[Album Review] FANTASIA X (8th Mini Album) – MONSTA X

The next album review we need to cover before we get stuck into one busy week of comebacks and releases is MONSTA X’s latest release, FANTASIA X. As mentioned in the review for the mini-album’s title track (FANTASIA), this is the group’s first official domestic release that does not feature Wonho as a member, who left the group last year while the group was promoting their previous release, Follow. Let’s dig deep into the album and see what the group has to offer for us in their eighth mini-album.

FANTASIA X Album Cover

1. FANTASIA (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for FANTASIA. (9/10)

2. FLOW – Following from FANTASIA, FLOW maintains an upbeat and increased intensity approach with certain sections of the song. However, it doesn’t stay in that gear for the entirety of the song. Instead, FLOW contains some soft moments in the song, but they are easily overridden and forgotten to the harsher moments of the song’s instrumental. Further contrasting with the more crunchy and powerful moments of the song, the lyrics for FLOW stakes on a deep meaning, conveying that sometimes we need to ‘go with the flow’ in life. The lyrics also compare people to swans, who may seem calm above water, but their legs are rather frantic underwater. It helps put the song’s choices into context, with the contrast between the soft and harsher sequences. As like the title track, I don’t mind their intense and angsty approach this time around, though I do wish they toned it down a bit so that their softer sections were more present. As for the members, the vocalists seemed to have been left behind as this angst sound felt more suitable for the rappers. Particularly Jooheon, who really did a good job with his pre-chorus sequences. (8/10)

3. ZONE – One of my concerns with the title track is that their style might be overwhelming for some, especially if they continually release songs of the same caliber. I feel ZONE could easily be a solution to that concern and become a title track itself. It has that intensity through its club centric EDM instrumental, and it shares a common level of energy as the title track had. But it doesn’t feel over the top and while listening to it, I did not get that overwhelming feeling to it. I also get a slight feeling of restraint despite the chorus instrumental being quite erratic in style. I also attribute the lack of that overwhelming feeling to the verses, which provide enough relief from the high intensity moments (i.e. that erratic instrumental in the chorus) to give us a chance to breathe, even though they were short. The song also shares a good balance of powerful rapping and slick vocals. (9/10)

4. Chaotic – Firstly, Chaotic is not as chaotic as the title suggest. In fact, the song felt quite tame in comparison to the preceding tracks. That being said, the song does fall into EDM branch of music and features some trendy synths that really grab your attention at the right moments (such as that machine gun style synth that appears at the end of the first and last chorus). There also seems to be some dramatic flair in the song during the bridge, when they incorporate some classical instrument to give it that oomph and wow factor. While the rapping and vocals impress once again, I have to admit the pronunciation of some of the English in the song made me do a few audio ‘double takes’’, as I thought I heard ‘Alligator’ instead of ‘I’m In Chaotic’ (which doesn’t make any sense to begin with). But other than that flaw, Chaotic is definitely a nice breather from the powerful tunes we have heard so far (despite it being a powerful tune itself). (8/10)

5. Beautiful Night – Continuing that much needed relief is Beautiful Night. It is a pop track that does not employ any explosive synths or powerful tunes. Instead, it is quite calming and pleasant. It does manage to continue that album’s upbeat trend. Calming and pleasant are also words I would apply to the song’s instrumental, with some parts opting for some acoustic guitars on top of the pop synths we get in the song. The vocals are the prime focus of this song, giving us an opportunity to appreciate their glory without anything to overpower it. Even the rappers adopt a rap-sing technique for their delivery, which shows their complete intention to shy away from the style they have been throwing at us so far. The melodies are quite nice, but the song fails to catch on with any memorable hooks in my opinion. (8.5/10)

6. It Ain’t Over – The group takes that softer approach once again with a R&B dance track. Though, for a second there at the very start during my initial listen, I thought the song would revert the album back to their more intense sounds. I liked the song’s clean sound and its simplicity, relative to the other songs on the album. It had a funky beat mixed into the background, along with quite memorable catchy. I really liked the instrumental when it goes for those droopy synths just after the choruses. I liked their member’s clear vocals and rap sequence. I did hope for the rapping to be a little more dynamic, but what we got was pretty good. As for the standout member, it has to be Hyungwon, who had plentiful amount of lines throughout the song. (8/10)

7. Stand Up – Completing the album is Stand Up, which kicks things off with all the members singing together. It is the best part of the song and I enjoy it each time we return to the inclusive sound. Overall, the song is quite light as well, but it employs some interesting house synths while also having this inspirational vibe to it. This is a pretty neat combination. There is one flaw to the song, which is its typical nature. But other than that, it is a nice ender. The members sound quite good and I liked the dynamic feel the rappers gave the song, which helped boost the appeal of the song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

FANTASIA X Teaser Image


Also making their comeback today is MONSTA X with FANTASIA. This is a big comeback for the group as it is the first official comeback that does not feature Wonho, who left the group during their Follow promotions back in October 2019 (which is also their most recent comeback). The comeback also features the return of Joohoney, who took the last 3 months off from promotions for health reasons (he has been missing from their recent Japanese releases). FANTASIA was previously scheduled for an early May release, but was rescheduled to today after Shownu suffered an injury prior to their comeback date. Let’s see what MONSTA X offers with FANTASIA.

FANTASIA is no light track. From the very first second, the song hits you with its fierceness and intensity, something that we know MONSTA X for. This manages to somehow one up all their previous releases, in a way that I didn’t think was possible. But MONSTA X knows how to push it each time they comeback. The instrumental features a tribal and anthem-like thumping drum beat. The bass was heavily used, giving the song that epic feel. As for the members, I thought each members managed to shine during their sections. Joohoney’s intense rap sequence kicks things off, before the baton is handed to Kihyun and Shownu in the verse, who both brought their vocal chops to the table. We are then thrown into the chorus, which is lead by Minhyuk and Hyungwon. I was surprised about this as it is usually the main vocalists that dominate this section of the song. But I really like this flip and the texture these two members give the chorus. For a split second, it felt like the producer tones the energy down ever so slightly during the chorus. But the momentum was somehow continued effortlessly. I did also like the layering of vocals in the post-hook section. I.M opens up the second verse with another powerful rap sequence, before we are thrown back to the main vocalists and the rest of the song repeats itself (but not in a repetitive manner). The most powerful section has to be the first half of the bridge, where the thumping seems to be more drawn out and dramatic. The song then ticks the energy down a bit in the second half, so that the entrance to the final chorus is powerful. Overall, no doubt a powerful song that I personally like. Though, MONSTA X should start to consider that this sound is overwhelming for some and I am not sure if they fair well in the next review if they up the intensity to a higher level.

What did I like about this video in a visual sense? Well, the gold pairing with black is definitely something. I really liked it. While the sound is extremely powerful and a little barbaric in a sense, the set really gives off a refined and elegant vibe. In a way, the visual video prevents the song from going into that overwhelming mode. Out of all the members, Joohoney left the biggest impression on me with his chains and cow boy hat. I also wonder how the comeback links up with Follow, as I am reading that the two are connected. This can happen on many levels, but it is usually done through the music video. I just don’t see any visual connection other than the sun or burning planet at the start.

MONSTA X has described this to be their hardest choreography yet. And I believe them. With a song this intense, it only makes sense for their choreography to be amped up. I am in awe that they managed to pull ths off and probably will do it with live vocals, as well. I really like the crab-like movement during the post chorus hook section and bridge. I also liked how Kihyun got solo moments in the choreography during the verses.

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

[International Song Review] MONSTA X, SEVENTEEN, JACKSON (GOT7), CIX

It is time for another review of non-Korean songs, a usual review theme for Saturdays prior to the start of 2020. For those who don’t know, I have decided to cover more than just Japanese songs by Korean artists and I do this through this segment, International Song Reviews. This posts focus will be on MONSTA X’s latest Japanese and Western releases, Seventeen and CIX’s Japanese comebacks and Jackson’s recent Western comeback track. I have stuck to five songs per post as I think this is an reasonable number. Let me know what you think in the comments section!

Wish On The Same Sky – MONSTA X

We start off the review post with something a little easy on the ears. MONSTA X recently returned to the Japan with this pop ballad, Wish On The Same Sky. The song itself is one that won’t benefit when we dissect the song under a microscope. With just one listen, anyone knows that Wish On The Same Sky is to be taken in as a whole. The instrumental builds into something quite grand and extravagant. The loud thumping during the bridge is direct proof of this, giving the pop sound an uplifting boost. This gives the song a very alluring appeal. The vocal work is definitely the main focus of the song and it is also built upon to match the music, with Kihyun definitely shining in this song. The song also features Jooheon, who sings and raps throughout the song, despite being on hiatus for health recovery at the time of filming this music video and release. The only thing I dislike with the song is the shouting by I.M in the background, echoing what the Hyungwon and Minhyuk were singing during the pre-chorus. Moving to the music video, I found the breezy feel of the song was well reflected in the video. I liked how the music video didn’t take on any trends to give it that modern feel. What we got in the visual department was nice, simple and blissful. I also like the pale colour tone they opted for, as well. (8.6/10)

You Can’t Hold My Heart – MONSTA X

The second MONSTA X song, You Can’t Hold My Heart, is a pop-rock for the Western music industry and features the return of Jooheon, who was absent from their above Japanese release. I was lowkey expecting the song to drop or go into a dance overdrive, as that is is the usual style with MONSTA X in Korea (at least). But I also like how they aren’t staying with just that sound in their international releases. You Can’t Hold My Heart brings the spotlight over the group’s vocals talents, where the singing about the fact that love doesn’t stay around forever. Even I.M and Jooheon, the fierce rappers, sing over a nice band-like instrumental. I like the subdued nature of the song, soothing and peaceful in a way. The music video is quite simple as it is simple shot in a red box. The video gets a little complicated once you see members sitting on top of each other, walking upside down and even emitting coloured clouds that match colour of thier outfits. The simplicity and complexity comes together in a way that doesn’t over complicate the song and makes it worthwhile to watch. There is no choreography for this comeback single, as the group simply sings the song with microphone stands in a recent performance. (8.7/10)

Fallin’ Flower – SEVENTEEN

It seems that SEVENTEEN’s latest Japanese single, Fallin’ Flower, follows that mature and aesthetic sound that their Korean releases have opted for in the past year. Initial impressions of the song is that it has a very beautiful, refined sound and there this also this glowing vibe. The song has a nice melody that places emphasis on the vocal capabilities of the group, which puts a different limelight on the group. The falsettos we get for the chorus puts the song on a whole different level. The rapping was well mixed into the song, as well. The song’s ‘Fallin’‘ hook was also very flowy and catchy. The music video is extremely aesthetically pleasing, complimenting the aesthetics in the song. There is a fair amount of imagery in this video – most of which is a bit above me to understand, so I would love to hear your theories on it. But a very beautiful video nonetheless. For the choreography, I like their flower formation that they started off with. I also like the performance still remains quite powerful despite the song bring a lot more subdued than usual. It looks great as a result and definitely a showing of Seventeen’s talents. (8.9/10)

100 Ways – Jackson (GOT7)

GOT7 may just have returned to Korea with their first comeback of the year. But Jackson (and other members – I shall get around to Mark’s release in a later post) returned in March as a solo artist with 100 Ways. By the far the most catchiest song in this review post, Jackson really delves into the hooks and beats that no doubt with thrive in the Western industry (and has already proven to as the song had topped iTunes charts in multiple countries). I also found the song very easy to get into. On top of that, the music was very robust and there seemed to be a slight funky vibe. Both ended up making me groove along to the beat of the song. The thumping beat drives the song forward, while the synths form a concoction that is very addictive. Jackson’s raspy vocals shine through this song as well, adding to that dynamic appeal. The music video was equally as good as the song. The set design of that forest was awesome. I also really liked how Jackson and the female character rose from the grave and how Jackson went down with her at the end. The costume that Jackson donned also looked cool, but that armour sequence really looked looked epic. The other part of the music video has to be the cleverly choreographed hand motions. That was on a whole different level and very epic. Definitely as song, music video and choreography that you must check out. (10/10)

Revival – CIX

CIX’s main songs, while they have only released a few title tracks so far, have been of the intense EDM dance nature. But what CIX does differently is that is conforms to the trend of incorporating an epic drop into the song. Revival starts off slow, as a medium tempo ballad. But the instrumental they used opted for electronic synths, which foreshadowed the epic drop. But I liked how the vocals keep on that slow ballad-like feel. Then the chorus comes out of nowhere. And well, if you haven’t noticed so far, it is pretty epic. Not in the sense that is just throws every single synth known to mankind to make a ‘loud’ drop. In fact, it is more of a tropical based drop and is done so in a manner that sounds so refreshing. The rest of the song follows something of the same line, but they managed to do something slightly different every time. For example, the second verse added more of a beat to it, while the bridge took everything away. The second chorus added more synths to the tropical drop, while the final chorus incorporates violins to make it even more epic. The music video is filled with a lot of different closeups that look cool and interesting. I wonder the screen full of fire in the desert, the ball of many balls and the many other objects and effects in the video mean anything. The rest of the music video is made up of choreography shows, which shows CIX performing with string. There is a fair amount of tangling happening this music video. But that is just one of the complexity of the performance. Their individual moves also look quite cool and definitely features that intensity that CIX has associated with them. (8.9/10)

[International Song Review] EXID, ONEUS, TWICE, MONSTA X, CIX

Welcome to the very first International Song Review post. This segment will replace the Japanese song review that I publish sporadically on Saturdays. The segment will also allow me to cover more of those Japanese releases, which was an issue I previously had (I used to post once a week and this would mean some releases won’t be reviewed until many weeks after – which is the case for all of the songs to be reviewed today). On top of that, I wanted to keep up with the KPOP advancement into the Chinese and Western music industries, a niche that I was not reviewing as I could not dedicate more time. By putting these all together, it saves time and it allows me to cover more songs. The artists I will be focusing on today include EXID, ONEUS, TWICE, MONSTA X and CIX.

Bad Girl For You – EXID

Bad Girl For You is a very different song from any of the Korean releases. The group’s Korean releases have this level of vibrancy that I feel is noticeable absent from this track. Instead, the song has this mature and sensual feel to it that I think is very suitable for EXID. I liked how the instrumental is very toned down and almost quite eerie. The chorus has a heavier beat to it, which offsets the song from becoming plain and boring. Their oval work complimented the style, which was definitely a nice fit to the song. I do find the use of that laser shooting synth a little random and doesn’t fit well with the rest of the song. The song may not seem much at first, but after many listens, you will be coming back for even more. For the music video, I liked the use of the 5 colours (green, blue, yellow, red and purple) in the background and how each colour is usually concentrated to a particular area of the set. It helps give the video a minimalist feel. The choreography is also quite nice but not really memorable.

808 – ONEUS

I think 808 is a smashing song. The sound of the instrumental was posed in a manner that really caught my attention. I love the strings that feature in the instrumental, along with the intense style they had adopted from their Korean releases. There is an epic vibe to the song, but they do it in a manner that masks it. You think you are getting another typical song, but you will be blown away by the song’s sound. The song is vibrant and definitely knows how to bundle a bunch of energy in a fashionable sense. The vocal work was good and the rapping gave the song a little more edge. The music video looks really artistic. I am not sure if these are music video sets or whether the group filmed their music video in some sort of modern art museum. It looked very cool. The performance looked good with cool moves. Just not memorable like EXID’s performance.

Fake & True – TWICE

I was blown away with Breakthrough when it was first release for its mature and edgy style, something that was a little foreign for the very pop-based and cutesy TWICE. And it seems like Fake & True continues the momentum and extends TWICE’s reach into this new territory. I thought the brass in the chorus was very nice and the rest of the instrumental was very energetic and vibrant in a way that suits the group. I also liked the synths that they employed throughout the song, especially for the dance break bridge. I did think the chorus was a little one-dimensional as it repeated the title of the song all throughout and felt a little awkward. The vocals were good but the rapping in this track was epic. It was also nice to see Mina as part of this November release, as well. The music video was pretty typical for TWICE but I thought it did a really good job of showing off their visuals. The choreography was also very nice and continued that mature vibe that I really enjoyed as part of their previous Japanese comeback.

My New World – CIX

My New World is CIX’s debut track into the Japanese music industry. It is also an extension of their KPOP works, with the group’s intense sound definitely channeled and presented in this song. I like how eerie and dark the song sounds. The dance style is very well suited for CIX, given that this is their title track style for their comebacks in the KPOP industry so far. I also like the kick of energy that the song gives during the chorus, which contrasts neatly with the shout-y style of vocal works. The rapping that dominates the second verse was also extremely promising and intense. I also like the piano that featured very quietly over the top of the dance instrumental. I think the music video shows the members on a new world. Other than that, I am not exactly sure if the video is showing anything else worth mentioning. Their dance sets looked really cool, with the floating stairs and the moving lights. The choreography is very intense and reconfirms that when it comes to the dance side of the industry, CIX might be a group to look out for.

Middle Of The Night – MONSTA X

The final song on today’s reviewing agenda is Middle Of The Night and it is also the very first Western song that I am reviewing on my blog (I am not including English versions that I have done reviews for in the past). Middle Of The Night is different from the rest song on the list as it is also an R&B track. A song that I can finally understand as well. Hahaha… I can really say much else but to tell you to check out this song below as everything felt flawless. It is one of those songs where the main complaint was that it was over so soon! The vocal work was superb from very member. I really love that Jooheon finally got to showcase his vocals that he previously showed off during a performance of Versace On The Floor. The music video was shot with every scene is interlinked with the previous and next scenes. I think that this was a really good way to show off the smoothness of the track. There is no choreography for this song, so this finishes the review.

[Album Review] Follow: Find You (7th Mini Album) – MONSTA X

MONSTA X is nominated for Best Male Group and Best International Song by a Korean Artist in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support them by clicking here to do so!

As promised earlier today, we will be having a deep dive into MONSTA X’s latest album release, Follow: Find You. Even though it has been a month and MONSTA X (and MONBEBEs) have gone through a lot since then, MONSTA X did put out a really good album (once again). It would be a pity to not talk about the album in detail. The album features Follow as the title track and Find You (which I reviewed earlier today).

Follow: Find You Album Cover

1. Find You (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for Find You. (9/10)

2. Follow (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Follow. (9/10)

3. Monsta TruckMonsta Truck sounds like it would be an epic track just from the title alone. So I was very surprised when I heard the groovy nature of this track. It isn’t what I had expected. And if you were planning on listening to them sing about actual monster trucks, I think it is best that you turn away, as the song alludes to a different physical activity. Besides the groovy chorus, I didn’t care much for the vocal work in this song. It felt very so-so. The rapping, on the other hand, was superb. Their deeper tones really worked well with the instrumental. (7.5/10)

4. U R – Both vocal and rapping aspects shined in U R. The only disappointing aspect was the rapping only got a small portion of the song. But other than that, I thought this was a strong track. The R&B nature of the song really helped with the vocal push. Both in combination with each other drove the song in a nice paced and well-balanced member. I really enjoyed the melodies and the guitar that featured as the main instrument in this song. (8.5/10)

5. DisasterDisaster is no disaster. It is a fantastic track that showcases MONSTA X with a side of attitude. I like to think of it as a matured version of what they released when they first started, where they had a lot of attitude as well. I found the rapping start to the song, followed by the vocals a strong way to kick things off. You can always let Joohoney and I.M set the tone. I found the chorus to be very interesting, with that vibrating-like synth catching my attention. The short instrumental break with the brass and stronger vibrating synths was also another strong point. (8/10)

6. Burn It Up – What I really like about this track is its intensity. MONSTA X is an obvious choice for intensity. But the clanging metal and the robustness of the chorus really pulls the intensity to be song’s strongest aspect. I find it very interesting that the rapping takes a step back, featuring during the slower parts of the song and opting for a softer tone. Vocally, this is another good track. But the standout member of the group is Hyungwon, who brings a very interesting texture to the pre-chorus. And finally ending the song are church bells, which was like icing to the cake. (9/10)

7. MirrorMirror features a very soft tone. It is a nice song, vocally driven as a result of the softness of the song. I like the flowy nature of the song as a result. The harmonies during the chorus were awesome. Things get interesting after I.M’s monologue, with Joohoney and I.M kicking the song a slight notch by rapping a little more intensely than one would expect with the song. Afterwards, the song gets a little choppier, with pauses presenting themselves and ending the song in an interesting textural fashion. I am also a fan of the squeaky synth that featured throughout the song. (9/10)

8. See You Again – The album started off with an album that was very fitting for the situation that MONSTA X and MONBEBE find themselves in regarding Wonho’s dismissal from the group. And it is also interesting that the final song on the album is about wanting to see a particular someone again, which is equally fitting given the circumstances. I find the island and ethnic influences to be a pleasant backdrop and sound. The rapping and upbeat nature of See You Again really helped the song from being a 100% emotionally driven ballad, which we already got in the form of the first song. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Follow: Find You Album Cover

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Find You – MONSTA X

I will be publishing my album review for Follow: Find You later tonight. However, in preparation for this, I need to do one more full review. During the week prior to their official comeback with Follow, the group released the music video for Find You (another track on the same album). I thought it would be nice to write a full review (song + music video) for this release so that the album review write up can be somewhat faster. I have been putting off this review for some time and this is the absolute last date to do so.

Find You opens the album up. But for those who have checked out Follow, Find You is the complete opposite. It takes the form of a ballad. A soft, soothing and touching ballad. I thought it was a strong song. It brings out the vocals of each of the member, including the two rappers, whom we don’t get to hear sing all that much when it comes to MONSTA X’s group releases. I thought the melody was really beautiful, gave the song a very delicate side and helped make the song extremely flowy. All great things when it comes to ballads. I did like the instrumental, which featured a paced synth-based backdrop for this song. It also featured piano, adding to that delicate feel I mentioned. The last thing I wanted to mention regarding this track is the lyrics. I think the song was already quite an emotional one. But in light of recent events that saw the departure of Wonho from the group, as I was reading the translation, I couldn’t help but think how perfect the song is suited for the MONSTA X and MONBEBE’s situation. Even I felt slightly emotional whilst listening to the track once knowing the meaning behind the lyrics.

I won’t dwindle on the music video section for long. Essentially, the video is the prequel to the events in Dramarama (i.e. what lead to all the members to time travelling, why is Hyungwon alone etc). The main reason is because of the loss of Hyungwon’s parents, his dad leaving behind the watch that essentially caused Hyungwon to become locked away in time. This devastated the group, causing them to all go on their separate ways (they are all alone at the end). The song fitted the atmosphere and the tragic story that started it all.

The main reason why I don’t want to go into too much detail is that I want to do another music video theory post for MONSTA X and this storyline comes to mind. And I might be going insane, but I have a feeling other music videos (i.e. Alligator) might be linked up to this storyline (though I am not 100% certain). I also saw no connection with Follow, which is rather interesting, though I haven’t sat down to look at both videos in detail yet. 

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

[Review] Follow – Monsta X

Monsta X makes their official return today with Follow. A fair bit has happened with the group, with all of it revolving around their overseas promotions. Since their last Korean comeback (Alligator), Monsta X has released Play It Cool, Who Do You Love, Love U and Someone’s Someone in the US. The group has also embarked on their world tour. And now, the group is back in Korea to promote their 7th mini-album, Follow: Find You. The group also dropped (unexpectedly) the music video for Find You and I will review that at a later date.

Follow brings together the use of a Korean traditional instrument (don’t know which one) and the modern EDM. There is one recent example that did this as well (Lit by ONEUS) which managed to maintain the Eastern influence in their song. Monsta X differs by using the Eastern influence like a detail within its instrumental while focusing on the Western EDM sound for the majority of the song. None of these combinations is superior over the other as both bring different ‘final’ sounds to the table. What I do like about Monsta X’s song is that it manages to infuse a load of energy into the mix, which I think makes this song feel a lot more inviting. It is something that I have come to associate with Monsta X. The vocal work was pretty good. But it is Joohoney and I.M’s rapping that really reflect well with the energy and adds a very dynamic component to the song. I feel like rapping, especially, nowadays can be very straight forward and one-dimensional. Here, you can feel their personality and the intensity in their segments, which adds to the appeal of the song.

As the song is quite fast-paced, the editing goes hand-in-hand. Once again, I think there is a story somewhere in the midst of the video. There will be some reason to why Hyungwon became the shining radiant sun in the video. I am not going to guess what the video is about, however, as I have no clue. Out of all the individual scenes, I thought Joohoney and I.M to be the most captivating. It might because I already find their segments in the song alluring. But their scenes looked really more dynamic in comparison to the rest of the group. 

Once again, the performance is a very strong element in this comeback. The routine during the chorus is enough proof of this. I really like the mini bounces they make during the entire performance, which probably made the less complicated looking performance a lot harder to execute. I also liked how Hyungwon (along with Minhyuk), who often doesn’t get many lines in their songs, a chance to shine within the choreography, as he was in the centre for the key parts of the performance.

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

[Review] X-Phenomenon – Monsta X

Monsta X is one of the (now) many groups leading the charge of KPOP into North America and the world! The group recently embarked on a world tour after wrapping up their Alligator promotions. Despite that heavy schedule, the group released the Japanese version of Alligator back in May, featured on the animated We Bare Bears TV show and released a number of English tracks including Who Do U Love?. And now, the group has returned back to Japan with a brand new original single, X-Phenomenon, which is due for an official release in August.

To me, there are two versions of Monsta X converging for the release of X-Phenomenon. The verses showcase a current form of Monsta X. There was intensity to the verses but it felt like the type of sound we would have gotten from the group over the last few years. The more melodic sections prior to the chorus give an opportunity for the vocalists to shine (due to the makeup of the song) and is a newer side of Monsta X we haven’t seen in a title track yet. But I would put this with current Monsta X. Once we launch into the dubstep heavy chorus, it is like we were launched back to the early days of Monsta X. The instrumental is a lot more mature and tame in comparison to their earlier releases. But I feel a similar vibe and kick coming from it. I think the rappers shined brightly in the song. Their respective sections definitely had the most oomph to it, which I really liked. Personally, I liked their many change-ups in this song. Though, I wasn’t a fan of them standalone. Also, since the song wraps up in literally 3 minutes, it felt quite short, which was a little disappointing for me.

Best editing award for a music video this year has to go to this video. based on the shot footage, I didn’t get too much of an edgy vibe, which was called for by the song. But it was the editing that compensated for this. The framing, the transition, the overlays. It was like the editor turned a dial to amp up the edginess of the music video and succeeded by turning that dial to the right degree. I also like the member’s visuals for this music video.

The dancing is quite cool. From what I saw in the music video, the majority of their moves manage to pack a punch and channel the song’s energy appropriately. Not sure about how the ‘slow parts’ of the song will turn out but I am assuming that it will be channelling he appropriate energy levels as well.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Cool Love – Hongbin (VIXX) & Hyungwon (MONSTA X)

Pepsi has been one busy company this year. As a partnership with Starship Entertainment to produce The Love of Summer series, Pepsi has pulled together a number of artists to promote their brand. Back in April, Ravi and Eunha came together for Blossom, while last month we saw the return of Ong Seong Woo to the music industry through Heart Sign. Yesterday, another track as part of the series was released. This time around,  they bring Hongbin from VIXX and Hyungwon from MONSTA X together for Cool Love.

Both Hongbin and Hyungwon are not known for their vocals, so it would be interesting to see how a collaboration track between them would turn out. Cool Love had the potential to be a good track. There was just one overwhelming issue with it. It just didn’t cohesively come together to be that good track. This was because the instrumental was a little messy. I thought Cool Love had a nice smooth instrumental for the chorus, which sounded like a song that a model could strut to. It was also my most favourite part of the song, as it did have a memorable rhythm. But the other parts felt like a total mismatch. For example, the dance break added unnecessary flair and felt like it was trying too hard. The start and bridge felt quite weak and didn’t really feel like it complimented the rest of the song. Vocally, I thought they were good. It was clear from the start that they needed the instrumental to help carry them. But they handled it well, despite suffering from the disjointed instrumentation. What I did like was the tone that they displayed, which I think their respective groups should really utilise in the future. I think given my comments, this isn’t my favourite song from the series thus far.

While the song was rather disappointing, the music video was not. Both Hyungwon and Hongbin are known for their visuals and I felt that the music video did an awesome job of showcasing that known fact about them. I did like the sets, which I think suited the tone of the track and looked very cool. What I really liked was that the video didn’t feel too much of a Pepsi commercial like the other videos did. It felt like a normal music video, with the subtle placement of the Pepsi brand/products added. Another part of the music video was the choreography. I won’t dedicate a separate section/rating to it, as we probably won’t see a performance for it and I don’t really have much to say about it. But it looked good, overall.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 5.8/10

[Album Review] The Clan Part 2. Guilty (4th Mini Album) – Monsta X

It is time for another ‘Past Album’ review. This time, we turn back to Monsta X, who returned with the fierce Alligator earlier this year. Actually, this album review was written and scheduled to be published around the same time as Alligator’s release. But to avoid clashing, I decided to wait a bit before releasing. And here it is, after a month and a bit! The Clan Part 2. Guilty was released in October of 2016 and it was their second release in The Clan series (which I previously made a music video theory post, as well).

The Clan Part 2. Guilty Album Cover

1..Fighter (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Fighter. (9/10)

2. Be Quiet – Unlike the title for the song, Be Quiet isn’t quiet in any sense. Instead, it offers loudness and energy with its hip-hop centred sound. The song reminds me of their debut track for its synth-based instrumental. I really like the ‘Be Quiet’ whisper, which still manages to stand out amid all of the loudness that surrounds it. I felt like this could have been the song that allowed the rappers to shine. Instead, they didn’t get much of the song, which I felt was a little disappointing. But despite that, I still thought the raps (and the vocals) were still good elements to the song. (8/10)

3. BlindBlind the blandest dance track on the album for me. I just don’t find it as interesting or exciting as the other dance tracks on the album. Blind seems to have some R&B mixed into it and it resulted in an okay track. But I felt like they could have done more to really make it appealing. The vocals and raps were good but it felt like it could have been stronger. Same could have been said regarding the hook of the track, which I thought was rather weak, resulting in its bland nature. (5/10)

4. QueenQueen seems like it could be an elegant track, but it stands out more for its rough textures. It is also a good hip-hop hype track that really grabs your attention. The rappers are the winners for this track, with the song being built for just them. The vocalists of the group weren’t let down as they had parts that were quite melodic, especially after that brief pause in the bridge. I also liked the ending of the song (or rather, that part of the song as it appears in the track beforehand). Very catchy and a great way to get the hype up. (8/10)

5. White Girl (하얀소녀) – The song tones down the tough and dance-heavy side of the album by opting for an acoustic sound. And this Is much appreciated since the album is quite on the heavy side thus far. Vocals were the focus, with all the members (including Jooheon and I.M) singing in the song. And they give the song a nice delicate touch on top of the acoustic instruments. I thought the harmonies in the song gave the song a beautiful feel. While it is distinctively different from any of the other songs on the album, it is a hidden gem in the midst of the other dance tracks. (9/10)

6. Roller CoasterRoller Coaster returns to the dance side of the album. And like what the name suggests, the song is like a roller coaster. There is a lot going on and there is many twists and turns that are not anticipated. So, repetitiveness is not an issue with this track. And while a correct term to describe the song would be ‘messy’, the song actually comes together nicely, and it is quite pleasant sounding. The song doesn’t showcase their best vocals or rapping but both elements are still good. Overall, I thought it was a nice upbeat song to end the album on. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

The Clan Part 2. Guilty Teaser Image

[Album Review] Take 2. We Are Here (2nd Studio Album) – MONSTA X

MONSTA X returned last week with Alligator and the second half to their second album, We Are Here. The first half of the second album was titled Are You There? and featured their hit track, Shoot Out. I was a little confused as I did not register that this was a two-part release at first. I honestly thought Are You There? was an album on its own due to the number of songs already on the album. Nonetheless, they have returned and that is what matters. On with the album review!

Take 2. We Are Here Album Cover

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

3. Ghost (악몽) – Personally, I liked how the song takes on the ‘Ghost’ title and really give the song some creepy vibes, which I think make this track even more powerful. For the most part, I found the track to be satisfying. The whisper-like ‘Ghost Ghost Ghost’ keeps on ringing in my head after the song is finished and I think this is purely their intention. The chorus had this repetitive nature, which I thought was really cool. It wasn’t overdone in a way that it got annoying, so it is a plus for that. I just felt the song could have used a breakdown or some sort of intensified injection to really bring the track together and make it even more impactfully creepy. (8/10)

4. Play It CoolPlay It Cool is a collaborative track between Monsta X and Steve Aoki. And this collaboration resulted in a very clean and stylish track. Opening the track is Joohoney (formerly Jooheon) with his vocals. After their Versace On The Floor performance which Joohoney pretty much rocked the fandom with, I have been dying to hear his vocals in full within their next release. Well, here is that track and it does not disappoint. I thought the vocals in this song were good, pairing well with the club vibes the song featured. I really like the chorus drop, which gave the song that centrepiece that attracts attention. I also thought I.M and his deep voice got to shine more with Joohoney singing in this song. And his deep voice shined brightly. (8.5/10)

5. No ReasonNo Reason gives an opportunity for the group to really showcase the vocalists of the group (particularly Minhyuk, who got a fair amount of line this time around). Instead of power vocals which would be unfair for some members, the members do with an easy-going yet slightly different tone (i.e. higher) than usual to keep the song interesting. They do keep the electronic instrumental as per their usual style but keep it extremely light and hence not overpowering any of the member’s voices. The rappers do their thing but they aren’t overly powering or too dominant in order to keep that light balance that the song has. (8/10)

6. Give Me DatGive Me Dat returns the hard dance style that we associate with Monsta X. I did find that Give Me Dat fails to really offer anything new to listeners, however, which is a little disappointing. I wanted the song to have a kick as the song progressed but that didn’t get fulfilled. It remained too consistent for my liking, like my straight-line analogy that I used to refer to often. The vocals and rapping in this song were quite ordinary and once again felt too consistent. I don’t hate it for that, but it is a pretty much passable track considering what Monsta X has done in the past. (6/10)

7. Turbulence (난기류)Turbulence doesn’t get turbulent in the instrumental. It is more to do with their crush is the cause of all their turbulence in their lives and them wanting more. It does still feel safe as I expected the instrumental to really go hard or haywire but that did not happen. Instead, it kept its cool and I think that makes the track a little more direct rather than what I thought might have happened. I also found the vocals and rapping style in this song a little more interesting than the previous song, which gives the song a nice appealing sound. I thought the rapping was more impactful in this song and the build-up to the final chorus was extremely satisfying. (7/10)

8. Rodeo – Prepare to be blasted with Rodeo. It kicks off with some Spanish guitars and quickly progresses into an intense hype track. To me, the song reminds me of Big Bang’s Bang Bang Bang, where both songs would get a similar response from the crowd. I really liked the “Boom’ in the chorus, followed by Joohoney’s short Korean phrases. Quite impactful and very memorable if you ask me. Come to the think of it, the song has the familiar intensity that I think really suits Joohoney’s style. I also think the vocals in the song during their respective parts were really good, particularly since they aren’t the main attraction (that honor goes to the already discussed chorus). (9/10)

9. StealerStealer is also quite intense but it is a different intensity that hasn’t been touched upon in this album. And it has a kick that I wanted before making this a very memorable track to my ears. The ‘Dang Dang Dang…’, ‘Bam Bam Bam…’ in the pre-chorus and the repetition of the title in the chorus was extremely addictive. The instrumental had the intention of being ‘in your face’ but it still managed to stay in the background of the track and not overpower the vocals/raps. Talking about the vocals and the raps, I thought they were very dynamic in this track. I am not too fond of the pauses right after the first chorus as they do cut the flow but they do provide some relief after a jam-packed first verse/chorus. (9/10)

10. Party Time – Drawing the album to a close is Party Time, which features a casual and more relaxed tune. I honestly thought that this would be more of a party anthem, given how the album has been mostly filled with dance tracks. But it opts for a R&B beat and soft vocals. Even the rapping was toned down to fit the song. I liked the melody of the chorus and ‘Dalala-lala-lalala’ hook that follows the chorus. I also liked how they also sing part of the chorus together and that hook that I just mentioned. It is a pleasant sound that eases us off the album well. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

Take 2. We Are Here Teaser Images

[Review] Alligator – MONSTA X

Kicking off the series of comebacks and releases this week is Monsta X, with their latest comeback single, Alligator. It is featured on the second half of their second studio album, Take.2 ‘WE ARE HERE. The first half of the album is titled  Take.1 ‘Are You There?’, which featured their most successful track yet, Shoot Out. Interestingly, the music video for Alligator seems to contain multiple connections that don’t just hint back to Shoot Out but also to other videos. But more on that later.

First of all, Alligator felt like an odd title for a song. The song essentially likens getting someone to fall in love to an alligator’s hold on its prey (adapted from SOOMPI). Looking at the English translations available, I am not 100% sure if that was encapsulated but I guess the idea of it makes sense. The first thing I noticed was the powerfulness of the track. It is quite intense and hence right up Monsta X’s alley. The instrumental takes on that dance heavy sound that is quite similar to their past tracks. And the rapping really gives it that defining punch that leads me to associate the song with Monsta X straight away. Jooheon and I.M do an amazing job with their parts in the song, both on their own during the verses and together during the bridge. The vocals in the song were quite good, as always, with Kihyun’s high note being an excellent peak to the song alongside the duo rappers. But it’s the chorus that leaves me disappointed. The melody and hooks for the entire chorus felt lukewarm at best and didn’t feel like their usual catchy nature.  It might just be because the song was just released and that I haven’t played it enough to get into my mind.

Monsta X matched up the aggressive music video to the powerful song by incorporating alligators, swampland and choreography in water. I think fans would find that final choreography section to be very sexy. The video looked well put together, with the sets looking cool. The other half is what we are more seemingly interested in. We have been promised through the prologue teaser that there is a connection between this and possibly all of their music videos (scenes from previous music videos were included in the teaser). I will be completely honest – I have no idea what is going on. I can tell that there is some connection revolving around the seven sins as this is seen in this video and in the music video for Beautiful. But Lust and Gluttony have been swapped out for Agony and Loneliness. We also see an uprising against the people in charged who banned these sins, similar to the rebellion seen in The Clan series. There is a more obvious connection between Shoot Out and Alligator, with thorny rose branches and Hyungwon sitting on a throne-like structure featured in both videos. What this all means in too cryptic for me to work out, so feel free to comment below with theories!

We don’t see too much choreography in the music video. But from what we could see, I thought it looked really cool. Monsta X goes hard once again with their performances! I do want to know what moves they will pull off during the rap sections as those seemed to be the most intense parts. So, obviously, I will return in due time with an update.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10 [To Be Updated]
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist Categories Results

Welcome back to the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards! On the 1st of December 2018, I presented my readers with many categories filled with talented and deserving nominees for the 2018 KPORPEVIEWED Awards. For the month of December, all of you voted for your favourite artists and songs from January 2018 to November 2018. And today, I present to you who the winners of each category were.

This is the first section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best New Groups, Best Female and Male Groups and many others.

Each category will have a WINNER (the artist/group that received the highest amount of fan votes), Honourable Mention (the artist/group that received the second highest amount of fan votes) and KPOPREVIEWED Choice (who I voted for).

So, drum roll please, for the winners of the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Artist categories.

Best New Male Group

Nominees – ATEEZ, NOIR, Stray Kids, The Boyz, UNB


WINNER – Stray Kids
Honourable Mention – The Boyz
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Boyz

Best New Female Group

Nominees – fromis.9, (G)I-DLE, IZ*ONE, LOONA, NATURE


Honourable Mention – LOONA
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – fromis.9

Best New Soloist

Nominees – Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), LONGGUO, SOHEE (ELRIS), Yuri (SNSD)


Honourable Mention – Leo (VIXX)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Dong Han

Rising Star

Nominees – (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Pentagon


Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Momoland

Most Underrated Artist of the Year

Nominees – A.C.E, CLC, N.Flying, KARD, Snuper


Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – N.Flying

Best Unit Group / Subunit

Nominees – EXO-CBX, NCT 127, NCT Dream, Oh My Girl BANHANA, SNSD-Oh!GG


Honourable Mention – SNSD-Oh!GG

Best Male Solo Artist

Nominees – Eric Nam, Hwang Chi Yeul, Jung Sewoon, Samuel, Seungri (Big Bang)


WINNER – Seungri (Big Bang)
Honourable Mention – Eric Nam
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Eric Nam

Best Female Solo Artist

Nominees – BoA, Hyolyn, Kim Chungha, Sunmi, Taeyeon (SNSD)


WINNER – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Honourable Mention – Sunmi

Best Band

Nominees – DAY6, IZ, N,Flying, The East Light, The Rose


Honourable Mention – The Rose

Best Raps

Nominees – B.I (iKON), Ilhoon (BTOB), Jooheon (Monsta X), Mino (WINNER), RM (BTS)


Honourable Mention – Mino (WINNER)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Jooheon (Monsta X)

Best Vocals

Nominees – BOL4, BTOB, Hwang Chi Yeul, Mamamoo, Minseo


WINNER – Mamamoo
Honourable Mention – BTOB
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Best Male Group

Nominees – BTOB, BTS, EXO, GOT7, iKON, Monsta X, NCT, NU’EST W, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, SHINee, VIXX, Wanna One, Winner


Honourable Mention – SHINee

Best Female Group

Nominees – AOA, APRIL, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)


WINNER – Red Velvet
Honourable Mention – BLACKPINK
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Artists Who Topped The Weekly KPOP Charts The Most in 2018

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Monsta X, Seventeen & Sunmi

And that completes the Artist Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Song Categories will be unveiled shortly and you can access it by clicking here!

And for the End of Year Charts – they will be out tomorrow. I will update this post with the link once it is out.

Thank you for all voting and checking out who you all selected to be the winners! I hope to do this again for 2019!

[Album Review] Take 1. Are You There? (2nd Studio Album) – Monsta X

Monsta X returned earlier this week with their second studio-length album, Take 1. Are You There, which featured Shoot Out. The album features 10 songs, however (as usual), I have omitted the introductory track from the review. While there are other album reviews currently waiting for older releases, I decided to bump Monsta X’s album up for review to avoid falling behind for more recent releases. And it is also too good to pass! Continue reading for more of my thoughts on each song on the album!

Take 1. Are You There? Album Cover

2. UnderwaterUnderwater is a strong to start to the entire album, minus a very significant change in the song’s instrumental. It is extremely calming and soothing during the verses and the chorus. I really like the melody of the song during those parts and its smoothness. However, it isn’t a Monsta X song without some EDM. And we get that is very small doses. Very small unnecessary doses. I would have loved the song without those erratic changes in the instrumental but it too sudden of a change for me and I just can’t get used to it. (7/10)

3. Shoot OutClick here to read the full review of Shoot Out. (8/10)

4. Heart Attack – I personally like the way the start of the song hyped you up for the rest of the song. It is a rather simple tactic, but it really left a lasting impression. I thought the heavy bass was complimentary to the hype factor. Also, I thought the xylophones in the instrumentation were very interesting. The rapping perfect for the song and the vocal work was amazing. The song did get repetitive towards the ending but that was the main charm of the song, so I am not too troubled by it. (9/10)

5. I Do Love You (널하다) – Taking a step away from the dance tracks is I Do Love You, which is a nice house song that focuses on the vocals of the members. The rapping was nice, but it took more of a back-seat approach, giving the vocalists time to finally shine on the album. I thought the song would have been more suited for a release during the Summer season due to its brightness. I like the bridge of the song, particularly with (who I believe is) Minhyuk’s section (who also had the section ending the song), which quite refreshing. (9/10)

6. Mohae (어디서 뭐해) – While the last song was more of a breather, we quickly return to the dance elements that we know Monsta X for. And once again, the raps do shine in the song. The rap took up the majority of the second verse and it must be one of the best verses on the album. I thought the chorus was quite addictive and I really liked the melody. While the vocalists did an amazing job with their section, I wish to turn back to the rappers, who also had singing parts during the bridge, which I automatically liked. (8/10)

7. Oh My! – This has to be their best song on the album. I am not going to even ramble on with this statement. Did you hear that line just before the chorus? So, addictive and very dynamic. I thought the chorus was very catchy and the ‘Oh My!” hook was so damn good. I also like the two deep drum beats that you hear with the ‘Jak Jak’ lines of the song. Really brings out the hype factor (which I mentioned earlier for another song). Both the rapping and vocals were superb. (10/10)

8. Myself – Nothing points to intensity better than a repetitive deep drum beat. But what makes this song so interesting is its approach in terms of both vocals and raps. Both elements of the song were a lot huskier than usual, which makes this so damn good. It isn’t anything you expect but it adds to the intensity. The song mixes R&B and Monsta X’s usual dance style, going for something in between. The song itself reminds me of a VIXX b-side as there is also a level of eeriness, which I thought was quite cool. It is another perfect song on the album but it just misses out on the title of ‘Best Song’. (10/10)

9. By My Side – What is missing from the album? The ballad, of course. By My Side is the closest we get to the ballad. It is slow and calming. It is just the song uses more bass than usual ballads and has a horn-like squeaky sound that you would consider atypical in ballads. I personally like it despite it not being the most pleasant synth out there, but it gives the song an intriguing vibe. Once again, the vocals were at the forefront for the ballad, but the raps were equally as good. (9/10)

10. Spotlight (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of the song. Click here to read the full review of Spotlight. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

Are You There Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Shoot Out – Monsta X

It is a new week and we starting off strong with Monsta X’s comeback, Shoot Out. The title track is featured on the group’s second studio album, which has been titled Are You There? (and you can expect an album review in the coming weeks!!). It has only been a few months since we last saw Monsta X in Korea with Jealousy. Since then, the group has been busy with Japanese promotions (Puzzle and Livin’ It Up) and the rest of their world tour.

If I ever described their past title tracks as ‘their most intense comeback track yet’, I’d take that all back. The opening to Shoot Out has to be their strongest and most intense yet. The “walker walker growling‘ start is very interesting but quite addictive. I want to know why those were the lyrics and what the meaning is behind them. But putting my curiosity to the side, the tension is broke with a nice vocal part, which felt relatively smoother and gave a nice contrast. However, to me, it was the weakest moment of the song because I still feel like they took too much of the intense instrumental (which featured elements from multiple intense genres such as rock and trap) away. So when they returned to the catchy chorus, the vocal pre-chorus felt more like an unfulfilled hole (hopefully, that makes sense). It is still quite good, so don’t assume that I hate it. Vocally, all the members did really well. But it the rapping that stole the show here. Overall, another great song from Monsta X.

The music video matched the intensity of the song by using a very edgy concept. From their very simple yet intriguing sets to their outfits, everything like it came together quite well. There is some storyline somewhere amongst the different images we see on the video, as the ending of the video references the seven deadly sins. And those references just crept up on me, so I had no idea what was happening. Can I also take a moment to backtrack to their outfits, which I think looked amazing. The teasers image already amazed me (Jooheon’s, in particular, looked captivating). The outfits in this video just took it to a whole new level.

The music video featured many choreography shots which I have to admit looked awesome. Everything in the video just felt right for this song and their presence on stage is going to be killer if they manage to replicate everything from their stares and charisma from the video on the stage. I thought the vibrating start and the chorus looked cool.

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


[Review] Livin’ It Up – MONSTA X

Monsta X is back with another original Japanese release. Livin’ It Up was released two weeks ago and is the group’s 4th Japanese single to date. I was going to review another artist’s Japanese song this week but decided to go with Livin’ It Up because it was a far more interesting song. The group previously released their first full-length album in Japan (Puzzle was the title track of the album) and are currently on their world tour, if I am not mistaken.

What is becoming evident is that some groups (including MONSTA X) are releasing more intensified EDM songs in the Japanese market. And the release of Livin’ It Up confirms this. The song falls into that EDM category, mixed with some hip-hop vibes and a groovy instrumental. Note that it isn’t retro groovy built does give the song a more light-hearted energy, opposed from something a little more hard-hitting you expect from EDM. Jooheon and I.M’s raps definitely give it some roughness and edge from their deeper tone, while the vocalists bring some melody in their parts. Overall, I thought the song was rather appealing. I feel like if the song chorus had a stronger hook, I would have picked up the song a lot sooner (as I thought it was relatively plain when I first heard it).

The music video was mainly made of choreography shots and some close-ups. Some of the dance shots gave me Beautiful vibes, mainly due to the platform they were performing on. I have to be honest though, but I thought the video was rather plain. I didn’t really feel the energy like some other videos from watching the video, which left it underwhelming. If the camera work showed some more energy and punchiness, it would have matched the vibes of the song a lot better.

The choreography was good. It wasn’t as intense as I hoped for but it was a perfect balance between that level of intensity that I wanted to see and the lighthearted sound that came from the groovy nature of the track.

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