[Review] Stamp On It – GOT the beat

As mentioned last week in my long overdue review for Step Back, GOT the beat will be making their official comeback this week with their newest single and first mini-album, both of which are titled Stamp On It. The group previously performed Stamp On It at SM Town Live 2023: SMCU Palace at Kwangya on the first day of this year. Today, the music video and album officially dropped, which now calls for a review.

Truthfully, I hadn’t checked out Stamp On It when the performance was first uploaded onto YouTube. So everything I say today is actually my first impression (or so). Spoiler alert: things don’t look too good for Stamp On It. For Stamp On It, I found the song to be very incohesive. Each part of the song was distinct and stayed distinct. In no way did I feel Stamp On It attempt to blend or meld together the different parts to make it feel like one whole song, rather than three separate songs mashed together. The first part (i.e. verses and choruses) did work with one another, but there was the recurring obnoxious and annoying vocal synth (“Goo Ooo“) in the background that really gave me a headache. It was overwhelming, and just distracted me from the the vocal work. And that is saying quite a bit, given that Stamp On It continues the powerful vocals that GOT the best also put on display through their Step Back release. To even be able to distract me from that is quite alarming! Following the first and final choruses, we get this “Baby Baby Baby” sequence that I don’t feel add much substance to the song. The synths here, whilst not as annoying, do head in that direction. The bridge was probably the most promising and likeable aspect of Stamp On It, as it didn’t feature any loop of synths. It brought a bit of smoothness via the vocals to the song, which I also really appreciated. It was then followed up with an instrumental break and powerful rap sequence. Said instrumental break could not escape from that same recurring synth, but that rap sequence showed promise. Overall, Stamp On It is not my cup of tea. I do like my mashes, but Stamp On It is too much. But my biggest issue with Stamp On It is that the unit has such a strong lineup, but yet the song choices for promotions have been a total letdown.

I believe the music video gears towards a heist concept. I am not entirely sure, but that was the impression I was getting with the museum type of setting and the presence of the diamond and expensive art around them. Other than that, it was a strong video in terms of style and visuals. Each member looked amazing. But the standout moment from the video has to be when Seulgi brushes her hair backwards at the 2:30 mark of the music video. That definitely left a strong impression in my memory bank.

I am a bit disappointed with the choreography for this comeback. I feel like the moves were all ‘soft around the edges’, which was a mismatch towards the harsher and heavy synths. I wished there was more boldness to the performance and the moves appeared to be sharper.

Song –
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating –

[Review] Step Back – GOT the Beat

Needless to say, this review is very overdue. But as the saying goes – better late than never. Got the Beat is due to make their comeback on Monday with their first mini-album, Stamp It Out. So in preparation for that, I have decided to finally write me review for Step Back, their debut single that officially dropped early 2022. For those who may not have tuned for Got the Beat’s debut, the lineup of this super female group hails from SM Entertainment’s female artists and consist of a legendary lineup, including BoA, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon (from SNSD), Seulgi and Wendy (from Red Velvet) and Karina and Winter (from aespa).

My impression of Step Back from a year ago is exactly the same today. And it isn’t any good news, unfortunately. While I commend the lineup for their powerful energy and vocals (however, this does become an issue – more later on) that will definitely wakes you up no matter what state you are in, my biggest gripe about Step Back is that it is overly repetitive. Aside from the bridge, which features a very smooth slow down in momentum and an really cool yet unhurried ramp back up towards the final chorus through the use of raps and high notes, everything else in the Step Back‘s instrumental just felt like it was on a loop. The same synths was just on repeat and there was never any new offering (until we got to the bridge). And even the final chorus, which was an opportunity for Step Back to concentrate or offer something new (or do anything more than feature the same loop), just featured the same synths we heard earlier on in the song. The melodies have a nice ring to them, but they do feel slightly monotonous. A major help to Step Back were the vocals, which I have already described as powerful. Standalone, each member really had their moment to shine in Step Back, with the many high notes flooring me. But as I mentioned at the start of this paragraph, the powerful vocals do become a bit of an issue when it comes to the chorus which all (if not most) members of this super female group contribute to. I just felt all of them singing at once created an overwhelming effect, which felt slightly uncomfortable in my opinion. Had the vocals been toned back, just by a slight amount, this effect would not have been apparent and Step Back would have just have repetitive issue as its Achilles’ heels.

Another reason to why I had not reviewed Step Back earlier on was that I was waiting around for an actual music video to drop. But that never happened. Instead, the performance video that was first release stands in as the main promotional video. It looks cool and all. But I felt a proper music video would have helped made everything feel more dynamic and interesting, rather than seeing the same set and outfits for almost four minutes. The performance video does make do, however. I liked how the lighting in the background helps transform the same set into what felt like a few different sets. The performance itself was pretty amazing. I did like the sassy attitude that the performance featured, which is miles away from the disappointing lyrics. They really put all of their energy and power into making the performance a strong one, and it delivered.

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

[Review] Wannabe – Hyoyeon (SNSD)

Hyoyeon from Girl’s Generation has returned with her latest single. Her previously collaborated with Miss A’s Min and Jo Kwon and released a single titled as Born To Be Wild. She later went on to release Mystery, her first solo single. Both these songs were released for SM Station. This is her second single, with the song titled Wannabe, which also features SanE.

Right from the very start, we hear a constant groaning in the background of the song. It is undeniably a turn-off and quite annoying. She usually raps when she is a part of Girl’s Generation, but there is a different sound in this song, compared to works as part of the 8-member girl group. I actually think this tough sound fits her. Her raspy voice gives it a boost in terms of energy, which goes a long way in this song. But the part I love the most is the chorus. It’s catchy and provided much needed relief from that groaning at the start. The verses delved into a hip-hop centred sound, while the chorus felt like it was more retro pop. Odd combination and it doesn’t work for me. While it didn’t seem that apparent, there really wasn’t a transition that could have tied the two different sounds together. That made it feel like the parts were detached from each other. Likewise, SanE’s featuring in the song felt distant from the rest of the song. It just felt like another part of another song that was added to extend the song. There is definitely potential behind this song just by listening to the chorus. But the rest of the song seems to mask it.

The music video is filmed in a place, which seemed to look like an underground boxing arena and a warehouse where some of the boxers are practising. The cinematography seem to add an extra edgy vibe in conjunction to the song, which I think is quite cool. The way she moves around and starts dancing at some parts also made the video looked smooth. The addition of the guys in the background, where the camera pans to them watching Hyoyeon or ‘resting’, made things feel a little awkward. Furthermore, the amount of jewellery and ‘bling’ (my attempt to sound cool) wouldn’t necessary fly in an area like that. The scenery and surroundings mismatched the accessories she was wearing throughout the video. Overall though, the video was quite pretty good to watch.

The performance is quite cool. The styles matched the certain part of the song she was dancing to. The more edgy feel was also present, something we don’t really see when she is with SNSD, which is nice. It wasn’t impressive, but nonetheless, it was enjoyable to watch.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6/10