[Review] Whisper – VIXX LR

It has been two years since the VIXX subunit made their official debut with Beautiful Liar. VIXX LR is officially back with a brand new mini-album and title track, Whisper. While it has been a while for the duo, VIXX has been busy with multiple comebacks over the past two years, with Shangri-La being their most recent one.

Whisper is an unexpected song. I originally expected that they would go down the Beautiful Liar route with a similar song. But instead, we get a completely different sound with a fresher appeal. It took a few listens for me to warm up to it and I can officially say it is a pretty dynamic song. The softness that you feel through Leo’s vocals and the roughness from Ravi’s rap blend very well with each other.  Actually, certain parts felt like VIXX LR was actually whispering the song to us, which I thought was quite nice. The summer perfect hip-hop style instrumental is quite nice and it takes the backseat for a majority of the song. They seemed to pick it up for the final chorus but it seemed a tad late then. It probably wouldn’t fit the whisper aspect that I mentioned a few lines above, but I felt the song could have done with more bass or a bolder instrumental. But what we got, in the end, was pretty awesome itself and I think I like it quite a bit now.

The music video for Whisper is what I wanted to talk about the most. There is a distinct storyline to the video, which I like. Leo and Ravi, as showed at the end of the video, are connected by a very thin line. What their relationship is, however, is up to the interpretation of the viewer. But it clear that both members seem to play opposites of each other (hence the red and blue colour profiles). Leo seems to play the more innocent and submissive side of a person, which I felt was prominent from the way he caressed the books and yarn. Ravi played a more dominant and rebellious figure, from the way he sits in the car and dresses. There also seems to be a connection between both VIXX LR videos. The imagery in some scenes was there and I thought that was pretty cool. My guess is that Whisper is the prequel and it leads to the development of the characters played by Leo and Ravi in Beautiful Lair (i.e. Ravi plays the dark angel, while Leo plays the easily persuaded person). Overall, I thought it was a pretty good video to watch.

I don’t find myself drawn to the performance of the song. The choreography was okay but VIXX LR seemed to take more a backseat this time around. I am not that troubled by that but it leaves me with little to say. That part in the music video (which doesn’t seem to be in the performance due to Leo singing at that same moment) is probably my most favourite.

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

 

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End Of Year Chart 2015 + Happy New Year!

Welcome to the end of the year! Each year, I do this “End Of The Year Chart” where I properly rank songs via a personalised ranking system, which shows which songs I liked the most (and which songs I did not like at all – but I won’t name and shame). How do I rank the songs? Simply taking the score that I gave them in the review published earlier in the year, adding it to new review scores for the music, video and performance. Then I add those to other scores from “Songs of the Month” in my Rewind posts and to ensure that I can properly order them, I turn to my iTunes play count. And when I say “add”, there is a mixture of mathematical operations (and I am going to stop here, before I can bore you). In no way is this chart influenced by my choice of best song in the BOBs. But I do highlight them here :).

1 Ah Yeah EXID
2 Paradise Lost Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
3 If You Do  GOT7
4 Closer Oh My Girl
5 You G.Soul
6 Love Me Right EXO
7 I Need U BTS
8 Sing For You EXO
9 Shake It Sistar
10 4 Walls F(x)
11 Dumb Dumb Red Velvet
12 I Taeyeon (SNSD) ft. Verbal Jint
13 Like OOH AHH Twice
14 Oh Um Ah Yeah Mamamoo
15 Mansae Seventeen
16 Just Right GOT7
17 Crazy 4Minute
18 Insensible Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)
19 Run BTS
20 Yey Beast
21 Between Night n Music B.I.G
22 Shake That Brass Amber (f(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)
23 Hot Pink EXID
24 Beautiful Liar VIXX LR (VIXX)
25 Brand New World Brown Eyed Girls
26 Ring My Bell Girls Day
27 Hurt Locker Nine Muses
28 Growing Pains Donghae & Eunhyuk
29 Run Away Royal Pirates
30 Black Swan Rainbow
31 Congratulations DAY6
32 Catch Me If You Can SNSD
33 Me Gustas Tu Gfriend
34 The Answer Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
35 Dope BTS
36 Pray FT Island
37 Cinderella CN Blue
38 You’re Pitiful Fiestar
39 Hopeless Love Jimin (15&)
40 Bad Infinite
41 Might Just Die History
42 We Like 2 Party Big Bang
43 Chained Up VIXX
44 Fire Mad Clown ft. Jamsil (Mad Child Soul)
45 Bell Bottoms PSY
46 Ice Cream Cake Red Velvet
47 Break Ya LU:KUS
48 Kontrol Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
49 I Feel You Wonder Girls
50 Wow Wow Wow Junjin (Shinhwa) ft. Eric (Shinhwa)

And here are some interesting facts about this year and the chart itself!

  • A total of 180 songs were ranked on this chart, but a total of 195 songs were reviewed this year (which I believe is a personal best).
  • The first song reviewed and included in the chart is BTOB’s The Winter Tale (released at the end of last year). The last song reviewed and included in the chart was EXO’s Sing For You
  • A total of 16 girl groups, 17 boy groups and 9 soloists are featured on the chart.
  • There is a better mix of boys and girl groups this year, compared to last year, where the first boy group did not feature on the charts until after 16th place.
  • BTS had the most songs on the chart (I Need U, Dope & Run). followed by: EXID (Ah Yeah & Hot Pink), GOT7 (If You Do, Just Right), EXO (Love Me Right, Sing For You), Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer, Kontrol) & Red Velvet (Dumb Dumb & Ice Cream Cake).
  • Rookies were actually a strong force this year with Oh My Girl, Seventeen and Twice ranking quite high up in the charts.
  • The following ranked after 50th place: IU, B.I.G, Crayon Pop, VIXX, Seventeen, Changmin, Big Bang, Brown Eyed Girls and CLC.
  • And finally, this year chart was actually reflected on the BOBs this year. I crowned EXID’s Ah Yeah as best song for both segments.

AND THAT IS IT!! 2015 will be ending shortly. 6 Hours To Go (for me at least)!!! Hope 2015 has been a great year for you all. I thank you all once again for another year of KPOPreviewed. Your support has been amazing. Every comment and like (heck even every view) makes me happy!! Nearly 5 years and still going strong!! Thank you 2015 and I wish you all a Happy New Year wherever and whenever it is time. Let’s make 2016 our year!!! (First review: 2nd of Jan).

2015 BOBs (Best Of the Best) – Part 1

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

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

RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention

RISING STAR

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

risingstar

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

BEST INSTRUMENTAL

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

bestinstrumental

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

BEST JAPANESE SONG

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

bestjapsong

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

BEST COMEBACK

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

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

BEST SUBUNIT

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

bestsubunit

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

BEST RAPPER

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

bestrapper

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

BEST VOCALIST

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

bestvocalist

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

BEST MALE SOLOIST

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

bestmalesoloist

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

BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

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

bestfemalesoloist

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

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

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

 

 

 

Beautiful Liar – VIXX LR (VIXX)

VIXX is back, but in the form of Leo and Ravi. Yes, VIXX has launched their LR subunit, which I totally thought stood for Left and Right. For those who don’t know, Leo is the very capable main vocalist known for his quiet and “calm” persona, while Ravi is the rapper of the group, who is known for his sexual lyrics. Yeah, if you can’t tell, I am a bit of a fan of VIXX. But I am not bias. Trust me. It has been a while since we heard of VIXX. At the start of the year, they made their comeback and has since ventured into Japan and the group has focused mainly on solo work.

This is a song that I would highly recommend. Not because I am bias, but this is a beautiful song that mixes the ballad genre with more a rap and hip hop type of vibe. Yeah, not a big fan of the whole rapping in ballad type of songs, but this song really does it well. Leo, we all know, has this wonderful voice and Ravi is known for his powerful rapping style. Put the two together and you get a really powerful ballad. Each member is given equal opportunities to show off what they have under their sleeves. Leo’s high notes that he belts out during the song is truly amazing. Ravi’s powerful rapping did wonders. And them two when they come together and sing together at certain parts, match each other so well. The instrumental won me over. It is by far definitely one of the brightest highlights for the song. I really enjoyed how they mixed the ballad song with a more electronic type of sound during the second verse when Ravi is rapping. The lyrics for this song is quite ingeniously written as well. We hear “Beautiful Lair” throughout the song, but the final words of the song is actually “cowardly liar”.

Odd place to end the final paragraph, but it leads nicely into the plot of the video. In the video, Ravi and Leo is one person. Kind of like the Jekyll and Hyde concept they were going for in the past. Leo is the lie, while Ravi is the truth. The truth is, Ravi is an accurate representation of the feelings Leo have. But Leo wants to let her go, so she can have a great life (she is going to get married to another guy). They struggle throughout the video, but Leo ends up winning. In the end, he sings “cowardly liar” because that is what he is. Because he did not have the guts to tell the girl his true feelings. Love the play on the black and white in the video. Their acting is pretty impressive in this video as well. Their “struggle” scene is pretty good and was an impressive way to showcase the plot. I also love it how they give you two kind of ending. One shows Ravi dying (strangled by the Leo, probably wanted to do that for some time) and the other is where Ravi “slips” away. I thought this was an amazing video. Well showcased.

Not really going to mention the dance, mainly because there isn’t anything to talk about. The members focus on singing and rapping, which I felt was enough. The need for the backup dancers was nice but I don’t think they were needed.

Wow. I wrote so much. But honestly, check out this song. 10/10