[Album Review] A New Journey (3rd Mini Album) – Nam Woohyun (Infinite)

Today’s album review will be focusing on Nam Woohyun’s latest solo mini-album, A New Journey, which also features the title track Hold On Me. In the past, Nam Woohyun’s releases have revolved around the ballad genre. But with a fitting title such as A New Journey, it is implied that a new direction is taken. And with the intro track and title track suggesting a more upbeat route, it is definitely ‘A New Journey‘ for the Infinite member in terms of solo releases. So let’s follow Woohyun and see what songs are included on the album.

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A New Journey Album Cover

2. Hold On Me (ft. Junoflo) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Hold On Me. (9/10)

3. Rain – The song is a mixture of different sounds. However, I don’t think it is an overwhelming mix. I just think it could have been tied together more nicely. The few changes it did feature were very obvious in nature and it created a messy atmosphere as a result. I think the track was going towards a dynamic vibe and a more cohesive approach (if it is possible) would have really benefited the main appeal of the track. It starts off with an acoustic-like electric guitar introduction and slowly builds to a Latin-inspired chorus with both electric and acoustic guitars at the forefront. The song remains in this mode up until a brief pause at the end and it changes completely. So different that I thought a new song had started. The first listen was overwhelming but that feeling died down after multiple listens, as suggested above. I thought the vocals were well presented in this track, with that being another highlight. (7.5/10)

4. Stranger – While this track does sound a little typical, the rush of energy that we get from the chorus makes it sound so good. Personally, I think this song ticks all the boxes on my checklist for an amazing song. Great vocals, great energy, great beat. Everything was great! It just felt like it was missing one element. I did lowkey expected a rap sequence during the instrumental break. And I think that could have made the song a little more interesting. The instrumental break did feel like a small void and it would have helped if it was filled up in some way. (9/10)

5. Crying Baby – While I did mention that the album took an upbeat approach (and this song is no exception from that), Crying Baby’s verses made it feel very ballad-like. But that doesn’t hold for long, as the song takes a turn (though I don’t remember exactly if this turn was expected or unexpected for me). I am glad that the majority of the singing for this song was during the verses, making way for an empty-ish chorus to be filled with loud dubstep effects. I find this a well contrasting mix due to its differences in softness and loudness; delicate and rough; ballad and electronics etc. If any major singing parts were to occur during the chorus, no doubt that Woohyun voice would have been drowned out. (8/10)

6. Just Look At Me (넌 나만 바라봐) – The first thing that really pops out at me in this track is Woohyun’s airy and lower toned vocals. It is a lot different than his vocal approach in any other song on the album, so it is different intriguing. I like the instrumental for this track, as well. The synths are a little loud, which at times did feel like it was drowning out vocals. They did attempt to combat this by incorporating some loud backing vocals (that he does a good job harmonizing with), which expelled a very dominant retro vibe to the song. This was successful to varying degrees along the track. But overall, I thought it was a nice track. (8/10)

7. FlowerFlower is probably the most ‘expected’ track off this album to fit into Woohyun’s existing portfolio. It isn’t strictly a ballad, however. But I find the song to be consistent with a softer nature and more traditional instrumentation that you expected for a ballad. It is also the one song on the album that provides relief from the loaded energy that we have coming from the album. And this relief is much appreciated. Flower ends up being a typical café style and almost-jazzy number, which I enjoy time to time. Because of the energy I mentioned just a moment ago, this is a good example of when I enjoy this type of song. A part of me says this is a lacklustre song to end with, due to its standard nature. But at the same time, it is definitely pleasant. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

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A New Journey Teaser Image
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[Review] Hold On Me – Nam Woohyun (Infinite)

One of the groups that I want to continue to see in the future is Infinite. Their releases in the past have also been outstanding and with the military enlistment period upon the members, I want something Infinite related in this Infinite-drought. Woohyun is probably my favourite member and it isn’t just because he is the one to break the Infinite-drought. Woohyun returned today with Hold On Me, his third solo title track.

While Woohyun is my favourite member of the group, his previously ballads quickly wore off after their respective releases and reviews.  You can’t really help that if all you release are ballads. However, Hold On Me departs from this ballad train and jumps onboard a more upbeat and energetic train. Kicking off the track are some guitars that really perk your interest, particularly if you were expecting a ballad track. We were treated to some of Woohyun’s vocals but I did not expect such an early featuring of Junoflo right after. I liked the raspy texture he gave the song and the way they managed to blend together was very interesting. I think the best bit of the song has to the pre-chorus and chorus combination. The buildup was nice and the chorus had a rush of energy/colour (thanks to the vibrancy of the guitar), making the track quite memorable for me. Woohyun’s vocals were really nice, with the bridge of the song probably showcasing his vocals the best in the entire song. Overall, Hold On Me serves as a great drought-breaker and provides a fresh take of Woohyun!

The music video shows Woohyun remembering a past lover. Woohyun looked like he never moved on from his breakup, as the static on the television reminded him of his girlfriend and his place doesn’t look like he ever stopped drinking since that heartbreaking night. Towards the end, he does find her. But she seems to be a memory within his mind and the static effect is shown alongside her, representing the fact that she is now just a memory (and not a partner). I thought it was an interesting video. I did like the choreography set (I don’t think it was a real cityscape, which was rather disappointing). I think it would have been better with an actual cityscape, like his solo shots.

The choreography looks good. It isn’t as intense as other Infinite releases in the past but it is getting there. I think Woohyun focuses more on this vocals for these performances, which I think is the more appropriate thing for Woohyun, as his vocals his main weapon (though his dancing is as well).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

 

[Review] If You Are Only Fine – Nam Woo Hyun (Infinite)

Nam Woo Hyun is officially back with his first solo comeback since his solo debut (Still I Remember) back in May 2016. Since May 2016. Woohyun has been participating in a range of musicals and making comebacks with Infinite, with the most recent being at the start of the year (Tell Me). Woo Hyun’s latest title track, If You Are Only Fine, is featured on his second mini-album, Second Write….

If You Are Only Fine is a ballad, following his solo debut track. And it is a very serious and emotional ballad from the very start. There isn’t anything upbeat or lively about this ballad, confirming the fact we are approaching that time of the year when every ballad that is released comes from an emotional or moving perspective. I personally do not mind as it allows seems fitting for the season. The song doesn’t get to the exciting territory until we get to the second half of the first verse, as this is when the instrumental slowly picks up. It builds up to be a nice orchestral ballad piece but feels very typical. Woohyun’s vocals do also buildup, giving us some power vocals that have a heavy dose of sadness throughout it. I will have to be honest though. It is a good song to listen to but it doesn’t have that wow factor that gets me wanting more or returning for further listens.

The music video recounts the moment a couple meets for the first time and the events in between, up until when the couple sadly splits up. It does a terrific job of encapsulating the saddening elements of the song and present it to us within a 4-minute video. I would have liked to see some more acting when it came to the sad ending because it doesn’t feel enough. What we got was good but I wanted more to further illustrate the heartbreak. However, it was good to watch.

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.7/10

[Review] Still I Remember – Woohyun (Infinite)

Another solo debut that has been deemed as long awaited. Nam Woohyun, the main vocalist of Infinite, has officially made his solo debut with the new mini album,Write…

Song was disappointing at first, but it grew on me. Woohyun has a really nice voice, regardless of the song he sings. This ballad really brought out his voice really well. It was the first thing I noticed when I first listened to the song. The song just failed to appeal to me, at first. However, soon after, the song started to become catchier and I slowly got into it. Okay, so back to his vocals. It sounds so emotional. An excellent singer can convey his or her emotions through the vocals in the song. Woohyun did just that and I am amazed at the outcome. You can definitely hear the sadness in the song. The instrumental consisted of soft drum beats that were pretty consistent and gave the song that extra dimension, in terms of bass. The chorus, by far, was where he sounded the best. And those parts after the chorus where he sings “끄덕끄덕” sounds freaking amazing. 

Another video which I have yet to watch. So more initial reactions. Woohyun returns to a house to find an old camera. And of course, the camera holds a lot of memories. I guess literally but also mentally as well. He slowly goes through old images, which gives us flashbacks, to when he was an intern/assistant for some camera man. He was distracted and loved a girl who was a customer to the camera man. Turns out that she also liked him and that Woohyun failed to see these feelings. So technically, the girl thought he wasn’t into her, so that is why she left. After he realises, he turns into a man full of tears and regret. Beautifully shot video. Loving the filter and colours in the video. Interesting thing is that we never actually see her face. It is always hidden and I don’t exactly why, but my guess that it could be so that people can relate to the video. I definitely can. Not that I have turned into a man of tears and regret yet, but I have a feeling I am getting there. I should really just man up. Hahaha… Moving back to the video, Woohyun’s acting (well, crying mainly) in this video is quite nice to watch. Not over the top and over dramatic.

Overall, the song was quite good and the video was excellent. A great solo debut for him. 9/10

[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!!!

 

Bad – Infinite

Infinite is back after a year with a brand new comeback and mini album. Bad is their 5th mini album that was released with Back being their last release in July last year. Since Back (hehehe…), Infinite has been very busy with drama filming and promotions. Infinite H made their subunit comeback at the start of the year with Pretty. Sunggyu also made his solo comeback with double title tracks: The Answer and Kontrol. On top of that the boys have been releasing singles in Japan such as Dilemma which I reviewed earlier in the year. So many hyperlinks in the introduction today.

The song is described as a combination of hip hop and EDM elements. And that is something that we got. It honestly feel this is a very powerful song and it matches songs that I and probably many fans associate with Infinite. I also hear hints of classical and rock through the instrumental of the song, which adds to that powerfulness. As for the vocals, they were powerful and very strong, but remained matching to the style of song that the writers were getting at. Often we have a mismatch between vocals and instrumental, but this time around, they blended well with each other. Also, every member seemed to excelled in terms of vocals for this song. Sungyeol and Sungjong got more lines and their voices seem much steadier this time around. The rapping was kept to a minimal in this song, which I don’t fully understand why. I like Infinite’s rap in their song, but funnily not a big fan of their rap/hip hop subunit. Hmmm…

The music video is also quite interesting. The guys are tormented by this girl who they are describing as “bad”, hence the title of the song. The make use of mirrors in this video quite interestingly, being a way for the girl to get to them. I find that is an interesting concept. Hence why we see them sitting around, running away and looking around in fear due to the mirrors. And from the very first time I saw the music video, I knew it was the same guy or girl or group of people who filmed Orange Caramel and EXID music videos (and of course countless other music videos for other artists). I was amazed by the teaser for this comeback though. I believe they are the first KPOP group to actually use the 360 degree video format, which I thought was hella cool. I watched it on my phone and could spin around and looking around in the 360 view. Awesome. Just one complaint however, Dongwoo’s rap segment in the music video does not match up with the song. The lips were way off.

The dance is always awesome for Infinite. They are always in sync with each other. When I thought saw the dance, I was thinking that there was no way they would be in sync since there was a lot going on. But, the group managed to prove themselves to be one of the best dance groups ever.

This was a very powerful comeback with a really powerful song, a cool video and of course, per usual, an amazing choreography. 9/10

Dilemma – Infinite

It has been so long since I have written a Japanese song review hasn’t it?Well, that drought hopefully will be over today. I am hoping to increase the amount of JPOP or Japanese songs this year that I will actually review. And least break the drought with Infinite’s newest Japanese song: Dilemma.

The song was a collaboration between the famous producer Tomoyasu Hotei and the famous Korean band Infinite. The song has its really cool rock and roll roots, but also includes dance themes and also a really cool modern feel to the song. The song literally hits you as soon as it starts. It is a very powerful song and really oozes out the energy that the boys have. The chorus is really catches my eye, because it seems different from the rest of the song. That is a good thing though, so don’t be mentioned. I am not really a fan of the rapping in the song. They did a good job, just it slows down the song. That really long instrumental part in the song really sounds cool as well and actually picks up from the rapping pretty well. There is just one little complaint. And this complaint kind of goes with many Korean artists. But if the title of the song is an actual lyric in the song than learn how to say the word properly, especially if it is in a different language. Beside that, the song was really good to listen to.

The music video was pretty dark. I don’t know why but the music video gave off the same feel as Last Romeo did for me. Just there was less colour and a lot more close up shots of the member. There is also a mysterious band playing in the music video. Most of the time we only see their silhouette. The music video also had that violent side to it. Hahaha. Yes, glass breaking was a little repetitive in the music video. I am sure one member would have been fine. I really don’t know what to say about this video now. Okay I guess.

There is a dance in this music video, however we don’t get to see much of the dance in this video. Though from what I have seen, the dance fits Infinite’s style of dancing. Pretty good.

8.7/10 – A really cool release in Japan. Hopefully, they might be able to bring this song to Korea (or at least this style for their future comeback?

Finally, another Japanese reviewed finish. If there are any other Japanese artists that you think I should be reviewing, please comment the name of the artist or group and also a song that they have sang. Will do my life wonders, as I have no idea who is who in Japan (though at the moment I am looking at another artist in AVEX).

Back – Infinite

Infinite is finally back a brand new song. It seems like just yesterday that they were performing. Oh wait, didn’t they just finish promoting Last Romeo just like early last month? That might explain it. Hahahaha…. The group is back with a repackaged album of Last Romeo, which had been retitled as “Be Back”, which contains all their other songs from the Last Romeo album and also 2 brand new songs, Diamond and Back. The latter is being reviewed today. Probably one of the most violent videos ever. If some of you guys remember, last time they promoted Woohyun was injured. This time around, Hoya is injured. So many injuries. And so little time to review this. Sorry, I was drowning in homework when I started this review. Whoops.

This song is freaking amazing. I have no words to describe. I was speechless, but my jaw did not drop a mile. It is a really nice song that is a wonderful mash-up of different genres, just I don’t think it is that memorable overall. However, the song is quite up there as one of my favourites. As soon as the song starts, we get some kind of ballad of some sort, but little over a minute and the beat drops. Basically the thing that really stands out for me is that Infinite is quite known for their dance songs, with all of that heavy choreography. On top of that, myself and probably the rest of the fans really enjoy their ballads as well, so this song combines both of them. Pretty decent. I liked how the song goes from slow to fast and back to slow, and then back to fast. It sounds really amazing. Another thing to note, is that there are no raps. Members Hoya and Dongwo who are known for rapping all end up singing vocally in this song which goes to tell how strong their voices are. All the other members get decent line distributions here in this song. just I think Sunggyu ends up dominating. I also found the “Back Back Back” part really catchy and the instrumental equally as appealing.

Probably a video done right. It has a 19+ rating, but hey there is none of that sexual nonsense here. Just a very young girl is being kidnapped and a fight ensues between the kidnappers and the band, which turns ugly in just about 1 second after the “Back” and Infinite sign took over the video. Just the one thing that is troubling me is that the girl looks like she is still in elementary school. Probably young enough to be the youngest sister of one of the members, not their lover [CORRECTION: The girl actually is the sister. My bad]. Anyway, the boys go into this abandoned warehouse to save the girl. As soon as they walk in they start fighting. Some are throwing punches, some are doing really weird flying kicks. Just Sungyeol is very angry, and pulling the minions hair and Sungjong, are you holding an umbrella? “Hey you got the guns? No. Well what do you have?” An umbrella. Wow. But hey, don’t look down on him because that umbrella is probably the world’s deadliest. However in the end they get overpowered. However, it seems at the end, they start going back into combat when we all first thought they had lost. Amazing what love can do to you. Beside the violent nature of the video, I thought the video was quite nice to watch. The solo shots look awesome and those scenes where the members, one by one, are sitting behind the fence, in the middle of the fight, looked pretty cool to watch.

The dance is pretty good. I really think the start was probably the best out there. It matched the slow start and then when the song started to get quicker and there was more of an electro sound to it, the dance picked up as well and started to be more fitting for a dance song.

By far, probably one of the best Infinite comebacks. Too bad they are currently overshadowed by big name bands in the industry this time around. Congrats on your win today though. 10/10

Last Romeo – Infinite

Infinite has recently made their comeback with a new album. After solo promotions and solo activities such as acting, the group has finally hit the stage as romantic men again. However, this is not the first album from the group this year. In March 2014, the group released “The Origin” which is an instrumental album which consisted of all of their hit songs and other popular non-title track songs. The album itself was split into three version, each with their own category. An amazing album, that you all should check out. But this is there first release of the year that contained their voices and it seems they are getting a lot of love with four awards already and we are still counting the endless number of the awards that are yet to come.

I guess this song takes rock and roll, brings down the level of power of the song and mushes it into a love song. Okay, if I put it that way its sound like a horrible type of song doesn’t it? But I think it is a cool Infinite style song. It was quite upbeat, powerful like their past songs. I really liked the drums throughout the whole thing. Though to me, the song was not as memorable as their past songs, but it sounded pretty good. Dongwoo and Hoya sound like they are really good professional rappers and to me, they improved greatly.  I find the vocals of this song pretty good as well. The rock feel of the song makes it a stand out compared to the rest of the songs that have been released recently. The whole song to me seemed to be written around Romeo’s point of view of Romeo and Juliet. Overall a pretty cool song, however it could have been better.

The music video is pretty cool I loved the short intro they had at the start. The music video is back to the dark ages which I really enjoy from the band. The music video tells the story of a couple who seems to be lost in time (I assume that is what the start was) and somehow they conjure themselves up at a library. At the library, Woohyun find clues to find the missing girl. They meet but unable to reach other, so Woohyun goes running after her, to which the girl just walks off, as if she is teasing him. The she disappears and he reaches the middle of the libaray, where he is so angry that he unleashes the 1000 years of fury and blows everything up, to which he is transported back to wherever he first was (or he died). Not sure. The plot seems to fit in partly to the song, but really some things could have been much better. I like their dance scenes, with the fake White House like structure and those pillars. Without the reasoning with the song, I think the music video was much better than expected, but with the song, not so great.

The dance is pretty cool. It is such a pity that Woohyun got injured and now he looks really awkward dancing the whole thing with his hands gripping his belt, but that can’t be helped.  But overall, I liked the dance.

7.5/10. A pretty cool comeback this time around, it just needed that something more to add to it to make it sound and look better.

Delicious – Toheart (Woohyun & Key)

Source: http://www.soompi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/toheart_dance-800×450.jpg

As we all know, SM Entertainment recently took Woolim Entertainment under its wing to make themselves bigger. Hence a collaboration between the two companies was formed. Still don’t understand why they both had to join. But oh well. SHINee’s Key and Infinite’s Woohyun have come together as friends to form band mates in this special project group, named as Toheart. Still also don’t get the name. But joining two of the big groups in KPOP seems to be a good idea. Look at that profit flowing in. Hehehehehe… Well, at least they are not forced upon each other. They are best of friends who enjoy the company of each other (apparently they have never argued with each other before).

This song is okay. It is not a bad song nor is it a good song. It is just an okay song. There is nothing that special about it and honestly, it is once of those songs you listen to again and again, but will never get into it. First time I heard I was like “Chart topper right here”, but a few more times and I thought “this is really boring”. Yeah I said it. The song is really cheesy and the vocals were really meh in this song. I thought it was would be a really good collaboration, but it seems not to be. Iw as really excited when I heard the teasers, but this is a super let down. “Love is nutritious, love is delicious”. Hell, we are in no cooking class. Yeah, I also find this song really Key bias. It neglects Woohyun a lot. Well, I hear mostly Key and then a few Woohyun random spots, which to me is really disappointing, because last time I checked, Key was not “vocal” member of the group. But before I turn this into a criticising member session, I shall stop myself.

The music video was equally as boring. There is literally nothing captivating in this video. Usually, SM and Woolim have a music video that I would rave on and enjoy or disapprove, but I really cannot say anything about it, The boring-ness just made me speechless. I have watched the video. Well to precise, I forced myself to sit in front of a computer and watch the 6 minute video. Like who on earth, besides CCM, makes music videos longer than 5 minutes? I already have trouble sitting in a front of a computer for around 12 minutes. So why go for 6 minutes? And since it is a boring video the time I am viewing it is gonna decrease. Usually the sets would be cool, but seriously, a white back drop with fancy writing on it really does not cut out for it. Though, I did like that outdoor American style cafe dinner place, which looked awfully cool and also the parts where they are spinning those fire things. But beside all of that, no. Music video sucked.

The dance is okay. Not the best as well. But hey, together they looked pretty good. The use of the flowers and the proposing style seemed really cheesy to watch though. But anyway…

Yeah, well there is my ramble on how boring this comeback/debut is. Out of all seriousness, Tell Me Why was a much better song. 1/10.