[Review] Small Things – YESUNG (SUPER JUNIOR)

As flagged yesterday, I will be reviewing two new releases today. There hasn’t been too much this week, so you probably know which ones already. First up is YESUNG’s solo comeback with Small Things and his first studio length album, Sensory Flow. The release occurred on 25 January (this week’s Wednesday), and follows YESUNG’s solo comeback Pink Magic from 2019.

There isn’t much to Small Things, if I am being honest. No matter how I draft this review or how much I listen to the song, I can’t seem to write any more than a couple of lines about YESUNG’s new song. This might be a good thing, but it is also a not-so-good thing (more on that later). Small Things is another pleasant track, this time delving into an indie form of soft rock. It is also subdued and laidback, as well. Small Things brings a huskier tone to the audience, with YESUNG’s vocals being in this huskier mode for majority of the song. It definitely sounds amazing and I do find it warm and enjoyable. Paired with the slight swaying melody that brings Small Things to life, Small Things pokes you in the right spot. However, apart from all of that, I didn’t find much else to pull me into the song. All of the above is great, but without anything captivating or alluring, I just don’t see myself searching up this song on YouTube or my music app. If Small Things pops up, awesome – I will listen to it then. But at this stage, there isn’t anything driving me towards the song. This is the ‘not-so-good’ thing about pleasant songs with little to talk about.

The music video is just as pleasant as the song. YESUNG is depicted as an indie singer who performs in small bars and such alongside his bandmates. He falls in love with a girl who also has the same passion as him. In the song, he says it is the “small things comes together, gonna shine so bright”, whilst also explaining the small things can be a small smile or footsteps. In the video, it is the fact that they have music as a common element, that she passes him a cassette to listen to and that she comes to his performances (although late). It is small things like that makes him like her. Overall, a nice video. Just nothing riveting in this video or story. I did like the home style video shots we get throughout the video, which compliments the indie style I mentioned about the song and the setting of the video.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] Mango – Super Junior

It has been almost 17 years since Super Junior started out, and yet they are still going strong! It still amazes me to hear that Super Junior are still at it in this tough industry! Super Junior returned in July of this year with their 11th studio album The Road: Keep on Going and the title track Mango. Their last comeback was from last year when they returned with House Party and The Renaissance (their 10th studio album). In addition, the group also did release a special single earlier this year titled Callin’ ahead of their ninth tour.

To me, Mango is best described as a pleasant pop song and I believe this helps make it one of their best title tracks in recent memory. The pleasant side is appreciable, especially in an industry that is heavily dominated by heavy and intense EDM/synths. And the pop profile of Mango‘s instrumental makes it straightforward and satisfying to listen to. The melodies are probably the best aspect of Mango for me. They were quite catchy and easy on the ears. And it just isn’t the chorus melodies that I found to be easy on the ears. Even the verses had some great melodic flow and it made the entirety of Mango more enjoyable. I also found myself humming to the song a number of times since I checked out the song. The vocal work was quite solid. However, with such a vocal centric song, I did expect some harder hitting ad-libs and more powerful moments that weren’t held onto until the end. This would have helped make Mango potentially more stunning and potentially addresses my next issue with the song. Call me hypocritical, but while I did like the pleasantness of Mango, part of me did think it also contributed to the feeling that Mango was a bit plain. Now, I am not expecting a House Party breakdown (that would ruin the song for me – yes, the feeling is still strong). But I kind of wished Mango did something just a bit more to give Mango a wow factor. This could have been strong ad-libs or vocals throughout the song (as already mentioned), or a suitable rap sequence that kicks the momentum up. I do lean towards the latter option a bit more, simply because Mango is missing a substantial rap sequence (we did this rap speak hybrid, but it was more speak in my point of view). I know I have previously advocated that not all songs need a rap sequence (hypocritical me strikes again), but Mango could have used one (provided it was well executed and fits in with the pop vibes of the song). But overall, Mango is still enjoyable and neat Summer pop track for us.

The music video also could have used a bit of a wow factor. Don’t get me wrong, but it is great to still see most of the members on the screen. And the pleasant pop vibe of the song does admittedly constrict the number of concepts that could have been part of this comeback. But this is KPOP we are speaking about and they belong to SM Entertainment. Surely, someone in the company could have thought of something a bit more creative. Aside from that mini-rant, I did like the colourful nature and lighting, which made it suitable for the Summer season. I also enjoyed the Broadway/theatre entrance setting, as felt fitting for the pop vibe of the song. But I guess I wanted more from the music video aspect of this comeback.

The choreography was great but yet simple. It didn’t have anything impressive from what I could see, but it was definitely showed how to have a good time. My favourite part is choreography during the the extended ‘la la la‘ sequence just before the bridge.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Callin’ – Super Junior

Super Junior is one of the two acts that are first up this week. The legendary group has returned with special single album, titled The Road: Winter for Spring, and is lead with the title track, Callin’. This comes almost a year after the group’s comeback with their tenth studio album, The Renaissance, and title track House Party. And I believe that we will be seeing more of the group later this week, as it seems like the group will be promoting this new release, after news that Ryeowook would be sitting out of promotions as he recently tested positive to COVID-19.

Callin’ is a ballad that delves into the pop rock genre. It is quite a beautiful one that captivates me the few times I have listened to the song tonight already, which is undoubtedly a very positive effect. The melodies in Callin’ are very flowy and dreamy, while the vocal work amazes me and shows off the members in a stunning fashion. They are so clear and quite dominant, so much so that it is the focus point of the song. I am also absolutely liking the layering of vocals just before the chorus. It just gives Callin’ an interesting texture, refocuses my attention on the song, and makes it more than just a straight forward pop rock ballad. The harmonies also help adds definition to the main vocals, which enhances the stunning nature of Callin’. The instrumental is pretty standard for the genre selected, but I like how it compliments the vocals extremely well and aids in bolstering the vocals. There are some squeaky synths in Callin’ that seems like they are out of place, but I don’t mind them. They actually provided a bit of unique touch to the song, given their unique profile. Altogether, I find Callin’ to be an extremely inviting and warm aura track, which I am sure is the intended direction of the track judging by the lyrics (which talks about wanting to love despite of their past bad experiences).

I liked the animation at the start and end of the video and how it interlinked with the actual shots of the members in the home. It appears that the members had seek refuge in the home from the weather, which seems to represent the painful memories and bad experiences. They warm themselves up, which in turn reminds them the good memories, until they are ready to move on and ‘rediscover’ love. They also do a lot of reflection during this time. The animated ending shows them rediscovering the feeling of love after leaving the confines of the home, as expressed in the lyrics. Overall, a nice and well thought out video for a song like this.

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

[Review] Moving On – Kyuhyun (Super Junior)

Moving On is nominated for Best Ballad in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Super Junior is also nominated for Best Return To Industry. Support Kyuhyun and Super Junior by clicking here to vote today!

The next category I am focusing on reviewing from the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards is Best Ballad. Of the six nominees, I have not reviewed two releases). The first is Kyuhyun’s January release of Moving On. Moving On is part of a series of songs that focuses on each season, 2021 Project: 季, with the song in question representing the season of Winter. Throughout 2021, Kyuhyun has also returned with the singles Coffee (representing Spring), Together (representing Summer). A similar previous project, Project: 季, came about in 2020 and included Daystar (Autumn) and Dreaming (Summer).

The Best Ballad category was on the last categories for me to finalise as it turned out that I didn’t know of many ballads from this year. So I spent a lot of time in the lead up to the announcement of nominees in October sifting through many ballads to see which one was worthy of a nomination. I stumbled across Moving On during this period and was in awe. Moving On is actually a remake single of Hong Seok Min’s 2015 release of the same name. What really took hold of me was the buildup of this ballad. As it progressed, Kyuhyun continually pushed out what I thought were the fixed boundaries of the song with his vocals. They started off soft, but they ended up soaring at the end. These are the type of ballads that I like, where the song itself aren’t just linear or consistent. It makes the ballad more appealing, captivating and dynamic in a balladry sense. On top of pushing out the boundaries, Kyuhyun portray the emotions behind Moving On extremely well, especially when the song builds. Maintaining that emotional heft has to be commended with Moving On, as that was the main driver to why I became attracted to Moving On. To accompanying the building vocals was a classically orchestral instrumented background. It definitely added to that captivation and dynamic sense that I had mentioned. And per usual, everything in Moving On came together to elicit that swaying effect that I used to gauge the effectiveness of a ballad.

Alongside Kyuhyun who sings in this music video, there are Gong Myung and Chae Soo Bin, who are the main characters of the story and are in a relationship. This is a continuation of Coffee and Together‘s music video, where the pair are seen in their younger years developing feelings for one another and making a move on the other. In this video, we see further happy memories of the couple in flashbacks. In present day however, Gong Myung’s character is moving on knowing that the relationship was not going anywhere. Chae Soo Bin’s character is unaware of these developments in her relationship, but did spend some time wondering why Gong Myung’s character was not getting in touch with her. When he does, he proposes for them to meet up and go on a date. It was a nice date, with the pair smiling throughout. Over dinner, it appears like he mentions his feelings and ends the relationship. Gong Myung walks away with a sad face on, but he isn’t devastated like Chae Soo Bin was (showing us that he had indeed moved on), while Chae Soo Bin was in tears at the table and as she walks away. The end shows Chae Soo Bin waking up, thinking her partner was still around. But it becomes a reality that their relationship is no more as she gets up alone and realizes that it was just her imagination. I liked the golden glow from the music video’s lighting for majority of the video, which gives the video a warmer and comforting tone which compensates for the emotional and heartfelt story that we got.

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

[Review] be – Eunhyuk (Super Junior)

In preparation of the upcoming return of Super Junior’s most active subunit, Super Junior D&E, with their first studio-length album (which also marks their 10 year anniversary as a unit), Donghae and Eunhyuk have released their first major solo songs since their debut over 15 years ago. Today, I will be reviewing their solo releases ahead of their official comeback in November. Now, it is Eunhyuk’s be.

If I had to compare the solo tracks from both Donghae and Eunhyuk, Eunhyuk’s be is definitely my pick. I find this song to just be more captivating to listen to. Eunhyuk may not be the Super Junior that is most known for his vocals, but he does an amazing job in be. We get some good vocals from Eunhyuk throughout the song, with him slipping into falsetto territory when we get to the chorus, which helped made the song stunning and aesthetic. When I heard be for the first time, I thought the song was going to be rather monotone. But I judged too quickly and the parts that we did get that were neutral contributed to the overall aesthetic of the song. For the instrumentation, the song falls within the pop domain. It was quite atmospheric to listen to, and also contributed to the overall aesthetics of the song. be‘s strongest part (and highlight) has to be the instrumental break. In the midst of the song, you get this rather choppy and random assortment of synths that forms the instrumental break, which pulls back your attention to the song. I really enjoyed how fitting it was with the overall aesthetic of be, and how cohesive it felt. It also added a level of dynamism and edge to the song, which made be even more captivating. It isn’t original technique, but it was definitely a well-used one.

I really liked the message behind the song, which was to his younger self (but it can be applied more broadly to everyone else). It was a simple message to not give up and to push forward, and that his adult self (present day Eunhyuk) would also be a part of his younger self. It is a bit of an abstract idea. But it simply says that your successful self is within you, you just need to push forward to discover that form of yourself. In the video, we see Eunhyuk dance (and is interchanged) with a young boy often, giving a visual representation to his message. At the end, we see Eunhyuk present self ascend to the sky, who looks back and smiles in such a proud and caring way. For the choreography scenes, I quite like the shots with the white stairs, as it felt complimentary to the message. But the one in the carpark and Eunhyuk dressed in green just didn’t fit the aesthetic in my opinion.

The choreography for be looked very cool and interpretative to a degree. I particularly like the swirl that is made with his and the dancers arms at the start of the choruses, and the dance break.

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

[Review] California Love – Donghae (Super Junior) ft. Jeno (NCT)

In preparation of the upcoming return of Super Junior’s most active subunit, Super Junior D&E, with their first studio-length album (which also marks their 10 year anniversary as a unit), Donghae and Eunhyuk have released their first major solo songs since their debut over 15 years ago. Today, I will be reviewing their solo releases ahead of their official comeback in November. First up is Donghae’s California Love, which features Jeno from NCT.

California Love is another one of those songs that is riddled with a case of excessive autotune. For this R&B pop track, it didn’t feel needed. Donghae has proven himself to be a capable singer without the autotune in other tracks, so I am not sure why all his vocals had to be autotuned throughout the entirety of the track. Sure it could have been used to be an intriguing element, but at least use it sparingly. It just sticks out for the wrong reasons. It is interesting to note that Jeno, who features in the second verse, isn’t as autotuned as Donghae. His rapping does have a bit of filtering to it, but it isn’t as excessive. And I find Jeno’s part to be more appealing as a result, thanks to both the lower degree of the autotune and also the mature vibes he gives off in the song (which compliments the R&B side of the song). For the rest of the song. California Love doesn’t ping as a memorable track. I did like the smoothness of the song overall, and enjoyed the melodies we got from Donghae’s lines (despite the autotune), especially when we got the choruses. It was all enough to make the song pleasant and appreciable, but California Love is not a mind-blowing song.

I think the video does well in the visual department. It definitely shows off the handsome features of Donghae via his closeups (his pink hair just sticks out and is quite a memorable feature of this video), and the city landscape behind him while he drives and dances looks stunning. But I don’t see it being any more than a visually appealing piece. It is definitely nice to see Jeno feature in the music video. As mentioned many times in the past, featuring artists don’t really make it into the video due to unavailability etc. But when they do, I quite liked it. And I feel Jeno does a good job here.

The live performance definitely makes the song much better. On stage, his vocals are not as filtered, and this made the song smoother and pleasanter. He does a good job handling the rapping sections, as well. I guess with the song’s style, we are restricted with the routine’s opportunity to be creative. But it was definitely fitting for the music and pleasant to watch, nonetheless.

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

[Album Review] The Renaissance (10th Studio Album) – Super Junior

Keeping in theme with the other reviews this weekend (reviews I should have written sooner), I have decided to review Super Junior’s 10th (!) studio album. It has been almost two months since the release of the album, titled The Renaissance. It features the title track House Party and a whole bunch of other new songs, including all the pre-releases which Super Junior have unvieled since late last year. The reason why I have decided to review this album to continue the theme of this weekend is because I feel I don’t review Super Junior all that often anymore. I have done a couple of album reviews for them previously. But given they have 10 studio albums (and countless mini-albums) under their belt, I feel I have a lot to catch up on. I have also been neglecting their solo work, so I better get to writing those reviews. But in the meantime, here is what I thought of The Renaissance.

The Renaissance Album Cover

1. Super Super gives us a teaser of what is to come on this album. The track itself is only a minute and half, and acts as the album’s introductory track. I liked the intensity of the track and the chanting delivery which makes Super feel very Super Junior. I just feel the short track was very plain when it came to its instrumentation. I think it would have been better served as a full-length track and was further down the tracklist. (7/10)

2. House Party (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for House Party. (6/10)

3. Burn The Floor Burn The Floor starts off very elegantly with its focus on waltz-like music in the verses. But if the name suggests any clues to you, this whole elegant touch is pretty much a ruse for what is to come. Burn The Floor integrates trap electronic music and a rush of intense energy into the song for the chorus over the top of the strings, keeping true to the start of the song. The transition between classical and electronic was very well done and clean-cut. Burn The Floor also throws a few more curveballs towards the end, such as the haunting bridge and dubstep finisher. The entire song is quite unexpected, but yet is a show stopping piece that has me coming back for more. And this doesn’t even consider the performance, which is really unique and one you ought to check out. (10/10)

4. Paradox Paradox features a funky background, which is fitting for the current trends of KPOP at the moment. However, the chorus takes more on a percussive route opting for an interesting mix of EDM that I find quite intriguing. In combination with the whispering vocals, the chorus comes off as surprisingly sleek and classy. The vocal work, aside from the chorus, were pretty solid. My biggest issue with the song is that it sounds rather loose, when you consider everything together. I just the various parts blended more with one another continued the momentum from the preceding sections. This would have made the song sound a lot more refined. (8/10)

5. Closer – We move away from the EDM and heavy emphasis on electronics with Closer, a R&B pop track. Closer is a lot easier on the ears and is simpler in terms of its arrangement, compared to the preceding tracks. But Closer has this really catchy underlying beat that makes this song hard to stay away from. With a softer song, the focus is without a doubt more on the vocal works. While all the members sound so nice throughout the song, I have to applaud both Kyuhyun and Ryeowook’s vocals that opened up the song’s two verses. They oozed so much charisma, pulling me into the song from the start. (9/10)

6. The Melody (우리에게)The Melody has a few great star attractions. The first is being the song’s feel-good melody. It makes the song extremely pleasant and gives off a simple atmosphere. The second is the instrumentation. It is an acoustic pop number, which is quite likeable. The simplistic nature of the song is further emphasized by the whistling and urge to foot-tap along to the beat of the song. The third has to be the vocals. Alone, the members handle their parts effortlessly well. But the harmonies is what gives the song so much depth. Altogether, The Melody brings a smile to your face while listening to it, and is also my favourite side track from this album. (10/10)

7. Raining Spell of Love (사랑이 멎지 않게) (Remake Ver.) Raining Spell of Love was previously a very emotive dance track from Super Junior’s seventh studio album, Mamacita. For this album, the song was remade into a ballad (piano and soft percussion) but it still retains the song’s original emotive and heart-breaking profile. The vocals in this version are breathtaking, especially when it came to the chorus when they all sang together. Yesung’s high note at the end was also spectacular. Also retained are the rap sequence. I personally felt that this version could have redone this sequence to be delivered by vocals and to make this more fitting in this version’s ballad set-up. (9/10)

8. MysteryMystery returns us to the start of the album with the focus on electronic and EDM. Mystery isn’t as explicit with this return however, opting for a more down-tempo atmosphere. I really liked how the vocals sounded in this song, aiding in making the song sound soothing and mature. But it is the instrumentation that I am not entirely sure about. It made the song unnecessarily busy. I would have preferred it if they took out one or two elements from the instrumentation to make the background a bit more fitting for the rest of the song’s atmosphere. (7/10)

9. More Days With You (같이 걸읅까) More Days With You is your more straightforward and traditional sounding ballad. Once again, the focus is more on the member’s vocals. I really like what they did for the chorus, making it breathy and airy. I also like the instrumentation. Piano, violins and acoustic guitars consistently throughout the song. Unfortunately, the melodies are not as memorable as the previous ballads on the album, which leaves it falling behind the rest on the album. But it still sounds good, nonetheless. (8/10)

10. Tell Me Baby (하얀 거짓말) – The final song on the album is an upbeat pop number. The energy coming from this song brings a smile to your face. It also gives me holiday vibes, as I think there are some instrumental influences in the background. It isn’t the most promising song on the album, but it was nice song to end the album with. Furthermore, there is actually a cute video to accompany this track on Super Junior’s YouTube channel. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

The Renaissance Teaser Image

[Review] House Party – Super Junior

One of the longest running groups of all time has finally made their comeback with their 10th studio album in celebration of their 15 years in the industry. For any of the new KPOP fans who are wondering, I am talking about Super Junior, who made their debut way back in 2005. Their 10th studio album is titled The Renaissance and features the title track, House Party. Previously, the group was teased their 10th studio album release with the pre-release The Melody. The album release was also originally scheduled for a December 2020 release, but was later postponed to February 2021. It was once again postponed until March 16th, which was when the album and new single, House Party, was officially released.

For the most part, House Party was a decent song. The song delves into funky pop track. It is something that Super Junior has done before. But this has less quirks than their usual releases and feel relatively more plain. However, at the same time, I do think Super Junior manages to infuse their own character and showmanship into the song. Furthermore, I think the plainness is offset by relentlessness of the song’s energy, which is practically 100% throughout the song. I also find their rap centric delivery to be quite engaging, despite it falling more to the cringy side of the spectrum. Their vocals during the chorus where they are all singing together really make the song feel more wholesome and feel-good. This momentum continues into the second verse, until we are interrupted by the most ill fitting trap hip-hop breakdown sequence ever. My reaction to it the first time around was a jaw drop and a confused look on my face. And while I do want to go back to replay the song for those funky feel good vibes, I have to brace myself as they lead us into this unnecessary edgy sequence in the song. Another aspect which I don’t like about this particular sequence is how much it felt like an insert. There is no transition into this segment. There was no attempt to blend it in or build up to it, which could have potentially made it sit a bit better in the song. It to me broke the song and I am left gutted by this as I was enjoying the high that they had going on preceding the second verse. Even though they returned to the what they started off with, House Party is left impacted by the sudden poorly thought out breakdown in the second verse.

I don’t know about you. But I expected something a little more along the lines of a house party, given the song’s name, and not just a house dinner. I am a bit disappointed on that part. But I guess the video make sense, given that a lot of our world are bored out of their minds because of quarantining and being in self isolation. And a dinner party with a couple of people, given that is what is most likely all you can do at the moment. Aside from touching on the current climate, the music video actually looks nice. I really like the elegant suits they wear. Their casual wear is a hit and miss for me. I did like the edgy black outfits they wore during the breakdown, though I am not exactly into the whole idea of shooting guns at your fellow members for no apparent reason. The music video had to do something edgy to match with that part of the song, so I acknowledge that. But even here, it looks really ill-fitting concept wise.

The choreography looks nice. I would have expected it to be a lot simpler, but I like it that they make sure the choreography matches the relentless nature of the energy exuded from the song. I also like how it still remains playful and looks fun as well.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

[Review] B.A.D – Super Junior-D&E

Super Junior-D&E has taken over the title as the most active Super Junior subunit over recent years, thanks largely to their annual comebacks that they have been having since 2018. The last time we heard from the pair (Donghae and Eunhyuk) was early last year with Danger, which faired pretty well. And after one year and four months, the pair returns with B.A.D and their fifth mini-album, Bad Blood.

B.A.D is a mix between the funky retro tunes that are slowly creeping back onto our playlists and the now classic trap genre. And it isn’t too bad of a mix. The funkiness comes through quite nicely through the use of guitar in the background. And I feel that the trap that is present in B.A.D is enough to give the song some intensity and fierceness. And everything was pretty sound, until we got to the bridge. And I quite like the bridge (it is one of the best bridges I have ever heard in a long time). But I question the need for the brief pause right after, which was filled with the cheesy ‘Bad…Bad‘. I felt like they could have bridged it better to the final chorus and avoided the whole cringe and cheesy ordeal. Similarly, I would have lost the ‘Na Na Na‘ at the end, which was layered on top of the rest of the track. There was a lot going on already and this additional layer also felt unnecessary. Aside from that, Donghae and Eunhyuk’s vocals are good. There were some good hooks that the pair presented quite well, especially when it came to the two-part hook, which as a whole was catchy. Their rapping packed a punch (as usual from the pair) and helped infuse more intensity and edge to the song.

I liked half the video and felt the other half was pretty confusing and dry. Interestingly, there was no story line to this video, so you might be wondering how I felt one half was good and the other half was confusing. Well, all the sections shot outside in the parking lot had a nice edgy feel to it. This is what I liked, which matched the whole idea of being bad. The whole sequence of them being caught being bad was a little funny. As for the confusion and dryness, that title went to the studio sets they shot in. I felt that wasn’t a good representation of whole concept. The whole idea of horses confused me at the start and I expected them to expand on that whole idea elsewhere in the video (which I don’t think they ever did). The sets also didn’t reflect the edgy vibes of the song and I felt the overly fast flashing lights for the tent they performed in was overkill.

While this is a good routine and the pair can still dance, I wished the moves were sharper and faster. This could have made the performance a little more impactful and not as soft at first glance. As for the best part of the whole routine, I have to vote for the bridge sequence (everything up until the brief pause).

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

[Review] When We Are Us – Super Junior KRY

Another Monday release that I need to review. I think there is one more after this one, but I will hold that for tomorrow. Today’s focus will be on Super Junior K.R.Y, which is a subunit of Super Junior’s main vocalists – Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung. The unit made its debut back in 2006 with The One I Love and we last saw the three promote as a unit in 2015 with the release of the Japanese single, Join Hands. On Monday, the unit made their grand return with When We Are Us and their first ever mini-album of the same name. It is said that this comeback is the start of the many Super Junior activities we will see this year as they celebrate 15 years in the Korean music industry.

As Super Junior K.R.Y is made of main vocalists, it makes the most sense for the unit to go with songs that focuses on their vocals. And as I have stated a lot recently, the most typical way to do this is through a ballad. With that statement, you can tell that When We Are Us is a ballad, singing about longing for a loved one. It feels and sounds like your typical ballad, with those swaying melodies that I always enjoy in ballads and a beautiful instrumental made of the classical piano and strings. Vocally, I don’t think it is worth pointing how breathtaking they sound (FYI, they do sound amazing, as one would expect). They have already showed us long time fans and listeners of KPOP their vocal abilities through Super Junior activities and more recently through their solo endeavours. As for which section caught my attention, I didn’t find anything that memorable to talk about as it is that typical ballad. But as the song progresses towards its peak in the bridge, the song got very interesting very quickly. Sadly, it was brief but that is what you expect from the peak of the song. Here, the soaring vocals are layered on top of each other, before ending with high note harmony with all three members. The ad-libs that follow, along with the final set of harmonies ties the song together nicely. Overall, it is still a nice ballad. Just very typical in a nutshell.

I think I have mentioned this before. But Super Junior is such a senior group that they are well respected by fans and other artists that come after them. And with that mentality that their fans will continue to support them nonetheless, the music video can be dry as a bone. This is what we are experiencing here. Aside from some artsy shots with TVs positioned around them, the sets were incredibly lackluster. While I assume the swimming pool set was meant to offset the darker scenes of the member’s closeup shots and go hand-in-hand with their lyrics (i.e. references to the colour blue and Summer), I can’t help but note how empty it felt. I am not expecting flashing lights and club scenes to fill up the space, but there are many successful ballad music videos with a lot more substance within them.

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

[Album Review] Timeless (9th Repackaged Album) – Super Junior

Super Junior made their comeback last week with 2YA2YAO!, which is the title track from their recent album, Timeless. For those who don’t know, this is their group’s 9th repackaged album, which was formerly titled Time_Slip. Through Time_Slip and Timeless, the group has showed us two polar sides of themselves. SUPER Clap (the title track from Time_Slip) was a much more energetic and colourful song. 2YA2YAO! is a lot darker and more serious. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the repackaged album (new songs only!) will play out.

Timeless Album Cover

1. 2YA2YAO! (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for 2YA2YAO! (9/10)

3. Ticky Tocky (악몽) – Don’t let the title trick you. I thought Ticky Tocky would be this obnoxiously bright track and would totally hate it. But it was definitely the opposite. Ticky Tocky is a hip-hop based dance track that is very serious. There is a level of edginess to the song that pretty much appealed to my tastes right away. There are some parts of the song that I do place a question mark over, namely the bridge once again. It just brought too much of a pop vibe to the song which I don’t think this subtly intense song needed. The rest of the song was awesome, with really smooth vocals and nice rapping to compliment the hip-hop sound. (8/10)

4. Shadow (赤霞) – Probably the most modern sounding song on the album. The song has this funky sound to it that makes this song sound so awesome. Rather than settling for that hip-hop sound that the other three tracks in this album review have opted for, the song incorporates a bit of that sound through a dance electronica beat. The bass to this song is perfection and the chorus is really addictive. The vocals, once again, is very smooth for a song of this style. But what really caught my attention is the rapping. It is one of their best efforts yet. The rap sequence, at the end, was my favourite bit and I loved the energy that flowed from this part. (10/10)

12. Rock Your Body Rock Your Body opts for a heavy hip-hop sound on top of the dance genre that the song had going, fitting right in with the rest of the repackaged album. You will notice that only four members performed this track (Yesung, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Ryeowook). The chorus had this anthem-like vibe to it, which helped bolden the song in my point of view. Yesung, Ryeowook and Donghae handled the vocal department really well in this song, helping the song achieve an epic feel. The rapping, handled by Eunhyuk, was pretty good as well. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

Timeless Teaser Image

[Review] 2YA2YAO! – Super Junior

As the Lunar New Year has passed, you an expect an influx of comebacks this week from some of your favourite artists. Super Junior kicks us off this week with the release of 2YA2YAO! This is the group’s title track for the repackaged album of Time_Slip, which has been renamed as Timeless. As the lineup for Super Junior tends to change between comebacks (though this shouldn’t happen anymore as all the members have passed the mandatory enlistment stage of their careers), I just wanted to clarify that this comeback features the same nine members who participated in Super CLAP and the Time_Slip album. But on with the review!

Pronounced as Il-Ow-Il-Ya-Oh, 2YA2YAO! takes on a completely different profile to their previous title track. This new song is a lot more intense and edgy, as opposed to the bright and pop nature of SUPER Clap. To me, this would be Super Junior’s answer to the more intense comebacks that we have heard in this era of KPOP and definitely a return to their more powerful sounds that they had going when they were at the peak of their careers. And I thought it was a really awesome song. The instrumental felt like it took a page of the 90s and I honestly liked how deep it sounded. I think this was largely the reason to why I really enjoyed the song. The vocal work helped support this. The rapping was good but it felt a little plain. The part that did get the biggest question mark is trap-focused bridge of the song. It started off good, matching with the rest of the song. But then the melody become a little too mainstream pop, which didn’t feel like it was fitting for the otherwise cool track.

Based from the top of my mind, this comeback features one of their edgiest videos yet. I think the last time I got this type of feeling from a Super Junior music video was Bonamana. While I do like this type of concept, I have to admit that it is a little typical. Aside from showing the members in a dark setting and charismatic light (which does match the song’s vibes), there just wasn’t really anything worth talking about.

The music video did feature the standard choreography shots and I thought that these were a better element of the music video. You could feel the edge when watching the choreography shots. My favourite bit has to be short instrumental segments we get following each chorus. I thought the section looked really cool and it was like they were tutting with their entire bodies.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Orgel – Sungmin (Super Junior)

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Super Junior was active this year through the release of Time_Slip, SUPER Clap and I Think I. However, Sungmin did not participate in this year’s comeback. In fact, Sungmin has been an inactive member of the group since 2015, after fans demanded for his departure from the group due to his marriage. However, on the 22nd of November, Sungmin made his official solo debut with Orgel. This is Sungmin’s first solo track since the release of Day Dream in 2018 as part of SM Station.

Sungmin, while still active as a member of Super Junior, held the role of lead vocalist. And as cliche as it is (for a lead or main vocalist), Sungmin’s official debut song comes in the form of a ballad. Unfortunately, the cliche release doesn’t really offer anything new and felt like a typical ballad that we hear often at this time of the year. I have listened to Orgel a number of times since its release a month ago, but the song has sadly not stuck with me. It was often forgotten and I haven’t gone out my way to actually seeking the track to listen to it. Paired with a simple yet warming instrumentation featuring piano and acoustic guitar (made to sound like a music box, which I think was the intention based on the title of the song), we are given an opportunity to hear Sungmin’s vocals once again. He sounds nice, with a raspy voice and showcases falsettos during the chorus. And this does a lot to make the song feel appealing. But I don’t think that is enough to make the ballad a stand out. I do like ballads, but this one just felt standard to me.

Orgel, in Korean, means music box. And as mentioned in the song section of the review, the music does give off a music box vibe. In addition to that, something that I felt while watching the music video is that the song ended reminding me of the nice feeling when the sun manages to shine through the blinds in the morning and you wake up as a result. And we do get some of that through the natural lighting present in the music video, as Sungmin walks around the neighborhood. The music box that is shaped like a carousel is what he uses as inspiration for this song and the music that he writes in the video. And it seems like the mentioned music box also reminds me of his childhood, getting him to flip through that book with the cute drawings. Overall, I thought it was a nice video, going hand-in-hand with the song.

Song – 5.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.1/10

[Album Review] Time_Slip (9th Studio Album) – Super Junior

For today’s album review, we will be having a closer look at Super Junior latest album release, Time_Slip. It is their 9th studio album and features the title track, SUPER Clap and I Think I (links below). It is also their first album release with all members officially out of the military (even though there are some inactive members due to varying reasons). It is definitely interesting how their album is like. After all, they have 14 years of experience and have outlived many groups over the years.

Time_Slip Album Cover

1. The Crown – Prior to the release of I Think I, Super Junior dropped the lyric video to The Crown, which makes this the first track onto be revealed from the album. There is a cool and epic feel that comes from this track. It almost feels like an OST to an adventurous movie, which I quite enjoyed. It also serves as a very bold start to the album and reintroduction to the group (which seems to be the meaning behind the song). Impressive vocals and rapping are also included in this track. (9/10)

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

3. I Think I (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for I Think I. (9/10)

4. Game – The instrumental for Game keeps me on edge throughout its entire run. Paired with the vocals, it makes for a vibrant track. The instrumental also gives it a bold feel and some of the comments I made regarding the initial song can be applied here. I also like how the track keeps busy and consistent, especially towards the end. And I like that. I also really like the upbeat energy that Game has, which really helps it make it memorable for me. (8/10)

5. Somebody NewSomebody New is a pop ballad that brings out the vocals of the members, particularly the vocal line of the group. They seemed to go above and beyond with the song, leaving the other members behind. But that is only a minor flaw with the song. There is a bit of rapping in this song, which makes the song feel very KPOP-like. Apart from that, the song has a pleasant melody and a calming, yet simple instrumental. (8/10)

6. SkydiveSkydive presents us with a really cool title. And while the song had a decent drop and overall feel, I feel like Skydive could have been ditched the pop feel and went with an EDM instrumental that was more hard-hitting. Not only would this be awesome, but it would also really help Super Junior appeal to the younger audience. While they attempted this by incorporating that intense trap bridge, it didn’t last long enough nor did it really cause much of an impact. (7/10)

7. Heads Up – I like Heads Up but it could have really committed to the sleek feel a lot more. It was getting there but it didn’t satisfy me like the other sleek songs currently out there in the industry. Maybe if the guys were a little more sensual with their lines, it could have delivered this aspect. On another note, I really liked how the verses and chorus contrasted. The verses were ‘almost’ whisper-like, which the chorus had a definite pop to it, which made the song appealing and catchy for me. (8/10)

8. Stay With MeStay With Me is probably the most typical sounding on this track. I just don’t find anything that interesting when it comes to this song. The melody and vocal work come off as pretty bland for me. I did enjoy the rap sequence, which is the opposite of what I usually say when it comes to Super Junior tracks. I am a little wary of this song thanks to the ‘Stay Stay Stay’ repetition. It sounds good now, but I am not too sure after multiple replays of the song. (6/10)

9. No DramaNo Drama is performed by Leeteuk, Yesung, Eunhyuk, Ryeowook and Kyuhyun. It isn’t too bad of a song. There is a good acoustic touch to the instrumental. But it feels like there seems to be a lot going on this song that didn’t seem necessary, especially in the chorus. In addition to that, I got the impression that the members were really tired in this track. The track came off as low energy and this had a definite effect on my impression of the song. (6/10)

10. Show – Ending the album is Show, a song that thanks the fans for being with them for the past fourteen years. I like how they didn’t opt for the heartfelt emotional ballad. Instead, Show is a remake of Kim Won Joon’s Show (which was released back in 1996) and it takes the form of an upbeat and vibrant track that summarises their emotions towards their fans. The way they present song reminds me of their earlier days as well. I also liked how they incorporated their messages to fans within the song mid-way, which helps make the remake song extra special for them and fans alike. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

Time_Slip Teaser Image

[Review] SUPER Clap – Super Junior

Super Junior made their return on Monday with their ninth full-length album, Time_Slip. But due to the unfortunate news of Sulli’s passing, Super Junior delayed the release of their comeback music video for SUPER Clap until today. Usually, I wait for the release of the music video to write a review, hence this is why we are reviewing the song 5 days after its release. This is Super Junior’s first comeback in 7 years since the return of all members from military enlistment. Unfortunately, it is not a full team comeback, with Heechul sitting out due to health issues, Sungmin being an inactive member and Kangin departing from the group earlier this year.

Over the last few years, Super Junior’s releases have been heavily dominated by the Latin genre. Even this album’s pre-release track, I Think I, had some of that influence. So, it is interesting to hear that a ‘different’ sound from the group. I put ‘different’ in quotation marks because it fits in with releases from other artists from a more recent timeframe. SUPER Clap finds itself situated on the KPOP spectrum (the dubstep instrumental break says it all). I find the song to be quite catchy and groovy, thanks to the heavy bass and the brass incorporated instrumentation. I also got an impression that the song was a lot smoother and polished, which is something I don’t really recall Super Junior doing back in the day when I first started listening to KPOP. This polished and smooth feel is something that felt more recent than opposed to the past KPOP hits. I liked their vocals, rapping and the beat, which all made the song enjoyable. I also liked how the clapping was incorporated. I thought it could have been overused or obnoxious, but they had a good balance.

The music video was plain. I just didn’t find it as interesting as it could have been. I think since this was their first comeback as a full group, I expected something a little more celebratory. But that might have been just me, as not doing something celebratory would have meant they jumped right back into their normal routine. It was colourful but it lacked meeting the same level of energy as the song had.

I think the most interesting thing with Super Junior when it comes to their performance is whether their age would impact. And it felt like it does. Their moves don’t seem to be as strong as before. While the song was a lot more upbeat, the dance moves felt like they were more constricted and slower. This was quite apparent during their dance break. They did well, nonetheless, as the performance still looks good.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

[Review] I Think I – Super Junior

I know I have been going on about the reviews being very spread out. But since I have ‘a bit of spare time’ on my hands, it is time to tackle another debut. Super Junior returned on Saturday morning with I Think I, which I believe is not the official title track off their upcoming 9th album, which is due for release in a weeks time. A few milestones for their upcoming album which I will save for the actual title track’s review. In the meantime, let’s dive into the pre-release single for Time Slip.

I thought it was a nice song to ease you back into Super Junior’s appeal. It isn’t as heavy-handed like their title tracks have been in the past, especially their past few Latin-influenced title tracks. Interestingly,  I Think I still has that Latin influence. But it doesn’t so without feeling overwhelming, which instantly pushes up the appeal of the song. Dare I say that it actually feels refreshing and that it is nice to hear something from the same overused trend but redone in a manner that also feels quite different. I also find the song to be very smooth and melodic. I really like the repetition of the English lyrics throughout the song, along with the medium pace that the song’s instrumental features. I also like their use of brass. It was subtle throughout the song and they kicked it up a notch for the final chorus, which I think was fantastic. Together, the song comes off as memorable and definitely gets me excited for the official return of these KPOP legends.

The music video was interesting to watch. The video matches the song in terms of smoothness, where each scene slides into the next in some manner. Some members walk in and out of each scene, which keeps the video rolling in a different manner. I also applaud their use of different transitions, especially that curtain box that reminds me of the convey belts they use at X-ray machines in the airport. I also like the cool blue colour palette they used to set up the underground subway, which I think reflected well with the music. Overall, it is definitely a unique and smart video.

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