Next album to be reviewed this weekend is GHOST9’s Arcade: V, the group’s 6th mini-album since their debut. It was released back in April of this year and features the title track X-Ray. X-Ray is largely the reason why I checked out this mini-album and decided to put it on the reviewing list. Also, my goal to review more albums from artists whom I don’t usually write album reviews for had a play in my decision to review Arcade: V, as well. (I actually have not reviewed a GHOST9 mini-album before).
Overall, it is a decent mini-album. I do think the title track is the strongest track on the mini-album (spoiler: X-Ray actually grew on me substantially and even topped one of the Weekly KPOP Charts post since its release – see below). However, the side tracks do follow through well. The mini-album predominately visits pop through the side tracks, as well as EDM via the title track (and intro track). Let me know if you agree with my thoughts of the mini-album and individual tracks down below!
1. Dot (닻) – Launching us right into the mini-album is Dot, an introductory track spanning just over a minute. The bass and accompanying EDM is quite alluring and kept the song dynamic. The rapping had a punch and brought expressive energy to the song. However, the vocals were the weakest aspect. For some reason, majority of the vocals approached Dot is a very low manner, which in turn allowed Dot’s instrumentation to really take over and dominate. Some refinement would be beneficial to the song, especially since the melodies were good. (7/10)
2. X-Ray (Title Track) – As already mentioned, X-Ray has grown substantially since I had last reviewed it, thanks to the chorus. It has grown so much that it went on to top the Weekly KPOP Charts for the 2nd Week of April 2022. As a result, I have decided to bump the rating to a 9/10 and will return in the future to explain why the rating has gone up. Click here for my initial thoughts of X-Ray. (9/10)
3. CHAMPION – CHAMPION features a combination of dramatic and punchy electro synths, a subtle groove and some common boxing sound effects. Altogether, we get a thrilling dance track that is bound to get some adrenaline coursing through your veins. I really liked the consistent intensity that features throughout the song, which helps take everything to the next level. The rapping adds a dynamic and serious touch to the song. The vocals bring a smooth inclining melody to the song via the pre-chorus, whilst also bringing a memorable melody to the chorus. (8/10)
4. T.Y.T (Take You There) – T.Y.T changes up the mini-album by infusing some pop into the tracklist. It is more vocal centric, giving the vocalists a chance to shine on the album. I appreciate it, as the vocals sound really nice and sweet throughout. The chorus has a nice fast tempo backing to it, amping the existing instrumental up in a typical but also satisfying manner. The anthem-like post-chorus hook that we get was a bit traditional, but really concentrates everything I really mentioned thus far. My only problem with the song is the not so exciting second verse. It just felt flat and didn’t live up to the rest of the song. I wished that the second verse kept the first’s atmospheric start but built on it to make it more stunning. (8/10)
5. Always, All Ways – Continuing on with the pop direction is Always, All Ways. However, Always, All Ways is not a repeat of T.Y.T. Instead, the producers really gave the song some strong and some unique moments that helps it stand out. The whispery like ‘Keep me fly’ rapping in the verses was quite cool. The subsequent rapping that follows to lead us to the chorus was definitely a nice ramp up the song’s central piece. The chorus has a dynamic kick to it and that squeaky muted brass synth was quite cool. I do think Always, All Ways could have been a bit bolder in some respects and this would have taken the song to the next level. But overall, a strong side track from the group. (9/10)
6. Stranger – Stranger has a neat backing piece, complete with pulsing beats, robust trap elements and a harp-like synth. On top of that, solid vocals and rapping throughout and a recognisable melody. Altogether, Stranger comes together to form a wholesome track. However, it is more so a typical R&B/pop dance release. I was kind of hoping for a change of momentum, ever so slightly to make Stranger more dynamic and appealing. But it was a decent track, overall. (7/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8/10