Jimin x Xiumin – “Call You Bae” Review

Jimin x Xiumin – Call You Bae (Music Video)

Jimin (AOA) x Xiumin (EXO) – Call
You Bae

Reviewed
on March 6, 2016

Personal Message:
Before diving into this review, in
highlight of the prior one, congratulations to MAMAMOO for
their first music broadcast show win. I am so joyful and proud of them, and
admittedly even cried for the first time with watching a winning
announcement
. (I
think first, anyways; I’m admittedly a huge crybaby so I no longer can keep track.
And if correct, this is also the first time MAMAMOO has cried on camera.) 2016
for the ladies will definitely be a momentous year. They have worked incredibly
hard, and it is endearing to know that “You’re the Best” and MAMAMOO are finally
receiving the attention they have deserved. On topic, however: yes, I was quite
serious when I said I would be devoting my entire free time during spring break
to catching up on reviews. A few readers may be surprised to see a review so
soon, but I truly am following through with my goal by being as dedicated as,
perfectly timed, MAMAMOO are. (Nonetheless, this is a challenging task as I am also
balancing university homework and catching up on subtitling videos. In fact,
after this review, I will be attempting to subtitle the remaining parts to “FNC
Picnic At Night.”) Now, I did claim that Rainbow’s mini-album of “Prism” was to
be reviewed (and afterwards MAMAMOO’s album), but unfortunately I need more
time to brainstorm a new album review outline. Thus, in the meantime, I will
focus on another song to review: “Call You Bae” by AOA’s Jimin and EXO’s
Xiumin.

To confess, I was concerned that
many fans would oppose this song for various reasons (I will discuss this later),
but thankfully, that is not the case: “Call You Bae” is receiving an overwhelming
amount of positivity and support, and furthermore, so are both idols. The song and
music video are truly adorable, and Jimin and Xiumin delivered the romantic,
lovely concept very well. In fact, they delivered it too well: I am now
reconsidering that falling in love and marrying one day may be worth it.
Perhaps I may one day meet a special lady and as many readers know, that is guaranteed to happen as
the lady is SPICA’s Boa
 who proposes to me and wins my heart, and
with whom I will be able to have my first kiss with, akin to what “Call You
Bae” hints at. Excusing my romantic, delusional and naïve dreams, to transition
to a more solemn tone, I will clarify what I meant earlier with how I was
afraid that many fans would oppose this song. The opposition I had in mind is
not due to music: I was thinking of how occasional fans become overly defensive
of idols and will strongly oppose them being in a relationship—real or
fictional.

Though a sociological perspective is
always interesting in this regard (such as with seeing how gender influences
whether fans accept or reject an idol being in a relationship), on the simple layer,
respect has to take place. Idols are like any other human and deserve to be
respected for their decisions—unless of course their decision is an atrocious
one, such as harming someone. Otherwise, however, being supportive should be an
instinctual reaction when it comes to hearing of idol dating news and so forth,
or in “Call You Bae” ‘s case of supporting both Xiumin and Jimin working
together as a fictional couple. Thankfully, as mentioned, the two seem to be
very well supported for this work. After all, it does become ridiculous to hear
fans bashing, for a hypothetical and simple example, “Idol A” for simply
touching “Idol B” during a show. Showing respect is what matters, and in the
future case that SPICA’s Boa is dating a special someone, I would live up to my
own words: I would hunt
down the person she is dating; after finding them, I would kidnap them and hide
them in a closet; and once all of that is done, I will once again resume being
content knowing that my delusional, obsessive and immature behavior—though harmful
to Boa—will make her single and therefore will make me, her number one fan,
happy
 I would be very supportive and incredibly joyful for her, and
in no form be jealous. Right?

Bad comedy aside (and of course I do
respect Boa as a human; though I love self-deprecating myself with sharing how obsessed
I am with her, I would never do anything extreme), to focus on the review,
although I absolutely adore the concept, musically the same cannot be said.
Once the squeals and stuffed-penguin-squeezing are pushed away, I am afraid
that I am unwilling to call the song “Bae”—or so I biasedly claim.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.4/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Rap: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Bridge: 4/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10

– Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: 9/10

Jimin:
Rap 1, Rap 2 (Total: 2)

Xiumin:
Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 3)

All:
Pre-Choruses, Post-Choruses, Bridge

Equal Value: 2.5 sections per member.  


Lyrics: 8/10

Baby I’m pretty young and wild and so fine
Can we just be “bae,” you and I
This awkward distance between us is making
it weird to walk together
Otherwise we’d be closer
You are taller than I am,
you see me as a kid, why, why?
You tell me to go home before 12
Mom and Dad went on a vacation
I’m hungry, want to eat chicken with me?

“Are you going to be like this to me?”
Even though I look young, I like you baby
From now on I’ll call you “bae” and not “oppa”*
Whatever
I want, to, call, you, bae!

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

State of emergency, oppa is here
Take a deep breath, my heart is running fast
You look fancy, but not too fancy
I like that so much that it makes me laugh
You are shining and coming closer
The smell of soap is around my nose
I feel like I’m walking on clouds
State of emergency, just a kiss

“Are you going to be like this to me?”
Even though I look young, I like you baby
From now on I’ll call you “bae” and not “oppa”*
Whatever
I want, to, call, you, bae!

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

When my eyes open, I think about you
Until I fall asleep, I think about you
When I’m hungry, I think about you
My oppa’s song, cue

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

*“Oppa” is what females refer to older males as.

Choreography Score: X/10 (x/10 raw score)

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Contrary to my personal stance, “Call You Bae” miraculously scores much higher
than anticipated. However, my initial opinion is still somewhat sound:
musically, the song is not the strongest even if enjoyable. But that said,
non-musically “Call You Bae” flourishes. The line distribution, for example, is
near perfect in this song—as expected as there are only two singers. Now technically
the song is indeed perfect; the sections cannot be any more evenly divided. But
as explained in past reviews, unless if the quantity of sections is exact—the same
and not just divided as much as possible—then a nine is the max possible.
Nonetheless, a nine is nothing to ignore. In this song’s case, the duo’s equal balance
of sections greatly aids in the Song Score holding well. Furthermore, the
lyrics are rather detailed, even if in the realm of romance—a very typical topic
for songs. Playfulness and flirtatiousness are unique factors to the lyrics,
and synthesizing those aspects with how the lyrics maintain an interesting dialogue
format and is overall diverse in details, a high score is granted.

Switching
focus to the musical component of the song, the instrumental remains admirable.
Contextually, if that term makes sense (I am referencing how the instrumental renders
in an overarching view), the gentler yet faster paced beats and tuneful piano
notes perfectly suit with the song’s flow and vocal style. Additionally, for moments
where the song does become energetic, the instrumental perfectly adapts and
continues providing “Call You Bae” its sweeter sound. Individually, the instrumental
also still holds well. All of the sounds involved are soothing and melodic, and
most notably, even if vocals are absent, the instrumental continues to prove its
appeal. In terms of where the song languishes, as noticed, the vocals and sections
are the weaker points: a six and five, respectively, are the scores—scores that
are much lower in comparison to the other ratings.

Before
discussing the vocals, however, I do wish to clarify one aspect: there is a
difference between critiquing a musical voice and a voice itself. The latter is
never permissible while the former is open. (And if readers wonder why a
musical voice is excused, there are multiple reasons. For one, musical voices,
be it in rap or singing, do tend to greatly deviate from normal conversational
voices. Take Sistar’s Hyorin as example. In singing, her voice becomes much
more sharp and clear, but if she is normally speaking, she possesses her iconic
deeper and huskier, raspy voice. As a result, because of the distinction, if I
critique her singing voice, it is critiquing her singing and not so much on how
she herself sounds. Secondly, a voice’s sound does have, obviously, significant
implications for how singing turns out. So, it cannot be avoided that voices
are critiqued, but it must be done so in a singing context as, once again, that
is critiquing a skill and not a personal, physical identity aspect.) If I
recall correctly, when I reviewed AOA’s “Like a Cat” mini-album, I did address this
topic as, sadly, Jimin does oftentimes face criticism for her voice—and I do
mean her voice itself. This is never warranted. To insult her voice would be to
insult her hair, skin complexion, eye color, and so forth: it is uncalled for
and everyone should be able to feel physically beautiful—be it visually or
sonically. Point is, although I will be critiquing her voice, I wish for
readers to know that it is in the context of music, and even more specifically,
in “Call You Bae.” (In “Heart Attack” for example, Jimin’s voice was one of her
strongest strengths.) No one’s voice or visual appearance should ever be a mark
for degrading and mockery.

With
that in mind, the vocals score is lowered not on part of Xiumin, but rather,
Jimin. In fact, if not for the gentleman, the vocals score would be seeing an
even lower rating. Xiumin’s singing as showcased in the choruses are
exceptionally tuneful and well controlled. There are no glaring issues with his
singing. In contrast, Jimin fails to show vocal maturity unless if in her rapping.
Her raps from a vocal standpoint are solid, but in for example the
pre-choruses, the vocal delivery is unpleasant. Jimin’s higher notes prove
unfitting to the section, and overall, are arguably excessive. Essentially, the
melody is fine but the pitch remains too high and therefore, vexing to
listeners. Worsening that, the transition point is questionable not only structurally
(as to discuss later), but also sonically: obnoxious one-syllables (or “words”
if looking at it from an English perspective) that are unappealing in a singing
context. Nevertheless, with the dual-singing post-choruses holding
exceptionally well and similarly Xiumin’s choruses and Jimin’s raps, the vocals
are not utterly doomed. This explains why despite the unattractive vocals at
the pre-choruses the score is still decent.

Now,
for the sections, many score averagely. The pre-choruses were previously
highlighted as being undesirable vocally, but simultaneously, they are also
undesirable for their format—specifically the chaotic transition point. As for
the others, staleness becomes an issue. For example, the choruses and raps,
though vocally delivered well, are too plain in structure. There are no unique
pacing and fluctuations, and though linearity is not inherently a flaw, “Call
You Bae” fails to address the issue of how the two sections become mundane over
time. If the raps were more lively and dynamic with flow for example, then the
issue of repetitiveness would be easily solved. Overall, the post-choruses hold
as the only strong section. What greatly benefits these sections is, as
mentioned, the dual singing involved: both Jimin and Xiumin sing, and this
creates a unique blend of tune and voices, and also, a distinctive point of how
individual singing (Jimin’s own raps and Xiumin’s own choruses) is combined
into one.

Overall,
though “Call You Bae” earns a seven, it has to be noted that it is
predominantly due to the non-musical side: the lyrics and line distribution.
Musically, mainly the instrumental fares well as the vocals are impaired by the
pre-choruses’ delivery, and with the sections, many are overly tedious. Though
the concept is cute and Xiumin’s singing vocals and Jimin’s rapping vocals
shine, “Call You Bae” is, despite its “above average” rating, not an alluring
song in terms of sound. The two deserve support and attention, but much
stronger songs will be hoped for in the future.

_______________________________________________________

This
review did end up much shorter than anticipated, but I cannot complain as I
will now be busy finishing up a book for my education class, and of course, to
finish subtitling “FNC Picnic At Night.” Tomorrow, I will be reviewing Rainbow’s
mini-album of “Prism,” and hopefully the new album review format is effective
and organized. As always, thank you for reading whether in full or skimmed.
Look forward to the upcoming two bonus album reviews: Rainbow’s “Prism” and
MAMAMOO’s “Melting.” I will continue preserving with the amount of tasks I have
since “your smile makes [my heart] run faster.” Stay tuned for more reviews
(and videos).

Choa (AOA) – “Flame” Review

Choa
– Flame (Music Video)

Choa (from AOA) –
Flame

Reviewed
on January 17, 2016

Personal Message:
Although Dal Shabet’s “Someone Like
U” is being worked on, I am changing schedule for the sake of at least posting
something within two weeks. The review will still come out, but much later.
Pitifully speaking, with being back to university, I am attempting to just
survive. I am overwhelmed with work, and in fact, should not even be writing
this review. But, as I need a break from all of the readings and writing
assignments, a short review will be done. That said, with time being limited,
important topics will not be discussed in this review (not that any are
directly elicited from the current review). On that subject, Stellar is making
a comeback, and though I missed the chance to review “Vibrato,” I will attempt
to review their upcoming one. Predictably, given the group’s concepts and the
general public’s reaction, a very important discussion will occur there:
“slut-shaming.” The amount of degrading, sexist remarks towards the ladies is
rather equivalent to my workload: enough to make me cry.

That is an understatement, of course.
My workload amount is, exaggeratedly at most, equal to one percent of the negativity
Stellar receives. Admirably, if accurate, though in an interview the ladies
have admitted to crying due to the hate and struggles of income, their ability
to persevere is outstanding. After all, I am already nearly in tears over
university work, and that is something entirely miniscule in comparison to the
hardships Stellar faces. More, however, will be discussed when the actual
review occurs (and I will be dedicated to devote time to indeed review the
group). Though I have slightly touched upon the topic of slut-shaming, with
Stellar’s review, I plan to dive deeply into it. Furthermore, there is a
critical question to ask: Where is the border for “appropriate”? Unlike when I
discussed this with Dal Shabet’s “Joker,” though I included the basic points of
slut-shaming, this was a question I avoided—or more accurately, brushed aside
with an insufficient answer that lacked critical thinking. Overall, looking
over the incredibly shameful writing quality in that review (it truly is
disorganized; in addition to greatly challenging a few of my prior arguably
sexist views in “Joker,” my argument points are unclear there), perhaps
starting clean with Stellar’s upcoming review would be a better route. I will
refer to previously stated points in regards to slut-shaming, but for what
would be most valuable to discuss, the topic of “appropriate” would be it, and
needless to say, there is much involved.

For highly irrelevant news, as of
this sentence (January 14), it is SPICA’s leader, Boa’s, birthday. She is now
twenty nine years old if correct. If there are readers perplexed at this sudden
and random mentioning, I bring this up because I am infatuated with her.
Excessively (she is my “idol crush” as I comically say). But of course, on a
mature tone, my delusion is kept in check. If it were not, I would have already
began a very embarrassing letter to her: Dear Boa, though we have not met yet, I know I will
love whatever marriage ring you decide to propose to me with because—

Questionable humor aside (though on
a serious note, I do sincerely find Boa an amazing person and while she may be
a personal “idol crush,” she deserves full respect as a human), on topic with
this review, I wish to write a brief one. This is to allow the blog to maintain
some activity, but likewise, it allows university work to still be finished. AOA’s
Choa’s solo debut song, “Flame,” was chosen for its conciseness (no
Choreography or Line Distribution categories to rate), and that pressing social
topics are not elicited from this song, and thus, no social digression will
occur (of course, however, any critical individual can indeed find something;
given it being a pop culture medium, even if nothing is explicitly given,
everything is open for dissecting). As a reuslt, solely the musical component
can be of focus, and that is what I do desire for “Flame.”

Offering a biased take to “Flame,” I
do admit it being disappointing—in the sense of genre and concept. Now to
clarify, neither ballad nor the concept is inherently bad; “Flame” is perfectly
fine in those categories. Explaining why I am disappointed, it is due to the
personal hope of Choa’s solo debut being a pop genre as her vocals have large
potential within that field. Choa absolutely has the vocal capabilities for
more vocally intensive songs, be it ballads or even in “Flame” ‘s case, but
when considering her vocals in pop songs such as “Miniskirt” or “Heart Attack,”
she has an exclusive quality: though her vocals possess power, excellent
belting and note holds, it is all suitable in a catchy, pop style. Essentially,
the point is that Choa is able to bring common ballad vocal traits into pop
songs, but it is done without compromising the pop genre’s style.

Confusing tangent aside, for a more
realistic analysis, it would be far better to discuss her flaming vocals in
“Flame,” and more greatly, to uncover how “Flame” rates. Unfortunately to leak,
though the song is certainly a flame, it most likely does burn weakly.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.75/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


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

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion: 6/10


Line Distribution: X/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 8/10

The pain starts as soon as I open my eyes
Every time I think of you, my heart aches
I guess all the heartbreak
before wasn’t a heartbreak
I’m learning that this is
a true heartbreak through you

Everything that happened in my
room with you becomes a movie
In that movie, you’re the star of my love
I don’t want to see the end
of this love that is coming to an end
So I rewind to the beginning
and take you out again

When the moonlight covers my tears
My one and only love comes to an end
I try to burn you from my heart to forget,
to erase it all
But like a flame,
you wrap around me, you cruel love

My sad love became a sad poem
You’re so bad, you left me for
just one mistake
If only I could forget you
with just one tear drop
Then I can cry for 365 days

When the moonlight covers my tears
My one and only love comes to an end
I try to burn you from my heart to forget,
to erase it all
But like a flame,
you wrap around me, you cruel love

Go away, go away
You used to be my love at one point

When the starlight gets locked
in the ocean with a strong sigh
My sad and quickened breath will stop
My last monologue will get carried
away by the wind
To a faraway place where I’ve
left to because you’re not here

When the moonlight covers my tears
My one and only love comes to an end
I try to burn you from my heart to forget,
to erase it all
But like a flame,
you wrap around me, you cruel love

Choreography Score: X/10 (x/10 raw score)

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Though
I am relatively confused (and shocked—mostly shocked) at the music video, to
focus on the song, it does hold stronger than anticipated. In fact, I feel like
retracting my prior statement of how Choa’s solo should have been a pop song.
This song is perhaps one of the best examples so far on the blog for a concept
worth understanding: “quality versus catchiness.” Ignoring the simplistic
label, “Flame” has received comments of how it is a “boring” song, and thus, is
not a “good” song. However, though that is understandable as “good” songs tend
to be alluring—catchy as it can be coined—it is worth noting that catchiness
should not determine ratings. Although all ratings in the end are indeed very
much subjective, when it comes to “catchiness,” objectivity vanishes
completely. Using how fun and upbeat a song is would lead to ratings being
based entirely on feelings versus, for example, analyzing how transitions are,
how vocals and instrumental relate, and so forth. In other words, it is far
better to analyze the technical works of a song than its style. Otherwise,
reviews would become nothing but ranking genres, and that is worthless a song
is more than the package it is delivered in. It is about the content, not the “wrapping”
(genre and style) of a song.

As
for “Flame” specifically, to admit, it is perhaps the stalest ballad I have
heard so far. Nevertheless, even if the song overall is plain with its style, there
are deeper details worthy of examining. All that said, the vocals to “Flame”
are very balanced. Note holds and belting partially occur towards the end for
the purpose of giving the song a climactic
point, but with every other section, the vocals remain tuneful, crisp,
and—in the context of “Flame”—diverse, but for the strongest point, the vocals’
calmness is it. Though vocal intensity and power are delightful traits, the
lack thereof is not necessarily a detriment, and “Flame” perfectly proves such.
Passive yet melodic vocals are sufficient to earn a higher rating.

To
address the sections, given the tedious nature of the song, I will not dive in
full depth but rather, will give an overarching analysis (and it is because I am
incredibly pressed with time)
. Overall, the vocals and the
instrumental carry a large bulk of the sections’ scores; the sonic component to
the sections is why ratings are higher. If the vocals and instrumental were
lower in quality, the sections would drop to fives, or perhaps even more
drastically. Expectedly, with the prior words’ hinting, it is the structures of
the sections that are impairing. Certainly, the sections still fulfill their
roles hence the sixes, but that is solely it. Thus, ratings are limited. For
example, the pre-choruses do properly transition the song into the choruses.
Where issues arise is in the methods: incredibly basic. There is no exclusiveness
to “Flame”; nothing in particular strikes as distinctive in this ballad
compared to others. Additionally, though it is not inherently an issue that
sections sound akin to one another, in the case of “Flame,” the song does begin
sounding mundane as, for example, the verse and pre-choruses are very identical
in sound and even structure (and this being the reason for why the song is not “catchy”).

Now,
for the bridge, it did receive a five for average. Though that is a “neutral”
score and is neither negative nor positive, it is due to how the bridge is
conducted. Given how the song is already slower paced and calm, capitalizing
off that flow and incorporating such into the bridge would suit more than what
is currently at play: entirely halting the song, as observed by greatly silencing
the instrumental and slowing the singing. Addressing the other perspective,
however, it is worth noting this bridge does effectively allow “Flame” to
transition to its climactic point of including two-part singing, minor note
holds, and so on. Nevertheless, considering that the actual transition can be credited
towards the quick beats that shortly occur at end of the bridge, if the bridge
followed a linear route versus pausing, as is the other sections, a smooth
transition would have existed either way. As a result, the bridge’s goal of
providing a dramatic and seamless transition to the concluding sections through
a pause is arguably unnecessary, and in some ways, counteractive to the song’s
overarching style. On this note, the conclusion is a six, though it nearly
meets a seven—and it is not because of the conclusion itself. Prior to the
actual conclusion (the ending solo instrumental), the last two choruses include
beautiful, cohesive two-part singing and note stretches, as mentioned earlier.
Unfortunately, with how tedious “Flame” sounds in its entirety, having two
choruses playing one after the other builds upon that redundancy. As a result,
even with Choa’s stunning vocals at the end, it is not enough to overpower the
accumulated repetition.

Regarding
the instrumental, similar to the vocals, it remains enchanting with its tune
and serenity. Also, it does coincide excellently with the vocals themselves,
and even the sections are suited. What remains lacking is in the instrumental
itself: as calm and graceful as it is, it fails to be utterly seducing.
Finally, for the lyrics, a higher score appears. In fact, if correct, this may
be the highest rating as of yet for a song’s Lyrics category. Comically and
briefly explaining why this is the case: the lyrics could be used for a
dramatic monologue for a melancholy movie’s opening or ending. On a serious
tone, the level of details and depth for the lyrics are the reasons. The plot
remains thorough and greatly detailed, and the figurative language used further
augments it. Through the lyrics’ choice of words and metaphors, the character’s
agony, anger, and sadness are effectively highlighted, and in many ways, those
emotions become palpable. Overall, with the outstanding and various details and
a plot that remains deep, an eight is well deserved.

Although
short, this review finishes with “Flame” scoring an overall seven. As such, the
song can be rendered above average, and though I do biasedly disagree, the
ballad is indeed beautiful, and Choa absolutely showcases her vocal prowess. If
the song was more dynamic, or if Choa released a pop song versus a ballad, it
would be interesting to see the outcome. Regardless, Choa proves her ability to
run solo, and though AOA comebacks will always be delightful, I do hope Choa
eventually does have a pop genre solo (or even Yuna for that matter).

_______________________________________________________

For
an ending message, I greatly apologize for being quite inactive and for rushing
this review. I have much work to handle this semester and am balancing reviews
as best as I can. To confess, I do feel overwhelmed, but I do expect the
following weeks to be easier. Sharing a positive update, I have finished my
application for a campus job and am excited for that, and I do have a few short
subtitled videos to upload soon. But, with class work, I am incredibly booked.
Perhaps staying in the library until eleven and likewise forcing a friend to
suffer with me may be my best bet to having time to finish reviews.

In
terms of other reviews, I will finish Dal Shabet’s “Someone Like U” as soon as
possible. Being realistic, for this month I may have to rush through reviews,
but if that is what is required then I will have to accept that for January.
Should the worst occur and I become too busy, I do plan on reviewing “bonus”
songs, such as by visiting artists I have already reviewed. One in mind is “Tonight”
by SPICA. I absolutely adore the song in every possible aspect: the concept,
the vocals, the song’s layout, the choreography, and so on. I would confidently
say it is now my favorite song of all-time, or at least tied with other notable
favorites (though “Ghost” by them would be perhaps one of the best songs I have
heard). However, considering I dislike repeating groups for reviews since offering
variety is a priority (excluding comebacks), I may just opt to finish reviews I
have already started. Better yet, reviewing a reality show, “EXID’s Showtime,”
may be what fits next. Time will tell.

With
the review ending, as always, thank you very much for reading. I will do my
best to keep content posted. Whether it is Dal Shabet, a show review, more male
artists, or a biased review on SPICA’s “Tonight” (besides favoritism running, I would also have “Boa-ism”
running; the song may interestingly rate at a ten-out-of-ten “because Boa—just because
there is Boa”)
, more reviews will be coming. What I can promise
though is I will never be biased in a review—assuming SPICA’s Boa is not in it,
that is. My pitiful Boa-obsession jokes aside, “When the moonlight covers my
tears, my one and only love comes to an end”: readers. How this actually makes
sense is unknown, but the point is readers are my one and only love. Stay tuned
for most likely a bonus review on EXID’s reality show and others. With EXID’s
review, an interesting digression is in mind that I hope readers will enjoy
ruminating over. Until then, look forward to it and thank you again for reading
any bit of this review.

CNBlue – “Cinderella” Review

CNBlue – Cinderella (Music Video)

CNBlue – Cinderella

Reviewed
on November 20, 2015

image

Personal Message:
iKON’s music video of “Airplane” is
currently underway and will soon be out. To the requester, I do apologize for a
slight delay, but it will be finished very soon. This current review is being
written for quick updates and to, admittedly, return the blog to its schedule.
There are many comebacks I desire to review, and with an ambitious mindset, I
plan to cover a majority: EXO’s “Lightsaber,” VIXX’s “Chained Up,” and EXID’s
“Hot Pink” are the songs specifically. Afterwards, I plan on finally finishing
GOT7’s “Just Right,” though at this point, I may instead review their latest
song of “If You Do” and merely transfer the digression that took place (“If You
Do” is a significantly superior song; in fact, it is an impressive song in
general and I will review it instead). On topic, for the updates I wish to
give, I do apologize for a slower rate of reviews despite how, supposedly, the
new outline should encourage multiple reviews. University has been incredibly
busy, and thus, I have had minimal time to write reviews, let alone anything
else.

Five to six hours have been my time
for sleeping (I need seven to be “functional”) due to staying up for homework.
Furthermore, classes are becoming rather rigorous and therefore, I am forced to
adapt via investing more work and time. In short, for the pitiful point, this
is all to say that I have not been neglecting reviews but rather that I have
had no time for reviews. More pitifully, for the little free time possessed—and
for what has helped me survive—watching MAMAMOO videos with my stuffed penguin
has proven to be decent “healing” time. Realistically, of course, friends have
provided stress-relieving with laughs and I am very thankful for them but then again, obviously
MAMAMOO and my penguin are more valuable.
 On a serious note, it is
always crucial to relax. Whether as a student in college or high school, or as
a working adult, emotional and mental health should always be a priority. Be
wary of personal changes in behavior and mood, and equally, in friends and
family. Overly stressing and falling into negative cycles should be avoided and
preemptively noticed.

Before beginning this bonus review,
I will leave a confession: I am partially frustrated at my current writing
quality and skills. Specifically, however, I am moreover upset with my prior
review of TWICE’s “Like Ooh-Ahh.” After quickly skimming over it (as
I shared before, I do not read reviews once I post them), I realized that there
were multiple typos and simply inadequate writing. Though the ratings are
accurate, the explanations behind such could have been improved, and most
pressing, transitions could use significant improvements. But, this all serves
as motivation to work harder so that readers have a better reading experience.
Feedback is also always welcomed, and if I am being overly harsh on myself (it
is good to be critical of one’s self, but not excessively or else it becomes
detrimental versus productive), university stress may be to blame (though rest
assured, I am taking care of my well-being). On an optimistic and fun tone, I
do have a very fun bonus in mind for later: explaining the Korean game of
“(Silent) 007 Bang.”

Abruptly switching over to the song,
for the purpose of time, this review will carry no digression (though for all
the upcoming reviews, each already has their own digression). At most for a tangent,
I will leave quick remarks regarding an unfortunate incident that has occurred
days ago: France’s attack. Admittedly, I lack information on the tragedy, and
thus, cannot deliver any point—though even if I was informed, there is little
to be personally said. I offer condolences for those directly and indirectly
affected. It is all very saddening news to hear. Nevertheless, there are two
ideas to still ponder over: France’s attack received significantly large news
coverage, and that this attack can be seen as a symptom of, arguably, an even
larger threat.

First, though the following words
are in no way to minimalize what France and its citizens experienced, it is
worth noting that other incidents in the past (or even also recently) have
received minor attention. For example, for a common one many have been
pointing, a Kenyan university attack months ago did not receive large coverage
despite how atrocious it was. Race, most likely, has played a role: Whites
receive the spotlight while non-Whites do not. As prior reviews may have
covered, it is always worth being critical and asking who are included and not
included in whatever medium, be it a song, show, story, and so forth. For the
second point and the one I wish to emphasize, for a rather controversial
statement, when it comes to these types of attacks, there is arguably a common,
underlying motive: not accepting others. More provokingly, this is everyone’s
fault; there is no “good” or “bad” side when it comes to these incidents. After
all, using this current event as an example, ironically after the attacks, many
who consider themselves on the “good” side are the ones who leave, for example,
threats to Muslims at schools and in stores. Blatantly, that is not what a
“good” side does. Thus, what matters is not of good and bad, but rather, the
in-between. The up and down.

Again, this is not to claim that
France’s attack or any other similar incident was justified—it is very much
wrong to hurt and kill. But, it is important to not fall into the mindset of
binaries. These horrendous incidents link back to the mentioned notion of not
accepting others. That is what, ultimately, leads to saddening, violent acts.
Whether as large-scale as what France experienced, or as micro-scale as
heterosexual boys harassing homosexual males in schools, the inability to
understand differences is what drives violence. Thus, for a personal message in
regard to France’s attack (despite how I said I had none), I do hope this
further encourages and reminds others to be accepting of one another. Disliking
someone for their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, and so on,
can, and will, lead to violence of some form. Embracing, understanding,
tolerating, and even loving differences are what is necessary if violence is to
be minimalized.

This all also reiterates why my
reviews tend to digress: to discuss these social topics that are seldom
discussed, of which is understandable as it is uncomforting. However, if
understanding is to be obtained, it requires investigating and diving into
disturbing topics, and of course, various perspectives. As disclaimed in the
prior review TWICE’s “Like Ooh-Ahh,” though my reviews may bring up social topics,
that is solely it; I do not offer “correct” solutions, let alone solutions at
all. My reviews merely bring up a topic to ponder over and a personal view—a
view that is one out of infinite views (and likewise musically with my ratings
on songs). Having a critical and open mind is what will help bring positive
changes—changes that happen on the micro level but are nevertheless very
important, such as, for example, not sexually objectifying females because
doing so is contributing to sexism.

Returning to CNBlue’s “Cinderella,”
this will be moreover a bonus review, and therefore, minimal analysis will take
place. As I believe in always being truthful, I do wish to hastily finish this
review so that I may review (mostly explain and share) a fun Korean game of
“(Silent) 007 Bang,” and more importantly, so that I can finish a review
request soon. That said, this review will not be without care; even if more
concise, CNBlue will receive proper respect and “Cinderella” will be
appropriately reviewed. Especially with this song differing in style in
juxtaposition to other songs reviewed (CNBlue is a band versus a traditional
idol dance group), attention and care should not dwindle. The review, however,
will determine if “Cinderella” is truly of royal status or not.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(5.5/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 7/10


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:
7/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 5/10

6.     Bridge: 3/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 5/10


Line Distribution: X/10

[member
name]: X

Equal Value: X sections per member.  


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Hello my baby, I wanna be with you
Day and night, together I wanna see this night end
The scent of your baby lotion lingers in my nose
All of my nerves and senses are alert, my God

When the clock strikes 12,
you disappear like magic
But I can’t let you go today girl
When the clock strikes 12,
turn off your phone
I just wanna be with you

Cinderella, ooh ooh ooh
Don’t leave me alone, baby drive me crazy (crazy)
Cinderella, ooh ooh ooh
Without you tonight, I’m a loner baby

Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me-yea yea
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me-yea yea
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me

I spread a red carpet for you in front of my house
Walk over here, I’ll treat you like a princess
Don’t worry, I’m different from all the other wolves
I don’t mean anything else, don’t worry, worry

When the clock strikes 12,
you disappear like magic
But I can’t let you go today girl
When the clock strikes 12,
turn off your phone
I just wanna be with you

Cinderella, ooh ooh ooh
Don’t leave me alone, baby drive me crazy (crazy)
Cinderella, ooh ooh ooh
Without you tonight, I’m a loner baby

Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me-yea yea
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me-yea yea
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me

I’m so curious about the beautiful you
I wanna know you a little more
I’m so dangerous
You that I love,
I wanna feel you all night long
Somebody help me
Somebody help me-yea yea
Somebody help me
Somebody help me
(Somebody help me)

Cinderella, ooh ooh ooh
Turn on the green light, turn on baby ooh ooh
Cinderella, ooh ooh ooh
Without you tonight, I’m a loner baby

Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me-yea yea
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me-yea yea
Somebody help me, ooh ooh
Somebody help me

Choreography Score: X/10

Overall Score: 6/10
(6/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Clarifying
why the Line Distribution is excluded, though both Yonghwa and Jonghyun sing,
with accounting for the group being a band, it would be unfair to grade this
category. Yonghwa is the main vocalist (or at least, based on “Cinderella”) in
the band, and thus, Jonghyun solely provides additional, support vocals. As a result,
if this section were to be graded, it would score exceptionally poorly as
Yonghwa, given by his role, does predominantly sing, but clearly, that would be
unfair as this is a band and not a dance group were, in that scenario, every
member should have an equal amount of sections. Furthermore, the Choreography
Score is excluded since, as explained with the Line Distribution, they are a
band. CNBlue is, expectedly, playing instruments and not dancing, and logically
following that, the Choreography Score has to be exempted.

Now
for the vocals that certainly do exist unlike the prior two categories, the
rating is at a seven. The vocals retain a melodic, smooth sound. During the
verses and pre-choruses especially, the vocals are at their finest: incredibly
tuneful and, for the most alluring factor, the execution of middle and lower
notes are fantastic. With those sections possessing a calm and slower style and
rate, the vocals become greatly complemented and accentuated as the noted
deeper notes no pun
intended
 are further stretched and exposed. Adding on, the singing is
diverse and not stagnant. From passive, deeper singing to segmented bursts of
stronger vocals, “Cinderella” covers a decent range of styles, pitches, and
even pacing. What does prevent a potentially higher score is that the vocals do
languish at the post-choruses. Repetitive, dull vocals do take over during
those sections. Nonetheless, the vocals are very much notable with being varied
and melodic, and the current downside is a minor one. “Cinderella” ’s vocals,
overall, provide a good example of how vocals do not have to possess intense,
powerful vocals to thrive.

In
terms of sections, many have scored highly minus one. Attention should be
directed toward the song’s unique approach in structure. For example, the
introduction is, so far, the most efficient introduction I have yet to hear. It
is short, musically pleasing, and it perfectly sets up the song’s tone and
transitions the song. Structurally, the introduction is already phenomenal, so
also having an appealing and distinct sound further aids the score. When it comes
to the verses and pre-choruses, though praised earlier, the verse does numerically
score lower than “above average.” Sonically, the two sections contain, debatably,
the song’s best vocals, but structurally with the verse, it does remain plain.
Unlike the pre-choruses that utilize alternating singers to enhance the sound
and to create appeal in their format, the verses are moreover linear. It is of
solely one voice, and though harmonious and pleasing to hear, there is little
deviance in said harmonious voice.

Choruses
are rated as average, and both components are to be blamed: structure and
sound. The vocals may adopt a more energetic presence, and although that
supports the song in an overarching view via adding variety, for the chorus
sections, the vocals are not the most seducing. Power may be added, but tune is
lost as the singing becomes less dynamic as a result. Homogenously, the
post-choruses experience that as well: repetitive, impacting lines are sung at
the cost of melody. Relating the conclusion, it scores identically with a five
as, lazily and humorously said, it is indeed the post-chorus itself.
Definitely, the conclusion role is fulfilled adequately, but that is it and merely
means a five. If the conclusion was more enticing—the post-choruses, in essence—in
categories of sonic or structure, a higher score would follow suit. Unfortunately,
the rating of the post-chorus naturally follows and affects the conclusion.
Lastly, for the bridge, a dreaded three is in place for “below average.”
Everything of the bridge is to be blamed: the unsuitable structure, or its
relatively obnoxious instrumental that occurs in the later half. If the first
half of the bridge was to be purely kept, then all its current issues may
disappear. After all, the vocals and format are pleasing at the start. It is
the second portion of the bridge that downgrades its quality.

Given
that CNBlue is a band, the instrumental is enjoyable. Bass and guitar sounds are
subtle yet provide a foundation to the song, and furthermore, sound enticing.
Similarly, the beats follow suit—subtle but important. Because of how the
instrumental is conducted, this does greatly work in favor of highlighting
Yonghwa’s and Jonghyun’s vocals. Considering how the men deliver respectable
vocals as well, the instrumental appears perfect. Sadly, it is a six and not,
for example, a seven, for a reason: an instrumental that is entirely a passive,
background one does mean it lacks individually. In combination the instrumental
may flourish, but once judged by itself, it renders are slightly stale. Thus, a
six is its score due to the instrumental lacking its own individual appeal.

Finally
discussing the Lyrics category, another low score unluckily appears. Like many
recent reviews, a four appears. Plot-wise, “Cinderella” is based in romance—or lack
thereof. Intriguing details do appear during the first verse and even second
verse, but accounting for every other section, the given details are
lackluster. There are no deeper meanings to the other sections, and the issue
is further enlarged by those said sections being recycled generously. Nothing of
the lyrics strike as special. The main character wishes for their
love-interest, their “Cinderella,” but the lyrics are bereft of any provocative
ideas and details (musically, that is; applying a critical lens may bring up
important social topics). A deeper development of the story has to exist if the
Lyrics score is to be higher. More varying details are needed, overall.

_______________________________________________________

Concluding
CNBlue’s “Cinderella,” an overall six, or more accurately, with being purely an
audio, the song itself scores a six. Slightly above average can be considered
its rating, and that is still noteworthy. Although technically “Cinderella” may
reside towards the rock genre (though F.T. Island, a labelmate band group, are “more
rock” if this is true), CNBlue is still often encapsulated with K-Pop in
general, and thus, this song can be appreciated for significantly differing,
and more so within the song itself (such as with the introduction). Also,
CNBlue is a band versus dance group, and therefore, more appreciation can be
given for them being unique.

As
I always say and should practically copy and paste, thank you very much for
reading. No matter if read for a minute or way longer, I appreciate any given
attention toward the review. Upcoming reviews will be all over. iKON’s music video
of “Airplane” will be prioritized, so that can be expected as the next review.
Before it, however, I do have a short “review” (lesson) for a fun Korean game
that readers may enjoy reading about (and perhaps, hopefully, even trying with
friends). It should be a short 30 minute write, hence why I feel motivated to work
on it. After that and the request, GOT7’s “If You Do” will be reviewed, and I
do expect it being a rather praiseful one. And continuing on, after that, VIXX
and EXO will also be reviewed. Many male artists are finally receiving their
deserved spotlight for reviews, and I do hope readers are equally pleased with
that (and that I am thankful for readers pointing out that reviews have lacked
male artists; there is a reason as explained in a Q/A, but I have indeed been
neglecting males—also refer to Dal
Shabet’s “B.B.B”
for how this is not “reverse sexism”). EXID’s “Hot Pink” was also be reviewed, hopefully.

Stay
tuned for upcoming reviews. I am still very much busy, but I will continually
work hard for readers. After all, “day and night, together I wanna see this
night end.” Keep checking back for a music video review on iKON’s “Airplane,”
and for a fun lesson on a Korean game.

AOA’s Mini-Album – “Heart Attack” Review

Reviewed on July 1, 2015

AOA (Ace of Angels) – “Heart Attack” Mini-Album

image

Personal Message: Pitifully, this review is being written on June 30, and thus, I will be attempting to finish this one in day. Optimistically, however, since, in the past, I have managed to complete a ten-page research paper in one session (six hours if correct) within three days of its due date, I am positive that I will be able finish this review on time as well (though on a serious note, for actual work, procrastinating is not recommended and I do regret doing so for the paper). Should the worst happen and I fail to finish this review in one day, at the very least, July will have a slight head start. I will be aiming for eight reviews once more for July, and considering it was the poorer start at June that caused the goal to not be met (and a slightly longer review outline), I am more confident on achieving the goal. Nevertheless, I do value quality over quantity, and thus, my personal goal is moreover to ensure reviews are consistently posted rather than it being the main priority.

To explain why this review is partially delayed, though I wish viable excuses did exist, in truth, I spent a few writing sessions watching videos and other leisure activities, not writing, as is the sessions’ purpose. But, for a general advice to readers, it genuinely is fine to have a day that is “unproductive”; there is no issue with spending some time simply relaxing. Assuming everything is in schedule and there are no pressing deadlines, everyone should find time to enjoy themselves.

Partially digressing with answering, for those curious, specifically what I was watching, AOA’s latest  reality show of “One Fine Day” and, for KARA’s Gyuri, “4 Things,” were the shows. Quickly addressing the shows, I have been thoroughly enjoying “One Fine Day.” Without revealing excessive details of the show for readers who are also watching it, I will leave a claim: Chanmi has taught me a valuable lesson on museum items and the idea of cautiousness. The show will be reviewed eventually, or perhaps, their prior reality show of “AOA Open Up,” which, as mentioned in the previous review on AOA’s “Heart Attack,” is poorly done. Swapping to “4 Things,” a show that gives insight on individual idols and their input towards their own profession, it would be difficult for me to leave a single, plain statement regarding KARA’s Gyuri attendance. In short, my respect towards her has escalated even more highly. Though it is saddening to know the physical and emotional damages brought to her by public scrutiny and a more subtle factor, her ability and decision to better herself in current times are incredibly admirable, and furthermore, for her to finally have sincere self-love, as I hope every reader does have, or if not, to at least be progressively working towards such.

Due to time, I will save this discussion for perhaps a future review, but in summary, no one should hate themselves, and if time permitted, I would explain why people do tend to loathe themselves. Adding in one more final point (and if “one more” is a lie, then this review will end up being posted on July 1), rather than many claiming the topic of “self-love” is merely one of a person’s own emotional health, I would differ by claiming that it is a social topic; a person is taught to hate themselves due to social factors, not simply due to “lacking confidence” or such. Being critical, seeking for why one “lacks confidence” or feels as if they are “ugly,” or “stupid,” and more, stems from, arguably, social layers, not an individual’s own feelings.

Using an example, it is not an individual’s fault for feeling “ugly” because their skin complexion fails to fit a socialized beauty norm that lighter skin is more pretty. This will be continued in a future review, and thus, for those interested in this topic, expect one of the upcoming reviews to talk of this in more depth. Now relating this to KARA’s Gyuri, she did consider herself ugly due to failing to fit a socialized image of beauty (and for the social layers, asking who developed said standards proves concerning, as will be explained in a future review), and thus, it is exceptionally frustrating and upsetting that her self-loathe was created not from her, but rather, social influences. Her beauty, physical and non-physical, was unseen, and equally, many are also incapable of seeing their own beauty (physical and non-physical) and self-worth due to those mentioned social aspects that, rather than accepting diversity, punishment to those who fail to fit occurs.

Abruptly switching back to the review before I endlessly continue the digression (though it truly is important to discuss and I will resume it at a later time), for AOA’s latest mini-album of “Heart Attack,” I will address the semi-new review outline: label revisions and additions. For one, I have scrapped “Vocals+Structure” for a more encapsulating term of “Analysis,” and furthermore, humorously, I have added the new category of “Atrocity Approval.” Before readers believe I am now arrogantly a licensure of songs, explaining the new addition, it is to allow album reviews to have some form of rating and to at least make readers grin at my lack of creativity. In past album reviews, I would deconstruct the songs, but absurdly, I would never leave an overall rating, and therefore, with the “Atrocity Approval” category, I will offer a firm, direct stance regarding a song. Numerical values would be used, but as those are reserved for individual songs, I will rely upon “yes” and “no” and added words.

Finally addressing the mini-album of “Heart Attack,” while AOA’s prior one of “Like a Cat” is, overall, superior, their current album still holds decently. Many songs are noteworthy, even if to a lesser extent than ones in “Like a Cat.” Also, for future readers, the linked audios are liable to copyright removal. Therefore, should that occur, manually searching up the songs will have to be done. That said, there is “One Thing” readers should know: I am “Really Really” thankful for the given support and time, and that I hope many readers “Come To Me” and “Luv Me” for my reviews, even if the writing is far from being as sweet as “Chocolate.” Lastly, I do hope no reader receives a “Heart Attack” from my overuse of puns unknown reasons.

__________________________________

1. “Heart Attack”Heart Attack (Review)

– Lyrics:

– Analysis:

– “Atrocity Approval”: As I have already reviewed the song, as linked above, I will not expand on it here. Nonetheless, if it is not blatant from the review, “Heart Attack” does earn its approval, both biasedly and neutrally (though a weaker approval for the latter according to the review’s values).

2. “Luv Me”Luv Me (Audio)

– Lyrics: Though “Heart Attack” still holds as my favorite song from the album, “Luv Me” is debatably the mini-album’s strongest song. Compared to “Heart Attack,” every category is improved, or at the very least, equal to the ones in “Heart Attack.” Specifically focusing on the lyrics, although many lines are repeated, unlike “Heart Attack,” the generated plot proves more detailed than merely one of comparing love to a heart attack. The lyrics in “Luv Me” are of a couple and their intimate moments. The two share, assumingly, a walk through a “complex city” and though it is a basic walk, the two discreetly flirt with one another: “Tell me how much you love me” and even “Shall we make love regardless of a person’s eyes” are spoken statements. Other details further build upon the idea of a flirtatious scenario.

– Analysis: In terms of how “Luv Me” holds from a musical standpoint, as stated, this can be considered the album’s best song. Every members’ singing or rapping shines, each section is solid, especially with the rap and the post-chorus (“Do you love me…”), and the instrumental is also delightful. Elaborating on an additional point, the progression of “Luv Me” remains extraordinary. Each section slides to the other seamlessly, and as a result, the song is able to consistently carry its melodic nature throughout its entirety. Exceptionally tuneful vocals and sections that aid one another are the song’s most prominent features that, in return, allow it to thrive.

– “Atrocity Approval”: Overall, with “Luv Me” showcasing a highly melodic, gentle and soothing style, it can deemed as a solid song. The vocals are to a higher tier, and with how the sections are conducted, “Luv Me” possesses a pleasing musical component that certainly gains the “Atrocity Approval.”

3. “Come To Me”Come To Me (Audio)

– Lyrics: As an opposite to “Luv Me,” if the emanated sadder tone of “Come To Me” is not clear, the lyrics will unequivocally showcase the song’s mood. “Come To Me” depicts not a main character who is in a relationship as in the prior song, but instead, a main character who feels lonely due to, depending on interpretation, breaking off a relationship or simply not being in one. Regardless, the main character wishes for her (though specifically as “her,” it can also be “his”) lover to “come here anytime” and to “stop being over over there.” After all, she is “tired of waiting for [a love-interest] and [she’s] going crazy.”

– Analysis: Repetition seems to be favored by “Come To Me” as seen by a plethora of examples: the lines of “I won’t give give a dang” and “stop being over over there,” the dreaded post-choruses of “lalala,” and even the verses with reusing similar background vocals. Though repetition can be potent in certain scenarios, for “Come To Me,” with practically every section possessing some form of duplicating style, it becomes incredibly draining. Furthermore, focusing on the mechanical aspect of how the song sounds, the vocals are not impressive due to lacking variety, though individually the singing is still adequate. At most, Jimin and Chanmi’s rapping excel, but for the remaining vocals, as mentioned, the singing falters from lacking diversity. The sole positive point of “Come To Me” is perhaps the darker tone, and thus, for how the concept translates musically, it does allow a more slower, dramatic tune.

– “Atrocity Approval”: Sadly, “Come To Me” fails to be appealing. Although this may be AOA’s first attempt at a more heavy, darker concept, it does hold as disappointing. No “approval” will be given.

4. “One Thing”One Thing (Audio)

– Lyrics: “One Thing” is neither a flirtatious plot, like in “Luv Me,” or one of a more ominous, controlling tone, as was “Come To Me,” instead, it combines the two prior songs: “One Thing” showcases a main character who, though now split with their love-interest, is kindly asking for their love-interest to give them one more chance, one more day, hence its title of “One Thing,” a single wish. More specifically with the story, a main character urges her/his former partner to “give [them] one more day” so that, perhaps, they would be able to “hold [the love-interest], even if it wouldn’t work” in terms of saving the relationship. With the love-interest still leaving as, interestingly, “certainly the wrong is from [the main character]” since the love-interest is “so kind,” the main character relies upon an equally “lonely candle” for “[calming] down.” Additionally, for further saddening details, the main character “can’t eat even tiny food” and their tears “won’t stop…all night.” Eventually, however, a more cheerful ending does take place as, while the relationship is forever absent, the main character has moved on: “My heart is broken, like I’m dead, and I don’t want it, but I must forget you and let you leave.”

– Analysis: While I do adore the lyrics, in the sense of details and plot that is, and not enjoyment of the couple’s suffering, the sonic component to “One Thing” slightly lacks. Vocally, the song does reside more highly as strong, melodic singing is in place, and furthermore, the upbeat yet consistent instrumental is also decent, but despite these two factors, “One Thing” heavily lacks with being dynamic. The song flows in a linear route, and from such, despite the decent given musical aspects, it does lose much appeal over time. “One Thing” has much potential, but without some additional changes to the song, it sounds as its title: one thing.

– “Atrocity Approval”: Though I do enjoy this song for its rhythmic flow, with an unbiased perspective, this song does not earn the “Atrocity Approval” as it remains highly stagnant.

5. “Really Really” Really Really (Audio)

– Lyrics: Intriguingly, though at the face of the mini-album is a very joyful plot, as given by “Heart Attack,” after “Luv Me,” sadder plots seem to be the trend. “Really Really,” as explicitly given by Yuna’s English introduction, discloses a story of, once again, a broken relationship. The main character, a woman or man, “[misses] [the love-interest] so much.” In fact, she/he continues to “sing this song,” of which can be implied as one of sorrow. Explaining the title, it derives from the choruses’ lines: “I really like you, I really really love you” and “I really miss you…I really need you.” Without the love-interest, the main character’s world has become “so dark and lonely.”  

– Analysis: With “Really Really” holding as the ballad for their album, unfortunately, it does render as unsatisfying. Especially in juxtaposition to their previous ballad of “Time,” a very noteworthy and fabulous ballad, “Really Really” fails to display any of the members’ prior charms. Though the vocals and instrumental are pacifying, and in many aspects, gentle, the ballad, though suiting its genre, fails to bring any distinctive qualities. The singing, while harmonious, especially with the scattered note stretches and even note holds, still rates moreover as average. If varying traces were brought, such as changes in pacings or if sections were more distinctive from each other, then “Really Really” would vastly improve. However, with its current state, besides the trend of gloomy plots, “Really Really” contributes to the musical trend of dullness.

– “Atrocity Approval”: No “approval” will be given. Unlike “Time,” this ballad does fall short. Stronger vocals or a more upbeat demeanor are not necessary traits that “Really Really” needs, but rather, more variety within its style of calmness is what is crucial.

6. “Chocolate” Chocolate (Audio)

– Lyrics: For a change, “Chocolate” showcases lyrics that are not of general flirting or breakups, but instead, a scoped plot of a main character flirting with her love-interest. Before expanding on the lyrics, for a slight digression, the lyrics in “Chocolate” are the first ones to have ever induced goosebumps; with “Chocolate” alluding to many of their prior releases, such as Jimin’s final rap in the show “Unpretty Rapstar,” AOA’s “Miniskirt,” “Short Hair,” “Like a Cat,” and even “Confused,” in a highly subtle manner, I personally will claim I received goosebumps.

Ignoring my sillier reaction, the story in “Chocolate” involves, jocularly put, the main character, otherwise known as “the motherfreakin’ top madam” who, though known as a “bully that reduced men’s heart,” is willing to “do anything” for her love-interest. Considering her “schedule is very tight, 24/7,” such an offer proves how significant the main character’s love-interest is to her. Ignoring the lyrics’ allusion to Jimin’s rap of “Puss” (a future review may discuss it, both musically and in terms of its lyrics; in short, the rap is decent, and for the lyrics, from my interpretation, while I see it as empowering in its context, it could also be derogatory from other perspectives), for the “sweet chocolate” side to the main character, she labels herself as “sexy chocolate” and “the sweetest chocolate only for [the love-interest].” Other details do exist, though it is all akin to flirting, such as desiring to “pinch” the love-interest for his “cute” appearance.

– Analysis: Focusing on “Chocolate” from a sonic lens, though there is an exceptionally smooth style to it, the song does lean towards being stale. The vocals, while pleasing due to the lower pitch and pacing, never deviate except for Jimin’s rapping, and therefore, the occurred singing does falter over time. Furthermore, the instrumental is also relatively plain, even if it contributes to the calmer, smooth tune. Also, for another issue, the transition into the second verse was poorly conducted: the sudden pause in the song, and additionally, the absurd placement of the background vocals (the male voice) during the transition were not enticing. Though it proved viable, it was a highly inefficient method. Overall, while “Chocolate” succeeds in the sense of being a smooth ballad, if the genre label holds accurate, it does fail in categories of being appealing. Even with its style, more variety could be implemented without sacrificing “Chocolate” ‘s overarching concept.

– “Atrocity Approval”: Though I do biasedly enjoy the song for its incredibly smooth attributes, it will not receive the “Atrocity Approval” due to how lackluster its traits are.

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Personal Ranking:

With every song in the mini-album being covered at its surface, I will now leave my personal ranking of the songs, from best to worst, and also, whether it has a positive rating via an “approval”:

1. “Luv Me” (Yes)

2. “Heart Attack” (Yes)

3. “One Thing” (No)

4. “Come To Me” (No)

5. “Chocolate” (No)

6. “Really Really” (No)

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With, very shockingly, solely one-third of the mini-album being “approved,” it does indicate AOA’s album of “Heart Attack” is on the weaker side, especially when glancing at their prior album of “Like a Cat” where nearly, if not every, song was deemed worthy. Nevertheless, with two fantastic songs of “Heart Attack” and “Luv Me,” the weaker songs are compensated for, but overall, the latest mini-album can be considered somewhat disappointing. However, though four songs did not receive positive “approval,” every song is still worthy of listening to, such as “Chocolate” or “One Thing.” Offering a final message, unlike the mini-album of “Like a Cat,” AOA’s current mini-album can be considered dismissible, though every song should still deserve one hearing.

Addressing technicalities, though I did manage to finish this in one day, as of the time I am writing this sentencing, it is 12:03 a.m, and therefore, it is already July 1. Regardless, I will still consider this a personal victory as this will be the first review I have completed in one day in many months (the last one done in one day was perhaps in August 2014). However, with it being in a short time span, I do regret the writing and analysis; the conducted writing is mediocre, and even more so the analysis per song. Due to album reviews covering the main surface of a song, it is exponentially harder to sincerely critique a song as there are too many layers to account for in a smaller window of writing, hence why I am more comfortable with standard song reviews (but, concise writings do tend to be better than overly loquacious ones). Nevertheless, a shorter write is the result, but as stated, quality should be valued more than quantity. Personal reflecting will need to be done to find improvement.

As always, thank you very much to readers for the given time and support. Though it may appear redundantly stated, I do very much appreciate it all. For the next upcoming review, as listed on my review schedule, MAMAMOO will be in spotlight as the group has been requested. I will attempt to finish it within three days, but considering how I am anticipating the group and review, it may be even sooner. Once again, thank you to readers for taking time to read this review, and apologies for the horrendous writing and analysis. Working harder in the next review and future album reviews will be my method of delivering readers sweet “Chocolate,” and I “Really Really” do hope many still enjoy this review. After all, if there is “One Thing” readers “Come To Me” for, it is not to receive a “Heart Attack,” but instead, horrible puns that need to end for reviews in which many may “Luv Me” for.

AOA – “Heart Attack” Review

AOA – Heart Attack (Live Performance; unofficial upload)

AOA – Heart Attack (Music Video)

AOA (Ace of Angels) – Heart Attack

Reviewed on June 28, 2015

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Personal Message: As promised, AOA’s “Heart Attack” will be reviewed, and with an obligatory pun, indeed, I experienced a “heart attack” due to the ladies (though on a more serious note, AOA’s leader, Jimin, did give me a “heart attack” as she almost fell during a live stage). On topic with AOA’s latest comeback, I truthfully have not felt this level of excitement for a comeback, let alone a review, in quite some time. Even the excitement towards Infinite’s “The Chaser” hardly breaches my current feelings. However, understandably, reasons do exist for why I am incredibly zealous: AOA is one of my favorite groups as I admire the members and adore their songs, “Heart Attack” is a song I biasedly love, and of course, this will mark the beginning of reviewing upcoming summer comebacks. Nevertheless, despite personal influences, I will remain impartial when grading the song from a systematic standpoint.

Before entirely engaging in “Heart Attack,” to digress about the group, I have started watching their latest reality show, “One Fine Day.” Already from the first episode, the show appears enticing, and certainly, more so than their prior one of “AOA Open Up,” which, sadly, is a rather poor reality show, as will be explained in the future due to a review of it (if I follow through with the review). In short, explaining why “AOA Open Up” lacks, labeling it as a reality show, while still viable, is technically false as it was, in multiple aspects, rather scripted in the sense of forcing the members to partake in random events versus, utilizing “One Fine Day” as an example, simply recording the group with their own decisions and plans and interactions, even if the overarching vacation was placed upon them. And of course, “AOA Open Up” was simply, bluntly stated, boring; the activities the ladies participated in were not interesting or comical, and the usual interactions with one another ceased as they were often time split. More will be said in a future review of “AOA Open Up.”

Digressing to a new topic, as I have tediously stated in copious reviews, I credit much of the blog’s growth to the ladies. Their prior song release, “Like a Cat,” was reviewed in the past, and from there, an increase in popularity did take place for the blog as the conducted review turned out to be well received. Thus, I am incredibly grateful to AOA for indirectly helping, though realistically, I am more thankful to readers for being the true reason for why the blog significantly grew. Embarrassingly, however, after skimming the review on “Like a Cat” during April’s Fools Day (since I did use AOA for an April’s Fools joke review), I did feel utter shame at my atrocious writing. Nonetheless, the beauty of growth and improvement is to be able to reflect on past activities and to feel shame. After all, in the future reflecting on this review, I would hope for the same embarrassment to occur.

Finally addressing AOA’s latest song, sharing my personal reactions, “Heart Attack” rendered in two phases: the first one of slight disappointment, and then the second one of utter captivation. Expanding such, “Heart Attack” possessing a highly upbeat, electronic, pop-like concept was not initially appealing. With applying my personal preferences for songs, I did feel as if “Heart Attack” was overwhelming, but after giving it a second hearing and partially deconstructing it, I began realizing how solid it was, and predictably, I am at my current point where I do love the song and even its style. Of course, however, it is not flawless, and while I do predict it leaning towards a seven or even an eight, there are most likely some significant errors. A closer analysis will begin once the actual review begins.

That said, before embarking on the review, the music video deserves much praise (I will link it). Due to my current planned review schedule, I doubt I will review it unless if a request is sent in, but as a result, I will leave my comments in this review. With the music video for “Heart Attack,” I have enjoyed a vast majority of its general layer. For example, the plot, although cliché with the theme of high school love, is exceptionally adorable and has room for various interpretations. As for how the music video is constructed, the mixture of dance and plot prove appealing and complementing, and indisputably, the music video in general contains beautiful aesthetics in terms of colors, scenery, and such. For a more critical layer, the connotations of the music video are exceptionally positive, based from my personal deconstruction. In summary, gender equity is vastly promoted via the used colors, the clothing AOA wore in context to the plot, the main character (Choa) choosing to make the first move for a date, the sport game (as a side note, while I do respect sports, I am exceptionally ignorant of such and thus, do not know the name of the sport in the video) and setting involving it, characters’ interactions, and other aspects. Due to length, I will not elaborate on each of these points and how it ties into promoting the idea that both females and males are worthy, but as stated, for those curious, a review request for the music video will grant me time to do such.

There is one additional social layer given by the music video, and that is some racial diversity, but due to yet analyzing the music video in that regard (and needing to account for South Korea’s race demographics and such), I will hold off offering my opinion as I currently possess none on the subject. However, to leave a quick point, and a topic that will be discussed in a future review, for a medium to be considered socially equitable and positive, it requires more than merely possessing diversity in the sense of quantity; if a medium, be it a music video or show, is to be promoting equity, it is more than having a racially diverse cast as it is about the depiction of said diversity. More discussion will arrive in the future (though for “Heart Attack,” I will say it does lean towards the positive side for many reasons).

Now, to share a comical story before perhaps venturing into more serious ones, since I had only heard “Heart Attack” during its initial release, I did watch the music video with a friend after two days of its release. Note, though, that by the word “with,” I am referring to the idea that we purely watched the music video at identical times as she would not want to associate herself with me as I practically made a compliment and squealed to AOA members every five to ten seconds, while I was certainly quite mature with my viewing experience, I did offer relentless feedback. Once the end arrived, we did share opinions of the music video, and humorously, her response was intriguing (and this sharing is with her permission as I do not intend to humiliate her at all after all she was not immature as I was with squealing). Paraphrasing her opinion: “It was nice and AOA is beautiful but, the music video’s so unrealistic, look at what they’re wearing.” Summarizing what I replied, while she is in her second year of college, and thus, might have forgotten her high school years already, “if AOA’s clothing is the only ‘unrealistic’ part of the music video, I’m concerned about your time in high school.” Perhaps, however, I am being restrictive with my understanding as, according to her, blatantly staring at a crush a desk away and writing proposals are the sole given tasks in high school, not learning and work. Ultimately, we, hopefully, gained a few years of life due to excess laughter and mockery of one another.

Eventually, though, a more serious discussion took place (and expectedly, for those who wish to focus on AOA in a pure musical and dance context, skip below): high school dress codes. This topic has traversed a lengthy route of various opinions, and from my understanding, it has reached a stalemate. With this topic affecting predominantly female students (for a reason, as will be explained later), many have come to these two main points: students should be free to wear whatever they please, and for the opposing perspective, dress codes exist to reinforce professionalism, and thus, should be followed. Offering my opinion, first, for the foundation of my argument, I will emphasize a specific point. Stated before in some review and in credit to my senior year English teacher, context is what matters, and in the scenario of dress codes, in order to apply a social lens, context of the overarching topic must exist.

Directly announcing my stance, I am in full favor of a realistic dress code; I believe students should be free to dress in whatever they please as long as it is reasonable, such as miniskirts, crop tops, and similar ideas. Noticeably, many of the listed apparels are socially rendered as female clothing, and thus, an issue should already be elicited: dress codes do affect female students more often than males, and this is sadly not a coincidence. High school dress codes, and arguably, dress codes in general, are more than the issue of professionalism; dress codes in many cases are simply symptoms of the more general social issue of gender inequities. Critically deconstructing dress codes, finding why it is established as such reveals the sad truth of living in a boy’s world; dress codes are based on valuing masculinity over femininity (will explain), and thus, I would stress the point that dress codes are more than “professionalism” or “teaching students how to properly dress” as, in truth, in an education context of dress codes, it is teaching that masculine appearances are “proper” while feminine appearances are “improper.” Essentially, these dress codes are telling female students their bodies are worth shaming and need to be covered.

Before continuing, I will now address a rebuttal that many, such as my friend, gave: “Professionalism is what matters, it is not about telling girls that their bodies are shaming, it’s just that in the ‘real world’ they won’t be accepted for what they currently wear.” Seeking a deeper answer is what will reveal the disturbance of this response. Professionalism. Defining professionalism, and specifically with clothing, goes as follows: a suit. Strangely, if, for example, a lady “wears a miniskirt” and “risky high heels and black stockings,” as sung by the amazing ladies of AOA, it is suddenly no longer professional. This is not based upon the idea that revealing skin is unprofessional, but rather, what males have constructed and proposed.

To bring full understanding, an assumed scenario will take place: men wear what is currently socialized as female clothing, and vice versa for women in that they wear what is currently socialized as male clothing. Now a question: what is professional clothing? Many would instantly remark that women are now the epitome of professional clothing as, through the imagined scenario, they are wearing suits and not revealing skin. Incorrect. Professional clothing will be, against what many believe, revealing clothing since, rather than the clothing itself, it is the people who wears them that makes the clothing “professional.” Because masculinity is valued over femininity, as seen in every aspect of life, revealing clothing would, being deemed masculine in my depicted story, therefore be the standard, and thus, miniskirts would suddenly be professional versus, in current times, controversial when they should not be. Therefore, for an overall point, dress codes are not teaching “professionalism,” it is teaching professionalism that is linked to androcentrism; enforcing strict dress codes upon young ladies in school, a place to learn and gain empowerment, is ironically teaching them that masculinity should, and will, be valued over femininity (as seen in arised punishments should a dress code be broken), and more generally, that males are superior to females when, as I always and will repeat, both genders are worthy of praise.

With that said, I will continue with the topic of dress codes in more exact scenarios (and being honest, I do mean what my friend and I did discuss). A main defense for skin revealing clothing has been “to keep cool,” of which is certainly a realistic point, but many have argued against such via claiming that, in order to keep cool, it does not require “that much” revealing. Presenting my take, with every body being different, what is “cool” to one person could be “hot” to another. Therefore, this argument is already false in the sense of how, depending on a person, she (or he) may need less covering in order to feel more comfortable. Pushing aside the more technical argument, to offer a more controversial statement (which should not be so, and that I am already rather controversial with my opinions so it would not matter), to be even sexier is another reason for being less covered. Being more revealing does not, and should not, come with repercussions (such as sexual assaults or boys pathetically “cat-calling”). Correct, I am encouraging that, if a female feels more sexually attractive by being less covered, then that is a viable reason for why she would dress as so. The topic of body shaming females applies here as, by showing skin, many are labeled as “sluts,” “whores,” or trepidatiously warned of being potentially raped (versus teaching boys not to rape). Furthermore, there is also the issue of boys’ standards being applied in that, if a female fails to fit in their standard of a “body,” there will be harassment in that regard when, as long as basic decency and intelligence exists, all bodies should be appreciated, praised, and simply deemed sexy, and of course, that respecting more than a physical body should occur via genuine relationships and not objectifying females.

Onto the final discussion point that my friend and I covered, a very interesting counter-argument was given: “What about boys sagging, if girls can be revealing then boys should be allowed to sag.” Although  during the time of conversation I did not possess an answer at all, after ruminating over it, I have finally come to one. Rather than construing “sagging” so that it is homogenous to, for example, a miniskirt, I would classify it as a different topic. Additionally, sagging is banned for both males and females, and thus, the real issue still thrives: both genders sagging is prohibited, yet mainly females are scrutinized and punished for what they wear while most males are not. Unless if boys were chastised for “being too covered,” I would not acquaint sagging as an equivalent to females’ unfair treatment with dress codes. And of course, arguing that females would become privileged over males should revealing clothing be allowed is merely undermining femininity (and ignoring male privilege). Many would be content with the current scale of how masculinity is the professional standard when, unfortunately, that should not be the case as it tips in an unfair balance (hence why many embrace it as it is easier to follow “normal” even if “normal” is inequitable).

Once more, context is key, and overall, sagging can be deemed unprofessional. However, as the main issue is, utilizing miniskirts once more due to AOA’s song title of it, it is an issue for that clothing article to be deemed unprofessional due to its feminine value (since skin equals femininity in our current social norms). That is moreover the issue of dress codes; for a regular, normal clothing, to be shunned and deemed unprofessional due to its femininity, is why dress codes are an issue. Sagging fails to fit as, from what I am aware of, it is not a standard fashion, and that, it is not shamed due to being “too masculine” (since that phrase is nonexistent in androcentric societies), but rather, simply unprofessional in the sense of general properness. Reiterating it once more, miniskirts are deemed unprofessional due to femininity, and femininity should be considered “properness,” but society deems otherwise.

That said, males still possess issues with dress codes, but in the form of, like females, attempting to value femininity. Therefore, I do not wish to neglect males who undergo their own struggles with dress codes (and social consequences in general). For example, men who face common death threats and dress code issues for wearing clothing deemed “female-only” deserve respect and equal attention, and for an example that I may perhaps face, makeup provides a transparent example of how dress code issues can apply to men. Similar to K-Pop male idols, as discussed in my review of Infinite’s “The Chaser,” I plan to adopt and actively use a similar makeup style (ZE:A’s Kevin, my favorite and most adored male idol, provides a perfect example, such during Nasty Nasty’s period), but should a future boss reject that, it would be exceptionally upsetting (and, with becoming a high school teacher, a major lesson lost).

For an overall, concluding message, relating back the whole scenario of dress codes, both females and males should be free to dress as they please. The main issue with dress codes is that, while its intent is respectable (“professionalism”), its objective needs to be redefined in order to truly embrace and accept true professionalism. Currently, “unprofessional” equates to femininity when that is far from the truth, and thus, dress codes are an issue. Should it be revised so unprofessional clothing is in reference to articles that promote racism and negativity in general, for examples, then it will be free of troubles. Until then, dress codes in their current forms should be challenged and redressed, and of course, for the overarching issue, gender inequities need to be challenged.

Finally returning to AOA and their latest comeback (I do apologize for a lengthy digression; I did feel quite strongly for the topic), much credit towards the group, music video director and crew, is deserved. Pop culture is more than eye-ear candy (in thanks to two teachers and one professor for showcasing such); the social layers involved with pop culture is as equally important as the entertainment component it brings, and for AOA’s “Heart Attack,” I admire the ladies for promoting equity (and during “Miniskirt,” “Short Hair,” and many other releases). Now, while I do biasedly enjoy “Heart Attack” (I would rate it at an eight), it is definitely not flawless. Nevertheless, I anticipate a higher score since “it goes a little something like this,” “let’s, go.”

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

– Vocals: 7/10 – Ignoring the previous sentence of perhaps the worst transition I have ever used in writing, AOA’s vocals in “Heart Attack” continue the group’s standard tier: above average. Although AOA in whole cannot push towards a higher score, a seven is nothing to belittle. Specifically focusing on “Heart Attack,” the song continues to use AOA’s vocal lineup: Choa and Yuna handle more intensive lines, Chanmi and Jimin provide their usual raps, and Seolhyun, Hyejeong, and Mina perform the supporting vocals.

Deconstructing why the vocals hold well, to first begin with the support vocalists, especially in juxtaposition to previous releases, “Heart Attack” does showcase more refined vocals for the three: higher notes are sustained with more stability, and most potently, their vocals prove exceptionally melodic and crisp. Despite less intensive lines than the main vocalists, the members are nearly to an equal standard as many of their lines are utterly harmonious. The predominant difference is absence of a stronger vocal presence, but regardless, the support vocalists exceed expectations as all of their lines carry a significant role to “Heart Attack.”

Switching over to the main vocalists of Choa and Yuna, the two’s vocals emulate the support vocalists, but to a higher degree; like Seolhyun, Hyejeong and Mina, both members remain exceptionally melodic  and stable, however, their singing renders as even more so, and furthermore, the added component of power exists. Pinpointing examples, the pre-choruses unveil the two’s stunning vocals of reaching and carrying high notes, and additionally, with the sections’ structure accentuating melody (as to be discussed later), both Choa and Yuna are heard with vastly tuneful lines. Lastly, a rhythmic flow is attached to their vocals due to multiple sections, and thus, more appeal exists towards their singing. Now, in terms of power, the choruses and conclusion grant conspicuous examples. During the choruses, quick and lengthy note stretches are manipulated, as observed via the sections’ choppier rate, and therefore, vocal strength becomes uncloaked in addition to the extra layer of tune. Also, with the ending, though it is the chorus replayed, the layer of two part singing further aids the two’s singing as minor note holds occur.

With the remaining ladies of Jimin and Chanmi, their vocals, anticipatedly, also rate well. For Jimin, though she has garnered much negativity for her voice (I believe I did discuss this before, but in short, musical criticism of a voice is acceptable, but beyond that it is not; Jimin’s voice can be critiqued as long as it is in the context of music, but to mock her voice in general, as many do, is utterly unacceptable as every voice is indeed beautiful), in “Heart Attack,” her vocals prove charming and complementing to her rap. While I will expand on it in the Sections category, Jimin’s nasally, higher pitched voice allows her rap to possess an incredibly fluent, hasty flow, and in addition, the tune granted from such perfectly suits the song as a whole. Mechanically, miraculously, Jimin’s iconic voice proves to be very alluring and not vexing. Chanmi equally follows suit, though blatantly, conversely; opposite to Jimin, Chanmi’s rap utilizes a lower pitch, but nevertheless, her vocals remain tuneful and, with offering diversity via new notes, more appeal is granted to the vocals.

As stated at the start, above average will hold. AOA’s main vocalists are shining with melody and power, the support vocalists follow a similar route, and the rappers display equally pleasing vocals.   

– Sections: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction (Pre-Chorus): 7/10

2. Verse: 7/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4. Chorus: 6/10

5. Rap: 8/10

6. Bridge: 6/10

7. Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10

– Analysis: Before addressing the sections in “Heart Attack,” after, humorously, making a huge blunder, I have discovered the music video’s sport name: lacrosse, as stated explicitly in the video’s description. Focusing back to the song, for “Heart Attack,” many of its sections are worthy of thorough analysis, and thus, in this regard, I do wish for the previous outline (feedback is still desired for this current outline). Nevertheless, “Heart Attack” ‘s sections do score in the higher range: sixes and to the maximum of eight. Furthermore, two sections do possess an eight, and if correct, that has not be an achieved feat in many recent reviews although in the past, nines were liberally given.

To begin with the song’s stronger sections, both the pre-choruses and rap rate at eight (though biasedly I hold the rap at a nine), of which indicates that the stated sections can be remarked as solid and very enticing. Faint details are the sections’ empowering point. For example, in focus of the rap, while there is the direct mechanical layer of Jimin’s excellent pacing, melody, and fluency, and for Chanmi, similar traits, vocal layering takes place: as both members’ rap progresses, their vocals become duplicated to deliver amplification. As a result of said vocal layering, the structural component of their raps exceptionally flourish: variety is given as the rapping vocals constantly transform, transition points are given such as Jimin to Chanmi or even the rap to the upcoming verse, and the mechanical piece to the rap is augmented. Elaborating the latter, the vocal layering provides tints of vocal strength and points in which the melody and pacing can modify. In terms of the melody and pacing, with the layering occurring towards the end, changes in those aspects take place naturally as the layering grants a minor pause, and thus, a more seamless, complex rap is created overall. A strong set of the rap’s sonic and structure parts allow the section to possess a higher score.

On that note, for the other section that scored highly, the pre-choruses by Choa and Yuna are equally admirable, and deriving why that is the case, subtle details, as stated, are the reasons. With the two members already exhibiting adept, potent vocals, the pre-choruses’ structures exploit such, and therefore, further emphasis towards their tune and power is gleaned. For example, the beginning of the pre-choruses offer repetition in the form of syllables; “wanjeon banhae banhae beoryeosseoyo” (“I’ve completely fallen for you”), the starting line to the sections, has a repeating “ba” sound. From this, a rhythmic, catchy flow now also accompanies the members’ singing. Now, with a more hasty, upbeat start, it allows the remainder of the section to adopt a more stalling route as the risk of staleness is nonexistent, and thus, with the ability to add multiple, short note stretches, the pre-choruses then become exceptionally melodious, as is.

Regarding the sections that hold as above average, the introduction, verses, and conclusion, all three provide their usual utility along with a captivating musical component. In terms of the more utility-based sections, the introduction, peculiarly yet effectively, uses a modified form of the pre-chorus. Accounting for how pre-choruses tend to be efficient at garnering hype for a song, the same concept applies but for, instead of a chorus, an entire song. Miraculously, it proves successful as “Heart Attack” commences in a vastly upbeat demeanor, is able to instantly establish its style, and furthermore, the aspect of luring in listeners still holds true as, unlike most songs creating anticipation via hiding vocals, “Heart Attack” directly discloses its sonic piece: exceptionally tuneful, stable vocals, and thus, attempts to attract listeners occur in this form.

The conclusion also follows a similar route to the introduction, one that is dissimilar to general routes. With the two-part singing, Choa’s individual note holds, and the sections’ usual vocals, the conclusion is, concerningly, rather energetic, and though such would normally impede a conclusion from achieving a smooth end, it proves viable in “Heart Attack” for various reasons. First, the climactic point in “Heart Attack” resides not in the bridge, as in most standard songs, but instead, the conclusion. Therefore, a final peak of intensity fits comfortably, and with it occurring towards the final seconds, it grants “Heart Attack” its final, fading sparks to end on, of which plays out naturally. Also, with the song still fading out, even if speedily, towards the very end due to the instrumental, more assurance exists to grant “Heart Attack” a smooth closure. Combining its structural aspect to the decent vocals of the chorus, the conclusion holds well, as does the introduction.

In terms of the verses, while structurally nothing proves pressing, the verses contain a strong mechanical aspect that pushes their rating to above average. Vocals hold as melodic and appealing, but even so, the singing is not necessarily to a high tier. However, once paired with the instrumental, the verses’ musical component blooms: the stronger, heavier beats serve as a foundation for the vocals. For example, the vocals’ pace reflect the beats’ rate, and thus, the section in whole becomes incredibly rhythmic and contains an alluring flow. Overall, the combination of singing and instrumental heavily complement one another, and thus, while both are decent individually, as a combo, the result is a section that proves mechanically and structurally compelling.

Finally addressing the weaker sections, the choruses and bridge both hold a six which, while not bad in the scale of zero to ten, is the lowest number in context of the other sections. Gauging the bridge, the singing and format are both, as its rating, “slightly above average.” In focus of the vocals, while Choa’s part holds its weight, Seolhyun’s singing does falter. Antithetical to the verses where Seolhyun’s singing maintained appeal due to the instrumental’s support, in the bridge, without a more energetic, electronic soundtrack accompaniment, her vocals have greater emphasis, and unfortunately, her slightly lacking melody therefore becomes unveiled. Although it is not to the degree of distaste, Seolhyun’s vocals emanate a monotonous sound versus, for example, Choa’s part of being rather tuneful and even powerful. Ignoring the layer of singing, the bridge’s format is also marginally above basic as, while functional, it remains partially undynamic. Minimal changes to lines or singing characteristics occur.

Continuing the latter claim, for the glaring issue of the choruses, a linear style overshadows its positive features; although the choruses possess exceptionally melodic and strong vocals, the structure of the sections create mundanity. Specifically, while the choruses do change in pacing, the switches render as miniscule and, ironically, impairing. During the paused, chopped lines of the section, although it varies from the usual singing rate, a sluggish delay is given, and thus, repetition builds up. Furthermore, for the vocals, though extremely seducing with high power, notes, and an upbeat melody, minimal fluctuation occurs. An outcome from that lack of flexibility is, predictably, a more stagnant section, even if, on the individual level, many attributes exceed. However, the choruses, and for earlier, bridge, are all still decent, but only to the extent of their rating: slightly above average (though biasedly I do hold the choruses at a seven).  

Leaving a side note, reflecting once more over this new Sections outline as this is the second trial, I am feeling more confident and at ease, and in comparison to the prior, I do feel this is a vast improvement. More flexibility is given for my writing and analysis versus, in the prior outlines, pure restriction and much repetition.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – Seven members are in AOA, and if I recall past reviews, AOA has slightly struggled with possessing an equal distribution of lines. Being a new release, a high score will be hoped for, and truthfully, with seven members, that quantity will not significantly ramp up sharing difficulties.

Starting with Choa, the introduction, three pre-choruses, two choruses, bridge, and conclusion are her sections. Numerically, eight is her count, and though the rest of AOA has yet to be gauged, I do foresee this being troublesome. Four tends to be the desired number for equal lines, and thus, Choa is already an outlier, and more specifically, twice the average.  

Gauging Yuna who, hopefully, will be similar to Choa, her sections include the first verse, all pre-choruses, all choruses, and the conclusion. Therefore, seven is her count, and thankfully, it closely resembles Choa’s quantity. However, the remaining members will, most likely, create a disparity via possessing less sections.

Peering at the rappers in AOA, starting with the group’s leader, Jimin, her count will be much less as she is only responsible for the introduction, rap, and conclusion. Three is her total, and while it is understandable as she is the rapper, for the consistency of reviews, this will most likely hinder the score. Digressing swiftly, besides being responsible for her sections, she deserves much respect for also keeping AOA on track. After watching a few recent videos such as interviews and even “One Fine Day,” and, admittedly, her nearly falling, I feel both admiration and concern for her. Jimin has been working exceptionally hard via individual activities and group activities. Much praising goes towards her.

On topic, for the remaining rapper of Chanmi, one section exists: the rap. The sharpest, most piercing disparity has occurred; with Choa’s high number of eight to Chanmi’s miniscule count of one, the scoring may be severely mitigated by the gaping disparity. Remaining members will further determine the issue.

For Mina’s “spotlight-light-light,” and if this allusion/pun was already used in my review of “Like a Cat” (“spotlight” stems from Mina’s lyrics in “Like a Cat”), I do apologize for my lack of creativity and humor, her sections involve the two verses. Two will be her count. “Heart Attack” does appear in despair as of now.

Hyejeong, one of the final hopes left, has lines at the first verse, the first chorus, the second verse, the second chorus, and one word at the conclusion. Interestingly, the music video’s audio does conceal most of Hyejeong’s lines, but based on a live performance (as linked earlier, though it is liable to be copyrighted as it is not uploaded by an official music show), these are, unequivocally, her sections. Therefore five sections is her count, which will most likely alleviate the disparity, even if marginally.

Lastly, for Seolhyun, AOA’s actress (if correct, she has been involved in many dramas and even movies lately), her count is four: the first verse, two choruses, and the bridge. A middle-ground is given by her, and thus, it may be helpful towards the group’s distribution.

Synthesizing all of the sections for an overall rating, with the average, perfect share of lines holding at four or five sections per member, AOA’s share does remain split. If Choa and Yuna lost a few sections and Chanmi, Jimin, and Mina gained said sections, the group would have a perfect dispersal. Due to major gaps, a very disheartening score will be given: four for slightly below average. “Heart Attack” musically flourishes, but in terms of members’ spotlight, much more improvement is necessary.

– Instrumental: 7/10 – For the instrumental in “Heart Attack,” while its style utterly differs from my personal preferences, I have found it exceptionally pleasing, and even from a neutral, systematic standpoint, the instrumental still remains highly successful.

Despite the main sounds stemming from an electronic style, unlike most instrumentals that follow an akin concept, the given heavier beats and electronic sounds are vastly tuneful. The beats provide the lower pitches of the song, but in proper scope as it is neither too deep or too high.. Furthermore, for the electronic sounds, while in most cases this soundtrack’s style, such as in, guiltily stated, KARA’s “Cupid,” results in being either vexing or simply bland, in “Heart Attack,” the opposite holds as the sounds do retain a melodic aspect, as disclosed by how the instrumental dictates the song’s overall melody. Additionally, the instrumental perfectly suits AOA’s vocals: every sections’ complementing instrumental synthesizes with the vocals to create a further enticing, enchanting song rather than merely being an additional, separate component. Offering direct examples, the verses’ beats create a pacing to which the vocals follow, and from such, the created synergy allows the sections to contain an incredibly rhythmic melody. Another example is the pre-choruses: the instrumental’s lighter tone suits with the vocals, of which are also equally lighter in juxtaposition to the entire song. Even the rapping section benefits as the instrumental provides a prominent, brisk rate that simulates the vocals’ rate, but for what remains significant, the instrumental is conducted in a manner that does not leech attention from the rapping vocals.

Above average will hold for the overarching score. Even with a concept that tends to falter, the instrumental in “Heart Attack” strongly prospers.

– Lyrics: 5/10 – Keen readers who have read previous reviews may notice a difference: “Lyrics” and not “Meaning.” Though this minutiae is negligible, the new label does provide a more encapsulating idea as it is more than a song’s “meaning,” but furthermore, the lyrics in themselves via details and such. And, comically admitted, the new label sounds more sophisticated, and thus, was the main motive. Returning to AOA, however, for a song title of “Heart Attack,” while many might have received such from the ladies’ comeback, it is impractical for the song title to be in reference to that. Therefore, for assumptions, “Heart Attack” will most likely depict a scenario in which, similarly to how fans feel for AOA, a person is in love to the magnitude of having a figurative heart attack.  

Ah yeah (Brave Sound)
And it goes a little something like this

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your soft voice
I’ve fallen for it
I’m trembling
(AOA, let’s go!)

I think I’m crazy, why am I like this
My heart is like an 18 year old girl’s, it keeps pounding
I can’t hide it, I’m like this every day
When our eyes meet, my ears turn red

You don’t understand? It’s because you didn’t see him
I totally understand how people fall in love at first sight
Now I know,
the first time I saw you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your broad shoulders, your sharp eyes,
your soft voice
I’ve fallen for them
Just looking at your thin and long fingers
makes me tremble

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
the more I see you
My heart keeps pounding, I don’t know
It’s like a heart attack, what do I do?
I keep wanting to be in your arms, baby

When our eyes meet, my heart pounds
I try to get even the tiniest bit
of your attention
“What about him do you like so much?”
my friends ask and I answer:
“Don’t talk if you don’t know”

You don’t understand? It’s because you didn’t see him
I totally understand how people fall in love at first sight
Now I know,
the first time I saw you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your broad shoulders, your sharp eyes,
your soft voice
I’ve fallen for them
Just looking at your thin and long fingers
makes me tremble

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
the more I see you
My heart keeps pounding, I don’t know
It’s like a heart attack, what do I do?
I keep wanting to be in your arms, baby

Oh my prince, where are you looking?
I’m right here
You’re so handsome, I just need you
I can’t live without you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your soft voice
I’ve fallen for it
I’m trembling

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
(Everybody say what, AOA)
Pounding
(And it goes a little something like this)
Heart attack
(One more time say what, AOA)
I wanna be in your arms baby

Exact with predictions, the plot of “Heart Attack” revolves around a main character and her love-interest. Though the main character’s love originates from “love at first sight” (already discussed multiple times), she has “completely fallen for [him]” and his “broad shoulders, sharp eyes, soft voice.” Even his “thin and long fingers makes [her] tremble.” Due to the level of her infatuation, it is as if she is “getting a heart attack,” thus explaining the song title. After all, “when [their] eyes meet, [her] heart pounds,” and she attempts to “get even the tiniest bit of [his] attention” whenever possible. Not even her friends comprehend her feelings: “What about him do you like so much,” they ask, but the main character is ready with her rebuttal: “Don’t talk if you don’t know.”

Overall, although the lyrics are very lighthearted and romantic, and in certain ways, unique with its heart attack comparison, it does reside as average. The given details for “Heart Attack,” even if the general story is pleasing, are highly repetitive. A vast majority of the song focuses on the main character’s feelings, which are parallel to a heart attack, or why she is highly infatuated, such as with the love-interest’s characteristics, but variating details are nonexistent. Identical ideas are relentlessly restated, and thus, in terms of details, “Heart Attack” remains lackluster. Nevertheless, with the exclusive idea of comparing love to a heart attack, some uniqueness holds, but unfortunately, it is insufficient for pushing the score to a pure six.

– “Critical Corner”: Besides the delayed reminder of how the lyrics, as all, are gender neutral, for the topic of “love at first sight,” I will redirect readers to my review on KARA’s “Cupid.” With that point being covered, no other subject arises from “Heart Attack.” In defense of the song its concept of “love at first sight,” arguably, once adding the music video component, the lyrics are more than pure physical love as, perhaps, the main character was vastly charmed by the love-interest’s kind gesture to help her after colliding with her. However, with purely the lyrics as content, it is worthy to challenge the notion of the claimed phrase.

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Critiquing the choreography of “Heart Attack,” though biasedly I do adore the dance as it is incredibly simplistic, and in many ways, if the terms may be used, cute and sweet, it does not hold to a high mark. Nonetheless, it still remains decent. Also, if I had not addressed the link yet, for a late clarification, the first link is a live performance, but with the uploader not being an official music show station, it will be liable to removal. Therefore, if, for future readers, the link is unfunctional, searching up the live performance or, by that time, the dance practice, will be methods to find the dance.

Dissecting the choreography, for the category of syncing, a perplexing scenario takes place: the syncing is accurate, but unlike every other choreography where accuracy equates to excellency, in “Heart Attack,” though every movement connects to the song, it lacks prominence; despite how every maneuver syncs to the song, the given syncing is simply plain. For example, though the verses are synced to the song as observed by the turning and arm motions, it is not stunning syncing as it is vague on exactly what is being synced to. The beats or the flow are possible candidates, and thus, with that indefinite image, the syncing does surprisingly falter, even if it still exists. Another example, the chorus, provides more insight on how the syncing lacks impact. Syncing is apparent and accurate, but once more, it is rather loosely synced as there is no specific linked sound.

Equally, the key points also contain their own set of issues. Although the simplicity is admirable, the dance is repetitive. Every section recycles its key point, as seen by, for examples, the verses, choruses, and pre-choruses following the same dance, and thus, “Heart Attack” suffers with maintaining appeal. Furthermore, with many movements emulating every other movement in categories of speed, style, and direction, greater staleness occurs. The choruses’ slower, gentle dance maneuvers are similar to, for example, the bridge, and from there, while both sections utilize separate key points, the same, overarching concept is still in place: slow and gentle.

Despite the glaring errors, the choreography still scores at a six for slightly above average. The syncing is still consistent, even if not impressive, and the key points are still viable, though lacking in higher appeal.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – With both main scores rating at six, the Overall Score will follow suit as the average is, blatantly, six. Therefore, based on the blog’s review rubric, AOA’s latest comeback can be deemed as solely slightly above average, and personally, I fervently disagree. At lowest, a seven should be true, and for what I did anticipate, I expected an eight. However, with a satisfactory choreography and a poorer distribution of lines, it is understandable on why “Heart Attack” scored lower. Regardless, for the song itself, it truly is a stronger release by AOA, and in general, it is solid. As of now, for the current summer comebacks, AOA’s “Heart Attack” holds the title though this may be entirely biased. Optimistically, however, I do hope another group challenges my claim.

On that note, I already have a few songs lined up for review, all of which are in the realm of “summer comebacks.” With only two days left before June ending, I will finish with an album review (though that is an arrogant statement; I doubt I will be able to finish a review in that time span) so that, though I shamefully failed to reach eight, at least six out the eight will be met. It will be on either BTS’ older album or AOA’s latest one. Considering the slower start at the beginning of June, for a positive idea, I do know it is certainly possible to reach eight reviews (assuming it is summer and therefore I do not have classes) as, if I was on schedule, my goal would have been obtained.

Ending technical discussions, as always, thank you very much for reading. This review did become delayed by two days as I am currently working on subtitling AOA’s most current visit to “Weekly Idol,” and therefore, I apologize for later post (six hours went towards the videos versus writing). For those interested in the videos, my linked YouTube channel in the blog’s description will have the episode uploaded with English subtitles. Of course, however, I am exceptionally thankful for readers’ patience (and for those watching, for a slower subtitling rate). I appreciate the given time.

Upcoming reviews will be on, though liable to change, the recent releases from Sistar, Teen Top, and Nine Muses, but specifically for the next review, it will be of a mini-album from either AOA or BTS. Thank you once again for reading, and stay tuned for the upcoming reviews as, “Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack the more I see you.” Many reviews and the usual questionable closures will take place for July.

AOA – “Tricked Again” Review

AOA – Tricked Again (Music Video)

AOA (Ace of Angels) – Tricked Again

Reviewed on April 1, 2015

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Personal Message: Though it has only been a few months, AOA has already delivered their comeback: “Tricked Again.” Interestingly, however, rather than their usual style of songs, “Tricked Again” takes the form of a ballad. Furthermore, it is rather peculiar that this comeback went relatively discreet; very little advertising and promotion went towards this release. To offer my speculations, I predict this ballad release to be identical to 4Minute’s ballad of “Cold Rain.” For those unfamiliar, 4Minute’s latest comeback possessed a title song of “Crazy” (read my review on it here: 4Minute – “Crazy” Review), but strangely, a ballad was released first. Relating 4Minute to AOA, the same marketing idea seems to exist, and thus, a standard K-Pop genre song may become released versus the sole song of “Tricked Again.”

Regardless of whether “Tricked Again” is indeed AOA’s title song or not, for their latest comeback, it holds rather well. To already give a quick glance of the song’s rating, I will still claim their other ballad of “Time” remains significantly superior (I partially reviewed the song at: AOA’s Mini-Album – “Like a Cat” Review). But, without comparing it to other songs, “Tricked Again” is a solid ballad. To address the link, it is the music video. Being a ballad, a dance is not expected, and thus, the standard music video will serve in the place of a dance practice or stage performance. What does remain highly enticing, however, is the music video follows not a standard protocol of creating a plot and multiple stages, but rather, simply footage of AOA’s recording process and studio work.

For a final digression before the review (though at this point, feel free to skip to it), I will share a story of this blog’s growth and how it truly correlates with AOA. AOA holds a positively influencing position for my blog and I. In addition to genuinely looking up to the ladies and striving to be as intelligent, hardworking, tenacious, friendly, and physically and non-physically pretty as them, AOA has, indirectly, given a gift to this blog: “spotlight-light-light-light”. Likewise to how “Like a Cat” gave AOA the necessary momentum to finally be highly popular, my review of the song allowed my blog to be more heard of (though I feel that the review is incredibly horrible). While I did not replicate the exact scale of AOA’s earned popularity, this blog gained a hefty amount of viewers due to the review, and more gratefully, many consistent readers that now read my reviews came from the one on “Like a Cat.” In that sense, I am incredibly grateful towards AOA for indirectly helping, but more realistically, I am thankful and appreciative of the readers who stumbled upon my review of the song and are still returning on a consistent basis. Though I write and create reviews for fun and do not seek popularity, I am still extremely grateful and honored to have readers that are willing to invest some time to read my reviews, even if my writing is rather mediocre and lengthy.

On another note, besides being the review that brought attention, it provided a moment of realization: people read my reviews. With that, and additionally, a specific teacher (though multiple people have also influenced me, she remains the prominent one) instilling passion towards writing and enlightening the purpose of such, I became highly motivated to vastly improve my reviews. Rather than perceiving reviews with a casual, careless mindset, I began to view them as an opportunity for improvement of skills; assessing my reviews in order to find errors and places for where my analysis and mechanical writing could be refined became a new priority. Overall, a much more serious, striving demeanor became my mentality due to the review on “Like a Cat” garnering some form of popularity.

Returning to AOA themselves and a more lighthearted atmosphere, which was my intended tone initially, their ballad of “Tricked Again” is definitely solid. Though it may be inferior to previous ballad releases, it still fares well individually. AOA claims to have been “Tricked Again,” but hopefully, readers do not follow suit. Also, while I should have mentioned it much sooner, I have been having a technological issue of copying/pasting. Copying a link, for example, and then pasting seems to give an archaic copy. As a result, if the music video link is incorrect, apologies, though from checking once more, it should be fine.

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Song Score: 7/10 (6.8/10 raw score) – “Above average”

– Vocals: 7/10 – The vocals in “Tricked Again” may excellently suit the overarching melancholy tone of the song, but through a sonic lens, the vocals do slightly falter. Every member showcases very melodic, soothing singing, but a main crucial aspect remains lacking: variety. Though AOA’s voices are highly captivating, minimal fluctuation occurs, specifically with power and pacing. Throughout “Tricked Again,” every line follows a gentler, fragile style. Though the style is highly effective when coupled with how melodic their vocals are, it proves to be highly dull and uninteresting as every line begins resemble the previous one. Furthermore, the pacing, homogenous to the unmalleable vocal strength aspect, remains highly stagnant. Every line follows a slower pace, and with it never changing, the issue of dullness becomes widespread. Nevertheless, while the linear pacing and power remain a downfall for variety, it does prove beneficial towards the melody. AOA’s singing remains highly emotional, tuneful, and simply infatuating. The slower pacing accentuates the members’ notes and allows for sharp, crisp sounds, and the strain of vocals, while unchanged, allow a consistent saddening mood to exist.

Overall, above average will miraculously hold. The melody emanating from AOA’s singing does compensate for the lack of diversity.

– Sections: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10 – Jimin, as seen throughout nearly, if not every song released, handles the introduction.

Diving into the mechanical side, Jimin’s voice is given for the start. Simple statements, high in sadness, are said. While no singing necessarily exists, the accompanying piano instrumental and her whispering voice mesh well and offer a lower noted, soothing start. Structurally, with the slower pacing and lower pitch, and additionally, a saddening atmosphere instantly given, a solid start is gleaned. The ballad is properly prepared, both emotionally and sonically, due to Jimin’s  statements.

Despite the structure holding well, the mechanical portion does remain lacking. Slightly above average will be the rating. Also, should the music video link be incorrect, these words will, blatantly, not reflect the false video, but instead, what would have been the proper song.

2. Verse: 7/10 – Truthfully, I did not expect to even come this far and have practically excavated all possible creativity by now Seolhyun deserves additional respect towards her singing as seen here. Seolhyun and Choa are in charge of the sole verse in “Tricked Again.”

Sonically, Seolhyun’s softer singing becomes highly captivating. Her slower pacing sets focus on her gentle and clear vocals, and additionally, towards her melody. Choa follows suit. Structurally, the section, as mentioned, possesses the issue of becoming highly tedious due to a lack of variety.

Above average will be the score. Though the structure impairs the section, the duo’s singing prove to be potent enough to bring a promising verse.

3. Pre-Chorus: 7/10 – Hyejeong and Mina are in charge of the pre-choruses in “Tricked Again.”

Sonically, Hyejeong’s softer singing becomes highly captivating. Her slower pacing sets focus on her gentle and clear vocals, and additionally, towards her melody. Mina follows suit. Structurally, the section, as mentioned, possesses the issue of becoming highly tedious due to a lack of variety.

Above average will be the score. Though the structure impairs the section, the duo’s singing prove to be potent enough to bring a promising pre-chorus.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Choa and Yuna are in charge of the choruses in “Tricked Again.”

Sonically, Choa’s softer singing becomes highly captivating. Her slower pacing sets focus on her gentle and clear vocals, and additionally, towards her melody. Yuna follows suit. Structurally, the section, as mentioned, possesses the issue of becoming highly tedious due to a lack of variety.

Above average will be the score. Though the structure impairs the section, the duo’s singing prove to be potent enough to bring a promising chorus.

5. Post-Chorus: 6/10 – Every member is in charge of the post-choruses in “Tricked Again.”

Sonically, AOA’s softer singing becomes highly captivating. Their slower pacing sets focus on their gentle and clear vocals, and additionally, towards their melody. Structurally, the section, as mentioned, possesses the issue of becoming highly tedious due to a lack of variety.

Slightly above average will be the score. Though the structure impairs the section, the members’ singing prove to be potent enough to bring a promising post-chorus.

6. Rap: 7/10 – Jimin and Chanmi are in charge of the sole verse in “Tricked Again.”

Sonically, Jimin’s softer rapping becomes highly captivating. Her quick pacing sets focus on her gentle and clear vocals, and additionally, towards her melody. Chanmi follows suit. Structurally, the section, as mentioned, possesses the issue of becoming highly tedious due to a lack of variety.

Above average will be the score. Though the structure impairs the section, the duo’s rapping prove to be potent enough to bring a promising rap section.

7. Bridge: 6/10 – Choa and Yuna are in charge of the bridge in “Tricked Again.”

Sonically, Yuna’s softer singing becomes highly captivating. Her slower pacing sets focus on her gentle and clear vocals, and additionally, towards her melody. Choa follows suit. Structurally, the section, as mentioned, possesses the issue of becoming highly tedious due to a lack of variety.

Slightly above average will be the score. Though the structure impairs the section, the duo’s singing prove to be potent enough to bring a promising bridge.

8. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10 –  Every member is in charge of the post-choruses in “Tricked Again” and therefore the conclusion.

Sonically, AOA’s softer singing becomes highly captivating. Their slower pacing sets focus on their gentle and clear vocals, and additionally, towards their melody. Structurally, the section, as mentioned, possesses the issue of becoming highly tedious due to a lack of variety.

Slightly above average will be the score. Though the structure impairs the section, the members’ singing prove to be potent enough to bring a promising conclusion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lastly, we the maknae (youngest person) of AOA: Chanmi. If Seolhyun’s lines, or lack thereof, proved to be an issue, then Chanmi is in a rough situation. Essentially, her lines are completely unnecessary, and sadly, it would have been even viable if Jimin simply took her lines. Chanmi occurred at the rap section in which predominantly Jimin was rapping; only two lines were rapped from Chanmi. Similar to an old review of Boyfriend’s “Witch,” the rap section in that song had the same issue; two people rapped, but in reality, only the main rapper was necessary.

Anyhow, a horrendous distribution for Chanmi; her lines were not only short, but furthermore, were completely replaceable with Jimin simply taking over.

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

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

For those who claim this Line Distribution rating or that the Sections portion are seemingly copied and pasted, it is a mere coincidence (on a more serious note, however, I am rather ashamed of the poor writing done for this Line Distribution that is seemingly identical to the one in my review of “Like a Cat” but is somehow not it; many conventional errors exist along with simply horrendous writing). It is also a mere coincidence that my copy and pasting still seems functional, as my proposed claim of it failing still holds true.

– Instrumental: 7/10 – “The instrumental in ‘Tricked Again’ is pleasing. It adds a supportive foundation for the vocals along with other utilities. Meshing with the vocals was natural; neither parties contrasted the other one harshly. In terms of matching up to the song’s flow, that was followed through. The instrumental was only as energetic as the vocals. A clear example is observing the pre-chorus to the post-chorus: the instrumental steps up a notch to accommodate the singing, but once the post-chorus arrives, it plays out as slightly passive in order to fit the chanting. Individually, the instrumental had a soothing, attractive, and catchy influence. A solid soundtrack by itself.

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

Once more, if this seems awfully familiar, it is purely a coincidence.

– Meaning: 7/10 – With a song title of “Tricked Again” and an accompanying sorrowful tone, a one-sided relationship would seem to be the story. Nevertheless, through these Korean-to-English lyrics, which I did translate on my own as no translation source has done so yet, the story should hopefully become unveiled. As always, and especially due to personal translation, the lyrics are not 100% accurate:

Hey, no matter where I go
(No matter where you are)
The pretty girl disappeared
You know, you know
You used to be good and fresh
And now, you’re nothing but a Sound

You say you’ve wished you’ve never seen me before
You had a feeling and said that I never
shined in the first place
Your head turns to look at me
My eyes are filled with tears
Seeing you hesitate
to talk to me, I can feel it

The sunlight shines on you like a spotlight
I am in your head as a news headline
Even when you dream, you’ll remember me
Are you worrying?
Come to your senses

I’ll walk past you
Picking a rose, I’ll give it to you
I’ll surprise you, you’ve been caught
I’ll walk past you
Even when you’re asleep,
I will softly appear as a memory,
I’ll surprise you

Dudududu
I’ve been tricked, deceived, hurt, lied to
Dudududu
I’ve been tricked, deceived, hurt, lied to

I want to go to you like a thief
Tonight, without anyone knowing,
I wanna steal back our kisses from your lips
when you’re sound asleep,
You will dream of our last sweet night
Hold tight to the memory
You’re a wolf, I’m your hunter

The sunlight shines on you like a spotlight
I am in your head as a news headline
Even when you dream, you’ll remember me
Are you worrying?
Come to your senses

I’ll walk past you
Picking a rose, I’ll give it to you
I’ll surprise you, you’ve been caught
I’ll walk past you
Even when you’re asleep,
I will softly appear as a memory,
I’ll surprise you

Dudududu
I’ve been tricked, deceived, hurt, lied to
Dudududu
I’ve been tricked, deceived, hurt, lied to

We used to fly, remember hugging me at night?
We could’ve flew higher, but
I can feel what’s wrong
The clouds and the moon are not one
Like my trembling heart,
both fly so lightly
Oh don’t talk to me, oh leave me
Never kiss me baby, never again

Dudududu
I’ve been tricked, deceived, hurt, lied to
(Tricked again)
Dudududu
I’ve been tricked, deceived, hurt, lied to
(Tricked again)
It’s all over

Since I have spent a significant amount of time “translating” the lyrics are rather detailed, I will briefly cover of them. A couple has split up due to unknown circumstances, and now the main character resents their former partner and yearns for them to anguish over the separation.

Due to the significant level of creativity and effort placed into composing the lyrics, a higher score will be granted. The amount of details and the unique story itself deserve it. Also, in no way is this being biased; though the composer, through an interview, has claimed the process to create the lyrics was rather strenuous, I am not delivering a higher rating on the sole basis of sympathy, but instead, talent and admiration towards the composition. Above average will be the rating. The composer is also in no way arrogant with their lyrics.

– “Critical Corner”: Though I am sure the lyrics may have points valid for discussion, nothing remains urgently pressing. Also, I am in no way hastily covering this review.

_______________________________________________________

Choreography Score: X/10 – As briefly mentioned at the beginning, no choreography exists for “Tricked Again.”

_______________________________________________________

Overall Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score) – With solely the Song Score holding as a 7, the Overall Score will follow suit. This indicates AOA’s recent comeback of “Tricked Again” is above average, and I certainly agree as explained through this very thorough, elegant, and sophisticated review.

As always, thank you very much for reading, and I hope this read is, at the very least, entertaining if not jocular. Though I would be confused as to why it would be comical, I do hope readers enjoy this serious review. AOA’s comeback is definitely one to follow as their standard style may be resumed. In terms of upcoming reviews, due to the time I wrote this, it will be unclear. In fact, BESTie’s “I Need You” was the review prior to this one (not that I preemptively wrote this review with a certain date in mind).

Nevertheless, stay tuned for upcoming reviews. Since this review will be published on April 1, it will mark the first review of the month. Though this review may strangely be inferior to previous reviews due to peculiar, unknown reasons, future reviews will be significantly better. Keep checking back for upcoming reviews, and of course, unlike the song, please do not become “Tricked Again” if trickery did occur on April 1 for whatever reason.

Juniel – “I Think I’m In Love” Review

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

Juniel – I Think I’m In Love

Reviewed on February 14, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AOA’s Mini-Album – “Like a Cat” Review

Reviewed on January 24, 2015

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As stated in my previous review of Apink’s “Luv,” a special review was in mind. Behold, the special review is an album review, and specifically, AOA’s mini-album of “Like a Cat.” Firstly, before this review begins, I would like to say thank you to readers for a huge support on my review of “Luv.” If I am correct, it is currently my most popular review. Although that may be moreover due to Apink’s growing popularity than the review itself, I still remain very grateful, so thank you. On topic with this current review, this is both a bonus and experiment; compensating for a slower rate is one objective with this review, and secondly, attempting to review an album as a whole has always been on my mind. That said, if the quality of this review is poorer, I will blame the lack of experience with reviewing this type of medium. Nevertheless, for an exciting, upcoming song review, Nine Muses’ comeback of “Drama” will be analyzed and critiqued (as of the time of writing this sentence, it has not yet come out), but I predict the review coming out 3 or 4 days after. It may be longer, however, considering my custom of stalling multiple days after a song is heard in order to prevent “initial bias” and in order to thoroughly unpack it.

Now to truly be on topic, about a week ago I decided to listen to AOA’s recent mini-album. Typically, from personal experience, I seldom find albums worth entirely listening to. Generally, energy and time are heavily allocated towards the title/main song, and thus, the remaining songs hold as weaker, but this album erases that trend. Every song in this album holds as decent, and with one song, it remains arguably better than the title song. For how this review will be structured, I will quickly go through every song and give a quick opinion regarding each one, and at the end, give my overall consensus on the album as a whole. Anyhow, while AOA’s “Like a Cat” has proven to be an exceptionally successful comeback that has garnered them music show wins and rising popularity, the downfall of such is the rest of their album songs becoming overshadowed by “Like a Cat.” However, before “Time” runs out and “Tears Falling” ruin both a boy’s and “Girl’s Heart,” with “Just the Two of Us,” let us peer at AOA’s mini-album of “Like a Cat.” And if you claim my “AOA Intro” could not have been worse, I will, and have, proven that wrong, for I will also include it.

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Assuming readers have made it this far without losing faith in my puns cringing, let us begin. I will review this album in a random order versus the chronological order that is present in the album list. I will also include an audio link (although for future readers, the link may or may not work depending on copyright issues that may occur later). Furthermore, I will not be leaving numerical values as those are reserved for full song reviews.

1. “AOA Intro” – AOA Intro (Audio)

In perspective of the song itself and not the pun at the start, the album’s introduction cannot be gauged as a full song; it is solely for introducing the album. Therefore, comments will be minimal, but at the very least, it is a soothing song that showcases the “Acoustic Cover” team’s vocals. For people familiar with AOA, Yuna, Choa, and Jimin appear for the group’s acoustic versions of songs, and while “AOA (Intro)” is not a full song nor an acoustic version of a song, it displays the equivalent vocals from the trio.

2. “Like a Cat” – Like a Cat (Review)

Instead of posting the audio link, I will link my review of “Like a Cat.” There, the song itself should be found as well as the general song review format. Due to already writing about their title song, I will not elaborate here. Nevertheless, for a quick remark, “Like a Cat” may not be the strongest song statistically, but even to this day, I still find myself listening to it. It holds the throne of my personal list of “catchiest songs,” and overall, it is a fun, energetic and upbeat song.

3. “Girl’s Heart” – Girl’s Heart (Audio)

Before I offer my opinion, while the song title itself is “Girl’s Heart,” and even with the lyrics depicting the main character as a lady, nothing hinders this song from being labeled as “Boy’s Heart.” Anyhow, in focus of solely the lyrics, biasedly, I adore them. Summarizing the lyrics, the song simply describes how to treat a lady or man’s heart via compliments, being there for support, and such. However, in contrast to the sonic component of the song, there is a sadder tone accompanying the lyrics; the main character’s “heart” is not being treated as she/he desires. Progressing past the pure lyrics, for the mechanical aspect of the song itself, the style deviates from many K-Pop songs: a “pop-rock” style is attached. The choruses follow an upbeat and energetic flow due to the electric guitar instrumental, and additionally, the vocals follow suit with remaining catchy. Considering “Girl’s Heart” ‘s differing style proves to be welcoming, it holds as a decent song. For strong points, the vocals and choruses hold well, and furthermore, even the build-up towards the chorus is respectable. In terms of weaker points, the post-choruses become lacking due to the mundane repetition of single syllables; “bameul bameul bameul bameul” and “eh eh eh eh eh eh AOA,” for a few examples, become vexing over time.

4. “Just the Two of Us” – Just the Two of Us (Audio)

“Just the Two of Us” showcases a melodic yet slower paced song. Lyrically, the song depicts a more intimate moment with a couple. With “just the two of [them],” they dive into their own world of “touch,” “scent,” and “eyes.” Ignoring the romantic lyrics, musically, the instrumental provides a prominent and suiting foundation for the song; the heavier bass and beats perfectly mesh with the lighter pitch of AOA’s vocals. On the subject of vocals, the singing in “Just the Two of Us” emulates a faster and more upbeat ballad style. With that, the singing retains the expected melodic, soothing flow and diverse notes from ballads, but in opposite, the pacing remains on the quicker side, and in this case, that proves to be effective with complementing the beats’ rate. Overall, this is definitely a stronger song of the album. Both categories of instrumental and vocals are solid, and with both aiding one another, the song as a whole becomes augmented.

5. “Tears Falling” – Tears Falling (Audio)

As anticipated from the title, this song does contain a melancholy story. Strangely, however, the style of “Tears Falling” is not a standard slower paced, softer ballad; interestingly, an angrier tone emanates from it versus one of despair. To briefly describe the lyrics, the song depicts either a gentleman or lady who attempts to forget a separated relationship. Unfortunately, “because [the lover] still [has] feelings” for their former partner, tears are still falling. In terms of the lyrics’ details, I admire the fact that every line varies from another; the first verse’s lyrics are not homogenous to the second verse’s lyrics, for example. Due to that, a fuller, deeper scenario can be extracted.

Transitioning to the audio component, while “Tears Falling” may be the album’s weaker song, it still holds relatively well. Addressing what remains weak, while the vocals deliver exceptionally powerful lines, the melody suffers from such. A predominant portion of this song is purely power; little build-up towards the stronger vocals existed. Furthermore, many lines did not follow an enticing melodic flow, and as a result, transitioning to the stronger vocals becomes clouded, and more specifically, abrupt. Due to such, the impacting vocals come off as too sudden. To add one more degrading factor to “Tears Falling,” the instrumental is likewise plain. Thankfully, however, for the most part, the soundtrack did sync to the song’s intensity; the stronger vocals were accompanied by a complexer instrumental, and for calmer sections, such as the raps, it followed suit with remaining serene. On the subject of the rapping sections, on the sole basis of Jimin, “Tears Falling” holds as decent due to her rapping. Her rap section after the first chorus, and even the rap towards the end with Chanmi, were utterly captivating. Extraordinary. Jimin showcases her lower notes, and, of course, while the notes in general may not be low, in retrospect to AOA’s songs, this style of rapping from her is rarely heard. Her flow was exceptionally smooth, her melody proved to be delightful, and with utilizing her lower vocal range, an incredible rap became the outcome.

To digress, Jimin has been infatuating me snatching my attention due to her humor, leadership, friendliness, optimism, silliness rapping skills. Although my initial stance of her rapping was slightly negative due to her unique higher pitched, nasally voice, I cannot deny her talent. How people perceive her voice may definitely vary, but what remains unequivocal is her rapping skill. She possesses excellent pacing, flow, melody, and to overlook her rapping talent on the basis of how she sounds is ridiculous. Recently, from what I observed, she has been receiving some backlash due to attending an upcoming rapping contest show. I expected the repulsion originated due to her mechanical rapping; perhaps people disliked her flow or, for what I personally notice, her inability to leave a potent presence of power. Surprisingly, neither of those are reasons. The main reason is surprising: her voice. The resistance of her entering the show is due to her voice, not her skill. While a vocalist’s voice plays a major factor, with rapping, that is less influential than other factors as mentioned earlier. If Jimin entered a singing contest, then certainly her voice can be criticized as tuneful notes are affected. However, with rapping, how she sounds should not heavily interfere with the rapping itself. Now, to address what is more upsetting is how people have shifted the dislike of her voice from rapping to generality. This shift is unacceptable. With music in context, the criticism of a singer’s voice is certainly acceptable as it is related. Erroneously, however, is mocking a person’s voice on the sole basis of how that person sounds when speaking in general. Jimin’s voice may be questionable in a song, but to criticize and insult her with how her voice sounds when she speaks is outrageous. Every voice is unique and charming, and similar to other unmalleable characteristics to a person, should not be put down as no one is in control of how they sound. Perhaps the following claim may be slightly exaggerated, but shaming a person’s voice is equivalent to shaming their gender, race, language, and such. Unless if music is the context, never should a remark that offends a person’s voice be made. Whether Jimin’s voice influences the result of her rapping is arguable, but certainly, her voice, in the context of regular communications, is charming and does not warrant unnecessary comments.

6. “Time” – Time (Audio)

Truthfully, I planned to review this album with absolutely zero digressions, but alas, I have failed. Nevertheless, I hope people do take to heart my earlier rant. Continuing back to the incredible ladies of AOA, lastly, “Time” is left for a quick review. Personally, this song holds as the best in the album, and while I doubt I will do a formal review of this song, I foresee “Time” holding as a 9/10 numerically rated song. Considering how many songs I have reviewed these days lean towards 7/10, and that I attempt to grade fairly and logically unlike in the past, a 9 in current times is absolutely outstanding. “Time” follows the traditional ballad genre with retaining soft yet impacting vocals, a complementing and soothing instrumental, and solid lyrics.

Firstly, for elaborating on the lyrics, “Time” unveils a story that, once again, involves a broken relationship. A man or lady continues with her/his life after losing their beloved partner (due to a break up, but potentially, also death) and with daily objects in life, such as a TV, food, or even music, the lover is reminded of their lost partner. In honesty, with the initial time (no pun intended) of listening to “Time,” due to the instrumental and vocals crafting an exceptionally saddening atmosphere and with death in context to the lyrics, I admit, I did become rather emotional (but, thankfully, I did not “pull the Girl’s Day’s Minah” and cried due to the song; Girl’s Day fans may recall Minah’s incident with crying in a car due to listening to a ballad). Focusing on the vocals, AOA’s most prime “Time” with singing is with it; the vocals in “Time” are utterly stunning and showcases every member at her peak. Yuna and Choa carry the more vocally demanding load, such as lines involving note holds or stronger, pressing vocals. Supporting vocals are present due to Mina, Hyejeong, and Seolhyun. Even with a support role, for the lines they sung, all were excellent and to a high caliber. In terms of AOA’s rappers, Jimin and Chami’s sections were, as anticipated, captivating. Jimin returns with very low rapping notes, but other aspects such as being melodic and having a fluent flow were still present. Chanmi’s rap is also equally impressive and follows a similar style to Jimin. All members of AOA were delivering top-tier vocals, and as an extra factor, background vocals were present for many sections of “Time.” Quickly addressing the instrumental, it perfectly follows suit with the vocals’ intensity. Other roles, such as meshing well with the vocals, are also met. Even individually the soundtrack holds well.

Overall, “Time” is currently my favorite ballad, and while I cannot confidently claim it is the best song I have heard, it is by far holding a very high rank. Ailee’s “Singing Got Better” is most likely still the best song I have heard, and ironically despite how I overly gave high scores in the past, it probably holds as accurate with the numerical rating. On topic with AOA, “Time” is definitely their strongest song as of now; every member disclosed their best singing, rapping sections were phenomenal, the instrumental is solid, the lyrics prove to be exceptionally detailed, and as a whole song, the cohesion is incredible. Every aspect to “Time” links with another piece.

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Personal Ranking:

With six songs in AOA’s mini-album, “Like a Cat,” I will now rank them based on my personal preference (not based on numerical values that would exist should I have created individual formal reviews that I usually do).

1. “Time”

2. “Like a Cat”

3. “Just the Two of Us”

4. “Girl’s Heart”

5. “Tears Falling”

6. “AOA Intro”

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In the end, although certainly some songs in this album may be superior to another, for an album, every song is definitely decent. If anyone has ever desired to purchase a physical CD copy for an album, I highly recommend AOA’s mini-album of “Like a Cat” (and no, I am not being paid to say this). Jokes aside, every song in this album is worth listening to, and many hold as solid. This is the first album where I have enjoyed every track, and hopefully, it will not be the last. AOA is an incredible group, and as of now, I am arguably officially a fan of them after listening to a plethora of their releases, watching multiple interviews of them, variety shows they attend, and other various shows.

Reflecting over this review, considering how disorganized the review appears, I doubt I will do whole album reviews. Unless for solely a rare occasion or bonus, these will not be included for standard reviews and will be in the same category of show reviews. As always, thank you very much for reading this. Nine Muses’ comeback has finally arrived, and I am extremely excited to review it. I will most likely review it in one day, though no promises. I have an ever growing list of songs to review and I hope to speed up my process to fulfill that. Also, I am aiming to reach 6 reviews for January at minimum, so hopefully that is met. Once again, thank you for reading. Stay tuned for an upcoming review of Nine Muses’ “Drama.” Without recycling my horrible “AOA Intro,” I will halt “Time” here in order to prevent hurting a boy’s or “Girl’s Heart” due to “Tears Falling” at a potentially horrible conclusion. On the positive side, however, if I am sneaky “Like a Cat,” I may be able to close this review properly with “Just the Two of Us.” But on a serious note, do stay tuned for an upcoming review. Thank you for reading.

AOA – “Like a Cat” Review

AOA – Like a Cat (Live Performance)

AOA – Like a Cat (Official Live Performance)

AOA (Ace of Angels) – Like a Cat

Reviewed on November 22, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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