[Album Review] Indigo (1st Studio Album) – RM (BTS)

It has been a long time coming, but here are my thoughts on RM’s solo debut album. Released at the start of December 2022, Indigo follows the releases of mixtapes from RM back in 2015 (titled RM) and 2018 (titled Mono). It features 10 tracks in total, including Wild Flower and Still Life that I had already reviewed separately in their respective song review posts (links to both are below). The album itself is collaboration galore, with RM seeking the assistance of Erykah Badu, Anderson Paak, Tablo (from Epik High), Kim Sa Wol, Paul Blanco, Mahalia, Colde, Youjeen (from Cherry Filter) and Park Ji Yoon to tell some very deep and powerful messages in the songs that feature on the album. I think that pretty much says it all – Indigo is such an artistic and aesthetic album that explores so much in terms of lyrics, genres (though all come back to hip-hop in one form or another) and featuring artists. This is without a doubt a recommended listen.

Also, as I have previously mentioned time and time again in recent days, this will be the final album released in 2022 in which I will cover. Later this month, I will be turning my head towards the 2023 albums, which reviews are very much long overdue. But until then, here is what I have to say about Indigo.

Indigo Album Cover

1. Yun (with Erykah Badu) – Opening up the album is the single Yun. It explores a very chill, jazzy form of R&B. This track is stunningly smooth and I really enjoyed the glow that comes from the song. Alongside RM, Yun features the late Yun Hyong-keun as the narrator who we can hear at the start and end of the track. The song is also titled after him and whom RM draws inspiration from for this track, which explores the idea of going back to his younger days to rediscover his passion for music and art. Yun also features the Queen of Neo Soul, Erykah Badu, whom I understand does not collaborate with just anyone. Her vocals oozes so much charisma, as does RM in this song. (9/10)

2. Still Life (with Anderson .Paak)Click here to read the full review for Still Life. (9/10)

I couldn’t find the official audio link for Still Life on YouTube, so I have linked the music video here instead.

3. All Day (with Tablo)All Day packs a punch with its instrumentation. I always end up feeling the beat and head-nodding along to the song every time it comes on. I really liked the vibrancy of the song, with the beat and brass adding a liveliness to the song that feels super invigorating. The backing vocals in the chorus also have a similar effect. This alone makes the song one of my favourites from the album. All Day features the leader of Epik High, Tablo, who delivers his part with the same vigor as RM did in the song. The pair are super balanced and make an impact with their statement of fighting social pressures ‘all day’. (10/10)

4. Forg_tful (건망증) (with Kim Sa-wol) – RM trades in rapping for breathy vocals in Forg_tful, a ballad simply instrumented by an acoustic guitar. Folksy whistle also makes an appears, just to give the song just that something bit more. Just like every other ballad I have enjoyed during my time reviewing KPOP songs, the melody of Forg_tful has this subtle swaying effect, which already tells me that it is going to be success in my books. The song features folk singer Kim Sa-wol, who just has a beautifully delicate set of vocals. I really liked how RM bent his delivery to ensure it fits alongside Kim Sa-wol’s vocals, making Forg_tful quite a harmonious track. (8/10)

5. Closer (with Paul Blanco & Mahalia)Closer speaks towards the idea of wanting to be closer to someone who just isn’t the right person. The track comes in the form of an alternative R&B song which features the likes of Paul Blanco and Mahalia, who both sound great in the song. It took me a while to get into the song, unfortunately. Just because it feels plainer than the rest of the album. But once I did get there, it was such a nice track to have in the background. (7/10)

6. Change Pt. 2 – So far, the album has been quite heavy with featurings from other artists (and there are more to come!). But we finally hit the two solo tracks from RM himself. The first is Change Pt. 2, which is quite a unique textural change-up. It is an experimental track that kicks off with quite an abrasive and crunchy set of synths and electronica that was very much unexpected. This transforms into a jazzy piano number, before slowing down completely at the end. The experimental nature of Change Pt. 2 continues through RM’s slurred delivery. There is definitely charm to delivering the track this way and it is quite artistic. But it is quite overwhelmed when paired with the boldness of the Change’s instrumentation. Overall, quite a surprise. But one that I do like. (8.5/10)

7. LonelyLonely is quite an enjoyable pop number instrumentally, with the guitar work being such a prominent feature of the song’s background. The powerful nature of the pre-choruses was quite an impactful sequence and I liked how RM effortlessly switch back to the pop vibes for the chorus. RM’s vocals are amazing and well appreciated in this song. However, don’t let Lonely mislead you. Despite it being of pop vibes, the lyrics are quite pessimistic and weighty on the topic of loneliness. Altogether, it creates an interesting atmosphere, which makes it a favourite in my books. (10/10)

8. Hectic (with Colde) – The city pop instrumentation that features in Hectic is my favourite aspect of the song. The beat is quite addictive, and paired with the synths, Hectic just takes on a groovy undertone. I also enjoyed both RM and Colde’s husky vocal tone, which was another highlight of the track. Another strong track that shows off RM’s versatility and Colde’s appeal. (10/10)

9. Wild Flower (들꽃놀이) (with Youjeen) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Wild Flower. (10/10)

10. No.2 (with Park Ji Yoon) – Ending the album is the more positive No.2, which speaks of looking forward (rather than backwards). It is quite a comforting track, especially since the lyrics feature the line “You’ve done your best”. Park Ji Yoon’s nasally vocals shine in this song for me, while RM himself ensure the song stayed grounded. It is a nice closer to the album, and a nice ‘change of tune’ after the exploration of the heavy and deep messages that RM features on the album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.1/10

Indigo Teaser Image

[Review] Still Life – RM (BTS) with Anderson .Paak

Apologies with how long it has taken me to review this particular song. Still Life was released as part of RM’s debut studio album that was released in December last year. The single Wild Flower, which I did review at the time of release, was the main title track. But Still Life was released as a second single a week after the album’s release. Today, I will finally review Still Life. Also, with this song review soon to be out of the way, this does mean I will finally be posting a review for RM’s studio length album Indigo this coming weekend. Indigo’s album review will also be the final 2022 album review, which will mean that I will finally start tackling the 2023 albums! That will be coming out later this week. But until then, here is my review for Still Life.

Still Life has such a groovy flair that makes it one damn good expressive song. I remember constantly listening to the track when it was first released, just because it was such a fun number and was quite an attractive track from the album. The positive vibes exuded from Still Life were notable, and the upbeat energy throughout makes me want to have a bit of a boogie. The instrumental had some great percussion and subtle brass that gives life to that groovy flair that I already mentioned. As for the artists, RM’s rapping had really good flow and was very captivating during the verses. Anderson .Paak comes through primarily during the choruses alongside RM, and gives off a really great texture via his raspy voice. His “I’m still life” line throughout the song was very punchy and memorable, and this adds more to that expressive profile of Still Life. There is such a catchy ring to the choruses as well. I also found it clever how Anderson .Paak is able to manipulate the pronunciation of “I’m still life” to make it sound like ‘I’m still alive‘, which adds further meaning to the song (which I will touch on later). Together, the pair had great chemistry, as evident by that sequence just prior to the final chorus, and this helped make Still Life a fantastic song. Altogether, I found Still Life is be suitably selected as a second single and a highlight from the Indigo album.

The video plays on the concept of still art. Whilst everything around him is frozen, RM is still able to move about freely, grooving to the song as it plays. With everything around him frozen, he is showing how something still can continue to be alive. The lyrics also speak about moving forward. And the concept of a train was a great way to show this, as the train is a vehicle that constantly moves forward to reach its destination. A well thought out video.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] Like Crazy – Jimin (BTS)

A week ago, Jimin released the pre-release single Set Me Free Pt. 2, ahead of the release of his solo debut mini-album. Yesterday, Jimin unveiled his highly anticipated mini-album, FACE, which is lead the by the single Like Crazy. He is the fourth member of his group BTS to release an official solo release since the announcement that the group would be taking a break to focus on solo endeavors and military enlistment. Recently, he collaborated with TAEYANG for VIBE, kicking the year off in style.

To me, Like Crazy is a lot more palatable then Set Me Free Pt. 2. Compared to the pre-release single, Like Crazy is a lot more contained and much more charming. No autotune is present to leave a sour aftertaste nor do I feel an overpowering instrumentation. Instead, Like Crazy opts for a synthpop instrumental, which is traditionally soft and light. I like this style as it is captivating and it has a drive to it, even though the instrumental stays pretty neutral throughout. One of the aspects of the instrumental that I really enjoyed was the instrumental break of Like Crazy, which really upped the retro dial and gave a logical but needed change to keep the song alluring. Jimin brings both a sexiness charm and delicate touch to the song via his vocals, which I brings that charming element to the song. He also turns the emotions up, particularly in the final moments of the song before the outro, which I quite enjoyed. The only thing I can see as lacking from Like Crazy was a good hook/melody. Without these, Like Crazy fails to come off as a memorable song. It is still a pleasant listen, nonetheless. But I think a substantial hook or melody would have only improved Like Crazy, taking it to the next level.

The music video had an alluring aesthetic which complements the song extremely well. The song is about being heartbroken, and using fun adventures to move on from the feelings of break up (taken from PinkVilla) and this is shown in a literal sense in the video. For majority of the video, we see Jimin heartbroken and coming to terms with his breakup. I really liked the muddy spew that comes out of the walls and the floor in these scenes, probably representing the coldness from the current state of his relationship, while the spewing motion represents the sudden onset of these developments. We then transition to the club scenes, where Jimin begins alone but slowly starts having fun with the people around him. I really liked the blue hue that the club scenes having, which is a colour that represents calmness and stability, which is what Jimin is looking for after the developments of his relationships.

[Updated] The choreography is quite artistic and shares a similar alluring aesthetic that the music video had. I liked how the routine takes that sensual vibe that I mentioned earlier in the review. Tad disappointed that retro instrumental break was featured in the choreography. Also, no move really stands out, so the I don’t see this becoming a memorable performance. But it is one still worth watching, especially since it Jimin has some really good chemistry with the dancers.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10

Performance – 8/10 [Updated]
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] Set Me Free Pt. 2 – Jimin (BTS)

The next BTS member to branch out further into solo work is Jimin, who is due to return to the stage with his solo debut album next week. In the meanwhile, Jimin has pre-released the single Set Me Free Pt. 2 today alongside a music video as a teaser for his solo debut next week. Earlier this month, Jimin also released his previous solo singles Promise (from 2018) and Christmas Love (from 2020) through official streaming platforms to mark his impending return.

All of the members’ solo releases since it was announced the BTS would focus on solo ventures and enlist into the military have been quite promising, and this definitely helps raise the expectations for the subsequent solo releases from the members have yet to embark on that solo career. Jimin’s was no exception. However, upon listening to Set Me Free Pt. 2 today, I am on the fence as to whether Jimin lives up to that standard. There was great promise with the classical orchestrated and brass loaded introduction that created an intense, suspenseful and powerful atmosphere, setting up Set Me Free Pt. 2 very well. Then the autotuned vocals kick in. And this turns the song sour for me. I don’t understand the need to autotune his vocals in this manner. I can guess they are trying to keep the intensity and suspenseful tone whilst also making the song more dynamic, but it just doesn’t sound good. The same comments can be made during the return of the autotuned vocals in the second verse. When we are relieved from the autotune and we hear Jimin’s signature vocal tone in a more pure form, everything sounds so immensely better. I am sure they could have done with a less obnoxious autotune style, whilst also adding to the dynamic and intense sides of the song. The rest of Set Me Free Pt. 2 was pretty much solid. Jimin, on top of showing off his signature vocal tone that I mentioned earlier, really maintained the captivation with powerful vocals and falsettos. I particularly like the subtle spoken form of the song’s title in the background. It was barely audible, but it helps give Set Me Free Pt. 2 depth which in turns adds to the song’s epicness. I did feel like the instrumental did get overpowering in the chorus, which doesn’t exactly sit well with me. But I rather that than the autotune. Maybe it they toned it down a notch to not be as overwhelming, Set Me Free Pt. 2 would have earned a higher rating from me.

The music video was, without a doubt, epic. The wide angle bird’s eye view shot that captured the grandness of the start, the simplicity of the circular room, the cinematography was all so good. I did wish there was a few more steady solo shots of Jimin in the video. We did get a fair bit, but the camera was constantly moving, the dancers were constantly moving which gave the impression of a lot was going on and the large nature of the set made just a tad difficult to focus on the subject of the video (i.e. Jimin himself). I did like the sensual side that Jimin showed off in the video, and that part where the lights turned off and back on again to reveal Jimin all tatted up and his shirtless body on display underneath the jacket was a showstopper moment in the video. The ending, when the dancers moved away after dropping tatted Jimin, revealing a version of Jimin in a white sweater hints towards a possible connection with next week’s video. The only way to confirm this is to wait for next week’s music video.

Both Jimin and the dancers needs to be applauded when it comes to the choreography. There is an aesthetic that comes from the dancers that really helped give the video such a strong and epic vibe. The dancers did an amazing job, especially at the start when they clustered together and then panned out. Jimin showed off an artistic flair with his movement, encapsulating both epic and sensual vibes with his movements. Usually, they don’t go to together. But trust Jimin to successfully combine them. I really liked the use of circular formations throughout the routine, and that ending where Jimin is lifted up and dropped was one of the coolest finales in a long time.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] VIBE – TAEYANG (BIGBANG) ft. Jimin (BTS)

It has been a while since we have heard from TAEYANG, with his last album release, White Night, being from 2017. Leading the album were the title tracks Darling and Wake Me Up. Since then, Taeyang had enlisted, got married to actress Min Hyo Rin and both of them had a child together (congratulations!). As for his singing career, things have been rather silent up until the end of last year when it was announced that Taeyang had decided to not renew his contract with YG Entertainment and went on to sign with The Black Label (a YG Entertainment subsidiary label). Now signed with a new label, TAEYANG announced his return to the stage through the release of VIBE, a collaborative single with Jimin (from BTS).

Now, the announcement of this single was quite a surprise. But it was a surprise that I was interested in seeing, given VIBE joins the forces of two of the biggest acts from the second and third generations of KPOP. VIBE definitely continues the idea of surprises, bringing forth an upbeat groovy ‘vibe’ that taps into retro and new jack swing influences. They help liven up the song and adds a fresh flair to the current KPOP industry. I also enjoyed the subtle presence of electric guitar towards the end of the song. It just gives even more refreshing at the end and helps bring everything in VIBE to a fitting and satisfying close. As for the vocal work, both TAEYANG and Jimin sounds really good throughout VIBE. I liked that TAEYANG doesn’t waste a second, starting off the song with a smooth R&B melody and sultry vocals. Once the instrumental kicks into gear, his vocals drives VIBE upwards and forwards, and he also brings a really vivid tone to the song that just kicks everything into gear. Jimin’s vocals in the second verse brings out a more innocent and young tone to the song, which contrasts really nicely with TAEYANG’s vocals. His higher pitch gave the song a bit of depth and adds to the dynamics of the song. The chorus, to me, was quite memorable thanks to the melodies and the energy both TEYANG and Jimin puts in. If I had to make some sort of complaint about VIBE, it is that I found the to be too short. I think more could have given and I would have enjoyed it just as much. Hopefully, we see more of TAEYANG in the near future!

When the video opens up and we sing TAEYANG shirtless, I was brought back to his Eyes, Nose, Lips days (back in 2014). That was a nice throwback. We then get both TAEYANG and Jimin, during their respective parts, fill the massive sets with their stage presence. Both TAEYANG and Jimin show off their sleek choreography skills (more on that later) and impressed me with how they carried themselves throughout the video. Watching them do their thing in this video was truly a vibe. I liked how there was the lowering of the stairs structure for TAEAYNG’s solo part and the lifting of a cityscape for Jimin’s solo part. These probably have some sort of meaning to TAEYANG or the song. It just isn’t apparent/obvious. But it was a simple addition to the song that felt aesthetic. When the pair finally came together in the second chorus to the very end of the video, they knocked it out of the park. Overall, I find this music video to be an example of simplicity done effectively.

As mentioned above, this music video shows off both TAEYANG and Jimin’s skills in the performance department. In TAEYANG’s case, he proves he still has what it takes to put together a riveting and skilled performance. I am unsure whether their solo parts were freestyle or actual choreography. Hopefully we find out through promotions (though I haven’t heard anything about that just yet). As for the chorus routine, that is all choreographed and I really liked the chemistry the two brought together when they performed together. The sharpness with their movements was very cool and memorable.

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

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

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

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

Jack In The Box Album Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Jack In The Box Teaser Image

[Review] Wild Flower – RM (BTS) with youjeen

For the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards, BTS is nominated for Best Stage Presence and Best Special Performance, while BTS members j-hope, SUGA and JIN are nominated in a range of other categories, including Best Rap Performance, Best New Male Soloist and Best Collaborations. Support BTS and your other favourite artists, songs and performances by clicking here to vote today.

For some, RM’s solo debut is probably the biggest release of the week. Yesterday, RM joined fellow members j-hope and JIN in solo release territory through the release of Indigo (the title of his solo debut studio-length album) and the title track Wild Flower, which features youjeen, the vocalist of Cherry Filter, a South Korean rock band. Earlier on in the year, RM confirmed that the BTS members would be focusing on solo ventures for the time being for the foreseeable future ahead of the impending military enlistment of the individual members with plans to regroup in 2025 following the completion of the group’s enlistment duties.

For those who don’t know, hip-hop and rap songs are not my go-to genres when I want to listen to music. I have just never been drawn to the style of music. But through KPOP, I have slowly grown accustomed to the genre and enjoy a few tracks from the genres. For RM, it was expected that we would heard delve into this style of music, given his role as main rapper in his group’s releases. What I did not expect was to be completely swept away by this song. Wild Flower was super captivating. To the point where I have to stop whatever I am doing (for example, writing this review). Usually, I can write a review (or do other things) whilst listening to the song in question. But with the likes of Wild Flower, it is one of those songs where the only way to appreciate is by taking it in purely and to do so without distractions. Wild Flower begins off with an atmospheric instrumental, before RM kicks it into gear by continuing the atmospheric underlay but also giving Wild Flower some momentum with the insertion of rock sounds. It creates for a powerful piece in such the opening section of the song. For the verses of Wild Flower, RM adds brings forth a more calming demeanour that effortlessly exudes passion. It is such an interesting balance that I find so interesting to listen to. The violins probably add to the calmness, and I thought that was clever. The verses are then followed by a second chorus, which features youjeen’s soaring vocals. I love the texture she brings to the song, adding to the captivation factor of Wild Flower. I quite liked how the violins and rock elements merge for the bridge and final run of the choruses of the song, combining the best of the two worlds that make up Wild Flower. Overall, I am definitely singing praises for Wild Flower, a song I didn’t expect to be the best release of the week.

The music video was stunning even without sitting down and interpreting the video. After all, Big Hit Music definitely have the budget to create such aesthetic videos. Based on SOOMPI’s article for this release, Wild Flower is about RM’s desire to live like a tranquil wild flower rather than an extravagant but quickly disappearing spark, which may be connected to RM’s desire to rediscover himself in music, which he has spoken about before. The video does a great job of depicting this, with RM present in a stunning outdoor setting that sets him up as a ‘tranquil wild flower’. Dark stormy clouds come by (which might be a representation of the stress and bad energy that RM experiences as an artist), but RM stands strong throughout, which allows him to passionately perform on stage at the end of the video. Overall, a literal but clever video.

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

[Review] The Astronaut – JIN (BTS)

The focus on soloists this week on the blog is quite timely, given the biggest release this week is without a doubt the solo debut of one of the members of the biggest KPOP group at the moment. JIN (from BTS) is the logical choice as the next member of the 7-member group for solo promotions, given that he is expected to be the first member to officially enlist into the military (which I believe will happen some time in the next two months). However, just before he does leave, JIN gives us The Astronaut, the title of his solo debut track and the focus of this review.

You may notice right off the bat that the track feels very Coldplay. Well, you notice and thought right, as both JIN and Coldplay co-wrote The Astronaut. If you pay close attention, you can hear Chris Martin contributing to the song via some of the backing vocals, as well. With this partnership in mind, it does not surprise me that The Astronaut is a pop rock song with a hint of synths. And it is a very beautiful one, at that. It isn’t one of those vibrant and upbeat pop rock songs that I think KPOP has geared towards more. Instead, The Astronaut opts for a slower pace that draws out the song in a captivating and stunning manner. I am glad that the slow pace doesn’t draw out the song to the point of boredom, which easily could have been the case. As for the vocals, I am quite entranced. JIN isn’t the person to come to mind when it comes to vocals in BTS, so I was interested in hearing what he has to offer in terms of his official solo work. In The Astronaut, we get to hear a heartfelt and profound tone from JIN. He utilised his lower tone so well in the song to captivate me. I also enjoyed the moments in the song where his vocals become wispy, which helped make The Astronaut more appealing and dimensional. The Astronaut was incredibly thought out and played towards JIN’s strengths. Sadly, it will be a while until we hear from JIN again, but The Astronaut leaves me (and a lot of listeners) quite satisfied for the next while.

While the song’s lyrics appear to have been written for the fans, the story that was told in the music video was so nice and equally as fitting for The Astronaut‘s lyrics. Essentially, JIN plays an alien, who was left to fend for himself when his spaceship crashed into Earth. During his time on Earth, he befriended a young girl who he hanged out with often. A lot of his fondest memories was with her, where she taught him pastimes and he taught her to ride a bike. One day, the spaceship starts beaming up a light which I guess is a call for Alien JIN to return to his home planet. He leaves behind the young girl who was looking for him with a bike (but not after leaving her with his helmet) and makes his way to the spaceship. When he reaches it, however, he realizes that he made Earth his home and reflects on his time with his friend. He ultimately makes the decision to stay behind and returns home. When the young girl rings the bell on the bike at the end, he see a smile on his face, showing us that he is happy with the big and spontaneous decision.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] Arson – j-hope (BTS)

As mentioned in the other day’s review for MORE, I will be posting my review for Arson, j-hope’s title track from his debut studio album, Jack In The Box. And here it is! Just to recap, the other review was for MORE, the pre-release for j-hope’s latest album and was released two weeks ago. Arson (the focal point of this review) was officially released the Friday that just passed, along with the rest of the album.

If I had to sum up Arson in very simple terms, it is a straight forward hip-hop track. So if you are looking for something a bit more innovative or different, Arson won’t be the title track you seek. But if you are for a straight forward hip-hop song, then Arson is the song for you. For me, I find the straight forward and no nonsense nature of Arson to be its drawing point. Arson‘s instrumental exudes a captivating flow, a moody rhythm and a strong beat, all of which had me head nodding along to the song. A small part of me does feel that more could have been done to develop the instrumental even further, but I pretty much enjoy how the instrumental is (and this pretty much could have ruined that no nonsense comment I made before). Adding to the moody nature of Arson is j-hope’s delivery. I liked the subtle aggression that comes from j-hope during some parts where he brings a small growl into play or pushes out a raspy tone in his delivery. The layering at the end with the filtered vocals that make the sequence beginning with the ‘If anyone asks me…’ and the paced delivery of the ‘Done, Done‘ was quite cool. Talking about the ‘Done, Done‘ parts of the song, it was so simple, but made Arson so catchy for me. Overall, Arson is a strong showing of j-hope’s skills that we all know he has over an uncomplicated backing.

The world is on fire in Arson‘s music video, which makes complete sense for a song titled Arson. The lyrics of the song expresses a dilemma for j-hope, whether to continue burning brightly or to put out the fire. A bit cryptic, but it appears that fans believe they have cracked the code and that this is a song based on j-hope’s journey as an artist. The flame represents the power and energy that j-hope has developed over the years (thanks to his success as part one of the biggest male groups of all time), showing that he is unstoppable and that only he can put out his own flame. He can harness the energy for his fans, being that bright light to guide them through, and/or burn his haters (as depicted by the people running around on fire in the video). I liked the dark atmosphere of the video, which compliments the hip-hop style of the song, and j-hope’s aggressive and powerful delivery in the song. The visual effects in the video, especially the glowing exposed wounds on his face at the end, were top notch!

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Review] MORE – j-hope (BTS)

Following BTS’s long awaited Korean comeback with Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment) and the announcement that the group would be focusing more on their solo careers than group activities moving forward (though HYBE quickly clarified that promotions as a group would continue), j-hope is the first member to begin working on his solo career with the release of a studio album, Jack In The Box, which features the pre-release track MORE and the title track Arson (a review for Arson will be published tomorrow, as this review is just for MORE). It follows j-hope’s 2018 mixtape Hope World and 2019’s Chicken Noodle Soup.

I frankly should have reviewed MORE when it was first released two weeks ago. MORE features a dark atmosphere that really grabs your attention. This is thanks to the grungy direction in which the song went, which isn’t unheard of in KPOP. But it fair to say quite its a rare sight. I really like the escalation of the instrumental – boldness, energy and all – during the chorus. The filtered and shouty vocals from j-hope fits right in. However, I do wish there was more body to MORE‘s chorus, just so there is a substantial melody and hook to the song, which I felt was lacking. As for the verses, I did like j-hope’s simmered rapping and some of his drawn out delivery. It does feel constricted and limited, however. But it was obvious after the fact that the verses were designed to set up the chorus that I already touched upon. I did like how the second verse as a bit more bolstered and not a repeat of the first verse. This adds a bit more variety to MORE and doesn’t make it too consistent (which otherwise would have made MORE a bit dry). As per the stylistic choices that MORE follows, the track is a strong one that caught my attention. It just needed a bit more meat to the song, however, in my opinion.

Just like the teaser images for this release, I could not recognise j-hope. I personally attribute this to the makeup, which gives off a different character to the j-hope that I know of from BTS’ promotions. My comments might be taken to be negative, but I do enjoy it when artists show different sides of themselves, and j-hope obviously hit that brief. His look also fits in well with the grungy style of MORE. Anyhow, the video starts off with a package being delivered (which at the end is shown to be a package of all the rooms we see j-hope feature in this video). j-hope clarifies that each room has a concept and meaning, but he doesn’t go into detail what they are. Based on the lyrics, it appears these rooms relate to him somehow and his journey as an artist thus far – with his lyrics depicting his ambition from when he was starting out to the present as a BTS member. I would like to know what each room represented, just to give more meaning to the video. He did talk about the hallway, which he says shows that there are more spaces, fitting for a song titled MORE.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment) – BTS

It has been a while, but BTS is officially back in South Korea with their latest Korean single, Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment). The new single dropped today and is featured as the title track from the group’s first anthology album, Proof, which features a range of songs from the last nine years of the group’s discography. It is also the group’s first domestic comeback since 2020’s Life Goes On and Be, and the subsequent English hits – Dynamite, Butter and Permission to Dance.

If I had to summarise Yet To Come in a few simple words, my pick would be “a sentimental pop ballad”. Nothing more, nothing less. From my listens to the song thus far since its release on Friday, I can say that it sounds good and has a swayable melody that I find in what I consider to be good ballads. Yet To Come‘s instrumental had a hip-hop tinge to it, which make sense given the group’s roots in the genre. It is a bit airy and simple (even for my taste), but that allows the other elements to shine more brightly. The high pitch squealy like synths in the background were extremely subtle, but they helped cut the plainness of the song. The vocal and rapping work was nice, and I quite liked the idea of the rapping in the chorus, giving the centrepiece of Yet To Come a bit more energy that prevents the song from being consistently plain. RM, Suga and J-Hope’s flow throughout the song (not just the chorus) was great. Although, I am not a fan of Suga’s rapping at the beginning of the second verse, however, with the autotune. It was an odd ball moment that I didn’t find fit with the rest of the song. The vocalists sound well rounded, but their parts didn’t stand out as much like how the rappers’ did. My biggest issue with the song is not with the group’s execution of Yet To Come, but rather the song’s choice. After their chart topping hits in the Western market, I expected a song with much more fanfare for their ‘grand and long-awaited return’. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a full fledged dance track, but something with a bit more flair than a track that reflects on the past and looks into the future. For some, Yet To Come might be the track that pulls on their heartstrings. And that is absolutely okay. But for me, I find the track to be one of those that I don’t really need to check out again after writing my review.

When I watched the video for Yet To Come, I felt the shots were throwbacks to previous videos. The order in which the members sat and ended the music video in was the order in which the members sat in for their Just One Day music video. V holding a red rose throws back to solo teaser photos from their Map of The Soul: Persona and Boy With Luv (ft. Halsey) comeback. His uniform also seems to remind me of their ‘school uniform days’ which encompasses their School trilogy days, most specifically Boy In Luv. Jungkook standing in front of the rusty blue ‘You Never Walk Alone’ wheel, the train (which featured in J-Hope’s solo shot) and Jimin’s white shoes takes me back to Spring Day. The pick-up truck we driving around and in the background of JIN’s shot brings back memories of RUN‘s ending. RM’s solo shot consist of a shipping container, which seems to link up with their RUN music video, as well. The big winged statue and the scene where JIN covers V’s eyes reminds me of Blood Sweat & Tears. Suga’s solo scene with the butterfly might be connection to their Butterfly song from 2015. The yellow school bus we see at the end reminds us of the bus that featured in No More Dream music video. Aside from the trip down memory lane, the video was shot in beautiful desert location that feels quite scenic despite it being just sand and blue skies.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Review] That That – PSY ft. SUGA (BTS)

It has been 10 years since PSY went viral with his infamous hit, Gangnam Style. Since then, he made a string of comebacks (Gentlemen and Daddy, amongst others) that were quite successful both domestically and internationally, though I would say that his popularity has soften over the last few years. Late last month, PSY made his grand return with That That, a single off his 9th studio album, PSY 9th, and a song that is both produced and features SUGA from BTS. In addition to that, SUGA continues PSY’s tradition of having a famous idol joining his comeback via the music video, joining the ranks of high profile artists such as HyunA, Gain from Brown Eyed Girls, CL and more recently Suzy (who features in the recently released Celeb music video – review for that coming soon).

No matter many times I have listened to That That since its release two weeks ago, it has yet to let up from its fun, playful, silly and childish roots. And I quite like that. Usually, I am not a big fan of silly or childish. But going into a PSY comeback, it is expected and I liked that he didn’t disappoint. Sure, That That is repetitive, and I am quite sure it would have done my head in if it were another song that only had the repetitiveness going for it. But with That That, there is a lot more to the song than repetitive hooks. I quite enjoyed the intensity that the song brings, particularly during the chorus. The pounding beats and the tooting brass in the instrumental made That That feel so lively and punchy. I liked how it doesn’t take a break and is quite relentless. The fun atmosphere that the song has is just infectious and addictive, and the hooks adds to that. PSY gave it his all and is pretty much on par with the instrumental throughout the That That. But the best moment of the song has to be attributed to SUGA, who did not disappoint. When the song was first announced, I wondered where the track would go with SUGA featuring, as it didn’t seem apparent to me how PSY and SUGA would work together. But in That That, SUGA matched PSY’s energy effortlessly and his rapping brought a very dynamic oomph to the song that just makes That That even more enjoyable. When I replay the song, I do it often to relisten to SUGA’s section. Though some of That That‘s hooks, particularly the ‘Do What You Wanna, Say What You Wanna‘ shouty hook do end up distracting me.

As mentioned before, SUGA also appears in the music video. And I am quite happy with this. It definitely made everything a lot more fun and interesting. I liked how SUGA even participated in the choreography and some of the acting scenes. My favourite bit has to be the scenes where PSY (in his Gangnam Style suit) is punching/slapping SUGA and vice versa. It was definitely a fun scene. Their chemistry was great, and I did not feel any sense of awkwardness. Aside from that, I see that PSY is up to his crazy antics throughout the video (loved how he entered the music video – reminds me of when work gives out free food and I enter the room ready to grab the food) and I quite enjoyed the wild western theme. That suspenseful moment when SUGA appears was pretty cool, as well.

The choreography is exactly how I described the song. Fun, playful, silly and intense. It definitely suits the portfolio of choreography from PSY’s past comebacks. I like how the routine encapsulates the energy from the song, and shows it off with flair. I also like how PSY doesn’t hold back on stage, which makes the stages even more fun to watch.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] My Universe – Coldplay & BTS

My Universe is nominated for Best Collaboration and Best International Song By A Korean Artist (Western) categories in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Award. BTS is also nominated in the Best International Song by a Korean Artist (Western) for Butter. Support either My Universe or Butter by clicking here to vote today!

Today’s reviews will be focused on the songs that I have not reviewed yet from the Best Collaboration category from the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. One of the songs that I will be covering is a very big release that I should have reviewed when it was first released (end of September 2021), but haven’t gotten around to it. Until today! I am obviously talking about My Universe, a collaborative single between Coldplay and BTS. My Universe ended up being a single on Coldplay’s most recent album release, Music of the Spheres.

My Universe is one of those tracks that I found myself singing along to and that is thanks to its simple melody. When you consider the melody side of the song, you find it very straight-forward, simple (as already mentioned) and extremely pleasant. While these are limiting factors in some songs, I find these aspects to be big wins for My Universe. I also find this to be vital and clever, as My Universe draws together English and Korean lyrics. It may not be a mind-blowing idea, especially since we get a lot of English in Korean songs in KPOP on a day to day basis now. But I feel the execution of the two languages in this song in particular to be a substantial effort. And having the one singular melody throughout manages to pull the two languages together and creates a seamless song to enjoy. I also find the same melody to work with the message of the song, which is about bringing us all together no matter what world we are in. This is such a relevant message to give today. As mention before, My Universe is pleasant to listen to. Part of this comes from the melodies, but the other part comes from the vocal work. Both Chris Martin and the members of BTS pretty much maintain a soft approach. Even when the music hits hard for the chorus, they don’t really stray away from this idea and keep it fairly consistent throughout. Even the rapping from the members of BTS had that pleasant vibe and kept a low profile. The band and synth instrumentation was also a nice combination and enable My Universe‘s pleasant vibe. We get a slightly heavier, rougher and more intense synths in the final sequence of the song, which definitely helps complete the song (based on how the song supposedly finished off) in a fun celebratory manner, which I guess wraps up the song’s message nicely. Overall, I quite enjoyed My Universe, and found it to be a collaboration that I did not think I needed in 2021.

I quite like the premise of this music video. Coldplay, BTS, robots and aliens are all on different planets and seem to have a smashing time together, vibing to the music in hologram form. I will admit some scenes looks a bit cringy, but it definitely all relayed the same message of how much everyone enjoyed their time with one another. At the supposed end of the song, silencers came through to stop the music and everyone was forced to stop their jam session. But the final instrumental sequence proved that they can’t be stopped, and even though we might be apart from one another in current times, we can always still have a good time as ‘we are all in the universe’. That’s my take on the video, I wonder if there are any others out there? Other than that, I quite enjoyed the production side of the video. The CGI looked super cool and very detailed (like movie budget style).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[International Song Review] TXT, MONSTA X, Kun & Xiaojun (WayV), CN BLUE, BTS

Back again with the International Song Review. I think I did flag that I might do a weekend of these a few weeks back, and I have enough releases to write two of the same post. For those who don’t know, this segment on the blog is where I cover songs released by Korean artists that are in other languages other than Korean. These songs are predominately Mandarin, Japanese and English. For this particular post, we will be checking recent international songs from TXT, MONSTA X, Kun & Xiaojun (from WayV), CN BLUE and BTS.

Magic – TXT

For those who visit my blog, you probably have seen Magic on my Weekly KPOP Charts, featured as the non-Korean KPOP Release of the Week corner of the segment for two or three weeks now. And it is obviously a song which I have really been dying to review for a while now. Magic is TXT’s first full-English track, featured on the group’s latest mini-album, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE. There is so much to enjoy in this track. The upbeat, groovy and funky energy we get in the instrumentation, the energy that comes off said instrumentation, the catchy and repetitive hooks that we get. All of these are reasons why I cannot stay away from the track. The chorus is an exceptional peak for this song, encapsulating all of the above into sequences that are literally keyed into my mind. I also like how the members deliver the chorus in a falsetto matter. I also like the addictive chanty ‘everybody clap your hands‘ lines that follows the second and final choruses. For the music video, I liked the futuristic concept and story that was being told. TXT are humans, sent from the white spaceship to rescue their fellow humans who were held captive by the robots. TXT ended up getting caught and information was being extracted from their while they were in captive. But being clever (and I think they were of a high status), the members escaped captivity and spread their message or ‘magic’ throughout the robot population (i.e. the robots went from robotic mannerisms to becoming very freeing, dancing along to the music). In the end, the members ‘freed’ the robotic population and were zapped back to their spaceship. Aside from the plot line, I liked the white sets (looked sterile, which is fitting for the robotic theme for some reason). But I also liked the use of the colour of blue, which really popped out. Choreography-wise, TXT really shows off their stamina with a routine that just keeps on going. I really like the ‘Oh, Oh, Oh‘ part in the choruses and how only one of them moves and then everyone joins in. It is a simple move, but it looks really cool. (10/10)

Flavors of Love – MONSTA X

Flavors of Love is the title of both MONSTA X’s most recent title track in Japan and the title of their 3rd Japanese studio album, released in May 2021. If you are looking for that intensity that MONSTA X, then this isn’t the right song for you (I recommend WANTED, which is also on the same album). Flavors of Love is more of a casual song, consisting of a mid-tempo pop acoustic guitar instrumentation and a light-hearted tone. If you are an avid MONSTA X fan (or Monbebe), you will realize that this is very foreign territory for the group. But it is a nice change of sound for the group, whose songs tend to be harsh and intense (as mentioned previously). The members vocals also reflect this change. I do find their voices to be more pure in this release, with less processing and autotune applied to it their voices as usual. They also sound much sweeter than usual. The rappers (Joohoney and I.M) also tweak their sequences to be softer and warmer. The song has a decent melody and hooks, making it a nice addition. I do prefer their harsher sounds, however, though this would be a nice b-side. The music video is cheerful and shows the members chilling and enjoying some free time as their leisurely record the song. Nothing really that interesting in the video, other than the fact that the video reflects well with the song. As far as I know, there isn’t a choreography for this comeback. There is a performance version, but they sit on chairs and happily deliver Flavors of Love to the audience. As a result, this wasn’t reflected in the final rating. (8/10)

Back To You – Kun & Xiaojun (WayV)

Next up is Back To You, a ballad performed by Kun and Xiaojun from WayV (which is a NCT subunit, for those who are wondering why I am reviewing a Chinese group). It is an extremely nice ballad, instrumented with classical instrumentation typical of the ballad genre. There is a bit of deep brass (tuba, I think?), which is different from other ballads which are usually piano and strings oriented. I really liked how the instrumental built upon itself. This is always a good sign, as it means the song is developing as it goes and the ballad isn’t just a ‘straight line’. But that is one half of the song. The other half is Kun and Xiaojun, whom brings beautiful vocals to Back To You. They helped make Back To You into a captivating piece. It followed the same development as the instrumental, with their vocals building as the song progressed. Kun and Xiaojun also do a good job of giving the group a slightly different spotlight. I am more used to WayV’s dance tracks and I wasn’t known that the group had vocalists had capable vocalists who could handle stunning songs like this. It definitely makes me more aware of WayV’s skillset. The music video was good, but not as stunning as I hoped. We see the pair hang out in the forest and along the shoreline. A lot of the video has been edited to be slow, which made sense. I liked the views of the setting they gave us (particuarly that night time shot in the forest) and the pair looks good. I feel the video could have included more breathtaking shots of the scenery, as this would have provided a slightly different dynamic but still keep true to the ballad style. (8.6/10)

Zoom – CN BLUE

CN BLUE makes their first Japanese release since 2017’s Shake. This is their first work since the release of their most recent Korean comeback, Then, Now and Forever. Zoom is the group’s first upbeat track in a while, which is very refreshing and more captivating that their ballad comeback in November 2020. That instantly says a lot already. I like the brightness that the song has and the lighthearted energy that it emits. Though I do think it is the least captivating track out of the bunch I am reviewing today. I do yearn for something more meaty from the band, though I guess I have wait some more for that. I do like Yonghwa’s vocals in this song. I miss his voice and am happy that I am hearing his vocals once again. I am also glad that Minhyuk and Jungshin also leant a hand in the vocal department, providing backing vocals for the chorus’ hooks and Jungshin rapping that sequence in the second verse. I wish there was more of this, especially in their Korean releases, as CN BLUE is not just a one-man band. Though sometimes, it feels that way with just Yonghwa singing. For the music video, we see the members alone and this is rather frustrating for them. They all get invited to something, but we don’t see the resolution of the frustration. I wished we got to see that, so that the video had some sense of closure. I did feel the lighting in this video was a bit much and wished it was toned down a bit. It made the video look a bit glary and took away the effect of the colours. (7.3/10)

Permission To Dance – BTS

The release everyone is talking about. I liked the message and energy they are spreading with this song. But out of their Western releases thus far, I feel Permission To Dance is their weakest. I really liked both Dynamite and Butter as they had that heftiness that helped make them catchy and addictive. Permission To Dance is nothing more than a lighthearted piece and pretty much side-track material. They could have been more intense in some parts, but I felt the song had too many ‘soft edges’. There are aspects of the song I did like, however. I liked how the instrumental didn’t rely on much synths. Rather, a hearty selection of ‘classical’ instruments were used to form the backing of the song. I find this to be different and gives off a unique appeal. It also enables the presence of various percussion effects in the song , which added a nice textural flair. The vocal processing is something that I think could have gone out the door, once again. It feels so heavy and icky. Knowing BTS’ skills, they don’t need it whatsoever. So I wonder why the producers feel it is necessary to process their vocals in such a heavy manner. There were some decent hooks, though they don’t have that same level of appeal as Dynamite or Butter‘s had. Though I do hear they added a bit of the Dynamite hook to the song (the ‘Da na na na‘). I liked how the music video had inserts of ordinary people ripping off their masks and dancing along to the music. It reflects well with the message of being free and able to do your own thing. I also liked how the music video isn’t in a ‘set’. It isn’t as fake as their previous music videos, which is a good thing. Choreography-wise, I liked how BTS brought that lighthearted feel to the routine. It looks relatively simple and it looks like the members have a bit of fun in the performance as well. I also like the inclusive nature of the choreography, as they incorporated internal sign language into the choreography. Not exactly the first time it happened, but definitely something that should happen more often! (7.7/10)

[International Song Reviews] SEVENTEEN, TWICE, CIX & BTS

It is time to look at another five songs from outside of Korea by some of our favourite Korean artists. Last time (way back in February), we looked at songs from Jackson Wang & JJ Lin, The Boyz, AB6IX & Why Don’t We, Jun.K and WAYV. Today, we will be having a look at SEVENTEEN, TWICE and CIX’s latest Japanese releases. Alongside those three songs, we will also be looking at BTS’s Japanese single Film Out and their highly anticipated Butter release, which officially dropped on Friday. A lot of get through, so let’s get going!


The other day, I was reading comments for SEVENTEEN’s latest Japanese release, Not Alone, that said something along the lines of “SEVENTEEN’s Japanese releases are quite aesthetic sounding”. This is a statement that I agree for the most part and is quite evident through the release of Not Alone. The song has this atmospheric style instrumental that was very calming and soothing to listen to. To aid this, SEVENTEEN strays aways from harsh synths, piercing effects, heavy beats or vibrant colours in the song. Instead, SEVENTEEN opts for a graceful sounding instrumentation that floats about. There are still synths in this song (enabling the song to still include soft yet delicate sounding dance breaks following each chorus), but they give Not Alone a melodic push and hence that aesthetic vibe that I quoted from above. This allows the members to showcase their vocals in a more touching and delicate manner, which is slightly different to the usual style in which we hear from the members. Even the rappers get into this mindset with softer deliveries. We favourite part is Hoshi’s lines in the bridge. They stick out for me and sound so smooth. There is also this inspirational and uplifting tone to the song that comes through via the members. Overall, a really nice and touching song form the members. The music video for Not Alone is quite fitting for the past year, in which we all spent seeing our family and friends through laptop, computer or phone screens. We see the members do the exact same at the start of the video. They were alone and then joined one another to celebrate DK’s birthday. The second half of the video see the members regroup to hang out and have some fun. While this isn’t a reality yet for some of us, the hopeful tone of the song really gives us hope that is the future that we will be returning to soon. Fitting to the song and MV suggested, the choreography for this comeback is a lot softer and delicate. It is actually nice to see something different from SEVENTEEN that isn’t so energetic and upbeat as their choreographies usually are. The lifts they incorporated into the performance added a nice touch that emphasised this. (9.4/10)

Kura Kura – TWICE

While TWICE is gearing up for Korean promotions next month, the very popular female group made their Japanese comeback last month with Kura Kura. Kura Kura starts off with epic percussion in the background, which gives the pop song a unique and memorable colour, and really promises great things to come. Soon, the song reverts to a more typical pop setup. It was nice and pleasantly upbeat, but it was not as amazing as the epic percussion that started the song off had promised. And this disappointed me slightly. I wished the melodies and hooks in this ‘between’ part were more memorable and impressive enough to continue that initial impression. The epic percussion does make a return two more times in the song (i.e. before the bridge and at the end of the song to close it off). I did like the vocals work, which again can be describe as pleasant and sweet. I did like how they didn’t change their vocals as much when it came to the Kura Kura‘s bolder and more memorable moments, finding a balance between their pleasant and sweet profile to the instrumental’s more grand nature. For the music video, I am not entirely sure what they are trying to depict. There seems to be a mixture of really happy scenes in the video (i.e. when the nine members catch up) and a mixture of loneliness and sadness (i.e. their solo scenes which seem to show this). But I might be reading to it wrong, as the lyrics of the song don’t really give off that impression. But it was still a visually appealing video to watch. I really like the emphasis on the colour blue in the choreography scenes, which gave a nice artistic and calming appeal to the video. I really liked the choreography for this comeback. I enjoyed the imagery of the flower at the start, which was fitting for the music video which had a heavy emphasis on floral decorations. I also enjoyed the choreography for the chorus, which had a definite tinge of matureness to it, despite all the members having really big smiles – which both felt fitting for the image they are now pushing for themselves and the song’s upbeatness. (7.2/10)

All For You – CIX

Like their earlier Korean release this year, CIX’s latest Japanese release also takes a step away from EDM and their serious tone that they had adopted when they first started out. All For You is another pleasant listen that looks to replicate the easy on the ears nature that Cinema succeeded in achieving. And while CIX has done just that, I can’t help but have to point out that other parts of the song is lacking. Aside from the funky instrumental which I think is the song’s main highlight, All For You lacks memorability. This includes hooks, melodies, vocals and rapping. All of these contribute to the song’s undeniabley pleasant and easy going nature, but none hits it hard. I am not seeking any hard drops or intensity that is reminiscent of their earlier works, but rather I wanted to hear elements that had a stronger backing or substance to them. For the music video, All For You was colourful, fun and enjoyable. I liked the carefree nature the members brought to the music video, which was fitting for the overall style. It also shows a different side of the members. I did find the opening few seconds a bit cringy, but it definitely wasn’t the cringiest thing out there in the Korean/Japanese music scene. For the choreography, I liked how they fully embraced the groovy and funky notes of the song in their routine. As a result, the entire performance feels ‘just right’. That being said, All For You‘s choreography still contains their signature sharpness to it. In addition to that, there is also this light atmosphere to the routine, which also works well with the music. (7.4/10)

Film Out – BTS

The first of the BTS releases in this post is Film Out, a single off BTS’s upcoming Japanese compliation album. The single itself was released back at the start of April. so apologies for the long delay. Film Out taps BTS back into the ballad genre, with a (once again) pleasant ballad that is a bit generic for my liking. Film Out has this rich and sentimental tone to it. It would also side nice as a side track that I would tune into if I had a craving for the album. But in comparison to their more well known ballads (such as Butterfly), Film Out falls short of hitting the mark (for me, at least). I think it is mainly because the vocal processing that their voices were put through and hence they don’t sound as pure like in those past ballads had sounded. That being said, Film Out did have its moments. I really liked the beat when the rappers were brought into play. I also liked it when the vocalists were brought in to back each other up. The subtle rock and (more obvious) orchestral influences were also quite nice and added some additional heft alongside the vocals to prevent the song from falling into more into that generic ballad trap that Stay Gold fell into. You always feel like you are watching a cinematic release when it comes to BTS’ music videos and Film Out is no exception. While I have no clue on what is going on in this video (my best guess is that the video is about the members’ reflecting upon past memories that once brought them joy, but now brings them pain – represented by the explosion), I must acknowledge that the music video for Film Out brings out the emotional factor to a whole new level. On top of that, the cinematography was exceptional. (7.8/10)

Butter – BTS

BTS’ most recent release, Butter, dropped on Friday. And since it is the biggest release in the global music industry from this week, and with its strong ties to the KPOP industry, I had to take some time out of my own personal break to have a listen and review it for you all. First impression, I liked it. I wasn’t keen on how it started off at first, but once the groovy and funky instrumentation kicks into gear (plus the pre-chorus melodies presented itself), Butter instantly threw all of its catchy and dynamic energy right at me. Before I knew it, I was nodding along to the music! The chorus is quite addictive, thanks to the melodies in the section. I really like the breakdown, which really concentrated the song’s grooviness into a simple yet ear-catching synth. Vocally, I think Butter really shows off what we know BTS is capable of. The vocalists all gave us solid vocals (and I am super happy that Jin recieved more lines in this song, compared to his limited lines in Dynamite. Hopefully, the remixes that follow this release keeps that trend up!), while the rappers packed a punch when they came into play towards the end of the song. I think Butter is a logical step up/forward from Dynamite and definitely has me reaching for my mouse to press replay! For the music video, I really liked how classy it looked. At the start, the sleekness that BTS’ visuals brought to the video with the black and white filter. When the colour comes into play, all of this fun energy infused into the video, making this a fantastic watch. In addition to the classiness brought to us via their suits, I really liked the colourful and casual trackies they wore in subsequent parts of the video. I also liked how each member that their moment to shine with their dance moves on the elevator and how they brought their individual colours to the video throughout all their solo shots. But visually, the best part of the music video has to be that epic stage they perform on with the lights coming through from underneath. For the choreography, I really liked how BTS kept the energy and momentum going with their moves. I like how fitting the routine is with the title, as the chorus actually looks like smooth (i.e. like butter). We won’t be able to see a full choreography until the Billboard Music Awards tomorrow, but it definitely looks like BTS’s live performance will be amazing without a doubt. (9.5/10)

[Special] 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Winners Announcement

Welcome to the announcement post of the winners for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. During the month of December in 2020, I opened up a survey for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Over 1800 of you voted during the month of December, a number that I did not expect to see! I am sure that you all are excited and are awaiting to see which artist has clinched victory in each category. I have definitely made you wait long enough 🙂

Like the previous years, I will announce the winners using GIFs and images. I have also announced the runners up for each category as Honourable Mentions below the GIFs. In addition to that, I have included the KPOPREVIEWED Choice, which is my personal pick for each category.

Unlike previous years, however, all of the winners of the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards (including the End of Year Charts and Best Song of 2020 Award) is included in this very one post! Towards the bottom of each post, you will see some page numbers. You can click on these page numbers to navigate to different award categories and the End of Year Charts. Here is a quick guide to the page numbers:

Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award

Artist Caregories

The following categories are all fan-voted categories for the artists that were active during the eligible period of December 2019 to November 2020.

Best New Male Group



Honourable Mention: TREASURE

Best New Female Group



Honourable Mention: WEEEKLY

Best New Male Soloist

Han Seung Woo (VICTON)
Kim Woo Seok (UP10TION)

Lee Eun Sang

Honourable Mention: Wonho

Best New Female Soloist

Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)

Ryu Sujeong (Lovelyz)
Solar (Mamamoo)
YooA (Oh My Girl)

Honourable Mention: Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: YooA (Oh My Girl)

Rising Star of 2020

Golden Child

The Boyz

Honourable Mention: EVERGLOW

Most Underrated Group of 2020


Dream Catcher

Honourable Mention: Dream Catcher

Best Vocals


Lee Hi
Ong Seong Woo
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Taeyeon (SNSD)

Best Rapper

Dami (Dream Catcher)
Han Ji Sung (Stray Kids)

Jooheon (MONSTA X)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)
Wooseok (Pentagon)

Honourable Mention: Han Jisung (Stray Kids)

Best Band

Nominees: CN BLUE, DAY6, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE



Honourable Mention: CN BLUE

Best CO-ED Group


Honourable Mention: AKMU

Best Subunit

End of Day
Moonbin & Sanha

NCT 127
Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi

Honourable Mention: NCT 127

Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Kang Daniel, Ong Seong Woo, Taemin (SHINee), Zico

Baekhyun (EXO)
Chen (EXO)
Kang Daniel

Ong Seong Woo
Taemin (SHINee)

Honourable Mention: Taemin (SHINee)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Kang Daniel

Best Female Soloist

Hwasa (Mamamoo)

Jeon Somi
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Hwasa (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Chungha

Best Male Group

Golden Child


Stray Kids
The Boyz

Honourable Mention: BTS, Stray Kids

Best Female Group

Cherry Bullet
Dream Catcher


Oh My Girl
Red Velvet
Weki Meki
WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Honourable Mention: BLACKPINK, EVERGLOW

Select the page numbers below (just above the comments section) to go to the award categories you want to see the most!
Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award