EXO x Yoo Jaesuk – “Dancing King” Review

EXO
x Yoo Jaesuk – Dancing King (Music Video)

EXO x Yoo Jaesuk – Dancing
King

Reviewed
on September 26, 2016

The result, then, is that the pre-choruses seemingly sound extraordinarily more amped and vocally intensive. In reality is it the contrast—going from an indistinctive verse to an exciting pre-chorus—that is at play, but nonetheless, this composition decision is admirable.

Personal Message:
I am a hypocrite as my initial plans
of reviewing both 2PM and Infinite has changed: I will review the two groups
after this one. Furthermore, so many comebacks have occurred that I simply am
feeling overwhelmed: MAMAMOO, Apink, Jieun (from Secret), and others. Perhaps
reviews that are limited to one paragraph may be necessary, but that is
impossible if I am to dive into any form of details. Again, focusing on
critical points versus filler-details—a writing skill that is vital everywhere—will
be how I follow through with these reviews. (But of course, I will devote a lot
of time in Hyuna’s review to discuss slut-shaming and misunderstandings of “double-standards.”)

But on topic, how could I resist reviewing
a song involving South Korea’s “National MC” and arguably one of the national
boy groups? Yoo Jaesuk, for readers unfamiliar, is an MC and comedian and many
have praised him—I equally—for being phenomenal at both. For example, Happy Together is a show he hosts and
indeed, he is wonderful at that and is simply a very wonderful man. Likewise,
EXO is one of the most popular male groups and thus, reviews on them always
tend to be desired on the basis of popularity. All that covered, EXO and Jaesuk
have indeed collaborated for a song: “Dancing King.” Personally, I am surprised
at the song in both realms of the collaboration but more importantly, that
despite the song’s style being one I tend to steer away from, “Dancing King”
essentially takes what I most hate in songs and makes those very traits
desirable. In other words, the EDM-club genre where songs follow the
progression of building up a song which then climaxes in an instrumental break
tend to be songs I just personally dislike. There is no exact reason per se; I
just do not like them as a preference. However, “Dancing King,” despite
following that exact form, is one I enjoy. Furthermore, and for what actually
matters, on a more critical level I still find “Dancing King” very impressive.
It truly is well composed and produced, as this review will hopefully explain.
After all, the point of music reviews is to dive into those deeper components
and to then create a room for discussion via disagreeing and agreeing.

Enough said, let us take a look at
the dancing kings’ song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(5.75/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.33/10 raw score)

Introduction, Pre-Chorus,
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Bridge, Pre-Chorus, Chorus

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

3.     Verse: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey

My heart is beating from the hot rhythm
My heart is heating up right now
Come on, shake it, wake up your instinct
Before this moment is over
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night

Oh throwing the boring day far away
Keep the joy that was sleeping inside of me
Hop into here, the magic of rhythm
Señorita, I’ll give you a surprising night
Give yourself to the clumsy gestures
Just get crazy
(Ooh ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Feed the fire in your exhausted heart
Let’s dance together, ‘cause tonight

My heart is beating from the hot rhythm
My heart is heating up right now
Come on, shake it, wake up your instinct
Before this moment is over
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night
(Get ready)

[Instrumental]

When you want to forget all annoying things
Don’t worry, you can just come to me
Yeah Mambo, Tango, Rumba, Samba
Tell me whatever it is, buona sera
I’ll invite you to a wonderful world
Give yourself to the clumsy gestures
Just get crazy
(Ooh ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Just for this time, forget everything
Let’s dance together, ’cause tonight

My heart is beating from the hot rhythm
(Don’t hesitate)
My heart is heating up right now
(Heating up)
Come on, shake it
Wake up your instinct
(Shake it together)
Before this moment is over
(Oh yeah)
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night

Shake it to the left, now shake it to the right
Until the moonset, don’t stop yourself
Shake your body, oh my, dancing all night
Blinded by you, I can’t let you go

We only live once anyway
Shall we run to that end over there?
Come on, shake it, wake up your instinct
We’re happy like this right now
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night
(Get ready)

[Instrumental]

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Perhaps my praise is misguiding; readers might have expected an above average
rating (seven) but instead it is a six.

For
what is ultimately the song’s biggest strength, the setup for the choruses—the instrumental
break/solo—is fantastic. Statistically, this is seen in the pre-choruses’
score, but I encourage readers to be analytical versus merely observational.
The “setup” I refer to is not just the pre-choruses but also, counter-intuitively,
the verses. The verses being merely average is what provides a foundational
start for the pre-choruses: contrast is able to be manipulated. With the verses
carrying minimal significance, the change to the pre-choruses’ playful and
tuneful vocals along with the suiting instrumental makes that very transition—that
contrast—quite contrasting, but all in a controlled and positive manner. The result,
then, is that the pre-choruses seemingly sound
extraordinarily more amped and vocally intensive. In reality is it the contrast—going
from an indistinctive verse to an exciting pre-chorus—that is at play, but
nonetheless, this composition decision is admirable.

Additionally,
for another excellent point and one that allows me to both biasedly and
critically enjoy the “bass-drop” or “instrumental break/solo”—in other words, the
choruses—is how the very choruses sound. Unlike many other songs where these
instrumental solos are roughly inserted into songs and sound awfully chaotic, “Dancing
King” mediates it quite well. For one, during the first verse, the instrumental
solo is actually playing. Although this seems minor, doing so eases the
incoming instrumental solo—this being quite important to keep these solos from
becoming chaotic or unexpected. Now when it comes to the choruses themselves
where the instrumental solo does occur, there is another reason for why it is
appropriately managed: the instrumental itself is scaled to fit the song. The
tempo did not suddenly multiply nor are there random, blasts of electronic
noises. Indeed, “Dancing King” ‘s instrumental solo is at most a funkier moment
if I may say so, but all in all it maintains a suiting, controlled sound.

Even
with these praises, though, there are still downsides to the song that I will
cover. Marginal critiques would be that the vocals are, while decent, nothing
beyond that; the vocals at certain sections—examples being the verses and
bridge—provide a sufficient role but do not go to the extent of surprising me
via vocal belts, very smooth and pacifying tunes, and the like. On that note,
the verses and bridges were partially lackluster and rendered average due to
moreover continuing the song versus leaving noticeable appeals. Finally, what
perhaps holds the rating back by a decent portion would be the lyrics: lyrics
that simply focus on letting loose and dancing. Certainly the message is one
that should be cherished and very much so as an important aspect of living is
to in fact live, but with applying my
criteria equally for all reviews—in other words judging how unique the lyrics’
plot is and how diverse and thorough the lyrics’ details are—the lyrics come
short.

“Dancing
King” is one of the few songs where, as stated earlier, I can openly say I
enjoy it biasedly and seriously despite its style being one that normally
deters me. It is not the strongest song per se, but indeed it is a decent one
and perhaps one that many would enjoy for the purposes of having an upbeat,
EDM-club song. In the end, I greatly applaud the coordinated use of the
pre-choruses and how properly managed the choruses/instrumental solos are. I
would be even more allured to the song if its lyrics contained more depth and
if the vocals and specific sections were slightly more refined, but overall, “Dancing
King” is very much an enjoyable song.

_______________________________________________________

Because
writing three essays was not enough for me in the past few days, I will add
this review to the writing batch. All is well, however, and after watching and
listening to all of the recent comebacks occurring, I could not help but to
finish up this review. 2PM and Infinite are next, and afterwards I will focus
on either Jieun or MAMAMOO—it all depends on whether I wish to please or anger
fans. To leak my message, reviewing Jieun would lead to many praises, and when
it comes to MAMAMOO’s recent song, as much as I love the ladies, I am
incredibly disappointed. All will eventually be reviewed, however. (And of
course Apink and Hyuna will be included.)

Until
the next review comes, “Let’s dance together.” Thank you to all for reading
this any length. Expect 2PM and Infinite to both have their reviews published
around the same time.

Red Velvet – “Russian Roulette” Review

Red Velvet – Russian Roulette (Music Video)

Red Velvet – Russian Roulette (Live Performance)

Red Velvet – Russian
Roulette

Reviewed
on September 23, 2016

In other words, it is the
catchiness to “Russian Roulette” that arguably covers its actual stale sound.
After all, robotic or not, the “b-b-b-beat” is delightful to listen to; very
few can help but admire how sweet and swift those catchy phrases sound. Yet,
that is—from my personal argument—a faulty reason to use for persuading someone
that “Russian Roulette” is a stronger song.

Personal Message:
Edit: This review was essentially written before the prior
one
and thus, a lot of the references may seem “out-of-date.”

Although it has not been too long
since the last review, I still want to apologize for not having a more
consistent schedule and for how reviews are now extremely brief. Again, with
university work I am incredibly busy and more so as many of my classes are
rather rigorous this semester. Unfortunately, though, I am now running into a
paradoxical situation: I avoid reviews so that I have sufficient time for work,
but now I am becoming rather stressed as reviews tend to be my stress-relieving
outlet and yet if I write reviews I will also be stressed for not having enough
time. Now what is the point of this rant? To share university life with
readers.

On a more serious note and for
technical updates, despite how busy I am I still very much expect this month to
reach the goal of six to eight reviews. How this will be possible is, despite
my own philosophy of thoroughly deconstructing songs, reviews will now be very
concise and focus moreover on critical points I find. In other words, although
recent reviews became much more brief (and rightfully so) than older reviews, I
still did attempt to cover the breadth of a song via analyzing all of its
categories (lyrics, vocals, etc.); the change, then, was I had a more
appropriate and modest amount of depth. But with my strict school schedule now,
I have little choice but to remove breadth and instead go for depth (in its
current degree) in terms of whatever I deem appropriate.

For example, in GFriend’s “Navillera” review (and indeed this song is very much
my all-time favorite), while the depth has been far reduced from past reviews,
I still covered breadth in terms of how I covered all of the categories. Now,
if I were to re-write that review, I would actually dismiss discussing certain
categories such as the lyrics. This is not to say I will remove the categories
I do not write about; the scoring will remain as is, instead it is merely a
change in discussion and writing. And so what will be the predicted result of
this change? Besides nearly drifting away from a systematic writing of reviews,
reviews might only be two to three paragraphs versus the usual seven or eight.
Most desirable from this is all would be that reviews are a lot more common; after
all, if I only need to discuss what I find are “controversial” points in a song,
I can go in depth on that and then proceed to the next. The only time reviews
would be lengthy, then, is that there are multiple points that require
discussion or that there is a social tangent that would be necessary to
discuss—an example being Hyuna’s “How’s This?” as musically and socially, my
words may be rather controversial. (And yes, it is the next review.)

Clarifications aside, let us dive
into Red Velvet’s latest comeback: “Russian Roulette.” In truth, I am surprised
that this will be the first review on the ladies as they are extremely popular,
and furthermore, that their prior comebacks would have been enticing reviews in
the sense of them causing controversy. Admittedly, I have found many of Red
Velvet’s song to be weaker, but rather than being deterred from reviewing them,
this reason would have provided motivation. After all, the point of my reviews
is to instill critical discussions, and indeed giving a song a lower rating
would, hopefully, cause a level of deeper engagement. Specifically focusing on
“Russian Roulette,” though, many might now be curious on my take to it—both
serious and personal. On a personal level, as mentioned before, this is the
first song by Red Velvet that I enjoy. However, when it comes to a more
critical approach, although the overall score is decent, there are some
overarching flaws that exist. That said, with a lethal game of chance
(referring to Russian Roulette—it is not just a song name), let us take a look
at where Red Velvet gets shot, and of course, where they avoid that fate.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(5.25/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 5/10


Sections: 5/10
(4.50/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Bridge: 4/10

6.     Conclusion: 3/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 5/10

La-la-la-la-la

Surrounded by a sharp secret
Behind a veil
Deeper and deeper, h-h-hush
Aiming for your heart now
This place is the color of a dark night
Even the shadows get lost

Oh you’re always like, “love is game”
You say it’s light and easily enjoyed
Why do you keep saying these bad things
Trying to avoid me?

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
Not like you, heart b-b-b-beat
Whenever you see me
Until the very last moment
It comes closer and closer, crazy
The risky aim, Russian Roulette
Ah-ah-ah-yeah
La-la-la-la-la
(You’re already)
Heart b-b-b-beat
Until the very last moment
You’ll have to trust me
I’m your sweet Russian Roulette

A dazzling secret
You can’t turn away from it anymore
I’ll p-p-push your button
Accept it now
So your heart can be filled with me
You’ll look for me even when you’re dreaming

Oh you still say, “love is game”
You tell me but your voice is shaking
Past the playful eyes
I see you, not knowing what to do

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
Not like you, heart b-b-b-beat
Whenever you see me
Until the very last moment
It comes closer and closer, crazy
The risky aim, Russian Roulette
Ah-ah-ah-yeah
La-la-la-la-la
(You’re already)
Heart b-b-b-beat
Until the very last moment
You’ll have to trust me
I’m your sweet Russian Roulette

You never had this deep of a dream before
My heart and this night makes this game flicker
You can’t control-l-l-l-l

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
About to explode, heart b-b-b-beat
I’ll hold onto the key
Until the very last moment
It comes closer and closer, crazy
The risky aim, Russian Roulette
Ah-ah-ah-yeah
La-la-la-la-la
(You’re already)
Heart b-b-b-beat
It’s already engraved in you, can’t take it out
Deeper in your heart
I’m your sweet Russian Roulette

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
La-la-la-la-la
Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
La-la-la-la-la
Heart b-b-b-beat

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: This
is completely off-topic, but after truly watching the music video and not just
purely focusing on the audio, the music video is a rather brutal one to put
simply. Perhaps the saying of “last woman standing” resonates here—or that
competition can kill friendships. Literally. Nonetheless, I personally find the
music video very witty and creative.

On
topic and onto the song review, first
to clarify, this song is certainly far from “bad”; a simple glance at the
overall rating reveals a five—average. However, I predict many readers disagreeing:
“Russian Roulette” should be rated much higher. After all, supposedly it is the
group’s best release and it has extremely catchy vocals, instrumental,
sections, and so forth. That said, and for where I wish to guide this review, I
disagree on a specific premise: using “catchiness” as a positive trait. It is
this assumption—the assumption that “catchiness” is a strength to songs—that I
will challenge, and with doing so, I hope it reveals that—while indeed the song
is the “catchiest” I have heard—“Russian Roulette” is merely average.

Beginning
with the vocals, on the surface it appears enticing: the melody is playful and
highly dynamic; there is variety when considering the changing tunes, pacing,
and intensity; and overall, that the repetitions of “b-b-b-beat” and others are
simply “catchy.” However, although the vocals are indeed diverse mechanically,
I will argue that the sound of the
vocals is not. The reason for that is in an earlier idea: catchiness. The parts
that are catchy are the moments that tend to repeat fun, light sounds, but on a
more critical view, one should realize the sound involved: robotic, simpler
ones. This, unfortunately, spans across the song in its entirety and is why the
vocals (and others) are rated at average. Yes, with the vocals, I applaud the
variety used mechanically—the various melodies, pacing, intensity—but overall,
there is a noticeable robotic sound to the vocals. Even with different tunes
such as comparing how the choruses sound different from the verses, the main
sound is still reminiscent of a robotic-like one. All this, though, is for the
purpose of catchiness; indeed, it is hard to deny that the vocals and
instrumental are not fun and enjoyable. But, if we strip away from that and
look in a more overarching yet deeper scale, the sounds are reduced to nothing
spectacular.

That
very notion is why I find “Russian Roulette,” while not necessarily bad, not
necessarily strong. The vocals, even if diverse, still contain a robotic and
dull sound. Equally at fault, the instrumental follows suit: solid in
accommodating the vocals and shifting intensities, but ultimately still lacking
as it is, perhaps quite literally, sounds of beeps and boops—sounds of a robot.
And as such, with considering how the sections play out, the song in whole may
retain an extremely fun and upbeat nature, but overall the sections lack
sonically due to the stale vocals and instrumental, and that the sections’
individual structures are nothing distinctive.

In
other words, it is the catchiness to “Russian Roulette” that arguably covers
its actual stale sound. After all, robotic or not, the “b-b-b-beat” is
delightful to listen to; very few can help but admire how sweet and swift those
catchy phrases sound. Yet, that is—from my personal argument—a faulty reason to
use for persuading someone that “Russian Roulette” is a stronger song.
Catchiness is, after all and boldly said, much easier to replicate and
captivate with than other song qualities that should be respected. Of course,
though, this is not to say Red Velvet themselves lack skills or that, once
again, “Russian Roulette” is a bad song. The ladies are very much skilled
singers and with their recent song, the argument I propose is that it is
seemingly a better song than it genuinely is. In other words, “Russian
Roulette” has a mask one: on the superficial level, it appears to be a very
well composed song, but underneath, I argue that it is only average if we are
more critical of its use of “catchiness.” Nevertheless, to end on a positive
note, while “Russian Roulette” is an average song, I still agree with those who
say it is Red Velvet’s best release as of yet and I look forward to their
future releases.

_______________________________________________________

Before
housekeeping news is delivered, I do apologize for being slower than usual. As
one can tell, I am extremely busy with university. For the upcoming reviews, three
male groups are planned and if I am dedicated I hope to write two of those
reviews by today. (I expect needing only one paragraph to review two of those
groups.) Afterwards, Hyuna and MAMAMOO will receive spotlight. And yes, a
social digression will occur with Hyuna’s review as it is germane to both the review
and many current discussions. As per usual, I will focus on complexities of the
topic rather than necessarily persuading readers—though I will clarify some misunderstandings that
occur within the topic. What exactly is the topic? Next week is when I plan to
write the review so look forward to it then.

Thank
you to all for being patient and reading this review in any form. 2PM and
Infinite are the next reviewed groups. Until then, “You’ll have to trust me / I’m
your sweet Russian Roulette.” And no, do not interpret this as a threat through chance.

DIA – “Mr. Potter” Review

DIA – Mr. Potter (Music Video)

DIA – Mr. Potter

Reviewed
on September 17, 2016

There are no changes that occur be
it in tune or pacing, and as a result of such the instrumental, contrary to the
magical sound it possesses, is an instrumental that becomes easily overlooked
as mere background. In other words, the instrumental merely fulfills the concept of an instrumental; it exists because
in a sense it has to exist. Couple
that idea with also how it horrendously pairs with the vocals to further accentuate
its mundane sound and the result is what is seen: a two for a rating.    

Personal Message:
With my rather erratic schedule of
reviewing songs, although this review was to be after Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette,” I have decided that despite “Russian
Roulette” ‘s review being almost finished, I will instead begin a whole new
review. Why the abrupt change? To use a cliché term, I found myself extremely “rusty”
with reviewing songs and given the new format I will be following (and of which
is discussed in Red Velvet’s review; in short, I plan to discuss only relevant
points I find), I needed a song that would be more easily dissected. With Red
Velvet’s “Russian Roulette,” although I do have a general sense of where I wish
to guide the review, I unfortunately cannot articulate it and thus, am taking a
break on it. On the other hand, the ladies of DIA and their latest comeback
prove to be a solution: “Mr. Potter” is a song that I can more easily
articulate and deconstruct. But, that said, this is a review DIA fans may not
necessarily welcome.

Explaining what I mean by that, in very
blunt terms: “Mr. Potter” scores poorly. Given fans’ loyal support to artists, a
lower rating for songs tend to be received negatively; after all, should fans
not stand by their artists? Of course, though, as discussed in past reviews
such as in Oh
My Girl’s “Windy Day” review
—of which also scored poorly—it is not about
the ratings that matter but instead the discussions that occur. Why do I score a song as is? Why do fans disagree or agree? Those
questions and the answers to them are what matters; what the scores are end up being irrelevant in the end. And
thankfully, with the linked review, I am glad that readers engaged on a more
critical, deeper level and that is what I hope—and expect—will occur in this
review.

With all of that covered, let us now
focus on DIA’s “Mr. Potter.” From my personal knowledge of DIA as I have followed
a few of their comebacks and even attendance on Weekly Idol (and to that, Eunjin, their main dancer, awes me), I
expected “Mr. Potter” to perhaps be a significant improvement over, for
example, “On the Road” (their prior release). Most of their songs, from again
my personal take, have been average and thus, I predicted that “Mr. Potter”
would be the song that would push DIA
to a higher level. Unfortunately, their latest comeback is a magic show gone
wrong: “Mr. Potter” is by far DIA’s weaker if not weakest song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 3/10
(3.00/10 raw score) – “Below average”


Vocals: 2/10


Sections: 3/10
(2.71/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
2/10

2.     Verse: 2/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 3/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 3/10

6.     Rap: 3/10

7.     Conclusion: 4/10


Instrumental: 2/10


Lyrics: 5/10

Accio Mr. Potter, in front of my eyes
A sweet forest called you, I’ve fallen into it
I can’t get out because of this instinctual pull
I wanna wanna wanna
Wanna get your mind
Descendo, will you show me your honest heart?
I try to escape but I can’t, so ridiculous
I’m addicted to your sweet magic
Lalala don’t wanna confess

Don’t hide and show me, boy
Light on me, lumos
So my heart can touch yours, go

That’s right, I got a feeling today
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Where are you looking? Focus on me
Don’t look anywhere else, impervious
Only I am chosen to go to this sweet forest
To me, to me, to me
To me come closer, boy
I can’t get out because of this instinctual pull
I wanna wanna wanna
Wanna get your mind
I’m addicted to your sweet magic
Lalala don’t wanna confess

Don’t hide and show me, boy
Light on me, lumos
So my heart can touch yours, go

That’s right, I got a feeling today
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Give me give me give me
Give me your love
Give me give me give me
Give me your love
I’ve fallen for your charms, I can’t escape
Cast a spell on me so only I will know
You, for you I want to hold you in my heart
Come closer to me, so I can feel you
I can’t let you go now, I like you

Past the deep forest, I discovered a sweet ocean
Like hail, you flew into my heart like sweet magic
This is a rational degree, sucked into this black hole
This is your spell, I’ve fallen into it, ‘holic

That’s right, I got a feeling today
(Oh, Mr. Potter)
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
(I’m casting a spell on you)
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Give me give me give me
Give me your love
Give me give me give me
Give me your love
I’ve fallen for your charms, I can’t escape
Cast a spell on me so only I will know

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
what my argument will be in this review, I assert that the main, overarching issue
with “Mr. Potter” is overall its lack of complexity. “Mr. Potter” is unrefined
in its sounds and lacks creative composition in terms of its structuring. It is
a song that appears to have been rushed in production and hardly given effort
in terms of adding unique, creative features outside of stylistic points.

For
example, when it comes to the instrumental, it showcases twinkling, lighter toned
sounds. Certainly this creates the stylistic
tone of the song and is indeed creative; I cannot recall another song that uses
fantasy, magical-like sounds, after all. However, as said, this is only stylistically
creative and provides minimal benefits to the actual song’s sonic appeal and
this separation may be what many fail to observe. Ignoring the atmosphere the
instrumental establishes, if we focus purely on its sound, we come to realize
it lacks in variety. The electronic twinkling provides little more than a
repetitive and at times even vexing noise. There are no changes that occur be
it in tune or pacing, and as a result of such the instrumental, contrary to the
magical sound it possesses, is an instrumental that becomes easily overlooked
as mere background. In other words, the instrumental merely fulfills the concept of an instrumental; it exists because
in a sense it has to exist. If it
were more dynamic in any aspect—pacing, flow, tune, and so forth—then it would
be distinguishable. As is, though, with minimal changes around, it is difficult
to heed attention to. Think of a ticking clock: sure it exists, but soon
enough, the sound becomes irrelevant and blocked out. Sadly, that analogy
applies to “Mr. Potter” ‘s instrumental. Coincidentally, the vocals also follow
a very similar trend and hence why it also earned a two.

In
terms of the sections, many have also scored poorly. The main reason behind
this is the result of meshing the vocals and instrumental: repetitiveness on
top of repetitiveness. Both categories—vocals and instrumental—are already
mundane in of themselves, but now with gauging them as a working unit via the
sections, the outcome is horrendous. Yes, both the vocals and instrumental are
fitting one another due to their lack of variety, but unlike other instances
where synergy is desired, in “Mr. Potter” this specific synergy leads to an
even greater amount of staleness. Vocals are unchanging and likewise the
instrumental is unchanging; this means that the entirety of the song—the entirety­—remains a stagnant clump.
Furthermore, even on a more individualized analysis of the sections, each also
fares poorly. Take the introduction for example. Believe it or not, but the
music video’s introduction is not for the sake of the music video; indeed,
after watching a few live performances (none are linked as none are official
uploads from music broadcasts), the introduction is truly an excessive length
and additionally fails to truly establish the song’s style. With other sections
such as the choruses, verses, and the like, many are structured in a simplistic,
linear form. Alone that is not problematic, but with how the vocals and
instrumental are already too plain, the sections’ structure do not mediate that
problem but rather adds onto it.

It
truly is disappointing that the only redeeming factor is the lyrics—and even so
it is merely average. Although the following is difficult to say and even
unwarranted, “Mr. Potter” is one of the weakest songs I personally have yet to
hear. It lacks in sounding sharp, diverse, and is ultimately one of the most generic,
stale songs I have heard. Now, is this all to mean that DIA is terrible and
bereft of skills and should not be supported? Absolutely not. “Mr. Potter” is
merely one song out of the many DIA has released so far, and as always, songs
are not necessarily representative of a group’s skills. Nevertheless, for how
this song individually stands, it is a lackluster one. In the future, I expect
a stronger comeback from the ladies. And of course, fans should very much
continue to support DIA. After all, it is through fans that groups continue to
release new songs. All in all, though, DIA’s “Mr. Potter” is a magic trick gone
wrong: nothing impresses the audience.

_______________________________________________________

I
am uncertain on whether this review brings justice to both DIA and my idea of
further condensing reviews. More practice, as usual, will be required. Optimistically, though, I am glad that the review is moreover two paragraphs than of the usual–this being a sign that my new format is taking place. Regardless,
I do hope readers find this review engaging and that readers are equally
critical of my critique towards “Mr. Potter.” And as usual, thank you to all
for reading or skimming.

Red
Velvet’s “Russian Roulette” is the next upcoming song review, and depending on
how dedicated I am it might even be released today. If not today, then expect
it to be released in a few more days. Afterwards, I will be reviewing 2PM’s “Promise”
especially as male artists have not received much spotlight as of the late. In
fact, VIXX’s “Fantasy” is another male group I have in mind to review.
Hopefully more concise reviews will allow them to all be reviewed by this
month. Until then, “I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go.” Look
forward to Red Velvet’s comeback review.

Mad Clown x Kim Nayoung – “Once Again” Review

Mad
Clown x Kim Nayoung – Once Again (Music Video)

Mad Clown x Kim Nayoung – Once
Again (Descendants of the Sun OST)

Reviewed
on September 10, 2016

From the verses and choruses and
even in the bridge, the singing remains overly
simplistic. While this may create contrast with the rapping and therefore
enhance Mad Clown’s parts, it still remains problematic, and more so with how
it affects the song structurally.

Personal Message:
It has been quite some time since
the last review—a week, if being specific. Although that is not as drastic as,
say, two weeks, it is still a rather lengthier period given that reviews should
be coming out every four to five days. As such, I do apologize for slightly
lacking. But all that said, I have been incredibly busy. It is already
difficult enough to be consistently atop of school work, let alone reviews and
subtitling videos. I will do my best to balance both university and personal
activities, but as many would expect, university does have a priority. Thus, I
ask for readers’ (and viewers’) patience and understanding, and specifically
with this review and perhaps a few that follow, for being even more concise
than usual.

On topic, though I have said that
GFriend’s reality show, Look After My Dog,
was going to be next, I have decided instead to focus on this request. To the
requester, once again thank you for sending this in and moreover for being very
patient. If the show would have been reviewed first, this current review would then
be pushed back even farther and that is rather unfair to do—hence why this
review is occurring now. Nonetheless, I will review the show at one point if I
find myself busy to the extent that a bonus review is necessary. Focusing on
the song now, personally I was surprised to find that it was a drama OST (for Descendants of the Sun) and not an
actual single. (And on an irrelevant note, I plan to watch Cheese in the Trap at one point and to perhaps review it so as to
mark the first drama review of the blog and first drama I would entirely watch.
And yes, I am unfortunately that
viewer who flails and clenches his hands wildly during romantic scenes along
with chanting “Kiss!” all while probably simultaneously crying. I obviously am
very emotionally stable during dramas.)

Jokes aside, though my knowledge on
dramas is limited, from past experiences and coincidentally past requests, I
have found that drama OSTs tend to be quite solid and as a result have high
expectations for this song. But, once again as in every review, we have to ask:
does this song meet said expectations—both high and standard? And once again,
we will have our answer—but in the review, of course. And, once again, I need
to quit the awful puns if no reader has yet caught them.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.25/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 6/10
(5.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Chorus: 4/10

3.     Rap: 7/10

4.     Verse: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion: 7/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 8/10

Will I see you again?
I’m standing in front of destiny
that has passed me by again
Was it a dream that we couldn’t wake from?
You’re getting farther away and I couldn’t tell you
Not even once
I love you
Deep inside my heart
Don’t let me cry

You’re a dream that’ll disappear once I touch you
Like snow that melts
When I missed you, I became you
I didn’t hold onto you
because I thought you’d come back
I thought I’d see you again if I kept longing for you
The start and end of my feverish feelings
I’m standing at the start and end
Like an emergency light,
I’m the only one with the light on in the darkness
No matter how much I think about it, the answer is you
But I’m writing the wrong answer in my heart
I try pushing you out but you’re still there
And now you’re inside my dreams

(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)
I thought hard but I don’t know
how to live without you
(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)

Will I see you again?
I’m standing in front of destiny
that has passed me by again
Was it a dream that we couldn’t wake from?
You’re getting farther away and I couldn’t tell you
Not even once
I love you
Deep inside my heart
Don’t let me cry

If only I can go back for one day
If only I can live that day
If only I can turn back the words and actions that hurt you
If only I can make you less lonely and hug you tight
If only that day I crazily regret is given to me once more
I would never let go of your hand again
I only need you to beautifully bloom
I’ll be a thorn for you
Damn it, why didn’t I know back then?
If I held onto you, would things be different?
It’s you anyway for me
Even if I leave you, it’s you anyway

(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)
I thought hard but I don’t know
how to live without you
(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)

I’m standing in front of destiny
that has passed me by again
Was it a dream that we couldn’t wake from?
You’re getting farther away and I couldn’t tell you
My heart

I’m still crying
(Don’t let me cry)
I’m waiting right here
until my heart gets exhausted
Don’t say goodbye
Come back to me
Come to me whenever

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Although
an overall rating of a six is nothing to dismiss, I will admit this song was
rather disappointing in terms of what I personally expected. Given the ballad
style of the song with inclusions of rapping, it would, on a superficial level,
seem to be both very unique all while sonically holding well. But,
unfortunately as we will cover, this is not the case.

First,
though, for the strengths of this song, the vocals and the lyrics are of the
stronger aspects. With the latter, it flourishes in the two main features I
look for: details and plot. As noted the rap sections especially but also the
other sections, the lyrics in these parts are very diverse and seldom repeat
identical ideas. Furthermore, even if the plot is of the usual heartbreak,
tear-inducing story (and perhaps to relate to the drama), due to the level of
depth involved and the peculiar composition style—both monologue and dialogue—the
plot is still very exceptional. Focusing on the vocals now, it is a rather
interesting case. Mad Clown’s vocals in his raps remain solid, but on the other
hand with Nayoung’s singing, it does render as stale. Now that said, I will
acknowledge the opposing viewpoint: Certainly the style of the song—and of
which cannot be critiqued directly as discussed in past reviews—elicits a singing
style that is moreover linear and passive, and thus, I should not be critiquing
Nayoung’s singing as stale. However, for my argument, even within a
stylistically linear song, there can—and should, in most cases—be some variety
in the vocals. Nayoung’s vocals, while sonically soothing and charming, lacks
in just that: variety. From the verses and choruses and even in the bridge, the
singing remains overly simplistic.
While this may create contrast with the rapping and therefore enhance Mad Clown’s
parts, it still remains problematic, and more so with how it affects the song
structurally.

On
that note, the sections and instrumental are “Once Again” ‘s weaker components.
The overall issue with these would be how all of them are conducive to creating
an excessively linear flow. Again, linearity as a style is not bad; likewise, a
fast, upbeat song is not automatically good. What matters is the delivery of
said style, and in “Once Again,” the style is absolutely fine but the delivery
of it is a bit weaker. On topic, the instrumental is similar to Nayoung’s
singing: individually it sounds well, but on a larger scale the instrumental only
provides basic transitions and more importantly does not quite progress the
song. In blunt terms, the instrumental is just there; the instrumental provides
a background for the song, but nothing more with adding extra dynamics. That is
why the score is average. Now with the sections, though statistically it is at
a six, the choruses are perhaps the weakest point in the entire song. Reason
behind this is that the choruses are, unfortunately, the result of all of the
mentioned weaknesses: a dull instrumental, duller singing, and a duller
structure. The choruses merely exist and carry on the song, but little is
delivered in terms of actual content itself.

Overall,
“Once Again” is not a song that is flawed by its style; as discussed, the style—as
is any—is fine and the rapping is very much augmented by its form. What is
lacking, however, is that many parts are left and being too simplistic; even within simplicity, unless if properly managed and
executed, there should be some minor variety and changes occurring. Otherwise,
the result is what “Once Again” showcased: a section (or more) that ends up
holding space without providing much else. After all, shouldn’t each aspect to
a song be somewhat memorable and distinct? All in all, “Once Again” is still a
decent song despite these rather significant drawbacks, and indeed the rapping
and ballad combination is, in an overarching view, enticing—even if a more
critical hearing reveals some weaknesses.

_______________________________________________________

As
always, thank you to the requester for sending in this song and thank you to
others for reading, both in full or short. I truly appreciate it all, and it is
unfortunate that my robotic, tedious repeating of the earlier line does little
to showcase that. Finally to add, I will apologize if this review proved a bit
less in-depth than usual, but as mentioned due to being quite busy I have no
choice. On the positive side, however, I find it may be best to cover more
songs and to discuss the more critical, provocative points than to dive into
all of the details (as I slightly did in this review). More experimenting is to
occur, and with that, the next review will be on Red Velvet’s “Russian
Roulette.” It will be the first time I review the ladies, and it will also be
the first time I have personally and critically enjoyed a song by them.

Until
then, “Come back to me / Come to me whenever” for a review on Red Velvet’s
recent comeback.

MAMAMOO’s x GFriend’s Reality Show – “Showtime” Review

MAMAMOO x GFriend – Showtime (Full Playlist; Eng. Subtitled)

MAMAMOO
x GFriend – Showtime

Reviewed on September 2, 2016

Without
readers even needing to read further, in a short sentence that arguably
fulfills this review’s entire argument: This show manages to flourish because
it remains highly diverse in its content, but all while ensuring that the
delivered contents themselves are all appealing.

Personal
Message:

University is entirely underway and that said, I am now extremely busy.
Interestingly, though, I no longer have the newbie feelings of being a freshman
and thus, see this return as nothing more than “the usual.” But I digress. This
review included, the next two will be focused on show reviews for the purposes
of both variety and convenience; I personally suspect that readers enjoy a
variety of both song and bonus reviews, and that with still adapting back into
a student mindset, I definitely need to have reviews be a lighter load for at
least the first week. Furthermore I plan to post reviews every five days versus
my prior claim of four days. This will allow the blog to remain active for
readers, but at the same time it allows me to not become overwhelmed with the
many readings and writing I have to do for classes. But all this said, I am
indeed doing well and university is nothing utterly daunting as it had been as
a freshman. (And on highly irrelevant news, for one of my classes, I actually
gave a presentation on K-Pop and why I feel passionate about it.)

On topic with this review, as
clarified in many past ones, show reviews are what I deem as “bonus reviews”;
these reviews are not meant to dive in depth nor should the ratings be
necessarily taken as serious. If anything, these show reviews should be
interpreted as a partially—if not entirely—biased take to a show and whether I personally recommend a show or not.
After all, unlike the two years (and growing) experience I currently have with
reviewing songs and continually striving for improvement, I have no experience
whatsoever with film/shows and admittedly do not plan to invest time to improve
in this regard. With all of that out of the way, let us discuss Showtime’s recent season with both
MAMAMOO and GFriend participating.

Sharing some personal experiences
with the show, to answer the “big question”: no, I did not cry—due to a sad
ending, specifically. Unlike many other reality shows where there has been an
emotional ending—examples in mind include The
TaeTiSeo
, Jessica & Krystal (of
which made me cry a downscaled river) or even EXID’s season on Showtime, in MAMAMOO and GFriend’s Showtime, it has remained incredibly
cheerful and fun throughout. Nonetheless, I do admit I cried during one
specific scene: GFriend’s Yuju facing her fears with
heights via bungee jumping.

(And I will apologize for some self-conceited advertisement.) Other than that,
and to focus on the show itself, I personally thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Although I hesitate to say it is the best reality show I have watched as of yet
because Jessica & Krystal
continues to hold its throne, MAMAMOO’s and GFriend’s season was definitely one
of the better ones. Now let us examine why
I assert that.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
For
convenience, when I refer to Showtime
from here on, it is in reference to GFriend’s and MAMAMOO’s season unless
otherwise explicitly stated. Bearing that in mind, Showtime—in a general sense—is a reality show series that focuses
on idols involved in various activities. Previous participants include
Infinite, Apink, EXID, EXO, Sistar, and others. What is peculiar about this
current season, however, is that it is the first to introduce collaboration:
having two artists involved in a
single season—and of which lasts for typically eight episodes. With Showtime, the reality aspect comes from
how the artists are not necessarily involved in games (think of Weekly Idol), but instead are involved
with activities that stem from traveling or simply hanging out. Addressing these
activities, they are presented to the idols via “Q’s”; through questions that
derive from fans. An example would be: “What do MAMAMOO and GFriend do during
their practice sessions?” From there, an episode would revolve entirely around
a single question. Since readers should have a general idea on how Showtime runs, let us begin focusing on
whether it delivers poor or brilliant content.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 7/10
(7.00/10
raw score) – “Above average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 7/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Without readers even needing to read
further, in a short sentence that arguably fulfills this review’s entire
argument: This show manages to flourish because it remains highly diverse in
its content, but all while ensuring that the delivered contents themselves are
all appealing. This, in a very concise view, is why Showtime is personally considered above average.

In terms of how the show is
structured and why said structuring is beneficial, first as already mentioned there
is much variety given through the “Q’s.” Whether it is a “Q” leads the groups
traveling to New York and Los Angeles, revealing to viewers their dance practice
routines, or facing their fears be it bungee jumping or scary houses, all of
the activities showcased in the show remain distinctive. Furthermore, to better
highlight this point, consider that both MAMAMOO and GFriend receive the same “Q’s,”
but nevertheless there are significantly different outcomes. For example, at
one moment GFriend is showcasing a more serious approach to their dance
practice routine, but on the other hand MAMAMOO is simply causing laughter with
a more lighthearted take to the “Q.” Another example is toward the beginning of
the show where both groups make “healing meals” (meals that are meant to be
soothing, relaxing, and so forth). Although both are tasked with the same
activity, GFriend’s take to it is significantly different from MAMAMOO’s take,
such as with different foods, locations, and the like. And of course, factoring
in that some “Q’s” are slightly varied in of themselves—consider the different
traveling destinations, for example—also helps.

Another excellent structuring method
Showtime does is for the involved
groups themselves. On an obvious level, Showtime
balances the two group so that both receive equal spotlight, but the manner in
how that is done is more than just for purposes of fairness. Specifically
focusing on what the show does, episodes intertwine the two groups—not literally,
that is, unless if considering the final episode or pre-filming press
conference. What I am referring to in this case is that this season of Showtime is not along the ideas of splitting
the two groups’ sessions; in other words, the idea that GFriend’s section is
the first half of an episode while MAMAMOO is the remaining half is false.
Instead, Showtime mixes the two
groups in a perfect balance so that in a single episode the focus alternates
between MAMAMOO and GFriend but all in an appropriate time frame. This works on
every end: fans of MAMAMOO/GFriend can still enjoy MAMAMOO/GFriend without
feeling that they have to “wait”; both groups can be easily watched with how
they handle the same “Q”; and lastly, this manner generates appeal as there is
always new content—both groups and with how they handle their activities.

Finally switching over to how the
content themselves are entertaining, although much of this is based upon the
participants themselves, credit is still deserved toward Showtime and this is where I wish to focus on. After all, as fans
of GFriend and MAMAMOO will know, these ladies are absolutely hilarious and
always engaging. That said, the main strength in Showtime’s layout that greatly augments the show’s appeal is the
room for freedom: “Q’s” are given, but how
that “Q” is interacted with per group is up to their decisions. This, in my
assertion, is why Showtime (and
OnStyle’s reality shows for The TaeTiSeo and
Jessica & Krystal) oftentimes
overshadows many other reality shows. Let us use some comparisons to other
shows to understand why levels of freedom are crucial to appeal.

In
a prior show review with GFriend
, an activity they had to do was pick
tangerines. That was the activity: pick tangerines, though it will be in a
competitive form. But that was it; no more or less. Other activities followed
suit with a strict protocol. The problem with that format is it restricts
groups’ ability to go beyond. An input-output style is seldom appealing, and
with the genre of “reality show” (and note I wish to differentiate this from “reality
variety shows” such as Unpretty Rapstar where
construed editing occurs), the main focus should be in simply watching how a
group would perform a specific task—traveling, eating, talking, and so on. That
is where “reality” comes in: just watching groups be themselves—give or take
their need to be “camera-friendly” for public viewers. (After all, the only true
form of “reality shows” would essentially be stalking a group and installing
hidden, spying cameras to see what the “true reality” is.) Once restrictions
are placed, much potential appeal is lost. Imagine this scenario in Showtime: a “Q” that did not merely ask
what the groups did in the practice room, but instead a “Q” that asked the
groups to rehearse their latest song. While both groups will somehow make it
all entertaining regardless of which “Q,” it is hard to deny that the first
version would provide a larger range of acts to be seen than the latter.  

Overall, for the answer of whether I
recommend Showtime (this season, that
is): yes, I do. It is one of the better reality shows I have seen as of the
late, but of course it is still not the best one I have seen and one that has utterly
surprised me. One of the weaker moments is during the episode where both
MAMAMOO and GFriend swap music videos and attempt to reenact the other’s, and
though it is absolutely hilarious at moments, this moment is an example of
where excess restriction (and for the “Q” itself, being rather abstract) causes
loss of appeal—even if the groups were directing their own parodying music
videos. Digression aside, for fans of either or both groups, this show is
definitely one to keep on a to-watch list. However, for those who are
unfamiliar with both, Showtime is of
the few where I would still recommend it as it can lead to familiarity and, at
its core, it very much entertains viewers.

_______________________________________________________

As usual, thank you for reading. I
have one other bonus show review in mind, and of which will then be followed by
a request (and of which I am very thankful for and do apologize for not being
able to prioritize it). I am currently extremely busy with university, but with
proper time management I expect reviews to continue on a consistent schedule.
Until then, look forward to not
reading the usual, cheesy quoting conclusion. Expect another show review to be
posted in a few days.