[Album Review] Stamp On It (1st Mini Album) – GOT the beat

The next album to be reviewed on this blog is GOT the beat’s first mini-album, Stamp On It, which was released way back in January of this year by SM Entertainment’s super female group – BoA, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon (SNSD), Wendy and Seulgi (Red Velvet) and Karina and Winter (aespa). It is led by the title track of the exact same name, and features an additional five tracks. If I had to share my thoughts on this mini-album and GOT the beat as a whole, I choose to echo part of the final sentence of song section of the Stamp On It review I wrote back in January this year – “a strong lineup, but yet the song choices for promotions have been a total letdown.” This sentiment stays true until this day. Honestly, SM Entertainment (which has been a mess this year) could have picked any song from the mini-album other than the title track, and that choice would be many times better than Stamp On It. I do prefer one track over the others, so keep on reading to find out which one of the other five songs I would choose.

1. Stamp On It (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Stamp On It. (5.5/10)

2. Goddess Level – While I do hear the potential behind Goddess Level, there is just too much going on in the choruses all at once. Maybe if the producers lost one layer of instrumentation in the chorus, Goddess Level would have been fine. Definitely retain the saxophone layer and the bass beat, though, as both are very cool and makes Goddess Level stand out. The vocals and rapping at certain points were very strong, while at other moments (namely the verses) were pretty bland and just doesn’t live up to the standard the stronger moments had imposed on the song. (7/10)

3. Alter EgoAlter Ego is a grower. Not in the sense that it took a few listens to get into the track. But rather, the opening and first verse didn’t do much for me. It was moody and dark set-up for the song, but I wished there was more to it. Instead, it was the choruses/post-choruses that really wins me over. The melody and vocals in the choruses was super addictive, while the post-choruses gave such an edgy and memorable tone to the song. (8/10)

4. Rose (가시) – Deep hip-hop beats open up Rose. Then comes the exploration of silky harmonies and vocals, and some low-tone rapping, confirming the strength of the song from the get-go. As Rose progresses, the song becomes even more complex with the instrumentation taking up more electronic synths and textures, while the members showcase soaring vocals, and more alluring and darker rapping. I would have appreciated a touch more consistency in the song, as it developed. But this isn’t a major issue for me. Rose is definitely a journey, and I was not disappointed by it. (8.5/10)

5. Outlaw – If you looking for a track that is completely full of texture and abrasiveness, then Outlaw is the song for you. I liked the fact that the instrumentation was relentless in both areas and it helped the song become quite dynamic as a result. I am super impressed by the vocals and rapping in Outlaw. Not only did they contribute to the dynamism of the song, the members stood out strongly over the instrumentation. BoA’s high note was impressive and the crashing percussion/gunshots at the end was such a cool closer. (10/10)

6. MALA MALA tones down the album, closing out the mini-album in an impeccable manner. We still have the electronic touches, but nothing as high-powered as the tracks preceding this one. Instead, we get a flowy instrumentation. The flute in the background throughout the song was quite interesting. We get the usual mix of vocals and rap in this song, but I liked the more delicate notes in MALA when it comes to the vocals, while Karina and BoA’s rapping I the bridge ended up having quite an impact. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

Stamp On It Teaser Image

[International Song Reviews] THE BOYZ, TWICE & BoA

Welcome back to the another round of reviews for songs by our favourite KPOP artist that aren’t in Korean. Firstly, I want to apologies for completely dropping the ball on these reviews last year, which resulted in a backlog that just unmotivated me to write the posts. I have been doing some thinking about how I can revive the segment on my blog, and have landed on the idea of shorter posts. This hopefully should mean less time to write up one of these, which in turn would make them less draining. They used to be four of five in one post, which was manageable at first. But they just took up sooo much time. So, here we go. To catch up on the reviews, I will be focusing on three releases. For this post, the focus will be on THE BOYZ, TWICE and BoA.


Language: Japan
Released: 27 May 2022
Album: She’s The Boss (2nd Japanese Mini Album)

If I recall correctly, THE BOYZ’s last Japanese single (Breaking Dawn) only had a small portion that was in Japanese with the balance in Korean. That followed on from the group’s initial Japanese debut single (Tattoo), which only had a line of Japanese. SHE’S THE BOSS is a definite improvement in the language department based on what I can hear, as majority of the song is in Japanese (with the song’s main hook being in English). Anyhow, for me, the rappers really stood out in this track. Their segments really aligned with the song’s main chanty hook. The repetition really sold it to me. Similar instrumentation (i.e. crunchy synths and metallic skittish elements) and the rough tone was present in both, and I liked this commonality between the two sides. I also feel the intensity and force behind their parts. The vocals were nice and brought smoothness, but they don’t offer as much to SHE’S THE BOSS as the rappers did. Actually, I felt the vocals really stepped away from the crunchiness and roughness of the more memorable aspects of the song. I appreciate the contrast, but I wished more happened with the vocals than just smoothness. Overall, SHE’S THE BOSS was a decent track and a good listen, though SHE’S THE BOSS is another case of “more could have been done”.

The music video consists of smoldering closes up of the members and choreography shots. The sets were super cool and I quite like the brown marbling background used for one of the choreography dance sets. A bit dry, otherwise. As for the choreography, I really liked the intensity they put behind the routine for the main hook of the song. I also enjoyed the smoothness they brought to the routine during the song’s smoother moments. The contrast between the two was an interesting mix. But visually, it works.

Overall Rating – 7.6/10

Celebrate – TWICE

Language: Japan
Released: 15 July 2022
Album: Celebrate (4th Japanese Studio Album)

Days following the news of TWICE renewing their contracts with JYP Entertainment to continue group activities, the group returned with a very fitting track in Japan titled Celebrate. When I read through the lyrics for the song, I do feel like it is a song for fans, celebrating the time TWICE and ONCE have spent together over the last seven or so years. I mean, Chaeyoung’s opening line “Tonight, we’ll celebrate our love. After all this time, We’re still together” kind of says it all. Celebrate is a straightforward pop track that feels very cheerful, bubbly and bright. All of which we have heard from TWICE previously. However, Celebrate is more geared towards a pleasant effect, which I find to be fitting for the message. It is quite obvious that this song isn’t the most TWICE song we have ever heard. Nor is it the group’s most catchiest single yet. But the pleasantness, combined with the other aforementioned effects, helps create an enjoyable listen. That being said, Celebrate does have some catchy hooks and melodies, and I feel like the members executed the song extremely well. Overall, another enjoyable listen from TWICE.

The music video for Celebrate was quite colourful, despite black and pink being the dominant colours in the video (i.e. see what the members are wearing). There isn’t too much to the video, apart from smiles and the members having a great time with each other. It is pretty much lighthearted, which matches up with the song’s message quite well. The choreography is quite good. Nothing catchy or mind-blowing here, but it was satsifying to watch and looks fun!

Overall Rating – 8.3/10

The Greatest – BoA

Language: Japan
Released: 23 May 2022
Album: The Greatest (20th Anniversary Japanese Compilation Album)

To celebrate her 20th anniversary since her Japanese solo debut, BoA, the Queen of KPOP, released the single The Greatest as part of a compilation album that was released to celebrate the milestone. However, as far as I am aware, the release was pretty much swept under the rug as soon as it was released, which was rather disappointing. I will be honest, I didn’t pay attention to The Greatest that much at the time of the release either, and the song only grew on me in the months after. Luckily, it did so in time to earn a nomination from me for the Best International Song by a Korean Artist (Japanese) in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. There is a lot to enjoy in The Greatest. My pick would have to be the monotonous post-chorus hook, where “Greatest” was spelt aloud. There is something so charming with this hook. I definitely would have liked more to and of it, though. She does something similar in the bridge, just prior to jumping back into the chorus to complete the song. BoA puts her vocals on display during the choruses, which was another great segment in the pop song. The instrumental falls into the electropop genre and the crunchy synths really gives the song character and something for her to work with. My critical comments relate to the verses, which felt ordinary and lacked flair. Despite that, I think The Greatest is underrated and underappreciated.

The music video is pretty much has that modern SM Entertainment flair that the company has been pushing greatly (and seemingly dumped in 2022) with the whole futuristic and virtual KWANGYA universe. However, from what I can tell, this video doesn’t have a connection to the wider universe. Instead, the universe we see in this video belongs to BoA and it is evident that she is quite up there in the society (with her name plastered on top of the city’s tallest tower and The Greatest or GRE plastered throughout). I did like the purple and pink dominant colours of the video. Whatever BoA wore in this video made her pop out right at you, showing off her visuals and charms. As for the choreography, it was a pretty good one. Again, not her most mind-blowing one yet. But the electropop side and those synths mentioned earlier gave her an opportunity to showcase her performance skills and create a piece that reiterates her status in the field.

Overall Rating – 8/10

[Review] Stamp On It – GOT the beat

As mentioned last week in my long overdue review for Step Back, GOT the beat will be making their official comeback this week with their newest single and first mini-album, both of which are titled Stamp On It. The group previously performed Stamp On It at SM Town Live 2023: SMCU Palace at Kwangya on the first day of this year. Today, the music video and album officially dropped, which now calls for a review.

Truthfully, I hadn’t checked out Stamp On It when the performance was first uploaded onto YouTube. So everything I say today is actually my first impression (or so). Spoiler alert: things don’t look too good for Stamp On It. For Stamp On It, I found the song to be very incohesive. Each part of the song was distinct and stayed distinct. In no way did I feel Stamp On It attempt to blend or meld together the different parts to make it feel like one whole song, rather than three separate songs mashed together. The first part (i.e. verses and choruses) did work with one another, but there was the recurring obnoxious and annoying vocal synth (“Goo Ooo“) in the background that really gave me a headache. It was overwhelming, and just distracted me from the the vocal work. And that is saying quite a bit, given that Stamp On It continues the powerful vocals that GOT the best also put on display through their Step Back release. To even be able to distract me from that is quite alarming! Following the first and final choruses, we get this “Baby Baby Baby” sequence that I don’t feel add much substance to the song. The synths here, whilst not as annoying, do head in that direction. The bridge was probably the most promising and likeable aspect of Stamp On It, as it didn’t feature any loop of synths. It brought a bit of smoothness via the vocals to the song, which I also really appreciated. It was then followed up with an instrumental break and powerful rap sequence. Said instrumental break could not escape from that same recurring synth, but that rap sequence showed promise. Overall, Stamp On It is not my cup of tea. I do like my mashes, but Stamp On It is too much. But my biggest issue with Stamp On It is that the unit has such a strong lineup, but yet the song choices for promotions have been a total letdown.

I believe the music video gears towards a heist concept. I am not entirely sure, but that was the impression I was getting with the museum type of setting and the presence of the diamond and expensive art around them. Other than that, it was a strong video in terms of style and visuals. Each member looked amazing. But the standout moment from the video has to be when Seulgi brushes her hair backwards at the 2:30 mark of the music video. That definitely left a strong impression in my memory bank.

I am a bit disappointed with the choreography for this comeback. I feel like the moves were all ‘soft around the edges’, which was a mismatch towards the harsher and heavy synths. I wished there was more boldness to the performance and the moves appeared to be sharper.

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

[Review] Step Back – GOT the Beat

Needless to say, this review is very overdue. But as the saying goes – better late than never. Got the Beat is due to make their comeback on Monday with their first mini-album, Stamp It Out. So in preparation for that, I have decided to finally write me review for Step Back, their debut single that officially dropped early 2022. For those who may not have tuned for Got the Beat’s debut, the lineup of this super female group hails from SM Entertainment’s female artists and consist of a legendary lineup, including BoA, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon (from SNSD), Seulgi and Wendy (from Red Velvet) and Karina and Winter (from aespa).

My impression of Step Back from a year ago is exactly the same today. And it isn’t any good news, unfortunately. While I commend the lineup for their powerful energy and vocals (however, this does become an issue – more later on) that will definitely wakes you up no matter what state you are in, my biggest gripe about Step Back is that it is overly repetitive. Aside from the bridge, which features a very smooth slow down in momentum and an really cool yet unhurried ramp back up towards the final chorus through the use of raps and high notes, everything else in the Step Back‘s instrumental just felt like it was on a loop. The same synths was just on repeat and there was never any new offering (until we got to the bridge). And even the final chorus, which was an opportunity for Step Back to concentrate or offer something new (or do anything more than feature the same loop), just featured the same synths we heard earlier on in the song. The melodies have a nice ring to them, but they do feel slightly monotonous. A major help to Step Back were the vocals, which I have already described as powerful. Standalone, each member really had their moment to shine in Step Back, with the many high notes flooring me. But as I mentioned at the start of this paragraph, the powerful vocals do become a bit of an issue when it comes to the chorus which all (if not most) members of this super female group contribute to. I just felt all of them singing at once created an overwhelming effect, which felt slightly uncomfortable in my opinion. Had the vocals been toned back, just by a slight amount, this effect would not have been apparent and Step Back would have just have repetitive issue as its Achilles’ heels.

Another reason to why I had not reviewed Step Back earlier on was that I was waiting around for an actual music video to drop. But that never happened. Instead, the performance video that was first release stands in as the main promotional video. It looks cool and all. But I felt a proper music video would have helped made everything feel more dynamic and interesting, rather than seeing the same set and outfits for almost four minutes. The performance video does make do, however. I liked how the lighting in the background helps transform the same set into what felt like a few different sets. The performance itself was pretty amazing. I did like the sassy attitude that the performance featured, which is miles away from the disappointing lyrics. They really put all of their energy and power into making the performance a strong one, and it delivered.

Song – 7/10
Music Video / Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] Better – BoA

Have you voted in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards yet? If you haven’t, click here to be taken to the survey to support your favourites!

You would think that an artist as legendary as BoA, who is releasing her tenth studio album and celebrating 20 years in the KPOP industry would get some decent promotions to make sure the public knows about all these milestones so they can celebrate with her. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Better, the title of the song and BoA’s tenth studio album, felt like it was released out of the blue yesterday. And it is pretty much overshadowed by SM Entertainment’s over big release of the week. I just hope SM Entertainment has big things planned for this album, so that BoA can celebrate in style and get recognition for the amazing feats she has achieved. In the meanwhile, here is my review for Better.

Better brings out some of BoA’s best skills that I haven’t heard for a while. She has released some really good tracks recently, including Woman which really made itself known thanks to its boldness and elegance. Better diverts into a different territory. To me, the song feels simple yet executed amazingly. Simple may have the connotation of being plain or obvious. But I feel Better is ‘simple’ in a more dynamic sense. It is a R&B track that has this deep funky beat embedded in the background of the verse. I thought it was a really showstopping piece that really attracts my attention. There isn’t anything else of major interest that steals my attention other than BoA herself. It is straightforward and consistent (another example of when consistency is a positive trait). There are some bellowing synths throughout the song, but I feel that blend in nicely with the deep funky R&B roots this song has. BoA’s raspy vocals come into full effect, adding an amazing texture to the song that I am digging. The harmonies with the backing vocals during the chorus really helped oomph up the song without going for anything too extreme. I love the elegance that she brings to the first half of the bridge. The rapping that kicks off the second half of the bridge capitalises on the deep funky notes that I mentioned, giving the song an awesome change up before reaching the final chorus. Overall, Better is amazing in many senses and definitely pulls together her legendary skills in a suitable manner to celebrate her achievements.

The music video has this eerie dark vibe to it which feels highly suitable for the song’s simple profile. There were a few different sets and this eerie dark vibe really helps blur them altogether to make the video feel like it was one whole piece. And I feel this is better than having multiple sets come together in an attempt to feel like one video, but instead it comes off completely mismatching. The music video adopts that closeup and choreography formula, which I feel is totally fine for this video. BoA steals my attention for majority of the video (further helping blend the video’s components together) and keeps me captivated for the three and a half minutes with her beauty and choreography skills.

While I am chatting about choreography skills, we can’t skip the actual dancing when it comes to BoA. While this might not be as bold as Woman‘s choreography (I mean – how does one top her upside walk entrance?). To me, the choreograph utilises pace extremely well. There were parts that had a kick to it and other parts which took time. Put these together and you had a performance that made complete sense when it comes to BoA.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Review] Starry Night – BoA ft. Crush

A reminder that your favourite artists may be nominated in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to vote for them before voting closes this coming December 31st.

The legendary BoA has returned with a new mini-album. Newer fans of the KPOP genre may not know BoA, who made her debut back in 2000 and has since become the Queen of KPOP due to her many successful hits throughout the years. Yesterday, the Queen herself returned with the eponymous title track and mini-album, Starry Night. BoA previously returned to the industry with Feedback earlier in the year.

The one reason to why Feedback never got a review was simply I found it very boring and couldn’t think of anything to express my views in an appropriate manner without stating the obvious. So, when I heard that BoA was returning, I knew that I had to write a review to make up for the skipped review. Unfortunately, Starry Night gives off a similar first impression. It stays fairly safe and consistent with its twinkling instrumental and doesn’t develop into a more interesting track as it progresses. It is pleasant-sounding and extremely light, so don’t me wrong. There is also a warm feeling that the song does extremely well putting forward thanks to the husky vocals of the two singers (which also makes it well suited for the colder season). Both BoA and Crush vocals have been established in the past and Starry Night further reiterates this. Their harmonies were also quite nice, showing us that the pairing was ideal. But other than that, it needed something to make it captivating. Otherwise, it feels like another typical Winter track on our playlists, easily forgotten once the season is over.

I thought this was a very nice video, reflecting well with the warm sound that the song showcases. Firstly, it shows how sometimes your day can be frustrating or how it just go wrong (i.e. lock yourself out of your car or house, or how the vending machine just doesn’t work properly). But after a long day, everything will somehow work out, as it did for everyone in this video. In the case of the video, everyone had the help of a starry night, which gave them hope. The starry night in the music video happens to be BoA in a dazzling silver dress, that glimmers perfectly in the presence of the light directed at her. It looked really beautiful.

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

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Song Categories Results

Welcome back to the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards! On the 1st of December 2018, I presented my readers with many categories filled with talented and deserving nominees for the 2018 KPORPEVIEWED Awards. For the month of December, all of you voted for your favourite artists and songs from January 2018 to November 2018. And today, I present to you who the winners of each category were.

This is the second section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best Male and Female Choreography, Best Album and Best Song of 2018.

In addition to the fan-voted categories, I have also included 5 categories that were not fan voted and I had personally selected the winners (or were determined throughout the year). They include Best Special Performance, Best Concept, Best Non-Title Track, Most Wins on Weekly KPOP Charts segment and Most Viewed Review of 2018. They are labelled clearly.

Each category (with the exception of the non-fan-voted categories) will have a WINNER (the artist that received the highest amount of fan votes), Honourable Mention (the artist/group that received the second highest amount of fan votes) and KPOPREVIEWED Choice (who I voted for).

So, drum roll please, for the winners of the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Artist categories.

Best Male Choreography

Nominees – Fake Love (BTS), Tempo (EXO), Lullaby (GOT7), Thanks (Seventeen), Now or Never (SF9), Black Heart (UNB)


WINNER – Thanks (Seventeen)
Honourable Mention – Fake Love (BTS)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Lullaby (GOT7)

Best Female Choreography

Nominees – Bingle Bangle (AOA), Woman (BoA), I Love You (EXID), Time For The Moon Night (GFriend), Siren (Sunmi), Dance The Night Away (TWICE)


WINNER – Woman (BoA)
Honourable Mentions – Siren (Sunmi) & Dance The Night Away (TWICE)

Best Special Performance

This is not a fan-voted category.


WINNER – Dreams Come True (WJSN) at KCON 2018 Japan

Best Music Video

Nominees – Bingle Bangle (AOA), DDU-DU DDU DU (BLACKPINK), Fake Love (BTS), Love Bomb (fromis.9), Really Bad Boy (Red Velvet), Now or Never (SF9), District 9 (Stray Kids), The Chance of Love (TVXQ), Yes or Yes (TWICE), Spring Breeze (Wanna One)


WINNER – Fake Love (BTS)
Honourable Mention – DDU-DU DDU-DU (BLACKPINK)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Fake Love (BTS)

Best Japanese Song Released by a Korean Artist

Nominees – Electric Kiss (EXO), Memoria (GFriend), Chain (NCT 127), Call Call Call (Seventeen), BDZ (TWICE)


WINNER – Electric Kiss (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Call Call Call (Seventeen)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Call Call Call (Seventeen)

Best Collaboration

Nominees – Still In Love (Lee Hong Ki & Yoo Hwe Sung), Wow Thing! (Seulgi, SinB, Kim Chungha, Kim Soyeon), Dinner (Suho & Jang Jae In), Page 0 (Taeyeon & Melomance), Love It Like It (YDPP)


WINNER – Wow Thing! (Seulgi, SinB, Kim Chungha, Kim Soyeon)
Honourable Mention – Still In Love (Lee Hong Ki & Yoo Hwe Sung)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Love It Like It (YDPP)

Song With Most Wins on Weekly KPOP Charts segment

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Heroine (Sunmi) & Bingle Bangle (AOA)
[3 Weeks Each]

Most Viewed Review of 2018

This was not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Boom Boom (Momoland)

Best Concept

This was not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Love Bomb (fromis.9)

Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan-voted category.


WINNER – Dystopia (Cross Gene)

Best Album

Nominees – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS), Don’t Mess With My Tempo (EXO), The Story of Light – Epilogue (SHINee), Something New (Taeyeon (SNSD)), 1÷x = 1 (Undivided) (Wanna One)


WINNER – The Story of Light – Epilogue (SHINee)
Honourable Mention – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Love Yourself: Answer (BTS)

Best Song of 2018

Nominees – All title tracks released from January 2018 to November 2018.
The following song had the highest fan votes in the Best Song of 2018 category. The fan votes in this category will also contribute to 50% of the End Of The Year charts.


WINNER – Good Evening (SHINee)

And that completes the Song Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Artist Categories were previously posted so you can access it by clicking here!

And for the End of Year Charts – they will be out tomorrow. I will update this post with the link once it is out.

Thank you for all voting and checking out who you all selected to be the winners! I hope to do this again for 2019!

[Review] Amor – BoA

BoA is nominated for the Best Female Choreography and Best Female Soloist categories for this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t voted yet, click here to do so as closing closes in 2 days!

BoA’s busy year has yet to end with a brand new Japanese release. Amor was officially released on the 26th of December and a music video was dropped a week prior, allowing for this review to be written. BoA previously released One Shot, Two Shot and Nega Dola and more recently Woman in Korea this year. She also made her Japanese comeback at the start of the year with Jazzclub.

BoA is on board the Latin trend train that has basically taken hold of the KPOP industry this year. While BoA has yet to address this trend in her Korean release, Amor does it for her Japanese releases (and I think this is the first Japanese releases that I have heard given my small spectrum of JPOP to include a Latin influence). Amor doesn’t actually feel like it stems from an overused trend. Instead, there is an air of freshness that I actually like from the song. There are other influences in the instrumental that keep it interesting and very upbeat. But the aspect that I love the most about Amor is her vocals. She sounds standard during the verses but I love her slightly higher pitch during the pre-chorus and choruses. They made the song memorable for me. Overall, I quite like this song.

I thought the video was very standard. It just felt like any other music video released in Korea. There was a sense of elegance to the video due to the presence of BoA. But that was the only interesting vibe that I got from the video. Some of her outfits looked really good. Other outfits looked really odd and didn’t match the song whatsoever. There was a small plot (I think) to the video but that was covered up entirely by choreography shots.

Luckily, the choreography was good enough to cover the above. It is, once again, fitting for the song. I really liked her dance break, where she danced with the male backup dancer. I thought that was the best bit in the entire choreography, with everything else looking nice.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.2/10

[Review] Woman – BoA

The Queen Is Back! BoA has officially returned with her 9th full-length album and her latest title track, both titled as Woman. For a while now, BoA hasn’t had the opportunity to make multiple comebacks (with promotions) within a year (her last was One Shot, Two Shot, released earlier this year), which is a very interesting observation. The Queen touches on a very important topic within the song, female empowerment, which could not have been released at a better time, with the topic all over the news (and dominating the entertainment industries around the world).

And as much as I really like how the idea touches on such an important topic, I am not too fond about the idea of having a guy say ‘Woman’ throughout it. It is striking and it does have a certain level of impact, especially the way it is presented. But I felt like a woman’s voice saying ‘Woman’ could have been more suitable, context-wise. What was even more striking was the sound of those high heels. I thought that was a very nice addition to the song which shows how confident BoA was with this song. The instrumental was nice but it did feel rather standard.  I really like her vocals in this song because there were moments that were delicate (such as in the verses) and extremely powerful (like during the chorus and build up to the chorus). Overall, this song is pretty good.

Hands up if you think BoA looked amazing throughout this video! Mine is definitely going up. Never did I expect to see anyone in KPOP pull off a full-body leopard print suit. But damn, BoA rocked it. But my favourite scenes of BoA were when she is wearing those hats. Love it. What I didn’t like was how unnatural her blonde wig looked. If you look closely, you can also see her black hair underneath. It just looked out of place in this video. But everything else (along with every other element of the music video) looked amazing.

A very impressive choreography that was showcased in the music video. I thought everything was very cool and showed off confidence very well. But the most mindblowing part (and I think no other KPOP idol has ever attempted before) has to the very start when she is walking upside down! Like that was shocking yet so right for this performance/song/comeback!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10



[Album Review] One Shot, Two Shot (1st Mini Album) – BoA

BoA, for her first time in her career, released her first mini-album. It is something you just don’t really notice until someone tells you but once you are aware of it, you are amazed. Her solo comeback in South Korea also coincided with her solo comeback in Japan, where is also quite famous. The title of her mini-album, One Shot, Two Shot, is also the name of her title track. The mini-album also features two recent tracks of BoA, which I have reviewed separately as they were released.

One Shot, Two Shot Album Cover (Source: ALLKPOP)

1..One Shot, Two Shot (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of One Shot, Two Shot. (8.5/10)

2. Everybody Knows – This track has a very chilled vibe. Interestingly, the song doesn’t peak, which gives it a unique and distinct charm. It started off with some ear-catching synths, which also featured in the chorus. For the most part, the song was quite soft with its instrumental, which is why I thought the intro synths were cool. Also fitting in with the soft instrumental are the soft vocals that BoA presents us. I think the piano during the bridge was the strongest moment of the entire track, with it also going well with the soft instrumental but at the same time contrasting nicely with the synths and chill vibes. (8/10)

3. NEGA DOLA (내가 돌아) (Pre-release Track)Click here to read the full review of NEGA DOLA. (7.6/10)

4. Your Song (ft. Junflo)Your Song features strong hip-hop influences, which isn’t anything that new. However, the reason why I think this is another strong track from the list is due to the how the vocals of both BoA and Junoflo compliment with each other. BoA brings that softness mentioned previously to the track, while Junflo brings a certain degree of harshness through his rap. The ‘That’s My Jam, That’s My Song’ and the ‘I Hate You Girl’ repetition is quite addictive. The changeup in the bridge allows the song to feature an awesome dance performance and while it does seem unexpected, it works wells with the song. (9/10)

5. RecollectionRecollection manages to give off an epic feel, despite it being easy-going. Once again, BoA’s vocals are on full display throughout this song. You can’t really say that the beat dropped in this song, as there is more of an inclination in the beat when the drop should have been present. That being said, the instrumental did not have much going on besides a very appreciating funky beat during the chorus. Besides that, I don’t have much else to say regarding this song. (8/10)

6. Always Always (ft. Chancellor) – I personally did not notice the constant thumping in the instrumental until it reaches Chancellor’s part. I mean it was always there from the very start but it felt more prominent during Chancellor’s part, so I really didn’t notice it during BoA’s verse. I bought BoA shined (yeah, a common theme in this album) but Chancellor was very close to having his part being overshadowed by the instrumental. The chorus was also very flowy and the ending of the song had a minor difference to the rest of the song, which was interesting, (7.5/10)

7. CamoClick here to read the full review for Camo. (9.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

One Shot, Two Shot – Snapshot from Music Video (Source: FUSE)

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[Review] One Shot, Two Shot – BoA

BoA made her debut way back in the year 2000. Since then, she has released a total of 8 Korean full-length album. 18 years on, however, marks BoA’s return with her very first mini-album, which shares the same title of  One Shot, Two Shot as the title track. It is definitely remarkable to think that this is her very first mini-album. The mini-album also features Camo (an SM Station track from last year) and this year’s earlier release, NEGA DOLA.

One Shot, Two Shot is another great song to add to BoA’s portfolio in recent times. We saw a snippet of EDM in her portfolio when BoA released Camo last year and I was immediately a fan. One Shot, Two Shot follows the same trend, taking on deep house. The verses seem so-so but the good stuff happens during the chorus. It becomes more lively and upbeat, which is something you might know I prefer. I love the instrumental during the chorus, as well, for its seductive and sexy nature. The ‘One Shot Two Shot‘ repetition during the second half of the chorus was quite addictive. Her vocals shined throughout the vocals, almost going husky in some parts. The bridge of the track was nice but I feel like the launch back into the final chorus could have been more energetic, in my opinion. But overall, definitely another song to check out.

The music video was made up of two sections. Choreography and the train station scene. A little confused about what was happening in the video. Mainly from what I can make out, BoA is an assassin (dressed up in leather in an area where there is no one else does give off that vibe). She dances with her victims, which I guess is a luring method (as she successfully does it to the guy). After a few minutes of interpretive dancing (I think), she shoots him dead. But he later wakes up (which is confusing). But the storyline is definitely interesting. I like the choreography shots as well, particularly the close-ups of BoA with the backup dancers in the background. The rest of the dance shots were simple but definitely elegant.

I am loving the dance that we can see in the music video. I love how sharp the first batch of moves are. The start of the chorus was awesome and the part at 3:16 of the music video where male dancers line up and copy her moves one-by-one as she moves along the line.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] NEGA DOLA – BoA

BoA is known as the Queen of KPOP, proven by her massive portfolio of releases Korea. In the past few years, her promotions in South Korea have dwindled to only a few singles as part of the SM Station releases, most notably Camo (released last year). But after 3 years of no music promotions in Korea, BoA is back with her latest single, NEGA DOLA.

NEGA DOLA is a dance track that mixes electronic synths and a Latin twist to the song, which ends up giving the song a lot of character. This Latin twist is present throughout the song but it is the most dominant during the start, the bridge and the very end of the track. The concoction is a little quirky, but very fitting for the song (more on that in just a moment). While the rapping to this song is definitely a potential downfall for this track, the vocal elements by BoA are really good. I love the way she sings ‘Nega Dola‘ in the song, which means ‘Going Crazy’ (from what I can find out about it). It does feel like a little crazy. I also particularly like the when she brings out her power vocals at the end of each chorus, which I think also adds to that character comment I mentioned before. Overall, it is quite a nice song to listen to, particularly if you want to listen to something that is a little more different to your usual releases.

There is nothing as crazy as an upside down room. Essentially, the video is an odd mixture of an upside down room, your standard choreography shots and a lot of target practice. But I feel, given how the song does sound, they could have gone for a wackier concept, which would have fitted well with the meaning of the song. I am not a major fan of her panda ears hairstyle but her outfits are on point.

BoA has not disappoint with any of her performances from what I remember (don’t fact check that by reading up on the old reviews. I don’t remember what I wrote 5 years ago). I really liked the dance moves during the chorus, particuarly the very start of the chorus. The start and end of the performance was also quite cool looking.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Camo – BoA

BoA has made an unexpected comeback with CAMO. I remember reading live updates for the Produce 101 Season 2 final and coming across an article indicating that BoA (who was hosting the final) was dropping a new single, which came out a few hours ago. It has been a while since we have seen BoA actively on stage. From memory, she was last on stage for Kiss My Lips promotions, which was 2015. Since then, she was released a few singles under SM Station such as Spring Rain (2017) and No Matter What (2016).

I am screaming. Internally, so I don’t sound weird. I was blown away when I saw the teasers. But the entire track is on a whole new level. BoA goes with a dance track that sounds uber sensual and amazing, nonetheless. The song flows very smoothly. There were no rooms for gaps. Even the lead into the chorus was not that apparent. I thought that was very interesting. The intensity of the song is very subtle, but it is there. When I finished listening to the track, I released a breath that I did not even know I was holding in. That is a sign of a possibly great track. I haven’t been impressed with BoA’s recent (okay, 2 years old) releases, but this is amazing. Throw in her vocals, I thought everything was spectacular. The best part was just before the final chorus. I don’t know how to exactly describe it without butchering and destroying that part, but it was about the 3:00 mark. It was extremely climatic and the buildup was pure bliss here.

Though there isn’t an official video out for this song yet on YouTube (that, or I can’t find it), you can catch the video by watching it on the Naver website, which was where I found the video initially. Once there is an official music video, I will update the post accordingly. I have little to no clue about what is happening the video. It seems like her body is like a chameleon and hence, she can blend into things. I don’t know. Hence, CAMO = Camouflage. That is about as clueless as I can get. However, despite that, I can comment on how things look in the video. And I think everything looks stunning. From the aesthetics to BoA herself, it is one beautiful and breathtaking video.

BoA is known as the Queen of KPOP and there is always one thing you associate with BoA. That is the choreography that she has for every single track. Matching the aesthetics of the video, her choreography is amazing here. It is snappy and very sharp. She does not hold back whatsoever and I think that is an amazing aspect of the choreography. Now, can we petition for a full dance practice or a dance version of the music video? I would love to see the entirety of the performance.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10

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[Review] Spring Rain – BoA

BoA is finally back with a new single, in the form of  SM Station release. It has been a while since we heard from the soloist. Last year, she also participated in another SM Station release, No Matter What, which also features Beenzino. Prior to the release of Spring Rain, she called her company out for writing her name incorrectly on the teaser image.

Spring Rain is another experimental track that goes nicely with all the other SM Station releases. The song also delves into the R&B genre. I have probably heard this style before somewhere but there is something that makes this song quite unique and fresh. The first is her voice. The song really allows her voice to shine. From the chorus to the long note at the end, everything sounds amazing with her voice. The second aspect is the instrumental. It is honestly quite calming and refreshing. The song’s lyrics aren’t exactly bright as other Spring songs, such as Would U by Red Velvet. However, the instrumental has a bit brightness to it, while still complementing the darker lyrics. It is honestly a type of instrumental that I wouldn’t mind listening to by itself. There are whispers at the start and the end of the song. I don’t mind them and they seem to contribute to the aesthetics of the song. However, they really don’t do much to the rest of the song and sound like it belongs elsewhere, rather than this particular single. That being said, the song overall sound pretty good, as well.

Once again, SM Station has gone with a video with a lot of aesthetics, which works well with the song. I personally love videos with odd camera angles and the way filters were applied to the video makes it look urban and industrial. It is like they took a whole bunch of stockpiled videos and manage to work it with their idea of the music video. The video itself shows a couple at the start of their relationship and (what I assume) the breakdown of their relationship. While the video was edited to be in slow-motion, the acting the video is quite good. Their scenes together don’t seem to do much, but when they are by themselves (i.e. the lady walking around and the guy just laying on the bed), the scenes become stronger and adds more meaning to the video. Overall, it was a nice video that went well with the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

The Seoul Music Awards is one of the award ceremonies held the year after for the year before. For example, the award ceremony for the 25th Seoul Music Award was held in 2016, but celebrates the flourishing artists of 2015. Understand yet? Well now that hard to understand concept has been dealt with, the 25th Seoul Music Award ceremony was held on the 14th of January 2016, in Seoul. It is said that this award ceremony is one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies for the year as it recognises the popular and talented artists of the year. Selection process for winners on the night are as follow: 20% mobile votes, 10% Popularity Polls, 40% music sales (both digital and physical album sales) and 30% judging panel’s scores. Only artists who released singles or albums in 2015 are eligible to win.

Like all ceremonies, a number of actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the event to give out awards. The night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, EXID’s Hani and Honey Lee. All artists that received the award on the night performed on stage (minus those whose awards were accepted on their behalf by label mates – Big Bang is who I am trying to refer to).

Just to recap the awards winners of the night:
Bonsang Awards – EXID, Red Velvet, Taeyeon (SNSD), VIXX, Yoon Mi Rae, Zion.T, BTS, EXO, APINK, Sistar, Big Bang & SHINee.
Best New Artist – iKON, GFriend, Seventeen
Performance Award – Hyukoh
Best Trot Award – Hong Jin Young
Best RnB Award – Sane
Best Ballad Award – BTOB
Best OST Award – Jang Jae In (performed with Wonwoo (Seventeen) on the night)
Male Dance Performance Award – Monsta X
Female Dance Performance Award – Ailee
Mobile Popularity Award – Kim Junsu (JYJ)
Hallyu Special Award – EXO
Record Of The Year (Digital Release) – Bang Bang Bang (Big Bang)
Record Of The Year (Physical Release) – Kiss My Lip (BOA)
Daesang Award (Best Artist Of The Year) – EXO

The Bonsang awards seem to be more representative of the mainstream KPOP this year. Finally, Seventeen get their Best New Artist award that I think they truly deserve. Most likely they got it for their record breaking album sales. And finally some people decided to pay attention to BTOB. I am not technically fond of their ballads in the past year, but hey, it looks like South Korea is finally paying attention to them. Ailee’s award is one I am not exactly sure of. I don’t think it was the best dance performance of the year. I think that belongs to a particular rookie who was present on the night as well. Regarding Kim Junsu, who was apparently not invited to the ceremony despite winning a key award on the night, there is some shady business going on. But hopefully, when this matter is resolved, justice for Junsu and JYJ will occur. 2015 was a step forward for them, with the introduction of the JYJ Law.

Ailee should not have been pestered for the cameras catching her “on her mobile”. The netizens make it sound like she was too busy texting another person or was too busy looking at pictures of food. Put simply, she was just downloading an app to support SHINee and was later seen supporting Boa. People should really see the bigger picture (or in this case, wait for it) before making a big deal out it. Also, Boa’s award. Even though it was nice to see her win something, I agree with a lot of people who say she got the award just because of her senior status. It was her 15 year anniversary and she probably wouldn’t have received any award for her album if she debuted later on. Also, Starship should not deprive Sistar of any chances to get on the stage. They looked like they really enjoyed being there and were probably excited for their first stage together in what seemed to be 6 months.

Performance wise, I actually did not pay that much attention to the performances in this ceremony. Some of them were disappointing to watch, while others just did not appeal to me or make me want to watch. All I am going to say is the few that I did manage to watch (mainly the first half) were okay. Just minus the introduction for EXID’s performance. That was shocking. Stand out was probably GFriend’s intro. While their fan chant came to a close second. I don’t why I feel that way regarding the performances, I just was not feeling it. For the past few years which I have been watching the SMA ceremonies, their performances are by far the weakest of all ceremonies. Below I have put a handful of performances that I could quickly find into a playlist from the night.

Well, that is it for my wrap up of the Seoul Music Awards 2016. Hopefully, next year is better. Less controversy and better stages required to make this an award ceremony that I can look forward to.


[DOUBLE REVIEW] Who Are You + Kiss My Lips – BOA

This is the first BOA comeback that I am reviewing. I believe the last one was Only You and I never got around to it. For those who don’t know, BOA is a very popular female soloist in Korea who has been around since the early 2000s and have proven to be one of the most successful acts in Korea at the moment. She was only a young teen when she made her debut, and now, is more known as the Queen of KPOP. She is now 15 years into the industry and is still going strong.

Overall, her songs are nice, just the recent ones have been very bland and boring. What happened to those big hits like Hurricane Venus? Her last comeback, Only You, really lacked colour and feel. So that was overall very disappointing. Now she returned with two songs, to me, had the same initial feelings with Only You. Who Are You? is more of a romantic pop song that sounded okay. I don’t have much against her, but her voice suits the songs with more of a dance feel to it. The song has a nice instrumental and fitted the Spring weather quite well. I don’t think the rapping was needed. It wasn’t bad but it disrupted the feel of the song for me. Kiss My Lips was more of a subtle dance song. The dance feel was there, but it wasn’t as big as her other pop hits. Not a big fan of the start of the song. It sounded very weird. The rest of the song was very boring. It lacked appeal and catchiness for me, which was very disappointing. Though I can see how the song is a pretty good song, it just “misses the beat for me”. But as I said before, 15 years in the making and there is no signs of stopping. I am 100% sure that BOA will put something out that I will enjoy one day, just not this time.

As the music videos go, I don’t mind them. Both a ridiculous at some points, but it works I guess. Like in Who Are You, it is an okay video. You could tell that is was going to be something long the lines of a romance plot. But what’s with the random CCTV shots of her dancing (and it is sad to admit that I look like that at parties)? And the random scene where she randomly flies and jump to her next destination? It makes so little sense, but in the end, she got to the “one she was hoping for”. Someone should like mention that Sehun is like 6 years her junior… -runs away-
As for Kiss My Lips, I thought it was a very stylish video. Just those close up shots of her in the white room and the different coloured lights and patterns projected really disappointed me. I can’t see her face for half of them because it was so dark. And you probably know I already hate them, even though they are meant to look arty. But beside, it was a nice video that was clean and the dancing set fitted the overall song quite well.

As for the dance for Kiss My Lips, I thought it was a little boring. I like the Vegas style fans and I guess we can see that Femme Fatale concept she is going for in this comeback with this song. Though, it was not as impressive as Only You’s dance though.

I feel like I did 3 reviews for some reason. But BoA’s comeback was deemed as successful. Just SM really needs to sort out their problem with overlapping comebacks. SHINee, EXO and BoA are promoting at the moment. Kind of excessive. I don’t want to start any wars, but SM’s money hunt is going a little too far. Also SNSD is due to comeback this month as well. And this is why SM has overworking controversies. Didn’t want to leave this review on a bad note, but I had to address it somewhere. Maybe a rant article in the future?

Who Are You? – 3/10

Kiss My Lips – 3/10

Which BoA song did you like for this comeback? Kiss My Lips or Who Are You? Results will be published in the Rewind article for June, in July.