CHUNG HA’s Killing Me is nominated for Best Music Video and Best Pop Song in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support CHUNG HA and your other favourite artists, songs and performance by clicking here to vote today.
Another long overdue album review is finally here. CHUNG HA made her comeback in July earlier this year with the lead single Snapping, which features as the title track of first part of her second studio album, Bare&Rare. Alongside Snapping, there are seven other tracks on the album, all of which will be reviewed today. It follows the release of her first studio album Querencia in 2021 and Killing Me single from late last year. More recently, we have seen CHUNG HA in collaborative singles like When I Get Old (with Christopher) and Color Me (with JUNNY). This first part of the second studio album proves to be top-notch and continues the strong impression that she left on me through her first studio album. More on the songs below.
1. XXXX – XXXX gives Bare&Rare a bold start, with the deep vibrating synth to kick off the song. This for sure leaves an impression on you. The rest of the song continues its dark tone, repeating the same deep and low vibrating synth, along with some trap beats. CHUNG HA sounds good in XXXX and she delivers her lines in a seductive and alluring manner, which I think makes sense with her intent of the song – which was to tease her haters and those who wrong, whilst also promising to return as a stronger person. (8/10)
3. Louder – Next up is a pop track that has a funky and groovy undertone to it. Louder is simple, its feel-good and its just brings forth a positive mindset. CHUNG HA makes this song a pleasant one with her vocals, while the instrumental has a bouncy dance tinge to it, which I quite enjoyed. Personally, I am not a big fan of the children voices in the background to bulk up the final chorus. I liked the intent of it, but I felt like the kids made Louder feel quite childish. CHUNG HA is a mature artist and I wished she maintained that persona in Louder’s final moments. (8.5/10)
4. Crazy Like You (ft. BIBI) – Crazy Like You is such a moody song, but I am all for it. I really liked the slow swaying melody to this track, and how all the percussion adds texture to the song. There is also a bit of a rock influence to the song, which I would have liked the song to explore more of. CHUNG HA sounds great, and she really shines with this style of music. BIBI, while was great in her portion of the song, was heavily under-utilised. She was ideal for this song and could have brought more to Crazy Like You, but we never got to see what that would have eventuate to as we barely heard from her. (8/10)
5. California Dream – We get another pop track through California Dream, and it delivers funky and groovy undertones once again. I love how subtle this track is, keeping to itself and never overwhelming. It is extremely pleasant and is quite enjoyable on the ears. I am loving the way the ‘반짝반짝한”(which roughly translates to ‘Sparkling’ in English) rolls off CHUNG HA’s tongue and starts of the chorus. This one is a charmer. (9/10)
6. Good Night My Princess – As I had expected, Good Night My Princess is a ballad. And this one has special meaning to CHUNG HA as it is an ode to her mother. With that context in mind, I feel it is kind of rude to say anything other than praises for this track. But CHUNG HA doesn’t give me much opportunity to say anything negative, as it was a breathtaking pop ballad. The instrumental was dreamy and soothing, and I am loving the guitar work. CHUNG HA herself was captivating and sound beautiful throughout Good Night My Princess. (9/10)
7. Love Me Out Loud – Love Me Out Loud returns to the pop focus of this album. But this one is much more profound, going down the dance pop route. I mean, nothing says dance pop more than the piano or keyboard we hear in the song and those hollow synths. I like the way the chorus soars, courtesy of CHUNG HA herself, which (I think) made me go wow the first time I heard the song. She also made me go wow, again, for the bridge. Two wows. I think it is safe to say with such a song in a corner, CHUNG HA is definitely someone who belongs to the pop genre. (10/10)
8. Nuh-Uh – Final song on the album is Nuh-Uh, which is probably the most experimental she gets on this album. The chorus was definitely a scene-stealer, with the flute work, the repetitive beats, trap elements and CHUNG HA’s attitude with some of her lines and a much lower tone delivery. I also found it to be quite intense, concentrating everything around it into an amazing centerpiece. Elsewhere in Nuh-Uh, we also get a deeper influence of traditional instruments and R&B. It is definitely a cool closer to the album. (8/10)
CHUNG HA kicked started the week off with her comeback Sparkling and the first part of her second studio album, Bare & Rare. This comeback is the first time we have seen CHUNG HA on stage in over a year and a half following the release of her first studio album Querencia and the title track Bicycle at the start of 2021. CHUNG HA has released some music since that comeback, but has not been actively promoting her releases. Some music include My Lips Like Warm Coffee (a collaboration with Colde), WHY DON’T WE (another collaboration, but with RAIN) and the special single Killing Me at the end of last year.
CHUNG HA’s Sparkling, since the very beginning, has been a very bright, refreshing and upbeat track that fits perfectly into the Summer season. Since its release on Monday, I find each listen to be a great experience that just makes me happy and that it is a vivid listen. It was a mostly consistent pop synth sound, which for Sparkling is a great sound profile to have. The only part that doesn’t necessarily fit well for me was the trap styled start to the second verse, particularly the presence of those metallic clang and twangs. It was passable when I consider the overall sound of Sparkling, but it still does stuck out like a sore thumb. On the other hand, I enjoyed the addition of guitars in the final chorus to give Sparkling some extra oomph at the end. It adds a rock like influence to the end that just did wonders to the song and help prevent Sparkling from falling into the trap of being too consistent, if you know what I mean. I also enjoyed the small details in the instrumental, such as the whistle and that pop in the midst of the Sparkling‘s main hook, which just added nice character. Talking about character, CHUNG HA did an amazing job with solid vocals throughout Sparkling. There were also strong hooks and melodies throughout that helped made Sparkling memorable in my books.
For the music video aspect of this comeback, it was a good one. It fits in with the upbeat and bright sound of Sparkling nicely with an underwater concept, the second one this year (the first one was WJSN’s Last Sequence). Throughout the video, CHUNG HA looks pretty and I like the smiles she brings to the video. The video itself experiments with some different camera angles flying over CHUNG HA, and has a nice vivid colour palette as well. However, I do want to note that this isn’t her best music video of all time. Sparkling‘s video takes on that typical formula of closeups and choreography shots, and doesn’t really do anything within those boundaries to set it apart from other music videos that manage to make me go wow with one or both components.
Her past few comebacks have shown off a sexier side, which is completely fine. But for Sparkling‘s choreography, I quite enjoyed that she departed from showcasing that sexier side, even though it wasn’t a knockout routine. It felt quite refreshing and gives CHUNG HA to show off a different dynamic and side as a performer. There are still some sensual moments in the choreography (it just isn’t upfront!), but for the most time, the choreography is lighter and brighter (as with her smiles).
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8.5/10
WHY DON’T WE is nominated for Best Collaboration in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. CHUNG HA is also nominated for Best Female Solo Artist, Best Outfits, Best Female Choreography (Solo) and Best International Song by a Korean Artist (Western). Support WHY DON’T WE and CHUNG HA by clicking here to vote for the song today!
RAIN returned with the mini-album Pieces By Rain back in March of this year. The mini-album features the title track, WHY DON’T WE, a collaboration between RAIN himself and CHUNG HA. Based on the title of this post, it is obviously the focus of this review. Pieces By Rain also features other collaborations, such as RAIN & JYP’s collaboration from the end of last year – Switch to Me (which was originally considered for a nomination for the Best Collaboration category), a collaboration with some members of Ciipher (Come Over), Jackson Wang (Magnetic) and a solo song, Aurora. WHY DON’T ME is the final song I will be reviewing from the Best Collaboration category for the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards.
What stands out at me in WHY DON’T WE is the song’s flair and style. It is ultimately the reason why I nominated it for Best Collaboration in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. It is incredibly stylish, trendy and modern, all of which are impressions that you would want a song to tick off in this current age. And I personally feel that ever since its release in March of this year, these same descriptions would have applied (and they still do!). I really enjoyed the harsh piano that we get as an instrumental hook in this song, which had the added benefit of being memorable. I also really enjoyed the upbeatness of the song and the subtle intensity that the background captures (which also enables a cool and sharp performance – more on that later). WHY DON’T WE also has vibrancy and never really had a dull moment when you consider the instrumentation. It is the vocals and singing that weakens the song. Not by much and I personally don’t mind it, in retrospect. But sitting down to review WHY DON’T WE made me think long and hard about the song, and I just have to be honest. RAIN is excessively autotuned in this song. It is a bit odd when you look at the song as ‘bigger picture’, as CHUNG HA didn’t have much autotune on her one section of the song. I wished the producers toned down on the autotune, simply to balance and be on par with CHUNG HA’s section. Talking about CHUNG HA, she sounds great in this song. However, I do wish we heard more of her in WHY DON’T ME. I am not satisfied enough! With the hooks and lines, I do feel that WHY DON’T WE was stuck in a loop and a bit repetitive. Overall, WHY DON’T WE shines because of its instrumental, but the glow isn’t as strong thanks to the vocal aspects of the song.
One of the things RAIN is known for in KPOP is his style, and I feel that the music video does a wonderful job of capturing that style. I also felt that having CHUNG HA in the music video, even though her part in the song was limited, also helped with making the video more stylish. I liked the mysterious vibe of the video, courtesy of the closeup shots of RAIN himself. I don’t know if they form a story, or are there just to be mysterious for style only. But I don’t mind whichever was the intention of the video’s producer. Black and greys are stylish tones and I liked how they was used throughout the video to bring forth that visual effect. The odd presence of colour (mainly shades of red), such as CHUNG HA’s outfits, the red sand during the second chorus, the red piece of fabric that was twisted around the dancer in the air etc. added a refined touch to the video.
On top of the stylishness of the music video, the choreography was also the other heavy aspect of the music video. Another thing RAIN and CHUNG HA are known for is their choreographies and performances, and a collaboration between the pair on this front, logically, would be amazing. Well, spoiler alert – it was. I really like the footwork in the performance, along with the sexiness and charisma that the pair brings to the stage. Again, I wished CHUNG HA made an appearance towards the end of the performance to really wrap it up. But what we got was also fine.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8/10
CHUNG HA is nominated for Best Female Soloist, while BICYCLE is nominated for Best Female Choreography (Solo) and Best Outfits, and Dream On You is nominated for Best International Song by a Korean Artist (Western) for the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support CHUNG HA and her songs by voting for her. Click here to do so now!
CHUNG HA is officially back with a special single titled Killing Me, which dropped yesterday. This is her first release since her first solo studio album, Querencia, and the title track, Bicycle. Since then, CHUNG HA has been relatively quiet, aside from a few collaborations with Colde (My Lips Like Warm Coffee), Rain (Why Don’t We), the I.O.I livestream show reunion, and a few soundtracks.
CHUNG HA kicks off the week with a relatively simple, but effective pop track. Killing Me features a club fitting instrumentation that has brings forth some good momentum that drove the song forward. I also found that it made the song simple and straightforward, working in harmony with the other aspects of the song (which I will talk about in a second). First impression wise, I did think the instrumental felt generic and plain, but additional listens really helped me warm up to the backing of this song. I wished this wasn’t the case initially, since Killing Me is such a good song now. But I can’t really change that first impression after it had occurred. Now, I can’t think of Killing Me with any other backing. I liked the idea of using the synths in the chorus as a metaphor for a long tunnel. It is quite an abstract concept and took me a while to get. But after some lyrics researching and pondering, I find that it actually feels that way, and so the ‘effective’ description. Also adding more to that effective descriptor is CHUNG HA herself. I find her vocals to be quite loaded with emotion, which isn’t really usually the case with pop songs, let alone up-tempo songs like Killing Me. But there is that maturity and experience behind her voice that really makes Killing Me so much more impactful. The simple description applies to both the instrumental (which I also mentioned), but also the melodies. The ‘Killing Me Killing Me‘ hook/melody was so simple but yet so memorable. It really pulled me in for second and third listens right away. It also felt so delicate, which I felt also worked with the journey towards the message of the song (i.e. that whilst what you are going through might ‘killing you’, there is always hope for light at the tunnel that makes things better). Overall, Killing Me stands out for its simplistic approach to such a loaded topic, and CHUNG HA expertly weaves that idea into the song to make it an impactful one.
Here is what I got out of the video. It starts off with CHUNG HA as a innocent child. She looks excited and looks like she is counting the hours down to her birthday. Upon her birthday, she is gifted a Russian doll, which ends up being a representation of her. As she removes the outer layer of the Russian Doll, her innocence is loss and is exposed to the harsh realities of life. We then see her in a tunnel with a much more mature look. From this, I think she has aged, and since has taken off an another layer of the Russian Doll, as we can see on the floor of the bathroom. It shows us that she is more insecure and that there is a struggle within her that breaks her further. The party scenes we do see is the outer layer of the Russian Doll, where we act like everything is okay. In the end, we see CHUNG HA reach the final piece of the Russian Doll. It is scratched beyond repair, and is indicative of the state she is in – broken. But I think she has an epiphany, and she destroys the doll (along with the rest of the room), coming to terms that the doll doesn’t represent herself. I think this is a great story that goes hand-in-hand with the lyrics and compliments the song very well.
Song – 9.5/10 Music Video – 10/10 Overall Rating – 9.8/10
It is time for another album review this weekend. As mentioned last week that while we are currently in the Easter long weekend and that I am on a break, I have scheduled this and another album review for publishing this weekend. First up is one of the many studio albums that we have seen so far this year. More specifically, I am talking about Chungha’s first studio album, Querencia, which was dropped 15 February of this year. Originally scheduled for release even earlier in the year, Querencia was postponed to mid-February due to Chungha’s COVID-19 infection in December. However before then, Chungha has been teasing us with this comeback through releases such as Stay Tonight, PLAY and Dream of You. In addition to those songs, Chungha also features BICYCLE and 17 other songs on the album. With such a long tracklist, we better get cracking.
1. Side A (Noble) – Chungha kicks off the album with a short intro track which introduces us to the first part of the album, Side A (Noble). In the span of a minute, Noble exudes dramatic flair and a mysterious vibe amongst the clanging and brass. Chungha does some narration but it adds an additional layer to Noble’s and the album’s intriguingness.
3. Masquerade– Masquerade reinfuses the Latin influence that dominated KPOP for a while. Chungha also recently touched on this trend with the release of PLAY last year, which is also featured on this album. What makes Masquerade really nice, despite going for an overused influence, is that the song doesn’t really shortchange on the Latin dosage. This is thanks to the trumpets that dominate the instrumental for Masquerade. I think it is a bit of an understatement to say the song blasts us with it. In addition to the trumpet, there is also the signature guitar in the mix and the Latin’s trend all important upbeat energy. Chungha also sounds fantastic throughout the song. (9/10)
4. Flying on Faith – Flying on Faith hits me hard (in a good way). It is also the first of a number of all English songs on the album. I really liked the different textures that makes up the instrumentation, such as the guitar that opens the song and dominates the verses, the synths that made up the percussion in the chorus, the moments where the instrumental is stripped back to nothing, and the beautiful piano at the end. Flying on Faith also makes Chungha stand out in a spectacular fashion. She sounds crisps and the vocals melodies just really pop out. (10/10)
5. Luce Sicut Stellae – Luce Sicut Stellae (Latin for ‘Shining brightly like a star’) is a simpler song, in comparison to the songs that preceded it. It is more pleasant and doesn’t blast you with its instrumentation. While I do prefer the more ‘louder’ songs on the album, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this song as much. It is a nice closer to this section of the album, providing that much needed relief by showcasing an easygoing tune and Chungha’s vocals. Her falsettos were really nice and the rap-speak that is featured in the chorus just gives the song some much depth. (8.5/10)
6. Side B (Savage) – In this one-minute instrumental interlude, Chungha embraces more of a pop sound with what sounded like background music for a runway fashion shoot. It is exciting and definitely sets the tone for the songs to come next.
7. Stay Tonight – Since the release of Stay Tonight, the song has grown on me. Hence, I am changing the original song rating for Stay Tonight from the original 7.5/10 to 10/10. I am hoping to update ratings in a future segment. Click here to read the full review for Stay Tonight.(10/10)
9. Bother Me (짜증 나게 만들어) – Bother Me is your more typical pop release. But it has a great thrill to it that makes the song enjoyable. The instrumental feels like it could be an extension to Stay Tonight. It just is not as bold and confident as the pre-release was. Still, I think Bother Me would make it a great performance piece. The bass really transforms the song. I also enjoyed how the instrumental extension piece at the end brought a bit of a funky touch to the song. Chungha’s vocals were pretty good as well. I really like how her delivery seems like one of a kind in this song, particularly the that slightly faster pace vocal line in the pre-chorus. (8/10)
10. Chill (Chill해) – To me, Chill sounds like your feel-good pop song. It is another straight forward pop song, with bright energy and a message that encourages you to chill. The inclusion of the choir as backing vocals also to be quite interesting and also adds to that feel-good feel. Most importantly, nothing felt heavy in this song, which makes it a nice song to chill to. Unfortunately, being straight forward also had its drawbacks. The song felt plain overall and I felt this the most with Chungha’s vocals. Chill is still a nice song to kick back to. But it isn’t the most exciting song on the album. (7/10)
11. Side C(Unknown) – Side C (Unknown) goes a little harder than the other interludes. It is a very loaded mix with a lot going on. You can’t really know what is going to be coming after the next synth, so it is truly a track full of ‘unknowns’. I honestly thought it would go down the EDM route for the first few seconds, but it felt like a remix of a playfully bright song by the time it wrapped up.
13. Demente (ft. Guaynaa) – Demente also taps into the Latin sound. But before you think “another one?”, take a listen to Demente. You will notice that the song is in Spanish and hence going down the Latin route is pretty much justified. Chungha does a really good job, though I wished her vocals had a bit more oomph to it. She was quite smooth, but I just want something with a bit more zing to help make Demente more memorable. The song also features Puerto Rican singer Guaynaa, who adds a rap sequence and also sings along side Chungha towards the end. (7.5/10)
14. Lemon (ft. Colde) – The next song on the album is Lemon, which features Colde, an indie hip-hop artist. It is an upbeat R&B track. I found this song quite enjoyable, which may or may not stem from my love of lemon flavouring or lemons in food. Aside being titled after a favourite fruit of mine, Chungha also sounds very different in this song, singing at a much higher pitch than usual in the chorus. This doesn’t deter me away from the song, as I do think this change in sound adds to the enjoyable side of the song and also adds a bit of variety to her usual sound. I also like it when the two artists sing together in this. It was a pleasant combination. (8/10)
15. Byulharang (160504 + 170607) (별하랑 (160504 + 170607) – Byulharang is the first ballad on this album. It takes a form of a pop ballad, however, with it never going into a classical or orchestral mode which most ballads do. At the centre of the instrumental are acoustic guitars, which really stole my attention from the first second. Paired with her vocals, Byulharang really sounds amazing. The song’s title also features two dates, which are the dates in which she made her official debut. 160504 corresponds to when I.O.I made their debut, while 170607 is the date in which she made her solo debut. With that in mind, you can tell that the song has this reminiscing tone, which I think Chungha delivered very nicely throughout the song. (10/10)
16. Side D (Pleasures) – Side D (Pleasures) seems to be the tamest out of the interludes on the album. Sure, the mysterious vibes are back. But Pleasures seems a lot simpler and easygoing in terms of intensity and sound than the rest.
17. X (걸어온 길에 꽃밭 따윈 없었죠) – X was a pre-release single that dropped mid-January, a few weeks prior to the release of this album. I never got around to writing a review for it. But X definitely caught my attention since its release. I really like how smooth the English is in this song, especially with the line ‘You got to love me at my worst to love me at my best’. That line also is a one-line summary about what the song is about. Chungha’s delivery is so good in X. Her vocals were quite airy and they felt almost whisper-like. It gets even better as the song progresses, with her rapping in the bridge and high note during the final chorus. The instrumental feels just right, existing in a limbo between ballads and pop (but never falling into one or the other). (9/10)
18. All Night Long – All Night Long taps the album back into the R&B scene. Personally, it isn’t my cup of tea. Compared to the other songs on the album, All Night Long doesn’t really have that memorable factor to it. I wished every element had a bit more to themselves. However, it doesn’t mean I am saying it is terrible. It is just plain and straightforward, which doesn’t work for me this time. (6/10)
19. Everyone Has – Everyone Has is also another pre-release to this album, dating back to March 2020. As the song has been out a whole year now, I can’t remember my first impression towards Everyone Has. But I do remember being surprised that Chungha also does ballads now. I guess it was a tease to what was to come on this album. Everyone Has has that sway that I look forward in ballad. But like the previous song, it is also a plain and straightforward ballad that doesn’t really offer anything new or amazing. (7/10)
20. Comes N Goes – The vocal progression in Comes N Goes really makes this song stand out for me. It adds that ‘something different’ to the mix that I am looking for in new songs. I really like how it seems to continually throw us forward unexpectedly into the chorus. But to make it work takes really great vocals, which Chungha has continually demonstrated throughout the album. I also like how the atmospheric the instrumental sounded, which complimented Chungha and her vocals. (10/10)
21. Querencia (Epilogue) – And we have reached the end of the album. Chungha gifts us with a minute and half epilogue. I am personally not sure what the purpose of this epilogue is, but it felt suspenseful and was gripping. It starts off with some percussion that adds back that intrigues and mysterious vibes that took hold of us with the album’s interludes. After a half minute worth of silence (in which we also hear Chungha utter the title of the album), we are treated to more atmospheric music before it closes out definitely.
BTS’ Dynamite was voted by you to be the Best International Song By a Korean Artist. All songs from this review moving forward, including the songs in this review, will be eligble for the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Check them out and remember to vote for your favourite at the end of the year. In the meanwhile, check out the winners for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards.
Welcome to the first International Song Review post of 2021. KPOP artists aren’t just focused on the Korean pop music industry. They have embarked on multiple other music video industries include the Japanese, Chinese and Western music industries. As they are released by Korean artists, I feel the obligation to review them like any other song released by the artists in Korea. But as they are not from the primary industry (i.e. KPOP), I decided to lump the reviews into one post. This allows me to focus on the primary review of Korean songs, but also allow me to ‘keep up’ with the releases outside of Korea. In this post, I will be focusing on songs released in the Western and Japanese music industries by Korean artists in late November 2020 and January 2021. I would recommend you check them all out. They include Chungha, Baekhyun, Dream Catcher, Jung Daehyun and TWICE.
Dream of You – Chungha (with R3HAB)
Dream of You is actually a Korean song released all in English. To give you some context, Dream of You is a pre-release single for her now-released first studio album that dropped earlier in the week. We all first heard the song at the end of November 2020 and it became part of the buildup towards Chungha’s grand return to the domestic market. What really stands out with Dream of You is the funky thumping instrumentation (which felt quite classy and dynamic all at the same time). The electronic nature of the instrumentation just makes it groovier. It is quite simple in hindsight, but it feels quite loaded when you consider the song as a whole. Chungha shows off her vocal flair throughout the song, delivering the song’s mature lyrics in a very complimenting manner. If Dream of You needed to prove its potential for Chungha to flourish in the Western market, then it did its job well. The music video released in conjunction back in November 2020 is actually a performance video. It showcases Chungha and her male dancers performing the song with an uber sensual choreography. There is a modern femme fatale vibe that comes from it, which I really enjoyed. It also felt like an extension of her Stay Tonight music video that was released earlier in 2020. I really the scenes where she performance in a suit and a hat. It just made the performance more impactful and interesting to watch. This release as a whole proves to me that Chungha is a performer that any industry should be afraid of. (10/10)
Get You Alone – Baekhyun (EXO)
It seems like the ongoing funky trend is spreading to other industries as well. Get You Alone is Baekhyun’s Japanese solo debut title track and it was first unveiled on the 3rd of January 2021 at his solo concert. The song has this casual upbeat vibe which makes it quite a pleasant listen. It isn’t really the most exciting song out there. But it manages to show off Baekhyun’s vocals quite nicely, emphasising the smoothness of his vocals and its husky profile. His ad-libs throughout Get You Alone and especially during the bridge is definitely the song’s icing on the cake. The music video shows a nerdy version of Baekhyun wanting to ask out someone he is interested in. But that person cruelly rejects him. He turns to the help of a more confident and experienced version of Baekhyun (the talk show host), who tells him what to do to be successful in the dating department (i.e. setting the mood, teaching him about manners and to make sure he smells nice – which resulted in a classy wardrobe change). I wished we got to see whether the changes and work put in paid off. It would have completed the story in a fulfilling manner. I liked the sets of the video. There isn’t anything special about them, but they managed to emphasis the funky tones of the song. The choreography shown throughout the music video was quite good and paired well with the song. (8/10)
No More – Dream Catcher
We all know Dream Catcher for their infusion of rock influences in their title tracks, regardless of the music industry they are releasing it in. What makes it even better is that Dream Catcher almost always puts a fresh spin on it. They found a niche in the KPOP industry and have managed to continued marketing towards that niche without tiring out listeners. But I don’t think we have ever heard anything with high intensity as No More. Released at the end of November 2020, No More literally charges at you with its relentless energy. It quite thrilling and powerful, all rolled into three minute long song. I really like how Dami’s rap cuts through the intensity by having the rock instrumentation stripped away into an almost trap-electronic piece. It does feel fitting for the song as a whole and brings some mid-song relief. The music video for No More doesn’t actually the members. I am assuming the anime characters that we do see are anime version of the members, though I haven’t found any information on who they are. The music video also doubles up as a lyrics video, showing the lyrics of the song of the song. I also like the transitions of the video. They do feel erratic, but most importantly, they matching the intensity of the song. As the video doesn’t feature the members and the anime character are simply images, there is not associated choreography with this comeback. (8.6/10)
Amazing – Jung Daehyun
Jung Daehyun, a member of the now inactive B.A.P, made his solo comeback in Korea with his first Japanese single back in November 2020. The new song is titled Amazing and it was officially released at the end of November 2020. But the music video was released for a month prior to the official song release. It is definitely nice to hear his voice once again, especially since this is the first song I have heard from him since the release of Aight at the end of 2019. His voice does flourish in the song and the melodies are quite enjoyable. Amazing also shines in the instrumental department. Sure, there isn’t anything special about it. But like the vocals and melodies, it was quite enjoyable and acted as a decent backdrop for the solo act’s vocals. It was noticeably dominated by repetitive taps on the keyboard and there was also some brass thrown into the song to give the chorus some additional colour. The music video was quite simple at the start, but it stilled managed to look classy thanks to the outfits worn by Jung Daehyun and the dancers. The video also showcased the visuals of Jung Daehyun quite well. About half way through the video, we see Jung Daehyun and the dancers perform under rain and in a water pool. While this is something we now see often in KPOP, it made the video more visually interesting. I personally felt the red light could have been omitted, but that is the only critical comment I can make for this video. The choreography looks nice. I wished more people would view the video to watch Jung Daehyun in action and listen to the song, as this comeback is very underrated. (8.2/10)
Better – TWICE
The final song in this post is TWICE’s Better. It was released back in mid-November. If you are looking for a fulfilling pop dose from this list, Better is the song for you. While some of the other songs above are within the pop realm, none of them match Better‘s colourful energy. It is the type of song that will make you smile and get up to dance to. The song’s best part has to be the descending melody that features as the song’s pre-chorus. It is definitely quite memorable and it makes the chorus just pop out so much more. The chorus comes out as a close second, with Jihyo’s ‘Better‘ really sticking in my mind. The rapping by Chaeyoung and Dahyun has a really nice kick to it, elevating Better to a much better level. While I don’t mention the rest of the members, they all sound really amazing throughout this new song. When it comes to the music video for Better, I applaud the stylist of the video who chose their outfits. The colours were quite dull and wouldn’t necessarily be considered fashionable at first glance. But the outfit colours worked in really close harmony to the rest of the music video, making the members stand out in the video. There is still a burst of other colours throughout the video using dominance, which compliments the pop vibes of the song. I also like the casualness of the video, portrayed through the member’s outfits and the uncomplicated nature of the sets. For the choreography, I like the bouncy energy they bring forth. The bridge looks complicated, but aesthetic. (9/10)
Chungha is finally back!! It has been a long time coming, especially with the many pre-releases that Chungha was unveiling over the past year. It all started off in April 2020 with the release of Stay Tonight. Her second pre-release for this comeback was with PLAY in July. Her third release, which will be reviewed and published on the weekend, was an English track with R3HAB titled Dream of You. While this was shaping to be one epic comeback, Chungha’s comebacks plans were halted when she tested positive to COVID-19, which delayed her fourth and final pre-release single, X. This ended up occurring in January and pushed out her previously confirmed comeback date of 4th January to 15th February (today). And today, she drops her new title track, Bicycle, and her first studio album, Querencia.
Described as a R&B pop-trap song, Bicycle comes swinging at you with its powerful energy and intensity. As a result, one word comes to mind with this song – fierce. And knowing the trajectory that Chungha has been on with her solo releases, this one has managed to one up all her previous outstanding releases. It comes off as an intimidating song, as Chungha does quite a lot in this song to make sure that Bicycle is relentless. While I do want to point out that the song is her least melodic from start to end, she gifts us with strong and elegant vocals throughout. But they weren’t always elegant. Some parts framed her as quite seductive sounding, such as the sequence following the second chorus. Other times we get a bit of the melodic touch from her, such as during the chorus. And in at other times, she is quite fierce with the way she ends her lines in the chorus. She also presents us with a show-stopping rap verse for the second verse (which is all in English). It definitely showcases her development and maturity over the years. Based on what I understand, only the music video and the performance contain the foot-stomping dance break. I wished this was part of the official song. It just reiterates that fierceness quite well, by providing the song a more powerful sequence and edge. I also like how they used the bicycle bell sparingly throughout the song. It easily could have been overused and been a distraction if that was the case. I think my only other complaint with the song is that we don’t get much opportunity to hear her high notes in the foreground. They are always hidden in the background. I thought Bicycle would have been the perfect setting for her high note in the front, as that really would have emphasised the fierceness of the song (if it was done right).
Visuals galore. Whoever is Chungha’s stylist(s) really need a pay rise because her looks throughout the video were on point. From the amazing outfits to the simple closeups of her face, everything felt like perfection on that front. I also liked how her outfits were part of the set design as well, such as that massive black dress at the peak of the song where she was flying up. That part looked epic. The set designs were quite cool as well, going hand-in-hand with the outfits in each part.
Performance wise, I thought the comeback was really good. The fierceness that I mentioned earlier was definitely displayed, along with her confidence and seductiveness. I also have to mention that her charisma is very alluring, especially throughout this performance. The entire performance is a highlight. But more specific moments that I enjoyed are the human bicycle for Chungha to pedal on and the foot-stomping dance break.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 10/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9.3/10
It has been a long time coming, but I have finally decided to make a start on reviewing a certain type of song that I barely looked at in the past but have wanted to write about for a while now – OST songs. OST (otherwise known as Official Sound Tracks) have been a big part of KPOP. Many of the idols we know and love have gone onto being big name actors, whiles others have had to the privilege to sing some of the most famous tracks to some of the greatest drama scenes of all time.
I personally feel that there is a misconception that OSTs are usually just ballads, but I want to prove that wrong. Furthermore, there will be a Best OST category in this year’s KPOPREVIEVED Awards (hint hint). So I have picked five OSTs throughout 2020 to review and introduce to you here (and over a number of posts). Note that I have not watched all of the dramas, so I will be reviewing the song itself – like how I write my song reviews.
You’re In My Soul – Chungha Drama: Record of Youth Release: 15 September 2020
We start off this OST Review post with a feel good song, courtesy of Record of Youth and Chungha herself (who will be return shortly with new music!). You’re In My Soul has this electronic instrumentation that brings about epic vibes. It sounds theatrical and there is a nice pop rock influence to it, which I find to be very appealing. But the promising element is 100% Chungha’s voice. It soars and lifts up the song to new highs during the chorus. The way she went with a deep tone for the verses contrasts really nice and helps makes the chorus become that more explosive. I also love the mixed of English in the Korean. Altogether, You’re In My Soul is a very attractive song. However, it isn’t perfect. There was a part following the second chorus that had overpowering instrumentation and you could barely hear her voice. Personally, I feel like that section could have just done instrumentation, as her vocals distracted me from the music whilst I was straining to hear what she was singing. But that is me being picking. My testament for this song still stands – it is very attractive piece of music. (9/10)
Please Don’t Cry – DAVICHI Drama: The King: Eternal Monarch Release: 3 May 2020
It is not possible to write about OSTs and completely disregard DAVICHI. If you are unfamiliar with this particular duo, then let me help catch you up. DAVICHI (consisting of Lee Hae Ri and Kim Min Kyung) are known for their chart topping ballads. And within the OST realm of Korean music, they are very well known for amazing OSTs, such as This Love (release for Descendants of the Sun). Please Don’t Cry comes off as one of their most impressive and captivating releases yet. It pretty much starts off like any other ballad release with beautiful piano work and gripping vocals. It is the chorus that gets to me. The very soft ‘Please Don’t Cry‘ which is followed up immediately with a deep thump had me going ‘ooh’, before we are provided with more stunning vocal work from the pair (which includes that amazing falsetto line that ends off the chorus). The rest of the song does what ballads typically do by building the instrumentation and helping the song become more powerful/ A typical move it is, but it is one that pays off. I was floored with the rest of the song and am loving the bit of intensity that the electric guitar brings. DAVICHI does it once again for me. (10/10)
Someday (어떤 날엔) – Kim Jae Hwan Drama: Crash Landing On You Release: 19 January 2020
It has been a while since we heard from Kim Jae Hwan. While he has released a few digital songs and OSTs this year, it would be nice to see back on stage with a new album. But in the meanwhile, we will need to settle with songs like Someday and his other OSTs. It is another ballad example of an OST. If I had to sum up the song, it is very nice and soothing to listen to. I don’t find anything groundbreaking in this song when it comes to the instrumentation. It is just another ballad made of band and classical instrumentation. When it comes to his voice, Someday really shows off the raspy nature of his voice, which I think is amazing. I did really enjoy the melodies in this song and it successfully gets me to sway along to the music (if you did not see last week – swaying is how I detect a good ballad). It might not be as stunning at the ballad just before this one (see review above), but Someday is still a good one. (8/10)
Aloha (아로하) – Jo Jung Seok Drama: Hospital Playlist Release: 27 March 2020
The next OST I had chosen to review is Jo Jung Seok’s own Aloha, which was released for Hospital Playlist Jo Jung Seok, who is an actor, plays one of the main characters in the drama. Given his status as one of the most popular actors in the Korean acting industry and the popularity that I saw Hospital Playlist got, Aloha was going to hit the top of the charts (which it did). It is a pop ballad that really brings a smile to your face. The cheerfulness comes from Jo Jung Seok himself, who sounds like he was smiling whilst recording the song. The instrumental isn’t really a standout and felt standard at best. But I love how it complimented Jo Jung Seok’s vocals and helped amplify the sweetness of the song and the actor’s voice. His voice was really good and I really liked how the English instantly becomes the strongest and most memorable lines in the song (and his pronunciation is super clear). Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time to the recording booth for Jo Jung Seok, who as previously sung an OST with EXO’s D.O and has also worked in theatre before. I definitely would like to hear another OST from him in the future. (8/10)
Start Over – GAHO Drama: Itaewon Class Release: 1 February 2020
The last OST to be reviewed in this post this week (yes, another one is coming your way next week )is probably the biggest OST release of 2020. With a star studded cast and rave reviews, any OST associated with this drama was going to be elevated. And with such an easygoing vibe and really simple melodies that basically appeals to anyone, Start Over really is a prime candidate for that top spot on the charts. And I totally agree with its top spot ranking on all of the charts. It is another OST that has a sound that makes you want to smile and cuts any tension in your personal life. And since I already mentioned that the melodies were simple and easy to get into, this helped make Start Over very memorable. I really liked the upbeat vibes of the pop instrumentation and enjoyed how engaging the consistent beat in the chorus was. Gaho’s voice was very suitable for the song and empowering to listen to. Overall, I don’t have much else to say about the song. It’s top rank on the chart is justified and it is an OST that I keep on coming back to because it just works and sounds wonderfully.. (10/10)
2020 has proven to be an eventful year so, without a doubt. But since we are at the halfway mark already, let’s have a little reflection post on the last 6 months. In no particular order, here are 10 of my personal favourite KPOP releases since the start of 2020. I have also added some of my favourite sidetracks that I have encountered so far in the year as part of my top 10. This is also irrespective of my reviews and Weekly KPOP charts posts.
Over the last few months, Chungha has been leaving breadcrumbs for her upcoming solo comeback which yet to be announced. The first breadcrumb was the release of the pre-release single, Stay Tonight (a track that I want to revisit when I revise my ratings for some songs in a new segment). The second breadcrumb is Play, which was released today and features Changmo. Since Stay Tonight, Chungha has also collaborated with the popular rapper pH-1 on the track My Friend, which I have yet to review. But we are here for thoughts on Play, so let’s get to that first.
By the time I had finished listening to Play for the first time, I knew that this was going to the be the 2020 Summer song to beat. The energy and atmosphere she creates for herself in this song is so epic and grand, it really helps to overlook the song’s flaw, the Latin pop genre. While that has been a typical sound throughout the Summer seasons over the last few years and Play itself incorporates with brass elements and synths that we have heard many many times before, Chungha manages to somehow reform it to make it come off refreshing and exciting in Play. That is already a strong cause for an applause. I really like her vocals in this song. The instrumental could have easily overwhelmed and masked all of Chungha’s vocals. But Chungha’s vocals soar high enough to be in the forefront of the song. And that is saying a lot, considering how blastful and bombast this instrumental got, especially as we approached the end. Also featuring on this song is Changmo, who’s rap sequence added a cool dynamic to the song. It somehow balances out the upbeat energy of the chorus and gives us some relief after the first chorus. Same thing can be said about the bridge, which slows the song down (but allows for the return in the final chorus to be super impactful). The melodies and hooks were catchy and may become super addictive if I give the song any more listens (which will happen!). Overall, I am in awe and loving Play.
Once again, the music video takes on that closeup and choreography approach, which I have (many times) stated was a bore. But the music video for Play is captivating enough to override that statement. There were some epic moments, aside from her beautiful visuals (which alone were enough to steal my attention away from the formula), that really wowed me. Chungha becoming a bullfighter with the red sports car was definitely one of those. Actually, any moment in that particular setting was amazing. I also really liked the birdcage choreography scenes, as that set looked really cool.
It is unknown whether Chungha would be promoting this time around. It soon became apparent that Stay Tonight would be extremely difficult to perform on stage due to various formations formed. But I don’t see any of that in this choreography, which may present hope that we will be seeing a stage performance of Play soon. I really like how the atmosphere from the song came through in the performance and how charismatic Chungha looked throughout the performance. I also liked the energy that came from the chorus routine alone, as that looked cool.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9.5/10
Chungha is going all out with her upcoming comeback. Today, she released what seems to be the first pre-release single off her future release, which does not have a confirmed date just yet. The pre-release song is titled Stay Tonight and features both a music video and choreography, which is definitely multiple steps further than most artists take for a pre-release song. Chungha previously release Everybody Says (a ballad) earlier this year. I have yet to review this and will do so sometime in the future. Her last release that I did review happens to beSnapping from last year.
I am kind of glad that this is only a pre-release single and not the actual title track. I find Stay Tonight to be a little messy for my liking. The chorus, pre-chorus and verses seemed a little mashed together and this sounded as if something spoke in a sentence without taking a breath. I also find this messy mash to be interesting as the pre-chorus acted as the suspense mechanism, effectively delaying the drop that forms part of the chorus. While it does sound like I am disliking the song so far, I do like two aspects of the song. The instrumental is the first aspect. The verses has this classy groovy feel, which I really like. The chorus has an awesome, memorable and sassy-feel drop which makes this song a lot more appealing than how I describe it. All of this is totally up Chungha’s alleyway. The ending has a really cool attitude filled sequence, that has practically the same appeal as the choruses, just done with a completely different synth background. The second aspect is Chungha’s vocals. She sounds amazing, which helps keeps the song grounded. Her soaring vocals during the pre-chorus and the bridge are pretty much the main highlights of the song, apart from that final instrumental sequence. While the individual elements of the song were satisfying, it is more so the structure that could have been a little more spaced out in my opinion.
Chungha is definitely a person full of visuals. And this music video highlights just that. Regardless if she dons a casual look, a commanding look, a golden look or a glamorous look, Chungha looks amazing nonetheless. Even she pulls off a lip ring flawlessly. I also thought the sets were visually stunning. The floating panels and the framed rectangular prism all looks superb, which adds to that glamorous touch that the video ended opting for as the video progressed, a concept that without doubt suits Chungha.
Sadly, it has been confirmed that there will be no live performance for Stay Tonight for the time being as it is only a pre-release track. But who knows when it comes to her actual promotions. But this is a stunning choreography. I mean, he literally lies on top of her dancers and have them roll under her, so she moves across (like a conveyor belt). Thats epic. That final sequence also looks stunning and feels pretty much like something she (and any performance queen) would do.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 10/10 Overall Rating – 8.5/10
The second solo artist that I will be reviewing in a series is Chungha (as you can tell by the title of this post). We all know Chungha for her many addictive title tracks, with Snapping being the latest to join the ranks as well. But this is the first time I am going to have a closer look at one of her albums. Flourishing is the solo artist’s fourth mini-album to date. For those who do not know, I have used this weekend and will be using next weekend to look at albums from a few solo artists. But before we get to next weekend, we must dive deeper into Chungha’s album!
1..Chica – The first song of the album is Chica, a song all about empowerment. Matching the strengthening power of the lyrics is the song’s very powerful island instrumental. While it is a style done before, Chungha’s take on it is quite refreshing and feels almost new. There are many aspects of the track that I thoroughly enjoyed. The first is the song’s upbeat energy. I find the track fitting for the Summer season and I can really imagine a really good dance routine in my mind. The second aspect must be its catchiness. The song may not be intended for a guy like me. But I really like its tone and melody, making it a good start to the album. The third aspect is Chungha’s vocals. As I have mentioned it before, she keeps building her abilities with every release. And this is true for this track. (9/10)
2. Young In Love (우리가 즐거워) – Young in Love, also titled as We Have Fun, is less intense than its preceding track. And like Chungha’s personality, the track is very easy-going and pleasant. I am not too into the track because I do like Chungha’s more edgy and impactful side, which she constantly shows throughout her title track releases. But Young In Love manages to encapsulate Chungha’s more delicate and softer side in a well-presented track. I really like the dance break we got during the bridge of the track, bring the pleasant sound a little more energy at the end. Her vocals were also nice and I like how she harmonised with the backing vocals towards the end of the track. (7/10)
3. Call It Love – While I understand that artists can be versatile with the music they release, I never took Chungha to be the ballad type. Call It Love doesn’t persuade me otherwise, unfortunately. She has made her name using dance tracks, so this is unfamiliar territory for me as a listener. I will admit that Chungha has a nice voice, as showcased elsewhere in the album. I just think the very traditionally instrumented ballad of a slow nature just doesn’t really showcase Chungha’s vocals all that well. It wasn’t awkward or terrible. The track just came off as bland and boring, to me. Maybe next time she can convince me otherwise. (6/10)
4. Flourishing – Flourishing is the surprising track on the album. Not that it goes a certain route or that it contains a unique element. But rather, the song is fully in English. This has been done before by other artists, but no artist has never been positioned a full English track ahead of the title track before. I am not sure what the intention of the position is meant to be. But I thought it was wise as it felt like a tame version of Snapping. It contains a hip-hop vibe that felt like it was carried over to the title track. Her vocals are nice and they are the element that keeps the song from being repetitive. The instrumental, however, felt very dry, repetitive and bland, which was a disappointment. I expected it to pick up and really flourish. But it didn’t do that whatsoever. (7/10)
Jump-starting the final week of June is Chungha with her solo comeback! This time around, she is snapping her way back into the industry with the title track, Snapping and fourth mini-album, Flourishing. Her last comeback, Gotta Go, confirmed her growing popularity in the industry. And given how fast Snapping has risen on the charts so far today after a few hours of release, Chungha is definitely an artist to look out for.
To me, Snapping gives me 00s Western pop vibes. Surely, if someone was to repackage this song with just English lyrics, I would have a very hard time thinking this came from the KPOP industry. You might think that I am basing this on how she sings the very addictive and repetitive hook, ‘Snapping’. But I am also looking at other aspects, like the very attitude-heavy instrumentation that really gives off some flair that undeniably suits Chungha and the way she sings some other lines throughout the song. While Chungha does place a lot of emphasis on her performance routines, her vocals do a lot of flourishing here. In fact, I think she managed to overtake what she showed us in her previous comebacks, showing her growth in a very stylish and smart way. Finally, the brief pause before we get the final sequence of ‘I Know I Know, Snapping Snapping‘ ended the song with the attitude I mentioned before fresh in your mind, making perfect sense for a singer like Chungha.
Hands down, I think this has to be one of the best set of outfits that I have ever seen in a music video. I may be no fashion designer or fashionable in any sense. But what I saw in this video was captivating, beautiful, modern and so full of impact, bringing it into line with the attitude the song had. All of the sets looked very refined and stylish in their own way, going hand-in-hand with her outfits and looks. I really liked that fencing platform, which doubled up as a catwalk for Chungha as well. And as much as the water scenes are pretty much a cliche idea nowadays, I loved how elegant that set looked with the fabric hanging from above.
When I watch the performance, I see the words attitude and sass throughout it. This fits in perfectly with the song. But while I did see a lot of snapping, as expected from the title, it just didn’t have the same impact as Gotta Go had, which was the main reason to why she didn’t get a perfect score for this comeback.
Song – 10/10 Music Video -10/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9.8/10
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)
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)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – I Love You (EXID)
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)
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)
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!
Also kicking off 2019 is Kim Chungha, who returns with an upgraded and mature performance to match her latest single, Gotta Go (벌써 12시). This is Kim Chungha’s first comeback since Love U was released back in Summer of 2018. It seems like Chungha is attempting to replicate the success of her Roller Coaster comeback, which was released at the start of last year in January 2018. Given her popularity has grown and the success of her Roller Coaster comeback earning her Best Solo Dance Performance Award at the 2018 MAMAs, there is no doubt that Chungha will still be able to top charts once again.
Gotta Go is Kim Chungha’s most mature release yet. The dance-pop instrumental of this song is extremely appealing and it paves the way for a very sexy looking performance (more on that later). I am not exactly sure how to describe the synth that features prominently in this song. It is like a synthesizer trying to mimic a flute. It is vaguely familiar, however, reminding me of songs from the 90s. But while I meddle over how to describe the sound in text, the song itself is really good. It is catchy and potentially addictive (we might need to wait on that as it has only been a few hours since its release). And like my other review from today, Chungha really put her best vocals forward through this song. That high note at the end was amazing and the stability in her vocals for this song allows that mature feeling to become a profound element of the song.
The first thing that I have to mention is that Chungha’s change in looks (compared to her previous comebacks) is extremely striking and bold. And going with that maturer sound is a sexy concept. But it isn’t that type of sexy that people criticise about. Rather, it is classy and elegant, which I quite liked. It also showcases confidence, which can be illustrated wonderfully during the scene where she did her walk down the stairs (alongside her backup dancers). I really liked the video and the visuals that came with it.
Watching the choreography in the music video, it makes me excited for the upcoming performances. This entire choreography looks amazing. That entire final section was definitely a mixture of the icing on the cake and the cherry on top. When the backup dancers fall down slowly and she goes into that scorpion posture, I was left shocked. Everything else was very strong and nicely done. I did see a few moves from her previous comebacks, though I am not sure if it was intentional or recycled.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 8.5/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.9/10
We have a new duet release, which brings together Yesung from Super Junior and Kim Chungha. Their new single is titled Whatcha Doin’. Interesting fact, if you guys don’t know, is that this isn’t the first time Chungha has collaborated with an SM artist. Earlier this year, the solo artist joined forces with Seulgi (Red Velvet), SinB (GFriend) and Kim Soyeon (GI-DLE) for Wow Thing!, which was released as part of the Station X 0 project. Yesung has also been busy with the Super Junior comebacks that fans were treated to this year.
Whatcha Doin’ is a pop track that brings out the vocals of Yesung and Chungha. Yesung has established himself as one of the main vocals of Super Junior, while Chungha has been showing off her singing capabilities this year through her solo releases and collaborations. Together, they compliment each other extremely well. Both their vocals aren’t heavy, which goes perfectly well with the light pop instrumental of this song. All of this results in a pleasant track to listen to. Throw in a simple yet catchy hook to open up the chorus, I thought this was a very nice collaboration. I did like the soft ‘awoo awoo‘ in the background during the chorus, which added an extra depth to the song. They could have gone for something a little more unique but nonetheless, it was a good song.
I thought the concept for this video was rather cute. At the start, they were both nervous to make that first move. The way they interacted with each other was really well thought out, pushing the phone to each other despite each of them in their own halves. The Boomerang feature was also a cool addition to the video. Overall, I liked the video’s appeal and its fitting nature to the song.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8/10