MAMAMOO – “Starry Night” Review

(Music Video)

MAMAMOO – “Starry Night”

Reviewed on March 20, 2018

More seriously, however, it is true I have not reviewed many of MAMAMOO’s recent songs. This decision was ultimately due to how the ladies already have excessive spotlight on this blog, but “Starry Night” changes this trend. Why? I was disappointed. And of course, bold stances oftentimes make for more interesting reviews and thus, I am reviewing MAMAMOO after quite a long time.

Continue reading “MAMAMOO – “Starry Night” Review”

Critical Discussion: “MAMAMOO’s Use of Blackface: Understanding How Racism is Not a Binary”

“MAMAMOO’s
Use of Blackface: Understanding How Racism is Not a Binary”

Posted on March 5, 2017

That
said, for where this post will be going, I wish to unfold the current
controversy so that everyone truly understands why the situation is a critical
one, and more importantly, I wish to address the idea that racism is a
“binary.”

Personal
Message:
Needless
to say, I am incredibly shocked and feel both disappointed at MAMAMOO for this
incident in the first place, yet I still feel incredibly proud of them for
sincerely acknowledging and apologizing for this incident. There is a lot to
discuss for this Critical Discussion and indeed, these situations are why I have this type of post: because pop
culture tends to tie into social topics—whether intended or not. More
importantly, however, when these social-related topics arise, how it is handled
is definitely of interest and arguably even telling the current norms and such in
place.

With this discussion about MAMAMOO’s
recent use of blackface for a concert, I understand it is an incredibly
sensitive topic and no matter how one feels—whether one feels “betrayed” by the
beloved ladies and is no longer a fan or that one finds that this all
miniscule—the purpose of this post is not to necessarily change or neglect how
fans currently feel on an emotional level. Every fan’s individual emotional
reaction deserves to be respected. That said, for where this post will be
going, I wish to unfold the current controversy so that everyone truly
understands why the situation is a critical one, and more importantly, I wish
to address the idea that racism is a “binary.”

By “racism binary,” I am referring
to the unspoken assumption that racism is an “either” situation; either one is
racist and a completely awful human being or that one is non-racist and is
utterly open to all racial differences. MAMAMOO’s situation provides an
excellent example of why this racism binary is false: seldom are people
entirely on one end of the spectrum and more often than not, we will find
ourselves hovering in the middle. For example, there is a concept of “implicit
bias”—biases one has not due to their
individual beliefs and actions, but rather biases one accumulates in a society. This applies to race, gender, and every
other social aspect. Without getting into the detail of how implicit bias works
as that entails a whole separate post, the point is this: for one to claim they
are utterly non-racist is unlikely. This is not
because of their own actions and beliefs—I very much believe a vast majority of
humans try their best to be ethical in the world and thus non-racist—but
because societally there are hidden messages spread throughout that can alter
one’s thinking on a very subtle level.

To use myself in an honest example
as this might make implicit bias more understandable and relatable, as many may
know given the plethora of posts that tackle social topics, readers might
assume that I genuinely am incredibly open and without biases at all. This,
obviously, is false: I am as any normal human—the only difference that I might
deserve minimal credit on is the fact that I am open on discussing these sensitive topics in the first place even if at
the risk of people then assuming I am no longer “non-racist” and other labels. To
share my biggest personal implicit bias with race—though it might be more
accurately labeled with “colorism”—it is that I do have a hidden bias that
assumes lighter skin complexion is prettier than darker skin complexion. I only
discovered this when I found myself thinking that BB creams or simply even
lotion with skin-lightening properties are great, and more specifically, when
during a summer I found myself very
much disliking how tan I was getting and how I “needed”—yes, I thought in that
particular language of necessity—to go back to looking quite pale.

These were signs that I had an
implicit bias with skin tone, and thankfully I managed to bring and address this
on a conscious level—even if, as readers can tell, these are quite disturbing
biases to consider especially since I strongly
assert that all skin complexions are beautiful—and indeed, this is true as all skin complexions are
beautiful regardless of implicit (or explicit) biases one may have. Overall
this is all to say I am a human and given my cultural background and how I am
constantly watching Korean shows where, indeed, lighter skin is considered more
beautiful, I had an implicit bias form that I now am addressing and attempting
to correct. The best step, though, is the very act of acknowledging one’s
biases and shortcomings despite how uncomfortable this may be. Whether it is
with gender, race, sexuality, class, and so forth, addressing one’s biases and
admitting to them is crucial even if current times are extremely polarized with
these topics. (For example, even my admitting of my wrongful implicit bias on
skin tone will very much put me at risk with readers for the very fact that I
admit I have this implicit bias. Again, having biases are not bad if one addresses them and corrects them
to be more ethical, but many forget this point or are simply uncomfortable with
this very admittance in the first place due to risk of then being labeled as
“utterly racist and horrible.”)

For another issue with the racism
binary, there is the risk of clumping in accidental racism from intentional,
malicious racism—even if the former sounds ridiculous. After all, readers might
be wondering: “How can one accidentally
be racist and offend a specific community? It all has to be intentional.”
Unfortunately, racism is much more complex and there are cases where one is
simply unaware—“ignorant” if we wish to say, though I dislike this word as it
carries a negative connotation—of their actions or in fact even intend to do good but end up
unintentionally being racist. I would even argue that this form of racism is
the most common form we tend to find today; seldom are people genuinely
maliciously trying to be racist, but instead, are accidentally racist—which,
again, is still an issue but it requires a different approach than a sincere
racist who is simply being a purely unethical person who very much hates on
sheer differences.  

A perfect example of “accidental
racism” is when fans of K-Pop who are non-Korean claim they “wished they were
Korean because they love Korean culture so much.” On an intentional level,
these fans are not intending to be racist at all; they genuinely are sharing
their openness, care, and respect for another culture and to the degree of
which leads to some “envy.” The issue, though, is that these fans are treating
Korean culture as a “costume” or an “exotic entity” that one throws around in a
fun, objectifying matter. Thus, what they are saying is racist even if unintended.
It is not wrong to like K-Pop or Korean culture or any other culture that one
does not belong to, but when one uses the language of “wishing to be,” in
reality it is offensive on the grounds that they are implying cultures are
clothing thrown around to be switched and changed at any moment when that is
not quite the case. (Though it should be clarified that one can assimilate into a culture and this
is fine; a Japanese individual can move to Korea and assimilate into Korean
culture, for example, and this is definitely fine and not objectifying.) As I
say, being respectful and open to other cultures is definitely great, but never
should an objectifying tone take place.

But without getting too distracted
on that topic, the point is this: sometimes people are racist without intending
to be, and in these cases—such as in MAMAMOO’s case as we will get
to—acknowledging one’s mistake and educating oneself on their shortcoming is
what is necessary—and indeed, this is what MAMAMOO is doing. With that, let us
discuss MAMAMOO’s use of blackface.

_______________________________________________________

Context:
I will link Soompi’s article
regarding this incident as I find that Soompi is oftentimes
a reliable English translated source for K-Pop news—and indeed, based on my
reading of the article, they seem to have encapsulated much of the current controversy
and have even updated the article with RBW Entertainment’s and MAMAMOO’s
apologies and reflection. As such, readers can refer to the article for the
full context of the current situation. However, what I do wish to discuss is
the concept of blackface as unless if one is from the United States, this
concept is unfamiliar or even confusing and thus, I wish to explain the
historical concept of it and the contemporary take to it.

Blackface is called such as it
involves performers quite literally blackening their faces with makeup to
appear as if they were Black individuals. Already, we see why this is
disturbing: imagine if a non-Asian decided to “dress up and look
Asian”—something that is already generalizing and objectifying to the Asian
community. Similarly, this is why fashion and makeup tutorials of “How to look
[insert race here]” are all disturbing: these tutorials are implying there is an objective look to a community, and
that is simply false. Even if this is done towards a “dominant racial group”
(by dominant I am connoting “power”; in other words, they are the racially
privileged group such as Chinese in China or Whites in the U.S.), it is still
incredibly offensive. For example, in Korea, a “How to look Korean” video is as
messed up as, in the United States, a “How to look White” video—even if, yes,
it is understandable that these would be to poke fun at the racially privileged
groups.

But without digressing too far on
that, another issue with blackface is oftentimes how grotesque it is—and we
have to understand the historical context of blackface for this. In the United
States, blackface in the past was used by White performers who would perform as
Blacks in oftentimes degrading, exaggerated manners in a way that implied
Blacks were inferior to Whites. In other words, Whites would use blackface to
pretend to be Blacks in order to create a comical show. Again, this is all
quite disturbing and this history is something to bear in mind for MAMAMOO’s
controversy and hence why people are greatly upset. In contemporary times, no
one of any race should find these atrocious past acts acceptable given how many
societies are ethically progressing. (That said, the only contemporary use of
blackface is when Blacks themselves use it as a way of getting ownership back.
This in of itself is controversial, but the idea behind this to take away
blackface as a “For Whites to oppress Blacks” to a now “Blacks are taking back
the historical damage and turning blackface into an empowering tool.” Again, I
will not discuss this in much depth as I still have minimal knowledge on this
history and have no specific stances. For those interested in the idea of
“re-owning” oppressive acts, I recommend the story “The Goophered Grapevine” by
Charles Chesnutt as it does address this idea. Without spoiling too much, an
African American character seemingly uses Black stereotypes established by
Whites in an internalized sense, but in reality, one could argue he was using
these stereotypes to outwit and prevent Whites from buying his estate and thus
was taking oppressive acts and stereotypes and turning them into empowering
ones.)

English major nerdiness aside, I
hope this all provides context to what MAMAMOO did, and why blackface in a
historical sense is incredibly negative and why current uses of it—especially
if not by Blacks to “re-own” blackface—can be quite controversial as it carries
the roots of historical damage Whites have done towards Blacks in the United
States. (And again, given how sensitive this topic is, I highly emphasize historical damage—though obviously
current work is still needed in the United States for race. Point is, I wish to
emphasize the historical point as I do not wish readers who are White to feel
“responsible” per se; yes, Whites in the United States have racial privilege
and thus are responsible on this end and understanding their racial privilege,
but never should Whites be bashed specifically
for creating blackface when it is a historical piece. But, even my stance on
this is controversial though I argue it is the most humane and balanced view
versus the extreme ends that claim “Whites should take no responsibility at all
for the past” and “Whites are entirely responsible and need to pay for the
past.” Again, there is a responsibility of racial privilege in current times,
but it should not extend all the way to the past.)

Let us now discuss MAMAMOO in
specific and see how we, as fans of the ladies (or even K-Pop in general),
continue on from this incident.

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Since I already addressed the
“racism binary” and why there are issues with it, I wish to hone in on the
concept of “unintentional racism” as I argue this is the case with MAMAMOO. I
strongly doubt MAMAMOO and RBW Entertainment were intending to mock a specific
community; rather, it is likely they were trying to very much get into their
performance and truly immerse themselves via appearance as they were covering American
pop artist Bruno Mars’s music video. While I have not seen the actual footage
yet, knowing the ladies I bet their performance was very much simply covering
the song in perhaps an upbeat, fun manner. Was race the complete reason with
why they were using blackface? Not necessarily as, again, they were most likely
focused on the music and not attempting to mock a community at all. But, this does not mean they are free
from responsibility; they had good intentions but still ended up using blackface—a highly derogatory, negative act.
So what do we make of this?

For one, fans need to stop using the
racism binary with now automatically equating MAMAMOO as “racist” and evil
women. If anything, this might be the worst idea given that MAMAMOO, from
admittedly my biased perspective as a fan, is one of the more aware K-Pop
groups of their international fans. Furthermore, the ladies and their label
company tend to be more “open”—and more so if we bear in mind many Asian
countries are still “conservative.” For example, MAMAMOO very much desires to
release songs that empower women (and hence the extremely high ratio that
favors female to male fans for MAMAMOO) and with having a song that explores
the idea of gender as a performance—the iconic “Um Oh Ah Yeah” music video—I
find it quite disappointing that fans are turning away from MAMAMOO with ideas
of “they have only been racist this whole time” and such. Now this is not to
excuse their actions, but indeed, we need to realize that a quick label of
“MAMAMOO is racist” gets no one anywhere—and this applies for everything
besides just MAMAMOO.

(On a personal note, I hate the
terms of “liberal” and “conservative” that I have to connote here and more so
if it ties into politics which I never will discuss on this blog; I find these
terms absolutely silly as seldom are people in one category. For example, while
I consider myself socially ethical as
my social views are based ethics and not so much politics or whatever else, I
am easily still labeled as “liberal” in this regard. However, I find that this
one label is insufficient as I know for sure I have and do strongly abide to
specific “conservative” beliefs. For example, I am highly against “hookup culture”—the idea of essentially casual
sexual intercourse—as I have my own beliefs about sex that are, obviously,
“conservative.” And to my surprise, sharing this personal view of mine was
utterly shocking and somewhat appalling to a class and this was when I
discovered there are so many issues with these labels. So, on one hand I am
“liberal” and yet “conservative” on the other and this simple example is why I
dislike those binary labels.)

And so, while fans need to stop
bashing MAMAMOO with labeling them as racist, we still need to understand that
their usage of blackface is still inappropriate. Fans who are offended and
upset are right to feel this way, and that is because even if MAMAMOO was
unintentional with this racist-based act, it still is racist. Thankfully, MAMAMOO and RBW Entertainment have
acknowledged this and are educating themselves on why blackface is
inappropriate—the very fact that they have done this acknowledgement is a
testament to that fact that they do care (and equally openly mentioning that
they wish to include fans of all race, gender, sexuality, and so forth). Also
to bear in mind is that with South Korea being a rather homogenous society,
blackface is perhaps a foreign concept to them—no pun intended on “foreign.” Thus,
the social and racial implications were perhaps something MAMAMOO and their company
were completely unaware of. But as said, they are not to be excused and this is
also something I urge fans to be aware of. While fans should not go to the
extreme of bashing MAMAMOO as racist, neither should fans let this incident
disappear or minimize their use of blackface as something forgettable.

_______________________________________________________

Conclusion:
Where does this all take us now? For
one, this incident reminds us all that racism still needs to be addressed in a
sociological sense—that the racism binary is false and needs to go away if
further progress is to be made. Racism is not an “either” situation as said,
and until that binary goes away, it will be difficult to ever deal with racism
in an upfront manner. After all, what do we glean from discussions that merely
go “MAMAMOO is racist, go away” or “MAMAMOO is not racist and are perfect; you
all are overreacting”? Nothing. To quite literally quote my sociology
professor, “Racism is like smog; we can’t find who is responsible but we all
are responsible for cleaning it up.” This is incredibly true for not just
MAMAMOO’s situation, but for discussions of racism everywhere. Instead of using
racism as a labeling game, fans and MAMAMOO need to instead directly address
racism as a concept. This means addressing implicit biases, acknowledging mistakes,
and ultimately striving to become a more open, compassionate, ethical, better
human being.

All in all, what MAMAMOO did was
incredibly wrong and was racist, but fans need to understand they never
intended to be malicious and racist. Nevertheless, acknowledging of their unintentionally
racism has to occur, and furthermore, the need to understand why blackface is racist is crucial. What
is most amazing to me, though, is the fact that MAMAMOO and RBW Entertainment
have done so: They have acknowledged their use of blackface is racist and
offensive, and they are educating themselves on why blackface is wrong and on
how to prevent future incidents like these from occurring. This growth not as
MAMAMOO but simply as four women trying to do better for others is what needs
to be cherished most. Although I oftentimes hold MAMAMOO as an example of how
all artists should be, I personally find that their acknowledgement and strive
towards improvement with their racist blunder to further prove that point. This is how one addresses racism and
makes progress—not by denying that it was not racist, not caring, or doing
whatever they can to assure others “I am not racist.” Instead, acknowledging their
mistake and then working to educate themselves so that they are more socially aware
and inclusive is what needs to occur.

As for fans, the same should occur
but in regards to removing the racism binary: fans need to understand and
educate themselves on the racism binary, on why MAMAMOO and RBW Entertainment
thought blackface was fine (in other words, understanding South Korea’s
situation with being a homogenous society), and ultimately, fans need to
realize how to be respectful yet still
assertive
with openly calling out their beloved idols. To the fans—both Korean
and international—who did not hesitate to critique MAMAMOO’s actions but did so
in a respectful, calm manner, huge credit to them.

While I hope these incidents become
far and few in the future of K-Pop, I also hope growth occurs for everyone.
Remember: racism is smog; let us stop playing the blaming and labeling binary game,
and let us instead all work together—regardless of our own race—towards a
future where race can be discussed in
a respectful, open manner. Then, perhaps, in the future racism in of itself
will disappear—or at least, discussions can occur and growth will be encouraged
and that no one will be automatically bashed as “racist and evil.”

_______________________________________________________

Given how controversial this topic
is, I assume this post will not render entirely well with everyone. With
MAMAMOO’s situation, as said, how one feels will ultimately be their decision—though
I urge that it is based in critical thinking. Certainly the racism binary needs
to be challenged, but even that can be controversial as some do strongly
believe that one is either entirely non-racist or one is entirely racist. No
matter one’s stances, I simply assert the idea that we need to all be open and
respectful of our various views. Through discussion and maturity will actual
progress be made. For me, I remain a fan of MAMAMOO and to me despite this
incident, they are still my role models—in fact, perhaps even more so as how
they are handling the situation with acknowledging their mistakes and striving
for improvement is truly admirable (even if what they did was not so). However,
even if one is no longer a fan, this is understandable and needs to be
respected.

All in all, I hope this post
provides some deeper insight to the situation especially in a sociological lens
and for those who find this post relevant for its discussion, I do encourage
sharing this around. Ultimately, readers will have to decide on what they think
though in a respectful, thoughtful manner.

Regarding upcoming reviews, BTS’ “Spring
Day” will be out in a few more days, and afterwards TWICE’s  “Knock Knock” will have a relatively thorough
review. After that I have a request for HIGH4’s “Love Line,” and from there we
will see where the remaining posts take us.

MAMAMOO  – “Decalcomanie” Review

(Music
Video – Dance Version)

MAMAMOO – Décalcomanie

Reviewed
on November 8, 2016

image

This
might be the best song I have ever heard
in my entire life. It might be.

Personal Message:
This might be the best song I have
ever heard in my entire life. It
might be. Or at least tied with Ailee’s “Evening Sky,” a song that I do confidently
claim is the best song I have ever heard. (Edit: Another song to credit, though, is MAMAMOO’s cover of “Hinterlands.” Their cover was amazingly arranged and composed, and admittedly, was the first song that made me tearful not due to emotions per se, but due to its own musical beauty.)

On topic, “New York” by MAMAMOO was
a very disappointing release, and while I did not review it, fans would
probably be glad I did not as it would have been a rather negative review. Nonetheless,
with “Decalcomanie,” I am beyond impressed. Even that statement does a poor job
of expressing how I render the song. If it comes to a song’s sounds—and hence the emphasis on “heard”
as said earlier—“Decalcomanie” is one of, if not the, best releases I have ever heard in months or even years if I
dare say that. Admittedly its lyrics may be lacking, but if we pay attention to
its pure sonic aspect, this song completely sets a standard for MAMAMOO that I
thought would not have been possible to further increase. But indeed: MAMAMOO
and their producers have done it; they have taken “Decalcomanie” to an entirely
new level of music quality that I never anticipated.

With this review, though, there are
a few disclaimers to put forth. For one, as noted, this song just came out
today and while I have attempted to analyze the song as deeply as possible, I
am prematurely reviewing it. From what I personally have found, the best
reviews come when I have spent days—not minutes, hours, but days—analyzing and
actively listening to a song. With “Decalcomanie,” it is clear I have not had
the chance to let the song “settle” and to come back to it with a new listening
experience. Thus, this is to point out that ratings given here may be overly
hasty and potentially full of bias. On that note, my personal bias—musical and
as a fan—might come out in this review. I am a huge fan of MAMAMOO musically,
but I also very much admire the ladies and look up to Solar as my role model. Given
how recent the song is, I might have unknowingly inflated the ratings due to a
personal desire to support MAMAMOO. Finally, and  to further expand on a mentioned point,
besides enjoy MAMAMOO’s music, it perfectly happens that “Decalcomanie” suits
my personal music preferences. Songs that follow “Decalcomanie” ‘s style tend
to be ones I enjoy most, and thus, bias can easily leak into the review.

Those points clarified, for one more
final message, this review might be shorter than usual. Due to being extremely
busy with university (coincidentally I have a music research paper due in a few
days), I will instead focus this review towards more critical, controversial
points rather than guiding readers through every detail of the song. This is
unfortunate as, whenever I give “extreme” ratings—ratings that are polarized
either very positively or negatively—I do end up writing more thorough
explanations so that readers can understand my perspectives.

Edit:
A dance version was uploaded and thus, the following points are no longer
relevant. Shoutout to RBW Entertainment for their decision to release a dance
version this early versus, for example, delaying it a few weeks so as to
stretch out a song’s popularity.

Lastly, before hopping into the
review itself, I will now address the links. As per usual, the music video is
included. The reason, however, an audio link is included is because there is a
huge pause in the middle of the music video for the purposes of plot because we still
socially find it “sexy” for boys to be aggressive and forceful, and if this is
the case, I demand a music video where a woman is forceful to boys since that
will be considered equally “sexy” and if not we have a problem. (Edit: With actually watching the video now,
I will say Moonbyul saved the day and she can pull me roughly in for a kiss whenever
she wants. Partially kidding. Mostly not. Can I have my “first kiss” with
Moonbyul?)
. Am I taking out my university stress onto a
music video plot and encouraging readers to be critical consumers of it?
Probably. Am I “fanboying” over Moonbyul and her soothing, charming deep voice?
Probably. Now do I find the music video itself aesthetically pleasing and in
that regard still praise the video even with its questionable plot? Yes. Social
critiques and jokes aside, while the audio link will serve as what readers
should be listening to in terms of following my review, I will remind future
readers that it is liable to copyright. Therefore, future readers months or
even years ahead might be forced to rely on the music video.

All of this covered, let us focus on
why I assert “Decalcomanie” is for sure not only MAMAMOO’s best release, but
possibly one of the best releases I have heard in a long time.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.25/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 8/10
(8.0/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 8/10

3.     Chorus: 9/10

4.     Rap: 8/10

5.     Bridge: 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 9/10


Instrumental: 8/10


Lyrics: 5/10

[Instrumental]

Knock knock
Strange is your appearance and unusual eyes
It’s a little bit suspicious
It’s 10 to 12
Getting influenced by the atmosphere
We’re looking at each other
Even the silence is sticky
Looks like our relationship is going to burst

You and I kiss
I feel good
Leave me to you
I feel good
This is dangerous, dangerous, dangerous
I think maybe I’ll cross the line
Drawn to you
I feel good
An orange-colored drawing
I feel good
It’s a little bit dangerous, dangerous
But I can’t stop even if it’s dangerous
I feel good

Knock knock
I already predicted this
Ladies have a really good sense
It has already happened
We spend the midnight secretly

At that time, knock knock
Since last summer, like an adolescent girl
I dreamt a romance night and day
I only waited today
Oh yes
Oh, cellphone is off, deadly breath
A secret party, roll out the red carpet
Welcome to my place, knock knock
Put your hands above your head
Clap your hands

You and I kiss
I feel good
Leave me to you
I feel good
This is dangerous, dangerous, dangerous
I think maybe I’ll cross the line
Drawn to you
I feel good
An orange-colored drawing
I feel good
It’s a little bit dangerous, dangerous
But I can’t stop even if it’s dangerous
I feel good

Your whispering wakes me up
(I feel good)
Your gesture and motion
(I feel good)
This morning only with you
(I feel good)
I feel good, good, good, good

Roughly combed hair and a body like a hulk
I want to see your line and hug you from behind
Keep on, I can’t breathe
I can’t control myself
I prepared for you
(MAMAMOO is coming back for you)
Knock knock knock knock
Put your hands above your head
Clap your hands

You and I kiss
I feel good
Leave me to you
I feel good
This is dangerous, dangerous, dangerous
I think maybe I’ll cross the line
Drawn to you
I feel good
An orange-colored drawing
I feel good
It’s a little bit dangerous, dangerous
But I can’t stop even if it’s dangerous
I feel good

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: As
readers can tell, the song scores very well. Eights are by no means easy to
achieve, and yet “Decalcomanie” manages to earn all but one. In particular,
though, that “one” holds back its overall rating: the lyrics. As alluded to
earlier, the song’s sonic components are brilliant, but unfortunately, the
lyrics are average at most. The plot, for one, is nothing extraordinary.
Certainly the plot’s overall focus on “forbidden love” may be intriguing
considering it is a rarer plot outline, but even so it fails to stretch beyond
its label. Whether a song is about sweet love, heartbreaking split ups, or
about falling for someone when one should not (as in this song), what I remain
critical of is how far—or not—the lyrics go beyond these generic summaries. In
“Decalcomanie,” unfortunately the lyrics do not extend the plot beyond that
overarching label. If there was an unexpected plot-twist that occurred in the
lyrics that complicated the general storyline label, implicitly or explicitly,
this would have been desirable.

Furthermore,
another limiting feature to the lyrics is its details: lacking complexity. The
verses and raps provide some variety, but even then, the details render more as
filler than introducing new ideas. Most impairing, though, are the choruses
(though this will sound ironic later once we focus on the audio): repetitive in
form and providing minimal detail to the plot. Additionally, with how the
choruses are a huge core to the song and therefore reused often, the already
lackluster state of them makes the lyrics even more limited.

Switching
over to the audio itself now, what makes “Decalcomanie” score incredibly well
is that it excels in what I argue are the two main factors of a song:
composition and execution. Now this may sound confusing; after all, based on my
review outline, are the factors I consider important—for K-Pop at least—the
vocals, sections, instrumental, and lyrics? Although those are the factors we
focus on, I am talking in an even more general sense: looking at a song at,
say, the production and composition stages. For what I am connoting with
“composition” as a general factor, I refer to the song in of itself. In other
words, how the song is laid out and is arranged, structured, and the like.
Think of it as the skeleton to a song. In terms of “execution,” then, I am
referring to when idols provide their vocals and furthermore, when the song
actually physically plays versus being theoretical.

Point
is, “Decalcomanie” does both well and I mention these “composition” and
“execution” labels since, admittedly, songs can still do decently if not well
as long as one of those excel. For example, GFriend’s
“Navillera”
I have argued is a solidly composed
song. That said, the execution in terms of the vocals— while still great—is not
at an incredibly high level. GFriend, overall, tends to excel more from song
composition strengths than necessarily relying on pure vocal execution to bring
excellent songs. Is this bad? Again, it is not since in the end their songs do
in fact flourish—specifically with “Rough” and “Navillera” if we are to be
exact. And of course, there are cases where groups with solid execution can
make an otherwise lackluster song composition excel. An example in mind of this
case would be SPICA’s “Tonight”: the song’s composition does come off as
repetitive and a bit plain, but SPICA’s vocal execution brings forth an
excellent song as the end result. With this all in mind now, let it be
reiterated: MAMAMOO’s  “Decalcomanie”
does both well—and indeed,
considering just excelling in one is enough to warrant great songs, this should
be indicative of how much potential MAMAMOO’s comeback has.

The
introduction might provide a clear example of solid execution and composition
at work. With the introduction, one may argue it is plain: after all, it is
merely a beat occurring—and at that, it lasts for a few seconds. On closer
inspection, however, this supposed minor section brings forth major benefits to
“Decalcomanie.” On a composition level, given that the song is relatively
quick-paced with its progression—for example, note that it has no pre-chorus, as
we will further discuss later—an introduction that is crafted in a way as to
establish the song’s pacing is vital. The lack of a shorter introduction would
potentially lead to listeners feeling that the song is overly rushed. Imagine
this: The introduction is a lengthy, dramatic, piano-based introduction. If “Decalcomanie”
adopted this route, everything following after—the verse then chorus—would have
been too sudden. Thus, even if the introduction is seemingly short and
worthless, I argue its limited duration was very much planned out.  

Now
in terms of the execution of the introduction’s sounds, what should be noticed
is that the delivered “plain beats” are no longer “plain” if we stop listening
to them in an abstract vacuum. Since the instrumental actually continues on,
seamlessly, into the following verse, it builds cohesion into the song at a
very early point. Besides how important cohesion is in, once again, this
fast-paced song, the beauty of the execution is more on the instrumental
continuing freely. It is these simple beats that begin the very first steps and
buildup for the verses—all in a smooth, clean, and concise fashion.

Let
us now focus on the choruses, though, as these sections are ultimately what I
assert as the main core to the song. Moreover, these sections provide another
example of how “Decalcomanie” possesses both solid execution and composition.
For example, when focusing on the execution, MAMAMOO’s vocals and the
instrumental are of immediate attention. In this section, both aspects
flourish. The vocals are almost self-explanatory: they are powerful, soft,
precise, wild, and if accounting for the song in whole, it remains diverse with
including raps and the rougher verses. As for the instrumental’s execution, there
are many subtle features that deserve praising. In particular, despite the instrumental
following a more simplistic form, the way it carries out is indispensable to
the choruses’ success. With how the vocals are incredibly intense and active,
the direction of the song is easily lost; listeners can easily become
disorientated due to how overpowering the vocals can be. To counteract that,
the instrumental’s simpler execution does just that: it provides a contrast to
MAMAMOO’s stellar, energetic singing as the heavier bass line is a blatant,
easy sound to follow, and equally the rhythm and beats maintaining a slightly
slower rate and less intense state and thus provides other aspects for a
listener to maintain her balance.

However,
even with all of that covered, there is still one peculiar feature that makes
the choruses go to a nine—a rating that is essentially the highest possible for
this blog. My answer to this is: coordination—both within the section itself,
but also outside the section itself. Since we have partially covered the
section itself, though, I will focus more on the latter.

If
we view the choruses from a wider perspective and view it in relation to all of
the other sections, we would discover some risky composition decisions that,
thankfully, resulted well. Specifically, what I am most drawn to is how the
choruses are self-sufficient; alone, the choruses fulfill—with admittedly some
assistance from the verses—the role of, say, pre-choruses and post-choruses.
Especially as discussed earlier with how the song lacks pre-choruses—sections
that are defaults in almost every pop song—this was an extremely bold move from
the composers. Nevertheless, it very much worked out and that is due to how the
choruses—and verses—are composed in a certain manner.

For
one, before the choruses directly begin, there is a generic format used:
quickening beats—or in this case, clapping—that signaled a change. Whether this
portion belongs to the verse or chorus is unclear, and I would argue that is
irrelevant as the main point is that it provides a blatant transition. More
importantly, for when the choruses unequivocally arrive, the very first seconds
if not the first second provides
another critical transition. During this moment, the vocals are marginally played
ahead of time before the instrumental begins once again. That initiation from
the vocals—and to clarify, the vocals do start the choruses at a high peak—is essentially
the “pre-chorus” of the song if we dare claim it as that. Even if it appears
sudden, I would disagree with that: the choruses are quick but not sudden—the latter
implying the composition did not properly transition from the verse to chorus. This
all relates back, however, to my initial point: that the choruses are
incredibly well coordinated. The choruses are working with minimal time to pull off, as we have discussed, simple tasks such
as transitions, but because of the efficiency and coordination of the choruses,
everything manages to tie together.

Overall,
MAMAMOO’s comeback is definitely an above average song, and I would argue it is
a good song. Past releases may have
focused more on being upbeat and pop-distinctive, but the ladies have now
equally proven they can deliver well with a more refined, powerful and intense
song. Currently, I will consider “Decalcomanie” the best song of the year, and
I would be incredibly pleased if another song manages to contest that. And so
to end, while this review is by far the worst I have written in a while (“Decalcomanie”
is, after all, a really complex song in my opinion), I will leave the main
summary of this review: MAMAMOO’s comeback is amazing. It is fabulous.
Fantastic. “Decalcomanie” is pure beauty in its composition and in its vocal
and instrumental delivery.

_______________________________________________________

Once
again, I do apologize with this review being rather unorganized and rough in
its analysis. There are so many impressive moments in this song, and I
unfortunately lack the musical skills to be able to truly deconstruct all of those
specific pieces—let alone attempt to articulate them. But, if anything, this
song is another reason for why I argue repetitively that the humanities
matters. Music can be—and is—very beautiful.

Look
forward to other reviews to come, some of which will be focused on recent songs
and some on catching up from October’s reviews. I plan to release a few extremely
short reviews in a week or so. All in all, “I feel good” with “Decalcomanie.”
It is by far one of the better songs I have heard.

MAMAMOO’s x GFriend’s Reality Show – “Showtime” Review

MAMAMOO x GFriend – Showtime (Full Playlist; Eng. Subtitled)

MAMAMOO
x GFriend – Showtime

Reviewed on September 2, 2016

Without
readers even needing to read further, in a short sentence that arguably
fulfills this review’s entire argument: This show manages to flourish because
it remains highly diverse in its content, but all while ensuring that the
delivered contents themselves are all appealing.

Personal
Message:

University is entirely underway and that said, I am now extremely busy.
Interestingly, though, I no longer have the newbie feelings of being a freshman
and thus, see this return as nothing more than “the usual.” But I digress. This
review included, the next two will be focused on show reviews for the purposes
of both variety and convenience; I personally suspect that readers enjoy a
variety of both song and bonus reviews, and that with still adapting back into
a student mindset, I definitely need to have reviews be a lighter load for at
least the first week. Furthermore I plan to post reviews every five days versus
my prior claim of four days. This will allow the blog to remain active for
readers, but at the same time it allows me to not become overwhelmed with the
many readings and writing I have to do for classes. But all this said, I am
indeed doing well and university is nothing utterly daunting as it had been as
a freshman. (And on highly irrelevant news, for one of my classes, I actually
gave a presentation on K-Pop and why I feel passionate about it.)

On topic with this review, as
clarified in many past ones, show reviews are what I deem as “bonus reviews”;
these reviews are not meant to dive in depth nor should the ratings be
necessarily taken as serious. If anything, these show reviews should be
interpreted as a partially—if not entirely—biased take to a show and whether I personally recommend a show or not.
After all, unlike the two years (and growing) experience I currently have with
reviewing songs and continually striving for improvement, I have no experience
whatsoever with film/shows and admittedly do not plan to invest time to improve
in this regard. With all of that out of the way, let us discuss Showtime’s recent season with both
MAMAMOO and GFriend participating.

Sharing some personal experiences
with the show, to answer the “big question”: no, I did not cry—due to a sad
ending, specifically. Unlike many other reality shows where there has been an
emotional ending—examples in mind include The
TaeTiSeo
, Jessica & Krystal (of
which made me cry a downscaled river) or even EXID’s season on Showtime, in MAMAMOO and GFriend’s Showtime, it has remained incredibly
cheerful and fun throughout. Nonetheless, I do admit I cried during one
specific scene: GFriend’s Yuju facing her fears with
heights via bungee jumping.

(And I will apologize for some self-conceited advertisement.) Other than that,
and to focus on the show itself, I personally thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Although I hesitate to say it is the best reality show I have watched as of yet
because Jessica & Krystal
continues to hold its throne, MAMAMOO’s and GFriend’s season was definitely one
of the better ones. Now let us examine why
I assert that.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
For
convenience, when I refer to Showtime
from here on, it is in reference to GFriend’s and MAMAMOO’s season unless
otherwise explicitly stated. Bearing that in mind, Showtime—in a general sense—is a reality show series that focuses
on idols involved in various activities. Previous participants include
Infinite, Apink, EXID, EXO, Sistar, and others. What is peculiar about this
current season, however, is that it is the first to introduce collaboration:
having two artists involved in a
single season—and of which lasts for typically eight episodes. With Showtime, the reality aspect comes from
how the artists are not necessarily involved in games (think of Weekly Idol), but instead are involved
with activities that stem from traveling or simply hanging out. Addressing these
activities, they are presented to the idols via “Q’s”; through questions that
derive from fans. An example would be: “What do MAMAMOO and GFriend do during
their practice sessions?” From there, an episode would revolve entirely around
a single question. Since readers should have a general idea on how Showtime runs, let us begin focusing on
whether it delivers poor or brilliant content.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 7/10
(7.00/10
raw score) – “Above average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 7/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Without readers even needing to read
further, in a short sentence that arguably fulfills this review’s entire
argument: This show manages to flourish because it remains highly diverse in
its content, but all while ensuring that the delivered contents themselves are
all appealing. This, in a very concise view, is why Showtime is personally considered above average.

In terms of how the show is
structured and why said structuring is beneficial, first as already mentioned there
is much variety given through the “Q’s.” Whether it is a “Q” leads the groups
traveling to New York and Los Angeles, revealing to viewers their dance practice
routines, or facing their fears be it bungee jumping or scary houses, all of
the activities showcased in the show remain distinctive. Furthermore, to better
highlight this point, consider that both MAMAMOO and GFriend receive the same “Q’s,”
but nevertheless there are significantly different outcomes. For example, at
one moment GFriend is showcasing a more serious approach to their dance
practice routine, but on the other hand MAMAMOO is simply causing laughter with
a more lighthearted take to the “Q.” Another example is toward the beginning of
the show where both groups make “healing meals” (meals that are meant to be
soothing, relaxing, and so forth). Although both are tasked with the same
activity, GFriend’s take to it is significantly different from MAMAMOO’s take,
such as with different foods, locations, and the like. And of course, factoring
in that some “Q’s” are slightly varied in of themselves—consider the different
traveling destinations, for example—also helps.

Another excellent structuring method
Showtime does is for the involved
groups themselves. On an obvious level, Showtime
balances the two group so that both receive equal spotlight, but the manner in
how that is done is more than just for purposes of fairness. Specifically
focusing on what the show does, episodes intertwine the two groups—not literally,
that is, unless if considering the final episode or pre-filming press
conference. What I am referring to in this case is that this season of Showtime is not along the ideas of splitting
the two groups’ sessions; in other words, the idea that GFriend’s section is
the first half of an episode while MAMAMOO is the remaining half is false.
Instead, Showtime mixes the two
groups in a perfect balance so that in a single episode the focus alternates
between MAMAMOO and GFriend but all in an appropriate time frame. This works on
every end: fans of MAMAMOO/GFriend can still enjoy MAMAMOO/GFriend without
feeling that they have to “wait”; both groups can be easily watched with how
they handle the same “Q”; and lastly, this manner generates appeal as there is
always new content—both groups and with how they handle their activities.

Finally switching over to how the
content themselves are entertaining, although much of this is based upon the
participants themselves, credit is still deserved toward Showtime and this is where I wish to focus on. After all, as fans
of GFriend and MAMAMOO will know, these ladies are absolutely hilarious and
always engaging. That said, the main strength in Showtime’s layout that greatly augments the show’s appeal is the
room for freedom: “Q’s” are given, but how
that “Q” is interacted with per group is up to their decisions. This, in my
assertion, is why Showtime (and
OnStyle’s reality shows for The TaeTiSeo and
Jessica & Krystal) oftentimes
overshadows many other reality shows. Let us use some comparisons to other
shows to understand why levels of freedom are crucial to appeal.

In
a prior show review with GFriend
, an activity they had to do was pick
tangerines. That was the activity: pick tangerines, though it will be in a
competitive form. But that was it; no more or less. Other activities followed
suit with a strict protocol. The problem with that format is it restricts
groups’ ability to go beyond. An input-output style is seldom appealing, and
with the genre of “reality show” (and note I wish to differentiate this from “reality
variety shows” such as Unpretty Rapstar where
construed editing occurs), the main focus should be in simply watching how a
group would perform a specific task—traveling, eating, talking, and so on. That
is where “reality” comes in: just watching groups be themselves—give or take
their need to be “camera-friendly” for public viewers. (After all, the only true
form of “reality shows” would essentially be stalking a group and installing
hidden, spying cameras to see what the “true reality” is.) Once restrictions
are placed, much potential appeal is lost. Imagine this scenario in Showtime: a “Q” that did not merely ask
what the groups did in the practice room, but instead a “Q” that asked the
groups to rehearse their latest song. While both groups will somehow make it
all entertaining regardless of which “Q,” it is hard to deny that the first
version would provide a larger range of acts to be seen than the latter.  

Overall, for the answer of whether I
recommend Showtime (this season, that
is): yes, I do. It is one of the better reality shows I have seen as of the
late, but of course it is still not the best one I have seen and one that has utterly
surprised me. One of the weaker moments is during the episode where both
MAMAMOO and GFriend swap music videos and attempt to reenact the other’s, and
though it is absolutely hilarious at moments, this moment is an example of
where excess restriction (and for the “Q” itself, being rather abstract) causes
loss of appeal—even if the groups were directing their own parodying music
videos. Digression aside, for fans of either or both groups, this show is
definitely one to keep on a to-watch list. However, for those who are
unfamiliar with both, Showtime is of
the few where I would still recommend it as it can lead to familiarity and, at
its core, it very much entertains viewers.

_______________________________________________________

As usual, thank you for reading. I
have one other bonus show review in mind, and of which will then be followed by
a request (and of which I am very thankful for and do apologize for not being
able to prioritize it). I am currently extremely busy with university, but with
proper time management I expect reviews to continue on a consistent schedule.
Until then, look forward to not
reading the usual, cheesy quoting conclusion. Expect another show review to be
posted in a few days.

Vromance – “She” Review

Vromance – She (Music Video)

Vromance – She

Reviewed
on August 2, 2016

“And now a reader might further
question this point, and this brings us to the ultimate takeaway: because of
“She” ‘s specific progression form and
that said form is brilliantly executed, the result is that all of the sections differ from one other. To note, “all sections”
is connoting that each individual section—not just section types (choruses, pre-choruses, etc.)—is different from one another.
Thus, it is through this interesting progression style, and of which derives
from the sections, that “She” flourishes.”

Personal Message:
To the requester of this review,
thank you once again for sending it in. Furthermore, I also apologize for the
delay—though I hope to finish this review quite soon. On a random note, as with
my prior review, I am now entirely convinced to
never excessively drag on a social digression. This is not to say that I no
longer care or have passion for sociological topics; that is not true since, if
not clear from the past review’s example, I can become quite zealous and
indeed, when social topics arise in pop culture I assert that discussions have
to take place. The issue, however, is that I went to the extent of overly
explaining and, while that may be beneficial for discussion, in terms of
focusing on the review itself and relating the sociological topics to K-Pop, I
did lose that aspect in the last review if I may critique myself. (And of
course, another issue is potential burn-out; the past review felt as if I wrote
three in terms of length, and thus that is lost energy for other potential
reviews.) And given that this is ultimately a music review blog and not a
sociology-applied-to-pop-culture blog (though that is always very much
interesting), it serves the best interest of readers and even myself to
allocate more time—or more likely, an equal amount—for the review itself than
digressions. Overall, finding a balance is what is crucial as both types of
readers—those into music reviews or those intrigued on the sociological
side—can then benefit.

Focusing on the review now, for some
technical clarifications, solely the music video is being used as I will be
excluding the choreography. Reason for that is not due to “She” lacking a
dance; there is definitely a dance with the song based on live performances.
The peculiar reason, then, is that said dance should just be considered
choreography; the “dancing” is the men shifting in place and working with their
standing microphones. Essentially that is still a dance, but because it is one
that would not be appropriately scored based on the current review outline (as
this outline does have a bias for the more general K-Pop dances—ones where
idols are moving around a stage instead of nearly standing still), I will
exclude it for fairness. For a final point to clarify, the lyrics included are
also not necessarily the most accurate, though arrogantly said I do find them
the most balanced. To explain, after looking through three translation sources (emphasis:
three) and applying my own limited knowledge, I have in many ways
“cherry-picked” the lyrics that are seen as there has been so much variations
on the lyrics. But of course, the differences are marginal; the difference
between, for example, “I will be a man” and “I’ll man up” is what I had to
decide on—nothing plot-changing at all. Nonetheless, it took a surprisingly
vast amount of effort to finally have the lyrics as is and this once again goes
to show the unreliable of being able to directly translate between languages.

Finally discussing the men of
Vromance and “She,” I have been pondering over whether to review this song, and
thankfully with a request sent in, I now have purpose to do so. Personally, for
why “She” was of interest, I have found this song to be the best example of how
“good vocals” is not synonymous at all to “explosive, powerful note holds.” Although
this is partially leaking the review, Vromance’s vocals are spectacular despite
never showcasing power at all in their singing. Thus, once again to remind
readers, vocal quality is never on what
vocals are delivered, but rather on how
the vocals are delivered. In Vromance’s case, the men do a fabulous job with
their vocals, even if they never replicate a vocal style that, for example,
MAMAMOO does—Vromance’s “sister” group. With MAMAMOO being mentioned,
especially with Vromance finally debuting, many have begun to affectionately
label the group as the boy-group-version of MAMAMOO. To that, I agree if we are
gauging solely vocal skills. Based on what we know with “She” and what we do not know with the men more individually
and their personalities (they have yet to have much camera-time, for example),
having equal vocal skills is the only viable comparison currently. Regardless,
I do believe the men to likewise flourish as MAMAMOO, and while it is desired
to see them act akin to MAMAMOO and to start releasing powerful vocals, we all
must remember that Vromance is merely the brother group of MAMAMOO and are not
MAMAMOO themselves. (RBW Entertainment, though, seems to have some secret with
training very skilled vocalists.)

Without digressing further, let us
focus on “She.” Admittedly, this song is not a personal preference; as shared
before, I prefer song styles that are similar to Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” and
GFriend’s “Navillera”—both of which are drastically different from “She” ‘s
style. Nonetheless, this is the first time where despite not preferring a
song’s style, its overall quality has infatuated me to the degree that I even
forget I personally dislike the style to “She.” That already should be
indicative of how potent the song is: a song that covers up preference biases
due to how outstanding the quality itself is. With all this praising, however,
let us take a more critical view to “She.” Obviously I may be surprised at the
result, but even then, there are most likely to still be flaws—or, if “She” in
a critical lens is sincerely fantastic, we should closely analyze why that is the case.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.20/10 raw score) – “Above
average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 7/10
(6.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge (Pre-Chorus): 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 8/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Section Distribution: 8/10

Hyunkyu:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 6)

Chandong:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Hyunseok:
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Chorus (Total: 4)

Janghyun:
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

All:
Bridge (Pre-Chorus), Conclusion (Chorus)

Equal Value: 4.75 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 7/10

Hi
My name is Park Hyunkyu
Hello, hello, hello, hello
Let me introduce my close friends here
Hello, hello, hello, hello

One, a comfortable friend
Two, someone who understands me very well
That’s you, a lady friend
And why is it that you look so pretty today
My heart is racing
What is wrong with me?
One, two, three, action

Something is different, she
Even her ankle is beautiful, she
The vague expression you make
You are an easygoing lady friend
who makes me feel comfortable
You, you, that was you
But you seem more than that now, she
Makes me laugh, she
I keep falling in you
I’m not a friend who is a boy but a boyfriend
What do you think about it?
How about me?

Hi
Nice to see us meet again
Hello, hello, hello, hello
Let me introduce myself
Hello, hello, hello, hello

One, so caring
Two, so understanding
That’s me, your boyfriend
What do you think?
My friends ask what is going on between us
My heart is racing
What is wrong with me?
One, two, three, action

Something is different, she
Even her ankle is beautiful, she
The vague expression you make
You are an easygoing lady friend
who makes me feel comfortable
You, you, that was you
But you seem more than that now, she
Makes me laugh, she
I keep falling in you
I’m not a friend who is a boy but a boyfriend
What do you think about it?
How about me?

Hello, hello, hello, hello
I think I sometimes get confused too
Are we just friends or
is there something more between us?
You and me
I’ll be a man and confess my love today
Get ready, I’ll tell you
One, two, three
(Woo)
Action

You make me crazy, you
(You)
No matter how hard I think about it, you
(You, you, you)
You’re an easygoing lady friend
For me for me, I said so
But see, I’m in love with you
I smile because of you, you
I fell into you
Not a friend who is a boy but boyfriend
What do you think about it?
One, two, three
What about me?

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

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Vromance clearly outdid themselves. For a debut song and group to score at
above average, it is rather daunting—or at least, to other artists since it is
stunning for us viewers. What else will they be capable of in the future as
they continue to improve? Personal remarks aside, for this review we will
follow a rather different approach than usual protocols. For purposes of
organization, “She” would be best explained by going through the sections, and
from there as we discuss how the sections function, to have everything follow: the
vocals, the instrumental, and finally the lyrics and section distribution.
Intriguingly for why this peculiar analysis style is being used, the sections
provide the foundation to the song, as we will now uncover.

First
let us focus on the sections in a very general, open sense in order to understand
my prior point of them serving as foundation for all the other categories
(vocals, instrumental, etc.). Arguably what provides “She” its best asset is
the unique and excellent progression of the song. Specifically, “She” is a song
that continually builds up without ever halting. Indeed, it is a progression
form seldom seen in pop songs and is moreover familiar in ballad, but
nonetheless this is the form of “She.” (And on a side note, this does disprove
my earlier thought that the song would be very linear.) Before getting further,
this agreeably might sound confusing; I am not using official if at all any
musical theory terms. With that, let us have a brief moment to discuss
“progression” in songs.

When
it comes the standard K-Pop song (and many other countries’ pop music), the
progression tends to be that of a “hill”: there are exciting peaks—typically
the choruses—that are followed by resting periods such as verses or raps, and
of course the average pop song tends to have a “buildup” through sections such
as the pre-chorus. Think of Taeyeon’s
“Why”
for example. The verses in that song begin the
song’s momentum, and later that is followed up by pre-choruses that ultimately
hype the song, and from there the choruses occur as a peaking point—a climactic
point. In fact, I suggest readers trying this song out for every pop song—be it
Korean, American, and so forth. Personally, I have applied this to American Pop
and, without surprise, this same form holds for many. After all, this form is
arguably the most “public friendly” as seldom can a person dislike this form—at most one could just not like it. (And yes,
there is a difference between not liking and disliking.) On topic, though, this
is what I mean by “progression”; by this term I am referring to, quite
literally, how a song progresses throughout its run. Now of course, this “hill”
progression is not the only one at all in the world of pop music, let alone
music in its entirety. There are other forms. Another example in mind is the
one I have affectionately called the “linear” form. Fei’s
“Fantasy”
is a song that showcases this: overall, it is
unchanging in intensity. From the verses to even the concluding chorus,
although the final chorus is shifted in pitch, as noticed the overall calm,
simple flow remains the same throughout. And so, with readers hopefully having
a better sense of my reference to “progression,” let us return to “She” and see
how this all applies.

In
the case of Vromance’s song, its progression is neither “linear” nor a “hill”;
the progression for “She” is, for another newly created term, a “slope.” Think
of—perhaps for some, dreadful—algebra; a slope means that a line is constantly
on the rise (or fall). (And if I completely butcher what slope is, please
correct me as I personally lack in the sciences and math.) Likewise, this
explains “She” ‘s progression—though in rise and not decline. But
now a reader might ask: so what? How is it relevant that its form is this? In
reply, although progression forms are indeed just styles to song, Vromance’s
“She” differs in that its ability to excellently execute its specific form—that
of a “slope”—is what brings the song its main charms. Consider, for example,
that because of its form and how it is properly executed (we will get to why I
assert that later), “She” is always becoming more intense as the song progresses.
After all, the first pre-chorus for example is not matched by the second
pre-chorus since the latter includes two-part singing and slightly more amped
up vocals. And now a reader might further question this point, and this brings
us to the ultimate takeaway: because of “She” ‘s specific progression form and that said form is brilliantly
executed, the result is that all of
the sections differ from one other. To note, “all sections” is connoting that
each individual section—not just section types
(choruses, pre-choruses, etc.)—is different from one another. Thus, it is
through this interesting progression style, and of which derives from the
sections, that “She” flourishes. Now let us take a look at the how the sections
positively affect the other categories, and from there, to see how the sections
themselves hold.

When
considering the vocals, two main reasons exist for why Vromance has earned
arguably the highest score possible (since nines are very rare and that tens
are essentially impossible minus for section distributions): diversity of
vocals and that said vocals are extremely refined in terms of their sonic
appeal. Regarding why this is the case, as mentioned earlier, the sections are
to be credited along with the song’s progression. First, when it comes to the
vocals being diverse, each section contains its own specific form of singing.
The first verse, for example, may follow a soothing vocal style, but once the
choruses occur, another style is in place. Factoring in that this occurs beyond
sections types and that the first verse and second verse, for examples, also
differ in vocals—and more importantly, that it is all cohesive (since it takes
more than just different vocal
styles)—and indeed, the result is a song that remains constantly appealing with
its singing. Furthermore, in terms of the actual refined sound I referred to, this
is due to the mechanical aspects seen: the extremely high yet precisely
controlled note towards the end; the pleasant sound of smooth, lower pitched
vocals; the delivery of two-part singing that occurs from the second half of
the song; and of course, the minimal but influential vocal beltings that are
heard throughout. With all of these different pieces to the vocals—and many of
these points stemming from how the sections are formatted—the end result is a
score of eight: extremely pleasing, varied, solid singing.

In
terms of the sections themselves, rather than going into deep detail per each (though
that would be interesting as many of “She” ‘s strong qualities are in minor
details), I will provide a general overview. The verses and introduction both score
a six due to reasons as said in many reviews: sufficient in their roles, but
lacking in pushing beyond that. In other words, the verse does help progress
the song and the introduction does hook in listeners, but beyond that neither
the structure or sound to both are to a high degree—though sixes are still
admirable. Switching over to the pre-choruses, chorus, and bridge (though this
is, as labeled, the pre-chorus), all excel with form and sound. Admittedly,
though, the biggest factor to the three is that these sections are where the
bulk of the vocals appear; in the pre-choruses, chorus and bridge, Vromance’s
stellar vocals are finally unveiled. Whether it is the subtle two-part singing
that occurs in the second pre-chorus, the alluring and sharp vocal belting on the
word “she” or the beautiful, high yet tamed note hold in the bridge, these sections
greatly flourish vocally. Last of all, for the conclusion (and of which is a
reused chorus), a significant score is earned. Besides fulfilling usual roles
of ending the song without abrupt ends, this conclusion serves as an excellent example
of how execution matters much more than the content itself.

To
clarify what I mean, consider that “She” ‘s ending is merely that a
pitch-shifted ending; the conclusion is nothing more than the chorus being
replayed in a higher tune. In many cases, this form is oftentimes improperly
used, such as in Fei’s “Fantasy” as linked earlier. In Fei’s song, this type of
ending failed to deviate away from the other choruses and therefore, was
nothing more than adding redundancy to the song. On the other hand, with
Vromance’s case, the men’s song succeeds. But why is that the case if it is
exactly the same? Although the conclusion may be pitch-shifted to a higher
tune, there are additional features added—these being what is necessary, for
the most part, to have this type of ending thrive. For example, two-part
singing is constantly occurring and in comparison to the other choruses, this
is a new feature and thus redundancy is prevented. Also, with the vocal
intensity climaxing here as every member is contributing in some form, this
further helps wrap up the song. Overall, the sections to “She” are solid and
intriguingly, the successful parts to the sections are not in blatant details
but instead in the minor, almost unnoticeable details.

Quickly
addressing the instrumental, this one part may be where “She” slightly lacks.
Understandably, with Vromance’s vocals being the foremost attention, the
instrumental takes on a more passive role. The instrumental accommodates the
song and provides transition—any typical role, overall—but it does nothing
beyond that. It is not an attractive, individual instrumental that would be
pleasing on its own; instead, it relies on the addition of Vromance’s singing
to thrive. As for the section distribution, if Hyunkyu gave away one section to
the members who only had four, a nine would have been earned. As a result, with
just one section being at fault, an eight is earned. And indeed, regardless of
what statistics may claim, from a listening perspective it is well noted that
all the members are constantly contributing, such as in the background vocals.
Finally, for the lyrics, miraculously despite the rather typical plot of a
lover and their love-interest, it is the details that augment the story. We can
understand the main character’s feelings, for example, and understand why he is
even in love. Adding on, the lyrics are not repetitive; every section minus the
two choruses is of their own. That is rather impressive from both a musical
perspective (since syllables have to be equally matched—usually, that is—otherwise
melodies would be changed) and that of a plot perspective.

All
in all, Vromance’s “She” is a song that truly surprised me. Even if I had high
expectations for the men considering they are from MAMAMOO’s label company, I
am pleased to say they have not just met my expectations, but have exceeded
them. “She” is a song that provides a balanced,
vocal-orientated experience, and the most stunning aspect to the song
might have to be that despite never showcasing powerful note holds, I am still
equally shocked as if the men did in fact do that. Overall, this is definitely
an above average song (I would be skeptical to say it is more than that, however)
and considering it is a debut, it is one to watch out for. I look forward to
what else Vromance will release in the future and whether their musical style will
change at all.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, huge apologies for delays. I admittedly have been slacking and
have been finishing up an essay for a summer class. I hope, though, that the
wait was worth it. I also hope that this review provides a new perspective to
the song. In terms of the next review, GFriend’s “Navillera” will finally be
reviewed and more so as a reader was curious on whether I would review it. I plan
to get to it as soon as possible. And on that note, I also plan to write a few
more bonus show reviews that revolve around GFriend. Overall, there are many
reviews left to do and more to most likely come in this month. Given that I
return to university after this month, however, I might consider shortening
reviews so that I can write two in a single writing session, but more
experimenting will have to occur. On topic, for what I can confirm, GFriend’s “Navillera”
will certainly be reviewed. (And biasedly I am excited to review it considering
that it is now my favorite song of all-time.) Look forward for that review to
come. After all, “I smile because of you, you.” Nothing awkward, right?

MAMAMOO – “Woo Hoo” Review

MAMAMOO
– Woo Hoo (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – Woo Hoo

Reviewed
on April 14, 2016

Personal Message:
Once again, I am quite glad that I
discovered a way to schedule out posts as I have been ridiculously busy the
past days. As a result, I will be stockpiling as many reviews as possible so
that, once finals week arrives, the blog will still be rather active. However,
with that in mind, it does cause a minor change to a few of the upcoming
reviews: they will be purely musical discussions—though that is nothing bad at
all. In other words, I will absolutely refrain from digressing on social topics
until April is over or at least until schedule permits. But, readers who are
familiar with my writing will know that those words will not stay true; given
how I am, I will probably have a social digression much sooner than expected. In
short: readers who focus moreover on the review themselves can look forward to
many song discussions, but for those who are moreover interested in the
sociological and arguably literary theoretical side to my reviews, I ask for
patience. This aspect to reviews is only being limited due to current time
pressure. As always, especially with pop culture, I urge readers to care for both
sides: the musical (and more broadly, artistic) component and the social
component.  

Now before diving straight into the
review as I am a
narcissistic reviewer who needs to find excuses so that I appear infallible
,
to explain the current stressful schedule I am under, I will soon be having
finals. But before even that occurs, there are multiple essays to finish along
with a project. Overall, there is a huge workload and I feel that there is
insufficient time. All should still be well, though; I am being extra attentive
to my behavior and ensuring that I do not isolate myself from friends or
heavily procrastinate. Also on a random note, besides academic work and writing
reviews, I am still also finishing up subtitling Fiestar’s recent visit to
“Weekly Idol.”

To be immature for a moment—if I
already am not during reviews where I squeal over idols—I do want to tell
myself to never take on such a significant video task. Explaining what I mean, while
many have been quite supportive, patient, and even respectful with criticism
and feedback regarding my subtitles, there has also been a group of people who
are neither patient nor respectful of my time and efforts. This aspect is
rather surprising; never before has my subtitled videos had viewers who were
excessively demanding and rude. Perhaps the video being of “Weekly Idol” is
causing high demand and thus many viewers become impatient, or perhaps viewers
truly do have proper reasons to complain as I have admittedly been rushing the
videos and, therefore, have poorly timed the subtitles. (This explains why
there are huge blocks of subtitles at once and where a vast majority of rude
remarks are stemming from.) Either way, on a mature level, it would of course
be quite shameful on my end to abandon the “Weekly Idol” episode altogether as
if to retaliate to those who have been negative. Revenge is never appropriate
after all, no matter how minor (such as in this case). Furthermore, for those
who have been genuinely supportive and patient, it would make absolutely no
sense to hurt these viewers due to the rudeness of others. Keeping these
viewers in mind—the patient, respectful and critical ones—is what provides the
motivation to finish subtitling that episode.

Perhaps I am more attentive to the
negativity given my university-stressed emotional state (and that my attempts
to have a pet dog by this summer is in vain), but with personal venting aside,
let us now swap over to a more cheerful tone. Although I did state that April
was to be a month of new artists, I have decided to review MAMAMOO’s latest
song because, besides the biased reason of being a squealing fan of the ladies,
it will provide a hastier review as I will be able to focus solely on the song
itself. In fact, another shorter review will be written quite soon after this
(and I am extremely excited to review the next song).

On topic with the song, “Woo Hoo” is
an OST (original soundtrack if accurate) for the LG G5, a new phone. And
admittedly prior to this song, I used to hold the notion that it was foolish to
automatically purchase whatever idols endorsed, but now I hold a different
view: it is foolish to not purchase
products that idols endorse. I am joking of course; one should always be
critical of what idols endorse—unless if it is MAMAMOO. In the group’s case,
obviously purchase everything they endorse since that is what a critical fan
would do. Jokes aside, while I do biasedly adore “Woo Hoo” due to it being
upbeat and focusing on intensive vocals (and its summer concept), as is the
standard protocol for reviews, I will now have to strip away that bias. Without
such, “Woo Hoo” may not be worth all the cheerful “woos” and “hoos” it
currently is receiving—or it may. Let us find out.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.2/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 7/10
(7.4/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
8/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4.     Chorus: 8/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Rap: 6/10

7.     Bridge: 7/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 8/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: 3/10

Wheein:
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus (Total: 7)

Solar:
Verse, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Hwasa:
Pre-Chorus, Verse, Bridge (Total: 3)

Moonbyul:
Rap (Total: 1)

All:
Introduction, Post-Chorus, Post-Chorus, Post-Chorus

Equal Value: 4 sections per member.  


Lyrics: 6/10

Woo hoo, ah ha
Woo hoo, woo hoo
Woo hoo
(Woo-ooh)

Hey when I look at you
Our memories start to feel special
You pull me right into your trap
It’s like I’m dreaming

The time you and I walk together
Our path is filled with light
Feeling for the first time ever, these new colors
I want to hold your hand

In my heart, now in my heart
A new feeling, now play with me
I want you, a clear image inside me
Come closer, closer
Play with me
What a day to look forward to

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

Like I’ve been charmed
I can’t say no to your ways
(Woo hoo hoo hoo)

Moonstar
Life is good when you play more
We keep seeing better endings
Give me a high five, look
G5 on the playground
Why are you lost again?
This isn’t the Wonderland, Alice
Hey listen, take off those sunglasses
You’re glowing bright, full of energy

Holding on to my racing heart
The little secret between us
You’re so special, I can’t forget
Like the beaming sun

In my heart, now in my heart
A new feeling, now play with me
I want you, a clear image inside me
Come closer, closer
Play with me
What a day to look forward to

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

Where you are, inside my heart
Baby baby, oh baby baby
Get excited, I have a good feeling
Baby baby, oh baby baby

In my heart, now in my heart (whoa)
A new feeling, now play with me (hoo)
I want you, a clear image inside me
Come closer, closer
Play with me
What a day to look forward to

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

Woo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo, come closer
Woo hoo hoo hoo
I have a good feeling about today

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
beginning, to clarify the choreography, it is true that it exists. However,
given that it seldom appears in the music video and was mainly seen at MAMAMOO’s
live showcases (and even then the dance only occurs at the last half of the
song if I recall), I will refrain from grading it. On topic, for what strikes
as perhaps most shocking in “Woo Hoo,” there is one category that very much
cripples its overall rating: the line distribution. Optimistically—and this
word in the sense of AOA’s definition, as seen in “Weekly Idol” (for those who
get the reference)—at least “Woo Hoo” has set a record of having the lowest
score yet for the line distribution category in all of the blog’s current
reviews. More seriously, although this is a moment where I question why this
category exists, I am likewise reminded of why it is indeed a criterion for my
reviews: it is important to ensure that members are not overshadowing one
another and that they all have an equal spotlight. Imagine, after all, how
unappealing a group of nine men would be if only two sang while the remaining
seven solely danced. Thus, this is the reason for why the line distribution
category exists. (Off topic, I have been considering changing the name to “Section
Distribution” as that is more accurate in my reviews.)

With
potentially addressing some readers’ skepticism, it is worth noting that the
issue in “Woo Hoo” is not that members lack sections; the members do indeed
possess quite an abundant amount of sections. Take Moonbyul for example. With
her role as MAMAMOO’s main rapper—and a splendid rapper she is—it appears as if
she truly does only have one section. Besides, that is what is literally
written: one section—the rap. But, once accounting for parts where everyone
contributes such as the introduction and post-choruses, her section count increases
to five. And certainly, that is a rather satisfying quantity from an abstract
viewpoint. Therefore, the issue, then, is in the distribution itself: it lacks
equality. In “Woo Hoo,” MAMAMOO has what I personally deem the “stepping-steps
distribution.” Though it arguably sounds cute and endearing as a label, that is
far from the case; in reality, this type of distribution is atrocious. This
translates as members figuratively stepping on one another though given that it is
MAMAMOO I wouldn’t be surprised if this literally happened
: Moonbyul (1)
is stepped on by Hwasa (3), who is then stepped on by Solar (5), who is then
stepped on by Wheein (7). The disparity is significantly enlarged as a result. In
the end, a three will have to be given for the gapping differences in section
quantities among the ladies.

Leaving
behind the detrimental category to “Woo Hoo,” to focus on the strengths of the
song, the song itself is captivating. For example, the vocals are incredible—as
to be expected from MAMAMOO. If the introduction’s precise, sharp, vocal
harmonization is insufficient evidence for the vocal prowess in “Woo Hoo,” then
the rest of the entire song—the entire
song—will provide the remaining necessary proof. Verses for example unveil melodic
and smooth singing, and MAMAMOO flawlessly executes minor yet soothing lower
noted beltings throughout. The latter, in fact, also appears in the earlier
parts of pre-choruses. Regarding the choruses, vocals here are powerful yet
controlled; the singing does not become overly dominant to the point of unbalancing
the song’s flow, but simultaneously it is not lacking so that it causes “Woo
Hoo” to lose its iconic, vocally intensive choruses. Other sections could also
be discussed, but at this point most would have repeated praises—an example being
how the post-choruses are akin to the introduction’s vocal harmonization.

For
what has yet to be discussed, we will now focus on the sections. Every section
scores quite well as noted by the ubiquitous sevens and eights. Except for one
section. The rap does fall short in terms of a six, but to clarify, this is not
due to the rap itself; if focusing on the sheer rap, it would definitely be a
seven. Why is it at a lower score? To answer: the transition. Understandably
the lengthy, awkward break before the actual rap begins is for Moonbyul’s dance
break to take place, and though there is a unanimous agreement that the dance
is well worth that trade, it still has to be accounted for. Should this transition
break not have existed, “Woo Hoo” would have very likely been able to
transition to the rap seamlessly and, overall, it would serve best for maintaining
a clean flow. But as it currently is, the absurd transition does little to aid
the rap. Other sections as mentioned, however, fare exceptionally well. With
the introduction and conclusion, standard roles are not just fulfilled but are
excelled; these sections sound stunning while also still effectively closing or
introducing the song. With the verse, pre-chorus, chorus, post-chorus, in
addition to the solid sounds, all are complementary of the other. Each section
builds upon the prior—or in the case of the bridge, it builds towards the next—and thus the sections
help provide “Woo Hoo” its organized sound. In such a sonically seducing song,
having that cohesiveness is invaluable, and accounting for the instrumental, this
aspect also helps bind the song together. And, of course, the instrumental
maintains its own individual brilliant sound.

Finally
for the last category, the lyrics to “Woo Hoo” are thankfully not oriented
toward the LG G5 itself—even if it is partially alluded to in Moonbyul’s rap. Explaining
the rating, although the plot is certainly sweet with its flirtatious overtone,
it does lack in depth and complexity. The somewhat varied details are the
driving force behind it being at a six and not a five, but even so, the lyrics
are far from spectacular. Nevertheless, it is sufficient enough to serve as
usual lyrics in an upbeat, joyful pop song.

And
so, we have arrived at the end where “Woo Hoo” renders at slightly above
average—a six. Assuming the audio is of pure attention, “Woo Hoo” would score
significantly higher and indeed, as a song itself it is fabulous. Being
critical, on the other hand, with accounting for its unequal line distribution and
its plain lyrics does help justify why an overall six was earned and not, for
examples, seven or eight. Nonetheless, “Woo Hoo” is still a solid song—more so
if caring for solely its sound. And of course, MAMAMOO continues to ace with
their vocals and fans should definitely cherish the ladies’ hard work: they
went from being rather unpopular with “Mr. Ambiguous” to now endorsing a
popular cellphone company along with releasing fantastic tracks, such as the
recent one of “You’re the Best.”

_______________________________________________________

Miraculously,
I finished this sooner than expected, but in order to keep the blog active, I
will be purposefully scheduling this to post at a later time. Technical talk
aside, as I always say: thank you for any time invested in this review. No
matter if skimmed or read in full, I sincerely appreciate it all. To leak the
next review, though I have had little time to keep track of (Korean) pop
culture news, I am aware of 2NE1’s Minzy leaving her group. Now if correct in
my understanding, she has not officially done so yet as her contract has yet to
fully expire, but within a few weeks it will and, from what news have been
pointing to, Minzy appears to have decided to not renew. (And that does seem to
be a firm decision.) More will be discussed in, to finish the earlier
statement, 2NE1’s review of “Come Back Home”—the group’s latest song if
accurate. For what will be briefly said, respecting her decision has to take
place. Minzy, with the highest confidence possible, most likely thoroughly
thought out her decision and thus, being supportive and accepting is what
should take place.

All
that said, look forward to “Come Back Home.” It does not hurt to “play with me”
and my reviews. “What a day to look forward to” for my reviews—assuming one can
overlook my horrendous writing. Do look forward to the next review that will be
posted soon.

MAMAMOO – “1CM” Review

MAMAMOO
– 1CM (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – 1CM (Pride)/Taller Than You

Reviewed
on April 4, 2016

image

Personal Message:
Before beginning, looking over the
past month, I am a bit upset that March ended with four reviews and not with my
claim of six reviews. Ignorantly on my part, I forgot the difference between
two actions: posting and writing. It is true that I wrote six reviews in March,
but when it came to posting them all, only four managed to come through. The
two reviews that did not make it into March will be instead posted in April—my
April Fools’ prank review and a review on GOT7’s “Fly.” Nevertheless, though
this does mean March fails to reach a personal goal, on the positive side April
will have a head start and, furthermore, there are many shorter reviews I have
planned for this month (and shorter in the sense of being purely focused on the
song and not digressing). As such, six reviews will once again be the goal, but
this time I am incredibly confident in achieving it as I can schedule out my
posts. (And that is necessary as the remaining two weeks of April will be my
finals and thus, I absolutely have no time for writing reviews within that
period.)

Focusing on this current review,
admittedly this was requested about a month ago (and I apologize to the
requester for the delay). Along with the request of “You’re the Best,” the same person also asked if
reviewing “1CM” was possible, and my reply at that time was that I would cover
it within a review on MAMAMOO’s album of “Melting.” But, needless to say, that
did not quite happen and may not even happen until a while; reviewing MAMAMOO’s
album would be a rather lengthy task given the album is around forty-four
minutes, and factoring in times of replaying songs and then writing a paragraph
per song, it would be quite time-consuming. But, as it is an album worth
discussing, I will perhaps review it once I am on summer break as I would have
the time. (Besides the title, to share a few songs that are quite notable among
the already many excellent ones, I personally enjoy “Funky Boy” and “Emotion”
quite a lot. In fact, Moonbyul’s rapping in “Funky Boy” truly caught me by
surprise and, especially with the final rap, gave me goosebumps—as pitiful as
that may sound. More embarrassing moments have occurred, however, such as crying
with listening to the group’s cover of “Hinterlands"—a cover that possesses the best
vocals I have ever heard in any song.)

Embarrassment aside, on topic with
the review request for “1CM,” I am now resorting to the basic plan: reviewing
it as an individual song—and this may actually be a better route. Although
“1CM” is definitely hilarious and perhaps even relatable to some readers (or
perhaps just me; I am a tiny boy at 162.5 centimeters, though I actually do
prefer this height), if focusing on purely the audio, “1CM” is not as stunning
as people make it out to be. Agreeably, my stance toward the song is rather
controversial; it seems almost as if everyone likes it and that opposing such
would be atrocious. After all, look at those in favor of the song: nearly every
fan of MAMAMOO largely praises and supports the song; regular viewers are
captivated by the ladies’ live performance of “1CM”; and even the famous
American actress, Chloe Moretz, has openly complimented MAMAMOO and “1CM.” How
could I, a person who is indeed a fan (and one who very much strives to be like
all of the ladies and especially Solar, my biggest role model) and a person who
is well aware of MAMAMOO’s skills, be against “1CM”? Given that this is a song
review, unfortunately—or more accurately, fortunately—that does mean I have to
strip aside my biases and additionally, have to look beyond catchiness, comedy,
and so forth, and focus instead solely on the sound of a song. Doing that for
“1CM,” however, does lead to undesirable results.

“1CM” does fall short and I will be
arguing why that is the case. Even if the ratings miraculously score well, and
reiterating the earlier point, even if MAMAMOO is one of the stronger musical
groups, I will be revealing a moment where, for once, a weaker song can indeed
exist from artists who otherwise seem to be musically infallible. And, of
course, though I do enjoy “1CM” and am in no way desiring to personally bash
the ladies, I do want to bring a (hopefully fun and thought-provoking) critical
music discussion: a discussion that claims that “1CM” may in fact live up to
its own name—a minor, one-centimeter-worthy song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.0/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 4/10
(3.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Rap: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Bridge: 2/10

6.     Conclusion (Bridge): 2/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Line Distribution: 8/10

Solar:
Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion (Total: 7)

Moonbyul:
Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus (Total: 5)

Hwasa:
Introduction, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Rap (Total: 5)

Wheein:
Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Chorus (Total: 5)

Equal Value: 5.5 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 8/10

Is anyone here taller than me?
If not, nevermind

MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
I’m taller than you, you’re 160, I’m 161
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
Between between between us, just 1cm difference

Nonsense
First off, I’m not even going to mention Wheein
Okay, we’re best friends but when we’re talking heights
there’s no mercy, small Wheein
How dull, unnies*, you’re making a big deal over 1cm?
Let’s be cool about this
Only I get to wear heels

The difference between you and I, 1cm
(Unnie, your head is slightly large)
Just accept it, dwarf
(That’s right, accept it)
This won’t affect your life
(What are you saying?)
Do you know what I’m saying?

Oh dear, our unnie is trying to show off
to someone who’s better than her
Look here, you still have a long way to climb up
Is this too high up for you?
How’s the weather down there?
Quite stuffy I can only imagine
Sorry, but I can’t go there; too tall to enter

We’re all similar, so enough of this
If you have time to bicker about this, worry about other things
Aww what’s wrong little Wheein, can’t reach?
Don’t worry, I’ll get it for you, this unnie is the tallest in town

MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
I’m taller than you, you’re 160, I’m 161
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
Between between between us, just 1cm difference

Ayo, after rounding up you’re still short
Try putting in more height insoles
It doesn’t make much difference?
It’s still noticeable when you wear heels
Even when you wear sneakers,
our height order is like Do Re Mi Fa

It’s only 1cm difference (1.8)
Anyone will agree that we are same-same
(Both of you have slightly large heads)
This is a war inside a well
You know what I’m talking about?

Hey you, Moonstar, look at you having a blast
Uh-huh, just admit it, you’re being boastful
Pretending to be actually tall, pretending to be superior
Pretending to be Hong Man Choi, but all you are is an acorn
I have nothing left to say
I have nothing left to say
If Cho Tae Oh walked by he would laugh
That’s how I feel right now: “I have no words to say”

MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
I’m taller than you, you’re 160, I’m 161
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO
Between between between us, just 1cm difference

Is anyone here taller than me?
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
Listen up you dwarfs, in this place–

I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you
I’m taller than you
I’m taller, taller than you

*What females refer to older females as.

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: On
a positive note, “1CM” did not score at a five—a rating that was admittedly my
prediction. This does make sense considering that “1CM” ‘s strengths lies not within
its sound but instead its physical composition (if that makes sense; in other
words, the “non-sound” categories).

First
focusing on the negatives, “1CM” strongly lacks in its sections and
instrumental. Though there is a sense of catchiness to both categories, as
explained copiously in many past reviews, catchiness in of itself cannot be
used a positive mark. Looking beyond such reveals, for example, an instrumental
that is quite plain. Although it is not inherently a negative trait to be
linear in form—hence sounding plain—and in fact in “1CM” is rather beneficial
considering its pacing and focus on slower, rhythmic rapping, the instrumental
could benefit from possessing distinctiveness whether in sound or role. Peering
at the sound, as it currently stands, the beats and sounds used are nothing stunning—even
if ignoring the slower, undeviating style. The instrumental’s sound does not
feel irreplaceable; if there were any slow, deep beats, the style to “1CM” would
most likely still be in place. Nothing about the instrumental is noteworthy in
that regard. And, focusing on its role in the song, the same prior point
applies: nothing utterly distinctive. Sure, the vocals play off the
instrumental, but then again, couldn’t any instrumental with deep beats and
bass work if set at a similar or identical pace? That lack of necessity, of
originality to the song, along with its plain sounds, is what leads to its
current rating.

On
that note, the sections also receive much criticism. In summary, every section
minus the raps is either average at best. The introduction, for example, while
inviting of the song, does languish when accounting for its dull sound. Even
the section that would otherwise seem fine, such as the pre-choruses since
MAMAMOO—again, a very vocally skilled group—sings, suffers in some aspect. With
this section, while effective in terms of establishing “1CM” ‘s tone, its
structure promotes stagnant singing lines—this being detrimental and, with this
review focusing on the song itself and not stage or tone presence, is what
matters. Sadly, the most irking sections fall on the bridge and choruses:
obnoxious, repetitive lines. Most notably at the bridge, “1CM” loses its
cohesion with rapping and singing and even its entire structure, and instead
becomes a chaotic, jumbled mess. Again, though this serves well in terms of
“1CM” ‘s tone and comedy—the main
focuses of the song—in a musical lens, I have to be critical of what
occurs during these moments. And, with arguably the most shocking rating yet,
the vocals are scored at a six—two scores below their usual rating of eight. If
not for the raps, this would be even lower. Explaining why, the prior points
about the sections can translate over: the sillier and disorganized vocals at
the choruses and bridge are to be blamed.

Now,
though readers and perhaps even MAMAMOO fans may be devastated at my words, as
noted “1CM” is not concerned over sounding beautiful like with “You’re the
Best” or “Words Don’t Come Easy” (a song from their album). Thus, there are
still some positive points to cover as, thankfully, this review format does
attempt to respect songs for more than their mechanical sounds. In terms of the
lyrics, it is quite brilliant. First, the lyrics are definitely original; as
clearly seen, the lyrics are not of some recycled theme such as coping with a
breakup or finding love. “1CM” is instead, jocularly enough, about MAMAMOO
themselves arguing over their heights—an argument that Wheein sadly fails to
resolve, as the lyrics state. Therefore, in this sense, much appeal already
exists for the lyrics’ uniqueness. Secondly, the lyrics are exceptionally
detailed. The degree of such, in fact, overcomes sections that lack in depth
such as the bridge. Nearly each section—each individual one and not just the
type (chorus, verse, etc.)—is its own and not a mere repeat. And, for the final
category, the line distribution remains strong—a pleasant change considering
Moonbyul is usually stuck with fewer lines due to her role as the main rapper. (Also,
while there is indeed choreography for the song, I will be skipping over it for
this review—though this is a shame as “1CM” is a “performance” song and thus
the choreography is very likely an important piece.)

In
the end, “1CM” concludes at slightly above average. Although the song is weaker
sonically, the rather equal line distribution and clever lyrics do greatly
compensate as the latter are what “1CM” highlights. Ultimately, bringing a
musical discussion is the main purpose of this review (and the rest); this
review is not to shame “1CM” at all and those who are fans of the song (and
besides, I do enjoy it as said) but rather, it is meant to deconstruct it in a
critical fashion. And so, here is where the fun begins for readers: formulating
a personal opinion, whether that is challenging or supporting this review’s
stance or perhaps even finding a middle-ground as binaries seldom exist. And, if
nothing else is gleaned, then at least this review also carries the perk of
showcasing the individuality of songs. In other words, even if MAMAMOO is one
of my personal favorite artists and are well recognized for their skills,
indeed no song is automatically strong (or weak) based on a group’s background
alone; songs’ qualities are based in a song’s own composition and its quality
is not entirely predicated by the artist(s) involved.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, once again huge apologies for the significant delay but this
review is finally done. Thank you for your great patience, and I do hope this
review is intriguing given how it conflicts with many opinions regarding “1CM.”
Also, for other readers, thank you as well for spending time looking over this
review. Though it is robotic to say after every review, I am obligated to thank
those who do invest their time reading or skimming this blog. I highly
appreciate it.

With
this review over, there is now a troubling problem: if I will be able to review
MAMAMOO’s “Woohoo”—a new song to be released on April 4. This song is not a
comeback per se, but it still is a new release and an amazing one at that. “Woohoo”
is, from my understanding, a commercial OST for the LG G5, a new cellphone by
LG. Although it does seem to be quite a stretch to make a song to complement a
cellphone, I cannot complain as the song—based on a live showcase and audio
that is from a recording camera or phone—is truly infatuating. I am already
charmed by it and that is not even by listening to the studio audio, so I am
quite ecstatic to truly hear that. (Though understandably, MAMAMOO’s live
singing is nearly equal to studio audio so this may explain why I am seduced by
the song.) Perhaps to compensate for excess reviews on MAMAMOO, I will have to
release many other reviews by a variety of different artists. Time will tell
what I decide to do, but my heart does tell me to review “Woohoo.” After all,
is MAMAMOO not the definition of perfection?

Unless
if changes occur, look forward to MAMAMOO’s “Woohoo” or maybe even GOT’s “Fly”
(depending on when I decide to post it), and of course many other songs. Since
I “have time to bicker about this” I should probably “worry about other things,”
such as university work and subtitling a certain video. Stay tuned for whatever
is to come.

MAMAMOO – “Ms. Obvious” Review

MAMAMOO – Ms. Obvious (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – Ms. Obvious

Reviewed
on April 1, 2016

image

Personal Message:
Despite a planned schedule, April
will already be starting off with some changes. This, however, is completely
justified: MAMAMOO has a surprise comeback. Like many fans, I have also been
greatly yet pleasantly surprised by their hasty return. Though a few weeks ago
the ladies have returned with “You’re the Best,” it appears that they will continue
their momentum through this latest comeback of “Ms. Obvious.” Since, like a
vast majority of fans, readers may be confused on why the comeback was quite
subtle, in short what happened is “Ms. Obvious” was merely uploaded onto the
group’s official YouTube channel. No announcements were given; the music video
and song were simply uploaded—no more or less. Thus, this is the reason for why
many have been unaware of the comeback and have been quite pleased to discover
it. That said, I will be linking the music video as it showcases not only
MAMAMOO’s usual adept singing, but also the dance is seen vividly. As a
disclaimer, however, I do apologize if I did in fact link the wrong video. Due
to rushing all over and with how difficult the video was to find, I may have
included the wrong link (even after checking once more).

All that said, given the abruptness
of this release, this review will follow suit with being abrupt in transition.
“Ms. Obvious” is perhaps once again another way MAMAMOO is flaunting off their
skills: they are obviously quite skilled singers, and that is seen in their
latest release. Pessimistically, though, though the vocals are obviously
strong, there are still surprising and obvious flaws to this song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.2/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 5/10
(7/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Rap, Chorus, Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Chorus: 5/10

4.     Rap: 5/10

5.     Conclusion: 5/10


Line Distribution: 9/10

Hwasa:
Introduction, Verse 2, Chorus 2 (Total: 3)

Solar:
Verse 1, Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 4)

Wheein:
Verse 1, Chorus 1, Verse 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 4)

Moonbyul:
Introduction, Rap, Conclusion (Total: 3)

Equal Value: 3.5 sections per member.  


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 9/10

MOO-MOO-MAMA
I’m sorry, but I think I know you
I’m not confused by your eyes
It’s Ms. Obvious
She just glanced over
Please don’t come to me
Oh no, she’s interested in me

There is a girl, hello, Ms. Obvious
I’m caught in your trap, like a puppy
There’s Ms. Obvious
She commits herself
Now, ladies and gentlemen
It’s time to get away

Darling it’s you
Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?
Ms. Obvious, please leave me alone
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
My love is not for you
Come on
You keep ignoring my heart
Ms. Obvious, she teases me
Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot
(Hey Miss)
Don’t come out, don’t come out, wherever you are

Your words are bitter like you’re drinking coffee
You’re a determined alpha female wolf
There’s Ms. Obvious
Act innocent; then she might not grab a hold of me
Now, ladies and gentlemen
It’s time to get away

Darling it’s you
Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?
Ms. Obvious, please leave me alone
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
My love is not for you
Come on
You keep ignoring my heart
Ms. Obvious, she teases me
Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot
(Hey Miss)
Don’t come out, don’t come out, wherever you are

Say it slow, Ms. Obvious
Your clear-cut acts are like a knife
You just taste people and quickly hunt them
Love is winning for her, but call help for me
MAMAMOO, MAMAMOO, there’s Ms. Obvious
Perhaps it’s not just me; another victim is out there, too
Now, ladies and gentlemen
It’s time to run away

Darling it’s you
Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?
Ms. Obvious, please leave me alone
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh)
My love is not for you
Come on
You keep ignoring my heart
Ms. Obvious, she teases me
Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot
(Hey Miss)
Don’t come out, don’t come out, wherever you are

Hey Miss

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

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 7/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
even diving into the sound of the song, the lyrics deserve much praise. If
correct, the lyrics here will hold the highest score as of yet for all songs
that have been reviewed on the blog. This, however, is certainly not due to
being biased and overly crediting the creative lyrics composer. Explaining the
brilliant lyrics, every desirable trait exists: it is utterly original and in
no way parodying some other song’s lyrics; it has been heavily revised by the
dedicated lyrics composer’s advisor—of who is none other than his/her real and
intelligent pet penguin; and lastly, it deserves much credit for being somewhat
comical and obnoxious. Now, readers may be completely confused; what I listed
above seems to be purely biased remarks and is in no way actual critiques
towards the lyrics’ actual merits. In reply, how often does one read lyrics
that appear to have been written in thirty minutes and with lines that carry
absolutely no meaning? The answer: rarely—or so I hope. Thus, because of simply
how I feel, the lyrics will score a nine. This is completely justified as there
are no instances of partiality.  

Focusing
on the line distribution, the numbers speak for themselves. Nevertheless, this
is impressive considering MAMAMOO has—based on past reviews—struggled with
maintaining an equal share of lines. This is mostly in part to the group’s
dynamic as Moonbyul is oriented towards rapping and as a result, will receive
significantly less lines than the other ladies, but in “Ms. Obvious,” a drastic
change occurred. It is almost as if this song was not truly by MAMAMOO but
instead by perhaps some silly reviewer since, after all, this appears to be
against MAMAMOO’s standard style. But of course only a mean reviewer would make
up a song to fool her/his readers, so that is absolutely not the case. On
topic, to also address the choreography, it is above average. Why, readers may
ask? An obvious answer: because the key points and syncing are rated at above
average. And why is that specifically the case, as readers may ask? Once again
another obvious answer exists: because the Choreography Score averages out at a
seven and therefore above average. In no way am I committing the argument
fallacy of circular reasoning. Of course I would never do that. Especially as a
reviewer whose arguments have to be rooted in evidence and reasons, I would
never dance around a choreography score. All that said, once again the
choreography is above average because it just is above average.

Focusing
on the surprisingly weaker aspects to “Ms. Obvious,” the sections and
instrumental are both rated at average. Now, readers may suspect I will repeat
the fallacy of circular reasoning once more, but this time I actually do have reasons.
Both of these aspects rate plainly because the song is not unique at all. In
fact, it is so plain that I cannot even describe it—and no this is not to, for
example, cloak over the fact that there is no song. Obviously there is indeed a
“Ms. Obvious”: she’s the one who refuses to settle down, as the lyrics discuss.
Point is, take my words as earnest truths: the song sounds so plain to the
point that it sounds like it does not even exist as a song. Despite those
setbacks, however, one aspect will always shine with MAMAMOO: their vocals. And
that, thankfully, is true even in “Ms. Obvious.” After all, consider the
MAMAMOO vocals that occur: MAMAMOO stuff. Yes, that is correct; “MAMAMOO stuff”
perfectly describes the vocals. Since it is MAMAMOO, I will just toss in that
there are amazing note holds and vocal beltings in “Ms. Obvious”—even though
these points are highly abstract and irrelevant as, indeed, it is not about
what occurs but rather the delivery. Thus, even if there were indeed note holds
and so forth—and of which there is; “Ms. Obvious” showcases that—it would not
matter since it is about the context in how the note holds, beltings, and so on
are conducted.

In
the end, “Ms. Obvious” concludes at above average. Regardless of the ratings,
it is a song that is truly indescribable. Truly.

_______________________________________________________

First,
I do hope this advanced posting feature on Tumblr works. It will be very clear
if it fails or not, that is. But, if it succeeds, then this review will mark
the first review of April. Perfectly timed as well, it is exactly on the first day
of April to signify a strong beginning to the month. With this review, I
strangely feel as if I wrote atrociously. It might just be the curse of the
first day of April, however. Specifically with living in America, this phenomenon
of writing poorly on the first day of April is quite common. There has to be something
peculiar about this day.

Ignoring
that, though, I do hope readers enjoy the review and song. Hopefully this
review is informative and brings smiles—smiles from a great song and not from laughing
at this very serious review, that is. Also, the link should have worked, but if
not and it somehow redirected readers to some random parody video of another
song, I do apologize. Either way, however, whether “Ms. Obvious” or a parody of an American song,
both should be enjoyable. With the latter, after all, despite being a parody it
still contains lyrics
that are much better than the original—musically and socially
 sounds
fantastic. (On a serious note, the lyrics in the original song that is parodied does lead to a
very important discussion. I hope to discuss that later in the future.)

Look
forward to more reviews, and specifically much stronger reviews. Once again,
the first day of April has to be blamed. Certainly, there is something strange
on this day (in at least an American context). Forgetting that, I hope I do not
have to ask readers: “Why haven’t you come to your senses yet?” because readers
should be asking that to me. Stay tuned for more reviews.

MAMAMOO  – “You’re the Best” Review

MAMAMOO – You’re the Best (Music Video)

MAMAMOO – You’re the Best (Live Performance)

MAMAMOO – You’re the Best

Reviewed
on March 5, 2016

Personal Message:
I am officially on spring break for
one week, so readers can expect plenty of reviews—and this time I truly do plan
to catch up unlike prior breaks. Nevertheless, I still do have a lot of
homework even with break, so my time will not be entirely devoted to writing
reviews. But, there is still much more free time especially in comparison to
having classes. Additionally, I will also use this time to catch up on
subtitling videos. (Every video but one or so is updated with subtitles, though
peculiarly I have found myself in an interesting case of someone uploading one
of my subtitled videos for their own channel. I hope my polite request for them
to remove it goes without trouble.) Technical and life updates aside, though I
am joyful to finally have a break, this spring break is troubling: many K-Pop
groups have decided to cause me heart problems—or more accurately, “overly
squeezing my stuffed penguin” problems. A copious amount of my favorite groups
are releasing, or have released, new songs. This current requested review (a
more formal thank you later), MAMAMOO’s “You’re the Best,” is one of them.

Before focusing on MAMAMOO, however,
for comebacks that I have to highlight, Fiestar is one. The group is releasing
a new song and mini-album around March 8 if correct. After listening to their
album preview, I can confidently say it is exceptional. It might become the
next album that I deem the best, and that should be a remarkable compliment as
the current top album is Rainbow’s recent one: “Prism.” On this note, I will
actually be reviewing Rainbow’s mini-album. Especially since my review on “Whoo” failed to bring justice to the
ladies in terms of highlighting that they truly are vocally skilled (a song’s
Vocals category score is based on a song itself and not the group), reviewing
their album will hopefully clarify that. Regarding other comebacks, AOA’s
leader, Jimin, has a collaboration comeback with EXO’s Xiumin. I will also
review their song soon. Topping it all off, if accurate, SPICA is rumored to
have a comeback soon, and if that is the case, then my heart will most likely
fail: I cannot endure all of the mentioned groups along with SPICA because my heart already
flutters excessively from just hearing Boa’s voice
. However, once the
mentioned comebacks are covered, I intend to return to the original plan of
reviewing groups that yet to be reviewed at all (or who have minimal
popularity), such as Stellar’s “Sting”—of which has been overly delayed.

Now all that said, a few readers may
be skeptical at how this will be possible. After all, does it not usually take
me a whole month to write four reviews? As noted in the previous bonus show review on “Coming Sook,” I am further increasing my review
rate through a simple strategy: limiting social digressions to every third or
fourth review. This is not to imply that those social discussions are
unimportant; as discussed in an older review, having those academic social
digressions is arguably the most important aspect to reviews as those
discussions are sincerely applicable to daily life and help encourage critical
thinking. But, as noted, this blog is still a review blog; a blog that
predominantly focuses on reviewing songs. Thus, this “three days a digression”
compromise provides the best balance to the variety of readers this blog has:
those interested in solely reviews will now have more content; those interested
moreover in the sociological (and somewhat literary theoretical) approach to
songs (and Korean pop culture in general) will still have weekly reviews to
read. And, on my end, I am now able to realistically meet my goals as prior to
this, there was simply no way to have eight reviews in one month if each of them
had a social topic to discuss (and this being even after greatly cutting down
on review length). Again, this does not mean those digressions are meaningless.
There are so many important topics to cover, and it seems almost impossible to
ever run out as every song does elicit some important topic—intended or not. Such
is the nature of pop culture and media.

Without losing track of this review,
as mentioned earlier, I would like to thank to a reader for requesting this
review. As said in the Q/A, I am incredibly thankful for requests and am always
open for them along with feedback. I desire to hear from readers and would very
much be open to having requests guide the blog. This blog, after all, is for
readers to enjoy. Finally discussing MAMAMOO, ignoring the immense heart pain
they cause from their near-perfection, the ladies have become arrogant: their
release of “You’re the Best” is pointed not at a plot of loving a pretty boy
and his smile, but rather, it is their own compliment to themselves. Then again,
this title is still accurate: MAMAMOO truly is the best, and “You’re the Best”
is most likely the best song they have yet to release. (And if not clear, I am
joking with calling MAMAMOO arrogant. The members are far from arrogant; they
are incredibly humble and relatable—after all, Solar would not be my biggest
role model if not for that. I truly strive to be an amazing human as she is.)

Continuing with the discussion of “You’re
the Best,” peering back at MAMAMOO’s prior release— “Um Oh Ah Yeah,” a song that
is certainly solid and excellent—improvement is miraculously seen. That should
be striking: MAMAMOO is a top-tier vocal group; improving even more should not
be possible as they seemingly were at their best. However, indeed, the members
have returned with sharper, more melodic and mesmerizing vocals. In terms of
song production itself, though I have yet to systematically analyze “You’re the
Best,” I already foresee significant improvement in scores in juxtaposition to
“Um Oh Ah Yeah” (of which has been reviewed). On a random note, admittedly “Um
Oh Ah Yeah” did not score too highly, even if I biasedly adored the song (since
reviews obviously have to be neutral). When it comes to “You’re the Best,” the
opposite occurred: although I initially disliked the style, I knew from the
second playback that it was a phenomenal song. As for how I currently perceive,
many can easily guess: I love “You’re the Best”—more so than even “Um Oh Ah
Yeah.”

All that said, MAMAMOO is a rising
group. 2016 should be a flourishing year for the ladies: they continue, despite
the odds, to improve their musical prowess to even higher levels; they remain
absolutely hilarious and relatable; and lastly, they sincerely care for their
fans. If MAMAMOO is not deemed, at worst, a top-ten group by the end of this
year, there is one reason for that. It is not because of their management; it
is not because of their musical styles conflicting with popular tastes; and it
is not because they are overly obnoxious at times. Should they still not rise
to the top, the reason for that is simply due to causing heart failure among
fans from their outstanding skills, and thus, they are struggling to maintain
fans in this sense.

Dramatic speech aside though I do hope I was not the
only one practically hyperventilating while watching the music video and
performances
, to address the links, both the music video and a live
performance are used. Arrogantly said on my end, however, the live performance
should suffice; MAMAMOO’s vocals are potent to the point that live audio could
easily substitute studio quality audio. With that praise in mind, let us find
out whether “You’re the Best” lives up to its name: proving that MAMAMOO is the
best, or at least, proving that this is the best release by MAMAMOO yet.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.4/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 8/10


Sections: 8/10
(7.7/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 9/10

4.     Chorus: 8/10

5.     Rap: 8/10

6.     Bridge (Pre-Chorus): 8/10

7.     Conclusion: 7/10


Line Distribution: 7/10

Solar:
Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Rap 2,
Bridge, Chorus 3 (Total: 9)

Wheein:
Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Rap 2, Bridge,
Chorus 3 (Total: 8)

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

Hwasa:
Introduction, Pre-Chorus 1, Rap 1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Rap 2, Bridge,
Chorus 3 (Total: 8)

All:
Conclusion

Equal Value: 6.75 sections per member.  


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 8/10

Come on, hey mommy
Come on, hey daddy
Come look at these kids
Come on, hey sister
Come on, hey brother
Someone stop these kids

Pretending like you’re cute or sexy or pretty
I don’t have to do any of that
Because you can see through me
Your common sense, manner, expressions
Even right down to your behavior
I can see right through your sensitive self

You are about one span of a hand taller than me
Every morning I open my eyes to the sound of your voice
The two of us are completely compatible
Come on mister over there
Come on come over here
Slowly little by little
(Hey, hey, hey, yeah!)

Hey you, boy with the pretty smile
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
You are a man that makes me go crazy
You steal looks with your body and face
Hey Mr. You, boy with handsome thoughts
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
I’m confused because of you
Please someone stop me

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
I think of you every day
Do you think of me?
Word up, Moonstar
Blood type A, blood type B, AB, blood type O
Positive or negative, it doesn’t matter
S pole and N pole are attracted to one another,
doesn’t matter which formula
I am attracted to you only because it’s you

You are about one span of a hand taller than me
Every night I fall asleep to the sound of your lullaby
The two of us are completely compatible
Come on mister over there
Come on come over here
Will you quietly whisper to me
(Hey, hey, hey, yeah!)

Hey you, boy with the pretty smile
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
You are a man that makes me go crazy
You steal looks with your body and face
Hey Mr. You, boy with handsome thoughts
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
I’m confused because of you
Please someone stop me

I like eye contact
I bite my lips (your lips)
When we make eye contact (two eyes)
This breathless attraction makes me dizzy
I am your fangirl forever
It’s whatever; whatever, everything about you is perfect
That’s right (that’s right), our relationship
Suddenly I keep thinking, what am I to you?

24 hours 1 minute 1 second
I’m anxious that I might miss you even a little bit
24 hours right now this moment
Come one look at me
Come on you’re the best
Don’t stop us anymore
(Hey, hey, hey, yeah, whoa!)

Hey you, boy with the pretty smile
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
You are a man that makes me go crazy
You steal looks with your body and face
Hey Mr. Ambiguous Piano Man that’s you
You
You-u-u-u, Ah-h-h-h
I’m confused because of you
Please someone stop me

Come on you’re the best

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

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 7/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Since MAMAMOO is causing breathing difficulties, perhaps it is best to end the
review right here. Horrible jokes aside, this song is perhaps one of the most difficult
songs to review—and that is not due to quality, as I will explain. With
reviews, I sincerely try to be as honest as possible. Eliciting discussions and
bringing in different perspectives are my goals, and that is only possible if a
song is rated accurately without any external influences (such as with favoring
a group, song style, etc.). To now explain why “You’re the Best” is difficult to
review, it is not due to deciding ratings—that is straightforward in this song.
Rather, the difficulty comes in accepting the score: only a seven. “You’re the
Best” nearly meets an eight; the song is only .1 away from reaching that score,
to be exact. As ironic or hypocritical as the following may sound (since, after
all, I am the one giving the scores), this rating is unfair. “You’re the Best”
deserves to make it into the “good; excellent” (eight) rating, but
unfortunately it falls short by the slightest amount possible. As such, SPICA’s
“Ghost” will still claim the throne of being the highest rated song yet on the
blog (ignoring the earlier, newbie reviews), but to reiterate, “You’re the Best”
does deserve high praise. All this said, the instrumental will be inspected
first as, arguably, it is the main aspect that weighs down the song from an
even higher score.

With
the instrumental, even after paying pure attention to it and listening to the
official instrumental tenaciously, it sadly holds at a six, and that is the
difference between a Song Score  of a
seven or eight. Although it is true that the instrumental provides a lot for
the song—examples being creating the tone, helping with transitions, blending
well with vocals, being prominent yet subtle so that attention shifts to the
vocals—there is one weak aspect to it: individually. The instrumental, on its
own, is rather mundane. Understandably, there may be claims that I am being
overly nitpicky since some may believe that an instrumental has to be graded
within the context of a song in whole. Though that is a true point, for a
reply, in addition to remaining consistent with every review I have done, my
musical interpretation is that an instrumental is two-fold: yes, it has to be
seen in context, but furthermore, it has to be seen individually as well. Thus,
while the instrumental is irreplaceable in “You’re the Best,” on its own, the
horn sounds, bass lines, beats, and so forth are rather stale. In fact, if not
for its valuable role in aiding the vocals or transitioning the song for a few
examples, the instrumental would have scored even less. All that said, however,
it should be noted that a six is nothing to neglect: a six is still a “positive”
rating and indeed, the instrumental is still enjoyable. It just happens to seem
mediocre because of comparing it to every other aspect in the song: sevens or
eights.

On
that note, the vocals and sections are phenomenal in the song, and in many
aspects, are heavily related to the other: the vocals augment the sections
through granting powerful, tuneful singing and rapping; conversely, the
sections augment the vocals through guiding the vocals to be diverse. For
example, with the pre-choruses, the vocals are absolutely beautiful. Higher,
softer notes are heard, and with MAMAMOO’s skills, the delivery with such is
expecteedly flawless. What makes the vocals and the pre-choruses even more
potent, however, is how structurally the pre-choruses create both soft vocals
and more prominent vocals—of which is noticed by the change in style towards
the end of the pre-choruses. Other sections also play off a similar strategy:
the choruses are orientated towards linear, melodic singing, but simultaneously,
the “You-u-u-u” and “Ah-h-h-h” moments provide different vocal styles and
structural styles that help maintain appeal and charm. Another blatant example
would be the raps—though pure “rap” is actually accurate: a combination of
Moonbyul’s and Hwasa’s extraordinary rapping and Solar’s and Wheein’s alluring
singing are how the rap sections are conducted, and that pairing works
effectively. Overall, the key result from the chemistry between the vocals and
sections is a song that remains relentless in vocal prowess and in diversity.
It is difficult to ever find the song plain: there are too many well delivered sections
and vocal styles.

In
terms of the non-musical aspects, the lyrics score incredibly high. Typically
lyrics do admittedly seem to cap at a seven, but “You’re the Best” contains a
very unique plot along with diverse, thorough details. With creativity and
depth working in the lyrics, a high score is deserved. As for the distribution
of lines, this is something to clarify. Yes, there is a huge disparity with
Moonbyul and the rest, and yes it seems that I am failing to be consistent
among reviews. Two points to clarify: I am actually not being “unfair” for “You’re
the Best,” and secondly, this is a reasonable score to give. First, I do not
strictly grade the line distribution based on pure statistical counting; in every
song, I do look for context first before the numbers. For example, in songs
where everyone takes on the role of being a “singer” (in other words, not
rapping), I do search for evenly distributed sections. However, in cases where
there are distinct roles—the most common being a group consisting of rappers
and singers—I do have to become realistic. In MAMAMOO’s case, Moonbyul is the main
rapper, but unlike Hwasa’s case of being both a standard vocalist and a rapper
(even if Moonbyul is very capable of singing), this leaves Moonbyul restricted
to solely raps. And with such, unless if a song somehow manages to squeeze in a
rap whenever possible—a very unrealistic and overall detrimental idea—then leniency
has to be given. That said, I am still not entirely excusing this song’s disparity:
the score is a seven and not, for example, an eight or even a nine. After all, gauging
at the members beside Moonbyul, the divided sections are in fact equal and thus
this should warrant some high rating as Moonbyul is supposedly excused. In this
case of a seven, I do hold that Moonbyul could have had some support lines,
perhaps with offering two-part singing or background vocals. Nevertheless, with
context and realistically rating, the score is still admirable at a seven.

Lastly,
with the choreography, it does render above average. The dance remains well
synced to the music, such as with the choruses’ key points of pointing and then
waving. And on that topic, the key points remain fun to watch due to the variety,
playfulness, and its overall suitability with the song’s mood and sound. The
choreography may not be upbeat at all, but as said before in past reviews,
style never dictates quality. Focusing solely on how well the dance syncs and
how entertaining the key points are, it is confidently said that “You’re the
Best” has a pleasing dance to accompany the brilliant song.

All
in all, this is still the most heartbreaking review yet. I went into this
review expecting the Song Score to come out at an eight, but unfortunately, by
a single decimal—a .1—the song misses that mark. (And perhaps this is insight
into the future struggle of grading students’ essays and assignments; I wish
for my students to have good grades—though I am against the idea that grades
are integral to genuine learning—but will have to be fair.) Nonetheless,
numbers never reveal a story, so regardless of the numerical rating, I still strongly
attest that “You’re the Best” is indeed the best song by MAMAMOO yet, and even
more generally, is one of the better songs I have ever heard. “You’re the Best”
is truly a musical masterpiece and it is always an honor to be able to listen
to MAMAMOO’s songs. They absolutely are the best.

_______________________________________________________

Before
thanking every reader, once again I want to thank the person who requested this
review. If not for your words, in truth this review would never have taken
place as I would’ve prioritized other songs. So, thank you very much for the
request. That said, thank you to those who read this review—skimmed or in full.
I appreciate any time given to the blog.

As
for upcoming reviews, to complete the second component of the request, I will
be reviewing MAMAMOO’s first whole album, “Melting,” as well. (“You’re the Best”
is a part of the album, to prevent confusion.) However, before doing so, I do
wish to practice a bit more with reviewing albums as I do intend to change the
outline. Though I feel bad for using the following words, Rainbow’s latest
album, “Prism,” will be an experimental lab rat—but for a good reason. “Prism,”
so far, is the best (mini) album I have ever heard, and furthermore, I wish to
bring the group some justice. My review on “Whoo” failed to do so, even if the
review itself on the song is acceptable. Now with “Prism” being mentioned as my
favorite, MAMAMOO’s album may challenge that, and likewise even Fiestar’s
album, but as of right now, “Prism” holds the throne as the upcoming review
will explain. Therefore, readers can expect that as the next review, and
afterwards, for MAMAMOO’s “Melting,” and after all of those, I will finish up
on Stellar’s “Sting” and an important discussion there. Then, after all of
that, I will focus on the recent comebacks, and from there, unpopular artists
will take spotlight.

Although
a seemingly daunting task, I will, cheesily said, let the flow of music guide
how reviews go. Look forward to the two upcoming album reviews for now. I will
work hard during this break to catch up since, “hey you, boy/girl with the
pretty smile. You, you-u-u-u, ah-h-h-h, you are a woman/man that makes me go
crazy”—in a good way.

Korean Game (ft. MAMAMOO) – “007 Bang” Review and Guide

MAMAMOO – Silent 007 Bang (Video
Example)

Korean Game – “(Silent) 007 Bang”

Reviewed
on November 21, 2015

image

Personal Message:
As said in the prior review, a bonus
post was in mind: a review and guide to the Korean game of “007 Bang.” If
readers are curious as to why I am making this post, MAMAMOO, in addition to being
featured players for this review/guide, did play it in episode 7 of “MMMTV”
(refer to my shamelessly self-advertised video link above; I still, however,
recommend readers watching the entire, official video). Thus, an idea spawned of
how there may be fans that are unfamiliar with the game and would desire an
explanation. After all, MAMAMOO are not the first idols to play this game on
camera; EXO, for example, has also played it, and fans there may also be
curious.

Now before beginning, I will leave disclaimers:
Similar to how passed-down stories change in details, my teaching of this game
may vary from others and the “official” version. This is due to how I personally
have learned the game, and thus, will be teaching according to my learned
version. As a result, some rules may be inaccurate, but regardless, the general
idea should hold. Secondly, with the upcoming pictures used to help explain the
game, I will directly apologize (if confused on what is being apologized for,
briefly scroll down and see—and laugh). Writing with a computer mouse is
incredibly difficult, and given that I already have unattractive print writing
in general (and that my main writing style, cursive, is equally questionable),
the pictures appear as if a very young child, one that is still developing her/his
hand-eye coordination, wrote the words. Effort is what matters in this case,
and I very much am proud for my work. Mostly embarrassed, actually.

In terms of the game, though more
will be discussed in the guide itself, “007 Bang” is a fun, prop-less activity
that people of any age can play. Although according to one friend that this
game is meant to be played with drinking alcohol (on a side note, if drinking
games are chosen to be played for whatever reason, do remember to drink
responsibly—during and after the game), it is still an enjoyable and comical
game for casual moments. If chosen to be played as a drinking game, a drink is
taken per received penalty, but as hinted, I do not wish to share “007 Bang” as
a drinking game nor do I actually encourage drinking games at all (but, to each
her/his own; again, be responsible). Addressing the purpose of the game,
depending on how it is set up, it may be used for “elimination,” but generally,
there is no “win” goal; the game is for fun and laughs.

As for why the title is called “007
Bang,” it is in reference to James Bond, the fictional spy agent. Many should
be familiar with this character and his story since it falls along every other
White, male, heterosexual, rich, muscular, apathetic, monotone saving hero
story. I slightly
promise that was in no way passive-aggressive
. Players are, essentially,
spy agents “shooting” at one another while attempting to be stealthy—hence the
title (but, it may be due to other reasons; this is my suspected idea). That
said there are two versions to the game: the silent version and noise version.
Overall, there are no differences between the two versions minus, as the labels
refer to, whether or not noises are made. I will cover both in the guide.

To slightly digress (since I
probably will digress for a while, feel free to read the guide and review now)
on my satirical note of James Bond, I hope no reader feels individually
offended. I am mocking James Bond not in the sense of who he is (or actors who
have played his character), but rather, what he is: the epitome of privilege, moreover
in the context of America (but still very much applicable elsewhere). Due to
various reviews discussing social privileges be it in race, gender,
heterosexual, and so forth, such as Girls’
Generation’s “You Think,”
I will not discuss that in this review.
Reiterating the linked review’s point, however, should there be any reader who
feels disturbed, looking into and acknowledging privilege are the first steps.
For example, while I am disadvantaged in race (in America), I am privileged in
gender, sexual orientation, somewhat in class, and thus, have to realize I am
privileged in those aspects and even many others. Even with, for example, strongly
advocating and discussing gender equity and equality in reviews, because I am a
male, I have to realize that my very being does bring unearned advantages and
that it brings females disadvantages—even if I have done no personal harm, and
in my case, have done positively via attempting to bring in gender equality. It
all does not matter; being a male—being privileged in gender—means having
unearned bonuses in life (refer to reviews that examine cases of what male
privilege can appear as).

Now, this does not mean I bask in
privilege without challenging it. Very much, it is now a social responsibility
to challenge my gender privilege, but the first step is to acknowledge that:
that I am privileged and deserve to be critically analyzed, picked apart, and
in certain cases, even rightfully insulted. Race is perhaps a clearer example.
Being White in America can be conflicting: Whites in the past have done
atrocious, blunt racist acts, but now it appears that Whites in modern time are
taking the blame, even if many Whites are genuinely not racist. That is not the
point. Racism still very much does actively thrive (think of race disparities
in crime, jobs, education, wealth, and think of micro-level incidents of
non-Whites being discriminated against), and thus, White privilege does exist
(in America specifically and perhaps elsewhere; in South Korea, for example, “Korean
privilege” is the case) and that certainly brings unearned advantages, even if
not personally desired. Therefore, though it is hurtful to be insulted for
being White or any other social privilege, rather than retaliating back with actual
oppression (“reverse oppression” is false, as discussed in my horrible writing
of Dal
Shabet’s “B.B.B”)
, understanding should occur. Personally, with being a
male, there have been incidents where I have been attacked for such: “You have
no place to discuss gender equality,” or more broadly of “You’re stupid because
you’re a boy.” In either cases, with being a human and admittedly moreover a sensitive one who cries very
easily
, it does hurt. But, to claim that those sayings are “sexist”
is nowhere near what females experience in the realm of being socially
disadvantaged—in the realm of real sexism. In fact, for other incidents such as
being told not to use makeup or to not even care about makeup since I am a boy,
that idea indeed stems into actual sexism: undervaluing femininity to
masculinity (refer to reviews for this topic).

Overall, returning to the main
point, my mocking of James Bond should be, at the very least, understood;
whether or not that was acceptable is debatable, but unequivocally, it is
justifiable because of James Bond’s possessed social privileges—fictional character
or not. In terms of what I did desire to truly discuss, however, there is a
question I have yet to address that a few readers may have rightfully wondered:
am I excessively critical of everything? Given that this review/guide
significantly digressed over a simple mentioning of James Bond, besides reinforcing my sensitive
side
 that question is definitely valid.

In answer, I do confess to being
critical of everything, especially with being someone who actively digests
(Korean) pop culture. However, being critical is not an issue, and in fact, the
lack thereof is more problematic than being “overly” critical. Using an
example, if a music video sexualizes females (I plan to soon discuss “sexualizing”
and “sexual/sexual expression” in a future review; the two are oftentimes
mistaken as being the same, and that does lead to huge issues), if I lack a
critical mindset, then that is merely accepting a sexist standard of reducing
down women. It is better to be critical so that that standard is challenged.
Rarely is it possible to be “overly” critical. Homogenous to the terms of “feminazi”
or “social justice warrior,” calling out those who are “overly critical” is to attempt
to downplay their voice and, usually, serious points. With my satirical take
with James Bond, is it truly being excessively critical? Is it not true that
James Bond is the epitome of privilege and that his sheer popularity is
concerning since, from my knowledge, there are very few non-privileged heroes
that are equally as famous?

Concluding, I may be exceptionally
critical at times, as proven by my many digressions in reviews, but it is all
to bring awareness and discussions. What matters is being open to discuss these
subtle yet impactful social topics, and to see from multiple perspectives. I
have no right answer nor does anyone else. I am moreover concerned on the
meaning of an answer, not so much on whether it is “right or wrong.” I care
more on knowing why it is wrong for non-Whites (or non-Koreans; again, based on
the “dominant group” of a place) to be discriminated against on the basis of
race, or why it is wrong that females have to be subjected to males’ objectification
and sexualizing. Conversely, I also care more on knowing why people may argue
that it is justifiable to claim that females and non-heterosexuals are inferior
to males and heterosexuals. I strongly disagree with that, but I do care of that
perspective because I am interested in its meaning—not if it is “right or wrong”
necessarily.

Returning this post to, if possible,
what originally was to be pure fun and laughs, “007 Bang” will be reviewed and explained.
Mentioned earlier, it is a universal game that can be played with young and old
players, while sitting or standing, and no props are necessary (minus at least
three players, though four is recommended for the lowest). MAMAMOO’s example
will be used as a reference point for this review and guide, but I do hope the
following writing is organized and clear enough. All that said, to codename
reader Ms. 007/Mr. 007, a training mission awaits you. We will be looking
forward to your return and
disgusted reaction at the worst transition yet to date.

_______________________________________________________

Explanation/Guide:
Recovering from horrendous, corny
lines, truthfully I cannot look at the current pictures without at least
grinning. I am, clearly, not artistic whatsoever. This may explain why friends
are reluctant of me applying makeup for them and that I should preserve personal
eyeliner use for the far future. Jokes aside, “007 Bang” is a straightforward
game. After observing one game and attempting to try it, it should come
naturally.

To begin the game, a starting player
must be selected. There are no advantages necessarily to being first, so
manually picking or having a rock-paper-scissors battle are fine options. Once
the first player is selected, she/he must draw a square to alert players that
the game has begun, and from there, she/he may “shoot” (point).

In a “round,” four shots is the
limit before a “bang” occurs from the fourth shot (I will explain these
terminologies). A “shot” constitutes as pointing once at either one’s self or
at another player. A player can shoot anyone, including themselves, up to four
times (the fourth shot is the “bang”). There are rules, however. For one, a
player can only “bang” themselves or a player twice consecutively; shooting
anyone with the fourth shot for more than two times will lead to a “penalty.”
For example, Solar points to herself four times—a “bang,” and then does it once
more. She then, however, does it once again. This would be a “penalty” (over
two consecutive same-“bangs”) and thus, she will receive the punishment.
Likewise, if Wheein shoots herself three times and shoots Solar with the fourth
and causes a “bang,” and then afterwards repeats the same method and “bangs”
Solar, but then repeats all that for the third time, she will also get punished
since she same-“banged” a player for more than two times.

Elaborating shooting, shooters are
switched according to whether a player has been shot. A player shooting
himself/herself will be able to carry the next shot (since they were last shot),
but if a player shoots another player, then the player who got shot will be in
control. So, Player A can shoot themselves, for example, two times, and then
shoot Player B. Afterwards, Player A is no longer the shooter, but if Player A
still decided to shoot after shooting Player B (this mistake occurs in MAMAMOO’s
game, as to be explained), they will get punished. Remember: The player who
gets shot is now the shot—the shooter.  

image

An example of a game in progress
will be used to further explain such (and the game in general). In the picture
above, Solar has shot herself twice via pointing at herself twice. She
initiated the game, and thus, had the first shot. The first shot was used on
her, and as a result, she was still the active shooter since she was still the
last player hit. She then chose to shoot herself again. Now, two shots have
already been fired, and she is in control of the third shot.

image

A change arrives: she then shoots
Moonbyul with the third shot. The current round now has a total of three shots
fired, and as explained, upon shooting another player, they then become the active
shooter. Thus, Moonbyul is now the armed woman to be feared—and rightfully so
with her possessing the fourth bullet, the “bang.”

image

Moonbyul now decides to shoot at
Wheein, who is now “banged” because the fourth shot is the “bang” bullet.
Interestingly, however, it is not Wheein that has to be scared; her flankers
are the ones who have to be alert.

image

Whoever is hit with the “bang”
bullet (the fourth shot/pointing) is not in peril, but the people who are next
to the “banged victim” are. “Flankers,” the players on either side of the
person who gets “banged,” have to both raise their hands up. If one flanker forgets
to or is incredibly slow, they get punished (I will go over the punishment
later). If both flankers forget or are equally slow, they both get punished.
Now, once the game gets intense and very fast-paced, other players may occasionally
make a mistake as well, such as by wrongly raising hands when they are not the
flanker (or by laughing too loudly in the silent version; I will cover this).
In these instances, these mistaken players are punished. Hopefully my beautiful
markings on the picture showcase this.

image

After a “bang” moment occurs, a new
round takes place. The new shooter is the player who was last shot. In MAMAMOO’s
case, since Moonbyul “banged” Wheein, Wheein is the next shooter up.

image

Continuing, Wheein decides to shoot
herself once, and then uses the second shot on Solar. Expectedly, Solar is now
the shooter since she was last shot.

image

Solar decides to shoot herself
twice. In this case, the player “banged” is herself since the fourth shot is on
her, but as explained, it is not the “banged” victim to be concerned, but instead,
those around her/him.

image

Both Wheein and Moonbyul follow
through with raising their hands since, as seen, they are the “flankers” to
Solar, the person who was “banged.” No punishment has occurred yet for MAMAMOO.
Yet.

image

Eventually, though, given the nature
of the game, mistakes do occur. At one point, Moonbyul gets “banged,” and her
flankers, Solar and Hwasa, act accordingly with raising their hands. Jocularly,
though, Wheein also raised her hands when she was not a flanker at all. Thus,
she will receive the “punishment.”

image

What is the punishment? Whether
standing or sitting, they will have to bend over to reveal their back (in
certain cases, “gentle force” may be required), and from there, every player
can slap his/her back quickly. Again, “gentle force” is used—unless if all the
players happen to be somewhat violent females and males. (In the drinking
version, this may occur, but for sure, a drink/shot will be taken.)

Other common mistakes will also be
covered. Also, to explain the difference between the “silent” and “noise”
version, that is solely it: noise or lack thereof. In the silent version,
pointing is all done without sound, and furthermore, laughing is prohibited and
will lead to the seen punishment. With the “noise” version, every shot must be
accompanied with the numbers of “007” accordingly (first shot is “0”; second
shot is “0”; third shot is “7”). The fourth shot, however, takes the form of “bang,”
hence the game’s title. Additionally, flankers must yell “ah” when raising
their hands. In contrast to the “silent” version, the forgetting of a sound can
lead to punishment.

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To now explain the mistakes seen in
the video, at one point Solar points (no pun intended) to Wheein when,
certainly, no one shot her. Therefore, she was not the active shooter, and
shortly after, was punished despite her clever attempt to disguise the mistake.

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Later, Moonbyul ends up laughing
amidst shooting. As covered, that is not allowed in the silent version of  “007 Bang.” Her back paid the price.

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Lastly, for the mistake that made me
personally guffaw (though the others were equally hilarious), Wheein shoots
Solar not once, but four times. Repeating the rule, once a player is shot,
she/he becomes the wielder of the gun—the shooter. Thus, it is simply
impossible for Wheein to be able to shoot more than once, let alone four times.
A mistake that was well worth it. Not for Wheein’s back, of course.

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Review: Assuming
my explanation is not awful, readers should now have a general idea of the
game. Since a review was not the intended goal, I will purely leave minimal
comments. Overall, “007 Bang” is fun and can be very comical, especially once
it becomes very fast-paced and players begin shooting five times, overly shooting
players, or mistakenly raising their hands. Biasedly, I will claim the silent
version is more fun due to the level of stealth and speed, and that it is not
as obnoxious and embarrassing as the noise version, but both are exciting. For
the biggest drawback to the game, though “winning” is certainly never the goal
of these types of friend-games, it does become lackluster and almost pointless
after a while since, simply put, there is no goal. A friend has attempted to
solve that through her version of adding “lives” in that, after three
punishments, a player is out. There is a large issue with that, however, since
the final two players cannot play against each other, and with final three, the
game becomes too easy as there will always be flankers, and thus, players are
ready to raise or not raise hands.

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In
the end, it is a game worth trying and sharing, or at the very least, I do hope
this guide brings an understanding to the game so that when idols play it, less
confusion exists.

Though
this was not a song review, thank you very much for reading. Surprisingly, it
took many hours to write this as I had to create the pictures, but it was a
wonderful change in routine and that readers may very much enjoy this. Expect
iKON’s music video of “Airplane” to be reviewed shortly. To the requester,
apologies for further delays, but it will absolutely be the next review to
finish. Stay tuned for it, and also, for readers, I am glad to see that you,
Ms. 007/Mr. 007, have returned safely [s]only to face more cringe-worthy endings.