As you may be already aware, I am currently on a break from the blog to spend some time with family and friends this Christmas. But this does not mean I can’t celebrate the holidays with you, as well. And I do this by sharing a whole bunch of festive themed songs that our favourite and beloved KPOP artists (and companies) have released this year.
Again, I wish you all a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays full of joy, laughter and the company of family and friends. If today is business as usual for you or you don’t celebrate the festive season, then I hope today goes seamlessly for you.
And given that from tomorrow we are in an awkward limbo state between Christmas and New Years (honestly, what do we do in during this period?), I will also wish everyone a happy new year.
Returning with a complete image shakeup this week is Weeekly with their latest single, Ven para. It is featured on the group’s first single album, Play Game: Awake. Ven para is the group’s fourth comeback since their debut with Tag Me, and it follows 2021 releases that featured their After School and Holiday Party. This comeback features all of the members in the recording and music video, but unfortunately member Shin Jiyoon is sitting out of the promotions for this comeback.
Gone are the days of Tag Me and Zig Zag. While their 2021 releases (After School and Holiday Party) moved away from the group’s cutesy debut sound, they still maintained their youthfulness. With Ven para, that is also out the door. Instead, we get this edgy piece that is very much more mature and serious than ever before. I don’t mind the verses. I quite liked the subtle use of the brass and the flute at the very end of the verses. I could have done with less autotune, just so the verses appeared a bit more clean and sleek. The rapping sequences in the second verse were impressive, and gave itself a a more noticeable clean and sleek profile that the first was heading towards. The choruses inclines quite suddenly with a powerful and intense backing, Its energy and atmosphere peaks almost straight away, which I thought was interesting. But the chorus was brief and the chorus ends as soon as it started. I kind of wished there was more of it. The bridge tones down Ven para with some good vocal sequences, before a shouty chant sequence returns the song to its powerful glory. I quite like the idea of this chanty sequence – just didn’t like the high pitch the ‘Ven para acá‘ finished on though. What is lacking in Ven para is a memorable hook. What we got was decent, but it just didn’t stay in my head or impress me. Had there been a stronger hook to Ven para, I think this sound change would have been more successful. As for now, it is a decent track.
The music video was fiery, thanks to the fire and images of the sun. The red colouring in some of the sets also helped push this concept further. I do like how it isn’t overwhelming though. They offset the heat with a cooler choreography set that features a heavy presence of the blue colour and looks sophisticated. I liked their use of green screen in the video. It might not be the most stunning look ever, but it is a lot better than some other applications of the green screen that I can think of.
I quite liked the clapping and other hand movements in the chorus. I also enjoyed their charisma on stage, which fits this comeback very well. A good performance, overall.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.8/10
Making their return yesterday is Weeekly, who returns with their fourth mini-album, Play Game: Holiday, and the title track, Holiday Party. This is the group’s first comeback since After School earlier this year. The biggest difference between the two comebacks is the lack of a member. Shin Jiyoon is sitting out of promotions for Holiday Party and for the next while due to stress and anxiety, but did participate in the recording of the album and the music video (as seen down below). Weeekly will continue as a six-member group for the time being while Shin Jiyoon recuperates.
I have listened to Holiday Party twice since its release yesterday. One clear indication I really enjoy a song (and I am assuming that this is the same for most people) is that it has me coming back for more – either immediately or quite soon after. But based on my confessed listening frequency thus far, it appears that Holiday Party just doesn’t reel me in. I thought the song just didn’t bring anything new to the table or redo anything previously done in a refreshing manner. For the most part, the song was largely forgettable for me. The vocals were good, but it was almost borderline sugary territory for me, which I am not much of a fan of. The rapping felt much better, particularly Jiyoon’s section at the end. I felt her sequence, though brief, gave the song a bit of substance, and was a nice cut through the high pitched vocals of the chorus. Wished there was more of this! The instrumental took on this choppy style which I thought was good, but it wasn’t exactly amazing at the same time. The melodies and chanty style that made the chorus were okay, though they didn’t ping me for being something memorable. I did like the contrast between the instrumentation and vocals though. That is probably one of the few things that make the song somewhat interesting for me. Overall, I would say that that Holiday Party comes off as bubbly and pleasant (as a whole). But it simply stops at that. Personally, I don’t know what I want with Weeekly. While I do like how they are staying ‘original’ by keeping true to their roots and keeping their discography quite consistent, I don’t know if they can continue and succeed with such formula if they cannot find a catchy and memorable song like Tag Me or Zig Zag again.
I feel similar comments could be applied to the music video for Holiday Party. It was an okay video to watch. Nothing too memorable to get me to return to the music video for further repeats. The members go on a fun trip and have some fun. That is the extent of this music video. Great concept for a Summer song, though I feel the sets and music video felt too artificial as a result and this dulled any appeal of the concept. I wished they ventured outside and had some real fun in the sun. I think that would have been more impactful than a spewing washing machine or golf on a pink planet.
Again, the performance isn’t memorable. But I think it did a good job of channeling the bubbliness and pleasantry of the song. It did have a bounce to it, which I guess works with the choppiness of the song. But overall, I feel that this was a forgettable comeback for the group.
Song – 5.5/10 Music Video – 6/10 Performance – 6/10 Overall Rating – 5.5/10
Throughout the usual award season in the KPOP industry (December – January), Weeekly was recognized on multiple occasions for their debut in 2020 with new artist awards, such as at the Melon Music Awards and the MNET Asian Music Awards. Following those awards and a successful debut year with Tag Me and Zig Zag, the group made their return last week with their second comeback, After School, and third mini-album, We Play.
After School follows the same direction as the group’s debut and previous comeback. The pop song is undeniably bright and bubbly, however it is not to the same extent as the songs in their debut year. I put blame on the instrumentation of this track. It isn’t as dynamic, bouncy or energy filled as their previous tracks. This was a selling point to Tag Me and Zig Zag, so it is disappointing to a degree. I think the most dynamic part was the use of the snare drums synths at the start of the final chorus, which added a bit of change to the song at that stage. I remember the uneventful instrumental really stuck out at me in the first verse during my first listen of the song and it had me hoping that the chorus would be spectacular in comparison. Let’s just say it wasn’t the instrumental that ended up selling the song to me. Instead, it was the vocals that did that job. The melodies in After School were really nice and showcased the members vocals in a very strong light. They were flowy, added in that missing dynamic touch and made the song so much more appealing to me. Even the rapping that dominated the second verse shared a similar flowy and melodic profile. I also enjoyed the little sequence right after the first chorus where the lyricists managed to integrate the titles of their past title tracks, giving it that more personal touch. Interestingly, the combination of the instrumentation and vocals didn’t come across as terrible for me. I actually think they complimented each other quite well in the end and I felt a nice mature tinge come from the song, as a result of the two elements working in harmony. I just wished there was more to the instrumentation.
The music video felt appropriate to the song’s lyrics. In their previous music videos, the focus has been on the members at school. But After School is obviously reference to being out of hours of the schooling, so the members don casual clothing and skateboarder gear. They hang out and have a bit of fun with each other. I think the lyrics also reference a potential crush, but the music video ends up showing a portal that appears taking them to a ‘whole new world’. I think this might be a representation of what the crush could lead to, once they and the members hang out. I also liked how the group retained that cutesy vibe that they are known for from their past concepts and how this video (once again) isn’t oversaturated with said vibe. It made the whole experience pleasant and this overall complimented the song quite well.
I really enjoyed how bubbly the performance ended becoming. It added a layer of appeal to the comeback, which I didn’t expect given my comments in the song section of this review. I also enjoyed the chairs in performance. I wished they used it more, as it could really make the performance smoother (to a degree) and more fun.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.8/10
In this edition of the Album Review segment, I am covering Weeekly’s second mini-album, We Can. This is the first time I am reviewing their album. I passed on the opportunity to review their debut mini-album, We Are, which featured their debut title track Tag Me. But while I was vetting albums to review recently, We Can popped out me. Two of the tracks stole my attention and I knew I had to review this album to make sure I draw your attention to them. That being said, the rest of the mini-album is definitely a standout, so I recommend that you give the entire release a listen.
1. Unnie (언니) – Opening up the album is Unnie, which is a reasonably cutesy styled pop track. The cutesy style is usually not really my cup of tea (though there are songs of this style that I do indulge myself with), but Unnie holds back from being oversaturated with this profile. As a result, the song is quite pleasant. There are some really nice vocals throughout the song, such as in the second verse and the entire bridge. The instrumental is upbeat and I really like the use of the electric guitar throughout some of the song, adding a bit of zing to the song to make it more interesting. (8/10)
2. My Earth – My Earth is a texturally interesting song and my personal favourite off the album. This is obviously thanks to the EDM instrumental that dominated the song. While I do admit that it could have been overwhelming for some, there is something aesthetic about the different EDM influences and synths they had picked for the song and how it all blends together without a noticeable hitch. Props to the producers! The bass was definitely needed to give the song depth and definition. I also liked the light vocals, which was surprising as you would expect them to be drowned out by the instrumental. But somehow, they poked through and you could hear them clearly. Props, once again, to the producers of My Earth! (9.5/10)
4. Top Secret(몰래몰래) – Top Secret is another really strong track off this album. To me, this is a Goldilocks’ type of song. Nothing in this track was lacking or too soft. Nothing was too extreme or over the top. Everything was enjoyable and pleasant. Just right, as Goldilocks would say in the fairytale. (Okay, end of fairytale reference). But honestly, this is what makes the song just standout. It didn’t need craziness or need a centerpiece that the song revolves around. I particularly enjoyed the main hook ‘You, You, You~’, as it reminds me of another way back in the early 10s. It is always nice for a trip down nostalgia lane. (10/10)
5. Weeekly(월화수목금토일) – The final song on this album is a self-titled song that returns to the upbeat roots that started off the album. It is another cutesy track. There is slightly more of this cutesy profile in Weeekly in comparison to Unnie, but it isn’t a case of oversaturation. I appreciate everything in this song from the hooks to the melodies. The vocals was very nice and the guitar in the instrumentation was a nice touch. The only part that I didn’t really like was the anthem-like sequence that was the bridge of the song. It felt cliché and didn’t feel fitting for the song for me. (8/10)
I just realized I spelt their name wrong in their Tag Me review. Apologies to WEEEKLY and Daileees.
If we are discussing the topic of female debuts of 2020, WEEEKLY will be a point in that discussion. To me, they are the most notable new female artist of the year so far, with Tag Me pretty much outshining majority of debut songs by a female artist this year. And it seems like many listeners are jumping on board the WEEEKLY train as their latest comeback (the focus of this review), Zig Zag, has managed to garner over 14 million views in less than a week since its release. Just continue reading (literally the opening sentence of my next paragraph) to see whether I think WEEEKLY managed to out do their debut track.
WEEEKLY had a massive effort to upstage their debut track and I felt that Zig Zag fell short of that achievement. I felt the song was a lot more straight forward with its upbeat energy and delivery, whereas Tag Me was built on really addictive hooks and refreshing instrumentation. Zig Zag had those elements as well, but they weren’t as profound. The chorus’ hooks were catchy and pleasant at best. The instrumental was nice and enjoyable. I particularly liked that the slight rock influence that was brought in during the chorus. It added some oomph to the song and added some extra energy to the chorus. And it felt refreshing. However, the instrumental for Zig Zag’s verses were pretty much forgettable. Actually, while we are on the topic of the verses, I thought they (as a whole – including instrumentals, vocals and melody) weren’t as memorable as they could have been. And I feel that the pre-chorus was more well suited for another song, as a complete slowdown just didn’t hit the mark. Same thing can be said about the bridge of the song. The wow factor for this song has to be that impressive high note. It caught me off guard the first time around and I look forward to it each time I listen to the song. Overall, a decent follow up to their debut single. It exactly isn’t a smash out of the park. But it is still quite enjoyable.
Zig Zag is all about the emotions that a teenager goes through. I also feel like the group targeted the lyrics towards the idea of self-discovery, which is an important part of growing up. We see that the in the video, where the members are part of the WEEEKLY School and are picking up skills. What leaves me confused is the glowing green spinning block towards the end of the video. Was that meant to represent something that I should already know about? I also felt the video could have been a little more colourful, as what we got was slightly dimmed. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I think a colourful video would have been more visually appealing.
I really enjoyed the use of those blocks in the choreography. They instantly made the entire performance more captivating. I like how they infused some bubbliness (is this even a word?) into the performance to make it more cutesy and fun. There wasn’t anything impressive in the actual performance. But the whole choreography routine comes together quite nicely.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7.8/10
It is time for another Monday release review. Rather than a comeback, it is a debut. WEEEKLY’s debut, to be more specific. WEEEKLY is a female group, with an average age of 17 and comes from PlayM Entertainment, which is also the home-base of APINK and VICTON. There are seven members to this group and they are Soojin, Jiyoon, Monday, Soeun, Jaehee, Jihan, and Zoa. Their debut single is Tag Me or @Me and it features on their debut mini-album, We Are. (For this review, I will be using the plain English title).
Tag Me may not seem like your strong debut song at first. But it gets better and better with every listen! There are parts of the song that I still don’t enjoy. And frankly, I don’t see myself falling for those parts any time soon given how they are relative to the rest of the song. But there are sections and elements that I am really digging. And I will quickly run through those. The first section has to be the chanting starter/pre-chorus of the song. It starts the song off in a bold manner and the guitars that accompany this section (and features throughout the verse) adds a little cool flair to the song. The second section has to the chorus. The catchy melodies, the great vocals and the refreshing energy that comes the instrumental are all just so likeable. I will gladly put the song on replay just for the chorus alone. The third is the second half of the bridge, which is where the vocals come into play. The good thing is that the positive aspects outweigh the bad ones. It is mainly the trap sequence for the rap sequence that follows the first chorus. It just did not fit and felt very unnecessary. Likewise, the first half of the bridge with the instrumental break was not needed in this song. It just didn’t fit in with the bubbly sound that Tag Me presents us.
It is a cute music video, featuring the members as part-time school students and part-time social media addicts. The entire song’s lyrics are all about being individualistic and showing this to their crush on their timeline, which explains the social media references in the lyrics. Aside from the choreography and closeup formula, the music video also shoots a bit outside, which I like. It doesn’t feel like the members are cramped up on a boxed set.
While I thought they were just there for stylistic purposes, the group does perform on stage with the desks. This is pretty unique and suits the school concept. The way they move the desks about doesn’t distract you from the actual choreography. As much as I dislike the instrumental break in the first half of the bridge, the dance that accompanies was actually quite good.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 7/10 Performance – 7.5/10 Overall Rating – 7.9/10