[Album Review] 回:Walpurgis Night (3rd Studio Album) – GFriend

GFriend is nominated for Best Female Group, Best Female Group Performance (for Apple), Best Outfit (for Apple) and Best Concept (for their Temptation Concept for Apple) in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support GFriend and your other favourite artists of the year.

GFriend returned with their impressively catchy MAGO at the start of November, which was released as part of their third studio album, 回:Walpurgis Night. There are a few major points about this studio album that are very important to note before we crack on with the review of the album tracks. The new album marks the end of the group’s 回trilogy and also features their last two comeback tracks, Crossroads (released back in February of this year) and Apple (released in July of this year). Labyrinth, which was a side track that attracted a lot of attention this year was also included in the studio album, alongside seven other new tracks. And without anything further, let’s move onto the review!

回:Walpurgis Night Album Cover

1. MAGO (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for MAGO. (9/10)

2. Love SpellLove Spell opts for a pop rock vibe. I adore the guitars in this song, which give the song a grungy edge and a 90s persona. The members themselves make the song sound a lot sweeter. I also find it a nice balance between pop rock and GFriend (though part of me would have loved to see them go full on rock or even punk rock, which Love Spell hinted towards). (9/10)

3. Three of Cups – Staying within the pop realm, Three of Cups opts for a city pop vibe or a 70s disco vibe. This style really gives the opportunity for the group to do something light, which their airy vocals reflected quite well. There were also some catchy moments in the song that made Three of Cups appealing. (9/10)

4. GRWM – Based on what I can gather, GRWM stands for ‘Get Ready With Me’, a term used to describe vlogs that shows the morning activities as you get ready for the day. What I like about this pop song is GRWM’s instrumental felt grounded and tighter than the previous tracks. I did feel their vocals could have followed that same feeling, but instead they felt overly light for such a heavy instrumentation. As a result, it felt slightly mismatched. Only slightly, but noticeable still. (8/10)

5. Secret DiarySecret Diary is the first the three unit tracks on this album. This was brought to you by SinB and Yerin. It was nice track to listen, with good vocals and a likeable instrumental. Pleasant at best, as I have recently been saying. It just didn’t really feel memorable as it could have been with catchier hooks. (7/10)

6. Better MeBetter Me features Umji and Sowon, an interesting pair. Vocally, I wasn’t sure how the song would turn out, given that these two members aren’t exactly known for their vocals. But I think Better Me was more than a pleasant listen. The song has this subtle Latin vibe to it and they both sounded quite clear. I also liked how they pushed themselves for this song, which ultimately paid off. I find Better Me as the better of the three unit tracks. (8.5/10)

7. Night Drive – I expected a bit more from Eunha and Yuju, if I was being honest. They are both known for their vocals, so I expected something exciting for them. But instead, the pair went down the cliché route by opting for really soft R&B track that comes off like a ballad to me. That being said, the two did show off some vocal flair by effortlessly going into falsetto mode for some of the song. I also find their vocals compliments the song’s soft approach, which helps give off a slightly polished feel. (7.5/10)

8. Crossroads (교차로)Click here to read my full review for Crossroads. (7/10)

9. AppleClick here to read my full review for Apple. (9/10)

I am not able to find the Walpurgis Night audio of Apple. I will update the video link once I do.

10. LabyrinthClick here to read my song review for Labyrinth. (10/10)

11. Wheel of the Year (앞면의 뒷면의 뒷면) – The final song on the album, following the three songs the group has previously released, is Wheel of the Year. It opens up with a consistent piano tune. The song builds to incorporate other classical and band instrumentation to develop the song into a a really strong pop sound. Once again, the vocals are quite light, airy and smooth, but I felt they were fitting for this song. There was also some really nice melodies. The song also features a bunch of catchy moments, especially as the song starts to pick up momentum. It is definitely an excellent pop track to end both the album and trilogy. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

回:Walpurgis Night Teaser Image

[Review] MAGO – GFriend

GFriend is back with their third comeback of the year! MAGO and 回:Walpurgis Night follows Crossroads and Apple as the third and final instalment of the 回 series. While Crossroads was a familiar sound for the group, both Apple and MAGO have strayed away from the usual GFriend sound. Each of the comebacks (including this one) have been executed flawlessly, so it definitely tells me that GFriend is definitely capable of versatility, though I think we we already know that from their earlier works. Where they go from here is definitely an exciting upcoming chapter for the group.

It is clear from the concept of the music video (and once you listen to the song) that GFriend jumps onto the retro train that has been picking up idol groups and soloists for pretty much the entire year. We have heard retro sounds from the group before, so this is pretty much explored territory for GFriend. But MAGO manages to outshine those previous sounds by going with something a lot more vibrant and disco-y within the retro sphere. And per unspoken rules of the retro sphere, MAGO effortlessly comes off as catchy and a fun musical number. The entire chorus was definitely the highlight of the song. The melodies during this section catch on quite quickly and it doesn’t help that the members deliver those melodies with such a cheerful persona that you cannot deny is there. I also enjoyed the background lines (i.e. the whispering ‘Yes you‘ and high pitched singing ‘Hakuna Matata‘) that really popping out for me. The verses were not as memorable, but I liked how the energy was consistently there throughout the length of the song. The lyrics, which has the simple message of being yourself, comes off with a little bit of attitude. I am not complaining about this as I love that it adds a bit of flavour to the song. Actually, my only complaint was that I felt the vocals were slightly over-processed. But the more I listen to the song, that observation is slowly dwindingly away. MAGO definitely makes me ‘feel so high’.

I love the retro concept that the producers opted for. There was no holding back, with the sets, outfit and overall atmosphere taking on a retro flair. And that cheerfulness that I mentioned before was carried over into the music video via the members. Epic moments of the music video has to be when Sowon rips off her suit, Sin.B’s sparkling red outfit and Yuju’s pole dancing and disco ball-ing (?). I also wonder who the music video connects with the rest of the 回 series. I have a theory, as I think there are elements of the two preceding music videos (and possibly other music videos) in this video (i.e. the red drink, Sowon’s suit amongst other things). Though I am wondering if anyone has any theories of the possible storyline yet.

I really like the MAGO move and the retro vibes that the choreography channels from the song. Other than that, nothing really sticks out at me. But as a whole, it was a good routine.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.1/10

[Album Review] 回:Song of the Sirens (9th Mini Album) – GFriend

Today’s album review will be a deep dive into GFriend’s ninth mini-album, 回:Song of the Sirens. This was released two weeks ago and features the group’s latest promotional track, Apple. This comeback is distinctively different to their previous comebacks (such as Crossroads on their eighth mini-album, 回:LABYRINTH, which was released earlier this year). This is another highly reccomended album release from the female group, with a lot of great side tracks. See what I thought about each of the songs below and check them out to see if you agree with me!

回:Song of the Sirens Album Cover

1. Apple (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Apple. (9/10)

2. Eye of The Storm (눈의 시간) – The explosive start of Eye of The Storm really got me hooked to the song. It had Labyrinth (an awesome sidetrack from the group’s previous mini album) type of vibe to it. Unfortuately, the song does not keep to that type of vibe throughout. Such a bummer, as I would have loved a Labyrinth 2.0. Instead, Eye of The Storm opts for smoother pop melody that truly feels like the calm eye of the storm. It feels like an anime OST track, which is an appealing thought to have. I like how the song just keeps going with its fast tempo. It is quite dynamic this way. As for the vocals, I give them a big thumbs up. Their vocals are fluid, flowy and calming, which essentially compliments the title of the song. The melodies are also quite stunning. Overall, a really great start to the sidetracks on this mini album. (9/10)

3. Room of Mirrors (거울의 방) – This time, the start of Room of Mirrors reminds me of the early days of the modern era of KPOP. It actually has a bright and Summery start. As the song enters the first verse, you can feel that the song is a lot moodier than originally thought. The song is more in familiar territory for GFriend with the classical instrumentation. It alone is quite stunning. Paired with the melodies and you have a pretty alluring and beautiful song that is equally as dynamic as the preceding song, in its own way. We get a bit of an electric guitar solo during the bridge just to add to that GFriend familiarity, though the electric guitar does give off slightly different vibes. As like the last song, thumbs up to the vocals. It too is a stunning element of the song. But it is Sin.B’s rapping that really caught my attention and is what really solidified that idea of nostalgia in this song. (9/10)

4. Tarot Cards – One element of Tarot Cards that I like is it just doesn’t stop to take a breath. It might be an overwhelming song to some, as the song literally throws itself at you with its different routes and sounds. But I quite like it due to its exciting and thrilling nature. The start of the song starts off calm, before we are thrown into the fast-paced nature of the song with an opening that feels like the chorus (but it isn’t!). We are then taken on a rollercoaster ride of a choppy yet cohesive first verse that feels like it can be split into 3 distinct parts before being dropped into the actual chorus. And that is just the first verse. The rest of the song follows a similar set up. What makes everything quite cohesive that it collectively comes together to form another anime OST-like song. There was some really memorable parts in this song such as the ‘Shuffle haebwa’ just before the final chorus and the ‘la la la ta ta ta’ post-chorus hook. A definite strong song, in my opinion. (10/10)

5. Crème Brûlée Crème Brûlée is the ‘odd ball’ song on this album. It doesn’t fit in any of the categories of anime OST or familiar GFriend territory. It is definitely has a playful tone and feels experimental. Good on GFriend for trying something a little different. The only issue is that I find the song to be quite boring. The song has this really dulled wooden xylophone start to it that is quite similar to other instrumentation that we have heard from other artists in the industry. The chorus infuses some trap into the song, but that is also something we have heard quite a bit. Their vocals are quite crisp in this song, so I would give the song that. I will also applaud Sin.B and Umji’s rapping in this song, which is another drawing factor in this song. I want to hear more of this rapping in the future, especially since Sin.B has established herself in a previous song. (7/10)

6. Stairs in The North (북쪽 계단) – We have finally reached the final song on the album and it is a beautiful song to end the album with. Stairs In The North is a classical rock ballad that ticks a lot of the boxes for a nice ballad. Firstly, the rock instrumental is quite refreshing and different to usual ballads. The instrumental break we get as part of the bridge where the electric guitar takes centre stage was a killer part! Secondly, the melody is makes me sway along to the song, which is always a sign for a good ballad. Thirdly, their vocals are stunning in this song. Fourthly, I love how the song felt like it was ending for a brief moment, but they instead got the song to fade out with an extensive instrumental break that I found quite captivating. So far, it is shaping to be a perfect song. However, I am not keen on one small detail. That is the sudden transition between the first chorus and second verse. But apart from that, this is such a pleasant and soothing song to finish up with. (9.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

回:Song of the Sirens Teaser Image

[Review] Apple – GFriend

It seems like reviews will again be a little late this week. I will only be reviewing one song today and it belongs to the group who returned yesterday! If you have missed it yesterday, GFriend made their return to the music scene with the release of Apple and the Song of the Sirens mini-album. This is the group’s first release since their earlier comeback in the year, Crossroads and the mini-album, Labyrinth.

It seems like someone has answered my prayers. I made a comment in my Crossroads review that I was slowly getting tired of the sound they had repeated with in Time For The Moon Night, Sunrise and Crossroads. At the time of their earlier comeback, I thought that they would change up their sound, given that their label was acquired by the new powerhouse company, Big Hit Entertainment (who recently also acquired Pledis Entertainment). But it seems that desired changed has actually occurred through Apple. The song is a mid-tempo pop track, opening up with a riveting guitar piece. The verse was pretty standard, but I liked the direction of the music. It seemed like something was brewing in the midst of the guitar that played throughout the verse. The song gets a little more interesting once we enter the pre-chorus, which had a very memorable Callin’ me melody. The chorus kicked the energy up a notch and sounded like a very dazzling explosion had happened. The song stays quite cohesive and doesn’t change up its sound as often as other songs. That is always a recurring aspect of all GFriend’s song. Everything blends together quite nicely. For their vocals, there was a nice smooth feel. The most powerful vocal moment was when all the members are singing the post-chorus together. Another strong melody there, but the definition that all the members contribute to is the most memorable. I also enjoy the spoken words in the background during the post-chorus, which added an intriguing yet mysterious texture to Apple. The one thing that the song was missing, in my opinion, was an element or the reformation of the verses, to give it that holding power. What we got in those two sections just didn’t as well as the rest of the song did.

It seems like there is a theme of losing one’s innocence in the video’s story line. The video opens with Eunha taking a bite out of a red apple, before falling to the ground. The red apple serves as the Forbidden Fruit in this video and taking a bite out of it will mean that Eunha has been tempted. The other members also want to be tempted throughout video (i.e. they are dressed in white) and drag Eunha along to the tree that bears the Forbidden Fruit. Eunha, knowing what is on the other side, seems to not want to expose the others but they were too curious. Once they arrive to the tree, they find it on fire. But knowing that Eunha has already been tempted, placing a fallen apple into her hand will be enough to turn the apple. Off screen, I assume each member takes a bite of an apple that Eunha has turned, resulting in them all losing their innocence (they now wear black). Yerin gets locked outside, based on the footage of her finding the way out of the maze. It seems like someone has traded places with Yerin. During the innocent choreography scenes, Yerin has the number 6 circled on both arms. Triple 6 indicates the devil, so I assume that the events in this video were all Yerin’s plans. It also seems like she releases the butterflies at the end. I think we see Eunha releasing, but I have to question why both Yerin and Eunha have blonde hair and the same coloured lips. It seems like Yerin (the devil) is using Eunha. The only mysterious left over is the blue butterflies. Given that the blue butterflies recur in both Crossroads and this video, it seems like there is more to the story. I really like both their innocent and ‘tempted’ looks. Both very powerful in their own way.

I really like the mature take they have on the choreography. It looks stunning. I personally thought the start of the choreography was amazing, especially the rapid drum beats and the members extending their arms from behind SinB. I also really like the second chorus, where the members are doing their walk. It is a very strong routine and I personally like this new side of the group.

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

[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourites Songs from 1st Half of 2020

2020 has proven to be an eventful year so, without a doubt. But since we are at the halfway mark already, let’s have a little reflection post on the last 6 months. In no particular order, here are 10 of my personal favourite KPOP releases since the start of 2020. I have also added some of my favourite sidetracks that I have encountered so far in the year as part of my top 10. This is also irrespective of my reviews and Weekly KPOP charts posts.

[Album Review] Labyrinth (8th Mini Album) – GFriend

Apologies for the random publishing dates for these album reviews. I expect all my reviews to normalize back to the usual days in the coming weeks.

GFriend have returned and took the past week by storm by taking the top spots of the Weekly Music Shows with their most recent comeback, Crossroads. Today, I will be looking at the rest of their album which is titled Labyrinth. Within the review, you will notice that they experiment with their sounds but stay relatively safe for their title track. More on that very soon (literally as part of the review of the first song on album). But I find that very interesting. Let’s see where their side tracks sit relative to the title track, Crossroads.

Labyrinth Album Cover

1. Labyrinth – In my Crossroads review, I mentioned that the group’s sound is becoming a little too consistent and this might be an issue if they were to keep to the same sound for their future releases. If we were to get a change in sound from GFriend, something like Labyrinth would be amazing. The start of the song reminded me of Fingertip, a previous title track of theirs. I really like the melodies in this song. Paired with a funky techno-like dance beat, the song is a great opener and track from the ladies, overall. All of this helps make the song extremely addictive and I keep on coming back for more. It is okay for GFriend to keep some of their influences in the track, as they did with the electric guitar during the bridge of Labyrinth. (10/10)

2. Crossroads (교차로) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Crossroads. (7/10)

3. Here We Are – The verses in this song were very unimpressive. It was a pretty bland start and I was wanting to pass the song the first few times I was listening to the album. But it until the song starts building up during the pre-chorus that the song has a kick to it. And the kick delivered a pretty solid chorus full of harmonies and melodies that highlights the best of the group’s vocals. I find it a very wholesome song, where the group longs to return to the best moment of their past or dwindling relationship. The bridge brings out a new sound that we haven’t heard from the group, opting for a slight anthem-like vibe. (8/10)

4. Eclipse (지금 만나러 갑니다) – Here is another good change to the group’s sound. This one would be considered to be in more familiar territory, as it retains the group’s classical instrumentation. But they seem to add a little Latin influence into the mix. There were also moments that I thought the song had a ‘diva-like’ vibe to the song, which I would love to hear the group explore more. Regardless of the slight touch add to the song, I thought the energy coming from the track was very encapsulated. There was a rush to the song but it wasn’t necessary a rush that we would associate with in this era. The vocal work is quite nice in the song, even though it seems a little linear for the most part (Yuju helped recover this at the end, but I would have liked to hear more character throughout). (9/10)

5. DreamcatcherDreamcatcher is a very soothing song, suitable for a song about dreams and how their partner/crush is recurring in them. I don’t think this is very new territory for the group, as there is an ongoing trend on this album regarding ‘new sounds’. The way the group does perform the song do give is a refreshing feel. Their vocals are also very delicate, which makes sense regarding the theme of the song, and I thought the song had really good hooks/melodies to help drive the song and make it even more appealing. (8/10)

6. From Me – The final song on the album is a ballad. No surprises there, as this is commonly the place for the ballad of the song. The way the song started, I thought that there was a chance that the song would not be a ballad given the heavy thumping beat. But the song develops in that direction regardless. One thing that does make this song very appealing to me is its acoustic guitar that builds on and on as the song progresses. I thought that was very cool. Their vocals shine in this song, as you would want with a ballad and I think their vocals get even better towards the end. So, it is another song to listen through all the way! (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

Labyrinth Teaser Image

[Review] Crossroads – GFriend

GFriend also made their comeback yesterday with Crossroads. Unfortunately I ran out of time to review it yesterday. But here is the review now, better late than never. This is a major comeback for the group, as this is the first comeback by the group since Source Music (their company) was acquired by Big Hit Entertainment (the home of BTS and TXT). According to Wikipedia, this isn’t the first time that both companies had paired up with one another, as they previously both partnered to form GLAM and are currently co-managing 8EIGHT (who were confirmed to be returning quite soon).

You would expect that with a ‘change’ in management such as the one outlined in the above paragraph, the group would have faced some sort of transformation. But that isn’t the case. The group retained that sound that we got from Time Is The Moon Night and Sunrise. And while I have enjoyed that sound greatly when it was released, it is slowly becoming a bore and I think that might be the consensus this time around. The string-dominant instrumentation feels like a copy of the previous songs. However, Crossroads did incorporate a little more with faint woodblock like sounds, feature another explosive chorus and the presence of electric guitar at the end felt like it was ‘in-your-face’, which surprisingly was what I had wanted a few comebacks back. All of these did help the song feel new. But I just wished they went an entirely different direction when it came to the ‘main body’ of the song. Vocally, I felt that it was good. It didn’t have much epicness to it as compared to Sunrise (Eunha’s high note still gets me). But I did thoroughly enjoy that brief milli-second pause just before the final chorus, which capped the song in a unique fashion. Overall, it was okay. Just not what I had expected.

One line stood out to me in the song. “Even if you pass by me, I will find you. Then I’ll reach out again to you“, which essentially is all about returning to one another despite difficulties. In the music video, we are shown a whole bunch of scenes where the members fight. And it seems like the fights are very hurtful. For example, Umji and Yuju have a massive fight at home. A few scenes later, Umji wants to make up with Yuju, but Yuju rejects this, showing us the extent of this fight. At the end, we do get to see the members come together and enjoy their time with one another, which I assume shows us that they all made up after finding their way back to one another. That is the story line that I managed to get after watching the video a couple of time and may have missed on important details (i.e. Eunha’s introductory doesn’t really fit into this category, but may link up with their previous videos possibly?). So let me know if I missed anything or what you think happened in the video!

Even the choreography reminds me of their previous comebacks. I do still like the elegant side of their performance and am glad that did carry over, as this is very fitting for this song style. I thought that both the start and the end of the performance looked really cool, especially with the speed at which the ending came hurling at.

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

[Review] Fallin’ Light – GFriend

After countless weeks of promises, here is the first of many Japanese music reviews to come in the following weeks.

GFriend is another one of those groups that have had a busy year. They kick-started 2019 with their Sunrise comeback, followed by their Japanese single, Flower, and their latest South Korean comeback, Fever.  And just last week, the 6-members female group has returned to Japan once again this year with the release of their 1st studio length Japanese album, Fallin’ Lights. The main title track from this album shares the same name as the album Their Japanese releases have been great so far, so let’s see what GFriend has to show us this time!

Once again, GFriend returns with a dance track that is infused into classical instrumentation. This isn’t unexplored territory for the group. However, I would consider this a ‘return to form’ scenario as it felt pretty much like their earlier days. The only difference is that they have obviously matured and this comeback showcases this maturity. The only thing missing (that I would also argue that the tracked needed) was some sort of electric guitar riff during the final chorus to take it full circle and add to the classical aesthetics in a modern way. I felt the latter happen during the chorus, where they amped the chorus up with a beat that drew me into the song even more. Besides the instrumentation, the other aspect of the song is the vocals. Two members stood out for me, but that isn’t to say that the other four members were not exceptional as well. Umji’s filtered part that opened to the track and featured post-hook worked exceptionally well, giving the song some texture. I find how Yuju not going down the high note road to be quite smart. The song doesn’t build much and a typical high note would not really go well with the classical aesthetics that they have gone for in this song. This is definitely another standout Japanese track from GFriend!

Something that I try to do with the majority of the music video section of my reviews is look for a plotline or theory behind the video. Sometimes the story feels a little more obvious, other times I rely on theories that I can get my hands on to write up the review (could be too complicated or press for time).  The latter happens to be the case this time around, so I have pinched (props to Nukimen) a theory from the YouTube comments sections that look like a lot of people are agreeing with or liking.


I have to say the video is rather plain this time around. I know I can’t really expect anything flashy after reading through that theory post (see above) as it tries to create a relatable connection to us by looking a lot more ‘normal’, I just feel that it could have used a little more work in the visual department.

The dance is very elegant, fitting with the mature sound that GFriend has opted for. I thought the formations and how they move about during the performance were really cool this time around. I wish that there was a dance version up, which I am sure will contain additional sections that are equally as elegant as what we have seen.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Album Review] Fever Season (7th Mini Album) – GFriend

Making their comeback a few weeks now is GFriend, who returned at the start of July with Fever and Fever Season (their 7th mini-album). While I still stand by my comments regarding the comeback track, the group managed to score a number of wins on the weekly music shows with Fever since their return. Congratulations to the girls for these achievements. To explain why the album review is out a little later than usual, I had always planned to write an album review. Just my snap decision to focus on the solo artists bumped the review down the road. But here it is!

Fever Season Album Cover

1..Fever (열대야) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Fever. (6/10)

2. Mr. BlueMr. Blue opens over a dance instrumental with violins incorporated as an interesting detail. I thought they were a nice addition to the song, adding an extra dimension to the dynamics of the dance instrumental. The track is quite upbeat and the instrumental also provides the song with some intensity. The vocals were quite good, blending in well. The track does have a typical feel about it. But despite that typical feel, I think Mr. Blue had more potential as a title track, as it felt more defined and had substance. (8/10)

3. Smile (여자친구)Smile is another upbeat dance track to join the album that evokes a smile while listening to the song. But it isn’t the dance instrumental that does that. Instead, it is the vocals that make me smile. It is both cute and playful. I really like the higher-pitched vocals during the chorus, as they consolidate these cute and playful vibes, whilst adding to the catchy nature of the song (i.e. memorability). I also really like the dance break, with the electric guitar reminding me of their earlier dance breaks they promoted with. My favourite bit is Yuju’s ‘You know what meaning’ during the bridge. It is a short moment but damn, it stole my attention. (9/10)

4. Wish (바라)Wish takes the exact pathway as the preceding tracks. The album is now starting to look repetitive and bland with what seems to be very similar tracks. Before moving onto the negatives of the track, I wish to point out some positives. Wish has nice vocals and a decent beat. This is all good, except for one major problem. It fails to stand out. While Mr. Blue had saxophone and Smile had a very catchy hook, Wish doesn’t have anything to really lift it out of the generic category. And since the track felt very similar music-wise to the tracks before it, Wish falls behind the rest of its counterparts. (6/10)

5. ParadiseParadise takes more of a retro approach with its instrumental, which is different to what we have heard so far. I liked the bold start and thought the verses were well-presented. The hook they started off the song with was revisited throughout the track and it was quite decent. But the track is far from perfect. The chorus felt like there was a little too much going on. There seem to be a tad too many cymbals in the mix, which ends up drowning out the delicate vocals that they went with. It is an odd pairing in my point of view, as I stress that the combination just doesn’t work. (7/10)

6. Hope (기대) – If you wanted a track that brings you nostalgia, then Hope is a pretty good track to do exactly that. The entire track gives me those girl group vibes from the 2000s to early 2011s. The track also feels highly suitable for the group, as they seem to be the benchmark of that type of girl group nowadays. The track is quite soothing at times and yet it remains upbeat for the majority of the track. I also like the vocals, which takes a page out of the typical book. But I felt the consistency of the vocals was one of the song’s strong points. The instrumental was very pop and enjoyable, due to the nostalgia factor. (7/10)

7. Flower (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of Flower. Click here to read my review for Flower. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.4/10

Fever Season Teaser Image

[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2019

As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.

Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Q&A – Cherry Bullet

Woowa – DIA

Side Effects – Stray Kids

The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl

Zimzalabim – Red Velvet

Valkirye – ONEUS

No – CLC

Sunrise – GFriend

L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon

I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.

Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!

[Review] Fever – GFriend

Over the last few years, a group that we cannot forget about in the season of Summer is GFriend. The group has had countless hits in Summer including Me Gusta Tu, Navillera, Love Whisper, Summer Rain and Sunny Summer. 2019 will be no exception for the group, with today’s release of Fever as their next Summer track. We previously saw the group through their promotions of Sunrise at the start of the year and their Flower promotions in Japan.

My review for Fever is going to be harsh but honest. Fever is not like any other GFriend title track. It actually takes a more conventional route, forgoing any sound had we have grown to incorporate with GFriend. But as disappointing as that might sound, it might be time GFriend tried to reinvent their Summer, given the not-so-successful releases of Summer Rain and Sunny Summer over the last two years. Personally, I found this track to be quite lacklustre. Fever takes on moombahton sound, which is still quite new territory for KPOP. And while we heard a few good tracks with this sound, GFriend’s approach didn’t have the energy to make it memorable. In fact, the energy felt quite weighted, preventing it from sparking like how other Summer releases do. While the vocal work was fine, there wasn’t any catchy hooks or melodies to draw my attention in. They placed a fair amount of emphasis on the chorus drop. But with the mentioned weighted nature from the energy, I don’t think they got anywhere. There are some benefits that did arise due to the music but I don’t think their discography was one of them.

I personally want to know what is going on in the video. There seems to be something to the use of the cactus, the way Yerin walked into the set at the start of the video, the girl’s gaze etc. Moving past the potential plotline, I did fail to mention one detail regarding the song that I was impressed with. The group went with a mature sound (which might be the reason why the song ended feeling weighed down) that ended being edgy in a very subtle manner. This isn’t entirely new with the group. But it looks like the girl’s concept and outfit managed to blend in well with the extra matureness you could hear while listening to the song.

One clear benefit from the bland music that I observed was the dancing. I thought the choreography was quite good, given the music that they had to use. While the energy wasn’t there musically, they did well executing the various dance moves. I thought the chorus looked cool and GFriend got to show off more of their dance side through this release.

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

[Review] Blossom – Eunha (GFRIEND) & Ravi (VIXX)

It has been a while since we heard a collaboration. It seems like this isn’t going to be a recurring thing in 2019, based on the number of collaborations thus far in the year. However, we were provided with some relief with the release of Eunha and Ravi’s collaboration for Pepsi last week on the 11th of April. This is also the second year in a row that Pepsi has asked KPOP idols to come together for a collaboration, with YDPP and WJMK releasing two songs last year with Pepsi at the forefront of both videos.

Despite the visuals of the music video, Blossom is not necessarily that cutesy love song that you are looking for that companies have utilised in their campaigns. This style would obviously not suit Ravi, as per his husky vocals and usually hard-hitting rap style. Instead, Blossom is a subtle pop track with a lot of sweetness mixed into it to make it appropriate for Spring. I really like the rolling drum beats in the moments that the song is building up, which gave the song a sharp incline to the chorus. Other than that, the instrumental was rather light and calming. I also liked the whispering at the start of the chorus, which I thought was rather sleek. While we all know that Eunha is a vocalist (I really liked her in the first verse. The melody was also quite nice) but it was surprising to hear Ravi sing for his chorus and some of his verse. I also like how his rapping wasn’t as hard-hitting as based on his solo and VIXX works. Rather, it was well tweaked to fit the light nature of the song. It felt like I jumped around between different aspects for this part but overall, the song was quite nice. 

Based on the video, cherry blossom season is in full swing. And the video takes full advantage of the pretty sights. The song ‘cheers on young people to achieve their dreams and also their pursuit for romance’ and we get to see those two sides in the video. Ravi is an aspiring artist, while Eunha is auditioning to be an idol. The two do face some hardships but manage to push through. And in the midst of their slumps, they meet each other and become interested. Some awkward meetups happen and they end up dating one another. And it is incredibly convenient that Pepsi sponsors their entire romance storyline. Hahaha…

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] Flower – GFriend

It has been a while since I wrote Japanese review despite the influx of Japanese songs by Korean artists. I will try my best to get around to them (I hope). To re-kick things off (hopefully) is GFriend’s third Japanese single, Flower. For those who are wondering, Memoria was their first original Japanese track and first Japanese single, while the Japanese version of GFriend’s Sunrise (their Korean title track from earlier in the year) served as the second single.

Flower starts off miles away from a typical GFriend song. The song opens up with a very strong tango presence. And I quite like this. The song then loses this tango sound, evolving into something along the lines of GFriend that we know of. However, the tango comes back once more for the dance break, which I am so glad hangs around for a slightly longer period than any of their recent tracks (I am deprived of a long dance break from the girls). What makes this track even nicer is that while they do lose that tango sound, they manage to keep the momentum up with some orchestral pop and really keep things upbeat. I thought their vocals were quite refreshing and each member was extremely clear. So big ticks in that aspect. My favourite part has to be the second half of the chorus, as I found the ‘Piriririri’ and the ‘Surururu’ to be extremely addictive. I think the winning element has to be the instrumental but everything else was pretty good as well.

The music video featured a lot of nice colours. It was very vibrant and really matched the upbeat vibes of the song. The comments on the YouTube video also suggests that some of thr patterns and the fabrics are from other countries and cultures. So to think that this is a very multicultural music video makes me very happy. As the song titled Flower, flowers themselves also make a presence in this music video. The best flower in the entire video has to be the flower mural in the background of the choreography shots!! Overall, a nice video to watch with the song.

I also really like the choreography. Of course, the winning part has to be during the start and dance break (i.e. when there was some tango in the song) but the chorus dance was equally as pretty.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] Time For Us (2nd Studio Album) – GFriend

The album review is for today is on schedule!! Woo!! Today’s album review is focused on GFriend’s latest release, Time For Us. The group made their comeback last week with the title track of their 2nd studio album, Sunrise. The new album also features the Korean version of the group’s latest Japanese single, Memoria. There is a fair bit to get through, so let’s get cracking!

Time For Us Album Cover

1..Sunrise (해야) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Sunrise. (9/10)

2. You Are Not Alone – I personally think this track could have been a potential contender for the title track. It is quite up to par with Sunrise when you think about it. It is vocally driven, and the instrumental adds a dynamic dimension to the song. I really like the rock elements in it, despite it being what I would consider a relatively pleasant sound. Together, there is a very interesting depth to the song, which makes the song very interesting. Those ad-libs at the end are phenomenal and its melody was a standout. All of this contributes to the album’s first perfect score. (10/10)

3. L.U.V (기적을 넘어) – There were certain moments of the song that I quite liked. And then there were moments that I thought the song was a little too typical. The verses are an example of the great parts. They featured this hip-hop vibe in, which I thought was a unique touch as it doesn’t really conform to a lot of their previous work. The rapping was my highlight for the song, basically for the exact reasons mentioned. The chorus was my pick for the typical moment. Following the verse, the chorus took a very melodic route that I thought was rather safe and didn’t really carry the same vibes over. (7/10)

4. GLOW (만화경)GLOW, to me, does what the title suggests. The song does glow extremely brightly with its cute voices for the chorus and an instrumental that does pop out. Throw in a catchy melody and you pretty much have a winning formula. I find the song suitable for all climates as it showcases a warming vibe for the colder months but also a refreshing vibe for the hotter months. The only thing that does let me down is the sudden ending. (9/10)

5. Our Secret (비밀 이야기) – Opening up Our Secret is a very addictive high pitch whistle synth, which I really like. It pulled me into the song straight away. The vocals were quite nice, giving the song a lot of different appealing factors to really grab onto. The chorus itself felt fun and energetic (in a subtle way), which was another element that I liked about the song. Altogether, the song was a gem itself, earning the album’s second perfect score. (10/10)

6. Only 1Only 1 doesn’t offer much within the verses. It felt rather typical and didn’t stand out. The first half of the chorus also shared the exact same feeling. But it is the second half of the chorus that really draws my attention to the song, as there was a choppy effect that I have never heard of before. While this does sound rather messy, it works extremely well and felt just right for this song. I thought the instrumental was nice, especially around the bridge of the song. (7/10)

7. Truly LoveTruly Love brings back the cutesy sound in their voices and this gives the song a sweet vibe, which I thought was rather pretty. The song also allows for the focus to be on the vocals with its minimal instrumentation. I like the chorus of the song. It isn’t as strong as their previous tracks on the album, but it was rather pleasant. The instrumental was also another likeable element to the song but I am not really sure how to describe it. (8/10)

8. Show Up (보호색)Show Up has this aesthetically pleasing vibe surrounding some bits of the song, which I find to be quite interesting. It is the rap-speaking verses that I find very intriguing as it isn’t something you hear all too often, especially from GFriend. Unfortunately, the rest of the song felt like a standard pop song, losing that unique touch. The only other memorable part is the second half of the chorus, which was quite memorable. Everything else just didn’t really felt appealing. (7.5/10)

9. It’s You (겨울, 끝)It’s You is a good song but it isn’t their best. It is another passable song on the tracklist as there really isn’t much development to the song, where stillness might be its biggest charm. But as a result, the song doesn’t become appealing due to its lack of momentum. I did like the soft R&B style that they went for and there was a slight warming touch, thanks to their vocals. (7/10)

10. A Starry SkyA Starry Sky is a soft pop ballad that showcases the best of the member’s vocals. The instrumental is very calming and soothing. The harmonies were equally as nice. And like most ballads that I enjoy, there is a slight swaying effect to this song. But that is basically it to the song. To me, there really isn’t much else to discuss regarding the song. (7.5/10)

11. Love Oh LoveLove Oh Love takes me back to their debut days. The song just gives off those vibes and I thought was rather cool. There also seems to be a girl group retro influence in the instrumental of the song. I thought the vocals were amazing in this song and managed to give a pretty and freshening characteristic to the song. I like the chorus for its pack of energy and catchiness. I also really liked the ending of the song. (9/10)

12. Memoria (Korean Version) – I previously reviewed the Japanese version of Memoria. Click here to read the full review of Memoria. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Time For Us Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Sunrise – GFriend

Here is a ‘Sunrise’ that you do not need to wake up early to be able to experience. Today, GFriend made their comeback with Sunrise, the title track off their second studio album, Time For Us. This is the group’s first Korean comeback since Sunny Summer and their first release since the group made their Japanese debut with Memoria and Time For The Moon Night.

I think the major attraction for the Sunrise title track is the vocals. Despite it having GFriend’s signature sound, the song focuses squarely on the vocals of each member. No one sounds overshadowed and stands out all in their own way. But the biggest highlight for the song comes at the very end when they pull off high note after high note to give the song that spectacular climax and ending. Normally Yuju handles these notes but this time around we see Eunha take the reigns. I personally like that rush of energy we get at the end of the song, which really makes the song feel suspenseful at the end and this obviously would go well with the vocals. I also liked how they put the instrumental break at the end of the song, rather than earlier (as this would have made them out of breath for the rest of the song and this could potentially ruin a live performance). I also found the chorus to be extremely catchy. Overall, another great song from the female group.

Based on some of the images we see in the music video, it seems like the music videos for Sunrise and Time For The Moon Night are connected. To quickly recap, we found out that Eunha had died at the end of the latter’s music video (as opposed to my original theory) and that she could only be seen during the night. In Sunrise, we see a lot more scenes during the start of the day. Prior to the Sunrise, the members could see Eunha freely but once Sunrise occurs, she disappears (whilst also taking a chunk of cake). This barrier upsets the members and it seems like they all end up dying to be with Eunha (i.e. they all reunite during the day at the piano which Eunha is playing at). Putting the stories together, I see how well thought out all of this was and I really like that. I also liked the visuals of the members throughout this video.

There seems to be a cutesy element mixed into the performance, which I quite liked. I also really like the elegant lift of Yuju at the first chorus. I also liked the pre-chorus movement, as that looked quite cool. And per usual, the dance break at the end was awesome, sealing the deal as another amazing GFriend dance.

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

[Review] Wow Thing – Seulgi (Red Velvet) x SinB (GFriend) x Kim Chungha x Soyeon ((G)I-DLE)

I am going to take deviate away from ROOKIE WEEK a little more and publish a review for a brand new release. It is the next song in the Station x 0 project which boasts collaborations such as Taeyeon & Melomance, Baekhyun & Loco and Chanyeol & Sehun. But this new release, Wow Thing, probably has the most powerful female lineup any collaboration has ever had. We have Seulgi from Red Velvet, SinB from GFriend, Kim Chungha and Soyeon from (G)I-DLE coming together, so be prepared!

I really like the feel of the song and its presentation. But it is one of those songs that I can’t really gather many thoughts for. The instrumental does set the scene up for the song but it doesn’t really drive the song. Instead, the song uses vocals. Very powerful vocals to drive the song forward and deliver us a very strong track. When they sing together for the chorus, I thought the atmosphere was amazing and very attitude-heavy. Before we go any further, let’s us to take a moment to appreciate Kim Chungha’s vocal abilities. Like how come I don’t know of this? Her solo work doesn’t let her vocals shine, as compared to this song. Soyeon’s rap was also equally as powerful. The is quite catchy and memorable for a number of reasons, some of which I have specified above.

The music video is your standard music video. Nothing too special about it. All four members are present for this collaboration music video, which I guess is a plus. I feel like they could have made this louder if I was int he director chair. I think that would have been more interesting and fun. Though I would have to keep it from going overboard, in order to fit the message of the song, which is about making a strong and confident first impression. The music video did feature some choreography during the chorus and bridge. All looked good and I felt like the attitude was channelled well through their dancing.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10