[Album Review] IM NAYEON (1st Mini Album) – NAYEON (TWICE)

Majority of the post this week will be album reviews, as I am out of town and have decided to take a break as well. As a result, I have scheduled a bunch of album reviews for this week – through to the start of next week. So prepare yourselves for the onslaught of album reviews. First up is NAYEON’s self-titled debut mini-album, IM NAYEON, which was released in June of this year. Leading the charge on this mini-album is the title track POP!. There are an additional six tracks on this mini-album.

M NAYEON is another fairly decent album release. I also feel that this description of the mini-album could be applied to her debut, as a whole as well. There are a few strong tracks, like the last few mini albums I have reviewed. I might be able to be persuaded to include the title track in that grouping as well (but I won’t change my original rating just yet) But overall, IM NAYEON was average, at best. Let me know if you agree with my thoughts or not.

IM NAYEON Album Cover

1. POP! (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of POP!. (7/10)

2. NO PROBLEM (ft. Felix of Stray Kids) – I am completely in love with NO PROBLEM. The English lyrics to NO PROBLEM are one aspect of this track that I am totally enjoying. Another is the electro-pop instrumental. It was just so vibrant and there was a nice disco vibe coming from the song. The same vibrancy is aided by Naeyeon’s vocals, which just gave the song an extra pop of freshness. The melodies also add to this. Felix’s deep voice appears in the bridge and his rapping helps offset the brightness of the song, allowing NO PROBLEM to feel balanced. I also liked how his featuring is not kept to just one section of the song, allowing him to contribute to the closing moments and give NO PROBLEM some depth. (10/10)

3. LOVE COUNTDOWN (ft. Wonstein)LOVE COUNTDOWN stays in the realm of pop. The instrumental feels a bit punchier and bouncier with a lively beat and percussion, while the melodies are more pleasant and mellow. NAYEYON’s vocals brought a nice colour to the track, while Wonstein’s featuring adds a bit more bite to the song. His rapping brought a dynamic factor to the track. Again, I liked that he is not constricted to one section of the song. Wonstein, although subtly, provides harmonies to the second choruses and adds ad-libs to the final chorus. A neat track, overall. (8/10)

4. CANDYFLOSS – Just like the title, this song features a dousing of sugar. NAYEYON executes this song perfectly, with her bright and sweet vocals shining throughout. Even though the song does go down that saccharine path, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I still found CANDYFLOSS to be quite a catchy and fun number to listen to. I find it hard to emerge from this song without smiling. (9/10)

5. ALL OR NOTHINGALL OR NOTHING enters R&B territory with its instrumental. It is fairly simple instrumental and brings a touch of extra oomph than compared to café style of music (but it is still pleasant enough to be heard in that type of environment). The vocals, whilst nice, do not really elicit much thought from me. I am not as drawn to them as I was with other songs on this mini-album. (7/10)

6. Happy Birthday To YouHappy Birthday To You follows a similar vein as the previous track. However, I note that there was a fair amount of synths throughout the track. To be honest, the synths felt a bit odd, to me. They sure brought texture to the song, but the abundance of synths felt unnecessary and I am unsure of their value in this song. NAEYEON had nice vocals, but again, she does not do much to captivate me nor elicit a response from me. The melodies felt plain, as well. (6.5/10)

7. SUNSET (노을만 예쁘다)SUNSET is more of a ballad. More importantly, I feel it is an improvement following the previous tracks. I really liked the breathy backing vocals and the harmonies that NAYEON and the backing vocals share. This combination helped create a soothing piece. There was a bit more to the song’s instrumental than your standard ballads and the swayable melody was definitely there. I am quite satisfied that the album ends on a more positive note (musically) with such a piece. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

IM NAYEON Teaser Image

[Review] POP! – NAYEON (TWICE)

After seven years, the first member from TWICE is finally making her solo debut. The honour goes to TWICE’s NAYEON, who debuted as a solo artist last Friday with the single POP! and the mini-album Im Nayeon. I personally wonder if this solo debut is a backup plan in case TWICE’s contract negotiation falls through (which I hope is not the case). I just find it suspicious that the group is only a few months out of the standard seven year contract, and suddenly one member (so far – I hope there is more solo debuts on the way) make her solo debut. But I guess time will tell. Until then, this is my review for POP!. This is also the first TWICE related release of the year, as well, following the release of Doughnut in Japan and SCIENTIST in Korea.

POP! is an okay track. Since its release, I have listened to it a few times. And while it nice and decent, I am not exactly head over heels for this solo release. As mentioned yesterday, maybe time will help make the song grow on me. But as for now, I am pretty neutral over POP!. I liked the instrumental’s percussive and upbeat underlay, which was a pleasantly consistent element in the instrumental. It brought on a refreshing vibe to the song, undoubtedly fitting for the Summer season that this comeback falls in. The brass in the verse and the electric guitar in the chorus were nice additions to add extra life and colour to the instrumental. Together, they create a relatively simple pop instrumental for the likes of POP!. As for NAYEON’s vocals in POP!, they sound good. But I am not overly excited by her vocals. They felt somewhat plain. Similar comments can be said about the song’s melodies. I just expected something more jumpy or vibrant. We get part of the way there, but it just isn’t enough. Her spoken hook (i.e. the pops) were probably the most exciting part of the song. Though, I do think POP! would have benefited from something more punchy and colourful. The rapping felt unnecessary and adds an overly cute sequence into the song that felt too sugary and saccharine for my taste. Overall, I feel the strong and weak points of POP! cancel each other out, leaving me without much feelings for the song. I neither hate nor like POP!. I am just somewhere in the middle.

The music video fairs better than the song. It is everything you can ask for in a Summer concept music video. Bright, colourful, vibrant. The sets look amazing and fun, as well. I quite like the look of the post-production treatment, as it help adds so much more life visually to the video. On top of that, Nayeon is stunning and looks amazing throughout the video. Her smiles also make the a whole lot of difference to the video, adding more to those bright and vibrant descriptors I have mentioned.

I thought the choreography was great. The small pops that come via the hips and body movements looked fantastic and adds a vibrant and fun element to the routine. I also like how the dancers made the popping come to life following the second chorus when they stand behind Nayeon (and then fan out).

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