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!
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.
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. Us – Us 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)
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 20 – Young 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)
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