Rainbow’s Jisook’s Reality Show – “Coming Sook: Jisook’s Fantastic Life” Review

KStyleTV
– Coming Sook Episodes Playlist

Reviewed on February 28, 2016

Rainbow’s
Jisook – Coming Sook: Jisook’s Fantastic Life

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Personal
Message:
Although
Stellar’s “Sting” is once again delayed, I have decided to alter the review
schedule as February is coming to a quick end. Through finishing the month with
show reviews or shorter song reviews, the blog will have at least around four
to five reviews, and that will satisfy my personal goal—even if to the lowest
degree. With March, I do plan to continue the current path: to review only
artists who have yet to be reviewed at all. However, MAMAMOO’s latest comeback
of “You’re the Best at Everything” will be heavily contesting that plan, and
similarly, if Fiestar and SPICA have their comebacks within that month. What
will hopefully occur, though, is that during my one-week Spring Break, I will
catch up on multiple reviews. Thus, recent comebacks, regardless of artists,
may still be covered. On topic, for this review, it is not on a song or album:
it is on a short reality show starring Rainbow’s beloved Jisook. “Coming Sook:
Jisook’s Fantastic Life” (I will refer to it as “Coming Sook”) has admittedly
been a show I have been “binge watching.” That is understandable, however.
Jisook is, after all, truly a “happy virus” and “vitamin”; watching her show
will put anyone in a great mood regardless of how they felt prior.

Sharing how I happened to come
across Jisook’s contagious virus, after reviewing Rainbow’s
“Whoo,”
I decided to check out the group since, as stated in that review, I
was quite unfamiliar with them and thus desired to know the group for more than
their music. Somehow, Jisook’s show was the first video I came across. Needless
to say, though, I am exceptionally grateful for this outcome. Jisook has
utterly infatuated me, and after watching her videos, I will definitely look
more into Rainbow—both with songs and videos. Jisook is sincerely, as mentioned
above, a “vitamin.” The only other idol I know that possesses equal high level
of cheerfulness would be Dal Shabet’s Serri, but point is, both ladies are incredibly
positive. I personally aspire to also be full of love and joy like the two, and
admittedly, Jisook is someone I now also look up to. She showcases my personal
idea of a “perfect” life. (However, MAMAMOO’s Solar is my main role model; I
strive to be exactly like her in every possible way.)

For one, Jisook greatly prioritizes
happiness and laughter—two very crucial aspects I would argue that are vital
for an enjoyable life. On that line of thinking, she also cherishes love and
affection for her friends/members, and likewise, those are also essential
aspects to a good life. In fact, it is debatable that what the world needs more
of is just that: love for others and self. And of course, health and hard work
are also valuable points that Jisook lives up to, such as with dedicating
herself to her hobbies to release stress, and for the obvious example, working
hard in her career as an idol. Lastly, on a materialistic level, she has the
best house one could ask for: not a mansion, but rather, a pretty, organized
and comfortable smaller house. Although I do not wish for readers to interpret
the prior and following words as “the right way” to live, I am against
materialistic living (such as prioritizing money as the source of happiness;
for examples, finding joy in owning the most expensive clothing and makeup
products). Instead, at most for a materialistic lifestyle, money should be
orientated towards (after basic living needs) items that help bring emotional
wealth. Returning to the example of owning the most expensive makeup products,
the joy from such should not stem from the value of the makeup product; rather,
the joy in that has to be within the makeup itself. But as said, to each her
own; as long as he finds his own source of happiness and shares love and
compassion, then all is well.

Overall, I do greatly envy and
aspire to have Jisook’s lifestyle and am very excited to begin my own
independent life in a few more years—though “independent” is not quite true as
I do plan, at the least, to live with a dog. (As shared before, I would love to
adopt a child if financially and emotionally capable, even if as a single
parent.) Although unlike Jisook I would not have a career as an idol since my singing, dancing, and
appearance would cause visual and audio related injuries
 I lack the
intelligence and physical abilities. I would be extremely more content with teaching
high school freshmen students with English and dedicating myself to loving
friends, child and dog, makeup and fashion, exercise, hobbies, and so forth.
And jocularly and randomly to share, I have strongly desired a dog lately. I
cannot be blamed though; as the saying goes: “dogs are woman’s best friend,”
after all. (And if I am correct, a few may suddenly claim that the phrase is
wrong as it should be “man’s best friend.” I will discuss in depth this topic
of “gendered” language below.) All in all, Jisook is an amazing human and I
will strive to lead a cheerful, intellectual, caring, loving and compassionate
life as her.

Now, to discuss my prior use of “woman’s
best friend” (feel free to skip to the review now—though to confess, I have
sorely missed saying that very phrase), there is one topic I have surprisingly
never discussed at all before on the blog: the importance of language, and more
specifically, how language is reflective of social power—examples being
“gendered” language or “heterosexist” language. Nevertheless, it is shocking to
have never discussed this. Given my personal passion for English and sociology
(and teaching, as many would guess), this specific topic of language should
have been one discussed ages ago. It is, after all, the literal intersection of
the two subjects: seeing how sociology (social aspects and topics, etc.) applies
to language (words, daily communication, language arts, etc.) itself. Returning
to the phrase of “dog is woman’s best friend,” many would argue that the proper
way to state such is to change the pronoun of “woman” to “man.” After all, there
is no harm to saying “man’s best friend” or even other phrases such as
“mankind” or “man-made.” Words cannot ever be truly influential. This is why
that vapid saying exists: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will
never hurt me.” Unfortunately, though there is no direct harm such as jabbing a
knife into someone, arguably that level of damage is still true with words: it
just happens socially rather than physically.

Language is more than pure
communication, such as with day-to-day conversations; language is more than
beautiful art that can come from great poetry; language is more than mastering
grammar, vocabulary, and argumentative essay formats. Language is, in addition
to the listed examples, also reflective of social equality and power or the
lack thereof. What we say or do not say carries significant social weight, and
from there then are words translated into physical, affecting actions. In other
words, views on gender will influence language, and as a result, language will
influence views on gender. Views on race will influence language, and
similarly, the opposite occurs. There is a cycle with language and social
aspects and thus, it is critical to realize the connection between the two
subjects. Specifically with this digression, although I certainly do equally
hold important the language arts side to language, or the semiotics and linguistic
side to language, I do wish to discuss the sociological aspect to language. And
to begin, “human’s best friend,” a dog, will provide an example.

The largest issue with “man’s best
friend” is it contributes to an underlying assumption many societies have: that
males are automatically the default of everything. To very extreme points,
there are those who even believe that females are “inverses” or “castrated”
males, even though females are simply females—their own sex (and equally
valuable ones; every sex—male, female, intersex—are indeed all worthy). (And,
assuming my biology is not that awful, the mentioned idea is easily disproved
as, scientifically, every human starts out as female. So, if the prior idea is
to be used, it is not females that are “inversed” males, but instead, it is
males are “inversed” females.) On topic, already, there should be a noticeable
issue with having males centered as normal. As a copious amount of reviews have
discussed, males being deemed at the center when, equally and equitably it
should be both sexes, leads to various issues. Androcentrism is a direct
example: the idea that masculinity is the normal for how to think and act. For
a visual example, think of how it is permissible for women to
“cross-dress”—such as wearing a suit—and conversely, atrocious if a man
“cross-dresses”—such as applying BB cream and eyeliner. (Though there are
cultural differences to account for. Yes, in some cultures males using makeup
is nothing surprising versus in, for example, Western cultures. Nevertheless
the same idea holds when it comes to, for a simple example, whether crying is
allowed for males.) This disparity is due to androcentrism: that masculinity is
always accepted, and anything remotely feminine is of lower status and is,
especially in males, never allowed.

Before getting off track, in regards
to language itself, it is important to pay attention to as it provides
reinforcement to social ideas. When societies constantly reiterate “dog is
man’s best friend” or that cars are “man-made,” what messages are being said?
To clarify, I do not wish to antagonize people who do say those phrases. Absolutely,
I do believe that when a person says those phrases, they are connoting: “dog is
anyone’s—man or woman—best friend” and “man-made is something made by
humans—whether man or woman as both are capable of being engineers.” In truth,
many people who say those phrases and other gendered phrases are most likely
very much opposed to sexism. Nevertheless, what I desire to emphasize is that,
intended or not, using gendered language has gendered consequences—again, even
if unintended. Language is more than “colloquial.” By using phrases that
include only males on the surface, no matter how benevolent the intention,
there will be repercussions. The following example might highlight such.

Say that I went to the doctor and
that there is awful news: I am dying from Boa-itis, a rare disease caused by
being overly obsessed with SPICA’s amazing leader. (Alright I admit this is
bad. I will directly apologize for this joke.) Searching for comfort, I share
to my close friend that my doctor revealed to me horrible results. Knowing my
friend, she might eventually reply: “What did he say?” Now while Boa-itis may
not be true despite how
Boa has halted my heart a few times
, if this were to occur, I would
forget my dying state and reply with a sharp: “My doctor is a woman; a she; a
female” (and that is true; my doctor is actually a woman). Notice, though, the
language instilled there: assumption that the doctor is a male. During these
cases, what should be said is “they”—even though, yes, it is plural (but
dictionaries now do define it as both singular and plural). Nevertheless, when
this situation occurs (and it does tend to be somewhat frequent), saying “they”
is the overall best route to take. Maintaining gender-equal and gender-neutral
language is what has to occur if gender equality in an even larger form is to
take place. After all, how can society ever accept amazingly skilled male
makeup artists and hair stylists if everyone keeps saying “she” in reference to
those jobs?

At this point, one may have a keen
reply to the prior example: that it is not language that is influential, but
rather, ideas that then translate to language—and that is it; no cycling occurs.
Perhaps we tend to say “he” for doctors not because of language itself, but
rather because we have a socialized idea of who is a doctor and thus merely
state that. That is certainly a true point, but again, the recycling of
gendered language is important to hold in mind: this is why it is best to say
“they” if the pronoun’s gender is unknown. If it is a held common belief that
doctors are males, breaking down that assumption is to break down the language
involved: using “she” or “they” instead of an automatic “he” when one discusses
“doctor.” And furthermore, on this note, there is one example of gendered
language itself being quite influential: the use of “guys.”

Many readers may now be questioning
their own use of the words or synthesizing justifiable reasons for using
“guys,” but as many may now think after reading the prior paragraphs, the use
of “guys” is the one of the most common examples of gendered language in
English (or at least American society). That said, to reiterate an older point,
using gendered language is not based on intentions; using “guys” does not make
one sexist. Not even remotely. Rather, “guys” has been incorporated into
standard English language—akin to “mankind” for example—and that is what needs
to be challenged. Using “guys” is questionable as it does subtly imply that
males can represent females when that should not be the case, and even if that
should be allowed for whatever reason, the fact that the opposite cannot occur
showcases even more inequality. Take the following example. I can refer to a
group of females as “guys,” and that is acceptable. In fact, that is “normal”
and anything otherwise may seem absurd. Strangely enough, however, should I
refer to a group of males as “gals,” many would find it absurd. To some, even
offensive. And yet, “guys” to a group of females is not insulting as the word
has become normalized despite how “guys” does indeed refer to males. Even if colloquially
“guys” has become connoting of both genders, again as highlighted, should this
be accepted, then “gals” has to also be equally accepted, but as unveiled that
is not the case at all.

In terms of solutions, glancing at
other languages may provide a few answers, and in addition, may showcase how
absurd using “guys” truly is. Cantonese and Korean will be used as examples. In
both of the mentioned languages, from my understanding, “guys” is not used to
refer to any cohort of people; “guys” is used to refer to, as expected, a group
of males—a group of boys, men, males. Only in English (or at least American
society) is “guys,” a word that does indicate only males, used to represent any
group of people regardless of sex. Now, for a predicted disagreement, one may
claim that “guys” is in fact used in Korean or Cantonese to refer to a group of
people. A video subtitle said so. As a response, this is where “direct
translation”—or lack thereof—becomes an issue. (And as a subtitler, I do try to
directly translate whenever possible for this very reason. I wish to respect
what the language itself says.) From my understanding (as said before, though I
am not fluent in Korean, I am confident enough in this regard, and with
Cantonese I am rather knowledgeable with it), the literal word of “guys” in both
refer to solely males. It would be silly to attempt to say “guys” in reference
to a group of people. Instead, for what is said, common ways to address a group
are “everyone” in Korean or “they/they all” in Cantonese. Nonetheless, however,
as disclosed neither Korean or Cantonese follow the unique form of how English’s
“guys” can be used for both.

Clarifying, this is not in any way
to downgrade English and American culture (I am American after all) or to
praise Korean and Chinese language and culture as better. That would be
absolutely pathetic and, from this perspective, arguably racist and for sure
ethnocentric (since, as reviews have discussed, racism is based on “dominant
group,” and with writing in this perspective of Chinese and Korean culture, it
would appear I am bashing non-Korean and non-Chinese cultures). Point is, it is
true that in Korean and Cantonese “guys” is not flexible: this is the point I
wish to emphasize. In English, the word “guys” is indeed rooted as males only—akin
to how “gals” is rooted as females only. Thus, with that holding true, “guys”
in English should not be used to refer to both males and females; it should
refer to only males. If one is to refer to both females and males, more
inclusive terms are always available: “they,” “you all,” “everyone,” and
perhaps for the best solution, “guys and gals” or “gals and guys.” All in all, “guys”
is not worth using unless if it is exactly intended: to refer to a group of
guys.

And so, there may now be multiple
responses. Readers may feel guilty, annoyed, or currently preparing methods of
strangling me for being “overly sensitive” to words. Repeating the earlier
point, this is not to accuse nor cause guilt; this is to bring awareness.
Truthfully, whether my views are accepted or not does not matter to me: what
matters is that readers are critically thinking about my position. Perhaps
using “guys” or “mankind” are indeed acceptable and even empowering to every
sex. Or perhaps that using “guys” should be allowed but that we should now also
start using “gals” instead of utterly removing the current way we use “guys.”
No matter the response and stance readers have, what matters is why they have
their specific stances. Through critically analyzing what I have argued, that
is what I hope for as, if social inequalities are to be solved, mature and open
discussions have to occur. Directly sharing what my own take is, I personally
favor three options: using “all”; using “gals and guys” and “guys and gals”;
and, using “she” and “he” individually yet equally (such as by saying “it’s every
woman for herself; he needs to find his own cup of coffee”)—though there is the
issue in the latter two examples of not including intersex people for example.

In the end, as I encourage in
readers, it is about equality and equity: having love, respect, compassion, and
understanding for everyone regardless of their social attributes, be it
religious affiliation, gender, race, class, sexual orientation, able-bodied or
disabled-bodied, and more. With this digression, I do urge readers to bear in mind
using inclusive language; language that includes people no matter their gender
or sexual orientation or race, and so on. Language has significant social
consequences, but thankfully, language is in control by a vast majority of
people. Using “you all” instead of “you guys” may indeed help contribute to
gender equality in the long run, and so will using “they” instead of
automatically assuming that an engineer is a “he” or that a nurse is a “she.”
After all, every human deserves understanding and compassion, and I can attest
with full confidence that Jisook would agree. Let us all be a bit more like
Jisook: loving, caring, joyful, and thoughtful to others.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
Finally
beginning the review, admittedly I forgot how much fun it is to apply sociology
into (Korean) pop culture. Before entirely beginning, for technical notes, it
should be noted that any review that is not of a song can be considered a “bonus”
review: reviews that are meant to overall be fun and to provide variety from
just songs. Therefore, the following ratings I give are, in full honesty,
worthless; the numerical ratings hold minimal value in terms of giving insight
to the show. Juxtaposing song reviews to this review should reveal why: there
are only two ratings versus the abundant amount in song reviews. And certainly,
shows are as equally complex as songs and should indeed have much more
categories that just the current two I have. Optimistically, however, unlike
past show reviews, this time I am able to link the episodes themselves as this
short reality show is luckily entirely on YouTube—officially, to be specific.
(This means there will not be copyright removals, etc.) That said, I did link a
playlist, but I recommend starting with this episode: “Jisook’s New House Tour.” Reason being
that it provides background to both the show and Jisook herself. Also, for
readers who may hesitate to watch as Korean is not known to any degree, no
worries: there are English subtitles. This means that everyone reading is obliged to watch.
Jisook’s show is more important than caring for children, school work, going to
work—

Focusing on the actual review, as I
have not done so in a while for show reviews, for this one specifically, I do
in fact have pictures prepared for the Plot Summary. Before analyzing the show
itself, it is best to summarize the show so that readers have a general sense
of what “Coming Sook” is even about, and what better way to do such than
through visual aids?

“Coming Sook” is about Jisook, a
member from Rainbow, taking viewers along with her for some of her personal
activities. For one episode, she is touring viewers her new house, but for
others, she may be showing her hobbies or doing other miscellaneous activities,
such as adorably dressing up a dog. Furthermore, personal tips may be given,
such as—for what many men and women may desire to learn of—makeup. That, in
essence, is the show. Nothing more or less. The following pictures will
hopefully grant viewers quick ideas on the show’s aesthetics, format, and so
on. But there is now a very valid question: Why watch this? Is this show worth
an hour or so of my time? On the surface, this show would seem only enticing to
fans of Rainbow or Jisook, but the Analysis category will explain otherwise.

image

Jisook introducing her house.

image

Jisook sharing makeup tips. In this case, she is sharing her tip with concealer.

image

Woori and Hyunyoung, fellow members of Rainbow, visit Jisook’s house. Specifically here, they are looking around Jisook’s bedroom.

image

Jisook shares her playroom to viewers.

image

Jisook shares ways she does her hair.

image

Dali, a model dog, joins Jisook with making dog clothing.

image

With the assistance of a carpenter teacher, Jisook creates a wooden speaker for a fan.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 8/10

“Good; excellent”

– Entertainment Value: 9/10

– Structural Value: 7/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
True, the structure to the show does
appear tedious: Jisook does one specific activity and viewers watch that for
seven or so minutes. Then the next episode is her doing another activity. Then
the same. Then the same. Then the same. The same. Same. How is that supposed to
be appealing in any form? Although the overarching structure is indeed the
same, the change in the content does provide enough variety to provide appeal
(and a score of seven). For example, the camera setup may be the same for when
Jisook explains her makeup or how she styles phone cases, but just the simple
change in topics allows for much variety. How Jisook explains and acts greatly
differs; she is not robotically going through her activities (more to be said
on this later). Furthermore, even in watching the various activities, all are
significantly different. Sure, Jisook is simply covering hobbies she does
versus, for example, one day going out to shop and the next day to a restaurant,
but the change in activity provides for a lot of content. Watching her share
hair styling tips and then later watching her play with a model dog, while systematically
similar, are exceptionally different in content itself, and that is what helps
provide appeal. Additionally, “Coming Sook” is not just of Jisook’s hobbies.
There are episodes where she is up-and-about with touring her house, cooking
snacks, or playing video games with her members and f(x)’s Amber.

As for what truly does make the show
entertaining in whole, even if the structure is slightly repetitive, Jisook is
entertaining in every sense possible: her words; her humor; her wits; her
actions; her goofiness; the list goes on. Jisook knows how to ace her job of
being an idol—a person whose job is to entertain others and to provide
excellent role modeling. At first, readers may be reaping entertainment through
the activities themselves, but after one or two episodes, that source switches:
Jisook herself becomes the main focus for the show’s entertainment. In fact, if
the show still continued, many would still be content even if the show ran low
on new ideas. Essentially, Jisook could be doing anything and she would somehow
make it all entertaining to watch. For all that is concerned, she could be
putting together a table or, for a drastic example, filing away paper and many
would still be invested in watching. It is not the activities that matter; it
is about Jisook doing said activities. She brings entertainment to the show—after
all, “Jisook” is in the show’s title. Overall, she truly is a hilarious and
joyous lady. I have yet to watch an episode without laughing, let alone not
smiling or squeezing the life out of my stuffed penguin at how cute the show
is.

Answering whether this show is worth
the time, I conclude a strong “yes.” The activities she does are entertaining
on their own to many people, but in addition, Jisook herself provides much
laughter and positivity. Every episode is memorable. She is truly a contagious “happy
virus” (laugh included) and can make an episode of watching paint dry turn out incredibly
funny and entertaining.

_______________________________________________________

Regurgitating what is usually but
sincerely said: thank you so much for reading. Whether read in full, skimmed, I
appreciate any given time to the blog and review. For readers interested in
upcoming reviews, I do apologize for not having a strong finish to this month. The
past days have been full of essays and studying for upcoming midterms, hence
why reviews have been slow. Or perhaps that this review being around 4,500
words could have been two reviews. But as said, March is where I have a week to
catch up on reviews, and thus, I will do my best to do so. Especially as song
reviews are becoming much more concise, there are a lot of expectations to be
able to review numerous songs within a month. For an idea as well, I also plan
to experiment with how often social digressions occur: rather than including
them in every review, I will only include them for every third review. This
way, various readers will have enjoyable content: those who desire both reviews
and social discussions receive their share, and readers moreover interested in
reviews have their share. And on my end, I have both sides of being able to
review more song and to write less, but to still engage with important topics
especially if relevant and elicited by a song.

For the next review, it may be
another show review to wrap up the month, or it may finally be Stellar’s “Sting.”
Either way, stay tuned for whatever it may be. It will be “Coming Sook.”

Rainbow – “Whoo” Review

Rainbow – Whoo (Dance Practice)

Rainbow – Whoo

Reviewed
on February 21, 2016

Personal Message:
As readers may know from my prior
post, reviews have been slightly delayed due to having to re-upload many videos
on my YouTube subtitling channel. Miraculously, thanks to my university’s
internet being extremely impressive (as expected from many educational-related
internet), the uploading process did not take that long. Nevertheless, with
having to add in descriptions, titles, needing to correct subtitles (and I have
not even finished with this), and of course usual university work, much time
was lost for reviews. At the very least, one review could have been posted within
the time frame it took to amend the videos. (I would even claim that two reviews
would have been possible if no social digression occurred. For this review,
there will be none.). Negativity aside, though Stellar’s “Sting” is amidst
review, for the purpose of compensating for a lack of reviews and covering the
latest comebacks, Rainbow’s “Whoo” became of interest. After all, who could
ignore such a cheerful song title?

Regarding the group, admittedly I am
slightly unfamiliar with the ladies: I only know a few of their songs and do
not know the members’ names by heart. Nevertheless, I very much adore a song by
their subunit group: “Cha Cha” by Rainbow Blaxx. In fact, I planned to review
it many months ago. But that said, “I planned” is false; it would be far more
accurate to say “I plan” as I will be returning to the song when I do a “subunit
review month” special. (Four songs are already in mind.) On topic, Rainbow
being unknown to me is nothing unusual—as blunt as that may sound. The group is
indeed quite unpopular, hence why I have minimal knowledge. Why that is the
case I have not investigated enough. It could be due to the music, dance,
concepts, label company (DSP Media), and other factors. Regardless, with the
group having their comeback after a while, “Whoo” provides a chance to finally
gain some recognition, and indeed recognition matters: Rainbow’s popularity can
have dramatic influence on the group’s future.

So, is Rainbow’s comeback, “Whoo,” a
song worth going “whoo” for? Although statistically that is the case, there are
still some significant flaws to the song. (Though Rainbow as a group is
definitely worth cheering on; the group does deserve to be supported, whether
or not “Whoo” in specific renders well.)

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 5/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.25/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 4/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 4/10

6.     Rap: 7/10

7.     Bridge: 6/10

8.     Conclusion: 6/10


Line Distribution: 8/10

Jaekyung:
Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Bridge (Total: 3)

Woori:
Introduction, Post-Chorus 1, Rap, Conclusion (Total: 4)

Seunga:
Verse 1, Bridge, Chorus 3 (Total: 3)

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

Yoonhye:
Pre-Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2 (Total: 2)

Jisook:
Verse 1, Verse 2, Bridge (Total: 3)

Hyunyoung:
Chorus 1, Verse 2, Chorus 2, Bridge, Chorus 3 (Total: 5)

Equal Value: 3.29 sections per member.  


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 6/10

Whoo
Clap clap clap clap
Whoo
Clap clap clap clap
Rainbow, ah

When you say you can’t live without me,
I might be shaken
Is that for real?
Even if I ask thousands of times,
I don’t know,
I can’t sleep every night
(It’s all about you)
Whoo
Ever since you said those words,
my heart has stopped

What can I do?
My heart was struggling and exhausted
But you’re holding onto it my baby
If you love me, if you’re thinking of me,
you shouldn’t do this

Whoo
Clap clap clap clap
Whoo
Clap clap clap clap
Rainbow, ah

The moment I first saw you,
I froze right there
Love me do, baby chu
I just wanna be with you
I think I like you too
Maybe my heart has gone crazy
It’s only looking for you

Even when you make it obvious
that you like me, I can’t answer you
When you said “let’s meet again” the day after tomorrow,
those words kept circling around me (lies)
I can’t fall asleep every night
(It’s all about you)
Whoo
Ever since you said those words
My heart has stopped

What can I do
My heart was struggling and exhausted
But you’re holding onto it my baby
If you love me, if you’re thinking of me

On a rainy day
(You said you came in front of my house)
my heart pounded
You said that you loved me
What do I do?
I can’t believe it
I’ve waited for those words for so long
I can’t believe it
What’s wrong with me? I’m so nervous
I couldn’t even talk, whoo

What can I do?
Crazy crazy
I’m in love with you too, baby
If you love me, if you’re thinking of me
I’m gonna start too

Whoo
Clap clap clap clap
Whoo
Clap clap clap clap
Rainbow, ah

Choreography Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 8/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Yes, the choreography rates incredibly well; yes, the line distribution is
phenomenal; yes, the vocals are not poor; and ultimately, yes, the song does
score decently—individually and overall. Nonetheless, it is doubtful to
consider “Whoo” a “slightly above average song” (a six). The song should—despite
what my unbiased, systematic rating claims—score at “average” (a five) instead.

In
an overarching view, “Whoo” struggles to bring distinctive qualities. There are
no stunning vocals, seducing instrumental or exceptionally smooth sections. A
vast majority of the song is rather plain, and indeed, this is its drawback. With
the vocals for example, although the members maintain an upbeat and catchy tune
and even hit impressive notes toward the end, the flow is extremely stagnant. From
the verse to the conclusion, the vocals seldom deviate; there are no major
shifts in singing paces, melodies, and styles. Of course, there is Woori’s rap
that differs (as to cover later), but ignoring this aspect, the vocals do
become quite dull. Even though the vocal skills exist and are showcased, the
vocals’ flow is too mundane. Perhaps, though, the sections are to blame.

On
that note, the sections are the weakest link in “Whoo.” The verse, pre-chorus,
chorus, and post-chorus all follow a rigid, linear format. Now to clarify,
linearity is not inherently flawed; the problem here is not that the sections
are linear, but rather, how the sections do execute the linear format. After
all, for a simple example, ballads tend to follow a straightforward style.
Obviously however, ballads are not automatically impaired because of that format.
In some cases, said linearity augments a ballad (or any song). What matters,
then, is the execution. To focus back on “Whoo,” the post-chorus is a clear
example of a poorer trial. The section consists of using singular words, and
the melody, structure, and pacing are all equally simple. Unfortunately, with
this style being commonly used in various pop songs’ post-choruses, “Whoo”
greatly loses appeal. If there were some distinctive point to the
post-choruses, it would at the very least become tolerable if not enticing.
Using a contrasting example, AOA’s “Like a Cat” is still personally the song
with the best execution on a traditional post-chorus. In “Like a Cat,” the
post-choruses recycle a simple melody, repeat a singular sound (“la”), and yet
in spite of it all, with the addition of occasional contrasting vocal lines and
its excellent placement in the song, it thrives. The same cannot be said for “Whoo”
‘s post-chorus; there is no distinctive feature that repels away mundaneness.
Likewise, other sections replicate the same issue: stale and overly simple to
the point of sounding like “an average pop song”—a comparison that is never
desirable in this genre.

In
the end though, “Whoo” is not in despair. If it truly was, then the ratings
would have most likely reflected such. For aspects where “Whoo” does succeed, the
line distribution—even if oftentimes deemed negligible—is solid. Members nearly
all have equal lines. If Hyunyoung transferred one section to Yoonhye, an even
higher score would have been earned. Additionally, the choreography remains
alluring. Despite a debatably average song, the members are able to fabulously
translate “Whoo” into beautiful movements. Key points remain, unlike the
sections themselves, diverse; there are minimal if at all any repeats of key
points. At most, the post-choruses are recycled for the purpose of a signature
key point, but even then, all of the dance moves are appealing and unique.
Adding on, the syncing remains sharp. From moving to quick and minor beats to slowly
shifting with vocal beltings, the choreography accurately reflects the song’s
musical sounds. Lastly, for a section that flourishes, Woori’s rap does just
that. Unlike every other section being rather linear, the rap is dynamic: the
pacing changes throughout the rap; the rapping vocals switch from a standard
sound to an edited sound; emphasis exists all over. Overall, the mechanics and
structure involved in the rap are impressive.

All
in all, accounting for the choreography and line distribution, a six for the
Song Score and a seven for its Overall Score do seem reasonable. Those two
aspects to “Whoo” are definitely stunning and do provide the song its
strengths. But even then, I still contest that, in terms of the audio itself, “Whoo”
should hold at a five. If the line distribution was not sponging the weaker categories,
a five would most likely be the case. In the end, “Whoo” is not a “bad” song per
se, but it would be a stretch to claim it is a “good” song. Nevertheless, no
matter what this review claims, the ladies of Rainbow deserve full support, and
I will confidently say that I look forward to reviewing their next song in the
future.

_______________________________________________________

As
always, thank you for reading this review. In this review I did attempt a new
strategy: I did not attempt to review this song second-by-second. For example,
I did not dive into the lyrics or even the instrumental. Instead, I opted to
focus on aspects that would bring the most prominent, interesting discussion.
Feedback is always desired on whether this is a more effective route or not.

For
the next review, Stellar’s “Sting” is in the middle of review. To confess, I am
excited for it not purely because of the song itself (though I do have, to
leak, a rather controversial musical view to “Sting”; I do not reside with many
that are praising the song quality), but rather because of the chance to apply
sociology into it. Slut-shaming will be slightly discussed, and for what will
be the main topic, I will discuss “double standards” and the topic of “deciding
appropriateness” (since I lack a more proper label). Other reviews will follow
suit, and each also have interesting social topics to discuss, and of course,
interesting perspectives to the songs themselves.

Look
forward to “Sting” as the upcoming review. “Maybe my heart has gone crazy; it’s
only looking for you” and for February to end with, hopefully, two more
reviews.

KARA – “Cupid” Review

KARA – Cupid (Dance Practice)

KARA – Cupid

Reviewed on June 23, 2015

image

Personal Message: This review is, admittedly, one day behind schedule due to personal tasks (researching for a laptop, specifically an “ultrabook,” if being exact with labels) and deciding to take a short break after my prior review of SEVENTEEN’s “Adore U.” Nevertheless, I am prepared for a new review, and in many ways, am incredibly excited for various reasons: this song was requested (thank you to the requester), KARA has been a group I have always desired to review, and lastly, a new, experimental review outline will be tested (and of course, writing reviews is a very fun activity). Summarizing what is different in this current review outline, rather than analyzing each section (verse, chorus, etc.) in depth, though I will still leave numerical values as always, and thus, still manage to retain the importance of the Sections section, with the current revision, rather than overly spending hours elaborating each section, I will do a general analysis for all of a song’s sections. As a result of this outline, consistency is granted; the Sections section will now be more similar to the other grading categories in that it is not excessive. Secondly, much time will be freed. The linked review’s Overall Score section covers the new outline more thoroughly, and thus, I encourage curious readers to read it there for more information.

On the topic of freed time, if the new outline behaves as planned, I anticipate being able to cover a vast majority of the July comebacks. Many groups are releasing new songs in July, and simply stated, if I do not change my review outline, I will barely cover what will be released. It would be near impossible to review all of the songs with the older outline unless if I decided to vigorously write for an entire day (eight to nine hours), and though that feat is not entirely impossible in the sense of being unobtainable, it is certainly unrealistic. Eight reviews are already my current goals for June, but I predict that July will need eight reviews as well, or perhaps even more, in order to cover the more popular comebacks. Therefore, I do hope this new outline works, but of course, receiving feedback from readers will be what helps the most. Following my current hypothesis, with new reviews being unaltered in the context of scoring, there should be minimal issues with the new outline. At worst, losing detailed explanations per sections is lost, but biasedly, I would rather receive that lost and be able to create additional reviews. Of course, once more, feedback is what will help guide the blog.

Partially digressing with July comebacks, while I am enthusiastic with the amount of upcoming songs, there is one comeback that allures me, and more specifically, it is not a song: Girls’ Generation’s upcoming reality show which will be conducted by a familiar production crew, OnStyle. The theme of the reality show will be similar to OnStyle’s other hit shows, “Jessica and Krystal” and “The TaeTiSeo,” both of which also focused on Girls’ Generation members. In short, fashion (clothing, makeup, and more) and following the beloved ladies of the group will be what the upcoming Girls’ Generation show will revolve around. Knowing OnStyle’s previous works of the mentioned shows, I do remain highly zealous for it, and of course, will plan on creating a thorough, solid review for the show unlike my past show reviews, of which all have been, in truth, atrocious writes. If I had the ability to revise past reviews, I would instantly rectify my summary review of “Jessica and Krystal” as, after watching more shows, I have come to realize how phenomenal it is. Though I may be biased as I do love fashion (for readers who are bothered by me, a male, being into makeup and clothing, I will link a review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” for a discussion on such) and, jocularly, the show made me cry a miniature lake, the camerawork, events, and the overall production in general, are all to an exceptionally high standard. Definitely, “Jessica and Krystal” is my favorite show, and for my personal list, the best show I have ever watched.

However, rather than leeching the spotlight away from KARA, focusing back on the four ladies, nearly a year ago, I did plan on reviewing one of their songs (back with KARA’s original lineup). Luckily, I decided not to, and therefore, spared the group from my earlier horrendous writing though now they will face less-than-before-but-still-somewhat horrendous writing. Addressing their latest comeback of “Cupid,” while I personally do enjoy the song, once the review begins, it is not necessarily a higher scored song. In fact, compared to their huge hit song of “Step,” and even to their other prior release of “Mamma Mia” with the group’s current roster, “Cupid” can be seen as a downgrade. Both “Step” and “Mamma Mia” can be classified as stronger songs (I have yet to see the choreography for “Step,” but “Mamma Mia” is worthy of watching as well as listening; it has been a song I have been listening to lately), but unfortunately, the same cannot be said for “Cupid.”

Digressing more on the group (and if my understanding is inaccurate, I do apologize and yearn that readers will send in corrections), KARA used to be a five-membered group. Despite being highly popular, even outside of their home country via Japan, three members (was four until Hara opted out) filed a lawsuit against DSP Media, their label company, for unfair treatment, or a similar issue (in the future, I will discuss why idols’ struggles with companies matters; there is a deeper, social connotation versus just that of merely caring for idols/people, though that is still very much an important piece). Progressing on, the company did manage to resolve issues, but further in the future, two members, Nicole and Jiyoung, decided to permanently leave. With three-out-of-five members remaining and a fading popularity, it was assumed that KARA would, dishearteningly, disband. Miraculously, the ladies and company managed to continue by recruiting one more member via a survival-reality show, and thus, the active KARA that exists today is of the four members.

Before returning to KARA’s survival-reality-recruitment show, to quickly digress on the topic of shows, I have watched their latest visit to “Weekly Idol,” and promisingly, it proved to be highly humorous, especially with KARA’s leader, “Everything Gyuri.” Gyuri’s confidence and ability to improvise on spot for many activities was incredibly comical. On a more serious tone, in addition to respecting those traits, she also deserves much respect for her time enduring KARA’s near fallout and for continually showcasing maturity and care towards her members.

Now returning to KARA’s survival-reality show, with an upcoming sensitive topic, for those who do wish to proceed to the review itself, I do encourage doing so at this point. Although this Personal Message may be the longest in length for generally speaking of a group, the current topic I wish to embark on is rather solemn, and in multiple ways, quite saddening. Nevertheless, it needs to be discussed, and at the very least, some form of respect can be given to a deceased, potential member of KARA. Sojin, a trainee in DSP Media, was one of the participants of the show, and blatantly, she did not win as Youngji, the newly added member, was the winner. One month after the show ended, Sojin was found dead from, presumably, suicide. In fact, a classmate told me of this news during class, and needless to say, it was not pleasing news to hear. Edit: “Sojin (Baby Kara) didn’t kill herself a month after Kara Project ended. DSP terminated her contract in January (2015), and then announced their new girl group “April” (debuting in April until this happened) with Baby Kara members Somin and Chaekyung being a part of that group. Sojin ended her life shortly after that announcement, in February (2015). Kara Project ended July 1st of 2014, for the record.” – A reader sending in corrections.

Although this news has dwindled away, the social layers involved with this incident must be discussed. Sojin was a talented trainee, loved by many, and her feeling the need to end her life is extremely grieving. Sadly, though she has the technical label of being an idol, this type of incident is not restricted to solely her; many struggle with depression, as she did, and suicide occurs regardless of person. In her case, her suicide can be understood–to the extent of motivation, that is (understanding the utter sorrowness she felt is impossible unless if experience is possessed): after working her entire life for the moment to debut as an idol and failing to achieve such, adding on the component of depression, she most likely did perceive her life as worthless, when that is far from the truth, and from there, chose to suicide.

While moving on is certainly a necessity in life, I do feel as if the scenario could have been prevented, and that is in reference to a large, general social scale. Understandably, there are many factors in this specific incident, be it her personal life, company treatment, and more, that could have ushered her towards suicide, but regardless, little attention, and even more accurately, proper attention, is seldom given to those who suffer from depression or other mental illnesses. With Sojin living in South Korea, it would not be appalling to know she received minimal, if at all any, help for her depression.

Elaborating on the latter phrase, though in many Asian cultures (this is a very, very large generalization, but from my understanding, it truly is widespread for Asian cultures) mental illnesses are not regarded as sincere issues, other places are not exempt from the same mentality; even in places such as, for example, America, where mental illnesses are rendered as serious and treatment is available, disturbingly, the idea of mental illnesses being minor is still rife: social views of mental illnesses has created a stigma for such, and thus, even if there are blatant centers and resources to receive help, in an overarching picture, mental illnesses are still not regarded properly. For a more coherent example, racism will provide a parallel comparison: many claim racism is nonexistent or is certainly unacceptable yet, ironically, it still heavily thrives via subtle mediums, such as racist jokes or remarks. Similarly, mental illnesses fall into the same trend. Though people consider it as a genuine issue, many perceive depressed people, for example, as utterly tearful, heartbroken people when, against common perceptions, people who are the most outgoing and comical can be depressed. Thus, it is in these discreet manners that, unlike the blatant surface, mental illnesses are still underwhelmingly cared for.

Relating back Baby KARA’s Sojin (“Baby KARA” being what the trainees were referenced as) and for the overarching social topic, ableism is (ableism is society’s preference of a “normalized” body; in other terms, having society’s current perception of a “normal” person physically and mentally), overall, the rooted cause for why she died. Surface-wise, Sojin suicided due to failing to debut in KARA, but with diving into the social layers of her issue, rather than isolating her case as unique, once relating multiple suicide cases together, it can be argued that society’s structure with ableism is the overall culprit. In focus of ableism in the form of mental health, society lacks ample care for those mentally ill. For example, while certain institutions provide sincere treatment and medical attention, there are those who, quite directly, profit from it: mentally ill people are connoted as serial killers, as depicted from news and movies, similar to how certain groups of people are constantly rendered as terrorists; mentally ill people are assumed “strange” or “socially awkward,” when, for example, it is someone having an anxiety attack; on the note of anxiety attacks, utilizing it as an example, many false perceptions of mental illnesses exist as many assume an anxiety attack is hyperventilating or breaking into tears when, in reality, it could be as discreet as someone refusing to talk.

For an overall point, with society simply creating inferiority for those who fail to fit into the normalized (and notice, not “normal” but rather “normalized”; society socializes what is “normal”) standards of being able-bodied, those who do not fit are ignored and not treated properly. If societies were structured in a way to help and accept humans of all bodies, mental and physical, and thus, not ableist (if that is the right term), Baby KARA’s Sojin might have received the proper support necessary that could have sincerely saved her life. Of course, my current argument may seem rather controversial as many desire to blame her failure to debut as the reason for suicide, but reiterating my point once more, with societies shunning and failing to sufficiently aid those who are not able-bodied, chances are, Sojin did not receive the aid she needed. She might have never disclosed her depression, for example, due to current social standards, or perhaps, even if she did, she did not receive adequate care that would have allowed her to continue living since society does not prioritize those who are not able-bodied. Of course, varying opinions exist, and therefore, I hope my words are interpreted as a new perspective and not forcing views.

While I personally am privileged with being able-bodied (though before junior year of high school I did feel as if I had social anxiety), I know far too many people who do suffer from mental illnesses, and it truly is upsetting knowing such as, though banally stated, I wish everyone is constantly happy and healthy, and the same can be said for readers. With life being oriented towards a stressful routine, I believe it is an obligation to spread kindness whenever possible. In terms of ableism, being aware and critical and open for understanding is what is necessary if societies are to progress to one that does indeed genuinely care for those not able-bodied. Even though it appears miniscule, ableism is promoted constantly, hence why I encourage readers to care. After all, horror movies are a clear example of ableism: “monsters” tend to be people who are not able-bodied, as seen by possessing a different body structure (it is interesting to ponder over; the “scary movie monster” is, in essence, a human with missing/extra limbs), and those with mental illnesses are equally seen as monsters when, as stated earlier, they are, unlike what society claims, “normal” people.   

Finally returning to “Cupid,” in hopes of bringing back cheerfulness if at all possible, the review of KARA’s “Cupid” will begin (though Sojin should not be forgotten and should be very well respected). While everyone should shoot Cupid arrows at one another since compassion is vital, this review will decide whether KARA’s latest comeback is worth equally shooting.

_______________________________________________________

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

– Vocals: 5/10 – Leaving a short, comical message, I feel as if I am somewhat “cheating”; after drinking coffee for a nice, comforting drink, the caffeine turns out to be rather effective as I have been able to relentlessly write for three hours (though expected as that is what the drug does). On topic, focusing on the vocals of KARA for “Cupid,” it does rate as plain.

A menacing aspect to their vocals is the lack of individuality; although the ladies are adept in their own regard, for “Cupid,” they all adopt a similar sound to one another: a nasally, higher pitched voice. Before divulging their vocals in a mechanical sense with melody and such, the similarity of the group members’ singing voice for “Cupid” creates a tendency for the song to become vocally mundane. Unlike, for example, their prior song of “Mamma Mia” where each members’ own individual sounding voices were heard, the vocals in “Cupid” are all exceptionally akin, and as a result, much charm is lost as “Cupid,” in essence, is sung by one person, one voice.

Peering at the singing from a systematic standpoint, the vocals showcase a catchier, lighter melody. Most singing notes in “Cupid” linger towards the higher range, but nevertheless, fluctuation still does occur, most prominently at the verses and pre-choruses, as the pitches do increase and decrease, even if still within the realm of highs. However, even with a dynamic flow, the note range is still restrictive as mainly higher notes are heard (though it does suit the song’s tone). For a more pressing matter, the choruses and post-choruses, while enticing due to catchiness, unveil weaker vocals. Those sections’ vocals possess a tedious nature, and furthermore, the frailty given by adopting an excessively nasally style proves hindering. Juxtaposing this song to “Mamma Mia,” a clear discrepancy is witnessed: “Cupid” ‘s vocals are the opposite; rather than unique, powerful and tuneful, diverse singing, “Cupid” discloses frail, undistinctive and limited pitched singing.

Average will hold as the score. KARA has proven their vocal prowess in “Mamma Mia,” but for “Cupid,” tune is sacrificed for tone as, while the vocals in “Cupid” are not mesmerizing musically, they do suit the song’s mood.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 5/10

2. Verse: 5/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4. Chorus: 5/10

5. Post-Chorus: 6/10

6. Rap: 5/10

7. Conclusion: 6/10

– Analysis: With this being the first trial for this Sections format, it will most likely be incoherent. Nonetheless, I greatly adore the conciseness that will, hopefully, occur.

Notably, many sections in “Cupid” score as average: the introduction, verses, choruses, and rap. Overarchingly, the vocals in all of those sections can be pinpointed as the reason, and for a few, the structure of the section itself. With the introduction, while it remains effective at initiating the song, the mechanical sound, the instrumental, is relatively plain as the beats are not musically enchanting in melody or rhythm. Similarly, the verses also fall short, but conversely: vocally, the singing, while still not to a high tier, is adequate in variation via tune and pacing, but structurally, the verses falter. Technically, the section could be deemed as a double verse; one verse occurs but is then followed by another verse.  Although this could be effective in other cases, for “Cupid,” this style of having a vastly lengthy verse, or for the other interpretation, two consecutive verses, creates redundancy as two nearly identical sections are played back-to-back.

On the note of redundancy, for the choruses, redundancy is redundantly repeated. Emphasis: redundant. The given vocals retain a lifeless, dull melody, and furthermore, with an incredibly nasally style, the ongoing staleness becomes further accentuated. Also, having the section’s format replay once also induces more mundaneness. For the last section that rates as average, the rap is homogenous to the chorus in that both vocals and structure are equally dry. Focusing on Youngji’s rap, although her section’s concept of utilizing deeper notes is soothing and alluring, the sonic component of a section is more than how a voice sounds; melody, pacing, power, and other factors are essential, and unfortunately, the rapping section in “Cupid” lacks those. The rap adopts a linear route: the melody maintains the lower notes with minimal fluctuation, the pacing fails to increase or decrease in speed, the same amount of vocal strain exists throughout the rap, and so forth. Even the overall structure of the rap is unadorned as every lines’ length is near identical, and adding on, the whispering demeanor, though useful for the atmosphere of “Cupid,” simply shifts more attention to the tediousness nature of the rap.

On the more positive side, three sections do rate as slightly above average, those being the pre-choruses, post-choruses, and the conclusion. In focus of the pre-choruses and post-choruses, the vocals, in comparison to the other sections, are significantly improved. A more dynamic style takes place as the pacing, power, and notes change. For example, at the pre-choruses, Seungyeon’s vocals begin softly, but towards the end, rise in power as a short note stretch is given. The post-choruses likewise follow a versatile path, as noted by the lines’ quickening or slowing in pace in order to accommodate to the beats. For the conclusion, although it is nearly, if not exactly, a replica of the introduction, while the sonic layer remains the same, it does perform a respectable job at concluding the song. “Cupid” ‘s overall tone is still maintained via the beats, and also, a lingering aspect is left. However, for what is most impressive, the beats’ rate decrease; the tempo plays at a certain rate, but as the song reaches the end, the rate begins to diminish until it utterly stops. This, while naturally a part of the instrumental’s sonic aspect, works in favor of delivering a smooth, clear cut as, blatantly, the song is fading out. Nevertheless, “slightly above average” holds over, for example, a firm “above average” due to a main reason: sonically, the sections, while not completely lacking, are still not to the point of being captivating.

Overall, with five averaging out, the sections in “Cupid” as a whole can be considered average. Most of the sections lack sonically, be it in vocals or instrumental, and for the structures of the sections, many are not enticing, or in a few cases, obstructing.

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Giving my opinion of the new Sections outline, though organization will need refining, I appreciate that, in one hour or so, I was able to complete what would normally be two or more days of writing while still, for the most part, preserving the Sections category’s purpose. But, in focus of KARA, for their distribution of lines in “Cupid,” accounting for solely four members, a high score should be earned. One note to bear, I will render the choruses as conducted by the group as a whole, and thus, it will not be added to the members’ individual sections quantity (I am referencing their live performance on Mnet).

Beginning with KARA’s leader, Gyuri’s sections include the two verses and one post-chorus. Three is her total count, and while three and four have been the general, desired average, it will depend on her members. Also, digressing, Gyuri has recently done a collaboration for, interestingly, a “synth pop”/”house” genre, assuming I am correct with my labels. “The Little Prince” is the song’s title for those curious (I would review it if time permitted as this genre is seldom heard).

Back to KARA as a whole, however, for Seungyeon, her moments include the two verses, the two pre-choruses, and one post-chorus. Therefore, five will be her total, and while Youngji and Hara will further determine if a large disparity holds, certainly, Seungyeon has a noticeably higher count than Gyuri.

That said, for Youngji, KARA’s newest member, her count holds as five: the first and second verses, two post-choruses, and her solo rap section. Hara will be the final factor on whether five for a count is excessive.

Hara’s lines consist of the two verses and final, singular lines at both post-choruses. Therefore, four sections is her total.

Gauging the distribution, if either Youngji or Seungyeon lost one line and Gyuri gained it, the distribution would be flawless. From solely one minor, minimal difference, a nine for a score will hold. The distribution is near perfect, and though line duration in terms of time is not necessarily accounted for in the score, for ”Cupid,” even in that regard the song remains admirable with its share of lines.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – While the Line Distribution score did deviate from the streak of fives, sadly, for the Instrumental category, a five returns to represent average.

A heavier bassline along with prominent beats provide the foundation for “Cupid,” but once the song hits climactic points, such as during the choruses and post-choruses, an electric-based hum occurs in addition to the prior main sounds. Mechanically, beginning with the bass and beats, although it grants “Cupid” the lower pitches as the vocals reside towards the higher range, nothing utterly infatuating holds. Nevertheless, the sounds are not distasteful, and for the structural component, it does dispense a vital role of giving “Cupid” a diverse range of notes, even if highly subtle, and furthermore, with being lower pitched, it proves complementing to KARA’s singing. Swapping to the electric humming sound, mechanically, a vexing, buzzing noise does take place, and thus, it renders moreover as musically agitating versus attractive. At its strongest point, it does deliver the song’s climactic transition as the sound occurs solely during the choruses and post-choruses, both of which are the song’s most intense points.

Glancing at the instrumental in its entirety, it holds averagely. If the utilized sounds proved more sonically enticing, a higher score would be gained as, from many aspects, the mechanical layer is what is hindering, not the structural component.

– Meaning: 5/10 – Automatically, with a title of “Cupid,” a flirtatious, love related plot is foreseen. Most likely, knowing the story of how Cupid has the ability to create love via shooting arrows (or at least the story I have assumed for my entire life), I anticipate a main character is frustrated with being overlooked by a love-interest, and now as a result, is wishing Cupid’s arrows were true. Halting my poorer prediction skills, through the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics, the real story will unravel. As always, the lyrics are not 100% accurate:

(C.U.P.I.D)

The moment I first saw you, “-holic,” I got a feeling
I’m secretly looking at you
My lips dry up at just one word
My heart stopped, get you Cupid chu
Pull the arrow without holding back, shoot it out
Trust destiny, don’t hesitate
I’m aiming for that empty spot,
though I tried to pretend I wasn’t interested

I’m ready, it’s all over,
at the blink of an eye

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move (it’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
Pull the arrow of destiny

Now shoot it out, shoot it out, right now
I’ll never give it up, give it up tonight
I’m trembling, I’ll carefully go to you,
I’m ready, oh Cupid chu!
(C.U.P.I.D)

The moment you first saw me, “-holic,” did you get a feeling?
It’s a little awkward
Maybe it’s you who fell for me
In my hidden heart, get you Cupid chu
Tell me honestly, be a man, shoot it out
Why can’t you say it? I’ll pretend I don’t know
I’m aiming for that empty spot,
though I tried to pretend I wasn’t interested

I’m ready, it’s all over,
at the blink of an eye

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move (it’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
Pull the arrow of destiny

Oh even from far away, I’m falling into your eyes
I’m getting addicted, no more pain
Shoot the arrow, Cupid,
at him who looks here and there, stupid
So he can only look at me (because I’m getting jealous)
So he can only look at me (because he’s too good)
So no one can touch him (forever you’re mine)

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move
Shoot it out in your heart
It’s electrifying, like I’m bewitched by you (pierced)
Shoot the arrow of destiny

Now shoot it out, shoot it out, right now
(Cupid, Cupid, arrow, arrow)
I’ll never give it up, give it up tonight
(Cupid, Cupid, arrow, arrow)
I’m trembling, I’ll carefully go to you,
I’m ready, oh Cupid chu!

(C.U.P.I.D)

Accurately, the prediction holds: a main character, specifically a lady (but as always, lyrics are gender-neutral), possesses a love-interest who, unluckily, does not reciprocate her feelings. Her story began “the moment [she] first saw [the love-interest]”; upon seeing him, her “heart stopped” and she hoped “Cupid [would] pull the arrow without holding back” as she desires for him to also fall in love. But, as stated, the love-interest, implicitly, remains oblivious and uninterested as the main character yearns for him to “shoot it out”; she craves that he would shoot his own Cupid arrow, and thus, also be attracted to her. Other details exist, though most aim towards the main character’s frustration, infatuation, and, as by the title, the idea of Cupid’s love arrows.  

For a rating, average will hold. While the story is lighthearted and comical, the lyrics are tedious and lacking thoroughness. Both verses are the only sections with disclosing details to the song’s plot; the choruses, post-choruses, pre-choruses, and even rap, are all centered around the theme of Cupid, but in terms of the plot itself, minimal details are gleaned.

– “Critical Corner”: For the Critical Corner, despite this bonus section having no influence on the Meaning score, there are some crucial topics to discuss. One that relates to “Cupid” in its entirety, the idea of “love at first sight” is one that is incredibly erroneous, and if memory serves correctly, I have already addressed it in some depth at a much older review when my writing was equally erroneous, more so than currently though I still require significant improvement. Summarizing my argument on why the concept is false, love is more than physical attraction; to truly love is to welcome both components of physical and non-physical, and of course, the latter is where practically all love should stem from. Thus, “love at first sight” fails in that it focuses purely on physical attraction when, sincerely, it is non-physical qualities that drive romance. Until everyone is psychic and capable of extracting non-physical characteristics “at first sight,” the discussed phrase will never be viable.

Progressing to the next topic, due to length, I will most likely continue it in a future review. However, to begin the subject, there is an infuriating line in “Cupid”: “Tell me honestly, be a man.” Be a man. Blatantly, the lyrics are not proposing that the love-interest should change their gender, and thus, “be a man” in that sense, rather, the lines are connoting a social meaning, and sadly, this phrase is outstandingly common despite how, once critically dissected, toxic the social connotation is (or at least in modern times; a future review will discuss labels of “feminine” and “masculine” and if they are negative or not).

Living to the standards of “be a man” includes many aspects and traits, but all of those, as of current times, are significantly negative (though sharing a digression of an occasion where it was moreover humorous than negative, my sophomore and junior year English teacher and I overheard a student proclaim, “Don’t wear a [sports] cup, be a man,” and with being the witty, sarcastic teacher he is, he muttered, “Yes, because we don’t want people like you reproducing”). On topic, “be a man” is associated with these examples: not crying, being harsh and violent, being dominant and in full control, and more. In various ways, the phrase is purely socializing males to be inhumane. Crying is not pitiful, harming and degrading others, however, is pitiful, yet it is what gender norms, and more specifically, male patriarchy, reinforce. Furthermore, in addition to holding males accountable for unrealistic, malicious standards, there is the layer of gender superiority; being a man implies placing women as inferior. After all, it is not a mere coincidence that “be a woman” is nonexistent. As discussed in multiple reviews, with femininity being undervalued to masculinity, the stated phrase is one used for degradement, as noticed when males are insulted by being labeled “girly” when, if equity was in place, it would be a sign of a compliment.

Unless if masculinity standards are transformed to one that welcomes gender equity and positive points, many issues will continue. The phrase should never be used, and males should never be pressured to “be a man” as the implications are, in truth, not being a man, but instead, lesser in the sense of not even being a basic human. If “be a man” meant to be caring and not “protective” and obsessive, or if it meant to be tearful versus tearless, or if it was synonymous to “be a woman” as both genders are worthy of praise and neither is inferior to the other, then it should be permitted for use. Sadly, as of now, it perpetuates hostile behavior and gender value disparities, and thus, should never be used. To “be a man” is to be human, and to be human is to genuinely be accepting and open, and therefore, I do urge many readers to be wary and critical of current gender norms, and that perpetuating positive, equitable norms should be what occurs, not the opposite. Personally, though many have aggressively told me to “be a man” and to quit liking, for example, makeup, I heavily refuse to “be a man.” Instead, I opt to “be human.”

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – The dance in “Cupid” is impressive even though the song, in an overarching mechanical layer, is lackluster (and this review could have been posted a day earlier if I finished this before sleeping).

Focusing on the syncing, “Cupid” ‘s choreography faultlessly relates every movement. For a plethora of examples: the introduction and conclusion showcase distinguished, slower movements that flow to the beats and bass; verses are excellently synced via snaps for beats, and quick, sharp movements for the sections’ sudden pace changes; the pre-choruses follow a graceful, steady flow to emulate the song’s tone; choruses link the beats to maneuvers that follow an identical tempo. In sum, “Cupid” contains adept, consistent syncing.

In terms of the key points, simplicity becomes embraced. Nevertheless, it works in favor of the song as it allows ease of syncing, unambiguous transitions, and exclusiveness per section (for example, it is unequivocal that the choruses follow a certain dance while the pre-choruses follow another). However, unlike the stunning syncing, the key points slightly falter in terms of maintaining high appeal. In a general scope, many key points are recycled; each section reuses its own dance set endlessly. As a result, the dance becomes repetitive and thus, loses its engrossment. On a more specific scope, in terms of each key point individually, the absence of styles, such as at the choruses and post-choruses, also slightly impedes the choreography. During those sections, the key points predominantly focus on slow syncing to the beats, as seen with the sways and hip bouncing, but with minimal deviation from such occurring, dullness arises.

Above average will still hold as the score despite the slightly weaker key points. With exceptionally accurate syncing and key points that are still decent and pleasing, a higher score is granted.  

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – With an Overall Score rounding up to seven, above average will, surprisingly, be the score for KARA’s “Cupid.” I do disagree and, at most, slightly above average should hold, but considering its strong choreography and near perfect distribution of lines, this score is understandable. Regardless, KARA is certainly a solid group, and even if “Cupid” fails to showcase the ladies’ abilities, their prior release of “Mamma Mia” does serve them properly. If it were to be reviewed, I would predict a seven or even an eight for its Overall Score.

As always, thank you very much for reading, and to the requester, for sending in this song. I have been watching KARA on many variety shows and am disappointed that I have not paid closer attention to the group. Thus, thank you for enlightening me on such. And for readers, I highly appreciate the given time and support. Words will never be able to express my gratitude. On that note, I do hope for feedback regarding the new review outline. Although this review is two days late due to events (the earlier statement, and the next day, finding a test center and then going out to eat), this outline has greatly decreased the time necessary to write. Five to six hours of writing is now the standard versus the usual eight to nine. 

On that note, four reviews are left with a week left in June, and sadly, making it to six may be what occurs versus the intended goal of eight. However, with a new outline in place, it may be possible. That said, summer comebacks seem to already be occurring: AOA’s “Heart Attack” has been released along with Sistar’s “Shake It.” I will review both, starting with AOA, but I am quite thrilled to analyze both songs.

With this being the end, thank you once more to readers and requester, and of course, stay tuned for a future review on AOA’s “Heart Attack.” Depending on feedback, I will decide if this current outline continues. For the upcoming review, I will quickly “shoot it out, shoot it out, right now,” and “I’ll never give it up, give it up” as readers deserve the review and less cringe-worthy conclusions.