[Album Review] Mr.Mr (4th Mini Album) – SNSD

A few weeks or months ago, I flagged I would restart the ‘Past Album Review’ segment, which focuses on albums released in the years prior to the current year, come July. Unfortunately, some things have held me up from starting it at the very start of July (and just writing Past Album Reviews, in general). But now, I am finally getting around to it. First up is SNSD’s fourth and final (to date) mini-album, Mr.Mr. This and the title track of the same name was released way back in 2014, and was the final release to feature Jessica and a OT9 lineup. Since then, the group have largely focused on studio albums. Since 2017, the group has been on hiatus after some of the members parted ways with SM Entertainment, however that might change later in the year with rumours of a SNSD comeback. But until a confirmed release, here is a throwback to 2014 and the album Mr.Mr.

Mr.Mr Album Cover

1. Mr.Mr (Title Track) – Excuse the cringiness in this review. I wrote this in my fetus years. Click here to read the full review for Mr.Mr. (9/10)

2. GoodbyeGoodbye is one pleasant track. But I say that in a really positive manner. Goodbye was a great showcase of simplicity, with every element feeling quite simple. The entire song has a feel-good vibe to it, with the rock-pop instrumentation taking on a bright profile. This is in direct contrast to the lyrics, which are all about leaving a relationship you know that just won’t work out no matter what you try. The vocals are straightforward and have a sweetness to them, which tells me that they have come to terms about the relationship I mentioned above. The melodies within Goodbye were also simple and easy on the ears. Overall, a really satisfying song. (9/10)

3. Europa (유로파) – I really like the disco profile of the instrumentation in Europa, which feels perfect fit for the influx of cutesy songs back in the day and gives off a sense of nostalgia. Unfortunately, I feel the rest of the song is rather jarring. Europa isn’t a cohesive track, but the standalone elements were good. The vocals just doesn’t piece together as nicely (though these do also give off a sense of nostalgia, reminding me of SNSD’s earlier works when they sang together), and the additional detailing in the instrumentation felt like they don’t compliment the rest of the instrumental. (6/10)

4. Wait A Minute – I would never have thought that Wait A Minute and Mr.Mr would be on the same album. Wait A Minute has this heavy sweetness within it that just directly contrasts with Mr.Mr. It is still a decent song, however. It is upbeat and has a nice energy to it. The vocals were also nice and appreciable. I think Wait A Minute’s main issue was its instrumental. It is decent, but I don’t think the electronic nature of the instrumentation was right. I think I would have enjoyed the song more if it had a more ‘traditional’ jazz profile to it. (8/10)

5. Back Hug (백허그)Back Hug is the album’s sole ballad. The ballad doesn’t opt for the traditional ballad style of classical instrumental. Instead, Back Hug opts for mainly acoustic guitars (with the appearance of classical strings). It is a nice change of style and keeps the album light (which I think is a theme with all these side tracks so far). The members sound really nice and heavenly throughout Back Hug. (8/10)

6. Soul – Based on what I understand, Soul is the Korean version of the group’s first Chinese single, Find Your Soul. While that is the case, I am here to review the version on this album. The instrumental has this pop edge to it, which has potential. The start in particular was quite interesting and I would have liked the song to build upon that more. The issue with Soul is that I feel the vocals could have been punchier to really give the song more effect and drive. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

Mr.Mr Teaser Image

[Review] Weekend – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Taeyeon is officially back with a new single! Earlier this week, Taeyeon made her solo comeback with Weekend. This is her first release since What Do I Call You?, the lead single from her December comeback and fourth mini-album (of the same name). It has been relative quiet for Taeyeon since then. However, this quietness from the soloist may be a good thing, with rumours of a SNSD comeback happening later this year. It was rumoured earlier in the year that the eight members of SNSD were lining up their schedules for a mid-year comeback. Well, we just passed the mid-year point of 2021 but no confirmation yet. But no confirmation doesn’t mean anything, particularly since none of the members are actively promoting (aside from Taeyeon for this comeback) and could pretty much well be preparing for an under-wraps comeback. Fingers-crossed!

But first, a closer listen to Taeyeon’s Weekend. For me, Weekend is one of those ‘pleasant but nothing more’ types of song. It is enjoyable and has a nice polished energy to it. I wouldn’t mind listening to it when it is on my playlist. But it isn’t a song that I would really go out of my way to listen to. Weekend taps into the current growing retro trend, combining the likes of city pop and disco elements together to create a song that appeals to the listeners and fans of both trends in KPOP. While the music is upbeat and chilled in a way, it isn’t as memorable as per some of previous works. And that is also compared to other works from other artists who have dabbled in similar sounds and music. What I did like was the lightness of the instrumentation, which in turns compliments the soloist’s vocals. Taeyeon sings Weekend with at a higher note than what she usually does and with falsetto. And this in combination with the retro instrumentation gives off the lightness illusion, which helps create an appealing pleasant tone for the song. I also enjoyed the ascending melody we get in the pre-chorus (and lesser so in the bridge of the song). The most interesting part of Weekend has to be the rapping in the second verse. I personally liked it and the way it was handed to us felt like it was a no-commitment style to something that could have disrupted the light tone. It also helped keep the song falling into that consistent trance that would have otherwise neutralised any appeal of the song. Overall, Weekend is enjoyable and pleasant. I felt more can be done to make the song more appealing, but it is still a nice listen to chill to.

And chill is part of the message of Weekend‘s lyrics. To be more exact, Taeyeon tells us to enjoy our weekends with no hesitations to do what we like. And the music video appropriately shows Taeyeon relaxing in the clouds, after a lot of work. For the music video, it conveniently features a time-stop concept, allowing Taeyeon’s relaxation to be extended indefinitely. We unfortunately do not have that luxury, though we should always try to do something we enjoy other than work (whatever that may be). I like the pastel colours of the music video, which compliment the light tone of the song. Nothing is harsh and the music video has a feel-good type of feel to it, which is appropriate for the message. A decent music video, overall.

A strong centre of balance is required for the chorus for the music video. It might not look too difficult, but combined with everything else you need to do on stage (remembering choreography, lines, live singing etc.), I am sure it is remarkably difficult. Altogether, the performance is equally as pleasant as the song was.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] What Do I Call You – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Taeyeon is nominated for Best Vocals and Best Female Soloist in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Taeyeon and your other favourite artists by clicking here to vote for them. Remember, voting closes on the 31st of December!

Taeyeon joined the December comeback lineup on Tuesday with her solo release on Tuesday, What Do I Call You. This, and her fourth mini-album, follows her previous 2020 releases which includes Dear Me (the lead single from her repackaged Purpose album), her Happy single and her #GirlsSpkOut Japanese comeback. So Taeyeon has been quite busy during 2020, which has lead to her nominations for Best Female Soloist and Best Vocals in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards (link above – and apologies for this shameless plug here). On with the review.

What Do I Call You moves away from Taeyeon’s pop ballad or straight ballad sound and opts for a more indie sound, which I thought was slightly different (though definitely something in her willhouse, given that she has released songs of this style before. The song is primarily driven by acoustics and then some mid-tempo beat that is brought into the song via percussion. It is a simple combination, but one that I thought was actually quite nice and pleasant. The only downside is that it doesn’t really give the song an opportunity to peak, with the song’s momentum plateauing once the percussion comes into play. Aside from that, the only element to really left discuss is Taeyeon’s vocals, which is superb. As mentioned above, she is nominated for Best Vocals in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards and What Do I Call You definitely consolidates all the reasons to why she deserves the nomination (and possibly the category overall – but that is up to you). Her vocals really bring the song’s melodies and add to that pleasantry note of the song. Another splendid song that adds to Taeyeon’s repertoire.

The music video shows us the story of Taeyeon in a post-break up limbo, unsure what to call her ex whom she still has lingering feelings for. In response to this feelings, Taeyeon signs up for this service that erase her memories of this ex (which is the panda wearing mask person). Interestingly after getting her memories wiped, she enters a hallway that brings her back to the first time she interacted with him at a party, where I assume they begin another relationship. To further back this ending up, she plays a toy crane machine and regains the same orange diary that she gave up in the memory wiping service. Likewise the polaroid of her and her ex that was hanging on her wall at the start as found still hanging on the wall at the end of the video after the memory wiping process. It is interesting video and I thought it was a clever twist at the end.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] Happy – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Today, Taeyeon makes her grand return with her single, Happy. This comeback was meant to happen 2 months ago on March 9th, which is also her birthday. But due to her father’s death on the same day, the decision was made to delay the comeback up until a week ago when the new single confirmed its new release date. Before I begin the review or go any further, I would like to express my condolences to Taeyeon and her family for their loss. On a happier note, this is Taeyeon’s first comeback since the release of her second repackaged studio album and the title track, Dear Me.

Happy is the first release of May that will be a tough digital contender throughout the month, as is the case for most of Taeyeon’s releases. And listening to Happy, you can tell there is a certain level of boldness in this song that is needed to achieve high rank on the charts. For Happy, this boldness comes in the form of a deep and loud thumping drum, which not only gives the song boldness but it also adds a little cute flair to the song which makes it extremely appealing. The song is said to combine old school doo-wop and R&B to create such a heartwarming and wholesome song. And it is because of these feelings that just make you want to smile. Adding to the really positive atmosphere that comes from the song are Taeyeon’s vocals. They just feel down to earth and really captivating without the singer pulling out crazy vocal chops. In a way, she keeps to a simple presentation and I quite like this. The melodies were just so flowy and this too adds to the appeal. Altogether, the song manages to bundle happiness in a 3:46 minute track.

I am not too sure if this is the original music video that was meant to be released. But I find the video to be extremely relatable (not including the fridge positioned in the middle of the living room) to the current circumstances that we find much of the world in at this moment. I wonder if this was the intention of the music video, if it was not re-filmed to be applicable to current times. Essentially, we see Taeyeon enjoy her time alone, with what I assume is memories with her love one. We also see Taeyeon in a fake field, surrounded with flowers. This may be an artistic choice, or it could be due to the restrictions in place around the world. I thought this was a great video. The lighting was extremely bright and complimented the happy tone of the song. I would say the music video was simple to a degree, as there wasn’t much going on. But it managed to work with the song.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

[Review] Dear Me – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Despite not promoting her solo work in 2019, Taeyeon has managed to prove herself and her status in the industry by sweeping awards for her Four Seasons single earlier in the year. In addition to that, Taeyeon returned with Spark and her second full length album, Purpose, in November 2019. Both Spark and her album were very good and you should give them a try if you have missed out on them. But the focus should be on what happened yesterday, as the soloist returned with a repackaged version of Purpose and the new title track, Dear Me.

Dear Me is a pop ballad all about self-confidence and self-love. In this era, a song like this speaks volumes to everyone and will truly makes them feel better. You could also describe the song was warming, which would be a fitting way to see the song given its message. Apart from the message, the song features Taeyeon’s usually soothing vocals over a band and orchestral instrumentation, which I thought was quite nice. The verses seem to be quite lower register, allowing the chorus to explode in a fashionable manner that makes it seem slightly epic. I wish there was a little more to the verses, as they were the weakest moments of the song. The melody for the English lyrics during the chorus was quite cool, being one of the highlights of the song. I think the best highlight has to be the buildup during the bridge, leading to the final chorus. The song coincidentally needed a ‘spark’ and it got one in that moment. I don’t think Dear Me will be described as Taeyeon’s best song ever. But it is a really good one, if you were to ask me.

The music video is rather simple, made up of shots of Taeyeon walking around and sitting in a built set. I think the simplicity works well with the song. The song isn’t complicated and wouldn’t call for a video chock full of symbolism, a crazy colour palette or flashy lights. It is another video that highlights her beauty in a more natural sense, which also would make sense with a song about self love. I just feel that watching the video too many times would make it come off as dull, which is always a problem with these types of music videos.

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

[Album Review] Purpose (2nd Studio Album) – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Approximately one month ago, Taeyeon made her solo comeback with Spark and her second studio album, Purpose. And as part of my album review blitz, I will be recovering her album today. Known for her chart-topping hits, Spark joins the growing list of songs that she has released to do exactly that. Unfortunately, she didn’t promote the album as fans had hoped. And due to this, I feel like some listeners have missed out on some really good songs on this album. So let’s change that and revisit this album.

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Purpose Album Cover

1. Here I Am – The second album opens with a ballad that features Taeyeon’s powerful vocals. Overall, it is a powerful and bold start to the album. From the very first second, you get an epic and grand vibe from the song, which provides a small insight into what the song would become. But that epic and grand vibe end up being one-up by the chorus, which blasts us with deep percussion and her vocals (which were superb). I found it interesting that the song ended in a soft nature, bringing us down from the high she put us through during the choruses. It worked really well and the piano was very haunting, in a way. (10/10)

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

3. Find MeFind Me started with a very promising verse. But when it came to the chorus, I was left underwhelmed. And this feeling stuck with me throughout the song. I just found that the song didn’t space out the sections and the ‘should have been’ separated verses and chorus felt more like a long string together. Minus that flaw, Find Me was still a decent track. I thought the instrumental was good. It didn’t have that boldness like in Here I Am. But it was catchy and was a pleasant tune. Her vocals were also quite good, showcasing a well-balanced sound that didn’t overwhelm the rest of the song. (7/10)

4. Love You Like CrazyLove You Like Crazy is a levelled-up counterpart of Find Me. It has a pounding beat and incorporates of the guitars that we heard in the title track. I really liked her vocals in this track. She adds interesting textures and presents that bold feeling we have gotten in some of the previous tracks during its chorus. I would have liked it if it somehow went further as I did get the impression that there was some holding back, which doesn’t match with the ‘Crazy’ part in her title. (8/10)

5. LOL (하하하)LOL takes my breath away every time I listen to it. I liked the R&B roots of the song, which oozes such a smooth and sensual vibe. I really like how this style sets up for the sarcastic and sleek laughter she provides in the form of a spaced-out ‘Ha Ha Ha’. The acapella that opens up the first chorus was extremely memorable. So are those horns that feature during the chorus. Her English hooks are also quite addictive. Everything that Taeyeon did manages to hit the bullseyes perfectly with this track. (10/10)

6. Better Babe – We still remain with the R&B genre with this song. This was heard during the verses, which I think were solid parts of the song. The chorus takes a turn by blasting us with Taeyeon’s vocals. While I am okay with Taeyeon pulling out her vocals, the way she did it in this song could have quickly felt repetitive and I am not okay with that aspect. However, thanks to the bridge and the opening part to the final chorus, I think she did enough to prevent that scenario from becoming a reality. (8/10)

7. WineWine felt like it could easily have been the OST to a drama. It evokes the right feelings that make it well suited to help captivate the audience. I thought the melodies in this track were beautiful, making the song stand out for me. I also like how she doesn’t pull out her powerful vocals for this track (with the exception for the few high notes we get at the end), which works well with the sentimental side of the song and its potential lightness. The piano touch also helped make it pleasant. (9/10)

8. Do You Love Me?Do You Love Me? has this warm feeling to it, which makes it highly appropriate for the upcoming Winter season in which Korea and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere will be entering in a few days. Her raspy and whisper-like vocals are really nice in this song and I found the jazzy instrumental to be very pleasant. The two coming together is a good match that I think makes this song shine. (8/10)

9. City LoveCity Love is an urban track, which feels very flowy and breezy. I liked the casual vibes to this song, along with her light and sweet-sounding vocals. It showcases a side we know of Taeyeon, just we haven’t seen much in this album yet. The piano is particularly nice and managing to infuse a delicate sound in this already light track. Personally, it isn’t my style. But it is still decent. (8/10)

10. Gravity – Another standout track on the album. Her vocals are the main element that is attributed to that label. I thought they were exceptional, especially when she pulls the powerfulness out during the chorus. It also works well with the instrumental, as this element acted more-so like a blank canvas. There was a lot of room to move about and her vocals worked the space extremely well. I also like the spaced-out pulsing beat in the background, which helped provide the song with additional foundation. (10/10)

11. BlueBlue and Four Seasons were previously released earlier this year. I have already reviewed the latter song, as seen below. I remember listening to it a few times when it was first released. But I have honestly forgotten about its existence since then. It is a nice revisit, as I am still impressed with this track. The vocals remain delicate throughout the entire track. The pop side of the song really makes you anticipate that the song will build up and she would pull out her power vocals to end the song. But we never get there, which I think makes this track very interesting. I also find the echoes in the chorus to be a nice touch, helping extend the song an extra mile. (9/10)

12. Four Seasons (사계)Click here to read the full review for Four Seasons. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

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Purpose Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

 

 

[Review] Spark – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Alongside the two returning groups that I reviewed yesterday, we have a soloist joining the party in what already is shaping to be an interesting week. Taeyeon has been known for chart-topping hits and it seems like Spark will be no different. Alongside Spark, Taeyeon returns with her second studio album, Purpose, which also features the track Fours Seasons which was a single from her earlier in the year.

We have heard do a range of genres, such as the cliche ballad route that most vocalists do (Rain, I, Four Seasons etc.) and EDM (Why) from Taeyeon. Spark is a little different, opting for a pop sound that resembles the mega western hit, Rolling In The Deep by Adele. The instrumental was very compelling and actually works well as both a vocally centred and a dance track. There is some subtle attitude through the instrumentation. Adding to the intensity, the limelight is placed squarely on her vocals throughout the entire song. And that is one aspect that I really enjoyed regarding the song. I thought the chorus was very smooth and it works perfectly well as a whole. However, the entire time I was listening to the song, I was expecting it to build-up to something a little more climatic and shock us. What we ended up getting was fine but I felt like more could have done to really appeal to my personal taste.

As the song is titled Spark, the music video features a lot of red and orange colours, which makes it appropriate. Oh, and there are a few sparks here and there in the video as well. The video was shot with a green screen, as I am quite sure it would be rather dangerous to be performing on top of an actual crane. It isn’t as bad as other green screen applications in some other videos. At the same time, however, it does look rather cheap in comparison to past SM music videos. I did like how sleek she looked in black, which really went well with the red and orange colour palette they infused into the background.

The choreography looks good. It isn’t the most dynamic routine but I assume that was meant to help Taeyeon focus on the vocal aspect of the performance. I did find that it looked elegant (from what I saw in the music video), which was fitting to both Taeyeon’s style and the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10 

[Album Review] Lion Heart (5th Studio Album) – SNSD

SNSD is one of the groups that have members under different companies. Based on history, groups like these don’t come back at all as schedules just do not align. However, it seems like SNSD could potentially be one of the first to return. There are ongoing rumours of a 2019 comeback and it seems like the 8 members are actively speaking to one another despite their different schedules. Fingers Crossed!!! Let’s hope for a comeback from this legendary group! In the meantime, I decided to review their Lion Heart album, which was released in 2015. This was also the first album after Jessica departed from the group.

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Lion Heart Album Cover

1..Lion Heart (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Lion Heart. (6.5/10)

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

3. Party (Pre-Release Single) – The track ended up being one of my most favourite tracks of the album. To the point where it surpassed their other title tracks. Whenever it is Summer where I am, I end up playing this track because it puts you into a good mood. So I decided to bump up my rating from a 4/10 (shocking much) to a 9/10. (And yes, I identified the wrong title track for the album in the Party review). Click here to read the original review for Party. (9/10)

4. One Afternoon (어떤 오후) – There is a sense of elegance to One Afternoon, which is different from the three preceding tracks before it. The track features soft jazz instrumental that I find to be quite likeable. Usually, I am not a fan of a song like this. But this one surprised me as being quite pleasant and enjoyable. The vocal work was also quite pleasant, with the member using a lighter tone to compliment the soft nature of the track. Visually, I think the song would pair well with the 1920s style outfit they wore for Lion Heart. (8/10)

5. Show GirlsShow Girls was previously released as a Japanese song. But since the album goes for an old fashion retro theme, the track is very suitable for the album. The verses take a sensual 1920s approach, which I think was very interesting. But what I love the best is the blast of energy we get from the catchy and energetic chorus. The contrast ended up being bold and I think that is a defining characteristic of the track. So bold that when you think about it, the two shouldn’t really go together. But somehow SNSD managed to pull it off well. (9/10)

6. Fire Alarm – We now get something a little more modern, joining the ranks of You Think and Party. Fire Alarm is a pop dance track that brings out the vocal dynamics of the group. The vocals during the chorus were loud to avoid being covered up by the instrumental. The vocals on the album thus far have been on the softer side, so it is nice to hear something a little more hard-hitting. And in combination with the instrumental, Fire Alarm becomes punchy, making this a standout for me. (8/10)

7. Talk TalkTalk Talk is a standard pop track. There isn’t anything that great about the song that blew me away or got me interested in the track. There were a few minor things but they don’t really change my initial feelings regarding the song. There are some Western pop vibes in the track which I managed to catch. It does give a tinge of nostalgia, which was nice. The vocals were also pretty good, especially with the ad-libs at the end. But as I said, these weren’t enough to keep me from skipping to the next track. (7/10)

8. Green LightGreen Light, at first sounded like another pop track. But I found the melody of the chorus to be very appealing. It is a very fluffy type of song, which isn’t my style at all. But I guess we all have our guilty pleasures occasionally. I also liked the epic style of the countdown that launched us into the chorus. It is a different pairing than usual but it sounded good. I also enjoyed the rapping, giving the song some texture and preventing it from becoming too repetitive as a result. (8/10)

9. ParadiseParadise is actually an impressive track. I did not expect something to be so catchy out of this one, given how it started with the ‘P P P Paradise’. I thought it was childish and potentially annoying. But rather, it grew on me and I quite enjoy it (to the point where I sing along). It is another pop track, so the instrumental doesn’t really make it memorable. But the vocals were fantastic in the track. The melody was very pretty and allowed for the vocals to shine in this bright song. (9/10)

10. Check – If you read through my Party review (link above), I mistakenly identified that this was the title track for the album at the time of writing the Party review. I think I got some information from a forum. Based on this, I don’t think I will ever use a forum as a ‘source of information’ for several reasons. The first, the group and company opted for a different title track. Secondly, Check is a very sluggish song that would not have gotten much fanfare if it was selected for continuous promotion for 3 or 4 weeks. The vocals weren’t great, and I pretty much remember skipping over the track when I saw the side promotion of it during the first week of the comeback. (4/10)

11. Sign – Positioned after the disappointing Check, Sign comes off as cool and dynamic. There is an edgy sound to the track thanks to the electric and synth-based instrumental and I think this track directly compliments the likes of You Think. I particularly liked the vocals in the song. While the instrumental seemed to go for a mid-tempo speed, the vocals were dragged out. I liked the contrast and thought it created a very alluring atmosphere. The song doesn’t have a catchy element too, but I think the vocal and instrumental combination makes it memorable. (9/10)

12. Bump ItBump It starts off as a ballad. And then it takes a 180° turn to become a hip-hop/R&B dance track. Come to the think of it, Bump It doesn’t sound like a ballad whatsoever, so I guess the change is definitely a step in the right direction. And reading the lyrics, I feel like that ballad extension at the start could have been left out entirely as it didn’t contribute much to the track (both musically and lyrically). For the upbeat parts, I thought there was nice edgy energy running through it and I felt this was very memorable. I like the rap-like pre-chorus launch and the melody was quite catchy. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

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Lion Heart Individual Teaser Images

[Review] Four Seasons – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Taeyeon has returned with a brand new single, Four Seasons. Actually, let me fix that. The music video for Four Seasons was released yesterday, while the actual song won’t officially be released until tomorrow night. But that won’t stop us from having a review written up as both elements for the review are present. We last saw Taeyeon through SNSD’s subunit, SNSD-Oh!GG and the title track, Lil Touch.

A few releases of Taeyeon’s the past have been of an experimental nature including Something New and I Got Love. Four Seasons seems to follow this trend. While it takes the form of an upbeat ballad, there is a slight reggae influence mixed into the melody of the song. Despite that, it featured some classical instrumentation, giving that impression of a ballad. And I think this is a fairly interesting mix. Since it is something we don’t get often, it is quite refreshing and unique. Once again, you cannot write a Taeyeon centric review without discussing her vocals. Her vocals are showcased very elegantly, with some variety in her tone. I particularly like those speaking moments just before the chorus. It gives the song some texture and really made the chorus feel slightly suspenseful. I also like the ‘Ooh Ooh‘ in the background. I can’t describe how it adds to the song but it is definitely there for a reason. Without it, I think would be a tad empty for my liking. Overall, Four Seasons was served as a fresh comeback from the pop queen.

The song talks about the pros and cons of love in each of the Four Seasons. And to compliment that, we have Taeyeon in each of the Four Seasons throughout the music video. She licks an ice cube and has the fan running in on Summer. The trees are bare and snow is present, alongside a deer during Winter. Spring features falling petals, while Autumn is a golden glow. Pretty aesthetic ways of showcasing the seasons. I also like how there is also time to include a different set, which involved Taeyeon singing in a very nice dress and in front of a large mural of a couple going in for a kiss. I also like the selected English lyric subtitled throughout the song and the borders we get with them. interesting to have but very nice, overall.

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

[Review] Into You – Yuri (SNSD)

With uncertainties on when a full group comeback will take place, the members of SNSD have taken the solo route for the time being. With a number of the members well-known for their acting, others have embarked on their solo careers as singers. Yuri is the next member to join the solo music career with her debut single, Into You, which features on the mini-album, The First Scene. Yuri also recently ‘debuted’ alongside Sunny, Taeyeon, Yoona and Hyoyeon as members of Oh!GG, who recently released Lil’ Touch.

Into You is a simple sounding pop track that has notions of tropical throughout it, especially during the chorus. It is here, at the chorus, that you find the strongest section of the song. The chorus doesn’t change but there is an air of familiarity that I just cannot shake off. It is like I have heard the tune somewhere before but I just cannot identify it at all. And it is this air of familiarity that makes it appealing for me. Her vocals were quite nice and felt fitting for the song. I liked how she stayed within her boundaries for this song. The major issue with the song is its plainness. I personally like it. But I understand why some people would think it is plain. On top of that, I fear that if I listen to the song too many times, I would get tired of it quite easily. I would have liked to have heard something that gave the verses and bridge of the song some life (e.g. a rap sequence from a featuring artist). But besides that, I think it is a good song.

Like the song, the music video does have that plain feeling. I personally find Yuri one of the most beautiful people in KPOP. And the music video does a good job of showing off her beauty and figure. But other than that, there isn’t much to the video. I found the sets very bland. There were some scenes to give some mysterious vibes but they were easily forgotten. The only scene which I like was the dancing in the water but even that has been done multiple time before.

I thought the choreography was rather nice. I thought the hip-swaying was perfect for the chorus. I thought the dance breaks were rather nice as well but I preferred the ending one as Yuri was moving more. I like the aesthetics the stage brought, which went well with the song.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] Lil’ Touch – Girls’ Generation-Oh!GG

Fans became shocked to learn that 3 of the members of SNSD (Tiffany, Sooyoung and Seohyun) did not resign their contracts with SM Entertainment last year. However, fans were reassured as the 8-member group would remain together as SNSD. For the time being, it seems like SNSD is focusing on their solo activities or, in this case, subunit activities. SNSD has launched SNSD-Oh!GG a 5-member subunit made up of the members who chose to remain at SM Entertainment (Sunny, Taeyeon, Hyoyeon, Yoona and Yuri). Their ‘debut’ single, Lil’ Touch was released today.

Like all subunits, Lil’ Touch does not conform to what SNSD commonly releases. This song is a lot edgier than any of their previous releases, which I thought was a real charming point of the song. The song takes on a minimalistic approach with its pop instrumental. The beat is repetitive, accompanying the catchy melody and making this track quite addictive, as promised by the members. I thought the song was vocally quite good, especially during the pre-chorus. The verses seemed to be mixed up with a little rap-speaking, which I thought was rather different. Overall, Lil’ Touch may be very different but it definitely one cool track.

The music video is a little confusing. The members are running away from something but you don’t really see what they are running away from. They enter each room or set very cautiously, which I thought was rather interesting. Besides that, each member becomes very charismatic throughout the video, showing off their sexy side during their close up shots. If the plot doesn’t grab your attention, their looks will do the job very sufficiently. It was a good video to watch, minus the confusion.

The choreography looked quite cool. We could only see snippets throughout the music video but there was enough to confirm the following. It is a super upbeat performance, proving very fitting for the song. I like how they incorporate that edginess from the song into their dance as well.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Page 0 – Taeyeon (SNSD) & Melomance

SM Station is back and they are delivering us with songs from a brand new project known as Station x 0. While I am not sure of the difference between this project and SM Station itself, 6 new songs will be unveiled (starting today) of collaborations between various artists. We will see Chanyeol and Sehun from EXO collaborating with each other, Baekhyun and Loco releasing a track and a 4 member single performed by Red Velvet’s Seulgi, GFriend’s SinB, Chungha and GI-DLE’s Soyeon, just to name a few. However, kicking things off today is Taeyeon (from SNSD) and chart-topping duo, Melomance.

Their song is Page 0 and I am totally digging it. I thought they would go with some boring ballad route but their song ended up being very vibrant and cheerful, which I really liked. It can also be described as refreshing, which fits neatly into the Summer releases we have been getting. Melomance’s signature vocals to the song, which automatically lifts the energy of the song up. Taeyeon sounds amazing, per usual. I thought their harmonies were amazing throughout the song. I really like the keyboard in the instrumental, particularly the keyboard-only start for the second verse. The chorus was really catchy, making me sing along within the first few listens of the track.

The song shares one simple message, to take on the world as it is your own life. And that is what we are shown here. It shows people comfortable in their own skin, regardless of whoever they are. And I think that is something we are all striving to do, making sure the world is a better place for everyone. For that, I think it is a really beautiful video. I like how the video makes your smile, which goes well with the sound of the song, overall.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

 

[Review] Stay – Taeyeon

I took a little break from my JPOP reviews last week because I was honestly running out of reviews to write. During that week off, I did find a few others so the JPOP reviews live on! Today’s focus will be on Taeyeon’s solo debut in Japan, Stay, which was released on the 30th of June. Taeyeon also recently made her solo return in South Korea and I reviewed both her title track (Something New) and album (Something New).

Right off the bat, the first impression I had of Stay was that it could be the Japanese counterpart for Taeyeon’s iconic I. While Stay does not have the explosive vocals, the energy and colour between the two are commonly uniform. It does do a good job at showing off the soloist’s vocals, which does serve as a good reminder of how she started off in KPOP as a solo artist (especially given how all her Korean releases have been more of the unique nature). What I also liked about the song was its peaceful nature. It didn’t employ EDM or synths, instead opting for a more traditional sound and instrumental, which allows her vocals to shine more. I did think the bridge was a little too different from the overall feel of the song and I haven’t been able to get used to it so far. Other than that, it was a good song.

I really liked the golden lighting that they had throughout the video, which does compliment the song. It gives a warm atmosphere, which does go quite well with the song. Going back to the idea that this is the Japanese counterpart of the I debut, the music videos are quite similar. In both videos, it seems like she is rediscovering herself by putting herself into a foreign environment. Likewise, the golden fields in this video remind me of the green fields in the I video.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Album Review] Something New (3rd Mini Album) – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Apologies for the lateness of this album review. I am still trying to catch up with some of the albums from a few weeks ago and keeping up to date with some of the latest albums. But we are here for Taeyeon!  The vocalist released ‘Something New’ two weeks ago, along with her 3rd mini-album, which shares the same name as the title track. I have noticed that some people have been searching the site for this review, so I bumped its release to be a little earlier than what I had planned. So let’s not waste anymore time and get the show on the road!

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Something New Album Cover

1..Something New (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Something New. (8/10)

2. All Night Long (저녁의 이유) (ft. Lucas from NCT) – The pop-reggae song opens up with Lucas rapping, following with Taeyeon singing the rest of the song. It is here where I get a bit of Where Is The Love (by Black Eye Peas) vibes and this stays throughout the song. I personally liked the chorus of the song, which has this bright and upbeat feel that makes me sway along to the beat of the song. It also makes you feel good, which is amazing (considering how stress I have been the last few days). Taeyeon’s vocals shine here as well, especially the high note at the end. (9/10)

3. Baram X 3 (바람 바람 바람)Baram X 3 has this upbeat feel that you won’t get anywhere else on this album. And for that, the song does standout quite a lot. I thought the horns used in the instrumental for the track really gave the song that pop, which makes it stand out even more. The chorus was super catchy, especially how she sings the Baram Baram Baram with a lot of enthusiasm, which gets the listeners interested. (9/10)

4. One Day (너의 생일) – The song opens up with instrumentation (xylophone or triangle?) that has a really nice twinkling effect. It sets the tone for the song and instantly sets you to a calm mode, which I really like. Other than that, Taeyeon manages to show off her vocals throughout the song, which isn’t any surprise. However, it sounds so nice. It is a nice song to have a stroll to. The English line that starts off the chorus is surprisingly catchy, sticking in my head for a very long time after the song ends. (9/10)

5. Circus – With a title like this, I expected the song to be have some fun vibes. Instead, the song takes a ballad approach. And while this wasn’t to my expectations, the song is definitely show-stopping enough. Its very simple instrumental, consisting of piano and percussion makes you feel like you are alone with her on a very beautiful starry night. Her vocals were exceptional, to the point where when I listen to the song, I can’t do anything but take a moment and listen to its entirety. It ends the album on a truly beautiful note and is easily a song that I do end up going back for more. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

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Something New Teaser Image

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[Review] Something New – Taeyeon (SNSD)

The announcement of  Taeyeon’s comeback and 3rd mini-album appeared out of the blue last week. She is known for her chart-topping hits, such as I and Fine. And with the release of her new mini-album, she will most likely add Something New to that list, with the release of both her mini-album and title track today. Taeyeon previously released This Christmas last year as a special Christmas single.

Opening up Something New is an autotuned yet harmonizing acapella-like introduction which really engages you. It isn’t something that you hear all too often hence why I found it intriguing. The song then takes a turn and progresses into a more upbeat territory which remains for the rest of the song. It takes on a neo-soul urban pop genre mashup, a first for Taeyeon, who has experimented in the past with different sounds. I really like the funky and groovy sounds you get from the song, which really puts it in an even more interesting light. I also liked how light her voice feels in this song, especially during the chorus. There is this balance between her voice and the instrumental, with the latter being bold yet still complimenting the vocals. I really liked the prechorus and the bridge of the song, as those moments stood out the most for me. The chorus had a decent hook but it wasn’t exactly the selling point for me. I think, just based on the different sound itself, the song does feel memorable. Overall, it is a nice song. 

The music video starts off with Taeyeon’s makeup all over the place. We see a snippet of the video to come but you don’t really realize what is about to occur. The video then goes back to Taeyeon (who is beautifully presented) arriving at her hotel (?) and walking the red carpet inside here, with a sea of photographers and fans waiting for her arrival. It seems behind closed doors she is a taregt for everyone, with the bodyguard in the lift and the room service maid attempting to kill her. However in both scenarios, she emerges victorious and I assume their bodies in luggage. At the end of the video, we see her tossing all her luggage out into the sea and shooting them for good measures. Cash spills out of some of them. While I am not sure how the video exactly fits in with the song, someone on the YouTube comments suggested that the people out to get her were the haters and Taeyeon is fighting back. Makes sense. At the end, I think it was revealed that everything we had watched was a movie within the video, though I am not too sure. I thought it was a well produced video with an interesting plotline.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Review] This Christmas – Taeyeon (SNSD)

Taeyeon is nominated for Best Female Soloist for this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you want to support her and your favourite groups, click here to get voting!

SM Entertainment doesn’t mess around when it comes to the Christmas season. Usually, they end the year with Christmas albums for some of their artists and lineup many collaborations for the upcoming festive seasons. This year is no exception and to kick things off is Taeyeon with her first Christmas album, titled as This Christmas – Winter Is Coming.

The lead title track from the album is This Christmas, which is another ballad to add to Taeyeon’s forever expanding portfolio. This Christmas features a very nice piano instrumental that makes you feel warm but manages to prick an emotion or two out of you. I liked the late buildup of the instrumental. Even though it did make the start feel a little dragged out, it is not how you start but rather how you end. And the end of the song gives off a grand feel. Most importantly, however, is that the instrumental compliments her vocals very well. They make the song feel so much more emotional. The latter half of the song (where the instrumentation picks up) showcases Taeyeon’s vocals in such a beautiful light that I have to say that this is one of her best works yet.

The music video focuses on the girl’s relationship with her father, centring around Christmas. It starts off with the typical loving father and daughter relationship when is young. As she gets older, the relationship gets rocky and we see multiple scenes of her walking out on her dad and pushing her father away. In the end, it implies that Taeyeon is the young girl. The storyline made it into a very beautiful video to watch. I love the various effects they used to make it feel like Taeyeon was in a snowstorm with the snow blowing rapidly and the fast-moving camera work. I think that was the best scene in the entire video. 

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