Mad Clown x Kim Nayoung – “Once Again” Review

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

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

Reviewed
on September 10, 2016

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


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

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Chorus: 4/10

3.     Rap: 7/10

4.     Verse: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion: 7/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 8/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________

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

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

The Ark’s Music Video – “The Light” Review

Reviewed on April 26, 2015

The Ark – The Light (Music Video)

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Personal Message: Miraculously, I am returning to writing reviews despite how I was supposed to take a week off. Due to finishing work significantly sooner than expected, which may be in credit to writing for 6 hours straight, my latest milestone in terms of longest writing sessions, I am able to begin the reviews that have been requested. Girls’ Generation’s stamina in “Catch Me If You Can,” my previous review published 4 days ago (as of the time I wrote this sentence), thankfully transferred over. However of course, endurance does not predicate quality, of which is most likely lacking in the paper. Ignoring the strenuous research paper, to the person who requested The Ark’s music video of “The Light,” thank you very much for the request and for being incredibly patient. I feel incredibly guilty for the delay. Furthermore, future apologies if this review does become horrid; I truthfully struggle with reviewing any medium outside the realm of songs (as seen in my reality show review of “Channel Fiestar”). Thus, due to being bereft of the skills necessary for deconstructing a music video as this will be the first occasion, this review may falter heavily. It will be a learning experience at the least, and for what will certainly be beneficial, this review will provide readers variety along with being, predictively and hopefully, a shorter write.

Focusing on The Ark’s music video of “The Light,” or more accurately, on the group itself, The Ark is a newly debuted group of 5 members. Unlike traditional debuts with a standard K-Pop genre, their label company, K Entertainment/Music K, opted for a new route: a ballad. The marketing scheme behind this was to showcase The Ark’s musical capabilities, of which is certainly unveiled. From what I have heard, The Ark will be focused on K-Hip Hop. Perhaps future reviews will cover other releases, but as of now, this is my current knowledge regarding the group.

Now to truly focus on the music video, I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and definitely, it will remain a memorable music video for quite some time if not forever. If readers have yet to click the link, I will leave a few recommendations: watch alone if possible, and secondly, have a few tissues nearby. As mentioned in a previous post of acknowledging this review request, I did state, admittedly, that I cried due to the video and used 2 tissues. That said, however, being able to provoke me into crying simply requires saddening music and equally sad visuals, and thus, I do feel confident that many readers will be fine. Or perhaps people are rather heartless, such as my friend who shed zero tears and who also takes pride in her inhumane teasings mature and are capable of utterly controlling their emotions.

To explain why I did cry, many factors are at play: the video directing, and also, in part of a few personal choices. Regarding the personal choices, subconsciously, I placed myself in the mother’s position; the video was watched in the perspective of the mother and I attempted to understand her feelings. Before realizing it however, my attempts to understand became sincere emotions. I began to genuinely feel the mother’s depicted emotions, and expectedly, the agony and melancholy of losing a beloved daughter struck painfully. Furthermore, with, as mentioned in one or multiple past reviews, desiring two daughters should I have children in the future, I was also incredibly emotionally impacted as I did feel as if my daughter passed away. Now, in terms of giving credit to the director, she/he did a phenomenal job with details. Simplistic, minimal aspects were manipulated to deliver certain tones. I will save elaborating here for the review itself.   

Before beginning the review itself (feel free to skip to it by now), the mentioned topic of 2 daughters, and in fact, parenting, both elicit important discussions, ones that are related to the subject of gender. Specifically with the topic of 2 daughters, a seldom, yet necessary, concept is needed to be discussed: gender preference in terms of children. To offer personal background as I believe in blunt honesty and intimacy with readers, certain incidents have prompted this discussion: many friends, if not all, showcased complete distaste towards my claim of desiring daughters. Though defensive reactions generally render this situation as friends simply “disagreeing,” diving into a more critical perspective unveils more than disagree and agree; glancing closely and deeply on why many friends repulse the idea or, humorously phrased, offer “good luck,” discloses society’s valuing of males over females, even in the situation of having children.  

Arguably, the biggest remark heard is one claiming I would be incapable of “understanding” my daughter; as a father it would be impossible to even remotely comprehend her. Although the following words are not meant to be directed at any friends or persons who have said so, offering a harsher rebuttal, I believe I will understand my daughter as she is a rational human unlike the initial claim that is incredibly bereft of any form of logic whatsoever. It is incredibly pitiful on how society has socialized gender. Rather than viewing gender as simply “male” and “female” (and in fact other gender identifications, such as pansexual), society has created borders and divisions: gender is no longer a simple physical trait (gender norms is another discussion, though one for another time), it is now a justification for preventing genuine human relationships as gender is now seen as polar opposites, and thus, a reason to view someone of the opposite gender as “the other” exists. Relating back to the notion of being unable to understand a daughter, on the sole basis of gender, the claim exists; due to being a father, many are claiming I will be incapable of understanding my daughter. If I was told that I was horrible with children, and therefore, would lack the ability to connect with my daughter, it would be a sound reason. Unfortunately, with solely gender as a factor, it showcases a current rife issue of how society depicts “male” and “female” as sheer opposites and not humans. In that sense, as my daughter would be a human, I know unequivocally I would understand her, and moreover, be able to love her, regardless of gender.  

For a slightly more reasonable side to the argument, many have mentioned the point of how biological differences can, supposedly, create a lack of understanding. For example, being able to assist with my daughter’s menstruation is claimed to be impossible. This idea simply reiterates the value of health class and learning about the human body the prior point, however. More aspects exist to create division, but furthermore, to atrociously devalue females. Interestingly, objectifying females occurs even on the level of having children; a widespread reason to prefer sons over daughters is to reduce “hassles.” Daughters are considered “hassles,” emotionally and biologically. What is never critically analyzed is how those claimed hassles are truly skewed and exaggerated, and strangely, not applied to males when they can certainly be emotional and possess their own biological hassles, even if not equivalent to menstruation (though male menstruations will be discussed later). Tying back to the topic of understanding, with the blessing of knowing basic human health, I will be able to explain to my daughter changes to her body, and furthermore, am also able to assist her in purchasing items for menstruation, of which is strangely, but not surprisingly, an alien idea for fathers. Division of gender applies to why the alienation exists, but also, parent/gender roles (which may be elaborated below if time/length permits).

Diverging to another discussion point, once more one that is vastly overlooked, menstruation is in mind. Periods are prime examples of showcasing how society socializes, discreetly, that males are superior to females due to “naturalism.” To bring in bitter humor and irritation, recalling “jokes” of periods will deliver context to the upcoming discussion. Phrases of “it’s that time of the month again,” “someone’s on their period,” or “she’s extra sensitive today since she’s on her period” are not jokes. At all. Those phrases are ones that perpetuate sexism as it presents an imagery of males being superior via having more maturity over emotions “naturally.” Firstly, observing those phrases and their focus, those sayings ironically do not present menstruations as “natural”; the phrases are not “it’s that time of the month again since she openly stated so,” instead, the phrases stem from a female showcasing anger or irritation. As such, periods are no longer natural biological happenings, but instead, periods become excuses for males to shut down females showcasing anger and emotions as females are now automatically “naturally” angry due to biology in the form of menstruation, not specific circumstances such as harassment, sexist jokes, and more.

Simply put, jokes regarding periods are connotated with sexist ideas, intentional or not. Utilizing those related phrases exploits “naturalism” so that females lose an active voice and are rendered miniscule if displaying anger and such. While menstruations may certainly cause discomfort, and thus, susceptibility to irritation, the current levels are overly blown out of proportions by existing phrases/jokes that merely socialize people with the idea that females are “naturally” more emotional than males, of which is incredibly false and simply reinforces the idea that females are inferior. Interestingly, males are never scrutinized or mocked for their own periods. Male readers may now be confused or even concerned for my mental health, but explanation will occur to soothe worries: males, while not possessing biological menstruation in the form of females, still have equal mood changes during certain periods. (Individual research should be done if readers are curious on sources and credibility of my words, which is good as being critical should always be in mind.) During certain phases, males are, like females’ menstruations, susceptible to being more emotional and irritable due to hormonal changes and such (the minutiae of biology is vague, though personal research will clarify so). As noticed, male privilege takes hold and never does society mention males having periods, but instead, solely females. This disparity unfortunately serves to favor males as they can seen as more emotionally stable when, scientifically proven, males do have their own menstruations and therefore are equally emotional.

How I digressed from the subject of understanding a daughter to periods will remain unknown forever, but as an overall, vital message to deliver to readers who decide to read this portion, being able to view differences and embracing such is what is necessary in this world. It would be blinding and ignorant to believe the idea of gender is nonexistent, similar to believing race is nonexistent. Differences of gender or even race are not issues; issues that are prevalent is the inability to tolerate and understand and to appreciate those differences. In the first scenario that began this digression, despite being a male, if I have a future daughter, I will be able to understand her as, though she is a female, gender does not dictate my ability to love and understand her, it solely exists to showcase that, blatantly put, she is a female while I am a male, and there is no issue in that difference. Of course, realistically, I would love my children despite they were male or female or even other traits such as sexual orientation.

With all of that said, and props to readers who read the incoherent prior section, in focus of the first music video review to be conducted, while I am incredibly inexperienced with analyzing a visual medium, The Ark’s “The Light” is a highly engrossing video and deserves thorough examination. Although the video may be tear-inducing, a music video requires more than pathos; multiple aspects will be inspected to gauge whether “The Light” has truly found the light to success.

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Plot Score: 8/10

Addressing the plot in “The Light,” it is an incredibly admirable one. Before critiquing it however, summarizing will take place (also in part of allowing readers to know my interpretation and therefore the basis from which I will rate the plot).

The music video initiates with a mother and daughter walking together on a rainy night. Before they nearly pass a store, the daughter shares her wish of a purple backpack on display in the story. Sadly for her, the mother rejects purchasing it as the daughter’s current backpack is still usable, and thus, the teenager does the stereotypical act of stomping away in frustration. For the next scene, it showcases the couple’s assumed daily morning routine: the mother prepares and gives a drink to the daughter who is finally waking up; she also finishes cooking shortly after, though only to have her daughter steal 1 piece right after showering; and afterwards, preparing the daughter’s backpack and applying makeup. Once the morning routine is completed, the two venture off to a bus stop in a comical, affectionate way as they both tease one another. Eventually, the daughter heads off to the arrived bus in addition to leaving her mother a reminder: smile. Progressing on afterwards, with the mother now at work in a restaurant, a TV broadcasts horrible news. Although vague, close inspection reveals a bus accident on the TV screen, and connecting the prior scenes, the daughter was in the bus and, quite sadly, is now dead.

Time is fast forwarded as the mother, now seen alone, walks past the same store with the purple backpack. With the music resuming, the mother is now replicating the earlier scenes: the mother takes a sip of the usual morning drink; she prepares the same dish prior to the accident in addition to a purple backpack; she applies makeup but adds a reminder to smile, as her deceased daughter has told her; lastly, she walks the same route to the bus stop. However, though there are similarities, two main differences exist: her daughter is gone and she is not heading towards work. For the final scene, to answer where the mother did travel to, while I have personally yet to come to a definite conclusion, due to the concrete bricks, it appears to be a road and, therefore presumably, where the bus accident occurred. The mother visited the place where her daughter died (though I have heard a few people claim it is a cemetery or park). She leaves container of food on top of the concrete bricks, and as a final act, the mother hugs the purple backpack as both tears and memories arrive. Ultimately, for the last seconds of the video, the daughter’s final reminder to smile plays out.

Truthfully, with rewatching the music video in detail to summarize it, it proved to be partially tear-inducing. Nevertheless, ignoring my pitiful, slightly watery eyes, while the plot itself is saddening, as mentioned, simply instilling tears does not constitute a solid story; the feelings and emotions that emanate from the video is not sufficient enough to deliver a high score. That said, “The Light” does still achieve a respectable score, and the reason for such is a potent tactic for any story: plot twist. Based on other music videos or films and how the characters were acting, a foresighted scenario would be that the mother dies. After all, the daughter showed little to no gratitude at times, the mother appeared rather exhausted unless if with her child, and for the most part, seldom do younger characters, in general, die in plots (though as a disclaimer, I rarely watch films and shows that are drama/story-based; variety and reality shows, for examples, are the ones I watch). Appallingly, the unexpected occurred of the daughter dying.

Overall, with a video that showcases the lost of genuine love between a mother and daughter due to a powerful plot twist, a high score will be granted. The story remains simplistic yet retaining of important details, and with an unexpected event taking place, “The Light” will hold as solid in regard to its plot.

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Structural Score: 9/10

Swapping to the Structural Score, this section will critique the video’s layout. Observed examples include miniscule details that deliver different emotions or messages, such as change in lighting or how scenes were conducted. In terms of “The Light,” the structural component of the music video is phenomenal, and overall, the predominant reason for provoking tears in viewers. Contrary to the surface belief of the plot eliciting tears, it is not necessarily the heartwrenching plot that does so, but rather, the delivery of said plot.

Peering at one example, the bus accident scene is incredibly influential; the sole scene that truly triggers emotional reactions is it, and it is not just due to the blatant layer. Elaborating, the bus scene is the climactic moment of “The Light”; the daughter dies during the scene and the mother finds out. Apathetically phrased, the death of the daughter itself is not sad. In fact, any person’s death is not sad in itself. Before misunderstandings occur, I will return to the initial argument: how this specific scene was executed is what makes “The Light” depressing and, along with other factors, what instills tears. Firstly, the news scene is incredibly short; according to my basic mathematical counting skills, 6 seconds at most is the total duration, and more accurately, 2 seconds if accounting for when solely the TV screen is displayed. Due to the short span of time and a blurred TV screen, many readers would dismiss the scene. Confusion takes place, or for those who did manage to glean the background, anxiety occurs as viewers fear a possible correlation of the daughter’s bus and the accident. Regardless of the route viewers adopt, the following scenes will, eventually, trigger comprehension: the daughter died. Once that realization is met, along with other aspects, tears will begin trickling, or at the very least, a solemn attitude arrives.  

Bringing another prime factor to the music video’s beauty, though I generally loathe repetition (refer to countless reviews), as in a few songs, repetition can certainly become a promising tool if utilized properly. In “The Light” ‘s case, the latter holds true; the music video exploits repetition in order to augment the sadness that is apparent. Pre and post death of the daughter have significant subtle changes, but all within a repetitive routine. Before the daughter’s death, the family’s daily routines and quirks are displayed. After her death, interestingly, the same, tedious routine does occur. However, there are two changes: blatantly, no daughter, and secondly, lighting. Viewers will notice the same schedule is conducted via the drink, same meal, preparing a backpack (although it is purple as, heartbreakingly, the mother bought her daughter’s final desired item), and even the reminder to smile. Everything is the same except for the mother’s child. Furthermore, with the lighting reflecting a duller, lifeless atmosphere, the tone is set to that of the mother’s; though her life, in essence, remains homogenous as before, it is dramatically different as her beloved daughter is gone. The genuine, loving bond the two had–and arguably more accurately phrased, have, as the mother still loves her daughter, dissipated. Therefore, for an overarching image, the repetition used emphasizes the couple’s love for one another via showing the emptiness the mother feels without her daughter, the sole, crucial missing aspect from her daily life.

In addition to what is visually depicted, many viewers also forget the impact of the song itself. Without the song, many would cease to cry, and personally speaking, I would have still been torn, but using 2 tissues would not happen if it were not for the sonic component. For those curious on when I did begin crying, 2:40 of the video is when. Answering why that is the case, a deeper look at the song will disclose such. The lyrics at that moment follow as “Whenever you call you know that I’m right by your side.” and once adding other layers to the song, the song begins to reflect not a third-person perspective, but instead, potentially the daughter’s. Ignoring the mechanical aspect of The Ark’s singing, in focus of the ladies’ style, “The Light” absurdly possesses a cheerier tone; for a song that is orientated towards a daughter dying, it is awfully and disturbingly happy. However, if the song is taken in the point of view of the daughter, the message behind it is seemingly for her mother, and in many ways, as if the daughter sang the song. “I didn’t know living for others could make me happy, now I will be there” and “Hold my hand when you need somebody, I’ll be that somebody somebody, we’re in this for life yeah,” a few lines from the song, showcase messages to the mother, and thus, once meshing this lyrics component to “The Light” in its entirety, additional sadness exists. This also explains the happier tone; the daughter, knowing her mother’s sorrow, wishes for her to remain happy, even despite her absence.

As a final, prominent detail, many viewers have found this music video’s  plot to, as the phrase goes, “hit home.” Potentially, this is not an accident; the director of the video could have decided to create a scenario that was relatable and not merely one of dramatization. Due to this mindset, it allows “The Light” to become understandable, and therefore, viewers are easily able to feel empathetic, of which results in tears and gloom. This situation does not have to be a daughter and mother: the plot could be a father and son, a mother and son, a father and daughter, both parents and a child, and more. Family does not even have to be the case; a situation of friends could also hold reasonably. Relationships is the focus. Love and compassion. Small details, such as waking up and having to ward off a sibling from preemptively eating food, is what is highlighted. Small acts and the people involved is what is important. As seen, the mother’s life has not physically changed; she still attends work, wakes up with the same drink, and more. However, obviously, her life has taken a dramatic change: her daughter is gone. Thus, with the plot remaining real in the sense of being able to comprehend the character’s lives, the music video remains potent with its emotional appeal and the overlooked, cliche message of how love matters.

In total, with many incredibly influencing factors at play, a very high score will be granted. “The Light” is simply beautifully directed. Many details are used to deliver specific emotions, and with it all being discreet yet effective, a 9 is well deserved.

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Overall Score: 9/10 (8.5/10 raw score)

In the end, The Ark’s music video of “The Light” holds at a 9, which, in translated terms, represents an amazing, fabulous video. I wholeheartedly agree to the score. Ignoring the emotional side, the director of the music video deserves much credit for her/his fantastic work. Music K (or whichever is the name of The Ark’s label company) chose excellently for the style of debut for The Ark. Although they will be revolving around K-Hip Hop, I do wish for future ballads, and if not such, at least for other artists to attempt their own trials for a music video concept similar to “The Light.”

As I always say, thank you very much for reading. To the person who requested this, apologies for subpar writing and analysis; many sentences are most likely incoherent, and the analysis could be more in-depth. If future music video reviews take place, I will continually revise this outline. Nevertheless, thank you to readers and requester, and I also apologize for the longer publishing. Though I did begin this review earlier than anticipated, a pause was necessary to catch up on newly arrived work.

For the upcoming review, Dal Shabet’s “Joker” will finally be critiqued. To the person who requested it, I will have it finished as soon as possible. I am quite excited to review it. With this being the end, thank you once more to readers and for being patient. Since “1 is loneliness and 2 is company, together we’re the A team, a match and gasoline,” I do hope that “when you need somebody, I’ll be that somebody somebody.” Stay tuned for an upcoming review of Dal Shabet’s “Joker.”  

Juniel – “I Think I’m In Love” Review

Juniel – I Think I’m In Love (Music Video)

Juniel – I Think I’m In Love

Reviewed on February 14, 2015

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Personal Message: Before this review begins, a few updates will be given. Firstly, I have received a review request, so thank you very much to the reader who sent it in (and thank you for being patient). It will be the following review after this one. Secondly, I have created a few English subtitled videos. For those curious, feel free to watch one: AOA’s “Nail of Queen/N.O.Q” Behind-the-Scenes (truthfully, I have been recently obsessed with nail art). I can definitely see myself creating more of these videos. I have a few more lined up, and hopefully through trial and error, the videos improve.

Pushing aside technical updates, as stated, a ballad that would suit Valentine’s Day was in mind, and also assuming I was dedicated as of the time of writing this sentence, this review will be published on the exact day of the holiday (I am writing a few days prior to the holiday). That said, whether you have a partner or not, I hope Valentine’s Day is a great day whether it is any other casual day, or for those celebrating it, a cheerful, loving one. Now, in terms of my personal activities for the holiday, enjoying dark chocolate, potentially coffee, and certainly, a sweet and gentle ballad of “I Think I’m In Love” are my plans. Juniel, a solo artist under FNC Entertainment (readers may recognize that its the same label company that homes AOA), released this ballad towards the end of September 2014. Although she is moreover unpopular, her singing holds well (or at least, for solely this song; I have yet to hear her other releases) and deserves more attention. I am also reminded, to address the link, it is indeed the music video for “I Think I’m In Love,” and with there being no choreography, the music video follows the standard protocol of, simply put, being a video. Nevertheless, for what is beneficial of the music video, it is perhaps the sweetest, most adorable music video I have ever watched lyrics are provided (though not 100% accurate).

Digressing to the music video itself, for a story, I had an interesting incident with this video and a friend. While I admittedly was very, or arguably more properly worded, excessively excited, infatuated, and joyful with watching the video, a friend did not quite reciprocate the same feelings; her comment, in summary, went along the line of “Why are you so happy to be watching a ‘chick flick’ video?” Of course, to give disclaimers, in no way am I attempting to offend and degrade my friend, and in fact, many points stated will be repeats of what I did tell her. Secondly, though I heavily disagree with her stance (and many other ones, and if I recall properly, other reviews went over a few different arguments we had), it still is a valid opinion, and regardless of how much I may detest it, her idea still deserves to be respected, acknowledged and understood.

That said, I will first challenge an interesting label that is overly and wrongly utilized: “chick flick.” Before even discussing the issue with “chick flick” related media, the terminology is exceptionally absurd, and, more crucially, offensive. As some may know, the term “chick flick” refers to films, or in this case, simply videos, that are orientated towards female viewers due to a romantic plot. Strangely, with a specific audience in mind, “chick” becomes the word to capture the audience, the gender of females. This is completely wrong and insulting; instead of “female movies” (though even then, I would still heavily combat that label), females are turned into not humans, but rather, animals. Using the term “chick,” be it for “chick flick” or simply “chick,” implies a lady is a baby chicken. Thus, this label of “chick flick” is incredibly wrong due to possessing “chick” as no lady should ever be rendered as simply an animal. More upsettingly, often time “chick” in general, let alone “chick flick,” is utilized over proper pronouns when that should never the case. Interestingly enough, though I am similar to “I-don’t-know-slang-AOA’s Choa” typically terrible with tracking pop culture slang, I am positive on the fact that boys lack an equivalent term to “chick.” This further emphasizes how it is more degrading, and if “chick” was truly a compliment, it would make sense for males to contain their own equivalent label. However, due to the absence of such, it creates a one-sided label that, overall, leans solely towards offending females, whether harm was intentional or not when saying such. Point is, do not utilize the term “chick” when referring to females; even if it is meant as a compliment (then again, if “chick” is the sole vocabulary a person knows for complimenting a lady, that is another discussion), on the subtle, subconscious level, it is more than a synonymous term for female, it is a highly dehumanizing term. Additionally, even the term “chick flick” should be evaded as, for one, it contains “chick,” but furthermore, labeling a type of medium as solely for females prompts another vital discussion: there is no such thing as gender restrictions; we have been socialized and taught the idea of gender restrictions when, in reality, it is purely an abstract idea. For the sake of progressing the review and addressing “chick flicks” as a concept, I will not further elaborate this current point. Perhaps later in the review (or in other publishings) I will address this, but to give a minimal glance, as mentioned at the beginning, I, a male, have been getting highly interested in nail art and, pitifully, a few people are rather repulsed at that idea due to the falsely generated idea of gender restrictions.

Anyhow, to tie back to the primary idea of “chick flicks,” I will discuss why, as a concept, these types of medium should be aggressively challenged. To relate this current review back, I will claim, and keep in mind a critical mindset, this music video for “I Think I’m In Love” is, potentially, emphasis once more on potentially, sexist. In fact, even if I lose numerous readers of my blog I will also state, this music video is potentially more impairing than the highly controversial video of AOA’s “Miniskirt.” Now that readers are plotting for how to shorten my life span puzzled, or even defensive, I will clarify my points. Firstly, on the personal level, I do not hold “I Think I’m In Love” ‘s music video (nor “Miniskirt") as sexist as there is not enough background in the video to make such a claim, and later, I will certainly expand on why the music video in its current state cannot be sexist. Nevertheless, for the more important discussion, for media that does identically follow the concept of “chick flick,” those ones are for certain sexist.

Firstly, in essence, here is how a “chick flick” film, video, story, or whichever medium, carries out: a lady is living an average, dull life. She is not necessarily the most cheerful, but definitely she is not satisfied with her life. That is until a certain incident: she meets a boy. This male is not an ordinary one, however, he is a prince (not literally, though at times that may be the case). The lady’s entire life becomes changed due to this male; she is now full of glee, she possesses more confidence, she is now officially pretty, her skills become augmented, and overall, her life has meaning. Pausing momentarily, keen readers may object my layout via claiming there is a lack of love in my presented linear depiction of “chick flicks.” In reply, my response holds that this is how “chick flick” mediums play out when stripping it from its plot, fancy editing, and whatnot. So on track, a message, a repeated, ubiquitous message, is presented: a lady is not “complete” without a male. “Chick flicks,” in its ultimate and true form, is why I heavily challenge them in addition to the label itself. Females should never be advertised and subjected to this highly pathetic, worthless idea of needing males. A lady by herself is “complete”; on her own, any female is absolutely charming, pretty, intelligent, and her happiness stems not from boys, but instead, herself and her own pleasures. This, in the end, is my own personal message on why I am against “chick flick” mediums.

Now, before I, if I had already not, ruin a reader’s Valentine’s Day, I will redeem the day. Hopefully. While I am against “chick flicks,” I am in full favor of romantic mediums. Genuine, romantic mediums. Also notice, instead of saying I adore “chick flicks” or “female mediums,” I am claiming that I adore a gender-neutral, simple genre of “romantic mediums.” Tying back this review once more, “I Think I’m In Love” is my romantic medium. As promised, I will explain why it is not offending (but, as a critical person would, it is possible to argue that this video is indeed negative). Due to no dialogue between the characters or background on the lady character (Juniel herself as the actress for the music video), it cannot be determined on whether the “chick flick” trend follows; the lady character could already be in her current, cheerful state, regardless of the male character existing or not, but vice versa, she could have been the depicted “chick flick” lady that was “unwhole” without the male. Since I am leaning towards the earlier suggestion, I assume the lovers were both individually happy, but now being together, they get to express that and the newly acquired bond of loving one another. Secondly, to clarify a point, the idea of romantic plots are not bad at all, it is the “chick flick” idea that showcases females as “unwhole” without males that presents issues; that idea and concept is what is harmful, not the idea of love and being cared for by a lover. In fact, in this music video, some may notice the lady character is indeed being commonly taken cared of, and though people may correlate such to the idea of “chick flicks” and males being relied upon, the other side is forgotten: females, if they, on their own choice, so desire to, nothing is wrong with being cared for by their love-interest. As long as the lady, by herself, is truly herself and “whole” on her own, there is no issue. Nothing is wrong should a female who is truly “wholesome” desire her partner wiping her lips for her, for example. A threat occurs solely when she is incapable of, following the example, wiping her own lips and requires the male to do so for her. In this music video’s case and exploiting my presumed background, the lady character is her own being, but simply desires to have her partner do that favor for her.

If all my arguments become exceptionally confusing, huge apologies. It has been a few days since I have wrote in general, and thus, unexcusable excuses will be made. Nevertheless, I desperately hope it is clear enough for readers to understand the larger picture of issues I presented, and vitally, that readers commit their own part of, if opinions are matched with mine, doing their share by not utilizing the terms of “chick” or “chick flick,” and by simply halting those who do use those terms, such as close friends, perhaps co-workers, and more. Of course, people may disagree, such as my friend who heavily opposed my proposed ideas, but at least both parties have gained a new perspective.

Finally addressing the song itself (once again, forgive me for getting slightly too sidetracked, though I strongly believe in people being critical), while “I Think I’m In Love” holds my favorite music video, ignoring the video component, for the song itself, it is not necessarily the strongest mechanically. In terms of the song itself, it is perhaps one of the weaker ballads I have heard. On the positive side, the lyrics to it are rather meaningful in that it addresses an aspect to love that is overwhelmingly underwhelmingly discussed: physical beauty. More will be discussed at the Meaning section. Anyhow, lyrically I thoroughly enjoy the song, but in terms of how the ballad sounds in a musical sense, it is not the strongest. To add one final piece to all of this excessive discussion, I sincerely will confess to readers that “I Think I’m In Love”; the person who has earned my heart and love is none other than you, the reader. Whether you are a consistent reader of this blog, a weekly one, or even if this review is the first you have read, I want to share my gratitude and, since it is Valentine’s Day, my love as well. Anyhow, it is time to truly begin the review since readers are painfully cringing. Juniel may believe she is in love, but similarly, “I Think I’m In Love” with her ballad. Key phrase: I think I am.

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Song Total Score: 7/10 (6.75/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 7/10 – In focus of the vocals, on a sonic level, it holds decently. Juniel unveils a soft, harmonious tune. Notes are on the higher spectrum, but nevertheless remain delightful. For what holds as her strongest vocal point, stability proves to be astounding. With consistent and reliable singing, it allows the ballad to have a constant and balanced flow of melody. No moments exist where one section is overly melodic and another one lacks tune. Furthermore, besides adding to the melodic aspect of the ballad, due to her style of singing, the overall tone to it becomes created; her gentle vocals creates the loving and romantic atmosphere. Now, unfortunately, what impairs Juniel’s singing is the lack of variety. While the vocals are stable and balanced, a missing yet vital component is diversity. Every section was too akin to the other; the verses, pre-choruses, and even choruses follow a similar style. The only difference that exists is a change in power, but in terms of the overarching flow and melody, it all remains stagnant.

Above average will still hold as the score. With a very stable, soft and melodic voice, Juniel has the mechanical skills, but sadly, in this song, the structural layout of the vocals hinder her full potential.  

– Song Structure: 6/10 (6.33/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 6/10 – In opposite to the vocals, the structure and concept of the introduction are solid, but the mechanical sound of it does falter. Firstly, addressing the strengths, both the duration and style aid in its effectiveness. The length of it is a perfect amount; the instrumental has time to uncloak itself, but rather than taking additional time to fully develop, the section promptly ends before the entirety of the soundtrack, such as other instruments, becomes disclosed. In terms of the style, unlike a vast majority of other introductions, whether vocals are included or not, “I Think I’m In Love” follows an unusual path. Rather than having the instrumental sounding crisp and clear via a main, distinctive instrument or sound, the ballad opts to utilize a more subtle soundtrack. This heavily benefits the song as the atmosphere is instantly established. The lighter and less prominent instrumental creates the gentle, almost fantasy-like mood that reflects the ballad’s story of a couple’s genuine love. For the drawbacks of the introduction, as mentioned, through peering at the section from a musical lens, there is little pleasure from soundtrack. Though peaceful, solely an introduction aura is felt; the song aspect to it becomes negligible as the serene tone is overly emphasized. If this were a movie, an incredible introduction it would be, but considering “I Think I’m In Love” is indeed a ballad, an introduction that sets the stage as well as granting some musical delight is expected.

Slightly above average holds as the score. The stage setup is still fantastic and noteworthy. Perhaps adding some additional dynamics to the solo instrumental would revise the score.  

2. Verse: 6/10 – Biasedly, I admit, I adore the verses, but taking a realistic and neutral stance, the verses are not quite the most captivating section. Being a verse, development, especially in ballads, is a priority. In the case of “I Think I’m In Love,” the requirement becomes met: Juniel’s singing, a slower paced and calm style, allows proper development to take place as well as offering a soothing tune. Additionally, the instrumental replicates the vocals, and thus, augments the verses. What holds the verses back, though understandably, is once again, how dull the section becomes. Although the singing and instrumental are solid, there is minimal variation in the delivery of such. A change of pacing, melody, or another aspect would vastly benefit the verses. Even with following a slower paced, constructing manner, variation should still be included.

Slightly above average is the score. The developing trend that occurs is excellent, and the singing and instrumental play out well, but with being deprived of fluctuation, be it for the singing, lines structure, or even instrumental, the verses become weakened.

3. Pre-Chorus: 6/10 – Interestingly yet unsurprisingly, the pre-choruses follow another standardized convention; with this section, hype is created in simplistic, anticipated ways. Intensity is heightened in that the instrumental becomes amplified, most notably in pacing and addition of more prominent beats, and the vocals homogeneously follow through with a quickened pace and a transformed style that leans towards moreover power than gentleness. While this method may be considered mundane, unequivocally, it is still effective at creating build-up towards the chorus. Highlighting how the pre-choruses sound, the vocals, in regards to both structure and sonic perspectives, are respectable. Juxtaposed to the previous sections, diversity is noticeable. A few lines possess the usual soft demeanor, but especially towards the end, stronger and more impacting vocals become released. In terms of the vocals’ structure, otherwise more clearly phrased the lines’ format, there is enough variation to prevent dullness. For example, the final line offers both excellent fluency fluctuation and transition; “Start” adds a pause which not only indicates a blatant transition, but furthermore, for the song itself, a change of pacing adds diversity into the section.

Overall, slightly above average will sadly still be the score. Though the vocals are definitely improved when compared to previous sections, when peering at the pre-choruses at a whole, the execution of the sections are plain.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Unlike the prior sections, the choruses do fare well. Despite being rather lengthy, the choruses do a fantastic job of synthesizing every component of the song; the vocals are finally at their prime, the instrumental becomes lively and lovely, and with the structure, a multitude of assortments becomes heard. For the vocals, instead of the previous style of practically whispering, Juniel is singing with properly scaled power. Her singing remains prominent and impactful, but not overly potent enough to ruin the established trend of tenderness. With the instrumental, it reciprocates the vocals in that it also amps up; the pacing is hastened to complement Juniel’s singing, and likewise, extra layers of instruments are added to give the soundtrack its own strain of strength and complexity. Lastly, the structure is phenomenally improved in contrast to the other sections. Diversity is abundant: line length varies, and the vocals waver with power and melody so that every line appears differently, for a few examples.

Above average will certainly be the score. Mechanically and structurally, the ballad’s choruses are sound.

5. Bridge: 7/10 – Individually, the bridge on its own can be labeled as exceptional, but when accounting for how it fits in the large scheme of the song itself, it is rather contradicting. To address what is solid, the instrumental and singing hold well. Firstly, the soundtrack allocates attention towards Juniel, but the manner in which it conducts that is impressive. Pauses are utilized at the beginning to, blatantly, sync with “stay with me,” but on the subtle level, the empty instrumental gaps create emphasis on what does occur: the vocals. In addition, even progressing after such, it provides a consistent, bass-orientated instrumental. With the bass being the highlight, vocals become the main spotlight as the bass is solely providing forth a foundation. Switching over to the vocals, power is the main focus. Being a bridge, this section marks a climactic point, thus, stronger vocals are foreseen. Melody and strength intertwine to deliver a promising section in terms of vocals, and with the note hold holding notably well, and factoring in the instrumental, the bridge is seemingly very solid. On its own, the bridge is definitely solid as every main component proves to be outstanding, but the prevalent issue appears when positioning the bridge next to other sections; “I Think I’m In Love,” as a song/ballad, followed a soft and placid trend, but with the bridge, unlike the chorus that kept its power in proper limits, it is overly too impactful for the song as a whole.  

In the end, due to how solid the bridge is, even if unfit for the song’s overall trend, the section will miraculously hold at above average. An 8 would have been easily earned if some of the power was restrained.

6. Conclusion: 6/10 – Though the conclusion is technically the chorus, I find it more proper to leave it as its own section. Clarifying what I am considering as the conclusion, the choruses have a lasting line of “Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh.” This is what I am gauging. In focus of what is excellent, after a more energetic chorus, and certainly an arguably overly vigorous bridge, having a conclusion that would drain out excess energy via a calming, lengthier duration is a proper choice. Now, while the song is properly settled, when it comes to leaving a lasting impression, the ballad fails. The instrumental could have been played out for few more seconds, but the song ends almost abruptly. Due to such, the instrumental that would have served as the final remnant for “I Think I’m In Love” dissipates away, and the song is left with a somewhat rushed ending.

Slightly above average is the score. The song is correctly pacified after more intense sections, but following through with a proper final ending was not met.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – Juniel is a solo singer, so this will be excluded.

– Instrumental: 6/10 – Contrary to previous reviews in which many ballads have earned a relatively high score for their instrumental, Juniel’s ballad does, sadly, fall short. In cooperation with the singing, the instrumental accomplishes its role. Support is granted for the more intensive singing or even the more tranquil moments. Proper correlation is in place; the vocals’ intensity are utterly matched by the instrumental, as seen by, if not all, a vast majority of the song’s sections. Additionally, ignoring how it relates to the vocals, the soundtrack exceptionally crafts the song’s romantic and loving tone. With the used instruments being calm and eliciting peace, such an atmosphere is gleaned. Swapping to where the soundtrack flounders, on its own, although granting the ballad’s tone, it is not the strongest instrumental in the musical category. A clear main instrument, let alone melody, was not present, and while subtle leading instruments are not necessarily negative, when it comes to how the instrumental holds on its own, it becomes a hindering factor. On the flip side, of course, the vocals become more prominent and highlighted due to a very passive instrumental.

Nevertheless, only slightly above average holds as the score. The role it serves is fulfilled, and Juniel greatly benefits from the soundtrack, but in terms of critiquing how the instrumental sounds by itself, it does not hold as strongly.

– Meaning: 8/10 – If the song title is not a clear indication of a love story, or at the very least, a love related story, nothing else would be. “I Think I’m In Love,” and also for those who watched the video, seems to point towards a very romantic and sweet story. To find out the exact story, these Korean-to-English translated lyrics will uncover it. As always, not 100% accurate, and interestingly, there may be some differences between these lyrics and the video’s (overall, they are still identical in meaning):

Some day morning, I smell the mocha coffee
As if I’m waking from a good dream, I start my day
Suddenly, my heart starts to flutter
Your short message wakes me up in the morning

A trembling that’s fresher than a mojito
A feeling that’s more electric than a lemon
Start, love is coming

Did I fall in love because I’m pretty?
Or did I become pretty because I fell in love?
As I hum in front of the mirror,
my heart is getting so excited
What should I call you now?
Is it embarrassing to call you baby?
I want to tell my heart to the whole world
Start, spread the rumors
I think I’m in love

Some day morning, the day we kiss
I start to imagine feeling as high as the sky

Protect me like a guardian angel
Like a genie in a lamp
Start, love is coming

Did I fall in love because I’m pretty?
Or did I become pretty because I fell in love?
As I hum in front of the mirror,
my heart is getting so excited
What should I call you now?
Is it embarrassing to call you baby?
I want to tell my heart to the whole world
Start, spread the rumors
I think I’m in love

Stay with me, your careful confession
I think you know my feelings, don’t hesitate
Hold my hand~

Is everyone like this when in love?
I guess everyone will become pretty when in love
As I think of the confession you said last night,
my heart gets so excited
What should I call you now?
Is it embarrassing to call you baby?
I want to tell my heart to the whole world
Start, spread the rumors
I think I’m in love

Personally, in honesty, I completely adore these lyrics. For what “I Think I’m In Love” depicts, a lady or gentleman is simply expressing their romantic feelings for their love-interest, or more accurately labeled, partner. Love, in the form of pure joy and happiness, is the main focus of the main character. She/he shares how much their partner excites them; their “heart starts to flutter” from a plain short morning message, or after a “kiss,” the main character feels as if they are “as high as the sky.” Details also point that the couple has very recently been together. After all, it explains the excessive amount of love and passion for their partner, and it creates much ruminating for the main character. For example, the main character asks if he/she “[fell] in love because [they’re] pretty,” or perhaps, the truth is “[they became] pretty because [they fell] in love.” Adorable and sweet details also exist, such as the main character pondering over what to label their partner, and curiosity on whether calling their partner “baby” would be proper or not (as a note, “baby” might actually be “sweetie”; the Korean word for it could mean a plethora of things, but the idea is the same).

In summary, ignoring my bias for these romantic stories, a solid score will still be earned. The lyrics possess many diversive details, and the generated story is intriguing, lighthearted, unique, and simply sweet. A very different take to the usual concept of romantic stories.

Though this ballad’s story is very positive and full of love, a critical stance still needs to be taken. Therefore, for the “Critical Corner,” it will carry on. A subject that is worthy of discussing is the main character’s conflict: “Did I fall in love because I’m pretty? Or did I become pretty because I fell in love?” While implicit, an important message is positively seen: beauty is not solely physical. The current conception of beauty is that it is purely physical; body image, hair, clothing, and more, are the pushed ideas for how beauty is gauged. Unfortunately, it is one thing that the standards set for physical beauty is absurdly unrealistic (and this is a topic I would love to discuss), but secondly, focusing on solely physical beauty conceals other, exponentially more important beauty. To sum up the other beauties in this world, a very simplistic, unostentatious label can be used: non-physical beauty. What that beauty consists of expands for a lot, such as attitude, personality, intelligence, humor, work ethics, and an abundant amount of other aspects. Disturbingly, with physical beauty being utterly advertised and solely pushed, the non-physical beauties as listed above, are completely ignored and that becomes pitiful and troublesome as, in the end, the non-physical beauty are indeed true beauty. This idea, whether subtle or not, intentional or not, is presented by Juniel’s ballad, and I respect and admire the lyric composer for adding this component that challenges the current social norm of beauty. As in the case of the song’s lover, he/she is, indeed, “pretty” due to falling in love, and the opposite stance is false as the main character did not fall in love since they happened to be physically pretty. Physical beauty should never be the catalyst for attraction, and while there is the opposing argument of how physical beauty can be attractive, to utterly love, to love in general, does not solely mean finding a person’s physical beauty captivating, but rather, both components of physical and non-physical as attractive. Love should be initially founded on non-physical beauty, or at the very minimal, a mixture of both physical and non-physical beauty, but at the end, the latter becomes the most important in a relationship.

I could perhaps begin another discussion on the issues with having physical beauty set as the beauty norm, and even other aspects such as why, in the first place, physical beauty is even established as the norm, but considering the review will become excessively off-topic, I will save that discussion for another time. Overall, my final message is similar to this ballad’s: physical beauty should not, is not, true beauty. Real beauty is a mixture of physical and non-physical, but the non-physical aspect to beauty should definitely be seen as the norm. After all, nothing is “sexier” than a person who is exceptionally positive and hard working and such. For another side note, I believe the term of “sexy” should definitely be challenged and reconstructed to be applicable to non-physical aspects, and that even if for physical aspects, it should be expanded to be less sexually-orientated (it should be used for “sexy nails,” for example, versus other highly inappropriate uses). But of course, there is the downfall of how the word could still link back to being sexual, and thus, contributing to the issue of certain societies being overly sexually-orientated (a very huge problem). However, once again, that will be a discussion for another time.

Anyhow, others may disagree, and I do accept other positions as there are infinite angles to view an object (or a subject) from. Nevertheless, while my personal background may be a driving force for my current beliefs (the need to be physically pretty is pressured, and as a result, I challenge such), I do hope my words are taken into consideration and that readers take a critical mindset to think of this seldom discussed topic.

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Choreography Score: X/10 – “I Think I’m In Love” is a ballad, and thus, a dance is not expected, and in this song’s case, non-existent.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score) – Bringing this review back to the ballad, with solely the Song Total Score being factored in, Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” finishes with a 7/10, which indicates above average. Personally, I hold the song as slightly above average, but since Juniel’s singing is decent and the lyrics craft a solid story, it is perceivable on why the current score was earned.

As always, thank you very much for reading, it means a lot to me, and since it is Valentine’s Day, I would like to express my love as well. Truthfully, I was afraid of not publishing this in time, but against all odds, it will be on the day of the holiday. I have had my fair share of Valentine’s Day in the form of dark chocolate, and in fact, fair may be an improper word as concernable would be more reflective. Jokes aside, thank you once more for reading. For those curious, my next review is one that has been requested, and considering it has been a while since I last received a requested review, I will prioritize the one I was given. It will be an exciting song to review, so stay tuned for it (and to the requester, thank you for your patience, I will publish it as soon as possible).

This review took two days to write, though in terms of the amount of hours it took, I had to invest a hefty amount of time away from other activities. Nevertheless, writing is an enjoyable task, and I will do my best to improve the quality of reviews in both mechanical writing and analysis. I am currently slacking in terms of my review rate, and with a goal of 6 reviews, I am slightly anxious. Perhaps an album review will be created to compensate. For other news, I have a few more English subtitled videos on the way, and once those are finished, I will halt releasing more until more time is freed (feel free to check them out).

With all of that said, this will be a proper place to conclude. Happy Valentine’s Day for those celebrating it, though pitching in my personal opinion, remember to prioritize love over consumerism and materialism. For those not celebrating it, feel free to spoil and love yourself. Keep in mind to not overly spoil yourself with chocolate, however. Once more, thank you for reading, and I wonder, “What should I call you now? Is it embarrassing to call you baby?” It probably would be, so I will leave the current label of beloved readers. Stay tuned for an upcoming review that will cover an unpopular group. Keep checking back.

Hyorin and Jooyoung – “Erase” Review

Hyorin x Jooyoung – Erase (Dance Practice)

Hyorin and Jooyoung – Erase

Reviewed on February 7, 2015

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Personal Message: Many reviews are coming and amazingly, I decided to organize all my upcoming reviews. A vast majority of songs for this month have their review preemptively outlined, and thus, I will hopefully save time. Unlike the previous month, February will be showcasing new artists, and, as promised, more male artists. On the subject of male artists, I am ecstatic to review a song where the group, or more accurately phrased, the duo, comprises of both gender; Hyorin and Jooyoung, two phenomenal, exceptionally hard working, talented and pretty singers, have collaborated on the song “Erase.” To already address the link, it is their official dance practice video, but interestingly, the song is different: this is the stage performance version. The difference between that and the standard audio is the exclusion of a rap; Iron, a Korean rapper, was featured in this song. For the sake of live performances, however, it is understandable on why that section was removed (Iron did not attend them, from what I know). As a result, the second pre-chorus is reused versus it being the rap.

Overall, though, there are no significant differences from either version as both are excellent. If analyzing the lyrics, however, the removal of the rap does change the meaning in that both characters are at “fault” versus solely one of them. Clarification will be at the Meaning section (in short, in case I forget, the rap showcases the male character’s utter sexism flaw being that he, based on interpretation, cheated on the lady). Actually, thinking over the rap, I am glad this version removed it as it was rather offensive; “you’re just a toy that was in last season” was the line to reflect the male character’s frustration at the lady character, and without getting into an exceptionally long discussion, the male character’s character becomes explicitly unveiled. Though, to clarify, this was not composed in terms of the song claiming that, but rather, the character in the song expressing that (in terms of lyric details, I found it to augment the story as it provided depth to the characters). In general, to address that line, no male, or female, should ever objectify their love-interest, even a former one. No one is a “toy” that is meant to be used and thrown away; every human is, as said, a human worthy of proper respect and such.

Focusing back on the duo, many readers will probably recognize Hyorin. She is from Sistar, an extremely popular and successful group (the other ladies of Bora, Soyou, and Dasom also hold their own high popularity). Additionally, she is often time labeled as the “Queen Vocalist” of the K-Pop industry, but I personally render Ailee as that. Nevertheless, Hyorin is, using measurement as a metaphor, purely one centimeter or even one millimeter away from Ailee; Hyorin is practically as talented as Ailee. Comparing the two, in the end, is pointless, however, as both ladies are exceptionally incredible and both deserve their own separate admiration and respect for their skills and accomplishments. Anyhow, to address the gentleman of Jooyoung, though I am unsure, I believe this is his debut. Despite being new, he has showcased a high tier of skills; his dancing and vocals are on par with experienced idols. I hold high expectations for his future works, be it another collaboration or perhaps even solos (he is by far capable of singing and dancing on his own).

Now, to digress on the subject of Hyorin and specifically Sistar (and, as some loathe my digressions, feel free to skip to the review now), I have been, once again, consuming more media via their reality show of “Sistar Showtime.” As anticipated, the show simply showcases their more personal lives, such as revealing Soyou’s gym routine, Dasom’s common activity (that many can relate to) of watching television for hours, and of course, their genuine bond and affection towards each other. The latter: an issue. Strangely. Hyorin has been receiving some negativity with the way she acts. Being the more upholding, upfront and authoritative figure among the members, she presents a stronger presence and tends to be rather blunt with words. This has led to her being labeled “rude” and, inserting my personal and slightly jocular phrase filter of goodness-forbid, other terms that can be concluded as “rude” yet are exponentially more, ironically, rude. Since she is close to her members and does indeed possess the leader role, being blunt towards them should not surprise viewers. In many cases, she shows “blunt love” in that she may reveal embarrassing facts, but it will be as a joke and, as any viewer would agree, in the end, she does love her members. Perhaps I am being overly critical, but, as I have been keen on gauging reactions, it does appear to be that female groups are moreover criticized than male groups.

Before defensiveness locks into place, let me shed a simple yet realistic comparison: a male idol that appears to be very serious and, due to his leader role in his group, a leaking authoritative aura versus a female idol that appears to be rather solemn, and due to being the leader, a released commanding vibe. Now, I will discuss the general reactions I have gauged. The male idol: a leader, a person who watches over his members, a great inspiration. The female idol: mean, uninterested, a person who probably abuses and harassess her members, a person that needs to be more cheerful and fun. Interestingly, though the diction I utilized varied, I described both the male and female idol as the same, yet surprisingly, the general results yield utter opposites. This is my message: despite both idols having identical demeanors, the female idol faces heavier judgement as a higher standard is set and expected from her. How this relates back to “Sistar Showtime” is it can be directly translated over; viewers are assuming the worst for Hyorin, and, while I am certain people will get defensive at this claim, if she were a male idol, I remain confident in that her criticism regarding her stronger, upfront personality would cease or be, at most, exceptionally marginal. Overall, as a final point, this, unfortunately, stretches beyond K-Pop; in societies where males are indeed favored, females face the challenge of needing to not succeed a basic standard, but rather, an excessive one due to their gender. So while, if anything, this reminds readers to not be heavily critical of female idols, this should be expanded into life in general. Do not overly scrutinize a female be it her appearance, how she acts, and more, due to her being a female. For a differing example, let us utilize females and gaming. Should she be mediocre, sexist remarks leak as “girls cannot game,” and even with performing well, sexist comments still prevail such as “not bad for a girl.” On the basis of their gender, ladies have their skills predicted when, most blatantly, that is completely false and inaccurate. Dexterity is the reason, not gender (and in fact, the best player on my team is a female). Even the sheer opposite of assuming versus underestimating occurs. Make-up skills, for example, are often automatically assumed for a female when, once again, gender does not grant those talents. Unusual, absurdly high standards or false assumptions are always set for females, and that sole idea is what everyone should consider, and more importantly, challenge via not contributing and by confronting and halting those who do offer those microaggressions.

Hopefully readers take into heart that and, regardless of whether similar comments have been made or not in the past, remaining critical and changing current behaviors to not be discriminative should be the goal. To finally return to “Erase” (apologies for a very long digression), it follows an interesting genre. In essence, it fits into ballad, but overall, other genres are slightly branched into. Nevertheless, “Erase” is an extremely solid song, and out of the many recents ones I have been listening to, it currently holds as the strongest. The vocals, structure, instrumental, and even the choreography, for examples, are all exceptionally promising and to a high caliber. I foresee higher grades given for “Erase.” That said, with the two talented, stellar idols of Hyorin and Jooyoung cooperating, let us hope our memories of this song do not “Erase.”  

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Song Total Score: 9/10 (8.6/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 9/10 – Considering Hyorin is involved, a high score should be expected. But, of course, she is not alone; Jooyoung is accounted for, and thankfully, his vocals hold equally well. Both of them offer versatility for their singing: lower yet higher notes are heard, the style ranges from a slower, silkier tone to one of power, and the melody holds as fluctuating and infatuating. Now, for what secures a higher score, due to the dynamic of “Erase” involving two main singers, the duo’s chemistry plays an influential, vital factor. In “Erase,” Jooyoung’s and Hyorin’s synergy becomes unveiled by how perfectly meshed their vocals are. Sonically, their voices fit according to one another. Throughout the song, sections that utilize alternation become fluent and natural; little contrast exists when they exchange turns singing, and thus, the vocals become collaborative versus combative. Furthermore, for moments where unison singing occurs, a prime example of the duo’s chemistry is disclosed. Neither one of them necessarily take the lead, but rather, both of them are equally simultaneously singing. No singer undermines the other, both are heard and thus, due to each of their individual, highly stunning vocal skills, the song overall becomes greatly enhanced.

Individually, Hyorin and Jooyoung are high tier, adept singers, and this song proves such on the mechanical level. In terms of being a duo-based song, hearing their excellent chemistry prevail further boosts the score. A higher score will be given.

– Song Structure: 8/10 (7.57/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 8/10 – Though the main spotlight is on the instrumental itself, Hyorin and Jooyoung offer minimal vocals.

For an introduction, besides setting up the song’s atmosphere, the method in which it does so remains phenomenal. With the introduction’s structure, the vocals and instrumental are both leaked, but with remaining vague due to, in the case of the instrumental, slower pacing, or for the vocals, pure note stretches and humming, heavy anticipation towards the song becomes created along with setting up the overarching tone. Now, the method in which the introduction executes remains charming in itself. The slower beat snaps and piano melody complement one another and sound utterly delightful, but with the addition of vocals, the same trend of remaining slow yet melodic replicates; Hyorin’s and Jooyoung’s humming and such were as tuneful as the instrumental, and with both components of vocals and soundtrack remaining solid on the individual and wholesome level, the introduction becomes vastly augmented.

The standard role of setting the stage is met, and with the extra factor of the introduction properly connecting the vocals to instrumental, a noteworthy score will be given.

2. Verse: 8/10 – Jooyoung handles the first half of the verses while Hyorin receives the remaining. Minimal unison singing does occur, however. The second verse remains fully identical.

Many aspects of the verses can be deemed as excellent. Firstly, addressing the sonic perspective, the vocals and instrumental continue to establish their excellence. Jooyoung’s lines remain soothing, tuneful, and even traces of sadness accompany his singing. Addressing Hyorin, her line remains equally soothing and melodic, and in contrast to Jooyoung, a higher pitch range is gleaned. For the instrumental, the snaps and piano from the introduction return, additionally, however, the bass of “Erase” arrives. With the three main components of the instrumental together, a welcomed outcome occurs; the snaps and piano continue to be tuneful, but the newly introduced bass provides a supportive foundation for both the vocals and the snaps and piano. Even by itself, the bass is prominent and offers its own niche to the song. Transitioning over to the structure, the verses follow incredible alternation. A unison “hello” occurs by the duo, but then solely one of them sings. After a line ends, however, the “hello” appears and a new line takes over along with potentially a different singer. Due to this alternation and unison word, variety is created as well as providing subtle aspects to the couple’s synergy, be it their coordination or simply how well their voices sound against each other.

With multiple aspects remaining stunning, such as the structure itself or mechanically the vocals and instrumental, a higher score will be given.

3. Pre-Chorus: 7/10 – Jooyoung is responsible for one line. Hyorin follows suit. Afterwards, both are simultaneously singing.

Focusing on the slightly weaker side of the pre-choruses, the structure lacks some depth; Jooyoung takes one line followed by Hyorin who also possesses one line, and though there is unison singing for the third line, structurally, nothing holds as compelling. The individual lines had no distinctive property, and unfortunately, the unison singing was simply them singing at, coincidentally, the same time. In terms of what does grant the pre-choruses its stronger points, the vocals still remain charming and, likewise, the instrumental can still be rendered as captivating. Ignoring the mechanical side, the process in which hype towards the chorus is created is admirable; considering “Erase” follows a ballad’s pace, instead of having the development towards the chorus accelerate or increasing the song’s intensity, the sheer opposite of further slowing down the song becomes the utilized tactic. Drawing an example, during the unison singing, “yeah” was sung and dragged out to bring the pacing to a relatively sluggish pace, and though the sole purpose appears in accentuating the duo’s lower notes, the decrease in speed is what allows proper buildup towards the chorus.

Overall, though the lines’ structure remain plain, they still sound pleasing and furthermore, the pre-choruses’ do a fantastic job of hyping the song for the upcoming chorus. Above average will be the rating.  

4. Chorus: 9/10 – For the entirety of the choruses, Jooyoung and Hyorin are singing as one.

From the start, I will claim the choruses are the song’s strongest section, and considering that I seldom give 9s for a score nowadays, this in itself should indicate how incredible this section is. The choruses showcase the vocals, instrumental, and even the duo’s chemistry at their prime. Vocally, Hyorin and Jooyoung are exceptionally melodic along with having traces of prominent, stronger singing. The instrumental, similar to the vocals, become amplified to accommodate the intenser singing; the beat snaps along with the bass act as a foundation, and the piano melody further enriches the already tuneful vocals of the duo. Lastly, the couple’s chemistry, biasedly, holds as the most influential factor. A unique yet strange phenomenon occurs: neither one of them leads, yet ironically, one of them does lead, and in opposite, though no one is necessarily laying a supportive, passive foundation, simultaneously, one person does provide that role. This paradoxical aspect to their singing is perhaps what yields the section its high score. At certain moments, Hyorin’s lighter pitch seems to be the main focus while Jooyoung’s lower voice provides support, but at different occasions, the opposite occurs in that Jooyoung is leading the section while Hyorin provides the foundation. With this constant change, appeal is blatantly kept high.

Overall, with the song coming as one unified and purely captivating section, a very high score is expected. Mechanically, everything sounds well and with the duo’s chemistry being beautiful, the section as a whole is further strengthened.

5. Post-Chorus: 7/10 – Hyorin handles the first line, and as predicted, Jooyoung handles the next. The final line, however, features Hyorin.

While in the overall perspective the vocals are still superior, during this section, the vocals do falter when juxtaposed to the other sections. Power is the main focus for vocals, but unfortunately, it is overly prioritized. With the previous section, the choruses, taking a stronger, prominent stance, having another section duplicating such gives an unnecessary repetition. As a result, with this redundancy, the impacting vocals that occur lose their presence, and thus, a bleaker section is left. Nevertheless, despite having a sense of repetition, the vocals and instrumental still hold well. Desirable traits still exist for them, such as being melodic and having proper alternating lines.

With the slight overlapping quality from the previous section being the main yet miniscule issue, the post-choruses still hold at above average.

6. Bridge: 7/10 – Both are responsible for the bridge. Alternating lines become the style until the end where both simultaneously sing.

Being the bridge, a standard climactic point is created. Higher notes and power are the main assets to this section. High note holds are entrusted with Jooyoung while Hyorin handles the general singing lines. Although the instrumental and vocals themselves remain mechanically strong, there are minimal compelling, striking factors. Adamantly, the instrumental predominantly sounds as it does during the other sections, and though the note holds can be rendered as impressive, it is a standard note hold that does not showcase extreme cases of skill, intensity, nor melody. On the positive side, the bridge does contain an interesting line structure; towards the middle, the alternating style becomes manipulated to aid the section. Hyorin would sing one word, and unlike previous sections where Jooyoung would replicate the prior line identically, in the bridge section, Jooyoung would follow up the word in a much higher note in addition to possessing more power. Even with the final line, despite how both Hyorin and Jooyoung sing in unison, Jooyoung’s line comes off with additional power and a higher note range. Due to this differing method with alternation, a layering aspect is created; Hyorin’s parts act moreover as foundation while Jooyoung’s singing take the lead.

Mechanically, the instrumental and vocals, while still delightful, remain unvaried from other sections, but thankfully, the alternation that does occur is vastly different, and thus, an appealing and welcoming layering function becomes granted. Above average will be the score.

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10 – Since the post-chorus is recycled, once again, Hyorin tackles the first line with Jooyoung handling the second, and at the end, Hyorin concludes it.

Serving as a conclusion, the post-chorus does fulfill that role. Previously mentioned, with the post-chorus having power as a main aspect, Jooyoung’s note hold that carried over from the bridge comes off as natural. Furthermore, Hyorin also contributes to such by adding a background note hold. A final, climactic end point is given due to the amount of note holds given. Towards the very end, the vocals and instrumental fade off quickly yet precisely, and thus, a solid, sound conclusion is met. Overall, while the note holds and natural end fade are respectable, with the post-choruses not being absolutely stunning as a section, the conclusion slightly suffers from such.

Nevertheless, the post-choruses themselves hold as above average, and with decent note holds and a solid ending, the conclusion will still be held at above average.

– Line Distribution: 10/10 – With this collaboration involving two members, a perfect score should automatically be earned.

Since I would like to save time and be partially lazy it is rather complicated to list out how the sections were distributed, I will simplify this part. Many sections showcased equal, alternating lines, and at other times, unison singing. With the quantity being practically equal, the score will be a 10 as the distribution can be concluded as perfect.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – Although the instrumental in “Erase” is biasedly what I adore, I will exclude extraneous influences of personal preferences. In light of the instrumental itself, individually, the soundtrack is exceptional. The snaps provide a catchy yet rhymatic aspect and the piano tune holds responsible as the song’s main instrumental melody. Additionally, the bass plays a prominent and crucial role; with vocals taking a more energetic and higher pitched style, the bass compensates the lower note range, and additionally, provides a contrast that translates as a supportive foundation. On the subject of support, when accounting for the duo’s singing, the instrumental and vocals aid one another. Sonically, both parties mesh well and complement the other. The bass, as stated earlier, is one example of how the vocals and soundtrack reinforce each other. Another example is the piano which reciprocates the vocals’ melody and softer yet prominent style.

In summary, with the instrumental sounding spectacular on its own and, when factoring in how well the vocals are accommodated, a solid score will be earned.

– Meaning: 8/10 – With a title of “Erase” and a somewhat melancholy atmosphere, a sadder story is anticipated. Perhaps a couple ended their relationship, and as a result, the couple now attempts to “Erase” their history. Ending the speculations, through these Korean-to-English translated lyrics, the story behind the ballad can be discovered. As always, these lyrics are not 100% accurate:

(Hello) You changed a lot, your shorter hair
(Hello) Your thick makeup, you’re like someone else
(Hello) I know that I mean nothing
to you now, I feel it

You’ll forget me, whatever, I’ll just meet another girl
I’ll just meaninglessly meet another guy, it’ll be typical
Don’t look back so I can’t hold onto you, no way, yeah

I’m not that great of a person
Don’t think too hard, no
Don’t pretend to be nice, doo doo roo doo doo roo
We always had that kind of love, don’t say yeah

I’ll erase my love for you (erase) you
I’ll erase your number (erase) secretly
We can’t ever be, no no, that’s how we always were, yeah, yeah

(Good bye) I’m sick of the same words every time
(Good bye) We got more and more careless
(Good bye) I know that I mean nothing
to you now, I feel it

You’ll forget me, whatever, I’ll just meet another girl
I’ll just meaninglessly meet another guy, it’ll be typical
Don’t look back so I can’t hold onto you, no way yeah

I’m not that great of a person
Don’t think too hard, no
Don’t pretend to be nice, doo doo roo doo doo roo
We always had that kind of love, don’t say yeah

I’ll erase my love for you (erase) you
I’ll erase your number (erase) secretly
We can’t ever be, no no, that’s how we always were

(Bye bye) I secretly walked behind you
as your turned back grew darker
The farther you got,
I thought of you more
Without even knowing why, I keep missing you, bye

I’ll erase my love for you (erase) you
I’ll erase your number (erase) secretly
We can’t ever be, no no, that’s how we always were, yeah, yeah

Somewhat correctly predicted, “Erase” derives its title from a couple desiring to “erase” their feelings towards one another. Absurdly, a couple has parted ways after an unknown incident. With the two separating, they both feel that they are “nothing to [the lover] now.” What differs from these lyrics in juxtaposition to countless others is the peculiar scenario they are subjected to; the couple has split, yet ironically, it appears neither of them wanted to. Both the male and lady feel apathetic with finding new love-interests; after all, the male possesses a “whatever” attitude and simply claims he will “just meet another girl” and the lady will “meaningless meet another guy.” This unveils it situation is not one-sided, but rather, both are suffering from their separation. Diving into why the characters are no longer together, perhaps guilt consumed not one, but two of them; “I’m not that great of a person” is a self-claimed statement from both the characters, and additionally, a sense of regret appears from “don’t pretend to be nice.” Extracting these points, the couple individually might have felt that they were not worthy of the other person, and thus, decided to split ways for the better. Ironically, if that is the proper term, both of them feel they are bad for the other. Nevertheless, with the outcome taking the form of the couple separating, they attempt to move on by “[erasing] [their] love” and the other’s phone “number.”

In summary, with an exceptionally confusing, complex story, even with the details being somewhat limited, the crafted setting and plot hold as intriguing, and thus, a solid score will be granted. Many questions exist, and though details lack, enough meaningful ones exist so that one may infer the untold aspects. “Erase” holds my personal throne of being the song that has generated the most questions and pondering time.

Switching to the “Critical Corner,” unfortunately since the rap is removed, a lot of discussion points I previously had when listening to “Erase” have erased. Setting aside horrible puns and jokes, peering at the lyrics, the only discussion in mind is to address the idea of a split relationship. Though the background of “Erase” ‘s story remains vague, I still hold a general consensus of how split relationships should be: peaceful and accepting. Instead of songs’ often depicted stories of a severed relationship being the most traumatic event to ever happen, I believe in a more realistic and more humane outcome. Should a relationship end, both individuals should be on decent terms. Perhaps not close friends, but at the very least acquaintances who still acknowledges that the other person is alive. Of course, when accounting for why and how a relationship ends, this type of outcome may be skewed. Nevertheless, hopefully, if a relationship does end in the first place, it is out of agreement and proper terms and not due to a cheated relationship, a one-sided scenario, and other ones that are often time mentioned in songs or even movies and other mediums.    

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – Finally, the Choreography Score is left for grading. Even with being a slower paced song, dances are still possible, and “Erase” does erase the common mentality of how a song must be upbeat for a dance to be delightful (I will also start erasing my puns). Glancing at the syncing component of the dance, it is excellent. No issues exist with matching to not solely the beats/snaps, but also the flow of the song. Maneuvers that link to the snaps are clearly seen, and for matching the flow, though more subtle, movements such as at the beginning with Jooyoung are examples of syncing to the flow. The only moment in which the syncing was poor is towards the second verse; the leg snapping disclosed excellent coordination, but unfortunately, minimal syncing. Ignoring that piece, however, the syncing holds as solid. For the second main feature of the choreography, the key points hold well. Every dance set at each section were smooth in a multitude of perspectives; the transitions were fluent and natural, movement was cohesive,  and all of the dancing was rather graceful and charismatic due to fitting the song’s softer and emotional tone. Swapping to the backup dancers, they were properly used. The main spotlight still resided with Hyorin and Jooyoung, but for background work, the backup dancers fulfilled that role. Furthermore, with them adding an extra layer to the dance, some complexity is granted, and therefore, diversity with the dance is gleaned.

A solid score is earned here. Although “Erase” holds as a slower paced, graceful song, a dance that still remains energetic and equally charming as the non-visual component exists.

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Overall Score: 9/10 (8.5/10 raw score) – Shockingly yet humorously unsurprisingly, “Erase” finishes with a 9/10, and in terms of what that represents, the song can be deemed as amazing and, simply put, very good. Biasedly, I do agree, however, with the score being that high, I am slightly skeptical. Perhaps the perfect Line Distribution amped it up excessively, but despite that, the song is truthfully well-rounded. The lyrics deliver an interesting story, the song is structurally solid, the vocals are, of course, extremely potent, and with other factors, be it the instrumental or the more score-influential piece of the choreography all holding a respectable position, a high Overall Score should be envisioned and accepted.

As I always say, thank you very much for reading. Thank you for your time and support, I appreciate it all. This review took, after some hazy gauging, about 5 and a half hours in total to write. Two days were spent on such, the second day being more invested into. With unveiling my lack of living life and being a turtled reviewer the amount of time I place towards writing reviews, hopefully readers do understand why I cannot publish reviews at a quick pace. In the future, I may attempt to trim them down, but feedback and ideas on such would be desirable (and also feedback on my writing itself).

For future reviews, with finally searching up the date for Valentine’s Day, I will now begin my holiday-orientated song. Ignoring the upcoming ballad that suits the holiday, 4Minute will be having a comeback soon, and therefore, I will attempt to cover it as soon as possible. Besides that, however, a less popular group is in mind, and in contrast, a popular group with a differing song concept that I have yet to review will also be covered. Many reviews are in mind, time is what remains as my sole concern. With much work on my plate, reviews may be slightly hindered, but I will do my best to be as efficient as possible (time to follow my role model of T-ARA’s Soyeon by being very proficient and hasty with work).

Anyhow, stay tuned for upcoming reviews. Thank you once more for reading, and apologies for current and future delays. Even though “I’m not that great of a person” since my writing needs heavy improvement and refining (and, truthfully, I still need to grow as a person), thank you for continuing to check back. I will, unlike the song, never “erase my love for you.” Keep checking back for a more cheerful song, but in the meantime, keep away from cliffs, sharp objects, poisons simply stay happy doing whatever brings you joy.

Junggigo – “Too Good” Review

Junggigo (ft. Minwoo) – Too Good (Music Video w/ lyrics)

Junggigo ft. Minwoo of Boyfriend – Too Good

Reviewed on December 14, 2014

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Personal Message: Before the review starts, I would like to mention a quick thank you for the support with my previous review of T-ARA’s “Little Apple.” Perhaps it is due to T-ARA’s soaring popularity, but that review was well received by many of my readers, so for that, I am very grateful. That also reminds me, T-ARA did have a dance practice video. I slightly regret not finding it sooner, for it clearly depicts how flawlessly synced the choreography was. At the very least, I can rest knowing an 8 was an accurate score given for the choreography section. Interestingly, however, “Little Apple” was still within its revision stages; the audio used for the dance practice was different in multiple areas in comparison to the official version.

Anyhow, for this review, we will be looking at a requested song (I’m always open to requests, so feel free to send them in; it’s a great way to interact with my readers). I will be covering Junggigo’s song of “Too Good.” Many will recognize his name; after all, he had a very successful duet song of “Some” with Sistar’s Soyu. From that sweet, romantic ballad, I became very fond of Junggigo’s singing. Although he is embarrassed by the nickname, “Honey Vocals Junggigo” (something along those lines if I recall in an interview) is quite accurate; his voice is exceptionally soothing, and as the name states, very sweet and gentle. While we are on the subject of duet, although “duet” would be an overstatement for this song, a featured person does appear: Boyfriend’s Minwoo. For those who have read my review on Boyfriend’s “Witch,” Minwoo was the main rapper of that song. Due to his specialty in that category, and with both singers being in the same label company of Starship Entertainment, for Junggigo’s song of “Too Good,” Minwoo is featured in a rap section.

Focusing on the song now, “Too Good” is a K-Drama OST (original sound track) for the drama of “High School: Love On.” This is not the first drama OST I have reviewed; Lena Park’s “Only With My Heart” was the first one. Coincidentally, both songs are not only K-Drama OSTs, but they are also ballads and both have been requested for review. On what is different, Junggigo’s song will not induce tears and sadness is more cheery and vastly more upbeat than Lena Park’s song.

Back on topic with “Too Good,” I will fill in some background about the drama according to a friend/teammate (if this is inaccurate, I will blame her Edit: Only the general ideas are accurate. To give a revamped version, the angel’s job was to “transition” people to the “after-life,” but instead, she broke the rules to save her future love-interest. As a result of saving the boy, she lost her angel status, and thus, became a human; a normal high school student like the person she saved). “High School: Love On” is, if romantic love stories are not already, somewhat cheesy in that it tells the story of an angel who, despite her angel mentor’s advice and his distaste towards humans, decides to go to Earth in order to become human. Why? Due to love. She has fallen in love with a high school boy. Yes, “love makes you do crazy things” is completely applied here.

Now, while I love ridiculous, cheesy love plots the drama may seem somewhat absurd (although another drama does follow a similar path; “You Who Came From the Stars” showcased a plot where, instead of an angel, an alien tries becoming human since he fell in love with a lady), thankfully, the song by Junggigo still remains outstanding. On a random note, I could link the music video of this song instead of an audio version, but since it showcases scenes from the drama, many readers would be confused at it. For example, for those confused on why she does not understand the concept of getting hit by a car and the physics associated with such, it is because of exactly that; she does not understand human life (nor love, I would assume, since that would create a romantic, jocular tone). I may add the music video, though, considering the lyrics are included and that there are a multitude of cute, romantic scenes. If not, a simple search of “Junggigo Too Good” will find it. Although the general opinion is that love stories are too ridiculous, I confess, I am a fan of them for the most part. Or at the very least, I would prefer watching love dramas over ones that include gore and such.

With all of that said, Junggigo offers his incredible vocals for this K-Drama OST. “Too Good” is a melodic, soothing yet upbeat ballad that will captivate listeners on the sole basis of his voice. Hopefully the song title is an accurate representation of the song itself; let’s take a look and see if this song is truly “Too Good.”    

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Song Total Score: 7/10 (7.25/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 9/10 – With Junggigo, a very high score is anticipated. The vocals in this song are melodic, smooth, soothing, and as his nickname implies, very sweet with the romantic tone of “Too Good.” Being an adept singer, his singing is rather versatile; the range of slow and calm to powerful and upbeat is seen. During slower and calmer sections, his voice drifts off as extremely comforting, and for the upbeat parts, very charismatic and energetic. Furthermore, Junggigo’s note range is equally adaptable; high and low pitches are heard. If “Some” has not proven his talent, this OST ballad speaks for that. Junggigo is an incredible vocalist, and with such a sweet and charming voice, ballads are easily dominated by him.

Overall, amazing vocals exist in this song. For a ballad, everything is included. His singing brings in emotions, varying melodies and pacing, and it has both aspects of being soothing yet upbeat.

– Song Structure: 7/10 (7.43/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction (Verse): 8/10 – Strangely, the introduction is using another song section. I believe this is the first song I’ve reviewed that has utilized this, but nevertheless it proves to be promising. To keep it less confusing, the verse itself will be discussed in-depth at the verse section. Instead, I will simply address whether the introduction benefits from this style.

Although it seems rather unusual to have a song dive straight into its core without a proper setup, “Too Good” manages to pull it off. Considering the verses are on a relatively lethargic pace, the introduction does not come off as too potent. The instrumental also follows suit with the pacing.

A methodical, patient setup occurs due to the verses’ original format and style, and as a result, a standard introduction becomes rather obsolete. The verses in “Too Good” work both roles as an introduction and verse. While I won’t dive into the actual verses here, considering how solid they are and the aspect of how the verses’ format fit as an introduction role, a higher score will be given. A proper setup occurs; melodic vocals are showcased, and the song’s overall mood and structure are unveiled.

2. Verse: 8/10 – Peering more closely at the verses, they hold as outstanding. For the most part, they all follow the same structure.

The verses begin slowly with both vocals and instrumental. Junggigo’s utilizes lower notes at the start. In terms of the melody, it differs and changes throughout the section. Eventually at the end, he does hit a higher note to conclude.

Looking at a verse entirely, it is exceptionally well done. With starting off slow, it creates a steady yet solid build-up. Another benefit is also gained: lower notes. Due to the verse’s initial rate, lower notes perfectly fit and that adds a smooth component to the verses. Focusing on the flow and melody, with Junggigo’s captivating voice, that in itself augments the softer tone that is bestowed. At the very end, Junggigo does toss in a higher note. This allows a proper shift to the next section, and in addition, some diversity is seen in regards to the notes. Instead of hearing solely slower and lower pitched lines, an energetic one is added.

Overall, an exceptionally charming section. This section definitely holds a solid score, and if I were being biased, I would add even more points. Junggigo’s voice utterly suits this section; lines became additionally gentle and soothing. Excellent pacing and build-up, varying notes, and a fantastic, soothing melody are the winning aspects to this section.  

3. Chorus: 8/10 – Strangely, although not completely alien, the song dives straight into the chorus. Considering how the verse worked, however, this is acceptable; the previous section did subtle build-up for the song as a whole, and the transition ended on an impactful line that would suit a chorus.

For this part, Junggigo’s stronger vocals are heard. The instrumental also follows suit with bringing in more energy. In terms of his lines, the first two were impacting, and they had stretched endings. After that, Junggigo resumed a standard singing pace backed with a pleasing melody.

Knowing Junggigo’s singing is in its prime here, a solid section can be expected. Powerful vocals are showcased here. This works out perfectly considering the previous sections, the verses, end on a higher note. Thus, the higher level of intensity seen at the chorus fits the established trend and structure. Focusing on the melody, Junggigo’s hitting a variety of notes although most of them are within the same range. An interesting aspect was also how the melody was “stretched” at the beginning; while I won’t regard the first two lines as note holds, it showcased beautiful vocals. Additionally, the pacing switch prevents any staleness from occurring. Since the first two lines were slower and the remaining were faster, there is a lively flow to the section.

Overall, an impressive chorus in “Too Good.” Junggigo’s singing continues to be charming, and with a unique structure in terms of the pacing, melody, and vocal strength, a higher score will be given.

4. Post-Chorus: 7/10 – The post-chorus does have a subtle transition. Nevertheless, that should not be an issue, and this section is very definable and can be differentiated easily. All of the post-choruses are fully identical.

At the start, “Baby” is repeated three times. After that, a line follows it up. This entire format repeats for a total of three cycles, although for the very last line, an English line of “I’ll be always loving you” is utilized. Focusing on the singing, the “Baby baby baby” part takes the form of background vocals, and for the line that follows, it comes off as more prominent yet it remains gentle.

While the post-choruses are still decent, in comparison to the verses and choruses, this section does slightly falter. The use of “Baby baby baby” for background vocals allow a change in style to contrast the other sections, but this line is on the weaker side. Unlike the melodic singing Junggigo has shown, “Baby” remains lackluster; little energy is added nor is any pleasurable tune heard. The only asset is that the progressing line ends up sounding more impactful and becomes slightly emphasized, but other than that, the background vocals strip away the established sweet and melodic style of the song as a whole.

In the end, this section still holds as above average. Alternating lines of background to main vocals may add a varying section, but the background vocals were on the duller side. Nevertheless, for the other lines, Junggigo’s singing heavily compensates. The post-choruses are still decent sections, but juxtaposing it to the previous parts, it does become slightly overshadowed.

5. Bridge: 6/10 – The bridge of “Too Good” has potential, but unfortunately, it does not manage to hold as exceptionally spectacular.

This section initiates with an English line of “You’re my beautiful baby girl” (my opinion on this line will be at the Meaning section). A similar line, also in English, is sung after that first line. Now after that, Junggigo sings the final line in Korean. The final line does contain a stronger end.

Firstly, the initial singing took the form of background vocals, and homogenous to the post-choruses, the same issue of being dull occurs. Sadly, the background vocals has a longer duration here unlike the post-chorus. The contrast of how “Too Good” in its entirety is rather melodic hurts this section’s beginning; this background singing fails to fit the established standard. There is no pleasing melody, and the instrumental remains neutral and passive. To end on a positive note, when the main vocals are heard, Junggigo delivers the usual sweet tune and finishes the bridge with a perfectly suiting high note hold. That creates a solid wrap up, even if the beginning was rougher.

As mentioned earlier, this section has the proper structure to do well. It fits the overarching gentle and calmer tone since no insane note hold was used, and furthermore, it did not hold as utterly and absurdly passive. What does fail is the background vocals used; plain singing would have been more beneficial. Slightly above average is the rating here.

6. Rap: 7/10 – Finally, the section where Minwoo from the group Boyfriend raps.

Minwoo’s rap is accompanied by a slightly more passive instrumental. His rap maintains a decent speed and flow. In terms of the melody, the rap did not fluctuate too much with different notes, but nevertheless retained the softer atmosphere of the song.

Taking into account that seldom do ballads possess rapping sections, this part may seem somewhat unusual. Thankfully, however, Minwoo proves that raps in ballads are indeed viable. For his rap, the instrumental’s shift to becoming passive works out favorably; Minwoo’s rap becomes the sheer highlight. Looking at the rap itself, considering the song is a ballad, his style would need to utterly suit the romantic, sweet tone that has been created. In this situation, he succeeds. The pacing is slow enough so that it suits the ballad genre, and on the other side, sufficiently fast enough to prevent the rap from feeling lethargic. Onto his flow, words proved to be smooth; line after line, word after word, it was all rather fluent. In fact, certain word endings supported that: “deureowaseo” and “mannasseo” as well as “ani” and “sigani” are examples. When it comes to the melody, this is perhaps the weakest aspect to the rap. There was little diversity with pitches, but considering raps are not meant to be melody oriented, but rather, heavily focusing on speed and flow, it is a very miniscule issue.

In the end, an above average rap. Minwoo’s flow and speed were very suitable to the song as whole. Nothing was lacking nor overly done. The only issue derived from this section is something easily overlooked, although it will prevent potentially higher scores. A decent section nevertheless, and with how rare and difficult it is to craft a rap section in a ballad, accomplishing that feat is stunning.

7. Conclusion: 8/10 – While a final post-chorus does play out, I am counting the very last moment with the instrumental playing out.

For the conclusion, the instrumental and vocals run for a few seconds. Slowly, the instrumental fades away, and as expected, Junggigo’s vocals of “Oh” and such follow suit.

Even though the conclusion is rather short, it is a solid wrap-up to the song. Having the instrumental and vocals fade slowly leaves a lingering presence of the song. Additionally, it was a proper way to conclude “Too Good”; nothing was abrupt nor was it seemingly too long.

A solid conclusion for the beautiful ballad. It was concise, precise, and an important aspect, efficient. “Too Good” holds a satisfying end.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – Minwoo is only featured, so this song is still mainly a solo ballad. This will not be graded.

– Instrumental: 7/10 – The instrumental for “Too Good” is on the stronger side. Progression is a key aspect to the soundtrack; starting off slow and gradually becoming more complex aids the song as a whole. From the verse to post-chorus, and of course other sections, the instrumental’s intensity correlates to Junggigo’s singing. Solid chemistry is seen from both sides, and due to that, the song is vastly augmented. On that subject, when it comes to how well the instrumental suits the vocals, it does an excellent job. Considering that Junggigo is an outstanding singer, by having a soundtrack that simply adds a foundation layer to the song, Junggigo’s vocals are supported without leeching away attention. Lastly, for how well the soundtrack sounds on its own, it holds as solid as well. A cheerful, happier and romantic mood can be gleaned from the instrumental possessing graceful sounds. Adding on, the soundtrack proves to be soothing or energizing, similar to the singing.

Above average is the rating for the instrumental. It fulfills its role of helping the vocals and it remains delightful on its own.

– Meaning: 6/10 – With a song title of “Too Good” coupled by the fact that the K-Drama is related to a romantic plot, I am expecting some sweet, love-filled lyrics. Perhaps the lover believes their love-interest is “too good,” or that their life is now “too good” thanks to their love-interest. Anyhow, through these Korean-to-English translated lyrics, let’s uncover the story behind the song. As always, these lyrics are not 100% accurate due to pure translating, but with the music video also supplying lyrics, it should be very accurate:

It feels like I’m living in a dream every day
I’m still not used to this kind of life
When I’m with you, the stars twinkle during the day

I don’t want to meet anyone else but you
Without you, I don’t want to do anything
When I’m with my friends, I’m always thinking about you

You’re too much for me
You’re too good for me
Anyone can see you’re beautiful
Everyone wants you
I can’t believe you’re mine

Baby baby baby, you’re too much
Baby baby baby, you’re too good
Baby baby baby, today and tomorrow
I’ll be always loving you

When I see you, it feels like the whole world is mine
I don’t want to be anyone else but me
If it’s for you, I feel like I can do anything

You’re too much for me
You’re too good for me
Anyone can see you’re beautiful
Everyone wants you
I can’t believe you’re mine

Baby baby baby, you’re too much
Baby baby baby, you’re too good
Baby baby baby, today and tomorrow
I’ll be always loving you

You’re my beautiful baby girl (so beautiful)
You’re my only one baby girl
You’re more dazzling than the sun in the blue sky

Anyone can see that we’re so close now
You’re my sunshine, I’m your sunflower
I’m so glad that you came into my life
I was lost for a while but I finally met you
Our first meet was a bit awkward
It was no coincidence did you know?
Spending time with you and the flowers in full bloom
Even when the seasons change, I will like you a lot

You’re too much for me
You’re too good for me
Anyone can see you’re beautiful
Everyone wants you
I can’t believe you’re mine

Baby baby baby, you’re too much
Baby baby baby, you’re too good
Baby baby baby, today and tomorrow
I’ll be always loving you

“Too Good” ‘s lyrics positively unveil a love story. Reflecting back on the drama, these lyrics could perhaps reciprocate what the boy feels towards the angel. Anyhow, analyzing the lyrics from a neutral stance, the song tells a story of a lover who is exceptionally infatuated with his love-interest. Specifically in this case, and by adding in context of the drama, the lover is most likely the teenage boy who feels a certain way towards the girl, the angel who saved him. The boy feels as if he is in a “dream” since his love-interest is, as stated from the title, “too good.”

Overall, the lyrics prove to be very adorable and sweet. While I enjoy the love tone, it does remain rather lacking in details. Many ideas repeat, such as the concept of how the girl is “too good” and that his life has completely changed for the better thanks to her. Nevertheless, decent lyrics that will be rated as slightly above average. Extra details would easily bump it up to a 7.

Transitioning to the bonus part of the Meaning grading section, I will now take a more critical stance on some of the lyrics. I will not account this into the grading unless if something erroneous pops up. As mentioned earlier, there is the line of “baby girl” that is used at the bridge. Now, while the lyrics do depict a story of a boy and girl falling in love, “baby” is an understatement. An over-understatement, more precisely. While the connotation is sweet and all, I personally find it rather absurd; especially in a more realistic setting of love where, instead of teenagers, adults are the ones in love, being referred to as a “baby” would seem less charming than expected. Unless if there is literally a “baby girl” as the subject, it would be vastly better to find other delightful words to express love and care towards a love-interest.

I could also begin a rant towards how the lyrics place seemingly extra value towards physical beauty, but since it does not go in-depth towards the love-interest’s physical attributes, I will not bother going on a tangent on this topic. Nevertheless, I will reiterate that love is truthfully hardly based on physical attraction; a person’s intelligence, attitude, personality and such are the main factors to determining attraction. Additionally, beauty should be loosely attached to physical aspects. I will end it off here for the time being.

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Choreography Score: X/10 – With being a ballad and an OST, a dance is not included. This section will be excluded.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (7.25/10 raw score) – With only the Song Total Score being accounted for, this leaves “Too Good” with a 7/10, which is actually shockingly lower than expected. This song should be at an 8/10 I would imagine. Perhaps the Meaning score should have been a 7, but I will leave the score as is. Biasedly, I hold this song at an 8.

As always, thank you very much for reading this review. I apologize for being exceptionally delayed with reviews; it has been 8 days (I think) since I last posted, so huge apologies. I have been slacking with reviews. To compensate, a few speed reviews are in the work, and depending on how they go, I may opt to find a balance between my current style of reviews and a “speed review.” To the person who requested this, thank you so much for sharing an incredible song. I do feel ashamed, though, that this review is rather weak. Due to slightly rushing and having weaker writing for this review, I feel regretful and wish I could have done a better job. I will strive harder to improve my writing and reviews. Anyhow, thank you once more for sticking around and being patient. I sincerely appreciate every reader.

For those curious on upcoming reviews, I still have a requested song to finish, and along with that, a plethora of other songs I have been yearning to review. I have been multi-tasking and have begun a speed review, so I plan to quickly finish that one soon. Look forward to them, and with Winter Break coming soon, positively, reviews will come out rather quickly.

With all of that said, I believe this is a proper place to conclude this review. I am personally slightly frustrated at myself for writing a lacking review, but I will attempt to have a stronger one for next time. Thank you once more for reading, and to the requester, it has been a pleasure to receive this song. Expect MAMAMOO’s “Piano Man” to come out shortly along with other songs. Stay tuned and continue to check back. I will attempt to fix my current rate of reviews. “You’re too good for me,” so I will work harder to bring better reviews.

Lena Park – “Only With My Heart” Review

Lena Park – Only With My Heart (Audio)

Lena Park – Only With My Heart

Reviewed on October 30, 2014

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Personal Message: To the person who requested this song, I apologize once more for being very slow with this. Normally with requests, I instantly prioritize them, but in this case, with lots of schoolwork and other reviews to finish, I had to delay this one. Nevertheless, it is finally here. The song “Only With My Heart” by Lena Park falls within the ballad genre. This song is from a Korean drama, “The Heirs”. I personally have not seen it, nor do I ever intend to. Dramas are way too time consuming. Perhaps one day I will attempt to watch one, but as of now, I have no plans (and besides, if Jessica and Krystal made me cry, then K-Dramas would have me creating rivers).

Jokes aside, although I have no experiences with K-Dramas, I’ve found songs that come from them to be very solid. Most K-Drama OSTs are in the genre of ballad, but that is to amplify the emotions bestowed to viewers. I’m a fan of ballad, as some readers may know, so I’m quite thankful for this request.

With all of that said, let’s begin the review. “Only With My Heart” is an emotional ballad to suit “The Heirs”, but even without being associated with the K-Drama, it holds its own sufficiently.

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Song Total Score: 9/10 (9/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 9/10 – The most emotional, charismatic voice I have ever heard in a ballad comes from Lena Park. Her vocals come off as soft and gentle, however, towards the later part of the song, she swaps to stronger, prominent vocals. Having versatile vocals is proven. As mentioned earlier, the emotions she places within the song is incredible. Sadness, heartache, appreciation; an abundance of feelings are injected in the song. The impressive part: it is all from her vocals. Furthermore, with her voice remaining on the gentler side, the melody originating from her singing is equally stunning.

Adding all the factors of how her vocals are diverse, full of emotions and melody, a very solid score is expected. While I have yet to hear other songs by her, she proves to be a very adept singer. This ballad becomes vastly strengthened by the addition of her vocals. A high score will be given.

– Song Structure: 8/10 (8.4/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction (Verse): 8/10 – Out of every song I’ve reviewed so far, I believe this is definitely the one with the least sections. Quality over quantity, as the saying goes, so this should not be concerning. Besides, it means less writing it still comes out as an extremely pleasing ballad.

As some readers/listeners may have noticed, the song utilizes its verse for an introduction. This proves to be effective, however, considering that it’s a subtle, steady start, and therefore, not too sudden. “Only With My Heart” begins with the beautiful vocals of Lena Park. A calm and key instrumental of a piano accompanies her soft vocals. There are also some minimal, yet delightful, line ending effects used; “useoyo“, “mayo”, and “janhayo” are examples. Eventually, the song drifts into the true verse.

For an introduction, it holds as solid. Despite how vocals are added from the very beginning, since Lena Park’s style was gentle, emotional, and slow, it does not come off as overwhelming. Furthermore, the key instrumental of the piano was all that was used; nothing more, nothing less. This allows the soundtrack to set up while ensuring Lena Park’s vocals are supported.

A solid score is deserved. Manipulating a verse for an introduction worked out well. The stage was thoroughly prepared. Emotions, vocals, instrumental, the introduction allows listeners to anticipate what’s to come.

2. Verse: 8/10 – After the introduction, the verse replays. There is a difference, however; the instrumental escalates. Other exceptionally minor differences would include some lyrical changes, but overall, it remains nearly identical to the introduction.

Due to the fact that the sole change is the instrumental becoming slightly more layered (other instruments are added besides the piano), I will not be going over this section. The introduction covers both sections. Something to note about this ballad is how it progresses; the more time, the more complex. The first verse and chorus are on the calmer side, but once the second half occurs, the instrumental and vocals pick up on intensity. Towards the later half, power becomes added to the song.

3. Chorus: 9/10 – The choruses in this ballad are amazing.

Emotion becomes a huge aspect of the choruses. This part is where Lena Park adds a plethora of feelings. Ignoring the dramatic side, musically, this part still remains extremely impressive. Lena Park shows off her higher vocal range, the instrumental continues being flawless, and the usual tender vocals themselves thrive. In terms of the flow, her lines take on shorter note holds. At the end of her first line, the last word is stretched out. After that, one line is normally sung and then the cycle repeats.

A very beautiful and graceful song section. Everything necessary for a solid ballad exists; vocals remain perfect with melody and gentleness, the flow showcases adept singing skills, and the instrumental adds onto the quality of work done. In addition to all of those factors, emotions are included. If there is any genre that will induce tears, ballads are typically pointed at, and in this song’s case, it does a phenomenal job with doing so; feelings of sadness, happiness, and more are felt.

Anything less than a 9 would be disrespectful.

4. Bridge: 8/10 – In juxtaposition to the song as a whole, this part is quite intense, and as a result, is arguably the climax point.

The vocals come off as powerful during this section. When it comes to the instrumental, it follows suit. Lena Park unveils a different perspective of her singing. Instead of the established style of being soft, impactful lines become used. At the end of the bridge, an impressive and high pitched note hold was executed to set a climatic point.

Initially, I did not agree to the sudden contrast; gentle to strong was a bit rough. Given more time, however, I found this bridge to be satisfying. Lena Park’s vocal strength is witnessed heard here, but it was not overpowering at all. It was a perfect stance; not too powerful, but not feeble, either. On top of that, it allowed a perfect climax to occur, which, in consideration of the song’s overall progression, is unequivocally fitting. “Only With My Heart” continued to become more layered as it went on. The end point, therefore, would be some sort of intense part, such as the note hold in this case.

Overall, seeing how the bridge was the explosive moment for the song’s progression, it is completely fitting. In terms of the mechanical music itself, the singing was stunning. Lots of power was added. On the subject of power, the instrumental helped with that. By reciprocating how intense the vocals were, the soundtrack meshed quite well. A solid section in the end.  

5. Conclusion: 9/10 – The conclusion of the song is simply the instrumental playing out.

The key instrumental of the piano makes a return here. Other instruments accompany it, but it remains as the highlight. Since the previous sections were escalated due to being climatic points, the role here was to ensure the ballad ended as how it started; peaceful and gentle. Thankfully, the conclusion manages to do so.

For a lengthy duration, the melody of the song plays out via the piano. With such a long duration and a soothing instrument, “Only With My Heart” acquires an incredible ending. No abrupt cuts happened nor was the conclusion too long. A high score is earned here.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – Lena Park is a solo singer, so this part is exempted from grading.

– Instrumental: 10/10 – The instrumental in “Only With My Heart” remains equivalent to Lena Park’s vocals; very delightful.

For this soundtrack, progression is the main objective. Slowly starting and gradually building up the instrumental allows this ballad to thrive. Unlike standard K-Pop songs, reaching an exciting, energetic and upbeat moment with the instrumental is not the ballad’s plan. Taking it slowly and gently is the priority. Fantastic layering is done.

Looking at the instrumental itself, it is still regarded highly. Classical instruments are used. This adds onto the mood of the song. No complaints are found here, the instrumental for this song is extremely beautiful. Emotions are definitely felt on the sole basis of the instrumental.

Personally, this is most likely my favorite instrumental out of every song I have ever heard. Whether that’s due to the instruments used, how well it progresses, or realistically, a combination of the two, it holds as one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard. As of now, a 10/10 will be the score. No words can describe its grace. I may reduce it down to a 9 in fear of being biased, but this soundtrack is extremely pleasant.

– Meaning: 9/10 – “Only With My Heart” gives an idea of love, so a love story is expected. However, considering how emotional and sad the song is, it might not be an ordinary love story. Anyhow, these Korean to English lyrics should disclose the song’s meaning. Not 100% accurate:

Smile brightly, don’t worry about
me, I’m smiling like this right now
I won’t be able to forget, I’ll be
the only one who remembers us
I won’t forget you, so you can smile

Smile brightly, I’m just thankful
because I have memories with you
I can hide them and take
them out when I’m alone
It will strengthen me
when I miss you

Only with my heart,
I steal you
Only with my heart,
I will hug you
That’s enough for me so
don’t hurt because of me
Just locking eyes with you
makes me shed tears

When time passes and our love
grows, there will be times when
I resent you but it’s a relief Because
I will remember you being
affectionate and the days when you
hugged me So it’s good

Only with my heart,
I steal you
Only with my heart,
I will hug you
That’s enough for me so
don’t hurt because of me
Just locking eyes with you
makes me shed tears

If we run into each other
like fate, please pass me
by like you don’t know me,
even though my heart will
cry like it has
been torn into two
So I can see you for a short
moment while you pass by

Only with my heart,
I will want you
Only with my heart,
I will kiss you
Don’t be sorry,
this is my life
Whether you love me or
feel sorry, I feel the same way

Before anything, the lyrics may seem grammatically incorrect, but this is the result of translating from Korean to English. I did my best to clean it up without losing a line’s structure, but it will still sound confusing at some points. It could’ve been a lot worse, however. For example, Nine Muses’ “Gun” could has been translated into 4 different lyrics. Meaning-wise, they’re all identical, but in terms of words and line structure, they all are vastly different.

Time to focus on the real matter: the meaning/story of “Only With My Heart”. The song delivers a very sad feeling, but diving deeper, it seems to be moreover on reflection versus feeling melancholy. The lyrics tell a story of either a lady or gentleman who is thinking over a love-interest. It is almost as if the main character loves someone dearly, but in the end, is unable to be with them or perhaps, their love-interest does not feel the same. Something to consider, though, is, as is the song’s title, the line of “only with my heart…” That line could support the idea of how the main character has been with their love interest, and thus, made memories, but unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, are now separated and as a result, “only with [their] heart” can she/he be with the love interest.

There are a lot of questions that could be imposed. Overall, a very meaningful, emotional story. The details are interesting and it remains a unique story. “Only With My Heart” sends out a story that has multiple perspectives to it. An 8 or 9 is the score. I personally will lean towards the 9 due to how layered the lyrics can be. It isn’t simply a person who is no longer with their love-interest.

Although this part will be excluded from affecting the score, since the song is part of a K-Drama, chances are, the meaning ties back into the drama’s plot. Fans/viewers of “The Heirs” should feel free to send in their own interpretation of the lyrics. Perhaps the drama’s characters will shed some insight on this song’s story.  

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Choreography Score: X/10 – “Only With My Heart” is a ballad, so a dance is not expected. Considering the fact that it is also a K-Drama OST, the song itself is the focus.

Choreography Score is excluded/doesn’t exist.

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Overall Score: 9/10 (9/10 raw score) – With the score being the sheer song itself, a very, very high score of 9/10 is the final standing. Do I agree? I will say so. This song is definitely one I hold highly. The soundtrack is amazing, and no other song has given so much emotion.

To the person who requested this song/review, I would personally like to thank you. Thanks for this request. Hopefully you enjoy this and more importantly, I hope I did this review and song justice. Feel free to send in your own insight towards the lyrics (and song); I would enjoy reading different takes on what the ballad is about.

While I am at it, thank you, the reader, for reading this. I am being very sincere when I say this, but I feel very grateful when people take moments out of their busy lives to read my reviews. I cannot express enough gratitude. Thank you.

Anyhow, I worked on this review for a total of two days. That is pretty good considering how busy I’ve been. Nevertheless, this review is the shortest one I’ve done (no, “Hangover” doesn’t count) since the number of sections are on the lesser side. It was still fun, of course.

In terms of my next review, I am not too sure. I heard a lot of male groups are making comebacks or have already done so. I may get a review out on those new songs. I guess it will be a surprise in terms of what I review next. Something else to mention, a Blog Reflection post will be up by the end of the month. That will be fun to talk about.

The end has come, so keep checking back for more reviews. I have no idea on what my next review is, so it’ll be a fun surprise. Thanks for reading, “Only with my heart, I will hug you”

Wheesung – “Night and Day” Review

Wheesung – Night and Day MV

Wheesung – Night and Day (Live Performance)

Wheesung – Night and Day

Reviewed on August 5, 2014

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Personal Message: Alright, it’s been two days I believe since I did a review, so nothing too bad. I’m back into posting, though. I’ve been away due to lots of family visits and such. Quite a fun time. Anyhow, what song am I reviewing today? None other than a song by the best male singer I know of so far: Wheesung! From what I heard, he was doing military service for 2 years (not sure on that) and he was finally discharged a few months back. Now being away for that long, one would wonder how his singing would be. He came back full force with “Night and Day”.

Anyhow, I’m really excited to review this song as Wheesung is the male equivalent of Ailee; his singing is beyond anything in this world. If the female K-Idols made me feel bad about my looks, well now I’m a wreck since Wheesung brings down my confidence about my voice. He has an extremely extraordinary voice; his skill is similar to that of Ailee. He can hit both the high and low notes. He’s capable of holding out straining note holds. His ability to add so much power and charisma into his singing is phenomenal. Versatility is what he possesses. All I have to say is thank you Wheesung for getting on the show, “Hello Counselor”. When he got up to sing, I was paralyzed. Instantly I stopped watching and looked up “Night and Day”.

With all this praising said, it is time to see the “Night and Day” of Wheesung’s singing.

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Song Total Score: 9/10 (9/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 10/10 – It’s Wheesung. Moving on. 

Alright ignoring my horrible recycle of an already atrocious joke from my earlier review of Ailee’s “Singing Got Better”, this gentleman is incredible. 

He has everything; his vocals can be exceptionally powerful and can give so much energy off for the song. His note range is the spectrum of high to low. He can maintain lengthy note holds. Lastly, he adds so much emotion, passion, and charisma into his singing. Hearing him sing gives you the same energy he puts into his vocals, it’s amazing.

Pretty much, he is tied with Ailee. I consider Ailee the queen vocalist in the K-Pop scene (although there are quite a few other singers as well that could compete), so I think it is well deserved to label Wheesung as the king vocalist of K-Pop.

– Song Structure: 9/10 (8.8333/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

So for “Song Structure”, I’m going to go through each section (Verse, Chorus, etc) and give a score per section. After that, the average is the “Song Structure” score.

1. Introduction: 8/10 – Before I get any further, probably the most standard song structure I’ve dealt with in a while. Actually it might be identical to “Singing Got Better” by Ailee. Anyhow, that’s to be expected as “Night and Day” is a ballad/R&B genre song. 

Anyhow, time to focus on the introduction.

A piano melody instantly starts the song off. A very peaceful and melodic tune. A few more seconds in, and Wheesung is already showing some adept singing. He throws in a mini “Ooh~” note hold, however, it isn’t accurate to label it as a single note hold; it should be plural: notes. He does some very fast pitch changing during this note hold, a really difficult feat. Now after that, the piano melody carries on by itself and eventually it leads into the first verse. An extremely impressive and solid start for the song.

2. Verse: 9/10 – To show off the versatile vocals Wheesung has, the verses reflect that. He starts off on the softer, lower pitch side. From here, he’s slowly building up the song through his singing. The instrumental is still mostly composed of the single piano melody. This is perfect chemistry as it allows for a lot of potential hype. 

The melody here is very solid and loving for the ears; in fact at the end of every line, he has a small note hold. This is all great for build up and showing off softness and some strength. He’s also hitting a variety of notes, ranging from the higher side to the lower pitches as well. Very solid verses for this song and it definitely flows straight into the pre-chorus. It sets the stage for build up very well.

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – There’s some very interesting flow in this section. Nevertheless, an extremely solid section as well.

For the pre-chorus, there are moments where Wheesung sings “For your love…” very softly. This allows a quick break and rest for the song, but then he resumes singing with the usual softness as seen in the verses. After that, though, the break of “For your love…” is added once again. This dive-fly up and repeat flow allows for some more build up as well as creating a unique pacing for listeners. It’s a great contrast to the verse, so this prevents any dullness from occurring while still technically allowing Wheesung to sing in a soft, melodic fashion.

However, after the second break, he begins to release his powerful vocals; his singing becomes a lot more solid/stronger and he has a short yet impacting note hold. For example, in the first pre-chorus, “harureul deo neulligo sipeo~” has a note hold at the last word. That is when the intensity of the song starts to unwrap itself. Now this isn’t the end. A really beautiful thing after that line is the instrumental completely stops. This allows pure focus on vocals and it emphasizes that. Wheesung’s last line before the chorus is an exceptionally powerful straining note hold. So much intensity and energy is brought into the song on the sole basis of this gentleman’s voice. That is just incredible; with the instrumental dying, it was his vocal talent at work to create the transition and it works perfectly. Very solid work. 

4. Chorus: 9/10 – Now this is the core part of the song. A diamond core.

Instantly the chorus begins with an English line of “I love you 24 hours”. This makes a key mark for the chorus as well as bringing in the emotion and mood of the song. For the chorus, Wheesung goes insane; he has note holds all over this section. He’s singing full force with power; no more softness. The beastly vocals are ravaging this section. He’s hitting a diversity of notes. The high notes to the middle/lower notes.

Later in the chorus, there’s the unique part of “‘Cause I’m your knight na na knight…” This key phrase serves a multitude of purposes. For one, it’s a catchy part of the chorus that can be easily remembered. It’s a significant piece. Next, it allows the song to slowly de-escalate in terms of intensity/energy level; Wheesung is still able to sing with a huge amount of energy, but with the pacing being changed to choppier lengths (Knight na na knight), it allows him to slow down fully and to calm his singing. Anyhow, perfect transition thanks to this win-win scenario of the final line.

5. Bridge: 10/10 – I really can’t decide between a 10 or 9. I think overall a 10 since this section is outstanding. Very majestic.  

For this bridge, the instrumental starts becoming more passive. This is to spotlight the vocals and to back up a very climatic point that occurs.

Wheesung’s first 3 lines are very powerful lines; he’s putting forth a lot of energy. However, after those 3 lines, he switches things up by singing in English and by adjusting his pacing. “My baby, I pray, I wanna lay, you down” Now this section is sliced up (based on the commas), but he’s still singing in full force power. Anyhow, what gives then, for this change of pace? Well my answer to that is it allows further build up to occur. From here, it seems that he’s slowly “storing” energy by taking his time and going by chunks. After this English section, he resumes the same strength with singing but then when he’s at the end, he holds probably one of most beautiful and graceful note holds I’ve seen/heard in my entire life so far. For practically 6 seconds (that’s a LONG time for such a straining and powerful note hold) he’s holding out “girl~” with so much energy. This is practically the biggest climatic peak in “Night and Day”. This is mind-blowing and graceful; this part is beautiful and it shows off the charisma and strength of his vocals (and lungs). 

I still have to say Ailee’s “Singing Got Better” is still the best bridge I’ve heard, but nothing has come close to Wheesung’s incredible note hold here. It’s extremely powerful and brings out such a climatic moment.

Before progressing, the transition to the conclusion is perfect. He lets the note hold naturally die and to ensure a smooth transition, he throws in a quick “Ima love you night and day”. 

Overall, solid transitions. This bridge plays off hyping up itself through chunked sections and by having the most fantastic note hold ever in a song. It isn’t just blind power; it is absolutely fitting. Incredible here. Just incredible.

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 9/10 – A conclusion that uses its chorus once again, but that’s no issue.

For this part, the standard, already almighty chorus is sang again, however this time Wheesung is doing a lot of two-part singing for the final top peak of intensity. The final punch if I may say that. Anyhow, it goes smoothly and a final intense chorus is played out. Now towards the end, the key phrase of “knight na na knight” is sang a couple of times. It delivers a final linger effect and at the very end, the instrumental dies off perfectly and Wheesung bestows a final “knight~” with a small note hold. There’s also an interesting detail where we can hear a solid (knigHT) “tut” sound as the last part. It gives it a final cherry-on-top effect. 

Very astounding ending to a marvelous, beautiful and powerful, rich song. Well done, Wheesung for this majestic singing.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – He’s running solo so can’t be applied.

– Instrumentals: 9/10 – A very classy instrumental background; lots of piano melodies, etc. This instrumental does a great job with transitioning things around, but the best part is how well it coincides with Wheesung’s singing. If he slams the gas pedal and goes head-on with power, the instrumental does the same. The opposite is true as well. If Wheesung has his singing relaxing, the instrumental does the same. 

Overall, a very beautiful soundtrack like Wheesung’s voice.

– Meaning: 8/10 – The catchphrases of “I love you 24 hours…” and “I’m your knight na na knight” doesn’t seem to relate to “Night and Day”, but if we take a look at the English lyrics (not 100% accurate), it starts making sense:

Even though I’m not asleep,
I am dreaming
Even when I’m with you,
I can’t believe it

For your love,
I want to gain strength
For your love,
I want to extend a day
I want to be the only man

I love you 24 hours, thank you for being you
It’s amazing every time I see you,
you’re so beautiful
The sun rises high during the day,
the moon rises at night
Because I will always protect you
Cuz I’m your knight na na knight
I’m your knight na na knight

There’s nothing about you
that I don’t need
All of you is everything
I wanted and hoped for

For your love,
I want to know many things
For your love,
I want to learn more about the world
Only for you

I love you 24 hours, thank you for being you
It’s amazing every time I see you,
you’re so beautiful
The sun rises high during the day,
the moon rises at night
Because I will always protect you
Cuz I’m your knight na na knight
I’m your knight na na knight

In the future, even when we close our eyes
I pray that our love will be
talked about for a long time
My baby I pray I wanna lay you down
The main character of my life is you girl

Ima love you night and day

I love you 24 hours, thank you for being you
It’s amazing every time I see you,
you’re so beautiful
The sun rises high during the day,
the moon rises at night
Because I will always protect you
Cuz I’m your knight na na knight
I’m your knight na na knight

Knight na na knight
I’m your knight na na knight

In short, these lyrics are about a gentleman expressing his love for his partner. It’s almost an ode; he’s praising her. Anyhow, a love story. 

This person is expressing how he loves everything about his lady; she’s the world to him and that he wants to protect her. “Night and Day” is pretty much the title since she IS his night and day; the gentleman being able to protect her since they’re in love with each other makes it so that “The sun rises high during the day” and “the moon rises at night”.

Overall, very heartwarming lyrics. Nothing too deep, but it’s quite meaningful. After all, any lady OR gentleman (yes, gentleman) loves feeling protected by their love. 

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Choreography Score: X/10 – Err, let’s see how I describe this part.

Technically, there is a dance. However, technically, Wheesung isn’t dancing. 

The choreography is composed of 4 women and 4 men who dance around Wheesung. He’s just sitting/standing in the middle of it all, but doesn’t necessarily do any of it. As a result, since there aren’t any full camera shots of this dance, I can’t judge it accurately. On top of that, Wheesung is essentially just sitting so I’m leaving this off.

Regardless, I still find it a solid dance. Check out the live performance above to see. (Although let’s be honest, who really cares about the dance when this gentleman’s voice can conjure thunder) 

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Overall Score: 9/10 (9/10 raw score) – So with just the pure Song Total Score, it brings us to a solid 9/10 which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Wheesung is probably the strongest singer I’ve heard so far, and I’m going to claim he’s tied with Ailee for my personal list of best vocalists. He is just phenomenal; his singing is just so powerful and majestic. He’s extremely skilled and versatile. The masters of ballad music are definitely Wheesung and Ailee. 

Well the end has come. Before this ends, if you haven’t go listen to this song right now. In fact if you haven’t even heard this song yet and you just read this first, shame on you. Have a taste of this gentleman’s voice. Anyhow, feel free to check out the live performance of this song. Yes, it is live. Like Ailee, he makes it seem as if it’s not live, but this is the result of hardwork. 

So our review has ended, as promised, I changed things up. I reviewed a male artist this time and I swapped over to the ballad genre of K-Pop. Actually wouldn’t it technically be called K-Ballad? Maybe I’m complicating things. Anyways, thank you so much for reading this. I had a blast writing this. “Night and Day” is an incredible song; it’s so beautiful and powerful. A really moving song. Wheesung deserves a lot more recognition; he has the charms and looks, he seems to be very kind, and his voice is borderline divine. I can’t wait to actually watch “Hello Counselor” where he appears as a guest along with NS Yoon-G (and if you haven’t read my review of “Yasisi” by her, check it out!).

Anything is up for grabs now in terms of what I’ll review next, but I have a few ideas. I’ll see if I can get a variety of artists going on this blog. I’m leaning towards Jiyeon, though, with “1Min 1Sec” No promises this time, though.

Anyways, thank you once again for reading. It means so much to me. Remember, “I love you 24 hours” and I’ll always be here, “’Cause I’m your knight na na knight”.

Ailee – “Singing Got Better” Review

Ailee – Singing Got Better MV

Ailee – Singing Got Better (Live Performance)

Ailee – Singing Got Better

Reviewed on July 15, 2014

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Personal Message: Well this is an interesting change of plans. I intended to do “Darling” by Girl’s Day today since I finally saw a live performance of the dance. But, I came across something else. Ailee and her huge hit, “Singing Got Better” and I just became so moved by it. I remembered the first time I heard that song. It’s honestly a really moving song, both lyrically and just musically. I’m so glad I listened to it once more. To be honest, this is probably the best song I have ever heard. Not my favorite, but if we’re talking about the best, this has to be it. 

Ailee is incredible; she has everything. Humor, beauty, intelligence, modesty, talent, the list goes on. She’s known as the “Korean Beyonce”, I think that’s false. I think Beyonce is the “American Ailee”. Just kidding. Ailee is Ailee and Beyonce is Beyonce. (Side note, Beyonce is an incredible singer and probably one of the very few American singers I admire)

Anyways, “Darling” is once again on hold. Instead, today we’ll see if Ailee’s “Singing Got Better” from her previous songs…

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Song Total Score: 9/10 (9.25/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 10/10 – 10/10. Don’t question it. Moving on. It’s Ailee.

Jokes, I wouldn’t just move on. No, I need to brag a little bit. And by a little bit, I mean a lot. 

Ailee’s vocal skills are BEYOND anything I have ever heard; Hyorin from Sistar is the only other singer I know that could possibly compete. Ailee has proven to be versatile; she can sing very low, she can hit the highest notes. She can be soft or rough. What makes her the most outstanding, though, is her power. She rocks a song based on her energy and intensity; Ailee knows how to deliver a true live performance. A microphone is all she needs. No amount of words can describe how amazing of a singer she is.

– Song Structure: 9/10 (8.8333/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

So for “Song Structure”, I’m going to go through each section (Verse, Chorus, etc) and give a score per section. After that, the average is the “Song Structure” score.

Quick note, I’m not too sure if I’m labeling the parts correctly. The verse seems to mesh almost with the pre-chorus, but looking at the song lyrics and stuff, it makes sense for it to be labeled as such. So, forgive me if they are inaccurate. On the bright side, hey, finally a “standard” song structure. (Although in reality, there is no “standard”)

1. Introduction: 8/10 – For sure a solid introduction. I love that they didn’t blast Ailee’s voice already, but rather, a piano melody was given off here. So from the start, already the melody that repeats by the piano is used. Great to get that flow and rhythm going. Also, they had Ailee throw in some “Oh"s. What’s great about adding that is it allows Ailee to preserve her true singing for later, but it doesn’t leave a naked instrumental. Furthermore, it adds onto the melody.

2. Verse: 8/10 – Nice and slow. There were specific chunked up sections for the verse, and it worked out nicely. Ailee kept the energy low for building up the song, but she still delivers a nice melody by playing off her higher notes. The vocals here are great, and the instrumentals are still dormant here. However, the verse here is very short which I find weird, but like I said, this might not even be the "verse”. Anyhow, this ironically helps. Even though it’s super short, the lack of length allows an easy transition to the pre-chorus. 

3. Pre-Chorus: 9/10 – Well done for a pre-chorus. Completely does its job.

First of all, the first line of the pre-chorus is very similar to the verse. It carries the chopped up flow and the gentleness. The instrumental is also still very passive here. However, as it progresses, Ailee’s really builds up the song. She starts increasing her pitch further and further. Before you know it, she’s hitting an incredible note that builds up the song, carries the melody. Also since she holds onto that very high note, it creates a perfect transition to the chorus. Her lines of “…jeongmal babogatasseo” for the first pre-chorus and “…jeongmal jaldoen iriya” for the second pre-chorus are what really kicks the song off. 

4. Chorus: 9/10 – My second favorite section of this song. From here, the song’s finally in its true form: Ailee’s finally singing with her power. Her amazing vocals bring in so much intensity here. The vocals here work with the instrumentals and they build off each other. Ailee is maintaining the melody and adds a great level of energy. Her high notes are dominating this part.

The transition back to the verse is also perfect here; after such an energetic chorus, it’s typically a struggle to “calm” the song back. Ailee has it all under control, though, through her note holds near the end. She takes the intensity and holds it out and lets it fade naturally. Naturally. That’s what makes it a perfect transition. No cuts, no weird snaps, she just lets her vocals continue on until it ends and the instrumental follows suit.

5. Bridge: 10/10 – This is my favorite part of the song. It is unequivocal that this is the best bridge I’ve heard so far.

This is goosebumps-inducing. I love this section. For this one, she utilizes her lower pitches but high pitches as well. 

She starts off on the lower side, but then slowly progresses with increasing her note. The instrumentals are still in full force here, but that is to mesh with how powerful her vocals are here. Eventually, she’s hitting her high notes but then swoops back down to a low note and holds a lower pitch. Typically, we always hear vocalists holding out the high notes, but with the words “…chukhahaejugil barae”, we can hear “barae” is being stretched out with a lower tone. That was awesome to hear and just gets my hair on the edge. Very, very unique and it sounds so amazing. That’s not the end, though. She resets and starts to build up the song once again. Her pitch progresses and rises. That leads to the conclusion of the bridge which is a very high pitched note hold. Phenomenal.

Now to transition back to the song/conclusion, a perfect method was found. During her final note hold for the bridge, they simply allowed the chorus to start. That blends in so perfectly; there was no need to findle around with the intensity level. Instead, the song just takes what Ailee created and plays off that. Amazing.

So now there’s the concern that ZE:A – “Breathe” had; with so much energy and practically the climax occuring at the bridge, will this song be able to conclude properly? Let’s see.

6. Conclusion: 9/10 – Yes, this song managed to do it. Even with such an intense bridge, they ended it perfectly. 

For starters, the song continues to carry out the high energy from the previous section. The chorus is recycled here which is a great decision. Ailee is able to do her usual powerful vocals. In addition, though, she actually does some two-parts to add layers for the end. That just packs even more intensity and power.

Now, near the end, Ailee holds her notes out to let them naturally fade. Perfect. It feels natural, there is no “sliced” off part. The instrumentals continue to play out, but at the very end it is beautiful. The sweet piano we heard at the start appears once again at the end. Slowly, the instruments die off, but the piano remains. Ailee then adds a few “Oh"s like at the start. Seeing how the conclusion played off the key features of the introduction is awesome, but the key component of this conclusion is how it allows the vocals and instrumentals to naturally fade out. It’s the best way to "de-escalate” a song.

Very nice wrap up to such a graceful, majestic song.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – Can’t be applied to her since she’s a solo artist. 

– Instrumentals: 9/10 – The instrumental here is fantastic. It plays off Ailee’s voice while remaining parallel and connected to the vocals’ intensity. The piano melody is also a huge piece of the song. Overall, a beautiful, graceful and classy instrumental soundtrack. 

– Meaning: 9/10 – I love these lyrics, I find it to be filled with many layers.

As we normally do, let’s take a look at the lyrics in English. Not 100% accurate, but it’s pretty much close to perfect.

I was out of it because of your gentleness
Because of your sweetness, because of your lies 

My dream changed – instead of a famous singer
I tried to become a good wife
I was such a fool, I was such a fool

My singing got better after breaking up with you
After living crazily with music, all of the song lyrics
Seemed like my story so I sang them to death
Little by little, slowly, my tears dried

I couldn’t see ahead, it was so hard
I cursed a lot and ruined my insides from drinking

It’s all over now, after I losing you
I earned a bigger hope
It’s really really so fortunate, it’s really so fortunate

My singing got better after breaking up with you
After living crazily with music, all of the song lyrics
Seemed like my story so I sang them to death
Little by little, slowly, my tears dried

Some day, you will probably call me
Then I hope you will be a man and congratulate me

Because this is all thanks to you
I’ll prepare a good thank you message for you

My singing got better after breaking up with you
After living crazily with music, all of the song lyrics
Seemed like my story so I sang them to death
Little by little, slowly, my tears dried
Slowly, my tears dried
Slowly, I got over you like that

So these lyrics tell a story. A woman had a goal of being a famous singer, but she gave up that dream to please her husband. 

But, they end up breaking up. Now she’s in a wreck…or is she? Music. The power of music comes back to her. And slowly, since he’s gone, she sings again. And slowly, but surely, her “Singing Got Better” and her tears dried up. 

What I love is that this isn’t a trainwrecked-love story. For example, “Number 9” by T-ARA (reviewed earlier, check it out if you haven’t yet) is where the lover is in pain after being abandoned by their partner. “Breathe” by ZE:A is practically the same, too. Sadness and grief.

What about this song? It’s about moving on; it’s about finding the light at the end of the tunnel. More songs focus on the initial emotional trauma of a break up, but very few talk about what happens after the initial break up. Ailee covers it, here, with her song. The act of moving on is important, and this song emphasizes that.

In addition to that message, I admire the details the lyrics bring to the story.

For example, “After living crazily with music, all of the song lyrics
Seemed like my story so I sang them to death” is something that perhaps everyone can (unfortunately) relate to. We have all heard those sad songs, but they’re just songs. Until it really happens. As such, you end up singing them to death since they really are your story.

Another fancy piece is “I couldn’t see ahead, it was so hard.
I cursed a lot and ruined my insides from drinking”. The lady of this story wasn’t instantly happy with “Heck yeah! I’m single, time to be the upcoming Ailee!” Not quite. She struggled at first, as does everyone with a break up. The future seems unclear, and maybe people resort to smoking, drinking, drugs, etc. to numb the agony. Even the person who now got so far in life had a moment of weakness.

Lastly, I think this song can be stretched past purely singing. In fact, “Singing” can be replaced with anything. Maybe your “Writing Got Better” after a break up. Actually, it might not even be a break up. Perhaps your writing got better after you were told that you were a worthless person. Point is, there will always be people oppressing you. You may try to please them, but that doesn’t work out. So, instead of ruining yourself to cope, why not do something productive and make something “better”. 

Overall, I think the meaning of this song is very positive and it brings the message of “There is always light at the end of the tunnel”. On top of that great message, the story it provides is very interesting and meaningful. These lyrics, gotta love it.

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Choreography Score: X/10 – This is technically a ballad song, so no dance.

Unless…let me link something: Ailee – “Singing Got Better” Dance Practice

10/10 dance. 

And actually, I recommend watching that awesome show, you’ll be able to see the very sweet side of Ailee. Oh I love how these idols are great role models. (But, let me just say, teachers, or at least from my personal experience, will always be the best role models)

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Overall Score: 9/10 (9/10 raw score) – with Song Total Score AND Choreography Score, concluding thoughts are left here, too.

Since there is no Choreography Score, it is just purely the Song Total Score. That brings us to a solid 9, which I whole-heartedly agree with. Again, this is probably the best song I have ever heard. Everything is incredible about it. From vocals to instrumentals to the song’s structure, it is amazingly well done. Well done, Ailee and producers.

Oh and before we end, check out her live performances of this song. It is scary to see how well she sings live. And I guess my definition of scary is awesome, incredible, etc.

So our review has come to an end, thank you so much for reading this. It truly means a lot if you read it. Personally, writing these reviews and being immersed in the Korean music industry (and culture?) brings so, SO much joy into my life. In fact, I might write about why I am so into K-Pop and such, although that’ll be an extremely personal post so I might not do it just for some privacy. I’m comfortable expressing myself except for “darker” things I guess you can say.

Anyhow, thank you again! 

For now, stay tuned. I’ll do my best to write a review for “Darling” by Girl’s Day. 

I hope my “Singing Got Better”. Er, writing. Anyways, see you guys next time.