Park Ji Hoon also made his solo comeback on the same day as the release of the last review. For this solo artist, who has been active for 5 years (on the music front – he was also previously a child actor, which extends his years active beyond 5 years), his new single is titled NITRO and is featured as the lead song from his 6th mini-album, The Answer. We last saw Park Ji Hoon on stage through his Serious comeback, back in October of last year.

The standout aspect to NITRO is its chorus. There was a subtle groove to it, which I quite liked. This, on top of the synthwave backing, was pretty strong centrepiece. The deep “Mmmh” and vocals we do get from PARK JI HOON exuded a mature and sensual vibe, which I also enjoyed. And the oomph that comes from the chorus is what I have been craving from a PARK JI HOON release, as it feels more aligned with his earlier works during his early days as a solo artist which had oomph. Unfortunately, the rest of NITRO is pretty forgettable and plain (and relatively dry). We still got synthwave during the verses and other parts of the song, but it wasn’t as riveting. PARK JI HOON’s husky/raspy vocals could only do so much, so I wished there was a stronger melody to the first verse. I am glad he reverts to rapping for the second verse, but there isn’t much rhythm to it for me to find memorable or (at the very least) alluring enough. His rap is also kept low and in a rap-speak delivery mode, which I felt was too safe for NITRO. Something something more upbeat, punchy and dynamic could have potentially been more eye-opening and given some lift to NITRO. His high note in the bridge was probably the second best moment of NITRO as it felt very clean and well-executed. But it is sandwiched between the same two non-memorable repeats of what felt like the verse, and so I often forgot about its existence. It does make for a nice surprise each time I listened to the song. Overall, NITRO had the foundations and centrepiece to a really good song. It just wasn’t evolved enough elsewhere in the song.

I admit the start of the video where PARK JI HOON is spewing blood was quite an opening. It definitely got me interested to see how or why this scene exists. So essentially, a mysterious figure kidnaps him and forces him to swallow a mysterious bullet. PARK JI HOON then proceeds to run, whilst the bullet weakens him. He gets pretty far and probably realizes the end is coming. The mysterious figure, which is revealed to be PARK JI HOON himself, shoots the PARK JI HOON with the bullet in his system and we presume this is the end. Well, I wished the video ended here as the shooting just ends the storyline. Slightly messy, but not as confusing as what actually did happen. The shot PARK JI HOON wakes up alive, so that bullet made him immortal? We aren’t given an explanation to what it all means, nor about the existence of the second PARK JI HOON. So, we are left with even more questions. Though I can potentially see some parallels with the sexy lyrics of NITRO. Other than that, I did like the darkness of the video and the contrast with the bright white scenes (which I assume was a depiction of Heaven).

Not this most riveting routine to date, but it was good to watch nonetheless. He is a good performer, and I feel like this routine did a decent job of highlighting that. I did like the sensual vibes that the chorus had when the moves were slowed down.

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

[Review] Beautiful (Part 3) – Wanna One

Never did I think this would be pulled off, but Wanna One has regrouped for the release of a special single, Beautiful (Part 3). This new single was performed by the group for the first time at the 2021 MAMAs (with the exception of Lai Kuan Lin, who was promoting in China), and was then confirmed for release on 27 January 2022. For a brief second in the days prior of Beautiful (Part 3)’s release, there was a possibility that the group would be unable to release the song due to some contracts not being signed by companies, but I am glad to see that they managed to pull everything together in time for the scheduled release. There are ongoing plans for a reunion concert and future album release, however, those plans appear to be slightly rocky with Hwang Minhyun and Ong Seong Woo’s companies announcing that their respective artists would not participate due to focus on their own group’s work and scheduling issues. I guess we have to wait and see if a concert and album can occur. But for the time being, we have a special single on our side.

Like the original Beautiful title track and Beautiful (Part 2) (featured as a side track on the group’s first and only studio album), Beautiful (Part 3) falls into the ballad category. It, as a whole track, definitely brings forth a sentimental and nostalgic feeling, which is no doubt the route that the members and the producers were going for. The pre-choruses in Beautiful (Part 3) were a capsule of these exact emotions, as the melodies and some of the lyrics connect the three tracks together. Elsewhere, Beautiful (Part 3) was new and original. I really liked the burst of sound when it came to the chorus. It, along with the rock elements that featured in the choruses, just took the otherwise simple ballad to the next level. Vocally, it was extremely nice to hear everyone as Wanna One again and I am happy to hear that Lai Kuan Lin managed to get a part in the song despite not being part of the reunion performance. Kim Jae Hwan’s vocals stood out the most of the pack, living up to this main vocalist position in the group. That being said, however, all the other members showcased their exceptional vocals in the song, highlighting their improvement from their post-Wanna One days. I am also glad to hear some rapping from the rappers (Kang Daniel, Park Ji Hoon, Kim Woo Jin, Lai Kuan Lin) as the instrumental for Beautiful (Part 3) allowed for it. Overall, Beautiful (Part 3) lives up to its name, just like the original and Part 2 did, and is a ‘beautiful’ reminder of the group.

The music video showcased shots from their MAMA performance back in December 2021, both on-stage and off-stage. It too did exactly what the song did, evoke these sentimental and nostalgic emotions. I liked how the editors synced up with shots of the actual performance with the lyrics of the song, allowing the performance to serve multiple purposes (i.e. MAMA award performance, this music video). I also liked the inserts of behind the scene shots (both video and images). It helped made the video even more special, especially for the fans of the group. I also wish to point out that it was extremely nice to see the members be given an opportunity to interact with fans and the audience (though from the stage, but still better than nothing!).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Album Review] HOT&COLD (5th Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

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The next album to be reviewed on this blog belongs to Park Ji Hoon, who made his comeback with this particular album, HOT&COLD, at the end of October of this year. Leading the album is the title track Serious, and five other new songs (all of which will be reviewed below). HOT&COLD follows the release of My Collection from earlier in the year.

HOT&COLD Album Cover

1. Escalator (Intro) – Kicking off the album is Escalator, a short intro track that felt like you are surging to the top. It is quite upbeat and focuses on a R&B sound. Park Ji Hoon repeats the title of the song a few times before throwing in some other lyrics. But it really doesn’t do much to the song. A pretty average start to the album. (6/10)

2. Serious (Title Track)Click here for Serious’ full review. (6/10)

3. WANT!WANT! is a pleasant pop track. It is upbeat, has good rhythm and nice melody. Park Ji Hoon also sounds quite good. But aside from that, I do find WANT! just pleasant, and doesn’t really offer anything more than that. I wished the song went above the general pop boundaries. (7/10)

4. CHEESECHEESE is a lot more vibrant than WANT! and I find that so much more appealing. It too falls under the pop umbrella, but I like it a lot more than the previous song (for reasons already specified). I like how the upbeatness, energy and Park Ji Hoon’s tone in CHEESE is playful and fun, further adding to that appeal. (8/10)

5. LOVE GLASSLOVE GLASS enters R&B territory, revisiting the sound from the title track. I liked the kick the beat gave the song, making it even more upbeat and fun than the pop tracks on this album. Park Ji Hoon sounds really good here, which can only mean that the song’s playfulness and colour can only be more likeable and livelier. LOVE GLASS is also quite catchy, as well. (8.5/10)

6. All Yours – The saying ‘save the best til last’ is applicable for this album. All Yours returns the album to a pop sound, but delving more into the balladry side of music as well. I quite like the guitars in the instrumentation, which provided a great deal of texture to the song. His voice is well used here as well, with his huskier tone coming through. I also like how pleasant All Yours comes across, and here I use the term ‘pleasant’ as a positive descriptor to the song (as opposed to how I used it earlier). (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.6/10

HOT&COLD Teaser Image

[Review] Serious – Park Ji Hoon

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A month overdue, but here is my review for Park Ji Hoon’s latest song titled Serious. Serious was released at the end of last month (28 October – to be exact) and is featured on Park Ji Hoon’s fifth mini-album, Hot&Cold, since his solo debut. This is also his second comeback of the year, following the likes of Gallery and My Collection back in August.

To be honest, Serious is one of the releases that somehow slipped my radar. I do remember it being teased and its release. But I haven’t listened to the song at all. Tracking my listening pattern through my Weekly KPOP Charts, it appears that I only ‘discovered’ Serious two weeks back. So, I am kind of going into it with a fresh mind today. But there might be a reason why I had only ‘discovered’ the song so many weeks after it release. Even when I do sit down to listen to it for this review, I find Serious to be a little plain. There really isn’t anything memorable within the song. The instrumentals of Serious falls into the R&B/pop territory. While this combination can be innovative and creative, Serious just isn’t a good case for that potential. I did get a moody sense from it, which I think compliments the lyrics of the song, and I did like the sleek start. But other than that, Serious was your standard backing to a dance song. Hook-wise, there was a bit of repetition in Serious, which helps build the song’s momentum to an extent. But they don’t stand out as much. Like the instrumentation, there isn’t really anything fresh or new that blows my mind or peaks my interest. Similarly, melody-wise, not a big fan of what the song did. I feel the strongest aspect of Serious was the vocal work. There were some good vocals in the song thanks to the slight raspy nature of Park Ji Hoon’s voice, and I did like the pre-chorus rapping and the momentum that we got out of that. The one vocal aspect that I disagree with is the switch to rap-singing in the chorus. its fine in the verses, but I just didn’t like how it came to be to the chorus. Overall, Serious is a lacking and unmemorable release, and ultimately a letdown following the likes of Gallery.

While the song might have not blown me away, Park Ji Hoon in this video did. Park Ji Hoon shows off some serious acting chops in this music video, and its so good that it makes this music video so much better. From what I see in this video, I think Park Ji Hoon’s character recently broke up with his partner, which leads him to this emotional state he is in throughout the video. He is locked in a hypothetical room. One moment he was writing a message in the bottle to his partner (I am assuming to ask for forgiveness), with the room being peaceful and lightened up. The next moment, it is trashed and the message in the bottle that he originally had written had gone missing. It appears that there is two sides of Park Ji Hoon in the video (represented by the scenes lightened up with the white light vs. the scenes lightened up a red light). I think the one side really wants to make amends (the white light), while the other side doesn’t want to. It got to the point where the glass bottle was ‘laid to rest’ in the boot of the car, as if it was kidnapped (which might explain the missing message above). The yellow light at the end seems to represent that Park Ji Hoon comes to terms with his emotions, and the sorry that we do seem is acceptance that he was the cause of the breakdown of their relationship and that there won’t be any chance of going back to what they were, even though he is ‘Serious‘ about going back. Serious guesses on what is happening and I could be very wrong, but I find the music video to be quite interesting.

The choreography is plain for me, but the entire performance still felt fitting for the song. It did bring to my attention that Serious doesn’t have much of a break in it and Park Ji Hoon is constantly moving and singing at the same time without any seconds to breathe, so I give him some points for that. But the moves don’t really impress me.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

[Album Review] My Collection (4th Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

Park Ji Hoon’s My Collection album review was supposed to be release last week. But as usual, I was a little behind (can’t remember why I ended up being behind schedule) and decided to hold back the review for this weekend. My Collection features the title track, Gallery, which was released back in August of this year, along with an intro track (which will be factored into the final album rating) and four other new songs. This is Park Ji Hoon’s fourth mini-album to date and follows his first studio album, Message, which was released at the end of last year.

My Collection Album Cover

1. Present On The Stage (Intro) – Personally, I am not a fan of this particular intro track. It isn’t terrible, but just not my cup of tea. While it is pleasant and has a bit of a hip-hop influence to it, I wasn’t liking the drawn nature of the vocals and the stagnant feel it provided. If I had to base the album on the first track, things wouldn’t look too bright. Present On The Stage may have made me skip over this album. (6/10)

2. Gallery (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Gallery. (9/10)

3. Lost (feat. LILBOI) – Once again, Lost isn’t my cup of tea. I am just not entirely drawn to the song, mainly because it didn’t feel like it got anywhere once Lost wrapped up. I do admit that the pop track was light and rather chilled. Park Ji Hoon brings some falsettos to the song, while LILBOI brought some dynamic energy to the song via his rapping. Neither was enough to convince otherwise about the song, however. (7/10)

4. Strawberry – You might think that I would apply similar comments as the preceding comments to Strawberry. And I would say you are partly right. Strawberry felt pretty linear and didn’t really feel like it developed as it progressed along. However, I do like Park Ji Hoon’s vocals in this song more. His hoarse voice was definitely shown off in this song, and it was a nice accompaniment to the soft R&B coffee shop-like instrumentation. His falsetto notes were pretty nice here, drifting in and out when it was added to the song. (7.5/10)

5. I Wonder – After two paced and vocally driven songs, I Wonder refocuses the album with an upbeat track, which to me is familiar territory for Park Ji Hoon. I much prefer this side of the artist. I will admit the song is pretty plain and simple, but I am sure that the performance for I Wonder would have been enjoyable to watch. I liked the slight dynamic nature that is brought into the song via Park JI Hoon’s vocals, and how upbeat the chorus was thanks to the heavier presence of the synths. It added meat and definition to the song, which I quite enjoyed. (8/10)

6. Remember (파도에게) – Ending the album is Remember. Like the intro track, Remember is also quite pleasant. But electronic synths in the song gives it a nice kick that I thoroughly enjoyed and sets it apart from the into track. Remember bundles all my comments above about Park Ji Hoon’s vocals and rapping into this one song. You get the dynamic nature from his rapping, and the hoarse vocals throughout the song. Both give this smooth instrumental nice and pleasant textures, and everything comes together to be quite dreamy. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

My Collection Teaser Image

[Review] Gallery – Park Ji Hoon

Do note that I will be jumping around a lot of the reviews over the coming days. I skip ‘forward’ briefly to last night (before I go back in time for the next review) to focus on yesterday’s new release – Park Ji Hoon’s comeback with Gallery and the mini-album, My Collection. This comeback comes after a nine month absence from the music scene, with his last comeback being GOTCHA (the title track) and Message (Park Ji Hoon’s first studio album). Since the release of his last comeback, Park Ji Hoon has been focusing on his acting, as he was casted in the lead role of At a Distance, Spring Is Green.

Described as an EDM-based pop track, Gallery taps into the funky side of the KPOP with a dynamically driven and upbeat dance track. I personally thought Gallery‘s instrumental was quite an asset in making the song extremely appealing and satisfying to listen to. It had a nice level of bass that contributed to great deal of depth and sleekness, at the same time. The synths kept the song going, driving it forward and adding momentum Gallery. I also like the additional brass that the song brought in at the very end in the background. It was subtle difference, but definitely went a long way to help add a bit more flair at the very end to round out the song. Consistency within the instrumentation was also a really nice factor in terms of appeal in Gallery. If you follow my blog for a while now, this usually not what I prefer when it comes to music. Overly consistent songs tend to be quite repetitive, dull and ‘the safe option’. But in Gallery, I think Park Ji Hoon manages to shake things up every so slightly with the way he sings and raps (both of which were really well done, if I have not made myself clear about this yet), and this keeps the song from becoming boring and repetitive. This is a very strong asset to have as an artist, as proven in this song. Personally, I would have like a stronger hook, to really make the song that bit more memorable and enhance the post-chorus (which was already so strong with the cascading effect of synths) even further. Overall, I think Gallery was a very strong release thanks to its underlying instrumentation, and was quite clever in highlighting Park Ji Hoon skills.

Appropriately set in a art gallery, Park Ji Hoon is the artwork for that that special someone to look at. Those parts of the music video were just fine and pleasant to watch. Also Park Ji Hoon looks quite good throughout those scenes. but for me, the best bits of the video were the ones where the green screen was used. Thanks to the green screen, a massive keyhole sits in the background and the visual effects they used to change up the background involving the key hole actually made the video look really cool. Such effects gave the video a bit of a wow factor, which undoubtedly drives up the video’s appeal after the fact.

I really liked the choreography for this comeback. There was a lot going on, especially during those post-chorus sequences where the synths are cascading. There was a bit of a popping and locking type feel in those segments, but it felt more subtle than usual popping and locking choreographies. I liked the intensity we did get from those sections, and how they were all a bunch of small movements strung together to create an epic routine. I also felt that park Ji Hoon was slightly flirty with his expressions on stage, which looked good.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.9/10

[Album Review] Message (1st Studio Album) – Park Ji Hoon

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Park Ji Hoon’s first studio album, Message, is next up on the album review chopping block. I wanted to review this, as I felt his recent promotions didn’t get much attention. I really liked the title track, GOTCHA, which is accompanied by nine other songs on this album. And I have been reviewing all of this albums since his solo debut last year, so it will be odd to miss out on the chance to review his first studio album. Overall, the album was definitely a good one. For my more detailed thoughts, keep on reading below!

Message Album Cover

1. Waterfalls (Intro Track) – Usually I don’t review intro tracks. But Waterfalls is an exception as it contains lyrics and vocals. So, I will be including it as part of the album review. Waterfalls channels hip-hop in a subtle manner within its instrumental and repetitively reminds us to ‘Listen to [his] message’. Aside from that, we are also treated to a bit of rapping, which I am sure will get fans/listeners excited especially if that is the way you were introduced to Park Ji Hoon (which was the case for me). (8/10)

2. GOTCHA (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for GOTCHA. (9/10)

3. Hit It Off (ft. PENOMECO)Hit It Off brings back the hip-hop sound in a trap style that ends up being a really pleasant song. I do admit that the instrumental does sound very standard and typical in writing, But I thought otherwise, as the song’s paced approach really helped make the song feel more refined and classy. Adding to that is the successful blend of Park Ji Hoon’s vocals and the out-sourced rapping by PENOMECO. The paced nature of the instrumentation really helps draws out the melodies and helped made both the vocals and rapping shine more. (9/10)

4. RollingRolling opts for the R&B genre, with a jazzy touch to really help bring some additional oomph to the song. I wouldn’t mind listening to this song in a classy wine bar, so other place that has that fancy type of vibe. Rolling manages to showcase more of Park Ji Hoon’s vocals really well. Everything was quite melodic and flowy. I really liked that he managed to incorporate some rapping in the song, and how his rapping was well tweaked for this classy style of music. (8/10)

5. 50-50 (ft. EB) – I didn’t register this until today (oh, how reviewing songs makes me put on a more analytical mindset), but I really liked how Park Ji Hoon used a deeper tone in this song. This was offset by EB’s higher pitched rapping tone, which really brought a nice balance to the song. I also really liked the chorus, where they sing together. While I liked the tropical approach in the instrumentation, I do have my hesitations about this aspect as well. Personally, I wished the producers had went with a more dynamic route to give the tropical some more flair. That would have made 50-50 so much better and given it a bit more energy. (8/10)

6. DRESS CODE (ft. punchnello)DRESS CODE delivers some additional energy to the album, which I felt was needed. It isn’t really dynamic form of energy, but DRESS CODE has this neat upbeat tempo to it which I will take gladly. But unfortunately, that is the only aspect of the song that really grabs my attention. Everything else didn’t fit well with me or was just forgotten. I pretty much forgot about Park Ji Hoon’s vocals once the song ended (though punchnello fared slightly better). In addition to that, I personally do not like the elongated and autotuned ‘DRESS CODE’ in the chorus. The elongation made it feel childish and the autotune just dulled it for me. Similarly, the rest of the song followed suit for me. (5/10)

7. Whisper (귓속말)Whisper is one of my picks for Park Ji Hoon’s strongest side track on this album. While it did start off a bit slow-ish, the song does pick up during the second verse (which really helped boost its appeal). I enjoyed everything else about this song. His vocals are heavenly and very appealing to listen to. I also really liked the moments where he diverted for deeper vocals, contrasting for his higher pitch approach during other parts. The instrumental was very light, and I enjoyed the use of synthesizer. (9/10)

8. Tomorrow – If you wanted a substantial upbeat piece on this album, then Tomorrow is the track for you. There is a bit of heft to this song, which I felt has been absent from the album thus far. This ‘heft’ is due to the guitars that is strummed away on top of the usual beat. I also like the bit of bass that they manage to infuse into the song during the chorus via the thumping beat. Park Ji Hoon’s vocals were really good here. I like how he goes in and out of his raspy vocals for this song, giving the song some texture. It also felt like multiple people were singing this song, which gives the song a very inclusive feel. (10/10)

9. Scenario (시나리오) (ft. Sweden Laundry)Scenario is a sweet song that shows us a more loving side to Park Ji Hoon (miles away from his villainous concept for his GOTCHA music video). His vocals work wonderfully in this song, complimenting Sweden Laundry’s sweet vocals. Like his collaboration with EB in track 5, Park Ji Hoon’s use of his deeper tone (in the form of rapping) was actually quite appreciable and gave the song some balance. The layering was also quite nice. The acoustic nature of the instrumental was also quite enjoyable. (8.5/10)

10. MayDay – From the opening instrumentation, MayDay is a playful track. I like this change up, though I think MayDay would have been better suited for a more upbeat album. It is definitely an colourful outlier that feels slightly out of place on this more mature release. That being said, however, MayDay was enjoyable and had a nice ring to it. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

Message Teaser Image

[Review] GOTCHA – Park Ji Hoon

Also on the reviewing block today is Park Ji Hoon’s latest comeback, GOTCHA. How odd of me to be writing a review on the day of the song’s release. GOTCHA is the title track of Park Ji Hoon’s first studio album, Message, which also dropped today. This comeback comes after Park Ji Hoon’s earlier music release in the year, Wing, and another web drama for the actor side of Park Ji Hoon.

GOTCHA is a slight mashup of genres that end up coming together quite nicely. It is described as a ‘refreshing Latin rhythm as well as an 808 bass and trap rhythm’ (taken from SOOMPI). Some of the song might be overwhelming, namely the post-chorus hook that follows the first and final chorus, as it does appear out of nowhere and is more abrasive on the ears that any other part of the song. However, I heard it as an exciting change up that kept me on my toes. The Latin influence keeps the song very upbeat, bright and adds a very nice colour to the song. It did make me wonder whether GOTCHA would have more successful as a Summer track, as the Latin flair does seem to give off that impression. And I think it might of. However, I think KPOP has been blurring the lines between seasons as a number of releases I felt have been better suited for the Summer season have been released during what was supposed to be the ‘Autumn’ season in Korea, so Park Ji Hoon’s release isn’t really an outlier by any means. His vocals have gotten a lot stronger and they impressed me throughout the song. The melodies that his vocals had carried were quite strong and alluring. He also throws in a bit of a high note (though it was rudely interrupted by that rewind effect). His rapping was also quite interesting, adding some additional energy into the already quite upbeat song. I particularly liked the switch up between rapping and rap-speak he does in the first verse. Overall, GOTCHA was a really enjoyable track and highlights improvements in Park Ji Hoon’s skills.

Park Ji Hoon embraces his inner bad side for this comeback. Fans will definitely enjoy this darker side of Park Ji Hoon. This evil side of him is actually quite captivating and he was very alluring with his facial expressions throughout the video. His blonde hair was definitely ‘icing on the cake’ for this music video and concept. The producer and director did a pretty good job of pulling this video together and making sure Park Ji Hoon looks good. I also feel that the music video also gives us a taster to what the artist could do as an actor. If he is playing a character with evil intentions and the storyline is good, sign me up as part of the audience!

A big part of the performance that I don’t tend to mention as much are the outfits. And for his showcase stage, I felt Park Ji Hoon felt quite overdressed in comparison to his dancers. I hope that this doesn’t happen on the actual comeback stages. Apart from that, the choreography looks quite cool. I like the slight popping (at least, that is what I think it is) he does for that more abrasive post-chorus hook sequence and how he (as a solo artist) basically carries the entire second verse on stage.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] The W (3rd Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

And it is now that time of the week for another album review. Fridays and Sundays are dedicated for the more recent album releases. For example, today we will be diving into Park Ji Hoon’s most recent album release, The W. This is the soloist’s 3rd mini-album since his solo debut last year and it also features the title track, Wing. I have been paying close attention to Park Ji Hoon as his title tracks have been quite dynamic in the past and his albums have been good listens. This one is pretty much the same, so let’s see how it sounds.

The W Album Cover

1. On The Rise – Usually, I do not review the introductory tracks as there are instrumental-based. Sometimes I do comment on them if they do have a uniqueness to them, but I don’t include them in the rating. But any introductory track that consist vocals will contribute to the rating. And On The Rise falls into the latter category. The song features a similar instrumental as the title track (see the review below), just everything is at a very lower tone and slower pace. Park Ji Hoon also uses his deep voice in this song, which reflects well with the instrumental. The deeper tone does give the song a heaviness, but as it is quite short, it comes off as airy, which is ideal for an opener. The catchy ‘Doom Doom Doom‘ from the title track is featured in this track, but the rest of the lyrics are different. (8/10)

2. Wing (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Wing. (7.5/10)

3. Frequency (주파수) – The start to Frequency was quite promising when I first heard for the first time. Unfortunately, the song just didn’t go in the direction I had wanted with that start. I am a little disappointed about this, but the direction it did end up going in was actually quite good. The song opted for a sleek R&B instrumental, which incorporated a really cool piano and squeaky synth combo instrumental break during the bridge that gave the song unexpected life. Otherwise, I would have said that the song went with a slow burning form of R&B. I also did like the rest of the instrumental, when the piano would peek through and there were some funky synths presents to further add some appealing details to the background. Park Ji Hoon actually sounds pretty good here and I liked when he switches to a rap-speaking delivery for a brief moment. Usually, I want more. But I feel like the song does justice with his vocals, which I felt more drawn to. (9/10)

4. Driving – Another great start to a song on this album. This time around, I didn’t have much expectations for it. So Driving ran its course and at the end, I am naturally reaching for the replay button. The song starts with a slow pop type of vibe. It was interesting to note that they returned to this slow pop vibe throughout the track and I liked that, as if they were reminding us of the song’s roots. But what I really liked about the song the most was the fast tempo chorus. In terms of the tempo and melodies, it is quite different to the how the song started and I liked that contrast. The bass helped it become dynamic and energetic. The song would be perfect for when you are driving with the windows down on a nice bright sunny day. Park Ji Hoon’s vocal was very nice. The rapping was good, but I felt that the producers could have taken that sequence up a notch by giving it some more texture in the instrumental. (9/10)

5. ParadiseParadise combines and mashes different styles, all falling under the realm of EDM. But I think it fits under the house genre, overall. The song seems to play around with texture for a bit. Nothing crazy or concerning, actually relatively tame when you think about it. It starts off with a relatively smooth instrumental and features a very straight forward melody, which made it appeal to those who may want something ‘simple’. The chorus changes up with a more complicated and textural deep house style. At first, the combination of the two seems to not go hand-in-hand, but it slowly grows on you. Unlike the title track, we are eased into the change for a brief few seconds. And this change was minute and didn’t cut the flow of the song, which was an issue in the title track. I liked his husky vocals in this song, which added more texture of the song. (8/10)

5. Let’s Love – It isn’t Summer until you hear some tropical beats in a song. As I have noted in past reviews, it is still in its refreshing stage due to the limited number of tropical 2020 tracks. I do note that the number of these tracks is slowly growing and maybe a few more might remind me of how tiring the genre really is. While that is the current situation for tropical influenced numbers overall, I just don’t hear anything that special with this track to warrant much discussion, apart from the use of piano-like synth in the instrumental. And for that, I find it rather typical sounding. Even Park Ji Hoon’s vocals came off in that manner and probably earns the title for the most skipable track on the album. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

The W Teaser Image

[Review] Wing – Park Ji Hoon

I had somehow missed Park Ji Hoon’s comeback song, Wing, which was released earlier in the week on Monday. I knew he would be coming back sometime this week, but I was under the impression that his comeback would occur mid-week, rather than at the start. I don’t know how I managed to miss a major comeback like Park Ji Hoon’s, especially on a day full of solo male comebacks! So apologies for this unintended delay. His comeback single is featured on his third mini-album, The W. We last saw Park Ji Hoon at the end of last year through his 360 promotions.

Wing, to me, feels like multiple songs were snipped and conjoined together. From the very first second to the rap sequence that opens the second verse, we have 4 different songs mashed into one. And I would have been fine with that, provided that the song progresses along seamlessly. Unfortunately, the transition between the two halves of the verses does not have this quality and I am quite disappointed with it. It felt sudden and unexpected. But other than that transition, the rest of the song was quite fine. Park Ji Hoon showed off his voice throughout this song and this was a strong effort, particularly during the chorus. I did like how he used his signature deep voice for the hook of the song. The ‘Doom Doom Doom‘ was very catchy and addictive. It is probably one of the reasons why I want to continue listening to the song. I still would like to hear more rapping from the soloist, as that is what we know him for from his Wanna One days. It seemed like the song could have included more intense and impactful rap sequences to help bolden the song and give it some additional energy. The chorus had this party anthem-like feel to it, thanks to his shouting-like vocals and melodies that he brings to it. I did want more body to the chorus, to give it that oomph and with a lot more definition. Actually, that can be said across the entire instrumental of Wing. There is this typical feel to it, but I do admit that is comfortably pleasant. Collectively, I don’t think this tops his past two title tracks. But it is a fair effort.

For most of the video, I wasn’t really sure what was going on. Park Ji Hoon seems to be doing quite a fair bit in the video (i.e. driving around in the desert, talking into a microphone, sitting in a cafe). But nothing really made much sense, apart from the end where it looks like he is flying (which is the strongest connection we have, as he sings about his partner giving him wings to fly). I also want to be critical about the set. I don’t know if filming around a time which a ban was put in place (for current circumstances affecting the entire world), but the use of those built sets just cheapens the video and ruins any amazing shots of natural scenery the video had in it. I feel like the video could have been solely filmed in the desert/natural setting and it would have looked cool. The post-production editing for those scenes look quite good as well and they could have used this technique to change up the scenery a bit if they were worried that everythhing would look the same.

I really liked the light tapping to the head for the catchy ‘Doom Doom Doom‘ hook of the song. The song doesn’t give much opportunity for Park Ji Hoon or the dancers to show off any performing chops, if I was to be honest. But I did like the small acrobat-like moves that they pulled off during the performance. They made the stage look more captivating without going over the top.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.2/10

[Album Review] 360 (2nd Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

Park Ji Hoon’s performance for L.O.V.E is nominated for Best Solo Choregraphy in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Park Ji Hoon and your other favourite artists by clicking here to vote.

Between now and the end of the year, there will be three more album reviews (inclusive of this one). The first of the final three 2019 albums to be reviewed this year is Park Ji Hoon’s 360. His title track also shares the same name as the album. This is strong album from the solo artist, further highlighting his potential in the industry. Former co-member of Wanna One, Kim Jae Hwan, also participated in the album by co-writing the lyrics of the final track, Strange. To see what I thought of it, keep on reading!

360 Album Cover

1. I AM (Introductory Track) – Usually, I do not review the introductory track as it tends to be just an instrumental piece of some kind. However, if it contains vocals, I will include it in the review. Based on these criteria, you can tell by now that I AM contains Park Ji Hoon’s vocals. The track kicks off with a soft piano start, before transforming into a full-fledged EDM dance track. I really like his vocals in this song, especially paired with the background vocals and also the way he emphasised the English during the ‘chorus’ of the intro track. I also thought this was a nice and bright lead into the title track, 360. (8.5/10)

2. 360 (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for 360. (9/10)

3. WhistleWhistle takes a brighter approach, reminding the listener of Summer. It is super energetic and the instrumental even contains some subtle island sounds, hence why is suits the hotter months of the year. Park Ji Hoon does a really good job with his vocal work. His rapping, on the other hand, felt a tad too heavy and serious for the upbeat sound. I really liked the chorus of the song, with the ‘Whistle, Whistle now, Oh Oh Oh…’ keyed into my memory bank. I also like the fancy piano bridge we got. But it did feel a little ill-fitting for such a vibrant and energetic sound. But apart from that, it is a good track. (8/10)

4. Hurricane – When I saw a track titled Hurricane, I expected something a little more erratic than a smooth sailing track that Hurricane ended up being like. It isn’t a bad track, but I wish that Park Ji Hoon’s production team would be a little more ambitious with his sound. And besides, I feel like Park Ji Hoon would suit an edgy song. The song included some flute work, which did sound nice. His vocals did feel a little tight and I think it would have been a little nicer to hear some space in his vocals during some parts, especially paired with an easygoing and light-ish sound. I did like the chorus and the odd ad-lib that Park Ji Hoon throws in the background. (8/10)

5. Casiopea (닻별) – It seems like my prayers that I mentioned in the previous song’s review are answered. Casiopea is distinctively different to his previous tracks, throwing a whole heap of that requested edge. It has sharp impact to its sound through its snare drum-like instrumentation. I also really liked how they kept on pushing the song by adding to the instrumental. It helped it develop the song and really gave it a dynamic touch. His voice helped inject a bunch of textures throughout the song, which I thought was really cool. His rapping is also quite unique, very unlike his other tracks. (9/10)

6. Still Love U – The last two tracks on the album are the softer tracks on the whole album. Still Love U still has the upbeat sound to it and I can imagine a nice choreography routine paired to it. I thought the beat was cool and consistent, but the instrumental felt somewhat bland. His focus on vocals really showed in this song. As a rapper, there is a bit of a husky and raspy tone in this song, which really helped the appeal of the track. Given the lyrics, it is a sweet song which I am sure would appeal to fans as well. Overall, not bad. (7.5/10)

7. Strange (이상해) – The final song on the album is Strange. It is an R&B track with sweet lyrics, ending the album on a very positive note. Interestingly, the song doesn’t really get into the ‘strange’ territory. There is the odd quirk with a sudden deep autotune twist at the mid-point of the song and few other smaller sections throughout the song. Park Ji Hoon’s shows off several different vocal technique in this track that showcases his capabilities. But whether he nails it, I am not too sure. I really like the chanting part of the song, which was my favourite bit. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

360 Teaser Image

[Review] 360 – Park Ji Hoon

Park Ji Hoon’s performance for L.O.V.E is nominated for Best Solo Choregraphy in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Park Ji Hoon and your other favourite artists by clicking here to vote.

All of the former Wanna One members (minus Ong Seong Woo, who has focused on acting this year) have made two releases in some capacity in this year. One of the last to join this lineup is Park Ji Hoon, who makes his return today with 360. This is Park Ji Hoon’s first comeback since his debut with L.O.V.E, which occurred back in March. Park Ji Hoon also returned to acting this year through Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency, as well.

The way 360 started off got me intrigued with the song. The instrumental kicks off with a smooth vibe and Park Ji Hoon himself starts off very low. The song ended up developing into a dynamic piece. There seems to be a subtle touch of funkiness in the instrumental during the chorus, which reminds me of solo releases by more well known acts, such as Taemin. Otherwise, it was well produced and a solid dance track overall. I really liked the post-chorus hook. It did sound awkward at first (his pronunciation of one of the words was questionable but it seems the lyrics were ‘take a shot for me‘), but a few extra listens really keyed it into my mind. His vocal work was quite good but I think Park Ji Hoon’s rapping steals the show this time around. It seemed to have a groove to which I thought nicely enhanced the song. Overall, 360 is a cool track.

The music video was really cool. I liked how the music video started off with the shakey closeup, the monotone filter and the flashing lights. And while I don’t like the flashing lights usually, I found them a good link between each scene. Deciphering the video is a little more complicated. From what I could see in the music video, there isn’t too much to go with besides Park Ji Hoon in different places. Based on the information I could find/understand, the video showed Park Ji Hoon at ‘different angles’ and hence this makes sense with the multiple locations. Other than that, I don’t understand what is happening in the video. I would like to know if there are some theories, so do comment below and share your understanding.

Like the song, I thought the performance was very dynamic. For a song titled as 360, the choreography contained a fair amount of turns. It looked elegant and powerful, which is very fitting for the song and the style that Park Ji Hoon went with. I also liked how sleek the chorus looked.

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

[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2019

As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.

Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Q&A – Cherry Bullet

Woowa – DIA

Side Effects – Stray Kids

The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl

Zimzalabim – Red Velvet

Valkirye – ONEUS

No – CLC

Sunrise – GFriend

L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon

I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.

Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!

[Album Review] O’Clock (1st Mini Album) – Park Ji Hoon

Things are starting to get exciting for the former members of Wanna One. We are currently in the midst of solo debuts from members of the project group (including Yoon Ji Sung, Minhyun and Ha Sung Woon, with Bae Jin Young debuting next week). We also have NU’EST returning and AB6IX debuting shortly. Today, we are here to look at another Wanna One member’s release, Park Ji Hoon’s solo mini-album, O’Clock, which I think is a very promising release. Congratulations to Park Ji Hoon on his Music Bank win a few weeks back, as well. So, let’s definitely start with this closer look at his album.

O’Clock Album Cover

1..The Beginning Of... (Intro Track) – Park Ji Hoon starts off the album with the song that ends his L.O.V.E music video. Despite knowing that he was a rapper during his time as part of Wanna One, I did not expect his voice to be this raspy. That isn’t a bad thing, however, as it gives a nice texture to the opening track. I also like the high pitch moaning at the start of the song (and throughout the song). It gives a unique touch which I quite like. The line ‘The Beginning of New Love’ that Park Ji Hoon sings is a little awkward (I didn’t know that he was singing in English until I saw the lyrics) but other than that, it was a nice opener (and music video end-er). (9/10)

2. UsUs is an R&B track that places a lot of focus on the solo artist’s vocals. I personally do not mind the song but felt it was a weak track. While the song does showcase his voice really well, I couldn’t help think that the instrumental was a little too distant and light during the verses. Usually, I like to think that the instrumental support the vocals in a variety of ways. But in this case, the verses felt bare and lacked a supportive background. For the choruses, this feeling wasn’t there, and it felt like a standard song, which was nice in comparison to the verses. I also felt that Us would benefit from a rap sequence of some kind. I think that could have given a boost to the song and filled up this void that I felt once the song ended. (7/10)

3. L.O.V.E (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for L.O.V.E. (9/10)

4. Would You – Out of all the tracks on the song, Would You was the most colourful. So far (and the few tracks that follow) were quite moody, so it is nice to have a track that has really vibrant and bright colours. The instrumental has this feel-good feel to which and it allowed for Park Ji Hoon’s vocals to sound cheerful for once. We also got some rapping in the track, which I think suits the upbeat nature of the track. The chorus also featured a nice melody and I found it to be quite catchy. I also think the track suits the image that I know of Park Ji Hoon, which has always been youthful since his Wanna One days. (8/10)

5. Dawn Moon (새벽달) – I thought the screech-like synths and Park Ji Hoon’s whispering start was rather cool and opens up this track to be quite promising. And he delivers in this aspect. The verses were standard once again but featured a nice build up to a chorus made up of half vocals and half instrumental. I find this particular order to be somewhat refreshing, I also found the chorus to be quite impactful despite it not being as colourful as other EDM based choruses with hard drops. The drop the song went with felt dynamic upon reflection and really made the song progress along. My favourite part of the song has to be the climax in the bridge. The song needed a peak and I think this was appropriately done in this track. (8/10)

6. Young 20Young 20 is produced by fellow Wanna One member Lee Dae Hwi (who will be debuting in his own group alongside Park Woo Jin very soon!). It is also another vibrant song but it is no way near as colourful as Would You….I really like the layering of vocals and the harmonies that Park Ji Hoon (and the backing vocals) contribute towards. While I did like the vocals a lot, the rapping was equally as good. It gave the song a punch. I could imagine this track with really fun dance choreography, thanks to the instrumental. Altogether, it is very dynamic, which I think allows it to stand out as a promising contender to the title track. And with this track, I am now looking forward to future Park Ji Hoon and Lee Dae Hwi future releases! (9/10)

Overall Album Review – 8.3/10

O’Clock Teaser Image

[Review] L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon

We have another Wanna One member in our midst. After Yoon Ji Sung and Ha Sungwoon, the third member we will be able to meet again through the stage is Park Ji Hoon. Since returning to his original company, Maroo Entertainment, Park Ji Hoon has already accepted an acting role in an upcoming drama and today, made his solo debut with L.O.V.E, which is featured on his first mini-album, O’Clock. Congratulations on the debut and here’s to a great career!

I was interested in seeing how Wanna One’s rapper would handle a solo track and what direction he would take. L.O.V.E is an R&B dance track that manages to pack a punch through the instrumental. It is like it is pulsing but in a very odd fashion. And I find this is a very unique point of the track. This pulsing effect is quite loud in the instrumental but I am surprised how Park Ji Hoon still manages to be hearable on top of it. And now, let’s return to Park Ji Hoon himself. He sounds wonderful in this track. We didn’t hear him sing too much in last year, so that is why I was unsure about the direction the song he ould take. But this was more vocals then rap, which was quite interesting. The rapping was quite good but I really like his vocal moments during the song more.  But that was my thoughts on it. Other than that, this was a very strong debut song and one that I would be coming back for more.

Whoever decided that this mansion was the best place to set the video needs a promotion. It was stunning and extremely majestic. And to really encapsulate the beauty of the setting, great cinematography was employed. I also liked the special effects that were put on top of the video. It gave the music video a magical feel. Throughout the video, he goes looking for his lover, which is extremely fitting for a love confession song. I think he does find what he is seeking for, based on the ending of the video. I did feel like the credits didn’t contribute much of the video and the cute BTS videos of Park Ji Hoon took away from the aesthetics. But it was still a nice video to watch.

I think the choreography for this stage was perfect of the song. It is one of those stages that feels like any changes would just take away from the performance if you know what I mean. I really like the chorus, which I think allowed the solo artist to show his dancing side more.

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