[Review] Mayday – VICTON

For those who missed their comeback earlier in the year, the male group released the title track, Howling and the mini-album, Continuous, back in March. That comeback marked the return of Han Seung Woo, who returned from short-lived X1. He, along with the rest of the VICTON gang, makes their return today with Mayday, which is the title track off their second single album of the same name. This comeback, in particular, also sees the return of Byungchan who had to sit out of the Howling promotions due to an injury.

The opening sequence of the song is extremely aesthetic and this basically sets the song up for success. There is something with the minimalist vibes the bass thumping and bouncy synth in the background that feels so clever. And when the Seungsik and Sejun comes through with their higher pitched vocals, it just really drew me in. Seungwoo follows through with a rap sequence and this is followed by a really interesting chorus. Melody wise, it was fairly strong. There is an subtle intense feel to it, which made it even more appealing. The instrumental was really bold despite not having too much going on (relative to the verse that I described), stepping it up to the opener and verse. Their vocals had this filtered effect over it, like the slight static you get with voices coming through speakers of a radio. I believe this is intentional, with the members singing about conflicting feelings of a relationship. On one hand, the members want out of the relationship as it is dangerous. But on the other hand, they want more it. But the most interesting member in the entire song has to be Hanse. His rapping is very impactful and memorable. There is a rap-speaking form to his delivery, which feels sleek and dangerously alluring. The roughness in his voice is very textural. The more I listen to the song to the review, the more I am pulled into the song thanks to Hanse. The instrumental for the bridge stills for a bit and this helps deliver an impactful final chorus ending to the song. Overall, Mayday is another great song to add to the list of current amazing releases that I will probably cannot get enough of.

The video opens up with Seungwoo falling from the sky. As he gets up, we see very dramatic flashes of the members and a mysterious female figure (whom we will assume is the ‘dangerous’ factor in the relationship for his video). We see the members walking from a phone box and holding torches in the forest. It seems like these scenes depict the members wanting to leave the relationship. But we see Hanse walking towards the female figure in a crazed manner and a whole choreography scene opposite an arrow wielding female figure, which are signs of being drawn to her and the danger she presents. We later see one of the members in a car accident, which probably tells us the extent of the danger. It is a very well thought out video and I really liked how they slide in the story line (provided I interpreted right). One other thing I noticed from the video is that the circular concrete that they film is has been seen in multiple videos throughout the last few years. But I am always surprised to see how different it looks in each video, such as the flag waving and helicopter searchlights details in those associated choreography scenes.

What I have yet to mention is that I notice the song’s chorus feels quite slow and almost dragged out. Their performance does a really good job moulding itself around this set up and this results in a very epic and visually powerful performance. The verses had some really cool moments which I wonder whether they will incorporate into the live stages. The one that I am most interested in is when they use torches. That will make the performance looks really dynamic.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] Continuous (6th Mini Album) – VICTON

Since the start of the album review segment, there are many artists that I always cover, as their songs are always so good. And there are other artists whom I never dedicated an album review to as I have not really been satisfied with their albums enough. VICTON happens to be one of the artists in the latter category. I may return to their albums from the past through the Past Album Review (PARs) segment, but I have yet to come across an album by VICTON that warrants an album review. Until a few weeks ago, when I listened to the group’s sixth mini album, Continuous, which was released in early March. The mini-album featured the group’s latest title track, Howling. Let’s have a listen to the rest of Continuous.

Continuous Album Cover

1. Nightmare – Kicking off the album is Nightmare. Like the song’s title suggest, there is a dark sound featuring throughout it. The song kicks off with a haunting piano piece that resembles what we would commonly know as ‘haunted organs’. The song maintains the eerie feeling with a simple yet repetitive piano sequence in the background, which manages to shine through a whole bunch of heavy and deep beats. What I think stands out in the song is effect at the very end of the chorus. Don’t know what the effect would be called/described as, but it made the song quite cool. The singing was awesome, while the rapping was really dynamic (and probably my favourite out of the two – after all, Hanse is Freddy freaking Krueger). What a great start to the album. (9/10)

2. Howling (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Howling. (8.5/10)

3. All I KnowAll I Know has a very impressive instrumental. It is a simple pop tune, predominately featuring guitar. There is also a snapping element to the instrumental and a deep beat to it. It may not be a unique sound, which is what I am seeking for usually. But provided that it isn’t something that is too heavily used at the present and it doesn’t give off an eye-rolling ‘again’ type of feeling, then I am happy to overlook the lack of uniqueness. Plus, it is always nice to revisit a familiar or nostalgic sound, such as the pop sound in All I Know. VICTON’s vocals also add a soothing touch to the song. Even the rapper, who has a voice well suited for an intense sound, was well fitted for this pop sound. The song’s melody was very easy on the ears and also quite catchy. (8.5/10)

4. Petal Petal brings back that EDM pop feel that we commonly see as b-sides on various KPOP albums. Petal isn’t hard hitting like most EDM tracks. Actually, I would liken the song to a petal floating in the wind. That type of light music. There is a decent beat to it, but it doesn’t strike me as something memorable. A similar comment can be made in regards to the vocals. Their vocals do compliment the song’s light style, but I don’t find the melody to be strong enough to help make it memorable. The rapping by Seungwoo and Hanse does hold some promise, though I am leaning towards a similar comment after multiple listens. I do note that none of this means the song is bad. It was just not memorable enough to avoid being the ‘skippable’ track. (7/10)

5. White Night – As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, almost all KPOP albums must contain a ballad. It is an unwritten rule that somehow ever artist just follows. VICTON is not exception and White Night is the ballad of the album. The instrumental is very typical, starting off with a piano that ends up featuring throughout the entire song. The second verse brings in the drums but the song stays slow. The vocal work is a lot better in this song, as you can sense some emotion behind their voices. There is just a delicate feel behind their voices. But it is the rappers that shine in this song. They wowed me with their impressive sequences, which I feel like is a ‘hidden gem’ within this song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

Continuous Teaser Image

[Review] Howling – VICTON

VICTON makes their long awaited return to the music industry yesterday. But what makes this a long awaited comeback? Well, it is the group’s first comeback with their full lineup since Time Of Sorrow in 2018. In 2019, Han Seung Woo placed 3rd in the Produce X 101 and debuted as part of the short-lived X1. With the disbandment of X1, this made way for a full group ‘Howling‘ comeback and this is where we find ourselves today. The rest of VICTON has been active since Produce X 101 and their made a comeback with Nostaglic Night in November last year and earned themselves their first music show win.

I find the way that Howling is styled follows nicely after Nostalgic Night and Time Of Sorrow. Both these tracks are very melodic despite their dance influences and synths that they use. Howling is almost the same but manages to sound a lot more refined. They also give off a modern flair, which I really think makes the track so appealing. The husky-whisper-singing-like vocal style that kicked off the song was really nice, and I liked how the chorus featured some of this as well. The vocal work is very smooth throughout and I think this aided in the refinement of the song. The rapping also follows quite nice and doesn’t overpower the song in any way, which I think was easily given how intense and deep the rapper sounded. The instrumental is pretty standard when you glance at it. But I really liked how subtle the change between the verse and chorus was. Despite it subtle nature, however, the chorus was its own section and you can tell them apart. I think the continuous mellow sound is starting to weigh down on them, however. With the return of Seungwoo, I would have expected there to be a change in direction for the group, especially since how this sound was never really a hit to begin win. For now, I think this is a fine song. But I would like to hear something a little more different from all their tracks so far (without falling into the generic trap, of course!).

The music video for this is one of the many that is made up of choreography shots and closeups. I don’t really see a concept within this 3 minute and a half video, other than dark and depressed. I did think their outfits, while were random, did allow them to shine a bit and stand out in all the darkness in the music video. In addition to that, I thought there were a number of good transitions which did grab my attention. But other than that, I don’t have much else to comment on.

I find it interesting that the choreographer didn’t put Han Seung Woo in the center position as much upon his return. If it was any other group, they would be capitalising on their most well known member by positioning them as the centre of the group. The choreography itself isn’t too bad. There really isn’t anything worth mentioning and memorable, unfortunately.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Nostalgic Night – VICTON

It has been 18 months since we heard from VICTON. Their last comeback was in May of 2018 with Time Of Sorrow. But since their comebacks prior to their 2018 return were not garnering enough attention for the group, their company decided to send two members (Seung-woo and Byung-chan) to Produce X 101. Byungchan pulled out due to health problems, while Seung-woo finished 3rd and a part of the X1 lineup. And on Monday, VICTON return (with Byungchan and without Seung-woo) with Nostalgic Night, their first single post-Produce X 101. It seems like the survival show is paying off but let’s see how their comeback fare.

It is interesting that the group didn’t return with a new sound. Instead, they seemed to incorporate that sentimental sound that they left us with from Time Of Sorrow with a dance beat. Nostalgic Night ended up being a pleasant combination. It is a little typical sounding but I think it has enough to rival a few major male group releases in the past few weeks. I really liked the instrumental for this track, particularly the dance breaks we get after the chorus. It felt like a dull flute was being played (but in a good way) and this made the song feel appealing. I also liked how the instrumentation didn’t feel heavy-handed, which was one of the reasons why I mentioned the pleasant descriptor. Altogether, the instrumental was subtly dynamic, which I thought was cool. Their vocal work was nice and melodic. The rapping boosted the song and gave some intensity that I felt it needed. Once again, I am not too fond of the abrupt ending and this should have ended with a fade-out. Apart from that, a stronger hook would have made the song more memorable. But it was good, overall.

The music video pairs very well with the song. The song expresses their feelings of missing their former lover and whether they would still be together if they waited a little longer. In the music video, however, the exact same thing is expressed but in terms of their friendship group. It seems like some members regret the events of the night. My guess is that a car crash occurred, resulting in some of the members dying (we see some members unconscious around the car). Some members seemed to have taken a pill during the day and this resulted in them disappearing, which was foreshadowing the events to come. That is my interpretation of the video, though I am a little confused with the white pill (not exactly sure of its significance, as the first guy did drop them). I did like the use of colours and lighting of the video, which made the video more appealing.

The choreography was good. But it wasn’t impressive. When the song went into that more energetic and subtly angst-like instrumental break, I felt like they could have had moves that were more amped up than what they had. Don’t get me wrong though, as I did like what they had. I also like how smooth their performance felt, which worked well with the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.1/10

[Review] Time Of Sorrow – VICTON

Apologies for the lack of reviews for the past few days, I have been extremely busy with studies once again. But today I make my return (and a start on a bombardment of reviews) with my review for VICTON’s latest comeback, Time Of Sorrow. This is the group’s first comeback since Remember Me, which was released in November last year.

The group takes on a more emotional and mature sound with their latest comeback. They do nail the emotional side of the song, which I could feel through their vocals. While I am on the topic, the vocals were nice. I really liked the combination of the high and low notes in the song, as they really do mix well. By doing this, they keep to the song’s nature throughout the song (without unnecessary changeups) but also manages to bring out the best of each member. Like the vocals, the raps were also quite good. I was a little skeptical within the first few seconds how the raps would be incorporated but now, I don’t know why I was worried.  I don’t want to say that the song is exactly soothing (due to the nature of the lyrics) but that was what my initial thought was.  The only downside is that the song doesn’t seem to be that memorable. Firstly, the song doesn’t really climax, staying relatively linear. There were nice melodies and synths in the song but I don’t think either really made the song that memorable for me.

The video showed the members having some fun times (via flashbacks) with a girl who was in the same class. In the present, however, it is clear that she left (or something happened to her), which left the members visibly upset. At the end of the video, one of the members leave a flower on her desk. Now, this can either be a love confession but I am more convinced (as all the members were upset) that something happened to her, as this would explain the flower at the end. I thought the video was quite nice, fitting well with the song. The choreography scenes in front of that olden day looking building was really well done and my absolute favourite scenes in the entire video.

The one word that you would describe a dance that accompanies a song of this tempo is graceful. And I think that is the perfect word to describe it. While I do see moves that fit into a more dance centred performance, the performance does a great job of staying within that very fine line of balance between the two elements, which make it a standout performance to watch.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

 

 

[Review] Remember Me – VICTON

Making another comeback this year is VICTON, with Remember Me. After their Eyez Eyez and Unbelievable comebacks this year, VICTON’s title seems to be a little irrelevant. How could we forget them after the two comebacks we have already been given? That was my lame pun. Maybe I should just continue on with the review, rather than make a fool of myself (if I haven’t yet).

Remember Me seems to be a track that brings you back to the past. It doesn’t feel like a 2017 release but rather something you would have heard a few years back as a B-side. Not saying it is bad, it just feels old and ‘done before’. But it sounds like one of their better songs, given their releases so far. The chorus was decent and the following “Eh Oh Eh Oh” part was pretty cool. The piano instrumental introduction was intriguing, at first, leading onto what felt like a pretty standard instrumental overall. I think if the instrumental had some kind of punch to it, the song could have been much better. The vocals were okay but the star of the show was the raps, which gave the song a little more colour and energy.  Overall, they missed the mark in some areas but appeared successful in others.

I have to say that the video was fairly boring to watch. It features APINK’s Hayoung, who is the second APINK to feature in one of VICTON’s video (the first being Naeun). The video, itself, pretty much has been done before as well (but there is only so much you can do when touching on the same topic of breaking up). There isn’t much to talk about, in regards to the video. The only wow factor in this video was when the members were dancing in the pool of water, but as mentioned in some previous reviews, that has been done before as well.

The performance was good, borderline on weak though. It did suit the song but it just didn’t have that memorability element to it.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 4/10 
Performance  – 5/10 
Overall Rating – 5/10

[Review] Unbelievable – VICTON

VICTON has returned with their brand new mini album and single, Unbelievable. The group previously made their comeback at the start of the year with Eyez Eyez. Since then, it has been relatively quiet and honestly, I may have forgotten about the group. Their comeback seeks to bring them to the surface and attract some attention to it.

But sadly, the song doesn’t seem to fulfill that. Unbelievable is quite boring. I have listened to the song a number of times, but I don’t remember it when it finishes. There are no memorable sections and it just doesn’t attract my attention in the moment. And that is a major issue. The vocals or rap aren’t terrible but they aren’t that great as well. For example, the song opens up with the rapper singing. And while I normally like that, it sounded a little odd. The chorus is normally meant to be the catchiest part of the song. But there was no hook and it was quite bland overall. The only thing which I did personally feel was great about the song was the Summer time instrumental. But even that felt very familiar and didn’t really set it a part from the rest of the group’s competition. It just isn’t the song for me this time around.

And like the song, I found the video to be quite boring as well. There really isn’t anything in there to separate it from the rest of the Summer themed music videos where the singers have a little fun. The guys were quite bubbly and happy, but the video just didn’t convey those same feelings to me. And besides those comments, the video doesn’t leave much for me to talk about.

The performance wasn’t that captivating but I think it was the better part of the comeback. The chorus had a few sharp moves in there and the post-chorus had a nice feel to it. Though, watching the performance, I noticed a member with the mullet. And now I can’t unsee that, even in the music video. WHY????

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 5/10

[Review] Eyez Eyez – VICTON

VICTON has made their first comeback with Eyez Eyez. For those who missed the group, they are a 7-member boy group under Plan A Entertainment. Their debut song, I’m Fine, was released in November 2016. Eyez Eyez is the title track to their latest mini album, Ready, which was released last week.

The song shows a more edgy and tougher side of the guys, something that their debut song didn’t have. And while this is an okay song, I don’t think it has what it takes to top their pre-release for their debut, What Time Is It Now. The songs are similar in ways but different in other aspects. But I am not here to compare songs. Eyez Eyez uses a more disoriented sounding instrumental, which can be attributed to the warped synths and it delves into the EDM route. It doesn’t sound like a mess, which I am sure, some people would have thought initially. While the EDM genre is expanding, it is very common to hear the same sounds again and again. And with many groups, particularly newer boy groups, going down the EDM route, this song doesn’t really stand out for me. Sure, the instrumental may be a little unique but there is a layer of air that makes the song feel a little generic. The vocals and raps were okay. I just expected them to be more explosive with this song. They do sing at a more powerful level for the chorus, but to me, it sounds like they are only doing that to get on top of the instrumental, which during the chorus was the main thing you could hear. Other than that, I did think the first line of the chorus was catchy enough and that alone brought me back to the song a few times.

The music video doesn’t really stand out. While the song does sound a little more untraditional, the music video feels very generic and lacks appeal. The song is made up of choreography scenes and a lot of close-ups of the guys at the train station. Not really the first place you would think of to put a bunch of guys trying out the tougher and edgier concept. The video relies heavily on the use of post-production effects and filters. They do a lot to the video and keep it somewhat interesting. Yeah, also gives me something a little extra to talk about.

The choreography was pretty good. It isn’t memorable as much as other performances but at least it gave a worthwhile visual to watch as part of their music video. The knife-like choreography puts them up high with other boy groups (that are known for their impressive sharp moves), but VICTON now needs to show that same aspect off with a more memorable and impressive choreography.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 5.5/10

[Review] I’m Fine – VICTON

[This review was written and scheduled a few months back in preparation for my absence in December. For any reviews for end of November and December comebacks, they will be posted next year. This also includes any end of year related posts.]

There are a lot of boy groups debuting this year. VICTON is another group that debuted recently. They marked their first release on the 8th of November with their first mini-album and the title track, I’m Fine. The group is currently under Plan A Entertainment, which also houses APINK. The group contains 7 members and the members are Seungsik, Seungwoo, Chan, Subin, Hanse, Sejun and Byungchan.

The song doesn’t really capture your attention nor does it sound amazing. But I think I can settle by describing the song as good. As I said, it is outstanding or excellence, but it does have its perks. For example, the track is quite funky and catchy. The chorus is addictive. Their vocals during the chorus does irk me a little because it doesn’t match with the instrumental. There just seems to be a little too much going on at the chorus. I think it is the thick vocals combination (person who is singing the chorus + the back-up vocals) that throws me off. Their vocals by themselves during the verses and the ad-libs at the end prove their potential. The rapping is also quite nice to listen to. The verses are a little dry and bland for my taste. The song relies too heavily of the catchiness of the chorus for me. There isn’t much else to make it a track that is mind-blowing or top of the class though.

The music video stars Naeun from APINK. She geniunely looks happy in this video. Her interaction with the group is quite minimal though, which is a little disappointing. As for the group. The video made them too cheesy to watch. Maybe I am just not into the cutesy concept that much. The video was very colourful and vibrant. It just needed something to make it less boring. Maybe a little more interaction between the group and Naeun. Maybe just have one member and Naeun share a moment together, alone, which each other. Maybe that might not work, but hey, it will get some sort of reaction out of me. And something to talk about.

The dance performance was honestly, boring. I wasn’t captivated by their live stages at all. I don’t know, but what I saw in the video looked impressive, but I was let down when seeing the entire performance in whole. I know they were both the exact same thing. My reaction just did not carry over, I guess.

Rating – 6/10