[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