Two reviews tonight. Coming your way now.

Today, I want to focus on the debuts last week. First is the debut of an extremely rare CO-ED group. It is a very small niche within the KPOP community, with only two active groups (KARD and Tiger-K ZERO from the top of my head), so there is definitely more room for CO-ED groups in the industry. Coming from GRACE COMPANY Entertainment, CHECKMATE is a five-member group consisting of Sieun, Suri, Nason, Yongseok, and Noah. They debuted last week on the 21st with DRUM.

Unlike what the song’s title suggest, DRUM lacks dynamism from the get-go. To me, drums (the instrument) symbolisms power and depth in music. We don’t really get much of either in the song, which is a pity as I feel like DRUM was going in all the right directions. It did have some catchy energy and flair through the moombahton influence embedded in the instrumental. Both of these could have been enhanced to the next level by somehow incorporating power and depth within the music. Aside from the instrumental, the members attempt to put their best foot forward through their vocals and rapping. There was some catchy vocal melodies that the female members brought in the pre-chorus sequence and the chorus. As much as these melodies were catchy and easy to get into, I found all their vocals to have this certain dullness to them. They just weren’t interesting and didn’t have much individual colour. (On the flipside, it is quite refreshing to see the male members take on a vocalist role as well). Likewise, the rapping just didn’t have momentum to grab my attention. It should of as the song had some flair that would have enabled for the rap sequence to gain some edge, which occurs in some groups (i.e. in such songs, the rappers manage to outshine the rest of the group). It seems like whatever CHECKMATE is doing, it is definitely in the right direction. It just wasn’t executed as well. If the song proved anything, there is some potential behind this group, which makes me hopeful for their next release.

Apart from taking on that close-up and choreography setup, the music video doesn’t elicit much from me. The sets were pretty ordinary and they had some good closeups that captured their visuals well. I am a little surprised that there was no images of drums flashing throughout the music video. I think some coloured dusts bouncing off the drums would have worked in this video and added an additional element of fun. The producers may have thought this was a cliche idea, but I reckon it would have been fine.

To me, the performance was a highlight for this debut package. I liked the drum imagery they had incorporated during the chorus and the body rolls. Their movements helped made the song seem a lot more lively than what it really felt without seeing the performance, so good on them for that!

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.7/10

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