Super Junior – “Magic” Review

Super
Junior – Magic (Music Video)

Super Junior – Magic

Reviewed
on February 14, 2016

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Personal Message:
Admittedly, I entirely forgot that
Valentine’s Day was on February 14. If not for a few friends mentioning a
get-together for “anti-Valentine’s Day,” this review would have missed the
date—assuming that this review does indeed get posted in time. Unlike last
year’s Valentine’s Day review where I wrote it three days before the holiday
(Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love”; and yes, it still holds as one of my favorite
music videos and that I
dreamily hope for an equally loving relationship one day as in the video
),
as of this sentence, I am writing on the exact day of Valentine’s Day. For an
excuse, however, that review was when I was not drowning with schoolwork. (Even
after this review is done, I still have much work to attend to.) But, regardless
of circumstances, I do believe that I can finish this review on time given that
there is no choreography to grade and that, supposedly, no social digression will
occur. In fact, I also hope to push out another shorter review for this week.

Now for some personal conceited news
to share with readers, I did get declined for a campus job I very much desired.
Though I am disappointed at myself, I am glad that the accepted people are
definitely deserving of the job, and that I still gleaned the valuable
experience of filling out a job application. And, for at least one positive
point, in March I will be helping host an English literature conference and am
very excited for that (especially given that I am also majoring in English and
that I am planning to teach English in high school). Also, for another positive
point, an amazing friend who made this blog’s icon will soon be making me icons
for my YouTube English subtitling channels. Huge thanks and shoutout to her.

Ignoring my point of how positivity
should always be found, a lesson learned from Dal Shabet’s beloved leader
Serri, for this Valentine’s Day I have decided to review Super Junior’s
“Magic.” Given that the song is flirtatious and that I have always desired to
review the veteran and popular gentlemen, “Magic” becomes a perfect candidate. After
all, if it is interpreted that the lyrics are not just of physical attraction
and that with the music video the characters are not “fighting over women” or
stalking, and that respectful behavior is showcased and reinforced toward the
female character, “Magic” can be rendered quite romantic. (But, if personal
stances have to be given, while I do challenge the lyrics to some extent, I do
consider the music video as positive. The characters, from my interpretation,
may be huddled together in scenes, but for the plot it is actually about each
individual man’s date. Thus, during moments of seemingly “fighting over
women”—a topic I have touched upon in various reviews—it is arguably solely for
technical transitions as the music video simply reuses the female character,
akin to ZE:A’s “Marry Me” for example. However, if one is to
be critical with the lyrics or video, many discussion topics can always occur,
as is always the case with any pop culture medium.)

On a more lighthearted tone (readers
should skip to the review by now), for what will perhaps make readers laugh, I
will now openly contradict myself: I will focus solely on Super Junior’s
appearances so that I can claim they are absolutely physically gorgeous (and I
am certain they are also very non-physically attractive). Shamelessly shared as
well, I will definitely be taking note of and stealing some of their fashion
and makeup in the music video. Who could ignore their beauty? (And though this
is becoming robotic to repeat, for those finding my “fanboying” as a
heterosexual male absurd, awkward, or even “wrong,” refer to an older review: Teen Top’s “Ah Ah.”) Now of course, I should not be
complimenting the beautiful men of Super Junior as I do actually have a
Valentine’s Day date: it is with SPICA’s Boa (and SPICA has confirmed a
comeback in March). And no, I am absolutely not delusional in any form. Little
is it known that I am Boa’s husband. It just happens that she has yet to
propose to me, but that will happen soon enough. And no, I am in no way still
overly obsessed with her as hinted at in prior reviews. Boa’s deep, charming
and soothing voice in “Russian Roulette” is to blame along with her amazing leadership,
hard work, humor, intelligence, skills, and so on. MAMAMOO’s Moonbyul’s “be
normal” should very much apply right now.

Drama references aside (and if a few
readers are confused, all is fine; when it comes to my friends’ ubiquitous
American pop culture references, I am equally lost for example), on a more
serious tone, although I am blatantly madly infatuated with Boa and admittedly
do hope that I one day fall in love with a special woman and that she proposes
to me (be it for dating or marriage), to clarify, in truth I am just as content
if I were to live more independently in the future. I do not wish for readers
to interpret my “idol crush” as a message that relationships are unequivocally
necessary for a content life. At the very core of an intimate relationship,
love should be the main criteria; even if finances and so forth are equally
important factors, love itself should be the driving force. Thus, if that does
not occur in the future and I personally find myself independent, I would still
be quite happy as I truly do not believe in rushing love or that an intimate
relationship is “necessary.” Besides, Girls’ Generation’s Sunny once said she
hopes to live independently and to never get married. Personally relating and
to share very personal goals (though I believe in full honesty, the following
words are uneasy to share as I do hold these privately), I likewise would
follow Sunny’s goal if love does not come along.

Living with an adopted female German
Shepherd or Rottweiler and having a teaching position would already satisfy me
by a significant amount. Coupling that with investing time in my interests of
fashion, makeup, music, exercise, and spending time with friends and family,
all would provide me the satisfaction I need. Also, if financially and
emotionally capable, I would strongly desire to adopt a daughter and be very
glad to be a parent, even if that means being a “single dad.” But, point being,
not having a partner would not lower my happiness.

Now for why I am hesitant to share
all of this, excluding how these are very personal desires, for one, the
certain dog breeds may already be quite surprising to some (either due to the
breeds’ reputations or that the breeds do not fit my image)—let alone how I
seemingly have gender biases that extend even to non-human species. In brief
reply, I very much adore dogs and have had a lot of positive experiences around
them. As for preferring larger breeds and them being female, biased experiences
with a friend’s female German Shepherd may be the reason. I enjoy larger dogs with
athletic abilities, high loyalty and intelligence, the ability to work and
train them for various tasks, and so on. Regarding the sex, while it overall
does not dictate many differences in dogs (assuming it is “fixed”), familiarity
is preferable when it comes to working with such capable dogs, and thus,
females are more desirable personally. Both the mentioned breeds would fulfill
the requirements, and admittedly have always been personal favorites. (On a
side note, I do not believe in “guard dogs.” The two breeds listed are
oftentimes desired for that arguably toxic role, but as I learned from my
friend, to roughly quote her, “You protect your German Shepherd; you’re her
guard, not the other way around.”)

When it comes to adopting a
daughter, to confess the gender preference is perhaps due to personal biases.
With spending more time around females than males, unfortunately a disparity
results in terms of feeling more comfortable and so forth with females versus
males. In fact, to the astonishment of a male friend, to repeat an old answer:
I would be more exceptionally more comfortable to discuss with my daughter her
physical changes during puberty than with discussing that same topic but with
my son. But brushing aside that point since his mom can handle that talk, more
surprisingly however, many are shocked when I share that I am open to adopting.
Personally, once settled and capable, I do wish to raise a child, regardless if
a single parent or not, and if the child is biologically my own or not. As Girl’s
Day’s Sojin once discussed (she also wants to adopt one day), adopting is a
chance to give love to children who otherwise may not receive love. Synthesizing
the factors of how I desire to raise a child in the future, and assuming I am
fully responsible for such a task, then adopting is fulfilling those wishes
while also giving love that may perhaps not come around to her.

Of course, though, in the end gender
truly does not matter to me when it comes to loving my children and others, and
that I am working towards removing any biases I have. No matter even their
sexual orientation and so on, loving and teaching are what I wish to give to my
children. Pet dogs follow suit with receiving love and discipline regardless of
gender. Seriousness aside, and I am confused on how this review suddenly
transitioned to these topics, though readers now know that I desire to adopt a daughter
and that I adore dogs, for an overall takeaway: be optimistic, joyful, and love
others and yourself. Even if the love is far from romantic, affection—not a
relationship—is what is necessary in life. That said, for those who celebrate
Valentine’s Day or not and who have a partner or not, I nevertheless hope the
day is splendid and that much love is given whenever possible.

Finally focusing on the review
itself, for technical sides to the song to address, as stated earlier, there
will be no choreography to grade. Peculiarly, however, there still is in fact
dancing: it just happens to be shown purely in isolated chunks in the music
video. Super Junior has never performed this song or released a dance practice.
From my knowledge, this is because “Devil” was the main title track over
“Magic,” hence why there have been no performances of the latter song (though readers
should correct me). Therefore, it will be impossible to grade the choreography
even though one does exist. Another clarification will be regarding the members
involved. Once again, if accurate, there are eleven members in total, but for
this song, only nine members were involved. Why this is the case I am
uncertain, so readers should feel free to share the reasons and even the
general dynamic of how Super Junior promotes songs.

Nonetheless, even with confusion on
the magical workings of Super Junior, the gentlemen deliver a perfect
Valentine’s Day song—or so it seems. Arguably the theme is in place for the
song, but in terms of quality, the same may or may not be said. The review will
determine if there truly are any tricks up Super Junior’s sleeve.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.4/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.33/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Rap: 6/10

6.     Conclusion: 7/10


Line Distribution: 6/10

Leeteuk:
Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 4)

Heechul:
Verse 1, Rap 1, Chorus 2, Conclusion (Total: 4)

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

Kangin:
Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Chorus 3, Conclusion (Total: 5)

Eunhyuk:
Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Rap 2, Chorus 3, Conclusion (Total: 5)

Donghae:  Introduction, Verse 1, Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus
2, Chorus 3 (Total: 5)

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

Ryeowook:
Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 3)

Kyuhyun:
Verse 1, Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Conclusion (Total: 4)

Equal Value: 3.89 sections per member.  


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 7/10

Girl
That magic girl

You’re so amazing
You’re like a clear flower baby
My heart flies over and follows you
I don’t even want to blink my eyes
I try to hold my breath
Baby, she’s alright

The sexy girl I’ve seen on TV when I was young
Next to her is a magician
I stared but I still couldn’t believe it
So shocked but it kept going
After I became an adult,
I knew it was all just a trick on the eyes
But then you appeared

She’s so hot
She’s on fire
You definitely have tricks up your sleeve
She’s so cool
Beautiful
I try so hard to find it but I can’t
I’m flying to you, two of us
I’m falling into you again, two of us
She’s so hot
She’s on fire
This ecstatic magic, magic, magic

Let’s go
She’s so mysterious
I’m delirious
It’s different from the circus, a Mobius
I can’t figure it out
It’s like looking at fireworks
All the things I’ve imagined keep going on
This girl is magic, and I’m I’m so ecstatic
What do I do?
Then you come closer

She’s all that
A “rabbit in a hat”
I’m curious what’s inside?
Out of the three cards that are hidden,
which one should I pick?
I can’t stop thinking

She’s so hot
She’s on fire
You definitely have tricks up your sleeve
She’s so cool
Beautiful
I try so hard to find it but I can’t
I’m flying to you, two of us
I’m falling into you again, two of us
She’s so hot
She’s on fire
This ecstatic magic, magic, magic

Magic tricks
I’m getting excited
Girl, you’re all the audience I need
You lead me, you trap me inside your name
Slow mo, now try to escape
Try to escape me tonight
It won’t be easy
All around the world
I’m addicted to you magic, magic girl

She’s so hot
She’s on fire
Try to find my tricks up somewhere in this heart
She’s so cool
Beautiful
Only you can make this stage shine more
The moment you come into my arms
The moment I get shocked and fall into it
She’s so hot
She’s on fire
You and I, magic, magic, magic girl

She’s so hot
Sexy girl I’m your magician
Everyone looks but can’t believe it
So hot, so hot, everyone shouts
She’s so cool (girl)
Hey it has just begun
The show is magic, and it’s so amazing

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Unfortunately,
“Magic” nearly misses achieving a seven for its Song Score. Nevertheless, the
song is rather balanced in both its sound and numerical scores, and overall it
can be deemed decent. For what holds as the song’s most prominent and
beneficial feature, although many would entirely dismiss this category, the
Line Distribution has much influence on the song.

Seldom
is the Line Distribution relevant besides being an abstract aspect; the Line Distribution
is simply how lines are divided among members and thus, when discussing the
sound of a song, this should be meaningless. Though that is true to some degree
in a vast majority of songs, in “Magic” this is not the case. First, however,
it is notable that the Line Distribution is far from a high score. Truthfully,
the score should even be lower: a five. The increase, though, is that though
numerically the sections are far from being evenly divided, the lines are
constantly alternating among members. As a result, members all still receive a
respectable amount of spotlight as there is no long streak of lines (excluding
the raps). In terms of how this impacts the song, however, it is not the rating
itself that matters: it is the alternating that occurs. Every other category is
indirectly yet positively affected through this style of distributing lines.

For
one, the vocals become extremely diverse. On the surface, there are always multiple
voices heard; as single lines tend to be alternated, this means there are
simply more members involved with singing a section. Using an example, the
choruses are not solely one member singing, but instead, are of around seven or
so members. Therefore, seven unique voices are heard, and that in itself, even
without considering a musical aspect, serves well for bringing vocal diversity.
To now account for a musical perspective, “Magic” showcases multiple vocal
styles: there is slower, calm singing; there is tuneful and soft note holds;
there is powerful, unison singing; there is rapping at certain moments. Adding
on top of all of those styles, the ubiquitous line alternating with members help
provide seamless transitions for when different styles take place.

Discussing
the sections, a landslide effect is in place. Because of the line distribution
influencing the vocals, the sections in “Magic” are expectedly affected as
well. However, the association is not as strong. From a vocal standpoint, the
sections may benefit, but when it comes to the structure of the sections,
neither the vocals or line share are major factors—if even factors at all. That
said, structurally a few sections suffer from repetition accumulating. For
example, the choruses, while filled with upbeat, powerful, tuneful and diverse singing,
dwindle in quality because of the flow; a stagnant form takes place considering
all three choruses are quite identical and lengthy. Homogeneously, the raps are
also sections that become impaired through failing to be dynamic. With the
raps, the flow and tune, while not distasteful, are nothing distinctive.
Because of such, mundaneness builds up, and with a lengthy duration akin to the
choruses, appeal is lost. Tagging on the instrumental as well, the same issue
translates: staleness, even if the sound itself is admirable. Nevertheless,
overall the sections and even instrumental still do fare well. Specifically with
the sections, the lowest ratings are at a six for “slightly above average.” For
the higher scores, both the introduction and conclusion excel, reasons being
that both the sonic and structural components are enticing.

Lastly,
for the lyrics, with many sections holding as unique and not mere replicas of
prior ones and accounting for the various details, a higher score is earned.
Most alluringly, the analogy regarding the love-interest lady being a magician
and the main character being trapped in a (love) spell serves the Lyrics
category incredibly well. Although this idea is not inherently an outstanding,
extraordinary plot, the details surrounding this main theme all remain thorough
and intriguing.

Concluding,
Super Junior’s “Magic” does only reach a six, but to be specific, it is only .1
of a rating score away from being rounded up to a seven. Despite what numbers
claim, however, “Magic” is an enjoyable song, and it is one that is flexible:
it serves well for a summer or Valentine’s Day song. Reiterating an earlier
point, the line distribution—regardless of what the rating for it is—is what
gives “Magic” its magic; through this single category, every other aspect is
positively benefitted in some manner. At worst, repetitiveness is the downfall
for the song, but even then, it is a minor one.

_______________________________________________________

I
have twelve minutes to post this before I would consider it “late.”
Miraculously, I have indeed finished this on time, and I hope on Tuesday I also
finish another review and to soon enough begin reviewing Stellar’s “Sting.” At
this rate, though, I am planning to dive directly into “Sting,” and will probably
do that. Thus, for the upcoming review, readers can expect Stellar to be of attention.

As
always, thank you for reading or skimming this review in full, and as said
earlier, I hope many had a wonderful Valentine’s Day or at least a wonderful
regular day. Look forward to Stellar’s “Sting,” and with that, a return to this
blog’s distinctive point: having lengthy discussions regarding social topics.
Predictably, much is to be said for “Sting” and slut-shaming, though I will say
that many are finally, and rightfully, giving Stellar the respect they deserve—socially
and musically. Stay tuned for the review. I will work hard to release it soon.
After all, “you’re so amazing; you’re like a clear flower, baby.”

ZE:A J’s Music Video – “Marry Me” Review

Reviewed on August 22, 2015

ZE:A J – Marry Me (Music Video)

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Personal Message: After skimming my prior review of Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You,” I do feel rather shameful. While the length is more concise, I feel that the conducted analyses were poor in quality, and thus, the reason for the conciseness; rather than the review being shorter due to proper compact writing, it is, most likely, due to the lack of given analysis. Of course, however, instead of glooming over a horrendous review, moving on through reflection and correction will be done (and it was the second trial of a newly adjusted review outline). That said, in attempts to bring the blog back to its usual rate, and to slightly redeem the past review, a bonus one has been prepared: ZE:A J’s music video, “Marry Me.” Furthermore, to build upon the idea of “bonus,” rather than this being a Korean Pop song, it is a Chinese Pop song (or ballad, more accurately, and it is in Mandarin). To clarify, though, the group is a Korean group, and specifically, a sub-unit.

Partially continuing the latter topic, although ZE:A may be a Korean group, there are no issues with them deciding to tackle a Chinese song (minus potential pronunciation mistakes, but based on many, the men did well for this song). In fact, by them doing so, in a social lens, it is highly beneficial as it showcases acceptance of multiple cultures, languages, and so forth. Coincidentally, the miniature digression in the review of Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You” reflects here: music can be a catalyst to promote understanding and acceptance of differences. Due to already discussing this subject, for those interested, reading the mentioned review should be done.  

For what has yet to be discussed, however, and in the review itself, will not be as it is a music video review, to address “Marry Me” in a musical context, although it is not an exceptionally outstanding ballad, it is still rather solid. If it were to be reviewed (for its audio), I predict a seven for “above average.” The vocals are to ZE:A’s usual, high standard, and for other categories, such as with the instrumental and sections, all are equally promising. Now, in terms of the music video, offering brief opinions, biasedly, I adore it as I absolutely love romantic plots and wish, one day, I will be able to experience love due to its overarching theme, and furthermore, its appealing visual content. However, for what is disliked, a weaker plot does exist. Admittedly, however, with ZE:A being in spotlight, with the men being my favorite male group, automatic support is granted. Nevertheless, the review will determine, unbiasedly, if the music video is worth praising.

Before truly beginning, for a short digression based on ZE:A being a personal, beloved group (for those interested in solely the review, feel free to skip to it), interesting remarks were made from a friend when I shared the music video, and additionally, from discussing “ideal types.” As always, I do not intend to antagonize my friend or anyone, but, for the purpose of critically challenging certain replies, a discussion must take place. Many readers may relate to the given scenario, and thus, it is worth spending time to dissect it. With such, to offer context, though I was certainly quite excited with sharing the video, a friend responded with: “Stop fanboying this much, it’s not right and gross.” Peculiarly, though, when it comes to female groups, I have not received this reply from her, hence why this is can be considered more than a request to quit acting excessively (and with past “fanboying,” I was certainly more excited, such was with AOA’s “Heart Attack,” of which she accepted).

First of all, to humorously continue the use of the term “fanboy,” nothing is wrong with, as a male, “fanboying” over male groups (or persons). There is no shame in admiring the men of ZE:A for their skills, sweet manners, intelligence, and even physical beauty. As shared in a past review, I greatly adore Kevin from ZE:A for his attitude and work ethics, and furthermore, for providing me confidence with using makeup as a male. Blatantly, there is nothing “gross” or “wrong” with that admiration (or using makeup, as discussed in Infinite’s “The Chaser”). Offering a disturbing find, for an opposite example, females “fangirling” over females tends to be accepted, or at least, more so than when a male does it, and most likely, that is not a mere coincidence. Arguably, gender norms are the reasons for why males tend to be shamed for admiring other males, and diving deeper with such leads to unfortunate discoveries.

Summarizing two main parts, male standards and, once again, undervaluing femininity, are the reasons for why it is “gross” for a male to highly admire males. Addressing the component of male standards, homophobia arrives: males are supposed to be heterosexuals; not being a heterosexual as a male can be equated to not even being a male. Therefore, with the possible chance of being associated with homosexuality, such as through affection for other males, many opt to hide any form of affection for males. The current result from such reflects in that, for males admiring other males, it is considered “gross.”

On that note, there are many issues with this current norm. Most importantly, for one aspect, homosexuality should not be considered as disgusting. It is highly inequitable for heterosexuality to be considered “right” when there is never a “correct” sexual orientation (heterosexuality has been socialized and pushed as “normal”). Furthermore, assumptions towards sexual orientation can never be made; it is impossible to gauge a person’s sexual orientation through behavior as, unlike what is often time showcased, sexual orientation does not relate to a person’s behavior (current stereotypes exist to degrade homosexuals as if they were savages and so forth). As I have already allocated much time towards the discussion of homophobia and its connection to masculinity, I will link the review that discusses it: Teen Top’s “Ah Ah.” Perfectly timed, the review uses an example of “fanboying,” and thus, for the purpose of time, I will halt the discussion here. (For a side note, it is pleasing to be able to link reviews that have already discussed certain social topics. This showcases how much I digress that many important, rarer discussions are taking place.)

That said, for the second piece of undervaluing femininity, though that has been ubiquitously discussed in my reviews, I have yet to do so in the context of male gender norms. In terms of how male-to-male admiration shaming reflects such, being affectionate is connoted as feminine; acting caring and loving is considered an act that females do. To clarify, though it is worth challenging why that trait has been socialized as a gender norm, it should also be acknowledged that being affectionate is not negative. In fact, it is a highly beneficial, essential trait that, arguably, the world is in shortage of. But, returning to the main topic, if being affectionate is far from negativity, it would then appear illogical for males to be shamed for showcasing such. Masculinity, or more accurately, toxic masculinity, and, as stated, undervaluing femininity, are why male affection is disapproved.

Males are socialized to be dominant, and with defining dominant, being open to opinions and displaying care, for examples, are not a part of the description (and if asking why males are taught that, it can be linked to continuing the idea of male superiority, and with it being continually perpetuated, it allows sexism to keep thriving). Therefore, for one aspect, being affectionate, especially towards another male, is failing to uphold the “manly” standard of being dominant and authoritative. Now, connecting the piece of undervaluing femininity, due to how affection is associated with females, males doing so are downgrading in social rank; a male acting feminine is disliked as, for androcentric societies, females are not rendered as equal to males, but rather, inferior. Disclosing an example, a woman who acts dominant and apathetic is often time praised as, with those behaviors, masculinity is in place, yet when a man displays emotions, such as crying to shows or greatly adoring male idols, he is insulted and shamed as, based on current norms, those feminine acts are repulsive, and more so when by a male and in no way am I coincidentally mentioning that I have fell into the latter via crying a river to “Jessica & Krystal” and highly adoring ZE:A.

For additional discussion, a much older review on Apink’s “Luv” dives into this gender value disparity. Overall, it is shameful that positive, feminine traits are disliked when, as explained, feminine traits are not poor. Also, to explain, masculine traits in themselves are not horrendous, but rather, current standards of those traits are. Instead of teaching males that being authoritative and dominant is to shut down various opinions and emotions, males should be taught that being authoritative is to advocate for those who are, indeed, ignored, and that it means to be open to opinions. Furthermore, males should not be limited to being taught “masculine” traits, but also, “feminine” ones, and anticipatedly, females should follow suit with being taught both “masculine” and “feminine”  traits as, if standards were equitable, both labels are worthy of praise, unlike the current standard where one is not.

Delivering a final message, and the one I simply told my friend (and could have stated at the start to save two hours), there is nothing wrong with “fanboying” over ZE:A, or other males, since, real men know how to love people, regardless of who they are. Rather than continuing the toxic trends of masculinity, it is best to reconstruct it so that, in the future, both masculinity and femininity is admired. In this specific case, and for a personal message to male readers, remember what “being a man” is truly: being sweet, friendly, smart, open for opinions, helpful, expressive, and so forth. It is manly to cry, to love, and to compliment other males. That said, it is also manly to love sports, cars, and other, typical male-related activities, but likewise, it is still manly to be into makeup, fashion, and so forth. In the end, being a man is to be able to embrace femininity and masculinity, and to be a kind, decent human being. It should not, and  does not, mean what the current, perplexing standards showcase.

As this digression has ran a longer length, I will save the embarrassing discussion of “ideal types” for a future review (in short, my friend and I shared qualities we would love in a partner, and with my list, she found it highly “absurd”). On topic, with the sub-unit group of ZE:A J, the five, lovely men, in addition to unveiling what real masculinity is, will also, hopefully, showcase a decent music video.

_________________

Plot Score: 4/10

So that readers understand my personal interpretation of the plot, and thus, the reasons for possible criticism, I will offer my personal summary of the music video. Concerningly, however, the plot can already be summarized in one sentence: five men are followed, and each presents their own method on how they propose to their partner, or charmingly phrased, soon-to-be-wife.

Diving into specifics, the video opens with (for the purpose of simplicity, members’ names will be used for the characters) Dongjun and his partner walking under serene, vivid trees. The two hold hands, and later, decide to take pictures. Afterwards, a transition is made to another character: Heechul. He and his date enjoy a dinner. Hastily progressed, the music video then switches to Minwoo, the third character. Differentiating from the prior scenes, his date and him are not on land, but instead, on water: the two are in a rowboat in a pool. Fast forwarding, the song’s title is finally upheld: a toy boat arrives with a ring, and as depicted, Minwoo proposes to his love-interest. Continuing to the fourth character, Taeheon and his partner are witnessed playing games, such as pool and, for a lack of name, the “lucky alligator.” Lastly, for Kevin, a magic performance is given by him for his partner. After mystically changing his clothing and turning a rabbit plushie into an actual one, he unveils a final trick: placing a wedding veil over her head, of which can be considered his way of proposing.

With the remaining duration, and likewise, for other segments throughout the video, standard singing is showcased. Nonetheless, in terms of the music video’s plot, its end will be assumed at the wedding veil placement.

– Analysis: Although the plot is infatuating, that moreover is due to the general, sweet and romantic theme, not the plot directly; the plot, in essence, is plain, though on the surface, it appears as enticing due to its love concept. Praising a few notable aspects, however, for one, the use of five characters’ perspectives does allow variety. If the music video was centered on solely one member, a more stagnant, linear plot could have potentially been the outcome. Positively, with five characters in spotlight, rather than one affectionate relationship, five are observed. Furthermore, although it would be predicted that every character was to propose, solely Minwoo and Kevin did (or at least, for the depicted scenes). While inconsistency from such may seem troubling, in the case of “Marry Me,” with solely two characters proposing, redundancy is prevented. A few of the characters’ relationship were at the point of marriage, but for the others, different points existed, and that diversity aids in keeping “Marry Me” unique and interesting.

Switching to the negatives, and for why the score is a four, of which indicates a slightly below average plot, reiterating the earlier point, though the plot is lovely in the context of genuine love and marriage, that is solely what is displayed. There is no complexity to the music video’s plot. Utilizing the term of “eye-candy,” that is “Marry Me” ‘s music video; the video to ZE:A J’s song is one that focuses moreover on visual appeal than a mentally stimulating story. The plot is, sadly, lackluster, and even with the exclusive methods of proposing and the adorable scenes, there is a minimal story.

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Structural Score: 8/10

Optimistically, despite a lower score for its plot, for the structural score–the category that relates to visual content and how the music video is edited or “structured”–a higher-end rating exists: solid. “Marry Me” is fantastic in the realm of visual appeal, as stated earlier.

Addressing a usual, yet effective, component for music videos, “Marry Me” manipulates transitions between plot scenes and singing scenes. Elaborating, the loving, cuter scenes involving a character and partner would alternate to a single shot, or, at specific times, an entire group shot, involving the ZE:A J members. With a plethora of scenes lasting for shorter lengths of seconds, the constant alternating allows more visual content to be compacted in the music video’s timeframe. Additionally, with minimal time to truly consume every scene thoroughly, this constant switch maintains visual appeal as, overall, analyzing is relentless.     

Focusing moreover on the visual content, in the lens of settings, the multiple backgrounds were attractive: the walk under the blossoming trees; the single and group shots involving an ostentatious mansion; the outdoor, shining pool; the inside of said mansion where games were played; and lastly, the outdoors, though specifically at night. Although, overarchingly, the settings were of a single, general one involving a mansion and its surrounding, with precise attention towards certain points of the overall background, variety is still in place. Also, it is preferable that “Marry Me” adopts its current background route: rather than backgrounds that would be highly abstract and random to one another, with all of the settings relating, organization is in place, and of course, general consistency, both of which greatly build upon the music video’s romantic theme versus, for an undesirable outcome, distracting viewers.

For an ultimate piece to the video’s structural layer, for how the members and actress appeared, needless to state, all are very chic. The copious, stylish clothings and equally stunning hair styles for the men and lady are gorgeous, and furthermore, with it all flawlessly meshing with the given backgrounds, all of them unequivocally contribute to the music video’s visual appeal.

An eight will hold as the structural score. Though “Marry Me” possesses a weaker plot, with its visual component, much compensation occurs.

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

Averaging out the two categories, ZE:A J’s music video of “Marry Me” can be considered a slightly above average video, and that I partially agree to; biasedly, I hold this video at a seven, but realistically, as with the review, I do accept that it holds at a six. For a new release, the men of ZE:A J continue to showcase their charms, both with vocals and their acting, and personally, I am glad the group is active once more. It has been more than a year since the group as a whole returned, and although this is a sub-unit release, it is better than none. ZE:A is highly underrated despite their consistently proven talents.

Before proceeding further, once again, I am writing past midnight. Therefore, should the writing significantly falter, I do apologize. On topic, thank you very much for reading. As there has been a significant delay with the blog, I am relieved to have finished this within two days of the prior review. Nevertheless, with this being a music video review, and thus, exceptionally shorter than standard song reviews, that is to be expected. One more bonus review is planned: Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart,” and specifically, akin to this review, the ladies’ music video will be of focus. Due to a request for both of Girls’ Generation’s latest releases, “Lion Heart” and “You Think,” as time will restrict both songs from being reviewed, I have decided to split the request: “Lion Heart” will be reviewed for its music video, and “You Think” for the song itself. To the requester, I greatly apologize for modifying the request, but with time restraints, I hope for understanding.

Afterwards, unless if more requests arrive, the current, personal list will be continued. Because of university coming up on August 31, I will be attempting to post as many reviews as possible, and with this review taking solely two days, I feel encouraged. That said, as this is the end, thank you once again for reading, and stay tuned for another music video review. And though I would normally insert my reviews’ iconic conclusions, as I unfortunately do not speak Mandarin and that no translations have been posted, I am forced to confess my emotions: I hope readers “marry me.” And by the phrase, I do mean that many will continue reading my reviews. Keep checking back for a review on the music video to Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart.”

Mnet Japan’s Reality Show – “Star Camp” Review

Reviewed on January 1, 2015

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Before this review starts, I would like to give a few excuses disclaimers. For one, as some readers may know, I do not possess an actual show review outline; my show reviews are a mixture of highlights and my general opinion of the show. That said, there is no numerical rating as seen in my song reviews. Secondly, since this show is not too popular, finding pictures to utilize is nearly impossible. As a result, to keep my tradition of how my show reviews contain pictures, I am putting extra effort by taking my own images from the show. Unfortunately, the downfall of that appears in the lower quality of the pictures. Apologies for such, and keep in mind, these show reviews can be considered moreover “bonus reviews” than dedicated, thorough ones. Music reviews will always remain my top priority.

Anyhow, to digress slightly more, I would like to give some comments in regards to T-ARA’s first home concert. T-ARA holds a special throne in that they are one of my personal favorite groups in general, and that I highly admire and look up to the ladies. Hopefully one day I am as intelligent and skilled as Soyeon (a huge role model to me), and that other traits such as being exceptionally friendly, responsible, caring, tough, and more, are also achieved. And, I also hope one day I will be as pretty as her, but that is impossible less important than the other significant characteristics. Back to the concert, after 5 years (I might be wrong with the years), T-ARA has finally had their first solo concert in their home country (they have done a few in Japan and China, but not Korea). It is incredible to see their growth over the years, and I hold high expectations on their future activities.

Going on another tangent, in regards to their song “ORGR,” there has been a lot of debate and confusion to the lyrics, and I will offer my own perspective on it (and at this point, feel free to skip below). Whether it is due to pure coincidence or clever composing (or simply pronunciation), the key phrase of the song can be considered a pun involving both languages of Korean and English. Firstly, “ORGR” is abbreviated for “Oh Ready Go Ready,” which is heard in the lyrics in the form of “oh ready, go ready, go.” This is where confusion occurs; people hear three phrases: “Oh ready, go ready, go,” or “Oh let it go, let it go,” or if taking account a Korean phrase of mockery (not too sure on this), a rough meaning of “Na na na.” So, to offer my own opinion, I believe T-ARA is saying the English phrase of “Oh ready, go ready” since the song title is the abbreviated form of those words. However, I find that the key phrase could also reflect the latter phrases. To explain why people hear “Oh let it go, let it go,” it has to do with the pronunciation of the English phrase of “ORGR.” The letter/sound “R” in English is replaceable with the letter/sound of “L” in Korean assuming the following letter is a vowel sound (for example, Sistar’s Hyorin can also be pronounced as “Hyolyn,” both are valid and correct; Rick can also be heard as “Lick,” and similarly, be correct) . This leads to “Oh ‘leady’ go,” but now you are wondering why the “D” sounds like a “T,” and that is simply that; in Korean, the English “D” sound/letter is a “T” sound. A simple example is the Korean slang/saying of “daebak” (means “awesome/amazing/cool”). In this case, the “D” sound is softer and moreover sounding like “taebak” for English. Factoring this into the equation, the phrase of “ORGR” now becomes “Oh ‘leaty’ go” which sounds like “Oh let it go.” As for the Korean mockery phrase, that is also correct to be heard (assuming I am accurate about the phrase). While “Oh ready, go ready, go” is heard as that in English, in Korean, the same sounding phrase could mean a teasing, mocking saying of “Na na na.” Anyhow, point is, regardless of what you hear, they all match the overall song’s lyrics, and in the end, all are technically accurate. Apologies if my formatting here induces eye strain.

Now ignoring the extremely confusing, unorganized language lesson, in terms of how T-ARA’s concert relates to “Star Camp,” I wondered how rigorous and strenuous the preparation leading up to the solo concert was; dancing and singing for hours is an extremely difficult feat, and thus, preparing for such an event would seem equally challenging. Thankfully, this show gives some insight. While it may not be focused on T-ARA, it does focus on idols who are equally charming, talented, and stunning as those ladies. ZE:A is a group I highly respect. If I recall properly, I believe I did a review on one of their songs, but considering it was during the newbie days, that review would hold as incohesive and horrendous. Perhaps a future review will need to be done to correct the past. Anyhow, whether it were songs that I overlooked such as “Step By Step,” singing and dancing skills, their humor, or their general sweet, affectionate interactions, “Star Camp” reminded me of how incredible these men were.

With all of that said, it is time to truly begin the review. The gentlemen of ZE:A held their own home concert a while back, and thanks to “Star Camp,” some behind-the-scene footages are revealed. Furthermore, for those curious on Star Empire Entertainment’s building (ZE:A’s label company; they also home Nine Muses, Jewelry, Soreal, and V.O.S), this show tours the place and reveals the layout. Is this show worth watching, and does it accurately depict ZE:A’s struggles? Through taking a camping trip to the land of the star idols of ZE:A, we will find out.

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For the first section of “Star Camp,” touring Star Empire Entertainment’s building was the main objective. ZE:A’s hyung (used by males to refer to older males), Kevin, “good-looks” Heechul, and Jewelry’s sparkling Yewon were the hosts of the tour. They covered multiple stories (pun intended) of the company, and gave their own personal anecdotes such as trainee day experiences.

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Peering at the first floor, there were two sections to cover: the cafeteria and the recording studio. For the cafeteria, besides some teasing on Yewon’s excitement to eat, “Star Camp” revealed the layout. Additionally, Kevin shared ZE:A’s trainee experience involving the place. Before they had a cafeteria worker, he was in charge of cooking meals for his group whether it was a formal dish or simply preparing ramen.  

Later, although strangely in the show the order was not chronologically (it went from first floor, second, third, then back to first), the recording studio was unveiled. Unlike the cafeteria, some fans of Star Empire Entertainment’s artists may recognize the location due to other videos (an example such as Nine Muses’ Sera’s audition). Unfortunately, not much was covered since a V.O.S member was in the midst of recording an actual song.

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Eventually, “Star Camp” proceeds to the second floor. Here, other ZE:A members are seen; Minwoo and Dongjun introduced viewers to the company’s fitness room. While the physical location is unveiled, the ZE:A members discussed their rigorous workout regime; weightlifting and running were their prominent forms of exercise. Also humorously, the members mentioned their CEO’s office being nearby. This led to Kevin’s jocular impersonation of the CEO should he catch idols improperly exercising.

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Adding another example of “Star Camp” ‘s unusual order, the three hosts dived into the basement to showcase the vocal practice room. Similar to the recording studio, fans will recognize this place from other videos. Social media accounts from Star Empire’s idols have depicted short, miniature clips of them singing in this room. Likewise with the recording studio, idols are seen actively working; during the filming, the group of Soreal was seen practicing their vocals.

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Now if fans have not recognized the other locations, positively, the third floor will be instantly identifiable; this floor holds the dance practice room, the same location of dance practice videos be it for ZE:A, Nine Muses, Jewelry, and even the other groups. On this floor, additional ZE:A members are encountered; Hyungsik, Siwan, and Taeheon were witnessed practicing. In preparation for their concert, they rehearsed a certain song: Apink’s “No No No” (a future review might be on Apink’s latest song, “Luv”). Readers familiar with Apink will know they are a female group, and some may hold the stance that males performing their choreography is either “wrong” or “awkward,” but ZE:A disproves such. Although “Star Camp” showcased solely a fragment of the dance, the gentlemen combated away those stereotypes and displayed a phenomenal, cute and catchy dance. Adding a quick digression, gender limitations is nonexistent; the concept of certain objects or actions being restricted to a specific gender is something socially constructed. In summary, hopefully viewers do not ever hold the idea of how a group’s choreography is limited based on gender. Reality shows there is no “female dance” or “male dance,” and even with different subjects such as cosmetics, hobbies and more, those limitations should be challenged and questioned.   

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Once the touring is completed, “Star Camp” focuses on specific moments of the gentlemen prepping for their solo concert. A specific scene disclosed their extreme dedication. From the beginning of the day to 4 a.m., ZE:A members were observed singing and dancing relentlessly. As Hyungsik mentioned, with 9 members in ZE:A, extra time must be invested in order to create perfect synchronicity among them. Despite how tiring and tedious the training proved to be, they all remained diligent and focused, and surprisingly, very cheerful and continued to encourage one another.

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Further practice was also observed. During the day and prior to the concert, ZE:A rehearsed on the actual stage itself. With time pressuring the members, they scrutinized every detail of the stage; whether it was the choreography itself, time to transition and change costumes, or introductions, everything became thoroughly checked and had both ZE:A and staff members giving feedback. Ensuring an excellent performance would ensue was their main objective.

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After all of the gentlemen’s hard work have been shown, the actual concert itself is filmed. Although in short bits, “Star Camp” disclosed the stage’s numerous fans and ZE:A’s outcome that came from dedicated, tiresome work. “Star Camp” ended on the message of how success derives from hard work. Even with the agonizing days of sheer preparation, in the end, ZE:A’s concert became augmented due to the invested time and energy.

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These are the main overarching ideas to the show. Firstly, although I overviewed the main points, I did not include every conversation and story that occurred, and thus, in that regard, I still recommend watching the show for those moments (fans of ZE:A and Star Empire Entertainment would be interested). However, overall, to address the mechanical aspects of “Star Camp,” this was a straight-forward show; it went from touring the label company to showing ZE:A’s sessions of practice. On the positive side, it allowed more focus to some behind-the-scene footages, but in the entertainment perspective, it was not too exciting (and considering this is moreover a show versus a documentary, I hold some entertainment accountable). I anticipated more personal sides to ZE:A, and although there were a multitude of interactions seen, it all revolved around “Star Camp” and practicing versus their usual affection towards each other. In comparison to, for example, OnStyle’s “The TaeTiSeo,” “Star Camp” adds the behind-the-scenes aspect, but unlike “The TaeTiSeo,” general interactions were not seen. Everything was under the industry working lens (mainly rehearsals), which is not bad in itself, but considering this is labeled a show and, as stated, not a documentary, entertaining components should have been added besides the anecdotes and such.

Scrutinizing the show for other aspects excluding the mechanical piece of being a show, like the general K-Pop related ones, the overall general vibe was one of cheerfulness. While positivity should be rife in people’s lives, “Star Camp” displayed the typical one-sided story to idols. ZE:A may have been seen to be drained physically of their stamina and such, and whether their emotions of feeling positive and joyful were genuine or not, the show placed emphasis on glamorizing the men’s jobs of being idols as perfect and utterly rewarding. Some people may recall a specific incident months ago involving Star Empire’s CEO and ZE:A’s leader Junyoung; their battle over fair, humane treatment in terms of simple respect and fair payment became acknowledged all over, and with that scenario holding as true, their fight would completely contradict “Star Camp” ‘s depiction of how ZE:A members possess an easy and positive, although tiring job that simply involved practicing for performances.

Following up, there is a significant aspect to this show’s tone due to the sole basis of editing (and of course further technicalities such as specific clips used, manipulated context, and more). For example, contrasting this show to pure footage and documentaries (such as Nine Muses’ documentary), the lens in which viewers witness this show become utterly transformed into one that is expecting entertainment and a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. With “Star Camp” having their own crew, the members of ZE:A addressed the show with a persona that would appeal to the public; the men appeared exceptionally positive and cheerful. The issue, however, that arises from the change in behavior is what covers the K-Pop industry’s shadier and crueler side. To use a specific example of how ZE:A (and others) adapted their behavior, when it came to the show’s initial introduction of interviewing idols (Kwanghee’s interview is the picture above), sadly, a high chance of their answers were potentially scripted. Although strangely kept, with Kwanghee’s interview, he confessed he had to include “nest” due to a given script for his answer to “What does Star Empire Entertainment represent to you?” On the surface, the awkward phrasing was jocular, and knowing Kwanghee’s upbeat and comical personality, his confession of having a script becomes insignificant. However, ignoring the lighthearted perspective, the fact that he was given a script to answer interview questions that should have elicited genuine, personal answers from his own thoughts, creates some questioning to both the show and potentially other shows and footages involving other K-Pop idols.

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Mechanically, “Star Camp” revealed a hindered perspective to ZE:A’s behind-the-scenes practice. Although crippled in showcasing solely positive experiences, it gives the most blatant layer to an idol’s work. In terms of other mechanical details such as being entertaining, while the stories tolds were amusing, more interaction among the members excluding work would have been desired. For the critical aspect, “Star Camp,” like the predominant concept of every K-Pop related show, solely displays positivity and happiness. And while the gentlemen could have truthfully and legitimately felt utter joy to be practicing, showcasing only their successes gives a limited perspective to their jobs, and unfortunately, undermines struggles they could be undergoing (and fast forward in the future, the example of ZE:A’s leader Junyoung and Star Empire’s CEO having their hefty argument). In short, this show is worth watching if ZE:A is a group of interest, and if Star Empire Entertainment holds some interest as well. Additionally, and even if it is one-sided, for those curious on practice protocols, a limited sight is given. For what I would recommend, however, is after watching this show, compare it to Nine Muses’ documentary, “Nine Muses of Star Empire,” to see significant changes and the additional layers to practicing and an idol’s experience (without leaking too much, the documentary includes staff members’ interaction with idols, the harshness, and more).

Perhaps in the future I will review the documentary, and even with my opinion of how solid Nine Muses’ documentary is, everything should still be questioned. A review on the documentary will include my thoughts regarding it, but that will be for the future. Ending on a slightly happier note (although people should still retain the idea of being critical), if the positivity and such seen in shows are forged, at the very least, I will argue that the affection between members are usually genuine. Using ZE:A as an example, Junyoung’s confrontation with the CEO was heavily driven in a desire to protect his members. Even different groups such as the somewhat older news of B.A.P attempting, as a whole group, to terminate their contract with their company is another example. After all, if the reality holds true that the K-Pop industry is rigorous and atrocious towards idols, surviving it via having love and compassion towards other members for support is a likely outcome.

Anyhow, my opinion on the show has been given. Thank you very much for reading, and hopefully this show review adds some variety to the standard song reviews I create. To add an extra piece to this show review trend, I will look over Nine Muses’ own reality show, “Nine Muses Cast” and give my stance on it. After that, song reviews will be resumed, and with a milestone of six reviews for January, I will aim to release four song reviews as soon as possible and in high quality. Songs in mind include Apink’s “Luv” and perhaps a desired review of Girl’s Day’s “I Miss You,” but as always, any song is up for grabs. In fact, I might review ZE:A’s “Ghost of the Wind” since that is a very solid song along with having the best choreography I have seen so far. Thank you once more, and stay tuned. (As a side note, I did finish this review on December 31, but I am holding it off until January 1, and I am hoping the pictures are formatted properly)

ZE:A – “Breathe” Review

ZE:A – Breathe Music Video

ZE:A – Breathe (Live Performance)

ZE:A – Breathe

Reviewed on July 14, 2014

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Personal Message: Alright I’m back already! Before we get started, I have some quick updates. I really, really, want to review “Darling” by Girl’s Day, but so far I can’t find any good video of their choreography. I could try basing it from the music video, but I want a full, accurate view of the dance. As such, I’m patiently waiting for some live performances (on a broadcasting performance stage, with true recordings and not a fan-film) or for a dance version to be released (which is likely according to Girl’s Day pattern for “Something”, “Female President”, and “Expectation”)

Anyhow, let’s not focus on those ladies, rather, let’s focus on the gentlemen. Finally doing a male group review. Before we start, there are some things to address about this song.

For one, I think officially this song is called “Breathe”, but I guess “Breath” is technically correct too if looking at the lyrics.

Secondly, Siwan doesn’t seem to sing in any live performances, yet in the music video it appears that he has some lines. From what I’ve heard, he’s been busy filming a drama. Don’t quote me on it, but I think the Korean Drama is “Triangle”? Again not sure. I just saw some very adorable (and comical!) behind-the-scenes footage with Siwan and Jiyeon from T-ARA. Yes…it was the kissing scene…come on, every guy still has that romance feeling in them.

Anyways, I digress. Since he’s been filming the drama, I’m guessing his schedule was too packed to truly practice with the rest of ZE:A. As such, they probably cut him some lack by having him not sing. Now how does this affect us? Unfortunately, although I’m a fan of ZE:A, I’m still not 100% familiar with all of their voices. So to be safe, I won’t be including Siwan for certain lines. Forgive me if I give credit to someone else for his lines. 

On topic of the song, I remembered anxiously waiting for it to come out. I was never a fan of male groups, but ZE:A changed that. Nine Muses did a special stage with them way long ago, all the way back in December from last year, I think. Anyways, from that, I saw ZE:A. Turns out, those two groups are in the same company, Star Empire. Due to that, I decided to check out ZE:A. I was curious; they had 9 members, like Nine Muses, but can they sing and dance like the ladies? To my surprise: yes. These men proved me wrong. I’ve always favored female groups since I have personally always found them superior in terms of dancing and singing, but ZE:A tears that wall down. Not only that, but like the hilarious and sweet ladies, these gentlemen have also won my love for how they interact with one another. 

So, “it’s time to rise, it’s time to shine”. Let’s “show em some love” through this review.

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Song Total Score: 9/10 (8.6/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 9/10 – ZE:A is extremely, extremely talented when it comes to singer. Honestly, Star Empire must have some secret. Nine Muses, Jewelry, and ZE:A are examples. All of these groups from Star Empire are fantastic with vocals.

In this song, we get to see sweet melodies, we get to see high notes and energy, it is well done. The voices are definitely a strong component. Coming from their previous song, “Ghost of Wind”, the men here did not disappoint. They continue to carry amazing singing talent.

– Song Structure: 8/10 (8.125/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

So for “Song Structure”, I’m going to go through each section (Verse, Chorus, etc) and give a score per section. After that, the average is the “Song Structure” score.

1. Introduction: 10/10 – Just wow. One of the best introductions I have ever heard. For one, the pacing is just perfect. Not too slow, but not too high. It’s set at a correct intensity to get the song rolling but to still allow build up. Adding on, the “Ohhh” and other lines were perfect; the initial singing gives off a nice tune and the lines of “It’s time to rise…” definitely create a nice build up. Also, right after those lines, there’s a quick pause. That just builds up the song further. 

Overall, this introduction prepares you for the song and makes you want more; an appetizer for an introduction. Perfect. It’s unique and special. So far, it is one of the very few introductions with great vocal and instrumental uses. Big props to Kevin for leading the way.

2. Verse: 8/10 – Dongjun and Kevin work together for this. Actually I just realized, there is only one “verse” in this song. Strange, but it’s not bad to deviate from a “standard” song structure. 

For this section, Dongjun starts off. He gives off a nice rhythm; what can be noticed is how the instrument has chunks, similar to the lines Dongjun sings. There’s a nice parallel there between the vocals and instruments. The verse does start off on the slower side, but that’s just to lay the foundation for building up the song later. 

Next, is Kevin singing. Kevin has some very sweet vocals; he’s able to carry out a gentle melody. Thanks to him, the transition to the next part does go smoothly. It blends in with his softness that he gave. 

Overall, nothing too special, but thanks to professionally executing the singing and melody, it’s still a very strong verse.

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – The best way to explain this part is it “bursts” or “chunks” up lines for different members. After one line, another member takes over. For the first pre-chorus, Hyungsik, Minwoo, and Junyoung work together. The second pre-chorus has Kwanghee included with the original 3.

With having one line per member, it creates a nice diversity for listeners; it helps keep the part fresh. What really makes this part solid is how the first line is low pitched, smooth, and not too intense. The next line that follows up however, contrasts that. It’s high pitched, slightly more rough, and it carries a lot more energy. Now after that line, it repeats again with starting off low pitched and then back to high pitched. This creates a really nice effect; a dive down then a flight back up for two cycles. It’s interesting and lingers around.

Now since this is the pre-chorus, transitioning to the chorus is a big deal. No problem, though, as Junyoung hits a surprising high note (I mean, after all, he does have a lower, huskier voice. I didn’t expect him to ever be able to go that high). That brings so much energy and gives a great wrap up for the pre-chorus. Going to the chorus peacefully is what Junyoung allowed to happen.

4. Chorus: 9/10 – Dongjun goes solo here, but not a bad idea at all. In fact, sending in one of their stronger singers for the chorus is perfect. I’ve always been a big fan of Dongjun for his skills. No disappointment. 

For the start, Dongjun doesn’t immediately bring in more intensity. In fact, the pacing is really special here. The song remains in a calmer, slower state at first. But slowly, Dongjun begins to bring more energy by raising his pitch and by holding his notes to create an awesome lingering sound. Furthermore, what impresses me about the chorus is how it builds intensity; the pacing is still the same. It’s still relatively slow. Instead of relying on making the song feel faster, all the chorus does is it plays off Dongjun’s amazing voice to bring further intensity. Definitely a solid piece.

5. Post-Chorus: 8/10 – I’m actually wondering if this should be labeled as part of the chorus or not. For the sake of the review, I’m keeping it as post-chorus, since it’s the section right after the chorus piece. 

For this part, we get to see the leader, Junyoung, cooperate with Hyungsik. Two very solid members. Junyoung takes the start and does the same thing as Dongjun earlier, except he remains on the lower pitched side. The pacing is still on the calmer side, but what’s really at work here is his voice; Junyoung’s utilizing his great lower pitches here to create a nice, sexy mellow sound. To follow up, Hyungsik offers his higher pitch to intensify the song further. What would be nice, though, is if Hyungsik held onto the notes for a bit longer like how Dongjun did. I felt like this part was slightly cut at the end, but it’s not a big loss since the transition works out.

6. Rap: 9/10 – Greatly placed. I believe this rap fit perfectly with the song. Hyungsik set this one up well. His previous part set the energy at the right level and the instrumental helped carry the change to the rap.

Anyways, Heechul and Taehun do this part. A fantastic job, lots of great flow and melody. I’m glad the rap didn’t go overboard with energy. The pacing was perfect to fit the overall mood of the song. The biggest strength of this rap has to be the flow and melody provided by these two gentlemen; power wasn’t necessary for this rap, and they both kept it out. What was needed, however, was a strong melody with great flow. The two managed to acquire just that. 

7. Bridge: 8/10 – A really interesting bridge, but this bridge is a double-edged sword. It provides a lot of benefits, but in the long run, it ends up hurting them. 

After the second post-chorus, the bridge follows. Appropriate. It’s meshes in well. Hyungsik leads. He brings down the intensity by quite a bit, perfect for a bridge. The instruments die down accordingly with Hyungsik, so great synchronicity there. Kevin (and actually, Siwan included) then adds in a line and slowly brings the song’s energy back up through raising his pitch.

The next part is where Kevin, Hyungsik, and Dongjun team up and the three of them, yes, the three, add a nice, powerful “whoa~”. This is super interesting. This pretty much is the climax of the song; the highest peak of intensity occurs right here. It’s also really unique and nice to see that three people do it versus the standard one. BUT, we forgot: this is the bridge. The bridge. Typically, this section is where a song takes a nice pause and then later resumes back to the chorus or conclusion and usually THAT is when the big climax happens. What we hear is the climax occurring at the bridge. Not bad if the conclusion works around that, but with losing your standard way of closing a song through a final high peak of energy, it’ll be difficult. So did they manage it? Let’s find out.

8. Conclusion: 5/10 – The first time I listened to the song, this is what tripped me up. After hearing such an awesome, powerful bridge, I thought that was the ending. What we see here for the conclusion is Dongjun borrowing the bridge’s high peak of energy and continuing it for slightly longer, and then finally letting it die out. 

Now that isn’t bad, but if we pay attention, it feels like there was no proper ending. Carrying out that energy and then slicing it off at the end is the conclusion. It’s just way too abrupt as ending. Unfortunately, I don’t see any other way, and to be honest, this probably was the best way. Sadly, using the climax during the bridge ended up costing them a proper way to end. An abrupt stop was all that could happen. The first time I heard this song, I thought the audio was messed up at the end. It seemed as if someone removed the ending part. 

So overall, I guess the best solution would be to let the song continue for a few more seconds and/or have the instrumentals carry out slightly longer and then die out. That would’ve helped a lot.

 – Line Distribution: 8/10 – Kevin got a lot of lines, Dongjun did as well. Hyungsik and Junyoung were very prominent. Taehun and Heechul had their rap spotlight. Minwoo got his support roles. So far, 7/9 members. 

Honestly, it’s hard for me to grade this. Siwan is practically missing minus for having 3 words, I believe? However, I understand the situation so I think overall, I’ll exclude him. Or at least I’ll be merciful. What does not become evaded, however, is Kwanghee; our comical guy of ZE:A may be a clown around the camera, but he actually has a nice voice. Although he is in the support role like Minwoo, it seems unfair that Minwoo managed to snatch a little more than Kwanghee. With Siwan missing as well, this does slightly hurt the group’s diversity. 

It’s always a challenge to have lines distributed among NINE members, but it’s possible. Nine Muses pull it off extremely well, and they have nine members. 

On the plus side, though, I give a lot of respect for giving lines that are proportional to the strengths of the singer; as such, we heard Dongjun a lot, for example, since he’s definitely a solid vocalist. 

To be fair with Siwan and in light of distributing based on strengths, an 8/10 will do.

– Instrumentals: 9/10 – I very much enjoyed the instrumental behind this song. The biggest asset is how the instrumental carries along the piano melody; it’s a huge piece to the song. The mood and tone from the song was also projected via the instrumentals; it’s classy with very little electronic sounds, and it remains calm with the constant melody. Now that’s great support from the instrumental. Since it provided so much, I think I’ll choose a 9 over an 8.

– Meaning: 9/10 – “Breathe”…or heck, even “Breath”…an interesting title. Let’s take a look at the lyrics in English. Again not 100% accurately translated, but it’s very close:

It’s time to rise,
It’s time to shine
(Uh show ‘em some love)
The sound of your breath
I can’t forget you

I toss and turn, only sighing
Because I’m thinking of you
I get up and drink a glass of water
And lay back down
Tears come at thoughts of you,
Looking at the stars outside the window

The beautiful night sky is shining
But why do tears keep falling?
I keep thinking of the beautiful you
But why do tears keep falling?

I could always hear the soft sound
Of your breath in my ears
Now I can’t ever hear
Your voice again

I miss you so much that I can’t fall asleep
The small sound of your breath
I can’t see you,
I can’t hold onto you anymore

I don’t know how to forget you
So I’m just here alone without you
Traces of you linger around me
Please stay a little longer

Your warm body heat,
The sweet sound of your breath
I miss it, I’m sorry ma,
It drives me crazy, the sound of the rain

The beautiful night sky is shining
But why do tears keep falling?
I keep thinking of the beautiful you
I love you to death

I could always hear the soft sound
Of your breath in my ears
Now I can’t ever hear
Your voice again

I miss you so much that I can’t fall asleep
The small sound of your breath
I can’t see you,
I can’t hold onto you anymore

Don’t say that you don’t miss me,
Don’t say it
Don’t say that you’re seeing someone else,
Don’t say it It hurts too much

The sound of your breath
I can’t forget you

Wow. Quite melancholy. These lyrics are very sad. 

The lyrics are talking about how a man’s (or woman’s) love went away. The emotions with missing them is described and a key feature; their breath. No longer will he/she be able to hear that soft sound of their love breathing. Never again. He/she is now bereft of the voice.

And actually before we even get started, YES. Thank you, ZE:A, for being real men. It takes a real “man” to shed tears. I think perhaps that is why every male group deters me away; most of them are in the “masculine” concept where they shed no tear whatsoever and have such reckless concepts. Key word here: concepts. Not offending the actual artists themselves, but rather just criticizing the concepts. I admire the male idols of K-Pop, quite respectable gentlemen. 

Anyhow, the lyrics are gender-neutral, something I love seeing.

I find the lyrics very meaningful. The story is so enticing; it’s saddening to read and it provokes a lot of questions. Did this ex-lover leave on their will, or did their will leave them? Looking at the music video, I almost think it’s a death of a lover versus a break up. The music video has a (hospital?) room it seems for a few scenes, as if the ex-lover was ill or about to pass away. In fact, there’s another key scene of one of the ZE:A guys carrying the ex-lover as if she was sick or dying. However, the bridge does include “Don’t say that you’re seeing someone else” which makes me inquire that maybe it is a break up. 

Just like in literature, there is no right or wrong answer. Implying is all we can do. 

Overall, very emotional and sad lyrics, and for that, it deserves a solid score. I love lyrics that can get my emotions stirred up (which I’ll be honest, that shouldn’t be too hard)

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – The dance was very suiting to the song’s atmosphere; there was no high-power dancing like in “Ghost of Wind” since that wouldn’t fit the calmer, softer tone. 

Nevertheless, there are a lot of key points and great syncing. Spotlight positioning was great and transitions were nice. It’s a solid choreography. Sadly, though, nothing in it makes it stand out in a stunning way. I still find it a great dance overall. 

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Overall Score: 9/10 (8.5/10 raw score) – Being biased, I can agree. This song is definitely on my personal list of top K-Pop songs. However, this is me being biased. Like my previous review of “Number 9” by T-ARA, this song is on top with that.

I think it’s well deserved, the vocals are great, the guys are dancing well. The lyrics are very meaningful and the song structure plays out very well minus the bridge. 

The biggest issue is the conclusion, or lack thereof. 

Nevertheless, ZE:A is an awesome group. Handsome, talented, I believe they should be a little more popular. They have what it takes.

Well this marks the end of my review. I hope you enjoyed reading this one. To be honest, I was struggling quite a bit since Siwan was missing and all that stuff. Hopefully this review was entertaining, thought provoking, and once again, thank you for reading this. It means a lot.

For now, stay tuned for upcoming “Darling” by Girl’s Day! It’ll be in a while, but I’m excited. It’s literally the first song to actually make me move around and stuff just from hearing it. 

But since that won’t be out until a clear dance of it is seen, I have other songs in mind.

Nine Muses is next on my list. It’ll be super fun for me to write since I’m so familiar with that group; even though my role model (Sera) left along with Eunji and Lee Sem, I still stand by them.

Other groups are in mind as well, but I think a different blog post will do.

Anyways, see you guys next time; I hope you’ll always be able to hear my “Breath” through reviews.