Meng Jia – “Drip” Review

(Music Video) / (Music Video—Dance Version)

Meng Jia – Drip

Reviewed
on December 19, 2016

Unlike
the majority of listeners who claim the choruses are the “catchy” and
iconic—even best—part to the song, I disagree greatly. I will argue the song’s
choruses limit the song in all
aspects—vocals, instrumental, sections, and lyrics.

Personal Message:
Before starting, I will link a prior
post that does relate to this song: a post about the complexity of “double-standards”
and even “equity.”

Especially for readers who wish to go beyond just the musical component to
K-Pop/pop culture or are interested in sociology or simply wonder what
“double-standards” is truly about, I strongly encourage reading the rather lengthy
post.

Also, for one more point to make, I
do want to apologize to readers for not posting any reviews as of December—or
at least, if ignoring this review. While I have been posting other content,
such as the linked post above or answering questions (and I am very much
thankful to be hearing from readers), I actually have not been posting reviews.
The reason for this is nothing drastic at all: I am finishing up this semester
of university and have been quite busy due to that. After all, with so many
papers due and having to study for tests, it can become slightly overwhelming. On
the positive side, I will soon be finished (as of this sentence) and will have
a month to finish up December strongly, and to even have a head-start for January’s
reviews. Furthermore, I might actually be willing to share a pop culture
studies/literary studies paper I wrote in an English class about K-Pop: me
applying a queer studies lens onto GFriend’s music video of “Navillera.” I
imagine many readers are confused on what “queer studies” is and why or even
how I managed to write an academic paper about K-Pop, but to this, I will end
the discussion here or else Jia’s “Drip” would never be reviewed. (However, if
a reader is highly curious on anything said here—what queer studies is or how
one can write an academic paper about pop culture—do feel free to send in a
question. The link to do so is in the blog’s description. I will clarify what
was said through a Q/A.)

Finally on topic with this review, I
have planned to review “Drip” during the first week of December. As we can
tell, that plan did not work out though the review still is happening. What
should be noted about this song, however, is that it is not K-Pop at all: it is
C-Pop—otherwise known as Chinese Pop and if we dare to be more accurate, we can
even refer to this as “Mando-Pop” as it is in Mandarin specifically. That said,
this blog still predominantly focuses on K-Pop. Consider this C-Pop song a
bonus, and of course, as some readers may know, Meng Jia is from Miss A: a
female K-Pop group. She left the group once her contract expired, and from my
understanding, Miss A is still active with the three remaining ladies. Point is
this: although “Drip” is C-Pop, we can at least find that it relates to K-Pop
in the sense of Meng Jia being the singer to the song.

Now all that said, I predict that
one critical reader may be wondering: “But isn’t it unfair to review C-Pop
when, as you have said, you only review K-Pop so as to not be musically biased
due to cultural differences?” While I probably poorly phrased that, my answer
is this: Yes, I argue it is unfair for a reviewer to review songs that she is
not culturally accustomed to but, in
this case, he is accustomed to it. Indeed, I am actually accustomed to listening
to C-Pop because I do in fact listen to it. This may come as a surprise to a
few readers as it might be believed that I only listen to K-Pop. While I do not
deny that Korean songs—pop, ballad, hip-hop—tend to be what I listen to most, I
do listen to C-Pop—both traditional and contemporary, and both Canto-Pop and
Mando-Pop. It is far much less than K-Pop, but it is enough for me to
confidently review it without bias—in fact, as I have shared perhaps a year
ago, I grew up listening to older Chinese Pop (with some older American Pop as
well).

Since we are on the verge of a
tangent, however, let us now truly discuss “Drip.” This song marks Jia’s solo
debut, and because of such, I would argue it is important to gauge how the song
currently stands. In fact, let me emphasize a point: how the song currently stands. While Jia’s vocals will definitely be a
factor, I am more concerned on how her new label company has composed and
produced “Drip”—and already I will say, this song is great until it drips its
appeal away at the choruses. Unlike the majority of listeners who claim the
choruses are the “catchy” and iconic—even best—part to the song, I disagree
greatly. I will argue the song’s choruses limit the song in all aspects—vocals, instrumental,
sections, and lyrics.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(4.50/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 4/10
(4.00/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 2/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 2/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 4/10

[Introduction]

Have a taste of it secretly
I’m just trying to help
Help you put aside your rationality
Can’t act like a silent harbor
You can be the real you, here

You, stay on the sofa obediently
Kneel down
I need your adoration
You have to bear in mind,
I’m a bit bad
Just want you tonight
I want you tonight

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

Nobody is responsible for me
I don’t want to gain passively
Now that you are on this express train,
I wanna do it like this way
You don’t believe your own choice
The indulgent song like this
I bet you would come, come, come

You, stay on the sofa obediently
Kneel down
I need your adoration
You have to bear in mind,
I’m a bit bad
Just want you tonight
I want you tonight

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
Are you ready?

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
a side note, I am finally on break. Given how behind the blog is, I may
actually opt to write a review per day if I somehow manage to be concise yet
meaningful with all the reviews—in fact, more extremely, I may opt to write two
reviews in one day.

On
topic, before getting into why the choruses are deeply problematic to “Drip,”
let us first begin with the strengths to the song. An obvious one is Jia’s
vocals—as we can tell from the given six. What should be noted, however, is
that the vocals are not impressive due to its tune or variety—factors that I
oftentimes gauge when it comes to vocals. For example with tune, we have to
notice that the vocals are not strenuous in any regard: there are no beltings,
note holds, extreme low or high notes, and so on. The tune, then, remains
simplistic. Furthermore, the vocals’ sounds do not differ much from each
section minus shifts in intensity. Even then, intensity shifts do not suffice
in terms of making vocals sound more diverse: in the end, the vocals in every
section still arguably sound the same.

Despite
all those points, why I am still giving a six is due to other details—details
that are oftentimes overlooked with vocals: the rhythm and structural syncing. Indeed,
Jia’s singing in “Drip” is quite different from most songs but I argue it is an
effective change. Regarding the vocals’ rhythm, the singing does not simply
flow in a horizontal fashion—in other words, the vocals are not merely
progressing based on following a tune in accordance to time. Instead, while
there is obviously a tune followed, what should be emphasized most is that the vocals
instead follow an “up and down” pattern via its pacing—a pattern that reflects
the instrumental. Because of this, especially as we can hear in the verses, the
vocals and instrumental become greatly synced to one another and hence my
earlier label of “structural syncing.” While at times instances of too
identical syncing could lead to staleness, in “Drip” the opposite occurs: it
provides the vocals an appealing flow that can be followed, and likewise, the
instrumental now appears to carry on a more dynamic flow versus just plain
beats.

On
that note, despite the instrumental’s lower score—and for that matter, the
sections and lyrics—this is not to say all these categories are entirely slightly below average. In many
ways, all of the categories are better described as: “good but, once the chorus
arrives, somewhat poor.” To make it more clear, the lower ratings are due to me
“averaging out” those strong points and weak points.

Let
us focus on the lyrics for example. Ignoring the “meaning” of the song—as this is
entirely subjective and up to interpretation (though if there are readers who
might be “disturbed” about the lyrics potentially connoting a woman coercing a
man in whatever manner, I do suggest reading the linked Critical Discussion I
posted on top)—we can focus on the objective aspects of how detailed and unique
the lyrics are. The verses differ from one another—this being a huge benefit—and
on top of that, the pre-choruses, even if they repeat each other, still add additional
depth to the lyrics’ overall plot. Where the lyrics fall short is due to the
choruses and bridge: meaningless, repetitive phrases that ultimately serve as “filler.”

As
for the instrumental, a similar idea applies akin to the lyrics. The bass and
beats are excellently executed—until the choruses’ “beat drop” occurs. Prior to
the choruses, the instrumental seamlessly syncs with the vocals as discussed,
and moreover, the instrumental’s role of shifting the song’s intensity is done
in a very efficient manner. Unlike many pop songs where those intensity shifts
are overly blatant or even roughly chunked up, “Drip” is able to switch from a
calmer verse to a hyping pre-chorus very naturally, and on top of that, when
the choruses arrive, the instrumental still marks these sections as the
climactic part even if the sonic component suffers.

That
said, for where the instrumental falters during the choruses, I will argue it is
due to the sounds themselves—even if these sounds are very unique and creative.
For example, we should note that the beats and bass function—during the choruses—akin
to water: in other words, from a theoretical side, the instrumental here matches the theme of “dripping” (and I
will explain how). In terms of artistic creativity, I do believe the composers
deserve much credit for this. I greatly applaud it. However, on the more
practical side, it is the execution
that fails. With the bass, it literally comes off in waves—each wave varying in
strength and length. As for the whistle-sounding beats, they come off in an
echoing and dripping manner. As we can tell, this is very creative. But, for
how this translates in a musical context versus say artistic representation, it
is quite jarring. The bass and dripping beats do not sync with each other in
terms of sonic or pacing, and later with added vocals of “drip” being repeated,
there then appears to be three main factors conflicting one another. All in
all, it all leads to a confusing, rough and disorientating experience. Again, I
praise the very intelligent composition of emulating water and dripping and by
no means wish to overlook such, but in a musical context, I strongly argue it
is not effective.

Overall,
“Drip” definitely has potential to be a rather solid song. But, ultimately, it
is the choruses that prove to be the song’s downfall as every category is
indirect or directly affected by it—and affected in a negative manner.
Certainly the choruses are very charming in their effects of creating a
visual-audio experience of water and dripping through music, but if we focus on
musical appeal, I argue the choruses
greatly fail to bring any appeal and because of such, the rest of the
categories all suffer. This may perhaps be the song of example for where the
theoretical fails to match up with the practical: everything looked good when thinking of the song’s composition,
but once the song was actually played, the choruses were not accounted for its
messiness. Nevertheless, if listeners/readers can manage through the choruses, “Drip”
still finds its footing as an average song—even if it is barely holding onto
said “average.”

_______________________________________________________

I
greatly apologize to readers for essentially a hiatus. Given that it has been
two weeks of no reviews, I will definitely begin stacking up reviews and I
indeed have an enormous list. Look forward to many reviews to come now that I
am on break, and for December to hopefully end with around six reviews or even
more. Thank you to all for reading. “I need your adoration,” after all. (Not
really, though; if anything, I need readers’ forgiveness for mediocre writing.)
Look forward to BULLDOK’s “Why Not” as the next review.