[Album Review] Villain: ZERO (2nd Single Album) – DRIPPIN

I will be rounding out my week full of album reviews with two single albums (two, as they are very short). I will return to the usual transmission of album reviews on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends starting this coming Wednesday. The first single album I will be looking at today is DRIPPIN’s mid-year comeback with Villain: ZERO. This is DRIPPIN’s second single album since debut and their latest comeback following their VILLAIN mini-album from earlier in the year. The single album features the title track ZERO and two additional side tracks.

I think my even and consistent rating of 8/10 throughout the single album, and hence adoption as my final overall album rating is indicative of the group’s potential in the long run (when you also look at DRIPPIN’s past releases). Sure, an 8/10 might not be the highest rating for an album before. But it still points towards some strong songs. Hopefully, DRIPPIN can receive a stronger title track and album release for the next comeback to gain a stronger presence in KPOP.

Villain: ZERO Album Cover

1. ZERO (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for ZERO. (8/10)

2. GAME – DRIPPIN doubles down with a very serious toned dance track, in the form of GAME. I found this track to be decent, with DRIPPIN’s solid delivery of the song. The pop instrumentation was mixed with tropical elements to create a strong and intense atmosphere. I just wished there was a bit more oomph to the song. GAME could have benefited from have a bolder hook, as opposed to the more vocally smooth hook we got in the song. GAME also could have emphasized some parts, just so the seriousness could have been concentrated. (8/10)

3. Trick and Treat – Re-entering the rock genre is Trick and Treat, who went with a grungier and abrasive profile this time around. It was more upfront with its intensity, compared to the title track. The chorus goes for a more shouty anthem-like chant, which makes sense, as the intention is to heighten the energy we are already getting from the instrumentation. The verses were a bit forgettable unfortunately, even though they go down more of a pop path with these verses. The bridge was probably the most energetic part of Trick and Treat, kicking off with an impressive high note from Hyeop. It will definitely make for a really dynamic and cool dance break in the live performances. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

Villain: ZERO Teaser Image

[Album Review] VILLAIN (3rd Mini Album) – DRIPPIN

The album review that I was supposed to post last weekend (which ended up being delayed to Monday and then Wednesday) was for DRIPPIN’s third mini-album, VILLAIN. It is also another January release (only three months behind now, no biggie). The mini-album features the title track that shares the same name as the mini-album, an introductory track and four side tracks.

VILLAIN is the first time I am covering DRIPPIN in the album review segment. I remember vetting the album way back in January to see whether I should write an album review for it, and it got my attention then (that explains the existence of this album review). While my excitement for the album and its track has probably evaporated over the last three months, I am still keen on looking at new artists in segments. Furthermore, one of the songs on the album earns a 10/10 rating from me. Keep on reading to find out which one!

VILLAIN Album Cover

1. 7Villaz – DRIPPIN sets the tone for this mini-album with the super intense and powerful intro EDM track, 7Vilaz. It contains samples of the title track’s main hook in the background, which is a nice way to tie the intro to the title track (which is next up on the album). It has been a while since I heard some I was describe as high octane, so this is quite a fulfilling piece. (8/10)

2. VILLAIN (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for VILLAIN. (8/10)

3. Switch Switch continues on from VILLAIN with a groovier instrumental. If I had to describe it in a particular way, I would say that Switch’s instrumental sounded almost ‘retro sci-fi like’. There is also a familiarity with Switch’s background. Aside from that, Switch had a lot of good energy and momentum, which makes it is a very satisfying side track. In addition to that, you have solid vocals and rapping from the members. My favourite parts have to be pre-choruses and the brief rap sequence at the end of the bridge that starts off with the line ‘Break the rules’. Both were memorable manners of delivery, in my opinion. (9/10)

4. SHY – The album mellows out a bit with SHY. To me, it sounds like a nice summery track that sounds sweet and cheerful. There were a few good hooks in the song that helped make SHY pleasant and enjoyable. It isn’t the most amazing track on the album (it is more so typical), but still a decent listen. (7/10)

5. DelusionDelusion is my pick for best side on this album release. The intensity that comes from this track is one reason (and leads into the next). Another reason is that when I listen to this song, I am picturing an action-based story music video would be the ideal accompaniment to the song. Furthermore, I liked the consistent vocals in Delusion, which brought forth an emotive side to the song. I found that quite interesting and I am all for it, as it has impact. (10/10)

6. Remember – The album ends with another summery sounding track, thanks to the tropical elements of Remember’s instrumentation. Its upbeat and quite satisfying to listen to. Like the other summery track on this album, Remember isn’t as memorable as the other side tracks on the album. I wished it (and SHY) was released on a separate summer album, that way the song would feel more ‘at home’ and give way for DRIPPIN to deliver a more consistent album. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

VILLAIN Teaser Image

[Review] VILLIAN – DRIPPIN

There are a lot of comebacks dropping today, so expect the reviews to be posted over the next few days or so. Randomly selected to be the first release on the reviewing block is DRIPPIN’s comeback song, VILLIAN, which is featured on the group’s third mini-album of the same name. This is the group’s first comeback since last year’s release of Free Pass and the special single Vertigo (I highly recommend this Universe promotional single).

DRIPPIN revisits the groovy sound in VILLIAN thanks to the funky electronic bass line that runs throughout the song. The grooviness is felt the most during the song’s verses, while it felt somewhat lacking in the chorus due to the other instrumentation overwhelming the plate a bit. The grooviness is still there, however, it just felt less prevalent for me and I don’t recognise its presence as instantaneously as per the verses. This is more of an observation however, and I still thought VILLIAN had a decent backing to it. But when I compare to the wider industry, VILLIAN falters on the innovation side. As the vocals, I liked how powerful and forceful they got with their lines in the chorus. It definitely adds vibrancy and energy to the song that makes VILLIAN better. I also enjoyed the vocals at the very start of the song, as they ease into it. It was breathy and slightly sensual, which I think the members could have explored more in VILLIAN. The soaring high note from Hyeop was also impressive, though I wished it was slightly longer to be even more satisfying. Dongyun and Alex’s rapping were pretty good as well, though I wished they had more than half of the second verse. VILLIAN‘s outro did a good job of maintaining the momentum for that extra bit longer, making the end satisfying as well. Overall, VILLIAN is a decent song from the group with me wishing for (as usual).

Per usual, I am not entirely sure what the story of this music video is. The group became villains for this music video, as per the lyrics of the song, and went out to evoke havoc on the world. While their powers seem to help each other out and earlier scenes suggest that they had banded together, I can’t really tell if they are helping each/banded together for a common mission or whether they just want to cause havoc (or maybe, their mission was to cause havoc because they are villains). I wished the storyline came together to have an endpoint or a conclusion, just so whatever story was happening was clearer. But aside from that, a strong concept potential and awesome post-production.

The performance for this comeback was strong and powerful, which matches up with the energy that is exuded from the song. Nothing really stood out at me, but the entire routine worked well with the song and it is still a worthwhile performance to watch.

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

[Review] Free Pass – DRIPPIN

Back to catch up on the reviews I should have written weeks ago when the songs were first released. I will be choosing which releases to review at random, so there will be no order to what tracks I review. I just want to get them done! First up, I have chosen DRIPPIN’s comeback from 29 June. DRIPPIN returned with the single Free Pass as their latest title track. The song is featured on the group’s first single album which shares the same name as the lead single. Free Pass is DRIPPIN’s second comeback this year, with the first being Young Blood in March of this year.

Free Pass is quite dull. No matter how times I have listened to the song since its release, I find myself distracted looking for the next song to play and pretty much forgetting the song. To me, Free Pass doesn’t offer any new or innovative. It doesn’t even ‘reinvent the wheel’. It is pretty the same as any bright concept song that is release in the Summer season. This is disappointing to a degree, given that I liked both their debut song and their last comeback. The group has so much to offer based on their previous releases, but they are only given a song like Free Pass to show off their skills. But I guess that I guess this is the song that they will use to leverage their youthfulness. Though, it is interesting as their labelmates Golden Child and formerly Infinite have had their fair share of mid-tempo pop songs released in for the Summer season. And these songs by these more senior artists have been likeable and enjoyable (i.e. Pump It Up and Man In Love to name some examples – ignore my 7/10 rating and comments in the Man In Love review, that has been bumped up to a 9/10 rating when I reviewed mini-album in which it was featured on). Free Pass just doesn’t live up to that standard set by their labelmates. Don’t get me wrong, it is an okay song. But it could have been better and been more personalised for DRPPIN. One of the reasons to why I think Free Pass doesn’t have much to offer is because it lacks any substantial hook. This instantly reduces the memorability of the song. The instrumental is bright and energetic (so I will give it that), but it doesn’t have a sense of individuality or uniqueness. It feels plain and typical. Their vocal work and rapping are so-so. Not the best, but not terrible. So I guess what I really want is some identity so that DRIPPIN could really make Free Pass their own. Currently, Free Pass is theirs but it doesn’t feel individualised.

Once again, my comments above can be reflected down here. Concept-wise, I felt they have picked the general bright youthful concept that every other male group seems to do. Nothing new. And the music video is appropriately bright. In Free Pass, the group goes on a camping trip. They leave ‘Free Passes’ around the theme park they were initially at, so I presume their crushes would find them. Though, I think they put them in places that are a bit hard to reach or not that great hiding places. I mean, hiding them in a stack of other tickets, tying them to balloons, sticking them to the bottom of a park bench, floating in the fountain where it could easily fall in the water. Not really great ways of making sure they get to the intended person. In the end, someone ended up collecting them and had them in the tent next the campfire. So no one rocked up to be with the group. And the fell asleep around the campfire. The end.

I like the energy they brought to the performance. It is a great way to portray their youthfulness. Do note that I feel the choreography tends to fair a bit better when it comes to more typical aligned comebacks, as no routine are similar. Sure, moves can be replicated and borrowed. But no sequence would be exactly the same, and hence there is that opportunity to be different. What I liked about Free Pass‘ choreography is the formations they had during the first verse.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[Review] Young Blood – DRIPPIN’

After reviewing all of Monday’s releases, I can finally move onto releases from this week that occurred after Monday. One of these releases is DRIPPIN’s comeback single, Young Blood, which is featured on their latest mini-album, A Better Tomorrow. They are a relatively new group and this is their official comeback since their debut with Nostalgia. So for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with DRIPPIN’, they are a seven-member male group under Woolim Entertainment. And here is a reason to why you should familiarise yourself with the group. They were overwhelmingly voted (44%) as the Best Male Rookie Group of 2020 in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. And if that it the attention they garnered within two months of their debut, the future for DRIPPIN’ is looking very bright. Let’s see what they are doing with Young Blood.

Young Blood reminds me of some of AB6IX’s early works. From the vocals to the upbeat yet straightforward nature of the instrumentation, it takes me back to those 2019 releases by AB6IX. What I did like about Young Blood that stood out for me was the groovy tinge to the song. Once again, this is another song to add to the ongoing trend. But this is who DRIPPIN’ made the song theirs. AB6IX’s releases did have a similar tinge, but it was not as satisfying or fulfilling as Young Blood. The electronic synths and energy come together to make a quite dynamic dance track that I am sure meets the expectations of fans. I find the pre-chorus slow down to be quite nice, especially with the piano coming through. It also helped make the launch into the chorus more exciting and impactful. The rapping in the song’s second verse was probably its weakest moment. Compared to the rest of the song, the instrumental strip down felt as simple as a blank canvas. Some synths can be heard, but they were used sparingly. The rapping just didn’t do enough to fill in that ‘blank canvas’ for me. The song then returns to the chorus, pulling the song back up to the thrill that was heard before the second verse. The bridge was short, but it was decent. I enjoyed the thumping beat that dominated the bridge. It added more to that thrill that just mentioned and threw in a bit of suspense. I also enjoyed the instant launch back into the final chorus, reinforcing that idea of being straightforward and not messing around. Overall, Young Blood was very energetic and dynamic, aside from its middle core.

I am not entirely sure about what is happening in the video. The start looked intriguing with one of the members going about his day as a convenience store clerk. During his usual duties, the power goes out and he notices a light behind the refrigerator. He looks into the light and this takes us to a world with no restraints (this is my assumption). The members look like they are having fun. But at the same time, they are seeking something (which I assume is in the box that they found the key for). What is in that box, I have no idea. It does give the video an air of mystery. But at the same time, it was lackluster and I don’t think there was enough in the video to decipher whatever was going on. Aside from that, I really like the use of multiple scenes throughout the video, which gave us some variety in the visuals of the video.

I really like the energy and drive behind their moves. It matches the dynamism and momentum of the song. No moves or not any moment stood out to me on its own. Rather I felt the entire choreography routine was a solid package. If I had to point out one part of the choreography that did at the very least elicit some sort of reaction from me, it was the spinning leg move they did at the start. The choreography just quickly moved on and so I didn’t really have much time to really think about it.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Special] 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Winners Announcement

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

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

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

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

Artist Caregories

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

Best New Male Group

Nominees:
BDC
CRAVITY
DRIPPIN’

Nominees:
MCND
TOO
TREASURE

Honourable Mention: TREASURE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: TREASURE


Best New Female Group

Nominees:
aespa
BLACKSWAN
cignature

Nominees:
SECRET NUMBER
WEEEKLY
woo!ah!

Honourable Mention: WEEEKLY
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WEEEKLY


Best New Male Soloist

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

Lee Eun Sang
Wonho
WOODZ

Honourable Mention: Wonho
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WOODZ


Best New Female Soloist

Nominees:
Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)

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

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


Rising Star of 2020

Nominees:
EVERGLOW
Golden Child
ONEUS

Nominees:
ONF
The Boyz
VICTON

Honourable Mention: EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: The Boyz


Most Underrated Group of 2020

Nominees:
A.C.E
APRIL
ASTRO

Nominees:
Dream Catcher
ONEUS
VERIVERY

Honourable Mention: Dream Catcher
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ONEUS


Best Vocals

Nominees:
AKMU
DAY6
IU

Nominees:
Lee Hi
Ong Seong Woo
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Taeyeon (SNSD)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best Rapper

Nominees:
Dami (Dream Catcher)
Han Ji Sung (Stray Kids)
Jessi

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

Honourable Mention: Han Jisung (Stray Kids)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Jooheon (MONSTA X)


Best Band

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

Nominees:
CN BLUE
DAY6

IZ
N.Flying
ONEWE

Honourable Mention: CN BLUE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best CO-ED Group

Nominees:
AKMU
CHECKMATE
K-TRIGERS ZERO
KARD

Honourable Mention: AKMU
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: KARD


Best Subunit

Nominees:
BTOB 4U
End of Day
Moonbin & Sanha

Nominees:
NCT 127
Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi
WJSN CHOCOME

Honourable Mention: NCT 127
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT 127


Best Male Soloist

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

Nominees:
Baekhyun (EXO)
Chen (EXO)
Kang Daniel

Nominees:
Ong Seong Woo
Taemin (SHINee)
Zico

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


Best Female Soloist

Nominees:
Chungha
Hwasa (Mamamoo)
IU

Nominees:
Jeon Somi
Sunmi
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Hwasa (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Chungha


Best Male Group

Nominees:
A.C.E
AB6IX
ASTRO
ATEEZ
BTS
Golden Child

GOT7
MONSTA X
NCT
NU’EST
ONEUS
ONF
Pentagon

SEVENTEEN
SF9
Stray Kids
The Boyz
TXT
VERIVERY
VICTON

Honourable Mention: BTS, Stray Kids
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT, SEVENTEEN, Stray Kids


Best Female Group

Nominees:
APRIL
BLACKPINK
BVNDIT
Cherry Bullet
CLC
Dream Catcher

EVERGLOW
fromis_9
(G)I-DLE
GFriend
ITZY
IZ*ONE
LOONA

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

Honourable Mention: BLACKPINK, EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ITZY, LOONA, Oh My Girl


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

[Review] Nostalgia – DRIPPIN

It is time to have a deep dive into those Wednesday debuts. First up is the latest group to join the ranks of Woolim Entertainment’s roster – DRIPPIN. Personally, I don’t like their name. But there is nothing I can do about it. And who knows, it may grow on me in the future. The seven-member male group is made up of Hyeop, Yunseong, Changuk, Dongyun, Minseo, Junho, and Alex. Six of the members participated in Produce X 101. Five the members (aside from Junho, who made into the final lineup of X1, and Alex, the hidden member of the group) promoted under the name W Project 4 post-Produce X 101 last year. On Wednesday, the group made their debut with Nostalgia and the mini-album, BOYAGER.

What Nostalgia nails at first glance is its explosive and powerful nature. And I feel that this is always an appropriate way of making an entrance into the KPOP scene, given the massive influx of KPOP acts nowadays. You want to leave an impression and Nostalgia does just that for DRIPPIN. The song opens up to a pretty decent first verse. It felt very clean and the pre-chorus provided a great buildup to the first ‘explosion’, that is otherwise known as the chorus. My pick for the highlight of the song has to be the way they style the word ‘melody’ at the very end of the pre-chorus sequence by cutting it into syllables and taking away the instrumental for a brief moment. As already mentioned, the chorus is momentous with the way it is styled. The synths gave the song an electrifying effect and some zing to add appeal to the song. There is a subtle groove to it mixed in between the synths and intensity. And I also liked how the energy and intensity never lets up, even as the song moves into the catchy post-chorus ‘La La La… Nostalgia‘ hook. The second verse seems to be taken out of the book of all KPOP release and it doesn’t offer anything new. Glad it is followed up by another round of that explosive chorus. The rest of the song isn’t as cliche. I really enjoyed the more concentrated buildup to the dance break in the bridge and the added grooviness that followed in the dance/instrumental break, before returning to another and final chorus round. What I have yet to mentioned so far the members. Their vocal line is really good and their raps were pretty decent. I did have a craving for move ad-libs towards the end and even more rapping (away from the cliche second verse) to really bump up the song. But regardless, Nostalgia was a great first step for DRIPPIN.

The song is about wanting to return to the past with their lover. My guess when it comes to the storyline of the video is that the members want to recreate the scenery with the tree, as it has a sense of nostalgia for the members. One of the members plant the bare tree branch into the sand in the abandoned plane crash site, in hopes that it will grow to become that tree (which I assume they did). I may have gotten the story the wrong way around, but that is how I made sense of the music video with the lyrics. I really like the pale yellow that seems to be featured throughout the video in one way or another. It was a really nice colour to allow the members to pop, regardless of the white or black outfits that they wore throughout the video. It also felt pleasant, offsetting any harshness from the music/choreography that may have come about.

It seems like to be able to debut under Woolim Entertainment, your dance skills must be really good as they choreography some of the most intense routines ever that the idol must be able to perform in sync with everyone else. That is a particularly big ask and DRIPPIN definitely nailed it. The moves aren’t anything new, but the intensity and power that is placed behind each move is quite impressive. The ending of the bridge with the floating member seems quite cool, as well.

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