[Review] Jopping – SuperM

This has to be the biggest release of the week. After all, fans and the media are dubbing this as the Avengers of KPOP. SuperM has made their debut, consisting of many familiar faces. Featuring Baekhyun and Kai from EXO, Taemin from SHINee, Mark and Taeyong from NCT and Ten and Lucas from WayV (the Chinese subunit of NCT), this very special unit group has dropped their first single, Jopping. It seems like this is SM’s approach to the American market, especially with the growing fanbase for many male groups in the American market. So why not kick start the career of a new group in the Western music industry with the fanbases of four different and established groups?!

Jopping almost didn’t make the cut for a review. To this day, I haven’t reviewed any songs released in only English by any KPOP group. I am in the process of reconsidering, especially since I do Japanese music videos by KPOP groups. But that’s not the point here. Despite the song almost being in just English, there are a few Korean phrases scattered throughout. It is almost inverse of what we see in the KPOP industry (where the English phrases are the sprinkles instead). The title is a mash-up of jumping and popping, which I think makes senses with the song’s meaning of going all out on stage. Anyway, Jopping starts off true to the group’s nickname. It felt almost fitting for the Avenger’s soundtrack. It promised a fair amount of epicness and I think the song delivered this superbly as its progressed. The electro-pop track was fast tempo, powerful, impactful and very energetic. I think the track managed to showcase really good rapping and vocals from each member, with the two being massive highlights for me. I also like their rock ending, which I thought gave the song the chance to end with a bang. Overall, it is a memorable track and definitely one I will be listening to in the coming weeks.

The video manages to pull out some of the best special effects I have ever seen in the KPOP music video universe. You would expect the producers to do that when they are combining the forces of several of the popular KPOP groups in the world at the time. I did think some of them were questionable, such as the green screen stadium they performed in. Liked the idea but it felt cheesy. There is definitely a lot of tension and intensity in the video, matching the song in a very logical manner. A part of me wanted the producers to bring elements from NCT, EXO, SHINee and WAYV videos, which I think would have been a special treat for fans and made the video even more epic. But this is already as fantastic as it is.

With such an intense song, there was no doubt that the choreography would match this. There hasn’t been a live stage for this just yet (I am anticipating their Hollywood debut showcase but that won’t be for another two days where I am), so I am basing everything off the music video. The entire dance looked very cool, with the members looking almost like animals (I say that with total respect). Their charisma flows through. But that would be expected, especially since SuperM brings together some of the best dancers in SM Entertainment.

Song –  10/10
Music Video – 9.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.7/10

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[Review] Famous – Taemin (SHINee)

Taemin the only member of SHINee who has yet to enlist in the military. And it seems like he will be holding that phase of his life off a bit longer. He will be officially releasing his 3rd Japanese mini-album tomorrow (4th of August), which shares the same name as his latest title track, FAMOUS. On top of that, there are currently rumours floating about that Taemin will be joining Kai and Baekhyun (from EXO), Mark and Taeyong (from NCT) and Lucas and Ten (from WAYV – the Chinese subunit of NCT), forming a super collaboration male group in the near future (though we will find out this week with SM Entertainment confirming that an announcement is coming in regards to this).

Taemin has continued to wow me time and time again with his unique dance tracks. Famous seems to approach this unique vibe again, but it doesn’t really go that length like his Korean and previous Japanese releases have. Famous starts off with a simple beat. But as the song progresses, the song moulds itself into a very interesting and subtly upbeat track. I found the chorus to be very straightforward and it lacked that complexity that Taemin’s track tends to go for. While I have stated that simplicity is good on a number of occasions, it just doesn’t leave me 100% satisfied. I did like the hook (‘Famous’ repetition, which is still growing on me. I also like the ‘No Drama’ deep autotune that is featured throughout the song. I thought that was a nice detail. I thought his vocals were pretty good and that slight rapping sequence in the second verse was awesome! Apart from the simpler chorus, I thought Famous was a great track, overall.

It seems the simplicity feels that I had were compensated through the music video. It does not take a simple approach. Instead of going for a lot of complexity on a visual level. There is a lot going on in the video, despite it all being Taemin close-ups. Very aesthetic, might I add. He starts off being tied up. He then is seen posing in a broken-down car. And then surrounded by half-eaten apples. There is definitely meaning behind all of these different scenes but I am not confident in trying to decipher any of these (as I am usually wrong). The camera work and the dark lighting made every feel more profound and intense. My favourite bit has to be when he rips the ribbon. Paired well with the songs and definitely a peak in a visual manner, as well.

Taemin is one of the best dancers in KPOP. There is no doubt about that. The choreography for Famous takes an aesthetic approach as well, similar to how his music video does. Based on what can be seen in the music video, everything looks stunning and he further proves his status as one of the most established dancing idols out there, once again.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Review] I’m Home – Minho (SHINee)

Another very late review is coming your way! Out of all the SHINee members, Minho has yet to release any solo songs in this career. Instead, he is the most successful member in acting. And as many of the members were nearing the military enlistment age, we have seen an influx of releases of from member. Minho joins this influx and made his solo debut on the 28th of March, through the release of I’m Home. The single is released as part of the SM Station Season 3 project, which has seemed to be focusing on solo tracks more this time around.

I’m Home is a mid-tempo ballad. SInce Minho isn’t known for this vocals, I wondered how a song of this nature would play out. Rather than being anything negative, I’m Home manages to be quite pleasant and easy on the ears. The song opens with some whistling, something that you would associate with a breezy type of song. The instrumental is predominately acoustic guitar, with the incorporation of percussion for the vocals. His vocals are quite impressive. They were rather clear and it basically throws out on whether Minho could handle the ballad genre. His high note was very nice, as an example of his style. Nicely incorporated into the song is a rap sequence. To me, the song plays towards Minho’s strength. It isn’t the most memorable song out there. But for longtime fans of Minho and SHINee, I think this would be a very nice and well-deserved treat.

We start off with Minho walking up to the sound of both his alarm clock and the phone ringing. His character in the video is a businessman, who is basically working 24/7. However, based on his expressions and posture, it seems like Minho is longing to be with his partner, who is not in the picture at the moment. This goes nicely with the song. Every time he takes a rest, the alarm clock or phone (or another person) is waking him up. This just constantly reminds him of his loneliness and forces him to live with that feeling. I think this forces to him a move at the end, where is running to probably propose to his partner. I really like how he is singing in the midst of everything, which I think was a creative thing to do. I also like the golden appearance of the video and that slightly hazy effect.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] I Wanna Be – Key (SHINee) ft. Soyeon ((G)I-DLE)

As of yesterday, Key (from SHINee) enlisted into the military to begin his mandatory enlistment. But he didn’t part without releasing some new music. I Wanna Be, which features Kim Soyeon from the girl group (G)I-DLE, is Key’s newest release and serves as a parting present for fans. It is one of the three new songs on the repackaged album which shares the same name as the lead title track. The album was formerly known as Face and it featured One of These Nights (ft. Crush) and Forever Yours (ft. Soyou).

I Wanna Be is a very refreshing pop dance track. I say refreshing as I haven’t heard anything like this before. The instrumental carries some familiar EDM influences but together it sounds like something quite new. There is this slight vibrating synth that I find extremely appealing. I also enjoyed the pulsing beating during the verses, which later became more frequent and bolder during the chorus. Talking about the chorus, I wasn’t sure exactly when it begins. I assume it was when the song became upbeat but the preceding section felt like the start due to the vocals/lyrics. So I am going to label the preceding part as the pre-chorus. I found the pre-chorus interesting as it seemed to feature a female voice behind Key’s. Not exactly sure if it Kim Soyeon’s but I thought the harmonies were really nice. Key’s voice is amazing in this track. I think we can all agree that he has vastly improved since his earlier days. Kim Soyeon’s part was very flowy and I like that a lot. Usually, we see her with intensity, and while I do prefer that, it is nice to see her handle something more delicate.

I really like colour, so I enjoy seeing used in a way that is stylish and sleek. So I appreciate a very vibrant looking video. I Wanna Be‘s music video is essentially that. The use of red and green in their respective sets look amazing and gives off a bold impression. This causes both Key and Kim Soyeon to stand out through the video, which I thought was a great way to really allow them to pop and not become part of the sets. Other than that, I am keen to learn more about the content of the video. He holds the globe in his hands and there were a series of numbers that flash over the TV screen in the video. I don’t know what this all means but it left me intrigued.

The dancing in this video is pretty amazing. Particularly the dance break that follows the choruses. His footwork (or rather knees) look very cool. It is a little disappointing that we won’t see an actual live performance (or dance version) of this track any time soon.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Album Review] Want (2nd Mini Album) – Taemin (SHINee)

Taemin made his comeback last week with Want, which is the title of both his title track and second mini-album (the focus of today’s album review). There is a total of 7 tracks on the album, but the seventh track is an outro track, which is also titled as Want. Due to the nature of the track, I have omitted it from the album review for today. Also, if you are a little busy to read this album review, I can essentially summarise everything in a few simple words – I highly recommend this album. I think that says a lot but if you want a little more detail, start reading below!

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Want Album Review

1..Want (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review of Want. (10/10)

2. Artistic Groove – The song starts as an aesthetically pleasing track but it slowly builds into something a lot more than just that. I would personally recommend this to potential listeners. I really like the funkiness in the smooth and slick instrumental. And if you are a fan of any previous Taemin title tracks, then you will very at home with this track. But that is not the reason why I would like to recommend this track. It is due to the amazing choruses we get. I state plural because there were the ‘Artistic Groove’ chorus and the chorus that ended the song (with the two joined together as the centrepiece of the track). I don’t know about you but my jaw dropped when I first heard the first chorus and was amazed at how effortlessly the second one was brought into play. Overall, my recommendation to you all. (10/10)

3. Shadow – To me, the word Shadow, seems to be a word surrounded by darkness. Countless times a track has been named ‘Shadow’ and the song ended up being something else that didn’t fulfil my expectations. But Taemin’s Shadow is everything that I have wished for in a song named Shadow. The dramatic and creepiness (attributed through the ‘La La La’ that started and ended the song) really sets this song apart from the rest. I love the instrumental of the track, with the thumping drums and the orchestral details. Throw in his vocal work, you have a very powerful combination. I think if we are ever given the opportunity to see a live performance for this song and Taemin delivers the same exact dramatic and creepy feelings we got, while also appreciating the beauty of the instrumental, I think this could become an iconic stage. (10/10)

4. TruthTruth starts off as an unsuspecting ballad with only a piano based instrumental to really kick things off. The song takes a turn during the chorus as EDM become prevalent. For the first chorus, this only lasted a few seconds before returning to the ballad-y nature that the song started off with. The second chorus onwards is when the song stays within the EDM realm (despite it having that piano instrumental break, which I thought was a nice switcheroo from the start). Also featured alongside the instrumental is the vocals of Taemin, which sound nice here. I have to admit that this combination has been done before (so I can’t really brag about this new formula) but it is done in a way that leaves an impression and builds up suspense. (9/10)

5. Never ForeverNever Forever takes a different approach compared to what we have heard on the album thus far. It is a soft pop song with an acoustic guitar led instrumental. And because of its differences (i.e. the song does not rely heavily on a dance beat or any EDM sounds to show theatrics), the song does stand out a fair bit. But it stands out for good reasons. The song has this mellow vibe to it and after many dance/intense songs, it is nice to have a breakthrough an acoustic sound. But makes this song even better is Taemin’s vocals, which feel wholesome and showcases a new side to the artist. Pity the song was 3:00 minutes long. (9/10)

6. Monologue (혼잣말) – Listening to the first few seconds, I was lowkey waiting for the EDM drop, as Truth had crept up on us. But I can confirm that this is a true ballad. And it is one of the types to leave your heartbroken just by listening to it. One of the reasons why I find the track so heartbreaking is the piano and violin combination. Another reason was regarding his vocals (once again). He conveys so much emotion in the song that you cannot help but feel sad. It is his best presentation of vocals in the entire album as if does feel very strong and impactful. I also loved his harmonies, which make this song even better. Overall, it ends the album review on a saddening but impressive note. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.7/10

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Want Teaser Image

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[Review] WANT – Taemin (SHINee)

Finally, after a year’s wait, Taemin has finally returned to South Korea with his second mini-album and title track of the same name, WANT. His last Korean comeback was back in 2017 with the sexy Move and Day and Night. But Taemin wasn’t completely absent from the scene in the year break from his solo Korean works. In fact, he participated in SHINee’s 10-year anniversary comeback last year and also released a solo album in Japan.

The first thing that popped into my head while listening to WANT was how perfectly suited Taemin was for this track. In fact, it fits extremely well into his portfolio of songs so far. It is a powerful track but the powerfulness into explicitly apparent. Instead, it takes a subtle approach, which is similar to what Move ended up demonstrating. Want has this element of funkiness to it, which I thought was alluring. The song is described to be ‘space disco’, which I think is a new genre to really discover. His vocals are amazing in this song as they sounded flawless throughout the track. My favourite bit has to be the peak at the very end of the bridge (and the end of the second verse). It caught me off guard as it doesn’t fit the atmosphere but it left an impression on me where I ‘wanted’ more of the song.

How aesthetically pleasing is this music video? I am extremely amazed at the quality and work put into this video. The song calls for an aesthetic video and that is what we definitely got. The video seems to play on temptation, which is essentially what the song is about. We got Taemin acting all sexy and homme fatale throughout the video as if he is tempting fans with his sexiness. The inclusion of snakes in the video hints back at the temptation of Eve. The sets were elaborate and looked breathtaking, especially that final choreography scene with the big screen behind him and the dancers.

The dance takes on sexy once again. It is what Taemin does best. His movements are rather sharp when needed but smooth when it is time to be tempting, which I think was quite fitting for this entire comeback. The dance looks quite complicated yet Taemin manages to pull it off effortless, especially during the choruses, which I quite liked form the music video.

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

[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)

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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)

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WINNER – Woman (BoA)
Honourable Mentions – Siren (Sunmi) & Dance The Night Away (TWICE)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – I Love You (EXID)


Best Special Performance

This is not a fan-voted category.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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

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


Most Viewed Review of 2018

This was not a fan-voted category

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WINNER – Boom Boom (Momoland)


Best Concept

This was not a fan-voted category

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WINNER – Love Bomb (fromis.9)


Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan-voted category.

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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)

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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.

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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!

[Review] Blue – Onew (SHINee)

SHINee is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Album in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support SHINee and your other favourites by clicking here to vote.

2018 has been a jam-packed year for many groups, with SHINee being a prime example. SHINee returned in 3 back-to-back comebacks (Good Evening, I Want You & Our Page) and a special single (Countless) to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Since then, the members have embarked onto solo promotions, including Taemin’s Japanese releases, Minho’s movie filming and the recent solo debut for Key with One Of Those Nights. This leaves just Onew who is due to enlist in a couple of days. But this isn’t stopping SHINee’s leader from launching his solo career with the title track Blue and the mini-album, Voice.

Even though I just launched the KPOPREVIEWED Awards for 2018, I am already thinking ahead for 2019. And you can just blame the one listen I had to this song. Blue is a ballad, which isn’t unexpecting. But what is unexpecting is how amazing the song is. And amazing is probably an underwhelming description. It is one of those ballads where the orchestral instrumental and Onew’s vocals tell a story. It has that dramatic flair to really make you feel emotional and if I were to judge the ballad based on that, I would say it was highly successful. The instrumental was stunning. But it is his voice that gets me. You can feel the pain. You can feel the sadness. Onew does an amazing job of bundling all of that up in a matter of 5 minutes and leaving us in awe of the song. Literally, my only complaint about the song is why we didn’t get this sooner!

Once again, the comment section for the music video theorises about the meaning of the video. And I agree with what is being said. This is Onew’s recount of the events, beginning with his hiatus due to a scandal that occurred last year. Due to this scandal, he had to go on hiatus, which is presented by the isolation in the video. The diamond represents SHINee, as there are five diamonds in the mirrors. The shooting star attracts his attention to bring the diamond outside. He proceeds to go outside, walking past fishes, flowers (which I don’t know the meaning of) and blindfolded people who seem to stare at him (maybe due to his scandal). At the end of his walk, he recognises one person (the theories suggest he recognises the late Jonghyun) which surprises him and the diamond is lit up. He takes the diamond back to his house, meaning that these turn of events have told him to take another path and to return to the world. Whether this is correct, I don’t know. Like the song, you can feel the emotions throughout the video and you can tell that Onew is acting in this video based on experiences due to it feeling so real.

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

[Review] One of Those Nights – Key (SHINee) ft. Crush

Key makes his official solo debut with One Of Those Nights, which features successful R&B artist, Crush. His title track is featured on the album titled as FACE and it also features the pre-release single, Forever Yours (featuring Soyou) which was released a few weeks back. Key is the third member of SHINee to make his solo debut, after Jonghyun (RIP) and Taemin. Onew has been confirmed to make his solo debut with an album next month before his military enlistment, leaving Minho as the only member to not branch out in a solo music career yet.

But today’s focus is on Key’s solo release, which I quite like. The instrumentation combines guitar and house beats, which is now a classic combination. And it makes the track quite addictive despite it not offering anything that we can consider new. I think the stand out element of the song has to be the vocals. Both Key and Crush’s vocals actually sound quite alike and both suit this style of music very well. If I wasn’t watching the music video, I wouldn’t be able to tell who is singing, which I think is a smart idea for when Key has to perform the song alone. That being said, Crush’s featuring in the chorus allows for Key to dance during the chorus and I too like that idea very much. Overall, I thought the song was quite clean cut and easy to listen to/get into.

The lyrics of the song talks about having ‘One of Those Nights’ where you cannot forget about your ex. And I thought the music video did a good job at portraying that. Key’s acting was really good, showing off facial expressions that make him look lost or just completely zone out due to these memories. I liked how Crush featured in the music video. But he was tucked into the scenes, such as Key dancing on the train carriage and Crush singing in the background. I thought that was really cool. I also thought the sets were very nice in the video.

This seems to be an artistic performance. While we cannot see much in the music video, the verses do show some graceful moves to fit the tempo and tone of the verses. When the chorus kicks in, everything becomes more energetic and upbeat. The bridge and final chorus look like it is going to be very powerful highlights in the performance, so I am looking forward to that.

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

[Review] Under My Skin – Taemin (SHINee)

For this week’s Japanese review, we will be covering Taemin’s Under My Skin, which the music video was released last week, despite the actual album being released digitally on the 5th of November. Under My Skin is one of the lead title tracks off Taemin’s first solo album, titled after the singer himself. The other two singles are Eclipse and Mars. You may recognise some other tracks on the album including the Japanese versions of Taemin’s Korean hits such as Drip Drop, Press Your Number and Danger.

Unlike any of his other singles,  Under My Skin focuses on one major element, vocals. And this emphasis creates an epic song. Sure, they may not be powerhouse vocals like from other vocalists in the industry. But they are definitely very strong. The song is a ballad but it mixes in some soft yet grand electronic influences throughout the song. Combining this with some piano and drums, and you have what I would consider being a modern take on a ballad. But it is his vocals that make the song feel loaded and aesthetically pleasing. I like that throughout the song his vocals done push into a higher note, which keeps the song grounded yet extravagant in many ways. While I do enjoy this track (and style choice), I do think this choice is rather mediocre in comparison to his Korean releases. I feel like the linked Korean releases in the introductory were much more impactful and well suited for Taemin.

There isn’t much to the video besides the fact that is quite aesthetically pleasing. Taemin is shown to be singing on top of a mirror, which is placed along the beach or a field. The strong breeze makes everything feel so cool and epic, though I am not much of a fan of his black outfit. His red jacket though.. We don’t have much choreography in the song but the ending was extended to allow Taemin to do his thing in the dance department. You don’t really get to see much, however, as it is cut short due to the presence of more closeup shots of Taemin and well, it is too dark to really see anything.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Forever Yours – Key (SHINee) ft. Soyou

With schedules for group comebacks becoming more spaced out for many established groups (particularly for male groups due to mandatory enlistment), many members have turned to solo careers. SHINee happens to be one of these groups. Dramas and solo music careers can be placed under the names of the other members but Key has only dabbled in variety shows. Now, he is officially making his solo debut this month and as a special pre-release, Key has released a collaboration with his good friend Soyou titled as Forever Yours.

Following their group promotions with three title tracks and one special repackaged release single, Key’s pre-release is a tropical house EDM styled song. And given the current competition, his song fails to really break any boundaries and stand out. The instrumental is nice but it doesn’t offer anything new to really be amazed at. What does keep this song quite fresh, however, are the vocals of both Key and Soyou. I have to admit that his voice feels very plain in this song. However, with Soyou’s husky vocals and the parts where both of them sing together, their voices brings a nice dynamic to the picture. I liked how Key’s voice was at the forefront of their duet moments, while Souyou’s husky voice stands out from the back. Other than that, I don’t have much else to say about the song.

And like SHINee’s music video, Key takes a fast-paced ride into space in his car. It felt the same producer or director played a part in this video. I really liked the retro feel in this video. The fonts and styles choices of the words that you see in the video remind me of various movie posters and really cringy fonts back in the day. The visuals are quite abstract and I have no clue on how to interpret this odd concoction of visuals. I am a little disappointed that Soyou didn’t appear in the video, which would have been nice if she did.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.8/10

[Review] Countless – SHINee

We knew it coming but apart from the confirmation we would be getting a repackaged version of The Story of Light (which was released as 3 parts – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), we got no teasers whatsoever. So the release of Countless today caught me (and numerous fans) off guard. Countless is the title track off The Story of Light-Epilogue, joining the other three title tracks – Good Evening, I Want You and Our Page.

Countless takes on the extremely popular and trend tropical house genre. Interestingly, there are no rap sections. Instead, itis straight vocals from the start to end, which I thought was rather interesting. And as for the vocals, they were definitely the main driving force of the song. They managed to stay above the loud instrumentation, which is definitely a plus, to begin with. If they weren’t at this level, I felt like they could have been drowned out. Once again, I like how they sang together during the chorus, which made the song feel wholesome. I personally do not mind the bright instrumentation of the song but I wonder if the song was intended to be a ballad, given the message and lyrics. Overall, it isn’t technically the catchiest song released today but it does sound really amazing.

The music video for this song was definitely bright. I did think the video was rather boring as it went for a simple approach. There was a whole heap of spinning around, which I thought was rather cool, to an extent. But there wasn’t much else to the video. The sets did feel elaborate for such a simple video, however. But from my understanding (and how the video was released), the song won’t see much more promotional time, so a simple video (despite the elaborate sets) made the most sense.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Album Review] The Story of Light EP. 03 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

Over the last few weeks, SHINee have been releasing segments of their 6th Studio Album, The Story of Light, as a unique form of promotions. Each of these segments featured a couple of songs and their own title tracks. EP. 01 featured Good Evening, while EP. 02 featured I Want You. EP. 03 is the final segment, featuring Our Page and is the final installment of their latest album. I have linked my album reviews for the first two segments below, so you can read them if you have yet to before we get started on the final part.

[Album Review] The Story of Light EP. 01 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee
[Album Review] The Story of Light EP. 02 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

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The Story of Light EP. 03 Album Cover

1..Our Page (네가 남겨둔 말) (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for Our Page. (10/10)

2. Tonight – I really liked the piano that was repeated throughout the ballad. It really sets the tone of the song, creating a nice atmosphere for the song, which reflects well with the lyrics of remembering a lover who had left them. The song zones into the vocals, who each do a wonderful job at delivering the lines. While the raps do feel like very standard KPOP raps, they fit extremely well into the song and gives the song a little more interesting notes in order to keep the song from becoming that repetitive ballad that you would get bored of easily. Tonight won’t be one of those and I am extremely glad for that. (9/10)

3. RetroRetro is a very unique song which takes on a jazzy type of song. I liked the upbeat vibes from the song, which does set it part from the rest of the admittedly depressing feels that this section of the album present. I thought the chorus was nice, with the ‘Emotional motional mo motional‘ line being my absolute favourite in the entire track. I thought the vocals were really nice but the raps felt very underwhelming. Overall, it was a nice track overall. (8/10)

4. I Say – This is another song that focuses right on the vocals of the group. It takes a classical approach to the ballad genre, which you know that I am a major fan of. What I like about the song is that they manage to change up each section of the song (i.e. verse, chorus etc.) allowing the members to buildup the song with their vocals alongside the instrumental. While that is expected in most songs, it is much more noticeable with a classical-based instrumental. I really liked it how they sing together towards the end and the harmonies at the 1:50 mark of the song really got my attention. This is probably one of their best works on the album. (10/10)

5. Lock You Down (Special Track) – Catching most fans (including myself) offguard, the song features the vocals of the late Jonghyun, who passed away at the end of last year. And while the song is quite lively and upbeat, it is really nice to hear him alongside his bandmates for one last time. Moving back to the song, the rap sequence and the chorus was definitely my picks for highlights of the song. The opening rap sequence was really attention-grabbing but its effect was far greater when it appeared midway into the song. The chorus, especially the falsetto vocals, and the ‘Run Run Run‘ hook was superb. The ending was an equally awesome section as well. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.2/10

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The Story of Light EP. 03 Teaser Image

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[Review] Our Page – SHINee

For the past month, SHINee has been returning fortnightly with different parts to their 6th studio album, The Story of Light. The first part featured Good Evening, while the second part featured I Want You. The third and final section of their album was released today, along with their third title track, Our Page. The final title track also pays homage to Jonghyun, who passed away in December last year.

After just one listen, I believe that SHINee left the best for last. Why? Well, the first element you notice when listening to the song is not the instrumental or its catchy hooks but rather the heartfelt vocals that deliver the lyrics of the song. You can feel the emotions layered throughout the song from each member which makes this song incredibly moving. As previously stated in the introductory paragraph, the song pays homage to Jonghyun, with lines such as ‘Five layers of folded hands, tears and memories‘ and ‘We’ll fill it up until the end‘. The R&B instrumental aids in this message, not going overboard in any area but rather staying clean and simple which allows their voices to be heard clearly. I also really liked how the members all sing together during the chorus, which makes them feel like one during the moving song (and it is my most favourite section of the song). The lyrics, melody and beat make this a perfect song.

The music video starts off with each of the members doing their own thing. Onew is producing songs, Minho is filming a movie, Key is playing games/dancing and Taemin is working out. For a moment, it seems like they don’t want to be where they are but they push forward and persevere. Once they regroup, it reflects the sentimental nature of the song. I really liked the scenes where they are sitting in a circle and the camera is spinning around them while they are singing to the chorus. But the most moving scene is when they are singing into their glass poles/microphones and there was a fifth one in front (with nobody standing alongside it), which represents Jonghyun’s position in the group. There is one tiny detail that does hold the video back from being the perfect video, however, it was still beautiful.

I don’t think there should be any choreography for this song. Mainly because of its meaning and emotional punch it gives. However, we might need to keep our minds open as we are not sure how SHINee will present this on stage. I will return once we have a live performance.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9.5/10
Overall Rating – 9.8/10

[Album Review] The Story Of Light EP. 02 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

SHINee’s comeback is in full swing with the release of the second part of their 6th studio album, The Story of Light. The group previously returned with Good Evening and the first part of the said album on the 28th of May. They are due to release the third part and entire 6th album this upcoming Monday (25th of June) and I may push the album review for the third part for next weekend (depending on how much work I can get done). But we are here for the second part of the album, so let’s get going!

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The Story Of Light EP. 02 Album Cover

1..I Want You (Title Track)Click here for the full review of I Want You. (7.5/10) 

2. Chemistry – I personally don’t know how to interpret the song. I feel like they could be hinting at something else but it felt more of the sexual nature (with a bouncy vibe). The instrumental develops into something that felt more standard pop. It also felt like the song’s boundaries were literally pushed out by the vocals and I felt this was a good technique to reel listeners in. I personally liked the pre-chorus and chorus, which definitely hooked me into the song. The song needed a rap sequence and that was delivered but it started off muffled which I did not get. Overall, the song was quite energetic, which was one of the other charms of the song. (8/10)

3. Electric – I personally like Electric. The song itself features an instrumental that feels like an electrical pulse and thumping effect combined. The song is about the adrenaline rush you get when you meet that special someone. I thought the drop to the song was really interesting and the repetition was extremely catchy. It also features great vocals, particularly around the bridge of the song. I think the only part of the song that leaves me disappointed is the rapping. I feel like it could have been more intense but overall, it was still a good song. (9/10)

4. DriveDrive has to be my pick for the weakest song on the album. But weak doesn’t always equate to bad.  The verses didn’t stand out too much, leaving the song lacking in memorability. However, the heaviness of the pre-chorus and the instrumental during the chorus definitely provided was probably defining moments of the song (just it didn’t seem to be enough). Like most ‘weak’ songs, this one has a few likeable elements that stood out for me. The harmonies in the pre-chorus and the vocals were actually good. On top of that, the rap sequences were noticeably absent, as they have yet to satisfy me in that department. (7/10) 

5. Who Waits For Love? (독감) – I have to give this song the vote for best song on the album. Who Waits For Love? is a song about not being able to move on after breaking up and how the pain remains. The vocals in this song were superb, particularly Taemin and Onew, who stood out the most (I don’t know who did that high note but damn). The song also manages to satisfy my hunger for the rapping, particularly the section during the bridge. I liked how the song took on a slower tempo, which allowed the chorus to pop and be quite bold. Also enjoyed the fading out at the end, giving the song a peaceful yet somewhat unique feel. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

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The Story Of Light EP 02 Teaser Image

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[Review] I Want You – SHINee

SHINee is still celebrating their 10 year anniversary with another part of their 6th full-length album, The Story of Light EP. 02. The title track for this part of the album is I Want You and you can expect an album review for the second part in the weeks to come. They previously released the 1st part of their 6th album (which I have reviewed) and the title track, Good Evening, two weeks ago.

I Want You continues the EDM sound with the song entering the tropical house genre of EDM. The song is good, with great vocals and raps from the members. The harmonies heard at various sections of the song (like the pre-chorus and chorus) really gave the song some identity and profile. Taemin’s high note is just extremely smooth. The chorus was moderately catchy and it uses melodies as the main driving point and hooks as its memorable pitch towards the audience. My only concern with the song is that it falls within ‘typical’ territory. I personally don’t find anything unique or memorable enough for my memory bank. Instead, it is plain and a standard song. Don’t get me wrong, I like the song. Just compared with Good Night, I Want You falls behind it.

I am not sure of the connection between the two videos that SHINee has released thus far. I am interested in knowing how they connect. My guess is that they get sucked into some odd world when they look and reach into the well. But apart from that, the videos don’t really connect. Parts of the music video for I Want You takes a more humorous approach, particularly the scene where Onew is smiling while being sprayed by the glass. Actually, most of the video seems a little far-fetched. The video does have strong retro vibes with the hazy filtering and the use of green screen. I personally thought it was a good video, as well.

There isn’t a live performance for the song yet. However, I think there might be enough to write this section within the music video. Really liked the dance move during that instrumental break during the chorus. Also, I liked the ‘Oh Nah Nah’ moves for the pre-chorus (?). Overall, the dance was extremely fitting for the song and the members seemed more connected to their performance this time around.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10