[Album Review] MANIFESTO: DAY 1 (3rd Mini Album) – ENHYPEN

ENHYPEN’s latest mini-album, as you could have told from the review for their second single from the release, is next up to get an album review from me. MANIFESTO: DAY 1 was released in July of this year, and serves as the group’s second comeback of the year. The first was Blessed-Cursed, from the repackaged version of their first studio length album. Anyhow, back to their more recent releases. It features a total of six songs, including the title track Future Perfect (Pass the MIC), the single Paradoxx Invasion and four additional side tracks.

MANIFESTO: DAY 1, as an overall picture, was a decent album. The title track was the album’s weakest track, based on my ratings. Instead, the other tracks stand out. One of the side tracks became my highlight from the album (keep on reading to find out which one). The first and final tracks also serve as unofficial intro and outro tracks, which are common features of ENHYPEN’s release. I am specifically shining the spotlight on them, as they delve into deep topics, which might be of interest.

MANIFESTO: DAY 1 Album Cover

1. WALK THE LINE – Beginning the album is WALK THE LINE. This track features the members dramatically speaking in their own native languages of Korean, Japanese and English over a simple yet intense instrumental. The members speak and sing about their struggles whilst maturing, and how they come to realize that they are now the mature people who sets their own standards, relating everything to a line. A line once drawn for them, and a new line that they will draw for themselves. I like the meaning behind the track, but everything else was standard. (7/10)

2. Future Perfect (Pass the MIC) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Future Perfect (Pass the MIC). (7/10)

3. ParadoXXX InvasionClick here to read the full review for ParadoXXX Invasion. (8/10)

4. TFW (That Feeling When) – Glad to see they clarified the meaning behind the acronym. Hahaha… TFW is quite a change to their previous tracks on the mini-album, which were more hip-hop centric. TFW is much more mellow, featuring a consistent pop rock band instrumental. I enjoyed the combination of the beat and melody, which bought out a pleasant atmosphere. This instrumental also enable the focus to be on the vocals, which were quite solid. However, I just do not see anything special with TFW, just that it is a nice track. (7.5/10)

5. SHOUT OUT – The opening of SHOUT OUT does exactly what the title suggests, allowing the song to just feel right from the very start. It then settles for an early 00s emo rock vibe, bringing great and nostalgic energy out of the song for me (especially during the chorus, when the instrumental is the most full-on and head-banging worthy). If the instrumental hasn’t won me over yet (spoiler: it has), then what I describe next will do the trick. ENHYPEN’s vocals are a perfect fit with the genre, with the members perfectly executing their delivery and encompassing the energy of SHOUT OUT. Without a doubt, my favourite from the mini-album. (10/10)

6. Foreshadow – Again, we go through the three-language narration from the initial song to close out the album. This time around, the members express their uncertainty about the immediate future. They say their past is making sense and they know there is a future waiting for them. But the light that is supposed to guide them to that future casts a shadow over the immediate future, hence the uncertainty and Foreshadow title. It is an abstract way of expressing uncertainty, but a clever way nonetheless. The song aspect of this track was more riveting than the initial song and has a much better bite to it. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

MANIFESTO: DAY 1 Teaser Image

[Review] ParadoXXX Invasion – ENHYPEN

I am gearing up to review ENHYPEN’s latest mini-album, Manifesto: Day 1. But before I can proceed with writing and post that album review, I need to review the second single from the album that also got a music video and promotional treatment, ParadoXXX Invasion. Alongside ParadoXXX Invasion, the mini-album also featured the title track Future Perfect (Pass the MIC).

ParadoXXX Invasion follows the same veins of the title track in that it is a hip-hop track. But I am of the opinion that ParadoXXX Invasion could have potentially been a much stronger title track. Simply because I find ParadoXXX Invasion to be a more well-rounded track. But there would be a need for some changes to make it even better. The song brings forth a very old-school hip-hop type of feel that I feel is quite vibrant and powerful in its own right. The beat got me nodding along to the music and you can feel the unmissable energy coursing through the song. The hooks were catchy (more so than the title track), and ParadoXXX Invasion left a memorable ring in my head after the song is over. And I feel this song is better aligned with the Summer period in which it was released in. However, ParadoXXX Invasion isn’t exactly ready to be a title track just yet. The rapping was definitely executed well, but I think ParadoXXX Invasion could have had more substantial rap sequences to take the song to the next level, just so that hip-hop energy is very concentrated and more impactful. There was no bridge or peak to the song, which was a bit disappointing. The ending was just another repeat of the choruses we heard earlier in the track, with no added ad-lib or intensification to the instrumental (similar to my main complaints with Future Perfect). A bridge would have allowed the song to build up to that. But overall, the hip-hop energy is what sold me on ParadoXXX Invasion and its potential to be a better title track.

Given a few factors (namely the school on a truck beginning), I feel the concept of this music video is a ‘school’s out’ type of scenario. That is my guess. But regardless what is the official concept of the video, the music video for ParadoXXX Invasion did two things quite well. Firstly, it really encapsulated that hip-hop feel in a very cool and a not-in-your-face manner. I quite liked that, and it made it enjoyable to watch alongside the song. The second was that is shows off a very youthful side to ENHYPEN. Their visuals and energy throughout the video was quite refreshing. I feel this thanks to the fact that the music video felt a lot more carefree and freestyle to a degree. Some of the video is shot in a sunny outdoor location, but yet in a very industrial setting. Other parts were shot in the studio (i.e. indoor locations/alleyway) worked well with the song’s hip-hop roots (i.e., back alleyways and thrift-like stores).

The choreography was quite cool and vibrant. The hip-hop influences is also quite evident. The energy the members put in really paid off and made the routine very appealing to watch.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Review] Future Perfect (Pass the MIC) – ENHYPEN

Kick starting this week is ENHYPEN, who makes their return with with their new single Future Perfect (Pass the MIC) and their third mini-album MANIFESTO: DAY 1. This follows Blessed-Cursed (their Korean comeback from earlier this year) and the release of Always (their first Japanese single, which was also released early this year).

Moving on from their last series of title tracks, it appears that ENHYPEN has gone with a tougher and powerful sound with this comeback. While it was executed successfully, I do think Future Perfect was mundane. There were parts this in hip-hop based track that I wished went a bit harder and should have had more bite too it. For example, the hype parts of the song, such as the final round of the chorus, didn’t really add much energy to the song. This would have been the perfect opportunity to finish off Future Perfect in an energy tense manner that really drives the song home, but this was not the case. In addition, the ending just kind of came along, and to me Future Perfect didn’t finish in a satisfying enough manner. Other parts of Future Perfect felt quite satisfying, such as the vocals in the pre-chorus, which gave us a nice breather from the rapping before it and following it in the chorus. I also liked how they fit into the bigger picture. The brass elements in the chorus of Future Perfect gave the song a subtle yet effective fanfare element which made the chorus interesting for me. I also didn’t mind the shouty nature of the chorus, though I wished their delivery a tad more dynamic and possibly had catchier hooks somewhere. Overall, Future Perfect is a fair song, but it is a step (once again) into more typical territory for me. And I wished ENHYPEN (and the producers of Future Perfect) did more with the song.

Based the ending title card, it appears that this music video is connected to ENHYPEN’s fictional webtoon, Dark Moon: The Blood Altar. It sounds cool in theory. But as someone who has not seen the webtoon, I can’t tell what is going on. Cloaked figures are being burned alive, while other cloak figures are watching the members. There is some time travel involving a stop watch. And a private jet as well. All of this was done in an urban setting. If there was context, maybe the darker themes of the video would make more sense. But to me, this video features random scenes with a very thin string to bind it all together.

The performance definitely shows off a tough and powerful exterior to the members/group, fitting for the song that went down that path in terms of sound. Nothing really stood out at me for the choreography, though I did like how aggressive and serious their facial expressions and how captivating it was to watch them perform this track, as a result.

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

[Album Review] DIMENSION: DILEMMA / DIMENSION: ANSWER (1st Studio Album / 1st Studio Album Repackaged) – ENHYPEN

This is such an long overdue album review. If memory serves me right, I made promises last month that I would write this album review. Well, sorry for the delay. But as they all say, better late then never. ENHYPEN made their comeback in October 2021 and in January 2021 with DIMENSION: DILEMMA (their 1st Studio Album) and DIMENSION: ANSWER (their repackaged version of the 1st Studio Album). Leading the charge on these albums, respectively, are the title tracks Tamed-Dashed and Blessed-Cursed (links below). In addition to these title tracks, six side tracks, an intro, interlude and outro. Before I delay this review any further, let’s get right into it!

1. Intro: Whiteout – As usual with all of ENHYPEN’s releases thus far, we are treated to another Jake narrated intro track. This one is quite exciting thanks to the electronic instrumentation that features in the background of this track. It started off as a suspenseful piece, which works extremely with the narration, before developing into a vibrant, bright and poppy piece. (8/10)

2. Tamed-Dashed (Title Track) Click here to read Tamed-Dashed’s full review. (7.5/10)

3. Upper Side Dreamin’ – I liked the retro hip-hop vibe this song had. It isn’t like Blessed-Cursed on many fronts, however, though I am not entirely sure if this is a good thing or not. Upper Side Dreamin’ is more vibrant and brighter with its energy, and was quite upbeat from the get-go. But the vocals felt disappointing. They brought a one-dimensional tone to the song, thanks to the heavy usage of autotune. It is still bearable, and I feel like the melodies make up some of the autotune. But not exactly enough, which leaves me not enjoying Upper Side Dreamin’ as much. (7/10)

4. Just A Little Bit (몰랐어)Just A Little Bit takes us a different route, with a dreamy pop track. The acoustic guitar dominates the background and adds a hearty touch to the song. The added details, like the twinkling chimes and the soft pounding beat, to the instrumentation definitely brought out a dreamier tone. Just A Little Bit also stands out thanks to the vocals, which were really nice. They too complimented the dreamy nature of the song and also had a memorable hook to it that I really enjoyed. (9/10)

5. Go Big or Go Home (모 아니면 도)Go Big or Go Home is one of my picks for favourite side track from this album. The party/club vibes that comes from this song is just on point and definitely makes me feel lively even just by listening to it. Its instrumental feels like it could have been big hit in the ’00s and it for sure would have been a highly requested song at the parties I went to. While the vocals were a bit held back, it doesn’t break Go Big or Go Home. (9.5/10)

6. Blockbuster (액션 영화처럼) (ft. Yeonjun (TXT))Blockbuster features the like of Yeonjun from TXT, and kicks off with a dynamic and angsty rap sequence. Blockbuster ends up being a mix of EDM and rock element, which is what I would think a collaboration between TXT and ENHYPEN would be like (based on the sounds of the respective group). I liked how edgy it felt, while the vocals and rapping was very fulfilling. (9/10)

7. Attention, Please! – In a similar manner, Attention, Please! brings on a nostalgic vibe, reminding me of the punk rock we got in the 90s and 00s in the Western music industry. I really like how ‘full-on’ and satisfying the instrumental for Attention, Please! was. Definitely a highlight on this album, and it is a song that I would demand to see a live performance for (think live band, crowd cheering and hyping the group, and the group going all out while performing this track on stage). (10/10)

8. Interlude: Question – Ending the DIMENSION: DILEMMA studio album is the interlude track. It is another narrated track from Jake. But the instrumental here was quite fun and energetic. I also like the changing nature of the instrumental, going from soft and chill to subtly dark and intense, before leading into a retro influenced ending. (8/10)

9. Blessed-Cursed (Title Track)Click here to read Blessed-Cursed’s full review. (7.5/10)

10. Polaroid Love – The only new side track added to the repackaged album is Polaroid Love. This is slightly different to anything we have heard preceding it. Polaroid Love is a R&B pop track that is easy on the ears and has a certain softness to it that makes it delicate but appealing. Similarly, the vocals also encompass these exact same feelings and vibes, and also adds a tinge of cuteness to the song (which I am sure fans are enjoying). I found the chorus to Polaroid Love to be very catchy and the instrumental to be pleasantly upbeat. (8.5/10)

11. Outro: Day 2  – The outro track (also narrated by Jake) starts off with a pulsing background and atmospheric vibe. It’s good, but it wasn’t the same as the interlude or the intro track for this album package. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Dimension: Dilemma & Dimension: Answer Teaser Image

[Review] Blessed-Cursed – ENHYPEN

Also beginning the week off is ENHYPEN, who is back with their latest single, Blessed-Cursed. The new single is the title track from the newly released repackaged version of the group’s first studio album, once titled Dimension: Dilemma and now retitled as Dimension: Answer (both of which I will be fast-tracking/reviewing as one album review post this coming weekend!). Previously, the title track for Dimension: Dilemma was Tamed-Dashed, which was released back in October 2021.

Blessed-Cursed in a mix of hip-hop and rock. which is an interesting blend of styles. The electrifying rock was more so in the background, coming through underneath the trap elements. Both blended well with one another, brought on great energy and were a satisfying combination that ENHYPEN pulled off well. Naturally, I feel that the two genres do go hand-in-hand with one another, as intensity is something I associate with both genres of music. And no surprises here, I feel like this intensity was a common thread that pulled the two sides together to form Blessed-Cursed. It was quite a tense track to listen to, and for some reason I felt wrong to pause the song half way while listening to it. You could also feel the intensity in Blessed-Cursed via the vocals and rapping. I do wish that the ENHYPEN members were more ‘in-your-face’ with their delivery. They seemed to come to us in that direction, but as usual, I wanted more. Blessed-Cursed also ends in an unsatisfying manner, and I wished the song had better closure. Overall, I feel like Blessed-Cursed was a pleasant track, with a few minor improvements to make it even better. But I do feel like it is a bit safe. I wished Blessed-Cursed was more experimental. While staying safe seems to be the way to go with newer groups, I do feel like ENHYPEN’s in a position to try something new and stand out (with their success thus far and their company to back them up if it the experimentation were to backfire).

The music video goes back in time to the moment in which the world ticked over to the new century and millennium (i.e. the countdown between 1999 and 2000). Concept-wise, it was fun to see cinematography and outfits from that era. Only people in 1990s could pull off wide ankle pants like what we saw in the video, and make it not be a terrible look. Well, with a few exceptions – ENHYPEN now falls into that group. But other than that, the crispness of the quality of the video and the vibrant colours we did get (blue, white and red) are all definitely from a modern era. It was a good video overall that showed off visual and choreography. Fun fact: I found it funny that the concept went back to 1999/2000, given that none of the members were born then (the oldest member, Heeseung, was born in 2001).

The choreography for this comeback incorporates that intensity that I mentioned earlier in the review really well. It is a strong performance from the group, as always, but powerful in a subtle manner. I really like the various hand work in the performance, particularly the vibrating hand movements we saw when the members sing ‘Don’t Stop‘ in the pre-chorus.

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

[Review] Tamed-Dashed – ENHYPEN

ENHYPEN returns with this week with their latest (but delayed) release, Tamed-Dashed. It leads their first studio-length album, Dimension: Dilemma, which was also released today. This is the group’s first comeback since their last one – Drunk-Dazed and the mini-album, Border: Carnival. Originally, this comeback was confirmed for end of September, but unfortunately some of the members tested positive for COVID-19, which ended up delaying this comeback. The members seemed to have quickly recovered from the illness and thus this only pushed out their comeback plans by less than a fortnight.

Tamed-Dashed is a pretty cool dance song, though I do have some reservations with it. What I really like about the song was its intense instrumentation. It was very consistent throughout, thus adding more to this intensity. There is a mixture of guitars and synthesizer used throughout the song, at times blurring with one another. This feels intention, so the song can come off as cohesive (which it does!). The bass really drives the song and it is what really pulls me into the song. It is also what makes Tamed-Dashed so satisfying and weighted for me. The guitar blends into the mix by opting for deep effect, it literally grumbles along but also adds so much texture to this song. The synthesizer is what adds energy to the song and really gives Tamed-Dashed its vibrant factor. Altogether, the three elements come through and make Tamed-Dashed‘s background fulfilling and electrifying. My reservations for Tamed-Dashed comes into play when I focus on other aspects of the song. The vocals, while were decent and brought a youthful factor, just didn’t seem satisfying. I wanted more from the members, and I feel that there was a lot of opportunity for the members to flourish throughout Tamed-Dashed. The melodies were good and they caught on, But I feel without this unique instrumental backdrop, the melodies would have fallen flat (as the instrumentation seems to be the only aspect that gets me to come back to the song). Overall, a satisfying song thanks to the instrumental, while the other elements underwhelm.

Do I have the slightest clue on what is happening in this video? Nope. My wild guess (and I am grasping at straws here) is that this video reiterate the theory that they are vampires, which was a theory that I had from their Drunk-Dazed music video. It explains to me why they have remained youthful despite travelling through different eras (as depicted by their outfits). The burning of the skin also seems to be a major part of this theory for me. At one point, they couldn’t reach for the ball without their skin burning. But something happened (not sure what) which enabled them to go into the sun without burning and play some rugby, which has stayed with them through the eras. Aside from the plot, there isn’t much else to the video.

The performance was okay, but feels like the weakest of all their title tracks thus far. It looks a bit plain and constricting. I am impressed that they would be throwing the rugby ball around during the bridge. While it looks like they slowed down the choreography to ensure they can catch the ball without it hitting any other members or overshooting it completely, it still looks risky.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Album Review] BORDER: CARNIVAL (2nd Mini Album) – ENHYPEN

Next up on the album review influx is ENHYPEN, who returned with BORDER: CARNIVAL (the group’s second mini-album since debut) at the end of April. Leading the album is the title track is Drunk-Dazed, which received a positive review from me. This album release follows the group’s debut at the end of November 2020 with Given-Taken and BORDER: Day One, which was also deemed as a very success debut based on the rookie awards they won within two months after their debut (Note; they will be considered for the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards New Groups Awards). And so the expectations for this comeback were high. Let’s see if they reached those expectations.


1. Intro: The Invitation – If you want creepy, the opening few seconds of The Invitation is probably after. The childish nursery-rhyme like melody feels like it was taken out of a movie about a haunted house where the ghost is a young child who tragically died many years ago. But while that does give chills, the song isn’t just a sample from a horror movie. It quickly develops into a hypnotic indie retro synth track, with the chanting ‘Feel like I am in paradise’ line that is quite catchy and Jake’s narration that invites you to the carnival. A great opener, if you ask me. Only downside is that it is short. (9/10)

2. Drunk-DazedClick here to read the full review of Drunk-Dazed. (8.5/10)

3. FEVER FEVER follows the title track. It is also the follow-up promotional track to end their BORDER: CARNIVAL promotions and was given the music video treatment (which I will revisit in the future). FEVER starts off as a slow dance track, taking on what sounds like a R&B mix. The entire song is kept in this slow gear. It personally isn’t my cup of tea. But I guess fans would enjoy this sultrier and more mature vibe from the group that the slowness managed to bring out. I do wish we got to hear more of their vocals with less vocal processing. It did feel a bit much in this song, to be honest. (7/10)

4. Not For Sale – The next song on the album is Not For Sale, which seems to mash up more R&B with a tropical house influences this time around. It comes out to be a nice and pleasant mix, one to definitely enjoy in this current summer season. Once again, the vocals are heavily processed in this song. I am not sure why the producers felt it was necessary in this song. I felt the ENHYPEN members could have done an amazing job with rawer vocals. And as a result, I enjoyed the live performances more (they promoted this track during their comeback week). And it here that I find the song more wholesome sounding and warming, feelings in which I didn’t get initially when I listened to the official audio. (7.5/10)

5. Mixed Up (별안간) – For me, Mixed Up was the best side track on this mini-album. I found myself drawn to the rock vibes that we get in the song, peaking through the heavier hip-hop influence of the instrumentation. I kind of wished it was more dominate, especially since it made the pre-choruses feel so powerful. For once, I think the vocal processing is justified. It gave the song that tiny bit of rough texture that felt appropriate for the instrumentation. It also helped infuse some edge in the song. I found the beat and chorus to be memorable and catchy. Overall, a great addition to the album. (9/10)

6. Outro: The Wormhole – Leading out the album is The Wormhole. It is quite an atmospheric minute and half, and I liked how the song built upon itself. It gave off the effect as if you were being pulled into a hole, which essentially is a wormhole. Jake returns to narrate in this track. I do question the need for the vocal processing over a narration, as I found it hard to understand him (Note: I speak with an Aussie accent, so I think I can comprehend him pretty well). I felt that the instrumental did a good enough job of drowning his narration as it inclined. But I guess it could be an artistic choice. But overall, a great track that gets me excited for their future releases. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10


[Review] Drunk-Dazed – ENHYPEN

New week, new comebacks. First up this week is ENHYPEN’s latest comeback, Drunk-Dazed. It is featured on the group’s second mini-album, Border: Carnival, which also dropped today. This is also the newly debut group’s first comeback since their debut at the very of November of last year, with Border: Day One and Given-Taken. Since their debut, ENHYPEN has scored a number of rookie awards during the KPOP award season that occured throughout December 2020 and January 2021. This is especially an amazing feat, given that they had a month to make an impact on the industry. And with rookie awards coming their way, it seems like ENHYPEN just did. For the KPOPREVIEWED Awards, ENHYPEN wasn’t nominated, nor did they win any awards due to their late debut. Instead, they will be considered as rookies for the upcoming 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards later this year. But there is a long way to go, so let’s start off with a review of their latest single.

Drunk-Dazed is a really powerful pop song. I have to start off by focusing on the chorus, which to me, was the best part of the song. The unquestionable blast of energy that we get thrown into from the chorus was very exhilarating and thrilling. Imagine how it would sound when Drunk-Dazed is on full blast! It doesn’t help that the hooks here were super catchy and addictive. Both worked in harmony to create a really relentless and upbeat part of the song that I thoroughly enjoyed. The verses don’t have that same impact or memorability as the chorus, but they had their charm. Both essentially had the same make up, with its consistent thumping and build-up to the chorus. I really like the rock vibes that comes from verses, which made the energy of the chorus feel like it was brewing in the background of the verses. The pre-chorus had a nice nostaligic ring to it. When it came to the bridge, I was a bit let down by the drawn out nature of the part. It just didn’t feel like a right fit for the song, from my prespective. I was glad it was brief and we returned to the familar tune of the chorus. The extension we got at the end of Drunk-Dazed felt appropriate for the group. Throughout Drunk-Dazed, the members sounded mature or at the very least didn’t feel like they were teenagers. But I detected some bright youthfulness in their tone in that final bit that matches the group’s profile given their young age. Overall, Drunk-Dazed is an addictive song full of great energy, fitting for a party vibe.

And I am glad that party vibe was translated into the music video. It appears the members are werewolves (or vampires, not too sure). They lure a fellow school mate to a party they are having, persumably to suck their blood. After all, she was invited to a bloody birthday party. We get a sense they are after blood by drinking it at the party (i.e. one of the members add blood to a glass of water pre-party, plus the raining blood at the end of the video). The member who we see dancing the blood rain falls to the ground to wake up surrounded by the rest of the group. We then see the school mate arrive with the invitation in hand, unsuspecting of what is about to happen to her. It also appears that the members have been around for a while, with scenes at the party were followed up by scenes of the members celebrating a birthday back in the early 1900s, based on the way the yellow filter was added to mimic the video footage of that time period. In the second verse, we see 1980s style effects, mimicing music videos from that era. There also seems to be a bit of telekinesis, teleportation, pyrokinesis (seems all of this is reminding me of American Horror Story: Coven). I like the story and how they conveyed the clues. Though I am still not clear if they are all werewolves, vampires or a mixture of both.

When it comes to the choreography, I have similar thoughts of it as per the song. I really like the routine during the chorus, including the zombie start and the wavy motion they used to represent the second ‘Dazed Dazed Dazed‘ hook. I also thought them lying on the ground and spinning was a cool move in this routine. Overall, a nice routine.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Album Review] Border: Day One (1st Mini Album) – ENHYPEN

I know I promised the restart of reviews yesterday, but I decided to delay that to focus on some other stuff for the blog. I will restart the reviews tomorrow when the first 2021 release officially drops and I will then return to writing some other 2020 reviews. In the meantime, I hope the next album review suffice. The artist at the focus of the album review is ENHYPEN, who made their debut at the very end of November with Given-Taken. The song was featured on the group’s first mini-album, Border: Day One, which has sold over 300,000 copies since its release. Given-Taken faired pretty well, so let’s see what I thought about the rest of the mini-album.

Border: Day One Album Cover

1. Intro: Walk The Line – There are some vocals in the Intro track, which lands itself on the reviewing block. Honestly, I don’t have much else to say aside from that Walk The Line sets the tone for this mini-album. The music itself is quite atmospheric. It, as a whole piece, pretty much felt like a marching band was following them as they embark on their journey as artists. The members also sing ‘Walk The Line’ in Italian, which isn’t a language we see at all in KPOP. Definitely a good start to the mini-album. (9/10)

2. Given-Taken (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Given-Taken. (8.5/10)

3. Let Me In (20 Cube) Let Me In a lot less serious compared the title track. It actually taps into a more vibrant sound, which I find appropriate for the youthfulness the group brings to the industry. To me, the song is a solid dance track that features a hint of a reggae beat. The vocals are nice, though I felt that they could have reduced the autotune that filtered their vocals. Just a personal preference of mine. I also did think the song needed a more substantial rap sequence. Ni-Ki teased us with his really deep voice, but I wanted more of that in the song. (8/10)

4. 10 Months 10 Months continues the upbeat and vibrancy from the previous track. It is a fun number with a bouncy instrumentation. To me, it wasn’t a really interesting track. It was a nice listen and I did enjoy the energy that came from it. But I wanted more from the group in this song in terms of vocals and rapping. I also wanted more robustness and dynamism from the producers. The only interesting moment(s) worth mentioning was the unique (and possibly fancy) way the members sang ‘Love’, which sounded like ‘La-Uve(6.5/10)

5. Flicker Flicker was a song previously performed on the I-LAND. Though this version is at a higher pitch and felt a bit faster than what was performed on the show. The instrumental was definitely texturally interesting, with its use of guitars and other synths. The members also sound more promising in Flicker than the other side track, though the excessive autotune could have been reduced. Listening to this song (and taking in account my thoughts from the songs above), the group aligns better with a mature and serious tone. It just seems to click better and felt more nature for me. (8/10)

6. Outro: Cross the Line – The outro track doesn’t feature any vocals per say, so I won’t include it in final album rating score I usually give. But I have to make a few comments about it. It is so creepy. The voices of the kids in the background were chilling. The European (possibly French? roots) instrumental influences were very haunting. And this was all followed by rock version of the Phantom of the Opera’s most iconic tune. Hopefully, this outro is teasing us with what is to come. I would totally be game for this.

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

Border: Day One Teaser Image


[Review] Given-Taken – ENHYPEN

Despite already having BTS and TXT under already under their company name, it seems like Big Hit Entertainment is still hungry for another male group (Don’t worry to all you female group stans, Big Hit has confirmed a female group is coming our way in 2021). This new male group is called ENHYPEN and they were formed through the survival show I-LAND, which aired earlier this year. Seven members were chosen to be part of ENHYPEN’s lineup, including Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-ki. Their debut single is titled Given-Taken and was dropped earlier today.

Given the current status of Big Hit Entertainment, I feel that any act who debuts under the Big Hit name is guaranteed success. But honestly, I don’t think ENHYPEN needs this guarantee given the calibre of Given-Taken itself. It is on a whole new level. Given-Taken starts off with this really beautiful harp that already screams out uniqueness. This start already feels quite tense, which is always a positive thing. The harps continue throughout the first verse as we get a slow and moody beat to accompany it and vocals. There is also some rapping. It was pretty much masked to be like the vocals and I wished they didn’t do that. Throughout the song I was yearning for something edgy and dynamic, which the raps would have served extremely well as a carrier for these two characteristics. Given-Taken then changes up the song by going into a pop-centric chorus. It reminds me of TXT’s Crown, just without the colour. If you couldn’t tell by now, but Given-Taken throws dark vibes right at you from the first second. I like the ‘To You… To… Me‘ part of the chorus. The second chorus was more so the same as the first verse. I wished they did something more with it. Likewise with the bridge. But it doesn’t mean I find the song terrible. I am totally digging this release. and will enjoy it no matter what I say about it. And it isn’t all ‘I want more’ with these parts. These sections do show and confirm with me is that ENPYPEN’s vocals are solid. I did not detect a weak spot throughout the song or any flaws in this department. Honestly, a really good job by this new group.

The lyrics of Given-Taken hints towards a dark concept. With lines such as ‘Red blood on that crown, That blood dripping down, Red Blood‘, I don’t think sunshines and flowers is going to cut it. To match with the dark vibes of the song, the music video opts for a horror theme. Oh, how I wished this debut was timed to coincide with Halloween. That would have been iconic. There isn’t anything scarier in this world, until you introduce little children to the story. And I feel that is the premise of the music video. The boys look innocent, but they (or at least one of them) has something to hide (i.e. he is an vampire). That scene at the end was expected once it started playing. But that particular member’s smile (sorry, I don’t know any of their names yet) to show off his fang was really haunting. Likewise, the really captivating yet probably trigger-warning worthy nose bleed start was definitely something I am sure people will be chatting about. I could literally sit here and list all the scenes that impressed me (hint: I was impressed by all). And all the member showcased perfect acting skills throughout the video.

The snippets of the choreography that I saw in the music video told me one thing. Never to underestimate ENHYPEN when it comes to their dance skills. This is only their debut song, yet their performance skills look like they have been around for many years. They looked super mature, despite their young age. Aside from that, I didn’t see any mind blowing or impressive moves that would have made me more eager to watch more of their stuff. I definitely will, though. I just wanted to explain why I am not giving them a 10/10 this time around (based on what I saw in the music video).

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.1/10