[Album Review] 7 For 7 (7th Mini Album) – GOT7

GOT7 is officially back with their latest mini-album, 7 for 7.  While this is their latest release to date, I have plans (over my Summer holiday) to go back and review some of their past releases (like what I have already done with their Departure album). And this does not apply to just GOT7 but other artists as well!! But until then, here are my thoughts on GOT7’s 7 for 7.

got77for7album
7 For 7 Album Cover

1..Moon U – This particular song can be described a very smooth track, which is perfect for the start of the mini album. And while does sound great with its synth dominating instrumental and the clear vocals/raps, the song is relatively plain. It doesn’t progress much and it did make me yawn a few times. (7/10)

2. Teenager – I’ll admit it, Teenager is not my song style. But I actually think it is one of the few stronger songs on the track. It starts off with the same tempo and smoothness as Moon U but it quickly builds up at the pre-chorus. Once the beat drops for the chorus, a catchy hip-hop beat captured my attention. The vocal parts in the midst of the “You make me teenager” lines by the rappers are probably my most favourite parts of the song. (8/10)

3. You Are (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for You Are. (8/10)

4. Firework – Firework is a low-key hit in my books. Everyone sings. And hence it shows off a different side to the group, which has basically been dance and hip-hop centred in majority of their tracks. The sound effects within the song along with the instrumental give the song some momentum. Firework sounds like it should be a song that blows up (pun unintentional) when you listen to it but its subtle nature here makes it a standout instead. (9/10)

5. Remember You – The song centres between a subtle RnB track and a ballad. The vocals were quite good but those raps sounded so dreamy. The song doesn’t really capture my attention. It does feel dry and (once again) doesn’t seem to get far. There was a moment where the song does manage to catch me off guard (i.e. the sudden jumps in the bridge and before final chorus) but they didn’t continue with that surprise and went back to the boring side. (6/10)

6. To Me (내게) – This is where things start picking up, once again. The track could have done with a more interesting instrumental, to be honest. It felt very bland and colourless throughout the song. The vocals and the raps were pretty good, which in turn gave some colour to the song. But I don’t think there was enough to do the track justice. (6/10)

7. Face – They left the best song (besides the title track) to the very end. The song starts off slow but it was temporary. The song manages to launch itself into a strong chorus with a really catchy hook. Like the others, the song manages to show the vocal and rapping talents of the members. Jinyoung and Yugyeom managed to wow me with their vocals in the bridge. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

got77for7screenshot
Screenshot from You Are music video
Advertisements

[Review] You Are – GOT7

GOT7 has made their return to the stage with their brand new mini-album, 7 for 7 and the title track, You Are. This is the group’s first comeback since wrapping up their Flight Log trilogy with Never Ever at the start of the year. Since then, Jackson made his solo debut in China, while JJ Project made their long-awaited return with Tomorrow, Today.

I am going to be honest, I think this is their weakest song yet. The group’s previous tracks have been centred around strong concepts and sounds. This upbeat dance track just doesn’t seem to fit that pattern. And while I am not too fussed about that aspect, there are elements that keep me from saying that this is their best track yet. The verses were bland and dry. They didn’t seem to captivate me as much as I hoped. The pre-chorus seemed a little awkward. It just didn’t fit in with the rest of the song, in my opinion. The chorus was probably one of the few decent parts of the song, but it wasn’t that intriguing. Instead, it was relatively straightforward. However, I do think the chorus suggest the group went for a more vocal approach, as their vocals seem to be the spotlight even more. The raps seem fitting for the song, though it could have gone for more energy. The lyrics seem to point towards a more cheerful side of the song as well, which is a nice change. So far, I can say the song has grown on me considerably and maybe a few more listens will change my perspective of the song. But for now, what I wrote above seems to be my views.

The music video is quite refreshing to watch. Though I do miss that tough and strong side of the group, the video gives off a more relatable and nice side of the group. The scenery in Hong Kong makes this a cinematic video to watch. The camera angles and the drone shots not only capture the members but also the incredible views. Though we have seen those windmills in the past, they still look amazing time and time again. The sunset scene, where they perform the choreography looked quite nice as well. I thought their incorporation of their chain accessories (what do you call them?) into the video was quite interesting.

The choreography was also quite good. It suits the upbeat nature of the song and I thought the moves during the chorus was quite impressive. When the members did the many turns for the final chorus, I was impressed.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Album Review] Verse #2 (1st Mini Album) – JJ Project

It has been 5 years since we last saw them. But finally, JJ Project has launched their comeback with their first mini-album. Of course, being a fan, I would not miss out on this opportunity to review their mini-album, which is titled as Verse #2. Just one comment about the album before we start. But every single track, regardless of any differences, end up making this one damn good albumt to listen to. Everything works well with each other and it did not leave me disappointed. Now, on with the review of each song!

Image result for JJ project 2017 albumc over
Verse #2 Album Cover

1..Coming Home – The album opens up with an aesthetically pleasing and RnB influenced song. I love the instrumental of this song, from the rolling drum beat to the very chilled chorus. I also loved the layering in the song. The different layers of vocals in this song, which gave the song some depth, which I thought was pretty nice. Just when you consider the entire track as a whole piece, it does come off a little dry. (9/10)

2. Tomorrow, Today (내일, 오늘) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Tomorrow, Today. (8/10)

3. On & OnOn & On feels like another song that fits the tropical house trend that is ongoing in the industry. But the verses/chorus felt a lot more serious and more RnB influence. It wasn’t until the instrumental chorus break that it took that trend on board. What was more interesting was how they changed up the ending. Their efforts felt a little late and that ending personally could have been omitted. But it was still nice to listen to. (8/10)  

4. Icarus – The best part of the track was definitely its chorus. The energy explosion once the beat dropped made it feel so much more lively, compared to the extremely boring verses. Their vocals managed to just appear in front of the instrumental and provided an attraction to make me go back for even more. It could have easily been hidden behind in the instrumental. (9/10)

5. Don’t Wanna Know – This was my personal favourite of the entire album. Their vocals suit the RnB genre and this song gives their vocals the right amount of spotlight without going overboard. The instrumental also gave the song some energy, which made it one for me to go back for. The ending could have faded out, rather than feel abrupt, but overall, the song was too good to overlook, in my opinion. (9.5/10)

6. Find You – Like the previous song, I thought the vocals from both Jinyoung and JB were showcased to be the highlight of the song. It was upbeat and felt like an urban track that I wouldn’t mind listening to from time to time. But I fear listening to this song on repeat could leave the track feeling bland and boring in the long run. The instrumental was decent but pretty standard. (8/10)

7. The Day (Jinyoung Solo) – This could easily be played on repeat in a small, indie cafe somewhere. Jinyoung has nice vocals, but they aren’t the best compared to other people in his group. But what we hear here is a great display of his talents and skill. I like how he kept the instrumental from becoming too boring, by adding and taking out instruments. It has a nice RnB sound, which goes nicely with every other track on this album. (9/10) 

8. Fade Away (JB Solo) – Musically, JB’s track starts off with an ear-catching sound, which draws my attention. But sadly the interesting vibes from it faded out quick;y and the track felt like it was repeating itself. JB’s husky vocals made this song sound pretty good. The instrumental had a nice creepy vibe, which when I think about it now, doesn’t sound like that should have been the intended effect. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

jjprojectalbum
Tomorrow, Today – Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

 

[Review] Tomorrow, Today – JJ Project

It has taken the JJ Project duo five years to make their first comeback since debut. But as the saying says: ‘better late than never’. JJ Project is made up of JB and Jinyoung, who went on to debut as GOT7, released Bounce in 2012. Their latest release, Tomorrow, Today, was released today as part of their first mini-album, Verse 2. This is also the start of the many solo and unit promotions that GOT7 will be undertaking for the second half of 2017.

If you are after a dance track such as Bounce, you have come to the wrong place. Tomorrow, Today is a completely different track, with a completely different song style that we have yet to hear from JJ Project or GOT7 themselves. The song itself is stripped of its standard dance and electronic elements and feels more ballad-like. The instrumental seemed like it was pinched from a DAY6 album, which is a good thing because we all know how good DAY6 instrumentals are. The guitar and the rolling drum beat in this song make me want to go back for some more. But what I liked, even more, is that the song felt pure and untouched. The song gets you into that swaying motion, which I have recently announced my love for.  The melodies just make you feel warm and bubbly. And don’t get me started with their voices. Even as a guy, I find their voices so dreamy and soothing. My favourite part of the entire song was Jinyoung’s part in the chorus, which provided an amazing hook that caught me for the rest of the song. The only part which I felt could have been better or scrapped entirely was the rap. It wasn’t needed and didn’t fit in with the rest of the song.

I am going to be brutally honest here, I found the video extremely boring to watch. Sure, it fits in perfectly with the song’s overall sound and style. Sure, it felt like it gave the viewers some raw footage of the guys while they were on some holiday trip, which I am sure fans enjoyed. But there wasn’t anything amazing to hold me there and make me want to watch and rewatch it some more. Unless I find idols lying on the ground quite captivating, this video just didn’t feel like your standard music video. It felt like a home video that I was awkwardly made to watch when visiting some relatives. Though the scenery was nice and some of the symbolism made sense.

I did like the choreography for this the performance though (I staked out the live stream for the first stage). The symbolism of past and present was more apparent here than the music video, with each member doing selected movements before the other. It too fitted the song and for the rest of the performance, they were in sync with each other, which I thought was cool. Hopefully, what I saw hold and it wasn’t the members missing the timing to sit down or step off the chair together!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Album Review] Flight Log: Departure (5th Mini Album) – GOT7

GOT7 and JYP Entertainment recently announced that their subunit JJ Project will be making their return and over the weekend, it has been confirmed for the 31st of July. While it does make a little more sense to revisit JJ Project’s first release, I decided to go with GOT7’s Flight Log: Departure mini album, which was released in March of 2016. It went on to win the Album of the Year (for the First Quarter) at the GAON Chart Music Awards.

Related image
Flight Log: Departure Album Cover

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

2. Can’t (못하겠어) – This song showcases their vocals quite nicely. All the members sounded crisp and clear as a whistle in the track, applicable to both the vocals and raps, which I liked. The instrumental of this track was easy to the ears. It is relatively quiet with the drum, violins and horns added to give it some character. It was easy to get into but very difficult to get out of your head once you are in. (9/10)

3. See The Light (빛이나) – See The Light has a nice mellow sound, which contrasts nicely with the rest of the tracks. Like the previous song, this one also shows off the abilities of each member. It was the slowest song on the album, but it still had a level of energy to allow it to fit in with the other tracks. If I were to describe the song in my own terms, it is the type where you sway along with its sound, soothing and very calming. (9/10)

4. FISH – Yes, let’s take this small moment to acknowledge the title of the track. How odd. But let’s move back to the content of the song. I personally liked the song. However, there were things that made it awkward. The first verse felt very quiet, in comparison to the rest of the song. JB and Youngjae give it the needed energy through their explosive vocals, which did kick start the experience for the rest of the song. Everything else felt just right, just exclude the chorus. It wasn’t necessarily bad, I just thought a better drop and some sort of melody could have given a more polished feel to the song. (7/10)

5. REWIND – From the get-go, the song blew me away. Parts of the music reminded me of the bands back in the late 90s, such as N.Sync and Back Street Boys. But there was a modern twist, in the form of that epic breakdown. Their vocals and raps were shown off nicely, as well. It was super addictive and catchy, giving me more reasons to return to the track every now and then. (10/10)

6. Beggin On My Knees – Out of all the songs, this one felt like it had the most energy and it did not fail one bit with that aspect.  It had a bright atmosphere, which I thought made it a unique track on this album. What makes it an even more unique track is the lyrics tell a completely different story, which completely contradicts the bright atmosphere. This track provided a knockout with the combination of the instrumental, raps and vocals. (10/10)

7. Something Good – Like the name suggests, the track gives off a feeling that you could describe as ‘Something Good’. That was my bad attempt at making a pun. It has a very smooth sound, which I like. You can imagine yourself in a cafe or bookshop, listening to the song. Their vocals/raps were nice but it wasn’t the standout example on the album. (8/10)

Image result for Home Run got7 cover
Home Run Single Cover

8. Home RunClick here to read the full review for Home Run (8/10)

Overall Album Review – 8.5/10

got7departuretease
Flight Log: Departure Teaser Image

[Special] Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2017

Can you already believe it? That we are already in July. Half the year has gone by and it felt like a blur. A lot has happened in the last 6 months that has just past. So, as a treat, I have decided to compile a list (my top 10) of the songs from the first half of 2017. There is no ranking or charting system that has allowed me to come up with this list (though, you might notice it may correspond with the Weekly Charts that I publish every Sunday). This is all just my personal preference and it is simply my opinion. So, in no particular order whatsoever, here are my top 10 songs from the 1st half of 2017.

Don’t Wanna Cry – Seventeen

Hwi Hwi – Laboum

Never Ever – GOT7

Beautiful – Monsta X

I’ll Be Yours – Girl’s Day

Don’t Recall – K.A.R.D

Beautiful – Pentagon

Hobglobin – CLC

Dance Dance – DAY6

I Wish – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

 

 

[Review] My Swagger – GOT7

While I did promise to do a set of reviews for JPOP releases by girl groups, I am having a hard time finding songs to fill that set. But yet, there is an abundance of boy groups releasing JPOP songs. So, for today, I have picked one song by one of my favourite groups, GOT7. My Swagger, released in May, ended up topping charts in Japan, showing the group’s popularity.

Right off the bat, just by listening to the first few seconds of their song, you could tell it was going to be a messy song. They do not mess around with their intense and more hardcore EDM sound. I tend to get worried when it comes to such songs because some aspects are hidden under the midst of all those loud sounds, such as the vocals. But I would gladly headbang to this. I know.  The song itself was quite catchy and left a positive impression (i.e. no headaches) on me when I first listened to it. Those vocals weren’t hidden at all and not once did the song feel repetitive. I think the vocal work contributed to that. As for the raps though, I don’t think it is their personal best. It felt dragged out and their tone didn’t feel as hard-hitting as in their Korean releases. The build-up was quite good, hyping the song up until the beat is dropped for the chorus. Not exactly fond of the ending, though. Overall, not a total fan of the song style, but they make it sound pretty good.

I thought the use of the pictures was interesting. They didn’t amount to much but it made the video look appealing. One thing I did notice was that the video started off much more focused on the tough sound and seriousness. But that was kind of dissolved into nothing as we proceeded with the video and the guys started to interact with the camera and each other. I know it is an odd observation that probably would be more disapproved (such as the guys were always like that from the very start). While it fit the music video, in the end, I thought it was rather odd. Poor Youngjae (at the end) and the moment he realised something was up. Overall, the video wasn’t too bad.

The dance was pretty good. Given the song style and their capabilities as dancers, they did pretty much was expected. Though I think we saw more of the choreography during the chorus, rather than the verses (so I am essentially going from that).

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

[Album Review] Flight Log: Arrival (6th Mini Album) – GOT7

GOT7 has returned with the final album in their Flight Log series. The group first released Flight Log: Flight and the title track Fly back in early 2016. They later made their comeback with Hard Carry, as part of Flight Log: Turbulence in September 2016. Now, they are back with Flight Log: Arrival and their latest title track, Never Ever, which is linked below.

Flight Log: Arrival – Album Cover

1..Never Ever (title track)Click here to see my review for Never Ever (7.25/10)

2. Shopping Mall – Song titles tend to confuse me. This one may be the most random one, but yet it somehow manages to get tied to a standard song theme. Shopping Mall is a bland track that didn’t capture my attention. The opening of the song is pretty good (it was the only memorable part of the song or the only thing that I remembered about the song) but the rest of the song seemed lackluster. The track itself is a typical pop track. The vocals and raps seem okay. But as I said, there isn’t much in the song. (4/10)

3. Paradise – Paradise’s instrumental caught my attention, something the previous song didn’t do. It is another instrumental that is right up my alley. At first, when I heard the song, I thought it sounded pretty generic, especially the vocals. However, after multiple listens, I think I can say that the song is growing on me. The vocals do sound quite good, and the raps seem quite smooth. The chorus was quite catchy, with the repetition of “Paradise” and the instrumental in the background. It isn’t flashy and is more on the simple side, but that won’t mean it would be a weaker song. (6/10)

4. Sign – It is one of the slower songs on the mini album. From the outside, you may think that I would find this song on more of the dull side. And I probably would have thought the same thing.  But I actually like this song. It is an interesting mix that works pretty well. It reminds me of RnB almost. The instrumental uses synths and electronic sounds, but it a much slower manner. The vocals worked wonderfully and do show off their vocal abilities. Youngjae’s extra loud vocals during the bridge gave the song an extra push forward, which was much appreciated because if it weren’t there,  then the song would have fallen into the generic category as well. (7/10)

5. Go Higher – Go Higher is the party anthem of the mini album. The song reminded me of DJ Got Us Falling In Love (I know, quite random). But then it clicked because I associate DJ Got Us Falling In Love with parties. (Yep, I have a social life. Also, it is a song that is played at a majority of the parties that I go to). And it is one of the few songs that I know the lyrics off by heart). To get the full effect of the song, you need to have the volume up high and throw in a little more bass! It sounds amazing. The vocals/raps are not hidden by the instrumental. But I would have liked the instrumental track to have more of an intense and powerful punch to get everything going. Talking about the instrumental, it is an odd mash between different EDM sounds, but they all manage to work altogether. (7.5/10)

6. Q – This is probably the fluffiest track of all from GOT7. It has a cute sound to it, which isn’t something that GOT7 would often do. And surprisingly, I like it. Maybe it is because it compliments the vocals of some members. That harmony for the “I just want a cue” with all the vocalists (JB, Jinyoung, Youngjae and Yugeom) was probably the highlight of the song. Mark’s rap was also quite good here. I also have a confession to make, but as I was listening to the song on the bus today, I was trying to decipher what Q meant. For a while, I thought it was a cute sounding song, but the guys were singing “I just was to kill.” Thank God, I did some research once I got home. Or else things would have been a little embarrassing. (8/10)

7. Don’t Care (양심없이) – Annoying instrumental, if I have to be honest. But the vocals and the raps sound pretty good. The way they sing just seem to roll along and make everything feel so smooth. Surprisingly, that effect fitted well with the song and work well with the instrumental. The RnB sound was quite prominent, and on top of that, it does sound quite sensual as well. I like what they were doing, just not enjoying the instrumental that much (yet). Who knows if this track will grow on me? (I have a feeling it might) (6/10)

8. Out – This is the one track that I looked forward to. It has that B-side track feel, which was a little disappointing, but it is was the one track that had the right level of impact. I love the different tempos in the song. Some parts were slow, while others were much more upbeat. Likewise, the vocals and raps gave the song a lot of variety. Great instrumental, as well. The catchiness (and Jackson’s voice) of “Wait a minute, I’m out” made it sound and feel much cooler. I also wonder what the inspiration for the song was. Was it inspired by their ongoing antics and the fact they end things by saying “I’m 1 Out, I’m 2 Out”? (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7/10

Flight Log: Arrival – Teaser Image

 

[Review] Never Ever – GOT7

GOT7 has finally returned with the third part of their Flight Log era. Their comeback is highly anticipated and everyone has high expectations for the comeback, due to the success of Hard Carry and Fly. Their mini album, Flight Log: Arrival, features the title track, Never Ever. Sadly, Jackson ran into a little health scare during the week, causing him to now miss out on the first week of promotions. Hopefully, he will recover soon and rejoin the promotions. (I was going to pull off “they landed safely” pun here in the introduction, but that seems to conflict with what the 3 music videos are telling us.)

Never Ever, to me, falls in between Fly and Hard Carry. Both contains EDM elements, as does this song. But what separates them is the intensity. Fly seems to be more of a chill track, while Hard Carry is quite intense. Never Ever isn’t as chill as Fly or isn’t as intense as Hard Carry. Hence why I think it lies quite nicely in between both songs. The song is interesting. I love everything about the song, minus one vital part. The vocals, the raps, the instrumental, the beat. Everything sounds really amazing. Yugyeom’s intro was jaw-dropping and the way some of the members dragged out the words in the song sounded nice. Just the chorus lets me down so much. The songs instrumental builds up quite nicely to the first chorus and you expect the beat to drop. And it did drop. Just in an anticlimactic way. It was choppy and it felt very empty. As if there was more to the chorus and they just left it out. I liked the vocals but not the instrumental for the chorus (nor the background “ooooaaaahhhhh”s). The song was produced by JYP. And I am not putting the blame on him because he has produced some amazing songs out there. But there might have been a reason why he stopped producing songs for JYP artists and why they went elsewhere to get songs (or write songs themselves). But honestly, everything in the track, besides the chorus, was fantastic and I will be replaying the song constantly (too late, already started) with or without the chorus, just to hear the rest of the song.

From what I observed in all the music videos released by GOT7, the HD quality just keeps on getting better and better. Maybe the lighting was better in this video. But never have I seen the colours so bold or striking. Check out the leaves in the glass cube or the white hospital hallway. Also observed were the connections between the Fly and Hard Carry videos. Fly was connected to Hard Carry via the scene where Jinyoung body would fly up, while he was lying down. Never Ever brought a lot of elements that made Hard Carry, such as the glass cube, Youngjae smashing the glass cube and the underwater scenes. Fly told us that Jinyoung’s friends had died. Hard Carry seemed to have told us how they died. And Never Ever seemed to tell us how Jinyoung was brought to life. The scenes in Never Ever was a little confusing but I think I got the connections between the other videos down pat (do comment if I am wrong. I tend to be wrong 99% of the time when it comes to deciphering what music videos are showing us). It is still a great video to watch, though. The visuals of the video and the group looked really nice. To me, GOT7 just continues to get more handsome with each video.

From what I see, the choreography fits the song. Some of the moves looked pretty cool. But as a whole, it seemed to lack something. Both Hard Carry and Fly had the right level of impact for the respective song. Here, it doesn’t seem to be as impressive and impactful as their past dances.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 4/10
Overall Rating – 7.25/10

KPOPREVIEWED 2016 Awards – Part 2

Click here to see the list of nominees for this year’s awards and scroll down to find out who wins!!!

If you have yet to see Part 1 (which also explains this corner) please click here.


BEST MALE ROOKIE GROUP

2016 saw a lot of new boy groups make their debut on the stage. Compiling the list of nominees for this section was extra hard because there were so many great debuts that just missed out on a spot on the list. The winner of the Best Male Rookie Group 2016 is Astro, who made continuous comebacks after their debut, pushing them into the spotlight. Honourable mentions are given to VRomance for their debut song, She.


BEST FEMALE ROOKIE GROUP

Like the male rookie group section above, a lot of girl groups made their debut in 2016. And a lot of them provided us with the hottest tracks of the year. WJSN, otherwise known as Cosmic Girls, made their debut with Mo Mo Mo and came back with one of the best tracks of the year: Secret. They are my pick for Best Female Rookie Group. Honourable Mentions goes to BlackPink and I.O.I (It was very hard to choose for this category).


BEST MALE SOLOIST

As every other year, solo artists are debuting and making comebacks. 2016 saw the long-awaited debuts of some main vocalists of different idol groups and the return of solo artists that we have known for a while. The winner has to be Zico (Block B) with his ballad track: I Am You, You are Me. This one track alone has been a chart topper and gave the rapper a new side. Honourable mention goes to Eric Nam and his surge in popularity this year with his releases.


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

2016 was a very big year for female solo artists. Like the male solo artist awards, big names came back, while long-awaited debuts were made. My pick for the winner of Best Female Soloist goes to Taeyeon (SNSD). Her singles have been remarkable thus far. Honourable mentions goes to Hyosung (Secret), whose song is still being replayed, half a year after release.


BEST MALE GROUP

So many to consider. Can’t count with my fingers for this category and the next. But it has been a big year for male groups (and likewise female groups). Out of all the artists, I have to pick Seventeen as the group that stood out the most and hence are the winners here. As for honourable mentions, GOT7 takes it this year.


BEST FEMALE GROUP 

As mentioned above, girl groups have also had a very big year in KPOP. And there were too many to count as well. But my overall pick for Best Female Group has to be Mamamoo. 2016 has been their best year yet and I hope there are even better years to come. Oh My Girl receives honourable mentions for their releases of high quality and catchy songs.


BEST ALBUM

Now, I promised album reviews this year and my apologies, I failed to deliver. I asked you guys again (thanks to everyone who contributed to the survey) and album reviews are still something you guys want. I can’t review every one of them, but I will try my best to cover the main and biggest releases. As for 2016, Wings released by BTS as their 2nd Studio album is my pick for best album. I also thoroughly enjoyed the songs released by B.A.P as their third studio album, Carnival, which also takes Honourable Mention.


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

Many great videos were released this year. From amazing plots to great cinematography, or just the standard video that looks amazing, 2016 had it all. My picks for both the winner and honourable mention were videos that were long in length, but one focused on an action-packed story and the other for its complexity. The winner is B.A.P‘s Skydive and honourable mention goes to BTS‘s Blood Sweat & Tears.


BEST DANCE/PERFORMANCE

And as with every year, KPOP groups and solo artists have amazing dances that should be commended. There were so many top contenders, that it was quite hard to compile the list of ten. But nonetheless, my pick for best dance would have to be GOT7‘s Hard Carry and honourable mention goes to The Eye by Infinite.

 


BEST SONG OF THE YEAR

The hardest award to decide for. Hahaha… I put down 22 songs for this award. 22 amazing songs. And now I have to narrow the list to just 1. The difficulties. That being said, I won’t announce it words. Just watch the video below. But before that, let’s look at the honourable mentions that I manage to narrow down from that list of 22. Hover over the pictures to find out who and which song were picked. Note that these honourable mentions or the winners are not chosen via the end of year charts, but my thoughts alone.

And my pick of Best Song of 2016 goes to……

veryniceseventeen.gif

VERY NICE – SEVENTEEN

Congratulations to all winners, honourable mentions and nominees. Everyone in general!!

[Review] Home Run – GOT7

[This review was written and scheduled a few months back in preparation for my absence in December. The standard posts for the end of the year (comebacks I have missed in November & December, the end of year charts + KPOPreviewed awards will be written and posted after my return. No weekly charts will be uploaded for the last week of November and all of December.]

GOT7 previously made their comeback with Fly, back in March (earlier this year). They returned shortly after to promote Home Run, which was the second title track off their mini album, Flight Log: Departure. Home Run was released later on and there is no music video to accompany it (hence the short review).

Home Run is a solid song. I personally like it. Fly was very heavy in terms of the sound and the song was a lot serious. Home Run has this more cheerful tone and is more casual. From the raps to the vocals in this song, the song managed to give us a chance to listen to each member. The line distribution in the song is much more fair and even across, which is not that common in the industry, as you may think. I would like the raps to be a little better. They aren’t awful or anything, but they could have been enhanced somehow to give it more of a hook or ring. Maybe the song didn’t need to be rap dense (though I know GOT7 wants to focus more on that). What we have already is quite balanced. Just a suggestion floating by. The instrumental kind of mimics the sound of a baseball bat hitting the ball. I find it amazing how lyricists manage to make analogies between the concept of the song and the topic in question (the majority of the time, it is love). Moving back to the instrumental, the instrumental for the song changes up here and there in the song, which works really well. When I say “change up”, it isn’t anything major. The instrumental is consistent and flows nicely. Just there is some slow parts and some faster parts. Overall, I think the song is quite nice and all aspects of the song were great.

There is no music video for Home Run. However, like everyone else is saying, it deserves one.

The dance was pretty cool as well. Toned down and more casual compared to the dance that accompanied Fly. It fits nicely into the baseball concept of the song. The timing with the sounds of the ball hitting in the bats and the dance was quite enjoyable to watch. I did like the “Home Run, Home Run” part after every chorus. Great hook for the song and dance.

Final Rating – 8/10

[Review] Hard Carry – GOT7

Yes, I am falling behind with my reviews. I am currently in the final weeks of the semester and should technically be preparing for exams, but no student in university starts studying from exams before the end of the semester is up. So, I shall take this time and write a review for GOT7’s latest song, Hard Carry.

Not my favourite term of all time, but it is a great way to explain the song: Hard Carry is lit. I am totally loving it. It is really addictive and super catchy. I am not a major fan of dubstep and hard sounding EDM elements, but I don’t seem to mind it in this song. Maybe because that balance is thrown off in other songs. There is definitely a nice ratio of instrumental and vocals. There is also a nice ratio between the vocal parts and the rap parts. Everyone had an equal spread in the song, unlike Fly, which was quite unequal. The song is quite strong and powerful. Thinking back, I personally think the song is quite good and there really isn’t a need to change anything. Jackson’s voice does get deeper each comeback, but I think everyone noticed that as soon as they heard him start rapping. Jaebum’s vocals were by far the best part. It sounded quite smooth and classy, yet still keeping to the more modern sound of EDM. I am also going to mention this here (and don’t kill me for this) but I agree with a lot of people when they say this is GOT7’s version of Fire. Both are different tracks, but they are going along the same line.

Now, I just watched a video and it seems like GOT7, themselves, have multiple theories on the video. There are also other theories suggested by fans. Here is a few of them: the members dies in a plane crash and only Jinyoung survives, Youngjae dies and everyone else saves Jinyoung, Youngjae saves Jinyoung (that’s from the interview I watched today). My understanding is Jinyoung has imaginary friends. This is just my theory. The plane enters turbulence and Jinyoung is forced into his seat by the flight attendant, who clearly does not care about the other members. Why? Because she can’t seem them and only see Jinyoung. Everything else in the video a dream. All the members saving Jinyoung (by swimming or Youngjae smashing) is all in his mind. My theory (I believe) ties in nicely with Fly’s video. Why couldn’t Jinyoung fly? Because everyone else who could was part of his imagination! (Jinyoung flying is also in his dream). I really like how the two videos related to each other (whatever the connection is). The video looks pretty cool and fitted the song quite well.

Another amazing dance. Not sure about Jackson’s clothing, though. One sleeveless arm and one sleeved arm. The dance is definitely one to try if you want a good cardio workout. It looks so intense and their precision is on point.  No one looks out of place, even those who are known to be weak dancers in GOT7 handled it all pretty well.

Rating – 9.5/10

Rewind: March 2016

OMG. I am so delayed. This was meant to be out earlier in the month, and now look at the calendar, April is almost gone. I’m still tweaking this segment, but I don’t know if I should any thing or get rid of anything existing, so if you can provide feedback, it will be greatly appreciated. Lots to talk about, to let’s go.

Major News

EXO’s Kai and F(x)’s Krystal were caught dating and SM Entertainment confirmed that the two were in fact an actual couple. After this confirmation, people started to post pictures online as “proof of Kai and Krystal’s relationship”, which I think are either fake or just a blatant invasion of privacy (but what isn’t? They are watched 24/7). But some of these picture claims to have Kai and Krystal kissing in public in a pool and catch the two “checking in” into hotels. Anyway, while this probably heartbreaking to fans of both, we all should be happy for them. Oh and did I mention Dispatch was the one to tell the world about this couple (once again). Who are your reporters and why are they so good about finding these things?

And the industry has been rocked by news of certain singers suspected of being a part of prostitution, which involves dodgy sponsors. I am not in tune with the whole thing and I am quite sure that the news has died down now. It is very hard to retell everything here, so I will just cut to the chase. These singers either go or are introduced to these sponsors that will make an investment into the singers career, in exchange for you know what. That is my understanding of it, and these singers were caught. They were brought into questioning and the news (of course) leaked a description of a particular artist who recently left her company and faced financial hardship in the past. It is sad that people have to result to this (that is if they chose this path) or just horrible if they were tricked into it, which I believe of some of claim to have been.

Comebacks & Debuts

March saw big name bands make their comebacks. GOT7, Jun Hyosung (Secret), Lee Hi, Fiestar, Red Velvet, Hyomin (T-Ara),DAY6, BTOB, Oh My Girl and Eric Nam are just to name a few.

We cannot forget about the rookies can we? KNK made their debut with Knock, which it garnering a lot of interest in the band, and I am too.

Polls

A few polls (including the ones in Febuary as well). I asked you guys:

  • Which Winner song did you guys prefer? And the results is as follow: I’m Young (30%); Sentimental, Baby Baby & Pricked (20%); and finally Immature (10%).
  • Which Taemin song did you guys like? Both songs (Drip Drop and Press Your Number) received the same amount of votes.
  • Which Lee Hi song did you guys like? Hold My Hand had an overwhelming amount of votes (87%) and Breathe got 17% of the votes.

Top 5 Songs Of March 2016

Here are my top 5 songs that were released in March 2016, taken straight from the amount of plays in iTunes:

  1. Find Me – Jun Hyosung (Secret) ft. D.Action
  2. Fly – GOT7
  3. Mirror – Fiestar
  4. Spring Love – Eric Nam & Wendy (Red Velvet)
  5. Knock – KNK

As you can tell, review releases have decreased so much in the past month. I apologise. Just a heads up, I will be releasing reviews on Sundays Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays (provided I am free and have time on those days). The other days are far too too busy for me. I also mentioned on Twitter that once this semester ends, I will be doing a revamp of the site (much needed), so if there is anything you want to see, comment below. All feedback will be appreciated.

 

Fly – GOT7

GOT7 has finally returned with a brand new song and mini album. This time they will be “flying” straight into the hearts of all their fans and to new heights with their new releases. I am totally digging everything in this album. Everything is to a high standard, but let’s stop here before I review the whole song in this one paragraph.

But let’s continue here. This song is amazing. I cannot believe my ears every time I listen to it. It just captivates me and my ears. It wasn’t the same feeling I got when I first heard the song. It wasn’t as blown away with the song (after all I placed If You Do) as one of the top songs of 2015. It didn’t impact or wow from the start. But many listens later, I am dragging my jaw that happened to drop due to this amazing song. It is definitely a song centred around their rappers. The whole vocal line (minus JB) got snubbed in this song, and that was very disappointing. Jackson and Mark stood out the most in the song, and they definitely got their time to shine (particular Mark, who seems to get a small part of each song before).   But regardless of the uneven line distribution, the song managed to show off all rapping and vocals equally. I don’t know which genre to classify the song as. There is definitely dance sounds in there, but more of a mash up of pop and electronic. It is a track that I would recommend to everyone out there. It is catchy and addictive (all terms are understatements. Trust me, I am obsessed with this song at the moment). A hit waiting to be discovered.

If you have no watch the trailer for the mini album, then you are going to get very lost. Nothing in the music video makes sense without the trailer. And while the bulk of the plot is within the trailer, I can’t really make a comment. The trailer is 6 minutes long and to talk about it would be about the length of a review. So what we have in the music video, is that Jinyoung wants to “fly” but is unable to do so. Everyone around him seems to be able to “fly” but he can’t. But he tries and realizes when it is too late (i.e. when he is falling down) that it was a bad idea. And then he wakes up. Now I am 100% sure that the flying is meant to be a metaphor but instead the music video leaves it as a superpower that everyone has. The graphics is very cool and the editing for the video only is good. Plotwise, the editing ruined it. But them filming their dance scenes in the wide open space at what I assume is an airport made the video look quite cool. Yeah, it was lacking, but it had that cool effect going on. And it makes sense. Overall, quite hard to put a number on this video, but what we are presented with was good. Just if more was added and the plot not ruined by the editing, the video would have been amazing.

GOT7 does it again with the dance. Not as memorable compared to Just Right or If You Do, but this still makes them look cool. Totally in sync. The song gives them a lot of freedom with the dance, and I feel like they chose was was best of them and one that suited the song 100%.

Not exactly perfect, but it getting there. I liked majority of it. What we need from the guys (and very cliche) is a hard hitting song. Fly was getting there and I can feel it with their next set of release. 8/10

Recap of MAMA 2015 and Thoughts

Did you forget about the MAMA awards held by MNET in 2015? Or are we all trying to forget it for its bias and unfair system? Well, don’t fret, I am here to remind you of the disappointment or joy that you felt.

The MNET Asian Music Awards (or MAMA) was held on the 2nd of December in… Hong Kong. Again. Voting for the awards began in October of the same year and I thought there was a fair range of nominees and the committee selected a variety if talents for each award.

The following artists attended and performed at the awards ceremony: Taeyeon (SNSD), GOT7, BTS, Hyuna (4 minute), Park Ji Young, Seventeen, Monsta X, F(x), SHINEE, EXO, Big Bang, iKON, Zion.T, Crush, Sane. 2NE1 & Psy. Pet Shop Boys were invited as special guest performers on the night. Red Velvet, Twice, Tiffany and Seohyun from SNSD also attended by did not perform.

I have recapped the winners below. I shall give some comments afterwards regarding the winners.
Best New Male Artist – iKON.
Best New Female Artist – Twice.
Best Male Vocal Performance – Zion.T (Eat)
Best Female Vocal Performance – Ailee (Mind Your Business)
Best Male Dance Performance – SHINee (View).
Best Female Dance Performance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Solo Dance Performance – Hyuna (Roll Deep).
Best Collaboration / Subunit – Zion.T & Crush (Just)
Best Rap Performance – Sane (Me You)
Best Band Performance – CN BLUE (Cinderella)
Best Male Group – EXO
Best Female Group – SNSD
Best Male Artist – Park Jin Young
Best Female Artist – Taeyeon
Best Music Video – Bang Bang Bang
Best Album (Album of the Year) – EXODUS
Best Song (Song Of The Year) – Bang Bang Bang
Best Artist (Artist Of The Year) – Big Bang

Best New Male Artist is probably the category that has me shaking my head the most. iKON is slowly showing their capability, but I feel like Seventeen is already two steps ahead of them and deserve the award more. Best Female Vocal Performance should have gone to Taeyeon and Taeyeon should have received 2 awards that night. Not dissing Ailee, but it wasn’t her best song or vocal performance. Best Music Video should have also gone to F(x). Best Male Dance Performance is an iffy category for me. SHINee did have a great dance, but sadly, I felt that BTS was missing out due to the lack of nomination in that category. Big Bang took out most of the awards, but I don’t think it matters. Big Bang dominated summer in South Korea last year with their continuous releases and had one of the most popular songs of the year (according to download and streaming charts). JYP’s award caught me a little off guard but I guess out of all the nominees, he had a good song. Besides the categories I mentioned, I think the awards were “fair”. Okay maybe not, but who MAMA awarded that night, I mostly agree with (given the nominees).

But wait, there were a few more awards that were given out that night:
Worldwide Favourite Artist – Big Bang
Global Fan’s Choice Male Artist – EXO
Global Fan’s Choice Female Artist – F(x)
Best World Performers – BTS
Next Generation Asian Artist – Monsta X
Best Asian Style – EXO
Worldwide Inspiration Award – Pet Shop Boys
There were also other awards which were awarded to artists from other countries as Best Asian Artist. Best Engineer, Best Live Entertainment and Best Producer awards were also given to 3 people for each award from different countries.

Out of these awards, I am a little confused with the Best Asian Style award. Out of all that walked the red carpet, I was shocked when EXO came along. Also, Pet Shop Boys. I am with majority of people who have never heard of the band before.

Per usual, there were many different performances on the night. The show opened up with Taeyeon’s I, which I thought was a really beautiful stage. She sounded flawlessly on the stage. BTS made their comeback on the night and collaborated with GOT7, who also performed If You Do. JYP had a special stage which probably scarred both GOT7 and Twice and he went a little wild towards the end of his performance. iKON performed a medley of their songs. Monsta X and Seventeen collaborated, while F(x) and Pet Shop Boys joined hands together. We also saw Sane perform with Hyuna and Jessi. Also a stage with both Show Me The Money contestants and Unpretty Rapstar. EXO, SHINee, Big Bang each had their stages with multiple songs and got the audience really hyped up. Psy also made his comeback and performed alongside with his new songs, Gangnam Style. Probably the most talk that night was 2NE1’s performance which caught everyone off guard. It was nice to see them, but whether it was appropriate is just another topic all together.

Out of all the stages, I thought Taeyeon had the most beautiful stage. For the dance aspect, Seventeen and Monsta X’s performance was really well polished and amazing.

Overall, I thought the night was worth it. It may seem like YG has a lot of influence over the MAMA awards and that is probably true. But whether it is right or not, is another discussion in its self. Just regarding the invitations to the awards, it did seem like someone did forget to invite people. Some stages seem like they could have used a little more attention to give it that grand feel that the MAMA awards is meant to uphold, like in previous years. But overall, I thought the night was pretty good. Wait… Did I just repeat the first sentence of this paragraph? Guess I am going to call it a day now. Hope you enjoyed my recap!

End Of Year Chart 2015 + Happy New Year!

Welcome to the end of the year! Each year, I do this “End Of The Year Chart” where I properly rank songs via a personalised ranking system, which shows which songs I liked the most (and which songs I did not like at all – but I won’t name and shame). How do I rank the songs? Simply taking the score that I gave them in the review published earlier in the year, adding it to new review scores for the music, video and performance. Then I add those to other scores from “Songs of the Month” in my Rewind posts and to ensure that I can properly order them, I turn to my iTunes play count. And when I say “add”, there is a mixture of mathematical operations (and I am going to stop here, before I can bore you). In no way is this chart influenced by my choice of best song in the BOBs. But I do highlight them here :).

1 Ah Yeah EXID
2 Paradise Lost Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
3 If You Do  GOT7
4 Closer Oh My Girl
5 You G.Soul
6 Love Me Right EXO
7 I Need U BTS
8 Sing For You EXO
9 Shake It Sistar
10 4 Walls F(x)
11 Dumb Dumb Red Velvet
12 I Taeyeon (SNSD) ft. Verbal Jint
13 Like OOH AHH Twice
14 Oh Um Ah Yeah Mamamoo
15 Mansae Seventeen
16 Just Right GOT7
17 Crazy 4Minute
18 Insensible Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)
19 Run BTS
20 Yey Beast
21 Between Night n Music B.I.G
22 Shake That Brass Amber (f(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)
23 Hot Pink EXID
24 Beautiful Liar VIXX LR (VIXX)
25 Brand New World Brown Eyed Girls
26 Ring My Bell Girls Day
27 Hurt Locker Nine Muses
28 Growing Pains Donghae & Eunhyuk
29 Run Away Royal Pirates
30 Black Swan Rainbow
31 Congratulations DAY6
32 Catch Me If You Can SNSD
33 Me Gustas Tu Gfriend
34 The Answer Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
35 Dope BTS
36 Pray FT Island
37 Cinderella CN Blue
38 You’re Pitiful Fiestar
39 Hopeless Love Jimin (15&)
40 Bad Infinite
41 Might Just Die History
42 We Like 2 Party Big Bang
43 Chained Up VIXX
44 Fire Mad Clown ft. Jamsil (Mad Child Soul)
45 Bell Bottoms PSY
46 Ice Cream Cake Red Velvet
47 Break Ya LU:KUS
48 Kontrol Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
49 I Feel You Wonder Girls
50 Wow Wow Wow Junjin (Shinhwa) ft. Eric (Shinhwa)

And here are some interesting facts about this year and the chart itself!

  • A total of 180 songs were ranked on this chart, but a total of 195 songs were reviewed this year (which I believe is a personal best).
  • The first song reviewed and included in the chart is BTOB’s The Winter Tale (released at the end of last year). The last song reviewed and included in the chart was EXO’s Sing For You
  • A total of 16 girl groups, 17 boy groups and 9 soloists are featured on the chart.
  • There is a better mix of boys and girl groups this year, compared to last year, where the first boy group did not feature on the charts until after 16th place.
  • BTS had the most songs on the chart (I Need U, Dope & Run). followed by: EXID (Ah Yeah & Hot Pink), GOT7 (If You Do, Just Right), EXO (Love Me Right, Sing For You), Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer, Kontrol) & Red Velvet (Dumb Dumb & Ice Cream Cake).
  • Rookies were actually a strong force this year with Oh My Girl, Seventeen and Twice ranking quite high up in the charts.
  • The following ranked after 50th place: IU, B.I.G, Crayon Pop, VIXX, Seventeen, Changmin, Big Bang, Brown Eyed Girls and CLC.
  • And finally, this year chart was actually reflected on the BOBs this year. I crowned EXID’s Ah Yeah as best song for both segments.

AND THAT IS IT!! 2015 will be ending shortly. 6 Hours To Go (for me at least)!!! Hope 2015 has been a great year for you all. I thank you all once again for another year of KPOPreviewed. Your support has been amazing. Every comment and like (heck even every view) makes me happy!! Nearly 5 years and still going strong!! Thank you 2015 and I wish you all a Happy New Year wherever and whenever it is time. Let’s make 2016 our year!!! (First review: 2nd of Jan).