[Review] Reincarnation – VIXX

I hope you all are enjoying these Japanese reviews. I know I have dropped them for the last few weeks due to my studies but now, with more time on my hand, I will be returning with weekly Japanese reviews. VIXX recently returned to Japan with their next single, Reincarnation, which is also the name of their 3rd album in Japan. The album also features the Japanese version of Scentist and Shangri-La, while also contains a number of original Japanese songs.

Reincarnation feels rather typical. It doesn’t really offer anything new to the listeners as the song goes jump on board of the EDM train, with some drums layered in the background, This combination does bring some intensity but it masks any impacts that the song attempted to make. I guess the added bonus of this is the tempo, as it is quite fast paced. However, I don’t get why they stripped away the instrumental in the moments leading up the chorus. It completely stole any energy that the ‘Flashback’ buildup (which was my favourite bit, by the way) had. I thought the vocals were nice, while the rap sections were rather interesting, giving the song some different textures. I felt like I focused on a lot of negatives for the song so I will end up on a positive note. The delayed start to the final chorus (where they only had drums) was a winning moment.

I am a little disappointed by how the members had little to no interaction with each other in the video. There was a “dance version” but the choreography scenes were edited into the original version, so there wasn’t really anything new there. But despite that, they managed to tell what I believe seems to be a complete story. I just have no idea what it is (so there isn’t anything new with me as well!). If you know any theories, please post them below! There is a lot of colours, which I quite like. And a lot of reverse action going on, which was interesting. My favourite section has to be exploding clouds in the background of one of Hongbin’s solo scenes.

With the performance I watched for the review, I thought the choreography could have been more intense fast paced. Like they slowed down when required but I felt like they could have picked up the pace for the chorus. The dance break did look cool and probably was the most intense section of the entire performance.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

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[Review] Touch & Sketch – Leo (VIXX)

Leo is the main vocalist of VIXX and he has officially made his solo debut with Touch & Sketch. Leo joins a long list of solo acts whom have debuted over the past few years despite still being active as part of their groups. He is also an accomplished musical actor, as well. Touch & Sketch is featured as the title track on his first mini-album, titled appropriately as Canvas.

I personally expected Leo to go down the ballad route for this solo debut (which I really should stop doing because they never go down the ballad route). So it was a plesant surprise that he went with an upbeat song. But keeping with the aura that Leo has, the song features a decent melody during the verses. I am not too big on the verses because they felt slow, compared to the upbeat chorus which I liked a lot more. However, his husky vocals did give off a smooth vibe, which highlights the sensual nature of the song. I really like the lead into the chorus (I believe the lyrics are ‘Now I feel lips‘) and the small sequence of drums that feels like the gateway to a nice chorus. I like how the chorus goes and its catchiness makes the song quite memorable. While it isn’t Leo’s expertise, I would have liked a rap sequence somewhere in the song. As much as it feels cliche, it needed something more to give it some edge. But overall, Leo’s debut song was pretty cool.

I liked the music video because it shows a side of Leo that I have not seen. I know him to be the very quiet member from his debut days so to see him in this sensual lighting was a little odd for me. But it works well with that aura that I mentioned in the prior paragraph. He likens the idea of love to art, as you you have to be able to feel both to connect with it. I did find some of the editing a tad choppy for my liking, often passing over a scene very quickly. It could have been a lot smooth to reflect well with the song’s smoothness. But other than that, it was a good video.

The performance was good and fitted the song quite well. I like how the chorus had a certain level of fierceness, which gave the performance that edge that the song lacked. He looked super focus, which I guessed works well with the serious sensual nature of the song. And that sensual nature mentioned in the other paragraphs was felt strongest through the choreography.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

 

[Album Review] Kratos (3rd Mini Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos was published on Monday, Wednesday for Hades and Friday (today) for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Kratos was released in October of 2016 and is the final part of their Greek mythology trilogy. Kratos is the Greek God of War, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was The Closer, which I reviewed previously. Kratos, along with the other two singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

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Kratos Album Cover

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

2. Desperate – Opening the song is a very dramatic yet haunting introduction which fits perfectly into VIXX’s portfolio. And this same haunting effect followed throughout the verses. However, what I really liked is how the song sudden turned into an EDM based chorus in a matter of seconds. It was unexpecting but it does really make the song intense enough to become memorable. Both the vocals and the raps were perfect and it is an example of a song that has me coming back for more. (10/10)

3. Shooting Star –To me, Shooting Star felt like your standard pop song. There were few elements in the song that did leave me intrigued such as how the vocals were presented and how Ravi’s raps appeared throughout the song (instead of being condensed in a single section). The song just didn’t have enough to become memorable and have me coming back. Despite that, it was still a decent track. (7/10)

4. Good Night & Good Morning – The song is about wanting to break up. It is a lot softer in terms of volume as compared to their previous song, going with an R&B type of feel. Ravi opens up the song by singing, which is a rare event in the VIXX discography world. The touch of autotune was nice. Once again, I thought the vocal work was pretty nice, with Leo’s vocals during the chorus is the most memorable. There was also a pause towards the end of the song which made you assume that it was finished. I personally thought the song could have ended there, with the extra bit being an ‘excess’. (7/10)

5. Romance Is Over (로맨스는 끝났다) – This song is your standard ballad to have on any album. It showcases good vocals. Within the instrumental, I liked the drums and how it helps create a nice build-up to the chorus. Ravi’s rap was also quite fitting for the song, fitting neatly into the more delicate instrumental. My only issue with the song is the abrupt ending in the instrumental. But other than that, another good song. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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Kratos Teaser Image

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[Album Review] Hades (6th Single Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos was published on Monday, Wednesday (today) for Hades and Friday for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Hades was released in April of 2016 and is the second part of their Greek mythology trilogy. Hades is the Greek God of the Underworld, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was Fantasy, which I reviewed previously. Hades, along with the other two albums/singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

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Hades Album Cover

1..Fantasy (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Fantasy. (8.5/10)

2. Love Me Do – Once again, I like the upbeat vibes of the song, which do give the song some energy. The song just feels repetitive by the time you get to the end. However, the song doesn’t really let go, which I think is an important charm of the song. There are some other elements of the song which I liked. There is a sensual sound to the song, which is part of the appeal of the song. I thought both Hyuk and Hongbin sounded really nice in this song, alongside the great vocals from the other members. Overall, Love Me Do is one great side track for the group, fitting in with the dark vibes of Fantasy. (8/10)

3. Butterfly Effect (나비 효과) – The song had a mid-tempo instrumental despite falling into the ballad domain. The song had some good vocals and sounded like a nice confession song. The rap sequence was nice and I liked the roughness that it gave the song. The song just didn’t really appeal to my personal taste and felt like a standard ballad in my mind. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

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Hades Teaser Image (Creepy)

[Album Review] Zelos (5th Single Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos will be published Monday (today), Wednesday for Hades and Friday for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Zelos was released in April of 2016 and is the official start to their Greek mythology trilogy. Zelos is the Greek God of Jealousy and Rivalry, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was Dynamite, which I reviewed previously. Zelos, along with the other two albums/singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

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Zelos Album Cover

1. Dynamite (다이너마이트) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Dynamite. (8.5/10)

2. Six Feet Under (늪) – The song is quite vibrant and upbeat, similar to Dynamite title track. However, it keeps to VIXX’s true side of darkness through the lyrics and it’s instrumental gives off an edgy vibe. The pre-chorus is quite mysterious (in a good way). The way the line ‘Six Feet Under, That’s Enough‘ is sung throughout the song is super addictive. I also liked the vocal work in the song. Likewise, I felt the rapping was intense and you are basically thrown into it, which works wonders. (8/10)

3. Farewell Hands (손의 이별) – This is a ballad, which is about parting ways after losing chemistry in a relationship. The vocals are really well done, conveying the heartbreaking emotions well. The English lyrics that is scattered throughout the song seem to be well fitted for the song. There is a nice melody, particularly during the chorus which sounds nice. The instrumentation is quite standard, which seems to be the only thing that I can hold against the song. Other than that, the song is still fairly decent to listen to. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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Dynamite Music Video Gif

[Album Review] EAU DE VIXX (3rd Studio Album) – VIXX

Smelling beautiful for their comeback is VIXX and their 3rd studio album, EAU DE VIXX. The new album features 12 songs, including Scentist and Shangri-La (links below). I only reviewed 11 as the 12th track is the instrumental version of Scentist. This is another long review, so let’s get right into it!

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EAU DE VIXX Album Cover

1..Scentist (향) (Title Track)Click here for the full review for Scentist. (8.8/10) 

2. Odd Sense – There were parts of the song which I liked, while there were parts I wasn’t a fan of. Let’s start off with the positives. I really enjoyed the build-up during the pre-chorus and at the start of the song (0:10-0:13 of the song). The way the chorus actually ended was interesting and unique sounding. Also, Ravi’s rapping overall in this song was quite cool, slaying with each line. Moving to the negatives. Unfortunately, the vocals felt standard and the verses were quite plain. The song also felt dragged out. It also didn’t feel that catchy. (7/10)

3. Silence – Unlike what the title seems to allude to, the song is not ‘silent’. It opts for trap elements and a pretty good beat. It also has a very appealing sound as it doesn’t go overboard with obnoxious drops (which would have worked in this song). The build-up to the chorus was awesome. The vocals and raps were amazing.  It was quite catchy, with the English lines in the chorus being my absolute favourite. The only aspect which I didn’t like was the bridge but it was still one great song. (9/10)

4. My Valentine – This song has a seductive sound yet a somewhat minimalistic instrumental. I really like the short piano moment between the vocals and raps during the verses. Once again, I thought the verses were boring and that extremely deep ‘How Do I Know That?‘ line was unfitting for the majority of the singing (which was at a higher pitch). I did like the falsetto singing but it wasn’t enough to win me over. (5/10)

5. CircleCircle is a slow-ish R&B song that sadly is another miss for me. It just felt bland and doesn’t really draw any attention to itself. The song, too, focuses on falsetto vocals, which were okay. I did like how the song ended with a subtle hint of piano, while the word ‘Circle’ repeated throughout did echo in my mind afterwards. (6/10)

6. Good Day – What makes this track stand out on the album is its upbeat vibes and the energy. In addition, I really liked the guitar in the instrumental. Unfortunately, I thought the vocals were kind of meh and the raps weren’t that memorable. But despite that, it was a funky track and the instrumental did its bid in making this song enjoyable. (8/10)

7. Escape – Like in the previous track, there are guitars in the instrumental. However, this song features guitars that are more fitting for the seriousness. Jumping out at me is how ‘VIXX’ the song is. Over time, they have managed to develop a certain sound that I associate with them and this song fits perfectly into that association. The vocals were good but not the best on the album. However, the raps do stand out quite a bit. The song didn’t have a strong hook but I can’t explain why I kept coming back for more. The ‘Run Away’ whisper at the end as the song faded out was also quite cool and definitely left an impression. (8/10)

8. Trigger – I thought the song had a smooth yet classy R&B sound to it. For the first time in this review, the verses were really cool and the pre-chorus was equally as awesome. The slight delay before the drop was used quite well here and it showcased an extremely catchy chorus. Great vocal work and Ravi’s rap (per usual) is amazing. Another great song on this album. (9/10) 

9. Resemble (닮아) – This is the mandatory and only ballad featured on this album. It just isn’t really a strong track for the group and out of all the songs on the album, this was the least interesting/most skippable. The song did have an instrumental that was somewhat jazzy. And that felt like the most interesting thing to point out. (5/10) 

10. Navy and Shining Gold – To give some background information, the two colours in the title are the official colours for VIXX and fandom. Using that information, it is clear that this song was for their fans. The upbeat chorus just makes you want to dance along. All the members showcased great vocals. It is a song that is aimed to make you feel good and that it does well! (8.5/10)

11. Shangri-La (도원경)Click here for the full review of Shangri-La. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

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EAU DE VIXX Teaser Image

[Review] Scentist – VIXX

VIXX have made their return to the stage with Scentist and their 3rd full-length album, EAU DE VIXX. This is their first comeback as a full group since Shangri-La was released back in May last year. The concept for this comeback is ‘scents‘, which when combined with ‘artists‘ becomes ‘Scentist‘. Their teasers have also been presented in a way that resembles perfumes and colognes.

Scentist takes on a softer approach compared to any of their past title tracks. It feels very elegant and classy, despite being EDM based. The verses had nothing that special, in my opinion. However, its the buildup to the chorus that has me excited. It isn’t a sharp climb nor does it employ obvious instrumental techniques to show off the buildup. Instead, they kept it soft (to match the other parts of the song) and you had to listen closely to figure out whether that buildup was there or not. And the vocals during that section was amazing. The chorus was nice but I feel like they could have gone with something a bit bolder, which in my mind, might enhance the song to a whole new level. The chorus seemed catchy and it may grow into an addictive song. Ravi’s raps paired with the song quite well and I like Ken and Leo’s harmonies at the end. Scentist is another great song for VIXX, which went for something a little different to what we were used to.

The music video was amazing. I really liked the laboratory scenes where they made their perfumes. The white background with the white cabinets and tables allowed the colours of the other items to really pop. It also allowed the individual members to be the centre of attention. There were a few things that I am a little confused about, such as the car and the snake. A part of me feels like they were creating some kind of reverse ageing potion, with the young kid copying Ravi (and Ken – not sure) at the end of the video. Overall, I liked how the music video looked and it seemed like an interesting story can be pulled from it.

Earlier this year, VIXX garnered attention for their end of year performance of Shangri-La. This particular comeback seems to take notes from that performance and Shangri-La itself, as it is rather elegant and classy. When the song picks up for the chorus, the dance moves seem to become intense, which I think is extremely ideal. I really like N’s moment at 0:40 of the music video, which I think can rival N’s killer smile during the Dynamite promotions.

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

[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

 

10 Favourite Non-Title Tracks (Part 1)

Welcome to the first ever ‘Special’ segment of my website. Though I have used the category ‘Special’ for other purposes in the past, I thought I could use to expand the content of what I write. So I thought I would make various lists of different aspects of the KPOP sphere, starting off with non-title tracks that should be more appreciated. I have other ideas lined up like “favourite OSTs’ and ‘favourite dances’ etc. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below and I may just look into your idea. In no particular order, here are 10 (and this particular will be expanded in further editions) favourite non-title track songs by KPOP artists.

Crying – Sistar

Sistar leaves behind many great tracks, so of which barely get enough attention. What makes Crying a great track are the vocals. They were dynamic and gave the song a very unique feel. I thought the chorus was extremely catchy and interesting with how it starts off with a striking delivery of the word “Love”. The instrumental was pretty simple and their vocals/raps matched it perfectly.

One Step, Two Step – Oh My Girl

I personally thought this song has a very nice blend of instruments. It also felt like angels were singing to me.  The track ended up being very addictive, becoming a song that I would search for on YouTube for a while. I loved how the track started off very sweet and nice. But as you approach the chorus, we enter a more upbeat phase, making the build-up sound amazing. The violins in the bridge were also amazing, with it being another highlight of the track.

Albatross – B.A.P

Adding to the fun vibes of their 5th mini album, Carnival, Albatross is one track to jam to. It is a very down to earth feel and listening to the song makes you wonder how fun the recording process would have been if there was a stage or music video accompanying it. It was released in February but there is a very vibrant and Summer feel to the song, making it a track that I constantly listen to during Winter when I want to feel some warmth.

Shadow – F(x)

I think out of all the non-title tracks out there and the songs on this list, this is the song that everyone will agree on as the most underrated song ever. It literally catches your attention with its very creepy lyrics. But the lyrics are smothered with the sweetness of the instrumental and their vocals, making the creep factor exceed the highest possible limit. It is extremely addictive and I totally love it.

I Wanna Fall In Love – Song Ji Eun (Secret)

Song Ji Eun’s tracks have always been intriguing for their dark messages. Her more recent releases haven’t followed that path, which is quite disappointing. But there are a few that have caught my attention, such as I Wanna Fall In Love. It is much better than many of her recent title tracks and her strong vocals resonate throughout the entire track. It dominates the entire track, which I think is amazing and the song is quite catchy after a number of listens.

Get The X Out – Sunny Hill

Judging from the title, I would never have thought of the song being what it is. It is extremely unexpected, as the instrumental is reminds you of toys and dolls. Very innocence. But instead, it holds a very scary message telling their partner to just leave. I love how they cut the swearing out (or else it would be banned) but it makes everything feel more intense. And this is another reason to why I love Sunny Hill’s songs. They take uniqueness to a whole new level.

Before The Song Ends – JJ Project ft. Suzy (Miss A)

To hear that JJ Project will be getting a unit comeback stage before the end of the year makes me extremely happy. But before that, I must show you all this extreme party-vibe track. Sure, it may be overpowered by autotune but it one hell of a song to jam to. Suzy’s featuring in this song makes it so much better. But the real winners are JJ Project, who has such a dynamic track under their belt.

Maze – VIXX

I tried to include some old tracks and some more recent tracks on this list. Maze falls under the “more recent” category, with it being one intense track to listen to. That is mainly because every time I listen to the song, I feel a rush of adrenaline as if I am actually running through a maze myself. It is a super catchy track and dynamic at the same time.

Switch – NCT 127

Switch is the only song on this particular list that has its own music video. From memory (and what I read a few months back) that this song and music video was recorded before the debut of NCT. I was totally into (and still am) the instrumental of the song. It sounded different to other songs that I have listened to. It’s another track that gives off a nice Summer feel, which I am totally digging at the moment, as I freeze each morning.

One Minute Back – SHINee

This, by far, is up there as one of the best songs ever released. It is such a unique song on so many levels. Their vocals are on point throughout the track, especially during the entire chorus. The lyrics of the song depict a guy catching his partner cheating on him and wanting to turn back time. Overall, listening to just once will not be enough as it leaves a very long lasting impact that makes you want to go back and listen to more.

 

 

[Album Review] Shangri-La (4th Mini Album) – VIXX

 

A few days ago, I wrote the review for VIXX’s latest title track. And given that I am a big fan of the group, it would be obvious that an album review would be coming your way. At first I thought I wouldn’t have time to write it today, but it is VIXX, so I pushed all my assignments to one side and wrote this. No regrets though, because it gave me another excuse to listen to their album and focus on the group entirely for one night. This is their 4th mini album to date, which is also titled as Shangri-La.

Shangri-La (4th Mini Album) Cover

 

1..Shangri-La (Title Track)  – Click here to see the full review of Shangri-La (8.5/10)

2. Into The Void – I love the introduction to this song. It sounds like a soundtrack out of a really good movie. Throw the group’s vocals on top of that soundtrack-like instrumental and the song turns into a spine-shivering song that sounds like pure amazingness. The chorus changes it up a bit, but still keeping that epic feel from the start. And then, Ravi’s rap throws the track into chaos. Not saying that is a bad thing here, it fits very well and gives the track that needed boost of energy just before the final chorus, in case it got oo repetitive. (9/10)

3. Black OutI think it is going to be an expected thing when it comes to VIXX albums. The presence of a questionable track that gets fans a little hot and bothered. Throw in the performance for a track like this and all I can say is damn… Out of all the songs, this one is the catchiest out of all. The track itself uses a seductive tone, especially from Ravi, which is extremely appropriate for a song of this nature. (9/10)

4. It’s Coming (다가오네) – The obligatory ballad on the album. Like I have mentioned throughout the review, their vocals are top-notch, which is amazing. It’s another song, regardless of its meaning or message, that makes me want to sway along to it. The percussion in the instrumental give the song that dynamic side, fitting in nicely with the upbeat tracks that preceded it. (8/10)

5. To Us (우리에게) – It’s the song that the album needed. A return from the previous ballad to the more upbeat songs of the tracklist, but not a complete return. I personally think this is an amazing song. It is easy to the ears and their vocals are superb in this song. Literally, their vocal work on this album is their best yet and they maintained that standard to the very end of the album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

Teaser Image

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[Review] Shangri-La – VIXX

VIXX has finally returned with their fourth mini album, titled as Shangri-La. The title of the title track also shares the same name. This is VIXX’s first comeback since their comeback at the end of the year with The Closer, which finished off their trilogy centred around Greek Gods. They went on to release Milky Way, which was a special track for their fans.

The first thing you notice is that Chinese inspired instrumental. The song also combines synths to make it unique, similar to Ten’s Dream In A Dream. The Chinese inspired instrumental dominates the verses, while the synth-based instrumental dominates during the chorus, which does make it an interesting mix. In its own right, the track is extremely powerful. While it may not have the bass that I would have love, the differing dominance between sounds does give off strength and toughness. Their vocal work here is also quite exceptional. We already know the level that Leo and Ken can reach, but the rest of the other members do shine as brightly as Leo and Ken. I love N’s little section during the bridge, it is quite haunting. Even Ravi’s raps are quite good. Maybe not as badass and tough sounding like their other works, but still quite good. But that leads onto the issue for me. The track doesn’t hype me up as their previous work. And that is something I look for when VIXX releases songs. I have listened to it for a few times now after their 6 pm KST release, but I am not blown away with it. Maybe tomorrow or the next few days, but currently, I have don’t feel anything after the track ends.

The music video is crystal clear. I honestly don’t know if I have been living under a rock for the past year or so, but many music videos have emerged to be fully high-definition, which amazes me. GOT7’s Never Ever, Monsta X’s Beautiful and even Twice’s latest comeback (review coming out tomorrow) have wowed me with their quality. Once again, I am probably reviewing the comeback a little too early, so there is probably no fan theories for the music video yet. There is something going on, but since I have been apparently living under a rock, some never-heard-before story everyone has heard of is what the video is based on. After a little research, Shangri-La is a mythical place where it is forever happy and that is all what I can get from it.  Back to square one. Also, while this isn’t the first time KPOP singers have performed with water at their feet, this video does it really cool. I also love the different lighting and sets in the video. All looked quite cool.

I have been officially ‘slayed’ with the choreography. Their use of the fans gives off an elegant yet very dominating feel. That powerfulness is portrayed nicely through their sharp moves and their precision is amazing in this performance. I love the start where their starting pose and the hand work that they show. Once again, VIXX has done it again with the choreography.

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

KPOPREVIEWED 2016 Awards – Part 1

I am officially back everyone. And finally, I am moving along with the posts. This is the replacement to the normal Best of the Bests that I do at the end of each year. Essentially, they are the same thing, just a different name for them. This is just for fun and is just my thoughts relayed into a post. I did want to include you guys in the voting this time around, but because of my vacation, I had skipped over it. Maybe next year, if nothing pops up.

I usually post the nominees up in a separate post. However, because of time constraints, I have linked the nominees on a separate page by clicking the link below, instead of writing them out.

CLICK FOR THE NOMINEES AND CHECK OUT THE WINNERS FOR PART 1 BELOW


RISING STAR AWARD

This award goes to the groups that have seen the most growth in 2016. Past winners have risen from the rookie status (usually) or ‘nugu’ status and conquered the year they were awarded in. Looking back there are a number groups that took over 2016. But the rising star award goes to Twice and Seventeen. It is quite obvious why. Both groups had a following already in 2015 but 2016 saw more success, proving them to be a force to look out for.


BEST INSTRUMENTAL

This award is self-explanatory, given to the song that has the best instrumental. This is something that I talk about in review and is vital to the song (though I have heard amazing acapella in the past). It seems like simple took out the award this year with the instrumental of The Rain by Ladies Code taking out the award. But don’t worry because the EDM based song Fire by BTS took out Honourable Mention.


BEST COMEBACK

Comeback after comeback after comeback. It is like shifting through a needle in a haystack. Any artist could have been nominated for this but I chose VIXX as the winner for this. Their comebacks have been consistent but unique each time. Their releases have you asking what they have planned next. As for honourable mentions, BTS takes it. Given their releases in the past year, I have to say I was very impressed.


BEST SUBUNIT

It seems like subunits have dropped off the trends list this year. Actually, they have become quite rare. That being said, there have been some notable subunits in 2016. My pick for the winner is EXO-CBX, which consists of Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin. Their song, Hey Mama, was extremely catchy and fun to listen to. Honourable mention go to NCT Dream for their release of the fun and equally catchy Chewing Gum (plus they performed on hoverboards).


BEST RAPPER

Not a big fan of rapping but I have to be honest, there are many great rappers here that show me otherwise. A few rappers in idol groups have released mixtapes this year as part of their solo work, further showing their influence on the industry. The winner I have chosen is Zico (Block B). All of his solo releases and collaborations have been extremely popular and successful in the past year. Honourable mention goes  Suga (BTS), whose mixtape and work within BTS have also amazed me this year.


BEST VOCALIST

Vocals are something that I admire the most. So, it was rather hard for me to narrow down just 5 nominees, particularly since there were more shows where vocalists of different idol groups and actors/actresses could participate in. My radar jumped when I heard the winner sing on those shows. I am talking about Sandeul (B1A4), whose voice sounded amazing in his solo work and collaborations on Duet Song Festival. I chose Mamamoo for honourable mention as their vocals are no joke, slaying with almost everything they release.


BEST COLLABORATION

Collaborations are still popular and with SM Entertainment’s SM Station in full effect for 2016, we saw a more diverse range of collaborations that have never been seen before. My pick for the best collaboration of 2016 is Hit Me by MOBB, which is a collaboration between Mino (Winner) and Bobby (iKON). Honourable mentions go to Tiffany (SNSD) and SanE for their SM Station track, Heartbreak Hotel.


BEST NON-TITLE SONG

These songs include songs that were simply released as a part of the album but forgotten as it was never promoted. Some of them were performed with the title track for one week but have since not been performed. Songs that deserve some sort of recognition as well. My pick of honourable mention is I Miss You by Mamamoo, which was included in their first studio album. The winner of the best non-title song goes to Sistar with their track: String. String is actually one of the few songs that are not a title track that was replayed constantly on my phone.


To find the second part of the 2016 KPOPREVIEWED Awards, Click Here!!!

 

[Review] Milky Way – VIXX

VIXX has released a brand new song to end their Conception trilogy. The album compromises all the title tracks for the trilogy (Dynamite, Fantasy and The Closer), along with any tracks that were released with the title tracks and the addition of Milky Way.

The song is pretty good. I like it how VIXX does end up releasing a song that more bright and happier than their any of their latest releases. It is a song for the fans, who have supported them. A way to say thanks to their Starlights (VIXX’s fanclub) and other fans. There is a classy and elegant feel that you get when you listen to the song. It is a song that, at least for me, gets my feet tapping along. Everything in the track has this very smooth or sleek feeling. The vocals and even Ravi’s rapping are not hard-hitting, rough or powerful. But each members vocals / Ravi’s rap are shown off and you can definitely hear their talent in this song. The song needs more of a hook, in my opinion. Honestly, it is something that I would forget about it now, but rediscover in a months time and then complain to myself how forgot about this song. But nonetheless, the song is still pretty calming and nice to listen to now.

Since this is a music video for the fans, I don’t think it would be fair for me to be critical about it. After all the track and video itself are presents from VIXX to the fans. The video was shot with 600 fans. It also shows the guys being themselves on stage, with an ocean of fans around them. I assumed the video also uses some of the shots taken by fans. To be honest, given the stories about fans recently, they look very well behaved here.

Rating – 8/10

[Review] The Closer – VIXX

VIXX has made their return with the third part of their “Conception’ trilogy. Previously, the group released Dynamite, which was based on the Greek God of Zelos (God of Jealousy and Rivalry). Then they recently returned with Fantasy, based on the Greek God of Hades (God of the Underworld). Now, they are back with the final part, The Closer, based on the Greek God of Kratos (God of strength, might, sovereign rule, and authority in all its forms – Wikipedia, 2016).

Another amazing song from VIXX. Another fine year for the group. Dynamite was an explosion. Fantasy was unimaginable. And The Closer acts as a final chapter to VIXX’s 2016. The song infuses dance, pop and RnB. In the end, we get a very smooth song that sounds quite classy as well. Vocally, every member shined in this song. You can hear  improvements in Hyuk’s and Hongbin’s vocals. But none of the members shined throughout the song like Ken did. The focus was shifted to him in the song  (vocally) and his vocals fit the song perfectly. I also loved Ravi’s rap. It weren’t as fierce this time and had a more defined rhythm to it. That “Oh Whoa Whoa, That’s no no boy” captured my attention as soon as I heard it. I do love the individual sounds in the instrumental. The church bells, for example,  at the start gave a very eerie and mysterious feel, adding that VIXX flavour that we know quite well of. I don’t know why, but I am drawn to the sound of cymbals in the song. The lyrics are quite sensual as well, which does fit in with the overall sound of the song. The only thing that I don’t seem to like about the track is a lack of energy. Sure, it is pretty much passive but I guess I am more used to the stronger and masculine sound from VIXX.

The music video is amazing. Cinematography for this video is amazing. The effects are incredible. I saw the making of this music video and it surprised me with how they shot the video. You can simply google the making of the video, but let’s just say minimal computer effects were required from the looks of the making video. In the video every member (besides Ken) are frozen. N falling off a ledge, Hyuk’s car crashed into the wall. Everyone, regardless, is frozen. Just Ken isn’t and he moves about. I guess it ties with the lyrics of the song. Everyone is after this girl, but Ken is Kratos, so he stops everyone, just to get to the girl himself. Even lyrics in the song backs this up: “Pushing away everyone else and having you“. When no one is frozen (aka the chorus of the song) the video immediately snaps to the choreography scenes. It defines the intensity of the chorus pretty well. The editing and transitions in this video are amazing, not just the content of the video.

I thought the dance had a lot of class and matched the song quite well. At times, it looked like it was hastily put together and I think some fine tuning could have done to make it even more polished. But nonetheless, this performance is pretty grand already. Just look at N’s spin!

Rating – 9/10

 

[Review] Fantasy – VIXX

VIXX has returned to the stage with the second part of their Greek God trilogy. Last time, they were Zelos, the God of Jealousy and Rivalry and made their comeback with Dynamite. This time, they returned to their dark roots as the God of the Underworld, otherwise known as Hades. The title track for this promotional run is Fantasy.

Jaw dropping. I am amazed and in awe when I hear this song. I love the orchestra feel of the instrumental. The instrumental itself was sampled from Moonlight Sonata, which in the context of this song, gives it an eerie feeling that really cannot be described in words.I love the slow buildup in this song and that burst of power and sound that we get as soon as we launch right into the chorus. And saying launch makes it underwhelming. More like thrown into the chorus as approx 100 km/hr. Okay, I will stop. The vocal work and the rapping in the song are amazing. None of them felt lacking or  underwhelming. I do have two minor complaints. While I did love the chorus a lot, I felt it was quite overpowering for the vocals. I found it a bit difficult to listen to Ken and Leo the first few times I listened to the song. I am more used to it now, just I do have that thought come into frame every now and then. Ravi had quite a limited part. I am a little disappointed in that. The rap sequence we got is already excellent, though I would appreciate it more if it was a lot longer. But still, it is an excellent song that is right up VIXX’s alley.

Concept wise, I don’t really see much of the “Hades” concept in the video. But when we talk about the Greek God of the Underworld, ‘eerie’, ‘mysterious’, ‘dark’, ‘powerful’ and ‘terrifying’ are all terms we would use to describe him. And once again, VIXX has ticked it all off. The darkness was not there that much in Dynamite, but it is definitely here in this one, which reminds me so well of the old days for VIXX. Though I have no clue on what is really happening in the video, here is my take on the video: the members are like demons from the underworld. They are sent to bring N down to their world, and coerce him into going into the door that leads to the new world. So some of the members (N, Hongbin, Ken and Ravi( had halos at the end but in the form of the prickly metal halos. Once N officially becomes one of theirs, it seems Leo is their next target but somehow manages to avoid it (as he is bandaging up his wounds at the end, where the prickly metal bits are meant to be). Hyuk seems to be someone from above, stopping people before entering the door. That’s my take on the video and if I was even remotely right, I think it is an interesting story to tell.

The choreography fits the song and concept really well. Though I do not see anything memorable, them singing the song and pulling off any dance is bound to blow all our minds. I do think the dance does back up my theory in the music video. At the end of the first chorus, the lyrics “Get back up, off that dream”. They drop down to the stage as if the underworld is calling them, but the eerie vocals make it seem like someone from above is calling them, hence they look up. Just something I noticed that probably isn’t right, but still amazing.

Final Rating – 8.5/10

[Rewind] April 2016 & May 2016

Yeah… I know May hasn’t ended yet, but to avoid posting another late ‘Rewind” post 3 weeks after the month finished, I have decided to April and May together. This one is going to be a little informal in terms of format for a few reasons that will appear apparent. And before we move on, just a little reminder that I will try to write and release reviews every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Okay, moving along:

Leaving the Group?

We became shocked with the disbandment (or what we dubbed at the disbandment) of Kara at the start of the year. However, it seems like certain groups are facing member line up changes after one of their members had decided to not resign with their company and have since departed ways with their respective groups. Former member of 2NE1, Minzy, and former member of Miss A, Jia, have both decided to leave their successful group and go onto their own paths.  Minzy will (hopefully) make her solo debut in the near future after confirmation came from her new company in which she signed. Jia was announced today that she would be leaving the band after her contract finished. Miss A and 2NE1 faced disbandment rumours from these two events, but both their companies have stated that is not the case. Not only girl groups are facing these changes, but A-Jax (if we all remember who they were) recently lost 3 members (Sungmin, Jaehyung and Jihu). But the list does not end there. Hyunseung departed from Beast, leaving the group with 5 members. It was kind of expected after the numerous articles and petitions asking for his removal. Hyunseung is expected to return as a solo artist in the near future and is still signed with Cube Entertainment. It is always disappointing to hear these news and it has obviously shocked the industry a lot. These members have been with their band since the beginning, so it is always hard for fans. Hopefully, there won’t be any more of this and I wish the former members luck in their future endeavours (because that is something we all should do and not call them selfish).

Descendant of the Sun

Now this is something we all have heard about. The drama has taken Asia by storm and has been proven to be highly successsful. It stars Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Ko, as the main characters. Before you all die from shock, I have yet to watch this drama. So, no spoilers. But I don’t actually have any plans to watch the drama. Because I am not one to enjoy romance and all this lovey dovey sh*t. I just don’t watch the genre (or any mainstream and popular dramas). I prefer the cringeworthy daily dramas. Now, why am I talking about this drama? Well, the OSTs for this drama has literally taken over the charts each time they were released. Not complaining here, but the songs were really good. Like, I really enjoy listening to them and this is probably the first time I have been impressed with the OST for a drama. Anyway, the OST contains songs from Davichi, Gummy, K.Will, Yoon Mi Rae, Chen, Punch, Mad Clown, Kim Na Young, Xiah, MC The Max, Lyn and SG Wannabe. In OST terms, this is pretty much the star studded red carpet. Each song released topped the charts instantaneously and I can see these artists winning the Best OST awards at the award ceremonies already. That is all I am reporting on… Hahaha…

Comebacks and Debuts

For the past two months, many artists have made their comeback and they include ): Block B, Seventeen, History, April, Twice, AOA, Akdong Musician, VIXX, Lovelyz, Up10Tion and so many more.

For debuts, NCT is the big debut for April.  I.O.I is probably the major debut for May. However, we have seen new soloists emerge in KPOP in the past two months. Notably, Jung Eunji from APINK, Woohyun from Infinite and Tiffany from SNSD had their respective solo debuts in the last two months.

Top 5 songs of April

As per normal, these are my top 5 songs of April:

  1. Pretty U – Seventeen
  2. Journey to Atlantis – Laboum
  3. Dynamite – VIXX
  4. Queen – History
  5. Toy – Block B

Top 5 songs of May

May hasn’t ended yet, but it is about to. I will add other May songs to the June list (when I get around to it).

0. Pretty U – Seventeen (I have to. I have been trialling charts and Seventeen has been popping up every single week as the top song for the week).
1. Good Luck – AOA
2. Save Me – BTS
3. Nodding Nodding – Woohyun (Infinite)
4. I Just Wanna Dance – Tiffany (SNSD)
5. Fire – BTS

This one was a long one and I tried to keep it short. I am really behind in reviews and will get them out slowly. It will take me some time to catch up. Bad news is that I have exams coming up and I am going to be slower. I will review every major release eventually, so give me some time. Enjoy the rest of May and see you tomorrow!!!