Blog Reflection: May 2015

Posted on May 31, 2015

Since it has been two months since my last reflection, doing one would be proper. There are many topics to cover with this reflection, but overall, it is a time to genuinely reflect over this blog, whether that is in the form of the writing, publish rate, and more. Doing so is rather important as it allows for more precise improvements to be made. Also, this will be posted before the review of EXID’s “Ah Yeah” is finished, but hopefully, that review will be done in three more days. For a highly random point, I will also be updating the blog’s description so that it is more reflective of my current goals and such.

To begin this reflection, I will leave my current total views: 6,540. In comparison to February 2015 which was 2,738 views, growth is certainly statistically seen, and in truth, I am surprised at the increase. I would have predicted around 4,000 but not necessarily higher considering only three months have passed. Nevertheless, the numerical values hold minimal value; it is not about this blog’s popularity, but instead, the quality (though I am very grateful for having a growing audience).

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To finally begin the core reflection, I would like to address the most pressing issue: my review rate. This month, only three reviews have been covered, and that is incredibly frustrating, especially when considering the school year is winding down, and thus, there is less academic work. In truth, I have been slacking in terms of dedicating myself to writing reviews. Perhaps since I have done much writing during this month, reviews and academics in total, a slight burnout, if that term may be coined, has occurred. Of course, however, I am exceptionally passionate for writing and K-Pop/Korean pop culture, and thus, even if I am experiencing a slight burnout, for the month of June 2015, I expect to return strongly. As I believe in pure honesty, reviews in May did feel moreover as obligations rather than enjoyable yet serious activities. Of course, requesters are not to blame (and I will address this below), but rather, the process of writing and, jocularly, having to critically engage mentally was something I simply avoided. Guiltily admitting it, most of my free time in May was spent via casually gaming with K-Pop in the background. With that said, for June, there is no excuse to not publish eight reviews in that month. I will be on summer break, and therefore, much free time will exist, and also, after a small hiatus, I do feel prepared to thoroughly devote myself to this blog.

Addressing requests, I have delayed requested reviews for practically a whole month, and it is definitely upsetting and I realize I am being incredibly selfish. Requested reviews do hold a very significant value to me; readers are able to communicate with me and furthermore, there are readers who genuinely desire to read my writing, hence why a request would be sent in. By brushing aside those desires, it is simply an act of plain rudeness, and thus, I am sincerely sorry to requesters and readers in general for not investing more into writing reviews. There are people who do look forward to them, and that in itself is a huge honor that I have been shamefully wasting and taking for granted. June will be my chance to bring action; rather than lip-servicing, I will dedicate June to redeeming my mistakes by actually publishing eight reviews.

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In terms of how reviews have been holding, to focus specifically on the analysis, I am relatively satisfied with the level of analysis. To an extent. While the Sections portion along with a few others have been solidified, the Vocals, Instrumental, and Choreography will need to be heavily revised and refined. For example, with the Vocals scoring, it is incredibly inconsistent; using actual examples, for CLC’s “Pepe,” I graded the vocals based on the group as a whole, but suddenly, for EXID’s “Ah Yeah,” I rated the vocals individually but then gave an overall score that encloses every member. While the outcome is still the group as a whole, it is a significantly different route; for one review I would deconstruct the vocals through the song as a whole, and for another, how every member holds and then the “average” of those members. From what I have discovered, the individual analysis and then overarching grade has proven to be the most detailed, but of course, it does mean more time must be invested to research the group (this explains why groups I am personally familiar with are graded per member, and for those unknown, I grade their vocals as one mesh). More trials will be made, though I do hope to shift to the idea of grading every member individually.

To address other parts, the Instrumental section could use more depth. While I am in favor of the idea of mechanical and structural, more critical analysis should exist for both of those aspects. Truthfully, however, this is a less significant piece to concern myself with, but eventually, I desire to add more layers if possible (perhaps gaining more personal experience with instruments will allow more knowledge). As for the Choreography Score, considering I have been dissecting that section by syncing and key points, I am considering creating sub-categories of exactly those labels. This way, a more accurate and statistical average can be extracted; if the syncing is a “5” and the key points are a “7,” the Choreography Score would, mathematically, be a “6.” Future experiments will be done to see if such is viable. The main concern with doing so is the lack of depth; the Choreography Score is not as detailed, and doing this would force the minimal writing to appear even more so. On that note, a reader has suggested entirely removing this grading part (this reader gave feedback of how, due to length, my reviews seem to be solely the song itself, but once scrolled down, there is surprisingly an Overall Score and Choreography Score), but for the sake of tradition and, more importantly, to bring full attention and understanding of K-Pop, I will continue to carry the Choreography Score as, for K-Pop songs, the dance is equally important as the song itself (and for songs that lack a dance, a simple “X” mark signifies that so no issues exist either way).

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Swapping over to reflect my writing itself, clear progress has certainly been made in the scope of this blog; a few days ago, I decided to skim over Hyomin’s “Nice Body” the first review I have done, and of which shall remain unnamed, and in many ways, besides realizing how my slower rate is actually understandable, I can see much improvement. Emphasis on “much.” It is rather surprising to peer over my writing growth. From writing as if I were literally speaking, to now where I have found a decent mixture of academic and personal, and my favorite, from writing three to four sentences of minimal, if any, analysis, to now being able to bring genuine deconstructions of songs (though there is still far much room to grow even now). Perhaps in another reflection I will glance over this blog as a whole, and perhaps, how I have grown as a person. In many ways, I will leave credit of improvement, maturity, and growth, for both writing and as a person, to a certain class. I have never learned so much academically, personally, and overall, simply everything, from one class, and thus, I am thankful for, not exaggeratedly, a life-changing experience that was brought from the class environment (this including the teachers/professor, classmates, the academic subjects, and such).

Ignoring the personal digression (I will return to that in July), to focus once more on the writing, I am exceptionally glad to see gradual improvements. Now that foundational writing exists, one that allows me to deliver ideas across for the most part, it is time to focus more on the minutiaes; using an analogy, now that a dirt road finally exists, the next step is to upgrade the road so that it is more than dirt (simply getting points across). While I do post reviews with minimal checks (I skim to catch format errors), it may be the time to seriously polish my reviews so that typos, grammatical and spelling mistakes, are fixed. Though time may dictate such, that is one additional step I will heavily consider. In addition, it is now time to simply make my writing captivating, though this will require much practice and efforts, and most likely, academic classes to help improve. Regardless, as long as I continue a dedicated, improvement-orientated mindset, my writing will hopefully follow suit. As I mentioned in archaic reviews, as long as I feel embarrassed for the prior reviews, I know I am continually improving (for example, reviews in January 2015 can be considered lacking  now, but in the future, I hope the reviews in May 2015 are the ones rendered as embarrassing).

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For other needed revisions, as already pledged, more male groups will be reviewed. In fact, four male artists (soon to be five) are already lined up for the month of June, and thus, I do hope many readers are satisfied. Lastly, I do plan on adding a review schedule to the blog’s description so that  readers have a general idea of what is to be covered.

Overall, it has been a surprising 11-month journey with this blog. I did not foresee this blog genuinely growing to what it has become now, but humorously stated, the best thing I have ever done during any summer was creating this blog. Vacations included. Sticking to this blog and aiming to constantly improve on many levels, I cannot be more grateful for what this blog has given. But of course, for what I certainly did not imagine, thank you to the readers of this blog. Repeating another story, having readers was not in mind when this blog started (minus a few friends), but now with its growth, I can never express enough gratitude for readers who continually check on this blog, for those who send in requests and feedback, and overall, for all of the support given. With this phrase being so repetitive to the point of being robotic: thank you. Though it is stated at every post, it must always be said as I am genuinely grateful for those who read this and this blog. Thank you.

EXID’s “Ah Yeah” will be finished shortly, and afterwards, many male groups will be covered along with many interesting social topics that are akin to the groups. June will be the start of eight reviews, and certainly, I will meet that standard (or at the worst, at least six reviews).

CLC – “Pepe” Review

CLC – Pepe (Dance Practice)

CLC (Crystal Clear) – Pepe

Reviewed on May 24, 2015

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Personal Message: Though I have already begun deconstructing the song in a musical sense, I have yet to write at all for the review. Thus, I am writing this after my review on BESTie’s music video of “Excuse Me.” On topic with CLC, two readers did request this review, and with that, thank you very much to both for requesting it and for being utterly patient. I am hoping, and realistically, working, to ensure that this review is finished around the weekend or at least by an earlier part of the week.

Ignoring technical updates, this is, blatantly, the first review on the group, but moreover, the first time I have heard of their group at all. It appears that the 5 ladies of Seunghee, Yujin, Seungyeon, Sorn, and Yeeun, are newcomers to the K-Pop industry and, if correct, in the same company as their senior groups of 4Minute and Beast (readers should check my words and send in corrections if I am inaccurate). Nevertheless, despite being a newer group, and in fact, for being young ladies (their ages range from 17 to 20 if I am correct), they have already showcased decent abilities with singing and dancing (to an extent; the review below will analyze how “Pepe” holds).

Finally addressing “Pepe,” this may be the first song that I personally heavily dislike, but of course, that is solely personally; in a realistic, systematic perspective, “Pepe,” even if biasedly loathed, is relatively respectable and possesses its strengths (though overall “Pepe” is still a weaker song). Although reviews are overall based on opinion, bringing a logical, argumentative layer is essential or else it would be merely spitting feelings, not thinking. Somewhat archaic reviews are prime examples of such, though there is no need to talk of past, horrendous work (on a serious note, however, I am pleased to have embarrassing and awful work in my archive; growth is important to gauge and continue, and learning from past experience matters so that my reviews, which still have much room for growth, improve).

On a highly irrelevant subject (feel free to skip to the actual review now; the upcoming digression, unlike every other review, is not directly related to the song or group at all), one that does not involve the incredible, talented and intelligent ladies who have accomplished more in their lives than me despite being of a similar age, their group name, CLC, is a stylization (if that is a word) of “Crystal Clear,” and on that note, it does remind me of an arguably jocular situation, but one that is necessary yet rarely discussed: shaving. Out of every subject I have digressed about, shaving, correctly, is one that is vital to discuss, and of course, besides the blatant layer; I do not wish to focus so much on the act of shaving versus the social layers associated with it. To deliver context on what prompted this topic, in short, a friend and I discussed Fiestar’s shaving video, and the remark of “crystal clear legs” was made. However, for what matters, she became disturbed upon hearing my reply: “I do, actually” in response to “You wish you had the shaver.”

Elaborating this topic and its attached issues, for one, her response is not, sadly, surprising (and equally for readers who are also shocked); due to gender norms, the idea of males shaving is rather repulsive, and thus, reactions of disgust are foreshadowed. As for why male shaving is rendered as such, many previous reviews (examples are the earlier linked review and countless others) cover the overarching concept: valuing masculinity over femininity. With shaving being labeled as a feminine trait and act, males doing so are downgrading socially in rank, and furthermore, risking the standards of masculinity (this will be discussed as it is arguably the main catalyst for opposition), and with both of those factors, it is rather blatant that hostility will exist. Since many reviews have covered the idea of androcentrism (where masculinity is valued over femininity), I will not digress further on that, but the latter point is one I have yet to discuss in full depth, especially with a rather basic context of shaving.

For the subject of risking the standards of masculinity, male privilege, the highly subtle benefits given by simply being a male, is a concept akin to such, and is one that is also necessary to understand before deconstructing “risking masculinity.” In the context of shaving, male privilege works in a blatant yet disregarded method: the absence of needing to shave. Though I will later provide my opinion on whether shaving is essential or not, focusing on the main topic, males, noticeably, are bereft of any requirement to shave; males are free to possess hair over their legs, face, arms, and should females have any hair in the stated areas, utter backlash occurs in the forms of verbal, and in extreme yet unsurprising cases, physical (this will be addressed). Rather than viewing shaving as merely gender-based acts or attributes (that is already an issue in itself), through critically analyzing it via a social perspective versus a direct one, shaving is more than removal of hair; accounting for the social dynamics involved, the connotations of shaving are discreet messages that perpetuate gender inequities.

Now, resurfacing an earlier discussion, there may be slight confusion in terms of females not shaving: if not shaving is deemed a masculine trait, females, according to the androcentric scale, should be praised as they are now in a desirable position, and essentially, ranking up. While this applies to clothing, behavior, and other aspects, shaving, rather than being an exception, falls into a new category: bodies, specifically, female bodies and policing of such by, expectedly, males. A female’s body is, disturbingly and perplexingly, “masculine.” This statement appears rather counterintuitive; a female body should be, based on logic of female versus male, feminine as it is blatantly a female’s body. Unfortunately, that is false and androcentrism falls in place: a female’s body is “masculine” since femininity is controlled by masculine standards; males decide what is considered “sexy” or “pretty” in a body, and thus, a female’s body is seemingly feminine, but once tracked to the roots, as depicted, masculinity is the originator for those traits. Therefore, to answer the very initial question, females not shaving is not considered masculine, ironically, since it highly combats what males have set up, and overall, serves a threat to masculinity and male superiority in that sense.

On that note, many have created solutions, and one in particular advocates for females not shaving. After all, doing so would challenge male’s policing of female bodies, and additionally, set females equal to males in that one aspect of male privilege is disengaged. To finally leave my opinion, although I may offer somewhat radical and controversial statements in my reviews, be it in the Personal Message or the song review itself, this will potentially be the most outrageous stance to date: I disagree with the idea of females not shaving. Females should shave. However, that is not all of my stance; to potently create a gender equitable situation with shaving, females and males should both shave. Realistically, of course, the true equitable situation is both females and males are bereft of any social pressure, and as a result, shaving is a choice based on an individual, regardless of gender, but as I believe in honesty for readers (and in general), I will disclose and explain my personal stance.

Often time, strangely, solving gender inequities revolves around the gender that is already dominant and advantaged: do not wear revealing clothing as a female or else boys will attack and rape, do not use makeup as there is no purpose to please males, do not act flirtatious or else males will slut-shame. And, of course, do not shave since males expect shaving. All of these acts, while seemingly against androcentrism, is, highly ironically, filled with exactly such, a society that revolves around males. Rarely is the opposite stance, one that places females to the standards of equality versus to males, given: wear revealing clothing if desired to since, as a female, a human, personal decisions can be made; use makeup as there is no issue with desiring to appear pretty in the standards of females; the decision to flirt should be done, as a female, if there is a love-interest. Following the trend, as a female, shaving is not an issue if desired since, rather than basing it on male standards, a new standard, one from a female point of view, considers shaving “pretty” and thus a desirable activity.

To now focus moreover on shaving and why I believe females and males should both be held accountable (once more, the most equitable situation is what I stated earlier; this is my personal opinion), unlike the plethora of examples that are orientated towards males, this idea focuses on females, and in specific, femininity; if males are expected to shave, an act deemed feminine, a new standard is in place as femininity would be held equal to masculinity (in this situation of shaving). Thus, rather than having females conduct a “masculine” trait that ignites hostility due to challenging the policing of females via not shaving (which, in essence, is still a viable idea), if the scale utterly flipped and males were expected to do a “feminine” trait, and in a few ways, became policed to follow such, in the context of shaving it would create an equitable scale as males must now value femininity equally to masculinity, and furthermore, the policing that would occur additionally perpetuates that ideology. If the inequitable standards of valuing masculinity over femininity is to be directly challenged, rather than attempting to depreciate masculine concepts so that balance is met, it would be more effective to instead empower femininity so that equity is met through equally cherishing feminine concepts, not because masculinity is equally dreaded as femininity.

Overall, with this digression being a topic that is rarely discussed, and furthermore, highly irrelevant to CLC (except, obviously, on the levels of how the group consists of ladies), I do apologize in the sense of it being a somewhat foreign topic. Nevertheless, I do encourage readers that read this portion to ponder over the section and to develop a personal stance. Though this review itself will focus on “Pepe” in an industrial, musical context, shying away from important, seemingly minor yet major topics is not an option, especially when, overall, this digression still stemmed from pop culture (and of course, day-to-day life in general). Due to time restraints, I will save another discussion for my next review. During EXID’s “Ah Yeah” review, the topic of challenging social issues will be glanced at. Also, for readers who are now genuinely curious on whether I shave or not, as always to be truthful, I do not since I am guiltily exploiting my male privilege, as of now, I place minimal emphasis on my physical appearance. However, that said, when I do begin to care and date (though slight irony in that my future actions will probably deter potential dates), shaving and, for another topic to be discussed in the next review, makeup, will not be alien materials. My review on “Ah Yeah” will dive into the topics of challenging social issues, and if time permits, cultural differences on “masculine” and “feminine” (such as in the case of personally using makeup as a heterosexual male).

Finally returning to the ladies of CLC and not an utterly random subject of shaving, “Pepe” has been requested by two readers and the wait has been excessively long. Thankfully, that will now change: “Pepe” will be reviewed, obviously. Reiterating earlier points, though this song is highly loathed due to biases, it still remains sufficient in a few categories, but overall, “Pepe” is still a somewhat weaker song.

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Song Score: 5/10 (4.6/10 raw score) – “Average”

– Vocals: 5/10 – Addressing the vocals of “Pepe,” for an overarching label, basicness holds. Diving into specific characteristics, in terms of stronger points, the pacing remains diverse. Different sections possess different singing rates, and thus, a lively flow exists for the vocals. Furthermore, despite being a newer group, CLC manages to disclose powerful singing: many sections showcase high, lengthy note holds. As for sections that are not orientated towards presence, much of CLC’s singing remains stable; in general, throughout “Pepe,” the vocals that exist are not frail or excessive, and as a result, provide a clean, smooth pathway for delivering adequate vocals.   

Nonetheless, even with stable singing and added tints of power, “Pepe” still possesses moments of substantial issues: powerful notes are overly exaggerated, and though the vocals are stable, the component of being melodic is absent. In terms of the stronger notes, strain is present, and though that may be beneficial if manipulated properly, in the case of this song, the existing strain pierces rather than pleases. As noted at the end of the choruses, the final, lingering note hold is not one that grants a delighting tune, but one that is overwhelming. Switching to the vocals’ lacking melody, though “Pepe” still blatantly possesses its tune, the degree of such is insufficient; the singing remains highly simple with the utilized pitches, and while a song is still plausible under the current vocals’ conditions, thriving beyond the standard is impossible. A prime moment of the unembellished melody is at the post-choruses: a melody clearly exists, however, it is highly plain and not enticing on a musical level.

Though the ladies’ singing are not stunning, neither are their vocals atrocious. The foundation of singing is in place; CLC is capable of delivering a song at a professional, industrial level. But, at most, the least is met. Thus, average will hold as the score. Impressive points are hindered by impairing points, and with both balancing out, average is suiting as the score. But, considering CLC is a newer group, room for growth exists, and hopefully, in the future, a different song will be reviewed and this score increases.

– Sections: 4/10 (4.29/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Rap, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Conclusion

1. Introduction: 3/10 – The introduction consists of purely the instrumental. And a few seconds.

Due to being incredibly short, a full, comprehensive look will be difficult. For what is given, mechanically the instrumental remains incredibly dull: minimal, hasty and semi-heavier beats are played. Though the time limit is to blame, the mechanical side simply possesses no depth; solely beats are carried out. As a result, the mechanical aspect suffers as there is minimal exposure to any sound, let alone if the sound is even pleasing.  

Structurally, however, this type of introduction, though impairing to the mechanical layer, is positive. To an extent. With being incredibly short, “Pepe” is able to promptly begin, which is both aiding and damaging. Focusing on the positive aspects, with a short duration, a transition, or more accurately, the absence of a connecting pathway, occurs and thus the song flows seamlessly into the first verse. The drawback, however, is suddenness: “Pepe” begins excessively quickly, and thus, while the song progresses from one point to the other, there is minimal appeal attached. If more depth was added, whether in the form of seconds or a more complex instrumental, the intended role of transitioning would still exist, but furthermore, a musically alluring aspect would be included.

Below average will be the score. The utter lack of an appealing musical component heavily hinders this section, even with the most optimistic view of the structural component being beneficial.

2. Verse: 5/10 – Seungyeon and Sorn are responsible for the first verse.

Though the two verses slightly differ, an identical, overarching concept occurs: emphasis towards lower notes. Sonically, a deeper pitched melody is utilized and offers “Pepe” a soothing, lively flow. Furthermore, miniscule yet prominent note stretches occur, and thus, the rich, lower notes are accentuated to deliver an even more tuneful section, especially during the second verse. Also, though akin to the structural layer, in terms of the first verse, a unique rhythm takes place: the singing stutters in order to reflect the song’s piano beats. Due to such, an appealing, unique trait is created.

Swapping to the structural side, with the verses possessing a slower pacing, compensation for the introduction partially exists, but in addition, the slower rate allows expansion; “Pepe” ‘s verses beginning calmly grants the song a foundation for it to develop, as seen by the upcoming pre-choruses that build upon the prior section (the verses). Also, mentioned earlier, the chemistry of instrumental and vocals, in the context of the first verse, is admirable and augments both sonic and structural layers. Sadly, despite some diverse traits, the structural component remains, overall, stagnant; while the lower notes do fluctuate, the length per line, the pacing, and the entire format regardless of stutter or regular note stretches, are all identical. Solely the melody roams freely, but in terms of the verses’ outline, it remains relatively basic.

Overall, average will hold as the score. The sonic component, while incredibly infatuating, does not redeem the highly simplistic structure of the verses.

3. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – Yujin and Seunghee handle the first pre-chorus, and Sorn, in substitution to Yujin, works with Seunghee for the second.

In terms of the pre-choruses’ sound, as presumed for a pre-chorus, the sections do become more upbeat in contrast to others, and thus, multiple traits become amplified: the melody begins to flow more fluently, the pacing starts varying, and the vocals’ power are finally showcased. For example, with the melody, multiple notes of lower and higher are now disclosed as “Pepe” possesses an energetic state, and furthermore, pacing variety exists to further reflect that. In terms of the vocals being impactful, towards the end with Seunghee’s final line, a lengthier yet perfectly balanced note stretch occurs, of which also follows the trend of a more hyped, upbeat section. Addressing another potent aspect, though related to the structural side, the occurring background vocals vastly aids the mechanical layer. Proper contrast, unlike in the post-choruses (to be explained later), incredibly refines the pre-choruses’ sound: main vocals against background vocals sound additionally prominent and stable, and vice-versa, background vocals against main vocals offer variety, but also, lower notes and a calmer style are gleaned aspects.

Continuing the topic of background vocals, as mentioned, the structural side benefits as variety is heard; main vocals produce the higher pitches and prominence, and background vocals offer the lower pitches along with a more relaxed state. As for other positive traits, in an overarching view of the pre-choruses, the progression remains impressive: the verse to pre-chorus remains fluid since the pre-choruses gradually uplifts, and additionally, with that smooth, natural advancement, the section itself allows “Pepe” to arrive to its chorus flawlessly. And on that note, the final note stretch at the end further depicts the exceptional progression. With a properly scaled note stretch occurring, a blatant transition to the chorus is provided. To finally address the weaker side to the pre-choruses, though the progression is admirable, overall, the section remains highly stale: main vocals occur which are then backed up with background vocals, and after recycling that format, a final note stretch takes place. This is also more impairing once accounting for the mechanical layer; although the vocals are not negative in any means, neither are the vocals outstanding, and thus, in the situation of a stale structure, dullness becomes rife.

Average will be the score. If the mechanical component was slightly more enticing, the structural layer would easily thrive, and equally, the section as a whole.

4. Chorus: 4/10 – A mixture of promising and languishing points are apparent during the chorus, which are conducted by both Seungyeon and Seunghee.

Mechanically, the choruses, jocularly, sound pleasing to dreading as the sections run their length. First, towards the beginning, the vocals possess an endearing amount of power; following the norms of traditional choruses, “Pepe” ‘s choruses bring the singing to a higher caliber. Because of such, the delivered upbeatness and vocals become welcoming, and furthermore, besides sheer power, a noticeable variety of higher notes, specifically of mid to high, are disclosed. Now, as stated, once the choruses drag to the end, the power does not follow through: rather than power that gradually fades, the vocals continually add onto its intensity. Although this would seem to be a desirable route, by excessively raising the vocals’ power, the melody lessens; since power becomes the focus, the tune begins losing attention and, overall, simply cannot compete with exploding vocals (however, this is not always the case as seen by, for examples, Ailee and Wheesung). For a transparent example, at the very ending of the choruses, with the final note hold containing a remarkable amount of power, strain naturally occurs but, as a result, utterly dampens the melody as an exasperated voice is left, not one of luxurious melody.

Continuing the topic of the final note hold that occurs, while dreadful in a mechanical sense, through the lens of the sections’ structure, a blatant transition does become provided, and thus, the post-choruses that follow up flawlessly flow with the song as a whole. Furthermore, on a general level, the choruses exhibit a proper level of intensity for a chorus: energetic and dynamic.

Sadly, while the structure is respectable and equally the mechanical component to some degree, the power added is unscoped. Should the vocals have been in proper scale in terms of power, the score, and ears, would not be as pierced. Slightly below average is the rating.

5. Post-Chorus: 3/10 – Yeeun and Seunghee, and the group as a whole during specific moments, contribute to the post-choruses.

Perhaps the song’s most prominent downfall occurs here. The post-choruses in “Pepe” are, harshly stated, appalling. For the mechanical attribute, it utterly falters; the singing that takes place is moreover vexing than melodic. Though the song’s tone, a mockery, sarcastic one, is created through the vocals’ style, musically, this style highly obscures the melody: an annoyed, sharp and high pitched whine is in place versus legitimate soothing, alluring singing. In addition, another pressing problem is, contradictingly, variety. Although the structural side will address this in depth, with the post-choruses being highly tedious, variety via background vocals is added in order to redress such. However, how the background vocals are utilized is not beneficial towards the mechanical layer; with the background vocals taking the form of a single, childish and whined word, the main singing that occurs, of which is already irking enough, has its poorer sound further emphasized. Two forms of mediocre vocals contrasting one another does not alleviate the weaker delivery, but instead, clearly highlights the weaker qualities of both.

To now address the mentioned point of repetition, for the structure, while repetition is not necessarily negative, in the scenario of “Pepe” ‘s post-choruses, it certainly is. If the vocals were respectable during this section, repetition would strengthen such, but with the opposite taking place, somewhat horrendous vocals are now heard for a longer duration. Also, regardless of the vocals’ rating, the structure during the post-choruses are incredibly stale: linear main vocals occur, then a sole word follows up. Of course, however, with the vocals already lacking, this type of format and repetition drains the post-choruses further. At most, a positive feature of the post-choruses is the overall role of providing an equalizing, calming bridge between the chorus and verse.

Below average will be the score. The mechanical layer is not pleasing, and the structure simply reiterates the poorer mechanical side.

6. Rap: 7/10 – Yeeun runs solo for the rapping section.

Truthfully, the rapping section may be the strongest section in “Pepe.” Both its mechanical and structural pieces are solid. Focusing on the first point, Yeeun’s rap in terms of its sound is equal to many other high caliber raps, as noticed by the excellent speed, flow, power, and melody. Expanding those aspects, her speed remains perfectly swift; the rate is not excessive so that the rap loses traces of melody, but also, it is not lacking so that the rap label would be inaccurate. In terms of flow, no points of awkward pauses occur. Every word flows seamlessly. Power, though more accurately coined would be stability, is another delivered, desired aspect. Throughout the rap, the vocals remain palpable with presence, and as a result of the given power, a lingering aspect is attached. Lastly, the rap remains highly melodic. Malleability plays a key role in allowing the melody to thrive; portions of the rap vary with traits, be it speed, power, and more, and as a result of those variations, the melody naturally transforms to accommodate such. Quicker segments have a lighter melody, and for the slower, rhythmic moments, a tranquil melody is in place.

Swapping to the structure, on the subject of diverse segments in the rap–the main reason for why this category holds well, rather than the rap being a pure, unchanging section, incorporation of different chunks grant it diversity. A prime example is towards the later half: one-word stutters become used, even if short, and once juxtaposed to the prior segment, both the rap’s mechanics and structure are enhanced via extra appeal. Examples: pacings become more abundant, the flow is more than sequential, and both power and melody fluctuate due to the change in style.

Overall, above average. Yeeun’s rapping remains remarkable, and while “Pepe” is seemingly a lower tiered song, its rap section does bring in a strong point.

7. Conclusion: 3/10 – Every member contributes for the conclusion, or at least it will be assumed so.

The conclusion, though its own section, is awfully familiar to the post-choruses. “Awfully” is also not simply meant to emphasize similarity in format. Ignoring the strident statement, to focus on the conclusion’s sonic layer, the concept in the post-choruses translates over: a repetitive, higher pitched tune is given, but in an even more downgraded fashion. “Lalala,” an exceptionally mundane line, is tiresomely repeated with a highly basic melody. In summary, the vocals in the conclusion are homogenous to the post-choruses, but with an even duller line, the lackluster vocals are even more absent of appeal.

Expectedly, the structural side also languishes. Once more, the issues apparent in the post-choruses reappear: repetition in the context of faulty singing emphasizes the poorer quality of both mechanical and structural components; the “lalala” becomes extremely obnoxious with its sound, and of course, the line itself as well. Now in terms of it serving as a proper closure to the song, that is met, miraculously. With the final solo instrumental, “Pepe” is properly closed, and in fact, has its lingering aspect, even if in the form of the instrumental and not vocals.

Should the final instrumental have taken the entirety of the conclusion, this section would be rather effective. However, with the addition of, overall, a modified post-chorus, this section falters. Below average is the score. The mechanical aspect is inadequate, and furthermore, the structural role would have still been met even if the “lalala” was removed.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – Five members exist in CLC, and through assumptions based on the group size, a high score should be in place.

Seunghee’s lines consist of, absurdly and disturbingly, eight sections: the two pre-choruses, the three choruses, and three post-choruses. Four sections, from multiple reviews, have been the most efficient number; with four being the value, it is not lacking or dominating. Depending on the rest of her members, Seunghee’s lines may be overly abundant, and unfortunately, that anticipation might become reality.

For Yujin, a horrible disparity occurs: she possesses one section, the first pre-chorus. With a difference between one and eight (Seunghee), this will significantly and negatively impact the score. Even if the rest of the members provided an equalizing bridge between Yujin’s lines and Seunghee’s lines, the current difference is far too high to truly rectify.

Peering at Seungyeon’s lines, she is responsible for the two verses and the three choruses. Five is her total, and though it does instill a median between the prior members, the gap is still highly prevalent.

In focus of Sorn and in hope of her quantity providing a middle-ground, the two verses and the second pre-chorus are her sections, and therefore, three will be her total count. Though the number of lines currently consist of one, three, five, and eight, Sorn’s quantity, while aiding in terms of providing a bridge between Seunghee and Yujin, will not entirely fix the current, flawed issue.

Lastly, for Yeeun, her sections include, notably her rap, and the three post-choruses. Four is her count, and while there is now a spectrum (one, three, four, five, and eight), the minimum and maximum values are simply too varying.

On that note, for a score, considering 4 is roughly the average, equal number of lines that every member should have possessed, Yujin and Seunghee are mainly the two members who significantly deviate from such. If the other members further contributed to the prominent disparity, an even lower score would be possible, but with the opposite occurring, slightly below average will be the score.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – The instrumental of “Pepe” is average. While it does not lack in multiple categories, neither does it excel in any, and thus, average would be a proper label. Analyzing the mechanical aspect to the soundtrack, a main piano melody appears, and while decent in its tune and flow, it is not outstanding. Another aspect, the beats, follow suit: the beats in the song are moreover plain than intriguing. Overall, no major flaws or strengths exist in a musical sense for the soundtrack. Not surprisingly, for the structural piece, the same, homogenous, standard trend is in place: ordinary. Fundamental roles are covered, such as the instrumental providing transitions and accommodating the vocals accordingly to the sections, be it by becoming more fast paced to suit the rap, having a stronger, intenser stance for the chorus, and so forth. Nevertheless, nothing is utterly extraordinary; the instrumental supplies what is necessary to allow “Pepe” to function, but not necessarily to engross listeners.

Average, as throughout the song, will once more be a given score.

– Meaning: 5/10 – “Pepe,” though seemingly a name, is instead a sound, and one that emanates of mockery, or at the least, not one of affection. In credit to the following Korean-to-English lyrics, the story behind “Pepe,” whether it is a flirtatious plot or one of hatred, will, hopefully, become revealed. The following lyrics are not 100% accurate:

What can you give to me?
This is your limit
You’re stupider than I thought
You’ll always be like a child

Guys are all the same (what you want)
When you’re looking for it (you become impatient)
Are you a patient? Talk to a doctor
Stop pretending to be sick

Why are you provoking me, shaking me up?
Ooh ooh, what to do
You’re so crazy, your acting is amazing
Never look for me again

Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
This is your level

Move back, what’re you looking at?
You’re a tree that can’t grow
Please, just quit it
Look for your girl somewhere else

Guys are all the same (what you want)
When you’re looking for it (you become impatient)
Are you a patient? Talk to a doctor
Stop pretending to be sick

Why are you provoking me, shaking me up?
Ooh ooh, what to do
You’re so crazy, your acting is amazing
Never look for me again

Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
This is your level

Typical guys, howling like wolves
Poking around like they’re starved
I’m losing interest, losing heart
I’m not even getting mad now
After breaking up with you, I’m singing
Even my family and friends sing hurray
Bye now baby
Forgetting you is so easy

Why are you provoking me, shaking me up?
Ooh ooh, what to do
You’re so crazy, your acting is amazing
Never look for me again

Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
This is your level

La la la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la

“Pepe” presents a story of a lady who, as predicted, is mocking her former love-interest, and more accurately, partner. Although the rap occurs later in the song, its lyrics provide an overview of the plot: the lady is frustrated with “typical guys howling like wolves,” and specifically addressing her former partner, she claims: “After breaking up with [him], I’m singing.” While it is unknown on why the couple parted, her insults are clear and sharp, of which is essentially the song. The main character vents her frustration, such as by stating that her former partner is “stupider than [she] thought” or that he will “always be like a child.” Other remarks are included, but addressing where the song’s title derives from, the main character’s mockery of “hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny” is her most significant, direct comment. Furthermore, “this is your level,” the following statement after the latter, further unveils the main character’s hatred, and also, how pitiful her former partner was.

Scoring the lyrics, average will hold. While questions regarding the relationship exists, the song mainly focuses on the degradation of the boy, and thus, not much depth is given. In many ways, Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” relates; both “Pepe” and “You’re Pitiful” focus on a former partner and the pity of them after splitting up. Nevertheless, with that, both lyrics do remain average as complexity is missing.

– “Critical Corner”: Though I do wish to embark on the discussion of relationships, and more specifically, how males are socialized with, truthfully, a toxic idea of relationships (which is potentially why the main character in “Pepe” is frustrated), for the sake of time, I will simply redirect this “Critical Corner” to a review: Fiestar’s reality show, “Channel Fiestar.” Ignoring arguably the worst review and writing I have done for “Channel Fiestar,” I do digress to the topic of how males have been taught to date (in short, objectifying females and not being socialized to have a genuine intimate relationship). In the future, perhaps I will elaborate more deeply on this subject, but for now, the linked review will suffice.

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Choreography Score: 5/10 – Though I will explain at the Overall Score portion, this review has been written in the most incoherent manner possible. On topic, for the choreography of “Pepe,” as is the current trend for this song, average is suiting.

Syncing in “Pepe” is, for everything excluding the chorus, solid. Beats are reflected consistently for multiple sections, whether it is the verse, pre-chorus, post-chorus, or even rap. Furthermore, movements also reciprocate the song’s intensity; more energetic musical sections, such as the pre-chorus, are met with faster motions, and conversely, calmer sections follow a slower choreography. Returning to the earlier point of the chorus, though every other section remains in sync, the chorus remains bleak of any proper matchings; there is simply no correlation between dance and song. At most, the first few seconds have maneuvers related to the lighter snaps, but in terms of the rest, the following moves do not reside with any beats, and additionally, even the flow of the dance fails to reflect the song’s own flow.

Focusing on the key points of “Pepe,” the existing dance sets are relatively plain. Most of the choreography relies upon snapping movements, and while a flashier, powerful dance is seen due to such, variety lacks as predominantly one type of movement is spotlighted. Furthermore, many key points are repeated: the verses, pre-choruses, choruses, and so on, recycle the uniform dance set (or at least an incredibly similar one), and as a result, the lack of deviation impairs appeal. Although it may be considered a standard to relentlessly reuse the same key points, for a choreography to thoroughly thrive beyond average, as is the score for “Pepe” ‘s dance, variating key points are essential. The verses, for example, while technically different, could certainly divert more from one another. In addition, if repetition is to be kept, existing key points need to be distinctive in themselves; if every key point in “Pepe” was more than snaps, and therefore, already visually intriguing and unique per every section label, looping the same key point would be of no issue.

Overall, average holds as the score. The syncing renders averagely, though the choruses are to blame, and the key points are also average.

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Overall Score: 5/10 (5/10 raw score) – With both main scores holding a 5, the Overall Score will follow suit. CLC’s “Pepe” can be considered as average, and that, in a very optimistic and realistic setting, is what I do personally label the song (though as stated, I personally heavily dislike this song).

With the review now over, I will leave many messages regarding this review, and for readers, the lack of reviews. If correct, it has been ten days since I have last posted, and many excuses exist (yes, not reasons as I desire to hold myself accountable). First, however, addressing this review, I did not write judiciously at all. The quality of this review is significantly poorer than others, and considering this was a requested review by two readers, I do feel incredibly guilty. That said, explaining why that may be the case, I decided to write this review in an utterly random fashion; rather than logically and chronologically writing the review in a top-down form, I decided to write different pieces at different times. For example, I wrote the Vocals piece many days ago, and then the next day, wrote the Line Distribution, and then afterwards, skipped to the Instrumental, and so forth. After realizing the disorganization, it made writing even harder, especially when analyzing and writing the Sections part (for example, it is hard to truly gauge the choruses’ structural aspect when I have yet to analyze the prior section, and thus, cannot properly create context on whether it is a “suiting” section and such). Overall, with my poor decisions making the writing process and breakdown of the song significantly harder, it caused delay as I either took more breaks, needed more processing, or whatever else.

Mistakes, however, are not issues when learning occurs afterwards, and in this case, I have learned a valuable lesson. Lastly, I also did strip away about four or so hours away from writing; rather than using a dedicated time for writing, I ended up working on subtitling a video (feel free to watch it: T-ARA: Weekly Idol – “Sugar Free”). Due to that, a delay of about two days was added. And, of course, some finishing schoolwork exists, though that is a lesser factor than the latter two. Nevertheless, huge apologies to readers and requesters for this review’s delay.

On that note, thank you very much for reading this review, and for those who were anticipating it, for being incredibly patient. EXID’s “Ah Yeah,” the last requested review in inventory, will be finished as soon as possible. For the requester of that review, I apologize for practically a month’s delay, but considering the length of reviews, I would like to think of quality over quantity (though the current quality is still rather poor; I will continually work to improve my reviews). Of course, however, I will attempt to finish “Ah Yeah” in a couple of days (I typically need 6 to 8 hours worth of writing per review).

With this being the end, though many readers may now say “You’re stupider than I thought,” I hope that readers are not “losing interest” or “losing heart” due to a slower rate. EXID’s “Ah Yeah” will be finished shortly, and I will attempt to work diligently for it. Afterwards, as promised, many male groups are in mind, and thus, I hope many readers look forward to that. Thank you once more for reading. Keep checking back.

BESTie’s Music Video – “Excuse Me” Review

Reviewed on May 14, 2015

BESTie – Excuse Me (Music Video)

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Personal Message: A change of plans occurred: though I have started the (two votes) requested review of CLC’s “Pepe,” I will reserve it until this review is finished. That said, I am incredibly sorry to the requesters of “Pepe,” but also to the requester of “Ah Yeah” by EXID (it has been nearly 3 weeks of waiting if I am correct). After this review, I will certainly aim for only requested reviews, and afterwards, will definitely need to begin reviewing about 3 or 4 male groups/artists considering only female groups/artists have been of review these days. On a somewhat positive note, I have been improving my writing stamina, and thus, will be investing my entire free time to writing reviews versus watching videos of Fiestar and Dal Shabet miscellaneous activities that are obviously quite productive. After all, I would never prioritize video watching over writing reviews.

On topic of BESTie’s “Excuse Me,” I will now address why I am reviewing, specifically, the music video of “Excuse Me” and why CLC’s “Pepe” is delayed for such: “Excuse Me” is currently trending, and not just from a mechanical, industrial viewpoint; BESTie’s latest comeback is garnering much attention for its music video, both positive and negative, for, precisely, the portrayal of homosexual men in the music video. Therefore, with this music video being exceptionally popular due to social topics, rather than shying away, I will directly offer my opinion on said topics, but furthermore, dissect how the music video depicts those topics in positive, enlightening manner (and of course in a general sense of whether the music video is decent or not). Before continuing, I will leave credit to a friend for bringing this to attention. Though I question how our friendship thrives highly appreciate our different opinions and do not desire to vilify her, the music video was sent to me along with a claim that I would hate it due to being a “woman-loving feminist,” as she often time labels me as (construing labels is another discussion; in short, “gender equity-loving feminist” would be what is accurate). Surprisingly, my friend was wrong.

Perhaps she was sarcastic, but I adore the music video of “Excuse Me,” and this includes the mechanical and social layers, and also, the musical aspect. Quickly addressing the song itself, I have reviewed BESTie in the past due to a request, but I neither wrote judiciously or brought the group proper attention in terms of their vocals. “Excuse Me” is a huge improvement, and though I will not review the song in a musical sense, I will claim their vocals are properly utilized in their current comeback, of which have always been solid. Returning to the more vital and solemn subject, while there are viable arguments to prove why the music video is offensive to homosexual men, and in terms of gender, females, through my personal interpretation based on the video directing, I believe the utter opposite: unlike TMZ shoving in as much racism in 1 minute towards EXID, BESTie’s “Excuse Me” packs as much social justice in 3 minutes as possible. Of course, however, as long as sound arguments are made, whether the video is degrading or empowering will never be decided on (reviews of Dal Shabet’s “Joker” and Fiestar’s “One More” partially discuss this). Thus, having a personal opinion, a logical, thorough one, is what will matter.

First, for the topic of homosexual men (and homosexual females), “Excuse Me” does not depict the men as absurd, stereotyped homosexuals. The music video opts to show viewers that, unlike what many are socialized with, sexual orientation is simply who a person finds attractive. Society has been taught, and reiterates, that sexual orientation includes behavioral traits when it is, as stated, merely who a person renders attractive. In “Excuse Me,” the men are dressed with usual clothing and not exaggerated ones of bright colors and such (though anyone of any gender and sexual orientation should feel free to wear whatever; I partially discuss clothing in a social context in Apink’s “Luv” review), and due to that, a forgotten, critical message is revived: homosexuality does not correlate with behavior.

Now continuing this idea, the kissing that occurs is, not one of exoticness as many claim, but rather, of regular kissing, though give or take the cheesy K-Drama styled kisses incredible acting. Although many claim the intimate gestures are overly exaggerated, and thus, creates an idea that homosexuals are sexually driven savages, in the context of the video, it is in scale. What many forget are the other characters that are depicted in “Excuse Me”: the heterosexual men were, arguably, even more “sexually driven savages” than the homosexual characters. With this juxtaposition in mind, it brings equality; “Excuse Me” is implying heterosexual people and homosexual people are equally sexually driven (though overly “sexually driven” people in general is another topic; refer to my earlier linked review of Fiestar “One More”), and therefore, the common belief that homosexual people are aggressive, lust-driven creatures is disengaged.

Overall, the video showcases homosexuals are not “creatures,” but instead, actual humans. It is pitiful that something as miniscule as sexual orientation is utilized to oppress people. “Excuse Me” should not be ridiculed for its poor portrayal of homosexuals when, once critically deconstructed, it is showcasing equity for sexual orientations.

For the side of gender, this video does an excellent job with promoting gender equity. I will first focus on the empowering side for females, and afterwards, also showcase that this music video is beneficial to males. For one topic, one that I constantly have to, and will, reiterate: nothing is wrong with being sexually attractive. The linked review of Dal Shabet’s “Joker” touches upon the subject, but more specifically, my review on Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful.” As for BESTie’s music video, on the blatant surface, the ladies of Uji, Dahye, Hyeyeon, and Haeryeong are showcasing that being physically attractive is not a crime. Unfortunately, many are either attacking the act of being physically attractive or, ironically, supposedly defending the ladies by attacking their freedom to dress as they please. Dal Shabet’s “Joker” discusses this, and thus, to be efficient, I will transition to the music video itself.

In the scope of the music video, the portrayed female characters (the members) offer a discreet yet powerful message: even with obnoxious, disgusting boys around, females should not adapt to males’ low standards via “covering up” as if female bodies are shameful, but instead, remain confident and dress as desired to without regards for what males say or do. Especially in the context of sexual assaults, the given message is invaluable; often time during incidents of sexual accidents, females are criticised for their clothing or acts when, assuming a person has a few specks of intelligence, anyone should see that it is the male’s fault, not clothing. As such, for what “Excuse Me” reinforces, females should be able feel physically attractive due to desired, personal choices of makeup or clothing, and that males should be utterly irrelevant should a case of criticism occur. After all, females should be pushing boys back into place, hopefully figuratively but if necessary, literally as in the video.

Another promising aspect, though not as directly impactful yet still significant, is the setting of the music video: bright, charming, beautiful colors. Removing the optimistic perspective, for what many would deem the video’s scenery, many would claim it is “too girly,” and as many readers may know, those words have been construed to be negatively connotated versus one of compliments. Furthermore, the phrase “too boyish” is practically nonexistent, and in comparison to the latter phrase, that certainly holds true. My review on Apink’s “Luv” does handle this subject, but I will provide more clarity here, and specifically, why “Excuse Me” should be endlessly praised for its choice in scenery. Due to an androcentric society, the type of setting in “Excuse Me” rarely appears, or that, if it does appear, it is either criticised, mocked, or deemed as overly exaggerated. Since the used colors, ones associated with femininity (and for critical readers asking why that is in the first place, personal research should be conducted), are ubiquitously shown in a standard setting of a restaurant and outdoor cafe, the idea that the scenery is beautiful is promoted, even if it is “girly.” As an overarching image, with the use of those colors everywhere and in basic settings, it showcases femininity is equal to masculinity. The director could have easily went with a default setting, but instead, the decision to adopt specific colors delivers, in addition to basic pleasing aesthetics, an idea that “feminine colors” are equally viable as “masculine colors,” which unfortunately may also be called “default colors” since androcentric societies classify normal as masculine when, obviously, that is not an equitable standard.

Lastly, for another minor yet potent aspect, the protagonist of the music video (Haeryeong) deviates from gender norms; with most societies depicting males as the initiators for romantic dates, “Excuse Me” showcases the main character, a female, doing the initiating. Why this proves to be meaningful stems from the issue of “false privileges” that females are given. Elaborating “false privileges,” both males and females are socialized with the idea that females are privileged over males. In the specific context of dating (other examples include “not hitting females,” “be nice to females,” and more), females are seen to have benefits over males: there is no need to propose, dates are entirely paid for, and such. However, hence its label, “false privileges” are merely instilled in order to cover up real privilege: male privilege.

While it appears a privilege to not automatically be designated as the proposer, it simply provides a subtle layer for forcing females to be passive. For example, while it may be easier to accept and reject, should a female decide to propose first, she is often time shunned (along with the male; this is due to the earlier subject of valuing masculinity over femininity), and thus, is not truly privileged since restrictions are in place based on gender. Secondly, passivity becomes normalized; by being taught that, as a female, only receiving is acceptable versus acting, it creates a tendency for females to acquiesce to many acts, and in a general, long-term social scale, it allows an androcentric society to thrive as females are now accepting of any inequity. Also, for the category of having dates entirely paid for, this “privilege” is easily disengaged when real wage inequities are revealed: though I am unsure on specific statistics, it is unequivocal that having a meal covered does not even closely redeem the current disparity of how males are vastly more paid than females, all for the exact jobs as well. This is another example showcasing how “false privileges” given to females are merely excuses to justify gender inequity, and more accurately, male privilege. Relating back the music video, with “Excuse Me” directly going against a gender norm, one that discreetly promotes inequities via giving false equities, the overall idea of gender equity emanates.

Something to also note, however, is that not solely females benefit. If my arguments have antagonized males, that is not my intentions; while defensiveness naturally occurs (which I will explain later), this music video also grants positive messages, and reminders, to males. A basic example that relates to the prior point is a female proposing first: “Excuse Me” showcases such an act is utterly acceptable, and not, unlike current standards, an act that would “emasculate” males (and to be intimate and truthful to readers, I personally do not intend to propose first for future dates). Another point, a general one, is how, as the lyrics state, having a relationship of “wanting to sincerely love” is vital. Genuine love cannot be rushed, thus, males and females certainly benefit from this simplistic message, and if the main characters’ genders were reversed, many concepts could still apply (under the assumption of solely genders; if settings and characters became “masculine” many empowering messages would, blatantly, be lost).

Transitioning to more serious topics, especially the topic of defensiveness that may occur, the most common, necessary reminder “Excuse Me” provides to males is equitable, humane gender ideologies. With how many of the males (the ones in the restaurant) were portrayed in the music video, it is blatant the opposite occurred: those characters possessed an inequitable viewpoint of gender, and thus, their objectification of the female characters existed. Implicitly, “Excuse Me” is not encouraging such behavior, but instead, shaming it (as seen by how the female characters disregarded those boys). Even if a female is dressed prettily, it does not, at all, constitute objectifying slurs; “cat-calling” or blunt, derogatory remarks are never justified because of what a person wears. Human decency and basic intelligence should clearly showcase why such a type of behavior is, for a lack of words, stupid, and moreover, an act that merely promotes males as the superior gender due to degrading females.

Now of course, this should not be correlated with never complimenting a lady’s appearance; it is not wrong to tell a lady (or man) that they are pretty. What is an issue, however, is when a female is no longer seen as a human, but rather, an object, a sexual one in specific. Therefore, a proper context should be in place, and of course, seeing beyond physical beauty (which males should also see properly; every person, male or female, should always be considered pretty) so that non-physical beauty is also appreciated, is what will lead to an equitable mindset, and overall, the way to disassemble current inequities. As a final, clarifying point, it is not wrong to say a female is pretty, but it is wrong when solely physical beauty is emphasized, restrictive (such as only “skinny” or certain skin complexions), and when the complimented lady becomes viewed as an object.

Onto my final point, and looking over, I do apologize for the length (I did plan on writing for only 4 paragraphs), there is a subject I have yet to ever discuss: privilege. For male viewers and readers who do feel uncomfortable with the video or my words, and in a few ways, feel somewhat antagonized or attacked, that is certainly a genuine feeling; “Excuse Me” and what I say may appear to be bashing males, and that is not enjoyable. However, this defensive that occurs stems from, admitted or not, having privilege. Many would disagree with my arguments, such as claiming that “masculine colors” is not “basic/normal colors,” or that “not every male is like that,” but by doing so and reacting in such a way, it fogs many, if not all, points I am attempting to deliver. Through accepting and truly, thoroughly pondering over my words, which hold as true, or in a pessimistic perspective, at least viable, it creates understanding of exactly the privilege possessed by simply being a male. Therefore, instead of feeling defensive and finding ways to directly counteract my points and to claim everything is equal when, clearly, that is not the case, and by doing so, attempting to keep the status quo as is, it is far better and realistic to acknowledge current privilege and to do what is necessary: remove it.

Social superiority is not numerical; to fix inequities, it is not about giving minoritized groups boosts. Social superiority is instead a scale, one that tips in favor of dominant group members, and thus, to truly create equity, it is about equalizing the scale, and of course, that means being bereft of privileges, which many refuse to do. After all, it is far easier to harass a male for using makeup than to allow that to become a standard, and thus, a lost privilege in that males would now need to sincerely groom themselves (CLC’s “Pepe” will discuss makeup and beauty in a gender context). Overall, as the final, overbearing message to perhaps the longest Personal Message I have yet to write, besides the basic one of how BESTie’s music video of “Excuse Me” is incredible and that the director deserves to be hugged or kissed for her/his incredible work, being aware of current injustices is vital, and for those who are privileged, giving away said privilege is what needs to occur. Personally, though I am a minoritized member in the category of race, I definitely possess privilege in categories of being a male, a heterosexual, and other categories, and as a result, my job is to give away my unnecessary privilege so that equity does exist for those who are oppressed.

Now to truly focus on BESTie’s music video in an industrial sense, while this has arguably became my favorite music video (the best holds as The Ark’s “The Light,” though my prior favorites is perhaps Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” or Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful”) due to its social component, its general layer is not as potent. Nevertheless, the music video still remains well done, and “excuse me” for my lengthier (yet necessary) digression.

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Plot Score: 6/10

Truthfully, I am predicting the Personal Message to be, embarrassingly, longer than the review itself. However, that is irrelevant, and on topic with the review, before offering my opinion on the plot, I will first give my personal interpretation on which I will base my criticism.

“Excuse Me” begins with 4 characters who are, for the purpose of simplicity, Uji, Dahye, Hyeyeon, and Haeryeong. The ladies have entered a restaurant and proceed with ordering. Afterwards, the friends begin to talk, assumingly, about Haeryeong’s desire to date or perhaps her ideal type. Miraculously, moments later, a man appears and Uji, noticing the chance, hastily prompts Haeryeong of his presence. Predictably, the friends usher her to the man, literally with a light shove and figuratively with encouraging cheers. Haeryeong, instilled with confidence, embarks on making the first move: she greets the man and receives positive feedback from both him and her laughing friends. With success gleaned, the ladies transition to outside of the restaurant as a celebration. Soon after, Uji’s eyes spot a shining object in a plant: glasses. After scrutinizing the glasses, and being oblivious to its special traits, she brings them out and Dahye, jocularly, encourages her to put them on. Laughter occurs as the glasses are in questionable fashion (though that is a rather arrogant statement coming from someone bereft of fashion). Without being fully exposed to the glasses’ utility, two men visit the ladies and hand out flyers for, presumably, a discount at the same restaurant or perhaps a special meal. Either way, it motivates the ladies to once more return to the restaurant.

Though the ladies are at the same spot, they are now in possession of peculiar glasses, and unfortunately, in the presence of equally peculiar boys. A waiter serves a few drinks, and a man greets them from afar, to which Dahye politely greets back. However, a major, climactic point occurs: Hyeyeon, the first person to genuinely wear the glasses, notices a highly unusual incident; upon wearing the glasses, the man who showcased friendliness is now seen as, simply summarized, rather licentious. As response, Hyeyeon becomes startled, points to the man in blue, and her friends are equally concerned, though for their friend and not the male. Confused, the other 3 ladies glance at the identified male, and blatantly, view nothing obscene. However, Hyeyeon, still wearing the glasses, continues to witness the consistent, obscene actions, but furthermore, from every character within the restaurant, though excluding her own friends (solely the males were grotesque). Even the waiter, a seemingly gentle, amiable person, unveils shady, sexually driven desires under the lens of the glasses, which is now worn by Haeryeong. This contrast is further emphasized with the following scene: upon removal of the glasses, a well-groomed and calm waiter appears. Deciding to once more observe the waiter through the glasses’ lens, Haeryeong witnesses, anticipatedly, the homogenous sexual acts, such as him lustfully peering at Uji’s legs. Frustrated by this man’s discreet desire, Haeryeong harshly and directly chastises the waiter, and as justification for her acts, Haeryeong delivers the glasses to Uji. Newly equipped with the glasses, Uji looks up and, horrifically, the man in blue appears with his usual, derogatory acts. Shocked at the disturbing images, Uji shoves back the approaching man and the 4 ladies briskly dash outside the restaurant. A prominent scene then occurs: for viewers being critical and proposing the glasses are creating false realities, that is not the case; for a few seconds, after the ladies’ departure, the scene reveals, without the lens of the glasses, the man in blue’s desire is still the same disturbing, inappropriate, salacious acts.

Attempting to recover from the ominous events, the 4 ladies are outside in their prior spot. Very much unfortunately, the same men who gave out the flyers visit, but this time around, Dahye wears the glasses. Not surprisingly, the identical trend occurs in that the flyer boys are equally sexually driven as the ones in the restaurant. Dahye, losing hope in society’s boys disappointed and drained of the recurring incidents, removes her glasses. Thankfully, the males do leave without actually enacting on their subtle desires, and now with some privacy, the ladies discuss the glasses and, implicitly, on what they saw throughout every male. On that note, the friends still do possess hope in males: the earlier man Haeryeong showed interest in. Coincidentally, he arrives outside accompanied by his friend, and Haeryeong, after another round of encouragement from her friends, once more initiates a session. Though it appears that Haeryeong successfully set up a date, Dahye, from the table, wears the glasses once more and discovers that, while there is nothing to the extent of the prior boys’ inhumane acts, the sweet man would prove to be unfitting for Haeryeong: he is homosexual. As confirmation, Uji also checks and confirms the equal appearances, and Hyeyeon follows suit with uniform results. Both are, not disgusted at the fact that those men are homosexuals, but instead, dumbfounded by their luck, or more accurately, unluck, of finding a proper date for Haeryeong. (Many claim their expressions were signs of disgust, but as mentioned earlier, with proper, equitable depiction of the homosexual characters, it can be implied the female characters were “disgusted” at their failure to find their friend a proper date, not at homosexuality.)

Finished with the supposed success, Haeryeong returns to the table to share her news. Dahye, however, leaves a disagreement and offers the glasses so that Haeryeong may witness it for herself. Worried, Haeryeong hopes for the best, and puts on the glasses. Upon viewing the two men from the glasses, Haeryeong discovers, as unveiled by Dahye, that her fear is true: the two men are homosexuals, which is not an issue, but that does indicate her love-interest is no longer a compatible option. Furthermore, after glancing the entire surrounding, other potential dates, unfortunately for Haeryeong, are also homosexuals. Despairingly and humorously, Haeryeong becomes emotionally hurt and sheds tears. Thankfully, as throughout the plot, her friends are quick to be there; Dahye, Hyeyeon, and Uji comfort their tearful friend who is heartbroken as her personal desires to date are, so far, unmet.  

Offering my opinion towards the plot, it does remain highly unique in the realm of what is synthesized; dating and failing to find an intimate partner is not special on its own, nor is having an unusual object with surreal abilities, however, once meshed together, the outcoming plot remains original, and furthermore, rather humorous and, especially in a social aspect, positive. Elaborating on the latter, though a few scenes are far from humorous (the scenes with the restaurant males can be classified foolish at most), in the context of the female characters’ hunt of a proper man for Haeryeong, the overall chase and ultimate failure proves comical. The character of Haeryeong simply has no luck with finding an intimate partner, even after multiple attempts (bear in mind, dating should be a choice, as seen by “Excuse Me,” not a requirement; a life partner may be desirable, but overall, is not an essential part of life). In terms of the positive side, as lengthily discussed in the Personal Message, many empowering social messages are given. On a more general layer, one of mechanical and entertainment, positivity still translates over as, even despite repulsive actions from the restaurant’s males, the overall mood is still cheery (and that can be akin to its social aspect; despite certain inequitable issues, progressing in a mature manner should occur). Furthermore, with close friends as seen in the music video, even if vulgar incidents or failure to date occur, genuine, loving friends will always be there as support.

Continuing with other strong points, rather than a pure visual music video or one that purely emanates emotions, “Excuse Me” provides a plot that involves conflict, especially due to the provided lens of the glasses (the camerawork and directing will be analyzed below). Should the glasses be absent, the plot would not be as potent, and technically, nonexistent; the conflicts and issues of the plot stem solely from the lenses as, without such, the secret behaviors would not be revealed. Thus, a simple object deserves much credit for what it brings to the plot’s depth: levels of blatant and discreet, and with that, room to roam with multiple perspectives and ideas on what the plot truly consists of.

Nevertheless, although many solid points exist, “Excuse Me” possesses a few holes. For example, a highly absurd scenario in the plot is the incident of the flyers; after leaving the restaurant initially, the ladies return upon receiving the flyers. Though it is understandable that the music video is inflexible due to its time limit, returning to the previous location after merely a few seconds provides an awkward transition in the story, and thus, confusion spawns on the blatant, mechanical layer. Confusion due to purposeful vagueness is acceptable, but in this case, with the confusion deriving from poor transition, it does impair the plot’s outline.

Following the topic of confusion, perhaps due to my poorer noting of details, the men delivering flyers happen to be bisexual (though this might have been intended after some pondering). If accurate (as stated, they may be different characters), earlier in the video, they were seen to have sexual desires for the ladies, but at the end, they were seen to be intimate with one another. Through a social lens, this is highly acceptable as the music video would now also include bisexuals, but in terms of the plot, it does create confusion on tracking the characters. For what would have been preferable, if the director intended to showcase the men being bisexuals, showcasing such at the initial flyer scene (perhaps showing them be attracted to both the ladies and each other) would provide sound clarification. Lastly, as a final, miniscule issue with the plot, it lacks scenery in terms of the locations themselves; while the background is beautiful, there are only 2 spots: the restaurant and outside. In an overarching scale, there are sufficient settings due to accounting for the performance scenes, but with the plot’s locations, it lacks variety.

Overall, slightly above average will hold as the score. The issues that do exist are relatively minimal, though the desire for seconds after a few seconds does create a sillier detail in the plot. Ignoring those points however, the plot remains highly unique, possesses multiple layers for interpretation, and delivers a cheerier, lively and comical tone.

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Structural Score: 6/10

Switching to the Structural Score, focus towards the actual music video’s directing, such as camerawork, angles, acting, or even concealed symbolism, will be what is inspected.

Gauging the acting, the ladies of BESTie and men actors provided exceptional work. Due to the music video having a short duration, the acting required specific traits: clear and concise. Little time could be spared for clearly conveying a certain emotion, or desire, hence, those traits are vital in any short visual medium. However, with a restrictive time slot, overly exaggerated acting is often time an issue, but in “Excuse Me,” everything is in proper context: regular scenes appear as natural, and for scenes that did require excessive exaggeration, nothing was lacking.

To focus moreover on the technical work versus acting, as expected with music videos (or at least K-Pop ones), both plot and performance exist. Appeal is kept at a high peak due to the mixture: scenes involving the plot generate interest and deciphering, and for scenes of performance, basic visual entertainment is disclosed due to admiring the choreography’s artwork. Additionally, the alternation between the types of scenes augment the other; curiosity is exploited in the sense that plot related scenes become even more enticing once cut off, and similarly, the choreography.

For another aspect, arguably the most promising one, the video directing with the glasses is highly respectable. On the blatant surface, the contrast provided from standard vision to glasses vision may be noteworthy, but rather than mainly focusing on the general layer, the varying point of views utilized throughout the music video, specifically between third and first, a type of camerawork that is somewhat seldom, should be noticed (and though I personally dislike watching movies for many reasons, I will claim I am anticipating the first first-person movie). Due to including two types of perspectives, it grants both appeal and further details towards the plot. For example, with the general third-person shots, the entire atmosphere of a scene is unveiled: scenery is absorbed along with the ability to assess the feelings of multiple characters. However, upon switching to first-person, which occurs predominantly with the glasses, it creates empathy towards the main characters; viewers are able to distinguish exactly what the ladies see through the glasses, and at times, without the glasses, and therefore, have a further understanding of the plot’s situation.

Focusing moreover on “Excuse Me” ‘s visuals, as in many music videos, emphasis towards being appealing in a mechanical, visual sense is expected. Bright, lovely colors appear throughout the video, be it for the scenery or even the performance scenes. On the subject of scenery, though there are predominantly two settings, both remain stunning in terms of artwork and design. Also, to finally address the performance related scenes, of which are either a colored backdrop or the same restaurant in different lighting, it all remains equally visually pleasing as the plot related scenes. Other details, such as the different outfits, and of course, amazing makeup, are also worthy of praise.

In the end, homogenous to the Plot Score, slightly above average will be the rating. Although the scenery, costumes, and makeup are excellent, and furthermore, the different angles and camerawork for the glasses being potent, “Excuse Me” is not utterly impressive. In comparison to many other music videos, the occurring structural work is, as its rating, only slightly above average. Nevertheless, for what is irreplaceable and unique to “Excuse Me,” its structural component works in a fashion as to deliver essential, positive social messages. Thus, even if that is not accounted for in grading in order to be consistent with reviews, it is something to heavily admire.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score)

With both the Plot Score and Structural Score holding at 6, BESTie’s music video of “Excuse Me” can be deemed as slightly above average, from an industrial viewpoint, of course. If accounting for the positive, empowering social messages, this music video is simply outstanding (but of course, based on my interpretation of said messages). In terms of the video itself, the plot remains enjoyable, and likewise, the visuals and structural work. Overall, BESTie, the male actors, and the director, have all contributed to the music video’s success. Speaking of BESTie, “Excuse Me” from a musical standpoint is decent, especially when glancing at prior releases. Though I did not bring proper attention to the group’s vocal capabilities, as mentioned much earlier, I do hope the group releases an admirable song, one that would be reviewed.

Future reviews will be on CLC’s “Pepe” and EXID’s “Ah Yeah,” both of which have been requested and rudely delayed. I cannot express enough guilt, I truly am sorry to the requesters. I do plan to finish “Pepe” by this weekend and “Ah Yeah” during the weekdays. Afterwards, I will be reviewing solely male groups as, once peering at my archive page, it is clear that I have been neglecting male groups, and of course, I could claim that was not intentional, but as I believe in honesty and as addressed in a Question and Answer, perhaps personal bias has influenced my decisions. Nevertheless, I will be redressing such by delivering 4 consecutive male groups/artists reviews. Even if males possess more attention than females, my current scale is overly compensating for female groups, and thus, I will be correcting it.

As I always say, thank you very much for reading this and for being patient with reviews. Also, to requesters, apologies and thank you for being incredibly patient. Considering how it is a huge honor to have my mediocre writing read (this review is rather lacking in truth; deconstructing visual mediums is still relatively new), my current rate of reviews, especially with requested reviews, is rather rude to readers. As such, thank you for continually returning despite my lag with my posting rate. Stay tuned for CLC’s “Pepe,” and soon after, EXID’s “Ah Yeah,” and after those songs, for an influx of reviews dedicated towards male groups/artists. After all, “excuse me, excuse me, I’m pretty busy,” but even then, I will certainly always allocate time for reviews. Keep checking back.

Hi, I’m Rick! Thanks for Joker’s review! The review was predictable because the flaws of the song are notorious. For me is mediocre and doesn’t explore its concept, but is listenable and catchy. However, I cannot ignore the fact they made one of the best songs of the year, ‘Obsessed’. By other side, Do you plan review Eunjung’s EP or just the title track? Because ‘Love Effect’ and ‘Tears Drop’ are good ones and I’ve read excellent reviews. ‘I’m Good’ is totally generic. Good luck and thanks!

Hello Rick, huge apologies for a late reply. I have read your sent in messages but have not had the chance to reply until now. I will answer them one at a time:

Hi I’m Rick! I was waiting to come out Joker’s Review to write you again when I see your article touching a topic as ‘sensitive’ as this. I cannot add much more to the great explanation you gave, but I would like to say that I felt very bad to see this, it’s not just racist if not also demeaning at all levels of cultural acceptance. Luckily, the label will take action on the matter and I hope a sincere apology from the program. Thanks for your incredible opinions, waiting the next reviews. 🙂

First, in terms of your comments regarding the TMZ and EXID incident, I am exceptionally glad to not only hear that EXID’s company label decided to respond, but that the Blog Opinion motivated you to also respond with equal care and frustration at the social issue. Being aware and having sincere care towards those issues is how positive, progressive change will occur.

Hi, I’m Rick! Thanks for Joker’s review! The review was predictable because the flaws of the song are notorious. For me is mediocre and doesn’t explore its concept, but is listenable and catchy. However, I cannot ignore the fact they made one of the best songs of the year, ‘Obsessed’. By other side, Do you plan review Eunjung’s EP or just the title track? Because ‘Love Effect’ and ‘Tears Drop’ are good ones and I’ve read excellent reviews. ‘I’m Good’ is totally generic. Good luck and thanks!

To address these questions and comments, in terms of Dal Shabet, I will listen to the rest of their “Joker is Alive” mini-album. Truthfully, I have not done so, but I do expect other decent songs to exist. 

In terms of Eunjung’s first solo debut, I do plan to review “I’m Good,” however, I was actually unaware that she released a mini-album and not solely one song. After listening to the album, I will decide on whether to do a single song review on “I’m Good” or the entire album based on how strongly I feel for the other songs. That said, I do agree with your words; “I’m Good” is a rather generic ballad overall, though it does possess its strength and weaknesses. I have yet to hear the other songs but will look forward to doing so.

On purpose, I thought that Serri did the chorus (Yes, that ‘Gimme wanna baby, Show me wanna baby’ wrong written) because is the most upbeat part of the song (imo) and Subin and Woohee voices sound like if built the momentum towards the chorus. Am I wrong? Why?

Answering the third part of comments and questions, firstly, there is, in truth, never a “right” or “wrong” answer when it comes to music (and practically anything not directly akin to mathematics). Thus, I will not claim you are wrong as your opinion is certainly viable, and now listening to the song with your perspective, I do understand your interpretation. 

Nevertheless, to answer whether I disagree or not, I still would classify Serri’s part as a post-chorus/hook versus the chorus itself, and that Woohee and Subin possess the chorus and not a pre-chorus. However, that said, your point is still solid: in many ways, Woohee and Subin do create momentum towards the chorus; their singing is not necessarily a climactic peak as the song still develops through their section, and once Serri’s part occurs, it does seem to be the finishing point along with being the most upbeat, and thus, a chorus.

As for how I viewed it, however, the chorus does not necessarily have to be the climactic point. Choruses may possess that trait, but moreover, I personally gauge those sections by being both upbeat (in juxtaposition to the song’s general intensity), but also, still developing. In “Joker” ‘s case, Woohee and Subin’s section can be classified as the chorus since the song arrives at an upbeat, energetic point, but rather than the section leveling off as Serri’s part, the post-chorus, it continues to be dynamic and growing, and thus, labeling it as the chorus appears fitting. And, as mentioned, the post-chorus in songs tend to possess a “leveling off” characteristic where it brings the song to a slight rest in order to create a recycle (verse to pre-chorus to chorus to post-chorus, which then repeats to verse  to pre-chorus, etc.). Lastly, there is still always the basic argument of chronological order. However, I generally ignore this idea as, to be seen in a few weeks, sections should be based moreover on their attributes and not order. An upcoming song review, after I finish requested ones, possesses no pre-chorus, but if chronological order was applied, that would shift many of the song’s sections to an improper label.

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Overall, thank you very much for your questions and opinions. I am sincerely glad to have read your messages and enjoyed the third, thoughtful question. Huge apologies for a delayed response. Due to attempting to finish reviews and other work, I had pushed aside replying until a while, but nevertheless, here are my answers. On that note, apologies to requesters. CLC’s “Pepe” and EXID’s “Ah Yeah” will both be finished during next week (I will be devoting this upcoming Saturday and Sunday for “Pepe,” and the following weekdays will be allocated towards “Ah Yeah). To leak my upcoming review, I did decide to do a bonus review on a recent comeback, but considering the review will be finished in one or two more days, I will not reveal any further information.

Thank you Rick for your questions, and of course, requesters and readers for being patient, reading, and continually returning. 

Dal Shabet – “Joker” Review

Dal Shabet – Joker (Live Performance)

Dal Shabet – Joker

Reviewed on May 7, 2015

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Personal Message: Though I intended to publish this review before the month of April ended, I have very little hope in that outcome. Unless if I manage to write this in one day, this review will be pushed towards May (and the likelihood of writing this in one day is low; it generally takes 3 days per review). Nevertheless, if this review does become pushed to May, it will be published near the beginning of the month. That said, to the requester, huge apologies for the delay and thank you for both your patience and for sending in this request.

Onto the review, Dal Shabet’s latest comeback, “Joker,” will be of focus. It has been approximately 1 year and 3 months (based on memory of news articles) since their last song release of “B.B.B” (I have reviewed that song; refer to Dal Shabet’s “B.B.B” Review). Despite the hiatus, Dal Shabet’s return of “Joker” remains highly refined–in the sense of skills, however. Though I have personally been enjoying the song, it is not necessarily flawless, and overall, it does remain relatively equal to “B.B.B” in terms of quality.

On the subject of “B.B.B” and Dal Shabet in general, though they do remain rather unpopular, the ladies remain highly admirable, and best of all, jocular. I have been watching “Shabet On Air,” a reality show of the group, and surprisingly, their reality show seems to be endless; my previous watching session was on episode 8, and 21 episodes were the total count, but currently, “Shabet On Air” is nearly on its 40th episode. Ignoring how I wish other groups possessed a continual show, such as yearning for Fiestar’s “Channel Fiestar” to return (which I did review), due to “Shabet On Air,” viewers and fans are able to seamlessly become infatuated with the ladies. After all, Serri’s leadership remains incredibly stunning, and overall, the closeness and humor among members is delightful. Jiyul in specific caused much laughter; her imitation of Subin during earlier eras, and furthermore, about fanchants (seen in “Shabet On Air” – Episode 31), were highly comical. In short, Jiyul mocked Subin for not closing her eyes during a certain key point in a choreography, and as for teasing Serri, Jiyul mentioned how fanchants for “B.B.B” only included “-erri.”

Mentioning fanchants, addressing the current link, it is a live performance, the first one used in quite a while (in fact, the latest review to use a live performance was for my review on 4Minute’s “Crazy,” nearly 2 months ago). Thankfully, the audio does remain relatively clear, though for those who desire crisp quality, a search for the audio would serve that desire. On the subject of audio, Subin did co-produce their comeback album. Though a member co-producing is not utterly alien (EXID, a group to be reviewed shortly, constantly co-produces for example), it is still rather rare for group members to have their voices heard in regards to music. Therefore, it is respectable that Happyface Entertainment (Dal Shabet’s label company) allowed such, but furthermore, credit to Subin for her intelligent, thorough, and high caliber work.

Now, while many are pleased at Dal Shabet’s return, unfortunately, many are equally unsatisfied, specifically with their current concept (and at this point feel free to skip to the review itself). Although Dal Shabet has adopted a more mature image for many previous releases, “Joker” has sparked some larger controversy; with KBS banning their song and performance, viewers have begun claiming their current comeback is highly inappropriate, and of course, the claims do not halt there: slut shaming and horrendous labeling have been occurring.

Firstly, for those curious on my stance regarding the ban by KBS, I do find the ban understandable. However, what remains absurd is solely KBS has banned it while remaining music broadcasts have allowed “Joker” wholeheartedly; other stations have not demanded a single revision whatsoever. Thus, in that sense, it does seem rather strange. Nevertheless, truthfully, “Joker” is sexual, or at the very least, oriented towards sexual connotations. As a result, KBS’ ban and request for revision (if Dal Shabet/Happyface Entertainment choose to attend) is not irrational; after all, pop culture is certainly influential and some borders should be in place (though overall, “Joker” is nothing utterly obscene).

With that, however, although it is sexual, it is not sexualizing and derogatory, and in that context, calling the ladies of Dal Shabet horrendous labels or bashing their concept are not constituted at all. Even though the music video is not linked, I encourage many curious and critical readers to watch it as it is the catalyst for the current controversy (although the choreography and song themselves also spawn debate). To begin the first point, irony exists in terms of what is obscene about “Joker”: slut shaming, not the video, choreography, or song. Previously addressed to some degree, my review on Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” discussed how discreet sexism can be, and sadly, the same issue is prevalent in Dal Shabet’s case; on the sole basis of the group promoting sexual appeal, or more simply stated, being physically “sexy,” many have attacked the ladies for being “sexy” or their company for the concept itself.

Regardless of which aspect of the concept is attacked, whether it be the acting of or the planning of, to antagonize either pieces promotes one idea, intentional or not: females should not, and will not, be allowed to be sexually attractive. Blatantly, however, females should be bereft of any pressure on how to act and appear. There should not be any shame in desiring to be sexually attractive. While it appears sexism is being combated by challenging “Joker” ‘s concept, firstly understanding whether or not the concept’s mediums (sonic and visual) are indeed sexualing and offensive should take place. Without doing so, the opposite, ironically, occurs in that sexism is simply being perpetuated, of which is, in this case, the current outcome. If the music video or whichever medium depicted the ladies as merely sexual objects versus, under the more extreme assumption of sexual activities, ladies who happen to take control of their strong sexual drives (this will be elaborated below since it is blushing-inducing and awkward a seldom topic), then current chastising of the concept and company would hold soundly, but without promptly analyzing the mediums, a rife, oppressing message is sent in that females cannot be sexually attractive, let alone active. My review on Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” should be sufficient enough in covering the surface of this issue.

Swapping to the topic of slut shaming, arguably, slut shaming derives from current social views of how females are not allowed to be sexually attractive, and that belief is spread rather discreetly, such as by challenging the concept of “Joker” for being “sexual.” Now while Dal Shabet has been atrociously labeled due to the visual component of “Joker,” the song itself appears as the main root for current disparaging labels. Though later in the review itself I will address the lyrics’ meaning (it is simply a flirtatious story versus one of sexual activities), I will address the less common (or most common) yet controversial side: “Joker” is about having sex. Bringing in the “sexual drive” part from earlier, inhumane remarks are made since the concept depicts the ladies as sexually active (of course in the lens of sexualness; my interpretation of the concept is its one of basic romance). Interestingly, should genders be reversed and Dal Shabet be males, fewer, if at all any, remarks would be made. Males are privileged with the ability to be sexually active, yet when females are, they face common deprecating titles of “slut,” “whore,” and more. Offering a somewhat humorous perspective, it is entirely paradoxical that females are criticized for being “sluts” due to being sexually attractive when, as noticed, males are free of labels and are encouraged to have sex, and if logic flows, society should be labeling males as “sluts” as they are the ones praised for having sex (if readers are skeptical of this “praising,” I will elaborate below).

Understanding why this current phenomenon of praising males for being sexually active, and conversely, shaming females for the identical sexual drive, exists ties into a plethora of categories, but overall, for a prominent one: “masculinity” is valued over “femininity.” Apink’s “Luv” review does briefly cover this concept, but simply put, being sexually active is considered a masculine trait; media, and often time, groups of certain boys sexually objectifying females, are prime examples of how people are socialized to view sexual drives as a male trait when, blatantly, both genders are equally sexually driven, and truthfully, society teaches males to be overly sexually driven (more on this later). Returning to the androcentric concept of valuing masculinity over femininity, and in the overarching picture, why males are praised while females are shamed, with males being taught to be sexually active, living up to the standards of “masculinity” occurs; males being sexually active is a given, but when females are so, it “emasculates” males via bringing a masculine trait to a feminine trait (as it would then be also associated with females), and from there, defensiveness occurs, such as in the form of slut shaming, to keep masculinity as the superior concept.

If the prior argument remains incoherent, I apologize for my mediocre writing. Summarizing my claim, being sexually driven is associated with males, and thus, they are not slut shamed. However, should a female decide to showcase that trait, though it would appear as a “rank up” by adopting a masculine trait (I will explain why this case is an exception), it would lower “sexual drive” to that of a feminine and masculine trait, which overall is undesirable for those adhering to masculinity. Of course, for those confused on why the “rank up” situation does not occur, such as females being able to wear “male clothing” and have that be accepted, it has to do with how society restricts females from being sexually attractive. Discussed above, females are policed on appearances and it is not socially acceptable for females to be sexually attractive, and thus, not sexually active, either (and answering why that policing exists, an endless loop of how keeping sexual drives to a masculine trait causes the policing, but of which then also causes females to be restricted from being physically “sexy”). I have no definite answer as of now in truth, however, and that is where possessing an engaging, critical mind is crucial. Another discussion could also take place on why males slut shame females yet are the ones that desire sexually attracting females, but to save time, one potential aspect is once more on masculinity and femininity. (For a short take, males are expected to “initiate” while females are “passive,” and by a female being sexually attractive, it would be rendered as an “initiation,” which then emasculates males and causes defensiveness).

If this digression became highly disorganized, I do apologize. As a simple, final message: Dal Shabet should not be criticized for their mature concept in “Joker.” The ladies are not being sexualized and slut shaming is never justified (or at least is inequitably applied for genders). If anything, I would argue “Joker” is, against what everyone would say, empowering to females; Dal Shabet showcases that females should certainly be allowed to be sexually attractive if desired to, and that, in the extreme interpretive lens of sexual activities, there is no shame in wanting to erase the most awkward sentence I have ever wrote sexual satisfaction. More details will be at the Meaning section, but sex is not a negative thing at all, rather, it is mechanical sex that is wrongly ushered.

Finally returning to Dal Shabet in a musical sense, ignoring perhaps the worst writing I have done, the 6 members of Serri, Ahyoung, Woohee, Jiyul, Gaeun, and Subin have returned with “Joker.” Despite a lengthy break, the ladies remain sharp in terms of their singing and dancing talents (and humor), but unfortunately, “Joker” is not an utterly infatuating song. While I have personally been enjoying it, through systematically deconstructing the song, “Joker” will most likely not be too stunning, though a joking surprising is what I hope for.

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Song Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 7/10 – Dal Shabet’s vocals in this song hold as impressive. “Joker” discloses singing that remains impactful, but simultaneously, soft and soothing, as seen by the contrasting examples of the powerful choruses to the calming bridge. Additionally, a diverse range of notes is heard; Dal Shabet discloses both high and low notes. Furthermore, though the wider range is desirable, rather than merely possessing a variety of notes, all of the high and low notes resonate well musically. Adding one final feature to the vocals’ variety, the pacing tends to commonly fluctuate, but all within a proper scope; whether due to a change in singer or simply style, the pacing in “Joker” remains fluent and dynamic, and thus, never stagnant. The sole weak point of Dal Shabet’s vocals is not the lack of variety, but instead, how the existing variety could potentially be augmented: the choruses, for example, while energetic and powerful, are not outstandingly alluring; the rapping, while decent, leans moreover towards average or slightly above average; the verses, while highly melodic, could have included some unique traits.

Nevertheless, above average will hold as the rating. Although I do not recall the score given in “B.B.B,” the group does fare well in “Joker” in terms of the singing.

– Sections: 6/10 (6/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion

1. Introduction: 5/10 – Arguably, the group as a whole handles the introduction, but based on the live performance, I will automatically give Jiyul full credit. Another clarifying point to add, one from feedback a reader gave, the post-chorus section does refer to a song’s “hook.” While that certainly seems to be the actual label for the “post-chorus,” for consistency of reviews and to give specifics on which section it is, I will leave it as post-chorus (though a huge thank you for giving feedback).

On topic, mechanically, the introduction, unfortunately, is incredibly plain. At most, deeper notes are disclosed, but with that being the sole aspect, it proves to be lifeless. Furthermore, the style of singing is already dull itself; Jiyul purely whispers “joker,” which is theme suiting but not necessarily tuneful. Even the instrumental holds as rather basic with its linear beats. As such, combining all of the aspects of deep but stagnant vocal notes, and equally an unchanging instrumental, the mechanical side is a weaker component to the introduction.

On that lower note, the structural piece both benefits and hinders the introduction: a slower, basic start creates a solid foundation for “Joker,” but doing so harms the musical side vastly. In terms of positive points, with only lower notes and a direct instrumental occurring, it allows room for growth; “Joker” has potential to expand into thoroughly pleasing song. Whether it necessarily follows through with that potential does not matter; grabbing attention is the introduction’s role. Therefore, while it may be sonically weak, the structural side in the overarching song is decent. Now, in terms of the structure on an individual level, repetition harms and helps: repeating “joker” sets the song’s tone, but equally it mitigates Jiyul’s singing, and for the instrumental, the same concept is applied in that the stage is set at the cost of being musically enjoyable.

Average will hold as the score. If “Joker” possessed an introduction that delivered the usual attention-grabbing aspect without expending its sonic layer, a much higher score would be possible.

2. Verse: 6/10 – Woohee and Gaeun pair up for the first verse, and for the second, Subin handles it alone.

In juxtaposition to the introduction, the verses are opposites: the mechanical side proves to be promising while the structural side falters. Focusing on the mechanical aspect, the verses remain charming of melody. Regardless of the member, each person pitches in (no pun intended) a variety of pitches. Although the spectrum of notes resides moreover on low and middle, the fluctuation that occurs allows the singing to thrive with appeal. In addition, the pacing varies, as most notable during Subin’s part. With the vocals holding well individually, the complementing variety ensures the mechanical aspect to fares well.

Sadly, for what slightly dampens the verses, the structural component can be seen as a fault. Though the singing is captivating, the verses as a section hold no intriguing aspect; progressing the song from one section to the next is the main outcome of the verses. At the very least, the verses do opt for a slower style, and thus, allows a natural, gradual progression of “Joker,” but in the section themselves, the same format exists: Woohee sings melodic lines, then Gaeun follows suit, and so forth for Subin (though her change to “woo woo” is a respectable change).

Overall, slightly above average will be the rating. The mechanical side is pleasant, though having the verses possess unique traits versus being a method of advancing the song is desired.

3. Pre-Chorus: 6/10 – Ahyoung and Serri are responsible for the first pre-chorus, and Jiyul, Gaeun, and Ahyoung once more, take charge for the second.

Addressing the structural side first as an interesting feature exists, the pre-choruses are a mixture of regular singing and rapping. Specifically, for the first pre-chorus, rapping occurs first which is then followed by singing, and vice-versa for the second pre-chorus. Nevertheless, regardless of the order, this take is different, and thus welcomed, but ignoring the uniqueness, meshing rapping and singing in “Joker” ‘s case proves to be effective: diversity exists. Both styles, whether rapping or singing, both complement one another, and additionally, provides a suiting contrast. After all, with both styles being vastly different but all within one section, variety is widespread and equally appeal. Another gleaned trait is that transitions are naturally cued by the mix of sing and rap: the first verse finishing on singing was able to deliver a transition via a stronger note, and for the second verse, the opposite was able to occur in that the rapping allowed a calm slide into the upcoming chorus.

Switching to the sonic side, sadly, this section is not without its languishing points. The sonic component to the pre-choruses is a balancing scale: the singing is potent while the rap flounders, or the rapping is potent while the singing flounders. Specifically with the sections, in the first one, Ahyoung’s rapping, while upbeat and fun, lacks flow and stability, unlike Gaeun in the second verse. In the second verse, Jiyul and Ahyoung’s singing were not poor, but certainly were not impactful and attracting.  

Slightly above average will still hold. The structure of the verses remains astounding and peculiar, though in a good way, and for what is slightly weak, overall, it is rather miniscule as Ahyoung’s rapping and singing still functions, and same for Jiyul’s singing.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Arguably, the highlight of the song. Woohee and Subin perform the choruses together.

Both components, be it mechanical or structural, are noteworthy. To focus on the mechanical aspect, the choruses showcase the most potent vocals in the song: the singing is incredibly melodic, and most distinctively in comparison to other sections, power is an additional piece. Elaborating on the melody, the vocals remain consistent with fluctuation, and thus, a lively, flowing tune thrives. Furthermore, for what significantly augments the choruses, the miniscule note stretches elicits the melody’s power; occurring note stretches brings forth vocal strain, but of course, proper strain in that it adds an energetic tone versus one of withering singing.

In terms of the structural portion, in the scope of the sections themselves, the choruses do not deviate at all excluding the very end.  This, however, does not bring issues; with the mechanical aspect possessing a solid stance, one cycle of repetition is empowering and not loathing. For a wider scope, in vision of “Joker” in its entirety, the choruses serve their basic purpose: climactic points. “Joker” ‘s climactic point is, as the standard, the choruses, as proven by the more upbeat aura and more vocally intense singing. Nevertheless, while the choruses serve their basic roles, an admiring feature is being properly scaled; the choruses are not overly vigorous and out of tune with the other sections, but instead, remain calm yet lively enough to still be rendered as a climactic piece.

Above average will be the rating. The vocals are stunning, and the structure proves to be viable for the song as a whole.

5. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – Dal Shabet’s leader, Serri, carries out the post-choruses. Perhaps the weakest section to “Joker” is the post-choruses. On the mere surface, the post-choruses are seemingly fine, but unluckily, many widespread issues are apparent.

Beginning with the sonic layer, it is bereft of any prominent singing. While Serri is a capable singer, the post-choruses inhibit her abilities. The pacing is excessively fast; though not at the rate of a rap, words are flawlessly streaming. Due to the hastier pacing, multiple, undesirable aspects spawn: no melody is able to thoroughly develop, and secondly, a rough contrast occurs. Addressing the first aspect, due to the speed of the post-choruses, attaching a standard singing tune is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Unlike raps that are generally cohesive and calibrated for a melody at a high rate, the post-choruses are in a limbo; the post-choruses are neither raps or sincere singing, and thus, possessing functional characteristics is difficult. Furthermore, for the second issue, a notable contrast occurs: “Gimme wanna baby” is remarkably faster than “joker, joker,” and unfortunately, this disparity merely accentuates the limbo state of the post-choruses’ rate.  

Impairing the post-choruses further would be the structural layer. Repetition, blatantly, takes place. With a rather poor mechanical component, having it mundanely repeat drains the little appeal that is established (though admittedly, the post-choruses are catchy; however, catchiness does not constitute decency for my reviews). Now, for what remains utterly compromising of the post-choruses, the ending is horrendous. Although that may be an exaggerated and harsh statement, the ending to the post-choruses is definitely weak. An abrupt end occurs for the post-choruses: “joker, joker” are the final words. But for what is a detriment, the fading afterwards is overly conducted; after “joker, joker,” the song takes a whole pause, a whole stop, more accurately, and thus, an illusion of the song ending takes place, and also, it simply provides no transition as the song simply stops.

Slightly below average will be the score. Thankfully some solutions are in place to address the structural side, such as the instrumental properly restarting, but overall, a cohesive flow, not an entire reboot, would have been more appealing. Of course, however, the lacking mechanical aspect still holds as a significant hindrance.

6. Bridge: 7/10 – Though biasedly I am not entirely in favor of the bridge, from an analytic viewpoint, the bridge is respectable.

An abundance of positive aspects exist for the bridge, for both pieces of mechanical and structural. Glancing at the singing, direct variety is unveiled, and on the individual level of those variations, every single one stands well. Soft, serene vocals are from Woohee, for example. Her lines orientate towards an infatuating, charming melody. Afterwards, Gaeun displays a compact rap: though short, it possesses the usual, pleasing traits of being fluent, rhythmic, and tuneful. Subin’s spotlight prioritizes power; her lines consist of impacting, lengthier note holds, though all her note holds are in scale and not excessively powerful. Including the second half of the bridge, miraculously, despite being in a loathing format of repeating sounds (and biasedly why I do not entirely enjoy the bridge), antithetical to the post-choruses that possess a similar concept, the occurring “nanana” manages to be rather melodic. With a pacing that syncs to the beat, the latter half of the bridge renders as, in the end, tuneful rhythmic sounds.

Structurally, the bridge also ranks well. Firstly, the progression of the section is outstanding. The bridge builds upon the previous singer, and thus, lines become more reinforced as the section continues: Woohee’s fragile, delicate singing begins the bridge, but eventually the vocals become more prominent, such as with Gaeun’s firmer rap, and once Subin’s part arrives, the trend continues but concludes at her note holds. Besides strengthening the mechanical aspect, this progression also serves as a smooth transition to the second half of the bridge, of which also provides a flawless transition to the upcoming and remaining sections.

Above average is the score. While I cannot entirely adore the bridge due to the second half, realistically, it is an admirable section. The singing remains intact and to a high standard, and the structural piece is also equally stunning.

7. Conclusion: 7/10 – While Subin’s final line in the song serves as the ultimate conclusion, it would be an injustice to ignore the final chorus, which is only a half of the original, and the final, whole post-chorus.

In that sense, mechanically, the usual characteristics translate over: Woohee’s energetic, impactful singing during the chorus, and Serri’s semi lackluster singing in the post-chorus. However, accounting for Subin’s lines, the genuine concluding line, a clean, crisp and powerful finish is gleaned. Her single line is neither excessively powerful or feeble, but rather, the perfect amount of strain is placed, and additionally, it is intact of a simplistic melody.

Switching to the more vital aspect of a conclusion, the structural aspect serves as a phenomenal closure. Though Subin adds a singular line, that addition redeems the post-choruses’ major deficiency and, ultimately, brings “Joker” to a perfect end. In terms of concluding the final post-chorus, rather than the usual lingering, abrupt ending, Subin’s line serves as a definite mark, and thus, the post-chorus properly fades. The same is also translated from an overarching viewpoint: Subin’s final line leaves a lasting, solid impression of “Joker” that is neither insufficient or immoderate.

Above average suits as a score. The mechanical aspect wavers due to the mixture of weak and strong vocals, but overall, with the conclusion efficiently serving its role, a higher score is deserved.

– Line Distribution: 6/10 – With 6 members in Dal Shabet, an equal distribution should exist easily. However, in the past, if correctly recalled, “B.B.B” was heavily hindered by how Jiyul and Ahyoung lacked lines. “Joker” should hopefully be more enlightening.

Rating the first member: Dal Shabet’s leader, Serri. Her sections consist of the first verse and all 3 post-choruses. In total, 4 is her quantity, and peculiarly from previous reviews, that quantity remains consistent with being the most desirable number for an equal line distribution. As of now, no issues are apparent, and any anticipation towards it becoming one should cease.

Next, Ahyoung, the member nearly absent of lines during “B.B.B,” possesses lines at the first and second verses. With solely 2 sections, Ahyoung is lacking lines, and factoring in how her lines are not entirely lengthy, this does prove concerning. Should every other member possess a significantly higher or, if possible, a lower quantity than Ahyoung, this will impair the score significantly.

Focusing on one of Dal Shabet’s main vocalists, Woohee’s spotlight appears at the first verse, 3 choruses, and the bridge. Concerningly, 5 sections is her numerical value for her line distribution, and thus, this is higher than Serri’s count, and more crucially, significantly higher than Ahyoung’s count of 2 sections. Due to a large disparity, this will most likely decrease the Line Distribution score by a potent amount.

In terms of Jiyul, another member who had minimal lines during “B.B.B,” her lines exist at the introduction and the second pre-chorus. Homogenous to Ahyoung, 2 sections is her count. Unfortunately, unless if the remaining members have a middle-ground between 2 and 5 (which is doubtful considering Subin is roughly equal to Woohee’s lines), Jiyul’s lacking distribution will harm the score.

On that note, for Subin, the incredibly creative and talented composer of their “Joker is Alive” mini-album (whether she co-produced or entirely produced is unclear; news articles have stated she co-produced while an interview credits her for entirely working on the album, and specifically, members praising her for being “on par with regular producers”), is responsible for many sections: the second verse, the bridge, the conclusion, and 2 choruses. Identical to Woohee, 5 sections is her count, and thus, a greater disparity is unveiled when contrasting Ahyoung and Jiyul to Woohee and Subin (2 sections versus 5 sections).

Lastly, for a member who could potentially balance the distribution in “Joker,” Dal Shabet’s rapper, Gaeun, has lines at the first verse, the second pre-chorus, and the bridge. 3 sections is her count, which does provide some equalizing. However, more equaling is necessary.

Deconstructing the current values, the following values exist: two members with 2 sections, one member with 3 sections, one member with 4 sections, and two members with 5 sections. On average, every member should possess either 3 or 4 sections. If Subin and Woohee had 1 line shifted to both Jiyul and Ahyoung, an utterly perfect score would be granted. However, with a discrepancy occurring, slightly above average will be the score. Serri and Gaeun possessing the perfect distribution value does alleviate the issues, but overall, Ahyoung and Jiyul both needed solely 1 more line, and conversely, Woohee and Subin needed to lose 1 line.

– Instrumental: 6/10 – Dal Shabet’s “Joker” adopts an interesting style in the context of its instrumental. The instrumental follows a brass-orientated theme, and in many ways, possesses a jazz-like tone due to the trumpets (or whichever instrument; apologies for my ignorance).

Mechanically, though not thoroughly seducing, the soundtrack contains a pleasuring tune. The utilized brass instruments prove to be energetic and upbeat, and furthermore, cooperative with the vocals, as most primarily observed by the choruses: during this section of “Joker,” the brass-based instrumental meshes well with the note holds, and additionally, adds to the intensity and power. Even the more subtle aspects to the instrumental, be it the basslines or calmer moments, are equally musically solid. In terms of the soundtrack’s structure, the basic role of supporting the vocals and other minutiaes, such as transitions, are met: stronger vocals are reciprocated by a more energetic soundtrack, the song is gradually and smoothly progressed by the soundtrack’s flow, and of course, minimal tasks such as transitioning sections is in credit to the basslines.  

Slightly above average is a proper label. Though no component is necessarily lacking, neither is any exceeding; the mechanical aspect is pleasing, but not engrossing, and the structural aspect serves the basic role efficiently, but not superbly.

– Meaning: 5/10 – “Joker” elicits many ideas, but expectedly, a flirtatious and romantic, or not romantic if being accurate, plot will take place as “Joker” could refer to someone who is ambiguous with their intentions and acts, in the background of romance. Ignoring speculations, the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics will reveal who the “Joker” is, and the extent of what the person does. As always, the lyrics are not 100% accurate:

Joker, joker
Joker, joker
Joker, joker

You tell me I’m the prettiest,
but you keep looking here and there
You don’t know how my feelings are growing, you

Stop playing hard to get, I wanna love tonight
But you just leave me with your traces here
Night grows deeper, I wanna get to know you more
I can’t stop it, I wanna stop it

Hey Mr. Joker why are you shaking me up?
Your ambiguous looks make me more attracted to you
Hey mister don’t play with me
Fill up my heart

(I wanna) gimme wanna baby
gimme wanna baby, joker, joker
(I wanna) show me wanna baby
Show me wanna baby, joker, joker

As if I’m yours, you control me with your touch
My face turns red, why are you teasing me?
Hey boy, my joker, I want it
Woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

The night grows deeper baby tonight
My breath gets quicker baby good night
The cooler the coffee gets, the hotter we get
I can’t erase your traces from me
Boy, show me your love now

Hey Mr. Joker why are you shaking me up?
Your ambiguous looks make me more attracted to you
Hey mister don’t play with me
Fill up my heart

(I wanna) gimme wanna baby
gimme wanna baby, joker, joker
(I wanna) show me wanna baby
Show me wanna baby, joker, joker

Sometimes, I want to be in your arms without saying a word
Your scent is in my clothes
My silhouette is trapped in your eyes
I can’t erase it, I don’t wanna erase it
Now take off your mask

Nananananana oh oh, nananananana oh oh
Nananananana oh oh, come to me baby
Nananananana oh oh, nananananana oh oh
Nananananana oh oh

Hey Mr. Joker why are you shaking me up?
Your ambiguous looks make me more attracted to you

(I wanna) gimme wanna baby
gimme wanna baby, joker, joker
(I wanna) show me wanna baby
Show me wanna baby

I wanna love tonight

“Joker” depicts, as somewhat foreseen, a flirtatious plot. Specifically, a lady is the main character, but as always, the main character could be either a male or female, and in fact, Subin during an interview stated both the male and female characters could be considered the “Joker.” Focusing on the actual plot, the main character is in an ambiguous romantic relationship; her “feelings are growing” for the love-interest, who she labels as “Mr. Joker.” Sadly, Mr. Joker is “playing hard to get,” but ironically, his “ambiguous looks make [the main character] more attracted to [him].” Nevertheless, she would prefer him to not “play [with] her” feelings, and instead, to “fill up [her] heart.”

Although other details exist, the same idea reiterates: Mr. Joker is vague, be it his “touch,” “scent,” or even “silhouette.” As such, though details slightly vary, with a general, repetitive message being disclosed, the lyrics do not hold as captivating. Average will be the score. If more prevalent details were added in order to create depth, the score would be higher, but with a plot revolving around a mysterious yet alluring figure, the simplicity becomes impairing.

– “Critical Corner”: Regarding the “Critical Corner,” many have claimed “Joker” possesses sexual connotations, and before engaging in, once more, an embarrassing act analyzing the song through a sexual lens, the discussion of sex in a social context should take place. First of all, the interpretation of “Joker” being sexual is not incorrect, and in truth, nothing can ever be correct about lyrics. My review on Fiestar’s “One More” discusses this point, and additionally, the following point: even if sexual implications were intended, sex, genuine sex, is not negative. Explained in the review of Fiestar’s “One More,” what is an issue is when sex is overly promoted, and furthermore, when it becomes whittled down to merely an action of however any couple desires sex.

For a discussion that remains relevant to “Joker” in specific (though for those curious on the prior points, refer to my review on Fiestar’s “One More”), examples of common sections that potentially reference sex will provide background: “I want it, woo woo…,” “My breath gets quicker baby good night,” “The cooler the coffee gets, the hotter we get,” and a prominent one, “gimme wanna baby.” Offering my interpretation, I associate those lines with simple intimate gestures: the “it” refers to love and not sex, a hastened breath is due to nervousness of Mr. Joker’s ambiguity, “hotter” refers to the increasing tension of the character’s flirting, and lastly, that “gimme wanna baby” is the main character offering a sarcastic, mocking example of Mr. Joker, in the context of a relationship, not a sexual one.

Of course, ignoring my take, even if the sexual context is unequivocal, the current opposition, as digressed and discussed in the Personal Message, should not exist. Recycling a former example, a female who takes charge of her sexual activities, such as by being direct with “I want it” or “gimme wanna baby” should not be labeled as “whore” or “slut” when, ironically, males are absent of their own labels, of which should exist in the song’s case; after all, Mr. Joker is, if the labels are to be used, a “whore” as he is equally guilty of desiring sexual activities. Another point would also be Subin’s comment of how Mr. Joker could, in reality, be “Ms. Joker,” and thus, rather than classifying “Joker” as a degrading song, the opposite should be considered: “Joker” is empowering to females as, against society’s general view of how females must be passive, whether in the realm of authority or sex or elsewhere, the song showcases “Ms. Jokers” who are active and in charge of their sexual activities.

In this perspective, for an overall message, “Joker” should not be facing its current hostility due to its potential sexual layer as, once critically deconstructed, the sexual layer is not derogatory and belittling to females, but rather, empowering. Of course, however, this discussion would not have me saying “sex” for a ridiculous amount exist if “Joker” was not interpreted through a sexual lens in the first place. Rather than progressing to another digression, the linked review of “One More” should cover the issue of how sex is relentlessly advertised.

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – Critiquing the choreography of “Joker,” while the syncing can be deemed solid, the key points do slightly stumble.

“Joker” ‘s dance remains exceptionally accurate in terms of syncing; in every section, all movements are correlated to the song itself. For example, during the verses, both the beats and flow are reflected via snaps or slower, graceful movements. The choruses are also another example: the song’s flow, mainly dictated by the note holds that occur, are visually represented by the steadier side-to-side waves, but towards the end, quicker sways are conducted to link to the sudden, hastier switch in the song.

Observing the slightly weaker portion of the choreography, the key points are not exempt of errors, though most are miniscule. The post-chorus, and absurdly, the chorus, are the sections that are dull. Every other section, such as the bridge, verses, and pre-choruses, remains enchanting due to admirable, minimal details, or due to variating from other sections. However, for the post-choruses and choruses, neither latter traits occur: the post-choruses, though synced, appears highly rough versus fluent in terms of the footwork, and for the chorus, the few motionless seconds before the final hip sways prove to be unfitting, especially when intenser vocals are still occurring.

Nonetheless, above average will still hold as the score. The syncing remains consistent and accurate, even for the weaker key points. On that subject, for what does slightly obstruct the choreography, the chorus and post-choruses have issues that, while in an overall picture are neglectable, are still prominent enough to prevent an 8.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – With both the Song Score and Choreography Score leaving a 6.5 average, 7 will hold as the Overall Score, which does translate as “above average,” and agreeably so. Dal Shabet’s “Joker” may not be foolproof, but it holds well and, for what matters, it carves out the group’s potential for future comebacks. “B.B.B” and now “Joker” have both been solid releases, and thus, the group now has a standard to meet, but of course, to exceed.

Continuing on, to leave a personal statement, finishing a review has never felt as satisfying. This includes every review I have ever written. I am truly sorry to many readers, and especially requester, for this review becoming delayed. After my write-up regarding a sensitive topic, which I urge readers to read about the incident of TMZ and EXID, I became busy with some additional schoolwork, and for factors truly causing delay, taking a mental break after a standardized test (AP test in specific, and on a random note, perhaps one day I will leave my opinion regarding standardized tests and “adapting” lessons around them), and unluckily after that, falling victim to a headache that prevented me from writing (or at least writing coherently).

Due to lagging behind a considerable amount, my review schedule will change to compensate, specifically in the form of prioritizing current requests (CLC’s “Pepe” and EXID’s “Ah Yeah”). Afterwards, assuming no other requests are placed, many comebacks are in mind, though to leak them: T-ARA’s Eunjung’s duo with K.Will, AOA’s Jimin and N.Flying’s J.Don, BTS’ “I Need U,” and, for an archaic song, Infinite’s “The Chaser,” though, for a more current song by the men, “Last Romeo” (more male groups/artists will arrive). However as stated, requests will be done directly after this review considering how awful my rate has been.

One extra fact is, though I have faced countless hurdles, this review on “Joker” simply required more time. Assuming I traced my time precisely, I have invested around 8 hours on this review for whatever reason. In fact, I began this review on April 30, and as of this sentence, it is May 7, which is incredibly shameful on my part. That said, I do hope some leniency occurs from readers. But, lenient or not, increasing my rate should happen, or at the very least, ensuring the quality of reviews is worthy of the delay.

Even with this review becoming partially intensive, it is all worth it, and since I have not yet stated it, thank you very much for reading. Thank you for the wait as well, and for continually visiting this blog (or for checking this blog for the first time). Despite how I can be labeled as a “Joker” for not delivering reviews quickly, I desire one ultimate result: “I wanna love tonight” in the form of having readers enjoy this review. Stay tuned for the upcoming requested review of CLC’s “Pepe.”

Blog Opinion: TMZ’s Racist Footage Towards EXID

Posted on May 3, 2015

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Before even beginning to articulate my frustrations towards TMZ, I will leave an apology to readers, and especially to the requester, for a delayed review. Dal Shabet’s “Joker” is a third done, and I plan to finish it by today, or at the very latest, around Monday (it would be done by today but this post is worth the delay). Now, for what I will not apologize for, it is how TMZ staff members conducted themselves during a certain segment. TMZ, from what I can assume, is a media news outlet, and as of May 2, have been under lots of criticism for an incredibly racist segment towards EXID (I will review the requested review of “Ah Yeah” soon). That said, I will leave my opinion regarding this situation, but of course, this topic is one that is uncomfortable. However, unlike reviews where I do leave a disclaimer of “feel free to skip to the review,” for this situation, I believe it is worthy to discuss TMZ’s incident, even if highly disturbing, and thus, I do urge readers to take time to read my own stance, to watch the segment, and to develop an understanding of this situation and a personal opinion.

To elaborate what happened, humorously phrased, TMZ squeezed in as much racism as possible in one minute. For those wishing to view the clip, it will be linked: TMZ’s Racist Footage Towards EXID. After watching the clip, it should be relatively blatant that it is racist, but there is a deeper layer to this incident, which will be explained below. Pinpointing what is racist, however, the following are main issues: a staff member mocking EXID’s Junghwa’s English accent and justifying it by claiming she would have mocked any accent (as apparent by her claim of “even if it was a British accent”); another staff member bringing in a grotesque accent imitation of “thank you, thank you,” and furthermore, having many staff members, once more, justifying a racist remark via claiming “it’s fine if she does it” (since the staff member saying the remark is Asian); an absurd follow-up question from another staff member saying “where were you from”; the footage ending on, not coincidentally, EXID’s Hyerin saying “thank you, thank you”; lastly, the overall picture of the staff members all laughing.

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So many, too many, layers exist in this situation that makes it all entirely racist, upsetting, and frustrating.  Before deconstructing each of those main racist actions individually, I will need to clarify issues. As stated in my review of Miss A’s mini-album of “Colors,” focusing on this incident’s racism on a social level versus one of individual is how progress is made. While it is understandable on why many have taken this incident to insulting and degrading the staff members, doing so erases the deeper, critical component of why those racist incidents occurred in the first place. The linked review discusses the concept of “racist binaries,” and thus, I yearn that readers do not overly focus on the individuals as menacing, racist people, but instead, dive into the reasons for why racism has seeped its way into TMZ. Furthermore, though this incident is tied into K-Pop, racism, and overall, social inequities in general, are highly rife, even outside the realm of K-Pop, blatantly. Therefore, I encourage readers to always be pondering and aware; many social injustices thrive, whether that is in family, friends, workplace, or anywhere else, and being able to challenge and understand ongoing issues is what matters. After all, this incident is merely one out of the thousands that minoritized groups face, some on a daily basis, and of course, social issues are widespread globally.

To focus back on what has occurred with TMZ and EXID, it will be in the lens of America as, from what I know, TMZ is American based. Nevertheless, for readers who do not live in America, many concepts remain valid, though the difference is in the scale of the group of people considered the “dominant” and the ones who are “minoritized” (and notice it is not “minority” or “people of color”).

Addressing the first remark of mocking accents, her attempt at humor simply reiterates how much I can appreciate my professor’s corny jokes as genuine humor superiority; by having a preferred accent (and notice how many would claim she has “no accent”; this is similar to the concept of colorblindness and assuming she would also has “no race”), she exploits her privilege and mocks those who do not possess the “dominant” accent, the American accent, if that may be stated. There is nothing to be said to describe why mocking accents is an issue as it is obvious. On the sole basis of someone speaking differently, even if the same language, derogatory remarks are made, all due to not fitting in with the dominant accent. This undermining simply serves as a mechanism to keep the status quo as is; by being able to diminish a person’s knowledge and character through their accent, of whom are most likely to be of a minoritized group, it allows those who are socially privileged to remain so. For example, to use Junghwa hypothetically, if she were to say “what TMZ did is wrong,” in English with an accent, those of the dominant group and in power are able to shut down her opinion by a measly, exaggerated mocking of exactly what she said. Overall, mocking an accent is more than a blatant layer of mockery, doing so perpetuates the idea that a person with minoritized accent, if that is a proper label, deserves to be belittled, all on the pathetic basis of how they speak versus of what they speak.

Switching to the next issue, the “thank you, thank you” ties into the accent piece, but for newly introduced aspects, the idea of internalizing racism and falsely justifying racism occurs. Many staff members, upon hearing her remark, began laughing (this will be discussed as well), and words of “she can say it” were spread. This, overall, is arguably the epitome and desired outcome of any social dominant group: internalizing social inequities. The lady who made the remark does happen to be Asian, and with that, many assumed her racist remarks were justified. Truthfully, it is not; being a member of a minoritized group does not constitute the ability to freely discriminate themselves. By doing so, it is simply doing the dirty work of the dominant group. Rather than the dominant group reinforcing their superiority, if internalizing social inequities occur, which happens through constant microaggressions on a day-to-day basis, such as by media depicting a certain race or gender in a negative way, self hatred becomes, sadly, sincere, and that allows minoritized groups to, ironically, keep themselves in a lower rank socially. That is all showcased through the lady’s “thank you, thank you” imitation; a simple phrase as such was the staff member internalizing racism, and equally at guilt, the rest of the staff for supporting her internalizing via laughing and clapping. Additionally, the ending clip to the footage showcases EXID’s Hyerin saying “thank you, thank you,” and obviously, that was not an accident. Who knew being polite had negative connotations.

Swapping to what occurred next (and TMZ really did place as much racism in a minute as possible), a question from a staff member was directed to the previous staff: “Where were you from?” Though I would hope it was satirical to showcase how the previous remarks were racist, I am bereft of any positivity for TMZ, and therefore, will assume the worst (and even if it was satirical, being direct would have been the more effective, and at that point, most needed type of confrontation). Personally speaking, the mentioned question and the statement of “you speak English really well” (or more accurately: “you, speak. English, really, well”) are arguably the most common phrases I hear with newly introduced strangers, and sadly, many minoritized groups can understand. Those in the dominant group possess White privilege (and of course, in the context of America; every place has its own  “dominant” and “minoritized” groups, but exactly the race, gender, and such, varies), and thus, these rampant comments are rarely heard for those in the dominant group.

On that note, while many consider this question as being polite and “interested” in a person, it is racially charged, realized or not. A person of a dominant race is never asked this question: in America, Whites are never asked “where are you from,” in South Korea, Koreans are never asked “where are you from,” and so forth (and this being an example of how the “dominant” group varies per place, but of course, still exists). If it was a genuine question of interest, the current disparity would not exist; it is unequivocal that minoritized groups face the question more so than the dominant group, if the dominant group is even asked the question in the first place. Many may now wonder if asking such a question is utterly racist, but a keyword from my incredible English teacher exists: context. Often time, this question is asked at the first interaction. From my experience, this question is usually asked first before my name, how I am doing, and so forth. Should the question be asked when a relationship has established and the person is no longer a stranger, I would be pleased to answer with “I was born in America,” but with the context of being strangers, it becomes agitating, especially when asked relentlessly. In summary, the question a TMZ staff member asked of “where were you from” is one to be carefully used. In itself, it is not anything malicious at all; being curious on a person’s life is showing interest and care. What does become wrong is when it is asked to a minoritized group endlessly, and at first interactions, as if the minoritized person was an alien.   

Finally, as partially discussed in the linked review of Miss A, laughing in TMZ’s context is atrocious. Laughing and clapping along is displaying agreement, entertainment, enjoyment; with unveiling positive reactions, it implies what is currently being said is more than fine, but in fact, entertaining and positive. For what is desired, at the very least, once the cameras have stopped, I do hope someone genuinely mentioned that they were all being incredibly racist. Any joke that degrades a person on a social level, be it gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and more, is unacceptable and is not a joke, but instead, simply an act to perpetuate inequities. This is where social injustices thrive, and unfortunately, is where little attention is allocated towards. It is the miniscule, daily microaggressions that are never discussed, but of which are overall infinitely causing social issues to continue.

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This 1 minute clip of TMZ is why I constantly have to reiterate the importance of social topics, and furthermore, why my reviews tend to temporarily digress (though being honest, my digressions just naturally occur; I do not wish to create an idea that I am an amazing, equity thriving person when I am solely a normal person saying what needs to be said). Racism, sexism, other forms of social inequities, are all still prevalent, even if subtle (or not so subtle). Thus, constantly bearing a critical mind and being willing to voice against current issues is what needs to be done. Attending a protest, while protests are crucial, is not the sole way of correcting issues; what is rarely advertised is how simple acts can disrupt inequities: telling a friend their joke was sexist and not funny speaks against sexism, acknowledging personal biases and desiring to correct such promotes equity and equality, taking time to be aware of social issues creates critical thinking and understanding, and therefore, not contributing.

Social inequities are not two sides combating one another, rather, social inequities are, as stated in its label, social issues that affect everyone on the social level. To conclude this post, I hope to showcase and educate readers that racism is not about non-racists and racists, but instead, how the issue is collective, and therefore, requires a collective solution. I am not here to degrade America or “racist Whites”; the purpose of this Blog Opinion is to challenge racism socially through an analytical perspective. Racism is possessed by everyone, regardless of the person’s own race. Challenging racism or any social inequity on seemingly miniscule levels is what is necessary, and furthermore, real diversity is essentially, not shoving multiple races in one room, as seen in the TMZ footage. Building genuine relationships with everyone, embracing and understanding differences, and overall, basic, humane acts, is what will lead to racism being challenged.

Thank you for reading this, as I always say, even if not for a review. Agreeing or disagreeing is what I hope occurs, though creating a personal stance should also take place. For readers, as mentioned, Dal Shabet’s “Joker” is in the middle of review, and huge apologies to the requester. I will attempt to finish it by Monday at the latest. Nevertheless, this post is one to be discussed, even if it means delaying a review. Stay tuned for “Joker,” and afterwards, for other requested reviews, and additionally, recent comebacks, to be covered.