[Album Review] INVU (3rd Studio Album) – Taeyeon (SNSD)

The album review for this weekend fits in with my focus on solo artists. Taeyeon (from SNSD) needs no introduction, as she is currently one of the most famous solo artists in KPOP at this moment. Since her solo debut back in 2015, Taeyeon has been delivering hit after hit, proving herself to be a momentous artists in the KPOP landscape. In February of this year, she returned with her third studio album, INVU, which features the title track of the same name, two pre-release tracks (Can’t Control Myself and Weekend) and ten other singles on the album.

INVU (the album) is another great release for Taeyeon. And this comes as no surprise to me, as I have already mentioned that she has many hits under her belt. A lot of the songs on INVU steals my attention, and Taeyeon’s vocals are shone in its best light yet. If I had to choose one word to describe the release, it would have to be ‘captivating’. Sure, the album has its strong and weak songs (find out which songs fit in which category below). But as a big picture, INVU does not disappoint.

INVU Album Cover

1. INVU (Title Track)Click here for the full review for INVU. (7.5/10)

2. Some Nights (그럼 밤) – If you are after a stunning pop ballad, then Some Nights is the song for you. It is hard for me to even write just a few comments about this song whilst listening to it, as I have to drop whatever I am doing to take it all in properly. Taeyeon’s vocals captivates and leaves me in awe, especially when she soars. The instrumental, which takes on a bit of a R&B profile, was heavenly and soothing. And together, they create an emotionally loaded atmosphere that is hard to ignore. (10/10)

3. Can’t Control MyselfClick here to read the full review for Can’t Control Myself. (9/10)

4. Set Myself On FireSet Myself On Fire is another song in which Taeyeon’s vocals just steals the show. The balladry instrumental we get acts as a blank canvas, whereas her vocals act like the paint strokes that paint an intense image. The harmonies, ad-libs and high notes she brings to the Set Myself On Fire act as noticeable details in image that adds depth and so much meaning to the song. Another 10/10 song in my opinion. (10/10)

5. Toddler (어른아이) – We enter more upbeat territory after a string of ballads with Toddler. But we aren’t talking anything overly upbeat. I actually find Toddler to be in the middle ground between what I would consider fully ‘upbeat territory’ and the songs that came before it. The funky instrumental does add colour and a much-needed kick to the album, while her vocals and melodies added an aesthetic touch that also makes Toddler a great piece. (8.5/10)

6. Siren – Like many of the other songs on the album, Siren is quite captivating and consistent. What impresses me about Siren is the chorus. It is impactful without being explosive or doing much. The synth backing differentiates it from the rest, and the presence of the barely audible sirens in the background was a nice addition. Taeyeon’s vocals are riveting (as always), and I quite enjoyed the spoken rap-like delivery that subtly changes things up in the second verse. (9/10)

7. Cold as HellCold as Hell is probably the most relatable song on this album at this moment in my life. Winter has started (not formally, but it definitely feels like it), and it is Cold as Hell. Anyhow, back to the song. I like how the instrumental embodies strength and power, opting for an instrumental that features splashes of trap, haunted house music and rock. It was sinister and creepy, but also has that empowerment tone to it. And the EDM drops give it a cool effect. I liked how Taeyeon’s vocals build in this, though I think her vocal delivery could have been more memorable in this song. (8/10)

8. Timeless – I like the upbeat pop energy that Timeless has. It is vibrant and colourful, which is much appreciated following two songs that were on the serious side of the spectrum. The instrumental was more on the ordinary side, however. I liked how Taeyeon’s vocals soared in Timeless, and how simple the melody was. But unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to make Timeless the most memorable or strongest song on this album, but it has its merits. (7/10)

9. Heart (품) – Another track that undoubtedly highlights Taeyeon’s vocals. I just like how her vocals inclines in the chorus, making it a memorable aspect/sequence of the song. This is different to her vocals in the verses which were a lot quieter and more grounded, and so I didn’t get much out of those verses. The instrumental takes on a pop ballad profile, driven by guitar riffs in the verses and constant piano tapping in the chorus. Again, a bit ordinary. But there were some good elements in Heart. (8/10)

10. No Love Again – The beat to No Love Again is quite addictive and definitely foot-tapping worthy. In addition to the beat, the guitar work and Taeyeon’s vocals come off as quite striking. While these elements should have been enough to make No Love Again stick for me, it interestingly did not. I guess it is a matter that the album had better songs, that ended up shoving No Love Again out of the spotlight. (7.5/10)

11. You Better Not You Better Not is my absolute favourite from this album. The song doesn’t shy from its rock roots, with the constant strumming guitar strongly indicating the direction in which You Better Not goes in. But the chorus still manages to surprise with its textured approach. It adds that head banging potential that I mentioned in my last song review. Also, the way Taeyeon’s deliver the pre-chorus was also a positive sign that I was going to enjoy the song. Taeyeon’s vocals were soft in that part (and for the rest of the song, as well), but was jammed packed into a tight timeframe to appear fast tempo. The falsetto at the end of each line at the start of the chorus was also a really nice touch. (10/10)

12. WeekendClick here for the full review of Weekend. (7/10)

13. Ending Credits – Taeyeon wraps up the album with a song appropriately titled as Ending Credits. Taeyeon’s tone and the music did a great job with closing out the album, conveying the right level of each to signal the end of the album. The synths brought an ethereal-like atmosphere to the song (though I might argue that they are slightly overpowering), and the actual ending of the song faded out so satisfyingly. It is lovely, overall. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

INVU Teaser Image

[Album Review] THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER ONE (1st Mini Album) – TREASURE

I have finally moved onto albums from February! Hooray! (That being said, I don’t have time to write up studio album reviews over this weekend, so there might be one or two from January coming in the next few weeks). Anyhow, first up in the start of the post-January album reviews is TREASURE with their first mini-album, THE SECOND STEP: CHAPTER ONE. It is the group’s first album release in over a year (their last being MY TREASURE from January 2021) and features the title track JIKJIN. Three additional side tracks are featured on the album as well, making it a shorter mini-album with four songs in total.

Overall, a fair mini-album from TREASURE. It seems like the title track focused more on the hype energy that is synonymous with YG Entertainment’s release, while the side tracks focused more on the vocals and softer side of TREASURE. Both show potential and promise for the group, and definitely has me wanting more from the group in the future.


1. JIKJIN (직진) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of JIKJIN. (9/10)

2. UU starts off with a piano melody and sounds like a soft track from the beginning. But U emerges as a groovy track from the first chorus. Both sides of the song stay from then on, creating a neat pop track that is fun and showcases the group’s vocals. With the chorus, I liked the short and sharp guitar riffs that brings the groovy/funky nature of U to life. I also liked the slight glitchiness we get ahead of the final chorus, which helps keeps the song interesting (and not repetitive) in its final moments. (8/10)

3. DARARI (다라리) – As far as I am aware, DARARI is supposed to get its own music video and that it has been shot already. But it appears that it hasn’t been released just yet. Hopefully, we don’t have wait long for said music video. Anyhow, DARARI is an extremely pleasant upbeat R&B track that has very catchy and memorable hooks. I like how everything rolls off so smoothly in this song, and how easy on the ears it is. Again, the group’s vocals are on display in this song, and they sounds really solid throughout DARARI. (9/10)

4. IT’S OKAY (괜찮아질 거야) – Final track on this short mini-album is a ballad. I guess YG albums aren’t immune from having the mandatory ballad (quite sure I have used this joke somewhere before). My impression of IT’S OKAY is that it is pleasant. For a mellow guitar-driven ballad like this, this is a good impression. The vocal work is nice, and I liked how they added definition via backing vocals and harmonies in the chorus. The ad-libs at the end showcased their abilities really well. Also, the way they incorporated the rappers felt logical and fitting for this mellow style. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10


[Album Review] Devil (2nd Mini Album) – Max Changmin (TVXQ)

Max Changmin made his return as a solo artist earlier this year in January with his second solo mini-album, Devil. It features the title track of the same name, two pre-release tracks (Fever and Maniac) that I had previously reviewed in a double review format, and three additional side tracks. It is his first Korean solo release since Chocolate (name of both title track and his first mini-album) back in 2020. Devil is the focus of this album review.

Devil is such a dynamic album. It starts off intense and extremely aesthetic. As the mini-album progresses, it slows down a bit, but still maintains that dynamic nature. It isn’t until the final song does the mini-album slow down considerably. Nonetheless, this mini-album is a strong one and this expected from such a legendary artist that is Max Changmin. Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments below.

Devil Album Cover

1. Devil (Title Track)Click here for the full review for Devil. (9.5/10)

2. ManiacClick here for the full review of Maniac. (10/10)

3. FeverClick here for the full review for Fever. (10/10)

4. AlienAlien features a groovy Latin instrumentation that I thought was quite neat. What really impresses me the most in Alien is Max Changmin’s vocals. It didn’t take long for Max Changmin and Alien to win me over. He ultilises both his high and low ranges in this song extremely well, and the entire track comes off smooth. The ending changes up the dynamics of Alien, by featuring a high pitched autotune backing vocals. It is interesting and gave off a unique effect to the song. (10/10)

5. Dirty Dancing – The instrumentation for Dirty Dancing is quite interesting. It also plays into the Latin sound. But instead of just being Latin influences, Dirty Dancing adds bass and synths to make Dirty Dancing a bit modern and robust. The bass in Dirty Dancing allows the beat to really come to life, whilst also making it powerful in a subtle manner. Max Changmin provides solid vocals for this song, and the hooks was super catchy. Another strong track from the solo artist. (9/10)

6. Airplane Mode – Final song on the mini-album is Airplane Mode, and it is the album’s most mellow track. It is so much softer compared to the previous tracks, and it is a nice way to ease out of an intense mini-album like this one. It also feels quite refreshing. I really liked the laid-back manner of the instrumentation, and the soft and delicate nature of Max Changmin’s vocals. It is quite a warm and lovely song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.4/10

Devil Teaser image

[Album Review] 6equence (2nd Mini Album) – Moonbyul (Mamamoo)

The final album review for this weekend is for Moonbyul. Mamamoo’s rapper returned as a solo artist back in January with the title track LUNATIC. This follows two pre-releases in December 2021, G999 (ft. Mirani) and Shutdown (ft. Seori), both of which are featured on the 6equence mini-album as well. In addition to the title track and pre-releases (per usual, you can find the links to their respective reviews in the body of the album review), there are two more side tracks, an introductory track and the English version of her title track (not factored into the final album rating).

6equence definitely shows Moonbyul’s range. She goes from a fun title track to very emotional and heavy ballads. I would love to hear Moonbyul explore more and attempt different styles, given that her parts in Mamamoo’s songs tend to be quite limited (however, that has changed more over time after she gained more confidence in her vocals). Continue reading to find out my thoughts on her side tracks and more!

6equence Album Cover

1. Intro: Synopsis – Starting off the mini-album is an intro track titled Synopsis. It is a smooth R&B track that exudes a sensual and alluring atmosphere. The long instrumental segments of this song tell me that Synopsis would be more of a performance piece (Spoiler: it definitely was a captivating one, based on a performance I found at her solo concert from earlier in the year, capturing the smooth and sensual descriptions I just mentioned). We do get some vocals, and they work well with the instrumentation. (8/10)

2. G999 (ft. Mirani)Click here for the full review for G999. (8.5/10)

3. Shutdown (머리에서 발끝까지) (ft. Seori)Click here for the full review for Shutdown. (9/10)

4. LUNATIC (Title Track) Click here for the full review for LUNATIC. (8/10)

5. For Me (너만 들었으면 좋겠다)For Me enters R&B ballad territory. The instrumental features straight forward acoustic guitar and simple percussion. Sometimes simplicity is just enough, and this song proves just that. The simple nature of For Me also allows the focus to be placed squarely on Moonbyul’s vocals. You can tell just from her tone (and of the instrumentation) that For Me is an emotionally loaded song, and the melodies make For Me quite riveting. A strong song, ‘for me’. (8/10)

6. Ddu Ddu Ddu (내가 뭘 어쩌겠니?)Ddu Ddu Ddu adds a slight kick to it that puts the song into mid-tempo waters, thanks to its band instrumentation. But that doesn’t really change much else, as Ddu Ddu Ddu continues the emotionally loaded direction of the album. And Moonbyul’s vocals a definitely top notch here. I find the band instrumental to be more up Moonbyul’s alley, as it enables for a smoother transition into rapping and Ddu Ddu Ddu’s style definitely fits her vocal tones. (9/10)

7. LUNATIC (English Version) – Refer to my full review of LUNATIC linked above.

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

6equence / LUNATIC Teaser Image

[Album Review] IN:VITE U (12th Mini Album) – PENTAGON

The next album review belongs to PENTAGON and their 12th mini-album since debut, IN:VITE U. This one also dropped in January (although I am now making a start on albums released at the end of January, which mean I am slowly catching up on the backlog of albums I want to review. Just ever so slightly, however.). IN:VITE U features the title track Feelin’ Like and five additional side tracks.

After finishing writing this album review, my summary comment is that I am very impressed with IN:VITE U. The quality of songs on this mini-album was well above average. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that I have previously enjoyed PENTAGON’s albums in the past (We:th springs to mind instantly). There are two 10/10 songs on this album, along with a slight alteration to the title track’s original song rating that I gave in the full review. Keep on reading below to find out which songs earned the perfect rating.

IN:VITE Album Cover

1. Feelin’ Like (Title Track)Feelin’ Like has grown on me since its release considerably. I have decided that I shall revisit this song in the future to update my review. In the meanwhile, I have decided to bump the song rating for Feelin’ Like to a 8/10. Click here for the full review for Feelin’ Like. (8/10)

2. One Shot (한탕)One Shot delves into alternative rock that actually comes off as quite sleek. I can imagine a cool and modern (because it is PENTAGON) cowboy style music video for this song. I quite liked the energy that comes from One Shot, especially during the chorus where the energy become quite relentless and subtly intense. Their vocals were quite clean throughout the One Shot, as well. But the scene-stealer moments of the song have to the ‘Are you ready?’ that starts off the song; is present at the start of the chorus and in the bridge; and merged into the background at the end of the song. Definitely pulled out the sleekness that I mentioned earlier. (10/10)

3. The GameThe Game kicks off with an opera one-liner, courtesy of Jinho. Right off the bat, this makes The Game super unique and intriguing to listen to. It doesn’t stay an opera piece, however, as The Game develops into an epic sounding dance track that thrives on intensity from both rock and EDM synths. What I appreciate about The Game is that opera influence isn’t lost. It re-incorporated into the song for the second verse. Overall, The Game is another standout track from this mini-album, and one (as a whole) that left a strong impression on me. (PS. Would love to see a live performance for this track, as well.) (10/10)

4. Call My NameCall My Name goes for bolder vocals (shouty at times, but I don’t mind that) that are extremely clear and clean. It is layered over funky instrumentation that also makes Call My Name a highlight on this mini-album. Electric guitars also played an important part in this song, giving it some cool twang and emphasises that funky sound. I also liked how catchy the song was, despite how straight-forward the repetitive hook was. (9/10)

5. Sparkling Night (관람차)Sparkling Night tones down the energy a notch, going for a (relatively) softer approach with its instrumentation. It is a synth pop track that has a melodic touch, both of which helps create and exudes a dreamy atmosphere. The hooks a bit more generic in this track, but they had a nostalgic vibe to them that helps make Sparkling Night an appealing listen nonetheless. (8/10)

6. Bad – An acoustic ballad closes out the album. The music doesn’t necessarily hint towards this, but the song is actually an emotional one. Again, the vocals are extremely clear and clean throughout this song, and the acoustic instrumentation is rather straight forward. It doesn’t score any innovative points. But what I did enjoy was that Bad still had an upbeatness to it, which I think makes it fitting for this album (i.e. after such songs that had intensity and strong energy, the album didn’t end with an overly slow and typical song). The balladry nature still was a nice way to finish off the album. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

IN:VITE U / Feelin’ Like Teaser Image

[Album Review] Restore (1st Mini Album) – JinJin & Rocky (ASTRO)

The next album review covered this weekend is Restore, the debut mini-album for ASTRO’s newest subunit, JinJin & Rocky. Restore, which is another album that dropped in January, features the title track Just Breath and four side tracks, three of which are solo tracks from the two members (one for JinJin and two for Rocky). The remaining side track is another single from the pair.

Compared to the other subunit under ASTRO (i.e. Moonbin & Sanha, who also recently came back), JinJin & Rocky have a very different and unique vibe that is more fun and bright. It comes as no surprise, given their witty and funny personalities and a title track that is as fun and outrageous. Let me know if you agree with my thoughts below and the summary of the album I just gave!

Restore Album Cover

1. Just Breath (숨 좀 쉬자) (Title Track)Click here for the full review for Just Breath. (9/10)

2. Lazy (ft. Choi Yoojung (Weki Meki))Lazy is JinJin’s solo songs on this mini-album, and it features Weki Meki member Yoojung. Lazy is a fairly simple song, consisting of a consistent piano and hip-hop based instrumental that comes off as lighthearted and fun. This lightheartedness and fun vibe is important in Lazy, offsetting the repetitive nature of the song. JinJin’s rapping is a bit heavy with the autotune, but is balanced out with Yoojung’s higher pitch vocals. Overall, a fair effort. (7/10)

3. Lock DownLock Down is my pick for best side track on this album. It is extremely dynamic, thanks to the bass and funky rock guitar that is present in the song. It almost felt like a stomping effect – quite effective in grabbing one’s attention. Both JinJin and Rocky showcased power in this song in their own way. JinJin obviously did it with rapping, while Rocky showed power through his vocals. I liked how both peaked at the end of the song, giving the song a strong ending that was unforgettable! (10/10)

4. Complete Me – Rocky’s first solo song comes in the form of Complete Me. Complete Me is quite a textured hip-hop dance song, with textures coming from both the instrumentation and vocals. It might be overwhelming for some (it did at first for me!), but repeat listens have helped lessen it. Now, I find Complete Me to be quite robust. Since Complete Me is a dance track and the textures gives it interesting potential, the song probably lends well as a performance piece, which is something that is definitely up Rocky’s wheelhouse. (8/10)

5. CPRCPR is the second solo song from Rocky, and it also closes out the mini-album. It is a pop ballad that explores more of Rocky’s vocals. I liked the energy, passion and power Rocky puts behind his vocals for this song. I was thoroughly impressed with him in CPR, especially when it came to the ad-libs and high notes that we got. I want to hear more of Rocky like this in ASTRO’s work, as he has proven himself to be a capable vocalist. I also enjoyed the 90s instrumentation that CPR had in the background. Not spectacular, but definitely nice. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

[Album Review] Midnight Guest (4th Mini Album) – fromis_9

It is the weekend, so it is time for another album review. This album review is focused on fromis_9’s release from earlier in the year (you guessed it, another January release), Midnight Guest, which is the group’s fourth mini-album since their debut. The mini-album features the title track DM and four other new songs (including two unit tracks). Midnight Guest also serves as the group’s first album release after it was announced that the group would be exclusively managed by Pledis Entertainment (the home of SEVENTEEN, and former NU’EST members Minhyun and Baekho).

Midnight Guest is a pleasant album, and this was the reason why I picked it up for an album review. Furthermore, I really enjoyed DM as a title track and wanted to delve more into their side track. Have a read of my thoughts on the individual songs on the album, and leave a comment below on whether you agree with me.

Midnight Guest Album Cover

1. Escape RoomEscape Room starts off the mini-album in such an unexpected, but also exciting manner. Escape Room takes on a sexy R&B sound that is unexplored territory for the group. And fromis_9 definitely nailed this song. Hoping we hear more of fromis_9 in this style in the future. I enjoyed the slightly groovy nature of the chorus, and their smooth vocals definitely showcased their talents and capabilities. I would have loved to hear some rapping in this song, just to break the song’s consistency. (9/10)

2. DM (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for DM. (8.5/10)

3. Love is Around – The first unit track on the album, Love Is Round, features Lee Saerom, Song Hayoung, Jang Gyuri and Lee Chaeyoung. It takes the form of a ballad that is soothing and calming to listen to. It isn’t the most memorable track on this album, simply because it is soft ballad. However, at the same time, Love Is Around does have its merits, thanks to its soft ballad nature. The members sound really nice, while the instrumental was atmospheric and drifty, similar to what you expect with a lullaby. Altogether, it is warm and comforting to listen to. (8/10)

4. Hush Hush – The second unit track features the other half of the group (Park Jiwon, Roh Jisun, Lee Seoyeon, Lee Nagyung and Baek Jiheon). I found Hush Hush to be a pleasantly upbeat track. For this song, I use the word ‘pleasantly’ in a positive manner, as I quite enjoyed the song. While nothing in particular stood out within Hush Hush, I found there to be this happy energy and feel-good vibe to the song that helped it become appealing to me. (8/10)

5. 0g – Ending the mini-album is a city pop track. 0g takes on a slower profile, which is a nice way to ease out of this mini-album. The vocals in the song are silky and extremely pleasant (again, used in a positive manner), complementing the slower city pop instrumentation. Stronger and memorable hooks and melodies would have added an additional layer of appeal to the song. But overall, a good ending to this mini-album. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Midnight Guest / DM Teaser Image

[Album Review] Illusion (1st Mini Album) – Kim Yohan (WEi)

The next album review is for Kim Yohan’s first mini-album, Illusion. No surprises here, but it is also another album release from January. It features Kim Yohan’s comeback single, DESSERT, and four other tracks. Illusion is his first solo release since debuting as part of WEi. He previously made his solo debut back in 2020 with No More.

Illusion was a decent mini-album release. While majority of the song’s shared that decent description (DESSERT is unfortunately one of them, but I have warmed up a bit to the lead single since its release), there were two knock out songs on the album that I highly recommend you check out. Keep on reading to find out which two songs they are. And let me know if you agree with my thoughts.

Illusion Album Cover

1. DESSERT (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for DESSERT. (7/10)

2. SELFISH – Kim Yohan’s vocals is freaking amazing in this track. I am always in awe with his vocals in this track every time I have played Kim Yohan’s album. I really liked how he employs his deeper tone in this song, making himself appear mature and emotive. When it comes to the chorus, his vocals paired with the synth instrumental makes the main centrepiece explosive and nostalgic for me. I am thrown back to the pop tracks from the 00s with this song. His deeper tone allows for a flawless transition into rapping. SELFISH is an awesome song that I just want to go back to. (10/10)

3. BADBAD makes a strong impression from the start as it starts off with a slaying rap verse (and replicates a similar effect for the second verse). It is definitely the song’s strongest moment, and one I like reliving by the number of times I have been drawn back to BAD. The chorus is another strong moment in the song. It’s busy with the synth heavy hip-hop instrumentation and the hype/energy that Kim Yohan brings via the vocals. But it isn’t overwhelming and creates a stunning centre for the song that I am all for. I just wish the hooks for BAD were a tad stronger. (9.5/10)

4. Landing On You (저공비행)Landing On You follows a hip-hop trajectory, but is also playful and youthful. Unfortunately, I think Landing On You a bit typical and the whole instrumental feels a bit dated (particularly since it follows dynamic songs like SELFISH and BAD). Interestingly, I am not entirely turned off by Landing On You. It instead becomes a pleasant listen, even though Kim Yohan does hit it hard at some moments in the song. (7/10)

5. Star (반짝이는 별들처럼 나침반이 되어줘요) – Finishing up the illusion is Star, serving as the mini-album’s mandatory ballad. It is definitely soothing and calming track with a pleasant acoustic instrumentation. Kim Yohan sounds nice and dreamy, and I am liking the harmonies with the background vocals (especially at the end). I did wish that he was incorporated better into the song, however. There were moments where it sounded a bit awkward, with him and the instrumental not feeling connected, if you understand what I mean. I am also not a fan of the rapping. It distracted me from the pleasant nature of the song. But overall, a decent listen still. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Illusion Teaser Image

[Album Review] VILLAIN (3rd Mini Album) – DRIPPIN

The album review that I was supposed to post last weekend (which ended up being delayed to Monday and then Wednesday) was for DRIPPIN’s third mini-album, VILLAIN. It is also another January release (only three months behind now, no biggie). The mini-album features the title track that shares the same name as the mini-album, an introductory track and four side tracks.

VILLAIN is the first time I am covering DRIPPIN in the album review segment. I remember vetting the album way back in January to see whether I should write an album review for it, and it got my attention then (that explains the existence of this album review). While my excitement for the album and its track has probably evaporated over the last three months, I am still keen on looking at new artists in segments. Furthermore, one of the songs on the album earns a 10/10 rating from me. Keep on reading to find out which one!

VILLAIN Album Cover

1. 7Villaz – DRIPPIN sets the tone for this mini-album with the super intense and powerful intro EDM track, 7Vilaz. It contains samples of the title track’s main hook in the background, which is a nice way to tie the intro to the title track (which is next up on the album). It has been a while since I heard some I was describe as high octane, so this is quite a fulfilling piece. (8/10)

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

3. Switch Switch continues on from VILLAIN with a groovier instrumental. If I had to describe it in a particular way, I would say that Switch’s instrumental sounded almost ‘retro sci-fi like’. There is also a familiarity with Switch’s background. Aside from that, Switch had a lot of good energy and momentum, which makes it is a very satisfying side track. In addition to that, you have solid vocals and rapping from the members. My favourite parts have to be pre-choruses and the brief rap sequence at the end of the bridge that starts off with the line ‘Break the rules’. Both were memorable manners of delivery, in my opinion. (9/10)

4. SHY – The album mellows out a bit with SHY. To me, it sounds like a nice summery track that sounds sweet and cheerful. There were a few good hooks in the song that helped make SHY pleasant and enjoyable. It isn’t the most amazing track on the album (it is more so typical), but still a decent listen. (7/10)

5. DelusionDelusion is my pick for best side on this album release. The intensity that comes from this track is one reason (and leads into the next). Another reason is that when I listen to this song, I am picturing an action-based story music video would be the ideal accompaniment to the song. Furthermore, I liked the consistent vocals in Delusion, which brought forth an emotive side to the song. I found that quite interesting and I am all for it, as it has impact. (10/10)

6. Remember – The album ends with another summery sounding track, thanks to the tropical elements of Remember’s instrumentation. Its upbeat and quite satisfying to listen to. Like the other summery track on this album, Remember isn’t as memorable as the other side tracks on the album. I wished it (and SHY) was released on a separate summer album, that way the song would feel more ‘at home’ and give way for DRIPPIN to deliver a more consistent album. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

VILLAIN Teaser Image

[Album Review] x‿x (SMiLEY) (1st Mini Album) – YENA

Next up on the album review front is YENA’s solo debut mini-album, creatively titled as x‿x (SMiLEY). It features the title track SMILEY (which features soloist BIBI) and dropped on 18 January 2022. There are four additional side tracks on this album, as well. This release is YENA’s biggest promotion (to date) following the disbandment of IZ*ONE in early 2021.

Overall, another strong album release, this time for a solo debut. It is already led by the amazing title track, SMILEY, which you can read the full review below. And the additional four side tracks definitely showcase more of YENA’s potential as a solo artist going into the future. I can’t wait to see what new tracks YENA will comeback with in the future! Until then, here is my album review for x‿x (SMiLEY).

PS. The second album review that was supposed to come out today will be delayed until tomorrow. 🙂

x‿x SMiLEY Album Cover

1. Before Anyone Else – Starting off her first mini-album is a ballad. Usually, the ballads are kept towards the second half or ends of an album, and I can see why that is the case with this song. Personally, Before Anyone Else isn’t my cup of tea, simply because it a fairly slow ballad. I like my fair share of ballads, but this one didn’t have too much going on in it and felt too consistent from start to end. And it also started off the album in a pretty sluggish manner. Despite that, the ballad did what ballads do best – that is showcase the vocals. And Before Anyone Else did just that, with Yena coming off as dreamy and soothing throughout this song. (7/10)

2. SMILEY (feat. BIBI) (Title Track) Click here to read the full review of SMILEY. (9/10)

3. LxxK 2 ULxxK 2 U continues the rock sound from the title track, combining it with pop. The chorus was extremely memorable thanks to the melody and the energy that comes off it (head-banging in a way). What really stood out to me in Lxxk 2 U was how the rock element complimented YENA, never overpowering or overstepping the artist. Even during the bridge where we got angsty YENA, the intensity of the autotune and rock increased sufficiently to give off that angsty vibe but keep it within the wheelhouse of YENA herself. Compared to the rest of the song, the bridge was a bit of a curveball, but it managed to work without departing too far from the rest of Lxxk 2 U. (10/10)

4. PRETTY BOYSPRETTY BOYS almost comes in as my favourite side track on this album (potentially a tie with Lxxk 2 U), but narrowly misses out. I really like the funky vibes from this track and the retro direction that the instrumental took. It is pretty much on point with what else is going in the industry at the moment. The repetitive hooks throughout PRETTY BOYS really made the song catchy for me. Combine that with the energy of the upbeat instrumental, you have a winning formula. However, when it came to her raps in this song, I wished the instrumental concentrated slightly, just to give those raps a bit more zing in this already upbeat track. (9/10)

5. VACAY – The album ends of with a fairly straight forward pop track. There is some good energy that comes from this track that reminds me of Summer, and I think this is a great song to have on repeat during those incoming hot months (for you Northern Hemisphere people). One thing that I haven’t yet commended YENA on for are her high pitch vocals. And while she does extremely well with them throughout the album, VACAY really showed off her tone and control. I also like how she manages to portray that summer energy in her voice as well. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

x‿x (SMiLEY) Teaser Image

[Album Review] Complete With You (2nd Special Album) – AB6IX

I am now back with the album reviews after an intermission last week to focus on the remaining songs from last week’s wave of comebacks. I am hoping to get another two album review out tomorrow, but I Today’s focus is on AB6IX’s Complete With You, which is a special album release. It features the title track 1, 2, 3 and was released mid-January. It also features four solo songs from each of the members. A similar album full of solo releases from AB6IX dropped in 2019, 5NALLY, which I have reviewed if you want to check out other solo songs from the AB6IX members. I regard that album to be the AB6IX’s first special album, making Complete With You their second special album release since debut.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the review, you will notice a ‘recommended’ sticker has been added to this review. That sticker is there to show that I recommend this album (and any other album with the sticker) to everyone out there, as the album is of a high calibre and shouldn’t be missed. That essentially is what I think of Complete With You. The individual solo tracks on this album each showcase the strengths of each members and I was extremely satisfied whilst listening to the album. Even the title track was quite enjoyable and catchy, even after many weeks after its release! Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments section below!

Complete With You Album Cover

1. 1, 2, 3 (Title Track)Click here for the full review of 1, 2, 3. (8/10)

2. VENUS (Kim Donghyun Solo)VENUS is an ultra-smooth R&B track that just captivates. There are very strong sensual vibes throughout this song thanks to the instrumentation. Very different to his solo song from the 5NALLY album. In particular, I really enjoyed the guitar work in this song for highlighting those sensual vibes I just mentioned. Donghyun’s vocals also sleek and fits the sensual nature of this song very well. His rapping was also a nice treat, adding another dimension and powerful energy to Venus through its autotuned and roughened texture. Definitely a standout on this album. (10/10)

3. CONSOLATION (위로) (Park Woojin Solo) – It comes as no surprise to me that Park Woojin’s solo song would delve into the hip-hop genre. CONSOLATION’s flow is definitely the standout feature of this song and it showcases Park Woojin’s rapping skillset in a very strong limelight. I felt as if Woojin did not take a breath in this track and consistently delivered his lines without hardly a break! I liked how the instrumental of CONSOLATION kept a low profile (almost a fast-ish tempo lo-fi featuring a squeaky synth, which I did not mind) throughout, allowing the focus to be purely on Park Woojin. (8.5/10)

4. CRAZY LOVE (Jeon Woong Solo)– Aside from the title track, CRAZY LOVE is the other upbeat track on this album. It is more consistent from start to end and could have benefited from more variety within itself. The R&B instrumentation felt very ‘rinse and repeat’ to me. But what really saves CRAZY LOVE are the melodies that formed up the chorus. To me, they had a memorable and appealing ring to it, which made it very enjoyable and satisfying. Woong’s vocals also had this raspy approach, which added some additional depth to the song. (8.5/10)

5. IN YOUR EYES (너의 눈에 내가 보여서) (Lee Dae Hwi Solo) – Finishing up the solo tracks and the album is Lee Dae Hwi with IN YOUR EYES. The song takes the form of a ballad. What stands out in IN YOUR EYES are Lee Dae Hwi’s vocals. He sounds so soothing and definitely delivered the emotions that is being conveyed in the vocals. The melodies utilise Lee Dae Hwi’s vocals so well, adding extra sway to the song. The electric guitar to the song was also a nice touch, adding a bit of flair to the song. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

Complete With You / 1, 2, 3 Teaser Image

[Album Review] Planet Nine: Voyager (4th Mini Album) – ONEWE

As promised yesterday, an album review just before 6PM KST. Why specifically before 6PM KST today? Well, that is when the comebacks for the second half of the month begin and I have previously mentioned that this second half of the month is going to get crazy. Anyhow, the album review is for ONEWE’s fourth mini-album, Planet Nine: Voyager. It was released 4 January 2022 and features the title track Universe_ that also dropped on the same day.

Not to spoil this album review, but it is already the highest rated album of the year for me. Now, that isn’t saying much given that we are only in the third month of 2022. But, based on past experience, the high rating Planet Nine: Voyager has received is actually in the range of being one of the highest rated albums ever reviewed! And if this high rating is an indication of anything, it is definitely the high praises I give it. Let me know if you agree with my thoughts for the overall mini-album and tracks below!

Planet Nine: Voyager Album Cover

1. Universe_ (너의 우주는) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Universe_. (10/10)

2. Envision_ (우물 속 작은 아이) Envision_ takes the form of a pop rock ballad that I would describe as ethereal. The paced nature and atmosphere created by the instrumentation was just stunning and an excellent backdrop to this song. The drums added that perfect amount of punch to the song to keep it from drifting away or being repetitive. The vocals were extremely complimentary to the instrumentals and the melodies gave the pop rock ballad that swayable effect I personally love in ballads. I personally cannot find any issues with this song based on my personal taste. (10/10)

3. Montage_ (꿈속에서 놓친 너, 옅은 잠결에 흐르길)Montage_ goes for a much more intense profile that instantly appeals to me. It is the side track that really spoke to me when I was vetting the album to see if it was worth reviewing (spoiler: it definitely was worth reviewing!). This is thanks to the rock elements in the instrumental. The solo guitar moments and the intensity brought on by the drums for the final chorus all made this song top notch as well. As for the vocals, I liked how controlled and balanced the members kept themselves throughout the song. The opening melodies for the chorus were also stunning. (10/10)

4. Trigger_ (시발점)Trigger_ also instantly stands out for the smooth vocals and piano melody in the verses. It definitely got a few ‘oohs and aahs’ from me. Elsewhere, Trigger_ is an interesting song, opting for various textures and influences. We get a bit of elegant balladry, rock intensity and hip-hop styled rap in it. Together, they are mashed to create a track that somehow clicks. I did think the rock elements could have gone a bit harder, just so they can be more pronounced. But Trigger_ undoubtedly works. (9/10)

5. Orbit_ (궤도)Orbit_ leads us back into ballad territory, but the song is much more than just a typical ballad. It may not be as groundbreaking as the previous tracks on this album, but Orbit_ is beautifully executed (as is the case with every other ONEWE song). The acoustic guitars really set the tone, while the subtler rock influences allow the song to expand further than just ballad territory. The vocal work is also very beautiful and a delight to listen to. (8.5/10)

6. From_ (선물할게요) – The final song on the album is a straight-up ballad. We do get a bit of inclination from the instrumental that enables the presence of rock influences, but I feel that From_ never really departs from its ballad roots. What makes From_ a stunning end to the album are the vocals and harmonies, which creates a soothing and likeable atmosphere to end the album with. I found myself drifting away as I was captivated by the members. My only disappointment with this track is that it is simply the end of the album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.4/10

Planet Nine: Voyager / Universe_ Teaser Image

[Album Review] Novella (10th Mini Album) – UP10TION

Next to get an album review is UP10TION, for their 10th mini-album, Novella. This was released on 3 January 2022, the same day in which their title track Crazy About You also dropped. Like their most recent comeback (SPIN OFF), this one featured only seven members with Kim Woo Seok and Lee Jin Hyuk sitting out due to solo promotions (and their solo careers, while member Jinhoo is currently serving in the military.

Novella is another really strong album release that I should have covered earlier in the year. Unfortunately, their comeback has since fallen off my radar and I won’t be surprised if it has fallen off other people’s radars, as well (it seems to be the usual occurrence a few weeks after an UP10TION comeback). So it is nice to get it back on my radar through this album review and I hope that this album review is a nice reminder that UP10TION made a comeback earlier in the year! Maybe you will even find another favourite song somewhere on this album. Continue reading to see my thoughts on the album!

Novella Album Cover

1. Give Love – Starting off Novella is Give Love, which I can best describe as a stylish beginning to the mini-album. Give Love dips into the deep house genre, creating a very sleek and elegant profile. The piano that kicks off the song and reappears throughout the song really emphasized this, as well. The chorus, which reverts Give Love into a dance track briefly, had great energy. The synergy between the deep house and dance sides of the track is quite cool. I also really enjoyed the vocals and rapping in Give Love, which had some pop and (like the other elements) all contributed to the sleek/elegant nature of the song. (8.5/10)

2. Crazy About You (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Crazy About You. (7/10)

3. PANDORAPANDORA has some dark energy that I am totally down for. It’s their strongest track on this album, both in terms of energy and execution. This also would have been a cool title track (my mind is whirling with different dark concepts – for some reason, the medieval era jumped into my mind), as well! I enjoyed the dramatic and intense flair that PANDORA had. The whistle was pretty cool, and I liked it as a bit of a centrepiece in the instrumental. The members really came through with their vocals and rapping, all showing intensity and power behind their delivery. (10/10)

4. Incredible (설레 (雪來)) – Despite it opting for funky and groovy sound that has dominated KPOP for a while now, Incredible somehow comes off as quite fresh. Not sure how, but it just does. Incredible has this bright tone that I enjoyed and I also found the vocals to be quite vibrant. On the other hand, the rappers ground the track with their deeper rapping tones, which added maturity. (9/10)

5. FALLFALL is a pleasant track on this album. It comes to life thanks to pop band instrumentation that makes for a nice background piece. It isn’t too heavy or too light, opting for a nice balance that I personally find likeable. I like how most of the vocals glide over the instrumentation, while other members, like the rappers, brought a raspy tone to FALL (which compliments the use of the band instrumentation quite well). The melodies were also quite nice, helping bring some emotional heft to the song. (8/10)

6. SAD ENDING – Finishing off the album is SAD ENDING. It is quite a somber end to the album, based on its tone and title. But it is a nice display of UP10TION’s vocals, especially with its straightforward execution and delivery. The melodies were really nice. I like the R&B instrumentation, especially with the guitar in the background. The entire instrumental gives off a delicate feel, which compliments the vocal tone of the song. I just found it to be the least interesting side track on this album. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Novella / Crazy About You Teaser Image

[Album Review] MARVELOUS (3rd Mini Album) – MIRAE

Next up on the album review trail is is MIRAE’s third mini-album, MARVELOUS. Featured on the album is the title track that shares the same name as the mini-album and also five other new tracks. This album dropped in the second week of January, more specifically on 12 January 2022.

This album is centred heavily on the pop genre. The first half of the album was very strong and really showcased MIRAE. The second half faltered slightly, but it still contributed to an enjoyable album overall. Let me know which song was your favourite and whether you agree with my thoughts below for each Keep on reading for my thoughts on each song, along with Marvelous’s full review (the title track, that is). Let me know if you agree or disagree with me in the comments section below.


1. Future LandFuture Land starts off the album by swinging with a hip-hop infused funk sound. It is an impressive track as it kicks the whole album with a very energetic and positive note. The funky sound brings a fun vibe to the song that I just want to go back to. The rappers, which dominate the likes of Future Land, really nail their parts in the verses/choruses and helps bring that hip-hop side to life. The vocalists come off strong just as well as the rappers, just they don’t get much of the bright limelight. I wished the final chorus was a bit more concentrated, just to give us that ‘icing on the cake’ effect at the end. (9/10)

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

3. JUICE – I found JUICE to be a such a clean track. It delves into the pop genre, which I find the members and producers to have nailed perfectly. I like the slightly funky tinge the guitars brought to the song. The melodies and hooks were very catchy, while the rapping and vocals were executed perfectly and I had no issues with them. My only complaint about JUICE was about how it was over so soon (just under the 3 minute mark). But when I think back in retrospect, maybe that was intentional to make JUICE succinct and hence super effective. (10/10)

4. Final CutFinal Cut sounds like it could have been a very edgy track title. But instead, Final Cut has a summer holiday vibe, with a lot of its instrumental reminding me of descriptive words such as ‘tropical’ and ‘island getaway’. TWICE’s Alcohol-Free also popped into my mind whilst listening to the song. Aside from that mismatch expectation, Final Cut was a decent track, with enjoyable melodies and a bright profile. (7.5/10)

5. Amazing (소름)Amazing is another promising track on this album. It delves into the pop genre once again. There were pleasant melodies. The vocals and rapping are pretty good. Everything compliments each other very well. Unfortunately, Amazing doesn’t stand out as much on this album to me because I felt the song was somewhat under-developed in comparison to the other side tracks on this album. I guess it could be the typical and standard aura that comes off it, but I also felt the those mentioned elements (instrumental, vocals and rapping) all could have gone further. (7/10)

6. Dear My Friend (일곱페이지) – The line ‘You are my friend, my friend’ is quite a memorable one. The album ends with Dear My Friend. It is a lot more mellow and wholesome sounding, which makes senses based on the vocals. I liked the mixture of vocals and rapping in this song, along with the synths in the instrumental. Everything comes together to create a pleasant end to the album. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

MARVELOUS Teaser Image

[Album Review] DISHARMONY: FIND OUT (3rd Mini Album) – P1Harmony

The next album from the current year to be reviewed is P1Harmony’s third mini-album, DISHARMONY: FIND OUT, which dropped on the 3rd of January 2022. It was the group’s first comeback in almost a year, following the title track Scared and their second mini-album, DISHARMONY: BREAK OUT (which I did not write an album review for).

I was a bit on the fence of writing this particular album review, given that it is two months after its release. The deciding factor came to me when I listened to the album earlier in the week (to help pick the next few albums to be reviewed). I had some good thoughts about each of the songs and there was also a standout song on here in the midst of all the good thoughts I had. So, I decided I would write an album review for DISHARMONY: FIND OUT, and share the album around, just in case you didn’t check it out already. Hope you enjoy the album, as well!


1. Do It Like This (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for Do It Like This. (8/10)

2. That’$ Money – Following the title track is That’$ Money, which is a hip-hop track that packs a punch. I find this song to be extremely effective on all fronts. The instrumental had really strong rhythm. Subtle at first, but it ended up developing into the main pull to the song. The chanty line that kicked off the song, which ended up being That’$ Money’s main hook, was extremely catchy and memorable. The members also sounded amazing in this song, with their delivery adding a dynamic touch to the song. (9/10)

3. Follow MeFollow Me also had a strong sense of rhythm during the verses. The momentum gave the song a powerful aura that I could not get enough of. But what really got me was the explosive chorus, which takes on a powerful EDM drop. Piecing the verses and chorus together, you get a very driven track. Unfortunately, everything else felt weak in comparison. It isn’t disappointing, but the other elements within Follow Me could have been more developed to be on par with the momentum of the instrumental. (8/10)

4. Bop – Compared to the two previous side tracks, Bop relies more on the members than the instrumental. The instrumental was good, but it isn’t as dynamic as in That’$ Money or Follow Me. The members did a good job of holding ground for Bop, with a lot of the delivery tweaked to be smooth to compliment the instrumental. I also enjoyed the subtleness of the instrumental elements, for example, the backing harmonies. But it isn’t an as memorable track (both musically, lyrically and delivery), as per the other tracks, which reduces its appeal for me. (7/10)

5. Before The Dawn – P1Harmony has aligned more so with the hip-hop genre, so their rappers naturally are shown off more often. But Before The Dawn flips that, with the vocalists being the main stars in this song (despite the rappers taking bulk of the song). When I listen to Break The Dawn, particularly the vocal sections (i.e. vocal delivery, melodies etc.), I can’t help but think that this song could have gone miles in the Western industry. It just has this Western feel to it that makes it so promising. The rapping, even though are the shiny centre of the track, backs up the vocals and my thought on how good the song could be in the Western industry. (10/10)

6. Peacemaker Peacemaker is a pop ballad that has very warm and hopeful lyrics. And the same thing can be said about the song. In addition to that, I also find it to be quite a wholesome to end the album with. Its placement and presence seem a bit typical, but it was nice nonetheless. Once again, the vocals shine brightly in this song. But the rappers do a great job with their parts as well. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Do It Like This / DISHARMONY: FIND OUT Teaser Image

[Album Review] FIRST IMPACT (1st Mini Album) – Kep1er

Finally, the first album review for an album released in 2022. I am only two months behind. Of course, I start off with the first major release of the year, that is Kep1er’s debut mini-album, FIRST IMPACT. For those who missed Kep1er’s debut, they began their careers on 3 January 2022 with WA DA DA. This followed a slight delay due to some of the members testing positive to COVID-19 in December 2021, just before their original debut date. FIRST IMPACT also features two new original tracks, and three tracks from Girls Planet 999, the show in which they were formed from. I didn’t pay attention to the survival show when it first aired in early 2021, so I am not familiar with the songs from Girls Planet 999 apart from O.O.O when it was first released.

Overall a fair album to kick off their careers. I do hope that the quality of their subsequent comeback tracks have more impact and this is reflected throughout the albums as well. Do you agree me? Have a read of my thoughts below and let me know in the comments!


1. See The LightSee The Light is the album’s introductory track. While it is a satisfactory introduction to the group and the album, I found it to be a bit all over the place. Each EDM segment we get in this song (I would say there are 6 very distinct segments throughout this less than 2 minute track) is quite different to the other and makes it hard to focus on other elements in See The Light. More memorable lines/moments would have also been nice. (7/10)

2. WA DA DA (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for WA DA DA. (6.5/10)

3. MVSK – Without a doubt, I am with the crowd on this one. MVSK is the album’s best track. I just love the attitude and personality that oozes from this song. I found the house elements in the instrumental to be very dynamic. The pauses in the chorus (which in turn gave off a choppy effect) and in other parts of the chorus made the song feel unique and also helped propelled the song forward. It also grabs my attention. The vocals here (from delivery to mixing) was really well done and impressive. (10/10)

4. Shine (Kep1er Version) – As mentioned, this is the first time I am reacting to most of the songs from Girls Planet 999. Shine is pretty energetic in many ways and shows off the group in an incredible youthful light. The chanty moments of the song (start of the song, start of the second verse and end of the song) were quite memorable. It also complimented the instrumental of the entire song, which gave me pop anthem vibes. For the most part, the vocals and rapping was pretty good. But I wished the members toned some of the cutesy vocals down. It just gave a cringy factor to the song. (8/10)

5. Another Dream (Kep1er Version)Another Dream is a ballad, which is a common performance piece in the finale of any MNET KPOP survival show. As usual like the other finale episode ballads, the melodies are stunning, and I like the hopeful energy that comes from Another Dream. The swayable nature of the song is present, and this version no doubt shows off Kep1er’s vocal potential. It is not the most memorable side track on this album, but it is definitely up there. (8/10)

6. O.O.O (Over&Over&Over) (Kep1er Version) – I do remember listening to this song when it was first unveiled as the main song for the show. Back then, I didn’t care for O.O.O as much. And unfortunately, I don’t think my perspective of the song has changed. The chorus has the right tone for it to be a main track, with it being bright, youthful and energetic. It does lack the same flair when compared to the Produce 101 main tracks, but I could overlook that. It is what happened elsewhere in the song that didn’t sit well with me. I always thought dramatic flair that featured in the bridge was a bit odd. I didn’t mind it at the start as an opener, but it just felt awkward in the bridge. The hip-hop influenced rap second verse sequence was also a big questionable moment for me. It really cut the flow of the song, and didn’t fit in. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10