[Review] TAKE OVER – Do Han Se (VICTON)

Do Hanse is nominated for Best Rapper, while Take Over is nominated for Best Rap or Hip-Hop Song in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Do Hanse and Take Over by clicking here to vote now.

The second track I am covering from the Best Rap or Hip-Hop song category of the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards belongs to Do Han Se, who is a member from VICTON. News of solo work for Do Han Se was confirmed back in 2020, but he didn’t make his solo debut with TAKE OVER, and his first mini-album, Blaze, until the end of September of this year. Most recently, we saw Do Han Se as part of the latest VICTON release, which was Sweet Travel, a commemorative single celebrating their fifth anniversary as a group.

Two things standout of TAKE OVER for me. Firstly, the instrumental. The clanging instrumentation was just so prominent and exuded a very hypnotic effect, reeling me in. It intrigued and also felt very unique. It was by far the most memorable aspect of the instrumentation. However it was only one part of the instrumental. I also found the bridge to be very interesting, diverting into soothing and atmospheric territory with an elegant piece of music that also felt modern and aesthetic. Definitely a strong contrast to the heavy clangs of the instrumental that featured so prominently. But it somehow works and I find TAKE OVER to be quite cohesive, even though there was clear distinction between each segment of the song. The second element that stands out for me is Do Han Se himself, who added to the hypnotic effect that I already mentioned. There was something with his delivery that kept me captivated. It might have been his charisma, his fast pace in the verses, or the fact that he alone made the song so intense. It could also be the fact that at no point in the song did Do Han Se felt like he was ‘in your face’ about TAKE OVER, which is what I tend to hip-hop songs are like. Regardless, it was hard for me to tear my ears away from the moment I started to appreciate TAKE OVER in all its glory. It also didn’t help that the song’s main hook, Do Han Se’s throaty Take Take Take repetition literally takes over (pun so intended) my head. Overall, TAKE OVER impresses me for being different and mysterious.

His image and concept for this release is so different and unexpected, miles away from the Do Han Se that I remember from VICTON’s releases. The imagery is also so bold and impactful, TAKE OVER‘s music video leaves an impression. I liked how the music video didn’t go with sets, rather a big screen that was showing various effects. It was a minimal approach, but also helped complicate the video at the same time. I also thought the various camera shots, such as the up close shots and the curved camera shots looked quite cool. The video also featured drag queens, which is a fantastic idea. However, I wished their dancing was a bit more dynamic during the second verse to fit well with the song.

Further to the image of this release, I really liked that Do Han Se was not afraid to join forces with the female dancers. It definitely added to the uniqueness of this comeback. The routine was full of attitude and fierce energy. Usually, male and female in KPOP have slightly different routines that blend with one another to create a cohesive performance, or they dance as partners. But here, and on some other rare occasions, everyone share the same routine.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Review] Sweet Travel – VICTON

VICTON is back as a six-member group (without Seungwoo, who has recently enlisted into the military) to celebrate their five year anniversary since their debut. Back in 2016, VICTON kicked off their careers with the title track, I’m Fine. Fast forward five years, the group has released six mini-albums, two single albums, one studio album, with the most recent release being What I Said earlier this year. Considering that some members (Seungwoo and Byunchan) did participate in Produce X 101 and that two members have made their own solo debuts (Seungwoo and Do Hanse) as well, it definitely sounds like the group has been busy over the last five years. Hopefully, there are many more in them! VICTON’s fifth-anniversary single is titled Sweet Travel and is the focus of this review.

I have to admit, I enjoyed Sweet Travel a lot more than expected. While it does sound I am rooting against the release, that is not the case. Usually, with songs dedicated to fans (like this one), I find it a bit awkward to express my disappointment in such songs. Simply because the song’s intention is meaningful for both the members and fans alike, and I kind of feel rude to say something negative about the song. Thankfully, I don’t think I have even run into a fan song that is that bad and more often they are simply pleasant and touching. Sweet Travel is a lot more than just pleasant and touching, however. The song features a fun and upbeat pop-rock sound that instantly drew me in. It is quite vibrant and powerful but also in a lighthearted and likeable manner. It is also another song that is consistent throughout, but it does not bore me. Maybe it could be repetitive to some, but I don’t feel that (at least, not yet). What really jumps out at me was how much the song’s chorus stands out. The instrumentation really bolstered up the energy of the song, but this was only one-third of why I liked the chorus a lot. The other thirds were the vocals and catchiness of the lyrics, which the members all had a hand in delivering both (as the members both sang and also penned the lyrics to the song). Including everyone in the first half of the chorus really helped add so much definition to the song and emphasise a lot of the descriptors that I have already mentioned. The English was super catchy and added more fun elements to the song. Elsewhere in the song, the vocals and rapping were fine. Sweet Travel was definitely an unexpected song for me that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I have very little to say about the music video aside from pointing out the members clearly had fun throughout the video, as seen in the video and that little outro. It makes a lot of sense and shows a more down-to-earth profile of the members, which is miles away from their darker and mature concepts. I particularly liked the members’ dancing at the end when they were shooting outside at night. It made me chuckle, and like the rest of the video, brought a smile to my face.

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

[Review] See You Again – Han Seung Woo (VICTON)

The next review is for Han Seung Woo’s solo comeback from two weeks ago. VICTON’s lead vocalist, rapper and dancer returned with See You Again, a song fitting for his final comeback before his military enlistment later this month. It is featured on his second mini-album, Fade, which dropped on the same day as the music video release. This is the first time seeing Han Seung Woo since his promotions with the rest of his group for What I Said and Voice: The Future Is Now, and his solo debut back in August of last year (Sacrifice off his solo mini-album debut, Fame).

See You Again is a stunning ballad. Every time I have heard the song since its release two weeks ago, I am blown away with how captivating and riveting the ballad is. Now, I may be easily swayed by ballads. But this song didn’t need an ounce of convincing whatsoever. See You Again is beautifully instrumented with a one instrument, the humble piano. I was expecting strings to come in (which is my favourite type of instruments when it comes to classical instrumentation), but that never appeared. Instead, my expectation for strings lead me to listening to the entirety of See You Again. And from there, it was carried away by the gracefulness of the piano in this song. I really liked how prominent the piano was in the chorus. This prominence or boldness allowed for us to differentiate between verse and chorus, and also fill in the gaps where other instrumentation would usually have been used to help build the song’s momentum. On top of that, the piano also compliments the other half of the song, Han Seung Woo’s vocals. I could hear the heart-wrenching emotion behind his voice. And the powerful tone he uses for the chorus just makes the song stand out so well. In See You Again, he sings about the memories he has and the desire to reunite, which is fitting as both a song dedicated to a lover or his fans, to whom he will be saying good bye to for approximately two years. The melodies for the song are flowy but grounded at the same time to really allow Han Seung Woo to deliver a beautiful piece of music. Overall, See You Again shines because of its simplicity and Han Seung Woo’s effective delivery of vocals.

The music video for this release hits the brief. It is a rather muted music video, with a teal-grey colour palette being the main sources of colour for this video which also sets the tone of the video. I also like how the video was quite simple. The sets or locations were not overcrowded or overrun with props. Rather, they were empty, representing the departing and packed away memories. This is one of the common denominator of the three scenes (the emptying apartment, the grassy shots and the beach). The second common denominator is the piano, which was carried throughout each of the three scenes. It was the primary prop of the video. I liked how this complimented See You Again, given that piano was the only instrument in the song. And the third common denominator is Han Seung Woo himself, who was heartbroken and emotional throughout the video, helping to keep that theme and idea alive throughout the three locations the music video was set in.

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

[Album Review] Voice: The Future Is Now (1st Studio Album) – VICTON

The 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Award winners have been announced. Click here top find out who won in each of the categories that you voted for!

Hopefully starting with this post, I can be a little more consistent with writing and publishing album reviews. I am usually quite good with the segment, releasing two or three album reviews per week. But lately, that number has dropped quite a bit. For example, I have only posted a total of two album reviews this month (which VICTON’s album review post being the third). As just mentioned, this restart of the album review segment begins with VICTON’s first studio album, Voice: The Future Is Now, which is headlined with the title track What I Said. The album features an additional 12 songs, four of which are solo tracks from selected members. If this album has shown me anything, it is how much I shouldn’t overlook VICTON. This album has a few amazing songs that I am definitely coming back to kick back to in the future (if I haven’t done yet). Find out which songs I am referring to below!

Voice: The Future is Now Album Cover

1. Into The Mirror Into The Mirror starts off the album in epic proportions. I practically enjoyed all elements of the song. The EDM was powerful and the vocal work and the rapping were very strong. In the Mirror really pulls you into the album. My favourite section has to be the short rap-speak sequence before the choruses, which added suspense to the song. I would give it a 10/10 rating, but I can see some people making the argument that this song can be overwhelming for them based on its powerfulness. (9.5/10)

2. What I Said (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for What I Said. (8.5/10)

3. Circle Circle stands out for a number of reasons. The first is the unique synth that sounds pretty much like a table tennis ball bouncing. It is peculiar and random, all at the same time. But there is a charm to it. The second is the rock infusion when it came to the chorus. I liked how it brought intensity to the song and it boosted the pop sound to a new level. The third has to be the song more melodic approach, which was brought to life through the vocals of the members (who all sounded pretty good). The rapping, especially Byungchan’s ending sequence, added appeal and complimented the intensity brought by the rock infusion. (10/10)

4. Chess – The electronic profile of the instrumental of Chess feels quite unique. I really like the retro game-like sample they use repetitively during the verses. It too has its charm and gave the verse something more to focus on. I also enjoyed the stripped back style of the chorus. It is quite atmospheric and it was also a great blank canvas for the members to showcase their vocals, which they do. I also really like how the song allows for the members to drive it forward with the song’s melodies. The stand out member for me is Hanse, whose rap sequence really captivated me. (9/10)

5. Up To YouUp To You feels like a typical pop track. It pretty much showcases a sound that we have heard from the rest of the industry. While plainness is sometimes enjoyed by me, Up To You should have continued the streak of great songs by bringing something new to the table. What is good about the song is the intensity that forms when the instrumentation is paired with the vocals. It helps amplify the song, making it more appealing as it progresses. Unfortunately, when compared to the song before and after it, Up To You just felt standard. (6.5/10)

6. All DayAll Day brings something new to the album, an acoustic and mellow sound. It also brings out a different side of the group to what we have heard so far from them on this album. Delicate vocals and a softer tone. The instrumental itself also brings forth that swayable effect on me, which I think is a strong indication of how nice and soothing the song sounds. It is also reminiscent of their softer pop title tracks such as Nostalgic Night, which I fairly enjoyed. (8/10)

7. Carry On (Kang Seungsik Solo) – The first solo track on the album belongs to Seungsik. His addition to the album is a ballad. It also serves as the album’s mandatory ballad. As mentioned in the past, this is expected for the main vocalist of the group, as their solo work as usually defaulted to a ballad of some kind. Carry On really shines the light on Seungsik’s vocals, which are very soft, delicate and touching. The softer tone in the instrumentation was also quite soothing. Together, I found the entirety of Carry On to be dreamy and perfect as a song to fade out on. (8/10)

8. Eyes On You (Heo Chan Solo) –While I was listening to the album to vet it for the purpose of writing an album review, Eyes On You caught my attention. It has such a sleek profile during the verses. The soft approach that Chan adopts in the verses stole my attention from whatever I was doing at the time. The chorus was quite unexpecting (for me, at least). At first, I thought it was a bit heavy handed as a drop (relative to the verses). But I have grown to like it as it is. It now comes off as a held back drop to me and that idea of it being heavy handed has long gone. Eyes On You was previously revealed at VICTON’s concert and the drop facilitates an awesome choreography and stage presence. (10/10)

9. Utopia (Lim Sejun Solo) – Sejun’s solo track is titled Utopia. It is a decent pop track, but lacking in some departments. The instrumental has a nice bounce to it, but it falls into a very typical EDM hole. The energy that comes off the song is promising. But I wished there was more of an exciting climb and a satisfying peak to the song. It just felt flat. I did like the vocal work but Sejun seemed to have been held back for whatever reason. As a whole track, Utopia is pretty plain. (6/10)

10. Where Is Love? (Do Hanse Solo) – The final solo song is Where Is Love?. I have very high expectations as Hanse is one of the members in VICTON’s that stands out to me. His texturally loaded voice is just made for the rapping and he sounds very cool in majority of VICTON’s every track out there. Interestingly, Where Is Love? is predominately a slow R&B song. It builds as its progresses along, peaking at the end with its most upbeat dance sequence. Hanse showcases his rapping ability in a more refined matter as a result of the song’s slow pace. Personally, I would have liked it if he let loose, but Where Is Love? is still quite appreciable. (7/10)

11. Unpredictable – After a string of varying solo tracks, VICTON returns as a full group with Unpredictable. And it is a smashing song. The instrumental for this song fits into the groovy trend that has taken over KPOP. But it is cleverly mashed up into an intense dance track. The initial moments are quite misleading by starting slow. But Unpredictable develops into a really cool and funky dance track. The vocal work is great, while Hanse delivers with his rap sequence. As a result, Unpredictable is my pick for the album’s hidden gem. (10/10)

12. Flip A Coin – The star attraction to Flip A Coin is Hanse’s fast paced rap sequence. It is the reason to why I come back to the song so often. The rest of the song falls into the trap of being a typical intense male group release, which is quite unfortunate. The other positive aspect of the song happens to be the repetition of ‘Flip A Coin’ as part of the chorus. It seems that the repetition and Hanse’s execution of his part is enough to convince me to return often to the song. But it isn’t enough to convince me otherwise about the rest of the song. (7/10)

13. We Stay – The song at the end of studio albums seems to usually fall into the category of being a fan-pleaser. VICTON’s final song is no exception, with We Stay containing a very bright pop background. It is quite easy to get into, with simple melodies and fun hooks. It is also quite lighthearted, miles away from the rest of the album. Per usual, VICTON showcases great vocals and rapping in the song. It ends the album on a very positive and happy note. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Voice: The Future Is Now Teaser Image

[Review] What I Said – VICTON

VICTON is officially back with their first studio-length album since debut. Titled Voice: The Future is Now, the group launches right into promotions with What I Said as the title track. This comeback was originally scheduled for early December, but the members came into close contact with a person with COVID-19 days prior to their comeback. ‘The company, Plan M Entertainment, decided to postpone the comeback to allow the members to quarantine and ensure that they all had a clean bill of health (which fortunately, they did) for promotions. This follows Mayday, which was released in June of last year and Han Seong Woo’s solo debut with Sacrifice.

What I Said continues the Latin trend that has been going around the industry for the last few years. While this would definitely elicit a groan and a eye roll from some (which does include me), What I Said manages to stand out with the more energetic nature of the instrumental. I think it is better described as an explosion of energy, thanks to the layered instrumental of brass and thumping percussion. The song features a powerful dance pop vibe in the song, which really helps distract me slightly from the Latin influence that is undeniably there. And if you know me, I do like my vibrant pieces of music. So that really enhances What I Said for me. The members do a really good job of matching this vibrancy. From their vocals to the rapping, everything was definitely popped out at me. I liked how their vocals and rapping added an edgy vibe, which fits in with VICTON’s matured profile that they opted for in 2020. I also liked the energy they channeled through the vocals and rapping, giving the song some more power in another form. The hooks of the song made the song even better, giving it that memorability factor that I always looking for in these song. I did find the second verse the most interesting, with the start of verse reminding me of the ‘I Like It Like That‘ sample which was made recognizable most recently through Cardi B’s I Like That. Hanse’s rapping and Chan’s solo moment right after were very captivating and extremely intense. Overall, What I Said might be a bit cliché in some regards. But this is easily overlooked with everything else that VICTON pulls out of the bag.

Personally, I am not exactly sure if the music video sets have much meaning. They look quite extravagant, sleek and definitely something that feels like it was thought out. Furthermore, I am quite sure they reflect parts of the lyrics. But I just can’t seem to pinpoint the exact meaning or message behind the music video. I am always interested in reading theories, so feel free to comment any below that you may have figured out or heard from other viewers/fans. But I can say that the sets are stunning (as already touched on). The camera work looked cool and the video highlighted the visuals of each of the members. I also like their outfits in this video, especially those black jackets and gold detailing.

While the choreography is a great representation of all that energy, intensity and power that I mentioned in the song review section of this post, I felt the choreography was lacking depth and dynamism. I just wanted more with this choreography, something to make me go wow. The synchronization was good, but it just wasn’t paired with jaw-dropping moves that would have enhanced their performance even more.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

[Album Review] Fame – Han Seung Woo (VICTON)

Just under a month ago, Han Seung Woo made his solo debut with Sacrifice, which is the title track off his first solo mini-album, Fame. This mini-album is predominately R&B and each song is well crafted to show off the best of Han Seung Woo. In addition to this, the mini-album has won me over as a new fan and I cannot wait to hear more releases from him in the future. As you can tell, this is sounds like a very positive review. But do continue to read to see what I thought about each song!

Fame Album Cover

1. FeverFever starts off the album in a trendy fashion. It begins with a mellow introductory sequence, thanks to the acoustic guitars that opens the track. As the song progresses, we get more of a R&B dance track vibe. Traditional but still worth listening to. Personally, there is a strong sensual vibe in this dance track. On the instrumental front, there is a subtle level of grooviness that brings out the sensuality of the song. His vocals adds a sultry touch, as well. It is captivating to listen to (almost hypnotic in a way) and he knows when to add some vocal flair by amping his voice up for the chorus, yet maintaining that captivating vibe. An honestly great start. (8.5/10)

2. Sacrifice (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Sacrifice. (9/10)

3. Reply (답장해) – After a few serious and mature few tracks comes a lighthearted and playful Reply. Despite the change up in tone, Reply still sits within the realm of R&B, though its playful tone can pass the track off as a pop song as well. While the instrumental is straightforward, I really liked how the bass was used to bolster the beat, especially in the chorus. Han Seungwoo’s voice is commendable in this song. His singing and rapping vocals breathes life into the song and melodies, some of which came off as pretty catchy. (9/10)

4. I Just Want Love (원해) – We stay within the R&B genre for this track as well. But I Just Want Love starts off with a much bolder approach within its contemporary instrumental, which I really liked. The instrumental has a kick to it that really separate this song from the rest of its R&B counterparts on the album. For the chorus, I enjoyed how the background smoothed out, complimenting Seungwoo’s raspy vocals. While on the topic of his vocals, I Just Want Love showcases his silky vocals, whilst also giving some limelight to his rapping potential. I liked the edginess that his rapping brings to the second verse. To me, I Just Want Love manages to show all of his best sides and pairs it with an extremely likable instrumental. That is why I am calling it this album’s hidden gem. (10/10)

5. forest – The first thing that pops right out at me with forest is Seungwoo’s vocals. It is definitely hard not to notice the centerpiece and main driving force of the song. He sounds effortlessly good in this song, going from falsettos one moment and into a low tone the next. I liked how minimal the instrumental was, giving his voice that opportunity to shine. I also liked the message of this song as well, where he is asking his lover to rely on him for support during hard times, similar to a tree in a forest. In terms of its ranking relative to the other songs on the album, forest really lands itself on the high end. (9/10)

6. Child (철부지) – Surprisingly, Child is not a R&B song. It is more indie ballad than anything else. Once again, there are great vocals from the soloist itself. The instrumental is predominately acoustic guitars and a simple and paced drum beat. However, the song has some interesting effects as it went along, including a heavy (though barely audible) drum strike, some vocal filtering localized around one particular second of the song and additional filtering of the backing vocals to finish off the song alongside his ‘Oooohs’. Overall, it is a strong song, though I would have preferred some pleasant hooks to make the song more memorable. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Fame Teaser Image

[Review] Sacrifice – Han Seung Woo (VICTON)

It is the start of a new week in the KPOP industry and that brings new releases. The first new release on the reviewing block is Han Seung Woo’s solo debut, Sacrifice. There is a lot of anticipation for this solo debut, given that Han Seung Woo is one of the former members of the project group X1 (which was formed through Produce X 101). Upon confirmation of the group’s disbandment earlier this year, Han Seung Woo instantly returned to VICTON and particpated in their Howling and Mayday comebacks, further extending his popularity. Now, captialising on his new found popularity, Han Seung Woo debuts today as a solo artist with his new mini-album, Fame.

For some reason, I was going into Sacrifice with the mindset that it was going to a be a hard hitting song, full of drops and energetic energy. I don’t know why that is the case, but I had that feeling when I heard of his impending solo debut track. Unfortuately, none of my unexpected expectations were fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean Sacrifice is a bad song. In fact, it shows off the talent of Han Seung Woo in a very refined yet powerful way. The song is made up of a trap-based instrumental and delves into the R&B side of music. Pretty standard, but there is some bass in it that really give the song some life and some oomph. It is also the source of that powerfulness that I was talking about. The instrumental itself would not have been as strong if it wasn’t for the lacing of the bass throughout it. The chorus has some synths that add texture which prevents the song from going down a bland route (which is a minor concern when it comes to some R&B tracks). Han Seung Woo’s vocals are shown off in a spectacular manner. We also get to hear a very brief rapping delivery from the artist, which I would have liked more of. There is also some nice contrast between his high pictched vocals and the deep instrumentation that backs the track. Overall, Sacrifice nails the brief of a strong debut song.

The opening scene of Han Seung Woo kneeling in front of a car burning some rubber pretty much sets the tone of the music video. The mature sound of the song comes off quite visually in this music video. That is essentially how I would describe the concept of the video in a nutshell. In addition to that, he also brings an edgy image to the mix, which I really liked. Regarding a plotline, I am not sure if there is one explicitly in the music video. We do see a scene where he is grabbing the collar of a friend (or a fellow gang member) at the climax of the video, showing us that he is willing to sacrifice loyalty for a lover. We also see him mindless walking to somewhere afterwards, which might tell us something about this lover (i.e. he is addicted to them, plus it seems like everyone is mindlessly walking towards this lover at the start). It definitely hints at this lover having some effect on Han Seung Woo and co. I wished they delved into the plotline a little more, as it does sound interesting.

[Updated] We don’t get much choreography in the music video. But from what I can see based on the first and final chorus, it looks good. He has a really strong stage presence and this is definitely highlighted by the intensity of the performance. Nothing really stood out at me, but it was definitely thrilling to watch him perform Sarcifice.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10 [Updated]
Overall Rating – 8.4/10 [Updated]

[Review] Mayday – VICTON

For those who missed their comeback earlier in the year, the male group released the title track, Howling and the mini-album, Continuous, back in March. That comeback marked the return of Han Seung Woo, who returned from short-lived X1. He, along with the rest of the VICTON gang, makes their return today with Mayday, which is the title track off their second single album of the same name. This comeback, in particular, also sees the return of Byungchan who had to sit out of the Howling promotions due to an injury.

The opening sequence of the song is extremely aesthetic and this basically sets the song up for success. There is something with the minimalist vibes the bass thumping and bouncy synth in the background that feels so clever. And when the Seungsik and Sejun comes through with their higher pitched vocals, it just really drew me in. Seungwoo follows through with a rap sequence and this is followed by a really interesting chorus. Melody wise, it was fairly strong. There is an subtle intense feel to it, which made it even more appealing. The instrumental was really bold despite not having too much going on (relative to the verse that I described), stepping it up to the opener and verse. Their vocals had this filtered effect over it, like the slight static you get with voices coming through speakers of a radio. I believe this is intentional, with the members singing about conflicting feelings of a relationship. On one hand, the members want out of the relationship as it is dangerous. But on the other hand, they want more it. But the most interesting member in the entire song has to be Hanse. His rapping is very impactful and memorable. There is a rap-speaking form to his delivery, which feels sleek and dangerously alluring. The roughness in his voice is very textural. The more I listen to the song to the review, the more I am pulled into the song thanks to Hanse. The instrumental for the bridge stills for a bit and this helps deliver an impactful final chorus ending to the song. Overall, Mayday is another great song to add to the list of current amazing releases that I will probably cannot get enough of.

The video opens up with Seungwoo falling from the sky. As he gets up, we see very dramatic flashes of the members and a mysterious female figure (whom we will assume is the ‘dangerous’ factor in the relationship for his video). We see the members walking from a phone box and holding torches in the forest. It seems like these scenes depict the members wanting to leave the relationship. But we see Hanse walking towards the female figure in a crazed manner and a whole choreography scene opposite an arrow wielding female figure, which are signs of being drawn to her and the danger she presents. We later see one of the members in a car accident, which probably tells us the extent of the danger. It is a very well thought out video and I really liked how they slide in the story line (provided I interpreted right). One other thing I noticed from the video is that the circular concrete that they film is has been seen in multiple videos throughout the last few years. But I am always surprised to see how different it looks in each video, such as the flag waving and helicopter searchlights details in those associated choreography scenes.

What I have yet to mention is that I notice the song’s chorus feels quite slow and almost dragged out. Their performance does a really good job moulding itself around this set up and this results in a very epic and visually powerful performance. The verses had some really cool moments which I wonder whether they will incorporate into the live stages. The one that I am most interested in is when they use torches. That will make the performance looks really dynamic.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] Continuous (6th Mini Album) – VICTON

Since the start of the album review segment, there are many artists that I always cover, as their songs are always so good. And there are other artists whom I never dedicated an album review to as I have not really been satisfied with their albums enough. VICTON happens to be one of the artists in the latter category. I may return to their albums from the past through the Past Album Review (PARs) segment, but I have yet to come across an album by VICTON that warrants an album review. Until a few weeks ago, when I listened to the group’s sixth mini album, Continuous, which was released in early March. The mini-album featured the group’s latest title track, Howling. Let’s have a listen to the rest of Continuous.

Continuous Album Cover

1. Nightmare – Kicking off the album is Nightmare. Like the song’s title suggest, there is a dark sound featuring throughout it. The song kicks off with a haunting piano piece that resembles what we would commonly know as ‘haunted organs’. The song maintains the eerie feeling with a simple yet repetitive piano sequence in the background, which manages to shine through a whole bunch of heavy and deep beats. What I think stands out in the song is effect at the very end of the chorus. Don’t know what the effect would be called/described as, but it made the song quite cool. The singing was awesome, while the rapping was really dynamic (and probably my favourite out of the two – after all, Hanse is Freddy freaking Krueger). What a great start to the album. (9/10)

2. Howling (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Howling. (8.5/10)

3. All I KnowAll I Know has a very impressive instrumental. It is a simple pop tune, predominately featuring guitar. There is also a snapping element to the instrumental and a deep beat to it. It may not be a unique sound, which is what I am seeking for usually. But provided that it isn’t something that is too heavily used at the present and it doesn’t give off an eye-rolling ‘again’ type of feeling, then I am happy to overlook the lack of uniqueness. Plus, it is always nice to revisit a familiar or nostalgic sound, such as the pop sound in All I Know. VICTON’s vocals also add a soothing touch to the song. Even the rapper, who has a voice well suited for an intense sound, was well fitted for this pop sound. The song’s melody was very easy on the ears and also quite catchy. (8.5/10)

4. Petal Petal brings back that EDM pop feel that we commonly see as b-sides on various KPOP albums. Petal isn’t hard hitting like most EDM tracks. Actually, I would liken the song to a petal floating in the wind. That type of light music. There is a decent beat to it, but it doesn’t strike me as something memorable. A similar comment can be made in regards to the vocals. Their vocals do compliment the song’s light style, but I don’t find the melody to be strong enough to help make it memorable. The rapping by Seungwoo and Hanse does hold some promise, though I am leaning towards a similar comment after multiple listens. I do note that none of this means the song is bad. It was just not memorable enough to avoid being the ‘skippable’ track. (7/10)

5. White Night – As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, almost all KPOP albums must contain a ballad. It is an unwritten rule that somehow ever artist just follows. VICTON is not exception and White Night is the ballad of the album. The instrumental is very typical, starting off with a piano that ends up featuring throughout the entire song. The second verse brings in the drums but the song stays slow. The vocal work is a lot better in this song, as you can sense some emotion behind their voices. There is just a delicate feel behind their voices. But it is the rappers that shine in this song. They wowed me with their impressive sequences, which I feel like is a ‘hidden gem’ within this song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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[Review] Howling – VICTON

VICTON makes their long awaited return to the music industry yesterday. But what makes this a long awaited comeback? Well, it is the group’s first comeback with their full lineup since Time Of Sorrow in 2018. In 2019, Han Seung Woo placed 3rd in the Produce X 101 and debuted as part of the short-lived X1. With the disbandment of X1, this made way for a full group ‘Howling‘ comeback and this is where we find ourselves today. The rest of VICTON has been active since Produce X 101 and their made a comeback with Nostaglic Night in November last year and earned themselves their first music show win.

I find the way that Howling is styled follows nicely after Nostalgic Night and Time Of Sorrow. Both these tracks are very melodic despite their dance influences and synths that they use. Howling is almost the same but manages to sound a lot more refined. They also give off a modern flair, which I really think makes the track so appealing. The husky-whisper-singing-like vocal style that kicked off the song was really nice, and I liked how the chorus featured some of this as well. The vocal work is very smooth throughout and I think this aided in the refinement of the song. The rapping also follows quite nice and doesn’t overpower the song in any way, which I think was easily given how intense and deep the rapper sounded. The instrumental is pretty standard when you glance at it. But I really liked how subtle the change between the verse and chorus was. Despite it subtle nature, however, the chorus was its own section and you can tell them apart. I think the continuous mellow sound is starting to weigh down on them, however. With the return of Seungwoo, I would have expected there to be a change in direction for the group, especially since how this sound was never really a hit to begin win. For now, I think this is a fine song. But I would like to hear something a little more different from all their tracks so far (without falling into the generic trap, of course!).

The music video for this is one of the many that is made up of choreography shots and closeups. I don’t really see a concept within this 3 minute and a half video, other than dark and depressed. I did think their outfits, while were random, did allow them to shine a bit and stand out in all the darkness in the music video. In addition to that, I thought there were a number of good transitions which did grab my attention. But other than that, I don’t have much else to comment on.

I find it interesting that the choreographer didn’t put Han Seung Woo in the center position as much upon his return. If it was any other group, they would be capitalising on their most well known member by positioning them as the centre of the group. The choreography itself isn’t too bad. There really isn’t anything worth mentioning and memorable, unfortunately.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Nostalgic Night – VICTON

It has been 18 months since we heard from VICTON. Their last comeback was in May of 2018 with Time Of Sorrow. But since their comebacks prior to their 2018 return were not garnering enough attention for the group, their company decided to send two members (Seung-woo and Byung-chan) to Produce X 101. Byungchan pulled out due to health problems, while Seung-woo finished 3rd and a part of the X1 lineup. And on Monday, VICTON return (with Byungchan and without Seung-woo) with Nostalgic Night, their first single post-Produce X 101. It seems like the survival show is paying off but let’s see how their comeback fare.

It is interesting that the group didn’t return with a new sound. Instead, they seemed to incorporate that sentimental sound that they left us with from Time Of Sorrow with a dance beat. Nostalgic Night ended up being a pleasant combination. It is a little typical sounding but I think it has enough to rival a few major male group releases in the past few weeks. I really liked the instrumental for this track, particularly the dance breaks we get after the chorus. It felt like a dull flute was being played (but in a good way) and this made the song feel appealing. I also liked how the instrumentation didn’t feel heavy-handed, which was one of the reasons why I mentioned the pleasant descriptor. Altogether, the instrumental was subtly dynamic, which I thought was cool. Their vocal work was nice and melodic. The rapping boosted the song and gave some intensity that I felt it needed. Once again, I am not too fond of the abrupt ending and this should have ended with a fade-out. Apart from that, a stronger hook would have made the song more memorable. But it was good, overall.

The music video pairs very well with the song. The song expresses their feelings of missing their former lover and whether they would still be together if they waited a little longer. In the music video, however, the exact same thing is expressed but in terms of their friendship group. It seems like some members regret the events of the night. My guess is that a car crash occurred, resulting in some of the members dying (we see some members unconscious around the car). Some members seemed to have taken a pill during the day and this resulted in them disappearing, which was foreshadowing the events to come. That is my interpretation of the video, though I am a little confused with the white pill (not exactly sure of its significance, as the first guy did drop them). I did like the use of colours and lighting of the video, which made the video more appealing.

The choreography was good. But it wasn’t impressive. When the song went into that more energetic and subtly angst-like instrumental break, I felt like they could have had moves that were more amped up than what they had. Don’t get me wrong though, as I did like what they had. I also like how smooth their performance felt, which worked well with the song.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.1/10

[Review] Time Of Sorrow – VICTON

Apologies for the lack of reviews for the past few days, I have been extremely busy with studies once again. But today I make my return (and a start on a bombardment of reviews) with my review for VICTON’s latest comeback, Time Of Sorrow. This is the group’s first comeback since Remember Me, which was released in November last year.

The group takes on a more emotional and mature sound with their latest comeback. They do nail the emotional side of the song, which I could feel through their vocals. While I am on the topic, the vocals were nice. I really liked the combination of the high and low notes in the song, as they really do mix well. By doing this, they keep to the song’s nature throughout the song (without unnecessary changeups) but also manages to bring out the best of each member. Like the vocals, the raps were also quite good. I was a little skeptical within the first few seconds how the raps would be incorporated but now, I don’t know why I was worried.  I don’t want to say that the song is exactly soothing (due to the nature of the lyrics) but that was what my initial thought was.  The only downside is that the song doesn’t seem to be that memorable. Firstly, the song doesn’t really climax, staying relatively linear. There were nice melodies and synths in the song but I don’t think either really made the song that memorable for me.

The video showed the members having some fun times (via flashbacks) with a girl who was in the same class. In the present, however, it is clear that she left (or something happened to her), which left the members visibly upset. At the end of the video, one of the members leave a flower on her desk. Now, this can either be a love confession but I am more convinced (as all the members were upset) that something happened to her, as this would explain the flower at the end. I thought the video was quite nice, fitting well with the song. The choreography scenes in front of that olden day looking building was really well done and my absolute favourite scenes in the entire video.

The one word that you would describe a dance that accompanies a song of this tempo is graceful. And I think that is the perfect word to describe it. While I do see moves that fit into a more dance centred performance, the performance does a great job of staying within that very fine line of balance between the two elements, which make it a standout performance to watch.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

 

 

[Review] Remember Me – VICTON

Making another comeback this year is VICTON, with Remember Me. After their Eyez Eyez and Unbelievable comebacks this year, VICTON’s title seems to be a little irrelevant. How could we forget them after the two comebacks we have already been given? That was my lame pun. Maybe I should just continue on with the review, rather than make a fool of myself (if I haven’t yet).

Remember Me seems to be a track that brings you back to the past. It doesn’t feel like a 2017 release but rather something you would have heard a few years back as a B-side. Not saying it is bad, it just feels old and ‘done before’. But it sounds like one of their better songs, given their releases so far. The chorus was decent and the following “Eh Oh Eh Oh” part was pretty cool. The piano instrumental introduction was intriguing, at first, leading onto what felt like a pretty standard instrumental overall. I think if the instrumental had some kind of punch to it, the song could have been much better. The vocals were okay but the star of the show was the raps, which gave the song a little more colour and energy.  Overall, they missed the mark in some areas but appeared successful in others.

I have to say that the video was fairly boring to watch. It features APINK’s Hayoung, who is the second APINK to feature in one of VICTON’s video (the first being Naeun). The video, itself, pretty much has been done before as well (but there is only so much you can do when touching on the same topic of breaking up). There isn’t much to talk about, in regards to the video. The only wow factor in this video was when the members were dancing in the pool of water, but as mentioned in some previous reviews, that has been done before as well.

The performance was good, borderline on weak though. It did suit the song but it just didn’t have that memorability element to it.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 4/10 
Performance  – 5/10 
Overall Rating – 5/10

[Review] Unbelievable – VICTON

VICTON has returned with their brand new mini album and single, Unbelievable. The group previously made their comeback at the start of the year with Eyez Eyez. Since then, it has been relatively quiet and honestly, I may have forgotten about the group. Their comeback seeks to bring them to the surface and attract some attention to it.

But sadly, the song doesn’t seem to fulfill that. Unbelievable is quite boring. I have listened to the song a number of times, but I don’t remember it when it finishes. There are no memorable sections and it just doesn’t attract my attention in the moment. And that is a major issue. The vocals or rap aren’t terrible but they aren’t that great as well. For example, the song opens up with the rapper singing. And while I normally like that, it sounded a little odd. The chorus is normally meant to be the catchiest part of the song. But there was no hook and it was quite bland overall. The only thing which I did personally feel was great about the song was the Summer time instrumental. But even that felt very familiar and didn’t really set it a part from the rest of the group’s competition. It just isn’t the song for me this time around.

And like the song, I found the video to be quite boring as well. There really isn’t anything in there to separate it from the rest of the Summer themed music videos where the singers have a little fun. The guys were quite bubbly and happy, but the video just didn’t convey those same feelings to me. And besides those comments, the video doesn’t leave much for me to talk about.

The performance wasn’t that captivating but I think it was the better part of the comeback. The chorus had a few sharp moves in there and the post-chorus had a nice feel to it. Though, watching the performance, I noticed a member with the mullet. And now I can’t unsee that, even in the music video. WHY????

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 5/10

[Review] Eyez Eyez – VICTON

VICTON has made their first comeback with Eyez Eyez. For those who missed the group, they are a 7-member boy group under Plan A Entertainment. Their debut song, I’m Fine, was released in November 2016. Eyez Eyez is the title track to their latest mini album, Ready, which was released last week.

The song shows a more edgy and tougher side of the guys, something that their debut song didn’t have. And while this is an okay song, I don’t think it has what it takes to top their pre-release for their debut, What Time Is It Now. The songs are similar in ways but different in other aspects. But I am not here to compare songs. Eyez Eyez uses a more disoriented sounding instrumental, which can be attributed to the warped synths and it delves into the EDM route. It doesn’t sound like a mess, which I am sure, some people would have thought initially. While the EDM genre is expanding, it is very common to hear the same sounds again and again. And with many groups, particularly newer boy groups, going down the EDM route, this song doesn’t really stand out for me. Sure, the instrumental may be a little unique but there is a layer of air that makes the song feel a little generic. The vocals and raps were okay. I just expected them to be more explosive with this song. They do sing at a more powerful level for the chorus, but to me, it sounds like they are only doing that to get on top of the instrumental, which during the chorus was the main thing you could hear. Other than that, I did think the first line of the chorus was catchy enough and that alone brought me back to the song a few times.

The music video doesn’t really stand out. While the song does sound a little more untraditional, the music video feels very generic and lacks appeal. The song is made up of choreography scenes and a lot of close-ups of the guys at the train station. Not really the first place you would think of to put a bunch of guys trying out the tougher and edgier concept. The video relies heavily on the use of post-production effects and filters. They do a lot to the video and keep it somewhat interesting. Yeah, also gives me something a little extra to talk about.

The choreography was pretty good. It isn’t memorable as much as other performances but at least it gave a worthwhile visual to watch as part of their music video. The knife-like choreography puts them up high with other boy groups (that are known for their impressive sharp moves), but VICTON now needs to show that same aspect off with a more memorable and impressive choreography.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 5.5/10

[Review] I’m Fine – VICTON

[This review was written and scheduled a few months back in preparation for my absence in December. For any reviews for end of November and December comebacks, they will be posted next year. This also includes any end of year related posts.]

There are a lot of boy groups debuting this year. VICTON is another group that debuted recently. They marked their first release on the 8th of November with their first mini-album and the title track, I’m Fine. The group is currently under Plan A Entertainment, which also houses APINK. The group contains 7 members and the members are Seungsik, Seungwoo, Chan, Subin, Hanse, Sejun and Byungchan.

The song doesn’t really capture your attention nor does it sound amazing. But I think I can settle by describing the song as good. As I said, it is outstanding or excellence, but it does have its perks. For example, the track is quite funky and catchy. The chorus is addictive. Their vocals during the chorus does irk me a little because it doesn’t match with the instrumental. There just seems to be a little too much going on at the chorus. I think it is the thick vocals combination (person who is singing the chorus + the back-up vocals) that throws me off. Their vocals by themselves during the verses and the ad-libs at the end prove their potential. The rapping is also quite nice to listen to. The verses are a little dry and bland for my taste. The song relies too heavily of the catchiness of the chorus for me. There isn’t much else to make it a track that is mind-blowing or top of the class though.

The music video stars Naeun from APINK. She geniunely looks happy in this video. Her interaction with the group is quite minimal though, which is a little disappointing. As for the group. The video made them too cheesy to watch. Maybe I am just not into the cutesy concept that much. The video was very colourful and vibrant. It just needed something to make it less boring. Maybe a little more interaction between the group and Naeun. Maybe just have one member and Naeun share a moment together, alone, which each other. Maybe that might not work, but hey, it will get some sort of reaction out of me. And something to talk about.

The dance performance was honestly, boring. I wasn’t captivated by their live stages at all. I don’t know, but what I saw in the video looked impressive, but I was let down when seeing the entire performance in whole. I know they were both the exact same thing. My reaction just did not carry over, I guess.

Rating – 6/10