[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 –
6.4/10

[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.

superjunior-timeslip-2
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

superjunior-timeslip-3
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

[Review] Pink Magic – Yesung (Super Junior)

One comeback that occurred last week was Yesung’s solo return to the music scene. However, I put the review on hold as I was hoping for a performance of some sort accompanying this comeback. However, it seems like Yesung does not plan on promoting Pink Magic and his third mini-album (which also shares the same name). So, here is the review for Pink Magic, exactly one week after its release! This is also Yesung’s first official Korean comeback since 2017 with Paper Umbrella and Hibernation.

The main reason to why I held onto Pink Magic’s review was because of its bright and slightly upbeat nature. I thought that there would be a nice routine featured in this comeback. It is unlike Yesung for a song of this style, mainly because we know him as one of the main vocalists of Super Junior (and main vocalists tend to take the ballad route with this solo promotions as proven time and time again). Even his previous Korean and Japanese releases have been of a ballad nature. But despite the style change to a retro 80s pop track, Yesung puts his husky and raspy vocals on display. I like how he goes on soft on some parts of the track, which goes to show that a rough textured voice can actually be delicate in nature if it is presented correctly. I personally don’t mind the track as it is quite pleasant and has this chilled sound to it. I also like its retro roots, which takes me back to a style that The song almost felt linear but that high pitch and  funky effect that was showcased as part of the bridge and post-chorus really cut that feeling down. Overall, a satisfying song.

Yesung, appropriately, dyed his hair the colour pink for this comeback. I also liked the video because it used a more pale approach with its colours, without the help of filters. I get the lighting helped out there. Also making cameos in the music video is Donghae and Kyuhyun (who recently was released from the military). Essentially the video shows Yesung being captivated by his crush, who he describes to be like the colour pink. It is also the only reason why he can see her because his eyes have the ability to only observe the colour pink (based on his eye test results). Don’t know if he should be driving then… Apart from the plot, there wasn’t much else interesting to comment on.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Review] Danger – Super Junior D&E

Returning to the stage once again is Super Junior’s Donghae and Eunhyuk with their latest mini-album and the title track. Danger. It hasn’t been that long since we last saw them through their ‘Bout You promotions but that was 8 months ago, which can be considered to be a lengthy absence especially in the highly competitive industry of KPOP right now. But Super Junior doesn’t need to worry about this as they have a very loyal fanbase who will continually support them years to come! And I am sure the support extends to their subunits. So let’s have a closer look at Danger.

Danger is a song that boasts energy and edginess due to the nature of the instrumental. It takes on rock, trap and other forms of EDM in the song, creating an atmosphere that is best described as intense. The presence of the fast trap elements in the chorus gives it almost an ethnic vibe, which I think is rather interesting. But while intense is the right word, the song could have potentially benefited by extending this intensity by going a little more extreme with it. I think we are given a tiny taster to that potential at the end when it is built from suspense. But I would have liked it if it were gradual. Moving to more of the members, the rapping at the start was a pretty nice opener and sets up the song well. Donghae follows through with some vocals, which I think was also quite good. Sure, there isn’t anything mind-blowing in terms of technicalities and techniques. But they were rather captivating for a song like this. Overall, Danger is a pretty nice song to listen to.

I think the video matches extremely well with the vibes of the song. The edginess is taken on board in the video by going with its dark lighting and the possible participation in gang-like activities (though I don’t that is the exact words they would use to describe the video). Apart from that, I think the video has some great cinematography, especially the scenes where we can see them in a circle by looking up from underneath.  I thought it is quite cool.

Performance wise, it is really good. I think the biggest fear with Super Junior (and many senior groups) is that the choreography standards just continually become more intense. To the point where you don’t know if these senior groups will be able to keep up. But for the main dancers of Super Junior, they do a pretty damn good job. The chorus has t be my pick for the highlight of the entire choreography routine.

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

[Double Review] Because I Love You + If You – Yesung (Super Junior)

Yesung finally makes his first return as a solo artist since his 2017 promotions of Hibernation and Paper Umbrella. But if you are expecting a return to the South Korean stage, then you have to come back next month as he will be returning then. In the meantime, Yesung recently releases his first solo album in Japan titled Story. The album features two title tracks (Because I Love You and If You) and both are connected via the music videos (hence why today’s review is a double review). Yesung also recently collaborated with Chungha for Whatcha Doin’ and Bumkey for Carpet.

I am not sure if I have ever reviewed any Japanese ballads before so this may be a foreign land for me. Both songs are of this nature and both are quite similar to the ballads we commonly get in Korea. For Because I Love You, we get a jazzy-like style instrumental which I thought was nice. Though I did think his raspy vocals were a little too soft towards the beginning and they were on the verge of being drowned out. The ending was a lot better as you can hear him pushing himself and this resulted in his voice standing out on top of the instrumental a lot better. If You takes on a typical approach with its ballad. A very nice but pleasant sounding instrumental made up of guitar and an orchestral touch. I really like his vocals here as they seemed clearer.  It also has a nice melody that gets me swaying along. The only flaw is that it feels too ordinary. I think if I were to pick one of the two, If You would be my clear winner.

Because I Love You starts off our story. Yesung is probably holidaying in a European country and passes by this lady who attracts his attention. She is in a rush, so he doesn’t get a chance to talk to her. Later, Yesung stops by a restaurant and the exact same lady from before is his waitress. He becomes nervous and distracted from his work and slowly begins imagining them dating. After his little daydream, he rips a page out of his diary and writes a message. He leaves it on the table and leaves. The waitress comes out, clearly interested in him and finds the note. This leads us onto the If You video. If You shows Yesung waiting around for someone, presumably the waitress. She is seen walking around holding the note that he left for her. Both of them visit different places that appeared in his daydream and both end up meeting each other at the same place where his daydream ended (at night by the river). She hands the note over, revealing to the audience that he wrote ‘Because I Love You’ on it and they both share a smile. I liked how both videos tied in with each other and allowed the story to really progress rather than jamming it one video and making it confusing.

Because I Love You
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

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

[Review] Carpet – Yesung (Super Junior) & Bumkey

It is time for another SM Station release. Season 3 started a few weeks back, rounding out with NCT Dream’s Candle Light. There was an SM Station release last week due to (and I assumed this) it being the first week of the new year. But now, SM Station is back with a collaboration between Yesung and Bumkey. The song, Carpet, was released on Thursday of this week, which is the new designated day for all SM Station releases.

Carpet is an R&B ballad combo that endeavours the two genres that the collaborators are widely known for (Yesung commonly sings ballads, while Bumkey is an R&B rapper). Both do a splendid job within the song with nothing to say negatively. The harmonies are also quite beautiful. They also create a wonderful atmosphere that I think is best described as touching. I also noticed that there is a slight jazz infleunce, partly due to the piano, which could also be described as soothing. If you don’t understand the lyrics of the song straight off the bat (like a certain person – a.k.a. me), you can tell that there is an emotive drive to the song, which already sets the scene. But the music video (more on this later) and the title of the song got me rather intrigued, so I looked up the lyrics of the song. It seems the lyrics of the song are in the perspective of the small rug that has been through everything with someone, personifying it to be like a good friend to rely on and cry on – if needed.

And with the meaning of the song in hand, I think the video does an amazing job of visualising this message. The carpet has been with this young lady for many years. From her childhood, she played on it. From her adolescent, she read books on it. She also had breakups on it. But as she grew older, she moved away and the carpet was put into storage and somehow made it to the market. And during one of her shopping expeditions, the young female comes across the rug, which is instantly identified due to the presence of an orange juice stain that she caused back in her younger years, And to further fit the lyrics, we see the carpet wrapping itself around her to comfort her. A well put together music video.

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