The 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Award winners have been announced. Click here top find out who won in each of the categories that you voted for!
Hopefully starting with this post, I can be a little more consistent with writing and publishing album reviews. I am usually quite good with the segment, releasing two or three album reviews per week. But lately, that number has dropped quite a bit. For example, I have only posted a total of two album reviews this month (which VICTON’s album review post being the third). As just mentioned, this restart of the album review segment begins with VICTON’s first studio album, Voice: The Future Is Now, which is headlined with the title track What I Said. The album features an additional 12 songs, four of which are solo tracks from selected members. If this album has shown me anything, it is how much I shouldn’t overlook VICTON. This album has a few amazing songs that I am definitely coming back to kick back to in the future (if I haven’t done yet). Find out which songs I am referring to below!
1. Into The Mirror – Into The Mirror starts off the album in epic proportions. I practically enjoyed all elements of the song. The EDM was powerful and the vocal work and the rapping were very strong. In the Mirror really pulls you into the album. My favourite section has to be the short rap-speak sequence before the choruses, which added suspense to the song. I would give it a 10/10 rating, but I can see some people making the argument that this song can be overwhelming for them based on its powerfulness. (9.5/10)
2. What I Said (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for What I Said. (8.5/10)
3. Circle – Circle stands out for a number of reasons. The first is the unique synth that sounds pretty much like a table tennis ball bouncing. It is peculiar and random, all at the same time. But there is a charm to it. The second is the rock infusion when it came to the chorus. I liked how it brought intensity to the song and it boosted the pop sound to a new level. The third has to be the song more melodic approach, which was brought to life through the vocals of the members (who all sounded pretty good). The rapping, especially Byungchan’s ending sequence, added appeal and complimented the intensity brought by the rock infusion. (10/10)
4. Chess – The electronic profile of the instrumental of Chess feels quite unique. I really like the retro game-like sample they use repetitively during the verses. It too has its charm and gave the verse something more to focus on. I also enjoyed the stripped back style of the chorus. It is quite atmospheric and it was also a great blank canvas for the members to showcase their vocals, which they do. I also really like how the song allows for the members to drive it forward with the song’s melodies. The stand out member for me is Hanse, whose rap sequence really captivated me. (9/10)
5. Up To You –Up To You feels like a typical pop track. It pretty much showcases a sound that we have heard from the rest of the industry. While plainness is sometimes enjoyed by me, Up To You should have continued the streak of great songs by bringing something new to the table. What is good about the song is the intensity that forms when the instrumentation is paired with the vocals. It helps amplify the song, making it more appealing as it progresses. Unfortunately, when compared to the song before and after it, Up To You just felt standard. (6.5/10)
6. All Day – All Day brings something new to the album, an acoustic and mellow sound. It also brings out a different side of the group to what we have heard so far from them on this album. Delicate vocals and a softer tone. The instrumental itself also brings forth that swayable effect on me, which I think is a strong indication of how nice and soothing the song sounds. It is also reminiscent of their softer pop title tracks such as Nostalgic Night, which I fairly enjoyed. (8/10)
7. Carry On (Kang Seungsik Solo) – The first solo track on the album belongs to Seungsik. His addition to the album is a ballad. It also serves as the album’s mandatory ballad. As mentioned in the past, this is expected for the main vocalist of the group, as their solo work as usually defaulted to a ballad of some kind. Carry On really shines the light on Seungsik’s vocals, which are very soft, delicate and touching. The softer tone in the instrumentation was also quite soothing. Together, I found the entirety of Carry On to be dreamy and perfect as a song to fade out on. (8/10)
8. Eyes On You (Heo Chan Solo) –While I was listening to the album to vet it for the purpose of writing an album review, Eyes On You caught my attention. It has such a sleek profile during the verses. The soft approach that Chan adopts in the verses stole my attention from whatever I was doing at the time. The chorus was quite unexpecting (for me, at least). At first, I thought it was a bit heavy handed as a drop (relative to the verses). But I have grown to like it as it is. It now comes off as a held back drop to me and that idea of it being heavy handed has long gone. Eyes On You was previously revealed at VICTON’s concert and the drop facilitates an awesome choreography and stage presence. (10/10)
9. Utopia (Lim Sejun Solo) – Sejun’s solo track is titled Utopia. It is a decent pop track, but lacking in some departments. The instrumental has a nice bounce to it, but it falls into a very typical EDM hole. The energy that comes off the song is promising. But I wished there was more of an exciting climb and a satisfying peak to the song. It just felt flat. I did like the vocal work but Sejun seemed to have been held back for whatever reason. As a whole track, Utopia is pretty plain. (6/10)
10. Where Is Love? (Do Hanse Solo) – The final solo song is Where Is Love?. I have very high expectations as Hanse is one of the members in VICTON’s that stands out to me. His texturally loaded voice is just made for the rapping and he sounds very cool in majority of VICTON’s every track out there. Interestingly, Where Is Love? is predominately a slow R&B song. It builds as its progresses along, peaking at the end with its most upbeat dance sequence. Hanse showcases his rapping ability in a more refined matter as a result of the song’s slow pace. Personally, I would have liked it if he let loose, but Where Is Love? is still quite appreciable. (7/10)
11. Unpredictable – After a string of varying solo tracks, VICTON returns as a full group with Unpredictable. And it is a smashing song. The instrumental for this song fits into the groovy trend that has taken over KPOP. But it is cleverly mashed up into an intense dance track. The initial moments are quite misleading by starting slow. But Unpredictable develops into a really cool and funky dance track. The vocal work is great, while Hanse delivers with his rap sequence. As a result, Unpredictable is my pick for the album’s hidden gem. (10/10)
12. Flip A Coin – The star attraction to Flip A Coin is Hanse’s fast paced rap sequence. It is the reason to why I come back to the song so often. The rest of the song falls into the trap of being a typical intense male group release, which is quite unfortunate. The other positive aspect of the song happens to be the repetition of ‘Flip A Coin’ as part of the chorus. It seems that the repetition and Hanse’s execution of his part is enough to convince me to return often to the song. But it isn’t enough to convince me otherwise about the rest of the song. (7/10)
13. We Stay – The song at the end of studio albums seems to usually fall into the category of being a fan-pleaser. VICTON’s final song is no exception, with We Stay containing a very bright pop background. It is quite easy to get into, with simple melodies and fun hooks. It is also quite lighthearted, miles away from the rest of the album. Per usual, VICTON showcases great vocals and rapping in the song. It ends the album on a very positive and happy note. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10