[Review] Lucifer – NOIR

It has been almost a year since we heard from NOIR, who last returned to the stage in June 2019 with Doom Doom. On Monday of this week, NOIR made their comeback with Lucifer and the group’s fourth mini-album, Up The Sky. For those who don’t know or remember NOIR, they are a nine-member male group from LUK Factory. Their past releases include Gangsta, Airplane Mode and Doom Doom.

As it has been a while since the group’s last release, NOIR has become lost to the countless releases that have released since their last comeback. I do vaguely remember key descriptors that I have used for their past tracks – Intensity and powerful. Two words that would be too comfortable to describe Lucifer with. Coincidentally, it is also two words that I have used a lot to describe many other songs. One word I haven’t used to describe their songs yet is ‘typical’. I guess there is always a first for every thing. Listening and comparing the song with their past releases, it seems Lucifer is only intense and powerful when it came to only certain moments of the song, when the rappers come into play. It is the only element that really captures my attention. The vocal work is fine, just not really impactful. And it doesn’t help the song doesn’t have a more catchy hook. What we got was incredibly boring and typical. The chorus of Lucifer, which has been the main attraction with their last releases, takes on a melodic approach, which I don’t mind. It just lacks that, well, main attraction. It comes off as incredibly plain. Overall, the song just doesn’t do it for me. It needs to be bolder and contain another ‘main attraction’, similar to what Airplane Mode and Doom Doom had.

We all know of Lucifer as the angel who fell from grace. In this video, we often all a member dressed in white, which I assume depicts the fallen angel walking with other members dressed in black. At the table, this fallen angel sits at the head, which is where we know Lucifer would sit given his status as prominent member of the underworld. There was also a scene where one of the members was dressed in black, while the rest were in white (i.e. Lucifer before his fall). I did like the simplicity of the plot line and imagery. The lighting and effects seemed a little cliche and typical. I didn’t get the outside choreography shot we got at the very end. It felt out of placed and random as a throw in. But overall, a fair video.

The choreography was okay. I guess that since the song isn’t as dynamic, the performance doesn’t need to be dynamic as well. Most of the moves look rather standard and plain. But there was a few formations and moves that depicted the fall from grace in an interesting manner.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

[Review] Doom Doom – NOIR

One particular review that I somehow missed out last week was NOIR’s Doom Doom. I have no idea how I missed this track, even though I previously knew about the comeback. I was reminded about it last night, so I quickly squeezed into the agenda for today. This is NOIR’s first comeback since the release of Airplane Mode, which was released back in October of last year.

Doom Doom basically took all the of intensity that oozed out of the release of Airplane Mode and compressed so that it becomes more concentrated in intensity. The best parts of the track, for me, has to the sudden blast of energy we get during the chorus. It was an extremely dynamic part of the song, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The rough, scratchy and heavily autotuned voice used as part of the instrumental we got during the first two choruses was just so amazing. Interestingly, the final chorus took on board a whole new sound, opting for a fast-paced dubstep, which was equally as strong and keeps the song interesting. While the verses were easily forgotten, I did like how they focused on more of the vocals and melodic rap sequences. But while it has been all praises for Doom Doom, I can’t help but think something feels missing in this track, which I am not entirely sure what exactly it is. But there is a void that feels empty and it prevents the song from being perfect, which it otherwise would have been.

Based on what I am seeing in this video, it seems like Doom Doom has received the highest budget for any of their music videos thus far. While NOIR hasn’t really taken off in the industry, it seems like the group must be bringing in money so that the company is able to create a larger budget for this music video. And I like most scenes in the music video. All of them seem to be edgy, with the exception of the choreography scenes where the members are wearing Hawaiian shirts. That seems to be the only major mismatch that I observed in the video. But apart from that, it is a good video.

As expected with such a song, the performance is definitely very intense as well. While I don’t have much to say about it specifically, I did find it to be worthwhile and captivating to an extent.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] Airplane Mode – NOIR

NOIR have been teasing their comeback from a few weeks now and they have finally dropped their title track, Airplane Mode. I’ll be honest, their concept and teaser images got me interested in this comeback.  Airplane Mode features on the group’s first mini-album titled TOPGUN.  This is their first comeback since their debut with Gangsta, which occurred back in May.

Airplane Mode is one smashing song. I am totally digging the new song because it oozes intensity and it is one of those powerful tracks that really make an impact. The song started off busy, with heavy bass and a very strong beat. This continued into the first verse, which was filled with rapping. It was followed by a vocal segment, which opened up the pre-chorus, which was followed by some more rapping. What I liked about the song also is how the rappers weren’t confined to one segment. Instead, you can tell the song was made for them and their parts were scattered throughout the song, reminding you of its intensity and power. I liked how the pre-chorus built up, making the chorus sound so much more epic and there was a dramatic flare, which I enjoyed. The rest of the song does share the same structure but I just don’t see myself getting bored of it. I enjoyed the final epic ‘smash’ (the one at 2:45 of the mv), which was a great moment. It is a song I highly recommend you blast out loud if possible as you will not be disappointed with it.

Given the song’s sound, it was clear that a very dark and edgy concept was required for the video. And that is what we got exactly. There is no shortage of these two aspects, which felt extremely fitting for the song. There isn’t really a plotline to the video, with what seems to hint towards a rebellious side of the group, serving as close-up shots to the group. With that, I think they could have done something more. The video could have used a plotline to really drive the video and make it much more interesting. There isn’t much else to say besides that they nailed the video to the song.

The choreography was also intense and I quite liked it. I liked all sections of the dance and they managed to include an airplane formation at the start, which I thought was pretty cool (at first, I didn’t expect it because it felt too ‘easy’ to go with that imagery on stage – not the execution but the idea). But I was glad they proved me wrong. All were amazing!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10


[Review] Gangsta – NOIR

There is a new boy group in town and some of the members also happen to come from Produce 101 Season 2 (last year). NOIR is an 8-member boy group from LUK Factory, consisting of Seunghoon, Yeonkuk, Junyoung (former member of INX) Yooseung, Siheon, Hoyeon, Siha, Minhyuk and Daewon. Their debut mini-album, titled as Twenty Noir, features Gangsta as the title track.

The song starts off with its intense EDM instrumental at the very start, with its powerful sound trying to get you excited for whatever is about to come. I am absolutely loving the energy that is channeled through and the awesome drop that comes. That screeching high-pitch synth is a little off-putting but it does become a charming point in the instrumental. I also noticed that the instrumental stays within the same domain, however, it changes up every section, which does keep things interesting. Also interesting was that the dance break took up the second verse, which is uncommon (from what I remember). The group features a decent lineup of vocalists but this song was made so the rappers could shine. And in the entire track, I absolutely enjoyed the ending as it got faster (and more intense). The slowing down made sense but it made the song just feel typical in the end. If they ended the song as the song was getting faster, that would have been mindblowing, so it was a major pity. Overall, it is a great debut track.

The music video shows some sort of graduation formal party, with the members in the background doing their thing at the party. And when I say that, I meant their jobs (i.e. waiting, greeting guests, hosting etc.). It gets to the point in the night where they award the prom queen. Clearly, the guys were not impressed with the initial choice. They seek out the one girl who they thought was worthy. As cliche as it sounds, she was a shy girl in the corner and she wore glasses, which were taken off before she was crowned prom queen. And in all of this, the video was shot to make the hall look very small. Yet, it took them a decent amount of time (in the music video’s world) to get to her. Despite that, it was a nice video to watch. The choreography scenes looked cool.

More about the choreography, it matched the intensity that the song had oozing from it. While they did look like they were fairly in sync, I think the choreography would have been enhanced to a better level by finetuning that element. The dance break was cool.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10