[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

[Review] Not By The Moon – GOT7

Kicking off this week’s exciting list of comebacks is GOT7 with Not By The Moon, which is the title track off the group’s 11th mini-album, Dye. This is the group’s first comeback since their highly successful You Calling My Name, which was released in November last year. I am still in love with that comeback and am hoping to see a leveled up comeback today. Let’s see if GOT7 can deliver!

Not By The Moon is a really good dance track, something that is very expected of GOT7. But I don’t think it had that same wow factor that You Calling My Name had delivered through its very aesthetic profile. However, it does wow me in its own way (more on that later). Not By The Moon felt like that really amped up and fulfilling dance track that you expect from many groups in the KPOP industry, but many just don’t deliver. There is a very dramatic and powerful flair in this song, which gives that ‘amped up’ description credibility. The ‘fulfilling’ description is also credible, given that the song feels whole and doesn’t lack anything, in my opinion. There are a lot of elements that really captivated (and wowed) me in this song. The first were the rappers. Mark had a long rap-speak like segment, which I thought was very different from his many limited sequences in the past. Jackson took up the role of vocalist for the entirety of this track, bringing a nice deep raspy sound to the song. The chorus had a particularly strong melody and the ‘Oh, Swear not by the moon‘ was quite catchy. I also liked how the chorus made the instrumental a little punchy. It is also one of the few instrumentals that just keeps on giving. Youngjae’s high note was amazing and the rest of the vocals were good. It is missing that dynamic touch to really make it go that extra step, but I am not sure what else to add as the song will become a little overwhelming. But other than that little dilemma, this is a very solid song.

One of my many concerns with JYP Entertainment’s video have been that the producers have become a little too reliant on the use of the green screen. We saw the company move away from that style for some of its videos in 2019. But it is still used (as seen in this video) and I am not exactly sure on what to think of it. This video does show good use of the green screen, as it is used to extend the fantastic built sets. But there is a that synthetic feel to it. The song itself seems to be taking pointers from the classical play, Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo swears by the moon. Juliet tells him not, due to the unpredictable nature of the moon (i.e. it just doesn’t stay one shape). There also seems to a dying element to the music, thanks to the presence of the coffin that the masked men (are they GOT7, based on the teasers?) are surrounding (and Youngjae was lying upon). Those masked men and the collapsing building around aren’t really shines of that classic Romeo and Juliet connection, so I am not sure what their story is. But overall, it was a good video.

The choreography itself looks quite good. I really liked how they took a few steps at the start and automatically fell into formation that kick started the entire performance. I also really enjoyed how the ending came together. The powerful dance routine, Youngjae’s high note (guess who my bias is) and the ending formation made to look like the phases of the moon.

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

[Album Review] Call My Name (10th Mini Album) – GOT7

In the third day of this consecutive album review blitz (yes, that is what I will be referring to the week as), I will be looking into GOT7’s latest album release, Call My Name. This is their 10th mini-album, which sounds very surprising for me. But it honestly shouldn’t, as they have been active for 5 years now. The album features You Calling My Name, which is the title track for this release (link below). Let’s observe the rest of the album and see how it matches with the amazing title track.

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Call My Name Album Cover

1. You Calling My Name (니가 부르는 나의 이름) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for You Calling My Name. (9/10)

2. PrayPray sounds like a lot like other EDM-based tracks from other male groups. But there are a few moments that have me coming back for more. The first has to be Jackson’s part in the first and second choruses and Mark’s part in the final chorus. Their voices were so deep and perfect for such a sleek and ear-catching moment. I also thought the vocalists shined a lot in this track, as well. JB and Yugyeom’s part following the mentioned rappers sounded quite vibrant on top of the EDM instrumentation, while Youngjae’s part preceding the mentioned rappers really popped as well. (8/10)

3. Now Or Never (ft. Jonas Blue) – Jonas Blue is a well-known London-based DJ and GOT7 joined hands with him for this track. Now Or Never seems to follow the initial comments I made regarding Pray. It has this typical feel to it. But I think there are a few additional sections in this track that really help make it slightly better than Pray. The incorporation of the piano in the instrumentation was really nice. It made the EDM feel less overwhelming and added a delicate touch to the song, which isn’t something you would say about EDM. I also found the song quite catchy and it had an addictive melody thanks to the instrumentation and the member’s vocals. (8.5/10)

4. ThursdayThursday was selected to be one of the secondary promotional tracks and was performed at their showcase and on music shows during their first week of promotions. My current impressions of the song have been skewed due to the stages, as I have watched a fair bit of them. But I found the song to be a light-hearted (relative to GOT7’s other tracks) and fun sounding during the chorus. I also liked their vocals, with the vocal line displaying rather husky vocals throughout the song. The rappers did more of a rap-singing approach, and this was nice for this smooth R&B dance track. (8.5/10)

5. Run Away – The groovy instrumental was the first element of the song to really catch my attention. It is was very pleasing and pleasant. The second element is the rappers. They had very interesting parts. I really liked how Jackson jumped in during the second verse. Mark and Bam Bam’s lines had a smooth delivery and I thoroughly enjoyed that popping effect in the background, despite their parts being practically hidden in the song. Finally, Yugyeom really shined in this song. Not only did he get a large chunk of this song, but his voice is also extremely well suited out of all the vocals in the song. (8/10)

6. Crash & BurnCrash and Burn was also the second secondary promotional track that GOT7 performed at their showcase and the first week of promotions. The track is very different from what we have heard on the album so far because contains a lot of tension. And it is because of this tension that it feels more like the GOT7 that I am used to. The line ‘till I crash and burn’ (and its associated melody) was keyed into my memory bank and this has me coming back for more. Bam Bam, even though had short lines, was probably my pick for the standout member, with either JB or Youngjae following behind very closely. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

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Call My Name Teaser Image

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[Review] You Calling My Name – GOT7

Due to my exam preparations, I will try my best to review songs for HIPNA, Lee Jin Hyuk, VICTON in the coming delays. This will delay other reviews for releases in the coming days. Apologies once again. 

Out of all the comebacks this week, I am most excited for GOT7’s comeback. The seven-member male group returned today with You Calling My Name and their 10th mini-album, Call My Name. Apart from being a mega fanboy of the group (no shame here!), I found their teasers for this comeback to be very captivating. But that is something to discuss a little later on in the review.  This is the latest full group comeback since the release of Eclipse earlier this year.

This isn’t my bias mind talking. But I thought this was a very thoroughly intriguing song. First of all, it strays away from the usual EDM style that GOT7 does. It goes with a subtly funky beat that sounds very refined, polished and mature. It focused on more on melody, which isn’t something that GOT7 has explicitly emphasised in the past. Another appealing aspect of the track is its smoothness at the start. Interestingly, the lines didn’t reflect this and felt almost ‘short and snappy’, which was another interesting aspect of the song. With the focus on melody, You Calling My Name allowed the vocal line of the group to shine more. Their past EDM hits have allowed the rappers to flourish, so it was a nice change. The first chorus which Jinyoung sang in that falsetto is probably my pick for the best part of the entire song (after the entire song, of course!). Youngjae’s section that followed the second and third chorus was a very close second (third) pick. the weakest part of the song was Mark’s rap section as it didn’t feel like it fit 100% neatly. While writing this review, I had a long debate whether this would be considered a reinvention. I wouldn’t say so, as they had these elements before in previous tracks. They just amped them up in a way that sounds so different but right at the same time.

I feel like the reinvention part came in a more visual sense. Firstly, how freaking aesthetic does the music video look? I am all for it. From what I read, they went with a different music video producer this time around. Hence why the video looked really different. The aesthetics seemed to show a more ‘broken’ and lonely side of GOT7, which reflects well with the lyrics, which was all about wanting a former lover to say their name again. The music video oozed of a masculine aura and mature sexiness that I don’t think no other group has really exhibited before. It made the music video alluring and very captivating.

I am already floored with the introduction to the performance. I thought it was an aesthetic aspect of the music video only. But I didn’t expect to be part of the choreography. I also really liked Jackson’s part, where he did that flip. I thought the rest of the routine was equally as amazing. Like the music video, it was alluring and captivating, which are practically two words that I think best describe GOT7’s comeback.

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

[Review] Love Loop – GOT7

Right after wrapping up their Eclipse comeback (which occurred back in May), GOT7 (minus Jackson) has returned to the Japanese music scene with a new release. The track is titled as Love Loop and is featured on the same-titled mini-album due for release at the end of the month. This is GOT7’s first Japanese release since the official release of I Won’t Let You Go at the start of the year. Currently, the group have officially kick-started their world tour, Keep Spinning, which is stopping at many more cities than ever before.

Looking back at the review I wrote for I Won’t Let You Go, the group departed from their usual EDM heavy tracks that they started their Japanese careers off with. Love Loop continues with this departure, going with a much more breezy and melodic track. The song manages to maintain the dance sound that GOT7 is known for in the majority of their title tracks. But the instrumental made the song feel like almost ballad-like, which I thought was very interesting. While this isn’t something new, I liked this changeup with GOT7’s sound. One important factor about the track is that the rapping took the back seat this time around. The vocals are the forefront of the song and drive its melodic nature. JB and Yugyeom’s vocals opened the chorus and I felt they were so impactful. In fact, I think there was a subtle show of intensity through the chorus, thanks to their vocals. Youngjae’s high note, even though it was more in the background, managed to blow me away. Based on what I am hearing and have written thus far, Love Loop is (obviously) different but quite memorable.

I really like the music video for Love Loop. The literal artistic touch to the background made the video looked so cool. I mentioned that the song was breezy above and the strokes and moving drawings in the background made it feel so visually as well. I also liked how the strokes/movement of colour was applied to their outfits as the video progressed, which was nice incorporation of the members into the video concept. I did mention in the Eclipse music video that it seems like their company is overusing the ‘green screen’. It is obviously used here but in a manner that looked amazing, so I don’t share those concerns this time around.

The snippets of choreography that could be seen in the music video (no live performance as of yet) felt very elegant and fitting for the song. Apart from that, I can’t make any other comments about the choreography as we didn’t get to see much in the video. But fitting and elegant are great observations to make, regardless.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.1/10

[Album Review] Spinning Top: Between Security & Insecurity (9th Mini Album) – GOT7

I will not be publishing any other album reviews this week as I won’t be able to find time to do so. 

GOT7 made their comeback last week with another dynamic track, Eclipse. And knowing that I am a big fan of GOT7’s discography (as my previous album reviews), I am not going to delay listening to this album anymore. Spinning Top: Between Security & Insecurity is the group’s 9th mini-album to date and it features 6 songs in total (all of which I will review today!). The physical album also consists of the instrumental for the title track. Jinyoung, JB, Youngjae, BamBam and Yugyeom each had influence in the music or lyrics of certain songs on the album.

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Spinning Top: Between Security & Insecurity Album Cover

1.. – Starting off the entire album is , which I am viewing as a very strong start. I find the song very captivating. The dramatic flair that the song introduces with their short violin-like effect is very appealing. The song does become a little traditional with its R&B tune, but I find the atmosphere to be quite uneasy, which I think goes hand-in-hand with insecurity message that the song had. I think what the song manages to do amazingly is showcase the vocals of the group. I was very impressed with all the members. I found Youngjae’s part in the first chorus to be very impactful. Changing from a whisper to loud vocals without any notice caught me off guard and I enjoyed that. The effect wasn’t the same for the following choruses (which was disappointing, but I now knew what I was expecting). I really enjoyed the rapping tone of the members as well. Overall, a strong start (as I mentioned earlier). (9/10)

2. ECLIPSE (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of ECLIPSE. (8/10)

3. The End (끝) – Following the very intense nature of ECLIPSE, The End opts for a more melodic and soft approach. I personally didn’t find the start of the song to be that captivating and it felt more typical than anything else. But within half a minute, I found the song developing into something intriguing. I would describe it to be very calming and dynamic, but these two words don’t really feel like they go together usually. Its melodic approach to the chorus is definitely an appealing aspect to the song for me. I really like that extra layer of instrumentation for the second half of the chorus, giving some more energy to the song. It was catchy and (once again) managed to showcase nice vocals and rapping. (9/10)

4. TIME OUT – I think TIME OUT could have been more appealing in the instrumentation domain. There is an intriguing factor with what they started off with, but I quickly got bored with this. There wasn’t much attempt to change it up, which I thought was a disappointing aspect. The vocals were pretty decent but that ‘TIME OUT’ shout just before each chorus felt very out of place, in my opinion. I do get the message of the song, but that shout felt more suited for a song with a more hyped up instrumental. But to speak of the song in a more positive light, I enjoyed its soft nature and liked how it continued break from the intense nature of the title track (I did need two songs to recuperate from its energy). (7/10)

5. Trust Me (믿어줄래)Trust Me seems to edge us back into the intensity realm. And I think it did a wonderful job as it just doesn’t launch you right into dubstep or anything overwhelmingly intense. Instead, it incorporates what I think sounds like R&B into the mix. I really like the kick they give to the chorus. Not too upbeat and well balanced with the more uneventful style of verses. I think the song showcases their vocals and raps best. I am reading it as a ballad on other sites, but I thought it could have been a spin on a traditional pop track that you really enjoy. You know, the pop tracks that artists release that doesn’t require flashy choreography and sounds more typical than anything else (but is still good). (8.5/10)

6. Page – By having Trust Me before it, we can officially move to a very upbeat track without feeling like it was thrown out of nowhere. The upbeat track that GOT7 follows up with is Page, which I think it is a great club-music track. I thought it was quite fun, especially with Jackson and JB’s addictive launch into the song’s hook. I found this track to be very dynamic as a result of its upbeat combination. I did want the song to have more bass to be even more exciting and hyped up. But Page does a fantastic job of rounding out the album. And like the rest of the album, it features good vocals and rapping. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

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