TWICE – “Only You” Review

(Audio—unofficial upload)

TWICE – Only You

Reviewed
on May 17, 2017

For
this review, while we will always look at both the strengths and weaknesses
involved, I find that a more productive discussion will come from heavily
focusing on why the song is, indeed
from my argument, good. In particular, I wish to tune into certain strategies
employed; specifically, we will discuss the role of the instrumental’s heavier
bass, the diversity of the vocals and how said vocals are accommodated for the
ladies’ vocal abilities, and how the song itself is structured and controls its
flow for certain effects.

Personal Message:
First of all, I do wish to make this
explicit: I will not be reviewing
“Signal,” TWICE’s actual comeback song. Now, should readers or TWICE fans be
incredibly curious, I am open to reviewing it only if a request is sent. That said, to share my thoughts on
“Signal,” it sadly is a disappointing song akin to—harshly stated—the rest of
TWICE’s title songs excluding “Knock Knock.” “Knock Knock” is still one of my
favorite songs in general, and even in a more critical lens, I argue “Knock
Knock” (as I did in my review of it) is incredibly well composed
especially for how the song adopts a very “stereotypical” pop style. But
regarding the original topic, indeed I find “Like Ooh-Ahh,” “Cheer Up,” and
even “TT” to all be weaker songs in general. In fact, I have already reviewed
all of them minus “Cheer Up,” and thus if readers are curious on my take, I
suggest readers reading the respective reviews. Unfortunately, while “Knock
Knock”—again, in my argument—broke
the chain of weaker songs, “Signal” is a return back into said weaker songs. JYP’s
composition of the song is, with all due respect, highly questionable. Even
more critically and to perhaps overstep my boundaries, I will even go as far as
to say JYP’s composition skills in
general
has tended to be weaker. I personally have yet to find a song
composed by JYP that has stunned me, and I am afraid “Signal” might be one of
his weakest works as of yet. (Again, this is not to say JYP is necessarily a
bad composer; he definitely is very knowledgeable and experienced, and quite
obviously, is far superior to I in this field. Thus, I hope readers interpret
my words as a form of a critical, bold critique rather than insults.)

On topic for this review, I admit I am
doing acts that are quite peculiar: for one, I am reviewing a song despite not
letting at least three days pass in order to remove instances of extreme bias
taking place; secondly, I am reviewing a side-track—a song that is a part of
the album but is not the main title. Humorously, though, I argue “Only You” should be the title track; if this was
TWICE’s comeback for the upcoming summer, this would have potentially shocked
many people in terms of music quality. (To clarify, “Signal” is “marketing”
well; their comeback, despite me rendering it as a very poor song, is
surprisingly holding number one on music charts and is garnering many sales.
The issues, though, are that other music reviewers have rated it poorly and
that many listeners find it a weaker song—this being indicated by an absurdly high
dislike ratio on the music video.) The ladies, after all, are oftentimes
critiqued for poorer vocal execution and even having overly generic pop songs.
In fact, to some extent, even I also agree with these criticisms. That said,
“Only You” is—once again, in my argument—the best song TWICE has ever released
both in terms of composition but also vocal execution. It truly is an amazing
song that showcases TWICE’s vocal skills at their peak, and the composition is
one that drastically deviates away from the more generic pop style that group
has claimed as their signature sound and style.

Finally, before getting right into the review,
I will leave a disclaimer. If readers have noticed from the blog’s side
information, “Only You” is currently my favorite song of all-time. Without
getting into the critical aspect yet, I will share that “Only You” matches my
music preferences perfectly: it
follows an upbeat pacing all while remaining “linear” akin to ballads; the
vocals consist of both simple yet complex lines and have both rapping and
singing; the instrumental focuses on a heavier bass line; and so on. The point
being, even without focusing on the actual composition at hand, I admit I very
much biasedly enjoy this song as its sounds and flow are what I prefer in songs
and I do hope readers realize I could easily be biased within this review—more
so as I am not waiting for the excitement to die down via waiting at least
three days before reviewing. However, of course, with now feeling relatively
confident in analyzing songs in a critical manner—or more realistically
speaking, me being a foolish and arrogant boy—I believe that I can review the
song without entirely projecting my biases. Regarding the composers of this
song, while I seldom do explicitly give credit, I wish to do so here: David
Anthony Eames, Debbie—Jane Blackwell, and 72 are the composers of “Only You.” These
are the men and women who authored this very song. Their work has brought what
I argue is TWICE’s best song of all-time.

For this review, while we will
always look at both the strengths and weaknesses involved, I find that a more
productive discussion will come from heavily focusing on why the song is, indeed from my argument, good. In particular, I
wish to tune into certain strategies employed; specifically, we will discuss the
role of the instrumental’s heavier bass, the diversity of the vocals and how
said vocals are accommodated for the ladies’ vocal abilities, and how the song
itself is structured and controls its flow for certain effects.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 7/10
(7.13/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Rap: 7/10

7.     Bridge (Chorus): 7/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 7/10

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

It’s weird, I didn’t imagine it at first
Just like a sugar rush
You slowly approached me
and knocked on the doors of my tired heart
Is that when it started?
I thought you were a good friend
Before I knew it, I kept thinking of you
My cheeks get red and I only smile
The love’s already begun

You’re sweet you’re just like chocolate candy
I can’t hide anymore,
I want to show you how big my heart has grown
Let’s go

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

I’ve got O-N-L-Y you
Don’t ask why
Real love has no reasons
Call me “jelly”
Call me every day
Our secret code fluttering love mode
Baby, baby, tell me, what do you think?
Why is it so complicated, you want me too
You pretend you don’t but I can tell,
I can tell that’s right
Now come here, kiss me, butterfly

Ooh
I tremble when we brush a little
Ooh
When we touch a little my heart goes
Kung*, kung, kung, it’s for sure L-O-V-E
Let’s go

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

Okay, let’s go
Don’t make me wait any longer, I’ve only got one answer
(Only you, always you)
Ticklish first love makes me feel like I’m gonna fly
(Only you, always you)
Hold my hand tightly, never ever let go
(Only you, always you)
You and me against the world, I’m not afraid
(Only you, always you)

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

*Akin to how this same word was used in TWICE’s “Knock Knock,”
“kung” is the Korean linguistic representation of a “bam”-like noise.
English equivalents in this case would be, for examples, “pit-pat” or
that one’s heart goes “thump thump.”

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Now
that all of the analytical work is actually done, I confess: I am surprised the
song in whole rates only at a seven. Not that that rating is bad at all;
indeed, if anything, getting an “above average” rating nowadays is almost a
feat when considering how I am now incredibly critical of pop songs. That said,
I personally anticipated “Only You” scoring an eight. Critically, of course,
this song does not come close to making it that far though this is not to
discredit how dazzling of a song it still is.

Onto
the review, as there are too many aspects to this song to discuss and in fact,
many of which we will not even have time for in this review (as, again, I am
focusing on being concise for reviews rather than sharing an entire dissection
of a song as I used to in the past), we will stick to what I established
earlier in the review. Already, one key element to “Only You” is its instrumental
and more specifically, how it cleverly and effectively manipulates its heavier
bass line. For example, with the bass line serving as the distinctive
foundation and even sound to the instrumental, it allows the song to easily
make core transitions. Let us take a look at the rap sections as these provide
an excellent background to why the instrumental’s heavier bass is vital. With the
rapping, they notably are somewhat odd sections in terms of not just the
initial transition, but also how the instrumental during these moments entirely
deviate from what has already been established. After all, the first rap in
particular seems to adopt a deeper and more distorted instrumental than the
rest of the song—of which features a lighter instrumental sound. While
listeners might view this as a possible point of critique, tying back to my
argument however, and we will actually find that how the composers manipulate
the heavier bass allows this moment to be saved. The first rap’s bass line—despite
its deeper sound and distortion—is still recognizable as being the same bass
line that is already at play throughout the song. Thus, this bass line serves
as reference point: it is the same bass line that listeners can easily seek
out, but merely changed in its sound. And especially if we scope out further,
we realize this bass transformation parallels the song in its entirety as the
first rap section is still following
the same flow, though with a changed sound. In other words, this example is
merely one that showcases how the instrumental—particularly the reliance on a
heavier bass line—is used by the composers in a structural sense of keeping the
song organized. Of course, though, sonic benefits exist as well such as how the
instrumental covers the lower range of sounds especially as TWICE’s vocals
focus more towards the higher end barring perhaps the pre-choruses. We will not
dive in much further details here, however.

Regarding the next focus, the vocals
and the diversity within this field are rather impressive. On a simplistic
level, there is praise for how “Only You” is able to incorporate both rapping
and singing, but more importantly, that within these very branches that there
are still variances within. For example, the first rapping focused more on
power and flow while the second rapping focuses on building up the song.
Similarly, the singing ranged from stronger vocal beltings such as at the
choruses to smooth, slower and rhythmic singing such as at the verses and
pre-choruses. Overall, then, especially as vocal variety tends to be a key
appeal in pop songs, we can already understand why “Only You” sounds great
vocally as it covers a wonderful range of styles that will very likely hold
listeners’ attentions.

All that said, this is the minimal
aspect that I wish for us to home in on. What I find more relevant for
discussion is when we actually analyze the vocals in the context of TWICE’s vocal roles and abilities. Particularly, I find
that “Only You” truly accommodates TWICE’s vocal strength and weaknesses in
perhaps the most effective way I have heard as of yet. First, though, we have
to understand what I connote when I say “vocal roles.” As some readers are
aware of, groups tend to be split with “main vocal,” “lead vocal,” and “sub
vocal.” The former, in short, are members who can handle more complex and
difficult singer while the latter are members who tend to be weaker singers.
The middle role is, quite literally, the actual middle ground between the
mentioned two. While I do not wish to necessarily begin a debate regarding which
member in TWICE has which roles (these are “official” but I personally have my
own mental list as I find this to be far more accurate than what official websites
claim), I do wish to focus on how in “Only You,” the sub vocalists are finally
singing in an appropriate context.

I think it first makes more sense to
discuss the opposite, however: discussing examples of when the sub vocalists
did not get to sing in their right
contexts. “Cheer Up” is one example in that Sana’s “shy shy shy” line, while it
is now a pop cultural phenomenon, is a very weak musical line that does not
showcase her vocal skills at all. Another example is how in “TT,” both Momo’s
and Sana’s pairing at the pre-choruses are also a moment of weaker vocals. What
is troubling—and to get to my main point—is that the sub vocalists in many past
songs have been delegated to lines that are not
musically-orientated at all per se. Finally, though, in “Only You,” the sub
vocalists have lines that are much more intensive and complex in comparison to
their other songs but most importantly, “Only You” ‘s lines that involve the
sub vocalists actually involve them singing as harsh as that may sound. And
indeed, they definitely can sing and the sub vocalists of TWICE delivered many
impressive, fluid and lower-pitched lines for “Only You” and that deserves
credit as their parts are as vital as, for example, Nayeon’s and Jihyo’s lines
at the choruses (and equally Jeongyeong’s beltings throughout the song). In
summary, “Only You” showcases not just vocal variety, but it also showcases
excellent vocal execution in the first place and that is highly emphasized due—especially
when contrasting prior songs—to how the sub vocalists finally have
musically-based lines rather than being restricted to catchy, filler lines as
they historically have been.

Lastly, for the last point I will
discuss, the song itself was brilliantly structured. Specifically for what I
wish to discuss, the composers’ ideas on how to control the song’s flow are
very impressive. Although I do wish to discuss each and every section,
realistically it would be best to discuss merely one: the pre-choruses. I will
even go to the extremes of claiming that the pre-choruses in “Only You” are the
best ones I have ever heard in any pop song. In terms of what actually occurs
during these parts, nothing mind-blowing happens at all despite how much praise
I am giving. Summarizing the pre-choruses, they follow this overall strategy: The
pre-chorus in this song, first of all, is the moment when the vocals and instrumental
begin to mix together—as indicated by the slower pacing and how the vocals are
now lower-pitched to suit with the bass line and that the rhythm becomes a
prominent feature. Structurally, though, the pre-chorus relaxes the song via
slowing down and, once again, switching focus to the beats and rhythm that soon
begin to accelerate and climax in the form of the choruses. Again, nothing is
unique at all for the pre-choruses, and yet I am very surprised. What I actually
find delightful is how the pre-choruses utilize two different types of build up: the pre-choruses both relax the
song, but equally within the same space and time, the sections soon build up
the song back into a heightened state in a very natural, seamless manner due to
how the aural component meshed both vocals and instrumental. Typically only one
type is used. Using “TT” once again as an example, in that song we find that
the pre-choruses focus on hyping up the song—but, quite clearly, the
pre-choruses in that song do not do both. Another example in mind is the recent
review of VARSITY’s “U R My Only One.” In that song, the pre-choruses “downgrade”
as its form of building up the song, and though it admittedly does heighten the
song back akin to “Only You,” it does so in a very rigid, explicit manner while
“Only You” is able to do this without even attracting attention to this very
strategy.

And, while I seldom critique lyrics
as of the late—perhaps, in once again a harsh manner, due to the fact that many
lyrics of recently reviewed songs are all average—“Only You” has solid lyrics. The
fact that the verse and raps are not repeats and that even the pre-choruses use
different details rather than typically just recycling the same section helps
bring the lyrics up in rating. Furthermore, though the following does not
account at all for the score as it is the variety of details I care for, I hope
readers also enjoyed the song’s lyrics in a romantic sense. The plot is quite
endearing and sweet and in the overarching view of “Only You,” the lyrics
holding up well serves as the final, pretty wrapping to the song.

Praises aside, however, I still find
it crucial that we discuss the faults of the song. The main fault I have is how
the last rap and final portion of the song begin to create a tedious sound. With
the last rap, we find it alternating between rapping and chanting, and though
this makes sense on a structural level, chanting in songs are always at risk
due to how they can easily create a mundane sound if not balanced appropriately
with some other factor. Now, the composers did attempt that very act of
balancing via using the chorus as the bridge—thus, it counters the chanting’s
stale phrases through a very delicate, tuneful section. However, the somewhat
comical aspect is that this solution now creates another problem: that a
follow-up chorus—the regular one—is used to get the song moving again. The
issue here, of course, is that given the nature of the choruses in that they
are lengthier and rely on a linear flow, having two back-to-back choruses
becomes overly dragging of the song. While ultimately these faults are not
significant in the main view of the song, it still is noteworthy as “Only You”
starts off impressive but begins to languish as the song runs. It is always desirable
for songs to get better the further it gets, such after all is the
iconic structure of ballads, and thus the fact that “Only You” does the
opposite can definitely be concerning.

All in all, “Only You” is an amazing
song. It personally is my favorite song of all-time, and I expect it will stay
that way for many months if not even at least a year. Additionally, regardless
of what my favorites are, I personally argue it is TWICE’s best song. Should
fans ever desire to mute the mouths of those who are critiquing the group’s
music without being critical (emphasis: without
being critical
; it is fine to critique TWICE’s music as I do because I am
being critical and respectful), the song should be self-explanatory and can easily
be used to defend the ladies. What upsets me the most is how this song is not
the title and comeback track; it possesses a “summer sound” that would fit the
upcoming months, and with its style of infusing ballad-like elements while
containing the usual pop sound of TWICE, it truly astounds me that “Signal” was
chosen over this song. (But given that “Signal” is composed and produced by
JYP, their CEO, it perhaps makes sense on why that song is privileged as the
title song.)

As for final remarks, TWICE is a
group that does have music potential. Understandably, TWICE has been
historically a weaker group musically speaking as, I argue, all of their title
tracks are poor excluding “Knock Knock.” But, especially with extreme hate
spewed at the ladies on a personal level, I wish to remind readers—whether fans
or non-fans of TWICE—that criticism can only be kept in an art-based context. In other words, their dances, music
videos, and songs can be and should
be critiqued. What is not ethical is when listeners decide to attack the ladies
personally (especially as some might
feel that, understandably, it is “unfair” that TWICE is quite popular despite being
relatively musically weak). Never should the ladies themselves be attacked
unless if that genuinely is a case, though the likelihood is already near
impossible. (For example, if Jihyo is found to be an abusive leader and
constantly physically beats the members, then of course she can be personally
critiqued. But of course, this is a silly fake example and Jihyo would never do
such, but the point is that TWICE can only be critiqued musically and not
personally as, from my understanding, they truly are upright women who attempt
to always do as much good for the world as they can.)

Overall, while I personally will
forever remain critical of all of their title tracks barring “Knock Knock,”
TWICE is a group I would consider myself a fan of. They do have a lot of music
potential—this we hear in “1 to 10” or in “Only You” for examples—and I hope we
will hear more of a musical TWICE and less of a “generic pop group” TWICE. It
is a tough situation, however, as sheer popularity appeal via catchy songs is
what made TWICE get this far (and, pessimistically said, music quality in the
pop scene does not get as much respect as it should be as fans care more about
the aesthetic pleasures instead—which, again, is understandable). But indeed, I
remain optimistic that TWICE will head towards a more musical-orientated side
soon. And I remain optimistic and mostly delusional that Jihyo will one day get
down on one knee and propose to me. This, though, is probably irrelevant to the
review.

_______________________________________________________

Horrible
jokes aside, thank you for reading this review whether in full or short. I
appreciate it and hope, most importantly, that it sparks some deeper thinking
about music or K-Pop for readers. That is why I write reviews; I do not write
for the popularity and attention (after all, writing music reviews is a
horrible way to get attention), but that I hope I can begin discussions and
actively engage readers to being more critical to K-Pop.

For
the next review, I have received an indirect request: IU’s “Palette.” I claim it
is an indirect request as a dear friend is the one who personally asked me.
Thus, in some ways, it still is a request even if not sent in officially via
the blog. Nonetheless, that will be the next song we focus on. Afterwards, I
have mixes of Critical Discussion posts and artists that have yet to be
reviewed at all (though IU is interesting an artist I have yet to review) that we
will cover. Until then, “[a]lways stay with me, don’t leave me boy/girl”—because,
quite obviously, I am a rather clingy boy. Jokes aside, look forward to IU’s “Palette.”  

BTS – “Spring Day” Review

(Music Video) / (Audio) / (Dance
Practice)

BTS – Spring Day

Reviewed
on March 11, 2017

That
said, while a few fans have claimed that “Spring Day” is supposedly a weaker
song or at least a song that is unfitting for BTS, I highly disagree: I argue “Spring
Day” is a solidly composed song and it is executed well by the members
themselves. Moreover, this song showcases the versatility of the men and their
composers and producers: beyond just deviating away from the more upbeat and
powerful style BTS is known for, we have to understand that on a compositional
level, “Spring Day” itself deviates away from usual structures and said deviations are actually
effective.

Personal Message:
It has been—if correct—about three
weeks since this review request was sent in. With other posts (specifically an
important post regarding MAMAMOO’s recent controversy and a
discussion on racism in general
—which, on a random note, I am beyond shocked at how
well-received the post is in terms of sparking critical thinking and
discussions) and so much university work occurring, this request was inevitably
delayed. To the requester, I greatly and sincerely apologize for this delay. On
the positive side, however, I am indeed on spring break for a week and plan to
finish this review along with TWICE’s “Knock Knock” and another recent request
on HIGH4’s “Love Line.” Afterwards, March will take a more leisurely pacing but
I hope to have six posts by the end of the month.

Onto the review itself, if correct
it has actually been quite some time since we have last encountered a song that
has been rated relatively high (at least at “above average,” a seven). But
indeed, “Spring Day” does score quite well. That said, while a few fans have
claimed that “Spring Day” is supposedly a weaker song or at least a song that
is unfitting for BTS, I highly disagree: I argue “Spring Day” is a solidly
composed song and it is executed well by the members themselves. Moreover, this
song showcases the versatility of the men and their composers and producers: beyond
just deviating away from the more upbeat and powerful style BTS is known for,
we have to understand that on a compositional level, “Spring Day” itself
deviates away from usual structures and
said deviations are actually effective.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.75/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 7/10
(6.67/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Rap: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 8/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 6/10

[Introduction Instrumental]

I miss you
When I say that, I miss you more
I’m looking at your photo
but I still miss you
Time is so cruel
I hate us
Now it’s hard
to even see each other’s faces
It’s only winter here
Even in August, winter is here
My heart makes time run
Like a snowpiercer left alone
I want to hold your hand
and go to the other side of the earth
to end this winter
How much longing has to fall like snow
for the spring days to come?
Friend

Like a small piece
of dust
that floats in the air
If the flying snow is me
I could
reach you faster

Snowflakes are falling
Getting farther away
I miss you (I miss you)
I miss you (I miss you)
How much more do I have to wait?
How many more nights do I have to stay up?
Until I can see you? (Until I can see you?)
Until I can meet you? (Until I can meet you?)
Past the end of this cold winter
Until the spring comes again
Until the flowers bloom again
Stay there a little longer
Stay there
Did you change?
(Did you change?)
Or did I change?
(Did I change?)
I hate even this moment that is passing
I guess we changed
I guess that’s how everything is

Yeah I hate you
Although you left
There hasn’t been a day that I have forgotten you
Honestly, I miss you
But now I’ll erase you
because that will hurt less than resenting you

I’m blowing out the cold
Like smoke, like white smoke
I say that I’m going to erase you
But actually, I still can’t let you go

Snowflakes are falling
Getting farther away
I miss you (I miss you)
I miss you (I miss you)
How much more do I have to wait?
How many more nights do I have to stay up?
Until I can see you? (Until I can see you?)
Until I can meet you? (Until I can meet you?)

You know it all
You’re my best friend
The morning is going to come again
Because no darkness, no season,
can last forever

Cherry blossoms are blooming
The winter is ending
I miss you (I miss you)
I miss you (I miss you)
If I wait a little longer (if I wait)
If I stay up a few more nights
I’ll go see you (I’ll go see you)
I’ll go pick you up (I’ll go pick you up)
Past the end of this cold winter
Until the spring comes again
Until the flowers bloom again
Stay there a little longer
Stay there

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: To
continue the discussion of this song differing from the norms of (Korean) pop
music, readers should first take some time to actively listen to the song—or,
one can easily take a visual look at the structures themselves. One detail
should stick out: there are no verses per se. (And for those unfamiliar, in my reviews
I connote sections not by denotation but rather connotation; in other words,
yes there technically are verses but focusing on the context, we will consider these sections “rapping sections” versus
verses.) Instead, interestingly, the rapping sections serve in place of the typical
verses. This serves two strong benefits to the song. For one, it definitely
brings “Spring Day” variety and creativity beyond just stylistic appeal. On a sonic level, for example, we find that
these rap sections are quite diverse: there are instances of faster, rigorous
pacing and also moments where the raps follow a more tranquil, rhythmic focus. Additionally,
the members’ execution—factors of flow, fluency, tone, tune, and so forth—remain
excellent. Furthermore on a structural level, because of how flexible rapping
can be with intensity compared to being confined to a typically more passive
state as are verses, “Spring Day” reaps the benefit of such by very much using
the raps for a majority of the song’s main transition points.

For
another aspect I wish to focus on, the bridge is very impressive—as noted by
its much higher rating. There are two main points that I will concisely cover
for why this is the case. The first point is that the bridge is quite suitable
both transitioning to but also out from. Admittedly the song in of
itself helps with this: consider how “Spring Day” progresses in a relatively
linear fashion, and that all shifts are with minimal fluctuations. After all,
it is not as if a transition from the pre-chorus to chorus leads us to a chorus
that is utterly transformed and upbeat. Thus, with the song already naturally
being a tight form, this aids with the bridge’s placement. But even so, it
should still be appreciated that the bridge is not inserted as an awkward point
but that its entry was soothed in by V’s stunning vocal belting and that the
follow-up afterwards was a direct return to the song’s concluding chorus. Finally,
the second point has already been touched upon: V’s singing there worked out
exceptionally well. Aurally, the vocal belting along with the lower vocal range
ends up complementing the bridge’s intended style, and as already discussed,
said vocal belting allows the bridge to be eased into smoothly.

Lastly,
for perhaps the remaining major praise worth pointing out, the instrumental is
fascinating. In a majority of other songs, I would most likely have found this
type of instrumental to be quite detrimental, and yet in “Spring Day” this type
of instrumental becomes one of its strongest assets. Specifically, I am
referring to how this instrumental “de-syncs” from rest of the song; a simple
example is to listen to the choruses and notice that the instrumental does not
perfectly mesh with the intensity of the vocals. Even more noticeably is that the
beats are not based on the vocals at all but instead are based on its own
rhythm and timings. In other words, this “de-sync”  or “off-sync” that in many cases would
oftentimes be hindering to a song as it overly shifts focus to an
indeterminable point is surprisingly helpful to the song. But why? I argue “Spring
Day” is an exception if we focus on how the vocals work in the song: focused on
being slower and “heavier” in presence—this we find by how “breathy” the vocals
can be. Thus, the instrumental ends up fitting and even benefiting the song as it
is able to replicate that pulsing, heavier style—even if, overall, the
instrumental is following its own pacing and emphasized points.

All
that said, the song still has a few weaknesses that should not be entirely
overlooked—though for the most part, admittedly they “can” be given that the
other aspects compensate. For example, the choruses, I argue, are the song’s
weakest sections and overall even aspect. The choruses have the issue of simply
dragging on far too excessively and thus, this creates a stagnant, duller flow.
We can hone in on this problem in two ways. One is we can first understand the
issues at play with the instrumental and vocals: both run in a linear fashion
and both are emulating similar styles with emphasizing heavier, pulsing moments.
The other way we can find that the choruses are too dragged is considering how
the choruses’ inner shifts—in other words, the latter half of them—are for the
most part merely time extensions to the choruses themselves. In clearer terms:
there truly are minimal changes in the choruses. That said, to return to the
instrumental being a benefit, this is where it comes into effect: given that
the instrumental and vocals—despite sharing stylistic similarities—are actually
not following the exact same path and flow, there is at least some variety
occurring. Nevertheless, the choruses are susceptible to a monotonous sound.

Regarding
another weaker aspect, the pre-choruses would be the next problem. These
sections are in a peculiar case: certainly they do their roles of transitioning
the song—this being signified with the typical hastening of beats—but the main
problem is that these sections are negligible in terms of actually providing
the song something beyond just a transitional tool. Overall, the pre-choruses sound
nothing more than an “earlier” extension of the choruses, and this is
incredibly problematic considering that the choruses are already struggling
with sounding too mundane and lengthy.

All
in all, however, “Spring Day” is still a rather solid song. The composition
involved—particularly with the unique usages of the raps—is excellent, and of
course, the members’ vocal contributions are excellent as well. Indeed: BTS can
handle “softer” songs as much as they can handle their usual powerful, stronger
and upbeat songs. While this song is still far from flawless as the choruses
really do begin sounding far appealing over various playbacks, I personally do
assert this is BTS’ best song as of yet.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, once again huge apologies for not finishing this up many weeks
ago. Thank you for both sending this in and for being very patient. I hope this
review will be worth the wait and that most importantly, it sparks an ongoing discussion
about the song and that it promotes thinking of songs in a more critical
fashion.

For
upcoming reviews, readers can look forward to the long awaited review on TWICE’s
“Knock Knock”—a song that I argue has been brilliantly composed and is one of
the most “efficient” and “accommodating” songs I have heard—and afterwards two
requests: HIGH4’s “Love Line” and a return to the past with EXO’s “Call Me
Baby.” Unfortunately “Time is so cruel” so it will take a while to get all
these reviews out, but I hope readers look forward to them.

BTS – “Dead Leaves” Review

(Audio—unofficial
upload)

BTS – Dead Leaves

Reviewed
on February 27, 2016

Nevertheless,
although many fans might desire to praise and cherish the song on the basis of
it being unique—which, again, I do not disagree with nor do I find these
“unworthy” qualities as it is
important to have distinguishable songs from the hundreds of thousands (Korean)
pop songs—I disagree with praising the song in this way. In fact, I struggle to
praise the quality of the song in general; certainly the song is by no  means utterly weak, but I will argue that if
we look beyond uniqueness we will find that “Dead Leaves” is a rather plain,
negligible song.

Personal Message:
First of all, thank you so much to
the requester of this review for sending this in. It has been multiple weeks
since I actually received the request, so my sincere apologies for this delay.
Although the following is no way to excuse myself, I hope to clarify the delay
is because I have been quite busy and not neglecting the request. For other
news, if I am on track I hope to equally post another review request that also
involves BTS. Afterwards, I plan to wrap up the shorter month of February with
TWICE’s “Knock Knock”—a song that I am finding as my current favorite song of
all-time and one that is excellently efficient and accommodating in its
composition for TWICE’s weaker vocals. But we will save that discussion for
when it is appropriate.

To address this current review’s
link, I am using an unofficial YouTube upload. For basically what this means,
for future readers reading this three years from now—which, now thinking of
such, is definitely a bizarre yet intriguing thought—the link might no longer
work because of copyright issues or because the uploader removed her/his video.
As such, should this be the case—whether three years from now or somehow in a
few months—then manually searching for the song will have to be done.

Addressing one last technical point,
as mentioned earlier, due to also wanting to finish another request, this
review will perhaps be shorter than usual and I might opt to skip over some
details. (A prime example would be not discussing why I rated the lyrics as is—though
this will not be the case for this particular review.) Moreover, I also plan to
focus on key concepts rather than all of the minute details. I hope this all
works out so that the review is brisk yet thought-provoking to read, and so
that I can also review “Spring Day” in time.

Finally discussing the song itself,
“Dead Leaves” is—in terms of its breakdown—incredibly different from a majority
of other songs reviewed before. The song itself is not necessarily the
strongest I have heard nor is its structural composition any better. However,
in terms of its lyrics and its flow, both of these aspects are definitely
unique compared to many other pop songs—and with the lyrics specifically, it
scores incredibly well. Nevertheless, although many fans might desire to praise
and cherish the song on the basis of it being unique—which, again, I do not
disagree with nor do I find these “unworthy” qualities as it is important to have distinguishable
songs from the hundreds of thousands (Korean) pop songs—I disagree with
praising the song in this way. In fact, I struggle to praise the quality of the
song in general; certainly the song is by no
means utterly weak, but I will argue that if we look beyond uniqueness
we will find that “Dead Leaves” is a rather plain, negligible song.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(4.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Rap: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Bridge: 4/10

6.     Conclusion: 6/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 8/10

[Instrumental introduction]

Like those dead leaves there
that have fallen and are flying
My love is collapsing without strength
Your heart is only going further away
I can’t grab you
I can’t grab you any more, more, more
I can’t hold on longer, yeah

Over there,
the autumn leaves that look like they’re at stake
It seems like they’re looking at us
If our hands touch, even if it’s all at once
it only seems like it’s going to be crumbs
I just only looked with the winds of autumn
The speech and facial expressions that have gotten
colder all of a sudden
I can only see our relationship withering
Like the autumn sky, it’s empty between us
An ambiguous difference that is different from before
A night that’s much more quiet today
A single autumn leaf that’s attached to the branch
It’s breaking, I can see the thing called “the end”
The dead leaves that are becoming shriveled
The silence inside your aloof heart
Please don’t fall
Please don’t fall, the dead leaf that’s becoming crumbs

I want you who makes eye contact with me
I want you who wants me again
Please don’t fall
Please don’t collapse
Never never fall
Don’t go far far away
Baby you girl I can’t hold onto you
Baby you girl I can’t give up on you
Like the dead leaves that fell
This love, like the dead leaves
Never never fall
It’s withering

As if every autumn leaf has fallen
As if everything that seemed eternal
is going further away
You’re my fifth season
Because even if I try to see you, I can’t
Look, to me, you’re still green

Even if our hearts aren’t walking, it walks by itself
Our foolishness, like laundry, is being hung piece by piece
Only the bright memories are dirty
It falls on me
Even if I don’t shake my branch, it keeps falling
That’s right, in order to raise my love, it falls
Even if we’re close, my two eyes become further,
spreads further
Like this, being thrown out
Inside my memories, I become young again

Never never fall yeah
Never never fall yeah
I want you who makes eye contact with me
I want you who wants me again
Please don’t fall
Please don’t collapse
Never never fall
Don’t go far far away

Why, can I still not give up on you?
I hold onto the withered memories
Is it greed?
The lost seasons I try to restore,
I try to restore them

Blaze them brightly, flare
It was all pretty, wasn’t it?
Our pathroads
But it all withered
The dead leaves fall down like tears
The wind blows and everything drifts apart all day
The rain pours and shatters
Until the last leaf
You you you

I want you who makes eye contact with me
I want you who wants me again
Please don’t fall
Please don’t collapse
Never never fall
Don’t go far far away
Baby you girl I can’t hold onto you
Baby you girl I can’t give up on you
Like the dead leaves that fell
This love, like the dead leaves
Never never fall
It’s withering

Never never fall
Never never fall

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: To
begin this review, we first need to understand the song’s current strengths.
After all, it scores at a six which is quite decent despite my harsher,
critical remarks that “Dead Leaves” is supposedly a plain and forgetful song.

As
discussed earlier, the song’s uniqueness does help its ratings—and more
specifically, that uniqueness exists in the lyrics of which I consider an
appropriate category for a song to be judged in. For why the lyrics score
incredibly well—and readers should realize an eight for lyrics is incredibly
rare and only two other songs on this blog have earned such—the details are
phenomenal. Even if the plot itself is nothing too spectacular as it is a
romantic-related (or more accurately, a not-so-romantic one as it involves a
breakup) topic and thus, is far from unique, the details truly make the song
become a miniature story.

For
example, with the first rap, we come into details that are not repeated or are
cliché as oftentimes is the case with pop music. Unlike lyrics that follow
extreme simplicity such as “Our love is going away / My heart hurts every day”
(I made up these lines; if I end up quoting an actual song, it is by pure
coincidence), the first rap instead brings out an entirely fleshed scenario and
description of the protagonist’s feelings. This occurs at other moments in the
song, and even the choruses are still building off the main story versus spewing
lines that are not specifically rooted in an individual, creative plot. This
incredible level of details in the lyrics is why I have given it an eight. It
is like a story; and for me to be able to claim such—even if, yes, the story
itself is not necessarily amazing in of itself—the very fact that it comes off
as one versus “regular, generic pop lyrics” is praiseworthy.

Another
aspect that is the song’s strength—though it is one that is not quite scored
and thus unable to directly aid the song’s rating—is that the style involved is
different from many other pop songs. Although many might disagree, I believe it
is still important for songs—especially in pop as there are a plethora of songs
existing—to have a distinguishing, creative style that is heard in either
aurally or structurally (or even both). In “Dead Leaves,” what makes its style
unique is how it flows: the song focuses on slower build up that, once it
reaches its climax (the choruses—as is oftentimes the case), the release from
there is orientated towards slower, wave-like progression versus the expected
and typical style of merely streaming out the climax.

Let
us use some examples since what I am discussing is incredibly abstract. In BTS’
“I Need U,” we find that the chorus flows out rather fluently and directly: the
chorus occurs and it simply continues off the song. In fact, it is hardly
thought that a song’s climactic piece would run anything but as a fluent stream. However, in “Dead Leaves,” this is not the
case as the choruses is frequently chunked up and therefore carries subtle
pauses, and furthermore the choruses are quite lengthy and dragged on versus
occurring in a somewhat hastier fashion so that the song can easily “reset”
back to its build up form. (And for another random note, pop songs run in what
is called a “binary” form because of this very reason; there is oftentimes a
“cycle” of going from “A” to “B” and back to “A” and the cycle begins again—and
hence “binary” as there are two main portions. But this is getting far too
technical and further abstract and is definitely not a part of the discussion
for “Dead Leaves.”)

Returning
to the main reason for all this lengthy explanation, I mention this all to
explain that the song very much sounds unique. Seldom do pop songs follow this
type of flow and, with the “binary” form of pop music (which I attempted to
explain), it is definitely interesting to hear “Dead Leaves” have its own style
to the binary format.

All
that said, while creativity is welcomed and is arguably necessary for a
group/soloist to survive—and by “survive” I merely mean “stay relevant” because
I love being dramatic—in the K-Pop scene, this does not mean a song is
automatically good. In other words, just
because a song sounds different does not mean it is therefore a strong song; this
will ultimately be the driving idea behind this current review. If a listener
hears a very different song and then uses that as her claim for why the song is
good, it is an incredibly weak argument. Equally said, it is also a weak
argument to critique a song for “sounding generic” on the sole basis of that.
For example, in the past I have claimed some songs sounded awfully generic and
typical, but I then (or at least I hope) went on to explain why it sounds generic and why sounding
generic in that song’s particular case
is bad. If nothing else is gleaned from this review, I do hope readers
understand these crucial points: never discuss and critique music quality
purely on sounding “different” or “similar” to other songs. Instead—as I will
do with TWICE’s “Knock Knock,” a very
generic pop song—it is about looking at the composition and production involved
and then deciding whether a song is good or not (and of which there is no right
answer as music is all subjective).

With
all that in mind, let us now discuss what I do find weak in “Dead Leaves.” To
save time and to not bore readers with robotically breaking down each aspect to
the song, I wish to instead hone in on one section: the choruses. As much as I
admire the creativity involved in general but more specifically the choruses, I
find that the composition sacrificed efficiency and even quality just for “Dead
Leaves” to be deemed “creative” or “unique” within the context of its chorus
and overall flow. What remains most troubling is how excessively dragged the
choruses sound. For example, as already partially discussed above, the choruses
do not just run through and carry on the song; rather, the choruses contain
frequent pauses and, to describe its flow, it is akin to waves: pushing out
hard, receding a little, and then pushing out hard once again and repeating
this.

Now,
this composition decision is not just for the sake of creativity and I do wish
to clarify that. A musical benefit that comes from this approach is that the
vocals are granted additional chances to showcase minimal beltings—this being a
pleasing aspect to BTS’ vocals in this song. Nonetheless, this main benefit is still
questionable: doing such comes at the expense at making the vocals and
instrumental sound “stretched.” To explain what I mean, the choruses’ ending
time should be much shorter than they currently are. Especially with
considering the second half of the choruses, this portion of the choruses are
not necessary per se and I argue this additionally, length-dragging aspect only
creates a more rigid, awkward “recycling”—going back to the following verse’s
calmer state—when in many ways the song have done that transition without
needing the excessive dragging manner. And with this, besides structurally
lowering the choruses’ ratings, this section’s instrumental is also in of
itself poorly executed because it very much amplifies the problem and indeed, a
lowering instrumental rating can be quite detrimental.

Ultimately,
“Dead Leaves” does score decently but we have to be critical: is the decent
rating because in an aesthetical sense the song is solid—in other words,
gauging its lyrics and uniqueness—or is, despite the given rating, the song in
a musical sense is actually slightly weaker? Readers can tell, I personally
argue for the latter: “Dead Leaves” struggles with its composition and thus it
renders as a bit too stretched during its choruses. Again, I do wish to
highlight and praise the creativeness involved and for the risk taken with the song’s
composition, but with being a critical, active listener I cannot help but bring
up the song’s significant flaws.

But
of course, readers have to be remember this is all my opinions; I do not state these points to bash BTS or their song,
but I instead wish to begin a discussion that I hope fans and listeners can
build upon whether through disagreeing with me, agreeing with me, or a
combination of both. That is why music is reviewed: for the intellectual,
mature, and respectful discussions. No one reads music reviews because they
want a reviewer to form an opinion for them; after all, it only takes perhaps
seven playbacks of a song for one to get a firm grasp on what their take is. Indeed,
people read music reviews because they want to have various insights—perhaps even
insights that would completely conflict with what they think of a song. That is
the goal of my review, and I very much mention this as I understand there will
be fans who are upset at my words even if statistically the song manages to
score decently.

_______________________________________________________

I
feel incredibly guilty for this request being delayed for so long. Since it is
later at night that I am finishing this one, the request for BTS’ “Spring Day”
will instead come out tomorrow or in a few more days. I am getting slightly less
busy, but I do still have school tasks to handle and thus might be unexpectedly
busy. (Examples include group projects, essays, and preparing my third lesson
for seventh graders—the latter being something I am excited for.) But
admittedly I have been spending much time watching TWICE videos instead of
finishing up priorities, such as a theology essay, but that is beside the point—I
mean, “So what?” as Momo says. And “so what” if the ladies are all incredibly
gorgeous—physically and non-physically—and can still look flawless with minimal
makeup on while if I do the same I still look like I have not slept in weeks.

Jokes
and TWICE references aside, thank you to all for reading this review whether in
full or skimmed. Thank you so much to the requester once again for sending this
in and for being patient. “Spring Day” by BTS will be next for review, and
afterwards, I will finish up the month with TWICE’s “Knock Knock” and begin
March with another new review request. Make sure you “Don’t go far far away.”

V – “Stigma” Review

(Audio)

V (from BTS) – Stigma

Reviewed
on January 24, 2017

image

And
so, although “Stigma” faces the stigma of being a slower, dramatic song and
thus is disliked by many fans because of such, I argue the song is actually an
excellent one. If we are critical and listen beyond the song’s style and begin
attempting to understand why certain
compositions are in place, we will find that “Stigma”—despite being “boring” or
“too slow”—has many creative, efficient, and stunning points.  

Personal Message:
As perhaps readers can guess, I am
back at university and somehow already quite busy. Although this semester
appears to be quite challenging, I am expecting it to be “easier” than the last
as I have multiple two hour breaks in between classes and thus, my tendency to
procrastinate is greatly minimized. Personally a huge issue with last
semester—and this relating to the lack of reviews during that period—was squeezing
all of my classes back-to-back and as a result, despite many hours of free time
afterwards, I ended up wasting them away with distracting tasks. Perhaps this
could be a scheduling tip to readers who, like me, are not as disciplined.

On topic with this review, I would
like to thank a reader for sending in this request. I greatly apologize for not
getting to it sooner, but I hope this review is still enjoyable and
thought-provoking. I personally have been anticipating writing a review for this
song as there is so much to discuss in terms of music. As the requester
addressed, many fans struggle to listen to “Stigma”—a song that is not a
title/comeback song and instead is a song included in one of BTS’ albums.
Furthermore, the artist singing is just BTS’ V and thus, this creates more
difficulties as it is not the usual of every member participating. But of
course, the true problem is not the technicalities with members and “Stigma” not
being a title song; the issue is that musically
the song is hard to “enjoy.” It is not upbeat and within the pop genre as is,
say, the group’s “Blood Sweat & Tears,” nor does it involve powerful
dancing and a flashy music video. “Stigma” is the opposite: it is a soulful,
R&B song (if correct on the genre) that—while possessing a short music
video—is predominantly meant to be consumed sonically. However, given the
incredibly slower pacing of the song, a lack of visual aid, seemingly overly
dramatic vocals and instrumental, and a composition that appears to be quite
stagnant, it truly is understandable on why fans find “Stigma” a difficult
song.

Because of this interesting
background, this review will be more than just reviewing the song: I hope this
review becomes an example of how a
listener can learn to reap enjoyment from analyzing what she is listening
to—especially with a song that she may not personally prefer. Even if a
listener dislikes “Stigma” ‘s style (as in my case), I hope he will still
realize that at least appreciation is
possible if not genuine enjoyment. And so, although “Stigma” faces the stigma
of being a slower, dramatic song and thus is disliked by many fans because of
such, I argue the song is actually an excellent one. If we are critical and
listen beyond the song’s style and begin attempting to understand why certain compositions are in place,
we will find that “Stigma”—despite being “boring” or “too slow”—has many
creative, efficient, and stunning points.  

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.75/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.00/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 6/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 7/10

I’ve been hiding it
I tell you something
just to leave it buried
Now I can’t endure it anymore
Why couldn’t I say it then?
I have been hurting anyway
Really I won’t be able to endure it

Now cry
It’s only that I’m very sorry towards you
Again, cry
Because I couldn’t protect you

Deeper, deeper, the wound just gets deeper,
like pieces of broken glass that I can’t reverse
Deeper, it’s just the heart that hurts every day
You who was punished in my stead
You who were only delicate and fragile

Stop crying, tell me something
Try talking to me who had no courage
Why did you do that to me then?
Sorry
Forget it
What right do I have,
to tell you to do this or that?

Deeper, deeper, the wound just gets deeper,
like pieces of broken glass that I can’t reverse
Deeper, it’s just the heart that hurts every day
You who was punished in my stead
You who were only delicate and fragile

I’m sorry, I’m sorry
I’m sorry, my brother
Even if I try to hide i or conceal it,
it can’t be erased
Are you calling me a sinner?
What more do I have to say?
I’m sorry, I’m sorry
I’m sorry, my sister
Even if I try to hide it or conceal it,
it can’t be erased
So cry
Please dry my eyes

That light, that light, please illuminate my sins
Where I can’t turn back, the red blood is flowing down
Deeper, I feel like dying every day
Please let me be punished
Please forgive me for my sins
I beg

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
a side note, while the given ratings appear to be straightforward, I do wish
for readers to know that the process to reach these ratings was far from such.
I devoted much time to understanding this song (and admittedly to push aside
much of my own personal biases). Also to note, this review will most likely be
shorter than intended due to how busy I currently am (and on top of that, I am
down with a cold).

Onto
the review, as the ratings unveil, “Stigma” is an incredibly well-rounded song
statistically. There are no immediate, impairing points and at worst the
sections—this category having the lowest ratings—is still decent. But, of
course, ratings are meaningless without explanations and more so with
considering how many find the song difficult to listen to, so let us proceed
with actual analysis.

With
the lyrics, this category should be the most straightforward to understand. However
that said, it is worth clarifying why the lyrics have scored well. As the
requester of this review mentions, the background to this song is complex: it
may be a part of BTS’ ongoing, fictional story or it might very much be
something personal from V or perhaps even both. While all these points are
interesting, these are not criterion I use for grading lyrics; instead, the lyrics
have earned their higher score by being distinctive in its details—word choice,
variety, imagery—and by differing with its plot. Overall, I will not spend too
much time in this song’s aspect as the more intriguing discussion is towards
the musical aspect.

With
that covered, let us focus on the vocals and instrumental. I bring up these two
aspects and not individually because both ultimately utilize similar strategies
and forms, but furthermore, both are quite misunderstood by many fans. After
all, the difficult aspect in the song may not be so much on how it is
structured with the sections but rather how it sounds within the sections—these sounds being the vocals and instrumental.

One
of the most impressive aspects to the two is how well they complement each
other so that their perceived downsides are covered. Before explaining that,
though, let us return once more to current perceptions on the vocals and
instrumental. On a more superficial hearing, the vocals are not impressive: the
vocals carry a sluggish, dragged pacing; many of the beltings are overly
emphasized and dramatized and thus, the extreme pitch shifts render
unappealingly—even if the singing itself is skillful; and lastly, the singing
simply comes off as monotonous considering there are few changes throughout. Similarly,
the instrumental can also be critiqued with those reasons: the instrumental is
too plain, dull, and provides nothing more than just background.

While
these are all viable points, I challenge fans to realize that these supposed
weaknesses are actually, realized or not, addressed in the vocals and
instrumental themselves. For example, the vocals’ slower pacing is paired with
a bass line that strengthens at moments where V provides beltings. The result,
then, is not vocals that are sluggish or an instrumental that remains dull; the
result is that both combined lead to a rhythmic, balanced flow that sounds
excellent. Another example is when considering the instrumental’s beats in
relation to V’s vocals at the first verse. Both in of themselves appear to be
incredibly vexing: the vocals are minimal in tune and the instrumental itself
provides nothing more than just the mere foundation of the song. However, when
considering how both sound when taken into account as a single unit, we realize
the vocals act as a pseudo-beat and equally the beats are akin to background
vocals. Lastly to note on a more technical side, another interesting composing
decision about the instrumental and vocals is that both physically complement
each other’s sounds. In clearer terms, I am referring to the actual pitch range
covered. During moments where the vocals are adopting a middle pitch, we
realize the instrumental “balances” out such by providing sounds slightly above
that pitch or slightly below it. Expectedly for moments when V is singing in a
higher pitch, the instrumental still “balances” out the overall sound by then
providing much lower pitches—this being the most explicit example as we can
hear the much deeper bass line coming in during these moments. Again, this is a
minor aspect but one I find quite creative and ultimately appealing especially
as “Stigma” ‘s style beckons careful, methodical listening.

Finally
discussing the sections, since we have already indirectly discussed some of
this through the discussion above regarding the vocals and instrumental working
together, let us instead turn to addressing why—despite the solid chemistry of
the vocals and instrumental—that the sections still all earn a six. Ultimately,
though the sections sound fantastic and that even the progression to the
entirety of “Stigma” is fluent and coherent, the main flaw remaining is that
the sections lack incredibly distinctive points. And of course, I do not
necessarily mean distinctive as in each section has to sound different from one another—as numerously said,
“Stigma” does follow a linear format—but in terms of what each section provides
for the song, there is nothing distinctive in this sense. For example, both the
introduction and conclusion suffice in their roles, but in doing so neither is
that stunning. Even in, for example, the choruses where the vocals
are—especially in the song’s context—diverse and the instrumental is impressive
with complementing such along with meshing the bass with the beats, the
choruses are not composed to the point that their very composition consists of
striking ideas and techniques. Now this is not to say the sections are bad at
all; all the sections hold a decent score, but overall, the structure to the
song individually and in whole merely provide the foundation to the song versus
being the aspects that carry forth the song.

All
in all, “Stigma” is definitely an above average song if we are able to pay
attention to how the vocals and instrumental work. Stylistically, I do agree
with many that the song is difficult to listen to and to even enjoy, but given
the nature of it, I do urge fans to find enjoyment from it through analyzing it versus just listening to
it. Unlike the typical pop song that is fun and easy to listen to due to being
able to predict its flow or simply how upbeat and tuneful it is, “Stigma” is a
song that requires one to actually pay attention to what is occurring with its
sections, vocals, instrumental, and so forth. Once a listener pays close attention,
most likely she will find it to be quite impressive in terms of the song’s
inner workings—and if not that, at least in his attempt I hope that the song
becomes worthwhile.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, huge apologies for the delay and for poorly writing the review.
I feel that I have failed to truly bring insight as to why “Stigma” is a
fascinating and solid song, but I hope in the end that the review is
interesting and gives some ideas as to what one could look for when listening
to a difficult yet charming song. In terms of the next review, look forward to
another requested review. And though this sounds silly, I will have to end this
review here as I do have class quite soon—perhaps “writing-on-the-go” is not
the most optimal idea, after all. Look forward to Uhm Junghwa’s “Dreamer” and
until then, “I’m very sorry towards you” for not being as diligent, but I will
do my best to catch up on reviews. 

BTS – “Blood Sweat & Tears” Review

(Music Video) / (Live Performance) / (Audio;
unofficial upload)

BTS (Bangtan Boys) – Blood
Sweat & Tears

Reviewed
on October 16, 2016

The main hesitation, then, for why the
vocals are rated at a six and not quite a seven is due to one section in
particular: the choruses. These sections contain useless fillers. From a vocal
standpoint, the singing—or more accurately, mere speaking—of the choruses, and
of which are already vocally overly tedious, ruin the balance of “BST” ‘s
calmer, passive vocals.

Personal Message:
I am finally on break for one week,
and indeed getting away from university (though I still have much homework) is
delightful due to rest. With that, besides catching up on finally relaxing, I
will equally be catching up on reviews. I hope to finish at least three within
the week.

Regarding this review, first of all:
thank you to the requester for sending this in. It has been a while since the
prior request, and furthermore I am glad to receive a request on a song that
many fans are interested in. In fact, given that BTS is definitely one of the
more popular groups—and rightfully so after watching their performance of
“Blood Sweat & Tears”—this is the first time where I feel heavily burdened
to review a song: both with finishing it in a timely fashion, but more importantly
with actually bringing justice to the review itself. Nevertheless, even if this
review will gain a larger viewership due to it involving BTS, I will still be
“objectively subjective”; in other words, I will still review the song as I
deem fit and not be pressured to sway it into a good rating for the purpose of
fans. Optimistically, though, no pressuring is necessary: I foresee “Blood
Sweat & Tears” (and of which will be abbreviated as “BST” from here on for
convenience) scoring decently. However, do I confidently claim it is a strong
song per se and one of the better ones I have heard? Sadly, no amount of blood,
sweat, or tears would convince me of that.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 6/10
(5.67/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction
(Pre-Chorus/Chorus): 7/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 4/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 7/10

My blood, sweat and tears
Take away my last dance
My blood, sweat and tears
Take away my cold breath
My blood, sweat and tears

Even my blood, sweat and tears
Even my body, heart and soul
I know that it’s all yours
This is a spell that’ll punish me
Peaches and cream
Sweeter than sweet
Chocolate cheeks and chocolate wings
But your wings are wings of the Devil’s
In front of your sweet is bitter, bitter
Kiss me, I don’t care if it hurts
Hurry and choke me
so I can’t hurt any more
Baby, I don’t care if you get drunk
I’ll drink you in now
Your whiskey, deep into my throat

My blood, sweat and tears
Take away my last dance
My blood, sweat and tears
Take away my cold breath

I want you a lot, a lot, a lot
I want you a lot, a lot, a lot
I want you a lot, a lot, a lot
I want you a lot, a lot, a lot

I don’t care if it hurts, tie me up
So I can’t run away
Grab me tightly and shake me
So I can’t snap out of it
Kiss me on the lips, lips
Our own little secret
I want to be addicted to your prison
So I can’t serve anyone that’s not you
Even though I know,
I drink the poisonous Holy Grail

My blood, sweat and tears
Take away my last dance
My blood, sweat and tears
Take away my cold breath

I want you a lot, a lot, a lot
I want you a lot, a lot, a lot
I want you a lot, a lot, a lot
I want you a lot, a lot, a lot

Kill me softly
Close my eyes with your touch
I can’t even reject you anyway
I can’t run away anymore
You’re too sweet, too sweet
Because you’re too sweet

My blood, sweat and tears
My blood, sweat and tears

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: As
readers can tell, “BST” does score at a six—and that is not a bad score at all.
Perhaps the best summary of this song is that it is a rather balanced one;
there are no extreme points in the song—musically and statistically. Every
aspect of the song relates to one another and thus, the outcome is a very cohesive
song. With this in mind, then, this review will focus not necessarily on critiquing
the weak points of the song; instead, the focus will be on why “BST” is not as strong as it could have been.

Beginning,
though, with a category the song excels in, the lyrics are phenomenal. Whether
the following words are accurate or not, I feel as if recent reviewed songs
have only been average with their lyrics. Furthermore, even other songs I have
been listening to as of the late seem dull in their lyrical content. However
when it comes to “BST,” the lyrics do not just meet my review standards—in specific,
containing a variety of details and delivering a creative, distinctive plot or
message—but they in fact exceed them. For example at each verse, not only are
they separate from every other section, but within the verses the given details
are incredibly thorough and complex. Moreover, even with moments of somewhat
repetitive lines—a key example being “My blood, sweat, and tears”—a higher
level of complexity still exists. It is not as if BTS is chanting, for a random
example, “My blood, blood, blood” or, even worse, “La la la la” (though
exceptions do exist when this is permissible); rather, this repeated phrase in
particular is one that is crucial to the lyrics’ overarching plot.

And
on that note, the lyrics’ plot is very unique—though in particular, the delivery of the plot. In truth, the plot
itself is not necessarily exclusive: it is of a main character who is trapped
in an implicitly abusive relationship. Though the plot topic is rather unnerving
and even disturbing, other (pop) songs have very much introduced this before
and therefore, it is not utterly new. Nevertheless, as mentioned, the delivery
of this very plot is where “BST” ‘s lyrics shine: the verses and bridge are
prime examples. At most for a critique—and for what arguably very much limits
the song in a musical sense as we will discuss—the choruses’ lyrics are rather
mediocre. It is unfortunately a repeated line that is no better than “La la la”
and the like. But given how the rest of it compensates over, a seven is still
in place.

Turning
our attention now to the more important aspects of the song, as hinted at in
the last paragraph, the current choruses in this song are “BST” ‘s weakest
point. I would boldly argue that if a certain modification were made to them, the
song might have actually scored a seven—or at least, the vocals and sections
would have. What change would I suggest? Before going there, let me first explain
why the scores are as is.

When
it comes to BTS’ vocals, I very appreciate this song being a solid example of
how decent singing does not equate to amazing note holds, constant vocal
beltings, or having complicated and rigorous tunes. BTS’ singing (and rapping
if one renders the verses as raps) focuses less on power and intensity and
instead prioritizes tune—but even so, it is in a simpler form. Essentially, the
pre-choruses’ are the most complex and intensive forms of singing—and indeed,
the vocals are quite delightful there. However, even if the verses for example
are less strenuous, the vocals there are still adequate as the focus becomes on
rhythm and flow—akin to rapping. (And once again, perhaps the verses are actually
more accurately labeled as the song’s raps.) The main hesitation, then, for why
the vocals are rated at a six and not quite a seven is due to one section in
particular: the choruses. These sections contain useless fillers. From a vocal
standpoint, the singing—or more accurately, mere speaking—of the choruses, and
of which are already vocally overly tedious, ruin the balance of “BST” ‘s
calmer, passive vocals. A mixture of harsh and tuneless lines are added when,
most likely, the removal of vocals during the choruses have been much more
desirable and maintain the vocals’ existing strengths.

Continuing
on with the topic of “BST” ‘s choruses, they also prove problematic when focusing
on the sections themselves. First, though, it should be clarified that the
sections are overall solid. The verses and pre-choruses, for examples, fulfill
their roles of progressing the song all while maintaining sonic appeal. Likewise,
the conclusion ends the song in a timely fashion, and in particular with the
introduction, this section is fantastic and, coincidentally, sets an example of
how the choruses should have been.

To
explain the introduction’s assets as its rating is remarkable (in comparison to
the rest, at least), its unique structuring of being both the pre-chorus and
chorus is already one point, but more critically let us examine why that structuring—the fact that it is
both the pre-chorus and chorus—is a benefit and beyond just the fact that it is
creative. For one, the pre-chorus’ form provides “BST” a hook: the vocals, as
discussed, are at their best form when it is the pre-chorus, and additionally,
the build-up of the pre-choruses—the crescendo if we wish to be technical—is effective
at just that. In other words, the crescendo creates a sense of anticipation;
the build-up makes listeners desire to hear what the song climaxes to—even if
it is at the very beginning of the song. If we are considering the role of the introduction
is to create that hook, the introduction does that perfectly. Moreover, though,
we must consider what including a short, pure instrumental chorus in the
introduction does: it satisfies the “climax” listeners automatically search for
without entirely leaking the true climaxes and it provides a seamless
transition into the song itself. Regarding the latter, specifically without
that transition point in the introduction, besides an abrupt entry into the
first verse, the crescendo would have been left unresolved, and given that the
next chorus does not arrive until a while, that would have too excessive of a
delay.

Now
returning to weaker points of the sections, the choruses, once again, are at
fault. Being exact, the added vocals are simply the main issue. Vocally, it remains
lacking as already discussed, but on a structural level, that insufficiency—the
fact that the vocals lack during the choruses—is now a further problem for the
section itself: the choruses, being dull and repetitive, defeat the supposed
climactic point of the song. “BST” does a fabulous job at progressing the song
to its core point, but that very point—the chorus—comes short by a large
amount. It is this that causes the choruses to be structurally weak, but more
drastically, the song in whole is now impaired by it. After all, if the
supposed climax of a song comes off as not
a climactic point, is that not disappointing?

Miraculously,
however, “BST” in its entirety still holds strong at a six. If the choruses
were less repetitive and stale in their format—perhaps by entirely removing the
vocals that occur during these sections—then everything else might have
potentially been augmented. As is, though, “BST” is a decent song but its
choruses are ones that very much limit its potential from going beyond its
current state. Overall, yes “BST” is slightly above average, but is it anything
more? As I have argued in this review, because of the choruses, the answer to
that question is a no: the vocals, sections, and overall progression of the
song are held back by the choruses. All in all, even if this critique on “BST”
is considered overly harsh, we must all still bear in mind the song is still decent. The lyrics are
brilliant, and of course, the vocals, sections, and instrumental are decent—the
problem is just that more could have
been obtained. I personally consider “I Need U” the best release from BTS so
far, but indeed I can agree “Blood Sweat & Tears” is still admirable and is
definitely not a disappointing comeback in any form.

_______________________________________________________

Two
more reviews are definitely to come by this week: Hyuna’s “How’s This?” and,
for a new artist to be reviewed on the blog, SHINee’s “1 of 1.” Addressing this
current review, I do feel that I failed to bring a more insightful discussion
to “Blood Sweat & Tears.” With that, I apologize to fans who might have a
desired a very thorough analysis of every aspect to the song. Nonetheless, I
hope I was able to convey my main critiques and praises of the song. Of course,
though, private feedback is always desirable so if any reader has some input
please do share them. And as always, readers should feel free to disagree with
my points; I am from a professional and on top of that music is always
subjective.

For
next time, look forward to the mentioned two reviews to come. I plan to finish
them both by this week as I have a week off from university. Until then, “You’re
too sweet.” Thank you for reading this review—in full or skimmed—and for being
quite patient with this review. And thank you very much to the requester of
this review; without the request, I would have very likely missed this review,
so thank you from me and from fans.

F.T. Island – “Severely” Review

F.T.
Island – Severely (Music Video)

F.T.
Island – Severely (Audio; unofficial upload)

F.T. Island – Severely

Reviewed
on March 26, 2016

Personal Message:
It has been about two weeks since I
last posted a review, so I do apologize for this gap. To prevent this in the
future, after tinkering around with Tumblr’s post settings, I have finally
discovered a way to post according to a schedule. In other words, I can store posts
for future dates, and then later, the blog should automatically post them
according a specified time. I have yet, however, to actually test this out, but
I plan to do so for April. If it does work, then I can always spread out
reviews so that, for example, rather than posting three reviews in one week, I
can distance them out to keep the blog active. Even so, though there has been a
delay, this month will for sure finish out with at least a total of six
reviews—a record above many past months.

Explaining my absence, I have been
quite busy with schoolwork. Given that the semester will be over in one more
month, classes have become rigorous with work. Furthermore, however, I was also
preoccupied with having had to prepare for a literature conference. (And
preparing in the sense of helping, that is; I did not present anything nor even
ever intend to.) Clarifying the latter—and to be as concise as possible to not
bore readers—I attended and helped facilitate discussions at an event that took
place at my university. What occurred was students from across America visited
to read aloud their essays that were based on a literary theory (such as with
feminism criticism, deconstruction, queer studies, etc.). Though perhaps this
may sound dull and perhaps even confusing, to relate this for readers, in some
aspects my reviews are actually a rough example of how literary theory works.

The idea of applying a lens—a
literary theory—to literature (or in this case, songs and videos—and of which
arguably can be deemed “literature”) and seeing the meaning that comes from it
is, again in a very rough sense, what literary theory is. Thus, whenever I
digress on a social topic with a music video, lyrics, or even pop culture news,
what I am doing in essence is applying a literary theory lens (or lenses).
There are times where I perhaps focus on a song for its portrayal of women (a
feminist critic), or at other times I critique a song for its message regarding
homosexuality (queer studies—though this is significantly more than just
homosexuality since, as in its label, it focuses on “queer”). This format is
overall what literary theory is. Now of course, there is the blurred line of
when it becomes moreover a sociological lens rather than a literary lens—and admittedly
with reviews I would guess that it does tend to be moreover sociological—but as
long as the medium in mind is moreover literature (in its multiple form), then
it is plausible to claim that literary theories are used.

Point is and to return to the
original discussion, the conference was quite fun and there were a lot of
interesting and important discussions that took place since, as I like to
personally claim, literary theories is what makes literature genuinely
applicable and important. Ignoring my zeal for English and to one day be
teaching English with a focus on social topics, preparing for the conference
and attending it did take time away from reviews. In fact, I would have
finished one review and a lengthy social digression within the time period. And,
even after all of that, there was a dilemma left: finish homework, or finish
reviews. Obviously, I chose the proper route: watching “Girl’s Wiki” by
Rainbow’s Jisook and Hyunyoung. (I plan to review this show. It is wonderful,
but furthermore, there are important topics to cover regarding this show.)

Switching topics abruptly, though I
have already said much, for something I do wish to discuss, many months ago I
did mention wanting to share my university experience along with tips. (Feel
free to skip to the review now unless if interested. Although “Severely” could
be critically analyzed, we will hold off from that for this review because the
following three reviews already have plenty to discuss.) This may be helpful
especially with those preparing to head off to college and thus desire tips, or
those who are simply curious for my personal story though you must be a bit ridiculous to want to
hear me tell stories since I am horrible at that
. If a reader
throughout this digression wishes for me to expand more, I am always willing to
answer. (Just send in a question.) Also to note, I am indeed a first-generation
college student, so for those similar to my situation, I may have some extra
insight that could help. (A perspective I cannot provide, however, is if a
reader is headed into a “hard science” major. For example, if she is an
engineer major, I expect my current route of English and secondary education to
have much different work and workload and thus, the following might provide
minimal help.)

To begin, I personally do find
college an amazing experience. Jocularly, even my close cousin is shocked at
that statement, but I have truly found the past months to be extremely
pleasant. Even in comparison to high school—a time period with many wonderful
friends, teachers, and the most important class I have ever had even to this
day in college—I would not desire to go back in time. (Unless if for, of
course, seeing old teachers, professor, and friends.) At most, for the biggest complaint
I have, it is not even akin to college directly; rather, for what does bother
me, it is simply how privileged my university community is (White and wealthy).
That said, I am included; I do not wish to make it sound as if I am being
condescending and am suddenly immune to the privilege. Although true that more
than half of my tuition is through scholarships, I would guess many students
are in a similar case, and even with that, the remaining tuition still requires
a privileged middle class income—this being a privilege I do in fact have. I am
very much privileged in class and of course in other aspects, such as gender,
sexual orientation, able-bodied, and so forth.

Optimistically, a decent amount of
the community is open and aware of their social privileges, whether that is
professors or students, and that there is still some diversity versus
absolutely none (though it is far from “satisfactory”). Furthermore, given how it
is a private university, it is expected to reside with being White and wealthy
since this goes in the topic of social stratification. (In short: Whites tend
to be wealthier than non-Whites and thus, will have more access to this
university and from there, the community starts becoming homogenous. This cycle
then continues to repeat.) Continuing discussions of race, class, and even
others such as sexual orientation and gender, is what will help. And
thankfully, those topics do in fact occur, be it in classes or more formally
with the entire university.

Overall, even if the school is
privileged, I am grateful to have never felt purposefully isolated on the basis
of race (even if, for example, I happen to be the only Asian student in a class—in
other words there is no blatant racism and such that occurs). Additionally,
with coming from an underprivileged high school, it truly is an invaluable
experience to now understand both perspectives and to see the connections (or
lack thereof) between the privileged and underprivileged. If anything is to be
gleaned, as I always urge, there is no “right and wrong”; it is not as if one
community is “better” than the other. I value both as, in the end, each one
brings its own experiences—experiences that are inherently valuable and unique.
What matters, though, is that open and mature discussions occur regarding
social topics. Privileges do in fact need to be exposed, but antagonizing
cannot be permitted.

However this discussion, even if
greatly important, is not what I desire to focus on for this review. (Otherwise
there would be no return if I continued on.) Regarding college in of itself, the
biggest change from high school to college is, predictably, the amount of work.
There is a lot more work. A lot. Is it impossible to finish and balance? Not at
all; the work is certainly quite manageable. What matters, though, is that
there can no longer be any last-minute procrastination; work in college
requires a dedicated daily schedule to abide to. To some extent, the idea that
“one hour of class is two hours of homework” is true. Of course, however, it
truly does depend on the class. For example, I know my current ethics class (I
very much adore this class; thinking of morality is fascinating) is generally
one hour of homework given both reading and writing reflections, but for my
English class, I can expect usually three to four hours’ worth of reading and
reflections, and if there is an essay, that is usually going to consume six to
seven hours. But, throwing abstract numbers in the air is far from useful, so
let us ignore this “one hour is two hour of homework” intimidation phrase and focus
moreover on something that is relatable.

As noted so far, it is true that
there is significantly more “work” in college—or is there? Almost as if to
overly frighten high school students in preparation for college, many warn them
of how they have so much upcoming work. Though that is absolutely true, the
following component is forgotten: that they now also have so much time. What is
highly overlooked is that classes do not meet every day. Personally, my classes
meet for a total of three hours per week (and of which there are five classes).
In total, that is fifteen hours (15) a week (assuming only with weekdays).
Contrast that to high school: thirty-five (35) hours a week. (Five days
multiplied by seven hours a day.) Suddenly, the “one class is two hours of
homework” is not as daunting. There are now twenty freed hours to do whatever
one wishes—and this is the true horror of college work. (Not really; the true
horror truly is the amount of work. I am just attempting to be positive.) I
will elaborate later on how a student can keep his time and work manageable. For
now, to leave a final point on the topic of homework, from my experience, it is
worth noting that it is not “busy work.” Admittedly we had those types of
homework in high school: work that is just work to be graded. In college,
homework is not solely to practice concepts, but it is a time to expand on
them. For example, an assigned reading is not merely to clarify the previous
lesson (if even at all), but instead it is to begin the next one. Thus,
homework becomes quite important and admittedly not as much as “homework” as
much as “lesson-to-take-home.”

And, as noted earlier in the
hypothetical situation of an engineering student, I do have minimal studying
tips. Since I am in the humanities and not the hard-sciences, I have so far yet
to need to memorize items. Rather, comprehension is my concern. Using an
example, in my education class though it would be wonderful to memorize all of
the terms and such, it is far better and more important for me to understand
the concepts versus merely knowing a concept (“what” versus “why”). That said,
for some studying tips, one of the better ways to study is to create
distinctiveness; make studying diverse as that will lead to a firmer grasp of a
topic. Include visuals, music, examples, and so forth. Do not—and if I may be
arrogant, take this from an education major—do not purely re-read notes or
textbooks or whichever medium as a form of studying. Merely re-reading is an
absolute waste of time. One would be better off watching an episode of “Girl’s
Wiki” or of MAMAMOO fooling around since at least something is gained (such as
laughter, makeup tips, insight on bags, etc.). Re-reading lacks the necessary
engagement to be effective (and physiologically, fails to fire up neurons or to
create new pathways). Doing that is not effective in memorization or actual
understanding. What is far better would be, for example, using the notes to
create pictures of drama scenes (if this somehow even relates), or even
something as simple as flashcards. Ultimately, the best tip I can give with
studying is to task yourself with being able to teach a lesson. Doing this
requires asking questions of “why is this answer,” and of course, it provides
variety through using the information in various forms, be it the need to
recall information, explaining through words or pictures, and so on.  

However, even with all of the hard
work and stressful times, college is still quite pleasant. On an individual
level, a student will be finding that she becomes quite independent and that it
is a time to truly develop not only academically, but personally with emotions,
maturity, compassion, interests, and more. Transitioning over to general tips
and following up on the prior point of management, the following list will deal
with that:

For one start disciplining yourself
with following a daily schedule (especially if still in high school). Doing so
prevents procrastination, but furthermore—even if saddening to say—each second
must be well spent. Now, this does not mean to work constantly with minimal to
no “fun” breaks (and admittedly, I have tried that before and fell into an
arguably depressed state—though this may be K-Pop withdrawal at play); rather
this means that it is best to have a purposeful outline of events to a day.
Sure it feels rigid, but allotting time for working on homework for two hours
during, for a random example, 6:00 to 8:00 and then having thirty minutes for
watching videos, playing video games, or looking at makeup items, and then
repeating working from 8:30 to 10:30 and a follow-up thirty minute break, will
guaranteed some productivity versus, in contrast, “freely” doing homework whenever
“I feel like it”—of which translates to working for thirty minutes and then
deciding to watch videos for four hours or worse. (And yes, this personally
occurred before.) If one is quite productive, then of course one is welcomed to
have a Saturday dedicated to painting nails or playing sports, but again I
highly emphasize creating and maintaining a daily schedule that includes both periods
of working and of time to relax. Also, with that said, it is recommended to
wake up and sleep at the exact same time for every single day. Even weekends.
This is what I am still attempting to do, but having a firm schedule provides
much organization.

Secondly, and for a tip that is
highly aimed at for readers still in high school, discover the best way you
learn and study. If you learn best through one-on-one, then you have the
advantage of knowing that office hours will be essential to your learning. Conversely,
if you know that you learn best far in the back and from distancing
yourself—literally and figuratively—from your professor, avoid her if it helps.
(Though this is a very bad example as, usually, one learns best from an
educator since, to say the least that is their job. Point is, do whatever is
personally best to learn and study.) For other points, perhaps you find that
you excel most in a social setting and thus require friends to best learn, or
conversely, that you need to be alone otherwise you will be distracted.
Overall, discovering the best way you personally learn (and more so before
entering college) is forever useful.

Thirdly, find ways to de-stress—healthy
ways, that is. College can be stressful in multiple ways: socially, academically,
personally, and the list goes on. Thankfully, I have yet to be stressed in a
social context (and in fact the opposite happens as friends provide a lot of
healing), but in the others I definitely have been. Sharing some examples, I
have had the typical “what is the meaning of life” and “what am I doing with my
life” college student questions; I have had the moment of failing an essay and
nearly (to preserve some character, I will say “nearly”) crying my eyes out; I
have had moments of feeling stupid for completely becoming lost in a class; I
have had moments of simply being overwhelmed and nearly (once again, to
preserve character) crying out of frustration. And some still wonder why I desire a companion German
Shepherd/Rottweiler/Doberman/any-dog-at-this-point. (But so far everything as
of now is quite smooth.)
 For those who will soon enough experience
some form of stress or who are already undergoing such from college, there is a
message to bear in mind: it is fine. It is completely fine to feel stressed,
overwhelmed, about to cry (or in the act of it)—the problem is if that is the
end. Taking a single step at a time helps, but furthermore, simply
acknowledging the moment. College is for a time of uncertainty, and having
support in friends, family, advisors, professors, dog and so forth matters for
these moments. (And alright “dog” is a joke; I also meant to include cats.)

So, what are ways to de-stress?
Although I could become scientific and list out random points such as watching
MAMAMOO, squealing over SPICA’s Boa, spending time with friends, hugging
stuffed animals, exercising, watching my shamelessly self-advertised subtitled
videos of Fiestar, this answer is incredibly subjective—as proven by the listed
examples. Whatever brings one joy—perhaps a student may enjoy a simple walk or
listening to her/his favorite songs—it matters not on what it is (unless if it is
unhealthy and dangerous) but instead more on knowing what it is and being able
to have access to it. In short, know what makes you happy and actually do what
makes you happy. (And this tip can certainly apply outside of college.)

Finally, for perhaps the most
important tip, find ways to not feel isolated or to not feel as if you are
struggling alone. In other words, find a support system since “this is not a
competition; competition this is not.” (Alright, it is two in the morning as of
this sentence so readers should excuse me for this reference.) Explaining this
point, it is essential to have a sense of support since college is, quite
clearly, a difficult time period. Even if rewarding, it is rough. Now, how does
one actually find a support system, such as with making friends? Perhaps
another personal story may help:

Contrary to perhaps many readers’
image of me, I actually am a shy boy (even if less shy than in high school).
Despite how I can be charismatic at times—both with writing and verbal
discussions—I do tend to be quite reserved. Although I very much do enjoy
talking to others and am joyful if others decide to do so first, when it comes
to taking the initiative, I could not be budged. Unless if for class
participation, I just tend to be more reserved; it is my personality and I hold
that it is not a faulty one. (A future discussion could occur about the idea of
introverted versus extroverted. First, assuming we are forced to use binaries,
it is peculiar that the latter is deemed superior. Notice how many say, “don’t
be that quiet” and yet very few say “don’t be that talkative.”) In terms of how
dealt with this, I will be honest: I didn’t. Instead, my friends were the ones
who did the initiating, and thus this leads to another point.

For what I will advocate, making
friends should be based on responsibilities: if it is personally easy to
initiate conversations and such, then it is now a responsibility to especially attempt
to befriend those who tend to be quiet. Of course, whether forming an actual
friendship will still be based on the person themselves, but the focus is that
the initiating should come from those who do in fact find it easier. Now, for
the shy people like me, attempting to reach out to others never hurts, but at
the very least being open, friendly, and so forth should be done. In the end,
college is not a place for merely taking classes; college is a time to form
relationships with others and to spread love and care for human beings.  

And for one minor tip that I have
just recalled (before going to sleep as of this sentence), participating in
class does have many benefits. Being involved with discussions or volunteering
answers help with, for one aspect, simply retaining information. Discussions
tend to be vivid in memory, engaging with visual and auditory senses,
encouraging of multiple perspectives, and so on. Additionally, participating
also helps with simply staying focused, and this works in favor of creating
interest for the class (and thus motivation to learn and study for it) and,
more comically, simply staying awake if that is the case.  

All in all, for those who do decide and
discover that college is the best route (since, to note, I actually do not
believe that college is something “everyone” should do; there are people who
flourish best outside of college and that difference and decision has to be
respected), enjoy this time. Transitioning and adapting are crucial points to
keep in mind, but overall college truly provides a time to develop
independently, socially, academically, and to find personal interests.

Finally focusing on reviews and not
college (surprisingly I am quite loquacious when it comes to college), I did
originally plan to review a recent trot song: “Thumb Up” by Hong Jinyoung. I am
a huge fan of her, but also, I very much appreciate trot music since, if not
for my personal childhood connection (as discussed in an older review), then
certainly for its musical charms. I will be returning to it as the next review
(if not Fiestar’s “Mirror”). For this current review, however, this review is
being “saved”; I peered into my “Leftover Review” folder—a friendly way of
saying “delete soon”—and saw this. Rather than tossing it out, I have decided
to review this song after all. Especially with it being from a male group, and
furthermore, a rock genre versus a pop genre, this review will serve with
bringing in variety for readers. (And yes, truly more male groups will be
coming. It just happens that a lot more female artists have recently made
comebacks than male artists.) F.T. Island should also not be an utterly
unfamiliar group to readers; the men are quite popular given how they are a
rock group and veterans, but furthermore, are in FNC Entertainment—the label
that houses the extremely popular group, AOA.

Addressing the links, I have
included both the audio and music video as, while the music video is clear in
audio, there are moments of dialogue that may be disruptive to some. (And for a
warning, there is an unpleasant surprise though it is heavily foreshadowed
throughout.) Nevertheless, even if there is a severe event in the music video,
we will now see if the song itself is equally severe in ratings—good or bad.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.75/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 7/10
(6.5/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge: 6/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: X/10


Lyrics: 6/10

Letting you go without any expression, as if it’s nothing
I practiced doing that every day, but it’s still awkward
I also practiced how to secretly cry while smiling but,
I feel like my trembling voice will give it away quickly

Loving is more difficult than breaking up
Probably by hundreds and thousands of times
But I’m a fool that can’t live without you,
what do you want me to do?

Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I don’t even breathe and I look around for you
I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop
Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I think letting you go is more severe than dying

No matter how much it hurts, every day I practiced
Trying to get used to spending a day as if it’s nothing

I don’t think I can forget you anyway
Even if I’m sick with an incurable disease
I’m a fool that can’t live without you,
what do you want me to do?

Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I don’t even breathe and I look around for you
I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop
Severely, I guess I loved you too severely
I think letting you go is more severe than dying

If this was how it’s going to be, I shouldn’t have loved
When will I forget you?

Foolishly, I guess I loved you so foolishly
Because of you, I can’t even dream of another love
I’m a fool that only knows you,
what do you want me to do?

Severely, I guess we broke up so severely
What’s so hard about saying goodbye
that I can’t even open my lips and am hesitating?
Severely, I guess we broke up so severely
You remain deeper than a scar in my heart
so I can’t erase you

Choreography Score: X/10 (x/10 raw score)

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Since
I did arguably speak too much for the Personal Message (but I do hope that
there is one reader out there who benefits from the college tips), I will keep
this review moreover concise so that I can also review another song within an
hour, and then afterwards, begin subtitling a highly requested video (Fiestar’s
visit on “Weekly Idol”).

That
said, “Severely” does manage to reap a desirable rating: a seven for above
average. More specifically, nearly every category is a seven. This already does
reveal the workings of “Severely”: a wonderfully balanced song. Each category
perfectly plays off the other and in the end, the results are pleasing. For
example, to first focus on the instrumental, in of itself the emphasized guitar—given
the rock genre—delivers an excellent sound. What is more potent, however, is
the role the instrumental provides for “Severely” in whole. Transitions are
greatly aided through the instrumental, as noticed by the changes of intensity
based on a section. A clear example is simply gauging the instrumental as it
progresses from the verses to the pre-choruses and eventually to the choruses; it
is in fact the instrumental that provides the transitions. Additionally, and
for a prominent aspect, the vocals greatly benefit from the instrumental akin
to the sections. As the vocals become more intensive, the instrumental follows suit.
As a result, “Severely” is able to maintain an organized, cohesive sound
versus, for example, running into problems of how vocals may appear too feeble
in comparison to a roaring guitar instrumental.

With
already mentioning the sections and vocals, as noted both are rated at a seven.
Regarding the vocals, for an incredibly distinctive point that has to be
praised, the “emotions” Hongki invests are invaluable. Now to clarify, I am
referring to “emotions” in a very ambiguous sense; every song indeed contains
emotions, but furthermore, emotions in of themselves are not musical and thus
cannot be points of critique in a song. What, then, is my argument here? Rather
than praising Hongki’s emotional vocals, I wish to focus on what the emotions
in “Severely” grant the song: powerful yet melodic vocal beltings. Arguably,
the melancholy tone that comes with the singing is what allows the delivery to
be the way it is, hence why I am praising the “emotions.” But on topic, as said
the vocals are quite impressive in delivery. The power, tune, control, and
precision are all clearly showcased vocal attributes—all of which are very
appealing for a song. Furthermore, the diversity of the vocals is also worth
praising: it is not just purely vocal belting. Verses, for example, contain smoother
and calmer singing—and again the “emotions” can be credited as there seems to
be a nostalgic, ruminating style to how the verses are conducted.

In
terms of the sections, within this category “Severely” does carry a few sixes.
Nonetheless, the sections still overall render well. At most, for a problem that
occurs, the flow to “Severely” does become relatively stagnant. Understandably,
however, as it is a rock song, significant deviating moments are unexpected and
truthfully even undesirable. But even so, the verses and pre-choruses become
sluggish after multiple plays of the song. If there were some more
distinctiveness between the verses and pre-choruses then perhaps this issue
would be mitigated, but as is, both sections will be penalized—though a very minor
one at that. Otherwise, many of the sections are pleasing, as discussed with
how the vocals, instrumental, and section structures perfectly complement one
another.

Lastly,
since there is no choreography and no line distribution (since there is only
one vocalist), the final category to focus on will be the lyrics. The lyrics, unlike
the rest of the song, score at a six. Now certainly the lyrics are complex; “Severely”
does not firmly grasp at the main character’s heartbreak since, expectedly, the
emotions that is felt are indeed difficult to comprehend. However that said,
the plot does lack the extra push necessary to make it more than another
unfortunate heartache song. It also does not help that the details, though
seemingly quite thorough and even diverse, are in reality quite repetitive of
the same ideas. Take these two lines from the verses for comparison: “Letting
you go without any expression, as if it’s nothing / I practiced doing that
every day, but it’s still awkward” and “No matter how much it hurts, every day
I practiced / Trying to get used to spending a day as if it’s nothing.” Both
are, overall, the same message. Even under the argument that this repetition in
the lyrics is to be representative of the main character’s own tedious
suffering, I do have to reject this argument as, given the rest of the song,
there does not seem to be this level of complexity. Adding on, the mentioned
argument could also then be used to defend lyrics that do in fact repeat exact
lines—an act that does have to be penalized unless if it is there are symbolic intentions
with doing so. Thus, the lyrics do unfortunately score at a six even if, at
first glance, the lyrics appear quite noteworthy.

In
conclusion, F.T. Island’s “Severely,” a recognizable song and perhaps an iconic
release for the men, manages to finish out with a seven for above average.
Biasedly, I can agree to the rating. Although this is not quite my preferred
style of music, I cannot deny the amazing vocal delivery, the solid and
effective instrumental, and the decently structured sections. F.T. Island is definitely
a group to respect, and that goes for more than just their music as they do
appear to be very sweet men (as “FNC Picnic At Night” shows, and of which has
been copyright-removed from my YouTube channel sadly).

_______________________________________________________

Again,
since I placed excess emphasis on the Personal Message in this review, the next
one will be sharply focused on the song itself. That said, I have eyes on GOT7’s
“Fly” as the composition is quite unique yet appealing, and that would be
interesting to investigate. That will most likely be the last review for the
month, but when April arrives, I will finally review Hong Jinyoung’s comeback
and perhaps Fiestar’s “Mirror.” For sure though, I will be reviewing “Girl’s
Wiki,” a variety show, in April. Afterwards, as I said before, I will let the
natural flow of music guide the blog. Or better yet, if requests come then for those to guide the blog. If
anyone has a request, I highly appreciate them as it does give a direct route
for the blog to take as I do wish to review songs that readers are interested
in.

Until
then, in addition to reviewing GOT7’s “Fly,” I will be attempting to finish all
of my university homework and to begin subtitling Fiestar’s recent visit to “Weekly
Idol.” Look forward to the upcoming men, and as usual, thank you so much for
reading this review whether skimmed or in full. After all, “I’m a fool that
can’t live without you.”

B.A.P – “1004/Angel” Review

B.A.P
– 1004/Angel (Live Performance)

B.A.P
– 1004/Angel (Audio)

B.A.P – 1004/Angel

Reviewed
on January 5, 2016

Personal Message:
Admittedly I planned to do a bonus
review on TaeTiSeo’s “Dear Santa” given my recent Blog Opinion post regarding Tiffany, but I have changed plans: I will
do a full review on B.A.P’s “1004.” Especially with how many female artists are
lined up for reviews, adding in male artists is certainly necessary to give a
proper balance for the blog. But, on the note of “Dear Santa,” though this
review will probably be posted much later, I do want to wish readers happy
holidays or happy regular days for those who are not celebrating a holiday
around this time. I hope readers, and of course, other important figures in my
life be it teachers, professors, family and friends, are currently happy and
healthy or at least in progress towards the two, and that the upcoming year is
also full of joy and health.

On a random note, for readers who
are also fans of Fiestar, I am planning on returning to subbing solely the
group’s videos (and I am currently working on a video). Admittedly I have gone
on a subbing tangent with SPICA (though I may subtitle one more as they
attended “Star Beauty Show,” a makeup show I very much adore), but Fiestar will
certainly return as the main focus (and I do feel obligated to do so). Also, I
do plan on hastily catching up on reviews, even if it means heavily compacting
analyses. Lastly, there may be a brief period of solely bonus reviews (reviews
where solely ratings are given) so that I may finish a job application.

Besides technical updates, for some
personal changes (readers should skip to the review now; there will be a minor
digression but there is nothing in depth for this review), I am finally
beginning proper skin care—specifically with combating acne. As I believe in
being intimate and honest, I do admit that I have horrendous skin (or at least,
I consider it to be absolutely dreadful). Without concealer, my nose and chin
are far from attractive as those are the areas where acne is active. But, after
visiting a dermatologist, I am now on a routine that will, hopefully, reduce or
even eliminate my acne, and furthermore, will moisturize my skin as I had not
been doing that. Additionally, with finally taking actions to better my skin, I
have also decided to better my diet: I am now attempting to reduce and remove
junk food snacking. This is not to lose weight (and again, GOT7’s review will
attempt to analyze physical beauty in the lenses of race, gender, class, and
more), but instead, to simply better my health. Topping it all, I am now also
attempting to have a fixed daily sleep schedule. Unfortunately, this has been a
challenge, but optimistically I am slowly progressing towards being able to
naturally wake up at six in the morning (and a bonus that I now, though
arguably embarrassingly, use K-Pop songs as an alarm; the day does feel calmer
when waking up to SPICA’s “Ghost” after all).

Overall, however, though I am
excited to discuss physical beauty in GOT7’s review, to leak one component of
it: with the prior paragraph, I was merely flaunting off my class privilege,
and that is something I need to acknowledge. My family is privileged enough in
class so that I have the resources to take care of my skin, to entirely substitute
junk food snacks with healthier options, to purchase clothing that I deem
stylish and personally suiting, and so on. This is one example of how physical
beauty is, in fact, far from “natural,” but arguably and shockingly, socially
constructed. Physical beauty is merely standards that predominantly suit those
who are socially privileged, be it in race, gender, class, and so forth—and
hence why what is deemed “beautiful” drastically changes over time. Those
lacking social privileges are oftentimes the ones feeling physically unattractive,
and that is not due to “lacking confidence” or naturalness, but instead, as I
will explain and argue in GOT7’s review, due to the social construction involved
with physical beauty: that social privileges are considered “beautiful” even
though, in reality, everyone is indeed physically beautiful.  

Since I have abruptly transitioned
from a casual tone to a serious one, to continue the trend, for this review I
did originally plan to discuss the notion of “War on Christmas” and even “War
on Christianity,” but I will most likely hold off as, besides how this review
is no longer related to Christmas as it is not “Dear Santa” by TaeTiSeo, I am
certain that many have already covered this topic. In summary, regarding the
“War on Christmas” idea, this is overall a showcasing of defending a social
privilege in the aspect of religion (and America as context; the “dominant”
religion changes per place). Although Christmas is now moreover a
consumer-based holiday and is not as heavily derived on religion, it is still
linked to Christianity. As a result, it is imperative to respect every religion
as there are people who do not celebrate Christmas—religious-based or
consumerism-based. Thus, for one example, saying “happy holidays” (and perhaps
even including “happy days” as it includes those who do not celebrate anything)
should not be taken as a “war on Christmas and Christianity,” but rather, it
should be understood as “I am trying to be an understanding, open, and caring
human being who wishes to respect differences because human experiences are
indeed diverse and everyone deserves to be treated with equal respect even if
there are differences.” But of course, that may be too lengthy and thus
labeling someone as contributing to “the war on Christmas” may be an easier
option.

Passive-aggressive humor aside, phrases
of “happy holidays” are not “anti-Christian.” It is simply an attempt to
embrace and respect multiple religions (and perhaps lack thereof) and cultures.
After all, the opposite perspective is seldom viewed: urging “Merry Christmas”
to those who do not celebrate it is rather “anti” to their religion. Thus,
“happy holidays” is the near-perfect, inclusive phrase (the only critique is
whether this includes those who celebrate no holidays around this time). On
topic, much of the defensiveness does stem into, as mentioned earlier, how
Christianity is the “dominant”/privileged religion (again, using America as
context). Phrases of “happy holidays” are challenging the standard that Christianity
is “normal,” hence why many may act negatively towards the idea of embracing
various religions, as seen in the notable case of America’s popular coffee shop
(if that is accurate; I think it originated in America but I am unsure),
Starbucks, receiving criticism for removing Christmas decorations on their
cups.

In the end, understanding social
privileges is what would help, and though I do not like including religious
teachings in reviews, speaking personally from a Christian perspective (I
identify as predominantly agnostic, but as shared before in Monsta X’s review, I also do—simultaneously with
being agnostic—acknowledge a few beliefs in Buddhism and Christianity—specifically,
if accurate, Catholicism), the Christian God would want humans to be inclusive
when it comes to this topic of “war on Christmas.” As She/He/It teaches, it is
about including everyone in “kinship” regardless of different sexual orientations,
gender, religious affiliations, and so on. (For the biggest topic, discussing
whether homosexuality is a “sin” or not in Christianity would be
thought-provoking. More than pure religion is involved; this topic is very
relevant to unpack regardless of one’s religious affiliation as it involves
discussing social privileges and how oppression is spread and, optimistically,
how it can be halted. And, for the religious aspect, it is worth discussing the
importance of context when it comes to interpreting religious writings.)

Short digressions aside, though it
would be interesting for a future review to dive further into this area as it
is seldom discussed, B.A.P and their song, “1004/Angel,” will return as the main
focus (and if a reader can explain why the title is as is, I would appreciate
it). For the review’s purpose, the song title will be referred to as “Angel.”
Sharing how I came about this song, it was through a random K-Pop playlist.
Nevertheless, when this song was played, upon hearing the amazing introduction I
decided it would be fun to cover (and there is the bonus side of including more
male artists on the blog as every gender is amazing). That said, though I am
unfamiliar with B.A.P, they do have admirable vocals and are very physically
beautiful (and for those finding it absurd that I, a heterosexual male, am
complimenting the men’s appearances, refer to a review: Teen Top’s “Ah Ah”), and expectedly, are also probably
non-physically beautiful as well (I plan to watch a few of their videos).

Finally to begin the review, as
hinted, “Angel” has a captivating introduction. However, a single introduction
does not compose an entire song. This review will determine whether the song
can truly be considered an “Angel.”

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.2/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.38/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
8/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 4/10

6.     Rap: 5/10

7.     Bridge: 3/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10


Line Distribution: 6/10

Yongguk:
Introduction, Pre-Chorus 1, Post-Chorus 1, Rap 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Rap 2,
Conclusion (Total: 7)

Himchan:
Pre-Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Bridge (Total: 3)

Daehyun:
Introduction, Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Bridge, Chorus 3
(Total: 7)

Youngjae:
Verse, Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2 (Total: 5)

Jongup:
Verse, Pre-Chorus 1, Post-Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 3, Conclusion (Total:
6)

Zelo:
Pre-Chorus 1, Post-Chorus 1, Rap 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Rap 2, Conclusion (Total: 6)

Equal Value: 5.67 sections per member.  


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 6/10

You’re like an angel,
who has left me and gone somewhere
I need you

I don’t know how I’m living
After you left me, I’m going crazy
Every day, every night
I can’t even sleep
I’m all alone, drinking away, cry

So I miss you (I think of you)
and I need you (every day)
I can still hear your voice
Come back to me (I don’t have anyone)
Come back to my side (but you)
You’re like an angel

The reason I live is you
I don’t think I can see you anymore,
I think I’m really dying
The person to love me is you
Shine on me in the darkness

Look at me now
Come to me now
(Come back to me, how am I supposed to live?)
Look at me now
Come to me now
(How am I supposed to live without you every day?)

I didn’t know you would really leave me
You were like an angel
Why am I such a good-for-nothing?
Oh no, you have turned away from me
I’m a fool who has lost you
I’m like a beggar
I can’t do anything without you

So I miss you (I think of you)
and I need you (every day)
My wasted self is so pitiful
Hug me (I don’t have anyone)
Embrace me (but you)
You’re like an angel

The reason I live is you
I don’t think I can see you anymore,
I think I’m really dying
The person to love me is you
Shine on me in the darkness

It’s like I’m so out of it
I’m so blank every day
After you left, I’ve become ruined
Come back to me, I only had you
Hurry and save me
Stop, please don’t go far from me
(don’t leave)
Never let you go

I want to find you
Where, where, where am I going?
To the place where you are
A better day, a better day, a better day
You’re like an angel

The reason I live is you
I don’t think I can see you anymore,
I think I’m really dying
The person to love me is you
Shine on me in the darkness

Look at me now
Come to me now
(Come back to me, how am I supposed to live?)
Look at me now
Come to me now
(How am I supposed to live without you every day?)

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

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 5/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Quite clearly, this review became exceptionally delayed. Though I have
lifelessly repeated this, I will be attempting to further concise reviews. I
have decided that it is better to cover more songs in less detail than for the
opposite to happen as, for one, there are many recent songs to review and that
is impossible to do if every review is too thorough. Furthermore, with
numerical ratings existing, my analyses should be complementing the ratings
versus expanding the ratings. That said, “Angel” will be the first attempt at
this new revision, and furthermore, many reviews will also be coming shortly.
Interestingly, about three reviews are already half finished; I have completed
the Personal Message categories but have yet to write for the reviews
themselves. Soon enough, though, all will be posted (though the next review is
a short bonus show review since I will be busy finishing a job application and
subtitling SPICA’s appearance on “Star Beauty Show,” a makeup show I enjoy).

On
topic, “Angel” does overall rate lower than anticipated. Nevertheless, it still
possesses a sufficient rating, and there are still several strong aspects. Focusing
first on the vocals, “Angel” showcases above average vocals, even if there is
minimal intensity. For example, there may be no note holds (ignoring the live
performance’s adlib of one) and minimal vocal belting (the official term for my
misused term of “note stretching”), but despite lacking those common
characteristics of higher scored vocals, B.A.P’s cohesion, tune, and stability
certainly compensate. And of course, vocal intensity does not directly
correlate to higher ratings; there can be mediocre vocals even if power is in
place, and conversely, such as in “Angel,” there can admirable vocals despite
lacking vocal power. Overall, the vocals in the song are impressive. The singing
remains very cohesive in that every section’s vocals flow fluently into the
other, and that the singing remains constantly melodic.

In
terms of the sections, for the highest scored one, the introduction holds that
title. Whether in structure or sound, the section excels. With the structure,
every aspect is exceptional: the initial introduction of singing and
instrumental, and even the escalation of the two. Sonically, the initial
calmer, lower noted singing and higher tuned humming vocals are pleasing, and
likewise, the early guitar and later energetic version. Unfortunately, the
remaining sections do languish. Glancing at the verse and pre-choruses, though
the two are still “positively” rated (five is “neutral”), reaping any higher
rating is impossible. The structure and sounds for both sections are not
necessarily horrendous, but neither are they stunning. Specifically with the
verse, it follows a passive, slower start to the song. However, there is
nothing distinctive in singing or structure: the vocals, while quite smooth,
are not additionally enticing; structurally, it is a typical verse that
transitions a song from one point to the other. Homogenously, the pre-choruses
follow the prior trend: B.A.P’s singing is decent but not outstanding, and while
the pre-choruses do successfully fulfill the standard role of creating hype for
the choruses, its format of alternating and increasing vocal intensity and
including a brief pause is not special. Nonetheless, sixes are granted versus
lower scores as the sections are still noteworthy; the sections just lack the
additional qualities to push for a higher score.

As
for the choruses, overall, the repetitive nature of the sections proves
hindering. Although the vocals are certainly tuneful and impressive—and hence
not a lower score, because of the rhythm and flow of both the vocals and
instrumental, a linear style becomes adopted. Sonically, the section is
impactful and melodic, but with a vapid flow in place, appeal drastically falls
over time. Now, a linear format is not inherently bad, as proven in ballads for
example, however in “Angel” ‘s case, it is unsuitable as the prior sections
seemingly create choruses that would be equally dynamic and versatile. Regarding
the post-choruses, though to some degree the placement is understandable, the
sections nevertheless do disappoint. Vocals are lacking and similarly the
structure: “talking” occurs versus singing, and with the format, the
alternating of voices are dull. In the end, considering it is a post-chorus and
thus the role is to recycle “Angel” back to a calmer state, the lacking of
tuneful singing and its mundane structure does fulfill that role. But, it is an
inefficient way as it costs “Angel” moments of alluring singing, and
furthermore, it feels rather dragged.

On
the note of excessively stretching a section, the bridge relates. Though K-Pop
songs’ sections (and others) do tend to follow a traditional format (verse,
pre-chorus, chorus, etc.), the bridge in “Angel” appears incredibly forced; it
is as if the bridge is inserted because there had to be a bridge. Clarifying
though, the bridge in “Angel” is not entirely without purpose: it provides a
pause for the song to create a climactic buildup, of which is unveiled through
the energetic, two-part singing end. Nonetheless, a more productive route could
have been utilized. First, the entry into the bridge is abrupt. Secondly, the
slower and dramatic style of the section fails to fit “Angel.” If perhaps the
bridge’s style was foreshadowed and gradually introduced, then it may be deemed
suitable. As it is, however, the bridge’s echoing and sluggish points do not
fit the prior sections of fast paced melodies. At most, the bridge may provide
diversity for the song, but it is one that is too conflicting with the
remaining sections.

Analyzing
the raps, positively the vocal fluctuations are decent, as seen in changes of
rapping force, but that is the main highlight. Every other aspect, be it the
flow, rhythm, pacing, and so forth, are average. In fact, the other aspects are
rather uneventful; there are minimal changes minus the vocal fluctuations. Lastly,
with the conclusion, though it is the post-chorus reused once more, the
conclusion will deserve credit for its two-part singing. Additionally, though
the post-chorus is not successful with its original role, when it comes to the
conclusion, it does suit. Relaxing on the vocals and tune ensure a smoother
end, and that is what the post-chorus offers.

Hastily
covering the Line Distribution category, two members do have an extra section.
As a result, factoring in the many sections that are available and the group
size, the score will be impaired somewhat greatly. Also covering the lyrics,
though there is a noticeable amount of repeating details and ideas, there is
still variety among such. Furthermore, the plot is relatively exclusive: the
main character still considers their former partner an “Angel” even after the
two have parted ways. Ultimately, to discuss the instrumental, it holds
admirably. The main spotlight is arguably on the electric guitar, and overall,
the rock-like genre the instrumental adopts, and that is definitely a positive
aspect: the guitar is fabulous and meshes well with B.A.P’s vocals. Throughout
sections, the instrumental is outgoing enough to hold its point, but is not
overwhelming to the degree of stealing attention from the singing—unless if it
is meant to be in spotlight. During those instances, such as the introduction,
the instrumental proves its ability to hold independently.

Switching
to the choreography of “Angel,” the syncing is rather accurate. All of the key
points reflect to the song’s sounds, and also, the intensity as well. For
example, the choruses possess more lively maneuvers than other sections that
are moreover passive. What does remain disappointing, though, are the said key
points. Even if synced to with sharp precision, the dance moves themselves are
not captivating (visually that is, as reviews focus on; the skill required for
the dance is absolutely stunning). Given the upbeat song, it would be predicted
that the key points are also equally filled with actions and movements, but
that is not the case: the opposite, peculiarly, occurs. A predominant amount of
the dancing orientates around simpler moves versus complex, active ones. And though
simplicity is not a fault, and in certain cases, is a large benefit, with “Angel”
the key points do appear lackluster in juxtaposition to the song itself, and
more significantly, with the basic approach, it leads to repetitiveness of already
duller dance moves.

Concluding,
B.A.P’s “Angel” concludes with an overall six for slightly above average.
Biasedly, I have been enjoying the song, but I do wholeheartedly agree with the
result. Nevertheless, even if “Angel” scores lower than desired, B.A.P is a
group to follow given their stellar vocals and even dance skills, and if
accurate, they have had a comeback around November (though admittedly I have
yet to listen to it). Despite the listed scores, the six men are indeed quite
adept.

_______________________________________________________

Sharing
a random fun fact: I am writing this nearly at two in the morning. And, like prior
times of doing this, I may now begin writing obnoxiously. But, it is all worth
it for readers. On a more serious tone, this review did take a long time as
there have been a few family events, and to confess, I have been slacking. However,
I do apologize. January will be the start of shorter yet more plentiful
reviews, and I am set on compensating in this month.

To
begin, besides this review, the next one will be a bonus: a show review on “EXID’s
Showtime.” I have finished the reality show weeks ago, and with how I do tend
to watch reality shows of groups, a short and fun bonus review would hopefully be
entertaining for readers. Also, on the topic of shows, I have recently heard of
how a popular American cartoon show (“Family Guy”; I am familiar in the sense
of the show existing, but since I do not watch American media, I do not know
what the show is necessarily about) featured K-Pop. In the upcoming review, I
may discuss the “Hallyu Wave” as it is oftentimes coined, if accurate
(essentially, the idea of spreading K-Pop and Korean culture). Hinting my
stance, though a multitude of months ago I would have rejoiced at this
featuring, in truth, now I am not sure. As to be discussed, I do consider “Family
Guy” ‘s approach as entirely genuine—and it certainly is full of good
intentions, given a few short clips seen. However, there are subtle consequences
of blindly promoting the “Hallyu Wave,” the most notable one being that K-Pop
becomes “exotic” and a “playful trend” when, in reality, it is any other pop of
any different culture. More deeply, though this scenario is not quite “cultural
appropriation” (a different topic for another time), there is a vital question
to ask: What happens, then, when the Hallyu Wave/K-Pop trend fades out?
Suddenly everyone’s “love for Koreans and Korean culture” is gone as if a “foreign
and exotic” culture is a toy. There is much to discuss, and I am certain I am
already being controversial, and thus, I will do my best to hastily finish that
review. Discussing and asking questions are what matter; it is less on deciding
whether K-Pop should trend than to discuss why it should or should not, and
what happens if it does or does not, and more.

On
a more cheerful tone, after that review or even before it, I may review Dal
Shabet’s “Someone Like U.” A friend notified me of the ladies’ comeback, and especially
with news of Jiyul and Gaeun departing from the group, I personally desire to review
their latest song. Personally, I absolutely love the concept even if my friend keeps jokingly
burdening me with “Why are you like this, what happened in your life?”
 and song. Realistically however, the song most likely still has its strengths
and weaknesses as does every song. Catchiness may be its current infatuating
aspect for me (and given it is produced by Brave Brothers, that is
understandable; another topic in the future would be to discuss K-Pop producers,
or more accurately, the seemingly lack thereof).

Overall,
I will do my best to finish the reviews as soon as possible. I am currently
busy with finishing a job application and subtitling SPICA’s visit to “Star
Beauty Show” since
Narae’s makeup skills and ideas make me very envious (and on a random note, my
New Year’s change of beginning thorough skincare has been showing positive
results)
, but I will devote time for reviews. With this being the
end, as I have shockingly not said so yet, thank you very much for reading.
Read in full or skimmed, I appreciate any given time towards the blog and its
reviews. Thank you. All that stated, “please don’t go far from me” as I will
return shortly with a bonus show review. Stay tuned.

Taeyeon – “I” Review

Taeyeon – I (Music Video)

Taeyeon – I (Audio)

Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation) ft. Verbal
Jint – I

Reviewed
on October 19, 2015

image

Personal Message:
Getting technical updates out of the
way, as mentioned in my prior
review
, I have
officially switched to a new word processor. Explaining the sudden change, the
prior word processor I used had, assumingly, a glitch where the font would
often time become blurry (the longer a document, the more prone that is;
consistent readers may know exactly why that heavily affected my reviews).
Multiple attempts to fix such have been in vain, and therefore, I have decided
to abandon the word processor entirely. That said I do hope the format remains
completely unchanged, but this review will test that. Also, with the prior word
processor relying on internet connection and this current processor not, I now
have gained mobility; I am no longer restricted to solely working in places
with internet available. For downsides, however, I am now forced to manually
save my work, and that I am unfamiliar with how certain functions and options
work. Nevertheless, for clear fonts and a significantly upgraded mechanical
checks (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.), this change is well worth it.

Besides technological updates, for
ones that are akin to reviews, I have just discovered after throwing a fit to my friend for not notifying me sooner that AOA will be having a comeback: “Oh Boy.” Intriguingly, though, it is not a
Korean comeback, but rather, a Japanese one. In fact, “comeback” is inaccurate;
“debut” is the proper word to describe AOA’s latest song. I will most likely
review it as given by, to confess, my overwhelming love for the ladies, and
that it is always endearing to bring some variety for the blog, even if in the
sole aspect of language. On that note, if it were to be reviewed, it will mark
the first Japanese song I have ever reviewed. But, introducing a song other
than Korean ones is not quite a surprise: ZE:A J’s “Marry Me” was reviewed, and it is in Mandarin
(though to clarify it was a music video review versus a song review).

Digressing on lighthearted, pitiful
facts that may prove humorous or entertaining, in terms of whether songs that
are not in Korean (or English) are “absurd” to listen to, as I have stated in
the past, my Korean is far from anything remotely decent. Despite that,
however, I do not allow language barriers to obstruct songs, and thus, whether
a song is in Mandarin, Japanese, French, or whichever, I heed no care to the
language—in the sense of comprehension, that is (I still respect the language
itself and do not utterly ignore it, and translated lyrics are searched for).
Relating AOA’s “Oh Boy,” it being in Japanese is highly irrelevant. After all,
no matter the language of the song, Choa’s singing during the chorus will
forever remain incredibly catchy.

Now for the more interesting
personal fact that I desire to share, English is the only language for me in which
songs can be understood. For example, though I know Cantonese, and
additionally, have high comprehension for Vietnamese (I cannot speak it
however), songs in either of those languages might as well be in Korean as I
simply lack the comprehension. My theory as to why that is the case is perhaps
due to how the languages are structured; a note stretch on a syllable in
English is clear, but if in Cantonese for example, the stretched syllable may
be unfamiliar and seemingly “half a word,” and thus, I become confused. Either
way, point is, though I may brag of being “familiar” with a total of five
languages (English and Cantonese are the two languages in which I am rather
fluent; Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean are moreover minimal knowledge), it is
all in vain as my comprehension for songs are pitiful. (But, on a serious tone,
of course I am incredibly grateful.)

Story time aside and an apology to my friend for calling
her a traitor
, the topic will finally be about what it should have been originally:
Taeyeon’s amazing solo debut with her song, “I.” To begin, answering the big
question: no, I did not cry. Reading news articles, Tiffany and other members
of Girls’ Generation did cry once they heard the song, and knowing my sensitive
side with music and crying a river
for the show of “Jessica & Krystal” and even The
Ark’s “The Light”
, I am shocked at my lack of tears. Confessing,
though, I still did become emotionally moved the first time listening to “I,”
and furthermore, with actually watching the music video later. Taeyeon
definitely invested much emotion for her song, and accounting for the many
hardships she endured and endures—recent and old—this song, lyrically and
musically, highlights her struggles and her decision to still persevere.
Taeyeon is an amazing human to say the least.

Additionally, this song is not
purely reflective of Taeyeon’s experiences. Many listeners may indeed relate to
the lyrics, whether a teenager or a working adult, male or female, and so
forth. Especially if in a difficult period, “I” delivers encouragement: “But
strong girl/boy, you know you were born to fly.” That line, overall, summarizes
the song’s crucial message. Stay positive and love one’s own being. You are
perfect. At the Lyrics category, further analysis will be conducted, but
already for a remark, the lyrics are very respectable. In fact, these lyrics
highly motivate me to put on chic clothing, foundation, concealer, and eyeliner
as, from the lyrics’ message, “my life is a beauty”; there is no shame in, as a
heterosexual male, appearing that way as it is my “beautiful” life. (Though my
fashion is now taken seriously, I still sadly have yet to actively use makeup.
Also, refer to countless reviews such as Infinite’s “The Chaser” for a discussion on males using
makeup.) Again, the “Critical Corner” will dive in some depth regarding the
idea of self-love.

To now embark on a more serious
digression (readers interested in solely the review, skip ahead), with all the
mentioned topics and the song itself, there is a topic I have yet to discuss:
the importance of role models, and moreover the importance of the concept
itself. Though “role model” implies purely admiration toward specific people, I
do wish to expand on the idea and to showcase that, it is important in two
regards: to have role models, but more importantly, that everyone is a role
model—whether individual admirers exist or not. Taeyeon will be used as an
example. Although she is not someone I directly idolize, the concept itself is
still intact; she is still someone that presents an image of how to behave. She
models to me what love is, as seen by her affection for Girls’ Generation
members; she models to me what leadership is—love, respect, and dedication for Girls’
Generation  and others around her; she
models to me what self-love is through “I,” and to be myself, as cliché as it
may be. Overall, as exemplified, though Taeyeon is not necessarily a “role
model” to me, the concept still holds: she still provides a model of how to
behave and think.

Now of course, this is not to
disregard the direct role models people may have. Personal role models have
very much influenced me for the better, whether it is T-ARA’s Soyeon, former
Nine Muses’ Sera, AOA’s Jimin, or even MAMAMOO’s Solar. All of them have taught
and displayed to me what leadership is, what respect and love is, what hard
work is, what optimism is, what intelligence is, and so forth. In fact, they
even taught me beauty: physically with stylish fashion and makeup, but also
non-physically with genuine care and understanding towards others and self. More
extremely, despite the cherished role models all being fabulous ladies, they
have also, ironically stated, taught me masculinity (though ZE:A’s Kevin
deserves much credit as well; I would also consider him a role model,
especially as a male one). I hope to “become a man” who is able to replicate
many of those role models’ acts. And, for people who are not idols, I owe much
to teachers and professors I’ve had and have for displaying the best of themselves
for others.

Ignoring my personal, privileged
side with being able to have many amazing role models, this perspective is
rather lucky. Not everyone has a direct role model, let alone any positively
influencing people around who serve as indirect role models. This is why the
concept of role modeling is important: everyone has a social responsibility to
be a role model, even if, as stated, no one is specifically an admirer. Drawing
an example, a young boy growing up with a violent, abusive father who is
supposedly “being a man” will replicate such if no other male role model is
around, and this “male role model” does not have to be someone in specific,
though it may be. If the young boy observes that every male around acts
similarly to his father, then he will follow suit. Thus, that is where
responsibility occurs: males all have a responsibility to showcase—to role
model—to others, male or female, whether specific admirers exist or not, that
“being a man” does not include abusing and dominating others. Homogenously,
this type of scenario applies to other categories. A young girl growing up in a
society that sexualizes, objectifies, and belittles females will, indeed, internalize
such if no role model challenges those notions. And, as stated, said “role
model” does not have to be someone in specific, but rather, it can be—and
is—women in general, and also, akin to the prior point, men who equally
challenge those sexist standards that were set by males in the first place.

Every social aspect applies with
this role model concept, be it showcasing that homosexuality is acceptable,
that being a non-White in America or non-Korean in South Korea is acceptable,
and so on. Concluding, this is why role models and role modeling matter:
everyone shapes society. Ask, what is role modeled when statements of, “I love
Asian boys/girls because they’re so smart and obedient,” “I love Black females’
hair since it is so unique,” or “bisexual females are great because they are
basically boys” are said? No one may specifically admire the speaker of those
sentences, but that speaker nevertheless is still role modeling that race and
sexual orientation discrimination are acceptable (and perhaps even sexism).
Likewise, what is role modeled for masculinity if the phrase of, “be a man,” is
stated to a man who enjoys using makeup? Presenting the best of one’s self and
understanding and respect for all are the responsibilities of everyone.
Everyone admires one another—intended or not. Everyone is a role model—intended
or not.

Returning
back to Taeyeon’s “I” for the purpose of time (this may be the shortest
digression to date), I am thankful for her and her latest song. Taeyeon
relentlessly showcases her cheerful, hard working side despite the many
struggles she encounters. Crucially, since pop culture matters as it shapes and
is shaped by society, with how idols behave on camera, I will personally state
that I am grateful for them, usually, presenting excellent examples for others.
Unequivocally, with being humans, mistakes may occur, but overall, social
equity and respect for all are what idols tend to showcase. Lastly, for what is
more important, one’s own role modeling is. What is being brought to others
through personal acts is what many should ask themselves.  

Transitioning to the song itself,
“I” may score quite highly. Musically and lyrically, the song is phenomenal,
and accounting for the lack of Line Distribution and Choreography scores, “I”
is set for success. Nevertheless, strictness will certainly be in place as is for
every song reviewed minus newbie
days
. It is now time to unveil what “I” think of “I.”

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.25/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 8/10
– A nine is desired to be given, but withholding biases, an
eight is the score, of which is still impressive. The vocals remain diverse, as
observed by the range of notes, power, and singing styles. Every section
delivers its own traits. Low, middle, and high notes, and degrees of power, are
seen by juxtaposing the sections of choruses, verse, and bridge. Similarly and
expectedly, each section contains its own singing style. All these traits work
in favor of keeping “I” dynamic. With a genre of ballad where staleness is
prone to occur, the diversity among Taeyeon’s vocals counteract that issue. Now,
for what is moreover significant, Taeyeon’s vocal delivery is fantastic and the
main reason for a high rating. During the choruses for example, through words
of “I” and “sky,” exceptionally melodic, widespread note stretches are
showcased, and furthermore, power is attached. Conversely, however, when deeper
and more passive singing occurs, those parts are also stunning, though to a
lesser extent than the choruses.

“I” is near perfect in vocals:
varied yet that variety is effectively executed. Unfortunately, the delivery of
sections other than the choruses is not to a “nine” rating. Also, the non-chorus
sections’ vocals are equally not enticing to the level of a nine. But, an eight
is still impressive, and potently, the choruses’ vocals are exceptional. There
is no denying Taeyeon’s vocal skills.


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

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

1.
Introduction (Chorus): 8/10

2. Rap: 6/10

3. Chorus: 8/10

4. Verse: 7/10

5. Pre-Chorus: 6/10

6. Bridge: 7/10

7. Conclusion: 7/10

– Analysis:
In a general scope, the sections do
average out with a seven. However, before analyzing each section, attention
towards this song’s format should be given: there are only one verse and
pre-chorus, and the introduction utilizes the chorus. A peculiar setup. Thus,
the song does not follow standard conventions, but as to be explained,
different is never bad. Now, for how this will affect the analysis, as the
verse and pre-chorus are relatively minor, little time will be spent towards
the two, and furthermore, I am attempting to minimize this category’s length as
much as possible.

Digression aside, to first discuss
the introduction, while past reviews have certainly covered songs where,
essentially, the chorus is the introduction, none have outstandingly executed
it, and additionally, many of those songs do not directly or instantly use the
chorus. Therefore, Taeyeon’s “I” marks the first song in which the chorus is
indeed the introduction; the chorus immediately starts off and there is no
buffer that would constitute as a genuine, individual introduction. In terms of
the effect on the introduction section, this grants “I” efficiency: “I” ‘s
style and tone are transparent, and there is the aspect of captivating
listeners from the pure start. A score of eight should be self-explanatory;
this introduction excels in both components of setting the song and attracting
attention, and thus, a high score is earned.

Since the chorus itself has yet to
be covered and is, technically, the introduction, it will be the next section to
critique. Musically, much of “I” ‘s charm derives from this section. The
choruses possess Taeyeon’s raw emotions and vocal power; a range of pitches are
unveiled; note stretches remain abundant; and overall, the melody remains
incredibly lively and mesmerizing. There is minimal fault with how the sections
sound—if there is any fault at all. Every detail in the chorus perfectly meshes
with one another, whether it is the instrumental and vocals, the spectrum of
notes, or how the note stretches are conducted. At worst, for what does hinder
the sections, though the sections are diverse in the sense of shifting pitches,
vocal intensity, and so forth, the melody overtime does become relatively
stagnant. Clarifying, while Taeyeon’s note stretches on the words of “sky” or
“I” are alluring on an individual level, appeal is lost once that same melody
is played out relentlessly. Nevertheless, the choruses are still fantastic. A
high rating is still in place as the sections’ musical strengths certainly
outweigh that minor error.

Finally focusing on the single
verse, it follows a predictable route but nonetheless is still admirable. As
expected from a verse and factoring in the rather energetic introduction, the
section follows a calmer style. Vocals reside toward middle and low notes along
with a slower pacing in order to grant the mentioned style, but this all works
in favor of also introducing variety. The introduction and future sections are
of more intense, dynamic singing and thus, the verse’s style and given melody
are able to provide contrast. Furthermore, as anticipated from Taeyeon, the
verse’s vocals are enticing and tuneful. Overall, though the verse may be basic
in structure, with how it perfectly complements the song as a whole, and
additionally, possesses solid singing, a seven is earned.

Now, for the pre-chorus and rap
sections, both are rated at a six. Peering at Verbal Jint’s rap, as to be
expected from an experienced rapper and song producer (and, if correct, an
influential figure for helping develop Korean Hip Hop), it showcases brilliant
flow and melody. Expanding on the rap’s flow, since the instrumental’s beat is
synced to, the rap becomes exceptionally rhythmic. Additionally, for the
melody, Verbal Jint’s vocals fluctuate throughout the rap, and thus, there is a
delightful tune to it. Nevertheless, a six is the score as the rap is moreover
basic and does not grasp significant attention. On this note, the pre-chorus
follows a homogeneous path to the rap: the section itself is not necessarily
mediocre, but it lacks attractive points. In terms of the pre-chorus, although
Taeyeon’s vocals are certainly captivating, the structure behind the section is
mundane. The instrumental adopts a lighter tone and Verbal Jint adds vocal
layering. Those aspects create the typical buildup effect that is observable in
many pre-choruses as, like its label, it is to create hype for the chorus.
Specifically with “I” ‘s pre-chorus, hype exists, but it is all too simple to
glean high appeal. Of course, however, while simplicity itself is not faulty,
in the song’s case, the usage here lacks appeal. Thus, sixes are the ratings as
Taeyeon’s and Verbal Jint’s vocals carry the weaker structural components of
the sections.

Addressing the remaining two
sections of conclusion and bridge, both are above average. Glancing at the
bridge, there is an overarching strength to it: being sleek. Transitioning into
the bridge is smooth, and later, when the climactic point is approaching, the
section also properly transitions for that via hastening beats and gradually
increasing vocal intensity. It is all highly subtle changes that allow it to
flow seamlessly. On topic with the vocals, Taeyeon continues her adept singing.
Slower, deeper vocals are disclosed—though for a brief period. For the
highlight of the bridge, a powerful note hold is given off shortly after
passive vocals, and it is well conducted. All in all, the bridge may be basic
in structure with having a very traditional format (a pause which is then
guided towards a note hold), but with its fantastic execution, a seven is still
in place. Vocals are enticing, and the subtle transitions occurring are
praiseworthy.

Lastly, with the conclusion, before
directly diving into the analysis, credit is deserved towards the final chorus:
fabulous two-part singing is delivered. Despite all the ongoing, intense vocals
that the final chorus bears, it all miraculously renders cohesively and
therefore, for an outcome, incredible vocal talent is displayed along with
tying into an ending. Tangent aside, however, for the conclusion section
itself, it provides a solid closure for “I.” Fading background vocals in
addition to Taeyeon’s own languishing vocals all grant the song its
distinctive, blatant ending mark, and with the instrumental also identically
doing so, a smooth end is guaranteed. There is no abruptness whatsoever.
Furthermore, rather than closing on standard speech, Taeyeon’s melodic singing
holds until the very end, and thus, appeal is earned in that regard. An above
average, suitable conclusion for an outstanding song.


Line Distribution: X/10
– This grade will be excluded as it is only Taeyeon singing.
Verbal Jint will not be included as his part is considered a feature.


Instrumental: 6/10
– Initially, a seven was to be the score, but it has changed
to a six. Regardless, the instrumental is still respectable. First, the
instrumental is predominantly of guitar. This works in favor of giving “I” its
calm, soothing tone, and furthermore, the vocals perfectly blend with the
guitar. As for the vital role the instrumental provides, it remains moreover a
foundation for the song; rather than being a separate component that draws its
own attention, it instead directs it toward Taeyeon’s singing. Especially with
how solid the vocals are, this proves incredibly beneficial. Unfortunately, for
a drawback, while the vocals are accentuated, it does leave the instrumental
with a hollow sound—figuratively, that is. Individually, the soundtrack is
decent, but it is exceptionally tedious and thus, that lack of appeal will
impair the rating. Understandably however, a more passive, repetitive
soundtrack is necessary for the vocals to be of main highlight, though that is definitely
not always the case.


Lyrics: 8/10
– Already exposed at the beginning of this review, the lyrics
of “I” revolve around the notion of self-love. In fact, whether the lyrics
involve a lost relationship or a struggling personal life is not so much as
relevant as the idea itself: it is important to realize the worth of one’s
self, and additionally, others. Also, to clarify a confusing
lost-in-translation aspect to the following lyrics, it appears that the
translated lines are inaccurate with syntax (if that is the proper term); it
appears that, during the choruses, the words of “I,” “sky,” and so forth, are
wrongly placed since Taeyeon sings before note stretching the mentioned words.
Offering an explanation, a direct translation, for example, would appear as:
“That pours light, sky.” But, in English, that would be deemed strange for
syntax. Korean, however, has a “reflexive” format in comparison to English (and
that English has a “reflexive” format in comparison to Korean; I do not wish to
connote that one language is the “correct” one). An introduction phrase will be
used as an example: In English, we tend to say, “I am Taeyeon,” however in
Korean, if direct translations were to occur, it would render as “Taeyeon I
am.” Neither is “right”; it is all based on language. Overall, while I did not
personally translate these lyrics from Korean to English, this will hopefully
explain why, word-for-word, the lyrics may appear off (and of course, my
explanation may be entirely false and not the true reason; I am not fluent in
Korean).

Sky, that pours light
I, stand under it
Fly, as if I’m dreaming
My life is a beauty

A story I’ve heard often somewhere
“Ugly duckling and swan,” “a butterfly before it flies”
People don’t know, they don’t see your wings
A new world you’ve met could be cruel
But strong girl, you know you were born to fly
Tears you’ve cried, all of the pain you’ve felt
It’s to prepare you for the day you’ll fly even higher
Butterfly, everybody’s gonna see it soon

Sky, that pours light
I, stand under it
Fly, as if I’m dreaming
My life is a beauty

Forgotten dream, I draw it again in my heart
Collect all of the times I withdrew and swallow it
Small memories wake me up one by one
It opens me up, as if it’ll fill the whole world
Past the long, long night
Want to embark on the road for a trip again
Why not? In this world,
one word that awakens my heart

Yesterday, I was alone
Countless gazes
Falling tears
I withstood another day again
Yesterday, that was a close call
All of the words that poured out
It embraced me, who was shaking, again

Sky, that pours light
I, stand under it
Fly, as if I’m dreaming
My life is a beauty
My life is a beauty

Flower petals wilt
I had difficult times, but followed a small light
Distant day, let it go far, faraway
I fly splendidly

Sky that pours light
Renewed eyes (renewed eyes)
Fly far away (fly high, fly high)
Beauty that belongs only to me

The moment I close my eyes
Time stops
I rise again

Language digression aside, the
Lyrics category manages to reap a score of eight. This song, in fact, may
currently hold the highest score out of every reviewed song for the Lyrics
category (ignoring archaic reviews, that is). Details remain varied and abundant,
even despite the song’s shorter lines. For example, the rap features details
that significantly differ from ones at the verse and pre-chorus, and with the
latter two, those also vary from one another. Ignoring variety, the given lines
are noteworthy. The lyrics to “I” are not typical, minor words that are added
for the purpose of filling up a song; “I” in its entirety is a song that is
meant to give encouragement. Every line in “I” is momentous and impactful. This
song may be discussing the heartache of a breakup, but simultaneously, it may
be positivity for someone who is attempting to pursue their passion in life, or
for someone who needs the critical reminder that they are valued and loved.
Summing up the lyrics, with it being rich in details and meaning, a high score
is rightfully earned.


“Critical Corner”:
As the discussion of “self-love” is a vast one, I will refrain from discussing
it until a future review, such as in GOT7’s “Just Right.” That review will dive
into, arguably, the most controversial aspect of K-Pop: body image. I will not
shy away from how race, gender, and class affect beauty standards, and
additionally, for what many would desire to discuss, plastic surgery. That
review may end up being my most controversial writing yet, though controversy
is merely incentive as it showcases people’s care.

On topic with Taeyeon’s “I,” as the
song is of being able to love one’s own being and to be one’s own self, as
stated, GOT7’s review will discuss such. Nonetheless, for a reminder, everyone deserves
to be able to appreciate and love themselves. A seemingly easy task, but that
is far from true and is something many are still discovering. After all,
Taeyeon would not have released a song dedicated to this subject if it were as
simple as “self-confidence,” of which is, arguably, a faulty statement. One
lacks “self-confidence” not due to self-disgust with one’s own being, but
rather, from internalizing extraneous factors that claim so.

Already shared at the beginning of
the review, and as I believe in full intimacy with readers, with being a
heterosexual male who is interested in fashion and makeup, if not for beloved
teachers and professors providing an education that discussed these seldom,
sensitive social topics, I would still heavily struggle with self-love. It is,
blatantly, more than lacking personal confidence that would have—and had—made
me loathe myself: outside influences are to account for. Similarly, those who
feel “ugly” do not feel such because of their own mentality, but instead, because
of how certain factors have shaped said mentality. Even those in social
privilege, such as by being wealthy, male, and of a dominant race (White in
America, Korean in South Korea, and so on), are not excluded from this issue,
though there is certainly still privilege that will reduce the chances of
self-loathing. (Refer to Girls’ Generation’s “You Think” for a slight discussion on
privilege and how a privileged person should begin understanding their
position.) More will be discussed in the future, but for a personal message, I
yearn that all of my readers are able to find love for themselves.

_______________________________________________________

Choreography Score: X/10
– Since this song is a ballad, no
dance exists—though not to say ballads cannot have choreographies. It is just
unexpected for this genre of music to have one, and with “I” being within that
genre, having no dance should not elicit any form of surprise.

_______________________________________________________

Overall Score: 7/10
(7/10 raw score) – As
solely the Song Score is accounted for, Taeyeon’s solo debut of “I” can be
considered an above average song, and I absolutely agree. “I” is a phenomenal
song in every category, whether lyrically or with the vocals. Confessing,
however, this song was to be an eight if not for decreasing the Instrumental score.
If the mentioned score was shifted to a seven, “I” would have been at an eight,
and thus, held the throne of being the highest rated song yet for the blog assuming past, atrocious reviews are
ignored
. Numerical values aside, “I” is very much an impressive,
meaningful song.

Wrapping up, thank you very much for
reading, as I will relentlessly say for as long as reviews are made. Read in
full or briefly, I appreciate any given time towards reviews, so thank you. Currently,
I am on a week break, and thus, will attempt to release one more review within
this period. Two more reviews are needed to meet my goal of five reviews, and
optimistically, it appears that goal will be met. Since a bonus review is in
mind for the delayed song of F.T. Island’s “Severely,” that goal is very much
plausible. GOT7’s “Just Right” may also be reviewed in “bonus” form if the
format proves successful. Sharing ideas, for perhaps the most optimizing that
can be done for reviews, I plan to give all numerical ratings at the start, and
afterwards, to have one general, essay-like analysis for a song in whole.
Though on break, I still have homework and therefore that format will be
helpful, and if readers do prefer it over current review formats, I would adopt
it as the new standard. Reiterating prior points, I am hoping to release more
reviews at the cost of less thorough (and excessive) analysis.

Nonetheless, it is personal
discipline that matters moreover than review format; it matters moreover that I
actually dedicate time to work on reviews versus merely shortening reviews’
format. But, as I hope readers understand, with how busy I am and finally
having break, I do intend, and need, periods of pure relaxation, so the
remaining two reviews may not all be released during this week. Positively,
though, I have finally been able to finish watching Girl’s Day’s appearance on
the reality show, “One Fine Day.” A review will not be made, but to share, it
is decent. Enjoyable definitely, but it is far from the most entertaining show
I have yet to watch. On the other side, however, shamelessly shared, the ladies
did induce tears. Many tears. Without entirely leaking the end, with Girl’s Day
sharing their love for one another and all equally severely crying, I could not
help but to follow suit. Love is—as cheesy as it may sound—sometimes all the
thing we need in life.

Embarrassing moment ignored that serves no purpose other than for
readers to tease me
, I hope readers will “want to embark on the road for
a trip again.” That road trip is to continue returning to this blog. GOT7’s “Just
Right” and F.T. Island’s “Severely” are to be finished as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for the upcoming discussions for the songs.

B1A4 – “What’s Happening” Review

B1A4 – What’s Happening (Audio)

B1A4 – What’s Happening (Dance Practice)

B1A4 – What’s Happening?/What’s Going On?

Reviewed on October 10, 2015

Personal Message: Sharing a rather random fact, I never knew I would greatly yearn to write reviews; though I certainly love writing for this blog, I have never felt this strongly to want to write reviews as, I now simply have little time to do so. In fact, horribly decided, as of this sentence, I am neglecting sleep for the sake of a few paragraphs. But, it is all worth it, and if I chose to set aside this review for another day, I doubt sleep would come easily since I have pitiful priorities and no life. Jokes aside, reviews of GOT7 and F.T. Island will be coming eventually, but as observed, both have been greatly delayed. Furthermore, even after this review, a recent, momentous solo debut will be reviewed instead of the two, as to be explained later.

On the subject of updates, reiterating the prior review on Ailee’s “Insane,” reviews are now vastly shorter than usual, but for the most part, core messages are retained. Thus, reviews are merely compacted; rather than overly explaining songs, I am now more concise. Of course, however, this is a work-in-progress and will be continually optimized. For technical updates, since it has been many months since statistics were listed, I have checked: as of September 26, the blog has totaled 12,766 views. Considering the month of May had, if correct, roughly 6,000 total views, a large increase is seen. But, as ubiquitously stated, the blog’s popularity is of minor concern. Though I absolutely appreciate every single reader, quality is the priority, not quantity. For final news, after this month’s reviews are finished, I plan to shift to a different word processor, though admittedly this is entirely irrelevant to readers. At most, when the change occurs, slight format modifications may be seen, but overall, nothing should change (consider this unnecessary sharing).

Now, before focusing on the men of B1A4, to address my next review, I do plan to review Girls’ Generation’s leader’s solo debut: “I,” a song worth much discussion–socially and musically. To Taeyeon, the song is most likely very significant for her life, and that may be lyrically but also that of obtaining a milestone. A debut song after years of hard work is certainly something to admire, and in many ways, I respect Taeyeon very much for her behavior, work ethics, and role modeling (and in the future, I may discuss the idea, and importance, of role models and moreover the idea itself, whether in teachers, idols, professors, and so forth). There are also topics of “race depiction in media” and the importance of “I,” or more accurately for readers, “You,” to be discussed. Regardless of the digression to be embarked on, I hope it is meaningful, and with the latter idea of “I” (“You”), that will be the digression for this review.

Before entirely diving into that, for this review, it is on a 5-membered group: B1A4. Their song of “Solo Day” garnered decent popularity, if accurate, and additionally, viewers of “A Song For You” may recognize Gongchan, a member of B1A4, as one of the three hosts for the show. Also, for more background, the men have had a recent comeback. Though the comeback song will not be reviewed, an older song will be: “What’s Happening.” Even if older, it is still a noticeable song and one that will, hopefully, provide a critical and fun analysis. With all this stated, a digression will now take place (readers interested in solely the review, skip ahead): the topic of “I,” or again as clarified, “You.” Though, conceitedly, it will be partially of “I” for a bit.

As brought up in the prior review, while reviews are shortened, the Personal Message will, peculiarly, remain untouched. Confessing, this does, indeed, sound rather arrogant: I am willing to reduce writing for a song, but when it comes to a category that is, based on the title, about me (as seen in “Personal”), I refuse to reduce any length. Arrogance at finest, it seems. In reply, however, that is far from it, and in fact, that assumption is the utter opposite: I plan to maintain the Personal Message as it is, in truth, the most important part of reviews–and most definitely not because of discussing about myself. The “Personal” in the category’s title derives not necessarily from sharing personal facts (though I wish to do so if relevant), but instead, it is there as these words are my own opinions. It would be erroneous to merely label this category as “Background Message” or whatever else as, that would not remind readers that what is said here is, in the end, my views on certain, sensitive topics.

That clarified, to now explain why much emphasis is placed here versus the musical component of, ironically stated, music reviews, that is because, harshly stated, my musical reviews do not necessarily matter. I acknowledge such. For example, I do not even recall what I rated Girls’ Generation’s “You Think,” minus a few categories. Even if it was nearly a month ago, I cannot recall any ratings, and more importantly, I do not quite care of the ratings. What I rated “You Think” is meaningless, minus the recent time period where it was reviewed and where people did read it for to ruminate over music quality. Now, for what does still remain, however, is what I digressed on per song. Drawing an abstract example, in whichever month I reviewed CLC’s “Pepe,” while I expect the song to have been rated poorly, I still recall the digression that took place: shaving–specifically in a gender lens. Nonetheless, as showcased, the song review is unimportant in the long-run, but for what remains prevalent, the “Personal Message” category does. In the sense of discussing shaving, of course.

With that unveiled, that should speak for why the Personal Message category is kept while the review itself is reduced. The musical aspect to the reviews are great and fun, hence why I spend approximately half of my writing time for it (the rest is for the Personal Message). But it is worth bearing in mind that, unless if one is exceptionally engrossed in (Korean) pop music on a technical level, the reviews are not quite relevant in any reader’s life. Until controversial digressions occur, that is. Again, the given digressions are what hold as important, whether my views are agreed to or not. What matters is critically thinking over the given ideas. Despite how the digressions often time are of K-Pop and the social issues that may plague it, the shown inequities are unequivocally not restricted to K-Pop as, with being pop culture, it is reflective of society in general. Furthermore, living in South Korea or not, many ideas still translate over, minus having to shift ideas on, perhaps, who is the “dominant group” and such (refer to reviews that discuss racism for an understanding on the “dominant group” concept).

Overall, for a final point, I would prefer to have a reader finally be able to love and accept themselves for being, for example, homosexual, than for a reader to send an argument for why one of my reviews is atrocious (though I love reading disagreements; do not be discouraged from sending them, I adore reading different stances regarding songs or even social topics). Nevertheless, it is more important for me to show a female reader that, even with being a female, she absolutely has the right to “wear a miniskirt and high heels” (“Miniskirt” reference) and to be sexually attractive despite society threatening her with insults and sexual assault. Likewise, it is imperative for me to show privileged readers, such as myself in the context of gender and sexual orientation (male and heterosexual), that privilege comes with a social responsibility: providing equity for those who lack privilege, and overall, basic kindness. For example, by being a male, it is critical to be aware of the harm that is induced from merely stating, “she shouldn’t wear that much makeup” or, although more extremely, “that was such a gay event” in terms of negativity.  Additionally, rarer discussions, such as the idea of shaving or understanding a feminine male (as I believe in intimacy with readers, such as myself; I would label myself feminine, and nothing is wrong with that as femininity and masculinity are equal), are to be discussed as, often time, these topics are never addressed at all.

It is important for me to address these social topics through varying perspectives. Everyone is affected by the current disparities in place. Understanding, respect, and acceptance of one another are what I hope readers glean out of my Personal Message category. Of course, however, disagreeing is certainly allowed, and in many ways, hoped for as even disagreeing would show that awareness and thinking is in place. Offering a concluding point, while I hope readers enjoy musical discussions regarding K-Pop songs, it is equally important for readers to at least attempt to ponder over very uncomfortable, disturbing topics that many opt to avoid–for obvious reasons. Pop culture is more than songs, flashy choreographies, and exquisite makeup and fashion; pop culture includes the mentioned items but also that of societal messages. Questioning and challenging those social messages are what needs to occur. Some messages may provide respect for all, but at times, some messages may be degrading to someone on the basis of who they are, and that is where personal decision and thinking has to take place.

Returning to, perhaps, a more cheerful tone (if upset or angry, that does indicate genuine care), for “What’s Happening,” while I will aim towards a shorter write, feedback is still desired (and will always be). Directly discussing the song, it has been a song I have listened for some time, but moreover for the purpose of analysis than joy. Hinted at, “What’s Happening” is not necessarily an outstanding song, but in certain aspects, it does hold as appealing. Also, to address the links, a standard protocol is there: the audio is for the purpose of hearing the song in clarity, and the dance practice is for seeing the choreography in full. Finally discovering what is happening in “What’s Happening,” this review will hopefully provide an answer.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10 (5.8/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 6/10 – If direct scores were possible, a “5.5” would take place. But, because of rounding and generosity, a six will be given. On topic, a vast majority of B1A4’s vocals in “What’s Happening” does reside towards being average. The verses, pre-choruses, rap, bridge, and so forth, contain vocals that fail to be melodic or intense. An undynamic, linear route is taken for the vocals throughout nearly the entire song. For examples: the pre-choruses’ vocals are repetitive and lacking in melody, and similarly, the verses follow suit–even with the slight power added at the end. However, optimistically, for what does push the score up to a six are the choruses. The choruses contrasts every other section (excluding the introduction) via possessing highly tuneful, complex, and powerful vocals. Very lively singing occurs.

Overall, however, as solely one section contains desirable vocals, it will limit the Vocals category’s score.

– Sections: 6/10 (5.57/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10

2. Verse: 5/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4. Chorus: 7/10

5. Rap: 6/10

6. Bridge: 5/10

7. Conclusion: 6/10

– Analysis: Ratings range all over, but the sections do average, for a score, with a six for slightly above average. Addressing the introduction, the song is properly established with disclosing the overarching style, but also, with retaining a captivating tune. As such, it is delightful, though the musical aspect could be more developed as it is straightforward tunes, hence the six instead of a seven. Nevertheless, it is likable. Focusing on the conclusion, an identical rating holds as it follows a similar route to the introduction: structurally, the conclusion smoothly ends the song, and sonically, it is appealing though not to the greatest extent. Overall, both the introduction and conclusion suffice, and a six is nothing to disregard for ratings.

Switching over to the verses, if it were not for the second verse adopting an entirely different, contradicting form of being sluggish, perhaps a six would be in place. Before criticizing the second verse, though, to focus on the first one, with the gradual pacing and rhythmic, soothing vocals, it is a pleasing section. Now, conversely, when the second verse arrives, the prior version is utterly lost: the vocals no longer are soothing and calm, but instead, hollow–as given by the echoing effect and lack of tune, and in terms of placement, the second verse’s excessively slow rate disrupts “What’s Happening” ‘s flow. On the basis of the first verse, a five still holds, but the second verse is disappointing and fails to complement the song.

Addressing the pre-choruses, it does hold the lowest rating. Structurally, the sections are bereft of individuality; the pre-choruses use a format that is ubiquitously seen in many average, dull pre-choruses. While it may certainly be an effective means of generating hype for the chorus, the change in instrumental to that of echoing and the use of vocal layering to create buildup are, harshly stated, boring methods. These tactics are similar to the idea of utilizing “la la la” for post-choruses, or merely accelerating beats to the highest tempo for other pre-chorus types. It may not be impossible to excellently execute those types of post-choruses or pre-choruses (AOA’s “Like a Cat” brilliantly utilizes the “la la la” post-chorus, for example), but it is very much a difficult task, and unfortunately, “What’s Happening” does fail in that regard. Thus, the pre-choruses lose much credit for using a lifeless, unoriginal format.

Reflecting over the chorus, shifting to a positive tone, this section proves promising: the vocals are to a higher tier, the instrumental properly accommodates the singing, and the format reduces mundanity. Elaborating, with the vocals, though it is in high intensity, the melody remains intact and charming, and the added vocal power does give “What’s Happening” a highlighting point. Regarding the instrumental, despite it being average (as to discuss later), it holds as enticing during the choruses. Reciprocal of the vocals’ intensity, the instrumental follows suit with equally being active, and thus, for an outcome, the choruses are even more appealing.

Discussing the rap, the rapping itself is admirable. A catchy, hasty rate is unveiled, and additionally, with the second half including vocal layering, the rap is able to remain diverse in style. Nonetheless, for what lacks and prevents a seven, the rapping rate could have fluctuated more in order to grant a dynamic flow. Even with the added vocal layering, though the melody becomes enhanced and varied, the flow still holds as unchanged. A relatively minor issue, but it is one that will prevent a seven. To also address the final section, the bridge, the singing vocals and rap remain adequate. Furthermore, the layout of the bridge is also diverse, as seen by the mentioned vocal styles and differing instrumental styles. Unfortunately, like the pre-choruses, a subtle problem exists: unoriginality. The decrease in speed and emphasis towards pacing, and later, acceleration in pacing, are very standard forms of bridges. Thus, as explained for the pre-choruses, a penalty in score will hold. Nevertheless, with the mixture of rapping and singing, a five will be given instead of a four.  

– Line Distribution: 8/10 – Five members in B1A4 should prove beneficial for the Line Distribution category. A higher score is anticipated.

With Jinyoung, his sections include the first verse, one pre-chorus, the bridge, the final chorus, and due to one line, the conclusion. Five is his total count, which is, assuming four is the standard (as it tends to be the equal quantity), slightly excessive. But, until the remaining men are accounted for, the quantity cannot be critiqued.

For CNU, he handles the introduction, the first chorus, the second pre-chorus, and, if including his single word of “you,” the bridge. Four is his count. Assuming four is the desired quantity, CNU is in a perfect position.

Baro’s sections consist of three: the first pre-chorus, the rap, and the bridge. A slight disparity when compared to Jinyoung’s count, but it may be miniscule in the end.

In terms of Sanduel’s lines, they appear at the three choruses and the second verse. Therefore, his total is at four, and that does assist in providing a balance for the distribution.

Lastly, for Gongchan, his sections include both pre-choruses, the second verse, and the three choruses. A surprising count of six is what Gongchan possesses.

Finally offering a score, it will, miraculously, still hold well. If Gongchan lost a section and Baro gained one, a perfect distribution would exist. Nevertheless, only an eight will be given. Even under the circumstance of the most equal distribution possible for “What’s Happening,” two members would still have one extra sections over the others, hence an eight versus a nine. But, that is still a notable rating, of course.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Critiquing the instrumental to “What’s Happening,” electric guitar sounds and standard electronic-pop sounds are witnessed. The echoing, electronic sounds occur for places other than the choruses, and for the choruses, as expected, the electric guitar sounds take presence. In terms of the instrumental’s strength, it perfectly syncs to the vocals: calmer sections are accommodated with basic sounds or gentle guitar, but for more upbeat moments, such as the choruses, the instrumental becomes exceptionally lively. This grants the song cohesion, and overall, greatly augments the overall sound. But, besides this aspect, the instrumental is average. It lacks complexity (though complexity does not necessarily mean good; refer to Ailee’s “Insane” for an example of a fantastic yet simplistic instrumental), and more significantly, the instrumental is redundant. Because of minimal changes to the instrumental’s format and the lack of it being diverse, it becomes tedious to hear.

As a result, average does hold, even with solid synergy at play between instrumental and vocals.

– Lyrics: 4/10 – Predicting a potential plot for “What’s Happening,” based on the title and the usual theme of love in songs, the song may be about a main character who is confused with their feelings, or to already leak the lyrics, with a lucky guess, it may be about a main character who is confused on why their partner is acting suspiciously. The following Korean-to-English translated lyrics will shed light on exactly what is happening.

Everyday, yeah yeah yeah yeah
Everyday, yeah yeah yeah yeah

Hey, be honest with me, where are you?
Where are you? (I’m home, of course)
Where are you right now?
Why you do keep changing what you say? What are you saying?
You’re acting strange, you’re acting really strange
Don’t you know that your voice is especially shaky today?

Whenever you open your mouth, you lie everyday
Whenever you open your eyes, you lie everyday
Whenever you get a chance, you lie everyday
Now I know
I knew that would happen

What’s going on, on such a good day like this
What’s going on, on such a good day like this
You, baby I want you, beautiful
Wha’s up wha’s up, tell me tell me, wha’s up?
What’s going on, on such a good day like this
What’s going on, on such a good day like this
You, baby I want you, beautiful
Wha’s up wha’s up, tell me tell me, wha’s up?

Hey, be honest with me, who was that?
Who was it that you could link arms so naturally?
No matter how good I am to you, it’s all for nothing
Who’s fault is this?
Was giving you everything a sin? This isn’t right
I thought this might happen but
I really didn’t know it would actually happen
I should just eat, but what should I eat?

My heart is hurting, and rain is falling
I’m like that but you are probably smiling, oh no

Whenever you open your mouth, you lie everyday
Whenever you open your eyes, you lie everyday
Whenever you get a chance, you lie everyday
Now I know
I knew this would happen

What’s going on, on such a good day like this
What’s going on, on such a good day like this
You, baby I want you, beautiful
Wha’s up wha’s up, tell me tell me, wha’s up?

Before you go, before you turn around
Come back to me baby girl
(Alright) It’s alright even if you’re not always bright
(Alright) It’s alright even if you don’t look for me
(Alright) I’m happy just by looking at you
Falling in love
Falling in love
You

What’s going on, on such a good day like this
What’s going on, on such a good day like this
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Wha’s up wha’s up, tell me tell me, wha’s up?
What’s going on, on such a good day like this
What’s going on, on such a good day like this
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Wha’s up wha’s up, tell me tell me, wha’s up?

Every time I think about you
Every day, I think about you
Every time I think about you again today
Every time I think about you
Every day, I think about you
Every time I think about you again today
Hey, you better be good to me, okay?

Foreshadowed, the plot involves a main character who is wondering why their partner is “acting really strange.” It appears that she, the partner, “lies everyday,” and thus, it leads the main character wondering, “What’s going on, on such a good day like this.” Other details are included, but for the overarching image, this idea of a suspicious partner is utilized. To now explain the rating, a lower one is in place. Justifying it, first of all, the plot itself is not necessarily unique. Though it is tragic with an untrustworthy relationship, it falls within the category of romance–though a failing one, more accurately. Adding on, for the actual lyrics, many lines are repeated or lacking. Minimal details are granted as solely the rap and first verse contain varying information. Anticipatedly, the other sections are merely reiterating ideas or contain line that are do not greatly impact the plot.

A four is the score. If lines were more varied and detailed to further develop the story, a higher score might have been earned.

– “Critical Corner”: Thankfully, no large discussion arises from the lyrics. Besides the point of, of course, open communication during any relationship, be it with friends, a partner, or whoever else, these lyrics are not pressing of any other topic. Trust should be in any relationship, and for another note, it is very admirable of the main character to still respect his partner, even if she is “not always bright” (and, if correct, this is not in the sense of intelligence; this refers to their friendliness and overall, is a “lost-in-translation” line) and “if [she doesn’t] look for [the main character].”

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Discussing the choreography, to address the most prominent point to the dance, the syncing is incredibly precise. Every movement throughout the choreography is reflected musically, and with this remaining consistent, it is an impressive feat. From the verses to choruses to conclusion, all of the maneuvers relate to the song, and as state, the degree of such is phenomenal. When it comes to the remaining component, however, the choreography does falter. The dance moves themselves, while not mediocre, are not outstandingly attractive. Bringing an example, the choruses’ key points are repetitive and, though perfectly synced to the song, are tiresome to continually watch. Additionally, the use of backup dancers is relatively questionable; while the backup dancers add into the fun factor of the dance, mayhem is also brought. The five men of B1A4 would suffice for the dance, and furthermore, even the conclusion would remain fine without the backup dancers.

Slightly above average will be the given score, though it does nearly branch into a seven for “above average.”

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – In the end, with both the Song Score and Choreography Score rating as six, the Overall Score will follow suit. Thus, B1A4’s older song of “What’s Happening” can render as a slightly above average song, and considering this was two years ago, that is a remarkable score. Although I have yet to hear the group’s latest song, they certainly are capable of singing, and gauging from this song, most definitely with dancing. In the future, perhaps a comeback review will take place for B1A4.

As I always say, thank you very much for reading this review, whether in its entirety or skimmed for the numerical values. I appreciate any given time towards the blog, so thank you. Leaving updates in regards to how reviews are, I am in favor of how they are gradually becoming more concise. Improvements, however, are still needed for the sections category. Reducing length there is still necessary, and also, the Lyrics category could potentially be shortened (as tested here). Personal summary of a song’s lyrics will most likely be removed, and instead, solely analysis will take place. Time will be saved, but also, room for readers’ own interpretations is now given.

Upcoming reviews will be of Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, GOT7, and F.T. Island. Assuming I am on schedule, the mentioned artists will conclude the month of October, and that will be a slight accomplishment given how busy I am with university. Specifically for the next review, Taeyeon’s “I” will be reviewed. I will work hard to quickly release it. That all stated, “It’s alright even if you don’t look for” the next review, “I’m happy just by looking at you.” Thank you for reading, and if interested, stay tuned for the review of Taeyeon’s solo debut. Keep checking back.

MAMAMOO – “Um Oh Ah Yeh” Review

MAMAMOO – Um Oh Ah Yeh (Live Performance)

MAMAMOO – Um Oh Ah Yeh (Audio)

MAMAMOO – Um Oh Ah Yeh

Reviewed on July 8, 2015

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Personal Message: Although I am, once again, a day behind my intended schedule, I will be able to compensate via longer writing sessions. MAMAMOO’s summer comeback, “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” has been indirectly requested; a reader desired a review on MAMAMOO, and though no specification was made, I have personally chosen their latest song. Nevertheless, with a friend recommending it the day it was released (and, with her being a huge Chorong Apink fan, I am now aware that Apink is having a comeback soon, of which I will cover), and also, a reader mentioning the song as well, I highly anticipate “Um Oh Ah Yeh.” I have already reviewed MAMAMOO in the past with “Piano Man,” a song that, despite the four ladies being classified as rookies, held an astonishing nine for the Vocals category. Although my past writing most likely failed to bring them justice in regard to their extraordinary talents, I will, hopefully, correct such through this review. MAMAMOO’s vocals are incredibly potent and, astonishingly, even arguably surpassing veteran groups’ vocals.

Sharing brief opinions on “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” for a more jocular comment, a disclaimer will be made: If within the review I misspell the title, I do apologize as, for unknown reasons, I desire to call the title “Um Oh Ah Yeah” or “Um Uh Ah Yeh” versus “Um Oh Ah Yeh.” Ignoring personal worries, for the song, while I did not instantly find it alluring, as I began to brainstorm for the review, I have come to enjoy “Um Oh Ah Yeah.” Vocals, expectedly, are to MAMAMOO’s standards (though, once the review begins, there will be thorough discussions). the sections are, as of minimal deconstruction, enticing, and other categories are equally pleasing.

Addressing the links, an official live performance is included, though there is an audio link should readers desire to hear “Um Oh Ah Yeh” in its clearest quality. On the subject of links, I have watched the music video to “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” and while it is somewhat perplexing at first, once deciphered, I do enjoy its message of claiming males are obsolete humorous plot, as will the Lyrics category explain, and for a more subtle layer, the positive social messages “Um Oh Ah Yeh” brings (on a serious note, the music video does not suggest males are obsolete, but rather, that every male, specifically those not well regarded socially, is worthy, as will be explained at that category).

Transitioning to an utterly off-topic digression, one that is, intriguingly, not akin to social topics (for those uninterested, skipping to the review should be done), a reader did ask a very exclusive question (summarized): “Any tips for how long I should write for and how do you organize your writing?” As answered to the asker, since other readers may be curious, I delayed personally answering so that I could now publically disclose my personal tips. That said, I do apologize for the delay, especially with the answer being implemented in a review, and therefore, being even more delayed. Nevertheless, I am very thankful for this question, and with how I intend to be an English teacher, I am exceptionally zealous to discuss writing related topics. Of course, however, while English holds as one of my passions, it would be erroneous to label me as an expert as I am far from such, and thus, my advice should be taken moreover as one perspective, not as an indisputable one. Much growth is still necessary on my part, and more accurately phrased, constant growth is necessary, but nonetheless, I will offer as much help as possible.

In focus of the first portion of the question, a simple answer exists: none. A solid question, but as stated, there is no ideal duration for writing. Factors include due dates, what is being written, and so forth. Sharing my personal writing sessions’ durations, there have been days where I would write for ten minutes at most, and for other days, a relentless session of six hours since I had a ten-page research paper due in three days that I irresponsibly put off, my highest record (though I did have five minute breaks per hour). Currently, for my average length, four hours a day tend to be the time, though, more precisely, it is broken into two sessions, each of two hours (two hours around afternoon, and then resume the remaining towards the evening).

On topic, to give a more helpful answer to how long one should write for, I have developed a personal guideline: no matter the hesitation, always write, undisturbed, for ten minutes. Explaining why, often time, these two general situations occur: a person barely writes, and as a result, is unproductive, or secondly, for a seldom mentioned perspective, a person excessively writes, and while seemingly productive, will often time be mentally exasperated and, more importantly, unproductive in the context of writing decently and enjoyably. How the “ten minute rule,” my newly invented title, aids such is it provides a gauge; with forcing a time span of writing for ten minutes, a writing session’s duration can be determined. For example, attempting to set a time span without engaging in writing first would lead to shorter sessions; many would, without a proper writing mentality, decide to lethargically write for perhaps twenty minutes at most when, potentially, much more time would be needed. In truth, very few are instantly driven to write. While many certainly love the activity, it is mentally draining, and therefore, very few would be able to promptly write in a very focused, passionate state from the start. Thus, with the “ten minute rule” being forced, regardless of a person’s desire to write, a genuine writing state will become established (or not, which will be addressed later), but now comes the following piece.

If, at this stage, the “writing state” has come in place, such as the feeling of sincerely caring for the written topic or that the writing possesses a desirable flow of thoughts and mechanical work (the actual writing, like syntax and diction), deciding to continue for the longest, realistic session should take place. Endlessly continuing until the drive naturally fades out is what I have found to be most effective. This, blatantly, does highly vary per person and due to topic; a person with more writing endurance may be able to maintain hours once engaged in writing, but a few might only be comfortable with thirty minutes, and if a topic is rather uninteresting, a shorter time will also exist. Regardless, once the “writing state” dwindles, as experienced by how the writing feels significantly more taxing or if little to no writing is taking place at all, taking a break should occur, whether that is walking, a snack, or giving the eyes relaxation. After, at maximum, a ten minute break (I personally have found five minutes to be the best; any longer and I utterly lose desire to write), resuming writing should take place, and from here, two options exist: the “writing state” is once more at play, or writing becomes excessively laborious. Should the latter occur, with judging a deadline and if sincere progress was made, opting to quit should be acceptable. In cases where writing must still take place (due date, for example), then, loathingly, forced writing will have to take place, which, while distasteful, must be done.

Addressing the mentioned side of if, even after the “ten minute rule,” no drive to write exists, once more, after gauging deadlines (if existent), not writing should be the adopted route. Writing is an enjoyable activity, even if mentally expending, and therefore, if no drive to write exists, unless if a threatening due date exists, taking a day off with retries at a later time (if wanted) is a more desirable path. Forced writing, as in its tone, is far from pleasant, and therefore, unless if sincerely pressured, writing is best preserved for a genuine, desired drive, not one of pure dreaded work. After all, during May 2015, I personally can disclose the result of consistent forced writing: burnout. May 2015 for the blog possessed minimal reviews, and of the reviews, horrendous writing was in place, and I do blame forcing myself to write per day as the culprit. Should I have, during the month, waited for genuine desires to write, I could have, surprisingly, wrote more, even if I wrote on less days (as I would have wrote productively for longer on days I did want to write).

However, before ending the first answer, there is one final point to mention: writing is a mental discipline. By constantly writing, stamina for doing so does build up; at the very start, a person may be capable of solely writing for thirty minutes before feeling entirely deprived, but with continually writing, a session of three hours becomes miniscule in terms of feeling weary. Therefore, for those who do wish to be able to engage in more productive, active writing sessions, practice, as trite as the word may be, is key. Continually writing for longer will result in more writing endurance. Also, since I have not mentioned so, a workplace for writing should exist. Though it varies per person for criterias (no noise, some noise, lighting levels, and more), having a space of pure focus on writing and work vastly helps, or, accounting for diverse lives, to attempt to create the most focused work area. There are many who do not possess the privilege of, for example, owning their individual room of solitude and quietness, and as a result, attempting to minimize as many distractions will be the best option. Lastly, for those heavily struggling with becoming engaged, I also have another tip, of which relates into the next answer.

In terms of how I personally organize my writing, once more, content will be the catalyst for how I outline. For larger academic works, I tend to dedicate a full day to outlining a thesis and how to support said thesis (and if readers are curious on how I do so, sending in a question will help; due to it being relatively difficult to explain, I will hold off unless if a reader desires for it). However, in the scenario of shorter writes or less rigorous ones, such as “writeups” or, for my example, reviews, I utilize a very jocular strategy: “caps lock.” Stating overarching ideas, or, based on interpretation of capitalized texts, yelling overarching ideas, are my methods to brainstorming a writing. I will create an example for understanding:

[EXAMPLE] MAMAMOO’s VOCALS IN “UM OH AH YEH”

SUPER MELODIC (EXAMPLE 1, 2, 3) + SUPER POWERFUL (EXAMPLE 1, 2) + OTHER GOOD QUALITY STUFF (MORE EXAMPLES)

With this being a random example (I have yet to deconstruct “Um Oh Ah Yeh”), many may be confused at the obscene writing, however, I will elaborate. Relating the prior point of struggling to become engaged, in the situation that basic writing (as is this sentence for an example of “basic writing”; the actual act of writing/typing) becomes difficult to begin, turning on the “caps lock” key and typing general, encapsulating ideas tend to encourage a “writing state” to become established. With this brainstorming strategy, for less complex writings (for a research paper, for example, dedicating a full outline would serve more efficiently and effectively as stated), main ideas of what will be written are already placed, and thus, the work is no longer generating ideas, but rather, merely putting those ideas into actual words and sentences. With the main obstruction to writing often time being the mechanical writing itself and, for many occasions, not the ideas, this specific brainstorm strategy helps with temporarily evading the mechanical writing while, in certain aspects, still continuing productivity, and eventually, creating a firm writing drive.

Reiterating it once more, this will vary on the writing material, but for many cases (such as for reviews), this is how I personally organize my writing. Ultimately, while I do hope to give insight, I expect solely such; my tips are given to not become standard protocols, but instead, to give ideas for those wanting to improve their own writing experience. Everyone possesses their own preferences and styles for writing, and as such, finding strategies and methods that work best for personal needs should take place, not thoroughly adopting a different person’s routine (unless if it equally helps and works). That said, to the asker, thank you very much for a question that, very interestingly, is neither related to K-Pop or social topics, and for being exceptionally patient. While, as stated, I do hope to help, the best aid for writing is to discover what works best for personal needs, and of course, to practice. Utilizing my analogy, writing is makeup; continuing to use it will lead to improvement, and in a plethora of aspects, makeup and writing are incredibly similar. In the future I may expand on this comparison, but in short: writing can be split into “mechanical” (makeup products) and “ideas” (makeup application and styles). Also, for those finding this comparison highly absurd, I would consider it equivalent to “normal” analogies of, for examples, sports or even cars. The fact that makeup would be rendered a “strange” comparison does unveil concerning connotations, but this discussion will be saved for a future time.  

Returning to MAMAMOO and “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” with the four members, Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein, and Hwasa, being exceptionally talented vocalists, high anticipation exists for the song, but as a song is more than pure vocals, dissecting “Um Oh Ah Yeh” in its entirety will be necessary to decide if it is moreover “Ah Yeh” than “Um Oh.”

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

– Vocals: 8/10 – In a past review, MAMAMOO earned a nine for the Vocals score, and in “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” peculiarly, it does fall short. Most likely, it may be that during the review of “Piano Man,” I was still blindly scoring songs excessively generous with ratings, and thus, MAMAMOO might have received a faulty nine. But, it may also be that, due to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” itself, the vocals in this specific song are not to the previous standards of “Piano Man.” Nevertheless, for what remains pressing, the vocals in their latest comeback are still impressive for multiple reasons.

For a very potent attribute, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” discloses variety: the notes range from low to high, power and pacing fluctuate, and overall, a copious amount of singing styles exist. Focusing on the vocals’ note range, with both assets of voice and skills, MAMAMOO is able to showcase a vast spectrum of pitches, one that many groups seldom possess. For example, with Moonbyul and her deep voice (and for an obligatory compliment, she has an incredibly beautiful voice, as does everyone, and I personally very much love it), blatantly, the lower notes of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” are covered. Furthermore, however, besides merely manipulating a member’s natural voice pitch, intentional lower notes are also heard, such as at the verses. With the deeper pitches covered, middle and higher notes are obtained via, for examples, the second rap and choruses, respectively. Due to the larger spectrum, much appeal is constantly maintained throughout the song as, unlike songs oriented towards a specific note range, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” utilizes a versatile range, and therefore, each section does not sound akin to the prior.

Addressing the second component of change in power and pacing, and relating a more overarching topic, the various styles of vocals, each section in the song possesses its own unique concept for vocals. The verses, as examples, focus moreover on slower, lower notes, and additionally, more passive singing. Conversely, however, the choruses orientate towards being energetic and higher in notes, and for another section, the raps possess their own style as, blatantly, rapping vocals are conducted versus singing vocals. Similar to the prior point of various notes, with each section containing not only their own tune, but furthermore, overall vocals style, ample appeal is given.

Accounting for the amount of diverse traits the vocals in “Um Oh Ah Yeh” possess, a nine would seemingly hold, but, strangely, even with the variety, one component fails to reach such: the mechanical portion to the vocals, and more specifically, at the choruses. Every other section does prove enticing from a sonic standpoint, and in fact, potentially to the caliber of a numerical nine rating as discussed earlier with the adept, variated singing, but for the first half of the choruses (as will be explained in more depth at the Sections category), contradictingly, it is repetitive. Each section’s vocals does vary from the other sections, but in terms of an individual section, the choruses do hold tedious singing that, though a minor issue, will prevent a full nine. Should the choruses’ vocals be more dynamic, a nine would most likely exist, but with it not, an eight will hold which, overall, is still an admirable rating.

– Sections: 6/10 (6.17/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10

2. Chorus: 6/10

3. Verse: 7/10

4. Rap: 7/10

5. Bridge: 5/10

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10

– Analysis: Truthfully, this review has become heavily delayed due to personal activities, such as preparing for college via materials (a new laptop is arriving, which I am very excited for) and checklists, taking a small trip to a relatively far restuarant, and, as honesty is necessary, watching “Unpretty Rapstar” versus writing. I have already watched, if correct, approximately seven hours of the show within a concerning amount of three days (two episodes are left to finish), and thus, this review would have been finished many days ago if I were dedicated. On that note, I do apologize, and addressing “Unpretty Rapstar,” I will review the show in the future as, astonishingly, despite its overarching theme of being a rap survival contest, I have come across many thoughts, whether related to social topics or plainly the show itself and, admittedly, a few tears surprisingly dropped during a certain scene, though “scene” may become plural as I have yet to finish the show, and considering I have created a more efficient show review outline, even more reasons exist to review it after a few more summer comebacks are covered. On topic with summer comebacks, in focus of MAMAMOO and “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” for the song’s sections, an overall six does hold. Though the vocals are to a high standard, many sections are lacking in comparison.

First gauging the more sound sections, both the verses and raps rate at a seven. Glancing at the verses, with both its mechanical and structural components rendering decently, such a score is understandable. Mechanically, the contributed vocals grant “Um Oh Ah Yeh” a smooth, lower pitched melody, and furthermore, with the instrumental equally replicating the vocals’ style, it leads to a combined pleasing and cohesive sound. In terms of the raps, predictably, with both Moonbyul and Hwasa conducting the sections, a strong mechanical component also exists, as in the verses. Moonbyul’s deeper voice emanates a hefty presence as more seldom notes are disclosed, and of course, with her voice itself, a delightful tune is already possessed. Hwasa further contributes to the rap sections’ sonic layer via providing a contrast to Moonbyul’s voice; her rapping lines reside on lighter pitches and faster pacing while Moonbyul adopts the utter opposite. Synthesized from the contrast is extra emphasis towards both members: Hwasa’s hastier rap becomes more sleek, and Moonbyul’s lower notes carry more distinction.

Now, for the structural portions to both sections, both contain a homogenous role: serving as “pre-choruses.” Unconventionally, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” does not possess any pre-choruses, and with such a section traditionally owning the role of fluently carrying a song to its chorus, it does prove concerning for MAMAMOO’s song to lack it. But, with how the verses and raps carry out, discreetly, the standard pre-chorus role is still fulfilled. The verses play in a passive manner, and thus, standard progression is created, however, once the raps occur, the song gradually escalates to a more upbeat fashion, as are the raps, and relating the choruses, a natural, mellow transition exists to it as now the choruses’ own intensity is matched by the rap sections.

Swapping to the three sections that have all scored a six, the introduction, choruses, and conclusion, all hold as “slightly above average.” In focus of the introduction and conclusion, explaining their scores, for one aspect, while both adequately serve their roles, it is to such a degree: adequately. With the introduction, though it does snatch attention via initiating the song steadily with a gradual, awakening instrumental, and furthermore, by veiling MAMAMOO’s full vocals, the musical component does lack. An overly sluggish rate for the instrumental, though effective for creating anticipation, is ineffective for disclosing an appealing musical trait as, with “Um Oh Ah Yeh” specifically, hollowness and lifelessness are attached traits. For the conclusion, the same issues arise, though conversely; the conclusion, being in the form of a final chorus, clutches an exceptionally potent mechanical layer, but for a drawback, its main role of concluding “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is unmet. Elaborating, with the closing chorus possessing high tier vocals, such as with two-part singing and note holds, and certainly, the default ongoing singing for the section itself, the sonic layer thrives as MAMAMOO delivers powerful, exceptionally melodic vocals. However, for a conclusion, while it may leave a climactic point in the song, an abrupt ending does take place as the conclusion’s intensiveness does not fade out. Resulting from such, a poorer end exists, but similar to the introduction, the stronger component does compensate enough to bring it to its rating of a six.

On the note of choruses, the choruses proved most difficult to grade, but, in the end, as stated, a six holds. Mechanically, the choruses flourish: stronger vocals are utilized along with an endearing melody. Especially towards the later half of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” where the choruses in their entirety are sung, the vocals are to a high caliber. A variety of traits occur, be it the change of paces or fluctuation in power, or the general, harmonious singing. Overall, with every factor merged, a solid score would seemingly be deserved. That said, a six holds as, for the purpose of consistency, the half-choruses must be accounted for, and once doing so, the half choruses hinder both the section’s score as well as the Vocals category from achieving a pure nine. Expanding on such, while the full choruses are successful, disturbingly, losing the second half does create multiple issues. For one, the structure becomes highly mundane; “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is repeated relentlessly, and overarchingly, the first half of the chorus is a basic repeat of a single line. Thus, without the second half bringing in variety, the choruses do languish. Furthermore, the second half contains vocals that progress from the initial singing, and thus, the more potent, melodic and powerful singing resides in it, but with the half-choruses losing such, the mechanical layer equally loses charm. With averaging both the half-choruses and regular choruses, a six becomes the score (five and seven for scores respectively).

Lastly, for the bridge, as its numerical score implies, average is how the bridge renders. Both the section’s format and sonic components are neither stunning or thoroughly loathing. Focusing on the format first, a typical form occurs: the bridge follows a slow, paused and lighter concept, as how many archetypal bridges are. The calm, lighter tune from the instrumental and vocals, and in a general scale, how passive the section is, are nothing unordinary. Though viable, with it being completely standard, lack of uniqueness does hinder a higher score as now, sonically, the vocals and instrumental are restricted, and structurally, it is exaggeratedly simplistic. At most, the dialogue, which will be addressed at the Lyrics category, is partially striking, but in whole, it is miniscule and is not influential enough to compensate. Therefore, a five for average holds for the bridge.

For the net value of every section, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” possesses slightly above average sections, which, though short to the Vocals score, is still respectable, though admittedly, it could be higher considering the given singing.

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Skimming the prior review on “Piano Man,” the group did snatch a perfect score. However, with the critiquing being rather vague (estimating took place versus actual counting), I do believe that the previous ten is, most likely, inaccurate. On the positive side, and in focus on “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” four members is a lower quantity, and therefore, lines should be able to be distributed equally with minimal issues.

Focusing on MAMAMOO’s leader, Solar, her sections total as seven: four choruses, two verses, and the bridge. Though alarmingly high, with solely four members, it is reasonable for a higher count as more is to be covered. Therefore, if a proper distribution occurs, every member should possess a similar, high number. As of now, Solar’s count creates no concern.

For Wheein’s lines, her moments include the four choruses, the two verses, and the bridge. Incredibly, her entire sections replicate Solar’s (understandably as they sing simultaneously, based on the live performance), and additionally, with that, seven also holds as her quantity. Should Moonbyul and Hwasa follow suit, then perhaps the ten in the past review was not a mistake.

In terms of Hwasa, six sections for her distribution. While it is one less than Solar and Wheein, no issues should arise. In terms of her specific sections, Hwasa’s lines appear at the two raps, one verse, two choruses, and the single bridge. If Moonbyul’s count results in a six or seven, a perfect score will hold.

Ending suspense, for Moonbyul’s count, unfortunately, it is slightly below the desired count. With five sections possessed, as observed at the two raps, the two final choruses, and the bridge, it will prevent a perfect score. Nevertheless, Moonbyul’s spotlight is sufficient, and overall, the line share in “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is astounding.

Giving a concluding score, should Solar or Wheein have given Moonbyul one of their lines, a pure, perfect score would hold, but with an incredibly minor disparity, the score will be restricted at a nine. Due to consistency of reviews and the rubric, unless if a genuine, thoroughly perfect share exists, a ten cannot hold. Regardless, even with a nine, their distribution can be considered practically perfect, and with four exceptionally talented vocalists, having an equal share is desirable. Reiterating it once more, a nine will be the rating.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Discussing the instrumental to “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” it is the song’s most lackluster category. However, though mechanically the instrumental falters, its structural layer does fare well. In focus of the latter, for one aspect, the soundtrack perfectly reflects the sections: verses are accompanied by a more prominent, heavy beat in order to suit calmer vocals; raps are complemented with a slightly faster instrumental, of which suits the raps’ own hastier rate; choruses are, as foreseen, coupled with a lively soundtrack to connect with the upbeat vocals. As a result, the instrumental can be considered an invaluable asset to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” as every sections’ style and their overall musical components are influenced by it. Furthermore, in juxtaposition of vocals and soundtrack, both aspects perfectly mesh with the other; the vocals are still able to leech the main attention, but concurrently, the instrumental still possesses a noticeable, distinctive presence and, sonically, neither harshly contrasts the other, but instead, both provide a similar, lighter and upbeat tune.

Now in terms of the weaker aspect, one that does hinder a higher rating, the mechanical portion of the instrumental is, as its overall rating, average. While energetic and catchy, the instrumental does lack musical appeal as its main sound is a simplistic, dull electronic noise. Most clearly heard at the choruses, the electronic sound follows a straightforward melody, and additionally, other instruments are also equally plain with tune. Even sections of the verses and raps are dull as, though the bass, beats, and subtle electronic sounds are rhythmic, once more, a basic melody is given. Though this is understandable as the vocals are the main spotlight, and thus, are responsible for delivering “Um Oh Ah Yeh” ‘s melody, and in many ways, why the instrumental’s structural side is solid, it does cost the instrumental in the form of its mechanical layer.

Unfortunately, with a poorer musical aspect, it will lower the score to a five as, while the instrumental’s structure is impressive, in the end, it becomes negligible if the instrumental fails to offer alluring sounds that aid the entirety of the song rather than, such as in “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” purely the vocals. That said, even with average, it does not indicate a mediocre instrumental, but instead, one that is neither promising or loathing.

– Lyrics: 7/10 – After listening to many summer comebacks, most of the recent songs’ lyrics are rather dull (for a side note, I am overwhelmed by the number of releases; unless if I add different forms of reviews, it would be impossible to cover the more popular comebacks), but optimistically, for “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” more desirable lyrics may exist. After all, with a highly vague title, many speculations exist of the song’s meaning. Through the following Korean-to-English lyrics, even if not 100% accurate, the story to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” will hopefully become discovered, and additionally, on why that is the title:

Um oh ah yeh

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace

You passed by me, our eyes met
I like your style, I like this feeling
Nothing’s different today
It’s getting hotter because of you
I like it today, um oh ah yeh

First plan
I’m marveling
You’re the guy I’ve been looking for
um oh ah yeh
You look good on me like my many clothes
These soft words, what do you think?
Second plan, I’ll pull you in first
My eyes are shaking, stand by, cue
If you have time, wanna get some tea?
Yes, how about this?

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace

I’ll follow my instincts, I won’t hide myself
Today is different, I’ll go to you first
My walk is chic, my words are cute
Your eyes that look at me, um oh ah yeh

Help me
Do you have some time? Help me
Because of you, my five senses are acting up
Because of your unpredicted smile
Your manner would make even Colin Firth weep
Your skin might get mistaken for a woman
Your existence alone makes me marvel
Um oh ah yeh
Without knowing, it’s getting hotter
Holy sh–

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace
Your voice, oh yes
Your eye smile, oh yes
Everything about you
From your head to your toes, oh yes
When I see you, oh yes
When I see you, oh yes
Just us two, oh yes
Oh yes

It’s getting hotter
The distance between me and you
One girl is walking in between us
Is she his girlfriend
or just a friend?
“Unnie, who is that girl?”
It was a girl? Oh my God!

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace
Your voice, oh yes
Your eye smile, oh yes
Everything about you
From your head to your toes, oh yes

Before discussing the lyrics, I feel compelled to share that I have recently watched a video of MAMAMOO (it does have English subtitles), specifically the one of them having, indeed, a music session. In a car. Ignoring the wishes for the wellbeing of the driver, especially for her ears, while I am incredibly impressed by their phenomenal live rapping and singing, I am at a lost for words to describe their incredibly jocular and sillier moments. In short, the ladies are hilarious, and now I am tempted to find more videos of the group.

On topic, for the lyrics of “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” a peculiar plot is in place. Though the depicted plot revolves around love, it is not, for example, basic as is the one in AOA’s “Heart Attack,” but instead, vastly complex and exclusive, as will be explained. In terms of the scenario, a main character, specifically a lady, is “falling for [a love-interest], [she keeps] reacting to [him].” It all began when the two “passed by” one another and “[their] eyes met.” From the encounter, she was able to claim: “I like your style, I like this feeling,” even if, as the song’s title, she was anxious yet excited with “um oh ah yeh,” of which are sounds that describe her emotional state. Continuing, she then developed plans as she will “go to [him] first”, but more correctly stated, rather than “plans,” flirtatious phrases were created: “First plan…you look good on me like many clothes,” and for another, her “Second plan…if you have time, wanna get some tea?” Diving into why the main character is highly infatuated with the love-interest, she adores “[his] manner [that] would make even Colin Firth weep,” “[his] skin [that] might get mistaken for a woman,” and, sweetly, his “voice” and “eye smile.” Eventually, the main character catches the love-interest and his friend, but a concern arises: “One girl is walking in between us, is she his girlfriend or just a friend?” With the love-interest’s friend witnessing the main character, she asks a question, one that marks the climactic point in the plot: “Unnie, who is that girl?” Jocularly, while the lyrics conclude with a reiteration on the main character’s love for said love-interest, in the perspective of the main character, it is a despairing end as her love-interest is, sadly, not her dream male since, surprisingly, the love-interest is not even a male. The love-interest was a female the entire time. (In case of a few readers unfamiliar with some Korean, “unnie” is a title by which younger females refer to older females as. In the plot, since the friend referred to the love-interest as unnie, it implied that, humorously, the love-interest was an older female, not a male as the main character thought.)

The main character’s reaction of, “It was a girl? Oh my God!” (and for those who do feel offended by the lyrics’ use of the latter phrase, I will state my personal desire of how I do wish the lyrics were “oh my goodness” so that no offences occur) does summarize the plot’s effectiveness; the lyrics to “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” while aimed towards a certain route, did make an unpredicted turn, but resultly, the plot twist proves priceless for the song. With the sudden change of events in the story, a large bonus does become reaped since, as mentioned earlier, many lyrics fail to contain any element of uniqueness. “Um Oh Ah Yeh” highly differing in plot allows it to become individual, and thus, additional appeal is granted. However, for what will prevent a higher score of an eight, the given details, while decent, are not thoroughly diverse. For example, the verses and choruses restate identical ideas; both sections simply repeat the idea of initiating the first move, or in the choruses’ case, even the exact words. Anticipatedly, due to such, the lyrics become partially mundane. But, because of the raps and bridge providing further insight, and overall, the entire plot possessing an unexpected turn, the lyrics will hold as above average.

Seven will be the rating, and so far with listening to the many copious summer comebacks, MAMAMOO’s song does contain, as of my personal list, the most admirable lyrics out of all the comebacks.

– “Critical Corner”: Slightly discussed at the very beginning of the review, the lyrics to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” are very empowering; MAMAMOO’s latest song is one that embraces femininity, a concept that, as discussed in many of my reviews (even the recent one of AOA’s “Heart Attack”), is undervalued in comparison to masculinity. More significantly, the song addresses a more seldom angle of femininity: “feminine” men. Although in the future I hope “feminine” and “masculine” transform to terms that are all positive and gender-neutral, as of modern times, for the discussion of “feminine men,” following the current socialized connotations of feminine, males who follow so tend to face heavy opposition. While I will not dive into depth as of why that occurs (I have lost track, but prior reviews explain why males receive hate from being “feminine”; if accurate, my review of Infinite’s “The Chaser” covers that), I will redirect attention on why the lyrics in “Um Oh Ah Yeh” are, unlike the general structure of androcentric societies, supportive of femininity, especially towards males who also suit it.

Although the love-interest in the song was, comically, a lady after all, a pressing, momentous message still exists: the main character is attracted to men who, like the love-interest, is “feminine.” Clarifying, critical readers may be challenging the term feminine and its meaning (which is excellent and many should question gender labels), but for understanding, for this portion, I will assume feminine to connote to its current standards. Resuming, that message in itself carries much weight as, uncoincidentally, males who do fall within the feminine category tend to be incredibly repulsed. Bringing in further understanding, seldom does the opposite scenario exist; it is rare for a masculine female to be disliked as, unequitably, masculine is rendered normal, and thus, she would be a “usual” person. A main example exists: a female who does not use makeup would, usually, face no repercussions, but should a male use makeup, he will face harsh comments. For another example (as, after pondering over the last example, criticizing females for not using makeup can actually be fairly common), females are accepted for wearing “male clothing,” such as a suit, and should a male wear “female clothing,” much backlash would occur. Referring to past reviews in which this topic is discussed in depth will provide more understanding.

Relating the earlier point, for an overarching argument, feminine males are exceptionally loathed as femininity in general is disliked, but with “Um Oh Ah Yeh” showcasing a female zealously interested in a male who is, indeed, feminine, the overall idea of how femininity is equal to masculinity can be gleaned. Even with the circumstance that the male was, in truth, a female, with the intended idea of the main character pursuing, assumingly, a male, the same message is still viable. With “Um Oh Ah Yeh” being a pop song, its subtle yet critical lyrics become even more exceptionally meaningful, and with that, it is enlightening to witness the song conveying lyrics that promote equity in the form of gender. Personally, as discussed in the review of Infinite’s “The Chaser, since I believe in honesty and intimacy with readers, as a heterosexual male, I do plan on actively using makeup in the future, and thus, this song does send encouragement as I do fall moreover into the current standards of “feminine” than “masculine,” and rather than being relentlessly rejected, as “Um Oh Ah Yeh” claims, there are people, and specifically, partners, who will find my “femininity” attractive.

Sharing more of my personal thoughts on that subject, while I do plan to live a more independent life, I do cheesily believe in very romantic love stories hope that, in the future, that changes as I would fall in love with a very special lady, but being realistic and factoring in social layers, though I would not branch into dressing in “female clothing” (which, in general, should not be an issue nor should that gendered label exist), my basic use of foundation, concealer, eyeliner, and some eyeshadow would, seemingly, deter many partners (and also that I do wish for her to be proposing first). Positively, however, as “Um Oh Ah Yeh” advocates, even with utilizing makeup and being “feminine,” there is a chance of meeting a special lady who, lovingly, does accept that, and of course, my general self in terms of non-physical aspects. Ending the blush-inducing discussion of my personal perspective towards love, for a concluding point, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” deserves much praise for promoting gender equity that, as often time forgotten, aids males as much as it does for females.

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Shamefully, this review will be, technically, even one more day behind schedule as, from when I wrote this sentence, it is nearly midnight, and thus, the next day has arrived (and that my writing is perishing). Complaints aside, the choreography for “Um Oh Ah Yeh” renders as slightly above average, though it does nearly reach a seven for above average.

Gauging the two main categories of syncing and key points, no alarming problems exist, but equally, no outstanding aspects are unveiled. Remarking on the syncing, every movement does, in some form, relate to the song. However, the level at which it is synced is, while not lacking, far from being utterly visually enticing. For example, at the choruses, though all of the dance motions follow with the song’s flow and intensity, it is not to the degree of fine, minimal details being synced. Rather, large, general maneuvers take place versus ones where every faint musical minutiae would need to be accounted for. Nevertheless, the syncing still remains sufficiently appealing, and more importantly, apparent throughout the entirety of “Um Oh Ah Yeh.”

In terms of the key points to the song, a split occurs: in an overall scope, the song possesses much variety, but within each key point, each one is slightly stale. First, addressing the diversity of the key points, in “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” nearly every section individually (more than section types of chorus, etc.) varies from the other. The first verse is unalike the second, both raps are different, the bridge holds its own key point, and for the choruses, though a few repeats occur, even those sections vary from one another, most notably with the full choruses. Therefore, in the sense of appeal from variety, the choreography excels as a new dance set is constantly displayed. But, as stated, within each of the individual sections, the key points are not to an incredibly high appeal. With each key point being moreover simplistic, visually, the key points do not hold as extremely alluring. For example, most of the movements relate moreover to the lyrics’ plot; much of the choreography revolves around miniature acting skits. While this exponentially works in favor of MAMAMOO as singing becomes prioritized, it will, for consistency of reviews, cost the choreography slightly as, sadly, it is not entirely infatuating.

Nevertheless, a six holds to represent slightly above average. Each section possessing its own key point is one exceptionally admirable characteristic to the choreography, even with the other somewhat lacking attributes.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – As the vapid phrase goes, “time flies when you are writing past midnight for a review on a K-Pop group known as MAMAMOO and their, as the scores claim, overall above average summer comeback song.” I may just be faintly sleep deprived. Faintly. Ignoring horrible attempts at comedy, on a serious tone, MAMAMOO’s latest song of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” concludes with an overall score of seven, of which indicates the song is above average, and I do certainly agree. Both dance and song are respectable, and with MAMAMOO, their singing and rapping prowess are once more flaunted. Despite being newer to the K-Pop industry, the four ladies have much potential to exceed, and arguably, they already are on the path of being an exceeding group. And, of course, with all of them being very humorous, MAMAMOO deserves much positive attention.  

As always, thank you very much for reading, and to the requester, thank you for sending in a request for MAMAMOO. I do sincerely apologize for the slower publishing rate. As explained, I had some personal activities, and thus, less writing time, though in truth, it was moreover watching “Unpretty Rapstar” that consumed my time. I do apologize for being selfish in that regard. Optimistically, I will be returning to a faster rate, especially with the upcoming laptop serving as an extra incentive. With that said, since I am reminded of college, unequivocally, reviews will not be halted. Though there may be situations of greater delay, I would not cease reviewing K-Pop songs. In fact, most of my free time is now allocated towards writing (and, admittedly, watching videos and the occasional gaming) as I do very much treasure the blog, as the upcoming review will reflect over. Now in focus of college itself, I am both nervous and ecstatic, as are many students. I look forward to a new learning environment and to classes that I am quite excited for, but, for the nervousness, the workload and academic difficulties of college are intimidating. Once a structure is set up, I do plan on sharing my experiences of university as a few readers may also be following a similar path soon, and thus, I wish to give insight on such.

Finishing the review, once more, thank you very much for the given time and support. I do truly appreciate it all. Also, apologies for the slower publishing rate, and for this review specifically, horrendous writing. I do feel that my writing here was exceptionally poor, and therefore, I will place extra emphasis on ensuring the upcoming review is a decent read. That said, for the upcoming review, I will use a song that is not explicitly stated on my review schedule, but is one that would certainly fit, and for its theme, it does serve as a celebration to the blog’s one year anniversary (I will reflect over the blog in the review). Stay tuned for the upcoming review as, “Oh yes, um oh ah yeh, I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you,” and that “I will go to you” with a new review since “you are just my taste, ace.”