DIA – “Mr. Potter” Review

DIA – Mr. Potter (Music Video)

DIA – Mr. Potter

Reviewed
on September 17, 2016

There are no changes that occur be
it in tune or pacing, and as a result of such the instrumental, contrary to the
magical sound it possesses, is an instrumental that becomes easily overlooked
as mere background. In other words, the instrumental merely fulfills the concept of an instrumental; it exists because
in a sense it has to exist. Couple
that idea with also how it horrendously pairs with the vocals to further accentuate
its mundane sound and the result is what is seen: a two for a rating.    

Personal Message:
With my rather erratic schedule of
reviewing songs, although this review was to be after Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette,” I have decided that despite “Russian
Roulette” ‘s review being almost finished, I will instead begin a whole new
review. Why the abrupt change? To use a cliché term, I found myself extremely “rusty”
with reviewing songs and given the new format I will be following (and of which
is discussed in Red Velvet’s review; in short, I plan to discuss only relevant
points I find), I needed a song that would be more easily dissected. With Red
Velvet’s “Russian Roulette,” although I do have a general sense of where I wish
to guide the review, I unfortunately cannot articulate it and thus, am taking a
break on it. On the other hand, the ladies of DIA and their latest comeback
prove to be a solution: “Mr. Potter” is a song that I can more easily
articulate and deconstruct. But, that said, this is a review DIA fans may not
necessarily welcome.

Explaining what I mean by that, in very
blunt terms: “Mr. Potter” scores poorly. Given fans’ loyal support to artists, a
lower rating for songs tend to be received negatively; after all, should fans
not stand by their artists? Of course, though, as discussed in past reviews
such as in Oh
My Girl’s “Windy Day” review
—of which also scored poorly—it is not about
the ratings that matter but instead the discussions that occur. Why do I score a song as is? Why do fans disagree or agree? Those
questions and the answers to them are what matters; what the scores are end up being irrelevant in the end. And
thankfully, with the linked review, I am glad that readers engaged on a more
critical, deeper level and that is what I hope—and expect—will occur in this
review.

With all of that covered, let us now
focus on DIA’s “Mr. Potter.” From my personal knowledge of DIA as I have followed
a few of their comebacks and even attendance on Weekly Idol (and to that, Eunjin, their main dancer, awes me), I
expected “Mr. Potter” to perhaps be a significant improvement over, for
example, “On the Road” (their prior release). Most of their songs, from again
my personal take, have been average and thus, I predicted that “Mr. Potter”
would be the song that would push DIA
to a higher level. Unfortunately, their latest comeback is a magic show gone
wrong: “Mr. Potter” is by far DIA’s weaker if not weakest song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 3/10
(3.00/10 raw score) – “Below average”


Vocals: 2/10


Sections: 3/10
(2.71/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
2/10

2.     Verse: 2/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 3/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 3/10

6.     Rap: 3/10

7.     Conclusion: 4/10


Instrumental: 2/10


Lyrics: 5/10

Accio Mr. Potter, in front of my eyes
A sweet forest called you, I’ve fallen into it
I can’t get out because of this instinctual pull
I wanna wanna wanna
Wanna get your mind
Descendo, will you show me your honest heart?
I try to escape but I can’t, so ridiculous
I’m addicted to your sweet magic
Lalala don’t wanna confess

Don’t hide and show me, boy
Light on me, lumos
So my heart can touch yours, go

That’s right, I got a feeling today
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Where are you looking? Focus on me
Don’t look anywhere else, impervious
Only I am chosen to go to this sweet forest
To me, to me, to me
To me come closer, boy
I can’t get out because of this instinctual pull
I wanna wanna wanna
Wanna get your mind
I’m addicted to your sweet magic
Lalala don’t wanna confess

Don’t hide and show me, boy
Light on me, lumos
So my heart can touch yours, go

That’s right, I got a feeling today
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Give me give me give me
Give me your love
Give me give me give me
Give me your love
I’ve fallen for your charms, I can’t escape
Cast a spell on me so only I will know
You, for you I want to hold you in my heart
Come closer to me, so I can feel you
I can’t let you go now, I like you

Past the deep forest, I discovered a sweet ocean
Like hail, you flew into my heart like sweet magic
This is a rational degree, sucked into this black hole
This is your spell, I’ve fallen into it, ‘holic

That’s right, I got a feeling today
(Oh, Mr. Potter)
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
(I’m casting a spell on you)
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Give me give me give me
Give me your love
Give me give me give me
Give me your love
I’ve fallen for your charms, I can’t escape
Cast a spell on me so only I will know

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
what my argument will be in this review, I assert that the main, overarching issue
with “Mr. Potter” is overall its lack of complexity. “Mr. Potter” is unrefined
in its sounds and lacks creative composition in terms of its structuring. It is
a song that appears to have been rushed in production and hardly given effort
in terms of adding unique, creative features outside of stylistic points.

For
example, when it comes to the instrumental, it showcases twinkling, lighter toned
sounds. Certainly this creates the stylistic
tone of the song and is indeed creative; I cannot recall another song that uses
fantasy, magical-like sounds, after all. However, as said, this is only stylistically
creative and provides minimal benefits to the actual song’s sonic appeal and
this separation may be what many fail to observe. Ignoring the atmosphere the
instrumental establishes, if we focus purely on its sound, we come to realize
it lacks in variety. The electronic twinkling provides little more than a
repetitive and at times even vexing noise. There are no changes that occur be
it in tune or pacing, and as a result of such the instrumental, contrary to the
magical sound it possesses, is an instrumental that becomes easily overlooked
as mere background. In other words, the instrumental merely fulfills the concept of an instrumental; it exists because
in a sense it has to exist. If it
were more dynamic in any aspect—pacing, flow, tune, and so forth—then it would
be distinguishable. As is, though, with minimal changes around, it is difficult
to heed attention to. Think of a ticking clock: sure it exists, but soon
enough, the sound becomes irrelevant and blocked out. Sadly, that analogy
applies to “Mr. Potter” ‘s instrumental. Coincidentally, the vocals also follow
a very similar trend and hence why it also earned a two.

In
terms of the sections, many have also scored poorly. The main reason behind
this is the result of meshing the vocals and instrumental: repetitiveness on
top of repetitiveness. Both categories—vocals and instrumental—are already
mundane in of themselves, but now with gauging them as a working unit via the
sections, the outcome is horrendous. Yes, both the vocals and instrumental are
fitting one another due to their lack of variety, but unlike other instances
where synergy is desired, in “Mr. Potter” this specific synergy leads to an
even greater amount of staleness. Vocals are unchanging and likewise the
instrumental is unchanging; this means that the entirety of the song—the entirety­—remains a stagnant clump.
Furthermore, even on a more individualized analysis of the sections, each also
fares poorly. Take the introduction for example. Believe it or not, but the
music video’s introduction is not for the sake of the music video; indeed,
after watching a few live performances (none are linked as none are official
uploads from music broadcasts), the introduction is truly an excessive length
and additionally fails to truly establish the song’s style. With other sections
such as the choruses, verses, and the like, many are structured in a simplistic,
linear form. Alone that is not problematic, but with how the vocals and
instrumental are already too plain, the sections’ structure do not mediate that
problem but rather adds onto it.

It
truly is disappointing that the only redeeming factor is the lyrics—and even so
it is merely average. Although the following is difficult to say and even
unwarranted, “Mr. Potter” is one of the weakest songs I personally have yet to
hear. It lacks in sounding sharp, diverse, and is ultimately one of the most generic,
stale songs I have heard. Now, is this all to mean that DIA is terrible and
bereft of skills and should not be supported? Absolutely not. “Mr. Potter” is
merely one song out of the many DIA has released so far, and as always, songs
are not necessarily representative of a group’s skills. Nevertheless, for how
this song individually stands, it is a lackluster one. In the future, I expect
a stronger comeback from the ladies. And of course, fans should very much
continue to support DIA. After all, it is through fans that groups continue to
release new songs. All in all, though, DIA’s “Mr. Potter” is a magic trick gone
wrong: nothing impresses the audience.

_______________________________________________________

I
am uncertain on whether this review brings justice to both DIA and my idea of
further condensing reviews. More practice, as usual, will be required. Optimistically, though, I am glad that the review is moreover two paragraphs than of the usual–this being a sign that my new format is taking place. Regardless,
I do hope readers find this review engaging and that readers are equally
critical of my critique towards “Mr. Potter.” And as usual, thank you to all
for reading or skimming.

Red
Velvet’s “Russian Roulette” is the next upcoming song review, and depending on
how dedicated I am it might even be released today. If not today, then expect
it to be released in a few more days. Afterwards, I will be reviewing 2PM’s “Promise”
especially as male artists have not received much spotlight as of the late. In
fact, VIXX’s “Fantasy” is another male group I have in mind to review.
Hopefully more concise reviews will allow them to all be reviewed by this
month. Until then, “I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go.” Look
forward to Red Velvet’s comeback review.

T-ARA – “Little Apple” Review

T-ARA – Little Apple (Audio)

T-ARA – Little Apple (Live Performance)

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

Reviewed on December 5, 2014

image

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________________________

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

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

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

– Song Structure: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

1. Introduction: 6/10 – It has been a while ever since I reviewed a song with a straight-forward structure. “Little Apple” follows the standard form perfectly and thoroughly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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