Returning last week was N.Flying with the repackaged version of their first studio length album. For those who may have missed their last comeback, N.Flying returned with Moonshot and Man On The Moon back in June of this year. On Wednesday last week, the group reissued their first studio album and renamed it Turbulence, with it being lead by the title track Sober.
Sober is a decent song, if you are looking for a heavy and emotional rock ballad type of song. For me, it was pretty much a miss a week ago and is still a miss a week after. There isn’t anything wrong about the track. It just didn’t meet my expectations (more on that in a second). The band does well within the confines of their style boundaries for this release. The band instrumentation was standard, but substantial. There wasn’t anything special about it per say, but I liked how it had that lurching momentum that most rock ballads tend to have. I was waiting for a bit of a kick to come in, as I feel like there was room for the band to go into even deeper emotional territory with this song. We did of get a bit of intensity towards the end from the instrumentation front, but it was a tad too late for me. Similarly, I was expecting a similar effect with the vocals. The members nailed the emotional brief that Sober was all about, and I liked the mixture of soft rapping and vocals throughout the song. But there was so much potential for the vocals to go further. The bridge and Hwesung’s high note was definitely a teaser of what I was looking forward to hearing, but those parts alone just wasn’t enough. I was also not a fan of the abrupt ending to the song. However, the song still some appealing points. The first comes in via the melodies. Sober managed to still evoke that swaying effect that I tend to mention on this blog, despite me not being entirely into the song. So I give them points for that. I also give them points for the song’s hook, as that was memorable element and Seunghyub’s delivery was definitely made it sound good. Overall, Sober had potential in terms of direction that it just didn’t really navigate towards, hence the disappointment and ‘doesn’t meet expectations’ comment above.
The music video definitely compliments the tone and emotional vibe of the music. I am not a fan of the hazy filter that they had going on, but it works for this release. It was more so what the video was trying to show us that I am not entirely sure. It appears that the members are travelling on a plane, which I presume is their trip towards their relationship. But the plane enters a period of turbulence, which I am guessing is a relevant representation of a rocky relationship. The members are worried that the plane would crash, but they managed to get to the other side. Based on the lyrics, this ‘other side’ is a breakup, as appears the members had popped off the plane into the field, rather than the plane’s destination (i.e. their partner). I guess that kind of makes sense, though the really bright ‘heaven’ scenes leave me scratching me head and so do those bubbles (maybe the action of ‘bursting the bubbles’ meant that the members realize that this relationship isn’t good for them (i.e. not smooth sailing as depicted by the plane ride at the start).
Song – 6/10 Music Video – 7/10 Overall Rating –6.4/10
Out of all the albums I am reviewing as part of this blitz, I think this particular one is the oldest one on the list. Man on the Moon, N.Flying’s first ever studio album since their debut in 2015, dropped earlier June of this year. It is headlined by the title track, Moonshot. I am particularly excited to review Man on the Moon, given N.Flying’s underrated status. Based on their past tracks and album reviews, I just knew that there will be some strong tracks on the album and I definitely want to share them with you (spoiler alert – there are actually some outstanding tracks on this tracklist).
2. Ask – Ask is an emotional rock ballad speaks on the topic of heartbreak. The message for this song is clear as day, without even needing to read or translate the lyrics. Just listening to the sadness and heartbreak behind their vocals is enough to convey the message. I really like the delicate touch that the piano brings, while the rock element still has some impact. The rock-ballad elicits a swaying effect on me (which you will know is what I consider as criteria of a good ballad). (9/10)
3. Comma (쉼표) – Opening the song is a suite of piano (or keyboard) notes that forms an ascending pattern. I quite like this, and fast became the most memorable element of the song for me. Comma had this really strong atmospheric tone to it, which made it standout for me. In addition to that tone, the vocals were captivating and gave me shivers, particularly Hwesung’s high note at the mid-point of the song and Seunghyub’s vocals that almost teeters into rap territory and hence a brings a nice texture and dynamic to this powerful song. (10/10)
4. Undo (지우개) – Undo changes it up by returning to a bright and fun natured rock track. With such energy, Undo makes me want to get up and do a bit of a boogie. There is also a light sprinkling of synths in the song, which adds an additional dimension to the song. The vocals and rapping were rather straightforward in my point of view, but they also helped bring out the energy in the song. Interestingly, the lyrics of the song seem to point in the opposite direction, retelling the story of a messy breakup. (8.5/10)
5. You – Another song that I really want to get up and dance to. Its fun and definitely a vibe. You has this consistent (positive use of this term here!) upbeat energy thanks to the instrumentals. Seunghyub’s rapping is on full display in this song. And his rapping brought a nice kick of additional energy to You, especially at the very start which left a strong impression on me. Hwesung’s vocals added brightness to the chorus, but also kept the song grounded elsewhere. The ‘You‘ in the chorus was also quite impactful. Overall, a highly praised and recommended song. (10/10)
6. Blue Scene (파란 배경) – After two upbeat tracks, Blue Scene was a nice tone down (in terms of energy). It was also a nice switch back to straightforward rock sounds, though there is a bit of R&B mixed into the instrumentation. The rapping was good, and the guitar in the background was a highlight. On the vocal front, they had this dreamy feel to them, with the harmonies at the end emphasizing this. But I just felt that the vocals didn’t feel as good as in some of the higher rated songs above it. (8/10)
7. Fate (이 별 저 별) – Fate reminds me of a typical moody rocky song. While that is a shocker of a description, I found that Fate reminded me of some of their earlier works. Overall, there was a good display of vocals and rapping. I also enjoyed the piano in the background. But like I mentioned at the start, Fate was pretty ordinary in terms of appeal. But it was still a decent song. (7/10)
8. Zip (빈집) – Zip is a R&B ballad. The verses were calming and melodic, and I think the same can be said about the song overall. But in comparison to the rest of the song, the verses were largely forgettable. For me, the chorus stole the show for me. It is so good, to the point where I would listen to the chorus on repeat if I could (sorry Seunghyub). The melodies were amazing, and Hwesung’s soaring motif at the end of each line in the chorus and overall delivery was just so stunning and breathtaking. (8.5/10)
9. To You (너에게) – Relative to all the other songs on this album, To You falls on the cuter side of the spectrum. And it is quite lonesome, given that the song also feels like an outlier on this album. I enjoyed the song overall, but also felt like it was dryer than some other tracks on the album. The vocals were pleasant. The standout, for me, however, was the rapping. Seunghyub’s rap sequence in the bridge gave a nice kick to the song, while his rap sequence at the end of To You rounded out the sound in an unexpected 90s but fitting manner. (7.5/10)
10. Flashback – The final song on the album is Flashback, and this was a home run for me! It is another rock ballad that brings forth nostalgic vibes and happy memories. To end the album on such a note is quite impressive and I am sure fulfilling to all parties (fans, band members and listeners alike). Each member played a prominent part in this song (like very other song ever), but I want to commend the other members (Chahun, Jaehyun and Dongsung) whom I haven’t referred to in this album review yet. They did an amazing job with bringing each song to life, but I just felt they gave a bit more effort in Flashback. Everything in the instrumental just sounded substantial and very satisfying. The drum work and guitar solo was particularly exceptional. Hwesung and Seunghyub were also amazing, bringing emotional vocals into Flashback. (10/10)
One of the comebacks kicking off this week is N.Flying’s return to the stage with Moonshot. The new song is featured on the group’s first ever studio-length album, which is titled Man on the Moon. N.Flying is one of those groups who have waited forever for a Korean studio album. The band has been around since 2015, so that makes the wait over six years. That is definitely some time to release a lengthy album. The good news is that since their debut, there have been many mini-album and singles released, such as their most recent comeback Oh Really last year. I can’t wait to check out the album. But in the meanwhile, let’s have a closer listen to Moonshot.
What I like about Moonshot is the heft of the chorus. There is so much energy channeled into this alternative rock track that is comes off as bold and well-defined. And similar comments can be extended into the verses. The guitars in the verses were quite bold yet paced with the beat, standing out over the drums (which was kept on board to be the minimal beat of the song). And as the verse progressed along, we get a bit more guitar work, though it all revolving around the beat of the song. Seunghyub’s vocals here were really good, assisting with the minimalistic effect. But apparently that isn’t minimal enough, with the pre-chorus stripping the background to be even barer. But I like that technique, as it really made Moonshot‘s chorus explode out and have that high level of impact. We are also blasted with powerful vocals from both Seunghyub and Hwesung, which compliments that explosion from the instruments that I just mentioned. The chorus also features the line ‘If you want to change, be not afraid‘, which is quite catchy after multiple repeats. The second verse has a similar set up with a minimalist vibe for Hwesung’s solo part, this time the guitar work being a electric guitar riff. Seunghyub returns briefly as a vocalist before coming in as a rapper. His rap sequence was actually cool, and I like his delivery which showcased a tinge of hip-hop. In the bridge of the song, we get a brief stripped back sequence before slowly rising back to the final chorus. There is a bit of a suspenseful delay to the reintroduction to the beat, allowing Hwesung’s vocals to be showcased once again in a raw fashion before the drums come back in to close out the song with the hefty style that featured in the first and second choruses. Moonshot is a powerful yet simple alternative track that speaks volume in music and meaning.
The meaning of the song can be expressed simply by that one hook line, ‘If you want change, be not afraid”. At the start of the video, we see the members cowering in fear. They seem to want change, but it appears they fear the unknown. Their world is constantly watched, which the members work out based on the cameras you see everywhere, the eye we see in the roof and the TVs they find with all the footage of them throughout the video. The world is also “fake”, with boundaries set up to keep them in (I got Truman Show vibes when Hwesung and Seunghyub touched the barrier). I think the moon (wearing the spy gear) is a fake moon and whoever is behind this fake moon is elicting fear on the members. Once the secret has been unveiled, they take their desire for change to the next level, by attacking to the moon which subsequently blows up revealing the real world. Thus changed had occurred, only because the members stopped being afraid. Overall a good video with a really deep and meaningful message.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.4/10
Yesterday, we saw the solo debut of J.Don a.k.a. Lee Seung Hyub of N.Flying. For those who are unfamiliar of this member of N.Flying, Lee Seung Hyub is the leader, main rapper and lead vocalist of the band. His debut single is titled Clicker and is featured on his first single album, ON THE TRACK. He is also the second member to go solo (member Hwesung has dabbled in solo work before), but the first to officially debut as a solo artist.
Personally, it was hard to figure out what to expect with the news of the impending solo debut of J.Don. From what I recall, his solo collaborative work has shown he has excelled with his rapping. But his N.Flying work has shown otherwise with vocals. So it was hard to predict which route he would go with. Clicker seems to be a mixture of both, but with a more laidback and easygoing vibe that edges towards the hip-hop genre. The instrumentation isn’t hard hitting in any way, but there are still rock influence mixed into it that connects it to N.Flying’s work. The laidback and easygoing vibe gives off a bright tone, carefree and almost hippy in a way. It is pleasant, but it is admittedly plain. The carefree and ‘almost hippy’ description can also be applied to J.Don himself in this song. There is a mixture of both rapping and vocals in the song, with the former being more dominant during the verses and the other in the chorus. To match the rest of the song, the rapping is light and flowy. The melodic touch comes through via the vocals, which sounded pretty decent. Due to the set up of the song, the hooks aren’t the most memorable aspect of the song. But there is something about the way he sings ‘Clicker‘, which just… well… clicks. The most memorable part has to be the the really short pre-chorus sequence where he sings ‘Oh momma ma ma‘. That stood out for me given that it was different to the vocal and rapping work we heard in Clicker. Overall, the best way to describe Clicker is that it is pleasant. Nothing more or nothing less.
From what I am reading, the lyrics are telling us to change negativity into positivity, which is a great message. I just don’t really see much of that in the music video. It seems to be subtly there and I think I can make out the storyline that fits in with the lyrics. Here is my attempt of making sense of the story. It seems like J.Don experience thoughts of the negative kind in his life, as shown through the different versions of himself. Casual J.Don has to battle music coming from the hippy J.Don neighbour. Scientist J.Don seems to lack ideas for his experiments. Businessman J.Don seems to be focused on others all the time. By the end of the video, J.Don has changed his negative thoughts into positive one about himself. Casual J.Don clicks a button (I am assuming the reset button to change his mentality), Scientist J.Don starts an experiment on ‘how to be yourself’ and Businessman J.Don finds a book that shows him how to focus on himself. Not exactly sure about hippy neighbour and construction worker version of himself though.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7/10
A week ago, I wrote a review for five international songs by Korean artists. In that post, I revealed that had another five reviews coming your way. And as promised, here is the next edition of the International Song Review. TTo be honest, the last post is probably more fitting for the term ‘international’, as this post focuses more the Japanese music industry as that is where KPOP has an obvious stronghold and market power. And this is something expected as many more artists have made their debut in the Japanese music industry compared to the Chinese or Western music industry. Moving away from that little ‘analysis’, this post contains brief reviews for five Japanese tracks from Stray Kids, IZ*ONE, FT Island, N.Flying (though this is more of a cover) and Super Junior KRY.
All In – Stray Kids
2020 has been one busy year for Stray Kids. Their 2020 resume consist of a mixtape release, one Japanese single, a Korean OST and back-to-back Korean comebacks. And if you deemed any of the releases for the group as ‘the best’ according to your personal taste, then you probably have not heard All In yet. It builds itself around an epic brass piece that reminds me of primetime sporting events and prestigious award shows. In this song, it makes the atmosphere feel adventurous, theatrical and playful at the same time. Per Stray Kids’ forte, the song is very rap centric, adding to the powerful nature of the song. There are small vocal moments throughout the song, but it is the rappers (and rap sequences) that really steal my attention in this song. Adding more to that playful vibe I mentioned earlier, All In features a hilarious ‘WHAT?‘ from Jisung just before each chorus, which are preceded with the female spoken line ‘There is no search results for STOP‘, which I thought makes perfect sense with the continuous energy that comes from the song.
All In‘s music video takes a page out of their God’s Menu and Back Door music videos by incorporating a similar concept. I wouldn’t be surprised if the music videos are linked. There are background figures standing around the members doing nothing, whilst the same suited older men appear at the table. If you watch the music video carefully, you will see the members interact with the background figures, which I think is a first for the members and this concept. The video also matches the epic vibes of the song with that very bold burning billboard. For the choreography, the dance is equally as powerful, energy driven and epic as the song. For my favourite bit, it has to be the chorus routine, which I am digging very much.
Overall Rating – 10/10
Beware – IZ*ONE
IZ*ONE’s schedule in both Korea and Japan were put on hold due to the controversy that embroiled the Produce series and left an equivalent group disbanded well ahead of their contract ending. But IZ*ONE has managed to bounce back, with all members returning for two Korean comebacks so far this year. And now, IZ*ONE makes their long awaited comeback in Japan with Beware. Aside from their debut single in Japan, all of their Japanese singles have been terrible (harsh, but the honest truth) or forgettable (which is mildly better). Beware doesn’t have the ability to overtake their I Want To Say I Love You debut single. And if I was being honest, I foresee the song falling into the ‘forgotten’ category over time. Beware is delivered to us in a high pitch cutesy manner. Personally, I wished they grounded their vocals in some form and hadn’t gone head first into the cutesy sound. Their melody did help make the song appealing to a degree. It was flat for the most part, though it had its moments and had a nice ring to it. The strongest aspect has to be the song’s electronic synth-based instrumental. It did overpower some parts and did feel somewhat typical, but overall it brought great energy to the song.
With a cutesy sound comes a colourful music video. It is what makes the most sense. For Beware, the colourful video is saturated with pink and some yellow. I like the concept, where IZ*ONE is in in their own world in that suitcase. It isn’t new, but IZ*ONE’s take on it is pretty refreshing. For the performance, I like the energy that comes from the dance. It is fitting for the song and their youthful charms. I really like Chaewon and Minju’s little part during the bridge.
Overall Rating – 6.7/10
Sunrise Yellow – FT Island
It has been a while since we have heard from FT Island, who have reached that point of their careers where they are currently enlisting in the military. But that doesn’t stop them from releasing a single. FT Island current lineup only consist of 3 members (Hongki, Jaejin and Minhwan), with Jonghoon leaving the group/retiring from the industry when he was implicated in a scandal, while Seunghyun left the group to continue his acting career. Sunrise Yellow is the most recent FT Island and it features Seunghyun as his final FT Island release. It is a feel good song dedicated to their fans, with the Sunrise Yellow title referring to their Sunshine Yellow fanclub colour. When it comes to my reviews, I tend to say I love the energy that comes from a particular song. And it is true. But it feels completely different when real instruments are at play and it releases that energetic charge. Sunrise Yellow, hence, blows me away when we enter the chorus territory, with the fast paced energy and unrelenting momentum coming at you. Hongki’s vocals are quite nice, but I love the unique texture that Jaejin gives the verses in this parts. There is a punch to it, which I enjoyed. I wished Seunghyun and Minhwan had a part in this song, which would have increased the impact factor for fans and made Sunrise Yellow extra special.
The song is released as part of their 10 year anniversary for Japanese promotions and there is no other way to make the video special by including their fans in it. The music video simply consists of a mixture of close ups that I assume they shot prior to their concert (so that they don’t ruin the live performance with a cameraperson walking in front of them to film the closeups) and live footage of them performing on stage in front of their fans. Seunghyun is also featured alongside the other three members, making the whole video a little more special for fans. Overall, a fitting video for the group and their fans.
Overall Rating – 9/10
Amnesia – N.Flying
Released back in July of this year. N.Flying made their Japanese comeback with Amnesia. It is also the first Japanese comeback to feature Seo Dongsung, who was officially inducted as a member of the group ahead of their Oh Really Korean comeback. I loved that the group returned to something within the rock genre. It is something that I am yearning for in the KPOP industry and I am hoping that N.Flying returns in the future with something similar to this song in Korea, as Amnesia tells me that they can handle the intensity of the rock genre. In the meanwhile, Amnesia fulfils my rock craving. Once again, Amnesia has really epic energy coming from it. The appeal of Amnesia is slightly different to FT Island’s release (reviewed above) because the energy take shape as more of a head-banging form than ‘feel good’. It was intense and it definitely ‘hits hard’ as some might say nowadays (look at me using young people speak). Vocally, both Seunghyub and Hwesung are powerful vocalists and Amnesia proves that they can handle the genre flawlessly. The slowdown in the bridge comes in at the right time, providing a moment of relief if you think the song is overwhelming. I didn’t, but I still found it fitting for the song.
The music video is made of black and white closeups of the members being emotional. But the good stuff is when the group are performing their instruments in front of that very large screen/projection. The visuals we see are amazing, due to their large size and how they come into play at the right moments. The explosions of coloured dusts and flowers were all timed really well to match the explosion of energy we get in the song. It was something simple, yet they magnified it in a way that made the video so much more monumental.
Overall Rating – 9.6/10
Traveler – Super Junior KRY
It is time this review post goes on a slightly different path. So far, we have two dance tracks and two band tracks. It is time to step into the ballad domain, with Super Junior’s experts – Super Junior KRY. This follows their Korean comeback earlier this year and is their first Japanese release in over five years. However, don’t mistaken the term ballad in this review for something emotional or a track to ball your eyes out. Traveler is a more of a pop-ballad with an upbeat instrumental background. I was caught off guard with this direction, as I had expected something of that emotional route from the trio. I am not complaining, as it does mean that I am not ending this review post on a sad note! I really liked that acoustic guitar solo during the bridge of the song, though it could have easily been missed. It was a subtle change and wasn’t something in the foreground. Aside from the change in sound, Traveler captivates the audience with the trio’s vocals. Their singing is super powerful over the pop instrumentation and their harmonies during the chorus really make the song so much better. Their ad-libs towards the end was extra icing on top. Definitely a vocally charged song in its own right.
Traveler‘s music video was quite simple. The members sat in a chair on a platform singing their lines into a microphone. The camera panned around them. In the surrounding vicinity, we saw coloured balls, three floating light rings and a few pillars to add some colour, lighting and something to fill up the space around them, otherwise the video would have been too plain. Smart move there.
N.Flying is due to make their comeback tomorrow on the 10th of June. However, the group unveiled the music video for their latest title track, Oh Really, yesterday. And with that reasoning, it should have been the first review of the week. But as yesterday’s album review took a lot longer than expected and I had to bump N.Flying’s review to today. Oh Really marks the group’s return to a five-member lineup, with the addition of Seo Dong Sung, who is the former leader and bassist of N.Flying’s younger labelmate, HONEYST. For those who don’t know of HONEYST, they were a younger band who debuted in 2017 with Like You and later disbanded in 2019 due to creative differences.
Since the band’s popularity has flourished since the release of Rooftop in early 2019, N.Flying has demonstrated a range of styles within the year alone. And as we move into a new year for the group, Oh Really adds a suitable upbeat Summery style to the band’s portfolio. Paired with what you know is actual instrumentals (as they are band!), I find the song to be quite extremely pleasant and lighthearted, unlike their past upbeat tracks which seem to be more in your face and energetic that this number. In addition to that, some of the guitar work in the song has that Hawaii theme to it, which allows us to associate to the beach environment. As for the members, we know that Seunghyub and Hwesung are capable singers through their past releases and Oh Really is further proof of that. Their vocal work throughout the song is superb, with Hwesung’s section in the bridge being utterly amazing. I wish that their harmonies were further highlighted in this song, as this would be the perfect vehicle for that purpose. My favourite aspect of the song is the really simple but effective hooks that really make this song catch on. It feels as if the hooks go with the flow and doesn’t feel like it is forced onto you or into your mind. Subsequently, I find myself humming along to the music after listening to it. Overall, Oh Really is a memorable song for its simplicity and catchiness. Just another reason to start listening to this underrated band.
Oh Really seems to be a very versatile expression. For the lyrics, the song expresses the term of a relationship context, where their partner is pretending to love them but the members are not willing to give up just yet. Oh Really is used in a pleading manner in the song. But as the music video demonstrates it, it can be used in an affirmation context (i.e. the TV infomercial), in a questioning context (i.e. the antique TV show), in a stressful manner (i.e. the non-working TV remote), in a surprised context (i.e. the award show), in an emotional context (i.e. Hwesung singing in the telephone booth) and a disbelief manner (i.e. that scene where it looks like the members are world leaders sitting at a round table and the newest member is in between the argument). I really liked how these contexts were cleverly weaved into the music video to match the lyrics of the song. The antique TV show is a good example of this, when Cha Hun asks about whether Hwesung can dedicate himself to the antique using the Oh Really hook and, later on with Hwesung expressing how hard it is for him to let go once the antique was smashed on the ground.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.7/10
Sorry about the day late release for this album review.
N.Flying started this year off incredibly strong with the release of Rooftop, which rose to the top of the South Korean digital charts. The group then returned with Spring Memories which would be considered a pretty unsuccessful comeback, considering it didn’t get them further exposure or onto the charts. Last month, the band tried again with another mini-album, Yaho, which featured Good Bam. And I consider this to be the better comeback to follow up their incredible climb on the charts. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to get enough attention. So to help draw at least one or two of my reader’s attention to the album and title track, here is my album review.
2. Autumn Dream – Autumn Dream feels like a song fitting for the season that the title suggests. But instead of going with a cliché ballad that the band has previously done before, they throw in a slight rock influence, which gives it a unique spin. I find the vocals to be quite nice in this song, with some flair included towards the end with the high note. I did like its pleasantness, which is why I though it was fitting for the season of Fall. Overall, I find it well balanced between N.Flying’s crazy side and their more mellow side. (8/10)
3. Pardon? (ㅈㅅ) – We return to the band’s wild side with Pardon. It is a fun number that feels full of energy. Unfortunately, the song does come off as a mess in my opinion. There is a lot going on despite its light-hearted direction and I felt that everything vocally felt clumped together. The borders around the chorus felt very blurred and this added to the clumped feeling I got from the song. The song also didn’t have much of a breather, which I would have preferred instead of listening to 2:50 minutes of them just throwing lyrics at us. It is still listenable, so don’t take my negative comments the wrong way. (6/10)
4. 4242 – Now this is the fun song that doesn’t feel like it was a clumping mess. Instead, the band opts for a groovy upbeat track for 4242. Vocally, I thought the song was superb and showed off a fair amount of their talents (singing and rapping combined). I love that jazzy swing instrumental break, which I think would have been really fun (especially if there were a few instrumental adlibs thrown into the mix during a special live performance). I thoroughly enjoyed this song and wouldn’t mind listening to it on a loop. (9/10)
5. Sunset – Finishing off the album is Sunset. It is a feel-good song, where the members literally are in awe with every aspect about their crush. It is another nice yet simple track. If I were to be critical about it, it does stay relatively linear and it does come off a little plain, especially as we get towards the end. But it another enjoyable track from the group and it finishes the album on a relatively good note. The vocals were also nice and so was the melody for Sunset. (8/10)
Even though it has taken some time to review some songs, do not worry. I am always checking out new releases (and their albums) as they come out. N.Flying’s latest release, Good BAM, is one of the few that caught my attention as soon as it was released. And it has been disappointing that it has taken almost a week to write a review for it. But here t is. This is the groups most recent comeback since they released Spring Memories, which was the followup to their trendy Rooftopsingle.
I think, given N.Flying’s past tracks that I really enjoyed, Good BAM would have been a better followup single to release to showcase a more mature feel yet maintain that very comedic and fun sound they portrayed during Hot Potato and The Real. Though, I am happy that they found new fans and popularity through their Rooftop release. The song is upbeat and easy-going, great characteristics of a fun night out with friends, which is what the song is all about. I really like the vocal and rapping combination that they went with in this song. I thought it was very dynamic for the casual song and it doesn’t go overboard in any way. There were some catchy moments that I really enjoyed in the song, such as the post-chorus hook, where the singing and rapping converged. I also saw in a live performance today that Cha Hun (the guitarist) also participated vocally in the song, which I think is very exciting as this is the first time for him (though I am not 100% sure if this is the case).
My initial comments in regards to the song can be applied to the music video as well. It isn’t crazy like their wilder music videos. But it isn’t as heavy as their more emotional videos. The video shows the guys having a fun day. Though things were sluggish at first, the fun slowly crept in, which made the night feel more memorable. In the end, we see them get home after a tiring night. But as they say, the night is still young and the group goes out one more time. Though they did manage to forget a phone for a moment and alsmot committed one of the biggest sins of today when going out (One must never forget their phone). Overall, I thought the video was great. It matched the casual vibes of the song and I really liked the neon light writing they had throughout the video to emphasis the English lyrics.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9/10
The second band that I wanted to cover today is N.Flying, who returned with Spring Memories back in April. Unfortunately, it seems like the group did not get much of a response for their new single, despite just topping charts with Rooftop a few weeks prior. Despite that, the group went forward with follow-up promotions, returning with the song Leave It (which featured on the same mini-album as Spring Memories). The music video for Leave It came out almost two weeks after the release of Spring Memories, with the follow-up promotions occurring in the same week.
Unlike my previous review, I did actually check out this release on the day it dropped. But delayed the review as I had already reviewed Spring Memories the previous week. It hasn’t been touched since. Leave It is another band track that has a that doesn’t have that same head-banging feel as the previous review did. However, it did have a Summery vibe to it, which makes it suitable for the current season. Leave It has a pop sound to it, which makes it easy on the ears and energy filled. I find the track to have some playful melodies as well, which makes this track refreshing and enjoyable to listen to. I think the vocals were nice. Hwesung’s vocals, just before each chorus, was superb. And the rapping supplied by Seunghyub gave the song some needed intensity and texture. Overall, it is slightly disappointing that the group hasn’t got much attention for this release, especially with a song like this on the track list.
You can tell that the music video was put together with a little haste. It makes me think that the company and band put all their money onto Spring Memories. And when both parties realized that the title track was taking off as expected, they switched over to Leave It. Anyway, the video does have an easy going element to it due to its simplicity, which reflects well with the fun vibe that comes from the track. I like how the members still make most of the time, interacting in a playful manner with the camera.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8.6/10
One of the more happier stories of the year thus far has to be N.Flying’s unexpected chart-topping single, Rooftop. When that track was first released, not many people paid attention to it. After a few weeks, however, Rooftop was hitting the top of the charts and the group earned many compliments as a result. So, there is a lot of expectations and pressure placed on the release of their next (now latest) single, Spring Memories, which was released yesterday.
It was smart for N.Flying to follow up with something that suits Spring, the season which South Korea is very much in at the moment. And since Springtime love songs tend to huge hits, why not go after another potential chart-topping hit. I have to admit that while other Springtime songs tend to be more light, Spring Memories is on the heavier side. This is because the instrumental is more loaded than the usual acoustic guitar. It keeps their usual band style of instrumental (i.e drums and guitars). But it also incorporates an orchestral section during the bridge of the track (and I think during the final chorus). Hence, it felt there was a lot going on. However, the instrumental remained very breezy and airy, suitable for this season. I thought the paced guitar strumming and that short whistle was a nice way to open up the track. The vocals were pleasant and I liked how they managed to incorporate a slight rapping tone to the moments leading up to the chorus. I personally do not enjoy these songs as much but I think N.Flying put out a nice song that deserves some attention once again.
With a focus on Spring, the music video showcases the cherry blossoms. Apart from the cherry blossoms, the video focuses on a female who is reminded of her past memories after an old friend took pictures of the flowers and sent it to her. Wanting to escape her dreadful office life, she tracks down the locations that he continually sends her through pictures, along with memories of those places are replayed in her mind (and the male lead’s mind, played by Kwak Dong Yeon). In the end, she finds him, catching him by surprise. It was a nice video that did justice to the spring feel the song had.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8/10
N.Flying kicks off another year with their second single to their Fly High Project. The single is titled as Rooftop and it joins Like A Flower as part of this music project, with more releases joining the lineup as each month goes by. This is also their first comeback as a 4-member band after Kwangjin recently left the group due to misconduct allegations.
Rooftop does a good job of combining that fun element from the songs which I liked from N.Flying’s discography (Hot Potato and The Real) and the mature side of the group, which we heard in their previous single. It isn’t that most mindblowing combination, however, as it isn’t a song that I would necessarily go out of my way to replay constantly. I think there is some reggae influence in the instrumental, which is smartly masked with the traditional rock instrumentation. I did like the extra insert they did final chorus to give the song a little something extra. But apart from that, the song did feel somewhat repetitive. Their vocals also bring a nice appeal to the song but it does lack some intensity, which I think they could have added via a rapping section.
While I don’t recognise all the members of N.Flying, I must admit that having one less member is extremely noticeable. There is a sense of emptiness that isn’t filled, which I guess is a lot harder for bands to fill as the performances don’t consist a lot of movement (so it would be harder to mask the reduced number of members). Moving along, since the song was titled Rooftop it would make sense for the band to perform on top of a rooftop, which is exactly what we got. And I liked what they did. It isn’t a really fancy music video but they managed to get by in a humble manner. And I liked that about the video, as it keeps it grounded without going over the top. I particularly like the night scenes as they do a better job of showing off that humbleness.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.4/10
N.Flying is another group who has made a very busy year so far. They kicked off 2018 with Hot Potato and returned in May with How R U Today?. Last week, the band returned with a special single which begins their Fly High Project, where the band aims to release a new song every two months for a period of a year. I personally apologise for the delay for this review, as everytime I get around to starting this review, I get tired or am busy with other stuff. But here it is, almost a week later.
This isn’t the first time N.Flying has released a ballad. Some of their earlier works have been of the ballad kind, such as Lonely.Like A Flower is a rather nice ballad. Unfortunately, it isn’t one of those mind-blowing ballads that I would search up and listen to it on its own. Rather, having it random appearing on a playlist will be more impactful. That is because the instrumental is very soft and you would want to stop for a second to appreciate the calmness. I personally like that about this track. With a ballad this slow, I kind of expected only vocals, so I genuinely surprised to see some slow rapping in the song. And for the vocals, they were spectacular. Some people may say this is a typical ballad but I can assure it is not.
For 3/4 of the video, a black and white filter was used. I don’t know why they decided to go with colour at the end but I guess it was done to add some impact and match the peak of the song. I also liked how some of the scenes were slowed down, making it quite fitting for the song. All of this, along with the acting by the members, you can get a sense of how emotional the song is. Personally, I thought the music video was good but it took on board very typical components of a music video for a slow song.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 6/10 Overall Rating – 7.5/10
N.Flying makes their second comeback this year with How R U Today?, which is the title track of 4th mini-album, How Are You? (the reason why we are here today). I previously reviewed Hot Potato and their 3rd mini-album, The Hottest, back in January, so if you missed those reviews, click the hyperlinks above.
2. Up All Night – Following their sentimental song is a song that you can have a good rock along to. Despite it being performed by a band, it felt like a song that any other boy group could take on and perform with. I thought the chorus was awesome, with the explosive vocals giving the song some momentum during the chorus (actually, for the entirety of the song). Most memorable parts of the song had to be the “You Keep Me Up All Night” and the part following the first and final choruses. Overall, great song. (8/10)
3. Love Fool (팔불출) – The song is a lot brighter and upbeat. To me, it felt like a great mix of their ‘fun’ side (seen in their last two comebacks) and their more serious songs. The chorus was really catchy (once again) and this attracted my attention quite a bit. The vocal work was good. The only thing that didn’t really work with me was the lack of changeup during the bridge. It doesn’t have to be over the top, however, the song could have used a changeup to avoid it becoming too repetitive. (9/10)
4. Anyway – The first thing that jumped out at me was the energetic feel that the song had going on. It was explosive, which made it so much more appealing to me. The raps during the bridge were totally awesome. It hit the Summer vibes perfectly and felt very refreshing. I must say that the song felt like it could have been a typical western boy group song. Just N.Flying probably did it a lot better. (9/10)
5. Fall With You (너 없는 난) – Following the same final comments for the previous song, this also felt like another Western boy group’s Summer single, which N.Flying nails perfectly. The only major issue is that the instrumental felt quite loud. As a result, the vocals had to compete with the instrumental in order to be heard. That being said, the instrumentals (in their own right) created an intense atmosphere, which might be the reason why it was so loud in the first place. The vocals and raps were amazing (again). I have to admit though, the bridge gave me some relief after the full-on intensity. (8.5/10)
Making their comeback after 4 months is N.Flying, who asks you ‘How R U Today?’. Their last set of promotions was at the start of the year with Hot Potato. The title track, How R U Today?, is featured on their 4th mini-album, How Are You?. Since their awesome comeback at the start of the year, Hwesung collaborated with FT Island’s Hongki, releasing the power-vocal ballad Still Love You. Thought I mention it here since it is a collaboration that you should not miss out on!
N.Flying has had an energetic and fun-filled run with The Real and Hot Potato. How R U Today? tones it down to a very mature sounding level, which I totally think it is a great thing. Firstly, it provides some variety and it does take you back to their debut sound, which was a lot more serious and mature sounding. The alternative rock song does found a little foreign at first. However, it is one of those songs that you really get into after just a few listens. I really liked the buildup from the very start of the song (which was quite soft and almost fragile sounding) to that rock vibe in the chorus (which brings that strong feeling that they have portrayed in their previous title tracks). They did an awesome job with the incorporation of the raps, which I thought wouldn’t go with the song. And like their previous tracks, their vocals are amazing. I am just in awe of the chorus as it has that rock-able element that you seek in most Korean band songs.
In an interview that was released prior to their music video release, the members said that their concept for this comeback was ‘sentimental’ and ‘sexy’. And I think they nailed both quite well. While I am not 100% sure of the ‘sexy’ side of their comeback, they do visually look good. And the visuals don’t just apply to themselves. The video has great natural scenery and views that just leave this video feeling amazing. As for the sentimental side, it fits both the song and their acting. They are still heartbroken about their past relationship, which was well portrayed by all members. Overall, the video does seem to fall towards the boring side, however, it does fulfil the intended concepts of the group.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 7.5/10 Overall Rating – 8.4/10
FNC Entertainment recently launched FNC Lab, which gives an opportunity, for artists who participate, to experiment with music and release new songs for listeners to hear. In a way, the program seems to be the company’s own version of SM Station. The first song to come from FNC Lab is Still Love You, a collaboration between FT Island’s Lee Hong Gi and N.Flying’s Yoo Hwe Seung.
Obviously, the main focus of this review will be on the vocals. But before we get to that, the song is a ballad with such an amazing instrumental that really gives the song that solid foundation to build on. And now we snap back to the vocals. We all know how capable Lee Hong Gi is with his voice. We have seen in it his amazing solo debut and through FT Island. Per usual, he sounds spectacular in this song. I really liked the way he started the song and the chorus. However, the true winner in this track has to be Yoo Hwe Seung. While he does seem like a capable vocalist in N.Flying, I did not expect him to outshine Lee Hong Gi by miles away. That high note was amazing. I may not be a singer but damn, that was something. I also listened to the audio before watching the video, so imagine the surprise I got when I realized who did the high note. Even after all this time, I am still blown away by that particular section. He managed to pair so well with Lee Hong Gi and this is a collaboration that I am happy to see again (fingers crossed) in the future.
It seems like the Lee Hong Ki and Yoo Hwe Seung is in some sort of love triangle with the lady. Interestingly, it seems like she parts way with both of them in the video after seemingly realized that both vocalists are in love with her. She is clearly distraught about making the decision and ends up leaving them both. It is a relatively simple video and storyline that still manages to be captivating but lets the song do the talking.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 10/10 Overall Rating – 10/10
This is my first N.Flying album review. When I first heard the highlight medley prior to the official release of the mini-album, I knew I had to sit down and review the album. This is their 3rd mini-album to date and titled as The Hottest: N.Flying.
1..And So, We (그러니까 우라) – Opening up the album is a track that felt so similar to an OST to a cheesy drama. The song overall, especially the chorus, felt very poppy. It was also quite bright and refreshing, similar to songs that you would get during the Summer season. It is a great song to nod along to, with great vocals and raps. For some reason, I really like how the song ended. It seems like your standard ending but I am somehow digging it. (8/10)
3. In The Back Alley(골목길에서) – The song opens up with a very serious rap sequence which did a good job at gaining my attention. Compared to the previous two songs, the level of energy is toned down, which provides some relief, since it could have been overwhelming. I thought the raps and vocals were well balanced. Despite the presence of the thumping drum beats, the song is soothing to listen to. The best part of the song would have to be the bridge, which gave the song its needed peak. The only downside to the song is the abrupt ending. (8/10)
4. I Know U Know – There are many elements of this song which I liked. I liked the guitar in this song. But more than that, I loved the build-up for this song. At first, I thought it was just going to be a ballad but it ended up turning into a pop song. The unexpected turns the song take do give it an appealing touch. The hollow electronic drum beats during the chorus were really nice. I also liked the high note at the end. (9/10)
5. The Best(이보다 좋을까) – Unfortunately, The Best seemed to be my pick for the least interesting song on this album. It opens up as a jazzy number and quickly turns into a pop band track. I thought the vocals and raps were nice. The chorus had a sweet sounding melody. Besides that, I don’t have much else to say about the song. (6/10)
6. Just This One Day(딱 하루만) – I think the one thing we must comment on in this song is the chorus. It was that rock sound that seemed to be missing from this album. When I first heard it, I was digging the head banging vibes. I like the scratching record which you heard throughout the raps sequences. The way the ad-libs were layered at the end gave the song a more appealing manner. The vocals were a little plain during the verses, but they contrasted nicely with the chorus. The only thing I am not keen on is the rap-speak during the bridge. (8/10)