[Album Review] The Awakening: Written In The Stars (1st Studio Album – Part 1) – CRAVITY

The next album to be reviewed is Part 1 of CRAVITY’s first studio-length album, The Awakening: Written In The Stars, which officially dropped mid-August. It features the title track Gas Pedal and the follow-up promotion track VENI VIDI VICI, both of which I have reviewed separately (their reviews will be linked below). As this is a Starship Entertainment album release, I am not surprised that this studio album comes in two parts. As this is only Part 1 of their album, we can expect Part 2 some time in the future. And with Starship really pushing CRAVITY since their debut with back to back comebacks, I don’t think we will be waiting around for a long time.

The Awakening: Written In The Stars (Part 1) Album Cover

1. Intro: New HorizonNew Horizon starts off with a whistle that beckons you into the album, before we are met with an abrasive EDM piece that no doubt aligns with CRAVITY’s works thus far. I can imagine a powerful and impressive dance routine associated with this intro track. The whistle towards the end pulls us further into the album, taking us to the album’s title track, Gas Pedal.

2. Gas Pedal (Title Track)Click here for the full review for Gas Pedal. (8/10)

3. VENI VIDI VICIClick here for the full review for VENI VIDI VICI. (8/10)

4. CHINGA-LINGACHINGA-LINGA is one of those rare EDM tracks that I personally find overwhelming. It felt like there was a lot going on in CHINGA-LINGA thanks to the EDM centric instrumental backing, which falls more so on the trap territory of the EDM spectrum. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but combined with the constant changes in momentum, tempo and effects, the song comes off a bit much. Balancing out the instrumentation are the rapping and vocals, which I thought were well-handled by the group and I appreciated that they stood out over the loud ‘noisy’ instrumentation. If only said instrumentation was toned slightly to be a little more enjoyable. (7/10)

5. CelebrateCelebrate still sits in that same EDM territory, with their song also taking on board a hip-hop influence. While hip-hop influences aren’t my personal cup of tea, I find that Celebrate strikes a balance between all its elements, especially with the fun melodies, which makes the song more palatable and approachable. It does come at a cost (i.e. less dynamic vocals), though I don’t think it was a huge sacrifice as I quite liked the song as a result. The rapping was my favourite part of this song. The rappers were much slower with their delivery, but they still delivered their lines with bite and impact that a usual rap sequence would have. (8.5/10)

6. Grand Prix – I like the impact and the groovy nature of Grand Prix. The impact comes in via the chorus, which features a very quick warp of energy to kick things off in this segment of the song. It caught my attention and made me fall for the song. The groovy nature comes via the bigger picture (i.e. instrumentation), which falls into the electro-pop territory. The hooks in this song were short and snappy, but also memorable at the same time. (9/10)

7. Divin’ – I like the refreshing nature of Divin’. The pop nature of the song was definitely a nice change up in sound for the group, despite the song still being heavy handed on the synths. I particularly enjoyed the pre-choruses and choruses of the song. The pre-choruses had a very likeable ramp up in energy that I am vibing to every time the song plays. For the choruses, they felt like they need to be played while late night drives around in the city. It felt breezy and was also quite light natured, which I thoroughly enjoyed. (9/10)

8. GO GO – CRAVITY’s final song on the album slows and tones down the energy. GO GO is still upbeat in its own way, but they trade heavy handed synths for guitar riffs and feature a heavy reliance on vocals. The song overall felt easy to get into, especially with such catchy hooks and nice harmonization between the members. After a very dynamic and powerful album, it was nice to end with something a lot more soothing and calming. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

The Awakening: Written In The Stars (Part 1) Teaser Image

[Review] VENI VIDI VICI – CRAVITY

Since their debut in 2020, it has been a traditional for CRAVITY to follow up promotions of their main title track with a side track off their latest album release. Following their debut, the group released promotional materials for Cloud 9, another song (other than Break All The Rules) off their debut mini-album. For their second mini-album, the group followed up with Ooh Ahh, while their third mini-album was followed up with Bad Habits. Today, CRAVITY returns with the release of a music video for VENI VIDI VICI, which follows up the release of Gas Pedal from their first ever studio album, The Awakening: Written in the Stars. An album review is being prepared as we speak. But ahead of that, here are my thoughts on VENI VIDI VICI.

Compared to their EDM-aligned title tracks, VENI VIDI VICI sounds much more sophisticated. It is quite an interesting dynamic to be honest. I do miss that striking nature and boldness that their title tracks have thanks to the EDM. But VENI VIDI VICI sounds a lot more mature (without really trying to sound mature at all), showing us a different side of CRAVITY we just haven’t really delved in yet. VENI VIDI VICI opens up with soft brass and guitar work, before soft vocals comes into play. As we progress through the verses, the song steps more into generic territory. But that changes once we approach the pre-chorus, which brings a heavier presence of those guitars (revealed to be electric guitars). I find the pre-chorus leads us appropriately into the chorus, which is more dance territory, but nothing like their EDM. Once again, it is definitely showcases a mature vibe, with the focus being on rather than the raps which is the usual centerpiece of their title tracks. The second verse is probably their least memorable sequence, with the raps going into trap territory and the pre-chorus is then repeated. The bridge focuses on instrumentation. Just when you thought the song would really amp up and return CRAVITY to EDM territory, the song throws a bit of a curveball. VENI VIDI VICI‘s bridge is a dance break and it does amp up, but it keeps itself in line with what we have heard so far. The instrumentals here carry more of a rock influence that I am totally digging. The electric guitars is just so electrifying and the drums just give the sequence that oomph it needs. The brass also returns, reminding us and adding that sophistication I touched on above into this sequence. Overall, VENI VIDI VICI explores a different side of CRAVITY, and I am satisfied with the choice of song as a follow-up to Gas Pedal‘s promotions.

The music video for VENI VIDI VICI is more so a performance video. There were a few close ups, and I like how the producers made sure that Julius Caesar’s words were reflected in the music video (for those who don’t know, VENI VIDI VICI is Latin for I Came, I Saw, I Conquered – famous words from Julius Caesar). At the start, we saw a door, the sword in stone, a painting and one of the members holding and placing a crown on their head. These correspond to each of the three parts of the famous line. I Came (arrival at the door), I Saw (looking at the painting and the sword in stone – i.e. attractions), I Conquered (the crown). Regarding visuals, I didn’t like the video’s hazy look, as that dulled the video for me. However, I did like the lighting and I think the choreography was shown off well.

It is a good routine overall. I did like how the moves were drawn out to compliment the vocal deliveries. The most memorable aspect of the performance has to be the dance break. I did wish they went harder with the dance moves there, as I think it would have been more suitable for such a sequence given the music.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Gas Pedal – CRAVITY

I told you I would bounce around while catching up on releases that I should have reviewed much closer to their release dates. At least for this particular release, the group is still promoting it! As you can tell by the title of this post, I am reviewing Gas Pedal, CRAVITY’s latest release. It dropped back on 19 August 2021 (making this review almost a month late) and is also the title track of the group’s first studio album, The Awakening: Written in the Stars. I will confirm now that I will be reviewing this album, but that particular review post will be released sometime in October. Until then, here is my review for Gas Pedal (finally).

Gas Pedal follows the same pathway as their last title track, My Turn, which is quite unfortunate since that particular song did not fair well. The good news is that Gas Pedal seems to stray away from falling into the same obnoxious trap that My Turn fell into, with thanks to a much better chorus. Sure, Gas Pedal is still on the ‘noisy’ side of electronic hip-hop music, with a descending series of synth as the song’s main instrumental piece. This main synth is an odd choice, given that it reminds me more of a dying lawn mower or a decelerating car, rather than the acceleration that the title alludes to or is portrayed in the lyrics. But the other synths that also make up the instrumentation really helps make up for this odd choice. As mentioned, the chorus in Gas Pedal is ultimately better, with the repetition of the title as the main hook. It is executed in a way that is surprisingly catchy to me. I also like the mix of powerful and whispering vocals around this repetition in the chorus, which help creates an interesting atmosphere during the centrepiece of the song. The powerful vocals are further emphasised in Gas Pedal‘s first bridge (i.e. 2:00 mark of the song), which was one of the standout aspects of the song. We also had vocals in the pre-choruses, which helped smoothed out the song. The rapping, which were present in the verses, also had some heft to them and pushed the song along. We actually also got a second bridge (i.e. the 2:39 minute of the song) which featured some powerful rapping as well, giving us an edgy exit to the song. Overall, Gas Pedal is a definite improvement, despite it being from the same realm of song as their preceding title track.

I am not entirely sure if there is a plot in this music video, but it seems like there could be. I am not going to make an attempt at decoding the music video for a plot, as I wouldn’t know where to start anyway! But it looks like the music video is set in the future, with the members having the ability to load their minds into an alternate reality world. But it looks like when one of the members is loaded into this world, everything is collapsing. I liked the other half of the concept of the video (i.e. bikers), which was also quite edgy and matched the tone of the song. I liked the editing in this video and the various sets they were in. It is quite a cool video!

I really liked how edgy this performance was. It also looked quite tough due the constant movement (it doesn’t look like there is much of a break during the performance), but this fits the sound of the song. I liked how they incorporated movements that look like they are revving motorbike handle bars into, which I guess works in place of a gas pedal.

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

[Album Review] HIDEOUT: BE OUR VOICE – SEASON 3 (3rd Mini Album) – CRAVITY

I think last week, I mentioned I had one more album from the month of February that I wanted to cover. Well, it turns out that the album is from the month of Janaury. I am talking about none other than CRAVITY’s third mini-album, HIDEOUT: BE OUR VOICE SEASON 3. Can you believe it has already been almost five months since this mini-album’s release! Apologies once again for the very long delay for this album review. Featured on this mini-albim is their title track My Turn, and follow-up promotional track Bad Habits. While I did a full review for My Turn (spoiler: it didn’t fair too well), I have yet to do a review for Bad Habits. I will definitely return one day to look at the music video, but for now, let’s settle on a song review for Bad Habits as part of this album review. Let’s also see how the rest of their 3rd mini-album faired, given that my take on the title track wasn’t that great.

HIDEOUT: BE OUR VOICE – SEASON 3 Album Cover

1. My Turn (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for My Turn. (5/10)

2. Call My Name Call My Name takes a diversion away from the harshness and powerful energy that My Turn had going on. Instead, this side track opts for more wispy and soothing instrumentation, all the while still falling into the EDM realm. Similarly, the vocals and rapping are toned down considerably to fit in with the instrumentation. Here, the members bring out sultry vocals – which you would expect with a ballad or other downtempo songs. This hence gives the song that passionate and emotional profile, which in turns makes it impactful. It is a bit standard, but stunning as a whole piece. (8.5/10)

3. MammothMammoth is a more substantial song, compared to the likes of My Turn (the title track). The main issue I had with the title track was the chorus, which Mammoth takes a more typical approach with. But it pays off as Mammoth’s chorus still ended up being quite dynamic and many times more likeable than what we got in My Turn. I really like the punchy ‘Mammoth’ start of the chorus, which adds a quite memorable element to the video. The intensity of the EDM instrumental and the hip-hop influences of the song were really strong material and helped delivered a filling feeling to the song. (8/10)

4. Bad Habits – Following all promotions of their title tracks, CRAVITY has always selected a side track to follow up promotions, music video and stage performances included! For this release, the hip-hop leaning Bad Habits was selected as the follow-up promotional track. My number one question is why wasn’t Bad Habits selected as the main title track. To me, this is the better cousin of My Turn. The deep tones in which are adopted by the rappers were definitely show-stopping. They also complimented the heavy use of bass in the instrumentation. I also found the rappers’ deep toned whispering when it came to the chorus to be quite sleek. While the vocals took a backseat for this song, they really showcased themselves when their parts came up. Bad Habits is a strong track that really deserves to be in the drivers’ seat of the album. (9/10)

5. Moonlight Moonlight could have been my favourite track on the album. However, it was a bit much for my liking and hence it wasn’t my final pick for my favourite track on the album. I just wished that Moonlight toned back its energy and intensity behind the chorus be toned back a bit. While I do appreciate the energy, power and abrasiveness of the choruses’ instrumentation, I felt that it was overwhelming for even myself (which is saying something, as I really do like it when songs showcase energy, power and intensity). It is unfortuate, as I couldn’t hear the members in the chorus. But aside from that, everything else earned big ticks from me. From vocals to rapping to instrumentation (aside from the chorus) to melodies, Moonlight had it all. I could imagine a really powerful choreography that shows off CRAVITY’s performance skills to accompany this release. (8.5/10)

6. Dangerous – Right off the bat, Dangerous gives off this addictive groovy energy which really captivated my ears. It is also the reason to why I held so long onto writing a review for this release. I just wanted to talk about it! The grooviness underpins the entire track, with it also peeking through the intense and prevalent house effects we get in the chorus. I liked how the members sounded in this song. The vocals felt very clean, while the rappers brought in dynamic energy through their parts. The chorus itself featured catchy hooks. For the bridge, I thought the suspenseful and haunting nature of the instrumentation to be quite charming. Overall, Dangerous is definitely my pick for favourite track on this album. (10/10)

7. Give Me Your Love – Based on the title of this song, you can tell that CRAVITY was approaching the end of the album with a softer pop release. It was actually quite a track and one that I definitely recommend that you listen to. The instrumental was quite soothing and atmospheric with its pop rock vibes. The vocals gave off this dreamy tone, while the rappers gave the song some needed heft to keep the sound grounded. I wished there were more harmonies between the members (like a sequence in which they all sing together). That would have been a stunning sequence that would have enhanced the sentimental aspect of the song. I also like that additional instrumental piece at the very end, rounding out the song so nicely for me. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

HIDEOUT: BE OUR VOICE – SEASON 3 Teaser Image

[Review] My Turn – CRAVITY

The next comeback being covered on my blog occurred back on Tuesday (apologies for the delays, once again). I am talking about CRAVITY’s My Turn, which dropped alongside their third mini-album, HIDEOUT: BE OUR VOICE – SEASON 3. This is their latest comeback following their debut with Break All The Rules and their comeback in August with Flame. The group also promoted Cloud 9 and Ooh-Aah (from their two mini-albums) throughout 2020. So without anymore delay, I present to you my review for CRAVITY’s My Turn.

The biggest elephant in My Turn that needs to be addressed is the chorus. Everything else in the song is just fine, though very unimaginative. Better words to describe the rest of My Turn is generic and plain, given that it felt like your typical edgy dance KPOP track and nothing more. But I can overlook that. Despite that, there was some interesting aspects to the song. The dull metal clanging was intriguing. Vocally and rapping-wise, CRAVITY does sound good and more refined The song’s bridge felt very NCT-esque with the slowed down instrumentation, smooth high note and the brief rapping sequence just before the chorus is brought back into play. The pre-chorus tracked a bit better in my books, with a slightly more promising appeal thanks to the incline in the song’s momentum. But instead of a drop to bring up the dynamics of My Turn or a drop that would drasticially change the direction of the song, the producers went with a childish centrepiece. Never did I think I would hear ‘Vroom Vroom Skrrt‘ as the literal main hook of a song. It felt very elementary. When I heard My Turn for the first time, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. As some time has passed, I will admit that I have gotten used to the idea of ‘Vroom Vroom Skkrt’ as the chorus’ main selling point. But all of those thoughts I had initally about it being childish and such still lingers. And that really maintains that disappointment in the chorus. The insrtumental is another element that hones straight into that plainness description, with it not doing much other than maintaining that generic momentum that the verses contained. Overall, disappointed about the chorus of My Turn. And not much feeling towards the rest of the new song.

I think the visuals within the music video for My Turn fairs better than the song. But ultimately, the video is weighed down by the song. There are many aspects of the video that I enjoyed. The set designs and the overall feel of the music video felt like it was very stylish and modern. The lighting really helped in that aspect. The use of black, white and red felt very sleek. But with a song like My Turn, I think the video had wasted potential. A more dynamic song would have made everything in this video even more sasitfying (with some slight adjustments to the lighting to ensure that the dynamics is reflected). I also note that CRAVITY is being blamed for plagarism once again. Firstly, it is not their fault. It is their company’s fault for these accusations. Horrible planning, poor vetting of the creative minds and ideas – all faults are pointed at their management. Starship Entertainment really needs to be up their game became plagarism is never a great word to be associated with a group.

The choreography was actually quite good, It definitely fitting for the song. The edgy concept they were going for with the song was actually abundantly present throughout the performance. I appreciate the serious mode they were in, which made the childish nature of the chorus disappear briefly whilst watching the performance.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.3/10

[Album Review] Hideout: The New Day We Step Into – (2nd Mini Album) – CRAVITY

There are a lot of albums out there worth reviewing or having a deeper listen to. But the number of albums on that list is accumulating rapidly, so I have decided to review another album this weekend in addition to the two albums that I usually review. CRAVITY is the artist of focus this time around, who recently returned with their first comeback since debut, Flame. The song Flame is featured on the group’s second mini-album, Hideout: The New Day We Step Into. Wonder what I thought of the songs on the album? Keep on reading to fine out. But as a short teaser, each song seems to have a little bit of a typical nature to them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth listening to.

Hideout: The New Day We Step Into Album Cover

1. Flame (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Flame. (7/10)

2. Believer – I feel that the next track, Believer, has what it takes to be an alternative to the title track. At first, it doesn’t feel like an intense dance track. But once we hit the first pre-chorus, that intense profile became prevalent and the rest of the track stayed in that gear. The bass during the chorus was just so ideal, along with that short instrumental break we get right after the second chorus. The vocals and rapping were definitely a packaged deal and really shows off CRAVITY’s potential. I also really liked the flutes that open and close the song. I wished they incorporated that into the body of Believer, but that was more to make the song just a fraction more interesting. (9.5/10)

3. Ooh Ahh – Following up Believer is Ooh Ahh. It is a funky synth track that doesn’t hold back. I find it to be a catchy number, with a lot of character from the members. I really liked how all the elements (vocals, raps, melodies, hooks and instrumental) were bold, amping up the energy to help make it more memorable. I just wished they went a little more outside the box for this track, as it felt like any other funky synth track (and we have been getting many of those lately). (8/10)

4. Realize – The piano at the very start was misleading, but Realize is another dance track. It takes time to get to that realization (lol). To me, the verses, featuring smooth vocals and rapping with a kick, felt like it could have been part of an even slower track. But as we got closer to the chorus did the instrumental start to pick up and made it feel like dance track. The song seems to focus more on the vocals and rapping (take the bridge as an example) as the instrumental felt pretty standard at best. I wished the piano from the start (and the end) was somehow incorporated more prevalently throughout the song, which would have given the song some depth. But it was still a decent track. (8/10)

5. HOT AIR BALLOON (열기구) – I find the HOT AIR BALLOON title to be quite random. That was my first impression to the song and it definitely intrigued me. No surprises when it comes to the music as it is another upbeat dance number. This is time it features a groovy chorus that really stands out. Subtle, but it pays off. There are some really good vocals and the rapping really adds some dynamism to the song. I really like the layering when it comes to the vocals in the chorus. It adds depth and intensity, making this song sleek. I would have love more of the start of the song elsewhere in the body. It was too was intriguing and pulled me into the song. But other than, HOT AIR BALLOON is quite impressive. (9/10)

6. Sunrise – While Sunrise is quite pleasant and is a decent song, it is pretty typical in my opinion. The members work their charm in this song through their falsetto vocals and great rapping. But the instrumental pulls the song back as it is just something we have heard time and time again. This doesn’t mean the song is bad or terrible. It just doesn’t excite me as much. In retrospect, each of the songs on the album do feel typical to a degree, and I easily could have made a similar comment onto them (note that I haven’t given a 10/10 for any of the songs to account for this feeling, even though I have explicitly mentioned it). But each of those songs had a little more to offer. Sunrise just doesn’t go over that line and hence I feel that it is the plainest of them all. (7/10)

7. Breathing (호흡) – The final song on the album is a ballad. That is definitely a surprise, but it is much appreciated especially after all the upbeat energy that has come before it. Since it is a ballad, Breathing is vocally centric and the members do a pretty good job. The rapping does amp the song up slightly, which I am okay about, and it acts as a great segue to add extra instrumentation to the acoustic guitars we get at the start. They seemed to have amped it a little too much with the extra instrumentation. So once the extra instrumentation settles, Breathing loses that soothing and calming nature of the start. I felt that they could have pulled a bit back to make this song stand out from the rest. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

Hideout: The New Day We Step Into / Flame Teaser Image

[Review] Flame – CRAVITY

Burning their way to their first comeback today is CRAVITY, who is returning with the title track Flame. If you missed this group’s debut, they are the latest addition to the Starship family and made their debut with BREAK ALL THE RULES back in April of this year. The group followed up their debut promotions with Cloud 9, which was a side track from their first mini-album, HIDEOUT: REMEMBER WHO WE ARE, which I have also reviewed. Let’s see if CRAVITY latest comeback is worth adding fuel to keep alight, or whether it is better to extinguish now.

Excuse my bad pun at the end of the introductory paragraph. But I thought it would make my review a little more interesting. To answer that dilemma, Flame is worth keeping alight. Though, I may have thought it was be best to extinguish it, given that Flame doesn’t offer anything new to what we already hear consistently. There are a few elements in the song that keep it alight and they should become apparent as you continue reading this paragraph. It starts off with these hollow and soft taps that plays throughout the first verse. I liked them as they add a little refreshing aesthetic to the instrumental. They poke through the rest of the song’s instrumentation every now and then, which keeps that aesthetic continuing in the song. Unfortunately, the rest of the instrumental reverts to something a little more typical. It was a generic intense instrumental spiel. There isn’t anything wrong with this, as the atmosphere was still quite good. But I would have expecting something a little more dynamic and captivating, given that was what those hollow taps alluded to in my mind. I also think the generic nature caught onto the vocals and rapping, as they could have been more explosive and powerful in this song. While I did think things got generic, I did enjoy the vocal melodies in the chorus, particularly the second half of the chorus. There are also some good hooks that keep this song in my mind, even after all those generic thoughts about it. Overall, Flame could have been better in many senses, but it just has enough to justify maintaining the flame.

While I may have used ‘generic’ as a word to describe the song, it isn’t a word I would used to describe this the music video at any given moment of its three and a half minute span. Just from opening sequence, we get a bit of futuristic and apocalyptic vibes. I feel that there might be a story line embedded somewhere throughout the closeups or a connection to their previous music videos, given that these mini-albums are a series. Aside from that, you can tell that the production value of this music video is extremely high. The quality just looks so good! The editing was amazing and the post-production gives off a cinematic aura. And of course, amber orange is the main colour of focus to match the title of the song.

While the choreography doesn’t really have anything that impressive, I still feel that it was a good routine. It matches with the music that we got. So if we got anything sharp or intense, I don’t think it would have been fitting for the song that we got. I would have said that they had overdone it. I did like how they got into formation for the start of the second verse and their suits looked quite elaborate, even though the suits were cut into.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Album Review] Hideout: Remember Who We Are (1st Mini Album) – CRAVITY

It is Sunday and it is time for another album review! Today’s album review is dedicated to the debut mini-album that kicks off CRAVITY’s career. For those who don’t CRAVITY is a nine-member male group from Starship Entertainment. They made their debut on the 14th April 2020 with Break All The Rules and this mini-album. The album has since peaked at number 1 on the domestic charts and the group has sold over 100,000 albums since their debut. As mentioned in the song review, I hope the rest of the album was more likable that the title track. Spoiler alert: it is! Let’s see the album now.

Hideout: Remember Who We Are Album Cover

1. Top Of The Chain – What many new artists should be doing is making a statement with their first track. Top Of The Chain does just this. I have been binging on a number of epic sounding tracks as they were featured as part of a favourite TV show and I feel like that Top Of The Chain channels the same epic vibes that I gather from these tracks. The song is a rock anthem and exudes the power that the group claims to have and subsequently deliver through song. The most memorable section of the song, which also showed a strong combination of their vocal and rapping skills is the climb and the moment of stillness we get in the pre-chorus. That being said, the vocals and rapping were definitely strong throughout the song. Overall, Top Of The Chain was bold and a powerful track. (10/10)

2. Break All The Rules (Title Track)Click here for the full review for Break All The Rules. (7/10)

3. JumperJumper continues the same momentum from the two preceding tracks and also features an epic opener. The first few seconds of the song reminds of a theatrical release. The song then launches right into the chorus with a drop that reminds me of Wanna One’s Boomerang. The pairing of these two parts actually makes the drop feel very powerful. Another aspect that makes this song a strong piece is the ‘shouting’ that features as part of the chorus. This helps bold that one liner that repeats throughout the chorus. The rest of the track follows a similar dynamic instrumentation and feature strong vocals and rapping talents. The only thing that disappoints me is that the song felt like it was on a loop. But other than that, good track. (8/10)

4. Blackout Blackout tames those epic vibes that I had written about in the previous songs. But it still that rough dance track, with a stronger focus on melodies and vocals. I really like that vibrating-like synth in the background, which felt very unique and different. I liked the opening vocals that utters the title of the ‘Blackout’ in that really edgy voice. I also like how this contrasts with the smoother ‘Blackout’ that is sung in the chorus. This song, too, shows that the group has a strong vocal and rap line. Whoever did the higher pitch during the bridge sounded really good. The only thing I really didn’t understand is that ‘explosive’ utterance in the chorus. It just got annoying in the background as I enjoyed the rest of the song. But that is just me. (8.5/10)

5. Stay (낯섦) – Despite it too being a dance track. Stay is a lot smoother than any of the tracks before it. It is a good track to really chill to, especially after all that intensity. It laid back tone is very likeable and pleasant to my ears. This track zones even further into the vocal side of the song, as the song has really nice melodies. The song delves into a EDM that we hear very often in the KPOP realm. So it has that typical nature working against it. But what does work in its favour is how suitable the song feels for a nice drive along the coast. Or a walk on a mild breezy day. (8/10)

6. Cloud 9 – There is a bit of grooviness to Cloud 9, which sets this song apart from the rest of the album. But it is also a pop sound that you hear very often from many male groups. So once again, there is a typical nature working against it. But the song is still pleasant and enjoyable. It had a decent beat and it isn’t overly loud in any aspect, which is a good track to put on when you are doing some chores around the house, for example. The vocal work and rapping was a little bland in this song, but it was still good for a lighthearted style. Interestingly, I don’t find the song to be much of a Cloud 9, given that the song is still rooted in a dance track style. It does, however, cast a different and softer light on the group. (7/10)

7. Star (별)Star is another pop song. And I too feel like it fell into the trap of being typical. But it was a much stronger effort than the other two tracks of a similar nature. Once again, the song is very vocal centric, with the featuring soothing and pleasant sounding vocals, which is interesting considering he instrumental was still very upbeat. The melodies were very appealing, especially when it came to the chorus. The rapping was also quite good and fitted in well with the song. I really liked the acoustic guitar during the bridge of the song, which is a change from the electronic synths we have heard throughout the album. It also seemed to start a level of lightness, which made the song and album close out in a pretty and easygoing manner. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

Hideout: Remember Who We Are Teaser Image

[Review] Break All The Rules – CRAVITY

Over the last few years, Starship Entertainment has grown to be a highly successful label, with MONSTA X, Cosmic Girls (WJSN) and Jeong Sewoon each flourishing in their separate music careers. Today we observe the addition of a new group to that lineup. Cravity is a nine-member male group, consisting of Serim, Allen, Jungmo, Woobin, Wonjin, Minhee, Hyeongjun, Taeyoung and Seongmin. Some of the members may have familiar faces as four of the group members participated in Produce X 101, with Minhee and Hyeongjun going on to debuting as part of X1. However, X1’s music journey was short-lived after the recent voting scandal, which lead to the disbandment of X1 and the two Starship Entertainment members returned to their home company to rejoin their fellow trainees to debut under the name of CRAVITY.

Their debut song is titled Break All The Rules. It sadly doesn’t break any rules and plays fairly safe. It is a urban hip-hop track, one of the many subsets of the hip-hop genre, which has undeniably become the default genre of today’s KPOP music. They do manage to infuse some rock elements during some parts, gave a good rush of intensity in the song and added that funky synth to give the chorus a dynamic touch. But I wanted more. Something unique that sets this new group apart from the rest of the competition. Maybe they could have leveled up the intensity and dynamic nature of the instrumental by going with rougher synths that is loaded with impact. Like some of the songs that I have recently reviewed, I noticed that Break All The Rules had subpar hooks in this song was rather lacking. The chorus is slowly growing on me, but I don’t think it has that reach that they need to extend into the industry. What the group does well is on the vocal front. Great vocals and rapping from the group. It is a decent track. But I am not exactly sold on the group. Hopefully, their mini-album or next release can seal the deal for me.

What the song lacks is made up visually by the music video. Watching this video, it made the song feel more impactful and definitely boosted the song in terms of appeal. That is a sign of a fantastic music video. The cinematography and the lighting just blew me away. The sets, even though some were digitalised, looked amazing and very real. I also liked the minute use of colour in this video, which adds to the impact.

And what an intense performance. This group has the choreography chops down pat! It seems like it comes at the expense of their live vocals and rapping, as it was a little choppy in their debut showcase that they had today. But I don’t blame them. It is a powerful routine that I am 100% anyone would be breathless afterwards. I would have liked to some individual CRAVITY flair in the performance. But I was amazed nonetheless.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.1/10