[Review] After School – Weeekly

Throughout the usual award season in the KPOP industry (December – January), Weeekly was recognized on multiple occasions for their debut in 2020 with new artist awards, such as at the Melon Music Awards and the MNET Asian Music Awards. Following those awards and a successful debut year with Tag Me and Zig Zag, the group made their return last week with their second comeback, After School, and third mini-album, We Play.

After School follows the same direction as the group’s debut and previous comeback. The pop song is undeniably bright and bubbly, however it is not to the same extent as the songs in their debut year. I put blame on the instrumentation of this track. It isn’t as dynamic, bouncy or energy filled as their previous tracks. This was a selling point to Tag Me and Zig Zag, so it is disappointing to a degree. I think the most dynamic part was the use of the snare drums synths at the start of the final chorus, which added a bit of change to the song at that stage. I remember the uneventful instrumental really stuck out at me in the first verse during my first listen of the song and it had me hoping that the chorus would be spectacular in comparison. Let’s just say it wasn’t the instrumental that ended up selling the song to me. Instead, it was the vocals that did that job. The melodies in After School were really nice and showcased the members vocals in a very strong light. They were flowy, added in that missing dynamic touch and made the song so much more appealing to me. Even the rapping that dominated the second verse shared a similar flowy and melodic profile. I also enjoyed the little sequence right after the first chorus where the lyricists managed to integrate the titles of their past title tracks, giving it that more personal touch. Interestingly, the combination of the instrumentation and vocals didn’t come across as terrible for me. I actually think they complimented each other quite well in the end and I felt a nice mature tinge come from the song, as a result of the two elements working in harmony. I just wished there was more to the instrumentation.

The music video felt appropriate to the song’s lyrics. In their previous music videos, the focus has been on the members at school. But After School is obviously reference to being out of hours of the schooling, so the members don casual clothing and skateboarder gear. They hang out and have a bit of fun with each other. I think the lyrics also reference a potential crush, but the music video ends up showing a portal that appears taking them to a ‘whole new world’. I think this might be a representation of what the crush could lead to, once they and the members hang out. I also liked how the group retained that cutesy vibe that they are known for from their past concepts and how this video (once again) isn’t oversaturated with said vibe. It made the whole experience pleasant and this overall complimented the song quite well.

I really enjoyed how bubbly the performance ended becoming. It added a layer of appeal to the comeback, which I didn’t expect given my comments in the song section of this review. I also enjoyed the chairs in performance. I wished they used it more, as it could really make the performance smoother (to a degree) and more fun.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

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