Mamamoo review? Please?

Hello, and I will certainly review them. In honesty, I did plan to review their latest song, but I did forget to add it to my schedule. Nevertheless, their latest song of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” will be reviewed. I am amidst an album review for AOA’s latest one, but afterwards, I will squeeze in MAMAMOO (though with already outlining and preparing Sistar’s “Shake It,” MAMAMOO may be after Sistar). With previously reviewing the group months ago, I have very high expectations as, despite being a newer group, their vocals are exceptionally stunning. If I remember, I did give them a nine for vocals, and that is incredibly high, especially for a newer group.

On that note, another reader also mentioned MAMAMOO:

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Here I’m Rick again after some time. How have you been? I was expecting AOA’s ‘Heart Attack’ review because is one of my favorite groups currently and is for that reason that I’m a bit disappointed with this comeback. ‘Like A Cat’ as EP wasn’t a masterpiece, but left very high standards, something I can’t say about ‘Heart Attack’ EP, I didn’t download even one song. So I hope your next review of the EP will give me a light (¡lol!) >>>> Continue

Continue>>> By the moment, MAMAMOO owns this summer with Um Oh Ah Yeh. Judging by your upcoming reviews, I’m gonna leave my thoughts about each song. I hate Sistar’s ‘Shake It’ because is more of the same and is a stagnant in their discography. Teen Top’s ‘Ah-Ah’ is pleasant and refresh, but has some questionable lyrics. And… ¡I HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS WITH NINE MUSES ‘HURT LOCKER’! The teaser of the song and the EP sounds so good, I’m dying with the hype. Thanks for your reviews! Keep it up!

– Anonymous (Rick)

Hello Rick, and to humorously answer the very first question, I have been doing well. Summer break is relaxing, and I have been enjoying it. Thank you for asking and I hope you are equally doing well.

On topic for the main questions and comments, AOA’s “Heart Attack” does hold a strange position. Biasedly, I do love the song, but simultaneously, when systematically broken down, it is unequivocally not to the highest tiers. And on the subject of their album, I have decided to review it. And as you said, with their previous mini-album of “Like a Cat,” high standards have been set. Already giving a quick opinion, the mini-album of “Heart Attack” is inferior to their prior one, but I do believe it is still noteworthy overall, though certainly not to the extent of “Like a Cat” ‘s album. 

Continuing, with MAMAMOO, I am even more enticed to review “Um Oh Ah Yeh” as it seems many are giving positive feedback to their latest comeback. A friend also did recommend it to me a while back. I have yet to listen to the song, but I will definitely do so. 

Now addressing my planned reviews, to once more leak my upcoming reviews, I agree with your statement of how Sistar’s “Shake It” is rather plain. I am, in truth, very disappointed with “Shake It.” Though the vocals are not bad, every other category is quite lacking. More will be discussed in the review itself. For Teen Top, though I have yet to truly deconstruct the song, I anticipate it being on the slightly stronger side. But, for the lyrics, jocularly put, in terms of meaning, there are certainly some “questionable” lines (I was very much surprised and “Ah Ah” may be the first song to ever make me blush from its lyrics). However, in terms of the lyrics for how the sections (verse, chorus, etc.) are formatted, I have yet to analyze that piece and thus, cannot offer an opinion yet. Lastly, for Nine Muses, I have heard the mini-album “medley highlight,” assuming that label is accurate, and am impressed. But, for the main song of “Hurt Locker,” I personally am not too impressed. Of course, though, waiting for the full song release will give a true answer on whether the title song, and the rest of the album, are decent.  

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Since I have not stated so, thank you to both for sending in requests and questions. I appreciate it greatly and will work hard to ensure reviews are on time. I will update my review schedule accordingly, but the order will be tentative as I may rearrange priority. Thank you once more, and do stay tuned for upcoming reviews. 

AOA – “Heart Attack” Review

AOA – Heart Attack (Live Performance; unofficial upload)

AOA – Heart Attack (Music Video)

AOA (Ace of Angels) – Heart Attack

Reviewed on June 28, 2015

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Personal Message: As promised, AOA’s “Heart Attack” will be reviewed, and with an obligatory pun, indeed, I experienced a “heart attack” due to the ladies (though on a more serious note, AOA’s leader, Jimin, did give me a “heart attack” as she almost fell during a live stage). On topic with AOA’s latest comeback, I truthfully have not felt this level of excitement for a comeback, let alone a review, in quite some time. Even the excitement towards Infinite’s “The Chaser” hardly breaches my current feelings. However, understandably, reasons do exist for why I am incredibly zealous: AOA is one of my favorite groups as I admire the members and adore their songs, “Heart Attack” is a song I biasedly love, and of course, this will mark the beginning of reviewing upcoming summer comebacks. Nevertheless, despite personal influences, I will remain impartial when grading the song from a systematic standpoint.

Before entirely engaging in “Heart Attack,” to digress about the group, I have started watching their latest reality show, “One Fine Day.” Already from the first episode, the show appears enticing, and certainly, more so than their prior one of “AOA Open Up,” which, sadly, is a rather poor reality show, as will be explained in the future due to a review of it (if I follow through with the review). In short, explaining why “AOA Open Up” lacks, labeling it as a reality show, while still viable, is technically false as it was, in multiple aspects, rather scripted in the sense of forcing the members to partake in random events versus, utilizing “One Fine Day” as an example, simply recording the group with their own decisions and plans and interactions, even if the overarching vacation was placed upon them. And of course, “AOA Open Up” was simply, bluntly stated, boring; the activities the ladies participated in were not interesting or comical, and the usual interactions with one another ceased as they were often time split. More will be said in a future review of “AOA Open Up.”

Digressing to a new topic, as I have tediously stated in copious reviews, I credit much of the blog’s growth to the ladies. Their prior song release, “Like a Cat,” was reviewed in the past, and from there, an increase in popularity did take place for the blog as the conducted review turned out to be well received. Thus, I am incredibly grateful to AOA for indirectly helping, though realistically, I am more thankful to readers for being the true reason for why the blog significantly grew. Embarrassingly, however, after skimming the review on “Like a Cat” during April’s Fools Day (since I did use AOA for an April’s Fools joke review), I did feel utter shame at my atrocious writing. Nonetheless, the beauty of growth and improvement is to be able to reflect on past activities and to feel shame. After all, in the future reflecting on this review, I would hope for the same embarrassment to occur.

Finally addressing AOA’s latest song, sharing my personal reactions, “Heart Attack” rendered in two phases: the first one of slight disappointment, and then the second one of utter captivation. Expanding such, “Heart Attack” possessing a highly upbeat, electronic, pop-like concept was not initially appealing. With applying my personal preferences for songs, I did feel as if “Heart Attack” was overwhelming, but after giving it a second hearing and partially deconstructing it, I began realizing how solid it was, and predictably, I am at my current point where I do love the song and even its style. Of course, however, it is not flawless, and while I do predict it leaning towards a seven or even an eight, there are most likely some significant errors. A closer analysis will begin once the actual review begins.

That said, before embarking on the review, the music video deserves much praise (I will link it). Due to my current planned review schedule, I doubt I will review it unless if a request is sent in, but as a result, I will leave my comments in this review. With the music video for “Heart Attack,” I have enjoyed a vast majority of its general layer. For example, the plot, although cliché with the theme of high school love, is exceptionally adorable and has room for various interpretations. As for how the music video is constructed, the mixture of dance and plot prove appealing and complementing, and indisputably, the music video in general contains beautiful aesthetics in terms of colors, scenery, and such. For a more critical layer, the connotations of the music video are exceptionally positive, based from my personal deconstruction. In summary, gender equity is vastly promoted via the used colors, the clothing AOA wore in context to the plot, the main character (Choa) choosing to make the first move for a date, the sport game (as a side note, while I do respect sports, I am exceptionally ignorant of such and thus, do not know the name of the sport in the video) and setting involving it, characters’ interactions, and other aspects. Due to length, I will not elaborate on each of these points and how it ties into promoting the idea that both females and males are worthy, but as stated, for those curious, a review request for the music video will grant me time to do such.

There is one additional social layer given by the music video, and that is some racial diversity, but due to yet analyzing the music video in that regard (and needing to account for South Korea’s race demographics and such), I will hold off offering my opinion as I currently possess none on the subject. However, to leave a quick point, and a topic that will be discussed in a future review, for a medium to be considered socially equitable and positive, it requires more than merely possessing diversity in the sense of quantity; if a medium, be it a music video or show, is to be promoting equity, it is more than having a racially diverse cast as it is about the depiction of said diversity. More discussion will arrive in the future (though for “Heart Attack,” I will say it does lean towards the positive side for many reasons).

Now, to share a comical story before perhaps venturing into more serious ones, since I had only heard “Heart Attack” during its initial release, I did watch the music video with a friend after two days of its release. Note, though, that by the word “with,” I am referring to the idea that we purely watched the music video at identical times as she would not want to associate herself with me as I practically made a compliment and squealed to AOA members every five to ten seconds, while I was certainly quite mature with my viewing experience, I did offer relentless feedback. Once the end arrived, we did share opinions of the music video, and humorously, her response was intriguing (and this sharing is with her permission as I do not intend to humiliate her at all after all she was not immature as I was with squealing). Paraphrasing her opinion: “It was nice and AOA is beautiful but, the music video’s so unrealistic, look at what they’re wearing.” Summarizing what I replied, while she is in her second year of college, and thus, might have forgotten her high school years already, “if AOA’s clothing is the only ‘unrealistic’ part of the music video, I’m concerned about your time in high school.” Perhaps, however, I am being restrictive with my understanding as, according to her, blatantly staring at a crush a desk away and writing proposals are the sole given tasks in high school, not learning and work. Ultimately, we, hopefully, gained a few years of life due to excess laughter and mockery of one another.

Eventually, though, a more serious discussion took place (and expectedly, for those who wish to focus on AOA in a pure musical and dance context, skip below): high school dress codes. This topic has traversed a lengthy route of various opinions, and from my understanding, it has reached a stalemate. With this topic affecting predominantly female students (for a reason, as will be explained later), many have come to these two main points: students should be free to wear whatever they please, and for the opposing perspective, dress codes exist to reinforce professionalism, and thus, should be followed. Offering my opinion, first, for the foundation of my argument, I will emphasize a specific point. Stated before in some review and in credit to my senior year English teacher, context is what matters, and in the scenario of dress codes, in order to apply a social lens, context of the overarching topic must exist.

Directly announcing my stance, I am in full favor of a realistic dress code; I believe students should be free to dress in whatever they please as long as it is reasonable, such as miniskirts, crop tops, and similar ideas. Noticeably, many of the listed apparels are socially rendered as female clothing, and thus, an issue should already be elicited: dress codes do affect female students more often than males, and this is sadly not a coincidence. High school dress codes, and arguably, dress codes in general, are more than the issue of professionalism; dress codes in many cases are simply symptoms of the more general social issue of gender inequities. Critically deconstructing dress codes, finding why it is established as such reveals the sad truth of living in a boy’s world; dress codes are based on valuing masculinity over femininity (will explain), and thus, I would stress the point that dress codes are more than “professionalism” or “teaching students how to properly dress” as, in truth, in an education context of dress codes, it is teaching that masculine appearances are “proper” while feminine appearances are “improper.” Essentially, these dress codes are telling female students their bodies are worth shaming and need to be covered.

Before continuing, I will now address a rebuttal that many, such as my friend, gave: “Professionalism is what matters, it is not about telling girls that their bodies are shaming, it’s just that in the ‘real world’ they won’t be accepted for what they currently wear.” Seeking a deeper answer is what will reveal the disturbance of this response. Professionalism. Defining professionalism, and specifically with clothing, goes as follows: a suit. Strangely, if, for example, a lady “wears a miniskirt” and “risky high heels and black stockings,” as sung by the amazing ladies of AOA, it is suddenly no longer professional. This is not based upon the idea that revealing skin is unprofessional, but rather, what males have constructed and proposed.

To bring full understanding, an assumed scenario will take place: men wear what is currently socialized as female clothing, and vice versa for women in that they wear what is currently socialized as male clothing. Now a question: what is professional clothing? Many would instantly remark that women are now the epitome of professional clothing as, through the imagined scenario, they are wearing suits and not revealing skin. Incorrect. Professional clothing will be, against what many believe, revealing clothing since, rather than the clothing itself, it is the people who wears them that makes the clothing “professional.” Because masculinity is valued over femininity, as seen in every aspect of life, revealing clothing would, being deemed masculine in my depicted story, therefore be the standard, and thus, miniskirts would suddenly be professional versus, in current times, controversial when they should not be. Therefore, for an overall point, dress codes are not teaching “professionalism,” it is teaching professionalism that is linked to androcentrism; enforcing strict dress codes upon young ladies in school, a place to learn and gain empowerment, is ironically teaching them that masculinity should, and will, be valued over femininity (as seen in arised punishments should a dress code be broken), and more generally, that males are superior to females when, as I always and will repeat, both genders are worthy of praise.

With that said, I will continue with the topic of dress codes in more exact scenarios (and being honest, I do mean what my friend and I did discuss). A main defense for skin revealing clothing has been “to keep cool,” of which is certainly a realistic point, but many have argued against such via claiming that, in order to keep cool, it does not require “that much” revealing. Presenting my take, with every body being different, what is “cool” to one person could be “hot” to another. Therefore, this argument is already false in the sense of how, depending on a person, she (or he) may need less covering in order to feel more comfortable. Pushing aside the more technical argument, to offer a more controversial statement (which should not be so, and that I am already rather controversial with my opinions so it would not matter), to be even sexier is another reason for being less covered. Being more revealing does not, and should not, come with repercussions (such as sexual assaults or boys pathetically “cat-calling”). Correct, I am encouraging that, if a female feels more sexually attractive by being less covered, then that is a viable reason for why she would dress as so. The topic of body shaming females applies here as, by showing skin, many are labeled as “sluts,” “whores,” or trepidatiously warned of being potentially raped (versus teaching boys not to rape). Furthermore, there is also the issue of boys’ standards being applied in that, if a female fails to fit in their standard of a “body,” there will be harassment in that regard when, as long as basic decency and intelligence exists, all bodies should be appreciated, praised, and simply deemed sexy, and of course, that respecting more than a physical body should occur via genuine relationships and not objectifying females.

Onto the final discussion point that my friend and I covered, a very interesting counter-argument was given: “What about boys sagging, if girls can be revealing then boys should be allowed to sag.” Although  during the time of conversation I did not possess an answer at all, after ruminating over it, I have finally come to one. Rather than construing “sagging” so that it is homogenous to, for example, a miniskirt, I would classify it as a different topic. Additionally, sagging is banned for both males and females, and thus, the real issue still thrives: both genders sagging is prohibited, yet mainly females are scrutinized and punished for what they wear while most males are not. Unless if boys were chastised for “being too covered,” I would not acquaint sagging as an equivalent to females’ unfair treatment with dress codes. And of course, arguing that females would become privileged over males should revealing clothing be allowed is merely undermining femininity (and ignoring male privilege). Many would be content with the current scale of how masculinity is the professional standard when, unfortunately, that should not be the case as it tips in an unfair balance (hence why many embrace it as it is easier to follow “normal” even if “normal” is inequitable).

Once more, context is key, and overall, sagging can be deemed unprofessional. However, as the main issue is, utilizing miniskirts once more due to AOA’s song title of it, it is an issue for that clothing article to be deemed unprofessional due to its feminine value (since skin equals femininity in our current social norms). That is moreover the issue of dress codes; for a regular, normal clothing, to be shunned and deemed unprofessional due to its femininity, is why dress codes are an issue. Sagging fails to fit as, from what I am aware of, it is not a standard fashion, and that, it is not shamed due to being “too masculine” (since that phrase is nonexistent in androcentric societies), but rather, simply unprofessional in the sense of general properness. Reiterating it once more, miniskirts are deemed unprofessional due to femininity, and femininity should be considered “properness,” but society deems otherwise.

That said, males still possess issues with dress codes, but in the form of, like females, attempting to value femininity. Therefore, I do not wish to neglect males who undergo their own struggles with dress codes (and social consequences in general). For example, men who face common death threats and dress code issues for wearing clothing deemed “female-only” deserve respect and equal attention, and for an example that I may perhaps face, makeup provides a transparent example of how dress code issues can apply to men. Similar to K-Pop male idols, as discussed in my review of Infinite’s “The Chaser,” I plan to adopt and actively use a similar makeup style (ZE:A’s Kevin, my favorite and most adored male idol, provides a perfect example, such during Nasty Nasty’s period), but should a future boss reject that, it would be exceptionally upsetting (and, with becoming a high school teacher, a major lesson lost).

For an overall, concluding message, relating back the whole scenario of dress codes, both females and males should be free to dress as they please. The main issue with dress codes is that, while its intent is respectable (“professionalism”), its objective needs to be redefined in order to truly embrace and accept true professionalism. Currently, “unprofessional” equates to femininity when that is far from the truth, and thus, dress codes are an issue. Should it be revised so unprofessional clothing is in reference to articles that promote racism and negativity in general, for examples, then it will be free of troubles. Until then, dress codes in their current forms should be challenged and redressed, and of course, for the overarching issue, gender inequities need to be challenged.

Finally returning to AOA and their latest comeback (I do apologize for a lengthy digression; I did feel quite strongly for the topic), much credit towards the group, music video director and crew, is deserved. Pop culture is more than eye-ear candy (in thanks to two teachers and one professor for showcasing such); the social layers involved with pop culture is as equally important as the entertainment component it brings, and for AOA’s “Heart Attack,” I admire the ladies for promoting equity (and during “Miniskirt,” “Short Hair,” and many other releases). Now, while I do biasedly enjoy “Heart Attack” (I would rate it at an eight), it is definitely not flawless. Nevertheless, I anticipate a higher score since “it goes a little something like this,” “let’s, go.”

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

– Vocals: 7/10 – Ignoring the previous sentence of perhaps the worst transition I have ever used in writing, AOA’s vocals in “Heart Attack” continue the group’s standard tier: above average. Although AOA in whole cannot push towards a higher score, a seven is nothing to belittle. Specifically focusing on “Heart Attack,” the song continues to use AOA’s vocal lineup: Choa and Yuna handle more intensive lines, Chanmi and Jimin provide their usual raps, and Seolhyun, Hyejeong, and Mina perform the supporting vocals.

Deconstructing why the vocals hold well, to first begin with the support vocalists, especially in juxtaposition to previous releases, “Heart Attack” does showcase more refined vocals for the three: higher notes are sustained with more stability, and most potently, their vocals prove exceptionally melodic and crisp. Despite less intensive lines than the main vocalists, the members are nearly to an equal standard as many of their lines are utterly harmonious. The predominant difference is absence of a stronger vocal presence, but regardless, the support vocalists exceed expectations as all of their lines carry a significant role to “Heart Attack.”

Switching over to the main vocalists of Choa and Yuna, the two’s vocals emulate the support vocalists, but to a higher degree; like Seolhyun, Hyejeong and Mina, both members remain exceptionally melodic  and stable, however, their singing renders as even more so, and furthermore, the added component of power exists. Pinpointing examples, the pre-choruses unveil the two’s stunning vocals of reaching and carrying high notes, and additionally, with the sections’ structure accentuating melody (as to be discussed later), both Choa and Yuna are heard with vastly tuneful lines. Lastly, a rhythmic flow is attached to their vocals due to multiple sections, and thus, more appeal exists towards their singing. Now, in terms of power, the choruses and conclusion grant conspicuous examples. During the choruses, quick and lengthy note stretches are manipulated, as observed via the sections’ choppier rate, and therefore, vocal strength becomes uncloaked in addition to the extra layer of tune. Also, with the ending, though it is the chorus replayed, the layer of two part singing further aids the two’s singing as minor note holds occur.

With the remaining ladies of Jimin and Chanmi, their vocals, anticipatedly, also rate well. For Jimin, though she has garnered much negativity for her voice (I believe I did discuss this before, but in short, musical criticism of a voice is acceptable, but beyond that it is not; Jimin’s voice can be critiqued as long as it is in the context of music, but to mock her voice in general, as many do, is utterly unacceptable as every voice is indeed beautiful), in “Heart Attack,” her vocals prove charming and complementing to her rap. While I will expand on it in the Sections category, Jimin’s nasally, higher pitched voice allows her rap to possess an incredibly fluent, hasty flow, and in addition, the tune granted from such perfectly suits the song as a whole. Mechanically, miraculously, Jimin’s iconic voice proves to be very alluring and not vexing. Chanmi equally follows suit, though blatantly, conversely; opposite to Jimin, Chanmi’s rap utilizes a lower pitch, but nevertheless, her vocals remain tuneful and, with offering diversity via new notes, more appeal is granted to the vocals.

As stated at the start, above average will hold. AOA’s main vocalists are shining with melody and power, the support vocalists follow a similar route, and the rappers display equally pleasing vocals.   

– Sections: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction (Pre-Chorus): 7/10

2. Verse: 7/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4. Chorus: 6/10

5. Rap: 8/10

6. Bridge: 6/10

7. Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10

– Analysis: Before addressing the sections in “Heart Attack,” after, humorously, making a huge blunder, I have discovered the music video’s sport name: lacrosse, as stated explicitly in the video’s description. Focusing back to the song, for “Heart Attack,” many of its sections are worthy of thorough analysis, and thus, in this regard, I do wish for the previous outline (feedback is still desired for this current outline). Nevertheless, “Heart Attack” ‘s sections do score in the higher range: sixes and to the maximum of eight. Furthermore, two sections do possess an eight, and if correct, that has not be an achieved feat in many recent reviews although in the past, nines were liberally given.

To begin with the song’s stronger sections, both the pre-choruses and rap rate at eight (though biasedly I hold the rap at a nine), of which indicates that the stated sections can be remarked as solid and very enticing. Faint details are the sections’ empowering point. For example, in focus of the rap, while there is the direct mechanical layer of Jimin’s excellent pacing, melody, and fluency, and for Chanmi, similar traits, vocal layering takes place: as both members’ rap progresses, their vocals become duplicated to deliver amplification. As a result of said vocal layering, the structural component of their raps exceptionally flourish: variety is given as the rapping vocals constantly transform, transition points are given such as Jimin to Chanmi or even the rap to the upcoming verse, and the mechanical piece to the rap is augmented. Elaborating the latter, the vocal layering provides tints of vocal strength and points in which the melody and pacing can modify. In terms of the melody and pacing, with the layering occurring towards the end, changes in those aspects take place naturally as the layering grants a minor pause, and thus, a more seamless, complex rap is created overall. A strong set of the rap’s sonic and structure parts allow the section to possess a higher score.

On that note, for the other section that scored highly, the pre-choruses by Choa and Yuna are equally admirable, and deriving why that is the case, subtle details, as stated, are the reasons. With the two members already exhibiting adept, potent vocals, the pre-choruses’ structures exploit such, and therefore, further emphasis towards their tune and power is gleaned. For example, the beginning of the pre-choruses offer repetition in the form of syllables; “wanjeon banhae banhae beoryeosseoyo” (“I’ve completely fallen for you”), the starting line to the sections, has a repeating “ba” sound. From this, a rhythmic, catchy flow now also accompanies the members’ singing. Now, with a more hasty, upbeat start, it allows the remainder of the section to adopt a more stalling route as the risk of staleness is nonexistent, and thus, with the ability to add multiple, short note stretches, the pre-choruses then become exceptionally melodious, as is.

Regarding the sections that hold as above average, the introduction, verses, and conclusion, all three provide their usual utility along with a captivating musical component. In terms of the more utility-based sections, the introduction, peculiarly yet effectively, uses a modified form of the pre-chorus. Accounting for how pre-choruses tend to be efficient at garnering hype for a song, the same concept applies but for, instead of a chorus, an entire song. Miraculously, it proves successful as “Heart Attack” commences in a vastly upbeat demeanor, is able to instantly establish its style, and furthermore, the aspect of luring in listeners still holds true as, unlike most songs creating anticipation via hiding vocals, “Heart Attack” directly discloses its sonic piece: exceptionally tuneful, stable vocals, and thus, attempts to attract listeners occur in this form.

The conclusion also follows a similar route to the introduction, one that is dissimilar to general routes. With the two-part singing, Choa’s individual note holds, and the sections’ usual vocals, the conclusion is, concerningly, rather energetic, and though such would normally impede a conclusion from achieving a smooth end, it proves viable in “Heart Attack” for various reasons. First, the climactic point in “Heart Attack” resides not in the bridge, as in most standard songs, but instead, the conclusion. Therefore, a final peak of intensity fits comfortably, and with it occurring towards the final seconds, it grants “Heart Attack” its final, fading sparks to end on, of which plays out naturally. Also, with the song still fading out, even if speedily, towards the very end due to the instrumental, more assurance exists to grant “Heart Attack” a smooth closure. Combining its structural aspect to the decent vocals of the chorus, the conclusion holds well, as does the introduction.

In terms of the verses, while structurally nothing proves pressing, the verses contain a strong mechanical aspect that pushes their rating to above average. Vocals hold as melodic and appealing, but even so, the singing is not necessarily to a high tier. However, once paired with the instrumental, the verses’ musical component blooms: the stronger, heavier beats serve as a foundation for the vocals. For example, the vocals’ pace reflect the beats’ rate, and thus, the section in whole becomes incredibly rhythmic and contains an alluring flow. Overall, the combination of singing and instrumental heavily complement one another, and thus, while both are decent individually, as a combo, the result is a section that proves mechanically and structurally compelling.

Finally addressing the weaker sections, the choruses and bridge both hold a six which, while not bad in the scale of zero to ten, is the lowest number in context of the other sections. Gauging the bridge, the singing and format are both, as its rating, “slightly above average.” In focus of the vocals, while Choa’s part holds its weight, Seolhyun’s singing does falter. Antithetical to the verses where Seolhyun’s singing maintained appeal due to the instrumental’s support, in the bridge, without a more energetic, electronic soundtrack accompaniment, her vocals have greater emphasis, and unfortunately, her slightly lacking melody therefore becomes unveiled. Although it is not to the degree of distaste, Seolhyun’s vocals emanate a monotonous sound versus, for example, Choa’s part of being rather tuneful and even powerful. Ignoring the layer of singing, the bridge’s format is also marginally above basic as, while functional, it remains partially undynamic. Minimal changes to lines or singing characteristics occur.

Continuing the latter claim, for the glaring issue of the choruses, a linear style overshadows its positive features; although the choruses possess exceptionally melodic and strong vocals, the structure of the sections create mundanity. Specifically, while the choruses do change in pacing, the switches render as miniscule and, ironically, impairing. During the paused, chopped lines of the section, although it varies from the usual singing rate, a sluggish delay is given, and thus, repetition builds up. Furthermore, for the vocals, though extremely seducing with high power, notes, and an upbeat melody, minimal fluctuation occurs. An outcome from that lack of flexibility is, predictably, a more stagnant section, even if, on the individual level, many attributes exceed. However, the choruses, and for earlier, bridge, are all still decent, but only to the extent of their rating: slightly above average (though biasedly I do hold the choruses at a seven).  

Leaving a side note, reflecting once more over this new Sections outline as this is the second trial, I am feeling more confident and at ease, and in comparison to the prior, I do feel this is a vast improvement. More flexibility is given for my writing and analysis versus, in the prior outlines, pure restriction and much repetition.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – Seven members are in AOA, and if I recall past reviews, AOA has slightly struggled with possessing an equal distribution of lines. Being a new release, a high score will be hoped for, and truthfully, with seven members, that quantity will not significantly ramp up sharing difficulties.

Starting with Choa, the introduction, three pre-choruses, two choruses, bridge, and conclusion are her sections. Numerically, eight is her count, and though the rest of AOA has yet to be gauged, I do foresee this being troublesome. Four tends to be the desired number for equal lines, and thus, Choa is already an outlier, and more specifically, twice the average.  

Gauging Yuna who, hopefully, will be similar to Choa, her sections include the first verse, all pre-choruses, all choruses, and the conclusion. Therefore, seven is her count, and thankfully, it closely resembles Choa’s quantity. However, the remaining members will, most likely, create a disparity via possessing less sections.

Peering at the rappers in AOA, starting with the group’s leader, Jimin, her count will be much less as she is only responsible for the introduction, rap, and conclusion. Three is her total, and while it is understandable as she is the rapper, for the consistency of reviews, this will most likely hinder the score. Digressing swiftly, besides being responsible for her sections, she deserves much respect for also keeping AOA on track. After watching a few recent videos such as interviews and even “One Fine Day,” and, admittedly, her nearly falling, I feel both admiration and concern for her. Jimin has been working exceptionally hard via individual activities and group activities. Much praising goes towards her.

On topic, for the remaining rapper of Chanmi, one section exists: the rap. The sharpest, most piercing disparity has occurred; with Choa’s high number of eight to Chanmi’s miniscule count of one, the scoring may be severely mitigated by the gaping disparity. Remaining members will further determine the issue.

For Mina’s “spotlight-light-light,” and if this allusion/pun was already used in my review of “Like a Cat” (“spotlight” stems from Mina’s lyrics in “Like a Cat”), I do apologize for my lack of creativity and humor, her sections involve the two verses. Two will be her count. “Heart Attack” does appear in despair as of now.

Hyejeong, one of the final hopes left, has lines at the first verse, the first chorus, the second verse, the second chorus, and one word at the conclusion. Interestingly, the music video’s audio does conceal most of Hyejeong’s lines, but based on a live performance (as linked earlier, though it is liable to be copyrighted as it is not uploaded by an official music show), these are, unequivocally, her sections. Therefore five sections is her count, which will most likely alleviate the disparity, even if marginally.

Lastly, for Seolhyun, AOA’s actress (if correct, she has been involved in many dramas and even movies lately), her count is four: the first verse, two choruses, and the bridge. A middle-ground is given by her, and thus, it may be helpful towards the group’s distribution.

Synthesizing all of the sections for an overall rating, with the average, perfect share of lines holding at four or five sections per member, AOA’s share does remain split. If Choa and Yuna lost a few sections and Chanmi, Jimin, and Mina gained said sections, the group would have a perfect dispersal. Due to major gaps, a very disheartening score will be given: four for slightly below average. “Heart Attack” musically flourishes, but in terms of members’ spotlight, much more improvement is necessary.

– Instrumental: 7/10 – For the instrumental in “Heart Attack,” while its style utterly differs from my personal preferences, I have found it exceptionally pleasing, and even from a neutral, systematic standpoint, the instrumental still remains highly successful.

Despite the main sounds stemming from an electronic style, unlike most instrumentals that follow an akin concept, the given heavier beats and electronic sounds are vastly tuneful. The beats provide the lower pitches of the song, but in proper scope as it is neither too deep or too high.. Furthermore, for the electronic sounds, while in most cases this soundtrack’s style, such as in, guiltily stated, KARA’s “Cupid,” results in being either vexing or simply bland, in “Heart Attack,” the opposite holds as the sounds do retain a melodic aspect, as disclosed by how the instrumental dictates the song’s overall melody. Additionally, the instrumental perfectly suits AOA’s vocals: every sections’ complementing instrumental synthesizes with the vocals to create a further enticing, enchanting song rather than merely being an additional, separate component. Offering direct examples, the verses’ beats create a pacing to which the vocals follow, and from such, the created synergy allows the sections to contain an incredibly rhythmic melody. Another example is the pre-choruses: the instrumental’s lighter tone suits with the vocals, of which are also equally lighter in juxtaposition to the entire song. Even the rapping section benefits as the instrumental provides a prominent, brisk rate that simulates the vocals’ rate, but for what remains significant, the instrumental is conducted in a manner that does not leech attention from the rapping vocals.

Above average will hold for the overarching score. Even with a concept that tends to falter, the instrumental in “Heart Attack” strongly prospers.

– Lyrics: 5/10 – Keen readers who have read previous reviews may notice a difference: “Lyrics” and not “Meaning.” Though this minutiae is negligible, the new label does provide a more encapsulating idea as it is more than a song’s “meaning,” but furthermore, the lyrics in themselves via details and such. And, comically admitted, the new label sounds more sophisticated, and thus, was the main motive. Returning to AOA, however, for a song title of “Heart Attack,” while many might have received such from the ladies’ comeback, it is impractical for the song title to be in reference to that. Therefore, for assumptions, “Heart Attack” will most likely depict a scenario in which, similarly to how fans feel for AOA, a person is in love to the magnitude of having a figurative heart attack.  

Ah yeah (Brave Sound)
And it goes a little something like this

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your soft voice
I’ve fallen for it
I’m trembling
(AOA, let’s go!)

I think I’m crazy, why am I like this
My heart is like an 18 year old girl’s, it keeps pounding
I can’t hide it, I’m like this every day
When our eyes meet, my ears turn red

You don’t understand? It’s because you didn’t see him
I totally understand how people fall in love at first sight
Now I know,
the first time I saw you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your broad shoulders, your sharp eyes,
your soft voice
I’ve fallen for them
Just looking at your thin and long fingers
makes me tremble

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
the more I see you
My heart keeps pounding, I don’t know
It’s like a heart attack, what do I do?
I keep wanting to be in your arms, baby

When our eyes meet, my heart pounds
I try to get even the tiniest bit
of your attention
“What about him do you like so much?”
my friends ask and I answer:
“Don’t talk if you don’t know”

You don’t understand? It’s because you didn’t see him
I totally understand how people fall in love at first sight
Now I know,
the first time I saw you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your broad shoulders, your sharp eyes,
your soft voice
I’ve fallen for them
Just looking at your thin and long fingers
makes me tremble

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
the more I see you
My heart keeps pounding, I don’t know
It’s like a heart attack, what do I do?
I keep wanting to be in your arms, baby

Oh my prince, where are you looking?
I’m right here
You’re so handsome, I just need you
I can’t live without you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your soft voice
I’ve fallen for it
I’m trembling

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
(Everybody say what, AOA)
Pounding
(And it goes a little something like this)
Heart attack
(One more time say what, AOA)
I wanna be in your arms baby

Exact with predictions, the plot of “Heart Attack” revolves around a main character and her love-interest. Though the main character’s love originates from “love at first sight” (already discussed multiple times), she has “completely fallen for [him]” and his “broad shoulders, sharp eyes, soft voice.” Even his “thin and long fingers makes [her] tremble.” Due to the level of her infatuation, it is as if she is “getting a heart attack,” thus explaining the song title. After all, “when [their] eyes meet, [her] heart pounds,” and she attempts to “get even the tiniest bit of [his] attention” whenever possible. Not even her friends comprehend her feelings: “What about him do you like so much,” they ask, but the main character is ready with her rebuttal: “Don’t talk if you don’t know.”

Overall, although the lyrics are very lighthearted and romantic, and in certain ways, unique with its heart attack comparison, it does reside as average. The given details for “Heart Attack,” even if the general story is pleasing, are highly repetitive. A vast majority of the song focuses on the main character’s feelings, which are parallel to a heart attack, or why she is highly infatuated, such as with the love-interest’s characteristics, but variating details are nonexistent. Identical ideas are relentlessly restated, and thus, in terms of details, “Heart Attack” remains lackluster. Nevertheless, with the exclusive idea of comparing love to a heart attack, some uniqueness holds, but unfortunately, it is insufficient for pushing the score to a pure six.

– “Critical Corner”: Besides the delayed reminder of how the lyrics, as all, are gender neutral, for the topic of “love at first sight,” I will redirect readers to my review on KARA’s “Cupid.” With that point being covered, no other subject arises from “Heart Attack.” In defense of the song its concept of “love at first sight,” arguably, once adding the music video component, the lyrics are more than pure physical love as, perhaps, the main character was vastly charmed by the love-interest’s kind gesture to help her after colliding with her. However, with purely the lyrics as content, it is worthy to challenge the notion of the claimed phrase.

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Critiquing the choreography of “Heart Attack,” though biasedly I do adore the dance as it is incredibly simplistic, and in many ways, if the terms may be used, cute and sweet, it does not hold to a high mark. Nonetheless, it still remains decent. Also, if I had not addressed the link yet, for a late clarification, the first link is a live performance, but with the uploader not being an official music show station, it will be liable to removal. Therefore, if, for future readers, the link is unfunctional, searching up the live performance or, by that time, the dance practice, will be methods to find the dance.

Dissecting the choreography, for the category of syncing, a perplexing scenario takes place: the syncing is accurate, but unlike every other choreography where accuracy equates to excellency, in “Heart Attack,” though every movement connects to the song, it lacks prominence; despite how every maneuver syncs to the song, the given syncing is simply plain. For example, though the verses are synced to the song as observed by the turning and arm motions, it is not stunning syncing as it is vague on exactly what is being synced to. The beats or the flow are possible candidates, and thus, with that indefinite image, the syncing does surprisingly falter, even if it still exists. Another example, the chorus, provides more insight on how the syncing lacks impact. Syncing is apparent and accurate, but once more, it is rather loosely synced as there is no specific linked sound.

Equally, the key points also contain their own set of issues. Although the simplicity is admirable, the dance is repetitive. Every section recycles its key point, as seen by, for examples, the verses, choruses, and pre-choruses following the same dance, and thus, “Heart Attack” suffers with maintaining appeal. Furthermore, with many movements emulating every other movement in categories of speed, style, and direction, greater staleness occurs. The choruses’ slower, gentle dance maneuvers are similar to, for example, the bridge, and from there, while both sections utilize separate key points, the same, overarching concept is still in place: slow and gentle.

Despite the glaring errors, the choreography still scores at a six for slightly above average. The syncing is still consistent, even if not impressive, and the key points are still viable, though lacking in higher appeal.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – With both main scores rating at six, the Overall Score will follow suit as the average is, blatantly, six. Therefore, based on the blog’s review rubric, AOA’s latest comeback can be deemed as solely slightly above average, and personally, I fervently disagree. At lowest, a seven should be true, and for what I did anticipate, I expected an eight. However, with a satisfactory choreography and a poorer distribution of lines, it is understandable on why “Heart Attack” scored lower. Regardless, for the song itself, it truly is a stronger release by AOA, and in general, it is solid. As of now, for the current summer comebacks, AOA’s “Heart Attack” holds the title though this may be entirely biased. Optimistically, however, I do hope another group challenges my claim.

On that note, I already have a few songs lined up for review, all of which are in the realm of “summer comebacks.” With only two days left before June ending, I will finish with an album review (though that is an arrogant statement; I doubt I will be able to finish a review in that time span) so that, though I shamefully failed to reach eight, at least six out the eight will be met. It will be on either BTS’ older album or AOA’s latest one. Considering the slower start at the beginning of June, for a positive idea, I do know it is certainly possible to reach eight reviews (assuming it is summer and therefore I do not have classes) as, if I was on schedule, my goal would have been obtained.

Ending technical discussions, as always, thank you very much for reading. This review did become delayed by two days as I am currently working on subtitling AOA’s most current visit to “Weekly Idol,” and therefore, I apologize for later post (six hours went towards the videos versus writing). For those interested in the videos, my linked YouTube channel in the blog’s description will have the episode uploaded with English subtitles. Of course, however, I am exceptionally thankful for readers’ patience (and for those watching, for a slower subtitling rate). I appreciate the given time.

Upcoming reviews will be on, though liable to change, the recent releases from Sistar, Teen Top, and Nine Muses, but specifically for the next review, it will be of a mini-album from either AOA or BTS. Thank you once again for reading, and stay tuned for the upcoming reviews as, “Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack the more I see you.” Many reviews and the usual questionable closures will take place for July.

(Not sure if this went through, so I’m sending it again) Sojin (Baby Kara) didn’t kill herself a month after Kara Project ended. DSP terminated her contract in January (2015), and then announced their new girl group “April” (debuting in April until this happened) with Baby Kara members Somin and Chaekyung being a part of that group. Sojin ended her life shortly after that announcement, in February (2015). Kara Project ended July 1st of 2014, for the record.

I did not receive the first message, so thank you for resending it. On that note, thank you for sending in correct information. I will update the review with an edit to give future readers a more accurate idea on the incident. 

I should have done further research on the news, and thus, I will apologize for false information on my part. Thank you very much for this update. 

KARA – “Cupid” Review

KARA – Cupid (Dance Practice)

KARA – Cupid

Reviewed on June 23, 2015

image

Personal Message: This review is, admittedly, one day behind schedule due to personal tasks (researching for a laptop, specifically an “ultrabook,” if being exact with labels) and deciding to take a short break after my prior review of SEVENTEEN’s “Adore U.” Nevertheless, I am prepared for a new review, and in many ways, am incredibly excited for various reasons: this song was requested (thank you to the requester), KARA has been a group I have always desired to review, and lastly, a new, experimental review outline will be tested (and of course, writing reviews is a very fun activity). Summarizing what is different in this current review outline, rather than analyzing each section (verse, chorus, etc.) in depth, though I will still leave numerical values as always, and thus, still manage to retain the importance of the Sections section, with the current revision, rather than overly spending hours elaborating each section, I will do a general analysis for all of a song’s sections. As a result of this outline, consistency is granted; the Sections section will now be more similar to the other grading categories in that it is not excessive. Secondly, much time will be freed. The linked review’s Overall Score section covers the new outline more thoroughly, and thus, I encourage curious readers to read it there for more information.

On the topic of freed time, if the new outline behaves as planned, I anticipate being able to cover a vast majority of the July comebacks. Many groups are releasing new songs in July, and simply stated, if I do not change my review outline, I will barely cover what will be released. It would be near impossible to review all of the songs with the older outline unless if I decided to vigorously write for an entire day (eight to nine hours), and though that feat is not entirely impossible in the sense of being unobtainable, it is certainly unrealistic. Eight reviews are already my current goals for June, but I predict that July will need eight reviews as well, or perhaps even more, in order to cover the more popular comebacks. Therefore, I do hope this new outline works, but of course, receiving feedback from readers will be what helps the most. Following my current hypothesis, with new reviews being unaltered in the context of scoring, there should be minimal issues with the new outline. At worst, losing detailed explanations per sections is lost, but biasedly, I would rather receive that lost and be able to create additional reviews. Of course, once more, feedback is what will help guide the blog.

Partially digressing with July comebacks, while I am enthusiastic with the amount of upcoming songs, there is one comeback that allures me, and more specifically, it is not a song: Girls’ Generation’s upcoming reality show which will be conducted by a familiar production crew, OnStyle. The theme of the reality show will be similar to OnStyle’s other hit shows, “Jessica and Krystal” and “The TaeTiSeo,” both of which also focused on Girls’ Generation members. In short, fashion (clothing, makeup, and more) and following the beloved ladies of the group will be what the upcoming Girls’ Generation show will revolve around. Knowing OnStyle’s previous works of the mentioned shows, I do remain highly zealous for it, and of course, will plan on creating a thorough, solid review for the show unlike my past show reviews, of which all have been, in truth, atrocious writes. If I had the ability to revise past reviews, I would instantly rectify my summary review of “Jessica and Krystal” as, after watching more shows, I have come to realize how phenomenal it is. Though I may be biased as I do love fashion (for readers who are bothered by me, a male, being into makeup and clothing, I will link a review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” for a discussion on such) and, jocularly, the show made me cry a miniature lake, the camerawork, events, and the overall production in general, are all to an exceptionally high standard. Definitely, “Jessica and Krystal” is my favorite show, and for my personal list, the best show I have ever watched.

However, rather than leeching the spotlight away from KARA, focusing back on the four ladies, nearly a year ago, I did plan on reviewing one of their songs (back with KARA’s original lineup). Luckily, I decided not to, and therefore, spared the group from my earlier horrendous writing though now they will face less-than-before-but-still-somewhat horrendous writing. Addressing their latest comeback of “Cupid,” while I personally do enjoy the song, once the review begins, it is not necessarily a higher scored song. In fact, compared to their huge hit song of “Step,” and even to their other prior release of “Mamma Mia” with the group’s current roster, “Cupid” can be seen as a downgrade. Both “Step” and “Mamma Mia” can be classified as stronger songs (I have yet to see the choreography for “Step,” but “Mamma Mia” is worthy of watching as well as listening; it has been a song I have been listening to lately), but unfortunately, the same cannot be said for “Cupid.”

Digressing more on the group (and if my understanding is inaccurate, I do apologize and yearn that readers will send in corrections), KARA used to be a five-membered group. Despite being highly popular, even outside of their home country via Japan, three members (was four until Hara opted out) filed a lawsuit against DSP Media, their label company, for unfair treatment, or a similar issue (in the future, I will discuss why idols’ struggles with companies matters; there is a deeper, social connotation versus just that of merely caring for idols/people, though that is still very much an important piece). Progressing on, the company did manage to resolve issues, but further in the future, two members, Nicole and Jiyoung, decided to permanently leave. With three-out-of-five members remaining and a fading popularity, it was assumed that KARA would, dishearteningly, disband. Miraculously, the ladies and company managed to continue by recruiting one more member via a survival-reality show, and thus, the active KARA that exists today is of the four members.

Before returning to KARA’s survival-reality-recruitment show, to quickly digress on the topic of shows, I have watched their latest visit to “Weekly Idol,” and promisingly, it proved to be highly humorous, especially with KARA’s leader, “Everything Gyuri.” Gyuri’s confidence and ability to improvise on spot for many activities was incredibly comical. On a more serious tone, in addition to respecting those traits, she also deserves much respect for her time enduring KARA’s near fallout and for continually showcasing maturity and care towards her members.

Now returning to KARA’s survival-reality show, with an upcoming sensitive topic, for those who do wish to proceed to the review itself, I do encourage doing so at this point. Although this Personal Message may be the longest in length for generally speaking of a group, the current topic I wish to embark on is rather solemn, and in multiple ways, quite saddening. Nevertheless, it needs to be discussed, and at the very least, some form of respect can be given to a deceased, potential member of KARA. Sojin, a trainee in DSP Media, was one of the participants of the show, and blatantly, she did not win as Youngji, the newly added member, was the winner. One month after the show ended, Sojin was found dead from, presumably, suicide. In fact, a classmate told me of this news during class, and needless to say, it was not pleasing news to hear. Edit: “Sojin (Baby Kara) didn’t kill herself a month after Kara Project ended. DSP terminated her contract in January (2015), and then announced their new girl group “April” (debuting in April until this happened) with Baby Kara members Somin and Chaekyung being a part of that group. Sojin ended her life shortly after that announcement, in February (2015). Kara Project ended July 1st of 2014, for the record.” – A reader sending in corrections.

Although this news has dwindled away, the social layers involved with this incident must be discussed. Sojin was a talented trainee, loved by many, and her feeling the need to end her life is extremely grieving. Sadly, though she has the technical label of being an idol, this type of incident is not restricted to solely her; many struggle with depression, as she did, and suicide occurs regardless of person. In her case, her suicide can be understood–to the extent of motivation, that is (understanding the utter sorrowness she felt is impossible unless if experience is possessed): after working her entire life for the moment to debut as an idol and failing to achieve such, adding on the component of depression, she most likely did perceive her life as worthless, when that is far from the truth, and from there, chose to suicide.

While moving on is certainly a necessity in life, I do feel as if the scenario could have been prevented, and that is in reference to a large, general social scale. Understandably, there are many factors in this specific incident, be it her personal life, company treatment, and more, that could have ushered her towards suicide, but regardless, little attention, and even more accurately, proper attention, is seldom given to those who suffer from depression or other mental illnesses. With Sojin living in South Korea, it would not be appalling to know she received minimal, if at all any, help for her depression.

Elaborating on the latter phrase, though in many Asian cultures (this is a very, very large generalization, but from my understanding, it truly is widespread for Asian cultures) mental illnesses are not regarded as sincere issues, other places are not exempt from the same mentality; even in places such as, for example, America, where mental illnesses are rendered as serious and treatment is available, disturbingly, the idea of mental illnesses being minor is still rife: social views of mental illnesses has created a stigma for such, and thus, even if there are blatant centers and resources to receive help, in an overarching picture, mental illnesses are still not regarded properly. For a more coherent example, racism will provide a parallel comparison: many claim racism is nonexistent or is certainly unacceptable yet, ironically, it still heavily thrives via subtle mediums, such as racist jokes or remarks. Similarly, mental illnesses fall into the same trend. Though people consider it as a genuine issue, many perceive depressed people, for example, as utterly tearful, heartbroken people when, against common perceptions, people who are the most outgoing and comical can be depressed. Thus, it is in these discreet manners that, unlike the blatant surface, mental illnesses are still underwhelmingly cared for.

Relating back Baby KARA’s Sojin (“Baby KARA” being what the trainees were referenced as) and for the overarching social topic, ableism is (ableism is society’s preference of a “normalized” body; in other terms, having society’s current perception of a “normal” person physically and mentally), overall, the rooted cause for why she died. Surface-wise, Sojin suicided due to failing to debut in KARA, but with diving into the social layers of her issue, rather than isolating her case as unique, once relating multiple suicide cases together, it can be argued that society’s structure with ableism is the overall culprit. In focus of ableism in the form of mental health, society lacks ample care for those mentally ill. For example, while certain institutions provide sincere treatment and medical attention, there are those who, quite directly, profit from it: mentally ill people are connoted as serial killers, as depicted from news and movies, similar to how certain groups of people are constantly rendered as terrorists; mentally ill people are assumed “strange” or “socially awkward,” when, for example, it is someone having an anxiety attack; on the note of anxiety attacks, utilizing it as an example, many false perceptions of mental illnesses exist as many assume an anxiety attack is hyperventilating or breaking into tears when, in reality, it could be as discreet as someone refusing to talk.

For an overall point, with society simply creating inferiority for those who fail to fit into the normalized (and notice, not “normal” but rather “normalized”; society socializes what is “normal”) standards of being able-bodied, those who do not fit are ignored and not treated properly. If societies were structured in a way to help and accept humans of all bodies, mental and physical, and thus, not ableist (if that is the right term), Baby KARA’s Sojin might have received the proper support necessary that could have sincerely saved her life. Of course, my current argument may seem rather controversial as many desire to blame her failure to debut as the reason for suicide, but reiterating my point once more, with societies shunning and failing to sufficiently aid those who are not able-bodied, chances are, Sojin did not receive the aid she needed. She might have never disclosed her depression, for example, due to current social standards, or perhaps, even if she did, she did not receive adequate care that would have allowed her to continue living since society does not prioritize those who are not able-bodied. Of course, varying opinions exist, and therefore, I hope my words are interpreted as a new perspective and not forcing views.

While I personally am privileged with being able-bodied (though before junior year of high school I did feel as if I had social anxiety), I know far too many people who do suffer from mental illnesses, and it truly is upsetting knowing such as, though banally stated, I wish everyone is constantly happy and healthy, and the same can be said for readers. With life being oriented towards a stressful routine, I believe it is an obligation to spread kindness whenever possible. In terms of ableism, being aware and critical and open for understanding is what is necessary if societies are to progress to one that does indeed genuinely care for those not able-bodied. Even though it appears miniscule, ableism is promoted constantly, hence why I encourage readers to care. After all, horror movies are a clear example of ableism: “monsters” tend to be people who are not able-bodied, as seen by possessing a different body structure (it is interesting to ponder over; the “scary movie monster” is, in essence, a human with missing/extra limbs), and those with mental illnesses are equally seen as monsters when, as stated earlier, they are, unlike what society claims, “normal” people.   

Finally returning to “Cupid,” in hopes of bringing back cheerfulness if at all possible, the review of KARA’s “Cupid” will begin (though Sojin should not be forgotten and should be very well respected). While everyone should shoot Cupid arrows at one another since compassion is vital, this review will decide whether KARA’s latest comeback is worth equally shooting.

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Song Score: 6/10 (5.8/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 5/10 – Leaving a short, comical message, I feel as if I am somewhat “cheating”; after drinking coffee for a nice, comforting drink, the caffeine turns out to be rather effective as I have been able to relentlessly write for three hours (though expected as that is what the drug does). On topic, focusing on the vocals of KARA for “Cupid,” it does rate as plain.

A menacing aspect to their vocals is the lack of individuality; although the ladies are adept in their own regard, for “Cupid,” they all adopt a similar sound to one another: a nasally, higher pitched voice. Before divulging their vocals in a mechanical sense with melody and such, the similarity of the group members’ singing voice for “Cupid” creates a tendency for the song to become vocally mundane. Unlike, for example, their prior song of “Mamma Mia” where each members’ own individual sounding voices were heard, the vocals in “Cupid” are all exceptionally akin, and as a result, much charm is lost as “Cupid,” in essence, is sung by one person, one voice.

Peering at the singing from a systematic standpoint, the vocals showcase a catchier, lighter melody. Most singing notes in “Cupid” linger towards the higher range, but nevertheless, fluctuation still does occur, most prominently at the verses and pre-choruses, as the pitches do increase and decrease, even if still within the realm of highs. However, even with a dynamic flow, the note range is still restrictive as mainly higher notes are heard (though it does suit the song’s tone). For a more pressing matter, the choruses and post-choruses, while enticing due to catchiness, unveil weaker vocals. Those sections’ vocals possess a tedious nature, and furthermore, the frailty given by adopting an excessively nasally style proves hindering. Juxtaposing this song to “Mamma Mia,” a clear discrepancy is witnessed: “Cupid” ‘s vocals are the opposite; rather than unique, powerful and tuneful, diverse singing, “Cupid” discloses frail, undistinctive and limited pitched singing.

Average will hold as the score. KARA has proven their vocal prowess in “Mamma Mia,” but for “Cupid,” tune is sacrificed for tone as, while the vocals in “Cupid” are not mesmerizing musically, they do suit the song’s mood.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 5/10

2. Verse: 5/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4. Chorus: 5/10

5. Post-Chorus: 6/10

6. Rap: 5/10

7. Conclusion: 6/10

– Analysis: With this being the first trial for this Sections format, it will most likely be incoherent. Nonetheless, I greatly adore the conciseness that will, hopefully, occur.

Notably, many sections in “Cupid” score as average: the introduction, verses, choruses, and rap. Overarchingly, the vocals in all of those sections can be pinpointed as the reason, and for a few, the structure of the section itself. With the introduction, while it remains effective at initiating the song, the mechanical sound, the instrumental, is relatively plain as the beats are not musically enchanting in melody or rhythm. Similarly, the verses also fall short, but conversely: vocally, the singing, while still not to a high tier, is adequate in variation via tune and pacing, but structurally, the verses falter. Technically, the section could be deemed as a double verse; one verse occurs but is then followed by another verse.  Although this could be effective in other cases, for “Cupid,” this style of having a vastly lengthy verse, or for the other interpretation, two consecutive verses, creates redundancy as two nearly identical sections are played back-to-back.

On the note of redundancy, for the choruses, redundancy is redundantly repeated. Emphasis: redundant. The given vocals retain a lifeless, dull melody, and furthermore, with an incredibly nasally style, the ongoing staleness becomes further accentuated. Also, having the section’s format replay once also induces more mundaneness. For the last section that rates as average, the rap is homogenous to the chorus in that both vocals and structure are equally dry. Focusing on Youngji’s rap, although her section’s concept of utilizing deeper notes is soothing and alluring, the sonic component of a section is more than how a voice sounds; melody, pacing, power, and other factors are essential, and unfortunately, the rapping section in “Cupid” lacks those. The rap adopts a linear route: the melody maintains the lower notes with minimal fluctuation, the pacing fails to increase or decrease in speed, the same amount of vocal strain exists throughout the rap, and so forth. Even the overall structure of the rap is unadorned as every lines’ length is near identical, and adding on, the whispering demeanor, though useful for the atmosphere of “Cupid,” simply shifts more attention to the tediousness nature of the rap.

On the more positive side, three sections do rate as slightly above average, those being the pre-choruses, post-choruses, and the conclusion. In focus of the pre-choruses and post-choruses, the vocals, in comparison to the other sections, are significantly improved. A more dynamic style takes place as the pacing, power, and notes change. For example, at the pre-choruses, Seungyeon’s vocals begin softly, but towards the end, rise in power as a short note stretch is given. The post-choruses likewise follow a versatile path, as noted by the lines’ quickening or slowing in pace in order to accommodate to the beats. For the conclusion, although it is nearly, if not exactly, a replica of the introduction, while the sonic layer remains the same, it does perform a respectable job at concluding the song. “Cupid” ‘s overall tone is still maintained via the beats, and also, a lingering aspect is left. However, for what is most impressive, the beats’ rate decrease; the tempo plays at a certain rate, but as the song reaches the end, the rate begins to diminish until it utterly stops. This, while naturally a part of the instrumental’s sonic aspect, works in favor of delivering a smooth, clear cut as, blatantly, the song is fading out. Nevertheless, “slightly above average” holds over, for example, a firm “above average” due to a main reason: sonically, the sections, while not completely lacking, are still not to the point of being captivating.

Overall, with five averaging out, the sections in “Cupid” as a whole can be considered average. Most of the sections lack sonically, be it in vocals or instrumental, and for the structures of the sections, many are not enticing, or in a few cases, obstructing.

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Giving my opinion of the new Sections outline, though organization will need refining, I appreciate that, in one hour or so, I was able to complete what would normally be two or more days of writing while still, for the most part, preserving the Sections category’s purpose. But, in focus of KARA, for their distribution of lines in “Cupid,” accounting for solely four members, a high score should be earned. One note to bear, I will render the choruses as conducted by the group as a whole, and thus, it will not be added to the members’ individual sections quantity (I am referencing their live performance on Mnet).

Beginning with KARA’s leader, Gyuri’s sections include the two verses and one post-chorus. Three is her total count, and while three and four have been the general, desired average, it will depend on her members. Also, digressing, Gyuri has recently done a collaboration for, interestingly, a “synth pop”/”house” genre, assuming I am correct with my labels. “The Little Prince” is the song’s title for those curious (I would review it if time permitted as this genre is seldom heard).

Back to KARA as a whole, however, for Seungyeon, her moments include the two verses, the two pre-choruses, and one post-chorus. Therefore, five will be her total, and while Youngji and Hara will further determine if a large disparity holds, certainly, Seungyeon has a noticeably higher count than Gyuri.

That said, for Youngji, KARA’s newest member, her count holds as five: the first and second verses, two post-choruses, and her solo rap section. Hara will be the final factor on whether five for a count is excessive.

Hara’s lines consist of the two verses and final, singular lines at both post-choruses. Therefore, four sections is her total.

Gauging the distribution, if either Youngji or Seungyeon lost one line and Gyuri gained it, the distribution would be flawless. From solely one minor, minimal difference, a nine for a score will hold. The distribution is near perfect, and though line duration in terms of time is not necessarily accounted for in the score, for ”Cupid,” even in that regard the song remains admirable with its share of lines.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – While the Line Distribution score did deviate from the streak of fives, sadly, for the Instrumental category, a five returns to represent average.

A heavier bassline along with prominent beats provide the foundation for “Cupid,” but once the song hits climactic points, such as during the choruses and post-choruses, an electric-based hum occurs in addition to the prior main sounds. Mechanically, beginning with the bass and beats, although it grants “Cupid” the lower pitches as the vocals reside towards the higher range, nothing utterly infatuating holds. Nevertheless, the sounds are not distasteful, and for the structural component, it does dispense a vital role of giving “Cupid” a diverse range of notes, even if highly subtle, and furthermore, with being lower pitched, it proves complementing to KARA’s singing. Swapping to the electric humming sound, mechanically, a vexing, buzzing noise does take place, and thus, it renders moreover as musically agitating versus attractive. At its strongest point, it does deliver the song’s climactic transition as the sound occurs solely during the choruses and post-choruses, both of which are the song’s most intense points.

Glancing at the instrumental in its entirety, it holds averagely. If the utilized sounds proved more sonically enticing, a higher score would be gained as, from many aspects, the mechanical layer is what is hindering, not the structural component.

– Meaning: 5/10 – Automatically, with a title of “Cupid,” a flirtatious, love related plot is foreseen. Most likely, knowing the story of how Cupid has the ability to create love via shooting arrows (or at least the story I have assumed for my entire life), I anticipate a main character is frustrated with being overlooked by a love-interest, and now as a result, is wishing Cupid’s arrows were true. Halting my poorer prediction skills, through the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics, the real story will unravel. As always, the lyrics are not 100% accurate:

(C.U.P.I.D)

The moment I first saw you, “-holic,” I got a feeling
I’m secretly looking at you
My lips dry up at just one word
My heart stopped, get you Cupid chu
Pull the arrow without holding back, shoot it out
Trust destiny, don’t hesitate
I’m aiming for that empty spot,
though I tried to pretend I wasn’t interested

I’m ready, it’s all over,
at the blink of an eye

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move (it’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
Pull the arrow of destiny

Now shoot it out, shoot it out, right now
I’ll never give it up, give it up tonight
I’m trembling, I’ll carefully go to you,
I’m ready, oh Cupid chu!
(C.U.P.I.D)

The moment you first saw me, “-holic,” did you get a feeling?
It’s a little awkward
Maybe it’s you who fell for me
In my hidden heart, get you Cupid chu
Tell me honestly, be a man, shoot it out
Why can’t you say it? I’ll pretend I don’t know
I’m aiming for that empty spot,
though I tried to pretend I wasn’t interested

I’m ready, it’s all over,
at the blink of an eye

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move (it’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
Pull the arrow of destiny

Oh even from far away, I’m falling into your eyes
I’m getting addicted, no more pain
Shoot the arrow, Cupid,
at him who looks here and there, stupid
So he can only look at me (because I’m getting jealous)
So he can only look at me (because he’s too good)
So no one can touch him (forever you’re mine)

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move
Shoot it out in your heart
It’s electrifying, like I’m bewitched by you (pierced)
Shoot the arrow of destiny

Now shoot it out, shoot it out, right now
(Cupid, Cupid, arrow, arrow)
I’ll never give it up, give it up tonight
(Cupid, Cupid, arrow, arrow)
I’m trembling, I’ll carefully go to you,
I’m ready, oh Cupid chu!

(C.U.P.I.D)

Accurately, the prediction holds: a main character, specifically a lady (but as always, lyrics are gender-neutral), possesses a love-interest who, unluckily, does not reciprocate her feelings. Her story began “the moment [she] first saw [the love-interest]”; upon seeing him, her “heart stopped” and she hoped “Cupid [would] pull the arrow without holding back” as she desires for him to also fall in love. But, as stated, the love-interest, implicitly, remains oblivious and uninterested as the main character yearns for him to “shoot it out”; she craves that he would shoot his own Cupid arrow, and thus, also be attracted to her. Other details exist, though most aim towards the main character’s frustration, infatuation, and, as by the title, the idea of Cupid’s love arrows.  

For a rating, average will hold. While the story is lighthearted and comical, the lyrics are tedious and lacking thoroughness. Both verses are the only sections with disclosing details to the song’s plot; the choruses, post-choruses, pre-choruses, and even rap, are all centered around the theme of Cupid, but in terms of the plot itself, minimal details are gleaned.

– “Critical Corner”: For the Critical Corner, despite this bonus section having no influence on the Meaning score, there are some crucial topics to discuss. One that relates to “Cupid” in its entirety, the idea of “love at first sight” is one that is incredibly erroneous, and if memory serves correctly, I have already addressed it in some depth at a much older review when my writing was equally erroneous, more so than currently though I still require significant improvement. Summarizing my argument on why the concept is false, love is more than physical attraction; to truly love is to welcome both components of physical and non-physical, and of course, the latter is where practically all love should stem from. Thus, “love at first sight” fails in that it focuses purely on physical attraction when, sincerely, it is non-physical qualities that drive romance. Until everyone is psychic and capable of extracting non-physical characteristics “at first sight,” the discussed phrase will never be viable.

Progressing to the next topic, due to length, I will most likely continue it in a future review. However, to begin the subject, there is an infuriating line in “Cupid”: “Tell me honestly, be a man.” Be a man. Blatantly, the lyrics are not proposing that the love-interest should change their gender, and thus, “be a man” in that sense, rather, the lines are connoting a social meaning, and sadly, this phrase is outstandingly common despite how, once critically dissected, toxic the social connotation is (or at least in modern times; a future review will discuss labels of “feminine” and “masculine” and if they are negative or not).

Living to the standards of “be a man” includes many aspects and traits, but all of those, as of current times, are significantly negative (though sharing a digression of an occasion where it was moreover humorous than negative, my sophomore and junior year English teacher and I overheard a student proclaim, “Don’t wear a [sports] cup, be a man,” and with being the witty, sarcastic teacher he is, he muttered, “Yes, because we don’t want people like you reproducing”). On topic, “be a man” is associated with these examples: not crying, being harsh and violent, being dominant and in full control, and more. In various ways, the phrase is purely socializing males to be inhumane. Crying is not pitiful, harming and degrading others, however, is pitiful, yet it is what gender norms, and more specifically, male patriarchy, reinforce. Furthermore, in addition to holding males accountable for unrealistic, malicious standards, there is the layer of gender superiority; being a man implies placing women as inferior. After all, it is not a mere coincidence that “be a woman” is nonexistent. As discussed in multiple reviews, with femininity being undervalued to masculinity, the stated phrase is one used for degradement, as noticed when males are insulted by being labeled “girly” when, if equity was in place, it would be a sign of a compliment.

Unless if masculinity standards are transformed to one that welcomes gender equity and positive points, many issues will continue. The phrase should never be used, and males should never be pressured to “be a man” as the implications are, in truth, not being a man, but instead, lesser in the sense of not even being a basic human. If “be a man” meant to be caring and not “protective” and obsessive, or if it meant to be tearful versus tearless, or if it was synonymous to “be a woman” as both genders are worthy of praise and neither is inferior to the other, then it should be permitted for use. Sadly, as of now, it perpetuates hostile behavior and gender value disparities, and thus, should never be used. To “be a man” is to be human, and to be human is to genuinely be accepting and open, and therefore, I do urge many readers to be wary and critical of current gender norms, and that perpetuating positive, equitable norms should be what occurs, not the opposite. Personally, though many have aggressively told me to “be a man” and to quit liking, for example, makeup, I heavily refuse to “be a man.” Instead, I opt to “be human.”

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – The dance in “Cupid” is impressive even though the song, in an overarching mechanical layer, is lackluster (and this review could have been posted a day earlier if I finished this before sleeping).

Focusing on the syncing, “Cupid” ‘s choreography faultlessly relates every movement. For a plethora of examples: the introduction and conclusion showcase distinguished, slower movements that flow to the beats and bass; verses are excellently synced via snaps for beats, and quick, sharp movements for the sections’ sudden pace changes; the pre-choruses follow a graceful, steady flow to emulate the song’s tone; choruses link the beats to maneuvers that follow an identical tempo. In sum, “Cupid” contains adept, consistent syncing.

In terms of the key points, simplicity becomes embraced. Nevertheless, it works in favor of the song as it allows ease of syncing, unambiguous transitions, and exclusiveness per section (for example, it is unequivocal that the choruses follow a certain dance while the pre-choruses follow another). However, unlike the stunning syncing, the key points slightly falter in terms of maintaining high appeal. In a general scope, many key points are recycled; each section reuses its own dance set endlessly. As a result, the dance becomes repetitive and thus, loses its engrossment. On a more specific scope, in terms of each key point individually, the absence of styles, such as at the choruses and post-choruses, also slightly impedes the choreography. During those sections, the key points predominantly focus on slow syncing to the beats, as seen with the sways and hip bouncing, but with minimal deviation from such occurring, dullness arises.

Above average will still hold as the score despite the slightly weaker key points. With exceptionally accurate syncing and key points that are still decent and pleasing, a higher score is granted.  

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – With an Overall Score rounding up to seven, above average will, surprisingly, be the score for KARA’s “Cupid.” I do disagree and, at most, slightly above average should hold, but considering its strong choreography and near perfect distribution of lines, this score is understandable. Regardless, KARA is certainly a solid group, and even if “Cupid” fails to showcase the ladies’ abilities, their prior release of “Mamma Mia” does serve them properly. If it were to be reviewed, I would predict a seven or even an eight for its Overall Score.

As always, thank you very much for reading, and to the requester, for sending in this song. I have been watching KARA on many variety shows and am disappointed that I have not paid closer attention to the group. Thus, thank you for enlightening me on such. And for readers, I highly appreciate the given time and support. Words will never be able to express my gratitude. On that note, I do hope for feedback regarding the new review outline. Although this review is two days late due to events (the earlier statement, and the next day, finding a test center and then going out to eat), this outline has greatly decreased the time necessary to write. Five to six hours of writing is now the standard versus the usual eight to nine. 

On that note, four reviews are left with a week left in June, and sadly, making it to six may be what occurs versus the intended goal of eight. However, with a new outline in place, it may be possible. That said, summer comebacks seem to already be occurring: AOA’s “Heart Attack” has been released along with Sistar’s “Shake It.” I will review both, starting with AOA, but I am quite thrilled to analyze both songs.

With this being the end, thank you once more to readers and requester, and of course, stay tuned for a future review on AOA’s “Heart Attack.” Depending on feedback, I will decide if this current outline continues. For the upcoming review, I will quickly “shoot it out, shoot it out, right now,” and “I’ll never give it up, give it up” as readers deserve the review and less cringe-worthy conclusions.

SEVENTEEN – “Adore U” Review

SEVENTEEN – Adore U (Dance + Mashup Version)

SEVENTEEN – Adore U

Reviewed on June 18, 2015

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Personal Message: Though my prior review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” was published a day ago, I will already resume writing. Three major motivating factors are active: For one, this is a requested review, and thus, I do not intend to revive past mistakes of highly delaying requests. Secondly, a friend’s comical reminder of “papers don’t write themselves” (comically speaking, it is a bit concerning that my reviews are synonymous to “papers” due to length), but thirdly, for the largest factor, AOA’s comeback of “Heart Attack” will occur on June 22, and with biasedly loving the group and sentimental value of my old review on their hit song of “Like a Cat,” I do feel obliged to instantly review their comeback. And of course, writing reviews is something that is fun and a few readers are anticipating them.

On topic, this review will be on SEVENTEEN, a newly debuted 13-membered male group, and as the requester humorously put, there are many members. Many. How this will affect the review will be unclear, but I already anticipate hassles in terms of tracking who remains in charge of which sections (for readers, however, it will all be sorted out and therefore not an issue). Briefly describing my overarching opinion of their debut song, “Adore U,” while the usual trend in debuts is that, due to various reasons such as it being the first song, a vast majority are moreover average or worse, I do admire SEVENTEEN’s debut for being thorough and, impressively, for not even appearing as a debut. “Adore U” plays out as if it were any regular song, not one of introducing the group or one that overly emphasizes a group’s general style and concept. However, though I will praise it in that regard, once the review begins, I do predict this song to be either “average” or “slightly above average,” which for a debut song would be impressive ratings as the men could only improve from such.

To address the video link as it is partially different from the usual ones, it is a dance version of their music video, but towards the end, it does become a “mashup.” Nevertheless, the choreography remains sufficient in length so that the video is still viable. Drifting to a new topic, for one that is surrounding the men of SEVENTEEN, I will discuss an interesting point involving one of their members (and as I always say, for those who desire to focus purely on the music, skip to below): Vernon, and more specifically, him being biracial. Pitifully, him being half Korean (father’s side) and White (mother’s side) elicits the current upcoming discussion when that should not ever be the case; by simply being biracial, he has faced tremendous racist remarks, and furthermore, in recent times, is being bashed by many for “pulling the race card,” but realistically, I should not have to venture into the subject because there should not be any instances of racism in the first place. Nonetheless, clearly, there are apparent issues, and rather than shying away, I will be diving in depth with this topic. Topics of race are uncomfortable, hence why they are vital to discuss and to understand on a social scale and in detail.

To begin, I will first offer context of the situation: Vernon, in his younger days, explained how he was often time called a “halfer,” was stared at, and of course, faced other subtle yet racist treatments (and as a side note, this was in South Korea; this serves as a prime example of how the “dominant” group varies per place, as briefly discussed in my post of EXID and TMZ, but needless to say, still exists). Now, although this incident was moreover in the past and shared when he was a child, for current times, many have decided to belittle his past experience, and thus, are claiming Vernon is simply “pulling the race card” as his shared experience is merely to garner attention. Sadly, however, this “belittling” of his story is unacceptable; his experience is what every person of a minoritized race undergoes, even to the extent of a daily basis, and to claim his story is for attention utterly defeats the purpose of why Vernon’s younger self had to share such.

Dissecting the “race card” phrase, in this specific scenario, first of all, it is already erroneous to claim Vernon is “pulling” anything as, from what I understand, he has not done so; Vernon has not brought up his experience with racism in modern time, but rather, people have found his old, childhood story, and thus, to claim he is “pulling the race card” is incredibly false as he, blatantly, has not done anything, and therefore, to claim he is seeking attention through such is simply illogical. If he did indeed recently claim and told his story (which will still not be seeking attention, as to be explained below) as the current matured Vernon, then at the very least, the current accusations would partially hold as, correct, he is bringing up the story. But, as stated, with him not conducting any discussion of his experience in current times, he should not be accused for “pulling the race card.” At most, accusers are the ones that are “pulling” something by digging up archaic news.

Nevertheless, even if he did bring his experience into discussion in recent times, irrationally claiming Vernon is “pulling the race card” to seek attention undermines his story, of which is costly. In essence, utilizing that phrase is identical to saying: Vernon’s (or anyone) experience with racism is miniscule; racism is nothing major, and those who claim they face racial discrimination are merely stating so for sympathy and attention. This is also exceptionally akin to the idea of justifying racist claims and jokes: “it is simply a joke, don’t be so sensitive,” or “I didn’t mean you, though,” for examples, work in a similar fashion to the “pulling the race card” phrase as, once more, undermining racism, and in many ways, justifying and encouraging it, is what occurs from utilizing those related phrases.  

Rather than viewing Vernon’s past story as him seeking attention, the more critical, open approach would be to understand his perspective. Acts of racism are still highly prevalent, but in juxtaposition to older times, are much more discreet. Members of minoritized races constantly endure microaggressions: relentless questions of “where are you from,” widespread exposure to racist “jokes” and comments, and overall, simply the feeling of inferiority to the dominant race. Racism, unequivocally, still exists. Though it is now socially unacceptable for blatant racism to occur, the version of veiled racism thrives. Relating the phrase of “pulling the race card,” this phrase’s sole existence is to defend subtle racism, and thus, for an ultimate point, it should never be used as incidents of racism are not shared for the sake of attention, but instead, attention so that proper, humane changes can occur. No one “pulls the race card” because of desiring attention; the “race card” is “pulled” by those who wish to continue perpetuating racism.

Until my senior year in high school, I had always believed racism (or any oppressions for that matter) were solely feelings; I had perceived “-ism” terms as people being overly emotionally sensitive. Truthfully, however, and for why these labels are coined as “social issues,” as the name, they are on a social level, not one of emotional feelings. These issues cannot be shoved away as “just jokes” or “pulling the card,” these issues need to be confronted directly, regardless of how uncomfortable. As an overall point, to tie into SEVENTEEN and Vernon’s case, his words and story are important and are not to seek attention; he is bringing attention to an ongoing social issue that needs to be challenged so that, in the future, no child or person would have to tell a similar story to what Vernon’s younger self had to share.

Of course, varying opinions are desired, and thus, I do hope readers who read the earlier portion develop their own understanding and care. Returning to “Adore U” in a musical lens, though, in honesty, I am very intimidated by the number of members and the number of song sections to analyze, their group size will not be a factor in the song’s rating (until the Line Distribution). “Adore U” may be promising in the category of vocals, but once the other aspects are included, I do remain skeptical on how well the song as a whole holds. Ending the anxiety of waiting, this review will determine if “Adore U” is worth adoring.

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Song Score: 5/10 (5.4/10 raw score) – “Average”

– Vocals: 7/10 – With 13 members existing, rather than individually critiquing every member, I will analyze the vocals in “Adore U” collectively. That said, SEVENTEEN’s vocals in “Adore U” are admirable. Though they may be new in the K-Pop industry, the same cannot be said for their skills; SEVENTEEN’s singing possesses higher-end traits, as would be seen in more experienced groups. Expanding on those traits, for the strongest point, the vocals remain exceptionally diverse: notes range from lows to highs, the melody is versatile via being lively and dynamic but also calm and slow, rapping and standard singing alternate, and overall, with many members, every line possesses its own voice, and therefore, more appeal exists. Ignoring the layer of variety, the occurring singing and even rapping are musically enchanting. Deeper pitches, as during the first verse, grant a soothing effect, and as for the higher pitches such as during the choruses, a desirable, energetic flow is in place. Furthermore, moments of staleness are nonexistent; with the vocals’ melodies constantly showcasing a flexible style, be it common changes in pacing or adding in note stretches, every moment of singing in “Adore U” remains adoring.

Variety is arguably the men’s best trait for their vocals. Above average will hold as the score. Although the following categories (Sections, Line Distribution, etc.) may lack, the vocals certainly hold well. If the prediction becomes a reality, “Adore U” will serve as a transparent example of how even though high talent may be in place, a song requires more than 13 members delivering excellent vocals since 15 members are needed.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10 – Five members cooperate for the introduction (and as a disclaimer, I do apologize if I am inaccurate for labeling who remains responsible for which sections; tracking 13 members is not an easy task): S. Coups, Vernon, Jun, Mingyu, and Hoshi.

Addressing the structural component, the introduction shines with fulfilling its role. Rather than introducing singing vocals, a familiar concept, as in many previous reviews, is used. Regular speaking, and later, whispering, are used. As a result of preserving the actual singing, anticipation becomes created, of which is a necessary outcome for an introduction to be enticing. In focus of the section in itself, the progression deserves praise for following a suiting pace and development: standard phrases are thrown while tints of an electric guitar accompany them, but later, once the whispering occurs, heavier beats become included. Many favorable outcomes exist due to the progression. For a basic example, a perfect level of intensity is gleaned; the introduction does not fail to transition to the verse due to being too passive, nor is there an issue of the introduction being too upbeat and lively as if it were a chorus. Another desirable point, however, is the song’s tone is clearly given. The song’s general rate and pacing is reflected in the introduction’s own progression rate. Heavier and medium-paced beats can be assumed as the song’s flow and pacing, and with this, the introduction becomes additionally appealing and cohesive.

Though the introduction should be numerically rated highly, the sonic aspect does falter, and it is more than merely the lack of singing vocals. Though the latter point does not directly hinder the score, it does significantly increase difficulties of possessing a section that is sonically infatuating. In “Adore U,” the lack of singing vocals is detrimental as the speaking and whispering phrases do not compensate; their voices, while on an individual level are nice and worthy of hearing (as are all voices in general; every voice should be loved), are not musically attracting as, blatantly, it is merely speaking (for a side note, solely one song has been an exception: Secret’s “I’m In Love” where Hyosung’s introduction of speaking was, miraculously, indeed musically charming, though she was accompanied with some tuneful humming). Even with the instrumental, which, once covered later, will showcase that it is moreover average, and thus, is also incapable of improving the introduction’s sonic layer.

Slightly above average will be the score. Considering how the introduction is nearly bereft of a sonic component, this score should be noteworthy as it indicates the structural portion is very much admirable.

2. Verse: 5/10 – For the verses, Seungkwan and DK handle the first, and for the second, S. Coups, Hoshi, Vernon, The8 (yes, this is his stage name and not a typo), Jun, and Joshua are all responsible. In truth, if the first verse was repeated, the score would be vastly higher. For how I will dissect the verses, I will follow the default protocol of mechanical and structural, but from there, I will analyze the first verse then second verse, and afterwards, offer an overall conclusion.

With that, for the mechanical layer to the verses, peering at the first verse, beautiful singing occurs. Both members’ notes range from low to middle, and furthermore, they remain exceptionally melodic. Their first seconds of performing a lower note stretch, and also, additional note stretches at the end, are prime examples of how the couple creates, emphasizes, and accentuates, the first verse’s captivating melody. Simply stated, solid singing is unveiled. Unfortunately, for the second verse, the first verse’s seducing traits are displaced: the second verse is bleak of not only attracting singing, but also, rapping. In the context of the second verse, the first two members, in truth, were not quite singing or rapping, but instead, practically speaking, though a tune was attached. Nevertheless, due to such, little appeal is given from the two. Following up with the next member, Vernon’s short rap is as impactful as its length; although it would be false to label his rap as horrid, it is solely average. Now afterwards, the remaining members adopt the first two members’ style of speaking, but at the very least, a slightly more melodic approach exists. Nonetheless, a monotone, tedious style becomes in place.

For the structural layer, once more, the first verse proves better. Though both verses do repeat their lines’ formats, the first verse benefits while the second suffers. Elaborating, in terms of the first verse, while both members replicate one another, with their singing holding favorably, recycling a similar format is increasing the time span of said singing, and that is no issue as fantastic singing occurs for longer. However, conversely, for the second verse, with relatively poorer vocals showcased, reusing similar lines is solely pushing more weaker vocals, and thus, is not appealing. Even on a more individual level, the first verse’s lyrics variate and are more than a single, basic tune. The same is not applied to the second verse: the rapping lines are not thorough with melody and flow, and blatantly, the moments that of speaking phrases were monotonous.

Average will be the score. Should the first verses have been reused, “Adore U” would possess very prominent, marvelous verses, but unluckily, the second verse does hinder the overall score.

3. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – Vernon and Dino pair up for the first pre-chorus while Wonwoo and Mingyu handle the second. To already reveal the rating, average is how the pre-choruses hold. Both components of mechanical and structural neither have pressing issues or solid points.

Focusing on the mechanical side, the pre-choruses take the overall form of rapping, although slower than typical ones. While the lines are not lacking melody, the existing melody fails to be enticing. Additionally, the traits of the rap are equally in a state of average: The pacing, though unique in the sense of being slower, is nothing phenomenal. Lines remain relatively unchanged from one another, but due to a shorter length, rather than being impairing, it holds as average. Both of those aspects have the potential to influence the mechanical layer positively or negatively, but in “Adore U” ‘s case, nothing is modified; the rapping in a musical sense remains plain as no aspect is remarkable.

Structurally, the same trend of average continues. Although members alternating between lines do provide variety, with how similar their lines are to one another, it is not potent. At most, a pause is granted from the alternating. Nevertheless, it is not entirely mundane, and in a few ways, is still effective as noted by the mentioned pause, but overall, this aspect is, as the trend, average. In terms of the pre-choruses holding up to their roles, predominantly the ending is where the actual transition occurs; solely at the end of the pre-choruses are moments where it is clear that the section carries into the chorus. Though it is preferable for the entire section to be connoted with the role of transitioning the song into the chorus, in “Adore U,” it is still functional. Thus, rather than it failing to suit its role, it acquires it, although in the end it is an average route.

If the word average has not been stated enough, I will reiterate it once more: the section will be rated as average. The mechanical and structural layers are both plain; nothing renders as menacing, but nothing is praiseworthy.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Jeonghan, Woozi, and DK are responsible for all of the choruses.

Excluding the first verse, the choruses are the song’s most appealing section on a sonic layer. Undeviating, basic vocals are nonexistent as variety exists: stronger vocals are apparent, but softer ones are also established. Furthermore, a catchy, flowing melody is in place. Focusing on the melody, with multiple note stretches occurring, such as at the end of the first line, or more explicitly, during “yoohoo” by Woozi, the melody becomes exceptionally detailed, diverse, and simply appealing. Adding on, in addition to an infatuating melody, variance occurs in the form of power: DK and Woozi’s final lines during the chorus are slightly more prominent than the earlier lines, and thus, more variety is gleaned, and of course, traces of power are pleasing to hear.

Structurally, many points translate over. As the two categories are related, due to the structural side succeeding, the musical portion equally thrives and becomes amplified. The listed multiple aspects, such as note stretches, regular singing, changes in power, and for what is not listed, even changes in pacing, are all in benefit of the structural side, and as a result, the mechanical side is also indirectly aided. But, on an individual level, the structure renders as marvelous due to being extremely thorough. On that note, for how it holds as a chorus, it suits “Adore U” with providing an energetic, upbeat and climactic section in the song.

For another aspect that suits “Adore U,” a seven for above average will do. The singing and format in the choruses are pleasing.

5. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – The first post-chorus is handled by Woozi and Mingyu, and the second one involves Woozi but with Hoshi.

For the sonic component to the post-choruses, it can be rendered as mediocre, sadly. While traces of power in the form of vocals are disclosed, the overarching singing holds as unadorned; moments of singing involve either stronger, chopped words, or a basic phrase. Regardless of the form, both can be considered stale. The instances of power in vocals remain moreover isolated than in combination to genuine singing, and thus, is now miniscule. As for the following phrases, with nearly standard speaking in place, little appeal exists in that regard, similar to the moments of paused, stronger vocals.

In terms of the structure, there are points of positivity. For one, the section serves its traditional role: bringing the chorus to a proper point so that “Adore U” can begin anew with another verse. In comparison to the choruses, the post-choruses are significantly calmer, and furthermore, perfectly transition to the upcoming verses via having similar, plain vocals, and because of the sections’ format of being slower paced and chopped, both of which allow the song to easily shift style (such as into a different section).

Nevertheless, slightly below average will hold as the score. The sonic piece of the post-choruses is incredibly insipid, and even despite a decent structural side, the lacking vocals are too impairing.

6. Bridge: 6/10 – Seungkwan, DK, Vernon, and S. Coups collaborate with each other for the bridge.

Spotlighting the bridge’s prime point, the structural side prevails with its variety and progression. Variety is observed due to the added layers of softer singing, a rap, more impactful singing, and eventually, a note hold. Sufficient appeal is created from such. Now, in focus of the progression, each specific style of vocals (soft singing, rap, and impactful singing) possesses a critical role: the softer singing introduces the bridge and lays the foundation, the rapping then serves as a bridge (no pun intended) for the bridge to escalate in terms of more active vocals, and finally, the stronger vocals and the note hold occur to leave a climactic point in “Adore U.”

Transitioning into the mechanical aspect, unlike the structural layer, it cannot be equally considered as solid. Initial vocals, in credit to the same duo at the verses, Seungkwan and DK, are exceptionally alluring, as expected from the two. Progressing further, when the rapping occurs, it does hold well as, dissimilar to the prior moments of rapping, melody and fluctuation are added attributes. However, for the final seconds, the note hold is dissatisfying. Though it remains in scope and suits the song’s overall tone, the note hold’s strain is excessive; a crisp, clear note hold would have been more sonically pleasing as the current, exaggerated strain is overly prioritizing power and not other necessary traits, such as melody.  

Slightly above average will be the rating. The mechanical layer, while hindered by the note hold, still remains decent when accounting for the softer vocals and rap, and of course, the structural portion holds well.

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 5/10 – As in the regular post-choruses, Woozi, Mingyu, and Hoshi return. What remains fundamentally different, however, is that they all participate.

With the conclusion reusing an exact replica of the earlier post-choruses, the mechanical layer will not be discussed as it has already been covered. Summarizing the prior point: the vocals are not tempting. That said, for what will be scrutinized, the conclusion’s structure is still valid. Although on the individual layer, the conclusion is weak as, directly, the post-choruses’ structures are not enticing, for the role of a conclusion, the section provides a proper end to “Adore U.” A calmer state is gleaned from the conclusion, and due to the post-choruses’ format of pauses, points of ending are widespread as it would be possible to, in essence, abruptly end the song as the section is already replicating a closure via a sluggish rate. Lastly, “Adore U” ‘s traces still linger; with the lyrics including “adore you,” the song ends with its key phrase/lyrics.

Should the mechanical layer somehow improve, the conclusion would hold a better score, but due to the post-choruses being reused, those impeding aspects carry over and thus, average will hold for the conclusion.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – 13 members in SEVENTEEN should, assumingly, bring issues with how lines are distributed. Putting aside apprehensive feelings, this category will discover if there are truly any issues (and a rather daunting task that is).

Starting with S. Coups, his section count includes the introduction, second verse, and bridge. Three is his count, and due to the copious amount of members, I will cease adding comments until the end (or near the end).

For Jeonghan, all of the three choruses are possessed. Three is also his count.

Joshua’s lines consist of the second verse. Nothing more or less. One is his count, and depending on the remaining members, this may be an issue.

Jun’s count involves the introduction and second verse. Two will be his number of sections.

In terms of Hoshi, the second verse and two post-choruses were where his lines appeared at. Three is his count, and so far, considering the number of members, it appears a high score is plausible.

The sixth member to be analyzed, Wonwoo, has lines at solely the second pre-chorus. One is his value.

Woozi’s sections includes the three choruses and the three post-choruses. Six, disturbingly, is his count. A disparity is apparent from this.

Gauging DK next, the first verse, the three choruses, and the bridge are his moments. Thus, five is his total.

For Mingyu, and I do apologize for briskly gauging the members, the introduction, two post-choruses, and one pre-chorus are his sections. Four is his count.

The8’s count is not quite an eight, and surprisingly, is far from it: one is his count, of which is at the second verse.

Seungkwan’s spotlight includes the first verse and the bridge. Considering his stunning vocals at the first verse, it is intriguing that he possessed few sections. On topic, two is his count.

For Vernon, the introduction, first pre-chorus, second verse, and bridge, are his sections. As a result, four is his value.

Lastly, for the final member, Dino’s parts are heard at the first pre-chorus. One is his count.

Finally delivering a score for SEVENTEEN, with the perfect distribution being at two or three lines, the group is rather off. Three members possess 3 sections and two members possess 2 sections, and the remainder, four members at 1 section, and two members with 4 sections and one member for 5 sections and 6 sections. With the current large disparity, slightly below average will have to be the rating. Many members are not in the range of two or three sections, and in some cases, relatively far away from such. Accounting for the extremely large group size, this is to be expected.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Glimpsing at “Adore U” ‘s instrumental, while it is far from horrendous, it is equally distant from being superior.

Mechanically, the beats and bassline provide much: the heavier, slower beats and bass during calmer sections offer a tranquilizing effect, and with the smooth, subtle aspect it possess from manipulating lower pitches, it remains further pleasing. For more upbeat sections, such as the chorus, the deeper bassline and beats still exist, though modified; during the choruses, rather than fully disappearing, the bass and beats adopt a higher pitch, but nonetheless are still apparent. Due to such, the same pleasing traits carry over, but furthermore, are even more suiting. Lastly, tints of electric guitar occur at the post-choruses, and in addition to providing more instruments, it results in an exceptionally fitting tune with the sections’ vocals and flow.

Structurally, more direct flaws are available. While vocals are flawlessly accommodated based on intensity (for example, a calm instrumental exists during the verse, and expectedly a more energetic one for the choruses), in focus of the instrumental itself, the structure is stagnant; the instrumental fails to fluctuate as, for the most part, solely pitch changes occur, but actual change in the instrumental’s form does not. Highlighting an example, for sections that are not the chorus, the same, slower paced soundtrack occurs, and once the chorus plays, it simply alters in pitch. Afterwards, the same style is utilized.

Once factoring in the somewhat unmalleable structure of the instrumental, and furthermore, the mechanical layer as, while the deeper beats and bass are soothing, they become mundane quickly, the instrumental holds averagely. Five will be the score to represent such.

– Meaning: 6/10 – With a song title of “Adore U,” a flirtatious one is in mind. Perhaps the main character is “adoring” their love-interest. But of course, it may not even be a lover they adore, perhaps it is a role model for instance. Ignoring my shameful assumptions, the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics will offer the true plot to “Adore U.” The lyrics are not 100% , but it should be valid enough to discover the song’s story:

Ayo ayo (Seventeen) Yo! You know what?
These days, I have a lot of thoughts
These days, I have so much to tell you (these days)

I feel weird, I’m not talking as much
My friends are all worried (these days)
My heart races only when I’m in front of you
So I’m sorry about my clumsy actions

I still can’t control it
Please don’t play with me
Why are you keeping a front?
I don’t know, I don’t know what will happen

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

How can you dazzle so much?
You’re so pretty it’s selfish but your personality
is so humble
This is not the place to joke around
I’m announcing the fact about your charms
Is it because I like how you smile at me?
Or do I just seem light to you?
Yeah, if you’re finding a spot
Yeah, right next to me is good
Yeah, I have a lot of interest in you
Even your shoe size, oh oh

I’m on fire right now because of you
It’s impossible to cool me down
I’m on fire right now because of you
I don’t know, I don’t know, it’ll happen somehow

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

You can lean right here
You can cover your pain with me
Tell me your feelings
Don’t hold back, it’s not enough
Can’t fake it no more
Crank up the speed
Stop playing hard to get
Now let me call you
Baby you are my angel

I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

Not too surprisingly, the first guess holds true: a main character, a lady or gentleman, is adoring their love-interest. “Adore U” initiates the story with the main character expressing themself: “These days, I have a lot of thoughts” and “I have so much to tell you.” Both statements are understandable as, jocularly, the main character is “not talking as much,” and thus, “friends are all worried.” Explaining the new, peculiar behavior from the main character, she/he is, if the following word may be used, lovestruck: their “heart races only when [they are] in front of [the love-interest],” hence why the main character has been acting differently. Continuing the story, the main character endlessly shares his feelings of captivation, such as by describing the love-interest and their attractive qualities, and trepidation, as witnessed by their unease of not knowing if the love-interest reciprocates homogenous feelings. Answering why the title is called such, if not blatant enough, the main character very much adores their love-interest, and from such, the title is created.

Although I did not quote many lines from “Adore U,” doing so would have been plausible, and thus, that speaks for much; with the potential to use many lines, it indicates the song is thorough in detail. Many aspects are included in the lyrics, and many lines add new details. Since solely the choruses and post-choruses repeat, every other section possessed new lyrics, and as a result, rather than merely repeating identical ideas as in many songs, more of the plot is uncloaked for interpretation. Especially in a flirtatious, love related story, the lyrics are remarkable. The very minimal and slight issue that prevents a higher score is, overall, though many lines carry their own weight to the story, the overall story is still relatively straightforward as it can be easily summarized with: a main character has a love-interest and is now expressing their worries and affection.

On the positive side, however, slightly above average still holds. At the very least, for a personal note, the lyrics in “Adore U” may be the best I have yet to see in a flirtatious-based song.

– “Critical Corner”: Unlike the past review of Infinite’s “The Chaser,” as linked at the start of the review, there are no urgent issues arising from the lyrics in “Adore U.” Anticipatedly, this bonus section will be skipped over. In juxtaposition to “The Chaser,” the main character here is not obsessive, is attracted for the proper reasons (physical and non-physical beauty, as discussed in past reviews if correct), and focusing on the depicted plot in general, it is a sincerely sweet, adorable one.

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – Although “Adore U” in audio form may be average, the associated visual in terms of the dance is wonderful.

Syncing remains consistent and clearly visible throughout the entire song: for a plethora of incidents, the introduction’s hesitant motions replicate the whispering, the first verse’s choreography connects to spikes in notes, the first pre-chorus’ tunnel movement is based on vocals, and other sections follow through. High accuracy, if not flawless, syncing is discernible in the choreography.

Switching to key points, the dance can be divided into two pieces: dance and story. Dancing is in relation to the choruses and other moments involving rigorous movement, but for the part of story, instances of acting are akin to it. Already, the dance in “Adore U” is unique in the aspect of including acting versus, as a vast majority of K-Pop choreographies are, pure dance. Added skits aid in allowing the choreography to be further diverse, and of course, humor and depth to the lyrics are included. On the subject of diverse, for moments orientated towards usual dancing, variety still flourishes. Especially with 13 members, the choreography does properly and positively exploit such by creating key points that, for the most part, would be nonexistent without a high quantity of members. Examples are the “tunnel” during the pre-choruses and the post-choruses’ formations of having crouched members, and if including the acting, the ability to have a genuine setting of actors.

As a final score, above average will hold for the choreography. Though the song itself scored lower, the dance compensates for much of it.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – And on the note of compensating, for the Overall Score, six is the average of the Song Score and Choreography Score. Therefore, “Adore U” can be considered a slightly above average song in the entire picture of song and performance, and personally, I can agree to it. With this being their first song, much room for further refining is possible, and even at their current stage, the 13 men are already skilled. I will be scouting out for them in the future to gauge how their dancing and singing improve.

Needless to say, I am incredibly thankful to the person who requested this review. Thank you so much for sending in this request. In truth, if it were not for it, I would have never known of SEVENTEEN (and same for the other request of KARA’s “Cupid”; I was utterly oblivious that KARA had a relatively recent comeback of that song). Also, comically put, I am glad that this request was on a male group as many have been wanting such (BTS, another male group, will be reviewed in a week or so), and that said, for readers in general, thank you very much for reading. I heavily appreciate the given time, support, patience, and feedback. I do feel partially guilty for this review, however; although it was not delayed, I do feel that my writing progressively deteriorated as the review continued. As such, I do apologize if the writing becomes horrendous. I am aiming to improve, and thus, I hope for understanding.

Sidetracking to the mentioned point of delays, for consecutive days, I have worked on this review in order to ensure any delay would not occur. Four days was the time span of this review as every day contained a writing session of a few hours (nine or so hours is the total time it took if I am correct). Though I have conducted in further self-discipline, preventing request delays is my main priority. That said, for the upcoming requested review of KARA’s “Cupid,” it will also be finished in a hasty, yet thorough, manner. In fact, a surprise will occur for the review: it will, optimistically, be finished in two or three days, and it will not be in credit to ridiculously staring at a screen for nine hours (not that creating reviews is “ridiculously staring at a screen”; though it is challenging at times, I would never equate writing and reviewing to a tiresome job). Instead, though I had desired to create the outline for a while, it has only been of now that I have found a potential trial: a “Speed Review Version” outline.

Feedback and actual testing will be necessary to truly gauge how it will carry out, but if correct, it will still allow my reviews to be thorough, and in many ways, unchanged. What will be different in the Speed Review Version is that, though my writing will still be detailed, it will be less lengthy. More specifically and being honest, as truthfulness is essential, a certain section (pun may be intended) will be optimized so that reviews are not excessively dragged on. Rather than allocating my stamina and time towards just one chorus, for example, it would be more realistic to give numerical values per sections in a song, as I currently do, but then afterwards, to have an overall, general analysis versus one per section.

Doing this would, in numerous ways, improve my reviews: For once, it would be possible for me to sincerely keep up with songs; many comebacks occur nearly constantly, and sadly, I can cover, at most, perhaps 5% of the more popular group comebacks. With this, at the very least, I could double that and now cover the top 10% popular comebacks, for example. After all, for “Adore U,” two and half days were spent solely on the Sections section. Two and a half. For being one-out-of-five categories, one has taken slightly more than half of the writing. Although it is understandable as a song is, overall, deconstructed at its core via its sections, I am most likely overly prioritizing the analysis. The impact of the Sections category will still hold as I will include each section’s rating, but the analysis is what can be reduced so that more reviews are in place. In short, it is as if I am writing three reviews in one in the context of time; due to how lengthy the Sections category currently is, I could shorten it and condense it (using a tip from my amazing English teacher, sometimes the shortest, compact writings are better than longer ones), and from there, still possess the same message and significance as before, but now, more time exists for other reviews. Overall, however, receiving feedback from readers is what will help direct the blog. I am already in favor of the Speed Review Version and hope, soon enough, it becomes the default review outline, but testing it out and having feedback will be what is preferred and the only way to make a sound choice.

Of course, regardless of what review outline stays or goes, it is always a huge honor and pleasure to be writing. Eight reviews for June is still the goal, and though three-out-of-eight is seemingly low, I will reach the mark of at least seven. Truthfully, shortcuts will be taken in the form of album reviews and even a music video review, but variety would never hurt. Finally ending perhaps the longest conclusion/Overall Score section I have written, thank you very much once again to readers and requesters. KARA’s “Cupid” will be reviewed next and the first test for a new outline. “Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this”: “I adore you, I adore you.” Stay tuned for such and keep checking back.

Infinite – “The Chaser” Review

Infinite – The Chaser (Dance Version)

Infinite – The Chaser

Reviewed on June 14, 2015

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Personal Message: Due to a set schedule, there is some pressure to finish this within three days, but even with deadlines, I am glad to begin what many readers have been desiring: male groups/artists. Infinite’s “The Chaser,” an older song by the men, will be reviewed. Although this song is relatively old, it still holds well and can be considered a highly admirable song. In fact, Infinite in general is an impressive group. Many solid songs have been released (“Last Romeo” has been another song I have personally enjoyed), and for the group’s assets, the seven members prove to be phenomenal singers, rappers, and dancers.  

Focusing on “The Chaser,” in terms of reviews, it has been quite a while since I have last reviewed a song that I personally adore. BESTie’s “Excuse Me,” though reviewed for its music video, and partially, Dal Shabet’s “Joker,” have been notable songs for my preferences, but most prominently, March is when I last reviewed a song I utterly loved: Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” (as stated in a few reviews, “You’re Pitiful” is my favorite song as it perfectly and thoroughly suits my taste of music). On topic, while most songs of the late have been “slightly above average” at most, Infinite’s “The Chaser” will, with high confidence, most likely change that trend; “The Chaser” is a very solid song, both in a systematic, logical layer (as the review will show), and on a personal level.

Considering my review rubric is now relatively strict, the latter statement should be noteworthy. Possessing a rigorous guideline is essential to my reviews since, as seen in archaic reviews, the purpose of a music review is to elicit thoughtful discussions, not endless, exaggerated praises. That said, though there are readers at times who do become upset at my ratings (and this being more than disagreeing with me, which is definitely acceptable and what I wish for; I do occasionally receive comments of being “unfair” for lower ratings), I would like to personally request understanding that reviews are meant to bring thinking and criticism, and both are neither bad, and in fact, are rather crucial. Labeling a song as merely “average,” for example, should not be correlated to insulting a group or belittling their potential, but rather, interpreted as an opinion that is backed up with, hopefully, evidence and logic (of which I hope exist for my reviews). Reiterating it once more, my personal goal with reviews is to bring discussions; whether there are conversations of music or even social topics, I hope my writing is not to force opinions, but instead, to open up different opinions and such.

Returning back to Infinite and before embarking on said social topics, I will leave an obligatory compliment: the gentlemen of Infinite are incredibly pretty. Now for those who feel uncomfortable with me complimenting the group’s appearances due to being a male, I will address this topic in another review, but in short, it is pitiful that current masculinity and homophobia shames males praising other males, physical looks related or not. With this scenario, though I am a heterosexual, my sexual orientation should not inhibit me from saying my earlier claim as, blatantly, there is nothing wrong with complimenting people; as a friend said, in many ways, we should all be held accountable to bring positivity to one another, such as in the form of complimenting whatever is worth complimenting. I will address the topic of homophobia in a later review.

Before this Personal Message becomes as incoherent as the one in EXID’s “Ah Yeah” too many digressions occur, though I am rather guilty of praising solely Infinite’s appearances as I lack familiarity with their personalities, as stated, they are very physically beautiful. In the linked video of “The Chaser,” the members showcase exceptionally chic, stylish clothing that I am highly envious of, but furthermore, another very seducing cosmetic: makeup that I am also jealous for. Their makeup, however, is not one of basic, public airing (every male on TV uses foundation and concealer, those are a given), but slightly extra via eye makeup. Anticipatedly (and for those who wish to focus on the musical side of the review, skip to below), for what is necessary of discussion, males using makeup will be the topic. Such as with Infinite or practically every male K-Pop group, the trend of insulting and degrading male idols, or simply males in general, for using makeup will be something to deconstruct on a social level.

Explaining the hatred many male idols or male makeup users face, the idea of “emasculating” takes place: many derogatory terms are utilized, and overall, the idea of not being “masculine,” but instead, “feminine,” serves as the foundation for degrading. As already addressed in multiple reviews, with femininity being considered worse than masculinity, which, obviously, is a highly unfair scale, males using makeup are following femininity (in a Western perspective that is, as to be explained below), and thus, are downgrading socially in rank, and as a final outcome, are now liable to insults since society has collectively decided that femininity is worth hating. A key, contrasting example further highlights this disparity: a female following masculine norms is “upgrading” in a social rank, and therefore, is accepted, but the moment a male follows feminine norms, many are highly repulsed. If equitable standards were in place, a “feminine” male would be equally accepted as a “masculine” female, but with the latter being more valued, the “feminine” male is rejected.

However, besides the pressing issue of how androcentrism establishes hatred towards femininity, there is a cultural layer to makeup: those foreign to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean culture, for examples (I am certain there are way more), associate makeup with femininity, yet in those cultures, makeup is considered both masculine and feminine. After all, though the following words would potentially undermine a lot of my claims and beliefs of removing gender labels, Infinite are perhaps the most “manly” men I have ever seen; their exquisite eye makeup, and sleek, clean fashion are incredibly “masculine” (another review will discuss the terms of “masculine” and “feminine” in depth and whether they should exist or not). Now of course, from a different perspective and culture, the opposite would hold: many would render the men as “girly,” and sadly, that would be connotated as an insult. But, as depicted, it is based on culture, and thus, as an overall point, males using makeup should never be shunned, even if the current culture they are in deems it unsuitable. Male makeup is considered a norm in certain places, and therefore, being culturally accepting should occur, and as for places where it is not a norm, insults that take place is correlated to how femininity is undervalued to masculinity, and in that context, it is still an issue to shame a male for using makeup in those locations as it degrades femininity.

For a future outcome that is to be yearned for, makeup should simply be considered makeup; there should be no terms of “female makeup” or “male makeup” as makeup is simply cosmetics that enhance physical looks, nothing more or less. Gender, or additionally, even sexual orientation, should not play a role as to whether someone will use makeup. If equitable standards were in place, males utilizing makeup would not create the current disturbance it does. For example, if femininity was equal to masculinity, for places where makeup is socialized as feminine, males would not face consequences as no “downgrading” would exist. In terms of sexual orientation, if equity was in place so that every sexual orientation was valued, makeup would not be automatically associated with homosexual males since, strangely, homosexual males equates to femininity, of which is considered a low status (as explained). Furthermore, however, with the lack of equity for sexual orientations in general, it allows improper stereotypes to thrive in order to devalue those who are not heterosexual; by not being a heterosexual, certain types of behavior, often time displeasing, exaggerated ones, will be automatically assumed when, obviously, heterosexuals do not possess their own exaggerated and offensive stereotypes. A future review will dive into a discussion of sexual orientation.  

That said, focusing back on makeup, similar to EXID’s Hani idea of “no filters,” to be intimate and truthful to readers, as hinted in past reviews, I am familiar with makeup, even if society socializes the norm that heterosexual males should not be. Though I currently do not actively use makeup, I do plan on doing so in the future (or perhaps even sooner). Also, admittedly, I have more knowledge of makeup products than, for example, standard “masculine” tasks; given the task of applying makeup or fixing a car, I would not hesitate to choose the initial option (I sincerely have no idea on how to repair vehicles and hope a future wife will handle that I eventually learn in the future).

Expanding on my personal digression, many have been curious on why I would use makeup, and relating this review, a simple answer exists: to look nice, the same reason as to why Infinite members, or anyone, would use makeup. There is no issue with desiring to look as stunning as the men (their makeup serves as a prime example for mine), but due to attached social layers with makeup, as briefly discussed earlier, the act of using makeup as a male carries repercussions. Nevertheless, though I am highly aware of the given dangers I would face in America (if I lived in, for example, South Korea, this would not be an issue at all), if I must receive public bashing so that femininity is equal to masculinity, and overall, tolerance and understanding occur, those are risks I am willing to accept.

Too many subtle issues exist in the lens of gender (and with other areas), and though my use of makeup is moreover to enhance physical appearances, the social connotations I would deliver, intended or not, are necessary: the phrase, “be a man,” would be challenged, a toxic concept that definitely needs to be critically analyzed (will discuss this in another review); with being a heterosexual, I would showcase that makeup is not a shameful, pitiful application that homosexual men use, but rather, one that is for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation since all orientations are equally worthy; and all in all, the act of using makeup when I could easily slip by without it since, due to male privilege, bluntly and jocularly put, being physically hideous is acceptable, would be my method to remove my personal privileges of being a heterosexual and a male. And of course, it would be rather amazing for my two future daughters to be able to reply, “Oh, my dad,” to a question of “Who did your makeup?” during special occasions.

Leaving an overall final message, though I am certain many readers are not entirely surprised at my personal news since, quite clearly, this is a K-Pop review blog, and therefore, many should be familiar with male groups using makeup due to Korean (pop) culture, I do hope a slightly deeper understanding on this social phenomenon is gleaned. Sadly, it is not rare to hear exceptionally derogatory remarks made to male idols from those who lack knowledge with cultures that embrace makeup as gender neutral, and thus, I hope, at the very least, I was able to shed light on exactly why that hatred occurs.

Considering this Personal Message has ran its course (I applaud those who do read this, and of course, I hope a personal opinion is created regarding this topic, whether it agrees or disagrees with my opinion), it will now be time to focus on Infinite and “The Chaser” in a musical sense. With Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” being the last song I highly enjoyed, I am ecstatic to find another song that meets a high standard. Or at least, it will be hoped it reaches a higher mark in a numerical context, as the review will show.

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Song Score: 7/10 (7.4/10 raw score) – “Above average”

– Vocals: 8/10 – Confessedly, I am not utterly familiar with the member’s individual singing talents, but regardless, based on “The Chaser and “Last Romeo,” Infinite definitely possess higher tier vocals. Peering at the rappers, both Dongwoo and Hoya deliver direct, fluent vocals for their parts. Feebleness or hesitant, pausing voices are nonexistent, all of which are generally unwanted traits in raps. Slightly higher-end rapping vocals are granted due to the two.

In focus of the regular vocalists, Sungyeol, L, and Sungjong showcase, overall, average vocals, or most optimistically, slightly above average ones. Their lines, though to be discussed in depth at the Sections, possess an awkward sound: roboticness. The disclosed lower notes may be pleasing in the sense of note range, but the robotic style in which the three sing is not impressive. Vocals are partially hindered by such, and even with the desirable lower notes, this aspect does not become overlooked.

Nevertheless, Infinite’s vocals are still to a high caliber for “The Chaser,” and it is rather doubtful that the rappers’ vocals are the reason. For the two remaining members, the group’s main vocalists, Sunggyu and Woohyun, and in truth, Infinite as a whole, the vocals from the two and the group’s unison singing are outstanding. Focusing on Sunggyu and Woohyun, many respectable aspects occur: high power, and an exceptionally lively melody due to their utilized notes, pacings, and other components. As for the mentioned unison singing, similar traits as in the main vocalists return, but for what remains distinctive, further emphasis towards power exists.

If correct, it has been a while since a high score has been granted for Vocals, but Infinite redresses such via earning an eight. The vocals in “The Chaser” are, simply put, good. Multiple, flourishing traits allow the given vocals to remain musically enchanting and diverse.  

– Sections: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse, Chorus, Rap, Verse, Chorus, Rap, Verse, Chorus, Conclusion (Verse)

1. Introduction: 7/10 – The introduction is solely the instrumental. For a side note, I have officially graduated, and thus, this review is four days behind as I have taken a short break to celebrate (though one day was helping with technology). To describe my feelings, as I have stated to many, for an encapsulating word: bittersweet.

Before completely digressing (I will return to this at the end if I remember to), focusing back on “The Chaser,” for the mechanical component of the introduction, it remains enticing. Diving into its specific aspects, the given beats provide a rhythmic, pleasing flow, and furthermore, the unique electronic-based sounds allow the introduction to thrive with a lively and energetic melody. Tints of electric guitar also aid in refining the instrumental’s melody. For another strong point, though akin to the structural side, the duration of the introduction benefits the section: the introduction remains sufficiently lengthy as to allow the soundtrack to thoroughly develop and unfold, but it is also not excessively long so that the soundtrack becomes overly dragged. Elaborating, if the length was any shorter, it would be highly unlikely for the instrumental to naturally progress and disclose its melody as the instrumental would be compacted, and conversely, if any longer, much of the instrumental’s current charms would fade out and become detrimental as it would be overplayed.   

On the subject of the structure, even under the pessimistic perception of the mechanical layer being slightly basic, this component holds well enough to compensate (but the mechanical side is still solid itself).  In terms of setting the song’s atmosphere, “The Chaser” ‘s introduction easily does so. It becomes blatant that the song is one of upbeatness, and this idea is unveiled via the electronic sounds instantly offering their melody, the beats immediately giving off the song’s general rhythm, and by the traces of electric guitar arriving shortly after the prior two. Furthermore, the overarching tone of an electronic-based song is, clearly, given right from the start. Gauging another crucial trait to the introduction, as is the general role of an introduction, attracting and hooking in listeners is a job to meet, and “The Chaser” manages such. Notably, solely the instrumental is used, and thus, while this may seem minor, it does have a considerable effect as listeners now anticipate the missing layer: vocals. No singing is given, and with an energetic, upbeat instrumental, many would become interested in how the vocals would follow suit. Therefore, in this context, the introduction potently accomplishes its role of luring in listeners.

Above average would be fitting for a score. The mechanical layer remains melodic and, if correctly stated, dramatic, and the structural layer holds impressively due to excellent delivery of style, and more importantly, how well it attracts listeners.

2. Verse: 7/10 – For the verses, before listing who remains in charge of the them, to clarify, while there could technically be a pre-chorus section (“could” is more likely “is”), for simplicity sake and consistency, I will consider it all as verses. The current pre-choruses adopt the verses’ style for the most part, and overall, simply labeling it all as verses would be more coherent. Finally listing the members responsible for the verses, specifically with the first, Sunggyu, L, Sungjong, and Hoya are the ones. For the second verse, Sungyeol and Woohyun, and lastly, for the final verse (not including the conclusion), Sunggyu handles it alone.  

Addressing the sonic component to the verses, though practically all three variate, a general aspect holds: lower, rhythmic singing. This proves effective as a soothing quality is attached, and furthermore, with the rest of the song being in higher pitches, the verses allow “The Chaser” as a whole to possess variety in terms of the song’s pitch ranges. Now, though hearing the lower notes is pleasing, the vocals’ style and delivery are a bit weaker: a nasally, robotic-like demeanor is showcased during the verses. While the pitch of the singing remains unchanged from this style, it does hinder the verses as a monotonous tune becomes established, and thus, a dynamic melody is absent. Nevertheless, it is not entirely impairing, and towards the end of verses, standard, lively singing does occur to redress the earlier monotone vocals.

For the structural side, similar to the introduction, even if the first layer is underwhelming, this component can be considered solid. Progression, for example, is one promising feature. Verses begin with lower notes, but gradually, the notes becomes higher, and in addition, quickening paces of lyrics and even instrumental occur. Furthermore, the final line provided a finishing touch via a crisp, clean and prominent line. Due to this setup, the verses remain versatile; as the usual verse, it allows the song to progress, but in terms of the missing sections, the pre-choruses, though transparent pre-choruses lack, the role of transitioning to the chorus is still met in credit to the verses becoming invigorated in a gradual manner. As for another significant point, the verses are highly diverse. Though this may be due to overly generalizing sections as all verses, all of them variate from the other; no verses are the same. The second one, as an example, remains more higher pitched and fast paced, and for an opposite case, the final verse takes the route of being exceptionally passive. Once accounting for each verse’s uniqueness, high appeal is garnered from such.

Above average once more returns. Although the vocals are moreover average, the structural side of having individuality per verse and flawless progression allows the sections to flourish overall.

3. Chorus: 8/10 – Arguably the most captivating part of “The Chaser.” Infinite as a whole sings for them, though for a few choruses Sunggyu and Woohyun both have solo spotlight.

Mechanically, many factors are worth praising: the power, melody, flow, pacing, for a few. Overall, the choruses in “The Chaser” are fantastic. Deconstructing the attributes, the men display a highly dynamic and flowing melody. In contrast to the verses, the utilized pitches are higher, but additionally, with the constant use of note stretches, extra emphasis and accentuation occurs for the melody; the sung lines are seemingly even more harmonious since a longer duration exists, and with the pacing being more complex than standard, linear words, the melody also has more flow. As for the mentioned trait of power, with all seven members contributing, vastly impactful vocals are gleaned. Combined with the melodic note stretches, the added layer of power simply refines the vocals to an even higher merit. Summarized, the mechanical layer unveils impressive vocal skills that are exceptionally seducing.

Miraculously, the choruses are also captivating in the realm of its structure. Meeting the traditional role of a chorus is seen via the section serving as a climactic point in the song, as distinguished by its intensity of high notes and power, and of course, the unison singing. Ignoring this characteristic, for the more pressing points, homogeneous to the verses, multiple versions of the chorus exist: unison ones, a mixture of solo and unison, and even more in depth, each chorus maintains its own exclusiveness in terms of intensity, pacing, and other musical aspects. As a result, appeal endlessly cycles as every chorus possesses its own charms.

With splendid singing and an equally impressive structural side, this score will be on the higher side. The choruses in “The Chaser” are solid.

4. Rap: 7/10 – Rap sections are conducted by, as hinted in the Vocals section, both Dongwoo and Hoya.

Before elaborating on the duo’s vocals, peering at the structural layer to the rapping sections, the raps perfectly blend in with “The Chaser.” Considering the placement of the raps is after the choruses, a section that is rather intensive and energetic, the raps are able to easily continue the trend; raps are generally faster paced, and overall, relatively energetic, and thus, in the scenario of “The Chaser” ‘s choruses, the rapping sections can be rendered equal to the choruses in terms of intensity. The outcome from the raps’ placement is a proper, smooth and seamless transition from chorus and eventually back into a verse. Therefore, the rapping sections deserve much credit for this subtle detail. Glancing at the raps themselves, Dongwoo and Hoya’s raps maintain variety through fluctuation of pacing and power; the two’s rapping alter in speed so that lines are not linear, and for power, different portions carry different levels of emphasis and presence.

And with pacing and power stated, those traits carry their benefits for the mechanical layer. Multiple pacings and adapting surges of power allow the raps to constantly remain enticing musically as there are no moments of staleness. Also, for another gained positive side, the melody is able to thrive due to the rap being malleable. If the raps were straightforward, the melody would have to replicate such, but with the rap adopting an adapting concept, the melody would have to be equally dynamic to follow suit. Lastly, the rappers’ vocals deserve highlight for stability; despite the constant fluctuations and changes, the vocals consistently prevail with quick, melodic rapping.

Another high score will anticipatedly be given. Above average returns. The sonic piece along with the structural are both respectable. Solid rapping is in place.

5. Conclusion (Verse): 6/10 – If correct, this may be the shortest Sections I have yet to write (though not complaining as this review is multiple days behind and I am forcing myself to finish it in one session). On topic, with the conclusion, Infinite as a group concludes the song.

Unfortunately, the streak of higher scores does come to an end. In terms of the conclusion’s sonic side, though the vocals emulate the first verse’s singing, there is a significant change: the instrumental is ramped up as if it were at the chorus, and similarly, the vocals are also more hyped. An absurd contrast spawns from this pairing as the singing takes the form of lower noted, tedious and robotic-like vocals, but the overall tone creates expectancy of standard, intenser singing, such as the one at the choruses. Thus, with this, the mechanical layer does falter from the created contrast.

Positively, however, concluding the song is still accomplished. Duration plays a critical role as the conclusion allows “The Chaser” to naturally fade slowly rather than forcing an abrupt, harsh ending. Rather than entirely stripping the song’s intensity, playing it out in a very slightly calmer fashion, and ultimately, using a distinctive closing mark, as given by the final, consecutive beats, allows the song to end properly and smoothly.

Unlike the prior scores, this one does partially fall. Slightly above average will hold. Accounting for the difficult task of ending “The Chaser” properly, the song does do so, though it could have been more musically pleasing.

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Seven members are in Infinite, and since the group’s quantity does not live up to its name is nothing unusual, ignoring questionable attempts at humor, I foresee a decent score.

Beginning with the group’s leader, Sunggyu, his lines are at the first verse, the second chorus, and the third verse. Three sections is his count, and with his role of being one of the main vocalists, this number is welcoming. No issues should exist on his part.

For the next member, Dongwoo, his spotlight appears at solely his rap, and thus, one will be his numerical count. Assuming the rest of the members provide a bridge between him and Sunggyu, no severe problem will be in place, though admittedly one for a count is rather low.

Continuing with the rapping members, for Hoya, his lines are at his rap sections, as expected, but also at the first verse due to his single contributed line. Two will be his count, and thus, assuming the remaining members balance out, current disparities should be minor.

Woohyun, Infinite’s other main vocalist, has his sections at the second verse and the final chorus. Two, like Hoya, will be his numerical value. As of now, there will be no problems.

Sungyeol’s lines consist of the second verse. Strangely, that is all, though considering Dongwoo also had one section, this should not be a pressing matter. Nevertheless, a final check will confirm.

For L, one section is also his value as the first verse was his spotlight. If the remaining member also contributes a one, the current disparity may prove menacing.

Sungjong does, sadly, contribute to the disparity as the first verse is his sole section. Since a few members are in the higher range and many are in the lower range, the discrepancy may cost the Line Distribution score.

Delivering an overall score for their distribution, even with the unison singing occurring, there is a notable imbalance: one member possesses three sections; four members possess one section; two members possess two sections. With the average, perfect distribution being one or two lines, against my personal concerns, the current distribution is not overly split. If Sunggyu lost one line, the group would be perfect as four members would have two sections and the remaining three members with one. In this perspective, a higher score will be granted. Nine will hold well as the group nearly meets a perfect share of sections.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – Focusing on the instrumental in “The Chaser,” many genres would be viable: pop, electronic, and rock. Though the accurate label would be pop since, obviously, “The Chaser” carries a prominent K-Pop tone, in terms of how those descriptions translate into the song’s instrumental, for the mechanical layer, the instrumental is quite diverse. Focusing on the three main qualities, the electronic sounds grant “The Chaser” its overarching atmosphere and melody; the “pop” in “The Chaser” derives from such, and the electronic sounds provides the main melody in which the song follows. Furthermore, despite being electronic-based, it retains a rather melodic trait versus being that of catchiness. As for the electric guitar, it provides an irreplaceable role to the instrumental’s mechanical layer: transitions are granted from such (will be more addressed in the structural side), and for moments of intensity, the electric guitar utterly suits those times along with simply providing its own delightful, rigorous tune.

For the structural layer, returning to the mentioned topic of transitions, for “The Chaser” in its entirety, the instrumental provides the usual foundation of creating clear transitions between sections. Other roles are also met, such as properly syncing to the vocals. Sections with calmer, slower singing, such as the verses, for example, are met with a soundtrack that is also promoting an identical trend. With that, variety is also gleaned for the soundtrack as it alternates between more passive segments and more active ones.

Surprisingly, a higher score will be in place. The instrumental fulfills its standard roles, but for what is most extraordinary, the mechanical layer is exceptional. Diversity appears, and overall, the instrumental is extremely mechanically enchanting with its unique traits and excellent meshing with vocals.

– Meaning: 5/10 – It is midnight as of the time I am writing this sentence, and thus, I do hope my writing does not progressively worsen to the point of incoherence. Focusing on “The Chaser,” and humorously, exactly on “The Chaser” in terms of the title, the song does spark questions: what will the plot be, and who, or what, is “the chaser.” Ending hopeless inquiries, to deliver an answer to the song’s meaning, the following Korean-to-English translations will provide such. As repeated in all reviews, the given lyrics are certainly not 100% accurate. In fact, a few lines are technically untranslatable; after asking a friend, she clarified that a few lines at the verses are, simply put, cheers versus that of actual words and meaning. Therefore, rough translations of those cheers will be given:

Don’t be sorry, you can abandon me spitefully and leave
If that’s what you want, yeah, goodbye
But that doesn’t mean I have given up too
My love wins
Let’s go, go first, carry on
Be strong, I will win her back
Even if you’re ahead for a bit, I will catch up

Protect her, so she won’t forget me
I will go till the end to the place where my person is

Forget it, I knelt down and beat my heart
that paused in front of the words of separation
Go away, I drag myself, who is burnt with sadness
that is like rotten firewood
Why is your cooled heart making my heart race
and wander every day?
I’m calling you, making myself stronger with love

Let’s go, go first, carry on
Be strong, I will win her back
Even if I’ll hurt for a bit, I will smile once again

Protect her, so she won’t forget me
I will go till the end to the place where my person is
Narrow the streets so I can catch you
I will risk everything to find my person

Yes, I tried to cast you out with a spiteful heart
As I trampled on my instincts,
my obsession toward you became faint
And I’m calling it all love once again
Again today, I can’t let you go or cut you out
As if I’m possessed, I chase after you, who is filled in my eyes

I’m sorry girl, I don’t ever want to let go of the line that is you
But it’s okay because I will turn back your heart
It’s not a big deal even if my heart is ripped apart

Protect her, so she won’t forget me
I will go till the end to the place where my person is
My heart is like that, I only know one thing
So even though it is bent and in pain, it will love you

Don’t be sorry, you can abandon me spitefully and leave
If that’s what you want, yeah, goodbye
But that doesn’t mean I have given up too

Returning to the lyrics after pitifully sleeping after all, “The Chaser” depicts a main character who, based on one of Infinite’s interviews, is in despair over love (for a side note, I find it interesting that, from the group’s interpretation, the same main character is used for all of their songs; essentially, all of their songs are of this fictional character and thus, a somewhat thorough story does exist). Offering an overarching summary, the main character had their love-interest “abandon” him, and now, in response, he is unable to find peace as his heart continually chases her, hence the title of “The Chaser.”

Providing a deeper perspective to the lyrics, the main character accepts his love-interest’s abandonment; after all, he claims: “Don’t be sorry, you can abandon me spitefully and leave. If that’s what you want, yeah, goodbye.” Nevertheless, despite a more mature outward appearance, on the inside, he “has not given up,” and after cheering himself on, vows to “win her back,” from supposedly, another person who is “ahead” of the main character (the Critical Corner will discuss this idea, and the upcoming one, in much depth). As such, the boy begs his love-interest’s current partner to “protect her, so she won’t forget [him]” and that he will “go till the end to the place where my person is,” even if she is already with someone else. Other details are included, especially the raps of thoroughly describing his feelings, but overall, simplistically, “The Chaser” merely sheds a story of a boy losing his love-interest, and as a result, is now figuratively “chasing” her to win her love back since his affection for her is relentless.

Though I do adore the raps for being compact yet incredibly detailed, the remaining lyrics are overly basic, and for the story as a whole, the same applies. Thus, average will sadly be the score. The musical component to  “The Chaser” may be phenomenal, but the lyrics do not equally hold to the previous standards.

– “Critical Corner”: Now to have fun with the lyrics, while this section will not influence the score, it would be ignorant and pitiful to ignore the deeper, critical messages of the song. First, the concept of “winning her back” (or “him,” though it is usually “her,” as will be explained later) is one that needs to be challenged and analyzed closely. Harshly stated, for the more blatant layer, if someone fails to reciprocate equal feelings, rather than attempting to “win” them back as if they were trophies, moving on and proceeding with life would be the more realistic route. Jocularly, even the men of Infinite have stated a similar idea to this recurring main character: “[The main character] is really desperate.”

Diving into the more serious subject, the lyrics in “The Chaser” are not foreign; the concept of “winning” love-interests, most prominently done by males, is one that is rather rife. This is not a mistake; males have been socialized to view themselves as superior, and these acts of “flirting” merely perpetuate that standard, even if unintended or unrecognized. Explaining, too often males view dating as not an intimate bond and connection, but instead, a game: dating is about “owning” and “winning” a lady, not having genuine love and compassion. This is seen in “The Chaser” via the male character attempting to win her back from her current partner, almost as if she were a trophy or toy to be tossed around. Instead of viewing and respecting her and her current relationship, the male character views her as, stated earlier, a game of “winning” her love, not a human. Furthemore, if not explicit yet on how a poor standard exists, the “protecting” piece will showcase the current issue blatantly.

While many would argue it is romantic to feel “safe” because of a partner, I would argue that the “safe” in this context should not be of physical protection, but rather, one of emotional and financial stability. Manipulating an example, to use myself in a hypothetical situation, I will conjure up the idea that I have a girlfriend. She, however, is rather protective, and of course, utilizing society’s standards, it will be considered that she is romantic by doing so. After all, if any females happen to touch me, or in fact, speaks with me, she would exclaim “hands off, he’s mine,” and from there, proceed with physically harming those females who interacted with me. Quite sweet. If my sarcasm has yet to be picked up, this scenario will sound familiar. Even from the female’s perspective, the same concept applies: a boy is protective and harms every other male that interacts with said female. 

This, sadly, once deconstructed, is far from romance. I would not desire my hypothetical girlfriend to harm other females. (Now, in the very rare incidents of needing actual protection from a partner, that falls within a standard category of safety, and thus, to clarify, this scenario I am discussing is one where a partner feels the constant need to protect.) Furthermore, besides the issue of safety of others, there is a very clear, pressing issue from this behavior: ownership. If I had a partner who acted aggressively in attempts to “protect” me, in truth, it would not be her displaying care and affection and therefore protection, but sadly, ownership of me. Therefore, the protection concept, as seen in the song, is not one of romance, it is of dominance and possession, and with how society socializes genders, males are often time the ones performing said “protecting.” Clarifying once more, if a situation arises for genuine protection, that is a different context, and of course, it is not harmful to have a partner feel even  more romantic for giving a protecting vibe as long as it does not extend to the point of control and ownership, and that genuine love, respect, and care are established as the primary, largest romantic aspects.  

I will link my review on “Channel Fiestar” for those curious on related topics. Sexism (and other oppressions), disturbingly, does appear even in the realm of dating, and thus, I urge readers to constantly bear a critical, open mind. The “romantic” lyrics in “The Chaser,” once stripped to its core, are not full of love and affection, but instead, ones that are filled with the identical, inequitable standards of society: males are to dominant females and are to act superior. Thus, this is why the “Critical Corner” exists, to showcase to readers why being wary and critical is vital. Rather than having listeners continue to perpetuate the scenario in “The Chaser,” being critical allows the truth to be seen, and as a result, to cease the endless cycle of female objectification, and overall, to begin a more humane route. After all, if males were taught gender equitable ideas and ushered such, “winning” females would halt, and instead, sincere affection would take place. It is frustrating to witness boys become enraged and obsessive at females for “leading them on” when, once critically deciphered, gender inequities are to blame for this type of behavior (a “win” relationship causes this reaction; after “investing” so much into a female as if she were a machine, the output would be a relationship, but with females being humans and thus not following through, males negatively react as they are taught they would receive a “win,” a date).

Before finally closing this section, on the subject of “leading on,” for readers who have had this incident, male or female (though as stated, it generally falls towards females as males are the ones socialized as the “better” gender), guilt should never occur. There is no obligation to play a shameful game of dating, and therefore, “repaying” their kindness, and more accurately, exaggerated kindness of subtle sexism, is not ever necessary (and the topic of “friendzone” does come to mind, though I will redirect readers to the linked review of “Channel Fiestar” for more depth).

As an overall point, human decency should always be in place. Never should a person be “owned” in a relationship. Equitable standards need to be pushed for as, without it, constant harassment in the specific scenario of flirting and dating will forever occur.

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – Leaving a comical comment, I do wish the writing that takes place when I am digressing on social topics occurs for when I am writing in a musical lens. Ignoring this, for a lens that is not of musical but rather visual, the choreography of “The Chaser” is splendid.

Every movement in “The Chaser” syncs to a musical component via the beats or even flow. For examples, the verses’ dance connect to the slower, heavier beats with similar paced motions, but for the choruses, a more hyped and powerful dance occurs to reciprocate the song’s intensity. With high precision apparent for the group’s syncing, the choreography becomes stunning and visually alluring.

As for the key points, the choreography remains properly complex; it is neither too simple or too perplexing. Every section utilizes a different formation from the other, and even on the inner levels of the same section (chorus, verse), each one still differs. Like the choruses in the song utilizing different versions per chorus, the dance is also unique per each one, and thus, high appeal is in place as many dances are new. Adding on, though related to the category of syncing, every key point proves fitting for its accommodating sonic component. Utilizing a visible example, for the second chorus with the members kneeling down, in addition to providing new, diverse key points, it also renders as perfectly suiting considering the song did indeed possess a pause.

With a very powerful, beautiful, energetic and reflective dance, a higher score will be gained. “The Chaser” manages to contain a dance is as equally charming as the song, if not even more.

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Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – With the average being rounded up to an eight, it signifies “The Chaser” is a solid song, one worthy of praise. Personally, I do agree to it, and in fact, the Song Score would have been even more than “above average” if the lyrics were slightly better. Nevertheless, as stated much earlier, “The Chaser” is a highly admirable song, and one I have personally very much enjoyed.

With the end being here, I will leave an apology of a delayed review. This time, however, it is not due to freely slacking off, but as mentioned, I did graduate from high school, and thus, had to spend a day doing so and afterwards I did decide to relax a bit. Eight reviews is still in mind, and with six left, I will optimistically claim it is still possible to do so, though admittedly shortcuts will be taken in the form of album reviews if need be. I have received two requests, and I will hurriedly begin and publish them quite soon. There are readers who do genuinely desire to read my writing, and thus, with that, thank you for reading this review, and for the requesters, thank you for sending in requests. Huge motivation exists from such, and of course, knowing people are willing to spend time to read my reviews is a high honor I am exceptionally grateful for.

Before forgetting, to address a bit on how I do feel about graduating, I am excited for university, and for those curious, I may track my experience with it via posts (or at least for those who are anxious for their own year, I will be able to offer my upcoming experience in a question-and-answer). It is a new experience that I am welcoming, and knowing it is the start to beginning a future career path that I do feel passionately for, I am excited. However, for what I do feel sorrowful about, I will miss teachers, professor and classmates, but of course, visits will occur (and the factor of student teaching), and overall, though I may not see those I miss often, it is better to cherish the positives of the growth and maturity they helped me gain. I cannot express enough thanking for my teachers and professor.

As for one final side note, a few more subtitled videos are coming. Particularly those fans of Fiestar, I have two videos for uploading (one left in fact), and therefore, I do hope they are enjoyable. Also, before entirely finishing, I will leave another apology: the writing and analysis in this review was poor. Infinite’s “The Chaser” is an excellent song, and while I gave proper enlightenment of such through the ratings, explaining so is not as solid. The two upcoming requested reviews will redress this.

Thank you once more for reading this review. SEVENTEEN’s “Adore U” will be released between two to four days, and after that review, KARA’s “Cupid” will follow suit with a similar timeline as well. Once those are finished, assuming no other requests are sent, I will perhaps add multiple album reviews for the sake of time, and if dedication is truly with me, a show review may also be done. “I will go till the end to the place where my person is,” of whom are readers, and though “my heart is like that, I only know one thing”: “it will love you.” Stay tuned for the upcoming review of “Adore U,” and for, hopefully, less cringe-inducing conclusions.

I’d like to request Seventeen’s song “Adore U” for review! I feel like there are too many members in the group for my liking, but I think they’re worth checking out if you haven’t listened to the song yet!

I will certainly review this song, and humorously, your claim of “too many members” is not an understatement: thirteen members are in it, the highest I have ever known in a group (and I thought the original roster of EXO with twelve members was overly crowded). 

Ignoring that aspect, the song has both its pros and cons, but of course, I will need more time to deconstruct it. Thus, I will not instantly review it, but certainly, after three or so days, I will begin the review (and then three days after for when the review will be published). As such, Infinite’s “The Chaser” will be reviewed first, and considering how I currently have formatted the song, it will be a much shorter write than most reviews. 

With all of that stated, thank you very much for the request. I highly appreciate it, and I am also grateful for it being a male group as I will not have to deviate my current plans (I have received multiple feedback that more male groups for review is desired, and thus, I am following through). On another note, though to be more addressed in the review, I have been hearing news of how one of SEVENTEEN’s member faced much racial discrimination for being half Korean and White, and for readers familiar with me, shying away from sensitive topics is not a part of my agenda. My review of the men will cover that specific subject.

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While I am at it, I will also reply to comments:

Hi, I’m Rick! It’s been a long time since I write something in your cozy blog. Thanks for answering all my questions and make ‘Ah Yeah’ review, it means too much for me. I’ll wait the ‘promising review’ with impatience. <<Continues next post>>

<<Continues here>> The review, I agree with all you wrote about the song, just average. But I wanna emphasize how you described EXID, like unique and admirable, which is what I love of them. Of course, I also love ‘Every Night’ although I like more the original version than the second. The strategy that they use to become famous is identical to AOA’s last year, so I hope the third comeback was so brilliant like ‘Like A Cat’ EP was. Thanks for your opinion, good luck.

Hello Rick, and you’re welcome, though I will say you deserve the thanking as you were the one to send in a request (along with the first requester), and for overall, being very supportive of this blog. 

As for the second half of your comment, the original “Every Night” is still incredibly solid, and from what I can tell, the difference between the two is the bridge: LE’s rapping or Solji’s intenser singing. Both are definitely solid, and in many ways, I do find myself drifting back and forth, but personally, though LE’s bridge rap in the original is exceptional, the two-part singing and Solji’s captivating, powerful singing wins me over. 

In terms of commenting on EXID’s popularity rise, in truth I am not quite familiar with EXID’s releases. If correct, they have released a few songs which were then followed with “Every Night,” “Up & Down,” and to current times, “Ah Yeah.” Relating AOA’s rise to EXID, in the context of releases, it can be seen: AOA began to consecutively build up popularity and “Like a Cat” managed to be a climactic point, and for EXID, that is also seen as they seem to have hit a popular peak with “Ah Yeah.” However, for where AOA does differ, EXID’s popularity did have a spike increase: Hani’s classic fancam. If it were not for that video, EXID would truthfully still be classified as an unpopular group. AOA, on the other hand, simply slowly climbed the K-Pop industry ranks and eventually made it into the higher tiers via “Like a Cat.” 

Regardless, however, both groups can be considered quite popular, and I would confidently claim both are desiring of such. Now if only I had my own “Hani-fancam-popularity-spike” (On a serious note, though that would be great, and admittedly, I am a bit disappointed with the lower views for my review of “Ah Yeah,” as I always believe, even from the start of the blog, it is moreover the quality that matters rather than a large viewer population; after all, the lack of views on my latest review is perhaps due to my poorer writing, and thus, improvement will have to occur for popularity to equally increase).

On topic, thank you very much for giving so much support for the blog. I highly appreciate your requests, feedback, opinions, and your time reading my reviews. 

EXID – “Ah Yeah” Review

EXID – Ah Yeah (Dance Practice)

EXID – Ah Yeah

Reviewed on June 5, 2015

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Personal Message: EXID’s “Ah Yeah” has been requested twice: nearly a month ago, and additionally, a few days ago as another reader sent in a request (and I have yet to respond publically as of the time I wrote this sentence). However, for the first requester, I am incredibly sorry for the longest delay I have created. My schedule has not been friendly for reviews, though that is no excuse for the ridiculous delay of a month. As such, I will attempt to deliver a promising review to compensate, but of course, I will need to genuinely begin fixing my rate. To deliver some positivity, considering summer break will occur very soon, I will have much free time, and thus, reviews will, hopefully, return to the rate of two per week, and that would be incredibly enlightening. But, with attending university afterwards, I will definitely have to create a consistent and viable review schedule. While education has first priority, ensuring this blog still continues and improves is one of my personal agendas.

Focusing on this review and EXID, I am in truth quite excited. EXID holds an interesting position: though I am not an utter fan of their songs (I still do enjoy them), the ladies themselves have won my affection. Although the famous “fancam” of Hani (“fancam” is a focused recording of one idol) launched the group into popularity, and arguably, the higher tiers of said popularity in the K-Pop industry, EXID remains incredibly, if the term may be used, down-to-earth. While that may be due to reflecting and understanding their personal hardships when the group was practically unknown, or perhaps since the ladies themselves are very modest and humble, EXID remains as one of the very few groups that are genuine and open about themselves, of which is a highly brave feat considering public scrutiny.

More clearly phrased, rather than acting or appearing as the standard, perfect idols, the members opt to be truthful. Many humorous, or to a few, disturbing, moments are leaked from their honesty. Key examples include Hyerin shyly and hesitantly admitting the group only attended a show due to it being on their schedule (though afterwards she added that it was also to “receive love and show off charms”), and most commonly, Hani’s filter, or lack thereof, and thus, her comical responses regardless of how absurd a topic, such as “bowel movements” or revealing a pungent dorm. As many readers familiar with my reviews may know, similar to Hani, I strongly believe in pure honesty and do not believe “filters” should exist (minus some exemptions). As such, I highly admire her acts and openness, especially when considering, as mentioned, the risk of public criticism.

On another note, with the subject of challenging norms, for a more serious discussion (and, predictably, feel free to skip to the review now), while EXID deters away from the usual K-Pop group behavioral norms, the ladies also challenge more critical ones: gender norms. Using Hani once more as an example, as many familiar with her may know, she is often time considered “tomboyish” (and as a side note, I heavily loathe this word as it promotes androcentrism and gender norms; notice that “tomgirlish” is nonexistent, and if it does for a male, it is in the form of just “girly” and typically used as a degradement while “tomboyish” is used to merely describe characteristics, not as an insult, and overall, gender norms are established). Correcting the label, Hani does blatantly showcase something utterly desirable: a gender equitable mindset. Through possessing both “masculine” and “feminine” traits and displaying such openly on broadcast, the idea of gender restricted behavior becomes disengaged as attributes are no longer associated with gender, but instead, are based on a person themself. Therefore, the labels of masculine and feminine are stripped away as behavior is simply behavior; rather than claiming a person is “feminine” or “masculine,” and more poisonously, expected to follow through with such, Hani provides an example of how behavior should be bereft of gender influence. (For another discussion, if time permits, I will explain my personal opinion of “feminine” and “masculine” and that, overall, the labels in themselves are not bad, but rather, the current social connotations are the issues).

For more direct examples, Solji and LE, though embarrassed from the topic, confidently gave insight on their opinions of the most attractive body part for males (or at least Solji did and LE supported her claim): hips. Precisely, however, Solji progressed from male hips to, eventually, thoroughly admitting male butts were what she found to be the most attractive. If that in itself is not blunt for challenging gender norms, LE elaborated with their belief of how, summarized, “both boys and girls need to have pretty butts.” Now though seemingly minor (and in fact, I do hope readers find this situation minor due to already having a gender equitable mindset), this claim wholeheartedly reinforces gender equity. Generally solely females are scrutinized for appearances, and furthermore, with one specific example, butts, since that is also generally purely rendered as a “feminine” beauty trait (in a future review, socialized beauty and sexual attraction will be concepts to deconstruct). Akin to my prior review on CLC’s “Pepe,” with the Personal Message in that review discussing shaving and my personal opinion of it in a social realm, Solji and LE are promoting a homogenous idea: femininity should be equal to masculinity, as set by their claim of how males should be equally held to standards of females in the form of having “pretty butts.” To save time, for readers curious on this topic, I will recommend reading the previous review for further understanding and explanation.

To now venture onto a new topic I have yet to discuss, I have never quite expanded on why challenging gender norms, and moreover, social issues, is essential, and thus, I will now explain so. Delivering a personal story, as being intimate with readers is always necessary, a week or so ago, while I was thankfully not the target, a classmate was; a classmate was being insulted, quietly (which is better than outrageous yellings), by some males: “Oh he’s queer.” Although nothing physical or direct took place (my reason for not confronting these males), muffled laughter and pure ignorance did occur. Explaining why my classmate, of whom is a heterosexual (he has openly stated such and has a female partner; assumptions of sexual orientation can and should never be made), was accused and mocked for being “queer,” he wore a pink dress shirt and had some flashy shades. On the sole basis of appearance, and of course, the lack of education on important social topics, the two males automatically followed what they knew: society’s norms.

Returning to challenging social issues and relating the short event, if social issues are never questioned, these types of incidents will constantly occur, and this personal incident is in the luckiest form; in regular cases, the situation could have easily escalated to direct insults, and expectedly, physical confrontations. After all, females being sexually assaulted, homosexuals being murdered, and equally killed, members of minoritized races, are all due to the lack of challenging and caring of social issues. Scoping back on the more specific incident, what my classmate did is nothing erroneous at all; wearing pink and fancier shades, as a male, does not constitute insults. Unfortunately, due to current ways of society, it does, and thus, this is why caring for social issues matters: people who do not fit into incredibly restrictive, unmalleable social norms will face consequences that otherwise would be nonexistent if everyone cared and challenged the current inequitable norms so that, one day, social norms are ones that promote equity, not punishment and ostracizing for those who fail to conform (and of whom simply cannot “conform”; minoritized races cannot and should not turn into the dominant race, homosexuals cannot become heterosexuals, and more).

Bringing in EXID, if reasons for admiring their deviation from gender norms is not yet justified, simply put, with the five ladies being incredibly popular, and therefore, influential, their acts are additionally potent with providing society examples of how to behave, and in their case, gender equitable behavior is what is advertised. If society is to progress towards a more equitable state, steps against the current inequities of society must first be made, and that is, blatantly, a difficult task, though one that is essential.

Since this Personal Message is all over the place, rather than introducing more social topics and concepts in one review, I will bring in cohesion by only addressing one per review. That said, for my next review, and perfect timing with the upcoming group, I will be discussing makeup, and more specifically, males using makeup (since it is related to the idea of deviating away from social norms, and personally, is a subject that is close to me; also, this does mean a male group will be reviewed).

Returning to “Ah Yeah” in a musical sense, though EXID has already appeared on my blog due to a post regarding TMZ and them, I am glad to finally be reviewing a song by the group. I have been listening to many of their songs, such as “Pat Pat” (the result of mixing hip-hop and ballad) and “Without U,” and furthermore, “Every Night” (though the second version), and while their songs are not utterly infatuating (“Every Night” might be the exemption; the second version is incredibly admirable), most are still satisfying. Focusing on “Ah Yeah” specifically, while I personally do render their previous release of “Up & Down” as the better song, “Ah Yeah” still holds its own assuming certain weak points are ignored. With that, this review will determine whether “Ah Yeah” is an “ah yeah” song or an “oh no” one.

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Song Score: 6/10 (5.8/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 6/10 – While EXID cohesively is a very balanced group in terms of vocals, on a more individual level, members vary with vocal capabilities: in the lens of  “Ah Yeah,” LE, Hyerin, and Solji disclose solid vocals, and conversely, Hani and Junghwa with the weaker vocals (in another context, both are still decent singers).

In terms of the main vocalists, to first highlight a unique trait of the two, Hyerin and Solji continue their lovely trend from “Up & Down”: solid chemistry. Both members’ vocals augment one another due to possessing similar styles and by possessing lines right after the other. In “Ah Yeah,” Hyerin provides the opening for prominent and melodic vocals, and Solji follows suit, though to a higher caliber. Their level of synergy vastly aids the song’s vocals as, once the choruses arrive, exceptionally solid, explosive, and well coordinated vocals exist. Now to focus moreover on the individual layer, ignoring their teamwork, Hyerin, while not up to par with Solji, still holds an equal role of being a main vocalist: her singing remains incredibly stable, even in the context of more demanding and powerful singing. For Solji, while the latter attributes are also possessed, as mentioned, it is to a higher caliber; Hyerin’s singing is replicated but further refined as higher notes are showcased, a stronger presence is delivered, and a slightly more lively tune is given. Nevertheless, both ladies offer “Ah Yeah” desirable, pleasing vocals, and in many ways, the most significant singing that occurs is from the two.

Addressing the other members, for EXID’s rapper, LE, her vocals, while mechanically peculiar, are still respectable, and overall, can be rendered as equal to Hyerin and Solji. Elaborating, with LE providing the rapping moments to “Ah Yeah,” the utilized vocals for delivering the rap remain enticing: melodic yet impactful vocals are used. In fact, her nasally voice that I have come to love improves her vocals rather than the predicted outcome of worsening it. A distinctive tune is granted due to her voice, and thus, the rapping’s melody and flow are innately affected positively as a lighter, hasty style is attached. Furthermore, an impacting sensation is given; LE’s voice, even if on the nasally side, still discloses a direct and heavier tone, and thus, the rapping’s vocals remain highly appealing.

Finally focusing on the weaker vocals of “Ah Yeah,” both Hani and Junghwa impair the song’s vocals’ rating. The two adopt a highly absurd and almost abstract sound, and in a few ways, are antitheses to Hyerin and Solji; instead of possessing melodic, stronger vocals, Hani and Junghwa unveil lifeless and frail singing. Diving into specifics, the shown vocals are simply exaggeratedly high pitches. Whether it is Hani’s verses or Junghwa’s pre-choruses, their vocals are simplistic high and hollow notes. Very minimal appeal exists as there is no dynamic melody, and the strange hollowness that occurs further accentuates their lack of melody.

Overall, for an overarching rating, slightly above average will hold. Solji, Hyerin, and LE carry the pleasing vocals, and the remaining members, Hani and Junghwa, lug the more distasteful vocals.

– Sections: 5/10 (5/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 5/10 – An outside voice is responsible for the introduction. Also, while “outside voice” on the basic level is in reference to vocals outside of a group, I would like to include “creepy” along that.

On that note, mechanically, the introduction is far from alluring; a whispering male voice, one that is not attracting, composes the a vast portion of the mechanical aspect. No singing occurs as this voice is stating basic phrases, and regardless, the voice itself is incredibly dull. As for the instrumental, heavier beats play, but similar to the voice, it also remains plain.

For some positive features of the introduction, besides reiterating how society needs more female voice actors and shoutcasters “Ah Yeah” does own an extremely unique and effective start, and as a result of such, structurally, the adopted style lures in listener. Elaborating, the unknown voice creates curiosity as, blatantly, seldom are eerie voices used in songs, let alone an introduction. Additionally, for the instrumental, with very basic sounds at use, room for expansion exists, and thus, attention is snatched as listeners are now intrigued at how “Ah Yeah” could progress.

Overall, though “Ah Yeah” ‘s type of introduction is incredibly unique, and in many ways, still effective, the mechanical side does impair it. Miraculously, average will hold as the rating considering how enticing the section is. After all, many would naturally be curious on how a song progresses after lines of “Where do you live, do you live alone?”

2. Verse: 4/10 – For the first time in reviews, I will not be following a chronological order. While the post-chorus does occur promptly after the introduction, due to the standard context of it being after the chorus, for the purpose of simplicity, I will skip over the first post-chorus and begin with the verse. And with that, Hani is responsible for all of them.

On topic, partially leaked at the Vocals, the singing that occurs for the verses is, in truth, rather poor. While the vocals remain dynamic via fluctuating with tune and pacing, the overarching melody remains pitiful: higher noted, hollow, abstract sounds are showcased. Hani is unequivocally capable of more strenuous lines, but absurdly, in “Ah Yeah,” her verses fail to bring her skills as the singing is incredibly lacking with depth. If more stability and force were added, perhaps the verses would be pleasing. However, with the absence of both of those traits, and instead, hollow, light notes being present, even despite the vocals possessing liveliness, it is all in vain. At most, the earlier vague and ominous tone is continued.

On that note, for the verses on a structural level, the atmosphere is preserved; the style of the introduction’s voice is translated over as Hani replicates such. Though musically unappealing, a connection is established between the stated two sections, and therefore, “Ah Yeah” thrives in the category of possessing a distinctive tone. Ignoring the song’s atmosphere, however, for what does  remain admirable, the verses naturally flow into the rap, and vice-versa for the rap to verse. Highly fluent transitions exist due to such, and furthermore, with an alternating manner, both the verses and raps become additionally appealing considering only tints of both sections are given, and of course, beneficial contrast is given.

Slightly below average will still be the score. The mechanical layer is mediocre (though to clarify once more, Hani’s skills are high; she has many clips showcasing her singing potential) and heavily lowers the score. The verses’ structure of meshing with the raps is what allows them to still be tolerable.

3. Rap: 7/10 – Expectedly for the raps, EXID’s queen rapper (as I biasedly say), LE, is responsible for them. For a side note, if being a phenomenal rapper is not impressive enough, LE is also a song composer. A few examples are EXID’s songs, but also, others groups such as T-ARA’s highly popular “Sugar Free.”

On topic, addressing her rap and not her amazing talents and intelligence, sonically, as anticipated, the raps remain promising. Standard yet desirable rapping traits appear: power, melody, fluency, and flow. Addressing each trait individually, LE’s rapped lines remain infused with presence; despite a shorter time span, her words remain hefty as a bolder, direct demeanor is utilized, and vocally, that is heard as no moments of hesitation or frailty exist. As for melody, her voice mechanically deserves credit: the nasally, lighter pitched vocals work in favor of delivering appealing melodies. Uniqueness holds as one factor, but also, the higher tune granted from such renders as charming. If lower pitches were instead given, the raps’ tune would depreciate as a more sluggish style would hold. Now with that topic, lastly addressing LE’s fluency and flow, the opposite of sluggish holds true: the rap sections flawlessly stream words. As a result, smooth, coherent and crisp rapping becomes showcased as LE’s fluency and flow remains at a high caliber, and overall, those two aspects may be what allows the rapping sections to prevail.

Already partially addressed earlier, for the structural breakdown, in the scope of “Ah Yeah,” the mentioned alternating of rap and verse sections prove effective. A hypothetical example highlights such: the verses and raps could have been their own lengthier sections; Hani could have sung her entire lines, and then LE could have followed suit with no switches. However, doing so would provide a more linear approach, and thus, in the current setup of the two swapping back and forth, specifically with LE’s rap, her sections become augmented as they are not a pure, relentless flow of words, but instead, sprinkles of words, and that minor isolation further highlights the solid features, such as the pacing and power. Now on the individual level, with the rap itself in focus, variety exists in the form of pace changes, and furthermore, the instrumental reflecting the rap’s rhythm also proves suiting.

Not surprisingly, above average holds. The rapping that occurs are phenomenal in both aspects of mechanical and structural.

4. Pre-Chorus: 4/10 – Junghwa is responsible for the main portion of the pre-choruses. LE does, however, assist in terms of adding the final line.

Homogenous to her beloved member of Hani, Junghwa’s contributed vocals are identical; the pre-choruses are granted with the same hollow, lighter noted lines, as heard in the verses. On that note (no pun intended), the pre-choruses are penalized by being bereft of complexity and flexibility. The given melody is exceptionally straight-forward, and as a result, minimal appeal exists in the category of the sections’ sonic layer. Including LE’s line, equally it is lacking, though more understandably as it derives from the post-chorus, of which is moreover statement orientated than of tune.

For the structure, and once more, related to the verse, while the musical component remains lacking, this category holds well. With the pre-choruses opting for an overall lighter tune, the standard role is served: a section hyping for the chorus. For example, Junghwa’s lines and the instrumental create a foundation for “Ah Yeah” as a pausing point exists, and therefore, the ability to transform into a more energetic section, as is the chorus, is possible and natural. Furthermore, LE’s final line further smoothen out the transition: the following words of “ah yeah,” with a lengthier duration, grant the upcoming choruses sufficient spacing from the prior section, and as an outcome, abruptness does not occur.  

Unfortunately, slightly below average will still hold. Like the verses, the mechanical aspect falters heavily, even if the structural side is decent.

5. Chorus: 6/10 – Hyerin and Solji, the main vocalists of EXID, return with an identical setup as the one in “Up & Down”: Hyerin sings the first portion while Solji follows up the remainder.

Needless to say, the sonic layer of the choruses are to a high merit. Both ladies showcase exceptionally captivating melodies, note stretches, and powerful vocals. With their lines, a variating tune is in place; utilized notes, while within the similar range of highs, still fluctuate around. From such, appeal is garnered, especially in the context of the other aspects. Including those traits, to focus on the note stretches, towards the end of certain lines, the members execute a short note stretch. Additional emphasis towards the pleasing melody becomes generated, and additionally, the pacing becomes diverse as the lines now vary in speed. Adding a final aspect, the disclosed potent vocals are more so once complemented with the note stretches as, similar to the melody, doing so allows more power to be developed, and ultimately, displayed.

Switching to the choruses’ structure, though akin to the earlier category, the provided instrumental properly syncs to the section; an equally upbeat instrumental in juxtaposition to the vocals exists. Besides aiding the section’s mechanical layer, for the scope of “Ah Yeah” as a whole, the instrumental provides the song a proper scale of intensity: the choruses in “Ah Yeah” are neither overwhelming nor underwhelming. As such, the standard role of a chorus remains viable as the sections grant “Ah Yeah” a lively, hyped point, but likewise, it is within an appropriate scale as to prevent the choruses from feeling exaggerated or unsuiting to “Ah Yeah” in general. Focusing on the choruses more precisely, lines remain diverse due to the changes of pacing and notes, and while the two members do emulate one another, progression exists and thus, it is not a direct replication; Hyerin’s lines follow a certain route, however, Solji’s lines differ in that, while overall it is similar, Solji provides higher notes and longer note stretches.

Overall, though this section would seemingly deserve a seven as both components are solid, the mechanical aspect fails to possess the extra necessary charms to bring it up to that score. “Up & Down” is a perfect example for what would be desired: their prior song release holds a highly similar chorus to the one in “Ah Yeah,” but it differs in that the sections are moreover melody-orientated than power-oriented, and the latter is what occurs in “Ah Yeah.” Therefore, that change, even if minor, does prevent a seven as the choruses now slightly lack in having a highly captivating melody. Six will be the score as it represents “slightly above average.”

6. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – LE returns in the form of handling all of the post-choruses.

“Ah yeah, ah yeah,” it is time to induce cringes by horrible attempts at humor and puns deconstruct the post-choruses by the structural layer. The post-choruses simply relentlessly loop a phrase: “ah yeah,” if that was not blatant enough. Although the key phrase of the song is given, the post-choruses lack depth; two words are repeated in this section, and thus, complexity is limited. For what minimal positivity does exist, the post-choruses do provide “Ah Yeah” a respectable, natural point of relaxing the song as the prior sections, the choruses, are more energetic and intense. As a result, the upcoming verses seamlessly flow back into the song versus abruptness.

Now for the mechanical layer, equally bleak it is: the occurring singing and instrumental are both plain. Rather than LE contributing her singing vocals (she is a highly capable singer; many forget her versatility of being a solid rapper and singer) or even rapping vocals, casual statements of “ah yeah” are given. Therefore, as covered in the introduction, with minimal musical appeal present, this category will also falter heavily.

Slightly below average will be the score. The structural layer of providing a proper point to recycle the song is admirable, but ignoring that specific trait, both layers are on the poorer side.

7. Bridge: 5/10 – Three members contribute to the bridge: Junghwa, LE, and Solji, all respectively. For a highly irrelevant note, I am rather pleased to find myself being dedicated; though this is the fourth day of writing this review, I have committed each day to working on this review versus, in May, writing every other day or every two days.

On topic with EXID and “Ah Yeah,” and more specifically, the bridge, the section succeeds in one category while slightly faltering in the other. Addressing the mechanical layer–the partially inadequate category, glancing at the members individually, for Junghwa’s lines, though stability is finally unveiled from her unlike the hollowness in the pre-choruses, the melody resides as average; little complexity or intensity exists, and thus, her singing, though now viable, is still relatively plain. Surprisingly, for LE, her minor rapping lines are bereft of her usual strengths, though time is the main culprit. Due to the shorter time window, thoroughly developing the rap becomes a difficult feat, and with such, the previously observed rapping is absent as time is vital to allowing LE to emanate with her usual rapping zeal and prowess. Lastly, for EXID’s most prominent vocalist, Solji, although her singing is not sufficient enough to entirely compensate for her fellow members in the bridge, the section’s mechanical aspect greatly benefits from her: an exceptionally crisp and powerful note hold is revealed. With it, in addition to granting a climactic point in “Ah Yeah,” highly intensive, refined vocals are another gleaned aspect, and of which positively contributes to the mechanical layer. Nevertheless, with the majority of EXID exhibiting duller vocals, this component to the bridge does become lacking.

Predictably, because of earlier words, for the structural component, it is respectable. Variety allows the bridge to flourish: four voices are heard (I will elaborate later), and every said voice retains its own unique attributes. For example, Junghwa’s vocals are aimed at simplistic, calmer singing, LE handles rapping vocals, Solji with outstanding, explosive vocals, and for the mysterious fourth voice, the introduction’s vocals return (and with forgetting to address it, quickly doing so, it does hinder the mechanical as well). Since sound is irrelevant for this component of structural, what remains pressing is the quantity of variety that is showcased; with multiple styles and formats of singing, the bridge excels in the aspect of remaining constantly enticing. Furthermore, though there are four distinctive parts, a natural, flowful progression exists: the more basic singing at the start easily transitions into the rap, the rap then quickens to Solji’s lines, and finally, the ending allows the bridge as an entirety to drift back into “Ah Yeah.”

In the end, unfortunately, average will be the score. While the structure is worthy, the given mechanical layer fails to be equally captivating, even under Solji’s singing, and thus, the score is impaired in that sense.

8. Conclusion: 5/10 – While LE is responsible for the genuine conclusion, the final chorus deserves some highlight in terms of the minimal yet pleasant two-part singing. Nevertheless, the actual, final conclusion itself will be of focus.

Easily phrased, the conclusion is the introduction merged with the post-choruses; lyrics from the post-chorus are used, but the overall format replicates the introduction. Following that, however, it does indicate the conclusion suffers mechanically. Although LE’s charming voice is significantly more pleasing than the introduction’s vocals, it is still, in essence, a whispering, quiet voice muttering a phrase, and thus, no musical appeal exists.

Continuing with the structural side, it is equivalent to the introduction as well in that there are some positive features. Ignoring the negatives of the structure, or practically lack thereof considering it is solely “ah yeah” being looped, for a conclusion, the usual fundamental role is served: concluding the song, anticipatedly. The key phrase is reiterated, becomes lingering, and impressively, is able to have a direct connection with the introduction since, predominantly, solely LE’s voice and the lyrics are what differs, and from such, a blatant end is discreetly implemented, as paradoxical as that may be. Clarifying, with the conclusion replicating the introduction, it marks the end of “Ah Yeah” as, overall, an entire cycle of the song has been played (start point and back to the start point).

Average, like the introduction, will hold. The musically absent aspect may hinder the score, but the basic role of concluding the song gradually and smoothly occur, and furthermore, unique specks are added in the form of how the conclusion emanates a sense of the song restarting.

– Line Distribution: 6/10 – Five members are in EXID, and based on that quantity, I do anticipate a fairly high score for the Line Distribution.

Beginning with EXID’s “crybaby” leader, Solji, an incredibly admirable leader despite her proneness to crying since, obviously, nothing is wrong with such (I am a “crybaby” as well), possesses lines at the three choruses and single bridge. Four will be her total count, and considering she is the main vocalist, and that four has generally been the most preferable, equal number, an enlightening distribution is palpable.

Peering at Hyerin’s lines, EXID’s other main vocalist, though in truth, lead vocalist is the proper label (in a future review, I may discuss group member labels/roles for those confused), has lines at every chorus, and therefore, three will be her total count. Assuming the following members do not deviate from a three or four, no issues will occur.

For the regular vocalists of the ladies, to begin with their beloved member of Hani, her spotlight occurs at all of the verses, and statistically, that leaves her with a count of four. As mentioned, four has been the more promising value and with Hani holding that value, assuming Junghwa and LE are within a similar range of three or four, a very high score is plausible.

Junghwa, on that note, will be gauged. Three is her value: the two pre-choruses and the bridge. A perfect score is currently the rating; Hyerin and Junghwa have three sections while Hani and Solji have four. Assuming LE follows suit with either, a ten would exist for the score.

Disturbingly, a ten for the score may not be possible as LE has been given that ten and an extra; eleven is her total count as she is responsible for three post-choruses, four rap sections, two pre-choruses via one line, and lastly, the bridge and conclusion. Summing the numbers, eleven is her count, and that is absurdly high. Considering the post-choruses, conclusion, and even pre-choruses all increase her value excessively as her lines are merely the two words of “ah yeah,” it is understandable on why this disparity occurred (without those “ah yeah” parts, her total would be five). Nevertheless, for the sake of consistency in reviews and leaving out personal biases, this will lower the score to slightly above average.  

Six will be the Line Distribution grade. Every member excluding LE had perfectly shared lines, but for LE, a large imbalance is in place, though understandably why. If LE’s lines were singing and not rapping, the score would be significantly lower, but thankfully, with her lines being raps and therefore hasty and relatively shorter from such, the score has some leniency. Overall, however, a major disparity is still apparent.  

– Instrumental: 6/10 – If my memory is correct, my initial reaction of “Ah Yeah” was along the idea of “This sounds similar to ‘Up & Down,’ “ and not off was I.

Focusing on the instrumental’s sonic component, the key instrument in “Up & Down” returns: a saxophone (assuming my ignorance on instruments is not at play). With that, originality is granted considering saxophones are seldom used (for the most part in K-Pop songs), but furthermore, with the exclusive, rarer sound, the sonic layer benefits as appeal is higher, and of course, the saxophone itself leaves a pleasing tune. In terms of other mechanical aspects, every section of “Ah Yeah” can be rendered highly. Rhythmic beats occur at the verses, raps, and pre-choruses, and for the more energetic parts, the instrumental follows through via equally showcasing complex, vibrant sounds.

Since sections have been mentioned, for the structural side of the instrumental, the format of how every section in “Ah Yeah” possesses its own unique soundtrack is worthy of praise. Regardless of whether it is the verse, introduction, chorus, or even bridge, the instrumental perfectly accommodates each section: verses are met with calming, simplistic beats while the choruses are complemented with an impactful saxophone, similar to Solji and Hyerin’s singing. As a result, the mechanical aspect prospers, and additionally, it allows each section to remain more appealing as each one carries its own specialty.

Slightly above average will be the rating. Although the instrumental’s structure is quite remarkable and vital to “Ah Yeah,” it very slightly lacks in providing a more alluring sonic component.

– Meaning: 6/10 – If “Ah Yeah” is the continuation of “Up & Down,” and, if memory serves well, the latter song is about a main character feeling “up and down” about a love-interest, and more specifically, the vagueness of whether interest is reciprocated, EXID’s current song of “Ah Yeah” would seem to be a celebration. After all, “ah yeah, ah yeah,” the main character seems to have found their love-interest to be equally interested. However, ignoring personal speculations, through these Korean-to-English translations, the following lyrics will reveal the “true” story (though as stated many times, nothing is ever right or wrong about lyrics and many things in general). Also, the following lyrics are not 100% accurate:

Where do you live? Do you live alone?
Where do you live? Do you live alone?

Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

Why can’t you get it?
I don’t know why I’m telling you this

You softly smile and keep pestering me
Treating me like another girl
Man don’t do that
I don’t wanna answer those kinds of questions, no way

How many times did you ask me today?
Baby stop
What are you saying?

I can’t understand a single thing you’re saying
Your attempts make me despair every time
How about you pay attention and look?
Everyone but you can see this signal

Don’t take all day, hurry up
Come here, hurry and come here, you
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

These moments are so typical, it’s making me uncomfortable
Stop asking me those kinds of things
Do what you what, that’s what makes me comfortable,
before this moment passes

Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

Why are you stuttering?
I don’t know what you’re saying

You pretend to be innocent, stuttering your words
Your bad habits are coming out
My head shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes
I can predict 100% of it

Why do you have so many questions?
What are you, a child?
What is it that you know?

I can’t understand a single thing you’re saying
Your attempts make me despair every time
How about you pay attention and look?
Everyone but you can see this signal

Don’t take all day, hurry up
Come here, hurry and come here, you
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

This way is typical, this way is uncomfortable
Stop asking me those kinds of things
Do what you what, that’s what makes me comfortable,
before this moment passes

Things you haven’t been able to tell me yet
Before you lose your chance,
tell me before I get tired
Now come by my side
(Where do you live? Do you live alone?
Where do you live? Do you live alone?)

These moments are so typical, it’s making me uncomfortable
Stop asking me those kinds of things
Do what you what, that’s what makes me comfortable,
before this moment passes

Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

(Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah)

After spending some excessive time over the lyrics in order to thoroughly deconstruct the blatant layer, I have come to my personal interpretation: my initial prediction is correct, though skewed. “Ah Yeah” can be linked to their prior song, but even without background, the same plot still holds. The song depicts an overarching story of how a lady has a love-interest, however, with her harsher personality, the love-interest, who does feel equally for her, is incredibly intimidated.

Enlarging the story in more depth, “Ah Yeah” starts with the love-interest. The song’s introduction is not, contrary to many, a “creepy” male, but instead, the love-interest, and specifically, his consciousness; he desires to ask the main character those questions for the purpose of dating and romance, not for licentious reasons. For further evidence, the conclusion reinforces such: “ah yeah, ah yeah” is the main character’s consciousness, and thus, once setting the introduction and conclusion next to one another, it becomes justifiable to claim that those whispering voices are the characters’ consciousness.

However, before returning to this sudden, abrupt and confusing idea (it will come into action later), continuing with the plot itself, “Ah Yeah” begins with the male character’s consciousness: he is in utter trepidation on how, when, and will he even ask the main character those phrases. Eventually, implicitly, he did ask since the main character offers her reply, though in a scary manner as she feels “[pestered]” by his questions: “Treating me like another girl, man, don’t do that, I don’t wanna answer those kinds of questions, no way.” Despite the rejecting reply, the love-interest continues to pursue a relationship as it ushers the main character to once more reply with “How many times did you ask me today? Baby stop, what are you saying?” This scenario then relentlessly occurs, but interestingly, the pre-choruses reveal that, though the main character is seemingly repulsed by the boy, she is fond of him as she wishes he would “hurry up” and “come here” to, assumingly, her. Thus, the key phrase of “ah yeah” is created as, jocularly, the lady is celebrating her manipulation of the love-interest via a love-chase game.

Thankfully, after an unknown amount of time, the main character decides to finally open herself to the love-interest as she grants him a “chance” to “tell [her]” his love, but he must do so “before [she] gets tired.” With the final section of the lyrics taking the form of the main character’s consciousness of “ah yeah,” it can be concluded that, most likely, the two are now together as she is celebrating, though pessimistically, it could also be her cheering for, once more, the manipulation of the love-interest.

In terms of a rating for the lyrics, with being able to derive multiple scenarios, that does showcase the lyrics’ complexity. Proper vagueness is present, and thus, the plot(s) become highly enticing. Details may be obscured, but not necessarily lacking. Due to a plethora of ways to decipher the song, a decent score will be given. Though “Ah Yeah” is seemingly a linear story, upon viewing the plot from multiple perspectives and finding them all viable, it does create questioning on what the lyrics are truly about. Slightly above average is the fitting rating. If the given lyrics presented even further complexity, a higher score would be possible.

– “Critical Corner”: Besides the more basic, love-related topic of “push and pull” (otherwise known as, if correct, for the non-Korean term, “playing hard to get”), I currently do not see any aspect of the lyrics that are pressing to discuss. However, for the sake of discussing “push and pull” relationships, it is, overall, just a game, though more sensitive as it is tied to emotions. To offer my take, with my belief in utter honesty and cheesier, romantic music videos and stories of pure love and affection, if a couple has genuine fun with the “push and pull” concept, then there is no issue. However, for those preferring serious relationships, the concept does not seem desirable as, blatantly, a relationship is viewed as a source of entertainment in the “push and pull” concept. That said, however, there is a distinction between attempting to win someone’s love and the “push and pull” concept as it is done moreover for the sake of manipulation. Overall, for readers seeking love advice (though my words are based on love songs and stories no experience), relationships should be taken seriously and not as games. Starting as friends and developing and bonding closer,  and thus, reaching an intimate relationship, would be the most desirable route, but of course, for the overarching message of relationships, sincere love should be the foundation.

Now ignoring my pitiful love advice, for a more serious topic, the one of “friendzones” is heavily insulated with social layers, but considering I have discussed it in a prior review of Channel Fiestar, I will not explain here (refer to the linked review if interested on why the “friendzone” idea is highly false and, overall, socially negative as inequities are promoted).

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – Though this review has taken longer than desired, I do feel the previous passion I felt with writing and discussing songs (which as stated in my May 2015 reflection, I did lack for that month).

On topic, the choreography to “Ah Yeah” is rather solid. Both layers of sync and key points remain attractive, and most prominently, simplistic. In focus of the syncing, every section consistently relates to the song in both forms of snaps and motions. For example, a beat in the song is met with a flicking, snapping dance, as seen vividly by the post-choruses and verses, but also, the choreography consists of flowful motions that are reflective of, expectedly, moments in the song that are also dynamic and vocally intensive, such as the choruses. Regardless of the key point at play, every single one precisely follows the song.

On the subject of key point, in addition to EXID’s accurate syncing, the existing key points are equally seducing. Simplicity is the highlighting trait. Every key point is basic. While complexity is generally desired, simplicity, if conducted properly is equally, and at certain times, more potent than an exceptionally intricate choreography. In “Ah Yeah,” with the dance following simple, easier dance moves, visibility of syncing becomes more transparent, and furthermore, being able to simply track the dance is plausible. Adding another strong point to the key points, in focus of the formations, there is an interesting setup: the member in spotlight certainly has the spotlight. Rather than other choreographies that merely place the singing member in front, “Ah Yeah” creates distinguishment. Members not in attention are exhibiting different moves than the member who is the center of attention, and thus, the differing contrast creates more emphasis towards the one in spotlight. While there are still moments of unison dancing, with a mixture occurring, the style of sub-dancers to main dancer is still vastly beneficial.

Seven for above average will be the score. “Ah Yeah,” while not necessarily the most musically charming, still does obtain a higher score for its dance as the syncing and simplicity are incredibly effective and pleasing.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – With an average of seven, “Ah Yeah,” in its entirety of dance and song, can be labeled as above average. Though I do consider this song moreover a six in total, EXID’s latest song is worthy of listening (and certainly dancing for those capable of following its choreography).

One out of eight reviews are done, and while that may seem miniscule, it is a start. I am dedicated to reaching eight reviews and will be continually mentioning it as a personal incentive. That said, though I am technically committing two month’s of work into solely one, I am officially on summer break (though my graduation ceremony has not taken place yet; it is a bittersweet moment as I nearly cried it is exciting yet I will heavily miss teachers/professor and classmates) and therefore have additional time. However on topic, eight reviews will be a goal, and if I do reach that feat, I will attempt to create something for readers as a celebration (and speaking of feats, I do hope to have a relatively popular review this month, similar to how my archaic, poorly written one of AOA’s “Like a Cat” was).

In terms of my next review, as stated on my Review Schedule (I am still debating on whether to keep this or not, feedback would be greatly appreciated), Infinite’s “The Chaser” is in mind. Considering many reviewed songs lately have been of around average, I do hope “The Chaser” challenges that trend as it is a very solid song and personally, I have been adoring it. Nevertheless, an unbiased, logical deconstruction of it will have to take place to truly gauge its rating. Also, I will finally be beginning a streak of male artists as addressed a month ago, and Infinite will begin said streak. There will also be quite a few interesting social topics to discuss due to male groups, and as such, I am also equally excited in that aspect.  

Before forgetting this current review, however, this one was enjoyable. It has been a while since I have reviewed a group that I am more personally familiar with, but it has been done in credit to EXID. As stated in the disorganized Personal Message (I had to shorten the copious amount of social topics I wanted to discuss), EXID is a unique group to me in that I render their songs (minus “Every Night (Vers. 2)”; this song is fantastic) as slightly above average, but due to the ladies themselves, I have become rather fond of the group. After all, even on the individual level, all EXID members are incredibly admirable: LE, as mentioned, is a strong rapper and a very creative, intelligent song composer, and she has an utterly infatuating voice, and overall, simply wins my love and is perhaps my current “artist crush” Solji was originally a vocal trainer/teacher, Hyerin is a very solid singer, Junghwa shines with non-musical work (modeling, variety shows, and more) along with Hani, though Hani is also definitely capable of more rigorous singing.

Brushing aside my poor attempts at comedy, for those curious on this review’s time, I wrote for five days (perhaps a total of ten hours), and strangely, this has been the longest review I have yet to write. Regardless, with this being the end, since I have surprisingly not said so yet, thank you very much for reading. I will work hard to ensure the next review is published on schedule (four or so days after this one). Even despite how many readers may claim, “I can’t understand a single thing you’re saying,” I do hope my reviews are truly cohesive and coherent enough to provide a decent read. Infinite’s “The Chaser” will be the upcoming review. Thank you once more, and keep checking back.