Seventeen – “Highlight” Review

(Music
Video—Dance Version)

Seventeen – Highlight

Reviewed
on January 8, 2016

In
terms of my stance, while I agree that the choreography aspect is stunning—as
to be expected from the performance unit—and I equally agree that the vocals
are decent, I do hesitate to highly praise the composition of the song. As the
review will attempt to highlight in “Highlight” (pun partially intended), the
song uses many unique composition techniques and decisions, but akin to
Meng
Jia’s “Drip,”
those said decisions might not be
the most optimal choices for musical appeal.

Personal Message:
Shout-out to the men and women who
worked as makeup artists for this music video. Random compliment aside (though
truly the men looked stunning in the music video—and yes, this is coming from a
heterosexual male as we need to critically challenge current notions of what
“being a man” is), I wish to thank a reader for recommending this song—and the
other ones—to me. While recommendations are not necessarily requests and thus I
could have opted not to review this, I find that “Highlight” brings interesting
musical discussions and that it perfectly fits with my review schedule of
bringing in more male artists.

Furthermore, as the recommender
mentions, she/he is curious on my take to songs that are, in summary, less
mainstream “idol songs”—songs that are not of the usual, traditional pop genre.
While Seventeen is a boy group that is still definitely a part of mainstream
pop music and are rather popular now, “Highlight” does technically deviate
away: physically, this is the “performance unit” of the normally
thirteen-membered group and thus consists of only Jun, Hoshi, The8, and Dino; and
musically, “Highlight” follows more of an EDM genre versus pop. That said, I
acknowledge EDM is still under the overarching label of “popular music”
especially as of the late (such as with EXO’s “Dancing King”), but indeed it is different from
the more common form of K-Pop.

Onto the review itself, I have
noticed many people have been praising this song in particular. For one, it
comes from the performance unit and considering the other units are the
“hip-hop unit” and “vocal unit,” it is a unit that might be overlooked. Besides
that, however, on a musical level “Highlight” has been deemed by many fans as
the best song on Seventeen’s recent album—this being what we care most about
for our discussion. Fans praise the song for its spectacular vocals, excellent composition,
and of course for its stellar choreography. In terms of my stance, while I
agree that the choreography aspect is stunning—as to be expected from the performance
unit—and I equally agree that the vocals are decent, I do hesitate to highly praise
the composition of the song. As the review will attempt to highlight in
“Highlight” (pun partially intended), the song uses many unique composition
techniques and decisions, but akin to Meng Jia’s “Drip,” those said decisions might not be
the most optimal choices for musical appeal.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.14/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
3/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Rap: 7/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Conclusion: 7/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 7/10

[Introduction instrumental]

When spread out pieces come together,
I’m finally able to breathe
When two lights meet,
they shine each other’s tomorrow
When the sun sets and darkness comes,
I remember only your warmth
A place where stars are embracing
Go towards there, I’ll be there

I want to match you to my heart
Like the sky and sun at dawn
We’re becoming similar along with time
Look at us that will become one in the end
I’m like a bird, I’ll fly
To wherever it is that I hear your voice from
In the air, whenever
(The moment that we face)

Highlight
Highlight
Highlight
(The me in your eyes
The you in my eyes
I can’t see the end
to the depth of your eyes
Believe in this moment
A miracle will appear
Regardless of whether it’s day or night
I’ll be by your side)

My lips only move
in your sight
Emptiness is filled by
each other’s expressions
making it meaningful
A feeling that only we know
You’re pulling me somewhere

My reason of existence is you
You make me want to smile like the spring
Wherever and whatever we’re doing
I know well that it’s not important
I’m just attracted by your stare
In order to make this moment shine,
I turn on the switch

I want to match you to my heart
Like the sky and sun at dawn
We’re becoming similar along with time
Look at us that will become one in the end
I’m like a bird, I’ll fly
To wherever it is that I hear your voice from
In the air, whenever
(The moment that we face)

Highlight
Highlight
Highlight
(The me in your eyes
The you in my eyes
I can’t see the end
to the depth of your eyes
Believe in this moment
A miracle will appear
Regardless of whether it’s day or night
I’ll be by your side)

Baby you
I look back at the time,
the times I earnestly dreamt of,
are becoming closer
Days where I held back tears
are left behind in my footsteps
Wherever in this world it may be,
if we believe in each other
This moment that we face

Highlight
Highlight
Highlight
(The me in your eyes
The you in my eyes
I can’t see the end
to the depth of your eyes
Believe in this moment
A miracle will appear
Regardless of whether it’s day or night
I’ll be by your side)

[Conclusion instrumental]

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Regarding what I mean by my statements above, “Highlight” is a song that
focuses on “imagery”—and readers should refer to the linked review of “Drip”
for another song example of such. In other words, many of the creative
composition points in the song are not geared towards augmenting the song in a
musical sense per se; those points, instead, are done to promote the lyrics’ narrative
or to create a more vivid “imagery” of the said narrative—both of which are not
purely focused on music in of itself, however.

Let
us focus on the choruses for an example. From a non-musical perspective, one
very unique aspect here is that the murmurings are not inaudible nonsense: they
are, if correct, lyrics in Chinese (Mandarin in specific). Now not only does
this steer away from the usual form of including English lyrics (which I plan
to one day write a Critical Discussion on it that discusses the inclusion of
English in K-Pop and even Chinese Pop—both musically and socially), but moreover
the style in which the Chinese lyrics are included enhances the song’s
narrative as we could interpret this as the protagonist’s inner thoughts. Another
non-musical strength that exists is towards the very beginning of the song: the
inclusion of ambient noises. That said to clarify this, it should be noted that
the ambient noise at the very start of the song is in fact a part of the song; it is not just due to the music
video itself as I have checked various audio sources and all include it. As for
why this particular introduction matters, while we will soon discuss it in a
musical sense, I do wish to give credit to the storytelling effects this
brings: it sets an emotional tone of reminiscing over matters—this being one
possible interpretation of the song in whole.

And
so, readers may be confused on why I mention these points if they do not relate
to the review itself. I do this so that readers can understand why the composers made those decisions.
Even if these decisions, as we will find, are arguably hindering to the song’s
musical appeal, they exist for another purpose that I still have to acknowledge
and do not wish to merely dismiss as poor composing. Especially if we return to
Jia’s “Drip,” it would be limiting to just criticize that song’s composition
without at least acknowledging why the composers opted for “Drip” ‘s odd
choruses. In Seventeen’s “Highlight,” I wish to equally do the same: give
respect for the composers’ decisions that help forward the song’s lyrical and emotional
narrative.

With
that aside, though, let us now focus on the song itself and particularly with
how those “story enhancing” components play out. With the choruses, while the
plain instrumental that is backed by the occasional “highlight” phrase is at
most average, I argue it is the murmuring that impairs these sections.
Certainly the murmuring adds contrast and prevents a potentially stale and
repetitive chorus, but because of how the song is overall structured to have a
pure, electronic instrumental as the climactic moments—as we can tell by
gauging how the verses and pre-choruses escalate the song to the choruses—it would
have served the song better if that very structural form was supplemented and not contrasted or if
the murmuring portion was simply removed. As it currently is, the murmuring
ironically still add onto the choruses’ repetitive nature—and potentially even
more so as the low, grumbling creates a more monotonous sound—and more
detrimentally, it steals away the choruses’ main sonic appeal: an upbeat, clean
wave-like instrumental.

As
for the introduction, for something I have yet to discuss on the blog, length
is a factor to bear in mind. Unfortunately, “Highlight” falls into the problem
of being excessive in length: the introduction could have started when the
lighter instrumental sounds kicked in and of which then are instantly followed
by the vocals. Instead as a result, the many seconds at the start come off as
fillers: moments that are simply unnecessary. The ambient noises do not bring
any sonic appeal, and additionally, are never referenced to again throughout
the song. If, for example, the ambient noises were then heard again at the
conclusion, it would have added cohesion to the song and doing so would have
very much been a sharp conclusion. While the conclusion still is a stronger
one, the introduction however struggles now because without actually reusing
the ambient noises, the introduction seems to be overly abstract and out of
place and, harshly said, wasted space and time.

Miraculously,
though, as readers can notice, the song still scores at a six and thus, there
are still indeed many stronger points—these I would say outnumber the
weaknesses to the song. The vocals are a category to focus on. Intriguingly
here, many parts of the vocals throughout were edited with electronic sounds.
However, unlike in most cases where doing such reduces down the tune and
muddles the vocals’ sound, in “Highlight” the vocals when edited were
appropriate in scale and thus the tune was still clear and it allowed the
vocals to sonically match with the instrumental. Furthermore, the vocals were
edited only at specific moments: when the song was greatly increasing in
intensity—such as towards the latter half of the pre-choruses. Otherwise,
vocals were not modified and during these cases, the members delivered excellent
singing and rapping.

On
the topic of rapping, the sections barring the choruses and introduction were
overall decent. The rapping in particular was well positioned and executed. In
more depth, I refer to how the rapping seamlessly occurred after the second
verse as the section continued on the second verse’s instrumental and pacing
but then slightly increased said pacing to create a perfect setup for rapping.
The rapping itself, then, was also well done with the usual of flow and tune.
The only weaker sections—though “weaker” is an inaccurate term as both are at
least average—would be the verses and bridge as, while they accomplish their
usual roles, both bring minimal interest in the overall hearing of the song
versus merely progressing the song. Similar, the instrumental follows suit: the
sound of it is nothing unique though it is still pleasing, and structurally the
instrumental adds the usual of transitions and a foundation for all the other
sections though it is merely average in those roles.

Overall,
“Highlight” is a song that ultimately holds well even with many weaker points.
The instrumental and sections may be average and if focusing on particular
sections even weak, but indeed “Highlight” is a song that orientates toward not
just sounding well but also performing
well—both visually with dance and emotionally with the song’s lyrics. Given
that this is the performance unit of Seventeen, the song makes sense: it sacrifices
some musical appeal for some additional performance appeal, and that is perfectly
acceptable if we consider that this song is meant for the performing aspect and
not so much as for, say, the vocals. Now if this song was for the vocal unit, it
would be questionable but as said, this is not the case. Regardless, though, as
this blog focuses on the pure musical aspect to K-Pop songs, “Highlight” still
has a few glaring issues that exist due to that trading of “music-for-performance,”
but in the end, it still holds as a decent song.

_______________________________________________________

I
personally am not too satisfied with this review as I could have definitely
spent more time discussing the song itself and not just focusing on the
discussion of “performance versus music,” but given that reviews truly hone in
on individual songs and each song’s particular case (lest, as said before,
readers read robotic input-and-output reviews), I find that the discussion in
this review will be relevant to Seventeen fans.

Also,
I do want to apologize for not being as active with reviews as I should be, but
I definitely have many coming out and with following the reviewing philosophy
of focusing the discussion of each song to its specific context, I can probably
be more concise yet even more thoughtful for the reviewed song at hand. But,
either way, readers deserve an apology for a somewhat slower posting rate than
promised. I will do my best to keep releasing reviews, and when university
returns in a week, I hope to increase the rate of reviews by being more precise
yet concise in discussion.

Look
forward to many comeback reviews—two of which include two older pop artists,
and a request (which I received during the time of writing this). “A miracle
will appear,” hopefully, so that reviews are on schedule. AOA’s “Excuse Me”
will most likely be the next review.

MAMAMOO – “Piano Man” Review

MAMAMOO – Piano Man (Live Performance)

MAMAMOO – Piano Man

Reviewed on December 27, 2014

image

Personal Message: After a delay of multiple weeks, I am finally starting this review. As mentioned, I have been requested to review this song. Firstly, to the requester, deep apologies. Due to poor prioritizing and scheduling, this review has become quite delayed, and for that, I am very sorry. With requests, they deserve top priority and I find that it was extremely rude of me to delay it for this long. Thankfully, here it finally is.

Anyhow, I am glad to have received this song. As the requester stated, this song has a style that varies from other songs reviewed here, and I can definitely agree (although once we systemically take it apart, there may be closer resemblances in reality). The concept for “Piano Man” gives off a musical play aura; the vocals, instrumental, and even some aspects of the dancing give a theater theme to the song. While personally I am not a huge fan of this song’s style, I can still appreciate it and, at the very least, feel completely stunned at MAMAMOO’s vocal capabilities. Nevertheless, I will remain unbiased when reviewing this song.

A final note to add, considering my previously failed attempt at compacting reviews (AOA’s “Miniskirt” was supposed to be a “speed review”), I will proceed with another trial. This time, my plan is to whittle down the Song Structure to solely my reasoning on my scores; I will remove both the description and summarizing piece that I have included in the past. This time around, I feel a lot more confident in a shorter review due to that, but we will have to find out. My current plan is to produce more reviews at the cost of shortening them, but if things are done correctly, the quality will remain practically the same, but the quantity of reviews should be vastly increased.

Progressing on, MAMAMOO may not be a popular group, but I hope that will change. Their concept is unique, and more importantly, their skills with dancing and singing is exceptional. That said, “I’m ready for some action,” but “are you ready for perfection?” Assuming “perfection” is in the form of MAMAMOO’s singing and not my writing, I am completely prepared.

______________________________________________________

Song Total Score: 8/10 (8/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 9/10 – Strangely, MAMAMOO’s popularity is relatively low despite how incredible their vocals are. For “Piano Man,” the group showcases versatile vocals; high notes and low notes were heard, and going from a gentle tone to an impactful, powerful one was no issue. Additionally, to suit the classier theme of “Piano Man,” the ladies sung with a soothing, slower style. This works out perfectly as it aids both the atmosphere and their general singing voices. Lastly, as expected, their vocals were exceptionally melodic. Different notes were utilized constantly, and as a result, besides further proving their skills as singers, it provides the song with a delightful flow.

Although I will not factor this into their grading, for this live performance, they were, indeed, singing live. An “MR Removed” video (a video that reveals live vocals for a performance) was made to showcase such, and considering it was uploaded to an official “MR Removed” channel, I will give it a decent amount of credibility (but, as always, they should be questioned; refer to a previous Question/Answer post for further information). Anyhow, MAMAMOO are all very adept singers. Every member individually holds exceptional singing, and for the song, their hard work and talent definitely reflects in this song’s fantastic vocals. A high score will be given.   

– Song Structure: 7/10 (6.88/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 7/10 – With this review being the second test to concising reviews, we will see how it goes. Hwasa handles the introduction.

While the introduction might not be musically charged, it is still a valid introduction. Instead of the standard protocol of seducing listeners via catchy vocals and sounds, “Piano Man” opts for a different route. Setting up the stage, literally with the performance and figuratively with “stage” being the song, is the main priority. Hwasa’s lines in addition to the instrumental created the classier, jazz style of the song. Focusing on Hwasa’s lines, they displayed a lower pitch along with being soothing. This creates subtle build-up along with potentially hooking on listeners due to soothing vocals. Later, the introduction does transition to piano keys, and this prompts an appropriate and fluent switch to the verse.

Above average will be the rating. The slower paced setup in terms of both the soundtrack and vocals were effective.

2. Verse: 7/10 – Side note, to already address the concising idea, it is definitely a struggle, but with more practice, I can see this potentially working (or back to outlining different ideas). Anyhow, Solar and Hwasa handle the first verse, and Wheein handles the second verse.

In terms of the first verse, Solar and Hwasa showcase excellent vocals. By remaining on a slower pace and using lower pitches, the song develops naturally. In addition, the vocals themselves prove to be catchy; vocals remain lingering due to the lower notes and a pacing that accommodates to the instrumental. To focus more specifically on the singing, the two members executed a small, lower note stretch at the end of every line. Not only were the endings soothing, but the song’s overall style was also well supported. For what could have been slightly better, switching the format slightly would augmented the verses even more. Both Solar and Hwasa followed the same structure, and as a result, it does become slightly dull.

Nevertheless, the overall score for the verses will hold as above average.

3. Pre-Chorus: 6/10 – Everyone chips in for the pre-chorus.

The pre-choruses are contradicting in the sense of being unique yet standard. For what is rather typical, the build-up relies on the ladies’ vocals’ looping over and over. Now, for what is different, the use of vocals to create the hype differs from the norm; usually the instrumental’s beats are responsible for this format of pre-choruses. To discuss the actual pre-choruses, a strong point is utilizing MAMAMOO’s high-tier vocals in this form. With their melodic voices complementing the lighter instrumental, not only does build-up occur, but the overall gentler and classy concept is safeguarded. Diving into the weaker aspects, the most prominent one is the format itself. Even with MAMAMOO’s vocals, structurally, the pre-choruses are not thorough; the chanting (if I may label it as that) is plain, even if melodic vocals are added, and the instrumental is equally dry.

Slightly above average will be the score. Mechanically, the vocals save the section slightly, but overall, this format was slightly disappointing. Catchy as it may be, it lacks depth in terms of being an actual structure. By being a simple textbook-version pre-chorus, its sole purpose was hyping the song for the chorus.

4. Chorus: 8/10 – Wheein and Solar team up for the choruses.

Despite a weaker pre-chorus, this section does compensate. The choruses of “Piano Man” unveil MAMAMOO’s stronger vocals. Up until this point, their singing was based on remaining serene, but with this section, the opposite occurs: impactful vocals are heard. Peering more closely, besides powerful singing, a key aspect is how the vocals were guided; the vocals in the chorus retained the established melody, and additionally, remained within the boundaries of the song’s intensity. Blind, unrestricted vocals were nonexistent; instead, vocals that can still be considered powerful yet purposefully aimed are heard.

Due to being rather solid, a relatively higher score will be given. It lacks extra quality and aspects to push it towards a 9, but nevertheless, an 8 will suffice for MAMAMOO’s strong yet controlled vocals.

5. Post-Chorus: 6/10 – Moonbyul handles the post-choruses, although technically the other members are involved for the background vocals, and thus, everyone, in short, handles the post-choruses. Realistically, however, Moonbyul is the one receiving the spotlight.

Considering the post-choruses’ role here is to aid in a smoother transition back into the song, be it the second verse or even Moonbyul’s own rap, it somewhat fails in regards to that. Ironically, the post-choruses undermine that idea, and instead, the transition can be seen as somewhat rigid. Firstly, Moonbyul’s solo lines did the proper job of returning “Piano Man” to a slower, calmer state. However, the added background vocals negate that; the other members’ background lines involved chanting “yeah” in an impactful manner. Since the background vocals replicates the choruses’ style of powerful vocals, Moonbyul’s lines lose their functionality of transitioning the song back into the gentler tone. Focusing on the singing aspect and not entirely the format itself, Moonbyul’s lines possessed little melody. The background vocals do supply satisfying vocals, but as stated, they are out of place.

Homogenous to the pre-choruses, the post-choruses are mechanically sound, for the most part, with decent vocals, but format-wise, the section does falter. Perhaps removing the background vocals, or at the very least, lightening them via reducing the power, would aid the section.

6. Rap: 8/10 – Moonbyul is in charge of the rap, and although her lines in the post-choruses can be considered weaker, she utterly redeems herself through this section.

Surprisingly, even though this song is orientated towards regular singing vocals, this rap section completely suits the song. Moonbyul’s rap contains power, melody, and flow. Of the main factors for a rap, all are present; her words possess a heavier presence due to a mixture of Moonbyul’s charisma and voice, her rap carries a tuneful component similar to the usual singing heard, and most promisingly, her flow holds as extremely smooth and fluent. Ignoring the sheer mechanical aspects, the structure of the rap remains varying, and as a result, the rap as a whole becomes augmented. For example, the initial moment of the rap emphasized the flow and tune, and towards the end, power becomes highlighted.

Overall, a very impressive rap that is deserving of a higher score. Every aspect, whether it is the mechanics or format, are all solid.

7. Bridge: 6/10 – While there are solo words, the vast majority of the bridge is sung by MAMAMOO as a group.

On the surface, this bridge is seemingly rather solid, but once everything becomes accounted for, that is not quite the case. Initial moments of the bridge were decent; the unison singing gave the usual pacifying effect heard at bridges, and Wheein’s background vocals came off powerfully. What proceeds after that, however, is questionable. Specifically, the line of “We are MAMAMOO” provides an unnecessary contrast to the bridge’s established pacing and power. When factoring in even the moment after that line, powerful vocals were always present, and while that line could have been for emphasis, in the entirety of the bridge, it is moreover misplaced than suiting. Furthermore, the overall structure was not too appealing. Repeating “let’s swing, let’s groove” became stagnant, for example.

In the end, the mechanical aspects, as expected, prove to be impressive, but for the section as a whole, the format was weaker. Slightly above average will hold as the rating.

8. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10 – The post-chorus is recycled for the conclusion.

While the post-chorus in general is not individually spectacular, for concluding the song, it proves to be effective. Rather than following the traditional route of bringing the song to a relaxed, finishing state, “Piano Man” concludes with power. Moonbyul’s lines recur, and as anticipated, the other members’ background vocals are included. In this case of having no section afterwards, the impacting background vocals, unlike in the main part of the song where transition was a concern, become viable to use as a strong finish. This leaves “Piano Man” closing with the final impressions of MAMAMOO’s adept vocals, and overall, the energetic atmosphere is kept.

Overall, a solid conclusion due to a properly reused post-chorus. Above average will be the score.  

– Line Distribution: 10/10 – With only four members in MAMAMOO, the Line Distribution score should be a free 10. Adding on, with every lady possessing incredible vocals, everyone is capable of superb singing, and thus, the share should be equal.

Solar’s lines involved the first verse and the choruses. While that may seem lacking, considering the duration of lines and how the choruses occurred three times, there is no issue with her share. She had sufficient spotlight.

Moonbyul’s moments include the post-choruses and, most prominently, her solo rap section. Since the post-choruses were replayed multiple times, and including how her rap section was solely for her, there are no issues with the line share. Moonbyul left a solid impression throughout the song.

Next is Wheein. Her lines included the choruses and a solo verse. Noticing the current trend, so far, it seems that every member is responsible for two sections. Her moment at the choruses were lengthy, and to ensure her presence was acknowledged, an entire verse was also given. No issues exist here.

Finally, for Hwasa’s lines, she was involved at the introduction and the first verse. Amazingly, the trend still holds true. Like her group members, she had two sections to handle. The introduction had a longer duration, and with the first verse, even her singing was showcased. A perfect amount of time was given.

Adding an excessive factor, a lot of moments involved everyone singing. Whether it was in the form of background vocals or two-part singing such as in the final chorus, even these additional parts had equal share.

A perfect score will be given. This is outstanding for line distributions, and although numerically MAMAMOO is at an advantage, it is nevertheless quite impressive to see a perfectly shared song.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – For the instrumental of “Piano Man,” thankfully and correctly, the piano is the main instrument; after all, with a song title of such, a piano soundtrack should be included. Focusing on the soundtrack, it provides solid support for the song. In terms of creating the song’s classier atmosphere, strictly utilizing instruments that reflect a classy, jazz style aid that purpose. Additionally, individually, the instrumental is pleasing. It holds a soothing and catchy aspect; the beats and main melody from the piano complement each other to deliver a lingering effect. On the subject of complementing, the vocals and soundtrack meshed exceptionally well. With stellar vocals, the instrumental ushered attention towards the singing, but nevertheless, a supportive layer was still supplied to reciprocate the vocals’ power and energy.

A solid score will be earned here. Individually the soundtrack holds well, and with helping MAMAMOO’s singing, that is also covered.

– Meaning: 6/10 – With an intriguing title, people are most likely pondering over its meaning. “Piano Man” might be praising, as the song title goes, a man who is very talented at the piano. Or, instead of praising, it might be flirting with a “piano man.” To end the speculations, here are the Korean-to-English translated lyrics. While they are not 100% accurate, the general idea should become uncloaked:

I’m ready for some action
Are you ready for perfection?
Hey piano man
Hello, um

Such boring conversations
Such senseless guys
My high heels and carefully applied lipstick,
they don’t even notice, how boring
I think it was then you walked in
A piano man who doesn’t fit in this place
When his white finger touched the keys
My eyes were wide opened

(bumppappara bumppappara bumppappara bum
bumppappara bumppappara bumppappara)

Hey piano man, your dancing hands
The piano man, your unpredictable body movements
What can I say, I want only you and me to be in this place

To the right, to the right, to the right
To the left, to the left, to the left
(yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah)

When your fingers brush against the keys
I keep getting naughty thoughts
My heart beats staccato
Hey Mr. Ambiguous
Play my body like a piano

(bumppappara bumppappara bumppappara bum
bumppappara bumppappara bumppappara)

Hey piano man, your dancing hands
The piano man, your unpredictable body movements
What can I say, I want only you and me to be in this place

To the right, to the right, to the right
To the left, to the left, to the left
(yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah)
(Word up, Moon Star)

It starts with the trumpet
Can I get that?
In between is the sound of the hi-hat
Drum drum kick
on top of the sweet dish of rhythm you place in the piano
Let me introduce myself
I like jeans instead of skirts,
but they’re still crazy about me

Oh swing, let’s groove, singing
Oh swing, let’s groove, my baby
Oh swing, let’s groove
Let us introduce ourselves, we are MAMAMOO
Darling you are my own

Hey piano man, when this song ends, come to me
(Come to me piano man)
The piano man, the conversation is now over
The last melody, I want it to be just you and me
(Just you and me)
I want to listen to it

Tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, wanna keep meeting?
(yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah)

My latter prediction holds as somewhat correct; the lyrics depict a flirtatious love story involving a lady and her love-interest, a “piano man.” Unlike the other males that have passed by, the main character becomes captivated by the piano man. His talent with the piano is what drives her interest; his “dancing hands” become an interest, and the act of his fingers “[brushing] against the keys” leads the lady to have “naughty thoughts” (perhaps such as him flirting with her instead of solely playing the piano). Other details further support the lady’s infatuation, and overall, the most unique aspect to these lyrics is the focus on the piano/music to reflect the lover’s feelings.

Between deciding a 6 or 7, I lean moreover towards a 6 due to weaker details, although they are numerous. Some details are miniscule, or somewhat irrelevant. For example, the rap section’s lyrics are not only confusing (although that may be due to translating), but it does not relate back into the flirting concept; music is related back to, but the piano man or the lady’s infatuation are not mentioned.  

For “Piano Man,” unfortunately and fortunately, the “Critical Corner” label-to-be-decided section where we dive deeper and question the lyrics is not too relevant here. I admire that this song does shift away from the typical flirtatious stories where physical appearances are the catalyst for attraction. Instead, the main character is attracted to a certain man due to his talent with the piano, not his looks. Realistically, though, love and attraction should come over time; infatuation should not be an spontaneous emotion, but rather, developed overtime and building up due to understanding and finding out more about a love-interest. Anyhow, I cannot pinpoint anything to critically discuss for this song.   

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – With this final section left, we have the choreography to grade.

Factoring in “Piano Man” ‘s concept, a flashier, upbeat dance is not expected. Simplicity and calmness are this dance’s stronger points. Peering at the syncing, most of the choreography relates to the song; the beats matched movements, and even the flow was synchronized via different gestures and such. Unfortunately, for what is weaker in the choreography, the key points proved to be slightly lacking. While they varied at times, most of them were rather plain. For example, the piano playing key point for the choruses were clever in terms of matching to the song and lyrics, but visually, the dance itself remains insipid. Other key points were also equally uninteresting. Nevertheless, the slightly weaker key points are miniscule, and considering there were some strong key points such as the pre-choruses’ tap dancing, the key points, overall, still hold as decent.

More appealing key points could potentially bump up the score to an 8, but taking a different perspective on the choreography, nothing should be altered; the dance remains less physically demanding due to simpler key points, and thus, more stamina is allocated towards singing. As a result, for MAMAMOO’s purpose, the choreography perfectly suits their main objective of showcasing their dominating vocals. Ignoring this side note, the grade will still hold as above average.

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Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – In the end, a high score of 8/10 holds. This is definitely reasonable and agreeable to. “Piano Man” discloses amazing vocals due to the members’ skills, and for the song itself, with decent song sections and a phemenonal line distribution, a high score is expected. Furthermore, even the choreography holds well.

As always, thank you very much for reading. I appreciate that you are willing to spend some time reading this review, so thank you. For the person who requested this, I hope I brought justice to this song in terms of genuinely grading it and with decently explaining. Also, apologies for a huge delay on this review; this song was requested weeks ago, but I have finally got to it. I will ensure future requests are heavily prioritized. Due to having some work to clear, my schedule has not been complete leisure time. Nevertheless, I still expect to finish strongly for December, and with my last week of break, to catch up on all my work. It is time to be like T-ARA’s Soyeon and to push through everything.

For other news, I have been recently getting a copious amount of positive feedback, and for that, I am very grateful. It is great to hear from readers and your thoughts on my review structure and writing. However, do not forget to also bring in criticism; while many shudder at that word, criticism is not necessarily bad at all, especially if it is constructive. Hearing how I can improve vastly aids my reviews, and from the past with feedback, I have learned a lot.

More important information, or at least, for those curious, I have two special reviews in mind. It has been a while since I have done show reviews, but I have two in mind. These will provide a welcoming change after a barrage of purely songs. To give hints on which shows they are, one is somewhat older, but the other one is new and ongoing (which makes me wonder if I can accurately review it). Anyhow, the first show focuses on my favorite male group, and the second focuses on one of my top groups in general. They will both hopefully be out within a few days.

This seems like an appropriate place to close, so once again, thank you for reading, for those who send in feedback, I appreciate all of the support and kind words sent. Although “the conversation is now over,” for “The last melody, I want it to be just you and me.” Stay tuned for the two upcoming show reviews (and usual song reviews). Keep checking back.

AOA – “Miniskirt” Review

AOA – Miniskirt (Dance Practice)

AOA (Ace of Angels) – Miniskirt

Reviewed on December 23, 2014

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Personal Message: So it turns out, multi-tasking reviews is one of the worst things I have ever done in terms of writing-related activities. I have three other reviews being worked on, but since I am feeling rather overwhelmed, I decided to take things slowly and one at a time. I will finish a requested review as soon as possible, but I do deeply apologize for a huge delay. Anyhow, it is time I attempt a “speed review”; these reviews are aimed towards being more concise, but hopefully, still sufficiently detailed. My plan is to shorten the Song Structure section. After pondering about how to potentially speed up reviews, that section could be vastly optimized. Nevertheless, I am not too sure if it can be condensed into a shorter piece, and thus, this review was born to be used as an experiment. If things go correctly, I will dive straight into explaining the different sections versus attempting to lay out the key descriptions of every song section. I personally find that it will be an issue, but on the bright side, a lot of time could be saved, and readers will be spared from me atrociously describing different song parts.

Considering I am going to potentially butcher not bring justice to a song, using a group that I have reviewed beforehand will, at the very least, ensure that their name is not utterly tarnished by my mediocre writing. AOA will be my unlucky lucky test trial. Many readers will recognize this group, whether it be due to a previous review on them or, the more realistic reason, that they are a largely soaring group.

On the subject of AOA, although to this day “Like a Cat,” their most recent song, remains on my personal playlist, that is not the main reason on why I have been very fond of these ladies lately. Now that I think of it, perhaps my lousier review rate is due to allocating my writing session with AOA video sessions. Ignoring my excuse, I genuinely admire these incredible ladies. While they have proven to be exceptionally jocular and talented, a specific show made me respect how hard working they are, and how much they did, or more accurately, do, to overcome struggles. Although embarrassingly I forgot the title of the show (it begins with a “C”; might be Korean, though), it was one that did showcase some partial aspects of AOA’s idol life. The ladies were shown to be tediously practicing, and very rarely, if not never, did they have time to simply relax. Furthermore, their CEO or director (I think it was the director) was exceptionally strict with the members; she did not hesitate to hold her tongue when it came to criticizing the ladies of AOA.

There was an incident where Seolhyun was snacking on some chips, and as some may know, an idol’s diet is scrutinized very seriously. Kim Youngsun (to prevent confusion for those unfamiliar, I am typing this in Korean format; Kim is her last name), the director of FNC Entertainment (AOA’s label company) who is rather intimidating, was upset and chastised the member. She even went further and talked about how Seolhyun needed to watch her weight. On a small tangent, it is irritating to see that weight is a huge role for being attractive in certain societies. Whether it is Seolhyun’s case or anyone else, no one should be criticized on a pathetic, unworthy numerical value. Unless if the day arrives where weight will instantly determine your intelligence and such, it holds as meaningless other than a physical description/statistic.   

Since I am on a tangent, I will continue with one more interesting point seen from the show (and as always, for those who hate my blabbering and want my opinion on the song, feel free to skip to below). I did not notice it instantly, but after about 6 minutes into the show, a keen detail struck out: the staff members responsible for AOA are mainly females. Now there will be one person that goes, “So what? Stop being biased since they all happen to be females,” and that is a perfectly reasonable sight; however, welcome to male privilege taking a wider glance at the K-Pop industry, I will argue, despite how many incredible ladies there are whether it be the idols themselves or staff members, the K-Pop industry does sway in the favor of males. From other shows and behind-the-scene footages, often time the staff members are predominantly male. Additionally, the directors are typically males as well. And of course, another “So what?” may be asked, but in my opinion, what this does unveil is who runs the show; if general staff members and directors and CEOs are all male, that potentially influences the songs sung, the dances crafted, and more. I might be overly critical right now, but it is something to consider.

Anyhow, back on track, AOA is seemingly ran by mainly female staff members, which is a nice change, and considering Youngsun holds the director position, that is also great. And to finally properly answer the question of why having females work behind-the-scenes in the K-Pop industry matters, AOA solely exists due to Youngsun; FNC Entertainment homes a lot of male artists, but until Youngsun voiced her opinion, only then did the company decide to create a female group. While AOA’s director is very harsh and scary to the ladies, she does care a lot towards the members. In fact, it was touching to see that Youngsun did accept the group’s request to hug her (on the other side, it is very humorous to see the members stutter and hesitate when speaking to her) and that, according to rumors among the members/staff, she cried when “Miniskirt” won first place on music shows.

In summary, and apologies for such a random, excessive story, I personally appreciate that FNC Entertainment hears out Youngsun’s opinion and respects her rightfully deserved position, and that she is able to have influence and control of AOA. After all, if K-Pop is truly universal, everyone’s thoughts need to be heard, regardless of gender. This also prompts another idea in my head (and at this point you may be thinking “goodness-forbid”). I could elaborate on the idea of how female groups tend to be heavily criticized versus male groups, but I will probably save this discussion for another time. Sadly, this type of criticizing of females is not restricted to K-Pop groups; in some societies, ladies have the obstacle of being exceptionally scrutinized and analyzed for everything (especially those with higher authority positions).

Ironically, despite being a “speed review,” I have increased the duration. Perhaps I should do a standard review with how lengthy this review has already become. I will still try the concise Song Structure idea, and depending on whether my writing languishes even more, I can gauge if “speed reviews” are worth it or not.

With that said and with hopefully some interesting background added, we will finally start the review. Besides “Like a Cat,” this song, “Miniskirt,” has been one I have enjoyed. This song did net them their first first place win, and justly so. For the most part. As expected, the ladies of AOA are tackling their standard mature concept, and knowing that these ladies are definitely sexy due to their hard work, intelligence, positive attitudes, and more, it is fitting. Let’s see why their older song of “Miniskirt” earned them a first place win (or, potentially, why that should not be the case).

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

– Vocals: 7/10 – Recalling my previous review on this group’s latest song, “Like a Cat,” I actually ponder over whether my score there was correct. Perhaps an 8 would have been more appropriate for that song. Digression aside, for “Miniskirt,” I am confident with a 7, above average. For this song, the ladies are putting forth decent vocals. There is a diverse range of notes, the melody proves to be catchy and smooth, and a special component about this song, there are lots of alternating voices. In terms of the singing style, “Miniskirt” follows a calmer state, although towards the end, powerful vocals are released. Everyone also manages to pull their own weight; every line was definitely solid.

Above average vocals in “Miniskirt.” While they hold their ground of having decent vocals, nothing in this song pushes it beyond that. This may be due to individual singers failing to be exceptionally stunning, but nevertheless, the vocals are far from being sheer average. Every member had above average vocals, which, once again, is not terrible at all, but as a result, it leads to the song’s overall vocals reflecting that rating.

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

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 7/10 – Being the first prototype for a shorter Song Structure section, my plan is to simply explain my given score. I will not be describing the section. I am hoping readers will not get confused on which section is which, but as always, hearing feedback would be great.

Anyhow, Jimin handles the introduction.

A solid aspect to this introduction is how simplistic it is; a simple beat and Jimin’s vocals are the only things added. On the subject of the beats, they occurred with Jimin’s voice and a piano-related sound (once again, forgive me for my ignorance on instruments). While individually all three parties are plain, when combined, solid chemistry is created. Jimin’s added “Hey” followed the same rhythm as the beat and sound. “Miniskirt” possesses a compact introduction. The song’s slower pacing is established, the beats and sound heard will recur later, and Jimin’s added lines creates anticipation towards potential vocals later heard.

Overall, above average will be the score. Simplicity is beauty. By using simple beats and such, “Miniskirt” manages to grasp a decent score. The slower beats and sound entices listeners, and Jimin’s words add a catchy, amplifying effect due to proper syncing to the sounds. What does prevent a higher score is potentially dullness; the same sounds were practically recycled for the entire introduction. Thankfully, however, that issue is on the minor side, and with the introduction being shorter and having solid yet subtle build-up, the issue is easily dismissible.

2. Verse: 7/10 – Hyejeong and Choa handle the only verse in the song.

Coming after the introduction, the verse does an excellent job of transitioning. Focusing on the section itself, knowing both of these ladies are very adept singers, the vocals are rather promising. Hyejeong and Choa stretch out the endings of their lines, and as a result, the melody becomes more varied and diverse. Furthermore, with a calmer stretch, it complements the developing instrumental. Choa and Hyejeong’s lines proved to be charming and full of tune.

Overall, an above average verse. The ladies’ singing vastly contributed to this section. Their lines were well sung. A sweet melody and proper pacing was heard. Another notable feature is how well the verse progresses; vocals were slowly brought in along with the instrumental. If the verses left a stronger impression, perhaps an 8 would be possible. While the singing and development were good, nothing utterly stands out in the verse. Nevertheless, a decent section worthy of a 7.

3. Pre-Chorus: 7/10 – Four members handle the pre-choruses: Chanmi, Mina, Hyejeong, and Seolhyun.

To instantly shed light on perhaps the strongest aspect of the pre-choruses, the line distribution is beautiful. Of the four members mentioned earlier, they each are responsible for one line. By having such a dynamic format, it brings lots of variety in terms of voices, and in general, the alternation leaves a solid impression of multiple singers. In terms of the singing itself, the vocals heard continued the established trend of remaining gentle and melodic, and during this section, Hyejeong showcases lovely high notes.

In summary, the diversity is welcoming; four members sung, different notes were utilized, and the melody varied. Additionally, despite the copious amount of variations and complexity, it was all germane and cohesive. The four ladies alternating was well coordinated, and even Hyejeong’s higher notes at “haihil” and “seutaking” were within the song’s established boundaries of pitches (and yes, if you are thinking those Korean words sound awfully similar to the English words of “high heel” and “stockings,” you are correct; those words mean exactly what they sound). Although this section seems worthy of an 8, a 7 will still hold as the score. The vocals do continue the song’s style, and while they are not necessarily weak, the singing does not prove to be stunning enough to receive a higher score. The pre-choruses possess an amazing format, but when factoring in the vocals, it comes out as above average, which, of course, is still decent.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Yuna and Choa handle the choruses. As some readers may know, I am a huge fan of Choa’s singing and her personality these ladies are arguably the strongest vocalists in AOA. Both of them are stellar singers, and with that, high expectations are set.

As foreseen, the singing here is solid; both Choa and Yuna are bringing in energy, smooth and soothing vocals, and some note stretching. Taking a more detailed approach, for the note stretching, when “ipgo” is sung, the ending becomes lengthened, and the melody follows suit with varying. While individually it provides an interesting and catchy part, it vastly aids the chorus in that it provides contrast to the following line; the line after is noticeably faster and more energetic.

Overall, solid singing from the adept combo of Yuna and Choa. While the singing was solid, as a whole section, unfortunately, nothing pushes the choruses towards being exceptionally captivating. Perhaps by having more variation (both of them followed the same format; the first line has a note stretch, then after would be the faster line) this section would be more promising, but nevertheless, it holds as above average with a 7. On the positive side, the two ladies disclose why they can be viewed as AOA’s top singers.  

5. Post-Chorus: 6/10 – For the post-choruses, every member, for the most part, sings (those who have seen AOA during their “Miniskirt” era on the variety show “Weekly Idol” will recall the humorous incident related to everyone singing; a live, perfect version of the post-chorus is rather strenuous), but ignoring the full group humming, for the individual lines that occur, the members of Hyejeong, Choa, Seolhyun, and Yuna are responsible for them.

Format-wise, the post-choruses have potential, but sadly, they fall slightly short. The post-choruses follow the structure of having everyone hum to a melody, and after that, a member has a solo line. Firstly, the humming part, unfortunately, does come off as slightly stale. Unlike their latest song of “Like a Cat,” the humming here (although in the other song it was moreover chanting than humming) does not hold as infatuating. While it may be slightly catchy due to fluctuating tune, with how exceptionally fragile it sounds along with losing stable, sustained sounding vocals, the humming is on the weaker side. Focusing on the solo line, to highlight the strengths, it does provide a break and a change from solely the humming. Nevertheless, the solo lines were just that; they provided some variety, but individually, the solo lines fail to hold their own. Due to the shorter length, a melodic, catchier line would be near impossible, and thus, the sole purpose of the solo lines is to create some diversity.

Slightly above average will be the rating here. While the post-choruses are not too distasteful, more could have been expected. Ending on a positive note, AOA’s song producer made a promising revision to this style of post-choruses; “Like a Cat” has one of the catchiest post-choruses I have ever heard, and even after weeks, that part still retains its attention-grabbing attribute. Back on topic, the post-choruses in “Miniskirt” lack the stable vocals that have been heard up until this song section. If the humming was limited to and alternated between specific members, perhaps the tune would have been less sensitive and fragile sounding.  

6. Rap: 8/10 – Jimin, Mina, and Chanmi handle the rapping part. To note, however, it is arguably mainly Jimin rapping. Actually, more accurately phrased, Jimin is the only one rapping (technically, anyways). Mina and Chanmi add supporting, regular singing vocals.

After listening to many of AOA’s songs, Jimin’s talent as a rapper is something quite admirable. Thankfully, for “Miniskirt,” listeners are graced with her usual skills. Jimin’s rapping is impactful, lingering, and fluent. Additionally, being swift with her rap is not an issue. And, although I feel rather remorseful for somewhat bashing her voice in a previous review (and as explained, I am judging from a musical standpoint; every voice is genuinely beautiful), for this rap, it deserves praising for adding power and flow. To focus on Mina and Chanmi, although they did not necessarily rap (as a side note, Chanmi is a capable rapper, and Mina is a solid support vocalist), they aided Jimin through standard singing lines. In this song’s case, after Jimin finishes her entry rap line, Mina and Chanmi’s lines created a slight pause in the rap. Although typically raps remain uninterrupted, in “Miniskirt,” this method augments the section: more variety is created, the song still contains its style and trend of not being overly energetic, and Jimin’s rap gets further emphasis. Solid, delightful aspects become elicited due to this rap’s structure.

A higher score will be given. Despite not being a full rapping section, the breaks of Mina and Chanmi’s singing aid Jimin’s rap. Every member’s line were significant, and as a whole, it constructed a promising song section.

7. Bridge: 7/10 – The lovely duo of Yuna and Choa make a return for the bridge.

Having the vocals and instrumental showcase proper synergy is a solid aspect to the bridge. With a typical bridge format, the instrumental becomes passive. Yuna’s singing syncs up to that; her vocals reciprocate the piano’s gentle tunes by having a softer, exceptionally melodic style. Once the beats recur, Choa’s lines follow a similar rhythm. Furthermore, besides respectable syncing, a decent note hold is heard; the beats hyped the song back into its standard intensity, and to add a climactic piece, Choa tosses a powerful note hold.

Overall, above average will be the bridge. Both of the ladies’ singing were soothing and reflecting the instrumental. As for what remains slightly weaker, the format itself is rather plain and thus, nothing proves to be exceptionally impressive. “Miniskirt” possesses the typical build-up bridge; the format follows a pacified instrumental and vocals, and eventually, a rebound happens that leads to a note hold. Specifically for this song, the execution may be strong, but by possessing neither utterly stunning vocals or instrumental, a higher score will not be gained. If a standard format is utilized, “mechanical pieces” (vocals, the instrumental, etc.) become the main highlight, and in this bridge’s situation, the mechanical aspects only hold as above average.  

8. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10 – Finally, the conclusion. The post-chorus is reused, this time, however, Choa and Yuna perform two-part singing via note holds.

There are mixed feelings towards this song’s conclusion. Quickly addressing the satisfactory components, using the post-chorus leaves a lasting remnant of “Miniskirt.” Considering it is a conclusion, that achieved effect is desirable. Also, the two-part singing format is not too poor. In many cases for a conclusion, two-part singing is rather effective at giving a final climactic point or, at the very least, leaving a powerful finish. What remains questionable is not necessarily the two-part singing itself, but instead, the execution behind it. While the note holds feel natural due to the previous note hold at the bridge, there is a sharp contrast that occurs: the fragile, sensitive humming and the stronger, piercing note holds sound unfitting next to one another. With the contrast, the note holds seemingly have extra strain, which often time is loathed during note holds since they should be executed smoothly with power and melody.

Peering at the section as a whole, it will still hold as above average. The strain emphasized can be overlooked, and for a conclusion, the main roles are still met along with some high note flaunting. Perhaps keeping solely Choa’s note hold at the bridge would solve the issues, but overall, a decent conclusion to “Miniskirt.”

– Line Distribution: 6/10 – To quickly give my opinion on the “speed review” structure, I hardly saved any time. Future speed reviews will probably need to be whittled down further by removing the summarizing piece (more on this will be at the very end of the review).

On topic, with 7 members in AOA, it should not be too difficult to share an equal amount of lines. Recalling my review on “Like a Cat,” they did surprisingly struggle slightly with how lines were shared (and hopefully their distribution in ”Con-Choa and Yuna-fused" “Confused” never returns in the future). Knowing the amount of shifting members in this song, a high score can be anticipated.

Choa was involved at the verse, choruses, a solo line at the post-choruses, and lastly, the bridge. No major issue is present, however, Choa might be slightly dominating. Depending on the other members’ share, Choa’s excessive lines may be a downfall.

Jimin’s parts were her standard ones (or at least, a plethora of their main songs follow this pattern); AOA’s leader handled the introduction, and of course, the rapping section. Sufficient spotlight is given. The introduction leaves a potent presence of Jimin, and considering her reputation of being a rapper, the rap section gave her a welcoming moment. Overall, a perfect amount of time was allocated for her.

Yuna will be the next member to gauge. Her lines were heard at the choruses, the post-choruses, and the bridge. Homogenous to Choa’s case, Yuna is responsible for multiple sections, but in terms of what is more beneficial, Yuna does not possess excessive lines. Being a main vocalist, the amount of time given here is perfect; Yuna was given enough time to showcase her talent, but likewise, was not singing a vast majority of the song. If my memory is correct, even in “Like a Cat,” her line distribution remains near perfect. No issues here whatsoever.

Hyejeong’s lines were heard at the verse, pre-choruses, and the one-line post-chorus section. Ignoring the verse, Hyejeong’s lines were mainly single ones. Nevertheless, her time was spread out properly, and due to that, no major problem arises. The only wish would be for an additional, lengthier section, but considering how miniscule that issue is, for the most part, Hyejeong had an appropriate share.

Taking a side note for Mina, my condolences goes to her due to an unfortunate incident; her father passed away a while back. Although she is now back with AOA and such, I hope her future comes with luxury and positivity. Her father raised a wonderful, extremely intelligent and talented lady. It is unfortunate that Mina had to endure such a lost. Bringing back a cheerier tone, Mina’s part in “Miniskirt” were the pre-choruses and the rap section. Sadly, in both sections, Mina handled solely one line. A slightly redeeming factor is that the pre-chorus is replayed, and thus, more spotlight, but overall, Mina is lacking in comparison to the other members. More time could have been given.

Once again, for another digression, Seolhyun was absent for the promotion part of “Miniskirt.” From what I know, she had a knee/leg/ankle injury, and thus, was incapable of performing on any live stage performances. Now to answer how she got injured, using my own vague knowledge (and for those who desire accuracy, I simply recommend searching around for the proper answer), she was attending a sports/athletic-related show when she got her injury. This also reminds me, I could start bashing a specific show that exploits idols for athletic purposes (there are a lot of subtle yet negative aspects to this show), but for the sake of time, I will skip it. Anyhow, thankfully, in the future comeback of “Like a Cat,” Seolhyun was able to perform, and therefore, experienced her first first-place stage performance win (and fans will remember her waterfall of tears backstage due to that). Now to finally be on topic, Seolhyun’s lines were at the pre-choruses and the post-choruses. Like Mina, her lines were purely single ones; she had one line at the pre-chorus, and one line at the post-chorus. Hearing some actual singing time, such as in Hyejeong’s case with the verse, would be desirable.

Lastly, Chanmi, the maknae of AOA (youngest person) has lines during the pre-choruses and the rap. With having the exact spotlight as Mina, it can be concluded that Chanmi is slightly absent of lines. More lines could have been bestowed, and interestingly, despite being a support rapper, she did not have a rapping spotlight to display.

Overall, although on the surface “Miniskirt” seemingly discloses equal, properly shared lines, the reality holds as somewhat weak. Yuna, Jimin, and Hyejeong had a proper amount of lines while Choa was slightly dominating, and for Mina, Chanmi and Seolhyun, they were on the lacking side. Slightly above average will hold as the Line Distribution score. It was not utterly one-sided, but even with their vocal/rapping roles, a better share should been given.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – Simplicity is a strong factor to the instrumental of “Miniskirt.” Every sound holds as rather basic; the beats, pacing, melody, and flow are all on the average side and contain little complexity. Due to the simpler setup, the instrumental becomes versatile. Individually, the soundtrack is soothing and gives off a classier and gentle yet catchy tune. When accounting for the vocals, it provides a sound foundation (no pun intended) that the vocals can manipulate; stronger vocals are supported by a more energetic instrumental, and blatantly, the opposite holds true when the vocals are more relaxed.

Personally, I find it rather hard to decide between an 8 or 7. In the end, after listening to the official instrumental, I will rate it at an 8. It remains solid in multiple categories: individually it holds well, in unison with vocals it holds well, and with syncing up to the vocals’ intensity it holds well. Furthermore, it is a simple and classier-themed soundtrack. A solid score is to be expected.

– Meaning: 7/10 – With a song title of “Miniskirt,” many listeners are probably pondering at the meaning. Will it be about a lady showing off her charms? Or perhaps it will be a flirtatious story. And to share some background about this song, from what I recall when it was released (back before I became obsessed with these incredible ladies was keeping updated with AOA), this song was controversial. I will discuss this in the “bonus” section of the Meaning score, but to quickly share my opinion, in no way is this song anywhere near controversial. Although it may seem questionable in terms of lyrics and choreography, this song does not warrant a lot of horrible name-callings that I have seen. Besides, I find it rather–to be blunt– stupid, that people would direct anger at the lyrics and choreography towards the ladies when the veracity shows the song producers and choreographers are the ones to blame.

Anyhow, let us take a look at the lyrics to find out what “Miniskirt” is about. As always, these lyrics are not 100% accurate, but through these translated Korean-to-English lyrics, the story should be unveiled:

Hey, hey, hey, AOA, hey, hey, hey
Brave Sound (Drop it)

Your eyes that look at me
It’s not the same as before
I’m still good-looking
But why do you look at me like I’m a worn-out shoe?

I’m so pretty, whatever I wear
I’m so sexy, even if I don’t show skin
My risky high heels, black stockings
You won’t be able to take your eyes off of me, don’t stop me

When I wear a miniskirt
and walk on the street, everyone looks at me
I’m wearing a miniskirt
But why are you the only one who doesn’t know?

I’m a confident girl, but why are you making me struggle?
You only ignore me, I don’t know where I’ll bounce off to

I make time to get my nails done and change my hair
I wear new shoes and wear a miniskirt but you don’t notice
Why are you so indifferent?
Before other wolves come snatch me away,
pay attention boy

I’m so pretty, whatever I wear
I’m so sexy, even if I don’t show skin
My risky high heels, black stockings
You won’t be able to take your eyes off of me, don’t stop me

When I wear a miniskirt
and walk on the street, everyone looks at me
I’m wearing a miniskirt
But why are you the only one who doesn’t know?

I’m a confident girl, but why are you making me struggle?
You only ignore me, I don’t know where I’ll bounce off to

I’m getting more and more tired
Even your eyes that look at me, why is it so cold?
I don’t know,
but it’ll change now

I’m a confident girl, but why are you making me struggle?
You only ignore me, I don’t know where I’ll bounce of

Before we have some fun, let’s focus back to the musical aspect of this song. This story depicts a “girl” (correct term would be lady) who is attempting to grab her love-interest’s attention. Unfortunately, the boy remains apathetic; despite the lady’s new and chic fashion, “high heels” and “black stockings,” and even with getting “nails done,” the love-interest does not care. Heart-breaking for the lover, the lyrics in “Miniskirt” are rather unique. Most lyrics around the story of love tend to be either more flirtatious, or on the other spectrum, rather melancholy in describing a break-up. However, in this song, while it remains in the flirting category, it is a one-sided relationship. The lover invests plenty of time to impress the love-interest, but ultimately still fails.

Above average will be the score due to a differing approach to the same, tedious lyrics of flirting. Additionally, the details here are slightly varying and support the idea of how the lover is being rejected. Examples of the lady’s new clothing and cosmetics showcase her struggles at infatuating her love-interest.

Now it is time for the bonus section, and now that I have been doing this for a while, perhaps an official title such as the “Critical Corner” will eventually be made. I will attempt to find a title that will not induce cringes. Firstly, I will address one common reaction to this song that goes along the phrasing of “This song is offensive; ladies should not be depicted as only dressing to impress males.” While that statement is true in its underlying meaning, it is also hindered. Females should feel free to dress as they wish, for whatever they wish. Should a lady desire to dress nicely, it should not be assumed she is attempting to attract people. However, should a lady dress in an exquisite manner in order to captivate her love-interest, such as the character in this song, then that is also acceptable. It is short-sighted to view only one side of this spectrum. Regardless of gender, the ability to dress without warranting uncalled and undesired attention or remarks should be granted. If a lady wishes to look charming for her love-interest, then no issues should arise. If a gentleman desires to dress up for the sole sake of looking nice, then no assumptions should be made.

Progressing to the next controversial piece, it is a comment that analyzes the lyrics: “ ‘Miniskirt’ is offensive and objectifies females as only sexual beings; wearing a miniskirt, high heels, stockings and such only support that idea.” Again, we have an idea where the underlying meaning is correct, but once again, this sight falls short. Here is a serious question to ponder over: Why would wearing a miniskirt be objectifying? Also, who says wearing a miniskirt is inappropriate/objectifying? My personal stance on this is no, miniskirts are not objectifying. What a lady wears should not matter. It is the spectator who determines what is objectifying, not the clothing itself. Females should be able to wear whatever they desire to without warranting unwanted hate or in extreme yet common cases, sexual assaults. What does create objectification is when the clothing or what else is solely emphasized on sexual purpose; there is a significant difference between seeing a lady wearing a miniskirt and saying “she looks very nice today, good for her” and “her revealed legs makes sex desirable with her” (and how awkward it is to type that; even at my current age, the subject of sex still makes me blush). In summary, it is not a crime for a lady to wear clothing that are “questionable” when it should not create any disruptions whatsoever in the first place. And before someone tries to loophole my point, yes there is still a line between appropriate dressing and not, but I am being realistic here with examples such as miniskirts, high heels, stockings, make-up, and more. If my argument is slightly confusing, apologies for not formulating my thoughts correctly.

For the sake of progressing the review, I will cut it off here. As a final message, “Miniskirt” is nowhere near controversial as people make it out to be. It is pitiful and saddening to see the general conclusion is that the song is offensive, when in reality, it is not. If people gained the mentality of seeing females as humans, then all the controversy surrounding this song would not exist in the first place.

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – In case some readers are too worked up over my previous words due to either agreeing or disagreeing (which is actually good; getting worked up over matters that I would consider important is great), before we hop back into the musical perspective, I will share a somewhat jocular story. As noticed in the dance practice, the ladies of AOA are wearing high heels (and other apparels that match up to the lyrics). Besides taking time to admire their skills for being able to dance in them (and credit to other idols as well; even males with insoles to increase their height deserve credit), I will admit I can confirm the difficulty of maneuvering in high heels. And before people get an inaccurate idea, let me tell the story of “My High Hell Experience.” No, “Hell” is not a typo, and apologies if anyone is offended. I should re-label the story, but I believe hell is very accurate word to describe my experience.

This was back when I was perhaps around 6 or 7 years old. Since I am too lazy to do the math I do not quite recall the age, I do remember it was around 5th grade, so let that be the age gauge. Anyhow, my family went on a camping trip and I was wearing sandals. Key word: I was. They ended up snapping at the end, and therefore, were unusable. Lucky and unluckily, instead of walking in splinters and such, my mom happened to bring along high heels. And before someone asks “who brings those to camping trips?” I will say, I asked the same thing. But to answer it, they were not exactly high at all; the heel happened to be more elevated by a very minimal margin than the front. Now, I was graced with not rejecting it due to the idea of gender limitations on objects, but instead, I was resistive since they looked intimidating to walk in. But, being a little boy that would accept anything, I attempted to walk around in them. Key word once more: attempted. I staggered over everything, and instead of walking, I ended up sliding the high heels instead of lifting my foot. Eventually a few more minutes passed, and I felt more confident. Perhaps my incredible journey of shifting a few feet was an admirable milestone, but I decided to genuinely lift my foot up. First step was well, but the second one ended up causing the shoe to tilt sideways, and of course, my entire being tumbling over. With both luck and perhaps some agility, I managed to land a foot away from the campfire (thank goodness it was covered by a metal circle and a grill top), but I nevertheless felt as if I nearly met the environment of hell (or in my little boy version, “becoming chicken”). Fast forward, my cousins donated me an extra pair of sandals, but I will never forget the valuable lesson I learned. Ignoring the obvious one of how fire can kill, even to this day, I still hold a subtle admiration at people who can walk in elevated shoes, be it high heels or added insoles. Now, what does this have to do with AOA and “Miniskirt”? Perhaps more respect at their coordination and dexterity, but at the very least, should you ever become a parent/are one, do not let your little boy or girl wear high heels near a campfire.

Back on topic after an extremely silly story, let us go back to the K-Pop world of AOA and “Miniskirt.” The choreography here may be considered slightly sexual, but unlike other songs, AOA pulls it off in an artistic manner. And without diving into another discussion, refer back to the Meaning section and think of this dance as a lady wearing a miniskirt; it is not necessarily a crime for AOA to execute this dance as long as it is taken as a choreography, and not seen from a sheer sexual perspective (and I think this phrasing/idea was what I was trying to articulate earlier).

“Miniskirt” ‘s choreography may be on the more mature and sexually-orientated side, and ignoring the social aspects and focusing on the pure dance, this is somewhat concerning. Typically, sexually-orientated choreographies are inhibited; emphasis on a body part or such often time reduces the dance maneuver down to a very basic, and incoherent motion. Surprisingly, this does not apply in this dance, and thus, even with the sexual-orientated part, the choreography remains intact.  

Breaking the dance apart, in terms of the syncing, it is very accurate. Beats are connected with a certain movement, and for what this song does well, even the musical flow is linked to a dance maneuver. For example, the pre-choruses and more clearly, the post-choruses have movements that connect to the pacing of the song such as slow movements. In terms of key points, most hold as solid. Every dance set was unique and varying from the rest. Transitions from each one were also well done. In terms of the weaker key points, the post-chorus was a bit plain, although nevertheless well synced. Positively, however, the bridge key point dance is somewhat mediocre. The transition to it was beautiful, and the addition of chairs added a new dimension. What holds it back, however, was the sexually-oriented piece; everything leading up to it was perfectly synced, but once that moment occurred, the choreography became completely unsynced and moreover chaotic. At the very least, it does shift back to being decent to conclude properly.

Overall, despite being hefty on the sexual side, the choreography remains well synced with the song. Key points were also solid. The bridge section remains as a double-edged sword; everything was incredibly synced and stunningly executed until the butt-shaking took hold. Above average will hold as the score. While sexually-oriented parts should be questioned and critically analyzed, the choreography still contains proper syncing and solid key points. If the bridge was revamped slightly, a higher score could be possible.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score) – With both the Song Total Score and Choreography Score being rated at a 7, the Overall Score will be the average of that which results in a 7. I do agree with the Overall Score; above average seems to be a proper label for “Miniskirt” in regards to both the song and dance.

Although I am on break, I am taking sleeping time off just to catch up on reviews, but I cannot complain and I feel at rest knowing I finished this review. This review, ironically, took longer despite being a “speed review,” so I will definitely revisit my idea. I will attempt to cut out the summarizing piece in the Song Structure section, so once again, another experiment will have to unfold.

As always, thank you very much for reading. Considering I have been slacking, if you have been checking back regardless of my slower rate, it means a lot and I cannot express enough gratitude. I will do my best to improve my rate and quality of reviews.

For those wondering on future reviews, I will finally begin a very old requested review, and I feel extremely guilty and ashamed for being this lethargic. Thank you for waiting, it will be finished soon. After that review, I have a lot in mind, so let’s hope I create a concise format soon in order to cover the plethora of songs in mind.

That said, this seems to be a proper place to end this review. I have some “Winter Time” songs I want to review for the time of winter. Whether you celebrate a holiday or not, hopefully this time is a great moment to spend time with loved-ones. Anyhow, thank you once more for reading this. I appreciate the support, and please feel free to send feedback and even ideas for concising down my reviews. After all, as my incredible teacher has mentioned, although I cannot quote her exactly, shorter writing means more ideas are bundled and expressed more efficiently and precisely. Anyhow, more pondering on that later as I would like to sleep. Keep checking back for more reviews. Remember, you are “sexy, even if [you] don’t show skin” because sexiness should be reconstructed and redefined to be more realistic. Being hard working, friendly, and intelligent and more is what determines sexiness, not physical attributes. Stay tuned and thanks once again for reading.

T-ARA – “Little Apple” Review

T-ARA – Little Apple (Audio)

T-ARA – Little Apple (Live Performance)

T-ARA – Little Apple (ft. Chopstick Brothers)

Reviewed on December 5, 2014

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Personal Message: A small change of plans occurred; I originally planned to review Girl’s Day’s “I Miss You,” but instead, I will review T-ARA’s recent collaboration. Before this review starts, there are multiple things to address with this song. Firstly, in regards to the links, I have linked a live performance along with the regular audio. The live performance’s audio is not clear at all, so the audio link is to compensate (although props to the ladies for solid live singing; according to an “MR removed” video, anyways).

Now, in terms of discussing a current rife “fear” of fans, many will notice only four members of T-ARA are involved for this collaboration. Let me say it once more: collaboration. And if the upper left-hand corner of “Special Stage” is not clear enough, this is not T-ARA’s official comeback; “Sugar Free” is still technically their latest song, but positively, that song still holds as their latest comeback. So, for fans fearing that T-ARA has booted out Boram and Soyeon, from what I personally can tell, that is not the case and it is simply due to only the other members being a part of this collaboration.

Transitioning to the mentioned subject of collaboration, for people who are familiar with either Korean and/or Mandarin, it is noticed that this song has both those languages; Korean is heard for every section minus the chorus, and Mandarin is heard at the chorus. The reason behind this is T-ARA worked with a currently trending and popular Chinese artist/duo, Chopstick Brothers. As heard in October (not sure), T-ARA’s label company, now known as MBK Entertainment (instead of CCM/Core Contents Media Entertainment), signed up with some Chinese media company in order to begin expanding their own media to the Chinese market. Fast forward a month, T-ARA has begun that expansion; they have cooperated with Chopstick Brothers to turn Chopstick Brothers’ song, “Little Apple,” into a Korean version. Anyhow, that is the background for this song, and thus, I would not consider this T-ARA’s comeback at all. On a somewhat unrelated note, MBK Entertainment’s CEO is known for manipulating ongoing trends in order to kickstart song releases (“Sugar Free” was during an EDM trend, “Lovey-Dovey” ‘s “shuffle” dance was during that trend, etc.), and not surprisingly, the same mentality occurs here. “Little Apple” was already a soaring and popular song, so having T-ARA recreating it in Korean is an easy way to flow with an established trend.

Now that sufficient excessive background information was given, let’s begin talking about the song itself. As stated, it is in both Korean and Mandarin, and that is a unique and welcoming combination. Personally, although I do not know Mandarin (I do know Cantonese, however), I was able to identify it instantly when heard. For a very short and horrible language lesson, for those wanting to know how to identify/differentiate the languages in T-ARA’s “Little Apple,” Korean has a “stronger syllable/distinct word ending” in comparison to Mandarin, which has a “combining syllable/word flow.” I sincerely cannot describe it well at all, but nevertheless, be welcoming and appreciate every language in this world; each one holds a lot of cultural meaning, and each one is deserving of respect. Anyways, perhaps my ability to identify Mandarin is due to my childhood being filled with my parents watching Mandarin films at times, or, most likely, Mandarin trot songs that were occasionally played (for those who are unfamiliar with the genre of trot, to describe it briefly, it, and apologies for my ignorance/lack of better phrasing, is “festive” in terms of the vocals coming off as slightly exaggerated; I truthfully cannot describe it, but with T-ARA’s trot section during the variety show, “Weekly Idol,” I am sure people have been exposed to the genre). Although many people may feel flustered, I think it is great that multiple languages are introduced in a song. Music is subtle yet capable with allowing some minimal language exposure. Besides, the standard Korean and English combo in K-Pop songs should be slightly more diverse.

In all seriousness, on the subject of the song itself (I apologize for my huge digressions), the term I used to describe this song was “stupidly catchy” since, if we were to systematically break it down (as we will once the review begins), it should not be too promising. However, despite the numerical values that will be assigned, even if they are on the lower rating, this song is exceptionally catchy (makes me ponder over the actual science behind what the human brain deems as “catchy”).

That said, the ladies of T-ARA involved are Eunjung, Jiyeon, Qri, and Hyomin. They are teaming up with Chopstick Brothers to deliver their Korean version of “Little Apple.” From the live performance and lyrics, this song does lean towards the sillier, jocular side, but nevertheless, the ladies prove to be very charming and cute. In fact, I will even throw in the term sexy considering these four ladies are incredibly intelligent, hard working, talented, and a countless list of other amazing attributes. With adorable hairstyles and blush makeup (although I personally am not a huge fan of that) and yellow jumpsuits (is that the correct vocabulary?), T-ARA attempts to induce smiles and laughter. While they may succeed with such, does their song hold as solid? We will find out.

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Song Total Score: 7/10 (6.6/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 5/10 – If my ears are correct, Jiyeon was the only member who was singing in their usual voice. Everyone else, however, had to flip on the “ ‘Roly Poly’ vocals” as I call it; the other three members were singing in a childish, cheery demeanor. While that vastly aids the song with adding the fun, sillier atmosphere, in terms of vocals, that style is hardly impressive. T-ARA is definitely capable of achieving a 9 for vocals. “Number 9” and, especially through ballads such as “Hurt” and “Hide & Seek” (adding a biased note of how Soyeon’s voice is so soothing in those songs), it is very blatant that every lady of T-ARA is adept with singing. Unfortunately, due to the style of singing in “Little Apple,” the score is heavily impaired and does not hold their standard. The melody and flow might have been catchy, but as said before, catchiness does not correlate to how decent a song/singing is.

Overall, average vocals. The style might have been lighthearted and alluring, but in the aspect of showing solid singing skills or capturing attention via captivating vocals, the singing falls short..  

– Song Structure: 7/10 (6.5/10 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 – It has been a while ever since I reviewed a song with a straight-forward structure. “Little Apple” follows the standard form perfectly and thoroughly.

In focus of the introduction, the song begins with a strange “approaching” sound. After that, the instrumental’s/song’s main melody is showcased through beats and such. Eventually, the song transitions to the verse.

For an introduction, it fulfills its role of preparing the song; the main melody is given, and the “poppier,” sillier tone is also set. Specifically looking at the instrumental, it comes off with a fun and upbeat appeal. The beats provided a heavier foundation, and the main melody sounds were rather catchy. In terms of weaker aspects, the initial seconds (that warping sound at the start) could have been potentially avoided. Even without it, the introduction would have still flowed smoothly. In addition, while the background beats and bass were providing a pleasing component, the main melody sounds, while very lingering and catchy, are not delightful individually; after all, hearing “dingdingding” becomes somewhat tedious and annoying.

As a whole, slightly above average. The initial seconds and the melody remained on the weaker side, but nevertheless, the melody was definitely catchy. Furthermore, the bass and beats emphasized that. If the main melody was less repetitive or had a better tint to it, this introduction would easily reach a 7.

2. Verse: 7/10 – For the verses, the pair of Qri and Eunjung handle them.

The verses begin with Qri singing in an absurdly higher pitched voice. Although her singing style remains questionable, in light of her melody, it matched up to the instrumental’s beats and rhythm. Once Eunjung arrives, she simply emulates Qri’s singing style and melody.

Firstly, the vocals here are rather mediocre; singing in a childish, somewhat nasally style is not appealing in terms of sound. On the bright side, it does aid the song’s upbeat mood. Ignoring the vocals, the lines’ melody and pacing were still quite catchy. Furthermore, the instrumental did a phenomenal job with remaining passive yet prominent; considering it is an early stage in the song, having an instrumental come off potently would be overwhelming, but thankfully, it was the perfect quantity.

The verses structurally have a lot of potential. The melody remains diverse and fun, the pacing was aligned with the instrumental, but unfortunately, the pure mechanical aspect of how the vocals sounded bring this section down. If Qri and Eunjung were singing in their usual voices, although some of the cheerier atmosphere might disappear, the verses could easily hit an 8. Above average will nevertheless hold as the score, but a higher score is definitely in reach if the vocals were improved.  

3. Pre-Chorus: 6/10 – Hyomin handles all of the pre-choruses.

The pre-choruses in “Little Apple” are relatively straight-forward and simple. Hyomin sings a line which is then backed up by a “Hey!” or such. This repeats for three times. To be specific on how the line is structured, the melody does connect to the beat, but nothing is drastic in terms of varying notes and such. On the subject of the soundtrack, as the pre-choruses progress, the instrumental does the standard format of accelerating its beats. At the very end, the section concludes with a Mandarin phrase.

While simplicity is far from being horrendous in a song (ballads are rather simple yet they possess incredible structures), in this section’s case with remaining relatively plain, it created a negative contrast between the established fun, upbeat, and joyful mood of the previous sections. Hyomin’s lines were not too exciting, and most of the generated hype derives from the instrumental quickening its beats. In focus of the lines, while the added spices of “Hey!” and such at the ending prevented staleness, they do not redeem Hyomin’s actual singing lines. The vocals were only average, and without adding onto the catchy and fun trend, her lines prove to be weak.

Overall, slightly above average. Everything here was, in the perspective of the previous sections, too simplistic and basic; the instrumental creating hype via speeded beats and Hyomin’s lines were nothing outstanding at all. The attempts of adding the jocular aspect were not successful, the ending words per line were not appealing, and the final outcry of the Mandarin phrase was moreover obnoxious than hilarious or fun. Hyomin is indeed a solid singer, but sadly, this section fails on bringing her justice.  

4. Chorus: 6/10 – The chorus, as mentioned earlier, is where Mandarin arrives. For this section of “Little Apple,” both T-ARA and Chopstick Brothers are singing (the live version does differ; only one member sings the Mandarin I believe). Additionally, Jiyeon handles a few solo lines.

From the start, Mandarin is used. Every member sings, and Chopstick Brothers are adding in their own vocals as background. The unison singing comes off as cohesive, and it still holds a catchier melody. After that, Jiyeon arrives with her own lines which are in Korean. This format repeats twice. In focus of the instrumental, it supplied a consistent and constant rhythm to accompany the vocals.

Although the chorus is relatively catchy and structurally sound for the most part, it still fails to hold as solid. When it comes to the decent aspects, the vocals were not too poor; Jiyeon was able to sing in her usual voice here unlike her members, and the unison singing remains adequate. In terms of the flow, it transitioned between unison and solo singing, which does add in some diversity. Unfortunately, while the vocals and instrumental are catchy and sufficient, nothing came off as impressive. Jiyeon might have been spared of singing in the childish, higher pitched style, but even then, her vocals were not too spectacular (although in general, Jiyeon is a very talented vocalist). Likewise, with the instrumental, the beats and bassline added a supportive foundation, but that was it; no other benefit was gained nor did it shine by itself.

In summary, the choruses are rated at slightly above average. The alternation between unison and individual singing added some pleasing variety, however, in the entirety of the section, nothing sounded utterly captivating. Lacking prominent points prevents this section from receiving a higher score.  

5. Bridge: 6/10 – Initially listening to this song, I feared that a bridge would be misplaced. In the mindset of the average bridge, I was predicting “Little Apple” to contain an abrupt, unsuitable bridge that would be too passive. I have been proven completely wrong; “Little Apple” utilizes the pure soundtrack for the bridge. No singing occurs.

Specifically describing the instrumental, it shifts into a funkier, treble-oriented (probably the wrong term) sound. Towards the end, the melody returns to the established one that was heard at the introduction, and furthermore, the beats quicken until the final chorus is played.

Homogenous to the verse where the structure was solid while the mechanical aspects, such as the vocals, faltered, the same idea applies here. To begin on the worse note, while the soundtrack was catchy, it was a rather weak instrumental solo. With the electronic-based and treble sounding piece, the instrumental was plain and slightly tumultuous. Even with the shift occurring, the revived melody still held as only average, and as complained about in other reviews, the standard use of accelerating beats in order to create hype or transitions is loathed. However, what vastly safeguards this section from falling into a “negative” score is how properly placed and executed the bridge is. Transitions to the bridge were very smooth, and in regards to how it was executed properly, the style used was appropriate. Instead of pacifying the song or adding a high note hold, the bridge simply added a singing break and allowed the pure instrumental to play.

Slightly above average will be the score. While that is not necessarily a strong grade, considering how the soundtrack itself was on the mediocre side, it would have been worse if not for the excellent style and placement of the bridge.  

6. Conclusion: 8/10 – At last, the conclusion. Surprisingly, this song did not recycle its chorus; “Little Apple” opted to have its own finishing moment.

The song concludes with mainly the baseline lingering around with occasional snaps and beats. Eventually, at the very end, a few beats occur spontaneously before it entirely fades.

Initially I expected, and in fact, preferred that “Little Apple” would end right at the final chorus. However, after listening for multiple sessions, I have come to appreciate the conclusion. Firstly, a separate section would feel less abrupt than cutting the song off at the final chorus. Considering how energetic the choruses are, if it were to end shortly after, it would seem too sudden. Now in focus of the conclusion itself, the bassline and slower, heavier beats gave the song a concluding sense. Even the last moment with the quicker beats were suiting.

After an upbeat and hyperactive song, this type of ending properly wraps it; with minimal instrumental activity, the final and proper remnants of “Little Apple” were left. A solid score will be given. The conclusion fulfilled its role in both style and ensuring that nothing was abrupt.  

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Without Boram and Soyeon being included for this song, the score here should be a free 10/10. Chopstick Brothers will be excluded considering they are featured.

Firstly, Qri was involved with the first half of every verse. While it is not majorly lacking, in comparison to the other ladies, Qri is slightly behind. Nevertheless, it is exceptionally minor, and for the most part, no issue arises. On a slightly random note, I personally am glad Qri was given a decent amount of lines. While I confess she is the weakest singer in T-ARA, that does not mean she is incapable of decent vocals. In many other songs, Qri is noticeably bereft of lines.

Back on topic, in Eunjung’s case, her lines were practically identical to Qri’s; she handled the second half of every verse. The duration of her lines may be short, but factoring in how Qri also has the same identical length of lines, it alleviates possible issues. Similar to Qri, for the most part, Eunjung’s lines are sufficient.

Next up is Hyomin. Her spotlight included all of the pre-choruses. Now, while Qri and Eunjung had similar lengths, there is a disparity in comparison to Hyomin’s lines. Hyomin’s section was vastly longer. However, considering that every lady had her own consistent song section, this does not hold as too concerning. Nevertheless, it will be something to consider later. In short, her longs are lengthier than Eunjung and Qri’s lines, but it does not hold as a large issue.

Lastly, Jiyeon’s part included her solo time during the choruses. Overall, her lines’ time span were roughly equal to Hyomin’s duration. Nothing too drastic comes out of this, although it is definitely notable that her lines have more spotlight.

The final factor to account for is that every member sings during the chorus (in the official audio, anyways).

As of now, the overarching perspective is that Qri and Eunjung have equal lines, and Hyomin and Jiyeon have equal lines as well. However, comparing the two different combos, the Hyomin and Jiyeon pair does have a bit more time for singing. In the end, the only solution would be to have Jiyeon or Hyomin split one line or so, but considering how minor the disparity is, and additionally that they all sing during the chorus, the Line Distribution score will receive a higher score. 9/10 will be the rating. 

– Instrumental: 6/10 – While this type of instrumental is not preferred personally, I cannot deny how catchy it is. A lot of the song’s energy and upbeatness derives from the soundtrack. In terms of the vocals and instrumental pair together, both aided one another; the instrumental added stable and heavy foundation for vocals, and the vocals assisted the fun and catchy aspects of the instrumental. Individually, however, is where the soundtrack falters. Electronic sounds with nothing complex creates only a plain, typical pop soundtrack. Of course, electronic-based instrumentals can still achieve high scores, and although a K-Pop song does not come in mind, songs from the Drum and Bass genre instantly come to mind. Actually, T-ARA has shown that electronic-based soundtracks can, indeed, be solid; “Sugar Free” is a prominent one along with “Number 9.”

Anyhow, slightly above average is the score for “Little Apple” ‘s instrumental. It may hold as very catchy and melodic, but considering how basic, simplistic, and even slightly dull, the soundtrack is, only a 6 is earned. Nevertheless, there is solid chemistry between the vocals and instrumental, and for that itself, the rating is not too poor.

– Meaning: 6/10 – On the surface, this song may seem to be a health campaign towards eating apples, but that would be awfully strange for a song by T-ARA. If that is not the case, then what does “Little Apple” symbolize? Through not just Korean-to-English lyrics, but also a few Mandarin-to-English lines, we may potentially answer that question. And as always, this is not 100% accurate (especially with the Mandarin piece, although I trust translation sources on that):

It was love at first sight
I fell in love, is this what love is?
I wanna go to you and tell you
that my heart is pounding
(that my heart is like that)

I’ll be happy if we’re together day by day
You are the joy of my life
I keep feeling small when I’m next to you
In case you might forget me
(don’t leave me)

You are my little apple
No matter how much I love you, it’s not enough
What do I do about my burning heart?
I think I’ve fallen for you
You are my little apple
Like the most beautiful cloud in the sky
It’s okay even if you don’t know
Because I can read your heart

I won’t complain
that you don’t know my heart,
that you’re not looking at me
All day, I think of you
You appear in my head
I miss you (right now)

Whether it rains or snows, I’ll protect you
If the sun and moon disappears, I’ll be your star
If I can stay by your side whenever
From morning till night
(my heart is getting warmer)

You are my little apple
No matter how much I love you, it’s not enough
What do I do about my burning heart?
I think I’ve fallen for you
You are my little apple
Like the most beautiful cloud in the sky
It’s okay even if you don’t know
Because I can read your heart

You are my little apple
No matter how much I love you, it’s not enough
What do I do about my burning heart?
I think I’ve fallen for you
You are my little apple
Like the most beautiful cloud in the sky
It’s okay even if you don’t know
Because I can read your heart

Out of all of the ways to describe a love-interest, I have never expected “apple,” yes, an edible fruit, to be used. As seen, a sillier yet cute mood is given. Anyhow, the lyrics describe a lover who has a “burning heart” towards their love-interest. There are sweeter details of this lover’s feelings, and it definitely shows that she/he is madly infatuated. In terms of addressing the “Little Apple” title, it originates from the lover’s metaphor; “You are my little apple” is how the lover thinks of the love-interest. Strange and rather quirky, but nevertheless the emotions and jocular aspects are seen through the use of “little apple.”

While I am in favor of completely cheesy, romantic love stories different, unique lyrics, “Little Apple” only holds slightly above average lyrics. A lot of the details are repeated; lines may be phrased differently, but the same general idea is given. Multiple aspects showcase the lover’s affection, but that is primarily it. Different details that prove to be compelling do not exist (but credit to having some diversity). Despite being only a 6, I am still a fan of the lyrics, and I personally find it quite jocular and sweet. So, for those in love, feel free to call your love-interest a “little apple.” Beware, though, your “little apple” might become rather sour.

Transitioning over to the part where I get to deconstruct or complain about certain lines, although the song’s general meaning is positive and adorable, there are some questionable phrases. And as always, I am not accounting this into the grading. Consider this an extra bonus to this section. On track, after reading over the lyrics once more, the very first and only line holds as troublesome; “love at first sight” is a hugely debated subject, and I personally am not in favor of it. Now, to cut straight to the predominant idea that is always thrown at me (and now that I think of it, I have gotten into too many arguments over this simple phrase): “Love at first sight is true because you cannot stop biology; if you find someone physically attractive, you will automatically love them.” 

Firstly, if love is only considered a simple physical attraction, it is time to re-evaluate your entire life then that truly concerns me. Love is extremely complex; that should speak for itself. Love on the basis of a sheer physical attraction is not love; to love is to see beyond their physical appearance. Personality, dedication, intelligence, humor, those are all extremely crucial aspects to consider, and while physical appearance may be a factor, in juxtaposition to the others, appearance is beyond miniscule. Tying back to the main point on why “love at first sight” is erroneous, it cannot exist due to “first sights” not revealing those hidden, beautiful traits that account for a lot more than a physical attraction. Now, when the day comes where humans are psychic and can read minds, then I will accept that phrase. But, obviously, even with peering at a person, those personal attributes are veiled.

Of course, feel free to disagree. Perhaps since I have been raised with an extremely harsh culture on looks, I have become very rebellious towards the idea of pure physical attraction. Sometimes the physically prettiest people come out to be the most disgusting, grotesque looking once the cloaked aspects are revealed, and vice-versa, those considered not pretty physically are not at all; they are very beautiful and pretty once the important attributes are seen. I could go on for quite a bit on this subject, and in fact, I can even disprove the idea that physical attraction is “natural.” Yes, there may be biological/scientific facts, but they only cover the surface. I find that what is considered beauty is heavily socialized; you are taught what is “ugly” and what is “pretty.”

For a really quick example that I will create, let’s claim that science has proven that taller people are more physically attractive. Assuming there is seemingly unequivocal facts (perhaps it is consistent in thousands of animals, survey says that, people claim that, etc.), many will simply accept that as “normal.” However, let’s say the Short-Height-Only culture group believes that shorter people are attractive, and in that culture, from birth to death, that idea is ubiquitously spread. In the Short-Height-Only culture, if it is “natural” and scientifically supported that taller people are more physically attractive, then why are all the tall people deprived of affection and relationships in that culture? If the idea of “natural” is true, then the Short-Height-Only culture’s belief would not exist in the first place, yet it does. Again, I am just making the worst example ever, but going along with my silliness, that is my stance on the opinion of “natural” and why it is a pitiful excuse to use to justify certain actions in society (and for an example that irritates me: “Only men are leaders since it’s ‘natural’; try saying that to AOA’s Jimin and to thousands of other ladies who prove to be deserving and capable of a leadership position). Final thing to add, if it is not obvious yet, humans are the most “unnatural” creatures ever; unless if you find an animal that lives the exact lives as the so-called proclaimed “natural” human race, I do not think we are “natural” in the usual sense. That is not bad, however. In fact, it means we are sophisticated to the point that we are not governed by nature, but rather, ourselves. But, of course, that is not quite perfect since humans are not flawless.

Anyways, I have went on for too long, and this would even be more appropriate for a Blog Opinion post. I go on way too many random tangents, so apologies. Feel free to disagree with my own points. Being capable of seeing different viewpoints is vital, and likewise, I do see multiple stances on the idea of “natural” and such in regards to humans and beauty and whatnot. But, time to focus back on T-ARA’s song (and how I sidetracked to the different subjects, I have no idea).

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – Turning back the attention on “Little Apple,” the choreography utilizes simplicity. Despite that, it is still a decent dance, and in fact, complexity should never determine a choreography’s rating.

In focus of syncing, there were little to no issues; every movement linked to a beat or matched with the lyrics’ flow. Hyomin’s sections, the pre-choruses, are solid examples. The steps reflected the beats, the arm snaps were connecting the background vocals of “Hey!,” and the movement followed the flow of her singing/melody. Very impressive syncing in “Little Apple.”

For the key points, all of them gave off the vibrant, sillier atmosphere. None were stale, and most of the maneuvers reciprocated the song’s energy. Everything transitioned to the next dance set properly and smoothly as well. Fun and simple key points are seen.

Like in other songs by T-ARA, backup dancers are used. Considering there were only four members participating in this collaboration, they are vital to the choreography unlike in other songs (I still remain adamant on the idea that “Sugar Free” would have sufficed with purely the 6 ladies). Their role added an extra layer to the dance to prevent empty space. After all, only 4 members dancing to an energetic song would feel rather dull and vacant. As such, the backup dancers filled that gap. Furthermore, some sections needed the extra dancers; specifically, the moment right after the first chorus (it is the “pushing” dance; not sure on the official term but that should trigger the choreography scene).

Overall, with how flawlessly synced the dance was, the addition of backup dancers that properly supported T-ARA, and with fun, simplistic and chic key points, a higher score is well deserved. Seeing how the main points were hit, a solid score will be given. 8/10. In the sense of remaining simple and having a sillier and upbeat song, Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” (check out my review on it) is very similar to T-ARA’s “Little Apple”; both have a jocular theme, yet both remain simple and extremely well synced in terms of the choreography. A strong dance for this song, even if the song component is weaker.

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Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – In the end, the score of 8/10 is earned miraculously. In reality, the Song Total Score should be a 6, but a strong Line Distribution probably saved it. Anyhow, I do disagree that it is an 8 overall; 7 seems more suitable. In quick summary, “Little Apple” is slightly weaker in terms of the song itself, but what allows it to remain potent is how catchy it is. Furthermore, even with a weaker musical piece, the choreography proves to be outstanding. For T-ARA’s recent song and collaboration, not too bad. I will not consider this their official comeback since it is technically not (although it is claimed as that according to this live performance: T-ARA – Little Apple (Live Performance); and if I may add, those were some very, very charismatic fans). I have very high expectations for their future comeback with all 6 incredible, talented, exceptionally intelligent and beautiful ladies.

As always, thank you very much for reading. Huge apologies for some delay. I am currently working on multiple writing pieces, so instead of a consistent publish time, it will be burst of posts. But, everything should be on track hopefully. Anyhow, thank you once more. I sincerely appreciate the time and support. Thank you.

For those curious on future reviews, I have too many lined up. I will do a few “speed reviews” in which I will work at an excessively high rate. Unfortunately, those reviews will follow quantity over quality. Of course, however, the speed reviews are solely for songs that I just simply want to push out of the way or have little things to discuss (such as with Nine Muses’ Hyuna’s song of “I Like The Way Back Home”). I will still maintain my current style of reviews.Now instead of making digressions, to finally answer the question asked ages ago, I have received two song requests/recommendations. MAMAMOO’s “Piano Man” and Junggigo’s “Too Good” have been sent in, so I will prioritize them. That being said, my previous review of Girl’s Day’s “I Miss You” will be simply delayed. I am excited to review “Piano Man” considering, as the recommender stated, it has a style that I have yet to review. As for Junggigo, I am quite pleased to have received one of his songs. He is on my list of adept male singers; his vocals are extremely promising. Also, if I post things correctly in order, I should have posted a mini Blog Reflection about reading one of my first reviews ever: Girl’s Day’s “Something.” To personally challenge myself, I plan to review Girl’s Day’s “I Miss You” to see a contrast, but if you have not read that reflection post, I would recommend it.

Expect three reviews to arrive; MAMAMOO’s “Piano Man,” Junggigo’s “Too Good,” and Girl’s Day’s “I Miss You.” Do not forget, I will also toss in a few “speed reviews” to compensate for slower writing (then again, wouldn’t speed reviews make the writing slower overall?). Once again, thank you for your patience. Stay tuned and keep checking back. “You are my little apple, no matter how much I love you, it’s not enough.”

AOA – “Like a Cat” Review

AOA – Like a Cat (Live Performance)

AOA – Like a Cat (Official Live Performance)

AOA (Ace of Angels) – Like a Cat

Reviewed on November 22, 2014

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Personal Message: I am exceptionally delayed with releasing reviews. As of right now, I am drowning with lots of work, and with due dates being threateningly close, I’m not prioritizing reviews. Nevertheless, I am still attempting to work on this review as much as possible per day. And, since I believe in honesty, I have been slacking slightly in both work and reviews; videos have been draining a lot of time. But, considering how AOA has been the most hilarious group (so far in my experience) to go on “Weekly Idol,” I believe the time lost is somewhat understandable. Furthermore, I have been pumping extra time into practicing for my E-Sports team. Performance-wise, I’ve been slacking so I am trying to correct that.

Anyhow, as readers may have predicted, I am finally reviewing AOA; specifically, “Like a Cat.” This song definitely poses as a serious contestor to T-ARA’s “Roly Poly” for what I would consider the “catchiest song.” Before anything else is said, to address the link, it is a live performance but, knowing FNC Entertainment’s trend (AOA’s label company), their official dance practice video should be released as well. Unlike a vast majority of other K-Pop labels, their company actually takes the time to upload multiple perspectives of AOA’s choreography; versions of eye contact, full view, and even mirrored have all been uploaded for their previous songs (or at least from what I browsed through). For a better view of the choreography, search up their official one. As of the time I am typing this sentence, their company has yet to upload it, but I am confident in their release of it in the future. That also reminds me, an acoustic version could potentially be released as well. Those versions are extremely beautiful and graceful.  "Short Hair" Acoustic Version is one I cannot recommend enough; in fact, I will link it: AOA – “Short Hair” Acoustic Version (I’m a huge ballad fan as readers may know).

Now to add even more delay before the actual review (although for those who can’t stand my tangents, feel free to just skip this section), I will give my opinion on AOA as a whole. I am still personally familiarizing myself with these ladies, but nevertheless, I have found them to be very captivating and solid. To begin, I will focus on their personality side. All of the members have definitely won my heart via interviews, going on shows, and such.

For those curious on a specific lady of AOA that has captured my attention, Choa has proven to be very charming. While her exquisite hair style and glistening eyeliner and eyeshadow hold as infatuating, her attitude makes her even more beautiful. She constantly strives to improve her skills as a singer and dancer. Her wish is to become a popular singer one day, and I have complete confidence in that outcome (and arguably, that has already come true). Another aspect that I found really admirable was her background; her parents had no intentions of allowing her to pursue a career in the entertainment business (realistically, most parents would be against that). Nevertheless, she yearned to be a singer and pursued it despite her parents’ desires. After multiple audition attempts, she made it. Passion is a powerful drive; anyone is capable of accomplishing anything through following it. Anyhow, Choa has proven to be a very remarkable, inspiring lady. Besides, if not for anything else, at least her laugh is very jocular and sweet. Now, if only she was as “hip” as her younger members. Then again, keeping up with the current pop-culture of slang and whatnot is quite difficult. Even without being 24 years old like her, I tend to be out of the loop for everything (and likewise in my own team, I end up being the laughable one for being oblivious; even more embarrassing is that I’m the second youngest).

This also brings me to another point: age. AOA is, so far in my experience, the youngest group I know of; their average age is 21 (I think). It’s also quite interesting that Jimin, their leader, is not the oldest despite holding that position (ironic that I am the one saying that). But, of course, my vision of a leader is heavily distorted by stereotypes and such; when it comes to the leader role, I envision the person to be the oldest, and additionally, I would expect her to come off with a serious, upholding demeanor. Although Jimin falls short on being the oldest and having a solemn attitude, she still showcases excellent responsibility and care towards her members. And actually looking over this section, I really don’t know how this relates to anything. I wanted to start a conversation on K-Pop idols’ ages and how, for a lack of a better word/phrase, they are “bereft of a ‘normal’, youthful life.” After all, it is intriguing to know that the ladies possess no cell phones, and through the variety show “Weekly Idol,” recently got gifted with a TV. FNC Entertainment may be the one responsible for this, but obviously, it is unclear. And actually, it is another subject that I find the lack of those electronics “intriguing” (I am guiltily poisoned with the idea of electronics and such as “normal”). Time to get back on track; this is perhaps the most random, unrelated Personal Message section I’ve ever wrote for my reviews.

In terms of what readers typically come here for, I will now address AOA from a K-Pop/musical standpoint. The very first song I heard from them was “Confused,” and unfortunately, I found that song to be on the weaker spectrum. Eventually, they continued to rise in popularity, and with their release of “Short Hair,” I finally paid more attention. Fast forward further, their current comeback of “Like a Cat” solidified their position on my personal list of groups to remain updated with.

Something I find respectable and enlightening is the fact that AOA has kept their original style throughout their career. Whether it’s their sexy-themed concepts or their distinctive way of singing and song producers following their trend, it has all remained identical. There was no sudden switch that left people clutching at their aching hearts (I’m obviously in no way referring to Hello Venus’ “Sticky Sticky”; I’m also in no way self-promoting the previous review I wrote on that song). While arguably there was a change in terms of switching from an actual band to the standard dance/singing groups, I will exclude that. The final point on why I find this impressive is due to their growth in popularity. From my personal experience, most of the groups that have made it to the higher tiers did, at one point, make a sudden change or, in a lot of cases, constantly go through different concepts and style to keep a high appeal (T-ARA is perhaps the prime example; they have done multiple, varying concepts to gain the public’s love). In Ace of Angels’/AOA’s case, despite retaining the same mature concepts, they are still growing. Changing to please current trends never occurred. Furthermore, witnessing a group that can be considered “underdogs” work their way to the top is satisfying; a sense of pride and proudness derives from that sole idea (and perhaps this is a miniscule tint on what parents might feel when their children grow up).

I have stated way more than enough (I never knew I’d be so loquacious about AOA) . I will personally blame the dark chocolate I consumed during my time of writing, but anyhow, it is time to focus on their comeback of “Like a Cat.” As foreseen, the seven ladies of AOA are returning with a sexy-themed, mature style. This time, however, their main concept/idea is, as Jimin said in their silly dance tutorial, “learning dating skills from a cat.” The lyrics and dance manipulate a cat’s communication and movement in relation to love and flirting.

Anyhow, did the guard-beating diamond-stealing spies of AOA acquire a jackpot jewelry that will captivate ladies and men? The music video claims so, but through this review, let’s find out for sure.

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Song Total Score: 7/10 (6.6/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 7/10 – Tossing a quick disclaimer, as always, I recommend listening to the official audio. Listening to the live performance, in the case of wearing headphones, it sounds rather jumbled (live singing/not singing and background playback are not meshing well for this performance). Nevertheless, the quality isn’t too awful.

In light of AOA’s vocals for “Like a Cat,” they are rated on the higher side. AOA does an exceptional job with carrying forth the melody. The flow is catchy, upbeat, and full of altering pitches. In terms of power, while this song was not orientated towards that aspect, the members showed off impactful, lingering lines. Another excellent aspect of these adept singers is how consistent and stable their voices are. Now, in regards to what is not as solid, the post-chorus and (hoping that Jimin won’t whip me like the guards fans won’t decimate me) their leader’s singing/rapping voice hold on the weaker side. The post-chorus showcased a tedious, melodic sound of “Lalalalala,” and while it holds as exceptionally catchy (more in detail later), the vocals disclosed there were not stunning. Before I begin discussing Jimin’s voice, as mentioned elsewhere, I am judging from a musical lens; every voice is unique and beautiful, and in no way am I attempting to bash a specific type of voice. Jimin’s normal speaking voice is very gentle and sweet. With my safety ensured that said, although her rapping is mechanically sound, her higher pitched, nasally voice does contrast every other member’s voice harshly. Her vocals may benefit the introduction, but overall, juxtaposing the other member’s singing to Jimin’s, the disparity stings.

Above average is the score for “Like a Cat.” From what I have observed, AOA as a whole are not the most adept at singing, but they nevertheless possess decent singing skills. Yuna and Choa are their main vocalists (Hyejeong is also worth mentioning), and indeed, they alleviate the vocal load for their other members in this song. Everyone else, although they held their ground, failed to show off utterly mesmerizing vocals.

– Song Structure: 7/10 (7.4/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 8/10 – Jimin is their go-to member for initiating songs; “Miniskirt,” “Short Hair,” “Moya,” and now that I recall more of their songs, practically all of them have had Jimin leading it. For “Like a Cat,” there is no exception to the trend; their leader starts it off.

“Like a Cat” begins with a seemingly random and slightly obnoxious horn sound. After that, Jimin arrives with her lines. With her unique nasally and high pitched voice, she tosses out energetic, catchy, and upbeat English phrases (and while pronounciation is not graded, applause for her flawless English; it was so comprehensible that I actually mistakened a Korean line for an English one). The flow of the lines remain very diverse with different durations, lengths, melody, and background vocals. At the very end, Jimin concludes with the signature of “Brave Sound” (their song producer).

While there are a multitude of weaker aspects to the introduction, it still possesses a higher score of an 8; a solid score. Focusing on the strengths of the introduction, variety and energy have to be the biggest factors. By utilizing different structures such as background vocals of “geu eodil bwado” (means “no matter where you look”; this was the line that I personally heard as “I’ll be by the toe” when in reality, it was a Korean line) and “I know,” it generates and establishes the song’s energetic tune in addition to preventing staleness. Every line spoken was individual and not identical to any other part. Jimin exceeded her role; not only was the song’s mood and energy properly prepared, her varying lines provided a proper hook that would bind listeners.

Contrasting the strengths of this section, what does remain lacking would be predominantly Jimin’s voice along with the questionable horn sound. Regarding the very initial seconds of the song, the horn sound was moreover tumultuous than musical; it was loud and could have been potentially evaded. The only benefit that derives from the use of that noise was a cheap and quick method to instantaneously boost the song’s intensity and energy. Although, in the large scheme, that sound is necessary to smoothly begin the song, a different approach would be more desirable. As for Jimin’s voice, as stated earlier, it is not the most pleasing to hear for a song. While it provided forth a lot of energy and fun, it has a slight tint of annoyance and becomes slightly dull.

Overall, the introduction still holds as solid; the cons are miniscule considering how the horn sound was very brief, and solely Jimin’s voice itself comes off as slightly displeasing. Ignoring the lesser issues, however, and a strong introduction holds. The song engaged listeners via fun, upbeat lines. Additionally, the foundation was properly laid out; the song’s pacing, intensity, and style were all given from the start. An 8 is well deserved.

2. Verse: 7/10 – There is only one verse in this song. This format is not completely alien; we have seen this before in other songs that I have reviewed (not sure on specific ones). Anyhow, Seolhyun and Choa handle this section.

Seolhyun is the first one to sing. Her first two lines involve slower pacing to accommodate the developing melody. Certain endings of “…ae” were also exploited to create a lingering tune. Progressing on, her last line quickens in order to transition to Choa. Once Choa begins, her lines follow the same format as her fellow member.

The verse had the role of developing the song. Coming after the introduction which was relatively energetic, it would be too sudden to have the song play out in high-gear; as a result, a slower, methodical approach would be preferred. In this case, that happened; Seolhyun and Choa were simply constructing the song. By having vocals that were on the calmer side, the explosive vocals that occur later became preservered. In terms of the small sound play with the ending sound of “…ae,” it created some extra specialty to prevent the section from becoming dull.

In summary, the verses lie with a score of above average. While the setup was thoughtful and systematic, the vocals were not dazing nor was the instrumental enticing. Nevertheless, in terms of building up the song, this section fulfilled that role.

3. Pre-Chorus: 7/10 – Mina, a very kind-hearted member, handles the first portion of every pre-chorus. Hyejeong does support her; she arrives for the last half of the pre-choruses. Although pre-choruses tend to heavily hype up a song in preparation for the chorus, “Like a Cat” is a song that remains rather mellow. Therefore, the pre-choruses do not necessarily serve that standard role as typically found in a vast majority of songs. Fitting that role or not, the pre-choruses in “Like a Cat” are decent.

Mina starts the section off with an impactful presence. One line is normally sung, but after that, there is a unique chunking flow; lines of “Spotlight-light-light-light” and “Headline-line-line-line” become used. Once Mina finishes, Hyejeong arrives with melodic and semi-powerful vocals and wraps up the section.

Mina’s part augments this section vastly thanks to having the “Spotlight-light-light-light” (I did not intend for a pun) and “Headline-line-line-line” lines (I still hold my claim). Through this flow, it creates a lingering, catchy and tuneful section. In regards to Hyejeong’s part, her vocals were solid; melody and some power went towards it. Besides leaving a solid impression, her lines provided a very smooth transition to the chorus. Her vocals gave a glance for how the chorus’ vocals would be. As a result, the switch from the pre-chorus to the chorus is borderline undetected.

In the end, although the outline is solid, the singing, specifically on Mina’s part, was not spectacular enough to glean a higher score. Nevertheless, a very promising section that will lure in listeners whether it’s due to Mina’s lines or Hyejeong’s melodic vocals.

4. Chorus: 8/10 – Previously mentioned, the transition to the chorus is nearly cloaked; the chorus sounds as if it is simply an extension to the pre-chorus. While that could be possible, to keep sections less complicated, I will label this as the chorus (and overall, it is a chorus). Choa and Yuna, AOA’s strongest singers, cooperate for this section. Knowing the capabilities of these ladies (check out their acoustic cover for evidence), a solid section is anticipated.

Choa sings first. Her lines follow a slower, sliced up flow. Yuna continues with the same style. Reflecting on the vocals, they were, as expected, very solid. Both Yuna and Choa showcased a delightful and very melodic part. On top of that, the instrumental did its part of supporting the section.

Diving deeper, the strength of the chorus lies in the fact of having a strong flow of melody. For example, Choa’s chunked pacing such as with “sappunsappun” allowed catchiness to build. In addition, their vocals went through a diverse range of speed and pitches; some lines were faster while others were slower, and regarding pitches, the ladies were hitting higher notes at certain endings. Additionally, the instrumental amplified the section as a whole by remaining hyped enough to reciprocate the vocals, but at the same time, it remained passive enough to not strip the attention towards the singing.

A solid section. Having their main vocalists singing as a pair allowed for a very adept and fantastic section. The instrumental also gave justice with supporting the members.

5. Post-Chorus: 7/10 – The post-chorus involves all of the members, although Jimin does have solo lines. This section is perhaps the trademark of “Like a Cat”; it is simple yet extremely catchy. Mentioned earlier, this song challenges T-ARA’s “Roly Poly” for what I would consider the “catchiest song.” That is an impressive feat considering how the chorus of “Roly Poly” becomes heavily ingrained in listeners’ heads.

The post-choruses of the song follow the format of chanting “Lalala” (multiple “La”s; exact number will be at the Meaning Score) which is then followed up by Jimin tossing in an English line of “I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly” (opinion on this later as well). This repeats twice.

Firstly, while the structure of the chanting is mediocre considering it is a standard chant, “Like a Cat” manages to unveil a decent section. Being exceptionally catchy is arguably the only, yet promising, asset to the post-choruses; the “La” chanting lingers around. Peering on purely the chanting, unlike a lot of other songs (Girls’ Generation’s “I Got a Boy” for example), the chanting here remains complex despite recycling the same sound tediously. The pacing varies, and likewise, so does the melody. In terms of preventing staleness, Jimin’s lines ensure that; the solo lines break away the homogenous flow of “La” sounds, and therefore, it allows some extra diversity along with a change in structure. 

Even though I usually loathe this type of format (chanting a sound over and over), “Like a Cat” manages to achieve an above average post-chorus score; a 5 at max is normally what I would give, but a 7 will be earned. Despite how many times I’ve listened to this song, the post-chorus still retains its unique chanting and catchiness. I will claim this is even more catchier than T-ARA’s “Roly Poly” ‘s choruses.

6. Rap: 7/10 – Chanmi and Jimin are responsible for the rapping in “Like a Cat.”

Coming right after the post-chorus, Jimin shoots out a few lines. Her lines follow a flow of rapping one line, and towards the end, having a kissing noise play as Jimin takes a short pause. After that, Chanmi arrives with her own rapping line. Once she finishes, Jimin wraps the section up with another line that ends with a “meow.”

Although I complained about Jimin’s voice earlier, it does aid her rapping via making it sound coherent and smooth. The rapping here was decently paced in terms of the song. What remains slightly weaker is the flow itself. Words were not pouring out like water; there were some rigid, rougher spots. On the subject of subtle details, there were plenty added. The kissing noise during Jimin’s pauses not only reflected the lyrics, but additionally, it created a variety from pure rapping. The transition was also smooth since the “meow” was a clear indication of the rap ending.

Overall, above average for a rap. The different details added make it a unique rap. If the flow of words were smoother, an 8 would have been possible. Nevertheless, it remains a charming rap.  

7. Bridge: 7/10 – The chorus duo returns for the bridge; Choa and Yuna deliver this section. High expectations are set for these ladies, so let’s see if they surpass predictions.

Yuna kicks the bridge off with a slower yet impacting line. Her next line slowly deescalates in terms of power, but it still retains the slower and melodic flow. Choa continues where Yuna left off. Her initial line possesses decent power and she adds a small note hold at “arajwo.” Further on, she tosses in a few English words and towards the end, she releases a lighter, impressive high pitched note hold at “bam~.”

While I would not personally mark this bridge as a phenomenal one, it still deserves a lot of highlight. Yuna’s intro to the section created some build-up, and with her slowly bringing her vocal strength down, it allowed a smooth transition for Choa. Once her member takes over, disclosing her adept talent was the focus. Choa’s power and note spectrum was revealed. Her note hold towards the end was also a solid mark on the climactic point of “Like a Cat.”

The structure and format of the bridge is admirable, and of course, the ladies’ vocals are as well. What does remain an issue, however, is it remains very basic; there was nothing to separate this bridge from other ones. The vocals were solid, but nothing was outstanding. Even the instrumental proved to be a background.

Overall, above average. The bridge lacks some extra aspects to push it towards an 8. Note holds that occurred were fine, but the other parts, such as Yuna’s initial singing, were not utterly captivating. Nevertheless, it is still a respectable bridge.

8. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 8/10 – Finally, the last part of the song. The conclusion does have the post-chorus replaying, but this time, Choa throws in some two-part singing.

With the normal post-chorus playing out, Choa simply adds in some note holds of “Woah~” and tosses in an English phrase of “The pretty girls are here, oh baby come on~” which does end in a solid, powerful note hold. Once the dust settles with the original post-chorus fading, Choa adds a final line of “Come on over boy” which eventually disappears as well.

From the start, I will say this conclusion is solid. Having the post-chorus reused is an excellent way to leave “Like a Cat” ‘s remnants; the catchiness and looping sounds of “Lalala” and such will stay with listeners. In terms of Choa’s two-part singing, it was a strong finish. Her lines showcased power, sweet melody, and high note capabilities. Her part was also the finishing touch; it added the last climactic moment. When it comes to very end, it was a smooth end. No abrupt cuts or extended periods existed; it song calmly faded out.

A solid ending. This conclusion will net a score of 8. It is stunning in regards to both the two-part singing and the alluring post-chorus. “Like a Cat” concludes effectively and efficiently.

– Line Distribution: 6/10 – With a size of 7 members, distribution of lines may be slightly challenging. Nonetheless, it is very plausible to achieve a high score.

Starting with Choa, she appears at the verse, the bridge, and of course, the choruses. To excessively add more, she also performs two-part singing at the conclusion. As many can tell, she had sufficient time; “sufficient” is a questionable term, however, considering that she might have been given too much time. Being too prominent might cause scarcity of lines for other members, but we shall find out.

Next up is Jimin. The leader’s moments involved the introduction, the solo lines during the post-choruses, and lastly, the rap section. No issues exist here. Every section she appeared at was rather influential; the introduction radiates with her presence along with the other sections.

Yuna had no issues, either. Her lines included the choruses, and she had a part in the bridge. While she may seem lacking in comparison to Jimin and Choa, for what a member should be given in this song’s duration, Yuna had the perfect balance; not lacking but not excessive.

Hyejeong’s lines occurred at solely the pre-choruses. Since her lines were on the longer duration, no issues truly stem from this except for a lack of variety. For the most part, no issues.

In Mina’s case, her “Spotlight-light-light-light” (I’m sure people saw that coming) consisted of solely the pre-choruses. Similar to Hyejeong, since her lines were lengthier, she had enough time. Although singing different, additional lines would have been preferred, there is little trouble here.

Seolhyun, unfortunately, does remaining somewhat lacking. She occurred at solely the first and only verse, but unlike Jimin, her lines did not leave any impactful, lingering memories. Due to that, she can be seen as deprived of some singing time. Having one more additional moment elsewhere would have been desired.

Lastly, we the maknae (youngest person) of AOA: Chanmi. If Seolhyun’s lines, or lack thereof, proved to be an issue, then Chanmi is in a rough situation. Essentially, her lines are completely unnecessary, and sadly, it would have been even viable if Jimin simply took her lines. Chanmi occurred at the rap section in which predominantly Jimin was rapping; only two lines were rapped from Chanmi. Similar to an old review of Boyfriend’s “Witch,” the rap section in that song had the same issue; two people rapped, but in reality, only the main rapper was necessary. Anyhow, a horrendous distribution for Chanmi; her lines were not only short, but furthermore, were completely replaceable with Jimin simply taking over.

One additional factor to account for is that all the ladies sing during the post-chorus, but unfortunately, since that section leaned moreover towards chanting than singing, it loses its value of being “lines” in the song.

In the end, 5/7 members had adequate lines, and even then, scrutinizing further would reveal that it is still somewhat imbalanced. Choa comes off as too prominent although biasedly, I can’t complain, and Mina and Hyejeong were slightly lacking. The only member with a near-perfect distribution was Yuna. Overall, disappointing for a share of lines. For the score, considering it was mainly 5/7 members (that equates to roughly 70% of AOA) singing, adding in the vital factors of how Choa slightly overpowered the song and Mina’s and Hyejeong’s semi-lacking lines, a lower score will be given. 6 for slightly above average. Normally, 6-membered groups do fine, so even adding one more person should not prove to be troubling. On the other hand, even 9-membered groups are capable of solid distributions. It is somewhat disappointing to see issues occur here.  

– Instrumental: 7/10 – The instrumental in “Like a Cat” is pleasing; it adds a supportive foundation for the vocals along with other utilities.

Meshing with the vocals was natural; neither parties contrasted the other one harshly. In terms of matching up to the song’s flow, that was followed through. The instrumental was only as energetic as the vocals. A clear example is observing the pre-chorus to the post-chorus: the instrumental steps up a notch to accommodate the singing, but once the post-chorus arrives, it plays out as slightly passive in order to fit the chanting. Individually, the instrumental had a soothing, attractive, and catchy influence. A solid soundtrack by itself.

Overall, above average. It lacks the extra spice to gain a higher rating, but nevertheless, it holds as very suiting towards the vocals, and on its own, it comes off as a catchy soundtrack.

– Meaning: 6/10 – “Like a Cat” is a unique title. I predict lyrics that tell a flirtatious love-story. After all, Jimin did claim that datings skills can be derived from a cat. For an off-topic story/fact, apparently slowly blinking at a cat (or receiving such) is their way of sharing affection. For those wondering if this is true, I will ask a teammate who is obsessed with cats (his cats are truly adorable and irresistible). On topic, through these Korean-to-English translated lyrics, let’s find out the story:

Hey no matter where you go
(No matter where you look)
The pretty girls are AOA
You know (I know) You know (I know)
I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly
Brave Sound

You say you’ve never seen a girl like me before
That you had a feeling as soon as you saw me
Said that I especially shined
even among the many people
Your head turns to look at me
Your eyes are filled with me
Seeing you hesitate
to talk to me is so cute

The sunlight shines on me like a
spotlight-light-light-light
Only I am in your head as a
headline-line-line-line
Even when you dream, you’ll see me
Are you worrying? Stop it
Come to me, baby come on

I’ll walk over to you like a cat
Picking a rose,
I’ll give it to you,
I’ll surprise you
I’ll walk over to you like a cat
When you’re asleep,
I will softly hug you,
I’ll surprise you

Lalalalalala Lalalalalala Lalalalalala
I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly
Lalalalalala Lalalalalala Lalalalalala
I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly

I want to go to you like a cat
Tonight, without anyone knowing
I wanna softly kiss you on your lips
when you’re sound asleep
You and I, on this sweet night,
let’s hold tight to the night
You’re my wolf,
I’m your cute cat

The sunlight shines on me like a
spotlight-light-light-light
Only I am in your head as a
headline-line-line-line
Even when you dream, you’ll see me
Are you worrying? Stop it
Come to me, baby come on

I’ll walk over to you like a cat
Picking a rose,
I’ll give it to you,
I’ll surprise you
I’ll walk over to you like a cat
When you’re asleep,
I will softly hug you,
I’ll surprise you

Lalalalalala Lalalalalala Lalalalalala
I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly
Lalalalalala Lalalalalala Lalalalalala
I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly

We fly high, hug me tonight
and fly higher
So I can touch
the clouds and the moon
Know how my trembling heart
flies so lightly
Oh talk to me, oh lead me
Oh kiss me baby tonight

Lalalalalala Lalalalalala Lalalalalala
I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly
(Come baby, kiss baby)
Lalalalalala Lalalalalala Lalalalalala
(The pretty girls are here, oh baby come on~)
I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly
(Come on over boy)

The lyrics are indeed about a loving and flirting scenario. Although specifically in this case the main character is a “girl” (“lady” is the true word if I want to be really picky), overall, it remains neutral in relation to gender; the main character could be simply described as a “lover.” Focusing on what is depicted, a lady is expressing her wishes about her love-interest. Lavishing her love-interest with flowers, hugs, kisses, and such are the main details. Unlike a lot of other stories that have a shy lover, the character in “Like a Cat” has a confident, slightly arrogant demeanor. She feels that she is “good,” “hot,” “fresh,” and “fly.” There are multiple details and different aspects that showcase how infatuated the lover is, but the amount is minimal considering most ideas are essentially repeated.

Overall, a decent love story. It remains cute and charming, and as a result, a tint of sexiness is also gleaned from that. Slightly above average for the lyrics. Extra details would easily bump it up to a 7, but as of now, a 6 will be the score. Nevertheless, it is a sweeter story; after all, assuming you have no allergies with flowers, who would not love such a gift?

Now for the “nitpicking” in terms of picking out some intriguing parts of the lyrics, I find the post-chorus’ terms slightly strange. And before going any further, this will not affect the score unless if it is exponentially significant. Addressing, “I’m good I’m hot I’m fresh I’m fly,” while it adds a lot of energy and upbeatness for the song, in terms of breaking down the meaning, it holds as very absurd. Perhaps I am pulling the “I-am-Choa-so-I-don’t-know-slang” card, but I find the diction used for that line questionable. As some readers may know by now, the term “hot,” in my personal list, is very basic and not worth utilizing as an adjective towards describing a person’s physical, intelligent, and personality beauty. Unless if temperature is the subject, “hot” can be replaced by a plethora of other meaningful, vastly more significant words. For the other terms, “fresh” and “fly” are equally absurd, but considering how those are slang words that are probably related to “cool” and whatnot, it will be forgiven. I will cut it off here. Although I am positive that other lines are worth breaking apart, for the sake of keeping the review running, I will progress to the next part.    

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Quick note, as of the time I typed this sentence, FNC Entertainment did release their official dance practice videos (full version, eye contact, and for dancers, a .8x speed video to make it easier to learn). There is one issue, however: Mina is nowhere to be seen. From what I know, she is busy with filming a drama, hence why she is absent. In the end, it turns out the linked performance will be what I recommend just for the purpose of seeing the full group.

Digressing aside, the dance for “Like a Cat” does hold as lacking. Even though I am probably still scarred from Hello Venus’ “Sticky Sticky” dance relieved to see that the dance was not overly sexualized, it does, unfortunately, remain somewhat mediocre. Syncing was shockingly a large issue; the verse is one example of how the music and dance maneuvers were disconnected. During that section, although the motions were emulating the song’s flow and pacing, it was inconsistent and the only clear, unequivocal moves that synced properly were at the very end of Seolhyun and Choa’s singing. Other sections were also guilty of not matching up to the song. The only sections that were flawlessly synced were the post-choruses and rap; for the post-choruses, every beat was related to a “hip” snap, and for the rap, the flow was matched. Paying attention to the key points (repeated movesets), none were too appealing. A vast majority of the choreography focused on emulating a cat’s movement, but that sadly proved to be either poorly synced or simply dull. Even sections without mimicking a cat, such as the post-chorus, were equally loathing.

A choreography does not need to be utterly complex, and in fact, simplicity is sometimes very effective (T-ARA’s “Number 9” is a solid example), but without properly syncing and having unique maneuvers or positions, the simplicity concept completely backfires, such as in this case. Although it hurts to give a lower-end score for a section that heavily impacts the overall rating, I will grade fairly assuming I forget about Choa and give a 6 for slightly above average. “Like a Cat” has a simple choreography that contains potential, but unluckily, AOA does not manage to execute a completely infatuating dance. Nevertheless, there are still some adequate moments despite how poorly synced and unappealing the key points were. Due to that, the score is not hitting the bottom of the scale.

Now, to add a small tangent on the sexual part of the dance: the “hip” snapping part. In all honesty, everyone knows it is a butt-orientated part versus the current label of a “hip” dance. To say the least, it is interesting and I hold multiple positions regarding it. What I can appreciate is how subtle it is in comparison to a lot of other songs (or maybe I am still simply traumatized by my previous review). Although sexual-orientated parts prove to be obstructive at times due to deconstructing maneuvers to very plain, basic motions, in this case, due to proper syncing and the lack of emphasis/exaggeration, that theme was not too hindering. Nevertheless, sexual or not, the post-chorus’ dance was still very stale. On a different topic, regarding AOA’s choreographies in general, while most of them have explicit or implicit sexual concepts, they tend to be properly executed; nothing is grotesque in terms of being vastly inappropriate or overly emphasized. Remaining mature and retaining maneuvers that relate to the music itself is what AOA does well for the realm of sexy-themed choreographies.

Anyways, as stated ages ago, 6 will be the score.    

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – At the end, AOA’s “Like a Cat” finishes with a 7/10, and that represents above average, and I do agree with that value. If we are being keen towards the raw scores, however, I am slightly concerned that the Song Score did finish with a 6.6; that is threateningly low. The weaker Line Distribution Score and Meaning Score might have been the reasons.

Anyhow, although statistically the song is not too strong, biasedly, I find it a very catchy song. If I were to review this song via “feelings” versus logic like how I used to long ago in the past, I would have given this an 8. Realistically, of course, we can see certain flaws throughout the song, and that it truly is not the best. Nevertheless, it is above average and I still highly recommend AOA. I have been watching a lot of their interviews and whatnot. I will claim they are a rising group, and it is well deserved. These ladies have worked very hard to get to where they currently are at. Lots of respect towards them. That also reminds me, although I did not link the music video, in comparison to a lot of other ones (or once again, I might still be mentally scarred), it is well done with retaining AOA’s usual sexual-themes without going overboard (but nonetheless, it is very sexualized at certain moments). Besides, it is the first music video I saw with a small plot occurring. Anyways, I personally will be keeping track of AOA’s future releases and such. They have won my heart through their humor, wit, intelligence, and very respectable dedication, and they have won my ears with decent songs (although in honesty, most of their songs are “above average” or even just “slightly above average” if I were to review them).

As I always say and do, thank you very much for reading this review. I hope I did the song justice. I considered being hasty and quickly finishing this review, but I went against that and went my usual pacing. Nevertheless, I apologize deeply for not posting anything for 8 days. As I mentioned with an update post, I have been very busy with school work, so I’m allocating more times toward that. I will be making a strong return during Thanksgiving break; I plan to do a song per day during my time off. While I am skeptical on that, please look forward to it. Thanks for your patience and time, I appreciate it so, so much.

In terms of upcoming reviews, for some reason, during periods where I have multiple songs in mind, I end up being very time restricted. Lots of ballad songs are in mind, but there are also a lot of regular K-Pop songs as well. In order to keep things diverse, I will probably review a male group. But, if I may add my personal belief or at least my experience, males already have enough attention; society is male-orientated and dominated enough. And for those who will get defensive, I am not offending males; I am stating that society is simply structured towards males’ perspective. Point is, if my next review does happen to be another female artist, readers should not overreact and claim I am not being “fair” and such.

Now with that said, I have both male and female artists in mind to review. I will probably do a rushed review for one song I consider mediocre, and then return with a more detailed review on another song. In fact, I think I may review a song with a different language other than Korean; Girls’ Generation did release a Japanese ballad a while back, and I will say, it is indescribably beautiful. To go off topic, music holds a very interesting position in relation to culture and whatnot. Despite how Japanese sounds very foreign to me (and note, unlike a vast majority of newbies exposed to songs with different languages, I said “foreign” and not “weird/strange” or, forbid, “wrong”), I can still heavily appreciate the music and vocals. And, uniquely, the emotional vibe is still felt despite having a language barrier. I am sure a lot of K-Pop enthusiasts can relate; even for those who don’t understand Korean at all, let alone the culture and such, it is impossible to deny that some songs do sound amazing despite sounding foreign.

Back on track, I plan to either review Girls’ Generation’s “Divine” (the J-Ballad) or GOT7’s “Girls Girls Girls” (faster review) for my next one. Even then, I have 5 other songs in mind as well. That reminds me, Hyorin from Sistar did make a solo comeback, so I might review her recent ballad. But, keep in mind I am already drowning in work, so look forward to it, but do not put in too much anticipation. Overall, it will remain a surprise for what my next review is. I have an itch to review a ballad song. With winter coming and all, ballads are always soothing.

I have said too much for this review, so I believe this is a proper place to end it. Once again, thank you very much for the wait. I sincerely appreciate your patience, and I will do my best to repay that with a barrage of reviews coming out during my own break. If it was possible, I would be “Picking a rose” and I would “give it to you.” Thanks for reading, stay tuned for future reviews and for other fun posts as well.  

Hello Venus – “Sticky Sticky” Review

Hello Venus – Sticky Sticky (Live Performance)

Hello Venus – Sticky Sticky

Reviewed on November 13, 2014

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Personal Message: As promised, I will be covering Hello Venus’ recent comeback song, “Sticky Sticky”. I am actually reviewing this without having a proper video link, but by the time this review is finished, I am sure a high-quality live performance video will be published. Currently in terms of when I wrote this Personal Message section, every live performance video was either blurry visually, or in the audio department, very difficult to hear. Given a few more days, a proper link should be attached in this review. Now if their label company is feeling awfully generous, we may be bathed in luxury by having a dance practice video. Chances of that, however, is probably as low as an abyss.

Focusing on what really matters, I will give my personal opinion and insight on Hello Venus’ complete revamp. The most obvious change would be the lost of two ladies; Yoonjo and YooAra left during the summer if I recall correctly. Diving into the technicalities of what exactly happened, in honesty, I am not fully sure. But for those who are very curious, their original label company had a split. Unfortunately, due to that, YooAra and Yoonjo were under another label company than the other members (again, I might be completely wrong, but I remember something along the line of this), and as a result, they weren’t able to stay in Hello Venus. That said, considering how Hello Venus was very unpopular and hardly recognized, I expected the lost of the two valuable members to be the catalyst for disbanding. Fast forward a few months, I have been proven wrong; Hello Venus is still active.

Now that the roster change is clarified, although I am not familiar with this group at all, if my brain is properly functioning, in their previous song of “Do You Want Some Tea?” (check out my newbie review of it), YooAra was a solid vocalist. Losing her probably affected a lot of their vocal capabilities. Their two new members are Seoyoung and Yeoreum, and, from a single perspective of “Sticky Sticky”, neither of them have promising vocals. Then again, not a single member was able to show off impressive vocals for this song. I will simply cut it off here. The real review will begin below.

The final aspect of their changes to discuss, which I’m sure readers are quite curious on, is their concept: cute to sexy. Personally, I did not expect nor desire this; their original cute concept was what made them very unique. Perhaps I am just still in morbid shock; after all, if Apink swapped over to a sexy concept, I am positive that fans would be clutching at their hearts. Anyhow, it will be interesting to observe Hello Venus in the long run. They were not the first group to abandon a cute, lighter concept. Girl’s Day is a prominent group that comes to mind. They started off as adorable, but then transitioned over to give off a stronger, sexier image. In Girl’s Day’s case, that switch was what allowed them to be at their current popularity. Will it work for Hello Venus? In my opinion, no. From my observations, the biggest, most influential factor that Girl’s Day gleaned from switching over to a sexy concept were their vocals; they sounded like the incredible ladies they are versus their original, childish singing style. Sadly, in Hello Venus’ case, the opposite happened: they sound worse. “Do You Want Some Tea?” showcased solid vocals despite being on the cute style. For their comeback, “sexy” vocals are not heard at all. Arguably, I will claim their cute concept’s vocals were vastly “sexier”; they were genuinely decent.

Anyhow, I have went on for long enough on that subject. In short, I am hoping Hello Venus goes back to their original concept, or at least, to alternate the two concepts of cute or sexy, or another solution, to do a combination such as with Girl’s Day’s “Darling”. As of now, Hello Venus’ current concept is overwhelming different. I may just be purely biased right now, however. That might be the case since I watched the music video (I rarely watch the MVs of K-Pop songs; live performances and/or dance practices are what I watch) and expected their original concept. As a result, I was completely caught off guard and disturbed by how sexual it was. To share a tangent, “implicit” sexy concepts are my preferred concepts for the sexy category (and for those wondering what is my favorite concept in general, I am not bound to one; biasedly, T-ARA and Nine Muses’ general songs/choreographies are ones I’ve found appealing). For example, the choreographies of Nine Muses are bold, confident, powerful, but they possess sexiness disguised in the form of remaining mature and respectable. In the scenario of Hello Venus’ “Sticky Sticky”, the choreography is heavily focused on blatant sexual dance moves. Their label company should have stuck with the original style, but they must have had some deliberate purposes for this change (and actually, a discussion about which concepts are most appealing/profitable would be interesting).

I have digressed for way too long, and in fact, this review might hold the record of the longest Personal Message section yet. Anyhow, Hello Venus’ recent comeback song is “Sticky Sticky”. As stated earlier, the ladies are swapping over to a sexy concept. Despite losing two members during the summer, they have rebounded with the addition of two new teammates. Although it is admirable to see them persevere, their latest song leaves them in a “Sticky Sticky” situation; it does not compete with their previous song.

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Song Total Score: 5/10 (5.4/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 5/10 – Considering Hello Venus was given an 8 before for their vocals, seeing a 5 here is absurd. The style of this song may be the one to blame.

“Sticky Sticky” showcases average vocals. The singing holds as weak and exceptionally stale. The melody provided was simplistic; a spectrum of notes did not exist. Even during the bridge section, the higher pitches were not too appealing. In terms of being stale, the style thwarts the vocals from being diverse. Strangely, for this song, the ladies had to sing in a raspier voice. Due to this, a lot of the melody becomes clogged down and restricted. (As a disclaimer, as I mentioned before in my review of “Red” by Hyuna, I am judging voices from a musical aspect; every voice is indeed unique, charming, and beautiful. There is nothing wrong with having a raspy voice at all. Every voice should be well respected.)

Average vocals for this song. Hello Venus in the past have shown competent vocal capabilities, but in this song, the style of raspiness and the lack of diverse pitches lead to an exceptionally stale song from a vocals perspective. It’s pitiful that “sexy” vocals mean the ladies have to hinder their own voices to suit the theme. What would have been “sexy” would be their normal singing voices. They have proven to have stunning vocals, but for this song, that is not showcased.

– Song Structure: 5/10 (5/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 5/10 – This introduction is what I personally call a “trademark” introduction. This is due to the song producer, Brave Brothers, always leaving his signature (and actually, one day I may give a brief discussion regarding K-Pop songs and the main song producers). Anyhow, a male voice introduces the group and the producer. Throughout the voiceover, Hello Venus adds “Hello” in a raspy tone.

This introduction leans towards the mediocre side, but considering how efficiently it sets up the song, it holds as adequate. The vocals’ style is instantly established and the slower paced instrumental is set. Furthermore, this section remains compact; nothing excessive.

Overall, an average section. Quickly setting up the sexier theme and delivering the vocal and instrumental styles was properly done. What does remain lacking is how plain and dull it is. A “trademark” concept without any other aspect to support it holds as pure narration. Sadly, such was the case here. Although Hello Venus did add their “Hello” lines, they were simply adding a background narrating voice. A current example of a stronger trademark introduction would be AOA’s “Like a Cat” (next review in line). AOA has a trademark introduction for all of their song’s beginning, but due to either actually singing or having twists and a variety of melody and words, they manage to pull it in a stunningly appealing manner. Anyhow, on track with “Sticky Sticky”, the introduction is rated as average.    

2. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – Considering how the post-chorus is instantly used when, as the name states, it should be found after a chorus, this section may seem absurd in terms of the order. Nevertheless, despite all odds, the timing is acceptable. All of the ladies sing for the post-choruses.

The post-choruses involve a melodic repetition of “Oh”. Unfortunately, there is nothing else to add onto that.

Repetition and staleness are huge issues for the post-choruses. There is no diversity in terms of the words used (it was only one word), and the melody, despite being withered down due to the raspy vocals, is endlessly looped. These aspects are perfect bait for luring out tedious sections. The only benefit regarding this section would be how it does hold as slightly catchy, but taking into account of how there is little complexity involved, that brings the post-choruses to a “Sticky” situation.

Overall, below average. This section is simply too repetitive. If the vocals were more impressive or the section’s length was shortened, then perhaps it would be slightly stronger. As of now, however, staleness is a large issue. One of the most stagnant sections I’ve heard in a song.

3. Verse: 5/10 – Yooyoung and Alice handle the first verse, and as typical, I will focus on the first verse for critiquing.

Yooyoung arrives with a slower pacing to accommodate the instrumental’s rate. The vocals retain the expected raspiness. Towards her last line, she does add some emphasis at the last word “geol” for a smooth transition to Alice. Once she takes over, she replicates Yooyoung’s style. There is a difference, however, towards the middle of her part. Her words of “tteugeoun nungire” have extra power going towards them. After that, Alice concludes her last line.

From a vocal standpoint, it holds as mediocre. There was minimal melodic flow for the singing; staleness becomes derived from such. In terms of the emphasized parts, they slightly alleviate the dullness, but not by much considering the amplifications were still vocally lacking. The only strength that emerges from this section is the proper chemistry between vocals and instrumental. Both sides were identically paced.

Overall, an average section. Should the emphasized parts not have existed, this would be leaning towards the negative scoring scale (less than 5). Thankfully, with some minimal differences in the flow due to emphasis, a penalty won’t occur. Nevertheless, the section is bereft of anything solid. The vocals are mediocre, the instrumental provides solely a foundation, and the melody, despite the emphasized words, is still equally plain.

4. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – Nara handles the first pre-chorus by herself. For this song, the pre-choruses are rather shorter. That is not an issue; the pre-choruses fulfill their roles.

Upon transitioning to this section, the instrumental makes a subtle increase in energy. It becomes slightly faster. Nara’s part involves reaching for the higher pitches. At the very end, she manages to hit a high note for transitioning the song to the chorus.

For the most part, the pre-chorus does the standard role. It escalates the song’s intensity in preparation for the chorus. Focusing on the singing, while Nara’s range is respectable, once again, the raspiness impairs vocal abilities. The ending could have been vastly stronger if the “sexy” themed singing was decimated. Due to the raspier style, the high noted ending sounded as if she was lacking breath. In a song, it is almost imperative to always show sustained vocals, not faltering and languishing ones (although in different situations, this wouldn’t hold as true).

Another average section in “Sticky Sticky”. The vocal skill is partially witnessed via high notes, but the style of delivering the lines is not solid. Simply put, this section did its standard job of bringing the song’s intensity up for the chorus. Anything else, however, remains out of the picture.

5. Chorus: 5/10 – So far, as readers can tell, this song is coming off as purely average. Will the chorus follow suit? Perhaps. Alice and Seoyoung team up for the first chorus.

Alice begins the chorus with decently powered vocals. Her lines become slightly more dynamic by being sliced up into bits. During the ending parts of “…hage” and “…lae”, there are small pauses after each part. Seoyoung’s part emulates her member exactly. After both ladies finish, the song transitions into the post-chorus.

If it has not yet been clear, this song is quite average. As anticipated, another average section. The pacing here provides some fluctuating lines. That allows for diversity and prevents some staleness. Vocally, though, both ladies were limited by the raspy, weaker tone. “…hage” is an example of how the raspiness constricted their vocal range. Additionally, with how the instrumental became slightly more upbeat, seeing the vocals reciprocating that would have been desired. The chorus in “Sticky Sticky” leaves room for improvement.

6. Bridge: 6/10 – Three members are responsible for the bridge. Seoyoung, Nara, and Alice are the ones in specific.

Coming off with decent power, Seoyoung initiates the bridge with “I’m in love”. She adds one more line before Nara tags in. In contrast to the power, Nara gives a slower, quieter tone. Following that up is Alice who, in coordination with Seoyoung, hits a higher pitched and strong note hold. Once all the dust clears, the song proceeds with the post-chorus/conclusion.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this bridge. Although the ladies kept their raspiness style, they were, against all odds, able to show off an energetic, melodic, and impactful bridge. The note hold at the very end was well executed in both categories of power and coordination (Seoyoung joined in). What prevents me from confidently giving a high score is due to peering at the song as a whole. I expected a relatively dull calm bridge. The song in general was rather mellow and quieter, and therefore, any bridge with a climax occurring in the form of a powerful note hold would be unexpected and unsuitable. Sadly, “Sticky Sticky” uses the climactic bridge concept.

Overall, slightly above average. The bridge itself was well done. Vocals were diverse despite the rife raspy style, and the note hold was impressive. What holds the bridge back is the approach of it; impacting and powerful. Having a calmer bridge would have suited the song as a whole. The section is mechanically well done, but systematically at fault.

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 5/10 – Similar to the bridge, this section contrasts the other pieces harshly. Head-on power in the form of the post-chorus occurs for the conclusion. All of the ladies chip in.

The post-chorus plays out as usual. However, this time different members throw in high notes and perform two-part singing.

Since the post-choruses were exceptionally bleak, considering how the conclusion takes away such via two-part singing, a solid ending should be expected. That is not the result. Similarly to the bridge, this conclusion was overdone; the two-part singing and explosive vocals were too potent. A calmer end should have been done.

Overall, an average section. The vocal skills were respectable, but this style either should have been included near the start, or, if left out, remain out. This conclusion fails to fit the established trends and it fails to bring the song to a smooth end.  

– Line Distribution: 6/10 – There are 6 members in Hello Venus, so a high score should be expected.

Alice has a part at the first verse, she appears at the choruses, and returns at the bridge. Plenty of time was given to her.

Nara handled the first pre-chorus and appears at the bridge. Slightly lacking considering both moments were very short in duration.

Lime is heard at the second half of the second verse. One part for her, so not too impressive. More time could have been given.

Seoyoung had sufficient lines. She appears at the choruses and bridge. No issues.

Yooyoung is witnessed at the verses. The first halves of the verses belong to her. An ample amount of time was given.

Yeoreum possessed solely one pre-chorus. Considering how short the pre-choruses were, not much time was given.

Lastly, the final thing to account for is all the ladies sing during the post-choruses.

The main issues in the share of lines for “Sticky Sticky” is predominately with Yeoreum, but other members such as Lime and Nara were also lacking. Even with all the members singing the post-chorus, more time could have been allocated towards three of the members. Slightly above average, but nevertheless, slightly disappointing.  

– Instrumental: 6/10 – The instrumental in “Sticky Sticky” works as a foundation; it remains subtle and a part of the background, but it fulfills its job of supporting the vocals. During moments where the intensity was higher, the instrumental followed suit. Individually, the soundtrack is a slower paced and calmer orientated type. The beats are consistent and provide decent rhythm. Other sounds hold as decent.

Overall, slightly above average. It meshes well with Hello Venus’ singing, and individually, it remains as a soothing soundtrack. Nothing too spectacular, but it can be regarded as sufficient.

– Meaning: 5/10 – “Sticky Sticky”; an interesting title. I am expecting a love-related story that isn’t necessarily cheerful, but rather, a “Sticky Sticky” situation such as a fight. And no, for my fellow readers that follow me from my E-Sports activities, this song is not praising the Demoman’s beloved weapon (and for those completely lost, just nod your head and ignore this). Putting aside my inhumanely awful joke/pun, let’s take a look at the story from these translated lyrics. It is not 100% accurate, but here are the Korean-to-English translated lines:

(Hello) It’s a new beginning
(Hello) Brave Sound and Hello Venus
(Hello) Now we together, let’s go

Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

I’m so full of charm
Am I really sexy?
Just by giving you a look,
you get so happy
You can’t take your eyes off me
Your hot stares at me
make my heart pound, too

Hold my hands, hum along
and whisper love to me, oh baby

Sticky sticky, risky risky
I wanna hug you, I wanna have you next to me tonight
Sticky sticky, electric electric
Wanna come to me? You’re it, catch me tonight

Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

Make me lose my breath
Make me dizzy because of you
My cheeks are red
Your naughty hands are so busy
Your sweet words
are like chocolate
My heart is like melted candy
In your hands, sticky sticky

Hold my hands, hum along
and whisper love to me, oh baby

Sticky sticky, risky risky
I wanna hug you, I wanna have you next to me tonight
Sticky sticky, electric electric
Wanna come to me? You’re it, catch me tonight

Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

I’m in love, I’ve fallen deep
into your heart, can’t escape
Hold me tight, sweetly tell me
Make it sticky,
our own tonight

Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

In reality, my predictions were completely off; the sheer opposite happened. “Sticky Sticky” describes a flirtatious love-related story. A lady or gentleman is in a situation where, as the title says, they are heavily attached to their partner in both a physical and an emotional level. Through physical contact such as holding hands or hugging, the couple is “Sticky Sticky”, but with being in love with one another, they are also glued together via feelings.

In the end, an intimate, passionate love story is unveiled. While the story itself is interesting and slightly different than others, details remain lacking. The verses are mainly the sections that give details. Everything else is a repeat of the same idea of “Sticky Sticky”. Average lyrics. If more details were added, a higher score would have been given.  

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Choreography Score: 5/10 – To be straightforward, the choreography of “Sticky Sticky” is, as every other section in this song has proven to practically be, average.

Syncing with the song was consistent, but there were numerous moments where a connection between movements and the song was lost. Examples include the verses. In terms of the key points, they were not impressive. Every section recycled the same dance sets, and in focus of every set, they were mediocre. Ignoring the sexual aspect of the dance (which will be discussed in a few more lines), the dance maneuvers remained extremely simplistic. The post-chorus’ dance section was equally plain as the musical section itself. The only benefit of the dance would be how it reflects the song’s slower pacing.

Now as stated earlier, time to address the sexually-orientated dance.  It is one thing to have a section overly sexualized, but it is another issue when that typically involves whittling down the dance to simply moving or (forbid) groping a body part. Blatant sexual dances are not only disturbing, but it simply notches the choreography’s complexity down by a significant degree. To use a current song as an opposite, AOA’s “Like a Cat” is a solid example of a sexy-theme while remaining subtle. Hello Venus’ “Sticky Sticky” becomes hindered by their sexually explicit dance sections. To clarify, most of the time (sexualization in media will be saved for another time), and that is a questionable frequency term, sexy-themed concepts in K-Pop songs are not instantly bad; the largest indicator is explicit versus implicit. Nine Muses, for example, has been known to lean towards the sexier side, but it has never been outrageously disturbing (but I’ll be honest, “Wild” was overwhelming at first due to the MV) since their choreography and song are limited by being very subtle and passive.

Anyhow, point is, a sexy-theme doesn’t immediately corrupt a song’s or choreography’s rating unless if it is poorly executed. What ruins the concept is when it is overly exaggerated or explicitly done. And lastly, for fans who are indeed clutching at their aching hearts for Hello Venus’ concept change, these ladies are simply cooperating with their label company. I am positive that the members of Hello Venus are, in fact, genuinely sexy ladies; like many idols, they are extremely hard working, talented, intelligent, and persevering. Sounds sexy enough.

To bring this all the way back to the choreography, it holds as average. The dance’s key points are weak, and certain parts are impaired due to a poorly executed sexually-orientated part.

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Overall Score: 5/10 (5/10 raw score) – Both the Song Total Score and Choreography Score are rated at a 5, thus, the Overall Score will follow as such. This leaves Hello Venus’ comeback at a rating of average, which I do reside with. The song itself is average and similarly is the choreography.

Perhaps in the future Hello Venus will release a hit, but as of now, their song holds as mediocre. Nevertheless, I am glad the group is still active. Rebounding from a roster disaster is very admirable.

As I always do, thank you for reading this. Apologies for being rather slow with this review. I did slightly rush this review, but hopefully it still remains cohesive enough. Thank you very much, though, for sticking around and reading. It means a lot.

For my next review, AOA’s recent comeback of “Like a Cat” has caught my attention, so that will be reviewed shortly. Their other songs have been notable, but nothing was too outstanding. “Like a Cat”, however, has definitely captured my ears. Anyhow, I appreciate how they have an “AOA” style to their songs and that they’ve stuck with the same concept throughout their entire career. They’re a group that’s rapidly gaining popularity, and considering they were (don’t hurt me) underdogs, it’s really pleasing to witness that. More will be discussed about this if I remember on their review.

I am currently bundled down with work, so reviews are not a priority. School before anything else, but I will do my best to keep up. The end has arrived. Thank you for all the support; “Your sweet words are like chocolate”. Keep checking back for a review on AOA’s “Like a Cat”.

Girls’ Generation – “I Got A Boy” Review

Girls’ Generation – I Got A Boy (Live Performance)

Girls’ Generation – I Got A Boy (short/live vers.)

Reviewed on November 8, 2014

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Personal Message: There are so many things to address/share before this review. To begin, this will be the first review of November 2014. Let’s keep things rolling well, and, through work, improving. Something to address quickly, this review will be based on the live performance linked above; this version is significantly shorter (30 – 40 seconds?). What is lost is a bridge section in addition to shorter transitions (I think). I am keeping it this way to prevent readers from becoming confused with the performance audio and the official audio. Overall, though, it’s practically identical.

Anyhow, why am I digging all the way back to 2013 for this song? Originally, VIXX’s “Error” was going to be reviewed, but then I saw that they did a dance cover of Girls’ Generation “I Got A Boy”. As a result, it made me look over this song once more, and considering this song won YouTube’s Music Award (right?), I took an even closer look and decided to review it.

For a short story, I remember vividly this era of Girls’ Generation. It was a huge sensation and hit (side note, it’d be so much fun to analyze and figure out why it was so popular, etc.). People from all over loved the song, concept, and style. Personally, when it came to the song itself, my initial take was “What is this thing?” Now of course, “thing” might’ve been said differently, but I was quite repelled by the song. Silly joke aside, it still remains as one of the most disorganized songs I’ve listened to, even after coming back to it after many months.

One last story I have to share, though, is how a recent “discussion” about Girls’ Generation and this song led to me being called a “woman-loving feminist”. Now if this person told me that in a cheerful, friendly way, it’d be a different story. However, her style of delivering that was in a muttered, menacing tone. Quickly summing up the discussion, I mentioned how ladies should be able to happily express that they “Got A Boy” they love. Perhaps my phrasing of “men are ‘unnecessary’” was poorly worded, and thus, I got the comment stated above. I simply meant how females should not feel obligated to be with a male for the sake of just being with a male. Anyhow, what irritated me the most was how feminist was said with such a negative connotation when that should not be the case. Believing both genders are equal shouldn’t be anything close to bad. But, to each their own opinion; after all, this is the same friend that gave me trouble for watching “The TaeTiSeo” (check out my review on that show). And as a disclaimer, in no way am I trying to put my friend down; she just has different perspectives than me, and I fully accept and understand that.

Back on track with this song, as mentioned, Girls’ Generation was extremely popular during this time. Perhaps it was due to this song’s uniqueness, the chic styles, or most likely, a combination of the two. While this song comes off as a mixture of hip-hop, regular pop, funkiness, and full of fun, it still remains very disorganized. I haven’t even started organizing the different song structures, but I feel quite intimidated.

Even with my own personal dislike towards this song, I won’t let that hinder me from reviewing it fairly. After all, the intelligent, tough, and hard working ladies of Girls’ Generation were very prominent during this time. A reason must exist for that. Enough said, “Let me introduce myself, here comes trouble” in the form of Girls’ Generation’s “I Got A Boy”          

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Song Total Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories

– Vocals: 7/10 – Knowing it’s Girls’ Generation, a 9 would be expected. Unfortunately, for this song, that is not quite the case. For moments where there was individual singing, the vocals were decent. What doesn’t remain too solid is their chanting; moments during the chorus and pre-choruses. While those sections had catchy, energetic vocals, nothing vocally stunning was shown at all. Peering back at individual parts, when a single member would sing her own lines and part, it would remain sufficient; not too strong but nothing to look over. Adding a fun mood is the benefit of their vocals in this song.

Overall, for “I Got A Boy”, vocally intensive lines were nonexistent. Nevertheless, the vocals were very catchy and upbeat. The choruses and pre-choruses showcase vocals that capture attention, but in terms of moments that unveil high vocal skills, there were little to none. Above average for vocals. Although this song in specific lacks their standard score, Girls’ Generation has proven that they can be very adept singers; examples include “Mr. Mr.” and with their sub-unit group, TaeTiSeo.

– Song Structure: 6/10 (6.14/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 9/10 – Personally, this may be one of my favorite introductions. Ignoring my bias, however, it would still hold as a fantastic introduction. Sooyoung, Yuri, and Tiffany handle the introduction.

The song starts off with Sooyoung yelling out, “Ayo, Sooyoung!” After that, a few lines are sung/spoken (depending on if you consider that singing). Eventually, Yuri takes over and replicates Sooyoung’s style. Once Yuri’s part closes, Tiffany takes over. The instrumental also shifts to a lighter, energetic and upbeat version. Tiffany’s lines include confident and fun words. A smooth transition is created from such. One last thing to add is during certain words, such as “eo-meo” and “wae geuraetdae?”, all the ladies chip in for emphasis.

In terms of the introduction’s role, the start of the song should capture the attention of listeners. In addition, it should allow listeners to anticipate what is to come. For “I Got A Boy”, all of those parameters are set; the dialogue style at the beginning lures people in, and the energetic vocals and instrumental set up the song. To go into detail, Sooyoung and Yuri’s part was a short story/dialogue (the Meaning Score section will cover it). Musically, their lines were on the plain, calmer side. Nevertheless, for certain words such as “eo-meo”, the other members would say it along with either Sooyoung or Yuri. This creates some diversity for their flow along with highlighting the lyrics’ meaning. When Tiffany arrives, her part elevates the song’s energy. Her lines leave a lasting impression. Furthermore, by having both the vocals and instrumental shift together, the transition becomes very fluid.

Overall, a very loveable section. Considering how the song as a whole isn’t too solid, an introduction as this is rather surprising. The dialogue at the start captures attention and the emphasized words add to the flow. Lastly, the transition to the next section was exceptionally well done; Tiffany and the accompanying instrumental swapped over to an energetic style without coming off as harsh. A very high score will be given here.

2. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – For this part, all the members of Girls’ Generation sing. There are a few solo lines; one lady of the group sings during those moments. Before going any further, there are two “versions” of the pre-choruses: slow version and fast version. Since I’m feeling lazy it would be less confusing and troublesome, I will be grading the pre-chorus as an average. If I were to be specific, the fast version would be a 4/10, and the slow version would be a 6/10.

Peering at the slow version first due to order, it remains quite solid. As stated, all of the members sing and then one member would have a solo line. Focusing on the first pre-chorus, the ladies are chanting to a catchy and powerful melody. Although their chant is using a simple “Oh” and “Yeah”, this creates proper syncing between the vocals and the instrumental’s heavier beats. Jessica, in the case of the first pre-chorus, finishes the section with an adequate and satisfying line. Overall, for the slow version, due to phenomenal synergy between the vocals and instrumental, the section as a whole becomes augmented. The words used may be very basic, but hearing the perfect connection between the heavier instrumental and equally impactful words allows this version to thrive.

Unfortunately, when the fast version occurs (pre-choruses after the rap), the previous pleasing style disappears. Instead, the instrumental downgrades and the vocals attempt to emulate the lighter melody. Connections between the soundtrack and singing are gone. With the instrumental being quite fast-paced, Girls’ Generation struggled to keep up; the vastly lighter style that emanated from the instrumental did not mesh well with the ladies’ singing.

Combining everything together, average remains as the score. The slower versions showcased exciting and powerful moments, but the faster version did the complete opposite; weak and little to no chemistry between the vocals and soundtrack. On the positive side, at least listeners will hear the better pre-chorus version at first. Nevertheless, it is disappointing to see a pre-chorus degrade during a song.

3. Verse: 5/10 – As keen readers may notice, this song does seem disorganized. The pre-choruses have two versions, and likewise, the verses have multiple versions as well. Thankfully, the two versions aren’t too drastically different, but nonetheless are homogenous to the pre-choruses with the terms of “fast version” and “slow version”. If those terms become too confusing/boring, quoting a friend, the first verse is the “badass version”, and the remaining two are the “cute versions” according to her.

Putting humor aside, regardless of the versions, they all come out as average. I won’t be able to use a verse in detail/as an example since they all differ, so I will generalize. For all the verses, the singing executed was neither adept or inept. In terms of the instrumental, both the slow version with its heavy beats and the electronic fast version were average. Unlike some previous sections, there was little to no connection between vocals and instrumental. Everything for the verses come out as plain; nothing terrible but also not astounding. Now, if there were bonus points for being adorable, Seohyun and Tiffany would’ve earned a few, but realistically and looking at what truly matters for judging, Girls’ Generation manages to snatch only 5. (Short tangent, judging realistically should always be in mind, not how “cute” or whatever a lady/gentleman is)

4. Chorus: 4/10 – The chorus of “I Got A Boy” is, as expected from the song title, the key phrase of “I got a boy”. To be blunt, this category spells below average explicitly: B-E-L-O, shall I end this pathetic joke? All of the ladies sing during a chorus for the entirety of it.

The choruses consist of repeating lines of “I got a boy” followed by a few adjectives that are either in English or Korean. There are 6 phrases of “I got a boy…” assuming I counted correctly. Firstly, repetition becomes a huge issue; “I got a boy” times 6 becomes quite stale. Should the lyrics not be tedious enough, the instrumental ensures that the chorus is. The soundtrack itself is an obnoxious electronic sound that zips back and forth. Vocally, since all the members are chanting, the melody becomes muddled down moreover to power and chanting versus actual singing.

In summary, below average for a section. The instrumental was mediocre, melodic and delightful vocals weren’t showcased, and the flow was utterly mundane. Remaining somewhat catchy is the only strength of the choruses.

5. Rap: 9/10 – Digressing for a moment, I feel ashamed that I even considered myself a fan of Girls’ Generation; I had no idea that Yoona and Hyoyeon (or any member at all) were capable of rapping. Anyhow, I came to an extremely welcoming realization thanks to “I Got A Boy”. For this rap, those two ladies handle it professionally.

Yoona kicks off the rap with words sliding off her tongue. The pacing is quick and her melody is catchy; outstanding for a rap. Hyoyeon carries the remaining of the rap after Yoona is done. There is a unique layer added to this part: dialogue. For two lines in her rap, Hyoyeon would spit out a line and Yoona would toss in a few words as a reply. After all of that, Hyoyeon finishes the section on her own. Another aspect to include is the instrumental, which still remains the same bouncing electronic sound.

A large boost to the score is the outright fact of the ladies’ speed and fluency. Words were coming out easily and the pacing was incredible; fast and accurate. Melody was not lost as it typically is during such high rates, either. Another aspect is how, despite all odds, the instrumental amplifies the pacing. Although the instrumental individually induced annoyance, the soundtrack reciprocated the rapping speed from Yoona and Hyoyeon.

Overall, one of the better raps I have heard in a song. Yoona and Hyoyeon’s rapping skills individually were stunning. On top of their amazing mechanical rapping talent, the instrumental aided the section and the flow and melody remained just as solid. A very high score is deserved here.

6. Bridge: 5/10 – A basic bridge that fills in the spot. Jessica and Seohyun tag up for this section.

Jessica initiates the bridge. During her lines, the instrumental shifts to a relaxing and softer tone. Jessica’s lines are hitting the higher pitch range. Her pacing was on the slower side and had some words stretched out (not enough to be considered note holds). Nevertheless, she remained very melodic and graceful. Later, Seohyun transitions in via adding “neo” (means you in English). Once she takes ownership of the section, Seohyun sings one line and the rest of Girls’ Generation concludes the bridge with everyone adding one final line.

While I am glad that the bridge was nothing excessive, it does remain on the bleak side. The vocals from Jessica were impressive, but the follow up from Seohyun contrasted that by being basic. Peering at the soundtrack, it stands as equally stale. Observing how this song as a whole was structured, a lackluster bridge seemed imminent; no pathway leading to a climactic moment existed. Nonetheless, even if this is a bridge that isn’t aimed towards being the climax, there aren’t any prominent aspects.

Overall, the bridge comes out as average. The singing from Jessica holds as skilled and enlightening, but the instrumental and Seohyun’s part did not provide anything further. A plain, simple, and basic bridge.

7. Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10 – As something seen from other K-Pop songs, the chorus is recycled for this song. That is seemingly concerning considering how the choruses are not too appealing, and in addition, the previous section before the conclusion/final chorus was another chorus.

All of the ladies handle the chorus, and in general, the final chorus flows as any other chorus did. The difference here, however, was two-part singing occurred; a few members sing their own separate lines to add some layers.

Perhaps the two-part singing added enough to create diversity and changes, but the conclusion is not bad at all. In fact, it’s slightly above average. The double choruses towards the end give a final climax along with the key phrase becoming ingrained into listeners. With certain members singing their own lines, the choruses no longer felt as stale. Even if the “I got a boy” phrases were repeated for a total of 12 times, due to the two-part singing, that thought did not occur whatsoever. In terms of the final moment, it was a clean cut. The soundtrack died out completely and the ladies were left standing (no pun intended) with simply finishing one line.

For this section in “I Got A Boy”, slightly above average is the score. I expected a much lower score, but since the two-part singing modified the song in an appropriate and enjoyable way, a decent score is given.

– Line Distribution: 7/10 – With nine members in Girls’ Generation, it will be challenging to have all lines equally shared among the ladies. Nevertheless, they pulled off a solid score if I recall in “Mr. Mr.”. Besides, it is possible to ace a perfect score with nine members; Nine Muses (as the name implies; also one of my favorite groups) has nine members and they manage a very equal share with lines.

On track with Girls’ Generation, for Taeyeon, her lines involved the halves of the first and second verse, and one line during a pre-chorus. No issues exist here.

Jessica had one line during a pre-chorus, two lines at the first verse, and, more generously, lots of spotlight during the bridge. Due to the bridge, it redeems the lack of lines during the other parts.

Sunny had a lengthier moment during the first verse, and in addition, she had the second half of the second verse. One more section to add is her one line during a pre-chorus. Seeing how prominent she was for the verses, she is not lacking in this song.

Tiffany had a plethora of the song’s parts. That or maybe I’m biased towards her and thus, pay more attention. In a serious tone, she appeared during the introduction, she had one transitioning line, and she had a half of the third verse. Sadly, the reality does show that she lacks a few lines, but considering how impactful her introduction was, she left enough of an impression for viewers/listeners. For the most part, no concerns are here, but more could’ve been expected.

Hyoyeon shared the incredible rap with Yoona, so her prescence was definitely felt. Besides having that excellent section, she had one line during a pre-chorus. Considering how her rap had a longer, impacting duration, Hyoyeon had a fair share.

Yuri was, unfortunately, primarily at solely the introduction. Although she did a pleasing part, it would have been desired to see her have other moments. The only other moment she sung was during a quick line at a pre-chorus. Overall, more is expected from her; slightly lacking from this song.

Sooyoung rides in the same boat as Yuri; she took the first half of the introduction, but that was mainly it. Even more homogenous to Yuri, she had one quick line during a pre-chorus. Like Yuri, more lines would have been delightful. Not too impressive in terms of the line distribution for her.

Yoona, the actress of Girls’ Generation (she has been casted in multiple dramas/movies), was, as mentioned earlier, the rapping partner with Hyoyeon. Her part involved the fluid and smooth rap, and one line during a pre-chorus. There are no issues with her share; she had an amazing rap moment.

Last, but definitely not least, Seohyun, the sweet maknae (youngest person) of Girls’ Generation, had numerous lines. She was given a lengthier moment during the first verse and second verse, and she supports Jessica during the bridge. Thanks to a longer time frame at her sections, she had a nice bit of the song. No problems.

One thing to account for is all the ladies sing/chant during the pre-choruses and choruses. This does alleviate some sharing problems, but not by too much.

Peering at everything, a 7 will hold as the score. Yuri and Sooyoung were the only ones bereft of singing time, but adding on the factors of how their introductions were powerful and lengthy, it slightly redeems them. Furthermore, with all the ladies singing during certain sections, that also helps by a minimal margin. Above average for Line Distribution; while some members lack some spotlight, for the majority of the song, it remains diverse enough with different members singing.

– Instrumental: 4/10 – Perhaps the disorganized structure stems from the instrumental. Throughout the song, there were multiple, random shifts occurring all over the place in terms of the soundtrack. It would change from heavy and slower paced beats, to a vastly faster, electronic based instrumental. The opposite also occurred; electronic sounds to the heavy beats. Since the transitions were very abrupt and seemingly random, that will impair the score. This created a lot of incohesive, confusing moments.

Looking at the soundtrack individually, it remains quite mediocre. The instrumental was either somewhat obnoxious with electronic sounds, or it was a plain beat. When it comes to meshing with vocals, surprisingly, it works well. Vocals are often time backed up by the instrumental; the energy from both parties feed off one another. The choruses were filled with a chanting style of singing, and the electronic sounds there blended in smoothly with that. Other moments, especially during the rap, also benefitted. Yoona and Hyoyeon’s rap was augmented due to a soundtrack that reflected their rapping speed.

Overall, slightly below average. The sudden swaps between the two types of instrumental (heavy beats or electronic) ruins the score. Too many disorganized moments were the results of the random transitions. Individually, the soundtrack remains quite stale. Neither “versions” of the instrumental were stunning. If it wasn’t for how well the vocals and instrumental mixed, this would be a lower score. Thankfully, the rapping moment, choruses, and more give the score a slight boost.

– Meaning: 6/10 – “I Got A Boy” would seem to be a title related to love. I am expecting a story where a lady is bragging about her partner, or perhaps, a story where she is expressing how she captivated her lover. Through these translated Korean-to-English lyrics, let’s find out the story. Not 100% accurate:

Ayo! Sooyoung! Yeah yeah, are you ready for this?
Uh-muh, look at her, look
What happened to her that she cut her hair? Huh?
Uh-muh, again look at her, look
From head to toe, her style has changed
Why did she do that? I’m curious to death,
why did she do that? Tell me
Let me introduce myself!
Here comes trouble! Follow after me

Oh oh oh yeah oh, oh oh yeah oh,
you really are something else

Who is she? Ridiculous
Do you know you’re too self-assertive?
She thinks I’m average
Yeah, I guess she really liked him
No way! No way!
She became so pretty and sexy,
it’s because of him, right?
I almost asked her
what her new makeup was
Truthfully, I’ve seen it for the first time
The deep eyes, like a scarred beast
I was dizzy by just talking to him
You really are something else
You really are something else

Oh oh oh yeah oh, oh oh yeah oh,
You really are something else
Oh oh oh yeah oh, oh oh yeah oh,
You really are something else

Ayo! Stop! Let me put it down another way

I got a boy, a handsome one, I got a boy, a kind one
I got a boy handsome boy, who took all my heart
I got a boy, a handsome one, I got a boy, a kind one
I got a boy awesome boy, I must have really fallen for him

Ah, my prince
When are you gonna come save me?
Like a white dream
Will you lift me in your arms and fly?

I’m like, surprised, mental collapse
He wants to see my face without makeup.
I really like him,
would it be okay to show it to him?
Oh! Never! Right? Right?
Let’s keep what needs to be kept right, right
Until you take all of his heart
Don’t ever forget this

Oh oh oh yeah oh, oh oh yeah oh
Even if I stay up all night, it’s not enough, everything everything
Oh oh oh yeah oh, oh oh yeah oh
Our biggest interest, everything everything

Listen to me, you all know him, right?
He’s a bit young but he’s full inside
Sometimes he is as reliable as an oppa
but when he acts charming, he is so cute

Oh oh oh yeah oh, oh oh yeah oh,
you’re crazy, crazy
Oh oh oh yeah oh, oh oh yeah oh,
you’re crazy, crazy

Always next to me, it’s you, who’s on my side
and listens to me, you- you-
I’m happy as it is right now,
‘cause everything will work

I got a boy, a handsome one, I got a boy, a kind one
I got a boy handsome boy, who took all my heart
I got a boy, a handsome one, I got a boy, a kind one
I got a boy awesome boy, I must have really fallen for him

I got a boy, a handsome one, I got a boy, a kind one
I got a boy handsome boy, who took all my heart
I got a boy, a handsome one, I got a boy, a kind one
I got a boy awesome boy, I must have really fallen for him

I got a boy, a handsome one

Firstly, I am using the lyrics from the live performance, so if these lyrics differ from the original audio (which it should), then that is why. Also, I am hoping this format will paste into the blog a lot smoother. Edit: Using Notepad to type in the lyrics and formatting in there seems to be the most efficient method.

On topic, the lyrics reveal a story that is somewhat confusing. The format differs from other songs. At the start, it appears to be a dialogue in some sense. Moving past that, in a quick summary, people are noticing how a lady looks quite different. She became “sexy” and “pretty” due to, according to assumptions, wanting to impress a love-interest. Continuing, eventually the assumptions do hold as true; this lady found a lovely boy whom she is in love with.

Glancing at some details, there are some sweeter and slightly jocular lines. For example, the part with how the boy may be young and cute but still remains just as reliable as an older person (oppa: literally translated as “older brother”; used by females when referring to an older male). There are some other interesting points as well.

Overall, in terms of grading the story/significance, it comes off as slightly above average. Different details are appreciated, but the story itself does not hold as exceptionally intriguing. Personally, I enjoy the overarching idea of (and goodness forbid I get called a “woman-loving feminist” again) how ladies should be able to proudly say “[they] got a boy, a handsome one…a kind one…” and such. Ladies and men all deserve a partner that they genuinely love. A relationship for the pure sake of having that entitlement is ridiculous and outrageous.  

Since there is a current trend of me nitpicking at lyrics, I will now discuss some points that I find questionable or worth mentioning in detail. As always, this critiquing here will not affect the score. Rather, I simply wish to discuss certain details. Back on the subject, something that is mentioned right off at the start is how the story’s main character changed her appearance in order to infatuate her love-interest. To be quite frank, I do not hold a solid position/stance, but overall, a lady or man should be able to dress how they desire to without the fear of acceptance or rejection. If a female wishes to dress to impress a love-interest, then by all means that should be accepted without any hassles or assumptions. On the other hand, should she wish to change her style “head-to-toe” for the purpose of pleasing herself, then that should also be fully accepted and no assumptions should ever be made that she is only dressing to attract people/a love-interest. These ideas also applies to males equally.

The final takeaway message is a small reminder to dress how you wish to dress. Changing your style completely should not warrant the automatic idea of trying to attract a lover. Sometimes, a female or male wishes to dress well for themselves, not for others. Even if the case is true where dressing to impress happens, no issues should be given there, either.

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – Digressing for a moment, I can certainly see why fans were in love with this concept; the style is quite chic and captivating. In specific, Yuri’s clothing set appealed a lot to me. Props towards her stylist; he/she did an excellent job. I can definitely learn multiple things from Girls’ Generation’s style (assuming I had stylish clothes to begin with; but alas, fashion is not one of my priorities in life yet).

Focusing on the actual subject, the choreography for “I Got A Boy” stands as solid. Syncing with the music proved to be consistent. Every maneuver was linked to either the pacing, the beats, or a mixture of the two. Transitions in this song were very fluid. Despite how the song itself had rougher transitions due to the instrumental, the dance flowed from one set to the other seamlessly. When it comes to the key points, seeing multiple, different setups was pleasant. Repetitive dancing only occurred at the choruses.

“I Got A Boy” will earn a solid score here. Every aspect of this dance is strong, but nothing pushes it as extraordinary. Nevertheless, this was an enjoyable choreography. The dance uplifts the fun mood of the song while showing off power and coordination.  

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Overall Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score) – In the end, Girls’ Generation’s “I Got A Boy” finishes with a decent score of 7/10. That translates as an overall above average song. I personally think it’s slightly above average (6/10), but considering how the choreography was solid and that the introduction and rapping sections were quite remarkable, this score is acceptable. The song itself is weaker due to the poorer instrumental which impaired both the organization and the song sections’ capabilities.

For this review, I was extremely delayed. I believe I started this review 5 days ago, but I’ve only finished it now. Instead of filling my free time with writing reviews, I’ve guiltily spent it on either watching videos or playing a few games. I’m finishing up the bonus episode/last episode of “The TaeTiSeo”, so that has drained some time. Also, I spent an hour watching TaeTiSeo on “Hello Counselor”. Anyhow, I should hopefully be back on track. Forcing myself to do a bit of a review everyday has been helpful, so I will positively resume that old regime. I may be a bit slower for the time being, however, considering I have plenty of schoolwork and scholarships to apply for.

As always, thank you very much for reading this. Apologies for delays, but hopefully this review redeems that slightly. Thanks for all the support, it means a lot and I sincerely appreciate your time reading this blog.

If anyone is curious on my next review, I am making an abrupt turn and swapping over a recent comeback: Hello Venus’ “Sticky Sticky”. VIXX’s “Error” will be reviewed at a later time. Anyhow, in terms of Hello Venus’ comeback, I have a plethora of things to say. Their concept has completely flipped to a sheer opposite. That will be interesting to digest. That also reminds me, AOA will be making a comeback soon as well, and I think it’s about time I gave my opinion on their songs/dances. As of now, expect “Sticky Sticky” by the freshly reformed group of Hello Venus as the next review. I won’t share my own opinion on that song here, but on a different note, I am glad their group did not disband after they lost two valuable members.

I have said enough. In summary, I am on a busy schedule but I will attempt to get out a review on Hello Venus’ new song as soon as possible. Other than that, look forward to more reviews. Thank you once again for reading. “Always next to me, it’s you, who’s on my side”, so thanks and check back in a few days for the review of Hello Venus.   

Orange Caramel – “Catallena” Review

Orange Caramel – Catallena (Dance Practice)

Orange Caramel – Catallena

Reviewed on October 26, 2014

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Personal Message: As some may notice, I made some subtle adjustments for my review outline. In summary, I bolded the “Personal Message” section, and deleted unnecessary explanations on certain scores (such as for the “Song Structure” part). Consider this a new chapter/season or simply a revision. For other changes, pasting reviews should go a lot smoother (which once again, will be tested with this review).

Other news to address, I’ve been slacking a lot on posting actively. Since I believe in honesty, the reason behind that was instead of using the time I had for reviews, I stuffed it up with watching a show. That’s understandable, though. T-ARA’s Soyeon and Hyomin were on “Hello Counselor”, and in addition, Queen Vocalist Ailee was also there. Sounds excusable to me (although on some serious note, I am busy with papers and whatnot). Once this review is done, I will start a requested song (very sorry for the delay).

Back to the review, the song for today is Orange Caramel’s “Catallena”. Personally, I am not familiar with these ladies. From what I heard, they were originally a sub-unit from After School, but after a booming growth in popularity, they have become their own individual group. I might be making this up, so don’t take my words. This song in particular has a small layer of Halloween; magic and magicians (perfect for the upcoming holiday). Or at least, judging from their dance tutorial, it seems that way. I’ve partially watched one live performance, and the concept there was about food, so at the end of the day, viewers are probably still debating on what the main concept truly is. Strange yet comical. Speaking of comical, the dance practice video linked above is quite silly at the start (and end), but thankfully, the ladies resumed their usual practice after their manager yelled at them to do it prettily. After that, they claimed they were going to do it for real, and with that, they followed through.

Without further ado, let’s begin this review. “Catallena” fits the upcoming day of Halloween through its magical theme. Are the members of Raina, Nana, and Lizzy going to successfully use spells to capture the love of fans, or will they falter? This review will hopefully answer that.

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

– Vocals: 5/10 – The vocals in “Catallena” come out to be average. The biggest issue is the style of singing; exceptionally high-pitched and frail. Perhaps this is to add onto the jocular aspect, but the style of singing with needing to sound “cute” isn’t pleasant. In fact, even T-ARA or Girl’s Day, two groups that are typically scored with 9/10 for vocals, would have earned the same score of a 5 for certain songs due to this style. Girl’s Day’s “Oh My God” and T-ARA’s “Roly Poly”, “Sexy Love”, and “Lovey-Dovey” would have all received a 5. The only benefit from having very frail vocals is to emphasize catchiness, which actually does help in the long run for “Catallena”. However, from looking at a pure vocal perspective, it comes out as mediocre. No impressive singing is done, nor are the lines vocally demanding. Orange Caramel may have a song that showcases stronger vocal skills, but for this song specifically, it’s average.

– Song Structure: 6/10 (6.43/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 8/10 – All the ladies chip in for the beginning.

For the introduction, the instrumental kicks in with friendly, catchy beats. A violin(?) is also utilized. A few more seconds in, one by one, every member throws in a “Ha!” or screech if it’s Nana. After all of that, the chorus arrives.

The instantaneous addition of the beats were well placed. It created the uplifting, fun mood. Adding on, the violin gave emphasis to the ladies’ slightly silly “Ha!” words; every word was backed up by the violin. This amplified the words. Now at the end, the instrumental dies down properly for the next section to take place.

A solid start for “Catallena”. While the “Ha!” words came out as somewhat obnoxious, the instrumental does a fantastic job with being effective and prominent. Despite still being built up, the basic foundation of the beats and violin set the song properly. It wasn’t overwhelming nor was it lacking. A perfect amount was found for the start. 

2. Chorus: 8/10 – Similar to 4Minute’s “Whatcha’ Doin Today” (check out my review on it), the chorus occurs right after the introduction. Choruses are typically the main component to a song, and considering how it usually takes time to build up to it, it may seem concerning to use it as early as this. Thankfully, Orange Caramel manages to pull it off for this song. Nana and Raina handle the first chorus.

Unlike many other songs that build up the chorus, “Catallena” possesses one that is capable of standing on its own. Nana initiates her first line with frail, higher noted vocals. After one line, there’s a slight pause before she resumes again. Once Raina steps in, her parts replicate Nana’s lines. The difference, however, is at the very last line, there are background vocals of “Jutti meri oye hoi hoi” (literally random sounds) added.

The choruses in the song come off as fun and lighthearted. As mentioned earlier, the singing style vastly helps here. By having vocals that are high pitched and fragile, it creates a catchy, melodic flow that perfectly meshes with the lighter instrumental. Remaining catchy and full of upbeat melodies allow the choruses to thrive.

Overall, a solid chorus. The choruses acquire the rare feat of being able to hold by itself. That can be credited towards the excellent melody and flow along with the complementing pair of vocals and instrumental.

3. Verse: 5/10 – Nana and Lizzy handle the first verse.

Coming right after the chorus, the instrumental swaps into remaining more passive. Nana handles the first lines with the established singing style of being high pitched and delicate. After her lines, Lizzy comes in and follows suit. What is notable, however, is at the end, to aid the transition, Lizzy’s words of “chum chugopa” are slowed down.

The instrumental here does the usual switch of being more passive in order to contrast it from the energetic part of the song, which is the chorus. However, since it is on the duller side, it pushes more focus on the vocals, and as mentioned earlier, that is not a great idea. The vocals aren’t too strong by themselves. On the subject of vocals, the childish style of singing remains as lackluster as ever; nothing impressive. It may give a friendly, sillier tone, but musically, it does not come off as pleasing.

Overall, an average verse. Thankfully it did not hit the negative side of being anything less than average, but in terms coming off as even slightly delightful, that is nonexistent. A plain verse. The instrumental was not present in helping the section, and as a result, the lacking vocals had to take responsibility.

4. Pre-Chorus: 7/10 – Raina and Nana pair up for the first pre-chorus.

The pre-chorus begins with a catchy “lalala” from Raina. Her lines continue all the way to the background vocals of “Jutti meri oye hoi hoi, paula mera oye hoi hoi”. From that point, Nana finishes the pre-chorus with one line. The vocals are still the usual higher pitched, frail style. The instrumental, does begin to become more energetic.

This section isn’t too bad. Raina’s start came off as extremely catchy. Furthermore, her lines were on the quicker side, and as a result, subtle build-up for the chorus occurs. Lots of melody and flow were present. When it comes to the background vocals part, it does come off as slightly obnoxious; absurd sounds were made. Perhaps it is to add onto some jocular aspects, or, as seen by their dance tutorial, to add a “spellcasting” moment. Nana’s part was to conclude the pre-chorus. Using a different member allowed a contrast that signified an ending, but of course, the vocals are still on the poorer side.

Slightly above average is the score. Raina’s fun, catchy part at the start gave the pre-chorus the needed fuel to run well. The melody and flow are all joyful. What does prevent the score from being any higher is the sillier part at the middle; the “oye hoi hoi” part. That part, while theme fitting, comes off as obnoxious and ruins the melodic flow that was occurring.

5. Post-Chorus: 5/10 – Catchiness is the post-chorus’ asset. All the ladies contribute during the first post-chorus.

The ladies adopt a unique style here; stuttering. By stuttering over certain words, it creates a lingering, catchy effect. Nana’s lines were stuttered at the very start, and for a clear example, Lizzy’s line of “nok nok nok nogadeunda, nok nok nok nogadeunda” followed the same style. Raina’s line also emulates that pattern.

While being catchy is a key part in having popularity in any pop genre song, it does not necessarily signify a song is good. To actually digress a bit, T-ARA is the best example of such. After watching multiple interviews of them, I noticed how they always claim their top hit songs were “Roly Poly”, “Lovey-Dovey”, and such. Ironically, their better, latest, well crafted songs of “Number 9” and “Do You Know Me?” and more are almost never mentioned. The difference is a large shift of style. “Roly Poly” has a very catchy, poppier style that appeals to a lot of people. After all, it’s quite hard to get that song’s chorus out of your head. In comparison to “Number 9”, however, “Roly Poly” is seemingly inferior. The vocals in “Number 9” are vastly better, the instrumental is a lot more complex than simple electronic sounds, and so on. To cut to the point, even though “Roly Poly” may be an extremely catchy song, and thus, a lot more popular, that does not mean it is vastly superior to other less catchier songs, such as “Number 9”.

To make this all relate to Orange Caramel’s “Catallena”, while the post-choruses are very catchy, that is it; endlessly looping in listeners’ heads. The stuttering effect may be extraordinary, but without anything additional to support the catchiness, the post-choruses overall come out as average.

Average is the final score. A very catchy part that lacks everything else.

6. Bridge: 5/10 – Another average section in “Catallena”. Lizzy and Raina handle it, although it’s primarily Raina.

When the bridge occurs, the instrumental turns into an echoing, slower paced soundtrack. The technical term may be reverb, but I have no idea at all and I probably made that up. Anyhow, Lizzy’s vocals are morphed along as well like the instrumental. After the song resumes to sounding normal, Raina comes in two lines.

Firstly, the effect done at the very start is, in my personal book, extremely standardized. It’s standardized like pre-choruses that utilize the effect of looping a beat back and forth and accelerating it to create a hype effect (best example is in T-ARA N4’s “Jeon Won Diary”; now that is one very, very old review I’ve done). Focusing on “Catallena”, the transition to the bridge, as a result, comes off as stale. Making everything an echo and then resumed as normal was not special. On the bright side, the follow-up by Raina wasn’t too bad. Her lines were full of melody and flow.

In the end, an average bridge. The echoing effect was poorly executed. Raina does her best to redeem this section through some solid follow-up singing, but unfortunately, even that wasn’t spectacular enough to push the bridge to a better score.

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10 – For this song, the post-chorus is recycled for the conclusion. Surprisingly, even though the post-chorus itself isn’t solid, it works out for the ending. Every member contributes; same as every post-chorus.

Before the post-chorus is purely examined, the final chorus was respectable. Lots of two-part singing occurred, and due to that, a final climax moment is set. In terms of the post-chorus, it plays out as usual; the stutterings and catchiness are all present. At the very end, a whispered “Yes” is heard. No abrupt ending happened. A perfect end in that regard.

For the conclusion, considering how there was a relatively intense moment with the two-part singing, having an ending that brings the sound down to a relaxing point is crucial. Thankfully, Orange Caramel acquires that via its post-chorus; simple stuttering. The fact that the post-choruses aren’t layered with anything except the catchy stutters, it lowers the intensity by a lot.

Overall, above average for a conclusion. The post-chorus fits perfectly, and with a crisp, clear ending, a decent closure is found.

– Line Distribution: 10/10 – Three ladies are in Orange Caramel, so this is practically a free 10. Or at least, it should be.

Raina had lines in multiple sections. She’s involved for the choruses, pre-choruses, and more. No issues here.

Nana is all over the place as well. She’s at choruses, post-choruses, verses; the bridge is the only place she lacks.

Lizzy is practically everywhere as well; no issues.

Perhaps the best a group can get for how lines are distributed. Everyone is equal with what is being said, and there’s a lot of alternating of lines. 10/10.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – Although the vocals were lacking in “Catallena”, the instrumental proved to be quite solid.

It does its job with transitioning the song, it matches how energetic the song gets, and it fits well with the vocals. In addition to all of that, it’s a fun, cheery soundtrack. The beats are light and the violin that arrives allow for extra emphasis. This soundtrack leans towards the poppier side, but unlike a lot of other songs, it doesn’t rely on electronic sounds; real instrumental sounds are used. 

A very impressive soundtrack. The silly, fun theme is added from it, and with how well it meshes with the ladies’ vocals along with supporting them, a solid score is expected.

– Meaning: 6/10 – From what I know, “Catallena” isn’t a word in either English or Korean. What, then, is it? Hopefully the lyrics address it, and if not that, at least these Korean to English lyrics will release a story. Not 100% accurate on translation:

The small, dancing Catallena (red sun)
Without knowing, I’m falling for you
Chic and proud, Catallena (red sun)
Jutti meri oye hoi hoi, I’m bewitched

Oh my, she’s so great, I’ve fallen for her
Even as a girl, I can see she’s so great
She’s temperamental but I want to see her
I want to know her, I want to dance with her

Lalala shake, shake it, wave your hand
Scream until you lose your voice
(Jutti Meri Oye Hoi Hoi
Paula Mera Oye Hoi Hoi)
Good job, I’ll give you 100 points

The small, dancing Catallena (red sun)
Without knowing, I’m falling for you
Chic and proud, Catallena (red sun)
Jutti meri oye hoi hoi, I’m bewitched

Softly, softly,
Melting,
Melting
Shivering, shivering,
Trembling
I want to follow her

I don’t like her because she’s so chic
But even as a girl, I can see she’s so attractive
I’m angry but I want to dance for an hour, two hours
I want to play down to my very last bone

Lalala shake, shake it, wave your hand
Scream until you lose your voice
(Jutti Meri Oye Hoi Hoi
Paula Mera Oye Hoi Hoi)
Not good enough, have some more strength

The small, dancing Catallena (red sun)
Without knowing, I’m falling for you
Chic and proud, Catallena (red sun)
Jutti meri oye hoi hoi,

(I’m bewitched, I’m bewitched,
I’m bewitched, I’m bewitched)

The hands that brush by are warm
Is she actually nice once you get to know her?

My temperamental Catallena
Everyone is falling for her
Chic and proud, Catallena (red sun)
Jutti meri oye hoi hoi, I’m bewitched

Softly, softly,
Melting,
Melting
Shivering, shivering,
Trembling
I want to follow her

Firstly, formatting the lyrics was quite tedious. I spent a large portion of time making sure the lyrics weren’t scattered with large gaps and whatnot. Anyhow, in terms of the story, it’s an intriguing, unique one. This would explain why the concepts for “Catallena” have been very unusual.

The lyrics tell the story of a female, a girl in specific, and how she seems to be infatuated by another female’s grace and charm. The other female that the girl has fallen for happens to be named, or simply called, “Catallena”. This explains the song’s title. Anyhow, Catallena appears to be someone who’s quite chic and popular; everyone loves her. To tie in the magician theme, it is as if Catallena is one; her charm is equal to a spell that makes everyone fall in love with her.

An interesting story that I’ve never heard before. The mysterious person, Catallena, creates a lot of questioning. In summary, however, the lyrics aren’t too impressive. A girl is infatuated with Catallena, a female who is full with so much fun and charm that every single person ends up loving her. Special, differentiating details are lacking, but the story itself seems somewhat comical and remains, nevertheless, very interesting and original. Slightly above average.

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – The dance for “Catallena” is what personally attracted me. Musically, it’s not too strong, but when it comes to the choreography, it amplifies the song as a whole. Simplicity is the choreography’s biggest strength; nothing complicated is executed. Although tricky, complex dances can be very impressive, such as with Boyfriend’s “Witch”, simple dances can be just as stunning, or in some cases, even more so.

Syncing is perfect; every movement was connected to the beat or flow. The chorus is a clear example of synchronicity between song and dance; feet taps were matching with the beat, and later, the hand motion is to fit the song’s flow. In terms of the key points, they are fantastic. Every song section had its own separate dance attached. All were simple and fun.

A solid score will be given here. The choreography in “Catallena” is fabulous. Being simple is perhaps why the dance is phenomenal. Every section has one dance, and the dances themselves were very simple maneuvers that synced up with the music.

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Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – Let me first say, I wrote for 5 hours straight. Of course, not for solely this review, but adding up a paper I did before finishing this review, I wrote from 1 to 6 in the evening. I’m quite glad that I did write about a third of this review on an earlier date, that saved me some time. I’m not sure how my eyes are holding up with this much screen time, but I’m still functional so far.

Back on track, Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” finishes with an 8/10, which I do disagree with. 6/10 or 7/10 would seem more fitting as the Overall Score. The choreography is exceptionally planned out, but the song itself is mediocre. Catchy to listen to, but that is it. Nothing vocally impressive. The dance is what I would recommend for this song. Now that is something I rarely say; often time I reside with the song itself.

Anyhow, as I will always do and say, thank you so much for reading. It means a lot for me that you’re willing to take some minutes out of your own spare time to read this, so thank you. Hopefully this review was entertaining and insightful. I’m hoping a lot of Orange Caramel fans will line up at my house with anger at the words I’ve said. Figuratively, of course. But that is life; disagreement. I hope your own musical opinions are fired up.

I’m quite glad that I finished this before Halloween. A part of me was concerned that I would not finish this in time for that, but I proved myself wrong. For those who are celebrating Halloween, remember to stay safe and to have fun.

For my next review, I’m quite certain that I will finally review the requested K-Drama song (once again sorry for the delay). And let me say, this reminds me on why I don’t watch K-Dramas; I don’t have enough tissue boxes. Silly jokes aside, I will get the incredible ballad review out as soon as possible. This also reminds me, with winter times coming soon, I, for some reason, tend to start finding a lot more ballad songs. That or perhaps mainly ballad songs come out during this time. Or a combination of the two. Anyways, I’ll do my best to not turn this blog into a really sad, emotional one that’s full of tear-inducing songs. Besides, there are a lot of other usual K-Pop songs for review, so that isn’t a concern.

The end has arrived, so thank you once more and expect an emotional ballad as my next review. I have other songs in mind as well, so depending, I may or may not do them before the ballad. Keep checking back on this blog, to my readers, “Without knowing, I’m falling for you”.

Edit: Still having format errors, will try figuring it out. Lyrics are misplaced and any line scratches (like this) aren’t carried over. Manually formatting for now. Pasting in the lyrics directly onto the post seems to be fine instead of pasting the lyrics into a separate document and then pasting it here.

Jieun – “Twenty-Five” Review

Jieun – Twenty-Five (Live Performance)

Jieun – Twenty-Five/25

Reviewed on October 22, 2014

Jieun - Twenty-Five.jpg

Personal Message: After testing my show review of “The TaeTiSeo” on a separate document, I can now safely say, reviews will not longer be “live posted”. This will help with giving more time to do reviews and no longer will I feel rushed. And, as addressed a while back, it will solve the issue of reviews being leaked/spoiled. Hopefully the format doesn’t get ruined for reviews, but we will find out.

Anyhow, the review today is Secret’s Jieun’s very recent comeback; “Twenty-Five” is the song title. Considering her position in Secret is being their main vocalist, high expectations are set. With their summer comeback of “I’m In Love” (check out my review of it) being exceptionally solid and with leader Hyosung’s solo (check out my review of “Good-night Kiss”) proving to be just as successful, Jieun has a multitude of standards to meet, and hopefully, to exceed. For this comeback, the concept is a mixture of gentleness and sexiness; on the surface, it appears to be a very soft and cute style, but due to subtlety with the lyrics’ meaning, a tint of sexiness becomes derived. Jieun’s song tackles the idea of adult ceremony/coming-of-age. A girl becoming a woman is the story.

Although Jieun is pressured with all the previous group songs and Hyosung’s solo, with her amazing, crisp and clear vocals, comparing her to previous works would be disrespectful; Jieun comes out with her own, individual solo song. Her song takes a unique form of ballad along with standard K-Pop. This allows for very beautiful and soothing vocals to be heard while maintaining a catchy melody.

With all that said, even though Jieun may be 24 (not sure), she is already a woman despite not being “Twenty-Five”. Let’s see how her hard work and stunning vocals remind fans that she’s Secret’s main vocalist.

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Song Total Score: 8/10 (7.75/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 9/10 – A high score is anticipated. Once again, having the background of being Secret’s main vocalist will serve her well. For “Twenty-Five” specifically, Jieun shows a different vocal side; a very soft demeanor with singing.

As heard in other songs, Jieun is often the one handling the powerful, intense lines. This song differs in that it showcases her softer, gentle vocals. Nevertheless, her vocals remain promising. Her range consists of lower notes and very high notes. Bringing in energy and intensity proves to be no issue, and her iconic voice of being crisp, clear, and sharp holds as normal.  

Jieun possesses beautiful vocals; super melodic and versatile. A high score will be given here.

– Song Structure: 7/10 (6.86/10 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, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Conclusion

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 start, a quick reminder for readers to check out the song’s official audio. The live performance linked above doesn’t have the best sound quality (and with ladies and men fanchanting, a lot of the audio is muffled).

Anyhow, this has been a lengthier introduction in comparison to a lot of other songs. That isn’t bad, though. In fact, for this song, it allows a full, sufficient construction.

The introduction begins with Jieun tossing in a few melodic sounds of “Oh~” and “Yeah~”. The instrumental also kicks off with light snaps and beats. Progressing a few more seconds, it transitions upon Jieun’s words of “Oh baby~”. From there, a key saxophone is used and the beats and bass become heavier. In the background, “Woo woo” is looped around. Eventually, Jieun tosses in one more “Oh baby~” and the instrumental transitions to the verse.

This introduction is based on progression; it becomes more layered. The initial seconds were on the simplistic side. The purpose was to start slowly and steadily. By having Jieun utilize only melodic sounds, it preserves her true singing for later. Now once the introduction builds up, “Twenty-Five” turns complex; the key saxophone arrives, the beats start becoming catchy, and Jieun’s sweet, melodic voice continues to blend in.

Overall, a solid introduction. Slowly starting allowed it to have a relaxing pace. The instrumental set the song’s mood and Jieun’s vocals prepared listeners for the singing in “Twenty-Five”. A lengthy but graceful introduction. It does its job along with capturing listeners.

2. Verse: 8/10 – As normal, I will critique the first verse. The second verse does differ in that it’s focused on higher notes and is vastly shorter. I am still considering the second verse in the scoring.

In light of the first verse, smooth and slow are Jieun’s tactics. Her vocals come off as extremely soothing. By being in the lower range, it matches exceptionally well with the instrumental, which remains on the passive side. After Jieun finishes her first line, there is a background male vocal added. During this moment, it provides a welcoming contrast to Jieun’s melodic and comforting voice. The background vocals here were simply words. This helps the song deviate from having purely Jieun’s voice play out, and thus, reduces any staleness. After the background voice, Jieun resumes as normal and the format occurs once more.

As stated earlier, in consideration of the second verse, it remains inferior to its previous form; it lacks a lot. Besides the loss in duration, the second verse comes off on the higher pitch scale and the background vocals are removed.

Anyhow, for the verses, in the end, they still remain very pleasing. The first verse does an amazing job of bringing in the ballad genre. Vocal-orientated and having chemistry with the instrumental leads the first verse to a solid score. Jieun’s vocals were very captivating and the unique flow of using the background vocals further strengthen the section. 8 will be the score.

3. Pre-Chorus: 9/10 – If I were being biased, this would be a 10/10 score. Or at least, if there was a “completely-infatuate-me-with-your-voice” score, this would hit a 10.

On track, the pre-choruses in “Twenty-Five” have ought to be the most soothing sections I have ever heard. For this part, Jieun handles the first few lines in a low, slow, and utterly charming voice. Her singing style is in a whisper; seducing, pleasing, calming. At the very end of a pre-chorus, she would reach for a very high note at “It’s my time to shine”, and thanks to the higher pitch, a smooth transition becomes granted.

Coming off as soothing may be the pre-choruses’ largest asset. Having a low pitch, steady whisper along with a proper accompanying instrumental becomes very delightful. This section, in juxtaposition to the vocals Jieun is known for in Secret, showcases how versatile she is; singing powerful lines isn’t her only ability. Jieun proves she can show a gentler and calmer side while still luring fans in. A very beautiful, charming section that lulls fans. Jieun’s crisp vocals are perfect.

4. Chorus: 6/10 – This part heavily reminds me of the choruses in Ailee’s “Don’t Touch Me”. Being connected to Ailee is good, but to “Don’t Touch Me”, that is not good.

“Beautiful young and free” initiates the choruses. In comparison to the previous sections, Jieun amps up her vocal strength. Her lines are energetic and resonating. Strong note holds are thrown in, such as with “gata~” and “boyeojulge~”. Vocally, this section works out very well. What holds the choruses back, however, is, similar to Ailee’s “Don’t Touch Me”, the instrumental.

The singing here may be very melodic and pleasing, but the instrumental holds as very frail; a beat is the main instrument. The key saxophone remains subtle versus being a main instrument. Should something assisted the beat, Jieun’s vocals would not feel as empty. Her singing is sharp and on point, but without an adequate foundation from the instrumental, it does not uphold as impactful.

Overall, very slightly above average. The vocals are still phenomenal, but for a song section, it proves to be disappointing. If the instrumental gave off the same power and energy as Jieun’s singing, no issue would exist.

5. Post-Chorus: 5/10 – For the post-chorus, the style becomes fully revamped; instead of the ongoing ballad genre, the song temporarily swaps to a funkier, rap-like part.

While this section has no issue with the vocals and instrumental meshing well, what does become a prominent issue is the feeling of repetition. Translated to English, the lines are repeating “Pretty age 25” for multiple lines. Jieun changes her singing style to become rougher and has a speaking demeanor versus a singing one. The only differing line in this section is  “Baby I’m feeling so amazing”, which was sung in an extremely impressive high note. Unfortunately, though, this section does not compete with the previous ones.

Average for a post-chorus. It is not necessarily bad, but nothing is impressive at all. Utilizing a new style had potential, but repeating “Pretty age 25” for too long was not the way to execute the different singing style.

6. Bridge: 7/10 – “Twenty-Five” is on a scary downhill momentum. Hopefully the bridge changes that.

As expected, the moment the bridge occurred, the instrumental shifted to a passive stance. Jieun’s singing returns to the powerful side. Her first two lines are filled with a lot of intensity. Now after those lines, she handles an English line of “I can be what I wanna be”. Once one Korean line passes, Jieun finishes the bridge off with a strong and slightly resonating line of “I want it all”.

With how “Twenty-Five” was established, it was a good decision from the song producers to not have Jieun toss in her capable, insanely powerful note holds. A large climatic moment such as that would be deemed as utterly unfitting. Anyhow, this bridge does its job. A break/relaxing moment for the song was provided, although it did not come out as extremely impressive. Powerful lines were heard, but the usual beloved melodic lines were missing. The instrumental was solid, thankfully.

The bridge in “Twenty-Five” holds an above average score; not too pleasing, but still good.

7. Conclusion: 6/10 – A conclusion that holds as its own section (instead of “Conclusion (Chorus)”, for example), something that’s relatively rare.

The conclusion is once the final post-chorus ended. Since the song did not end at the last post-chorus, a separate section becomes created. For the conclusion, the snapping beat instrumental remained after all vocals were diminished. It plays out for a few seconds until at the very end, a quick and heavy bassline occurs and wraps up the song.

Firstly, the instrumental itself isn’t too fantastic; the light beats are not catchy on their own. As a result, that will lower the score slightly. Furthermore, having the instrumental gently fade out would have been preferred to the current idea of adding a bassline to end the song. That created a rushed and forced ending. Peering at the current pathway the conclusion had, a gentle, fading end was expected. Instead, the bassline seemingly cuts off the instrumental prematurely; a few more seconds should have existed to allow the instrumental to properly die out.

Very slightly above average. The positive side of having an instrumental play out as the last moment redeems it slightly, but the abrupt cut at the end along with a mediocre instrumental will prevent a higher score.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – Jieun is running solo, so this is not applied.

– Instrumental: 7/10 – A classier soundtrack, which, in comparison to the song’s theme, perfectly fits. Maturity and calmness emanates from the instrumental.

Musically, the instrumental was either a hit or miss; for the verses and pre-choruses, it aided Jieun’s voice. When it came to sections such as the chorus, however, it had a negative effect. During the chorus, it did not reciprocate Jieun’s energetic vocals. Nevertheless, an above average instrumental. For times it shined, it vastly supported the song. For moments where it hindered the song, the soundtrack became disappointing. The major fault lies during the chorus, otherwise, a solid instrumental.  

– Meaning: 8/10 – As briefly mentioned earlier, “Twenty-Five” focuses on coming-of-age for a girl becoming a woman. Let’s see what message is sent through these Korean to English translated lyrics. Not 100% accurate.

Oh, baby
(Woo Woo Woo Woo Woo)
(Woo Woo Woo Woo Woo)
Oh, baby
(Woo Woo Woo Woo Woo)
(Woo Woo Woo Woo Woo)

When I look in the mirror these days
I don’t know why but it’s different
(Who is that girl?)
You might fall for me too
My body line is perfect
My style shows that I know something
(woo hot thing)
Now I’m the age of a woman

I won’t act like a child anymore
I’ve shed the image of a girl and now I’m a woman
It’s my time to shine

Beautiful young and free
I think I know what love is now
I won’t hide it
Beautiful young and free
I’ll show you everything I want to do
It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for

Pretty age 25
Pretty age, pretty age 25
Pretty age 25
Pretty age, baby I’m feeling so amazing
Pretty age 25
Pretty age, pretty age 25
Pretty age 25
Pretty age, baby I’m feeling so amazing

My skirt has gotten shorter
No matter what anyone says
(I don’t care)
I’ll be stronger, I’ll be more daring
Eyes are following me
I feel it even more
Now I’m the age of a woman

I won’t act like a child anymore
I’ve shed the image of a girl and now I’m a woman
It’s my time to shine

Beautiful young and free
I think I know what love is now
I won’t hide it
Beautiful young and free
I’ll show you everything I want to do
It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for

Follow what you want
You just need to decide now
Don’t care about other things
Be the perfect woman
I can be what I wanna be
I’m changing, I want it all

Beautiful young and free
I think I know what love is now
I won’t hide it
Beautiful young and free
I’ll show you everything I want to do
It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for

Pretty age 25
Pretty age, pretty age 25
Pretty age 25
Pretty age, baby I’m feeling so amazing
Pretty age 25
Pretty age, pretty age 25
Pretty age 25
Pretty age, baby I’m feeling so amazing

The lyrics tell a story of a girl who has reached “pretty age 25”, and thus, now feels like woman. She is bursting with confidence, refreshment, and feels a lot more mature. It’s a lovely story with lots of interesting details. Overall, it’s a positive message for girls becoming ladies. Loving yourself and being who you want to be as a woman (or man) is the main idea.

Solid lyrics. Nothing pushes the lyrics to be exceptionally amazing, deep and sophisticated, but the story holds as enjoyable.

Now, before I end things here, there are some things to still pick out. Peering at the first verse, it has some details which have become controversial; the “my body line is perfect” part. Firstly, before anything else is said, this part would have benefitted from Jieun saying the background vocals versus the current background male vocals. The reason for that is the background vocals seems to be the character’s thinking; she became a woman and now views herself differently.

Back on topic with the “body line” line (not a pun, I promise), this part isn’t necessarily negative. What type of body line remains unclear. Since it’s undescribed, it could be anything and that could be the positive message; feel confident with how your own body looks, whether you’re a woman or man. Now of course, there is still the critical side of how it might be talking about a specific shape after all, and if that is the case, then this line would be rendered as disappointing.  

What should be the main focus in terms of controversy is the second background line of “woo hot thing”. While the newly coming-of-age lady might be thinking that to herself due to confidence, that phrase itself isn’t necessarily positive. Perhaps I am vastly overlooking this part, but “hot thing” should never, ever be used to describe a woman (or person) at all.Hot in itself is already a dimmed-down, unsophisticated and lackluster word; adding “thing” makes it even worse. Not only is the lady in the lyrics described as simply “hot”, but instead of a proper pronoun of lady or woman, she becomes a “thing”. While I won’t mark down the score on the basis of this, I still find it very vital that listeners are aware of certain lyric details. The diction here remains questionable.

And actually instead of cutting it short, I recalled one more controversial line: “My skirt has gotten shorter”. For those who find this repulsive, it sends me the idea of “Oh my God, this lady has legs and skin, have mercy on this crime!” And an apology if using “Oh my God” offends/bothers any readers. Anyhow, that should sound ridiculous; obviously females have legs and skin. There is no issue if a lady decides to reveal her body. It is completely unjust that females feel the need to hide themselves; a social stigma of shaming female bodies remains prominent. It is the female’s decision on what to wear. Perhaps revealing more skin is for comfort, or perhaps, it is to feel sexier, and in no way is that a crime nor should it lead to unwanted reactions. This line should not trigger any hateful response. Women should dress how they please to, not for others. I could continue on, but I feel this is sufficient enough.

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – When it comes to the choreography in “Twenty-Five”, it comes off as calm and simple. For this song’s predominant genre of ballad, the choreography works out perfectly; relaxing and mature.

Breaking down the dance, in terms of syncing with the music, it was well matched. Every beat and snap was on point, and even the singing’s flow became reflected via slower movements. Backup dancers were perfect. They supported Jieun and weren’t excessive in quantity nor spotlight. When it comes to the key points, “Twenty-Five” does languish. None of them stick out as impressive; they remain bland. This may be due to the ballad style, and thus, only calm, basic styles exist, but energy and power aren’t necessary for a choreography to be phenomenal.

Overall, above average is the score. While the key points are repeated and aren’t outstanding, the spectacular syncing and backup dancers redeem the score.

________________________________________________________

Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – In the end, Jieun’s recent solo comeback of “Twenty-Five” finishes with an 8/10 or 4/5, which signifies as good/solid. In my personal opinion, I feel that overall, this song leans towards a 7/10. Jieun’s amazing vocals allow this song to thrive, and in addition, the verse and pre-choruses. However, other perspectives, such as the choruses and post-choruses, are lacking. Nevertheless, a solo comeback that was well done and worthwhile; Jieun lived up to the standard of previous works (Hyosung’s Good-night Kiss, Secret’s group songs).

For this review, I was only able to work on it shortly per day over a span of multiple days. I have been really slow with this one, so huge apologies for that. To be honest, I did end up slightly rushing this review, so the quality in comparison to my recent reviews will probably be a lot lower. Feedback is what I will need. I am doing my best to improve this blog, so look out for it and continue to send me new ideas and such.

Anyhow, Jieun’s comeback is an exciting one and I am content with it. Although I didn’t link the music video, that was well made in terms of eye-candy; full of sweet scenes and such. As I do for every single review, thank you for reading. It means a lot to me, and I hope that my reviews provide insight, some laughs, and a whole lot of angry people that disagree. Reviews are all opinion, finding your own voice is always important. Thank you once more.

For those curious on my next review, Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” is in mind. It fits the upcoming day of Halloween (check out my review of Boyfriend’s Witch as well), so for the sake of that, I’ll review it as soon as possible. After that, however, I will review a K-Drama song that was requested (sorry for the delay), and I am currently looking over this one song recommendation (got one from an incredibly intelligent friend in class), and hopefully, will review it as well. Lots of things to look forward to.

The end has arrived, so stay tuned for future reviews. I will do my best to maintain a rapid rate. This is also my first song review on a separate document, so let’s see if this works out (Edit: A lot of format issues occurred, especially towards the Meaning section; I will attempt to find solutions). Anyways, keep checking back. Thanks to all my readers, “I’m feeling so amazing”. Expect Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” for next time. 

Boyfriend – “Witch” Review

Boyfriend – Witch (Live Performance)

Boyfriend – Witch (Dance Practice)

Boyfriend – Witch

Reviewed on October 14, 2014

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Personal Message: Firstly, things are completely out of schedule. The show review of “The TaeTiSeo” was supposed to be done today, but due to time constraints, I haven’t finished the show yet and thus, that’s delayed. However, to keep things flowing, I’ll do a song review in the meantime. On the bad side, however, I will still need to rely on “live posting” of [WORK IN PROGRESS] for now. Once the show review is up, I will gauge whether I can finally work on a separate document or not. 

Anyhow, before we start, to address the links, the first is a live performance. The second, however, is the standard dance practice. Unfortunately, the music wasn’t quite edited in, so instead, the dance practice video’s audio is what the room truly sounded like. As always, though, I recommend listening to the actual audio (a quick search for the audio, etc.).

On topic, Boyfriend made a very recent comeback of “Witch”. This comeback completely matches the upcoming theme of Halloween (perfect timing for my blog). While I may be unfamiliar with these gentlemen, their label company is Starship Entertainment, the same one that holds Sistar (check out my review on their songs). These idols have left a very solid impression; their song “Witch” is an extremely pleasing song. It has been a while since I’ve heard a song that completely impressed me, but here it is. The vocals are very stunning, the song itself remains catchy, and the choreography is something I’ve never seen before. On top of all of that, fans will be going crazy over their charming looks. 

Since Boyfriend members are taking the route of becoming a “Witch”, let’s see what special potion was conjured; winning the love of ladies and men seems to be the effect. 

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Song Total Score: 8/10 (7.6/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 9/10 – It has been quite a while since I’ve last a heard a song with very impressive vocals, but Boyfriend manages to change that. The vocals in “Witch” are phenomenal; a wide range of notes are used and their voices come off as smooth and melodic. Something to really admire is their ability to earn a high score without the need of powerful vocals. Utilizing impacting vocals aren’t always necessary for a song; Boyfriend’s melody and chemistry between members are the strongest aspects of their singing. 

Very solid vocals for “Witch”. Instead of relying on highly impacting lines, Boyfriend manipulates their sweet, melodic voices to greatly amplify their singing. 

– Song Structure: 7/10 (7/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

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 (Half Post-Chorus): 7/10 – Time to dive into the song itself. 

For the introduction, all the members are chipping in. Also as noted, the introduction is simply half the post-chorus in this song.

Initially, there is a somewhat ominous soundtrack playing; it gives off the feeling of approaching a mysterious, unknown house. Anyhow, the first few seconds do an excellent job of setting up the mood. The sinister emotions associated with Halloween come to life. After this part, “‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom” (will be discussed at the Meaning section) becomes repeated 3 times. That line has a catchy flow to it, and on a positive note, it doesn’t come off harshly. However, a solid melody isn’t attached; the lines are almost purely spoken. After all that, the song transitions into the verse.

This introduction is exceptionally quick-paced in comparison to a lot of other songs I’ve reviewed. The spooky instrumental at the start is welcomed. That section sets the atmosphere of the song perfectly. In terms of the post-chorus part (a deeper look later), it doesn’t come off roughly by itself, but considering how sudden the transition to it was, it definitely caught me by surprise. The lines’ duration were quite short, and thus, the song swapped over to the verse rapidly, which isn’t too bad considering how fast the introduction as a whole is. 

For this section, above average remains as the score. The stage is definitely set, but with how sudden the song dives into the core, it becomes overwhelming. Not too bad of a start; “Witch” simply sends listeners straight into it. 

2. Verse: 7/10 – For the verses, Jeongmin and Donghyun tackle the first one. The second verse is covered by Donghyun by himself. As usual, I will cover the first verse.

Jeongmin begins first. His lines showcase lower notes of the song; certain endings of “joha”, “eoddae”, and “isseo ” were stretched down to hit the lower pitches. Furthermore, each of those endings were slightly emphasized. This creates a catchy flow. The emphasized, low lines become lingering. Once Donghyun arrives, he continues to build upon the established flow. His own endings of “neoramyeon”, “nanikka”, “eobtjiman”, and “itneungeol” replicated what his fellow member started: lower pitched and stretched endings.

While the flow proves to be delightful, repetition becomes an issue (and that actually remains a prevalent issue throughout the song; will be addressed further). The flow is flawless, but using it for the entirety of a verse numbs the captivating effect it could potentially possess. The prediction of, “Lines are normally sung, but towards the end, the pitch becomes lower and the word is slightly emphasized” remains accurate for the whole verse. 

Overall, a really interesting and possibly awarding verse structure and flow; the issue lies in how the same flow is repeated for a copious amount of lines. Above average.

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – Hyunseong, Youngmin, and Donghyun handle the two pre-choruses.

Beginning with Hyunseong, he arrives with a very energetic line. In comparison to the verse, the intensity steps up slightly. His lines leave a very melodic and smooth flow. After that, Youngmin arrives and his vocals aren’t to emulate Hyunseong; opting to be different, his line provides a background effect via having softer vocals. Now after that, Hyunseong returns with the same energetic vocals. In addition, he throws in a solid yet short note hold at “chae~”. During his note hold, Donghyun adds in one final line to allow a satisfying transition to the chorus.

The pre-choruses in “Witch” are solid. With preparations made for the chorus, this part fulfills that role. Hyunseong’s initial line brings up the song’s intensity. That allows a shift for the song to meet its chorus’ level. In terms of Youngmin’s part, it played a key role; with energetic lines arriving, to prevent any staleness from occurring, his more passive vocals help. Adding on, by also having a weaker line that works as background vocals, it contrasts Hyunseong’s lines and thus, makes them seem even more intense and melodic. Finally, Donghyun’s quick and short line while Hyunseong performed his note hold ensured an easy switch to the chorus. It also made a clean finish for the pre-chorus as a whole.

Overall, impressive pre-choruses; 8 will be the score. The adept singing of Boyfriend becomes released, and with such a supportive structure that discloses the group’s vocal synergy, a solid score is deserved. 

4. Chorus: 9/10 – Jeongmin and Hyunseong handle all the choruses.

The meat of “Witch” becomes unveiled here. Spectacular vocals are seen here from these two gentlemen; Jeongmin and Hyunseong are hitting high notes and have a plethora of minor but effective note holds. 

Jeongmin starts the choruses off. His voice is full of melody and the flow of his lines exploit that. His endings were emphasized by having a higher noted pitch along with some “stretching”. While I personally won’t claim he executed note holds, it had a tint of that. His holds were extremely short and did not possess a high level of energy, but nevertheless, they became very effective at giving the chorus a spurge of intensity. When Hyunseong flashes in, he continues what Jeongmin started. The only difference, however, is that at the very end, he did a full note hold at “dwae~”. That part allowed a solid transition to the next piece. 

Perhaps the best part of the song. Stunning vocals are heard here. “Witch” finally unleashes its full intensity during the choruses. Both Hyunseong and Jeongmin do a fantastic job with singing. The structure of their lines augment the energy they gave off via vocals. In addition, the instrumental also accompanies the men well. It became escalated to match up the the intenser moment, and as a result, the choruses become even more solid.

An amazing chorus.The vocal work is appreciated and respectable, and with a structure that brings out the best in that category, a high score will be given.

5. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – To be blunt: the downfall of “Witch”. The post-choruses are done by all the members. For those who weren’t as keen earlier, if it hasn’t been noticed yet, pay attention to the introduction, bridge, and conclusion. What do they all have? “(Post-Chorus)” becomes reused in all of those sections. And of course, there is the post-chorus section itself. 

The post-chorus, in summary, is “’Cause your body goes boom bara boom”. If that sounds ridiculous, the Meaning section will cover it and hopefully decipher it. Anyhow, focusing on the musical aspect, that line becomes repeated 6 times (and just noticed, they cut it to solely 3 repeats for the linked live performance; still analyzing from the original audio). 

Even though the line itself isn’t too poor, it doesn’t hold up as solid, either. The “b” sounds become catchy, but otherwise, vocally, nothing intensive or impressive. To have it repeated for 6 times will induce boredom; it is simply dull. In order to make matters worse, when the same old, lethargic section gets recycled in the introduction, the bridge, and conclusion, it completely razes any potential of being a solid part. 

A below average section that is heavily impaired from a sheer overuse. The section itself is not too awful, but with hearing it ubiquitously throughout the song, it becomes worthless. 

6. Rap: 8/10 – I’ll be honest, I thought only one member was rapping. Apparently, two members are cooperating for the rap. Kwangmin and Minwoo are the rappers. 

With this rap, Minwoo and Kwangmin alternate between lines. Specifically, Minwoo will handle 2 lines, then Kwangmin gets 1, and so on. This repeats for a total of 3 times (although Minwoo does finish the rap). 

The pacing remains very solid for this section; they aren’t exceeding a limit that would be unfitting, but at the same time, they manage to evade going too slowly. A middle ground is found. In terms of power, the lines came off as slightly more fragile. This isn’t an issue, however, considering power would be unsuitable. Melody and an acceptable speed are the main objectives. Thankfully, they manage to provide some melody, and with very subtle alternations, it allows a unique pace. The swapping of members add a small pause, which overall, helps their pace.

In the end, a solid rap. What prevents it from reaching a 9 is the flow wasn’t too smooth; words weren’t coming out in one stream. Instead, it felt chunky and lagging. Nothing too major, though.  

7. Bridge (Post-Chorus): 6/10 – Basically, the bridge recycles the post-chorus but adjusts the instrumental. The instrumental becomes a lot more passive and calm as the members sing the post-chorus.

Although the utterly drained out and desolate post-chorus is used here, since the lines themselves are much less intense in comparison to other parts, it becomes fitting here. The instrumental is passive, and the lines/the post-chorus reflects that. The purpose of this bridge was to allow a moment for the song to relax itself, and in addition, to allow some hype for the final, upcoming sections.

Overall, slightly above average. Perfect chemistry between the instrumental and vocals here. The only issue derives from usng a post-chorus that is heard way too often.  

8. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10 – Once again, the post-chorus is heard. First-time listeners may not be bothered, but for those who listen to this song often (or in my case, where I listened to it casually and then critically), it becomes exceptionally stale.

Before we peer at the final post-chorus, an impressive final chorus was done by Boyfriend. A very powerful note hold comes from Donghyun and that sets the climatic moment of “Witch”. Anyhow, in terms of the conclusion in the form of the post-chorus, some two-part singing occurs to give a climatic effect, and that does partially save the conclusion. Another aspect to consider is since the post-chorus lies on the calmer side, this brings “Witch” down from its previous, high-intensity chorus which is excellent. At the very end, the instrumental and vocals perfectly fade out.

Overall, above average will be the score. Despite how often the post-chorus occurred, the modifications of two-part singing, and considering how it brought the song’s energy down to a concluding level, it remains sufficient. 

– Line Distribution: 6/10 – Six very handsome, persevering and talented gentlemen are in Boyfriend, so a high score for Line Distribution should be the case (or at least in my mind, I’m thinking of the amazing, very intelligent, hardworking and charming ladies of T-ARA who also have six members). 

Donghyun got a large portion of time; he occurs at all the verses and throws in a line for the pre-choruses. Also, he gets to expend his powerful note hold at the end. 

Hyunseong handles all the pre-choruses and choruses. Considering how those sections were very prevalent, he definitely has his spotlight.

Jeongmin had a part at the first verse, and of course, appears for every chorus. No complaints here.

Kwangmin had only 3 lines, and those were only in the rap. He’s missing from a huge portion of this song, and as I said earlier, I didn’t even notice his lines initially from listening. A lot more singing/rapping time could have been allocated towards Kwangmin. 

Youngmin’s time consisted of adding two lines, in total, for the pre-choruses. He was the one with the background vocals part. Like Kwangmin, more lines should have been given to him.

Minwoo, lastly, was the main rapper. Since his rapping section covered a large time and played a significant, independent role, no complaints on his share.

Last thing to consider, though, is that the post-choruses are all sung by Boyfriend as a whole.

Unfortunately, even with the unison singing at the post-choruses, it isn’t enough to make up for two members being given very little individual lines. Two members out of six is a lot; one-third is the picture. 

6 will be the given score; since the post-choruses are very common, the members who were lacking are technically able to get some time in. Nevertheless, a disappointing share of lines. 

– Instrumental: 8/10 – A very impressive soundtrack for “Witch”. It doesn’t come off as overpowering, nor is it lacking. It’s a perfect balance. 

The darker, spooky theme is given from the instrumental. It fulfills its role in that regard. In terms of the song itself, the instrumental supports the men during the intenser parts, such as the chorus, and during the calmer sections, it remains passive enough to let Boyfriend’s incredible vocals be the spotlight while still providing a foundation. The vocals and soundtrack mesh very well. 

In the end, a solid instrumental. Theme fitting, helpful towards the song as a whole and to vocals, it does its job. 

– Meaning: 8/10 – The title itself is already interesting, but the meaning of the post-chorus further adds onto how intriguing this song seems. Through these translated lyrics (not 100% accurate, but close enough), let’s find out what story is being told:

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom 

I don’t care if it’s a lie, who cares if it’s not the truth
You’re in my arms right now, that’s what’s important

Because if it’s you, I would be the victim multiple times
I can’t have you but I can touch you

When you call my name with your sweet lips
It’s you in the end, even if it hurts, it’s you

Every time your hand touches me, my breath stops
I swear I’ll give myself to you

You’re pretty because you’re rough,
you’re attractive because you’re dangerous
I know I’ll get hurt every time
but I like your games
There’s no reason I can’t do this, I’ll give you my everything
I just need to be by your side

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
(nanana nana nananana)

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom

This is what I mean
whenever you say I’m too much
Whenever you say it’s over with a sad face
Whenever you make me nervous,
strangely, I get even more attracted to you
You have so much charm, yeah,
you’re so good at controlling me,
as if you’ll come to me but won’t, you drive me crazy
You know that I can’t leave you
Just like a boomerang that always comes back
no matter how hard you throw it

I try to stop but when you call me
I stop where I’m going and run to you

With a face of an angel, you shake me up every time
Is it your nice body, is it your scent of a woman?

When I kiss your lips, I bow my head
And swear that I’ll give myself to you

You’re pretty because you’re rough,
you’re attractive because you’re dangerous
I know I’ll get hurt every time
but I like your games
There’s no reason I can’t do this, I’ll give you my everything
I just need to be by your side

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom

You can use me, you can play me
I know I’ll be ruined
but I choose you anyway

I don’t need your everything, I can just have half of you
I just need to be by your side

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
(nanana nana nananana)

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom
‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom

‘Cause your body goes boom bara boom

A very interesting story. Although the story does take the perspective of a male, arguably, it can be gender neutral. Anyhow, the lyrics tell the story of a man who is a victim of the “push and pull” game (for America, “playing hard to get” is a similar meaning). Even though his love-interest ends up toying and abusing his emotions, he is trapped in a bind of anguish and infatuation. He remains pained by her actions, but at the same time, cannot seem to escape his love-interest’s snare. An interesting love story that both males and females can relate to (hopefully that isn’t the case). 

In terms of details, most lines are different than the other and offer more perspective on the story. Now to answer the big question of, “What is the post-chorus about?” It could mean a multitude of things, but I will offer my own take (and again, the beauty of literature, no one is ever right or wrong). Considering the theme of magicians and witches and such, the line could be describing how the love-interest’s beauty is like a spell, hence “boom bara boom” (magic casting, etc.). 

Overall, a different and original story. The comparison of how a love-interest locks her or his lover as if they were a magician is unique. The lover is essentially spellbound. Due to the fascinating story and solid details, a solid score. 

That said, I will digress a bit. While it may be simply a story, I do want to point out a “flaw” in it: the focus on physical beauty. I won’t credit this in for the Meaning score, since the story itself and details are what I grade, but in terms of subtle messages, I want to address them still. Anyhow, the details that captivate the lover is all physical; scent, body, lips/kissing, face, hand touching, and such. Keep in mind, however, those physical parts aren’t the sole aspects that should “spellbound” a lover. There are a lot of other things: personality, attitude, intelligence, humor, and more. As I said in some other review way long ago (or perhaps I’m making this up), physical beauty should not purely define “beauty”. Beauty as a whole is who the person is, not solely on looks. How smart a lady or man is should matter a lot more than how pretty their hair is.

Anyhow, a short tangent here to keep fans/listeners aware. For this song, it’s understandable, though. I mean, out of “Your jokes keep me coming back…” versus “Your scent of being a woman/man draws me back…”, as a song producer, I’d go with the latter. For the purpose of dramatic effects and such, the last one comes off as more appealing (and another discussion for why that is). However, for an actual scenario, you better be falling for the one who makes you laugh more versus the one who smells better.   

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Choreography Score: 9/10 – I think it has also been a while since I’ve last seen a choreography that blew me away. Boyfriend’s dance for “Witch” does manage to acquire that feat. Also, for watching their dance, I highly recommend the dance practice link (unless if you prefer to see them with stage costumes and make-up to fit the Halloween/magician theme). It’s very vivid and truly reveals how complex yet elegant the choreography is.

Firstly, the curtain use was outstanding. It provided a lot of transitions for the choreography, and additionally, the magician theme gets added. That itself earns a lot of highlight for being vastly different from other props used in K-Pop choreography. In terms of the backup dancers, they arrived solely for the chorus, which works out considering that’s the most intense part. For other parts, the backup dancers were managing the curtains. Paying attention towards the gentlemen of Boyfriend, their dances were quite powerful; a lot of energy flowed from their movements. Syncing was no issue, and due to the unique curtains, transitioning and different positions were executed well. 

The only setback would lie in the fact of how their key points weren’t as strong; for example, the chorus’ dance maneuvers did not come off as super appealing. Nevertheless, overall, the choreography is amazing. The curtains add a new layer that strengthens transitions, adds different positions, and the song’s mood is matched. A very impressive dance. 

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Overall Score: 9/10 (8.5/10 raw score) – At the very end, Boyfriend’s “Witch” comes out with a 9/10 score. The choreography makes up a large chunk of the score, but the song itself is just as solid. Do I agree? I personally rate this as an 8/10 overall, but it’s still a solid song and dance. 

The biggest downfall to the song is how often the post-choruses are used. Other than that, “Witch” is an outstanding song with graceful vocals. The choreography, likewise, is incredible.

As I always do at the end of every post, thank you very much for reading. I hope this review is entertaining, insightful, and that you enjoy it. I’m very grateful towards all my readers, thank you for all your time, support, and feedback. I appreciate it all greatly. Thank you. While I’m at it, recently, this blog has been growing a lot, and I am so happy and in deep gratitude for that. It’s a really awesome feeling and something I never knew I’d experience. To have people enjoy my writing/reviews and to return is awesome. Thanks once again. 

This review has now officially hit the end, and that is perfect since I want to get some sleep. Reviews are out of order; I finished this review after I did my reality show review of “The TaeTiSeo” (check it out), but that shouldn’t matter. Anyhow, for my upcoming reviews, to add one more Halloween themed song, Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” is in mind (I will argue the concept is Halloween themed, even though…from stage performances, it has been about food…? More details later if I do review it). Now besides those songs, I did receive a song request and I’m glad it differs from a lot of other songs I’ve reviewed. It’s a K-Drama OST song, so that should be interesting. Another song I want to review is Secret’s Jiuen’s solo comeback of “Twenty-Five”. 

Reviews will be slightly late, however. I’m booked with a lot of work, so I may take a break for a few days/one week depending. On the bright side, though, I will be able to work on my reviews on a different document, so no more live posting ([WORK IN PROGRESS]) which will be nice. 

Anyhow, stay tuned and keep checking back. I will still post as much as I can. After all, if “I try to stop…when you call me I stop where I’m going and run to you”. Keep checking back. Expect either Jieun’s comeback or Orange Caramel’s “Catallena” as my next review.