Hyuna – “Red” Review

Hyuna – Red (Dance Practice)

Hyuna – Red

Reviewed on September 25, 2014

image

Personal Message: I personally feel that it has been a long time ever since I last reviewed a song. Perhaps. There are some really exciting comebacks that occurred recently; TaeTiSeo made a return and the queen vocalist of the K-Pop scene, Ailee, comes back full force. For the most part, anyways. I will hopefully get their new songs out within a few days. I’m quite booked with work for the weekend but, I may squeeze in a review. 

One last note, T-ARA released an English version of “Sugar Free” a few days ago. Considering all of the ladies are solely Korean speakers, it’s very impressive to see a fluent, full English version of their current hit song. 

Bringing this review back on track, I decided to peer back at this song, “Red”. I planned to do TaeTiSeo’s “Holler”, but since it’s still a fresh, new song, I wouldn’t be able to critique it properly. On the other hand, “Red” has given me plenty of ideas. If I’m being honest, though, “Hyuna’s Free Month” (a reality show starring her; check out my review of it) definitely did its job of advertising her solo song. That’s how I personally ended up listening to it.

Anyhow, coming from a pop-styled group, 4Minute, Hyuna made a solo return during the summer. Although that time has passed, Hyuna’s “Red” style still prevails. Let’s take a look at her colorful song. 

______________________________________________________

Song Total Score: 6/10 (5.5/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 6/10 – Considering Hyuna’s main role is being a rapper for 4Minute, crazy vocal talent shouldn’t be expected. Nevertheless, Hyuna pulls off stronger vocals towards the chorus and even during the pre-chorus; those two sections spotlight some solid singing. Unfortunately, her nasally voice does become quite dull; this is a huge issue when it comes to specific sections, such as the rap and verse. While I feel completely guilty to mark down the vocal on the basis of simply her voice, the nasally tone doesn’t sound too pleasant; it comes off extremely stale, and at certain times, slightly annoying.

In the end, a very slight point above average. Let me be clear, Hyuna’s usual voice is completely normal and at times, even cute. However, when it comes to singing and for musical purposes, there are definitely more capable singers out there. 

Before any Hyuna fans decide to eat me alive like a pack of wolves, “Red” can take blame for faltering vocals; although in general, I render Hyuna as an average vocalist, she can still hold her weight and in fact, with Trouble Maker’s “Now”, her singing there was fantastic. But, in terms of this song, the vocals don’t give her justice. 

– Song Structure: 7/10 (6.875/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

Introduction, Verse + Rap, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Introduction, Rap, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Bridge, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Conclusion (Post-Chorus) 

For “Song Structure”, I’m going to go through each section (Verse, Chorus, etc) and give a score per section. After that, the average is the “Song Structure” score.

Note: Alright so, it turns out “Red” is definitely unique when it comes to the structure; the only verse has a tint of rapping towards the end, and the introduction is actually reused in the middle part of the song. In terms of the post-chorus, while I could be lazy and mesh it with the chorus as a whole, I feel that it holds its own. The “(Oh~ Eh Oh Eh Oh)” part is what I’m considering the post-chorus.  

1. Introduction: 7/10 – The introduction for “Red” isn’t too bad; the instrumental does a phenomenal job. Sadly, Hyuna’s vocals are on the lacking side. As mentioned earlier, her nasally voice does impair this part, but it’s nothing too drastic. Credit towards the instrumental for doing a short yet sweet job; quick beats are utilized at the start to set the tone. As “Red” progresses, the instrumental does a nice, speedy build-up for hyping up the song. Near the end, though, it quickly dies back down to create a solid transition towards the upcoming verse/rap. 

Also, the introduction does make a return at the middle of the song; it remains identical to the first introduction. The only difference, however, is that the second introduction’s instrumental slightly differs. Considering its placement, it works out very well; it allows a moment for the song to relax itself in preparation for a rap.

Overall, slightly above average for an introduction. The instrumental fulfills its role with setting up the song, and in addition, allows a smooth transition. The only issue derives from Hyuna’s vocal work here; it’s nothing impressive at all. There wasn’t any catchy melody added, it was simply her nasally voice.

2. Verse + Rap: 7/10 – Firstly, this is probably the first “mixed” section I’ve dealt with. The verse has some rapping towards the end, but in summary, I would still consider this predominately a verse. 

This section is perhaps where a lot of the vocal issues stem from; the singing at the beginning was exceptionally nasally. Due to that, a lot of the melody seemed lost; if the vocals itself wasn’t mediocre enough, the instrumental at the start was just as plain. It was a heavier bassline with some heavy beats added. This is a recipe for disaster. Nasally vocals, lackluster melody, very plain bassline and beats, everything needed for a boring section comes to life. 

Now thankfully, the song does recover when “Hyuna’s back”. Ignoring perhaps one of the worse puns I’ve made in a while, once those lyrics occur, a shift is felt; the instrumental finally begins to pick up some more energy, and Hyuna’s singing follows suit with adding on a lot more melody. After all of that, Hyuna spits off an impressive rap; short and impacting. When it comes to her rapping skills, it’s actually quite top-notch. Anyhow, her rap contained a very slick flow. More will be mentioned at her true rapping section, but for this verse-rap hybrid, the rapping was exceptionally smooth. Furthermore, it provided a simple and efficient transition the pre-chorus. 

Overall, slightly above average. The extremely stale start does hurt the score, but with the shift that occurs within a few more seconds, it ends up redeeming the verse/rap section. 

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – Now this is where Hyuna gets to shine with her singing skills; a solid pre-chorus.

Firstly, the instrumental and vocals complement one another well. During this section, both parties did a standard build-up phase; the vocals became lighter and sweeter, and luckily, a lot less nasally. Hyuna was able to put forth a very solid melody as well. In terms of the instrumental, in comparison to the other parts, it became a lot more passive and focused moreover on the beats along with the softer bassline. Towards the end, the beats fasten its pace to create an easy transition and Hyuna throws in a solid, final line.

The only issue within this section is the obnoxious monkey noise at the very end; although seemingly random and purely silly, it does relate back to the song’s lyrics. Nevertheless, it was ridiculous and harshly contrasted the softer, calmer vocals and instrumental.

The pre-chorus comes out to be solid. Hyuna shows off some splendid singing talent here. Adding on to that, the instrumental became rather elegant and meshed well with the vocals. Solid work here.  

4. Chorus: 8/10 – The chorus of “Red” shows off the true color of the song.

When the chorus arrives, the song is finally in full force; there are energetic vocals and a catchy instrumental, the melody lingers around, and there are some interesting lyric structures. 

For this part, after a line, backup vocals are used to create a unique, yet effective, contrast. To show an example, “ppalgan geon Hyuna Hyunaneun (Yeah)” was a line. The “Yeah” differed from the ongoing melody of the rest of the lyrics. This plays out perfectly as it allows a subtle change from a pure melody; without the “Yeah” and “What” backup vocals, the chorus would potentially sound a lot more plain. 

Focusing slightly more on Hyuna’s vocals, I’m quite pleased with it. The nasally vocals disappeared; instead, we are hearing some very melodic singing from Hyuna. It’s nothing too impressive vocally, but nevertheless, she showed solid singing. 

Overall, a solid chorus. This part is where the song hits a climatic range. Lots of energetic singing is seen here as well as catchy lyrics and melody. If both the vocals and instrumental were more stunning, this would be a higher score. In the end, though, it still comes out as solid.

5. Post-Chorus: 6/10 – As mentioned above, this could technically be counted with the chorus, but I feel a significant enough change to create a separate section for this part. This post-chorus here is the “Oh~” part.

“Red” possesses a typical post-chorus; typically, most post-choruses’ job is to bring down the song’s intensity so that it flows into the verse/another song section smoothly. It makes sense, after all, considering that if a song has a hyper, upbeat chorus, a sudden switch to a calmer verse or rap would be way too abrupt. This is the role of the post-chorus in “Red”. It allowed an easy transition back into the next song section.

In terms of actually analyzing the post-chorus, it contained mostly basic note holds; examples are with the “Oh~” and “Eh Oh Eh Oh”. While they were note holds, unlike a vast majority of other ones, these holds produced by Hyuna were lacking solid melody. Furthermore, it did not show off any intensive vocal work. Of course, there were other lines, but similar to the note holds, they possessed no catchy melody whatsoever.

Overall, very slightly above average; I’ve heard a lot of solid post-choruses, and unfortunately, “Red” does not make the standard. On the positive side, the post-chorus achieves the goal of bringing the song’s energy/intensity down so that it becomes a smooth transition to the next part.

6. Rap: 7/10 – I’m actually quite flustered on what to give for a score. It’s either a 7 or 8. Overall, I’m leaning towards a 7.

Firstly, this is the most smooth, slick, fluent rap I’ve ever heard; the flow is exceptionally solid. Hyuna had words rolling off her tongue in both a natural and speedy manner. Very impressive in this regard. Unfortunately, this is more “blind” flow than anything else. While the flow is superb and top-notch, the rap felt as if it was purely, and quickly, executed with a sole focus on being as fast as possible. What is sacrificed from this style is the lack of melody and power; it didn’t feel as impacting nor did it have any catchy melody. The rap was a list of words being shot out. Nothing more, nothing less. 

As a result, slightly above average is the score. This rap is a double-edged sword; on one side, the flow and pacing is fantastic. On the flip side, due to such speed, it loses any ability to carry forth a melody and to have any power. Nevertheless, the skills required here is shocking, and Hyuna definitely impressed me here. Not too bad for a rap.

7. Bridge: 4/10 – To be blunt: a poor bridge.

Perhaps it is a 4Minute curse, but once again, there is another bridge that is seemingly placed for the sake of having a bridge. Actually, I take back the 4Minute curse part. They have some other songs with beautiful bridges, but unluckily, for their group song of “Whatcha Doin’ Today”, the bridge was awful. Anyhow, peering back at Hyuna who’s running solo instead of being in 4Minute, the bridge in “Red” is similar to 4Minute’s “Whatcha Doin Today”’s bridge. Not good.

Firstly, the transition to the bridge is extremely abrupt; despite the numerous times I’ve listened to “Red”, the sudden tempo change and shift is still too rough. In addition to a questionable transition, the bridge itself is quite stagnant; with the only lyrics being a lifeless, echoing, “Hyunaneun ppalgaeyo” (translated as “Hyuna is red”; at the Meaning section, we’ll take a deeper look) and some “Ooo~” sounds, it does not keep the exciting state that the chorus contains. As for how the instrumental does, it reciprocates the same, plain vocal work done. The beats become slower and heavier.

Looking at everything this bridge offered, it comes out as mediocre; it’s a weak bridge. The strength of the bridge is the fact that it transitions to the upcoming pre-chorus extremely well; the bridge itself, however, is not up to standards. Below average for a bridge.

8. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 8/10 – While the post-chorus wasn’t too solid, it works out perfectly as the conclusion. 

The role of the post-chorus becomes useful for the conclusion. After all, bringing the song down to a clear, yet smooth stop is the goal. Thankfully, the post-chorus is able to fulfill the task. The post-chorus leaves listeners a final taste of the energetic chorus, but at the same time, it also allows “Red” to end smoothly. No cuts or stretched end; the conclusion goes well.

A solid wrap to “Red”.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – “Red” was Hyuna’s summer solo release. Her 4Minute members are not with her, so this can’t be graded.

– Instrumental: 6/10 – Personally I am not a fan of the soundtrack; it’s either too obnoxious or too plain. Nevertheless, I will highlight the pre-chorus’ instrumental; during that section, it was quite graceful and nice. Other song sections, though, do not have the same luxury as the pre-chorus. For parts such as the chorus or bridge, the instrumental can be seen as slightly lacking or too absurd; it’s mostly a pop based soundtrack, but some tints of electronic can be seen heard through the bassline or the quick, robotic sounds. 

– Meaning: 3/10 – As I revealed earlier, the lyrics have “Hyuna is red”. Now what is that supposed to mean? Let’s find out through these translated lyrics; not 100% accurate but close enough:

Make it so cool, make it more hot
Red lipstick, make it more red (red)
Make it so cool, make it more hot
Red lipstick, make it more red (red)

I put on red lipstick, I’m red (red)
My cuteness that makes you wanna bite me is like art
Every night, you think of me like spicy ramen
Come in first if you like me

Hyuna’s back A better body than anyone else
is a full option for me
I’m gonna warm up and run
Because that red thing, that’s me
Now I’m gonna go up on stage

Don’t leave me,
I’m so lonely right now
At least you don’t leave me,
I’m the only one here
I might change right now

A monkey’s butt is red, what
Red is Hyuna, Hyuna is yeah
A monkey’s butt is red, what
Red is Hyuna, Hyuna is ah

(Oh~ Eh Oh Eh Oh)
Uh, uh red is Hyuna
(Oh~ Eh Oh Eh Oh)
Uh, uh red is Hyuna

Make it so cool, make it more hot
Red lipstick, make it more red (red)
Make it so cool, make it more hot
Red lipstick, make it more red (red)

Everyone stop,
I’ll punish you so stick out your butt
You won’t be able to handle me every night
Say H Y U N and A
A killer dance, I’ll kill on stage,
My confidence reaches the sky
I won’t say much more

Don’t leave me,
I’m so lonely right now
At least you don’t leave me,
I’m the only one here
I might change right now

A monkey’s butt is red, what
Red is Hyuna, Hyuna is yeah
A monkey’s butt is red, what
Red is Hyuna, Hyuna is ah

(Oh~ Eh Oh Eh Oh)
Uh, uh red is Hyuna
(Oh~ Eh Oh Eh Oh)
Uh, uh red is Hyuna

Red is Hyuna

Hyuna is red, Hyuna is red
Hyuna is red, red is Hyuna

Hyuna is red

Don’t leave me,
I’m so lonely right now
At least you don’t leave me,
I’m the only one here
I might change right now

A monkey’s butt is red, what
Red is Hyuna, Hyuna is yeah
A monkey’s butt is red, what
Red is Hyuna, Hyuna is ah

(Oh~ Eh Oh Eh Oh)
Uh, uh red is Hyuna
(Oh~ Eh Oh Eh Oh)
Uh, uh red is Hyuna

I honestly have no idea on what the lyrics mean. Extremely ridiculous. I could try to uncover the symbolism behind “red”, but, looking at the other details, I doubt anything significant will come from that. (Side note, while we’re speaking of symbolism and red, a quick advertisement for a book called “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Now if you want some genuine, sophisticated and rich symbolism on “red”, that’s a book you’ll want to read. Search around if you become curious on the actual plot and such.)

Back on track with “Red”, what are the lyrics about? It seems to be about the stage persona of HyunA (versus “Hyuna”) and being silly and somewhat arrogant. The meaning is HyunA talking about herself using the color red…? Either the lyrics are terrible or I lack the needed intelligence to decipher what red represents in the lyrics. Perhaps it’s to represent sexiness (red lipstick, makeup, etc.) and love (we associate love hearts with red, etc.). Overall, pretty awful lyrics. I was expecting some flirty story, but instead what “Red” delivers is an abstract story. I’m also being generous to even add “story” after abstract. 

Again, this is all obviously my opinion and I was not the song producer behind “Red” (then again, what would I be doing here if I was the song producer). Perhaps someone out there with a larger brain capacity could figure out some 10/10, hidden meanings for this song. I personally cannot find anything significant. 

_______________________________________________________

Choreography Score: 8/10 – Although I’m not in favor of the song, that doesn’t stop the choreography of “Red” from being solid. 

The syncing was well done; throughout the entire song, every movement and motion matched up to the music. When it came to matching up to the song’s energy, the dance reflected it back flawlessly; the chorus had more exciting maneuvers while other parts, such as the pre-chorus, had a very relaxing dance. Dance is probably an overstatement when it comes to the pre-chorus. For the backup dancers, they were essential as Hyuna was running solo. They did an excellent job; the formations and such were well done and although I’m not in favor of a large choreography, the dancing was not chaotic. 

Overall, a solid dance. Lots of different scenarios happened, and it was delightful to see that nothing repeated. The male backup dancers added a nice variety and in general, the choreography comes out as well synced and executed. Even though “Red” may not sound too pleasant, at least the dance came out as solid.

________________________________________________________

Overall Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score) – This is the first song in which the Choreography Score boosts up the Overall Score; Hyuna’s “Red” finishes out with a 7/10 or 3.5/5, so slightly above average.

I am not a fan of this song, but it isn’t the worst song ever. Then again, “the worst song ever” does exist in my book, and I doubt any other song will ever reach the abyss like “Hangover” did (check out my review on the worse song I’ve heard). 

The choreography definitely overpowers the song itself by far; even those musically “Red” isn’t too solid, Hyuna and her backup dancers manage to ace the dance. Nevertheless, check the song out and check out her group, 4Minute. 

This review was done over two days; hopefully I can start finishing reviews in one take as I did way long ago during the summer. A funny fact, I started to write this yesterday, but it was extremely late at night. Once morning came, I decided to finish this and was quite horrified at what I was writing; my thoughts were cut off and I never finished an idea. Moral of the story, get your sleep. Anyhow, I edited the earlier sections and now everything should be tidy. Keep in mind, though, there is always still room to improve my writing. Lots of room. 

As always, thank you very much for reading, and thank you for waiting. I’ve been quite slow with finishing reviews, but school over reviews. I appreciate all the support and time, thank you.

For those wondering what my future reviews are, I am definitely giving the ladies of TaeTiSeo, a sub-unit of Girls’ Generation, some spotlight by reviewing either “Holler” or “Whisper”. The latter is a very beautiful, charismatic ballad while the other one contrasts that by offering a jazzy, pumped-up style. I’ve also been getting really into “The TaeTiSeo”, a reality show by OnStyle (same producer for “Jessica & Krystal”, see my review of that). Once that show is over, I’ll end up reviewing it.

The end has arrived, thanks for sticking around. Expect some TaeTiSeo shortly. Hopefully you “Don’t leave me” and continue to check back. Stay tuned. 

T-ARA – “Sugar Free” Review

T-ARA – I Don’t Want You + Sugar Free (Live Performance)

T-ARA – Sugar Free (Big Room version)

Reviewed on September 13, 2014

image

Personal Message: Apparently today is a writing day; lots of paperwork done along with some college essays, then a film analysis essay, and now for some blog writing. Stress level? Obviously zero. On the bright side, however, the film analysis paper was quite fun to write and of course, blog writing is always really fun. The benefit of writing here is I can technically get away with sounding extremely personal; as long as the writing is cohesive enough, anyways. 

Moving on, as promised, today I will review T-ARA’s comeback song, “Sugar Free”. These ladies have made an extremely powerful return. Oozing with a club-style concept, these ladies are tackling a new music style: EDM and K-Pop. For those who aren’t familiar with EDM, I’m not too sure on what it stands for but, it’s practically electronic music. I personally am a fan of D&B, otherwise known as Drum and Bass. It falls within the electronic genre, but what’s unique about D&B is that the lead instrument/melody is, well as stated, the drum and bass. 

Anyhow, T-ARA had to tackle a mixture of K-Pop and EDM and I have to say, I’m very impressed. I’ll be blunt, “Sugar Free” is not to the caliber of “Number 9” (one of my favorite songs of all-time), but it still holds its own exceptionally well. Nevertheless, these ladies have worked extremely hard and I truly admire that. They’re a very inspiring group; despite a few turn of events in the past, they are still able to continue on stronger than ever. I personally look up to these ladies. A hardworking attitude combined with persistence will lead to talent and success. Perhaps one day I will be as skilled and smart as Soyeon, and if I’m really lucky, I hope some her beauty spreads as well. 

Focusing on this comeback, the ladies of T-ARA are as beautiful as ever; in addition, they are showing off even more refined singing and dancing skills. For the most part (once the review starts I’ll explain). I am still in the progress of listening to the rest of their album, “And & End”, but so far I’m pleased. In fact to address the stranger link above, I had to get an unofficial video. After days of waiting for Mnet to release their official video on a live performance, I gave up and decided to just use this person’s video of it. Anyhow, the video does have T-ARA’s ballad track at the start, but if I did things correctly, it should take you directly to the live performance of “Sugar Free”. And one last note, this is the Big Room version, which only modifies the very introduction in comparison to the “normal” version, which is technically not normal in terms of being the default track.

I have said enough about these amazing ladies and filling in some background, so let’s take a look at this song and see if it truly is “Sugar Free”, or perhaps it’s fully loaded with sweetness. 

______________________________________________________

Song Total Score: 8/10 (7.6/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 8/10 – Knowing it’s T-ARA, this should be a free 9/10 score. Unfortunately, for this song, that isn’t the case. And actually the linked video works out perfectly; the first song is a ballad which allows them to showcase their stronger vocals (“Hide & Seek” is still their best ballad, in my opinion, check that one out).

Back to “Sugar Free”, every member is capable of holding her own; for this song, I’ve been very impressed with Soyeon’s vocal work during the chorus. Eunjung was also equally impressive when she had the more vocally-demanding lines. Boram and Jiyeon were also displaying solid singing skills. This leaves the remaining two: Hyomin and Qri. Hyomin has proven to have solid vocals via her solo debut with “Nice Body”, and our lovely “cutie-pretty” Qri (literally her stage name if translated) holds her own sufficiently.

With this song, Hyomin, Qri, and disturbingly, even Eunjung and Soyeon at times, had their voices edited or modified. This becomes a double-edged sword; on the bad side, it taints the song with autotuned vocals. On the good side, it fits in with the EDM genre they’re tackling and it provides amazing contrasts during certain parts, such as the chorus.

In the end, the vocals still come out to be above average. The main vocalists, Soyeon and Eunjung, are acing the vocally demanding choruses while Boram and Jiyeon provide excellent support. Hyomin and Qri, unluckily, took one for the team and had their vocals edited/autotuned for the worse.   

– Song Structure: 8/10 (7.833/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion (Chorus)

For “Song Structure”, I’m going to go through each section (Verse, Chorus, etc) and give a score per section. After that, the average is the “Song Structure” score.

1. Introduction: 8/10 – For the introduction, the very start to the end of the funkier solo instrumental is what I’m looking at.

This part is rather difficult to grade. For one, the introduction is composed of multiple parts. Secondly, it’s heavily EDM based. I’ll do my best to break it down.

At the very start, there’s the usual, heavier electronic beats/sounds. After a few seconds, it transitions to a new, light melody of beats. This goes on for a bit, and from my first time listening, this section did not cut it. It’s quite plain and tedious; the melody from the lighter beat was quite dull. On the positive side, it’s still a solid setup for progressing forward. The only issue is how lengthy and repetitive it is.

Now continuing on even further, vocals are finally added. Jiyeon is in charge of that. The vocals here aren’t impressive at all, but the chopped up flow gives a great build-up effect. The instrumental does an excellent job; the quickening beats (since that’s how EDM typically runs) sync up very nicely with the chopped lyrics that Jiyeon handles. In addition, the accelerating beats also give a nice transition to the next part.

At this point, it is finally the last piece of the introduction: the purest form of EDM in this song. After a solid transition from Jiyeon’s lines, this is where the instrumental becomes quite “funky”. An electronic, heavier bassline becomes the main melody. For non-EDM fans, this part will seem somewhat obnoxious. Nevertheless, I find it a catchier part and it works well with providing an appropriate filler to ease the gap between the introduction and first verse. 

Alright so to try to sound a bit more cohesive, the introduction, overall, remains quite solid. The very initial instrument wasn’t a solid hook at all, but as the song continues, the introduction slowly becomes a lot more satisfying. Jiyeon’s part was well synced with the quickening tempo and the solo instrumental of the electronic bassline filled a large void between the introduction and verse. On top of that, it gave a nice club, EDM-styled theme to the song, which is perfect considering that is the mood T-ARA is aiming for. 

2. Verse: 7/10 – This is a solid example of how the edited/autotuned vocals are both good and bad. 

For the first verse, Soyeon and Hyomin work together while Qri and Boram take the second verse. In terms of melody and such, every verse is exactly the same minus the ladies that sing. For critiquing, I will focus on the Soyeon/Hyomin pair. 

Hyomin starts off the verse, and of course, this isn’t her natural voice at all. Then again, I don’t think I will ever meet someone who possesses a robotic voice normally. Anyhow, Hyomin’s part is unfortunately edited here to give a robotic/autotuned sound. Soyeon follows up the line, though, and thank goodness, the music producer left her vocals as is. The beauty of Soyeon following up after Hyomin is it allows extra emphasis and spotlight on her amazing vocals; she gives off a lower, rough pitch but still remains quite melodic. Since Soyeon is coming straight after the edited vocals, it provides a contrast that makes her lines sound more crisp and solid. 

This happens for a total of two times. In terms of the Qri and Boram combo, Qri takes the place of Hyomin and Boram takes the role of Soyeon. 

Anyhow, this verse isn’t the strongest I’ve heard at all. It remains above average, but not by much. Modifying Hyomin’s voice did more harm than good; while the contrast works well, it would’ve been even more solid if there were two solid singing heard versus solely one. It’s quite disappointing; Hyomin was one of the main reasons on why “Number 9” had a superb verse, and unfortunately here, the music producer’s decision to alter her vocals is what brings the verse in “Sugar Free” down. Nevertheless, it’s an EDM based song, so these types of modifications on vocals are the norm. I would’ve still liked to see complete, solid singing, but this is what we are left with.

3. Pre-Chorus: 9/10 – For the pre-choruses, Jiyeon, Boram, and Eunjung cooperate for it. And if I’m looking over things correctly, I believe the members remain the same for every pre-chorus.

Despite having weaker verses, T-ARA makes a strong recovery with a pretty impressive pre-chorus. This part has a lot of line alternation, excellent build up, and very solid vocals. 

Jiyeon initiates it with one line. She’s bringing in solid energy and power, both of which are perfect for creating a solid build-up. Next, Boram has the next line and does the same. They alternate lines one additional time before Eunjung steps in. Once Eunjung arrives, she does a beautiful job concluding this section. She’s bringing the song intensity up quite nicely. Towards the end of her line, she does an excellent job transitioning the song through “…hana hana hana hana da~”. This part brought the energy down so that it’d be a correct match with the chorus’ intensity. Also the solid note hold at “da~” ensured a smooth transition.

While there’s a plethora of amazing teamwork and singing, let’s not forget the instrumental. Coming from an EDM genre, the instrumental here naturally does a fantastic job with building up the song. The stronger, upbeat soundtrack reciprocated the vocals here, and in addition, utilized the fastening beats to create a solid build-up. 

Overall, this is an extremely solid pre-chorus. Line alternation showcases excellent coordination along with the ability to hear a diversity of voices. The instrumental was also amazing with its role; Jiyeon, Boram, and Eunjung were well supported by it. Excellent pre-chorus. 

4. Chorus: 9/10 – Soyeon, Soyeon, Soyeon. Did I say Soyeon? The choruses are done by Soyeon and Eunjung, although Eunjung only sings a few lines (Eunjung is still amazing!). 

Soyeon has some exceptionally stunning vocal work here; she has power, high notes and note holds, and great melody. Not to mention, her voice is very soothing. 

For a few seconds, her lines are quite repetitive with, “neon syugapeuri, ije neon syugapeuri, naegeman syugapeuri, modeunge syugapeuri”. During this moment, she’s doing an excellent job maintaining the melody while “syugapueri” (means “sugar free”, to be honest, I can’t tell if she’s singing it in English or Korean, but it’s practically the same regardless) gets looped around and catchy. Her next line is where she’s putting forth some extremely powerful vocals; the flow from a middle note to a high note is quite pleasing to hear. In addition, the quick, yet sweet and powerful note hold at “…haeyo~” allowed a small climatic point. It also provided a quick transition for Eunjung’s turn. 

In terms of Eunjung, her voice does get autotuned here. Eunjung is definitely capable of singing as well as Soyeon. In fact, I believe Eunjung has more power in her voice than Soyeon. Anyhow, it’s quite a shame she was autotuned. As mentioned earlier, the benefit of this edit is it provides contrast with Soyeon’s voice, which as a result, amplifies how well her fellow member sounds. 

After that, Soyeon repeats her “sugar free/syugapeuri” lines once more. This time, however, Eunjung is the one who sings the powerful, high noted line. As expected, she does an amazing job. Similar to Soyeon, there’s power, melody, and a pleasing flow. Now finally after that, it’s back to Soyeon to wrap up the chorus. Once again, there’s a quick moment of autotune, and for this specific vocal edit, I highly oppose it. The ending autotuned provided no contrast whatsoever; it would’ve been best to let Soyeon finish in her full vocal talent.

Even though I have spotlighted these wonderful and highly skilled ladies, the instrumental here is interesting; instead of aiding the chorus’ vocals directly, the instrumental took a different approach. It remained passive. This works out very well since Soyeon and Eunjung were dominating with their singing. Less soundtrack focus means more vocal focus, and that’s perfect when you have two top-shot singers. 

In summary, the vocals here are splendid. Fabulous. Incredible. Eunjung and Soyeon prove once again on why they are the main vocalists. The instrumental also does its role of letting the spotlight land on the two ladies. Now despite all the solid praises, this chorus isn’t flawless; the autotune part is questionable, and at the end, is utterly out of place. Also, hearing “syugapeuri” for too much and too long impairs the song. For sure, it stays in your head, but of course, the drawback is a chorus that loses its charm as the song progresses. 

5. Bridge: 5/10 – Is this a rap? A bridge? Probably a bridge. A mediocre one at best. Hyomin and Jiyeon are responsible for this section. 

The best way I can describe the bridge in “Sugar Free” is well, it’s definitely that: “Sugar Free”. There is nothing enticing or sweet about this section. 

Hyomin is finally able to sound human, but, this part is not vocally demanding at all, so showcasing her vocals isn’t seen here. Her lines are on the slower, lower pitched side. This allows a nice break for the song after all the energetic and upbeat moments. The same light beats at the introduction make a return here. Due to how Hyomin and Jiyeon’s lines are structured, it matches the beat very well. Hyomin’s part of “yeogi yeogi yeogi yeogi” and Jiyeon’s part of “meolli meolli meolli meolli” sync up with the beat. Eventually, Jiyeon repeats “syugapeuri” multiple times until the song itself repeats it. After that, there’s the usual, quickening tempo that happens which transitions the bridge to the final chorus. 

Where does this bridge go wrong? It’s simply dull; nothing exciting happens here, nor did it feel like a proper break in the song. Both the ladies weren’t necessarily singing here, so no melody existed. The instrumental was also very stale as it was just the light beats. If both of those things aren’t boring enough, the basic, speed increasing of the tempo will for sure seal the deal. That wasn’t interesting, either. Overall, a bridge section that remains too dull. Perhaps if there was some actual singing occurring, it wouldn’t be as awful. Average bridge. 

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 9/10 – The conclusion for this song recycled its chorus.

Recycling the extremely solid chorus is a decent choice here; it plays out once more and at the very end, there’s a clear, sharp clip sound to end the song. Sweet and to the point for an ending. A perfect end with no abrupt cut or lingering part.

Other aspects that make this a solid conclusion is the lack of any final, climatic boosting singing, such as some two-part singing or a lengthy note hold. For how the song went and considering it’s an EDM based song, Soyeon and Eunjung’s chorus suffice for a final moment with vocals. Anything extra would be excessive.

An ending that reuses its excellent chorus without any extra features. Well done.  

– Line Distribution: 8/10 – Normally T-ARA does a good job with having every member singing. “Number 9”, for example, was practically perfect minus Boram having only one line. 

For “Sugar Free”, the line distribution is just as solid.

Soyeon has the majority of the choruses to herself, so no issues with her. If that wasn’t enough, she shared the first verse with Hyomin.

Eunjung appears at the choruses and pre-choruses, although for only one line. Still, she had a decent amount of spotlight.

Jiyeon has a copious amount of lines; she’s in charge of the introduction, appears in the pre-choruses, and shares the bridge with Hyomin.

Speaking of Hyomin, her lines only exist for the first verse and bridge. Not too much in comparison to the other members.

Qri is on the shorter end as well. Actually, she only sings during the second verse and is never heard after that. Not much spotlight at all.

Finally, Boram has the second verse along with the pre-choruses, so no complaints.

Looking at this, Hyomin and definitely Qri are lacking in lines; juxtaposing “Sugar Free” to their other songs, the line distribution did deteriorate slightly. Solid line distribution, but not near perfect like in their other songs. 

– Instrumental: 8/10 – An instrumental that’s purely EDM based. While that isn’t personally my preference, it still comes out nicely.

The instrumental wasn’t overboard as I was anticipating it to be; in fact, the instrumental was perfectly passive during the right times, such as during the chorus. In terms of meshing with the vocals, it completely suited T-ARA. Furthermore, it provided solid transitions and build-up for the ladies. An upbeat, club-style soundtrack that fits perfectly with their energetic and powerful singing. 

– Meaning: 6/10 – “Sugar Free”. An intriguing title. While most of us will probably think of gum, thank goodness that isn’t the case here. Let’s take a look at the lyrics. Here is the translation, although not 100% accurate:

Come to me, come to me,
come to me, come to me
Where are you looking? Come to me
Sugar free, sugar free 

How could you change like this?
The sweet feelings are not so good anymore
Is it always like this?
You close your eyes and open them again
I’m still confused, sugar free

Actually, to tell you the truth
It’s not a big deal
but I just miss it
The sweetness you gave me before
It’s not there anymore
It’s not in your words,
even your face, every single thing

You’re sugar free, now you’re sugar free,
only to me sugar free, everything is sugar free
Why do you make my heart ache more and more?
You are hurting me, you’ve lost the sweetness

You’re sugar free, now you’re sugar free,
only to me sugar free, everything is sugar free
In just one moment, you made me pitiful
That’s what you did,
something’s missing, sugar free

What is this? What exactly is this?
So the beginning was light but the end is heavy
It becomes heavier, I wonder if my body is really my own
I’m still confused, sugar free

What can I do right now? What is this feeling?
It’s just whatever
Even the sweetness you’re giving me now
It’s not there anymore
I can’t feel it in
your words, your face, every single thing

I hate the sugar free

You’re sugar free, now you’re sugar free,
only to me sugar free, everything is sugar free
Why do you make my heart ache more and more?
You are hurting me, you’ve lost the sweetness

You’re sugar free, now you’re sugar free,
only to me sugar free, everything is sugar free
In just one moment, you made me pitiful
That’s what you did,
something’s missing, sugar free

Where are you looking?
Look here, here here here
Where are you going?
Come here, here here here
Hold on, look at me,
far far far far
Come back to me
Sugar free, sugar free, sugar free,
Sugar free, sugar free, sugar free
Suga, suga, sugar free, sugar free,

You’re sugar free, now you’re sugar free,
only to me sugar free, everything is sugar free
Why do you make my heart ache more and more?
You are hurting me, you’ve lost the sweetness

You’re sugar free, now you’re sugar free,
only to me sugar free, everything is sugar free
In just one moment, you made me pitiful
That’s what you did,
something’s missing, sugar free

Once again, another unfortunate break-up story it seems. Now that I look at it, though, it might not even be a break-up. Anyhow, a gentleman/lady is looking over how their love interest is no longer sweet, hence “Sugar Free”. No longer are they given the same sweetness they had long ago; instead, they’re left with an aching heart and yearning for the same kindness that was given.

Very slightly above average lyrics. To be honest, there aren’t any details that stick out at all. Sugar free is heavily repeated. The verses and pre-choruses were also quite disappointing; the lyrics for those parts weren’t sophisticated at all. The only decent aspect of the lyrics is the unique use of “Sugar Free” to describe the change in their ex-lover’s behavior. 

Near average lyrics.

_______________________________________________________

Choreography Score: 8/10 – Perhaps one day CCM (T-ARA’s label company) will be generous enough to record and upload T-ARA’s choreography practices. Actually I need to rephrase that to: hopefully one day CCM records/uploads every major choreography done by T-ARA. I just recalled that Hyomin’s “Nice Body” had a dance practice video (my first prototype review done, it’s probably going to be fun to look back at it one day). Nevertheless, many people would love to see some dance practice videos of “Number 9”, “Do You Know Me?”, and more. 

I digressed. Back to “Sugar Free”.

This dance was synced consistently; T-ARA matched up to the beats very well, and during the intenser parts, had their choreography follow suit. For example, the pre-chorus had the ladies pumped up with maneuvers; excellent execution is seen there and for the rest of the song. Positioning and transitioning went well. 

Now while this dance is exceptionally well synced with both the music and energy, it still has some issues. 

For one, the chorus’ key point isn’t the most entertaining at all. While the hip-sways were flawlessly synced with the beats, after seeing that for a solid chunk of time, it becomes rather dull. The bridge is also quite dull with its choreography; musically, the bridge itself is already stale enough. It’s a shame the choreography is just as lifeless during the bridge. Also, a slightly minor thing, the use of backup dancers is questionable during the choruses. The six ladies would’ve been fine with themselves during those moments. Utilizing backup dancers for other moments, however, proved to be effective. If I may rant a little bit, I miss T-ARA’s usual choreography style of how it was purely the group. “Number 9” was a phenomenal, beautiful and graceful dance that contained only T-ARA. Going back to that style would be delightful. 

Back on track, a solid choreography. Accurate syncing along with matching the song’s intensity allows “Sugar Free” to excel with its choreography. The only setbacks lie within the chorus and bridge, and at times, its backup dancers.

Above average. 

________________________________________________________

Overall Score: 8/10 (8/10 raw score) – At the end of the day, T-ARA’s “Sugar Free” comes out with only 8/10, so a solid above average song. 

As I mentioned earlier, “Number 9” will still hold its place as T-ARA’s best song. “Sugar Free” is an interesting attempt of merging K-Pop and EDM, and in my opinion, they managed to do that. The choreography may be sub-par to T-ARA’s standard, but it’s still entertaining. In terms of the song, the chorus is the biggest asset; Soyeon’s delightful voice allows “Sugar Free” to thrive. 

Check out the linked live performance above. Currently, there are probably other live performances as well, so feel free to also search around. 

T-ARA’s comeback remains solid and their album “And & End” contains a lot of other decent songs. I’m personally loving their ballad, “I Don’t Want You”. 

For this review, I ended up writing over a period of three days. Hopefully this will never happen again and I am very, very sorry for readers. It must be quite agitating to see “UNFINISHED” lying around for multiple days. Please forgive me. I will do my best to bring more reviews. I am always working on trying to improve my reviews, so continue looking out for that.

As I always do, it is time to thank you for reading. Thank you. It means a lot that you stick around to read this. Hopefully it’s insightful, entertaining, and induces some disagreement. 

For established readers who are wondering what my next review will be, I’m going to review a male artist. Nasty Nasty will probably do for now, even though it’s only “one-third” for a male artist. I’ve been reviewing and spotlighting only the ladies, I think it’s about time I give the gentlemen idols some respect. Remember, it’s crucial to have a variety; you’ll never know when you subconsciously discriminate others due to the lack of proper exposure. If that sounds awkward, to put it in perspective of my case, I need to give male artists some love since they’re just as amazing as female artists. If I become too accustomed to only females, I may end up hating males (not that I would; I’m very thankful to have outstanding male role models as well as incredible female role models).

Other songs I still have in mind are: “Red” by Hyuna, and a requested song which I may put out tomorrow. Not going to reveal it, but it should take only 30 minutes to review. Yes, I mean that in an extremely rude, insulting way towards the song. 

The end has arrived, but I hope you “Come back to me” for more reviews. Thank you once again for reading. Stay tuned. 

SBS MTV’s Reality Show – “Hyuna’s Free Month” Review

Reviewed on September 11, 2014

image

Before we dive into this show review, allow me to have a brief update. As many of you can tell, I’ve been quite busy with schoolwork, paperwork, E-Sports, and more. Nevertheless, I am still alive. I have three reviews lined up; T-ARA made a very exciting comeback and I have so many things to critique about their latest song, so the review for “Sugar Free” will hopefully be out soon. In addition, I haven’t forgot about Nasty Nasty’s debut with “Knock”. The only thing that has held me back about it was I haven’t been in the mood for reviewing a sexy concept, but I will still get “Knock” out shortly. Another song for review is going to be Hyuna’s “Red”, although that will be later. And actually adding one more song, I did receive another song request, but goodness have mercy. I won’t reveal that song yet, but I will claim it’s the most atrocious K-Pop song I have ever heard.

Anyhow, moving past the quick update, I’m finally going to be reviewing another show. To be honest, I doubt I’ll do more show reviews unless if they involve a group/idol. As a result, I have no template on how I’m reviewing the show. I’ll probably point out the highlights, as I did with “Jessica & Krystal” (check out that review if you haven’t). 

image

On to the big question of, “What is ‘Hyuna’s Free Month’ about?” Well for one, it is a free month in multiple aspects. From the start, she was given a special black credit card with no limit on expenses. Viewers will already get a quick taste of her silly personality from the beginning teasers; despite her idea to “monopolize” a store and to purchase a brand new TV, she ended up spending as little as possible. 

For other perspectives on “Free”, this reality show brought the audience down to her own personal life. Partially. Her free time was revealed, although quite limited. She would go around shopping, swim around, and play with her extremely adorable puppy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else revealed in terms of her hobbies. This also brings me to my next point: free promotion.

While “Hyuna’s Free Month” has a slight objective of showcasing Hyuna versus HyunA (stylized name for stage/industry work), it doesn’t do the best job at all. In comparison to another reality show, “Jessica & Krystal”, this show falters on getting audience members to truly connect with Hyuna. What I personally gleaned from this show was more of a behind-the-scenes look for Hyuna’s solo era of “Red”. Nevertheless, it still shows different sides of our sweet idol, even if it’s not as efficiently done.

image

 For what’s personally revealed about her, “Hyuna’s Free Month” showcases her sweeter, kind side. Many people recognize Hyuna for her sexy concepts and stage images, however, underneath all the heavy lipstick and eyeshadow, one must remember there’s a hardworking, smart, and talented lady. Despite the cameras being on, she wasn’t afraid to show her sillier acts, such as dancing on bed with a fake mustache. 

Another aspect about Hyuna that was unveiled were her feelings toward her family; she cherishes them greatly and in fact, shed a few tears after reminiscing about them. And no, for those wondering, I did not cry here nor elsewhere for this reality show. Hyuna reflected on how her family is the driving force that allows her to live her dream. This would also explain her tattoo of: “My mother is the heart that keeps me alive." Family is important, and Hyuna is here to remind us all of that.

image

image

Continuing on, the first episode is practically as close as viewers will get in terms of connecting with Hyuna. The other episodes were primarily focused on her work during her solo comeback with "Red” (which I will review in a week or so). As compensation, however, there are footages of her adorable puppy, Passion (although that might be false translation, so forgive me if I’m wrong). Anyhow, the hectic schedule of training, practicing, and working hard to have a successful stage is shown. For many days, she is seen in the practice room tediously rehearsing the choreography. In addition, she’s constantly monitoring each dance; every movement must be in sync with the song, and every backup dancer must follow suit. 

image

Besides dance practice, there are other tasks to handle. As her job is being an idol, photo shoots are quite common. For an entire day, morning to midnight or so, she was subjected to constant camera flashes. Nevertheless, she tackled the job with optimism as she aided the camera crew by offering her own opinion and feedback, and thus, allowed the shooting to progress quite smoothly. 

image

Peering at the highlighted components of this show, my final stance is this show is worth watching for those who are fans of Hyuna. Even then, “Hyuna’s Free Month” does a mediocre job at truly showcasing her personal self. This reality show came across as a promotional piece for “Red”, and although there were funny, cute scenes, it focuses too much on her song.

Another issue of this show was it came across as pure fun; there were little to no challenges presented. While it’s understandable that no label company would ever reveal the harsh atmosphere of being a K-Pop idol, I find it completely one-sided to display an idol’s work as utterly glamorous and joyful. There were primarily two struggles presented: composing one of her own songs, and roaming the streets. For the first struggle, a conflict was recorded between her song producer and herself. Hyuna composed her own song with a key phrase similar to, “Screw the haters”, which does come off as rude. Due to that, her song producer tried modifying the lyrics. As expected, Hyuna became heavily upset and some tension was created. When it comes to her second problem, it was rather interesting. Since a plethora of fans recognize her from only her stage persona (extremely heavy makeup, stage costumes, etc.), people around her were dubious on whether she was a random lady, or if she was their loved idol. This proved quite jocular. The only time she became surrounded was when she spoke; her casual makeup and clothing may be vague, but the moment she speaks, everyone knows it’s her voice. Nevertheless, the second issue is something every celebrity faces in terms of becoming followed and crowded. 

Overall, I would still recommend this show. From an entertainment point-of-view, it does its role. Behind-the-scenes are revealed, there is an exceptionally cute, fluffy puppy, and there is Hyuna being her comical self. Scrutinizing it a little more, however, and one can see that the show fails to truly show any significant sides of her life. Furthermore, I’m not in preference for shows disclosing an idol’s life as pure fun and games. If “Hyuna’s Free Month” showcased more of her free time and allowed her to have moments to speak personally to fans, that could potentially help. Also, while I didn’t address this earlier, I was hoping to see some interaction between her and 4Minute. 

“Jessica & Krystal” will still hold its throne of being the best reality show I’ve seen. “Hyuna’s Free Month” remains quite entertaining, but falls short in some places. As always, thank you very much for reading. This review may be quite disorganized or lacking details. My excuses lie in the fact that I have no show review outline (as I don’t intend to review shows) and that I refuse to spoil the show. 

As I mentioned before, I have many song reviews to release soon. Look forward to them. Feel free to check out “Hyuna’s Free Month”. Once again, thank you and I hope this review is still entertaining and sufficiently insightful. Stay tuned for T-ARA’s “Sugar Free” review.

4Minute – “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” Review

4Minute – Whatcha Doin’ Today (Dance Practice)

4Minute – Whatcha Doin’ Today

Reviewed on September 6, 2014

image

Personal Message: Finally, the first review of September. I’m on a ridiculously busy schedule, so forgive me for not putting out many reviews lately. Anyhow, the song we’re looking at today was one that was requested for review. We are going to take a look at the adept dancers, singers, and clever, intelligent ladies of 4Minute. They claim it takes 4 minutes for boys and ladies to fall in love with them, however, it took me 30 minutes to truly become infatuated. Then again, the person who recommended this song fell in love in exactly 1 minute and 7 seconds. 

Silly jokes aside, I personally am not familiar with 4Minute; from what I can tell so far, they’re a “poppier” group in the K-Pop scene. Nevertheless, they have their set style and bursting personalities. While we’re on the topic of personalities, I’ve never seen such clever, cheap ladies. For the variety show of “Weekly Idol”, they did whatever it took to win the games, even if it involved a little cheating. Anyhow, despite their witty actions there, they certainly won me over for their silly antics. On the serious side of the show, they definitely impressed me with their dancing; 4Minute killed the “Random Dance” section with superb movements and cohesion.  

Bringing the review back on track, “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” Personally I will be reviewing this song, and I hope you follow as well.  

______________________________________________________

Song Total Score: 7/10 (7.4/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 7/10 – Rating this either a 7 or 8 is something I’m struggling to decide. Overall, I’ll push it towards a 7.

The vocals in this are great, but that’s assuming they’re individually singing. Member by member, each of them sounded wonderful. Gayoon aided the song with her sweet, melodic voice, Jihyun and Sohyun had solid vocals for their part, and Hyuna and Jiyoon were very impressive with their rapping voices.

What does prevent me from confidently claiming the vocals in “Whatcha Doin’ Today” are amazing is when they sing in unison; whenever they’re singing as one, it sounds extremely stale. In fact, there’s almost a tint of autotune at use. Luckily for them, since I can’t properly gauge if that’s their vocals sounding as one or if it is autotune, I’ll have to let it slide. Nevertheless, 4Minute simultaneously singing is disappointing; they lose a lot of the flow and melody they individually possess. 

4Minute doesn’t possess the strongest vocal talent in comparison to numerous groups, but they hold their ground adequately. Slightly above average vocals. 

– Song Structure: 7/10 (7.125/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

Introduction, Chorus, Verse, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion (Chorus)

So for “Song Structure”, I’m going to go through each section (Verse, Chorus, etc) and give a score per section. After that, the average is the “Song Structure” score.

1. Introduction: 8/10 – Hyuna is in charge of leading the introduction. 

The introduction starts off with a saxophone/trumpet instrument (once again, forgive me for my ignorance on instruments). This key instrument will remain prominent throughout the song. Now a few more seconds in, Hyuna does the usual 4Minute introductions of “Yeah, It’s 4MINUTE and Brave Sound, Let go” (for those unfamiliar with the Brave Sound part, in short, he is a song producer/writer and he always includes a labeling at the start of every song he produces).

So far, “Whatcha Doin’ Today” gives off a strong start; the key instrumental is already given along with some confident-leaking words from Hyuna. This sets a nice atmosphere on how the song will play out; stronger vocals can be expected.

Progressing on, after Hyuna finishes her main lines, her final one is “Let go” which provides a smooth, blatant transition to the next part of the introduction. The following part is where 4Minute throws in a few melodic phrases of “A-ha”. To transition to the next song section, there’s a strange “Brrrr” sound. And, unfortunately, I am adding a connotation of bad to “strange”.

Looking at the introduction as a whole, it does its job. It sets up the mood, delivers forth the melody, and it contains 4Minute’s traditional greeting of introducing themselves. The transitions are well done, although the last part is questionable. Overall, a solid introduction that hops straight into the song. 

2. Chorus: 5/10 – Perhaps 4Minute hopped in a little too soon. The chorus is sung by the 5 ladies of 4Minute.

Firstly, going straight into the chorus when the song is hardly developed is an interesting decision; typically, the chorus is held off until later. The reason behind that is due to how choruses tend to be the core part of a song, and in many cases, is where a climax occurs. For “Whatcha Doin’ Today” using the chorus prematurely, it limits any build-up potential in the future. 

Now analyzing from the vocal perspective, it is rather mediocre. While every lady has proven their skill individually, when it comes to singing a single, cohesive voice, they utterly falter. 4Minute’s combined vocal sounds quite robotic, whether that’s due to autotune is too vague to decide. Either way, with such a monotone sound, it creates a dull chorus. The instrumental remained quite neutral, so its role did not hurt nor help the chorus. 

Overall, the chorus in this song is disappointing. With a repetitive flow, uninteresting vocals, and a plain instrumental, nothing is exciting at all about the chorus. The only strength that emanates from this song part is how it slightly lingers around and becomes catchy. Disregarding that, however, and we have an average chorus.  

3. Verse: 9/10 – While the choruses hold as faulty, at least the verses remain very delightful. Sohyun is responsible for the first verse while Jihyun tackles the second verse. 

I will be criticizing the first verse, as Jihyun’s verse remains quite identical minus lyric modifications.

Sohyun does an outstanding job with this part. The transition into the verse is completely smooth. It’s a natural flow into this part. Sohyun follows a catchy melody with her voice; while she doesn’t show off intensive vocal work, it’s still catchy. Another key part of the first verse is an incredible play on sounds. Even if this remains a minuscule detail, it provides an extra flow of her lines. Every ending line has an “oh” sound, as seen by the last words of: “eomnayo…hanayo… sirheoyo”. Through this, it augments her flow. By having a repeated sound at the end of every line, it creates a pleasing, lingering effect. 

In terms of Jihyun’s verse, it follows the same, slower pacing in Sohyun’s part. The only change are the lyrics. Melody and such remains quite similar.

Looking at the verses, they are very solid. With decent vocals from the two ladies and a catchy, slower pace, it compensates for the weaker chorus.  

4. Rap: 9/10 – There are two rap sections in “Whatcha Doin’ Today”, however, I will be grading them in one take. Jiyoon and Hyuna are the rappers for this group.

For the first rap that occurs, Jiyoon handles it. Jiyoon does an exceptional job with her part; this is one of the better raps I’ve heard in songs. She has flow, power, and melody. For a rap, that is, in summary, all you would ever desire. Her flow was quite outstanding with being able to spit out word after word. In addition to how smooth her words were, she had a phenomenal impact with her lines. This becomes apparent with her endings of “bwa” which leave a strong, lasting impression on listeners. Lastly, she still carried on the song’s melody. The melody did not become lost nor did she go off track. As a result of this, the chemistry between the instrumental and her rapping played off one another and strengthened the rap. 

The second rap that occurs is with Hyuna, arguably the most popular member of 4Minute.

Hyuna initiates her part with some English. Sadly, it doesn’t go too well in terms of fluency. Everything goes well until she hits the sillier parts of the lyrics: “Show me the lol face”. And while I’m at it, “lol” at the lyrics she has to handle here. I’m not sure on what the idiot music producer had in mind for this. Perhaps it was to create a play on words for Korean and English, but I could not locate that. Anyhow, what goes wrong in terms of fluency here is “lol” sounded unclear. Furthermore, “face” turned into “race”. Keep in mind, however, English is quite difficult for Korean speakers. The mistake on “face” is completely understandable as Korean possesses no “F” sound. 

Ignoring some pronunciation errors, Hyuna’s still rocking the rap. Her pacing and flow was sharp; her nasally voice definitely became a helpful tool in making her words flow quickly and smoothly. What she lacks in power in comparison to Jiyoon is redeemed through even stronger pacing. Speaking of Jiyoon, she makes a return to rap once more. Towards the end of Hyuna’s rap, Jiyoon’s entry allowed the second rap section to gain extra power along with a clear, crisp conclusion. Jiyoon’s ending of “We gon’ rock it, kill it, that’s how we do it” was perfect with flow; the chopped “it” sounds worked out very well. 

Overall, extremely impressive rapping from these two amazing ladies. Both of them are highly talented rappers, and these two raps aid the song as a whole. I couldn’t say it better than Jiyoon; “that’s how we do it” is well said.

5. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – Gayoon is in charge of every pre-choruses. 

In this section, Gayoon showcases a wide range of vocals. She’s able to hit the middle pitches as well as the higher ones.

 For the pre-chorus, she’s utilizing her sweeter, softer voice to carry on the melody. At “hamyeonseo~” she hits a high note on the word. The last word of “jeonhwahalgeyo” was also sung in an exceptionally high pitch. Impressive vocals. Focusing on the pre-chorus as a whole, the biggest asset is how she was able to maintain the melody in a gentle, soft tune. The instrumental also became lighter and due to that, created a nice connection between the soundtrack and vocals. 

A soothing, sweet part by Gayoon’s vocals. A solid piece.

6. Post-Chorus: 7/10 – Gayoon is heard once again. She’s also in charge of every single post-chorus. A quick disclaimer, while this is arguably part of the chorus, I think it deserves its own spot since it differs completely from the core of the chorus (the horrendous, autotune-like part).

In comparison to her pre-chorus parts, for this section, her singing becomes slightly rougher. It works out well, though, as the instrumental is heavier as well. Her section her does contain some short, high note holds being used, such as at “…geoya” and “party tonight”. Even with some talented vocal work, this part still remains pretty stale. On the bright side, thanks to Gayoon’s high note ending, it allows a smooth transition to other parts.

The post-chorus sounded too similar to another section, such as the pre-chorus. Essentially, the post-chorus is a “heavier” version of the pre-chorus. It loses the softer tone, but it still follows a similar flow and pacing. Due to that, this score remains only slight-above-average. Impressive vocals here, but the staleness brings it down.

7. Bridge: 4/10 – This song seems to be the complete opposite of other K-Pop songs; normally the verses and pre-choruses are weaker, with the choruses and bridge being extraordinary. Here it’s the inverse. Strong verses/raps, weak choruses and bridge. 

Looking at “Whatcha Doin’ Today” as a whole, it would potentially benefit without the use of a bridge at all. This bridge was almost added as a filler. 

This bridge here is quite poor. The transition to it is somewhat abrupt. Almost out of nowhere, the instrumental becomes “funkier”. In short, the beats become heavier bass-wise and the same “A-ha” at the introduction is heard once again. Eventually a “Come on let’s party, yo” is heard, which isn’t too abstract from the song’s theme. That line was able to add some diversity. Now to transition back to the song as a whole, there’s a counting of “1, 2, 3, go”. An easy, cheap transition, but it works.

What gives, then, for a low score? My reason is that what I wrote pretty much sums up the bridge; bass-heavy beats become the main instrument, the “A-ha” comes back, and other phrases are thrown in. This part felt like a filler. This bridge was seemingly created just to fill in a spot for a bridge. It’s plain with the instrumental, the phrases are obnoxious, and it doesn’t seem to do anything but extend the song’s length.

A very boring, horribly crafted section. Very little instrumental work here. Vocals weren’t good here, either. 

8. Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10 – For the conclusion, the dreaded chorus is recycled. Thankfully, though, this chorus does work out well to conclude the song.

Since the bridge was relatively low in intensity, having a chorus with a similar level would be perfect. It works out in this song’s favor as the chorus wasn’t energetic, either. As a result, the transition is perfect and as a whole, both sections mesh very well.

At the very end, there is an extra line of “oneul mwohae” (translated roughly as “whatcha’ doin’ today”) and that allows a final, clear and simple wrap up. 

Mechanically looking at the conclusion, it fulfills its needed roles. The only thing holding the conclusion back is the sheer chorus itself. If the chorus was stronger, the ending would be even more momentous. 

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – 5 members in 4Minute, let’s see how they divided their lines.

Jihyun had her solo part with the second verse. Other than that, nothing else (excluding the chorus).

Sohyun is in a similar situation; she had the first verse to herself, but that was it.

Jiyoon had a solo rap section and made a return during the end of Hyuna’s rapping part.

While we’re mentioning Hyuna, she had a solo rap section as well. In addition, she was also in charge of the introduction.

Gayoon had both the pre-chorus and post-chorus, and given how numerous those sections were, it allowed a lot of time for her to shine.

Something else to keep in mind, however, is that the chorus involves everyone singing. 

Overall, looking at this, the members all had a fair share. The only issue would be Gayoon slightly has more time than the members, but nothing too bad. 9/10 for Line Distribution.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – The instrumental for “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” is actually quite solid. 

The key instrumental of the trumpet/saxophone works out quite well; it gives the song a unique attribute. In addition to sounding well alone, the instrumental fills its role with aiding the vocalists. Transitions were supplied and it replicated how the vocals went. For example, during the pre-chorus, it became “lighter” and accompanied Gayoon’s voice well. Another example is during the rapping section; it remained clear enough to support the rapping, yet passive enough to not become a distraction. 

A solid instrumental.

– Meaning: 6/10 – A time you would ask, “What are you doing?” is when you’re trying to start a conversation. The only time you would ask, “Whatcha doin’ today?” is when you’re trying to act cute/very casual and trying to set plans with someone. If my message is not yet clear, I’m expecting these lyrics to be a flirty story. Let’s find out through these translated lyrics. Not 100% accurate:

Yeah It’s 4Minute and Brave Sound,
Let go

A-ha a-ha ah ah a-ha
A-ha a-ha

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Wanna meet up? (Come on)

Have no where to go after school?
Have nothing to do after the housework is done?
Wandering around after work?
I hate the same old boring days

You do everything you have to but have nothing else to do
People who are looking for something to do
People who turn on boring TV shows
and laugh along
Come inside, come inside here,
play with me for today
Everyone listen, just listen first,
whatcha doin’ today, everyone listen

Don’t try to make things up, just enjoy life
The world is a bright place
Fall in love,
have fun, I’ll call you later

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Wanna meet up?

Watch a movie, eat good food, meet some guys
I wanna drink a cup of americano and just talk
Let’s go crazy all night, tonight,
everyone together, party tonight

Stop worrying so much,
everything will be fine
(everything will be fine)
Stop frowning and smile brightly
Ha ha ha ha ha ha

I love that
Show me the lol face
Hardened by grimy stress
Escape from those days for 4 minutes
Fill your surroundings with laughter
People who look far to the mountains blankly
People who are tired from life
Come gather here, we gon’ rock it kill it
That’s how we do it

Don’t try to make things up, just enjoy life
The world is a bright place
Fall in love,
have fun, I’ll call you later

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Wanna meet up?

Watch a movie, eat good food, meet some guys
I wanna drink a cup of americano and just talk
Let’s go crazy all night, tonight,
everyone together, party tonight

A-ha a-ha ah ah a-ha
A-ha a-ha, Come on, Let’s party yo

A-ha a-ha ah ah a-ha
A-ha a-ha 1, 2, 3 Go

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Wanna meet up?
Whatcha doin’ today

It turns out, I was somewhat correct, although it’s not too much on flirting. 

The lyrics remind me of “Jeon Won Diary” by T-ARA N4 (check out my review of that song if you haven’t). Both songs have a similar idea of relaxing and not getting stressed out. Take life easily. Enjoy it. 

For “Whatcha Doin’ Today?”, the lyrics seem to be about wanting to hang out to relax. These lyrics could be about going on a date, but it might be as simple as heading to a nice coffee shop with friends. While there are some nice details, the meaning itself isn’t too deep at all. Regardless, there is still an important message of enjoying life. Be happy, do what makes you feel that way. 

An important message, but the song itself isn’t rich in meaning. Very slightly above average lyrics.

_______________________________________________________

Choreography Score: 8/10 – Probably one of the harder choreography I’ve had to grade. For once, I’m unable to confidently pinpoint a score. Overall, I’m going to have a score of 8.

Before I get any further, I’ll like to point out the disgusting parts of the dance: the butt-shaking parts. For the love of K-Pop, it’s one thing to have a blatant sexual orientated part, but it’s another to make it extremely awkward and out of place. 4Minute’s “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” manages to hit all of those points; the butt-shaking at the introduction and bridge were beyond awkward. I will agree it was synced, but the execution and positioning were very, very horrendous. On the bright side, those were the only two parts including butt-shakes. 

Another criticism is the use of backup dancers in specific parts. For example, in the chorus and post-chorus, there were way too many dancers. 4Minute themselves would’ve sufficed. 

In terms of what was excellent, the choreography as a whole was well synced. Every movement was well connected to the music, whether it was in moving the hips, arms, and such. Also, while there were some mistakes in using backup dancers, there were other times where that was well done. Individual singing parts were supported by backup dancers, such as in the rapping parts and verses. The backups did a fantastic job boosting the choreography’s style during those moments. 

In the end, a completely solid choreography. With lots of syncing and unique maneuvers, it remains a solid dance. The only issue is with the backup dancers at certain times and the erroneously executed butt-shaking parts. 

________________________________________________________

Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – The song comes out with an 8/10 or 7.5/10, depending on how detailed you would like to be. 

I believe this song is still worth listening to, despite specific parts being lacking. It’s quite catchy and the rapping and verses completely compensate for the weaker choruses and bridge. The rapping is personally my reason for why I still return to this song. In terms of the choreography, it still remains well synced, even with the poorer executed parts. 

4Minute is a “poppier” styled group, with lots of focus on remaining catchy. Nevertheless, they have decent vocals and solid dancing skills. Some other notable songs by them are “What’s Your Name?” and “Is It Poppin’?”, both of which could perhaps end up being reviewed in the future. 

As I always do for the end of my reviews, thank you very much for reading this. I genuinely appreciate your time. Hopefully your own opinions are triggered; the world would be worthless if everyone agreed with each other. Check out the song/dance for yourself. Anyways, thank you very much for reading. Another thing is I would like to directly thank the person who requested this song. You know who you are and I have to say, thanks for recommending this and I hope you love it as much as you love Gayoon. For anyone else who would want to send a request, feel free to. Send me songs you think I would love, but don’t forget to also recommend songs that would make me rip out my hair.

For this review, it personally took a while (2 hours or more?). Strangely, reviews have been taking longer. Perhaps it’s due to more thoughts, or maybe I’m not able to articulate myself as quickly.

Upcoming reviews will be either Nasty Nasty’s “Knock” or Ladies’ Code’s “I’m Fine Thank You”. I still need more time to analyze “Knock”, visually and…audio-wise? Can’t think of the word right now. “Knock” seems pretty interesting, though. Once again, another sexy concept that’s quite similar to Trouble Maker in a way, but obviously still different. I’m leaning towards reviewing “I’m Fine Thank You” even though that will be emotionally harder. 

I also just remembered, I will be (hopefully) making another show review in the future. Read my review of “Jessica & Krystal” if you haven’t yet. 4Minute’s member, Hyuna, has a reality show. Similar to J&K, it shows the behind-the-scenes of her life. “Hyuna’s Free Month” is the title. I’ll still have to keep watching before I get a sound opinion, but we’ll see what happens.

Anyhow, thank you once again. Stick around for more. “I wanna drink a cup of americano and just talk” with you, so keep checking back for more reviews.