Monsta X – “Beautiful” Review

(Music
Video—Dance Version)

Monsta X – Beautiful

Reviewed
on July 19, 2017

Particularly
for this review, I will briefly spend some time discussing the introduction and
post-chorus on an individual scale, but afterwards we will then entirely focus
on “Beautiful” ‘s overall composition. Specifically with that, despite how the
song very much inverts the traditional structuring of pop songs, I argue the
sheer uniqueness of such a composition is not enough to compensate for the drawbacks
that occur as a result.

Personal Message:
To the requester of this review,
huge apologies for the delay. That said, thank you for sending this in and for
being extremely patient as I slowly catch up on as many song as possible. And
with that, after this review I will also hastily finish the request for Day6’s
“I Smile.” There are many comebacks this summer and many of which are either
decent songs or songs that are quite creative in a composition sense, and so I
hope to cover as many of them as possible. (Additionally, with my new reviewing
style of focusing on main points and no longer necessarily dissecting each
minute detail, I feel that this goal is possible.)

On topic with the current review, while
requests tend to be of latest songs, it should be noted that Monsta X’s actual
comeback is “Shine Forever” if I am correct. Regardless of that, “Beautiful” is
still a relevant song to review and definitely possesses a lot of creative
compositional ideas. Furthermore, Monsta X in a general sense has been a group
I have always kept my eyes—or more accurately, ears—on. While they are already
relatively popular, I confidently say that in the far future it would not be
surprising if they become a top boy group—at least in a musical context (given
that the very topic of popularity is something that is highly complicated in
the K-Pop scene). For example, they have stunning choreographies along with
having very skilled vocalists—both standard and rappers. And, from my limited
experience, they also seem to appeal to audiences on variety shows be it on Weekly Idol or on a show where one
member showed his sweet, gentle fatherly side as he took care of a young child.
Lastly, besides their shameless “aegyo” moments, they also seem incredibly
close to each other and that it always something that will keep fans around as
it is incredibly heartwarming to see them being affectionate and caring for
each other. The only downside to Monsta X is that their beauty encourages
fanboys to engage in dark magic in hopes of also becoming as pretty as the men—or
perhaps that is just a sign that I need to stay out of the summer heat.

Horrible jokes aside, let us talk
about “Beautiful.” Although I will not focus too much on individual aspects to
the song—as, again, I am experimenting with a new reviewing style—there are
many topics to cover when it comes to the song in whole. Particularly for this
review, I will briefly spend some time discussing the introduction and
post-chorus on an individual scale, but afterwards we will then entirely focus
on “Beautiful” ‘s overall composition. Specifically with that, despite how the
song very much inverts the traditional structuring of pop songs, I argue the
sheer uniqueness of such a composition is not enough to compensate for the drawbacks
that occur as a result.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(5.50/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.00/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
3/10

2.     Rap: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 6/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 6/10

[Introduction instrumental]

Why is it you?
I’m going crazy
What is this?
I think I’ve fallen for you
All day, in my head
Round and round it goes
A question mark, every day
I know you have thorns
But I want you, red rose
Because of the thorns,
a beautiful rose can bloom
Dark red flowers, it means I love you
Even if I bleed everywhere, I want to know you
‘cause I think about you every day
I’m already addicted to you

When you touch me, my entire body reacts
I can only live if you’re here
Every day, every night
I can feel you

You’re so beautiful
I can’t take my eyes off you
Like a thorn on a flower
I know I’ll get pricked but I want you
So beautiful, so beautiful
You’re so pretty, so beautiful it makes me sad
Too beautiful to handle

[Post-Chorus instrumental]

Two fingers, thumbs up
You make me say words of awe
You take away my right mind
I think I’ll go crazy
When I smell your scent,
it spreads, it grows
I’m addicted
I’m prickled, hurt
It’s between love and pain
You’re so awesome
Don’t give out secret looks
Don’t smile at me
My head says: “no”
But my heart says: “oh yes”
I’m going crazy
I don’t know, I’m going all in

When you touch me, my entire body reacts
I can only live if you’re here
Every day, every night
I can feel you

You’re so beautiful
I can’t take my eyes off you
Like a thorn on a flower
I know I’ll get pricked but I want you
So beautiful, so beautiful
You’re so pretty, so beautiful it makes me sad
Too beautiful to handle

I know I can’t ever have you
I know you’re more beautiful when I only look
I’ll protect you, so you can bloom more beautifully
(My one and only baby)
I don’t care if I get hurt
’cause you’re my
one and only beautiful

You’re so beautiful
I can’t take my eyes off you
Like a thorn on a flower
I know I’ll get pricked but I want you
So beautiful, so beautiful
You’re so pretty, so beautiful it makes me sad
Too beautiful to handle

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Already,
to do some individual “dissecting” as I have termed it, I do wish to first
discuss the introduction and post-chorus. With the introduction, its score is quite
concerning: a three for below average. There are two reasons for this—one minor,
one major. The minor reason is that sonically, the introduction seems to fail
to capture listeners’ attention as it consists mostly of flickering, echoing
beeps. But, as introductions are not necessarily expected to sound glorious in
all cases, this criticism can be minimalized. That said, the other and
significant reason that I find the introduction troublesome is that even on a
structural level, the introduction is extremely detrimental to the song. As we
will further discuss, the introduction highly alienates itself from the rest of
the song: aurally, the song does not quite utilize these similar sounds until
the conclusion; structurally, the introduction does little to set up the
upcoming rigorous, powerful rapping. Combining both of these views and we now
have an introduction that not only sounds unappealing, but it is one that also
fails its very own role of establishing the song’s sound and style and
attracting attention. Furthermore and most importantly, with how “Beautiful”
struggles (as we will get to) to remain a cohesive song that is not sharply
divided between certain parts, this introduction does not help with that and
instead merely adds onto that very problem of the song overly “splitting.” On
the other hand, the post-chorus in “Beautiful” was, in many ways, the opposite
of the introduction: The sounds utilized are indeed related back to the song’s
core instrumental. Additionally, the pause provided from this section helped
connect the song’s sections rather than further splitting apart the sections as
does the introduction—this being due to how the slower, passive style is
relating back to the prior chorus and is to ease into the upcoming rap section.

All
that aside, though, let us consider “Beautiful” in a wider lens. Regardless of
how much we could analyze the vocals, instrumental, and the remaining sections,
none of that would reach the true core of the song: the composers crafted “Beautiful”
so that it completely flips around how sections work in traditional pop music.
To build some background so as to not confuse readers, by using the phrase “traditional
pop music” in relation to sections, I am referring to the simple progression
that pop songs tend to follow. In summary, the song starts off slowly and gradually
builds in intensity and that said intensity climaxes at typically a chorus.
This format then repeats. Now, for what is impressive about “Beautiful,” this
structure still exists—but in reverse; indeed, the composers have made it so
that the song starts and almost already
climaxes at a very early point. Only at the choruses does the song finally
begin to relax. And to be more clear, we can find this occurring if we think of
the song in this manner: the rapping sections are the climactic peaks—this we
can hear and feel from how powerful and sharp the sections are—and the
remaining sections, that of the pre-chorus and chorus, are focused on calmer
singing and are backed up by an instrumental that emphasizes a linear flow
versus having fluctuations throughout. (Think, after all, of how Monsta X’s “Hero”
has a chorus where the instrumental is at its prime and is constantly changing
and in action. Compare that to “Beautiful” and we realize the instrumental at
the choruses are not climaxing at all, but rather are resetting and relaxing
the song.)

So,
while this challenge to the traditional norm of pop songs deserves some praise
for the sheer fact that the composers took a significant risk, we still have to
ask the main, critical question: Is this strategy actually effective? I argue both sides: yes and no. On the positive side, as
already stated, one benefit is that doing such is unique—and certainly, having a song that is distinct is crucial
and always helpful. However, ignoring this perspective, there are still
potential musical strengths that are gleaned. The main gain is that this
inverted format allows the rap sections to become the song’s highlights—the song’s
“choruses” if we even dare say such. Especially as the rap sections are already
decent ones that appeal via flow, power, and rhythm, having them as the
spotlight and climactic points are not a bad decision. And, admittedly, this
inverted format might be the only way such a song could accommodate the raps:
if the raps are already quite intense, having an even more intense chorus might
be unrealistic as it would be far too excessive. Likewise, positioning the raps
after the choruses and using them to reset the song would also be difficult as,
once again, that would counteract the very purpose of calming down the song
given that the rap sections are quite rigorous.

Positives
covered, let us now focus on the negatives. Unfortunately, while this inverted
format can work and other songs have very much utilized it to high success
(Girls’ Generation’s “Bump It” is a solid example in mind of this inverted
format), there is a reason for why
the traditional format is used. With “Beautiful,” the pre-choruses and choruses
become lackluster—both due to mere comparison with the rap sections, but also
and mostly due to how the song ends up unintentionally dividing itself. As
hinted earlier with the introduction section, that and the rap sections are
drastically different from the calmer sections of the songs. While the
post-chorus helped provide a connecting link for one chorus to the upcoming
rap, the same cannot be said for the earlier moments and the introduction itself.
This abstractness caused by such significant differences in sections and how
there is a lack of “building up” to any sections—or even “building down” for
that matter—makes “Beautiful” sound somewhat disorganized. It is not to a
significant degree as are other songs I have heard, but it is a fault
noticeable enough that prevents “Beautiful” from utterly excelling.

All
in all, “Beautiful” is still a decent song. The vocals and lyrics are solid
points to appreciate, and of course, the very fact that the song itself is
structured and composed in a way that defies the common pop song progression is
something that should be respected. But, sadly, the traditional “build up” pop
progression is there for a reason: it is naturally intuitive, allows a song to
easily remain organize, and so forth. The composers came short with covering
the potential weaknesses of not following
a traditional pop format, but nevertheless it was an impressive effort and
considering that many of Monsta X’s pop songs are actually of the usual format,
a change is never too bad. I still find many other songs from the men to be
more appealing than “Beautiful,” but regardless of my take to it—as, after all,
readers and fans should feel free to disagree—I wholeheartedly support the men.
I find that they have a lot of potential in the K-Pop scene both musically and
as role models for fans, and I will continue to look out for future content
from them.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, I greatly apologize for even further delays. I technically did
finish this review on July 15, but only now did I actually finish the writing
process. (I have shared this a year ago and even recently if correct, but I
write reviews in two phases: brainstorming and actual writing. The
brainstorming is where I have all of my discussion points clearly laid out, and
only after is it when I turn those bullet points into actual words.) Slowly but
surely I am fixing my poorly developed summer habits, but excuses aside, I do
hope this review is enjoyable and thought-provoking. And of course, thank you
to everyone—both readers and requester. I truly appreciate any time given to
the blog.

For
upcoming reviews, Day6’s “I Smile” was requested quite a while back and I will
now finally begin and finish it. I am excited for that review as not only is it
within the pop-rock genre, but the song itself truly is unique and almost
entirely deviates away from usual pop song formats. If “Beautiful” is already
seen as unique, “I Smile” ‘s composition truly did its own take to pop-rock
music. And during my time with that review, Red Velvet’s “Red Flavor” will end
up getting a review—even if unintentionally. I was enjoying the song in a
casual style, but that soon led me to actually critically analyzing it and
finding how—once again—creative it is, but also that there are many weak links
in the song. Until then, “I can only live if you’re here”—not because I am
obsessed with readers, but because I am finishing this review rather late at
night that I might suddenly faint. Kidding, of course; though it is extremely
late in my standards (eleven at night), this review was worth it and I very
much enjoyed writing it.

BTOB  – “It’s Okay” Review

BTOB
– It’s Okay (Music Video Dance Version)

BTOB – It’s Okay

Reviewed
on May 8, 2016

Personal Message:
Owning a dog is far from an easy
task, though indeed it very much is rewarding. It has been eight days
since adopting my girl as of this sentence (I plan to write a “post-adoption”
blog post that shares my experiences and even my initial regrets), and we are
adjusting to each other very well. Her terrier and Dachshund breed
characteristics are also slowly showing: activeness, playfulness, and
lovingness. She is also responding very well to obedience training; our first
day consisted of waiting five minutes per “sit,” but that time is now an average
of four seconds. And of course, she now knows other commands: “come,” “stay,” and “leave  it”–or at least is working on the latter two. Small dog update aside (no pun intended), it is now time for
me to also adjust back to my own schedule. I hope to finish May with six
reviews, and likewise with June and even August. Given that I am able to spread
out my reviews and am on summer break (though I have one summer class), these
goals appear very plausible. All that said, rather than focusing on a recent
comeback right now, to return to a writing mindset and for some practice (and
unfortunately that does mean social digressions will not occur in this review),
I have instead decided to review a song I have absolutely adore these past
days: BTOB’s “It’s Okay.

Admittedly it was not until I heard MAMAMOO’s
cover of “It’s Okay”

that I began to truly learn more of BTOB. Even if I heard “Remember That,”
BTOB’s latest song, before MAMAMOO’s cover, it was the ladies’ cover that
disclosed how vocally skilled the men were. After all, the singing MAMAMOO
conducted in their cover was purely a cover; there were no added improvising,
ad-libs, or any modifications for that matter. All of the belting, note holds,
power, rapping intensity, and so forth are in the original song—this being a
clear showcase of how vocally skilled BTOB is (and vice-versa with MAMAMOO
being able to handle BTOB’s song). Overall, I am indeed now a fan of BTOB’s
music and look forward to becoming a fan of the men themselves through watching
their videos.

Hastily focusing on the review
itself (as I am yearning to simply get back into routine), I confess: “It’s
Okay” is one the better songs I have ever heard and is also now a favorite. As
such, I will do my best to remain neutral. Besides that, however, the song
title can be quite misleading: this song is not just “okay.” It is, I biasedly
predict, fantastic. The vocals are to a high tier, the sections are cohesive,
the instrumental is solid—everything, from the surface, seems to align up to a
solid score. Let us see if that is the case.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 8/10
(7.6/10 raw score) – “Good; excellent”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 8/10
(7.57/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Rap: 8/10

6.     Bridge: 9/10

7.     Conclusion: 8/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Section Distribution: 6/10

Eunkwang:
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus (Total: 5)

Minhyuk:
Rap (Total: 1*)

Changsub:
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Bridge (Total: 5)

Hyunsik:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Bridge, Chorus (Total: 4)

Peniel:
Rap (Total: 1)

Ilhoon:
Rap (Total: 1*)

Sungjae:
Introduction, Verse, Chorus, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Equal Value: 3.14 sections per member.

*Special
exemption granted due to duration. These quantities will be ignored.


Lyrics: 9/10

Yeah, yeah
Oh

Are your shoulders heavy?
It’s not easy to put down heavy baggage
Someone said that when feel your dreams are
getting far away, “you should take a break”

Are you struggling because of the same things
every day?
Who is that for?
In the end, you’ll fall down anyway
When you’re struggling and feel alone
Listen to this song

Look forward to this melody you liked
The voice that will flow out of the radio
The only thing I can do, is to sing the lyrics of this song
Even if things are hard, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
Everything will be okay
I believe in you

It’s been three years
No one wants me
I wonder if I should go to the army
I told my parents and they said one thing, they sighed
So I couldn’t tell them
that I got fired from my one part-time job
Well, yesterday my friend who’s about to get discharged
came out for vacation
He said that it’s scary
That he forgot everything he learned in college
There are a million unemployed people
I don’t really know much about that
But I just wish that number was in my bank account
The loud alarm keeps rushing me
Starting from dawn I go out my house like I’m being chased
It’s like standing at the edge of a cliff
What am I doing? No, what should I be doing?
It’s an answerless echo
Why do I get kicked around outside
and vent my anger at harsh places?
I’m a small paper boat; lost during voyage without coordinates
I force down my tears
Sighing becomes a habit
I know that I’m being a fool
But I pretend I’m okay in front of others
Where did the bright past go?

Look forward to this melody you liked
The voice that will flow out of the radio
The only thing I can do, is to sing the lyrics of this song
Even if things are hard, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
Everything will be okay
I believe in you

My loving family, my friends who are my family
It’s been so long since I’ve seen them
(I believe in you)
We always say, “let’s grab a bite to eat”
It wouldn’t be bad if I got some free time for once
Then I wouldn’t be so lonely right now

This song is almost over,
but there’s still a lot I haven’t said
Everyone probably feels the same

Look forward to this melody you liked
(melody, melody)
The voice that will flow out of the radio
The only thing I can do, is to sing the lyrics of this song
Even if things are hard, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
Everything will be okay
I believe in you

Choreography Score: 6/10 (6.0/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 6/10

– Key Points: 6/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(7.0/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: After
the review on SPICA’s
“Ghost,”
I highly doubted I would ever see a Song Score of
eight again. Clearly, however, that is not the case: “It’s Okay” manages to
indeed snatch a very prestigious rating. Generally peering at the categories,
all are at a higher rating: the vocals are an eight; the sections are an eight;
the lyrics hit a surprising high of nine; and so forth. Only the section
distribution is slightly lacking—and this will be our first look at “It’s
Okay.”

With
the section distribution, something appears rather peculiar: the score is a six
when, quite blatantly, the numbers does not match up; the rating should be
seemingly lower considering three members have one section while the rest have
significantly more. True that I do base on quantity over duration as,
generally, quantity can be more indicative than time. For example, in Fiestar’s
“You’re Pitiful,” Cao Lu’s single “I don’t know” line, while minimal in duration,
is very substantial and important in what it provides the song. In that context,
it was the quantity that mattered; the
duration of her line had not as much
as relevance as did the amount of times Cao Lu’s line appeared. Furthermore, if
the mentioned example is going to be refuted, then the following would be much
harder to disagree with: accounting for raps. Some parts or sections, such as
raps, are simply going to be shorter in virtue of their style. It would not be
fair for a song to have a reduced Section Distribution score because, based on
duration, a member’s rap—though appearing numerously—added up to minimal time.
Again, quantity is inspected over duration of lines to help account for differences
in styles, be it raps, note holds, beltings, and so forth. With that in mind,
it does seem very absurd that “It’s Okay” is exempted; if quantity is to be
praised over duration as I explained, why would “It’s Okay” not be punished for
its distribution if we are to look at quantity?

Context
is the reason—and context is not a random point I suddenly made. The purpose of
looking at quantity over duration is it tends to reflect context moreover than
duration as explained earlier, but in “It’s Okay,” duration plays a very
significant role—a role that is undeniable and thus, has to be analyzed. With
the initial rap section from Ilhoon and Minhyuk, both men rap for an
exceptionally long time, and factoring in that their raps occur right after the
other, it leads to a section that is more than just “one section.” Therefore,
in calculating the score, I will not be holding the two men’s parts as lacking
and will consider them as having the “equal value” necessary for a fair
distribution. Nonetheless, as noted, a six is still in place due to Peniel
having one section. Certainly his part is a rap, but unlike Ilhoon and Minhyuk,
the duration is by far minimal and thus, while everyone else has an even
distribution (again, once accounting for the exemptions), Peniel lacks a
significant amount of sections. This brings the score down from a potential
nine to now a six.

To
preserve the sonic aspect to “It’s Okay” for later, we will now proceed with
the lyrics. Although my April
Fool’s review
gave a score of a nine for the “song” ‘s lyrics, if ignoring
that it is a prank, then indeed “It’s Okay” currently carries the highest score
for its lyrics out of all songs reviewed. In fact, it is a score I doubt would
ever be beat, let alone even tied. Explaining the outstanding score, without
even focusing on the meaning of the lyrics, the amount of detail is admirable. For
example, the sole repeated lines are the choruses, and even then, the details
provided there are decent. For what truly elicits the lyrics’ strengths, the
main rapping section carries an extreme degree of thoroughness, and
additionally, of uniqueness. As noticed from the multiple reviews conducted,
there is a common theme of lyrics—specifically that of love, relationships, or
just having fun. However, “It’s Okay” is not along those lines; this song is
focusing on hardship, of finding one’s desires, goals, and career. Clarifying a
point, however, I am not praising the lyrics’ meaning; doing so causes the issue
of praising interpretations—of which are unstable. Rather, that the lyrics differ from a vast majority of other
(Korean) pop songs is what grants it its praise in this aspect. After all, it becomes
dull to hear of a song that is, once again, about love, heartbreak, and so on.

Finally
discussing the sonic side to “It’s Okay,” the vocals are phenomenal. That is
probably an understatement. Every vocal aspect to “It’s Okay” is simply
fantastic. From the subtle, echoing background singing and humming to the
powerful high note holds and belts that occur at notably at the choruses and
bridge—though every section’s vocals
are worthy of praise—the song contains seducing vocals. The only section that
comes short is the conclusion: there are no vocals there. Jokes aside, there is
truly not much to discuss with BTOB’s vocals. They are amazing singers and
rappers. Bearing this in mind, it would appear expected for the sections to
also follow with a high rating.

For
one, given that the vocals are superb, the sections already have their sonic
component covered. Even then, for how the sections themselves are structured,
much praise likewise exists. A key point to highlight with the sections is how
cohesive they are. From transitioning to the next section or, in an overarching
view, to building up the song towards the climactic bridge, all of the sections
link to one another in a way that allows “It’s Okay” to seamlessly flow from
start to end. This, besides providing a smooth flow, allows the vocals to
remain at their highest charms as all of the vocals—singing and rapping—build
upon the prior section’s vocals. Focusing moreover on an individual scope, each
section brings its specialty to “It’s Okay.” The verses, pre-choruses, and
choruses are all solid in regards to delivered singing and format. For a
section that deserves high praise, the bridge—of which reaps a very high rating
of a nine—is absolutely stellar with being able to bring the song together for
one final, peak moment of pure vocal prowess. Other sections, such as the raps,
are also excellent. In this song particularly, the lengthier raps not only
expose more moments of delightful rapping, but doing so also provides an
intriguing, fitting break to the song’s usual flow of just singing. And to
conclude it all, the instrumental binds all it all together: vocals and
sections. With providing transitions to accommodating BTOB’s singing and
rapping, the instrumental serves well.  

At
most for what can be critiqued in “It’s Okay,” the visual component—the
choreography—may be the weakest piece. Although creating a dance around a
ballad is a difficult feat and that has to be acknowledged, the dance is in no
way as captivating as the audio. Key points and even syncing are plain, but
given the focus should be on BTOB’s vocal performance, the choreography’s
partial lacking is excusable.

In
the end, “It’s Okay” still scores exceptionally well with its Song Score: an
eight. While the Choreography Score is not as impressive, if we are to focus on
the song itself, BTOB’s “It’s Okay” can be considered one of the top songs the
blog has yet to review. Only SPICA’s “Ghost” competes equally in score. And numbers
aside, “It’s Okay” is, biasedly speaking, one of the best ballads I have heard.
The song is one of the few where every aspect is definitely solid, and on top
of it all, the lyrics can be very empowering and reassuring for those who may
and will relate to the song at one point or another. All in all, I personally
rank “It’s Okay” as one of the better songs I have heard, and I optimistically
look forward to BTOB releasing another song that is—if not better—at least
equal in quality. Perhaps a future review will be on “Remember That,” BTOB’s
latest comeback, and comparisons to this song could be made.

_______________________________________________________

Although
I feel as if the writing and analysis in this review is somewhat weaker than
usual, I will work from here to bring more insightful, engaging reviews.
Especially with finally feeling settled down with my girl (and of whom will be
having her first frozen peanut butter-banana-dog food Kong treat along with her
first time being alone at home), I know I can get back on track with reviews. I
have much to catch up in terms of reviews. For what I have planned, I do want
to focus on reviewing artists who I have never reviewed at all before. Unless
if there is a pressing comeback that occurs, I wish to bring in more diversity
on the blog—both with artists but also with gender (specifically with having
more male artists).

As
always, thank you so much for reading this review. Whether briefly skimmed or
read to each periods, I appreciate it all. Look forward to many reviews (and
subtitle videos of Fiestar—for those interested) to come. After all, “Everything
will be okay, I believe in you”—I believe in readers continually coming back,
and for those current in harder times, that everything will be okay—as BTOB
says. Look forward to most likely Hong Jinyoung’s “Thumb Up,” a trot song, as
the next review.

CNBlue – “Cinderella” Review

CNBlue – Cinderella (Music Video)

CNBlue – Cinderella

Reviewed
on November 20, 2015

image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.43/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 5/10

6.     Bridge: 3/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 5/10


Line Distribution: X/10

[member
name]: X

Equal Value: X sections per member.  


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 4/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choreography Score: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________

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

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

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

Monsta X – “Hero” Review

Monsta X – Hero (Dance Practice Halloween
Version)

Monsta
X – Hero (Dance Practice)

Monsta X – Hero

Reviewed
on October 31, 2015

Personal Message: Truthfully, ZE:A’s “Ghost of the
Wind” was to be reviewed, but a change of plans occurred. Nevertheless, this
works out favorably: Halloween is directly related, and this review will be on
a relatively newer group and song (the group and song came out around September
if accurate). Most likely this will be a bonus review akin to the prior one, but I may decide to write it as a
standard review after all (in other words, more analysis will be given). If the
latter does occur, however, I will still be keeping it relatively concise so
that my piling list of homework shrinks, and of course, it is Halloween so I
wish to keep the review lighthearted. On that note, happy Halloween for those
who celebrate it, and for those who do not, hopefully this day is as fabulous
as previous days.

In truth, though, I expect readers
who celebrate Halloween to, at most, give out candy rather than
trick-or-treating themselves, and thus, there may not be a large “celebration”
after all. But, everyone is certainly free to do as they wish, such as
trick-or-treating despite being rather older. That said, I do anticipate many
readers being that of an age group of high school to college, but younger and
older readers are certainly welcomed. I hope my reviews do reach out to
everyone regardless of age, race, gender, and so forth. The sole restrictive barrier
may be that younger readers may struggle to comprehend and conceptualize
certain concepts I discuss, both musically and socially, but I very much do
hope I reach a variety of readers from all over.

Focusing back on the review, as it
is Halloween and I do wish to keep this review cheerful, I will tell a horror
story: I have actually never gone trick-or-treating in my 18 years of living.
Insert horror movie scream here. While my family has celebrated Halloween in
the context of giving out candy for school (during elementary), in terms of
trick-or-treating or giving out candy at home, neither were ever done. Many are
horrified at this “experience,” but this is merely a difference in culture,
and, as I always urge, it is about respecting differences. I very much still
consider myself an “American” despite not having ever celebrated Halloween (and
more so with discussing sensitive topics of race, gender, and so on), and that
I still had a “normal” and good childhood—even if it did not involve gorging
myself with Halloween treats.

Now for an actual story, especially
with Monsta X’s Halloween dance practice showcasing spider plushies all over (I
partially promise I am not using “plushy” to reduce fear), for a lack of a
better phrase, I did become slightly creeped out. If I had never shared yet
with readers, I do admit I have a fear of spiders. However, I would like to
believe my fear is justified and that, overall, I still do appreciate spiders.
Expanding on the latter, I appreciate spiders not quite because of their
purpose in the environment and keeping insects’ population in control (after
all, those obviously cannot be good reasons), but rather because a spider
allowed me to realize a hidden talent: amazing singing vocals—as a child that
is. Allow that to sink in. Though in my current time I am far from musically
talented and nowhere near possess ZE:A’s Kevin’s charming voice, as a child I
was hitting notes that MAMAMOO’s Solar hits (on a side note, she is amazing and
I aspire to be like her): incredibly high pitched and powerful note holds. It
just so happens I needed the encouragement from a spider to discover that. In
short, for what did occur as a four year old child, my mother failed to wash
away a spider that was in the bathtub. Therefore, when I was being bathed, I
had eye contact and saw in vivid detail a medium-sized brown spider on my knee.
Needless to say, I unleashed the mentioned inner Solar vocals I had.

Bad story aside, reflecting over my
theology professor’s incredibly jocular story of his “horror” Halloween
adventure, perhaps my spider incident is not worthy of justifying my current
fear of spiders after all, and that missing out on Halloween is not necessarily
unfortunate (and that I feel very grateful for having amazing professors, and
for having had an amazing professor and teachers). Transitioning to a more
serious topic (readers should skip to the review by now unless if interested),
with mentioning “theology,” readers may now become curious of multiple
subjects: the type of university I attend, or more generally, my thoughts on
religions.

Blatantly with K-Pop, it is seldom
for religion to be introduced unless if it is AOA’s Jimin praying in hopes that her cable ride would
not break during the show of “One Fine Day,”
and thus, I will take
advantage of this opportunity to discuss a rare, sensitive topic that is
exceptionally important—similar to how race, gender, sexual orientation, class,
and more should be discussed. First, with taking theology class, from my
understanding, it is true that religion cannot be taught in public schools
unless if in a secular context. For example, the teaching of the history and
facts behind religion is allowed versus, for example, teaching religious ideas,
such as with how the Catholic God wants people to side with those who are
excluded (such as by siding with homosexuals; if there are readers who wish to
discuss this idea of whether homosexuality is a “sin,” I am open to explain
this stance of how the Catholic God does, in fact, embrace homosexuality—more
will be explained later).

On topic, because it is a theology
class and thus, is related to the teachings of religion directly, this does
showcase that I am attending a private university. As my review of GOT7’s “Just
Right” will explain in the lens of beauty, I do acknowledge being privileged in
class (I am able to afford being fashionable, for example). Even with
scholarships, my family being middle-classed greatly increases my chance of
being able to attend a private university (though I have been in public schools
my whole life prior to recently). Therefore, likewise with being privileged in
gender and sexual orientation (male and heterosexual) and other categories,
even if minoritized in race, I openly acknowledge the unfair privileges that I
do have and wish to share these personal facts with readers.

Continuing, for those curious at my
religious affiliation, I have shifted all over: I was raised with Buddhism, but
then transitioned to atheism, and then later, switched to being agnostic.
However, for what I consider myself now, it is a surprising, unusual stance: agnostic,
Buddhist, and Catholic. All simultaneously. This should sound as entirely
ridiculous and that I am confused and fail to understand what religion is as
all three cannot co-exist—especially with being agnostic as that would
contradict also being Catholic and Buddhist.

Defending this absurd position, I
will first explain the background that has influenced me to now adopt my supposedly
“wrong” affiliations. As stated and to intimately share, I used to be an
atheist—the one that was misguided with what atheism was. I used to be very
firm in the idea that no divine beings existed, and that if anyone did believe
in such, they were merely silly. Atheism may be the perspective that no divine
beings exist, but the latter idea is not a part of it; being an atheist does
not mean bashing and degrading religious affiliations that do indeed worship
divine beings—it solely means not believing in said divine beings. I was
limited in view and failed to respect differences. If this stance was applied to
other lenses, the damages I brought are further accentuated: my bashing of
other religious affiliations was like bashing females, non-Asians/non-Whites
(depending on which group is the “dominant” race; refer to other reviews for
this concept), non-heterosexuals, and so forth. Thankfully, as I became
educated in the common areas of race, gender, and class during senior year of
high school, I expanded on such via also looking at religion (and other
categories). In the end, a replayed message is seen: respecting and attempting
to understand different views and opinions.

As a result, for the ultimate point,
with finally learning to embrace differences and to love said differences, I
adopted my current three religious affiliations as I find myself believing in
all three. I am agnostic because there are instances where I neither deny nor
believe of a divine being, such as perhaps with scientific ideas. Homogenously,
though, I still believe in the Catholic God existing and guiding those who
follow Her/Him/It (and notice, another interpretation; rather than just Him, my
view involves Her and It) to be allies with those who are minoritized for
whatever reason (be it race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.).
Lastly, Buddhism is also believed in as I find it important to connect with
everything around so that kindness and understanding are gleaned—to others and
one’s own self.

Overall, it is not “wrong” to be an
atheist or agnostic, nor is it wrong to be a Muslim or Christian. What is
wrong, however, is when differences are not tolerated—when different religious
affiliations, genders, races, classes, and so on, are not equally respected. With
religion, no religious affiliation is superior or more “right” than another,
and furthermore, for the interpretations within a religious affiliation, every
view also has to be accepted and understood. Returning to the earlier point of
how I stated the Catholic God wishes for privileged people to reside with those
who are excluded so that everyone can be within Her/His/It’s embrace, I also
have to hear from the perspective that states that the Catholic God does find
certain groups of people as “sinful” and deserving to be outside of “kinship.”

It is all about treating and seeing
everything with equal respect, even when it can be enraging to do so, such as
with hearing out the perspective that females are inherently inferior to males.
This all does not mean to be passive (I will passionately disagree with the
prior example as I believe both females and males are equally worthy), but it
does mean that rather than entirely ignoring various, disagreeable
perspectives, genuine discussion and thinking should take place so that
understanding is met.

Discussions of religion aside, of
which I do hope readers find interesting and thought-provoking (also, I do
apologize if any reader feels uncomfortable with me bringing in religious
examples; this is for the purpose of context, not to “force” readers to believe
in certain stances and religions), Monsta X will finally be of spotlight.
Biasedly, I do adore “Hero” and am glad the seven men of Monsta X released a
Halloween special since if it were not for that, I would not have heard this
song. With such, though I personally enjoy the song, this review will,
obviously, be impartial and solely of systematic grading.

In terms of Monsta X, I have watched
their first appearance on the variety show of “Weekly Idol” when their senior
label group, Sistar, accompanied them (and AOA with N.Flying and Secret with
Sonamoo). While they did elicit laughter, in honesty, I did not find them
distinctive (nor N.Flying and Sonamoo; the episode, while comical, did not
personally lure me into the newer groups). Optimistically, with this song,
Monsta X has finally caught my attention. Whether with their prettiness (refer
to Teen Top’s “Ah Ah” for a discussion of homophobia;
there is no problem with me, a heterosexual boy, complimenting the men’s
beauty), their powerful and swift dancing, or their admirable vocals, Monsta X
has much potential considering they are new in the K-Pop industry.

Before finally beginning the actual
review (at this point, every reader should just read the review now and then
return here later), there is one minor note to make: the lyrics to “Hero,” once
critically analyzed, are slightly questionable. Infinite’s “The Chaser” possess similar lyrics, and thus, I
will simply refer to it, but in short, the lyrics do—most likely
unintentionally—objectify females in a sense. The problem is not that females
should not be “protected” by males or that females should not want to be
“protected”—this is all up to a female’s decision—but the problem is that
females are equated to trophies. The idea of “protecting” is not inherently bad
if it includes the idea that both males and females can “protect” (physically
and emotionally) and that both males and females can be protectors (there are,
after all, many songs where the lyrics are of a lady protecting her lovely
boy), the issue is where the protecting stems from and how it varies per gender:
for females, objectification; that women are trophies to be hoarded, won, and
protected.

When a male is being “protected,” it
is usually out of general love and other romantic-related ideas and seldom due
to “owning the boy.” Conversely, when a female is being “protected,” the same
word suddenly connotes a new meaning: it is protection because a “man” has to
do such; it is because a man “must possess her as his”; it is because “others
will claim her.” Definitely, there is the rebuttal that “protecting” is
necessary as males desire to “claim” women and that “protecting” repels those
unwanted acts, but if no boy in the first place decided to objectify females,
and thus, no “claiming” ever took place, the need for protecting will also fade
away. The Lyrics category may not be affected in score whatsoever due to
social-level analysis, but it is still very much worthy to be critical of what
songs perpetuate. In “Hero” ‘s case, though seemingly romantic, the lyrics are
merely recycling an arguably misleading idea of what love is for females.
Monsta X are certainly not to blame as they are solely performers, but the song
producer (or lyrics composer) is worthy of questioning. More largely, society
in general is worthy of critiquing as the song producer may have simply got
her/his idea from asking, “What do females consider romantic?” And that answer
has been unfairly established.

Definitely beginning the review, in
addition to how I urge readers to be critical and open for differences, I now
have also displayed the result of what stress due to overworking leads to excessively digressing.
I will be more organized in future reviews, but I always do hope my words
provide new insights. After
all, how often do you hear an 18 year old boy claiming he is Catholic,
Buddhist, and agnostic—without him being drunk
. Pitiful jokes aside,
this review will determine if “Hero” will receive horrific ratings or not.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.14/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Rap: 6/10

6.     Bridge: 6/10

7.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10


Line Distribution: 9/10

Shownu:
Verse 1, Verse 2 (Total: 2)

Wonho:
Verse 1 (Total: 1)

Minhyuk:
Verse 1 (Total: 1)

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

Hyungwon:
Verse 1, Verse 2 (Total: 2)

Jooheon:
Rap 2 (Total: 1)

IM:
Rap 1 (Total: 1)

All:
Choruses, Conclusion (Chorus)  


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Y’all know what it is
Monsta, Monsta
Monsta X is a pitch(?) right here
(What, what, what, what)
Look at me, let’s go

As I watched over you all day
I discovered just one problem, yeah
All those fake, wolf-like guys
who keep bothering you
No, you’re mine
I have the duty to protect you
I’ll protect you
so no one can ever take you easily

You’re so beautiful that I have many enemies
It’s like playing a game to protect the princess
Don’t worry, I’m your man, I can be your hero

I can be your hero
I can be your hero
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man

I can be your hero, all villains get back
I’ll wrap up all the bad guys
and put them in the next truck
Every single one of them look like a beast,
throw ‘em away at the zoo
They’re just all talk,
spitting out nonsense to have you
(What?) If you thought I was easy,
eat a mushroom and grow bigger
Put on underwear over your pants and put on a cape
Sometimes wear a suit,
shine a light from your chest, we shine
Everyone bow your head

This is my last warning
When I get mad, I change scarily
I’ll protect you
so no one can ever take you easily

You’re so beautiful that I have many enemies
It’s like playing a game to protect the princess
Don’t worry, I’m your man, I can be your hero

I can be your hero
I can be your hero
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man

I’ll take out all your villains
like bang bang bang bang
I’ll fly around
in the sky like Superman
I’m gonna hang on the edge of your lips
and make you smile like Batman
I’ll tell all the villains
who make you cry to go away

I can be your hero
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man
I can be your hero, I can be your man

– Choreography Score: 8/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Beginning
with the Lyrics category since it appears that I am being hypocritical with
scoring, to be direct: the lower rating is not because of the earlier tangent
involving the lyrics. Also to note, I am uncertain on the introduction’s word
of “pitch”; admittedly I do hear “b****,” but since I am in doubt, I will leave
it as “pitch” to be safe. Regardless, again, social analysis will not influence
the score if it does turn out to be “b****” (also I would prefer to not censor
the word as it is being used maturely and academically, but I will do so that
every reader is comfortable). On topic, to explain the lyrics’ lower rating,
the ideas are highly basic, and worsening the situation, those ideas become
reiterated often. For example, besides the transparent example of how the
chorus endlessly recycles “I can be your hero, I can be your man,” a line that
is overly used and plain, other sections include the pre-choruses. If more
depth were to be added to the lyrics, and if less repetition occurred of using
exact lines, then perhaps the rating would be higher. However, with the current
lyrics, the plot is too simplistic and the given details fail to bring any
unique points.

Addressing
the vocals, Monsta X’s singing for “Hero” can be considered above average.
Vocals may not be extensive and strenuous such as with superb note control, note
stretches and note holds, but all of the singing definitely remain melodic. Whether
it is the raps, verses, or even the straightforward choruses, and most certainly
the pre-choruses, all of “Hero” contains vocals that are alluring, diverse, and
powerful. No point in the song showcases vocals that are bereft of tune or of
an absurd, unwelcomed singing style. Relating the instrumental, a six is in place.
When it comes to meshing with the vocals, the instrumental perfectly blends
and, additionally, augments the vocals in that power and rhythm are now added
to the vocals’ flow. This is flawlessly seen in how the pre-choruses are
conducted, of which will be explained later. Explaining why the instrumental
score is not to a higher tier, the choruses are to blame. Excluding that
section, the instrumental is catchy, powerful, melodic, and it provides “Hero” ‘s
soothing, deeper frequencies, but once the choruses’ instrumental piece is
factored in, it does become slightly chaotic and mundane. Nevertheless, it is overall
an impressive EDM instrumental (if that is accurate).

Quickly
running through the Line Distribution, miraculously despite a few members
having exactly one section, the lines are all evenly split. Although Monsta X comes
very close to a ten, as discussed in my prior review of f(x), unless if every
member has the exact number of sections, the highest possible is a nine.
Nonetheless, a nine is fantastic and will greatly aid the Song Score.

Discussing
the sections, many are rated at a six. Overall, the main, consistent reason for
those sixes is: those sections fall short due to lacking an aspect of some kind.
Nearly all of the sixes sections nearly meet a seven rating. Using an example,
the introduction delivers charisma and power, and additionally, seamlessly initiates
the song, but the introduced instrumental lacks in a sonic context, hence the
decreased score. Furthermore, in opposite, the verses are attractive sonically
due to the excellent vocals, but structurally the verses carry no distinctive
form. The conclusion is also identical with the verses: solid singing and a
proper closure, but nothing else proves special. Predictably, the rap and
bridge follow suit in lacking a minor yet important detail. Specifically, the
raps could be more enticing with delivery, especially through being more cohesive
as the current pacings’ and stressing points’ fluctuations are hectic, and for
the bridge, while the unique structure is appreciated, it does fail to be
infatuating in sound as it does rely upon the instrumental, of which is not the
strongest by itself.

Peering
at the choruses, I did foresee a significantly lower score due to the
instrumental, but with the added vocals, the choruses are saved. Combining both
the choruses’ lines and the prominent, dynamic instrumental that occurs, while
both are mediocre individually, in cooperation both allow the choruses to
thrive as the section becomes a powerful, rhythmic and contrasting point for “Hero.”
Every other section is melody-oriented, and thus, with the choruses differing, variety
is extracted for the song in whole, and also, the contrast creates emphasis for
both parts: melodic sections are seemingly more so, and the choruses are
seemingly more powerful and beat-based. Ending on an exceptionally promising section,
the pre-choruses reap a high score of an eight. Why this is the case was hinted
at earlier: perfect synergy with instrumental and vocals. First, the
pre-choruses adopt a traditional form in that a lighter tone is adopted, and
that beats accelerate in rate. Though such is normally despised as it lacks
originality, “Hero” manages to execute it. The main driving force behind the
success is Kihyun’s singing. Upon the pre-choruses taking place, Kihyun’s
singing follows the trend of becoming higher pitched and gentler, but
simultaneously, his vocals equally picks up in intensity and melody as the
section continues. Thus, for an outcome, the pre-choruses become a perfect mix
of vocals and instrumental working with one another. Organized, lively and
tuneful, and very much unique.

Finally
ending the review with the choreography, an eight is earned for the dance’s
score. Arrogantly (and cheesily) said, the dance speaks for itself. Both main
categories of the choreography are exceled at, whether it is the key points or
syncing. “Hero” ‘s key points remain varied, as noticed by how every section type
includes its own exclusive dance point. Even if repeats within a section type
(pre-chorus, chorus, etc.) occur, due to how complex and detailed each dance
set is, appeal remains in place. Syncing is also stunning as every single
maneuver reflects back to the song’s audio. There are no points in which any
movement is off-sync. Now, shifting away from a robotic analysis, in an
overarching view, the dance is truly phenomenal. It is powerful and fun, and
with the choreography disclosing movements of all kinds and speed, anything
less than an eight for a score would be misleading. The dance is a flashy,
seducing dance that perfectly showcases Monsta X’s skills and ability to match
with song.

_______________________________________________________

Concluding,
Monsta X’s song of “Hero” finishes out with an overall seven, of which
indicates it is an above average song. Musically, it does hold as slightly
above average, but the weaker lyrics are at fault. Sonically—pure sonically with
solely sound—the song is impressive, though to confess, still repetitive at
times. Regarding Monsta X, with the seven gentlemen being classified as rookies
yet showcasing stellar singing and dancing, I hold high anticipation for future
releases.

Thank
you very much for reading, and for many readers, this review may come as
surprising: it is released right after the last one. Seven hours of grinding
writing will be of credit. Unfortunately, I did brush aside homework for the
purpose of finishing this on time for Halloween, but positively, if I was able
to write for a total of seven hours in one day, I can do the same with homework.
On point, thank you very much for reading any bit of this review.

November
is arriving, and I do have a few reviews in mind already. Reflecting over this
current review outline, I greatly appreciate what it brings. Reviews are more
concise, and most strikingly, are now even more fun to write. At times in the
past, reviews did feel laborious, but due to this shorter format, I feel that I
am able to get to the main points of a song without feeling bored. Also, I
managed to reach my goal of five reviews—though, of course, I did “cheat” with
having two shorter reviews. Nevertheless, this creates more potential of the
number of songs I am now able to review within a month. Once again, thank you
for reading, and for the upcoming review of November, GOT7’s “Just Right” can
be expected. While “I can be your hero,” and “I can be your man,” I will
clarify that the two phrases translate as: I will continue writing reviews as a
“reviewer hero,” and that my “being a man” is simply continuing to love fashion
and makeup, and to speak out against social inequalities and inequities—since doing
those things is, in fact, masculine. Stay tuned and keep checking back.