HIGH4 – “Love Line” Review

(Music
Video)

HIGH4 – Love Line

Reviewed
on March 30, 2017

Focusing
now on “Love Line” in of itself, while many listeners and fans can very much
appreciate a calmer pop song and how soothing the song sounds, I argue we need
to be a bit more critical with actively listening to “Love Line.” Certainly the
song is not “bad” at all, but I would hesitate to claim there are a lot of
strong, enticing points as fans and some listeners claim. Thus, I will argue on
why I personally hear “Love Line” as an average song, and more importantly, I
wish to then discuss the actual implications of what “average” means for songs
and, of course, why “Love Line” is deemed as average even if it can be a very
soothing song.

Personal Message:
To already start off on a somewhat
random topic, after posting the bonus post of one of my English essays, I
realized how I oddly do write significantly better if writing casually versus
academically—and this says quite a lot considering my casual writing (such as
here with reviews) is already atrocious. But, my personal perception of this quality
disparity might be due to reasons that are not too concerning, examples
including: I have much more practice writing casually; I have much more
analytical ideas on the basis that I “own” these ideas versus needing sources
(and hence why I urge readers to never take my words “objectively” or “scientifically”
as these are my ideas that are
certainly not peer-reviewed and easily debunked; I write reviews for creating discussions versus necessarily
proving points); and simply put, I am able to be more conversational in casual
writing versus academic writing. After all, while I personally do encourage the
use of “I” in academic reviews, I know I certainly cannot go off on random
tangents that may still be quite relevant or have the ability to even add
horrendous, cheesy jokes.

For what this random writing
digression means to readers, I do encourage readers—especially those still
attending classes whether in high school or college (and younger and older; I
personally target the high school and college age for my reviews, but I am well
aware I have readers from an even wider range of ages and even readers from all
over the world)—to find a balance in their academic writings. As an upcoming
English teacher in the United States, I am very much understanding the
convoluted issues involved with writing and why many students dread it and even
how teaching writing without an open mind can lead to potentially excluding certain
students (such as with those who are English Language Learners/ELL), but I do
wonder if one way to alleviate these problems would be to incorporate students’
genuine voices (“casual” writing) into more professional (“academic”) writing. Furthermore,
I wonder if getting students to see value of writing skills beyond just
academic work would be beneficial—this perhaps being why I admittedly care a
lot more for my reviews than the plethora of English essays I have written for
professors. But, to answer these questions, this is why I am still attending
education and English classes and garnering more first-hand experiences with
teaching.

On topic and away from all these
English-writing-nerdiness discussions, I do want to greatly apologize to the
requester of this review. It has been almost three weeks since the request
itself was sent in to now finally getting the review out. As mentioned, I am
exceptionally busy with university (I mentioned in the prior post how I wrote
8,700 words for an essay for an ED class) and thus, simply had no time to spare
for reviews. Or to be more honest, I had no time to spare for reviews at the cost of my mental well-being: I
certainly do have free time still, of course, but rather than putting it
towards reviews, I am putting it towards catching up on videos of MAMAMOO,
Fiestar, TWICE, and GFriend just for the sake of allowing some mental resting.
After all, writing relentless essays and additionally reviews would be too much
writing and reading for me.

Excuses aside, for how this review
will go, I do predict it being relatively shorter than a majority of reviews.
Even as I write this review, I am still nearly drowning in work and thus, I ask
for readers’ and the requester’s understanding on this time-restraint I have. Nonetheless,
I hope to focus more on the critical points of “Love Line” and more general,
musical discussions and will definitely still put in much effort in this
regard. Focusing now on “Love Line” in of itself, while many listeners and fans
can very much appreciate a calmer pop song and how soothing the song sounds, I
argue we need to be a bit more critical with actively listening to “Love Line.”
Certainly the song is not “bad” at all, but I would hesitate to claim there are
a lot of strong, enticing points as fans and some listeners claim. Thus, I will
argue on why I personally hear “Love Line” as an average song, and more
importantly, I wish to then discuss the actual implications of what “average”
means for songs and, of course, why “Love Line” is deemed as average even if it
can be a very soothing song.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 5/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.33/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Rap: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Bridge: 6/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 6/10

[Instrumental introduction]

Oh my
Were my eyes always this big?
Oh my
Did my heart always beat this fast?
Honestly speaking,
I feel strange
I go crazy whenever I see you
I go crazy, yeah

I keep going crazy
Whenever I see you, it’s really dangerous
My racing heart,
did it run away somewhere?
No, look, have I ever been like this before?
I try to act like nothing’s wrong, but it’s so obvious
Every time I see you, I’m amazed
Beauty on and on
I’ll say it in easy terms:
“I like you so much”
Nothing else to see
This is one-hundred percent love
It’s slightly cringing,
but maybe this is destiny

Love line
Even if I can’t see it, I can feel it
We’re connected with a red line
Baby I really love you
Oh, yeah it’s you
My love is you
(Will you believe in me?
With my pinky finger)
I promise you, I love you
Love love love love line
Love love love like this
Love love love love line
Love love love like this

From now on, day and night
I want to hold you
As if you were always mine

I’ve never felt this way before
I love you like
how a fat kid loves cake
Sweet like cake cake
Can’t believe I’m relating to a typical love song
Oh the irony, huh?
If we’re going to date anyway
If only we met earlier
But thank God
we met now, yeah
My baby you know

Love line
Even if I can’t see it, I can feel it
We’re connected with a red line
Baby I really love you
Oh, yeah it’s you
My love is you
(Will you believe in me?
With my pinky finger)
I promise you, I love you
Love love love love line
Love love love like this
Love love love love line
Love love love like this

I’ve never felt this way before, I’m not lying
More than you ever imagined, I love you
Your man is right here
You probably won’t believe me
But I can’t wait anymore
I want you, I’m going crazy
I won’t be cautious
I’m going to hug you
to the point where I wonder if I’m allowed to do this
I’m going to get hit

Love line
Even if I can’t see it, I can feel it
We’re connected with a red line
Baby I really love you
Oh, yeah it’s you
My love is you
(Will you believe in me?
With my pinky finger)
I promise you, I love you
Love love love love line
Love love love like this
Love love love love line
Love love love like this

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: To
be understand my argument, I think we first need to understand a vital difference:
the difference between rating an artist’s “song” and “skills.” Already, I
expect many to desire to contest my rating for the vocals—and to that, I very
much encourage such as disagreement and agreement (and both) is how we develop
critical thinking skills along with developing pro-social skills of how to
disagree with others without emotionally or even physically harming them. To
explain the rating, first we have to acknowledge a five is not bad per se.
Nonetheless, it would appear HIGH4 deserves a six here as their singing is very
smooth and flows fluently throughout the song. Why, then, did I give a five?
This is where we need to understand, as said, the difference when I critique a song versus skills.

When
it comes to reviewing songs, I do exactly such: I focus on the songs and
therefore every aspect that is gauged—the vocals, the sections, the
instrumental, and the lyrics—are all based within
the context of
the song itself. Let us use an example to understand this.
For example, in the prior review of TWICE’s
“Knock Knock”
(and biasedly one of the “better” reviews I have ever written—though
it still very much lacks, of course), the vocal rating there was a six. Quite
obviously, there is an unfair disparity in place when we contrast these two
songs: HIGH4’s singing in “Love Line” are focused on precise and intense tunes
while TWICE’s singing in “Knock Knock”—barring the vocal beltings—are mostly on
repetitive, basic tunes such as “knock knock knock knock.” Why does TWICE get a
higher rating despite an almost objective view that HIGH4’s singing is much
more intensive and focused? The answer: it depends on the context of the song; therefore, we need to account for the
sections, instrumental, and so forth that take place and the vocals then fit
within that background. This is why TWICE’s vocals scored quite well despite,
in terms of a huge portion of the singing in of itself, it sounds somewhat
weaker. (Specifically, the composition to the vocals’ arrangement is what was
impressive as I argued the composers of “Knock Knock” utilized contrast to
greatly augment the ladies’ vocals.)

And
so, for what this means, I do wish to clarify that HIGH4’s vocals are certainly
solid in of themselves. In terms of raw skills, the men sing quite well (and
equally does TWICE before those misunderstand me; the ladies are also actually
excellent singers now that I am rather knowledgeable with the group both
musically and socially). The issue, then, is that within the context of “Love
Line,” their vocals are less appealing. For example, with how the sections and
instrumental predominantly focus on rhythm and following a slower pacing, the
vocals following suit create even more mundaneness in sound. In this context,
as we can now see, their vocals—of which independently sound decently—now become
quite plain as the singing overly blends in with the rest of the sounds that
occur and thus, appeal is lost in this regard. And because of how song reviews
are song reviews, I account for the
overall sound that is given.

All
that discussed, this will now lead us to the main discussion of this review:
this song has potential to be quite appealing, but—whether the composers intended
this or not—the song plays out too safely and does not attempt any “risks.”
That said, it is not a bad idea at all to “play safe”—in other words, these
songs tend to follow very traditional structuring—with songs; the benefit to
doing such is that, typically if done appropriately, these types of songs will
never be deemed “bad”—the downside, though, is that oftentimes this also means
these songs will seldom be deemed astonishing and amazing. For a very vivid
example of another song that does such, Fiestar’s “Mirror” is the infamous
example. “Mirror” is a song that is incredibly predictable in its form and
sound, and while it is still somewhat pleasing in sound and that very
predictability, we have to admit it is a song that can be overlooked as it
simply does not stand out at all: “Mirror” is a generic, typical pop song even
if its stylistic concept is somewhat unique to Fiestar (the concept of—as it is
humorously labeled—“sad-sexy”). But in terms of paying attention to just the
sonic details of “Mirror,” as said, it is easily overlooked and can be
dismissed as another, typical pop song. All of these points apply to HIGH4’s “Love
Line,” though instead of just a generic pop song, “Love Line” is a generic-calm pop song.

All
that said, however, as is essentially always the case with songs, there are
still strengths. For where “Love Line” excels, the rapping utilized is the one
aspect that does provide a potential distinctive point for the song. The
rapping is used not just used as content in the song—in other words, merely
providing a section and therefore filling in time and space with sounds—but it
also serves structural functions as well. Given that the song lacks pre-choruses,
the rapping serve as a substitute and it is a particularly effective one as
unlike pre-choruses that oftentimes have to adopt a notable shift in intensity—to
“hype” a song—raps do not have to fulfill that role. Furthermore, because of
how the raps are focused on being slower and staying as a complementing piece
to the instrumental’s rhythm, they end up serving as even more suitable “pre-choruses.”
In fact, if correct, there was a somewhat recent review where a song
manipulated this same compositional strategy and idea, so should a reader find
that particular review perhaps more explanation would be there.

All
in all, however, I personally find “Love Line” unsatisfying not because of what
it is but because of what it could have been. Again, the song is
definitely still decent and holds its ground well in terms of being a relaxing
pop song, but being labeled as “average” will not suffice for a song and artist
who desire to get further in the pop scene and that is where I remain
unsatisfied and even somewhat concerned. A vast majority of (Korean—but also generally
speaking any culture such as American, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) pop songs are
indeed “average,” after all; given that many composers are in fact very well
skilled and are intellectual individuals, seldom would we find songs that are
actually below average and genuinely poor. While we have encountered songs on
this blog that have been rendered by me as slightly below average and
disappointing in this regard, we have yet to encounter a song where it encourages
me to boldly say: “Hey, give me, AtrocityCL/Chris, a month of training and let me compose and produce a better song.”
That simply does not happen not just because I am a silly fool that would
actually make an even worse song, but
that never happens because a large majority of composers do know what they are doing and do
produce and compose songs that are at least average. Therefore, it is critical
to songs to be beyond “average”—no matter whose standards calls it “average”—as
being average loses appeal when essentially every song is—at worst—“average.”

HIGH4’s
“Love Line” is a song that can be enjoyed, but in terms of other calmer pop
songs I have heard, it definitely lacks its distinctive features. It is a song
that “works,” but it is not a song that necessarily invites people to truly
hone in on what occurs. Nevertheless, HIGH4 deserves support as do all artists,
and I personally remain optimistic that future releases by the men will be unique and allow them to perhaps
gain more popularity. For now though with “Love Line,” more is desired as it is
a song that “plays too safely.”  

_______________________________________________________

EXO’s
“Call Me Baby” will hopefully also be finished by today. To the requester, once
again huge apologies for the huge delay on getting this review out. Also, I do
apologize if this review focused too much on a general discussion and less on
actually analyzing the song in of itself and perhaps explaining why I consider it
a song that sounds quite typical in its structures. In fact, this might be a
very grave mistake as I should have explained to readers the why component in the first place.
Nonetheless, I hope readers and requester find the ideas and points intriguing especially
on a more general level as one continues to listen to pop music.

Look
forward to the remaining request being the final song to the month. “Honestly
speaking, / I feel strange” for not bringing a proper review to “Love Line,”
but I will use this moment as learning experience. For the month of April, look
forward to an early start and for many reviews and even Critical Discussions to
take place.