It felt like it has been a while since I posted an album review. When in reality I wrote one last weekend (for another SM Entertainment group). Today, I am focusing on the newest addition to the company. Almost a year after their debut with Black Mamba, and months after their Forever and Next Level comebacks earlier this year, aespa has returned with their first mini-album, Savage, which is also the title of the lead track off the mini-album. The mini-album features an additional five tracks in addition to the title track, all of which will be reviewed below.
1. Aenergy – Aenergy highlights the group’s vocals potential, showcasing the group in a bold and powerful manner. Winter’s high note and NingNing’s ad-libs at the end of the track were epic and floored me. The chanty anthem style chorus for this track was very catchy. The song also throws in a bit of paced rapping into the mix (which intrigued me and pulled me into the song). Interestingly the instrumental was rather consistent, diverting away from the mashup styled background we hear in the title tracks, but I quite liked the depth and bass it had. The only thing I would change within Aenergy are the cheesy lyrics and the nonsense English we got at the mid-point of the song. (8/10)
2. Savage (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Savage. (5/10)
3. I’ll Make You Cry – I’ll Make You Cry is another strong song. It too is heavy on the synths, but stays consistent throughout the song with no crazy changes or mismatched styles attempting to follow up each segment. I quite liked this, as it isn’t overwhelming and allows the focus to be diverted to other elements within the song without the overarching wariness that the instrumental would change and sound completely different within the next few seconds. Again, the vocals are awesome throughout and the rapping was very edgy. I particularly liked the flip-flop set-up between vocals and rapping in the chorus. It felt dynamic and kept me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the song. (9/10)
4. YEPPI YEPPI – YEPPI YEPPI is a welcome change from the group’s edgy sound, with the song leaning into a fun and bright pop sound. It is definitely a song that standouts on this album. However, there are some similarities with the rest of the album. YEPPI YEPPI does seem to go back to that mishmash style within its electronic instrumentation. So, there is a lot going on, but it still comes off cohesive and is tied together nicely by the energy that is exuded from the chorus. I did enjoy all the textures which kept the song interesting. The weakest point of the song was the slowdown in the bridge. To me, it felt like a big gaping hole in the song. (8/10)
5. Iconic – Iconic is within the same realm of YEPPI YEPPI, with a pop sound infused into the chorus. Though the pop influence is charmful and unlike the name suggests, Iconic is not as iconic as it could be. It is a bit plain and didn’t really pull me, unlike some of the other sidetracks. The metallic percussion that made up the instrumental for Iconic felt clunky and clanky, and such descriptors can be applied to the rest of the song. Even the vocals and rapping felt plain in this song. (6/10)
6. Lucid Dream (자각몽) – Lucid Dream shows a different side of the group. While everything thus far has been heavily synth-based, Lucid Dream is a further indication that aespa can do more. R&B felt more prominent compared to the synths, hence my observation. That being said, the EDM we did get in this song felt pretty elegant, aesthetic and gave off a mature feel that is fitting for the R&B genre. Their husky and raspy vocals, especially in the chorus, was very good and also well-fitting for the song. A nice ender to the album. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 7.3/10