[Review] One More Time (Otra Vez) – Super Junior & REIK

Super Junior has returned with their special mini-album and the title track, both titled One More Time (or Otra Vez in Spanish). This is the group’s first comeback since Lo Siento promotions earlier this year (which featured both the Leslie Grace and the girls from KARD) and it is also the first comeback for Ryeowook, who recently finished his mandatory military enlistment. For this comeback, Super Junior collaborated with REIK, who is a well-known band in Mexico.

Once again, Super Junior has jumped on board with the Latin trend. Personally, I thought Super Junior would have moved on from this style already, so I am genuinely surprised that they are having another go at the genre. It isn’t a bad song in any way. I just thought there would have been something more to really make it stronger. Instead, I got a lacklustre feel from the song. The main infusion of energy comes during the chorus but I felt that was quite plain. It just didn’t have a memorable feel to it, which is a little disappointing. I was expecting a rap sequence to be thrown in there, as that may lift the song a bit. But there was no rap sequence. The vocals were good but I felt they could have been built more. I did like the ad-libs for the song, towards the end of the song from both Ryewook and Yesung. The song doesn’t really appeal to me, overall.

I thought the sets (or are they real rooms?) for the video were stunning backgrounds for the Latin-based song. The colours and patterns really feel suitable for the style. While it was a standard music video, there is a section which I cannot help but cringe at. Unfortunately, the scenes with REIK and Super Junior together (where REIK is just playing instruments and Super Junior is hyping behind them)  looked really awkward and boring. Not sure what they were trying to accomplish there but this song doesn’t really beg for that type of scene. Maybe if the members danced around REIK, that would have been more suitable. Just what we got wasn’t.

And it seems like there is an imbalance of energy between the song and the choreography. I fear that is the case but as we have not seen a full performance and the choreography scenes didn’t last too long to really ‘feel anything’ from them, I will be returning in the near future to re-write this section.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – TBC
Overall Rating – 6.4/10

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[Review] Sunrise – SUPER JUNIOR-D&E

I promised you all that I will get around to review Donghae and Eunhyuk’s most recent Japanese release, Sunrise, this weekend and that is where we find ourselves today. Donghae and Eunhyuk have had a few Japanese comebacks since their return from the military but I forgot about most of them. But I put this one on my agenda in hopes of making it up to you all. Sunrise was released approximately one month ago and is part of their 3rd full-length album in Japan.

Like ‘Bout You (their Korean comeback), Sunrise attempts to bring the duo back with sounds that are more relevant to the industry right now. And they do a pretty good job at it. The song does have the same flaws as I had written about yesterday, including repetition and standard chorus with nothing to offer. I am not sure why they put autotune over their own voices, which felt very unnecessary. I understand that it is electronic music but it just doesn’t feel natural and unique anymore (as everyone does it). What I did like about the song, however, was how clean it felt. It didn’t feature any awkward corners or background vocals that felt unwanted. Instead, the song just flowed nicely, which I thought made the song decent to listen to.

The music video, for this song, was really high quality and it felt like I was watching something out a sci-fi movie. Removing the choreography scenes and their closeup in the forest, the duo finds themselves running towards a light structure in the middle of the forest, which I think is the start of every alien based movie. When the chorus kicks in, we are thrown to the choreography shots, purely done in a studio but it looked spectacular, especially with the LCD background. It is a cool video, irrespective of the song, in my opinion.

It was a cool video but it would have been nice to see something a little different. The same comments from yesterday still apply here. They are trying extra hard to fit in with the young crowd, which is a little disappointing. I am quite sure (not referring to the hammer hand dance) that some of the moves were seen in their Korean comeback as well.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10 
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.1/10

[Review] ‘Bout You – SUPER JUNIOR-D&E

With an impending comeback expected from the legendary Super Junior (with the return of Ryeowook, who recently came back from his military enlistment) very soon, Super Junior’s Donghae and Eunhyuk have returned as a subunit with ‘Bout You. The new song features of the unit’s second mini-album, which also shares the same name. This is the unit’s first comeback since their release of Growing Pains, back in 2015. They have been active in Japan since their return from the military in 2017, with their latest Japan comeback to be reviewed tomorrow.

‘Bout You is duo’s attempt of reinventing themselves to fit into the different music industry that they were last in. Even Super Junior jumped on board with the recent Latin-inspired sound with Lo Siento. ‘Bout You features a tropical inspired instrumental that fits perfectly into both the recent (and ongoing) tropical EDM influx and the Summer season that is supposedly wrapping up soon. And for the most part, the song is quite good. The vocals throughout the song were quite good and the rapping was quite decent. I liked the layering of the piano within the bridge, which was my favourite part overall. The chorus was pretty standard and doesn’t offer much of a hook to really get into. But that isn’t the thing that irks me. It is the fact that they used their autotuned vocal to provide some background effect to the instrumental. It just felt so dated and quite out of fashion, particularly the way they presented it. But overall, it was a good song.

Like most KPOP videos nowadays, they take the camera to the US for their music video. And while it is a Donghae and Eunhyuk music video, the way it was shot reminded me of the way Winner’s music videos are given to us. I am not too sure what the plotline of the video because it doesn’t really establish match except for she is a singer and Donghae warns another guy to not make any moves. Eunhyuk is a third wheel and part way through the video, the girl and Donghae kisses. I also thought the singing scene (where she gets on stage and lip sync to their song) really awkward.

The choreography also fits in with what seems to be on trend in the industry at the moment. The hammer hand dance makes an appearance, alongside the dab and other moves. Not that makes a bad video (their choreography isn’t too bad) but it does make them look like they are trying to fit in extra hard.

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

[Review] Lo Siento – Super Junior (ft. Leslie Grace)

Super Junior has made their return with their Play repackaged album, which has been appropriately retitled as Replay. Lo Siento is their title track for this new repackaged album, which features Leslie Grace in the official song and KARD’s Jiwoo and Somin in the live performances. For this round of promotions, Heechul has stated beforehand that he is sitting out (despite appearing in the music video), with Siwon rejoining the lineup.

Lo Siento is a nice song. The Latin pop sound provides the song with its backbone and the Korean is layered on top through the lyrics. That being said, all of Leslie Grace’s parts throughout the song was in Spanish, so it was fairly interesting to hear the switch between Korean and Spanish. Do I think it is a good idea? Probably not. since it does get a little confusing at certain points. But what they manage to do a great job is harmonising their parts together, which give the song that extra punch of energy. The song had a groovy chorus, which was quite nice. The repetition of Lo Siento just kept on replaying in my mind, even after the song ended. It could have used some energy to keep it more interesting, particularly towards the end of the song (to change up and keep the song from being too repetitive when it comes to the instrumental). I particularly liked the dance break instrumental, which gave the song some hype and energy to keep us on edge. Vocally, the song was okay. Though I expected some Latin flair on that front. I am personally not a fan of the raps, mainly because they didn’t really ‘move’ me or felt needed.

The music video was okay. I apologise to the audience here for offending them, but I feel like Shindong’s parts in the video looked quite awkward and creepy. Moving on, I thought the video felt relatively standard. There just wasn’t anything captivating or amazing in it. However, I liked the editing of the video, which allowed members to appear multiple times in one scene. I really like the colours palette that they used, fitting into the song perfectly. 

The live performance (which features KARD) was the one thing that I wanted to talk about in this review. I freaking enjoyed it. Instead of the Spanish lyrics, they got the girls to sing in Korean, which was a good move made by their company. The choreography itself was quite nice, with the chemistry between the two teams giving me a reason to continuously rewatch the performance.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.1/10

[Review] Charm Of Life – Heechul, Shindong, Eunhyuk (Super Junior) & Solar (Mamamoo)

Did you know the KPOPREVIEWED AWARDS for 2017 are officially open? If you haven’t voted for your favourites, click here and do it quick!

The next SM Station release is officially here. While SM Station focuses primarily on ballads and softer sounds, there have been instances of more energy packed songs. And such songs tend to be quite good. This time around, SM Station shares a collaboration between Super Junior members Heechul, Shindong and Eunhyuk who rap alongside Solar from Mamamoo.

The song is quite funky, a little unexpected. But then again, it should have been expected as the song features 3 people, of whom I regard as the funniest members of Super Junior. The song opens up as like any type of song with a solid vocal intro from Solar herself and everytime she pops up in the song, she blows me away. Solar’s addition to the song keeps it from going over the top if I assume the raps lyrics from the 3 male artists are comedic in nature. what does catch me off guard is the raps and instrumental. Shindong, Heechul and Eunhyuk’s rap-talking is nice but they do feel cheesy (and I don’t know what they are talking about). The funky drop sounds foreign but it makes me laugh with its brightness and energy. It is quirky but it suits the 3 members quite well.

I like the flashy style of the music video. The gold colouring is nice and I thought the retro vibes brought together by the cam-recorder and old fashion televisions looked quite cool. From the lyrics, Killagramz makes an appearance in the video, alongside Shindong, who seems to be parodying him. Nucksal also makes an appearance and is also parodied by Heechul (I think it is them. Not confident). It made for a fun atmosphere.

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

[Album Review] Play (9th Studio Album) – Super Junior

Super Junior made their long-awaited comeback with Play on the 6th of November this year, making it their first comeback in two years. I know I am a little late with my album review, especially since they are nearing the end of their promotional period. However, as they say, ‘better late than never’. Play is their 9th studio album, which marks 12 years in the business as well.

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Play Album Cover

1..Black Suit (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Black Suit. (9/10)

2. Scene Stealer – I think we all felt major Bruno Mars vibes from this song. To me, it is the weakest song out of the entire album. It fits into Super Junior’s usual spectrum of songs but the use of some of the synths, especially at the start of the song, felt quite foreign and odd. I just wasn’t drawn to much in the song, especially since it was between an amazing title track and a great pre-release. (5/10)

3. One More Chance (비처럼 가지 마요) (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for One More Chance. (10/10)

4. Good Day For A Good Day – I love the upbeat nature of the song. It has that happy virus type of feel that automatically makes your day even better. The entire time I thought the song was quite pleasant and this reflected well through the vocals and raps of the song. The second part of the choruses where they all sing together was exceptionally catchy and probably my highlight of the track. (9/10)

5. Runaway – Following the happy vibes is Runaway which is my pick for best song on the entire album. The song is super addictive and full of energy. I love the instrumental of the song, which drew my attention from the very start. It feels like a song that their old subunit. Super Junior Happy, would have put out. But Super Junior themselves does a spectacular job with the song nonetheless. (10/10)

6. The Lucky Ones – The Lucky Ones stands out for its nice harmonies during the chorus. Besides that, there wasn’t much else to the song, which is a disappointment. The verses felt plain and bland in comparison to the chorus. But overall, it was still decent to listen to. (6/10)

7. Girlfriend (예뻐 보여) – Girlfriend is one of two tracks that also feature Kyuhyun who is currently serving in the Korean military. It is another track that is easily forgettable. There was a sleek feel to the song but it just didn’t build-up to any peak. The rap section and bridge provided some relief by allowing the song to change up a bit but I don’t think it was enough to make the song brilliant. (6/10)

8. Spin Up! – The track returns the album to more of that grooviness that I enjoyed so far. And while the song was decent, I wanted to go that extra length and become the next funky hit. If there was a little more energy and more boldness, I am sure this track would have been hard to miss. (7/10)

9. Too Late (시간 차) – Too Late is the other song to feature Kyuhyun. I like the subtle build-up to the chorus and the drop into the chorus. The consistent thumping in the instrumental gives me an excuse to tap my feet throughout the song. Not a major fan of the bridge but everything else was quite nice. (7/10)

10. I Do (두 번째 고백) – I Do has a very nice melody and feels like a nice love confession song to listen to. It is that Summer ballad that can be either good or bad. This one lands on the good side. It is not the ending you expect the album to have, mainly because it feels like there should have been another song leading right off this one. But it was a still a nice ending. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

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Play Teaser Image

[Review] Black Suit – Super Junior

Making their first highly anticipated return after 2 years is the none other than Super Junior. In 2015, they made their comeback with Devil and Magic. Since then, military enlistments were carried out leaving only a few members available for promotions. But with the return of some members, Super Junior can promote once more as one of the most well-known KPOP groups to date. Black Suit is the title track from their 8th album, Play, which also features the pre-release One More Chance.

Black Suit is a definitely an upgrade from Devil and Magic, which I thought was boring. Given the member’s ages, I didn’t think they would return with an upbeat track like this. But they clearly nailed with the Latin flair that gave the song that explosion of energy. Vocally, the song is quite nice. Everything was clear and not muffled with synths and autotune. The track, too, is quite addictive to listen to, earning replay after replay. The most underwhelming part of the song for me, though, was the drop into the last chorus. The bridge had a nice buildup with its intensity. The drop just didn’t do it justice. The chorus was definitely the most outstanding part of the entire song and it just makes you want to dance.

The music video is set in an auction, with the main item on display being a black suit. Hence the title, duh? But the story behind the auction is a little intriguing. The video opens up with chaos but in reverse. We then find out the cause of the chaos is due to the missing black suit, which disappeared during a blackout as it was being sold. We also find out that the members were trying to get the suit themselves through careful planning and teamwork. Just once it disappeared, they turned against each other and raged. It turns out, another person (a young female) somehow stole the black suit in a split second during the blackout. While it does seem far-fetched, it definitely has its moments and it was, overall, enjoyable to watch.

The choreography was actually quite good, keeping up with the sharp beats and maintaining its appeal throughout the entire routine. Totally enjoyed the chorus.

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

 

[Review] One More Chance – Super Junior

Kicking off Super Junior’s first comeback in 2 years is the release of One More Chance. They last promoted Devil and Magic in 2015. I believe they were absent for the past two years due to a large bulk of the group entering the military. One More Chance isn’t their official comeback as it is only the pre-release song for the comeback. Their full 8th album is expected to drop next week on the 6th of November.

It has been a while since a Super Junior song has graced our playlists and such a high-quality song (produced by Donghae) is 100% fitting for their return. The emotional rock ballad is extremely fitting for the current lineup, with all the members showing off some flare that has been missed over the two-year absence. There is not one person that sounds out of place. The instrumental is exceptional as well, building up ever so slightly and knowing when to make the right impact alongside the vocals. That level of emotion that I mentioned before can be felt strongly throughout the song. While I may not have much else to say about the song, Donghae’s production is on point and One More Chance is (hopefully) a great teaser on what is to come next week.

Following that emotional side of the song comes this emotion field music video which I have to admit is beautifully shot. You don’t expect walking down hallways and alleys to be that dramatic but pairing it with this song is definitely a strong example of how it can be. But that walking/running isn’t for nothing, as they are following their lover, for one more chance at their relationship. It is a simple video when you think about it but it goes a long way once you consider the song’s lyrics (which I gather is the exact same thing as mentioned above) and the song’s auditory elements.

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

 

[Double Review] Paper Umbrella + Hibernation – Yesung (Super Junior)

Yesung from Super Junior has made his return to the stage with a brand new mini-album, Spring Falling. Hibernation was the pre-release single from the mini-album, while Paper Umbrella served as the main title track. It has been a while since we heard from him. He last promoted Here I Am back in April of last year. He also participated in the drama, Voice, earlier this year.

Yesung’s two songs delve back into the ballad genre in music. Hibernation has a nice melody but it fails to reel me. The percussion in the song felt dominate and did take the attention away from his vocals, which should have been the highlight of the track. His vocals are good but they don’t sound as emotional as his other songs. It just wasn’t as memorable. There were actually other tracks on his mini-album which could have easily served as a pre-release single instead and left a stronger impression on me than what Hibernation did.
Paper Umbrella is a much better ballad in comparison. The orchestra based instrumental makes the song sound grand and elegant. His vocals are much better here. You could feel the emotions in his voice. There was also a nice buildup in both the instrumental and Yesung’s vocals in this song. However, similar to the Hibernation, Paper Umbrella fails to capture my attention. It sounds good in the moment, however, it just doesn’t have me coming back for more.

Hibernation’s accompanying video was boring to watch. There wasn’t much to it. Yesung was singing, while the lead actress in the music video went about on her day. There was no interaction between the two in any form. However, the video does seem to suit the song.
Paper Umbrella’s video was far more interesting. The video shows a Yesung and his former lover on a rainy day.  The two seem to remember when they were younger and how they spent their rainy days together. There seemed to be other couples in the video (not too sure about this though). The use of colour in this video is excellent. The present day where they have separated, the clouds are grey and there is barely any light when they meet up on the bridge. Meanwhile, their memories are of days where there was a nice golden glow from the sky and the colours are much brighter overall.

Hibernation
Song – 5/10
Music Video – 5/10
Overall Rating – 5/10

Paper Umbrella 
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

 

[Review] Blah Blah – Kyuhyun (Super Junior)

Kyuhyun has returned with a new ballad. This is his third round of promotions as a solo artist. He has released mini-albums in both 2014 and 2015, with both becoming extremely successful. His latest release has 2 title tracks: Blah Blah and Still (which I will not be reviewing).

Blah Blah is the type of ballad that gets you swaying to the music. As soon as I play it, my head just starts swaying. That is a sign of a good ballad. Hahaha… Honestly, if the verses had a little something to make it interesting, I would have dug into this song a lot sooner. But as mentioned, the verses are quite plain and that gives the song a weak opening. But as the song proceeds to the chorus, Kyuhyun starts showing off his vocals and it sounds wonderful. I love how his voice starts off literally soft and then it increases in power and volume as the song goes on. The lyrics tell a story of nervousness in front of a lover when trying to confess. The use of “Blah Blah” as the title put me off, but overall, it made sense in terms of the lyrics.

Come watch an Asian guy get a hair cut and have his beard shaved. The majority of the video is essentially that. Kyuhyun gets a hair cut in slow-motion. While it is shot in slow-motion to match the speed of the song, it is incredibly boring to watch. The other parts of the video include flashbacks to Kyuhyun wanting to confess to his friend/crush (implied from the lyrics). Finally, the video shows a car crash, where Kyuhyun’s car is flipped. The video made it look like he was on his way to confess. That makes it a sad video to watch. The hair cutting scenes filled in the start but also added to the ‘getting ready’ for the night, which does make it sadder. The video was shot nicely and overall, was also nice to watch.

Rating – 8.5/10

 

[Review] Here I Am – Yesung (Super Junior)

After so long being on stage, Yesung, one of the main vocalists of Super Junior has officially made his debut as a solo artist in South Korea.  I really like Yesung’s voice, so I was extremely pleased to hear that he would be able to debut in South Korea. While I think it is obvious to everyone that his mini album did not do as well as expected, he still feels proud with releasing his own songs and tells everyone to focus on the song rather than the charts.

The song is really good. As I mentioned above, I am in love with his vocals. His voice just sounds so husky and in this ballad, his vocals were used to his benefit. The song was quite slow at the start but it slowly builds up with the instrumental. Everything is quite soft at the start from the vocals to the piano in the background. However as we hit the chorus, we are flung back into what I think sounds like a powerful ballad. The chorus was honestly very beautiful sounding. My favourite part was probably the bridge of the song. It is the perfect climax for the song that doesn’t ruin or change the song up in any way. From start to the end, the song stayed true to its ballad nature. I have to say this, but I say many songs don’t fluctuate from the “straight line”. This one doesn’t as well, but it is a prime example of how the song can still be amazing.

The music video is quite nice. The story line is very interesting (for a change, something plot worthy to talk about). The video starts off with Yesung packing up his things, ready to move out. People are coming over to inspect the house and he did not expect his ex to come around with her friend. The two become awkward but pushes through anyway, pretending not to know each other. Yesung remembers all these memories of when they used to  be happy while I am quite sure, the girl does as well, as she turns off the faucet, something she probably remembered doing a lot when she was with him. I personally thought her turning off the faucet was a very powerful scene. Slowly the girl is reminded of her happy memories and the two start becoming awkward when they help out with measuring the window sill. In the end, the girl and her friend had to leave. We cut back to another memory flashback of their previous breakup. Ironically, when the scene is cut back to Yesung singing on the street, it is revealed his ex never left, similar to when they broke up. I have to say, the video was shot beautifully. His acting is really good and those tears he gets at the end was just the tip of the iceberg for me. Honestly, check out the video for this. It is a well-written plot line that goes hand in hand with the song.

Overall, a beautiful comeback. Despite his promotions already ending (I think) and that his album did not chart as well, doesn’t mean that this album is terrible. Do check it out. 10/10

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

Probably one of the biggest award ceremonies for music and also probably one of the most prestigious, the 30th Golden Disk Awards (GDA) was held on the 20th to the 21st of January 2016. The GDA was supposed to be held in China but was moved back to South Korea due to the recent earthquakes that occurred there just 1 or two weeks before the scheduled event. Even though many people were shocked and feared the award ceremony would be either postponed or cancelled, the ceremony went off without a single hiccup and was broadcast live in both Korea and China.

What I like about this particular awards is that is focuses on both the physical albums and downloaded songs of the year. In other words, more awards for everyone. It is also nice to see who excelled in what (hahahaha…). The digital awards were handed out on the 20th of January, while the physical album awards were handed out on the 21st of January. The award show on the first night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Jong Kook and Seohyun (SNSD). The second night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Leeteuk (Super Junior) and Krystal (F(x)) I have recapped the award winners on the two nights below.

Disk Daesang (Album Of The Year) – EXODUS (EXO)
Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) – Loser (Big Bang)
Disk Bonsang (Best Artist) – APINK, VIXX, F(x), BTS, CNBLUE, Jonghyun (SHINee), EXO, Beast, Super Junior
Digital Bonsang (Best Artist) – Red Velvet, EXID, AOA, Zion.T, Park Jin Young, Sistar, Taeyeon (SNSD), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Big Bang, Girl’s Generation
Best New Artist – GFriend, iKON, Seventeen, Twice
Popularity Award – SHINee
Best Rap / Hip Hop – SanE
Best Rock – Hyukoh
Global Popularity Award – EXO
Best Group Vocal Award – BTOB
Best Solo Vocal Award – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue)
Best Male Artist Award – Big Bang
Best Female Artist Award – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Next Generation Star Award – Monsta X

Once again, this wide spread of award winners seem to be more representative of main stream KPOP. Not that I am complaining. Most of the award recipients were similar to the Seoul Music Award 2016, however a lot more artists won in this ceremony, since their was more rewards. Not that I am being a hater or anything, but Kyuhyun’s bonsang award seems a little far fetched. From memory (correct me if I am wrong though), his song never charted high on the charts and likewise Super Junior barely makes an impact on the digital side of the music industry. So I am a little suspicious of how he managed to get an award for a digital bonsang. Saying that, he did sell a lot. Like a lot on the physical side. But beside that, I think it was a nice range of artists who won and I think it is accurate (as in which artists managed to shine the brightest in 2015).

I really need to think of ways to start off the different sections, but once again… I think out of the all the ceremonies that have already been broadcast (NOTE: I am typing this prior to the Gaon Chart Awards), GDA has the best performances. Why? Because many of the artists performed multiple songs and I really enjoy how some artists (or their producers) integrate different songs together. GFriend, Red Velvet, EXID, Seventeen and BTS had the best stages on the nights. Some artists performed some songs that were released in the past (in previous years, such as EXID’s Up & Down, VIXX’s Error, Sistar’s Touch My Body etc.), which I kind of liked, but, the songs were released last year… so maybe a little outdated. But overall, the performances, I think, were to a very high standard and pleased me (*points at myself* and *acting as the biggest critic of all time*).

Below are just the few performances that I found and slapped together in a playlist format in no particular order.

For a last minute change to the ceremony, it managed to do pretty well in my books. Awards, performances. Everything was just great. There is one more to go of this season’s award ceremonies, which will be coming out in the coming days. Until then, bye!!

 

The Little Prince – Ryeowook (Super Junior)

The first release from SM this year and this time, it is also a solo release of a member of a popular band. Ryeowook, one of the main vocalists from Super Junior, has officially made his solo debut, joining the ranks of band member Kyuhyun. Ryeowook is also the second member to make his solo debut from Super Junior.

The song, is what we all expected from Ryeowook, a ballad. For his vocals, I have never been a big fan. His voice seems ordinary and there really is nothing to celebrate every time I hear his voice. He also has a high pitch voice, which never seems to fit in with the rest of the band. But this song highlights his voice and damn does he sound good or what? The song captures his vocals and makes good use of them. As for the song itself, I feel fine listening to just the instrumental. As you can tell, totally digging the orchestral sound. The verses seem a little bland, but the rest of the song (chorus + bridge) sounds catchy and really nice. (Secretly enjoying the chorus) I love how the song starts off super slow and builds up as we listen to more of it. His vocals do a good job at handling and balancing that build up in the song, making it sound as nothing complex is going on. The lyrics of the song are based off that famous French book of the same title, The Little Prince. So, what can you conclude from this paragraph? His voice is too damn good. And his song is amazing as well.

The video was a little boring to watch in my point of view. I have to say, the sets of the video were beautiful artworks that were made to look like the real deal. We see him struggle against his problems in the video, and while his expression is a little dull (we could have seen a little more acting), the way he interacts with the objects around him make up for it and display the “man in pain” that we know from the book. The imagery of the video was amazing, such as the pouring of wine on the white rose and the small snippets of burning pages and pictures from the book made the video look artistic and very beautiful. The colours give off that really nice Autumn night feel, which I think looks fantastic. But as a whole, I am not drawn to the video as I am with the song. I may have yawned when I was watching the video a few times.

Overall, the song was amazing and the video was great. 8.5/10

 

2015 BOBs (Best Of the Best) – Part 1

2015 is at its end, and with days away from the new year, we must reflect on 2015. And per usual: excellent songs, videos and dances have gracefully entered our lives and probably have not yet left us. From comebacks from big name acts to debuts of new rookie bands, 2015 has been a splendid year in my opinion. This year I decided to do the BOBs differently. Usually, I post a list of nominees and categories, but I don’t get you guys to vote for them (nor do I have the capabilities and time to allow you guys to vote for them, but maybe in the future), so I thought I should change it up this year, but posting both nominees and winners in the same post. This is part 1 of the BOBs and part 2 will be released tomorrow with the rest of the categories. Also, the traditional End of Year Charts will be released on the 31st of December, at 11:55 pm, so please wait around for that. Let’s get the post on the road!!!

These awards do not reflect any review score that I gave out this year. My personal preferences will always change (i.e. an 8 review score can currently be a 10 OR a 10 review score can currently by an 8).

RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention

RISING STAR

Each year, artists see a rise in popularity. May that be due to great songs or great publicity (after all: any publicity is good publicity), this year was no difference.  Each of these artists, I have personally seen, some sort of boost in popularity this year. And I get to choose two winners (one male and one female) for this certain category. For this year, I have nominated:

risingstar

My pick is: EXID and BTOB. Both teams saw a rise in popularity due to one particular member, and slowly each member in each group is become well known in the industry. Keep up the good work, EXID and BTOB!!!

BEST INSTRUMENTAL

A song is not a song without an instrumental. And in KPOP, the instrumental plays a massive part in hooking us in and getting us addicted to the music. Especially for foreign and international fans who don’t understand the Korean language 100%. So many great instrumentals this year, here are the nominees:

bestinstrumental

Out of all the nominees, there can be only one winner: Wonder Girls – I Feel You. The girls returned to the stage with a brand new band concept, which totally wowed me. This instrumental has its own retro vibe and I personally enjoyed it a lot. From the drums to the keyboard and guitars, the girls totally deserve this. By far one of the most underrated songs, that definitely deserve an award! Honourable Mentions: F(x) – 4Walls

BEST JAPANESE SONG

I also do some Japanese songs on this site. Hahaha… Yeah, I review some Japanese songs from time to time. The variety of singers that I listen to for Japanese songs is usually limited to only the Japanese songs released by Korean artists. This year, the category has been dominated by Korean artists and I hope next year, I can start to review more Japanese artists! Here are the nominees:

bestjapsong

I think, I was most addicted to Beast – Can’t Wait To Love You. And that was my pick for Best Japanese Song. It was song that I felt did not fall into the typical Korean Pop or Japanese Pop genres and was pretty unique on its own. As for honourable mentions: BTS – For You.

BEST COMEBACK

Big name comebacks this occurred and they all managed to rock our socks off. Hahaha… I take into account: song, concept, promotions, looks, impact and a few more categories and suprisngly, the biggest artists that emerge from the Golden Age of KPOP were nominated:

bestcomebackOut of all the comebacks nominated, the one that fitted the criteria the most would have been Big Bang. 2015 was one big year for the band, and they had such an unique concept in terms of promotion. SNSD takes away honourable mention for this category.

BEST SUBUNIT

Unfortunately, 2015 did not continue the 2014 trend of subunits. However, some new subunits formed from popular bands and some old favourite returned. Here is who I think should be nominated as best subunit:

bestsubunit

This one was a little close for me. But I am going to say Donghae and Eunhyuk, which is a subunit belonging to Super Junior. Their song was by far an amazing and left a more long lasting impact on me than the others. The other subunit that gets honourable mention is VIXX LR, which is a duo made up of Leo and Ravi.

BEST RAPPER

2015 saw a new wave of contestant based TV shows around rapping and hence many artists have seen a boost in popularity after appearing on these shows. Other rappers also remained on stage as part of their groups and amazed the audience continuously during each comeback. Here are the nominees:

bestrapper

Out of all the rappers on the light, I picked Mad Clown as a winner. His song was a hit, it was a great song (now) and while he is not part of some group, he still managed to be placed ahead of everyone this year. Zico (Block B) took out Honourable Mention for his active year. Interestingly enough, both selected artists had someone featuring in their song.

BEST VOCALIST

When there are rappers, there are also singers. 2015 also saw new programs (and our old favourites) made specifically for the vocalists of all groups. Some vocalists we know have always amazed us, but others have just emerged and became trends for 2015. Based purely on what they sound like, here are the nominees:

bestvocalist

I think this category has the most obvious winner, Taeyeon (SNSD). Yeah, she was quite active as an artist, but her debut for I blew everyone away. As for honourable mention, it goes to Solji (EXID). Her performance of Maria still replays in my head. Her powerful vocals in EXID’s performance are also quite amazing.

BEST MALE SOLOIST

While the above category looked like at vocal performance, the Best Male Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:

bestmalesoloist

There is only one artist on this list that managed to wow me the very moment I listened to the song and that artist is Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite). His whole album did wonders and is an album that I am continuously going back to. As for honourable mentions, Lee Hong Ki (FT Island) wins that. His solo debut song was well received and I reviewed it as an amazing ballad.

BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

While the above category(Best Vocalist) looked like at vocal performance, the Best Female Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:

bestfemalesoloist

Once again, I am going to give it to Taeyeon (SNSD). Vocally, stunning. It was memorable and lovely to listen to. Honourable Mention was a close call, but Amber (F(x)) stole it from Gain (Brown Eyed Girls). So catchy and bright.

And that is it for Part 1 of the BOBs. Check back tomorrow, where I will post the second part of the BOBs, with Best Song, Best Male and Female Rookie; and Best Male and Female groups (plus a few more categories).

*All images and gifs belong to their owners/creators. Only those tables are mine.

 

 

 

A Million Pieces – Kyuhyun (Super Junior)

Kyuhyun, the main vocal from Super Junior, has officially returned with his 2nd solo mini album. He made his solo debut last year with At Gwanghwamun (a song which I never got to review and probably wise to keep it that way). This time around, he returned with a genre which he does best, ballad, with A Million Pieces. While Kyuhyun does have a nice voice, for some reason, I tend to avoid his releases. I made myself watch and listen to this song this time around. My thoughts? Well, the song is pretty good, but I wouldn’t say it is the best. I do prefer the song more than his solo debut though. The fluctuations in the way he sings the chorus and the verses is a pretty nice combination. His chorus is somewhat catchy. But that is all I can say. He has a nice voice, but the song does not do justice to it. I don’t find much that appealing to me. It is bland and honestly sounds a little flat. I am 100% sure that there is a song out there that will prefectly present his vocals skills and also show what I am talking about. Sadly this is not it.

Ummm… Stalker alert. In this music video we see Kyuhyun seemingly popping up  coincidently throughout the music video around this girl. The girl is generally confused. It turns out Kyuhyun picked up a map from the girl who dropped it earlier in the video and have been following her around. If I was her, I would have gone to the police station and mentioned a stalker, but for the sake of the video, let’s go on. He likes her (talk about love at first contact) and proceeds to hang out with her, with her approval. They go a mini date. The next day, Kyuhyun waits around the mountains for her (as per her map indicates), but it seems like she totally forgot her plan to the mountains. Well, it turns out she had some terrible migraine the night before and I think that may have prevented her from going to the mountains. Not entirely sure, but it looked like she had a pill in her hands at the end video, but she was crying so much that she couldn’t bring herself to take the pill. I am genuinely confused. Just 1 question: why didn’t she fill up her bottles of medication before she left? Surely she would have done a bit of planning ahead of time? To me the plot seems to be worthy to become the next Korean Drama.

But beside all of that, the video itself was pretty entertaining. Kyuhyun’s face though. So much make-up. I was just like, it is so white and smooth. How??? The scenery was amazing. The video managed to capture beautiful shots of Swenden?? I don’t know my geography, I apologise.

Song was technically a miss for me. Music video was entertaining. 5/10

Magic – Super Junior

If you have not heard, some members of Super Junior will be enlisting into the army later this year. That is quite sad, but the members aren’t ready to say goodbye yet, as they released their repackaged album of Devil at the start of September (one month ago). On the repackaged album is the song Magic, which also serves as their title track. This is the last album before Donghae, Siwon and Eunhyuk enlist into the army. There was also minimal promotions for this album as it only served as “thank you” from the members to the fans (10 years since debut as well. Time flies when you are having fun).

This song was pretty mediocre. It wasn’t bad, but it did not really stand out. It was catchy, but it oh so annoying to listen to. I will explain myself. There really is nothing fancy about this song. Super Junior has put out much better songs in the past and honestly, this song falls into the “typical KPOP song” category. It was nice to listen to, but it just did not have that wow factor or anything interesting, where it makes me want to go back and listen to it some more. When I do listen to it, I find it catchy and I often repeat the lyrics over and over in my head. But the English in this song is so awful. “She so hot, She so fire”? It is 2015, not when KPOP is just reaching foreign shores and Korea did not have that American influence anymore. That one line is probably the catchiest line, but it just annoys me so much. Arghh!!! The vocals and pop instrumental is pretty standard. It’s nice to see Yesung seem to have his voice back in this song, unlike in Devil.

The music video was okay. It seemed a little too generic and while we are probably so happy that SM is venturing outside of a studio for their music video, the production value of this video looked quite minimal. The pop influenced effects with the number coming out of Yesung’s ear and also the movement of the basketball added a nice touch to the video. The music video has that “magic” aspect to it, but rather than being romantic with the magic, the members are using it to their advantage to get the girls attention or for their own pleasure. Well that sounded weird.  The video should have been a little better. There is no hype or excitement that I see from fans. It seems like the video was released and everyone ran to it, but then it disappeared from existence. The dancing was okay. Not amazing and grand but it matches the style of the song.

Overall, it’s their 10 year anniversary. It is also the last album for a while for some members. I feel like they should have gotten something a little better. While it was a bright song and video, not feeling it. 5/10