Apink – “Remember” Review

Apink – Remember (Dance Practice)

Apink – Remember (Music Video)

Apink – Remember

Reviewed on July 30, 2015

Personal Message: Although this review will be multiple days behind, should the worst occur, I will save Stellar’s “Vibrato” for the month of August (there is much to discuss for that song) and finish July with multiple album reviews. But, ignoring concerns for schedule, Apink’s latest comeback of “Remember” is for review. Sharing brief opinions toward the song, while it is not my personal preference, it would be pitiful for such to veil how solid “Remember” is. Thus, on the basis of quality, “Remember,” even despite not suiting my biased standards, is a song I have become fond of. However, for a disclaimer, I have yet to truly deconstruct “Remember” in multiple categories, and therefore, numerical ratings are still unknown, but I do anticipate higher scores. In fact, I do believe this is Apink’s strongest song yet, statistically and generally.

On the subject of Apink, I have been ushered to review this song weeks ago as, mentioned in an earlier review of the group, I do have a friend who tremendously adores the ladies. The moment “Remember” became released, already, it was shared with me. Furthermore, I have also discovered that, in addition to her burning love for Chorong, she, apparently, also equally feels so towards Eunji as, upon sharing my admiration for Eunji, death threats ensued maturely, she had to showcase her affection was greater. Realistically, though, there is no issue with her love towards the idols as, in multiple ways, Apink are excellent role models until said love transforms into possessiveness, of which leads to threatening friends.

Jokes aside, returning to Apink once more, for an unintended personal custom, like the many other groups reviewed, I have watched Apink’s latest visit to “Weekly Idol,” a jocular variety show. The ladies’ visit is perhaps my favorite episode yet as it is exceptionally and constantly comical. For what does still remain most notable, however, Hayoung’s strength to maintain her balance during “Remember” ‘s beginning choreography is outstanding. Because of her height (or legs’ length), Apink’s latest choreography proves troubling to her as, humorously, she tends to tip over with the position.

Out of curiosity, I have attempted to replicate her outcome, but to no avail as, even with the same stance, I simply do not fall over. That said, however, sharing some personal facts, considering I am rather small, and truthfully, perhaps a few centimeters shorter than a few members in Apink (I am approximately 165 centimeters or 5 feet and 5 inches tall, though an extra inch might have been generously estimated), maintaining my balance is expected. On that note, the discussion of physical beauty, such as with height, will occur in a future review when the song time is “Just Right.” In short, specifically in this context, no one should be ashamed for their height, especially if due to social pressures such as gender norms. In the case of Hayoung being tall, or in my case of being shorter, both of us are perfectly fine. Though further talks will be preserved, it is vital to critically analyze beauty as, commonly, it is rendered as “normal,” when, in truth, beauty is far from such as it is socially constructed (I would argue biological factors, while existent, are incredibly minor).

Abruptly switching to another discussion, but for one that will be focused (readers who desire to read purely the review, skip below), a reader did send in feedback, and I did state that additional elaboration would take place in this review, hence the sudden change in topic. However, rather than the feedback being of spotlight, I would desire to focus on an aspect it brought: social labels, or more accurately, the construing of such. Though the feedback’s labels of “anti-male feminist” and “social justice warrior” will be utilized examples, this topic, expectedly, applies to other labels, and thus, the attention for this upcoming discussion should be considered moreover as general than extra answers to the feedback. With that clarified, returning to the stated labels, both are incredibly misleading: “anti-male feminist” is false and contradictory of itself, and “SJW” boldly and directly discredits minoritized voices as meaningless.

First, to unpack “anti-male feminist,” reiterating a previous point, feminism is not anti-male. Often time, feminism is connoted with negativity, such as “feminazi” or, in this case, with being anti-male, but these additional labels merely emphasize the concept of construing labels to discredit voices. Denotatively, feminism, overarchingly, is the belief in gender equity via females being equal to males, and even with the standardized definition, this is unequivocally positive. Now, for a more open, connotative meaning (I will explain further), feminism is the belief in gender equity, but more so than simply females being equal to males; feminism is acknowledging that both femininity and masculinity should be rendered as equal and worthy, unlike current discrepancy in value for the two (multiple reviews have covered how femininity is undervalued to masculinity).

Before expanding further on the definition, unless if treating both males and females as equal is an issue, the correlation to Nazis or “anti-male” is highly illogical. Basic human kindness towards one another, in the lens of accepting males, females, and other genders, as is feminism, is nowhere close to the construed labels. Additionally, relating “SJW,” the same concept of misleading applies: by speaking out against current issues, one may be labeled a “SJW,” of which indicates a person is seeking to flaunt moral superiority. However, while there will always be an exception, the chances of a person flaunting versus genuinely advocating for social equity is minimal, and thus, “SJW” solely undermines a person’s words.

Understandingly, however, as these construed labels, as often time employed by those who are socially privileged, are effective at shutting down voices and maintaining current scales, the concept of construing labels are widespread. After all, utilizing myself as an example, with being privileged in gender and sexual orientation (male and heterosexual), two words are able to hastily, yet thoroughly, taint those who attempt challenging my status. For example, and, quite obviously, this is all hypothetical, I enjoy objectifying and sexualizing females as, according to masculinity, doing so is “being a man,” but to the women and men who speak out against such, I could merely label them as “feminazis” and “social justice warriors,” and resultly, invalidate their words; those against my acts simply desire females to dominate males, as “feminazis,” and also, are attempting to appear intelligent through speaking of sensitive topics, as “SJWs.”

Gauging from a realistic, open standpoint, however, the people opposing my hypothetical belief are neither “nazis” or being ostentatious, but, simply and jocularly put, they are trying to be decent humans and to extend that decency. Nothing more or less. But, with my manipulated labels, I am able to turn positive labels of “feminist” and “social justice” into terms that are negative, and with spreading the newly constructed words, those positive terms are now seemingly rooted in negativity. Offering an encapsulating message, language is powerful, and thus, as words are convincing, possessing the ability to see through such with critical thinking is also equally necessary.

Words of “feminazi” or “social justice warrior” should not be accepted for the blunt layer, but instead, deconstructed for its true meaning, and even further in asking why said labels exist. Lastly, regardless of stance, whether, for example, the people challenging my hypothesized belief of objectifying females to said hypothesized me’s belief, it is vital to bear an open mind; it is important to hear out from opposing viewpoints. In the synthesized scenario, it is important to hear why “Fake Me” (for simplicity) believed in his stance, and conversely, for “Fake Me” to also hear and attempt to understand the challengers’ perspective. If the mindset for openness existed, most likely, construing labels, such as with morphing feminism into feminazi, would not even be in place as, rather than the need to shut down a belief, embracing new ideas would be the taken action.

Granting a bonus section (for those who did read this digression, in addition to thanking, as this following part does not relate to the blog or K-Pop directly, skipping ahead should be done unless if curious), while the topic of construing labels has been covered, I do wish to return to the definition of feminism as, to confess, past experiences serve as motivation. Describing the stated experiences, speaking about feminism, especially to boys (huge irony, however, as I am a male and am speaking of feminism), is excruciating. Clarifying, however, this is incredibly biased to say, and for male readers who are indeed reading this section, I will apologize as, proven by said male readers, there are many intelligent males who do not succumb to the blinding effect that social privilege often time carries. And that it is also immature and unrealistic to generalize males based on that abstract incident.  

On topic, both males and females tend to struggle to comprehend feminism: “males and females now have equal rights”; “feminism is trying to find problems that have already been solved, and as a result, is creating issues”; or “since males and females are equal, feminism has to be the push for female dominance.” Already answering, neither of those are correct. Even the initial one is, boldly stated, wrong (forced marriages, of which inequitably affects females, is why I claim so, and also, wage disparities). Although I have listed the denotation of feminism, it is moreover the connotation that matters. After all, in general, very few tolerate the use of, for example, “f*****,” even if, according to the dictionary definition, the word means “a bundle of stick” (though, if correct, those “bundles of sticks” are referencing the sticks used to burn homosexuals alive). As a point, connotation matters, not denotation, as unveiled through the utilized example.

With such in mind, feminism means, and at the very least, based on my personal interpretation, the advocacy for all gender equity, and this is more than simply females being set as equal to males. Feminism is also setting males equal to other males, for example. As I believe in intimacy and honesty, as a few readers may know, though I am a heterosexual male, for one aspect, I do plan on actively using makeup (my review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” explains), and with current social standards, especially in the background of America (if I was in South Korea, for example, this would not be an “issue,” as explained in the linked review), doing so is rendered as atrocious, and diving into why that is so, undervaluing femininity is, arguably, the culprit. Thus, with feminism pushing for gender equity, even in the subtle realms of setting femininity and masculinity as equals, it affects, unlike popular perception, males as well. In conclusion, feminism branches into more transparent issues, such as wage gaps between males and females, but likewise, even more subtle factors such as equally valuing femininity to masculinity.

Overall, feminism can be considered as the belief in gender equity. Though there may be debates over the true definition, in honesty, it is less important to argue on the meaning than it is to argue for basic, human kindness and understanding towards one another. That is what should remain as the priority.

Finally returning to Apink, with their latest comeback of “Remember,” I do anticipate higher scores. Many should “Remember” Apink’s song as notable, even for those who are not extreme fans that leave death threats to friends to defend Chorong and Eunji fans of the group. Also, as I have yet to address the links, a dance practice is included, but as the audio is based on the camera, and thus, unclear, I have included the music video for the purpose of audio (and, of course, there is the additional bonus of visual appeal as the music video is well done in that regard). But, for understanding, the assumed audio for review does end at the final “Do you remember?” line; the extra audio after Eunji’s last “do you remember” will not be gauged.

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

– Vocals: 7/10 – Before beginning, a few changes will be implemented: For one, in an attempt to hasten reviews while maintaining quality and outline, the Vocals category will focus on the song’s vocals in the scope of even the sections; rather than pure generalizing or focus on individual members as done in the past, I will transfer the “mechanical” layer of sections (chorus, verse, etc.) into the Vocals category. Secondly, following the trend, the Sections category will now be moreover on the actual structure of the sections versus, as in prior reviews, a peculiar combination of both vocals and section structures. If I manage to properly follow through, the Vocals category will now be more precise and unique per review, and furthermore, the Sections category will become significantly concise, and lastly, redundancy between the Vocals category and Sections category will cease (my review on Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” signified this issue).

Now focusing on the song, Apink’s vocals can be considered above average in “Remember,” an increase from their past song. Diverse vocals, whether in note range or style, exist, and furthermore, most prominently, the vocals possess excellent progression, of which allows a cohesive flow.

To first address the variety, in terms of utilized pitches, “Remember” ranges from deep to high: verses showcase lower notes, as exceptionally executed by Chorong and Hayoung, but with the arrival of more energetic sections, such as the choruses, the higher range is met through Eunji and Bomi. Additionally, accompanying the varying notes are equally diverse styles; though the showcased notes in the song differ, singing styles are also copious. Manipulating the verses and choruses as examples once more, the verses’ vocals adopt a calmer, slower route, but as a contrast, the choruses provide an opposite: upbeat and powerful. Other sections are also equally individual, such as with the pre-choruses being focused towards a hastier rate, or the bridge’s passiveness. Overall, with the song’s diversity in the aspect of vocals, high appeal is able to be perpetuated, and furthermore, for the vocals on a mechanical layer, every section is incredibly melodic with singing.

Adding a final component, the vocals, as stated, follow a natural, admirable progression; the vocals flow from one section to the other seamlessly. Unpacking the reasons, gradual buildup is for credit; “Remember” contains sections that layer upon one another. Elaborating, the introduction introduces soft, vague vocals, but with the next section of the verse, while the vocals become unveiled, intensity is preserved. Thus, with the upcoming section of the pre-chorus, the vocals then transition to a more energetic state, and as envisioned, the choruses now hold as a climactic point for the vocals as, at those sections, the vocals are at the highest peak via possessing the most intensity, melody, and notes. With all of the sections cooperating, rather than vocals that are isolated, such as with separating vocals based on sections, “Remember” is able to offer vocals that are all connected, and thus, from a musical standpoint, the vocals appear more augmented and in tune to the song as a whole.  

Meshing all of the factors, above average holds. If the vocals were more tuneful by a very slight margin, an eight would have been the rating. Nevertheless, a seven is impressive, and Apink’s vocals are exactly  such: impressive.

– Sections: 6/10 (6.33/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 7/10

2. Verse: 6/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4. Chorus: 7/10

5. Bridge: 5/10

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10

– Analysis: While anxious on whether the Sections category will become simplified (and peering over the Vocals category, I should have dissected each section individually), focusing on the song, “Remember” ‘s sections do, surprisingly, overall, score at a six, a “slightly above average.”

Addressing the sections in a chronological order, the introduction rates at a seven. With its role, introducing and enticing the song are met. Vocals are disclosed, but in a veiled manner as the singing lingers moreover as exceptionally fragile. This allows “Remember” to establish its upcoming gentler tone, and furthermore, to create anticipation for other potential vocals that could occur. Progressing slightly further, with the solo instrumental happening, the same concept translates: the instrumental showcases the song’s energetic side, and also, with being spontaneous, interest is generated.

Focusing on the verses, a slight downgrade of score appears: the verses are rated at a six unlike the introduction. Although the verses contain infatuating vocals, Chorong and Hayoung’s deeper, soothing singing, while greatly benefiting the section, are insufficient to push the score towards a seven. The structure of the verses is the drawback. Due to a more linear, undynamic structure, the verses are not exceptionally captivating. At most, the verses grant “Remember” a general start and flow, but as it is, general is the issue. Understandably, liveliness would not hold as the verses begin a song’s momentum, but the lack of intensity is not an issue; the inability for “Remember” ‘s verses to differ from vast majority of verses, in a pleasing manner, is what prevents a higher score.

Continuing, for the following section, the pre-choruses do obtain a seven. In addition to melodic, heightened singing, the sections provide their standard role: transitioning a song into a more energetic state. Initially, with a subtle count of “one, two, three” (in Korean), hype is created, both sonically via chunking of lines, but also mentally as that phrase, often time, is associated with an outcome. Additionally, for the singing itself, an increase in rate and pitch further grant the idea of transitioning “Remember” to its choruses. Overall, melodic, stronger vocals, and a structure that allows more diverse vocals and effective buildup grants the section its higher rating.

On that note, for the choruses, a seven is also held. While the choruses contain the vocals’ highlight, the format of the sections are, arguably, why such is the case. Proper progression, though occurring throughout the song in its entirety, in the context of purely the choruses, is crucial. First, Eunji’s lines are restrained; the beginning of the choruses are not initiated with high vocal strength. Although absurd at first, with the arrival of Bomi’s lines, and later, Eunji’s returning lines, the preservation is unveiled as effective: if Eunji began at usual power, even with the pre-choruses’ setup, it would be excessive. Thus, the partially weaker start allows the chorus to naturally rise to its intended state of intensity. Especially with “Remember” orientating towards melody than power as focus, the choruses’ structure perfectly meshes with the entirety of the song’s style. Above average is deserved.

To address the most lackluster section to the song, the bridge rates as average, a five. Sonically, no issues are present; the ongoing singing at the bridge is, in multiple ways, solid. However, as is often the case, a section requires more than excellent vocals to be stunning. Specifically for the bridge, it holds at average as, comically put, it plays as average.

More seriously, the bridge follows an incredibly predictable route, hence why, even with pleasing vocals, the section simply still falters. From the start, although the sudden change in pace to that of a slower one is expected for a bridge, but after Chorong’s line, when the bridge begins to accelerate in pace, doing so is not alluring. An abrupt transition to usher the song towards its climactic peak is displayed, and with the suddenness, the bridge’s flow loses its smooth, natural traits, and instead, becomes moreover artificial. Furthermore, after the climactic point was met, as observed by Eunji’s note hold, once again, another rough transition occurs: softer singing and an instrumental solo. Understandably, the follow-up of fragile singing exists to reestablish the song’s gentler, melodic tone, but contradictively, the instrumental solo’s playing sets up the energetic tone that the singing was supposedly counteracting. Thus, the section’s flow is disorganized as switching from polar ends of softer singing to that of a rhythmic, upbeat flute sound, does not flow well. Although the concept of contrast is not necessarily faulty in itself, for how “Remember” executed such, it was poorly done. It would have been more favorable for the bridge to retain a pure passive style, or one of power, tuneful singing. A mixture of the two styles, while certainly possible as proven in other songs (Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” is one example, though shorter in duration), does not suit “Remember.”

Focusing on the last section, for the conclusion, a six is the score. In itself, the concluding chorus is excellent; the final chorus to “Remember” leaves the song’s signature section, the lyrics linger, and higher notes are manipulated to signify it as the ending section. However, with an added extra line of “Do you remember,” ironically, rather than that serving as a final, definite end, it seemingly restarts the song. As the phrase is associated with the choruses’ main lyrics, upon hearing it, especially with the final line adopting high power and the homogenous melody as if in the body of a chorus, instinctively, it sounds as if the chorus would repeat. If the final “Do you remember” was sung in, perhaps, a softer, weaker voice, it would have been a solid end, but with it carrying the risk of double-standards (it ends but could also restart the song), the score will be lowered.

– Line Distribution: 10/10 – Six members are in Apink, and thus, with moreover an average group size, a high score is plausible, and in many ways, expected. If memory serves well, for the group’s prior song of “Luv,” the Line Distribution score was a higher score (eight if correct). It will be hoped the same occurs for “Remember.”

Starting with Apink’s youngest, Hayoung’s sections consist of the introduction, two verses, and the bridge. Therefore, four will be her total, and as that quantity has proven best in many reviews, this is a promising beginning.

For Apink’s leader, Chorong possesses three sections: the two verses, and one line at the bridge. Currently, no issues are present, and optimistically, it will be hoped for that to be unchanged.

In terms of Bomi, akin to Hayoung, four is her count, as observed by her lines at the introduction, and the three choruses (one of which is concluding chorus). Half of Apink have disclosed a perfect distribution. Should the remaining members also follow suit, a delightful ten may be in place.

Swapping to Namjoo, her spotlight includes three sections, an identical quantity to Chorong. Listing those sections specifically, Namjoo’s sections are the two pre-choruses and the bridge. Outstandingly, a perfect distribution still holds.

With hefty pressure, for Naeun’s sections, miraculously, she does continue the flawless trend: three sections is her total, as observed through the two pre-choruses and the bridge, a similar share to Namjoo. Therefore, should the last member carry four sections, the rare yet invaluable rating of a ten will be given.

Eunji, the main vocalist and final member to gauge, does not disappoint: she possess four sections. The three choruses and the bridge are her sections. Needless to say, a perfect distribution is in place. “Remember” ‘s sections are perfectly distributed; no member is lacking or excessive with sections.

Ten will be the score. A rare feat, but Apink has earned it with a distribution that serves every member equally as, averaging the sections, every member should possess 3.5 sections, and that certainly exists as half of Apink possesses three sections, and the remainder with four sections.

– Instrumental: 6/10 – For the instrumental of “Remember,” it resides towards a six for a rating, though it nearly reaches a seven.

Sonically, the instrumental is melodious, but not to the degree of being utterly infatuating. However, to first gauge the positives, for one sound, a twinkling one emanates throughout the song, although it is most prominently at the beginning. While subtle, it does retain the song’s overall melody, and thus, is musically pleasing as “Remember” ‘s tune derives from the minor detail. Adding on, the flute-like (if that instrument is correct) sound also serves a similar role: emanating the song’s overarching melody, but furthermore, it also grants a rhythmic flow to the song, of which is certainly appealing. Lastly, a mellow piano also occurs throughout “Remember,” and with it, a combination of the two prior sounds is found: the piano grants both tune and rhythm for the song. Nevertheless, unfortunately, while the instrumental is certainly musically charming, the extent of such is not at a seven, an “above average.” The flute sound, at moments, sounds excessively spontaneous, the twinkling noise is moreover simplistic, and for the piano, equally so. Even for the standard beats in “Remember,” basicness holds.

Now, for the structural layer to the instrumental, in comparison to the musical aspect, while it is an improvement, it is not enchanting to the point of shifting the rating to a pure seven. Regardless, in focus of the instrumental’s structure, for the aspect of supporting vocals, the instrumental does so. The passive verses are met with a soundtrack that complements such, and for the more intensive sections, such as the choruses, the instrumental adapts via possessing more complexity and, uniquely, adding in the distinctive flute sound. In terms of setting the song’s tone, with the introduction’s sound of waves and birds, the gentle twinkling noise, and even a more simple piano, Apink’s song does have its tone of hopefulness and sincere love projected.

– Lyrics: 6/10 – “Remember,” an intriguing title. Deriving the music video and the seemingly cheerier tone, it would be expected for the song to be of sweet romance. Likewise, however, the sheer opposite would also be viable: the song could be a lover attempting to “Remember” a past relationship. Or, in fact, the song may not even be related to love in any form. Ending speculations, the following Korean-to-English lyrics will provide an answer to the plot. Though the lyrics are not 100% accurate, the general ideas should exist, and thus, a conclusion can be drawn.

Do you remember, the sun that shone on us?
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday
In those memories where time has stopped

Do you remember the day we walked
on the white sand together?
Even when the waves came,
we didn’t come apart, yeah

(One, two, three)
Now my smile slowly disappeared,
without even knowing
(One, two, three)
We’ve gotten so exhausted,
We can’t look back or forward anymore

Let’s leave together, in the cool breeze
Let’s forget today and go back to those times
Do you remember, the sun that shone on us?
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday
As if time has stopped, just like we always wanted
Remember, remember, remember?

Do you remember the summer night?
The red sun setting
The more the darkness covered the sky,
the brighter the stars shined, yeah

(One, two, three)
We kept ignoring the sky
and only stared at the ground
(One, two, three)
We’ve gotten so exhausted,
not even knowing if it’s day or night

Let’s leave together, in the cool breeze
Let’s forget today and go back to those times
Do you remember, the sun that shone on us?
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday
As if time has stopped, just like we always wanted
Remember, remember, remember?

You, why are you still hesitating?
You, forget everything and come with me
Throw everything away in the blue ocean
Before it’s too late
Do you remember, those times in our hearts?
Moments that we can feel like it’s yesterday

Do you remember, the sun that shone on us?
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday
As if time has stopped, just like we always wanted
Remember, remember, remember?
Do you remember?

Joyfully, one of my predictions is correct, but sadly, due to that, the plot does reside moreover a gloomy tone. “Remember” depicts a main character, a woman or man, who attempts to revitalize a relationship in terms of affection. In terms of why the title is as such, it stems from how the main character interrogates their love interest with questions: “Do you remember, the sun that shone on us,” “Do you remember the day we walked on the white sand together,” and even “Do you remember the summer night?” Through these questions, the main character hopes to reignite the couple’s, implicitly, previous level of affection for one another since, nowadays, the main character’s “smile slowly disappeared, without even knowing” as “[the couple has] gotten so exhausted, [they] can’t look back or forward anymore.” Instilled with hope, however, along with the main character’s questions of reviving past, loving moments, he/she also directly requests to “leave together, in the cool breeze, let’s forget today and go back to those times.”

In the end, no conclusion can be defined, but regardless, the lyrics do reside as slightly above average. Should there have been more variating details, a seven would have been given. For what does push it beyond a five, though, is the plot itself and the room for interpretation: first, addressing the plot, while rooted in a romance genre, it differs in that it is neither pure joy or sorrowness, but instead, one of a waning relationship; secondly, the story is, though seemingly straightforward, complex, as observed by inquiring over the outcome, why the couple has drifted apart, or, additionally, if this song is even of a couple and not, for example, friends. Extra details would easily shift the score to a seven.

– “Critical Corner”: Thankfully, nothing from the lyrics renders as worthy of critically deconstructing. At most, horrendous love advice may be given, but for discussions that relate to major social topics, none are existent. That said, for the mentioned atrocious love advice, though I utterly lack dating experience (which is not an issue; I am content with myself though, like many, in the future, I do yearn for a very loving, sweet relationship with an amazing lady), and thus, have minimal support for the following words, it is crucial to constantly showcase affection. Whether through blatant acts, such as a statement of “I love you,” or more discreetly, such as with constantly giving support and attention (as should be in a relationship), offering relentless love is vital. In relation to “Remember,” it appears that the couple has forgotten to do such (if assuming it is about a couple), but optimistically, eventually, have returned to doing so.

Reiterating the main point, however, the “Critical Corner” serves no purpose for the song, and, admittedly, my advice as I am naive with love.  

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Offering random facts, there are 40 minutes before this review, technically, becomes delayed by another day. Of course, however, I would prefer another added day than to lose quality to post it on the 29th and not 30th. On topic with Apink, the choreography to “Remember” when seriously danced unlike the beginning and ending of the dance practice vide is, sadly, a six, though positively, it is almost a seven, as will be explained.

Key points in the choreography are phenomenal. Despite repeats occurring for the choruses, variety is still present as, every other section is indeed different, even on the individual level. The verses vary from the introduction, but also themselves, and so forth. Therefore, appeal is still maintained, even with some repetition. On that subject, for the repeating key points during the choruses, rather than it being impairing, it is empowering to the choreography as a whole. Since “Remember” follows, overall, a more gentle flow as melody is prioritized over power and pacing, the repeats perpetuate that trend as the choreography then appears moreover as simplistic than exceptionally complex, of which is the song in a musical lens.

In actual focus of the key points, each section’s choreography is impressive. The introduction, for example, perfectly suits the theme, and with the arrival of the instrumental solo, the bouncing proves visually appealing. Other sections are equally decent. Verses and pre-choruses are unique per each section itself, and with the dancing, the general trend of simple, friendly key points are unveiled, but simultaneously, hasty, zealous movement still exist. Thus, for an outcome, the choreography is able to reflect its musical component without compromising its appeal.

For what truly hinders the choreography, the syncing is lacking, or more accurately, inconsistent. Certain sections remain flawless: the introduction, choruses, and bridge are correctly synced to the song. That said, for the remainder, those sections attempt to sync, but in the end, fail to do so in a precise manner. For example, the pre-choruses’ maneuvers begin properly when linking to the counting, but afterwards, with the continuing of similar, snapping motions, the connection to the song is lost. Rather than swift movements, slower, methodical ones should have been in place as the pre-choruses, towards the later half, predominantly consist of note stretches, and thus, unlike the counting that required quicker motions, calmer ones would prove more fitting. Similarly, the verses are also in an identical situation.

Due to syncing that remains inconsistent, a solid seven cannot be given. Nevertheless, the dance is still admirable, even with a six. Should the pre-choruses and verses have proved more related to the song, a seven, or potentially, even an eight, would have been earned.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – With luck, this review is, technically, another day late. 40 minutes were allocated towards purely the Choreography Score category, and that is slightly striking considering it felt, at most, 25 minutes. Obsession over time aside (the time is worth writing), Apink’s latest comeback of “Remember” scores at a seven for its Overall Score. Therefore, the ladies’ song can be considered an above average song, and I passionately agree. Above average is exactly, from a biased standpoint, the rating to be given.

This review has been delayed by multiple days due to other work (academic and subtitling videos), but, it has finally been finished. With that, thank you very much for reading. Whether skimmed or read in its entirety, I appreciate any given time towards the blog. Thank you. Slightly sharing details regarding the delay, as claimed in a few prior posts, I do have academic work to handle (a summer reading and short write, and an online course). As, very blatantly, education comes before reviews, delays are inevitable. Nonetheless, I do attempt to write every day, and proudly, can confirm such, even if it is a paragraph at most. But, I do apologize for the delay and, to compensate, a few album reviews will be done as they are faster, and thus, allow more time to finish assignments, but also, are still reviews that readers may enjoy. And, for other works, subtitling videos are always a side bonus for those interested.

When August arrives, reviews will be put into full priority as, though unnecessarily negatively phrased, it will be the final month of much free time. University will begin on the final day of August, and thus, I hope to finish assignments shortly and to publish many reviews. Before misunderstanding occurs, however, when university arrives, reviews will, without any specks of doubt, continue. Especially with further shortening reviews, a sustainable rate exists so that university work and reviewing can both exist (and that I may finally perhaps be able to review every song I desire to).

In terms of upcoming reviews, to conclude the month of July, an album review is in mind. Afterwards, to begin August, I have discovered a song that I personally desire to review, and the motivation stems in both, anticipatedly, a social topic, but also, from a musical context as, without revealing the song, it is one that I passionately love and hate. At the same time. In many ways, I am excited for the review as, unlike many songs that possess similar ratings, the song in mind will range all over.

As this is the end, once more, thank you for reading, and though changes will be occurring, such as a new month and personally beginning university, I do hope readers continue to “remember the day we walked on the white sand together.” Also by “white sand” I am referencing older reviews. But, without further ruining the review’s conclusion, stay tuned for an upcoming album review, and “let’s leave together, in the cool breeze, let’s forget today and” continue to “go back to those times.”

hi!! i’m a long(ish) time reader of your blog and i actually love how you write about and deal with social issues in kpop and society, it’s what makes you stand out from other review blogs and makes me as a reader much more knowledgeable about the problems in kpop~ thank you for taking the time to write such amazing reviews, i’m sure all your readers appreciate it as much as i do!!!~

Hello, and to instantly say so, thank you so much for this message. Especially with a reader sharing their stance of being against my reviews tackling social topics, though their opinion should definitely be treated with respect, hearing that there are people who enjoy and benefit from those social digressions truly means a lot to me. I will certainly continue these discussions, and humorously, it has never occurred to me that these social topics allow me to significantly differ from other review blogs. Once again, thank you for this message. I respect and do welcome multiple opinions, even ones that are more critical of my works, but in this case, I thoroughly appreciate the positive messages.  

Hi, your blog is nice but if you did only the k-pop songs and sounded less like an anti-male feminist and sjw you might be more popular no offence

Hello. First of all, due to the length and significance of the mentioned topics, I will provide a more thorough answer in my upcoming review of Apink’s “Remember.” While I had a digression towards the idea of “girly,” I will save that for another review and elaborate on this comment in Apink’s review. That said, I also would have responded privately as to preserve my full reply, but with this being sent anonymously, I will have to offer some insight towards my answer. Edit: I have added a “Keep Reading” due to length.

To begin, to clarify, I do respect your opinion and words. In that sense, thank you very much for sharing your personal thoughts. I do consider this as feedback for the blog, so thank you. That said, while you do mean no offense, of which I certainly believe, be aware that your choice of words are rather derogatory, and though I am not personally offended in character, I will confess, your labels are equating my works, writing, and thoughts, as meaningless, even if unintended, and thus, in that regard, I do feel hurt in terms of how my work is perceived.

Before expanding on why “anti-male feminist,” and newly introduced to me, “SJW,” are highly rude terms, I will first answer the latter statement: “you might be more popular [if you were not an ‘anti-male feminist’ and ‘SJW’].” I do not disagree with that statement. I, in fact, believe that statement is a fact; if I did not embark on the many social digressions I do, ones of which are often time highly controversial, many readers would be at more ease as solely musical debates would occur, not ones of social topics. I am certain that I have lost, or repelled, potential audience members through my Personal Message category. The discussed topics are not comfortable, and with many expecting purely music to be of conversation, the digressions often time will minimalize the reviews themselves. But, the cost of popularity for the chance of a reader becoming more critical, more accepting of others, more aware of what is truly (Korean) pop culture, and that is all in addition to having thorough discussions of songs, is perhaps the best bargain I could obtain. Especially with hearing classmates’, friends’, and others’ daily struggles due to social issues, I cannot help but to, at the very least, provide digressions that may very much change a person’s thinking so that overall, understanding and basic kindness are in place. 

In short, I have never wrote for popularity, or will I ever. I write to review K-Pop songs (and other mediums), but also, for bringing in an even deeper level of engagement, one that connects to sensitive social topics. That is also another goal as, reiterating it once more, these topics are not fake or minor issues. The inequities that exist are, indeed, active and common, and thus, while I cannot affect major change, with being a reviewer (and eventually a teacher), as I have the honor of possessing an audience, it is my responsibility to at least bring these discussions. Whether my words are disregarded or disagreed with is irrelevant, but what matters is deeper thinking becomes in place so that, rather than accepting these topics are negligible, many offer them some consideration.

In terms of finally addressing the labels, my review on Apink’s “Remember” will dive into the topic of rendering social issues as meaningless, but I will hastily offer my answers. For one, an “anti-male feminist” cannot exist; an “anti-male” (I am certain there is more official term) is not a feminist, and a feminist is not “anti-male.” I will, in the review, dive into what both those terms mean, and how the issue of marginalizing construes the label of feminist when, in truth, it is an exceptionally honoring term. Secondly, “SJW,” though surprisingly dating back a while, seems to be a new term as I have never heard it until this message. If my research is correct, it stands for “social justice warrior,” and summarizing its connotation, it is used to mock a person, or group, for being excessively sensitive (such as finding “minor” incidents to be major issues) to social topics so that, for their own benefit, they appear as morally superior to many others.

Once more, I will expand on this in the review of Apink’s “Remember,” but I will leave a few personal remarks. Specifically with the term “SJW,” as many of my reviews tend to digress on social topics, I can understand why I would be labeled with it. However, as stated, you should refrain from using “anti-male feminist” and “SJW” in a negative connotation. Feminism is far from negative, and the term “social justice warrior” is parallel to the idea of minoritizing labels in that, as seen, it mocks those who, against the label’s meaning, do truly have crucial opinions that need to be heard. Returning to the blog, however, I believe this would be a prime opportunity to, once more, explain my digressions as, often time, it relates to the K-Pop reviews. I do not attempt to digress to flaunt “moral superiority” or knowledge; I venture into these discussions as, following my belief of honesty, I am frustrated. It is not to express the idea of being a “better human,” my digressions exist to express my anger at issues (but, of course, in a, hopefully, mature and open manner):

How is it possible to merely speak of Apink when their gender supposedly dictates their behavior when, in reality, gender does not influence such, and furthermore, that femininity is undervalued to masculinity; how is it possible to ignore a potential chance to dissect the term of “sexist,” as in my review of Dal Shabet’s “B.B.B”; how can an amazing, outstanding song of “Erase” be the full focus when one of the singers is considered rude and other, derogatory terms since she happens to be a more authoritative female; how can a sweet, romantic video of Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” solely be classified as a “chick-flick,” a label that undermines femininity in the form of visual mediums; certainly, how can one of my most beloved groups, and my favorite song of all-time, be discussed if Fiestar are going to be shamed for appearing physically attractive, and that, females in general are told to not be attractive.

How is a review of a Korean hip-hop song, rapped by two incredible female rappers (and an equally stunning vocalist), to take place without acknowledging the under-representation of females in many areas; how can a beautiful, heartwrenching music video involving a daughter and mother be of the only focus when, in daily life, many opt for sons and are repulsed by daughters; how is it even possible for solely reviews to take place when blunt, highly offensive racism occurs towards a polite, comical group of EXID; how can Dal Shabet’s song of “Joker” be the main focus if the ladies are to be considered “sluts” and “whores” for showcasing that females are in charge of their sexual activities; how is an incredible, socially empowering music video to be ignored for said messages that showcase that homosexuals are not inferior to heterosexuals, and that females are not to be policed by males; how can the death of an idol trainee be simply dismissed as suicide, and not discussed for its deeper layers in how society regards mental illnesses.

How is a male group’s song to be the only focus when, from those intolerable of cultural differences, are to be degrading them with hate that stems in both cultural difference and sexism; and with that, how is Girl’s Day’s “Ring My Bell” even relevant for review when a supposed controversy suddenly spawns massive sexist hatred; how is SEVENTEEN’s debut song to be reviewed without discussing a member’s genuine, raw experiences being muted due to many dimming down discussions of race; how can my latest review of Teen Top not dive into homophobia, an issue that affects many indirectly or directly, due to inability to tolerate different attractions; and lastly, how do I review Girl’s Generation’s delightful music video without addressing the rare, yet sensitive, topic of how many are embarrassed to be into K-Pop when, explaining the shame, it is due to many societies shaming different cultures.

Before further continuing, I will apologize for an arrogant demeanor with listing my reviews, but as unveiled, the digressions that occur are, sadly, not randomly drawn, but rather, ones that are akin to the song or group I am reviewing. Social topics are rife, and in the lens of pop culture, it is absolutely vital to be aware of what is presented and deemed acceptable or not. K-Pop is more than catchy, alluring songs or flashing choreographies, it also includes the subtle and uncomfortable social topics that, obviously due to discomfort, need to be discussed. 

For a final message, once again, thank you for your comment. I do respect the feedback, and also, that you do mean no harm. I believe this was sent in kindness as you did state the blog was nice, and furthermore, that you are attempting to help me gain more readers, and thus, those are, indeed, very friendly gestures. In return of the kindness, offering constructive knowledge, I will disagree with your use of “anti-male feminist” and “SJW” as those labels are very degrading, as the upcoming review will explain. And while you are correct with the advice on gaining popularity, I am well aware and am still adamant on continuing my digressions, even at the cost of audience quantity. Once again, thank you for your feedback. Similar to your intentions, my reply is meant to critically challenge your labels, but of course, in a polite, helpful manner. I do not intend any negativity. 

For readers who do find themselves reading this, Apink’s “Remember” is the upcoming review. I will have some summer homework to do before beginning the review, but I do plan on finishing the review shortly. 

U have good insights but not very concise. And just FYI, everything past the first 5 tags don’t get indexed. Great blog and cheers :)

Hello, first, thank you for the compliments. I do cherish the positive remarks the blog receives, so thank you. But, that said, I also equally adore feedback, and in many ways, more so than compliments. Specifically with reviews being concise, length is certainly problematic for my reviews, to both readers and myself. Though my reviews have been slightly reduced in length due to an outline change (document-wise, I now find reviews being 17 to 18 pages versus, long ago, a surprising 20 to 24 pages), but nevertheless, much reducing is still possible. Sharing current plans, I am, once again, attempting to create a sincere “speed review” format to handle songs that are not relatively recent, but nonetheless, desired for review (such as for Nine Muses’ “Hurt Locker” or Sistar’s “Shake It”). Furthermore, simply shortening the current outline even more is an ongoing plan. As always, readers should feel invited to share ideas on how reviews could be compacted.

In terms of the second part, I have been notified of such a while back, but thank you for bringing it up nonetheless. My tags, while serving the purpose of, hopefully, gathering potential readers, are also to deliver miscellaneous information, such as an artist’s company or clearly displaying members’ names, and of course, to simply reiterate how this blog is for K-Pop reviews and such. Unless if it creates browsing issues for readers (which, if it does, please notify me), I do intend to continue the rather excessive tagging for the purpose of those minor information. However, if there is a more efficient tagging that could be done to potentially promote to a larger audience, I would be grateful to know of such. As of now, a group’s (or soloist’s) name, song title, and members, are the first tagged words. If a change of order would be more effective, I would be entirely thankful to know. 

That said, thank you for sending in this message. I am continually working towards condensing reviews for reader-friendliness, and selfishly, to save my own time, but I have yet to find a solid solution. But, I am glad that you enjoy the insights, even if on the more copious side. 

Teen Top – “Ah-Ah” Review

Teen Top – Ah-Ah (Live Performance)

Teen Top – Ah-Ah (Dance Practice)

Teen Top – Ah-Ah

Reviewed on July 22, 2015

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Personal Message: Glancing over the blog’s archive page, I am relatively flustered: solely three reviews have been done so far, and with more than half of the month over, a sense of urgency is taking place. But, as long as I use said urgency in a positive, beneficial manner, I foresee no problems, and in fact, reviews should be arriving much sooner as a result. Also, sharing personal life updates, I am now officially transitioning to university life in one perspective: the arrival of summer homework for one of my classes. Though labeled as homework, it is an exciting one. In short, I have to read a book about, as it is for my education class, education, but excitedly, gauging from given questions, a social lens will be taken, such as how race, gender, class, and even varying environments, examples being out-of-school or in-school, impact the education one receives. Admittedly, however, I have yet to purchase the book, though I will be doing so very soon, and thus, cannot make thorough claims.

In terms of how this affects readers, besides providing intimacy, reviews will be more prioritized. Lately, rather than investing time into writing reviews, I have opted for pure leisure time, such as mindlessly gaming or watching videos. However, with university arriving quite soon, I am now shifting back into a student mindset, and therefore, will strive to be productive in the form of writing reviews and, needless to say, finishing homework. On that note, focusing on the review, a sense of awkwardness does, strangely, exist, but that may be in part to not conducting a standard song review in a while (nine days, as seen by MAMAMOO’s “Um Oh Ah Yeh”). Nevertheless, those feelings will gradually fade as the review continues, and that said, Teen Top’s summer comeback of “Ah Ah” is the review in focus.

Many readers in the past have requested for more male groups to be reviewed, and considering solely female groups have been covered for July, Teen Top will redress such. After all, both male and female groups are equally talented and worthy of praise. Offering brief opinions towards “Ah Ah,” while far from being exceptional, it is certainly not mediocre. The vocals remain charming, and furthermore, an impressive, distinctive choreography accompanies “Ah Ah” as the dance focuses on footwork (if that is an accurate label). Addressing the links, both a dance practice and a live performance are given, and while seemingly redundant, similar to a much older review on Apink’s “Luv,” the audio in the dance practice is unclear, and therefore, the live performance is to compensate in that regard (although searching for the  audio itself will provide the best quality). But, with being a dance practice video, the choreography is clearly showcased, hence why it is still included.

In terms of other songs by Teen Top, I have browsed through a few, and for, debatably, their most notable release yet, “Missing” is a highly captivating song, both sonically and visually. “Ah Ah,” in juxtaposition, is vastly miniscule. Digressing further, on the subject of “Missing,” I have watched their visit to “Weekly Idol” during that song’s promotional period, and while Teen Top was incredibly jocular, a few pressing topics worthy of discussing did arise (for readers interested in solely the review, skip below). Before elaborating on such, to clarify, should readers feel that the following words antagonize Teen Top, that is not my intent; the upcoming discussion does involve the group, but as to be explained, they are not the negative pinnacle of the discussed issue, and in many ways, were, in fact, providing the more desirable example for what should occur. Ending speculations on what the topic is, homophobia, specifically with men in this case, is what I would desire to venture into. Surprisingly, out of the many social topic digressions I have embarked on, I have yet (or at least from memory) to discuss homophobia in depth, of which certainly needs to be discussed, even if uncomfortable to many.

With such in mind, for the Random Play Dance segment of the variety show, “Weekly Idol,” rather than the usual punishment of not receiving wishes, in Teen Top’s case, kissing claimed that role: if a member made a dancing mistake, another member, or in one case, the hosts, would deliver a kiss to the cheek. Anticipatedly, the group was mortified, but optimistically, arguably, their initial disagreement derives from the embarrassment of a kiss being an intimate gesture and not one of, as is the main topic, homophobia. Now, positively, Teen Top, and in fact, the hosts, showcased this “punishment” in a comical, yet welcoming, demeanor: while awkwardness was rife, it would be false to claim the members were “disgusted” when they kissed, and furthermore, the hosts excitedly reinforced the kissing via exhibiting excitement towards the chance to kiss one of the members. Especially in contrast to another show, as will be discussed later, with both parties displaying that kissing among males is, at most, awkward and comical, but not disgusting or an act that requires grotesque mockery, homophobia does become challenged, even if highly discreetly.

In essence, males kissing was normalized on the show; unlike current standards of males kissing being unacceptable due to roots in homophobia, the “Weekly Idol” episode, due to the lack of exaggeration and side remarks, reiterated that, even with a more affection gesture, males should not feel any sense of horror. Everyone could have followed the current inequitable norms towards homosexuality (as the other show, which will be discussed): signs of utter repulsion, of which would indicate homosexuality is worthy of disgust; comments that tied into masculinity and heterosexuality, and specifically, that any other sexual orientation is inferior; and of course, blatant remarks that homosexuality is bad. However, quite obviously, neither Teen Top or the hosts engaged in such behavior, but instead, as stated, they embraced the kissing in a positive, mockery-free mindset. This, as a result, does leave significant connotations: acts that are associated with homosexuality and emasculation (another topic to dive into is gender and behavioral acts; my older review on Apink’s “Luv” slightly addresses why males tend to be more scrutinized for sexual orientation) become deemed as “normal” and acceptable, and that equitable standard is what needs to be ushered.

Homosexuality, and any other sexual orientation that is not hetereosexuality, are, against what societies claim, worthy; a sexual orientation that is not heterosexuality is not inferior to heterosexuality as, inequitably, it has been socially constructed for heterosexuality to be the sole acceptable sexual orientation. Thus, this discussion is taking place as, similar to what Teen Top and the hosts showcased, an equitable standard needs to be established; the current trends of homophobia, or in general, the treatment towards minoritized sexual orientations, needs to be challenged as, blatantly, it is wrong to reinforce that heterosexuality is the “right” sexual orientation. Every sexual orientation is “right,” it is social norms that create the “wrong,” and therefore, are what needs attention and critical challenging.

As a message to readers, being open, accepting, and critical, are necessary attributes if societies are to progress to ones that become inclusive versus exclusive, and it all begins on a miniscule level. Seemingly harmless remarks of “no homo,” for one example, should never be used as, for that phrase in specific, it reiterates multiple issues: that homosexuality is negative, and secondly, that sexual orientation equates to behavior when that is false as, it is solely who a person finds attractive, nothing more or less. Therefore, even with minor statements, being aware of the implications is vital, and with the case of “no homo,” from basic understanding, loving someone, even of the same gender, is far from negativity, and thus, a phrase that minimizes love and non-heterosexuality is never warranted.

Although this Personal Message is becoming rather disorganized, with the earlier, constant mentioning of “the other show,” I will now address it, and with such, it will provide more clarity as to how discreet, and toxic, the idea of homophobia (and anti-nonheterosexuality, if that label is accurate) is. With that, the show is “Hello Counselor,” and although utterly irrelevant to Teen Top, many discussions exist. For the episode where Infinite’s Sunggyu and Secret’s Hyosung (and others) guested, with the show utilizing the format of “concerns and counselors,” a very distinctive concern was sent in–if “concern” is even accurate: a lady was worried of her younger brother due to his interests. The younger sibling’s anxiety-inducing interest was, against the generated suspense, simply being a huge fan of Infinite’s Sungyeol. Already, however, homophobia was widespread from the start as the concerned sister and others whispered, “he can’t be, he can’t be…”

That he can’t be gay. That she hopes his brother is not gay, though she did not finish the statement. Providing a harsher comment, it is absurdly ironic that many are capable of stating “straight,” a word that, debatably, discreetly promotes heterosexuality as “correct,” and yet, when it comes to the word “gay,” suddenly, it is regarded as if “gay” promotes anti-heterosexuality as no one dares utilize it (unless if equating something to “bad,” which is another large issue; “that is so gay” is incredibly pathetic to ever say), but, obviously, it merely means a homosexual male, and nothing is wrong with such. Sadly, however, this was the mere beginning of the relentless homophobic statements.

Summarizing the entirety of the concern, the sister was in trepidation as, overall, her brother was moreover interested in Infinite’s Sungyeol than women. Offering a rebuttal, first, even on the sole basis of the brother being a male, that should not automatically entitle a forced attraction; though the brother is a male, it does not mean he should be purely restricted to being interested in females. There is no issue for being interested in men as a male, on both levels of regular admiration, but also, that of romance. Social standards, inequitable social standards, is the reason for why the prior statement is highly controversial.

Addressing one component, a male admiring another male is not shameful or homosexual, and dissecting where the shame derives from, once more, homophobia comes into light (and also “toxic masculinity”). The fear of being related to the idea of homosexuality is to the degree in which males are, for what is truly shameful, actively avoiding affection towards one another, but critically, this fear is due to the social emphasis that homosexuality is unfavorable, and that standard is, indeed, an issue. As mentioned, sexual orientation is purely who a person finds attractive (on a deeper level, as to be explained), and thus, behavior, such as affection for others of the same gender, cannot be assumed as acts of homosexuality or any other sexual orientation. Horrible stereotypes are in place not due to truth, but rather, due to their effectiveness at minoritizing, exaggerating, and dehumanizing people who are not heterosexuals, and very clearly, that is an issue as, regardless of sexual orientation, every person is valuable.

Lastly, for a final aspect to the show’s segment, assumptions of one’s sexual orientation is certainly a key topic to discuss. After all, it is, unfortunately, rather common to hear mutterings and rumors of one’s sexual orientation on the premise of behavior when, as ubiquitously stated, sexual orientation does not relate to behavior whatsoever. Focusing on “Hello Counselor,” the brother did explicitly state that he was a heterosexual, and ridiculously, many were still skeptical. A 26 year old man adoring Infinite’s Sungyeol had to be due to homosexuality and not, as he tiresomely stated, regular admiration towards a person who happens to be of the same gender. Even the brother stating how beautiful Sungyeol is does not suffice as “proof” for how the brother is a homosexual; sexual orientation cannot be proven or assumed as, behavior associated with sexual orientations is socially constructed, and furthermore, precisely constructed in a way that often time pits non-heterosexuals as inferior. Other examples, such as males using makeup, also cannot be used for assumptions (and as mentioned in a few reviews, as a heterosexual male, I do plan on actively using makeup in the future, and tying into the earlier point, I can confidently claim that ZE:A’s Kevin is very physically attractive, even with personally being a heterosexual as homophobia should not forbid me from complimenting others).

Ending on, miraculously, a positive note, for the ending of the siblings’ segment, equity is instilled as a vast majority of the audiences and guests decided that this concern was far from one. Especially with the guest idols’ words, such as Hyosung using herself and Beyonce (an American singer; I personally am awed by her singing) as an example and explaining that there should not be concern, and humorously, Sunggyu stating the lady’s concern is viable, but not due to the brother’s attraction to Sungyeol, but instead, his dancing skills (as the brother attempted to replicate Sungyeol’s dancing), positive messages are unveiled: homophobia is wrong, and that assumptions towards sexual orientations cannot ever be made. These types of remarks, ones that urge equity and, straightforwardly put, basic human kindness towards one another, are the ones that need to be constantly repeated until, hopefully, societies have progressed to the stage where diversity is accepted, embraced, and understood.

Returning to Teen Top, if readers have not skipped this digression, while I greatly appreciate the men disengaging homophobia and showcasing equity, I will admit, I am not entirely grateful for “Ah Ah”; Teen Top’s latest song release, though not horrendous, is, most likely, also not stunning. As is the purpose of the review, it will be determined if “Ah Ah” is “ah” good song a notable song, but definitely, it will not fall to the poor standard of my puns.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10 (5.6/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 6/10 – Confessing a claim, due to the time away from standard song reviews, once more, a sense of unusualness holds, but that will quickly and easily fade away. On topic, Teen Top’s vocals in “Ah Ah” can be rated as slightly above average. While captivating to an extent, repetition prevents a higher score.

Expanding on the stronger features, “Ah Ah” does possess distinguished vocals: the occurred singing retains an exceptionally smooth aspect. Excluding the raps, all of Teen Top’s vocals orientate towards a slower paced, deeper noted, and whispering demeanor. Though power remains absent from such, vocal strength is, rather than a necessity, merely supplementary, and in “Ah Ah” ‘s case, losing that aspect is miniscule. With the smoother vocals, stability is granted as the vast majority of lines follow a clear, crisp route; rather than spikes in the vocals’ flow, as would be if note holds or more intensive singing occurred, the calmer vocals allow “Ah Ah” to maintain a predictable, gradually progressive pace, of which allows the vocals’ pacifying effect to exist. Furthermore, as a result of a more simplistic flow, the melody is augmented: the deeper vocals are able to replicate the soothing, delightful effect of a bassline, except, blatantly, in the form of vocals; a rhythmic melody is established as the vocals’ overall concept suits the accompanying, equally smooth, soundtrack; and lastly, overarchingly, additional emphasis towards the exhibited lower notes is created.

However, though musically charming with the lower, smooth notes, as mentioned, repetition remains impeding, and in many ways, the reason for a six versus a seven. First, though rapping does occur, it does not provide sufficient diversity; the occurred rapping, while a near antithesis to the rest of “Ah Ah” in that it contains higher notes and, significantly, a much hastier pacing, cannot compensate for every other section on the sole basis of duration. Additionally, although occasional higher notes are given, as during the first verse, akin to the rapping, overall, with the remainder of “Ah Ah” recycling similar sounds, those points of differences, be it the singular high notes or rapping, are, unfortunately, negligible.

Now, focusing moreover on why the vocals are dull in the first place, with nearly the entire song following the slower, lower noted singing style, the smoothness carries a major drawback: pure linear singing. The song fails to deviate as there are minimal note changes, and furthermore, for the pitch range, it is a tight, centralized cluster versus that of a full spectrum. For an outcome, much of the emanating vocals are now overly identical to each section. For example, the choruses’ vocals are very similar to the verses’ vocals for characteristics of pacing, flow, and notes, and thus, from there, repetition collects and that results in the vocals becoming relatively mundane over time.

A six will hold as the score as slightly above average is accurate. Though highly stagnant, the vocals are, individually, still appealing as the smooth style does prove effective, though for short-term versus long-term.

– Sections: 6/10 (5.67/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10

2. Verse: 6/10

3. Rap: 5/10

4. Chorus: 6/10

5. Bridge: 5/10

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10

– Analysis: Glancing over the numerical ratings, six does hold as the most common, but slight deviation occurs for the raps and bridge, both of which are rated at a five.

Before addressing the latter pair, however, focusing on the verses and choruses, as both are rather akin sonically and even structurally, the two sections do rate as slightly above average. Similar to the explanation at the Vocals category, the same concept translates: while the two sections are musically  appealing with the smooth, lower noted singing, it all becomes monotonous due to the lack of variety. To prevent redundancy and to preserve time, I will not dive into details as the Vocals category does, in essence, address the verses and choruses.

Nevertheless, for the rapping sections, as they have yet to be discussed, while the raps provide “Ah Ah” minimal diversity, in terms of the section itself, it is, as its rating, solely average. Neither C.A.P or L.Joe provide stunning raps; both members deliver raps that are plain in multiple attributes. For example, the pacing of the raps follow a static rate: the pacing, while still allowing the label of “rap” to be viable, is on the sluggish side, and thus, an enticing flow is lost. On the note of basic pacing, attempts at garnering variety are equally futile. For example, while the ending of the raps partially accelerate in speed, it is vastly minimal. Furthermore, with the melody retaining the same notes and format, and also, the rapping vocals failing to change in intensity, the raps’ flow become exceptionally dull and, in general, as a result, the raps become bereft of appeal. If the rapping lines changed noticeably, and desirably, in rate, or if the melody proved more dynamic, or even if, at the very least, the rapping vocals fluctuated in power, perhaps a six would be possible. But, with neither of those traits performing so, average will hold for the raps.

Continuing the trend of average, the bridge also holds as such. Unlike the rapping sections, however, the bridge remains rather lively and diverse, but peculiarly, yet understandably, it still falters. Shortly phrased, variety may be beneficial, but if said variety is not alluring, then even if many different traits are active, it is all irrelevant. Specifically, in context of the bridge, as for why the diversity is copious: dramatic, slow singing occurs at the start; rapping, of which is accompanied by a gradually speeding beat, is then showcased; and lastly, the instrumental transitioning the song into its conclusion via the soundtrack’s beat conducting at its maximum rate. In standard sight, the bridge appears, and in truth, is phenomenal–structurally, that is. The bridge’s structure is highly diverse, and that is advantageous, but, for the other main component, its mechanical layer, that portion thoroughly fails to thrive.

Mechanically, the listed points of variety are not musically pleasing. First, the initial, slower singing roughly contrasts the entirety of the song; “Ah Ah,” while not vastly upbeat, is still a more animated song, as observed through its raps, choruses, and even instrumental. Thus, the sudden change in pacing, and overall, style, as the bridge’s beginning adopts pure passivity, renders as musically unsuiting. Peering at the second point, for the bridge’s rapping, as are the other raps in “Ah Ah,” once more, average takes place: the tune, tone, power, and rate, are all stale and linear. Although, optimistically, a rhythmic flow now exists as the instrumental and rap link to one another, without other essential traits of being melodic or alluring via rate, the rap still holds averagely. Finally, for the third and last portion to the bridge, though seemingly an excellent transition, although credit is deserved towards its effectiveness, it is highly conventional and musically vapid. It is unequivocal that the final, fastening beats act as a transition as a minor climactic point is constructed, but doing so is lackluster; there is no uniqueness in utilizing this form of transition, in both format and sound. Homogeneous to, for a somewhat abstract example, post-choruses that relentlessly chime “lalala” (so far, on my personal list, AOA’s “Like a Cat” is the sole song that, unbelievably, properly executes such), the bridge’s transition falls within an identical category, and thus, no appeal exists in either structure or form. Anticipatedly, for the overall outcome, average holds as a result. If the diverse points in the bridge carried equally sonically enchanting pieces, the bridge would have earned a high rating, but with the mechanical layer falling short, average remains.

Switching to the two remaining sections, the introduction and conclusion are both scored with a six for “slightly above average.” The two remain incredibly alike: mechanically, both fare decently, and structurally, both accomplish standard roles. However, as the score is a six and not a seven, the degree to which the sections are appealing is not momentous, though nevertheless, the introduction and conclusion are certainly still pleasing.

That stated, in focus of the introduction, the instrumental takes full spotlight, and musically, it is seducing. From the start, the instrumental emanates a fainted sound, and while this possesses structural perks, from a sonic lens, it provides a twist to the original instrumental, and thus, variety is gleaned, but furthermore, the veiled instrumental itself contains appeal as an energetic and bouncy (if that term may be used) rhythm plays. Afterwards, however, with the actual instrumental presented, it still retains its charms as the hastier beats, prominent, yet scoped, bassline, and muffled, electronic sounds, carry delightful tunes. Now, in the context of the introduction’s structure, the standard role of an introduction is served: an enticing element exists to lure in listeners. Mentioned previously, for the first few seconds, the faded instrumental generates anticipation and attention towards the soundtrack as, due to vagueness, curiosity ignites. Additionally, for the layer of setting the song’s atmosphere, that factor is also met as the conducted instrumental offers insight towards how “Ah Ah” would play out, be it its intensity, flow, and so forth.

Lastly, addressing the closure to the song, the conclusion also follows a similar pattern to the introduction: the mechanical and structural layers are decent, but not entirely stunning. As the conclusion takes the form of a chorus, the Vocals’ category will suffice for coverage, but for the remaining layer, it can be deemed as both positive and negative; the role of the conclusion is met, and more accurately, exceeded, but for a drawback, the song’s largest issue is further accentuated. Towards the final seconds to “Ah Ah,” the conclusion does end smoothly: the ending is neither abrupt or excessive; the ending is concise and precise. Therefore, in that regard, the default role is served, but for what holds as impressive, as the song’s choruses are its main sections, being able to finish on such leaves “Ah Ah” with a remarkable, distinctive, and lingering end. Often time, for the most ensured, fluid halt to a song, a conclusion often takes the form of a calmer section, such as a post-chorus or even a separate conclusion section. Seldom is a more energetic section, as are the choruses in “Ah Ah,” used as, blatantly, it would be excessive for a clean close. However, Teen Top’s song differs in that, miraculously, its most intense section concludes the song, and thus, while a high risk, in “Ah Ah” ‘s case, the high reward of ending on a signature section is achieved.

Regardless, however, a six is the score for both sections, and explaining so, glaring points prevent higher ratings: the introduction’s instrumental, while decent, does not manage to push to the pure state of being thoroughly musically charming, and for the conclusion, although finishing on the song’s main section, doing so also indirectly accentuates “Ah Ah” ‘s most menacing issue of repetition. Nonetheless, a six still represents moreover a positive score than one of negativity or neutrality, and as their representation of “slight above average,” those ratings prove reliable for the introduction and conclusion.

– Line Distribution: 5/10 – For a side note, as will be explained later at the end of the review, this review has been delayed for multiple days. On topic with Teen Top however, with a moreover average group size of six, Teen Top should face minimal issues with their distribution.

Gauging Teen Top’s leader (if correct), C.A.P, his sections include the second rap and the bridge. Two is his total, which, admittedly, is concerning. However, considering there are fewer sections in “Ah Ah” than in most songs, this may be excusable and of minimal issue.

In terms of Chunji, four sections is his quantity: one verse and three choruses. Already, a disparity is present, but as it is fairly earlier, solely minimal comments can be made. The remaining members will either widen or lessen the gap from Chunji and C.A.P.

For Niel, one of the main vocalists for Teen Top, if not the only one (I am still unfamiliar with members’ roles), his sections consist of the second verse, the bridge, and the three choruses. Thus, an alarming five holds as his total. With half of Teen Top showcasing differences in sections, a gloomy outcome for the Line Distribution score is in place.

For L.Joe, a replica of C.A.P’s sections is seen: the first rap and bridge are his lines’ locations. As a result, two is also added to the list.

Ricky’s lines appear at the second verse and bridge, and therefore, more contribution towards the “two sections” range exists. A gaping disparity is becoming visible.

Changjo, the final member to be assessed, has his spotlight during the first verse. Purely. One, disturbingly, is his count, and thus, with the current distribution, a lower score will be in inventory.

Granting the rating for Teen Top’s share of lines in “Ah Ah,” as the perfect distribution resides towards two or three sections, if Niel and Chunji have their count reduced to three, and if Changjo was pushed towards, at minimal, a total of two sections (a few of the other members gaining one section), a perfect score would have been earned. However, as how it currently holds, average will hold as, in essence, half of Teen Top were excessive or insufficient in amount.

– Instrumental: 6/10 – Sustaining the trend in “Ah Ah,” the ubiquitous number of six appears for the instrumental’s rating. Teen Top’s latest comeback does carry a pleasing instrumental, but sadly, it does not reach the standards of a seven.

To address the sonic component to the instrumental, simplistic, yet notable, sounds are granted: a soothing bass, consistent beats, and even tuneful, minor tints of guitar plucking. Expectedly from the bass and beats, the song’s general smooth and soothing rhythm is granted, and accounting for the song’s main musical appeal is through its calmer flow, as explained at the Vocals category, it can be concluded that the instrumental’s bass and beats are pleasing on a sonic lens. For the other prominent but subtle aspect, the traces of guitar support, versus pure rhythm, “Ah Ah” via tune; the repeating plucking guitar string sounds help augment the song’s tune, whether through granting a passive melody or by complementing Teen Top’s vocals.

On the subject of complementing vocals, for the structural layer to the instrumental, the assumed role of reciprocating vocals is achieved: intenser vocals, such as during the choruses, are accompanied with an equally upbeat instrumental, and conversely, for the more passive sections, as are the verses and the bridge’s beginning, a calmer instrumental is established to suit. Furthermore, for other perspectives, in a general scope, the instrumental to “Ah Ah” carries an invaluable role of setting the song’s overall style. Identical to the vocals, the instrumental also carries a smooth, lowered pitched and slower rate, and thus, that distinguishing feature to “Ah Ah” is further developed. Even under the circumstances of energetic sections, such as the choruses or raps, the instrumental, while adaptive via increasing pace and complexity, still, overall, preserves the main concept of being slower paced and deeper pitched.

But, as is the score, a six still exists despite the noteworthy structural positives. Sonically, while far from mediocre, the instrumental fails to be utterly captivating as the given sounds are moreover basic, and structurally, though it syncs to vocals and converses the song’s style, it is, as the musical layer, straightforward as, by merely remaining calmer, the instrumental automatically supplies for “Ah Ah” ‘s concept. Nevertheless, slightly above average is not poor, and thus, the instrumental can be deemed moreover as positive.

– Lyrics: 5/10 – With a rather peculiar title of “Ah Ah,” a wide range of predictions are viable. Honestly, however, even after analyzing the lyrics, the title still remains perplexing. At most, for a potential reason for why “Ah Ah” is the title, it may be due to the lyrics’ actual sounds: the words of “in my,” as with “in my eyes” and “in my heart,” and additionally, the Korean words that contain an “ah” sound (readers who know the actual answer, such as perhaps through an interview, should feel free to send in a message explaining the title). Ignoring the hopeless debate, for what is relevant, the following Korean-to-English lyrics will provide not a justification for the song title, but instead, the plot itself. The following lyrics are not perfectly accurate:

I just called you because
I was wondering what you’re doing
I don’t have anything to say,
maybe I miss you
I don’t know about you but I’m thinking of you
I’m sorry, you weren’t sleeping, were you?

Aren’t you hungry?
Wanna go get something to eat?
It’s alright if you don’t want to
Let’s just get a cup of coffee and talk
I’ll go to your house or you can come here
I’ll buy everything
If you hesitated for a little, baby girl,
just come out,
I’m actually already in front of your house

You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes
I miss you, I can’t even sleep
You, baby, you excite me, baby, in my heart
I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you
From morning to morning, just us two
Don’t go anywhere, baby
You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes

When you’re standing up,
I like your behind that’s about to burst
I like your butt
I love you girl, don’t just go today
Don’t leave me alone

A good car, a good house
But you’re first, you’re number 1
I really want you
You don’t know my heart
You think you know?
But you don’t know like Uhm Junghwa
Can’t know, it’s so much
I don’t wanna be
just nothing anymore

You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes
I miss you, I can’t even sleep
You, baby, you excite me, baby, in my heart
I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you
From morning to morning, just us two
Don’t go anywhere, baby
You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes

Love me, take me, away from here
Love me, take me, away from here, babe
Today, I wanna go farther with you
Girl I want you for a whole day
Will you tell me, “okay”
Feels like everything has frozen but us
Let’s play just us two
The night sky that I see every day looks nice today
It greets us but where are you?
Hurry up, hurry up,
even if you don’t get ready, you’re perfect

You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes
I miss you, I can’t even sleep
You, baby, you excite me, baby, in my heart
I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you
From morning to morning, just us two
Don’t go anywhere, baby
You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes

“Ah Ah” depicts, as may be foreseen by general trends, a romantic plot. A main character expresses his love towards a love-interest, though more accurately, partner: “You, baby, are beautiful…in my eyes,” and that she “[excites him] in [his] heart.” In fact, his infatuation is to the degree of desiring to be with her “from morning to morning,” and that, humorously, without her, “[he] can’t even sleep.” Besides complimenting the partner, the main character also proves attentive, though, admittedly, slightly obsessive. He tends to call even if he “[doesn’t] have anything to say,” and also, for a scenario, despite an unspoken answer to whether the partner is hungry, the main character has preemptively arrived “in front of [her] house.” Other details are included, but it all falls within categories of either complimenting the partner or his burning love for her.

Although sweet and comical in a few aspects, the portrayed plot does render as average. Main ideas are repeated, as mentioned with the latter two categories, and furthermore, the plot itself remains unembellished as it is highly basic with details and events. Thus, a five will hold.

– “Critical Corner”: For the bonus section of the “Critical Corner,” a few topics to discuss have arised. Directly discussing the most prominent one, as embarrassing as may be, the verse regarding the partner’s butt is worth dissecting. Offering my opinion: context. Context is the determining factor. While many have been partially shocked at the lines, with the entirety of the lyrics as background, the second verse can be considered acceptable. In a genuine loving relationship, sexual attraction towards one another is certainly fine. Should the relationship, however, be one-sided or if uneasiness exists, then an issue would be present, and though the latter is potentially true for “Ah Ah,” optimistically, it will be assumed the relationship is loving, and thus, the main character’s remarks are appropiate.

That said, though to be eventually discussed in a future review, as the following topic is, sadly, frequent, the topic of sexual “complimenting” is one that needs to be discussed, but anticipatedly, is rarely mentioned due to uncomfort. Regardless, though the situation in “Ah Ah” is, assuming the relationship is sound, acceptable, should a different situation be present, such as with strangers, then quite transparently, the second verse’s lines are disturbing. “Catcalling,” as the term follows, is never acceptable, and unfortunately, it does apply inequitably: females tend to be harassed more frequently than males, as to be explained. In short, complimenting on a person’s body in a derogatory, highly sexual manner is objectifying; through supposedly complimenting a person’s body, it merely sets a standard of dehumanizing a person, and with social layers involved, gender disparity, as males feel permitted to objectify females, is also promoted. Thus, for a final message, sexual comments are never acceptable unless if within the right context, such as a healthy relationship or if the parties involved are, unequivocally, comfortable (with proper flirting, for example). Due to time, I will save this for a future discussion as the social components are very much critical to discuss.

Addressing another subject, for the second rap, quickly stated, comparison of the partner to materials, such as a “good car” or “good house” is, harshly put, pitiful. Of course the partner is “first.” While “Ah Ah” may have meant this neutrally with no negative implications, the subject of equating females to material wealth is still present, intentional or not. Never should a female, or anyone, be compared to materials as, no person is meant to be “collected” or “obtained.” But, with social influences, females do tend to be more juxtaposed to objects due to gender disparities, and thus, this portion of the lyrics should be regarded critically, and overall, not perpetuated.

And, for the last topic, though minor in contrast to the prior ones, the main character does seem to be obsessive. Although his attentiveness may seem attractive and loving, to appear at the partner’s house, without her reply, is questionable. Therefore, in regards to the main character’s behavior, sweet acts should certainly exist, but not to the extent of preventing voices to be heard, as in “Ah Ah.”

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – To be said from the start, the choreography is impressive. Syncing and key points are both above average, and especially with the dance practice video, Teen Top’s footwork, if that is a proper label, is exceptional.

On the note of footwork, an array of key points are exhibited in the choreography: every section type differs from the others, and more specifically, within the section types, minus the choruses, on the individual level, each section is different; the verses both differ in dance, and equally, the raps, and so forth for the introduction, conclusion, and bridge. As a result, the choreography is able to maintain high appeal as, constantly, a new dance is introduced. Mundane moments are not seen in the song’s choreography, even despite the choruses, the sole repeating section, recycling the same dance set. With the choruses’ exclusive key point, rather than repetition, as in the song itself, being impairing, for the choreography, it is supportive. Due to the choruses utilizing the mentioned dance style of footwork, a recurring dance set for such creates emphasis towards it, and in the case of the song’s footwork, that is desirable. Out of many groups, regardless of male or female ones, very few have utilized a key point that orientates towards footwork, and thus, in this aspect, “Ah Ah” gathers appeal through their conspicuous dance, and in relation to repetition, additional spotlight towards a rarer dance style is far from horrendous

Critically, however, while the footwork is unique, it requires more than such to be considered at a high standard, but for Teen Top, the group provides the necessary work to their feet in order to grant the footwork its fascination and label. For the category of syncing, specifically with the choruses, the dancing remains fast yet smooth, similar to the musical style of “Ah Ah,” but for the actual linkage to sounds, the sections’ quicker beats are connected via the members’ flashing feet, and adding on, for moments where the choruses partially pause, as during Niel’s single line and towards the end, rather than pure footwork at play, standard dance motions are conducted, or at certain times, footwork but at a significantly slower rate. Remaining sections are also accurately synced to the song, though in comparison to the choruses, rather than relating to the song’s pacing, it is moreover dance maneuvers that synchronize to the song’s flow, such as through arm motions or even walking to different positions. Nevertheless, a high level of accuracy remains, even if focused towards thorough movements and not snaps.

Overall, above average confidently holds as the score. The men of Teen Top are highly adept dancers. What prevents a higher score would be the syncing of the sections, excluding the choruses, being partially lenient and not to the precision of every passed second, and that the key points, while varied, are not to the level of pure, outstanding amazement. But, in multiple ways, the group nearly meets an eight for the choreography, and even with a seven, it is still, overall, a higher-end score, and that is the dance to “Ah Ah”: higher-end.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – Averaging the two main scores of Song and Choreography, seven, after being rounded up does hold as the score. Therefore, Teen Top’s latest comeback of “Ah Ah” can be considered above average, and personally, I do hesitate. Slightly above average, as is the song, would seem more proper, but factoring in the stellar dance, the Overall Score is suiting.

This review took significantly longer than expected. I have worked on it nearly every day, but despite such, it still required multiple days of work. Thus, I do apologize for the delay. Other tasks, in addition to this review needing more analysis time, may have contributed to the delay. I have recently subtitled a video of Fiestar, and another one is expected to come shortly (Jei sang a beloved childhood ballad, and as a result, I feel obligated to share it). Furthermore, as stated at the very beginning of the review, I do have summer homework, and needless to say, education comes first. Definitely, however, reviews will still be a priority.  

Upcoming reviews are Apink’s “Remember” and Stellar’s “Vibrato.” The question is which one will be first, but in the end, both will be, unless if changes occur, reviewed. Afterwards, album reviews are in mind to conclude the month of July (I am attempting to reach a total of six reviews). As I have surprisingly not stated so yet, thank you very much for reading. I greatly appreciate the given time. As this is the end of the review, though I am behind schedule, “I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you from morning to morning” though new reviews. Stay tuned for one of the mentioned songs.

Hi! This isn’t a review request per se, but I was wondering what your thoughts are on SoYou X JunggiGo’s “Some” and 2BiC’s “Love Game”, both of which share a similar vibe (of which I am particular to). Also, out of curiosity, what was the first K-Pop group that you encountered? Thanks for your time!

Hello, and before answering the more complex, but excellent, question, to answer the last one, I have a few answers. In terms of the very first K-Pop group I have ever witnessed in my entire life, f(x), and specifically, their song of “Electric Shock,” was the very first K-Pop group I have ever encountered. However, if speaking in the context of the first K-Pop group I have become fond of, even to this day, I still very much admire Nine Muses (and many other groups). Nine Muses (back when Eunji and Lee Sem were still on the roster) is the group that has truly allowed me to become entirely engaged in K-Pop since, as many may share, I decided to watch videos of the group that were unrelated to their musical works, and soon enough, I became a fan. But, as stated, for the very first K-Pop group I have ever saw, f(x) and their song of “Electric Shock” marks such.

Transitioning to the difficult question, there are many thoughts to share, and in many ways, a review for one of the songs would allow me to best express my opinions (nearly a year ago, I did plan on reviewing “Some,” and in fact, planned to do so for Valentine’s Day, though Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” claimed that position). Personally, I have yet to hear 2BiC’s “Love Game” in depth (I have just listened to it a few seconds ago), and thus, will hold off opinions as, no stances exist as of now, but for “Some,” as I have tediously listened to it in the past, I do have points to discuss.

Soyou and Junggigo’s “Some” is one of the better duo songs I have ever heard (duo in a general scope of any two singers; this includes two standard vocalists, two rappers, a mixture, and so forth), and while I will not claim it is the best in that category as, so far, (Soyou’s group member and leader) Hyorin’s own collaboration, “Erase,” with Jooyoung, holds that title, I will state that “Some” still holds its own title in one regard: gentle vocals. Often time, captivating vocals equate to powerful vocals, as, for example, witnessed in “Erase” to some degree, or more explicitly, by well-renowned artists such as Ailee, Wheesung, K.Will, for multiple examples, but seldom is the idea of stunning vocals simply calm, gentler ones, and that is what “Some” brings. The song adopts a passive, yet simultaneously, lively tune, and this style did prove effective, and importantly, distinctive as often time, ballad-related songs (as is “Some”) tend to build up towards powerful, note holding vocals.

Now, for a more general glance at “Some,” though arguably unique in its style, a song does require more than such to be utterly infatuating. Thankfully, though, many traits to “Some” are enticing: the vocals are to a high caliber, as proven by how melodic and diverse the singing is; the sections follow a natural, progressive style; the instrumental suits the vocals and overarching pacing; and, as “Some” takes the form of a duo, for the song’s exclusive category, vocal chemistry is in place as both Soyou and Junggigo’s singing sound well against one another. Nevertheless, it is not flawless, and within those praised categories, there are pressing issues. For the most impairing trait, “Some” does tend to become dull over time as, though the vocals are highly dynamic, the sections do follow a somewhat partially stagnant flow. However, if I were to estimate a score, I predict “Some” to be an eight numerically. For the issues that do exist, many are minuscule, and the song is, as would be the rating, a solid “good.” If time permits, in the future, I may conduct an actual review for “Some” to truly gauge how the song holds. After all, “Some” is now (or was, though I am confident it still is) a relatively trending pop culture reference in terms of “some” relationships, as many may occasionally say. (And of course, if the term “some relationships” existed beforehand, at least now many begin humming the song whenever the subject arises.) 

That said, thank you for the questions. Apologies for being unable to answer for 2BiC’s “Love Game” as it would be erroneous to comment on since, clearly, I have yet to hear it fully. Nonetheless, I do hope you enjoy the other answers. 

I don’t know if you remember, but I’m the one of the people who requested the mamamoo review. I really appreciate you doing it, because I as much as I love the group, I really enjoy seeing critical review of them and knowing they have room to grow.

I will also include your second part: “I really enjoy your blog. It’s reminiscent of MRJKPOP (YouTube) in the way that it critically reviews kpop songs rather than just the music videos. I’ve followed you since the first post and you’ve come pretty far. I can’t wait to see where you go”

First of all, I certainly do remember you and your request, and I am also glad that you enjoyed the review. As much as you appreciate it, I also equally appreciate that you have sent in the request for the group to be reviewed as, if not for you sending in MAMAMOO, I would have never reviewed their latest song. So, thank you for doing so. 

Also, with your mentioning of MRJKPOP, I have just watched two of his video reviews (on Girls’ Generation’s “Party” and Stellar’s “Vibrato,” the latter being for review eventually), and to express my feelings, I feel utterly flattered to be compared to him. In fact, I feel it is almost wrong for me to be compared to him as his reviews are a significant notch above mine, but nevertheless, thank you very much for comparing my reviews to his. Explaining his reviews, he goes beyond what my blog conducts in terms of analysis: I focus moreover on the sounds of a K-Pop song, and of course, partially on the choreographies, but for MRJKPOP’s reviews, in addition to addressing a song’s sonic layer and dance, he incorporates other aspects, such as the production, the relationship of a song’s sounds to its overarching concept, and, a personal favorite, a thorough, second-by-second inspection. His reviews are, simply stated, phenomenal, and as you have stated, the degree of being critical is exceptionally high, and for that, he deserves much praise. 

That said, thank you once again for comparing my works to his, and also, for following this blog through its beginning. I cannot express enough gratitude for you constantly being engaged with this blog. I strive to continually improve my reviews, be it the writing or the analysis itself, and I am entirely grateful to hear you have followed, and more accurately, are following, the ongoing journey of how my reviews are continually growing and becoming more critical. After all, K-Pop songs are, indeed, more than three or four minutes of flashy videos; there are many layers, whether that is how the song deconstructs, or even more discreetly, as I tend to digress about, social topics that need to be discussed. And on that note, Stellar’s “Vibrato” will be for review soon, and many subjects are in mind, both musically and socially. 

Of course, however, Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” will need to be finished first, and that will, hopefully, be done by today. Once again, thank you so much for your previous request, kind words, and of course, constant support. I appreciate it all. 

Hello First, i want to tell you that i really i like all sub about fiestar because i’m a big fan of them. Second, can you continue sub more songs or sub about fiestar,plz ? Thanks a lot and have a good day.

Hello, and I am glad to hear that you enjoy the subbed videos of Fiestar.

To answer, you can certainly expect more subtitled videos. In fact, I am currently in the middle of subtitling another video involving the ladies, and if on schedule, it should be finished within three days (if I am not writing for Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” review, subbing that video is my writing break). 

Furthermore, I plan to continue subbing the group’s videos; understandably, as Fiestar is, in truth, unpopular, not many, if at all anyone, bother to sub their videos, and thus, I will continue doing so until, perhaps, an official subbing team is created. My Korean is not even close to fluent, and in honesty, is, at most, minimal knowledge, but with simpler videos, it is enough to at least grant fans general idea that would allow them to enjoy Fiestar (and I am indeed a huge fan of the ladies). Complex dialogue, such as radio shows, are impossible for me to subtitle without assistance (in fact, with the current one subbed video being an interview, I already have cut off many minutes due to not comprehending those specific moments). 

My pitiful words aside, in short, you may certainly look forward to more subtitled videos of Fiestar. As subbing does require a lot of time (translating, editing and captioning, and then video rendering), I cannot guaranteed a quick rate, but certainly, videos will be made. That said, thank you for sending this in. I am glad to know there are viewers who do appreciate the videos and will work hard to continue uploading them.

I know it’s a hard question to answer, but what’s your all time favorite kpop song/album? Also are you reviewing Apink’s ‘Remember’?

Hello, and before answering, thank you so much for your other message. It means a lot and I really appreciate your kind words. Thank you for that.

On topic, to follow a disorganized route, answering the last question, I am not currently reviewing Apink’s “Remember,” but in a day or two, the review for it will be started. Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” is currently in progress, but I hope to hastily finish it and to begin Apink’s song soon.

As for the remaining question, it is a difficult one, but as of now, for my all-time favorite K-Pop song, as stated in a few reviews, Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” still holds that spot (and that in itself is rather impressive as it has been many months). While the review for “You’re Pitiful” scored as a seven (above average), I personally very much adore the song. Biasedly, I would confidently give it a nine. Its overall concept suits my preferences: the vocals follow a slower yet highly melodic style; the instrumental utilizes equally harmonious sounds and, in many aspects, remains similar to a ballad’s instrumental; and for one more aspect, while “You’re Pitiful” possesses many attributes of a ballad, it is significantly more upbeat, and in that regard, I am also more drawn in as the song is now, jocularly phrased, a “pop ballad,” and that newly constructed genre term is my personal preference for songs, of which “You’re Pitiful” fulfills. Even outside of a musical lens, the choreography and theme are equally infatuating; the dancing remains impressive and syncs well to the sonic layer, and for the theme, the partially ominous, yet optimistic, tone is alluring and intriguing.

Besides “You’re Pitiful,” however, obviously, many other songs are worthy of mentioning. For previous favorites, for one example, Nine Muses’ “Glue” was a song I also highly cherished. Similar to the reasons above, “Glue” also followed a style of possessing exceptionally melodic vocals, and for its instrumental, it had one that was rather rhythmic, but unlike “You’re Pitiful,” it does lean towards a more upbeat style, hence why Fiestar’s song is, personally, considered above it. Now for another discussion, “best” songs would also be interesting to dive into as, while those songs may not be my preferred songs, there are many songs that are exceptionally admirable on the basis of quality (”Erase” by Hyorin and Jooyoung comes to mind for one example). But, to remain on topic, I will save this for another time or a separate question.

In terms of my favorite K-Pop album, though I have listened to many, solely one possesses many songs that I can, at minimal, consider “decent”: AOA’s “Like a Cat” Mini-Album. Other albums tend to follow the trend of possessing two stellar songs at the drawback of, expectedly, the remaining songs holding poorly, but for AOA’s mini-album of “Like a Cat,” every song is decent, at worst. Overall, however, I have yet to find an album that charms me on the level that Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” does for favorite song, though the mentioned AOA album is still definitely respectable.  

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As I have said enough, this will be the end of my answers. Thank you for sending in the questions, and of course, for your kind message. I cannot express how much I appreciate it. Also, I would not mind hearing your own answers; do feel free to share your own favorite K-Pop song and album.

Blog Opinion: Girl’s Day’s “Rude” Behavior On “Koon TV”

Posted on July 16, 2015

Personal Message: Although I did intend to review Girl’s Day’s latest song of “Ring My Bell,” considering the group’s current controversy would have been nearly irrelevant by the time the review was posted, I have decided to create a Blog Opinion instead. Furthermore, with this topic also being unrelated to “Ring My Bell” directly, creating a separate post so that the controversy is of main focus will also provide more clarity. However, for those who were curious on my rating of the ladies’ latest comeback, it is to a lower tier, and if calculated correctly, it does reside around the “slightly below average” range (that is excluding the Line Distribution category). Most likely, the song will not be covered as I am now prioritizing groups that have yet to be ever reviewed. Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” is scheduled to be the next song for review.

Ignoring the song, shifting attention to the larger controversy Girl’s Day has been under, the group is being scrutinized for their supposed rude behavior during the live internet broadcast of “Koon TV.” There have been multiple stances regarding this topic, ranging from defending the group’s innocence to proving their guilt, but furthermore, other aspects have also been included, such as the argument of whether their gender influences current chastisement, if their acts were justified, and so forth. With this Blog Opinion, I will, as the title, offer my own interpretation and opinion, but as familiar readers may predict, I will also dive into the more critical layers of the controversy, such as the ongoing debate of whether Girl’s Day being a female group has influence on the current reactions. Also, should the controversy already be rendered as old versus trending, I still strongly believe in the importance of discussing it; even if this incident is now disregarded, there are many topics to discuss, and most certainly, similar cases may arise in the future, and thus, even if the occurred event is now discarded, the following discussions will, hopefully, continue to be germane.

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Context: For the purpose of background, before analyzing the situation, a summary of what took place will be given. As mentioned, Girl’s Day attended an internet broadcast show called “Koon TV,” and while it began as an interview, as time progressed, the group’s behavior seemingly downgraded. With the arrival of food, significant changes unfolded: Girl’s Day allocated much of their attention to eating versus the host, and with the given food, questionable manners were unveiled.

To hastily grant specific insight on what has spawned the controversy, Sojin’s act with the show’s dumplings is in spotlight. Once a few dumplings arrived, the host placed them upon the table, but peculiarly, Sojin placed them back down. After the two, jocularly, relentlessly cycled between placing the dumplings on and off the table, Sojin did, once the host questioned her action, clarify her acts via claiming that the members did not eat those types of dumplings. Nevertheless, the two still continued their sillier dumpling exchange for a few more seconds before, finally, the host stated he paid for the dumplings, and therefore, that the ladies should enjoy them, and at the least, that he would personally eat them. Eventually, Sojin does allow the dumplings on the table, though she did leave a remark of how the dumplings were, against the host’s words, free of charges, and that he did not personally pay. Afterwards, Sojin did remove the wrapping to feed the host one dumpling, but shortly after, showed signs of disgust, and laughter, since the host’s lips touched her chopsticks (new chopsticks were used afterwards).

Progressing further, after the initial feasting dwindled, the host attempts to elicit a discussion regarding their latest album, and in reply, Hyeri asks why they would discuss it. In another trial at beginning a conversation, the host then speaks of how the group went through many hardships. He then asks who the group is thankful towards, and once more, the ladies reject the discussion: utter silence, excluding the sounds of eating. At this, the host asks if he should remain quiet as they eat, but in response, Girl’s Day states that they feel the abrupt switch to a more solemn mood is strange, and furthermore, that they would not like to ruin the meal with a depressing atmosphere. Continuing, at one point the host then says he will do a police imitation, but, as evidenced by the camera’s shot on the ladies, once again, the group focused moreover on eating than interacting with the host.

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Analysis: As always, multiple layers exist, and rather than focusing on two endpoints, such as with “innocent” or “guilty,” being able to perceive in depth matters. But, to answer the current, pressing question of whether the group was rude or not, unfortunately, I will state the ladies were, indeed, rude. Even if their acts were justified (which will be explained later), it can be concluded that, with high confidence, their behaviors were not proper.

Addressing the initial bickering, Sojin did place the dumplings down without any explanations, and thus, already, the lack of courtesy takes place. Especially with being served food, respect towards the given foods, even if personally disliked, should exist. If Sojin initially placed the dumplings down while simultaneously claiming the members did not eat those, then respect would be showcased, but with only explaining so after being directly questioned, implicitly, it can be interpreted as her being rude and not honoring the gift of being served food. In many ways, Sojin acted as if she possessed authority over the meal (like if she was the server), when that, blatantly, is not the case as the host is the one serving. Furthermore, even the accusation of claiming the meal was free and not personally paid by the host remains akin to Sojin’s arrogant demeanor; since Girl’s Day is being served a meal, the server (host), even if true that he did not pay, should not be questioned for his delivery of a meal as, simply stated, the given foods are under his ownership, regardless of personally paying or not.

Lastly, for acts that hold as both friendly and impolite, Sojin did feed the host a dumpling, which is certainly a kind gesture, but seconds after, her reaction was not: Sojin displayed disgust at his lips touching her chopsticks. Although she did laugh, and therefore, assumingly meant her claim was moreover a joke than insult, it still does retain tints of rudeness. With feeding, it is meant to be done in an accepting manner; it should be assumed a person’s lips will touch the feeding utensil. Thus, though there may be rebuttals of Sojin being hygienic, her revulsion can be linked to hesitation of feeding the host, and from such, the lack of genuinely desiring to conduct a friendly act emanates. Also, as I have just realized, for clarification, this is in the lens of Korean culture. For example, in American culture, it may be highly insignificant for a person to mutely shove away food they personally dislike, and for feeding, to desire cleanliness and not have lips touching utensils, but in terms of Korean culture (and many other cultures), doing so is highly rude and disrespectful to the people serving the meal, and for the latter, showcasing that feeding a person is a hassle when, respectfully, feeding someone should carry no negative connotations (and similarly, for another example, picking up food with a used eating utensil and giving said food to a person).

On that note, however, for the following incident, rather than it being directly tied to Korean culture, humorously stated, it falls with “idol standards,” as to be explained. Upon being questioned about their comeback and album, and additionally, their hardships, although the mood would have certainly changed to a more solemn one, Girl’s Day were on broadcast and accompanied by a host, and therefore, sincere responses are to be expected, regardless of desire to not speak. By refusing to speak, clearly, it is ignoring the host and rude in that regard, but more significantly, with their roles as idols, in the viewpoint of audiences, denying responses to the host’s questions can be correlated with not caring for their work or reputation, both of which are understandingly rude to viewers.

Now, as mentioned, even if it is unequivocal that Girl’s Day’s actions were rude, it is justified; justified not in the sense of accepting their actions as utterly fine, but rather, that their acts are not without reasons. Perhaps the members were incredibly hungry and tired, as would be anticipated if they had performances on the same day, and of course, realistically, they might have not been in the best of moods. They are humans, after all. But, even under the circumstances of genuinely wishing to not participate in the show, with their jobs being that of idols, in truth, Girl’s Day should have presented a facade at the very least. For example, though a poorer one, a police officer grants a parallel comparison (except on an exponentially more serious scale): a police officer must constantly conduct themselves properly, even under conditions of a horrendous day. If someone decides to swear them out on their worst day, regardless of their inner emotional and mental state, it is imperative for them to remain calm and to not misbehave, such as in the form of police brutality and such.

Reflecting on Girl’s Day, while it is certainly not a matter of life and death, the same, exceptionally high standards are in place, though rather than public safety it is the form of public entertainment. As incredibly unrealistic as it may be, whether for a police officer (though it unequivocally needs to be to an unrealistic standard for police), or for another example, a teacher, holding up to the high standards are expected, and for Girl’s Day, the same is applied. Unfortunately, however, as observed with the current controversy, they did fail to maintain a proper broadcast image.

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Conclusion: Overall, in summary: Girl’s Day, based on my interpretation, were rude, however, their manners are understandable and, most likely, do not derive from hatred towards the show or host. Nevertheless, there are many aspects to still consider. In the end, Girl’s Day are humans, and while they should certainly acknowledge their mistakes, which they have done so through revisiting the show for a more proper interview and formal apology, in terms of viewers and fans, equally following suit via forgiving should occur. This one event, while their acts may have been atrocious to many, definitely does not define the ladies; the members are still the usual talented, humorous, intelligent and caring idols that they have been, and one blunder should never offset their entire credentials. Despite upsetting viewers with the visit to “Koon TV,” for the opposite times, such as providing viewers with laughs and smiles, and expectedly, decent songs and choreographies, those moments should also not be forgotten.

That said, for an overarching point, while it is disheartening to watch the group’s rude behaviors, their mistakes is understandable and worth forgiving. What is most disturbing of the controversy is not the group’s behavior, but instead, how many have reacted, and that is the main discussion I would desire most to focus on as, sadly, it will be a topic that remains relevant for many years, but optimistically, I hope for that statement to be completely revoked.

In honesty, if it were not for this component of the controversy, I would not have been driven to begin this Blog Opinion, but with it taking place, directly discussing this is the necessary route, not evasion. Ending speculations, for what remains pressing of this controversy: sexism. Very blunt, derogatory sexism. Reactions to the controversy are, ironically, vastly more rude than Girl’s Day was, and in many ways, will ever be; the inhumane gender degrading and objectification that has occurred in response to the group is, overall, indescribable. This, very much obviously, is never fine. Even if Girl’s Day outrightly swore at the host and attacked him, to respond in a manner that not only is at an immature, worthless level, but also, one that builds upon an exceptionally large social issue, is simply dumbfounding.

Claiming Girl’s Day were (and as a language warning, though I will censor the stated comments, I believe showcasing the insults in a mature, critical mindset allows for further understanding) “fake b****es all along” or that, based on performances of “Ring My Bell, “they’re all slutty, anyways,” are not acceptable remarks, no matter the situation, whether for Girl’s Day or other females under negative attention. Both examples, while many other stated comments exist, promote sexism. Slut-shaming, as discussed in multiple reviews (off memory, Dal Shabet’s “Joker” may have discussed it), is a large issue affecting females, and the scale of which ranges from sexual assaults to daily, agitating remarks. Relating the group’s current comeback, the outfits are not “slutty” as they should be able to wear whatever they please without any degrading. As for the other statement, the term of “b****” already is demeaning, but complemented with “fake” in front, the momentous gender issue of policing females is unveiled (“fake b****” reinforces and justifies policing of females; females are constantly monitored to determine if they are “fake”).

While insults should be refrained in general, should they be forced to exist due to lack of maturity, at most, Girl’s Day should receive claims of “their outfits looked horrible, anyways” (which would hopefully not be rooted with the idea of judging females’ appearances) or “fake idols,” but not comments that are heavily rooted in hate towards women. Society, in an overarching scope, can be seen as the catalyst for these comments; the related, inhumane comments are merely a representation of current ongoing inequities, one that places females as inferior to males. Answering the initial question of if gender has influenced Girl’s Day’s controversy, in terms of rudeness, no correlation exists, but in terms of public response, most certainly the group being of females has generated vast more hate than if they were, for example, males.

Therefore, for a final message, ignoring the controversy as, bluntly put, it itself is meaningless to ponder over, focusing on what is important, the erupted sexism, that is where I hope readers focus their attention towards. Pop culture news, directly, may be moreover for entertainment, but indirectly, many social layers can arise, and thus, with that, pop culture news is very much worth caring for. Summarizing the post once more, while Girl’s Day’s acts were rude, forgiving should occur, and most importantly, not contributing to sexism. Females should not all suddenly be antagonized for a situation that does not even relate to gender in any form.  

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As always, thank you very much for reading. Whether it is for actual reviews or for side posts as this, I very much appreciate all of the given time reading. For this post specifically, many will, most likely, disagree, and that is perfectly acceptable, and hopefully, what does occur. However, as mentioned, rather than focusing on purely the controversy, gauging responses and involved social layers is what remains more significant. Nonetheless, I am always open for various interpretations of any aspect of the controversy.

Leaving other notes, this post did take three days to write. Though I intended for solely one day, it has been dragged to three (though technically two days as it is an hour past midnight on the second day, and thus, now three). Although this does prove hindering to my review schedule, this situation is worth the time discussing. Also, I do apologize if the writing progressively deteriorates; as explained, I am sacrificing sleep to finish this, and expectedly, my writing may begin languishing (but the general writing could have been significantly stronger).

Upcoming reviews are still undecided, but Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” is in schedule to be reviewed next. I will continually update my review schedule accordingly. With this being the end, though Girl’s Day fails to “ring my bell” with their latest song, they have most definitely did so through their controversy and the need to discuss it, and readers are also doing so as I will work towards quickly finishing the upcoming review. Stay tuned for it, and thank you once more for reading.