AtrocityCL’s Favorite Songs (up to April 2016)

Posted
on April 25, 2016

AtrocityCL’s Favorite Songs (up to April 2016)

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Personal Message:
Although I am sure that readers are
beginning to dread how only bonus posts are coming about, be it this one or the prior one, as mentioned before I am exceptionally
busy with finals and thus do not quite have the time to write standard song
reviews. I would rather wait until time permits and thus be able to invest the
proper time and respect an artist (group) deserves than to, for example,
completely rush through a song and regard it as mere “busy work” to keep the
blog active. As such, I ask for readers’ patience. Furthermore, even once
summer break begins, I would most likely still be rather inactive for a week or
even two due to a very life-changing event: I will be helping my girl transition
to her new home. Indeed, against all odds, I will be adopting an adult dog during
this summer break and not have to wait three more years where I would be living
independently. Now I could be inspirational and claim that “patience is a
virtue” or whatever else, but admittedly that is far from the case of how I am
now able to adopt her. As I always believe in being truthful (whenever
ethically applicable, that is), I am moreover granted the dog due to
relentlessly begging. But nonetheless, the process of being a bratty prince
took five months. (And of which was beneficial as I have five months’ worth of research
and studying on how to give my girl the best life possible—physically,
mentally, and emotionally.) Can I at least get some respect for my
determination if not for my utter annoying pestering to my parents?

Since many readers may wish to know
more of the upcoming family member, to clarify, whoever she is remains unknown.
Whoever happens to be most suiting and available will be who comes home. The
only requirements are that she is of around medium size, knows some basic
manners (or at least with walking/running), is preferably two years or older, friendly
with humans at the least, and that, if my pronoun use is not clear, that she is
a female. I am extremely excited and look forward to our daily hours of
playing, walking, running, cuddling, and other bonding activities. And yes, I
will take a picture of her and post it on the blog for readers’ curiosity when
she comes home, though I will not reveal my own appearance because I cannot take photos
as endearing as MAMAMOO’s Solar can with her girl, Jjing-Jjing, and that I am
the type of boy who feels the need to perfectly apply makeup to even feel a
public photo is acceptable
.

Dog news aside and to focus back
moreover on the blog, I have decided for the time being to share a personal
favorite songs. I will emphasize a point here: favorite songs. The following songs, of which will not even be
listed in a ranked order, are simply ones that I personally listen to quite
often and very much enjoy. Given the reviews I do here, readers may be curious
on the songs I, on a biased and personal preference context, listen to. In fact
interestingly, many of the songs I enjoy have not even been reviewed here (if
accurate). But as I have clarified before in past reviews, personal preference
does not indicate a neutral, systematic quality of a song. Thus, the songs that
will be mentioned should not be interpreted as “best” songs; again, the songs
here will be “favorite” songs—a much different meaning than the former. And to reiterate
once more, I will not be listing the songs in a ranking order; I personally
have never bothered ranking my personal favorites as “most favorite, second
favorite, third favorite,” and so on. Perhaps at most I can generalize a “top
ten favorites,” but even within the ten I would not be able to discern
individual rankings.

All that said, I will first mention
my “top ten” favorites, and afterwards mention other songs that I still deem a
favorite. Afterward, in the Explanation category, I will then proceed with
explaining why a particular song happens to be my favorite. This may be
interesting to readers as, for once, I will simply share why I like a certain song and not whether I
think the quality of said song is poor or good. Hopefully, my personal music
taste becomes more revealed with this post. Let us hop right in.

_______________________________________________________

Top Ten Favorite Songs (not in ranking
order)
:

–       Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful”

–       Infinite’s “The Chaser”

–       ZE:A’s “Ghost of the Wind”

–       MAMAMOO’s “Um Oh Ah Yeah”

–       Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)’s “I”

–       SPICA’s “Ghost”

–       SPICA’s “Tonight”

–       MAMAMOO’s “You’re the Best”

–       Fiestar’s “Thirst”

–       BTOB’s “It’s Okay”

Other Top Favorites (not in ranking order):

–       AOA’s “Heart Attack”

–       BTOB’s “Remember That”

–       Fiestar’s “One More”

–       Jessi (Lucky J)/Cheetah/Kangnam
(M.I.B)’s “My Type”

–       Hong Jinyoung’s “Cheer Up”

–       SPICA’s “Right Here” cover

–       Dal Shabet’s “Someone Like U”

–       Solar (MAMAMOO)/Moonbyul (MAMAMOO)’s
“Like Yesterday”

–       MAMAMOO’s “Love Me” cover

–       Tymee’s “Super Flower”

–       Hong Jinyoung’s “Thumbs Up”

–       MAMAMOO’s “Hinterlands” cover

–       TaeTiSeo’s “Library”

–       MAMAMOO’s “Woo Hoo”

–       Rainbow’s “Click”

–       CNBlue’s “Domino”

–       Infinite’s “Last Romeo”

Other Honorable Mentions (songs that
I don’t deem “favorites” but that I still very much enjoy):

–       G-Friend’s “Rough”

–       Sistar’s “Touch My Body”

–       GOT7’s “Fly”

–       Girls’ Generation’s “Party”

–       Fiestar’s “Head, Shoulders, Knees
and Toes”

–       Teen Top’s “Warning Sign”

–       Madeon’s “Stay Awake” (Yes, this is
a “Drum and Bass” song; it is not K-Pop.)

–       [Unknown]’s “There is Only You In My
Heart” English Vers. (A Chinese ballad/trot—mostly ballad—song. I am listing
the English equivalent as I do not know how to translate the official Chinese
title. I also do not know who is the artist of the English version or the Chinese artist.)

(And perhaps other songs that I have
missed or forgotten.)

_______________________________________________________

Explanation: Again,
this list is obviously in constant change. By even May, I expect drastic
changes. Also, songs might have been forgotten as I did refer to my phone to
generate this list. On topic, I should have thought this out more thoroughly as
it will be slightly disorganizing and even excessive to discuss all the songs.
On a random note, it does turn out that a vast majority of my favorite songs
have actually been reviewed. (This is both good and bad; this means I need to
review songs that are away from personal interests, but it also means that
reviews have exposed me to many songs that I now adore.) And, if anything else
is revealing from producing the lists, I realize that I need to invest much
more time toward male artists. The fact that my favorite songs are predominantly
from female artists truly concerns me as I should be living up to what I teach:
respecting and loving women and men (and other genders) equally as every gender
is amazing. I would encourage readers to try this activity as well; creating a
list of favorite songs may reveal subtle gender biases if any. Once summer
break comes around, I will sincerely attempt to dedicate a month to solely male
artists. Sociology aside, we will very briefly go through the songs as there
are simply too many to cover. In fact, I will skip over songs if necessary; I
will emphasize more on songs that I have not reviewed or ones that may seem
surprising.

For
the first song on the list (but remember: this is not ranked), Fiestar’s “You’re
Pitiful” will be discussed. Not surprisingly, according to my phone, this is my
most played song. That should indicate how much I love it. Reason being that “You’re
Pitiful” is essentially the epitome of my preferred song style: “pop ballad”—a term
I have created in a past review. It follows the format of ballad songs, but it
remains upbeat and fun as typical pop songs. SPICA’s “Tonight” follows suit. In
fact, if we are to stretch these preferences even further—songs that are
vocally intensive yet upbeat—then “You’re the Best,” “The Chaser,” “Ghost of
the Wind” and “Um Oh Ah Yeah” all also count. In terms of the remaining, “I,” “Ghost,”
“Thirst,” and “It’s Okay” are all ballads, and indeed I very much still appreciate
that genre itself and not its intersection with pop, hence why those songs are
rendered as top ten favorites. Also, to share a song I currently crown as the
queen of songs, SPICA’s “Ghost” is currently the best song I have ever heard—and
it is also still a favorite.

In
terms of songs outside the “Top Ten Favorites,” these are still songs I very
much enjoy and perhaps predictably, the same patterns still translate over: “pop
ballads.”  However, for what differs,
these songs do tend to deviate away from just “pop ballad.” Here, the songs do
lean moreover standard pop. Of course, though, that is not inherently bad or
even good for that matter; genre does not dictate quality but rather only
preference. And definitely, I still love pop songs akin to how I like ballad
songs. “Heart Attack,” for example is strikingly pop but that is why I love it:
it is energetic, fun, and exciting. Conversely, “Remember That” is more
reflective, dramatic, and melancholy, but those are reasons I appreciate the
song. Nevertheless, mentioned here are also songs that may completely differ
from pop, ballad, or a mixture of the two. For example, “My Type” is a hip-hop
song. Fans of Unpretty Rapstar will
recognize the song, but it absolutely is one I enjoy as, besides a change from
pop and ballad, I find the execution of this song to be stunning. Kangnam’s vocals
perfectly mesh with Cheetah’s and Jessi’s rapping.

Along
the topic of Unpretty Rapstar, Tymee’s
rap of “Super Flower” is one I very much appreciate—musically and socially. If
I ever need encouragement or cheering up, “Super Flower” provides much strength.
Musically, however, Tymee’s rapping is smooth, dynamic, and all around the song
is a very balanced and versatile. Switching to another genre, I have strongly
desired to review Hong Jinyoung’s songs. “Thumbs Up” and “Cheer Up” are both trot
songs, and for those familiar with Jinyoung, she is an excellent and popular
modern trot artist. Both of the songs truly highlight the beauty of trot music,
and I hope in a future review I have a chance to discuss trot. Especially as music
evolves and changes, I do fear for trot dying out. But, as long as modern trot
singers continue the genre, it should be safe. Finally, to highlight one
notable song here, MAMAMOO’s cover of “Hinterlands,” an older ballad, is truly
a spectacular “song” (more accurately, “cover”). Embarrassingly shared before
and again, this is the first song to elicit tears just from the pure beauty of
it. If I were to review the song, the vocals would actually reach a nine—a feat
that is near impossible to obtain now (unless if during my newbie days of
reviewing songs). I highly recommend it to avid ballad listeners.

To
now discuss the remaining songs that, while not favorites, are at least still
personally enjoyed to a decent amount, this list becomes even more intriguing
than the prior ones. Many songs here a standard pop songs, and reasons for
enjoying them fall within what was discussed earlier. Only “Head, Shoulders,
Knees and Toes” is a ballad here. However, for a song that I want to partially
discuss, G-Friend’s “Rough” may be surprising to readers. Besides the aspect of
the ladies being a newer group and thus that I would not know them (though they
are on the rise and are current “Rookie Monsters”), the song itself may appear
to be too linear and therefore not my preference. Although I do tend to biasedly
appreciate songs that either have a progressive format or ones that are upbeat
and exciting, “Rough” differs in that, despite it not being too upbeat and that
it is somewhat linear, it is still a fantastic song. A future review will discuss
how they manage to successfully deliver a straightforward form, but this should
be further proof of how delivery is what matters in songs—not what the delivery is. (For example,
post-choruses that loop “la la la” are not inherently poor or good based on
that itself; what matters is how said “la la la” is delivered in the song.)

Lastly,
there are two peculiar songs here: an unknown title to an old Chinese
ballad/trot song, and a song that is in the genre of “D and B,” otherwise known
as “Drum and Bass.” Regarding the former, although I grew up with that song and
thus may favor it due to an intimate connection to it, musically it is indeed
exceptionally beautiful. It is a shame I do not know the translated Chinese
title or artist, but for those curious on how the melody and vocals are (and
somewhat the lyrics), the English version to it provides an accurate idea.
Also, listening over to it once again, ballad would actually be moreover
accurate. (On the other hand, a Chinese trot song that I love was sung by Fiestar’s Jei in this video.)
Addressing the latter song, “Stay Awake,” although I no longer enjoy Drum and
Bass songs, this one deserves at least a featuring here. Unlike a vast majority
of genres where the vocals are the main focus, in Drum and Bass, that is
inverted: the vocals play the standard role and instrumental plays, and the
instrumental plays the standard role vocals play. As such, “Stay Awake” becomes
quite appealing. And, if accurately said, it is moreover Western music and having
that diversity is always welcomed.

All
in all, ignoring the aspect of how I need to listen to more male artists, I do
hope this post provides some insight onto my personal preference in songs. If
any reader feels compelled to, I am always open to hearing what you all consider
your top songs—be it Korean or not. In the future if I ever make an updated
post, I will attempt to format it in a way that is more cohesive, but as said,
this is moreover a bonus post to keep the blog active and alluring. 

_______________________________________________________

Thank
you to all for reading and being patient, whether for upcoming videos or
reviews. Expect BTOB to be the next artist for review, and of course, for
pictures of my wonderful girl to arrive. I will work hard to finish my first
year of university well and to finish subtitling Fiestar’s Weekly Idol episode. Do, however, expect some delay even once my
summer break begins as it is incredibly vital, or I would assume so, to help my
girl seamlessly transition from a shelter to a permanent home, and for her to
know that she will from thereon have structure, discipline, love and safety in
her life. Look forward to the next review (and pictures of my four-legged love).

DreamWorks’ Animation Film – “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” Review

Spirit – “Here I Am” (Movie Clip)

Reviewed on April 20, 2016

DreamWorks
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Personal
Message:
Readers
may be utterly confused at this review: For one, it is not a song review—let
alone an album or show review. Secondly, the movie is within American pop
culture and not Korean pop culture. What is going on? Before readers begin
questioning reality or if the blog has been hijacked, I will clarify why this
review is appearing: I am attempting to—and to modify a cliché phrase—find a BB
cream that specifically serves both as sunscreen and moisturizer. (This is actually
a bad example. For the women and men familiar with BB cream, indeed it usually
does serve both mentioned purposes.) In other words, the American saying of
“strike two birds with one stone” is what I aiming for. That said, this review
is not just for usual readers here; my wonderful history professor will also be
joining—though in a printed version. As an option for extra credit, I have to
review a medium—book, movie, show, etc.—and relate it back to the course (Early
American History) and, ultimately, argue whether I believe the medium would be
worth showing or sharing to the class. This overall explains the sudden change
in reviews, but as always said, diversity should be welcomed. (My professor
will probably become quite flustered trying to find my “thesis” in this review.
To “Dr. E,” I will directly apologize for this mess and shamelessly beg that
points are not deducted.)

Bearing that in mind, I will
slightly modify my writing style so that this review is slightly more academic.
After all, my very hilarious, kind professor who is truly one of the best
lecturers I have ever had will still be grading this for the amount and quality
of analysis and connections I make. (Of course I’m obviously not “kissing feet”
here in hopes of gaining more points. On a serious note, though, he is an
amazing professor.) Nevertheless, I aim to be informally serious—if this can be
said. I wish to appeal to both my professor and usual readers here. Adding on
one final technical clarification, the “review” I will be printing off to my
professor will actually be within the Personal Message category. The review he
is looking for will be that of applying a social lens—specifically that of
history. (Essentially, to usual readers here, imagine this as another social
topic digression that I would normally engage with. The difference here is that
the topic is on history.) As such, the “standard” review will be below for other
readers to read if this portion becomes uninteresting.

Diving into the more critical review
(readers besides my professor or those interested should skip ahead), I will first
very roughly summarize the movie as my professor has watched this movie before.
Nonetheless, to refresh memories: Spirit
is about following Spirit, a horse, and his experience with the American West. We
begin with his birth and hastily proceed to when he is a stallion and herd
leader. Later, his curiosity of a nearby U.S. Army camp result in him being
captured, and from there, the ride begins. Spirit meets both Whites and Native
Americans, and additionally, attempts to escape back to his family. Admittedly,
this miniature summarizing is becoming quite stale. Let us now transition to
the discussion I plan to bring.

First, contrary to many ideas, I
will not so much focus on connecting specific historical events to Spirit. This, while seemingly intuitive
as that is what history supposedly is, would yield minimal analysis as it would
then become a game of “match the dates to the movie.” History, thankfully, is
much more complex than dates and, for that matter, even “sides.” History is
about the why; it is not so much about
debating “right and wrong,” “good and evil.” History is about understanding the
historical social forces that are at play. Returning to the movie, even if we
decided to play the match-the-date game, Spirit
from my understanding does not even strongly allude to specific moments in
history. How, then, does Spirit relate
to my history class—if at all?

Personally, I will be directing this
analysis/review towards a topic readers here are familiar with (given my usual
digressions): the topic of race. However, a historical lens will be applied to
this already large, sensitive topic—something that will differ from past
discussions in reviews. With this now in mind, Spirit appears to be more than a story of horses: Spirit is quite socially and politically
charged with the topic of race. The topic of Whites versus Native Americans;
the topic of Native Americans versus Whites.

Many other reviewers and even
general viewers have claimed that Spirit
delivers a specific message about early American history. It is said that Spirit (or just Spirit) is ultimately
symbolic of how Native Americans were invaded, conquered, converted, and even killed—all
by the hands of American White men. Thus, many would argue this movie, in a
historical mindset, definitely deserves to be watched as it showcases the true,
brutal actions of the White Americans who travelled west. Although these
interpretations are definitely not to be dismissed at all, this interpretation
is still exceptionally limiting. (And truthfully, prior to Early American
History I have also held onto the idea that American history was purely “screw
the White men of America who came over to ruin Native American lives.”) Yes, I,
a reviewer who oftentimes pokes fun of White privilege (though as discussed in
the past, this is different from insulting Whites in of themselves), is indeed
saying that we cannot utterly hassle the 19th century White men who
committed heinous acts towards Native Americans. All that said, I contest that Spirit is indeed a movie worth sharing
from a historical lens, but not because it “shows the true actions of American
White men” as many have said. I would recommend this movie because it
complicates the ideas of “Whites versus Native Americans.” There actually is no
“good” or “evil” side in Spirit, and
I will argue why that is the case and ultimately why that matters with
understanding early American history.

Before continuing, many readers
might be upset or even shocked at me not outright opposing and scolding the
White men who invaded and stole land from Native Americans. Yes, there were
many, many atrocious acts conducted towards Native Americans such as the
mentioned ones. I do not condone those acts nor find them justifiable in any
sense. Likewise, however, Native Americans have also done equally violent acts
towards Whites—both in retaliation and not. I also do not condone nor find any
justification for those acts. Again, this is not about a battle of race—this
being what Spirit showcases (as I
will get to soon). Drawing from an old Blog Opinion post, “Girls’
Generation’s Tiffany’s controversial IG post”
perfectly applies here (and suddenly I feel much embarrassment
knowing my professor is reading that very line): the binary regarding race and
racism cannot be applied—even to history. Antagonizing cannot happen.
Certainly, acknowledgement of actions in the past—that Whites and Native
Americans have both harmed one another, for example—are necessary, but progress
has to be made beyond that. Sadly, calling historical Whites purely as
“racists, rapists, ethnocentric” does not contribute to understanding and
learning of early American history. How race in the past played out in relation
to history cannot be understood if we all only devoted time to degrading the
historical Whites—even if those earlier mentioned labels are accurate. In other
words, solely antagonizing people in the past blinds people from, besides the
ability to maturely discuss race, understanding history—knowing the why of events.

Hopefully with readers now not being
overly defensive, we can proceed to the historical lens review of Spirit. Clarifying what has so far been
discussed, many assert that the movie is definitely worth watching—probably
more so in a history class. The movie possesses a message of how corrupt Whites
were in the 19th century. Spirit
showcases how Whites would decimate nature and would “tame” anything they
deemed as wild—whether that is horses or Native Americans. As a result, in an
American history class, this animation would provide a crucial message. For
where I stand, though I agree this movie is worth showing (at least in my
history class), I strongly disagree on others’ reasons for why Spirit should be shown. Unlike a vast
majority of viewers, I argue that Spirit
showcases how history is never a battle of just “good versus evil” or, in
American history terms, of “Native Americans versus Whites.” This movie
complicates those binaries and thus, provides a more critical view of the role
of race in early American history.

Beginning, it should be noted that Spirit portrays both groups in positive
lighting. Although many would belittle this note, this is exceptionally
important. If Spirit is truly
attempting to sway people to dislike historical Whites, then would it not be
beneficial to partially construe the groups? Would it not be more persuasive
to, with subtle care, depict the White characters as monstrously cruel and
intently evil? Conversely, wouldn’t showcasing Native Americans as super noble,
undefeatable, and perfect bring a more convincing point to what many claim? And
yet, neither case occurs: the characters, regardless of race, are all depicted
as genuine humans. Agreeably, the Colonel is harsher than most and Little Creek
has a very open, loving heart, but this falls within personality and not so
much of biased depictions. Overall, there are no archetypal structuring of good
and evil in Spirit—unless if you
sincerely consider moustaches as inherently evil. Then, in that case, the
Colonel is automatically evil. But more seriously, for a final momentous point,
both Native Americans and Whites are seen with established, realistic societies
(and I mean “realistic” in the sense of what my class covered with how both groups
indeed were socially developed). Native Americans were not seen as “savages”;
Whites were not seen as “technology innovators and geniuses.” Spirit showcases both groups as equal,
as neutral. As humans. Different, yes, but ultimately humans.

Now, I do sense an incoming
rebuttal—a rebuttal that is not to be instantly dismissed at all. Many may now
point out that, even if the characters are not construed to appear as evil or
good, there is still a prominent issue: How can the pain the Whites inflicted
upon the Native Americans be “neutral”? If anything, it appears as anything but neutral. Consider the raid on the
Native Americans’ camp, the near-killing of both horses and Native Americans,
and their capturing of wild horses. The Whites, then, must have had been
purposefully depicted this way to showcase the “truth of American history”:
that this was all due to racism.

Though this proposed point is
powerful, I still abide to my prior stance. The Whites in Spirit were not depicted as evil; they certainly made questionable
decisions and actions, but to claim they are evil—utterly against and out to
slaughter others due to purely race—may be a stretch. Social factors to
consider besides race include politics, religion, money, technology, and so
forth. In the movie, the Whites’ actions do indeed stem from more than racism.
A simple example is the train scene. With forcing the horses to pull up the
train, again while the decision itself is worthy of challenging, the Whites’
intentions were most likely along the lines of money and nation-building. Sure,
some may have hoped it would also drive out Native Americans, but notice: it is
more than just racism. Thus, while I
do not wish to downplay racism in early American history and how there were
indeed very inhumane acts motivated by racism, injecting solely this thinking into
Spirit is limiting. The Whites were
not depicted as evil, whether in the aspect of personality or actions. And, if
this is all not convincing yet, there is another scene to ruminate over: when
Spirit was in the ring.

With rushing into this scene, many
would find Spirit’s capture and “breaking process” to be unequivocal proof of
the Whites being the evil ones in the movie. Why? Because, if not for
personalities or actions, then at least ethically one could propose that the
Whites had little to no sense of morality. However, this is also not quite the
case: the Whites in Spirit,
controversially said, were ethical. Perfectly? Far from it, but to claim they
lacked morality and thus were living demons is another stretch. Focusing back
to the scene of Spirit being “broken” by the soldiers attempting to tame him,
there is a very noticeable result: if fifteen or so men cannot tame Spirit, he
must indeed be a wild horse—in every sense of the phrase. So, why bother
sparing him and allow for more attempts to tame him? Like the process of how
humans domesticated dogs, it would seem to be a common decision to kill the one
that was human-aggressive. But, as noticed, the Colonel decided not to shoot
Spirit—or at least not yet. He wanted to give him one more try; he wanted to
give Spirit one more chance to live (and yes, even if it is unfair that the
Whites put Spirit there in the first place). Summarizing my argument here, it
is rash to attempt to brush off the Whites in Spirit as evil, menacing privileged American White men who captured
and killed whatever they deemed as “wild.” They certainly were privileged—and
indeed, White men today in America are still socially privileged—but to go to
the extent of ignoring other historical aspects such as religion, money, and
others is an issue. Racism played a role, but equally do other social aspects
in crafting how early American history played out.

Transitioning from here, readers may
still be uncomfortable with my argument. Is racism truly not the ultimate
driving force behind early American history and the horrendous acts that came
about? Relating back to Spirit, there
is still an unanswered question: How can the Whites’ actions be excused if the
Native Americans in the movie never attacked the Whites at all? It is a
one-sided attack. The movie has to have purposefully set this up to showcase
that Whites were indeed ultimately fueled by racism as, why would they initiate
battles first, be it raids or capturing horses? True, I struggled with finding
an answer to this and was backed against a wall. It did appear that the Native
American’s violence in the movie was all due to self-defense—a much different
route than directly attacking as did the Whites during the raid. But is that
truly the case? Are there potentially moments where, in reality, equal damage
to Whites was done by Native Americans? Although we could discuss whether
self-defense justifies blowing up trains, infrastructures, burning forests,
freeing horses that are necessary for the army, and—does something appear off
now? Again, “self-defense”/retaliation can complicate this even further, but
nevertheless as noticed Whites were indeed equally harmed in the film as were
the Native Americans. This is not a one-sided, good versus evil film at all:
both sides have their goods and evils.

Explaining the listed examples,
first it should be understood that no Native American characters are seen—minus
during the raid—actually fighting back against the Whites. But, there is
Spirit. If we align him with the side of Native Americans as, if not
symbolically, then he literally does side with the Native Americans especially
after Rain (the mare) introduces him to her tribe (the Lakota), the Native
Americans are suddenly no longer entirely passive and innocent victims or
self-defenders. Spirit, in this
perspective, complicates the race binary even further. Spirit does many violent
acts to the Whites. Yes, he was captured first, and yes the Whites were not
kind like Little Creek. Nevertheless, the damage Spirit brings to the Whites is
as disastrous as the raid the Whites committed. From arrival at the U.S. Army
fort, the handler was bit, kicked, and practically lost an eye. Then, of
course, fifteen men or so went flying off his back. All that said, those can be
rendered unmoving examples; who cares, after all, if those racist White men were
hurt? The train scene provides better insight on the damage Spirit—symbolically
and literally on the side of Native Americans—brought to the Whites. Spirit
would destroy the railroads—a very significant resource in terms of money; he
would destroy the train itself and the structures it crushes—homes and working
places of Whites; he also set the forest on fire, a burn to both sides. The
main message to glean is that no side is completely innocent in Spirit—this point being what is
oftentimes forgotten. This movie is not attempting to create a “White versus
Native American” story where Whites are the evil and Native Americans are the
good; this movie complicates the relationships and strips away the binary.

Continuing on to my final point, and
perhaps for what genuinely settles this review/analysis and the movie itself,
the ending is one of the most momentous movie scenes I can personally recall
off the top of my head—mostly because it is the only one in the past months.
But even then, jokes aside, the ending is incredibly moving. Clarifying, I
would guess readers are thinking of Spirit’s leap of faith as the empowering
end. Wrong. Close, but wrong. Continue a few more seconds: the scene where the
Colonel pushes aside his soldier’s gun—of which was aimed at both Little Creek
and Spirit. Furthermore, after doing that, the Colonel grinning at the two and
nodding his head to showcase respect, is also equally important to consider. This,
I would argue, is the message of Spirit.
It is not about Whites being evil and Native Americans being good; it is not
about Native Americans being evil and Whites being good. It is none of those
binaries. This ending scene to the movie is where the binaries have crumbled:
it is more than just race and racism. Mutual respect was given to one another
even despite all of the incidents that occurred. Even though the Colonel was
tossed off Spirit’s back, even though the raid occurred, even though Rain was
shot, even though Spirit destroyed the railroads and train, even though all of
these conflicting and harming events occurred to each other, at this very
moment, both groups—Native Americans and Whites—were still able to respect one
another. They were able to respect the humaneness among one another. Spirit could have easily gone with a
script that merely showed Little Creek and Spirit escaping in time and outside
the range of the rifle, but the directors chose specifically to have this type
of ending. With all I have argued, I assert that this ending supports my
argument of how race binaries are disassembled. (And indeed, Whites and Native
Americans have indeed managed to live side-by-side before. The French and
Native Americans not only lived together, but they indeed married and produced
a culture of both White and Native American.)

Overall, Spirit is more than a sweet, inspiring movie of never giving up: it
relates to early American history. But, unlike the popular stance that the
movie is to dehumanize Whites and reveal the “truth” of American history, the
movie actually wants to show that history is more than just race and
racism—more than just left and right. History is completely complex. Focusing
on the why is what matters; overly
focusing on the what—such as racist
events—strips away from the critical component of history. To remind readers,
this is not to exclude race and racism from history. Rather, it is to include
what has been abandoned: politics, technology, religion, money,
nation-building, and other social aspects. Many social aspects contribute to
history, and all have to be equally considered so a fuller, more diverse
perspective of history is  possible.

With all of this over, for readers
who have survived (or who have wisely skipped below), we will now approach this
in a more “standard” review where I critique the film itself and purposefully
avoid the deeper, critical meanings the movie has. (Though one should always be
critical of pop culture mediums.) I think I deserve an excuse from doing that.
And, I am sure my professor would like a break as well from reading this extra
credit review.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
I doubt I
have the willpower of Spirit to truly continue this review, so I will very
briefly review it. And yes, my professor will not be reading this portion of
the review for obvious reasons (it is not academically related). Admittedly, I
wish to return to this blog’s original content as soon as possible, so indeed I
will rush.

Since this is a movie, summarizing
the plot—besides the example earlier—is more difficult than summarizing, for
example, a reality show. Reason being I cannot spoil it but likewise would like
to give a gloss-over of what occurs in the movie. To save time, however, I will
resort to copy and pasting what I wrote above: “Spirit is about following Spirit, a horse, and his experience with
the American West. We begin with his birth and hastily proceed to when he is a
stallion and herd leader. Later, his curiosity of a nearby U.S. Army camp
result in him being captured, and from there, the ride begins. Spirit meets
both Whites and Native Americans, and additionally, attempts to escape back to
his family.”

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 6/10

(5.5/10 raw score) – “Slightly above
average”

– Entertainment Value: 5/10

– Structural Value: 6/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Admittedly, once a literary
criticism lens is removed (in other words, looking at the movie beyond the
surface and searching for deeper social meanings—this being what I did above), Spirit is not the most entertaining
movie I have seen. It definitely has excellent surface lessons and is not entirely
boring, but there are many stagnant moments. For example, the scenes prior to
Spirit getting captured is, though impressive from a structural standpoint
(animations, transitions, etc.), nothing more than fillers. We learn of his
younger years and how, as time passes, he becomes the herd’s leader. But even
if this background information is foundational to understanding Spirit’s
character, the delivery of this plot is tedious. More meaningful events could
have been added, or better yet, a shorter time frame might be more appealing.
If the initial song montage conveyed all the information that we needed to
know—that he grew up to be a herd leader—then this aspect to the film would be
tolerable. But, as it is, there are moments of excessive details. Additionally,
in a more general scope, the movie’s events are nothing utterly complex. It is
a cycle of confinement and freedom (this theme is important, but towards the
structural value and not entertainment) that ultimately becomes dull. There
also are few moments for deeper, more complex understanding of characters. Overall,
the plot feels glossed over. Learning more of the characters and situations
might be what is necessary to give the plot its lack of depth.

On the other hand, though the
entertainment is average, the structural aspect to Spirit—the animation, dialogues/voice-acting, symbolic moments—are
slightly above average. As mentioned earlier, the film excellently plays around
the idea of freedom and confinement, as noticed by Spirit cycling through
between the two. The animation to the film, even if somewhat older, is
spectacular. Characters are fluid in movements and are beautifully drawn.
Aesthetically, the movie is indeed promising. Other aspects are worthy of
praising, such as how songs are included to the movie. Besides the audio appeal
of the songs, there are also creative ways a deeper meaning to Spirit is delivered. For example, two
songs that are played at the start are played at the end once again: a cycle is
seen, and more specifically, a cycle of freedom and confinement. Spirit’s
capturing song is the same song that represents his freedom. These subtle
additions definitely enhance how Spirit
plays out, even if plot-wise there is no change. Finally to add, the “realistic
fiction”—if I may coin that term—allows for a more intimate experience with the
film. This is not the standard movie for little kids to sing along to or for
children to solely laugh at. The animals do not speak; only the humans provide
dialogue in the film. At most, Spirit’s narration is heard, but that is it. As
a result, Spirit does not become a
fantasy-like movie, but instead, it becomes a relatable, understandable one.
From the much more complex issues of race in early American history to themes
of never giving up and to love all, Spirit
retaining a mature depiction allows for those meanings to be even more
graspable.  

In the end, I still do recommend Spirit to watch—but not for
entertainment per se. There are other animations that provide more appeal, such
as Finding Nemo for example.
Nevertheless, for where Spirit can
shine, the delivery of the film—the artwork, music, themes, and so forth—do
allow it to hold its ground. And of course, if one desires to be academic with
the film, the historical and social topics that arise from the movie are
invaluable. Very few films, especially one marketed towards family and
children, would dare to step into the realm of discussing race and conflict in
the context of American history, but indeed Spirit
directly goes there. Ultimately, that aspect in combination to the aesthetics
of the movie is why I would recommend it.

_______________________________________________________

As always, thank you to all for
reading. I do apologize for this sudden review and admittedly the rushing of
it. Explained above, this review was moreover for the purpose of an extra
credit assignment for my class, but I decided to also post it here as perhaps a
few readers would find this review (and the assignment aspect of it)
interesting. Again, consider this the analogy of finding the multi-purpose BB
cream.

In terms of the next review, the men
of BTOB are in mind. There will, however, be a brief period of no reviews as
this week and the next I am booked with either studying for finals or taking
finals. (And admittedly I need to catch up on subtitling Fiestar’s Weekly Idol episode.) Because of this, I
do have a short bonus post in mind: sharing my personal favorite songs.
Although the post will not discuss what I think the best songs are, I am sure a
few readers have been curious on songs that I personally enjoy and continually
listen to. Then, after that, we will resume back to our usual review schedule.
Look forward to them.

MAMAMOO – “Woo Hoo” Review

MAMAMOO
– Woo Hoo (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – Woo Hoo

Reviewed
on April 14, 2016

Personal Message:
Once again, I am quite glad that I
discovered a way to schedule out posts as I have been ridiculously busy the
past days. As a result, I will be stockpiling as many reviews as possible so
that, once finals week arrives, the blog will still be rather active. However,
with that in mind, it does cause a minor change to a few of the upcoming
reviews: they will be purely musical discussions—though that is nothing bad at
all. In other words, I will absolutely refrain from digressing on social topics
until April is over or at least until schedule permits. But, readers who are
familiar with my writing will know that those words will not stay true; given
how I am, I will probably have a social digression much sooner than expected. In
short: readers who focus moreover on the review themselves can look forward to
many song discussions, but for those who are moreover interested in the
sociological and arguably literary theoretical side to my reviews, I ask for
patience. This aspect to reviews is only being limited due to current time
pressure. As always, especially with pop culture, I urge readers to care for both
sides: the musical (and more broadly, artistic) component and the social
component.  

Now before diving straight into the
review as I am a
narcissistic reviewer who needs to find excuses so that I appear infallible
,
to explain the current stressful schedule I am under, I will soon be having
finals. But before even that occurs, there are multiple essays to finish along
with a project. Overall, there is a huge workload and I feel that there is
insufficient time. All should still be well, though; I am being extra attentive
to my behavior and ensuring that I do not isolate myself from friends or
heavily procrastinate. Also on a random note, besides academic work and writing
reviews, I am still also finishing up subtitling Fiestar’s recent visit to
“Weekly Idol.”

To be immature for a moment—if I
already am not during reviews where I squeal over idols—I do want to tell
myself to never take on such a significant video task. Explaining what I mean, while
many have been quite supportive, patient, and even respectful with criticism
and feedback regarding my subtitles, there has also been a group of people who
are neither patient nor respectful of my time and efforts. This aspect is
rather surprising; never before has my subtitled videos had viewers who were
excessively demanding and rude. Perhaps the video being of “Weekly Idol” is
causing high demand and thus many viewers become impatient, or perhaps viewers
truly do have proper reasons to complain as I have admittedly been rushing the
videos and, therefore, have poorly timed the subtitles. (This explains why
there are huge blocks of subtitles at once and where a vast majority of rude
remarks are stemming from.) Either way, on a mature level, it would of course
be quite shameful on my end to abandon the “Weekly Idol” episode altogether as
if to retaliate to those who have been negative. Revenge is never appropriate
after all, no matter how minor (such as in this case). Furthermore, for those
who have been genuinely supportive and patient, it would make absolutely no
sense to hurt these viewers due to the rudeness of others. Keeping these
viewers in mind—the patient, respectful and critical ones—is what provides the
motivation to finish subtitling that episode.

Perhaps I am more attentive to the
negativity given my university-stressed emotional state (and that my attempts
to have a pet dog by this summer is in vain), but with personal venting aside,
let us now swap over to a more cheerful tone. Although I did state that April
was to be a month of new artists, I have decided to review MAMAMOO’s latest
song because, besides the biased reason of being a squealing fan of the ladies,
it will provide a hastier review as I will be able to focus solely on the song
itself. In fact, another shorter review will be written quite soon after this
(and I am extremely excited to review the next song).

On topic with the song, “Woo Hoo” is
an OST (original soundtrack if accurate) for the LG G5, a new phone. And
admittedly prior to this song, I used to hold the notion that it was foolish to
automatically purchase whatever idols endorsed, but now I hold a different
view: it is foolish to not purchase
products that idols endorse. I am joking of course; one should always be
critical of what idols endorse—unless if it is MAMAMOO. In the group’s case,
obviously purchase everything they endorse since that is what a critical fan
would do. Jokes aside, while I do biasedly adore “Woo Hoo” due to it being
upbeat and focusing on intensive vocals (and its summer concept), as is the
standard protocol for reviews, I will now have to strip away that bias. Without
such, “Woo Hoo” may not be worth all the cheerful “woos” and “hoos” it
currently is receiving—or it may. Let us find out.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.2/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 7/10
(7.4/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
8/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4.     Chorus: 8/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Rap: 6/10

7.     Bridge: 7/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 8/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: 3/10

Wheein:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus (Total: 7)

Solar:
Verse, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Hwasa:
Pre-Chorus, Verse, Bridge (Total: 3)

Moonbyul:
Rap (Total: 1)

All:
Introduction, Post-Chorus, Post-Chorus, Post-Chorus

Equal Value: 4 sections per member.  


Lyrics: 6/10

Woo hoo, ah ha
Woo hoo, woo hoo
Woo hoo
(Woo-ooh)

Hey when I look at you
Our memories start to feel special
You pull me right into your trap
It’s like I’m dreaming

The time you and I walk together
Our path is filled with light
Feeling for the first time ever, these new colors
I want to hold your hand

In my heart, now in my heart
A new feeling, now play with me
I want you, a clear image inside me
Come closer, closer
Play with me
What a day to look forward to

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

Like I’ve been charmed
I can’t say no to your ways
(Woo hoo hoo hoo)

Moonstar
Life is good when you play more
We keep seeing better endings
Give me a high five, look
G5 on the playground
Why are you lost again?
This isn’t the Wonderland, Alice
Hey listen, take off those sunglasses
You’re glowing bright, full of energy

Holding on to my racing heart
The little secret between us
You’re so special, I can’t forget
Like the beaming sun

In my heart, now in my heart
A new feeling, now play with me
I want you, a clear image inside me
Come closer, closer
Play with me
What a day to look forward to

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

Where you are, inside my heart
Baby baby, oh baby baby
Get excited, I have a good feeling
Baby baby, oh baby baby

In my heart, now in my heart (whoa)
A new feeling, now play with me (hoo)
I want you, a clear image inside me
Come closer, closer
Play with me
What a day to look forward to

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

Overall Score: 6/10
(6.0/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
beginning, to clarify the choreography, it is true that it exists. However,
given that it seldom appears in the music video and was mainly seen at MAMAMOO’s
live showcases (and even then the dance only occurs at the last half of the
song if I recall), I will refrain from grading it. On topic, for what strikes
as perhaps most shocking in “Woo Hoo,” there is one category that very much
cripples its overall rating: the line distribution. Optimistically—and this
word in the sense of AOA’s definition, as seen in “Weekly Idol” (for those who
get the reference)—at least “Woo Hoo” has set a record of having the lowest
score yet for the line distribution category in all of the blog’s current
reviews. More seriously, although this is a moment where I question why this
category exists, I am likewise reminded of why it is indeed a criterion for my
reviews: it is important to ensure that members are not overshadowing one
another and that they all have an equal spotlight. Imagine, after all, how
unappealing a group of nine men would be if only two sang while the remaining
seven solely danced. Thus, this is the reason for why the line distribution
category exists. (Off topic, I have been considering changing the name to “Section
Distribution” as that is more accurate in my reviews.)

With
potentially addressing some readers’ skepticism, it is worth noting that the
issue in “Woo Hoo” is not that members lack sections; the members do indeed
possess quite an abundant amount of sections. Take Moonbyul for example. With
her role as MAMAMOO’s main rapper—and a splendid rapper she is—it appears as if
she truly does only have one section. Besides, that is what is literally
written: one section—the rap. But, once accounting for parts where everyone
contributes such as the introduction and post-choruses, her section count increases
to five. And certainly, that is a rather satisfying quantity from an abstract
viewpoint. Therefore, the issue, then, is in the distribution itself: it lacks
equality. In “Woo Hoo,” MAMAMOO has what I personally deem the “stepping-steps
distribution.” Though it arguably sounds cute and endearing as a label, that is
far from the case; in reality, this type of distribution is atrocious. This
translates as members figuratively stepping on one another though given that it is
MAMAMOO I wouldn’t be surprised if this literally happened
: Moonbyul (1)
is stepped on by Hwasa (3), who is then stepped on by Solar (5), who is then
stepped on by Wheein (7). The disparity is significantly enlarged as a result. In
the end, a three will have to be given for the gapping differences in section
quantities among the ladies.

Leaving
behind the detrimental category to “Woo Hoo,” to focus on the strengths of the
song, the song itself is captivating. For example, the vocals are incredible—as
to be expected from MAMAMOO. If the introduction’s precise, sharp, vocal
harmonization is insufficient evidence for the vocal prowess in “Woo Hoo,” then
the rest of the entire song—the entire
song—will provide the remaining necessary proof. Verses for example unveil melodic
and smooth singing, and MAMAMOO flawlessly executes minor yet soothing lower
noted beltings throughout. The latter, in fact, also appears in the earlier
parts of pre-choruses. Regarding the choruses, vocals here are powerful yet
controlled; the singing does not become overly dominant to the point of unbalancing
the song’s flow, but simultaneously it is not lacking so that it causes “Woo
Hoo” to lose its iconic, vocally intensive choruses. Other sections could also
be discussed, but at this point most would have repeated praises—an example being
how the post-choruses are akin to the introduction’s vocal harmonization.

For
what has yet to be discussed, we will now focus on the sections. Every section
scores quite well as noted by the ubiquitous sevens and eights. Except for one
section. The rap does fall short in terms of a six, but to clarify, this is not
due to the rap itself; if focusing on the sheer rap, it would definitely be a
seven. Why is it at a lower score? To answer: the transition. Understandably
the lengthy, awkward break before the actual rap begins is for Moonbyul’s dance
break to take place, and though there is a unanimous agreement that the dance
is well worth that trade, it still has to be accounted for. Should this transition
break not have existed, “Woo Hoo” would have very likely been able to
transition to the rap seamlessly and, overall, it would serve best for maintaining
a clean flow. But as it currently is, the absurd transition does little to aid
the rap. Other sections as mentioned, however, fare exceptionally well. With
the introduction and conclusion, standard roles are not just fulfilled but are
excelled; these sections sound stunning while also still effectively closing or
introducing the song. With the verse, pre-chorus, chorus, post-chorus, in
addition to the solid sounds, all are complementary of the other. Each section
builds upon the prior—or in the case of the bridge, it builds towards the next—and thus the sections
help provide “Woo Hoo” its organized sound. In such a sonically seducing song,
having that cohesiveness is invaluable, and accounting for the instrumental, this
aspect also helps bind the song together. And, of course, the instrumental
maintains its own individual brilliant sound.

Finally
for the last category, the lyrics to “Woo Hoo” are thankfully not oriented
toward the LG G5 itself—even if it is partially alluded to in Moonbyul’s rap. Explaining
the rating, although the plot is certainly sweet with its flirtatious overtone,
it does lack in depth and complexity. The somewhat varied details are the
driving force behind it being at a six and not a five, but even so, the lyrics
are far from spectacular. Nevertheless, it is sufficient enough to serve as
usual lyrics in an upbeat, joyful pop song.

And
so, we have arrived at the end where “Woo Hoo” renders at slightly above
average—a six. Assuming the audio is of pure attention, “Woo Hoo” would score
significantly higher and indeed, as a song itself it is fabulous. Being
critical, on the other hand, with accounting for its unequal line distribution and
its plain lyrics does help justify why an overall six was earned and not, for
examples, seven or eight. Nonetheless, “Woo Hoo” is still a solid song—more so
if caring for solely its sound. And of course, MAMAMOO continues to ace with
their vocals and fans should definitely cherish the ladies’ hard work: they
went from being rather unpopular with “Mr. Ambiguous” to now endorsing a
popular cellphone company along with releasing fantastic tracks, such as the
recent one of “You’re the Best.”

_______________________________________________________

Miraculously,
I finished this sooner than expected, but in order to keep the blog active, I
will be purposefully scheduling this to post at a later time. Technical talk
aside, as I always say: thank you for any time invested in this review. No
matter if skimmed or read in full, I sincerely appreciate it all. To leak the
next review, though I have had little time to keep track of (Korean) pop
culture news, I am aware of 2NE1’s Minzy leaving her group. Now if correct in
my understanding, she has not officially done so yet as her contract has yet to
fully expire, but within a few weeks it will and, from what news have been
pointing to, Minzy appears to have decided to not renew. (And that does seem to
be a firm decision.) More will be discussed in, to finish the earlier
statement, 2NE1’s review of “Come Back Home”—the group’s latest song if
accurate. For what will be briefly said, respecting her decision has to take
place. Minzy, with the highest confidence possible, most likely thoroughly
thought out her decision and thus, being supportive and accepting is what
should take place.

All
that said, look forward to “Come Back Home.” It does not hurt to “play with me”
and my reviews. “What a day to look forward to” for my reviews—assuming one can
overlook my horrendous writing. Do look forward to the next review that will be
posted soon.

GOT7 – “Fly” Review

GOT7 – Fly (Music Video)

GOT7 – Fly (Dance Practice)

GOT7 – Fly

Reviewed
on April 9, 2016

image

Personal Message:
Edit: Originally planned to be posted on March 31. As said, I planned to review GOT7’s
“Fly,” and thankfully, I will indeed be doing so. Given that the prior
review
was admittedly quite excessive in length with discussing college, for
this review the song will be the pure focus. Before progressing on, however, I
will leave a pitiful excuse in case this review becomes butchered: for three
days or so, I have been running off solely five hours of sleep (I need at least
six and better yet seven). Now I could have chosen to nap instead of writing
this review, but coffee is here to assist and, more importantly, I truly do
want to finish March with a total of six reviews—a record high in contrast to
many other months. That said, with mentioning other months, for April I do
foresee it being a much more inactive month given that a project and multiple papers
are due soon, and furthermore, that I am currently prioritizing subtitling
Fiestar’s recent visit to “Weekly Idol.” It has been rather stressful, but all
should be fine. After all, I am able to write for a review, and as readers may know,
writing reviews is the most stress-relieving activity I can personally do.

Rambling aside, to focus on the wonderful
men of GOT7, since they are incredibly popular it is true that I am familiar
with them. However, the degree of such is limited: I only know the names (by
heart) of two members—Jackson and BamBam, specifically. Even then, I have
watched a few shows they have attended such as “A Song For You,” and jocularly
yet impressively, clips of BamBam rocking to female groups’ songs. On topic, where
my familiarity moreover lies with GOT7 is in their music; I have listened—or more
accurately, listen—to a few of their songs. In fact, “A” is my favorite release
by the group so far, though I also admire “If You Do” and even “Fly” as we will
soon unpack.

Randomly transitioning to a more
solemn tone (and yes this is hypocritical considering I did claim that no
digression would take place; nevertheless this is a shorter one and as I always
urge, being a fan of pop culture means that it is best for one to be keen on
the social dynamics involved), with GOT7 being reviewed, I am reminded of how I
planned perhaps nearly a year ago to review their much older song of “Just
Right.” As seen, I am quite slow with reviews, but besides that point I did
plan to discuss the large topic of beauty in that review since, relatively
obviously, “Just Right” does address that topic, as seen in even the title
itself. (And if I recall, GOT7 addressed the topic in a very positive manner.
Though I forget the lyrics and have not seen the music video, I do
distinctively remember it having a message of loving the way one physically
appears no matter how one precisely looks.)

Although I will save the topic of beauty
for another time, there was also another point I wanted to cover:
intersectionality. Explaining what this concept is and, more significantly, why
it even matters to learn of it and why I would bother taking time out of the
review to indeed discuss it, in relation to beauty (as we will see later),
understanding this concept is essential. But even without the topic of beauty,
having a grasp of this concept is quite beneficial when juggling social topics
that arise, be it from TV shows, daily life, and of course for what readers can
relate to, K-Pop—this latter being why I am introducing this concept. However,
without first seeing the application of intersectionality, we will first focus
on why one should even care of the social side of pop culture. Given the nature
of pop culture, it is inevitable to avoid social topics as, poorly and cornily phrased,
pop culture is a sweetly packaged box of social topics. (Consider, a few
examples: How is gender depicted in artists’ concepts or in dramas? Also
consider how sexual orientations are depicted and addressed in pop cultures—which
orientations are included, urged forward perhaps, and which ones are entirely
dismissed and even mocked?) Though true that anything and everything ultimately
relates to society and its cultures, pop cultures tend to be of a higher dose.
Focusing on K-Pop in specific, this is unveiled through dissecting its music
videos, lyrics, celebrity news, and so forth. This is after all, as its name
implies, popular culture—the dominant culture and view of a society. What then
matters is being able to critically interpret cultural views. Examples are
perhaps challenging the notion that males have to always be tough and apathetic,
or to support a non-Asian actress who appears in a K-Pop music video (and note,
this support is in the perspective of South Korea; since Koreans/Asians can be
rendered as the “dominant” race in the country, non-Asians are then the
minoritized).

That covered, in a simple summary,
intersectionality is the idea that social statuses (race, gender, class, etc.)
are not all individual in experience, but rather, are all interconnected—hence
the name of “intersectionality.” An example will now be used to better explain
this. Using the United States as background, let us say there are a White woman
and a Black man. Without accounting for intersectionality, one could actually
consider their social statuses to be equal; it could be said that they are both
experiencing the same social disadvantages. Now certainly both are indeed
socially disadvantaged in the U.S.: the White lady faces sexism while the Black
gentleman faces racism. That is true. What is not true, however, is the earlier
line of claiming that they are experiencing the exact same social disadvantages:
this is where intersectionality matters. Being a non-White or a female puts one
at a social disadvantage, but to claim the experience—the experience of either racism
or sexism—is the same as the other is indeed inaccurate. The White woman
possesses White privilege, and the Black man possesses male privilege—these lead
to absolutely different experiences, even if both are indeed disadvantaged in their
respective aspects. Perhaps for the example that should have been used at
first, consider a Black woman in the U.S.; her experience is neither that of a
Black man or a White woman as she possesses neither the two’s privilege in gender
or race. Thus, the concept intersectionality exists to directly address every
specific experience.

All that said, this is not to begin
a game of “who has it worst” or to debate if it is worse to face racism versus
sexism (and already here, we see this debate ignores a person who is a
minoritized race and a woman) or other comparisons. The opposite, in fact, is
what intersectionality brings. Instead, this is to remind us all that social
aspects—race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and more—never function solely
on an individual level. One cannot advocate for gender equality if he is only
advocating for White women (and men); one cannot advocate for sexual orientation
equality if she is only advocating for homosexual men. And so, readers may now
be left wondering one of the best questions to ever ask: So what?

As this digression is to set up an
airplane take-off for a future review that discusses beauty, that topic is
ultimately what readers may be interested in as, whether from GOT7’s “Just
Right” or from envying idols’ physical appearances or even life in general, physical
beauty is something that affects us all no matter our social statuses. However,
it is best to embark on the topic after covering intersectionality, hence why I
am elaborating on it here. (But of course, as said earlier, understanding this
concept is invaluable in general as well.) Beauty, as I will controversially
argue sometime in the future, is not so much of pure biological, but instead is
arguably based moreover in socialization than in nature. Certainly there may be
biological factors at play, but to claim beauty is solely such is to ignore the
social dynamics involved. Specifically, though, beauty heavily involves
intersectionality. For example, in the U.S., a wealthy White male will most
likely feel a lot more physically attractive than a poor Hispanic female. It is
more than just viewing race and its impact on beauty alone, or seeing how
gender impacts beauty alone; it is  about
seeing the interconnectedness—the intersectionality—of all social statuses in
relation to beauty. Beauty, then, is as I assert, not so much on pure biology
but rather a combination of biology and the social dynamics involved—the latter
being more significant. But, we will not dive into this for the sake of time. (And
once I do discuss beauty, I would also take time to address the extremely controversial
topic of plastic surgery. It appears that no matter the stance one has on
plastic surgery, one is sure to be criticized. But even so, I do want to take
the time to address that and to not worry so much on the “rightness” of plastic
surgery versus actually discussing it.)

Abruptly flying back to GOT7’s
review and comeback song of “Fly,” I have included both the music video and
dance practice. This should be standard protocol: the music video provides a
clear audio (and the men’s physical beauty, though they are non-physically
beautiful as well, both of which all humans should feel) while the dance
practice provides a clear view of the choreography. Now though I have no idea
whatsoever on whether “Fly” will fly smoothly or tumble down in a crash, with
GOT7 as pilots, I do remain optimistic.
Let us take a quick flight to find out—though there unfortunately are no
parachutes.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.2/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.14/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 6/10

6.     Bridge: 4/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: 5/10

Mark:
Chorus 1, Verse 2, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 4)

JB:
Introduction, Pre-Chorus 1, Bridge, Chorus 3 (Total: 3)

Jackson:
Verse 1, Pre-Chorus 1, Post-Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Conclusion (Total: 5)

Junior:
Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Conclusion (Total: 4)

Youngjae:
Post-Chorus 1, Chorus 3, Conclusion (Total: 3)

BamBam:
Verse 1 (Total: 1)

Yugyeom:
Verse 2, Bridge (Total: 2)

Equal Value: 3.14 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 6/10

Eh, eh
Whoa whoa
I wanna fly, baby, fly, with you

Aye, are you happy? I’m happy yeah
Every morning when I open my eyes, it feels like a dream
It feels like the dazzling sun is shining for me
Again today without fail my day starts with you
Do you sleep well at night?
Sometimes I can’t believe my reality so I wake up
You know what I mean? Sometimes I was afraid
It was such a crazy journey but now I’m back in your arms

You’re my comfort
Everyday I’m praying
You’re my comfort, up in the sky
I want to fly above
Let me hear you say

We’re gonna fly, fly
I want to hold you and fly
Will you go with me, girl?
We’re gonna fly, fly
Our dream is right here
It’s burning in my heart, girl

Fly, fly
Our time is like a rain shower
and the sun crossing over
Fly fly
When we come out of the tunnel,
I’ll brightly shine on you

Why are you so afraid of being loved?
I’m right here next to you so what’s there
to be afraid of?
Our love is ordinary,
but you can’t measure its value
You hear me?
It feels like we’re flying
but falling at the same time
But I wanna go higher
I want to fly straight up
You got to get there to see the end
So don’t let go and hold on tight
I’ll heat up your heart so that it’s hot
I’ll set everything on fire for you
Even among the countless stars,
you’re in my arms

You’re my comfort
Everyday I’m praying
You’re my comfort, up in the sky
I wanna fly above
Let me hear you say

We’re gonna fly, fly
I want to hold you and fly
Will you go with me, girl?
We’re gonna fly, fly
Our dream is right here
It’s burning in my heart, girl

Oh oh oh oh oh I just wanna be,
I just wanna be with you
I just wanna be with you
Oh oh oh oh oh I just wanna be,
I just wanna be with you
I just wanna be with you

We’re gonna fly, fly
I want to hold you and fly
Will you go with me, girl?
We’re gonna fly, fly
Our dream is right here
It’s burning in my heart, girl

Fly, fly
Our time is like a rain shower
and the sun crossing over
Fly fly
When we come out of the tunnel,
I’ll brightly shine on you

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

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 7/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(6.5/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Ignoring how coffee truly is a “cheat” as I was able to write relentlessly—and truthfully,
still am able to write relentlessly—I will be returning to the prior sentence:
there is no need for a parachute. For the most part. While “Fly” does glean a
six, and admittedly, scored lower than anticipated, it would be a mistake to
instantly dismiss it. What is faulty of the song is not so much the sound of it
but instead, the more subtle features such as its lyrics and line distribution.
Nevertheless, though those are not related to song, they are certainly still
important categories for a song and cannot be ignored. “Fly,” in that case, has
to be acknowledged for what it is: a sonically pleasing song that lacks in its
line distribution and somewhat in lyrics and even sections.

Diving
into the weaker aspects of the song, unfortunately the line distribution in “Fly”
does reside as average. There is simply too much disparity among the sections:
some members possess very few, some possess the perfect amount, some are a bit
over, and some are excessively over. Even if a disparity had to be in place, it
would be far better to have some equality within that disparity. In other
words, though it may sound quite contradicting, it would be far better for four
members to be equally excessive (five sections each for example) and for three
members to be equally lacking (one section each for example) versus, with the current
situation, nearly every member indeed possessing a significantly different
amount of sections. Now, it is not an utterly horrifying distribution given
that the durations partially compensate and that there are some equal
distributions, but overall neither of those can fully redeem the rather large
inequality at play. As a result, a five arrives and that definitely contributes
to weighing “Fly” down from a seven.

Regarding
the lyrics, though this category is not as detrimental as the prior one, it is
still somewhat lacking. This may come as a surprise, however; the lyrics in “Fly”
appear to be quite complex, thorough, detailed, and so forth. Why does it still
reach solely a six? First, while understandably this song will focus on the
action of flying—hence the title—this does cripple the lyrics’ details. Rather
than claiming that the song expands and is diverse in details, in reality that
is not the case. More troubling, the opposite occurs: excessive, repetitive
focus on just flying causes the details to become monotonous and shrinks down
the song’s complexity. Take these lines for analysis: “You’re my comfort, up in
the sky / I want to fly above”; “We’re gonna fly, fly / I want to hold you and
fly”; and finally “It feels like we’re flying / but falling at the same time.” Again,
absolutely there can be symbolic meaning behind the act of flying and that the
verses are rather different, but with so much emphasis on pure flying and not
developing the meaning of flying, that is what hinders the lyrics from
flourishing. Nonetheless, the lyrics are not in any form bad per se—after all,
it still is slightly above average. The lyrics just lack the extra complexity
and development to push it beyond its current score.

After
running through “Fly” ‘s weaker points, the song does feel rather negative.
However, as mentioned, the song’s audio remains sharp. In fact, if focusing purely
on the audio itself, “Fly” is rather impressive. The vocals, for example, are
excellently delivered in this song and furthermore, provide a perfect example
of superb vocals without heavy emphasis on intensity. As a few readers may
know, oftentimes the trend for high scoring vocals on this blog appears to be
directed at artists who are pushing their vocals’ intensity. A simple example
is MAMAMOO: powerful vocals; incredibly lengthy note holds; and constant vocal
belting. While true that these qualities tend to be appealing, as noted before,
it is delivery that becomes relevant and not so much on style. In GOT7’s case
with “Fly,” variety is how they showcase their vocals, and indeed it is their
biggest asset. From verses that are moreover raps and not solely singing to choruses
that combine singing and rapping, the vocals become flexible with appeal. There
is not just one form of singing at play; there is, if not just different
singing styles as seen in the final chorus and bridge, also rapping. And in
addition to that all, the rapping and singing on individual levels are at a respectable
level with flow, fluctuation, and even intensity to some degree. Thus, in the
end, GOT7 delivers potent vocals even without the need to overly exert vocal
power since it is variety at work. This format of singing and rapping and how
each section supports one another is what makes the vocals and even sections—if
ignoring how the bridge harshly conflicts with the song’s overall flow—in “Fly”
seducing. Similarly, the instrumental follows suit with providing cohesiveness
to the song.

In
the end, GOT7’s recent comeback may score solely a six for its Song Score, but
on the positive side once coupled with the Choreography Score, the song in its
entirety comes around at above average. (Also to clarify, I did not address the
choreography as, truthfully, I do not have much to say for it besides usual,
robotic praises. The syncing is sharp and the key points are fun, varied, and
perfectly fit the flying idea involved with the song, but that is all I have to
say. Better to not “fluff” the review and to instead focus on aspects that
bring discussions.) Even then, however, a six or not for its Song Score, “Fly”
is quite impressive with its vocals, sections (if ignoring the bridge), and its
instrumental. Overall, it is a very cohesive and organized, pleasantly sounding
song. A poorer line distribution and its limited lyrics are the main downsides.

_______________________________________________________

As always, thank you so much for reading.
No matter the amount read, I appreciate any time given to the blog. And for an
utterly random point, the schedule posting by Tumblr indeed works, so this
means I can more easily keep the blog on a consistent schedule. That said,
while I finished this review on April 1, I will be delaying this post until a
few more days. (After all, there is already a special review on April 1.) Sadly,
that does mean I fail to reach six months in March, but I will push for that
once again in the month of April. And, this review will serve as a head start
at least.

In terms of the next review, for
April I desire to focus purely on groups that have yet to be reviewed at all on
the blog. That does mean perhaps entirely abandoning Rainbow and MAMAMOO’s
album reviews, but time will tell. I do, however, feel obligated to review “1cm”
by MAMAMOO and may do so as, though a side request, it is still nevertheless a
request. Reviewing it would be quite fun (due to being controversial, a leak on
my stance on the song) and thus I may end up doing so. (And to the requester, I
do apologize.) There are many artists to cover for April and even a show to
review. Look forward for much content to come. Specifically, the next review
will most likely be Hong Jinyoung’s “Thumb Up” or a show review on “Girl’s
Wiki.” And to ever reader, please remember: “You’re my comfort, up in the sky.”
Stay tuned for some upcoming review.

MAMAMOO – “1CM” Review

MAMAMOO
– 1CM (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – 1CM (Pride)/Taller Than You

Reviewed
on April 4, 2016

image

Personal Message:
Before beginning, looking over the
past month, I am a bit upset that March ended with four reviews and not with my
claim of six reviews. Ignorantly on my part, I forgot the difference between
two actions: posting and writing. It is true that I wrote six reviews in March,
but when it came to posting them all, only four managed to come through. The
two reviews that did not make it into March will be instead posted in April—my
April Fools’ prank review and a review on GOT7’s “Fly.” Nevertheless, though
this does mean March fails to reach a personal goal, on the positive side April
will have a head start and, furthermore, there are many shorter reviews I have
planned for this month (and shorter in the sense of being purely focused on the
song and not digressing). As such, six reviews will once again be the goal, but
this time I am incredibly confident in achieving it as I can schedule out my
posts. (And that is necessary as the remaining two weeks of April will be my
finals and thus, I absolutely have no time for writing reviews within that
period.)

Focusing on this current review,
admittedly this was requested about a month ago (and I apologize to the
requester for the delay). Along with the request of “You’re the Best,” the same person also asked if
reviewing “1CM” was possible, and my reply at that time was that I would cover
it within a review on MAMAMOO’s album of “Melting.” But, needless to say, that
did not quite happen and may not even happen until a while; reviewing MAMAMOO’s
album would be a rather lengthy task given the album is around forty-four
minutes, and factoring in times of replaying songs and then writing a paragraph
per song, it would be quite time-consuming. But, as it is an album worth
discussing, I will perhaps review it once I am on summer break as I would have
the time. (Besides the title, to share a few songs that are quite notable among
the already many excellent ones, I personally enjoy “Funky Boy” and “Emotion”
quite a lot. In fact, Moonbyul’s rapping in “Funky Boy” truly caught me by
surprise and, especially with the final rap, gave me goosebumps—as pitiful as
that may sound. More embarrassing moments have occurred, however, such as crying
with listening to the group’s cover of “Hinterlands"—a cover that possesses the best
vocals I have ever heard in any song.)

Embarrassment aside, on topic with
the review request for “1CM,” I am now resorting to the basic plan: reviewing
it as an individual song—and this may actually be a better route. Although
“1CM” is definitely hilarious and perhaps even relatable to some readers (or
perhaps just me; I am a tiny boy at 162.5 centimeters, though I actually do
prefer this height), if focusing on purely the audio, “1CM” is not as stunning
as people make it out to be. Agreeably, my stance toward the song is rather
controversial; it seems almost as if everyone likes it and that opposing such
would be atrocious. After all, look at those in favor of the song: nearly every
fan of MAMAMOO largely praises and supports the song; regular viewers are
captivated by the ladies’ live performance of “1CM”; and even the famous
American actress, Chloe Moretz, has openly complimented MAMAMOO and “1CM.” How
could I, a person who is indeed a fan (and one who very much strives to be like
all of the ladies and especially Solar, my biggest role model) and a person who
is well aware of MAMAMOO’s skills, be against “1CM”? Given that this is a song
review, unfortunately—or more accurately, fortunately—that does mean I have to
strip aside my biases and additionally, have to look beyond catchiness, comedy,
and so forth, and focus instead solely on the sound of a song. Doing that for
“1CM,” however, does lead to undesirable results.

“1CM” does fall short and I will be
arguing why that is the case. Even if the ratings miraculously score well, and
reiterating the earlier point, even if MAMAMOO is one of the stronger musical
groups, I will be revealing a moment where, for once, a weaker song can indeed
exist from artists who otherwise seem to be musically infallible. And, of
course, though I do enjoy “1CM” and am in no way desiring to personally bash
the ladies, I do want to bring a (hopefully fun and thought-provoking) critical
music discussion: a discussion that claims that “1CM” may in fact live up to
its own name—a minor, one-centimeter-worthy song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.0/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 4/10
(3.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Rap: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Bridge: 2/10

6.     Conclusion (Bridge): 2/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Line Distribution: 8/10

Solar:
Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion (Total: 7)

Moonbyul:
Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus (Total: 5)

Hwasa:
Introduction, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Rap (Total: 5)

Wheein:
Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Equal Value: 5.5 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 8/10

Is anyone here taller than me?
If not, nevermind

MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
I’m taller than you, you’re 160, I’m 161
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
Between between between us, just 1cm difference

Nonsense
First off, I’m not even going to mention Wheein
Okay, we’re best friends but when we’re talking heights
there’s no mercy, small Wheein
How dull, unnies*, you’re making a big deal over 1cm?
Let’s be cool about this
Only I get to wear heels

The difference between you and I, 1cm
(Unnie, your head is slightly large)
Just accept it, dwarf
(That’s right, accept it)
This won’t affect your life
(What are you saying?)
Do you know what I’m saying?

Oh dear, our unnie is trying to show off
to someone who’s better than her
Look here, you still have a long way to climb up
Is this too high up for you?
How’s the weather down there?
Quite stuffy I can only imagine
Sorry, but I can’t go there; too tall to enter

We’re all similar, so enough of this
If you have time to bicker about this, worry about other things
Aww what’s wrong little Wheein, can’t reach?
Don’t worry, I’ll get it for you, this unnie is the tallest in town

MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
I’m taller than you, you’re 160, I’m 161
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
Between between between us, just 1cm difference

Ayo, after rounding up you’re still short
Try putting in more height insoles
It doesn’t make much difference?
It’s still noticeable when you wear heels
Even when you wear sneakers,
our height order is like Do Re Mi Fa

It’s only 1cm difference (1.8)
Anyone will agree that we are same-same
(Both of you have slightly large heads)
This is a war inside a well
You know what I’m talking about?

Hey you, Moonstar, look at you having a blast
Uh-huh, just admit it, you’re being boastful
Pretending to be actually tall, pretending to be superior
Pretending to be Hong Man Choi, but all you are is an acorn
I have nothing left to say
I have nothing left to say
If Cho Tae Oh walked by he would laugh
That’s how I feel right now: “I have no words to say”

MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
I’m taller than you, you’re 160, I’m 161
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
Between between between us, just 1cm difference

Is anyone here taller than me?
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
Listen up you dwarfs, in this place–

I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you

*What females refer to older females as.

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: On
a positive note, “1CM” did not score at a five—a rating that was admittedly my
prediction. This does make sense considering that “1CM” ‘s strengths lies not within
its sound but instead its physical composition (if that makes sense; in other
words, the “non-sound” categories).

First
focusing on the negatives, “1CM” strongly lacks in its sections and
instrumental. Though there is a sense of catchiness to both categories, as
explained copiously in many past reviews, catchiness in of itself cannot be
used a positive mark. Looking beyond such reveals, for example, an instrumental
that is quite plain. Although it is not inherently a negative trait to be
linear in form—hence sounding plain—and in fact in “1CM” is rather beneficial
considering its pacing and focus on slower, rhythmic rapping, the instrumental
could benefit from possessing distinctiveness whether in sound or role. Peering
at the sound, as it currently stands, the beats and sounds used are nothing stunning—even
if ignoring the slower, undeviating style. The instrumental’s sound does not
feel irreplaceable; if there were any slow, deep beats, the style to “1CM” would
most likely still be in place. Nothing about the instrumental is noteworthy in
that regard. And, focusing on its role in the song, the same prior point
applies: nothing utterly distinctive. Sure, the vocals play off the
instrumental, but then again, couldn’t any instrumental with deep beats and
bass work if set at a similar or identical pace? That lack of necessity, of
originality to the song, along with its plain sounds, is what leads to its
current rating.

On
that note, the sections also receive much criticism. In summary, every section
minus the raps is either average at best. The introduction, for example, while
inviting of the song, does languish when accounting for its dull sound. Even
the section that would otherwise seem fine, such as the pre-choruses since
MAMAMOO—again, a very vocally skilled group—sings, suffers in some aspect. With
this section, while effective in terms of establishing “1CM” ‘s tone, its
structure promotes stagnant singing lines—this being detrimental and, with this
review focusing on the song itself and not stage or tone presence, is what
matters. Sadly, the most irking sections fall on the bridge and choruses:
obnoxious, repetitive lines. Most notably at the bridge, “1CM” loses its
cohesion with rapping and singing and even its entire structure, and instead
becomes a chaotic, jumbled mess. Again, though this serves well in terms of
“1CM” ‘s tone and comedy—the main
focuses of the song—in a musical lens, I have to be critical of what
occurs during these moments. And, with arguably the most shocking rating yet,
the vocals are scored at a six—two scores below their usual rating of eight. If
not for the raps, this would be even lower. Explaining why, the prior points
about the sections can translate over: the sillier and disorganized vocals at
the choruses and bridge are to be blamed.

Now,
though readers and perhaps even MAMAMOO fans may be devastated at my words, as
noted “1CM” is not concerned over sounding beautiful like with “You’re the
Best” or “Words Don’t Come Easy” (a song from their album). Thus, there are
still some positive points to cover as, thankfully, this review format does
attempt to respect songs for more than their mechanical sounds. In terms of the
lyrics, it is quite brilliant. First, the lyrics are definitely original; as
clearly seen, the lyrics are not of some recycled theme such as coping with a
breakup or finding love. “1CM” is instead, jocularly enough, about MAMAMOO
themselves arguing over their heights—an argument that Wheein sadly fails to
resolve, as the lyrics state. Therefore, in this sense, much appeal already
exists for the lyrics’ uniqueness. Secondly, the lyrics are exceptionally
detailed. The degree of such, in fact, overcomes sections that lack in depth
such as the bridge. Nearly each section—each individual one and not just the
type (chorus, verse, etc.)—is its own and not a mere repeat. And, for the final
category, the line distribution remains strong—a pleasant change considering
Moonbyul is usually stuck with fewer lines due to her role as the main rapper. (Also,
while there is indeed choreography for the song, I will be skipping over it for
this review—though this is a shame as “1CM” is a “performance” song and thus
the choreography is very likely an important piece.)

In
the end, “1CM” concludes at slightly above average. Although the song is weaker
sonically, the rather equal line distribution and clever lyrics do greatly
compensate as the latter are what “1CM” highlights. Ultimately, bringing a
musical discussion is the main purpose of this review (and the rest); this
review is not to shame “1CM” at all and those who are fans of the song (and
besides, I do enjoy it as said) but rather, it is meant to deconstruct it in a
critical fashion. And so, here is where the fun begins for readers: formulating
a personal opinion, whether that is challenging or supporting this review’s
stance or perhaps even finding a middle-ground as binaries seldom exist. And, if
nothing else is gleaned, then at least this review also carries the perk of
showcasing the individuality of songs. In other words, even if MAMAMOO is one
of my personal favorite artists and are well recognized for their skills,
indeed no song is automatically strong (or weak) based on a group’s background
alone; songs’ qualities are based in a song’s own composition and its quality
is not entirely predicated by the artist(s) involved.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, once again huge apologies for the significant delay but this
review is finally done. Thank you for your great patience, and I do hope this
review is intriguing given how it conflicts with many opinions regarding “1CM.”
Also, for other readers, thank you as well for spending time looking over this
review. Though it is robotic to say after every review, I am obligated to thank
those who do invest their time reading or skimming this blog. I highly
appreciate it.

With
this review over, there is now a troubling problem: if I will be able to review
MAMAMOO’s “Woohoo”—a new song to be released on April 4. This song is not a
comeback per se, but it still is a new release and an amazing one at that. “Woohoo”
is, from my understanding, a commercial OST for the LG G5, a new cellphone by
LG. Although it does seem to be quite a stretch to make a song to complement a
cellphone, I cannot complain as the song—based on a live showcase and audio
that is from a recording camera or phone—is truly infatuating. I am already
charmed by it and that is not even by listening to the studio audio, so I am
quite ecstatic to truly hear that. (Though understandably, MAMAMOO’s live
singing is nearly equal to studio audio so this may explain why I am seduced by
the song.) Perhaps to compensate for excess reviews on MAMAMOO, I will have to
release many other reviews by a variety of different artists. Time will tell
what I decide to do, but my heart does tell me to review “Woohoo.” After all,
is MAMAMOO not the definition of perfection?

Unless
if changes occur, look forward to MAMAMOO’s “Woohoo” or maybe even GOT’s “Fly”
(depending on when I decide to post it), and of course many other songs. Since
I “have time to bicker about this” I should probably “worry about other things,”
such as university work and subtitling a certain video. Stay tuned for whatever
is to come.

I totally fell for the prank, hahaha

With April Fools’ Day officially ending, I will now be able to reply to this and to clarify the prior review. (And, if there are readers confused on what April Fools’ Day is, it is a holiday where clever pranks are made. In this case, my prank was an attempt to trick readers into believing MAMAMOO did have a comeback called “Ms. Obvious.”) Edit: Though I made a prank that MAMAMOO was having a comeback, I might not be wrong. MAMAMOO will actually be having a mini-comeback on April 4. This is not a joke; the group has been given the role of singing an OST for the LG G5 phone, a new one by LG. The song is called “Woohoo” and I, based on the teaser and showcase footage, do plan to review it–though now I have the issue of reviewing too many songs from MAMAMOO.

First, to clarify to every reader, yes the review on “Ms. Obvious” by MAMAMOO is a “fake” review; this song does not exist at all. This review was written around March 20 (in order to ensure that it would indeed be finished by April Fools’ Day) and I decided that MAMAMOO would best fit this time around (AOA was the group I focused on for last year’s April Fools’) as, for one, they had a recent comeback, but furthermore, for what could be used as a deceiving link, Hwasa’s parody of “Blurred Lines” (an American pop song) fits perfectly. And so, the pranking began: making my own parody of “Mr. Ambiguous,” a real song by MAMAMOO and if correct their debut song. Essentially, the lyrics I made up were indeed based on “Mr. Ambiguous,” but I did my best to flip the lyrics’ meaning whenever possible–this being why the title is “Ms. Obvious.” 

That said, in reply to this message, I hope you (and other readers) enjoyed the prank and got a smile out of it. That was my ultimate goal, as seen in linking Hwasa’s hilarious parody, writing and explaining this “song” in a very obnoxious  manner, and so on.

Regarding reviews–real ones, of course–that are coming up, MAMAMOO will have one final appearance on the blog due to a request. A person weeks ago did include “1CM” along with the main request of “You’re The Best,” and thus I will be following through with it after a long wait. Besides that, unless if for requests, the artists in April will all be ones that I have never introduced to the blog. Until then or otherwise, expect “1CM” as the next review.

MAMAMOO – “Ms. Obvious” Review

MAMAMOO – Ms. Obvious (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – Ms. Obvious

Reviewed
on April 1, 2016

image

Personal Message:
Despite a planned schedule, April
will already be starting off with some changes. This, however, is completely
justified: MAMAMOO has a surprise comeback. Like many fans, I have also been
greatly yet pleasantly surprised by their hasty return. Though a few weeks ago
the ladies have returned with “You’re the Best,” it appears that they will continue
their momentum through this latest comeback of “Ms. Obvious.” Since, like a
vast majority of fans, readers may be confused on why the comeback was quite
subtle, in short what happened is “Ms. Obvious” was merely uploaded onto the
group’s official YouTube channel. No announcements were given; the music video
and song were simply uploaded—no more or less. Thus, this is the reason for why
many have been unaware of the comeback and have been quite pleased to discover
it. That said, I will be linking the music video as it showcases not only
MAMAMOO’s usual adept singing, but also the dance is seen vividly. As a
disclaimer, however, I do apologize if I did in fact link the wrong video. Due
to rushing all over and with how difficult the video was to find, I may have
included the wrong link (even after checking once more).

All that said, given the abruptness
of this release, this review will follow suit with being abrupt in transition.
“Ms. Obvious” is perhaps once again another way MAMAMOO is flaunting off their
skills: they are obviously quite skilled singers, and that is seen in their
latest release. Pessimistically, though, though the vocals are obviously
strong, there are still surprising and obvious flaws to this song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.2/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 5/10
(7/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Rap, Chorus, Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Chorus: 5/10

4.     Rap: 5/10

5.     Conclusion: 5/10


Line Distribution: 9/10

Hwasa:
Introduction, Verse 2, Chorus 2 (Total: 3)

Solar:
Verse 1, Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 4)

Wheein:
Verse 1, Chorus 1, Verse 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 4)

Moonbyul:
Introduction, Rap, Conclusion (Total: 3)

Equal Value: 3.5 sections per member.  


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 9/10

MOO-MOO-MAMA
I’m sorry, but I think I know you
I’m not confused by your eyes
It’s Ms. Obvious
She just glanced over
Please don’t come to me
Oh no, she’s interested in me

There is a girl, hello, Ms. Obvious
I’m caught in your trap, like a puppy
There’s Ms. Obvious
She commits herself
Now, ladies and gentlemen
It’s time to get away

Darling it’s you
Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?
Ms. Obvious, please leave me alone
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
My love is not for you
Come on
You keep ignoring my heart
Ms. Obvious, she teases me
Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot
(Hey Miss)
Don’t come out, don’t come out, wherever you are

Your words are bitter like you’re drinking coffee
You’re a determined alpha female wolf
There’s Ms. Obvious
Act innocent; then she might not grab a hold of me
Now, ladies and gentlemen
It’s time to get away

Darling it’s you
Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?
Ms. Obvious, please leave me alone
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
My love is not for you
Come on
You keep ignoring my heart
Ms. Obvious, she teases me
Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot
(Hey Miss)
Don’t come out, don’t come out, wherever you are

Say it slow, Ms. Obvious
Your clear-cut acts are like a knife
You just taste people and quickly hunt them
Love is winning for her, but call help for me
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, there’s Ms. Obvious
Perhaps it’s not just me; another victim is out there, too
Now, ladies and gentlemen
It’s time to run away

Darling it’s you
Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?
Ms. Obvious, please leave me alone
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
My love is not for you
Come on
You keep ignoring my heart
Ms. Obvious, she teases me
Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot
(Hey Miss)
Don’t come out, don’t come out, wherever you are

Hey Miss

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

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 7/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
even diving into the sound of the song, the lyrics deserve much praise. If
correct, the lyrics here will hold the highest score as of yet for all songs
that have been reviewed on the blog. This, however, is certainly not due to
being biased and overly crediting the creative lyrics composer. Explaining the
brilliant lyrics, every desirable trait exists: it is utterly original and in
no way parodying some other song’s lyrics; it has been heavily revised by the
dedicated lyrics composer’s advisor—of who is none other than his/her real and
intelligent pet penguin; and lastly, it deserves much credit for being somewhat
comical and obnoxious. Now, readers may be completely confused; what I listed
above seems to be purely biased remarks and is in no way actual critiques
towards the lyrics’ actual merits. In reply, how often does one read lyrics
that appear to have been written in thirty minutes and with lines that carry
absolutely no meaning? The answer: rarely—or so I hope. Thus, because of simply
how I feel, the lyrics will score a nine. This is completely justified as there
are no instances of partiality.  

Focusing
on the line distribution, the numbers speak for themselves. Nevertheless, this
is impressive considering MAMAMOO has—based on past reviews—struggled with
maintaining an equal share of lines. This is mostly in part to the group’s
dynamic as Moonbyul is oriented towards rapping and as a result, will receive
significantly less lines than the other ladies, but in “Ms. Obvious,” a drastic
change occurred. It is almost as if this song was not truly by MAMAMOO but
instead by perhaps some silly reviewer since, after all, this appears to be
against MAMAMOO’s standard style. But of course only a mean reviewer would make
up a song to fool her/his readers, so that is absolutely not the case. On
topic, to also address the choreography, it is above average. Why, readers may
ask? An obvious answer: because the key points and syncing are rated at above
average. And why is that specifically the case, as readers may ask? Once again
another obvious answer exists: because the Choreography Score averages out at a
seven and therefore above average. In no way am I committing the argument
fallacy of circular reasoning. Of course I would never do that. Especially as a
reviewer whose arguments have to be rooted in evidence and reasons, I would
never dance around a choreography score. All that said, once again the
choreography is above average because it just is above average.

Focusing
on the surprisingly weaker aspects to “Ms. Obvious,” the sections and
instrumental are both rated at average. Now, readers may suspect I will repeat
the fallacy of circular reasoning once more, but this time I actually do have reasons.
Both of these aspects rate plainly because the song is not unique at all. In
fact, it is so plain that I cannot even describe it—and no this is not to, for
example, cloak over the fact that there is no song. Obviously there is indeed a
“Ms. Obvious”: she’s the one who refuses to settle down, as the lyrics discuss.
Point is, take my words as earnest truths: the song sounds so plain to the
point that it sounds like it does not even exist as a song. Despite those
setbacks, however, one aspect will always shine with MAMAMOO: their vocals. And
that, thankfully, is true even in “Ms. Obvious.” After all, consider the
MAMAMOO vocals that occur: MAMAMOO stuff. Yes, that is correct; “MAMAMOO stuff”
perfectly describes the vocals. Since it is MAMAMOO, I will just toss in that
there are amazing note holds and vocal beltings in “Ms. Obvious”—even though
these points are highly abstract and irrelevant as, indeed, it is not about
what occurs but rather the delivery. Thus, even if there were indeed note holds
and so forth—and of which there is; “Ms. Obvious” showcases that—it would not
matter since it is about the context in how the note holds, beltings, and so on
are conducted.

In
the end, “Ms. Obvious” concludes at above average. Regardless of the ratings,
it is a song that is truly indescribable. Truly.

_______________________________________________________

First,
I do hope this advanced posting feature on Tumblr works. It will be very clear
if it fails or not, that is. But, if it succeeds, then this review will mark
the first review of April. Perfectly timed as well, it is exactly on the first day
of April to signify a strong beginning to the month. With this review, I
strangely feel as if I wrote atrociously. It might just be the curse of the
first day of April, however. Specifically with living in America, this phenomenon
of writing poorly on the first day of April is quite common. There has to be something
peculiar about this day.

Ignoring
that, though, I do hope readers enjoy the review and song. Hopefully this
review is informative and brings smiles—smiles from a great song and not from laughing
at this very serious review, that is. Also, the link should have worked, but if
not and it somehow redirected readers to some random parody video of another
song, I do apologize. Either way, however, whether “Ms. Obvious” or a parody of an American song,
both should be enjoyable. With the latter, after all, despite being a parody it
still contains lyrics
that are much better than the original—musically and socially
 sounds
fantastic. (On a serious note, the lyrics in the original song that is parodied does lead to a
very important discussion. I hope to discuss that later in the future.)

Look
forward to more reviews, and specifically much stronger reviews. Once again,
the first day of April has to be blamed. Certainly, there is something strange
on this day (in at least an American context). Forgetting that, I hope I do not
have to ask readers: “Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?” because readers
should be asking that to me. Stay tuned for more reviews.