[Album Review] Heng:garæ (7th Mini Album) – SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN achieved the title of ‘million seller’ with the release of their seventh mini-album, Heng:garæ, which features the title track, Left & Right. Congratulations to the group! For those who may not know what ‘million seller’ refers to, it is the title given to a group who sells over a million copies of their album within the first week of its release. The only other group to achieve this feat is BTS, who has done so with three of their most recent album releases including Map of the Soul: 7 which was released earlier this year (which makes SEVENTEEN the second group to achieve this feat this year!). It is definitely exciting for the group and for the fans who support SEVENTEEN! And this makes diving into this album more thrilling, so let’s get listening!

Heng:garæ Album Cover

1. Fearless – Kicking off the album is Fearless and it makes sure the album starts off with a strong one. Fearless is quite heavy, unlike other songs that start off an album in a lighter manner. But a strong song can result in a bold entrance, which is the case we have here. When I listened Fearless for the first time, the song felt like it was swinging at you, as if the members were fearless of whatever was holding them back. It had nice momentum, vocals and raps. It also felt very clean and organized, which was quite appealing to me. There was potential for it to be a title track. Fearless also incorporated some of Fear (their previous title track) melodies during the bridge, but they change the lyrics to show the difference between the Fear and the Fearless. It caught me off guard at first. And now I consider it to be the killing part of the song. (9/10)

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

3. I Wish (좋겠다)I Wish reminds me of those KPOP ballads we used to get on albums in the past. It was all about a one-sided crush, how they yearn to confess to their crush and how lonely they feel as the days past. Pretty much a cliché topic to sing about. Aside from the sprinkling of nostalgia that I Wish does give off, I don’t find the pop ballad to be that special and I haven’t fallen for it. I find everything (melodies, vocals, raps) in the song to be good, but that is the extent that I would give it. There were two parts that did perk my interest, but it didn’t do enough. First was the layering of Wonwoo’s rapping and everyone singing and second is the synthesizer (I think it was synthesizer) used in the instrumental break towards the end of the song. (7/10)

4. My MyClick here to read the full review for My My. (8/10)

5. Kidult (어른 아이)Kidult has more of a kick to it, thanks to the use of the band instrumentation, which gives off pop-rock ballad vibe. It feels and sounds a lot more captivating than I Wish. It is a lot more suitable and refreshing for the Summer season. The song is all about being a kid and adult, or at times, a mixture of both (hence the title). And it seems like their lover has the same issue and the members are telling them to embrace it. Their vocals were very fitting for this style and that is definitely apparent throughout the song. DK’s ad-libs and high pitch vocals were on point. The rap-singing was a good choice, giving the rappers a chance to fit into the song. The melodies were great, and I had the swaying effect come to me while listening to the song (which is a positive determinator in my level of enjoyment of the song). (9/10)

6. Together (같이가요)Together is all about being together no matter what. And like how it feels like a more upbeat version of Kidult and has an OST type of vibe to it. I like the classical instrumentation that is mixed into the upbeat band instrumentation. This entire track is very foot-tapping worthy (another positive determinator in my level of enjoyment). I find their vocal work in this song to be the best on this album (DK is definitely shaping to be my new favourite main vocalist), with my favourite parts was when all the members would sing together at the end of the chorus. I liked the inclusive atmosphere that comes about in those sections and from this song, overall. The inspirational feel was also a plus, thanks to the members’ delivery of the lyrics. What a positive way to end the song. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

Heng:garae Teaser Image
Heng:garæ Teaser Image
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[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourites Songs from 1st Half of 2020

2020 has proven to be an eventful year so, without a doubt. But since we are at the halfway mark already, let’s have a little reflection post on the last 6 months. In no particular order, here are 10 of my personal favourite KPOP releases since the start of 2020. I have also added some of my favourite sidetracks that I have encountered so far in the year as part of my top 10. This is also irrespective of my reviews and Weekly KPOP charts posts.

[Review] Left & Right – SEVENTEEN

Giving us directions into this week is SEVENTEEN. The 13 member male group makes their grand return comeback with their 7th mini-album, Journey of Youth or Heng:garæ, and the title track Left & Right. Alongside Left & Right, the group also pre-released My My (which I reviewed already). In the My My review, I said that Us, Again was another pre-release track for this new mini-album. But upon the album’s release, I see that this single is not part of their 7th mini-album and is just a fan single (with no formal release aside from the lyric video they dropped a few weeks back). Aside from that little note, let’s see where SEVENTEEN is going to take us with this release.

SEVENTEEN has been focusing on very mature and dark sounds over their last few releases. As it is Summer time in South Korea, the group’s new single takes on a more energetic and upbeat feel to suit the season full of bright energy and colour. Left & Right takes on a modern hip-hop sound, a different style to what SEVENTEEN has released before. This might because SVENTEEN had retained that mature sound from their previous comebacks, whilst infusing it with a brighter sound. And it is because of this that I find Left & Right is unlike their previous Summer tracks, such as Oh My or Aju Nice, which each had a teenage vibe to it. And unlike those tracks, I find the the dynamic profile of this song to be well hidden in the music. What I like already about the song is that everything comes off as easygoing. From the light instrumentation to the laid-back nature of the hooks and melodies, SEVENTEEN really makes sure we are not overwhelmed in any way, making this an ideal Summer track to kick back to. And to match with this approach, their vocals and rapping are not overly dominate in the song as well. Everything just feels well-balanced and I liked that. Sure, Left & Right doesn’t have their most impressive vocal and rapping delivery to date, but their easygoing tone really appeals to me. The song’s main appealing point has to be its casual hook. Its presence in the teaser already sold me this comeback, but to hear it in full with the rest of the song really adds that more melodic touch to it. I am thoroughly enjoying this song and I can definitely tell it will be one that I will be replaying in the weeks to come.

The song is all about doing what you believe in. And I think the video does a good job presenting that. Take the race as an example. The old man starts the race off with the gun and seems to represents all the grownups that tell you what you should and should not do. Seungkwan seems to be the only one who listens and runs off, while all the other members stayed back and danced. When Seungkwan stops running, he is faced with two signs – ‘Early bird catches the worm‘ and ‘Youth can change everything‘. They don’t spark happiness in him, as you can tell with this facial expressions. Those signs talk all about being successful and don’t really tell you much about growing up and learning from your mistakes. The members burn a book about becoming successful and a trophy to go against becoming successful and perfect. The graffiti on the wall says to ‘Do Your Best’, but the members respond with ‘But maybe not sometimes‘ to say that it is okay regardless of the outcome. The biggest moment of the music video is when the members run into the dilemma of going left or right. Joshua instead doesn’t follow the two paths that are set and redirect the arrows to go up (i.e. doing what you believe in). As S.Coups is the oldest, it is logical he would go up first. He is strapped into car pretending to be like a rocket ship, which only goes up. Lift off was okay, but the car explodes and end up going back down, signifying failure. I final scene where S.Coups get out of the car and starts dancing represents that is whatever the outcome of a choice you make is, everything will be okay.

I really like how the choreography really brought that fun aspect to the performance. It just makes the stage so much more engaging and appealing to watch. I think the chorus looks like one of those that will go onto becoming viral and everyone will be dancing along to it. I also like how the performance related to the song’s easygoing vibe and didn’t incorporate anything complex looking, which obviously wouldn’t work well. I say this because SEVENTEEN is notorious for difficult dance moves.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10

[Review] My My – SEVENTEEN

Yesterday, we were treated to a surprise by SEVENTEEN. The 13-member male group unexpectedly released a music video for My My, ahead of their upcoming June comeback which has been scheduled for the 22nd of June. It seems like everyone was caught off guard with this release as there was no indication of it. I actually thought My My was going to be the groups title track. So it begs the question, what will the actual comeback be like? Until the 22nd, we won’t know. But I can quickly sit down and review this release, as we have both song and music video (and a little choreography – but I won’t cover this) present for a decent review to be written. The group also released a lyric video for Us, Again earlier in the week as well (but as this is no music video, I will not be reviewing it). Let’s get reviewing.

While we are pretty much unsure about what their title track is going to be like, My My serves as a nice introduction to whatever is about to come. I find the song plain and typical sounding, but it doesn’t give off a boring feeling. Rather, it is a versatile song that can precede many others and hence why I think it is a nice introduction. The island/synth based instrumentation was easy going and carefree vibe, which helped it make appealing. It is quite heavy on the beats, but there was a light component to the song which makes it perfect for the Summer season. It is bright and it brings a smile to my face even during the stressful moments of the last two days. What more do you need to ask for? Vocally, I thought it was a strong effort. There were some great moments on the vocal front, such as Woozi’s part in the first verse (never heard him like this before), Vernon and S.Coup’s rapping sequence and the entire bridge section of the song. The chorus has a mildly catchy melody that really felt suitable for this Summery track. While the song comes off as quite likable, it is best serve as a pre-release track only. It just doesn’t have the chops to be a title track, but it is a refreshing number to help kick start the countdown to a new era of Seventeen’s career.

I only paid attention to some of the teasers which gave us a behind the scenes look at the the music video set. It revolves around a flying ship, which the members are travelling on to different places. And this relates to the individual journeys that they are taking (i.e. being oneself and going their way) that they reference in the lyrics. As for what they are doing, it seems to be all fun and games when they park their flying ship. The only person who seems to doing something a little more than hanging out is Vernon, who is making some sort of orange jam. Not sure what it is, but Jun and Joshua seem to be very intro it, as if they are addicted to it. It might just be an orange jam, but it could be something a little more suspicious. This, in turn, could link up to their next music video. That is something I do wonder, if elements of this video pops up in their next music video. But we will find out soon. Overall, it is a nice video that suits the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10

Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Album Review] Love & Letter (Repackaged) (1st Studio & Repackaged Album) – Seventeen

For this week’s past album review (PARs), we will be focusing on Seventeen. The group has released three studio albums so far. And so far, I have only reviewed their two most recent ones, Teen, Age and An Ode. Today I review both their first studio album, Love & Letter, and their repackaged followup, Love & Letter (Repackaged). Both were released in 2016 respectively. Pretty U features as the title track of the first studio album, which earned the group their very first and second music show awards. The repackaged album features Very Nice, which is probably one of my favourite songs in KPOP ever. Also featuring on the album are unit versions of Adore U, Mansae and Shining Diamond, which are all promotional tracks prior to the release of this album. For this review, I have included all three songs in review as each unit spun them in a different way, creating three different and (to a degree) new songs. Let’s see what the albums has to offer.

1. No F.U.NNo F.U.N is a hip-hop dance track featuring tribal-like drums as the ‘main’ instrument piece in the instrumentation of the song. There is a bit more of the instrumental as well, such as short trumpet like sounds and what seems to be wooden sticks in the background. But like what the title of the song suggests, the song is not that much fun. In fact, I find it too serious sounding for my liking. It felt like so at the time of the album’s release and that the feeling somehow just has stuck with me over the years. Even with Seventeen now opting for more mature and serious sounding songs, I would find the song to be very bland and plain as it doesn’t offer that level of excitement that all Seventeen’s songs have. The rappers do shine in this song, but it definitely not a standout performance from the group. (6/10)

2. Very NICE (아주 NICE) (Title Track) – Once upon a time, I gave this song a 9/10 ranking. Over the years, I grown to really like every element of the song so much that it has become one of my most replayed songs of all time. It is only right that I give it a 10/10 rating now. Click here for the full review for Very NICE. (10/10)

3. Healing (힐링) – Following the very epic Very NICE is a very bright and fun Healing. While the song doesn’t technically continue the momentum of the title track of the repackaged album, there is a very upbeat and robustness to Healing’s instrumentation that feels just right in this song. The dynamic drums and strumming guitar come together to give off the strong summery vibes in which the song thrives on. The vocal work and rapping feels very energetic and is another factor why the song sounds so addictive. I find that this song is super powerful in the current times as I write this review, mainly because we all cannot travel and go on holiday in this physical distancing and isolation lifestyle we all now live. Overall, a great song. (8/10)

4. SIMPLE (Woozi Solo) – The next song is SIMPLE and it features Woozi, the leader of the vocal team. And it is my favourite side-track off the new songs added to the repackaged album. There is a really breezy melody that makes the song so enjoyable. The instrumental is also quite nice and soothing, despite it being quite upbeat. Instead of opting for a ballad styled song, Woozi uses a band sound that can be describe as more suitable for the youthfulness that the album pushes for and this gives off a more epic vibe. It also brings out Woozi’s voice, which we don’t often hear in the group releases as those tracks are often shared with 13 members. (9/10)

5. Space (끝이 안보여) Space features only a handful of the group, namely the Hip Hop unit of Seventeen (S.Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu and Vernon) and also DK. I don’t much to say about this song other than it sounds like your standard pop song. There were good melodies in the song from all members who participated in the song, which helped make the song flow quite nicely. The rappers handled the verses well, while DK’s chorus was neat. The song just doesn’t really give me much to speak about, nor do I find it to be a memorable track on the album. (7/10)

6. Chuck (엄지척) – I remember Chuck to be the song which the group promoted alongside Pretty U. The song’s instrumental was very iconic, as it contrasted strongly with the album’s sweeter and almost cutesy tone. It was a mix between hip-hop and the cliché EDM of the time. Another aspect that I thought was strong was the chorus of the song. It also felt very iconic, though for a different reason at first. Based on the way it was paced, I was very surprised that they actually formed a proper sentence. It may sound a little ignorant, but I thought they were sounding out onomatopoeia vocabulary for the longest time, until I had that revelation. The combination that formed the chorus came out to be memorable and showed the members with a different sound (at the time), which they hadn’t attempted before. (8/10)

7. Pretty U (예쁘다) (Title Track) – My original review contain an overall rating of 7/10. Reading over my comment and my current thoughts about the song, I have decided to up the rating to a 9/10. Click here for the full review for Pretty U. (9/10)

8. Still Lonely (이놈의 인기)Still Lonely is the second track on the repackaged album to feature a handful of the members including Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Vernon and Dino. The song appeals me to me as it still feels fresh. It does feature that generic pop sound once again, but it easily overshadowed with the random synths, small details in the instrumentation and the song’s memorable section. In my opinion, the song’s memorable moment has to be the pre-chorus. Hoshi and Dino’s pre-chorus delivery was filtered with autotune, which I thought contributed to an interesting texture and melody to the otherwise smooth pop song. (7.5/10)

9. Popular Song (유행가)Popular Song is more of a mix between pop and ballad, rather than just pop which the lyrics of the song keeps on referring to. It is a good song. Majority of the song takes the form of a ballad. The instrumentation is predominately piano-based and has this slow tempo, which are key characteristics of most ballads. But the chorus takes the song on a different route. It starts off with that ballad-like approach, but the second half of the chorus ups the tempo to be more a subdued pop track. I thought this was an interesting change up for the song, so it doesn’t fall into that too consistent category. The bridge brings an epic vibe to the song, which doesn’t necessary fit into any of the two sides of the song, hence incorporating another interesting change up the song. Overall, I thought it a nice track with some intriguing twists. (8/10)

10. Say Yes Say Yes is a ballad duet between DK and Seungkwan. It features no interesting changes, like in the preceding track. It stays in ballad mode for the entire four-minute span. I thought it was a really beautiful sounding ballad. It starts off as a piano based ballad, but it slowly incorporates classical instrumentation to help drive the song forward and create a pleasant atmosphere. No doubt complimenting the instrumentation is are the really soothing vocals of the two vocalists. My favourite moments is when they harmonise together, which caught my attention during my relisten in order to review the album. I just wished the melodies were a little more memorable, which would have made the song perfect. (9/10)

11. Drift Away (떠내려가) Drift Away features the remaining members who were not part of Still Lonely (S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Mingyu, The8 and Seungkwan). I thought this song was very pleasant. It is the type of song I would play to chill after a busy yet cheerful day. There is a feel-good vibe to the song, which I think will help serve the purpose of winding down after such a day. It features an instrumental predominately made of acoustic guitar amongst other instruments, which entering into the chorus really gave the song an upbeat appeal. Unlike Still Lonely, the highlight of Drift Away comes during the chorus, courtesy of The8. His section was undeniably the catchiest part of the song, in my opinion. (8/10)

12. Adore U (아낀다) (Vocal Team Version) Adore U was the group’s debut title track, for those who don’t know. Given Seventeen’s style, the song was a pop dance track. The vocals team (Woozi, Joshua, Jeonghan, DK and Seungkwan) put the song into ballad mode, which I think is very fitting for the unit. But it felt a little cliché as well. I did like how they didn’t make it into the type of ballad that is rather still. There is a flowy melody that gets you to sway along to the music, which makes the song enjoyable. I thought the bridge of this version was quite nice, with Jeonghan and Joshua’s breathy tone and DK’s beautiful high note. (8/10)

13. Mansae (만.세) (Hip-Hop Team Version) – The hip-hop unit’s rendition of Mansae, now Monday To Saturday, was probably the most interesting of the three. Both in theory and with what they ended up presenting us with. Aside from the familiar and main chorus hook of the original song, everything else is the song has changed. The lyrics, the melodies, everything. And I don’t feel too good about it. I am not saying that by changing the entire song, they didn’t hit the brief. I would be surprised if they didn’t change any of the lyrics, as that would result in something that finishes up quite quickly. I am just disappointed that in their rendition of Mansae, everything was oddly light and lacked energy. Their rapping was good, but it just felt bland over the light instrumentation. By far the weakest track on the album, in my opinion. (5/10)

14. Shining Diamond (Performance Team Version) – The Performance Team is more well known for their impressive choreographies. So, it comes with no surprises that their version of Shining Diamond was more of a remix that gave the song more of a dance influence. They do this by incorporating synths that we see common in EDM for dancers to do perform to. They remix vocals and the original instrumentation. Frankly, I would say this is cheating. But it works for the unit to make the song their own. Talking about vocals a moment ago, they retained some of the original vocals as well, allowing the unit to focus on what they do best. (8/10)

15. Love Letter (사랑쪽지) – We end the album with Love Letter, which was very easy to get into. It is a song for the fans and I thought it was a very sweet song to listen to. The melodies were very upbeat. I liked the percussion/clapping that featured as part of the chorus. It gave the song an interactive front, which I quite liked. Each member shined in this song. But it is undeniable that the main member in the limelight as result of the song is Wonwoo, who had his first (if I am not mistaken) vocal lines during the bridge. I feel like this was a great song to end the album with. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

Love & Letter (Repackage) Teaser Image

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

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

Wish On The Same Sky – MONSTA X

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

You Can’t Hold My Heart – MONSTA X

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

Fallin’ Flower – SEVENTEEN

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

100 Ways – Jackson (GOT7)

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

Revival – CIX

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

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist-Based Categories

It is that time of the year again where I announce the winners for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. In December 2019, I allowed the audience (you all), once again, to vote for their favourite songs and artists for the December 2018 to November 2019 period. Thank you to all who voted and particpated in the KPOPREVIEWED Awards this time around. Even more people voted this year, making this year more intense than ever in many categories. This post will focus on the artist-based categories, which will involve the New Artist categories, Elemental-focused (i.e. rap, vocals etc.) categories and Best Artist categories. The winners for the artist categories will be posted in an accompanying post today, while the Top 100 songs of 2019 will be posted tomorrow.

Here is how things are going to work. Each category (aside from the non-fan voted categories, which are specified) will have a WINNER (the song/performance/video that ranked first), a Honourable Mention (the song/performance/video that ranked second) and a KPOPREVIEWED Choice (my personal choice if I voted, which I didn’t include this year). And let’s go!

Best New Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Ha Sung Woon, HUTA (Lee Min Hyuk – BTOB), Kang Daniel, Kim Jae Hwan.

WINNER – Baekhyun (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Kang Daniel
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – HUTA (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB)

Best New Female Soloist

Nominees: Hwasa (Mamamoo), Jeon Somi, Kim Ji Yeon (Kei – Lovelyz), Oh Ha Young (APINK), Sulli

WINNER – Hwasa (Mamamoo)
Honourable Mention – Sulli
KPOPREVIEWED – Hwasa (Mamamoo)

Best New Male Group

Nominees: AB6IX, CIX, ONEUS, TXT, X1

Honourable Mentions – ONEUS

Best New Female Group


Honourable Mention – EVERGLOW

Best Band

Nominees: DAY6, FT Island, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE

Honourable Mention – N.Flying

Best Vocals

Nominees: AKMU, Brown Eyed Girls, Chen (EXO), IU, Mamamoo

Honourable Mention – Chen (EXO)

Best Raps

Nominees: J-Hope (BTS); Jackson (GOT7); Mark (NCT); Ravi (VIXX); Zico

Honourable Mention – Zico

Best Subunit

Nominees: Block B Bastarz; EXO-SC, Jus2, NCT 127, NCT Dream

Honourable Mention – NCT 127

Artist With Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Seventeen (5x)

Rising Star

Nominees: ATEEZ, CLC, N.Flying, UP10TION, VICTON

Honourable Mention – CLC

Most Underrated Artist of 2019

Nominees: A.C.E, Dream Catcher, LOONA, ONF, Pentagon

WINNER – Dream Catcher
Honourable Mention – Pentagon

Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), Nam Woohyun (Infinite), Taemin (SHINee), Yesung (Super Junior), Zico

WINNER – Taemin (SHINee)
Honourable Mention – Zico
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Nam Woohyun

Best Female Soloist

Nominees: Ailee, Kim Chungha, IU, Park Bom, Sumni, Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention – Kim Chungha
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Chungha

Best Male Group

Nominees: ASTRO, ATEEZ, BTS, DAY6, EXO, GOT7, iKON, MONSTA X, NCT, NU’EST, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, Stray Kids, The Boyz, WINNER

Honourable Mention – BTS, ATEEZ
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Stray Kids

Best Female Group

Nominees: (G)I-DLE, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, IZ*ONE, LOONA, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Honourable Mention – Red Velvet, Mamamoo
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Oh My Girl

And that brings us to the end of the Artist-Based Categories for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t seen the Song-Based Categories yet, click here.

Tomorrow, we will get to see which artist ranked on the Top 100 of the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Charts, where the song that ranks first becomes the ‘Best Song of 2019’. Remember this is decided based on the votes for Best Song of 2019 (50%) and the Weekly KPOP Charts that I post every Sunday (50%). You can find out by clicking here (hyperlink will be updated once the post is published).

[Special] My Favourite Performances from the 2019 End Of Year Music Festivals

At the end of each year, the three major broadcasting companies in South Korea (SBS, KBS and MBC) organises and broadcast a very fruitful and dynamic music festival, bringing together the top KPOP acts of the year. 2019 is no exception and with a year as busy as 2019, it is often quite hard to get invited to these festivals. And with each show running for a couple of hours, different stages/performances/remixes of the year’s hits and one-of-a-kind collaborations, it is often hard to keep up with these festivals. Today, I have decided to organise a list of performances from each of these three festivals that I thought were excellent, different and worthwhile in checking out. I have done this before but over the years dropped it as I had very little time. Now that I have some time on my hand, I thought I return to this segment for the 2019 festivals.

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

When we talk about the SBS Music Festival, we need to address the issue of safety. After all, it costed Red Velvet full group promotions for their Psycho comeback, due to injuries sustained by Wendy due to the unsafe nature of SBS stage. We did manage to get one full lineup of the group performing Psycho on stage as it was pre-recorded. because of that, I put Red Velvet’s Psycho performance on my list of favourite performances from that day. Other performers also had falls on the SBS stage, from what I remember reading. Other stages at stood out for me were:

  • Stray Kid’s Miroh – I did not know how Stray Kids could top Miroh’s intensity by rearranging the performance to be even more intense.
  • NCT Dream’s Boom & NCT 127’s Superhuman – Both tracks had a really cool dance addition to it. On top of that, we got to see the same ‘switching of jackets’ that Mark did at the 2018 SBS Music Festival between Dream and 127’s performance. Only this time, it was Haechan!
  • Oh My Girl’s Bungee (X-mas Version) – Always good to have a X-mas themed remix on Christmas Day. It made Bungee, an already vibrant and colourful track, more suitable for the season.
  • Mamamoo’s Gogobebe – The rock remix for this performance was superb.
  • Seventeen’s Home and Snapshoot – We got to see a warmer side of the group and the more joyful side, especially after all the darkness we got from HIT and Fear.
  • TWICE’s Medley of Tracks – I really liked the band element to their performance and how they tweaked the concept for Fancy and their more light hearted tracks. I just wished the band was DAY6 (where is DAY6 in all of these festivals), which would have made the performance even more worthy of a view.
  • BTS’s Dionysus – I have always been a fan of BTS’s darker side. This performance is a return this side, which I greatly appreciate.

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

I personally did not have much interest in the KBS Music Festival as I thought the stage looked really bad and the camera work wasn’t the best. This wasn’t also the only problem that occurred that same night. APINK’s %% performance was cut short, disappointing fans, APINK and viewers in general. If I were to choose one standout stage, it would have Golden Child’s Wannabe stage. Their dance intro was very good and showed off intensity that was aligned with their new look/concept. And I really liked how smooth the transition between dance intro and actual song was. Only a few toehr performances caught my attention and they include:

  • Song Gain’s Introductory song – Song Gain, for those who don’t know is a trot singer that trended this year. For Song Gain’s performance, she managed to incorporate all artists into her song, which I think would be a challenge.
  • NU’EST Love Me – It wasn’t so much their choreography or song that caught my attention. But I thought the raised stages for the end really highlighted the good parts of their overall choreography, providing what could be said as an epic end to their stage.
  • ASTRO’s All Night + Blue Flame – I was waiting for ASTRO to do All Night in some capacity during these festivals. But with Moonbin out of action, it seems like the group would opt for the 5-member Blue Flame instead. So automatically, ASTRO’s stage for All Night alone would make this list. Blue Flame ended up being very epic as well, which is why their entire segment is on this list.
  • Oh Ha Young, Joy and Yerin Mr. Mr. collaboration – I haven’t heard this song for some time now and I really enjoyed this throwback. Also surprised that they covered the entire song, which usually isn’t the case.

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

MBC’s Music Festival is one to always watch. Their stages always have a look that shows that they have been planning for a while. The collaborations for this festival are always something to talk about. And why not watch it live as the year goes out! There is nothing like ending 2019 and start 2020 with KPOP! However, the MBC Music Festival was also plagued with an early termination issue. This time around the victim was Kim Jae Hwan, who only got to perform Nuna (he should have performed The Time I Need as well. For standout performance, I am putting down ASTRO and Oh My Girl’s creepy and jazzy cover of IU’s Red Shoes. It was different and colourful. Other stages to check out:

  • Stray Kid’s Side Effects – Another intense song that they managed to upgrade and make darker. The creative minds that put together these stages for Stray Kids are killing it (and need a pay rise instantly).
  • Seventeen & Mamamoo Collaboration – Two of my favourite groups have come together to form one dream team. And this was such an amazing stage.
  • Seventeen’s HIT – Mingyu shouldn’t be playing with fire. It is dangerous. But one epic opener to the stage. Also, somehow Seventeen managed to insert a dance break in the midst of the stage, which I think earns a mention at the very least.
  • Hyuna’s Flower Shower – Her choreography is essentially the same as the one she performed in the past. But the chorus instrumental is changed slightly, which I thought made the stage a lot cooler for the end of year festival.
  • Taemin’s Move & Famous – MBC’s Music Festival had a theme, The Chemistry. And you can’t have a theme about Chemistry without Taemin. While he didn’t do anything special to Move‘s stage, his dance alone is already 100% fitting for a ‘Chemistry’ themed music festival.
  • (G)i-DLE’s Lion – Another reason to why we need to look out for this girl group is their special stages. Lion is practically a game changer for the group.
  • Lovelyz’s Beautiful Day – I really like their ballad start to their stage and how they built it back up to the original song in an effortless manner.

[Album Review] An Ode (3rd Studio Album) – SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN returned on Monday during the week with Fear. Channelling their more mature, dark and fierce sides, Fear follows the like of HIT (which is included in this album) and Getting Closer (released at the end of last year). The group is about to embark on their first world tour and the only fitting way to do that is by releasing their third studio album, which is why we are here today. SEVENTEEN’s albums have been a hit for me, so let’s see how this one will play out.

An Ode Album Cover

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

2. Lie Again (거짓말을 해) – Between the two amazing lead tracks of the album is Lie Again. It is a surprising addition, as it is very soft and delicate, quite the opposite to both HIT and Fear in any way. The focus on the vocals is amazing and I really enjoyed how the rappers were tweaked to fit this soft song. I thought the electronic instrumental was stunning, going with a similar aesthetic to what Home had (their title track at the start of the year). It was also very dynamic in its own way and paired well with the vocals and rapping we got in this song, it is a gem waiting to be discovered by listeners and their fans. My favourite part is the chorus, with the ‘drop’ a subtle explosion of energy. (10/10)

3. Fear (독) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Fear. (8/10)

4. Let Me Hear You Say – The album continues with another fantastic song. Let Me Hear You Say starts off like any other song. But as the song progresses, you start to hear the song develop. The chorus is completely unexpected, going with a chanting style rather than vocals which dominate the verses. I find the chorus to be like the chorus in Lie Again. There is an explosion of appeal during the chorus of this song that makes it so appealing. The chanting style was very catchy as well, which made it hard to turn away. Energy is still present in this song, but I am kind of glad it wasn’t as intense as Fear, as it would have been an overload. Let Me Hear You Say is kind of the relief that I didn’t know I needed. (9/10)

5. 247 (Performance Unit) – Now we are getting to the other important stuff. The units make their reappearance in this album through a series of tracks. The first one up is 247, sung by the main dancers of the group. It is interesting because I had expected to hear something a lot more upbeat and intense, like Highlight and Lilili Yabbay (their previous unit tracks). I didn’t expect an R&B track from them which really let their vocals shine. They all sounded amazing. But this isn’t a departure from what they do best, as 247 has a dance routine, which has a routine that is equally as beautiful. Like their routine, I find the song to be smooth, elegant and very well-polished. (9/10)

6. Second Life (Vocal Unit) – The next unit up is the vocal unit, which consists of the main and lead vocalists of the group. While I remember them for ballads, it seems like the units are changing expectations by going with different styles. There is more life in this track, in comparison to their heartfelt ballads. I attribute that to their instrumental, which I thought was very cool. It was simple but intense at the same time. It does allow for their soothing vocals to come through, so I can draw some parallels between Second Life and their past ballad unit tracks. I also find the song to be very relaxing. It is something I wouldn’t mind putting on the background and work along with it. Woozi’s randomly higher note does catch you off guard but the song (and the unit) does a good job of recomposing you and getting the track back on track. (9.5/10)

7. Network Love – We take a little breather from the units by introducing a different unit track. Network Love is sung by Joshua, Jun, The8 and Vernon. I don’t think this is an official unit from the group and is a one-off track with the four members. I find that Joshua, Jun and The8 don’t get to shine as often in the title or group tracks. So, Network Love changes that by putting all three members (and Vernon) in the spotlight. Listening to the track, I feel like this is something the Performance unit would perform to but it would have been a good sound for the vocal unit to try something a little different. Their vocals sound nice and the instrumental was bubbly and vibrant in its own way. Vernon’s rapping felt perfect for the tone of the song, not going overboard or holding back too much. The melody during the chorus was also memorable as well. (8/10)

8. Back It Up (Hip-Hop Unit) – It seems like the Hip-Hop unit didn’t get the ‘change it up’ memo that the other units got. But I don’t mind (though I would have loved to hear them try rapping to a ballad or something different to match the other units). Back It Up is intense and very powerful, something completely up the unit’s alleyway. I find each member of the unit brings a very different style to the song, which I think makes this track so much more appealing. It also doesn’t help that each member is filtered differently with the autotune, further proving my point. I really like two parts of the song. Vernon’s very soft ‘Siren’, which was whispered but due to the autotune, it came off as rough. The second has to be the drop in the second half of the chorus, which gave the song an extra infusion of energy that I didn’t know it needed (but I am glad they brought it anyway). (8/10)

9. Lucky – The whole group returns with Lucky, which is another upbeat dance track. It falls into the pop category but there was a bit of funkiness to the instrumental, which made the track enjoyable. It has a classy vibe to it and this vibe becomes more prevalent as you listen to it. I also liked the fast tempo in the verses and then the slowdown, which Jeonghan and Jun ask us to take during their respective parts. It was kind of fun to have them connect to us in this track this way. While the song is great, there was the constant thought that it did feel really neutral and knowing Seventeen, they could have upped something in the song to make it even better. (7.5/10)

10. Snap ShootSnap Shoot comes off as a fun song. It isn’t something to deny. I really like the subtle retro style we got from the track, reminding of The Jackson 5’s ABC. The instrumental also sounded like those really happy gospel-like songs we get in movies and musicals. The vocals were nice and I liked the incorporation of the hip-hop segments for the rapping. I think the song could have been more unique if the members started to sing speak to us and engage us in that manner, which would have been fun and something that feels completely like Seventeen would do. But nonetheless, the energy is infectious, and the song is catchy. This track would definitely be awesome to hear in a live performance as well. (8/10)

11. Happy Ending (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of Happy Ending. Click here to read the full review for Happy Ending. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

An Ode Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Fear – SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN is back and you all will probably know this is the comeback I am most excited for. We were all teased with their upcoming mature and dark sound through their pre-release single, HIT, which was released at the start of August. Today, the group released their official title track, titled Fear, which is the first to extend this dark and mature concept into the main promotional track. Furthermore, the title track is featured on the group’s 3rd full-length album, An Ode. The group will also embark into their first world tour later this year.

I am not exactly sure where to start with the song. I am overwhelmed with so many emotions because of this comeback. It took me a number of listens since its release to really get into the groove of the song. I found it slightly underwhelming, in comparison to their more impactful tracks like Getting Closer and HIT. Fear seems to take what those tracks started and gave it a melodic twist. And it is was this melody that allowed the song to focus more on the vocals throughout. The rapping was there but it didn’t feel like a main element to the song. On the topic of rapping and vocals, I thought these elements were quite cool. I liked how loaded and rough the instrumental felt, which definitely gives off a lot of texture. Jeonghan and Joshua had the best parts of the track, with their whispering sections adding a whole new level of suspense to the song. But I wanted more impact, as I mentioned, with that underwhelming feeling still hanging around.

Order up on an artistic video. The teasers gave us a little snippet into it and I totally saw this coming. I am not exactly sure what the video is trying to tell us (I will leave that to all the dedicated Carats out there), but there is a story within this video. The Jeonghan and Joshua scenes were very cool and I am glad they got the spotlight they deserved. In addition to that, the members look awesome. The aesthetics give them a whole new look that was quite unimaginable before. Masculine and attractive are just some of the words I would use to describe the members in this video. Might even throw in mysterious, given the way the ‘story’ is presented to us. I also liked how they expanded and constricted the frame of the video as it went on. It was something a little different. I also liked how they changed the orientation of the video for some scenes.

The performance is intense in a very subtle manner. It doesn’t feel like the choreography this time relies on any bold moves as SEVENTEEN always use. Instead, the moves we would usually consider bold was quite tame and subtle. But everything together makes it into an intense. I really like how they show the ‘poison’ (alternative English title for this track) by using their hands at the start, chorus and end of the performance.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10


Also making their return today is SEVENTEEN. As I know I am a little jam-packed this week (and the coming weeks), I don’t want to fall too behind. Hence, the three reviews today. We last saw SEVENTEEN through their Home promotions. The group has since returned to Japan with Happy Ending and just announced their first world tour, Ode To You. And to kick things off for their world tour, the 13-member group brings us with another hit, titled HIT.

Getting Closer has to be the edgiest turn SEVENTEEN went with since their debut. Home, disappointedly, backed away from this edginess. So it is definitely nice to see this side of SEVENTEEN return. The track does not leave you disappointed from the very start. HIT kicks things off with a more subtle intensity. From then on, the song builds up exponentially, launching into a more explicit intensity during the chorus. And boy, this is a very strong instrumentally centred chorus. What I like about the chorus is that every time I heard it, it just somehow grows more intense, which is odd as they all sound the same. And because the chorus is mainly instrumental, the verses are heavily relied upon to showcase the vocals and rapping. And both of them are shown off wonderfully in this track. There is no doubt that the edgy sound would suit the rappers more. But the vocals managed to be the ‘calm before the storm’. And I think this way, the song ends up being more dynamic and captivating. What else do I love about the song? Well, that part where all the members singing together was awesome. It kind of brought everything together and ties everything up with a nice ribbon. Overall, HIT is a hit!

For those who don’t know yet, I am a major fan of the group. Each comeback has seen me pay attention to one or some members. I think this is the first one that didn’t have any member stand out. And I do not mean this in a bad way. Firstly, the scenes moved too quickly. So I couldn’t pinpoint just one member (though I did notice Jun being the centre of attention a lot). But secondly, this is a whole new side of SEVENTEEN. It one-ups Getting Closer and showcases a more wild side. The editing made the video so impactful and the song so much intenser. And thirdly, well, all the members looked amazing. Very masculine and sexy vibes come off the closeup shots and throughout the dance scenes.

Once again, SEVENTEEN has proved themselves to be amazing dancers. This entire routine blew me away. Especially the chorus. I keep on coming back to see how they effortlessly pull this routine off. I also wonder how they are going to sing this performance live, especially with a crazy routine like this one.

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

Wonwoo is my bias of the group (yes, I made THE very difficult decision). Out of all the members, I find him to be the most attractive (both visually and intellectually). So, when I look at my featured image and see that Wonwoo is wearing a sleeveless top, I am left speechless and need a good few months to recover. Literally. 

[Review] Happy Ending – SEVENTEEN

Once again, we find ourselves on a Saturday, which means it is time for another Japanese music review. Unfortunately, I missed out on last week’s review due to some time constraints. And while I do know there are some more recent releases, I can’t get to them until I clear one more review. So, today we will be focusing on SEVENTEEN’s return to Japan with Happy Ending, which was released at the end of May (Sorry that it took one month for me to publish this review). Their previous Japanese release was their debut with Call Call Call.

To me, I am not a fan of Happy Ending. I felt the track was an extremely typical pop track that honestly did not offer anything to extend SEVENTEEN’s discography. This is a disappointment, as I expected something more along the lines of their Japanese debut track. What does set Call Call Call and their many amazing Korean title tracks apart from the rest of the competition is that the energy they expel is usually phenomenal. It gives me excitement. Happy Ending had an instrumental that was underwhelming and best described as tame. I just don’t get that rush of excitement in this track. On a more positive note, I did like the vocals and rapping in this track. I liked the more serious tone but I wished there was more energy to add definition the serious tone. Vernon’s opening ‘Happy Ending‘ was quite striking and ended up being one of the more memorable moments of the track. But I guess that the track, as a whole, just doesn’t do it for me, especially since I had a whole month to warm up to it.

From the lyrics that I found, Happy Ending is the end goal of the members, who are the main characters of their films. They want the best possible outcome for themselves and their lovers so that they can have their happy endings. With this mind, you would expect a film concept, which they practically did. It seems like some members are watching the movie, some members are behind the scenes creating, while others the main characters in front of the camera. I have to admit, while the song doesn’t suit my preference, the members look really good in this music video. Very charismatic and charming at certain points of the video.

I thought dabbing is dead. But I guess it isn’t if SEVENTEEN is bringing it back for this routine. I did like the choreography but I have to admit it isn’t as impressive as their previous dance performances. Can’t really blame them when they don’t have an impressive song to work with.  I did like how flowy the verses felt and how the chorus picked up, matching the music of both sections.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

[Album Review] You Made My Dawn (6th Mini Album) – SEVENTEEN

It is time for another album review! SEVENTEEN made their return to the stage with Home last week, which is featured on their 6th mini-album, You Made My Dawn. The album also features Getting Closer, which the group previously performed at some of the awards shows they were invited to. The album also refocuses on the 3 units of the group (Vocal, Hip Hop and Performance) and I will be having a closer look at each of these songs.

You Made My Dawn Album Cover

1..Good To Me – Kicking the album off is Good To Me, which is an R&B dance track that really brings out the vocals and rapping capabilities of the group. I really liked the chorus for its rush of energy and the melody that portrays. But while I do like their execution and the song overall, I did think it was standard in comparison to the title track and the pre-release track, which are tracks that really stand out for their uniqueness when it comes to Seventeen’s discography. (7.5/10)

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

3. Hug (포옹) (Vocal Unit) – We now turn to the individual units of Seventeen. Hug focuses on the vocalists in a light that is quite delicate and fragile, which isn’t anything we usually get from the members. I liked the acoustic nature of the instrumental, which provides a feeling of warmth throughout the song. I was expecting it to pick up but I liked how they kept with the guitar throughout the track, as this lets us focus on the vocals of the Vocal unit primarily. (8/10)

4. Chilli (칠리) (Hip Hop Unit)Chilli attempts to spice the album up. And it manages to just do that. Like I have mentioned numerous times before, I am not a major fan of autotune. But I personally do not mind it in this song. It contributes to the instrumental and creates what I think is a fun sound. It does maintain that hip-hop feel that the unit promises to bring along. The track also manages to be quite upbeat but in a rather subtle way, which I think is one of its appealing points. I also enjoyed the soft delivery from each of the members. (8.5/10)

5. Shhh (Performance Unit) – I think out of the three unit tracks on the album I am most satisfied with Shhh. The main reason to why that is the case is that while the Performance Unit focuses primarily on their dancing, the 4-member team also manages to bring good vocals and raps to the song. And their track has a very attractive instrumental that really fits their main goal. It is upbeat and techno, like their previous tracks. But that is also an aesthetic appeal to the track, which I quite liked. (9/10)

6. Getting Closer (숨이 차) (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review of Getting Closer. (8/10 – The review originally had a 7/10 but I have decided to bump this up to an 8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

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[Review] Home – SEVENTEEN

After the highly anticipated release of their darkest sound and concept (Getting Closer) yet, all fans are waiting to see what SEVENTEEN would promote for their upcoming album release. Well, the wait is over as SEVENTEEN is officially back with a brand new song, Home. It is featured on the group’s, You Made My Dawn, which is a continuation of their 2018 album You Make My Day (which features their previous Korean comeback title track, Oh My!).

Home is a rather interesting track, mainly because we haven’t heard anything just like it KPOP. Based on what I am reading, the song is an R&B urban fusion. And this a fusion that I would gladly check out in the future, as Home is quite memorable. The song doesn’t feel as hard-hitting as their previous title tracks. Instead, there is an emotive side to the song that you can just sense. It creates an interesting atmosphere. The chorus was probably my favourite bit. With SEVENTEEN’s songs, you expect them to go with a hard-hitting drop. But with this track, the chorus felt more spaced out and aesthetically pleasing. We don’t get that kick until the end, which I thought was very appropriate. Once again, the vocals and rapping were amazing. I think the winning members of the song is either Wonwoo, who got to sing in this song as opposed to his usual rapping, or DK, who voice just stands out from the pack. Overall, Home is another solid track from the group.

I just watched the music video very briefly. But I don’t see much connection between Oh My!, Getting Closer or Home. The earlier two videos were shown to be connected. So I am interested to see how Home fits in, as the aesthetics from this video seem to point towards the same producers of the other two music videos. One clever individual on YouTube noticed that there were elements from every SEVENTEEN music video to date within Home, such as the sofa from Pretty U, the beach imagery that was shown in Don’t Wanna Cry etc. I really like the start with individual shots of each member and then the cinematography throughout the rest of the video.

Every time I write a review for SEVENTEEN, the comments when it comes to the performance section of the review is basically the same. Amazing choreography to really draw in the crowd. And this is no exception. I like how they made the routine chill at the start and once the kick at the end was delivered, the performance also featured a kick in energy and power.

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

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Song Categories Results

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

This is the second section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best Male and Female Choreography, Best Album and Best Song of 2018.

In addition to the fan-voted categories, I have also included 5 categories that were not fan voted and I had personally selected the winners (or were determined throughout the year). They include Best Special Performance, Best Concept, Best Non-Title Track, Most Wins on Weekly KPOP Charts segment and Most Viewed Review of 2018. They are labelled clearly.

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

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

Best Male Choreography

Nominees – Fake Love (BTS), Tempo (EXO), Lullaby (GOT7), Thanks (Seventeen), Now or Never (SF9), Black Heart (UNB)


WINNER – Thanks (Seventeen)
Honourable Mention – Fake Love (BTS)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Lullaby (GOT7)

Best Female Choreography

Nominees – Bingle Bangle (AOA), Woman (BoA), I Love You (EXID), Time For The Moon Night (GFriend), Siren (Sunmi), Dance The Night Away (TWICE)


WINNER – Woman (BoA)
Honourable Mentions – Siren (Sunmi) & Dance The Night Away (TWICE)

Best Special Performance

This is not a fan-voted category.


WINNER – Dreams Come True (WJSN) at KCON 2018 Japan

Best Music Video

Nominees – Bingle Bangle (AOA), DDU-DU DDU DU (BLACKPINK), Fake Love (BTS), Love Bomb (fromis.9), Really Bad Boy (Red Velvet), Now or Never (SF9), District 9 (Stray Kids), The Chance of Love (TVXQ), Yes or Yes (TWICE), Spring Breeze (Wanna One)


WINNER – Fake Love (BTS)
Honourable Mention – DDU-DU DDU-DU (BLACKPINK)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Fake Love (BTS)

Best Japanese Song Released by a Korean Artist

Nominees – Electric Kiss (EXO), Memoria (GFriend), Chain (NCT 127), Call Call Call (Seventeen), BDZ (TWICE)


WINNER – Electric Kiss (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Call Call Call (Seventeen)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Call Call Call (Seventeen)

Best Collaboration

Nominees – Still In Love (Lee Hong Ki & Yoo Hwe Sung), Wow Thing! (Seulgi, SinB, Kim Chungha, Kim Soyeon), Dinner (Suho & Jang Jae In), Page 0 (Taeyeon & Melomance), Love It Like It (YDPP)


WINNER – Wow Thing! (Seulgi, SinB, Kim Chungha, Kim Soyeon)
Honourable Mention – Still In Love (Lee Hong Ki & Yoo Hwe Sung)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Love It Like It (YDPP)

Song With Most Wins on Weekly KPOP Charts segment

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Heroine (Sunmi) & Bingle Bangle (AOA)
[3 Weeks Each]

Most Viewed Review of 2018

This was not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Boom Boom (Momoland)

Best Concept

This was not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Love Bomb (fromis.9)

Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan-voted category.


WINNER – Dystopia (Cross Gene)

Best Album

Nominees – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS), Don’t Mess With My Tempo (EXO), The Story of Light – Epilogue (SHINee), Something New (Taeyeon (SNSD)), 1÷x = 1 (Undivided) (Wanna One)


WINNER – The Story of Light – Epilogue (SHINee)
Honourable Mention – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS)

Best Song of 2018

Nominees – All title tracks released from January 2018 to November 2018.
The following song had the highest fan votes in the Best Song of 2018 category. The fan votes in this category will also contribute to 50% of the End Of The Year charts.


WINNER – Good Evening (SHINee)

And that completes the Song Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Artist Categories were previously posted so you can access it by clicking here!

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

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

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist Categories Results

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

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

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

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

Best New Male Group

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


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

Best New Female Group

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


Honourable Mention – LOONA
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – fromis.9

Best New Soloist

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


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

Rising Star

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


Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Momoland

Most Underrated Artist of the Year

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


Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – N.Flying

Best Unit Group / Subunit

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


Honourable Mention – SNSD-Oh!GG

Best Male Solo Artist

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


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

Best Female Solo Artist

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


WINNER – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Honourable Mention – Sunmi

Best Band

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


Honourable Mention – The Rose

Best Raps

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


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

Best Vocals

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


WINNER – Mamamoo
Honourable Mention – BTOB
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Best Male Group

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


Honourable Mention – SHINee

Best Female Group

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


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

Artists Who Topped The Weekly KPOP Charts The Most in 2018

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Monsta X, Seventeen & Sunmi

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

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

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