G-Reyish – “Johnny Go Go” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

G-Reyish – Johnny Go Go

Reviewed on August 17, 2017

And so, for where this review will be going, I hope to provide a more respectful and thoughtful argument as to why “Johnny Go Go” is a weaker song. After all, using the idea of “copying concepts” to claim that “Johnny Go Go” is a bad song would be akin to me arguing that my reviews are terrible because the blog is not aesthetically pleasing.

Personal Message:
To the requester, I greatly
apologize for the delays. Also, I did receive the follow-up message you sent
and to that: thank you for the kind words and, there was no need to apologize
for forgetting to leave a “thank you” with the initial request message.
Nevertheless, I greatly admire how respectful and polite you are and although I
did not quite directly reply to the follow-up message until now via this review,
it was very heartwarming to read. Thank you being incredibly sweet.

Now regarding once again the reasons
for such a delay, I have unfortunately fallen into one of the deepest holes
known to humankind: dramas. Specifically, I have found myself hooked to a
relatively new Korean drama and indeed, I plan to at least write a short bonus
review on it. It is perhaps the best drama I have ever watched and is a rather
versatile one in regards to both plot and theatre aspects. (To clarify, the
latter, in my case, is referring to the acting and camerawork.) That said,
there are still some significant flaws I have found to this drama, but I will
hold off on revealing more—and even the drama’s title—as I hope the review will
cover those points. (And yes: I did cry at a certain scene—but rather than the
usual, emotional and saddening ones that oftentimes make me cry, I cried due to
the scene being incredibly wholesome and endearing.)

On topic with this requested review,
this song did prove to be one of the most challenging to review and that is not
due to its composition per se; what made reviewing this song quite difficult is
I had to decide between if certain aspects of the song were due to the
production or the composition itself. In other words, based on the music video’s
audio and other YouTube videos that claim to be the official audio, it should
be noted that the instrumental to the sound is rather muffled. Now why this
matters—and again to tie back into “production versus composition”—is that it
would greatly affect the song’s ratings. If the lower quality, muffled
instrumental is due to the production stage being faulty—the stage where the
song is physically put together via recording takes and computer usage—then I
will pardon the instrumental. After all, my reviews focus less on the physical
production and more on the theoretical
aspect—the composition itself. A song’s composition (to my understanding at
least) is when we can focus on asking why;
why does the song use a certain sound
and pattern here? It is where we can speculate and discuss certain effects and
strategies versus merely if the song’s physical quality is satisfying. A simple
example of this situation is with Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun’s “Don’t Say No”:
her music video’s audio had an instrumental that “sunk,” but in official
audios, the instrumental was completely crisp and clean and thus, the latter
would be the appropriate song to critique.

Relating this to G-Reyish’s
situation, however, we come to an uncomfortable finding: supposed official
audios still have the muddled instrumental. And so, I was put in a dilemma of
deciding if the instrumental was indeed to be considered merely poorly produced
or if this was its intended sound—and, if it was truly intentional, then how
would such factor for the song. Readers might understandably be upset, but I
will suspect that the instrumental is purposefully to sound as it is—and there
are reasons for arguing why the composers would want the instrumental to sound
muddled.

With those technical points
clarified, let us focus on the review. Interestingly, a noticeable amount of
listeners seem to dislike the song—and in fact, we can visually see this via
YouTube dislikes on G-Reyish’s music video and live performances (if I recall
correctly). What is troubling, however, is that many listeners being repelled
are not drawn away due to the song itself: many merely dislike “Johnny Go Go”
due to it being supposedly similar to T-ARA’s earlier, disco concepts. (For
readers who are unfamiliar: T-ARA, now disbanded if correct, initially entered
the K-Pop scene with disco-based pop songs such as with “Lovey-Dovey” and “Roly
Poly.”) And so, for where this review will be going, I hope to provide a more
respectful and thoughtful argument as to why “Johnny Go Go” is a weaker song. After
all, using the idea of “copying concepts” to claim that “Johnny Go Go” is a bad
song would be akin to me arguing that my reviews are terrible because the blog
is not aesthetically pleasing. This is problematic because, as I hope this
example demonstrates, the only proper way to claim my reviews are horrendous (which
is not far from the truth) is if we actually critique the reviews themselves—the
writing and analysis—rather than something that is completely. Therefore, I
hope to do the same for “Johnny Go Go”: I will focus on and critique the song
itself; the song’s disco genre and concept are completely irrelevant—barring
perhaps situations where the concepts might explain certain decision making
reflected in the song itself.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 2/10


Sections: 3/10
(3.17/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
4/10

2.     Verse: 4/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Bridge: 2/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 2/10


Instrumental: 3/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Woo woo woo woo
(A-yo)
(She’s comin’ at ya)
(Introduce, G-Reyish)
(Let’s go)

I fell for you at first sight
My cheeks turn red
What do I do?
The moment I saw you, my heart
was electrified
I do not know what to do

I’m afraid you’ll run away
I’m afraid you’ll disappear
You keep looking at me
Oh my, I don’t know what to do
I keep liking you more
I can only see your eyes
Come play with me tonight

Hey mister Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
You’ll start to like me, oh whoa
Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
Oh I’m going to tell you
Love for you
Ba babababa, barababa baba
Woo woo woo, woo
Ba babababa, barababa baba
Woo woo woo, woo

You shot me a look
I’m shaking
Why am I being like this?
Whenever I look at you,
my heart starts pounding
I get so dizzy

I’m nervous that you’ll come closer
I turn red and breathless
You keep looking my way
Oh my, I don’t know what to do
I keep liking you more
I can only see your eyes
Come play with me tonight

Hey mister Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
You’ll start to like me, oh whoa
Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
Oh I’m going to tell you
Love for you

(Make the volume louder,
So I can move to the rhythm)
(Turn the lights up)
You ready?
Get set, go

Hey mister Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
You’ll start to like me, oh whoa
Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
Oh I’m going to tell you
Love for you

Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
(Now time’s up G-Reyish)
(One more time say: “G-Reyish”)
Johnny Go, Johnny Go
D-D-D-DJ go
Oh I’m going to tell you
Love for you
Ba babababa, barababa baba
Woo woo woo, woo
Ba babababa, barababa baba
Woo woo woo, woo

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Already,
one troublesome aspect to the song is how generic and plain its sound is on all
levels—both vocals and instrumental. Harshly stated, the vocals in the song
focus less on tune appeal and seem to instead focus more towards being suitable
to the song’s displayed concept—that of being cheery and cute. While understandably
this occurs as superficial elements—the emotional and visual artistic appeal—are
in fact key components in pop music, there is a point in which overly
emphasizing those features could be at the expense of actual music appeal. Not
surprisingly, that is exactly what occurs. In “Johnny Go Go,” the vocals are
incredibly stagnant as a result: we hear exaggerated cheerful, higher pitched
vocals without any change. For example, the vocals never extend to lower ranges
or even change stylistically. The result is merely hearing the same vocal
sounds and having to hear it in a chant-like manner as there are no moments
where the singing includes beltings or is slowed or hastened. Certainly vocal variety
in of itself is not essential—in fact, “variety” in a general sense in songs is
never necessary per se—but indeed having variety drastically helps. There is
only so much appeal that can be gleaned, after all, from hearing singing that
flows and sounds the same from the very start and to the very end of the song.

As
for the instrumental, the same can be said as it relies on usual, fast beats to
create an upbeat style to the song. The main issue, however, is that the
instrumental itself also fails to add variety—this we can hear from how,
despite the song following the typical pop structure of going from verse to
pre-chorus to chorus, the instrumental remains relatively similarly throughout.
Furthermore, what also greatly hinders the song is when we consider how the
instrumental is muddled and more specifically, how it fails to utilize its bass
sounds. Now, as stated earlier, it can be understood on why this occurs—if,
again, this muddled sound is indeed intentional and not due to production
errors. Given how the vocals remain at a higher pitched and is following the
same rhythm throughout and never significantly changing, having an instrumental
that sounds muddled allows it to easily mesh with the singing. Should the
instrumental have contained powerful bass sounds and beats instead of the
current sound where those said aspects are kept down and limited, it would potentially
create a sharp disparity between the instrumental and vocals. Indeed, while I
argue the song is ultimately not aurally pleasing, I will still acknowledge and
credit the composers for having the song be organized and easily connected—both
in sections and with how the instrumental and vocal complement each other. Nevertheless,
with an instrumental that lacks sharp, clear sounds and how the vocals are
already uninteresting, this combination becomes far from admirable.

All
in all, the disco-pop genre is one that can work. Although the following
comparison might not help at all with the general public’s criticism towards “Johnny
Go Go,” T-ARA’s disco-based songs, while I would hesitate to call them solid in
any sense (now that I am more experienced with reviewing K-Pop songs), they do
provide examples of aspects that can
work. For example, in “Lovey-Dovey,” ignoring how the vocals would easily land
a two as in this review, the song contains far more variety and more
importantly, the song’s sections all held an important role. For “Johnny Go Go,”
the song almost lacked a direction: the climactic points were minimal in
contrast to other sections and the build-up was far too predictable and generic—to
name a few examples. In “Lovey-Dovey,” each section provided the song a
specific outcome and even within those sections, there were unique aspects
included so as to prevent being another, typical pop song. For example, the
choruses in T-ARA’s song might include the typical, filler “catchy” lines that
are quickly sung, but it includes contrast from lines that are noticeable
different and more strenuous. Ultimately, then, it meant that “Lovey-Dovey” ‘s
choruses—even if not too impressive—were at least more than a simple, generic
chorus that merely runs its course without introducing aspects that can be paid
attention to. That said, “Lovey-Dovey” would also poorly hold up in a review
but it does provide some insight on what would have benefitted the composers
for “Johnny Go Go,” and of course I hope readers do not misunderstand this
point and interpret it as justification to further bash G-Reyish on the basis
of T-ARA’s music. A song “being better” is already a subjective claim but more
importantly, setting up musical conflicts never benefits anyone whether it is fans,
artists, composers, or producers.

G-Reyish’s
“Johnny Go Go” might have disappointed me, but I do hope future composers (or
future songs if the same composers are kept) continually improve. Likewise, I
hope G-Reyish do manage to hold onto their disco-pop music genre if that is
indeed what their group has as their stylistic preferences. What I personally would
be interested in is if G-Reyish and their composers could perhaps one day
release a song that is distinguishable as disco-pop but, if they could somehow
do away with the vocals needing to be as rigid and plain as it is in “Johnny Go
Go”—vocals that are excessively high pitched and lacking in variety. In other
words, it would be very creative and most likely aurally pleasing if the ladies
delivered more natural, flexible vocals all while still having the upbeat,
electronic-based instrumental of disco-pop accompanying that said singing. (And
of course, there are times for higher pitched, rigid singing—or if we have to
use this term, that of “cutesy vocals.” TWICE’s “Knock Knock” is the best
example of those types of vocals being functional and extremely effectively, though
it should be noted that those “cutesy vocals” mostly work because of the
contrast from more strenuous, tuneful vocal beltings.)

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, once again thank you for being incredibly patient and for
everyone reading: recall that reviews are to begin discussions and are not to
be used as forms of personally attacking artists and composers. For example,
the composers of “Johnny Go Go” are not pathetic or stupid at all; in fact, the
composers are indeed musical geniuses and hence why they are composers in the
first place. They had a certain goal in mind when creating the song, but I
personally just happen to disagree with their goal and have reasons for such—reasons
that can be easily challenged and proven wrong. Likewise, G-Reyish should never
be attacked for “copying T-ARA” as claiming such is rather pointless; after
all, every K-Pop artist copies
another due to the limits of “concepts.” And, more importantly, the ladies
should not be personally attacked for their vocal abilities. Their singing in this
song needs to be kept in that appropriate context; in this song, their vocal
delivery happens to be poor but that does not mean their vocal skills are poor. Overall, I hope despite this review
potentially being quite harsh, that it is used and interpreted in a
constructive, mature and thoughtful manner. I encourage fans and readers to
disagree or to agree; what matters is that listeners are critically engaging
and are not merely disliking G-Reyish’s song due to its sheer concept.

With
all those clarifications aside, thank you to everyone for reading or even
skimming this review. I greatly appreciate it all. Regarding upcoming reviews,
I have two bonus show reviews: one is a drama and another is about making a drama (Idol Drama Operation Team)—though with the latter, I will also
review the respective drama that came out of it. Afterwards, we will resume
with song reviews, many being catch-up from last month but also recent
comebacks such as from GFriend and Girls’ Generation. Until then, “Come play
with me tonight”—and by that I refer to reading my questionable, mediocre
reviews at night—or at different times depending on readers’ preference.
Perhaps I do need to figure out an actual closure rather than relying on
quoting song lyrics and having them become taken out of context. Let us just
awkwardly end here similarly to the many awkward, romantic moments in dramas.