[Album Review] The W (3rd Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

And it is now that time of the week for another album review. Fridays and Sundays are dedicated for the more recent album releases. For example, today we will be diving into Park Ji Hoon’s most recent album release, The W. This is the soloist’s 3rd mini-album since his solo debut last year and it also features the title track, Wing. I have been paying close attention to Park Ji Hoon as his title tracks have been quite dynamic in the past and his albums have been good listens. This one is pretty much the same, so let’s see how it sounds.

The W Album Cover

1. On The Rise – Usually, I do not review the introductory tracks as there are instrumental-based. Sometimes I do comment on them if they do have a uniqueness to them, but I don’t include them in the rating. But any introductory track that consist vocals will contribute to the rating. And On The Rise falls into the latter category. The song features a similar instrumental as the title track (see the review below), just everything is at a very lower tone and slower pace. Park Ji Hoon also uses his deep voice in this song, which reflects well with the instrumental. The deeper tone does give the song a heaviness, but as it is quite short, it comes off as airy, which is ideal for an opener. The catchy ‘Doom Doom Doom‘ from the title track is featured in this track, but the rest of the lyrics are different. (8/10)

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

3. Frequency (주파수) – The start to Frequency was quite promising when I first heard for the first time. Unfortunately, the song just didn’t go in the direction I had wanted with that start. I am a little disappointed about this, but the direction it did end up going in was actually quite good. The song opted for a sleek R&B instrumental, which incorporated a really cool piano and squeaky synth combo instrumental break during the bridge that gave the song unexpected life. Otherwise, I would have said that the song went with a slow burning form of R&B. I also did like the rest of the instrumental, when the piano would peek through and there were some funky synths presents to further add some appealing details to the background. Park Ji Hoon actually sounds pretty good here and I liked when he switches to a rap-speaking delivery for a brief moment. Usually, I want more. But I feel like the song does justice with his vocals, which I felt more drawn to. (9/10)

4. Driving – Another great start to a song on this album. This time around, I didn’t have much expectations for it. So Driving ran its course and at the end, I am naturally reaching for the replay button. The song starts with a slow pop type of vibe. It was interesting to note that they returned to this slow pop vibe throughout the track and I liked that, as if they were reminding us of the song’s roots. But what I really liked about the song the most was the fast tempo chorus. In terms of the tempo and melodies, it is quite different to the how the song started and I liked that contrast. The bass helped it become dynamic and energetic. The song would be perfect for when you are driving with the windows down on a nice bright sunny day. Park Ji Hoon’s vocal was very nice. The rapping was good, but I felt that the producers could have taken that sequence up a notch by giving it some more texture in the instrumental. (9/10)

5. ParadiseParadise combines and mashes different styles, all falling under the realm of EDM. But I think it fits under the house genre, overall. The song seems to play around with texture for a bit. Nothing crazy or concerning, actually relatively tame when you think about it. It starts off with a relatively smooth instrumental and features a very straight forward melody, which made it appeal to those who may want something ‘simple’. The chorus changes up with a more complicated and textural deep house style. At first, the combination of the two seems to not go hand-in-hand, but it slowly grows on you. Unlike the title track, we are eased into the change for a brief few seconds. And this change was minute and didn’t cut the flow of the song, which was an issue in the title track. I liked his husky vocals in this song, which added more texture of the song. (8/10)

5. Let’s Love – It isn’t Summer until you hear some tropical beats in a song. As I have noted in past reviews, it is still in its refreshing stage due to the limited number of tropical 2020 tracks. I do note that the number of these tracks is slowly growing and maybe a few more might remind me of how tiring the genre really is. While that is the current situation for tropical influenced numbers overall, I just don’t hear anything that special with this track to warrant much discussion, apart from the use of piano-like synth in the instrumental. And for that, I find it rather typical sounding. Even Park Ji Hoon’s vocals came off in that manner and probably earns the title for the most skipable track on the album. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

The W Teaser Image

[Review] Wing – Park Ji Hoon

I had somehow missed Park Ji Hoon’s comeback song, Wing, which was released earlier in the week on Monday. I knew he would be coming back sometime this week, but I was under the impression that his comeback would occur mid-week, rather than at the start. I don’t know how I managed to miss a major comeback like Park Ji Hoon’s, especially on a day full of solo male comebacks! So apologies for this unintended delay. His comeback single is featured on his third mini-album, The W. We last saw Park Ji Hoon at the end of last year through his 360 promotions.

Wing, to me, feels like multiple songs were snipped and conjoined together. From the very first second to the rap sequence that opens the second verse, we have 4 different songs mashed into one. And I would have been fine with that, provided that the song progresses along seamlessly. Unfortunately, the transition between the two halves of the verses does not have this quality and I am quite disappointed with it. It felt sudden and unexpected. But other than that transition, the rest of the song was quite fine. Park Ji Hoon showed off his voice throughout this song and this was a strong effort, particularly during the chorus. I did like how he used his signature deep voice for the hook of the song. The ‘Doom Doom Doom‘ was very catchy and addictive. It is probably one of the reasons why I want to continue listening to the song. I still would like to hear more rapping from the soloist, as that is what we know him for from his Wanna One days. It seemed like the song could have included more intense and impactful rap sequences to help bolden the song and give it some additional energy. The chorus had this party anthem-like feel to it, thanks to his shouting-like vocals and melodies that he brings to it. I did want more body to the chorus, to give it that oomph and with a lot more definition. Actually, that can be said across the entire instrumental of Wing. There is this typical feel to it, but I do admit that is comfortably pleasant. Collectively, I don’t think this tops his past two title tracks. But it is a fair effort.

For most of the video, I wasn’t really sure what was going on. Park Ji Hoon seems to be doing quite a fair bit in the video (i.e. driving around in the desert, talking into a microphone, sitting in a cafe). But nothing really made much sense, apart from the end where it looks like he is flying (which is the strongest connection we have, as he sings about his partner giving him wings to fly). I also want to be critical about the set. I don’t know if filming around a time which a ban was put in place (for current circumstances affecting the entire world), but the use of those built sets just cheapens the video and ruins any amazing shots of natural scenery the video had in it. I feel like the video could have been solely filmed in the desert/natural setting and it would have looked cool. The post-production editing for those scenes look quite good as well and they could have used this technique to change up the scenery a bit if they were worried that everythhing would look the same.

I really liked the light tapping to the head for the catchy ‘Doom Doom Doom‘ hook of the song. The song doesn’t give much opportunity for Park Ji Hoon or the dancers to show off any performing chops, if I was to be honest. But I did like the small acrobat-like moves that they pulled off during the performance. They made the stage look more captivating without going over the top.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.2/10

[Album Review] 360 (2nd Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

Park Ji Hoon’s performance for L.O.V.E is nominated for Best Solo Choregraphy in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Park Ji Hoon and your other favourite artists by clicking here to vote.

Between now and the end of the year, there will be three more album reviews (inclusive of this one). The first of the final three 2019 albums to be reviewed this year is Park Ji Hoon’s 360. His title track also shares the same name as the album. This is strong album from the solo artist, further highlighting his potential in the industry. Former co-member of Wanna One, Kim Jae Hwan, also participated in the album by co-writing the lyrics of the final track, Strange. To see what I thought of it, keep on reading!

360 Album Cover

1. I AM (Introductory Track) – Usually, I do not review the introductory track as it tends to be just an instrumental piece of some kind. However, if it contains vocals, I will include it in the review. Based on these criteria, you can tell by now that I AM contains Park Ji Hoon’s vocals. The track kicks off with a soft piano start, before transforming into a full-fledged EDM dance track. I really like his vocals in this song, especially paired with the background vocals and also the way he emphasised the English during the ‘chorus’ of the intro track. I also thought this was a nice and bright lead into the title track, 360. (8.5/10)

2. 360 (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for 360. (9/10)

3. WhistleWhistle takes a brighter approach, reminding the listener of Summer. It is super energetic and the instrumental even contains some subtle island sounds, hence why is suits the hotter months of the year. Park Ji Hoon does a really good job with his vocal work. His rapping, on the other hand, felt a tad too heavy and serious for the upbeat sound. I really liked the chorus of the song, with the ‘Whistle, Whistle now, Oh Oh Oh…’ keyed into my memory bank. I also like the fancy piano bridge we got. But it did feel a little ill-fitting for such a vibrant and energetic sound. But apart from that, it is a good track. (8/10)

4. Hurricane – When I saw a track titled Hurricane, I expected something a little more erratic than a smooth sailing track that Hurricane ended up being like. It isn’t a bad track, but I wish that Park Ji Hoon’s production team would be a little more ambitious with his sound. And besides, I feel like Park Ji Hoon would suit an edgy song. The song included some flute work, which did sound nice. His vocals did feel a little tight and I think it would have been a little nicer to hear some space in his vocals during some parts, especially paired with an easygoing and light-ish sound. I did like the chorus and the odd ad-lib that Park Ji Hoon throws in the background. (8/10)

5. Casiopea (닻별) – It seems like my prayers that I mentioned in the previous song’s review are answered. Casiopea is distinctively different to his previous tracks, throwing a whole heap of that requested edge. It has sharp impact to its sound through its snare drum-like instrumentation. I also really liked how they kept on pushing the song by adding to the instrumental. It helped it develop the song and really gave it a dynamic touch. His voice helped inject a bunch of textures throughout the song, which I thought was really cool. His rapping is also quite unique, very unlike his other tracks. (9/10)

6. Still Love U – The last two tracks on the album are the softer tracks on the whole album. Still Love U still has the upbeat sound to it and I can imagine a nice choreography routine paired to it. I thought the beat was cool and consistent, but the instrumental felt somewhat bland. His focus on vocals really showed in this song. As a rapper, there is a bit of a husky and raspy tone in this song, which really helped the appeal of the track. Given the lyrics, it is a sweet song which I am sure would appeal to fans as well. Overall, not bad. (7.5/10)

7. Strange (이상해) – The final song on the album is Strange. It is an R&B track with sweet lyrics, ending the album on a very positive note. Interestingly, the song doesn’t really get into the ‘strange’ territory. There is the odd quirk with a sudden deep autotune twist at the mid-point of the song and few other smaller sections throughout the song. Park Ji Hoon’s shows off several different vocal technique in this track that showcases his capabilities. But whether he nails it, I am not too sure. I really like the chanting part of the song, which was my favourite bit. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

360 Teaser Image

[Review] 360 – Park Ji Hoon

Park Ji Hoon’s performance for L.O.V.E is nominated for Best Solo Choregraphy in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Park Ji Hoon and your other favourite artists by clicking here to vote.

All of the former Wanna One members (minus Ong Seong Woo, who has focused on acting this year) have made two releases in some capacity in this year. One of the last to join this lineup is Park Ji Hoon, who makes his return today with 360. This is Park Ji Hoon’s first comeback since his debut with L.O.V.E, which occurred back in March. Park Ji Hoon also returned to acting this year through Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency, as well.

The way 360 started off got me intrigued with the song. The instrumental kicks off with a smooth vibe and Park Ji Hoon himself starts off very low. The song ended up developing into a dynamic piece. There seems to be a subtle touch of funkiness in the instrumental during the chorus, which reminds me of solo releases by more well known acts, such as Taemin. Otherwise, it was well produced and a solid dance track overall. I really liked the post-chorus hook. It did sound awkward at first (his pronunciation of one of the words was questionable but it seems the lyrics were ‘take a shot for me‘), but a few extra listens really keyed it into my mind. His vocal work was quite good but I think Park Ji Hoon’s rapping steals the show this time around. It seemed to have a groove to which I thought nicely enhanced the song. Overall, 360 is a cool track.

The music video was really cool. I liked how the music video started off with the shakey closeup, the monotone filter and the flashing lights. And while I don’t like the flashing lights usually, I found them a good link between each scene. Deciphering the video is a little more complicated. From what I could see in the music video, there isn’t too much to go with besides Park Ji Hoon in different places. Based on the information I could find/understand, the video showed Park Ji Hoon at ‘different angles’ and hence this makes sense with the multiple locations. Other than that, I don’t understand what is happening in the video. I would like to know if there are some theories, so do comment below and share your understanding.

Like the song, I thought the performance was very dynamic. For a song titled as 360, the choreography contained a fair amount of turns. It looked elegant and powerful, which is very fitting for the song and the style that Park Ji Hoon went with. I also liked how sleek the chorus looked.

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

[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2019

As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.

Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Q&A – Cherry Bullet

Woowa – DIA

Side Effects – Stray Kids

The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl

Zimzalabim – Red Velvet

Valkirye – ONEUS

No – CLC

Sunrise – GFriend

L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon

I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.

Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!

[Album Review] O’Clock (1st Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

Things are starting to get exciting for the former members of Wanna One. We are currently in the midst of solo debuts from members of the project group (including Yoon Ji Sung, Minhyun and Ha Sung Woon, with Bae Jin Young debuting next week). We also have NU’EST returning and AB6IX debuting shortly. Today, we are here to look at another Wanna One member’s release, Park Ji Hoon’s solo mini-album, O’Clock, which I think is a very promising release. Congratulations to Park Ji Hoon on his Music Bank win a few weeks back, as well. So, let’s definitely start with this closer look at his album.

O’Clock Album Cover

1..The Beginning Of... (Intro Track) – Park Ji Hoon starts off the album with the song that ends his L.O.V.E music video. Despite knowing that he was a rapper during his time as part of Wanna One, I did not expect his voice to be this raspy. That isn’t a bad thing, however, as it gives a nice texture to the opening track. I also like the high pitch moaning at the start of the song (and throughout the song). It gives a unique touch which I quite like. The line ‘The Beginning of New Love’ that Park Ji Hoon sings is a little awkward (I didn’t know that he was singing in English until I saw the lyrics) but other than that, it was a nice opener (and music video end-er). (9/10)

2. UsUs is an R&B track that places a lot of focus on the solo artist’s vocals. I personally do not mind the song but felt it was a weak track. While the song does showcase his voice really well, I couldn’t help think that the instrumental was a little too distant and light during the verses. Usually, I like to think that the instrumental support the vocals in a variety of ways. But in this case, the verses felt bare and lacked a supportive background. For the choruses, this feeling wasn’t there, and it felt like a standard song, which was nice in comparison to the verses. I also felt that Us would benefit from a rap sequence of some kind. I think that could have given a boost to the song and filled up this void that I felt once the song ended. (7/10)

3. L.O.V.E (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for L.O.V.E. (9/10)

4. Would You – Out of all the tracks on the song, Would You was the most colourful. So far (and the few tracks that follow) were quite moody, so it is nice to have a track that has really vibrant and bright colours. The instrumental has this feel-good feel to which and it allowed for Park Ji Hoon’s vocals to sound cheerful for once. We also got some rapping in the track, which I think suits the upbeat nature of the track. The chorus also featured a nice melody and I found it to be quite catchy. I also think the track suits the image that I know of Park Ji Hoon, which has always been youthful since his Wanna One days. (8/10)

5. Dawn Moon (새벽달) – I thought the screech-like synths and Park Ji Hoon’s whispering start was rather cool and opens up this track to be quite promising. And he delivers in this aspect. The verses were standard once again but featured a nice build up to a chorus made up of half vocals and half instrumental. I find this particular order to be somewhat refreshing, I also found the chorus to be quite impactful despite it not being as colourful as other EDM based choruses with hard drops. The drop the song went with felt dynamic upon reflection and really made the song progress along. My favourite part of the song has to be the climax in the bridge. The song needed a peak and I think this was appropriately done in this track. (8/10)

6. Young 20Young 20 is produced by fellow Wanna One member Lee Dae Hwi (who will be debuting in his own group alongside Park Woo Jin very soon!). It is also another vibrant song but it is no way near as colourful as Would You….I really like the layering of vocals and the harmonies that Park Ji Hoon (and the backing vocals) contribute towards. While I did like the vocals a lot, the rapping was equally as good. It gave the song a punch. I could imagine this track with really fun dance choreography, thanks to the instrumental. Altogether, it is very dynamic, which I think allows it to stand out as a promising contender to the title track. And with this track, I am now looking forward to future Park Ji Hoon and Lee Dae Hwi future releases! (9/10)

Overall Album Review – 8.3/10

O’Clock Teaser Image

[Review] L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon

We have another Wanna One member in our midst. After Yoon Ji Sung and Ha Sungwoon, the third member we will be able to meet again through the stage is Park Ji Hoon. Since returning to his original company, Maroo Entertainment, Park Ji Hoon has already accepted an acting role in an upcoming drama and today, made his solo debut with L.O.V.E, which is featured on his first mini-album, O’Clock. Congratulations on the debut and here’s to a great career!

I was interested in seeing how Wanna One’s rapper would handle a solo track and what direction he would take. L.O.V.E is an R&B dance track that manages to pack a punch through the instrumental. It is like it is pulsing but in a very odd fashion. And I find this is a very unique point of the track. This pulsing effect is quite loud in the instrumental but I am surprised how Park Ji Hoon still manages to be hearable on top of it. And now, let’s return to Park Ji Hoon himself. He sounds wonderful in this track. We didn’t hear him sing too much in last year, so that is why I was unsure about the direction the song he ould take. But this was more vocals then rap, which was quite interesting. The rapping was quite good but I really like his vocal moments during the song more.  But that was my thoughts on it. Other than that, this was a very strong debut song and one that I would be coming back for more.

Whoever decided that this mansion was the best place to set the video needs a promotion. It was stunning and extremely majestic. And to really encapsulate the beauty of the setting, great cinematography was employed. I also liked the special effects that were put on top of the video. It gave the music video a magical feel. Throughout the video, he goes looking for his lover, which is extremely fitting for a love confession song. I think he does find what he is seeking for, based on the ending of the video. I did feel like the credits didn’t contribute much of the video and the cute BTS videos of Park Ji Hoon took away from the aesthetics. But it was still a nice video to watch.

I think the choreography for this stage was perfect of the song. It is one of those stages that feels like any changes would just take away from the performance if you know what I mean. I really like the chorus, which I think allowed the solo artist to show his dancing side more.

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