[Album Review] Game Changer / DDARA (2nd Studio Album / 2nd Studio Album Repackaged) – Golden Child

As mentioned earlier today (and throughout the past week), I would be posting the album review for Golden Child’s second studio album and its repackaged version today. GAME CHANGER (released at the start of August this year) is the group’s second studio album and features the title track Ra Pam Pam. Earlier this week, the group returned with the repackaged version, retitled DDARA, and features the title track of the same name. In total, there are 13 tracks on the album which I will be reviewing today. This album release was a banger – a small hint of what I thought about the albums overall.

1. Game Changer – The album kicks off with the eerie intro track Game Changer. The eeriness is only around at the start though, with the intro track opting for suspenseful classical vibe. This too is quite brief, as EDM kicks in right after to bump this up into very dynamic territory. I feel like this track would be awesome for a movie trailer, hinting towards twist and turns. For this album, it leads right into the likes of Ra Pam Pam.

2. Ra Pam Pam (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Ra Pam Pam. (8.5/10)

3. DDARA (Title Track)Click here for the full review of DDARA. (9/10)

4. OASIS – The other new track added to the repackaged version is OASIS. To me, the track is an impressive display of vocals from the group. Those successive high notes we get at the end sound so good. It felt almost like the members were in a ballad mindset for this song. But OASIS is no ballad. The instrumentation falls into the EDM side of music. It definitely made OASIS impactful and dynamic enough for me to give the song a 10/10. The rapping also reiterates the fact that this is no ballad, going with a powerful approach, which fitted in really well. (10/10)

5. Bottom of the OceanBottom of the Ocean is a full English track that brings me back to the ‘00s thanks to its pop rock sound. The track feels just right for the summer season, with its vibrancy and energy fitting right into the hallmarks of a summery song. Golden Child handles the song exceptionally well, which is worth a mention, as this is their first English track. The harmonies were a really nice touch. (9/10)

6. Fanfare (빵빠레)Fanfare is my pick for favourite side track for this album. It was hard to pick one, but I settled on this one!. It is a dance track with a really great retro and funky instrumentation. The brass elements in this song really give it so much colour, while rest of the funky and retro instrumentation is so vibrant and lively. The bass adds extra groove as well! The members bring solid vocals and rapping in this song, with the standout award going to the main vocalists for their high note and ad-libs. Overall, a home run with this track. (10/10)

7. Singing in the Rain (Joo Chan & Bo Min)Click here for the full review for Singing In The Rain. (8/10)

8. GAME (Tag & Ji Beom)Click here for the full review for GAME. (7/10)

9. Spell (주문을 걸어) – The album breaks away from the unit/solo track with a bit of an interlude in the form of Spell. It is similar to Fanfare in the sense that it has a funky and groovy energy oozing from it. But it is different in a way that it is more reliant on synths and EDM to get this energy across. Not that it matters, as Spell is an equally good track and the EDM makes it a dynamic number. I really like the idea of the delayed drop in this song, especially since I feel the delay allows Golden Child an opportunity to showcase a mature vibe in the chorus. The hooks in Spell are also quite dynamic and really appealed to me. (10/10)

10. Out the Window (창밖으로 우리가 흘러) (Daeyeol Solo)Click here for the full review for Out The Window. (8/10)

11. POPPIN’ (Y & Jang Jun)Click here for the full review for POPPIN’. (10/10)

12. That Feeling (느낌적인 느낌) (Seung Min & Dong Hyun & Jae Hyun) Click here for the full review for That Feeling. (7.5/10)

13. I Know (난 알아요) – The album ends with a ballad. Common sense tells me that their vocals would be on full display, and that is the case with I Know. But what makes their vocals even better (and so the ballad as a whole) is the instrumentation. Not only does the thumping in the instrumentation makes the ballad more upbeat, it adds impact to the song and a breathtaking element to the song. The rest of the instrumental falls into the same motif as well. Ending off the album with a song like I Know felt just like the perfect ender. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

[Review] Out The Window – Daeyeol (Golden Child)

The final side track from Golden Child’s second studio album which I will be reviewing ahead of the rest of the album is Out The Window, which is performed by Daeyeol. Daeyeol was the only member from the group to have a solo track, with the other members participating in unit tracks. After this review, it is full steam ahead to their Game Changer and DDARA album review, which I will be posting shortly after this. Until then, this is my review for Out The Window.

Daeyeol’s solo song comes in the form of a mid-tempo ballad. Overall, I find Out The Window to be a pleasant song that highlights Daeyeol’s vocals. While the song itself is pretty straightforward and simplistic, it is still a really nice song and doesn’t fall on the boring or typical side of ballads. The melodies are what pulls me in and I think Daeyeol’s vocals do an amazing job of bringing Out The Window‘s melodies to life. As mentioned before, the song is rather simple, with a nice acoustic instrumental to form the backing of the song. It helps with making everything palatable and really compliments Daeyeol’s vocals in my opinion. To be honest, the song is similar to what we have heard in some of the other side tracks that I have reviewed separately over the last day, in the sense that there isn’t anything special about it. However, I do think that Out The Window has a bit of a edge over the other tracks. Every time I hear the song or watch the music video for it over the past couple of weeks, I found myself thinking the song can be a great OST choice for the right drama. Based on the lyrics, it seems like this ballad would be best played when the lead characters of the drama are reminiscing about their memories of one another.

For the music video, I liked its more rustic approach with its out-of-focus home video style approach. It is quite different to what we get nowadays when it comes to aesthetics, and I find this video speak volumes this way. I think the particular style is intention though, as the content that we see are actually memories that are being played back. This would align with the lyrics of the song. I am not exactly sure if I saw things right, but the scene in which the female character withdraws/retracts her hand from Daeyeol felt like it was in a rewinding motion.

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

[Review] That Feeling – Seungmin, Donghyun & Jaehyun (Golden Child)

Coming up later today is the album review for Golden Child’s second studio album (and its repackaged version). But as mentioned yesterday, there is still a few more unit and solo tracks to review off the album before I can post the full album review. First up today is the unit track That Feeling, which features Seungmin, Donhyun and Jaehyun.

I too do not have much to say about That Feeling. It isn’t a mind blowing track, but That Feeling comes off as a nostalgic listen to me. It is as if I have heard the song before. This does not mean that it is a direct copy off another song. Instead, thanks to the song’s warming and mild atmosphere, That Feeling comes off as familiar and inviting. And I quite like that aspect of this unit track. I also find the song to be quite sweet-sounding, which can be attributed to the the likes of Seungmin, Donghyun and Jaehyun. Similarly, the melodies, especially during the pre-chorus and choruses, were so nice and soothing to listen to. I also appreciate the lightness of the song and how it is easy of the ears. From the vocals to the trumpets we get in background, nothing overwhelmed and contributed to that overall inviting and warm feeling. Overall, That Feeling was quite a likeable track.

There isn’t anything too crazy in the music video. Like the song, it also quite sweet and fits the tone of the song overall. Seungmin, Donghyun and Jaehyun are on a road trip in Korea, with a lot of the footage of them are at a beach and on the road. I did like the combined usage of the Instagram look and the ripped photo/scrapbooking look. Both came together to give the video both a modern and rustic look. but I also thought that both contributed to a playful and fun vibe as well.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] Singing In The Rain – Joochan & Bomin (Golden Child)

The next step to a completed album review for Golden Child’s second studio album (and its repackaged version) is for the album’s first unit track. This unit, if you cannot tell from the title of the post, is made up of Joochan and Bomin, two vocalists of the group. Their single is titled Singing In The Rain.

I personally do not have much to say about Singing In The Rain, so this review will be fairly short. This doesn’t mean I dislike the song, though. As a matter of fact, I quite enjoyed the song as whole, even though its style just isn’t my cup of tea. Singing In The Rain is a fairly simple song. It is a very typical jazzy style of music, suitable for a coffee shop. There is a bit of rain in the background, so imagine sitting in a n ambient coffee shop on a rainy day whilst listening to this song. There actually isn’t anything that special about the style of song, but something else really captivates and pulls me into the song. Singing In The Rain superbly present Joochan and Bomin’s vocals. The pair sounds quite dreamy and sweet throughout the song and this really fans out to the rest of the song. I particularly like the pairing of Joochan’s higher and Bomin’s lower tone in this song. The contrast between the two was nice and gives the song that extra something to talk/think about. The melodies that the voices are carry are so light and drifty, reiterating that dreamy and sweet feeling you get from the song. Overall, a soothing track to listen to. In the grand scheme of things, it may not be the most memorable side track on the album, but Singing In The Rain is still a worthwhile listen.

There seems to be two theories floating about regarding this video. One of them proposes that Bomin’s character is in love with the female character, while the other proposes that Bomin is in love with Joochan’s character. The video is pretty ambiguous, so either theories feel very valid. Apart from that, everything else within the video fits in neatly with the song. I also like the rainy scenes, with Joochan and Bomin dressed up in suits and holding their umbrellas. It gave the video a bit of variety in terms of range of scenes and infused a bit of something different into the video.

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

[Review] GAME – TAG & Jibeom (Golden Child)

Earlier this week, I flag I would post reviews for the unit and solo tracks from Golden Child’s second studio album, GAME CHANGER, ahead of the actual album review which I will be posting this weekend. To date, I have only posted one (the review of POPPIN’ by Y and Jangjun). But the rest are coming and the album review will definitely be posted this weekend! So, I better get cracking. Next up is the unit release of GAME, which features members TAG and Jibeom.

To me, GAME feels slightly inferior to POPPIN’, simply because it comes off as your more typical dance pop track. It is still a decent side track off the GAME CHANGER album, and its elements (which I will go through in a second) helps the song stand out. But it just doesn’t live up the same standard as POPPIN’ had set. I just don’t find GAME as striking as the previously reviewed song, with the typical nature of the song coming out more throughout the track, and I feel that this atmosphere was the only aspect that hold backs the song for me. To me, the standardness comes from two elements within GAME – forgettable verses that just didn’t stick in my mind, and similarly unmemorable vocals/rapping. Sure, the rapping was powerful and the vocals were nice in GAME, but neither really struck me. Unlike POPPIN’, I am not amazed as I had hoped to be. We did get some memorable hooks (i.e. the ‘LALALA‘ hooks following the choruses), but these felt unoriginal, and I couldn’t really bring myself to say that the vocals/raps were the cause of the memorable factor. However, as mentioned above, I was impressed with the brassy centrepiece of GAME. The heaviness from the piano in the chorus and the bass also gave the song some depth and oomph, which I definitely appreciated. But overall, GAME just didn’t live up to standard set by Y and Jangjun.

TAG and Jibeom play rivals in this music video, and they choose to settle their differences with a bit of gambling. After putting everything they have in, both members were more interested in showing each other who is better (big egos here). So interested that they didn’t see or hear the third person in the room, who knocks them both out (with a very soft tap from the looks of it). Once tied up, they realize that they were played and shouldn’t have worked against each other. Now, both of them have lost everything on the table and someone else (unknown to us all) has run off with both TAG and Jibeom’s money. Aside from the plot, I quite liked the visuals from this music video, particularly the various photo shots we get throughout the video and how they were intertwined with the video’s scenes.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] DDARA – Golden Child

Part of today’s comeback lineup is Golden Child, who has returned with their repackaged version of their second studio length album. The new album has been re-released with the title DDARA. The title track for this release also shares the same name as the newly titled album. DDARA follows the release of Ra Pam Pam from early August. In Golden Child related updates, I will be posting reviews to Golden Child’s unit and solo tracks from their Game Changer album over the coming nights, ahead of their album review later this week. The new songs on DDARA will also be included as part of this album review! But until then, here are my thoughts on DDARA.

DDARA falls into what I would consider to be a niche within the new jack swing genre of music. The new jack swing style tends to be quite in your face, but DDARA seems to hold back on that upfront nature. Because of this, and the sleekness of the song’s main hook and the overall approach of the Golden Child members in this song, DDARA comes off very mature and elegant-sounding. It is very different from what Golden Child has put out more recently, which fell more into the EDM space. What stands out to me in DDARA is the various delivery of vocals and raps throughout the song. We hear a lot of different styles, including acapella at the start of the song, the raspy nature of the song’s main hook (which is quite catchy), the strong vocals that brings vibrancy to the chorus and soft vocals elsewhere, and (finally) refined yet dynamic hip-hop style rapping in the second verse and rap-speaking elsewhere. And there is probably a bit more to add to the list if I had space. As touched on above, the hooks (not just the main hook as already mentioned) were quite catchy. They seemed to bring a dynamic energy to the song, particularly the ‘Yeah this is how we do it‘ chants, which adds contrast. Contrast was also the main theme at the end of the song as the producers throw a bit of a curveball, changing it up by adding altered voices into the background. It was definitely a change up that I thought was needed as the song would easily attracted a (negative) repetitive complaint had that change up not been there. Contrast seemed to be present up to the very last second, as well. In the final line, we got a duo combination of vocal styles. All the members start off chanting one of the song’s hooks, before one member ends the line by himself (not sure who). I thought that was a dynamic and impactful line. Overall, DDARA is a different style, but a good sense of style.

The music video also taps into that sophisticated side. The room (painted pale green room with gold detailings on the wall that I am sure other KPOP idols have filmed in before) was classy and vintage-looking. The props in the room were also gave off that same vibe, though I am not too sure of the food items they had on the table when everyone was in the room (cheeseballs, sauce bottles and decorating donuts – someone didn’t get the classy and elegant memo for that aspect of this video). The choreography scenes were quite simple. A black and white filter, with the member dancing over a white background. The sophistication here comes from the members who are dressed in suits and looked very dapper and proper. Not the most amazing music video, but it works.

The choreography for this comeback shows off both style and flair, which stands out for me. I quite liked the leg flicks. They were soft moves, but quite sharp in execution. It looks quite good. I also like how the rest of the choreography amps up right after the leg flicks to match the energy and beats from the new jack swing elements in the instrumentation. It is a strong routine that matches their concept for this comeback, overall.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Review] POPPIN’ – Y & JangJun (Golden Child)

Golden Child’s latest album, Game Changer, featured a bunch of unit and solo tracks. And as part of the promotions for Game Changer, Woolim Entertainment has released a music video for each of those tracks. Over the next few days, I will be reviewing each of the unit and solo tracks from the album that have a music video, ahead of the album review that I will releasing over the weekend. First up (chosen at random) is POPPIN’, which is a unit track featuring Y and JangJun.

My first impression of POPPIN’ is that it screams fun. The pop song is a party track that brings together Y and JangJun. It is extremely upbeat, maintains a fun party vibe throughout and is definitely memorable for a number of reasons. From the very first second with the electric guitars at the start, POPPIN’ teases the energy that was about to come. Right after that, we constantly served with low yet smooth vocals from Y, and powerful and dynamic rapping from JangJun throughout the entirety of the song. Both came through with their parts and kept me captivated. I am floored by JangJun’s delivery in this song, especially since his delivery The blast of energy that we get in the chorus was very impactful and stays in your head even after the song finishes. The most memorable part is when the two comes together for the second half of the chorus, concentrating everything we have heard around it into a sequence of its own. The anthem style delivery and the simplicity of this sequence was super catchy and addictive. Overall, I think the pair really excelled in POPPIN’. I personally am not familiar with both members, but POPPIN’ definitely gives me reason to delve more into the pair. And the song? Well it is definitely POPPIN’. It leaves me with the feeling of when you want more of something, which results you in dragging your cursor to the replay button to satisfy that craving.

Fitting in with the fun vibes of the song, the music video for POPPIN’ features an employee and boss dynamic. Y plays the role of the employee, who is constantly scolded or shouted at by the boss, who is played by JangJun. Their acting was funny and lighthearted throughout the video. At the first chorus, we see Y imagine confronting JangJun and yelling back at him. In the second chorus sequence, we see that imagination become reality, which causes JangJun to remembers his time as an employee. Both forgive each other, as the pair proceed to party it up in the office at the end. Though I guess some actual office workers won’t be impressed by the mess which the pair makes during these party scenes. I liked their CCTV perspective and the use of technology to film this music video (though the constantly moving made it a bit overwhelming for me).

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

[Review] Ra Pam Pam – Golden Child

Also making a Monday comeback is Golden Child with Ra Pam Pam. The song is the title track off their second studio-length album (titled Game Changer), which also dropped on Monday. This is Golden Child first comeback since their Yes and Burn It comeback at the very start of this year. In related Golden Child news, the group was scheduled to be one of the first groups to return to ‘offline concerts’ last month, but this was ultimately postponed due to a surge in local cases of COVID-19 in South Korea (which have affected a number of KPOP stars recently). I guess a bit more waiting is involved before we can see the Golden Child members (and other groups) up close and personal again. Glad that Ra Pam Pam was not affected.

Ra Pam Pam is a substantial track that allows Golden Child to both experiment and show off their skills in many departments. However, what I am missing in Ra Pam Pam is a robust bombastic sound that really highlights and emphasises the beat. That would have literally been a ‘game changer’ for me (trust me, when I get around to the album review, I will be using the same pun if the song evokes it). But instead, we were given a Moombahton beat. Personally, I felt that this was a bit too soft for my liking. Something metallic or electronic would have been ideal, in my point of view. Think of it as corners to a rectangle. I wanted something sharper like pointy corners, but Ra Pam Pam goes with rounder corners (sorry for going all geometry on you). That being said, the Moombahton influences, combined with the flutes, drums and other percussion in the instrumentation in Ra Pam Pam gave a nice Latin-pop like profile. Again, it isn’t an original idea. But I think Golden Child pulls it off well, especially since it is such an overused sound/genre in KPOP. For the vocals, I thought the group excelled in this department. Especially when it came to the choruses. The togetherness of the song’s main hook was really satisfying, addictive and catchy. I also like the syllable delivery approach in the chorus, giving Ra Pam Pam that sharpness I really wanted. The cleanness of the high note was quite good as well. I also really liked the rapping in this song. The energy that came from it and the momentum kept the song moving forward and was quite satisfying as well. Overall, Ra Pam Pam is quite satisfying as a whole song, but I just wanted something more honed and concentrated.

The music video of Ra Pam Pam is set in a dystopian future, with the members being sole survivals of what seems to be an alien invasion and an alien spaceship extracting energy from Earth. And per usual, the members of Golden Child are the ones to save the day. They monitor what is going on out there and hatch a plan to save what is left of the world. Only problem is that they cannot go out there as the dust is toxic and they only have two breathing apparatus. Daeyeol, who is over seeing his members being trapped in the confines of their refuge building, takes one breathing apparatus to shut down whatever machine has been set up to extract energy from Earth. Y follows him out there. The aliens catch on and destroy Y’s oxygen tank. Daeyeol makes the ultimate sacrifice by giving his breathing apparatus to Y before being shot in the back. However, he manages to key in the code and shut the machine down, which ends up wiping those masked aliens (or humans, not too sure). The other members go searching for the pair who is outside, only to find the atmosphere clear up. The members venture outside, and based on what their facial expressions, seem to realize that at least one of their own was killed to make it possible for them to go outside again. But it is revealed as a bit of a plot twist that Daeyeol may still be alive after all with the move of a finger. This music video is another case of a movie condensed into a span of 4 minutes. I hope there is some epilogue or a sequel to give me closure to the story. Only one small wish with this video – I just wished the ending font didn’t look so cheap.

While the song wasn’t as sharp, the choreography was. And I think this really showcase Golden Child’s performance skills once again. This was particularly observed during the ‘Ra Pam Pam‘ chorus hook, where they did Latin-styled dance moves and had a small bounce to said moves. I also liked their outfit concept for the comeback. It gives off sexy vibes that highlights their matureness and transition to ‘Golden Men’. Donghun and Jangjun really killed it on the style front this comeback.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] YES. (5th Mini Album) – Golden Child

Per the posting schedule, it is time for another album review. This time it is the latest mini-album from Golden Child, YES. This mini-album was unveiled at the end of January 2021. Burn It was the title track from the album and the group has since wrapped up promotions for. As of this week, Golden Child has started follow up promotions with Breathe, another track from the mini-album. Alongside these two songs, the album also features three other tracks and an introductory instrumental track (which per usual, I have not included in this album review. Continue reading to see whether the mini-album will earn a big YES from me.

YES Album Cover

2. Burn It (안아줄게) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Burn It. (8.5/10)

3. Cool CoolCool Cool is what I would call a well-rounded song. I felt like I enjoyed every aspect of the song. The instrumental was quite cool (pun unintended). From the xylophones, to the striped back percussion of the first half of the chorus, to the brass that dominated the second half of the chorus. It all worked really cohesively together to form the song. I would have liked the song to be a little heftier, as that would really have made the song mind-blowing for me. Cool Cool also shines thanks to the vocals and rapping. The vocals really pushed the song from being ordinary to being quite dynamic through the high notes and their overall delivery. The rappers brought a really nice sense of edgy and punchiness to the song, making the song even more dynamic. (9/10)

4. Round n Round (기다리고 있어) – If you know me, you will probably know that I am attracted to songs with a bit of upbeat and lively energy. Round n Round seems to be the that track on this album. The electronic centric instrumentation gives the song a lot of texture. It also makes the song feel fulfilling and adds some interesting detailing to the background. I also like the bounce to the instrumentation, which really appeals to my affinity for this type of song. I really like the pop route they took with the chorus, which practically sold me the song within the first listen. The rappers also give the song a classy effect, while the vocalists do their usual thing with their great vocals. To me, Round n Round is this album’s hidden gem. (10/10)

5. Milky Way Milky Way is no ballad, thanks to its instrumentation. But it feels like the album’s mandatory ballad thanks to its more downtempo approach. The song also leans more to the pop genre (maybe even pop rock to a certain extent). Once again, I like the synths used in the instrumental and how it was underlaid with some nice guitar work, which helps bring a bit of acoustic to the song. For the members, I enjoyed their vocals, especially those who sang the ‘Nothing without you’ line from the chorus. I also like the autotuned deep vocals that end the chorus. It all really makes Milky Way captivating and worth listening to. (9/10)

6. BreatheClick here for the full review of Breathe. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.1/10

YES Teaser Image

[Review] Breathe – Golden Child

Congratulations to Golden Child for winning four of the categories in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards including Best Male Group, Best Male Group Choreography, Rising Star and Best Song of 2020 with ONE (Lucid Dream). To check out who else was voted to be the best in 2020, click here!

Golden Child is back! A month ago, they made their comeback with Burn It and their fifth mini-album, Yes. The comeback has proven to be a success, with the group scoring a few weekly KPOP show wins and edges the group closer to the top of the album charts. Golden Child also made their first appearance on the Gaon Digital Charts with the single. And it seems like the success has given them the opportunity to promote a follow-up single from the album. Today, the group dropped the music video and started promotions for Breathe, the final song on their Yes mini-album and the focus of this review. On a side note, I will be reviewing their mini-album and that album review will be out very soon!

Breathe taps Golden Child into the once-again common retro trend. And it is a fine track to kick back to, especially at the end of the album. What I really enjoyed about Breathe was the upbeat energy that comes off the song, particularly during the choruses. This isn’t hard-hitting like most songs we hear today which heavily utilises EDM and comes swinging at you in a relentless manner. Instead, Breathe comes off as quite pleasant and satisfying. There is also a nostalgic ring to the song. The pop dance track features synths that really make the song quite dynamic and appealing to me. What is also great about Breathe is how it present the members. The melodies are quite easy to get into, allowing the vocalists to be heard in a fulfilling manner. The ‘I Wanna Breathe‘ opening line to the chorus actually stuck with me, along with their other hook and melodies. The bridge is a prime example of how their vocals were highlighted in the song, with Bomin and Joochan bringing some steadiness to the song to make the final chorus that little more impactful for us. I also really liked how the rappers’ section had a groovier kick, allowing their rapping to fit into the song with a slightly more intense and dynamic background. The groovier kick still fits in with the pop tune of the song, of course! Overall, Breathe is definitely a nice track, with optimal energy being its biggest asset.

The image teasers leading up the follow-up promotions showed us Golden Child as volleyball players. In the music video, we see their high-school volleyball player personas train for a big game. It appears that Daeyeol and Y have a bit of a rift while practicing for the game. It leads to Y becoming quite moody and it also appears that he temporarily leaves the team (i.e. when he leaves his sweatband behind after practice). Joochan tries to hold him back, but he brushes him off. It turns out that Y doesn’t want to leave the team and comes after hours to continue practicing. Joochan joins him and gives him his sweatband to tell him that he is part of the team regardless of whatever he is experiencing. They have a bit of fun before Daeyeol appears in front of them. Y believes he is about to get scolded, but Daeyeol ends up throwing a ball at him. All is forgiven and they return with the team to train as a group. They go on to play the game, with the team scoring a win thanks to Y. The story is pretty cliché, but nice at the same time. Apart from the storyline, the music video features satisfying choreography shots. My favourite is the white shirts and demin jeans on the outside field. The colours just pop and look great.

I really like the entire routine. Like the song and music video, it just feels just right and it compliments all the other elements of this comeback quite well. The start was quite interesting. It was a nice soothing look on stage, before the first chorus kicks into gear. I also enjoyed the sharp moments in the chorus and how Golden Child performed in sync with one another on stage, giving this choreography a really polished look.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.9/10

[Special] 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Winners Announcement

Welcome to the announcement post of the winners for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. During the month of December in 2020, I opened up a survey for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Over 1800 of you voted during the month of December, a number that I did not expect to see! I am sure that you all are excited and are awaiting to see which artist has clinched victory in each category. I have definitely made you wait long enough 🙂

Like the previous years, I will announce the winners using GIFs and images. I have also announced the runners up for each category as Honourable Mentions below the GIFs. In addition to that, I have included the KPOPREVIEWED Choice, which is my personal pick for each category.

Unlike previous years, however, all of the winners of the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards (including the End of Year Charts and Best Song of 2020 Award) is included in this very one post! Towards the bottom of each post, you will see some page numbers. You can click on these page numbers to navigate to different award categories and the End of Year Charts. Here is a quick guide to the page numbers:

Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award

Artist Caregories

The following categories are all fan-voted categories for the artists that were active during the eligible period of December 2019 to November 2020.

Best New Male Group

Nominees:
BDC
CRAVITY
DRIPPIN’

Nominees:
MCND
TOO
TREASURE

Honourable Mention: TREASURE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: TREASURE


Best New Female Group

Nominees:
aespa
BLACKSWAN
cignature

Nominees:
SECRET NUMBER
WEEEKLY
woo!ah!

Honourable Mention: WEEEKLY
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WEEEKLY


Best New Male Soloist

Nominees:
Han Seung Woo (VICTON)
Kim Woo Seok (UP10TION)

Lee Eun Sang
Wonho
WOODZ

Honourable Mention: Wonho
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WOODZ


Best New Female Soloist

Nominees:
Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)

Ryu Sujeong (Lovelyz)
Solar (Mamamoo)
YooA (Oh My Girl)

Honourable Mention: Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: YooA (Oh My Girl)


Rising Star of 2020

Nominees:
EVERGLOW
Golden Child
ONEUS

Nominees:
ONF
The Boyz
VICTON

Honourable Mention: EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: The Boyz


Most Underrated Group of 2020

Nominees:
A.C.E
APRIL
ASTRO

Nominees:
Dream Catcher
ONEUS
VERIVERY

Honourable Mention: Dream Catcher
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ONEUS


Best Vocals

Nominees:
AKMU
DAY6
IU

Nominees:
Lee Hi
Ong Seong Woo
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Taeyeon (SNSD)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best Rapper

Nominees:
Dami (Dream Catcher)
Han Ji Sung (Stray Kids)
Jessi

Nominees:
Jooheon (MONSTA X)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)
Wooseok (Pentagon)

Honourable Mention: Han Jisung (Stray Kids)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Jooheon (MONSTA X)


Best Band

Nominees: CN BLUE, DAY6, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE

Nominees:
CN BLUE
DAY6

IZ
N.Flying
ONEWE

Honourable Mention: CN BLUE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best CO-ED Group

Nominees:
AKMU
CHECKMATE
K-TRIGERS ZERO
KARD

Honourable Mention: AKMU
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: KARD


Best Subunit

Nominees:
BTOB 4U
End of Day
Moonbin & Sanha

Nominees:
NCT 127
Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi
WJSN CHOCOME

Honourable Mention: NCT 127
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT 127


Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Kang Daniel, Ong Seong Woo, Taemin (SHINee), Zico

Nominees:
Baekhyun (EXO)
Chen (EXO)
Kang Daniel

Nominees:
Ong Seong Woo
Taemin (SHINee)
Zico

Honourable Mention: Taemin (SHINee)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Kang Daniel


Best Female Soloist

Nominees:
Chungha
Hwasa (Mamamoo)
IU

Nominees:
Jeon Somi
Sunmi
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Hwasa (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Chungha


Best Male Group

Nominees:
A.C.E
AB6IX
ASTRO
ATEEZ
BTS
Golden Child

GOT7
MONSTA X
NCT
NU’EST
ONEUS
ONF
Pentagon

SEVENTEEN
SF9
Stray Kids
The Boyz
TXT
VERIVERY
VICTON

Honourable Mention: BTS, Stray Kids
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT, SEVENTEEN, Stray Kids


Best Female Group

Nominees:
APRIL
BLACKPINK
BVNDIT
Cherry Bullet
CLC
Dream Catcher

EVERGLOW
fromis_9
(G)I-DLE
GFriend
ITZY
IZ*ONE
LOONA

Lovelyz
Mamamoo
Oh My Girl
Red Velvet
TWICE
Weki Meki
WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Honourable Mention: BLACKPINK, EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ITZY, LOONA, Oh My Girl


Select the page numbers below (just above the comments section) to go to the award categories you want to see the most!
Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award

[Review] Burn It – Golden Child

The other group to make a Monday comeback today is Golden Child, who returns with Burn It and the mini-album, Yes. Golden Child had a pretty big year and it all started in the preceding year of 2019 through their Wannabe comeback. The group went on to release Without You and One (Lucid Dream) to form a trilogy of releases in which Golden Child explores a darker and mature side. In the midst of these comebacks, they also partipated in Road To Kingdom, before ending the year with the more chirper release of Pump It Up. Golden Child continues to venture out with their new release, kicking off what should be another big year for the group.

Burn It aligns with their more mature releases. My first impression of Burn It was that it felt plain. But why does it have that impression? Well, each of the three releases that formed part of that triology I mentioned in the previous paragraph had a really strong hook that captured my attention. Burn It had a few good hooks, butnone of them felt as as explicitly upfront as those hooks I could easily identify from the other songs I am comparing Burn It to. The good news is that the few re-listens I have given the song today so far to prep for this review has helped the song grow immensely on me. Now I find that the reggaeton styled dance track actually feels quite modern and smooth. Oh, you will always be surprised what a few more repeats of the song will do to you. To enhance the sleekness of the song, there is a bit of whistling in the background to really help emphasis this side of the song. The vocal work and melodies really help in this regard as well. It is also the melodies that help drive the song forward. TAG and Jangjun’s rapping really had a nice kick to it, giving the song that needed intensity fix. I just do miss that centrepiece that draws you in from the first listen. But Burn It comes together to be quite a cohesive track, satsifying the reviewer in me.

Korean media is very big on zombies. There are dramas that features the undead creatures. There are movies that features the same undead creatures. And for a brief while, they featured in the KPOP music videos. But it has definitely been a while since we have seen a zombie themed music video. And Golden Child really went for it in a video almost 7 minutes long. I won’t get into the exact details, but there were many subplots within the video. Family, romance, friendship and sacrifice. The main story of the video revovled around the romance side of the video, where one of the members fight to protect the lead actress. But it turns out the lead actress was bitten and slowly turned into a zombie. In her final moments, she tells her lover to not come near her. But he embraces her zombie form. We can only assume that she turns him at the end (though there was no clarification of that). I do like the subplots approach, because I am sure each subplot represents something larger. The interlude music in the video was a bit cringy and cliche for my liking. But obviously it was there to help build suspense to the final outcomes of each of the subplots (or their cliff hanging enders). I also wished they didn’t include the choreography shots, as those time slots could have been used to explore more of the stories. Have a separate video for the choreography, similar to what T-ARA used to do with their Cry Cry and Day By Day music videos.

The choreography is definitely quite intense and complicated. I really liked that intensity they fuse into the post-chorus hook sequences of the choreography. I also enjoyed the graceful moments of the verses, which felt fitting for the music and helped show off more of their performance skillset. I also really liked how the enitre group was essentially in sync for majority of the performance, emphasising that sleekness and attention to detail once again.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] Pump It Up (2nd Single Album) – Golden Child

Once upon a time, I used to album reviews on Tuesdays. Usually, the album reviews published on Tuesday are reserved for a bit of a throwback. I cover ‘past’ albums for the year prior to the year we are in. Because of my poor sleeping patterns, I haven’t been able to do that. And now that I am overloaded with albums to review from October (and most likely November and December), I have decided to cancel the ‘past album review’ segment for now (it will be back next year) and use Tuesdays to help recover on the album review front of the blog. Today’s focus is on Golden Child’s second single album and title track, Pump It Up, which was released over a month ago. The song has become an instant favourite of mine and it has gone on to top my Weekly KPOP Charts.

Pump It Up Album Cover

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

2. That GuyThat Guy is more a pop ballad. My first impression of the song is that is almost on par with LADY, one of the group’s most memorable side tracks for me. The instrumental is made up of atmospheric strings and pop percussion. It is actually quite beautiful, to the point where I wouldn’t mind listening to it alone without the vocals. Oh and the vocals. There are equally as stunning. Joochan and Y’s lines in the chorus are the song’s highlight without the doubt. I wished that That Guy had stronger melodic power (like LADY) and that pretty much would have brought it up to the same level as the mentioned song. But we almost got there. I also liked how they delayed the ad-libs so it was more to the end. I felt that was a missing element at the start of the final chorus, but they delivered it down the track. And the rapping was also quite nice, tweaked well to fit the softer nature of the song. (9/10)

3. Lean On Me (너의 뒤에서)Lean On Me is an upbeat electronic pop dance track. It too almost rivals a song, in particular the title track of this single album. It didn’t surpass Pump It Up because it lacked a bit of vibrancy. It is really the one thing that really set the two tracks apart for me. I feel that if the producers made the song pop out more, it could pretty much have been the title track. Once again, the vocals are quite nice in this song. They were very consistency throughout, which isn’t always a bad thing. I really liked that the rapping follows the chorus. It is applied to the same instrumental as the chorus, so it feels like an extension of the chorus – prolonging the song’s catchiest sequence. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

Pump It Up Teaser Image

[Review] Pump It Up – Golden Child

The next group making their comeback this week is Golden Child, with Pump It Up! This is the male group’s third comeback this year, following the likes of Without You and One (Lucid Dream) this year. Golden Child also participated in Road To Kingdom, but was unfortunately the first group to be eliminated from the show. They also held an online concert (due to the ongoing pandemic) and also participated with their labelmates as With Woolim for a special single, Relay. Phew! That is quite a lot of work for Golden Child, who continues to push themselves with each activity. Let’s see what Golden Child has in store for this comeback.

Pump It Up is an upbeat pop track and return to Golden Child’s more youthful sounds and roots. If you weren’t a fan of their more mature and serious change up over their last three comebacks, then I am sure you will be glad with Pump It Up‘s sound. Coming from those mature sounds, however, does make this new song feel more powerful. And this additional oomph to their song pretty much works in their favour. The instrumental is quite lively and energetic, with the guitar riffs and slight retro touch (there is a bit of the song that reminds me of Jackson 5’s ABC 123) definitely helping to bring the song to life. There are fantastic vocals during this song. The chorus and bridge were very solid sequences, while the final moments of the pre-chorus contained harmonies that I thought were a fantastic addition to the song. The rapping had the right amount of energy to them and felt fitting for their lively sound. I would have liked more rapping, but I am fine with the serving they have provided to us. Aside from that, I wonder why Pump It Up was released in Autumn/Fall. It feels more aligned for the Summer season, given its energy and refreshing change back to their original sound. I also reckon that Pump It Up would have been a hit if it was released this past Summer. I am not sure how the song would play out in Autumn/Fall, but I am definitely on the side of it being another Golden Child hit nonetheless!

The members of Golden Child break up into smaller groups for this comeback for majority of the video. And there was quite a bit going on that made me laugh. Some members were watching a horror movie at the cinema, others were filming the movie. There were some getting ready for a upcoming live broadcast over the radio waves, while others were eagerly awaiting a meal, just to be disappointed with a mini meal (this reaction made me laugh). Video games and scratchy lotteries were also played. The members reconvened as a group to work hilariously in an office and also were pilots for brief moments throughout the video. It was a fun and exciting video worth watching. I love the splash of colour that the video had, with the red in one of the choreography shots and the yellow on vibrant blue shopping containers in another set of choreography shots.

The choreography looks as vibrant and fun as the music video did. The opening looked fun. As I also mentioned the song section of this review, I noticed how much more powerful this lively sound was and how this would be advantageous for the group. And that perceived powerfulness was definitely apparent when it came to the chorus of the song. Their mature concepts/sound has refined their synchronisation and made their performance look more polished. I also really like the cascading effect they did with their formations when it came to the harmonies just prior to the choruses.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10

[Album Review] Take A Leap (4th Mini Album) – Golden Child

Last month, Golden Child made their comeback with a pretty captivating track, ONE (Lucid Dream). This song is the title track off their fourth mini-album, Take A Leap and is the focus on today’s album review. What I did not know about this comeback is that it was connected with their two earlier releases. So if you haven’t checked out my review for Wannabe and Without You, along with my album review for their first studio album, Re-Boot, then you can do so by clicking on the hyperlinks. But if you want to find out what my thoughts were for Take A Leap, then you can do so by continue reading!

The album cover for Golden Child's fourth mini-album, Take A Leap.
Take A Leap Album Cover

2. ONE (Lucid Dream) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for ONE (Lucid Dream). (9.5/10)

3. OMG (훅 들어와) – To me, OMG is the merging of Golden Child’s upbeat and fun-sounding debut roots and their current mature sound. The song is definitely quite bright and energetic, but it is more subdued and refrained from going too youthful. It is a nice combination. There was a funky nature to the instrumental and it had a much-appreciated casual feel. The vocals and rapping were pretty clear and nice. If I had to pick a favourite moment in this song, it would be Tag and Jangjun’s rap sequence at the start of the bridge, layered on top of that really funky bounce-like synth. It was a pity that their melodies were a bit standard and I had wished OMG had more punchy hooks. But overall, a pleasant song to listen to. (7.5/10)

4. Moment – For a brief sequence, Moment began like a straightforward ballad. But as the song progressed soon after, we had more of a pop melody come through, and so the song ended up developing into a pop ballad. I really like this track as it reminds me of one of my favourite Golden Child sidetracks, Lady. It may not have had that same defined instrumental, but it was still on par as that 2018 era. I like how warm their vocals and rapping felt and how it really made the song blissful. Particularly the pre-chorus sequence, which had the best of both worlds. I really like the vocal melodies, which had a really nice flowy nature to them. I also liked it when their vocals got a little breathy during some parts, which added a nice colour to this song. (9/10)

5. Make Me Love – The song kicks off with a distorted ‘Stardust’, which really throws off you off. As the song went on, I just kept on thinking how random that distorted voice was and pretty much couldn’t get over it. But apart from that, Make Me Love is a good track. I really like the moody atmosphere. It is really intriguing. By while it was captivating (to an extent), I wanted more from it. The instrumental was pretty standard, and it also felt fairly spaced out. There wasn’t anything necessary special about it and I wished that it was a tad stronger. This would have lent a hand to help bolster up their vocals. The rappers faired better with this song. Their parts had a slight oomph, which really made their parts stand out more, compared to the vocalists. Tag’s rapping in this song was pretty memorable and suited that moody atmosphere that I enjoyed. (7/10)

6. H.E.R (그녀에게)H.E.R has this very airy nature, which would help make this song a suitable one to listen to while taking a nice stroll somewhere where there is a nice breeze. The use of synths and the piano in the background is a classic combination in this current KPOP era. But there is something refreshing about this song that makes it quite addictive. It might be that these two sides of the instrumental felt pretty light (relative to the other songs on the album). And I appreciate that quite a bit. This just makes the song sound so calming and pleasant. In addition to that, the light nature of the instrumental really helps highlight their vocals and rapping, which once again, is superb in this song. Their vocals and rapping felt like a perfect match to the lightness of the instrumentation, so it was a very well put together track. (9/10)

7. Pass Me By – It seems like Golden Child has saved the best song for last. Pass Me By is a ballad, though I can imagine a dance routine to pair alongside this song when it is performed on stage. The classical instrumental was truly beautiful and stunning. I really enjoyed the deep bass thumping we get throughout the instrumental. The strings really keep the song true to its ballad roots, while the percussion gives it a strong beat. And the piano was just riveting. Aside from the instrumental, I need to praise the vocals in this song. Pass Me By has Golden Child’s best vocal work ever. Not just on this album, but every song that I can think off from the top of my head. The vocal melodies were really captivating. But as much as I want to give the song a 10/10 rating, I can’t. There is no indication that it was a vocal line song, so I have to assume that this was a whole Golden Child song. And yet Tag and Jangjun had no lines. Such a bummer. I am sure they could have had one vocal line somewhere in this song. (9.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Take A Leap Group teaser Image
Take A Leap Teaser Image

[Review] ONE (Lucid Dream) – Golden Child

Recently, Golden Child participated in Road To Kingdom but was eliminated after the first round for having the least amount of points out of all the teams. If you are interested in my thoughts of their performances in the competition, you can view Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the special review series. But while the group did not last as long as we hoped, they announced their comeback soon after and hence why we are all here today. Golden Child returned today with their 4th mini-album, Take A Leap, which features the title track, ONE (Lucid Dream). The group pre-released the music video for this comeback 18 hours prior to the official release, but I was asleep then and was not able to review it. Instead, the group has landed on the top of my review list, so let’s get cracking.

The group has definitely gained attention with their dark sound and mature change, which contrasts greatly from their more brighter and energetic releases. In addition to that, Wannabe and Without You has become some of their best works in my opinion. But it seems like Golden Child hasn’t completely unleashed their new sound as ONE (Lucid Dream) raises the bar even higher than those other tracks can reach. The song’s instrumentation is quite unique and individualistic, something that will definitely allow the group to standout in a sea of typical and generic releases that will be due throughout Summer. The verses are made up of a very strong electronic vibrating synth and strong thumping beats. It feels quite grounded and impactful. The pre-chorus opts out of those two elements and goes for a more floating-like vibe, which really adds some smoothness to the roughened song. The chorus opts for some funky beats that adds character to the song and this fuses with some violins in the second half. The hooks just glide over and this too helps gives the song some smoothness. From where the song’s bridge should have started, ONE opted for with heavily distorted and high pitched vocals that form part of an instrumental break, before throwing us into dance break to end the song. I feel like Golden Child could have kicked it up a notch in this section to give the song a much needed climax. It just feels like a missed opportunity in my opinion. After all, they ended the song without diving into a final chorus. But it is still a very strong piece, regardless thanks to everything they had set up prior. The vocal work and rapping delivery are just on point. I liked how they kept their vocals relatively linear in comparison to the instrumental. This really helps add definition to the background and adds some contrast (that you know I like). My favourite part has to be the whispering in the first verse! Overall, a very strong effort, just a shy away from that perfect label.

So I wasn’t aware that Wannabe, Without You and ONE (Lucid Dream) were a trilogy until I scrolled through the comments to see what some viewers thoughts on the music video were. Why am I always the last one to find out that a string of comebacks are trilogies or a series of some kind? Based on those comments, Wannabe was about becoming the best version of oneself. Without You was getting lost in that idea. ONE is about realizing that best version of oneself was them originally. That is a pretty interesting interpretation of all the music videos. As for ONE by itself, the visuals for this music video was really cool. The visual effects were very strong. For the some of the individual scenes, I couldn’t tell if they were dreams or nightmares, which forced me to watch the music video a few times this morning to try to work it out. Some of them were obvious, others were a little hard to decipher. But I can agree that all of them were aesthetic.

This performance is very captivating. It, in a visual sense, looks very aesthetic as well. I really liked how they made it punchy once the song enters the first verse. I like how there was a lot of twisty formations and ‘over and under’ type of movements as they move around. The moves for the chorus has this subtle smoothness to it which matches perfectly with the music. And the dance break ends the performance on a very strong sense.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10