[International Song Reviews] ONEW (SHINee), Jackson Wang (GOT7), MONSTA X, aespa, TXT, Stray Kids

Finally getting around to another International Song Reviews post. I originally had intended to post one of these every fortnight since the start of September, but I have failed to keep up. So, I am hoping to smash through some of these as fast as I can, especially since I feel like the songs that I cover in this segment of the blog have been really forgotten (on my part) this year. In the last International Song Reviews post, I covered ITZY, Mark Tuan (from GOT7), Jackson Wang (from GOT7), CIX, Golden Child and Woosung (from The Rose).

This time around, I will be focusing on ONEW (from SHINee), Jackson Wang again (from GOT7), MONSTA X, aespa, TXT and Stray Kids.


Life Goes On – ONEW (SHINee)

Life Goes On is the title of both the lead single and first studio length Japanese album from ONEW, the leader of SHINee. It dropped officially back in July of this year. Life Goes On is a cheerful summery track that has a simple message – even in the most boring or hardest times, life will continue. It features a bright and up-tempo acoustic instrumental that really sets the mood and makes you look/think in a positive light, which is the whole purpose of the song. ONEW’s vocals were dreamy and light, and worked well with the brightness that radiates from the song. My only issue (and it is a minor one!) with the song is how it transitioned from the pre-choruses to choruses. The buildup in the pre-choruses was done well, but the chorus slowed down just by a tiny hair. It isn’t much and doesn’t ruin the song for me. But it is one of those things that now I have noticed it, it just stick out me every time I listen to the song.

As mentioned before, the song is quite bright and gives off positive energy. ONEW’s solo scenes are all shot on a beach on a very sunny day and the ocean is just so blue, a perfect setting for the song. Elsewhere in the video, we see actress Hinako Sakurai come face to face with a few hiccups in her day (knocking over a plant, bumping into people, nodding off, dropping her lunch). But while she does become upset over these events, she manages to still enjoy her day, as depicted by her bright smiles and dance scenes. We also see some sadness, so the video covers all bad moments that are possible, but her ongoing dance parties are a nice resolve to get through to the next day. Even the ending, where the world had disappeared, is passed off by her as another day or something to worry about later.

Overall Rating – 8.4/10


Cruel – Jackson Wang

Another July release, with Jackson returning with the single Cruel, another pre-release single from his second studio length album, MAGICMAN (which was later released in September). This time around, Jackson Wang delves into grungier rock territory with Cruel. Personally, I prefer the likes of Blow over Cruel, but I appreciate the nostalgia that Cruel brings forth for me (i.e. the grungy styled tracks from my youth). I also enjoyed the fact that the song is vastly moodier and darker than any song he has put out previously – a nice change to his music. The use of his raspy tone and the filtering of his vocals throughout Cruel were one of the highlights of the song. Another highlight was the way the electric guitar acted as nice detailing to the grungy tones of the song, balancing out the song.

The music video probably the best part of this release. And to sum it up, it is amazing. Essentially, Jackson Wang and the people we see in the video are demons who have wrecked havoc on the world. But now it is the fight of the fittest demon, with all of them fighting each other for ultimate power. Jackson, as the main character, manages to succeed in eliminating them all over a well choreographed sequence which also includes playing some of the other demons as guitars. He takes their souls and faces off the one on the throne, who appears to have overpowered him. But that twist ending where he reappears might suggest he has a few tricks up his sleeve. The setting and even their ashy appearances all worked super well in the video.

Overall Rating – 8.8/10


Late Night Feels – Sam Feldt MONSTA X

Late Night Feels was a fun number between Sam Feldt (Dutch DJ) and MONSTA X. I liked the groovy and funky instrumentation of the song, with the disco undertones and brass giving the song extra liveliness and additional colour. Late Night Feels‘ backing is also quite light and airy, perfect for the type of late night feels one might have to just have some fun and escape their troubles. Pairing up nicely with this element are the vocals of MONSTA X, who also add a further layer of brightness to the song with their higher pitched vocals. The simple melody of the chorus definitely caught on and I found myself humming the song to myself quite a fair bit after its release. Late Night Feels all came together to be a straight-forward and enjoyable track.

I recognized a few faces from the video including LeenaDong, Alan Chikin Chow and Brooke Monk. Essentially, they are treated poorly by their bosses, strangers and loved ones. Instead of continually putting up with such treatment, each of person are transported to a different world, where they are dressed in PJs, surrounded by dancers and neon lighting and get to have fun with some carefree (or awkward in Alan’s case) dances. Their peers end up joining them, and they also lose the serious tones we first saw them in and see them in a more lighthearted manner. The video definitely sums up the song quite well.

Overall Rating – 8/10


Life’s Too Short – aespa

aespa released their first English single, Life’s Too Short, back in June of this year. The single later featured on their 2nd mini-album, Girls, which I will be reviewing soon. Life’s Too Short is a mid-tempo R&B pop single with a simple yet breezy melody that draws my attention to the song. I quite appreciate this release, as it is vastly different to their main EDM-based title tracks, which can be overwhelming at times. Even though this is a pop track and doesn’t necessarily pack a punch like those title tracks I just mentioned, Life’s Too Short still manages to showcase potential behind their vocals, especially when they single together. It is all unfiltered and uncomplicated, which allows the listener’s focus to be just on the vocals. The pop instrumentation is quite light and pleasant, which in turn enables the vocals and melodies to do most of the talking.

Despite having seen this side of aespa through their past remake singles, I still find it weird to see the members in a more innocent vibe. I am just so used to seeing and thinking of them in edgy gear/concepts. But it is a neat change of image (even if it is brief). I guess even aespa needs their off days from their KWANGYA travels. I found the teenage-like concept the members take on board to suit the simpleness of the song. However, I did wish the music video was a bit more interesting, just to make it more memorable, as it is pretty dry for the most part. As for the choreography, it is nice. But pretty typical.

Overall Rating – 7.3/10


Valley of Lies – TXT ft. iann dior

Valley of Lies is also another July release, and features the likes of TXT and iann dior (rapper and singer). Together, they form a neat indie pop rock track that is very easy on the ears. There really isn’t much to this song, if I am being honest. I quite like the heavy presence of the strumming guitar in this song. I really liked the husky and raspy tones that both TXT and iann dior bring to the song, as it gave the song some grit and substance. Otherwise, I would have passed on the track and ignored it. But they gave me a reason to listen to Valley of Lies. Other than that, I don’t have anything else to comment on. This lack of talking points doesn’t mean Valley of Lies is lacking or boring. It is just a simple track that I enjoyed and I don’t think I need elaborate further.

We don’t get a music video for this release. But we did get an official visualizer, which in the grand scheme of things, acts as a music video. In this visualizer, we see an animation of a figure walking through the valley of lies (and at one point, flying through the sky). This appears to be in line with the song, which “speaks about a lonesome journey that one takes towards the end of a relationship, along a trail of countless lies”. I do want to know what the different backgrounds mean, as I feel they add more meaning to the video than meets the eye.

Overall Rating – 7.7/10


Circus – Stray Kids

The final release to be part of this post is Stray Kids’ Circus, their latest Japanese single, which was released in June. A Korean version of Circus featured as part of their latest mini-album, MAXIDENT, which I will be reviewing some time in the future. Circus is a hip-hop dance track that has is centered on a circus theme, which I thought was cool and unique. I quite enjoyed the release, as the members made sure it was dynamic and fun, whilst also trendy and modern. There were many good moments throughout Circus, like the circus theme coming through via the melody during the bridge and the whispery lines at the start of the choruses. There was also a strong showing of rapping and vocals from the members, per usual. But my favourite part of Circus has to be Lee Know’s line in the second chorus. It is super ear catching and goes back to that idea that the song is dynamic. I constantly replay Circus just for that moment.

Like the song, the music video features a circus theme and circus performers, alongside the members. But we don’t see just one set of the members. There are two sets of Stray Kids featured in this video, which instantly bring up the cool factor in my books. One of them are actual circus acts, while the other version of the group sneak in. By the end of the video, the two sides are performing together. Like the song, there are other cool moments in this video, but Hyunjin stole my attention with his visuals. As for the choreography, I liked how they interwoven references to circus acts into the music video. It keeps the circus theme going. I also liked how they kept it punchy and dynamic. I would have loved to see the four members (can’t tell who) do that spinning move they did at the back of one of the scenes of the music videos. That looked cool in the video and would have been super awesome to be pulled off on stage.

Overall Rating – 9/10

[Album Review] SUGAR (2nd Mini Album) – YOUNGJAE (GOT7)

Youngjae’s second mini-album, SUGAR, released mid June is the next album to be reviewed. I think, by now, you can tell I am not sticking to any particular order for these album reviews. I am just posting the ones that I have completed, and so longer albums (i.e., those that are studio length) will be published later. For now, I will be looking into SUGAR, Youngjae’s latest mini-album release that features the title of the same name and four other side tracks. SUGAR (both the mini-album and title track) follows Youngjae’s debut mini-album Colors from Ars, and title track Vibin’, from October of last year.

As you can see, I didn’t review Youngjae’s debut mini-album. So I promised to myself that I would review a future release from Youngjae, subjected to the usual vetting process that I have for the album review segment of the blog (i.e. an initial listen to see if the album has much to talk about and/or is worth writing a review for), and I was quite satisfied that SUGAR was good enough for an album review following the vetting process. In addition to the catchy and fun title track from SUGAR, there are a few other strong tracks that I would recommend you tune in for when listening to this mini-album. Read on to find out which songs these are.

SUGAR Album Cover

1. SUGAR (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for SUGAR. (8/10)

2. FocusFocus carries forward the upbeat nature of SUGAR, this time mixing the likes of R&B and pop together to create a very satisfying track. I really liked how Focus didn’t feel heavy or serious. It has this laidback vibe and a fun tone to it. The energy, Youngjae’s vocals and melodies from Focus made me smile, and I also have a small boogie very now and then when the song hits just right. An instant favourite for me. (9/10)

3. Crema – Youngjae dives deeper into the R&B genre with Crema. Parts of the instrumentation feature a coffee house like vibe or dreamy orchestral, but other parts just have some extra bass that just doesn’t fit that environment. Regardless of which part of the song, there is still a nice upbeat kick to the song that helps the song not feel so dry. Youngjae’s vocals are smooth throughout the song. (8/10)

4. NothingNothing slows down the album slightly further with this nice track. While this song isn’t as great as the other, it was still extremely likeable and pleasant to enjoy. I really liked the swayable melodies of Nothing, and I liked how the orchestral instrumentation plays a bigger part in the song. Youngjae does a fantastic job with his vocals, providing a warming and comforting pillow to rest your head on whilst listening to this song. (8/10)

5. With You – With the continuous slow down of momentum as the album progressed, it came as no surprise to me that the final song on the album was a ballad. This is the type of ballad that I found myself sitting extremely still and had my eyes closed to really take it all in, particularly when it came to the chorus. That is another sign of a good ballad, in my opinion. The orchestral instrumentation, which is the main player in the background this time around, was beautiful. And Youngjae was so captivating. With You is my pick for hidden gem on this mini-album. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

SUGAR Teaser Image

[Review] go UP – JAY B (GOT7)

GOT7 managed to remain a group, as evident through their GOT7 and NANANA comebacks earlier this year, even after the members going their separate ways. But since the members ventured to different companies, I have dropped the ball when it came to two members – JAY B and Yugyeom. Today’s review focuses on JAY B’s (sorry, Yugyeom fans, you got to wait a little longer) recent solo comeback, go UP, which is featured on his second solo mini-album Be Yourself. This follows his solo debut last year with Switch It Up, later comebacks with B.T.W (ft. Jay Park) and Sunset With You, and the recent signing with CDNZA Records.

go UP deep dives into old-school funk, with what I would describe as a fun and energetic track. To be honest, my knowledge into the funk genre is fairly limited (aside from some Bruno Mars, a few other well known hits that have topped the charts and the use of the adjective ‘funky’ when describing groovy numbers), but go UP manages to succinctly and straightforwardly sum up my understanding of the genre. It features slivers of brass, the plucking of bass guitar strings and an unrelentless amount of percussion to really bring the song to life. I believe this is all pretty standard of the funk genre, but it doesn’t change the fact that go UP is still a fun and enjoyable track, nonetheless. What really attracts me to the song is JAY B himself, who does a strong job of successfully encompassing go UP‘s energetic profile, by going through different vocal techniques to help aid the song’s liveliness. You have his usual raspy vocals that he has shown off in his R&B releases, but we get some really cool falsettos along the way (i.e. the verses) and some cool ad-libs (such as that final ‘yes‘ in the strings of yes’ from the second verse). Together with the instrumental, JAY B definitely makes sure that go UP‘s energy is the star of the track, and makes sure that you emerge from this song having a great time.

JAY B starts off the music video floating in mid-air at a port, observed by an older gentlemen and a younger boy, accompanied with the narration ‘This is how we are getting funky in Seoul, South Korea’. We then cut to the aftermath of a party, which JAY B is waking up from. I can’t help but think the older gentlemen and the younger boy are like some sort of guardian angel for JAY B, as they feel very judgmental with their plain expression as JAY B stumbles around. But they do not say no to a good time, as they join the crowd that JAY B attracts during the day time that gets bigger and bigger as the video progresses. And it is so good of a time that so many people getting high off that energy, causing that barge to lift up from the water, similar to the floating JAY B at the start of the video. Overall, I thought the video did a good job of bringing go UP‘s energy to life in a visual sense. And JAY B looks really good throughout the video. We also get to see some of his b-boying skills towards the end of the video, as well.

The choreography for this comeback was fun. Fun in both a movement manner and a expressive manner. I notice that some movements were stiff and small, but it looks intentional and helps give off an entertaining profile. His facial expressions were on point throughout the performance and gave off the impression that he was genuinely having fun. That shoe toss on the end was definitely just right for the performance, as well.

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

[International Song Reviews] ITZY, Mark Tuan (GOT7), Jackson Wang (GOT7), CIX, Golden Child, Woosung (THE ROSE)

As promised in the previous International Song Review post to increase the frequency of these reviews, I am back with a new International Song Review post for another six releases by our beloved KPOP artists. In that previous post, I reviewed non-Korean songs released by Momoland, BM (from KARD), Mark Tuan (from GOT7), THE8 (from SEVENTEEN), JAMIE and SEVENTEEN. In this post, I will be focusing on releases from ITZY, Mark Tuan, Jackson Wang, CIX, Golden Child and WOOSUNG. Let’s go!


Voltage – ITZY

Back in April of this year, ITZY released their first original Japanese single, Voltage. One of the aspects of Voltage that I really enjoyed was the electrifying energy that came from the song for me. It isn’t as in your face as it could have been, but holding it back definitely helped make it more impactful from how I see the song. The pop rock influence was very cool and fulfilling. The brassy synths were cool, as well. The vocals and rapping were substantial and definitely added bit of attitude and sass to the song, which took Voltage to a different level for me. I have no qualms with the eventuating girl-crush vibe that comes from Voltage, mainly because it is was well executed. My only criticism I personally have is that Voltage lacked a centric hook – one that usually makes their Korean releases more memorable and addictive. Had Voltage found a centric hook like that, this would have been a 10/10 song for me.

There were some good editing and post-production throughout the video. You might even call it seamless. It, combined with the motorcycle rider concept, helped create an edgy and cool vibe, as well. However, there were some questionable examples of post-production, as well. Namely Lia’s solo scenes with that glassy and snowy background was pretty awful. I don’t know what was the purpose of her scenes, given that the other scenes involved the night time or some sort of darkness in the background. The choreography was pretty cool and definitely worked well with the energy coming off from Voltage. I wished there was a more angsty vibe from the choreography and stage performances, just to give Voltage more oomph.

Overall Rating – 8.5/10


lonely – Mark Tuan (GOT7)

Mark Tuan is going to be a recurring artist in this segment over the next few posts, as he has been quite busy with his solo releases. lonely was released back in March of this year. It too jumps on board with the rock trend, though it steers away from the current pop rock trend of KPOP. However, I am not talking about an electrifying form of rock with headbanging potential. Instead, lonely is quite an emotional song, where the singer realizes his true feelings for his lover following their breakup. You can definitely feel the emotions from his vocals as well. There is still a degree of charge from the rock influence, which helped made lonely quite impactful, particularly since since it emerged out of nowhere. Usually you can tell from the pre-choruses of emerging influence, but Mark Tuan just skips the pre-choruses altogether. The combination with the synths and bass gives off more of a trendy vibe. Altogether, lonely is a strong solo track without the need of using a powerful backing.

The music video is quite simple, with a white backing, some fog, some black paint marks (couldn’t tell what the paint marks were trying to show/say), a black couch and Mark Tuan dressed in a black outfit. The video itself was almost a one-shot video, but there was some editing part way and in the bridge. But with such a video, the focus is on Mark Tuan and the passion he puts behind the delivery of the song within the music video. This, along with the fact that I am a sucker for simplicity, makes the music video for lonely very appealing to watch.

Overall Rating – 9/10


Blow – Jackson Wang

Fellow GOT7 member Jackson Wang has also been busy this 2022 with a few new solo singles under his wing. Today, I am reviewing Blow, which was released at the end of March. Blow is an example of my personal favourite style of pop rock genre combination that I am into. The beat is just so stompy, while the actual rock components of the song give off a grungy vibe. The pre-chorus has that head-banging potential, while the chorus really concentrates that stompy factor that I already mentioned with everything else instrumentally. And this is on top of being memorable with the background ‘Oh-Oohs‘. The bridge featuring Jackson’s falsetto was very sleek, while the follow-up autotuned ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star‘ provided a different colour yet familiar atmosphere that came about from the preceding sections of the song. I think it is safe to say that I am still digging Blow, after all these months.

Blow is about being addicted to and unable to escape from a toxic partner. And I feel we get an abstract showing of this idea. The music video depicts an old style roadshow (maybe of the circus variety, and thus The Greatest Showman vibes). Jackson, along with the dancers, are performers of the show. The conditions are quite dusty and old looking, suggesting these are the victims of the toxic partner (which I am assuming the grand show person of the roadshow). It is one massive interpretative dance party, before Jackson leaving, suggesting that he realizes and leaves the grip of the toxic partner. I found the use of smoke to depict the ‘blowing’ to be quite clever and fits in with the rest of the video’s concept. I also like how the choreography within the music video really picked up on the energy of the song and how the space was used.

Overall Rating – 9.6/10


Pinky Swear – CIX

Also at the end of March, CIX released their third official Japanese single. Titled Pinky Swear, it is a pop track that is a completely different offering to what CIX puts out in Korea (see the recent 458 for an example of CIX’s Korean work, if you are unfamiliar with the group). Pinky Swear is a lot brighter as a song and falls on the pleasant side of pop music. It is fun and upbeat, but a lot more traditional and typical. Decent melodies, vocals and rapping are also a feature in Pinky Swear. I do like the sweetness the vocal brings to the song, which helps add a cheerful factor to the song. It does lack a memorable hook, relying on a smooth melody to really key the song into my memory bank. As a result, Pinky Swear does slip away from me (and I nearly forgot about it when I was planning the segment). I much prefer their pre-release, Wondering, which I felt would have been a better fit as a promotional track for CIX when you consider their Korean work, as it potentially could have been aesthetic.

Pinky Swear‘s music video is quite colourful and plays well into the pop side of the song. The colourfulness adds a level of sweetness to the visuals of the song. Plus with the presence of sugary visuals (i.e. donuts and candy), I feel like the video almost teethers into the saccharine territory. Thank god, we aren’t seeing sets made out of candy and sugary treats. The members show off cute and loveable visuals, which I am sure fans would enjoy. Though, I do find it amazing that in a matter of five months, the members are seducing with a more sensual and masculine appeal in their recent Korean comeback. The choreography was quite nice and enjoyable. I love the smiles they all bring to the performance, which adds to the song just as well.

Overall Rating – 7.9/10


RATA-TAT-TAT – Golden Child

RATA-TAT-TATA is a more recent release (relative to the other releases in this post). It dropped as Golden Child’s second official Japanese single in May. It is a definite improvement from their debut Japanese single, which was quite cringy when I think back to it. The title of this song also hints at a similar potential for this song, but I am thankful that was not the case. RATA-TAT-TAT is a fast paced dance track, especially as the chorus hits. The instrumental for RATA-TAT-TAT definitely has an oomph factor and feels meatier, which boosts the song and makes it quite badass. But it is still not at the same caliber as their Korean releases. There was a strong showing from the members. The rapping showed a slightly more aggressive side. The vocals were well incorporated into the song but I wished there was more of a wow factor to the vocal line. Joochan’s high note was pretty impressive, though. RATA-TAT-TAT‘s hook was catchy. Overall, I had fun listening to RATA-TAT-TAT.

The music video for RATA-TAT-TAT goes for an edgy concept, but fails to really hit the mark. Shot in an industrial setting and with an underground race car theme, it feels all pretty cliché and ‘done before’ for a male group. I feel like keeping the video simple with the members in leather jackets and dark lit rooms would have done the job fine. I wished there was more to the video. The choreography is a much better fit for the song. While I really did like the fast pace of the movements (which goes well with the fast pace nature of the song), I also commend Golden Child on their sharpness and synchronisation. The fast pace also brings about some aggression, which is a pretty decent addition to the routine.

Overall Rating – 7.6/10


Phase Me – WOOSUNG (THE ROSE)

Another May release, but this time it is WOOSUNG’s Phase Me. Like the song’s at the start of this post, Phase Me finds it squarely in the rock genre as well. But Phase Me‘s instrumental also has a groovy vibe to it, particularly in the chorus. Part of me really enjoys the groovy nature of the song as it brings a uniqueness to the music scene, but a part of me felt the song could have gone with a completely stronger rock sound had it continued the momentum of the rock in the first verse (and not met with an anti-drop). WOOSUNG’s vocals are very clear and crisp throughout Phase Me, which I appreciate. He brings out the husky and raspy nature of his vocals in this song, which felt so alluring and captivating. I also liked how the song is short but sweet. While it does feel like a blur, Phase Me felt very satisfying, fulfilling and complete.

The moth concept was very interesting, but it makes sense. Moths are insects that are unphased when there is light around. In the music video, Woosung plays two roles. One is an actual moth. In the darkness and during the sunset, he emerges to sing the song. When there is light (i.e. that ending), he is attracted to it and just stares at it. I do find the eyes a bit freaky, but Woosung plays a moth well. The second role is where he plays the light, which attract the dancers in a similar fashion to how moths are attracted to light. This section was a lot more sensual. To add to the sensual themes of the video, Woosung spends a lot of time shirtless, but I think it works with the themes of the video.

Overall Rating – 8/10

[Album Review] GOT7 (12th Mini Album) – GOT7

I continue to skip back and forth in time with my album reviews. This time, I land at the end of May to review GOT7’s self-titled 12th mini-album, GOT7. For those who somehow missed out on this momentous comeback, it serves as the group’s first album release since leaving JYP Entertainment and their first music release in over one year and four months. Lead by the title track NANANA, the mini-album also reunites the GOT7 members in another five tracks.

I quite liked how the mini-album is self-titled, a statement that the group owns GOT7 (which is actually the case). News stories have emerged that each of the members own the GOT7 brand and name, which usually isn’t the case given that the group was created under a label (and usually ownership goes towards the label). With that in mind, GOT7 really goes down their own path with this mini-album, dabbling heavy in their R&B sound and breathy vocals that is pretty much their wheelhouse. Overall, I consider this to be a decent album release. I would like to see where GOT7 will take themselves in the future, given that they now have full control. But I don’t expect them to be making a comeback anytime soon given that they are all doing their own things, as well. But for now, I am happy with the likes of GOT7.

GOT7 Album Cover

1. TRUTHTRUTH begins the album as a R&B number. GOT7 has put out many R&B tracks over the years, so this is familiar territory for the group. However, there many elements within TRUTH that helps make the song individualistic. The metallic and percussive synths add a layer of intriguingness and uniqueness to the track. The slower pace and beat also adds a slow and sensual vibe to TRUTH. The breathy vocals, alluring raps and pop melodies tie up the song nearly into a very attractive opening track. (8/10)

2. Drive Me To The MoonDrive Me To The Moon brings upbeatness to the album. Alongside the chill nature of the instrumental as well, Drive Me To The Moon becomes a great song to listen as you go for a drive, like on a road trip or another scenic route. The vocal work and rapping were ideal and I liked how it was kept all light to complement the instrumentation. The melodies and hooks were all very pleasant and enjoyable, as well. It isn’t my go-to song on the album, but it was still a decent one. (7/10)

3. NANANA (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for NANANA. (8/10)

4. TWO TWO is a R&B track that exudes very mature and sensual vibes. Actually, I think the correct description to TWO is that it oozes sensual vibes. I really like the slow and paced beat of the song, which embodies the genre perfectly. Again, the breathy vocals throughout TWO were on point, show so much charisma and features melodies that would go in tandem with body rolls. All of this contributed to the conclusion that I would love to see the members perform this track live as this would be one wild performance to drive fans (including myself) insane. (8.5/10)

5. Don’t Care About Me – We end the album with two ‘Don’t’ tracks. First up is Don’t Care About Me – my pick for favourite side track on this mini-album. Don’t Care About Me has some powerful moments and sequences, all relative to the other tracks on the mini-album. The trap and synth-pop instrumental comes together to create a sleek atmosphere and there were some dynamic flair to the instrumental break during the bridge. Catchy hooks help make the song continually ring in my mind even after it is completed. The refined and held back explosions of energy featured in the back of the choruses and the electric guitar in the pre-choruses were some of my favourite moments in the song. The vocals were really well done, with Youngjae’s stealing the show in my opinion. (10/10)

6. Don’t Leave Me Alone – The next ‘Don’t’ song, Don’t Leave Me Alone, also serves as the album’s final track. It is a R&B ballad for their fans (IGOT7s), as GOT7 is asking them to not leave alone, which I find to be very fitting given the group’s circumstances. Even without the context behind Don’t Leave Me Alone, I think the heartwarming effect was very noticeable. The synth-heavy instrumental feels soothing as it could be. The vocals and rapping were nicely executed and complements the soothing nature of the song. A fulfilling ending to the mini-album. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

GOT7 Teaser Image

[Review] SUGAR – Youngjae (GOT7)

Making this solo comeback last week was Youngjae with his second mini-album and title track, both of which are titled SUGAR. This is his second comeback following his solo debut with Vibin’ in October of last year (his first was via the winter single Walk With Me, which I didn’t review). Youngjae’s solo comeback also follows GOT7’s recent long awaited return to the industry, to which Youngjae and all his fellow members participated in, after almost 1.5 years absence from the industry.

SUGAR has yet to really catch on like how Vibin’ did. But more time could change that. And based on what I am going to be saying in this review, I expect that it will. Nonetheless, SUGAR has proven to be an extremely enjoyable track. The funky pop instrumental made up of pronounced guitars was quite consistent throughout the song. While consistency has been an issue in the past for some songs, the consistency issue is not really a thing here in SUGAR. This is thanks to the guitar work, which is so vibrant and punchy that it offsets any consistency concerns. That being said, there is also a bit of trap thrown into the mix for the second verse and finger clicks in the bridge that gives some variety to the background. SUGAR features strong vocals from Youngjae, whose tone matches the vibrancy of the guitar in the instrumental. It really allows him to pop out in the song. He also adds a bit of sweetness to the song, which works really well with the title of the song. His ad-libs at the end channels a fair bit of energy, as well, creating a dynamic end. Youngjae also tries his hand at rapping for the second verse. It was a fair effort. I do think maybe a featuring rapper could have made it more dynamic and enticing, but Youngjae did well on his own. I quite like how he handled the ‘That’s how you do it‘ line midway through the second verse. The melodies of SUGAR were also quite catchy and enjoyable. Overall, SUGAR is a nice follow-up single to his debut track.

The video starts off a bit dark, with Youngjae awakening from a slumber at the dinner table, just in time to see a female presence leave the room. He has a flashback of the nights event, and runs after the female. We are then shown what happened. The day started very bright and outside. He seeks the attention of the female character from the beginning of the video, trying his best to look cool (which I personally think he achieved, but that might be my bias for him talking now). He then throws a classy dinner party. He is so infatuated by the female character (as expressed in the lyrics). and continues his cool streak that he fails to catch on her efforts of putting him to sleep. The motive is unclear, but I guess she and her friends want to have a good time at the expense of Youngjae (who in the credits is shown asleep, while everyone else has fun at his party). I quite enjoyed the chemistry that Youngjae had with the camera throughout the video, looking quite confident and cheeky. The settings were also really nice.

Like in the music video, I quite like how charismatic he is on stage. It creates a strong atmosphere for the performance. Aside from that, I liked the energy he and the dancers channel throughout the performance. Nothing really stood out, until the end, where he pushes through the dancer dramatically. That I felt was a cool moment.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.1/10

[Review] NANANA – GOT7

When a full group leaves a company and goes their separate ways whilst also stating that they have not disbanded, it is quite rare for them to return to group promotions. We have seen it occur before, but more often than not, they stay separated. Yesterday, GOT7 moved from solo promotions back to group promotions with their new single titled NANANA and a self-titled mini-album (their 12th mini-album to date). This marks their first release since Encore in 2021, since the group departed from JYP Entertainment, and since each member embarked on their own solo careers. Prior to yesterday’s comeback, GOT7 also regrouped for a two day fan meet, as well.

As a GOT7 fan, I don’t think I can dislike NANANA. It is great to revisit and hear GOT7 as a whole group once again. And whatever song they do comeback with, I am most likely going to be down for it. But that is my bias coming though. Looking at NANANA subjectively, however, I find the song to be quite typical when it comes to the R&B and hip-hop landscape. It is one of those songs that I would describe as ‘pleasant but nothing more’. Subdued also accurately describes the song. There is nothing wrong with this style and direction, but I personally wished NANANA had more of a kick to it. That being said, however, NANANA does have its place in GOT7’s music profile, complementing past side tracks that the members have produced or written by themselves for the group. The light nature of the instrumentation and some of the vocal work gives NANANA that pleasant vibe that I mentioned. There is also a chill vibe coming from the instrumentation, which does help make the song more appealing. For the rest of the vocals, I quite liked the emphasis on huskiness from some of the members like Jinyoung (in the first verse) and JAY B (as a rapper in the second verse). I also like the textures when it came to the choruses, with Jackson starting off the chorus with his extremely hoarse vocals before passing the baton onto Youngjae, whose vocals are a lot smoother. The rapping by Mark and BamBam was quite fine, as well. NANANA‘s main hook followed the choruses. And while it was pretty standard and typical, it actually catches on fine. Overall, NANANA is not a bad song. It is just more tame than what I had expected.

Let me start by saying that it is great to see the members together once again (if I haven’t already made that point clear). Now, onto the video. I quite like the concept for this music video and comeback. Based on interviews for this comeback, the members have express that the concept was about ‘house-building’, where the house-building is about building a new start. It is a neat way to look at where the group is at in their career. It is also quite cool to see abstract sets that look modern and contemporary. I quite like the colours of this video as well, helping make the video appear pleasant and quite easy on the eyes. The members also look great throughout the video.

Unlike their routines in the past, NANANA‘s choreography followed the song direction in that it was pleasant. There wasn’t anything that memorable, but it was a nice chilled performance where the members looked like they enjoy their time on stage after their hiatus as a group.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Review] Who Are You – BamBam (GOT7) ft. Seulgi (Red Velvet)

As mentioned yesterday, I will be reviewing solo releases over the last few months which I had not reviewed yet. To start, I will be looking at the solo pre-releases that I should have reviewed before I reviewed the official main title tracks. BamBam (member of GOT7) is one of the solo members that come to mind. He recently came back with the single Slow Mo and second mini-album, B. Also off the B mini-album is the single Who Are You, which features Red Velvet member Seulgi, and was first revealed to listeners at the end of 2021. Who Are You is the focus on this review post.

While it has been over a month ago since both news of and the actual release, I could remember thinking that a collaboration between BamBam and Seulgi was unexpected and surprising, but also exciting and refreshing. And both BamBam and Seulgi proved with Who Are You that the latter points were the most correct. Who Are You is a very light and smooth R&B track that felt just right. While I don’t listen to the song every single day, I thoroughly enjoy its presence every time I do come across Who Are You. There is so much to enjoy in this song, despite there being so little to the track. Who Are You has a minimal atmospheric instrumental, kicking off with a low hum, before bringing in the simple strumming of guitar and then the later addition of a slow soft piano melody in the verses. For the chorus, the piano element is relatively heavier, and we also get some simple percussion, to help kick the song up a notch. But everything from start to end can be described as light, simple and minimalistic, as described initially. What also makes Who Are You so good are the vocals from both artists. The set up of them echoing each other is so impactful and added a profound colour to the song. It made the song so interesting. Individually, BamBam really surprised me with his softer and gentle vocals in this song. It suits him so well, and the textures that his raspy vocals brought to the table helped made Who Are You so good. As for Seulgi, her light and higher tone balanced out the song, making the entire track more pleasant and smoother. Overall, Who Are You is an amazing single, and BamBam and Seulgi pairing is perfect.

For the music video, I liked it. I felt the different scenes were aesthetic and artistic. I liked the idea of both set and outdoor scenes. The video didn’t feel confined or restricted in anyway as a result, which gave a lot of breathing space to me as a viewer. I am sure there are meaning behind some of the individual scenes, but I don’t have the intelligence to break it down and decipher it this time around. My main gripe about the music video is some of the scenes appeared too dark and it was hard to see what as going on. It was probably done for an aesthetic or artistic reason, but it distracted me and hindered the process of me trying to take everything in.

The choreography routine, performed by both BamBam and Seulgi, is a contemporary piece that is both smooth and captivating to watch. It definitely highlights both BamBam and Seulgi’s skill set as performers and shows them off in such a mature lighting. They also perform in a very harmonious manner, which boosts up the routine to the next level.

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

[Review] Slow Mo – BamBam (GOT7)

As you can probably tell, I am now reviewing the tracks released later in the week from last week. Next up on the reviewing block is BamBam’s Slow Mo. This latest song from the GOT7 member is featured on his second mini-album, B, alongside the pre-release single Who Are You (which was released back in the last week of December and features Red Velvet’s Seulgi). This is BamBam’s first official solo release since his solo debut with riBBon in June of last year.

Slow Mo thrives on the fact that it is atmospheric and a gentle track. While we hear similar songs with the same descriptors all the time, they usually isn’t the lead track on an album or even a dance track. This alone makes Slow Mo unique and stands out, even thought its elements aren’t intended to do so. In addition to the atmospheric vibes of the song, there were hip-hop influences in Slow Mo and I liked how the beat helped balance out the song and kept Slow Mo‘s lightness weighted. BamBam’s vocals were on display throughout this track and I liked how he kept his delivery soft and light to match the other elements of the song. The chorus was definitely a prime example of his vocals on full display, with the verses taking on a bit of a rapping tone. Everything was quite soothing and calming, which works well with the instrumentation. The melodies and hooks were probably the most lacking component of the song, simply because they didn’t appear to be as memorable. I also feel that repeat listens to the song might dull it, but I guess that is a ‘wait and see’ matter. What I needed the most in Slow Mo was a bit of a punch to keep me interested in the song, and I feel the producers of Slow Mo delivered with that brief yet subtly intense dance break we get at the 2:10 mark of the music video. It just fits in so well with the instrumentation and overall vibes, but also gave the song a little bit more oomph. Overall, Slow Mo was a great track. It might be slightly weak in certain areas, but its execution and delivery overall can overlook that flaw.

I really like the bright pastel colours used as the video’s colour palette. It just felt so fitting for this song. Anything too harsh or bold would have obviously clashed with the song. Aside from that, the music video consisted of a mixture of ordinary (i.e. some of the interior shots) and aesthetic shots (i.e. all of the shots in which looked like they were an ‘exterior’ shot), along with some high quality choreography shots. I would have liked the video to be a bit more interesting in some regards, though. It is one of those videos you just need to watch once as you kind of seen all of it, and doesn’t pull me back for a replay.

The performance was probably the outlier of this comeback. It felt a bit loud, compared to what I would have thought the choreography would look liked (i.e. wideness, energy thrown into delivery or the fast pace nature of some of the moves). Don’t worry though, as it still managed to work well with the song nonetheless, capitalising on the heftier beats of the song.

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

[Review] Vibin – Youngjae (GOT7)

After seven years, the members of GOT7 are finally getting their well deserved solo careers. Some members were able to make their own solo start prior to leaving JYP Entertainment, but other members had to wait until after they were released left to begin their solo journeys. Youngjae was one of the final members of the seven to go solo, kicking it all off with his acting debut in the Netflix sitcom So Not Worth It. Today sees the release of Youngjae’s solo debut mini-album, Colors, and the title track Vibin.

Due to his status as GOT7’s main vocalist, I was expecting to hear the title track to go down the typical direction of R&B or a ballad. So it caught me by surprise when I heard something upbeat in the teasers for this song last week. Vibin is a very neat pop track that is extremely pleasant. For this review, I use the term ‘pleasant’ in a positive manner, as I quite enjoyed Vibin. I liked the subtleness of the funky elements in the song, which definitely made the song more energetic and fun-sounding. A lot of songs nowadays are very upfront with their retro or funky profile. There is nothing wrong with being upfront, as this is how the retro and funkiness can be its most impactful. But in Vibin, holding back on those elements, almost felt refreshing. I also like the wholesome feel of the song, and that is all thanks to Youngjae’s vocals in Vibin. He just imparts that feeling onto you with his clear vocals. I also liked the energy he brings via the vocals to the song, which compliments the dance pop nature of the song. The repetitive hooks for Vibin are also quite catchy. If I had to be critical, I do think the hooks could have been taken a step further. I also think that Vibin could have been improved with some sort of textural element. The song had this constant smoothness to it (which was very appreciable), but it could have been balanced out. Overall, I think Youngjae’s solo debut single sounds well done and is a decent showing of his skills.

I think the music video did a good job of encapsulating the vibes and tones of the song. The outdoor scenery, even though was very desolate, felt refreshing and breezy. I guess this was the movement of the camera, especially when Youngjae is driving, that allows that feeling to come through. I think the sun and the denim outfit also adds to that vibe. In the more darker scenes, there is this golden aura that felt appropriate and kept the video from being overtaken from the darkness. The glow from the lighting also helped here. Content wise, I do think the video falls on the dry side. But overall, a decent music video.

Based on the challenges on TikTok and the snippets of the choreography in the music video, the choreography isn’t that overly complicated, which matches with the straightforward nature of the song. I also like the energy he brings to his performance (based on what I saw in the music video), as he is literally all smiles throughout the performance, which comes off very positively on the viewer. I am also excited for his pairing with the female dancer. Looks like an interesting dynamic.

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

[Review] riBBon – BamBam (GOT7)

Since GOT7’s departure from JYP Entertainment earlier this year, the members have gone their separate ways, vowing to return on a yearly basis to great fans as a seven-member group. But while we awaiting new of a GOT7 comeback, the members have been doing a lot of solo work. Some of them have gone into acting, while others have gone onto release solo music that shows their individual colours. Today, we witness the solo debut of BamBam, who has signed on with ABYSS Company, the current home of fellow JYP Entertainment alum Sunmi. The title of BamBam’s solo debut single is riBBon (I like the play on his initials within the song’s title), which is also featured on his solo debut mini-album of the same name.

When it came to the GOT7 members, it was clear to me which style of music certain members would go towards for their solo work. But the biggest question mark for me was placed over BamBam, who didn’t really have a chance to showcase a musical style as much as the other members during his GOT7 days. So, to hear riBBon, which is quite upbeat pop sound that has a tinge of hip-hop to the song was a surprise for me. But I guess that really fits in with his cheerful and vibrant personality. To me, riBBon is a pleasant pop song. Nothing more, nothing less. To facilitate the review process, I have had a couple of listens to the song. And each time, I found myself taking a mental step back and appreciating the song for its enjoyable and sweet nature. I have tried to sit down to really tear the song apart. But I just can’t help but take it all in as a whole piece rather than break it up. I think this is a good effect, showing me how wholesome and good the song is. In addition to that, I also liked how ‘riBBon‘ sounded like ‘reborn’. I think that is quite intentional, especially given the lyrics of the song which talks about being a better version of himself. That being said, riBBon is no perfect song. There are some wrinkles throughout the song that need some attention. Firstly, the song could have reduced the autotune it used to process BamBam’s voice. While I believe this is his thing (based on some of the work we have heard during promotions with GOT7 and the fact that it gave the song a good sense of texture), I think this would have cleared up some English pronunciation issues. Personally, I was a bit confused on what he was singing in the opening lines of the chorus without the aid of the lyrics side-by-side on the screen. I know BamBam is a strong English speaker, so I think the issue comes down to the vocal processing. I am also not a fan of the rap inserts in the pre-chorus. I feel that muddled the pre-chorus a bit. Overall, riBBon is pleasant solo debut for the GOT7 member.

Like the song, the music video can also be described as pleasant. it was an extremely well styled music video and all worked in harmony with one another. From the black background at the start, the black suit worn by BamBam and the use of multi-coloured flowers on the ground and on the suit complimented one another. In the more colourful scenes, everything was pastel and nothing was overwhelming or harsh to look at. The video definitely showed a good side of BamBam.

The choreography is pretty good. It is upbeat and bouncy, which fits in with the song. While I am not a big fan of those rap inserts in the pre-chorus, the move that it enables to be in the performance looks quite cool. I also found the moment in which the two dancer used their legs as like gates to which BamBam opens up to be quite memorable.

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

[Review] Encore – GOT7

Earlier this year, GOT7 announced their departure from JYP Entertainment, their home for the past seven years since debut. The leadup to this news, there were rumours of disbandment and rifts between the members and their agency (i.e. JYP Entertainment unfollowing GOT7 members on Instagram and vice versa). However, like many groups nowadays, GOT7 promised their fans that they will remain as a seven-member group into the future despite signing to different companies and seek ways to promote together under the name GOT7. Many groups have made similar promises but have yet to make that group comeback that they have promised, instead focusing on solo work. Well, GOT7 has managed to deliver on this promise by regrouping shortly after their departure to release Encore, a single that promises fans that they are still a group no matter what.

As the song’s messaging suggests, Encore is quite different from the usual dance centric title tracks we have heard from GOT7 over the past seven years. While a dance track or something of their usual style would have been greatly appreciated, the group opts for more of a ballad approach with a band-inspired instrumental that is quite toned back. I feel like most songs for fans typically fall into this style simply because it is the easiest way to convey thoughts and feelings. But instead of being a sad ballad, there is a hopeful tone in both the instrumentation and from the members, which suits the messaging of Encore. Every member (vocalist or rapper alike) all take a melodic approach to their lines, complimenting the band-like instrumental that I had mentioned they opted for. It was quite flowy and soothing to listen to. What I also really enjoyed was the line distribution of the song. It felt like each member got a distinct part. I know that Mark and BamBam got the least, but their parts were noticeably theirs. I also liked how these two members, who usually just rap, actually had vocal lines in this song. The ‘Encore‘ repetition was quite nice, briefly mimicking the shouting of ‘Encore‘ that you would usually hear fans shout at the end of the concert, which they actually did blend into the song at the very end. Overall, Encore definitely came off as touching and pleasant.

The music video simply showed the members gather to record the song, share a meal and convey that promise that they are still a group in a short speech in the video. Pretty much what I expected. It was nice to see the members show their friendship in a casual and laidback manner, without the need for flashy lighting and elaborate set designs. They used a home style filming approach, which made the video feel more impactful. At the end, when they blend the fans shouting ‘Encore‘ into the song, we see a camera filming the crowds at one of their concerts whilst the members on stage. To include fans in the final moments of the video was really nice and appreciative.

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

[Album Review] Breath of Love: Last Piece (4th Studio Album) – GOT7

GOT7 is nominated for Best Male Group and Jackson is nominated for Best International Song by a KPOP Artist (for both Pretty Please and 100 Ways). To support GOT7 and Jackson, please click here to vote!

Up next on the reviewing block is GOT7’s Breath of Love: Last Piece, the group’s fourth studio album (also fast tracked!). Like many fans, I am pretty disappointed in JYP for such a limited and lacking promotional run. I wished we got to see more of the group on stage with Last Piece, the title track of this album. But I understand that Youngjae has filming schedules and other members have solo work to focus on as well. Hopefully we get to see them all soon through their next album release in the new year! Also featured alongside Last Piece is Breath, the album’s pre-release track that was released a week prior to the actual album release. Both of these tracks I have already reviews for, but the album still contains eight other new tracks that I will be reviewing today. So let’s get going!

Breath Of Love: Last Piece Album Cover

1. Breath (넌 날 숨 쉬게 해) (Pre-release Single)Click here to read the full review for Breath. (9/10)

2. Last Piece (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Last Piece. (9/10)

3. Born Ready Born Ready is a very dynamic track, one that is well placed as one of the first tracks into the album. I particularly enjoyed the chorus, where the intensity is amped up thanks to the EDM instrumental. A few of the members stood out in this track. First of all, the song opens up with JB as a rapper, something we don’t really hear often when it comes to GOT7 releases (despite being the rapper half of JJ Project). Secondly, we have Youngjae’s rap-like vocal delivery in the second verse that was so punchy. Jackson’s lines in the bridge were also quite memorable. But the member that stands out the most is Mark, who produced this track. Definitely a recommended listen. (10/10)

4. SpecialSpecial opts for an even more upbeat tempo and synth-heavy instrumental from the very first second. And from the very first second, I was digging the song. The chorus had this catchy and simple melody that was quite easy to get into. My only issue about the chorus (and the entire song) was imbalance between the vocals and instrumentation. I felt the music was overpowering, which lead to the vocalists needing to compete for attention. The rappers faired better and were my selection of standout members because they actually had the ability to stand out. (9/10)

5. WaveWave tones down a few elements, which helps make it feel so refined. And I feel that the song successfully shows their path to maturity, which I will admit that they already showed comebacks ago. What makes Wave so good is that it feels atmospheric, emotional and reflective – all bundled into one song. Waves is ideal to listen to as you walk in nature, reflecting upon life and your experiences. (10/10)

6. Waiting For YouWaiting For You shows refinement as well, in the form of a hip-hop styled song. Though, it comes off as similar to a ballad at certain times. The distortion of the instrumentation at the start enables the song to opt for an aesthetic tone and for the member’s vocals to have this echoy effect. And it is an interesting feeling, overall. Bam Bam (who composed and wrote the song) used a lot of autotune, but I feel that its usage was justified based on the aesthetic nature of the song. (9/10)

7. Thank You, Sorry (이젠 내가 할게) – This song diverts the album down the R&B/jazzy fusion route, with an impressive display of vocals from all the members. Even the rappers emerge from Thank You, Sorry as full-fledged vocalists. The second verse is where the song’s main drawing point lies. The members involved goes in and out of this stunning falsetto technique, which felt perfect for the song’s instrumentation. It also gives some colour to the song, making it more interesting than a standard R&B/jazzy styled song. While Yugyeom was the creative mind behind this song, I felt that Jinyoung managed to outshine the rest of the members in this song with his vocals in the second verse alone. (10/10)

8. 1 + 1 – The R&B roots of the preceding track was just a temporary stop, as 1 + 1 brings back the hip-hop influence. It sounds trendy and there is this light tone to it, which I quite enjoyed. It also reminded me of Thursday (one of their previous tracks). Unfortunately, I don’t find 1 + 1 as catchy as their previous release. It is pleasant, but that is the best description I can give the song. (8/10)

9. I Mean ItI Mean It is an impressive song that I instantly enjoyed from the first listen. It is a pop track with such a happy tone (that even the vocals reinforce) and catchy lyrics that helped make the entire song so addictive. I just found the song so simple, yet so effective at making me enjoy the song. The bridge has no lyrics, instead opting for dramatic thumping that without a doubt (when we aren’t in a health pandemic) would make way for an amazing choreography on stage. (10/10)

10. We Are YoungWe Are Young is a song for fans, without a doubt. The lyrics thanks for being there with them – even during their toughest moments (this year with no direct fan interaction probably was one of those tough moments). I really like how powerful the chorus was, simply by them amping their vocals and using striking repetition. Definitely a bold end for the album! (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

Breath of Love: Last Piece Teaser Image

[Review] Last Piece – GOT7

A week ago, GOT7 teased their comeback with the pre-release of Breath, one part of the first half of their fourth studio album’s name. Today, the male group (who recently won the Performance of the Year grand prize at the Asia Artist Awards for the second year in a row), GOT7 dropped their official comeback title track, titled LAST PIECE. It is also the other half of their new album’s name, with both coming together to form Breath of Love: Last Piece. This is the group’s most recent comeback, following Not By The Moon earlier in the year.

To me, LAST PIECE has this explosive element to it, which I find amazing and extremely thrilling to listen to. But more on that in just a second. The song starts off pretty much like any other dance song. There was a strong opening with that repetitive hazy synth (not sure how else to describe it). Yugyeom then starts off the song, followed by Jinyoung, BamBam and Mark. The instrumental during this part was quite pleasantly consistent. I really like its mid-tempo and classy approach. That hazy synth continues to play its part in the song, but the verse has a bit of a kick to it thanks to the beat of the song. Jinyoung’s falsetto stunned me, before Jackson comes in briefly before the chorus. The main chorus features Youngjae and JB’s vocals and catchy melodic hooks that expresses we are their missing final piece. I find there is an explosive element to this chorus, but it is subtle thanks to Youngjae’s powerful vocals during this section. I believe that this subtleness is a deliberate move, as the more explosive post-chorus hook is where the fireworks truly go bang. That rush of rock energy and intensity just feels so good, with Mark and Jackson going all out in this part to match that energy we get. It also gives GOT7 an opportunity to showcase some of their performance skills. The rest of the song is more so what I have already (haphazardly) described. Just everything feels a lot better. The chorus gets more impactful. The post-chorus instrumental hook hits harder and Jinyoung’s falsetto during the bridge is something worth mentioning once again. Overall, LAST PIECE is another excellent track to add to GOT7’s discography.

LAST PIECE‘s music video carries over the instantly change of background and flawless editing from the Breath music video. But this time around, the members were the ones instantly changing, with the setting remaining the same between shots. And to make it extra complicated, this technique was mainly applied during choreography shots. So yeah, shout out to the editing department for this video. The one thing I was disappointed about was the lack of Youngjae’s screen time. I understand that he was injured and hence couldn’t dance throughout the video. But I am sure the producers and directors could have thought of something to give Youngjae a bit more screen time. I did however like how when he finally appeared (and thus GOT7 was completed), all the space on the wall was filled with pictures and paintings. Definitely a nice way to show that all the pieces were filled in the end.

The choreography definitely looks good. I really like the energy that each member channeled during the chorus and how incredibly sharp the moves ended up being. I really liked how they amped up the moves for the post-chorus rock influenced instrumental break. The ending with their forearms and hands forming an interlinked heptagon was pretty cool, reminding me of their seven piece necklace (when put together, it also became a heptagon).

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

[Review] Breath – GOT7

GOT7 is making their return with a comeback next week in the form of a studio album titled Breath of Life: Last Piece. I am excited and pumped for this comeback like all their fans, but I am slightly concerned about the ‘Last Piece‘ segment of the title. Hopefully it isn’t what I think it is. In the meanwhile this week, the group is out teasing and hyping us up with their impending return through their pre-release single, Breath. This comebacks comes after Not By The Moon, which was released back in April this year.

Breath is a light mid-tempo R&B track with a bit of a hip-hop influence. The song itself is reasonably catchy, which is thanks to the way the members are arranged in this song. I really like their their use of projection in the chorus. It is a nice play on textures here and definitely alluring to listen to. It is also a slight teaser to the vocal prowess of both Youngjae and JB, especially for those who are tuning into a GOT7 release for the first time. The whistling is also a really fun element to the song, breaking up the chorus by being inserted between lines to make the chorus appear punchier. There is also a really nice sense of bounce to the song, which I enjoyed very much. It also made the song so much more appealing, especially since I prefer more upbeat releases at the end of the day. While I think the rappers of the group were used in a fine way, I think if they had a slight more edgy sequence, this would have boosted the dynamic of Breath to a new level. But as I said, I am happy with how the song turned out. Youngjae and the rest of the composing team for Breath really knows how to appeal to our senses.

The music video for Breath feels just right for the song. It compliments the energy without a hitch and the members looked like they had a genuine time filming this video. But can we take a step back for a moment to appreciate the amazingness of the editing of this video? The switches between members and setting were so well timed and looked flawless. This technique gives the video a very unique spin and will become the excuse I would use to continue to rewatch the video. Since this is a pre-release, I looking at very nook and cranny to note any possible connection for next week’s release. The floating piece of white silk seems to be a key element in this video, appearing quite often throughout the video. It also appears in a frame at the very end. I also think the signage (or maybe the entire sets in general) will be appearing in the official comeback music video (i.e. B.O.L Station and A Piece of Cake).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Album Review] DYE (11th Mini Album) – GOT7

As mentioned yesterday, I will be reviewing two mini-albums that would be considered to be recent releases before going on to focus on albums released earlier in April. The second album this weekend is by GOT7, who have released their 11th mini-album in April. This is their 6th year the group has been active and considering 11 mini-albums, three studio albums, many singles and stages, this is a feat. And that is only their Korean works. The mini-album is titled Dye and features the title track, Not By The Moon. It also features a number of solo and unit tracks that the members have performed before at their concerts. These are only on the physical version of the album, so I chosen have not review them.

Dye Album Cover

1. AuraAura kicks off the album with a very distinctive R&B track. The synths really give the song some life, boldness and profile. The vocal work was a very strong aspect of the song as you can tell that they pushed themselves to match the boldness of the instrumental. I like the smoothness of the vocals that Jinyoung and Yugyeom bring to the chorus. But the standout member in this song has to be Youngjae with his ‘Aura’ hook that is very addictive. I did like the rapping, but I think the song could have benefited with more robust rap sequences to drive the intensity. (8/10)

2. Crazy Crazy’s strongest point has to be its erratic and chaotic drop which features the repetition of the line ‘You Make Me Crazy’. The buildup to this was also extremely satisfying, which is an odd way to describe it, given the result we get to at the other end. Everything else falls into place in this song, from their vocals to the deep bass that the song strongly utilizes to drive the song forward. Nothing feels off, other than the fact everything else feels a little too neat in this song. I would have loved to hear a little craziness, but I guess it wouldn’t fit in with the refined style that the group pushed for is all aspects other than the choruses. (7/10)

3. Not By The Moon (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Not By The Moon. (9/10)

4. Love You BetterLove You Better is another R&B track. This song stands out with its strong ‘Knock Knock’ hook that is embedded between other words in the chorus. There is impact when the members sing this hook, as the instrumental also mimics that knocking effect, which I find is very suitable for the song. The instrumental also contains synths that give the song a lot of varying textures that all blend with each other. The rapping is also a strong aspect, with a decent melody pulling the sequences together. I just wish the verses were a little more memorable. (8/10)

5. Trust My Love – What I have noticed is that the album (thus far) doesn’t depend on EDM as much as other artists or GOT7’s past albums. For the first few seconds, I had thought that this is the song that does switch to EDM. But this one ends up being a club banger track. There is that electronic influence in the song as well, but it is very minute and is barely recognisable under the pounding beat, which is (no doubt) the main attraction in this song. There seems to also be an ever so light sprinkling of a Latin influence. The melodies that carry the vocals of the members was also quite flowy. The ‘Trust My Love’ falsetto repetition is also another strong aspect. I really liked Jackson’s hoarse voice in this song, along with the subtle intensity from Mark and BamBam’s rap sequences. (8/10)

6. PoisonPoison is probably my favourite sidetrack on this album. It may or may not have anything to do with the multiple I have given the song as a result of their many performances for Poison on the weekly music shows as their secondary. But the song had always stood out as it managed to wrap the hip-hop genre in a very classy yet fashionable manner. This applies to both the rappers and vocalists, who all did a really good job. The highlight has Youngjae’s bridge, which felt perfect for Poison. I liked how they stripped away the instrumental so we could hear Youngjae in all his glory. I also liked like the deep bellowing synth that plays throughout the song and how the song faded out at the end, bringing the song and album to a close in a trendy manner. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10