[Review] PING PONG – HyunA & DAWN

Based on the current activities of the artists of P Nation, it has to be one of the most progressive entertainment companies in the industry at the moment. The company started off with Psy (who is also the founder of the company) and have signed on some of the industry’s biggest solo acts including JESSI, HyunA and DAWN (the latter being a idol couple and was unfairly kicked out of their previous company once news of the two dating surfaced. More recently, the company has been signing rap artists to their company’s lineup. But it is this particular collaboration between HyunA and DAWN, PING PONG, that really sells the idea of a progressive company for me, particuarly that this type of collaboration is one that many of the biggest KPOP companies at the moment would ever do.

But as groundbreaking as this collaboration sounds in theory, I don’t think PING PONG was the right song for it to be the vehicle. It is a song that overwhelms your senses, with a lot of the elements clashing with one another. PING PONG is described as ‘a moombahton dance track’. However, the brass and international influences we get throughout the song makes it more than ‘a moombahton dance track’. There is also a lot of literal clashing that makes this song heavy-handed. Usually, I would be enjoying these various elements. But when you consider the bigger picture of PING PONG (i.e. the entire song) and HyunA and DAWN’s attempt of being bold, it is a bit much. I will say the clickity-clack during the chorus was one of the better elements within the instrumentation, which I suppose is intended to mimic a bouncing ping pong ball. Though, I wish it wasn’t masked amongst the rest of the instrumentation. Aside from the backing, there are other bold forces attempting to come together in this song. I think the pair handled their solo parts pretty well. The pairing of their solo parts do come together decently and you can get a sense of the chemistry. Though, it isn’t as strong as their side tracks on their mini-album (titled 1+1=1). I am not too sure about their duet moments though, given that there was a lot to get through in order to focus on the pair. Overall, PING PONG just feels a bit much for me and it doesn’t seem like the song is one that I would be going out of my way to go back to.

PING PONG‘s music video takes a page out of the instruction manual that is usually reserved for putting together Hyuna’s most recent music video. ‘Bold’, ‘crazy’ and ‘outrageous’ are all words I would use to describe this particular music video, on top of the usual ‘colourful’ and ‘individual’ descriptors that I would use. Their outfits are quite questionable, as they seem to be the most outrageous element of the video. But hey, somehow everything suits their individual images and aligns with what they usually put out.

Given that they are a couple and knowing how daring Hyuna can be with her performances, I expected this choreography to go into unexplored territory. But we didn’t really get that far. A kiss at the end and on the hand from DAWN are probably what is most controversial about this comeback. That being said, the performance was still cool. And their chemistry is definitely strong.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.7/10

[Review] Money – Dawn

As mentioned yesterday, I will be reviewing Dawn’s (formerly E’Dawn from Pentagon) solo debut track today. He releases his single, titled Money, alongside his girlfriend’s return to the music industry with Flower Shower. For those who missed out on the big news in 2018, both Dawn and Hyuna were essentially kicked out of Cube Entertainment for dating each other. Despite that being over a year ago, the pair have signed with Psy’s new company, P-NATION, which is home to Psy himself, Jessi and Crush.

Unlike his girlfriend’s track, I am not really enjoying Money. It is just very boring and not captivating in many senses. Dawn’s parts in Pentagon alone are a lot more enticing, which I would have preferred if he somehow had incorporated some of that style into his solo debut track.  I understand he needs to start afresh. But you would obviously want to do so with something a little more memorable. That being said, I do tend to be a little optimistic and look at the good aspects. If his vocals and rapping were to prove anything, it would definitely show that he has potential. His singing was good and the second verse rap sequence was my favourite part of the song. I feel like if the song was a little more dynamic and potentially not as YG Entertainment-like than I think he would have really made this point more explicit. The chorus does improve the song a bit but the overall impression of the song still does lie on the boring side of the spectrum. I did like the calmness in Money, which I guess does ease us into what we could potentially expect from Dawn in future releases.

Watching this music video, it reminded me of G-Dragon’s more wild side that we saw in Crayon and Crooked. Just Dawn manages to take a notch further with the outfits and his crazed acting in this video. I have to admit I think the fashion choices in this video are not great. Like whoever thought black latex rubber suits looked good might need a long look at themselves in the mirror tonight. The song is all about money and it seems like he has withdrawal symptoms from the lack of money in his life. I really like the lighting of the video, which made the idea of obsessing over money a dark thought.

I thought the choreography was nice. Once again, not the more impressive routine out there. It does seem like he was able to bring more of that wild side that I mentioned in the music video review section to the performance, which I think made the performance very alluring to watch. And based on this routine, his stage presence isn’t something that we should underestimate.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.8/10

[Review] 365 Fresh – Triple H

Cube Entertainment unveiled a new subunit comprising of its artists recently, with the group being named as Triple H. The group consist of former 4Minute member Hyuna and Pentagon members Hui and E-Dawn (whose real name is Kim Hyo Jong). 365 Fresh is the title track off the subunit’s first mini album, which is titled as 199X. This is the second subunit formed between labelmates at Cube Entertainment, the other being Trouble Maker, comprising of Hyuna and Hyunseung.

365 Fresh is a really cool song. From the start, its upbeat and fresh sound really does stand out. The song delves into the Funk genre. It actually reminds me of songs that Bruno Mars put out, such as Uptown Funk. And like Uptown Funk, it makes me want to get up just dance to it. The catchy “365 So Fresh” that they repeat throughout the song does the job really well and make the song quite memorable. The vocals and the raps are both superb aspects in this song. I would love to hear a little more from Hyuna in the song. She was there but compared to the guys, her part didn’t shine as much. As for the guys, they did a pretty good job with their raps and vocal work. Together, all 3 members came together and showed a dynamic sound that could potentially rival the dynamics that were brought out to play when Trouble Maker released their songs.

Once again, Cube has put out a music video that was slapped with another 19+ rating. And given the scenes in the video, I am quite sure that the Korean netizens are criticising the video left, right and centre. Onto the plot. Hyuna is a hairdresser, but in the video, she is inappropriately touched by the customer. She protects herself from the customer and ends up killing him. Hui seems to be on the run from a gang. E-Dawn attempts to suicide a few times in the video, but (not too sure here) changes his minds. All three somehow meet on the road and end up escaping their currently lives. Hui actually stole a car and coincidently there is bucket loads of money in the boot of the car, so the three of them live new lives in style. There seemed to be a little bit of tension as Hyuna and E-Dawn seem to fall in love, while Hui third-wheels. In the end, after too much partying, they end up jumping off a building, most likely leading to their deaths. I like the video for its storyline and appeal. That being said, I do not condone violence, drug use, suicide or other themes that appeared in the video.

[UPDATED] While it may not be the usual sexy style that we expect and see from Hyuna, the choreography for 365 Fresh is extremely flirty and works well with the song. Even between the trio, there is some sort of chemistry that can’t really be described, but should rather be witnessed. The guys have big shoes to fill, especially given the portfolio of Hyuna and her choreographies, but the guys fit in wonderful, with the funky dance routine.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10 [UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 9/10 [UPDATED]