[Album Review] Hush (2nd Studio Album) – Miss A

One of the good things about doing this ‘Past Album’ reviews segment is that I am able to readily revisit groups who are now disbanded. These non-active groups have amazing albums and songs that just need some attention, even after years of release. The first now-disbanded group that I will be looking at is Miss A with their 2nd studio album, Hush. Hush shares the same name as the album’s lead title track and it also features some songs from the group’s first mini-album (Touch) and second mini-album (Independent Women Part III). For today, I will review only the songs that were present on the Hush album. As for the other songs on the mini-albums, I will return to them another week.

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Hush Album Cover

1..Come On Over (놀러와)Come On Over begins the album with a seductive sound. The track isn’t your most bombastic opener but it does do a good job of introducing the album. I really like the vocals in this track. They are quite breathy and this contributes to the sensual nature that I can detect. The combination of the R&B instrumental and vocals remind me of Uhm Jung Hwa’s songs. But the winning element for me is the rapping which I think is perfect for this track. (9/10)

2. Hush (허쉬) (Title Track) – Usually, I simply put a link to the review for the title tracks. But today, I have decided to offer an explanation. Times have changed and over the years, the song has grown on me immensely. It has grown so much that it has become my most favourite Miss A title track. Hence, I have decided to bump the original 8.5/10 to a 10/10. Obviously, all of my previous thoughts regarding the track have changed however I have decided to keep the original review as is. Click here to read the original full (but now practically invalid) review of Hush. (10/10)

3. Love Is U – One of my favourite tracks on the album is Love Is U. I thought the introductory was very misleading, as soon after the song becomes quite energetic. Showcased from the beginning of the song to the very end is the vocals of the group, which I thought was spectacular. The rapping was equally as nice. The chorus, even though it repeats the title, was my favourite part. I especially liked the ‘Love Is U, U, U’ part of the chorus. (10/10)

4. SpotlightSpotlight follows the energetic sound from the previous song. I like the brightness of the track, which is quite fitting for a song titled Spotlight. While I did like the song’s pop instrumental and vocals, the song did feel rushed, particularly between the verse and chorus. I also did think the song was repetitive, especially after many listens. The best part of the song was the bridge with the ‘Oh Oh Oh’ and the rap sequence, which I think gave the song some much-needed intensity. (8/10)

5. Hide & SeekHide & Seek is another favourite of mine. It brings back the edgy vibe that Hush delivered but it goes with a rock-pop vibe, which I thought was quite addictive. The hooks did not help ease that criterion as I clearly remember the song being engraved into my mind when it was first released in 2014. The rapping just before the chorus was my favourite part of the track because it brings the best out of Jia, who is often overshadowed by the rest of the groups. (10/10)

6. (Mama) I’m Good – Do you see something about the album thus far? Even Track Number 6 is a favourite. It is a feel-good track that really makes you smile regardless of how you are feeling before the track. The instrumental is extremely bright, as you would expect from this type of song. Once again, the vocals are on full blast with this track being their best effort on the album. It is also very catchy. (10/10)

7. Like ULike U brings back that sensual vibe through another R&B number. It provides us listeners a break from the energy filled album thus far but also serves as a great ‘interlude’ to the rest of the album. The vocals are brought back into play with no rapping within the track, which I thought was a suitable omission for this track. Unfortunately, this track wasn’t a favourite as it didn’t have that memorable element to hold me with. But it was still nice nonetheless. (9/10)

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Touch Album Cover (Source: Mithunonthe)

9. Touch (터치) – Once again, I am here to offer an explanation. The original score was a 4/10. But that included the music video and performance, which to this date, I still do not like. Likewise, my original thoughts regarding the song still stand. But back then, there was no breakdown of the final review score and I do not believe a 4/10 represents my thoughts then or now in regard to the song/music. Hence, I have decided to bump the score to a 6.5/10. Click here to read the full review of Touch. (6.5/10)

10. Over U– Repetition may be this song’s main charm. ‘Over U’ is repeated during the chorus and while you may think this might get annoying, it becomes engraved into your mind. Trust me on this one, as it is one memorable song. The verses are what keeps the song moving along as it is rather different. Their vocals also bring some freshness as it moves along, especially Jia’s rapping which I think adds a kick to the song. (9/10)

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Independent Women Part III Album Cover

11. Time’s UpTime’s Up is also another addictive song. To me, it feels like a shuffling song (and here I show my age). I also liked the pre-chorus slowdown, which I thought really gave the song an intriguing turn. The post-chorus instrumental break was quite dynamic and showcased a burst of energy. I also thought the ‘Bye Bye Bye’ was a very delicate touch to the harsh club/dance beat. The rest of the song was equally as good, I just don’t have the space to write all about it! (10/10)

12. If I Were A BoyIf I Were A Boy features a much slower R&B instrumental and raspier vocals from the members. And while we have seen this combination elsewhere in the album, I just cannot seem to really enjoy this song. It is paced so slowly that it feels unfitting for the album, which has featured an overload of energy. To think of this track as a breather doesn’t really help its case. It just isn’t a memorable song and it still has some nice moments. (7/10)

13. I Don’t Need A Man (남자 없이 잘 살아)Click here to read the full review of I Don’t Need A Man. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

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Hush Teaser Image

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[Special] Missed Reviews – Music Videos

Please note these special posts are designed to be long and may require some time to read (if you plan on reading the entire post).

In some cases, some groups extend their promotional period by promoting a new song. And in some of these cases, the groups also released a music video for the follow-up song. Usually, these music videos are released after I have published my album review and hence I don’t go back to do a separate review (as I have already done a short one for the song). So, I dedicate this week’s special post to return to some of those missed music videos and do a quick rundown.

Initially, my plans for this post would be over two weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough for two weeks. So I have scrapped the second week and will do the entire list of 6 songs today. I may return to do more ‘Missed Reviews’ special posts in the future, in case I find myself in a similar position.


Lady – Golden Child

As part of their Miracle album promotions, Golden Child followed up their It’s U promotions with Lady, which received a 9.5/10 rating on the respective album review. I actually think the group, despite their youthful charms, can do extremely well with this mature concept. The heartbreak can be seen throughout the video, as the members deal with their one-sided love. While dancing on top of a building has been done before, it looks really good here. I feel like when the members all sing together, the video could have focused entirely on all the members in the choreography shots (like for the first chorus) as they enhance the epic sound of the chorus. But overall, it is one good video that compliments the song perfectly.


Black On Black – NCT 2018

I wanted to review Black On Black like a normal song-mv-performance review, however, they didn’t get around to promoting the track until weeks after the album (and album review) was released. On the album review, the song was given a 7/10 ranking. Black On Black was a relatively simple video, which showcases a very complex choreography. The members were all wearing black, fitting for the song’s title. What I did like was the set of the video. Despite it being the one set, it was shown in 3 different lighting settings, which made it feel like 3 different sets entirely. I know the ending was meant to show all the member but I found the random zoom up into Taeyong’s belt really odd. Other than that, pretty good video.


Yestoday – NCT U

It was clear that NCT received a large budget for their multiple music videos and I guess there was enough left over for a 6th music video. Yestoday is sung by NCT U (made up of Taeyong, Doyoung, Lucas and Mark) and received an 8/10 rating. It is okay to say that I like this music video more than some of the others? Because I was very impressed with what was given to us. While the song had this jazzy feel, I felt like the video was more edgy, which I thought was a great contrast. Simplicity was the key but they did a lot of the video post-production which made it likeable and interesting. I liked the random inserts of images that flash by throughout the video.


SObeR – Suzy

At the time of writing any of the reviews, I don’t think I was aware of any news that Suzy had shot three different music videos for four of her tracks. The first of which is SObeR, which received a 9/10. And with that title, it kind of makes sense that the video will be set partly in a bar. To me, it was a ‘fun’ themed video, where Suzy acted wild and drunk, in order to woo her interest. In the end, she confessed that she wasn’t sober, which I guess could be a fun game at the club (PS. Not a club person here). I thought the various sets or places she filmed at had this elegant vibe which suits Suzy, who is considered to be South Korea’s top actresses. I also liked it how she didn’t go over the top in this video, which could easily have occurred. But it kept to her image and ended up being a nice video to watch.


Teenager – GOT7

This is the one video released last year which I never got the chance to look at. Teenager was featured on GOT7’s 7th mini-album (7 for 7) and I gave the song an 8/10 rating. The video focused primarily on the choreography. Despite that, it was still a high-quality video which I thought it was rather cool to watch. I really liked the visual effects that were shown at the start of the video. I like how the video cuts between black and white to colour. Also liked how the background complimented the hip-hop style of the song, while also adding an edge. The members also looked good (including Jinyoung’s golf pants). It is a simple video done well.


One and Only One – GOT7

One and Only One is the pre-release single for GOT7’s 8th mini-album, released earlier this year. It received an 8/10 rating, as well. What we have isn’t technically a music video. Rather, it showcases the song for a minute and that is all. I did like the blue background and how simple the video was (like above). I think if we got a longer video with some flashing lights and maybe a few different colours in the background, along with Hyolyn actually featuring the video and some choreography, the video would have been amazing. Or at least, what I think the video could have been.


Distance – CLC

Distance is a single off their 7th mini-album and the accompanying music video was released after promotions for Black Dress ended. In the respective album review, Distance received a 7/10 rating. The music video, on the other hand, would have received something much higher. I don’t know how to exactly describe the video. It can either be about heartbreak or something more sinister. The cutting of the rope can be about breaking up and physical distance. But the members disappearing, the blindfolding and just the fact they wear white alludes to something else. I have no idea what it is, though. On top of that, I thought it was a really nice video that complimented the softer nature of the song.


Thanks to all who stuck around to the end. This wraps up this special post (for the time being as I may bring it back as more music videos or songs accumulate). I will be back in two weeks time with special posts dedicated to even more music videos, so do keep an eye open for those! (Or make it easier by following me!)

[Album Review] Faces Of Love (2nd Mini Album) – Suzy

Unfortunately, last week I could not put out any album reviews due to it being a busy week. Now, with more time on my hand, I am aiming to get out 3 album reviews this week. Starting off this trio is Faces Of Love, which is the second mini-album release for Suzy, who is making her first comeback since her solo debut and the disbandment of Miss A.

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Faces Of Love Album Cover

1..In Love With Someone Else (다른사람을 사랑하고 있어) (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for In Love With Someone Else. (8.4/10)

2. Holiday ft. DPR LIVE (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Holiday. (6.6/10)

3. SObeR – I have no idea why the title of the song is written in that manner. But besides that, SObeR has a really likeable percussion based instrumental. Yes, it gave the song its minimalistic vibe but it still makes it good. I like how the chorus is set apart from the rest of the song by adding just a few more instruments. The vocals throughout the chorus and the bridge were exceptional. More importantly, the changeup towards the end of the song saved the song more boredom caused by repetitiveness. I personally think this is a standout track for this mini-album. (9/10)

4. Bad X (나쁜X)Bad X features an acoustic sound, which I think is quite nice. The chorus was a turn that I did not expect vocally but it sounds good. The vocals are quite nice but I am not a major fan of the final section of the song. The song is quite good when you listen to it as we go through the album but it just doesn’t really stand out on its own as a single. (6.5/10)

5. Sleep Well, For Me Too (잘자 내 몫까지) – The song felt like a lullaby with such great vocals from Suzy herself. It has a nice piano dominate instrumental but it just isn’t the most interesting song on this album. (6/10)

6. Broken Heart (서툰 마음) – It is another ballad. I like this track more than the preceding ballad because of the buildup that was present. This is solely due to her vocals, which she showed a nice spectrum of on this album so far. I feel like the song could have used a flowier instrumental or melody (which I only felt towards the end of the song. I did like the bridge the most but it felt too short for my liking. (7/10)

7. All Night (너는 밤새도록) – I liked the initial effects that were placed on her vocals, especially when they came into focus after a few seconds. Despite the upbeat feels that you get from this song, it is apparent that the emotions from Suzy are quite loaded, making it an interesting song. The ‘Na Na Na’ is a reflection of this. The harmonies in the track were great. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.2/10

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Faces of Love Teaser Image

[Review] Holiday – Suzy ft. DPR LIVE

Making her first return since her solo debut last year and the disbandment of Miss A is Suzy. Last week, I reviewed her pre-release, In Love With Someone Else and this week, it is her main title track’s turn. Holiday (the title track), along with her pre-release is featured on her second mini-album, Faces of Love.

I did expect something a little more upbeat, like her debut track, Yes No Maybe. Holiday ended up being a soothing track that is pretty easy on the ears. It doesn’t feature any booming synths or obnoxious sounds. Instead, it focuses on having a laidback and softer tone, which is quite nice if you listen to it a few times. With repetitive listens, however, it becomes bland and if you strip her voice away, you basically have an instrumental that resembles elevator music.  Her vocals are a great match for the song. I like it how it also glides over the surface of the music and manages to involve that laid-back sound. I have personally never heard of DPR LIVE before. His featuring in this song is quite nice because the way he delivers his section is pretty much similar to how Suzy performs her track. He does add a rougher element to the track but it isn’t over the top. I don’t think the song is personally for me but it does still sound quite nice.

The music video, from what I can gather from news sources, is shot in both New Mexico and Los Angeles. And from the scenery in the music video, it does feel like you are on a holiday. It all looks stunning. Most of the video is essentially Suzy on her travels or walking around the nice sites, so there isn’t much to comment with in regards to the video.

A part of me felt like the song did not call for any choreography. But watching her performance at her showcase, it looks nice. It isn’t over the top and allows Suzy to focus more on her singing. My only other comment is if the performance was somewhat more graceful, it would look more fitting for the song.

Song – 5.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

 

[Review] In Love With Someone Else – Suzy

Suzy is gearing up for comeback schedule for next week. And as a teaser, Suzy has pre-released a track, In Love With Someone Else, off her second mini-album, Faces of Love. This is Suzy’s first solo comeback since her official debut last year with Yes No Maybe.

Suzy’s pre-release takes the form of a ballad, which is no surprise as it tends to be the default genre for most pre-releases. Her ballad pre-release last year, Pretend, was pretty successful on the charts. So this comes with high expectations. And that she fulfils. It is your standard ballad. It features a really nice piano and violin instrumental which is more grounded in the background. That being said, when the song is required to build up to the chorus, it does so in your standard way but still giving off a grand feel. Suzy’s vocals are the main element of the song and it is clear how beautiful her voice is. You can literally feel the emotions that she had poured into the song which makes this a really good ballad to listen to.

I like the video was presented. The main part of the video is Suzy literally confessing to her now ex-partner that there is no longer there and that she is in love with someone else. I like it how she is singing her lyrics while doing so, which allows the audience to have some sort of a connection between Suzy in that scene. The rest of the video describes how they once the ideal couple (very lovey dovey) and how it progressed to the present point in time. I don’t think it showed Suzy actually falling for another person and I felt like that could have been added in to make it a little bit clearer. But from the lyrics and visuals already in the video, it was quite clear already.

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

[Double Review] Pretend + Yes No Maybe – Suzy (Miss A)

Suzy, from Miss A, is a South Korean treasure. While she does perform with her group, she is more known for her acting in dramas such as Dream High, Gu Family Book and Uncontrollably Fond. However, a solo album or release of some kind has been requested for the idol for quite a while now. She has featured in OSTs for dramas and in 2016, she collaborated with Baekhyun from EXO for Dream. At the end of 2016, a solo debut was confirmed for January 2017 and her solo album was released on the 24th of January.

Pretend was the pre-release track for Suzy’s debut. Pretend is a ballad with a soft jazz instrumental. Almost like elevator music, but not as bad! The vocals in the song are unique. Instead of being clear, they have been edited to sound as if she is singing straight from a microphone. The vocals for the verses are quite soft, while the chorus is where she is the loudest. I do prefer the chorus because you can hear more clearly. The ending was a little abrupt and I think the song should have eased into silence, to make it sound better. Have to mention the lyrics for Pretend because they are very meaningful and when she sings, you can hear the emotion that she pours into the song.

Overall Rating for Pretend – 8/10

Yes No Maybe is Suzy’s title track for her solo debut. Like in Pretend, Suzy did a great job with the emotions in Yes No Maybe. Vocally, I think this sound much better than Pretend, mainly because you hear her more clearly and her vocals are at a more appropriate volume level. Her vocals were very fitting for the song, as well. I am not exactly sure how I would describe the instrumental of this song. There is a retro sound to it, with what I believe is Latin influences. I really enjoyed the beat of the song. While it is not a party or modern type of dance song, I do want to get up and jam to it. It’s a really good song that was perfect for a solo debut.

I really liked the video for Yes No Maybe. It has an eerie look that for some reason matches the song pretty well. We see Suzy mainly under a red filter or in shaky shots, which represents the hazy memories that a person might have after a night out. The video also features a male actor, to whom Suzy is seeing. Most of the video shows her by herself, aimlessly wandering the streets but she ends up going back to the guy.  It’s the later part of the video that doesn’t make sense to me. She is seen fleeing the scene and in the foreground are two bodies. One body of the guy in the bathtub and one body of another female on the bathroom floor (that is what I am assuming since only legs are shown). So she killed him (but we don’t know why). My assumption is because he is seeing someone else on the side. That ending made me go back to the video a few times to try to understand the storyline, but as you can see, I didn’t get far. The cinematography for the video was actually quite good as well.

What the performance for Yes No Maybe needed was a sensual choreography without becoming overwhelming. And that is what Suzy delivered. It isn’t anything that impressive or memorable, but that expected sensual feeling (to the right extent) was there. I did like the use of the red strings at the start of the performance. Though, I feel like a red ribbon would have given a bolder look.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating for Yes No Maybe – 8.5/10 

Dream – Suzy (Miss A) & Baekhyun (EXO)

Currently the hottest song out at this very moment. This unexpected (kind of was expected after images were leaked though) between Suzy from Miss A and EXO’s Baekhyun has been staying at the top of the charts of a few days now and have apparently been there for over 100 hours, which is a feat considering the competition that they are facing with powerful digital artist’s comeback and also the release of OSTs for Reply 1988, which rise to the top of charts quite quickly.

Lovely song. It’s the type of song that you would expect in those cafes that we see often in the movies. The jazzy feel the instrumental gives the ballad really gives off that feel. Their vocals compliment each other quite well. Their vocals both also fit in very well with the jazzy feel. While it is not a catchy song, the chorus is pretty addictive to listen to. It makes me want to sway along and furthermore has this relaxing feeling about it. Suzy’s voice starts it off with a really soft and husky Dream and Baekhyun joins in afterwards with his husky voice as well. Even their “mmmmsss” sound really cool and go hand in hand with each other. Personally, this song feels like perfection in my eyes and every one of those hours the song is recorded at #1 truly reflects the amazing nature of the song.

The music video, well, matches the jazz ballad feel of the song. I love their set up, but I personally thought a more French or cafe setting would be more suitable. But I love how simple it was. Just position the right instruments around them and have the singers it there. But I don’t know, the instrumental playing people seem to know what they were doing, but they look awkward as hell. But beside that, I thought the video was very nice and complimented the song in many ways.

Yeah, probably not going to hammer down on them for my thoughts on the music video, but this is a perfect song. 10/10

Rewind: March 2015

Through this new segment (Finally got to use that one word), we will be looking back at the third month of 2015. I get to rank my top 10 songs. But we also get to look back at other events that happened in the Korean music industry. This way, I can talk about big events in the KPOP industry and rely my thoughts to you all.

Lee Min Ho and Suzy Dating

This by far is the biggest news of March 2015. Just a few days ago, it was confirmed by both companies that Miss A’s Suzy and Hallyu actor Lee Min Ho are officially dating. More importantly, JYP (Suzy’s company) have announced that Suzy would not avoid questions regarding the couple. Now, usually companies try to “Hush” the rumours, so I thought it was a little wierd that JYP would say Suzy would be answering all questions. Though I get that both companies would have to confirm due to the evidence presented, but I think JYP is milking everything they can out of this big piece of news. Dating in the industry is going to be hard but I wish the very best for the two. Now let’s move along with Miss A‘s comeback, shall me?

Red Velvet First Win

The subheading says it all. Congratulations to Red Velvet on their first music show win. At the time I am writing this, they actually have won 4 music show awards. Their latest song is ________________________________________________________________. Sorry. Let’s leave this here and wait for the review to come out. Soon. I promise. I am not YG. It will come soon. Like next week probably.

2AM Members Change Companies

Another big piece of news with the 2AM members splitting up with their company. No, they are not disbanding (though it sounded a lot like it at first) but 2AM members have decided to go with different companies. Jo Kwon decided to stay with JYP Entertainment. Seulong decided to go with SidusHQ and Jinwoon decided with Mystic Entertainment. Changmin signed with Big Hit after his contract ended with JYP last year (I think?). This kind of says something about JYP Entertainment, but at the same time, we should be glad the ballad group are not going away for now. Let’s hope 2AM comebacks with a new song with this different formation with companies. (On a side note: all 2PM members – contract ended around the same time – resigned with JYP).

Comebacks for April

BIG BANG HAS BEEN CONFIRMED!!! Though, not exactly sure when the comeback is exactly. But BIG BANG HAS BEEN CONFIRMED to be the first YG artist making their comeback in 2015. On top of that, EXID will be making their comeback. Miss A and EXO just made their comeback at the end of the month. Dal Shabet, Mamamoo, Cross Gene have also be confirmed. SNSD (Girl’s Generation) will also be making their comeback in May BUT they will be releasing a track during April in both Japan and Korea.

Yewon and Lee Tae Im Scandal

This scandal I am not familiar with. Essentially what happened is that Yewon spoke informally to Lee Tae Im. After Lee Tae Im got angry and left, Yewon decided to curse out at Lee Tae Im, and hence causing this controversy. Essentially, Yewon is more of a younger person in the industry, so she had to be formal. I get it sometimes. I come from as Asian background and sometimes I don’t think the formality thing is right. Just because they are older does not mean they are right. Imagine this: the older person is cursing the daylights out of you and your loved ones, and you “disrespectfully” defended yourself and your family. Is the older person right and you are at fault? Though this is not what had happened, it seems like the industry zooms in on one part and leave the rest out for every bad situation. We don’t know 100% what happened. We will never know what 100% happened. Something could have happened before that got both angry. Those are just my loosely put together thoughts on the whole thing. Maybe Yewon is in the wrong. But what if she isn’t? Remember I am not siding with her. I am just being “opened minded” about things.

Top 10 songs of the month

1. Paradise Lost – Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)

2. Between Night n Music – B.I.G

3. FM – Crayon Pop

4. You’re Pitiful – Fiestar

5. Donghae & Eunhyuk – Growing Pains

6. I Am A Woman Too – Minah (Girl’s Day)

7. Ice Cream Cake – Red Velvet

8. Apple – Gain (Brown Eyed Girls) ft. Jay Park

9. Growing – K.Will

10. Bounce – Boyfriend