[Album Review] Remember (3rd Studio Album) – WINNER

The album in focus for this review post is WINNER’s Remember, which was released over a month ago on 9th April. This album was confirmed to be the final release by the group before the members go on hiatus and enlist into the military. Jinwoo actually enlisted a week prior to the album’s release and Hoony enlisted exactly a month ago. In the meantime, it was also confirmed that we will see the rest of the members focus on individual promotions before enlisting. Remember, the group’s 3rd studio album, is also the title of the album’s main title track. It also features Hold (a pre-release track), and four member versions of their debut tracks (Empty and Color Ring) and two side tracks from their 1st studio album released back in 2014 (Different and Don’t Flirt). These four tracks will not be included as part of the review. Let’s see how the rest of the album fared.

Remember Album Cover

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

2. Dduk (뚝) (Jinu Solo) – Jinu is a member of Winner who doesn’t get much attention by himself. I don’t think he gets much solo promotions and this solo track proves that he should have at least gotten something to celebrate his vocal ability. Dduk continues from where Remember left off. It is a ballad with a piano only backdrop. Usually, ballads would start off with just the one instrument and as it progresses, adds to the song to push the song along. Dduk doesn’t conform to this and instead keeps everything pretty much raw, which I thought was cool. This made the song’s melody, both piano and vocal wise to be really nice. You can feel a bit of emotion behind this song in Jinu’s voice, as he sings about splitting up. And I like how he ends each chorus with a short, sharp and spoken form of the title, adding a little interesting detail to the song. (9/10)

3. Hold (뜸) (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review of Hold. (8/10)

4. Just Dance (막춤) – Continuing the more upbeat vibes from Hold, Just Dance has that wholesome, feel-good and fun vibe. It is a song that will make you smile and maybe get a dance out of even the quiet and introverted people. I can imagine a fun music video, similar to how Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake came to be. The instrumental was quite laid back when you think about it. It never really went anywhere. But consistency probably helped made the song appealing, as you don’t want this going through moments of slowness or have the instrumental stripped away completely, as that would just ruin it. If you took anything away from Hold, it is that they can insert an element of fun to their delivery. And that is what Just Dance continues on effortlessly. (9/10)

5. My BadMy Bad brings a R&B spin to the album. The background of the song seems refined and classy, thanks to the acoustic guitar that features in the background. There is obviously more to the instrumental to get to that point, but the guitar was the main standout. The rest of the song is built on the group’s vocals and a really smooth melody. And they sound amazing in this song. The ‘My Bad’ that features in the chorus (courtesy of Mino and Yoon) of the song brings out a hoarse nature to their vocals which makes the song sound so good. Probably my favourite part of the song. And out of all the members, Mino is the member that shines the brightest in the song. He shows off a great range in this song, switching between a deep tone for the opening verse and chorus echoes, and a falsetto for the pre-chorus. The other members do a good job in the song as well. (9/10)

6. Teaser – Listening to all the songs on the album, I feel like each member shines in a different song. For Teaser, which is a very heavy hip-hop influenced track, the member that shines is Yoon, who had the strongest individual part of the song (i.e. the ‘Baby You-ou-ou’ in the pre-chorus. Note how I pointed out individual. While each person has their individual sections in this song, I thought the combination of rapper and vocalist singing together gave the song some really interesting harmonies and textures. The interception felt unique and felt like a strong aspect in this song. (8.5/10)

7. WellWell is essentially a song in which the members wish that their fans stay … well. The song is quite upbeat, but it necessary doesn’t have that fun vibe. Instead, I find the song has that nostalgic pop vibe to it that felt like it was part of many male KPOP group’s albums in the past. I really like the hooks of the song, which consisted of the title of the song being repeated. I also like the ad-libs inserted for the final chorus, which acted as the icing on the cake. I feel like this doesn’t have a standout member. It feels cliché to say this, but all of them shined when they all started to sing together as part of the final chorus. This section just feels right for this song, adding further to that appeal to fans. (8/10)

8. Serenade (세레나데) (Hoony Solo) – By default, Hoony shines in this song as he is the only member in this song (same for Jinu in his solo track). Serenade encompasses what I think suits Hoony, though I will admit my exposure to him as an artist is quite limited. Firstly, he is a rapper, so I don’t think he would do anything like a ballad, which serves better for vocalists. But at the same time, Hoony never strikes me to do something hip-hop heavy, like Mino’s solo tracks. Serenade binds together pop and rock, creating an upbeat number for Hoony to bring his rap to (and consequently rock to). There is colour and definitely a kick in the instrumentation, which I thought was amazing. I find his rapping to be full of expression in this song and he inputs energy that helps consolidate that this is a perfect solo track for him. I do think he could have gone a little harder with his delivery. But overall, Serenade is a great track. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

Remember Teaser Image

[Review] Remember – Winner

One of the biggest hurdles that male groups/artists need to face in the KPOP industry is the mandatory military enlistment phase of their careers. This is essentially a two-year period away from the public eye. Winner is one of the many KPOP groups entering that phase right now, with Jinwu enlisting in the military just last week (and thus will not be part of the promotions for the group’s third studio album). Fittingly, the group’s comeback title track is titled Remember, as Winner has confirmed that they will focusing on solo activities after promotions for Remember end. More recently, Winner pre-released Hold a few weeks back in anticipation for their comeback.

Remember is undoubtedly an emotional track. When the song first started, I thought the group was going in the direction of their Empty debut. But instead, the song took a more ballad-like feel, very much different to what the group has ever attempted before. The song opens with a simple acoustic guitar backing. As the song slowly progressed, they added a little more to the instrumental, ranging from echos to drums to add some definition to the song. What did remain consistent throughout was the guitar, which I think made the song feel so much more sentimental. The second thing that is strong about this song are the vocals. I have never really gotten why Winner was nominated for their vocal performances in the past. I know they have really good voices. But I never really thought it was nomination-worthy. This song changes the perception. The instrumental can be described as a blank canvas (my analogy is back!). And their vocals, well, they paint a very touching and stirring picture on the canvas. Each member brings something different to the song and I really like that aspect in this song, as the group sings about not forgetting about them. Overall, a solid track.

The music video I thought was definitely very well shot. The member alone looked like they were experiencing the painful breakup that they can’t bring themselves to do (as they allude in the song’s lyrics). When the four members are together, however, they bring that sentimental feeling to the video. While the song’s lyrics were very emotional and tear-inducing to some, I do like how they weren’t just all sad or pained in the music video. There were smiles and laughter, which brings a bittersweet but reflective tone to the video. I also liked how they interlaced footage from their concert and survival show, WIN: Who Is Next?.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] Hold – Winner

No, I haven’t forgotten about Winner’s review. Winner’s latest single, Hold, was released on Thursday this week and I had somehow missed the news that the quartet would be releasing a single ahead of their upcoming 3rd studio album in April. Once I realized that they had a release (which was after I had published the Lie review for Favorite), I put Hold‘s review right into my agenda and Saturday was the first free day without a review. And now, here it is!

There are two sides to Winner. One is their more serious side, as we saw in their debut and in their most recent comeback prior to Hold (i.e. SoSo). The other side is the more carefree and bright tone Winner, which we have been seeing a lot lately (i.e. Millions and Ah Yeah). It is definitely obvious where Hold sits (i.e. carefree and bright tone). The cheerful vibes that the song contains do project on you, just by listening to it. I couldn’t help but smile upon hearing the song. The song’s falls under the ‘lighthearted hip-hop’ umbrella and features good level of energy in the instrumental hook. I liked how upbeat and loud the chorus was, similar to when you hear the right number of consecutive cymbals clashing in some songs. But it isn’t perfect sounding. The weakest part of the song was the vocals. The verses, where the vocals were most present, were pretty forgettable. If it wasn’t for the loud energy of the chorus, I don’t think the song would have been deemed memorable. The rapping just before the chorus was decent and gave the song some buildup/momentum towards the chorus. The song earn some major ticks, but not all major ticks from me.

The music video features Suhyun from AKMU, a label-mate of Winner. Known for her innocent looks, Suhyun plays the youngest member of the Winner family (with Winner playing her obnoxiously annoying brothers). In this episode of the Winner family, the brothers notice that Suhyun is dating/have a crush and make fun of her. She invites the guy over, and the brothers break into her room (whe the crush was there) to embarrass her. The video is shot in a sitcom like manner, incorporating laughter from the audience. As the song sounds, the music video is intended to be lighthearted and fun to watch. There is also some dialogue that points in that direction. Overall a great video to watch.

There is a bit of choreography in the music video. Though I am not exactly sure if it is the actual choreography. But given the nature of the song and music video, something simple and entertaining like kicks in the air (what we see the members do at the 2:33 minute mark of the music video) makes total sense.

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

[Review] SOSO – WINNER

It is time to catch up on some more reviews. But I am not dipping into my ‘Coming Soon’ page yet as there are a few more comebacks from last week that I wanted to cover. WINNER is a major group that I have yet to review and they made their comeback with SOSO last Wednesday. I am not going to delay their review anymore. We last saw the group through their Ah Yeah comeback, which was released 5 months back.

The way the song was set up was quite promising. But the resulting mix just didn’t work out too well. And I point my finger squarely on the slowdown that was featured as the chorus of the song. It was disappointing and a complete letdown, especially after such a rocking buildup to what could have been an amazing drop. It cut the momentum down to a sluggish pace. The repetition of the ‘So So‘ didn’t help as well. I think in their defence, it would have been interesting to some people. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.  The rest of the track was fine. I really enjoyed the verses. Mino’s rap sequence at the start of the song has to be one of the best sequences of the year. It was fluid and just kept coming at us. The vocals work was also quite good. They did seem to go with a more generic sound this time around, which seems to be the route that they have been aiming for during their last few songs. But WINNER always seems to make it sound good. Just not this time, unfortunately.

The music video is very filled with a lot of symbolism, which is different from what a typical music video coming from WINNER is usually. Based on what I understood from an interview, the video shows scenes of the scars that fans do not see commonly. They are practically isolated from the rest of the world (shown by Mino), entangled in the public life (shown by Seungyoon), dodging scandals to keep that innocent and well-behaved image (shown by Jiwoo) and are hurt and tired underneath all of that name brand clothing that they get to wear (shown by Hoony). It is an interesting video that does manage to speak volumes, especially with what recently happened.

I think the performance is a lot like the song. There were good moments during the verses and pre-chorus thanks to the more upbeat vibes in the instrumental. But the slowdown from the chorus made it rather disappointing and this really dried up the performance for me.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.2/10

[Review] Call Anytime – Jinu ft. Mino (WINNER)

Despite it being a rocky few months for YG Entertainment, it is still business as usual for some artists. Schedules are still going forward for some of the soloists and groups. And now, we have a solo debut in our midst. Jinu, one of the vocalists of WINNER, released his first solo track today. It is titled as Call Anytime and it features fellow WINNER member Mino. Winner previously released Ah Yeah three months back in May of this year.

Interestingly, I had expected Jinu to go with a more profound R&B track for his solo debut track. This is the route that YG Entertainment artists usually go if they don’t delve into the hip-hop genre. But Call Anytime delves into the pop genre. There are those influences in the pop sound. But they aren’t as strong as I had expected it. Apart from that, I thought the song was quite good. I am not too familiar with Jinu, but I know he has a unique vocal colour and he managed to show some of that off in this song. I liked how his singing compliments the lyrics. He is waiting for a call and his voice sounds very bored (yet intriguing for the audience) and tired, matching the emotions the audience should be hearing at that point in time. Likewise, Mino features as a rapper, and while his part changes things up slightly, the lyrics match this change up by encouraging Jinu to text the person. I think that was a smart structure. The ending, when ‘everyone’ joins in, seems to be a very cliche move for WINNER (and YG) now, since they have been doing it so much. But apart from that, I thought Call Anytime was a good song.

The video is a little confusing and opens up with Jinu waiting for a phone call and I think this crumbles his self-confidence. We then see blue suit Jinu who has a consultancy business that deals with how to attract someone’s attention by building one’s confidence and he is advertising his services on TV. His first client is a timid version of Jinu (i.e glasses Jinu), who I assume is a version of the first Jinu we saw and the business aims to build his confidence so he can enter that special room. We see Mino, a special consultant, play the overconfident card by encouraging for a direct text. But Mino’s plan doesn’t work, as Jinu unsuccessfully gains entrance to the special room and Mino is removed from the room (as being overconfident doesn’t work). Somewhere along the line, glasses Jinu appears more confident, teaches Mino one or two things and enters the room without any resistance. Success! I am assuming this means he approached his phone calling scenario as a more confident person, though I am not sure what it means. It is a unique concept but it was fun to watch.

I liked the choreography. Like the last review, nothing really impressive that I could spot in the music video. But there is enough to be fun, suiting the pop side of the track. I guess we have to wait and see with this performance.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 710
Overall Rating –  8.1/10

[Album Review] WE (3rd Mini Album) – WINNER

For today’s album review, we will be having a look at WINNER’s latest mini-album, WE. This was released back mid-May with their title track, Ah Yeah. If you have been a reader of the site for a while, you may have noticed that I have never reviewed a WINNER album before. The main reason for this was because I didn’t think the albums had much to talk about. But WE seem to be changer that may get their albums on my radar. On top of Ah Yeah, the song features 3 new tracks and remixed versions of Everyday and the unreleased track of First Love (which are not included in the album review, per usual).

winner-WE-2
WE Album Cover

1..Ah Yeah (아예) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Ah Yeah. (7/10)

2. Zoo (동물의왕국) – To me, Zoo has this laid-back vibe to it which makes it very pleasant to listen to. I find the song to be less proactive than Ah Yeah was (and this is isn’t a terrible thing). Instead, it is a light song that feels suitable following Ah Yeah. The instrumental is interesting as it relies on a mixture of tropical-like sounds and effects. In reality, the instrumental was made up of brass and flutes. There is some energy that you get via the blast at the end, which was nice. I did think the vocals and raps did not stand out as much. I think it is because I didn’t really identify a strong hook that made the song memorable overall. (7/10)

3. Mola (몰라도너무몰라)Mola starts off with a punch. It is striking and kicks the song on a positive note. The chorus is the second positive part of the track. I find the light yet dramatic nature of the instrumental to be equally as striking as the line that started of the song. Talking about the pop-based instrumental, I found that it does get very repetitive, especially after many listens. However, that can easily be overlooked as I found the energy that comes off it is very strong and impressive in many ways. The vocals and rapping were quite good in this song. Even though the instrumental required to be loud to be this impressive, I thought all the members stood out with their vocal and rapping abilities. (8/10)

4. Boom – I have an affinity for songs that give you an explosive surprise. And with the title ‘Boom’, you expect this. But the song starts off in a slow yet paced manner that makes you recheck if you are listening to the right song. And the verses of this track continue the pattern, which I think was interesting. It is the chorus, however, that is most explosive and rediverts the song to be true to its title. The alternating between soft and explosive to be a very understandable but dynamic effect, giving the song character. The ‘Boom Powwowow’ was very catchy and I honestly could not forget this song after listening to it. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

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[Review] Ah Yeah – WINNER

Also making their comeback today is Winner with Ah Yeah. This is the group’s first comeback since their Millions single, released back in December of last year. Ah Yeah is also the title track off the group’s second-ever mini-album, which is titled as We. Interestingly, both EXID’s and Winner’s mini-albums released today share the same name. I am not sure whether this will be an issue or everyone will ignore it. But definitely an interesting situation. (Note that EXID previously had a title track titled Ah Yeah as well).

But we are here to focus on Winner’s Ah Yeah for now. Ah Yeah has this brightness that just pops, making it perfect for a Summer’s release. And given that style, I think it picks up nicely from where Millions left off. The way the song starts with the guitar doesn’t seem to be as refreshing as you want. It felt very ‘done before’ and lacked ambition. But once the song starts picking up during the pre-chorus, the song slowly gets interesting. It just doesn’t last too long, however, as the chorus feels very standard in today’s tropical trend. I did think the chorus did fare a little more better as it gave the song that brightness mentioned before and the repetition of ‘Ah Yeah‘ was quite catchy. The vocalists were good but I think the song allows the rappers to really zone in both their rapping and vocals. I did like the background chanting of the chorus at the end of the song, which once again, brings the track together to add an extra vibrant aspect. But other than that, I think the track falls short due to its alignment with the typicalness of today’s trends.

Matching the bright and vibrant atmosphere of the song is an equally bright and vibrant music video. The members all seem to have fun, while playful introduce the song’s lyrics (My interpretation of the lyrics is after a breakup, they can no longer be friends with their ex and rather become strangers, even though their lover wants to remain as friends). There were some wacky moments during their playful poke at the song’s message. I think the weirdest has to be Mino’s lobster hand and leg. Especially the leg. That made me laugh.

Based on what I see in the music video, their performance seems simple in comparison to other choreographies. Not that I am complaining because their instrumental doesn’t really call for anything complicated. Simplicity is key sometimes and I think this is one of the times (and they nailed it). The dance still looks fun, which goes hand-in-hand with the song.

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

[Review] MILLIONS – WINNER

Winner is nominated for Best Male Group and Mino is nominated for Best Rapper in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. To support Winner and Mino, click on the link here to start voting! Voting closes in 11 days!

While their official comeback isn’t until sometime in January of next year, Winner has dropped a new single at the request of many fans. MILLIONS was released yesterday as a special pre-release single ahead of their upcoming comeback. We last saw the group during their Everyday comeback earlier this year. Mino also embarked on his solo career with Fiance, which was released a few weeks back.

I think the first thing that really jumps out at me is the use of that tropical house influence. As much as I enjoy the genre, I agree with many people who say that is way past its trendy days and it is becoming a relatively standard sound. And with the past few Winner comebacks being of the tropical nature, it just feels like they digging too much into this rabbit hole. But besides that, I thoroughly enjoyed the song. I really liked the upbeat nature of the song. It does seem a little ill-fitting for the seasonal trend but they did a really good job at balancing out that upbeat nature for the Winter period. I also liked the drums in the instrumental. I think just by the bright nature of the song and the lyrics that you can make out, the song takes a refined romantic route, which was rather nice, in my opinion. I liked the chorus, which had a simple melody but their vocals made it very catchy and addictive in nature. The rapping was also quite nice. Not too much power, which goes back to that balance.

Once again, YG Entertainment delivers with another extraordinary music video. Fitting the brightness of the song, the music video adopts that bright factor with its colourful and vibrant sets. And the all-smiling Winner members made this video pretty much unforgettable. I think the concept is a lot more typical, given the stereotypical nature of KPOP but since WInner doesn’t focus on this style too much, it becomes memorable. I really liked the final set with the fireworks in the background. I thought was quite cool.

The dance is definitely another highlight of this comeback. I like what they are doing with their fingers during the chorus. Not exactly sure what it is meant to represent but it definitely fits the song extremely well. The rest of the performance looks like it is going to be extremely fun and energetic, which are factors that I personally like.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9.5/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] FIANCÉ – Mino (Winner)

Making his solo comeback after 2 years is Mino, the main rapper from Winner. I consider this to be his “comeback” despite it being marketed as it “solo debut”, as Mino started off his solo endeavours through Body, which was released alongside Bobby’s Holup! and MOBB’s (Mino & Bobby’s collaboration) Hit Me back in 2016. This time around, Mino released FIANCÉ, the title track off his first solo studio album, XX. And since its release yesterday, it has topped all the major charts in South Korea!

FIANCÉ opens up with a guitar riff that feels very country-based for the verses, which later progresses into a hip-hop dance track. Along the way, there are trot samples used in the background to give off a very unique effect. It is an interesting take on hip-hop which is Mino’s known associated sound and it makes it into a very colourful song. The delivery of his lines was quite nice. Though, I was wanting some buildup towards the end to really get the energy pumping. I felt like the ‘La La La‘ ending was good as a hype mechanism and definitely fitted the song. But it felt too straightforward. In the end, it felt like it lacked intensity. I would have liked a strong hooker. I didn’t find the main hook of FIANCÉ to be that memorable, so it did feel like it would be a forgettable song, especially in the midst of yesterday’s comebacks.

I think what Mino did nail with his release is the music video. The quality of the music video definitely fits in the YG scope, especially when it comes to set design. While the music video does show Mino surrounded by a lot of ladies (which may or may not allude to some themes based on the way they are dressed), the producers did a good job with making the main focus of the video to be Mino rather than the ladies, which would have caused a public outcry in today’s media. I thought the incorporation of the historical Korean set and outfits was really nice, especially since the song contained samples of Korean trot music.

The choreography looks interesting. With the way the song is presented, there is a form of edginess that I think Mino portrays well. I think the choreography for the second verse, where the soloist dances with each dancer, is going to be a very a very big moment in the performance.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Where R U From? – Seungri (Big Bang) ft. Mino (Winner)

As mentioned previously, I will be catching up on some songs and videos that were released in the past few weeks, which I haven’t had a chance to write about yet. And with Seungri’s album review due to come out this week, I thought I look at the second music video released for the artist’s solo comeback, Where R U From?, which features Mino from Winner. Seungri previously returned with his main solo track, 1,2,3 last month.

The main intention for Where R U From is to hype up the listeners and be a fun track to listen to. It isn’t meant to be taken seriously, as you can tell from its sound and the music video that was released alongside the track. The song relies on a really simple yet catchy hook that gets you into the song. And this one hook did a good job at it. Seungri does a good job with his lines but I don’t think he was the star of the track. The featuring artist, Mino, was the better out of the two, in my opinion. His lines gave just enough edge to the song to make it not feel too repetitive and added that extra ‘cherry-on-top’ for the listeners to enjoy. The only issues with similar tracks to this one is that multiple listens later, you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again, which is also happening to this song, unfortunately.

The entire video is a comedic response to the ongoing political tension throughout the world. I am surprised that this video hasn’t garnered much attention for its certain portrayal of two political world leaders. But putting that aside, I thought the video was interesting. I chuckled when Seungri pulled out the YG Entertainment table plaque thing and Seungri/Yoo Byung Jae’s paradoy of BLACKPINK and G-Dragon. In a few other ways, the video felt like it was pushing for a new Psy, which I am a little unsure about at this stage. But overall, it was good to see something different (and fun) for a change.

The performance confirms my last statement. The company is pushing Seungri to be the next Psy, who left YG Entertainment earlier this year. The way Seungri looks when he performs remind me of Psy. I thought some of his moves were good but others were just plain odd. But he did a good job with connecting with the audience and made it look decent overall, at least.

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

[Review] Everyday – Winner

Winner has made their return to the stage with a brand new song, Everyday. Everyday is the title track off their latest full-album return, which is also titled as Everyday (styled as EVERYD4Y). Their last comeback was in September last year with Love Me Love Me. Usually, YG Entertainment would sideline them for a longer period. But with the success of Winner in the past year. it was expected that YG would bring back a lot sooner.

But maybe it isn’t all good. Everyday just fails to make the mark when it comes to the appealing factor. The song reminds me of the R&B tracks that you would get nowadays. Heavily autotuned and something I just want to avoid completely. The chorus just felt over the top with its autotune. It was catchy and possibly addictive. The autotune just went against it and its potential glory. But to base the song solely on the autotune does not seem fair. So if we strip away the autotune, the song has potential. I actually did think the vocals and raps were good. The verses were nice and the buildup to the chorus was decent. The bridge is also quite good. And as mentioned previously, the chorus would have been catchy and possibly fun.

Winner’s music video has me giving one big question, who on earth picks out the clothing for these videos? The video is set by the poolside and beach. The ladies in the video looked their part by wearing bikinis and swimsuits. Winner, however, is decked on with suits and casual clothing consisting of an excessive amount of fabric. They just don’t fit in or look the part. Even the backup dancers looked more casual than them. While I understand they need to look good, it just feels a little outrageous sometimes. Besides that, the video was nice to watch. I don’t have much else to say regarding the video.

That one dance move with the side hopping and fist pumping is back. Like it has taken the entire industry by storm. It was a nice performance to watch, overall. The post-chorus choreography looks cool in the video and I think it would look awesome on stage.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 5.9/10

 

[Double Review] Love Me Love Me + Island – Winner

After their successful comeback of Really Really and Fool at the start of the year, Winner is back to seek the same level of success with Love Me Love Me and Island. And so far, they are on track to reaching the expectations set high by the previous singles, with their songs topping charts in the midst of an intense battle for the top of the charts. The two songs make up Our Twenty For, which is the name of their second single album.

Love Me Love Me is a disco song, but it sounds nothing like that. Instead, I thought it felt more modern in general, compared to disco. Love Me Love Me was set up to be an upbeat and catchy song. It does just that, but it felt underwhelming. It did well to represent that Summer feels, but it doesn’t feel like it could be separated from the pack. The “Love Me Love Me‘ final chorus was pretty good when they made it into a chant/anthem. The vocals were good, but they weren’t amazing. The raps were good, but I felt their pre-chorus build up was a little awkward.

Island follows the same comments as Love Me Love Me. It felt underwhelming, as well. Island is a tropical house song that sounds nice. But the combination of the vocals and the raps don’t mix well. It is an interesting mix but they don’t fit with each other. The build up doesn’t feel like it built on anything and drop didn’t feel that intense as it should have. It sounds a lot better with a heavy bass filter, but it did still feel underwhelming regardless.

Unlike the song, I actually thought the videos were pretty good. The cinematography and various shots made both videos spectacular. Love Me Love Me seemed to focus more on the urban setting, while Island focused on more of nature. Both were equally amazing. The aerial shots in Island basically left me speechless. I just wished they were paired with better songs. Besides that, the videos didn’t have much content in them, mainly focusing on them having a fun in the various settings. It looked fun and enjoyable. My only complaint is Seunghoon’s hair. Not digging it. But other than that, both videos were amazing.

Love Me Love Me had a more captivating performance. It felt like it suited the song more and the moves seemed a lot more polished. Island had the boring performance. While it did fit the song, it felt looser compared to the other performance in terms of structure. It just didn’t suck me in like the other performance.

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

Island
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[Double Review] Really Really + Fool – WINNER

WINNER has returned with 2 brand new title tracks Really Really and Fool. This is the group’s first comeback since Baby Baby and Sentimental, which was released over a year ago. This is also their first comeback since Taehyun withdrew from the group due to health issues. Hence, WINNER has returned as a four-member group instead.

Really Really is a ‘really really’ addictive track. Hahahaha… I had to. The song falls under the tropical house genre and is the more upbeat track out of the two title tracks. The instrumental itself is already quite appealing, and it reeled me in. I absolutely fell for the song with the first listen, mainly because of the instrumental. Chuck in the vocals and raps and you have an almost perfect song. I say ‘almost’ because there is a little concern from my end of how long can the track stay on my radar. While I praise and compliment the track, I do see myself losing interesting in it (as fast as I fell for it). I am not too certain if the hook is strong enough, but we will see as time goes by.

Fool is the slower track of the two. Fool falls into the ballad category. This is also the track that seems to fit in nicely with their past releases, due to its slowness and style. However, it also sets itself apart from their previous tracks. Their vocals are quite impactful in this song, and that makes the song stand out. I have been bored with Winner’s past releases mainly due to the vocals, so it is finally nice to hear two songs (from Winner) where I actually like the vocals. The only problem is that it fails to attract my attention. I enjoy listening to slower ballad songs as much as I like the fast and upbeat tracks, but this one just doesn’t pique my interest.

Really Really looks classy with the black and white filter. However, its track demands attention, and while the aesthetics do the job, the lack of colour does make the video feel dull. The settings where the video was shot looked quite nice. When all the ladies started walking into the filming area and started to dance around the members looked quite cool. It felt simple, but it worked. I find some of other stuff in the video quite cringeworthy. Mainly the dabbing and bouncing cars. But besides that, the video was nice to watch.

Fool felt more like a YG video. Mainly due to the camera angles and cinematography. It was much more interesting to watch, compared to Really Really, due to the many scenes and small details that you find scattered throughout. Actually, after rewatching the entire video, it seems like there is a lot more to the video than what I expected. But don’t ask me what it means, I don’t know. It seems like the members are reflecting on some past actions where they somehow hurt (maybe possibly killed) their partners, which is why the members are singing about themselves being ‘Fools’. If you do have some sort of understanding the video, please do share in the comment section below! But overall, a very interesting video to watch.

[UPDATED] I don’t think Really Really‘s choreography was intended to be ‘fun’. But that is what I got out of it. The main dance during the chorus is simple and has the potential to become the next dance move at a party. There was also a nice sexy vibe and the interaction between the dancers and Winner themselves is quite noteworthy here. Fool didn’t need a dance, but it had one. It was extremely fitting for the song and still beautiful to watch. But it not necessary.

Really Really
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10 
Performance – 8/10 [UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 7.5/10 [UPDATED]

Fool
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
[UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 7/10 [UPDATED]

 

[Review] Body – Mino (Winner)

The other half of the MOBB collaboration has made his solo debut with Body. Yes, I am talking about Mino, who is a member of the group, Winner. I previously reviewed Bobby’s solo debut, Holup!. A review  for their collaboration, Hit Me, which should be out tomorrow or Monday.

This song was promised to sound very sensual. And that is what we got. Well, at least the lyrics said so. Mino’s voice shows the sexual vibe quite well in this song. The instrumental is basically chillstep but still has a nice buildup. The buildup isn’t big and it doesn’t really build up the momentum of the song (since the song has a consistent beat and does not change up that much). Since the song started off very soft and it ended very softly, the small buildups made the song flow even better. I do like the song more for its chill and laidback feel, while at the same time, still delivering a sexy sound for us to here. The chorus of the song is amazing. While the song already has a calming effect, the chorus of this song makes me feel calmer and is very “easy on the ears”s. I personally don’t see any flaws in the song. I guess the calming does make it somewhat forgettable, but overall, it is an excellent song.  I don’t want to pick between the Bobby’s or Mino’ s (but I am going to anyway) song, but I do prefer Mino’s song more. Mainly for the calmness. But there is always a time and place for either song.

Am I the only one disappointed with the video? We were promised a very sexual music video to compliment the song. But personally, the video fell short. It didn’t feel as sexual or erotic as I thought it would be. High expectations… argh… The camera shots move around a lot as if they were memories of Mino’s about his ex, just floating around and disconnected. While I see the point of these disconnected memories, I don’t think they worked well together. There wasn’t much focus on one scene for too long. Each shot took about one or two moments before I can appreciate what I could see. This video felt more artistic than sensual. The majority of the “sexual” scenes were the two of them “gliding” over each other (which I get –  I don’t they wanted the video to be banned), but come on. I know many people prefer the video this way and found the video quite like what they were promised. I just was disappointed and expected too much. [Okay, this video is the edited version. Explains a lot of my thoughts. Still, they promised us a sexual video and then we get this…]

[Note: In exciting news (?), apparently there is a r-rated and unedited version of the video coming out soon. I never get these memos but I might come back here and make a few comments about it (it’s YG we are talking about here. “Coming soon” – check back in a few years)]

Final Rating – 7/10

Rewind: March 2016

OMG. I am so delayed. This was meant to be out earlier in the month, and now look at the calendar, April is almost gone. I’m still tweaking this segment, but I don’t know if I should any thing or get rid of anything existing, so if you can provide feedback, it will be greatly appreciated. Lots to talk about, to let’s go.

Major News

EXO’s Kai and F(x)’s Krystal were caught dating and SM Entertainment confirmed that the two were in fact an actual couple. After this confirmation, people started to post pictures online as “proof of Kai and Krystal’s relationship”, which I think are either fake or just a blatant invasion of privacy (but what isn’t? They are watched 24/7). But some of these picture claims to have Kai and Krystal kissing in public in a pool and catch the two “checking in” into hotels. Anyway, while this probably heartbreaking to fans of both, we all should be happy for them. Oh and did I mention Dispatch was the one to tell the world about this couple (once again). Who are your reporters and why are they so good about finding these things?

And the industry has been rocked by news of certain singers suspected of being a part of prostitution, which involves dodgy sponsors. I am not in tune with the whole thing and I am quite sure that the news has died down now. It is very hard to retell everything here, so I will just cut to the chase. These singers either go or are introduced to these sponsors that will make an investment into the singers career, in exchange for you know what. That is my understanding of it, and these singers were caught. They were brought into questioning and the news (of course) leaked a description of a particular artist who recently left her company and faced financial hardship in the past. It is sad that people have to result to this (that is if they chose this path) or just horrible if they were tricked into it, which I believe of some of claim to have been.

Comebacks & Debuts

March saw big name bands make their comebacks. GOT7, Jun Hyosung (Secret), Lee Hi, Fiestar, Red Velvet, Hyomin (T-Ara),DAY6, BTOB, Oh My Girl and Eric Nam are just to name a few.

We cannot forget about the rookies can we? KNK made their debut with Knock, which it garnering a lot of interest in the band, and I am too.

Polls

A few polls (including the ones in Febuary as well). I asked you guys:

  • Which Winner song did you guys prefer? And the results is as follow: I’m Young (30%); Sentimental, Baby Baby & Pricked (20%); and finally Immature (10%).
  • Which Taemin song did you guys like? Both songs (Drip Drop and Press Your Number) received the same amount of votes.
  • Which Lee Hi song did you guys like? Hold My Hand had an overwhelming amount of votes (87%) and Breathe got 17% of the votes.

Top 5 Songs Of March 2016

Here are my top 5 songs that were released in March 2016, taken straight from the amount of plays in iTunes:

  1. Find Me – Jun Hyosung (Secret) ft. D.Action
  2. Fly – GOT7
  3. Mirror – Fiestar
  4. Spring Love – Eric Nam & Wendy (Red Velvet)
  5. Knock – KNK

As you can tell, review releases have decreased so much in the past month. I apologise. Just a heads up, I will be releasing reviews on Sundays Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays (provided I am free and have time on those days). The other days are far too too busy for me. I also mentioned on Twitter that once this semester ends, I will be doing a revamp of the site (much needed), so if there is anything you want to see, comment below. All feedback will be appreciated.

 

Recap of MelOn Music Awards 2015 and Thoughts

The MMA or MelOn Music Awards were held on the 7th of November 2015. MelOn does not refer to the fruit but rather the music chart and on-line music store in South Korea. It is held by LOEN Entertainment, which owns the music distribution company. The music award has its own unique criteria where it only calculates digital sales of artists in the past year and incorporate these sales with on-line votes of fans.

The following artists, groups and actors attended the ceremony: Big Bang, Yoona (SNSD), Hyukoh, Hyorin & Dasom (Sistar) (did not perform), Toy (did not perform), APINK, Zion.T, Sane, iKON, GFriend, Mad Clown (did not perform), Hong Jin Young, BTS, Red Velvet, EXID, Monsta X, Winner (did not perform). Actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the night as presenters.

The show on the night was hosted by Yoo Byung Jae and Seo Kang Joon. They were shortly joined by Lee Boo Yi, Kim Shin Young, Kim So Hyun & Irene (Red Velvet). The red carpet was hosted by Youngji (Former Member of Kara) and Seo Yuri.

Below are the winners on the night. Afterwards, I have left some comments regarding some awards:
Top 10 Artist – SHINee, Girl’s Generation, Hyukoh, Toy, Big Bang, Sistar, EXO, APINK, Zion.T, Sane.
Best New Artist – iKON & GFriend
Best Rap/Hip Hop – Mad Clown ft. Jinsil (Fire)
Best Ballad – Baek Ah Yeon ft. Young K (Shouldn’t Have)
Best RnB – Naul (Living In The Same Time)
Best Rock – Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer)
Best OST – Loco & Yuju (Spring Is Gone By Chance)
Best Trot – Hong Jin Young (Love WiFi)
Best Pop – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk)
Best Male Dance – BTS (I Need U)
Best Female Dance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Folk – 10cm (Sseudam Sseudam)
Best Indie – Standing Egg ft. Wheein & Obroject Yundak (The Sunlight Hurts)
Netizen Popularity Award – Big Bang (Bang Bang Bang)
Hot Trend Award – Infinite Challenge (Yeongdong Expressway Music Festival)
Best Music Video – Park Jin Young ft. Jessi (Who’s Your Mama?)
Song Writer Award – Teddy
MBC Music Star Award – EXID
1theK Performance Award – Monsta X
Album Of The Year (Daesang) – EXODUS
Song Of The Year (Daesang) – Bang Bang Bang
Artist Of The Year (Daesang) – Big Bang

I personally think above is a fair spread for award winners. While I am not knowledgeable to comment on categories such as Best Indie and Best Folk, the rest show 2015 in its glory. Once again, I think Seventeen deserves the Best New Artist award and GFriend finally got what they deserved (it’s a good thing. Kind of sounded like I was hinting at something bad). Sistar and APINK’s Top 10 awards caught me off guard since they were quickly taken over by other artists on the digital charts and failed to be up to par with the other artists. I am glad to see Kim Sung Gyu win something for his album. It was really good.

And as per usual, there were performances that night from the groups who won awards. Performers included: Hyukoh, Big Bang, APINK, Zion.T, Sane, BTS, EXID, Red Velvet, Monsta X, iKON and GFriend. It would have been nicer to see some more artists who won from the night perform. I think best performance of the night was BTS with their cool jackets that had light coming off them. A very large portion of the show was dedicated to Big Bang, which had people talking. Sure, they won a lot of award, but I agree with majority of the audience. Big Bang’s performances just made it feel like one Big Bang concert. Sure, they won prestigious awards, but it just robbed the other artists of their night, who also put hard effort into making 2015 their year. Would have I gotten angry over the fact they turned the award show into a mini concert? No, but maybe they should have dropped one or two songs.

Overall, I think MMA15 was pretty fair. They had a large variety of winners (mainly because they have a lot of categories) and minus that small complaint regarding the performances, the show was great. Oh, but damn was the presentation of the awards cringe worthy. Probably this ceremony takes the award for  “Worst Presentation of Awards” award. Could have done it in a way where the presenters did not feel that ashamed of themselves.