[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!

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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

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Are You There Teaser Image

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[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

[Music Video Theory] Monsta X The Clan (Part 3) – Beautiful

Welcome back to the KPOPreviewed’s music theory segment. It may be so long since I posted my last music video theory (for GOT7) that you have forgotten about the segment, but I am still working on it. For more information on this segment, hop over to the introductory post.

Let’s waste no more time and get on with the segment!


Important Notes

For this theory, I will be referring to the members based on the following code, simply because it is easier to write out.

Member/Character

Code Notes
Shownu SN

Narration Teaser released 7th May 2016

Wonho

WH
Jooheon JH

Kihyun

KH
Minhyuk MH

Narration Teaser released 26th Sep 2016

Hyungwon

HW Narration Teaser released 25th of Sep 2016
I.M IM

Narration Teaser released 6th of May 2016

Some of the members had a narration teaser released prior to the All In and Fighter comebacks, which featured an oath for their X-Clan. A ‘Last Oath’ featuring all members was released prior to the Beautiful comeback. These narration trailers are referenced throughout the theories.

To make it easier, I will be recapping the events surrounding a character (or a group of characters) as this will prevent me from jumping through different stories. I will provide screenshots to help differentiate moments in the storyline.

Anything in italics is more like my interpretation of that detail.


Overall Theory

Probably the most ambiguous video to try to interpret because it doesn’t contain much of a storyline. I wasn’t sure about how this fits in, so I used different theories to make sense of it. This is just my interpretation which fits the other theories I have published. Other theories have pointed out other factors and weaknesses/flaws. 

Each member (excluding JH) are locked away in their own small individual rooms. JH is roaming the halls. Anyone locked up in a room is frustrated and demands to be left out (hence why they spend most of the time pressed up against the door).

JH gives each member an object, visually connected to the storyline in the first two videos. Once these objects are given out, the members become calm and understanding of the situation, which is definitely a very important emotion at this point.

The theory is JH is giving something to each member that indicates a personal flaw or weakness. And by overcoming this flaw/weakness, they can gain entrance to the X-Clan.


Jooheon

Going back to the previous section, JH is confirmed to be the leader, the authority figure, the person in complete control. Whether he is the one pulling the strings for everything in the last videos, we can’t be sure about that (but I am fairly confident here). But Beautiful shows that he is the one that locked them away into their individual rooms. He is the one that gives the members their individual items and he is the one that they follow out at the end of the room.

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Shownu

SN is the first character we see and he is seen in a room full of plants. The most important plant of all, in this trilogy, is the blue flower, to which is on display in the glass box in the middle of the room.

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He is given the glass bottle of the blue liquid. His weakness is insecurity. In All In, he lost his father. Without his father, at this point, he was lost and insecure about standing alone (or depending on others). Hence why he drank the liquid as an escape route of his problems.

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He dumps the liquid and doesn’t look back.

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Hyungwon

HW is shown to be in a room full of sand on the floor and mirrors everywhere. He is given the magnifying glass.

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His weakness could be judgement. He faced judgement from his father in the first video, which caused him to be physically abused, leading to injuries on the face. The magnifying glass could be a reminder of this. But rather revisiting those thoughts, he drops the magnifying glass, showing that he doesn’t care anymore.

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Minhyuk

MH is inside a room full of ‘frozen time’ (i.e. pendulums don’t move, balls don’t roll). He given is a pocket watch, which commonly represents time.

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His weakness is probably his regret that he didn’t get to HW in time. In All In, when he should have gone back to HW after lighting the house on fire, he stayed behind to ensure the job was done. He wasted time, which he thought could now be used to protect HW. When JH gives him the watch, he holds onto it. Once he understands, he lets go of the watch, so time goes on.

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IM

IM is a room full of money and gold. He is given matches.

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I am not too sure about his weakness. However, it may be the fact that he has another family/life outside of the Clan. In his narration teaser, he ‘solemnly swears on our honour, lives and everything that we have to the X-Clan to defend ourselves’. In a way, ‘everything’ may encompass the extra life and that the burning of the wealth is him letting go of this for the X-Clan.

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Wonho

WH is locked in a mail room or a bank vault. He is given a pen and ink.

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His weakness might be loneliness. In every box within the room, there was a letter written from one person, addressed to another. The only time we see Wonho in the video is when he is together with the rest of the clan OR that is he alone. While KH and IM were alone in their parts, they had the capability to interact (IM had the bears and KH interacted with the kidnappers).

Wonho sat down to write a letter, which allowed him to make his first interaction.


Kihyun

KH is a locked up in a very uncluttered room, containing swords and metalwork, which reminds me of the stuff in the Fighter music video. He is presented with a blacksmith’s hammer.

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Though this seems to be a little ambiguous. WH used the hammer, while JH and SH encountered a sword. Both hammer and swords can be used to kill people and KH’s weakness would be the fact that he killed someone in Fighter in order to get some information on the flowers. I have a feeling that when he did kill the unknown person, he felt no remorse and that it was for the cause. The holding of the hammer may suggest acceptance of what he had done was wrong.

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And that is it for my Beautiful theory! What do you think?

For Part 1 of the Monsta X The Clan Theory (All In) – Click Here
For Part 2 of the Monsta X The Clan Theory (Fighter) – Click Here

[Music Video Theory] Monsta X The Clan (Part 2) – Fighter

Welcome back to the KPOPreviewed’s music theory segment. It may be so long since I posted my last music video theory (for GOT7) that you have forgotten about the segment, but I am still working on it. For more information on this segment, hop over to the introductory post.

Let’s waste no more time and get on with the segment!


Important Notes

For this theory, I will be referring to the members based on the following code, simply because it is easier to write out.

Member/Character

Code Notes
Shownu SN

Narration Teaser released 7th May 2016

Wonho

WH
Jooheon JH

Kihyun

KH
Minhyuk MH

Narration Teaser released 26th Sep 2016

Hyungwon

HW Narration Teaser released 25th of Sep 2016
I.M IM

Narration Teaser released 6th of May 2016

Some of the members had a narration teaser released prior to the All In and Fighter comebacks, which featured an oath for their X-Clan. A ‘Last Oath’ featuring all members was released prior to the Beautiful comeback. These narration trailers are referenced throughout the theories.

To make it easier, I will be recapping the events surrounding a character (or a group of characters) as this will prevent me from jumping through different stories. I will provide screenshots to help differentiate moments in the storyline.

Anything in italics is more like my interpretation of that detail.


Fighter seems to be set in a completely different world as there is no war and the scenes don’t look like they are a direct continuation. I go on a more Sci-fi route. Whatever that pulsing heart thing is, it ended up sucking the members in OR it killed the members, while transferring their consciousness to a different reality.


Shownu

At the very start of the video, while punching the wall, we see SN’s cell door opening, revealing a red light, allowing for his escape. There are two possible scenarios of who could have saved him. The first being the X-Clan, with JH pulling him to the side right after. The second being JH’s minion (the bears), taking him to the knighting ceremony.

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But why was he in jail in the first place? It could be due to his actions during All In video, where he robbed the store for money to help with his father’s treatment. While this might be a different reality, the mind of the individual may play an important part in where they are found in the new reality. SN may have a guilty mind over the robbery hence why he is in prison.  

There are also scenes in the video where SH is breathing and the light in the background is pulsing in a similar way to the heart in All In. This kind of proves my theory that they were sucked into the thing, which took them to a new reality.

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We later see SH being brought to JH and is knighted, making him the leader of the clan (or a higher up in the clan). Why? SN’s has shown loyalty to JH. Firstly, SN’s holdup at the store allowed JH to steal some objects for himself. Secondly, drug taking is a sign of loyalty. Thirdly, going to jail without mentioning JH as the person who supplied him with the gun.

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Kihyun, Wonho and IM

Kihyun is seen dragging a bloody bag (presumably with someone’s body inside). It is assumed that KH is trading the bloody body bag for some information. He is then taken to a room (marked with the X-Clan symbol of X on the door) without being shown the way (bag over head technique) which contains the blue flower grown in a drug house like manner.

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Wonho takes on the role of a blacksmith and is building a machine, which is shown later to take the blue flower’s extract and transform them into something else, most likely the gummy bears.

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IM is child-like in the video. Playing retro video games (involving teddy bears), surrounded by teddy bears and riding bikes (along with the other two members) with streamers.

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The three band together with their resources (i.e. KH = Flower, IM = video game skills and WH – machine) to power up the machine JH, once the three elements come together, joins the members and oversee the production of the gummy bears. The machine could also be used to hack into the security system of the mental asylum and/or prison. 

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The three members had more important roles compared to Shownu, Hyungwon and Minhyuk for this video. This further proves that they are in a different reality this time around.


Hyungwon and Minhyuk

Their oath (released as trailers for the Fighter comeback) seems to be about being together and how they are interlinked (their oaths reference each other), which is the case of both videos.

The two spend their time during the video in a mental asylum. This might contribute to the fact that they are a couple, as a possible reason to why they are in the mental asylum is that same-gender couples were seen to have a mental disorder in the past. It could also be the fact that HW had eaten the flower (assuming to be just before regrouping in All In) and this put him in a drug-influenced state and altered his mind, causing him to be relocated to a mental asylum. As the oath tells us they are interlinked, this might also be why MH was brought along with HW. They wore stray jackets and looked like they were out of their mind.

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JH waltz in as a doctor and present the gummy bears to the HW and MH. While the blue flower extract gave them life, it makes reasonable sense that the flower also has the ability to regenerate the health of the person who ingests the drug. Both HW and MH ate the gummy bears.

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End of the video

After ingesting the drug, the members break into the mental asylum in which HW and MH are located, they regroup (because they are a clan after all and after the events of All In, they only have themselves). I think they make their ascent to Heaven but once again a pulsing heart presents to them, which takes them to another reality if we were to follow the same theory established.

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Jooheon

Up until now, JH is a very suspicious character. His role in both videos remained the same. He is the ringleader of the clan, so it could be his mission to keep the members together (i.e. save the members from their different realities).

As mentioned prior, JH steals some things for himself during SN’s raid. In All In, he knew where to go for the gun and he passes the bag to SH instead of holding onto it himself. It is as if he knew what would happen (i.e. get locked up). He appears as a king (an authority figure), knighting SH.

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He appears to be a doctor, an authority figure in a hospital setting. He gives the gummy bears to the members, asking them to choose between the two.

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He doesn’t contribute to anything that KH, WH and IM do until they gather the pieces of the puzzle, same as a gang-boss who lets his people do his dirty work. In fact, the common theory is that JH was the one that arranged KH to be kidnapped and shows him the blue flowers.

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What I am getting at is that he is an authority figure in the videos and this emphasized many times. But more than that, he knows different things that no one else knows (i.e. the gun and the flowers). So from how I am interpreting the video, it seems like JH has been planning the events of both videos.


And that is the end of the Fighter theory. What do you think?

If you haven’t read Part 1 (All In) – Click Here
If you are ready for the final instalment (Part 3 – Beautiful) – Click Here

[Music Video Theory] Monsta X’s The Clan (Part 1) – All In

Welcome back to the KPOPreviewed’s music theory segment. It may be so long since I posted my last music video theory (for GOT7) that you have forgotten about the segment, but I am still working on it. For more information on this segment, hop over to the introductory post.

Let’s waste no more time and get on with the segment!


Important Notes

For this theory, I will be referring to the members based on the following code, simply because it is easier to write out.

Member/Character

Code Notes
Shownu SN

Narration Teaser released 7th May 2016

Wonho

WH
Jooheon JH

Kihyun

KH
Minhyuk MH

Narration Teaser released 26th Sep 2016

Hyungwon

HW Narration Teaser released 25th of Sep 2016
I.M IM

Narration Teaser released 6th of May 2016

Some of the members had a narration teaser released prior to the All In and Fighter comebacks, which featured an oath for their X-Clan. A ‘Last Oath’ featuring all members was released prior to the Beautiful comeback. These narration trailers are referenced throughout the theories.

To make it easier, I will be recapping the events surrounding a character (or a group of characters) as this will prevent me from jumping through different stories. I will provide screenshots to help differentiate moments in the storyline.

Anything in italics is more like my interpretation of that detail.


Setting the scene for the video (Start from 0:37)

The Oath, presented in the teaser of Shownu and IM, do set the scene for the clan. SN, establishes the clan’s union and it seems to be the beginning days of the clan.

The story begins with all the members going around the neighbourhood together. It was rather clear during this beginning part that JH is the leader of this group, otherwise known as the X-Clan. Their symbol, X, is shown throughout the videos and will be referred to often.

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There are many soldiers wearing black bullying a bunch of old men dressed in white, who seemed helpless against these soldiers. From this, we can see two sides of the field (the black-clothed soldiers – representing the new regime and the white clothing – those that are oppressed by the new regime). The X-clan jumps to their defence and effectively telling the soldiers to go away. HW skips to one of the soldiers and places a blue flower into a soldier’s pocket.

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Hyungwon & Minhyuk relationship

HW is tracked down by his father, who is dressed in black (and hence belonging to the regime). HW is humiliated with a slap across the face in front of his friends. MH seems to be shocked but knows something else will happen to his friend.

Note that HW is also wearing black. I assume this is for his connection to this authoritative father. There could be a number of reasons to why HW could have been slapped. His (presumed) sexual orientation, which is hinted later on in the video), he is hanging out with people whom his father deem as the ‘wrong crowd’ or the fact that he has the blue flower (its significance will be touched on later).

MH later finds HW wearing a white mask which covers the bruised and injured face of HW. HW was physically punished for any of the possible reasons above. MH is visibly upset at this revelation and gets up immediately to take revenge against HW’s father.

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MH is aided by WH and IM, who go and burn up the father’s house or headquarters. They are successful as the place burns down but his father is saved by some soldiers.

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The window features an X symbol, which is the mark left behind representing the X-Clan.

The next day, MH goes to find HW but finds HW’s body in a bathtub. It is presumed that HW’s father killed HW as revenge for burning down his house/headquarters. MH spends some time with HW, before pouring in a vial of the blue liquid into the bathtub and getting into the bathtub alongside HW. It is this scene in which many viewers believe to confirm the homosexual relationship between the pair. The final scene for their story shows HW’s hand, twitching while holding onto MH’s, showing one of the different abilities of the blue flower.

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Shownu’s struggle

Alternating alongside HW and MH’s story is SN’s story. Despite being a part of the clan, he visits his sick father in the hospital. While holding the white mask, he contemplates some things and decides that he needs to act.

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Judging from the context in which we find the white masked, it is the oppressed side’s symbol of strength as WH and IM wear it upon their crusade and it convinces SN to do something drastic. As for HW’s white mask, I assume he was forced to wear it in a mocking way.

Enlisting the help of JH who gets him a gun, he robs a store for some money presumably for his father’s treatment.

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Note that JH, while going along with the plan, ends up stealing something a little more from the store, which I will talk about at a later stage. This is something I found while reading another person’s review.

Shownu goes back to the hospital with the money but finds out that his father is now dead and that his little trip was for nothing. After burning the money, he drinks a vial of the blue liquid.

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I assume he got the blue vial from JH and had drunk it due to his unstable nature (i.e. wanted to escape the emotions).


The Clan and the Blue Flower

Between the character’s stories, we see a few scenes of the clan together. I presume this part occurred prior to the events in the video. The blue flower is the common thread throughout all three videos, so it is an important detail.

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The blue flower can become a drug. When it is in liquid form, there seems to be an intoxication effect as shown by the members. It is assumed that the members take the liquid drug to forget their negative emotions and struggles. Hence, this could be the reason why this is shown during the events mentioned above. Also, it also saves lives as seen in the relationship between HW and MH.

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The flower is a Delphinium flower, based on other people’s theories. However, for the rest of the theory posts, I will be referring to them as ‘blue flower’. This is due to a lack of time I have today to go back and update everything.


The War (Back to the start of the video)

I think this occurs after all the events above and that HW is alive alongside the other members during the start of the war. While defending their people, they seem to get split up.

Going right to the beginning of the video, it opens up with 3 members (JH, WH and IM) running through a destruction caused by a war (possibly between the black-clothed regime and oppressed wearing white). We then see MH finding HW once again, who is possibly dead from the war. MH feeds him the flower, which is presumed to save this life once again.

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At the end of the video, we see all the members regrouping and running away from one common enemy (assumed to the regime). They go a little further to outrun the regime and stumble across a pulsing heart-like object in the sky.

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I think the heart-like object represents safety in the video and KH was the one to first discover it. KH had one solo shot throughout the entire video and it seems like he was in a rush going to the members. At this moment, the snow started falling (which seems to be a signifier that the war was about to start, as during the opening scenes of the video, there was snow falling down), which caused KH to ditch his crutches and move faster. The war takes place and once the members regroup, he leads them to the heart (he is the only member visibly happy, while everyone else is quite shocked).

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I will start off the next part of the theory by explaining what I think the significance of the pulsing heart is.


And that is it for my All In theory! What do you think?

For Part 2 of the Monsta X The Clan Theory (Fighter) – Click Here
For Part 3 of the Monsta X The Clan Theory (Beautiful) – Click Here

[Review] Puzzle – Monsta X

Monsta X just wrapped up their promotions for Jealousy and is preparing for their upcoming world tour. However, in the midst of their Korean promotions, Monsta X dropped their next single and first album since their debut in Japan. The title of this new song is Puzzle, while the album has been named Piece. Their most recent comeback in Japan was Spotlight, which was released earlier in the year.

Contrary to the majority of their Korean releases and Spotlight, Puzzle is a much more colourful and bright song. While the song doesn’t feel Monsta-X-like, they do a pretty good job at bringing some of their well-known intensity to the table in this song. The song starts off with this autotuned whispering effect which is extremely repetitive but downright ear-catching. It actually turned out to be quite addictive. It then turns to Jooheon’s rapping, which does sound really awesome here. From then on, the rest of the song is a blur. I just can’t get into it and the rest of the song ends up being forgettable. The most memorable part was the bouncy chorus but that doesn’t say much. The rest of the vocals and the rapping was nice but they are pulling me back into the song. That is just what I feel personally about it and despite many replays after, the same events occur.

Similar to their song, the music video takes a different turn. In many ways, it has that Summer-time feel that Newton had channelling throughout it. So there isn’t anything special about it. Just a bunch of guys having fun in front of a camera. There is not really much that could go wrong here. However, the entire video feels a lot plainer in comparison to the said Korean counterpart. The paler colour palette just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe something more colourful (or brighter to say the least) could have given more energy to the video.

As far as I could tell, there is no performance for this comeback.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 5/10
Overall Rating – 5.6/10

[Album Review] The Connect: Deja Vu (6th Mini Album) – Monsta X

Welcome to my review of Monsta X’s latest album release, The Connect: Deja Vu. This is the group’s first release of 2018 and their 6th mini-album overall. Once again, the group has put out a top-notch album for their fans and I just can’t stop coming back to this album. To find out which songs I liked and while I just didn’t connect to, continue reading!

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The Connect: Deja Vu Album Cover

1..Jealousy (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Jealousy. (8.7/10) 

2. Destroyer – This particular track featured in the pre-release music film video, which provided the continuation to their Dramarama. From the very start of this track, you can get a sense of the intensity of the track. The chorus had a melodic hook, which made it catchy and memorable.  I like the post-chorus rock change-up, which injected more intensity into the track. Usually, I nick-pick at the small details but Destroyer had no flaws. It could have easily been a contender for the title track. (10/10) 

3. Fallin’ (폭우) – The song opens up with a rap sequence, which feels heavily based in the hip-hop genre. Within seconds of the vocals start, it changes more into a pop song. And once the chorus started, a funky and groovy instrumental also managed to change up the song a second time around. While these changes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this track sounds really good (in my point of view). All the other elements that I comment all were all amazing in this track as well. (9/10)

4. Crazy In Love (미쳤으니까) – This track is an intense R&B dance track. The chorus has a nice melody, which makes it easy on the ears of the listener. Furthermore, it doesn’t rely on EDM, which we tend to hear a lot of nowadays and relief given the previous track on the album. Compared to the previous tracks, however, it does lack a little something, resulting it being not so memorable. But it was a good break from the other songs. (7/10)

5. Lost In The Dream – The song opens with a ‘Na Na Na’, which did catch me off guard at first. However, it is soft and seductive. The song had a good pre-chorus build-up but the drop into the chorus felt weak in comparison. That left the chorus a tad underwhelming, which should have been more powerful. Thankfully, the chorus did get better as the song went along. The raps included in the song lifted the intensity, while Kihyun’s vocals during the bridge sounded so awesome. Both managed to give the song a peak, which I was worried it wouldn’t get to. (7.5/10)

6. If You – The song is incredibly sweet sounding and has this noticeable cheery tone to it, which I really liked. I like all the vocals from each of the members (including Jooheon) and IM’s raps was a nice addition to the song. The build-up to the chorus was prolonged but it was worth the wait with the great chorus the song has. The song could have used a bridge (the sudden stop at the end of the second chorus felt abrupt) but what we got instead was fine as well. (8.5/10)

7. Special – At the very start of the song, a rap sequence was used to set the tone of the song. I particularly liked the drop and the strong chorus’ instrumental. The vocals don’t really seem to shine, which was somewhat disappointing. But the raps did a good job covering for that. It is another intense song with an awesome instrumental. It had a great ending, which also served as a great ending to the album. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

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The Connect: Deja Vu Teaser Image

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[Review] Jealousy – Monsta X

Monsta X has made their return with Jealousy, the title track on their sixth-mini album, The Connect. This is their first comeback after Dramarama, which also earned them their first win on the weekly KPOP music programs.

Opening up with the ‘ye-ye-ye‘ hook was probably one of my most favourite parts of the song. And that manages to introduce into what seems to be a great song. It isn’t as hard-hitting as their previous title tracks but Jealousy works pretty well as a Monsta X. It remains within their domain but it manages to stay different. The song features a trap-based instrumental with pop elements appearing throughout. There is a large focus on the vocals, split between Kihyun, Shownu and Wonho, who all sound spectacular. Kihyun probably shined the brightest in the entire song, based on the ‘A Little Jealousy‘ opener to the chorus, which also was extremely smooth. While we are also focusing on the chorus, I think this has to be one of their best yet. It was jammed packed and I enjoyed the energy that came from that part. I also really like the ‘Jealousy, baby, Jealousy‘ whisper at the end of the first and final choruses, though I do think the section at the end of the first chorus (just before Jooheon’s rap) ended a little too prematurely. The rappers also did a wonderful job with the song, with their parts, per usual, adding that extra intensity that the song needed.

I may write a lot of reviews but I have yet to understand the connection between ‘connected’ music videos. The Connect : D is the pre-release music film for this comeback, so it is clear Jealousy is somehow connected this pre-release video. If you know how these videos are connected, feel free to comment below. I managed to find a video (which I will link in the comments below) that theorises about the sequence of events in the pre-release video but have yet to find anything about the music video. Anyway, about the Jealousy video, I thought it rather cool. They managed to bring out this edgy vibe in the video through their visuals and the setting, which I thought was relatively cool. Each of the members looked awesome (Kihyun just stands out for me). I enjoyed the camera work, which started off fixed and very smooth but by the end of the video is got hectic and shaky, which also worked well with the song.

There are two parts of the choreography which I really liked. The chorus was awesome, with that scarecrow move being my absolute favourite. The second part would have to be the bridge (when Shownu and Kihyun are singing). That I don’t think I have seen before. But being something quite simple made it look awesome.

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Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

[Review] Spotlight – Monsta X

With a number of Japanese releases unveiled in the last few weeks, I thought it would be nice to actually get some of these reviews out in weeks that follow the release, not months. One of these is Monsta X’s Spotlight, which happens to be their first original Japanese single since their debut in Japan last year.

As soon as we hear the first seconds of the song, it reminded me of their debut single, Trespass. It had a similar type of synth for the intro, which I thought was cool. The song is quite intense and you get that feeling from the very first second. But for a very intense feeling song, the chorus was rather weak, which is pretty ironic. The drop back into the chorus was underwhelming and it just didn’t have that element to make it memorable. If it had a more powerful drop and something that gave it a catchy touch to it, I would have been won over. All the other parts (verses and bridge) is what gave the song its definition and I pretty much liked that. I liked their contrasting sides within the verses, how they start off with the tough powerful raps and then allow the song to drop down to a slower yet smoother vocal sequence. It is a little different to what we are used to. The raps were amazing and the vocal work throughout the song was quite nice.

I like the simplistic route that they were going for when it came to the video. The most important equipment in the entire video was the spotlights, which I thought gave off a really cool effect in some sections of the video. It reminded me of BLANC7’s Yeah, which I already had liked. Clearly, this one had more money injected into the budget and this allowed it look more defined and flashy in a way to watch. This flashiness made the roughness of the song stand out.

Monsta X has been standing out recently for their performances and this just cements that idea. That intensity is definitely featured heavily throughout the song. While I did not enjoy the chorus of the song, the choreography stood out for me.

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

2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Results

**drum rolls please**

It is time to announce the winners of the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. This is the first year ever that you (the readers) got the opportunity to vote and pick out the winners of each category (excluding a few). Let me just start by saying thank you for all those who participated in the voting process, as you all made this possible.

This will be an EXTREMELY LONG post and it will be gif heavy so it may take a while to load up. If you have a slow internet connection (like me), you can still view the winners (along with the nominees if you missed the voting period/want a reminder) by clicking the link here.

The respective gifs for each category represent the winners which you voted for, while I have put down my pick for the category. I have opted to not do a commentary this year due to the already long length of this post.

BEST MALE GROUP DEBUT

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Wanna One

Author’s Choice – Wanna One


BEST FEMALE GROUP DEBUT

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Dream Catcher

Author’s Choice – Dream Catcher


BEST SOLOIST DEBUT

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Kim Chungha

Author’s Choice – Jung Sewoon


RISING STAR

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Monsta X

Author’s Choice – NU’EST W


BEST SUBUNIT

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SEVENTEEN Performance Unit

Author’s Choice – Gugudan 5959


BEST CO-ED GROUP

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KARD

Author’s Choice – KARD


BEST MALE SOLOIST

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G-Dragon (Big Bang)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

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IU
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Sunmi

Author’s Choice – Sunmi


BEST VOCALS

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BTOB

Author’s Choice – DAY6


BEST RAPPER

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Zico (Block B)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST JAPANESE SONG BY A KOREAN ARTIST

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One More Time – TWICE

Author’s Choice – One More Time (TWICE)


BEST COLLABORATION

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Honey Bee – Luna, Solar, Hani

Author’s Choice – Bye Babe (Chen & 10CM)


BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

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Don’t Wanna Cry – SEVENTEEN

Author’s Choice – Gashina (Sunmi)


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

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Peek-A-Boo – Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – You In Me (KARD)


BEST MALE GROUP

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B.A.P
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EXO

Author’s Choice – SEVENTEEN


BEST FEMALE GROUP

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Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – Red Velvet


BEST NON-TITLE TRACK SONG

Beautiful – Pentagon


BEST ALBUM

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Palette – IU (4th Studio Album)

And there you have it, the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Award Winners. Congratulations to all! Hopefully, the artist’s that you picked came out on top and were victorious.

As for the BEST SONG OF THE YEAR award, it will be published in a separate post. For this year, the winning song will be the song that tops the End Of Year Charts (to be published on the 15th of January).
NOTE: YOUR VOTES MAKE UP 50% OF THE END OF YEAR CHARTS, WITH THE OTHER 50% CONTRIBUTED BY ME.

[Album Review] The Code (5th Mini Album) – MONSTA X

Time to catch up on the backlog of albums that I should have reviewed over the last few weeks. First one up is Monsta X’s The Code, which is their latest release. Their title track, Dramarama, has earned them their first win on a weekly music show a few days ago. On with the review.

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The Code Album Cover

1..Dramarama (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Dramarama (8.5/10)

2. Now or Never – Now or Never seems to be that track that fits nicely within typical song lineup that Monsta X usually puts out. It has that toughness and intensity that you would associate with the group. It is a pretty standard track for the most part but there were moments when I thought the track was ‘lit’. The bridge added a nice touch to the song as well. (8/10)

3. In Time – In Time is that compulsory ballad that I keep on mentioning. Mixed nicely with it, however, is some RnB, which makes the song feel a lot more emotional. The chimes were somewhat creepy at the start, but they felt like the perfect ending. Overall though, the track does seem like it can easily be forgotten. (7/10)

4. From Zero – The track taps into that tropical house genre that we see in every other release in KPOP at the moment. I love the contrast between the minimal verses to the upbeat chorus, which makes it extremely addictive to listen to. The drop is awesome and I think it is because of that minimal verse that makes the drop sound so much cooler than what it would have been if the verses were not stripped down. (9/10)

5. X – The hidden gem on this entire mini-album. X is everything you would want in a song. Everything felt perfect in the song. From the intensity to the vocals/raps, everything came together to form one damn good head-banging track. I would love to see this performed as the energy that comes off it is something you should not mess around with (10/10)

6. Tropical Night (열대야) – What I love about this song is that chorus. It doesn’t go in that direction that you expect to go from the verse. But it works and it sounds so much cooler than what I had intended. I.M and Jooheon deliver smashing rap sequences that felt just right for such a cool song. (9/10)

7. Deja Vu – Not part of my usual vocabulary, but the best to encapsulate the song is by saying ‘badass’. The chorus was jaw-dropping and like in the past few songs, the rappers were the main highlight. But that doesn’t say that the vocalists didn’t shine as well. Another stand-out track to end the album. Woo! (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

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The Code Teaser Image

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[Review] Dramarama – Monsta X

Monsta X has returned with their latest mini-album, The Code (album review coming soon). The title track of the mini-album is Dramarama. This is their first comeback since their release of the Summer single, Newton. This particular comeback was met with a speed bump, with Wonho missing out on the comeback showcase due to illness. But Wonho managed to pull through and promoted alongside the rest of the members for their comeback week.

The opening of the song was just a teaser to what was to come. Dramarama had an epic start, leading to another excellent song. The intensity of the song was just right. It didn’t feel over the top but it wasn’t underwhelming. The guitars in the instrumental were extremely catching. The vocals (starting off with that introduction) was extremely nice and showed off some technique which I don’t think the entire group has given to us yet. The chorus was pretty decent but I don’t think that was the standout of the song. I am completely drawn to the rappers in the song. Jooheon and IM do a fantastic job with their segments but the bridge of the song was definitely the amazing bit. It gave the song hype and built up perfectly to the final chorus. Dare I say that I think I found the best rap sequence for 2017? 

But what I think has got everyone talking is Monsta X’s video. It is set in the future (2047 to be exact) and time travel is possible then. And it seems like the way to get through time is by using old-fashion watches, which seemed to be outlawed in the 2047 society, judging by the AI voice in the background at the start. But some of the members end up with the watch. And it seems these members go back in time to specific points. Wonho goes back to a Kendo match, where he battled against Shownu. Kihyun goes back to when Jooheon was killed in a car accident (The Chaser vibes, anyone?) and Minhyuk goes back to when IM was killed.  I am not exactly sure what happened with the Minhyuk and Wonho scenarios but their attempts just didn’t work out. Kihyun, on the other hand, managed to swap places with Jooheon (with the help of Hyungwon, the mysterious and missing time traveller) and he ends up dying instead, as we don’t see Kihyun at the end when Jooheon appears in the broker workplace. A tad confusing but it sounds like a great storyline.

The performance was pretty nice. You could feel the seriousness and focus through their facial expressions. Once again, I don’t think the performance had enough to make it memorable. It isn’t that mind-blowing like their jacket routine earlier in the year with Beautiful.

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

[Review] Newton – Monsta X

Monsta X has already had an action packed year. They have made two comebacks, Beautiful and Shine Forever, this year.  On top of that, they have been busy going on tour between comebacks and even after their most recent comeback. Now, the group has returned with Newton, a Summer single, just weeks after their Shine Forever comeback.

Even Summer won’t stop Monsta X from releasing an EDM song. And it is a pretty good one, as well. I honestly don’t have much else to say about the song because the song does feel very standard. There really isn’t any amazing aspects that make me go wow or amazes me. But that being said, it is not a terrible song. The Summer feel is very fresh and vibrant. Once the beat drops for the chorus, I couldn’t help bouncing my head along to the music. The vocal work here is quite good, but I felt the verses could have been more memorable. The raps were good but it felt like there could have been more. Even from my comments, it sounds like a typical Summer song. But overall, it is still decent to listen to.

The music video is being described as the prequel to Shine Forever video. If that was the case, then the difference in terms of concept escalated quite quickly. I did like how the colour was vibrant, especially Kihyun’s yellow shirt. Totally suiting the Summer concept. To me, the video felt like a standalone video. The guys were just travelling in a van and having fun on a trip. Not really much else to say about the video. Though, it seems like they shot in the same place where Snuper shot their music video for their most recent comeback. The colours here made the scenery look so much better in comparison to the Snuper video. But both are still pretty good videos, suiting their respective songs perfectly.

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

[Special] Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2017

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

Don’t Wanna Cry – Seventeen

Hwi Hwi – Laboum

Never Ever – GOT7

Beautiful – Monsta X

I’ll Be Yours – Girl’s Day

Don’t Recall – K.A.R.D

Beautiful – Pentagon

Hobglobin – CLC

Dance Dance – DAY6

I Wish – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

 

 

[Album Review] Shine Forever (1st Repackaged Album) – Monsta X

Explained previously, due to time constraints, I missed the opportunity to do a review for the first album released by Monsta X. The Clan 2.5: The Final Chapter was released back in March this year, with Beautiful as the main title track. The group then went on to release a repackaged version, Shine Forever, last week, which features two new tracks. Today’s full album review will consist of comments for all songs present on both albums.

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Shine Forever Album Cover

 

1..Shine ForeverClick here to read the full review for Shine Forever. (8/10)

2. GravityGravity is a much more slower and melodic song, compared to the first song on this album. It’s not a bad thing, though. Monsta X nails this song as well, as it shows that the group is versatile and can easily accomplish that. The vocals are amazing here and the rapping fits the slower style spectacularly. I normally hear Jooheon and I.M in more hard and impactful songs, yet here they sound more soft and soulful. Honestly, Gravity is an amazing song that catches you by surprise, given the group’s known tracks. (9/10)

3. Ready Or Not – The original album opened up with Ready or Not, which is a great kick starter to the album. It’s title literally asks the right question: are you Ready or Not for the group’s album. Though a part of me would love to hear more intensity in this track, it does hype you up for the rest of the album. The song itself is quite catchy. (8/10)

4. Beautiful (아름다워)Click here to read the full review for Beautiful. (9/10)

5. Incomparable (넘사벽) – To me, the song feels like a RnB infused dance track, which sounds good. But rather than an infusion or mix, the song tends to be either RnB or dance. There seemed to be no in-between. It also wasn’t memorable. Often, I forgot about the song as soon it was over or was more invested in picking another song off the album to skip to. (6.5/10)

6. Need U (니가 필요해) – What I like about the song is the simple chorus. Clean, simple and not overcomplicated by various (and sometimes un-needed) components. It also had a catchy and cheerful tone. All their previous songs have been more serious in nature, so it was nice to have a song that feels cheerful. Though, there were times that it did feel like a generic KPOP song. (8/10)

7. Oi – This song reminded me of their earlier stuff. From the instrumental to the intensity of their vocals, it all felt like a throwback to their debut title track. Saying that I wasn’t much of a fan of their debut tracks. Yet, I thought this song was dynamic and felt like it matches more of their recent stuff as well. The rappers felt like they belong to this sound, as well. (8/10)

8. Miss You – I think I found the first gem for this album. I love the sound of this song, in general. Sounded like music that I grew up with. The ‘Where you at?” and “Baby, I Miss You” lines were super great hooks for this song. It’s instrumental was pretty good as well. And the vocals and raps were on point throughout the same song. (9/10)

9. Calm Down – First listen in, I thought the track felt like a Beautiful 2.0. Is that a good thing, I don’t know. But I am totally digging the track. It packs a punch with the intense instrumentals and hypes you up (somewhat). But then the song cuts to a more dynamic sound once they start telling you to “Stop” and “Calm Down“. Also loved that rap sequence by Jooheon in the song. (9/10)

10. All I Do (너만 생각해) –  The track comes off as a poppy number, which has its moments. Its sound fits the Summer vibes quite nicely. But overall, it felt very bland and forgettable for the most part. The rapping felt a little too serious for the rest of the pop centred song. (7/10)

11. 5:14 (Last Page) – Following the dominating and intense songs, we finally reach a slower pace song. It sounds nice. From the vocals to the instrumental, everything felt just right. And that is the most descriptive way I can put the song. It was still upbeat, so it wasn’t a sudden move between genres, which is also one of the positives to the song. (8/10)

12. I’ll Be There (넌 어때) – The mandatory ballad cannot escape the synthetic synths that were used consistently throughout the album. But there is a strong melody in this song that any other song on the album and their vocals/raps are pretty good in this song. There is a very annoying “Hi” present in the background, which really distracted me from the song. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Review – 7.5/10

Related image
The Clan Part 2.5: The Final Chapter Album Cover