[Double Review] Inside + Whatever – KEEMBO

It is time tap back into that ‘Coming Soon’ list and pick another artist to review. For today’s review, I have selected an artist that I never have reviewed before, a female duo named KEEMBO. Well, technically that is not true. I have reviewed the duo KEEMBO before. However, back then KEEMBO were members of the female group SPICA, who released some of my favourite KPOP songs such as Tonight and You Don’t Love Me. SPICA disbanded in 2017 and the members went their separate ways. In 2020, Kim Bo Young and Kim Boa formed the duo KEEMBO and debuted with the single Thank You Anyway and since continued to promote with one another. This year, KEEMBO released the singles Inside and (more recently) Whatever, which I will be reviewing both today.

Inside was released as the title track from the duo’s first studio album Scandal back in February of this year. I missed it when it first released and it didn’t really catch on until I paid actual attention to the song weeks after its release. Now, it is a song that I look forward to when I see it coming up on my playlist. What makes Inside so good is the pairing of KEEMBO’s vocals and groovy electronic instrumental that we get. If you know them from their SPICA days, then you will know how capable they are. While Inside doesn’t really showcase the extent of their capabilities, Inside really shows how substantial they can be. Their vocals were solid through and through and I enjoyed that little spike and push they gave in the final chorus. I do wish there was more to give that song that oomph it needed, but they did well. For the instrumentation, Inside was extremely satisifying. It was straightforward but in a no mess type of way. I also quite like the instrumentation for its contrast to the lyrics. The song is very upbeat, yet the lyrics are very emotionally driven.

Whatever was released nine days ago as a digital single. To me, it delivers what felt was missing from Inside, though very briefly. It is a very peppy retro instrumented track that is very upbeat and exudes this very cheerful energy that I find enjoyable. The trumpets were a really nice touch and give this song colour that the drums didn’t have when it was the only instrumental centre piece in the verses. The chorus was definitely the more memorable parts of the song, with the brass and the powerful vocals. Whatever definitely shows off more of that ‘extent of their capabilities’ which I noted that I wanted in Inside. Those powerhouse vocals come through via the word ‘Whatever‘, which is an extremely small dose. But a step towards what I wanted. Those ad-libs at the end seem to be tease us a bit. But while I do love a good belting, I also enjoyed the softer moments of the song that KEEMBO gave us in this song. The softer approach was a nice contrast with the chorus, especially when it came to the ‘dadada‘ hook. It gave the song that additional addictive tinge.

Further to the contrast between music and lyrics of Inside, the contrast between lyrics and music video is also quite remarkable. In a way, it makes sense to me as love can make you twisted things (and so does a heartbroken person). Essentially, the music video shows KEEMBO recovering from a relationship in their own way. The person they were once in love with had told them to move on, but KEEMBO do not want to singing lines, by singing lines such as ‘Forget it if you want to‘ and ‘My tears are mine to shed‘. This angers them and they result to killing the ex-lover (Bohyung dragging the bag, Boa holding the knife or glass shard by the sharp end in her hand while staring at something) to just stop their ex-lover from continually saying the same thing. You just don’t expect that darkness behind such an upbeat song. I also really liked how creepy they looked in some of their indivdual shots, further fueling that darkness. Miles away is the music video for Whatever, which is protrays the cheerfulness and peppy profile of Whatever in a straightforward way. I really like how they were singing to really nice paintings, who also sang back to them. I just wished they looked like they were belting those high notes in the chorus, rather than acting cutesy or cheerrful. I just don’t think it is a good fit for those moments in the song.

Despite the two upbeat songs, only Inside got a dance performance for its promotions. It was a decent performance, with the focus being on vocals rather than the dancing for the pair. But they did participate in some of the moves. I really like the light sensual tinge the choreography had, which felt appropriate for the song.

Inside
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

Whatever
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

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