[Review] Love Is – Teen Top

Teen Top has returned with their second album, High Five. This time around they will be promoting Love Is as a five-member group. Unfortunately, L.Joe withdrew from the group due to issues between himself and the company. This is the group’s first comeback since Warning Sign, released at the start of last year.  Do expect a full album review, which will be coming out later this week or early next week.

Love Is reminds me of  Teen Top’s past hits. Compared to Warning Sign, which ended up being pretty forgetful, Love Is is bound to stay on my radar for a long period of time. Why is that the case? Teen Top needed a much stronger song and Love Is serves as that song. Their bass and synth heavy instrumental is really addictive. The second half of the chorus (the “Love is gone away“) is extremely catchy and probably the highlight of the song for me. The rest of the song was pretty good, but it just didn’t leave an impression on me, unlike the second half of the chorus. Their vocals and raps were pretty good. Another moment I loved about the song was that growl heard at the end of the teaser for the music video and the same growl is heard at the end of the first chorus. What the song needed was more of that energy and power. I can see why people say it is an aggressive song due to its instrumental and beat. But that description would have been more applicable if we heard more aggressive sounds (such as that growl) a few more times. It honestly sounded cool and I was pretty disappointed when it wasn’t anywhere else in the song. Overall, it was a pretty good song to listen to and it throws Teen Top back on the listening radar for me.

Like EXID’s music video, it fell towards the boring side of the music video spectrum for me as well. There isn’t much to talk about for this video as well. There were solo shots outside of where the choreography sets but they felt extremely boring. The only worthwhile parts that I enjoyed were the choreograph scenes. The set looked cool. The camera shots were shaky but done so for a more edgy feel. The transitions between scenes made the video even edgier. But the rest of the video felt very “meh” to me.

The one part I look forward to when I write a Teen Top review is the performances. The accompanying performance definitely joins the ranks of their most intense routines to date. I really enjoyed the choreography for the second half of the chorus and their instrumental breaks. Each of them (and the overall performance) looked amazing and it the type of performance that I definitely would want to watch continuously.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Love Affair – Niel (Teen Top)

Niel from Teen Top has returned with his first comeback and second solo mini album, which is also titled as Love Affair… It has been a while since I last heard from Teen Top. Though, they have been in the news lately, as their contract with their current company is to be renewed this year. From what I could tell, it seems a renewal is most likely and a March comeback is also on the books.

Once again, I am not really falling into Niel’s solo title track as I want to. His solo debut was good, but it didn’t really leave much of an impression on me after a while. It’s not because I dislike the artist, but rather, his solos don’t captivate me, as other artists do. This time around, Niel has gone for an acoustic prominent song, which the guitar being the primary instrument in the song. You can also hear hints of synths throughout the song. As the song progresses, it starts to become faster and more upbeat, but still keeping that mellow sound as heard in the slower parts of the song. His vocals seem more polished and emotional to me, in this song. That is one of the strong points in this song. While he does draw out some notes in the song, it doesn’t really sound that way. The song doesn’t sound like extra seconds are added to it because of the drawn out notes. The rapper, Giant Pink, whom I have never heard of before, does a really splendid job in the song. The rap segment flowed very nicely and complimented both the song and Niel as well.

The video can be split into two segments. The first is all the choreography scenes. The second are the interactions with the female lead. His acting in this video is pretty good. Watching the video, you can feel the emotions. You can tell how desperate he is to be with the girl, especially at the end. You could also feel the emotions in the choreography. I will touch on them later on. But they really compliment the emotions in the acting. The sets for the choreography is wonderful, especially the one with all the mirrors. That looked amazing. I don’t understand why they had to slo-mo some of the dance moves (such as the crotch rubbing one). Maybe to appeal to a particular fan base, but I thought it looked really stupid, given the emotions that I keep on mentioning in this part of the review.

His dancing is really impressive and it definitely left an impression on me. As I mentioned above, emotions could be felt in this dance when it is paired with the music video. On stage, it looks really cool and majestic. I personally don’t think the backup dancers add much to the performance, besides something else to look at. But my eyes are already preoccupied with following Niel across the stage. Hahaha…

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

Warning Sign – Teen Top

Teen Top have made their comeback since releasing Ah-Ah back in September last year. Since then, there have been very little talk about them (apparently they went on a mini hiatus and focused a lot on solo promotions). But now they are back with another song that I think is destined to be a hit.

Not a style I would have thought Teen Top would go for. I was hoping for the band to go back to the more EDM based songs, but instead, we got this classy type of song. To me, the song has a Shinhwa type of feel to it, which makes it pretty addictive. It honestly reminds me of those songs released by Shinhwa back in the day, but with a more modern feel to them. The song was sung mostly in a higher pitch compared to their past songs, but the way they do it flawless. Did not hear a single hitch. Even the vocals of the members that I know are not commonly known for their vocals were superb. Chunji’s high note can only be described as spectacular. This song honestly needed more of a rap sequence to it. I was so disappointed with the amount of time that C.A.P and L.Joe got in the song. That is the biggest complaint about the song that I can make, beside that, everything else was flawless.

The music video had a really nice dark style. The lack of colour and also the grey-scale look on the video gives it a very classy feel to it but also a nice dark feel to the video. Even the scenes where it was not filmed with the grey-scale filter had a lack of colour. I believe the video can be described as minimalist at some parts. For example, the dance scene  where there is nothing but concrete looked quite cool and stood out. I really enjoyed the unfocused camera work. It did get me a little confused when I watched the video the first time around, but how the camera was not positioned in the middle and the camera moved around a lot made the video more fast paced, which reflected the song quite nicely. There is one thing I do want removed from the video and that is L.Joe’s glitter sweater. You have all that smashed mirror and glass around you, the sweater was un-needed. Furthermore, it made him look completely out of place.

The dance looked quite cool. I agree with a lot of people with the fact that there is not much to the footwork of the members. Teen Top’s dances always have a lot of footwork, but this one lacked a lot. But what they did not do with their feet, their facial expressions and hand movements made up for. Not once did I see a flaw in the dance. Amazing.

Some small complaints, but overall this is just another comeback that already shows the forever increasing standard for the year ahead. And yes, this comeback exceeds that standard by more than a mile. 9/10

Lovekiller – Niel (Teen Top) ft. Dok2

Niel, the main vocalist of the boy band, Teen Top has officially made his solo debut. He did release a pre-release at the end of January, titled as Affogato, which I didn’t hear about. Also, to launch his solo career, he was a part of the new TV show 4 Things Show, which (I believe) talks about the personal life of the stars. On top of that, he also used his members C.A.P and L.Joe in this mini album and also had Dok2 feature in his title track. I believe his solo debut has been talked about for some time, with rumours originating since last year on forums that I have been silently reading. Yes, I do that. I can never be motivated to create an account though.

The soft guitar sounds open up the song for us. We then proceed to get Niel’s vocals which are quite husky. I never thought that Niel would have a husky voice, but now he does. So for the first part of the song and the first chorus, we got this RnB kind of sound that actually matched the lyrics quite well. Afterwards, the song changed up a little. We started to get more of an electronic beat and more modern sound. Not complaining, though, as I quite liked the change between the two and how they manage to go well together. The rapping was pretty good (why am I even commenting on that part, Dok2 is always good). I just don’t like that pause right afterwards and the sounds that Niel makes immediately after the pause. Why did the song just have to stop there for that 1 second? Also, I don’t like the background vocals for the chorus. It felt awkward and kind of made me cringe.

I don’t know why I find many videos boring nowadays. This one is between boring and good though. We see Niel rock up in a van on a really rainy day. And then we get shots of him dancing by himself in the tunnel, with cuts to his model girlfriend, played by Yoo Seung Ok. We get flashbacks to the happy times. The music video does go back to the lyrics though which is quite good. When he sings “When you don’t pick up” (something like that, not 100% translation, maybe just 50%), they have scenes regarding mobile phones and etc. When the song picks up and starts to transform, we change to a different set of Las Vegas style signage. I don’t get the connection, but I actually liked that set a lot. Also the tunnel with the lights was pretty cool as well. The music video was quite dark and I am guessing that represents heartbreak and sorrow.

This dance has references to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. When I heard that, I was surprised and excited. Just, there was no “man leaning at impossible angle” move. I was very disappointed in that though. I found that his moves seemed much smoother. With the clicks in the instrumental, I was expecting some kind of sharp movement. But anyway, the dance was pretty amazing. I know Teen Top does mad dances, but I think they should try this style out. It looks very cool.

Overall, a pretty nice track. The music video was so so. The dance was well polished and professional looking. 7/10