[Album Review] The Dream Chapter: Eternity (2nd Mini Album) – TXT

It is time for another album review. And today, we will be looking more closely at TXT’s latest mini-album, The Dream Chapter: Eternity, which features the group’s latest single, Can’t You See Me. I don’t want to give away too much of my thoughts on the album before we get to the more juicy bits of the review (i.e. the songs). But what I will say without spoiling those thoughts is that this album is definitely one to check out before reading the review. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises that TXT has installed. This album has officially become one of my favourites of the year and I am very impressed with this establishing male group. On with the review!

The Dream Chapter: Eternity Album Cover

1. Drama – What an outstanding opener to the album. Drama kicks us off with a very energetic and upbeat funky number that I will definitely be replaying constantly into the future. I really like the deep and accented piano that just stands out in the instrumentation. I also really like the funky guitar rhythm that we get in the chorus. It pushes the song along very nicely and adds additional energy to the song thanks to its fast tempo. The addition brass really gives it some extra life and makes everything feel quite fun. I am not so much into instrumental break, which feels more of a performance element as there wasn’t really anything musically about it. The members themselves sound very nice and helped the vocal melodies standout. But the winning segment of the song belongs to Yeonjun, whose rapping segment was just so on point and more energy to the song. Yeonjun is followed by Beomgyu and Soobin, who harmonized together as a rapper and vocalist effortlessly. It is say to say that they started this album with what I would consider a top song! (9/10)

2. Can’t You See Me (세계가 불타버린 밤, 우린) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Can’t You See Me. (9/10)

3. Fairy Of Shampoo (샴푸의 요정) – From what I am reading, Fairy Of Shampoo is a remake of a classical single of the same name by Light & Salt. It is a low tone jazz number that really captures your attention as it is unlike any song that I have heard in modern day KPOP so far (and very different from the song preceding and following it). What I did notice during my initial listen of the album (to decide whether to review the album or not) is that the song had a very ‘old’ Korean pop music melody to it, as it felt like I was listening to one of those covers on the Korean TV show, Immortal Song, where current artists compete with covers of a popular act from back in the day. And this makes total sense, given that the song was released in 1990. The jazzy elements, such as the brass and piano, of the song really made the song standout instrumentally. It may feel like traditional jazz. But mainstream or traditional genres aren’t heard as much nowadays due to the trend of mashing genres. The song brings out the group’s vocal chops. We hear the members sing at a low tone to match with the instrumental, whilst also singing with a falsetto approach. (9/10)

4. Maze In The Mirror (거울 속의 미로) Maze In The Mirror has an alternative slow rock type of feel to it and this is combined with acoustics. It feels very innocent in a way, given the song’s softness. But I find the atmosphere to be very tense. It might be the song’s lyrics, which is about becoming lost in one’s thoughts and feelings. From what I am reading, the song is based on the thoughts and feelings of the members during their training days. Talking about the members, once again, they sounded amazing in this song. They probably, too, add to the tense atmosphere of the song. Interestingly, their voice stayed quite soothing throughout the song, from start to end. It helped give the song an ominous yet calming tone to the song. I really like how the rock side of the song slowly comes into play as the song progresses. It doesn’t full kick in until the very end, which was interesting. But it is one of the charms of the song, as it slowly churns to that peak. (8/10)

5. PUMA (동물원을 빠져나온 퓨마) – A music video for this track was just released yesterday or the day before. I won’t be writing a separate review for it and will be keeping the music video for a ‘Missed Review’ post later on. PUMA returns the album to the same style which the main title track is based on. Dark and edgy. More specifically, the song conforms to the hip-hop genre and it follows the previous song with a heightened level of intensity. It is another interesting track as when we talk about dark, edgy and intensity, we think of a song that really packs a punch in one way or another. But we never get that punch throughout the song. The instrumental and vocal/rapping stay relatively consistent throughout. Part of me feels disappointed that we didn’t get a musical punch in this song. But at the same time, it would have felt cliché and typical. TXT seems to put a twist on the style and I quite like that idea. (8.5/10)

6. Eternally – I have used the word interesting throughout this album review a lot thus far. But I think we can all agree that interesting is just a teaser for Eternally. The final song on the album starts off as an alternative R&B number. It is rather slow, and their vocals sound so smooth and superb. About a minute and fifteen seconds into the song, it changes up unexpectedly with a trap-based background and the members going into a low tone rapping sequence. If I were to describe another way, think of a really well written plot twist to a movie or story that turns the story upside down. The song re-enters R&B territory, albeit with a slow rock type of vibe to it. We return back to that change up one more time and then the song ends with another slow rock R&B mix. I find Eternally to be very thrilling and a very big surprise. It is experimental in many ways, but I think their trick ends up successful enough to be a 10/10 song. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

The Dream Chapter: Eternity Teaser Image

[Review] Can’t You See Me – TXT

Making their comeback and kicking off the week is TXT. For those who may not remember TXT (where have you been?) or if you are new KPOP listener (an acceptable excuse for not remembering TXT), they were the biggest male rookie group of 2019, debuting with Crown and Run Away. Today, the group returns with Can’t You See Me, which is the title track on their second mini-album, The Dream Chapter: Eternity. It also continues their series of growth, which has the themes of their past two releases. Let’s see how their latest release stacks up to their debut singles.

Can’t You See Me starts off with a really promising air of mysteriousness, which I think continually features throughout the song. It helps create an aesthetic atmosphere. The song then brings in a rock transition and this transition into what I would describe as a subdued rock dance track. Featuring throughout the verses are autotune moments that remind me of Billie Ellish’s Bad Guy. They add a really impactful and rough texture to the song, giving Can’t You See Me some character and profile. Instrumentally, the chorus feels very similar to the verse. But I really liked how their vocals help bring some life to the chorus, which helps differentiate the sections. I thought the chorus had decent hooks, with my favourite being the speaking line ‘My friends don’t understand me, no‘. The rest of the song is quite similar, with some different changes. The opening to the second verse is heavily filtered rap sequence brought to you by the members. I really liked the intensity of this sequence and how it added to the aesthetics of the song. The bridge takes away that subdued rock sound, leaving the vocals to do most of the work. Apart from some really soft crunchy synths, the slow tempo and the breathy vocals of Soonbin and Yeonjun makes total sense. I think the downfall of the track is that the different components I have described feel a little disorienting and it took me a few listens to cohesively piece the track together. But overall, I liked the more subdued sound and the different things they had going on in it.

The trailer for this comeback depicts the members becoming socially distance from Soobin. We get a sense of the social distance in the music video as well, as the members sing about how their friends no longer understands them. In the video, Soobin is the main character. The other members come over and I noticed that when they are all having fun, one or two of the members become ‘distant’. For the video, it happens to all the members. But storywise, I feel like only Soobin has this feeling. Things start to get wild as the members start to have a food fight with tomatoes and strawberries. During this food fight, Soobin screams (I assume he has had enough) and each of the members leave. All tomato and strawberry stained, we see the members outside (with exception of Soobin, I think) in a sadden mood. Skip a few seconds and we see the house on fire. I think Soobin takes his life (the red food fight depicts blood). But why are the members still around the house? Well, I think they are like voices in Soobin’s head and they realize their effect. Death is referenced in two parts. The first is when Beomgyu places a blanket over Yeonjun. When Yeonjun removes the blanket in a later part of the video, the other members are holding their heads, experiencing some crazy headache and are shown in a fast forward filter around Yeonjun. Maybe a headache caused by voices in one’s head? When the members leave Soobin, they are in the same fast forward filter as before, further showing that they are in his head. Yeonjun is later crushing a tomato in his hand and he looks at it like how someone would look at a blood-covered hand. When he looks up, all the members are zoned out. Each of these sections are followed by a red light (a foreshadowing moment). My next guess is that each member (other than Soobin) represent an emotion or desire. But for the sake of this review, I won’t delve into that level of detail. Overall, a really good video. I liked the set and the story (if my interpretation proves true).

The choreography has this subdued level of intensity that feel just right for the song. I liked how those autotuned moments in the instrumental became the more erratic moments in the choreography. These parts contrasted very nicely with the smoother texture of the rest of the choreography. I also liked their entire setup for the rap sequence in the second verse.

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

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist-Based Categories

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

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

Best New Male Soloist

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

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

Best New Female Soloist

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

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

Best New Male Group

Nominees: AB6IX, CIX, ONEUS, TXT, X1

Honourable Mentions – ONEUS

Best New Female Group


Honourable Mention – EVERGLOW

Best Band

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

Honourable Mention – N.Flying

Best Vocals

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

Honourable Mention – Chen (EXO)

Best Raps

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

Honourable Mention – Zico

Best Subunit

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

Honourable Mention – NCT 127

Artist With Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Seventeen (5x)

Rising Star

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

Honourable Mention – CLC

Most Underrated Artist of 2019

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

WINNER – Dream Catcher
Honourable Mention – Pentagon

Best Male Soloist

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

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

Best Female Soloist

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

Honourable Mention – Kim Chungha
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Chungha

Best Male Group

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

Honourable Mention – BTS, ATEEZ
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Stray Kids

Best Female Group

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

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

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

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

[Album Review] The Dream Chapter: MAGIC (2nd Mini Album) – TXT

TXT is nominated for Best New Male Group and Best Music Video (for Crown). To support TXT, click here to vote for them and your other favourite groups before December 31st!!!

Now this is one very delayed album review. TXT returned back in October with Run Away (also titled as Nine & Three Quarters), which was featured on their second mini-album, The Dream Chapter: MAGIC. The main reason to why I held back their album review was due to the release of a few music videos during the ‘Album Review Blitz’ I did at the end of November/start of December. But I have since realized that I won’t be able to write separate reviews for them, so I will look at the music videos some other time. And that brings us back to their album review, which I will finally publish today.

The Dream Chapter: Magic Album Cover

1. New Rules – The first song on the album starts us off with a fun and vibrant sound, which I quite like. The instrumental has this retro funk that really gives it that fun tone during the chorus, otherwise it would have been a very standard dance number. But the song manages to keep the retro funk subtle, allowing the song to get serious. I also like the rock touch that the song has, which helped supply intensity to the song. The group’s vocals were good but the rapping was probably the bigger highlight, especially when it went low and almost whisper-like, giving the song a very intriguing start and end. (8/10)

2. 9 & Three Quarters () (Run Away) (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for 9 & Three Quarters/Run Away. (8.5/10)

3. Roller CoasterRoller Coaster is memorable, but it might only be so for a bad reason. All is good with the track up until the chorus. Everyone is saying it felt choppy. But to me, that piece was continuously looped. I am troubled by it, as it catches me off guard each time I listen to it and it does sound off-putting. Though, I assume that this was done for a reason. I just can’t see any reason that validates it. Some people have theorised that this was done to stimulate a roller coaster, but I don’t get this feeling at all. The vocal work in this song is pretty good, with it being consistent throughout the track. But that is the only thing good I can say about the track. (5/10)  

4. Poppin’ Star – We are treated with a soft-ish bubblegum pop-like through Poppin’ Star. It is still a dance track, but it’s extremely light and doesn’t pack any heavy synths in its instrumental. The group members sound more like their age in this track, innocent and very youthful. It isn’t anything special, but it was likeable and enjoyable. (7/10)

5. Can’t We Just Leave The Monster Alive? – Henceforth referred to as Alive, the track brings back the tropical house and island influences, a trend that has disappeared. Its presence is slightly refreshing, as it has been some time since I have heard this style (oh, what a break can do to you). I like the how the pre-chorus becomes light, before they throw the tropical/island sounds at us. While their vocal work and rapping was okay, I wanted more from this department. It gives the song a linear profile and pretty much made Alive feel one-dimensional. (6/10)

6. Magic Island Magic Island gives off an enlightening tone whilst dabbling in the R&B genre. It is the soft track, showcasing the groups vocals. I did like the huskier tone they incorporated into their voices, giving the smooth song some texture. The whistling in the background was a nice small detail. Overall, I find Magic Island to be quite different, given the fact that the group has been doing mainly dance songs up until now.  I would like to hear the group explore this sound, provided they don’t put typical sound destinations on their itinerary. (8/10)

7. 20cm – The group gets even huskier in 20cm, compared to their other tracks. They also answer my wish for further exploration of this side of the group. My first impression of the song was that it felt like a BTS track. Even some of their voices sounded similar to the senior group. While the song was soft and the instrumental being almost ballad-like, I really liked how they used to the vocals to build up the song. It allows for a stronger focus on the vocals and made the song so much more captivating. What the song needed was a rap sequence, which I think would have really suited this song. (8.5/10)

8. Angel or DevilAngel Or Devil returns the group’s sound to its more upbeat dance roots. The song seems to showcase subtle island influences in the background, but it overall felt like a typical dance track. I liked the fun and carefree vibe that came from the song. I also felt both the singing and rapping was on point in this track, bringing a slight hip-hop influence. It was also very catchy, bringing the album to a close on a very addictive note. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.4/10

The Dream Chapter: Magic Teaser Image

[Review] Run Away – TXT

And finally, it is time to catch up on some of these reviews that I have missed out over the last week. First up is TXT, who made their much-anticipated comeback with Run Away and The Dream Chapter: Magic mini-album on Monday. This is the rookie group’s first comeback since their debut with Crown and The Dream Chapter: Star earlier this year. Since then, they have released a few music videos which I have yet to review (this is my implicit way of saying that they will be!) including Cat N Dog and Nap Of A Star.

I try to keep my reviews as honest as possible. So I will start off with this statement. I wasn’t much of a song when it was first released. It felt a little too plain for my liking. But over the past week, I have been listening to Run Away (otherwise known as 9 and Three Quarters) a few more times and I am now digging the song. I now found it very catchy and vibrant, which was different from my original thoughts. The melody of the song and its instrumental are two draw points. The melody I find rather simple but this makes it easy to follow and hum to. Their vocals are good but not the best of the week. The rock-infused instrumental gives the song a little more intensity to what could have been a standard sounding pop track. I particularly like the music box/circus-like sound that trickles in during the pre-chorus. It gives a little quirk to the song that really made it even more unique. I didn’t enjoy it in the bridge, however, which I think could have been where they up the intensity to bring the song home. Overall, a pretty good comeback track.

KPOP has gone a long way. Videos get more and more confusing as time progresses. TXT comes from the same company that houses BTS and very likely share the same team that comes up with these complex and confusion-inducing music videos. It seems like the common theory regarding the song and music video is about escaping reality. It seems like the guys are considered to be the ‘outsiders’ as they don’t interact with anyone around them but with only each other. There may also be some hints towards bullying in the video. I think the most important element of the video is the door. The door at the end signifies a way out. Something the members could have easily take. But instead, they put it on fire. I don’t think it is meant to burn down the door but the fire is intended to block the members (The door doesn’t appear burnt and the fire at the start of the video continued to burn, causing little damage to the book). Why should they run, when they could be themselves and not care about others, which was what I think the video wrapped up on. Though there are some things I still unsure about. There are some theory videos floating on the internet which may be of some interest. Overall, I thought it was a well-produced music video.

I thought the performance was a very strong and powerful routine, fitting for the music. I really liked the routine during the pre-chorus and the overall chorus routine as well. I do find it interesting how they leave Huening Kai to be the final member on stage. Not exactly sure what the intention of this is.

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

[Album Review] The Dream Chapter: Star (1st Mini Album) – TXT

TXT, the newest boy group from Big Hit Entertainment, made their official debut last Monday. And due to their association with BTS, we all know that we have to check out their work. Hence, today we will be looking further into their very first mini-album. For those who don’t know, TXT is a 5 member male group consisting of Soobin, Yeonjun, Byeomgyu, Taehyun and Huening Ka. The group’s name, TXT, stands for Tomorrow X Together. Now, let’s get on with the review!

The Dream Chapter: Star Album Cover

1..Blue OrangeadeBlue Orangeade is a fairly light song to kick off their first album release. While the start kicks off in an intense fashion, the rest of the song felt very ordinary. The melody was not that strong, and the song felt repetitive. But while it may be ordinary, it does have some good aspects that do draw my attention to the song. I think the song managed to showcase their vocals and rapping in a decent manner. It matches the lightness of the instrumental and doesn’t feel overwhelmingly bold. I also enjoyed that acapella effect that was built into the instrumentation. It is something a little different to what we hear often nowadays. Overall, I think just wanted more grabbing, like the title track, since this is the first song on their first album. (7/10)

2. Crown (어느날 머리에서 뿔이 자랐다) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Crown. (9/10)

3. Our SummerOur Summer is my favourite sidetrack on the album. It features a nice light tropical house instrumental. But what sets this song apart from the first song (as I described them both as light) gradually builds up and launches itself into an upbeat instrumental that manages to be very appealing. Yes, it is a song of an overused genre, but it doesn’t mean it is a bad song. I liked how peaceful the verses of the song is and how they continue on with the peacefulness and pleasantness in the chorus despite adding more to the instrumental. Their vocals are very refreshing. I think the track would have been nicer with a rap sequence but what we got is already amazing. (9.5/10)

4. Cat & DogCat & Dog has a very neat hip-hop influenced style. It also shares a cute message of wanting to be their lover’s pet, as that way they will be closer to their lover for the majority of the day. And I do like the song quite a bit. It is fun, youthful and inviting to listeners. I do think the autotune was a bit much and that they could have gone easier on that front. I think given the hip-hop influence, their rapping does shine considerably. I also quite like the ending as it is memorable as it goes that extra mile for me. From the ‘I Just Wanna Be A Dog’ line to the barking, the song ends with a unique touch and made me chuckle yet wanting more. (9/10)

5. Nap Of A Star (별의 낮잠) – This ballad starts off with amazing vocals. The breathy nature and the soft volume they add to their usual vocals really give the song impact. The harmonies are also very beautiful, while they also seemed to be heavily utilised in the song to give it some definition. Otherwise, the song would have been very bare. The instrumental is simple, featuring guitar all throughout and some deep percussion, which was added later on. Nothing else was used, so it solely relies on the vocals. The combination of everything really makes it an amazing ballad that ends the album on a very peaceful and warm note. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

The Dream Chapter: Star Teaser Image

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[Review] Crown – TXT

Hailing from Big Hit Entertainment, which houses the extremely popular and world-wide known BTS, TXT begins their reign of the KPOP industry starting today. TXT, which stands for Tomorrow X Together, is a 5 member male group consisting of Soobin, Yeonjun, Byeomgyu, Taehyun and Huening Kai. They make their debut through the title track Crown and the mini-album The Dream Chapter: STAR. The group has already garnered some momentum as they are the first group to debut under Big Hit since BTS. While this may be biased for some people, it was going to bring an interesting player to the industry.

Since they are coming from Big Hit, I had expected the group to debut with a song that feels heavy and serious. But this isn’t the case, which I think benefits the group as they are allowed to show their own individuality. Instead, Crown is an upbeat KPOP song that shows off their youthful charms. I don’t think there is any other way to describe the song besides that it is extremely fitting to what we know from the industry. Crown starts off with synthetic horns (that I already enjoy) and also I believe is morse code (though I am not too sure and I don’t know what they are trying to send to us if that is the case). We then get a rush of energy once the song starts picking up. The group has really nice vocals that do shine throughout this song, especially during the pre-chorus and chorus. The rapping sequence was also quite good but I like how they are also scattered throughout the song, giving us more opportunity to hear the rappers. I also find the song quite catchy due to its upbeat vibes and fresh melodies. Overall, I feel that this is an extremely strong debut track to launch their career with.

I personally like the video. While I was hoping they get something along the lines of BTS’ music videos, I like the direction they went with. Instead of being overly colourful and complicated, the video opts to show more simple sets and this allows the members to look like they are laidback, which is more in line with the video. I really like the stop-motion that appears in the video and the post-production light images they inserted into the video. It all looks cool and very youthful.

The performance side of the group seems to be their most promising. Not that everything else was terrible, as I have enjoyed the rest of their debut (song & music video) so far. But I thought their dancing was pretty darn good. I liked how it seemed like it was non-stop, which I thought was very nice. It was also quite energetic and I want to see more!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10