G-Reyish – “Johnny Go Go” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

G-Reyish – Johnny Go Go

Reviewed on August 17, 2017

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

Continue reading “G-Reyish – “Johnny Go Go” Review”

Blackpink – “Whistle” Review

Blackpink – Whistle (Music Video)

Blackpink – Whistle

Reviewed
on August 11, 2016

Likewise with the sections, the verses
and raps and choruses also all fall into a generic category: nothing of these
sections standout from usual hip-hop songs. Furthermore, and for why the
ratings are even lower, the sections succeed in delivering the stage of the
song but not the appeal: the sections indicate “Whistle” ‘s hip-hop style, but
the format and sound of these sections are lifeless, mundane, and ultimately
leave no impression on listeners as it all sounds too standard.

Personal Message:
If all goes according to plan,
another review is already being released—specifically this one, to clarify. It
is actually quite astonishing how a different approach to reviewing songs can
greatly hasten up the review rate. From the usual rate of a review per week to
now at least one every few days, I am still surprised that by discussing a song
and not overly breaking down a song that reviews can come out much more easily.
But that said, much more practice is necessary and, for the technical side of
reviews, more changes are to come. And so before focusing on Blackpink’s
“Whistle,” let me share with readers some of my current ideas on how I plan to
clean up the outline even more. (Skip a few paragraphs to where I actually discuss
Blackpink.)

The two changes in mind are rather
drastic: potentially removing the choreography category and the section
distribution. Regarding the first part, I do wish to clarify that I still find
the dances with K-Pop exceptionally important. K-Pop is not just about the song
itself but also the performance involved with it. In fact, as perhaps some
reviews have covered, there are some songs where the audio is not the focus at
all; instead, the choreography is the main piece and the audio is secondary and
thus, dances can be very important to consider. However that said, as of the
late it appears that I oftentimes do skip over the dances. This is both due to
personal decision and technical issues; there are times where I value going
through the song more than the dance itself, but more frequently I run into the
problem of there not being a dance
practice or live performance released yet. Therefore, should the latter occur,
I have to either delay a review for a while, or to simply go on ahead and
exclude the dance. Another factor to also consider, however, is that I no
longer actually discuss the dance. Yes I include a score and a dance practice
or live performance, but I never actually discuss it in the review itself
unless if it was one that genuinely impressed me to the point that I do have words to say. Otherwise,
admittedly, I am much more versed in discussing a song than its dance (though I
would love to one day gain skills on how to gauge a choreography’s strengths
and weaknesses).

Now, should I end up permanently
removing the choreography grading portion to reviews, doing so does not mean
the dances are no longer included. The links will not change; I will use a dance
practice video if possible, and if not then I will use the standard pairing of a
music video and a live performance. The only change, then, that removing the
choreography category would bring is improving the aesthetics of reviews: no
longer will there be empty scores in this category (indicated by *) nor the
oddity of never actually discussing the dance despite giving ratings. Although
I planned to test this in another review, I will give Blackpink’s “Whistle” the
first trial. (In fact one could scroll down quickly and see how the
choreography portion is now gone in this on.) If this does not prove troubling
then it is highly likely this will become the new outline.

As for the much more impacting
change, I have recently greatly pondered over keeping or removing the section
distribution. Ever since the blog began, this category has been around and has
provided a crucial role in songs’ total scores—both fair and unfair. Before
even continuing, though, I will quickly remind readers on why the section distribution
exists. In short (for more detail refer to Sistar’s “I Like That” review): in a group, having only one or
two members covering a vast majority of a song’s duration leads to the lack of
potentially more diverse vocals—both skill and voices. After all, for the
general example I tend to use, if there are two songs that sound exactly identical (some leeway on
“exactly” as there would be different voices) but Song A has nine members
equally singing and Song B has one out of nine members equally singing, it
appears that Song A is deserving of a higher rating. To be able to have so many
vocalists/rappers involved and properly delegated (if that word makes sense)
and to still produce a phenomenal song is more impressive than just a song that,
while a single singer/rapper might be individually excelling, is not obliged to
concern over which member should get which part based on ability, transition,
and so on.

But, even so, I sometimes—and more
so lately—wonder about the opposite viewpoint to this: Why does the
distribution matter if, for example, Group A has nine singers but only one is currently
capable of stunning vocals? Would it not be better to have the best singer
carry the bulk of the song? Because according to my review outline,
statistically speaking, I am indeed saying: “I would rather hear worse singing and overall song
production with an equal distribution than to hear good singing and overall song production with a poorer
distribution.” And, if we are critical with that, admittedly it sounds silly.
Currently, a song has a much higher chance of being rated above average (and
higher) as long as its members have a perfect distribution—song quality in the
realms of vocals, sections, instrumental, and lyrics can be neglected.
Conversely, a song can be refined in the mentioned categories and yet, should
the members have a large disparity, then that song—while sounding amazing
sonically and structurally—could become quite poor in its rating. Perhaps the
ultimate question is whether having an equal distribution can significantly impact a song’s quality and
if having an equal distribution requires much skill and intelligence over
actual song production. To personally answer, I do feel that an average
sounding song getting ranked highly because of an equal share is not fair to a
song that sounds fantastic and yet is ruined by a lower section distribution
score. It, boldly and even arrogantly said, appears to take much more skill and
effort to have solid vocals, structures, and so forth, than to establish an
equal distribution. Weeks could be taken just for an idol to record her/his
appropriate chorus, but to change up which member sings which part can happen
much more hastily and without much struggle.

While Blackpink’s review will not
have the section distribution removed, I plan to test it in the upcoming
reviews and to see if the scores become significantly skewed in some form
without section distribution ratings being applied. (I think all should be fine
considering solo artists already have the section distribution excluded, and
indeed their reviews are very fair as it is about the song itself, not who
sings what.) For perhaps why I am overall hesitant to remove it, doing so would
potentially nullify the ratings of all past reviews. There have been reviewed
songs where the total score is limited by the distribution even if the song
itself was fabulous. On the other end, there have been reviews where a total
score is almost wrongly inflated by a distribution even if the song itself was
rather poor. Certainly past reviews’ content and argument points still remain
viable and likewise the ratings except for the total score, but nonetheless
this is something to consider. But, as I personally believe, even if initially
uncomfortable it is much better for a positive change to occur than to
continually remain in a less desirable state just for the purpose of comfort or
normality. The next review after this will experiment with removing the section
distribution, and I do predict it being better for the blog in the long-run.  

Finally, though, let us focus on the
review. Blackpink has been garnering much attention lately. In fact, this debut
might be the most hyped I personally have experienced. But, it is understandable
on why given the teaser clips of the members singing and dancing. Regardless, for
where I hope this review stands, I hope to provide a more serious, neutral
perspective to Blackpink and not for Blackpink as the wonderful, skilled young ladies
they are (I recall listening to a singing clip of a certain member when she was
fourteen and yet she was outstanding),
but instead for them as artists. All in all, their debut might have been
greatly anticipated and is currently cherished, but even so I do wonder how
much of that is moreover on pure support (which should occur; even if a group’s
songs are not the best, they deserve support) than of a more critical approach.
To already leak the review, “Whistle” might score at average, but this is
largely due to the section distribution compensating (and coincidentally that
was what we discussed earlier). Without it, “Whistle” is—contrary to the many
views—a rather lackluster song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
5.00/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 4/10


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

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

1.     Introduction:
3/10

2.     Verse: 3/10

3.     Rap: 4/10

4.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

5.     Chorus: 2/10

6.     Bridge: 6/10

7.     Conclusion: 4/10


Instrumental: 3/10


Section Distribution: 8/10

Jisoo:
Introduction, Pre-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus (Total: 4)

Jennie:
Rap, Verse (Total: 2)

Rose:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Lisa:
Introduction, Verse, Rap, Conclusion (Total: 4)

All:
Chorus, Chorus, Bridge

Equal Value: 3.25 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 6/10

Hey boy
Make ‘em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh
Make ’em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh

You’re so beautiful
I can’t forget you
Your eyes still
make my heart flutter, boom, boom
24, 365
I only want to be with you
During the day and at night,
I want you like this, ooh, ooh

Every boy checks me out everyday
They all think they can get me
I don’t want a lot of things
I want your heart
Cut out your heart and show me
Confidently, sometimes chic, chic
So hot, so hot
Make me not know what to do
Softly call out to me
Like a whistle in my ear

Don’t pass me by
If you can’t forget
me either, whoa
My heart for you is fire
My heart is beating so fast
You can hear it closer and closer

Whistle
Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle
Whistle
Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle

Hold up
Don’t say anything
Just whistle to my heart
That sound makes
my heart flutter boom, boom
Thoughts are boring
Feelings are shh–
Every day all day
Only stay by my side, zoom, zoom

Uh I’m always stylin’
I’m chic but in front of you, darlin’
It’s getting hot like a desert island
The more I get to know you, the more my heart rings
Stop hesitating, come over to me
Boy, it’s checkmate now
I win this game
(Uh-huh)
I choose you, I’ll hug you harder
Before someone
takes you away
(Uh)

Don’t pass me by
If you can’t forget
me either, whoa
My heart for you is fire
My heart is beating so fast
You can hear it closer and closer

Whistle
Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle
Whistle
Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle

This beat got me feelin’ like
I hope we won’t just
pass by like the wind
No need for many words
Now just take me
to your side
Ooh

Make ’em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh
Make ’em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Although
the rating says otherwise, “Whistle” being rendered as average is arguably
excessive. The main, detrimental factors to “Whistle” is its overall generic sound,
lack of cohesion, and lack of depth. With this review, we will go through each
of those points and discuss both positives and negatives. After all, every song
has its strengths and weaknesses no matter what the total score holds as.

With
the first point about its generic sound, although this song does firmly grasp a
hip-hop style and tone, the instrumental, vocals, and sections are somewhat horrendous
at expanding that. An example will be used to clarify that. Focusing on the
instrumental, whiles its slower, echoing and deeper beats deliver the presence
of the song—that it is hip-hop—it fails to do anything beyond that. The
instrumental in of itself is nothing exclusive in either sound or structure. It
is, although I dislike being repetitive, quite generic for an instrumental.
Likewise with the sections, the verses and raps and choruses also all fall into
a generic category: nothing of these sections standout from usual hip-hop
songs. Furthermore, and for why the ratings are even lower, the sections
succeed in delivering the stage of the song but not the appeal: the sections
indicate “Whistle” ‘s hip-hop style, but the format and sound of these sections
are lifeless, mundane, and ultimately leave no impression on listeners as it
all sounds too standard. And this leads to the vocals’ issues: seldom changing
in vocals styles—as noticed by how all the raps sound the same and likewise
verses, choruses, and so on—and seldom fluctuating in intensity so as to provide
some fluidity to the song and to prevent stagnant moments.

Addressing
the second point—the idea that there is a lack of cohesion—I find this perhaps
the most significant of the flaws. Even if the instrumental and vocals are
weaker in “Whistle” and even if the overall song is too generic in sound and
structure, the lack of cohesion is ultimately what breaks the song. To understand
this argument, consider how each of the sections is vastly distinct from the
other. The verse, rap, pre-chorus, and chorus—and even the introduction and
conclusion to add—are easily distinguished. On the surface, this would appear
to be good—and absolutely in a vast majority of situations that is true. After
all, songs that tend to have overly similar sections tend to be very
repetitive, and that is seldom a benefit. But, with “Whisper,” the differences
between sections are excessive to the point that said differences become
hindrances.

The
reason for that is the song loses its cohesion; the song is no longer able to flow from section to section, but rather
it jumps from section to section.
This is why, for example, the pre-choruses are extremely enticing on their own
rather than being considered enticing in the song in whole. Indeed, the
pre-choruses are impressive and the structure and singing of them are
brilliant, but the disappointing aspect is that their appeal come not so much
from building up to them but instead, from contrasting them from the more
stagnant, dry sections. This is what I mean when I claim there is no cohesion:
the sections have to conflict with one another rather than work with one
another, and that none link to the other. There is no seamless flow from the
rap to pre-choruses or from the pre-choruses to the choruses. It is, after all,
rather difficult to see how a smooth, melodic pre-chorus leads to a chorus that
moreover chants and relentlessly repeats “whistle.”  

Lastly,
for the final point, the song lacks depth. In addition to how “Whistle” fails
to deviate away from the ubiquitous pop hip-hop genre mix and how the song
fails to bind itself together, the song is overly simple. Now certainly simplicity
in of itself is not a flaw, but the downfall of being overly simplistic is the lack of taking risks—the lack of depth.
The bridge, for example, fulfills the traditional idea of a bridge, but nothing
more. For the vocals, lacking depth is also problematic. The rap vocals could
have been more intense and dynamic, but instead the rapping remains as linear
and static in pacing, intensity, and so forth. Even the singing at the
pre-choruses, while decent currently, do not provide more complexity besides
tuneful singing that escalates the song.

Overall,
if “Whistle” expanded on the current vocals so as to provide more appeal and if
the song modified its format in a way so that it provided a new, creative and
unique take to hip-hop and pop, and finally if it was able to connect its
sections so that all were aiding and supplementing each other, the song could
have been a promising debut. As it stands, though, unfortunately it—at its best—is
another average debut, but more critically one might even go as far as to claim
it is disappointing review. If the section distribution was removed, then a
less desirable total score would be in place and this is something to bear in
mind.

Nevertheless,
even if “Whistle” is a weaker debut song, I find it extreme to call this debut
a disaster or completely disappointing. Likewise, I also find it unreasonable to
claim “Whistle” is the best debut in K-Pop history. If anything, this debut—while
very much anticipated—is average and more so towards the lower range of average
(slightly below average or below average). However, in the end, as this is a
debut Blackpink does have room for growth and to eventually find their concept.
(And to note, it is also unfair to leave them the burden of being called “2NE1
clones”—their labelmate senior group of which is extremely popular—when
Blackpink are still attempting to find their concept in the first place.) This
very notion—the idea that the group will continually improve—is why one should
not dismiss the group even if “Whistle” is poorer than many other songs. But,
to sum up this review, “Whistle” leaves much to be desired but with Blackpink
being a new group, our desires for better and more will very likely be met in
the future.

_______________________________________________________

As
always, thank you to all for reading whether in full or short. Any attention is
greatly appreciated. For ending notes, it should be reminded that my reviews
are not to objectively label songs. Doing so is impossible as music always
carries biases due to cultural differences and such, but nonetheless I hope I
provide a more critical view to the song than those who are arguing its quality
based on emotions or preferences. Again, how a song rates is never indicative of
a group’s skills and capabilities, and even then reviews are not to bash groups
at all. As said earlier, even if a newly debut group releases a poorer song,
being supportive is essential in this sensitive period as only through support
will people even receive songs that are improvements. And without doubts, I
have yet to find a group that has not
improved from their debut.

In
terms of the upcoming reviews, I plan to catch up on July songs but also there
are many recent songs I wish to also review. Also, given that female groups
have been receiving most of the attention, I plan to cover Taemin’s “Goodbye”
(which, for a note, very much surprised me; its execution of a specific style
is amazing to say the least) and Monsta X’s “Stuck.” Before that, however, a
Korean hip-hop artist might be reviewed ahead of time: Basick’s “Nice.” Until
then, remember that “Your eyes still make my heart flutter, boom, boom.” Look
forward to whichever review is next, and for reviews to continually become more
concise and frequent.

Vromance – “She” Review

Vromance – She (Music Video)

Vromance – She

Reviewed
on August 2, 2016

“And now a reader might further
question this point, and this brings us to the ultimate takeaway: because of
“She” ‘s specific progression form and
that said form is brilliantly executed, the result is that all of the sections differ from one other. To note, “all sections”
is connoting that each individual section—not just section types (choruses, pre-choruses, etc.)—is different from one another.
Thus, it is through this interesting progression style, and of which derives
from the sections, that “She” flourishes.”

Personal Message:
To the requester of this review,
thank you once again for sending it in. Furthermore, I also apologize for the
delay—though I hope to finish this review quite soon. On a random note, as with
my prior review, I am now entirely convinced to
never excessively drag on a social digression. This is not to say that I no
longer care or have passion for sociological topics; that is not true since, if
not clear from the past review’s example, I can become quite zealous and
indeed, when social topics arise in pop culture I assert that discussions have
to take place. The issue, however, is that I went to the extent of overly
explaining and, while that may be beneficial for discussion, in terms of
focusing on the review itself and relating the sociological topics to K-Pop, I
did lose that aspect in the last review if I may critique myself. (And of
course, another issue is potential burn-out; the past review felt as if I wrote
three in terms of length, and thus that is lost energy for other potential
reviews.) And given that this is ultimately a music review blog and not a
sociology-applied-to-pop-culture blog (though that is always very much
interesting), it serves the best interest of readers and even myself to
allocate more time—or more likely, an equal amount—for the review itself than
digressions. Overall, finding a balance is what is crucial as both types of
readers—those into music reviews or those intrigued on the sociological
side—can then benefit.

Focusing on the review now, for some
technical clarifications, solely the music video is being used as I will be
excluding the choreography. Reason for that is not due to “She” lacking a
dance; there is definitely a dance with the song based on live performances.
The peculiar reason, then, is that said dance should just be considered
choreography; the “dancing” is the men shifting in place and working with their
standing microphones. Essentially that is still a dance, but because it is one
that would not be appropriately scored based on the current review outline (as
this outline does have a bias for the more general K-Pop dances—ones where
idols are moving around a stage instead of nearly standing still), I will
exclude it for fairness. For a final point to clarify, the lyrics included are
also not necessarily the most accurate, though arrogantly said I do find them
the most balanced. To explain, after looking through three translation sources (emphasis:
three) and applying my own limited knowledge, I have in many ways
“cherry-picked” the lyrics that are seen as there has been so much variations
on the lyrics. But of course, the differences are marginal; the difference
between, for example, “I will be a man” and “I’ll man up” is what I had to
decide on—nothing plot-changing at all. Nonetheless, it took a surprisingly
vast amount of effort to finally have the lyrics as is and this once again goes
to show the unreliable of being able to directly translate between languages.

Finally discussing the men of
Vromance and “She,” I have been pondering over whether to review this song, and
thankfully with a request sent in, I now have purpose to do so. Personally, for
why “She” was of interest, I have found this song to be the best example of how
“good vocals” is not synonymous at all to “explosive, powerful note holds.” Although
this is partially leaking the review, Vromance’s vocals are spectacular despite
never showcasing power at all in their singing. Thus, once again to remind
readers, vocal quality is never on what
vocals are delivered, but rather on how
the vocals are delivered. In Vromance’s case, the men do a fabulous job with
their vocals, even if they never replicate a vocal style that, for example,
MAMAMOO does—Vromance’s “sister” group. With MAMAMOO being mentioned,
especially with Vromance finally debuting, many have begun to affectionately
label the group as the boy-group-version of MAMAMOO. To that, I agree if we are
gauging solely vocal skills. Based on what we know with “She” and what we do not know with the men more individually
and their personalities (they have yet to have much camera-time, for example),
having equal vocal skills is the only viable comparison currently. Regardless,
I do believe the men to likewise flourish as MAMAMOO, and while it is desired
to see them act akin to MAMAMOO and to start releasing powerful vocals, we all
must remember that Vromance is merely the brother group of MAMAMOO and are not
MAMAMOO themselves. (RBW Entertainment, though, seems to have some secret with
training very skilled vocalists.)

Without digressing further, let us
focus on “She.” Admittedly, this song is not a personal preference; as shared
before, I prefer song styles that are similar to Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” and
GFriend’s “Navillera”—both of which are drastically different from “She” ‘s
style. Nonetheless, this is the first time where despite not preferring a
song’s style, its overall quality has infatuated me to the degree that I even
forget I personally dislike the style to “She.” That already should be
indicative of how potent the song is: a song that covers up preference biases
due to how outstanding the quality itself is. With all this praising, however,
let us take a more critical view to “She.” Obviously I may be surprised at the
result, but even then, there are most likely to still be flaws—or, if “She” in
a critical lens is sincerely fantastic, we should closely analyze why that is the case.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.20/10 raw score) – “Above
average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 7/10
(6.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge (Pre-Chorus): 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 8/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Section Distribution: 8/10

Hyunkyu:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 6)

Chandong:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Hyunseok:
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Chorus (Total: 4)

Janghyun:
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

All:
Bridge (Pre-Chorus), Conclusion (Chorus)

Equal Value: 4.75 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 7/10

Hi
My name is Park Hyunkyu
Hello, hello, hello, hello
Let me introduce my close friends here
Hello, hello, hello, hello

One, a comfortable friend
Two, someone who understands me very well
That’s you, a lady friend
And why is it that you look so pretty today
My heart is racing
What is wrong with me?
One, two, three, action

Something is different, she
Even her ankle is beautiful, she
The vague expression you make
You are an easygoing lady friend
who makes me feel comfortable
You, you, that was you
But you seem more than that now, she
Makes me laugh, she
I keep falling in you
I’m not a friend who is a boy but a boyfriend
What do you think about it?
How about me?

Hi
Nice to see us meet again
Hello, hello, hello, hello
Let me introduce myself
Hello, hello, hello, hello

One, so caring
Two, so understanding
That’s me, your boyfriend
What do you think?
My friends ask what is going on between us
My heart is racing
What is wrong with me?
One, two, three, action

Something is different, she
Even her ankle is beautiful, she
The vague expression you make
You are an easygoing lady friend
who makes me feel comfortable
You, you, that was you
But you seem more than that now, she
Makes me laugh, she
I keep falling in you
I’m not a friend who is a boy but a boyfriend
What do you think about it?
How about me?

Hello, hello, hello, hello
I think I sometimes get confused too
Are we just friends or
is there something more between us?
You and me
I’ll be a man and confess my love today
Get ready, I’ll tell you
One, two, three
(Woo)
Action

You make me crazy, you
(You)
No matter how hard I think about it, you
(You, you, you)
You’re an easygoing lady friend
For me for me, I said so
But see, I’m in love with you
I smile because of you, you
I fell into you
Not a friend who is a boy but boyfriend
What do you think about it?
One, two, three
What about me?

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

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Vromance clearly outdid themselves. For a debut song and group to score at
above average, it is rather daunting—or at least, to other artists since it is
stunning for us viewers. What else will they be capable of in the future as
they continue to improve? Personal remarks aside, for this review we will
follow a rather different approach than usual protocols. For purposes of
organization, “She” would be best explained by going through the sections, and
from there as we discuss how the sections function, to have everything follow: the
vocals, the instrumental, and finally the lyrics and section distribution.
Intriguingly for why this peculiar analysis style is being used, the sections
provide the foundation to the song, as we will now uncover.

First
let us focus on the sections in a very general, open sense in order to understand
my prior point of them serving as foundation for all the other categories
(vocals, instrumental, etc.). Arguably what provides “She” its best asset is
the unique and excellent progression of the song. Specifically, “She” is a song
that continually builds up without ever halting. Indeed, it is a progression
form seldom seen in pop songs and is moreover familiar in ballad, but
nonetheless this is the form of “She.” (And on a side note, this does disprove
my earlier thought that the song would be very linear.) Before getting further,
this agreeably might sound confusing; I am not using official if at all any
musical theory terms. With that, let us have a brief moment to discuss
“progression” in songs.

When
it comes the standard K-Pop song (and many other countries’ pop music), the
progression tends to be that of a “hill”: there are exciting peaks—typically
the choruses—that are followed by resting periods such as verses or raps, and
of course the average pop song tends to have a “buildup” through sections such
as the pre-chorus. Think of Taeyeon’s
“Why”
for example. The verses in that song begin the
song’s momentum, and later that is followed up by pre-choruses that ultimately
hype the song, and from there the choruses occur as a peaking point—a climactic
point. In fact, I suggest readers trying this song out for every pop song—be it
Korean, American, and so forth. Personally, I have applied this to American Pop
and, without surprise, this same form holds for many. After all, this form is
arguably the most “public friendly” as seldom can a person dislike this form—at most one could just not like it. (And yes,
there is a difference between not liking and disliking.) On topic, though, this
is what I mean by “progression”; by this term I am referring to, quite
literally, how a song progresses throughout its run. Now of course, this “hill”
progression is not the only one at all in the world of pop music, let alone
music in its entirety. There are other forms. Another example in mind is the
one I have affectionately called the “linear” form. Fei’s
“Fantasy”
is a song that showcases this: overall, it is
unchanging in intensity. From the verses to even the concluding chorus,
although the final chorus is shifted in pitch, as noticed the overall calm,
simple flow remains the same throughout. And so, with readers hopefully having
a better sense of my reference to “progression,” let us return to “She” and see
how this all applies.

In
the case of Vromance’s song, its progression is neither “linear” nor a “hill”;
the progression for “She” is, for another newly created term, a “slope.” Think
of—perhaps for some, dreadful—algebra; a slope means that a line is constantly
on the rise (or fall). (And if I completely butcher what slope is, please
correct me as I personally lack in the sciences and math.) Likewise, this
explains “She” ‘s progression—though in rise and not decline. But
now a reader might ask: so what? How is it relevant that its form is this? In
reply, although progression forms are indeed just styles to song, Vromance’s
“She” differs in that its ability to excellently execute its specific form—that
of a “slope”—is what brings the song its main charms. Consider, for example,
that because of its form and how it is properly executed (we will get to why I
assert that later), “She” is always becoming more intense as the song progresses.
After all, the first pre-chorus for example is not matched by the second
pre-chorus since the latter includes two-part singing and slightly more amped
up vocals. And now a reader might further question this point, and this brings
us to the ultimate takeaway: because of “She” ‘s specific progression form and that said form is brilliantly
executed, the result is that all of
the sections differ from one other. To note, “all sections” is connoting that
each individual section—not just section types
(choruses, pre-choruses, etc.)—is different from one another. Thus, it is
through this interesting progression style, and of which derives from the
sections, that “She” flourishes. Now let us take a look at the how the sections
positively affect the other categories, and from there, to see how the sections
themselves hold.

When
considering the vocals, two main reasons exist for why Vromance has earned
arguably the highest score possible (since nines are very rare and that tens
are essentially impossible minus for section distributions): diversity of
vocals and that said vocals are extremely refined in terms of their sonic
appeal. Regarding why this is the case, as mentioned earlier, the sections are
to be credited along with the song’s progression. First, when it comes to the
vocals being diverse, each section contains its own specific form of singing.
The first verse, for example, may follow a soothing vocal style, but once the
choruses occur, another style is in place. Factoring in that this occurs beyond
sections types and that the first verse and second verse, for examples, also
differ in vocals—and more importantly, that it is all cohesive (since it takes
more than just different vocal
styles)—and indeed, the result is a song that remains constantly appealing with
its singing. Furthermore, in terms of the actual refined sound I referred to, this
is due to the mechanical aspects seen: the extremely high yet precisely
controlled note towards the end; the pleasant sound of smooth, lower pitched
vocals; the delivery of two-part singing that occurs from the second half of
the song; and of course, the minimal but influential vocal beltings that are
heard throughout. With all of these different pieces to the vocals—and many of
these points stemming from how the sections are formatted—the end result is a
score of eight: extremely pleasing, varied, solid singing.

In
terms of the sections themselves, rather than going into deep detail per each (though
that would be interesting as many of “She” ‘s strong qualities are in minor
details), I will provide a general overview. The verses and introduction both score
a six due to reasons as said in many reviews: sufficient in their roles, but
lacking in pushing beyond that. In other words, the verse does help progress
the song and the introduction does hook in listeners, but beyond that neither
the structure or sound to both are to a high degree—though sixes are still
admirable. Switching over to the pre-choruses, chorus, and bridge (though this
is, as labeled, the pre-chorus), all excel with form and sound. Admittedly,
though, the biggest factor to the three is that these sections are where the
bulk of the vocals appear; in the pre-choruses, chorus and bridge, Vromance’s
stellar vocals are finally unveiled. Whether it is the subtle two-part singing
that occurs in the second pre-chorus, the alluring and sharp vocal belting on the
word “she” or the beautiful, high yet tamed note hold in the bridge, these sections
greatly flourish vocally. Last of all, for the conclusion (and of which is a
reused chorus), a significant score is earned. Besides fulfilling usual roles
of ending the song without abrupt ends, this conclusion serves as an excellent example
of how execution matters much more than the content itself.

To
clarify what I mean, consider that “She” ‘s ending is merely that a
pitch-shifted ending; the conclusion is nothing more than the chorus being
replayed in a higher tune. In many cases, this form is oftentimes improperly
used, such as in Fei’s “Fantasy” as linked earlier. In Fei’s song, this type of
ending failed to deviate away from the other choruses and therefore, was
nothing more than adding redundancy to the song. On the other hand, with
Vromance’s case, the men’s song succeeds. But why is that the case if it is
exactly the same? Although the conclusion may be pitch-shifted to a higher
tune, there are additional features added—these being what is necessary, for
the most part, to have this type of ending thrive. For example, two-part
singing is constantly occurring and in comparison to the other choruses, this
is a new feature and thus redundancy is prevented. Also, with the vocal
intensity climaxing here as every member is contributing in some form, this
further helps wrap up the song. Overall, the sections to “She” are solid and
intriguingly, the successful parts to the sections are not in blatant details
but instead in the minor, almost unnoticeable details.

Quickly
addressing the instrumental, this one part may be where “She” slightly lacks.
Understandably, with Vromance’s vocals being the foremost attention, the
instrumental takes on a more passive role. The instrumental accommodates the
song and provides transition—any typical role, overall—but it does nothing
beyond that. It is not an attractive, individual instrumental that would be
pleasing on its own; instead, it relies on the addition of Vromance’s singing
to thrive. As for the section distribution, if Hyunkyu gave away one section to
the members who only had four, a nine would have been earned. As a result, with
just one section being at fault, an eight is earned. And indeed, regardless of
what statistics may claim, from a listening perspective it is well noted that
all the members are constantly contributing, such as in the background vocals.
Finally, for the lyrics, miraculously despite the rather typical plot of a
lover and their love-interest, it is the details that augment the story. We can
understand the main character’s feelings, for example, and understand why he is
even in love. Adding on, the lyrics are not repetitive; every section minus the
two choruses is of their own. That is rather impressive from both a musical
perspective (since syllables have to be equally matched—usually, that is—otherwise
melodies would be changed) and that of a plot perspective.

All
in all, Vromance’s “She” is a song that truly surprised me. Even if I had high
expectations for the men considering they are from MAMAMOO’s label company, I
am pleased to say they have not just met my expectations, but have exceeded
them. “She” is a song that provides a balanced,
vocal-orientated experience, and the most stunning aspect to the song
might have to be that despite never showcasing powerful note holds, I am still
equally shocked as if the men did in fact do that. Overall, this is definitely
an above average song (I would be skeptical to say it is more than that, however)
and considering it is a debut, it is one to watch out for. I look forward to
what else Vromance will release in the future and whether their musical style will
change at all.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, huge apologies for delays. I admittedly have been slacking and
have been finishing up an essay for a summer class. I hope, though, that the
wait was worth it. I also hope that this review provides a new perspective to
the song. In terms of the next review, GFriend’s “Navillera” will finally be
reviewed and more so as a reader was curious on whether I would review it. I plan
to get to it as soon as possible. And on that note, I also plan to write a few
more bonus show reviews that revolve around GFriend. Overall, there are many
reviews left to do and more to most likely come in this month. Given that I
return to university after this month, however, I might consider shortening
reviews so that I can write two in a single writing session, but more
experimenting will have to occur. On topic, for what I can confirm, GFriend’s “Navillera”
will certainly be reviewed. (And biasedly I am excited to review it considering
that it is now my favorite song of all-time.) Look forward for that review to
come. After all, “I smile because of you, you.” Nothing awkward, right?

NCT 127 – “Fire Truck” Review

NCT
127 – Fire Truck (Dance Version)

NCT 127 – Fire Truck

Reviewed
on July 15, 2016

Personal Message:
Since I am behind schedule for July,
I will attempt my best to compensate through covering the many comebacks that
are here. Personally, I have yet to see this many comebacks in such a short
time frame, but this summer indeed is filled with many artists releasing new
songs. A bonus exists as well: many of these comebacks are more accurately
labeled as debuts rather than
comebacks as the latter implies an artist returning when, quite clearly, that
is not the case. Either way, there are both comebacks and debuts. I will do my
best to cover as many as possible (and including a recent request). Now before
hopping into NCT 127’s review, to address the prior one, I am surprised: the last review is
being perceived quite well. But of course, many readers are respectful and read
reviews not as reassurance that their favorite group/artist is holding well,
but rather as a way to join into (hopefully) thoughtful discussions. As such, I
cannot be too shocked. On the other hand, now, when it comes to NCT 127 I will
say I am completely shocked—or at least, confused. NCT 127 is a group, but if
being specific the men are actually in a sub-unit. However, for where this
becomes complex, the “main” group, NCT, is not so much a group as much as a
headquarter. Let us spend some time clarifying this.

So, NCT is technically a group that
contains all of the members—and indeed, there are many members. I am referring to more than even SEVENTEEN’s group
size, for example. But even then, NCT is not meant to perform as much as to
provide an overarching roster for the members. From there, then, are sub-units
made and of which are the ones who actually perform. For example, there is NCT U
from what I heard. In our case, we will be focusing on NCT 127, but again this
is merely to explain what is simply going on with NCT and people referring to
them as sub-units and so forth. The purpose behind this is to encourage a
dynamic, open system which then translates to very unique songs—such as “Fire
Truck,” as we will cover. Essentially, there are no binding contracts and
members are free to leave and stay as they please. Furthermore, NCT is not
solely based in South Korea but additionally in other countries, such as Japan
and China. Overall, with a diverse group of members (both socially and
musically) and freedom to move around, this allows NCT members to take major
risks with their songs. And as covered in the linked review of Oh My Girl’s
“Windy Day,” taking risks is far from bad at all; taking risks is a way to
improve and to deliver utterly new perspectives. As always, though, if readers
have a better understanding of NCT’s system, I would be grateful for any
clarifications and additions.

Finally focusing on the review
itself, coincidentally the mentioned previous review suits this current one
quite well. In fact, too well. Should my predictions be correct, this review
will most likely be controversial, and specifically in the area of music and
not that of social topic discussions. However, homogenous to Oh My Girl’s
“Windy Day,” many of the same discussion points discussed there applies here.
Thus, I do recommend that fans of NCT 127 read the Personal Message in the past
review as to get an idea. In summary: a poorer score does not mean a
group/artist lacks in skill and competence. Far from it. What is most likely
the case, and specifically here is
the case, is a group taking significant risks to challenge the general trends
of songs. With “Fire Truck,” I very much admire the group and producer(s) for
attempting to deviate away from usual ideas of K-Pop songs. Even if the song greatly
falters due to lacking in the delivery of a creative idea, the men of NCT 127
definitely deserve much respect and encouragement. After all, to use cliché
sayings, it takes many tries before baking the perfect cake. You might now
claim I made that up, so in that case, I will also say: it takes many tries
before a man or woman finally perfectly applies eyeliner. Point is, songs that
are very unique and different—though respect is deserved for the
risk-taking—will need many trials before a more polished one arrives.

And so, for the takeaway idea,
rather than becoming defensive and denying all of the following critiques, I
encourage the opposite: having an open, critical mind that will join the
discussion. Disagreeing is vastly different from defensiveness—the former is
what I am looking for. And of course, agreeing can occur, but even so retaining
a critical mindset of asking why is
of utmost importance. With all of this covered, let us take a look as to why
“Fire Truck” is admittedly one of the weaker—if not, bluntly said, one of the
worst—songs I have heard. Absolutely NCT 127 has potential and skills on their
own, but when it comes to showcasing said abilities, “Fire Truck” does not
deliver justice. An ambulance will be necessary.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 4/10
(3.80/10 raw score) – “Slightly below average”


Vocals: 2/10


Sections: 3/10
(2.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
2/10

2.     Rap: 4/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 2/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 4/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 3/10


Instrumental: 2/10


Section Distribution: 9/10

Taeil:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Bridge (Total: 3)

Taeyong:
Rap, Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Yuta:
Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Jaehyun:
Rap, Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Winwin:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus (Total: 2)

Mark:
Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus (Total: 3)

Haechan:
Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Bridge (Total: 3)

All: Introduction, Chorus, Chorus,
Conclusion (Chorus)

Equal Value: 2.85 sections per member.


Lyrics: 3/10

Get it lifted
Fire truck

Where are you looking at, Mr. Fireman on the floor?
Let’s make a fire, I’ll cool down this heat
This place is getting hotter and hotter
Here is full of dissatisfaction
My feeling from that siren is, um
Don’t be shy (like this)
Lukewarm atmosphere, no thanks
My burning shaking backseat
After burning we get it all clear

Ey ye ye ye ye
Hands up if you feeling the vibe now
Ey ye ye ye ye
One step two steps
Tonight, you and I, and everyone will fall in here
A running fire truck at anytime
You can call me (anytime)
Move your body, pick it up
Shake just as you feel
Shout out loud at the moment of the peak
Fire truck

Woot
Woot woot woot

Yeah
Be anywhere, everywhere
You can just call me
Look at, look at how
It’s like a small playing with fire
It shows up when it is “bling”
Just blink for me
I’ll cool your anger down
Just hold up
You can get hurt if you keep pushing, get higher
The atmosphere is so hot like a rocket
Just ten seconds left till it explodes

Ey ye ye ye ye
Hands up if you feeling the vibe now
Ey ye ye ye ye
One step two steps
This thrilling music is burning your heart
Shout out “fire truck”
It can go anywhere
Turn it up to the maximum volume
Shake to the rhythm
Shout out loud at the moment of the peak
Fire truck

Ey ye ye ye
Ey ye ye ye
Fire truck
Fire truck

Don’t stop till the sun rises
Turn it up to the maximum volume
(Turn it up to the maximum volume)
All right
Put everything on this music
Dance my party people

Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck
Fire truck

Choreography Score: 6/10 (5.50/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 5/10

– Key Points: 6/10

Overall Score: 5/10
(5.00/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: “Slightly
below average” is a very generous outcome given that one of the categories
managed to cloak the major shortcomings of every other category. That said, to
be optimistic with praising the stronger point of the song, the section
distribution is quite admirable. As seen, the distribution is as equal as it
could get, hence a nine. Should every member have the exact number of sections, a ten would have been earned. But
nevertheless, the group is indeed as equal as possible with the share and given
there are seven members, it is a feat worth respecting. Unfortunately,
everything from here onwards falters.

With
the lyrics for example, although from a superficial analysis the lyrics do
appear as very thorough, that is not the case. For one, the plot is the
opposite; rather than claiming that a storyline is involved (and I am excluding
symbolic points and focusing on the direct layer as, clearly, symbolic
interpretations are based per person’s take), the lyrics predominantly consist
of “fun” ones—lyrics that are for simply jamming out, as noticed by lines of “Hands
up if you feeling the vibe now” or “Move your body, pick it up / Shake just as
you feel.” Additionally, for another superficial aspect that can be looked
over, the lyrics are not as detailed as they appear. The raps are arguably the
only sections with filled with more complex lyrics, but everything else—the
chorus, pre-chorus, and bridge—are lacking in substance. Lines such as the ones
above or the ones in the bridge are examples of lyrics that, while adequately
fulfilling the song, provide little actual meaning to the plot of “Fire Truck.”
And of course, as discussed above, the plot is already weak in of itself. Thus,
with both of these points combined—weaker details and plot—the score comes down
to a three for below average.

Regarding
the vocals and instrumental, both scores will be explained alongside—a less
common format in comparison to nearly every other review I have written. As for
why I am doing so, this is a unique situation in which both will receive
identical critiques: being overly disorganized. Now admittedly this critiquing point
does run the risk of judging style moreover than quality, but with the
following I do hope to showcase why it is moreover the latter than the former.
(But of course, readers should be actively engaging with this review and thus,
disagreeing is encouraged.) For example, readers may believe I am penalizing
the song due to it lacking calm, tuneful singing. However, that is not the
case. Rather than me criticizing the style of the vocals, I am instead focusing
on how the given styles affect the
song in both large and minor scales. Let us begin breaking down the vocals for
this to make sense.

First,
the rapping vocals are adequate and likewise the singing that appears in the
bridge. Both vocal forms in the two sections help fulfill their purposes. For
example, the vocals in the rap are orientated towards being lower noted as to
help ease listeners into the song and that the raps are a starting point for
the song to then progress from. Similarly, the bridge’s lighter pitch and even
note holds—besides sounding decent from a pure sonic perspective—aids with forming
the traditional bridge style of giving “Fire Truck” a break. Now, for where the
vocals greatly falter then, it is elsewhere. The pre-choruses’ vocals come off
as exceptionally repetitive and lifeless—these two being highly contrasting
points to the rapping vocals. It also does not help that the lyrics themselves further
accumulate the staleness that occurs: vocals that are already plain are now
coupled by equally plain lyrics. Continuing on within the pre-chorus, the
vocals weaken even further: the moreover obnoxious vocals join in. Sure, this
may finally break apart the monotonous vocals that existed prior, but with this
having minimal connections—if at all any—to the prior vocals, the
singing/rapping become extremely chaotic. Overall, to summarize this all, the
vocals ultimately suffer due to a lack of cohesion. The raps’ vocals are
heavily contrasting to the pre-choruses’ vocals—and of which are already
conflicted themselves. Factor in the bridge and even the choruses and this
problem is further expanded. For other minor yet still relevant issues with the
vocals, besides the vocals lack of coordination, many are already insufficient.
The choruses’ “fire truck” singing are nothing noteworthy, and likewise the
pre-choruses’ vocals are ones to dismiss. As stated earlier, solely the raps’
and bridge’s vocals are worth attention, and even then much more is desired.

All
that said, while “Fire Truck” ‘s style may be wanted as the blame, it should be
noted that chaotic vocal styles are not always bad. In fact, one song in mind
perfectly executes this: BTS’ “Fun Boys.” Both songs, “Fun Boys” and “Fire
Truck” follow similar styles, but where the former greatly exceeds is in how
the vocals all relate to one another, and that variety is included so that the
song is not limited to merely repeating single, plain phrases. Regarding the
instrumental, as stated earlier the same critiques follow through: a weaker
sound in of itself, but more importantly that the instrumental lacks in bringing
the song together in a cohesive yet unrestricted way. Again, the style to “Fire
Truck” is not inherently bad; what matters more is the execution, and sadly
that is what lacks here.

Finally
to discuss the sections, the vocals category miraculously indirectly covered
this aspect. The rapping and bridge, as discussed, are not at the most
desirable standards but are by far ahead of the rest in both structure and
sound. As for the pre-chorus, its highly conflicting structure and lack of
enticing vocals lower its score. Predictably, the chorus is in a similar
situation as the instrumental solo that occurs already languishes sonically,
but likewise structurally with being excessively repetitive and dull. Optimistically,
despite the chorus scoring poorly, the conclusion scores slightly higher—even if
it is a recycled chorus. Reason being is that the chorus provides an excellent
ending as it is neither abrupt nor short, and that it captures the main core of
“Fire Truck.” Where it does lack, however, is that the choruses are already a
weaker point to begin with.

In
the end, one could argue I am biased towards this style of songs, but as I have
said before, I do hope the argument points dive beyond merely “I just don’t
like this.” Where “Fire Truck” mainly goes awry is in one word: disorganized.
Should there have been slightly more cohesion all while maintaining the fun,
free and upbeat style, this song could have excelled. After all, “purposeful
chaos”—akin to say, using controlled fire burns during forest fires—can be very
effective and, if delivered well, can grant one of the most unique yet alluring
songs. Once again, if readers are curious as to what an excellently “disorganized
cohesion” song could sound like, I recommend BTS’ “Fun Boys.” Biasedly, I do
dread the style, but every time I hear “Fun Boys” I have no choice but to
respect the production of the song. With NCT 127’s “Fire Truck,” sadly the men
fall short in terms of keeping the song bounded together—all while still
letting it have its open, fun style. And for a final point, I do hope readers
remember that music reviews are not meant to assert a stable, permanent
rendering of a song’s quality. Music reviews, instead, are meant to provide
discussions; music reviews exist to initiate a new take, to defend or challenge
a held view, and so forth. Therefore, should NCT 127 fans be upset, I would
challenge fans to go beyond that: disagree
with the review versus solely being defensive or allowing this to go by. Engaging
in that critical thinking and mindset are what reviews about and why I continue
to write them. (And likewise for why I add in social digressions; I hope to
engage readers in critical thinking in both realms of music and social as both
are intertwined with K-Pop.)

Ending
this review, while NCT 127 sadly comes short with “Fire Truck,”  I still do look forward to the group. Why?
Because NCT 127 and their producer(s) are not afraid to take risks; the men are
not held back by ideas of traditional song styles and so forth. I look forward
to whatever else the men may innovate, be it a song that incorporates ballad
and hip-hop, pop and EDM, and so on. There is no restriction for them.

_______________________________________________________

Before
anything else: huge apologies for this review’s delay. Admittedly, I have
recently become a fan of, once again, another group. Who are they? Although I
wanted to keep it a secret for an upcoming review, it is none other than
GFriend. Though I have been keeping my ears out for them especially after “Rough,”
their latest comeback has biasedly become a hit song for me. “Navillera” might
become my favorite song of all-time, and that is a bit frightening considering
Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” has comfortably held that spot for more than a year.
Only until now has a song contested that. But of course, I should clarify that
favorite does not mean best. There are plenty of flaws in Navillera, but given
that I biasedly love it, I do feel the need to review it so that a more
critical lens is applied versus my current delusional ones of assuming it is
the best song I have yet to hear (it is not—though I do predict it scoring
well).

Before
I go off-topic even further, indeed I have become delayed with reviews and even
subtitling as I have spent many questionable hours merely watching GFriend.
Only my girl (a sweet terrier mix) provided the motivation to get off of bed—Venus
needs her daily two-session walks, after all, and to continue learning her
first trick. (While she has her safety commands covered, I am finally now moving
onto actual fun tricks.) On topic, I do greatly apologize nonetheless for
delays. For the upcoming reviews, I have received two requests: Wonder Girls’ “Why
So Lonely” and Miss A’s Fei’s solo debut. I will promptly cover the two, and
then afterwards review two shows I have watched that involved GFriend.
Personally, that sounds like a win-win situation: I get to watch GFriend
knowing that it will serve short bonus reviews. (Emphasis on short, though.)

All
in all, “I’ll cool your anger down” with the reviews that are to come. Thank
you to all for reading this review. Look forward to Wonder Girls’ “Why So
Lonely.”

SEVENTEEN – “Adore U” Review

SEVENTEEN – Adore U (Dance + Mashup Version)

SEVENTEEN – Adore U

Reviewed on June 18, 2015

image

Personal Message: Though my prior review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” was published a day ago, I will already resume writing. Three major motivating factors are active: For one, this is a requested review, and thus, I do not intend to revive past mistakes of highly delaying requests. Secondly, a friend’s comical reminder of “papers don’t write themselves” (comically speaking, it is a bit concerning that my reviews are synonymous to “papers” due to length), but thirdly, for the largest factor, AOA’s comeback of “Heart Attack” will occur on June 22, and with biasedly loving the group and sentimental value of my old review on their hit song of “Like a Cat,” I do feel obliged to instantly review their comeback. And of course, writing reviews is something that is fun and a few readers are anticipating them.

On topic, this review will be on SEVENTEEN, a newly debuted 13-membered male group, and as the requester humorously put, there are many members. Many. How this will affect the review will be unclear, but I already anticipate hassles in terms of tracking who remains in charge of which sections (for readers, however, it will all be sorted out and therefore not an issue). Briefly describing my overarching opinion of their debut song, “Adore U,” while the usual trend in debuts is that, due to various reasons such as it being the first song, a vast majority are moreover average or worse, I do admire SEVENTEEN’s debut for being thorough and, impressively, for not even appearing as a debut. “Adore U” plays out as if it were any regular song, not one of introducing the group or one that overly emphasizes a group’s general style and concept. However, though I will praise it in that regard, once the review begins, I do predict this song to be either “average” or “slightly above average,” which for a debut song would be impressive ratings as the men could only improve from such.

To address the video link as it is partially different from the usual ones, it is a dance version of their music video, but towards the end, it does become a “mashup.” Nevertheless, the choreography remains sufficient in length so that the video is still viable. Drifting to a new topic, for one that is surrounding the men of SEVENTEEN, I will discuss an interesting point involving one of their members (and as I always say, for those who desire to focus purely on the music, skip to below): Vernon, and more specifically, him being biracial. Pitifully, him being half Korean (father’s side) and White (mother’s side) elicits the current upcoming discussion when that should not ever be the case; by simply being biracial, he has faced tremendous racist remarks, and furthermore, in recent times, is being bashed by many for “pulling the race card,” but realistically, I should not have to venture into the subject because there should not be any instances of racism in the first place. Nonetheless, clearly, there are apparent issues, and rather than shying away, I will be diving in depth with this topic. Topics of race are uncomfortable, hence why they are vital to discuss and to understand on a social scale and in detail.

To begin, I will first offer context of the situation: Vernon, in his younger days, explained how he was often time called a “halfer,” was stared at, and of course, faced other subtle yet racist treatments (and as a side note, this was in South Korea; this serves as a prime example of how the “dominant” group varies per place, as briefly discussed in my post of EXID and TMZ, but needless to say, still exists). Now, although this incident was moreover in the past and shared when he was a child, for current times, many have decided to belittle his past experience, and thus, are claiming Vernon is simply “pulling the race card” as his shared experience is merely to garner attention. Sadly, however, this “belittling” of his story is unacceptable; his experience is what every person of a minoritized race undergoes, even to the extent of a daily basis, and to claim his story is for attention utterly defeats the purpose of why Vernon’s younger self had to share such.

Dissecting the “race card” phrase, in this specific scenario, first of all, it is already erroneous to claim Vernon is “pulling” anything as, from what I understand, he has not done so; Vernon has not brought up his experience with racism in modern time, but rather, people have found his old, childhood story, and thus, to claim he is “pulling the race card” is incredibly false as he, blatantly, has not done anything, and therefore, to claim he is seeking attention through such is simply illogical. If he did indeed recently claim and told his story (which will still not be seeking attention, as to be explained below) as the current matured Vernon, then at the very least, the current accusations would partially hold as, correct, he is bringing up the story. But, as stated, with him not conducting any discussion of his experience in current times, he should not be accused for “pulling the race card.” At most, accusers are the ones that are “pulling” something by digging up archaic news.

Nevertheless, even if he did bring his experience into discussion in recent times, irrationally claiming Vernon is “pulling the race card” to seek attention undermines his story, of which is costly. In essence, utilizing that phrase is identical to saying: Vernon’s (or anyone) experience with racism is miniscule; racism is nothing major, and those who claim they face racial discrimination are merely stating so for sympathy and attention. This is also exceptionally akin to the idea of justifying racist claims and jokes: “it is simply a joke, don’t be so sensitive,” or “I didn’t mean you, though,” for examples, work in a similar fashion to the “pulling the race card” phrase as, once more, undermining racism, and in many ways, justifying and encouraging it, is what occurs from utilizing those related phrases.  

Rather than viewing Vernon’s past story as him seeking attention, the more critical, open approach would be to understand his perspective. Acts of racism are still highly prevalent, but in juxtaposition to older times, are much more discreet. Members of minoritized races constantly endure microaggressions: relentless questions of “where are you from,” widespread exposure to racist “jokes” and comments, and overall, simply the feeling of inferiority to the dominant race. Racism, unequivocally, still exists. Though it is now socially unacceptable for blatant racism to occur, the version of veiled racism thrives. Relating the phrase of “pulling the race card,” this phrase’s sole existence is to defend subtle racism, and thus, for an ultimate point, it should never be used as incidents of racism are not shared for the sake of attention, but instead, attention so that proper, humane changes can occur. No one “pulls the race card” because of desiring attention; the “race card” is “pulled” by those who wish to continue perpetuating racism.

Until my senior year in high school, I had always believed racism (or any oppressions for that matter) were solely feelings; I had perceived “-ism” terms as people being overly emotionally sensitive. Truthfully, however, and for why these labels are coined as “social issues,” as the name, they are on a social level, not one of emotional feelings. These issues cannot be shoved away as “just jokes” or “pulling the card,” these issues need to be confronted directly, regardless of how uncomfortable. As an overall point, to tie into SEVENTEEN and Vernon’s case, his words and story are important and are not to seek attention; he is bringing attention to an ongoing social issue that needs to be challenged so that, in the future, no child or person would have to tell a similar story to what Vernon’s younger self had to share.

Of course, varying opinions are desired, and thus, I do hope readers who read the earlier portion develop their own understanding and care. Returning to “Adore U” in a musical lens, though, in honesty, I am very intimidated by the number of members and the number of song sections to analyze, their group size will not be a factor in the song’s rating (until the Line Distribution). “Adore U” may be promising in the category of vocals, but once the other aspects are included, I do remain skeptical on how well the song as a whole holds. Ending the anxiety of waiting, this review will determine if “Adore U” is worth adoring.

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Song Score: 5/10 (5.4/10 raw score) – “Average”

– Vocals: 7/10 – With 13 members existing, rather than individually critiquing every member, I will analyze the vocals in “Adore U” collectively. That said, SEVENTEEN’s vocals in “Adore U” are admirable. Though they may be new in the K-Pop industry, the same cannot be said for their skills; SEVENTEEN’s singing possesses higher-end traits, as would be seen in more experienced groups. Expanding on those traits, for the strongest point, the vocals remain exceptionally diverse: notes range from lows to highs, the melody is versatile via being lively and dynamic but also calm and slow, rapping and standard singing alternate, and overall, with many members, every line possesses its own voice, and therefore, more appeal exists. Ignoring the layer of variety, the occurring singing and even rapping are musically enchanting. Deeper pitches, as during the first verse, grant a soothing effect, and as for the higher pitches such as during the choruses, a desirable, energetic flow is in place. Furthermore, moments of staleness are nonexistent; with the vocals’ melodies constantly showcasing a flexible style, be it common changes in pacing or adding in note stretches, every moment of singing in “Adore U” remains adoring.

Variety is arguably the men’s best trait for their vocals. Above average will hold as the score. Although the following categories (Sections, Line Distribution, etc.) may lack, the vocals certainly hold well. If the prediction becomes a reality, “Adore U” will serve as a transparent example of how even though high talent may be in place, a song requires more than 13 members delivering excellent vocals since 15 members are needed.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10 – Five members cooperate for the introduction (and as a disclaimer, I do apologize if I am inaccurate for labeling who remains responsible for which sections; tracking 13 members is not an easy task): S. Coups, Vernon, Jun, Mingyu, and Hoshi.

Addressing the structural component, the introduction shines with fulfilling its role. Rather than introducing singing vocals, a familiar concept, as in many previous reviews, is used. Regular speaking, and later, whispering, are used. As a result of preserving the actual singing, anticipation becomes created, of which is a necessary outcome for an introduction to be enticing. In focus of the section in itself, the progression deserves praise for following a suiting pace and development: standard phrases are thrown while tints of an electric guitar accompany them, but later, once the whispering occurs, heavier beats become included. Many favorable outcomes exist due to the progression. For a basic example, a perfect level of intensity is gleaned; the introduction does not fail to transition to the verse due to being too passive, nor is there an issue of the introduction being too upbeat and lively as if it were a chorus. Another desirable point, however, is the song’s tone is clearly given. The song’s general rate and pacing is reflected in the introduction’s own progression rate. Heavier and medium-paced beats can be assumed as the song’s flow and pacing, and with this, the introduction becomes additionally appealing and cohesive.

Though the introduction should be numerically rated highly, the sonic aspect does falter, and it is more than merely the lack of singing vocals. Though the latter point does not directly hinder the score, it does significantly increase difficulties of possessing a section that is sonically infatuating. In “Adore U,” the lack of singing vocals is detrimental as the speaking and whispering phrases do not compensate; their voices, while on an individual level are nice and worthy of hearing (as are all voices in general; every voice should be loved), are not musically attracting as, blatantly, it is merely speaking (for a side note, solely one song has been an exception: Secret’s “I’m In Love” where Hyosung’s introduction of speaking was, miraculously, indeed musically charming, though she was accompanied with some tuneful humming). Even with the instrumental, which, once covered later, will showcase that it is moreover average, and thus, is also incapable of improving the introduction’s sonic layer.

Slightly above average will be the score. Considering how the introduction is nearly bereft of a sonic component, this score should be noteworthy as it indicates the structural portion is very much admirable.

2. Verse: 5/10 – For the verses, Seungkwan and DK handle the first, and for the second, S. Coups, Hoshi, Vernon, The8 (yes, this is his stage name and not a typo), Jun, and Joshua are all responsible. In truth, if the first verse was repeated, the score would be vastly higher. For how I will dissect the verses, I will follow the default protocol of mechanical and structural, but from there, I will analyze the first verse then second verse, and afterwards, offer an overall conclusion.

With that, for the mechanical layer to the verses, peering at the first verse, beautiful singing occurs. Both members’ notes range from low to middle, and furthermore, they remain exceptionally melodic. Their first seconds of performing a lower note stretch, and also, additional note stretches at the end, are prime examples of how the couple creates, emphasizes, and accentuates, the first verse’s captivating melody. Simply stated, solid singing is unveiled. Unfortunately, for the second verse, the first verse’s seducing traits are displaced: the second verse is bleak of not only attracting singing, but also, rapping. In the context of the second verse, the first two members, in truth, were not quite singing or rapping, but instead, practically speaking, though a tune was attached. Nevertheless, due to such, little appeal is given from the two. Following up with the next member, Vernon’s short rap is as impactful as its length; although it would be false to label his rap as horrid, it is solely average. Now afterwards, the remaining members adopt the first two members’ style of speaking, but at the very least, a slightly more melodic approach exists. Nonetheless, a monotone, tedious style becomes in place.

For the structural layer, once more, the first verse proves better. Though both verses do repeat their lines’ formats, the first verse benefits while the second suffers. Elaborating, in terms of the first verse, while both members replicate one another, with their singing holding favorably, recycling a similar format is increasing the time span of said singing, and that is no issue as fantastic singing occurs for longer. However, conversely, for the second verse, with relatively poorer vocals showcased, reusing similar lines is solely pushing more weaker vocals, and thus, is not appealing. Even on a more individual level, the first verse’s lyrics variate and are more than a single, basic tune. The same is not applied to the second verse: the rapping lines are not thorough with melody and flow, and blatantly, the moments that of speaking phrases were monotonous.

Average will be the score. Should the first verses have been reused, “Adore U” would possess very prominent, marvelous verses, but unluckily, the second verse does hinder the overall score.

3. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – Vernon and Dino pair up for the first pre-chorus while Wonwoo and Mingyu handle the second. To already reveal the rating, average is how the pre-choruses hold. Both components of mechanical and structural neither have pressing issues or solid points.

Focusing on the mechanical side, the pre-choruses take the overall form of rapping, although slower than typical ones. While the lines are not lacking melody, the existing melody fails to be enticing. Additionally, the traits of the rap are equally in a state of average: The pacing, though unique in the sense of being slower, is nothing phenomenal. Lines remain relatively unchanged from one another, but due to a shorter length, rather than being impairing, it holds as average. Both of those aspects have the potential to influence the mechanical layer positively or negatively, but in “Adore U” ‘s case, nothing is modified; the rapping in a musical sense remains plain as no aspect is remarkable.

Structurally, the same trend of average continues. Although members alternating between lines do provide variety, with how similar their lines are to one another, it is not potent. At most, a pause is granted from the alternating. Nevertheless, it is not entirely mundane, and in a few ways, is still effective as noted by the mentioned pause, but overall, this aspect is, as the trend, average. In terms of the pre-choruses holding up to their roles, predominantly the ending is where the actual transition occurs; solely at the end of the pre-choruses are moments where it is clear that the section carries into the chorus. Though it is preferable for the entire section to be connoted with the role of transitioning the song into the chorus, in “Adore U,” it is still functional. Thus, rather than it failing to suit its role, it acquires it, although in the end it is an average route.

If the word average has not been stated enough, I will reiterate it once more: the section will be rated as average. The mechanical and structural layers are both plain; nothing renders as menacing, but nothing is praiseworthy.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Jeonghan, Woozi, and DK are responsible for all of the choruses.

Excluding the first verse, the choruses are the song’s most appealing section on a sonic layer. Undeviating, basic vocals are nonexistent as variety exists: stronger vocals are apparent, but softer ones are also established. Furthermore, a catchy, flowing melody is in place. Focusing on the melody, with multiple note stretches occurring, such as at the end of the first line, or more explicitly, during “yoohoo” by Woozi, the melody becomes exceptionally detailed, diverse, and simply appealing. Adding on, in addition to an infatuating melody, variance occurs in the form of power: DK and Woozi’s final lines during the chorus are slightly more prominent than the earlier lines, and thus, more variety is gleaned, and of course, traces of power are pleasing to hear.

Structurally, many points translate over. As the two categories are related, due to the structural side succeeding, the musical portion equally thrives and becomes amplified. The listed multiple aspects, such as note stretches, regular singing, changes in power, and for what is not listed, even changes in pacing, are all in benefit of the structural side, and as a result, the mechanical side is also indirectly aided. But, on an individual level, the structure renders as marvelous due to being extremely thorough. On that note, for how it holds as a chorus, it suits “Adore U” with providing an energetic, upbeat and climactic section in the song.

For another aspect that suits “Adore U,” a seven for above average will do. The singing and format in the choruses are pleasing.

5. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – The first post-chorus is handled by Woozi and Mingyu, and the second one involves Woozi but with Hoshi.

For the sonic component to the post-choruses, it can be rendered as mediocre, sadly. While traces of power in the form of vocals are disclosed, the overarching singing holds as unadorned; moments of singing involve either stronger, chopped words, or a basic phrase. Regardless of the form, both can be considered stale. The instances of power in vocals remain moreover isolated than in combination to genuine singing, and thus, is now miniscule. As for the following phrases, with nearly standard speaking in place, little appeal exists in that regard, similar to the moments of paused, stronger vocals.

In terms of the structure, there are points of positivity. For one, the section serves its traditional role: bringing the chorus to a proper point so that “Adore U” can begin anew with another verse. In comparison to the choruses, the post-choruses are significantly calmer, and furthermore, perfectly transition to the upcoming verses via having similar, plain vocals, and because of the sections’ format of being slower paced and chopped, both of which allow the song to easily shift style (such as into a different section).

Nevertheless, slightly below average will hold as the score. The sonic piece of the post-choruses is incredibly insipid, and even despite a decent structural side, the lacking vocals are too impairing.

6. Bridge: 6/10 – Seungkwan, DK, Vernon, and S. Coups collaborate with each other for the bridge.

Spotlighting the bridge’s prime point, the structural side prevails with its variety and progression. Variety is observed due to the added layers of softer singing, a rap, more impactful singing, and eventually, a note hold. Sufficient appeal is created from such. Now, in focus of the progression, each specific style of vocals (soft singing, rap, and impactful singing) possesses a critical role: the softer singing introduces the bridge and lays the foundation, the rapping then serves as a bridge (no pun intended) for the bridge to escalate in terms of more active vocals, and finally, the stronger vocals and the note hold occur to leave a climactic point in “Adore U.”

Transitioning into the mechanical aspect, unlike the structural layer, it cannot be equally considered as solid. Initial vocals, in credit to the same duo at the verses, Seungkwan and DK, are exceptionally alluring, as expected from the two. Progressing further, when the rapping occurs, it does hold well as, dissimilar to the prior moments of rapping, melody and fluctuation are added attributes. However, for the final seconds, the note hold is dissatisfying. Though it remains in scope and suits the song’s overall tone, the note hold’s strain is excessive; a crisp, clear note hold would have been more sonically pleasing as the current, exaggerated strain is overly prioritizing power and not other necessary traits, such as melody.  

Slightly above average will be the rating. The mechanical layer, while hindered by the note hold, still remains decent when accounting for the softer vocals and rap, and of course, the structural portion holds well.

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 5/10 – As in the regular post-choruses, Woozi, Mingyu, and Hoshi return. What remains fundamentally different, however, is that they all participate.

With the conclusion reusing an exact replica of the earlier post-choruses, the mechanical layer will not be discussed as it has already been covered. Summarizing the prior point: the vocals are not tempting. That said, for what will be scrutinized, the conclusion’s structure is still valid. Although on the individual layer, the conclusion is weak as, directly, the post-choruses’ structures are not enticing, for the role of a conclusion, the section provides a proper end to “Adore U.” A calmer state is gleaned from the conclusion, and due to the post-choruses’ format of pauses, points of ending are widespread as it would be possible to, in essence, abruptly end the song as the section is already replicating a closure via a sluggish rate. Lastly, “Adore U” ‘s traces still linger; with the lyrics including “adore you,” the song ends with its key phrase/lyrics.

Should the mechanical layer somehow improve, the conclusion would hold a better score, but due to the post-choruses being reused, those impeding aspects carry over and thus, average will hold for the conclusion.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – 13 members in SEVENTEEN should, assumingly, bring issues with how lines are distributed. Putting aside apprehensive feelings, this category will discover if there are truly any issues (and a rather daunting task that is).

Starting with S. Coups, his section count includes the introduction, second verse, and bridge. Three is his count, and due to the copious amount of members, I will cease adding comments until the end (or near the end).

For Jeonghan, all of the three choruses are possessed. Three is also his count.

Joshua’s lines consist of the second verse. Nothing more or less. One is his count, and depending on the remaining members, this may be an issue.

Jun’s count involves the introduction and second verse. Two will be his number of sections.

In terms of Hoshi, the second verse and two post-choruses were where his lines appeared at. Three is his count, and so far, considering the number of members, it appears a high score is plausible.

The sixth member to be analyzed, Wonwoo, has lines at solely the second pre-chorus. One is his value.

Woozi’s sections includes the three choruses and the three post-choruses. Six, disturbingly, is his count. A disparity is apparent from this.

Gauging DK next, the first verse, the three choruses, and the bridge are his moments. Thus, five is his total.

For Mingyu, and I do apologize for briskly gauging the members, the introduction, two post-choruses, and one pre-chorus are his sections. Four is his count.

The8’s count is not quite an eight, and surprisingly, is far from it: one is his count, of which is at the second verse.

Seungkwan’s spotlight includes the first verse and the bridge. Considering his stunning vocals at the first verse, it is intriguing that he possessed few sections. On topic, two is his count.

For Vernon, the introduction, first pre-chorus, second verse, and bridge, are his sections. As a result, four is his value.

Lastly, for the final member, Dino’s parts are heard at the first pre-chorus. One is his count.

Finally delivering a score for SEVENTEEN, with the perfect distribution being at two or three lines, the group is rather off. Three members possess 3 sections and two members possess 2 sections, and the remainder, four members at 1 section, and two members with 4 sections and one member for 5 sections and 6 sections. With the current large disparity, slightly below average will have to be the rating. Many members are not in the range of two or three sections, and in some cases, relatively far away from such. Accounting for the extremely large group size, this is to be expected.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Glimpsing at “Adore U” ‘s instrumental, while it is far from horrendous, it is equally distant from being superior.

Mechanically, the beats and bassline provide much: the heavier, slower beats and bass during calmer sections offer a tranquilizing effect, and with the smooth, subtle aspect it possess from manipulating lower pitches, it remains further pleasing. For more upbeat sections, such as the chorus, the deeper bassline and beats still exist, though modified; during the choruses, rather than fully disappearing, the bass and beats adopt a higher pitch, but nonetheless are still apparent. Due to such, the same pleasing traits carry over, but furthermore, are even more suiting. Lastly, tints of electric guitar occur at the post-choruses, and in addition to providing more instruments, it results in an exceptionally fitting tune with the sections’ vocals and flow.

Structurally, more direct flaws are available. While vocals are flawlessly accommodated based on intensity (for example, a calm instrumental exists during the verse, and expectedly a more energetic one for the choruses), in focus of the instrumental itself, the structure is stagnant; the instrumental fails to fluctuate as, for the most part, solely pitch changes occur, but actual change in the instrumental’s form does not. Highlighting an example, for sections that are not the chorus, the same, slower paced soundtrack occurs, and once the chorus plays, it simply alters in pitch. Afterwards, the same style is utilized.

Once factoring in the somewhat unmalleable structure of the instrumental, and furthermore, the mechanical layer as, while the deeper beats and bass are soothing, they become mundane quickly, the instrumental holds averagely. Five will be the score to represent such.

– Meaning: 6/10 – With a song title of “Adore U,” a flirtatious one is in mind. Perhaps the main character is “adoring” their love-interest. But of course, it may not even be a lover they adore, perhaps it is a role model for instance. Ignoring my shameful assumptions, the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics will offer the true plot to “Adore U.” The lyrics are not 100% , but it should be valid enough to discover the song’s story:

Ayo ayo (Seventeen) Yo! You know what?
These days, I have a lot of thoughts
These days, I have so much to tell you (these days)

I feel weird, I’m not talking as much
My friends are all worried (these days)
My heart races only when I’m in front of you
So I’m sorry about my clumsy actions

I still can’t control it
Please don’t play with me
Why are you keeping a front?
I don’t know, I don’t know what will happen

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

How can you dazzle so much?
You’re so pretty it’s selfish but your personality
is so humble
This is not the place to joke around
I’m announcing the fact about your charms
Is it because I like how you smile at me?
Or do I just seem light to you?
Yeah, if you’re finding a spot
Yeah, right next to me is good
Yeah, I have a lot of interest in you
Even your shoe size, oh oh

I’m on fire right now because of you
It’s impossible to cool me down
I’m on fire right now because of you
I don’t know, I don’t know, it’ll happen somehow

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

You can lean right here
You can cover your pain with me
Tell me your feelings
Don’t hold back, it’s not enough
Can’t fake it no more
Crank up the speed
Stop playing hard to get
Now let me call you
Baby you are my angel

I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

Not too surprisingly, the first guess holds true: a main character, a lady or gentleman, is adoring their love-interest. “Adore U” initiates the story with the main character expressing themself: “These days, I have a lot of thoughts” and “I have so much to tell you.” Both statements are understandable as, jocularly, the main character is “not talking as much,” and thus, “friends are all worried.” Explaining the new, peculiar behavior from the main character, she/he is, if the following word may be used, lovestruck: their “heart races only when [they are] in front of [the love-interest],” hence why the main character has been acting differently. Continuing the story, the main character endlessly shares his feelings of captivation, such as by describing the love-interest and their attractive qualities, and trepidation, as witnessed by their unease of not knowing if the love-interest reciprocates homogenous feelings. Answering why the title is called such, if not blatant enough, the main character very much adores their love-interest, and from such, the title is created.

Although I did not quote many lines from “Adore U,” doing so would have been plausible, and thus, that speaks for much; with the potential to use many lines, it indicates the song is thorough in detail. Many aspects are included in the lyrics, and many lines add new details. Since solely the choruses and post-choruses repeat, every other section possessed new lyrics, and as a result, rather than merely repeating identical ideas as in many songs, more of the plot is uncloaked for interpretation. Especially in a flirtatious, love related story, the lyrics are remarkable. The very minimal and slight issue that prevents a higher score is, overall, though many lines carry their own weight to the story, the overall story is still relatively straightforward as it can be easily summarized with: a main character has a love-interest and is now expressing their worries and affection.

On the positive side, however, slightly above average still holds. At the very least, for a personal note, the lyrics in “Adore U” may be the best I have yet to see in a flirtatious-based song.

– “Critical Corner”: Unlike the past review of Infinite’s “The Chaser,” as linked at the start of the review, there are no urgent issues arising from the lyrics in “Adore U.” Anticipatedly, this bonus section will be skipped over. In juxtaposition to “The Chaser,” the main character here is not obsessive, is attracted for the proper reasons (physical and non-physical beauty, as discussed in past reviews if correct), and focusing on the depicted plot in general, it is a sincerely sweet, adorable one.

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – Although “Adore U” in audio form may be average, the associated visual in terms of the dance is wonderful.

Syncing remains consistent and clearly visible throughout the entire song: for a plethora of incidents, the introduction’s hesitant motions replicate the whispering, the first verse’s choreography connects to spikes in notes, the first pre-chorus’ tunnel movement is based on vocals, and other sections follow through. High accuracy, if not flawless, syncing is discernible in the choreography.

Switching to key points, the dance can be divided into two pieces: dance and story. Dancing is in relation to the choruses and other moments involving rigorous movement, but for the part of story, instances of acting are akin to it. Already, the dance in “Adore U” is unique in the aspect of including acting versus, as a vast majority of K-Pop choreographies are, pure dance. Added skits aid in allowing the choreography to be further diverse, and of course, humor and depth to the lyrics are included. On the subject of diverse, for moments orientated towards usual dancing, variety still flourishes. Especially with 13 members, the choreography does properly and positively exploit such by creating key points that, for the most part, would be nonexistent without a high quantity of members. Examples are the “tunnel” during the pre-choruses and the post-choruses’ formations of having crouched members, and if including the acting, the ability to have a genuine setting of actors.

As a final score, above average will hold for the choreography. Though the song itself scored lower, the dance compensates for much of it.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – And on the note of compensating, for the Overall Score, six is the average of the Song Score and Choreography Score. Therefore, “Adore U” can be considered a slightly above average song in the entire picture of song and performance, and personally, I can agree to it. With this being their first song, much room for further refining is possible, and even at their current stage, the 13 men are already skilled. I will be scouting out for them in the future to gauge how their dancing and singing improve.

Needless to say, I am incredibly thankful to the person who requested this review. Thank you so much for sending in this request. In truth, if it were not for it, I would have never known of SEVENTEEN (and same for the other request of KARA’s “Cupid”; I was utterly oblivious that KARA had a relatively recent comeback of that song). Also, comically put, I am glad that this request was on a male group as many have been wanting such (BTS, another male group, will be reviewed in a week or so), and that said, for readers in general, thank you very much for reading. I heavily appreciate the given time, support, patience, and feedback. I do feel partially guilty for this review, however; although it was not delayed, I do feel that my writing progressively deteriorated as the review continued. As such, I do apologize if the writing becomes horrendous. I am aiming to improve, and thus, I hope for understanding.

Sidetracking to the mentioned point of delays, for consecutive days, I have worked on this review in order to ensure any delay would not occur. Four days was the time span of this review as every day contained a writing session of a few hours (nine or so hours is the total time it took if I am correct). Though I have conducted in further self-discipline, preventing request delays is my main priority. That said, for the upcoming requested review of KARA’s “Cupid,” it will also be finished in a hasty, yet thorough, manner. In fact, a surprise will occur for the review: it will, optimistically, be finished in two or three days, and it will not be in credit to ridiculously staring at a screen for nine hours (not that creating reviews is “ridiculously staring at a screen”; though it is challenging at times, I would never equate writing and reviewing to a tiresome job). Instead, though I had desired to create the outline for a while, it has only been of now that I have found a potential trial: a “Speed Review Version” outline.

Feedback and actual testing will be necessary to truly gauge how it will carry out, but if correct, it will still allow my reviews to be thorough, and in many ways, unchanged. What will be different in the Speed Review Version is that, though my writing will still be detailed, it will be less lengthy. More specifically and being honest, as truthfulness is essential, a certain section (pun may be intended) will be optimized so that reviews are not excessively dragged on. Rather than allocating my stamina and time towards just one chorus, for example, it would be more realistic to give numerical values per sections in a song, as I currently do, but then afterwards, to have an overall, general analysis versus one per section.

Doing this would, in numerous ways, improve my reviews: For once, it would be possible for me to sincerely keep up with songs; many comebacks occur nearly constantly, and sadly, I can cover, at most, perhaps 5% of the more popular group comebacks. With this, at the very least, I could double that and now cover the top 10% popular comebacks, for example. After all, for “Adore U,” two and half days were spent solely on the Sections section. Two and a half. For being one-out-of-five categories, one has taken slightly more than half of the writing. Although it is understandable as a song is, overall, deconstructed at its core via its sections, I am most likely overly prioritizing the analysis. The impact of the Sections category will still hold as I will include each section’s rating, but the analysis is what can be reduced so that more reviews are in place. In short, it is as if I am writing three reviews in one in the context of time; due to how lengthy the Sections category currently is, I could shorten it and condense it (using a tip from my amazing English teacher, sometimes the shortest, compact writings are better than longer ones), and from there, still possess the same message and significance as before, but now, more time exists for other reviews. Overall, however, receiving feedback from readers is what will help direct the blog. I am already in favor of the Speed Review Version and hope, soon enough, it becomes the default review outline, but testing it out and having feedback will be what is preferred and the only way to make a sound choice.

Of course, regardless of what review outline stays or goes, it is always a huge honor and pleasure to be writing. Eight reviews for June is still the goal, and though three-out-of-eight is seemingly low, I will reach the mark of at least seven. Truthfully, shortcuts will be taken in the form of album reviews and even a music video review, but variety would never hurt. Finally ending perhaps the longest conclusion/Overall Score section I have written, thank you very much once again to readers and requesters. KARA’s “Cupid” will be reviewed next and the first test for a new outline. “Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this”: “I adore you, I adore you.” Stay tuned for such and keep checking back.