PRISTIN – “Wee Woo” Review

(Music Video—Dance Version)

PRISTIN – Wee Woo

Reviewed
on April 29, 2017

image

Regarding how the review will go,
despite how many fans might appreciate “Wee Woo” as being catchy and unique or
that it merely needs extra playbacks to be deemed good as many fans have
claimed, I disagree that the song is satisfying or even unique. Harshly said, I
find that “Wee Woo” is a highly generic pop song if we focus on certain
strategies the composers have employed, and furthermore, while the song’s
generic, bubbly musical concept appears as unique we still ultimately have to
realize it is just that: generic.

Personal Message:
It is currently “dead week” for my
university—a term that refers not to the fact that professors are no longer
assigning work due to the week before finals, but rather to the fact that
students are mentally dead. Morbid humor aside, I do want to clarify to readers
that I am indeed alive—although finals are actually happening right on May 1.
This semester has been quite busy and thus, reviews for April were essentially
nonexistent. In fact if correct, April saw only one review—if excluding the April’s Fool prank: EXO’s “Call Me Baby.”
For this summer break, while I will be finally learning how to drive and taking
up a few non-official jobs, I expect it to be quite free and thus I will spend
a lot of time catching up on reviews. Furthermore, I feel inspired to finally
begin learning how to write much more concisely and effectively. As a result,
readers might be seeing a review every other day during summer, and even once
the next semester comes around—one that will be the most challenging and busy—I
would at least be able to review a song every four days versus the current
school schedule of a review per week or two weeks.

And so, let us already begin
focusing on PRISTIN and less on technical updates. As readers might have
noticed, the prior post did involve PRISTIN: I wrote a Critical Discussion post
regarding an incident the ladies and their staff had with a rather questionable
“fan.” Readers who are curious should refer to the post itself as I will no
longer comment on it directly. But indeed, the topic regarding genuinely
obsessed fans is one that should be addressed and cared about and thus, I hope
readers spend some time either reading the post or at least pondering over it.

On topic with PRISTIN, however, in a
musical sense, I have planned to review “Wee Woo” at least three days after it
was released. Quite clearly, three days somehow became two months or so. However,
even if “Wee Woo” is no longer trending in the sense of being a recent
comeback, I find that the song’s composition is fascinating and is perhaps one
that entails not just a discussion on the song in of itself, but also a
discussion on debut songs in general.
For what I mean, especially if we bear in mind PRISTIN’s first album and those
other songs that have been composed and executed, “Wee Woo” is—in my opinion—a
far inferior song than many of the other songs within the ladies’ first album. “Wee
Woo,” then, is what I personally term a “high-risk; high-reward” song—and in
the context of how this is PRISTIN’s debut song, it actually makes sense on why
a potentially weaker song would be used over much stronger songs that exist in
their album.

Regarding how the review will go,
despite how many fans might appreciate “Wee Woo” as being catchy and unique or
that it merely needs extra playbacks to be deemed good as many fans have
claimed, I disagree that the song is satisfying or even unique. Harshly said, I
find that “Wee Woo” is a highly generic pop song if we focus on certain
strategies the composers have employed, and furthermore, while the song’s
generic, bubbly musical concept appears as unique we still ultimately have to
realize it is just that: generic.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 3/10


Sections: 4/10
(3.86/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 3/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 3/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Rap: 5/10

6.     Bridge: 2/10

7.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10


Instrumental: 3/10


Lyrics: 2/10

Wee woo, wee woo, wee
We are Pristin
(Hello)

I’m princess of our house
I like adventures
I want blow the balloon that is you
Pop
When it pops,
what will be there?

There are boys who like me lined up
Oh why, why?
But why aren’t you in that line?
Oh why, why?
Dazzling, my heart is crumbling
You’re my super, super hero
Dazzling, my heart is crumbling
You’re my super hero
Ring ring, hello?
Can you send an ambulance here?
When our eyes meet, I get dizzy

I like you, I like you, boo boo
My heart is pounding
I like you a lot, boo boo
When I look at you, my heart goes
Wee woo, wee woo, wee
Wee woo, wee woo, wee
It’s dangerous
Wee woo, wee woo, wee

I’m waiting, I go crazy when I see you
My heart is going at 100km
I made up my mind, I want you
Right now, stay right where you are

There are boys who like me lined up
Oh why, why?
But why aren’t you in that line?
Oh why, why?
Dazzling, my heart is crumbling
You’re my super, super hero
Dazzling, my heart is crumbling
You’re my super hero
Ring ring, hello?
Can you send an ambulance here?
When our eyes meet, I get dizzy

I like you, I like you, boo boo
My heart is pounding
I like you a lot, boo boo
When I look at you, my heart goes
Wee woo, wee woo, wee
Wee woo, wee woo, wee
It’s dangerous
Wee woo, wee woo, wee

I’m rubbing the lamp baby
Casting a spell so I can have you
Sun, moon, stars, I’m asking them all
to cast a spell
Did the spell work?
Let’s check

I like you, I like you, boo boo
My heart is pounding
I like you a lot, boo boo
When I look at you, my heart
(spills out)
Wee woo, wee woo, wee
It’s dangerous
Wee woo, wee woo, wee
Wee woo, wee woo, wee

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Sometimes
I do wonder if my current university-related stress is making me overly critical. But, I hope with my
reasons and arguments, readers can see where my position comes from and of
course, I definitely encourage readers to openly disagree with my reviews as
the very purpose of them is that: to start discussions. With the review, as we
can tell, the song scores disturbingly low: a three for below average. This has
definitely not occurred in quite some time, but unfortunately “below average”
serves as the appropriate term I would use to describe “Wee Woo.”

Already,
one significant problem to “Wee Woo” is how the vocals are executed. The
choruses provide the best example: much of the vocals follow an overly
strained, higher pitched sound and at the choruses themselves, auto-tune has
been used in the production stage to create a robotic sound. Now before further
expanding that point, a clarification is needed: contrary to the belief that
auto-tune is automatically used to “fix” singing, auto-tune in a majority of
situations is purposefully used for merely its sound effects. After all,
auto-tune rarely “fixes” singing and—as in “Wee Woo” ‘s case—it arguably does
the opposite with breaking singing.
Thus, it is the effect the composers are seeking out and indeed, PRISTIN are
all very capable vocalists as seen in other album songs. But on topic for why
this matters, the auto-tune used here and equally the overly strained, high
pitched singing are detrimental to the song in whole. All of this creates an
excessively mundane sound in the song as there are minimal deviations in the
physical sound itself: everything—barring perhaps moments at the
pre-choruses—is sung in this strained, robotic-like sound. That is definitely
not beneficial if the song itself does not manipulate that for other purposes.

To
compare “Wee Woo” to a song that does arguably use auto-tune to a beneficial
effect, T-ARA’s “Sugar Free” is the song that comes to mind. In “Sugar Free,” the
auto-tune part is to build upon the instrumental’s already robotic sounds, and
additionally, the important feature in “Sugar Free” is that the auto-tuned
singing is used to contrast to standard, highly tuneful vocal beltings that
occur at the choruses. In “Wee Woo,” though, we do not see any of those
strategies implement; rather, we merely hear auto-tune for its individual sonic
appeal—and sadly, that is an unwise decision in my view as auto-tune is best
used on a structural and strategic sense rather than an appealing sound. But
before “Wee Woo” ‘s auto-tune is completely disregarded as useless, I do admit
it has its strength in the song’s structure: the auto-tune singing and the
overly strained singing create a distinctive, highlight point in the choruses
and that serves as an easily identifiable climax to the song. However, this is
a marginal benefit as the downside to this idea—the loss of vocal appeal and
even overall sonic appeal in general—is far more significant.

As
for other problems we encounter, I find that many of the song’s sections are
questionable composed—even if, indeed, there are some brilliant thinking in
mind. Let us examine the pre-chorus for an example. One interesting aspect to
this section is how it essentially builds upon itself; in other words, the
pre-choruses almost have a pre-chorus within themselves. We notice this by how
the pre-chorus initiates with an upbeat, tuneful style but later transitions to
a dramatic, slower style. That, though, is then used as a foundation for the transition
point to send “Wee Woo” to its choruses. Quite obviously, on a superficial
level, this is very creative composing—and indeed, it is and I do not wish
to deny this. The composers do deserve credit for this creative and new
take to pre-choruses. What is not foreseen, however, is how the pre-choruses
ironically undermine themselves. On a general layer, the pre-chorus builds up
the song but when the “second” or “inner” pre-chorus arrives, it ends up taking
away that generated hype and instead starts the whole process right from where it began. This, though, does not create more
hype in the long run. It is a method that is rather inefficient, if anything. If the song took
the pre-choruses’ inner pause but then made such pause work in a manner so that when hype was built up again that the build up would then be perceived as even more intense, then this pre-chorus
form would be quite beneficial. But in this case, it literally undermines its
own work as any generated hype is simply removed.

Furthermore,
this is also problematic when we consider how the instrumental is quite absent
and plays a very passive role. Now, certainly it is typical for instrumental
sounds to take a silent stance during pre-choruses as the return of said
instrumental sounds can serve as a form of building hype and then reaching a
climax, but in “Wee Woo,” the choruses return with a stereotypical, bouncy pop
instrumental. In other words, the instrumental’s disappearance was not in hopes
of creating hype as, if that was the case, the choruses would have had a much more impactful and exciting
instrumental rather than the current instrumental that is plain. Thus, the expected trade of not having an active instrumental during the
pre-choruses for a stronger chorus did not occur; instead, there is merely a
loss of, in this case, having a stale pre-chorus for the sheer sake of it. (And
of course to clarify, this is not to say all pre-choruses must have an active instrumental at play. Each review focuses on a
song’s individual context, and in our case, “Wee Woo” ‘s main weakness of
having minimal variety is why this structure to the pre-choruses is troubling.)

Finally,
for another section worthy of mentioning—in a negative manner, that is—it would
be the bridge. This section lacks in all areas: both sonically and
structurally. On an aural level, the singing follows, as established throughout the song, a robotic
and lifeless singing style. Structurally, the bridge’s dramatic pause fails to suit
in with the rest of “Wee Woo,” and this sudden change was not gradually hinted
throughout the song and thus, the bridge’s form is even more unsuitable to the
song in whole.

And
so, fans might be wondering if there are any possible strengths at all to “Wee
Woo.” My answer: of course there are—every
song has its strengths and weaknesses, after all. One strong point to “Wee Woo”
is the rapping. Even if it is not the best per se, it is definitely a highlight
of the song and is fluently transitioned to. Additionally, though, despite “Wee
Woo” seemingly being a weaker song, we can argue that it ultimately still
succeeds in a commercial sense—and this is what I hinted at earlier in this
review regarding a discussion on “high-risk; high-reward.” With that cliché
phrase, I hoped to capture the idea that “Wee Woo” is somewhat poorly composed
not due to composers lacking the skills and knowledge or that PRISTIN are weak
singers; instead, this was done to manipulate the attention PRISTIN would
receive. Where the risk comes in is that, should this plan work—and I argue, it
actually does—then it would be a huge success as PRISTIN would get more attention. On the other hand, should it
fail, PRISTIN is left with minimally gained popularity and are rendered as a
musically weak group.

To
explain why the manipulation was a success and even what this “manipulation” is, for a debut song, we have to
understand that the main goal is truthfully not musically orientated at all;
rather, the truth is that debut songs are intended to garner as much attention
as possible. Now of course, there are two main ways to approach such: through
raw musical appeal or through merely getting attention such as through
conceptual ideas of a comeback (examples being “cute,” “sexy,” “powerful,”
“cool,” and the like). Pledis Entertainment chose the latter method with “Wee Woo”:
getting attention not through music, but through sheer attention itself. This
explains why the song is incredibly catchy and even excessively pop-like as all of these, even if musically unenticing,
will gather attention—both good and bad. And if we follow this speculation, it
also might explain why the rest of the album possesses the seemingly more
complex and better composed songs: “Wee Woo” is the comeback to get attention;
the rest of the album songs are for actual musical appeal.

Coming
to the end of this review, what are fans to make of “Wee Woo,” then, and its
relation to PRISTIN’s musical skills? Given that “Wee Woo” has led PRISTIN to
gaining more popularity (and with how two members are former members of I.O.I),
I do encourage fans to interpret “Wee Woo” less as a genuine musical piece and
unfortunately more as a financial tool—even if this, indeed, is quite
pessimistic and personally goes against what I consider music to stand for. More
pessimistic individuals might claim that all
pop music is composed with the intent of purely making profit, but I find that
while money is of course in mind and necessary with creating music, it should
never be the first priority. With “Wee Woo,” I critically believe that its
intent was in fact to make money and gather attention, but at least the rest of
the album songs appear to be composed with actual music appeal in mind.

All
in all, while “Wee Woo” is by far one of the weaker songs I have heard in
general, given that it has served its financial role, I hope future releases
focus less on gaining attention and more on producing excellent songs—of which
would, in turn, gain more fans for PRISTIN. Thus, fans should continue
supporting the ladies regardless of their comeback song’s quality, and that
those who are interested but repelled by “Wee Woo” ‘s weaker composition
continue to stay interested as future releases will most likely be
improvements.

_______________________________________________________

As
always, thank you to all for reading whether in full or skim. I miraculously
did manage to write this review in only one and a half hours—a record, perhaps.
But, given that all the analytical work was done even weeks prior, this is not
too surprising. Once summer break begins, readers can look forward to many
reviews returning. May currently has many new artists lined up to be reviewed,
after all. Until then, I will be finishing a ten-page essay (which is not too
bad given I have already outlined the essay) and asking readers: “Can you send
an ambulance here?”

Critical Discussion: “PRISTIN’s Fan-Signing Confrontation: Addressing Delusional/Sasaeng Fans Seriously”

“PRISTIN’s
Fan-Signing Confrontation: Addressing Delusional/Sasaeng Fans Seriously”

Posted on April 19, 2017

So
for where I do want to direct our discussion, I instead wish to focus our
attention on how we, as sincere and supportive fans, are to address fans who
genuinely are delusional and obsessive. For aspects this post will discuss: the
need to take delusional fans seriously; a misunderstanding of how idols are to
be perceived; discussion of mental health; and lastly, the idea of compassion even towards those who seemingly do not
deserve such.

Personal
Message:
To
clarify, I am in the middle of reviewing PRISTIN’s “Wee Woo” and hope to finish
the review quite soon. That said, and especially as I believe that K-Pop and generally
pop culture of any kind is more than just the entertainment, musical aspects,
this Critical Discussion is one that I hope readers will seriously consider. For
what will be discussed, in light of PRISTIN’s recent confrontation with a man I
personally deem dangerous, I think it is time I personally bring up a topic
that even I have oftentimes belittled: the topic of delusional fans—or in
Korean terms that K-Pop audiences might be more familiar with whether one knows
Korean or not, “sasaeng” fans.

Now to clarify, quite obviously this
Critical Discussion will not focus on persuading readers to not be delusional
fans; I expect that many genuinely delusional fans would not even be reading
these types of posts in the first place, and furthermore, I say with full
confidence that those who are reading this post are intelligent, critical, and ethical
human beings who already know why it is problematic to be an overly obsessed,
delusional fan. So for where I do want to direct our discussion, I instead wish
to focus our attention on how we, as sincere and supportive fans, are to
address fans who genuinely are delusional and obsessive. For topics this post
will discuss: the need to take delusional fans seriously; a misunderstanding of
how idols are to be perceived; discussion of mental health; and lastly, the
idea of compassion even towards those
who seemingly do not deserve such. And of course, I will cover in brief terms
what exactly occurred between PRISTIN and a delusional fan, but admittedly this
discussion will focus more on delusional and obsessive fans in general rather
than just PRISTIN’s case. After all, sadly, this concept of delusional fans—or
“sasaeng” fans—requires a discussion that addresses them all rather than just a
particular case. (Another prevalent case in mind is, if I am correct, with EXO
and how Suho was sexually threatened—or “sexually harassed” if my language here
is too biased—with rape from a woman. Point is, there are many of these extreme
cases involving both male and female artists and thus, I wish our discussion to
be general and that PRISTIN’s case will merely provide a contextual example.)

_______________________________________________________

Context:
I will link a news article that
addressed what occurred: Soompi’s article. I have praised Soompi before, but
I will do it once again—and no, I am not sponsored by them at all nor write for
them: I simply appreciate their professionalism and website layout of not
pouring in obnoxious pop-up ads as do many other translated K-Pop news sites do
as of the late. But on topic, the news article should cover what exactly
occurred with PRISTIN and the “fan.”

For more specific details on why
this person’s behavior is highly inappropriate, he intended to propose to
Kyulkyung at this fan-signing, and regarding a sketchbook he planned to give,
he wrote in the sketchbook sexual threats (or, again, “harassment” if my
language is overly harsh and biased) such as desiring to get Kyulkyung pregnant
along with including an image of a decomposing corpse. For where credit is
deserved, the staff and group members all acted very professionally and
appropriately despite such pathetic actions from the “fan.” The only criticism
I have on this practical, procedural end however is questioning why Pledis
Entertainment does not use a blacklisting system akin to, if correct, JYP
Entertainment (and of whom are also very strict with how fans can interact with
idols when not at meetings). The fact that an infamous delusional fan is able
to physically meet PRISTIN is perhaps the more disturbing aspect of this entire
incident—and bear in mind, the company was
aware of his coming given that fans have taken preemptive measures of alerting
the company and hence why the staff was prepared to deal with him. With that, though,
let us now focus on the actual and more general discussion at hand.

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Already, one of the major takeaways
I hope readers have from this post is the fact that delusional/sasaeng fans need to be taken seriously. I connote
this on both practical and social levels. In PRISTIN’s case, once again, I
highly wish to emphasize the fact that such a fan was still able to attend
despite multiple, proactive warnings about his behavior. While there could be
many reasons for why this occurred, and to clarify I do believe in the best
intentions and that Pledis Entertainment agreed it was—for whatever reasons—the
best to still allow the delusional fan to attend, I do wonder if part of the
reason involves the company not necessarily taking these types of fans
seriously in the first place.

In defense of Pledis Entertainment
however, especially with most of the delusional fan’s comments being online, it
could all be an entire hoax to make everyone anxious for the person’s own
amusement—and admittedly, I would consider most of these delusional fans to
indeed be mere frauds and jokes. And of course, this is complicated by the
unreliability to detect when someone is genuine or not online; after all, if
someone despised me enough, she/he could take my sarcastic humor of me jokingly
claiming TWICE’s Jihyo will propose marriage to me as real evidence to me being
a delusional/sasaeng fan. Now for a more complicated case, while my own “delusional”
points are easily found as sarcastic, there are cases where drawing such clear
distinctions is difficult. A prominent example is, if correct, how a boy
sexually harassed IU in a live stream. While IU’s label company brilliantly did
decide to press charges—after all, sincere or not such behavior deserves to be
addressed—the boy did claim he was merely joking and was not genuinely going to
act on his words. Nevertheless, we find our tension here: how serious are companies
to take delusional fans?

While I personally propose we need
to take all actions and words from these types of fans as serious, I still wish
for readers to consider the opposing view: many could disagree with me as
perhaps there may be fans who are indeed misunderstood and therefore wrongly
punished. And of course, I am thinking of genuinely innocent examples; in IU’s
case, whether the boy was joking or not, the degree of his words are
unacceptable. Instead, “innocent examples” might involve how a fan “jokes” on
SNS that she would kidnap a certain idol if she could. Quite obviously, there
is the tension of whether this fan would need to be investigated and
blacklisted or if it is quite clear—whatever constitutes as “clear evidence,” another
issue in of itself—she was joking. All in all, readers can see there is in fact
a serious discussion on this front. I urge that we need to take all
repetitively “proven” delusional fans seriously, but already that statement can
be strongly and rightfully disagreed with and I do encourage readers to always
be critical thinkers with considering various perspectives.

Switching onto our next topic, this
one will be relatively brief as I hope to many readers this will already be
common knowledge: that idols are not to be perceived in an objectifying manner.
I bring up this point as there is a peculiar yet reasonable argument for why
delusional fans “can” exist: some argue an idol’s job and role does, at times,
involve putting themselves out there for fans to figuratively consume via
entertainment or in some cases even sexual appeal. After all, it seems far too
extreme if a genuinely well-behaved fan can never say, for example, “Kyulkyung
is so sexy!” without suddenly being labeled as a dangerous, delusional fan. Indeed,
to some extent, I agree: it is not unethical to idolize idols—and hence,
perhaps, the very label of “idol.” In fact, this idolizing can range beyond
just how one might look up to an idol as a role model; I think it is not
utterly inappropriate if a fan is suddenly expressing how she is very much
sexually attracted to some idol. If such occurs, then so be it. However, this
is where I argue there needs to be an appropriate
balance: idolizing to extreme ends to
the point it affects idols and fans, whether sexual or not, is never
acceptable.

For example, despite my conservative
beliefs (as admittedly while I am socially ethical and therefore categorized as “liberal,” I
culturally am “conservative”–and of course, “conservative” or “liberal,” we all should be socially ethical) of how a “real man” and a “real woman” never
makes sexual comments to others, I have—as indeed, I am a regular nerdy
human—made sexual-based remarks before. With PRISTIN in mind, I believe I have
even posted a YouTube comment along the lines of explicitly calling Nayoung
“sexy.” Is this entirely unethical? I argue far from it; my comment was that of
being a fan at the moment and I obviously meant it as a lighthearted praise. Most
importantly, I did not take it to the degree that the comment would be
objectifying and I very much praise
and acknowledge Nayoung more for Nayoung herself rather than for her physical
appearance. Now that said, and particularly to male readers, this is not an
excuse to suddenly go on a “she/he is sexy” complimenting marathon. I say this
to male readers as we have to acknowledge that an innocuous sexual-based comment,
even if meant to be lighthearted and a genuine praise, can indeed still be
considered sexually objectifying and demeaning because we speak from a position
of social privilege. In other words,
we speak from a male privileged stance and could be unintentionally
contributing to the issue of freely sexually objectifying women (and men) because
speaking from a male privileged
stance automatically justifies a male’s sexual comments as acceptable (due to
gender expectations) when such actions should not be excused at all.

Thus, my overall point is this: in a
reasonable, mature and respectful manner, there is not a problem should a fan
idolize their idols—whether with admiration or with sexual attraction. The key
idea is that such comments and idolizing need to be respectful and reasonable.
Praising that Nayoung is sexy is not an issue; there is an issue, however, should one keep repeating and pushing forth
such a comment to the point where Nayoung—a wonderful human being—is reduced
down to purely her body. And of course, adding on male privilege should the fan
be a male, and indeed we have an even more serious situation as it now leeches
beyond just one individual case but is now reaching a social level of
perpetuating the idea that men can freely sexually objectify women. Likewise,
claiming that Nayoung is one’s role model is not a problem; there is a problem, however, should the fan
suddenly find the need to stalk Nayoung and genuinely believes she loves
him/her back in a romantic sense.

As for PRISTIN’s delusional fan, he
is indeed in the wrong: he has made a sexual threat to Kyulkyung—a comment that
claims he would make her pregnant versus merely complimenting her—and his
excessive admiration has led him to believing she genuinely loves him back in a
romantic sense. Yes, idols’ jobs and roles do involve them being idolized, but
an ethical dimension still exists: idols, too, are human beings and deserve
respect and dignity. Indeed, many Korean idols (I have no authority to comment
for other pop cultures) are absolutely fantastic role models for male and
female fans and thus, I do find it acceptable should fans admire them as role
models or even find idols sexually attractive should a fan opt to go this
route. (Biasedly with my cultural views, though, I do urge fans to praise idols
beyond their physical appearance if physical appearances are to even matter at
all. Idols’ work ethics, respectful conduct, care for members, skills, and so
forth are what I find most “sexy” and I do encourage fans to view idols in this
aspect rather than merely physical attractions.) What is problematic is when
such infatuation—sexual or not—goes to the extent of disrespecting the idol and
said idol is no longer a human but instead an object. After all, as much as I
joke about being delusional and loving TWICE’s Jihyo and how she will one day
get on her knee to propose to me, I obviously know at the end of everything—besides
how we will never meet at all—Jihyo is simply an amazing woman who brings a lot
for the world as a role model and musician—not an object that I can somehow “possess.”

Finally, this brings up perhaps the
most sensitive topic yet in this post: a discussion on mental illness. Already
I wish to clarify that I do not want to further perpetuate the stigma that
socially deviant behavior (if that is a proper term; I merely mean behavior
that is not of the norm and do not intend to connote something else) must
automatically be the result of mental illness. Whether it is PRISTIN’s
delusional fan or the woman who claimed she would rape EXO’s Suho, as ethical
and critical human beings, we should never automatically assume these
individuals are mentally ill. For all we know, they might be very sane and
reasonable people; the only difference, though, is perhaps they lack ethics and have no regard for acting
upright in the world. (This is why readers constantly see me discussing social
topics in an ethical lens; in the end, I consider my ultimate goal as a human
being—let alone a K-Pop reviewer and future teacher—is to spread as much
goodness and to encourage others to do as much good as possible.) Nevertheless,
however, I think the discussion of mental illness is still relevant: it needs
to be reminded that us mentally healthy individuals have an ethical role with
challenging the stigma of mental illness, but should the case be that certain
delusional fans are mentally ill, such needs to be addressed appropriately.

Without intending to, I have already
discussed why readers should not hurry to the conclusion that delusional fans
are automatically mentally ill. Again, the example of how these types of fans might
be sane but merely lack ethics is a possible and reasonable explanation. Furthermore,
the automatic association that any social deviant behavior means one is
mentally ill is a highly misunderstood idea. Mental illness cannot be easily
generalized in that sense, and I argue such negative associations of mental
illness—such as how individuals who are mentally ill are dangerous—make it even
more difficult for those who need mental support to get that very support.
Think of, for example, those with depression: if mental illness is considered
wicked and dangerous, the likelihood of a depressed individually getting the
help she/he needs is highly reduced due to social stigma. Thus, I do challenge
readers to be more critical in their view of mental illnesses and to very much
confront biases they have towards mental illnesses. Although I am the one
suggesting this, I do indeed admit I have biases that I very much am working to
challenge—after all, my first instinct to reading about PRISTIN’s incident was
a quick assumption that the delusional fan is “crazy” and “mentally ill” (in
other words, I used the label as an insult rather than its appropriate use as a
general, clinical label). These are disturbing, highly biased thoughts I have,
but indeed I share this as readers need to realize we all have biases worth
correcting and I indeed am joining along in the process of being a more
compassionate, knowledgeable human.

_______________________________________________________

Conclusion:
With addressing so many different
points, I might now have made readers feel overwhelmed, more confused, or
simply unsatisfied with how one is to reconcile what PRISTIN and Pledis
Entertainment staff members experienced with the delusional fan. I will attempt
to conclude this Critical Discussion: a discussion on compassion.

Indeed, I find that the ethical
layer is why a lot of social-related topics matter as all of these related
discussions is ultimately an attempt to answer how we are to make the world a
better place for each other. On one hand, compassion here means that we need to
understand what idols feel and why, despite idolizing them, they are worthy of
respect and dignity as is every other human entitled to. Now for where the idea
of compassion gets tricky, admittedly feeling compassion—in other words for
those unfamiliar, having a sense of understanding and even “acceptance”—for delusional
fans is difficult. In fact, I wholeheartedly admit despite my current teachings
and discussion, I do struggle with having compassion for these types of
individuals. After all, how is any ethical, critical person supposed to “accept”
and “understand” a woman who dares to make a rape threat to a man or a man who
dares makes a sexual threat to a woman? But, this is where I challenge readers
and myself: we still need to, at the very least, make attempts to understand
these individuals.

For perhaps a controversial point I
will make, having compassion for these delusional fans does not mean one is to
necessarily accept them entirely; I absolutely prohibit these types of fans
from ever attending fan-meetings and also desire to ban them from posting
content on idols’ fancafes. What I mean by “accept,” then, is that I still have
to accept and acknowledge these delusional fans are humans. It would be wrong,
for example, if fans suddenly made plans to kidnap the woman who made rape
threats to EXO’s Suho and physically assaulted her—reason being she still is a
human, and that using such escalated violence would lead to nothing. (Now even
more controversially, I do want to clarify that I do believe at times violence
to counteract violence is sometimes essential and appropriate. For a random
example, a police officer who kills a criminal who would have otherwise harmed
innocent people is, in my argument, worthy of praise as she appropriately used
violence in this case to prevent malicious violence. This is the only violence
that is acceptable—in my argument, that is.) Therefore, in one sense,
compassion in this regards means delusional fans do not deserve equally heinous
treatment—barring, as in the example above, cases where violence must be used
to prevent a delusional fan from inflicting violence.  

Secondly, another reason for
compassion and perhaps the most important reason is that it allows us to be
critical in assessing such types of fans. Why
are they behaving this way? Compassion grants us the moment to genuinely
attempt to understand where a delusional fan is coming from. With PRISTIN’s
case, I am highly curious of the background of the sasaeng fan. His mental
health, his relationship with women in general, his views on ethics and
behaviors, his views on masculinity, his views on sexuality—all of these are
aspects that can very much help hypothesize reasons for why he behaved highly
inappropriately towards Kyulkyung. And through this process, we come to realize
there is a humane side to a person who we otherwise would only desire to bash
and trash.

All in all, while these types of
fans should not be physically accepted at all, I think they ethically deserve to still be—if not
accepted—then at least understood in regards to motives. But, this is indeed
still a tough situation and how one feels about this situation will ultimately
be up to their own moral views. Some fans might feel compassionate and attempt
to understand the delusional fan’s seemingly troubled life and mind, but others
can equally and rightfully believe such a man is disgusting and perhaps even
inhuman for his actions and words. It all depends on one’s own ethical views,
and that is something I do not desire to shape. All I desire is to make people think of their very own ethical views—regardless
of what they are. If hate is to be used, then I hope there are at least solid
reasons for such. No matter what, though, we all can agree on this: on a
practical level, delusional fans are a threat to idols and staffs, and indeed,
I believe safety precautions need to be implemented such as blacklisting such
fans or thoroughly inspecting these types of fans for any suspicious items (be
it weapons or hidden cameras).

_______________________________________________________

This Critical Discussion took far
longer than expected. As a result, the review on “Wee Woo” will be posted much
later, but of course, I do believe that this post is much more valuable than a
musical analysis of their debut song as this post matters on both a practical and social layer. My words here are not
necessarily to convince readers what to think, but I do hope it sparks
discussions and encourages more critical, deeper thinking for PRISTIN fans or
other K-Pop fans—or even simply fans of any pop culture should this post reach
a broader audience.

Look forward to a review on PRISTIN’s
“Wee Woo” in a week or perhaps even two weeks as I will be heading into
university finals soon. Thank you to readers for being patient, and thank you
to those who have read or skimmed this post.

I.O.I – “Whatta Man” Review

I.O.I – Whatta Man (Music Video)

I.O.I – Whatta Man

Reviewed
on August 9, 2016

image

Another issue, and arguably the main weakness to the song, is that excess focus means insufficient focus elsewhere: specifically to that of the raps and verses. Unlike the choruses which are roaring with power and organized in a cohesive manner along with tints of two-part singing to prevent repetitiveness—and indeed this is critical as these types of choruses are prone to mundaneness—the other sections in the song falter.

Personal Message:
I have never reviewed two songs in
one day (though if I delay this review then this sentence can be disregarded),
but today might be the first. If I am feeling even more ambitious, a third
review might also come but that is unlikely. Many comebacks and debuts are
taking place, and indeed I am trying to keep up and to catch up from last month’s releases (Eric Nam, Stellar, and
Brave Girls in specific).

Focusing on the sudden review,
I.O.I’s latest comeback, “Whatta Man” has attracted much attention as of the
late. Besides how the project group (in other words, only temporary) originated
from Produce 101, a show focused on
idol trainees and rookies, and that I.O.I is considered a “super group” by most
since many of the idols are from a variety of actual groups while having high
skills, the group is also getting much attention for “Whatta Man” since it in
truth is moreover a cover than an actual release. Indeed, after some
researching, “Whatta Man” is an old American Pop song and I.O.I (with
permission) used many of the original song’s features for their current version
of it. While I have not heard the original and let alone even knew of it, I
find it of no concern that I.O.I is not releasing their individually owned
song. Besides, the ladies’ twist to “Whatta Man”—I am assuming everything but
the chorus is of their own—is impressive. (And, from a technical standpoint,
the group is not official and thus, having covers versus actual new songs is
much less strenuous and more suiting as they are only temporarily together.)

Now before continuing further, it
might be best to further explain the group. As discussed earlier, I.O.I
originates from a show and that the members are from other, actual
groups—examples being Gugudan, DIA, Pledis Girlz, and Cosmic Girls. With that,
I.O.I is solely a project group; I.O.I will certainly disband at one point and
only exists for as long as they are in Produce
101
. The members of I.O.I are also still in their respective groups; no
member of I.O.I left their original group in pursue of I.O.I. And for where
this all becomes even more complicated, for “Whatta Man” the entirety of I.O.I
is not here: only seven out of eleven members are active for this release. Is
this a sub-unit, then? Again, it is but technically is not as the group in of
itself is already a project. Let us just focus on the music.

For “Whatta Man,” much of the
current reactions and stances appear to be polar opposites: there are those who
praise the song as fantastic and the best, and others who criticize the song as
unoriginal, unfitting, and even stale. Biasedly, I am a fan of the song due to
its hard-hitting, powerful vocals and style, but from a serious and neutral
perspective, I hope to bring a new angle to the song: “Whatta Man” ultimately
flourishes, but even with its charming points there are still heavy drawbacks.
This critique, a critique that leans moreover to the middle, is what I hope to
bring to current discussions. (And as discussed in the prior review, I will also be using the current
review as experiment and practice for a more concise write-up.)

Edit (Feb. 17, 2017): Adding a message I received from a reader for corrections. Thank you very much for sending this in.

“Hey so I’ve been a really big fan for a long time and I adore your reviews. They’re in depth and well thought out. Despite the fact that I am a large fan of yours, I have found some problems with your review for I.O.I’s Whatta Man. The problem isn’t with your review of the song, which is spot on as usual. 

Before the actual review, you gave some explanation about the formation of the group and the members of the group with which I take issue.

In one of the intro paragraphs you described the members as having come from groups such as Gugudan, Pledis Girlz, DIA and Cosmic Girls. This is simply untrue. Sejeong and Mina debuted in Gugudan after Produce 101 was over. Pledis Girlz isn’t even a fully debuted group yet. Yeunjeung was added to Cosmic Girls after Produce 101 finished airing. The only case with which your statement was true, was concerning Cathy and Chaeyeon, who withdrew from DIA to participate in the show. 

You also label the song as a cover, which again is untrue. It’s technically a remake. YMC Entertainment purchased the rights to the song and created another version of it. This same situation happened with Girls Generation’s Run Devil Run and f(x)’s Hot Summer. It is not a cover because it’s being sold and profit Is being made which does not happen with cover songs. 

Also this is a small tidbit but you wrote that I.O.I is a project group that is only a group as lit as they are in Produce 101. This is also not true because Produce 101 has ended and the result of the ending of the show was the chance to be in I.O.I. The group will disband when the managing company disbands them, not when Produce 101 ends because it already has. 

I don’t want this to sound rude and please be aware that I respect your blog and everything you do, I just wanted to clear things up. Thank you for your time” – 

crispable-affextion

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.80/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(5.67/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction
(Chorus): 3/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Rap: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge: 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Section Distribution: 9/10

Nayoung:
Rap, Rap (Total: 2)

Chungha:
Rap, Verse (Total: 2)

Jieqiong:
Rap, Verse (Total: 2)

Sohye:
Verse, Verse (Total: 2)

Yoojung:
Rap, Verse, Rap (Total: 3)

Doyeon:
Verse, Verse, Bridge (Total: 3)

Somi:
Verse, Verse, Verse (Total: 3)

All:
Introduction (Chorus), Chorus, Chorus, Conclusion (Chorus)

Equal Value: 2.43 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 6/10

Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, yes, you’re a good man

If I just pass you, I think I’ll regret it
Should I just take a slight look?
Yes, you’re right, stop looking around
We keep locking eyes

Electricity ran between us, are you okay?
Tell me, am I misreading this by myself?
I see your heart reflected in your shaking eyes
I’m going to read it, what does it say?
You know you got me singing

Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man
(Right)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, yes, you’re a good man
(Yes, it’s you)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man
(Yes he is)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, yes, you’re a good man
(Yes, you’re a good man)

A small fire in my heart
Only the wind is blowing today
Without warning my feelings grow, what do I do?
Come closer and see for yourself
Che-che-check me out
Don’t look elsewhere, keep focusing on me

You were special from the start
Feel so good, I got a feeling
Something about you feels strange
Something’s different about you
You know you got me singing

Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man
(Right)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, yes, you’re a good man
(Yes, it’s you)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man
(Yes he is)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, yes, you’re a good man
(Yes, you’re a good man)

Luck that falls from the sky
Do you think it’ll go to you?
This is a chance from God
What are you doing? Run over here
If you don’t catch me, if you don’t hold onto me,
I’ll fly away like a balloon
If you kick away this chance,
it’ll make you kick your blankets

When are you going to stop hesitating?
Now stop
Oh oh oh oh
I’m curious about you
Come closer, I won’t hurt you
(I won’t hurt you)
(Woo)

Oh, yeah-ah-ah
(Yes you are)

Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man
(Yes he is)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, yes, you’re a good man
(Whatta man)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man
(Oh whoa)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, yes, you’re a good man
(Oh come on and sing it with me)
Whatta man, whatta man
Whatta man, I know you’re a good man

Choreography Score: */10 (*/10 raw score)

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Surprisingly,
“Whatta Man” scores at above average—a rating that I did not predict at all. I
say that as, while I do biasedly enjoy the song, this song is an example of
pure emphasis towards power and as a result, many categories are at the expense
of the hammering, powerful vocals and choruses—this being why I predicted a six
out of ten at most. But regardless of numbers given, it should be noted this song
is not necessarily well balanced even if it scores well in its entirety. As
said earlier, this song is neither perfect nor imperfect; “Whatta Man” has both
strengths and weaknesses as does every song. For the following analysis, however,
let us focus moreover on how the sheer amount of intensity is controlled—or the
lack thereof—and how that affects the rest of the song.  

Beginning
with a very noticeable issue, the introduction to the song is beyond excessive.
Intriguingly, if the actual music video’s audio at the start—the moments prior
to 0:09—was a part of the official audio, then the introduction would actually
be slightly improved. However, as that is not the case, the instantaneous delivery
of the erupting choruses is far too much. Certainly it does set up the song for
what to expect, but even so its lack of soothing listeners into that is not
ignorable. Without a transitioning point to ease in listeners, “Whatta Man” ‘s
powerful vocals at the very start are no longer rendered as “powerful” per se,
but perhaps as obnoxious or overly dramatic instead—these labels connoting
negativity versus that of positivity.

Another
issue, and arguably the main weakness to the song, is that excess focus means insufficient
focus elsewhere: specifically to that of the raps and verses. Unlike the
choruses which are roaring with power and organized in a cohesive manner along
with tints of two-part singing to prevent repetitiveness—and indeed this is
critical as these types of choruses are prone to mundaneness—the other sections
in the song falter. Is this by accident or with intent? In truth, there is no
firm answer as it is understandable on why every section minus the choruses is
rather lacking: it creates the emphasis listeners feel when the choruses
arrive. By having verses and raps that are moreover fillers than their own
sections, the choruses—once occurring—are even more enticing than before as there is no competition among the
other sections. This is what I am referring to when I claim the song is not
well balanced. This is not necessarily a negative trait, but it does mean “Whatta
Man” is predominantly adored for particularly one section versus for its
entirety.

As
for other hindrances to the power-orientated format to “Whatta Man,” the lyrics
and instrumental partially suffer. With the lyrics, even if it is augmented by
the diversity of details as noticed in how every section is unique (minus the
choruses), it still lacks in its plot depth and, more importantly, that the
choruses’ lines are extremely redundant, minor details. For the instrumental, this
aspect to the song is likewise intriguing. Akin to the sections of funneling
the attention towards the choruses, the instrumental functions homogenously: in
of itself, the instrumental is nothing stunning, but once the choruses arrive
it plays a vital role. To elaborate, the instrumental during the choruses
provide a wrap—if we can say that—to the choruses’ vocals; the instrumental
does not steal attention away from the ladies’ singing, and yet it still adds
in a seducing bass line to cover for the lower sounds and likewise some
background mid-high sounds to cover that range. In the midst of this all, I.O.I’s
vocals are able to be comfortably covered, and the result is choruses that are
thorough, dynamic, and exciting (in the sense of not boring; being upbeat/exciting
is stylistic and therefore is not necessarily able to be used as a negative or
positive trait).

And
so, while releasing an utterly powerful, impacting song has some weaknesses
brought along with it, there are still admirable points and these points are
why, despite the odds, “Whatta Man” scores at above average. The vocals,
without much explanation needed, greatly excel. I.O.I’s vocals are powerful—their
vocals are not obnoxious, chaotic, and misguided. All of the vocals in “Whatta
Man” may be strong, but they are in a precise, controlled fashion so as to
bring cohesion and tune. Especially with the variety of vocals occurring—be it
raps, plainer singing at the verses or smooth, tuneful vocal beltings and
adlibs/two-part singing—the vocals may be powerful, but they still retain the
variety necessary to guaranteed a constant high level of appeal. Additionally,
it also helps that the section distribution is as equal as possible. Many
readers may wonder why a song’s distribution of sections/lines matter, but this
is why: because each member’s voice prevents staleness. In this song, it is not
just one member carrying the bulk of the song, but instead, everyone is
involved. Agreeably there may be particular roles for those who handle more
intense singing or rapping, but nonetheless with each member having the
sufficient amount of time, it allows the vocals to remain diverse in both sound
and style.

Lastly,
for what brings this song together and why many have become fond of it, since
I.O.I’s execution of a high-intensive song is excellent, the resulting choruses—the
sections that serve as the climactic, momentous point—are incredible. The
choruses are the main highlight of the song: solid chemistry with the vocals,
sections, and instrumental. After investing and expending much of the song for
this one moment, indeed in this song’s case the result is promising. Overall,
I.O.I’s “Whatta Man” is a strong song—no pun intended. Although in a majority
of songs this format of one section becoming an emphasized, cherished point
leads to many problems, I.O.I does manage to execute it so that there are moreover
strengths than weaknesses. While “Whatta Man” is not necessarily “balanced” and
is a high-risk-high-reward song (many will either very much like or dislike it),
admittedly sometimes taking major risks can prove rewarding. In the end, it is
a song that is one of the best “high-powered” songs I personally have heard,
but of course it is not without its flaws. Rather than the current views that
this song is either entirely good or bad, I will end with saying “Whatta Man”
is—even if not balanced in of itself as discussed—very much balanced in terms
of possessing both strengths and weaknesses.

_______________________________________________________

And
somehow I actually finished two reviews in one day—though I did take a break
for this one. Nonetheless, I am starting to get the hang of this reviewing
style and I do find it more productive than the prior style as I am now able to
cover more content and not drone on to the point of boring readers who simply
desire a thorough overview without excess details to read. For example, I could
have very much explained why the verses and raps are lacking or why the
concluding chorus is a six versus the standard choruses which were sevens, but
since these would focus on the very minor details, it appears best to instead
stick with the main ideas and points. More practice will help, but I personally
am quite ecstatic to know how many potential reviews I can now quickly cover
without sacrificing core reviewing points of songs.

For
the next review, I currently have Blackpink prepared as the newly debuted group
is also under much discussion—both mature and immature—about the qualities of
their debut songs. While my reviews are never objective and are meant to ignite
discussion versus that of debating stances, I do hope the upcoming review
allows some new insight to Blackpink’s debut. Afterwards, with some new optimistic
energy, I will work hard to review many of the songs I missed during July. After
all, “You know you got me singing”—I mean writing. Despite how passionate I am
for pop music, it is vastly better for me to stick to writing and not singing.
Jokes aside, look forward to Blackpink’s “Whistle.”