[Review] Allure – Hyomin (T-ARA)

Hyomin has returned once again with the lead title track to her latest mini-album, both of which share the title Allure. We previously saw her earlier this year through her single release U Um U Um, which I quite enjoyed.  The same single and Mango (her comeback single for last year’s promotions) are also featured on the Allure mini-album.

Hyomin has been a very versatile solo artist. She hasn’t stuck to one style since her solo debut years ago. This time around, Hyomin went with a retro sound, throwing us back to the 60s. And like the artist, the song seems to take a few turns of its own. The verses start the song off as well-paced before the song launches into a faster tempo chorus, which ultimately became faster in its second half. And it is this second half of the chorus that I think was my favourite bit of the song. And the buildup was quite worth it. The song itself is about using one’s charm to make another happy. I like Hyomin’s vocals in the song. They do sound cutesy and feminine but I think that was just her using a higher tone than usual for this song. But it does suit the retro sound quite well. I enjoyed the song quite a bit, making the song’s message quite successful.

The music video shows Hyomin in a bold black dress. A waiter delivers a certain make-up product (which I am not too sure what it is, though my guess would be a lipstick as the alternate title for the song is Lip Colour). After she uses this product, she gathers the attention of the people surrounding her, to which they all follow her. I really like that ending, where they are all copying her whilst following her in a single file. It really showed a cool look and I wonder if that is part of the choreography. I also like how she managed to blend into the retro-themed video given the bold nature of the red dress.

giphy

We do not see much of the choreography in the music video. We did see some and those parts look fine to me. I am particularly drawn to the second half of the chorus, which I think was nice. I also hope to see that single file we saw at the end of the music video in the choreography, for reasons I stated above.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10 [To Be Updated]
Overall Rating – 8/10

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[Review] U Um U Um – Hyomin (T-ARA)

Hyomin has returned with another solo single, U Um U Um earlier this week and today we will be having a closer look at this comeback. We last saw the female soloist through her Mango comeback last year. Once again I have included T-ARA in the title as they are still together. Hyomin recently expressed in an interview that the group wants to regroup for fans during their 10-year anniversary this year, which further highlights that they are still together as a 4-member group. But until then, let’s dive into the review.

U Um U Um is a dance song that actually has a very easy going and pleasant vibe. The instrumental is in no way heavy-handed, which is a departure from other dense and heavy sounding dance songs out there. But, this lighter style choice is quite deliberate. Hyomin’s vocals are much higher than what we have heard and the lighter instrumentation really compliments her vocal choice. The vocals, despite it being different than usual, manages to fill up the song quite nice, so it doesn’t seem like the song is lacking any elements when it comes to the vocals or instrumentation. I also really like the melodies in the song, which were made possible by the two identified elements that I have spoken about thus far. It gives the song that appealing flavour. I also like the deep ‘Um’ in the background during the choruses. They give off a nice texture that contrasts nicely with the rest of the song. Overall, this is something that I wouldn’t mind returning to often.

While the music video’s style has been attempted before, it has been a while since we last saw the one-shot take, so it is quite refreshing. And I think this makes everything run a lot smoother. It may have also given the song that smooth touch as well. I also liked how during the second verses, only the male dancers appeared to really highlight the fact that this is a one-shot music video as this would give Hyomin time to quickly change into another outfit, delivering a different atmosphere to the second half of the one-shot video. I thought this was rather smart and different from the rest.

While it was a one-shot type of video, the entirety of the video was choreography based. And I like this choreography because it brings back the sexy side of her, which we weren’t really treated to during her last comeback. It feels more fitted for Summer but I am not too troubled by that.

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

[Review] Mango – Hyomin (T-ARA)

Unfortunately, I ran out of time to write reviews during the week due to my studies. One of these missed releases is Hyomin’s solo comeback with Mango. This is her first solo comeback since her Sketch comeback in 2016 and her departure from MBK Entertainment. The members of T-ARA claim to still be together, however, each member has signed to a different company and currently doing their own thing, so I am not too sure what is happening.

The song doesn’t rely on instrumentation, which revisits that minimalistic trend. The first thing you get is the xylophone, which I thought ear-grabbing. It is a unique sound that I, at first, thought would be quite dry. But with multiple listens, I am totally on board with the song. Besides the instrumentation, the song is primarily made up of her vocals. I say this because there is something missing from the track that should have been there to really pull the two elements together. Maybe bass or backup vocals, I don’t know. So back to her vocals, it was exactly the same with the instrumentation. Not too keen at first with the rap-speaking but I really dig the track now. And before you think this is a song about tropic fruit, it isn’t, as Hyomin sings Man Go during the chorus, obviously hinting at something else. The track replays in my head constantly now, which is a sign of a good thing.

Orange is a very complex colour in my mind. I don’t see orange too often in people’s outfit when I notice them in the street. And if there is any orange, it is only a minor detail on their shirt. So props to Hyomin, who pulls off a full orange outfit in the video. And it makes sense, as mangos are the colour orange. But it really pops as the people shooting the video selected places in which Hyomin doesn’t look too outgoing yet blending in well. I also like her quirkiness in the video, alongside her backup dancers.

I thought the one thing that she could have worked on was her performance. It just felt very boring and she did very little to really captivate on stage. Maybe she was more focused on her rap-speaking, as it would have sounded bad if she was constantly out of breath. But I would have expected something a little more.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] What’s My Name – T-ARA

Unfortunately, we have another group to add to the growing list of goodbyes. While their official disbandment won’t be until December, T-ARA has confirmed that the inevitable will be occurring. They last promoted with TIAMO at the end of last year with 6 members. Their contracts had expired last month and Soyeon and Boram chose not to renew it, hence ending their run with the group. The remaining four members (Qri, Eunjung, Hyomin and Jiyeon) chose to stay together until December this year. While it is not goodbye yet, this release will be the group’s 13th and final mini-album.

T-ARA is the one group who is saying goodbye without deviating from their usual upbeat releases. Don’t want to remind everyone about the ongoing disbandment news, but those groups have all chosen to return one last time with a ballad-like song. But it is still a normal day in the T-Ara camp with their upbeat sound. While I personally do like the song and think it is quite catchy, it does lack impact. There is definitely potential for the song to be dynamic and powerful. But it seems to hold back in that area, which does make it sound lacking in a way. The instrumental is probably the biggest example of that. It sounded cool and could have potentially become amazing. But instead, it didn’t seem to stand out. They could have done more to that funky xylophone sound, but instead, it seemed to just be there. The vocal work here is not groundbreaking, nor does it sound like their best. But it also not their worst. If there was one word to describe the song, the right one would probably “generic”.

Now, like every other fan of the group, I patiently waited last night for the music video. From what I understood, the video was meant to be up at 6 pm KST (7 pm where I live). But not a single message to communicate a delay or some sort of explanation for why it was uploaded late. I don’t want to sound like a fussy person, but it seems like their company has just given up on them. Okay, moving back to the video. It looked good, but I couldn’t stand how empty and lacking the video was. There were scenes of the girls looking back at their relationship with the dude and for a moment, some seriousness. And then at the end, they join hands together and smile. Given the circumstances regarding the comeback, I understand it. But I think it could have been explained or presented in a completely different way, which would make the video feel more engaging and interesting. To me, the video just confirms what I mentioned before regarding the company. Moving to a more brighter side of this review, I personally loved how they included references to Boram and Soyeon, through the six bottles, six pencils and six desks.

The performance was good but like the rest of the comeback, it didn’t feel like the right level of energy was channelling through it.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

Sketch – Hyomin (T-Ara)

Hyomin from T-Ara is finally back with another solo comeback. This time she has gone for a more sensual comeback. It has been two years since we last saw her promote as a solo artists. T-Ara did return last year for a very short while with a nice comeback, but sadly that was short lived. T-Ara has been busy with a China tour in the past few months.

I am quite torn with the song. Some parts suited her voice really well, but other parts were not that suitable for her. The vocals were first of all at a much higher key that what some singers even sing. Not the easiest song for people to sing and Hyomin doesn’t have a great of a voice to sound great. Out of all the parts, those where there were back up vocals were where she sounded most stable. Parts without the back vocals just sounded like she was straining her voice. And obviously it gets worse when she is trying to “sing live”. I did however like the instrumental of the song. Pretty calming and also very flow (something I don’t think I found in her voice). I know she is trying to sound sensual, but I can name tonnes of other songs where the pitch is not as high and still such a sensual comeback. It was also quite a slow song that kind of deterred me from wanting to go back to it. Don’t get me started on the English though. A lot more work can be done with the pronunciation. I know English is not her first language, but if you plan to include in your song (and have it has a huge chunk of your song), you better sound comprehensible. Parts of me want to say this is a nice song to listen to, but other parts just don’t want to hear it. I feel like it had a lot of potential, but maybe the choice of singer wasn’t ideal. Don’t kill me.

19+ rating… Oh I hate you. You put yourself on the corner of the videos when I barely see anything that provocative or controversial. Yes, I understand her standing there with no shirt on and covering her breast isn’t the best thing little kids should be exposed to. And for that I do agree with the 19+ rating for that. But beside that small section of the video, the rest of it didn’t seem to be what we were promised. Nam Goong Min plays the male in the video and while he does have a nice body, I sensed a lot of awkward chemistry between them. The song was slow, but it seems like everything was a little too slow in the video. Understand? Them falling for each other was interesting to watch, but those up close and personal scenes were such a bore. Not that I was expecting full on sexual scenes, but we were promised a steamy video. Yet, it seemed like I just got a cold shower. Hmmm… Lastly, I am quite surprised that his shirt stayed on throughout the video. Shouldn’t he too take off his shirt? That might increase views a bit, probably add a little bit more steam to the video. Now I am not saying Hyomin isn’t hot or anything (cause she is and those covering breast scenes caught me off guard), just I think a shirtless guy (especially Nam Goong Min) would make it a lot more sexual, don’t you think?

Dance wise, wow. I can feel the KPOP world getting ready the banning stickers on majority of the dance moves. I think the dance suits the song quite a bit. Quite sensual, quite slow. A little over the top in my opinion. Way too much focus on certain areas of her body instead of her face. But still, a really nice dance.

Overall, the comeback was okay. Some parts were a miss for me, other were great. So I guess I take the average of both. 5.5/10

 

So Crazy – T-Ara

T-Ara has returned after a year as a full group. They did make a comeback with Little Apple in December last year, but it was only with 4 members, which was disappointing. But now they are back as a six member group with a summer song that should be a total hit. No bias. T-Ara has literally had a massive rise of popularity in China and have focused most of their attention to the Chinese market, with this mini album containing both a Korean version of the song and also a Korean/Chinese version of the song. Only reason why I am not saying Chinese version directly, is that their Chinese version is basically Chinese for chorus and the rest is Korean. Not very “Chinese version” but it does the job.

Not going to lie, this is a pretty cool song. It is pretty catchy and addictive. The teaser did a very bad job at selling the song, but the song itself is pretty good. Though I am honest here, I am disappointed with the song. While I do dig the song and enjoy it, for T-Ara, it seems underwhelming. There really is not much of an impact that I expected from the band. Sugar Free and Number 9 were powerful, What Should I Do? was fun. But this, it just seemed far too mainstream for me. It was not what I had expected from T-Ara. I was disappointed that there was no rap section, but at the same time, the song would not suit a rap section. I really liked the chorus (it was quite cutesy sounding, but it worked) and the bit right after the chorus. Once again Qri and Boram got shoved to the side. Boram and Qri got a decent amount of time for Sugar Free, so I don’t know why they were shoved to the back once again. But the song was just right for my liking, just minus the complaints and the disappointment of style of song.

As for the music video, it was rather boring. But at the same time, I felt like the music video was talking about females in KPOP or actually about themselves. So my first theory, the girls represents all the girl groups in South Korea. Just normal looking and have “standard jobs” which I think would represent an alright song, popularity rank or fanbase. Now without improving on any of the three, the girls are no going to succeed. But once they change it up and go for the “sexy” concept, some many people go from the other popular groups and divert their attention to the “sexy” girls. And from there they enjoy their new popularity. OR T-Ara was reduced to a lower status after what happened a few years back. Then they change it up a bit and win their first award in a while. And then they bask in their new reclaimed popularity. That or I am looking far too much into it and should just enjoy what I see literally. But beside that, music video was rather boring. The sailor concept was rather weird, but yeah, the video was boring. And who buys bread only?

Dance fits in with the song pretty well. The chorus is just hella cute. And I liked it how they actually did take those cute dance moves and combined it with the sexy dance moves. Though I know people have done it before, it just feels like they blended it in very well for this comeback.

T-Ara did pretty well for this comeback. A few disappointing points here and there, but I think this comeback was decent enough. 7/10

Nice Body – Hyomin (T-Ara)

 

Back a few months ago (like last month), Jiyeon from T-Ara was the first member to go solo in the band. Now it has moved onto another member. Hyomin was finally made her solo debut with Nice Body which features Loco as the main rapper for the song, but recently Sungmin from Speed has been featuring in the song to cover Loco during the live performances. Anyway, I think what their management is doing is pretty smart, just let’s ignore the fact that the management caused the big scandal which may have ruined the band’s reputation forever. What? Don’t leave me? Just quoting the news okay? Yeah, sorry. What I said then could be the truth or could be a total lie. This review is branded with a RANT ALERT (something I am going to start adding, if there is a rant)

The song to be honest i quite bland. Though it is catchy, it is not as memorable as other songs. It is quite boring and really does not have much of a hook compared to the other songs out there at the moment. I find the rapper’s addition in the actual song to be very distracting to listen to. I prefer Sungmin’s rapping, but still the parts do conflict with the entire song. The chorus was catchy, but the rest of the song is not that much of a stand out for me to continue listening to. It does have a summer feel to the song, but it is not as strong as newer and past Summer songs. The song talks about the “stereotypes” for the perfect girl and why not be a better time to release the song as it is Summer where everyone wears literally things to define their curves. I like the lyrics of the song, just if the song was not made into much of a dance show off type of feel but more of a mocking type of the song than it could have been a bigger hit. But overall, the song was quite boring.

I haven’t watched the music video is full detail yet. Once again, to me, it is quite boring. I would play the video, say I watch it, but end up going to another tab on my browser. So basically it is about a chubby person who wishes to have a nice body and dreams of  a magical doughnut that allows her to become the perfect girl, but then wakes up to be chubby again. That would be a kill joy right there. It is an okay video, but it just focuses too much on the perfect figure. And I love it how every time such videos come out and talk about the becoming skinnier, it neglects the naturally skinny people. I am one of the latter and absolutely hate being skinny. I get overshadowed and looked down upon by others and we getting treated that we are sick. If you are concerned about your weight, don’t. Be proud of yourself. You are just the way you are and skinny girls and guys with abs won’t help you with that. Actually, they make your life worse. I am so sick and tired of people asking whether I get feed or how I stay skinny. I am a guy and I don’t want to be skinny. I have friends that are girls who find it hard to cope with being skinny. Just be yourself, because there is always someone for you out there to love and bond with you. But beside that mini rant, overall a boring video.

The dance is okay. Not as great as I expected. I have to like the start and the use of the tape measure. I also like the dance where they dodge the punches and stuff. But overall, it just seems like a normal dance that there really is nothing to comment on.

To give an honest score, 3/10. It is okay, just not as memorable and that grand as I had hoped for. But how did you like it? Actually, which T-Ara solo song did you like? Jiyeon’s 1 Minute 1 Second or Hyomin’s Nice Body? Answer in the poll below.