[Review] RUN2U – STAYC

Returning back to Monday, STAYC also made their comeback on this day, with RUN2U and their second mini-album, Young-Luv.com. This new release follows their successful 2021, which started off with their hit ASAP, and their September 2021 release STEREOTYPE (the latter earned them their first music show win since debut).

RUN2U has a lot of potential to be the next big track for STAYC. And for the most part, I feel that the song lives up to that potential. But the verses were just so boring and lackluster. One of the reasons why I feel this way was because of the bare/minimalistic instrumentation. Now, the bareness stays on in the other parts of the song that I would describe as highlights of RUN2U, as it helped draw out some interesting elements that I ultimately enjoyed (though it comes back to bite them later on – more on that in a little bit). In the verses, the bareness/minimalistic just made RUN2U feel so empty and dry. Another reason is that I didn’t get much out of the vocals and rapping. They lacked character and profile. This does get better though, as when we enter the pre-chorus territory, we get a familiar profile of the vocals that reminds me of STAYC’s 2021 tracks. Apart from the verses, as I flagged earlier, other parts of RUN2U was quite catchy and memorable. I really like the squeaky brass synth used in the chorus as the song’s central element. It did sound off at first, but I find it extremely charming now. I also liked the ‘So I’ll run to you‘ repetition in the chorus, and the melodies that make up the lines that follow. The pulsing/descending spiral like synth at the start of the song was also quite notable for me, which kicked RUN2U off with a bit of sophistication. The “Little Bit Little Bit” hook was also memorable for me, but not as much as the chorus’ hooks. When we got to the final chorus, I wished the producers added something new into the mix, just to give us a bit of freshness, excitement and pop to make RUN2U end on a much stronger note. That bareness and minimalistic vibe they adopted throughout the song bites them at the end, and makes the song feel repetitive in a bone-dry way, which ultimately is not a good thought to have at the very end of the song. Thankfully, it had the catchy chorus to rely on (which I just really dig) to make the final chorus a bit better.

Colourful sets, a range of closeups and choreography shots. That is the music video summed up. So a bit generic and typical. I did like the more elegant shots (the scenes with the crystals hanging down, the colourful flowers) the video had, and I wished the video explored more of that side for this comeback. They also felt a bit more cohesive as a concept compared to the mashup of colours we got in the brighter and colourful sets.

The choreography was on the meh side of the spectrum for me. I did like the domino pattern than began the performance with, but the rest of the performance just felt a bit flat and nothing really stood out at me.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

[Review] STEREOTYPE – STAYC

There is a lot riding on STAYC’s comeback, following the delayed but welcomed success of ASAP a few months back. Now, the six-member female group from High Up Entertainment is looking to extend their success with their first mini-album and title track, STEREOTYPE. While it is a bit early to decide whether this mini-album and comeback as a whole will be another successful release for the group, it isn’t too early to review STEREOTYPE.

One of the factors that helped ASAP (and probably every other song that I didn’t enjoy at first) grow on me is time. STEREOTYPE doesn’t have luxury, and so my review for STAYC’s new song will be based on my thoughts a day after its release. I will say that STEREOTYPE is quite a pleasant sounding song. To a certain degree, I think the song can be describe as minimalistic, as it goes without any hard-hitting or loud synths. I feel like this is a play on ASAP‘s killer hook, which was also minimalistic in its own way. Furthermore, in a world of music that is heavily dominated by synths and electronic instrumentation, a song like STEREOTYPE is very appreciable. But this is also STEREOTYPE‘s limiting factor. I like the minimal and light nature of the instrumentation, but I also find the song is be quite stagnant. It felt the same from start to end, and I don’t feel like the song developed much in its 3 minute run. Sure, STEREOTYPE had some decent vocals and the chorus did give off a ASAP type of vibe that reminded me of ASAP‘s killer hook. But I think the song could have been a bit more dynamic. Similarly, I don’t think the song had strong hooks. There were some melodies that felt like they had potential, but I didn’t think it was enough. Other than that, I don’t have much else to say about the song. STEREOTYPE has its merits, but also its flaws. But who knows what time might do to my thoughts on STEREOTYPE.

I wasn’t a fan of their last music video. But for STEREOTYPE, I feel that their company really pulled through and definitely improved the quality of the video. I guess the newfound success of their previous comeback has allowed their company to invest more in music video department, opting for CGI. I feel these additions made the music video more fun, colourful and modern. They worked well with the pleasant nature of the song and didn’t feel over the top at all. The massive bunny was my favourite (mildly terrifying, but also quite cute). I also liked how bright the video looks and how the members look like they are genuinely enjoying their time.

The performance was actually cool. I didn’t have much expectation going into the performance for some reason, but I quite enjoyed it. I particularly like the pre-chorus domino effect they going on. That was the best part of the choreography!

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] ASAP – STAYC

It is time to review a song which I should have done so many weeks ago when the song was first released. The song which I am speaking about is STAYC’s ASAP. For those who don’t know, STAYC has been garnering a lot of traction with the release of ASAP. Their song has been rising on the music charts in Korea and their music video has already pulled in over 20 million views since its release a month ago, a rare feat for a newly debut female group. ASAP follows STAYC’s debut with SO BAD, which I have previously reviewed. Their debut song faired fairly well based on my standards. Will ASAP do the same? Continue reading to find out.

The main reason to why I didn’t jump right into reviewing ASAP when it first came out (aside from time constraints) was that the song didn’t really appeal to me at first. It sounded generic initially with its unimaginative pop approach, in combination with the song’s (what I thought at the time) dull instrumentation and synth hook. However, a lot can happen in a month. And since the song’s release, ASAP has managed to weave its way into the category of songs in which I would describe as pleasant. The synth hook (i.e. the short but repetitive flute-like high pitch synth) is literally keyed into your mind after many listens. Instead of the initial plainness the synth featured, it actually had a very appreciable aesthetic, which made the song enjoyable. Similarly, I think the same can be said about the chorus, before and after those multiple listens. There was an extremely pleasing sensation that comes from the melodies of the song, and the metal xylophone they use in the chorus felt similar to ASAP‘s main synth hook. The plainness in which I felt initially from the chorus actually ended up being a charm to the song. I also find the song’s spoken delivery of the title ‘ASAP‘, as emotionless they sound, quite charmful. I also like the distorted piano in the bridge to be an interesting and aesthetic touch towards the end of the song. However, there are some things that the multiple listens just didn’t help resolve. Namely, the verses didn’t (and still does not) sound as nice as they could have been. Am I head over heels for ASAP? No, I am not. But I do think ASAP ended up having its own charms and unexpectedly pulled me in with said charms.

I am not surprised that the music video took a page out of the generic book. No number of listens or views for me would change my mind on the music video. While I appreciate the really bright colours and all the comic special effects, the music video just felt like any other video from a newly debuted female group. I would say that ASAP shows STAYC in cutesy mode, just without going overboard. But I felt the video was heading in that direction, for me at least. For the sets, I thought they were typical and added very little substance to the music video as a whole.

I really liked the cool factor that was present in the choreography, particularly around the song’s main synth hook. The same effect could be felt from the song and the choreography for me. It was plain, but it worked in harmony with the charms of the song, hence I ended up liking it. I also liked how they stayed in sync with one another throughout the choreography, which always gives off a polished look.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.4/10

[Review] SO BAD – STAYC

Vote now before the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards polling page closes on the 31st of December. Click here to be taken to the page.

It is time for another review for a newly debut group. This time, we are covering a female group who is garnering a lot of attention. According to Wikipedia, this six-member female group received 2.4 million views within 24 hours of their music video release on the 12th of November. And their single album, Star To A Young Culture, sold over 10,000 albums within the first week – the first female debut to do so this year. Massive feats for a newcomer. STAYC, for those who don’t know, is the first female group to be produced by Black Eyed Pilseung under High Up Entertainment, who is extremely well known in the KPOP community for the many chart topping hits they have produced previously (TT and Roller Coaster to name a few). The member lineup consist of Sieun, Seeun, Sumin, J, Isa and Yoon.

STAYC’s debut single is titled SO BAD. But the song isn’t so bad itself. My first impression of the song was that I noticed the song had a recent APINK (I’m So Sick era onwards) vibe. To make sense of this, I did some research and STAYC’s producer, Black Eyed Pilseung, actually was the producer of those APINK songs. Go figure! It will be interesting to hear if this song was previously directed to APINK’s discography (but was rejected), as this is a common event that occurs in the music industry. Though the more I listen to SO BAD, the more I get the impression that this song was reserved just for STAYC. Firstly, I felt the instrumental was more relentless compared to APINK’s work. The retro instrumental’s bubbly effect just felt like it was continually coming at us and never felt like it took a breather. Secondly, I feel the members really do a good job of putting their own spin. It felt like there was a fair bit of attitude in the song, which is courtesy of their vocals. I quite like this, as it is this element that gives the song some oomph and drive, which really helps strengthens the song. I particularly like the pre-chorus and chorus sections of the song, which had the most energy and colour in the song. I also really enjoyed the whole bridge section, which had really satisfying high notes and showed off more vocal power. The group’s rappers’ voices are surprisingly deep, but I was totally digging their parts. I would love to hear more of them in their songs Overall, SO BAD lives up to the hype that they have generated. I just wonder if they can continue it with their subsequent comebacks.

I personally am not a fan of the video. While the editing was good and the quality was amazing for a small company, I just felt the sets were a bit typical. It looks like a mash up of different music videos put together. That aside, the group’s visual game is evidently strong, with their closeups blowing me away. They looked really stunning.

Their choreography was actually quite good. There isn’t really a killer move, however, though I was impressed with their introductory sequence that opened the song. It was different, but there was a nice formation and had this interesting aura to it.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10