[International Song Review] BTS, Stray Kids, TWICE, Dream Catcher, Lee Jun Young (U-KISS)

It has been a while since I stuck my head into the world of Japanese releases made by Korean artists. So today, I will be reviewing Japanese releases from BTS, Stray Kids, TWICE, Dream Catcher and Lee Jun Young (from UKISS). Some of these are recent and some of these dates back to the start of the year. Early this year, I reverted to a bulk review post for International releases by Korean artists as they go global. If you would like to see the two bulk review posts that I have released so far, you can do so by clicking here and here. If you know of any other international releases (that have a music video), please comment them below so that I am aware of them!


Stay Gold – BTS

Out of all the releases on this list that I have chosen to review today, Stay Gold has to be the most generic. While the song does shine a golden light onto their vocals and rapping, the pop ballad just doesn’t have much to hold my attention. The lyrics of Stay Gold directs the song down the inspirational path, but the overall atmosphere of the pop ballad did not have that same feeling. And no amount of good vocals can compensate for that. The instrumental felt very mostly linear and the titular hook was just repeated too much throughout the chorus. Obviously, this is intentional to get the hook stuck in your mind. But by the time we get to the pre-chorus, it just feels too overdone and dried out. Lights (last year’s Japanese release) is quite similar in terms of its ballad direction, but there was a soothing feeling and attractive instrumental. The music video seems to show that no matter what dark place you in, there will always be light somewhere in it. At the end of the video when V touches the tree trunk, the golden lights that come from the tree and into the dark hallways may symbolises that is BTS is the guiding light for their fans (which I am sure is the truth for most fans). It was a nice video, with a good meaning. (7.2/10)


Top – Stray Kids

Top is Stray Kid’s first original Japanese single and since its release, we have seen a Korean and English version. It is also used as a theme song for the Japanese anime, Tower of God. When I listen to Top, I get this really cool epic vibe to the song which leaves a very strong impression on me. It starts off with some dramatic violins before adopting a rough and heavy synth base for the chorus. And it is this combination that really helps makes Top become one of their most powerful releases to date. The rappers benefit with this rough style of music, with both their rough textured delivery and angst shining throughout the song. The vocal moments were meh, in my opinion. But the slowdown we get to give way to the vocalists do help make the drop more epic. For the music video, I really like their spaceship premise. It is fitting with the epic vibes of the song. Standlone, it is still pretty cool setting. It is a song all about gettng to the top, no matter what. We see the members struggle as the road to get to the top becomes difficult, but they always perservere. I do wonder what Seungmin and I.N were meant to represent as they walk into the light. Are they the ones that gave up? Not too sure. As for the choreography, powerful and epic, just like the song. (9/10)


Fanfare – Twice

TWICE’s recent Japanese release is Fanfare. The song’s instrumental just keeps coming for you and it might be overwhelming for some. Even I had to debate whether I should say the instrumental assaulted us with its noise or was just very overpowering but bearable. For the time being, I am leaning towards the latter, as it doesn’t seem to much as everyone else is saying. But if you caught me on a bad day, I might be going with the first option as my description of Fanfare. I really like its energy and powerful upbeat nature, which is all highly suitable for the Summer season. The marching band adds a fun and robust feel to the song. It might be overpowering, but the members bring a bright tone to the song to help level it out. The song’s hooks were catchy and I would gladly add this to my playlist if I wanted to infuse some energy into my day. For the music video, it looks like a bunch of ill-fitting closeup shots and a stage-like set up for their choreography scenes, where the members are dressed in marching band gear. I assume those closeup shots are meant to give off a happy and joyful impression to match the lyrics of the song. Though, I do question Jihyo’s scene, which is a world full of laundry. No one ever enjoys laundry, it is such a chore. For the choreography, I thought it was pretty good. Not their most impressive routine, but still fun and bubbly. (7.4/10)


Endless Night – Dream Catcher

Endless Night is one of the older releases in this post, dating back to March of this year. While Dream Catcher has been long associated with bringing the J-POP rock sound to K-POP, Endless Night feels like it brings a Western rock influence to the Japanese industry, which was rather unexpected. It is also a lot moodier than any of their other title tracks. But while these are different directions, Dream Catcher makes it work. I do just wish their vocals and rapping had a little more oomph to them, which would help make the song more appealing. Aside from the chorus, everything else was rather forgettable and dry. For the music video, I really liked the use of colours. It just makes this otherwise boring music video pop, which definitely helps with the video’s appeal. Wait, but why do I find the video boring? Well, the video takes on that typical closeup and choreography formula that I have grown to dislike. I do admit the closeups seem to try to be aesthetic, but they don’t just hit the mark like other music videos. The choreography looks pretty good and works pretty well with the song. The chorus has to be the best part of the routine for me. (7.4/10)


Come Alive – Lee Jun Young (U-KISS)

Lee Jun Young is probably more known as an actor, rather than UKISS member. At the end of 2019, he reminded fans that he is a singer with the release of his first single album and Curious About U. Right after his domestic promotions, Lee Jun Young also released his first mini-album in Japan, featuring a number of solo singles from the second half of 2019. It also featured Come Alive, which was formally released at the start of 2020. It is a fun hip-hop dance track, that is both bass and brass-heavy. It is quite addictive that I am always nodding or tapping along to the beat when it appears on my playlist. The song is pretty dynamic when it comes to the verses. His rapping is quite captivating and alluring. I really like how the song punctuates some of the lines with the added emphasis of the ‘You‘ and ‘Do‘ (and associated Japanese words). His vocals are also quite good. There is a good beat to this section to help give it a club feel. At first, I didn’t like how dragged out the ‘Come Alive‘ felt. But after multiple listens, it has definitely grown on me significantly. The music video has this urban feel to it, which was nice. It just didn’t have anything more to it worth talking about, unfortunately. For the choreography, it fits in with the urban hip-hop feel that both the song and music video had. I do like how clean and smooth it felt during some parts of the choreography. Other than that, it is just another case of not his best, but still good. (7.5/10)

[Album Review] MORE & MORE (9th Mini Album) – TWICE

TWICE returned over two weeks ago with MORE & MORE, which is the title of both their latest mini-album and title track. Unfortunately, it has taken me over the two week mark to actually prepare and post my thoughts on their album. While it doesn’t seem as long but TWICE have already wrapped up their promotions for MORE & MORE. That is the case for a lot of established groups now, as they can afford to perform with shorter promotional periods, which I find a fascinating observation. And they are most likely very busy with other schedules. But while TWICE is done with promotion, I am not done with this era just yet. I need to get the album review out, so let’s keep going!

MORE & MORE Album Cover

1. More & More (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for More & More. (8/10)

2. Oxygen – One of the main drawing points of Oxygen is its instrumental. It feels fresh and is very unique. I really like all of those effects in the background during the verse, from those wavy effects that appeared behind Nayeon and Jihyo’s first parts in the verse and those clanging percussion synths that featured behind Nayeon and Jihyo’s parts when they appear next in the song (and in all their subsequent sections). The chorus also featured a very nice hollow/deep shimmering sequence, as well, which had a unique charm of its own. They all just gave the song a more dynamic touch and added some unique energy into the song. I also like how much energy they also add to the song through the vocals. The pre-chorus by the main (Jihyo and Nayeon) and lead vocalists (Jeongyeon and Mina) just showed some flair that really made the song so much more interesting. The ‘I really really…really want’ was extremely catchy. The only pitfall the song had was the rapping. It felt unnecessary and really awkward. But other than that, it is a great song. (9.5/10)

3. FireworkFirework opens up with a short Latin guitar sequence, before it becomes infused with some tropical sounds. The pairing of trends, you could call it. It seems like there are some beach sounds, just in case you didn’t get the summery theme of the song. And I will be honest, the instrumental isn’t that draining despite it being two of KPOP’s most overworked trends to date. And while there were some good vocal moments embedded throughout the song, there were a few that also set the song back a bit as well. For example, I just felt they dragged out the chorus just a touch too much, if you understand where I am coming from. I do like the rapping in this song, as it added a little changeup. It was also dragged out as well, but I don’t mind that. (8/10)

4. Make Me Go – From the very first second, I was enjoying the beat that Make Me Go was channeling. It felt mature and sensual in a manner that suits Twice so well. The upbeat nature of the instrumental and its funkiness reminds me of Breakthrough and I felt that this would be an excellent follow up to that track. I really liked how they infuse a bit of brass into the song, giving that extra hook (as I find brass elements in songs to be great appealing mechanisms). But the killing point of the song has to be the low chorus. It had me screaming internally. They sounded so good this way. However, while I was on board with this really cool and catchy chorus, it also brought the weakest moment of the song. The member’s ‘Do It’ felt unnecessary. If it didn’t have that one small detail, then I would have given this a perfect ranking. (9.5/10)

5. Shadow Shadow continues the album’s direction of a mature sound. We have definitely gone far away from their earlier cutesy works when they first started out. Shadow feels like that track that established mature artists have been putting out for a while now. While its synth-based instrumental is rather plain, I do find the song to be quite easy on the ears, which makes it decent to listen to. Their vocal work is quite good, but I just wished that the song had that TWICE colour to it, which is noticeably missing. The strongest part of the has to be that (not sure what you would call it) but that humming stuff that followed the chorus. It just felt so smooth. I don’t recall any rap sequences and I feel like a mean rap sequence would have been nice to give the song some edge and subsequently stand out. But overall, a decent listen. (8/10)

6. Don’t Call Me AgainDon’t Call Me Again is quite rough around the edges thanks to its characteristic marching band style instrumental. If they found a way to really soften those edges a bit, I would have appreciated it more. More the most part, the song didn’t evoke any emotions out of me. The instrumental was quite linear and their vocal felt very expressionless. It is another song that felt it needed a good rap sequence to cut it down a bit and bring in some relief to the consistency. And I think it would have mixed in neatly into this song. Overall, a passable song. (6/10)

7. Sweet Summer Again – For some odd reason, I can’t tell if the song starts off with the sound of a crowd, a bunch of seagulls or both! I just can’t pinpoint regardless of how many times I listen to the song and thought it would be a funny thing to share. What Sweet Summer Again really brings back to the table is a bright energy, which has been absent for a number of tracks so far. And on the plus side, it feels like your typical TWICE song, based from the energy that comes from it. The vocals and rapping were pretty good . The song had decent hooks and I liked the 90s feel of the instrumental. Overall, a nice song to end the album with. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

MORE & MORE Teaser Image

[Review] More & More – TWICE

TWICE has the honour of kicking June 2020 off with their new release, MORE & MORE, which is the name for both their new title track and mini-album. We last saw the group in Korea for their Feel Special comeback in October last year. Since then, the group has been busy with the Japanese leg of their world tour (thought his was later affected by the current worldwide health pandemic) and have released a documentary series on YouTube, titled Twice: Seize the Light. This comeback also features the return of Mina, who returned to group performances earlier in the year, after being on hiatus to focus on her mental health.

MORE & MORE starts off a sleek dance track, featuring smooth vocals from the members. As the verse progresses, we get more of a beat becoming infused into the song, allowing members who don’t have as smooth vocals to get their moment to shine. The song that progresses to its catchiest hook, in my opinion. The pre-chorus features the ‘…more more more and more‘ repetition hook, which I find to be very strong and melodic. We glide through this section in a manner that bridges the verse and chorus together is a very pleasant manner. Then, we are hit with the tropical house-based chorus. Yes, the overused genre is making its comeback. But as 2020 isn’t overly saturated into the genre just yet, the robust chorus for MORE & MORE comes off as refreshing and robust. I also like their one liners during the chorus. I am, however, not impressed with the main hook of the song, the shouty ‘More & More‘. I wished they incorporated a more melodic approach with his hook as this would have made the song a lot stronger. Instead, it feels rather half done in my opinion. The second verse and chorus is essentially the same as the first routine. The bridge is the most cliche but dynamic part of the song, as they enter a trap-based breakdown and the rapping section of the song. Not bad for the song, but I felt the rapping to very mild. I would have liked them to adopt something that would have continued to change the song, before returning to the final chorus. Overall, it isn’t the perfect track according to my ears. And while I am unsure about their step into this trendy direction, I quite liked the song from the get-go.

I might be reading into the music video incorrectly, but I think they adopted a Garden of Eden type of concept, based on the featuring of snakes and apples (i.e. the Forbidden Fruit) in the video. It is interesting concept and it compliments the lyrics of the song in a way, as the members singing about wanting ‘MORE & MORE‘ from their relationship. I really liked the sets for this video. It is very colourful but also very mystic in a way. This can be greatly attributed to the post production editing and the use of green screen. I like their use of green screen in this video and it is JYP Entertainment’s best use of that technology. The parts of the video that corresponds to first pre-chorus and the rap sequence of the song had were fantastic and hypnotic use of the green screen, adding a dynamism to the video. The only thing I dislike with the video is the Bohemian look that opted for. While it is reflects well with the ‘nature’ side of the concept and that many people enjoy the style, I have never been a fan of it. But that is just my personal taste.

I liked what they did with the performance. There were strong moments, but I do note that they seem to have ditched the addictive and viral dance moves. And I think this is a smart move overall. Strong moments include the trap based dance break and the entire pre-chorus routine. I actually also really like final part of the chorus, when the few deep beats come into play.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[International Song Review] EXID, ONEUS, TWICE, MONSTA X, CIX

Welcome to the very first International Song Review post. This segment will replace the Japanese song review that I publish sporadically on Saturdays. The segment will also allow me to cover more of those Japanese releases, which was an issue I previously had (I used to post once a week and this would mean some releases won’t be reviewed until many weeks after – which is the case for all of the songs to be reviewed today). On top of that, I wanted to keep up with the KPOP advancement into the Chinese and Western music industries, a niche that I was not reviewing as I could not dedicate more time. By putting these all together, it saves time and it allows me to cover more songs. The artists I will be focusing on today include EXID, ONEUS, TWICE, MONSTA X and CIX.


Bad Girl For You – EXID

Bad Girl For You is a very different song from any of the Korean releases. The group’s Korean releases have this level of vibrancy that I feel is noticeable absent from this track. Instead, the song has this mature and sensual feel to it that I think is very suitable for EXID. I liked how the instrumental is very toned down and almost quite eerie. The chorus has a heavier beat to it, which offsets the song from becoming plain and boring. Their oval work complimented the style, which was definitely a nice fit to the song. I do find the use of that laser shooting synth a little random and doesn’t fit well with the rest of the song. The song may not seem much at first, but after many listens, you will be coming back for even more. For the music video, I liked the use of the 5 colours (green, blue, yellow, red and purple) in the background and how each colour is usually concentrated to a particular area of the set. It helps give the video a minimalist feel. The choreography is also quite nice but not really memorable.


808 – ONEUS

I think 808 is a smashing song. The sound of the instrumental was posed in a manner that really caught my attention. I love the strings that feature in the instrumental, along with the intense style they had adopted from their Korean releases. There is an epic vibe to the song, but they do it in a manner that masks it. You think you are getting another typical song, but you will be blown away by the song’s sound. The song is vibrant and definitely knows how to bundle a bunch of energy in a fashionable sense. The vocal work was good and the rapping gave the song a little more edge. The music video looks really artistic. I am not sure if these are music video sets or whether the group filmed their music video in some sort of modern art museum. It looked very cool. The performance looked good with cool moves. Just not memorable like EXID’s performance.


Fake & True – TWICE

I was blown away with Breakthrough when it was first release for its mature and edgy style, something that was a little foreign for the very pop-based and cutesy TWICE. And it seems like Fake & True continues the momentum and extends TWICE’s reach into this new territory. I thought the brass in the chorus was very nice and the rest of the instrumental was very energetic and vibrant in a way that suits the group. I also liked the synths that they employed throughout the song, especially for the dance break bridge. I did think the chorus was a little one-dimensional as it repeated the title of the song all throughout and felt a little awkward. The vocals were good but the rapping in this track was epic. It was also nice to see Mina as part of this November release, as well. The music video was pretty typical for TWICE but I thought it did a really good job of showing off their visuals. The choreography was also very nice and continued that mature vibe that I really enjoyed as part of their previous Japanese comeback.


My New World – CIX

My New World is CIX’s debut track into the Japanese music industry. It is also an extension of their KPOP works, with the group’s intense sound definitely channeled and presented in this song. I like how eerie and dark the song sounds. The dance style is very well suited for CIX, given that this is their title track style for their comebacks in the KPOP industry so far. I also like the kick of energy that the song gives during the chorus, which contrasts neatly with the shout-y style of vocal works. The rapping that dominates the second verse was also extremely promising and intense. I also like the piano that featured very quietly over the top of the dance instrumental. I think the music video shows the members on a new world. Other than that, I am not exactly sure if the video is showing anything else worth mentioning. Their dance sets looked really cool, with the floating stairs and the moving lights. The choreography is very intense and reconfirms that when it comes to the dance side of the industry, CIX might be a group to look out for.


Middle Of The Night – MONSTA X

The final song on today’s reviewing agenda is Middle Of The Night and it is also the very first Western song that I am reviewing on my blog (I am not including English versions that I have done reviews for in the past). Middle Of The Night is different from the rest song on the list as it is also an R&B track. A song that I can finally understand as well. Hahaha… I can really say much else but to tell you to check out this song below as everything felt flawless. It is one of those songs where the main complaint was that it was over so soon! The vocal work was superb from very member. I really love that Jooheon finally got to showcase his vocals that he previously showed off during a performance of Versace On The Floor. The music video was shot with every scene is interlinked with the previous and next scenes. I think that this was a really good way to show off the smoothness of the track. There is no choreography for this song, so this finishes the review.

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist-Based Categories

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

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


Best New Male Soloist

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

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


Best New Female Soloist

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

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


Best New Male Group

Nominees: AB6IX, CIX, ONEUS, TXT, X1

WINNER – TXT
Honourable Mentions – ONEUS
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – AB6IX


Best New Female Group

Nominees: BVNDIT, Cherry Bullet, EVERGLOW, ITZY, PURPLEBECK

WINNER – ITZY
Honourable Mention – EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – EVERGLOW


Best Band

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

WINNER – DAY6
Honourable Mention – N.Flying
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – DAY6


Best Vocals

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

WINNER – IU
Honourable Mention – Chen (EXO)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – IU


Best Raps

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

WINNER – Mark (NCT)
Honourable Mention – Zico
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Zico


Best Subunit

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

WINNER – NCT Dream
Honourable Mention – NCT 127
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – NCT Dream


Artist With Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Seventeen (5x)


Rising Star

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

WINNER – ATEEZ
Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – CLC


Most Underrated Artist of 2019

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

WINNER – Dream Catcher
Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – LOONA


Best Male Soloist

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

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


Best Female Soloist

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

WINNER – IU
Honourable Mention – Kim Chungha
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Chungha


Best Male Group

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

WINNER – EXO
Honourable Mention – BTS, ATEEZ
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Stray Kids


Best Female Group

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

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


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

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

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Song-Based Categories

It is that time of the year again where I announce the winners for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. In December 2019, I allowed the audience (you all), once again, to vote for their favourite songs and artists for the December 2018 to November 2019 period. Thank you to all who voted and participated in the KPOPREVIEWED Awards this time around. Even more people voted this year, making this year more intense than ever in many categories. This post will focus on the song-based categories, which will also involve the Performance categories, Best Music Video, Best Concept and the most voted song (by you all). The winners for the artist categories will be posted in an accompanying post today, while the Top 100 songs of 2019 will be posted tomorrow.

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


Best Special Performance

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Egostistic Cover (AOA) at Queendom


Best Concept

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – HIP (Mamamoo)


Best Solo Choreography

Nominees: Blue (Ha Sung Woon); Focus (Kim Dong Han); Gotta Go (Kim Chungha); LALALAY (Sunmi); L.O.V.E (Park Ji Hoon); Twit (Hwasa – Mamamoo); WANT (Taemin – SHINee); What Are You Up To? (Kang Daniel); What You Waiting For? (Anda & R.Tee); Ya (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB).

WINNER – WANT (Taemin)
Honourable Mention – Gotta Go (Kim Chungha)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – LALALAY (Sunm
i)


Best Male (Group) Choreography

Nominees: All Night (ASTRO); Boom (NCT Dream); HIT (Seventeen); Hollywood (AB6IX); Humph! (Pentagon); Love Shot (EXO); RPM (SF9); Say My Name (ATEEZ); Side Effects (Stray Kids); You Calling My Name (GOT7).

WINNER – Love Shot (EXO)
Honourable Mention – HIT (Seventeen)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Side Effects (Stray Kids)


Best Female (Group) Choreography

Nominees: Bon Bon Chocolat (EVERGLOW); Boogie Up (WJSN); Butterfly (LOONA); DALLA DALLA (ITZY); HIP (Mamamoo); Pinky Star (Run) (GWSN); Sunrise (GFriend); The Fifth Season (Oh My Girl); Violeta (IZ*ONE); Zimzalabim (Red Velvet).

WINNER – Butterfly (LOONA)
Honourable Mention – HIP (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Zimzalabim (Red Velvet)


Best Collaboration

Nominees: Blossom (Eunha & Ravi); Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey); Don’t Need Your Love (NCT Dream & HRVY); I Wanna Be (Key ft. Kim Soyeon); Spring (Park Bom ft. Sandara Park)

WINNER – Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey)
Honourable Mention – Don’t Need Your Love (NCT Dream & HRVY)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey)


Best Music Video

Nominees: Abandoned (Brown Eyed Girls); Above The Time (IU); Crown (TXT); Feel Special (TWICE); HIT (Seventeen); Love Drunk (Epik High ft. Crush); Noir (Sunmi); Snapping (Kim Chungha); You Calling My Name (GOT7); Zimzalabim (Red Velvet)

WINNER – Obsession (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Feel Special (TWICE)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – HIT (Seventeen)


Best International Song By A Korean Artist

Nominees: Breakthrough (TWICE – Japanese); Flower (GFriend – Japanese); Lights (BTS – Japan); Moonwalk (WAYV – China); Someone’s Someone (Monsta X – US).

WINNER – Breakthrough (TWICE – Japan)
Honourable Mention – Moonwalk (WAYV – China)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Breakthrough (TWICE – Japan)


Best Official Soundtrack (OST)

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – We All Lie (Ha Jin- Sky Castle OST)


Most Viewed Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Goblin (Sulli)


Most Viewed Album Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – BXXX (Ha Sung Woon)


Songs With Most Win on Weekly KPOP Charts

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Time Of Our Life (DAY6)
WINNER – HIP (Mamamoo)


Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Ten Nights (Mamamoo)


Best Album

Nominees: Love Poem (IU); Narcissus (SF9); Purpose (Taeyeon – SNSD); The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6); Want (Taemin – SHINee)

WINNER – Love Poem (IU)
Honourable Mention – The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6)


Most Voted For Song of 2019

WINNER – Obsession (EXO)


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

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

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

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

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

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

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

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

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

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

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

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

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

[Album Review] Feel Special (7th Mini Album) – TWICE

It has been a while since I posted an album review. While Tuesdays are usually dedicated to reviewing a past album from the previous years, I have decided to drop that segment during November to catch up on the month of albums that I have missed out on. The first alum that I wanted to review was TWICE’s Feel Special. This is the group’s 7th mini-album and has once again proven their high status in the industry. Let’s see my thoughts on the album below.

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Feel Special Album Cover

1. Feel Special (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Feel Special. (7.5/10)

2. RainbowRainbow starts off very standard and I was almost going to turn away from this song. I thought the verses were very plain and not so memorable. The chorus was the segment of the song that had me coming back. It provided the song with an influx of energy that I thought made it quite memorable and saved the song. Where I am at the moment, it is getting warm and Summer is fast approaching. Rainbow was quite lively, and this makes it very appropriate for the upcoming heat that is about to attack me. And that high note at the end was superb. (8/10)

3. Get LoudGet Loud starts off with a set of marching band drums. And while we get a sprinkling or hints of it throughout the song, Get Loud transform into a rather standard pop sound. This standard pop sound was unlike what started off the previous song. Instead, it still had enough to be captivating. The percussion in the instrumental allowed it pushed forward and went extremely well with their vocals. I also thought the instrumental was rather dynamic and their transitions to be quite cool, making this a stand out track. I also liked the rapping in this song and thought more of it would have really made the track more entertaining. (9/10)

4. Trick It – I thought Trick It was a nice song. Tyuzu’s opening was probably my most favourite on this album. The instrumental had a number of unexpected turns, but it ended up resulting in a very cool and trendy piece. The vocal work was pretty nice. The rapping in this song, however, felt quite one-dimensional (i.e. there didn’t seem to be much of a standout rhythm) and this really disappointed me. The impression I got from the rapping was that it was a step too ahead of the rest of the song and hence doesn’t connect that well with it. (7.5/10)

5. Love FoolishLove Foolish has one of the best choruses of the year. The way Chaeyoung sounds is so good. The speaking element really gave off a mature vibe which I don’t think I would have registered if it wasn’t there. I also liked how they didn’t do it in the second chorus (i.e. the middle of the song). Otherwise, this would have been a little overused and repetitive, which would lessen the impact of it at the end. The rest of the song didn’t really stand out in my opinion. But it was still enjoyable. (8/10)

6. 21:29 – The idea of the mandatory ballad just won’t disappear. While this isn’t exactly the slow ballad type, it was a step back from all the upbeat songs that have dominated the album thus far. While the vocal work was fine, I am torn about it. A part of me says the song is rather nice and works well as a breather. It was quite drifty in nature and I would see it as a good way to ‘turn down the dial’. At the same time, however, I feel like the sound was ill-fitting for such an energetic and lively album. It might have worked with other songs on a different album, but I didn’t feel it connect with the songs on this album. (7/10)

7. Breakthrough (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of Breakthrough. Click here to read the full review for Breakthrough. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

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Feel Special Teaser Image

[Review] Feel Special – TWICE

Making their grand return today is TWICE with Feel Special. Since their last comeback (Fancy) earlier this year, the group has been busy with Japanese promotions (Breakthrough and Happy Happy) and have started their world tour. Jihyo was also revealed to be dating Kang Daniel since then as well. However, it hasn’t been all good news with TWICE as Mina has been noticeably absent due to mental health concerns. While she has returned to participate in Feel Special music video filming and recording, she won’t be around for the promotional period for Feel Special.

Feel Special, once again, shows off their mature side. It is a nice following track to Fancy, which was quite similar. Feel Special does go easy on the techno and electronic influences that the preceding track had. In a way, this does make the song less interesting, as it felt a tad straight forward. But on the flip side, I do find this new track to be fancier than the previous track. I also find the hook to be very weak in this track. Usually, TWICE’s hooks are designed to grab your attention within the first few listens. This one just hasn’t kicked in for me yet. What I did like about this track is that the song does let the focus be on the vocals, which makes the song ‘special’. I also really liked the meaning behind the lyrics, which seemed to be thanking someone for making them ‘Feel Special‘ despite all the negativity they face. Surprisingly, I liked their rapping this time. It is a little more serious and intense than usual. But I think the members did a good job overall.

Something I held back from mentioning above is that the song felt very golden. Though, I am not exactly sure if that was the music video influencing my thoughts. The video is very elegant, showcasing that mature feel that the song had. But in a very classy and sophisticated way. I have been mentioning artists visuals lately and there is no doubt that 2019 has been the year of visuals for many groups currently active. Every member had their own scene and setup, each of which did its job of highlighting the visuals of the members. The dresses they wear were also very beautiful.

That mature feel flows onto the performance. I thought it was a nice routine this time around. It doesn’t have that key move that everyone knows each of their releases for. So in a way, the performance does look a little more complicated than usual. I actually quite like that, as it is time to see something a little more technical from the group. And I think the pairing of visuals, song and choreography is that more technical direction.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Double Review] Breakthrough + Happy Happy – TWICE

Returning with their Japanese comeback during the week was TWICE. What makes this comeback special is that we get to see two tracks (to be released back to back in July), with Breakthrough and Happy Happy. And this means it is time for another double review!  This is the group’s first comeback since Fancy and their first Japanese comeback since BDZ.

For the release of Breakthrough, it seems like the girl group is taking further steps with the edgier sound they adopted for Fancy. Breakthrough is very catchy. And that is thank to its instrumental, which I really like for its rush of energy. The brass used in the chorus has to be my favourite addition to the song, giving the song life and definitely brings that edginess that I mentioned before in line with their usual released. I think the vocals complimented the energy, while the rapping seemed to be the weak point in the track. I also thought the ‘Breakthrough’ whispering (that ended the song) was quite dynamic and an excellent way to round out the track.

Happy Happy, on the hand, started out and remained weak throughout. It felt pretty much like a typical pop track and didn’t offer anything new to us listener. While the song does have some life in it through its brightly coloured chorus, the hooks were quite disappointing. I did think the vocals in the track were nice but with a weak song to be its ‘blank canvas’, you can’t really expect much. I also did think the rapping was quite nice in Happy Happy but felt it was passable for the most part.  I think it is safe to assume which of the two songs I preferred.

A major reason why these two TWICE releases are part of this double review is that they actually share a number of music video sets (or more technically, backdrops). But the two concepts are very different. It is amazing how much lighting can change the scenery. Breakthrough is everything you had expected. Edgy, dark and there is some maturity to it. And I thought they nailed this extremely well. Happy Happy, on the other hand, is colourful and vibrant. Just like how the song is. And given how this is familiar territory for TWICE, they too nailed it.

It seems like Happy Happy does not have a set routine if they were to perform it on stage, based on the music video. So I guess I have to bypass this section for that song. However, Breakthrough did have one. And I think it was fantastic. They managed to bring that energy from the chorus to the choreography. More so, that matureness that I felt in the video was channelled well (take Jihyo lying on the floor as an example).

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

Happy Happy
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Album Review] Fancy You (7th Mini Album) – TWICE

One week ago, TWICE made their comeback with Fancy. It has officially caught on (for me) and it has been a track that I have been replaying over the weekend. So what is stopping me from reviewing their album today? Absolutely nothing! And after listening and writing about each song, I can say I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of the Fancy You mini-album. So with no more delays, I invite you to scroll down below and see for yourself!

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Fancy You Album Cover

1..Fancy (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Fancy. (8/10)

2. Stuck In My HeadStuck In My Head kicks off with its chorus and it is super catchy. So, Stuck In My Head lives up to its name. The song feels very in-your-face, with the chorus being the most prominent part of the song. But they keep it balance enough to not have it be overwhelming. I really like the instrumental, which is heavy and light at the right times. I also enjoyed the vocals of the track, which were all very nice. The rapping, though, was a show stopper in my opinion. It just the right amount of fierceness to fit perfectly in the song. Overall, one song on the album to check out! (9/10)

3. Girls Like Us – This track centres on pop. The instrumental was very vibrant and colourful, especially around the chorus, which I think can be better described as ‘bright’. The consistent piano tapping added to the pop and vibrancy of the track. The song was a little echoey, which I thought also brought on a nice effect and texture to the song. Once again, nice vocals and rap really add to the song, making this a decent track to listen to. (8.5/10)

4. Hot – I think the whole point of this album is for TWICE to return with a re-invented feel. Literally, I don’t think I have heard any song that resembles their previous tracks on this album thus far. Hot really gives off a mature and confident feel that they aimed (and succeeded with Fancy). The dance focused track really captures your attention with its catchiness, good vocals and raps and that deep ‘doom doom’ at the start! I like their build up to the chorus, which when paired with its confidence in the chorus, really feels dynamic. (9/10)

5. Turn It Up – While it was nice to hear some acoustics at the very start of the song. I can guarantee it doesn’t last that much longer. The track delves back into the dance realm as soon as you register some acoustics. I find Turn It Up to be extremely groovy, which I don’t I have mentioned anywhere for this album yet. The song does lack that memorability factor when it comes to the chorus as it doesn’t have that prominent hook. But the rap that followed the first chorus was amazing. The bridge was a little weak in my opinion, but still good enough to not really weigh the song down in any way. (8/10)

6. Strawberry – The album ends with Strawberry. It is their most delicate song on the entire album, due to the lightness of the instrumental and their reliance on the higher pitch. The song has a unique touch and it balances perfectly on the fence of retro and modern. While the vocals are mostly in a higher pitch, I think I was most bored with the vocals in this song, in comparison to any of the other songs. But everything else in this track is very commendable, especially when they take the instrumental out of the track for the bridge/start of the final chorus. Very daring and it pays off. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

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Fancy You Teaser Image

[Review] Fancy – TWICE

TWICE returns today with a brand new look and ‘Fancy’ title track. If you haven’t noticed from the title of the page and my lame pun, the group has returned with the title track named Fancy. April has been a relatively quiet month but the song war is still ongoing on the digital charts of Korea. From what I noticed the last two months have been filled with comebacks from strong digital performers, which has caused a lot of chaos (good chaos). And Twice is currently the newest contender to gives these other artists some competition.

The way Fancy starts off gives me a retro pop feel, similar to something we could have heard in the 80s. But as the song progresses forward, you can hear a cleaner and modern mix in the synth-pop instrumentation. Interestingly, the track had a more mature feel, despite it still containing that brightness that we have come to know of TWICE releases and I attribute that to the song’s instrumental. Also when it comes to TWICE’s releases, the first thing I always do is search for that addictive hook that would make the song so promising. However, I felt like this song lacked that. There were plentiful hooks but I don’t think they were as addictive as their past predecessors. Vocally, the song was good. But I wanted more variety has the song got towards the end. A high note would probably be ill-fitting but it needed something to signal the end of the track was fast approaching. I also felt that a rapping sequence would have made the song a little more interesting. With this mature sound, I think the rapping sequence could have enhanced the song further. To me, this isn’t TWICE’s strongest release. But it still quite good.

Who loves TWICE’s new look? I do! While the music video does have a more standard format, I found the solo shots of each member to be extremely captivating, which definitely draws my attention to the replay button once the video ends. I also like the edginess that some of the shots featured, which if you know me, is definitely an appealing point. I also really like the black and pink backdrop to their choreography shot that they are all wearing black in. Probably the edgiest the group has been in their career thus far.

I really enjoyed the performance for this track. The introduction was so good and the chorus looks fitting for the energy that we get during this part of the song. I also like the circle formation as the end, which I think was quite progressive.

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

[Review] The Best Thing I Ever Did – TWICE

TWICE is nominated for Best Female Group, Best Female Choreography, Best Music Video, & Best Japanese Song by a Korean Artist. Help support TWICE in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards by clicking the link here to vote

If there is one girl group that kept busy in 2018, that girl group would be TWICE. Onces (TWICE’s fandom) were treated to 3 Korean comebacks, What Is Love?, Dance The Night Away and Yes Or Yes throughout 2018. On top of that, multiple Japanese releases such as BDZ and Candy Pop. Now, the female group has returned for one last time in 2018 with a reissued version of their Yes or Yes mini-album, The Years of Yes. The lead title from this new mini-album is The Best Thing I Ever Did, which is the focus of today’s album review.

The Best Thing I Ever Did is a sweet sounding ballad that suits the youthful style of TWICE’s releases and the upcoming Christmas holiday. It isn’t that emotionally driven style of a ballad, which I think would honestly a little awkward for me as that isn’t the mature style of music that I am used to when it comes to TWICE. I think what stands out for me is the vocals of the group. TWICE has been subjected to some criticism for their weak vocals but this song proves otherwise. I thought the rap-talking in the song was also quite nice. The instrumentation is also another positive for the track, as it gives off a warm feeling and some of the details in the instrumental were added for a cute effect. It isn’t your typical TWICE song as the song is miles away from what they usually do. But it is a nice ballad for their fans.

The music video for this song is more of a fan service. But rather showing us that typical behind the scene fan video, the producers of this music video were smart with the way they presented it. It was shown as a movie and the members of TWICE were watching the movie in the cinema. It was a great way to show the members reminiscing about their career so far and it was fitting for the lyrics of the song. The music video also shows the members having a little fun at the dinner table and in the snow.

Correct me if I am wrong but I remember reading somewhere that there will be no promotions for this new release so we won’t be able to see a live performance for it. If there is a performance, my prediction will be that there won’t be any accompanying choreography due to the nature of the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Album Review] YES or YES (6th Mini Album) – TWICE

TWICE returned last week with a brand new mini-album, YES or YES, making this the group’s third comeback this year so far. I have reviewed both What Is Love? and Summer Nights albums, which you can find by clicking the links. YES or YES features the title track of the same title and also the Korean version of their Japanese release BDZ (link below), which the group has been promoting as well during their first week of comeback performances. So scroll down below for the album review!

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YES or YES Album Cover

1..YES or YES (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of YES or YES. (9/10)

2. Say You Love Me – I really like the chorus of the song. I loved the tempo and the energy that comes from it. It feels like your typical pop song, if I was going to be objective. But there is something about the ‘You got something I want, and I have something you need’ line that makes it quite an addictive hook. I thought the guitar in the instrumental was nice during the verses and chorus. The vocals were pretty good. I liked the slow down for the ‘rap speak’ section of the song and the breezy sound, which felt quite fitting. (8/10)

3. LALALALALALA has a bright retro vibe, which I think would have been ideal in the Summer season. Nonetheless, its presence on the album was quite nice and I thought its upbeat instrumentation was very fun. I personally think the vocals could have been more interesting, but it was still quite good. I really liked the brass in the bridge, which kind of had some showtime flair. I also did like the ‘LaLaLa’ book in the chorus. It isn’t as powerful as some other hooks, but its lightness was very warm. (8/10)

4. Young & WildYoung & Wild is my favourite track (apart from the title track) on the album. It is probably their most unconventional sounding track. It feels like it has potential to be an edgy hip-hop track, but TWICE keeps it true to their roots and makes it a brighter tune. I find this unique. I liked the way they ended their choruses with the autotuned effect and the thumping in the bridge of the song, which gave that edgy feel that I mentioned before. I thought the rapping was perfect for this song, kicking up that edginess to a new level. Altogether, it becomes their most memorable b-side on this album. (9/10)

5. Sunset – I must admit that Sunset was a letdown. I thought the instrumental just didn’t feel right for the song, especially when you think about how nice the vocals were (which was practically the only part that kept the song going for me). The instrumentation was a mixture of upbeat happiness and electronic music. Yet, there were times that it felt like it was attempting to slow down for some unknown reason as the song progressed. I also felt like the instrumental was quite messy and didn’t feel that inviting. (6/10)

6. After Moon – Like all albums, the ballad is a must. And After Moon is TWICE’s ballad on the album. While TWICE isn’t technically known for their vocals, the group nails this song really well. It isn’t that mind-blowing ballad that I tend to like but it did the job of being the mandatory ballad of the album. I think if they polished the chorus to make it feel a little nicer (it isn’t their vocals that I didn’t agree with, but rather the melody) alongside the chorus, this easily could have been one of my favourite tracks. I liked the orchestral instrumental. (7.5/10)

7. BDZ (Korean Version)I previously reviewed the Japanese version of BDZ. Click here to read the full review for BDZ. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

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YES or YES Teaser Image

[Review] YES or YES – TWICE

TWICE is back and needless to say, they have already risen to the top of all the digital charts with their latest title track, YES or YES. The track is featured on their 6th mini-album, which shares the same name as the song. This is also TWICE’s 3rd comeback of the year, with What Is Love? and Dance The Night Away also topping charts as soon as they were released.

YES or YES is a very upbeat and energetic song that is very hard to get out of your head after the first listen. At least, that was the case for me. To me, their songs have been getting better and better each time. The song is about confidence and the way they present this pop song oozes with confidence. The verses were nice but the winning part of all TWICE songs has to be the chorus. I like the way they bring every together for the choruses and give us this chanting like effect to the hook of the song. I also like the way they managed to split the lines between members, which give the song some nice textures, as everyone has unique voices. I think I was only let down by one section of the song as it was that part following the ‘Its Simple. Y.E.S.” line in the bridge. I personally didn’t like the way it sounded and thought it unnecessarily extended the song. But that is only minute as the rest of the song makes up for this.

I am completely falling for the visuals of the video. I love the sets (I think some of them are green screened) and the members look stunning. Some of the outfits remind me of their Like Ooh Aah days. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the haunted theme they had going on. It seemed like they were going down that route for a while, especially with the teasers and Jeongyeon’s creepy driving introduction. But I was rather glad that they deviated from that and had something more light-hearted and fun, which definitely suits their style and song more.

The choreography for this looks amazing. From the very start of the song, the choreography routine looked action-packed, which completely goes well with the song’s upbeat nature. I think it is one of their best performances as a whole yet. I really like the way they transferred between Jeongyeon and Momo during the choruses. Actually, the entire chorus is stunning.

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

[Review] BDZ – TWICE

It has been another busy for TWICE with multiple comebacks in both Japan and South Korea already this year. And they recently made their return to Japan with the single BDZ, with the title track off their 1st Japanese album, which will be released in a few days time! TWICE has already returned with What Is Love?, Dance The Night Away, Candy Pop and Wake Me Up (which I have all reviewed!). For this review only, I have decided to review the music video first and then the song, as I think my thoughts would flow better that way.

Opening up the music video is a very dramatic and dark voiceover, which details how the Lovely was kidnapped and locked up by some disgruntled people, causing the world to enter very unpeaceful time. TWICE is here to save the day, as they hatch a plan to free these Lovely from capture and restore happiness. They distract some of the guards, while put laxatives in the bosses food to cause him to be locked in the toilet. Some of these situations were a little ridiculous but quite funny, which pairs well with TWICE’s image. Once they had successfully completed the mission, they were cornered by all the guards. But with the help of Jeongyeon, who was overseeing the entire mission remotely and the Lovely themselves, the mission ended with happiness. As cheesy as the story sounds, it was honestly put together and interesting to watch.

Moving onto the song, I thought the girls honestly changed up their concept this time around given the dramatic introduction to the video. However, as soon as the ‘Like a bulldozer, Like a tank, Like a soldier’ kicked in, I felt very betrayed. Sure, the song is definitely right up TWICE’s alleyway with its cutesy sound and upbeat pop vibes. But I thought there would be an edgy factor (at the very least) to this comeback. That being said, I have to admit, the song was quite catchy and all the normal elements I talk about (vocals, rap, instrumental, memorability etc.) were pretty well done. Oh, as for the title, I think BDZ stands for Bulldozer, which is the took the literal spotlight in the hook of the song and the music video itself.

I thought the choreography for this comeback was quite good. I like the chorus with the small jumps and the overall aesthetics of it. It isn’t one of their catchiest dances but I like how it wasn’t as simple, allowing the girls to showcase their skills.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10