Fei – “Fantasy” Review

Fei – Fantasy (Dance Practice—VLive)

Fei (Miss A) – Fantasy

Reviewed
on July 28, 2016

image

“Overall, though, for a personal
praise to the song, “Fantasy” might be the best song I have heard for its
stylistic approach of being moreover linear. Again, a linear, unchanging flow
to a song is never inherently bad as one cannot critique style, but as said when it comes to songs with these formats
(another example in mind would be
Wonder Girls’ “Why So Lonely”), “Fantasy” excellently executes
it. But, this is all irrelevant and a mere digression as a more serious,
neutrally-biased approach to the song unveils many weak points—and of course,
strong points.”

Personal Message:
Before anything else, to the
requester of this review I greatly apologize for the huge delay. Besides how a
summer class and subtitling videos—both personal and contributing to a team—led
to this delay, the day when I planned to write this entirely (July 21) was
filled with me watching over my girl as she unfortunately was a bit sick and
vomited. (All is well now, though. And to clarify, my “daughter” is my terrier
mix—yes, I am those types of people
who love dogs as if they were human children. The only difference is that dogs
are obviously treated appropriately as dogs but that, in the end, they receive
the same unconditional love as children should.) On topic, once again I greatly
apologize for the delay. It is also unhelpful that a lengthy social digression
will take place, but we will discuss that later.

That said, for a change to clarify
in the linked dance practice, it is a website other than YouTube. However, this
website is “clean”; it is not some unofficial, ad-intrusive site. The site is
none other than V Live/V App (and of which is hosted by Naver which is akin to
Google), a platform many if not all readers are aware of. For those, however,
who may just be learning of it right now, V Live is where idols upload live
broadcasts of anything, be it dance practices or simply talking and interacting
with fans since there is live chat. Oddly enough, Fei’s dance practice is
uploaded there and not on YouTube, but considering the current controversy she
is under (as well as many other idols), this might have worked in favor of her.

Now with all of that covered, for
those who wish to focus on just the music—and understandably, considering how
serious situations have gotten, this is perfectly acceptable though I do
encourage diving into the uncomfortable—feel free to skip below to the review
itself (at the Analysis). Predictably,
a social digression will take place and if correct, it has been almost an
entire month or even more since the last one. Regardless, this current social
digression is one I cannot avoid, and in that sense, is not as much as a
“digression” as much as discussing many important, sensitive topics. With
enough taunting on what exactly this said controversy is, this is an intriguing
case of where K-Pop and politics intertwine. The result? Unfortunately, racist
terms and nationalism flourishing from all ends.  

Regarding what occurred, as some may
know, there is recent political debate on who owns the water territory around
China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. After much conflict and supposedly some
violent acts (I am unsure on details; the political aspects of this will not be
my main focus), there has been international agreement that China does not own
the sea territory and that it belongs to the Philippines (or Vietnam; again, I
am unsure on details but this is irrelevant for where I will lead this
discussion as no one has yet ventured into the sociological aspect). Now from
China’s perspective, they claimed that their stances were not accounted for at
all, and from there, continued to claim ownership and a picture was created: a
map diagram where it showed China owning said sea territory along with a
caption that, based on memory, reads as “China is no smaller.” Finally for how
this seeped into K-Pop, Chinese K-Pop idols—examples being Miss A’s Fei, Super
Junior’s Zhoumi, EXO’s Lay, Fiestar’s Cao Lu, and even f(x)’s Victoria—have
openly shared their political view: siding with China’s claim of owning the
waters. And as such, this is where the chaos erupted.

But before continuing, there may be
a valid rebuttal to all of this: so what? It is just territory, why are fans
upset? In answer, it is arguably much more than “territory dispute” if it is
true that some ships have been sunk over this supposedly “minor dispute.” Furthermore
with those acts of violence committed and with fans outside of Korea, it can be
upsetting to see idols indirectly supporting that said violence—whether knowing
of the details or not—and that they are willing to—once again, knowingly or not—provide
influence to audience members on who to side with for the dispute. As for where
I wish to bring this discussion, as I will share in an upcoming review, I
admit: I hate politics. I am one for sociology/literary theories and ethics,
not for accounting for various nations, economies, political structures, and so
forth—but indeed, politics very much
matter. In fact, many of my discussions ultimately do link to politics as
politics is arguably the driving force behind said social topics. Think of structural
racism, for example: the argument that minoritized races are systematically
oppressed—unintentionally, in fact—due to how links are made, links of how our
race, gender, and class very much influence one another. While I care to
discuss structural racism on a sociological level and to extend that further on
challenging our compassion for others—or lack thereof (in other words, ethics),
indeed politics is where that has to be deeply investigated as this is where
actions occur versus that of pure theorizing and discussions. (Though not to
say sociologists and sociology are only “talk”—that is certainly not true.
Actions do occur from this topic, and likewise discussions of morality are
necessary in a time period where many have become more orientated on
“hard-sciences” and less on open, free thinking.) Point is, politics is a
bitter pill; very few necessarily adore it, but indeed we all have to care as
it is what directly brings sociology and literary theories, for examples, into
actual application.

With that covered, let us return to
my original point: if I am not
discussing the politics of the recent news, where am I going to focus? Instead
of arguing for who owns what and other political discussions such as perhaps why the countries are heatedly arguing
for ownership of water, I want to consider instead the sociological and ethical
topics that relate, and specifically ones related to K-Pop: topics of
nationalism and patriotism—the differences and whether either one are
permissible—and most importantly, the ethical question of whether idols from
any country should voice their political stance—or perhaps even any stance—considering how influential
idols can be and are. (After all,
consider how often I mention aiming to become more like a certain idol such as
MAMAMOO’s Solar, my biggest role model.) And in the end, I will tie this all up
with asking a simple question to readers: do the Chinese K-Pop idols who shared
their political opinion deserving of the current hate? In fact, is any one for
that matter deserving of pure hatred when it comes to politics or even simply
having different viewpoints?

Beginning with nationalism and
patriotism, I am discussing these two as they are oftentimes used in defense of
the current idols in controversy. Many claim them sharing the picture is
absolutely justified since they all are from China and thus, it is only natural
they show their patriotism or nationalism. Anyone would. Now before even going
further, though, it may be helpful to actually clarify nationalism and
patriotism. Are they even synonymous? Although I am not confident in my
answers, from my understanding the two are vastly different. Let us dissect the
two and from there, begin applying it back to the idols.

Essentially, while both are
identical in that both are about regarding one’s own country with “pride” (we
will discuss “pride” soon), but the difference is in why. Nationalism is a person who will side with their country no
matter the situations, and in fact they may even be condescending to all other
countries and assume that they are worse than their own. On the other hand,
patriotism is when a woman/man sides with their country, but not with the
reason that it is because they are a citizen of the country. Instead, a patriot
has pride because of what their country does, not because the country simply
exists and is their homeland.

So, is either one worthy of
rejecting? From my argument, I find both worthy of challenging for various
reasons. For one, if a critical mindset is applied, nationalism appears to be
very limiting. To believe one own’s country is superior to others is an overextending thought and admittedly quite
ethnocentric (using one’s own culture and society as the base standard for
others). For example, does it not sound ridiculous to say South Korea is a
silly, inferior country to the U.S. because Korean citizens bow for greetings
while Americans can merely wave? After all, one could easily reverse that claim
to show that the U.S. is the supposed sillier country. As such, nationalism
loses its footing as a position to have. It is far too limiting and
ethnocentric. As for patriotism, it is arguably an upgrade from nationalism; it
very much appears to be the positive of nationalism—caring for one’s
country—with a more critical approach in that the pride derives from what the
country does, not just the country in of itself. More importantly, patriotism
is not about the idea of superiority over other countries; patriotism is, once
again, pride for one’s country because of its action, and that respect for
other countries is still given. And yet, I still argue even patriotism is
unsatisfying. Mostly, the issue exists in the vagueness of the definition: a
country’s actions. Does it account for only the “good” acts, or all of the
acts? What if “bad” acts occur, does a patriot still stand and wholeheartedly
support her/his country? Or perhaps, are all actions to be supported, regardless
of the outcomes? Again, there are no definite answers at all nor do I even have
any to share. This is where readers have to critically engage with these ideas
for themselves.

Perhaps instead of there being
patriotism or nationalism, a new idea could be formed such as, for example,
“national acknowledgement” (a term I made in two seconds): siding with one’s
country, but ultimately acknowledging one’s country with a critical lens. Being
“prideful” in any case, be it for one’s gender, race, country, should not be
due to inherent reasons at all—and more so when it comes to social privileges,
as I will discuss—but instead, the concept of pride should exist because of
knowing why one should have pride.
Let us temporarily shift away from country pride to other forms to further
explain this point, and afterwards let us see how this all applies to the
idols.

First, to clarify, I am not
attempting to bash the notion of
pride; for example, “LBGT pride” is not an issue at all and as to explain, is in
fact necessary. Where I am focusing on is the label itself: “pride.” Yes, pride
is necessary as having pride means not hating one’s own self but instead it
means openly accepting and acknowledging one’s self. In the case of the LGBT
community, in many societies where heteronormativity (assuming that
heterosexuality is normal and “correct”) and homophobia exist, those who
identify as LGBT need to have pride as their pride is in fact being stolen
away; in societies that exclude and shame those who are simply not heterosexual
or fitting of a woman/man binary, being LGBT means hating one’s self. That is
not acceptable. And so, if pride is such a good thing, why am I challenging the
label of it? It becomes complicated when it comes to social privileges.
Personally for where I will argue, “acknowledgement” seems to provide a better
coverage as it now also holds socially privileged people responsible versus
merely allowing them to hold a bystander-like role, and at the same time still
allowing those oppressed to retain the notion
of pride and caring for themselves without criticism of being prideful without
knowing the actual reasons. Since this may all be poorly worded, allow me to
elaborate.

First, for where I find
“acknowledgement” most enticing, it is that socially privileged people must be
held accountable as well. But how does that occur? Think of it in this sense:
if I were to say “I have male pride,” I would probably slam my head against the
wall a few times. Others might even understandably join in. In saying “I have
male pride,” it is essentially flaunting off my privileges; I am proud to be
able to not be sexually objectified in comparison to women, that I am reassured
and seen as holding higher positions of power compared to women, and so forth.
It seems illogical to be proud of unearned social privileges on the basis of my
body parts. And so, what is the current solution many these days have adopt? To
simply not say they have pride for their privileged aspects. However, even with
this, although it is definitely a positive for socially privileged people to
not flaunt said privileges, there remains an issue: having the role of a
bystander.

For example, personally as long as I
do not claim I have male and heterosexual pride, I in essence am bereft of any
responsibility. I could simply say I wholeheartedly support LGBT pride and
women pride and so forth, but that is it; I do not need to look into my own
privileges at all. This is where saying I have “male acknowledgement” could be
vastly more beneficial than saying nothing (and is definitely much better than
saying I have “male pride”): I now have to acknowledge what being a male means
in my society (and many others), and indeed that means having many, many
privileges in comparison to females. After all, arguably if I was a female, the
following words would have a high chance of being dismissed as “feminazi” non-sense,
and yet with readers knowing I am a male, chances of that occurring is less. Furthermore,
the label of “acknowledgement” also helps account for socially privileged
people who feel that they must antagonize themselves. Social privilege never
means antagonizing those with privileges on an individual level. Although
admittedly in many past reviews I have been passive-aggressive towards social
privileges—usually out of self-deprecating humor such as with mocking my own
privileges—I absolutely do not intend that we hate those who are privileged. (And
with emphasis moreover on discussion than mere rants in current times—as soon
this will be my role as a teacher of providing various perspectives and
discussion points—I will no longer provide those passive-aggressive moments.) As
said before, when it comes to these sociological topics, the scale to focus on
is on the macro level—the societal level—and not necessarily the micro
level—the individual, personal level (unless if actual action is involved, such
as with how using gender-inclusive language on the micro level does impact the
macro level).

Now for one final reminder, this
change of term is not to say that “LGBT pride” or any other “pride” in its
current form is bad. The notion of it is absolutely fine; it is the label I am
concerned over as it is better to have socially privileged people involved
versus that of being bystanders. And of course, “acknowledgement” versus
“pride” also provides better insight as to why certain individuals should have
pride. The latter could be misconstrued so that makes it seem as if, for
example, one has LGBT pride because one is simply
LGBT; using “acknowledgement” on the other hand helps explain why the notion of LGBT pride exists.
There is acknowledging what it means to be LGBT in many societies—the harsh,
unjust reality of exclusion for individuals who deserve equal compassion and
respect.

And so, finally returning to the
original point of nationalism and patriotism, I would argue neither is
sufficient. Instead, national acknowledgement—to borrow from the discussion
earlier—is what may be more beneficial. One can and arguably should find some
pride in their country, but it should never be without a critical layer applied.
Supporting the beneficial acts—whatever one deems those to be—while still being
critical of questionable ones is, while not without flaws, at least more
developed than the ideas of nationalism and patriotism.

Relating this all back to K-Pop and
for what readers may desire moreover to read about, how does this all apply to
the idols? Simple: attempting to understand why the Chinese K-Pop idols have
posted the pictures. If they have shown unequivocal evidence of nationalism,
then indeed they deserve to be heavily critiqued. But, from my understanding,
that is not the case. Super Junior’s Zhoumi did not say “China owns the sea
because China is better than other countries.” Likewise, the other idols did
not attach anything else besides the photo. At most for what could be
understood as nationalism, the caption to the photo does read—based off
memory—“China is no smaller.” But, that is simply stating that China owns the
sea—and perhaps there might be some political interpretations of how China as a
country is not “smaller” in power, but either way, it is not a statement that
says “China is to dominate.” Regarding patriotism, this is a potential reason
and, as we have discussed, is a vague term. Is patriotism justifiable for the
idols’ act of posting the picture? To answer, we must ask ourselves: Are the idols
being critical in their support or are they simply siding with any act from
China? This is where fans have to be critical themselves. Idols, after all, are
not infallible; in truth, idols are merely individuals whose jobs happen to be
that of entertainment—though it arguably is a hefty role given the potential
level of influence. As such, whether they post the pictures or not, it is up to
fans to deconstruct whether to accept their position or not. Overall, however,
as seen no intentional harm is seen from the idols. None have flaunted that
China is a better country or that the other countries are “stealing” away from
China. But, this leads to the next and most important question: should idols
ever voice political or even social stances for that matter? Knowing their
level of influences, where is this balance if any for when this is permissible
and not?

For where I stand, like in many
other situations, I have a simple answer: I don’t know. If there is anything I
hope this blog offers to readers besides perhaps some entertainment or deeper
musical insights, I sincerely hope that it elicits critical thinking in that
readers look beyond one side of a topic—song or social. As perhaps with every
case, context matters. To say that idols should never voice any stance may be
extreme, but likewise is it for them to share everything. But, of course, there
is the issue that with idols’ potential to influence many, it may be best for
nothing to be said. Or is that the case? Perhaps some actual examples might
highlight the various sides to this discussion.

Although I personally have yet to
encounter a political topic within K-Pop prior to this one, there have been
many voicing regarding social topics. f(x)’s Amber, for example, is well
recognized for speaking out against gender discrimination and more so with
disassembling the binary of gender. (In fact her song of “Borders” possesses
very powerful lyrics—based on one’s interpretation—regarding the instability of
binaries, be it physically with country borders, gender, and so forth.)
Certainly, her popularity has much influence and I do believe she might have
changed many fans’ thinking of gender—but, one could arguably say it is for the
better and thus should be allowed. But of course, what about those who—regardless
of their position on enforcing or not enforcing gender norms—find it
uncomfortable that an idol would voice out their opinion, especially when they
once again have much influence? There is no simple answer.

In f(x)’s Amber and even NU’EST’s
Ren’s cases of challenging gender norms and voicing that—both with SNS and
physically as Amber prefers a more “masculine” appearance while Ren a more
“feminine” appearance—one could say they are delivering what is necessary while
one could also say it is an abuse of their status, whether intended or not. Although
I am confident to say many are in support of Amber’s and Ren’s challenging of
gender, for more controversial cases such as the current one of politics, what
about these cases? Or better yet, what if we imagine that in political
elections in South Korea, idols began sharing on SNS who to vote for? Indeed,
that would seem rather unnecessary, but likewise one could also argue that
idols’ job do not consist of social and political topics and thus, should stick
to pure entertainment. There is no definite answer, but what matters most is
having mature discussions and hearing out various views. For where I will end
with this aspect, I do believe idols should, when appropriate—whatever
“appropriate” is to mean, as this is where readers/fans have to decide—voice
their stances. Maybe politics are to be excluded but as pointed out and seen
throughout this blog, certainly K-Pop is much more than music and dancing and
seducing aesthetics; K-Pop definitely consists of social topics—it is
unavoidable—and with that, idols should consider this layer if necessary. In
the end, however, there are many views to consider, and if there is one
absolute answer, it is that my words and stances are not “correct” at all.

And so, for where we are now headed,
we will conclude with asking whether the current controversy and hatred spewing
is warranted. For this, I do have an answer: the hate towards everyone—idols
and fans of different nationalities—is ridiculous. Yes, people should care for
politics and yes people should be critical of the mentioned Chinese K-Pop idols
sharing their political opinions, but in the end, with the idols not being
nationalistic or shaming others from Vietnam and the Philippines, the current
reaction is far too excessive. Fans do not deserve to get insulted over the sea
dispute or to have begun the trending hate. For those who side with China’s
claim, they are not “brain-washed crazy communists” and likewise those who side
with Vietnam and the Philippines and the international decision are not “stupid,
weak, and undeveloped.” Although the idols arguably brought the controversial
politics into K-Pop, it should be fans’ job to mitigate the negative effects
that could—and did—come. In other words, fans should have continued to support
Super Junior’s Zhoumi’s new song and Miss A’s Fei’s new songs and not dismissed
their comebacks as “delusional, brain-washed Chinese people” just because of
their sharing of political stances—even if one greatly disagrees with them. Again,
if the idols bragged of China being better or rightfully harming others, then
yes the current reactions are understandable, but as is currently, it lacks rationality.
Disagree and challenge Fei and other’s political stances if desired, but one
should never hate Fei and others on an individual level: they are ordinary
people who have their own political and social views, as are the ones who are
ironically greatly bashing them. Even the most sexist man/woman alive deserves
to be treated with respect—so as long as they do no harm to women. They can
genuinely believe women are to be slaves or other limited ideas, but as long as
they respect women they encounter, then there is no issue even if they share
that they hate women. This might be the ultimate takeaway message.

In conclusion, and for what has
caused me to spend three days’ worth
of writing and not of reviewing the song itself (to the requester, this part of
the review is to be blamed and I do greatly apologize—though I hope it is
understood on why I am investing much time to discuss important topics), it is
true that idols should be cautious of what they share, and as for if they
should share anything at all, that is up for discussions. Personally, given
that I view pop culture as more than entertainment, I believe idols have at
least a social role (perhaps not a political one) and responsibility at times.
(For example, Fiestar’s Yezi supporting and giving encouragement to a boy who
simply adores makeup and “cross-dressing”—a term I greatly loathe but will use for readers’ understanding. Although
she is an idol, her standing up for a boy who is occasionally harassed is still her role as she is a human
being in the end. We all have a role to spread compassion and care, do we not?)
But even then, this is my view and others that disagree are rightfully so to
disagree, and to that I do hope readers critically challenge my claims. The
solution to social topics (or any for that matter) is not for one side to
“win”; if I may be cold, killing is the easiest way to fix problems if we are
to believe the prior. Instead, open and mature discussions are how solutions
are made. That is what is necessary, and with the controversy seen, is
something we all—and absolutely myself included—need to continually work at.

Ending this digression, and to end
on a comical note, I truly hoped that the amount of hatred towards Fei’s
“Fantasy” was due to the 18+ music video of virtual reality pornography, as
that discussion would be quite interesting. But of course, it appears that no
one has even bothered to care for this topic given the other at hand. (In a
future review, I hope to discuss pornography and perhaps even simply
sex—despite how blush-inducing these topics are—because, as I affectionately
call it, it is a “feminist war topic”; as discussed in Fiestar’s “Apple Pie,” feminism is quite complex and
pornography is a topic in which feminists are equally divided.)

With all of that covered and gone
(along with my coffee drink that is being used to “cheat” through this review
as the patient requester has waited long enough), Fei’s fantasy of a successful
solo debut is currently that of a fantasy, but this review might indeed claim
it is not just a fantasy and indeed is a tangible success. So how is “Fantasy”?
Let us join Fei’s virtual reality of “Fantasy” to find out. The song, that is,
and not the music video—unless if said reader wishes to fulfill her/his own fantasy
but let us not go there. Jokes aside, let us just begin this review before it
becomes more awkward.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(5.50/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.40/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Chorus: 6/10

4.     Bridge: 5/10

5.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Section Distribution: X/10

Fei:
All

Equal Value: X sections per member.  


Lyrics: 5/10

Tell me whatever you want
Whatever it is

You can tell me whatever, what do you want?
Tell me everything you’ve dreamed of
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
I’m your girl now
You can tell me your hidden fantasies
I see you’re hesitating in case I get shocked
But actually, I’m not that innocent
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
I’m excited too
Look at me right now and tell me what comes up

Woo  
I’m waiting
Woo
I can do anything
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
Don’t hesitate but tell me baby
Woo
I’m ready
Woo
I’m in front of you like this
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
I want to do everything for you tonight

It’s hard to open your heart
But after you do, anything is possible
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
I made up my mind
So be free and think about what you want
I’ll help you so you can think
Just look at me now
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Don’t take your eyes off of me
Every time you think of something, tell me

Woo  
I’m waiting
Woo
I can do anything
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
Don’t hesitate but tell me baby
Woo
I’m ready
Woo
I’m in front of you like this
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
I want to do everything for you tonight

It was hard to make up my mind
But when I saw you waiting for me
My heart started to open

Woo  
I’m waiting
Woo
I can do anything
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
Don’t hesitate but tell me baby
Woo
I’m ready
Woo
I’m in front of you like this
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
I want to do everything for you tonight

Choreography Score: 8/10 (7.50/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 8/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(7.00/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: “Fantasy”
might just be the most suspenseful song yet to be reviewed if we are to look at
its raw score: 5.50. It hardly makes it into the “slightly above average”
range, but regardless that does sound appropriate as we will soon discuss.
Overall, though, for a personal praise to the song, “Fantasy” might be the best
song I have heard for its stylistic approach of being moreover linear. Again, a
linear, unchanging flow to a song is never inherently bad as one cannot
critique style, but as said when it
comes to songs with these formats (another example in mind would be Wonder
Girls’ “Why So Lonely”
), “Fantasy” excellently executes
it. But, this is all irrelevant and a mere digression as a more serious,
neutrally-biased approach to the song unveils many weak points—and of course,
strong points.

Before
diving into the music, the choreography for one is greatly worth analyzing. In
fact, just the very essence that I am covering this aspect should already
reveal how momentous it is. Syncing is above average, as are a majority of
dances. This will not be expanded upon for that reason, but indeed in summary the
syncing remains sharp. For where I would like to direct readers’ attention, the
key points to “Fantasy” are fantastic. From the use of rings/hula-hoops as
props to the actual dance points involved with them, this component significantly
augments the choreography. It adds an additional, creative layer to the already
solid key points, and unlike other choreographies that may suffer from
potential dullness due to repeating key points, “Fantasy” entirely avoids that
through utterly different key points. All in all, the dance is truly
spectacular.

Focusing
on the song itself, gauging over the categories’ ratings admittedly can be
somewhat disheartening—and more so considering that I did praise the song in a
general sense. Nevertheless, with the four categories (the sections
distribution being excluded as, quite obviously, there is only Fei) half of
them score as average, and as for the remaining they only score a single point
higher.

With
the lyrics for example, an average is earned due to its repetitive nature—but
this is understandably a harsh criticism. With “Fantasy” being predominantly
consisting of verses and choruses, there is little room for variety to take
place lyrically. However, even so, the excess repetition is too significant to
merely ignore. Furthermore, other sections involved—the introduction and
bridge—are likewise dull in content. In truth, all of the sections are dull in
content; the lyrics provide nothing more than plain, superficial details to the
plot and this is true in all of the sections. Finally, if we account for the
plot which, arguably while unique in the sense that it alludes to sexual
fantasies and many songs seldom venture in this idea, is still underdeveloped.
Now many may disagree and claim that the lyrics are in fact intriguing due to
what it is referring to—again, sexual fantasies—but my emphasis is that if we
are to strip away our social reactions and focus on the story itself, it is
akin to any other lyrics seen in songs, such as that of breakups. After all,
with “Fantasy,” a simple sentence can summarize it: a woman is taking charge of
sex with her partner and
to that, you go lady for leading your boy
. Yes, it is unique in the sense that (Korean) pop
songs are reluctant to use blush-inducing plots (or perhaps the blushing is
only for me), but once again if we focus on what is directly delivered, it is
seen that “Fantasy” ‘s lyrics are as average as songs that are along the lines
of crying over a relationship split.

Swapping
over to the vocals of the song and likewise the instrumental as the two are
very similar, both have scored at a six. Both ultimately follow the same trend:
smooth, slower pacing and flow but with some added subtle variety. In fact, coincidentally,
the linked review of Wonder Girls applies here: the vocals—and in “Fantasy” ‘s
case, the instrumental as well—are indeed decent from a sonic perspective, but
both partially lack in ability to maintain high appeal. Let us focus on the
vocals first to understand this point. With Fei’s singing, without accounting
for variations yet, it is quite alluring to listen to. There is a soothing,
calming and tuneful sound, and indeed despite never showcasing powerful note
holds or even minor vocal beltings for that matter, her singing in of itself is
admirable. Where there are finally some issues are in the singing’s variety.

Now
to clarify here, readers might be wondering if I am now critiquing the style to
the song; after all, with “Fantasy” following a linear form as discussed
earlier, the vocals’ lack of variety seems to be merely a part of it. To this,
I disagree: “Fantasy” may be linear in form, but it still does have variety.
Consider, for examples, the change in singing between the verses and choruses,
and furthermore, within the choruses themselves there are minor yet noticeable
changes in singing style. Where my critique resides in, then, is not the lack of
variety necessarily—the idea that Fei’s singing style and form never changes—but
instead, that in an overarching view of the song, it simply lacks the extra
content necessary to perhaps push it towards a seven. One must bear in mind
that a six is still a decent score—it is just that “Fantasy” could have went
even higher. For perhaps an aspect to consider, “Fantasy” lacking a pre-chorus—a
section that could and most likely would
have provided the push in vocal diversity—might be the reason for why the
vocals begin sounding mundane after multiple playbacks. As for the
instrumental, the same critiques above apply: in of itself, the highlighted
bass line proves beneficial to the vocals and song in whole, and likewise the
more subtle sounds added also provide their sonic appeal, but just like the
vocals, the instrumental also loses its charm as overtime it begins sounding
slightly monotonous. Sixes, though, are still admirable scores.

In
terms of the sections, as noted above “Fantasy” follows a peculiar form—but it
is a form that works positively in the case of giving the song its individual
style. Specifically, if not blatant enough, I am referring to how this song lacks
pre-choruses. (But of course, if we are to be truly analytical with the
sections, I would argue it is simply two verses that occur right after the
other, and with that the second verse could technically be called a pre-chorus.
But, due to its heavy similarity if not exact replica of the first verse, I
have compiled the “back-to-back verses” as one larger verse.) How does this
affect the song, and better yet what is
the effect of lacking a pre-chorus on a song? Although that cannot be answered
in a general sense, I do have some insight as to “Fantasy” ‘s case. Before
that, however, let us run through all of the sections.

The
introduction, bridge, and conclusion all score at a five for average. Sadly, “average”
is a perfect description of those sections. Take the conclusion for example.
While it does allow “Fantasy” to end without abruptness and that it works the
strength of ending on the song’s key sounds, its method—the manner of
increasing the pitch of the recycled chorus for the purposes of a climactic end—is
nothing exclusive. In fact, with that style—the idea of using a climactic
ending—contrasting the passive tone of the song that has been already
established, it arguably is more detrimental than beneficial. Instead, for what
may have been more pleasing to hear, an individual concluding section might
have worked. After all, the climactic shift is not necessarily bad at all;
through the use of it, it signifies the song’s upcoming end. Likewise, not
using it and instead opting to replay a chorus in its standard form for another
time might have been excessive. As such, an individual concluding point,
whether of a higher pitch-shifted chorus or not, may have provided a better
balance. This is all, of course, speculation and I certainly have minimal
credibility for suggestions to songs.
Point is, the concluding chorus is unfortunately cliché in form. It serves an
understandable purpose, but a more creative way of conducting such would have
been more desirable. Not surprisingly, the introduction and bridge also follow
suit: purposes that are understandable, but with questionable methods of
executing said purposes.  

To
explain, the bridge follows the traditional form of halting a song’s pacing
for, in this specific case, a build-up towards the upcoming climactic point
(the final chorus), and while its form is indeed viable and that it
successfully reaches its goal, its method is too ordinary. Combine that
staleness with how the song already follows moreover a simplistic route—though as
said numerously, simplicity in of itself is never bad—and the bridge is only
average. As for the introduction, the main culprit for its rating is how the
vocals were roughly introduced. If, for example, Fei’s introduction vocals were
transitioned into by a whispering tune versus that of a stronger vocal presence—a
presence that seems as if it were the verses’ or choruses’ vocals—then
absolutely the section’s format would have flourished. But all in all, it is
worth bearing in mind that average is not necessarily a poor quality; average
is the neutral ground. The only issue with average ratings is that, in the
realm of music, being average means being among the many hundred-thousands of
songs.

Switching
our focus on the verses and choruses now, and also how the lack of pre-choruses
affects “Fantasy,” both sections score at a six. As I have already covered the
vocals and instrumental, those categories very much cover the strong points of
the verses and choruses: smooth, calming singing and instrumental. Now to focus
on the missing pre-choruses, it indeed is unknown on whether this is a positive
or negative. On the positive perspective, with how “Fantasy” follows a straightforward
form, the verses act as pseudo pre-choruses but in a more suitable manner.
Because, in a general sense for pop songs, pre-choruses tend to hype a song in
preparation for the upcoming choruses—and of which tend to be a core, climactic
part—this would most likely not fit the style to “Fantasy” at all. This song is
that of serenity and a singular form, not that of being upbeat and having
spikes in intensity. Thus, the removal of pre-choruses benefits as it allows a
sharper, cleaner transition from the verses’ calmness to the choruses’
calmness. On the negative side, however, as discussed above with the vocals and
instrumental, not possessing pre-choruses does mean there is the downside of
potentially lacking diversity for said vocals and instrumental. Although this
is certainly not automatically granted in “Fantasy,” perhaps having
pre-choruses would have mitigated the current staleness that is heard.

All
in all, Fei’s solo debut can be considered slightly above average if we are to
use this review’s ratings, but even so one must recall that the song is a
single decimal away from being average—from being another, typical K-Pop song. Ignoring
numbers, however, Fei’s “Fantasy” is worth listening to but admittedly, it is
not an outstanding solo debut. It is certainly far from bad, but likewise it is
a bluff to claim this song close to being a top-tier one. In the end, let us
answer the main question: is Fei’s solo debut a success? I hesitate to
instantly say it is, but definitely I do find it an adequate song and that Fei
can still flourish with it. With strengths in its choreography and solid
execution for its linear style, “Fantasy” will be a hit for those who adore its
stage presence and calmness, but for those who desire more from Fei’s singing, the
song’s instrumental and its section, more is indeed desired.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, I sincerely apologize for this review taking quite a while.
Given that this review went up to the 6,900 word count, however, I hope some
understanding occurs. (For a scale on how long this review is, I could have written—assuming
no social digression took place—two lengthier, thorough song reviews or three
usual song reviews. Yes, this review consumed that much time but I do hope it
is worth it in regards to Fei and other idols’ current controversy.)
Homogenously, for readers and another requester, I also apologize for delays.
As only a few days are left in July—and by a few I mean three days—I will
finish two music-orientated reviews. Specifically, Vromance’s “She” as
requested will be finished by hopefully tomorrow, and that GFriend’s “Navillera”
will wrap up the month as we head into August. Hopefully with August I am more
concise with digressions should they occur as this is extremely problematic. (I
definitely could have summarized my points easily without the need of two
examples per argument point for example.) Improvements are always welcomed,
though.

Thank
you for reading this review in whichever length and form. Look forward to “She”
by Vromance to come, and for those tuned into my YouTube channel, for more
Fiestar subtitled videos to come (and likewise with contributing more subtitles
to an upcoming subbing team for Fiestar). “I want to do everything for you
tonight”—and this is pitifully true as I am finishing up this review late at
night. Jokes aside, look forward to “She.”

Hey there!! I was just wondering if you were planning to review Gfriend’s Navillera. I’d really like you’re thoughts on it!! Thanks!!

Hello there. I definitely plan on reviewing “Navillera.” Currently I am working on two requests: Miss A’s Fei’s “Fantasy” and Vromance’s “She.” Afterwards, I plan to review “Navillera.” 

To leak some thoughts, I will have to say it is probably now my favorite song of all-time–even surpassing Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” or at least tying with it. (And that is significant if we consider that “You’re Pitiful” has been my favorite song for more than a year.) But that said, favorite is not the same as best, and indeed from a more serious perspective “Navillera” is not perfect at all and certainly I have heard much more stunning songs. I would guess, though, that it is a song that hardly lacks if at all in any category (vocals, instrumental, etc.); in other words, the song is probably quite well-rounded but does not extend further than that. But of course, until the review comes and thus I begin to deconstruct the song in a systematic, neutral way, I can only speculate on how “Navillera” would hold.

On topic, yes I will definitely review it, and specifically in a week or so. Most likely July will finish up with it, but that would be an excellent way to end the month. Thanks for sending this in! I will try to get to the review as soon as possible.

Hi! No AKMU or Mamamoo today but something similar: if you get a chance, can you review “She” by Vromance? They’re Mamamoo’s brother group that just debuted and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of them in the future.

Hello and absolutely I can review “She.” I have listened to it a few times, but I have yet to ever apply a more critical hearing lens, so reviewing it will hopefully be interesting for both readers and I. From what I can currently say, Vromance is indeed MAMAMOO’s brother group–and I mean this musically and not just literally with being in the same label. I think we can expect a lot from their future songs and growth.

But on topic, I will indeed review the men. Currently Miss A’s Fei’s solo (and of which will be out in July 21 in South Korea), “Fantasy,” has been requested ahead of time and thus to be fair I will finish that request first. Nonetheless once that is done I plan to instantly begin reviewing “She.” Thank you for being patient and understanding, and of course for sending in this request. Whether realized or not, receiving requests greatly aids in providing some directions for the blog. All that said, I will do my best to review it right after the current request. Look forward to it!

Wonder Girls – “Why So Lonely” Review

Wonder
Girls – Why So Lonely (Dance Practice)

Wonder Girls – Why
So Lonely

Reviewed
on July 19, 2016

image

“For how “Why So Lonely” differs
from this all, rather than stating that their vocals are inadequate in
diversity or that their vocals sound hollow and lifeless—in other words,
sonically at fault—Wonder Girls does in fact meet both aspects. The slight
issue, then, is purely the degree of such.”

Personal Message:
A few readers may notice a change in
terms of the review outline: a “hooking quote,” if I may use that label. In
other words, rather than the “Keep reading” being introduced at the end of the
first paragraph in the Personal Message section, only a single quote is seen
before the “Keep reading” appears—and specifically, a quote that comes from the
review itself. There are multiple reasons for this change. For the most
influential reason, it is to provide organization. Given that the Personal
Message section tends to begin with updates both personal and blog, it seems
rather absurd that, for those interested in reading a review, will have to read
that first instead of the review itself. Thus, in more blunt terms, very few
would feel inclined to “keep reading” just based on the first Personal Message
paragraph. Currently, the purpose of the shortener—the “Keep reading”—is to not
cause hassles to Tumblr followers; if this were not added, followers would have
to scroll through many seconds to just skip over a review post. (I am still
thankful to a reader for notifying me a year ago of this.) However, because of
that, I have not been fully utilizing the shortener efficiently.

Fast forwarding to what this all
means, I am now using only a single quote (and later I will discuss how I
choose the quote) as I wish to keep reviews more precise in their initial
appearance. Rather than boring readers with reading a paragraph on personal and
blog updates—of which are irrelevant to the review itself—I hope the quote
provides an idea on whether the actual review is of interest. To clarify,
though, I am not getting rid of the Personal Message category; I am solely adding
a “hooking quote” that is then followed by the “Keep reading” label. Overall, I
aim to present a sharper, cleaner entrance to reviews. Feedback as always is
desired.

Now in terms of how I am choosing
which quote is selected, I will focus on ensuring that the quotes are not silly
“click-baits.” For one, the quotes will be sentences  I have wrote in the review itself, but even
then, I will try to avoid using ones that may sound like “Let us see if this
song is good or bad” or “Let us see why this song rates poorly.” Why? Again,
those sentences merely exploit curiosity and thus, readers would then decide to
read the review not for engagement, but instead, because they were simply
searching for clarifications or answers. On the other hand, I plan to have the
hooking quote be moreover discussion based and thought-provoking—and even
controversial. For example, I might use this as the hooking quote: “But, even
if the verses rate well, the choruses drastically reduce the overall song
quality.” Some may now claim this sounds identical to the prior examples, but I
will argue there is a difference. That difference is in how readers now engage with the quote; rather than readers
continuing to read because they desire to know whether a song scored well or
poorly—or simply how a song even scored at all—the former “hooking quote”
hopefully engages reader to critically think of the song itself, not just
merely what I am asserting. In the case of the example, readers might disagree
or agree that the verses rate well, or that the choruses are the main
contributor while the verses are the sections lacking. Nonetheless, it is clear
that there is some engaging versus that of “I want to keep reading since I
wonder what this reviewer is yapping about even if I don’t care for the song
itself.”  

On topic with the review, I wish to
give a huge thank you for a requester for sending this in. In fact, she/he also
added another request for Miss A’s Fei’s solo debut, and I will also be
covering that. (And with the recent controversy a few Chinese K-Pop idols have
gotten into due to patriotism, I am more so motivated to review Fei’s new song
as she is involved in the controversy. I will digress on patriotism in Fei’s
review and hopefully apply a sociological take to patriotism versus a more
superficial one. That said though, I will exclude the political aspect as I
have not nor will venture into that perspective—general background will be
given, however. Again, sociology/literary theories are my main focuses.)

Regarding Wonder Girls’ “Why So
Lonely,” I will leave a disclaimer: biasedly, I very much dislike this song’s
style. However, even so, this review will hopefully provide an example of how
reviews can be biasedly-neutral—though as discussed in past reviews no song
review is ever free from pure biases. The reason I am disclosing this is in
case readers desire to challenge my words, and I strongly encourage that.
However all in all, I remain confident in not being biased since, as readers
will soon see, “Why So Lonely” scores decently. After all, when it comes to
reviews, I care much more about how a song functions
than how it purely sounds—the former
is where, even if a style is greatly dreaded, respect can still very much be
given for the song’s workings. On the other hand, the latter runs into bias
issues; if I judged solely on how I
perceived a song’s sounds, I would be allowed to ignore subtle yet impressive
structures just because I disliked the sound.

Without getting further off-topic,
let us return to Wonder Girls’ return after “I Feel You.” Although the
mentioned song did not hold strongly at all in a past review of it, “Why So Lonely”
renders well—even if its style is one I am personally not fond of.  

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.40/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 7/10
(6.50/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Rap: 8/10

6.     Conclusion: 7/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Section Distribution: 8/10

Sunmi:
Verse, Chorus, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

Yubin:
Verse, Verse, Rap (Total: 3)

Hyerim:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 2)

Yeeun:
Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

Equal Value: 3.25 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 5/10

Since the time I kissed you,
I thought everything was going to change
But nothing has changed
You haven’t changed
Spending a weekend night with you,
I thought it would be sweet
But nothing has changed
You haven’t changed

I’m speechless
I want to be like couples in the movies
Na na na na na
I want that kind of love

Baby why am I so lonely?
I’m so desperate, but you’re not
Baby no, my heart
I don’t know when you will leave me
(Tell me why)
What are they? Your feelings
What are they? I love you so much
But I hate this suffocating feeling

I’m blinded by love
You should be falling as hard as I am
Only you shine, but only I hurt
It’ll be alright
I try mind control,
but my man is always unpredictable
Out of control, nagging me all the time

I’m speechless
The more I know, the more unsure I get
I don’t know why I feel lonelier
Na na na na na
I feel like I’m locked in a room alone

Baby why am I so lonely?
I’m so desperate, but you’re not
Baby no, my heart
I don’t know when you will leave me
(Tell me why)
What are they? Your feelings
What are they? I love you so much
But I hate this suffocating feeling

I don’t wanna talk about it
I want you to know me without me saying it
That’s my simple wish
It passes by like the wind
You frown as if you’re annoyed
Everything you do is half-hearted
You argue that you’ve done nothing wrong
You say you’ll do better next time
But there is no next time
Before this chance becomes your last,
if you still don’t come to your senses,
I’ll kick you to the curb

Baby why am I so lonely?
I’m so desperate, but you’re not
Baby no, my heart
I don’t know when you will leave me
(Tell me why)
What are they? Your feelings
What are they? I love you so much
But I hate this suffocating feeling
What are they? Your feelings
What are they? I love you  so much
But I hate this suffocating feeling
What are they?

Choreography Score: 6/10 (6.00/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 5/10

Overall Score: 6/10
(6.00/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Disappointingly,
“Why So Lonely” nearly reaches above average (seven) in its Song Score but
falls short by a marginal decimal: .10. But of course, its current score is
still admirable and should not be quickly dismissed.

Beginning
with the vocals, this song provides a new case. As some readers may know, my
critiques of vocals tend to fall within one of the following: either lacking
variety or lacking a tuneful, crisp and firm sound. For example, Oh
My Girl’s “Windy Day”
lacked in terms of providing diverse
vocals, but on the other hand NCT
127’s “Fire Truck”
lacked in providing stable, enticing
vocals themselves, and it also encountered the problem of insufficient variety.
For how “Why So Lonely” differs from this all, rather than stating that their
vocals are inadequate in diversity or that their vocals sound hollow and
lifeless—in other words, sonically at fault—Wonder Girls does in fact meet both
aspects. The slight issue, then, is purely the degree of such. Indeed, a seven
would have been earned if the ladies had a minor
extra amount of vocal variety and a slightly
more refined sound (vocally, that is).

To
now actually analysis the vocals and to further expand on the prior points, every
section does contain its own exclusive vocal style. The raps—both main and
minor, as to be discussed—provide one form, the verses and pre-choruses provide
a smoother, whispering form—the latter being moreover emphasized, and the more
stable and standard singing form that occurs in the choruses. Point is, there
is indeed a decent amount of diversity when it comes to Wonder Girls’ singing. So,
how is it problematic if, as seen, there is
vocal diversity? Again, the issue is not the lack thereof per se, but it is in
the extent of that diversity. Certainly each sections are noticeably different,
but nonetheless it cannot be overlooked that in a more overarching view, many
sections still sound slightly too identical. Take the choruses and
pre-choruses: while the choruses are more upbeat, the overall whispering style
carries over. Furthermore, this extends to all the sections if we are to look
from a more general view. Combine this along with how said whispering singing
loses its appeal as it becomes monotonous, and the vocals drop to a six versus
remaining that at a seven. Overall, however, it would be false to claim the
vocals are in any form poor or bad; the vocals are in fact decent but merely
lack a slight push that could have earned a higher rating. As for the
instrumental, the same concept applies: it may sound pleasing in of itself and
does provide vital roles for the song be it transitions or supplementing the
ladies’  vocals, but akin to the prior
critiques, it also lacks the slight push to sound a bit more sonically pleasing
and to be more structurally outstanding. (Also for a random side note, an
upcoming review on Stellar’s “Crying” will finally be a review in which I
discuss much more about the
instrumental as it is more relevant in that case.)

Regarding
the sections, many have scored remarkably. In fact, at worst, a five is given
but even then considering the abundant amounts of sixes, sevens, and even an
eight, it is reasonable to claim the sections are excellent in “Why So Lonely.”
Without running through every single section in depth as that would be rather repetitive
in this song’s case, I will instead provide a general cover. The introduction and
verses earn a six due to fulfilling their structural roles well—in other words,
for the former hooking in listeners and the latter seamlessly progressing the
song—but both fall short by a marginal amount in terms of sonic appeal. As for
the sevens earned, both the pre-choruses and the conclusion are praiseworthy. The
pre-choruses’ main striking appeal is in how the two pre-choruses differ from
one another in an effective, cohesive manner. For example, I do not wish to
connote that by differing that the sections are entirely different; this would be, unless if perfectly executed,
detrimental as it would disrupt this song’s flow and organization. Instead, what
occurs are subtle yet influential changes: the second pre-chorus contains a minor
rap while the initial pre-chorus is of standard singing. Factoring in how the
pre-choruses also smoothly help transition the song to the choruses and that
the mentioned changes provide much sonic appeal, and indeed a seven is earned.
For the conclusion, its main strength is in its natural ending the song: it is
neither abrupt nor excessive. It is a rather perfect ending to “Why So Lonely”
if that may be said. As for the rap, here is the analysis: Yubin.

Jokes
aside, she is a phenomenal rapper but that obviously in of itself does not
guaranteed solid raps. For the excelling points, the rap remains diverse as noticed
by the slower first half and faster, more intense second half. Yubin’s flow
remains in constant fluctuation from more rough, hastier lines to short pauses,
and to include the instrumental it likewise follows suit. All of these traits
augment the rap as it now renders as fun, dynamic, and varied in sound. An
extremely impressive section to “Why So Lonely” would have to be this part. And
finally, for the choruses, while rating at average is not necessarily bad, this
section is more disappointing when compared to the rest. Briefly said, the
choruses’ traits counteract one another. For example, the instrumental and
vocals begin to deviate from each other rather than being complementing, as heard
by how the instrumental becomes active when the vocals are not and conversely.
Adding on how the choruses begin to sound excessive due to the longer length
and finally background vocals that further emphasis the slower, plainer singing
and the outcome of all of these aspects is an average chorus. Interestingly, individually
all of these traits would appear to come together in an organized, cohesive manner
but that is unfortunately not the case.

Finally
for the non-musical categories of section distribution and lyrics, the former
is rather self-explanatory. If a member with four sections gave one to Hyerim,
a nine would have been earned. Thus, with just one section being the obstacle, an
eight is given. And overall, the song does provide a fairly equal distribution
when generally listening to it—with its section, specifically. (And of course
to clarify, this is not to say I am giving an eight just due to “generally
listening to it”; I am sharing this moreover as a personal remark. The rating
is based on the numbers.) In terms of the lyrics, a five is given due to two
main reasons: a typical, heartbroken plot and that many lyrics repeat the same
ideas. Predominantly the rap is the section that provides further details to
the plot, but even so it cannot compensate for the repeating, duller choruses,
pre-choruses, and even verses.

Concluding,
Wonder Girls’ latest comeback of “Why So Lonely” rates at slightly above
average for its song, and that is still admirable. Perhaps the best description
of the song is that it is rather balanced—if excluding the lyrics. But indeed,
musically the song is sufficient in its instrumental, vocals, and that its
sections are overall well-constructed. The section distribution among members
also excels. Once again, it is the lyrics if anything that slightly hinders the
song, but if it is considered a hindrance it is absolutely a negligible one. All
in all, especially with personally very much disliking the style to “Why So
Lonely,” the fact that I am still capable of greatly praising it should already
be indicative of its higher quality. (Or perhaps that I am reviewing appropriately
and not off of biases as that would be song reactions
and not reviews.) Either way, in
summary, I personally claim this song is excellent and that for people who do
find its style charming, there are now even more positives to it. And of course
for those in a similar situation as I with not finding its style pleasing, one
should still be able to admire the complex, thorough production that went into
it that allows it to thrive.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, thank you so much for the review request and apologies for the lengthy
delay. But indeed, it is finally here and I do hope this review provides new
insights. As always, reviews are not to assert firm stances that a song is a certain rating, but instead, to
provide and initiate discussions. As for other readers, thank you to all for
also reading whether in short or full. I appreciate any time given towards the
blog.

Upcoming
reviews will most likely be on—for certain Miss A’s Fei’s solo (which will be
released on July 21) as that was also requested—either Stellar, GFriend, or
Eric Nam. However, regardless of what is the next review, I expect all of them
to be covered by the end of the month or at least the early start of August.
Besides, “I don’t know when you will leave me” but I do hope you will continue
looking forward for what is to come. Expect, most likely, Stellar’s “Crying” to
be covered.

GFriend’s Reality Show – “One Fine Day” Review

GFriend
One Fine Day (Full Playlist, Eng.
Subbed)

GFriend
One Fine Day

Reviewed on July 18, 2016

“Bluntly
said, while One Fine Day is expected
to appeal in the aspects of both traveling and variety, GFriend’s episodes are
more reminiscent of an upgraded version of Weekly
Idol
: variety to a higher degree. The emphasis of traveling alongside with GFriend
for an intimate, more personal view of the group—a style that One Fine Day flourishes with based on
past seasons—has been drastically lost. This, I will say, is not a worthy
trade.”

Personal
Message:
To the
requester of Wonder Girls’ “Why So Lonely” (and Miss A’s Fei’s solo debut), I
am indeed amidst reviewing Wonder Girls’ song and, once July 22 comes around,
to begin reviewing Fei’s solo. Nevertheless, I greatly apologize for the delay
and for putting a bonus review ahead of schedule. In doing this, I do not wish to
connote that I am belittling the request in any form. In truth, I am posting a
bonus show review ahead because I will be exceptionally busy with summer class
(and subtitling a video of Fiestar along with contributing subtitles to an
upcoming Fiestar subbing team—though I admit I am not sure if this is supposed
to be leaked or not). Thus, to keep the blog in an active state, this bonus
review will serve as short but still viable content. After all, though I am
writing at nine at night, I expect this to take solely an hour and no more. Finally
to add, some readers may notice some interesting outline changes (the “abstract/hook”
quote at the start), but this will be further discussed in the requested
review.

On topic, this bonus review is on a
group I have yet to musically review: GFriend. I recently have finished this
show along with nearly finishing another (Look
After My Dog
), both of which involve GFriend. I plan to review the latter
show at one point, but more importantly, to review GFriend’s comeback: “Navillera.”
(I plan to review it after the two requests are finished.) Personally, I am in
love with the song and as discussed in
a prior review
, that song is threatening Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” as my
favorite song of all-time. (Remember: favorite is not best; “Navillera” is quite far from the best song I have heard, but
its style is definitely that of my preference.) Furthermore, because of “Navillera,”
this current bonus review is now here as this was the song that finally
convinced me to invest more into GFriend. And without any doubts as readers can
tell, I am indeed a fan of the ladies. After all, GFriend is amazing. They have
done more good in their current lives than I ever will in my entire life—and to
showcase the significance of this, GFriend’s average age is rather young.

For example, I am a few months older than Yuju and yet she speaks
extremely more intelligently and eloquently than I (and simply is more intelligent and eloquent than I),
works and loves others much more than I do, and of course has a very sweet,
charming voice while I unfortunately am not as lucky in that regard. And let us
not include appearances for comparison; I think it is a bit unfair as even with
makeup applied, Yuju’s bare face is still clearer than mine. Such is the
struggle of a boy who strives to be as amazing as the ladies of GFriend—a very
high standard but not an impossible one if we focus on the more important
aspects to model: being kind, open, loving, cheerful, hardworking, caring, intelligent,
and so forth. Those aspects are what fans should concern first when it comes to
having idols as role models; fashion and makeup skills can come, but only as
the next priority.

Self-deprecating humor but hopefully
a helpful reminder aside, I sincerely am still baffled by the younger age of the
ladies. Given their maturity and stamina for their choreographies (and, with
live performances, being able to sing live), I expected the average age to be
around at the very least twenty three. Indeed, to find out the oldest of the
group—Sowon, the leader—is twenty, I was shocked. But, if anything is to be
gleaned, it is perhaps that I am the one who needs further maturing; if GFriend
are already excelling at their age, I should be able to as well. And indeed,
readers who are in a similar case should also feel inspired by the ladies.

Focusing on the bonus review (and to
my embarrassment this Personal Message is most likely longer than the actual
review), I have linked the entire show. Credit must be given to a subbing team
for the videos, so shout-out to the wonderful men and women who have spent
their free time helping out fans who are not familiar with Korean. Subbing
videos after all is not an easy task at all; subtitling is extremely
time-consuming, and in certain cases can be somewhat repetitive. (The latter
being more so if subtitling is occurring after
already watching the video.) Regarding this review, usual protocols are in
place: extremely brief analysis as it is, once again, a bonus and nothing more.
In fact, if I am hasty enough, I will also review Look After My Dog as well.

All that said, let us fly to Cebu
(Phillipines) with GFriend—but obviously in a figurative, vicarious sense.
Unless if a reader coincidentally lives there. If that is the case, the
figurative and vicarious aspect will be in traveling with GFriend. And if
somehow even that is true, then said
reader should probably just stop reading due to my overwhelming jealousy. Jokes
aside, GFriend’s one fine day—or days—in Cebu may be fine for them, but I will
argue One Fine Day’s show layout
particularly for GFriend is a disappointment. Even if fans get more exposure
time to GFriend and if the ending episodes elicits tears from viewers (or that
may just be me, a usual crybaby), One
Fine Day
’s deviation away from their usual structure does limit the appeal
of GFriend’s episodes.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
To best explain
the prior paragraph, I will give the general summary to One Fine Day. Afterwards, I will then explain GFriend’s exclusive
version. From there, we will proceed with the actual review itself and how this
change is not necessarily as appealing as viewers would expect.

One
Fine Day
is a
reality-variety show (yes, reality and
variety) by MBC Music (if accurate) that invites a group/solo artists—past examples
being AOA, Girl’s Day, VIXX, f(x)’s Amber and Ailee, and more—to spend a few
days in a country other than that of South Korea. Essentially, to roughly
summarize a quote from the One Fine Day
staff during GFriend’s episodes, the show is to provide healing,
stress-relieving, and relaxation to idols who otherwise seldom have time to do such.
It is a win-win: idols are able to travel and unwind while fans still gain
content and usually new insights to their beloved idols. Returning back to my
earlier emphasis on reality and variety, I at first classified it as purely
reality; after all, the show does seem to merely record and help out the
traveling idols. However, that is not quite the case as “mission cards”—in
other words, fun tasks—are given and to be fulfilled. Should One Fine Day be a true reality show,
then the former would be what occurred: simply recording idols on their
vacations. However, with the missions involved, the variety aspect is now also
included and thus, reality-variety is the label I have given the show. Is this
necessarily bad or good? In past seasons/series of certain groups, I found
there to be a perfect balance and thus, if anything the combination is a bonus.
Should there be an imbalance or more specifically, a bias towards the variety aspect
if there is to be an imbalance at all, then I would argue some issues hold. And
unfortunately for GFriend, that is exactly what occurred.

While readers could watch the first
episode for this background, in short: GFriend’s company decided that, given
the time of recording the ladies were only ten months past their debut date,
the usual purpose of One Fine Day
would be irrelevant. And perhaps indeed that is a valid claim: though their
trainee days are predictably tiresome and that ten months of actual idol work
is equally stressful, it might be too soon to claim they have worked for long.
Especially when juxtaposed to other groups that have appeared, that very much
seems true. Creatively, though, rather than declining the invitation, GFriend’s
label company requested a change in the show’s format: training GFriend for
variety shows—both indirectly (with this being their first show) and directly
(with lessons). As a result, the show’s core may technically hold as there is
both reality and variety—the “reality” in recording the behind-the-scenes, personal
conversations, and traveling, and the “variety” in them actually practicing
variety show skills—but ultimately, this does hinder the potential of the show’s
appeal. Bluntly said, while One Fine Day
is expected to appeal in the aspects of both traveling and variety, GFriend’s episodes
are more reminiscent of an upgraded version of Weekly Idol: variety to a higher degree. The emphasis of traveling
alongside with GFriend for an intimate, more personal view of the group—a style
that One Fine Day flourishes with
based on past seasons—has been drastically lost. This, I will say, is not a
worthy trade.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 6/10
(5.50/10
raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 4/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Explaining why the
variety-orientated take to GFriend’s episodes is impairing versus enhancing, there
are two main points: one, it becomes excessively repetitive, and secondly, it
steals away from another potentially more satisfying, appealing activities.
Elaborating on the first, the variety-based activities may all differ, but in
the end all render as overly simplistic and in fact, simply silly. Without overly
leaking what occurs, the variety activities range from practicing proper speech—eye
contact, body posture, paying attention, and so on—to athletic ones of getting
across unstable floating water pads, or to making food look even more
appetizing with reactions. Certainly from the surface there is much appeal
given the diverse acts, but if we are to dive more deeply, that is not the
quite the case. For example, the acting practice skits were, while hilarious at
times, unenticing once factoring in the repetitive editing style of replaying
clips. Soon enough, I was hoping for the show to continue on and for other
activities to occur—emphasis on other
as I desired more than just watching GFriend practice variety skills. This
leads to the next point: losing potential on other fun activities.

Imagine this: GFriend practicing
variety skills, but on top of that had a chance to travel around Cebu whether
that is visiting stores, restaurants, sight-seeing locations, and so on. In the
end, all of the variety activities, even if all different, are still generally
one activity: that of “variety.” One Fine
Day
lost the chance to include other important aspects. Even if GFriend
were able to have fun off camera, for the show itself, it is a shame One Fine Day did not include footages of
GFriend exploring a culture and place that is not of their homes. At most,
GFriend was at one point filmed eating at a restaurant, but even so, that is
one moment out of the many unnecessary, overly played variety acts. Also to
credit other interesting parts, indeed the earlier episodes did focus on preparing
for travel and even the travel process and experience, but once again: in Cebu,
the vacation land became a training land. Although this may be a strong
assertion, I believe many would desire to see both GFriend engaging in variety practice but also exploring Cebu. After
all, if given the choice to watch a professional sports player either solely practicing
or to also watch her practice and
travel in a country she has never been in, I personally would choose the
latter.

Overall, for why GFriend’s One Fine Day still holds, the ladies
themselves deserve much respect for providing the most entertainment they
could. From the more personal conversations in their hotel rooms that caused
tears, to the laughter and smiles from their silly antics or newbie travel
mistakes, optimistically GFriend’s happiness and time together are still the
main highlight of the show. These points are what allow the entertainment to
hold, even if the structure to the show falters. This show still does focus on
the members and indeed, that provides new insights for fans and viewers.
Certainly, this show will help viewers see the “regular,” human and relatable
side to GFriend versus that of their raw, powerful dancing skills and solid
singing.

Ending this review, to answer the
question of whether this show is worth watching, I miraculously would still
claim it is—but only to certain extents. Fans of GFriend should definitely
watch this, and likewise for those who desire to partially watch idols traveling. What may be deterring, though, is
the lack of focus on the traveling and the additional emphasis on variety-based
activities. Nonetheless, with the shorter length of the show (four episodes
that are forty-five minutes each), there are more incentives to watch it—even if
it is duller than other shows. (I personally watched it all in two days, but
this may be moreover indicative of my lack of a social life in the summer. At
least watching this with my adorable terrier girl gives me excuses.) All in
all, GFriend’s One Fine Day is ultimately
a worthy show if watching for the
ladies themselves. Otherwise, if there is no care for GFriend, then this season
of One Fine Day is not a loss to
miss.

_______________________________________________________

As always, thank you to those for
reading. To the requester, I will finish up the review on Wonder Girls in one to
two days if I remain on schedule. That will then be followed up by Miss A’s Fei’s
solo, and afterwards I plan to review GFriend’s “Navillera” and of which will
then be followed by Eric Nam’s “Can’t Help Myself.” From there, if there are
still days left in July, I will wrap up the month with a review on GFriend’s appearance
on Look After My Dog and Brave Girls’
“High Heels.” Given that many social digressions are in mind, however, July
might not last for too long. Like the saying goes, writing truly passes time—unless
if you are stuck on ideas, then the opposite holds true with writing merely
stalling time.  

Look forward to the upcoming song
review and of course, for another “fine day.”

NCT 127 – “Fire Truck” Review

NCT
127 – Fire Truck (Dance Version)

NCT 127 – Fire Truck

Reviewed
on July 15, 2016

Personal Message:
Since I am behind schedule for July,
I will attempt my best to compensate through covering the many comebacks that
are here. Personally, I have yet to see this many comebacks in such a short
time frame, but this summer indeed is filled with many artists releasing new
songs. A bonus exists as well: many of these comebacks are more accurately
labeled as debuts rather than
comebacks as the latter implies an artist returning when, quite clearly, that
is not the case. Either way, there are both comebacks and debuts. I will do my
best to cover as many as possible (and including a recent request). Now before
hopping into NCT 127’s review, to address the prior one, I am surprised: the last review is
being perceived quite well. But of course, many readers are respectful and read
reviews not as reassurance that their favorite group/artist is holding well,
but rather as a way to join into (hopefully) thoughtful discussions. As such, I
cannot be too shocked. On the other hand, now, when it comes to NCT 127 I will
say I am completely shocked—or at least, confused. NCT 127 is a group, but if
being specific the men are actually in a sub-unit. However, for where this
becomes complex, the “main” group, NCT, is not so much a group as much as a
headquarter. Let us spend some time clarifying this.

So, NCT is technically a group that
contains all of the members—and indeed, there are many members. I am referring to more than even SEVENTEEN’s group
size, for example. But even then, NCT is not meant to perform as much as to
provide an overarching roster for the members. From there, then, are sub-units
made and of which are the ones who actually perform. For example, there is NCT U
from what I heard. In our case, we will be focusing on NCT 127, but again this
is merely to explain what is simply going on with NCT and people referring to
them as sub-units and so forth. The purpose behind this is to encourage a
dynamic, open system which then translates to very unique songs—such as “Fire
Truck,” as we will cover. Essentially, there are no binding contracts and
members are free to leave and stay as they please. Furthermore, NCT is not
solely based in South Korea but additionally in other countries, such as Japan
and China. Overall, with a diverse group of members (both socially and
musically) and freedom to move around, this allows NCT members to take major
risks with their songs. And as covered in the linked review of Oh My Girl’s
“Windy Day,” taking risks is far from bad at all; taking risks is a way to
improve and to deliver utterly new perspectives. As always, though, if readers
have a better understanding of NCT’s system, I would be grateful for any
clarifications and additions.

Finally focusing on the review
itself, coincidentally the mentioned previous review suits this current one
quite well. In fact, too well. Should my predictions be correct, this review
will most likely be controversial, and specifically in the area of music and
not that of social topic discussions. However, homogenous to Oh My Girl’s
“Windy Day,” many of the same discussion points discussed there applies here.
Thus, I do recommend that fans of NCT 127 read the Personal Message in the past
review as to get an idea. In summary: a poorer score does not mean a
group/artist lacks in skill and competence. Far from it. What is most likely
the case, and specifically here is
the case, is a group taking significant risks to challenge the general trends
of songs. With “Fire Truck,” I very much admire the group and producer(s) for
attempting to deviate away from usual ideas of K-Pop songs. Even if the song greatly
falters due to lacking in the delivery of a creative idea, the men of NCT 127
definitely deserve much respect and encouragement. After all, to use cliché
sayings, it takes many tries before baking the perfect cake. You might now
claim I made that up, so in that case, I will also say: it takes many tries
before a man or woman finally perfectly applies eyeliner. Point is, songs that
are very unique and different—though respect is deserved for the
risk-taking—will need many trials before a more polished one arrives.

And so, for the takeaway idea,
rather than becoming defensive and denying all of the following critiques, I
encourage the opposite: having an open, critical mind that will join the
discussion. Disagreeing is vastly different from defensiveness—the former is
what I am looking for. And of course, agreeing can occur, but even so retaining
a critical mindset of asking why is
of utmost importance. With all of this covered, let us take a look as to why
“Fire Truck” is admittedly one of the weaker—if not, bluntly said, one of the
worst—songs I have heard. Absolutely NCT 127 has potential and skills on their
own, but when it comes to showcasing said abilities, “Fire Truck” does not
deliver justice. An ambulance will be necessary.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 4/10
(3.80/10 raw score) – “Slightly below average”


Vocals: 2/10


Sections: 3/10
(2.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
2/10

2.     Rap: 4/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 2/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 4/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 3/10


Instrumental: 2/10


Section Distribution: 9/10

Taeil:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Bridge (Total: 3)

Taeyong:
Rap, Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Yuta:
Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Jaehyun:
Rap, Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Winwin:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 2)

Mark:
Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Haechan:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Bridge (Total: 3)

All: Introduction, Chorus, Chorus,
Conclusion (Chorus)

Equal Value: 2.85 sections per member.


Lyrics: 3/10

Get it lifted
Fire truck

Where are you looking at, Mr. Fireman on the floor?
Let’s make a fire, I’ll cool down this heat
This place is getting hotter and hotter
Here is full of dissatisfaction
My feeling from that siren is, um
Don’t be shy (like this)
Lukewarm atmosphere, no thanks
My burning shaking backseat
After burning we get it all clear

Ey ye ye ye ye
Hands up if you feeling the vibe now
Ey ye ye ye ye
One step two steps
Tonight, you and I, and everyone will fall in here
A running fire truck at anytime
You can call me (anytime)
Move your body, pick it up
Shake just as you feel
Shout out loud at the moment of the peak
Fire truck

Woot
Woot woot woot

Yeah
Be anywhere, everywhere
You can just call me
Look at, look at how
It’s like a small playing with fire
It shows up when it is “bling”
Just blink for me
I’ll cool your anger down
Just hold up
You can get hurt if you keep pushing, get higher
The atmosphere is so hot like a rocket
Just ten seconds left till it explodes

Ey ye ye ye ye
Hands up if you feeling the vibe now
Ey ye ye ye ye
One step two steps
This thrilling music is burning your heart
Shout out “fire truck”
It can go anywhere
Turn it up to the maximum volume
Shake to the rhythm
Shout out loud at the moment of the peak
Fire truck

Ey ye ye ye
Ey ye ye ye
Fire truck
Fire truck

Don’t stop till the sun rises
Turn it up to the maximum volume
(Turn it up to the maximum volume)
All right
Put everything on this music
Dance my party people

Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck

Choreography Score: 6/10 (5.50/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 5/10

– Key Points: 6/10

Overall Score: 5/10
(5.00/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: “Slightly
below average” is a very generous outcome given that one of the categories
managed to cloak the major shortcomings of every other category. That said, to
be optimistic with praising the stronger point of the song, the section
distribution is quite admirable. As seen, the distribution is as equal as it
could get, hence a nine. Should every member have the exact number of sections, a ten would have been earned. But
nevertheless, the group is indeed as equal as possible with the share and given
there are seven members, it is a feat worth respecting. Unfortunately,
everything from here onwards falters.

With
the lyrics for example, although from a superficial analysis the lyrics do
appear as very thorough, that is not the case. For one, the plot is the
opposite; rather than claiming that a storyline is involved (and I am excluding
symbolic points and focusing on the direct layer as, clearly, symbolic
interpretations are based per person’s take), the lyrics predominantly consist
of “fun” ones—lyrics that are for simply jamming out, as noticed by lines of “Hands
up if you feeling the vibe now” or “Move your body, pick it up / Shake just as
you feel.” Additionally, for another superficial aspect that can be looked
over, the lyrics are not as detailed as they appear. The raps are arguably the
only sections with filled with more complex lyrics, but everything else—the
chorus, pre-chorus, and bridge—are lacking in substance. Lines such as the ones
above or the ones in the bridge are examples of lyrics that, while adequately
fulfilling the song, provide little actual meaning to the plot of “Fire Truck.”
And of course, as discussed above, the plot is already weak in of itself. Thus,
with both of these points combined—weaker details and plot—the score comes down
to a three for below average.

Regarding
the vocals and instrumental, both scores will be explained alongside—a less
common format in comparison to nearly every other review I have written. As for
why I am doing so, this is a unique situation in which both will receive
identical critiques: being overly disorganized. Now admittedly this critiquing point
does run the risk of judging style moreover than quality, but with the
following I do hope to showcase why it is moreover the latter than the former.
(But of course, readers should be actively engaging with this review and thus,
disagreeing is encouraged.) For example, readers may believe I am penalizing
the song due to it lacking calm, tuneful singing. However, that is not the
case. Rather than me criticizing the style of the vocals, I am instead focusing
on how the given styles affect the
song in both large and minor scales. Let us begin breaking down the vocals for
this to make sense.

First,
the rapping vocals are adequate and likewise the singing that appears in the
bridge. Both vocal forms in the two sections help fulfill their purposes. For
example, the vocals in the rap are orientated towards being lower noted as to
help ease listeners into the song and that the raps are a starting point for
the song to then progress from. Similarly, the bridge’s lighter pitch and even
note holds—besides sounding decent from a pure sonic perspective—aids with forming
the traditional bridge style of giving “Fire Truck” a break. Now, for where the
vocals greatly falter then, it is elsewhere. The pre-choruses’ vocals come off
as exceptionally repetitive and lifeless—these two being highly contrasting
points to the rapping vocals. It also does not help that the lyrics themselves further
accumulate the staleness that occurs: vocals that are already plain are now
coupled by equally plain lyrics. Continuing on within the pre-chorus, the
vocals weaken even further: the moreover obnoxious vocals join in. Sure, this
may finally break apart the monotonous vocals that existed prior, but with this
having minimal connections—if at all any—to the prior vocals, the
singing/rapping become extremely chaotic. Overall, to summarize this all, the
vocals ultimately suffer due to a lack of cohesion. The raps’ vocals are
heavily contrasting to the pre-choruses’ vocals—and of which are already
conflicted themselves. Factor in the bridge and even the choruses and this
problem is further expanded. For other minor yet still relevant issues with the
vocals, besides the vocals lack of coordination, many are already insufficient.
The choruses’ “fire truck” singing are nothing noteworthy, and likewise the
pre-choruses’ vocals are ones to dismiss. As stated earlier, solely the raps’
and bridge’s vocals are worth attention, and even then much more is desired.

All
that said, while “Fire Truck” ‘s style may be wanted as the blame, it should be
noted that chaotic vocal styles are not always bad. In fact, one song in mind
perfectly executes this: BTS’ “Fun Boys.” Both songs, “Fun Boys” and “Fire
Truck” follow similar styles, but where the former greatly exceeds is in how
the vocals all relate to one another, and that variety is included so that the
song is not limited to merely repeating single, plain phrases. Regarding the
instrumental, as stated earlier the same critiques follow through: a weaker
sound in of itself, but more importantly that the instrumental lacks in bringing
the song together in a cohesive yet unrestricted way. Again, the style to “Fire
Truck” is not inherently bad; what matters more is the execution, and sadly
that is what lacks here.

Finally
to discuss the sections, the vocals category miraculously indirectly covered
this aspect. The rapping and bridge, as discussed, are not at the most
desirable standards but are by far ahead of the rest in both structure and
sound. As for the pre-chorus, its highly conflicting structure and lack of
enticing vocals lower its score. Predictably, the chorus is in a similar
situation as the instrumental solo that occurs already languishes sonically,
but likewise structurally with being excessively repetitive and dull. Optimistically,
despite the chorus scoring poorly, the conclusion scores slightly higher—even if
it is a recycled chorus. Reason being is that the chorus provides an excellent
ending as it is neither abrupt nor short, and that it captures the main core of
“Fire Truck.” Where it does lack, however, is that the choruses are already a
weaker point to begin with.

In
the end, one could argue I am biased towards this style of songs, but as I have
said before, I do hope the argument points dive beyond merely “I just don’t
like this.” Where “Fire Truck” mainly goes awry is in one word: disorganized.
Should there have been slightly more cohesion all while maintaining the fun,
free and upbeat style, this song could have excelled. After all, “purposeful
chaos”—akin to say, using controlled fire burns during forest fires—can be very
effective and, if delivered well, can grant one of the most unique yet alluring
songs. Once again, if readers are curious as to what an excellently “disorganized
cohesion” song could sound like, I recommend BTS’ “Fun Boys.” Biasedly, I do
dread the style, but every time I hear “Fun Boys” I have no choice but to
respect the production of the song. With NCT 127’s “Fire Truck,” sadly the men
fall short in terms of keeping the song bounded together—all while still
letting it have its open, fun style. And for a final point, I do hope readers
remember that music reviews are not meant to assert a stable, permanent
rendering of a song’s quality. Music reviews, instead, are meant to provide
discussions; music reviews exist to initiate a new take, to defend or challenge
a held view, and so forth. Therefore, should NCT 127 fans be upset, I would
challenge fans to go beyond that: disagree
with the review versus solely being defensive or allowing this to go by. Engaging
in that critical thinking and mindset are what reviews about and why I continue
to write them. (And likewise for why I add in social digressions; I hope to
engage readers in critical thinking in both realms of music and social as both
are intertwined with K-Pop.)

Ending
this review, while NCT 127 sadly comes short with “Fire Truck,”  I still do look forward to the group. Why?
Because NCT 127 and their producer(s) are not afraid to take risks; the men are
not held back by ideas of traditional song styles and so forth. I look forward
to whatever else the men may innovate, be it a song that incorporates ballad
and hip-hop, pop and EDM, and so on. There is no restriction for them.

_______________________________________________________

Before
anything else: huge apologies for this review’s delay. Admittedly, I have
recently become a fan of, once again, another group. Who are they? Although I
wanted to keep it a secret for an upcoming review, it is none other than
GFriend. Though I have been keeping my ears out for them especially after “Rough,”
their latest comeback has biasedly become a hit song for me. “Navillera” might
become my favorite song of all-time, and that is a bit frightening considering
Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” has comfortably held that spot for more than a year.
Only until now has a song contested that. But of course, I should clarify that
favorite does not mean best. There are plenty of flaws in Navillera, but given
that I biasedly love it, I do feel the need to review it so that a more
critical lens is applied versus my current delusional ones of assuming it is
the best song I have yet to hear (it is not—though I do predict it scoring
well).

Before
I go off-topic even further, indeed I have become delayed with reviews and even
subtitling as I have spent many questionable hours merely watching GFriend.
Only my girl (a sweet terrier mix) provided the motivation to get off of bed—Venus
needs her daily two-session walks, after all, and to continue learning her
first trick. (While she has her safety commands covered, I am finally now moving
onto actual fun tricks.) On topic, I do greatly apologize nonetheless for
delays. For the upcoming reviews, I have received two requests: Wonder Girls’ “Why
So Lonely” and Miss A’s Fei’s solo debut. I will promptly cover the two, and
then afterwards review two shows I have watched that involved GFriend.
Personally, that sounds like a win-win situation: I get to watch GFriend
knowing that it will serve short bonus reviews. (Emphasis on short, though.)

All
in all, “I’ll cool your anger down” with the reviews that are to come. Thank
you to all for reading this review. Look forward to Wonder Girls’ “Why So
Lonely.”

Pleaaaaase! We need reviews of Wonder Girls’ Why So Lonely and upcoming Miss A’s Fei debut. Keep doing well, love your reviews :*

Hello there, and certainly I will review Wonder Girls’ latest song. (In fact, I have been listening to it and to leak my stance, I find it a solid song even if the style is not necessarily my preferred kind.) Likewise, I will also review Miss A’s Fei’s upcoming solo. Personally, I am very excited to hear her new song and to see how her solo turns out as, if correct, this will be her first solo debut. 

That said, I am amidst reviewing a recently debuted male group, but once I finish I will work on Wonder Girls’ review right after. Nevertheless, you can definitely look forward to both of these reviews. Thank you for sending this in, and I feel joyful to hear that you enjoy the reviews. Thanks again!

Oh My Girl – “Windy Day” Review

Oh
My Girl – Windy Day (Music Video)

Oh
My Girl – Windy Day (Live Performance)

Oh My Girl – Windy
Day

Reviewed
on July 10, 2016

Personal Message: Although I stated I would focus on
hastier reviews for the time being, for this specific review (or perhaps for
the rest; I find “quick” reviews too unsatisfying for both readers and I), I
will certainly have to be thorough as my ratings here will probably be quite
controversial. In fact, this review will most likely be the most controversial
one yet—even if it is purely musically based. Though I have already discussed
sensitive social topics in many past reviews, and thus, have gained some
controversy due to those, this review will very likely be another one where
many readers would desire to challenge my words. And to that: please do so. If
there is anything I wish to leave with readers, it is more than just heeding my
words be it for song reviews or social topics; my wish is that readers begin to
critically engage with my stances and to very much be skeptical of everything I
say. Even if a reader agrees with me, being critical can—and should—still
occur: asking why. Why do you agree with a specific review
rating, social stance (such as in a past review regarding how feminism
is completely complex
),
and so forth? Conversely, why do you
disagree with a review or with one of my sociological arguments? In the end,
all I am doing is merely adding an additional perspective to the infinite ones already
out there. My words should never be assumed as the “right” view—that does not
exist at all. Before getting blown away, however, we should find some shelter
away from the windy day that is to come.

Now before diving into the review
itself, some readers might be curious as to why I would review Oh My Girl or specifically
that of “Windy Day” given the foreshadowed poorer ratings. Overall, there are two
main reasons: one is it allows me to give spotlight to an unpopular group, and
secondly it is admittedly also due to watching the ladies on Weekly Idol. Regarding the latter since
it is obviously the most rational point for why I would review a group, Oh My
Girl is hilarious and skilled. (To clarify, this is their “Closer” episode.) Especially
towards the end of the episode (and spoiler alert—skip past this paragraph),
before Yooa made me equally cry along with her as she gave her father a
tearful  video message, she revealed how
her parents were still in the same city as her. Like the MCs, I could not stop
guffawing at how she reacted as if her parents lived overseas. (But, of course,
being an idol means she has no time to visit her parents even if they are in
the same city, as she points out.)  

Switching to more serious reasons
now for why I am reviewing Oh My Girl, the ladies can overall be considered
unpopular—though from what I can tell, they are surely and steadily rising in
attention. Nevertheless, few know of the group and thus, this creates a perfect
reviewing opportunity as readers are now exposed to a group that may otherwise
never be known, and that it is always intriguing to analyze how songs of less
popular groups are produced. Furthermore, this review serves another vital
aspect: showcasing how diverse music interpretations can be—and that is in
reference to the sonic component and not necessarily lyrics. To better explain
what I mean, recall that none of my reviews have ever scored below a five. If
not all then at least most of the songs I have ever reviewed tend to go only as
low as five for average—and this is understandable as most songs at “worst”
tend to just be another, typical pop song. (In the context of my pop music,
obviously.) With Oh My Girl’s “Windy Day,” however, this song does fall even
lower. What does this mean for the group? I will explain that after this. But,
in terms of what readers can glean, I do hope this review shows that
challenging views can happen and, contrary to many, are perfectly
acceptable—even desirable. More will
be explained in the review itself for what I am challenging when it comes to
the general view on “Windy Day.”

Finally for the last point to
address before we dive into the windy day, I have said this ubiquitously in the
past but will do so again: songs do not dictate group skills or overall
quality. After all, “top” groups have released horrendous songs before and
vice-versa. Should there be defensive fans reading this review who are either
ready to cause bodily harm to me or to (preferably) maturely disagree with me,
I will clarify my stance on Oh My Girl as a group: they are capable singers and can definitely deliver stronger songs.
“Knock Knock,” for example, is a song that, from my argument, brings the ladies
proper justice. That song is brilliant in vocals, sections, and so forth.
Indeed, I biasedly wished that song was the title track and not “Windy Day.” And
for truly a last point to clarify, even despite the harsher words and
disheartening ratings that are to come, I sincerely appreciate Oh My Girl and
their producer(s) for taking a genuine risk with “Windy Day.” Besides the basic
side of how appropriate risk-taking is what will finally provide the group with
a breakthrough song since, if they played “safe” indefinitely then all their
songs would be average, I personally do view appropriate risk-taking as a way
to improve and grow. Whether it is producing a supposedly creative, distinct
song that differs in many styles or arguing for a rarer viewpoint or simply
speaking out in class, taking appropriate risks do tend to provide a lot of
learning experience.

With all that away now, let us
proceed to what readers are here for: the review. How windy will it get? The
forecast channel—I mean this review, will hopefully provide a vastly different
view than most.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 3/10
(3.40/10 raw score) – “Below average”


Vocals: 3/10


Sections: 3/10
(3.43/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse:  5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 2/10

6.     Bridge (Post-Chorus): 2/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 2/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Section Distribution: 2/10

Hyojung:
Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Jine:
Pre-Chorus (Total: 1)

Mimi:
(Total: 0)

Yooa:
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

Seunghee:
Verse, Chorus, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

Jiho:
Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

Binnie:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 2)

Arin:
Verse (Total: 1)

All:
Post-Choruses, Bridge (Post-Chorus), Conclusion (Post-Chorus)

Equal Value: 2.63 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 5/10

From far away, a wind that resembles you rises
It blows over to me, hello hello hello
They say really valuable things
that cannot be seen

The warm temperature, a soft touch
Is it love?
Has it come to me?

All day, my heart used to feel restless
But it was all for this
Emotions that were pressed into a corner of my heart,
have awakened from a deep sleep
When I think of you, the trees shake
Every time I see you, the pinwheel spins
This is proof that I like you a lot

I can’t help it, my face is so obvious
Without knowing, my cheeks get red
Your breath that blows over to me
(Blows over to me)
Makes me shake and shake
Windy day
Windy day
Windy day
Windy day

I don’t care if my head gets messed up
because it feels good
Even if the clouds spill rain outside,
it’s not in my heart

The warm sunlight, the soft wind
Has spring come?
Has it come to me?

All day, my heart used to feel restless
But it was all for this
Emotions that were pressed into a corner of my heart,
have awakened from a deep sleep
When I think of you, the trees shake
Every time I see you, the pinwheel spins
This is proof that I like you a lot

I can’t help it, my face is so obvious
Without knowing, my cheeks get red
Your breath that blows over to me
(Blows over to me)
Makes me shake and shake
Windy day
Windy day
Windy day
Windy day

I hear your confession in the wind
I’m melting like sugar
Now I’m flying in the sky like a feather
Could you tell, could you tell?

All day, my heart used to feel restless
But it was all for this
Emotions that were pressed into a corner of my heart,
have awakened from a deep sleep
When I think of you, the trees shake
Every time I see you, the pinwheel spins
This is proof that I like you a lot

I can’t help it, my face is so obvious
Without knowing, my cheeks get red
Your breath that blows over to me
(Blows over to me)
Makes me shake and shake
Windy day
Windy day
Windy day
Windy day

Choreography Score: 6/10 (6.00/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 6/10

– Key Points: 6/10

Overall Score: 5/10
(4.50/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: I
predict that many are already infuriated with the ratings. For the position I
ultimately wish to challenge, many have been praising “Windy Day” as utterly
unique in sound and thus, that grants the song high appeal, and that
specifically the chorus and post-chorus coupling is the song’s best asset.
Where I disagree is in the effects of
said unique sounds and the chorus and post-chorus coupling; rather than saying
that the novel sounds benefit the song, I will argue it weakens it, and
likewise that the chorus and post-chorus pairing highly impair the song. But
before diving into those main points, let us cover the basics.

First,
perhaps most shocking is the sections distribution. With huge disparities
existing and with major outliers, such as with a member having zero (since I am
ignoring her parts when everyone sings; I am counting individual participation
in a section, in other words) while the most has five, the share is admittedly
quite poor. Even if having eight members can partially complicate equal shares,
it should definitely not be to this degree. And indeed, this is an unfortunate
rating to receive: the total score is now drastically reduced—though this
category is not entirely to blame. Regarding the remaining non-sonic aspect,
the lyrics hold at a five. An average is earned due to, overall, excessive
repeats. The plot in of itself is also nothing outstanding. Nevertheless, for
where admiration is given, many of the sections are thoroughly detailed. Again,
the issue is in recycling those said detailed sections. For example, the
choruses in of themselves do have intriguing, detailed lyrics. The issue,
though, is when those lyrics are reused in every chorus that appears. What is
the result? Appeal is lost. Even a simple example can be used to describe the
situation: having your favorite food every day for a month. Soon enough, that
novelty becomes lost (for most) and no longer will that specific food be a
favorite. That same concept applies to the lyrics: a “favorite” until it became
overly repeated.

Finally
moving on to the sonic components of “Windy Day,” noticeably the vocals,
sections, and instrumental do not fare too well. To address the vocals (reminder:
this is critiquing the vocals in “Windy Day,” not an overarching critique to
the group’s vocals), I have given a below average rating. This might be
puzzling to many. After all, many fans would argue that Oh My Girl’s vocals,
from the verses to post-choruses, showcase very gentle, tuneful, and harmonious
singing. In other words, the serenity that comes with their singing is
something to be in awe of. Certainly, the style
to “Windy Day” ‘s vocals can be pleasant, and indeed it is somewhat unique in
that many pop songs are orientated towards more energetic and amped singing. But
even then, this is praising style and not quality. If we are to be more
critical and to look beyond the sweeter vocal tunes, there are gaping issues
with the singing in this song. Ultimately, there is a heavy lack of variety—and
this is more than just stylistic, as to be explained.

Oh
My Girl’s linear singing style is not inherently an issue at all, but in terms
of where it directs the song, it becomes extremely problematic. For example,
the verses and pre-choruses sound nearly identical in the context of singing.
Is this a negative trait? Not necessarily, and absolutely this is nothing to
concern over at first. However, proceeding to the choruses and post-choruses,
the same trend exists: the vocals in both sections sound identical. Again, this
is not an issue—until this repeats throughout the entire song. Now, the song
carries an overly simplistic pattern: the verses and pre-choruses will follow
similar vocals, and likewise the choruses and post-choruses. Worst, though, is
that in a wider scope both of those pairs (verse and pre-chorus, chorus and
post-chorus) render quite similarly. As a result, the vocals become mundane,
and sadly this is an undesirable trait. Adding a final part to ruminate over, it
should also be noted that the falsetto singing (if accurate), while somewhat
unique to hear in a pop song as discussed above, is nothing utterly stunning.
Definitely this style grants “Windy Day” its exclusive tone and concept, but abstract
falsetto singing without other complementing aspects—the sections and
instrumental, for examples—is nothing impressive. In fact, even if “Windy Day”
was aimed to showcase powerful vocals, the main issue would still translate
over: lack of vocal variety. With that said, let us now focus on the
instrumental and sections.

In
terms of the instrumental, while it nets one higher point than the other
categories, it is perhaps not a rating fans would desire. Without boring
readers, the same ideas as discussed with the vocals carry over: overly
stagnant, and additionally that it is individually weaker. Switching over the
sections—arguably what is most intriguing in the review, there is a large range
of scores. From sixes to twos, it appears that “Windy Day” is all over. Unfortunately
to say, that is the case beyond statistics: “Windy Day” truly is disorganized
with its sections. In terms of the stronger scores, both the introduction and verses
earn a six and five respectively. Briefly going over the reasons, the introduction
fulfills its role of hooking in listeners all while presenting a general sense
of the song. In terms of the verse, although it is still rated as average,
these sections also adequately meet the role of progressing the song smoothly,
and all while containing decent—but not stellar—vocals. From thereon, a windy
day begins. With the pre-choruses, although the idea of transitioning to the
chorus is transparent, its method is not quite successful. Sure the fading out
of the instrumental and the slower, whispering singing style easily notifies
listeners of the transition, but from the previous sections be it the first
half or second half of the song, the pre-choruses come off as abrupt. Slowing
down suits “Windy Day” ‘s style, but currently it is excessive; a slower
pre-chorus may be called for, but not to the dreadfully slow rate that is
currently heard. Finally for the choruses and post-choruses, saddening scores
are given. Much of the critiques toward the vocals apply here as predominantly the
singing holds as the reason, but for the post-choruses, it is worth discussing
the interesting and even creative point: the “beat drop”—or should I say, the “ballad,
acoustic drop”?

Apologies
for questionable fun with labels, but the moment I am referring to is the part
where “windy day” is heard along with the accompanying instrumental. Many fans
have greatly praised this part of the song, but I on the other hand find this
part as the main weakness of “Windy Day.” First, surprise and creativity does
not always directly lead to musical success. I was indeed surprised when hearing
this and do wish to once again praise the positive risk-taking that Oh My Girl (and
their producer/producers) took, but in this song’s context this “drop”
completely undermines everything else. From the calmer, fluid instrumental and
vocals—even if not stunning in of themselves—to sections that link to each
other, the post-choruses disrupt all of that. Instead, a chaotic—but unique—sound
is inserted. Going from, to use numbers, zero to one-hundred may initially come
off as charming, but that jump is too significant and disrupts the original
layout of the song: going from zero to five gradually, and not zero to five and
then to one-hundred. Overall, this is a pleasing attempt to hear, but in the
end it is an attempt that sadly will not go well from my reviewing perspective.
Most tragic, though, is that the bridge and conclusion reuse this post-chorus
and thus, the score of two is simply carried throughout.

Concluding,
“Windy Day” does score at below average—the first song to have done that on the
blog. Is this to say Oh My Girl is a weaker group, musically speaking? Not at
all. Reiterating what was said earlier, it is far better to have many mediocre
songs and finally a hit song than for Oh My Girl to never take risks and
instead opt to be an “average female group” for the rest of their careers.
Besides, trying new styles and methods is how the group will improve; mistakes
have to be made and reflected over if improvement is to be gained. (And not
surprisingly, this arguably applies well beyond song production.) To end, I
hope that readers view this review as not an overly harsh critique or even a
straight insult to Oh My Girl, but instead, as the opposite: praise to the ladies for challenging
themselves. Oh My Girl has potential, as seen with “Knock Knock” for example.
When their next comeback arrives, while many fans may expect that I would no
longer be interested in them, I am in fact even more so; given that they are
not afraid to take risks to stand out among the many K-Pop artists there are, I
sincerely do look forward to their next creative song. I will not be surprised
when they become rather popular in the future.

_______________________________________________________

Unfortunately
this review took much longer than desired, but given other tasks that is how it
is. Thankfully, many comebacks are in mind to cover. For some to hint at:
ASTRO, GFriend, Brave Girls, SONAMOO, Gugudan, and others are groups I have in
mind. (I will prioritize male artists as noticeably, I listed only one on the
list.) Perhaps a summer review special should be done to help compensate for a
slower start to July. Look forward for more to come (and hopefully some
interesting social digressions for a few reviews).

As
always, thank you to all for reading whether in full or not, and of course for
those who have been very patient. I appreciate it all, and as posted earlier,
with this blog going into its second year, I hope to continually improve in all
aspects, be it writing, content, and so on. After all, “When I think of you,
the trees shake / Every time I see you, the pinwheel spins / This is proof that
I like you a lot.” Look forward to most likely Gugudan’s debut song, “Wonderland,”
being reviewed, and of which will then be followed-up by Brave Girl’s “High
Heels.”

Taeyeon – “Why” Review

Taeyeon – Why (Music Video)

Taeyeon – Why (Live Performance)

Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation) – Why

Reviewed
on July 2, 2016

Personal Message:
I am, once again but not
surprisingly, off my planned schedule. June was to finish with six reviews, but
since I had a dentist appointment and was busy bathing my girl (and of whom
will soon have her first road trip to the beach; thankfully she is of the few
dogs who love riding in cars), I unfortunately did not come around to
finishing. Nevertheless, to help compensate, I have many “quick” reviews to
release—five, to be specific. These reviews will hopefully cover a week’s worth
as I plan to space them out with two days each. Now that said, some may wonder
why I would not just space them weeks apart; after all, it would cover all of
July given there are five reviews. In reply, given how brief these quicker
reviews are, that would simply be disrespectful to readers and thus, these five
reviews will just cover approximately a week’s worth of content. That way, more
thorough reviews will still come all while compensating for lacking reviews in
the past month. And, of course, there are many songs that I have desired to
review but due to time constraints have been unable to and as such, these five
upcoming reviews will cover that. (This will also help with covering some time
away from reviewing as I am busy with a group project for my summer class.)

On topic, however, let us finally
focus on Taeyeon’s recent comeback: “Why.” Personally, given how I have reviewed “I” in the past—a song that still resonates as a
personal favorite to this day—and have considered reviewing “Rain,” Taeyeon’s
prior ballad release that I would not have reviewed favorably, I was
exceptionally curious on how “Why” would be perceived—both individually and
generally. Would this song’s quality resemble the stunning one of “I,” or would
it languish like “Rain”? (And again, I do wish I reviewed it to explain my
stance, and also it would be interesting to showcase how I critique ballads, a
genre where many songs in it seem to be quite similar to one another.)
Thankfully, from both a biased and neutral perspective, I have an answer for
readers: The song is “good, good, good, yeah.” It’s “great, great, yeah.” With
that, let us take a look at “Why”—pun intended and unintended.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.00/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 7/10
(7.00/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge: 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Section Distribution: X/10

Taeyeon:
All (Total: X)

Equal Value: X sections per member.  


Lyrics: 7/10

Oh, whoa, yeah
Oh

Sometimes my two feet, oh, as they touch
As the gaze that carries me away, is stolen
I long for unfamiliar places, that I’ll walk to lightly
I end up stopping again with an empty and long sigh

Why, why, turn around again?
Why, why, when full of dreams?

If I leave now, good, good, good, yeah
Everything I’ll meet, great, great, yeah
My lightened heart, work, work, baby
Already, already in front of my eyes
it glimmers, glimmers but I hesitate, why?

The needle that would turn on a compass
Blooming abundantly at the place where it stops,
nameless flower petals
Pulled in for you, in the landscape filled with light
Hurry and jump in more freely than me

Why, why, why?
The day I delayed for no reason
Lots of worries have all disappeared tonight

If the wind blows, good, good, good, yeah
Everything that unfolds, great, great, yeah
My changing heart, work, work, baby
Already, already in front of my eyes
it glimmers, glimmers

If I leave now, good, good, good, yeah
Everything I’ll meet, great, great, yeah
My lightened heart, work, work, baby
Already, already in front of my eyes
It glimmers, glimmers but I hesitate, why?

The world isn’t all about trying to catch up
Even if I walk all day, the same
landscape will never been seen
I wrote on white paper, “why?”
My heart smears like ink
I’m falling, I’m falling, I’m falling to you

If the wind blows, good, good, good, yeah
Everything that unfolds, great, great, yeah
My changing heart, work, work, baby
Already, already in front of my eyes
it glimmers, glimmers

If I leave now, good, good, good, yeah
Everything I’ll meet, great, great, yeah
My lightened heart, work, work, baby
Already, already in front of my eyes
it glimmers, glimmers but I hesitate, why?

Choreography Score: 6/10 (6.00/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 5/10

– Key Points: 7/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(6.50/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Hopefully
readers made it through the multiple, awful puns. (And again as a reminder,
this will be a moreover hasty review.) On a more serious note, reviewing over
the ratings should be indicative of how superb “Why” is: it is a song that
excels in all categories. But, of course, numbers seldom carry meaning in of
themselves, so let us dive into the context.

Overall,
the vocals and instrumental are the main strengths of “Why”—even if
statistically all categories are equal. The two mentioned categories are extremely
effective together all while individually thriving. On an individual level,
Taeyeon’s singing aces all of the usual desirable traits: vocal beltings, high
notes, power, gentleness, slow and fast, and so on. The main factor, overall,
is the diversity she brings with her singing. From calmer, slower singing
during the verses to a more upbeat and powerful singing style at the choruses,
and accounting for the bridge and more importantly the very tuneful, precisely
controlled pre-choruses, Taeyeon’s vocals are simply very diverse. Unfortunately,
it does not quite warrant an eight, but indeed: it is nearly an eight. As for the instrumental, this is the first
instance in which complementing and syncing exist inconsistently, but yet the instrumental
still flourishes. Take for example the choruses: the beats and bass may
accommodate the “good” or “great” parts of the lyrics, but from thereon the
vocals do begin to deviate into their own flow and pace while the instrumental likewise
conducts its own style. Nevertheless, intriguingly the song still manages to
have a cohesive sound, and this may potentially be due to the instrumental’s
physical, sonic sound: plain and almost hollowed out. Therefore, due to both
uniqueness and effectiveness of how the instrumental performs with the vocals,
a high rating is still granted despite how in many other songs this style would
languish. But, then again, it is about delivery that matters, hence why I
always reiterate that there are no inherently negative traits in songs. (For
example, such as a post-chorus that repeats “la la la.” That is not inherently bad; what matters is how that style was delivered, not that
the style itself exists.)

Now
to clarify, I did not render the vocals and instrumental as the main strengths
on the sole basis of numerical ratings; what makes those two the core
components and the strongest aspects to “Why” is that the other excelling
points derive from them—or more specifically, the sections. With the sections,
the chemistry with the vocals and instrumental—the peculiar non-syncing yet cohesive
format—translates over to equally creative yet delightful sections. For example,
a prominent one would be the second verse. Instrumentally, a linear form is
taken up but if the vocals are exclusively heard, a natural thought would be
that the instrumental would progress in order to reciprocate how the vocals are
likewise progressing. But, like the choruses, that does not occur: both aspects
instead opt for their own ways. Nonetheless, it still proves cohesive all while
delivering two charms—the vocals and instrumental. In terms of the
pre-choruses, this section does manage to glean a very high score. The reason
behind this is, it is the only part of the song where both the instrumental and
vocals finally mesh as cooperating parties. During the pre-choruses, the
instrumental begins slowing down to create the typical buildup effect, but more
significantly the beats and bass begin reflecting Taeyeon’s vocals and in many
ways, begins providing a foundation for her singing. Add that along with
Taeyeon’s stellar singing and the result is clear: an alluring, charming
section. As for other sections, the usual critiques and praises hold. The
conclusion, for example, is slightly redundant due to the already many previous
back-to-back choruses, and on the other hand the introduction thrives on
creating anticipation and initial interest. All in all, the sections are
balanced with quality and each section connects along the other to bring a
clean, smooth flow.

And
finally regarding the lyrics, while its admirable details and even unique,
complex and mysterious plot grant it a seven, its more lackluster choruses do
prevent an eight from occurring. At least this was not the only potentially
snatched eight. (The vocals were nearly an eight, as discussed.) Ending the
review here, though I do hate to be moreover brief in reviews as this song
truly does deserve much in-depth analysis, it will suffice in terms of getting
the main points of “Why.” Is “Why” a solid comeback? Absolutely. The vocals are
to a higher tier, the instrumental is vastly different from many—both individually
and structurally in terms of fitting the song, the lyrics remain detailed, and
the sections are appealing in both sound and layout. Taeyeon may have
disappointed me with her previous ballad, but when it comes to her new pop song—if
a genre can even be easily assigned to it—she definitely has convinced me that “Why”
is now another personal favorite.

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As always, thank you to all for
reading or skimming. Again, I do apologize for having to post “quick” reviews
in the time being, but given that school comes first, this will have to do.
Nevertheless, I personally am bothered by this review; there are many claims I
made that I should have explained. In usual reviews, they all would have been
thoroughly explained but again, with being quicker that is not possible. On the
positive side, however, many reviews are to come out. Next in mind is a newer
male group and their recent song, but plans might change again for all that is
known. Whatever is to come, though, look forward for it to come in a few days.
After all, “I’m falling, I’m falling, I’m falling to you.”