[Review] Still Loving You – 100%

As mentioned yesterday, I will be slowly catching up on reviews from last week that I have yet to write. As a result, reviews for some songs this week may be delayed a day or two. I will try to keep the impact as low as possible. One of the releases that I missed last week is 100%’s latest comeback, Still Loving You, which is featured on their 6th mini-album, RE:tro. This is the group’s first comeback since their Heart comeback last year in Korea and 28℃ in Japan.

Still Loving You is described as a pop-dance track with retro influences. And pretty much, we get just that. And, I think ‘standard’ is pretty much the right word to describe this song The song opens up this whistling sound, which I thought was rather ear-catching. The retro influences were heard throughout the song but were most prevalent during the chorus, mainly through the keyboard that they used. But the song lacked definition, leaving us with a very bland atmosphere. Sure, the whistling does help but it isn’t anywhere near enough to give it a bold or defining element. Unfortunately, this also passed onto other elements. Though I like their singing and rapping in the song, their melody was just not profound or memorable. So, we ended up getting a very passable song. The most interesting part has to be the low-tone rapping at finishes off the song, which gave the song something interesting. But as it is positioned at the end of the song, it is far too late to compensate for the song’s blandness. Sorry, this is the way I feel about the song but these are the thoughts I continually have while listening to the song.

My exact same thoughts above can be said for the music video. I thought the video was rather boring and didn’t have anything interesting to really hold my attention for long. Actually, there isn’t anything to really set it apart from the rest of the competition.  Through their acting, you can tell they went for an emotional route, where they still seem to miss their former lovers. This is matching to the song’s lyrics. But apart from that, I can’t find anything positive to say.

The choreography has to be my favourite bit of this comeback. It is far more captivating than the song and music video. I really liked how they started off the performance (I can’t think of a name suitable to point this part out but it is the one with the shoulder movements) and how their moves during the chorus seemed to allow their vocals to flourish in the live performances.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 5.4/10

[Review] 28℃ – 100%

A lot of groups are sneaking in last minute releases and comebacks just before 2018 wraps up. 100% is one of the group still sneaking in a comeback despite having a very busy year themselves. While they lost their late leader Minwoo (R.I.P) earlier this year, the boy group persisted through the shocking loss and managed to have one Korean comeback (Grand Bleu and Heart) and 3 Japanese comebacks (Song For You, Summer Night and now 28℃). And today, we will be having a closer look at their most recent track, 28℃.

Unlike their Japanese tropical house releases during the year, 28℃ goes with a pure EDM sound. But while I want to hear something a little more adventurous from the group, 28℃ manages to hold its ground quite strongly. I think listening to the first verse really blew my mind. It sounds so beautiful and this definitely caught my attention. I like how their vocals sounded while on top of that minimalistic instrumentation canvas. It may not be much to some people but it was quite appealing to me. The drop was standard when you reflect upon the track but the buildup made it feel very powerful. The rapping in the second verse was done is a way where it didn’t rely on the strong intensity that rappers usually bring but rather its lightness, which I think this goes with the ‘beautiful’ nature of the verses. The rapping for the bridge was another story as it injects the dong with the intensity, which as needed by then. Overall, while it was still a standard sound, the timing of elements in this track and its balance made it very appealing.

The music video doesn’t really have much going on in it. There were closeup shots and choreography shots, just like your standard music video. I did like the setting that they chose for some reason despite it being a cliche choice. I also did like the sets. Nothing really else to comment on in regards to the video.

I did like the choreography, however. It depicts tension through the first pre-chorus collar-grabbing and closeness between each pair. And while the chorus felt standard (song-wise), their choreography showed off some moves that looked quite cool overall.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] Heart – 100%

Summer isn’t over just yet, with 100% making a last-minute comeback with a song that would fit perfectly into the hot season. This is the group’s first comeback since Grand Bleu, which was released a few weeks ago as a special single. Heart is the title track off their Sunshine mini-album, which was one of the few comebacks today.

Heart takes on the tropical house genre that dominated KPOP for the most part of the past year. And while it isn’t as prevalent as a year ago, some songs still feature this genre. Like how I started off the review, it does feel slightly delayed. But that isn’t too much of an issue. I do like the vocal/rap work of the song and the tropical house instrumental of the song. However, they don’t necessarily blend together as nicely as you expected. It just feels like the vocals were slapped on top of the instrumentation and nothing was done to really bring the song together. That is what I had felt when it came to the song.

The music video was definitely a plus for this comeback. It was extremely high quality and bright like most Summertime music videos. The scenes inside the jungle or forest looked really well polished and the post-production made it look so good. The group also puts others to shame by dancing in a freaking swimming pool. Usually, groups perform in a very shallow amount of water but this was a little more than that. An impressive music video that draws your attention to their comeback.

The choreography for this looks quite good. Putting the swimming pool setting aside, the moves looked really technical and made this performance look very promising. It was upbeat and definitely fitting for the energetic side of the song.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

[Review] Summer Night – 100%

Last week, I decided to review 100%’s recent Korean comeback, The Grand Bleu, instead of the intended Japanese week. With some shuffling around, I will be reviewing their recent Japanese comeback, Summer Night, which is their 4th original single in Japan. The music video for this track was released at the end of June, so apologies for the really late review.

The song has this pretty decent tropical influence club beat as its instrumental which makes the song explosive, particularly around the chorus of the song. It does feel very standard around the verses which seems to show more of that tropical influence. But that isn’t too off-putting, especially with a cool chorus like this that picks up the song just at the right time. However, the vocals are the one aspect that had me diving for more. The way Rokhyun sings the chorus feels very JPOP-like, reminding me of some Japanese pop vocalists that I listen to. The other members do a pretty good job. One way of describing the song is that it is like their Korean vocal-driven songs were smashed with this style of EDM (which works really well). The rapping was also quite good and was another moment that I really liked. Overall, 100% did an amazing job with this song.

As much as I find the colour blue very refreshing, I can’t help but notice how blue the music video was (literally!). It felt like it should have been overused, particularly at the start. But after the first chorus, they changed to multiple shades of blue (in their outfits), which really cuts the heaviness of the blue. And for that, I actually thought it was an interesting of colour. I did like the helipad setting for the choreography, which I still think is really scary yet really beautiful at the same time.

The choreography was good and felt fitting for the song. Not else to say other than that, to be honest.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

 

[Review] Grand Bleu – 100%

Saturdays are usually my ‘JPOP’ review days where I take a closer look at Japanese songs released by Korean artists. The intention for this week was to publish a review for 100%’s latest Japanese comeback – Summer Night. However, the group did make their comeback earlier this week with Grand Bleu, so I will be reviewing that first (and the JPOP review will be published next Saturday). This is also the group’s first comeback since member Minwoo passed away earlier this year.

The song was nice but it isn’t spectacular. 100% returned with more vocally centred tracks in the past few years and this does fall into that category (to an extent as their vocals are very toned down). However, it does have that Summery feel that makes is very fitting for the current season in SK. There was a nice melody to the song, which does leave a smile on your face. It is a little weak on the memorability front, especially as the song remains very linear throughout and it didn’t have a catchy or strong hook to really deliver a punch. Instead, it reminds me of some songs that you would gladly listen to while having that stroll down a beach and the weather isn’t too hot or cold. The song does talk about cross an ocean (the Grand Bleu) to reach a love one, which I can’t help but think it is a song that is dedicated to their leader.

The music video was simply behind the scene shots to some photoshoot on the beach. There really isn’t anything special with the video besides the acknowledgement that they look like they are having fun. It did make me question the budget and effort the company did put in for the group but when I think of the song, I can’t think of any other way to present a music video for it.

I wouldn’t describe the performance as light but it isn’t heavy by any means whatsoever. Instead, it was a nice combination allowing for focus on their vocals/raps. Though, I did think there was a classy element to the performance. I really liked it personally and is another example of how simplicity shines brightly.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 5.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

 

 

[Review] Song For You – 100%

Time for another Japanese review. There were a number of Japanese releases since January which I have yet to have a closer look at. 100% has primarily focused their attention on The Unit (Special Review Coming Soon) for the last few months, so it is nice to see the entire group return as one for a new song, Song For You. It was officially released on Valentine’s Day and marks the group’s first return since their Japanese debut and comeback

Song For You stands out for its freshness as a song. Despite the song starting off and is filled with synths throughout, I honestly thought the song was taking something like a ballad route (but with some dance twist to it). And I liked that. The first verse just felt calming and relaxing, which is definitely something I enjoyed. The chorus is when the song gains some momentum with its EDM-centred instrumental. But that relaxing feel remains. It isn’t over the top nor obnoxious, just at the right level. Their vocals definitely go well with this style, particularly Rockhyun’s. The rapping is also quite nice but I wanted more of it. I am not a major fan of the sudden stop in the song, which acts as a transition between the chorus and bridge. It cuts the flow of the song for me. But despite that one detail, the entire track is definitely something I enjoy.

The music video made them look nice. It was fitting for the relaxing nature of the song but sadly the video didn’t do the song justice. The choreography scenes were the highlights and everything else just felt too airy for me. Maybe the video would benefit if the guys were confessing their love to their lover. Maybe not that cliche but still something that would at least make me wonder ‘what’s going on’.

The choreography is also quite nice. Once again, extremely fitting for the song. The song doesn’t ask for something mindblowing or complex. So I like it for that it stuck to the boundaries of the song. There isn’t much you can do with this style but they did well with it.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

 

[Review] How To Cry – 100%

Following the review posted earlier today for BTOB’s L.U.V, the second JPOP release will be 100%’s debut single, How To Cry. At the start of the year, 100% made their official debut in Japan with How To Cry. They later returned a month later with their Korean comeback, Sketch U.

100%’s Japanese debut single takes every fan and listener back to their dance based songs. It wasn’t until recently that the group turned to more vocal centred tracks. And it is a return that I wouldn’t mind listening to over and over again. While their earlier tracks were of the same genre, I wasn’t into them like I am with this track. This one had great synths that caught my attention straight away. I thought the synths and instrumental would have been overpowering, but rather the vocals managed to shine through. I guess this is more proof that the group has vastly improved. The track is extremely powerful. This strength can be heard through the vocals, raps and the instrumental. The bass in this song is what I wish for in some songs. It sounds heavy, suiting the synths and dubstep-based sounds. It is also quite catchy, especially the chorus and the “How To Cry” line that is repeated over and over again. Part of me does feel like it is a generic dance song but the song mashes past 100% and present-day 100%, which could become a very interesting combination.

While I did sense the genericness in the song, the genericness in the video could be felt more strongly. Yeah, the video consists of the following, which is the formula that most music video nowadays: closeups, choreography and a few inserted scenes to give the video some meaning. They don’t have much appeal to them standalone and together they end up being even less appealing to watch. The darker vibes gave an edgier and tougher look to the group. But their acting and ’emotional reflection’ scenes don’t really go well with that. I honestly don’t know why I felt this mismatch strongly in the video because it is the same thing that I watch every single day when I watch multiple KPOP music videos.

Like I said above, the return to the stronger sound meant the return to even more powerful choreography. And that is what we got here. It’s tough, sharp and amazing. The “Tell Me How To Cry” dance move looked quite cool. The choreography during the chorus was definitely the highlight and fitted in well with the dramatic side of the song.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Sketch U – 100%

100% is back with a brand new mini-album, Sketchbook. This is the group’s first comeback since their return from hiatus last year with Better Day. During the time since their return, 100% debuted in Japan with How to Cry.

The group has returned with a more vocally centred song. While the group has continually returned with songs that are more dance centred, their last comeback showcased a very big improvement in vocals. Likewise, this comeback showcases even a larger improvement of their vocals. The song itself sounds is a ballad mixed with rock and orchestral sounds. The instrumental itself is quite good to listen to. However, as mentioned already, their vocals are the main show. They sound amazing in this song. Particularly the chorus, where they sing in falsetto. It gave me chills the first time around and it probably will do the same thing to you guys. The rap sequences fit very nicely into the song. I am just not of the fan of the jump from the second (and last) chorus of the song to the rap sequence at the end. It felt a little awkward. But I think that is me being a little picky. Talking about second choruses, the song ended surprisingly fast, which does let me down a tiny bit. But they probably decided to do that to save their vocals because I am quite sure it is not normal or healthy to sing like that 3 times in a short span of time. But regardless, the song is something that you guys need to check out because it sounds amazing.

The music video is a little less impressive. There are no “high notes” here. The video is quite fitting with the song, however, playing towards the emotional side of the song. The majority of the video is split into two. One side shows the guy (with the girl) when they were together as a couple and the other side shows the guy after the breakup (which was the first thing we saw). It was quite interesting to see the two sides of the video interact with each other (like when the post-breakup guy holds out his hand when the girl approaches the guy pre-breakup). It adds a little twist to the story, something that hasn’t been done before, I believe. The video features the same set used in KNK’s U performance video. I am not troubled by that, just pointing that fact out. The set looked a lot cooler with the piano at the centre and 100% situated around it.

There is no choreography for this comeback. Just them singing their hearts out on stage, which suits the song a lot more than any choreography that they could have intended to include.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] Better Day – 100%

It has been a while since we all last heard from 100%. They were last on stage as 100% back in 2014 with Beat. Since then, we have not heard anything from them until earlier this year when Changbum announced that he had left the group. That put the group back on the map for me (because I completely forgot about them), who also announced that they will be coming back. And hence why we are here today.

I like the song quite a bit. It is a pretty good song to have them return back to the stage with. The song does have a boring element to it. The only thing that keeps me listening to their song is their solid chorus and their unique instrumental. Their instrumental has a nice classical influence and sounds quite refined (from the violins to the piano, everything here is amazing). That introduction and ending caught my attention (I don’t know what it is called, but that sound was amazing) and the chorus fits the song perfectly. Through the chorus, you can tell that the members are vocally talented. But the vocals were also their downfall in my books. The verses were dry, bland and very boring. If the chorus or the instrumental weren’t there, I would have skipped this song. A little more bass to the chorus would have done wonders to the song as well. The rapping is quite good. The song flowed quite nicely despite my comments on the chorus. Overall, a solid song for a return after a 2-year absence.

The song also had a dark and edgy feel to it. That was portrayed quite nicely in the music video. The majority of the video was just close up of the guys singing. There were a few scenes which had a female lead, but they aren’t much to discuss. Like literally, they are close-ups of the girl staring mysteriously at the camera. And the guys do that or have these faces of sorrow or regret. Love the feeling of the video, but overall it was boring to watch.

Fitting the classical and elegant sound, the group has pulled off a great choreography. While managing to pull out amazing stable vocals and raps, the group still manages to wow me with their dance. I don’t why, but watching them, I felt like they have shown a lot of improvement since their last set of promotions.

Rating – 7/10

Beat – 100%

Source: http://www.soompi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/100-percent-beat-mv-teaser-800×450.jpg

100% has recently made their comeback with a new song. I think it has less than a year since we last saw the band. If my memory works properly today, I think there used to be 7 members, but one guy left the group and also another left unexpectedly for the army… Talk about a shocking exit from the group. But now they have comeback with a much more dark concept that had a lot of people talking. Have you seen their music video??? But first the review for the song.

The song itself is pretty good.  Though it is not a memorable song that I think everyone would like, I actually enjoyed the quality of the song. I really like the “rough” start of the song with that really addictive beat. The vocals are amazing. The chorus is pretty catchy. My only compliant probably would be the bridge of the song. It feels out of place in the song, but still manages to pull the song pretty well. The song itself needed a more powerful rap. The rap at the moment seems to be very soft and monotone, but, and I should not do this, but I think it would have been better with a VIXX’s Ravi style rap, which is more powerful. Not particularly sure about the end, still good, but it closes off the song a little too sudden. But overall, the song was pretty good.

The music video was pretty boring in my point of view. I find the plot line interesting, but how they expressed in the plot in visual formats pretty monotone. I assume the girl seduced this dude, but then this dude was like played or something and ended up being frozen (reminds me of a video. Can you guess which one?). I think she has played many other guys, hence why at the end, there is just a whole heap of dead bodies. I assume the same thing has happened in the past, as that girl looked pretty devastated. I think the lighting fitted the video an the piano start was also included in the music video, in a much creepier way than I expected. I also like the dance parts in the video, the camera is shakey and the angles make it look much better, so okay music video!

The dance was so so. I was not that fond of it. The live performance overall as not that interesting. I would play the live, but go to another tab, which could illustrate how boring it was. Main point of the dance was the ripping out the heart dance, but I think 2PM already covered that part, so that is why I thought it was so so. Not that it was not original, that it was already done before. And this dance did that same move like 24 times for the chorus which was making it more boring.

6/10. Song was pretty cool. Music video and dance could have been more better. 

Want You Back – 100%

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100% haa finally made their comeback, on the 23rd of May, with a brand new song which updates them to the current century. Seriously, these guys were not the greatest rookies to me, last year, but these guys have improved a lot. I mean, one hell of an improvement. I also was reading an article of their abs (Don’t judge me) and I saw a comment saying “gay”. Well, so apparently if a guy showed abs to the public, it is now considered as a homosexual act. Great, just tell that to all the hetreosexual male models in the world. This is going to go down real well.

The song to me, was really addictive, but not appealing. At first I was yeah, this is a cool song, but after a few listens to the song, I went “meh”. It could’ve been better. There was a lot of autotune in the song, which really does not showcase the vocals that would make these guys more popular. I liked the chorus, which is basically the only thing that I thought was well done. Everything else is quite different and weird. The song itself has that dance club beat to it, which does make the people feel the passion in the song. I liked the instrumental. However, the vocals seemed to be too powerful for the song itself and was kind of a mish mash of the whole song. The rap fitted the song really well. But overall, the song was okay. Nothing fancy.

The music video was quite something though. I can’t seem to piece the story together. So at the start the couple is getting ready to go out, and they seemed to have had a bitter fight. The guy gets out and leave, while the girl finishes putting makeup on. Then, when she is ready, she comes out and stalks another guy. After it seems like they fall in love and she decides to kill her current boyfriend for her new boyfriend. So she collects a lighter, which does not appear anywhere else in the story. Nice thinking. So then we the girl meets with her boyfriend, who she was going to kill, she points the gun at his head and then make love with him. That makes sense. What about the new guy she met stalking? To me, it sounds like a daily life of a fangirl. Also, the flowers in this music video seem quite inappropriate. Not the burning flower, nor the one where the guy is holding it randomly. The whole scene where the guy and girl are holding hands and and laying down in a fake field of flowers. Oh and those floral suits for the dance part. Yay.

The dance fitted the whole song quite well. It had that heavy club, dance feel to it and also it actually matched the tone of the powerful voices, which I have disliked. All the moves were sharp and damn right powerful (the kicks in the air, the stomping, the “urgh, I hate suits” dance and of course, the typical, “It’s getting hot in here, I need to rip my jacket open. Oh, I also have abs” dance.

6.5/10. It was okay, but it soon became overshadowed by other songs that came out.