Welcome back to the another round of reviews for songs by our favourite KPOP artist that aren’t in Korean. Firstly, I want to apologies for completely dropping the ball on these reviews last year, which resulted in a backlog that just unmotivated me to write the posts. I have been doing some thinking about how I can revive the segment on my blog, and have landed on the idea of shorter posts. This hopefully should mean less time to write up one of these, which in turn would make them less draining. They used to be four of five in one post, which was manageable at first. But they just took up sooo much time. So, here we go. To catch up on the reviews, I will be focusing on three releases. For this post, the focus will be on THE BOYZ, TWICE and BoA.
SHE’S THE BOSS – THE BOYZ
Released: 27 May 2022
Album: She’s The Boss (2nd Japanese Mini Album)
If I recall correctly, THE BOYZ’s last Japanese single (Breaking Dawn) only had a small portion that was in Japanese with the balance in Korean. That followed on from the group’s initial Japanese debut single (Tattoo), which only had a line of Japanese. SHE’S THE BOSS is a definite improvement in the language department based on what I can hear, as majority of the song is in Japanese (with the song’s main hook being in English). Anyhow, for me, the rappers really stood out in this track. Their segments really aligned with the song’s main chanty hook. The repetition really sold it to me. Similar instrumentation (i.e. crunchy synths and metallic skittish elements) and the rough tone was present in both, and I liked this commonality between the two sides. I also feel the intensity and force behind their parts. The vocals were nice and brought smoothness, but they don’t offer as much to SHE’S THE BOSS as the rappers did. Actually, I felt the vocals really stepped away from the crunchiness and roughness of the more memorable aspects of the song. I appreciate the contrast, but I wished more happened with the vocals than just smoothness. Overall, SHE’S THE BOSS was a decent track and a good listen, though SHE’S THE BOSS is another case of “more could have been done”.
The music video consists of smoldering closes up of the members and choreography shots. The sets were super cool and I quite like the brown marbling background used for one of the choreography dance sets. A bit dry, otherwise. As for the choreography, I really liked the intensity they put behind the routine for the main hook of the song. I also enjoyed the smoothness they brought to the routine during the song’s smoother moments. The contrast between the two was an interesting mix. But visually, it works.
Overall Rating – 7.6/10
Celebrate – TWICE
Released: 15 July 2022
Album: Celebrate (4th Japanese Studio Album)
Days following the news of TWICE renewing their contracts with JYP Entertainment to continue group activities, the group returned with a very fitting track in Japan titled Celebrate. When I read through the lyrics for the song, I do feel like it is a song for fans, celebrating the time TWICE and ONCE have spent together over the last seven or so years. I mean, Chaeyoung’s opening line “Tonight, we’ll celebrate our love. After all this time, We’re still together” kind of says it all. Celebrate is a straightforward pop track that feels very cheerful, bubbly and bright. All of which we have heard from TWICE previously. However, Celebrate is more geared towards a pleasant effect, which I find to be fitting for the message. It is quite obvious that this song isn’t the most TWICE song we have ever heard. Nor is it the group’s most catchiest single yet. But the pleasantness, combined with the other aforementioned effects, helps create an enjoyable listen. That being said, Celebrate does have some catchy hooks and melodies, and I feel like the members executed the song extremely well. Overall, another enjoyable listen from TWICE.
The music video for Celebrate was quite colourful, despite black and pink being the dominant colours in the video (i.e. see what the members are wearing). There isn’t too much to the video, apart from smiles and the members having a great time with each other. It is pretty much lighthearted, which matches up with the song’s message quite well. The choreography is quite good. Nothing catchy or mind-blowing here, but it was satsifying to watch and looks fun!
Overall Rating – 8.3/10
The Greatest – BoA
Released: 23 May 2022
Album: The Greatest (20th Anniversary Japanese Compilation Album)
To celebrate her 20th anniversary since her Japanese solo debut, BoA, the Queen of KPOP, released the single The Greatest as part of a compilation album that was released to celebrate the milestone. However, as far as I am aware, the release was pretty much swept under the rug as soon as it was released, which was rather disappointing. I will be honest, I didn’t pay attention to The Greatest that much at the time of the release either, and the song only grew on me in the months after. Luckily, it did so in time to earn a nomination from me for the Best International Song by a Korean Artist (Japanese) in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. There is a lot to enjoy in The Greatest. My pick would have to be the monotonous post-chorus hook, where “Greatest” was spelt aloud. There is something so charming with this hook. I definitely would have liked more to and of it, though. She does something similar in the bridge, just prior to jumping back into the chorus to complete the song. BoA puts her vocals on display during the choruses, which was another great segment in the pop song. The instrumental falls into the electropop genre and the crunchy synths really gives the song character and something for her to work with. My critical comments relate to the verses, which felt ordinary and lacked flair. Despite that, I think The Greatest is underrated and underappreciated.
The music video is pretty much has that modern SM Entertainment flair that the company has been pushing greatly (and seemingly dumped in 2022) with the whole futuristic and virtual KWANGYA universe. However, from what I can tell, this video doesn’t have a connection to the wider universe. Instead, the universe we see in this video belongs to BoA and it is evident that she is quite up there in the society (with her name plastered on top of the city’s tallest tower and The Greatest or GRE plastered throughout). I did like the purple and pink dominant colours of the video. Whatever BoA wore in this video made her pop out right at you, showing off her visuals and charms. As for the choreography, it was a pretty good one. Again, not her most mind-blowing one yet. But the electropop side and those synths mentioned earlier gave her an opportunity to showcase her performance skills and create a piece that reiterates her status in the field.
Overall Rating – 8/10