[Review] Call Anytime – Jinu ft. Mino (WINNER)

Despite it being a rocky few months for YG Entertainment, it is still business as usual for some artists. Schedules are still going forward for some of the soloists and groups. And now, we have a solo debut in our midst. Jinu, one of the vocalists of WINNER, released his first solo track today. It is titled as Call Anytime and it features fellow WINNER member Mino. Winner previously released Ah Yeah three months back in May of this year.

Interestingly, I had expected Jinu to go with a more profound R&B track for his solo debut track. This is the route that YG Entertainment artists usually go if they don’t delve into the hip-hop genre. But Call Anytime delves into the pop genre. There are those influences in the pop sound. But they aren’t as strong as I had expected it. Apart from that, I thought the song was quite good. I am not too familiar with Jinu, but I know he has a unique vocal colour and he managed to show some of that off in this song. I liked how his singing compliments the lyrics. He is waiting for a call and his voice sounds very bored (yet intriguing for the audience) and tired, matching the emotions the audience should be hearing at that point in time. Likewise, Mino features as a rapper, and while his part changes things up slightly, the lyrics match this change up by encouraging Jinu to text the person. I think that was a smart structure. The ending, when ‘everyone’ joins in, seems to be a very cliche move for WINNER (and YG) now, since they have been doing it so much. But apart from that, I thought Call Anytime was a good song.

The video is a little confusing and opens up with Jinu waiting for a phone call and I think this crumbles his self-confidence. We then see blue suit Jinu who has a consultancy business that deals with how to attract someone’s attention by building one’s confidence and he is advertising his services on TV. His first client is a timid version of Jinu (i.e glasses Jinu), who I assume is a version of the first Jinu we saw and the business aims to build his confidence so he can enter that special room. We see Mino, a special consultant, play the overconfident card by encouraging for a direct text. But Mino’s plan doesn’t work, as Jinu unsuccessfully gains entrance to the special room and Mino is removed from the room (as being overconfident doesn’t work). Somewhere along the line, glasses Jinu appears more confident, teaches Mino one or two things and enters the room without any resistance. Success! I am assuming this means he approached his phone calling scenario as a more confident person, though I am not sure what it means. It is a unique concept but it was fun to watch.

I liked the choreography. Like the last review, nothing really impressive that I could spot in the music video. But there is enough to be fun, suiting the pop side of the track. I guess we have to wait and see with this performance.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 710
Overall Rating –  8.1/10

[Review] FIANCÉ – Mino (Winner)

Making his solo comeback after 2 years is Mino, the main rapper from Winner. I consider this to be his “comeback” despite it being marketed as it “solo debut”, as Mino started off his solo endeavours through Body, which was released alongside Bobby’s Holup! and MOBB’s (Mino & Bobby’s collaboration) Hit Me back in 2016. This time around, Mino released FIANCÉ, the title track off his first solo studio album, XX. And since its release yesterday, it has topped all the major charts in South Korea!

FIANCÉ opens up with a guitar riff that feels very country-based for the verses, which later progresses into a hip-hop dance track. Along the way, there are trot samples used in the background to give off a very unique effect. It is an interesting take on hip-hop which is Mino’s known associated sound and it makes it into a very colourful song. The delivery of his lines was quite nice. Though, I was wanting some buildup towards the end to really get the energy pumping. I felt like the ‘La La La‘ ending was good as a hype mechanism and definitely fitted the song. But it felt too straightforward. In the end, it felt like it lacked intensity. I would have liked a strong hooker. I didn’t find the main hook of FIANCÉ to be that memorable, so it did feel like it would be a forgettable song, especially in the midst of yesterday’s comebacks.

I think what Mino did nail with his release is the music video. The quality of the music video definitely fits in the YG scope, especially when it comes to set design. While the music video does show Mino surrounded by a lot of ladies (which may or may not allude to some themes based on the way they are dressed), the producers did a good job with making the main focus of the video to be Mino rather than the ladies, which would have caused a public outcry in today’s media. I thought the incorporation of the historical Korean set and outfits was really nice, especially since the song contained samples of Korean trot music.

The choreography looks interesting. With the way the song is presented, there is a form of edginess that I think Mino portrays well. I think the choreography for the second verse, where the soloist dances with each dancer, is going to be a very a very big moment in the performance.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Where R U From? – Seungri (Big Bang) ft. Mino (Winner)

As mentioned previously, I will be catching up on some songs and videos that were released in the past few weeks, which I haven’t had a chance to write about yet. And with Seungri’s album review due to come out this week, I thought I look at the second music video released for the artist’s solo comeback, Where R U From?, which features Mino from Winner. Seungri previously returned with his main solo track, 1,2,3 last month.

The main intention for Where R U From is to hype up the listeners and be a fun track to listen to. It isn’t meant to be taken seriously, as you can tell from its sound and the music video that was released alongside the track. The song relies on a really simple yet catchy hook that gets you into the song. And this one hook did a good job at it. Seungri does a good job with his lines but I don’t think he was the star of the track. The featuring artist, Mino, was the better out of the two, in my opinion. His lines gave just enough edge to the song to make it not feel too repetitive and added that extra ‘cherry-on-top’ for the listeners to enjoy. The only issues with similar tracks to this one is that multiple listens later, you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again, which is also happening to this song, unfortunately.

The entire video is a comedic response to the ongoing political tension throughout the world. I am surprised that this video hasn’t garnered much attention for its certain portrayal of two political world leaders. But putting that aside, I thought the video was interesting. I chuckled when Seungri pulled out the YG Entertainment table plaque thing and Seungri/Yoo Byung Jae’s paradoy of BLACKPINK and G-Dragon. In a few other ways, the video felt like it was pushing for a new Psy, which I am a little unsure about at this stage. But overall, it was good to see something different (and fun) for a change.

The performance confirms my last statement. The company is pushing Seungri to be the next Psy, who left YG Entertainment earlier this year. The way Seungri looks when he performs remind me of Psy. I thought some of his moves were good but others were just plain odd. But he did a good job with connecting with the audience and made it look decent overall, at least.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Double Review] Really Really + Fool – WINNER

WINNER has returned with 2 brand new title tracks Really Really and Fool. This is the group’s first comeback since Baby Baby and Sentimental, which was released over a year ago. This is also their first comeback since Taehyun withdrew from the group due to health issues. Hence, WINNER has returned as a four-member group instead.

Really Really is a ‘really really’ addictive track. Hahahaha… I had to. The song falls under the tropical house genre and is the more upbeat track out of the two title tracks. The instrumental itself is already quite appealing, and it reeled me in. I absolutely fell for the song with the first listen, mainly because of the instrumental. Chuck in the vocals and raps and you have an almost perfect song. I say ‘almost’ because there is a little concern from my end of how long can the track stay on my radar. While I praise and compliment the track, I do see myself losing interesting in it (as fast as I fell for it). I am not too certain if the hook is strong enough, but we will see as time goes by.

Fool is the slower track of the two. Fool falls into the ballad category. This is also the track that seems to fit in nicely with their past releases, due to its slowness and style. However, it also sets itself apart from their previous tracks. Their vocals are quite impactful in this song, and that makes the song stand out. I have been bored with Winner’s past releases mainly due to the vocals, so it is finally nice to hear two songs (from Winner) where I actually like the vocals. The only problem is that it fails to attract my attention. I enjoy listening to slower ballad songs as much as I like the fast and upbeat tracks, but this one just doesn’t pique my interest.

Really Really looks classy with the black and white filter. However, its track demands attention, and while the aesthetics do the job, the lack of colour does make the video feel dull. The settings where the video was shot looked quite nice. When all the ladies started walking into the filming area and started to dance around the members looked quite cool. It felt simple, but it worked. I find some of other stuff in the video quite cringeworthy. Mainly the dabbing and bouncing cars. But besides that, the video was nice to watch.

Fool felt more like a YG video. Mainly due to the camera angles and cinematography. It was much more interesting to watch, compared to Really Really, due to the many scenes and small details that you find scattered throughout. Actually, after rewatching the entire video, it seems like there is a lot more to the video than what I expected. But don’t ask me what it means, I don’t know. It seems like the members are reflecting on some past actions where they somehow hurt (maybe possibly killed) their partners, which is why the members are singing about themselves being ‘Fools’. If you do have some sort of understanding the video, please do share in the comment section below! But overall, a very interesting video to watch.

[UPDATED] I don’t think Really Really‘s choreography was intended to be ‘fun’. But that is what I got out of it. The main dance during the chorus is simple and has the potential to become the next dance move at a party. There was also a nice sexy vibe and the interaction between the dancers and Winner themselves is quite noteworthy here. Fool didn’t need a dance, but it had one. It was extremely fitting for the song and still beautiful to watch. But it not necessary.

Really Really
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10 
Performance – 8/10 [UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 7.5/10 [UPDATED]

Fool
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
[UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 7/10 [UPDATED]

 

KPOPREVIEWED 2016 Awards – Part 1

I am officially back everyone. And finally, I am moving along with the posts. This is the replacement to the normal Best of the Bests that I do at the end of each year. Essentially, they are the same thing, just a different name for them. This is just for fun and is just my thoughts relayed into a post. I did want to include you guys in the voting this time around, but because of my vacation, I had skipped over it. Maybe next year, if nothing pops up.

I usually post the nominees up in a separate post. However, because of time constraints, I have linked the nominees on a separate page by clicking the link below, instead of writing them out.

CLICK FOR THE NOMINEES AND CHECK OUT THE WINNERS FOR PART 1 BELOW


RISING STAR AWARD

This award goes to the groups that have seen the most growth in 2016. Past winners have risen from the rookie status (usually) or ‘nugu’ status and conquered the year they were awarded in. Looking back there are a number groups that took over 2016. But the rising star award goes to Twice and Seventeen. It is quite obvious why. Both groups had a following already in 2015 but 2016 saw more success, proving them to be a force to look out for.


BEST INSTRUMENTAL

This award is self-explanatory, given to the song that has the best instrumental. This is something that I talk about in review and is vital to the song (though I have heard amazing acapella in the past). It seems like simple took out the award this year with the instrumental of The Rain by Ladies Code taking out the award. But don’t worry because the EDM based song Fire by BTS took out Honourable Mention.


BEST COMEBACK

Comeback after comeback after comeback. It is like shifting through a needle in a haystack. Any artist could have been nominated for this but I chose VIXX as the winner for this. Their comebacks have been consistent but unique each time. Their releases have you asking what they have planned next. As for honourable mentions, BTS takes it. Given their releases in the past year, I have to say I was very impressed.


BEST SUBUNIT

It seems like subunits have dropped off the trends list this year. Actually, they have become quite rare. That being said, there have been some notable subunits in 2016. My pick for the winner is EXO-CBX, which consists of Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin. Their song, Hey Mama, was extremely catchy and fun to listen to. Honourable mention go to NCT Dream for their release of the fun and equally catchy Chewing Gum (plus they performed on hoverboards).


BEST RAPPER

Not a big fan of rapping but I have to be honest, there are many great rappers here that show me otherwise. A few rappers in idol groups have released mixtapes this year as part of their solo work, further showing their influence on the industry. The winner I have chosen is Zico (Block B). All of his solo releases and collaborations have been extremely popular and successful in the past year. Honourable mention goes  Suga (BTS), whose mixtape and work within BTS have also amazed me this year.


BEST VOCALIST

Vocals are something that I admire the most. So, it was rather hard for me to narrow down just 5 nominees, particularly since there were more shows where vocalists of different idol groups and actors/actresses could participate in. My radar jumped when I heard the winner sing on those shows. I am talking about Sandeul (B1A4), whose voice sounded amazing in his solo work and collaborations on Duet Song Festival. I chose Mamamoo for honourable mention as their vocals are no joke, slaying with almost everything they release.


BEST COLLABORATION

Collaborations are still popular and with SM Entertainment’s SM Station in full effect for 2016, we saw a more diverse range of collaborations that have never been seen before. My pick for the best collaboration of 2016 is Hit Me by MOBB, which is a collaboration between Mino (Winner) and Bobby (iKON). Honourable mentions go to Tiffany (SNSD) and SanE for their SM Station track, Heartbreak Hotel.


BEST NON-TITLE SONG

These songs include songs that were simply released as a part of the album but forgotten as it was never promoted. Some of them were performed with the title track for one week but have since not been performed. Songs that deserve some sort of recognition as well. My pick of honourable mention is I Miss You by Mamamoo, which was included in their first studio album. The winner of the best non-title song goes to Sistar with their track: String. String is actually one of the few songs that are not a title track that was replayed constantly on my phone.


To find the second part of the 2016 KPOPREVIEWED Awards, Click Here!!!

 

[Review] Hit Me – MOBB ft. Kush

MOBB is a subunit that compromises two rappers. One coming from Winner and the other is from iKON. if you have been following the site for the last few days, you probably can tell who is who. That’s right, Mino from Winner and Bobby from iKON have joined forces to create a subunit that will be engraved into the minds of their fans. Both have previously returned with their own solo song and released their collaboration the day after their solo releases came out. Check out those reviews by clicking their underlined names above.

Out of all their releases for this subunit, this song really takes the cake (because party = cake). This is such a freaking amazing song. Once I started listening to the song, it is pretty hard to move onto another song. This song just continued to be on repeat. And when I do move onto another song, a part of me wants to go back and listen to it again and again. This song fits joins the great party vibe of Bobby’s and the laid back feel of Mino’s solo releases. The song is bright and vibrant, suiting that party vibe. It isn’t too hard hitting and not over the top in terms of production. The instrumental was at the right balance and didn’t feel too overpowering. From Mino’s and Bobby’s rapping to the vocal work done by Kush (who is Kush? – According to Wikipedia, he is a producer signed to a sub-label that falls under YG), it all fits very nicely and the distribution is quite even. All I can do is praise this track because I think it is flawless.

I did say Mino’s song was flawless yesterday. But the music video was a major let down. This song is flawless and I think the music video fits in well with the song. Essentially, what happens in the guys make sudden plans at night to go partying and we see them get ready, meet, ask politely for the taxi driver to change songs on the radio and arrive at the party in style. Then they proceed to bring the party to the streets. There isn’t anything to complain about in the video. It goes hand-in-hand with the song. It is pretty simple and makes sense without blowing a budget or overdoing it. I do honestly wonder if an actual party is going on in the video or if everything was staged? Because (while I don’t do parties), it would honestly be interesting to go to one of these parties and be in a music video.

Final Rating – 10/10 (Simple and vibrant. Yet still managing to hit the right vibes for a party or club). 

 

[Review] Body – Mino (Winner)

The other half of the MOBB collaboration has made his solo debut with Body. Yes, I am talking about Mino, who is a member of the group, Winner. I previously reviewed Bobby’s solo debut, Holup!. A review  for their collaboration, Hit Me, which should be out tomorrow or Monday.

This song was promised to sound very sensual. And that is what we got. Well, at least the lyrics said so. Mino’s voice shows the sexual vibe quite well in this song. The instrumental is basically chillstep but still has a nice buildup. The buildup isn’t big and it doesn’t really build up the momentum of the song (since the song has a consistent beat and does not change up that much). Since the song started off very soft and it ended very softly, the small buildups made the song flow even better. I do like the song more for its chill and laidback feel, while at the same time, still delivering a sexy sound for us to here. The chorus of the song is amazing. While the song already has a calming effect, the chorus of this song makes me feel calmer and is very “easy on the ears”s. I personally don’t see any flaws in the song. I guess the calming does make it somewhat forgettable, but overall, it is an excellent song.  I don’t want to pick between the Bobby’s or Mino’ s (but I am going to anyway) song, but I do prefer Mino’s song more. Mainly for the calmness. But there is always a time and place for either song.

Am I the only one disappointed with the video? We were promised a very sexual music video to compliment the song. But personally, the video fell short. It didn’t feel as sexual or erotic as I thought it would be. High expectations… argh… The camera shots move around a lot as if they were memories of Mino’s about his ex, just floating around and disconnected. While I see the point of these disconnected memories, I don’t think they worked well together. There wasn’t much focus on one scene for too long. Each shot took about one or two moments before I can appreciate what I could see. This video felt more artistic than sensual. The majority of the “sexual” scenes were the two of them “gliding” over each other (which I get –  I don’t they wanted the video to be banned), but come on. I know many people prefer the video this way and found the video quite like what they were promised. I just was disappointed and expected too much. [Okay, this video is the edited version. Explains a lot of my thoughts. Still, they promised us a sexual video and then we get this…]

[Note: In exciting news (?), apparently there is a r-rated and unedited version of the video coming out soon. I never get these memos but I might come back here and make a few comments about it (it’s YG we are talking about here. “Coming soon” – check back in a few years)]

Final Rating – 7/10