stage looked great, setting the scene. We see Hwanwoong being bullied and he (along with the other members of ONUES) exact revenge of the bullies in a fight scene. I wished the desks and props were a little more well used to show off an epic performance. What we saw felt a little too ordinary. The backup dancers executed most of the stunts in the choreography, so I don’t know if these should be counted. But that entire fight scene (along a few others stunts here and there) were performed nicely with the members. The final moments of Hwanwoong falling to his knees was a little terrifying for me. Namely his facial expressions. I don’t want to be rude, but I felt it was a little too exaggerated for this performance.


Everybody – ONF (Original Artist: SHINee)

This is a choreography that everyone should be scared of. To this day, Everybody is one of my favourite performance, namely for the helicopter move that wowed everyone when it was performed in the past. I liked how mysterious they made the song sound at the start with the help of that orchestral hymns opener. The arrangement built up using more of that orchestral touch before transforming into a rock track. The song then settles on dubstep (but also revisits some of those other sounds as it progressed forward) and continues to get even more dramatic. It is a bit of a ride, but it was a very powerful and angst journey. Their vocal work whilst performing this crazy track earns them praise. Can I also just point out how Wyatt brings a completely different and unique vibe compared to everyone else in this competition. The question is how ONF can one up that helicopter move. Well, the most obvious answer to do more than one helicopter. And that is exactly what they do. They left the hardest part of it to the fellow dancers and I am not too sure how I feel about that. We all know how dangerous the move is, but I wanted to see the members go that extra mile for the wow factor.


Very Good – Pentagon (Original Artist: Block B)

Pentagon waste no time when it comes to Block B’s most iconic song, Very Good. More specifically, the rock version of Very Good. Correct me if I am wrong, but Pentagon definitely amped up the rock sound and played towards their strengths performance wise. This version also allows the members to show off their strong stage dynamic in a way that really blows me away. Vocal work and rapping was top notch (and is something that I would love to see more of in their discography in the future). The performance itself takes on a grungy and angsty concept. It kicks off with Hongseok’s abs. I mean Hongseok escaping his handlers, just before the rock kicks in and the performance officially starts. We continue to see glimpse of Hongseok’s abs throughout the performance. I mean, a really rocking choreography. There is something about about Wooseok going mad that just visually looks so right and it fits right into the performance. Hui jumping on top of the angled fence was a really cool moment as well. Dance wise, I feel that Pentagon really stepped it up and showed a lot of character in this performance.


Rising Sun – TOO (Original Artist: TVXQ)

This modernised arrangement of Rising Sun is probably one of the best for this round. It made the famous song crunchy and extremely dynamic to listen to. I really liked the use of electric guitars in this arrangement, giving some definition to their take on the song. Vocally, this song proved that this male group is one to look out for. The rapping did the exact same thing. I just wished they kicked off their careers with a song of a similar fashion like this arrangement. Stage wise, how epic did it look when those drapes dropped from the ceiling. The lighting also looked spectacular. But this is obviously a dance competition as well, and their moves are spot on. The opening sequence looked really cool with that circle of members in the middle doing their tutting like arm movements. They follow up with more circles, with the members pairing up to lay on top of each other’s legs (there is a lot of skill there already!) in a circle and then all members contributing to a circle on the floor. The dance break that featured into the middle of the performance looked amazing, especially when that member stood in front of those drapes held by backup dancers and did a grand reveal of the members dancing in the background. Another circle followed with the members using their arms to look like the sun and a killer high note that wowed me. And the performance closes with a very intense rock sequence that looks very powerful. Big praises from all directions.


Danger – The Boyz (Original Artist: Taemin)

The Boyz put a faster tempo to this iconic song. They kept the melodies that Taemin had in the original, so the song appeared very familiar (as I find it hard to tell if it a Danger cover if it did not have its original elements). And they also made the instrumental sound a lot fuller or filled in. But I am going to stop talking about their arrangement of the song. I can’t hold myself back. I need to talk about the performance. You know I love to see a story line inserted within a music video. And a story line of stealing a crown in this performance keeps true to the song. We are shown the crown at the start of the performance in its glass case. And we are shown a little distraction trick, which I believe signifies the performance as a distraction technique (note: you actually see the crown during the performance in the background, so it appears that the members steal it at the last minute). The performance is a wonderful distraction. I am still in awe with their stunt at the beginning, where one member used the backs of four other members to do an epic climb and jump! The trust between the members alone must be very strong. The use of props was really cool as well. The chairs were used at the start as a distraction itself while one of the members fell from the table and another was pushed onto it. The table was well used at the end as the members ran and slide to the crown. And everything else in between looked really polished and well executed. What more can I say?


Mansae – VERIVERY (Original Artist: Seventeen)

VERIVERY turned a very fun sounding song into an even more dynamic track (something that I thought was not possible). Best part of this entire changed style has to be that ‘Groove It‘ sequence just before the choruses. That was unique and epic all at the same time. I have to be honest, there were a lot of parts that were very similar to the original. But VERIVERY put their own spin on it. Especially when it came to the high note section. There is also enough in the new version to give the members an opportunity to perform. For their stage, they used a sea concept, with the members visiting VERRERDISE. The flags they used at the start was used to form waves and added a fun component to the performance, keeping true to the song. I also wonder if the stage sprayed water onto them. It looked misty and I think water would fit well with the concept. As for the performance, they retained a lot of SEVENTEEN’s dance moves. I felt some of it was unnecessary, such as the basketball ring. The could have related that to the sea concept, which make the performance look more cohesive. They had their own moments to perform some of their stuff as well and those sections looked really cool, such as when everyone lined up and did a domino line of what seems to be a air kick lie down move. Excuse my poor description, but I don’t know how else to describe it.


And The Rankings…

This was a very fun round. All the performances in this round set the bar quite high for what is to come in the later episodes and in the upcoming Kingdom season. As for my ranking, I had to give it to The Boyz. They wowed me and I keep on going back to watch the performance because the arrangement of Danger is so appealing. As for the ‘wooden spoon’, that goes to Golden Child for the reason I explained above. For the rest of the rankings, you can find them in the table below.

SongGroupActual RankingMy Ranking
DangerThe Boyz#1#1
Very GoodPentagon#2#3
EverybodyONF#3#4
Rising SunTOO#4#2
T.O.PGolden Child#5#7
MansaeVERIVERY#6#5
Warrior’s DescendantONEUS#7#6

That brings the first round to an end. All the groups are safe for now, but the next round features an elimination and I will definitely share my thoughts on as well! Check back on Monday for my thoughts on the second official round (‘My Song’).

Preliminary Round – Preliminary 90 seconds Review & Rankings
2nd Round – My Song Review & Rankings
3rd Round Part 1 – Collaboration Review & Rankings
3rd Round Part 2 – Your Song Review & Rankings
Final Round – FINAL Review & Rankings

[Special] Road To Kingdom Review – Preliminary Performances

Welcome all to my very special review to Road To Kingdom. I may have been very silent about the recent series. But I have been eagerly awaiting each performance to appear on YouTube after broadcasting on Thursdays to see what Golden Child, ONEUS, ONF, Pentagon, The Boyz, TOO and VERIVERY have prepared for us. In this special review series, I will be going through the actual rankings that came about from the first three rounds, short reviews of each performance and how I thought the rankings would go! This post will only cover the first episode (i.e. preliminary performances). Please remember, these are my thoughts only. Feel free to comment your ones below.

Preliminary Performances

In the preliminary performances , the groups were limited to 90 seconds to showcase their skills. The rankings in this set of the performances do not impact their ranking throughout the series, so it could be seen as a trial round. The performances are inserted below and I will briefly talk about my thoughts of each performance before getting to the all important rankings.

Beginning – Golden Child

Using a dramatic opening and Shrillex styled instrumentation, Golden Child wows us with a side that we have never seen before. This performance is very different to the visuals and energy we have seen in their Wannabe and Without You comebacks, which were darker and edgier than any of their previous releases. Much more intense and more powerful. I really liked how they connected with one another in this performance. Their stunts looked cool, but it didn’t have too much of a wow factor. My favourite part is when the two members shot each other and the other members fell onto their backs.


Phantom of ONEUS – ONEUS

ONEUS fuses things off with an eerie performance using masks and the intensity of the well known Phantom of the Opera. They then bring in one of their songs, Twilight. I liked how they kept their original choreography in this performance, fusing it all the other theatrics. ONEUS shows off some impressive stunts and dance moves, including the climb and sudden drop of Hwanwoong, and that smooth turn they do on the dance floor while sitting.


Lights On – ONF

ONF probably had the most intense music overall from the preliminary round. They had samples of We Must Love and Why in this performance, allowing them to incorporate some of those choreographies into the 90 seconds they had on stage. But it seems that ONF went a step further with this idea, incorporating a bunch of their past choreographies (including the ones of the songs they haven’t sampled). That is very impressive. Not only that, but they nailed the intensity and synchronisation elements of their choreography.


Road To The Throne – Pentagon

Pentagon begins with a short sequence of their most popular song to date, Shine. While that is lighthearted and fun, this performance was quite the opposite. In a matter of seconds, Wooseok is driven insane with scary masks. We are then met with strong choreography from the other members. The only negative thing I have to say in this whole section is that I feel Pentagon wasted a great deal of the 90 seconds with the Shine opener. I did like the throwback, but I think they could have found a better use of those few seconds at the start.


Sword of Victory – The Boyz

The Boyz kicks off their Road To Kingdom with an exotic sounding instrumental, which allows the group to play with some elegant moves. That is the one word that kept on revolving around in my head while watching this performance. That being said, there were a few crazy highlights that I can’t get over. That opening sequence where Changmin jumps up to a high height to grab the flying sword and Juyeon doing some tricks with a bouncing sword blew my mind.


dysTOOpia – Too

TOO is the newcomer out of all the groups in this competition. They too also included their only well known song, Magnolia to the performance. But they are the only group who put a really rocking dance break in between the two sections of Magnolia, which was rather unique. The opener really showed everyone that they aren’t to be messed with. Then they followed that up with a new routine, which I thought was impressive undertaking. They did keep the later Magnolia section as per this original choreography, but I personally didn’t mind that given everything that came before it.


Face It – VERIVERY

I get a military type of vibe from the performance thanks to their outfits and stomping vibe in the instrumental. Interestingly, there was very little stomping. The performance is something a lot fiercer and darker than what we are used to when it comes to VERIVERY usually. Despite that stomping vibe, I liked how the instrumental piece provided different textures, which allowed members to show off a variety of moves that fit smooth and rough sound textures. Quite clever, if you ask me.


The Final Ranking…

And now we come to the rankings. Probably he most important part of the show. ONF really wowed me with their performance. I felt they were the most creative and really showed off their performance skills to the other participants. And so I ranked them #1 in this preliminary round. As for the dreaded #7 place? That unfortunately went to Pentagon. Their performance felt pretty weak in comparison to the rest and it seemed like they didn’t put their best foot forward. For the rest of the rankings, they are in the table below!

Performance TitleArtistActual RankingMy Ranking
The Sword of VictoryThe Boyz#1#2
Road To The ThronePentagon#2#7
Lights OnONF#3#1
BeginningGolden Child#4#3
Face ItVERIVERY#5#5
Phantom of ONEUSONEUS#6#4
Into the dysTOOpiaTOO#7#6

And that is it for the preliminary round. Short performances, but definitely enough to get those exciting vibes going. Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on the first official round (‘Song Of King’).

1st Round – Song Of King Review & Rankings
2nd Round – My Song Review & Rankings
3rd Round Part 1 – Collaboration Review & Rankings
3rd Round Part 2 – Your Song Review & Rankings
Final Round – FINAL Review & Rankings

[Review] Without You – Golden Child

Golden Child is the second artist to comeback this week that is returning with a repackaged album. In November 2019, the group returned with the rebooted Wannabe, which earned them their first weekly music show win ever! Now the group is looking to continue the same momentum through their Without You comeback and the repackaged version of Re-boot, which also shares the same name as the new title track. In other related news, the group also recently held their first solo concert mid-January.

Based on my initial listen, I categorize this track into the classy category. I think what Golden Child managed to do in Without You was really impressive and unique. Going into this track, I had expected the common structure. So, I thought the soft-spoken start was the launchpad into a song that would have built up to into something explicitly epic. But we never get to that point as the song doesn’t really build. Instead the epicness we do get was a lot more subtle. The beat was a lot more hidden, but the chorus still managed to be groovy and fitting as a follow up from Wannabe. There is also a trap-infused dance break following the choruses, which was designed to be fitting for the song yet subtle at the same time. The second half of the song does have a more beat to it, but it keeps relatively aligned with the first half in its subtle-ness. The vocal work was superb and the rapping gave the song an extra punch, which I thought was fun. While I do like the song as a whole, my favourite section has to be the rough texture in the first verse, which is followed by a brief pause. That was really cool effect.

I don’t have time at the moment to really dig into the meaning behind the video. But I can tell that each scene seems to be in this music video for a symbolic reasoning. I would like to see what they are trying to portray, so if you have an idea about the storyline/meaning of the video, then let us know in the comment. This makes the music video a lot more interesting, lifting the dark concept from typical to captivating.

I thought the start to the choreography was pretty cool. The way they get up one by one. It is followed up a really cool setup where they are able to pull Jaehyun backwards. Then they were able to have really stunning formations during each pause in the first verse. And all of this happened before we reached the chorus. The dance break we ended up getting looked awesome, while the key point of the choreography during the chorus helped ‘smooth’ everything out.

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

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

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

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

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

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

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

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

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

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

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

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

[Album Review] Re-Boot (1st Studio Album) – Golden Child

Golden Child’s Spring Again and Hong Joo Chan’s A Song For Me are nominated for Best Song in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. To support Golden Child, click here to vote and select Golden Child’s 2019 as Best Song (final question in the survey).

Golden Child returned last month with their very first studio album. Titled as Re-Boot, the album also marks the beginning of a new era for the group, with the supposed ‘reboot’ of the group. Known for their more brighter concepts, the group made their return with a edgy and darker style through the title track Wannabe (link below). Let’s see how the rest of the album and group fares with the reboot.

Re-Boot Album Cover

2. Wannabe (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Wannabe. (7.5/10)

3. Lately (느껴져) Lately opens with a little retro throwback, before settling into the 80s with its driven background. It features synths that felt like it was pulled from an Infinite track; strings that give the chorus a grand launch and extra momentum; and electric guitars that really made a strong impression on me from the start. One thing that really stood out with me is that the song doesn’t go overboard with the synths and any EDM-element, like other dance tracks. Going hand-in-hand with the instrumentation are the vocal work and rapping sequences performed by all the members. I am not familiar with each individual member of Golden Child and their potential, but this shows great promise. (9/10)

4. Compass (나침반) – What stood out for me in Compass during my first listen was the effortless flow that the chorus had. It makes the song feel so pleasant and smooth. The vocal work and rapping was really good, once again. It showcases more of the group’s potential, extending what they presented to me in both the title track and Lately. I would have enjoyed the song a level more if the song had some sort of oomph to it. Whether that would have been in the instrumental or within the vocal work, I think the song would rivaled their more memorable works (i.e. Lady). (8.5/10)

5. No Matter What (by Jangjun, TAG and Joo Chan) – What the last two tracks is made within an instant from the very first second. No Matter What features a synth heavy instrumentation, which no doubt forces this track into dance territory. The trap influences in the instrumentation give way to a vibrant and powerful dance track. The song is also very rap intensive, with the verses focusing on the rapping work by Jangjun and TAG. Both sounds good here. Their delivery was very clean and helped boost the energy of the song to a new level. Joochan features during the chorus and I felt his vocal work was very clean cut as well, providing a little relief from the intensity brought upon by the rappers. (8/10)

6. A Song For Me (문제아) (by Joo Chan)Click here to read the full review for A Song For Me. (9/10)

7. Spring Again (그러다 봄)Click here to read the full review for Spring Again. (7.5/10)

8. She’s My Girl – Kicking off She’s My Girl is a very bold set of drums, before launching us into a concentrated funk mix that is very infectious and memorable. The energy that comes from this track alone trumps the rest of the songs on the album. On top of the upbeat and powerful energy/sound that the song delivers, the vocalists show off a powerful set of vocals. This was necessary and at the same time, they managed to enhance the boldness of the track. My favourite part of the entire track was clever the rap was incorporated into the song. I really liked that short pause in the background when the one of the rappers throw us the legendary line ‘I’m Gonna Make You Mine’. (9/10)

9. Our Heaven (둘만의 천국) (by Daeyeol, Seungmin, Donghyun) – Following the loaded She’s My Girl, we are gifted 3 and half minutes of relief through Our Heaven, which is performed by three of the members of the group. It is a decent track that is vocally centered. And I feel like the three did a good job with the material that they were given. I did like the pre-chorus, with it being the most memorable part of the song for me.   The song does feel like a typical pop track, however, which might just be the one thing working against the track for me. I just think if they incorporated more a rock sound towards the end, it would have been a little more captivating to the very end. (7.5/10)

10. Fantasia (by Y) – The second solo track on the album is by Y (who I gather is another main vocalist). He has a nice set of vocals, as demonstrated through the song. I liked how his song is not a ballad (we already have one solo ballad on the album). Instead, it takes on a form of a pop centered track. I would have liked the song to have more development. It felt too consistent instrumentally from start to end, so it would develop into a repetitive track quite easily through repeat listens. But it is still a decent track, overall. (7/10)

11. Don’t Run AwayDon’t Run Away is another pop track that sounds pretty good. I liked the pleasant nature of the song and how it doesn’t become overly saturated with any element. It is well balanced and has good momentum to it. It just doesn’t ping me as the best track on the album as there is bit of a typical vibe to it. I liked how the rapping was posed in this song, providing a little extra sprinkling to the song (in a good way). I also liked that high-pitch bouncy synth in the background. It is something quite typical but it works well in this song and is worth mentioning. (8/10)

12. Go Together (놓지 않기로 해) (by Jaehyun, Jibeom and Bomin) – The final song on the album features the final three members who have yet to have their ‘own’ track. I thought this was a great end to the album, as it a calming and pleasant song (in a soft manner). Go Together is a ballad that showcases the vocals of the three members in a very positive light. It isn’t a slow ballad, as the song does pick up along the way (appropriate for a ballad). The song itself reminds me of those tracks that the final set of trainees sing on stage prior to the announcement of their ‘final group’. I like those songs as well, so it is no wonder that I liked this one. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

Re-Boot Teaser Image

[Review] Wannabe – Golden Child

With Infinite on hiatus due to military enlistment, Woolim Entertainment is currently looking at their other male group to help fill the void in their company. The only problem is that Golden Child has been notably absent from the stage for over a year (the group did release Spring Again earlier in the year, but this was not promoted). So after their long hiatus, the company has decided to ‘relaunch’ the group, giving the younger group the ‘dark concept’ baton that Infinite was well-known for with WANNABE. Let’s see how Golden Child fairs with the new song and style.

Sometimes a change in sound is what the group needs to make them big. Take Girl’s Day as an example. Girl’s Day was popular with their cutesy concept but never would have reached their peak if they didn’t move onto a sexier and powerful sound. So by applying the same logic, WANNABE would hopefully be Golden Child’s turning point. And I personally think that this can be achieved. WANNABE is a good track. It isn’t groundbreaking, which I had expected given the use of the term ‘relaunch’. But there is enough to introduce me to a new side of Golden Child that I would like to see return in the future. The group didn’t flat out copy Infinite’s style, which would an obvious mistake. While I did hear some Infinite influence during the pre-chorus (the melody reminded me of The Eye), the group places a lot more emphasis on the instrumental mix. At times it felt smooth, other times you can feel the compressed tension. It felt a lot rougher with the EDM, but surprisingly not as intense as their senior counterpart. The vocal work was pretty good, but the rapping felt a little lacking in this track. I would have expected it to be a lot heavier and impactful.  I also find the song to have a really catchy chorus, which helps earn the song ticks.

I do not know why but I found the use of black and gold in the music video to be very satisfying. Like it is an obvious choice with the use of a darker concept and the fact that their group name alludes to the use of gold colour. But it gave the video a fair amount of aesthetics. Some of the gray also came off as silver, which I thought looked really cool as well. I also thought the visual effects made this video look good as well, with black rocks bursting into gold specks as the members run towards the camera.

With the new darker side of the group prevailing, the choreography seems to take a more mature approach. A fair amount of body rolls and thigh dragging was present in the choreography during the slower parts of the song. During the more upbeat sections, the moves are a lot faster and matching with the EDM. I liked the choreography overall but felt the dance breaks could have been a lot more intense.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Spring Again – Golden Child

Also returning today is Golden Child. Unfortunately, it isn’t their usual full comeback. Instead, Spring Again is the main track from their first special single album. At this very stage, I am not sure whether there will be any promotional stages for this release. But despite that, we must push on with the review! We last saw Golden Child through the group’s previous promotional comeback, Genie, which was released at the end of October 2018.

There is no doubt that when you look at the title, you will automatically think that it is a Spring song. And as long as Korea is experiencing Spring, the influx of Springtime songs will continually bombard the charts and our devices. Spring Again is your standard Spring track. While it sounds like I don’t perceive any element as mind-blowing, there were some good points about the song. I thought the vocals were very melodic and flowy, which is something I personally do enjoy. This paired nicely with the instrumental, which incorporated whistling and classical instrumentation to become a pleasant canvas for the vocals. The harmonies were also quite nice. The rapping gave a little definition to the song and provided something that usually isn’t there when it comes to other Spring tracks. Overall, typical may be part of the description for Spring Again but it was still a decent track.

Unlike past Golden Child music videos, Spring Again lacks choreography. It was quite obvious that with the idea of a Spring track, along with the fact that it was a special single, the ‘performance’ aspect of this release would be omitted. Instead, the video shows the members in a pleasant fashion. Cherry blossoms were in the background and the members were having an outing to look, smell and play within the midst of these flowers. Other than that, there really isn’t much to the video. I know the seasons are getting warmer but I found the greyness of the video made it look cold and dreary. I think if they went with a more colourful approach to fit the warmer temperatures, the video would be fun and vibrant. It would have also been a nicer fit for their music portfolio.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] A Song For Me – Hong Joo Chan (Golden Child)

We continue the solo debut trend of this week with the first member of Golden Child branching out into solo works. Hong Joo Chan, the main vocalist of Golden Child, released A Song For Me on the 27th of February (this past Wednesday). This is also the first time we heard from Golden Child since their Genie comeback in October 2018.

As I mentioned in an earlier review, main vocalists tend to go down the cliche route by selecting a ballad song to showcase their vocal talents. And this is the same route that Hong Joo Chan had decided to go with. But once again, I wish to reiterate that I am not troubled but this and this is merely an observation that I have noticed with other artists. A Song For Me reminds of ballads that I would listen on a radio channel here in Australia. It has a very old-style instrumental, almost 90s ballad feels, as it has an electronic feel to it. And his vocals are very soothing in this track. They aren’t powerhouse vocals where he is belting out every single note and because of that, I think this is a very enjoyable song to kick back and listen to after a long day. And the track has that swaying effect, which I enjoy doing while listening to really good ballads.

The song is about reflecting upon one’s self and there is no other way of doing that but by taking a trip to a different place where no one knows you. Joo Chan does just that in the video, where he goes on the streets and wander the streets of Japan.  One thing I did notice about the song is that it suits a very wide scenery. And there is no better place than the beach if you want an image that feels wide. It also seems that he wants to bring a part of the trip back by filming scenes from the beach to constantly himself about this reflection time. It is a fitting video for the song.

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

[Album Review] WISH (3rd Mini Album) – Golden Child

Golden Child returned at the end of the October with their 3rd comeback of the year. I had the opportunity to review all of their mini-album and single album releases for 2018 and I knew I had to do the same for this one. The album is titled as WISH, with the title track Genie, which obviously goes hand-in-hand. The album contains 7 tracks in total, with the first being an intro track. Like always, I have omitted the intro track from the album review.

goldenchild-wish-2
WISH Album Cover

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

3. Eyes On YouEyes On You is better than their title track, in my opinion. It is an energetic electronic track that uses staggering and distortion in its instrumental as its main tactic to make the song quite unique. And while I thought that was pretty cool, they throw in some electric guitars to bring some more life to the song, which was already upbeat (but potentially too electronic and sci-fi sounding). The vocal work was amazing, and the rap sequence was on point! I have listened to this song a number of times already and I just enjoy its uplifting and bright nature. (10/10)

4. I See You – This track is a slight step back to more typical terrain. It brings the electronic instrumentation, but it doesn’t employ any of the unique tactics from Eyes On You, going for a more typical or standard feel. This is no means is a bad thing. Once again, I thought the vocals and raps were really good for this song. The winning section has to be the verses, with the fraction of the verse reminding me of the melody of Lady (which was another amazing b-side track from Golden Child, earlier this year). (9/10)

5. Listen – While this is the group’s most passable track on the album, it is still really good. It is a pop ballad, with guitars at the very forefront of the song that is mixed with a few synths. But the song remains distinctly on its acoustic side, which is quite nice. There were good vocals and the rapping was well fitted for the song. I like how they all come together at the end, which rounds out the song very nicely. I just didn’t feel too much connection to the song. (7.5/10)

6. You Turn Me On Baby – The most questionable title for the group thus far must go to this track. Looking at the tracklist, I questioned its nature and was very glad when I heard its bright and upbeat nature, which is very Golden Child-esque. I don’t think I am personally ready to hear what I initially thought of from the group. But it will happen one day. I thought the instrumental was very clean. The vocals and raps were clear, and nothing felt out of place. (8/10)

7. Would You Be My – This is their ballad for the track. Would You Be My felt like an incomplete title but once you listen to the song, it makes sense. I thought the ‘Would You Be My’ soothing hook was my favourite section of the entire song. Actually, the entire song is quite calming, and it was a very nice track to end with, especially with the upbeat songs we had all before this track. I really liked the ad-libs and the rapping (which gave the song something I personally didn’t know was missing – until I heard it, of course)! (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

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[Review] Genie – Golden Child

Returning to the stage with their third comeback of the year is Golden Child, who has been growing in popularity thanks to their multiple comebacks. After It’s You and Let Me, the group’s third title track for 2018 is Genie, which is featured on the group’s third mini-album, titled Wish.

Honestly, I do not think this is their best song as I think the song lacks a strong hook (like the one in Let Me). However, there were moments that were really impactful or memorable for me, which ticks a few boxes for when I am looking for songs to enjoy. Firstly, it was rather pleasant. I say this because the song started off very boring and standard. But there was a beat change in the first verse, which got me interested in the song. While it did seem to return to that standard feel for a while, another kick (the dance break) came in and it worked wonders in changing up the song once again. For a very bright and happy-filled song, I was surprised by the dance break, which was intense and felt like it came from another song. But I am not complaining! I liked the vocals and the rapping in the song, especially after the dance break. Overall, another good song from Golden Child.

The music video shows the members being workers in a factory, which seemed to make presents. Though, it did look like a factory that makes happiness from the way the video showed everything. I thought it was a nice and light-hearted way to showcase the song in a visual form. Towards the end, you get to see the members become dorky, which was rather interesting. Who knows, I may check out some of their other stuff like VLIVE’s now that I have some time on my hand. Also, the room at the start of the video (with all the scrunched up paper balls) is literally my room at the moment (I had a few intense days of studying). I thought that was rather funny.

The choreography for this comeback looked quite good. Once again, the dance break was fitting for the music but it looked like it came from a completely different routine. While I have seen many idols flip across the stage, I don’t remember anyone jumping like the guy in this performance (it was like a handstand mid-air). It looked cool and very memorable.

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

[Review] Let Me – Golden Child

Golden Child is a boy group that I am keeping my eye out for. I am a major fan of their It’s You title track from their earlier promotional run in the year and was super excited when they followed up with their awesome Lady b-track. And now they are back with their 1st single album, Goldenness, which features their latest title track, Let Me.

Let Me has a similar feel to a Summer pop track released by Western boy group (i.e. One Direction). And while I am not a fan of songs released by these certain groups. Golden Child does a pretty good job with it. The song seems to be infused with a bit of rock which can be heard during the chorus of the song. The vocal work was pretty good, with the bridge standing out the most. But I think this song let the rappers shined more. Sure, the rappers are limited sections. But I felt that their parts were extremely dynamic, particularly how there was an addition of a siren-like synth (in the background) paired with the rap sections. The “Let Me Let Me” felt like it was repeated one too many times in the song, though I may have an inkling that it might become a really addictive hook after a few more listens. Other than that, Let Me is a really good Summer song.

Suiting their image thus far, the group has returned with a fun concept, which is also bright, colourful and well-suited for Summer. It seems like the members start off by trying to impress a cute girl. As the video goes on, I noticed that she doesn’t appear anymore and the video is more of the boys having fun. I thought the snapshots that were taken throughout the video was really cool and the members looked cute throughout those parts. I really like the background which they used throughout the video. The sports theme appears once again through the on-field location that they use, while the indoors locations looked very stylish and it would be somewhere I would like to hang out.

There doesn’t seem to be much choreography scenes within the music video that actually focus on the choreography (or that many wide shots for that matter). As a result, I will update the performance section of this review tomorrow once a live performance is released.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – TBA
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Special] Missed Reviews – Music Videos

Please note these special posts are designed to be long and may require some time to read (if you plan on reading the entire post).

In some cases, some groups extend their promotional period by promoting a new song. And in some of these cases, the groups also released a music video for the follow-up song. Usually, these music videos are released after I have published my album review and hence I don’t go back to do a separate review (as I have already done a short one for the song). So, I dedicate this week’s special post to return to some of those missed music videos and do a quick rundown.

Initially, my plans for this post would be over two weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough for two weeks. So I have scrapped the second week and will do the entire list of 6 songs today. I may return to do more ‘Missed Reviews’ special posts in the future, in case I find myself in a similar position.


Lady – Golden Child

As part of their Miracle album promotions, Golden Child followed up their It’s U promotions with Lady, which received a 9.5/10 rating on the respective album review. I actually think the group, despite their youthful charms, can do extremely well with this mature concept. The heartbreak can be seen throughout the video, as the members deal with their one-sided love. While dancing on top of a building has been done before, it looks really good here. I feel like when the members all sing together, the video could have focused entirely on all the members in the choreography shots (like for the first chorus) as they enhance the epic sound of the chorus. But overall, it is one good video that compliments the song perfectly.


Black On Black – NCT 2018

I wanted to review Black On Black like a normal song-mv-performance review, however, they didn’t get around to promoting the track until weeks after the album (and album review) was released. On the album review, the song was given a 7/10 ranking. Black On Black was a relatively simple video, which showcases a very complex choreography. The members were all wearing black, fitting for the song’s title. What I did like was the set of the video. Despite it being the one set, it was shown in 3 different lighting settings, which made it feel like 3 different sets entirely. I know the ending was meant to show all the member but I found the random zoom up into Taeyong’s belt really odd. Other than that, pretty good video.


Yestoday – NCT U

It was clear that NCT received a large budget for their multiple music videos and I guess there was enough left over for a 6th music video. Yestoday is sung by NCT U (made up of Taeyong, Doyoung, Lucas and Mark) and received an 8/10 rating. It is okay to say that I like this music video more than some of the others? Because I was very impressed with what was given to us. While the song had this jazzy feel, I felt like the video was more edgy, which I thought was a great contrast. Simplicity was the key but they did a lot of the video post-production which made it likeable and interesting. I liked the random inserts of images that flash by throughout the video.


SObeR – Suzy

At the time of writing any of the reviews, I don’t think I was aware of any news that Suzy had shot three different music videos for four of her tracks. The first of which is SObeR, which received a 9/10. And with that title, it kind of makes sense that the video will be set partly in a bar. To me, it was a ‘fun’ themed video, where Suzy acted wild and drunk, in order to woo her interest. In the end, she confessed that she wasn’t sober, which I guess could be a fun game at the club (PS. Not a club person here). I thought the various sets or places she filmed at had this elegant vibe which suits Suzy, who is considered to be South Korea’s top actresses. I also liked it how she didn’t go over the top in this video, which could easily have occurred. But it kept to her image and ended up being a nice video to watch.


Teenager – GOT7

This is the one video released last year which I never got the chance to look at. Teenager was featured on GOT7’s 7th mini-album (7 for 7) and I gave the song an 8/10 rating. The video focused primarily on the choreography. Despite that, it was still a high-quality video which I thought it was rather cool to watch. I really liked the visual effects that were shown at the start of the video. I like how the video cuts between black and white to colour. Also liked how the background complimented the hip-hop style of the song, while also adding an edge. The members also looked good (including Jinyoung’s golf pants). It is a simple video done well.


One and Only One – GOT7

One and Only One is the pre-release single for GOT7’s 8th mini-album, released earlier this year. It received an 8/10 rating, as well. What we have isn’t technically a music video. Rather, it showcases the song for a minute and that is all. I did like the blue background and how simple the video was (like above). I think if we got a longer video with some flashing lights and maybe a few different colours in the background, along with Hyolyn actually featuring the video and some choreography, the video would have been amazing. Or at least, what I think the video could have been.


Distance – CLC

Distance is a single off their 7th mini-album and the accompanying music video was released after promotions for Black Dress ended. In the respective album review, Distance received a 7/10 rating. The music video, on the other hand, would have received something much higher. I don’t know how to exactly describe the video. It can either be about heartbreak or something more sinister. The cutting of the rope can be about breaking up and physical distance. But the members disappearing, the blindfolding and just the fact they wear white alludes to something else. I have no idea what it is, though. On top of that, I thought it was a really nice video that complimented the softer nature of the song.


Thanks to all who stuck around to the end. This wraps up this special post (for the time being as I may bring it back as more music videos or songs accumulate). I will be back in two weeks time with special posts dedicated to even more music videos, so do keep an eye open for those! (Or make it easier by following me!)

[Album Review] Miracle (2nd Mini Album) – Golden Child

I know this particular album review might be a little late but at least I didn’t hold onto it for an even longer period of time. Golden Child made their return at the end of January with their latest title track, It’s U, which featured on their second mini-album, Miracle (奇跡/기적). The album features 5 songs and one intro track, which I have omitted from this review.

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Miracle Album Cover

2..It’s U (너라고) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for It’s U. (7.7/10)

3. Lady – From their promotional tracks, you get a sense that Golden Child’s music centres around a youthful sound. Hence, this song took me by surprise. There is an epic sound to the song, which was quite unexpecting considering the soft start. It’s a heartfelt song, where their vocals do most of the conveying of the emotions. The vocals are amazing, though I thought for a moment I was listening to Infinite. The raps were also quite good. The best part of the song has to be when all the members start singing the second half of the chorus together. (9.5/10)

4. Crush – You are launched into a rock-themed song but the chorus seems to be more pop than rock. Despite this, I found that the chorus wasn’t that distinct to the verse. It took me a while to register that the chorus had already started the first couple of times I heard the song. The ‘Oh Crush‘ repetition was really addictive. The ending was also another abrupt one, which I am not much a fan of. Out of all the elements, I liked the rapping the most, which felt fitting for the rock instrumental. (8.5/10)

5. All Day (모든 날)– It’s time for the mandatory ballad on the album. The vocalists indeed shined the brightest in this song. Listening to the song, I can imagine a live performance where the audience is swaying along with their light sticks, creating a beautifully coloured sea for the members to see. The rappers also did a good job but my favourite bit has to be the harmonies at the end of the bridge, which made the already so good song even better. (8/10)

6. I’m Falling – Ending the album is a standard pop song. But it is a really good pop song. The instrumental was nice, with the EDM another unexpected turn featuring on this album. The pause and buildup in the pre-chorus was also another likeable section of the song. I feel like the raps outshined the vocals, as the rap section in the bridge was awesome. Great way to end the album! (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

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Miracle Teaser Image

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