[Album Review] Go Live (4th Mini Album) – ONF

Album reviews will be released daily for the next week so that I can catch up on album reviews and make up for the past week of album reviews that I did not write. 

Today, we will be having a dive into an album review from the start of October. I know that seems like a fairly long time ago, given how we are now at the end of November. But it is a very important album review as all the songs are rocking. ONF released GO LIVE on 7th of October and it features the title track Why (link below). While trying to plan my schedule of album reviews, I was initially going to bypass this album. But upon a closer listen (and I am glad I did), I realized that this album should be skipped. Let’s find out why (pun unintended).

GO LIVE Album Cover

1. Why (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Why. (9.5/10)

2. Asteroid (소행성) – When I listen to Asteroid, I keep on getting throwbacks to Complete, which is what I consider to be their best title track yet. It might be the slight brass we get in the instrumental or the combination of brass and upbeat elements from the chorus that reminds me of that past track. With that in mind, I think there is enough in this track to be a contender for lead single position. It is a fun song that has great energy and feels memorable. I think the vocals are fantastic and the lyrics/melody are quite addictive (so does the ‘No~” repetition). I like how smooth the rapping felt but I think the song would have been enhanced with a more impactful and intense rap sequence. (9/10)

3. All Day (억x억)All Day is a track you would want to put on when you are driving with friends. It just has that inclusive feel that makes it ideal for that setting. The chorus and post-chorus hook feature all the members singing together, which is where the inclusive feeling comes from. The rest of the song is rather light and upbeat, making it perfect for a car ride. The rapping does take it up a notch by making the song a little more explosive towards the end. I liked the development of this track and it is another fun song to listen to. (9/10)

4. Moscow Moscow – How sleek does Moscow Moscow sound? It is my pick of ‘hidden gem’ status on this mini-album, which already contains a handful of amazing songs. Moscow Moscow is like a smooth ballad-like dance track. It is a very captivating track as I don’t think any other KPOP group has ever attempted a song of this nature. There is a subtle level of intensity, which I think makes the song very interesting. And it never develops into a ‘hard-hitting’ track, keeping smooth and calm for the entire 3 and a half minutes run. The song also draws out their vocals and rapping skills, which adds to the success of the track. The latter was exceptionally well done by Wyatt, who voice goes down low impressively. (10/10)

5. Twinkle Twinkle – ONF ends the song by incorporating the widely known nursery rhyme, Twinkle Twinkle, into this song. When you look over the translations of the song, you find the song to be quite cute and sweet. Miles away from the version of ONF we got in Why. I like the beat in this song and even though the song is directed towards me, I can’t help bobbing along and smiling throughout the track. Wyatt departs from his usual hard style of rapping by making his part a little more fun, while the other members sound quite nice and lively. I also like the bright colour that comes from the song. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

GO LIVE Teaser Image

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[Review] Why – ONF

Two major comebacks kick off this week’s comeback rush. The first group is ONF, who is returning with Why. This is the group’s first comeback since the release of We Must Love (released earlier this year). Since then, the group underwent a lineup change after it was revealed that Laun had left the company and the group. From what I can remember, this was announced while the group was confirmed to be preparing for this comeback and I think its pushed the release to a later date as a result. The group have also embarked on an Asian tour as well.

I think Why follows on from We Must Love. A few aspects are different but some are quite similar. While the preceding track was a lot more vibrant in sound, Why felt a lot more heavy and almost held back. I do miss that punchy feel that Complete and We Must Love gave. But despite that, the latest release does have that electro-pop dance style that the group tends to go and I think this was a good move, particularly since I found the past tracks to be very memorable. I thought the vocals were very well polished and I liked the different rapping sequences just before each chorus. Each sequence is different and this gives off a different flair each time. There is a sense of matureness to their song and this is something that makes the group stand out time and time again (for me personally). I also like how the instrumental was keeps changing but it felt liked it was tied together quite well. I did like the energy that the chorus gave the song but I felt like the chorus could have been a step more memorable. This would have made the track perfect for me.

I am not exactly sure if I am meant to watch the teasers that came out in preparation for this comeback (The Signal episodes) in order to understand the complex storyline that is featured in this video. But things got confusing quite quickly. It seems like that is a bit of betraying in the video and also some virtual reality. My guess they all used to be friends but due to the loss of some using virtual reality (which all placed them in different alternative worlds), each member was turned against one another. I think if the scenes were a lot slower, it would have been easier to decode some additional details to aid the interpretation of the video. I do find it interesting and I want to know more about it (maybe a music video theory post?). Everything looked serious and I liked how their use of greyness in the video portrayed this.

Why has a very intense and strong routine, which aligns with the group’s past comebacks. The chorus had a particularly memorable routine, with their moves both snappy and punchy. I also like the lift up they do just before the final chorus, as that looked quite cool.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.1/10

[Album Review] We Must Love (3rd Mini Album) – ONF

ONF made their return to the stage last week with We Must Love. Their mini-album for this particular comeback also share the same name and is the focus of today’s review.  After their impressive mini-album from last year (You Complete Me), I thought it would be nice to have another look at an ONF album. And I quite glad I did because this is another impressive album to add to their discography. Continue reading for my thoughts on the individual songs on the album.

We Must Love Album Cover

1..We Must Love (사랑하게 될 거야) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of We Must Love. (9.5/10)

2. Ice & Fire – Despite being opposites in real life, Ice & Fire comes together to become a very slick song. It is vocally-centred, with the many falsettos showcasing the group’s potential. The song features a very trendy and appealing instrumental that was one half of the reason to why I was drawn to this song. It feels subdued compared to a standard dance track and it results in a smooth vibe, which in turn goes extremely well with the vocals. I also liked the melody of the track. It is refreshing and opens my eyes (or ears in the case of music) to the group even more. (10/10)

3. Yayaya (별일 아냐)Yayaya opens up with strings with what seems to be a bit of tango influence. The pre-chorus switched the song to a modern electronic dance sound, before the chorus returning to show a mixture of the two genres I have identified thus far. I think this is a winning combination as the song sounds amazing. I liked how the vocals stayed within that tango influence regardless of the changes. But what really caught my attention was the rapping for this track. I think the deep voices were wonderful and the way it started off was amazing. It is another track that stands out for all the right reasons. (9/10)

4. Happily Ever After (첫 사랑의 법칙) – I think the track is very passable. I am going to be straight up with the reasoning. It just doesn’t seem to blend in well with the rest of the songs on the album and it feels like it was intentionally hidden between two amazing songs. That being said, there are nice vocals and harmonies in the song. The song also features good rapping. The instrumentation makes way for the song to be similar to a ballad but also allows some choreography to be thrown into the mix. (6.5/10)

5. I DoI Do start off in a similar manner to Happily Ever After, so I had my concerns as the song started to progress through. But it gradually builds up into another dance track that instantly grabs my attention for the strong contrast between the verses and chorus. The verses are much softer, while the chorus goes for a harsh and rough EDM instrumental. But I think we can all agree that from the bridge onwards, the song gets so much better. The autotuned rapping gives the song a unique rough texture and the drop back to the final chorus is one-of-a-kind, ending the song in a way that makes me want to go back for more. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

We Must Love Teaser Image

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[Review] We Must Love – ONF

After their release of an absolute favourite, Complete, ONF has returned with We Must Love, their latest title track. It has been 8 months since the release of the previous track, which has set the bar extremely high in regards to the high quality of the title tracks for the group. Since their last promotions, the group have been relatively quiet with the exception of their Japanese debut back in July 2018 with the Japanese version of On/Off.

We Must Love is not a relatively quiet song, however. In fact, it is a dance track with smashing instrumental. It doesn’t necessarily pop as much as Complete but it has a show-stopping chorus which I am already hooked to. The instrumental for the chorus is staggered in a way that is unique. It is quite profound and the combination with the vocals from the main vocalists definitely makes it a highlight. I also like the piano featured within the verses, which made them feel very different from the chorus. The vocals here are equally as amazing as the chorus. On top of that. I also enjoyed the squeaky post-chorus instrumental hook, which provided the song with energy. But my absolute favourite part of the song has to be the rapping. I thought the instrumental in this section was perfect. I really enjoyed the dramatic buildup and it really highlights the rapper’s voices. We Must Love is a must love song, based on how much I have enjoyed it so far.

I find the music video quite confusing as all the members are all over the place. And I think time travel might be an element within the storyline of the video. The members used to all be part of this group in this futuristic place. But one of the members (the guy wearing the aqua jumper) uses a wrist device to travel to a different time era, to which he runs into himself at the local train station, identifiable by the barcode tattoo. I assume the other members too travel to this other time period in search of the missing member but instead run into his old self, who doesn’t recognise them. That’s my take on the video but I am not too sure. It is still a good video with amazing scenery shot in the video. It is also filmed in Hue, a beautiful city in Vietnam.

Interestingly, the performance video for their comeback has already been released. This is highly unusual due to the fact that the performance video is usually released either a few days or weeks after the actual music video release. But this gives us a great insight into their performance, which looks amazing. The dance break looks really cool and the synchronisation of the performance really makes it stand out even more.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10

[Album Review] You Complete Me (2nd Mini Album) – ONF

For those who notice, there are a select number of artists for whom I will always write an album review for (usually, they are my favourite artists). However, I do give all albums that I can find a listen to see whether they have anything worthwhile to talk about. In my recent hunt, I identified ONF’s 2nd mini-album, You Complete Me, as one with high potential. Hence, why I am writing an album review today (it is also one of the late ones, apologies for the lateness).

You Complete Me Album Cover

1..Complete (널 만난 순간) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Complete. (10/10)

2. Fly Me To The Moon – The song follows up nicely after the title track. It has potential and I see how it attempts to ease us off the high energy from the title track. However, I personally think the track could have been more cohesive if the song was a little more intense. I was really impressed with the rapping in the song, with Wyatt’s deep voice very unexpecting but extremely fitting. I thought the chorus had a good hook. But my favourite bit has to be the bridge, with the slowdown for another Wyatt rap section and the saxophones delivering some flair to the song as well. (8/10)

3. Good Morning (아침)Good Morning is a sweet ballad, fitting for the Summer season. There is a nice melody and the harmonies were quite good. I particularly like the final chorus when ‘everyone’ is singing together, which is something I am liking more and more nowadays. I put ‘everyone’ in quotation marks because I don’t think the rappers participated in the song. And while it was an enjoyable song, when you look at the entire album, this song fails to standout, in my opinion. (7/10)

4. fifty fiftyfifty fifty started off quite soft but knowing that there were some electronic elements in the song, you could tell it was going to build up to become a dance track. And if you thought the verses were promising, then you will be speechless with the chorus, which kicked the song up a notch by providing intensity and energy. Vocal work (particularly the high note) and the rapping were also quite good. My only complaint against the song would be that borderline annoying ringtone sound played throughout the entire song. Other than that, it was a promising song. (9/10)

5. Incomplete (나 말고 다) – Seeing the title of both this song and the title track are opposites, you kind of expect the same thing between the two. And that is what we get. Incomplete is a lot slower and soothing, despite there being a subtle upbeat atmosphere that prevents it falling into the ballad domain. I like the tropical influence during the second half of the chorus and the husky vocals that the song uses. Another element of the song that must be discussed is the lyrics, which are quite saddening (expressing their differences with the rest of the world). Altogether, this song becomes the hidden gem on the album. (9/10)

6. 86400 (스물 네 번) – The group finish off the album with an orchestral ballad. Everyone knows how much of a sucker I am to this type of song, so it definitely ticks the appeal box for me. It features breathtaking vocals, which are shown throughout the entire song. Even Wyatt (the deep voiced rapper) sings through his part! I really liked the build-up of the song and thought the bridge was amazing. The lyrics of the song seem to be reminiscent of memories of a loved one but I am not 100% sure. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

You Complete Me Teaser Image

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[Special] Personal Favourite Songs from the First Half of 2018

With the first 6 months of 2018 officially over, it is time to look back at my personal favourite songs from the first half. Last week, I recapped the top songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts. But some songs that I personally liked didn’t really make that list. So here are 15 songs released over the last 6 months that are my personal favourites AND continually listen to (irrespective of the charts and the reviews – as opinions do change).

[Review] Complete – ONF

With the recent news that the supposed male group formed through YG Entertainment’s MIXNINE was not going ahead, a number of the groups associated announced their long-awaited comeback. ONF is the youngest boy group under WM Entertainment, who made their debut last year with ON/OFF. After a 10 month period, the group has returned with their second mini-album (You Complete Me) and the title track, Complete.

I really liked the song for a number of reasons. Complete was extremely energetic and upbeat, which really gets to you (in a good way). From the start, it felt like we were thrown into a very active and enjoyable party. The song takes on the tropical route but it has some elements that make it unique. Starting off with the chorus, I really liked the vocals within the first line. That already won me over to begin with (I am easily pleased) and I enjoyed expecting it every time the chorus was due to occur.  But what really kicks the song up a notch is the brass tune that really bumps the energy up. Honestly, it was quite un-expecting. However, it made the song stand out for me and I enjoy replaying the song just for that part. I pretty much liked the muffled effect that brought the bridge into play and the EDM drops just before the final chorus, while also maintaining that same tune. Overall, the song is pretty much A+ and this is exactly why I will continue coming back to it.

I am not exactly sure what is going on in the video. It seems to be just shots of the guys having fun. But I wasn’t sure where the crashed plane parts were meant to fit in. Despite that however, the music video does help enhance the song. I don’t know because visually the video doesn’t account too much (from what I can interpret from it). It might be because the editing for the video is done so to match the song perfectly, which is why I think it does a really good job at complimenting the song.

I like how there was still a playful routine within the strict boundaries of the set moves in the performance. And while the members look physically tired here, the group definitely enjoys being on stage. I really liked the footwork when the brass hook kicks in and the start of the final chorus (connection from the bridge). Really nice performance, overall.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9.5/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10

[Review] On/Off – ONF

It is time to turn on our listening devices as, ONF is entering the Korean music scene. They come from WM Entertainment, which is the same company that brings us B1A4 and Oh My Girl. The 7-member boy group officially debuted on the 1st of August (last Tuesday) with their mini-album, which shares the same title as the title track, On/Off.

On/Off is a pretty good song but it leaves me with mixed feelings. Some of these parts I find quite nice, while some of them aren’t that appealing. That is the major issue with songs that usually mash multiple styles together. Just this song does keep it consistent and that is one thing I am thankful for. I totally dig the vocals parts of the song. They blend nicely together and felt the most consistent overall. Actually, the first half of the track, I was pleased with the overall sound. The chorus was catchy and attracted my attention. It is the second half that gets me having second thoughts about the song. There was a nice build up but the raps leave that build-up hanging (i.e. there was no drop, which left me feeling quite frustrated)  and it makes the rest of the song feel disjointed, while completely changing up the fun vibes that came from the song (though the fun vibes were later returned to). The raps were decent but my main issue with the song was how they were placed into the song. But overall, it was a nice song for a debut that attracted my attention with its upbeatness and vibrant colour.

I haven’t watched the music video for their debut yet (I know, I am crazy!). So essentially, everything I write here will be my first impressions. I literally have no idea what storyline they were going for. Something about space was the most I got out it. The guys were aliens and attracted the attention of Earth, who sent a pretty human astronaut? I honestly have no idea! Watching it a few times and I am still confused. For a brand new group, the video was amazing in terms of visual quality. The sets looked cool and interesting. The vibrant colours and the smiles that you could see on the member’s faces reflected well with the song.

The choreography was pretty cool Once again, nothing mind blowing but it went well with the track. There were some highlights, such as that ending routine. Though it was impressive. But what impressed me more was the fact regarding how in sync they were with each other.

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