[Album Review] Apocalypse: Follow Us (7th Mini Album) – Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher’s 7th mini-album, Apocalypse: Follow Us, is the next mini-album up for a review. Apocalypse: Follow Us was released back in October and features the title track VISION, one intro, an outro and an additional three songs. It follows on from the group’s Apocalypse: Save Us album and MAISON release from April 2022. Dreamcatcher continues their niche and style with this mini-album, keeping things fairly consistent (but also freshening up their releases one way or another) over the last six years since they rebranded themselves as Dreamcatcher. In celebration of their 6 year anniversary, Dreamcatcher recently released a digital single titled Reason. So after checking out Apocalypse: Follow Us through this album review, check out their new release as well!

Apocalypse: Follow Us Album Cover

1. Intro: Chaotical X – Kicking off the mini-album is Chaotical X, a very intense and dramatic electronic instrumental piece that really grabs your attention. The alarms at the end signal the end of the introductory track, blaring in a way that feels suspenseful and epic, making you want what is to come next.

2. VISION (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for VISION. (9/10)

3. Fairytale – Next up on the album is Fairytale. The pop rock nature of this song caught my attention. The pop vibe through Dreamcatcher’s vocals, while the instrumentation brings up the rock element to the song. Dami’s softer rapping approach was wonderful and works really neatly with the pop rock vibe. Altogether, Fairytale feels refreshing and blissful, making it an amazing track to listen to. A highly recommended song from me. (10/10)

4. Some Love – I really liked the boldness and boastfulness of the pop instrumentation of Some Love. As this is a Dreamcatcher song, electric guitars make an appearance in the instrumentation. And together with the synths, they create a funky atmosphere. Even though the instrumentation for Some Love is loud, the members still manage to stay on top of it. (8/10)

5. Rainy Day – Toning and slowing down the entire mini-album is Rainy Day. Rainy Day is a ballad, which features a nice piano R&B arrangement, accompanied by sounds of a rainy day. Melody wise, we have that swaying effect and the members sound quite nice. I did wish there was a bit more to the ballad, such as some sort of buildup, just so it doesn’t stay overly consistent as it did. Maybe throw in some violins or orchestra into the mix to give it some body, even as cliché as it sounds. But it is still a decent ballad to sit back and reflect upon. (7.5/10)

6. Outro: Mother NatureMother Nature begins off with an instrumental piece that felt like it embraces nature and balance. It felt fitting as a backing piece to a montage of nature clips of beautiful sceneries and wildlife. Towards the end, we do get some sinister drum beats and a horn being blown, suggesting that we should still be aware of our surroundings for what is to come.

Overall Album Review – 8.6/10

Apocalypse: Follow Us Teaser Image

[Album Review] YOUTH (1st Mini Album) – KIHYUN (MONSTA X)

The next mini-album up for review this week is KIHYUN’s first mini-album, YOUTH, which featured a title track that shares the exact same name. Alongside, YOUTH (the title track), four side tracks also make up the mini-album. YOUTH (both the album and title track) follows KIHYUN’s solo debut earlier in 2022 – Voyager, which was released back in March 2022. YOUTH was a neat follow up to VOYAGER, showcasing more of KIHYUN and delivering that mini-album that KIHYUN definitely deserves to flaunt his talents and undeniable potential as a solo artist. Next up on the wish list is a speedy solo comeback from KIHYUN (Side note – he just returned in MONSTA X’s Beautiful Liar) with another album.

YOUTH Album Cover

1. Youth (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for YOUTH. (8.5/10)

2. Bad Liar – Kicking off Bad Liar are some vocals on a lower register, before KIHYUN soars upwards with some powerful vocals when it came to the chorus. I found the instrumental to be a dramatic one, but also quite electrifying once we get into chorus territory. I do think some more substantial electric guitar riffs would have been really cool addition to the song and taken Bad Liar to even more electrifying heights. (8.5/10)

3. STARDUST – Next up on the mini-album is STARDUST. It is a straightforwardly fun and upbeat track that brings some retro synths into the mix of band instrumentation. I like the head-nodding potential behind the track and how KIHYUN sounds throughout the track. It is a fairly simple track, but definitely a standout for me on this mini-album. (9/10)

4. Where Is This Love Where Is This Love is an all-English ballad that really showcases KIHYUN’s vocals. I honestly did not expect an all-English track from the soloist, let alone an all-English ballad. This is probably the hardest type of an all-English track, given that is it hard for a non-English speaker (regardless of their vocal abilities) to convey emotions just as well as when they are singing in their mother tongue. But he does just that. Throughout Where Is This Love, I really liked how KIHYUN shows range with this track, going effortlessly between soft whispery moments and the more powerful moments where KIHYUN really shows emotions. It is a nice balance between delicate and passion, which makes Where Is This Love a strong track. (9/10)

5. ‘Cause of You ‘Cause of You ends the album with a soft and lovely pop track. I believe there are some acoustics influences present in this track, along with some piano work and very light and subtle sprinkling of synths in the background. It is a very airy track, overall. Melody and vocal-wise, I didn’t find the track interesting. KIHYUN does sound pleasant throughout ‘Cause of You, but it isn’t his most impressive display of vocals on the album. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

YOUTH Teaser Image

[Album Review] Absolute Zero (1st Mini Album) – BAEKHO

Apologies for the lack of song reviews – it has been a slow week in KPOP due to the Korean New Year. I will be reviewing two comebacks from this week tomorrow. For now, here are some album reviews I have pre-written, but for some reason failed to pre-schedule.

The next album to be reviewed on this blog is BAEKHO’s solo debut mini-album, Absolute Zero. This mini-album dropped in October 2022, over 10 years after BAEKHO made his debut as part of NU’EST (which sadly disbanded earlier this year). Featuring the title track No Rules and five additional side tracks, this mini-album made me think about why we didn’t get a solo release from BAEKHO sooner. This entire mini-album is testament of BAEKHO’s artistry and potential, and it is truly disappointing to know that it has taken 10 years for his company to give him an opportunity to shine and put himself out there. Absolute Zero has some really great tracks, many of which I would recommend to people who want to discover a new artist. Hopefully, there are more great tracks from BAEKHO on the way, as PLEDIS Entertainment definitely has a strong artist in BAEKHO. For now, continue reading my review to discover some gems from BAEKHO.

Absolute Zero Album Cover

1. Festival in My Car – While it has been a while since we heard from BAEKHO, I am sure he did not sound like this in the past. Festival in My Car brings out a raspier and huskier tone and lower register from BAEKHO that I am absolutely digging. This paired with the rock guitar (that creates a wonderful centerpiece in the instrumentation) and the band instrumentation creates such a piece that has soaring potential. Also soaring is the momentum and intensity once Festival in My Car hits the chorus. All of this helps create a strong number to kick the mini-album off with. (9/10)

2. LOVE BURNLOVE BURN is next up on the mini-album. Synth-pop and guitar riffs come together to create the backing piece of LOVE BURN. While I am unsure what came first, the instrumental pairs extremely well with the melodies of this track, which I think is the highlight of the song. The melodies just give LOVE BURN so much character and personality, which I think is enough reason to say that LOVE BURN edges out the previous song. Throw in passionate and husky vocals from BAEKHO, and you have yourself another strong and captivating track to enjoy. (10/10)

3. No Rules (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of No Rules. (8/10)

4. We Don’t Care No More (ft. June One of Glen Check) – Collaborating with June One of Glen Check, We Don’t Care No More delves into groovier and funkier territory. But the track still falls into the synth-pop realm and features guitar riffs, just like the other side tracks on the mini-album before it. Both BAEKHO and June One brings something different to the song during their respective verses and choruses. BAEKHO has a nasally tone in this track, whereas June One brings out a hollower tone to his vocals. Yet when they sing together, they blend really well with one another to create what felt like one person singing. Melody and hook-wise, I felt We Don’t Care No More definitely excelled. (9/10)

5. BAD 4 U – Taking the album into R&B territory is BAD 4 U. I did like the beat to the song and how natural the song felt for BAEKHO. The melodies and lines just flow so smoothly from BAEKHO. However, it is the most standard sounding track on this mini-album. It isn’t really the most innovative track out there. I am also not a fan of the ending, which felt abrupt for my liking. (7/10)

6. WANNA GO BACK (ft. Sik-K) (변했다고 느끼는 내가 변한 건지)WANNA GO BACK is the mini-album’s most powerful track, bringing forth a punkish rock sound to the mini-album. I liked how BAEKHO’s vocals becomes hoarsely, which really compliments the punkish rock influence. Sik-K’s rapping is autotuned, which I thought was interesting initially. But his rapping definitely adds an even rougher texture to WANNA GO BACK. I do wish the instrumental went a bit harder into the rock influence, just to give that wow factor. The guitar solo at the very end is definitely a step in the right direction. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

Absolute Zero Teaser Image

[Album Review] GASOLINE (2nd Studio Album) – KEY (SHINee)

Apologies for the lack of album reviews (and reviews in general) over the weekend. I opted to not post anything during the festivities of the Lunar New Year, instead focusing on family (although through video calls and group chats this year) per tradition. I will reserve my wishes to you all that celebrate Lunar New Year in the Weekly KPOP Charts post that will go up tomorrow. For now, I leave you with the album review I had originally intended to post on Saturday – KEY’s 2nd studio album, GASOLINE. The studio album was released at the end of August 2022 and features the title track of the same name (and 10 other side tracks). GASOLINE follows KEY’s first mini-album, BAD LOVE from 2021, which many people can agree on it being a very successful solo album. While I don’t think GASOLINE reaches the heights of BAD LOVE, it definitely continues to show KEY’s individuality and potential as an artist (not that he really needs to prove that – BAD LOVE for sure cemented that confidence into anyone who had doubts about KEY).

Gasoline Album Cover

1. Gasoline (가솔린) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Gasoline. (7.5/10)

2. Bound – Following the title track is Bound, a dark and sexy pop track that I personally feel is fitting for KEY’s style, brand and personality. The pairing of deep vocals that KEY brings to Bound via the verses and the higher pitched he gives us in the choruses shows off KEY’s vocal capabilities, but also creates a captivating atmosphere. The sassy attitude vibe that the instrumental is so unapologetic dark and alluring, with the instrumental breaks we get being so charismatic. (9/10)

3. Villain (ft. Jeno of NCT)Villain joins the forces of both KEY (as this is his album) and JENO (from NCT) in a really cool and funky sounding track. There is also a dark vibe to the track, but not as much as the previous track, which allows it to both follow on and ease us away from the first two tracks of the album. I liked the back and forth between both KEY and Jeno, and the differences between the two idols musically and with the lyrics (which were about a villain wanting to be a main character). KEY’s vocals bringing smoothness whilst Jeno’s vocals/raps were rough and raspy. Together, they melded with one another to create a nice ‘icing on the cake’ scenario for the song. (9/10)

4. BurnBurn begins as an emotional break up song, with KEY’s passionate and soaring vocals delivering the start of the song. But as the song progresses, Burn ends up falling into the funky and groovy territory of pop music, which was a pleasant surprise in terms of trajectory for the song. This gave the song character and a uniqueness to that I personally enjoyed. However, to keep the Burn interesting, I wished the second verse was a bit more creative and not necessarily a repeat of the first verse. I appreciate that it snaps back to the roots of the song (i.e., the emotional feeling from the first verse), but the second verse just didn’t feel as interesting as it could have been. (8/10)

5. Guilty Pleasure – You could expect Guilty Pleasure in the clubs! I really enjoyed the consistent drive of the retro house synths, which just makes it idea for that club environment. I do feel that KEY’s vocals and Guilty Pleasure’s melodies could have been a bit more captivating and interesting. But it is a solid track, nonetheless. (7.5/10)

6. G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) G.O.A.T stands out with its atmospheric and bubbly synths that make up the song’s instrumentation. KEY sounds really pleasant throughout G.O.A.T, with the melodies having a swaying effect, similar to the ones I tend to mention when I talk about ballads. At the bridge of the song, the producers insert an orchestral touch to heighten the peak of G.O.A.T, which I personally thought was a cool and unique twist to a synth-filled track. While I do think it was successful, the final chorus should have followed through with a better drop, just to carry on that momentum more naturally. (9/10)

7. I Can’t SleepI Can’t Sleep is one of my favourite side tracks on the album. I just feel like it is the most straightforward and simple song on the album that also manages to speak volume. There is also a fun and vibrant tone to it. Another reason to why I picked it as one of my favourite because it also feels nostalgic to me, thanks to the song’s pop instrumentation. (9/10)

8. Ain’t Gonna DanceAin’t Gonna Dance is a lot more complicated, but still sits in the pop realm. It starts off atmospheric with balanced and measured vocals from KEY. But this is short-lived, as the percussion comes in boldly, making a statement to what is come with the rest of the song – textured trap beats and funky undertones, all of which feels miles away from the start of Ain’t Gonna Dance. KEY sounds amazing in this track, showing off falsettos in the chorus that allows the textures from the spacious instrumentation to do some of the speaking alongside his vocals. Altogether, it creates an interesting energy that I would gladly replay over and over again. (10/10)

9. Another Life – Based on my understanding, Another Life was previously performed as part of KEY’s first solo online concert from 2021 – Beyond LIVE – Key: Groks in the Keyland. It is also an all-English track. Another Life kicks things off with a synthwave instrumental that gets more intense and bolder during the chorus. It is quite a strong instrumentation, and so I am quite impressed with how powerful KEY’s vocals come off as. There was also some good hooks and moments that bumps up Another Life in my books. The choreography for Another Life is also remarkable and showcases KEY’s performance skills very well. (9/10)

10. Delight – The piano at the start was misleading, suggesting for a second that Delight was going into ballad territory. But in a matter of seconds, the track picks up with very bright/vivid vocals and ultimately progresses towards disco-pop territory. I love how breezy KEY’s vocals sound in the track, especially during the falsettos he delivers in the chorus. Altogether, Delight is a purely fun and playful track that I have definitely been replaying since the album’s release. Aside from the first few seconds, Delight can also be described as straightforward and simple. (10/10)

11. Proud – Ending the album is a track that delves into a genre that hasn’t been heard elsewhere on the album just yet. Proud kicks things off with a prominent hip-hop beat and reflects on his career so far. I do like the tone and energy that KEY puts into the song, but I felt the melodies were a little dull for my liking. But still a neat ender to the album which quality is consistent with the rest of the album. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Gasoline Teaser Image

[Album Review] MALUS (8th Mini Album) – ONEUS

ONEUS is one of the many artists whose album I look forward to. Their most recent one is a decent one. ONEUS’ 8th mini-album, MALUS, is their most recent one and was released early September 2022. This is the group’s final release to feature main rapper Ravn, who voluntary left the group at the end of October following some controversary. MALUS features the title track Same Scent (in both Korean and English), an introductory track and four additional side tracks. This mini-album follows ONEUS’ earlier comeback with Bring It On and TRICKSTER.

MALUS Album Cover

1. Intro: Eden – Kicking off the mini-album is Eden, which serves as the mini-album’s introductory track. The instrumental to Eden is quite a beautiful one, starting off with some stilling piano, before electronic elements are brought in to create quite an atmospheric and scene-setting piece that leads quite well into the title track. The members do a neat job in the intro, as well. (8/10)

2. Same Scent (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Same Scent. (8/10)

4. STUPID LOVE – Following the title track is STUPID LOVE, which brings forth a pop-rock colour to the album with its instrumental. The highlight of STUPID LOVE has to be the surprising rock centric chorus, which steals the show for me. While the verses do hint towards the pop rock direction, I just like how much more intense the chorus got. The crunchy electric guitar and consistent foot-tapping beat somehow catches me off guard (in a good way). (9/10)

4. Gravitation (두 눈 빠지도록) – Swapping out the electric guitar for acoustics is Gravitation, which is an amazing ballad piece. The vocals were stunning and so emotionally charged, especially with the high notes we get at the end of the choruses. The rapping from both Leedo and Ravn were weaved in so well and didn’t take us away from the balladry feels of Gravitation. You know I like my ballads, and this one definitely hit the right spot for me. (10/10)

    5. Mermaid – In a further change to the album’s sound, Mermaid opts for more upbeat vibes, opting for some bass and retro pop. I like how the track doesn’t hold back and gets right to it, with the bass and retro touches coming right to the front of the song. I did find the vocals to be a bit distant (the bass might be the cause of this) but the members still put in a lot of effort to make sure they were heard. It doesn’t hurt the song terribly and it is a fun listen nonetheless. (8/10)

      6. FULL MOON (원어스)FULL MOON brings forth sensual vibes throughout the track through the R&B genre that the song falls under. But it isn’t just a simple R&B song. No, FULL MOON throws in a lot more than just sensual R&B vibes. Trap elements come into play as part of the chorus, giving a tonne of texture to the song. Ravn explodes during the second verse to give us a powerful rap sequence. And I think we get touches of traditional Korean instrumental in the bridge. The most surprising element comes from the rappers (both Leedo and Ravn) who really showed of their vocals in the pre-choruses, catching me guard and forcing me to replay the song time and time again so I can relive their pre-chorus vocals. (9/10)

      7. Same Scent (English Version) – Refer to my review of the Korean version of Same Scent above.

      Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

      MALUS Teaser Image

      [Album Review] I LOVE (5th Mini Album) – (G)I-DLE

      Another weekend is upon us, and you know what that means! Album reviews! First up this weekend is (G)I-DLE’s 5th mini-album, I LOVE, which was released in October of last year. Leading the mini-album is the title track, Nxde, and five side tracks. Both I LOVE and Nxde follows the group’s immensely successful hit TOMBOY and I NEVER DIE comeback from earlier on in 2020.

      I LOVE Album Cover

      1. Nxde (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Nxde. (6/10)

      2. LOVE – Following the title track is LOVE. I really liked the instrumental mix to this song. For the most part, LOVE felt very pop-like in the verses. But there is a subtle guitar work in this verses that allows the song to neatly introduce a punkish-like electric guitar in the chorus. And this guitar really gave LOVE a refreshing and vibrant vibe that I really enjoyed. I also like how the instrumental, vocals and melody has a sweet component to it, despite the lyrics is about breaking free for an unhealthy relationship. If anything, I wished LOVE’s hook (and (G)I-DLE’s delivery of said hook) went in harder, just to give a bit of definition to the song. (8/10)

      3. Change – The members’ deeper toned vocals stole the show for me in Change. I did like the direction of the instrumental, opting for a fast percussive beat over some slow-paced rock. But I wished there was more to the instrumental, as 3 minutes and 20 seconds of the same instrumentation was a bit of a yawn. Overall, a neat track with great potential. But more can be done. (8/10)

      4. ResetReset is a pop ballad, and it is a very pleasant one. I really liked the acoustic guitar to the verses and bridge of the song, while the chorus features a more prolific band instrumentation. In addition to that, I really enjoyed the vocals in this song as well. It all felt very pure, there was an emotional tinge to it and nothing felt processed. Soyeon’s vocals, in particular, at the start of the song really set the tone of the track and she sounded amazing. She should definitely sing more! (9/10)

      5. Sculpture (조각품) – I liked the old-timey vibes of the choruses of this track and how they followed it up with a dragged out “Sculpture~” at the end of the choruses. Quite a memorable centrepiece, and the latter technique gives off sensual vibe. As for the rest of the song, I liked the beat to the verses, which offsets the old-timey vibes by giving off a modern flair to the song. (8/10)

      6. DARK (X-File) – Finishing of the mini-album is DARK (X-File), which I find to be quite an effective song. This track is really alluring and enchanting, especially when the members get breathy in the backing. It just gives off a very sensual energy, which is the song’s main theme. The paced instrumental and melody of the song also compliments this style. All of this stays with you even after the song and album finishes. (8.5/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

      I LOVE Teaser Image

      [Album Review] THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER TWO (2nd Mini Album) – TREASURE

      Following my last album review (BLACKPINK’s BORN PINK), I thought I also review another YG Entertainment album that I have been holding onto. The album, as you can tell from the title of this post, is TREASURE’s THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER TWO. It is the group’s second mini-album and was released in October 2022, and it features the title track HELLO, along with four additional side tracks. THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER TWO follows the group’s earlier comeback in 2022 and first mini-album, THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER ONE (title track JIKJIN). It is also the first release to not feature Bang Ye Dam and Mashiho, who were on hiatus at the time of the mini-album’s release and subsequently left the group following the mini-album’s release.

      THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER TWO Album Cover

      1. HELLO (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for HELLO. (9/10)

      2. VolKno (CHOI HYUNSUK, YOSHI & HARUTO) – Following the more pop-centric title is a surprising mix of hip-hop and rock. It is purely electrifying, intense and just so powerful. Everything I ever wanted from a rock release in KPOP is in VolKno. The track is delivered to us by the three rappers of the group, so it is safe to say that their delivery falls into the rap/hip-hop style. And I don’t mind that, as their trio’s delivery just amp up everything else in the song. The best part of the song is when they get chanty during the bridge, which is a nice bright change in direction. I found to be a great head-banging sequence, before the song goes back to its intense rock body. (10/10)

      3. CLAP!CLAP! returns to the mini-album to the bright and pop-like profile that featured in the title track and kicked off the mini-album. There are some added reggae influences to certain parts of the song, which differentiates the song from the title track. The rapping was nicely done and gave CLAP! some much needed oomph. However, the element that really prevented me from enjoying the song are the vocals, which I found to be disappointing. The vocals took on a more standard melody, which ultimately dulled the song for me. I wished the members were more expressive and the melody line was a bit more exciting, just to give CLAP! a much more substantial edge. (6/10)

      4. THANK YOU (고마워) (ASAHI & HARUTO) – HARUTO is definitely a busy person as the only TREASURE member to appearing in all five songs on this mini-album. In THANK YOU, HARUTO join forces with ASAHI to give us this pop style song. At first, it sounded more like a pop rock song. But it ended up settling for more on the pop side as THANK YOU progressed along. In the end, I found this song to be quite a pleasant listen and I really did enjoy it. (8/10)

      5. HOLD IT IN (물 어둡다) – Ending the mini-album is the album’s most subdued mix, opting for a more prevalent R&B vibe for the most part. But there is more to HOLD IT IN than what meets the eye. For example, we get some relatively soft pop dance backing for the chorus, jazzy ballad styling in the second verse and marching drums in the bridge. Altogether, TREASURE delivers another pleasant ender to the album that just had the right dose of pretty much each of the different styles mentioned whilst also managing to stay cohesive somehow. (7.5/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

      THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER TWO Teaser Image

      [Album Review] BORN PINK (2nd Studio Album) – BLACKPINK

      Welcome to the first official album review of the year. All the other album reviews I posted so far this year were drafted last year, and my review for BORN PINK is the first album review I have written this year. Woo! There is plenty more album review coming your way, but I thought I start off with a big release from 2022 that I hadn’t looked at just yet. BORN PINK is BLACKPINK’s second studio length album and was released mid-September 2022. It features the pre-release single Pink Venom and the title track Shut Down, alongside down another 6 side tracks. It follows The Album from 2020. Personally, my biggest takeaway from this studio album is that BLACKPINK and their producers could have done more with majority of the side tracks on the album. Despite that comment, there are still some standout and solid tracks on the album to enjoy. So continue reading to see which songs I thought were great and which songs could have been better.

      BORN PINK Album Cover

      1. Pink Venom (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for Pink Venom. (6.5/10)

      2. Shut Down (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Shut Down. (8/10)

      3. Typa Girl Typa Girl had some potential with the opening synths. It gave off intriguing vibes which I was all excited for. Given BLACKPINK’s consistent sound with majority of their promotional tracks, intriguing is definitely something good. Unfortunately, the intriguingness isn’t worthwhile. Once we enter the verses and choruses, we get that familiar sound profile that we all associate with BLACKPINK. Despite going down the same route as their previous track, Typa Girl’s instrumental continues to disappoint, as there just isn’t a whole heap going on. It does place the focus on the members. But clear vocals and fast rapping just doesn’t make up for the rest of the song, in my opinion. (5/10)

      4. Yeah Yeah Yeah – I am glad the disappointment is short lived. Things start looking up for BORN PINK’s side tracks with Yeah Yeah Yeah. I really liked the retro tinge that the song had, especially when the chorus comes along. It is a centrepiece that I look forward to on this album. The vocal work was solid and presented the members in a pleasant light. My only gripe about the song is how cliché the main hook of the song is – just simply being “Just say Yeah Yeah Yeah”. (8/10)

      5. Hard To Love (Rosé Solo) – The only member of BLACKPINK to have a solo song on this album is Rosé. The pop feel of the Hard To Love and the guitar work in the chorus were highlights, along with Rosé’s vocals. I particularly like that emotional pull that Rosé subtly provides to Hard To Love, which makes it more riveting to listen to. (9/10)

      6. The Happiest Girl – Stealing my attention away from the entirety of this album is The Happiest Girl, which is a stunning and beautiful ballad. This is not exactly a style of music that I associate with BLACKPINK, but it was so well done. Repetition is the song’s biggest and only problem, but that can be easily overlooked when you consider the orchestration and the emotionally fragile vocals of the members caused by the breakup that is imagined in the lyrics. My favourite part of all, if I had to pick, would be Jisoo’s harmonic line “I can stop the tears if I want to”. (10/10)

      7. Tally – For me, Tally is a skippable song. It is a decent display of potential from the members themselves and there is a neat swaying melody to the song. But apart from that, there isn’t much to remember about Tally. It is probably more because Tally follows The Happiest Girl – all of my attention is directed towards the previous song and I don’t have much more to share for Tally. But I felt the instrumental was plain, while there isn’t much of a hook to the song other than the aforementioned melody. (6/10)

      8. Ready For Love – Final song on the album is Ready For Love. It is another pre-release single released back in July 2022 which I had not reviewed as the song was marketed to us as a promotional single for PUBG Mobile at the time. But its inclusion on the album allows me to finally review it! I quite liked the EDM chorus (definitely the highlight of the song) and the house pop style the rest of the song opted for. BLACKPINK themselves sound quite good in the song, but the hooks again were repetitive and I wished there were more to the hooks of Ready For Love. (7.5/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

      BORN PINK Teaser Image

      [Album Review] Hello, World (1st Mini Album) – Xdinary Heroes

      Xdinary Heroes is nominated for Best New Male Group and Best Band Performance in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Xdinary Heroes, and your other favourite artists, songs, and performance by clicking here to vote today!

      As flagged a couple of weeks ago through my review of the side track Strawberry Cake, I will be reviewing Xdinary Heroes’ first mini-album since their debut. The mini-album is titled Hello, World and was released back in July of 2022. Alongside Strawberry Cake, the mini-album also features the title track Test Me and 3 additional side tracks. More recently, the band returned in November with a second mini-album, Overload, which I will be returning to review some time in the near future! In the meanwhile, here is my review for Hello, World. It explores more of the band’s potential that they displayed through their debut single (Happy Death Day) whilst also exploring more of the rock genre. Both of which highlights the force that Xdinary Heroes could become in the future.

      Hello, World Album Cover

      1. Test Me (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Test Me. (7.5/10)

      2. Knock DownKnock Down is an awesome rock track. The verses showed promise, but the highlight came during the chorus. The chorus had a beat that had head-nodding potential. It is then followed by some really memorable and catchy ‘Na Na Na’ and some interjections from the members. The bridge had some amazing hype energy that allowed the song to reach a cool and fantastic beat. (9/10)

      3. Sucker Punch – If the previous song had head nodding potential, then Sucker Punch had some foot stomping potential. This created a really strong atmosphere, and it also showed off some great vocals. Then they took a pause to make way for the pre-chorus, before launching into the satisfying chorus that goes in hard. We do get some ‘Na Na Na’ in this song, as well, but they were not as in the previous song. The bridge, however, was the highlight of Sucker Punch. It also had some great hype energy in the first half. We go into acoustic-like territory for the second half of the bridge, which served as a nice stilling moment, before an instrumental moment comes to launch us back into the final chorus. (9/10)

      4. Strawberry Cake – Click here to read the full review for Strawberry Cake. (8/10)

      5. Pirates – Out of all the songs on this mini-album, Pirates is probably Xdinary Heroes’ best foot forward in their vocal department. Their vocals (despite being autotuned to varying degrees) in this song were super impressive, especially during the soaring pre-choruses and at the end. I thought the slower tempo and paced instrumental was very interesting and creates a somewhat tense but unique backdrop, while the brass was a very intriguing addition to the song. (8/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

      Hello, World Teaser Image

      [Album Review] Troubleshooter (3rd Mini Album) – Kep1er

      Kep1er is nominated for Best New Female Group in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Kep1er and your other favourite artists, songs and performances by clicking here to vote today.

      Kep1er is one of the busier groups this year, with back-to-back activities including their debut in January with WA DA DA, their appearance on Queendom 2, their comeback with Up!, their Japanese debut with Wing Wing, and now their latest comeback with We Fresh (their latest title track) and Troubleshooter (the title of their latest mini-album release – which is the focus of this review). Kep1er definitely deserves a break! The latter releases officially dropped mid-October of this year, and there is an additional four tracks on this mini-album, including a remastered version of THE GIRLS (Kep1er’s Queendom 2 finale release).

      Fun fact: I started off 2022 with a review of Kep1er’s debut single WA DA DA. I didn’t realize it at the time until I was actually finalising this album review, that I am also closing out 2022 with this album review for Kep1er. What a coincidence!

      Troubleshooter Album Cover

      1. We Fresh (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for We Fresh. (7.5/10)

      2. Lion TamerLion Tamer is a bit on the typical side of KPOP in today’s standard, but this doesn’t stop it having a cool chorus. To me, it sounded like there was a bit of attitude to it, which gave Kep1er to offer something with a bit more personality which isn’t cuteness. I enjoyed the whistles in the instrumental and the very subtle use of synths that reminded me of a safari or the wilderness. I did think the track could have gone harder and honed in all of the pop energy that Lion Tamer was already exuding. We just needed that oomph to take this song to the next level. (7/10)

      3. DowntownDowntown continues that ‘different side to the group’ idea that I just touched on. This time around, Kep1er goes with an even more mature pop sound that I am totally digging. So much so, I think this is the mini-album’s highlight, and it should have been picked as the title track. It is a smooth mid-tempo number that just exudes so much sleekness. A cool concept idea is having the members strut down the city streets, and this track would have been an ideal backing to that idea. The members did a wonderful job at owning this style and I would love to see a performance of Downtown in the future. (9/10)

      4. Dreams – The final new song that the mini-album has to offer is Dreams, even though it was performed once before prior to the album’s release. It is another nice synthpop track, with a dreamy set of synths and some neat beats in the background. I liked Kep1er’s delivery within Dreams, which opted for paced vocals that complemented the dreamy instrumental quite well. The rapping was rather straight-forward and worked, but they should have gone with something less one-dimensional for this department. Altogether, however, Dreams pretty much reminded me of past KPOP hits within the dreamy realm of pop. Nostalgic. (8/10)

      5. THE GIRLS (Can’t Turn Me Down) (Remastered) – I previously reviewed THE GIRLS through my review of the finale of Queendom 2. I will carry my song rating from that review over for the final album rating below. Read my thoughts on THE GIRLS by clicking here. (7/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 7.7/10

      Troubleshooter Teaser Image

      [Album Review] 28 Reasons (1st Mini Album) – SEULGI (Red Velvet)

      SEULGI is nominated for Best New Female Soloist and Best Solo Choreography (Female) in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support SEULGI and your other favourite artists, songs and performance by clicking here to vote today.

      SEULGI made her solo debut weeks ago with 28 Reasons, the title of both her title track and her debut mini-album. Today, I will be reviewing her mini-album, which features an additional five tracks alongside 28 Reasons (the title track). More recently, SEULGI has returned with Red Velvet for their latest release, Birthday. But this particular review is for SEULGI and her high calibre solo debut mini-album, so let’s go!

      28 Reasons Album Cover

      1. 28 Reasons (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for 28 Reasons. (8/10)

      2. Dead Man Runnin’Dead Man Runnin’ is the track that sticks in my mind the most from this mini-album. It is haunting to R&B listen to, but it just remains with you. It might be the due to the soaring chorus that inclines out of nowhere but manages to do so in a stylish manner. It might be due to the lyrics, which expresses the vengeance one intends for the person who caused them pain. But I think it is because of SEULGI’s vocals, which leaves my jaw hanging open and complete floored each time I listen to the song. (10/10)

      3. Bad Boy, Sad Girl (ft. Be’O) – In a completely different style, SEULGI brings to the album a hint of cutesy vocals in this otherwise R&B number. For the most part, Bad Boy, Sad Girl was a fine song. But the issue for me comes about when BE’O starts. I felt the way he started his featuring was a bit too overpowering for my liking. While his featuring does settle down and does allow SEULGI to come back into the song, I am still not keen with that shock. But we do get some good harmonies from the pair. (7/10)

      4. Anywhere But HomeAnywhere But Home is a pleasant track to my ears, featuring an upbeat and funky backdrop (thanks to the bassline). There is also an atmospheric undertone to the single, which helps the single come off as dreamy. And SEULGI’s smooth vocals complement this dreamy aspect so well. The melodies were catchy and memorable. The electric guitar riffs at the very end of the song were really cool. My only question is regarding the start, which didn’t add much value to Anywhere But Home in my opinion, aside from reiterating the title. (8/10)

      5. Los Angeles – I really enjoyed the suspense the verses of Los Angeles had going on. It brought a clubbing beat to the track that felt sensual and flirty in a way. I like how the song gears towards the chorus, before the beat drops into EDM territory. The whole journey was really exciting and cool. It does repeat and the rest of Los Angeles doesn’t offer anything new in the lead up or during second or third rounds at the EDM drop. But it is still a blast that I would gladly put on my playlist. (9/10)

      6. CrownCrown returns us back to the haunting vibes that we got at the start of the mini-album (and also ends the album). There is also a regal vibe and tone to Crown, which is just so fitting for the song and SEULGI herself. SEULGI again wows me with her vocals, especially during the chorus, where she serves us with upfront and backing vocals. As the song progresses, the instrumental gets heavier and heavier, and I feel like SEULGI follows through with her vocals. Altogether, it is an amazing end to the album. (9/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

      28 Reasons Teaser Image

      [Album Review] OK Episode 1: OK, NOT (5th Mini Album) – CIX

      Support CIX in the Best Overall Artist and Song categories of the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards by clicking here to vote and nominate today!

      One of the final album I am looking at the end of this year belongs to CIX. OK Episode 1: OK, NOT is the group’s fifth mini-album to date, dropped in August of this year and features a total of four songs (including the title track 458). It is a mini-album that I knew I had to write a review for once I vetted the album to see if it is worth writing an album review for. Wonder why? Keep on reading to see my thoughts on this amazing and mind-blowing release.

      OK Episode 1: OK, NOT Album Cover

      1. Without You – For me, the blend of hard and soft tones really makes Without You stand out for me. The verses were predominately the softer moments of the song. It was delicate and fragile at times, which the members did an amazing job of showing. The choruses are obviously when the song goes in hard, with the pop rock side of the song coming to life in the main chorus while a splash of EDM comes through during the post-chorus hook (which was quite catchy). The dynamic between this makes the song super interesting. A standout from the beginning. On a side note (and this doesn’t factor in with the rating that will follow), but I felt the performance aspect for this song went in too hard and felt mismatching for the overall piece. (10/10)

      2. 458 (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for 458. (8/10)

      3. Bend The RulesBend The Rules brings together groovy guitar and intriguing synths to create an unexpected mix. If you were to pull the two sides of the instrumentation apart, you would not think they would work well with one another. But somehow, they come together quite well and I really enjoyed it. Bend The Rules is definitely well delivered. The vocals brings a smooth element to the song, while the rapping gives Bend The Rules a more intense feel. An interesting combination that works well on many fronts. (9/10)

      4. Drown In Luv – Closing up the mini-album is Drown In Luv, which has an amazing instrumental arrangement. It is a combination of classical instrumentation and soft pop rock. Again, a combination that doesn’t sound like it works. But you got to give Drown In Luv a try, because it does! Vocally, it is stunner and puts CIX on full display. Interestingly, it is when the members come together to repetitively deliver the title that was the ultimately highlight, with the rest of the song following through. (10/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

      OK Episode 1: OK, NOT Teaser Image

      [Album Review] Jack In The Box (1st Studio Album) – j-hope (BTS)

      j-hope is nominated for Best Male Soloist, Best Rap Performance (for Arson), Best Rap or Hip-Hop Song (for MORE) and other categories in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. BTS is also nominated for Best Stage Prescence and Best Special Performance. Support j-hope and BTS, along with your other favourite artists, songs and performances by clicking here to vote today.

      Another long overdue album review is finally here. Cast your mind back to earlier this year when BTS confirmed that they would be focusing on solo ventures in the foreseeable future. Soon after, j-hope was confirmed to be the first member to release new solo music following the announcement. Come June, j-hope released his first studio-length album, Jack In The Box, featuring the title track Arson, the pre-release single MORE, and 8 other singles. I was a bit hesitant about reviewing this album, as I am not a big fan of rap or hip-hop music, which is what j-hope has released in the past. But after deciding to just do it, Jack In The Box proved to be much more than rap or hip-hop music. Continue reading to see what else j-hope had to offer in Jack In The Box.

      Jack In The Box Album Cover

      1. Intro – The intro to the album isn’t an instrumental piece like most other introductory tracks. Instead, for Jack In The Box, the intro was a segment of the narration of the mythical story of Pandora’s Box. The narration zones into the part of the story, where after releasing all the darkness and evil from the box, Pandora discovered hope. Soon after, the narration cuts out.

      2. Pandora’s Box – While on topic, Pandora’s Box is the next track on the album. And it is a hip-hop track that goes in hard. There is a fair bit of angst behind j-hope’s delivery in the verses, which equates to a very passionate and intense track about his life as an idol. The chanting chorus was definitely the peak of the track, and leaves a deep impression on you in the final moments. (8/10)

      3. MORE (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for MORE. (8.5/10)

      4. Stop (세상에 나쁜 사람은 없다) Stop follows on neatly from MORE, continuing that urban-like feel that was present in MORE. When I listen to this track, I can imagine a music video of j-hope rapping whilst walking down the street. The track explores the topic of human nature, and I liked how he included audio of an arrest going on in the background. Going back to that idea of a music video, it sounds like he could walk past the situation and observe it play out in the music video. Other than that, Stop is a lot more laidback and finishes up quicker than you expect. (8/10)

      5. = (Equal Sign)Equal Sign flaunts both vocals and rapping over a hip-hop instrumental that I found to be quite refreshing and easy on the ears. I also like the funky undertones Equal Sign had, thanks to that bass. I really enjoyed how smooth yet deep j-hope’s vocals, which contrasted really nicely to the rapping in the first half of the song. The way he sung reminded me of the chorus of Where is The Love, an equally (pun unintended) hopefully track. (10/10)

      6. Music Box: Reflection – Heavy breathing, which I presume is j-hope was catching his breath, is played alongside the music box tune and some scratchy and dark synths. The music box tune and synths are two clashing opposites, but they come together to really create what felt like a deep interlude for the album.

      7. What If … – I really liked how the piano/keyboard starts off striking (which is a sample from Shimmy Shimmy Ya by Ol’ Dirty Bastard) and is slowly incorporated into the background of the grungy hip-hop beat. It was quite a smooth incorporation. Given the grungy hip-hop, What If… brings back rapper j-hope, who goes down low and brings us a raspy tone to the mix. (8/10)

      8. Safety Zone – j-hope brings soulful R&B to the album through with Safety Zone. And it makes sense, as the lyrics expresses j-hope’s desire for a ‘safe zone’ where he can clear headed and step away from his stressful life. I really liked the ‘Ooo’ in the background and the soulful vocals that come through at the end of the song. It makes Safety Zone a lot more emotive and yearning. His rapping was slow and paced in this song, which helped him expressed his confusion over where his ‘safe zone’ is. Overall, a well put together track that made me feel for j-hope. (10/10)

      9. FutureFuture was quite a change up in terms of sound, when you compare it to the rest of this songs on it. Future is a lot more upbeat, cheerful, playful and vibrant. And this works really well with the song’s more hopeful lyrics. I also like how j-hope sounds like he has a smile on his face whilst recording the song. There is a bit of a child’s choir in the background, which was a nice touch to the song. (8/10)

      10. Arson (방화)Click here to read the full review for Arson. (8/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

      Jack In The Box Teaser Image

      [Album Review] SHINING UP (2nd Mini Album) – TEMPEST

      TEMPEST is nominated for Best New Male Group and Most Underrated Song (for Can’t Stop Shining) in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support TEMPEST, and your other favourite artists, songs and performances by clicking here to vote today!

      As mentioned yesterday, my album review for TEMPEST’s SHINING UP is the next album review coming your way. And here it is. SHINING UP is the second mini-album from TEMPEST, following their debut earlier on the year. The lead single from the mini-album is Can’t Stop Shining. And alongside the title track, the mini-album features Young & Wild and two additional new songs. Following this comeback, TEMPEST more recently returned with the track DRAGON and their third mini-album, On & On. I have yet to decide whether On & On will be the focus of a future album yet, but I will make that call in the neat future. In the meanwhile, here are my thoughts for the SHINING UP, which end up delivering on the promising start we got through both Young & Wild and Can’t Stop Shining.

      SHINING UP Album Cover

      1. Young & WildClick here to read the full review for Young & Wild. (9/10)

      2. Can’t Stop ShiningClick her to read the full review for Can’t Stop Shining. (9/10)

      3. Only One Day (하루만)Only One Day is a pleasant pop track. I enjoyed the way the song started with the piano and the soft atmospheric tone, before we incline to the pop chorus. I really liked the soft airy approach of vocals in the chorus and the guitar that peeks through. I like how the rappers balance out the track by providing a bit of intensity to their portions of Only One Day. Overall, a pleasing and enjoyable track. (8/10)

      4. START UP – We enter funky territory with START UP, and this is fun and energetic track that I am digging. And at this very point in time (this review is being pre-written at 1 am in the morning to post over the holidays), I am definitely appreciating this injection of energy and dynamism that just really makes you feel alive. I love the groovy guitar work and the other details in the instrumental. TEMPEST also make the song feel very animated and entertaining with their energy-filled delivery. A very bold but awesome way to end off the mini-album. (9/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

      SHINING UP Teaser Image

      [Album Review] HARMONY: ZERO IN (4th Mini Album) – P1Harmony

      Support P1Harmony in the Best Overall Artist and Song categories of the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards by clicking here to vote and nominate today!

      The next album to get a review on my blog is P1Harmony’s HARMONY: ZERO IN, which was released way back in July of this year. This mini-album is lead by the title track Doom Du Doom, which I finally got around to reviewing earlier this week. It also features an additional five songs. The release of HARMONY: ZERO IN follows the group’s comeback from earlier on in the year (DISHARMONY: FIND OUT and the title track Do It Like This). More recently, the group returned with their fifth mini-album and the single Back Down, which I have already reviewed and will be posting said review on a nearby date. As for now, here is my review for HARMONY: ZERO IN.

      HARMONY: ZERO IN Album Cover

      1. Doom Du Doom (둠두둠) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Doom Du Doom. (8/10)

      2. Black HoleBlack Hole follows the title track with heavy and intense hip-hop energy. The rappers had amazing delivery, whist their segments appeared to have bouncy undertone (which I enjoyed). As for the vocals, there was solid display throughout the verses and the bridge. What really stole the limelight for me within Black Hole are the chanty choruses (which I thought was charming and playful), and the ‘Na Na Na’ hooks. Very memorable elements that stay in your head even after the song is completed. (8.5/10)

      3. Yes ManYes Man continues on with the fun sound from the title track through the pop genre. The instrumental was zomewhat memorable, with that flute-like synth really coming through during the chorus as a nice instrumental centrepiece. Aside from that, I quite enjoyed the simplicity of the song’s hooks. It really speaks volume. The raps were playful (I am sensing a theme). However, I felt like Yes Man could have done more. (7/10)

      4. Swagger Swagger was a pretty cool song. I expected it to just zone right into the hip-hop genre (just based on its title – I really should stop judging the book by its cover). But Swagger also features a bit of soul influence, which made Swagger to be quite high-spirited and continue this fun theme that is coming through each track in its own way. The addition of brass (the instrument of fun) was also a nice touch to highlight this. Overall, quite a clean and groovy track. (8/10)

      5. Mirror Mirror – If you want to know what part of Mirror Mirror should be iconic, I point to the delivery/drag of the title in the chorus. Definitely an impressive display of vocals from the vocalists. The rest of the song follows through. Strong raps, smooth vocals elsewhere, a groovy instrumentation that all makes Mirror Mirror another cool and strong track on this mini-album. I really enjoyed the hype energy that the members contributed to in the chorus, and the epicness of the bridge of Mirror Mirror. (8.5/10)  

      6. Different Song For Me – Ending the album is Different Song For Me, which is very much a different song to the rest of the album. I would argue this is the album’s most ‘serious’ sounding track. All the tracks on this mini-album have been fun or playful individually, while Different Song For Me takes the form of a pop rock ballad. Different Song For Me definitely had some great instrumental moments, such as during the pre-chorus. The vocals were superb and captivating. An amazing end to the mini-album, if you ask me. (10/10)  

      Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

      HARMONY: ZERO IN Teaser Image

      [Album Review] Bare&Rare Pt. 1 (2nd Studio Album) – CHUNG HA

      CHUNG HA’s Killing Me is nominated for Best Music Video and Best Pop Song in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support CHUNG HA and your other favourite artists, songs and performance by clicking here to vote today.

      Another long overdue album review is finally here. CHUNG HA made her comeback in July earlier this year with the lead single Snapping, which features as the title track of first part of her second studio album, Bare&Rare. Alongside Snapping, there are seven other tracks on the album, all of which will be reviewed today. It follows the release of her first studio album Querencia in 2021 and Killing Me single from late last year. More recently, we have seen CHUNG HA in collaborative singles like When I Get Old (with Christopher) and Color Me (with JUNNY). This first part of the second studio album proves to be top-notch and continues the strong impression that she left on me through her first studio album. More on the songs below.

      Bare&Rare – Pt. 1 Album Cover

      1. XXXXXXXX gives Bare&Rare a bold start, with the deep vibrating synth to kick off the song. This for sure leaves an impression on you. The rest of the song continues its dark tone, repeating the same deep and low vibrating synth, along with some trap beats. CHUNG HA sounds good in XXXX and she delivers her lines in a seductive and alluring manner, which I think makes sense with her intent of the song – which was to tease her haters and those who wrong, whilst also promising to return as a stronger person. (8/10)

      2. Sparkling (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Sparkling. (9/10)

      3. Louder – Next up is a pop track that has a funky and groovy undertone to it. Louder is simple, its feel-good and its just brings forth a positive mindset. CHUNG HA makes this song a pleasant one with her vocals, while the instrumental has a bouncy dance tinge to it, which I quite enjoyed. Personally, I am not a big fan of the children voices in the background to bulk up the final chorus. I liked the intent of it, but I felt like the kids made Louder feel quite childish. CHUNG HA is a mature artist and I wished she maintained that persona in Louder’s final moments. (8.5/10)

      4. Crazy Like You (ft. BIBI)Crazy Like You is such a moody song, but I am all for it. I really liked the slow swaying melody to this track, and how all the percussion adds texture to the song. There is also a bit of a rock influence to the song, which I would have liked the song to explore more of. CHUNG HA sounds great, and she really shines with this style of music. BIBI, while was great in her portion of the song, was heavily under-utilised. She was ideal for this song and could have brought more to Crazy Like You, but we never got to see what that would have eventuate to as we barely heard from her. (8/10)

      5. California Dream – We get another pop track through California Dream, and it delivers funky and groovy undertones once again. I love how subtle this track is, keeping to itself and never overwhelming. It is extremely pleasant and is quite enjoyable on the ears. I am loving the way the ‘반짝반짝한”(which roughly translates to ‘Sparkling’ in English) rolls off CHUNG HA’s tongue and starts of the chorus. This one is a charmer. (9/10)

      6. Good Night My Princess – As I had expected, Good Night My Princess is a ballad. And this one has special meaning to CHUNG HA as it is an ode to her mother. With that context in mind, I feel it is kind of rude to say anything other than praises for this track. But CHUNG HA doesn’t give me much opportunity to say anything negative, as it was a breathtaking pop ballad. The instrumental was dreamy and soothing, and I am loving the guitar work. CHUNG HA herself was captivating and sound beautiful throughout Good Night My Princess. (9/10)

      7. Love Me Out LoudLove Me Out Loud returns to the pop focus of this album. But this one is much more profound, going down the dance pop route. I mean, nothing says dance pop more than the piano or keyboard we hear in the song and those hollow synths. I like the way the chorus soars, courtesy of CHUNG HA herself, which (I think) made me go wow the first time I heard the song. She also made me go wow, again, for the bridge. Two wows. I think it is safe to say with such a song in a corner, CHUNG HA is definitely someone who belongs to the pop genre. (10/10)

      8. Nuh-Uh – Final song on the album is Nuh-Uh, which is probably the most experimental she gets on this album. The chorus was definitely a scene-stealer, with the flute work, the repetitive beats, trap elements and CHUNG HA’s attitude with some of her lines and a much lower tone delivery. I also found it to be quite intense, concentrating everything around it into an amazing centerpiece. Elsewhere in Nuh-Uh, we also get a deeper influence of traditional instruments and R&B. It is definitely a cool closer to the album. (8/10)

      Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

      Bare&Rare – Part 1 Teaser Image