F.T. Island – “Severely” Review

F.T.
Island – Severely (Music Video)

F.T.
Island – Severely (Audio; unofficial upload)

F.T. Island – Severely

Reviewed
on March 26, 2016

Personal Message:
It has been about two weeks since I
last posted a review, so I do apologize for this gap. To prevent this in the
future, after tinkering around with Tumblr’s post settings, I have finally
discovered a way to post according to a schedule. In other words, I can store posts
for future dates, and then later, the blog should automatically post them
according a specified time. I have yet, however, to actually test this out, but
I plan to do so for April. If it does work, then I can always spread out
reviews so that, for example, rather than posting three reviews in one week, I
can distance them out to keep the blog active. Even so, though there has been a
delay, this month will for sure finish out with at least a total of six
reviews—a record above many past months.

Explaining my absence, I have been
quite busy with schoolwork. Given that the semester will be over in one more
month, classes have become rigorous with work. Furthermore, however, I was also
preoccupied with having had to prepare for a literature conference. (And
preparing in the sense of helping, that is; I did not present anything nor even
ever intend to.) Clarifying the latter—and to be as concise as possible to not
bore readers—I attended and helped facilitate discussions at an event that took
place at my university. What occurred was students from across America visited
to read aloud their essays that were based on a literary theory (such as with
feminism criticism, deconstruction, queer studies, etc.). Though perhaps this
may sound dull and perhaps even confusing, to relate this for readers, in some
aspects my reviews are actually a rough example of how literary theory works.

The idea of applying a lens—a
literary theory—to literature (or in this case, songs and videos—and of which
arguably can be deemed “literature”) and seeing the meaning that comes from it
is, again in a very rough sense, what literary theory is. Thus, whenever I
digress on a social topic with a music video, lyrics, or even pop culture news,
what I am doing in essence is applying a literary theory lens (or lenses).
There are times where I perhaps focus on a song for its portrayal of women (a
feminist critic), or at other times I critique a song for its message regarding
homosexuality (queer studies—though this is significantly more than just
homosexuality since, as in its label, it focuses on “queer”). This format is
overall what literary theory is. Now of course, there is the blurred line of
when it becomes moreover a sociological lens rather than a literary lens—and admittedly
with reviews I would guess that it does tend to be moreover sociological—but as
long as the medium in mind is moreover literature (in its multiple form), then
it is plausible to claim that literary theories are used.

Point is and to return to the
original discussion, the conference was quite fun and there were a lot of
interesting and important discussions that took place since, as I like to
personally claim, literary theories is what makes literature genuinely
applicable and important. Ignoring my zeal for English and to one day be
teaching English with a focus on social topics, preparing for the conference
and attending it did take time away from reviews. In fact, I would have
finished one review and a lengthy social digression within the time period. And,
even after all of that, there was a dilemma left: finish homework, or finish
reviews. Obviously, I chose the proper route: watching “Girl’s Wiki” by
Rainbow’s Jisook and Hyunyoung. (I plan to review this show. It is wonderful,
but furthermore, there are important topics to cover regarding this show.)

Switching topics abruptly, though I
have already said much, for something I do wish to discuss, many months ago I
did mention wanting to share my university experience along with tips. (Feel
free to skip to the review now unless if interested. Although “Severely” could
be critically analyzed, we will hold off from that for this review because the
following three reviews already have plenty to discuss.) This may be helpful
especially with those preparing to head off to college and thus desire tips, or
those who are simply curious for my personal story though you must be a bit ridiculous to want to
hear me tell stories since I am horrible at that
. If a reader
throughout this digression wishes for me to expand more, I am always willing to
answer. (Just send in a question.) Also to note, I am indeed a first-generation
college student, so for those similar to my situation, I may have some extra
insight that could help. (A perspective I cannot provide, however, is if a
reader is headed into a “hard science” major. For example, if she is an
engineer major, I expect my current route of English and secondary education to
have much different work and workload and thus, the following might provide
minimal help.)

To begin, I personally do find
college an amazing experience. Jocularly, even my close cousin is shocked at
that statement, but I have truly found the past months to be extremely
pleasant. Even in comparison to high school—a time period with many wonderful
friends, teachers, and the most important class I have ever had even to this
day in college—I would not desire to go back in time. (Unless if for, of
course, seeing old teachers, professor, and friends.) At most, for the biggest complaint
I have, it is not even akin to college directly; rather, for what does bother
me, it is simply how privileged my university community is (White and wealthy).
That said, I am included; I do not wish to make it sound as if I am being
condescending and am suddenly immune to the privilege. Although true that more
than half of my tuition is through scholarships, I would guess many students
are in a similar case, and even with that, the remaining tuition still requires
a privileged middle class income—this being a privilege I do in fact have. I am
very much privileged in class and of course in other aspects, such as gender,
sexual orientation, able-bodied, and so forth.

Optimistically, a decent amount of
the community is open and aware of their social privileges, whether that is
professors or students, and that there is still some diversity versus
absolutely none (though it is far from “satisfactory”). Furthermore, given how it
is a private university, it is expected to reside with being White and wealthy
since this goes in the topic of social stratification. (In short: Whites tend
to be wealthier than non-Whites and thus, will have more access to this
university and from there, the community starts becoming homogenous. This cycle
then continues to repeat.) Continuing discussions of race, class, and even
others such as sexual orientation and gender, is what will help. And
thankfully, those topics do in fact occur, be it in classes or more formally
with the entire university.

Overall, even if the school is
privileged, I am grateful to have never felt purposefully isolated on the basis
of race (even if, for example, I happen to be the only Asian student in a class—in
other words there is no blatant racism and such that occurs). Additionally,
with coming from an underprivileged high school, it truly is an invaluable
experience to now understand both perspectives and to see the connections (or
lack thereof) between the privileged and underprivileged. If anything is to be
gleaned, as I always urge, there is no “right and wrong”; it is not as if one
community is “better” than the other. I value both as, in the end, each one
brings its own experiences—experiences that are inherently valuable and unique.
What matters, though, is that open and mature discussions occur regarding
social topics. Privileges do in fact need to be exposed, but antagonizing
cannot be permitted.

However this discussion, even if
greatly important, is not what I desire to focus on for this review. (Otherwise
there would be no return if I continued on.) Regarding college in of itself, the
biggest change from high school to college is, predictably, the amount of work.
There is a lot more work. A lot. Is it impossible to finish and balance? Not at
all; the work is certainly quite manageable. What matters, though, is that
there can no longer be any last-minute procrastination; work in college
requires a dedicated daily schedule to abide to. To some extent, the idea that
“one hour of class is two hours of homework” is true. Of course, however, it
truly does depend on the class. For example, I know my current ethics class (I
very much adore this class; thinking of morality is fascinating) is generally
one hour of homework given both reading and writing reflections, but for my
English class, I can expect usually three to four hours’ worth of reading and
reflections, and if there is an essay, that is usually going to consume six to
seven hours. But, throwing abstract numbers in the air is far from useful, so
let us ignore this “one hour is two hour of homework” intimidation phrase and focus
moreover on something that is relatable.

As noted so far, it is true that
there is significantly more “work” in college—or is there? Almost as if to
overly frighten high school students in preparation for college, many warn them
of how they have so much upcoming work. Though that is absolutely true, the
following component is forgotten: that they now also have so much time. What is
highly overlooked is that classes do not meet every day. Personally, my classes
meet for a total of three hours per week (and of which there are five classes).
In total, that is fifteen hours (15) a week (assuming only with weekdays).
Contrast that to high school: thirty-five (35) hours a week. (Five days
multiplied by seven hours a day.) Suddenly, the “one class is two hours of
homework” is not as daunting. There are now twenty freed hours to do whatever
one wishes—and this is the true horror of college work. (Not really; the true
horror truly is the amount of work. I am just attempting to be positive.) I
will elaborate later on how a student can keep his time and work manageable. For
now, to leave a final point on the topic of homework, from my experience, it is
worth noting that it is not “busy work.” Admittedly we had those types of
homework in high school: work that is just work to be graded. In college,
homework is not solely to practice concepts, but it is a time to expand on
them. For example, an assigned reading is not merely to clarify the previous
lesson (if even at all), but instead it is to begin the next one. Thus,
homework becomes quite important and admittedly not as much as “homework” as
much as “lesson-to-take-home.”

And, as noted earlier in the
hypothetical situation of an engineering student, I do have minimal studying
tips. Since I am in the humanities and not the hard-sciences, I have so far yet
to need to memorize items. Rather, comprehension is my concern. Using an
example, in my education class though it would be wonderful to memorize all of
the terms and such, it is far better and more important for me to understand
the concepts versus merely knowing a concept (“what” versus “why”). That said,
for some studying tips, one of the better ways to study is to create
distinctiveness; make studying diverse as that will lead to a firmer grasp of a
topic. Include visuals, music, examples, and so forth. Do not—and if I may be
arrogant, take this from an education major—do not purely re-read notes or
textbooks or whichever medium as a form of studying. Merely re-reading is an
absolute waste of time. One would be better off watching an episode of “Girl’s
Wiki” or of MAMAMOO fooling around since at least something is gained (such as
laughter, makeup tips, insight on bags, etc.). Re-reading lacks the necessary
engagement to be effective (and physiologically, fails to fire up neurons or to
create new pathways). Doing that is not effective in memorization or actual
understanding. What is far better would be, for example, using the notes to
create pictures of drama scenes (if this somehow even relates), or even
something as simple as flashcards. Ultimately, the best tip I can give with
studying is to task yourself with being able to teach a lesson. Doing this
requires asking questions of “why is this answer,” and of course, it provides
variety through using the information in various forms, be it the need to
recall information, explaining through words or pictures, and so on.  

However, even with all of the hard
work and stressful times, college is still quite pleasant. On an individual
level, a student will be finding that she becomes quite independent and that it
is a time to truly develop not only academically, but personally with emotions,
maturity, compassion, interests, and more. Transitioning over to general tips
and following up on the prior point of management, the following list will deal
with that:

For one start disciplining yourself
with following a daily schedule (especially if still in high school). Doing so
prevents procrastination, but furthermore—even if saddening to say—each second
must be well spent. Now, this does not mean to work constantly with minimal to
no “fun” breaks (and admittedly, I have tried that before and fell into an
arguably depressed state—though this may be K-Pop withdrawal at play); rather
this means that it is best to have a purposeful outline of events to a day.
Sure it feels rigid, but allotting time for working on homework for two hours
during, for a random example, 6:00 to 8:00 and then having thirty minutes for
watching videos, playing video games, or looking at makeup items, and then
repeating working from 8:30 to 10:30 and a follow-up thirty minute break, will
guaranteed some productivity versus, in contrast, “freely” doing homework whenever
“I feel like it”—of which translates to working for thirty minutes and then
deciding to watch videos for four hours or worse. (And yes, this personally
occurred before.) If one is quite productive, then of course one is welcomed to
have a Saturday dedicated to painting nails or playing sports, but again I
highly emphasize creating and maintaining a daily schedule that includes both periods
of working and of time to relax. Also, with that said, it is recommended to
wake up and sleep at the exact same time for every single day. Even weekends.
This is what I am still attempting to do, but having a firm schedule provides
much organization.

Secondly, and for a tip that is
highly aimed at for readers still in high school, discover the best way you
learn and study. If you learn best through one-on-one, then you have the
advantage of knowing that office hours will be essential to your learning. Conversely,
if you know that you learn best far in the back and from distancing
yourself—literally and figuratively—from your professor, avoid her if it helps.
(Though this is a very bad example as, usually, one learns best from an
educator since, to say the least that is their job. Point is, do whatever is
personally best to learn and study.) For other points, perhaps you find that
you excel most in a social setting and thus require friends to best learn, or
conversely, that you need to be alone otherwise you will be distracted.
Overall, discovering the best way you personally learn (and more so before
entering college) is forever useful.

Thirdly, find ways to de-stress—healthy
ways, that is. College can be stressful in multiple ways: socially, academically,
personally, and the list goes on. Thankfully, I have yet to be stressed in a
social context (and in fact the opposite happens as friends provide a lot of
healing), but in the others I definitely have been. Sharing some examples, I
have had the typical “what is the meaning of life” and “what am I doing with my
life” college student questions; I have had the moment of failing an essay and
nearly (to preserve some character, I will say “nearly”) crying my eyes out; I
have had moments of feeling stupid for completely becoming lost in a class; I
have had moments of simply being overwhelmed and nearly (once again, to
preserve character) crying out of frustration. And some still wonder why I desire a companion German
Shepherd/Rottweiler/Doberman/any-dog-at-this-point. (But so far everything as
of now is quite smooth.)
 For those who will soon enough experience
some form of stress or who are already undergoing such from college, there is a
message to bear in mind: it is fine. It is completely fine to feel stressed,
overwhelmed, about to cry (or in the act of it)—the problem is if that is the
end. Taking a single step at a time helps, but furthermore, simply
acknowledging the moment. College is for a time of uncertainty, and having
support in friends, family, advisors, professors, dog and so forth matters for
these moments. (And alright “dog” is a joke; I also meant to include cats.)

So, what are ways to de-stress?
Although I could become scientific and list out random points such as watching
MAMAMOO, squealing over SPICA’s Boa, spending time with friends, hugging
stuffed animals, exercising, watching my shamelessly self-advertised subtitled
videos of Fiestar, this answer is incredibly subjective—as proven by the listed
examples. Whatever brings one joy—perhaps a student may enjoy a simple walk or
listening to her/his favorite songs—it matters not on what it is (unless if it is
unhealthy and dangerous) but instead more on knowing what it is and being able
to have access to it. In short, know what makes you happy and actually do what
makes you happy. (And this tip can certainly apply outside of college.)

Finally, for perhaps the most
important tip, find ways to not feel isolated or to not feel as if you are
struggling alone. In other words, find a support system since “this is not a
competition; competition this is not.” (Alright, it is two in the morning as of
this sentence so readers should excuse me for this reference.) Explaining this
point, it is essential to have a sense of support since college is, quite
clearly, a difficult time period. Even if rewarding, it is rough. Now, how does
one actually find a support system, such as with making friends? Perhaps
another personal story may help:

Contrary to perhaps many readers’
image of me, I actually am a shy boy (even if less shy than in high school).
Despite how I can be charismatic at times—both with writing and verbal
discussions—I do tend to be quite reserved. Although I very much do enjoy
talking to others and am joyful if others decide to do so first, when it comes
to taking the initiative, I could not be budged. Unless if for class
participation, I just tend to be more reserved; it is my personality and I hold
that it is not a faulty one. (A future discussion could occur about the idea of
introverted versus extroverted. First, assuming we are forced to use binaries,
it is peculiar that the latter is deemed superior. Notice how many say, “don’t
be that quiet” and yet very few say “don’t be that talkative.”) In terms of how
dealt with this, I will be honest: I didn’t. Instead, my friends were the ones
who did the initiating, and thus this leads to another point.

For what I will advocate, making
friends should be based on responsibilities: if it is personally easy to
initiate conversations and such, then it is now a responsibility to especially attempt
to befriend those who tend to be quiet. Of course, whether forming an actual
friendship will still be based on the person themselves, but the focus is that
the initiating should come from those who do in fact find it easier. Now, for
the shy people like me, attempting to reach out to others never hurts, but at
the very least being open, friendly, and so forth should be done. In the end,
college is not a place for merely taking classes; college is a time to form
relationships with others and to spread love and care for human beings.  

And for one minor tip that I have
just recalled (before going to sleep as of this sentence), participating in
class does have many benefits. Being involved with discussions or volunteering
answers help with, for one aspect, simply retaining information. Discussions
tend to be vivid in memory, engaging with visual and auditory senses,
encouraging of multiple perspectives, and so on. Additionally, participating
also helps with simply staying focused, and this works in favor of creating
interest for the class (and thus motivation to learn and study for it) and,
more comically, simply staying awake if that is the case.  

All in all, for those who do decide and
discover that college is the best route (since, to note, I actually do not
believe that college is something “everyone” should do; there are people who
flourish best outside of college and that difference and decision has to be
respected), enjoy this time. Transitioning and adapting are crucial points to
keep in mind, but overall college truly provides a time to develop
independently, socially, academically, and to find personal interests.

Finally focusing on reviews and not
college (surprisingly I am quite loquacious when it comes to college), I did
originally plan to review a recent trot song: “Thumb Up” by Hong Jinyoung. I am
a huge fan of her, but also, I very much appreciate trot music since, if not
for my personal childhood connection (as discussed in an older review), then
certainly for its musical charms. I will be returning to it as the next review
(if not Fiestar’s “Mirror”). For this current review, however, this review is
being “saved”; I peered into my “Leftover Review” folder—a friendly way of
saying “delete soon”—and saw this. Rather than tossing it out, I have decided
to review this song after all. Especially with it being from a male group, and
furthermore, a rock genre versus a pop genre, this review will serve with
bringing in variety for readers. (And yes, truly more male groups will be
coming. It just happens that a lot more female artists have recently made
comebacks than male artists.) F.T. Island should also not be an utterly
unfamiliar group to readers; the men are quite popular given how they are a
rock group and veterans, but furthermore, are in FNC Entertainment—the label
that houses the extremely popular group, AOA.

Addressing the links, I have
included both the audio and music video as, while the music video is clear in
audio, there are moments of dialogue that may be disruptive to some. (And for a
warning, there is an unpleasant surprise though it is heavily foreshadowed
throughout.) Nevertheless, even if there is a severe event in the music video,
we will now see if the song itself is equally severe in ratings—good or bad.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.75/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 7/10
(6.5/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge: 6/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: X/10


Lyrics: 6/10

Letting you go without any expression, as if it’s nothing
I practiced doing that every day, but it’s still awkward
I also practiced how to secretly cry while smiling but,
I feel like my trembling voice will give it away quickly

Loving is more difficult than breaking up
Probably by hundreds and thousands of times
But I’m a fool that can’t live without you,
what do you want me to do?

Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I don’t even breathe and I look around for you
I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop
Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I think letting you go is more severe than dying

No matter how much it hurts, every day I practiced
Trying to get used to spending a day as if it’s nothing

I don’t think I can forget you anyway
Even if I’m sick with an incurable disease
I’m a fool that can’t live without you,
what do you want me to do?

Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I don’t even breathe and I look around for you
I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop
Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I think letting you go is more severe than dying

If this was how it’s going to be, I shouldn’t have loved
When will I forget you?

Foolishly, I guess I loved you so foolishly
Because of you, I can’t even dream of another love
I’m a fool that only knows you,
what do you want me to do?

Severely, I guess we broke up so severely
What’s so hard about saying goodbye
that I can’t even open my lips and am hesitating?
Severely, I guess we broke up so severely
You remain deeper than a scar in my heart
so I can’t erase you

Choreography Score: X/10 (x/10 raw score)

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(7/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Since
I did arguably speak too much for the Personal Message (but I do hope that
there is one reader out there who benefits from the college tips), I will keep
this review moreover concise so that I can also review another song within an
hour, and then afterwards, begin subtitling a highly requested video (Fiestar’s
visit on “Weekly Idol”).

That
said, “Severely” does manage to reap a desirable rating: a seven for above
average. More specifically, nearly every category is a seven. This already does
reveal the workings of “Severely”: a wonderfully balanced song. Each category
perfectly plays off the other and in the end, the results are pleasing. For
example, to first focus on the instrumental, in of itself the emphasized guitar—given
the rock genre—delivers an excellent sound. What is more potent, however, is
the role the instrumental provides for “Severely” in whole. Transitions are
greatly aided through the instrumental, as noticed by the changes of intensity
based on a section. A clear example is simply gauging the instrumental as it
progresses from the verses to the pre-choruses and eventually to the choruses; it
is in fact the instrumental that provides the transitions. Additionally, and
for a prominent aspect, the vocals greatly benefit from the instrumental akin
to the sections. As the vocals become more intensive, the instrumental follows suit.
As a result, “Severely” is able to maintain an organized, cohesive sound
versus, for example, running into problems of how vocals may appear too feeble
in comparison to a roaring guitar instrumental.

With
already mentioning the sections and vocals, as noted both are rated at a seven.
Regarding the vocals, for an incredibly distinctive point that has to be
praised, the “emotions” Hongki invests are invaluable. Now to clarify, I am
referring to “emotions” in a very ambiguous sense; every song indeed contains
emotions, but furthermore, emotions in of themselves are not musical and thus
cannot be points of critique in a song. What, then, is my argument here? Rather
than praising Hongki’s emotional vocals, I wish to focus on what the emotions
in “Severely” grant the song: powerful yet melodic vocal beltings. Arguably,
the melancholy tone that comes with the singing is what allows the delivery to
be the way it is, hence why I am praising the “emotions.” But on topic, as said
the vocals are quite impressive in delivery. The power, tune, control, and
precision are all clearly showcased vocal attributes—all of which are very
appealing for a song. Furthermore, the diversity of the vocals is also worth
praising: it is not just purely vocal belting. Verses, for example, contain smoother
and calmer singing—and again the “emotions” can be credited as there seems to
be a nostalgic, ruminating style to how the verses are conducted.

In
terms of the sections, within this category “Severely” does carry a few sixes.
Nonetheless, the sections still overall render well. At most, for a problem that
occurs, the flow to “Severely” does become relatively stagnant. Understandably,
however, as it is a rock song, significant deviating moments are unexpected and
truthfully even undesirable. But even so, the verses and pre-choruses become
sluggish after multiple plays of the song. If there were some more
distinctiveness between the verses and pre-choruses then perhaps this issue
would be mitigated, but as is, both sections will be penalized—though a very minor
one at that. Otherwise, many of the sections are pleasing, as discussed with
how the vocals, instrumental, and section structures perfectly complement one
another.

Lastly,
since there is no choreography and no line distribution (since there is only
one vocalist), the final category to focus on will be the lyrics. The lyrics, unlike
the rest of the song, score at a six. Now certainly the lyrics are complex; “Severely”
does not firmly grasp at the main character’s heartbreak since, expectedly, the
emotions that is felt are indeed difficult to comprehend. However that said,
the plot does lack the extra push necessary to make it more than another
unfortunate heartache song. It also does not help that the details, though
seemingly quite thorough and even diverse, are in reality quite repetitive of
the same ideas. Take these two lines from the verses for comparison: “Letting
you go without any expression, as if it’s nothing / I practiced doing that
every day, but it’s still awkward” and “No matter how much it hurts, every day
I practiced / Trying to get used to spending a day as if it’s nothing.” Both
are, overall, the same message. Even under the argument that this repetition in
the lyrics is to be representative of the main character’s own tedious
suffering, I do have to reject this argument as, given the rest of the song,
there does not seem to be this level of complexity. Adding on, the mentioned
argument could also then be used to defend lyrics that do in fact repeat exact
lines—an act that does have to be penalized unless if it is there are symbolic intentions
with doing so. Thus, the lyrics do unfortunately score at a six even if, at
first glance, the lyrics appear quite noteworthy.

In
conclusion, F.T. Island’s “Severely,” a recognizable song and perhaps an iconic
release for the men, manages to finish out with a seven for above average.
Biasedly, I can agree to the rating. Although this is not quite my preferred
style of music, I cannot deny the amazing vocal delivery, the solid and
effective instrumental, and the decently structured sections. F.T. Island is definitely
a group to respect, and that goes for more than just their music as they do
appear to be very sweet men (as “FNC Picnic At Night” shows, and of which has
been copyright-removed from my YouTube channel sadly).

_______________________________________________________

Again,
since I placed excess emphasis on the Personal Message in this review, the next
one will be sharply focused on the song itself. That said, I have eyes on GOT7’s
“Fly” as the composition is quite unique yet appealing, and that would be
interesting to investigate. That will most likely be the last review for the
month, but when April arrives, I will finally review Hong Jinyoung’s comeback
and perhaps Fiestar’s “Mirror.” For sure though, I will be reviewing “Girl’s
Wiki,” a variety show, in April. Afterwards, as I said before, I will let the
natural flow of music guide the blog. Or better yet, if requests come then for those to guide the blog. If
anyone has a request, I highly appreciate them as it does give a direct route
for the blog to take as I do wish to review songs that readers are interested
in.

Until
then, in addition to reviewing GOT7’s “Fly,” I will be attempting to finish all
of my university homework and to begin subtitling Fiestar’s recent visit to “Weekly
Idol.” Look forward to the upcoming men, and as usual, thank you so much for
reading this review whether skimmed or in full. After all, “I’m a fool that
can’t live without you.”

will you be subbing fiestar’s weekly idol? pleaseee :(( <33 fighting!

Hello, and this is a great question and I am sure many have been wondering of this. 

Tonight I finally plan to watch the episode, and based on comprehension, I will provide a follow-up. Being optimistic, however, I have watched a bit and so far have an adequate level of understanding. It is enough to provide general ideas, but specific word-for-word parts will be difficult to include. (And quite strangely and humorously, I tend to understand Fiestar’s answers more than Koni’s questions. So, this leads to a unique scenario where I have to imply the question based on Fiestar’s replies.) Once I begin subtitling, I would consider cutting out parts where I lack any comprehension (or to simply leave them as is and let viewers help). But, for a clear answer: Yes I do plan to subtitle the video. Especially as I do not foresee anyone else doing so, I am more than willing to take on the responsibility of at least starting the process. Expect perhaps the first part to be uploaded around Sunday to Monday (or even sooner if I am somehow extremely productive). 

Thanks for asking. 

Edit: Considering how badly I am laughing at certain points, I will definitely be subbing this even if just certain clips.

Hiii, i’m really thankful of your work and subs! i was wondering, you said that thirst by fiestar is the stongest song you have heard in kpop, so after thirst, which is the second strongest song by fiestar? or the one you like the most?

Hello. First, I am glad to hear that you enjoy my work with subtitling Fiestar’s videos (and others). Considering how it can be quite time consuming at times, knowing that people do appreciate it does create a lot of encouragement, so thanks for sharing that.

On topic, I do hold “Thirst” as Fiestar’s best song, but now I doubt I would actually equate it to “the best” song I have yet to hear. Now to clarify, “Thirst” is certainly still an amazing song and is by far still above many others, but after looking at it a bit more, to claim it is the best is a slight stretch. That said, for perhaps the best song I have yet to hear, SPICA’s “Ghost” holds that title. Of course, however, there are many other songs that are quite excellent and are also capable of being the top, but “Ghost” continues to be what I personally deem as the best. (And if discussing “favorites,” I do have different answers.)

But digression aside, to summarize: yes, “Thirst” by Fiestar is their best song yet, and in a general sense, is one of the better songs I have ever heard–though not quite the top. Regarding Fiestar’s second strongest song, I will confidently point to “You’re Pitiful,” the group’s prior comeback. Though I am unsure on whether I will review “Mirror,” I know that “You’re Pitiful” is significantly stronger than the current comeback. Admittedly, I was hoping for “Mirror” to match the caliber of “You’re Pitiful,” but nonetheless, Fiestar is definitely improving and I confidently expect the ladies to release another song that will render “You’re Pitiful” as mediocre in comparison. Focusing on “You’re Pitiful,” though, it is a brilliant song in multiple categories, and even the choreography is impressive. It truly is a very solid song and I am a bit disappointed that the song did not bring an immense amount of fans to the group. (Though, of course, popularity is exceptionally more complex than song quality.)

Hopefully this answers your questions. Thanks for sending in this and for sharing your appreciation toward my subtitling works. I will hopefully be uploading more videos soon.

With granted permission I will be posting a short yet wonderful Q/A that took place through private messaging. Also, to kpopfan1988 (or anyone else), do not worry of ever sounding “off-topic”; if it is related to K-Pop, it will definitely be content that readers would enjoy. And, even in the case I am asked an utterly random question (such as my favorite color, etc.), I am still always open to answering.

“I don’t mind you post it publicly. I never used anon so any post would not be suspected as fiction 😊 Thanks for your reply. And I hope these groups are earning enough and no longer indebted to their agency.

I ask privately as you may consider my question off topic from your blog.”

Hi Chris. May I ask your personal opinion? Can you tell me the ranking in popularity of the following girl groups I liked? a. Bestie b. Hello Venus c. Tahiti d. Stellar   

I knew they are out of top 10. To make it easier for you just say 11-15. 16-20. 21-25, 26-30. I knew you are not biased with any group so your opinion would be appreciated.

– kpopfan1988

“Hello. Huge apologies for not getting to reply sooner. I did not get any alert for this message, so apologies for that. That said, I will first list out the mentioned groups in terms of which one is the more popular one: BESTie, Hello Venus, Stellar, and then Tahiti.

In terms of each of the group’s individual ranking, I will guess the following:

To use your scale, I would rate Tahiti at 26 to 30–and more pessimistically even higher. Truthfully I have never even heard of the group prior to this, and looking over their view counts and lack of general coverage, they are by far a very unpopular group. As for BESTie, they are unpopular but it is nothing too far out. Overall, they would share the same popularity as with, for example, Fiestar: not popular but not entirely unknown either. Using your scale, BESTie would be around the “16 to 20” range. Regarding Stellar and Hello Venus, I do rate Hello Venus’ popularity as higher than Stellar’s. But, it is true that Stellar has been picking up some recognition especially after “Sting.” Nevertheless, both are within the “21 to 25” range or so.

Overall, however, as you have hinted at, I cannot ever easily identify a group’s numerical popularity ranking. There are simply too many groups for that, and even then, finding the exact statistics will always be difficult. Nonetheless, I appreciate this question and your curiosity, so thanks for asking. Also if it is fine, would it be acceptable for me to post your message here in a general post on my blog? (I am unsure on whether this was meant to be private or such.) Other readers may definitely be interested in your question, so I would love to copy and paste the question over in a public post. Anyhow, thank you for the question and for always sending them in. I truly enjoy your curiosity and passion.”

Also while I am at it, for a quick update: I have been quite busy to say the least. I have an upcoming review that will explain what I have been busy with, but other than that, look forward to many reviews coming soon. In fact, I think my return after roughly two weeks will be on a music genre I have yet to share on this blog. To hint, it is a traditional genre (and one that I heard abundantly as a child). It will be quite exciting to share it. (And to note, I have been busy mostly with university, but also with having had to prepare with helping out a literature conference. My upcoming review will expand on this experience for those curious.) 

Hey! I’m a really huge fan of the blog! I just have a qustion pertaining to a ranking that you use often. You always talk about top ten girl groups. I am not really clear on what the top ten girl groups are and I was wondering if you could tell me the top ten you consider the top groups when you talk about them?

Hello. First of all, thank you for this excellent question and for sharing how much you enjoy the blog. Regarding the latter, it truly means a lot to know that there are readers who do enjoy this blog’s content. Thank you for sharing that.

That said, focusing on the question itself, to confess: I have no concrete answer whatsoever. Whenever I do refer to the “top ten popular groups” be it for male groups, female groups, or simply top groups in general (and of course coed groups are included), I do not have a definite list in mind. Unless if I am able to refer to an accurate source that discloses every K-Pop group’s total music videos view counts, songs sold, and so forth–and thus from there to have a numerical sense of a group’s popularity–to make a list is impossible on my end. Nevertheless, this now sounds silly; why would I make references to this “top ten group” label if indeed there are no genuine groups in mind?

To finally give some form of answer, whenever I refer to “top 10 female/male groups,” this is speaking in a general sense–but nonetheless it is still informative as long as one is at least familiar with Korean pop culture (and of course no shame for those not familiar; the audience I have in mind when writing reviews is assumed to be at least somewhat familiar with K-Pop, but that is not to neglect those who are new). For example, it will go without dispute that Girls’ Generation is a “top ten (female)” group. Similarly, Big Bang is another “top ten (male)” group. (And I do hope to review one of their songs one day.) Very few people would disagree with me here as, indeed, those two groups are very popular. It would be hard to deny the statistical popularity of videos, songs, concert sizes, and how large the fan base is. Now, if I were to throw out names of groups such as Fiestar (a female group) or Boys Republic (a male group), certainly a few would recognize them. But, that is it: a few. Therefore, with these two, I would avoid labeling them as “top ten groups.” In contrast, many know of Big Bang and Girls’ Generation, and in fact, I would confidently say even a few people unfamiliar with K-Pop have at least come across the two groups in some form due to sheer popularity. It is clear that they are one of the more popular groups. In terms of using less extreme examples, I would also include Apink and GOT7 into “top ten groups.” Now, are they truly that popular to the extent of being the top ten? Again, there is no solid evidence (unless, again, if there is an accurate website tracking data regarding groups’ popularity), but given that many recognize the groups, I would label them in the “top ten.” (And statistically, I think they are actually viable contenders for being highly ranked in popularity.)

Overall, whenever I reference the “top groups,” it is to signify that they are generally well known by the public (people into Korean pop culture). Whether they are sincerely the top groups in a numerical level may be contested, but nonetheless their popularity should remain high enough that the average person knows the group to some degree. In short, I do not have an actual list of, specifically here, the “top ten female groups.” Groups that fall within my personal use of that label are groups that can be confidently claimed as popular, such as Girl’s Day, AOA, 2NE1, Sistar, and so on. (And if correct, every reader should recognize at least one of the mentioned female groups. This again reiterates the point of how “top ten” is merely to clump up the popular groups in a clean label.)

Now, in case I entirely misinterpreted this question and you are referring to “top groups” in terms of quality and not quantity (popularity), then this would require quite some time to answer–if at all possible to answer. In fact, I cannot give a subjective answer to this question if this was the intended meaning. After all, as said before in another review (or Q/A), there may be “top best groups” out there who are utterly unknown. For all I am aware of, there might be some invisible coed group that possesses infatuating vocals and dancing skills who are, based on skills and quality, the best but are simply unknown. However, for personal best groups, I do have answers. Attention should be heeded, though, on “personal”; the groups who I consider the “top” in terms of skill and quality are merely ones I have been exposed to, and furthermore, the groups whose music I biasedly enjoy.

If this was your intended question, do feel free to clarify and to send another message. I would love to expand my answer on this topic and to share my thoughts in regards to who I think the queens and kings of K-Pop groups are. All that said, once again thank you so much for this brilliant question. Other readers may have had a similar question in mind whenever I referenced “top groups,” so it is pleasing to finally clarify that in credit to your asking. (And to all readers: in terms of upcoming reviews, they are coming along. I am incredibly busy this week so apologies for delays. Stay tuned, however, for them to soon come.)

Fiestar’s Mini-Album – “A Delicate Sense” Review

Fiestar
– “A Delicate Sense” (Full Album)

Fiestar
– “A Delicate Sense” Mini-Album

Reviewed on March 11, 2016

Personal
Message:
First, I
do apologize to readers for not releasing more reviews during this break. I
have been busy subtitling videos of, perfectly timed, Fiestar (though I still
need to work on finishing “FNC Picnic At Night”), and am just starting to
tackle my break homework. Nevertheless, today I have three album reviews lined
up, and once those are done, I will conclude this spring break’s review
marathon. For the following days after, the blog will resume its usual rate for
the remainder of March. On that note, as said before, any review that is not of
a song can overall be considered a “bonus review.” Specifically, these album
reviews will not focus on deeper analyses but instead will be focused on
shorter readings: readings that are moreover “sales-based” than
“discussion-based.” In other words, my focus with album reviews will not be so
much on analysis of songs; there is no need to dive in depth with individual songs
in an album as those are what standard song reviews are for. Instead, I will
focus moreover on a general analysis of songs and moreover focus on the overarching
view: whether an album in whole is well composed and, ultimately, if worth a
purchase—real or figurative.

Now that said, to clarify, I am not sponsored
with this current review; the following words of whether I believe “A Delicate
Sense” is worth buying or not is neither due to Fiestar or LOEN Entertainment
influencing me directly. (After all, it would be a horrible financial decision
to entrust me, a very mediocre writer and reviewer, with the responsibility of positively
advertising an album.) The following review will be my genuine thoughts
regarding the album. At most, the only bias at play is how I am indeed a huge
fan of Fiestar, but even then, I have confidence that I will remain neutral in
analysis (as proven in MAMAMOO’s review).

And on the topic of Fiestar, before
looking at their recent album, it appears that Fiestar has found their “iconic”
musical style and concept—or at least gauging their patterns. Fiestar, in a
musical context, did begin moreover with an upbeat, standard pop style, but
“You’re Pitiful”—a song that I still absolutely love—marks a significant
transition for the group. From there, a more melancholy style took hold, and
expectedly, their music style shifted from joyful to more solemn. Whether the
ladies will one day return to, for example the exciting style of “One More,” is
unknown, but either way I find both concepts suitable to Fiestar, and biasedly
I do appreciate their current style. Reason being that their current concept
does tend to accommodate my personal taste in music. Due to a more mature,
saddening concept, on a musical level that translates into songs that tend to,
typically, be more vocally orientated all while still maintaining a mid-tempo.

Essentially, as I like to comically
say, I like “pop ballads”; I enjoy songs that have ballad-like vocals, instrumental,
and structural progression, but with the excitement and intensity as if an
upbeat pop song. Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” is a prime example of that. Other
examples, and of which are songs I also consider as my top favorites, would be
SPICA’s “Tonight” and to recently add, MAMAMOO’s “You’re the Best.” As noted,
all three are quite similar songs if we strip them of their individuality and
focus moreover on format: all three are vocally oriented songs, as noted by
vocal beltings and changes in vocal intensity; all three follow a ballad
progression—progression that is based on accumulation and building off of prior
sections; and all three are not overly upbeat, as noted by the instrumentals
being moreover mellow than ecstatic. (In terms of the best song I have yet to
hear, however, SPICA’s “Ghost” holds that.) Relating this all back to Fiestar,
the point is the ladies seem to be sticking with this style of music. Their
prior comeback and album of “Black Label” was the start, but now “A Delicate
Sense” is continuing the trend, and as said, I would argue that it is for the
better.

Finally focusing on the mini-album
itself, as hinted before in prior reviews, I did speculate that this would be
the best (mini) album I have ever heard based on the preview. Miraculously,
that holds true: “A Delicate Sense” is truly the best album I have ever heard.
I do not even have to be paid to say that. It really is an amazing album as the
review will, hopefully, explain. Now even so, it is not a flawless album; “A
Delicate Sense” is far from possessing top-tier songs. In fact, to confess, on
an individual level, the songs in this album are far from being exceptionally
captivating. But, for an entire album, this is the first where I can “approve”
every song. Even the prior album that held as a personal best—Rainbow’s
“Prism”—had one song that I found dismissible, but with Fiestar’s “A Delicate
Sense,” every song is enjoyable. Again, the degree of said “enjoyable” is not
as strong as it could be, but nevertheless, all songs lean towards a positive
side. When it comes to album reviews, the prior is what I look for: an overall
balanced album where every song is appealing—even if not a significantly strong
appeal.

So, with “A Delicate Sense,” as already
revealed the album does not go “Back and Forth” between good or bad; the song
remains consistent in quality akin to how a “Mirror” will always portray an
exact reflection. Nevertheless, as mentioned, the album is not flawless as it
does leave listeners feeling like “Mr. Black”/“Ms. Black”: feeling a “Thirst”
for stronger individual songs in the album as, no matter how much “Drinking
Your Lips” is done—how much listening occurs— there is more to desire.

_______________________________________________________

Personal
Ranking:

1.     “Thirst”

2.     “Back and Forth”

3.      “Mirror”

4.     “Mr. Black”

5.     “Drinking Your Lips”

Songs
“Approved”:

1.      “Mirror”

2.     “Mr. Black”

3.     “Thirst”

4.     “Back and Forth”

4/5:
80% Approval Rate

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
The prior paragraph makes absolutely
no sense whatsoever, so I promise to not make the conclusion like that. But,
for the purpose of keeping album reviews’ tradition, I will do it for the
introduction. On a serious tone, my thoughts have drastically changed after
truly analyzing the songs: this album is not entirely flawless in the sense of
every song being “approved” (“approved” as in I would certainly enjoy listening
to it). One song, unfortunately, is no longer considered appealing.
Nevertheless, this album still comes close to having a flawless Approval Rate
and overall, it can still be deemed a rather balanced album in terms of both quality
and style.  

Focusing directly on “Drinking Your
Lips,” the song that fails to gain my approval, admittedly I did at first
consider it decent. Especially with the exceptionally smooth, melodic and lower
noted verses and rap, and furthermore, solid vocals for those sections, “Drinking
Your Lips” appeared quite satisfying. However, after listening more intently
and frequently, two significant issues became noticeable: the choruses and
post-choruses are chaotic. For example, the vocal distortion effects that occur
throughout the post-choruses are far from being musically alluring. In
addition, it serves minimal purpose in the song’s overall style and tone. At
most, it prevents an emptier sounding post-chorus, but even then, to expend an
entire post-chorus’ quality for the purpose of preventing staleness is a questionable
trade. As for the choruses, the vocals are problematic. Unstable singing
occurs; the vocals sound incredibly feeble and lacking firmness in melody and
sound. Now though one could argue that the choruses’ vocals are as is to offer “Drinking
Your Lips” its unique style, but that does not compensate for the sound itself:
the choruses sound hollow. Overall, while this song will cost the mini-album a
flawless Approval Rate with its weaker choruses and post-choruses, “Drinking
Your Lips” should still be respected for its brilliantly delivered verses and
rap. If not for those two sections, then very much “A Delicate Sense” would be
a “perfect” album in the sense of every song being enjoyable.

Continuing in a chronological order,
“Mirror” will be the next song inspected—though admittedly I will briefly skim
over it. A future review will deconstruct the song in depth, but for this
current review, I will state that it absolutely is appealing. However, in
comparison to “You’re Pitiful,” I do consider this song a downgrade. To perhaps
best summarize “Mirror,” it is a safely played song; the song is “safe” in the
sense of taking minimal risks. The song fails to include distinctive aspects
such as, for examples: intensive vocals in general (such as with note holds,
two-part singing, vocal beltings, etc.); sections that deviate from traditional
formats; and so forth. Especially in juxtaposition to, as mentioned, “You’re
Pitiful,” “Mirror” is very bland. With the ladies’ prior comeback, the group
did not hold back with testing their vocals’ limits or with attempting unique
section formats—an example being the two-part singing at the final chorus.
Sadly in “Mirror,” many—if not every—aspect to it is arguably quite standard.
Be it the vocals, how the song progresses, the instrumental, or even the raps, “Mirror”
simply sticks with the methods and styles that are “normal.” Without digressing
even further, however, all that said “Mirror” is still an approved song. It may
be not be prominent, but it does at the least follow forms that have been known
to traditionally work. The vocals are still decent and likewise the sections.
The issue, though, is the degree of such; “Mirror” is not a captivating song,
but it is also neither a bad song. More will be discussed in the actual review
itself.

Next up is “Mr. Black.” This song
definitely holds well on an individually level. From Yezi’s goose bump-inducing
rap to the very soothing and seducing instrumental, many aspects to “Mr. Black”
hold as charming. The vocals for example retain a tuneful, slower pacing that
perfectly suits the instrumental and tone. Sections are also coordinated with
one another; each one builds off the prior section to keep a strong flow active.  And, of course, on an individual level every
section in “Mr. Black” is solid. Overall, “Mr. Black” is an excellent example and
proof of how linearity is not inherently bad in songs—a style that I do
oftentimes use as a point of criticism in many songs. “Mr. Black” is quite
straightforward in its section progression, its vocal progression, its
instrumental progression, and so forth, but because of how well each category
complements the other and how the overarching rhythmic flow to the song is used
to augment the mentioned aspects, “Mr. Black” flourishes. As showcased here, it
is about the delivery of linearity; in reviews that do critique songs for being
too “stale” and “linear,” it is not because of the styles in of themselves, but
rather, how the styles are conducted. In this song’s case, excellent delivery
exists and thus, the simple style works in a very positive manner, even if it
does fall in the category of “linear.”

Finally discussing the song that I
biasedly have been awaiting for, “Thirst” will be examined. As is the trend in
every album release, I will offer “the usual” comment: “this should’ve been the
title track.” It truly should be, however. “Thirst” may not suit as the title
due to its ballad genre, but if quality is the sole factor, this song is by far
the strongest song in “A Delicate Sense”—in fact, it is the strongest song in
general by the group. This ballad is simply beautiful in all of the categories:
lyrics, vocals, sections, instrumental, line distribution—this song aces all of
them. In fact, if this were to be reviewed in a standard song review, SPICA’s
“Ghost”
‘s position as the highest rated song on the blog might indeed
become heavily contested. To slightly brag about Fiestar and the reasons for
this very high praise, the vocals for one are exceptionally potent. From
climactic note holds to calm yet melodic vocals in the verses to gentler rapping
to precisely controlled, sharp vocals at the choruses, Fiestar’s top vocal
capabilities are highlighted in “Thirst.” And emphasis: Fiestar’s top vocal
capabilities—not Hyemi’s or Linzy’s, but also Yezi, Cao Lu, and Jei. Every
member sings well and, if I am accurate with identifying their singing voices,
the line distribution is, at worst, above average. (In fact, I am so moved by
this song I may just subtitle it and “member-code” it to check for the line
distribution.) In the end, “Thirst” is not just a pleasure to listen it: it is
an honor to listen to. “Thirst” is definitely the best song in the album, and
it definitely is the best song by Fiestar as of yet. Absolutely extraordinary.

Looking at the last song, “Back and
Forth,” unfortunately the hype will drop in comparison to “Thirst”—but that is
expected as “Thirst” is above and beyond. Nevertheless, “Back and Forth” is
still a decent song. It greatly benefits from allowing Yezi’s rapping to shine in
full force, and its instrumental does provide a charming flow. Additionally,
the vocals do remain diverse, as noted by the contrast of calmer vocals at the
chorus to the powerful vocals at the pre-choruses. Essentially, “Back and Forth”
is more dynamic version of “Mr. Black”; both songs are skin in progression and
style, but “Back and Forth” is more flexible with showcasing more singing
styles, a more prominent rap, a slightly more upbeat yet equally infatuating
instrumental, and so forth. As such, like “Mr. Black,” this song holds well but
it does come with the bonus of not having as many “linear” formats—though to
reiterate, “Mr. Black” perfectly executes a linear style.

With all the songs covered, it is
now time for the verdict: Is “A Delicate Sense” the best (mini) album I have
yet to hear? Is it worth purchasing or at least musically respecting?
Confidently said, even after striking down “Drinking Your Lips,” I do claim
that this album is worth purchasing and musically respecting, and that it does
hold as the best mini-album I have heard. Nonetheless, for reminders, this is
not a flawless album; every song minus perhaps “Thirst” and “Back and Forth” do
wane in individual quality. But, even then, for an entire album in whole, a
vast majority of the songs is pleasing—one being extremely pleasing, in fact. One
final aspect to consider, however, is a positive and negative attribute to the
album: that this album is overall in the genre of “pop ballad”—the term I
created hours ago in the Personal Message. Therefore, for those personally
favoring this style of music, Fiestar’s “A Delicate Sense” is perfect. However,
in the case that one does personally dislike this music style and prefers, for
example, Fiestar’s more upbeat style of songs such as “One More,” then this
album may be laborious to listen to as every song in it is indeed “pop ballad”
(minus “Thirst” as it is a full ballad). Of course, though, this is a binary
being applied, and as I have discussed in a sociological context in many
reviews, binaries do not exist. Thus, this album is not a pure “like or dislike”
situation, but it is worth noting the relatively similar styles among all of
the songs.

All in all, “A Delicate Sense” is
Fiestar’s best album yet, and I do hold it as a personal top. Individual
quality does languish in the album, but considering that there are no utterly
repulsive songs and that even the most disliked song (“Drinking Your Lips”) is
still tolerable, it is worth claiming that this is the best album I have ever
heard so far. Every song minus perhaps one is decent. But, even then,
improvement is still desired. Perhaps in the next comeback Fiestar will add the
missing component: that not only is every song seducing, but that every song on
an individually level would hold strongly. That would be a challenge, but
Fiestar appears to be on that route.

_______________________________________________________

As always, thank you for reading.
Whether in full or skimmed, I greatly appreciate any time given for the blog.
In terms of upcoming reviews, two more album reviews are ready: Rainbow’s “Prism”
and MAMAMOO’s “Melting.” Afterwards, male artists will receive attention as the
following two reviews are on female groups and thus, females will have had
enough exposure for this month. For other news, I still do have much homework
to attend to, and on top of that, to finish subtitling “FNC Picnic At Night”
(and now to subtitle and member-code “Thirst” unless if someone has already
done so). As a result, after the album reviews March will finish up slowly, but
by then I would have by far exceed my personal goal for the month. Look forward
to Rainbow’s “Prism” and MAMAMOO’s “Melting,” and be thankful for me not ending
this review with cringing puns.

Jimin x Xiumin – “Call You Bae” Review

Jimin x Xiumin – Call You Bae (Music Video)

Jimin (AOA) x Xiumin (EXO) – Call
You Bae

Reviewed
on March 6, 2016

Personal Message:
Before diving into this review, in
highlight of the prior one, congratulations to MAMAMOO for
their first music broadcast show win. I am so joyful and proud of them, and
admittedly even cried for the first time with watching a winning
announcement
. (I
think first, anyways; I’m admittedly a huge crybaby so I no longer can keep track.
And if correct, this is also the first time MAMAMOO has cried on camera.) 2016
for the ladies will definitely be a momentous year. They have worked incredibly
hard, and it is endearing to know that “You’re the Best” and MAMAMOO are finally
receiving the attention they have deserved. On topic, however: yes, I was quite
serious when I said I would be devoting my entire free time during spring break
to catching up on reviews. A few readers may be surprised to see a review so
soon, but I truly am following through with my goal by being as dedicated as,
perfectly timed, MAMAMOO are. (Nonetheless, this is a challenging task as I am also
balancing university homework and catching up on subtitling videos. In fact,
after this review, I will be attempting to subtitle the remaining parts to “FNC
Picnic At Night.”) Now, I did claim that Rainbow’s mini-album of “Prism” was to
be reviewed (and afterwards MAMAMOO’s album), but unfortunately I need more
time to brainstorm a new album review outline. Thus, in the meantime, I will
focus on another song to review: “Call You Bae” by AOA’s Jimin and EXO’s
Xiumin.

To confess, I was concerned that
many fans would oppose this song for various reasons (I will discuss this later),
but thankfully, that is not the case: “Call You Bae” is receiving an overwhelming
amount of positivity and support, and furthermore, so are both idols. The song and
music video are truly adorable, and Jimin and Xiumin delivered the romantic,
lovely concept very well. In fact, they delivered it too well: I am now
reconsidering that falling in love and marrying one day may be worth it.
Perhaps I may one day meet a special lady and as many readers know, that is guaranteed to happen as
the lady is SPICA’s Boa
 who proposes to me and wins my heart, and
with whom I will be able to have my first kiss with, akin to what “Call You
Bae” hints at. Excusing my romantic, delusional and naïve dreams, to transition
to a more solemn tone, I will clarify what I meant earlier with how I was
afraid that many fans would oppose this song. The opposition I had in mind is
not due to music: I was thinking of how occasional fans become overly defensive
of idols and will strongly oppose them being in a relationship—real or
fictional.

Though a sociological perspective is
always interesting in this regard (such as with seeing how gender influences
whether fans accept or reject an idol being in a relationship), on the simple layer,
respect has to take place. Idols are like any other human and deserve to be
respected for their decisions—unless of course their decision is an atrocious
one, such as harming someone. Otherwise, however, being supportive should be an
instinctual reaction when it comes to hearing of idol dating news and so forth,
or in “Call You Bae” ‘s case of supporting both Xiumin and Jimin working
together as a fictional couple. Thankfully, as mentioned, the two seem to be
very well supported for this work. After all, it does become ridiculous to hear
fans bashing, for a hypothetical and simple example, “Idol A” for simply
touching “Idol B” during a show. Showing respect is what matters, and in the
future case that SPICA’s Boa is dating a special someone, I would live up to my
own words: I would hunt
down the person she is dating; after finding them, I would kidnap them and hide
them in a closet; and once all of that is done, I will once again resume being
content knowing that my delusional, obsessive and immature behavior—though harmful
to Boa—will make her single and therefore will make me, her number one fan,
happy
 I would be very supportive and incredibly joyful for her, and
in no form be jealous. Right?

Bad comedy aside (and of course I do
respect Boa as a human; though I love self-deprecating myself with sharing how obsessed
I am with her, I would never do anything extreme), to focus on the review,
although I absolutely adore the concept, musically the same cannot be said.
Once the squeals and stuffed-penguin-squeezing are pushed away, I am afraid
that I am unwilling to call the song “Bae”—or so I biasedly claim.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.4/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Rap: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Bridge: 4/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10

– Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: 9/10

Jimin:
Rap 1, Rap 2 (Total: 2)

Xiumin:
Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 3)

All:
Pre-Choruses, Post-Choruses, Bridge

Equal Value: 2.5 sections per member.  


Lyrics: 8/10

Baby I’m pretty young and wild and so fine
Can we just be “bae,” you and I
This awkward distance between us is making
it weird to walk together
Otherwise we’d be closer
You are taller than I am,
you see me as a kid, why, why?
You tell me to go home before 12
Mom and Dad went on a vacation
I’m hungry, want to eat chicken with me?

“Are you going to be like this to me?”
Even though I look young, I like you baby
From now on I’ll call you “bae” and not “oppa”*
Whatever
I want, to, call, you, bae!

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

State of emergency, oppa is here
Take a deep breath, my heart is running fast
You look fancy, but not too fancy
I like that so much that it makes me laugh
You are shining and coming closer
The smell of soap is around my nose
I feel like I’m walking on clouds
State of emergency, just a kiss

“Are you going to be like this to me?”
Even though I look young, I like you baby
From now on I’ll call you “bae” and not “oppa”*
Whatever
I want, to, call, you, bae!

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

When my eyes open, I think about you
Until I fall asleep, I think about you
When I’m hungry, I think about you
My oppa’s song, cue

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

*“Oppa” is what females refer to older males as.

Choreography Score: X/10 (x/10 raw score)

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(7/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Contrary to my personal stance, “Call You Bae” miraculously scores much higher
than anticipated. However, my initial opinion is still somewhat sound:
musically, the song is not the strongest even if enjoyable. But that said,
non-musically “Call You Bae” flourishes. The line distribution, for example, is
near perfect in this song—as expected as there are only two singers. Now technically
the song is indeed perfect; the sections cannot be any more evenly divided. But
as explained in past reviews, unless if the quantity of sections is exact—the same
and not just divided as much as possible—then a nine is the max possible.
Nonetheless, a nine is nothing to ignore. In this song’s case, the duo’s equal balance
of sections greatly aids in the Song Score holding well. Furthermore, the
lyrics are rather detailed, even if in the realm of romance—a very typical topic
for songs. Playfulness and flirtatiousness are unique factors to the lyrics,
and synthesizing those aspects with how the lyrics maintain an interesting dialogue
format and is overall diverse in details, a high score is granted.

Switching
focus to the musical component of the song, the instrumental remains admirable.
Contextually, if that term makes sense (I am referencing how the instrumental renders
in an overarching view), the gentler yet faster paced beats and tuneful piano
notes perfectly suit with the song’s flow and vocal style. Additionally, for moments
where the song does become energetic, the instrumental perfectly adapts and
continues providing “Call You Bae” its sweeter sound. Individually, the instrumental
also still holds well. All of the sounds involved are soothing and melodic, and
most notably, even if vocals are absent, the instrumental continues to prove its
appeal. In terms of where the song languishes, as noticed, the vocals and sections
are the weaker points: a six and five, respectively, are the scores—scores that
are much lower in comparison to the other ratings.

Before
discussing the vocals, however, I do wish to clarify one aspect: there is a
difference between critiquing a musical voice and a voice itself. The latter is
never permissible while the former is open. (And if readers wonder why a
musical voice is excused, there are multiple reasons. For one, musical voices,
be it in rap or singing, do tend to greatly deviate from normal conversational
voices. Take Sistar’s Hyorin as example. In singing, her voice becomes much
more sharp and clear, but if she is normally speaking, she possesses her iconic
deeper and huskier, raspy voice. As a result, because of the distinction, if I
critique her singing voice, it is critiquing her singing and not so much on how
she herself sounds. Secondly, a voice’s sound does have, obviously, significant
implications for how singing turns out. So, it cannot be avoided that voices
are critiqued, but it must be done so in a singing context as, once again, that
is critiquing a skill and not a personal, physical identity aspect.) If I
recall correctly, when I reviewed AOA’s “Like a Cat” mini-album, I did address this
topic as, sadly, Jimin does oftentimes face criticism for her voice—and I do
mean her voice itself. This is never warranted. To insult her voice would be to
insult her hair, skin complexion, eye color, and so forth: it is uncalled for
and everyone should be able to feel physically beautiful—be it visually or
sonically. Point is, although I will be critiquing her voice, I wish for
readers to know that it is in the context of music, and even more specifically,
in “Call You Bae.” (In “Heart Attack” for example, Jimin’s voice was one of her
strongest strengths.) No one’s voice or visual appearance should ever be a mark
for degrading and mockery.

With
that in mind, the vocals score is lowered not on part of Xiumin, but rather,
Jimin. In fact, if not for the gentleman, the vocals score would be seeing an
even lower rating. Xiumin’s singing as showcased in the choruses are
exceptionally tuneful and well controlled. There are no glaring issues with his
singing. In contrast, Jimin fails to show vocal maturity unless if in her rapping.
Her raps from a vocal standpoint are solid, but in for example the
pre-choruses, the vocal delivery is unpleasant. Jimin’s higher notes prove
unfitting to the section, and overall, are arguably excessive. Essentially, the
melody is fine but the pitch remains too high and therefore, vexing to
listeners. Worsening that, the transition point is questionable not only structurally
(as to discuss later), but also sonically: obnoxious one-syllables (or “words”
if looking at it from an English perspective) that are unappealing in a singing
context. Nevertheless, with the dual-singing post-choruses holding
exceptionally well and similarly Xiumin’s choruses and Jimin’s raps, the vocals
are not utterly doomed. This explains why despite the unattractive vocals at
the pre-choruses the score is still decent.

Now,
for the sections, many score averagely. The pre-choruses were previously
highlighted as being undesirable vocally, but simultaneously, they are also
undesirable for their format—specifically the chaotic transition point. As for
the others, staleness becomes an issue. For example, the choruses and raps,
though vocally delivered well, are too plain in structure. There are no unique
pacing and fluctuations, and though linearity is not inherently a flaw, “Call
You Bae” fails to address the issue of how the two sections become mundane over
time. If the raps were more lively and dynamic with flow for example, then the
issue of repetitiveness would be easily solved. Overall, the post-choruses hold
as the only strong section. What greatly benefits these sections is, as
mentioned, the dual singing involved: both Jimin and Xiumin sing, and this
creates a unique blend of tune and voices, and also, a distinctive point of how
individual singing (Jimin’s own raps and Xiumin’s own choruses) is combined
into one.

Overall,
though “Call You Bae” earns a seven, it has to be noted that it is
predominantly due to the non-musical side: the lyrics and line distribution.
Musically, mainly the instrumental fares well as the vocals are impaired by the
pre-choruses’ delivery, and with the sections, many are overly tedious. Though
the concept is cute and Xiumin’s singing vocals and Jimin’s rapping vocals
shine, “Call You Bae” is, despite its “above average” rating, not an alluring
song in terms of sound. The two deserve support and attention, but much
stronger songs will be hoped for in the future.

_______________________________________________________

This
review did end up much shorter than anticipated, but I cannot complain as I
will now be busy finishing up a book for my education class, and of course, to
finish subtitling “FNC Picnic At Night.” Tomorrow, I will be reviewing Rainbow’s
mini-album of “Prism,” and hopefully the new album review format is effective
and organized. As always, thank you for reading whether in full or skimmed.
Look forward to the upcoming two bonus album reviews: Rainbow’s “Prism” and
MAMAMOO’s “Melting.” I will continue preserving with the amount of tasks I have
since “your smile makes [my heart] run faster.” Stay tuned for more reviews
(and videos).

MAMAMOO  – “You’re the Best” Review

MAMAMOO – You’re the Best (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – You’re the Best (Live Performance)

MAMAMOO – You’re the Best

Reviewed
on March 5, 2016

Personal Message:
I am officially on spring break for
one week, so readers can expect plenty of reviews—and this time I truly do plan
to catch up unlike prior breaks. Nevertheless, I still do have a lot of
homework even with break, so my time will not be entirely devoted to writing
reviews. But, there is still much more free time especially in comparison to
having classes. Additionally, I will also use this time to catch up on
subtitling videos. (Every video but one or so is updated with subtitles, though
peculiarly I have found myself in an interesting case of someone uploading one
of my subtitled videos for their own channel. I hope my polite request for them
to remove it goes without trouble.) Technical and life updates aside, though I
am joyful to finally have a break, this spring break is troubling: many K-Pop
groups have decided to cause me heart problems—or more accurately, “overly
squeezing my stuffed penguin” problems. A copious amount of my favorite groups
are releasing, or have released, new songs. This current requested review (a
more formal thank you later), MAMAMOO’s “You’re the Best,” is one of them.

Before focusing on MAMAMOO, however,
for comebacks that I have to highlight, Fiestar is one. The group is releasing
a new song and mini-album around March 8 if correct. After listening to their
album preview, I can confidently say it is exceptional. It might become the
next album that I deem the best, and that should be a remarkable compliment as
the current top album is Rainbow’s recent one: “Prism.” On this note, I will
actually be reviewing Rainbow’s mini-album. Especially since my review on “Whoo” failed to bring justice to the
ladies in terms of highlighting that they truly are vocally skilled (a song’s
Vocals category score is based on a song itself and not the group), reviewing
their album will hopefully clarify that. Regarding other comebacks, AOA’s
leader, Jimin, has a collaboration comeback with EXO’s Xiumin. I will also
review their song soon. Topping it all off, if accurate, SPICA is rumored to
have a comeback soon, and if that is the case, then my heart will most likely
fail: I cannot endure all of the mentioned groups along with SPICA because my heart already
flutters excessively from just hearing Boa’s voice
. However, once the
mentioned comebacks are covered, I intend to return to the original plan of
reviewing groups that yet to be reviewed at all (or who have minimal
popularity), such as Stellar’s “Sting”—of which has been overly delayed.

Now all that said, a few readers may
be skeptical at how this will be possible. After all, does it not usually take
me a whole month to write four reviews? As noted in the previous bonus show review on “Coming Sook,” I am further increasing my review
rate through a simple strategy: limiting social digressions to every third or
fourth review. This is not to imply that those social discussions are
unimportant; as discussed in an older review, having those academic social
digressions is arguably the most important aspect to reviews as those
discussions are sincerely applicable to daily life and help encourage critical
thinking. But, as noted, this blog is still a review blog; a blog that
predominantly focuses on reviewing songs. Thus, this “three days a digression”
compromise provides the best balance to the variety of readers this blog has:
those interested in solely reviews will now have more content; those interested
moreover in the sociological (and somewhat literary theoretical) approach to
songs (and Korean pop culture in general) will still have weekly reviews to
read. And, on my end, I am now able to realistically meet my goals as prior to
this, there was simply no way to have eight reviews in one month if each of them
had a social topic to discuss (and this being even after greatly cutting down
on review length). Again, this does not mean those digressions are meaningless.
There are so many important topics to cover, and it seems almost impossible to
ever run out as every song does elicit some important topic—intended or not. Such
is the nature of pop culture and media.

Without losing track of this review,
as mentioned earlier, I would like to thank to a reader for requesting this
review. As said in the Q/A, I am incredibly thankful for requests and am always
open for them along with feedback. I desire to hear from readers and would very
much be open to having requests guide the blog. This blog, after all, is for
readers to enjoy. Finally discussing MAMAMOO, ignoring the immense heart pain
they cause from their near-perfection, the ladies have become arrogant: their
release of “You’re the Best” is pointed not at a plot of loving a pretty boy
and his smile, but rather, it is their own compliment to themselves. Then again,
this title is still accurate: MAMAMOO truly is the best, and “You’re the Best”
is most likely the best song they have yet to release. (And if not clear, I am
joking with calling MAMAMOO arrogant. The members are far from arrogant; they
are incredibly humble and relatable—after all, Solar would not be my biggest
role model if not for that. I truly strive to be an amazing human as she is.)

Continuing with the discussion of “You’re
the Best,” peering back at MAMAMOO’s prior release— “Um Oh Ah Yeah,” a song that
is certainly solid and excellent—improvement is miraculously seen. That should
be striking: MAMAMOO is a top-tier vocal group; improving even more should not
be possible as they seemingly were at their best. However, indeed, the members
have returned with sharper, more melodic and mesmerizing vocals. In terms of
song production itself, though I have yet to systematically analyze “You’re the
Best,” I already foresee significant improvement in scores in juxtaposition to
“Um Oh Ah Yeah” (of which has been reviewed). On a random note, admittedly “Um
Oh Ah Yeah” did not score too highly, even if I biasedly adored the song (since
reviews obviously have to be neutral). When it comes to “You’re the Best,” the
opposite occurred: although I initially disliked the style, I knew from the
second playback that it was a phenomenal song. As for how I currently perceive,
many can easily guess: I love “You’re the Best”—more so than even “Um Oh Ah
Yeah.”

All that said, MAMAMOO is a rising
group. 2016 should be a flourishing year for the ladies: they continue, despite
the odds, to improve their musical prowess to even higher levels; they remain
absolutely hilarious and relatable; and lastly, they sincerely care for their
fans. If MAMAMOO is not deemed, at worst, a top-ten group by the end of this
year, there is one reason for that. It is not because of their management; it
is not because of their musical styles conflicting with popular tastes; and it
is not because they are overly obnoxious at times. Should they still not rise
to the top, the reason for that is simply due to causing heart failure among
fans from their outstanding skills, and thus, they are struggling to maintain
fans in this sense.

Dramatic speech aside though I do hope I was not the
only one practically hyperventilating while watching the music video and
performances
, to address the links, both the music video and a live
performance are used. Arrogantly said on my end, however, the live performance
should suffice; MAMAMOO’s vocals are potent to the point that live audio could
easily substitute studio quality audio. With that praise in mind, let us find
out whether “You’re the Best” lives up to its name: proving that MAMAMOO is the
best, or at least, proving that this is the best release by MAMAMOO yet.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 8/10
(7.7/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 9/10

4.     Chorus: 8/10

5.     Rap: 8/10

6.     Bridge (Pre-Chorus): 8/10

7.     Conclusion: 7/10


Line Distribution: 7/10

Solar:
Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Rap 2,
Bridge, Chorus 3 (Total: 9)

Wheein:
Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Rap 2, Bridge,
Chorus 3 (Total: 8)

Moonbyul:
Rap 1, Rap 2 (Total: 2)

Hwasa:
Introduction, Pre-Chorus 1, Rap 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Rap 2, Bridge,
Chorus 3 (Total: 8)

All:
Conclusion

Equal Value: 6.75 sections per member.  


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 8/10

Come on, hey mommy
Come on, hey daddy
Come look at these kids
Come on, hey sister
Come on, hey brother
Someone stop these kids

Pretending like you’re cute or sexy or pretty
I don’t have to do any of that
Because you can see through me
Your common sense, manner, expressions
Even right down to your behavior
I can see right through your sensitive self

You are about one span of a hand taller than me
Every morning I open my eyes to the sound of your voice
The two of us are completely compatible
Come on mister over there
Come on come over here
Slowly little by little
(Hey, hey, hey, yeah!)

Hey you, boy with the pretty smile
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
You are a man that makes me go crazy
You steal looks with your body and face
Hey Mr. You, boy with handsome thoughts
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
I’m confused because of you
Please someone stop me

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
I think of you every day
Do you think of me?
Word up, Moonstar
Blood type A, blood type B, AB, blood type O
Positive or negative, it doesn’t matter
S pole and N pole are attracted to one another,
doesn’t matter which formula
I am attracted to you only because it’s you

You are about one span of a hand taller than me
Every night I fall asleep to the sound of your lullaby
The two of us are completely compatible
Come on mister over there
Come on come over here
Will you quietly whisper to me
(Hey, hey, hey, yeah!)

Hey you, boy with the pretty smile
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
You are a man that makes me go crazy
You steal looks with your body and face
Hey Mr. You, boy with handsome thoughts
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
I’m confused because of you
Please someone stop me

I like eye contact
I bite my lips (your lips)
When we make eye contact (two eyes)
This breathless attraction makes me dizzy
I am your fangirl forever
It’s whatever; whatever, everything about you is perfect
That’s right (that’s right), our relationship
Suddenly I keep thinking, what am I to you?

24 hours 1 minute 1 second
I’m anxious that I might miss you even a little bit
24 hours right now this moment
Come one look at me
Come on you’re the best
Don’t stop us anymore
(Hey, hey, hey, yeah, whoa!)

Hey you, boy with the pretty smile
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
You are a man that makes me go crazy
You steal looks with your body and face
Hey Mr. Ambiguous Piano Man that’s you
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
I’m confused because of you
Please someone stop me

Come on you’re the best

Choreography Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 7/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(7/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Since MAMAMOO is causing breathing difficulties, perhaps it is best to end the
review right here. Horrible jokes aside, this song is perhaps one of the most difficult
songs to review—and that is not due to quality, as I will explain. With
reviews, I sincerely try to be as honest as possible. Eliciting discussions and
bringing in different perspectives are my goals, and that is only possible if a
song is rated accurately without any external influences (such as with favoring
a group, song style, etc.). To now explain why “You’re the Best” is difficult to
review, it is not due to deciding ratings—that is straightforward in this song.
Rather, the difficulty comes in accepting the score: only a seven. “You’re the
Best” nearly meets an eight; the song is only .1 away from reaching that score,
to be exact. As ironic or hypocritical as the following may sound (since, after
all, I am the one giving the scores), this rating is unfair. “You’re the Best”
deserves to make it into the “good; excellent” (eight) rating, but
unfortunately it falls short by the slightest amount possible. As such, SPICA’s
“Ghost” will still claim the throne of being the highest rated song yet on the
blog (ignoring the earlier, newbie reviews), but to reiterate, “You’re the Best”
does deserve high praise. All this said, the instrumental will be inspected
first as, arguably, it is the main aspect that weighs down the song from an
even higher score.

With
the instrumental, even after paying pure attention to it and listening to the
official instrumental tenaciously, it sadly holds at a six, and that is the
difference between a Song Score  of a
seven or eight. Although it is true that the instrumental provides a lot for
the song—examples being creating the tone, helping with transitions, blending
well with vocals, being prominent yet subtle so that attention shifts to the
vocals—there is one weak aspect to it: individually. The instrumental, on its
own, is rather mundane. Understandably, there may be claims that I am being
overly nitpicky since some may believe that an instrumental has to be graded
within the context of a song in whole. Though that is a true point, for a
reply, in addition to remaining consistent with every review I have done, my
musical interpretation is that an instrumental is two-fold: yes, it has to be
seen in context, but furthermore, it has to be seen individually as well. Thus,
while the instrumental is irreplaceable in “You’re the Best,” on its own, the
horn sounds, bass lines, beats, and so forth are rather stale. In fact, if not
for its valuable role in aiding the vocals or transitioning the song for a few
examples, the instrumental would have scored even less. All that said, however,
it should be noted that a six is nothing to neglect: a six is still a “positive”
rating and indeed, the instrumental is still enjoyable. It just happens to seem
mediocre because of comparing it to every other aspect in the song: sevens or
eights.

On
that note, the vocals and sections are phenomenal in the song, and in many
aspects, are heavily related to the other: the vocals augment the sections
through granting powerful, tuneful singing and rapping; conversely, the
sections augment the vocals through guiding the vocals to be diverse. For
example, with the pre-choruses, the vocals are absolutely beautiful. Higher,
softer notes are heard, and with MAMAMOO’s skills, the delivery with such is
expecteedly flawless. What makes the vocals and the pre-choruses even more
potent, however, is how structurally the pre-choruses create both soft vocals
and more prominent vocals—of which is noticed by the change in style towards
the end of the pre-choruses. Other sections also play off a similar strategy:
the choruses are orientated towards linear, melodic singing, but simultaneously,
the “You-u-u-u” and “Ah-h-h-h” moments provide different vocal styles and
structural styles that help maintain appeal and charm. Another blatant example
would be the raps—though pure “rap” is actually accurate: a combination of
Moonbyul’s and Hwasa’s extraordinary rapping and Solar’s and Wheein’s alluring
singing are how the rap sections are conducted, and that pairing works
effectively. Overall, the key result from the chemistry between the vocals and
sections is a song that remains relentless in vocal prowess and in diversity.
It is difficult to ever find the song plain: there are too many well delivered sections
and vocal styles.

In
terms of the non-musical aspects, the lyrics score incredibly high. Typically
lyrics do admittedly seem to cap at a seven, but “You’re the Best” contains a
very unique plot along with diverse, thorough details. With creativity and
depth working in the lyrics, a high score is deserved. As for the distribution
of lines, this is something to clarify. Yes, there is a huge disparity with
Moonbyul and the rest, and yes it seems that I am failing to be consistent
among reviews. Two points to clarify: I am actually not being “unfair” for “You’re
the Best,” and secondly, this is a reasonable score to give. First, I do not
strictly grade the line distribution based on pure statistical counting; in every
song, I do look for context first before the numbers. For example, in songs
where everyone takes on the role of being a “singer” (in other words, not
rapping), I do search for evenly distributed sections. However, in cases where
there are distinct roles—the most common being a group consisting of rappers
and singers—I do have to become realistic. In MAMAMOO’s case, Moonbyul is the main
rapper, but unlike Hwasa’s case of being both a standard vocalist and a rapper
(even if Moonbyul is very capable of singing), this leaves Moonbyul restricted
to solely raps. And with such, unless if a song somehow manages to squeeze in a
rap whenever possible—a very unrealistic and overall detrimental idea—then leniency
has to be given. That said, I am still not entirely excusing this song’s disparity:
the score is a seven and not, for example, an eight or even a nine. After all, gauging
at the members beside Moonbyul, the divided sections are in fact equal and thus
this should warrant some high rating as Moonbyul is supposedly excused. In this
case of a seven, I do hold that Moonbyul could have had some support lines,
perhaps with offering two-part singing or background vocals. Nevertheless, with
context and realistically rating, the score is still admirable at a seven.

Lastly,
with the choreography, it does render above average. The dance remains well
synced to the music, such as with the choruses’ key points of pointing and then
waving. And on that topic, the key points remain fun to watch due to the variety,
playfulness, and its overall suitability with the song’s mood and sound. The
choreography may not be upbeat at all, but as said before in past reviews,
style never dictates quality. Focusing solely on how well the dance syncs and
how entertaining the key points are, it is confidently said that “You’re the
Best” has a pleasing dance to accompany the brilliant song.

All
in all, this is still the most heartbreaking review yet. I went into this
review expecting the Song Score to come out at an eight, but unfortunately, by
a single decimal—a .1—the song misses that mark. (And perhaps this is insight
into the future struggle of grading students’ essays and assignments; I wish
for my students to have good grades—though I am against the idea that grades
are integral to genuine learning—but will have to be fair.) Nonetheless,
numbers never reveal a story, so regardless of the numerical rating, I still strongly
attest that “You’re the Best” is indeed the best song by MAMAMOO yet, and even
more generally, is one of the better songs I have ever heard. “You’re the Best”
is truly a musical masterpiece and it is always an honor to be able to listen
to MAMAMOO’s songs. They absolutely are the best.

_______________________________________________________

Before
thanking every reader, once again I want to thank the person who requested this
review. If not for your words, in truth this review would never have taken
place as I would’ve prioritized other songs. So, thank you very much for the
request. That said, thank you to those who read this review—skimmed or in full.
I appreciate any time given to the blog.

As
for upcoming reviews, to complete the second component of the request, I will
be reviewing MAMAMOO’s first whole album, “Melting,” as well. (“You’re the Best”
is a part of the album, to prevent confusion.) However, before doing so, I do
wish to practice a bit more with reviewing albums as I do intend to change the
outline. Though I feel bad for using the following words, Rainbow’s latest
album, “Prism,” will be an experimental lab rat—but for a good reason. “Prism,”
so far, is the best (mini) album I have ever heard, and furthermore, I wish to
bring the group some justice. My review on “Whoo” failed to do so, even if the
review itself on the song is acceptable. Now with “Prism” being mentioned as my
favorite, MAMAMOO’s album may challenge that, and likewise even Fiestar’s
album, but as of right now, “Prism” holds the throne as the upcoming review
will explain. Therefore, readers can expect that as the next review, and
afterwards, for MAMAMOO’s “Melting,” and after all of those, I will finish up
on Stellar’s “Sting” and an important discussion there. Then, after all of
that, I will focus on the recent comebacks, and from there, unpopular artists
will take spotlight.

Although
a seemingly daunting task, I will, cheesily said, let the flow of music guide
how reviews go. Look forward to the two upcoming album reviews for now. I will
work hard during this break to catch up since, “hey you, boy/girl with the
pretty smile. You, you-u-u-u, ah-h-h-h, you are a woman/man that makes me go
crazy”—in a good way.

Hello yes I am back as expected to request a Mamamoo review! Preferably of You’re the Best but also 1CM. I’ll pretty much take anything MMM, I live that kind of life. (Also, out of curiosity, have you heard their new album? Is it your style?) Much appreciation~ I know you have a hella queue.

(Also I know you’re focusing on little knowns until March so I totally understand you holding off.)

Hello, and no worries at all. Although March is, as you have noted, planned to focus on groups that have yet to be reviewed at all, requests will always be exempted and reviewed no matter the circumstances. That said, I will indeed be reviewing MAMAMOO’s “You’re the Best,” and I am incredibly thankful for you sending this request. Thank you. Personally, that song has been my personal jam since the day it was released–though to admit, I did not like it at first. However, after more plays and briefly analyzing it, “You’re the Best” truly lives up to its own title: it is one of the better songs I have heard in a while and in general. In fact, it is frightening to see MAMAMOO’s growth: the ladies continue to ace musically, but likewise, they are also winning the hearts of many fans through their personalities and humor. By the end of this year, I would be very shocked if MAMAMOO is not considered a top-tier group (or even arguably the “best” group for both music and entertainment).

Regarding their album of “Melting,” I have indeed listened to it. Though not all of the songs are of my personal style, I will confidently say every song is, at worst, “slightly above average,” but most are in fact “above average.” (And this being a rough estimate; unless if I actually reviewed a song, I would not know its actual rating.) For a few tracks I enjoy very much besides the title song, “Funky Boy” and “Emotion” would be the ones. As for other ones, though they are not of my style, I would strongly hesitate to claim any are of poor quality. Reiterating what was said, every song in this album is, quality-wise, admirable. 

Overall, look forward to “You’re the Best” being reviewed some time this week. Thursday will most likely be the day where I post the review. As for “1CM,” I will also attempt to review it, but if I fail to do so, I will at least be able to indirectly review it through reviewing MAMAMOO’s latest album itself. So, in short: expect a review on “You’re the Best” and even the album in whole. Once again thank you so much for the request, and to already leak my stance on the title song and album: it’s MAMAMOO. Is there any limit to the ladies’ vocal capabilities?