[Album Review] Stamp On It (1st Mini Album) – GOT the beat

The next album to be reviewed on this blog is GOT the beat’s first mini-album, Stamp On It, which was released way back in January of this year by SM Entertainment’s super female group – BoA, Taeyeon and Hyoyeon (SNSD), Wendy and Seulgi (Red Velvet) and Karina and Winter (aespa). It is led by the title track of the exact same name, and features an additional five tracks. If I had to share my thoughts on this mini-album and GOT the beat as a whole, I choose to echo part of the final sentence of song section of the Stamp On It review I wrote back in January this year – “a strong lineup, but yet the song choices for promotions have been a total letdown.” This sentiment stays true until this day. Honestly, SM Entertainment (which has been a mess this year) could have picked any song from the mini-album other than the title track, and that choice would be many times better than Stamp On It. I do prefer one track over the others, so keep on reading to find out which one of the other five songs I would choose.

1. Stamp On It (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Stamp On It. (5.5/10)

2. Goddess Level – While I do hear the potential behind Goddess Level, there is just too much going on in the choruses all at once. Maybe if the producers lost one layer of instrumentation in the chorus, Goddess Level would have been fine. Definitely retain the saxophone layer and the bass beat, though, as both are very cool and makes Goddess Level stand out. The vocals and rapping at certain points were very strong, while at other moments (namely the verses) were pretty bland and just doesn’t live up to the standard the stronger moments had imposed on the song. (7/10)

3. Alter EgoAlter Ego is a grower. Not in the sense that it took a few listens to get into the track. But rather, the opening and first verse didn’t do much for me. It was moody and dark set-up for the song, but I wished there was more to it. Instead, it was the choruses/post-choruses that really wins me over. The melody and vocals in the choruses was super addictive, while the post-choruses gave such an edgy and memorable tone to the song. (8/10)

4. Rose (가시) – Deep hip-hop beats open up Rose. Then comes the exploration of silky harmonies and vocals, and some low-tone rapping, confirming the strength of the song from the get-go. As Rose progresses, the song becomes even more complex with the instrumentation taking up more electronic synths and textures, while the members showcase soaring vocals, and more alluring and darker rapping. I would have appreciated a touch more consistency in the song, as it developed. But this isn’t a major issue for me. Rose is definitely a journey, and I was not disappointed by it. (8.5/10)

5. Outlaw – If you looking for a track that is completely full of texture and abrasiveness, then Outlaw is the song for you. I liked the fact that the instrumentation was relentless in both areas and it helped the song become quite dynamic as a result. I am super impressed by the vocals and rapping in Outlaw. Not only did they contribute to the dynamism of the song, the members stood out strongly over the instrumentation. BoA’s high note was impressive and the crashing percussion/gunshots at the end was such a cool closer. (10/10)

6. MALA MALA tones down the album, closing out the mini-album in an impeccable manner. We still have the electronic touches, but nothing as high-powered as the tracks preceding this one. Instead, we get a flowy instrumentation. The flute in the background throughout the song was quite interesting. We get the usual mix of vocals and rap in this song, but I liked the more delicate notes in MALA when it comes to the vocals, while Karina and BoA’s rapping I the bridge ended up having quite an impact. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

Stamp On It Teaser Image

[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 – 5.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[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