24K – “Only You” Review

(Music
Video)
/ (Dance Practice)

24K – Only You

Reviewed
on June 26, 2017

While
the song is far from being the best and admittedly does render—in my
argument—as somewhat generic, it still possesses solid points. Specifically for
what we will focus on in this review, I want to home in on how well the song
remains cohesive throughout its run. Afterwards, though, I wish to discuss the
problematic aspect of the song following a rather generic structure.

Personal Message:
Huge apologies to readers for delays
in reviews as mentioned in the prior, bonus one. While I am certainly not busy
at all due to summer break, I have been struggling to “get into the writing
zone” as I personally say. In simple terms: I am being lazy. But, for what is
the problem, I find that I write most comfortably and genuinely when I can
immerse myself in writing versus forcing
myself to write. Thus, this month has been relatively inactive as I,
unfortunately, have been leaning towards the latter. However, I am now finally
feeling motivation to write and more so as there are many comebacks and review
requests to cover. (In particular, I will skip MAMAMOO’s comeback as I have
excessively covered the ladies on the blog. However, Blackpink’s comeback is
one I plan on reviewing along with Girls Next Door’s “Deep Blue Eyes”—even if
they are merely a “project group” for Idol
Drama Operation Team
. Additionally, there are two requests to cover as
well.)

On topic with this review, this
request is perhaps the most special one I have received: it is from Choeun
Entertainment directly. Thank you to Choeun Entertainment for that and I feel
very grateful for this request. And, to clarify, this review will remain
genuine: I am not being compensated in any form to write a favorable review or
to suddenly begin advertising for 24K’s songs or the idols themselves. After
all, the purpose of song reviews are about the intellectual side; I write
reviews for the discussions that come and as a way of allowing readers to have
even  more respect for music as an art.

Regarding 24K in a general sense, as
readers might be aware of, the group is rather unpopular. Even personally,
prior to this review I was completely unaware of them. The most saddening part,
however, is that their lack of popularity is far from how the men are lacking:
it simply is just that they are overshadowed by other, prominent artists. They
are not the only ones in such a situation: Nine Muses and Stellar are other
groups who relate—though, even then, they are more popular than 24K. Overall, I
have expressed on numerous occasions my take to this and it is that achieving
popularity in the K-Pop scene is incredibly difficult. There are, without any
doubts, artists who are musically incredible or fantastic dancers, but many
will probably never be known as a mainstream artist. If time permits, I might end
June with a Critical Discussion post on this very interesting topic of
popularity in K-Pop as it is far more complex than many would intuitively
assume. Ending on an optimistic note, however, for fans of 24K who might
stumble upon this review or for readers who are fans of unpopular groups,
popularity in of itself is not important. Financially it certainly does
matter—and arguably this is the most
important factor as it determines if an artist can actually continue—but
assuming finances are not an issue, then popularity is not a concern at all. In
fact, smaller fan sizes can lead to many benefits: a closer, more loyal
community, and a chance for there to be more interactions between fans and
idols. For 24K, as long as the group is financially stable and is treated well,
fans should not worry about popularity—and this mentality, of course, applies
to other groups who might be lacking popularity.

Onto the review itself, “Only You,”
from what I am aware of, is their latest song. While the song is far from being
the best and admittedly does render—in my argument—as somewhat generic, it
still possesses solid points. Specifically for what we will focus on in this
review, I want to home in on how well the song remains cohesive throughout its
run. Afterwards, though, I wish to discuss the problematic aspect of the song
following a rather generic structure.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.00/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Bridge: 6/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 4/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 5/10

Yeah
Oh
Listen

I’m falling, I’m falling
When I’m holding you, girl
I don’t need anything else
Your warmth that fills me up is my everything
The heart fluttering feeling I got when I first saw you
It won’t change, stay with me, always remember
Forever ever, forever ever
I see you every day but you’re always pretty,
even when you’re mad

Take me away with your beautiful eyes
Trap me with your soft touch
Only look at me, no one else
I can’t live without you, it has to be you

It’s only you
It’s only you
I see you every day but my heart flutters
It’s only you, so beautiful
It’s only you
It’s only you

Hold me, it’s only you, only you
You’re my scent of the day, only you
I’m falling more with time
Allow me to get in deeper
Awaken me from inside
Always stay like that
I’m falling, I’m falling
When I’m holding you, girl
I don’t need anything else
When I’m with you, it’s like Heaven

Take me away with your beautiful eyes
Trap me with your soft touch
Only look at me, no one else
I can’t live without you, it has to be you

It’s only you
It’s only you
I see you every day but my heart flutters
It’s only you, so beautiful
It’s only you
It’s only you

I’m drunk with your sweetness
So dangerous, so dangerous
I can’t escape, you and me
Addicted, addicted, falling for you

It’s only you
It’s only you
I see you every day but my heart flutters
It’s only you, so beautiful
It’s only you, stay by my side just like now
It’s only you

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
To begin, the first aspect I wish to address with “Only You” is how cohesive
the song is. While the numerical ratings do not capture this as the ratings
focus more on the individual aspects, the song deserves credit for how well
each component links to the other. Already, one prime example is the vocals: if
we pay attention to the vocals in each section, we find that everything
ultimately relates. For example, the vocals at the verses begin typically with
a slower, calmer demeanor. However, with the pre-choruses, the vocals become
more gradually intense but even later during the vocal chants at the choruses,
the vocals remain at this heightened state as a simple way to show how each
section builds upon the prior. Even at the bridge this linking occurs: with the
bridge being placed between two choruses, the bridge does not adopt the
traditional form of being a dramatic pause in the song, but instead it
continues to be at a higher intensity in order to fit both its surrounding
choruses. Furthermore, the benefit here besides allowing listeners to easily
track the song’s progress is also that this allows the song to aurally vary:
each section gives its own style of vocals and instrumental.

That
said, we have to acknowledge the ratings: roughly, the song in its entirety
scores as merely average. I argue one of the most problematic features of the
song is simply how generic it is, but before continuing with this argument, we
first have to understand what I mean by “generic.” First of all, generic in of
itself is not bad; a song that sounds or is structured “generically” does not
mean it will automatically be bad at all. In fact, many pop songs are “generic”: this is why the pop genre
exists as its main foundation is that songs follow a predictable pattern—and
indeed, predictability is addictive and comforting to listen to. The issue,
then, is when said predictability is excessive and thus appeal is lost because
of such. With “Only You,” while the song follows a typical pop format—verse to
pre-chorus to chorus then a reset—the problem is that the composers appeared to
have overly relied on that very
format without adding even minute details that would create some distinctive
points. This is why the choruses have been graded the most harshly: they fail
to bring anything new structurally or sonically and as a result are completely
repetitive and come across almost as pure fillers—sections that are there for
the sake of that very section existing.

For
a better understanding, let us compare “Only You” to other pop songs to see
how, despite other pop songs following the typical pop formula, are still able
to have their own signature sounds or structures. One example is,
coincidentally, the recent comeback of Blackpink’s “As If It’s Your Last.” That
song’s composition aligns exactly with the generic format of pop songs, but it
does differ significantly with the choruses (which will be further discussed in
the respective review). Thus, Blackpink’s song may be sonically typical and
even structurally, but at the choruses the composers delivered an entirely new
take and even if a risk, it indeed was rewarding. Another example is TWICE’s “Knock
Knock” where, despite how incredibly “pop” that song is both aurally and
structurally, it manages to stand out via its unique composition strategy of
using contrast throughout the song. The choruses, for example, utilized catchy,
filler lines that contrasted to actual, vocally intensive lines. Returning to “Only
You,” this song does not have those distinctive marks that vary from the
typical pop song in either its sound—as “Knock Knock” does—nor does it deviate
with its structure—as “As If It’s Your Last” does. In fact, I find that EXO’s “Dancing
King” is another perfect example to compare “Only You” with as, on the surface,
“Dancing King” seems exactly like “Only You”: both are incredibly generic in
sound and format, and in fact both have a similar chorus with an instrumental
taking the forefront. And yet, I have greatly praised “Dancing King” in the past.
The difference, I argue, is that “Dancing King”—besides how the pre-choruses
are excellently composed and executed—still does have something to differentiate
itself: structurally, the choruses were not merely for a climactic peak. In “Dancing
King,” the choruses served as both a
climactic point but also as a form of resetting the song through slowing down
in pacing—and hence why the verses in that song were able to start off
energetically. In short, though, “Dancing King” even if sonically it sounded as
another pop song, was able to distinguish itself due to how the composers
handled the structural aspect of the choruses. Again, with “Only You,” it lacks
some deviation from the standard
formula. Should the song have either sounded more unique or if structurally it
functioned in a manner that was true to the pop genre but was not a “textbook
example,” the song could have rendered more favorably to me.

Overall,
it still needs to be clarified that 24K’s “Only You” is not a bad song at all
and I do not wish readers to interpret it as such. The song is average which is
not bad at all; the song is not “faulty” to the point of actually being a song
I would argue is deterring. Instead, the issue is that—and more so with 24K’s
situation of not being too popular—an average pop song easily blends in with
all of hundreds of thousands of pop songs out there. (Though that said, music
quality is only one factor out of many that help an artist gain popularity in
K-Pop; as said earlier, a future Critical Discussion will at least attempt to
make readers realize how many factors are at play.)

All
in all, while 24K’s latest song may not be stunning—in my argument, that is—they
still definitely deserve more attention and respect for their hard work. In the
future, I do hope 24K’s composers take a risk and create a song that remains in
the pop genre but is different so that there is a clear uniqueness to the song.
But, that is a high-risk and high-reward deal and certainly there should never
be a pressure to actually do such if other songs by 24K already fit the group’s
style. In the end, regardless of my own personal take to the song, I hope
readers and fans recall that the purpose of this review is not to bash the men
at all but is to merely begin a discussion. I hope fans and readers openly
disagree with me and each other in a respectful, thoughtful manner. For now, I
do look forward to 24K and the men certainly have my support for future
releases.

_______________________________________________________

Once
again, a huge thank you to Choeun Entertainment for requesting this review in
the first place. It is an honor. Likewise, thank you to fans and readers for
taking the time reading or skimming this review.

Regarding
the next review, IU’s “Palette”—despite more than a month’s delay—will finally
be reviewed. This is mostly due to the requester, a personal dear friend,
making me realize the blatant lies I have been saying with how the review will “soon
be reviewed.” Afterwards, we will then finish with Monsta X’s “Beautiful” as it
is another request and from there end June with either one last review or a
Critical Discussion post regarding popularity. Until then, “stay with me,
always remember / Forever ever, forever ever.” Interestingly this entirely
corny quote-lyrics-ending is something I have done ever since I started the
blog but is something I should perhaps change as it is becoming quite
embarrassing. But my entire being is an embarrassment. Jokes aside, look
forward to IU’s “Palette.”

Monsta X- Beautiful

Although I am replying a few days later, I was definitely aware of this request. By today I hope to finish two requests, and by tomorrow, I will attempt to finish this request as well.

Thank you for sending this in, and thank you to readers for being patient as the month’s remaining reviews are finished.

TWICE – “TWICE’s Elegant Private Life” Show Review

(Playlist: Episode Cuts)

TWICE
TWICE’s Elegant Private Life
(Produced by Mnet)

Reviewed on June 21, 2017

If one is a TWICE fan, I do
recommend the show. Otherwise, if one is watching (Korean) reality shows for
the sake of the show itself, I do find that there are other, better alternatives
to TEPL. But that said, this show can
definitely be a solid introduction to TWICE if viewers are unfamiliar of them
and desire to become fans.  

Edit:
Huge apologies for this post being delayed. As readers can tell from reading,
this review was written a while back and only now have I officially posted it.
Many reviews will be coming after this. Once again, I apologize to readers for
the lack of content for the past weeks.

Personal
Message:
As
mentioned in the prior post, I had my wisdom teeth extracted (on June 7) and
thus, have not been able to post as frequently as desired. That said, after a
full week of recovery and admittedly catching up on shows rather than reviews
and subtitling videos, I decided it might be best to return with a review on
the shows I have been watching. Afterwards, we have many special reviews—one,
in particular, was even requested by a label company directly. That review will
be coming out only a few days after this one and I am quite excited for it.
From there, we will then be reviewing IU (as it was requested by a personal
friend) and I hope to then review Fiestar’s Yezi’s recent solo comeback with
her new rap song. And of course, amidst all of this, I will be hastily catching
up on subtitling videos for Fiestar, and particularly I will be attempting to
cover videos regarding Yezi’s latest comeback.

Indeed, there is quite a lot for me
to do even if I should be merely relaxing during summer, but unfortunately I am
those types of people who feel that I should always be productive in some
form—though, biasedly, I argue we can
and should always be productive even
if that means something as casual as catching up on dramas. In fact, especially
for readers who are working, in their later years of high school or in college,
I might even share my own tips in a bonus post on why my particular definition
of “being productive” can not only help people be more productive in a general
sense, but also with—surprisingly—relaxing. But as this is unintentionally
sounding as if I have some secret to finding happiness in life, I might as well
explain what my definition of “productive” is: namely, that no matter what one
does, it brings something meaningful versus something wasteful. Now for an
actual example, while one would usually not consider watching shows to be remotely
“productive,” I argue it still is especially if one is “catching up.” After
all, catching up on TWICE shows and V Live broadcasts is much better than, for
a random example, mindlessly watching random, filler content videos on YouTube
that consists of a “top 10” of the most arbitrary items. Thus, this is what I
mean by constantly being “productive”: even if it involves relaxing, getting
the most out of an activity is what matters instead of mindlessly browsing the
internet and other typical, procrastinating activities.

Now while we are on a slight
tangent, before getting into our review on TWICE’s
Elegant Private Life
(or TEPL from
here on for convenience), I do wish to share how my wisdom teeth extraction
went. Especially as some readers might be nervous of their own impending
operation or that readers simply want to hear a story (though I am a horrible
storyteller), I find sharing my own experience might help put some at ease.
(And that said, feel free to skip below for the actual bonus review.) After
all, I personally sought out as many stories as I could prior to the surgery in
order to mentally prepare myself, but unfortunately I was not able to find any
story on the actual procedure itself. Thus, I will do my best to actually
explain what happens in case readers are worried or curious. But given that my
storytelling tends to be horrible, I will leave a firm reassurance: the surgery
truly is not that bad—in terms of the procedure, that is. If one feels anxious
on the actual surgery, I suggest that one redirects that anxiety towards afterwards as that is when the true pain
and struggles begin. And, if it helps ease anyone, if I can make it through the procedure—the biggest baby and a boy with
a ridiculously sensitive gag reflex and
whose wisdom teeth were very “impacted”—then I am certain everyone else can
make it without any problems at all.

Regarding how the experience went,
first I will clarify that I was merely numbed for it—or at least objectively
and medically speaking as we will get to. Before getting into what occurs,
though, let us talk about preparations. While there was no physical preparation
required at all (although some might opt for a sedative pill from what I have
heard), I did spend some time preparing mentally during the few hours before
the operation and I recommend readers to do the same. Specifically, I created a
music playlist on my phone—this serving as my “mental numbing” if we dare call
it such. For the playlist, I loaded up favorite songs, songs I planned on
finally listening to, and so forth. Arrogantly, I finished creating the
playlist when it would last roughly forty-five minutes; after all, typically,
that is the average length of the surgery from what basic internet research
revealed. That is where it all went wrong, however, but more to share on that
later.

As for the experience itself, after
comfortably settling—or restlessly squirming—into the dentist chair, I signed
off a waiver (if that is what it is called) in case of extremely rare complications that could arise. Now while I remember
one line that roughly read as: “…loss of feeling…” I admittedly ended up
skipping the remaining bullet points as my brain began reading the rest as
“death…death…death…” and merely signed it off. At this point, I am allowed to
plug in one earbud and do so hastily. Now, the idea behind listening to songs
during the surgery is that the songs are to, indeed, distract me from the fact
that my mouth was soon to be heavily mutilated and invaded by five or so devices
at once, that blood will be splashing everywhere, and that sounds of cracking
teeth would hopefully be drowned out. I hope that is not too gruesome to share.
On topic, after signing off the form for what felt like my execution, I had
four odd sticks inserted in my mouth. To this day, I have no idea on what these
were for except that two were placed on top and two at the bottom, and that it
left the typical “dentist-cherry-flavor.” Yes, incredibly vague terms but I
have no other way of describing it and I feel that my description of the flavor
is quite accurate. From here, I was left alone.

After some time resting, the mentioned
sticks were removed and it was now time for numbing. Although in theory having
a needle injected into one’s gums sounds painful, it merely felt like a small
yet sharp pinch. Admittedly I do not remember much regarding the numbing
process, but it truly is as simple as being injected and then being left alone
once again in order for the numbing to work. Now, regarding what it feels like
to be numbed, I should clarify my views are rather twisted: I, for some odd
reason, believed the numbing also came with some sedative. In reality, my mouth
was merely numbed; in other words, my entire mouth became solely tingly—nothing more or less. But, quite embarrassingly, I
managed to falsely convince myself I was also being sedated and thus, my
supposed drowsiness and even giggling when asked how I was doing are not actual
effects. I am sincerely am an embarrassing mess, but I find that this false
perception of being sedated helped as having music playing in one ear and
“sleeping” during the surgery definitely made the experience more tolerable.

Onto the actual surgery, there is
little to be said as one does not feel anything but pressure. After the dentist
checked to see if I was truly numbed, the procedure consisted of lots of suction
devices, drilling at times, and much pulling. The only struggle I had, as
alluded to earlier, is that I wished my music playlist was far lengthier. With
the first playing, music genuinely did distract me and helped keep me calm.
However, on the second playing, I began focusing less on the songs—due to
already hearing them once—and started to be more aware of what was happening. Likewise, it is also at
this point I realized I was not sedated at all and was quite ridiculous to have
even thought of such. On the third playing, not only are the songs now mere
background noises, but I also began to start opening my eyes versus “sleeping,”
and this is where I began gagging somewhat often as I realized there were many
devices in my mouth at once. Therefore, for my advice, I recommend readers to
have an incredibly lengthy playlist
as, especially if complications arise such as in my case (my bottom wisdom
teeth were quite difficult to remove), the procedure can last for a while and
having new songs to actively pay attention to helps.

After the surgery, this is where
pain finally comes—or, more specifically, after two hours after the surgery.
Post-operation directions will be given, but in summary, it consists of gently
biting on certain cloths to stop the bleeding. Also, as one can hardly spit
(nor should one even spit at  all until
many days later) due to the numbing, much time will also be spent merely
letting blood-infused-saliva dripping out of one’s mouth. For what I highly
recommend, once the numbing begins wearing off and one is capable of drinking
water, one should begin taking pain medicine. I made a horrible mistake of not
doing such as I arrogantly assumed I had high pain tolerance when, in reality, I
was simply still numbed. But, as soon as the numbing faded away, my pain grew
from a dull ache to, quite suddenly, my upper right wisdom teeth deciding to
give birth. It was at this moment I scrambled desperately for pain medicine as
I was quite certain I began seeing angels. Horrible jokes aside, though, I do
recommend taking pain medicine before all the numbing entirely disappears and
one is left with much pain.

All in all, wisdom teeth extraction
is not too bad at all and I hope I eased—or not—any reader who is anxious about
their own upcoming surgery. Finally onto the review now, during the days of
recovery, besides being excused to consuming an unhealthy amount of ice cream
and developing a phobia towards mashed potatoes, I have decided to watch TEPL. Now before discussing the show, given
the tradition of addressing the question of whether I cried or not while
watching this particular reality show, I admittedly did shed some tears as,
simply stated, if Jihyo cries then I cry with her. However of course, nothing
will ever come close to the bawling that occurred when I watched Jessica & Krystal and indeed the
sisters’ reality show remains the best I have ever watched. Lastly, for final
technical points to address, the playlist included are merely video cuts of the
full episodes. Readers who desire to watch the full show along with English
subtitles can easily find sources via internet searching. Furthermore, with
this review, rather than the typical format of ratings that I have done in the
past, show reviews will now merely consist of a “recommendation phrase” and
reasons for such in the analytical part. After all, while numbers provide a
concrete platform for readers to think and help organize a song’s breakdown,
the same cannot be easily applied to reality shows—or at least, not with my
current lack of knowledge regarding show qualities.

With all of that, let us finally
head into the review and see whether TEPL
worth watching or not.

_______________________________________________________

Recommendation:
If one is a TWICE fan, I do
recommend the show. Otherwise, if one is watching (Korean) reality shows for
the sake of the show itself, I do find that there are other, better alternatives
to TEPL. But that said, this show can
definitely be a solid introduction to TWICE if viewers are unfamiliar of them
and desire to become fans.  

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
With TEPL, it needs to first be clarified that the title itself is
misleading: the show does not focus purely or even predominantly on the
supposed “private life” of the ladies. Certainly there are snippets involved,
but admittedly the show functions more as any other typical (Korean) reality
show—notable comparisons being other common reality shows such as Showtime, One Fine Day, The TaeTiSeo,
and so forth. In other words, this means TEPL
does not focus on what the ladies do in their private times per se but rather,
it focuses on a myriad of general activities: watching TWICE cook; hearing the
ladies discuss their ideal types; observing their dorm life; laughing with them
at the expense of scaring Nayeon; and the like. For those familiar with reality
shows (or at least Korean ones; I am unsure if culturally the idea of “reality
shows” varies), this indeed follows the exact protocol as any other: observing
the ladies engaging with many activities—hence, the “reality” aspect.

Without necessarily summarizing all
of the activities depicted on the show as that would not only spoil the show
but would be redundant and not a “review” at all, I will instead focus on how effectively
the said activities are portrayed. With the activities, as mentioned, there are
a variety of them involved but more importantly the types of activities are diverse as well—this, in my view, is the
most important aspect. Let us use an example. During one episode, the main,
overarching theme of TWICE’s activity involved creating videos whether in the
form of creating a minor music video or parodying dramas. However, afterwards
the “topic” changes into something that is completely different than creating
videos. Especially when compared to other reality shows that might stick to the
same “topic” for an excessive time, I find that TEPL adopts a balanced form of depth and variety. A contrasting
example to use is with Jessica &
Krystal
where in one episode, while the ladies were engaged in multiple
activities, the overall “topic” was still that of shopping. With TEPL, if we were to imagine a similar scenario,
what would occur instead would be that the topic of shopping only lasts for a certain
amount before that very topic soon changes to something completely different.
Thus, the overall point is this: the show allows TWICE and viewers to
experience multiple “topics” with an amount of depth that is not too short or
too long. That said, depending on one’s preferences, this can be both good and
bad. Viewers who enjoy depth versus breadth might find this show less appealing
(and thus enjoy other shows such as Jessica
& Krystal
more). On the other hand, those who enjoy breadth more than
depth would find TEPL suiting as the
show does focus more on showing multiple sides to TWICE (and this does make
sense given that this show was the ladies’ first, major reality show).

With content out of the way, let us
actually focus on the show in a structural sense as, unlike all reality shows I
have previously watched, the editing to the show is rather peculiar. Here, I
find that the show’s format can easily deter—or attract—viewers. For what I am
specifically referring to, the episodes are seemingly divided in half: the
first half of an episode consists of one main “topic” and the second half
begins another topic. This, though, means that the second half’s topic is then
finished in the next episode—something
that is quite odd as typical reality shows simply organize an entire episode
around one topic. To use a fictional example as this might be clearer, let us
pretend that in episode 5, the first half of the episode consists of TWICE
cooking. Then, the second half would make a sudden switch where it is about
TWICE dancing. From there, episode 6’s first half would be finishing up the
part about dancing and then the remaining half will be a new topic. In a
general sense, this is how TEPL is
formatted throughout all of its episodes minus, perhaps, the first episode or
so.

Different or not, this structure to
the show comes with both strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side,
because of how episodes are halved on topics, it leaves a sense of the episode
having more variety. After all, rather than one episode being focused on one
activity, there are now two. Furthermore, when it comes to length, having each
episode segmented in this manner prevents them from feeling too excessive; an
entire episode focused purely on one topic can, indeed, feel repetitive especially
if all of the episodes follow a similar trend. And—though the following could
easily be a negative—I found myself more engaged to the show as the episodes
naturally left “cliffhangers”: the remaining half of a topic would only be
finished on the next episode. Thus, if episode 6 ended with dancing, the
beginning half of episode 7 would be the conclusion of such—and this does work
well with keeping viewers interested and desiring more.

However, despite all these potential
benefits, the biggest issue that comes is how the show can at times feel
incredibly disorganized. There is a reason reality shows tend to follow the tradition
of keeping each episode highly focused on a certain activity or topic: it is
intuitive and easy to follow. While I did watch TEPL in a dedicated manner as I watched an episode per day, I can
imagine the show would be more difficult to keep track of if a viewer watches
the episodes sparingly. For example, even with watching an episode every day, there
were still moments where I had to actually re-watch the prior episode’s ending
to recall what was happening in the current episode. This confusion occurs
because a new episode is not a new
topic or activity; it is the continuation
of one. As such, if a viewer has poor memory or watches an episode every three
days, it can be understood on why this show’s structure is problematic and that
the traditional format—a new episode is genuinely new—would be far more
effective. Nevertheless, even if not more effective than the usual format of
reality shows, I appreciate Mnet’s attempt of creating a new style for the
show.

Overall, as said in the
recommendation, this show is definitely worth watching if one is a fan of TWICE
or are trying to become a fan or at least become familiar with the ladies. However,
when it comes to reality shows in a general sense, there are far more
interesting shows that exist such as Jessica
& Krystal
or Europe That GFriend
Loves
. But, in terms of all of the reality shows TWICE have done, TEPL is definitely a highlight and I
argue is tied with TWICE TV4. (And on
that note, once TWICE TV5 is
finished, I plan on reviewing it as well as—so far, at least—it is one of the
poorer reality shows I have watched. That said, the fifth season is interesting
as it seems to be more akin to standard vlogs rather than an actual reality
show as were seasons three and four.)

For finals words, after finally
getting much more familiar with TWICE and arguably even becoming a fan, I now
understand why the ladies are quite popular despite how, in my argument, they
are one of the more musically weak groups in the K-Pop scene—or at least, from
what they have portrayed via their songs. Certainly, they are individually
improving with their vocals (and of course, that Jihyo, Nayeon, and Jeongyeon
are all already solid vocalists) and TWICE does in fact have solid songs such
as “Knock Knock,” “Only You,” and “1 to 10,” but in an overall view, I and
perhaps others can agree TWICE is not the strongest musical group at all. Ignoring
the genuinely disrespectful and immature people who bash TWICE personally, the
ladies’ weaker vocals and even songs (I argue all title songs minus “Knock
Knock” are quite weak) is where a majority of criticism towards the group comes
from. After all, TWICE is arguably the
most
popular female group in K-Pop as of now, and this somehow is the case
despite the mentioned lacking in their songs and singing. Of course their
dancing is definitely solid and their strongest suit, but it would be hard to
imagine that their choreographies are able to compensate for everything else to
the degree of becoming one of the most popular artists in K-Pop. What, then, I argue
leads to TWICE’s success is the accompanying aspect to K-Pop: the personal
side. TWICE has mastered a way of sincerely connecting to fans on a personal
level—and I argue the secret is none other than how the ladies are very humble
and genuine when on camera. For an artist to thrive, they need both: solid
music and dances and appealing on a
personal level. Even if TWICE lacks the former, they more than make up in the
latter and this is perhaps why TWICE is utterly popular.

All in all, and to tie back to this
review, TEPL is one example of the
ladies appealing to the public with their personalities and interactions. And
so, while I hope to see TWICE improving musically, I also hope the ladies
continue to maintain their ability to connect with fans as this is what has
potentially led to their massive success.

_______________________________________________________

As readers can tell, this post
should have been posted much longer ago. It is only now that I have finished
some of the writing that was needed, but I do apologize greatly. Reviews will
most likely take on a back-to-back trend so that everything is caught up.
Unfortunately, while I do deserve some time to relax over summer, I have become
far too relaxed and have put off reviews and even subtitling videos for
Fiestar. I will hastily work on catching up with the latter and will also work
on catching up on reviews. The next review is a special one as it was directly requested
by a label company and thus, I hope readers enjoy it.

Thank you for reading or skimming
this review. Look forward for content to finally resume a standard schedule.

Critical Discussion: “Whether Equal Line Distribution Matters for Groups or Not (ft. Sistar)”

“Whether
Equal Line Distribution Matters for Groups or Not (ft. Sistar)”

Posted on June 4, 2017

image

For
where I wish to take this Critical Discussion, I actually plan on challenging
the very notion that an equal line distribution is necessarily the best
distribution. I, on the other hand, actually argue that a line distribution is
most effective when it accommodates members—particularly
if we are to focus on vocal roles such as “main vocalist,” “lead vocalist,” and
“sub vocalist.”

Edit (June 6, 2017): Fixed many “mechanical” writing mistakes. This post had an absurdly high amount of typos and missing words. Apologies to readers who read this prior to this edit.

Personal
Message:
Before
starting this shorter post, I do wish to apologize to readers for not writing a
review in nearly three weeks despite being on summer break. To explain my absence,
it is not due to any unfortunate event at all; my short disappearance was
merely due to taking some time to truly relax and have fun for summer. With
having two to three weeks of not writing reviews or even subtitling videos for
that matter, I am now feeling refreshed and am definitely now desiring to cover
much content. There are many songs—both newer and older—that I plan to review,
and to make up for May having little content, I will aim to have nine posts for
June. That said, with soon having my wisdom teeth removed, this may or may not
be a realistic goal depending on my recovery time and if I am capable of
writing during that very time.

On topic, however, before getting
entirely back into reviews, I decided to instead cover a relatively brief yet
heated debate that oftentimes occurs in the K-Pop scene: line distributions for
groups. Specifically, as many readers might be familiar with, there is a
general take among fans that an equal line distribution should always exist for
groups. The lack thereof, then, is why mocking statements such as “Hyorin ft.
Sistar” or “Yuju ft. GFriend” are oftentimes heard—and indeed, I find that it is
best to discuss this very topic by using Sistar as an actual example. (And on
that note, I have much to discuss for their disbandment and even the legacy
they are leaving behind when I review their final song.) For where I wish to
take this Critical Discussion, I actually plan on challenging the very notion
that an equal line distribution is necessarily the best distribution. I, on the
other hand, actually argue that a line distribution is most effective when it accommodates members—particularly if we
are to focus on vocal roles such as “main vocalist,” “lead vocalist,” and “sub
vocalist.”

_______________________________________________________

Context:
Now, before getting right into my
perspective that challenges the current, main take to line distributions, first
we need to understand why many do hold onto the notion that an equal line
distribution is the best. Already, if readers are to look at the included
visual in this post, many should feel concerned: according to this source that
gauges time as a metric for line distribution, we can tell that in Sistar’s “I
Like That,” Hyorin is dominating a huge portion of the song. More than half of
the song consists of her singing, and that is definitely a reasonable concern
given that this means the rest of the members now hardly have time for their
own vocals to be heard. A group, after all, is meant to give spotlight to all of its members; thus, whenever one
member dominates a song even if on an aural level, it does appear problematic
and even unfair to the other members.

But, let us expand this argument
beyond merely emotional arguments that it is “unfair”; in other  words, let us critically examine on a musical level why having an unequal
distribution can be problematic. Readers who are familiar with this blog’s much
older reviews will know that I used to consider line distribution as its own
category worth grading akin to, for examples, the vocals and instrumental. The
rationale behind such is that, especially in larger groups, having an equal
line distribution allows a song to maintain a dynamic, active flow. Whether
from physically hearing new voices or how members’ lines are able to alternate from
each other in a fun, creative manner, there are some actual benefits at times
to having an equal distribution. However, indeed, I no longer gauge line
distribution as important for a song as, while it still is important, it is a far minor aspect to be concerned about. And
this is where we will now head for our discussion: my take on why an equal line
distribution is not necessarily the most beneficial.

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Overall, I argue there are two main
aspects that are worth considering when disagreeing with the view that an equal
distribution matters: vocal roles of members and whether time is a reliable metric—and
no, with the latter I do not wish to connote philosophical discussions on what
time even is. Jokes aside, let us first focus on vocal roles and why these
roles—official or not—matters.

With vocal roles, as stated earlier
in this post, here I am referring to the three main types that many fans are
familiar with: main vocalist; lead vocalist; and sub vocalist. To very briefly explain
what each are if readers are unfamiliar, these are essentially based on “levels”
with the main vocalist being the most vocally capable in her/his group while the sub vocalist is the least vocally
capable in her/his group. (Emphasis is added there as it needs to be reminded
that these roles are always in the context of a group. After all, despite for
example MAMAMOO’s Hwasa being the rapper and lead vocalist of her group, her
vocal capabilities exceed a vast majority of “main vocalists” in other groups
despite how, in MAMAMOO, she is arguably only just a lead vocalist. The point
is, these vocal roles are based in the context of a group and this needs to be
understood.)

Returning to the topic of why vocal
roles matters in relation to line distributions, we have to understand that it
is natural for distribution differences to exist based on these very roles. For
example, in Sistar’s case, it makes sense for Hyorin to handle the main bulk of
a song as she is vocally the most capable in her group—and even generally
speaking as she is a fantastic singer and even rapper. On the other hand, though
Dasom is still a solid singer, she is less adept than Hyorin. Thus, not only
would it potentially be out of her own comfort to handle a huge portion of the
song—and more so if considering vocally strenuous parts—but it might also begin
to hamper the song’s own audio appeal if Dasom delivers her parts less
effectively than if another member were to. As a result, it is understandable
on why in “I Like That” Hyorin would have a very high proportion of the song:
it is where the other members are comfortable with their vocal abilities, and
it allows the song to remain at its most appealing aural state given that
Hyorin is handling and delivering lines that require higher vocal levels.

Now of course, critical readers can
already easily disagree with this point: What about other songs where members do have equal line distributions but
said distributions themselves are based on the vocal roles? The best example in
mind is actually EXID’s “Up & Down”: in this song, if correct, the time length (distribution) per member is
actually roughly equal or at least at a reasonable share, but where there are
differences are merely in what the members sing. For example, Solji’s parts
involve more difficult, skilled singing but the time length is still
equal to Hani’s parts—even if Hani’s parts are less vocally intensive. As such,
readers and fans might argue this perspective that vocal roles should not
dictate the time length of
distributions but merely the vocal level
needed.

For my rebuttal, I admit: I do not
necessarily have one at all and in fact find this line of argument the most
convincing counter point to my argument. Theoretically, if this is always
possible for song, then indeed this is
the most practical, balanced solution: all members get an equal time length for
their lines, but vocal roles are still accounted for and utilized. That said,
the only disagreement here is not so much on the idea itself as it truly is one
of the better ideas, but admittedly we have to bear in mind that this is difficult to genuinely execute. When songs are composed and are then discussed
on how to be arranged per member’s lines, it is not always possible that both an equal distribution exists that
also accommodates for a member’s own vocal capabilities. Once again to use
Sistar’s “I Like That,” there are many points in the song where it simply is
most effective if Hyorin were to sing, even if this leads to her dominating a
large portion of the song. In other cases such as EXID’s “Up & Down,” it is far easier
to have roughly equal times all while fitting members’ abilities due to how the
song itself is structured. In summary, this counter argument to one of my
points is definitely reasonable and a solid one. The issue, though, is whether
this counter point is able to be consistently and realistically implemented in
many songs, and unfortunately I do remain pessimistic. If done, however, it
indeed is a perfect solution to the entire debate regarding line distribution.

But, even in the case that we can always
pair equal line distributions with vocal roles, I still find that there is actually a
problem: the assumption that time is the best metric for gauging line
distributions in the first place. Using “I Like That” as our main example, if
we look at the chart that is included in the post, we find that Bora has an erroneously
low share of the song. But, is that the case? Based on the metric of time and
even based on the metric of “section quantity” (how many sections a member is
involved in) that is true, but I argue these are not reliable forms of
measurements at all. The reason I bring these “units of measurements” into
question is that despite Bora having mostly a singular rapping section in “I
Like That,” I argue it is one of the most impacting and lasting sections in the
entire song due to what the rap brings to the song overall. Additionally, what
do we do with other songs where the rap sections are utterly fast despite the rapping
member potentially covering more words than all of the other members combined? Thus,
do we now count words as the metric
for line distributions or do we account for the “impact”—of which is already subjective
and impossible to quantify.

If this has confused readers in the
sense of realizing that there are too many variables on why line distribution
in of itself if a difficult aspect to track, then I have done my argument: it
is simply unrealistic and almost unreliable to be able to measure line
distributions and thus, the argument for having an “equal” distribution is
already at risk if one can never measure distributions in the first place.

_______________________________________________________

Conclusion:
So, what are we to make of this? Are
readers and fans to not care for line distributions at all, find a new
measurement for counting line distributions, or remain in debate forever?
Obviously the third option. But on a more serious note, this is ultimately what
readers need to take away: the answer is not one of the listed options but instead a combined, balanced view.

In the end, while we do run into
technical problems with accounting for line distributions, it is extreme to say
either line distributions do not matter at all or that it is the most important
aspect for groups. For example, with Sistar’s “I Like That,” I find that while
Hyorin should have had a larger portion than the other members, I find it more
disturbing that Soyou—the lead vocalist—had far less time involved when she is
a very capable vocalist as well. That said with Bora’s minimal amount, I find
that we have to be critical of the claimed 6.5% as her parts involved rapping—a
peculiar section that is not best measured in time length. All in all, then,
line distribution is worthy of critique to a certain extent, but when fans
examine such without being critical—such as without realizing that raps cannot
be reliably gauged in seconds or ignoring that some inequality is fine due to vocal roles—that is when this debate
truly becomes problematic. Yes, an equal line distribution is desirable, but
equally we need to realize why some disparity is natural and even beneficial
and that ultimately, gauging line distribution is already a complex task due to
many variables in place.

_______________________________________________________

Thank you to readers for reading
this whether in full or short, and thank you to readers for being quite patient
with reviews. More content will definitely be coming for June—unless, as said,
my recovery time with wisdom teeth removal ends up being miserable. But
assuming all is well, I plan to finish June with eight more posts whether
reviews or more Critical Discussion posts.

For the next post, IU’s “Palette”
will finally be reviewed—a review that was requested by a friend who, at this
point, joking teased that merely putting up the numerical ratings would suffice
by now. But of course, an actual review will take place. (And I am working on
being more concise with my writing, so readers can expect more reviews to come
out in the future.)