[Review] Super – SEVENTEEN

Starting off this new week is SEVENTEEN, who returns with their 10th mini-album FML and two new title tracks, one sharing the same title as the mini-album (but styled as F*ck My Life) and the other is titled Super. This review will focus on the latter track as that is the only title track that has a music video at this stage. FML follows the group’s HOT and _WORLD era, their Japanese Dream comeback (which I have yet to review) in November 2022 and the successful return of the group’s BSS subunit in the earlier months of 2023.

Super is, with very little doubt, a very strong and intense single, joining the likes of past SEVENTEEN songs of a similar nature such as HIT and Getting Closer. However, those songs were more electronic and abrasive in terms of texture. While Super does head in that direction, I do find the newer song to be a bit more rounded with its beats and the synths used are a bit more intriguing and unique. That high pitch scratchy voice actually works really nicely in the background, almost harmonizing with the vocals in the song at certain points. That main instrumental centre piece in the foreground of the first half of the chorus was really cool. I can’t tell if it is percussive piece or a plucked string instrumental, but its presence in Super quite a scene setter. The drumming throughout Super was definitely a a constant highlight, but the faster tempo drumming in the second half of the chorus (which almost feels like the song is lurching out at you) drives up the energy incredibly well, creating a very invigorating peak and is my favourite part of the entire song. I did wish Super developed a bit more towards the end. What we got felt pretty neutral at best, and I felt a more explosive ender would have been a more captivating way to the end Super. The distant horns at the end were a nice touch, but more could have been done. As for the vocals and rapping, I liked how both felt balanced and didn’t overshadow one another. Super had an abundance of hooks and melodies that helped the vocals and raps make the song memorable and appealing to me, whilst also giving the members enough to work with it ensure Super was interesting. I also felt the balanced nature also helped bring everything together in Super, allowing for the instrumental to stand out and creating a very compelling listen.

This music video is epic. Conceptually, it might have been simple. But its execution was literally bold and intense, making it worth watching. The scale of the set was massive, but this allowed the producers and director to really showcase some amazing shots that helped make the video feel and look epic. The presence of so many dancers in the background added to this. The dominating red colour gave the video a mature and serious feel, but it also allowed the members to really pop out (in the case of the first set outfits) and a regal feel (in the case of the second set of outfits). Both sets of outfits looked awesome and showed off different profiles of the members.

As for the choreography, SEVENTEEN has done it again. There was a lot to take in and a lot to enjoy. The wavy sequence that opens up the choruses, the intensity of the second half of the choruses where the energy rises by many bars, how S.Coups was passed forward by the dancers and thrown forward by the last set (probably the most memorable aspect of the choreography to me), and the ripple effect at the end. Even the simple action of standing in the background and walking towards the end of the performance was felt artistic in the grand scheme of Super.

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

[Review] Fighting – BSS (SEVENTEEN) ft. Lee Young Ji

It has been a while since we heard from BSS, one of SEVENTEEN’s subunits consisting of Boo Seungkwan, DK (Lee Seokmin) and Hoshi (Kwon Soonyoung). In fact, their only release before today was Just Do It from 2018. But that changes today, as the trio have returned with their 1st single album, SECOND WIND, and a new lead single titled Fighting. The new single also features the up and coming female rapper Lee Young Ji, whom Seungkwan has collaborated with via the collaborative cover of LIZZO’s Juice and Hoshi had previously featured as a guest on on Lee Young Ji’s webshow No Prepare (and it was hilarious).

If you are basing your expectation for Fighting on the unit’s first release, then you are going to be super satisfied with the likes of Fighting. It is a super energetic, dynamic and wild funky track that just gets you pumped and excited. This exact ‘effect’ is what the song intends to give off as the message behind the lyrics is telling us to not give up and push through the times of struggle and hardship (hence the title Fighting/Hwaiting – the Korean word for encouragement made popular by KPOP, Korean dramas and TV Shows). Again, the trio hit the mark in terms of expectations, delivering a fun and cheerful persona that helps liven and lighten up Fighting. There were some great vocal moments, especially that impressive high note at the end of the song and the energy they channel in the chorus. Fighting has catchy moments that just makes the song even better, such as the post-chorus hook that repeats the “Fighting” title and the ‘Na Na Na‘ that finds itself just ahead of the second verse. Lee Young Ji’s rapping was quite cool, and I felt it was a nice way to add a slightly more serious tone and keep Fighting grounded. I did think her part could have used a bit more bounce to just fit in better with the rest of Fighting. If I have to be critical, the one sequence that I am not exactly a fan of is the shouty rap pre-chorus sequence. The minimalistic vibe from this sequence just felt dull and the sequence really missed an opportunity to hype up the chorus and the song. Overall, Fighting is a fun track that delivers a positive message in the manner you would expect from BSS.

The music video for this comeback was super enjoyable. Firstly, I really liked the one set approach in this music video. Each set we get in this video is actually shot with another in the background or off to the side. For example, the bedroom location is right next to the coffee shop, while all of the sets of the music video appear in the background of the main choreography set (i.e. the street set). Not exactly a new idea, but what the producers did with this one set approach and how they tied the music video together to make it one cohesive video was super innovative in my books. Secondly, I enjoyed the energy that the members put into the video. They really made it funny and lighthearted. From their facial expressions to their actions with one another, it all made for a fun video. I also liked how the video ‘darkened’ for Lee Young Ji’s presence, which created a ‘serious tone’ to the video, which worked really well with the more ‘serious tone’ she brought to both the song.

I liked the comedic tone they inserted into the choreography, which helps keeps the performance true to their individual charms (and to their unit’s charm). From that, it was a fun routine that matches all of the characteristics you feel from the song. I really liked the first half of the “Fighting” routine of the choreography, which was probably the highlight of the entire choreography.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

[Album Review] FACE THE SUN / SECTOR 17 (4th Studio Album / 4th Studio Album Repackaged) – SEVENTEEN

The only album review I can put out this weekend belongs to SEVENTEEN. If you could not tell, I was preparing to post the review for FACE THE SUN and SECTOR 17 (4th studio album and the 4th studio album repackaged, respectively), following the reviews for the two pre-release tracks from the album (Darl+ing and CHEERS) – links below. In addition to these tracks, the album also features the title tracks HOT (released at the end of May), _WORLD (released in July), the Korean version of Fallin’ Flower (orignally released in Japan in 2020) and 8 additional side tracks.

To be honest, after writing this review up, I felt the album is one of their weaker releases to date. SEVENTEEN has always put out strong albums, and my final rating of the album might indicate that it is a fairly strong release. But this is the first time I can remember where I made a number of comments that expressed some disappointment with some of the songs on the album. But don’t worry, this is just my personal thoughts and there are still some strong side tracks on there. So, if you enjoy SEVENTEEN’s releases, you will definitely find something to enjoy from both FACE THE SUN and/or SECTOR 17. And if you are looking for a new song or not a SEVENTEEN listener, I will always recommend a SEVENTEEN album, as they have always been a well-rounded group!

1. Circles (놀고 놀아) – Opening the repackaged album is the track Circles. It is quite a pleasant mid-tempo ballad, which leads into the title track of the repackaged album quite nicely. Everything in Circles – from the melodies to the vocals to the youthful choir to the classical instrumentation – were all warm and welcoming. Listening to the song brings a smile to my face. It might not be the most innovative start ever, but it was definitely enjoyable. (8.5/10)

2. _WORLD (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for _WORLD. (8/10)

3. Fallin’ Flower (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of Fallin’ Flower. To see my thoughts for Fallin’ Flower, please click here to read the review for Fallin’ Flower. (9/10)

4. CHEERS (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for CHEERS. (7.5/10)

5. Darl+ing (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read my review for Darl+ing. (8/10)

6. HOT (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for HOT. (8/10)

7. DON QUIXOTE – For some reason, I felt DON QUIXOTE was quite an unsuspecting track to enjoy. It was one of those songs where I had no expectations heading into the song. But somehow, I am genuinely surprised with DON QUIXOTE. The chorus, which opens the track, falls squarely into the pop genre. It was a bit dry, but I appreciated the vocals in the pop sections of the song. As DON QUIXOTE progresses, we get hip-hop and rock influences on top of the pop, as well. The way these influences comes and goes in the track made it quite enjoyable. I wished there was a more explicit peak and drive to the song, as DON QUIXOTE almost falls into a neutral gear for me. But the already mentioned changes in style and instrumental helps keep the song afloat. (7.5/10)

8. MarchMarch picks up on the rock influences from the previous song, and dives deeper into the genre. But while I am digging the instrumental, I am left disappointed with the vocals. I think the members could have really picked up on the rock influence and gone much harder with their delivery and execution. The rappers and that chanty bridge definitely have the right idea, as I found their parts to be a lot more satisfying. The vocalists, on the other hand, just seem to scrape the surface of the direction they could have gone down with. (7/10)

9. Domino Domino is my pick for best side track on this album. It is definitely a cool track, with funky and groovy vibes throughout the track just screams a good time. I really liked the way the choruses start, with Vernon/Wonwoo’s countdown, the domino falling sound effect and the piano slide. The anti-drop that comes after was a great concentration of the funky and groovy vibes already mentioned. The addition of the electronic synths for the bridge was a neat development, as well. The vocals and rappers really did well in this song. I liked the breathy effect on the vocals and the rapping was sleek. (10/10)

10. Shadow – Next up is Shadow, which was a superb side track as well. Atmospheric and fast paced percussive synths in the verses, hefty guitar playing in the first half of the chorus and heavier pop rock is brought to round out the chorus. From there, the instrumental repeats but maintains the momentum it had created it for itself. The vocals in Shadow were really very well done, adding a suitable lively tone to the song and balancing out the heft that Shadow has. The roughness and textures of the rappers’ vocals were just perfect for a song like Shadow. Interestingly, the rapping was left to Dino, who nailed his rapping sequence perfectly and adds the right oomph to compliment the momentum of the song. (10/10)

11. ‘Bout You (노래해) – After such a hefty track, SEVENTEEN surprises with a lighter and smile filled summer pop track. Per most summer pop tracks, I am digging ’Bout You’s vibrant and playful manner. While the summery pop nature of the instrumental isn’t anything new to KPOP, I did still find it danceable and will not deny having a bit of a dance whilst reviewing the track. Overall, a fun track! (8/10)

12. If You Leave Me – The second last song on the album is another ballad. If You Leave Me, as alluded by the title, is a more emotional one (compared to the opening ballad of the repackaged album). The instrumental was only piano and I liked the beautiful tone it brought to the ballad. Per most ballads, there is a focus of vocals, and I liked the share of delicate and powerful vocals throughout If You Leave Me. The song also stands out with its interesting layering of vocals and the intertwining of vocals. The harmonies in the end were also just stunningly beautiful. (8/10)  

13. Ash – Closing out the album is Ash, a trap hip-hop track. It is quite heavy on the autotune, which gave very different and unique vocal effects to members throughout the track. I kind of like that in this song as it gave Ash variety. Without this source of variety, I would have found Ash to be more of a bore than what it is. As alluded in the previous sentence, I don’t really care for Ash. It was more of a skippable song, in my opinion, which is slightly disappointing given you want the closer of the album to be memorable. (6.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

[International Song Reviews] Momoland, BM (KARD), Mark Tuan, THE8 (SEVENTEEN), Jamie & SEVENTEEN

Time for another International Song Reviews post. It appears with my attempts to focus on catching up with KPOP song and album reviews, I have neglected the other releases our beloved Korean artists have also been releasing in international industries. But don’t you worry, I have forgotten these tracks just yet. Last time I did an International Song Review post, it was back at the end of July and covered releases from YUNHO, SORN, Red Velvet, T1419 and TVXQ.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting more International Song Reviews posts on a fortnightly basis and I will be increasing the number of reviews to 6 per post to help me catch up. As a result, the reviews will be shorter to compensate for this change. Today’s post will cover songs from Momoland, BM (from KARD), Mark Tuan (from GOT7), THE8 (from SEVENTEEN), JAMIE and SEVENTEEN.

Yummy Yummy Love – Momoland & Natti Natasha

Yummy Yummy Love was a collaboration between Momoland and Natti Natasha that released way back in January of this year. At the time of release, I remember thinking Yummy Yummy Love was a pretty mediocre song and the hooks that the pop song had felt very childish and elementary. Months on, and I can report that Yummy Yummy Love has been upgraded to a pleasant status. And it is thanks to those hooks that I thought were chidlish. They ended up catching on for me, making the song fun in its own way. The high pitched delivery of the chorus also works well with the pop instrumentation (which to be fair, I thought was a little too typical). Part of me still thinks that certain parts of Yummy Yummy Love (namely the ‘Ski-pi-di-bap, bi-pap, bi-pap, boo‘ first pre-chorus and the JooE’s rap-sing lines) could have been removed and replaced with something more aligned with the rest of the song. But overall, Yummy Yummy Love is a decent track to me now.

The music video was quite plain. I wished the video focused a little more on the fun aspects of the song, rather than the visuals of the members. I have nothing against the Momoland members and Natti Natasha’s visuals, as they do have a place in this video. But the video is supposedly set in a skating rink and I think only one person ended up skating (and it was an extra). The choreography, especially the chorus routine, is another memorable aspect of the release. I found it to be both fun and sexy, which worked well with the song and the collaborators, as well.

Overall Rating – 6.5/10


Also returning back in January of this year is BM (from KARD). His solo comeback was titled LIE, which stands for LOST IN EUPHORIA. There is a bit of Korean in this song (which technically would have LIE able to get a full review). But since it was predominately in English, I had put it aside for this segment instead.

With BM’s repertoire of rap/hip-hop tracks, it comes as no surprise that LIE falls into this category as well. But keeping in trend and changing up the dynamic slightly was a slow rock alternative instrumental, which I quite liked. There is a bit of melody that helps make LIE appealing to my personal taste. While it does look good for LIE and the fact that I don’t mind it, I did think LIE was lacking in some regards, especially as we reached the end of the track, The entire song sounds quite linear. And so by the time the song reaches the end, I was already tuned out as everything felt the same. I think BM could have gone harder in some parts and this may have helped kept the appeal of LIE going.

The music video for LIE was pretty much how I had expected it. It was moody and heavy, as the song’s atmosphere suggests. I liked how the video portrayed his struggles throughout the video, with the editing making it look a lot harder and darker. BM’s acting is also another aspect of this, and I commend the way he also contributed that portrayal (and the music video’s atmosphere). The green screen scenes could have been a bit cleaner in my opinion, just to bring it up to par with the quality of the rest of the video.

Overall Rating – 8/10

My Life – Mark Tuan (GOT7)

Another January release. This time, it is Mark Tuan’s solo release My Life. From all the solo songs Mark Tuan has put out this year (there has been a lot, and I will be reviewing a few of them in the forthcoming International Song Review segments), My Life has been one of the more memorable ones. For me, it is Mark’s vocals that steal the show. I don’t think we have heard Mark give us a ballad before (at least, a substantial one), and so to hear him in such a delicate, fragile and emotive state is quite something. My Life‘s melodies were stunning. The instrumental, for the most part was atmospheric piano and synths (the latter only appeared in the choruses). However, to close out the song, Mark brings in strings that just ends My Life in an impeccable manner. He doesn’t sing once the strings were brought into play, allowing them to do the speaking on his behalf and carry on the momentum that he had created with the piano earlier on in the song.

Given that this is a ballad, the music video doesn’t opt for anything flashy or dynamic. Instead, the video features Mark Tuan in quite still settings. He is either lying on the floor or table, draped across on the piano, and standing in the darkness. All of these shots were shot aesthetically to match the balladry nature of the song. I also really liked the slow pans of the camera, which match the slow nature of the song.

Overall Rating – 10/10

海城 (Hai Cheng) – THE8 (SEVENTEEN)

Released back in March is THE8’s solo comeback with Hai Cheng, a song titled after the singer’s birthplace. Hai Cheng is a fairly simple song when you describe it in words. One half is the piano instrumental. The entire song, from start to end, was beautifully instrumented with said piano. There is something so stilling about a song instrumented by only one instrument. The other half of the track is THE8 himself, who sings so sentimentally and emotively throughout Hai Cheng. Those who know THE8 for his works as part of SEVENTEEN might be surprised with the balladry sound that he had opted for in Hai Cheng. The melodies were so good, and had that swaying effect that I love when it comes to ballads.

The music video is equally as good as the song. The music video for Hai Cheng features THE8, who appears to revisiting home in this video. At the beginning of the video, he enters his home, puts a bag down and turn on the light as if he hasn’t been there for a while. After some reminiscing in the home, he revisits some of the sites that has been to in the past. We are then shown memories of THE8 with a female character in those exact same locations having fun as a couple and even dancing on the streets. The final shot of the girl leaving THE8 on the beach, and then we see a bird’s eye view of the tide engulfing him, was definitely heart breaking to watch.

Overall Rating – 9/10

Pity Party – JAMIE

JAMIE (formerly known as Park Jimin)’s solo comeback, Pity Party, was released back in February of this year. And since its release, the song was featured fairly often on my Weekly KPOP Chart’s International Song by a Korean artist segment. Hence, I am excited to actually review the track. Pity Party is a pop track, but has this subtle groove to it, which really made the song quite appealing to me. The guitar in the chorus was probably the most memorable aspect of Pity Party‘s background. A bit typical, but still brought a whole heap of vibrancy to the song and disco synths. JAMIE showcased strong vocals at certain points of the song (i.e. pre-choruses and the bridge), and I quite enjoyed her during these moments. The chorus hook was a bit plain and repetitive in hindsight, but I think I can still described them as catchy, as like how they appeared me when I first heard Pity Party.

Something I hadn’t mentioned above is that Pity Party went for a completely different sound profile when compared to her previous comebacks, And to match this change in sound, JAMIE has opted for a more mature visual as well. I liked this more sassy and attitude heavy look that JAMIE went with, which works well with the story and lyrics of the song. Essentially, JAMIE is holding a pity party for herself and some guests. She lures her ex to the party, drugs him and then proceeds to get revenge by burning him alive (off screen). Maybe not the pity party most of us had in mind, but definitely one that she wants. Like the video and song, JAMIE also opts for a mature vibe from the choreography. Its simple, but it still manages to look on par with the rest of the comeback.

Overall Rating – 8.3/10

Darl+ing – SEVENTEEN

Darl+ing was released in April, earning the title of SEVENTEEN’s first English language track and pre-release of their (at the time) upcoming fourth studio album FACE THE SUN. It was quite surprising to me at the time of release that SEVENTEEN opted for a soft sound for their first English language. I always thought that they would have made their English debut with a bolder sound. But Darl+ing was warming and soothing to listen to, nonetheless (despite the heavy thumping in the pre-choruses). The melodies were pretty and actually ended up bring memorable in its own way. The vocal work was weak in my opinion, but I think that was the result of the softer sounds and pretty melodies. The instrumental aligns with pop and the atmosphere as result of the background reminds me of their 2019 release HOME.

From what I could understand, the music video shows a ‘loss of innocence’ concept. The world was once happy, cheerful, bright and colourful. But upon Vernon’s discovery that there is more to the world than what they know (i.e. their shadows), the once perfect world starts unraveling around them. Each member soon becomes aware of this other world in their own way, like becoming aware of the darker reflection of themselves and watching the world around them change in different manners. In the end, all them fall to the other world, which is all dark and looks abandoned. The members are bruised and have cuts across their faces, suggesting that they now understand pain and hurt. It also probably sets up for their HOT music video, given that was a bit dark and mature. The choreography matches up with the bright and happy world, with the members displaying smiles and the moves were all soft and small.

Overall Rating – 8.3/10


I am preparing to write an album review for SEVENTEEN’s fourth studio album (and its repackaged version) this weekend. But in order to review that album, I have get some song reviews out of the way. Prior to the release of Sector 17 (the repackaged version of their fourth studio album) and the title track _WORLD, SEVENTEEN’s leader subunit (featuring S.Coups, Woozi and Hoshi) pre-released the single CHEERS with a special music video. That is the focus of today’s review.

CHEERS makes no hesitation or apologies with diving into the hip-hop genre. I personally would have expected this release to come from SEVENTEEN’s hip-hop team, as the genre is literally in their unit’s name and CHEERS is probably 120% in the realm of hip-hop. But technically, the leader unit of the thirteen member group isn’t really known for a specific style or sound, so the unit has free reign and no specific constraints over what styles they put out. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms with them deep diving into hip-hop this time around. CHEERS is quite a fun track thanks to the catchy flute hook and the dynamic/upbeat energy that comes from the instrumentation. The lyrical hooks were quite strong and leaves a positive impression. The bridge brought on a neat peak to the song and serves as my favourite sequence of the song. Even each member had a stand out moment – Hoshi’s is the ‘Eondeongi pang pang‘ (more on that in the choreography section), S.Coups whispery sequence in the second verse and Woozi’s smoother delivery in the first verse. However, my biggest issue with CHEERS is the heavy autotune that coats the song from head to toe. While I did get the autotune helps hype up the energy, makes CHEERS more dynamic and delivers a degree of charm to the song, there were certain parts that felt unnecessarily autotuned. Some refinement would have made CHEERS a much stronger and less overwhelming track.

The music video undoubtedly goes down the hip-hop path, as well, with a heavily influenced music video that fits in well with the genre and song. There isn’t really any other way to prose this video, in my opinion. It hits all my expectations. With this video, I presume the different scenes we do get have some sort of meaning. Or, it could all be intended to be lighthearted or stylish, and my years of KPOP reviewing has taught me to over think everything. I don’t know. But it was a fun watch and the trio matched the energy of the song really well.

I am not going to dilly-dally over the choreography section of the review and get straight to the point. Hoshi’s hip bounce is the most memorable moment of the entire routine. It was a fun and vibrant move that definitely steals the show. The rest of the choreography was also fun and energetic as the song, but not as much as that two second move.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10


SEVENTEEN is one of the artist kickstarting this week with their latest comeback, _WORLD, the title track off the group’s fourth album repackaged, SECTOR17. Previously, the group made their comeback with HOT and their fourth studio album, Face The Sun (which I have yet to review) at the end of May this year. As part of their return yesterday, the leaders of SEVENTEEN have regrouped as a subunit for CHEERS (which I have also yet to review, and will do so later this week). As for now, here is my review for _WORLD.

Compared to their past tracks, _WORLD is is probably one the group’s most pleasant title tracks ever. Described as a urban R&B track, _WORLD just glides through and I enjoyed that. I liked that _WORLD steps away from the world of electronic music that has been a consistent presence in KPOP since forever, but also SEVENTEEN’s usual energetic style as well. Instead, the group maintains an upbeat nature to _WORLD without feeling heavy or loaded. Light, flowy and very gratifying comes to mind when I think of ways to describe _WORLD. In addition to the urban R&B background, there also seems to be some a subtle touch of funk and brass added to the mix, which helps add some liveliness to the song. Such a pleasant song that takes the focus on a heavy beat allows the song to focus more on the vocals delivery. Even the rapping in _WORLD was limited to just two members (Vernon and S.Coups, in the second verse). Everyone else sounded really neat throughout the song, with a sweet melody adding a warming glow to _WORLD. The slightly stripped back bridge (most of the instrumental disappeared briefly for this apart, aside from some atmospheric presence and a simple beat) keeps the song from falling into an overly consistent state, allowing the song to briefly and subtly reset to give the final chorus a soft explosive feel. I also liked how Joshua got his chance at handling the peak of the song at the end of the bridge. Overall, _WORLD was pleasant listen that I quite enjoyed. Not exactly a smash hit, but it is definitely a good track nonetheless.

I am not entirely sure about the sandstorm start to this video. My guess that this was a way for the producers to connect both HOT and this video together, but I felt it was unnecessary. I think this video had enough to stand alone and didn’t need to be connected with another videos. But who knows, maybe I am overlooking some deep meaning. Aside from that, this was one fine video. The day time scenes throughout this video looked so fitting for the sweet melodies and pleasant nature of the song. The night time scenes felt light and breezy, evoking the feelings of a midsummer’s night. The smiles the members had on throughout this video made me smile as I watched the video.

My exact same thoughts can be carried through to the performance aspect, as I can see from the music video. It isn’t a mind blowing routine, but it is one that appears to fit splendidly well with the song. I really liked the smooth nature of some of the moves, which complements the idea that the song glides along. But yet, the group strikes the right balance with sharp movements and sychronised approach. I also really like the second post-chorus hook sequence. It is an innovative formation and adds a different performance “look”.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10


Making their comeback yesterday is SEVENTEEN with their fourth studio-album titled Face The Sun. Leading the album is the title track simply titled as HOT. This comeback comes after the group’s Attacca mini-album and Rock With You comeback from October 2021, their Power of Love Japanese comeback and the first English language single Darl+ing (which is also getting its own review via the International Song Review segment and is featured on this fourth studio length album).

I liked that SEVENTEEN has returned to a heftier, harder and edgier dance track for this comeback. While I do like their other works, like their more recent pop-rock infused Korean comeback, SEVENTEEN’s darker (i.e. Getting Closer) or their powerful dance tracks (i.e. HIT) have also been favourites of mine. And HOT really encapsulates (without a doubt) that ‘powerful dance track’, with its high-energy instrumental elements, vocals and raps. I felt the darker profile of the group is there to a degree in HOT, but that might also in play thanks to the music video for this comeback (more on that later). Personally, I don’t mind HOT‘s chorus. There was a sexy and edgy hip-hop motif to it in the first half and an explosive feel to the second half of the chorus. The energetic dance instrumental is quite exciting, powerful but also fun, though I feel that there is potential for that whistle repetition to do my head in if I were to play the song excessively (though we are not there yet). The pre-choruses and bridge were quite impressive, showcasing their vocals so well. Talking about vocals, I got to mention the autotune usage in this song. I will definitely say it is a bit much, practically blasting us with autotune as soon as the song start. But I will hold back in describing its usage as ‘excessive’ (though it did occur to me briefly at first). I see the charm in the use of autotune in this song, as it really added a dynamic vibe, excitement and ups the energy to HOT. All of which works towards HOT’s favour. I did wish we got to hear punchier rap deliveries from the group’s rappers that weren’t smothered in autotune, as HOT would have been a great piece for them to flaunt their energetic styles. But overall, HOT was still one hot-damn piece for me.

SEVENTEEN turns up the temperature with their fiery music video for HOT. It definitely works with South Korea’s upcoming Summer season and the members’ more mature looks that they have been developing since their debut seven years ago (!). There are a lot of sun and fire imagery throughout the video, though offset with some darker scenes to allow the red fiery colour to pop out. And also part of the video is also set in the desert and these scenes give off Mad Max-like vibes (but not really). All of these references and vibes makes sense, as the video and lyrics depicts the members’ willingness and confidence moving forward with their journey as a group in even the harshest of conditions (taken from SOOMPI). For this video, it is their references to heat, which we all know can be extremely harsh. I enjoyed the intricate editing that strung all the scenes in this video together. The most memorable scene in this music video is THE8’s beat box-like moment at the start of the song, where his image dominated the screen. It was a cool moment and definitely left a strong impression on me.

Per usual, the synchronisation between the SEVENTEEN members is on point throughout the performance. It amazes me each time and takes everything to the next level. The body rolls we get in the performance make sense (how else does KPOP show off ‘HOT’!) and the rest of the routine for the chorus felt powerful and strong. Hoshi and Dino from the performance team caught my attention in this performance, as they really put their all into the stage and made their centre parts memorable.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[International Song Reviews] WOOZI (SEVENTEEN), Eric Nam, Golden Child, Changmin (TVXQ) & NIK

It is time for another round of International Song Reviews. Unfortunately, the songs released by our beloved Korean artists have fallen to the back of the pack, and so they haven’t had much attention over the last few months. But I will eventually catch up and get around to reviewing them. Last post (way back in February) featured MONSTA X, SEVENTEEN, TWICE, WONHO and Jeon Somi. This time around, I am focusing on WOOZI (from SEVENTEEN), Eric Nam, Golden Child, Changmin (from TVXQ) and (new group) NIK.


WOOZI kicked started off the year with his mixtape solo release, Ruby. This track genuinely surprised me because I was under the impression that the track would be a Korean song. But it ended up being a full-English song. I was totally prepared to write a full review for it at the very start of the year, before I realized that it was in English. Anyhow, Ruby starts off as an unsuspecting ballad thanks to the strings that started off the song and gave a classical vibe. But that is just the intro to Ruby, which ended up being a unrelentless head-banging worth rock track. I liked that WOOZI maintains a light vocal tone throughout Ruby, but is also kept on top of the instrumental and isn’t drowned out by the backing piece at anyone point. The way the autotune comes into play throughout Ruby helps adds texture and amps up the energy, confirming Ruby‘s status as a top notch song to kick off a solo career. My only complaint is that Ruby could have been longer. As for the music video, I liked how the colour red was used in a balanced manner. Never was any scene was oversaturated in the bold colour (plus, there were some scenes that didn’t have a lick of the red colour!). But yet, you can tell that red was the central colour to the video. WOOZI also donned some sleek looking suits and got his boogie on during some parts, which felt refreshing and unique compared to other music videos we have seen for rock songs. (9/10)

I Don’t Know You Anymore – Eric Nam

It has been a while since I reviewed Eric Nam, with my last review for Eric being 2020’s Paradise. Since then, Eric Nam has released a handful of solo tracks, such as 2021’s I Don’t Know You Anymore (which was rereleased as a track on his second English studio length album, There and Back Again). I have picked I Don’t Know You Anymore as Eric Nam’s next review on my blog because it was such an an ‘easy on the ears’ track to listen to. It remains within the pop realm and is quite upbeat, but never does it feel too much. This is a style Eric Nam excels at, based on his many hits that I have covered on the blog. I like how his vocals flow through this song, the simplicity of the hooks and melodies, and the prominence of guitars that makes up the instrumental. It does get a bit repetitive, and I wished there was something within the song that dispels the repetitiveness. But still a great listen nonetheless. For the music video, I liked the simplicity of the scenes and shots we got. Eric Nam showed character and let himself loose for this video, which made it is a fun video to watch. Some of the post-production effects felt unnecessary, and it felt like the editor got a little too excited on their part whilst editing the video. (8/10)

A WOO!! – Golden Child

Earlier this year, Golden Child made their debut in Japan with the single A WOO!!. Knowing what Golden Child has put out in Korean, I am disappointed with A WOO!!. While the track dabbles in a synth-pop like dance track, it never hits hard and the instrumental never really catches on, for the most part. The ‘A WOO‘s we get as part of the lyrics and hook falls flat and doesn’t really excite me. Similarly, their vocals and rapping doesn’t really appeal to me. But they do hold their ground well. But it isn’t all bad news for A WOO!!. My favourite part of the song is actually the post-chorus that follows the first and third choruses. It is when the song hit hardest, is the most abrasiveness (and so is the most interesting part of the instrumental) and the intensity is quite memorable. It is just unfortunate that the rest of the song is generic and doesn’t live up to the same level. For the music video, it was a fairly simple setup of choreography shots/closeups. Like the song, the video is pretty plain-looking. But it isn’t the end of the world for me, as the stylists did a good job of making the members look edgy throughout this video. For the choreography, A WOO!! doesn’t really have much going on to stand out. But I note their sharp moves (as always) and the wolf references we get in the choreography. But nothing as strong as their Korean routines. (6.2/10)

Human – Max Changmin (TVXQ)

In addition to making his solo comeback in Korea earlier this year through Devil (title of both title track and mini-album), Max Changmin also made a solo comeback in Japan with the track Human (though at the end of 2021). Human is a three language song, with Korean, Japanese and English lyrics. To me, the song could have been epic. Key words being ‘could have been’. The lacking element to Human is the instrumental and this prevents Human from fully entering that epic territory. Instead, it felt half-baked and didn’t have much going on within it. I personally have no idea how else to even describe it! I wish the instrumentals went with either dramatic orchestra, or intense EDM, or powerful rock to really take Human to the next level. What does give Human some hope and drives the song towards epic possibility is Max Changmin himself. He really packs a punch in Human and doesn’t hold his vocals back. I like how loaded the lyrics felt, and the way Max Changmin delivered his lines definitely emphasised this point. As for the video, I like the premise of what we see. I would go the extra length to say the plotline, but what I got out of the video is based on my imagination. My interpretation of the story is that Changmin makes the ultimate sacrifice at the end to save the younger boy, who I am guessing is himself. I am basing this on the fact that he seems prepared to take that plunge and spends the moments beforehand reminiscing about the ocean through his hands. Also we don’t see the young boy in the sandstorm until after Changmin take the plunge. (8.5/10)


NIK is a new group whom I have not reviewed before on this blog. They are Japanese-Korean male group consisting of 11 members, some of which are former and current members of KPOP groups, that made their debut in 2021. For more information about NIK, check out their profile on Kprofiles. ANOTOKIE is a Japanese single released by the group in December 2021, but it didn’t get my attention until early this year. For me, it is the warmth of the chorus and comforting nature of the melodies that really got me into this simple song. There is also a hopeful atmosphere to the song that I was also drawn to. This is partly thanks to the pleasant pop instrumental, which paired well with the straight forward vocals in the chorus. Elsewhere, I heard solid vocal and rapping potential (Though the heavily autotuned rapping in the second verse could have been omitted). I am not entirely sure what the music video was meant to show, given how the ending some of the members seem to be happy that they are together. Throughout the video, some of the members were reflective, frustrated or sad. I guess they are encompassing the emotions that they sing about in ANOTOKIE, which is all about wanting that extra chance to make things right with their partner (but knowing that chance has passed). But the ending doesn’t make much sense. Also, their outfits look like they shot this between schedules. The all white outfits don’t look natural in the urban setting. Maybe some refinement and clearer direction could have helped the video. (7.8/10)

[International Song Reviews] MONSTA X, SEVENTEEN, TWICE, WONHO, Jeon Somi

I am finally getting around to posting my first International Song Review post in a long while. My last post was way back in October 2021, and since then I have been fairly busy and unable to write any of these posts. But I am now back on the bandwagon. For those who may be unfamiliar with this segment, I review songs that aren’t in the Korean language (or are not marketed for the Korean music scene in some cases – such as some side tracks on Korean albums) that have been released by Korean artists (or artists that have a direction connect with a KPOP group). In this post, I will be covering songs released by MONSTA X, SEVENTEEN, TWICE, WONHO and Jeon Somi.

You Problem – MONSTA X

MONSTA X spreads the ongoing groovy and funky trend that we are currently experiencing in KPOP to the Western music scene. The group, now down to five members as Shownu has enlisted in the military, released this disco number early December 2021. It is quite unlike any of their Korean title tracks, which have been very EDM focused and performance heavy tracks. You Problem settles for a simpler approach, and one that is quite pure and fun. I love the guitar work in this backing of You Problem, along with those disco vibes we get in the chorus (as already mentioned). I also enjoyed the vocal focus of the song, which each member (even the rappers) singing in this track, complimenting the lighter than usual tone for MONSTA X. Kihyun and Jooheon’s falsettos in the chorus make the song even cooler! The hooks are super memorable, and the hooks are so damn catchy. Even after two months, I am still digging You Problem!

For the music video, it is set in a bowling alley that is reminisce of bowling alleys from the 70s. Definitely suiting the light tone, fun vibes and retro direction of the song. There are also heavy presence of other retro elements throughout the video, such as the checked pattern (commonly associated with racing) and neon lights. Even the glittery tinsel decoration behind the group when they are performing as a ‘band’ screamed out retro. The performance I saw also had a fun vibe. It was loose and fluid, as if the group was freestyling their performance. But also showed their personality, which made it even more enjoyable.

Overall Rating – 8.8/10

Power of Love – SEVENTEEN

Power of Love‘s music video officially dropped at the end of November, and closes out their Power of Love project that started earlier in 2021 with the release of Mingyu and Wonwoo’s Bittersweet (ft. Lee Hi). It is a neat ballad with a really meaningful message that even in difficult times, having the Power of Love can help you through it. I liked how even though the instrumental had sleigh bells ringing throughout the whole instrumental, Power of Love doesn’t feel constricted to just Winter or the Christmas season like other songs that ultilises sleigh bells. It was also quite soothing and it was a nice display of all the members’ vocals. Unfortunately, however, Power of Love doesn’t fair well in the memorable arena. It is a good ballad, but I am not necessarily looking for the song when I feel in a mood for ballad. I guess Power of Love was produced to be more on a sweet side. I do think there could have been room towards the end to oomph up the ballad a bit, just so it didn’t feel the same from start to end. I think Power of Love would have come off better if it went down this path.

The parts of the video where some of the members were in built sets (I believe it was just limited to Joshua, DK and Vernon) looked quite cool, and I wished the video had more built sets (as it felt stylish and modern). But instead, the producers for this video chose to just use green screen, and I felt this really cheapened the video. While the actual backgrounds applied through the use of the green screen looked aesthetic and the members look good as always, I wished the post-production team incorporated the members better. We have seen great use of green screen in the past, and this is just not one of those instances. It is just quite unfortunate.

Overall Rating – 6.2/10

Doughnut – TWICE

Doughnut was released on 15 December 2021 and the track itself comes in the form of a ballad. Not exactly the first genre of music you think of when you hear of a sugary treat. But it does create an abstract appeal, which makes Doughnut memorable for me. Talking about abstract, I also like how the members likened the void they experience without their partner, and the constant looping they refer to in the lyrics to the shape of a doughnut. To me, the song definitely needed this extra appeal, especially since I thought it was a bit of a blur. Everything from start to end felt similar, and I couldn’t work out where the chorus was in the song had it not been for the music video. While I did like the city-pop direction the instrumental was going and the delicate nature of their voices (which isn’t something we get in TWICE title tracks that much), I just wished parts of Doughnut were more distinct. The most significant distinct moment of the song was during the finale sequence with the use of synths to give off textures. But it was too late to really sell Doughnut to me.

Visually, I thought this was a very neat video. The snow, warm indoor settings and dress colours compliments the Winter season in which the song was released. That scene in the bridge where Mina and Chaeyoung are lying on the ground over a wreath was extremely memorable for me. I am a bit confused about the start and end of the video, with the ‘doughnut crime scene’. My guess is that the crime scene symbolises that the loop and void represented by the shape of doughnut is broken and that the members had moved on from what they thought were ‘the only one in the world’. Though, I am more confused about the amount of jam spilling from the doughnut (How did they get so much in the doughnut to begin with? And in a doughnut with a hole?). As for the choreography, it felt fitting for the balladry nature of the song.

Overall Rating – 6.8/10

ON THE WAY~- Wonho

Wonho’s Japanese debut single, ON THE WAY~, is actually the oldest song in this review post as it was first unveiled on 27 October 2021. It is a decent track that pleases with its sweet lyrics, thanking fans for staying by his side and that he treasures them greatly. Don’t be fooled though. ON THE WAY~ is no typical ballad. Instead, it features a satisfying band instrumental that really makes this song more appealing. I also like how amped the chorus gets. It did feel somewhat overpowering at first, but Wonho manages to shine throughout ON THE WAY~ with his blissful and honey-like vocals. I did wish there was something more to the song, like a more profound electrical guitar solo sequence (we did get an instrumental break, but it did feel enough) to make it even more satisfying.

The accompanying video was also quite nice. Not one that I see myself going back to however, since it just Wonho acting sweet and grateful to match the lyrics of the song. There are also some band shots and some decent outdoors shots. I am sure fans would adore this video.

Overall Rating – 7/10

Anymore – Jeon Somi

The final song on this post is Jeon Somi’s Anymore. You would have heard Anymore way before the music video dropped (which occurred on Christmas Day), as it was originally featured as a side track on Jeon Somi’s first solo studio album, XOXO, which dropped at the end of October (the 29th to be exact). It is an all-English track that delves into pop-rock territory. I quite like this song because it doesn’t feel complicated or difficult to navigate like EDM tracks. Anymore just sounded pure and doesn’t mess or fluff around. The soft pop rock sound that we hear in this song just suits Jeon Somi’s tone and she sounds very good. The melodies were also very memorable and satisfying, as well.

I need to applaud Jeon Somi’s visuals and acting in this video. Both were highlights that draw me back to the music video. I liked how she well she portrayed her heartbreak and emotions, whilst looking stunning as always. As for the music video concept, all looked terrific and worked extremely well with the song. I liked how chaotic the chorus appeared to match the increased energy we get from the chorus, while the verses were more still.

Overall Rating – 9/10

[Review] Bittersweet – Wonwoo & Mingyu (SEVENTEEN) ft. Lee Hi

Bittersweet is nominated for Best R&B Song, while SEVENTEEN is nominated for Best Male Group and a range of other categories. Support SEVENTEEN in all their nominated categories by clicking to vote today.

As mentioned previously, I will be reviewing songs or releases from artists from categories in which I had not reviewed before this year throughout the remainder of 2021. Today’s reviews will all be focused on the ones that I have yet to review from the Best R&B Song category. First up is Bittersweet, which was a collaboration single between SEVENTEEN members Wonwoo, Mingyu, and soloist Lee Hi. This single was released back at the end of May 2021.

Bittersweet is a very mature R&B song. While we have heard all the artists in this song in some sort of mature light before, I find Bittersweet to really emphasise this and this was a very major drawing point in my opinion. You could also gather the emotions and the literal bittersweet tone behind their each of their voices, which I found to also be another strong aspect of the song. While they are two of SEVENTEEN’s rappers, both Wonwoo and Mingyu changed up their delivery/style and opted for vocals and I thought this was well executed. Wonwoo’s husky and deep tone and Mingyu’s raspier voice works really well with one another in Bittersweet. There was the tiniest smidge of rapping, however, when Mingyu switch between vocals and rapping for a brief second in the song’s first pre-chorus. I remember Lee Hi’s vocals being unrecognisable when Bittersweet was first released. I guess I am really used to hearing low tones and huskier tones from the soloist, not something as smooth and higher tone like what we got in this song. I am not entirely sure if that is a good or bad thing after all this time, but it was interesting. Both the higher tone and smoothness contrasted with the SEVENTEEN members’ vocals and I felt her vocals helped tied the song together. For the melodies, they were quite nice. Not too memorable, but just enough to get this song over the line in that regard. Regarding the instrumentation, Bittersweet was quite a straightforward R&B release, with a subdued instrumental that mainly features acoustic guitars all throughout. While this isn’t a mind-blowing or innovative combination, the simplicity and straightforwardness as definitely appreciated.

The song was all about the switch between friendship and love. In the music video, we see the friendship between the three characters played by Wonwoo, Mingyu and the female actress. But throughout the video, we see glimpse of the male characters staring at their female friend, seemingly contemplating their feelings for her. But never do we see them make the move, probably in fear of what would happen to their friendship trio if the feelings were reciprocated for one friend and not the other. At the end, it seems like the male counterparts of the friendship choose friendship over their feelings, keeping their bond. Though the ending is ambiguous, as it would make better sense for all three of them to skip into the distant in the rain if that was the case. Instead, we are shown only Wonwoo and Mingyu, so maybe the music video is trying to suggest that the pair were in love all along? Who knows! Apart from the two possible stories, I like the moody atmosphere of the music video, which went for the traditional R&B colours of brown and golden tone.

Song – 8/10
Music Video 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Album Review] Attacca (9th Mini Album) – SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN is nominated for Best Male Group, while their tracks – Not Alone, Bittersweet and Rock With You – are nominated for various song awards in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support SEVENTEEN and the listed songs, along with your other favourite artists, songs and performances by clicking here to vote!

SEVENTEEN returned made their comeback on 22 October 2021 with Rock With You and their ninth mini-album, Attacca. A little over a month since their comeback, I am finally reviewing the album! Overall, Attacca delivers the group’s next great album, though it isn’t my vote for their best. In addition to the already mentioned title track, the album consist of two additional full group songs, 3 unit tracks and a bonus all-English track from members Joshua and Vernon. Keep on reading for my thoughts on the individual songs!

Attacca Album Cover

1. To You (소용돌이) – Before the album went to the title track, Rock With You, we were treated to an synth pop track, To You, which merged the airiness of synths with a bit of pop rock together into a simple sounding track. It was an ideal track to start off with. It wasn’t too light or too heavy, but retaining the benefits of both. It was also quite atmospheric. I liked its consistency and enjoyed it until the end. Their vocals approach was extremely nice and soothing, though I wished the group employed a bit of rapping in To You to add a bit more flair to the song. (8/10)

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

3. CrushCrush lands very impactful and ‘in-your-face’ start, setting the song apart from the rest of the album. This definitely ticks the boldness box that I consistently mention on the blog. The chorus was definitely Crush’s most standout section for the exact same reason. The use of falsettos and textured rapping was very nice, and gave the song a lot more to appeal with. It is a bit repetitive, but I honestly look past this flaw thanks to the other elements. (9/10)

4. Pang! (Performance Unit) – Despite the album’s promotions lacking both Jun and The8 due to their schedules in China, they participated in all the full group songs on this album and the Performance Unit song, Pang!. Pang! was a fun number without a loaded instrumentation. Actually, the more accurate way to describe the instrumental in Pang! is underloaded, which brought on a whole different aesthetic than what we are used to. The chorus was very catchy and alluring, with the spoken ‘Don’t Come’ feeling quite punchy. Dino’s rapping in this song is top notch and very unique sounding. Definitely a standout for me. (10/10)

5. Imperfect Love (매일 그대라서 행복하다) (Vocal Unit) – As expected, the vocal unit’s song enters ballad territory. But Imperfect Love features a soft pop rock vibe, which is a nice change up to the usual classical instrumental we get when it comes to ballads. The harmonies are really nice and help fill up the song’s instrumentation. The electric guitars came in at the right time, and helped added a bit more colour and flair than if they were omitted. Interestingly, I didn’t find their solo parts to stand out as much, with everything else overtaking their individual moments. Not entirely sure about this, but Imperfect Love manages to work just fine anyway. (7/10)

6. I Can’t Run Away (그리워하는 것까지) (Hip Hop Unit) – The most surprising track from the units is I Can’t Run Away. While the song does include raps, I was taken aback by the delicate and ballad approach the quartet has gone with. To me, this is unexplored territory for the four, but one I would gladly be happy to revisit in the future. The raps were very nice, and I liked how it emphasises the members husky and raspy tones. But what shocks me even more was how good the vocals were. They definitely made the song standout. Also, both vocals and balladry instrumentation gave added an emotional and fragile touch to I Can’t Run Away, which works well with the lyrics of the song. (8/10)

7. 2 Minus 1 (Joshua and Vernon)2 Minus 1 is a song I highly recommend to have on blast. It is an extremely satisfying way to enjoy the song. It is a bit slow to begin with, but the energy that ultimately comes through during the chorus in this all-English punk-pop song is just so good. Both Joshua and Vernon have a hand in this as well with their awesome vocal pairing! But their solo parts are equally as good. Joshua shows off his vocal potential (which isn’t usually highlighted), while Vernon’s raspy tone is also well showcased in this song. I wished the energy was a bit more consistent and we didn’t have slow downs or moments where the instrumentals were stripped back, but overall a great bonus track for fans. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

Attacca Teaser Image

[Review] Rock With You – SEVENTEEN

The next comeback is one that I am really excited for. Of course I am talking about SEVENTEEN and their comeback today, Rock With You. The new song is featured on their ninth mini-album, Attacca. This release follows their Ready To Love comeback earlier on in the year, which was followed up with their side track Anyone. On a side note, Jun and The8 are not part of the promotions due to schedules in China. However, they were part of the album recording and the music video shoot, so you can expect to still see them in some capacity during the Rock With You era.

Over many recent reviews, I have continually saying I want more from the songs. And I feel that SEVENTEEN’s Rock With You delivers that ‘more’ that I am desiring. Rock With You takes on a pop rock sound that has a lot of great and vibrant energy. This alone is enough as a selling point to the song. Sure, I acknowledge the fact that they could have turned up the dial with some of the rock elements to make the song even better. But that doesn’t mean the song is not satisfying enough. I do question the use of the squeaky bed spring synths in the pre-chorus, but I am glad they are masked by the rest of the instrumentation and it doesn’t become a distraction. Rock With You is quite a vocal track, with the rapping taking a bit of a backburner in this song. There is still a bit of rapping, but it makes up only a small portion of the song. And I think this is a good call. Rock With You has that rock influence, and the rappers bring either a raspy or hoarse voice to the song when they sing. Both goes hand-in-hand, adding texture to the song. S.Coup, in particular, handles his part of the bridge really well, despite having all the instrumentation stripped away for a brief second. Another good call here, as it makes the final chorus explosive. But his vocals also had a delicate touch to the song. The rest of the group do an amazing job on the vocal front. Melody-wise, Rock With You is quite strong in this department, and this enables the song to be very catchy and addictive. Overall, another amazing song from the group.

The music video is fantastic. I really like the fast paced nature of the song, which matched the tempo of the song. I found that it helped amp up the vibrancy and energy of the video. I liked the used of the ripped borders around the image, and how those images were used as transitional elements in the video. I also quite liked the sets, especially the stage. It just felt fitting for the song and looked perfect in this video. I also quite enjoyed the camera work in this video, especially when they shot the members from the side during the choreography shoots. It added an ‘up close and personal’ type of feel to the video, making it as if we are watching them from the side of the stage.

I really enjoyed the performance. The choreography was just fitting and perfect for the song, as expected from SEVENTEEN. The energy that comes from this performance is so cool. But what really makes this performance even better was the ad-libs we got at the end of the stage performance. It heightens everything that is already in the song and adds hype to the final part of the performance.

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

[Album Review] Your Choice (8th Mini Album) – SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN made their returned in mid-June as well. This comeback was titled Ready To Love, which is the title track of their 8th mini-album, Your Choice. This promotional run for the new song and album was a bit of a whirlwind. COVID-19 brought upon a pause in their promotions of the comeback, with the group going into quarantine for two weeks. The group then returned to promotions without S.Coups who was recovering from an injury. But the group still managed to clinch four weekly music show wins and they also sold more than 1.3 million copies of their album. So I would say Ready To Love is a successful comeback, despite the hiccups along the way. Anyhow, that was a brief recap of what has happened since the comeback dropped. Now, it is time for my review for the album!

Your Choice Album Cover

1. Heaven’s Cloud – Kicking off the album is Heaven’s Cloud. It is definitely is a song of no commitment, with such a light and airy vibe. It eases you into the album. Everything just rolled along and felt breezy in this song. Heaven’s Cloud also does a good job of showcasing the members in a more pleasant light. The vocals and rapping were just that, while the melodies had the right level of catchiness to make this song memorable. The “Gimme your Gimme your Love’ part in the bridge was my favourite bit. Overall, a nice listen and a great start to the group’s eighth mini-album. (8/10)

2. Ready to Love (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Ready to Love. (8/10)

3. Anyone – The promotions may have biased me with this, but Anyone is my favourite side track on this album. Anyone has the edgy and intense vibe that I enjoy and prefer when it comes to music in the KPOP industry. Many groups have edgy songs, but I like how Anyone doesn’t necessarily go down the ‘dark route’’. Rather, Anyone focuses more on maturity. I like the stompy nature of the instrumentation (which is emphasized in the performance of the track) and the tinge of electro-rock that gives the song a subtle electrifying feel, which keeps you on your toes for the full duration of the song. The vocals and rapping packed a punch, making Anyone that more alluring. (10/10)

4. GAM3 BO1 (Hip-Hop Unit) – The chipmunk and synth-heavy instrumentation reminds me of old video games. It has this really bright and cheerful feel to it, which I quite like. And it is a very dynamic track. Unfortunately, the autotune in this song gets to me. It helps blend the quartet unit into the song and creates a more cohesive track. But it is quite obnoxious at the same time. When it comes to the song’s main hook (a consistent repetitive string of just the word ‘Game’), I am a bit torn. It is memorable and I definitely have it stuck in my head. But I find it a bit bland, at the same time. Overall, Gam3 Bo1 is a massive mix bag of likes and dislikes for me. (7/10)

5. Wave (Performance Unit) – Out of three unit tracks on this album, Wave is my favourite. In comparison to the Hip-Hop Unit’s track, Wave is a lot smoother and more hypnotic in a way. Compared to the Vocal Unit’s song, Wave is a lot dreamier. Wave taps into the house genre of EDM and creates a very fulfilling song. It is moodier and definitely more something up my alley. I really like the punchiness of the chorus and the satisfying nature of the drop in the same sequence. The Performance Unit does an impressive job of showcasing an aesthetic delivery in terms of vocals (and I am sure, the same for their performance), which ups the appeal of Wave. (9/10)

6. Same Dream, Same Mind, Same Night (같은 꿈, 같은 맘, 같은 밤) (Vocal Unit) – The final song on the album belongs to the Vocal Unit. Same Dream, Same Mind, Same Night is another impressive display of vocals, which is expected from the quintet. The instrumentation reminds me of a soft 90s R&B ballad, which is great if you are looking for something soothing to listen to. Even the vocal processing has that tinge from the 90s era. I do think they had too much going on towards the end as it felt slightly overwhelming for me. But overall, still a nice song overall. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Your Choice Teaser Image

[Review] Ready To Love – SEVENTEEN

Making their comeback yesterday was SEVENTEEN with their latest title track, Ready To Love. The new song is the title track off the group’s 8th mini-album since debut, Your Choice. This is the group’s first comeback since the release of HOME;RUN last year in October. More recently, we saw SEVENTEEN make their Japanese comeback, Not Alone, while member Hoshi also made his solo debut with the single Spider back in March of this year. On a separate note, Ready To Love and Your Choice is the second part of SEVENTEEN’s Power of ‘Love’ project. Very little is known about project from what I can find on the internet. However the group did drop a concept trailer for it, hinting it as the recurring theme of SEVENTEEN’s forthcoming 2021 work. The first part of the project was the release of Bittersweet, a single featuring members Wonwoo, Mingyu and soloist Lee Hi I have yet to review this single, and will do so when I have a bit more time. But in the meanwhile, here is my review for Ready To Love.

Ready To Love opens up with a sentimental introduction, before the song starts incorporating a thumping beat to get the momentum going. From there, Ready To Love remains quite constant, with the occasion burst of energy. We get a small-ish dose of energy part way into each of the verses, and then one substantial one to amplify the chorus. For the chorus, that substantial dose of energy turns the instrumental into a pop rock-style, which I thought was extremely satisfying. I like how this energy doesn’t stop or pause between the two halves that make up the chorus, keeping it all thoroughly connected. While on the topic of connection, I feel that Ready To Love is the a good example of how constant and consistent a song can be, but remain engaging and doesn’t result in a bore. That being said, I do think Ready To Love isn’t as powerful or memorable as like many of SEVENTEEN’s past comebacks, but it is a different side of the group. And this different side of the group comes from the matureness they display in the vocals and raps. Sure, the group have had their fair share of serious and dark styled comebacks. But Ready To Love feels like they have aged liked fine wine. From the vocals and rapping, nothing felt like their usual fun or upbeat ways. Instead, each of their members sound like they are tapping into an emotional side that we know SEVENTEEN has but never really gotten to showcase until now. Similarly, the song’s melodies also give off a similar vibe. I particularly liked the second half of the chorus, which felt almost chant-like. It works well with the instrumentation and gives the song a catchy melodic hook. Overall, I like the song. But Ready To Love isn’t my favourite release from the group. But who knows? Maybe a few more replays of the song might change that.

To fit with the more mature vibe of the song, I think the music video opted for that same dynamic. For the first part of the music video, we see the members walkthrough their relationship with the female character. One of these moments is when the members make the decision of being friends or lovers with her. I think the video shows the members choosing to be friends, which how this whole song came about and this is back up by the face Mingyu makes while he is in the lover phone box and the presence of the friend phone box in THE8’s scene with the female character. Throughout the video, we see the members wanting to make that change from friendship to relationship, which is backed by the English phrases present on the walls and on the bus (which are some lines in the song). It isn’t the most SEVENTEEN video out there, but it is still a good video to watch. My only complaint is regarding the heavy raining at the end. I didn’t see the point of it, given that we could barely see the members amongst the rain. I wished the rain was toned done, so that we can see the members more clearly.

For the choreography, I feel that the performance (and I forgot to mention it above in the music video part of this review) takes a page out of their Japanese works. It looks quite aesthetic and pretty, which is something that recurs in their work in Japan. I really like the formations they are in, especially the formation which allowed them to form three units in the second half of the second chorus (and how the members who are not the centre of the choreography are still moving in the background). I also really liked how they ran to switch places in such an organised manner for the final sequence. That looked pretty cool.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[International Song Reviews] SEVENTEEN, TWICE, CIX & BTS

It is time to look at another five songs from outside of Korea by some of our favourite Korean artists. Last time (way back in February), we looked at songs from Jackson Wang & JJ Lin, The Boyz, AB6IX & Why Don’t We, Jun.K and WAYV. Today, we will be having a look at SEVENTEEN, TWICE and CIX’s latest Japanese releases. Alongside those three songs, we will also be looking at BTS’s Japanese single Film Out and their highly anticipated Butter release, which officially dropped on Friday. A lot of get through, so let’s get going!


The other day, I was reading comments for SEVENTEEN’s latest Japanese release, Not Alone, that said something along the lines of “SEVENTEEN’s Japanese releases are quite aesthetic sounding”. This is a statement that I agree for the most part and is quite evident through the release of Not Alone. The song has this atmospheric style instrumental that was very calming and soothing to listen to. To aid this, SEVENTEEN strays aways from harsh synths, piercing effects, heavy beats or vibrant colours in the song. Instead, SEVENTEEN opts for a graceful sounding instrumentation that floats about. There are still synths in this song (enabling the song to still include soft yet delicate sounding dance breaks following each chorus), but they give Not Alone a melodic push and hence that aesthetic vibe that I quoted from above. This allows the members to showcase their vocals in a more touching and delicate manner, which is slightly different to the usual style in which we hear from the members. Even the rappers get into this mindset with softer deliveries. We favourite part is Hoshi’s lines in the bridge. They stick out for me and sound so smooth. There is also this inspirational and uplifting tone to the song that comes through via the members. Overall, a really nice and touching song form the members. The music video for Not Alone is quite fitting for the past year, in which we all spent seeing our family and friends through laptop, computer or phone screens. We see the members do the exact same at the start of the video. They were alone and then joined one another to celebrate DK’s birthday. The second half of the video see the members regroup to hang out and have some fun. While this isn’t a reality yet for some of us, the hopeful tone of the song really gives us hope that is the future that we will be returning to soon. Fitting to the song and MV suggested, the choreography for this comeback is a lot softer and delicate. It is actually nice to see something different from SEVENTEEN that isn’t so energetic and upbeat as their choreographies usually are. The lifts they incorporated into the performance added a nice touch that emphasised this. (9.4/10)

Kura Kura – TWICE

While TWICE is gearing up for Korean promotions next month, the very popular female group made their Japanese comeback last month with Kura Kura. Kura Kura starts off with epic percussion in the background, which gives the pop song a unique and memorable colour, and really promises great things to come. Soon, the song reverts to a more typical pop setup. It was nice and pleasantly upbeat, but it was not as amazing as the epic percussion that started the song off had promised. And this disappointed me slightly. I wished the melodies and hooks in this ‘between’ part were more memorable and impressive enough to continue that initial impression. The epic percussion does make a return two more times in the song (i.e. before the bridge and at the end of the song to close it off). I did like the vocals work, which again can be describe as pleasant and sweet. I did like how they didn’t change their vocals as much when it came to the Kura Kura‘s bolder and more memorable moments, finding a balance between their pleasant and sweet profile to the instrumental’s more grand nature. For the music video, I am not entirely sure what they are trying to depict. There seems to be a mixture of really happy scenes in the video (i.e. when the nine members catch up) and a mixture of loneliness and sadness (i.e. their solo scenes which seem to show this). But I might be reading to it wrong, as the lyrics of the song don’t really give off that impression. But it was still a visually appealing video to watch. I really like the emphasis on the colour blue in the choreography scenes, which gave a nice artistic and calming appeal to the video. I really liked the choreography for this comeback. I enjoyed the imagery of the flower at the start, which was fitting for the music video which had a heavy emphasis on floral decorations. I also enjoyed the choreography for the chorus, which had a definite tinge of matureness to it, despite all the members having really big smiles – which both felt fitting for the image they are now pushing for themselves and the song’s upbeatness. (7.2/10)

All For You – CIX

Like their earlier Korean release this year, CIX’s latest Japanese release also takes a step away from EDM and their serious tone that they had adopted when they first started out. All For You is another pleasant listen that looks to replicate the easy on the ears nature that Cinema succeeded in achieving. And while CIX has done just that, I can’t help but have to point out that other parts of the song is lacking. Aside from the funky instrumental which I think is the song’s main highlight, All For You lacks memorability. This includes hooks, melodies, vocals and rapping. All of these contribute to the song’s undeniabley pleasant and easy going nature, but none hits it hard. I am not seeking any hard drops or intensity that is reminiscent of their earlier works, but rather I wanted to hear elements that had a stronger backing or substance to them. For the music video, All For You was colourful, fun and enjoyable. I liked the carefree nature the members brought to the music video, which was fitting for the overall style. It also shows a different side of the members. I did find the opening few seconds a bit cringy, but it definitely wasn’t the cringiest thing out there in the Korean/Japanese music scene. For the choreography, I liked how they fully embraced the groovy and funky notes of the song in their routine. As a result, the entire performance feels ‘just right’. That being said, All For You‘s choreography still contains their signature sharpness to it. In addition to that, there is also this light atmosphere to the routine, which also works well with the music. (7.4/10)

Film Out – BTS

The first of the BTS releases in this post is Film Out, a single off BTS’s upcoming Japanese compliation album. The single itself was released back at the start of April. so apologies for the long delay. Film Out taps BTS back into the ballad genre, with a (once again) pleasant ballad that is a bit generic for my liking. Film Out has this rich and sentimental tone to it. It would also side nice as a side track that I would tune into if I had a craving for the album. But in comparison to their more well known ballads (such as Butterfly), Film Out falls short of hitting the mark (for me, at least). I think it is mainly because the vocal processing that their voices were put through and hence they don’t sound as pure like in those past ballads had sounded. That being said, Film Out did have its moments. I really liked the beat when the rappers were brought into play. I also liked it when the vocalists were brought in to back each other up. The subtle rock and (more obvious) orchestral influences were also quite nice and added some additional heft alongside the vocals to prevent the song from falling into more into that generic ballad trap that Stay Gold fell into. You always feel like you are watching a cinematic release when it comes to BTS’ music videos and Film Out is no exception. While I have no clue on what is going on in this video (my best guess is that the video is about the members’ reflecting upon past memories that once brought them joy, but now brings them pain – represented by the explosion), I must acknowledge that the music video for Film Out brings out the emotional factor to a whole new level. On top of that, the cinematography was exceptional. (7.8/10)

Butter – BTS

BTS’ most recent release, Butter, dropped on Friday. And since it is the biggest release in the global music industry from this week, and with its strong ties to the KPOP industry, I had to take some time out of my own personal break to have a listen and review it for you all. First impression, I liked it. I wasn’t keen on how it started off at first, but once the groovy and funky instrumentation kicks into gear (plus the pre-chorus melodies presented itself), Butter instantly threw all of its catchy and dynamic energy right at me. Before I knew it, I was nodding along to the music! The chorus is quite addictive, thanks to the melodies in the section. I really like the breakdown, which really concentrated the song’s grooviness into a simple yet ear-catching synth. Vocally, I think Butter really shows off what we know BTS is capable of. The vocalists all gave us solid vocals (and I am super happy that Jin recieved more lines in this song, compared to his limited lines in Dynamite. Hopefully, the remixes that follow this release keeps that trend up!), while the rappers packed a punch when they came into play towards the end of the song. I think Butter is a logical step up/forward from Dynamite and definitely has me reaching for my mouse to press replay! For the music video, I really liked how classy it looked. At the start, the sleekness that BTS’ visuals brought to the video with the black and white filter. When the colour comes into play, all of this fun energy infused into the video, making this a fantastic watch. In addition to the classiness brought to us via their suits, I really liked the colourful and casual trackies they wore in subsequent parts of the video. I also liked how each member that their moment to shine with their dance moves on the elevator and how they brought their individual colours to the video throughout all their solo shots. But visually, the best part of the music video has to be that epic stage they perform on with the lights coming through from underneath. For the choreography, I really liked how BTS kept the energy and momentum going with their moves. I like how fitting the routine is with the title, as the chorus actually looks like smooth (i.e. like butter). We won’t be able to see a full choreography until the Billboard Music Awards tomorrow, but it definitely looks like BTS’s live performance will be amazing without a doubt. (9.5/10)

[Review] Spider – Hoshi (SEVENTEEN)

For the entirety of this weekend, I will be focusing my reviewing efforts on solo artists. This includes both song and album reviews, for recent comebacks involving established solo acts or new idols embarking on their solo careers. First up on the reviewing block is Hoshi’s mixtape single, Spider. This is Hoshi’s first solo release since his debut as part of SEVENTEEN in 2015 (which was six years ago!). The release of Spider has caught fans off guard with its sudden announcement on 26 March and its unveiling within a week (with a few teasers per usual in between). As the release occurred while I was on break, I haven’t had the opportunity to review it yet. But since I am back and dedicating this entire weekend to solo releases, it is perfect time to finally listen to Spider in detail.

Known for his performance skills and is also the leader of the Performance unit of SEVENTEEN, it was expected that any solo release from Hoshi would be a dance song that focuses on the performance. I never thought of Hoshi to go down the ballad route for his first solo release, and Spider confirms that. Spider is a very charismatic R&B dance track, pulling me in right during the first listen with its alluring and engrossing energy. Hoshi starts the song with a melodic whisper, before progressing to vocals that do the building towards to the chorus. For the most part, the instrumental felt very neutral up until the chorus. When the chorus kicks into gear, Hoshi presents us with sensual energy that felt very aesthetic. I really like the sleekness of the whisper-like syllable-by-syllable start to the chorus which incorporated guitar work into the instrumentation and infusing a very minute amount of funkiness into the song. And like the verses, the chorus builds itself to be a substantial centrepiece of vocals and instrumentation that fits into the R&B realm of music. The rest of the song continues the momentum that has been built up so far, with the addition of falsetto vocals in the second verse and electrifying guitar work as the main backing for the song’s dance break. While it sounds like I am only praising the song, I did feel that Spider had one flaw at first. Initially, I thought the song had weak melodies and hooks. But after a week’s worth of listens, I find that they are growing on me and anything different would obviously ruins Spider’s aesthetic, which is a major appeal point of the song. Overall, Spider showcases some of the best parts of Hoshi. Aside from his performance skills (which I will talk about in the bit), Spider shows off potential as a solo artist and his vocal skills as well.

Spider‘s music video is an excellent visual concoction that caught my attention during the first pass. One of the strongest aspects of this music video is the cinematography. One really great example is the slow spin of the camera at the start of the video. It plays with us, using the fact that Hoshi was actually hanging upside down in the choreography at that point. It also felt like the POV of a spider crawling down using its web. I also really like how the camera angles and zooming made those ‘corridors’ (like the one in which he is hanging upside down in) feel longer. The second aspect of the video has to be Hoshi’s visuals. He looked amazing throughout the video. Just by seeing him in this music video, he has shown that he can be sensual, charismatic and hypnotic. And those a three big boxes to tick.

Obviously, the biggest element of this solo release has to be the performance (I know, I have already rambled on about how this comeback is all centric on the performance). And I think Hoshi fulfilled all expectations of him. Right from the start, Hoshi hang upside down, delivering us with an impactful view. He moves in a very sleek yet powerful manner throughout the performance. I also really like the choreography for the second verse and chorus, where he is held, blocked and pulled by the dancers. We see interactions with dancers commonly. But that how sequence is complicated timing wise and felt very calculated. A very strong routine from the Performance Leader.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10