[Review] Not That Type – Gugudan

Making their comeback today is Gugudan. They have returned with their fifth mini-album, Act 05. New Action and the title track, Not That Type. Since their last full comeback back in February of this year with The Boots, the group launched a new subunit, Gugudan SEMINA, consisting of Sejeong, Mina and Nayoung. They have also one member less (making Gugudan an 8-member group now), as Hyeyon left the group last month for personal reasons.

With the ongoing trend of exuding confidence, Not That Type is Gugudan’s way of doing so. It is a fierce song that really implants itself into my mind after the first listen. And that is definitely a good thing in this current competitive industry. I like how they used the consistent backbone in the instrumental throughout the song. But they managed to keep it from being repetitive and dry by layering other stuff on top, such as the brass (which I am totally digging) in the pre-chorus. This song boasts great vocals from all the members, which goes hand-in-hand with their confidence message. I think the one thing the song is lacking, which would have made the song even better, was an epic rap sequence. The best part of this entire song has to be the bridge. It fits the song in an unexpecting way and manages to return to its original state from a complete slowdown. Overall, it is a damn good song.

And their music video is just so damn edgy. I really like the urban feel the video had going. I really liked the setting of the video, which already sets it apart from other videos, as they didn’t use any sets that we commonly see or are known to be ‘overused’. I also like their edgy visuals, which suits the song so well. Their charisma and the fierceness that the members alone put into the video was enough to already make it promising. So the combination of all the visual aspects worked wonderfully.

The performance was quite nice. I liked how they split up at the very start into the two smaller groups. You tend to see that for male groups but not so much for female groups. I thought the routine was very energetic, suiting that side of the song quite nicely.

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

[Review] SEMINA – gugudan SEMINA

Making their subunit debut yesterday is gugudan’s SEMINA (구구단 세미나), who is debuting with a song also titled as Semina (샘이나). Interesting fact: while the romanization of the hangul is the same between the title and subunit’s name, the title of the song can be translated to ‘Jealous’, whereas the subunit’s name is a combination of the names of the members who make up the subunit (Sejeong, Mina, Nayoung). Coincidently, the 3 members were also past Produce 101 contestants. This is gugudan’s second subunit to date (the first being gugudan OGUOGU).

When I first listened to the song a few hours ago, I was speechless. It is one of those songs that make you stop whatever you are doing and really tune in to fully get the full song (if you know what I mean). I really like the explosion of energy from the song. From the vocals to the instrumentation, it is definitely suitable for the Summer season. There is definitely an undeniable colour in the song, which I really think makes this a unique track. The song takes on a funky retro sound filled with brass that definitely brings energy to the forefront of the song. On top of that, the members put on an amazing display of vocals throughout the song. I am surprised that gugudan hasn’t put out a similar song to this yet as there are definitely vocals within the group worth looking into. On top of that, Mina does a really good job with the rapping sections, which proved to be quite fitting as well. I can’t find any flaws in the song, it is just that good!

The music video is definitely perfectly fitted for the Summer season, as well. The members take a break from their lives and go on a holiday. What I liked more was the humour that was shown in the video. My favourite example was Nayoung opening a bag of popcorn and indulging herself. The next scene shows her hula-hooping to work off those extra calories and her facial expression says it all! I think all the members looked amazing in the video and some of the shots were really nice. I also liked the bright colours throughout the video.

Not sure if the performance I am watching was lip-synced but they really have stable vocals despite the choreography. I really liked the start of the chorus. However, the rest of the performance was rather plain in my opinion.

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

 

[Review] The Boots – Gugudan

Making their return to the stage with their latest single is Gugudan. They were previously on stage with Chococo, which was released in the second half of last year. This comeback, The Boots, also marks the return of Soyee, who had to sit out of the last round of promotions due to an injury.

Right off the bat, you would notice that the group had gone for a much more different sound. Gugudan has done mainly cutesy sounding songs with their previous comebacks. This time around, they opted to remove that cutesy element. While that does usually mean a mature sound, the producers have managed to keep that energetic and upbeat sound that you would also associate with Gugudan. I particuarly like the pre-chorus and the second verse. That being said, the other parts aren’t terrible. They just didn’t stand out as much. I did also like the grooviness of the chorus, which I think also had some funky elements to it as well. The chorus has potential to be addictive and catchy but I feel like the hook could have been more stronger. I did like the dance break as well, the saxophones definitely adding that funk side to the song. Overall, it is a decent song. I think it is a strong effort by the girls with a change in their usual sound.

I really like the modern and mature look they went for this comeback.  Even the sets were made to reflect this, which made the video feel as if it was by another artist. That chess set looks awesome and something I would buy to style an apartment (that one day I will hopefully own). I really like the effect post-production had placed onto the items of interest and the background images for that large screen was really cool. Overall, I like the video. It did feel like there wasn’t much in it to comment on but it was still a very stylish and cool video.

Great footwork in their choreography. I know it are just some swirls but they make it look complicated. The other standout part is pre-chorus, which pushed for that edgier side of the concept.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating  – 7.9/10

[Review] Chococo – Gugudan

Joining the long list of comebacks this past week is Gugudan with their latest song, Chococo. The sweet-filled comeback follows their Ice Chu unit promotions and the release of A Girl Like Me, at the start of the year. For this comeback, Soyee did not participate due to injury.

Chococo stands out for its addictive and catchy chorus. It is that one moment of the song that is constantly replayed in your head and this is an element that I tend to look for in a song. However, that chorus is not enough, in my opinion, to keep the song on my radar. The rest of the song feels borderline standard and that there didn’t seem much else going on in the song. I did like the bridge, though. But instead of being awesome and building up, the bridge of this song shows off some vocal flare. It also provided some relief between the choruses, which I guess is okay. Just by the time you get to the final chorus, you realize things do get a little repetitive in the song. The song does fit Gugudan’s image but I don’t think it really extends their portfolio out far.

The music video for this comeback steps into that weird domain. I normally joke about stepping into that weird side of YouTube through the recommendations on the side. Guess this video would fit into it quite well. It also sums up what happens when I don’t eat for 6 hours, I take bites out of my calculator and daydream about chocolate. Not sure about the explosion business at the end but my guess it shows the energy that they gained after having some chocolate. Meaning-wise, I have no idea. But the creative side of this video is pretty good. My favourite bit was how the members dress up as little Hershey kisses and start dancing.

Listening to the song, you expect they go down the cutesy route and that is exactly what we get. The performance was okay, just nothing too spectacular about it.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating –  6.5/10

[Review] Ice Chu – Gugudan OGUOGU

Gugudan has returned in a form of a two-member subunit, named Gugudan OGUOGU. The name itself is a mouthful to say but it does have a cute ring to it. The subunit is made up of Mina and Hyeyeon, who are the resident youngsters of Gugudan. They are the first subunit from the group and they make their subunit debut with Ice Chu.

Right off the bat, the song is quite good. It does get stuck in your head after a few listens. Gugudan usually does the more ‘mature-cute’ concepts (I know, it is an oxymoron) but this suits the subunit’s member’s age range. It is a much cuter sound and if we were to talk about food, the song would be described as a sweet dessert. Not painfully sweet though. In other words, I don’t find the song overly cute. It is quite upbeat and quite catchy. It is not exactly a blaring type of instrumental but there is a nice flare that comes with it. I did like the brass in the instrumental, which gave it that flare I just mentioned. The vocals were amazing. The raps could have been left out since it was a cutesy song but I wasn’t too troubled by them. Instead, I actually thought all the vocal/raps felt just right for the song. Overall, they do a splendid job for their subunit works. SO it just makes me wonder what else the girls have up their sleeves.

The subunit does a wonderful job with the cute concept. There are some ‘dark’ themes in the video, which I think it apparent once you watch it. They might be concerning (Note: they are) but I thought it was a fun way of showing that cute concept in a more expressive way. Though, try not to think of the people around you are dessert people. The video was bright and vibrant. The sets were consistent with the dessert theme. The video, in general, was amazing.

The dance break was amazing. Hand down, the best bit of the performance. The rest of the choreography was quite good, as well.

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

[Review] A Girl Like Me – Gugudan

Gugudan has finally made their first comeback since debut. Last year, the group made their debut with Wonderland. I am mot sure why they didn’t return during the year, but I assume that since some of the members were apart of I.O.I, this had an impact on their schedules and potential comebacks. A Girl Like Me serves as the title track for their second mini album, Act 2. Narcissus.

A Girl Like Me gives me flashbacks to KPOP in the past. The song’s instrumental itself sounds retro with its use of synths. They managed to keep their brightness from their previous comeback and show a more mature sound (and improvement) at the same time. But what makes the track so good is that it brings back memories of past KPOP tracks. This track could have easily passed as a song on F(x)’s or Red Velvet’s albums. That might have come off as an insult (but I hope it didn’t). I only included that statement that because both F(x)’s and Red Velvet’s albums always include high-quality songs, good enough to be title tracks. Vocally, it is much better than what they presented in Wonderland. It is really catchy and while it sounds like it could become very annoying, it isn’t (and that is a big plus). The rap bridge, along with the change in instrumental was amazing, which is topped off with a very suitable ad-lib. Yeah, the song is quite short (under 3 minutes) but what they have given us here is of an amazing standard. And more importantly, I really like it.

Like what I mentioned, the girls have channelled that brightness from their song into their video by using bold colours (that were bright as well!). The video suits the song quite well. The song itself (I should have discussed this before, but I felt it would fit in here) is in regards to a guy who is too into himself and doesn’t notice the girls. So, evidently, the girls put them out there by making them more pretty. Modelling, painting self-portraits, vlogging and photocopying your face. You know, the usual. While its plot line and meaning go hand-in-hand, the video didn’t captivate me and bored me a little. It isn’t a superb video, but it does get the job done at promoting the song.

The choreography is similar to the video, in the sense, that there wasn’t anything impressive. But it was also similar to the song, in the sense, of its maturity that it brings. The dance itself also includes themes related to the lyrics and video, which is quite cool as well.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 6/10 
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Wonderland – Gugudan

Another one! Gugudan is currently one of the newest groups to have graced the stages of South Korea, They are a 9 member girl group, who are currently under Jellyfish Entertainment, which also has Vixx under their belt. The 9 members include Mimi, Hana, Haebin, Nayoung, Sejeong, Sally, Soyee, Mina and Hyeyeon. Furthermore, Nayoung, Sejeong and Mina participated in the 101 Produce and Sejeong and Mina went on to debut as a part of I.O.I.

The song is okay. Once again, it isn’t terrible or amazing, but it fails to capture my full attention. I will be honest, I am drawn into the song for the chorus, but then while listening to the song, I easily get distracted and end up skipping to another song. There is a small hook in the chorus after each line, where they add emphasis onto the final syllable of each line they sing. That made the song catchy, but it just wasn’t enough. Besides that, the song is rather bland and boring. That straight line analogy can be referred to here as well. Another song that I don’t see any deviation from that straight line. Their vocals are quite weak. The only time when they sound decent is during the chorus, but that is when they overlay each other’s vocals on top of each other. The same can be said about the instrumental. It felt quite empty. The bridge of the song fits nicely, but it sounds quite choppy.

The video was okay. The concept of the video/comeback is mermaids and I believe that is a first in the industry. I just hope they keep with the fairytale concept because so much could be done with that idea. The video just lacked a lot. There was the choreography scenes and then closeups of them being pretty. Oh, and their acting could use a little help. They looked a little awkward. But there isn’t much else. The sets were quite beautiful. I really like the big, white tree looking set. I guess the idea of the story is that the girls are magically transported from under the sea to the stage of some kind. Just it would have been nice to make the audience look like … well… an audience. All the seats are completely empty. Also, dancing with water isn’t a first in the industry, but to dance in water with heels on probably is. While I did say there isn’t much else to talk about it, I managed to ramble on (somehow).

The dance was actually quite nice. A little to the boring side as well. But the dance does the job with fitting into the song quite well. The start looks quite nice. Liked the mini jumps they do at the end of the choruses. It could have been better though.

Final Rating – 5/10