Time for another International Song Reviews post. It appears with my attempts to focus on catching up with KPOP song and album reviews, I have neglected the other releases our beloved Korean artists have also been releasing in international industries. But don’t you worry, I have forgotten these tracks just yet. Last time I did an International Song Review post, it was back at the end of July and covered releases from YUNHO, SORN, Red Velvet, T1419 and TVXQ.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting more International Song Reviews posts on a fortnightly basis and I will be increasing the number of reviews to 6 per post to help me catch up. As a result, the reviews will be shorter to compensate for this change. Today’s post will cover songs from Momoland, BM (from KARD), Mark Tuan (from GOT7), THE8 (from SEVENTEEN), JAMIE and SEVENTEEN.
Yummy Yummy Love – Momoland & Natti Natasha
Yummy Yummy Love was a collaboration between Momoland and Natti Natasha that released way back in January of this year. At the time of release, I remember thinking Yummy Yummy Love was a pretty mediocre song and the hooks that the pop song had felt very childish and elementary. Months on, and I can report that Yummy Yummy Love has been upgraded to a pleasant status. And it is thanks to those hooks that I thought were chidlish. They ended up catching on for me, making the song fun in its own way. The high pitched delivery of the chorus also works well with the pop instrumentation (which to be fair, I thought was a little too typical). Part of me still thinks that certain parts of Yummy Yummy Love (namely the ‘Ski-pi-di-bap, bi-pap, bi-pap, boo‘ first pre-chorus and the JooE’s rap-sing lines) could have been removed and replaced with something more aligned with the rest of the song. But overall, Yummy Yummy Love is a decent track to me now.
The music video was quite plain. I wished the video focused a little more on the fun aspects of the song, rather than the visuals of the members. I have nothing against the Momoland members and Natti Natasha’s visuals, as they do have a place in this video. But the video is supposedly set in a skating rink and I think only one person ended up skating (and it was an extra). The choreography, especially the chorus routine, is another memorable aspect of the release. I found it to be both fun and sexy, which worked well with the song and the collaborators, as well.
Overall Rating – 6.5/10
LIE (LOST IN EUPHORIA)- BM (KARD)
Also returning back in January of this year is BM (from KARD). His solo comeback was titled LIE, which stands for LOST IN EUPHORIA. There is a bit of Korean in this song (which technically would have LIE able to get a full review). But since it was predominately in English, I had put it aside for this segment instead.
With BM’s repertoire of rap/hip-hop tracks, it comes as no surprise that LIE falls into this category as well. But keeping in trend and changing up the dynamic slightly was a slow rock alternative instrumental, which I quite liked. There is a bit of melody that helps make LIE appealing to my personal taste. While it does look good for LIE and the fact that I don’t mind it, I did think LIE was lacking in some regards, especially as we reached the end of the track, The entire song sounds quite linear. And so by the time the song reaches the end, I was already tuned out as everything felt the same. I think BM could have gone harder in some parts and this may have helped kept the appeal of LIE going.
The music video for LIE was pretty much how I had expected it. It was moody and heavy, as the song’s atmosphere suggests. I liked how the video portrayed his struggles throughout the video, with the editing making it look a lot harder and darker. BM’s acting is also another aspect of this, and I commend the way he also contributed that portrayal (and the music video’s atmosphere). The green screen scenes could have been a bit cleaner in my opinion, just to bring it up to par with the quality of the rest of the video.
Overall Rating – 8/10
My Life – Mark Tuan (GOT7)
Another January release. This time, it is Mark Tuan’s solo release My Life. From all the solo songs Mark Tuan has put out this year (there has been a lot, and I will be reviewing a few of them in the forthcoming International Song Review segments), My Life has been one of the more memorable ones. For me, it is Mark’s vocals that steal the show. I don’t think we have heard Mark give us a ballad before (at least, a substantial one), and so to hear him in such a delicate, fragile and emotive state is quite something. My Life‘s melodies were stunning. The instrumental, for the most part was atmospheric piano and synths (the latter only appeared in the choruses). However, to close out the song, Mark brings in strings that just ends My Life in an impeccable manner. He doesn’t sing once the strings were brought into play, allowing them to do the speaking on his behalf and carry on the momentum that he had created with the piano earlier on in the song.
Given that this is a ballad, the music video doesn’t opt for anything flashy or dynamic. Instead, the video features Mark Tuan in quite still settings. He is either lying on the floor or table, draped across on the piano, and standing in the darkness. All of these shots were shot aesthetically to match the balladry nature of the song. I also really liked the slow pans of the camera, which match the slow nature of the song.
Overall Rating – 10/10
海城 (Hai Cheng) – THE8 (SEVENTEEN)
Released back in March is THE8’s solo comeback with Hai Cheng, a song titled after the singer’s birthplace. Hai Cheng is a fairly simple song when you describe it in words. One half is the piano instrumental. The entire song, from start to end, was beautifully instrumented with said piano. There is something so stilling about a song instrumented by only one instrument. The other half of the track is THE8 himself, who sings so sentimentally and emotively throughout Hai Cheng. Those who know THE8 for his works as part of SEVENTEEN might be surprised with the balladry sound that he had opted for in Hai Cheng. The melodies were so good, and had that swaying effect that I love when it comes to ballads.
The music video is equally as good as the song. The music video for Hai Cheng features THE8, who appears to revisiting home in this video. At the beginning of the video, he enters his home, puts a bag down and turn on the light as if he hasn’t been there for a while. After some reminiscing in the home, he revisits some of the sites that has been to in the past. We are then shown memories of THE8 with a female character in those exact same locations having fun as a couple and even dancing on the streets. The final shot of the girl leaving THE8 on the beach, and then we see a bird’s eye view of the tide engulfing him, was definitely heart breaking to watch.
Overall Rating – 9/10
Pity Party – JAMIE
JAMIE (formerly known as Park Jimin)’s solo comeback, Pity Party, was released back in February of this year. And since its release, the song was featured fairly often on my Weekly KPOP Chart’s International Song by a Korean artist segment. Hence, I am excited to actually review the track. Pity Party is a pop track, but has this subtle groove to it, which really made the song quite appealing to me. The guitar in the chorus was probably the most memorable aspect of Pity Party‘s background. A bit typical, but still brought a whole heap of vibrancy to the song and disco synths. JAMIE showcased strong vocals at certain points of the song (i.e. pre-choruses and the bridge), and I quite enjoyed her during these moments. The chorus hook was a bit plain and repetitive in hindsight, but I think I can still described them as catchy, as like how they appeared me when I first heard Pity Party.
Something I hadn’t mentioned above is that Pity Party went for a completely different sound profile when compared to her previous comebacks, And to match this change in sound, JAMIE has opted for a more mature visual as well. I liked this more sassy and attitude heavy look that JAMIE went with, which works well with the story and lyrics of the song. Essentially, JAMIE is holding a pity party for herself and some guests. She lures her ex to the party, drugs him and then proceeds to get revenge by burning him alive (off screen). Maybe not the pity party most of us had in mind, but definitely one that she wants. Like the video and song, JAMIE also opts for a mature vibe from the choreography. Its simple, but it still manages to look on par with the rest of the comeback.
Overall Rating – 8.3/10
Darl+ing – SEVENTEEN
Darl+ing was released in April, earning the title of SEVENTEEN’s first English language track and pre-release of their (at the time) upcoming fourth studio album FACE THE SUN. It was quite surprising to me at the time of release that SEVENTEEN opted for a soft sound for their first English language. I always thought that they would have made their English debut with a bolder sound. But Darl+ing was warming and soothing to listen to, nonetheless (despite the heavy thumping in the pre-choruses). The melodies were pretty and actually ended up bring memorable in its own way. The vocal work was weak in my opinion, but I think that was the result of the softer sounds and pretty melodies. The instrumental aligns with pop and the atmosphere as result of the background reminds me of their 2019 release HOME.
From what I could understand, the music video shows a ‘loss of innocence’ concept. The world was once happy, cheerful, bright and colourful. But upon Vernon’s discovery that there is more to the world than what they know (i.e. their shadows), the once perfect world starts unraveling around them. Each member soon becomes aware of this other world in their own way, like becoming aware of the darker reflection of themselves and watching the world around them change in different manners. In the end, all them fall to the other world, which is all dark and looks abandoned. The members are bruised and have cuts across their faces, suggesting that they now understand pain and hurt. It also probably sets up for their HOT music video, given that was a bit dark and mature. The choreography matches up with the bright and happy world, with the members displaying smiles and the moves were all soft and small.
Overall Rating – 8.3/10