[International Song Reviews] Ten (NCT), Jackson Wang & Internet Money, Ten & YangYang (WayV), Yuqi ((G)I-DLE) & 2PM

It has been a while since I focused on the International releases of KPOP, so I will spend the rest of today looking into these releases. If you want to read my review from the last time I covered International Songs from KPOP artists (TWICE, ATEEZ, SHINee, Jackson Wang and Rocket Punch), you can click here for that review. In this particular, I will be covering Ten’s SM Station release, Jackson Wang’s collaboration with Internet Money, WayV’s subunit release, Yuqi’s solo debut and 2PM’s grand return to the Japanese music market.

Paint Me Naked – Ten (NCT)

Early August saw Ten release the all-English single Paint Me Naked. It is a super energetic and expressive solo track that seems to take on a mixture of pop and punk. Personally, I thought the more pop-centric moments (i.e. verses and bridge) were a bit dry, but the punk side comes through via the chorus and definitely kicks the song up a notch. I liked how the song progress, with the final chorus giving us a satisfying blast of energy that helps peaks the song in a very strong manner. This vocals were consistently good throughout Paint Me Naked, showcasing his potential for the industry. The music video was okay. It channeled some of the energy from the song, but not entirely. It also wasn’t memorable and didn’t give you much reason to return to. The performance that came along with this release was a lot better and did a much better job of channeling the energy that we got from the song. Ten sang live on his performances, so unfortunately this hindered the energy he could have put into the performance. But this didn’t mean that the performance didn’t come off as fun or had a satisfying kick to it. (7.4/10)

Drive Me Home – Jackson Wang & Internet Money

Jackson Wang has consistently pushed out new songs this year and has featured in three of the six ISRs posted by me this year (not including this one, which will be his the fourth appearance this year)! Back in July (I know, a long time ago), Jackson released the English single Drive Me Home with Internet Money (a music producer). This isn’t Jackson’s most impressive song of the year, but it definitely one of his most heartfelt and emotional releases yet. Once again, his husky and raspy vocals are on full display. I really like how he used his vocals in this song to deliver that emotional side, especially during the choruses. I liked the consistency of the instrumental. It bubbles away in the background. It isn’t special (actually more typical than anything else), but it added necessary drive and substance to the song to make it more engaging and Jackson more expressive with his vocals. The music video was an interesting story. It began with the future, with Jackson being a successful applicant in a job. I noticed his workplace felt sterile and typical. It is like whatever happened to him lead to this outcome. From then on, we see the events of his life happen in reverse. Jackson is drunk, thrown out of the club after smashing it up, all the while crying his way through the club. Then we see him in rags on the road, stopping and slowing traffic and looks quite injured. The ending showed the unfortunate events that occurred, which explained everything that happened prior in the video. Jackson had fallen in love with the girl in the picture frame. So in love that he is distracted by her while driving, causing him to crash and accidently kill his lover. It is a heartbreaking story that was creatively and uniquely told in this video, and matches the emotional side of the song. (7.8/10)

Low Low – Ten & YangYang (WayV)

After releasing and promoting Paint Me Naked, Ten returned soon after with YangYang for the release of Low Low, another all English song. Low Low is a pleasant track, with smooth melodies and a somewhat fun and upbeat dance instrumental that carries hip-hop influences. I quite liked how Ten and YangYang sounded in this song, but I wished they were more striking with their vocals. I think this could have taken the song to a whole new level and not by limited by the ‘pleasant’ descriptor. For the vocals to be more striking, the instrumental would have needed a bit of a revamp as well to support any attempt for bolding, in my opinion. I did notice the producers seem to add a bit of inclination/build towards the final chorus by adding a bit of electronic synths into the the bridge for a dance break. And I would have liked it, had the final chorus continued that momentum. For the music video, I watched it once and didn’t even bother returning to it again since its release. It was also a pleasant video, but not memorable whatsoever. Like Ten’s earlier song, Low Low faired a lot better with the choreography. It isn’t anything grand, but it was a fun choreography overall, especially that brief dance break/battle we had between the pair. (6.8/10)

Bonnie & Clyde – Yuqi ((G)I-DLE)

The oldest release on this list is Bonnie & Clyde, one of the solo debut singles from Yuqi, who hails from the female group (G)I-DLE. It was released way back in May of this year. Bonnie and Clyde is a fantastic song. I really liked the uniqueness of the instrumental here, combining the likes of trance and rock. It is of a low register and it is bounces forward continuously, which kept the song moving towards its end. It pairs with Yuqi’s vocals extremely well, who also took on a much lower tone for this release. Altogether, the elements of this song really gets me reaching for the replay button. How it took me this long to actually review it is a concern that I need to reflect on! For the music video, Yuqi goes on the run after finding some diamonds. But first. she takes the diamonds to a very risky game of chess and wins back her diamonds which she had bet with. Then the police comes and she makes a run for it. We also see another version of Yuqi. I am not too sure what the relation here, but my wild mind says she has a split personality. One side is the risk taker, while the other side of her is more proper. But both are aware what happens when the other personality takes hold. (9.2/10)

With Me Again – 2PM

I end this ISR with With Me Again, the most recent track on this list.. It also doubles as 2PM’s grand return to the Japanese industry, which they had spent a lot of time in before the group had to enlist in the military. With Me Again encapsulates all the mature and sexy vibes that they are known for into one track. It comes off as stylish, classy and trendy. I liked the vocals throughout and I quite enjoyed the higher note that the main hook is in. I also liked that subtle tango tinge to the song’s instrumentation and the funky touch from when Taecyeon raps. I wished the rest of the verses were more memorable, as I don’t remember them as much as that main hook (which is quite striking over the classiness of the instrumentation). The music video was fine to watch. I really want to say ‘Nothing was memorable’ with this music video (as for the most part, this was the case). But unfortunately, one member’s scenes just stuck out for all the wrong reasons. I am not too sure how Chansung’s bull riding scene fits in with the entire concept and thought it looked ridiculous. I would gladly like to press the erase button on that and hopefully never want to think of it ever again. Thankfully, no bulls appeared in the performance version of With Me Again. Instead, the group reverts back to that stylish and classy manner that I had already mentioned. (7.5/10)

[Album Review] I Burn (4th Mini Album) – (G)I-DLE

It has felt like it has been a while since I actually sat down to write an album review. The last one for AB6IX was two weeks ago. The artist I was going to review after fast-tracking AB6IX’s repackaged release was (G)I-DLE’s I Burn, which serves as the female group’s fourth mini-album release. The mini-album was released almost a month ago on the 11th day of the first month of 2021. Since the release of the mini-album and its title track, Hwaa, the group has taken out multiple weekly music show trophies. Even a triple crown on MCoundDown! (G)I-DLE also topped my Weekly KPOP Charts with Hwaa for the 2nd Week of January 2021. But enough awards talk. It is time to have a closer listen to their mini-album.

I Burn Album Cover

1..Hann (Alone In Winter) (한(寒)) – You may recognize the title of the song through their previous title track, Hann (Alone). The songs are lyrically connected, with the earlier song being about wanting for forget an ex-lover. This new song is about being unable to forget the ex-lover. This connection further adds context to the lyrics of Hwaa, which is all about recovering from that valley of emotions. This connection is quite clever and really adds some heft to the members singing. Their singing itself is already quite powerful and definitely captivating. What makes Hann (Alone In Winter) better is that it features a really beautiful instrumentation, feeling quite fantastical and dramatic. (10/10)

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

3. MoonMoon is a very interesting track, but in a good way. It is an aesthetic pop track, brought to life with really nice guitar work, captivating percussion and a bit of an electronic touch to the song. I really like the ending sequence, which is a perfect blend of these elements. It also makes for a really great start to the final moments of the song. In the body, all of these instrumental elements come together to create a solid background for the members voices. There is a lot of vocal techniques employed throughout the song. The chorus is my favourite part, with the start of the chorus being the most memorable thanks to Minnie’s vocals. (9/10)

4. Where Is Love – If Moon was a little slow for your taste, you will probably enjoy the more amped up pop energy in Where Is Love. The song tacks into the electronic side, making it a really fitting side-track for KPOP. It does have what it takes to be a title track, but I think the song tethers more on the plain side. But surely this song can be revamped into some edgier and more exciting. Nonetheless, Where Is Love is fulfilling as it is with its straightforward approach and its simplicity when it comes to employing that electronic side. The repetition of the song’s title is really catchy and I like the touch of autotune added to their voices (not much, thankfully). (9/10)

5. Lost – (G)I-DLE slows down the energy a bit with Lost. This isn’t a complaint, but rather an observation. Lost features consistent guitar work throughout the background of the song. They add other instrumentation to give it a more pop flair. But while that was enjoyable, I do feel like the song is stuck in a neutral gear. Soyeon’s rap does briefly cut the neutral nature of the song, which I appreciated. But I wanted more. (7/10)

6. Dahila – While it does sound like I have been looking down on the slower songs of the album, Dahlia is proof that a relatively slower song has the ability to impress me. While the instrumental of the song didn’t feel as special as the other songs, Dahlia’s driving force is the vocals. All the members were really good and stole to the show in the album’s final track. Soyeon’s raps give the song that little bit more of an edge, which I enjoyed. The song ends with Soojin and Minnie in an encore-type manner. I found it so haunting and riveting, making the song more appealing to me. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

I Burn / HWAA Teaser Image

[Review] HWAA – (G)I-DLE

Please accept my apology for drip feeding you the reviews like this. Today, we are covering another comeback that occurred on Monday of this week. (G)I-DLE made their comeback with HWAA and the mini-album, I Burn. This release follows their DUMDi DUMDi comeback that occurred back in August of 2020. Since the August comeback, the group has been busy with their Japanese comeback, their return as part of the K/DA lineup and an online fanmeet.

The first thought that popped into my head while listening to HWAA the first time was that this new song reminded me of HANN quite a bit, a previous single by the group. And I guess this was based on the atmopsheric approach that the songs share in common. But HWAA is a little different, as (to me) it has a bit of an edge thanks to the more upbeat instrumentation that the song ended up developing towards. I also find that the more intense moments of the song come during the verses, which is slightly different to HANN’s chorus approach when it came to that atmospheric vibe. And as we have that atmosphereic mindset in play, I was also slightly convinced that the group was going to pull an Oh My God styled chorus, which I personally would have been down for. I specifically note this, however, as I have recently found that I seem to be in the minority of people who actually enjoyed the Oh My God comeback. Obviously with that supposed general consenus, something similar would probably have made HWAA less palatable. I am hoping that this is more satisfying for other listeners to actually appreciate the effort that (G)I-DLE has put in for this song/comeback. I personally enjoyed the chorus, but wished there was something more than the HWAA harmonisation to give it that extra oomph. The rest of the vocal work in the song is superb, especially with Soyeon’s vocals at the start of the song and rapping in the second verse. It is however disappointing to hear that Shuhua only got four seconds of lines in the song. The biggest flaw for me with this song was the ending. Too abrupt for my liking. Overall, HWAA was a great song, though the ending was the biggest let down. And such an ending stays with you.

The music video was very aesthetic and stunning to watch. To me, this would rival any YG Entertainment music video. And this is saying a lot given how I am always amazed at the quality of their videos and the grandness of their set design. HWAA consisted for really beautiful and captivating set designs. The icy landscape with the dying tree in the background, Soyeon’s birdnest, the oriental styled walling and the moonlight garden were just so good. I also find their outfits and visuals stunning. Stealing my attention right away is Yuqi’s haristyle and those dresses with flowery patterns on them. The song doesn’t necessarily suit those dresses, but they work extremely well in that moonlight garden setting.

Hand motions and arm work heavily dominate the choreography. It is commendable how graceful they make the all those motios look during the pre-chorus vocal moments, matching with the music. And I really like how robust they make it look during the chorus, giving it energy and intensity to also match with the music at those parts. Essentially, they are doing the same thing but making it go both ways.

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

[Review] DUMDi DUMDi – (G)I-DLE

Apologies for my absence over the last two days. I will explain myself later on once I get pass the many releases have been left un-reviewed during my absence. Let’s restart the reviews! First up is a Monday release from (G)I-DLE. I actually tried to write a review for DUMDi DUMDi on Monday, but ended up running out of time (as I needed to sleep for work the next day). And here is the review, finally! This is the female group’s first release since their epic Oh My God comeback earlier this year and online concert, I-LAND.

I personally wondered where the group would go after releasing Oh My God. DUMDi DUMDi was not what I had expected. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. First off, it is a very bright and energetic song. And I will compliment the song for that. It is definitely suitable for the Summer season. Secondly, I felt that the song’s instrumental was pretty good. The song does feel quite plain and quite slow during the verses and it doesn’t become exciting and energetic until we reach the chorus. And the EDM we get in the chorus really makes up for the slowness and plainness we got in the verses. The African drums and music influence during select parts added a little something different to the song and it allows the song to standout in the sea of releases we have gotten recently. One of the letdowns of DUMDi DUMDi actually is associated with the instrumental itself. Reflecting over the song retrospectively, it seems like the instrumental is a bit hectic and messy. I wished there was a little bit of more consistency throughout the instrumentation. It sounds good, but it needs to be tied up better. The rapping was probably a skippable section. Sorry Soyeon, but I felt your part was the least memorable in the song. As for the vocals, I am a bit torn about them. Miyeon, in particular, brought an interesting vocal sound to the chorus which makes the song’s chorus memorable. But the more I listen to the song, I can’t help but find the chorus becoming more and more whiny. DUMDi DUMDi has some good and bad aspects. But overall, it is still enjoyable.

The video starts off with a very long ‘context’ preamble, where it specifies that six souls (the members) converge to a motel in the middle of nowhere to spend their ‘most exciting’ day of their lives. Of course, it was fluffed up to be mysterious. But it went by too quickly to actually read while the video was in play mode. The video then begins what seems to be the longest minute and half in KPOP ever. Like most Western films, I felt the entire introductory sequence that introduced each member converging to this motel to be incredibly boring. The Western music did not help. The producers of this video could have directed more time to showing us how the members came together to actually fun. It just feels so random that the members went from being strangers to best friends in a matter of seconds. The rest of the video was essentially of them having a great time, which ties in nicely with the Summer theme. I do have one additional complaint. During some of the solo shots of some of the members, it was quite obvious that the other members were told to sit there and be pretty. I wished they did something in the background rather than sit there and stare at one another or look off into the void.

I can’t but think there are some moves in this choreography that brings me back to their previous releases such as Oh My God and Lion. I am not sure if my eyes are playing trick on me. But other than that observation, the dance was quite fun and energetic, which defintiely suits the song and Summer season.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[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] I Trust (3rd Mini Album) – (G)I-DLE

The next album I wish to review is a more recent release. Actually, this is the first album released in April of this year that I am reviewing. I am talking about (G)I-DLE’s recent comeback, Oh My God and mini-album, I Trust. This was released at the start of the month, so it is pretty much clear that I am still a month behind on the reviewing agenda. I am carefully scheduling the album reviews so I don’t fall too behind, so just don’t worry yet. Here is my album review for I Trust.

I Trust Album Cover

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

2. Luv U (사랑해) Luv U differs greatly from (G)I-DLE’s usual hip-hop sound. There instrumental employs a very interesting and experimental mix of synths which actually sound very sleek and unique. I really like how deep the instrumental goes and how this contrasts with that squeaky high pitch synth in the chorus. There is also a high dependence on bass, which really gives the song that foundation. I also the build-up to the chorus, which helps balances out the song. The vocal work and rapping were pretty good. My favourite part has to be ‘I Luv U, I Luv U, I Luv U’ repetition, which replayed in my mind for a while after I initially heard the song. (9/10)

3. Maybe – This album definitely thrives on the epicness that the songs have. This song really uses the bass to its advantage, building upon the chorus which features that cool sketchy synth. The bass is toned slightly for the verses, but it is still present. I also really like that ‘Maybe’ that they speak so coolly. I also like Soyeon’s speaking lines during the chorus. The verses were also pretty solid, featuring really fresh and pretty vocals. Altogether, Maybe forms an epic vibe and really has a lot of impact that I just cannot shake from my mind. (10/10)

I am not able to find an official video for Maybe, so excuse me for using a line distribution video to feature in this post.

4. Lion – I previously reviewed Lion as part of my review of all the final Queendom performances. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the post, as that is where I reviewed Lion. Click here to read the full review for Lion. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

I Trust Teaser Image

[Review] Oh My God – (G)I-DLE

(G)I-DLE ended 2019 with their attention-gathering appearance on Queendom, who showed the industry that the new ‘concept Queens’ are here. They also finished the year off by promoting their Queendom single, Lion. Interestingly, Lion was also the only single out of the 6 songs performed by the participants that later had a music video released alongside it. But enough of their 2019 promotions. We are currently in 2020 and the female group is now making us go ‘Oh My God‘ at their latest comeback, which was also released today. Their title track ‘Oh My God‘ is featured on their latest mini-album I Trust.

This track, undeniably, sounds different from what we are used to in KPOP. We start off with Minnie hauntingly speak out some lines, which reminds me of one of their Queendom performances. The song then develops quite quickly, building up between Soyeon, Yuqi and Miyeon’s sections in the first verse and pre-chorus. We get some vintage piano in Soyeon’s section (and Soojin’s second verse) that really stands out in this song. The rush we get here is very fulfilling and intense. The song continues to infuse managed to add more intensity through the hip-hop centred chorus. I liked how they paused the music as the rush from the pre-chorus is about to climax, dissipating the flow/energy we had gotten so far and replacing it with a completely different energy for the chorus. This does annoy me to an extent but it is one of the song’s charms that continues the intensity along the song. The ‘Oh My God‘ echoes in mind even after the song ends, showcasing its memorability after just a few listens. I also like the beat of the song, overall. It was added some catchiness to the song. Soyeon’s rapping section in the second verse also adds more hip-hop flair to the song. The song ends with Minnie’s opening chant, capping the song with that eerie feeling again (and also reminding us of the intensity that we felt throughout the song. Overall, I think is this one of the group’s best releases yet.

This music video is already a contender for Best Music Video in 2020. I just want to put that out there. The music video is so elaborate and jam-packed, I am overwhelmed and speechless. I don’t know where to exactly start with this new side of the group. I wouldn’t even say this is edgy, as it would lump it alongside other music videos and concepts that I have already described using that term. And this is like no other. As mentioned there is a lot to take in with this music video. There seems to be a heaven and hell dynamic in this music video, along with fallen angels. The devil, played by Soojin, in this video tempts everyone. Soyeon was already tempted, but she is placed in the white hallway or limbo to help Soojin gain followers. Minnie is a new person being brought into limbo and she is tempted from the start with the red wine. She tries to fight it off, but ultimately fails. Yuqi seems to be an innocent wanderer in the corridors that lead to an angel (i.e. the way she holds her hands together remind me of someone praying), but she is later tempted by some red wine as well (i.e. her eyes look like they were bleeding). Miyeon is an angel sitting on a throne. But she is turned when Soojin’s followers (i.e. the dancers dress in black) surround her throne, forcing to be tempted. Shuhua is another angel, dressed in white and all pure. But she is also tempted, following the dance moves that we see Soojin do at the front of the group during the chorus. We see Soojin kissing Miyeon’s foreheard, and Soyeon appears (a known tempted member). That’s my take on the video and I can tell you right now, there are a lot of details that I don’t have time to mention.

The performance looks fanatasic. I really like their moves in this choreography. It has that contortionist type of feel to it, especially in the chorus. The use of backup dancers really helped drive the eerie feeling of the performance as well, making it very captivating to watch.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10

[Special] My Favourite Performances from the 2019 End Of Year Music Festivals

At the end of each year, the three major broadcasting companies in South Korea (SBS, KBS and MBC) organises and broadcast a very fruitful and dynamic music festival, bringing together the top KPOP acts of the year. 2019 is no exception and with a year as busy as 2019, it is often quite hard to get invited to these festivals. And with each show running for a couple of hours, different stages/performances/remixes of the year’s hits and one-of-a-kind collaborations, it is often hard to keep up with these festivals. Today, I have decided to organise a list of performances from each of these three festivals that I thought were excellent, different and worthwhile in checking out. I have done this before but over the years dropped it as I had very little time. Now that I have some time on my hand, I thought I return to this segment for the 2019 festivals.

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

When we talk about the SBS Music Festival, we need to address the issue of safety. After all, it costed Red Velvet full group promotions for their Psycho comeback, due to injuries sustained by Wendy due to the unsafe nature of SBS stage. We did manage to get one full lineup of the group performing Psycho on stage as it was pre-recorded. because of that, I put Red Velvet’s Psycho performance on my list of favourite performances from that day. Other performers also had falls on the SBS stage, from what I remember reading. Other stages at stood out for me were:

  • Stray Kid’s Miroh – I did not know how Stray Kids could top Miroh’s intensity by rearranging the performance to be even more intense.
  • NCT Dream’s Boom & NCT 127’s Superhuman – Both tracks had a really cool dance addition to it. On top of that, we got to see the same ‘switching of jackets’ that Mark did at the 2018 SBS Music Festival between Dream and 127’s performance. Only this time, it was Haechan!
  • Oh My Girl’s Bungee (X-mas Version) – Always good to have a X-mas themed remix on Christmas Day. It made Bungee, an already vibrant and colourful track, more suitable for the season.
  • Mamamoo’s Gogobebe – The rock remix for this performance was superb.
  • Seventeen’s Home and Snapshoot – We got to see a warmer side of the group and the more joyful side, especially after all the darkness we got from HIT and Fear.
  • TWICE’s Medley of Tracks – I really liked the band element to their performance and how they tweaked the concept for Fancy and their more light hearted tracks. I just wished the band was DAY6 (where is DAY6 in all of these festivals), which would have made the performance even more worthy of a view.
  • BTS’s Dionysus – I have always been a fan of BTS’s darker side. This performance is a return this side, which I greatly appreciate.

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

I personally did not have much interest in the KBS Music Festival as I thought the stage looked really bad and the camera work wasn’t the best. This wasn’t also the only problem that occurred that same night. APINK’s %% performance was cut short, disappointing fans, APINK and viewers in general. If I were to choose one standout stage, it would have Golden Child’s Wannabe stage. Their dance intro was very good and showed off intensity that was aligned with their new look/concept. And I really liked how smooth the transition between dance intro and actual song was. Only a few toehr performances caught my attention and they include:

  • Song Gain’s Introductory song – Song Gain, for those who don’t know is a trot singer that trended this year. For Song Gain’s performance, she managed to incorporate all artists into her song, which I think would be a challenge.
  • NU’EST Love Me – It wasn’t so much their choreography or song that caught my attention. But I thought the raised stages for the end really highlighted the good parts of their overall choreography, providing what could be said as an epic end to their stage.
  • ASTRO’s All Night + Blue Flame – I was waiting for ASTRO to do All Night in some capacity during these festivals. But with Moonbin out of action, it seems like the group would opt for the 5-member Blue Flame instead. So automatically, ASTRO’s stage for All Night alone would make this list. Blue Flame ended up being very epic as well, which is why their entire segment is on this list.
  • Oh Ha Young, Joy and Yerin Mr. Mr. collaboration – I haven’t heard this song for some time now and I really enjoyed this throwback. Also surprised that they covered the entire song, which usually isn’t the case.

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

MBC’s Music Festival is one to always watch. Their stages always have a look that shows that they have been planning for a while. The collaborations for this festival are always something to talk about. And why not watch it live as the year goes out! There is nothing like ending 2019 and start 2020 with KPOP! However, the MBC Music Festival was also plagued with an early termination issue. This time around the victim was Kim Jae Hwan, who only got to perform Nuna (he should have performed The Time I Need as well. For standout performance, I am putting down ASTRO and Oh My Girl’s creepy and jazzy cover of IU’s Red Shoes. It was different and colourful. Other stages to check out:

  • Stray Kid’s Side Effects – Another intense song that they managed to upgrade and make darker. The creative minds that put together these stages for Stray Kids are killing it (and need a pay rise instantly).
  • Seventeen & Mamamoo Collaboration – Two of my favourite groups have come together to form one dream team. And this was such an amazing stage.
  • Seventeen’s HIT – Mingyu shouldn’t be playing with fire. It is dangerous. But one epic opener to the stage. Also, somehow Seventeen managed to insert a dance break in the midst of the stage, which I think earns a mention at the very least.
  • Hyuna’s Flower Shower – Her choreography is essentially the same as the one she performed in the past. But the chorus instrumental is changed slightly, which I thought made the stage a lot cooler for the end of year festival.
  • Taemin’s Move & Famous – MBC’s Music Festival had a theme, The Chemistry. And you can’t have a theme about Chemistry without Taemin. While he didn’t do anything special to Move‘s stage, his dance alone is already 100% fitting for a ‘Chemistry’ themed music festival.
  • (G)i-DLE’s Lion – Another reason to why we need to look out for this girl group is their special stages. Lion is practically a game changer for the group.
  • Lovelyz’s Beautiful Day – I really like their ballad start to their stage and how they built it back up to the original song in an effortless manner.

[Special Review] Queendom – Final Tracks

As promised, here is the first of a few Special posts that I have lined up for the final few weeks of the year. This is also a very long post!

Wrapping up its run on the air a few weeks ago is Queendom, a new and innovative show that brought together 5 leading girl groups (AOA, (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, Mamamoo and Oh My Girl) and one soloist (Park Bom) to have a comeback battle. In the weeks leading up to the final (which was the actual ‘comeback’ battle – where all 6 songs from the 6 acts were released at once to determine who was the Top Artist), the 6 acts participated in various rounds of performances (1st Round – Representative Hit Song; 2nd Round – Cover Song of Fellow Queendom Contestant; and 3rd Round – Unit Performance + Fandora’s Box) to gain points which placed them at an advantage during the ‘comeback’ battle.

The show ended up being very successful, with fans and viewers talking about the show’s performances each week. Each week, there was one or two groups that stole the spotlight. Some notable examples include the fanfare that AOA had when they performed the remixed version of Miniskirt during the first round and how Lovelyz got Sixth Sense and their own name trending after their cover of Brown Eyed Girl’s Sixth Sense in the second round.

Despite my exams and assignments, I tuned in each week to watch the performances as they felt like all the stages were on a whole new level to what we saw on the standard weekly music shows. I hope the show returns with a new female lineup and possibly a male spinoff titled Kingdom, as requested by many fans already. And today, I will be having a look at each of the songs that each act performed in the final round, as there are a number of good tracks that you should not just pass over just because the show is over. I will also be rating the performances and determining an overall score (as I believe these songs will be appearing on each artists’ future comebacks).


Sorry – AOA

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AOA has been riddled with of departures of a few members over the last few years, leading their once strong lineup into a potentially shaky future. So in a way, Queendom was a way to relaunch the five-member lineup and showcase the new era of AOA. They have proven to be strong contenders throughout the preliminary rounds of Queendom and Sorry further highlights their potential. The synthpop instrumentation, their nostalgic and catchy chorus, the very moody verses and strong vocals really made this song into one of the more iconic tracks of the competition. I did think Jimin’s rapping could have been a little powerful, in this song actually. We have seen her do some bombastic solo work and I wished AOA’s releases incorporated some of this.

AOA’s Western outback concept was a pretty strong concept and It seems like they will be continuing this into their upcoming music release next week. I thought the concept showed off a nice mature of the girls, which is reflective in the music as well. While the performance was watchable in a pleasant way, Chanmi’s mini fight sequence was undoubtedly the highlight of this performance and deserves a lot of attention.

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


Moonlight – Lovelyz

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It was really surprising to see Lovelyz gain attention for their Sixth Sense cover, which goes against every Lovelyz song we have ever heard in their careers thus far. But good for them! Hopefully, this signals as a potential concept for the future, as we now have a valid confirmation that Lovelyz can pull off a powerful concept. But the focus should be on Moonlight, which I, unfortunately, rank as one of the weaker tracks of the final round. It lacked boldness that some of their other contenders had in their performance and it failed to be memorable (I pretty much forgot the song right after it finished playing). It was bearable though, with good vocals and melody, which is usually expected from the group. Just not enough to make this a strong track.

I am not too sure about the concept of this stage. But their outfits reminded me of Greek Goddesses and I thought they were pretty on stage. The dance moves were nice and elegant, which worked well with the melody of the song. At times, it looked like they were struggling within themselves, which worked well with the lyrics of the song. Overall, a good performance.

Song – 6/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating –  6.3/10


Wanna Go Back (되돌릴 수 없는 돌아갈 수 없는 돌아갈 곳 없는) – Park Bom

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I question the producer for bringing Park Bom into the competition. It isn’t because she is a terrible artist. She has great songs and a unique set of vocals that make her stand out. She is just at a disadvantage from the start in Queendom (performing alone, couldn’t participate in the dance unit in Round 3 etc.). She did bring an interesting level of competition (and her interactions with the younger artists made the show fun). Her final song was titled Wanna Go Back, which is an emotional ballad that reflected on her desire to go back to the good old days of 2NE1. It also brings out her vocals, which is an improvement from some of Queendom’s preliminary round. That high note sounded quite good and it was something I didn’t think Park Bom could handle.

Her performance stage was practically a throwback to her time in 2NE1. The four microphone stands, the three other backup dancers to complete a lineup of four. I also really liked how she used that stage platform to show that she will be rising to the top again and her mic drop at the end. Not too sure about her mini performance at the end. But other than that, it was a powerful performance but in a different sense.

Song – 7.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10


Guerilla (게릴라) – Oh My Girl

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Out of all the groups on Queendom, it seems like Oh My Girl was the biggest beneficiary. Since their initial stages on the show, the group have been approached by multiple companies asking them to be their models for their products. They have also been granted an extended holiday, which they undoubtedly deserve after Queendom and their impressive run with The Fifth Season earlier this year. Guerilla is my pick for the best track of all the 6 acts. It showcases a different side of Oh My Girl. A more suspenseful and edgy sound from the group, thanks for the subtle use of trap elements. I also thought their vocals in this song were the strongest out of the 6 acts as well. Mimi’s rapping was a tad too soft for my liking and would have preferred to be a lot louder to match up with the vocals.

I freaking love this performance. It is one of the two that I have been coming back to every single day because I cannot get enough of it. From the ropes at the start to their powerful moves during the chorus to the elegant natures during the bridge, it was a solid performance that showcases that there is more to Oh My Girl than what we have heard so far. I also like their styling, which was very bold.

Song – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10


Lion – (G)I-DLE

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(G)I-DLE is the youngest group on the Queendom lineup. But their work thus far, it felt like the group has been in the industry for some time. No wonder they are known as monster rookies when they debuted. Lion probably stands as one of the most iconic and unique tracks of the night. Cube Entertainment went of their way to even produce a music video for it. I feel like if (G)I-DLE returned with tracks that showed feminine power like Lion, rather than Senorita and Uh-Oh, 2019 would have been a pretty successful year for the group. Two things stood out for me in this powerful track: Soyeon’s rapping and Minnie’s high and low sections.

Best outfits and concept for the final night goes to Lion. This was one hell of a performance. And this doesn’t just apply to the singers. The backup dancers rocked awesome manes. I also like how fierce their moves and facial expressions were. It is a powerful song and it is paired with an equally powerful and unique set of moves.

Song – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10


Destiny (우린 결국 다시 만날 운명이었지) – Mamamoo

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I was most excited for Mamamoo, as everyone knows how much of a fan I am of the group. Their stages on Queendom have been consistently my favourite. Their final song was titled Destiny and it actually features on their recent comeback album, reality in BLACK, which I will be reviewing on a later date. Destiny is special as it is probably their most experimental track yet. It mashes different styles together, creating a whole track that brings out all their strengths (vocals, rapping, harmonies and everything else). I really liked the start of the track, where everything felt blue and moody. I like their Western instrumental, followed by that rocking ending.

One thing that Mamamoo can do that not many other artists are able to do is engage the audience into the performance. That and their stage presence is very big. Throw in some live vocals and you have a rocking performance that really doesn’t need choreography. You have already done the hard work by captivating the audience. That being said, there was some choreography and everything they ended up doing looked really cool. Just focus on Hwasa and you can see how that is the case!

Song – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.7/10


And that is my review for Queendom’s final tracks. All of the tracks were amazing in their own way but Destiny by Mamamoo came out on top as my favourite. But what was your favourite? Comment down below and let’s see if we all agree with one another.

[Review] Uh-Oh – (G)I-DLE

Also returning today is (G)I-DLE, with their latest digital single, Uh-Oh. We previously saw (G)I-DLE through their Senorita promotions back in February this year. However, it felt like they just release Senorita a few weeks back. So my initial feelings regarding the comeback were that it was so soon. Not exactly sure why this was the case but I guess that goes to show how much their previous comeback has grown on me. Let’s see if Uh-Oh will be able to have the same effect.

Uh-Oh takes on a hip-hop sound, reminiscent of the 90s era. There is a lot of aspects like the disc scratching and urban beat that makes it fit perfectly into this era. I also really like the use of violins in the instrumental, which I find to be quite cool and it gives off an epic vibe. I thought Soyeon’s opening vocals were surprising, as I am more used to her rapping. I find their vocals to be quite strong, as they do a good job of filling up the more minimal sections of the instrumental. Soyeon’s rapping is undeniably fire, like always. And the track is quite catchy, ticking boxes that we always knew that (G)I-DLE would have no hard time doing. I want to stay on that point, however, as it may sound like the group is going all over the place with their different sounds for each comeback. But there are a few aspects that make me think otherwise. LATATA does have a hip-hop feel to it, though it might not be explicitly showcased. So I feel like Uh-Oh is a nice revisit to that side. But more importantly (and I know I have mentioned this for a number of recent comebacks), the song contains attitude, which is definitely a (G)I-DLE characteristic. The songs that (G)-DLE already have under their belt are loaded with sass and attitude, which makes this track ideal to continue their portfolio. 

I like how (G)I-DLE channels the 90s hip-hop scene very well. It is a bold video as a result, which is an indication of a successful video. The start did seem like the television/VHS effect that I remember so fondly from that period of time. The use of bikers in the video was ideal and very intimidating, with the backup dancers doing a good job of continuing this intimidation. However, as expected in KPOP, you would expect a splash of colour. So their outfits (whilst still fitting into that era) and bouquet of flowers on the hummer helped offset that by a bit. I also like the underground hip-hop scene that they end the video with. Quite a cool video, overall.

Like the song, there is attitude to the performance, which makes it extremely fitting. I like how bold their outfits are. Given how conservative the Korean public is, I don’t think this would sit well with them. But it is a concept that works in my eyes, and I think we won’t see much of a change despite any forthcoming backlash. I thought the moves were cool, especially Soyeon’s dance break in the middle of today’s performance.

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

[Album Review] I MADE (2nd Mini Album) – (G)I-DLE

(G)I-DLE returned last week with their brand new single, Senorita, which is featured on the group’s 2nd mini-album, I Made. Today, we will be having a closer look at the album and the other tracks that are present alongside Senorita. But if you don’t want to read the full album review, I got you! Just a very quick summary of the review before we get started – everything is fantastic. Not one bad song present, so the album gets my nod of approval (and that ‘Recommended’ sticker below). But if you want an in-depth dive, continue reading below!

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I Made Album Cover

1..Senorita (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Senorita. (8.5/10)

2. What’s Your NameWhat’s Your Name stands out for its heaviness. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I cannot pinpoint any song with a heavy instrumental like this (i.e. it is somewhat refreshing). And as the song is quite heavy, they didn’t too much to the instrumental to give it an overpowering effect. Instead, I liked the EDM drop, which gave the song some nice texture and energy at the same time. The build-up was also memorable, partly due to the vocals as well. While we already mention vocals, I thought that they stood out based on this element alone in this song. Their vocals were quite simple, but it managed to work well with the instrumental. Likewise, the raps also get the same comments and I think the more melodic approach with their delivery in time around. (8.5/10)

3. Put It Straight (싫다고 말해) – (G)I-DLE’s approach to a ballad is very interesting. And it is the style that I am very into. The first thing that grabs your attention is their vocals. All members take a husky and low tone vocal approach, which I think was amazingly done. I liked how the music worked alongside the members. Usually, the instrumental is laid down first with the vocals following. But for this song, particularly the verses, the instrumental moulds itself around the vocals. Their vocals also seemed to be emotionally driven and with further inspection, the song talks about loneliness in a relationship. But when you read the English lyrics of the song, you just can’t help but notice how eerie the song sounds as a result. (9/10)

4. Give Me Your (주세요) – Once again, the group changes up style with this song. Give Me Your shares the opposite feeling to the previous song, reflecting upon one’s feeling to their partner. And with that, the song takes a brighter tone, which I much appreciate. The style they went for reminds me of the folksy songs that IU releases every now and then. Once again, no rapping in this as rapping would fit this folksy style. Instead, all the members opt for vocals Soyeon does get close to rapping, but it stays close to her preceding vocal section. I personally don’t mind the song but it isn’t my cup of tea. (8/10)

5. Blow Your Mind – When Blow Your Mind first started, it felt like a very straightforward and serious R&B track. Minnie does a good job of making us think this way. But once the song picks up and the chorus kicks in, the song seems to get a retro influence in the instrumentation. The ‘You You You… Oh Oh’ repetition (my favourite bit of the song) that follows the chorus gives it a quirky nature, becoming the second unexpected changeup. Soyeon returns to rapping in this song and manages to slay her lines remarkably in this song. Once again, I think this was an amazing ending to the album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

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I Made Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] I Wanna Be – Key (SHINee) ft. Soyeon ((G)I-DLE)

As of yesterday, Key (from SHINee) enlisted into the military to begin his mandatory enlistment. But he didn’t part without releasing some new music. I Wanna Be, which features Kim Soyeon from the girl group (G)I-DLE, is Key’s newest release and serves as a parting present for fans. It is one of the three new songs on the repackaged album which shares the same name as the lead title track. The album was formerly known as Face and it featured One of These Nights (ft. Crush) and Forever Yours (ft. Soyou).

I Wanna Be is a very refreshing pop dance track. I say refreshing as I haven’t heard anything like this before. The instrumental carries some familiar EDM influences but together it sounds like something quite new. There is this slight vibrating synth that I find extremely appealing. I also enjoyed the pulsing beating during the verses, which later became more frequent and bolder during the chorus. Talking about the chorus, I wasn’t sure exactly when it begins. I assume it was when the song became upbeat but the preceding section felt like the start due to the vocals/lyrics. So I am going to label the preceding part as the pre-chorus. I found the pre-chorus interesting as it seemed to feature a female voice behind Key’s. Not exactly sure if it Kim Soyeon’s but I thought the harmonies were really nice. Key’s voice is amazing in this track. I think we can all agree that he has vastly improved since his earlier days. Kim Soyeon’s part was very flowy and I like that a lot. Usually, we see her with intensity, and while I do prefer that, it is nice to see her handle something more delicate.

I really like colour, so I enjoy seeing used in a way that is stylish and sleek. So I appreciate a very vibrant looking video. I Wanna Be‘s music video is essentially that. The use of red and green in their respective sets look amazing and gives off a bold impression. This causes both Key and Kim Soyeon to stand out through the video, which I thought was a great way to really allow them to pop and not become part of the sets. Other than that, I am keen to learn more about the content of the video. He holds the globe in his hands and there were a series of numbers that flash over the TV screen in the video. I don’t know what this all means but it left me intrigued.

The dancing in this video is pretty amazing. Particularly the dance break that follows the choruses. His footwork (or rather knees) look very cool. It is a little disappointing that we won’t see an actual live performance (or dance version) of this track any time soon.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Senorita – G(I)-DLE

Last year’s monster rookies have returned with their first comeback of 2019. G(I)-DLE was thrown into the spotlight thanks to their catchy LATATA debut track and continued their popularity with the unique Hann (or Alone). Now, the girl group from Cube Entertainment has returned with their second mini-album, I Made, and the title track, Senorita. Since their last comeback, the group received multiple Rookie of the Year awards, while Soyeon has been busy with collaborations including Wow Thing! (with Sin.B, Chungha and Seulgi) and SHINee’s Key’s upcoming solo release next month.

Given the title of the song, it was expected the comeback will be with Latin flair and that is exactly what we got. The song opens with a very obvious tango influenced sound and this continues throughout the song. I thought the brass in the instrumental was very delightful and adds colour to the already colourful genre that they went with. I enjoyed how the rapping was incorporated into the song, with the verses becoming very sensual with the paced delivery. The chorus had catchy hooks but my favourite would have to be the Senorita and brass combination. Interestingly, the bridge and end of the song contained very little lyrics. Only a repetitive ‘yuhuhuhuu’ was utilised. Not sure why this was the case but it did have charm. The only thing that I wanted more of was a buildup. There seemed to be a suspense-building pre-chorus but I thought a stronger buildup would have made their chorus more explosive.

The music video is quite dangerous. You can say that the girls made you sweat a little through their very close brushes with death in the video. I guess the sweat suits the heated genre of music they selected and the near-death experiences were great to get the attention of the person they are singing about. Once again, I thought the colour within the video was really nice and that applies to both their outfits and sets. I also did notice some product placement within the video with the Kaja cosmetics. It was very difficult to see but after rewatching a few times, it appeared quite frequently.

I thought the performance was very suiting for the song. They went with moves that we commonly associate with the Latin genre and tango itself, which I think was smart. They didn’t necessarily do it a cliche way and mixed over moves into the choreography as well.

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

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist Categories Results

Welcome back to the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards! On the 1st of December 2018, I presented my readers with many categories filled with talented and deserving nominees for the 2018 KPORPEVIEWED Awards. For the month of December, all of you voted for your favourite artists and songs from January 2018 to November 2018. And today, I present to you who the winners of each category were.

This is the first section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best New Groups, Best Female and Male Groups and many others.

Each category will have a WINNER (the artist/group that received the highest amount of fan votes), Honourable Mention (the artist/group that received the second highest amount of fan votes) and KPOPREVIEWED Choice (who I voted for).

So, drum roll please, for the winners of the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Artist categories.


Best New Male Group

Nominees – ATEEZ, NOIR, Stray Kids, The Boyz, UNB

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WINNER – Stray Kids
Honourable Mention – The Boyz
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Boyz


Best New Female Group

Nominees – fromis.9, (G)I-DLE, IZ*ONE, LOONA, NATURE

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WINNER – (G)I-DLE
Honourable Mention – LOONA
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – fromis.9


Best New Soloist

Nominees – Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), LONGGUO, SOHEE (ELRIS), Yuri (SNSD)

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WINNER – Yuri (SNSD)
Honourable Mention – Leo (VIXX)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Dong Han


Rising Star

Nominees – (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Pentagon

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WINNER – (G)I-DLE
Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Momoland


Most Underrated Artist of the Year

Nominees – A.C.E, CLC, N.Flying, KARD, Snuper

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WINNER – KARD
Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – N.Flying


Best Unit Group / Subunit

Nominees – EXO-CBX, NCT 127, NCT Dream, Oh My Girl BANHANA, SNSD-Oh!GG

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WINNER – EXO-CBX
Honourable Mention – SNSD-Oh!GG
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – NCT 127


Best Male Solo Artist

Nominees – Eric Nam, Hwang Chi Yeul, Jung Sewoon, Samuel, Seungri (Big Bang)

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WINNER – Seungri (Big Bang)
Honourable Mention – Eric Nam
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Eric Nam


Best Female Solo Artist

Nominees – BoA, Hyolyn, Kim Chungha, Sunmi, Taeyeon (SNSD)

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WINNER – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Honourable Mention – Sunmi
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Sunmi


Best Band

Nominees – DAY6, IZ, N,Flying, The East Light, The Rose

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WINNER – DAY6
Honourable Mention – The Rose
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – DAY6


Best Raps

Nominees – B.I (iKON), Ilhoon (BTOB), Jooheon (Monsta X), Mino (WINNER), RM (BTS)

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WINNER – RM (BTS)
Honourable Mention – Mino (WINNER)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Jooheon (Monsta X)


Best Vocals

Nominees – BOL4, BTOB, Hwang Chi Yeul, Mamamoo, Minseo

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WINNER – Mamamoo
Honourable Mention – BTOB
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo


Best Male Group

Nominees – BTOB, BTS, EXO, GOT7, iKON, Monsta X, NCT, NU’EST W, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, SHINee, VIXX, Wanna One, Winner

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WINNER – BTS
Honourable Mention – SHINee
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – iKON


Best Female Group

Nominees – AOA, APRIL, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

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WINNER – Red Velvet
Honourable Mention – BLACKPINK
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo


Artists Who Topped The Weekly KPOP Charts The Most in 2018

This is not a fan-voted category

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WINNER – Monsta X, Seventeen & Sunmi


And that completes the Artist Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Song Categories will be unveiled shortly and you can access it by clicking here!

And for the End of Year Charts – they will be out tomorrow. I will update this post with the link once it is out.

Thank you for all voting and checking out who you all selected to be the winners! I hope to do this again for 2019!

[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

[Review] HANN – (G)I-DLE

Prepare yourselves as this year’s monster rookies are making their first ever comeback today. HANN, which translates to Alone, is the first digital single released by the girls. This comes after the group dominated charts with their debut track LATATA a few months back, which directed a lot of attention towards the group and earned them a very large following.

HANN is one interesting song. I think the expectation was for the group to come back with a similar track to LATATA to consolidate their following and position within the industry. So, it was a little shocking to hear a completely different sound. HANN is a lot less in-your-face that LATATA, opting for a melodic approach for their chorus. I personally do not find this song as catchy as the hook doesn’t seem to be that strong. But who knows, maybe the song will grow heavily on me as time passes. However, it is how exotic the song sounds that makes me drawn to the song. The track seems to be Latin-influenced unlike any other we have heard thus far. The verses had this tango vibe to it, which I liked. The rapping was awesome and the vocals were decent. I particularly like the verses, especially the way Soyeon started off the song (that tango vibe was amazing!). A little unexpected but still a decent step forward.

The first thing I thought of in this video was vampires. I liked the concept a lot and this is definitely an amped up version of Volume Up (by the now disbanded Cube Entertainment girl group, 4MINUTE). I like the dry setting where the video was set (though I am thinking it was shot in a studio – but it is the idea that counts). I liked the overload of charisma the girls had which really paid off, for me at least. Overall, the video showed off a very strong side of the girls without the need for a powerful song, which was something I liked.

The music video showed a few scenes of choreography, which I thought were quite good. Per usual, I liked how it was incredibly fitting for the song. There was definitely a consistent exotic vibe throughout their choreography, which they also had going on during their debut video. Might need to wait for a full performance but I think it is it going a smashing performance.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10