Welcome to the announcement post of the winners for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. During the month of December in 2020, I opened up a survey for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Over 1800 of you voted during the month of December, a number that I did not expect to see! I am sure that you all are excited and are awaiting to see which artist has clinched victory in each category. I have definitely made you wait long enough 🙂
Like the previous years, I will announce the winners using GIFs and images. I have also announced the runners up for each category as Honourable Mentions below the GIFs. In addition to that, I have included the KPOPREVIEWED Choice, which is my personal pick for each category.
Unlike previous years, however, all of the winners of the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards (including the End of Year Charts and Best Song of 2020 Award) is included in this very one post! Towards the bottom of each post, you will see some page numbers. You can click on these page numbers to navigate to different award categories and the End of Year Charts. Here is a quick guide to the page numbers:
Page 1 – Artist Categories Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song) Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award
The following categories are all fan-voted categories for the artists that were active during the eligible period of December 2019 to November 2020.
Select the page numbers below (just above the comments section) to go to the award categories you want to see the most! Page 1 – Artist Categories Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song) Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award
The next album on the reviewing list is Lovelyz’s latest mini-album release, Unforgettable. And the mini-album lives up to its name as it is quite unforgettable, despite the title track being Obliviate (the forgetting charm from the Harry Potter universe). Every song (including said title track) on this album is stunning in their own way and every song is near perfect. Lovelyz has really killed it with this mini-album and it sucks that the group/release is underrated. That is just a very brief overview of this review. For a little more detail and what I really liked about each of the song, continue reading below!
3. Dream in a Dream(자각몽) – Maybe it is because I have been on a horror binge lately, but the music box instrumental pieces give me creepy vibes. I wished that the lyrics reflected that somehow as it pretty mundane. In addition to the creepy vibes that the music box instrumental pieces provide the song, I also really enjoyed the contrast it also brings when paired with the synths in the chorus. Furthermore, the melodies and hushed style of the vocals in the chorus was also quite a highlight. But the biggest highlight in Dream In A Dream are the trio of high notes we get from Baby Soul, Sujeong and Kei. That was a genuine surprise that I really enjoyed. (9.5/10)
4. Never, Secret (절대, 비밀) – Never, Secret is beautiful song that is brings about a nostalgic Lovelyz sound that we associate with the group. It took me a while to register the song as a ballad, as the uses of synths alluded towards something different. But once you hear more of the stunning vocals, they don’t really stray away from the ballad genre. I love how the instrumental, while it doesn’t pick up at all, manages to incorporates various guitar pieces to ‘change up’ the song as it progresses. This doesn’t dry out the song and makes it more interesting. Overall, a soothing and calming ballad from the group. (9/10)
5. Memories(이야기꽃) – We move to a more upbeat pop track titled Memories. And it is another captivating track from Lovelyz. It starts off with a reggae influence, before building up to a dance pop sound that features much of the sounds we associate with Lovelyz (beautiful piano work and uplifting synths) for the chorus (with sdome brief rock influence). It is a little odd to describe in words. But once you hear it, it will make a lot more sense. To me, the best part of the song is Kei’s part in the bridge. That got a wow out of me and I had to go back a few times to relive that experience. (9/10)
6. Worry Dolls(걱정 인형) – Ending the album is Worry Dolls. It starts off simple with acoustic guitars and vocal work from the members. The song picks up instantly once it enters the chorus, amping up the sound of this ballad with a band and classical instrumentation. The song retains much of the energy that the chorus infused effortlessly for the second parts of the song, before we are given an electric guitar solo and returning briefly to acoustics. What makes Worry Dolls a really great song are the lyrics and harmonies that really make song wholesome and beautiful for fans and listeners alike. (9/10)
It has definitely been a while since we last heard from Lovelyz. Their last comeback was in May 2019 with Beautiful Days. After that comeback, the last we heard from the group was via their participation on the TV show, Queendom, while Kei and Sujeong made their respective solo debuts. But after one year and four months from their last official comeback as a group, Lovelyz has finally returned with Obliviate, the title track off the group’s seventh mini-album, Unforgettable.
Obliviate steps away from the usual fantastical cutesy and innocent sound that we know and associate to the group. Their new song is a lot more mature and serious in sound, compared to any of their previous releases. It is an interesting change up. It might be a step into the more typical direction as Lovelyz has held their ground with their usual work for over 6 years now. But I enjoy a different sound once in a while. The song starts off with this interesting guitar sample. I cannot pinpoint what style the guitar is, however it does bring a hint of that fantastical sound to the song, meaning Obliviate isn’t too far from the group’s associated sound. We then enter a pretty standard first half of the verse. The song starts to pick up once we get to the pre-chorus, with the instrumental and vocals becoming quite extravagant. We are then led to a satisfying chorus. The extravagant pre-chorus preceding it alluded to a harder drop, so Lovelyz’s light approach with Obliviate was unexpected. But I quite liked it. It consolidated that mature sound noted earlier and the repetition of the title was catchy. The instrumental was mostly trap, though I did appreciate the bass that kicked in. The best part of the song follows right after the chorus (i.e. post-chorus hook). It was by far the catchiest moment of the song and I really liked the way they added a yearning tone to the ‘Down, Down, Stop It‘. Overall, Obliviate falls for some typical elements. But for the most part, it was extremely refreshing for the group.
The song is about forgetting a painful love. And the members portray that very well throughout the video. You can tell that the members had enough with remembering these painful memories and seek ways to forget about it. Another interesting theory is the video’s connection with Harry Potter. It makes sense, given Obliviate is also the incantation for the forgetfulness charm. We see the members hold various items including a ring and a book (or diary). At the end, we see these burning alongside a rose, thanks to a spell that the members recite, which an owl drops off to the members. Mijoo is also in a maze, similar to the maze Harry had to go through in the final Triwizard Tournament. Sujeong stands in a corridor with flying letters. The other members didn’t really fit into this theory, though you may have picked up on some other details. Or there might be a completely different theory to this video. As for the visuals, I really liked the darker atmosphere and the sets for this video.
The members in an interview said a sentimental concept for this comeback, rather than a sexy concept. However, I think the latter is a better description for the performance. I really like elegance of performance, which strongly aligns this comeback with their previous performances and concepts. However a number of the moves give off a sensual vibe, which is absolutely fine as well. Key examples include the post-chorus sequence and the second section of the final chorus.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.5/10
During the week, we saw the solo debut of Ryu Su Jeong, who may better known as a member of Lovelyz. Su Jeong is the second member of the group to undergo solo promotions after debuting, following Kei, who debuted under the stage name Kim Ji Yeon last year with I Go. As for Ryu Su Jeong, she made her solo debut on Wednesday with Tiger Eyes, which is the title for both her solo title track and mini-album. As this review is already a few days late, let’s get right into the review.
I am unfamiliar with the members of Lovelyz, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with these (and any future) solo releases. Kei’s genre choice was a ballad, which made sense (in a cliche way) as she is the group’s main vocalist. Su Jeong is the lead vocalist of the group, so I half expected her to follow with the ballad route. But she ended up going with a dance track. And I think it is very refreshing move. Interestingly, Su Jeong strays away from the more innocent and ‘lovely’ (pun intended) style we always associate with Lovelyz. Instead, she opts for a very mature sound and a complete 180 from the concepts in which we usually see Su Jeong in. It is definitely exciting and adds to that refreshing note. I think this is a great song. The consistent beat we get in the instrumental reminded me songs from Kylie Minogue. There is slight heaviness to the beat, which is a major difference from the iconic artist. In addition, there is a very subtle intensity mixed into Tiger Eyes, which was interesting. The chorus has a nice kick of energy, which keeps the song exciting. I also enjoyed how the bridge had those piano key strikes, adding a light element to the otherwise pretty bass heavy dance track. I liked how Su Jeong’s vocals don’t go into that powerhouse mode or really any powerful mode in that sense. Instead, her vocals go down a more subtle route, with her vocals staying relatively low. By doing this, Su Jeong adds an intriguing touch to the song. The ‘Tiger Eyes‘ hooks was quite memorable after a few listens and I really liked how Su Jeong gave that phrase some life. I feel like this song could have used a rap sequence of some kind to give it that added edgy dimension, which I believe will make Tiger Eyes even more exciting.
You probably could already read my mind ahead of the next sentence. The music video had that typical close up and choreography formula. But I can’t always expect for a music video to incorporate a plot line. What the director of Tiger Eyes does right is highlighting the mature change that Su Jeong is undergoing. I mean, we are seeing a Lovelyz member in a way we have never seen them before. And there is a little bit of mysteriousness in the music video. I feel like there is enough interaction between the close up shots (even though they do not necessary connect to one another) that allows that mysteriousness to come from.
I feel like the performance could have used some more catwalk like moments, as I feel like there is enough attitude into the song to really make that feel natural. That, with the right stage effects, would have made this a knockout performance. But what we got is very suitable for the song. My only problem is how Su Jeong would return to a more innocent image through Lovelyz’s promotions. Unless, this solo promotion is easing us into a very different Lovelyz…
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8.3/10
I have noticed my clear lack of Lovelyz album reviews. They always seem like a hit or miss to me. But hopefully that will change soon as I plan to revisit some of their albums, including the ones that I consider to be ‘miss’ from the past few years. Today, I thought I revisit an album from the group which includes Destiny, one of their more memorable title tracks. The album is called A New Trilogy, which was released in April 2016.
3. Fondant (퐁당) – As the title of the song suggests, Fondant is a very sugary song. It is definitely brings out their cute side that we don’t get so much in Destiny. What I do like about the song is that it isn’t overly sweet. It does feel like it goes in that direction, but the really cutesy moments are quite limited. The vocals parts are sung at a higher pitch than usual to give off that cutesy feel. But after all these years of reviewing, I have found that to be bearable at least. It is more of those saturated moments that gets me otherwise. There is a nice melody and everything is quite light, which are elements that I really enjoy. (8/10)
4. Bookmark (책갈피) – To me, Bookmark can be a versatile song. It has the slowness and calmness of the ballad, while the instrumental does feature enough for it to have a nice choreography. Despite this, Bookmark is showcased as a ballad based on a performance I found. I thought the instrumental was a very nice. As mentioned, it combines the best of both worlds. But the piano does shine very nicely. The vocal work in this song was also quite soothing, while the rapping was a surprised addition that worked well with the setup. (8/10)
5. 1 cm – Another cutesy track from the group. But this one has an 8-bit like sound in the instrumental, which I thought was unique and added to the cutesy side of the track. It also provided a really bright and vibrant energy that you can’t help but smile at. I also like how the song sounds very ‘Lovelyz’, fitting extremely neatly into their discography. I also liked the delay drop to the chorus and the harmonies in this section, which really helped provided definition to the song. (9/10)
6. Heart (Handle with Care) (마음 (취급주의)) – The song also has a second title, Dear You. This one adds a little more energy to the song with an upbeat instrumentation. Like 1 cm, Heart does a good job of fitting into Lovelyz’s discography. The verses and bridge have that really sweet and cutesy tone to it that we have all grown to associate with Lovelyz. The chorus does stray away from their sound, however. It doesn’t feel like a Lovelyz song during chorus. I am not sure why, but it might have to do with the way they all harmonized and sung together. There is a charm to this as well, as it really become addictive to listen to. I also love the addition of electric guitar to the final chorus, as that it what the song really needed. (9/10)
7. Baby Doll (인형) – The way the song started instrumentally, along with the filtered/autotune vocals, really made the song sound haunting. I am not sure whether this is their intention, but that is what I tend to feel when I hear a music box like sound. Another way to look at it is that the song sounded very elegant or fairytale-like, which might be the more appropriate direction of the song. The vocal work seems to support either interpretations and sounded amazing when you consider both viewpoints. It isn’t my favourite track on the album, but it is alright. (7/10)
As promised, here is the first of a few Special posts that I have lined up for the final few weeks of the year. This is also a very long post!
Wrapping up its run on the air a few weeks ago is Queendom, a new and innovative show that brought together 5 leading girl groups (AOA, (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, Mamamoo and Oh My Girl) and one soloist (Park Bom) to have a comeback battle. In the weeks leading up to the final (which was the actual ‘comeback’ battle – where all 6 songs from the 6 acts were released at once to determine who was the Top Artist), the 6 acts participated in various rounds of performances (1st Round – Representative Hit Song; 2nd Round – Cover Song of Fellow Queendom Contestant; and 3rd Round – Unit Performance + Fandora’s Box) to gain points which placed them at an advantage during the ‘comeback’ battle.
The show ended up being very successful, with fans and viewers talking about the show’s performances each week. Each week, there was one or two groups that stole the spotlight. Some notable examples include the fanfare that AOA had when they performed the remixed version of Miniskirt during the first round and how Lovelyz got Sixth Sense and their own name trending after their cover of Brown Eyed Girl’s Sixth Sense in the second round.
Despite my exams and assignments, I tuned in each week to watch the performances as they felt like all the stages were on a whole new level to what we saw on the standard weekly music shows. I hope the show returns with a new female lineup and possibly a male spinoff titled Kingdom, as requested by many fans already. And today, I will be having a look at each of the songs that each act performed in the final round, as there are a number of good tracks that you should not just pass over just because the show is over. I will also be rating the performances and determining an overall score (as I believe these songs will be appearing on each artists’ future comebacks).
Sorry – AOA
AOA has been riddled with of departures of a few members over the last few years, leading their once strong lineup into a potentially shaky future. So in a way, Queendom was a way to relaunch the five-member lineup and showcase the new era of AOA. They have proven to be strong contenders throughout the preliminary rounds of Queendom and Sorry further highlights their potential. The synthpop instrumentation, their nostalgic and catchy chorus, the very moody verses and strong vocals really made this song into one of the more iconic tracks of the competition. I did think Jimin’s rapping could have been a little powerful, in this song actually. We have seen her do some bombastic solo work and I wished AOA’s releases incorporated some of this.
AOA’s Western outback concept was a pretty strong concept and It seems like they will be continuing this into their upcoming music release next week. I thought the concept showed off a nice mature of the girls, which is reflective in the music as well. While the performance was watchable in a pleasant way, Chanmi’s mini fight sequence was undoubtedly the highlight of this performance and deserves a lot of attention.
Song – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9/10
Moonlight – Lovelyz
It was really surprising to see Lovelyz gain attention for their Sixth Sense cover, which goes against every Lovelyz song we have ever heard in their careers thus far. But good for them! Hopefully, this signals as a potential concept for the future, as we now have a valid confirmation that Lovelyz can pull off a powerful concept. But the focus should be on Moonlight, which I, unfortunately, rank as one of the weaker tracks of the final round. It lacked boldness that some of their other contenders had in their performance and it failed to be memorable (I pretty much forgot the song right after it finished playing). It was bearable though, with good vocals and melody, which is usually expected from the group. Just not enough to make this a strong track.
I am not too sure about the concept of this stage. But their outfits reminded me of Greek Goddesses and I thought they were pretty on stage. The dance moves were nice and elegant, which worked well with the melody of the song. At times, it looked like they were struggling within themselves, which worked well with the lyrics of the song. Overall, a good performance.
Song – 6/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 6.3/10
Wanna Go Back (되돌릴 수 없는 돌아갈 수 없는 돌아갈 곳 없는) – Park Bom
I question the producer for bringing Park Bom into the competition. It isn’t because she is a terrible artist. She has great songs and a unique set of vocals that make her stand out. She is just at a disadvantage from the start in Queendom (performing alone, couldn’t participate in the dance unit in Round 3 etc.). She did bring an interesting level of competition (and her interactions with the younger artists made the show fun). Her final song was titled Wanna Go Back, which is an emotional ballad that reflected on her desire to go back to the good old days of 2NE1. It also brings out her vocals, which is an improvement from some of Queendom’s preliminary round. That high note sounded quite good and it was something I didn’t think Park Bom could handle.
Her performance stage was practically a throwback to her time in 2NE1. The four microphone stands, the three other backup dancers to complete a lineup of four. I also really liked how she used that stage platform to show that she will be rising to the top again and her mic drop at the end. Not too sure about her mini performance at the end. But other than that, it was a powerful performance but in a different sense.
Song – 7.5/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.7/10
Guerilla (게릴라) – Oh My Girl
Out of all the groups on Queendom, it seems like Oh My Girl was the biggest beneficiary. Since their initial stages on the show, the group have been approached by multiple companies asking them to be their models for their products. They have also been granted an extended holiday, which they undoubtedly deserve after Queendom and their impressive run with The Fifth Season earlier this year. Guerilla is my pick for the best track of all the 6 acts. It showcases a different side of Oh My Girl. A more suspenseful and edgy sound from the group, thanks for the subtle use of trap elements. I also thought their vocals in this song were the strongest out of the 6 acts as well. Mimi’s rapping was a tad too soft for my liking and would have preferred to be a lot louder to match up with the vocals.
I freaking love this performance. It is one of the two that I have been coming back to every single day because I cannot get enough of it. From the ropes at the start to their powerful moves during the chorus to the elegant natures during the bridge, it was a solid performance that showcases that there is more to Oh My Girl than what we have heard so far. I also like their styling, which was very bold.
Song – 9/10 Performance – 10/10 Overall Rating – 9.3/10
Lion – (G)I-DLE
(G)I-DLE is the youngest group on the Queendom lineup. But their work thus far, it felt like the group has been in the industry for some time. No wonder they are known as monster rookies when they debuted. Lion probably stands as one of the most iconic and unique tracks of the night. Cube Entertainment went of their way to even produce a music video for it. I feel like if (G)I-DLE returned with tracks that showed feminine power like Lion, rather than Senorita and Uh-Oh, 2019 would have been a pretty successful year for the group. Two things stood out for me in this powerful track: Soyeon’s rapping and Minnie’s high and low sections.
Best outfits and concept for the final night goes to Lion. This was one hell of a performance. And this doesn’t just apply to the singers. The backup dancers rocked awesome manes. I also like how fierce their moves and facial expressions were. It is a powerful song and it is paired with an equally powerful and unique set of moves.
Song – 9/10 Performance – 10/10 Overall Rating – 9.3/10
Destiny (우린 결국 다시 만날 운명이었지) – Mamamoo
I was most excited for Mamamoo, as everyone knows how much of a fan I am of the group. Their stages on Queendom have been consistently my favourite. Their final song was titled Destiny and it actually features on their recent comeback album, reality in BLACK, which I will be reviewing on a later date. Destiny is special as it is probably their most experimental track yet. It mashes different styles together, creating a whole track that brings out all their strengths (vocals, rapping, harmonies and everything else). I really liked the start of the track, where everything felt blue and moody. I like their Western instrumental, followed by that rocking ending.
One thing that Mamamoo can do that not many other artists are able to do is engage the audience into the performance. That and their stage presence is very big. Throw in some live vocals and you have a rocking performance that really doesn’t need choreography. You have already done the hard work by captivating the audience. That being said, there was some choreography and everything they ended up doing looked really cool. Just focus on Hwasa and you can see how that is the case!
Song – 10/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9.7/10
And that is my review for Queendom’s final tracks. All of the tracks were amazing in their own way but Destiny by Mamamoo came out on top as my favourite. But what was your favourite? Comment down below and let’s see if we all agree with one another.
I know, I am very delayed with this review. Apologies. Throwing the study card out there as my excuse again.
It was a very quick teasing process. But Kei (from Lovelyz) made her solo debut on Tuesday under her real name. Kei is the first from her group to actually release a solo mini-album after the group’s debut in 2014. The title track is called I Go and it features on the mini-album, Over and Over. In other related news, Lovelyz has been participating in the TV show, Queendom and recently got a lot of fanfare for their surprising cover of Sixth Sense, which is my favourite performance on the show so far.
Kei is the main vocalist of the group, so it was highly expected that she would debut with a ballad. And with I Go fulfilling the initial expectations of the track, Kei had to bring some extra to ensure she stands out in the crowd of solo acts. And she sure did. I think she was the first soloist to really bring part of her group’s sound into their solo act. While the instrumental is pretty classical-like and it really isn’t much of dance-enabling track, I find the fantastical feel we get from Lovelyz usually was present. It was a nice spin to both sides of the track in my opinion and it ended up being a pretty track. Kei’s voice is very youthful and I am glad she didn’t pick a very serious or emotional ballad as this could potentially drag her down. I must admit that I found the song to start nicely but it got a little too much towards the end. There were one too many layers at the end that made things a little too messy. But apart from that, I thought it was nice ballad to kick off her solo career.
Matching the song is a non-serious or emotional styled music video. The song is about getting out there to meet your partner. But your partner is always by your side, even in the moments where you are alone. I thought the video was put together quite nicely to show this. Kei is alone at the start but ends up tied to this very long white sheet that guides her to her happy place. The long white sheet is like the partner that is beside you, guiding you from point A and point B. I like how the video was presented, with the grass filled reminding me to Taeyeon’s very famous I release. Another thing I really like about the video was the use of colour, which made the video appropriate for every season. It is colourful enough for Summer but feels warm enough for Winter. Likewise for Spring and Autumn.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.7/10
Reviews for the new releases of this week will be posted in the coming days. Apologies for the delay.
Returning to the stage this past Monday was Lovelyz, who has returned with Beautiful Days. This new song is the title track off their 6th mini-album, Once Upon A Time, which also dropped the same day. We last saw the group through their Lost N Found promotions back in November last year. It has been relatively quiet from the girls since then, especially after what can be seen as a successful year for the group in terms of promotions (2018 saw them win their first music show and third set of concerts).
Given that the industry is now at full speed for the upcoming Summer season, it expected that some releases suiting the Summer season will be flowing in right about now. And you can definitely leave it to Lovelyz to bring a refreshing tone with their suitable track. I find the song to be quite light despite it being heavy with some synths. It is definitely extremely difficult to get that balance and Lovelyz nails it. The instrumental was nice. Once again, they go for a retro synth-pop but I like the mix of classical for the bridge. The vocals were nice but they didn’t offer anything new to really comment about. What Lovelyz does is stick to what they do best. The song felt safe than anything else, fitting in what I would consider a little too neatly with the rest of their portfolio. Beautiful Days is still listenable and definitely something you would associate with the group. But it just didn’t feel memorable when you consider the song as a whole.
I think pairing the song with the music video made the song feel a lot more beautiful. I am not exactly sure about what the video is about. But maybe that ‘association to Lovelyz’s past track’ was intentional. I say this because I noticed some aspects of this video showcasing some of their past concepts. The ball with the solar system rolling around reminded me of the spinning shots in Destiny. One of the members was holding a picture of the group during their Twinkle promotions. And the colour scheme for one of the dance sense is giving me very strong flashbacks but I cannot pinpoint which comeback (I think Destiny). But this won’t impact what I said before. I personally think it is a nice video for the group. It looked elegant and hazy filter didn’t impact the overall colour scheme of the video.
I think the performance is the best aspect of the group’s comeback. They bring a feminine charm that I cannot help but watch from start to end. I really like the complexity of the chorus and the fact that they kept in sync with each other. You usually don’t get that feeling with female groups. But given that they are from the same company who brought you Infinite (the original kings of that noticeably in-sync choreography), it was a given.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8/10
Joining the November comeback influx is Lovelyz. Known for their youthful comebacks, the girl group has been growing even more popular with each comeback. Now, the group has returned with their fifth mini album, Sanctuary, which features the title track, Lost N Found. This is their first comeback since Wag-Zak (released back in June) and the release of their first compilation album (Muse on Music), which is made up of instrumentals of many of their past tracks.
In just the first few seconds of the song, I thought Lovelyz was going to have a dramatic change in their sound. It was 100% techno, so that was very surprising. But within another few seconds, the group returned to their usual sound, with that techno infused into it. Well, during the purely instrumental sections, it felt more like distortion. But it gave their usual sound a facelift, which I thought was really clever. Their vocals brought the traditional Lovelyz sound and a hint of cuteness to the track. It was a really good track up until the bridge. I thought that the transition between the chorus to the bridge felt a little too sudden and this just cut the flow of the song for me. Its buildup back to the final chorus was quite lacklustre, nor was there really anything to call a ‘peak’. Overall, the song is good but not their best.
What they had visually was a very nice video. I just didn’t understand the imagery or symbolism of what they were doing. It might be retelling a story of a certain someone, where this certain someone fits in with the objects they were holding and the lyrics of the song but I have no idea who (maybe a Goddess). But besides the plot of the video, I thought the set looked really beautiful. It matches Lovelyz bright personality and beauty.
To fit in with the beauty and the concept, each of the members is holding microphones covered in flowers. While this seems quite ‘normal’ when you think about it, it is rather smart when on stage. Instead of drabby looking microphones, why not have them fit the theme or their outfits. I thought the intro choreography looked really nice and it matched the edgy side of the techno music extremely well. There was also this staggering move that I liked during the bridge.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 7/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.2/10
With the first 6 months of 2018 officially over, it is time to look back at my personal favourite songs from the first half. Last week, I recapped the top songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts. But some songs that I personally liked didn’t really make that list. So here are 15 songs released over the last 6 months that are my personal favourites AND continually listen to (irrespective of the charts and the reviews – as opinions do change).
Lovelyz have made their return to the stage with their first Summer digital single, Wag-Zak. They have already started promotions for the new song prior to its release on Sunday (yesterday), which doesn’t occur all that often. The girl group previously promoted That Day and wrapped their promotions about a month ago. They are, however, short one member this time around, with JIN sitting out of promotions due to health issues.
Wag-Zak fits perfectly into the growing Lovelyz song protfolio, keeping true to their cutesy and bright image that they have maintained throughout all of their songs to date. It also does its job as a ‘special Summer single’, even though the first descriptive word might be questionable. It is extremely cold where I am at the moment, so I enjoyed listening to the song throughout last week, as it does paint a nice image of blue skies and a sunny environment that feels warm. The song does feature a tropical sound, which was felt prominently throughout the post-chorus instrumental break. However as I write this, it does feel very cliche to go down that route for the Summer season, particularly after last year’s tropical-dominated releases. On top of that, I thought the song was rather lacking in terms of memorability. While the instrumental and overall vibes from the song were okay, I just didn’t find myself humming the tune or awkwardly mouthing along to the lyrics (which I do with most addictive songs). Instead, I would describe the song to be more suited for casual listening.
The music video simply shows the members having some fun at the beach (or resort). While it has definitely be done before, the combination between the beach theme and the song is pretty much the only video concept/idea that would sound plausible and make the most sense. I thought their enjoyment seemed genuine to an extent and the cutesy vibes that they had going on were nice.
The performance for this song did seem a little rushed for the stage. Though, this promotional round would only be for a week, so I don’t see the need for this to be overly perfected. But as a disclaimer, there wasn’t anything too impressive if that is what you were expecting. However, it does feel nice and fitting for the Summer vibes from the song.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7.3/10
Apologies for the lack of album reviews in the past week. I had to drop them temporarily due to my studies (it got hectic real fast). Now that the first hurdle is over, I am glad I can finally edit and publish on that I was holding for a few weeks now. Lovelyz made their comeback with That Day, which earned them their second trophy. It is the lead title track off their 4th mini-album, Heal. With no further delay, here is my album review!
3. Bizarre (미묘미묘해) – Bizarre is an upbeat and bright pop track with a cutesy vibe and retro feel. It is super catchy. It follows well after the title track with its ‘fun’ sound. Despite that, there was a ‘serious’ pre-chorus, which zoned right into the strong vocals and built up perfectly into the chorus. The verses were extremely colourful, which I really liked. Most awkward part of the song was definitely the end, where this deep tone came in. Quirky can be used to describe it but too random for my taste. Overall, a near-perfect song. (9.5/10)
4. Temptation – This contrast nicely with a more serious and mature tone. I really like the synth in the background that gives the song an almost futuristic sound. While the vocals don’t really hit that peak as in their previous two tracks, it sounds equally as nice here. The chorus provided a blast of energy which made it feel so refreshing. And the change-up did wonders to the track. Lovelyz don’t rap too often, so it did feel a little foreign to hear a rap sequence in their song. Following the rap was a soft piece of melodic music. Not too much of a fan of that but it gave a very different feel. (9/10)
5. Watercolour (수채화) – The mandatory ballad on all album releases is back to bite us. The song does showcase nice vocals, like in their previous tracks. There were nice ballads. However, it felt like your typical sweet-sounding ballad that girl groups tend to throw onto their albums. It sadly is the least interesting track on this album but still decent to listen to. (7/10)
6. SHINING★STAR – The song fondly reminds me of their previous album. It starts off with a very typical pop sound but instantly changes up with a chaotic piece of music lasting for a few seconds, which reminds me of ‘retro sounding video games’. The thumping in the verses and fast tempo really makes the song stand out. Chorus was nice however I felt the vocals were overshadowed by the intensity of the instrumental. From the second verse onwards, the song was quite repetitive, with nothing new to offer. The end of the song follows an energetic formula but was sadly too abrupt for my taste. (8/10)
Lovelyz have made their return to the stage with a brand new song, titled as That Day. It is the title track off their 4th mini-album, which is titled as Heal. This is the girls first comeback since Twinkle, which was released at the end of last year.
With the warmer weather in South Korea, That Day is a suitably bright and energetic song. The sound reminds me of their earlier works, which is something that I have noticed with many of their songs. They are quite consistent with their bright and cutesy sound. Not going too overboard but not diverting to something completely unexpected either. What makes this song unique is their chorus. While I can make standard comments regarding the energy and brightness, I want to take a moment to appreciate the way they sang some of their lines. The “hwa” and the “hoo” is extremely ear-catching and it makes the song quite catchy (for me, at least). Vocally, I thought they all sounded great. The instrumental did seem to overpower some of the vocals at certain parts throughout the song but it didn’t seem too troubling. The verses did seem a little boring in comparison to the rest of the song but once again, nothing too concerning. Overall, That Day is another great song that fits snuggly under their portfolio umbrella.
The music video is distinctively bright, which is something that I like quite a bit. It suits the song perfectly. No unnecessary filters and lighting, it sets the video up to be quite promising. I really like the cartoon effects for the ‘Hwa” and the “Hoo“. I have mentioned that recently those do look childish but it looks fine here. Actually, it might even be subtle. For the circus or theme park set looked quite cool as well. Not exactly sure how it fits in with the lyrics but overall, it was a great video to watch.
The choreography was decent. Once again, I thought it was fitting for the song and the chorus was probably my most favourite part. There just wasn’t anything that impressive. Maybe the performance will grow on me? I don’t know, but it was a fair performance to watch.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 6/10 Overall Rating – 7.9/10
For the past few months, I have noticed my album reviews have been mainly focused on male groups. To change up, I have decided to look into more girl group albums. Preferably the latest albums, however, I do intend to revisit some past albums from previous years as well. I started with Red Velvet’s Perfect Velvet and now I am moving onto Lovelyz’s latest release. Once again, I have decided to omit the introductory track, Spotlight, from this review.
3. Triangle(삼각형) – The electronic components of the song give it that quirky yet intriguing side, making it fit perfectly into the typical Lovelyz sound I have associated with them in the past year. They have great hooks, especially the post-chorus parts. The ending is the letdown moment of the track, which ended up feeling forced. But overall, great song. (8.5/10)
4. Just (그냥) – The first thing I noticed when I first listened to this song was the brightness that it presented. The song itself felt like the mixture of the Christmas theme this album had channelled along with their previous title track, WoW! That being said, what makes it an even better track is the unexpected twist and turns it takes. Once again, the ending feels rushed but it doesn’t stop being a track to check out. (9/10)
5. Fallin’ – Fallin’ felt like a ballad to me but it invokes a great sense of nostalgia. Lovelyz’s vocals are a whole seemed to put forward an innocent vibe, which I thought was cute. I like the harp instrumental they used but that random pause in the middle of the song ruined the flow. It does feel a little plain but it was something nice to listen to. (8/10)
6. Secret Garden (비밀정원) – The song starts on a bold note, which is something that makes it stand out. The instrumental is much louder compared to the previous tracks, which give it an explosive nature. I did feel that same energy was lost as the song progressed, which is a disappointment. The vocal work was quite nice and this would be a song that I would love to see a stage performance for. (8/10)
7. Sleepy Dream (졸린 꿈) – Ending the mini-album is Sleepy Dream, which has a nice mixture of orchestra and synths, especially how they use the bells in the instrumental. It sets the song up for the Christmas is coming up soon for everyone around the world. Another great use of vocals and an excellent way to end the mini-album. (9/10)
Lovelyz has made their comeback with Twinkle. They were last on stage promoting WoW! and Now, We(the latter earned them their first win on a Korean weekly music show) earlier this year. The entire comeback is probably a sign of what is about to come. I am a firm believer of Christmas in December only, so this is going to be interesting.
Twinkle is probably that love child that comes about when JPOP is mixed with the Christmas season. It starts off with that exact feeling. But as the song progresses along, it starts losing that identity, which is a little disappointing. But they manage to make it up in an extremely powerful chorus filled with a dominant synth. And it is the chorus that makes me enjoy the track more (rather than that Christmas start). The vocals are superb in this song, matching extremely well with that powerful chorus. Not once did they feel become overshadowed by the instrumental. The raps, on the other hand, were the weaker moments of the song. They felt more awkward and cheesy more than anything else. As mentioned previously, as well, I am not a fan of abrupt endings and this is probably the most abrupt an ending of a song can be. It just didn’t feel complete and felt like the song was cut-off. Personally, I think it is a song right up my alley.
The music video is mainly of the girls just preparing for the upcoming holiday season after receiving some sort of confession note. There really isn’t much else to talk about in the video. It is standard video overall. Unless you want me to make comments about what the girls are doing as preparation. Knitting scarfs, sorting through Winter clothing, selecting the right ornament to hang at the door and gently caressing a snowglobe. Wait, what was that last one?
The choreography for Twinkle is very cool. It was graceful to compliment the start of the song and then it changed appropriately to match the more upbeat chorus. I loved the side-stepping move they did towards the start of the chorus (where they did it 4 at a time).
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 5/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7/10
Lovelyz has returned with their repackaged album of their second album, R U Ready?. They previously made their comeback with WoW! in February and this week released the repackaged album, along with the title track Now, Us.
Now, Us throws you back to their more earlier works. It feels distinctively familiar and distinctively Lovelyz. While I do want to hear a different sound from the group, such as WoW! (which kept that distinct Lovelyz sound but also added a different flavour), this track works nicely as well. The chorus itself is quite catchy and the track, after a few listens becomes quite addictive. Their vocal work is quite good here, especially how the entire track is sung at a higher pitch. It adds a little something different to the track, making it unique to their past tracks that I am fondly reminded of. The problem with this track is that it ends abruptly. While I have made exceptions in the past, the ending for this song felt very premature and it left me wondering if there is more or not. Maybe that is their tactic to make us go back to the song. But it just ruins the flow of the song, which does leave me a little disappointed when I hear the next song on the playlist.
Lovelyz also returned with the style of muisc video that I commonly associate with Lovelyz. Despite this, the video stands alone and suits the music perfectly. Once again, the individual scenes make no sense. However, I am absolutely certain they all add up to some sort of meaning. My guess is that they are nervous when meeting their crush. Nonetheless, it does make the video interesting to watch (mainly because I am trying to make sense of everything). I love how the rooms are quite pale, but some details make the girls stand out, such as they bold blue socks and yellow heels combination. Overall, I genuinely enjoyed the video.
[UPDATED] I think the performances can be cut into two parts. The first would be the more graceful side to match the tempo of the song during the verses, while the chorus showed a more energetic side to the choreography. Overall, I thought the entire performance had a Lovelyz feel, regardless if you find yourself tuning in any of the two parts. The chorus choreography was cute to watch.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 8.5/10 [UPDATED] Overall Rating – 8/10[UPDATED]