[Album Review] HORN (Special Album) – APINK

Still lagging behind with these album reviews. The focus of this post was released mid-February of this year, and I am only finally getting around to writing it and posting it! The album belongs to none other than APINK, who returned with a special full-length album (though, it is also their fourth studio album since their debut 11 years ago) HORN. Headlining HORN is the title track Dilemma and it also features 10 other tracks (including their 10th anniversary single Thank You). HORN is also the last album to officially feature Naeun as a member, as she pulled out of the group two months after the release of HORN.

I picked APINK’s album to review because I feel like I have neglecting female groups in the album review segment. On top of that, I really enjoyed this album whilst vetting to see if it is worth writing an album review for. So it made logical sense for me to put this onto the album review agenda. There are few gems amongst HORN‘s tracks, so do check out the album if you have not done so yet. Though, I presume you would have already listened to the album at least once in the past five months.

HORN Album Cover

1. Dilemma (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dilemma. (8/10)

2. Holy Moly – There was some good pop energy to Holy Moly once the song reaches the chorus, my pick for the highlight of the song. The bridge comes in a close second thanks to its melody. The etchy effect just before the chorus was cool and added an unexpected zing to Holy Moly. The verses, whilst featuring really nice vocals, felt like a slow burn and sluggish. In particular with the second verse, I wished the energy was maintained from the chorus. I also did not enjoy the autotuned ending, simply because it felt unnecessary. (7/10)

3. My Oh MyMy Oh My was the group’s secondary promotional track, performed in the first week of promotions alongside Dilemma for their comeback. And I completely understand why My Oh My was chosen. It is the type of song that makes you want to smile whilst listening to it. It also stands out for its pleasantly light atmosphere, instrumental and melodies. There is also a brightness to the song that I really enjoyed. (9/10)

4. NothingNothing is the first of two unit tracks, consisting of Namjoo, Chorong and Eunji. It breaks away from the lighter pop tracks that followed the title track. There is a hard beat and strong energy coming from this track. The vocals help makes Nothing feel more explosive and bolstered. The ad-libs are also on a whole different level. Nothing also features some catchy hooks, making this one of the stand-out tracks of the album. (9/10)

5. Red Carpet – It seems the common thread with the unit tracks is that they stand out. Red Carpet is performed by Bomi, Naeun and Hayoung, who brings some attitude to the album. It continues the dramatic turn in the album, but with a much harder beat and stronger energy compared to its predecessor. Unlike the predecessor, however, Red Carpet utilises the instrumental to make the song bolstered and explosive. The harmonies help out with this, as well. This in tandem with the unit’s mature and alluring vocals creates a more powerful atmosphere, making it more memorable. The repetitive and memorable hooks and squeaky synths gives Red Carpet a lot of character and profile. (10/10)

6. Single RiderSingle Rider has such a funky and bouncy instrumental, along with a subtle mature atmosphere. I love the upbeat tempo of Single Rider, which help give the song so much captivating energy. The vocals were superb, especially when the falsettos were effortlessly used. The dance break sequence we got in Single Rider was very intriguing and different, and I mean that in a good way. APINK and their producers on this album also seems to enjoy adding ‘endings’ to the end of their songs, with Single Rider closing out with a funky piano line. For this song, this ending feels just right and fits right in with the rest of Single Rider. (10/10)

7. Free & Love – Continuing on with the groovy and energetic aspects of the last track is Free & Love. I have to be honest, but Free & Love is a little more typical and straight-forward. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great song. I enjoyed the bright and vibrant energy that Free & Love exudes. The brass plays a bigger part in the song, and this adds a golden vibe to the song. As a result, Free & Love is another song that makes you feel good and want to smile. (8/10)

8. Just Like This (그날의 봄)Just Like This takes it down a notch, going for softer jazzy pop and laidback vibe. The instrumental has a nice upbeat feel to it, but the instrumental feels a bit generic. However, I really enjoyed the vocals in this song, and the melodies had a nice ring to them. The ‘Just Like This’ repetitive hook was quite catchy, as well. (7.5/10)

9. TripTrip starts off with the sounds of a plane flying above us. It then proceeds to enter balladry territory, before unexpectedly going with a stronger instrumental in the chorus. From there, the instrumental maintains that stronger atmosphere, but the vocals continue to remain within that balladry territory. This stronger instrumental helps makes Trip more captivating than compared to a classically instrumented ballad. (8/10)

10. Dream (작은 별) – Continuing with the balladry theme and style is Dream. But like Trip, Dream is not classically instrumented. Instead, Dream incorporates synths into its backing and consists of a mid-tempo beat. It sounds atmospheric as a result, and is also quite captivating to listen to. The vocals in Dream are another showcase of APINK’s abilities, with the members sounding ethereal in this track. This helps adds that extra 0.5 in its ranking. (8.5/10)

11. Thank You (고마워) – The album closes out with Thank You, which was originally released last year to celebrate the group’s 10th anniversary. In case you cannot tell, the song was written to say thanks to their fans (PANDAs) for supporting the group over the last 10 years (or 11 years, for its inclusion in this album). The pop track brings back memories of their cute roots, especially thanks to that ‘Da Di Da’ hook that started off and ended the track. I quite enjoyed the song, overall. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

HORN Teaser Image

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