Hyoyeon – “Mystery” Review

(Music
Video)
/ (Live
Performance)

Hyoyeon (Girls’ Generation) – Mystery

Reviewed
on December 30, 2016

I
argue that “Mystery,” while possessing strong composition at times, is
ultimately still a weaker song due to its poor use of “filler” sections—a
concept I will explain within the review (and of course, that label is one I
personally have made up). It is those “fillers” that then limit the song
vocally, instrumentally, lyrically, and as stated, with its section
structuring.

Personal Message:
A late happy holidays (or simply
happy days for those not celebrating anything) but an early happy New Year to
readers. Although I am far behind schedule due to the holidays, there will
indeed be three reviews coming out back-to-back before December ends. Once
January arrives, I plan to start strong and to even “store” reviews that will
be posted systematically through the month once I return back to university.
This way, the blog remains rather active due to frontloading many reviews
beforehand.

Regarding the current review, while
I did say SHINee’s “1 of 1” was next, I have decided to make a change. After this
review or perhaps in January is when I will review “1 of 1.” For now, Girls’
Generation’s Hyoyeon’s solo debut, “Mystery,” will be our focus. The reason
behind this change is—besides how “Mystery” has definitely garnered much
interest due to fans’ curiosity on how Girls’ Generation’s main dancer and
rapper would handle a solo—that the composition in the song itself is quite
intriguing. There are many strong points throughout, but at the same time,
there are equally many weak points. Moreover, in terms of a musical discussion
that I find relevant, this song provides a time for me to discuss certain
“standard pop song” compositions that I hope readers will begin noticing in
other pop songs they listen to.

In short, then, “Mystery” simply
provides many points of discussion—many of which I might even have to skip
over—and this is ultimately the reason for why I feel obligated to review this
song. And of course, as said, this review provides some spotlight to
Hyoyeon—Girls’ Generation’s lovely member and oftentimes musically underrated
member as she is solely praised for her dancing.

That said, however, this review
might actually not help contradict the view that Hyoyeon’s performance is
mainly her dancing. As readers will see, “Mystery” does not fare too well in
its scoring. Unlike many fans’ opinion that “Mystery” is an example of
Hyoyeon’s vocal prowess and is overall a strong song, I unfortunately greatly
disagree—this being the third disagreement in a row based on the previous
reviews. I argue that “Mystery,” while possessing strong composition at times,
is ultimately still a weaker song due to its poor use of “filler” sections—a
concept I will explain within the review (and of course, that label is one I personally
have made up). It is those “fillers” that then limit the song vocally,
instrumentally, lyrically, and as stated, with the sections themselves.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 4/10
(3.75/10 raw score) – “Slightly below average”


Vocals: 3/10


Sections: 4/10
(4.38/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 2/10

6.     Rap: 5/10

7.     Bridge: 4/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Acting uninterested,
this dance got your attention
My breath is fluctuating anxiously,
my gestures in the rhythm
And of course, like hypnosis
Fall into my eyes, look at me

(As if enchanted)
Without anyone knowing
(As if your heart was stolen)
Full of only me
(As if fallen deeply for me)
Yeah like that
Yeah like that
Yeah like that

Mystery mystery mystery mystery-tery
Lalalala lalalala lalalala lalalala
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it

Three, two, one
Before you know it,
you’re dancing with me
You adjusted your movements,
manners and look so well
My voice in the rhythm
And of course, like hypnosis,
these eyes are permeating
Desire me more

(As if enchanted)
Without anyone knowing
(As if your heart was stolen)
Full of only me
(As if fallen deeply for me)
Yeah like that
Yeah like that
Yeah like that

Mystery mystery mystery mystery-tery
Lalalala lalalala lalalala lalalala
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

Come on baby, holding back is harmful, whistle
Come closer and tell me, shh everyone
Coach like you’re under hypnosis
Take me before I disappear
Come dangerously

Look into my eyes, tell me

Mystery mystery mystery mystery-tery
Lalalala lalalala lalalala lalalala
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
getting right into my criticism towards the song, there are still solid moments
throughout that need to be acknowledged—as is with every song. For example,
while we will soon discuss in depth on why the vocals scored at a three,
Hyoyeon’s vocals are still impressive at specific points. The verses are a
great example of such. In terms of what is most vocally appealing in the
verses, I argue the precision of the vocals is what we need to focus on. There
are lots of minimal, constantly changing details: beltings and pacing. All of
these details greatly augment the verse. For example, the beltings are minimal
and thus still allow the verses to maintain their more passive flow, and yet
with the vocal beltings indeed existing, they add the sonic appeal of variety.
Likewise with the pacing, the vocals in this sense create a rhythmic flow that
otherwise beats would take the role of—this being something that I argue is
both creative to “Mystery” but also strengthening to Hyoyeon’s vocal appeal as it
adds an additionally layer to what we hear with the vocals.

As
for other praises, to focus on the sections and their structuring, the
pre-choruses are admirable—as noted by their higher rating. Here, the
composition is quite impressive. Given that pre-choruses are the sections that
transition the song to its climactic point—typically a more upbeat chorus—it is
expected that pre-choruses buildup or “hype” a song. In “Mystery,” while the
same ideas are in place, the composers’ method of doing so is brilliant. As
noted earlier, the verses establish a rhythmic, slower flow due to how the
vocals are executed. The pre-choruses then take that flow and merely emphasize
it through not only making Hyoyeon’s vocals truly adopt an explicit
back-and-forth dynamic, but also by increasing the entire pre-chorus’ intensity
and pacing to create that familiar exciting hype.

Unfortunately,
even with those stronger aspects, “Mystery” still suffers from a lot.
Everything else I argue is too reliant on “fillers,” or if not that, then is
simply weaker for other reasons—such as the rap being only average due to
lacking a coherent, clean flow.

Before
diving right into the critiques, however, I think it is now best to clarify
what I mean by “fillers”—and more specifically, “filler sections.” From here
on, I will now remove the quotations as I hope—within this review of course—we will
consider it an “official” term. (But note: there is no such label nor concept
of “filler”; it is one I have made up as I find this best explains my argument
to readers.)

In
summary, a filler section is a section that does not necessarily add additional
components to a song but instead merely carries it forward in time. Before
using “Mystery” ‘s own examples, common filler examples that I bet many readers
are familiar with are in AOA’s “Like a Cat” and Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette”:
in those songs, recall the parts where the ladies sing “la la la la”
repetitively. Before readers assume that it is only “la” at culprit, however, these
filler sections can still exist without using such: BTS’ “Blood Sweat &
Tears” arguably use a filler-like composition at the choruses when the members
repeat “a lot” (or “much/many”; I forget the exact word). Overall, the point is
that filler sections are incredibly repetitive parts—instrumental or vocals—that
do not add a new flow or tune and are mainly understood as just “filling” a
part in the song and oftentimes occur as the post-choruses. In fact, if readers
truly desire the official musical term for such, I believe in at least American
Pop music it has been referred to as the “millennial whoop”—this pop music concept,
regardless of labels, is exactly what I am trying to get at. Those portions of
songs that go “la la” or “whoa oh oh” or “oh oh” and so forth, is what I refer
to as filler sections. With all this hopefully understood, let us now return to
my argument of how the existing filler sections are detrimental to “Mystery.”

In
the context of vocals, the filler sections—predominantly the choruses and
post-choruses—greatly reduce the overall appeal that the vocals bring to the song.
Now that said, yes—as discussed earlier—Hyoyeon’s vocals are quite delightful
during the verses and even pre-choruses. However, once we arrive at the filler
sections, the vocals almost entirely degrade: they become chaotic, monotonous,
and fail to bring any new or useful element to “Mystery.” After all, this is
why I personally term these filler sections as such: they merely fill in
content for the song versus actually being a part of the song’s experience.

Regarding
other categories, ignoring the more explicit point of how the filler sections
themselves—the choruses and post-choruses—are rated at twos due to the poorer
execution of the filler sections, we should now focus on how even seemingly
unaffected categories are in fact indirectly influenced. With the lyrics for
example, while all the details included are varied and that the plot itself is
at least average for its creativity, it would appear that the lyrics score at a
five. However, due to the choruses and post-choruses, the lyrics at these parts
reflect the filler sections: repetitive, unnecessary lyrical details that neither
progress the plot nor provide new insight. “Lalalala,” as one can tell, is
nothing important at all in the scope of a song’s storytelling or message. Similarly
to the lyrics and vocals, the instrumental also goes through the same problems:
the instrumental is forced to follow the messiness and staleness for the
purposes of “filling” in content.

And
so, while “Mystery” could have very much scored at least at average or, if we
are very optimistic, even at slightly above average, I argue it is the filler
sections that limit this song’s potential. Those filler sections—namely the
choruses and post-choruses—negatively affect how every category runs, such as by
forcing repetitive vocals and instrumental or adding unnecessary details to the
lyrics. Even so, this review should not be interpreted or even used to bash Hyoyeon;
at most, this review critiques the composers of “Mystery” and their use of my
personally labeled “filler sections.”

When
it comes to Hyoyeon herself, I will personally argue based on the verses and
pre-choruses that while her vocal abilities are far from being utterly
impressive, they are still decent. But, for how “Mystery” should truly be
understood, I urge fans to not view her solo debut so much from a musical
perspective but rather, that fans should view this song in the lens of
performances. The song’s choreography is stunning, and coupled in with how
Hyoyeon is an extremely skilled dancer—and I truly wish to emphasize this—we need
to realize “Mystery” is here to shine Hyoyeon’s largest strength: her dancing.
Thus, while musically this song partially falters, we need to understand
Hyoyeon’s solo debut is very likely intended for fans to focus on her dance and
that is what needs to be most appreciated—and the fact that she has a solo
debut at all.

Finally,
I wish to return to the filler sections/millennial whoop and add a huge
clarification that I admittedly forgot: that filler sections are not inherently
bad at all. Three or so years later, I still hold AOA’s “Like a Cat” as the
cherished, near flawless example of how filler sections can be used as a powerful composition in songs. In that song (which
I did review; if readers are curious to see whether my current horrendous
writing could have been even more worse, feel free to read it), the
post-choruses’ “lalala” were very well structured and organized, and due to how
the song revolved around those filler
sections, they proved to be the song’s best section. Therefore, before readers
misinterpret the idea that filler sections are all useless and purely “fillers,”
I strongly caution readers to still be critical and to instead ask why and how said filler sections are used before jumping to conclusions. In
many cases admittedly many appear to be nothing more than fillers, but as mentioned
with “Like a Cat,” there are certainly those rare yet brilliant moments where
composers take those fillers and manipulate them in a way that captivates
listeners.

_______________________________________________________

December
30 and writing late at night—a sign that I truly need to fix my sleep schedule
before I return to university in roughly two weeks. Two more reviews are due
for tomorrow, and I very much am going to strive to review them. Specifically,
I plan to review Jay Park’s “Me Like Yuh” and SHINee’s “1 of 1” as, besides how
the blog needs more male artists involved as both men and women are equally
capable music artists, both songs will receive much praise. With reviews, I
truly do give my honest, critical thoughts and am never swayed by popular
opinion or faking an opinion in a way that would garner more readers and
favoritism. As such, with the past three reviews leaning towards negative
scores (“negative” in the sense of less than five for average), it is only fair
to introduce songs that very much score well and that I consider are strongly
composed.

Look
forward for them to come, and while I plan to actually review a song on January
1, I will leave a preemptive happy New Years to readers. Thank you to all for
reading this review in full or part, and for those who have been sticking
around frequently. Look forward to the next reviews—and of which, if I am
indeed on task, will be both posted on the same day back-to-back.

Meng Jia – “Drip” Review

(Music Video) / (Music Video—Dance Version)

Meng Jia – Drip

Reviewed
on December 19, 2016

Unlike
the majority of listeners who claim the choruses are the “catchy” and
iconic—even best—part to the song, I disagree greatly. I will argue the song’s
choruses limit the song in all
aspects—vocals, instrumental, sections, and lyrics.

Personal Message:
Before starting, I will link a prior
post that does relate to this song: a post about the complexity of “double-standards”
and even “equity.”

Especially for readers who wish to go beyond just the musical component to
K-Pop/pop culture or are interested in sociology or simply wonder what
“double-standards” is truly about, I strongly encourage reading the rather lengthy
post.

Also, for one more point to make, I
do want to apologize to readers for not posting any reviews as of December—or
at least, if ignoring this review. While I have been posting other content,
such as the linked post above or answering questions (and I am very much
thankful to be hearing from readers), I actually have not been posting reviews.
The reason for this is nothing drastic at all: I am finishing up this semester
of university and have been quite busy due to that. After all, with so many
papers due and having to study for tests, it can become slightly overwhelming. On
the positive side, I will soon be finished (as of this sentence) and will have
a month to finish up December strongly, and to even have a head-start for January’s
reviews. Furthermore, I might actually be willing to share a pop culture
studies/literary studies paper I wrote in an English class about K-Pop: me
applying a queer studies lens onto GFriend’s music video of “Navillera.” I
imagine many readers are confused on what “queer studies” is and why or even
how I managed to write an academic paper about K-Pop, but to this, I will end
the discussion here or else Jia’s “Drip” would never be reviewed. (However, if
a reader is highly curious on anything said here—what queer studies is or how
one can write an academic paper about pop culture—do feel free to send in a
question. The link to do so is in the blog’s description. I will clarify what
was said through a Q/A.)

Finally on topic with this review, I
have planned to review “Drip” during the first week of December. As we can
tell, that plan did not work out though the review still is happening. What
should be noted about this song, however, is that it is not K-Pop at all: it is
C-Pop—otherwise known as Chinese Pop and if we dare to be more accurate, we can
even refer to this as “Mando-Pop” as it is in Mandarin specifically. That said,
this blog still predominantly focuses on K-Pop. Consider this C-Pop song a
bonus, and of course, as some readers may know, Meng Jia is from Miss A: a
female K-Pop group. She left the group once her contract expired, and from my
understanding, Miss A is still active with the three remaining ladies. Point is
this: although “Drip” is C-Pop, we can at least find that it relates to K-Pop
in the sense of Meng Jia being the singer to the song.

Now all that said, I predict that
one critical reader may be wondering: “But isn’t it unfair to review C-Pop
when, as you have said, you only review K-Pop so as to not be musically biased
due to cultural differences?” While I probably poorly phrased that, my answer
is this: Yes, I argue it is unfair for a reviewer to review songs that she is
not culturally accustomed to but, in
this case, he is accustomed to it. Indeed, I am actually accustomed to listening
to C-Pop because I do in fact listen to it. This may come as a surprise to a
few readers as it might be believed that I only listen to K-Pop. While I do not
deny that Korean songs—pop, ballad, hip-hop—tend to be what I listen to most, I
do listen to C-Pop—both traditional and contemporary, and both Canto-Pop and
Mando-Pop. It is far much less than K-Pop, but it is enough for me to
confidently review it without bias—in fact, as I have shared perhaps a year
ago, I grew up listening to older Chinese Pop (with some older American Pop as
well).

Since we are on the verge of a
tangent, however, let us now truly discuss “Drip.” This song marks Jia’s solo
debut, and because of such, I would argue it is important to gauge how the song
currently stands. In fact, let me emphasize a point: how the song currently stands. While Jia’s vocals will definitely be a
factor, I am more concerned on how her new label company has composed and
produced “Drip”—and already I will say, this song is great until it drips its
appeal away at the choruses. Unlike the majority of listeners who claim the
choruses are the “catchy” and iconic—even best—part to the song, I disagree
greatly. I will argue the song’s choruses limit the song in all aspects—vocals, instrumental,
sections, and lyrics.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(4.50/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 4/10
(4.00/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 2/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 2/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 4/10

[Introduction]

Have a taste of it secretly
I’m just trying to help
Help you put aside your rationality
Can’t act like a silent harbor
You can be the real you, here

You, stay on the sofa obediently
Kneel down
I need your adoration
You have to bear in mind,
I’m a bit bad
Just want you tonight
I want you tonight

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

Nobody is responsible for me
I don’t want to gain passively
Now that you are on this express train,
I wanna do it like this way
You don’t believe your own choice
The indulgent song like this
I bet you would come, come, come

You, stay on the sofa obediently
Kneel down
I need your adoration
You have to bear in mind,
I’m a bit bad
Just want you tonight
I want you tonight

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
Are you ready?

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
a side note, I am finally on break. Given how behind the blog is, I may
actually opt to write a review per day if I somehow manage to be concise yet
meaningful with all the reviews—in fact, more extremely, I may opt to write two
reviews in one day.

On
topic, before getting into why the choruses are deeply problematic to “Drip,”
let us first begin with the strengths to the song. An obvious one is Jia’s
vocals—as we can tell from the given six. What should be noted, however, is
that the vocals are not impressive due to its tune or variety—factors that I
oftentimes gauge when it comes to vocals. For example with tune, we have to
notice that the vocals are not strenuous in any regard: there are no beltings,
note holds, extreme low or high notes, and so on. The tune, then, remains
simplistic. Furthermore, the vocals’ sounds do not differ much from each
section minus shifts in intensity. Even then, intensity shifts do not suffice
in terms of making vocals sound more diverse: in the end, the vocals in every
section still arguably sound the same.

Despite
all those points, why I am still giving a six is due to other details—details
that are oftentimes overlooked with vocals: the rhythm and structural syncing. Indeed,
Jia’s singing in “Drip” is quite different from most songs but I argue it is an
effective change. Regarding the vocals’ rhythm, the singing does not simply
flow in a horizontal fashion—in other words, the vocals are not merely
progressing based on following a tune in accordance to time. Instead, while
there is obviously a tune followed, what should be emphasized most is that the vocals
instead follow an “up and down” pattern via its pacing—a pattern that reflects
the instrumental. Because of this, especially as we can hear in the verses, the
vocals and instrumental become greatly synced to one another and hence my
earlier label of “structural syncing.” While at times instances of too
identical syncing could lead to staleness, in “Drip” the opposite occurs: it
provides the vocals an appealing flow that can be followed, and likewise, the
instrumental now appears to carry on a more dynamic flow versus just plain
beats.

On
that note, despite the instrumental’s lower score—and for that matter, the
sections and lyrics—this is not to say all these categories are entirely slightly below average. In many
ways, all of the categories are better described as: “good but, once the chorus
arrives, somewhat poor.” To make it more clear, the lower ratings are due to me
“averaging out” those strong points and weak points.

Let
us focus on the lyrics for example. Ignoring the “meaning” of the song—as this is
entirely subjective and up to interpretation (though if there are readers who
might be “disturbed” about the lyrics potentially connoting a woman coercing a
man in whatever manner, I do suggest reading the linked Critical Discussion I
posted on top)—we can focus on the objective aspects of how detailed and unique
the lyrics are. The verses differ from one another—this being a huge benefit—and
on top of that, the pre-choruses, even if they repeat each other, still add additional
depth to the lyrics’ overall plot. Where the lyrics fall short is due to the
choruses and bridge: meaningless, repetitive phrases that ultimately serve as “filler.”

As
for the instrumental, a similar idea applies akin to the lyrics. The bass and
beats are excellently executed—until the choruses’ “beat drop” occurs. Prior to
the choruses, the instrumental seamlessly syncs with the vocals as discussed,
and moreover, the instrumental’s role of shifting the song’s intensity is done
in a very efficient manner. Unlike many pop songs where those intensity shifts
are overly blatant or even roughly chunked up, “Drip” is able to switch from a
calmer verse to a hyping pre-chorus very naturally, and on top of that, when
the choruses arrive, the instrumental still marks these sections as the
climactic part even if the sonic component suffers.

That
said, for where the instrumental falters during the choruses, I will argue it is
due to the sounds themselves—even if these sounds are very unique and creative.
For example, we should note that the beats and bass function—during the choruses—akin
to water: in other words, from a theoretical side, the instrumental here matches the theme of “dripping” (and I
will explain how). In terms of artistic creativity, I do believe the composers
deserve much credit for this. I greatly applaud it. However, on the more
practical side, it is the execution
that fails. With the bass, it literally comes off in waves—each wave varying in
strength and length. As for the whistle-sounding beats, they come off in an
echoing and dripping manner. As we can tell, this is very creative. But, for
how this translates in a musical context versus say artistic representation, it
is quite jarring. The bass and dripping beats do not sync with each other in
terms of sonic or pacing, and later with added vocals of “drip” being repeated,
there then appears to be three main factors conflicting one another. All in
all, it all leads to a confusing, rough and disorientating experience. Again, I
praise the very intelligent composition of emulating water and dripping and by
no means wish to overlook such, but in a musical context, I strongly argue it
is not effective.

Overall,
“Drip” definitely has potential to be a rather solid song. But, ultimately, it
is the choruses that prove to be the song’s downfall as every category is
indirect or directly affected by it—and affected in a negative manner.
Certainly the choruses are very charming in their effects of creating a
visual-audio experience of water and dripping through music, but if we focus on
musical appeal, I argue the choruses
greatly fail to bring any appeal and because of such, the rest of the
categories all suffer. This may perhaps be the song of example for where the
theoretical fails to match up with the practical: everything looked good when thinking of the song’s composition,
but once the song was actually played, the choruses were not accounted for its
messiness. Nevertheless, if listeners/readers can manage through the choruses, “Drip”
still finds its footing as an average song—even if it is barely holding onto
said “average.”

_______________________________________________________

I
greatly apologize to readers for essentially a hiatus. Given that it has been
two weeks of no reviews, I will definitely begin stacking up reviews and I
indeed have an enormous list. Look forward to many reviews to come now that I
am on break, and for December to hopefully end with around six reviews or even
more. Thank you to all for reading. “I need your adoration,” after all. (Not
really, though; if anything, I need readers’ forgiveness for mediocre writing.)
Look forward to BULLDOK’s “Why Not” as the next review.

Fei – “Fantasy” Review

Fei – Fantasy (Dance Practice—VLive)

Fei (Miss A) – Fantasy

Reviewed
on July 28, 2016

image

“Overall, though, for a personal
praise to the song, “Fantasy” might be the best song I have heard for its
stylistic approach of being moreover linear. Again, a linear, unchanging flow
to a song is never inherently bad as one cannot critique style, but as said when it comes to songs with these formats
(another example in mind would be
Wonder Girls’ “Why So Lonely”), “Fantasy” excellently executes
it. But, this is all irrelevant and a mere digression as a more serious,
neutrally-biased approach to the song unveils many weak points—and of course,
strong points.”

Personal Message:
Before anything else, to the
requester of this review I greatly apologize for the huge delay. Besides how a
summer class and subtitling videos—both personal and contributing to a team—led
to this delay, the day when I planned to write this entirely (July 21) was
filled with me watching over my girl as she unfortunately was a bit sick and
vomited. (All is well now, though. And to clarify, my “daughter” is my terrier
mix—yes, I am those types of people
who love dogs as if they were human children. The only difference is that dogs
are obviously treated appropriately as dogs but that, in the end, they receive
the same unconditional love as children should.) On topic, once again I greatly
apologize for the delay. It is also unhelpful that a lengthy social digression
will take place, but we will discuss that later.

That said, for a change to clarify
in the linked dance practice, it is a website other than YouTube. However, this
website is “clean”; it is not some unofficial, ad-intrusive site. The site is
none other than V Live/V App (and of which is hosted by Naver which is akin to
Google), a platform many if not all readers are aware of. For those, however,
who may just be learning of it right now, V Live is where idols upload live
broadcasts of anything, be it dance practices or simply talking and interacting
with fans since there is live chat. Oddly enough, Fei’s dance practice is
uploaded there and not on YouTube, but considering the current controversy she
is under (as well as many other idols), this might have worked in favor of her.

Now with all of that covered, for
those who wish to focus on just the music—and understandably, considering how
serious situations have gotten, this is perfectly acceptable though I do
encourage diving into the uncomfortable—feel free to skip below to the review
itself (at the Analysis). Predictably,
a social digression will take place and if correct, it has been almost an
entire month or even more since the last one. Regardless, this current social
digression is one I cannot avoid, and in that sense, is not as much as a
“digression” as much as discussing many important, sensitive topics. With
enough taunting on what exactly this said controversy is, this is an intriguing
case of where K-Pop and politics intertwine. The result? Unfortunately, racist
terms and nationalism flourishing from all ends.  

Regarding what occurred, as some may
know, there is recent political debate on who owns the water territory around
China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. After much conflict and supposedly some
violent acts (I am unsure on details; the political aspects of this will not be
my main focus), there has been international agreement that China does not own
the sea territory and that it belongs to the Philippines (or Vietnam; again, I
am unsure on details but this is irrelevant for where I will lead this
discussion as no one has yet ventured into the sociological aspect). Now from
China’s perspective, they claimed that their stances were not accounted for at
all, and from there, continued to claim ownership and a picture was created: a
map diagram where it showed China owning said sea territory along with a
caption that, based on memory, reads as “China is no smaller.” Finally for how
this seeped into K-Pop, Chinese K-Pop idols—examples being Miss A’s Fei, Super
Junior’s Zhoumi, EXO’s Lay, Fiestar’s Cao Lu, and even f(x)’s Victoria—have
openly shared their political view: siding with China’s claim of owning the
waters. And as such, this is where the chaos erupted.

But before continuing, there may be
a valid rebuttal to all of this: so what? It is just territory, why are fans
upset? In answer, it is arguably much more than “territory dispute” if it is
true that some ships have been sunk over this supposedly “minor dispute.” Furthermore
with those acts of violence committed and with fans outside of Korea, it can be
upsetting to see idols indirectly supporting that said violence—whether knowing
of the details or not—and that they are willing to—once again, knowingly or not—provide
influence to audience members on who to side with for the dispute. As for where
I wish to bring this discussion, as I will share in an upcoming review, I
admit: I hate politics. I am one for sociology/literary theories and ethics,
not for accounting for various nations, economies, political structures, and so
forth—but indeed, politics very much
matter. In fact, many of my discussions ultimately do link to politics as
politics is arguably the driving force behind said social topics. Think of structural
racism, for example: the argument that minoritized races are systematically
oppressed—unintentionally, in fact—due to how links are made, links of how our
race, gender, and class very much influence one another. While I care to
discuss structural racism on a sociological level and to extend that further on
challenging our compassion for others—or lack thereof (in other words, ethics),
indeed politics is where that has to be deeply investigated as this is where
actions occur versus that of pure theorizing and discussions. (Though not to
say sociologists and sociology are only “talk”—that is certainly not true.
Actions do occur from this topic, and likewise discussions of morality are
necessary in a time period where many have become more orientated on
“hard-sciences” and less on open, free thinking.) Point is, politics is a
bitter pill; very few necessarily adore it, but indeed we all have to care as
it is what directly brings sociology and literary theories, for examples, into
actual application.

With that covered, let us return to
my original point: if I am not
discussing the politics of the recent news, where am I going to focus? Instead
of arguing for who owns what and other political discussions such as perhaps why the countries are heatedly arguing
for ownership of water, I want to consider instead the sociological and ethical
topics that relate, and specifically ones related to K-Pop: topics of
nationalism and patriotism—the differences and whether either one are
permissible—and most importantly, the ethical question of whether idols from
any country should voice their political stance—or perhaps even any stance—considering how influential
idols can be and are. (After all,
consider how often I mention aiming to become more like a certain idol such as
MAMAMOO’s Solar, my biggest role model.) And in the end, I will tie this all up
with asking a simple question to readers: do the Chinese K-Pop idols who shared
their political opinion deserving of the current hate? In fact, is any one for
that matter deserving of pure hatred when it comes to politics or even simply
having different viewpoints?

Beginning with nationalism and
patriotism, I am discussing these two as they are oftentimes used in defense of
the current idols in controversy. Many claim them sharing the picture is
absolutely justified since they all are from China and thus, it is only natural
they show their patriotism or nationalism. Anyone would. Now before even going
further, though, it may be helpful to actually clarify nationalism and
patriotism. Are they even synonymous? Although I am not confident in my
answers, from my understanding the two are vastly different. Let us dissect the
two and from there, begin applying it back to the idols.

Essentially, while both are
identical in that both are about regarding one’s own country with “pride” (we
will discuss “pride” soon), but the difference is in why. Nationalism is a person who will side with their country no
matter the situations, and in fact they may even be condescending to all other
countries and assume that they are worse than their own. On the other hand,
patriotism is when a woman/man sides with their country, but not with the
reason that it is because they are a citizen of the country. Instead, a patriot
has pride because of what their country does, not because the country simply
exists and is their homeland.

So, is either one worthy of
rejecting? From my argument, I find both worthy of challenging for various
reasons. For one, if a critical mindset is applied, nationalism appears to be
very limiting. To believe one own’s country is superior to others is an overextending thought and admittedly quite
ethnocentric (using one’s own culture and society as the base standard for
others). For example, does it not sound ridiculous to say South Korea is a
silly, inferior country to the U.S. because Korean citizens bow for greetings
while Americans can merely wave? After all, one could easily reverse that claim
to show that the U.S. is the supposed sillier country. As such, nationalism
loses its footing as a position to have. It is far too limiting and
ethnocentric. As for patriotism, it is arguably an upgrade from nationalism; it
very much appears to be the positive of nationalism—caring for one’s
country—with a more critical approach in that the pride derives from what the
country does, not just the country in of itself. More importantly, patriotism
is not about the idea of superiority over other countries; patriotism is, once
again, pride for one’s country because of its action, and that respect for
other countries is still given. And yet, I still argue even patriotism is
unsatisfying. Mostly, the issue exists in the vagueness of the definition: a
country’s actions. Does it account for only the “good” acts, or all of the
acts? What if “bad” acts occur, does a patriot still stand and wholeheartedly
support her/his country? Or perhaps, are all actions to be supported, regardless
of the outcomes? Again, there are no definite answers at all nor do I even have
any to share. This is where readers have to critically engage with these ideas
for themselves.

Perhaps instead of there being
patriotism or nationalism, a new idea could be formed such as, for example,
“national acknowledgement” (a term I made in two seconds): siding with one’s
country, but ultimately acknowledging one’s country with a critical lens. Being
“prideful” in any case, be it for one’s gender, race, country, should not be
due to inherent reasons at all—and more so when it comes to social privileges,
as I will discuss—but instead, the concept of pride should exist because of
knowing why one should have pride.
Let us temporarily shift away from country pride to other forms to further
explain this point, and afterwards let us see how this all applies to the
idols.

First, to clarify, I am not
attempting to bash the notion of
pride; for example, “LBGT pride” is not an issue at all and as to explain, is in
fact necessary. Where I am focusing on is the label itself: “pride.” Yes, pride
is necessary as having pride means not hating one’s own self but instead it
means openly accepting and acknowledging one’s self. In the case of the LGBT
community, in many societies where heteronormativity (assuming that
heterosexuality is normal and “correct”) and homophobia exist, those who
identify as LGBT need to have pride as their pride is in fact being stolen
away; in societies that exclude and shame those who are simply not heterosexual
or fitting of a woman/man binary, being LGBT means hating one’s self. That is
not acceptable. And so, if pride is such a good thing, why am I challenging the
label of it? It becomes complicated when it comes to social privileges.
Personally for where I will argue, “acknowledgement” seems to provide a better
coverage as it now also holds socially privileged people responsible versus
merely allowing them to hold a bystander-like role, and at the same time still
allowing those oppressed to retain the notion
of pride and caring for themselves without criticism of being prideful without
knowing the actual reasons. Since this may all be poorly worded, allow me to
elaborate.

First, for where I find
“acknowledgement” most enticing, it is that socially privileged people must be
held accountable as well. But how does that occur? Think of it in this sense:
if I were to say “I have male pride,” I would probably slam my head against the
wall a few times. Others might even understandably join in. In saying “I have
male pride,” it is essentially flaunting off my privileges; I am proud to be
able to not be sexually objectified in comparison to women, that I am reassured
and seen as holding higher positions of power compared to women, and so forth.
It seems illogical to be proud of unearned social privileges on the basis of my
body parts. And so, what is the current solution many these days have adopt? To
simply not say they have pride for their privileged aspects. However, even with
this, although it is definitely a positive for socially privileged people to
not flaunt said privileges, there remains an issue: having the role of a
bystander.

For example, personally as long as I
do not claim I have male and heterosexual pride, I in essence am bereft of any
responsibility. I could simply say I wholeheartedly support LGBT pride and
women pride and so forth, but that is it; I do not need to look into my own
privileges at all. This is where saying I have “male acknowledgement” could be
vastly more beneficial than saying nothing (and is definitely much better than
saying I have “male pride”): I now have to acknowledge what being a male means
in my society (and many others), and indeed that means having many, many
privileges in comparison to females. After all, arguably if I was a female, the
following words would have a high chance of being dismissed as “feminazi” non-sense,
and yet with readers knowing I am a male, chances of that occurring is less. Furthermore,
the label of “acknowledgement” also helps account for socially privileged
people who feel that they must antagonize themselves. Social privilege never
means antagonizing those with privileges on an individual level. Although
admittedly in many past reviews I have been passive-aggressive towards social
privileges—usually out of self-deprecating humor such as with mocking my own
privileges—I absolutely do not intend that we hate those who are privileged. (And
with emphasis moreover on discussion than mere rants in current times—as soon
this will be my role as a teacher of providing various perspectives and
discussion points—I will no longer provide those passive-aggressive moments.) As
said before, when it comes to these sociological topics, the scale to focus on
is on the macro level—the societal level—and not necessarily the micro
level—the individual, personal level (unless if actual action is involved, such
as with how using gender-inclusive language on the micro level does impact the
macro level).

Now for one final reminder, this
change of term is not to say that “LGBT pride” or any other “pride” in its
current form is bad. The notion of it is absolutely fine; it is the label I am
concerned over as it is better to have socially privileged people involved
versus that of being bystanders. And of course, “acknowledgement” versus
“pride” also provides better insight as to why certain individuals should have
pride. The latter could be misconstrued so that makes it seem as if, for
example, one has LGBT pride because one is simply
LGBT; using “acknowledgement” on the other hand helps explain why the notion of LGBT pride exists.
There is acknowledging what it means to be LGBT in many societies—the harsh,
unjust reality of exclusion for individuals who deserve equal compassion and
respect.

And so, finally returning to the
original point of nationalism and patriotism, I would argue neither is
sufficient. Instead, national acknowledgement—to borrow from the discussion
earlier—is what may be more beneficial. One can and arguably should find some
pride in their country, but it should never be without a critical layer applied.
Supporting the beneficial acts—whatever one deems those to be—while still being
critical of questionable ones is, while not without flaws, at least more
developed than the ideas of nationalism and patriotism.

Relating this all back to K-Pop and
for what readers may desire moreover to read about, how does this all apply to
the idols? Simple: attempting to understand why the Chinese K-Pop idols have
posted the pictures. If they have shown unequivocal evidence of nationalism,
then indeed they deserve to be heavily critiqued. But, from my understanding,
that is not the case. Super Junior’s Zhoumi did not say “China owns the sea
because China is better than other countries.” Likewise, the other idols did
not attach anything else besides the photo. At most for what could be
understood as nationalism, the caption to the photo does read—based off
memory—“China is no smaller.” But, that is simply stating that China owns the
sea—and perhaps there might be some political interpretations of how China as a
country is not “smaller” in power, but either way, it is not a statement that
says “China is to dominate.” Regarding patriotism, this is a potential reason
and, as we have discussed, is a vague term. Is patriotism justifiable for the
idols’ act of posting the picture? To answer, we must ask ourselves: Are the idols
being critical in their support or are they simply siding with any act from
China? This is where fans have to be critical themselves. Idols, after all, are
not infallible; in truth, idols are merely individuals whose jobs happen to be
that of entertainment—though it arguably is a hefty role given the potential
level of influence. As such, whether they post the pictures or not, it is up to
fans to deconstruct whether to accept their position or not. Overall, however,
as seen no intentional harm is seen from the idols. None have flaunted that
China is a better country or that the other countries are “stealing” away from
China. But, this leads to the next and most important question: should idols
ever voice political or even social stances for that matter? Knowing their
level of influences, where is this balance if any for when this is permissible
and not?

For where I stand, like in many
other situations, I have a simple answer: I don’t know. If there is anything I
hope this blog offers to readers besides perhaps some entertainment or deeper
musical insights, I sincerely hope that it elicits critical thinking in that
readers look beyond one side of a topic—song or social. As perhaps with every
case, context matters. To say that idols should never voice any stance may be
extreme, but likewise is it for them to share everything. But, of course, there
is the issue that with idols’ potential to influence many, it may be best for
nothing to be said. Or is that the case? Perhaps some actual examples might
highlight the various sides to this discussion.

Although I personally have yet to
encounter a political topic within K-Pop prior to this one, there have been
many voicing regarding social topics. f(x)’s Amber, for example, is well
recognized for speaking out against gender discrimination and more so with
disassembling the binary of gender. (In fact her song of “Borders” possesses
very powerful lyrics—based on one’s interpretation—regarding the instability of
binaries, be it physically with country borders, gender, and so forth.)
Certainly, her popularity has much influence and I do believe she might have
changed many fans’ thinking of gender—but, one could arguably say it is for the
better and thus should be allowed. But of course, what about those who—regardless
of their position on enforcing or not enforcing gender norms—find it
uncomfortable that an idol would voice out their opinion, especially when they
once again have much influence? There is no simple answer.

In f(x)’s Amber and even NU’EST’s
Ren’s cases of challenging gender norms and voicing that—both with SNS and
physically as Amber prefers a more “masculine” appearance while Ren a more
“feminine” appearance—one could say they are delivering what is necessary while
one could also say it is an abuse of their status, whether intended or not. Although
I am confident to say many are in support of Amber’s and Ren’s challenging of
gender, for more controversial cases such as the current one of politics, what
about these cases? Or better yet, what if we imagine that in political
elections in South Korea, idols began sharing on SNS who to vote for? Indeed,
that would seem rather unnecessary, but likewise one could also argue that
idols’ job do not consist of social and political topics and thus, should stick
to pure entertainment. There is no definite answer, but what matters most is
having mature discussions and hearing out various views. For where I will end
with this aspect, I do believe idols should, when appropriate—whatever
“appropriate” is to mean, as this is where readers/fans have to decide—voice
their stances. Maybe politics are to be excluded but as pointed out and seen
throughout this blog, certainly K-Pop is much more than music and dancing and
seducing aesthetics; K-Pop definitely consists of social topics—it is
unavoidable—and with that, idols should consider this layer if necessary. In
the end, however, there are many views to consider, and if there is one
absolute answer, it is that my words and stances are not “correct” at all.

And so, for where we are now headed,
we will conclude with asking whether the current controversy and hatred spewing
is warranted. For this, I do have an answer: the hate towards everyone—idols
and fans of different nationalities—is ridiculous. Yes, people should care for
politics and yes people should be critical of the mentioned Chinese K-Pop idols
sharing their political opinions, but in the end, with the idols not being
nationalistic or shaming others from Vietnam and the Philippines, the current
reaction is far too excessive. Fans do not deserve to get insulted over the sea
dispute or to have begun the trending hate. For those who side with China’s
claim, they are not “brain-washed crazy communists” and likewise those who side
with Vietnam and the Philippines and the international decision are not “stupid,
weak, and undeveloped.” Although the idols arguably brought the controversial
politics into K-Pop, it should be fans’ job to mitigate the negative effects
that could—and did—come. In other words, fans should have continued to support
Super Junior’s Zhoumi’s new song and Miss A’s Fei’s new songs and not dismissed
their comebacks as “delusional, brain-washed Chinese people” just because of
their sharing of political stances—even if one greatly disagrees with them. Again,
if the idols bragged of China being better or rightfully harming others, then
yes the current reactions are understandable, but as is currently, it lacks rationality.
Disagree and challenge Fei and other’s political stances if desired, but one
should never hate Fei and others on an individual level: they are ordinary
people who have their own political and social views, as are the ones who are
ironically greatly bashing them. Even the most sexist man/woman alive deserves
to be treated with respect—so as long as they do no harm to women. They can
genuinely believe women are to be slaves or other limited ideas, but as long as
they respect women they encounter, then there is no issue even if they share
that they hate women. This might be the ultimate takeaway message.

In conclusion, and for what has
caused me to spend three days’ worth
of writing and not of reviewing the song itself (to the requester, this part of
the review is to be blamed and I do greatly apologize—though I hope it is
understood on why I am investing much time to discuss important topics), it is
true that idols should be cautious of what they share, and as for if they
should share anything at all, that is up for discussions. Personally, given
that I view pop culture as more than entertainment, I believe idols have at
least a social role (perhaps not a political one) and responsibility at times.
(For example, Fiestar’s Yezi supporting and giving encouragement to a boy who
simply adores makeup and “cross-dressing”—a term I greatly loathe but will use for readers’ understanding. Although
she is an idol, her standing up for a boy who is occasionally harassed is still her role as she is a human
being in the end. We all have a role to spread compassion and care, do we not?)
But even then, this is my view and others that disagree are rightfully so to
disagree, and to that I do hope readers critically challenge my claims. The
solution to social topics (or any for that matter) is not for one side to
“win”; if I may be cold, killing is the easiest way to fix problems if we are
to believe the prior. Instead, open and mature discussions are how solutions
are made. That is what is necessary, and with the controversy seen, is
something we all—and absolutely myself included—need to continually work at.

Ending this digression, and to end
on a comical note, I truly hoped that the amount of hatred towards Fei’s
“Fantasy” was due to the 18+ music video of virtual reality pornography, as
that discussion would be quite interesting. But of course, it appears that no
one has even bothered to care for this topic given the other at hand. (In a
future review, I hope to discuss pornography and perhaps even simply
sex—despite how blush-inducing these topics are—because, as I affectionately
call it, it is a “feminist war topic”; as discussed in Fiestar’s “Apple Pie,” feminism is quite complex and
pornography is a topic in which feminists are equally divided.)

With all of that covered and gone
(along with my coffee drink that is being used to “cheat” through this review
as the patient requester has waited long enough), Fei’s fantasy of a successful
solo debut is currently that of a fantasy, but this review might indeed claim
it is not just a fantasy and indeed is a tangible success. So how is “Fantasy”?
Let us join Fei’s virtual reality of “Fantasy” to find out. The song, that is,
and not the music video—unless if said reader wishes to fulfill her/his own fantasy
but let us not go there. Jokes aside, let us just begin this review before it
becomes more awkward.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.40/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Chorus: 6/10

4.     Bridge: 5/10

5.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Section Distribution: X/10

Fei:
All

Equal Value: X sections per member.  


Lyrics: 5/10

Tell me whatever you want
Whatever it is

You can tell me whatever, what do you want?
Tell me everything you’ve dreamed of
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
I’m your girl now
You can tell me your hidden fantasies
I see you’re hesitating in case I get shocked
But actually, I’m not that innocent
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
I’m excited too
Look at me right now and tell me what comes up

Woo  
I’m waiting
Woo
I can do anything
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
Don’t hesitate but tell me baby
Woo
I’m ready
Woo
I’m in front of you like this
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
I want to do everything for you tonight

It’s hard to open your heart
But after you do, anything is possible
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
I made up my mind
So be free and think about what you want
I’ll help you so you can think
Just look at me now
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Don’t take your eyes off of me
Every time you think of something, tell me

Woo  
I’m waiting
Woo
I can do anything
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
Don’t hesitate but tell me baby
Woo
I’m ready
Woo
I’m in front of you like this
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
I want to do everything for you tonight

It was hard to make up my mind
But when I saw you waiting for me
My heart started to open

Woo  
I’m waiting
Woo
I can do anything
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
Don’t hesitate but tell me baby
Woo
I’m ready
Woo
I’m in front of you like this
Tell me everything you want whatever it is
I want to do everything for you tonight

Choreography Score: 8/10 (7.50/10 raw score)

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 8/10

Overall Score: 7/10
(7.00/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: “Fantasy”
might just be the most suspenseful song yet to be reviewed if we are to look at
its raw score: 5.50. It hardly makes it into the “slightly above average”
range, but regardless that does sound appropriate as we will soon discuss.
Overall, though, for a personal praise to the song, “Fantasy” might be the best
song I have heard for its stylistic approach of being moreover linear. Again, a
linear, unchanging flow to a song is never inherently bad as one cannot
critique style, but as said when it
comes to songs with these formats (another example in mind would be Wonder
Girls’ “Why So Lonely”
), “Fantasy” excellently executes
it. But, this is all irrelevant and a mere digression as a more serious,
neutrally-biased approach to the song unveils many weak points—and of course,
strong points.

Before
diving into the music, the choreography for one is greatly worth analyzing. In
fact, just the very essence that I am covering this aspect should already
reveal how momentous it is. Syncing is above average, as are a majority of
dances. This will not be expanded upon for that reason, but indeed in summary the
syncing remains sharp. For where I would like to direct readers’ attention, the
key points to “Fantasy” are fantastic. From the use of rings/hula-hoops as
props to the actual dance points involved with them, this component significantly
augments the choreography. It adds an additional, creative layer to the already
solid key points, and unlike other choreographies that may suffer from
potential dullness due to repeating key points, “Fantasy” entirely avoids that
through utterly different key points. All in all, the dance is truly
spectacular.

Focusing
on the song itself, gauging over the categories’ ratings admittedly can be
somewhat disheartening—and more so considering that I did praise the song in a
general sense. Nevertheless, with the four categories (the sections
distribution being excluded as, quite obviously, there is only Fei) half of
them score as average, and as for the remaining they only score a single point
higher.

With
the lyrics for example, an average is earned due to its repetitive nature—but
this is understandably a harsh criticism. With “Fantasy” being predominantly
consisting of verses and choruses, there is little room for variety to take
place lyrically. However, even so, the excess repetition is too significant to
merely ignore. Furthermore, other sections involved—the introduction and
bridge—are likewise dull in content. In truth, all of the sections are dull in
content; the lyrics provide nothing more than plain, superficial details to the
plot and this is true in all of the sections. Finally, if we account for the
plot which, arguably while unique in the sense that it alludes to sexual
fantasies and many songs seldom venture in this idea, is still underdeveloped.
Now many may disagree and claim that the lyrics are in fact intriguing due to
what it is referring to—again, sexual fantasies—but my emphasis is that if we
are to strip away our social reactions and focus on the story itself, it is
akin to any other lyrics seen in songs, such as that of breakups. After all,
with “Fantasy,” a simple sentence can summarize it: a woman is taking charge of
sex with her partner and
to that, you go lady for leading your boy
. Yes, it is unique in the sense that (Korean) pop
songs are reluctant to use blush-inducing plots (or perhaps the blushing is
only for me), but once again if we focus on what is directly delivered, it is
seen that “Fantasy” ‘s lyrics are as average as songs that are along the lines
of crying over a relationship split.

Swapping
over to the vocals of the song and likewise the instrumental as the two are
very similar, both have scored at a six. Both ultimately follow the same trend:
smooth, slower pacing and flow but with some added subtle variety. In fact, coincidentally,
the linked review of Wonder Girls applies here: the vocals—and in “Fantasy” ‘s
case, the instrumental as well—are indeed decent from a sonic perspective, but
both partially lack in ability to maintain high appeal. Let us focus on the
vocals first to understand this point. With Fei’s singing, without accounting
for variations yet, it is quite alluring to listen to. There is a soothing,
calming and tuneful sound, and indeed despite never showcasing powerful note
holds or even minor vocal beltings for that matter, her singing in of itself is
admirable. Where there are finally some issues are in the singing’s variety.

Now
to clarify here, readers might be wondering if I am now critiquing the style to
the song; after all, with “Fantasy” following a linear form as discussed
earlier, the vocals’ lack of variety seems to be merely a part of it. To this,
I disagree: “Fantasy” may be linear in form, but it still does have variety.
Consider, for examples, the change in singing between the verses and choruses,
and furthermore, within the choruses themselves there are minor yet noticeable
changes in singing style. Where my critique resides in, then, is not the lack of
variety necessarily—the idea that Fei’s singing style and form never changes—but
instead, that in an overarching view of the song, it simply lacks the extra
content necessary to perhaps push it towards a seven. One must bear in mind
that a six is still a decent score—it is just that “Fantasy” could have went
even higher. For perhaps an aspect to consider, “Fantasy” lacking a pre-chorus—a
section that could and most likely would
have provided the push in vocal diversity—might be the reason for why the
vocals begin sounding mundane after multiple playbacks. As for the
instrumental, the same critiques above apply: in of itself, the highlighted
bass line proves beneficial to the vocals and song in whole, and likewise the
more subtle sounds added also provide their sonic appeal, but just like the
vocals, the instrumental also loses its charm as overtime it begins sounding
slightly monotonous. Sixes, though, are still admirable scores.

In
terms of the sections, as noted above “Fantasy” follows a peculiar form—but it
is a form that works positively in the case of giving the song its individual
style. Specifically, if not blatant enough, I am referring to how this song lacks
pre-choruses. (But of course, if we are to be truly analytical with the
sections, I would argue it is simply two verses that occur right after the
other, and with that the second verse could technically be called a pre-chorus.
But, due to its heavy similarity if not exact replica of the first verse, I
have compiled the “back-to-back verses” as one larger verse.) How does this
affect the song, and better yet what is
the effect of lacking a pre-chorus on a song? Although that cannot be answered
in a general sense, I do have some insight as to “Fantasy” ‘s case. Before
that, however, let us run through all of the sections.

The
introduction, bridge, and conclusion all score at a five for average. Sadly, “average”
is a perfect description of those sections. Take the conclusion for example.
While it does allow “Fantasy” to end without abruptness and that it works the
strength of ending on the song’s key sounds, its method—the manner of
increasing the pitch of the recycled chorus for the purposes of a climactic end—is
nothing exclusive. In fact, with that style—the idea of using a climactic
ending—contrasting the passive tone of the song that has been already
established, it arguably is more detrimental than beneficial. Instead, for what
may have been more pleasing to hear, an individual concluding section might
have worked. After all, the climactic shift is not necessarily bad at all;
through the use of it, it signifies the song’s upcoming end. Likewise, not
using it and instead opting to replay a chorus in its standard form for another
time might have been excessive. As such, an individual concluding point,
whether of a higher pitch-shifted chorus or not, may have provided a better
balance. This is all, of course, speculation and I certainly have minimal
credibility for suggestions to songs.
Point is, the concluding chorus is unfortunately cliché in form. It serves an
understandable purpose, but a more creative way of conducting such would have
been more desirable. Not surprisingly, the introduction and bridge also follow
suit: purposes that are understandable, but with questionable methods of
executing said purposes.  

To
explain, the bridge follows the traditional form of halting a song’s pacing
for, in this specific case, a build-up towards the upcoming climactic point
(the final chorus), and while its form is indeed viable and that it
successfully reaches its goal, its method is too ordinary. Combine that
staleness with how the song already follows moreover a simplistic route—though as
said numerously, simplicity in of itself is never bad—and the bridge is only
average. As for the introduction, the main culprit for its rating is how the
vocals were roughly introduced. If, for example, Fei’s introduction vocals were
transitioned into by a whispering tune versus that of a stronger vocal presence—a
presence that seems as if it were the verses’ or choruses’ vocals—then
absolutely the section’s format would have flourished. But all in all, it is
worth bearing in mind that average is not necessarily a poor quality; average
is the neutral ground. The only issue with average ratings is that, in the
realm of music, being average means being among the many hundred-thousands of
songs.

Switching
our focus on the verses and choruses now, and also how the lack of pre-choruses
affects “Fantasy,” both sections score at a six. As I have already covered the
vocals and instrumental, those categories very much cover the strong points of
the verses and choruses: smooth, calming singing and instrumental. Now to focus
on the missing pre-choruses, it indeed is unknown on whether this is a positive
or negative. On the positive perspective, with how “Fantasy” follows a straightforward
form, the verses act as pseudo pre-choruses but in a more suitable manner.
Because, in a general sense for pop songs, pre-choruses tend to hype a song in
preparation for the upcoming choruses—and of which tend to be a core, climactic
part—this would most likely not fit the style to “Fantasy” at all. This song is
that of serenity and a singular form, not that of being upbeat and having
spikes in intensity. Thus, the removal of pre-choruses benefits as it allows a
sharper, cleaner transition from the verses’ calmness to the choruses’
calmness. On the negative side, however, as discussed above with the vocals and
instrumental, not possessing pre-choruses does mean there is the downside of
potentially lacking diversity for said vocals and instrumental. Although this
is certainly not automatically granted in “Fantasy,” perhaps having
pre-choruses would have mitigated the current staleness that is heard.

All
in all, Fei’s solo debut can be considered slightly above average if we are to
use this review’s ratings, but even so one must recall that the song is a
single decimal away from being average—from being another, typical K-Pop song. Ignoring
numbers, however, Fei’s “Fantasy” is worth listening to but admittedly, it is
not an outstanding solo debut. It is certainly far from bad, but likewise it is
a bluff to claim this song close to being a top-tier one. In the end, let us
answer the main question: is Fei’s solo debut a success? I hesitate to
instantly say it is, but definitely I do find it an adequate song and that Fei
can still flourish with it. With strengths in its choreography and solid
execution for its linear style, “Fantasy” will be a hit for those who adore its
stage presence and calmness, but for those who desire more from Fei’s singing, the
song’s instrumental and its section, more is indeed desired.

_______________________________________________________

To
the requester, I sincerely apologize for this review taking quite a while.
Given that this review went up to the 6,900 word count, however, I hope some
understanding occurs. (For a scale on how long this review is, I could have written—assuming
no social digression took place—two lengthier, thorough song reviews or three
usual song reviews. Yes, this review consumed that much time but I do hope it
is worth it in regards to Fei and other idols’ current controversy.)
Homogenously, for readers and another requester, I also apologize for delays.
As only a few days are left in July—and by a few I mean three days—I will
finish two music-orientated reviews. Specifically, Vromance’s “She” as
requested will be finished by hopefully tomorrow, and that GFriend’s “Navillera”
will wrap up the month as we head into August. Hopefully with August I am more
concise with digressions should they occur as this is extremely problematic. (I
definitely could have summarized my points easily without the need of two
examples per argument point for example.) Improvements are always welcomed,
though.

Thank
you for reading this review in whichever length and form. Look forward to “She”
by Vromance to come, and for those tuned into my YouTube channel, for more
Fiestar subtitled videos to come (and likewise with contributing more subtitles
to an upcoming subbing team for Fiestar). “I want to do everything for you
tonight”—and this is pitifully true as I am finishing up this review late at
night. Jokes aside, look forward to “She.”

Jessica – “Fly” Review

Jessica – Fly (Music Video)

Jessica ft. Fabolous – Fly

Reviewed
on May 21, 2016

Personal Message:
And right when I wondered if there
would be more comebacks to review, I received my answer: There are many. I was
amidst reviewing a recent ballad (and within it, I hope, is an interesting
social discussion), but blatantly, plans have changed. Although that ballad
will be finished after this, indeed I am going to suddenly switch over to
review Jessica’s first song—her first song as “Jung Jessica” and not “Girls’
Generation’s Jessica.” (I will discuss this later as some may be curious on my
take. And yes, background will be provided in case readers have no idea.)
Furthermore to complicate the mess I am in, I do want to review AOA’s “Good
Luck,” the ladies’ latest comeback. Especially as it is their first song at all
that is not produced by Brave Sound, it would be interesting to dive into that.
(And there is a social discussion that could take place.) However, as some
readers may know, I do want to focus May on solely artists who have yet to be
reviewed and thus, may delay AOA’s review until June. We will see how this all
falls into place. On topic, though, let us focus on the artist at hand: Jessica.

First of all, admittedly I have not
been following news regarding Jessica; ever since finishing Jessica & Krystal, my favorite
reality show—and of which made me bawl a river down my face and onto my propped
up arms—I have not been keeping track of Jessica at all. At most is the news of
her “leaving” Girls’ Generation. (Notice the quotation marks. Please do not
misinterpret this word as me implying Jessica’s responsible for actually taking
action of leaving; I am using this word to simply get the message across. This topic
will be discussed below.) Otherwise, I have not been reading up on news
regarding her and her activities and thus, this song came as a very huge
surprise. But indeed, it is a welcomed surprise. I have always wondered if
Jessica would return to singing, and I now have my answer. Besides, it would be
a shame to lose her voice and singing skills so I am glad she did release her
own song.

That said, I am quite excited to
deconstruct “Fly” as, from my understanding of reading interviews, this song
has Jessica’s full input; how the song sounds and plays out are all to
Jessica’s discretion. In a group, this would be impossible if not due to
members disagreeing but also due to a label company making the ultimate
decisions. But then again, Jessica is in fact still under a label company: she
is working with Coridel Entertainment. Point is, Jessica’s input have all been
considered and therefore, “Fly” is in many ways a song that is representative
of Jessica’s music—this being something that makes this review even more
relevant (at least to me) as it is directly analyzing an idol’s hard work and
creativity. If all of this is still irrelevant to readers, then at least I
cannot be disagreed with when I say that “Fly” is the talk of many—fans and
music critiques—and thus, the review is still important in the usual sense.

Personal spouting aside (feel free
to skip to the review now), for a small digression that is to occur, although I
will not be investing much time here as this discussions falls into K-Pop news
and not sociology (the latter being, in my opinion, much more relevant to
readers on the basis of us being societal living human beings as the former is
just moreover entertainment), I do want to share my take on the very old
controversy: Jessica “leaving” Girls’ Generation. For background, as many
readers should know, Jessica is a former member of Girls’ Generation—a group
that is oftentimes deemed the “Queens of K-Pop” along with other female artists.
That said, though I believe I have shared my stance before about Jessica
departing from Girls’ Generation, this time around I will be much more thorough
in my explanations and even tackle certain provocative questions.

Before diving into the more complex
questions, let us weed out the simpler ones. The first one is perhaps what is
still going on two years (if correct) after the incident: Did Jessica leave the group? The emphasis
here is regarding who was in control of the outcome: Jessica, Girls’
Generation, or SM Entertainment? I have said this already, but it will be
repeated once again: we, as in us fans and audiences, will never know. Perhaps
in the far future when Girls’ Generation is retired and similarly the members
have individually retired, one might finally reveal the whole story (due to a
lack of repercussions at that point). Fans asking this question are essentially
asking if dogs sincerely feel love; evidence may exist on both sides, but in
the end, no one will ever quite know if dogs feel “love,” or the people who are
responsible for Jessica’s departure from the group. And truly said: does it
matter? Though I have been much harsher in the past such as with bashing boys with “privilege jokes”—refer
to many reviews in which I discuss and challenge male privilege
, it
does appear that no one has asked this somewhat rude yet important question.

Does it matter if we know who is
responsible? Say it was Jessica who made the decision and left her members
crying and begging her to stay. Though I can see the impact of such on fans’
respect, it seems to have no effect on the actual outcome of Jessica staying or
not. Likewise, if Girls’ Generation voted to kick Jessica as it would be best
for both parties, ignoring fans’ reactions, wouldn’t the outcome be identical?
This mixing and meshing can be played all day, and in the end, the same result
holds: decisions were made, and the people responsible are not as relevant as
facing what did happen. Certainly, though,
I do believe that this entire incident was desired to be avoided in the first
place: Girls’ Generation would want to keep Jessica if it was possible to;
Jessica would have desired to remain a part of the group if it was possible to;
and SM Entertainment would have wished to keep Jessica a part of the group if
it was possible to. This situation is far from wanted and thus, finding culprits
to blame is meaningless as none of them truly wanted this event to even occur.
Who would?

With the more basic layer out of the
way, for the more complex questions, one is: Are group idols’ relationships
fake? Now this is a question definitely worth critically engaging with and
perhaps it can extend beyond K-Pop news and moreover into pop culture in
general. Sharing my answer (and to answer this question before diving into even
more complicated ones), I strongly doubt friendships in groups are “for the
cameras.” However, that said, the degree of said friendships can definitely
vary—but indeed I do assert that there are very few if any fake friendships in
groups. Explaining why I believe so, let us first focus on Jessica and Girls’
Generation. In recent news, Jessica has shared that she does keep in contact
with some members. Not all, but some. The others she admits she no longer talks
to at all. What does this mean? It means for sure there are genuine
relationships that are built, but simultaneously, if the former claim is to be
deemed true, then this is also definite proof that some relationships might
have been “faked.” Or is that so? Let us take our attention to “faking”
relationships.

To explain why “faking
relationships” may not quite be the case, I will use multiple examples. We will
equate Girls’ Generation to, for readers’ understanding and perhaps even
relatedness, a sports team—or any team for that matter. (If simpler, just think
of Girls’ Generation as a music group team—this being what they are.) With this
now in mind, let us think of a basketball team—professional, school, it doesn’t
matter specifically. Everyone on the team are essentially friends; there may be
some bickering among the ladies and even some occasional fights, but all can be
considered friends. Why? They all share the same goal: to win—in Girls’
Generation’s case, their win is to reach high popularity, flourish financially,
and to have fans’ love and respect. This is all great, but what happens when said
goal is gone, such as when the group or team disbands? The sad truth: not every
member will keep in touch as friends. In fact, some members may no longer even
view certain members as friends but rather as former working partners or former
teammates. Since I am focused moreover on disciplines of English, education and
sociology, I cannot make psychological comments on this case. But point is, it
does seem that once a teamwork mentality is gone, friendships that were founded
on such will break apart as that very foundation is now gone. This is not
inherently atrocious; if the members have left on good terms with each
other—respecting one another’s decisions and enjoying the time spent together
working—there is no problem at all. Since this may all still be confusing,
perhaps a personal anecdote may help.

Although I am questioning if I
should share this story, to be honest with readers and to hopefully elicit some
readers laughing at me, I was once on a team—a very special team. (If there are
any left, readers who have been here since my newbie reviews may know what I am
embarrassingly hinting at.) Indeed, if I am not nerdy and pitiful enough today,
I was even more so in the past. Hard to imagine, I know. I used to play on an
“esports” team—in other words, a team for playing video games competitively
with tournaments and all. Yes this is where laughing can occur. And readers thought
that I currently have no life. Think again! (Despite my many regrets of
participating in that, I actually do appreciate the amount of time invested
into esports as it taught me a lot about leadership, people management,
responsibility, and so forth. Also, esports may become a norm in the far
future. Besides, it has all the traits of “standard” sports: sexist, racist,
homophobic, ableist slurs, unfairly dominated by boys, that women’s sports need
to receive much more attention and respect in juxtaposition to men’s, and—is
this going too far? Let us save this for another review.)

My blush-inducing background aside,
Jessica’s relationship with Girls’ Generation is something I can perfectly
understand and for why I oppose that “fake friendships” were made. It has been
two years since I last played on the esports team. Initially after disbandment
I did keep in touch with the members. Fast forward to now, to no surprise, I no
longer contact them and vice-versa. At most I do still talk to one member, but
that is because she would occasionally invite me for a game or two. Even then,
our contact is that of working partners—of being teammates—than of genuine
friendships where we would discuss how our lives have been going. This is
similar if not an exact replica of what may be going on among Jessica and
Girls’ Generation members. I was certainly close with all of the members and I
confidently say we did very much care about each other and more so than just as
teammates. However, once the team disbanded and we no longer shared the common
goal of improving and winning matches, as seen, the friendships have stopped.
Translating this to Girls’ Generation’s and Jessica’s case, they all were very
likely genuinely close, but with parting ways, it just happens that
relationships are lost. But as noticed, was I “faking” my relationships with my
former teammates? Not at all. Was Jessica? Very likely not as well. In Girls’
Generation, all may have been close, but once splitting ways, their
relationships have been lost—and as noticed, not due to any malicious acts at
all. Rather, it is just how it goes if the relationship was founded on the
group, and said group is now gone. (Readers who are knowledgeable in psychology
should feel free to make a fool out of me and rip apart my argument if my
reasons are entirely false. I would love to be respectfully destroyed.)

Randomly pulling in another example,
even groups that are known to be very close to each other—MAMAMOO for
example—may one day face the same circumstances. With MAMAMOO sharing their
initial negative experiences of each other (minus those who have known each
other prior to MAMAMOO being made) but have, over time, begun to sincerely love
one another, as seen by the ladies providing very healthy relationship examples
such as with MoonSun,
the dating couple of Solar and Moonbyul—and yes, I very much went there with
MAMAMOO “shipping” jokes, and of which I will one day seriously discuss in a
sociological context
, it would seem impossible for the ladies to part
ways after MAMAMOO retires. But, as discussed all above, the members may no
longer be as close once their glue—their goal of reaching popularity and so
on—is gone. Now MAMAMOO may indeed stay close—and relating to Jessica, as
Jessica is with certain members—however, likewise MAMAMOO may also drift apart.
And that is not automatically bad at all, as discussed. Overall, the main
argument I am asserting is that the “fake friendship” and “Girls’ Generation
are fake women” comments lose much of their grounding once my explanation is
ran through.

Since this discussion has gone for
an unexpected length, let me summarize what has been so far covered: Regarding
the incident itself, we will never know—or at least not until maybe ten more
years or so—the truth behind Jessica’s departure from Girls’ Generation. Was it
the members’ decision, SM Entertainment, or Jessica? In the end, fans will
never know and, as discussed, this mystery is rather irrelevant. For the next
part covered, I explained why the ladies’ relationships were very likely not fake. The “group mentality” is the
reason for their closeness and now the lack thereof for certain members and
Jessica.

Ultimately, for what may conclude
this discussion and for what may make this all relevant to us as consumers of
pop culture, we all might wonder: should
groups, in the first place, be entirely honest with their members’
relationships? I will unfortunately not dive into this, even though it is
arguably the most important topic out of this whole digression. Some aspects to
consider may be whether idols should provide a depiction of healthy
relationships—even if truthfully that is not, or if honesty is to be valued over
all else, and thus, idols should act earnestly. Readers will have to decide
this for themselves. If there is anything I hope to share with readers, it is
that there is seldom a single answer. Be it in my reviews or social
digressions, I hope I showcase that topics are never about good and bad, right
and left; debates and topics are about looking up and down. It is about
understanding multiple perspectives.

I claimed I would not talk for long
about standard K-Pop news, but then again, when I have ever not excessively
talked about anything? From dogs to sexism to makeup to White privilege, that
seems to be the case. Jokes and discussion aside, we should now focus on the
review itself. Biasedly, I do find myself enjoying “Fly,” but I admit: this
song is lackluster from a critical lens. In fact, “Fly” is the first song in
which a specific category has scored incredibly low—the prior lowest record was
five if I recall accurately. All that said, while Jessica is absolutely flying
despite her huge struggles, sadly the same cannot be said for “Fly.” It very
much is losing altitude, and no amount of tears I shed during Jessica & Krystal will change that.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(5.50/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 5/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Rap: 4/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 3/10


Section Distribution: X/10

Jessica:
All

Equal Value: X sections per member.  


Lyrics: 6/10

Invisible in the fog
I have to find myself, yeah
The hope in that small light,
just by thinking about it, you’ll find it

When I hold my hand out to that high place,
it feels like I can touch it
Days I looked forward to, are they closer now?
I can draw it in the sky

Just spread your wings to the end
Follow the sound of your heartbeat
Close your eyes, spread out your dreams
You’re a hero you can fly
You can fly

Whoa whoa whoa
You’re a hero you can fly
Whoa whoa whoa
You can fly

A world that you’ve never seen before
will appear before you
Fly above the clouds
‘cause your wings are made to fly

When I hold my hand out to that high place,
it feels like I can touch it
Days I looked forward to, are they closer now?
I can draw it in the sky

Just spread your wings to the end
Follow the sound of your heartbeat
Close your eyes, spread out your dreams
You’re a hero you can fly
You can fly

Whoa whoa whoa
You’re a hero you can fly
Whoa whoa whoa
You can fly

I won’t cry now
I won’t give up
I won’t lose, I won’t lose
Oh no no no no no

Yeah, let’s go, Jess
You should’ve never doubted yourself
Matter of fact you should be proud of yourself
’cause you had to find a way to go about it yourself
Nobody gave you direction, had to route it yourself
And you never got lost, losing’s not an option
No time for L’s, no time to fail
Winning like Steph Curry and them we warriors
Haters wanna see me in a Crown Victoria
But I’m in a Benz, a.c. on 70
Won’t lose my cool gotta move cleverly
Chess not checkers playing it with strategy
Me and Jessica: that’s a win automatically

Just spread your wings to the end
Follow the sound of your heartbeat
Close your eyes, spread out your dreams
You’re a hero you can fly
You can fly

Whoa whoa whoa
You’re a hero you can fly
Whoa whoa whoa
You can fly

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

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

*There
is a dance according to the music video, but since as of this sentence (May 17) I am
personally unsure on whether Jessica will be releasing a dance practice, dance
version, or even live performances, I will skip analyzing it.

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Highlighting
fun facts, the Song Score and Sections category both manage to earn a six by a
mere decimal. On topic with the song, let us look at what I hinted earlier: the
lowest rating out of all reviews (to date) in a certain category. Which
category? The instrumental. First to clarify, contrary to many, the sound of
the instrumental is not at fault; how the instrumental itself sounds
individually with its heavier bass and lighter piano keys are not bad at all. The
instrumental can absolutely hold its own without Jessica’s vocals. Furthermore,
and for what many have critiqued, the lack of “middle sounds” in the
instrumental is nothing inherently bad at all. Reason being is that this aspect
is moreover stylistic and thus, should not be critiqued in of itself. For example, there are songs out there where the
instrumental is heavily focused on higher notes and the middle and lower notes
are minimal to nonexistent. This is not an issue; it is merely the style of the
song. Claiming an instrumental that lacks a balance of sound pitches is
mediocre would be to critique style and not quality—the actual functions that
are happening. Translating this idea over, it is unfair to claim that the
instrumental in “Fly” is poor due to it merely
not having middle pitched sounds. Now, to clarify once again, if one were to
expand this point, then perhaps a critique can be made—and this is where I will
continue. In other words, while many people are right to point out the
instrumental lacks middle sounds, ending the conversation there is insufficient.
For where my argument comes in with this aspect of the instrumental, I do agree
that the lack of middle sounds is problematic—but not in of itself. Lacking of
synchronicity between vocals and instrumental is where issues occur, and the
lack of middle sounds in the instrumental is one culprit.

If
we are to closely tune in with the instrumental while Jessica is singing, there
is a noticeable “gap”: the heavier bass line is on the bottom and Jessica’s
vocals are at the top. Certainly one could dismiss this as stylistic, but I
will take the risk and say that it is more than style at this point. The
instrumental is simply overwhelming once coupled with Jessica’s voice. Rather
than two aspects combining and giving a cohesive, clean sound, there is
dissonance. In many ways, “Fly” begins to sound as if there are two songs in
one during the choruses and pre-choruses: the instrumental song and the singing
song. This, indeed, starts becoming an issue. Middle sounds might have been
able to connect the two, but as of now, the instrumental is very much unsuitable
to the vocals and conversely. Lastly to add to the dissonance issue—if we
should use that term—is how even simple syncing fails to occur. Jessica’s
belting during the choruses and her lines at the post-choruses appear to
perfectly accommodate correctly timed bass lines, but instead, “Fly” opts to
not sync the bass line to Jessica’s singing—another point that leads to
dissonance. Overall, the instrumental in “Fly” in of itself is perfectly fine,
but once accounting for its role in the entire song and with the vocals and
sections, it becomes incredibly lacking and in many ways fails to fulfill its
basic role.

With
the biggest criticism out of the way, and before returning to the other weaker
point, let us focus on one of the strengths: the lyrics. Before resuming a
neutral, serious tone, I do want to credit Jessica’s message in “Fly,” and
also, to simply appreciate how Jessica did not give up despite her significant
setbacks—of which seems to be reflected in the lyrics. That aside, the lyrics
are decent. Ignoring the lyrics’ meaning—something that is entirely subjective
and thus will be avoided in grading—the score is at a six for two main reasons:
creative ideas that are, sadly, muddled by repetition. Explaining the first
reason, by gauging just solely the details, “Fly” seems rather creative. The
rap, for example, is full of many intriguing and witty points and rhymes, and
other parts, such as the choruses, are equally with details. Additionally, the
overall plot of “Fly,” if “plot” is appropriate, can be deemed unique. After
all, it is not about heartache or falling in love. As for the downside,
repetition unfortunately prevents the lyrics from a would-be seven. With every
section minus the verses and rap not being individually unique, “Fly” ‘s
charming details are no longer so as it all becomes mundane. If the
post-choruses, for example, were more than the usual “whoa” and “oh,” or if the
bridge was more than basic phrases, perhaps this issue of repetition would be
avoided.

Both
the vocals and sections are left to discuss, but since I do want to end on a
positive point (and for a concluding point, not so that the review ends
favorably), we will now glance at the latter—and indeed, this is hinting that
the sections are not a strong point
to the song. Now with that said, many may be keen to notice some potential hypocrisy:
the lyrics, a six, were rendered “decent,” and yet the sections, a six, are
suddenly not equally praised. That sounds biased and hypocritical. Although
statistically it is true that the sections are a six, this very argument can be
reversed: as said much earlier in the review, it should be noted that the
sections category is only a decimal away from being a five—average. But, even
without playing around with numbers, the sections themselves are far from
stellar. It is Jessica’s vocals that very much allow them to thrive, hence why
I do consider the category weaker than the lyrics even if statistically they
are equal.

For
example, the verses, pre-choruses, and choruses progress well—if only tracking
the vocals. Otherwise the progression is dull and, furthermore, is rather inconsistent.
The transition from the verse to pre-chorus does not exist as both sections are
exceptionally similar, and yet the transition from the pre-chorus to chorus is
very much noticeable. Besides minor transition issues, there is also the
problem in the sections themselves. Take the post-choruses as example. These
sections are the epitome of standard post-choruses: reusing words of “whoa” and
“oh” in a cycle. Again as discussed before, that format in of itself is far
from flawed; there is nothing wrong at all for a song to repeat “la la” for example.
However, the execution and placement matters, and in “Fly,” it comes off as too
plain considering the already disconnected vocals and instrumental and the
stagnant, inconsistent progression of the song. Other sections could also be
discussed, such as the rap being misplaced and overall not matching up to the
style of the song, or how the bridge akin to the post-choruses with being too
standard in form, but I believe the main ideas are covered.

Ending
on the positive point, and explaining why I chose to do so, the vocals will
finally be discussed. Quite directly: Jessica is a solid singer. From her
beltings throughout nearly all of the sections to sharp, crisp vocals at the post-choruses
to lower, passive singing at the bridge, Jessica’s singing is what allows “Fly”
to not utterly fall from the sky. And for why this is relevant to consider:
critiquing “Fly” is in no way to critique Jessica’s singing. Oftentimes “vocals”
and “song” are misconstrued as synonymous, but that is clearly far from true.
Nevertheless, this does show that it takes more than Jessica’s singing for a
song to thrive: it also takes excellent composing on the other categories. And
true Jessica may have had much influence on the other parts, but it can still
be said that Jessica is indeed an impressive singer. On topic, Jessica’s vocals
remain extremely versatile in “Fly” as discussed above. Within the song, she is
able to show off a diverse range of pitches, but also that of styles and
intensity. Truly, if not for this single aspect to “Fly,” much of the song—if not
all—would falter.

In
the end, Jessica’s first song still scores decently, but indeed it is far from
a comfortable standing as anything lowered—even a mere change in a section’s
score—would bring “Fly” to an average instead of slightly above average (a six).
The vocals are worth admiring and somewhat the lyrics, but in truth I do admit
to being slightly disappointed with the sections, and very much the
instrumental’s lack of syncing to the song in whole. Nonetheless, it is a song worth
enjoying and respecting given all the work Jessica invested towards it. And
though the following words may somehow be taken as controversial, I do consider
Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany’s own solo debut as equal to Jessica’s. Rather than
fighting over who has the better song, as Tiffany herself said: let us instead
be supportive to anyone—Jessica or Tiffany—who works to bring music to fans.
Focusing on Jessica, however, I will leave with saying I highly look forward to
her future songs, and I only expect her to improve from hereon.

_______________________________________________________

As
I always say, thank you for reading. Unfortunately this review became delayed
for a total of three days. Originally, May 18 was when it would be finished,
but due to delays with taking my girl to the vet and preparing to register for
summer classes, this review was pushed back. Nonetheless it is here. Many
reviews are to come, and many important topics are to be covered. (And I have
heard of the recent tragic in South Korea where a schizophrenic male murdered a
woman out of sexist hatred. I will try to cover the sad news in a review and to
discuss why this incident matters to us all.) In terms of when the next review
will come or what it even will be on, I plan on finishing the ballad review I
started. But, I might abruptly change plans once again. There are little days
left in May, but do expect at the least one more to come before the month ends.
(I am aiming for two more.) Besides, as Jessica says: “Just spread your wings
to the end” so that you can fly-fast-enough-to-write-two-reviews-in-time. Look
forward to whatever is to come.

Tiffany – “I Just Wanna Dance” Review

Tiffany
– I Just Wanna Dance (Music Video)

Edit: Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance (Live Performance)

Tiffany (from Girls’ Generation) – I
Just Wanna Dance

Reviewed
on May 13, 2016

image

Personal Message:
Technically this review can be
considered a request considering a close friend has been strongly urging me to
listen to this song. And indeed, I finally heeded her request and additionally,
have done more than just a single listen as I have been replaying the song for
the purpose of analysis (and enjoyment). Clarifying, my friend is a huge fan of
Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany—though that is expected since her conceited nature would make her love
an idol who coincidentally shares her name
 considering she admires
amazing female idols, be it Apink’s Chorong or Tiffany. Also in no way is my
friend narcissistic at all. Besides, she would never threaten me to give higher
ratings just to fulfill her delusional love for Tiffany. Not even I would ever
be delusional like with claiming that SPICA’s Boa will one day propose to me. Horrible
(inside) jokes aside, although I may be reviewing this song prematurely (as of
this sentence, live performances and/or dance practice have not been uploaded),
I am fine with delaying its post until the choreography is revealed. Nevertheless,
with small clips being uploaded, I very much look forward to the
dance. (From the linked clip, there are fantastic syncing and smooth dancing
points.)

In terms of some delay with reviews,
there are predominantly two reasons: one, I have been busy subtitling videos of
Fiestar, and two, admittedly I have been simply spending a lot of time with my
recently adopted girl. (For readers who are tired of me talking about Venus, my
adorable girl, and “woman’s best friend” in general, feel free to skip ahead.
This will be the last time I directly discuss dogs and Venus as I simply wish
to share a post-adoption reflection with readers who potentially may be
debating on getting a dog or not. Consider this a final bonus before usual
sociological digressions return—and of which many are prepared for the upcoming
reviews in May.)

Regarding dog ownership, as a few
readers may know, on May 1 I adopted Venus from an animal shelter. (On a random
note, I personally do encourage adopting over buying. Unequivocally, “puppy
mills”—puppies sold in a generic pet store—are to be avoided. That is not due
to the puppies in of themselves, but rather, boycotting those puppies is
refusing to participate in an unethical method of mass-breeding dogs as if they
were mere toys. Now regarding buying a purebred puppy from an ethical breeder,
I do find this acceptable if one has
thoroughly considered adopting first.) With nearly two weeks being together
with Venus, I want to now share my post-adoption reflection. Especially with
finally knowing what it means to be a dog parent, I do wish to bestow my
experience and knowledge to readers as potentially, there is a reader who is
contemplating getting a dog now or sometime in the future.

As a disclaimer, however, my
experiences are greatly biased; Venus was very likely an abandoned girl who was
owned before by others. Thus, truthfully I did not have much housebreaking to
deal with—this being something many adopters have to face. The only accident
that has ever occurred was her defecating at the vet office, but that was my
fault as I was still unsure of how to organize a potty schedule for her. (I
will discuss tips later.) Otherwise, she knew how to potty outside and on
schedule from the first day, and assuming she does not have “sniff and potty time”
on walks, knows not to pull on leash. Now regarding issues Venus did come with,
during one night she did get into the trash, but once again, that was
understandably my fault as I had given her only twenty minutes of exercise that
day—an amount that would hardly satisfy the terrier and Dachshund in her, even
if her personality is moreover laid back. In terms of more serious problems, unfortunately
as I have noticed lately, she can become overly excited and seemingly
aggressive towards dogs (and certainly aggressive towards cats), but these are
behavior issues I can cope with and attempt to correct. (And in fact to share,
for another candidate that was in mind, I originally considered adopting a very
dog-aggressive girl. Reason being that, with my lifestyle, we would be a match;
I am not the type of owner who would go to dog parks and, simply said, I spend
no time with other dogs besides my own. While I do try to bring positive dog
socialization experiences whenever we do encounter other dogs, I do sadly fall
short in this realm of dog parenting.) On the positive side, however, what
matters is that my girl is great with humans, and that indeed Venus is (along
with the earlier dog-aggressive candidate). I am certainly working on
correcting Venus’ manners with dogs, but again the fact that she is not
“go-ready” with dogs is not personally a huge detriment, though for some that
would be.

On topic, with having two weeks’
worth of experience of “saving a life and opening a chance for another”—a
notion that still has yet to hit me—I will now answer the big question: Was it
worth adopting a dog? Better said, is
it worth adopting a dog or simply having a dog? Shortly answered, even if this
sounds incredibly pitiful: owning a dog finally makes me feel at ease and
genuinely cheerful at home. There is a grace to dogs that cannot be articulated
in words. Prior to Venus, admittedly my family and I were never quite happy if
at all with being at home. Now with her, the idea of family is truly felt—a
feeling I had not felt since I was a little kid. (Yes, this may be a more
intimate side, but as I always say, I want to share with readers and even
future students for that matter pure honesty.) What about her brings this joy
and connection I do not know, but it is undeniable that she does bring them.
Now although this all sounds good and perfect, I admit: I had huge regrets the
first three days.

I was overwhelmed: my daily routine
had to be completely changed; I am her legal owner and thus had and have the
responsibility of setting vet appointments and other paperwork; I came to the
late realization that I was a dog parent now
and not in three years, and therefore, was not quite emotionally prepared; and
lastly, I just did not know how to give her the best life possible—mentally,
emotionally, and physically. If anyone is in a similar situation I was in or
will be adopting a dog soon, heed my words of encouragement: give it a week.
Not one day, five days, or three days; give the girl/boy an entire week and see
if you two are compatible. To clarify, by “give the girl/boy an entire week” I
do not mean giving her that time to
see if she is the “right” one; this is unreliable as some dogs may need a whole
month to finally blossom with their sincere personality and traits. Instead, I
mean that in the sense of giving you
time to decide if you are responsible and capable of giving a companion the
best life she could ask for. Giving a week allows for the necessary time to
adjust one’s personal schedule, to thoroughly think versus acting off of
emotions, and to gauge the real costs—literal and figurative—of being a pet
parent.

In terms of perhaps the best tip I
can give to readers who are prospective or recent adopters: whatever
assumptions are in mind, forget them. Think you know how much it costs for a
dog? It is much more or less than what you are currently thinking. Think you
know how to properly prevent a dog from pulling on walks through calmness and
assertiveness? Think again. Think you know how to teach fetch to a dog? It will
be easier or harder than what is currently thought of. Point is, we all have an
idea of what it would be like to own a dog—both pessimistic and optimistic
views. None of it is true. Given that dogs are individuals with their own
quirks and personalities, it is just simply too hard to create borders about
what it is like to own a dog. Clarifying, I do acknowledge that some patterns
can be expected; an example would be that a vast majority of Doberman owners
have to invest much time with mental and physical exercises for their girl/boy.
But still, in terms of the minutia, it cannot be easily predicted. For personal
examples, I taught fetch to Venus in merely ten minutes. Who knew that tossing
her favorite rope would cause her to instinctively bring it back to me for a
short game of tug, and of which I can then throw and she will repeat? I had
treats ready to teach fetch systematically, but my assumptions were false.
Similarly, I did not expect vet bills—exams, vaccines, and so forth—to be as
pricey as they currently are. And for a final example, I did not expect that by
Day 6 she would suddenly be less shy and much more energetic and
playful—changes that meant I had to add twenty more total minutes into our
walks and night playtime. Be open-minded with your new or upcoming dog. In
fact, be very open to whomever she happens to be; you might be entering a
shelter looking for a cute, smaller boy but instead come out with an adorable,
sweet Pit Bull mix boy who perfectly matches your lifestyle and energy level.

On this note, regarding actual
adoption tips, for one I do wish to reassure readers who are going to adopt
soon that the process—the mechanical process and not the emotional and
financial preparation and disputes—is far from difficult. From my experience,
that is. In short: you enter a shelter, fill out a questionnaire, request
specific dogs to see, and then wait around thirty minutes to an hour and then
you are allowed to meet four or so dogs (one at a time) before having to get
back in line (waiting thirty to an hour once again). It is recommended that you
know the dogs prior to setting up a meeting, be it seeing them in person at the
kennels or browsing through the available dogs online. Furthermore, it is
recommended that you know what you
are looking for; again, not who per
se such as “I want a Rottweiler” or “I want a Toy Poodle.” Rather, you want to know
what qualities and traits you want in a dog. For example, asking yourself
whether shedding would be an issue and asking how much exercise you would want
with your girl/boy are far more useful than looking for a specific size and
breed. And from there, an adoption counselor would help you through the process
of finding the right match, and if all goes well, a new family member will be
coming home shortly.

Sharing the biggest tip in deciding
the best candidate, as hinted at earlier, energy level is perhaps the most important
factor to consider. Why? This is where individuality matters over, for
examples, breed and size. If I come into the shelter looking for a jogging pal
and instantly pick a gorgeous Border Collie mix—of whom, according to
standards, should be very active
mentally and physically—I would be making a horrible decision. There is a
chance that she, despite her breed’s characteristics, would be a very lazy girl
who desires to simply walk for thirty minutes and to lay down for the rest of
the day. Conversely, I might have then overlooked a tiny Rat Terrier who would
have, despite initial judgment on size, been the perfect jogging companion. And,
although I should have addressed this at first, for why energy level even
matters in the first place: physical and mental exercises are critical with
being a dog parent. Owning a dog is not about pure love and affection—these are
absolutely necessary, but they should come after daily training and mental and
physical exercises. Without being able to properly offer your dog the right
amount of exercises, if not the behavioral issues that are to come, then at
least consider the ethical side. It is unfair to overwork a slow senior
Labrador who only desires to rest because one desires a marathon companion, and
likewise it is unfair to not be able to provide an exceptionally energetic,
young puppy the mental and physical exercises it needs. All in all, this is
where being open-minded matters and to be open with allowing adoption
counselors to help guide the process.

Overall, to summarize this minor
reflection (and tips), while I did have initial regrets with adopting a dog, I
am now incredibly satisfied and no longer regret doing so. In fact I wonder why
I did not own a dog sooner. Venus brings me so much joy, teaches me
selflessness and responsibility, motivates me to get my cardio exercise, and so
much more. To end on a cliché saying: I am not sure on who saved who.

Returning back to the review and
K-Pop, Tiffany’s solo has been garnering much praise as of the late. Many love
her song, singing, performances, and other aspects. More extremely, there are
those who are citing “I Just Wanna Dance” as the best summer song they have yet
to hear—or was that just my friend? Jokes aside, let us uncover whether Tiffany’s
first solo song is a song that makes me “just wanna dance.”

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 6/10
(5.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 6/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Section Distribution: X/10

Tiffany:
All

Equal Value: X sections per member.  


Lyrics: 6/10

It’s been raining for a few days and
it finally stopped tonight
I feel good
Light reflects on the wet streets

The city is like an empty stage
after a show ends
It’s alright, it’s alright
Into the wet air
The street lights shine on me
I like it, my body is moving

I just wanna dance the night away
As I close my eyes, dance in the moonlight
It’s getting hotter
I can’t stop myself, no way
I just wanna dance the night away
Dance the night away
I just wanna dance the night away
Dance the night away
I just wanna

I wanna get more messed up
than being immersed in a very sad movie

The headlights are like
the rhythm dancing on the highway
It’s alright, it’s alright
The buildings that completely fill up the space
are like an audience
Everything is ready

I just wanna dance the night away
As I close my eyes, dance in the moonlight
It’s getting hotter
I can’t stop myself, no way
I just wanna dance the night away
Dance the night away
I just wanna dance the night away
Dance the night away
I just wanna

I hid myself behind the masks
that change every day
I just wanna
get more honest right now

I just wanna dance the night away
In the beat that my city has made
I’m falling deeper
In this moment, I feel the real me
I just wanna dance the night away
(I just wanna, I just wanna dance)
Dance the night away
I just wanna dance the night away
(I just wanna)
Dance the night away
I just wanna

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

*The
choreography does exist, but as of the time of writing, none have been
officially uploaded. Thus, to keep reviews going, I will be skipping it.

Edit: Well, it is too late to review the choreography, but I have linked the live performance to the song. Feel free to watch it–and not for the review, but as a way to respect Tiffany’s hard work at the least.

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
purpose of speed and experimenting, I will be taking a new approach with this
review. Rather than being systematic, I will opt for an informal yet serious
tone. As such, I hope the review will begin sounding moreover as commentary versus
that of a report. Before embarking on that, for some clarification, I do want
to address why I am not analyzing the choreography. It is not because it does
not exist in the first place; video clips and teasers clearly show that a dance
exists. Rather, I am excluding it as, sadly, there is no official upload yet of
it. Thus, I could either delay this review until a video is released, or I
could skip it and focus instead on the sonic component to “I Just Wanna Dance”—the
latter being what I am doing. (From clips, I would predict the choreography
scoring at perhaps a seven, for those curious.)

Focusing
on the actual review now, let us begin with the introduction—a suiting,
chronological start. “I Just Wanna Dance” does possess a smooth introduction.
With it being gradual in progression, it allows us to get into the song without
feeling overwhelmed or lost, but furthermore, the introduction creates
anticipation as it is a very calm, muffled sound. After all, with hearing the
introduction, listeners are able to grasp the style of “I Just Wanna Dance”
without knowing exactly how the song will go down. All of these aspects—hooking
listeners and creating anticipation—are all welcomed and desired for a solid
introduction. Nonetheless, what slightly holds down this section is the sound
itself, the instrumental, is nothing outstandingly appealing. A muffled,
quieter instrumental is used, and while those traits are not inherently bad or
ineffective (far from the case as seen), the delivery of such in “I Just Wanna
Dance” is simply too plain for sonic appeal. There is nothing engrossing of the
instrumental; it is the structure of the introduction that is enticing, not the
sound per se.

Transitioning
now to the verse and pre-choruses, the gradual buildup should be highly
appreciated. The progression from a calm state to a more excited state is
nothing underwhelming or overwhelming—it is perfect. Additionally, all while
the two sections are pushing “I Just Wanna Dance” to its choruses, decent
vocals are unveiled. Now that said, although the sections play off Tiffany’s huskier
yet sharp singing voice, admittedly there is nothing infatuating with her
singing melody, pitches, and control. The vocals perform their role in the
verses and pre-choruses, but nothing more. Before misunderstandings occur, the
prior critique is not to bash Tiffany’s general singing; indeed she is a solid
singer and is quite capable. However, in this song and specifically those
sections, the vocals are, harshly said, nothing worthy of admiring nor of
disliking. What weakens these sections is that, despite the solid progressions,
the vocals and instrumental are simply lacking in appeal. There is no
intriguing, complex melodies nor simple melodies that prove infatuating. During
these moments, “I Just Wanna Dance” can be dismissed as any other average pop
song—hence the sections’ scores.

As
a summary: so far, from what we can tell, the vocals and instrumental are
moreover average, and likewise the song’s sections seem to follow suit with being
average. Perhaps the choruses could change these points. In terms of the
mentioned sections, “I Just Wanna Dance” does have a unique style for them—though
it should be noted it takes more than just
differing styles to create appeal. With the choruses, a keen feature is that
rather than the vocals reaching a climactic state, it is actually the
instrumental that does. Tiffany’s vocals remain moreover the same as prior
sections, and although that does not help with the vocals’ rating, on the
positive side the section thrives with its instrumental taking the lead—specifically
that of being able to mesh well with the plainer singing. Mixing the slower,
electronic beat with Tiffany’s vocals—of which are quietly echoing and
reverberating—allows the choruses to become an incredible concise, cohesive and
highlighted section. Lastly to praise, the section deserves credit for how,
towards the latter half, a change in pacing occurs. In fact, one could argue a post-chorus
becomes active, but from my take, I still do consider it as one chorus given
how it all links together. But regardless of the label, it is certain that the
change in pacing provides some variety to “I Just Wanna Dance,” a change that
is definitely necessary after the verse, pre-choruses, and initial half of
choruses being incredibly repetitive and undeviating. Unfortunately, although
there is much praise for the choruses, there are still equally prominent
issues: the song overall still relies on the same, linear route that is seen
throughout. In other words, although there is nothing wrong with a  linear style (as seen in ballads), with “I
Just Wanna Dance,” it does become problematic as all of the sections still do
sound awfully alike. From the verse to chorus, even with the slight change in
pace with the choruses’ latter half, the song in an overarching view still
retains its slower, unchanging instrumental and vocals. This all leads to a
tedious sounding song.

Even
with accounting for the bridge, while one could argue that the bridge provides
the song its variety, I disagree. The bridge only elevates the vocals and
instrumental pitches, but in the end, the same repetitive, linear style is
followed—a style that makes “I Just Wanna Dance” sound like any other pop song.
At most, for a part that deserves spotlight, the song does end on a strong note—no
pun intended. The ending chorus is accompanied by two-part singing, of which
finally gives “I Just Wanna Dance” its variety, both in vocals and instrumental.
In fact, it is this point that convinces me to give the vocals not a five, but
instead, a six as Tiffany is showcasing stunning two-part singing.

Since
this review is admittedly more jumbled than desired, let us now wrap this all
up. In the end, “I Just Wanna Dance” has slightly above average vocals. The
stagnant, repetitive vocals are what contribute to that. Adding on, however, the
final chorus where two-part singing occurs is what helps maintain it at that rating
and not drop to a mere “average.” Homogeneously, the same can be said for the
instrumental. Though catchy, the instrumental fails to provide variety and
thus, said catchiness soon becomes distasteful. As for the sections, as
covered, all have their strengths and weaknesses though, once again, the same
issue is seen: staleness. All of the sections fail to provide a unique aspect
to the song, even if there are some stronger points individually per section.
And lastly, even the lyrics are only slightly above average, reason being that
dull, repeated details lower the rating while the plot and certain lines are
interesting. Overall, Tiffany’s solo of “I Just Wanna Dance” is, contrary to
many fans and listeners, not an absolute, captivating song. Instead, it is only
slightly above average. This, however, does not mean the song is bad; the song is
definitely not bad. But, even so, I would hesitate to say this song is “good.”
It is enjoyable and biasedly I have been listening to it, but if being neutral
I do claim the song is only slightly above average. After all, the best way to
describe “I Just Wanna Dance” is that it is a usual pop song—nothing more or
less.

_______________________________________________________

As
always, thank you to all for reading. Strangely enough I did find this form of
writing more accessible—if that makes sense. I did not feel restrained with
writing, and I hoped to keep a conversational tone going. Feedback, as always,
would be appreciated. I will do more experimenting, but the main style I wish
to now have with reviews is that of a casual, conversational tone. Deviating
away from the usual “vocals are this, sections are this, etc.” seems to help.
Again, more to experimented with.

In
terms of the next review, I do have one in mind along with, I hope, an interesting
digression. However, to cleverly conceal how I am uncertain about exactly the
next review, I will instead tell readers to simply look forward to it. Look
forward to the next review. On a more serious note, the following reviews will
all be of artists that have yet to be reviewed, and furthermore, a bonus show
review will be coming. With the extra time during summer, I do hope to catch up
and to even start storing reviews for the upcoming school year. (And indeed I
am going to take one course during the summer so that I am not overwhelmed next
semester.)

Look
forward to either a trot or ballad song, and for anything else that is to come.
“I just wanna dance the night away” with more reviews—if this even makes any
sense at all.

Choa (AOA) – “Flame” Review

Choa
– Flame (Music Video)

Choa (from AOA) –
Flame

Reviewed
on January 17, 2016

Personal Message:
Although Dal Shabet’s “Someone Like
U” is being worked on, I am changing schedule for the sake of at least posting
something within two weeks. The review will still come out, but much later.
Pitifully speaking, with being back to university, I am attempting to just
survive. I am overwhelmed with work, and in fact, should not even be writing
this review. But, as I need a break from all of the readings and writing
assignments, a short review will be done. That said, with time being limited,
important topics will not be discussed in this review (not that any are
directly elicited from the current review). On that subject, Stellar is making
a comeback, and though I missed the chance to review “Vibrato,” I will attempt
to review their upcoming one. Predictably, given the group’s concepts and the
general public’s reaction, a very important discussion will occur there:
“slut-shaming.” The amount of degrading, sexist remarks towards the ladies is
rather equivalent to my workload: enough to make me cry.

That is an understatement, of course.
My workload amount is, exaggeratedly at most, equal to one percent of the negativity
Stellar receives. Admirably, if accurate, though in an interview the ladies
have admitted to crying due to the hate and struggles of income, their ability
to persevere is outstanding. After all, I am already nearly in tears over
university work, and that is something entirely miniscule in comparison to the
hardships Stellar faces. More, however, will be discussed when the actual
review occurs (and I will be dedicated to devote time to indeed review the
group). Though I have slightly touched upon the topic of slut-shaming, with
Stellar’s review, I plan to dive deeply into it. Furthermore, there is a
critical question to ask: Where is the border for “appropriate”? Unlike when I
discussed this with Dal Shabet’s “Joker,” though I included the basic points of
slut-shaming, this was a question I avoided—or more accurately, brushed aside
with an insufficient answer that lacked critical thinking. Overall, looking
over the incredibly shameful writing quality in that review (it truly is
disorganized; in addition to greatly challenging a few of my prior arguably
sexist views in “Joker,” my argument points are unclear there), perhaps
starting clean with Stellar’s upcoming review would be a better route. I will
refer to previously stated points in regards to slut-shaming, but for what
would be most valuable to discuss, the topic of “appropriate” would be it, and
needless to say, there is much involved.

For highly irrelevant news, as of
this sentence (January 14), it is SPICA’s leader, Boa’s, birthday. She is now
twenty nine years old if correct. If there are readers perplexed at this sudden
and random mentioning, I bring this up because I am infatuated with her.
Excessively (she is my “idol crush” as I comically say). But of course, on a
mature tone, my delusion is kept in check. If it were not, I would have already
began a very embarrassing letter to her: Dear Boa, though we have not met yet, I know I will
love whatever marriage ring you decide to propose to me with because—

Questionable humor aside (though on
a serious note, I do sincerely find Boa an amazing person and while she may be
a personal “idol crush,” she deserves full respect as a human), on topic with
this review, I wish to write a brief one. This is to allow the blog to maintain
some activity, but likewise, it allows university work to still be finished. AOA’s
Choa’s solo debut song, “Flame,” was chosen for its conciseness (no
Choreography or Line Distribution categories to rate), and that pressing social
topics are not elicited from this song, and thus, no social digression will
occur (of course, however, any critical individual can indeed find something;
given it being a pop culture medium, even if nothing is explicitly given,
everything is open for dissecting). As a reuslt, solely the musical component
can be of focus, and that is what I do desire for “Flame.”

Offering a biased take to “Flame,” I
do admit it being disappointing—in the sense of genre and concept. Now to
clarify, neither ballad nor the concept is inherently bad; “Flame” is perfectly
fine in those categories. Explaining why I am disappointed, it is due to the
personal hope of Choa’s solo debut being a pop genre as her vocals have large
potential within that field. Choa absolutely has the vocal capabilities for
more vocally intensive songs, be it ballads or even in “Flame” ‘s case, but
when considering her vocals in pop songs such as “Miniskirt” or “Heart Attack,”
she has an exclusive quality: though her vocals possess power, excellent
belting and note holds, it is all suitable in a catchy, pop style. Essentially,
the point is that Choa is able to bring common ballad vocal traits into pop
songs, but it is done without compromising the pop genre’s style.

Confusing tangent aside, for a more
realistic analysis, it would be far better to discuss her flaming vocals in
“Flame,” and more greatly, to uncover how “Flame” rates. Unfortunately to leak,
though the song is certainly a flame, it most likely does burn weakly.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.75/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(5.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion: 6/10


Line Distribution: X/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 8/10

The pain starts as soon as I open my eyes
Every time I think of you, my heart aches
I guess all the heartbreak
before wasn’t a heartbreak
I’m learning that this is
a true heartbreak through you

Everything that happened in my
room with you becomes a movie
In that movie, you’re the star of my love
I don’t want to see the end
of this love that is coming to an end
So I rewind to the beginning
and take you out again

When the moonlight covers my tears
My one and only love comes to an end
I try to burn you from my heart to forget,
to erase it all
But like a flame,
you wrap around me, you cruel love

My sad love became a sad poem
You’re so bad, you left me for
just one mistake
If only I could forget you
with just one tear drop
Then I can cry for 365 days

When the moonlight covers my tears
My one and only love comes to an end
I try to burn you from my heart to forget,
to erase it all
But like a flame,
you wrap around me, you cruel love

Go away, go away
You used to be my love at one point

When the starlight gets locked
in the ocean with a strong sigh
My sad and quickened breath will stop
My last monologue will get carried
away by the wind
To a faraway place where I’ve
left to because you’re not here

When the moonlight covers my tears
My one and only love comes to an end
I try to burn you from my heart to forget,
to erase it all
But like a flame,
you wrap around me, you cruel love

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Though
I am relatively confused (and shocked—mostly shocked) at the music video, to
focus on the song, it does hold stronger than anticipated. In fact, I feel like
retracting my prior statement of how Choa’s solo should have been a pop song.
This song is perhaps one of the best examples so far on the blog for a concept
worth understanding: “quality versus catchiness.” Ignoring the simplistic
label, “Flame” has received comments of how it is a “boring” song, and thus, is
not a “good” song. However, though that is understandable as “good” songs tend
to be alluring—catchy as it can be coined—it is worth noting that catchiness
should not determine ratings. Although all ratings in the end are indeed very
much subjective, when it comes to “catchiness,” objectivity vanishes
completely. Using how fun and upbeat a song is would lead to ratings being
based entirely on feelings versus, for example, analyzing how transitions are,
how vocals and instrumental relate, and so forth. In other words, it is far
better to analyze the technical works of a song than its style. Otherwise,
reviews would become nothing but ranking genres, and that is worthless a song
is more than the package it is delivered in. It is about the content, not the “wrapping”
(genre and style) of a song.

As
for “Flame” specifically, to admit, it is perhaps the stalest ballad I have
heard so far. Nevertheless, even if the song overall is plain with its style, there
are deeper details worthy of examining. All that said, the vocals to “Flame”
are very balanced. Note holds and belting partially occur towards the end for
the purpose of giving the song a climactic
point, but with every other section, the vocals remain tuneful, crisp,
and—in the context of “Flame”—diverse, but for the strongest point, the vocals’
calmness is it. Though vocal intensity and power are delightful traits, the
lack thereof is not necessarily a detriment, and “Flame” perfectly proves such.
Passive yet melodic vocals are sufficient to earn a higher rating.

To
address the sections, given the tedious nature of the song, I will not dive in
full depth but rather, will give an overarching analysis (and it is because I am
incredibly pressed with time)
. Overall, the vocals and the
instrumental carry a large bulk of the sections’ scores; the sonic component to
the sections is why ratings are higher. If the vocals and instrumental were
lower in quality, the sections would drop to fives, or perhaps even more
drastically. Expectedly, with the prior words’ hinting, it is the structures of
the sections that are impairing. Certainly, the sections still fulfill their
roles hence the sixes, but that is solely it. Thus, ratings are limited. For
example, the pre-choruses do properly transition the song into the choruses.
Where issues arise is in the methods: incredibly basic. There is no exclusiveness
to “Flame”; nothing in particular strikes as distinctive in this ballad
compared to others. Additionally, though it is not inherently an issue that
sections sound akin to one another, in the case of “Flame,” the song does begin
sounding mundane as, for example, the verse and pre-choruses are very identical
in sound and even structure (and this being the reason for why the song is not “catchy”).

Now,
for the bridge, it did receive a five for average. Though that is a “neutral”
score and is neither negative nor positive, it is due to how the bridge is
conducted. Given how the song is already slower paced and calm, capitalizing
off that flow and incorporating such into the bridge would suit more than what
is currently at play: entirely halting the song, as observed by greatly silencing
the instrumental and slowing the singing. Addressing the other perspective,
however, it is worth noting this bridge does effectively allow “Flame” to
transition to its climactic point of including two-part singing, minor note
holds, and so on. Nevertheless, considering that the actual transition can be credited
towards the quick beats that shortly occur at end of the bridge, if the bridge
followed a linear route versus pausing, as is the other sections, a smooth
transition would have existed either way. As a result, the bridge’s goal of
providing a dramatic and seamless transition to the concluding sections through
a pause is arguably unnecessary, and in some ways, counteractive to the song’s
overarching style. On this note, the conclusion is a six, though it nearly
meets a seven—and it is not because of the conclusion itself. Prior to the
actual conclusion (the ending solo instrumental), the last two choruses include
beautiful, cohesive two-part singing and note stretches, as mentioned earlier.
Unfortunately, with how tedious “Flame” sounds in its entirety, having two
choruses playing one after the other builds upon that redundancy. As a result,
even with Choa’s stunning vocals at the end, it is not enough to overpower the
accumulated repetition.

Regarding
the instrumental, similar to the vocals, it remains enchanting with its tune
and serenity. Also, it does coincide excellently with the vocals themselves,
and even the sections are suited. What remains lacking is in the instrumental
itself: as calm and graceful as it is, it fails to be utterly seducing.
Finally, for the lyrics, a higher score appears. In fact, if correct, this may
be the highest rating as of yet for a song’s Lyrics category. Comically and
briefly explaining why this is the case: the lyrics could be used for a
dramatic monologue for a melancholy movie’s opening or ending. On a serious
tone, the level of details and depth for the lyrics are the reasons. The plot
remains thorough and greatly detailed, and the figurative language used further
augments it. Through the lyrics’ choice of words and metaphors, the character’s
agony, anger, and sadness are effectively highlighted, and in many ways, those
emotions become palpable. Overall, with the outstanding and various details and
a plot that remains deep, an eight is well deserved.

Although
short, this review finishes with “Flame” scoring an overall seven. As such, the
song can be rendered above average, and though I do biasedly disagree, the
ballad is indeed beautiful, and Choa absolutely showcases her vocal prowess. If
the song was more dynamic, or if Choa released a pop song versus a ballad, it
would be interesting to see the outcome. Regardless, Choa proves her ability to
run solo, and though AOA comebacks will always be delightful, I do hope Choa
eventually does have a pop genre solo (or even Yuna for that matter).

_______________________________________________________

For
an ending message, I greatly apologize for being quite inactive and for rushing
this review. I have much work to handle this semester and am balancing reviews
as best as I can. To confess, I do feel overwhelmed, but I do expect the
following weeks to be easier. Sharing a positive update, I have finished my
application for a campus job and am excited for that, and I do have a few short
subtitled videos to upload soon. But, with class work, I am incredibly booked.
Perhaps staying in the library until eleven and likewise forcing a friend to
suffer with me may be my best bet to having time to finish reviews.

In
terms of other reviews, I will finish Dal Shabet’s “Someone Like U” as soon as
possible. Being realistic, for this month I may have to rush through reviews,
but if that is what is required then I will have to accept that for January.
Should the worst occur and I become too busy, I do plan on reviewing “bonus”
songs, such as by visiting artists I have already reviewed. One in mind is “Tonight”
by SPICA. I absolutely adore the song in every possible aspect: the concept,
the vocals, the song’s layout, the choreography, and so on. I would confidently
say it is now my favorite song of all-time, or at least tied with other notable
favorites (though “Ghost” by them would be perhaps one of the best songs I have
heard). However, considering I dislike repeating groups for reviews since offering
variety is a priority (excluding comebacks), I may just opt to finish reviews I
have already started. Better yet, reviewing a reality show, “EXID’s Showtime,”
may be what fits next. Time will tell.

With
the review ending, as always, thank you very much for reading. I will do my
best to keep content posted. Whether it is Dal Shabet, a show review, more male
artists, or a biased review on SPICA’s “Tonight” (besides favoritism running, I would also have “Boa-ism”
running; the song may interestingly rate at a ten-out-of-ten “because Boa—just because
there is Boa”)
, more reviews will be coming. What I can promise
though is I will never be biased in a review—assuming SPICA’s Boa is not in it,
that is. My pitiful Boa-obsession jokes aside, “When the moonlight covers my
tears, my one and only love comes to an end”: readers. How this actually makes
sense is unknown, but the point is readers are my one and only love. Stay tuned
for most likely a bonus review on EXID’s reality show and others. With EXID’s
review, an interesting digression is in mind that I hope readers will enjoy
ruminating over. Until then, look forward to it and thank you again for reading
any bit of this review.

Taeyeon – “I” Review

Taeyeon – I (Music Video)

Taeyeon – I (Audio)

Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation) ft. Verbal
Jint – I

Reviewed
on October 19, 2015

image

Personal Message:
Getting technical updates out of the
way, as mentioned in my prior
review
, I have
officially switched to a new word processor. Explaining the sudden change, the
prior word processor I used had, assumingly, a glitch where the font would
often time become blurry (the longer a document, the more prone that is;
consistent readers may know exactly why that heavily affected my reviews).
Multiple attempts to fix such have been in vain, and therefore, I have decided
to abandon the word processor entirely. That said I do hope the format remains
completely unchanged, but this review will test that. Also, with the prior word
processor relying on internet connection and this current processor not, I now
have gained mobility; I am no longer restricted to solely working in places
with internet available. For downsides, however, I am now forced to manually
save my work, and that I am unfamiliar with how certain functions and options
work. Nevertheless, for clear fonts and a significantly upgraded mechanical
checks (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.), this change is well worth it.

Besides technological updates, for
ones that are akin to reviews, I have just discovered after throwing a fit to my friend for not notifying me sooner that AOA will be having a comeback: “Oh Boy.” Intriguingly, though, it is not a
Korean comeback, but rather, a Japanese one. In fact, “comeback” is inaccurate;
“debut” is the proper word to describe AOA’s latest song. I will most likely
review it as given by, to confess, my overwhelming love for the ladies, and
that it is always endearing to bring some variety for the blog, even if in the
sole aspect of language. On that note, if it were to be reviewed, it will mark
the first Japanese song I have ever reviewed. But, introducing a song other
than Korean ones is not quite a surprise: ZE:A J’s “Marry Me” was reviewed, and it is in Mandarin
(though to clarify it was a music video review versus a song review).

Digressing on lighthearted, pitiful
facts that may prove humorous or entertaining, in terms of whether songs that
are not in Korean (or English) are “absurd” to listen to, as I have stated in
the past, my Korean is far from anything remotely decent. Despite that,
however, I do not allow language barriers to obstruct songs, and thus, whether
a song is in Mandarin, Japanese, French, or whichever, I heed no care to the
language—in the sense of comprehension, that is (I still respect the language
itself and do not utterly ignore it, and translated lyrics are searched for).
Relating AOA’s “Oh Boy,” it being in Japanese is highly irrelevant. After all,
no matter the language of the song, Choa’s singing during the chorus will
forever remain incredibly catchy.

Now for the more interesting
personal fact that I desire to share, English is the only language for me in which
songs can be understood. For example, though I know Cantonese, and
additionally, have high comprehension for Vietnamese (I cannot speak it
however), songs in either of those languages might as well be in Korean as I
simply lack the comprehension. My theory as to why that is the case is perhaps
due to how the languages are structured; a note stretch on a syllable in
English is clear, but if in Cantonese for example, the stretched syllable may
be unfamiliar and seemingly “half a word,” and thus, I become confused. Either
way, point is, though I may brag of being “familiar” with a total of five
languages (English and Cantonese are the two languages in which I am rather
fluent; Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean are moreover minimal knowledge), it is
all in vain as my comprehension for songs are pitiful. (But, on a serious tone,
of course I am incredibly grateful.)

Story time aside and an apology to my friend for calling
her a traitor
, the topic will finally be about what it should have been originally:
Taeyeon’s amazing solo debut with her song, “I.” To begin, answering the big
question: no, I did not cry. Reading news articles, Tiffany and other members
of Girls’ Generation did cry once they heard the song, and knowing my sensitive
side with music and crying a river
for the show of “Jessica & Krystal” and even The
Ark’s “The Light”
, I am shocked at my lack of tears. Confessing,
though, I still did become emotionally moved the first time listening to “I,”
and furthermore, with actually watching the music video later. Taeyeon
definitely invested much emotion for her song, and accounting for the many
hardships she endured and endures—recent and old—this song, lyrically and
musically, highlights her struggles and her decision to still persevere.
Taeyeon is an amazing human to say the least.

Additionally, this song is not
purely reflective of Taeyeon’s experiences. Many listeners may indeed relate to
the lyrics, whether a teenager or a working adult, male or female, and so
forth. Especially if in a difficult period, “I” delivers encouragement: “But
strong girl/boy, you know you were born to fly.” That line, overall, summarizes
the song’s crucial message. Stay positive and love one’s own being. You are
perfect. At the Lyrics category, further analysis will be conducted, but
already for a remark, the lyrics are very respectable. In fact, these lyrics
highly motivate me to put on chic clothing, foundation, concealer, and eyeliner
as, from the lyrics’ message, “my life is a beauty”; there is no shame in, as a
heterosexual male, appearing that way as it is my “beautiful” life. (Though my
fashion is now taken seriously, I still sadly have yet to actively use makeup.
Also, refer to countless reviews such as Infinite’s “The Chaser” for a discussion on males using
makeup.) Again, the “Critical Corner” will dive in some depth regarding the
idea of self-love.

To now embark on a more serious
digression (readers interested in solely the review, skip ahead), with all the
mentioned topics and the song itself, there is a topic I have yet to discuss:
the importance of role models, and moreover the importance of the concept
itself. Though “role model” implies purely admiration toward specific people, I
do wish to expand on the idea and to showcase that, it is important in two
regards: to have role models, but more importantly, that everyone is a role
model—whether individual admirers exist or not. Taeyeon will be used as an
example. Although she is not someone I directly idolize, the concept itself is
still intact; she is still someone that presents an image of how to behave. She
models to me what love is, as seen by her affection for Girls’ Generation
members; she models to me what leadership is—love, respect, and dedication for Girls’
Generation  and others around her; she
models to me what self-love is through “I,” and to be myself, as cliché as it
may be. Overall, as exemplified, though Taeyeon is not necessarily a “role
model” to me, the concept still holds: she still provides a model of how to
behave and think.

Now of course, this is not to
disregard the direct role models people may have. Personal role models have
very much influenced me for the better, whether it is T-ARA’s Soyeon, former
Nine Muses’ Sera, AOA’s Jimin, or even MAMAMOO’s Solar. All of them have taught
and displayed to me what leadership is, what respect and love is, what hard
work is, what optimism is, what intelligence is, and so forth. In fact, they
even taught me beauty: physically with stylish fashion and makeup, but also
non-physically with genuine care and understanding towards others and self. More
extremely, despite the cherished role models all being fabulous ladies, they
have also, ironically stated, taught me masculinity (though ZE:A’s Kevin
deserves much credit as well; I would also consider him a role model,
especially as a male one). I hope to “become a man” who is able to replicate
many of those role models’ acts. And, for people who are not idols, I owe much
to teachers and professors I’ve had and have for displaying the best of themselves
for others.

Ignoring my personal, privileged
side with being able to have many amazing role models, this perspective is
rather lucky. Not everyone has a direct role model, let alone any positively
influencing people around who serve as indirect role models. This is why the
concept of role modeling is important: everyone has a social responsibility to
be a role model, even if, as stated, no one is specifically an admirer. Drawing
an example, a young boy growing up with a violent, abusive father who is
supposedly “being a man” will replicate such if no other male role model is
around, and this “male role model” does not have to be someone in specific,
though it may be. If the young boy observes that every male around acts
similarly to his father, then he will follow suit. Thus, that is where
responsibility occurs: males all have a responsibility to showcase—to role
model—to others, male or female, whether specific admirers exist or not, that
“being a man” does not include abusing and dominating others. Homogenously,
this type of scenario applies to other categories. A young girl growing up in a
society that sexualizes, objectifies, and belittles females will, indeed, internalize
such if no role model challenges those notions. And, as stated, said “role
model” does not have to be someone in specific, but rather, it can be—and
is—women in general, and also, akin to the prior point, men who equally
challenge those sexist standards that were set by males in the first place.

Every social aspect applies with
this role model concept, be it showcasing that homosexuality is acceptable,
that being a non-White in America or non-Korean in South Korea is acceptable,
and so on. Concluding, this is why role models and role modeling matter:
everyone shapes society. Ask, what is role modeled when statements of, “I love
Asian boys/girls because they’re so smart and obedient,” “I love Black females’
hair since it is so unique,” or “bisexual females are great because they are
basically boys” are said? No one may specifically admire the speaker of those
sentences, but that speaker nevertheless is still role modeling that race and
sexual orientation discrimination are acceptable (and perhaps even sexism).
Likewise, what is role modeled for masculinity if the phrase of, “be a man,” is
stated to a man who enjoys using makeup? Presenting the best of one’s self and
understanding and respect for all are the responsibilities of everyone.
Everyone admires one another—intended or not. Everyone is a role model—intended
or not.

Returning
back to Taeyeon’s “I” for the purpose of time (this may be the shortest
digression to date), I am thankful for her and her latest song. Taeyeon
relentlessly showcases her cheerful, hard working side despite the many
struggles she encounters. Crucially, since pop culture matters as it shapes and
is shaped by society, with how idols behave on camera, I will personally state
that I am grateful for them, usually, presenting excellent examples for others.
Unequivocally, with being humans, mistakes may occur, but overall, social
equity and respect for all are what idols tend to showcase. Lastly, for what is
more important, one’s own role modeling is. What is being brought to others
through personal acts is what many should ask themselves.  

Transitioning to the song itself,
“I” may score quite highly. Musically and lyrically, the song is phenomenal,
and accounting for the lack of Line Distribution and Choreography scores, “I”
is set for success. Nevertheless, strictness will certainly be in place as is for
every song reviewed minus newbie
days
. It is now time to unveil what “I” think of “I.”

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 8/10
– A nine is desired to be given, but withholding biases, an
eight is the score, of which is still impressive. The vocals remain diverse, as
observed by the range of notes, power, and singing styles. Every section
delivers its own traits. Low, middle, and high notes, and degrees of power, are
seen by juxtaposing the sections of choruses, verse, and bridge. Similarly and
expectedly, each section contains its own singing style. All these traits work
in favor of keeping “I” dynamic. With a genre of ballad where staleness is
prone to occur, the diversity among Taeyeon’s vocals counteract that issue. Now,
for what is moreover significant, Taeyeon’s vocal delivery is fantastic and the
main reason for a high rating. During the choruses for example, through words
of “I” and “sky,” exceptionally melodic, widespread note stretches are
showcased, and furthermore, power is attached. Conversely, however, when deeper
and more passive singing occurs, those parts are also stunning, though to a
lesser extent than the choruses.

“I” is near perfect in vocals:
varied yet that variety is effectively executed. Unfortunately, the delivery of
sections other than the choruses is not to a “nine” rating. Also, the non-chorus
sections’ vocals are equally not enticing to the level of a nine. But, an eight
is still impressive, and potently, the choruses’ vocals are exceptional. There
is no denying Taeyeon’s vocal skills.


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

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

1.
Introduction (Chorus): 8/10

2. Rap: 6/10

3. Chorus: 8/10

4. Verse: 7/10

5. Pre-Chorus: 6/10

6. Bridge: 7/10

7. Conclusion: 7/10

– Analysis:
In a general scope, the sections do
average out with a seven. However, before analyzing each section, attention
towards this song’s format should be given: there are only one verse and
pre-chorus, and the introduction utilizes the chorus. A peculiar setup. Thus,
the song does not follow standard conventions, but as to be explained,
different is never bad. Now, for how this will affect the analysis, as the
verse and pre-chorus are relatively minor, little time will be spent towards
the two, and furthermore, I am attempting to minimize this category’s length as
much as possible.

Digression aside, to first discuss
the introduction, while past reviews have certainly covered songs where,
essentially, the chorus is the introduction, none have outstandingly executed
it, and additionally, many of those songs do not directly or instantly use the
chorus. Therefore, Taeyeon’s “I” marks the first song in which the chorus is
indeed the introduction; the chorus immediately starts off and there is no
buffer that would constitute as a genuine, individual introduction. In terms of
the effect on the introduction section, this grants “I” efficiency: “I” ‘s
style and tone are transparent, and there is the aspect of captivating
listeners from the pure start. A score of eight should be self-explanatory;
this introduction excels in both components of setting the song and attracting
attention, and thus, a high score is earned.

Since the chorus itself has yet to
be covered and is, technically, the introduction, it will be the next section to
critique. Musically, much of “I” ‘s charm derives from this section. The
choruses possess Taeyeon’s raw emotions and vocal power; a range of pitches are
unveiled; note stretches remain abundant; and overall, the melody remains
incredibly lively and mesmerizing. There is minimal fault with how the sections
sound—if there is any fault at all. Every detail in the chorus perfectly meshes
with one another, whether it is the instrumental and vocals, the spectrum of
notes, or how the note stretches are conducted. At worst, for what does hinder
the sections, though the sections are diverse in the sense of shifting pitches,
vocal intensity, and so forth, the melody overtime does become relatively
stagnant. Clarifying, while Taeyeon’s note stretches on the words of “sky” or
“I” are alluring on an individual level, appeal is lost once that same melody
is played out relentlessly. Nevertheless, the choruses are still fantastic. A
high rating is still in place as the sections’ musical strengths certainly
outweigh that minor error.

Finally focusing on the single
verse, it follows a predictable route but nonetheless is still admirable. As
expected from a verse and factoring in the rather energetic introduction, the
section follows a calmer style. Vocals reside toward middle and low notes along
with a slower pacing in order to grant the mentioned style, but this all works
in favor of also introducing variety. The introduction and future sections are
of more intense, dynamic singing and thus, the verse’s style and given melody
are able to provide contrast. Furthermore, as anticipated from Taeyeon, the
verse’s vocals are enticing and tuneful. Overall, though the verse may be basic
in structure, with how it perfectly complements the song as a whole, and
additionally, possesses solid singing, a seven is earned.

Now, for the pre-chorus and rap
sections, both are rated at a six. Peering at Verbal Jint’s rap, as to be
expected from an experienced rapper and song producer (and, if correct, an
influential figure for helping develop Korean Hip Hop), it showcases brilliant
flow and melody. Expanding on the rap’s flow, since the instrumental’s beat is
synced to, the rap becomes exceptionally rhythmic. Additionally, for the
melody, Verbal Jint’s vocals fluctuate throughout the rap, and thus, there is a
delightful tune to it. Nevertheless, a six is the score as the rap is moreover
basic and does not grasp significant attention. On this note, the pre-chorus
follows a homogeneous path to the rap: the section itself is not necessarily
mediocre, but it lacks attractive points. In terms of the pre-chorus, although
Taeyeon’s vocals are certainly captivating, the structure behind the section is
mundane. The instrumental adopts a lighter tone and Verbal Jint adds vocal
layering. Those aspects create the typical buildup effect that is observable in
many pre-choruses as, like its label, it is to create hype for the chorus.
Specifically with “I” ‘s pre-chorus, hype exists, but it is all too simple to
glean high appeal. Of course, however, while simplicity itself is not faulty,
in the song’s case, the usage here lacks appeal. Thus, sixes are the ratings as
Taeyeon’s and Verbal Jint’s vocals carry the weaker structural components of
the sections.

Addressing the remaining two
sections of conclusion and bridge, both are above average. Glancing at the
bridge, there is an overarching strength to it: being sleek. Transitioning into
the bridge is smooth, and later, when the climactic point is approaching, the
section also properly transitions for that via hastening beats and gradually
increasing vocal intensity. It is all highly subtle changes that allow it to
flow seamlessly. On topic with the vocals, Taeyeon continues her adept singing.
Slower, deeper vocals are disclosed—though for a brief period. For the
highlight of the bridge, a powerful note hold is given off shortly after
passive vocals, and it is well conducted. All in all, the bridge may be basic
in structure with having a very traditional format (a pause which is then
guided towards a note hold), but with its fantastic execution, a seven is still
in place. Vocals are enticing, and the subtle transitions occurring are
praiseworthy.

Lastly, with the conclusion, before
directly diving into the analysis, credit is deserved towards the final chorus:
fabulous two-part singing is delivered. Despite all the ongoing, intense vocals
that the final chorus bears, it all miraculously renders cohesively and
therefore, for an outcome, incredible vocal talent is displayed along with
tying into an ending. Tangent aside, however, for the conclusion section
itself, it provides a solid closure for “I.” Fading background vocals in
addition to Taeyeon’s own languishing vocals all grant the song its
distinctive, blatant ending mark, and with the instrumental also identically
doing so, a smooth end is guaranteed. There is no abruptness whatsoever.
Furthermore, rather than closing on standard speech, Taeyeon’s melodic singing
holds until the very end, and thus, appeal is earned in that regard. An above
average, suitable conclusion for an outstanding song.


Line Distribution: X/10
– This grade will be excluded as it is only Taeyeon singing.
Verbal Jint will not be included as his part is considered a feature.


Instrumental: 6/10
– Initially, a seven was to be the score, but it has changed
to a six. Regardless, the instrumental is still respectable. First, the
instrumental is predominantly of guitar. This works in favor of giving “I” its
calm, soothing tone, and furthermore, the vocals perfectly blend with the
guitar. As for the vital role the instrumental provides, it remains moreover a
foundation for the song; rather than being a separate component that draws its
own attention, it instead directs it toward Taeyeon’s singing. Especially with
how solid the vocals are, this proves incredibly beneficial. Unfortunately, for
a drawback, while the vocals are accentuated, it does leave the instrumental
with a hollow sound—figuratively, that is. Individually, the soundtrack is
decent, but it is exceptionally tedious and thus, that lack of appeal will
impair the rating. Understandably however, a more passive, repetitive
soundtrack is necessary for the vocals to be of main highlight, though that is definitely
not always the case.


Lyrics: 8/10
– Already exposed at the beginning of this review, the lyrics
of “I” revolve around the notion of self-love. In fact, whether the lyrics
involve a lost relationship or a struggling personal life is not so much as
relevant as the idea itself: it is important to realize the worth of one’s
self, and additionally, others. Also, to clarify a confusing
lost-in-translation aspect to the following lyrics, it appears that the
translated lines are inaccurate with syntax (if that is the proper term); it
appears that, during the choruses, the words of “I,” “sky,” and so forth, are
wrongly placed since Taeyeon sings before note stretching the mentioned words.
Offering an explanation, a direct translation, for example, would appear as:
“That pours light, sky.” But, in English, that would be deemed strange for
syntax. Korean, however, has a “reflexive” format in comparison to English (and
that English has a “reflexive” format in comparison to Korean; I do not wish to
connote that one language is the “correct” one). An introduction phrase will be
used as an example: In English, we tend to say, “I am Taeyeon,” however in
Korean, if direct translations were to occur, it would render as “Taeyeon I
am.” Neither is “right”; it is all based on language. Overall, while I did not
personally translate these lyrics from Korean to English, this will hopefully
explain why, word-for-word, the lyrics may appear off (and of course, my
explanation may be entirely false and not the true reason; I am not fluent in
Korean).

Sky, that pours light
I, stand under it
Fly, as if I’m dreaming
My life is a beauty

A story I’ve heard often somewhere
“Ugly duckling and swan,” “a butterfly before it flies”
People don’t know, they don’t see your wings
A new world you’ve met could be cruel
But strong girl, you know you were born to fly
Tears you’ve cried, all of the pain you’ve felt
It’s to prepare you for the day you’ll fly even higher
Butterfly, everybody’s gonna see it soon

Sky, that pours light
I, stand under it
Fly, as if I’m dreaming
My life is a beauty

Forgotten dream, I draw it again in my heart
Collect all of the times I withdrew and swallow it
Small memories wake me up one by one
It opens me up, as if it’ll fill the whole world
Past the long, long night
Want to embark on the road for a trip again
Why not? In this world,
one word that awakens my heart

Yesterday, I was alone
Countless gazes
Falling tears
I withstood another day again
Yesterday, that was a close call
All of the words that poured out
It embraced me, who was shaking, again

Sky, that pours light
I, stand under it
Fly, as if I’m dreaming
My life is a beauty
My life is a beauty

Flower petals wilt
I had difficult times, but followed a small light
Distant day, let it go far, faraway
I fly splendidly

Sky that pours light
Renewed eyes (renewed eyes)
Fly far away (fly high, fly high)
Beauty that belongs only to me

The moment I close my eyes
Time stops
I rise again

Language digression aside, the
Lyrics category manages to reap a score of eight. This song, in fact, may
currently hold the highest score out of every reviewed song for the Lyrics
category (ignoring archaic reviews, that is). Details remain varied and abundant,
even despite the song’s shorter lines. For example, the rap features details
that significantly differ from ones at the verse and pre-chorus, and with the
latter two, those also vary from one another. Ignoring variety, the given lines
are noteworthy. The lyrics to “I” are not typical, minor words that are added
for the purpose of filling up a song; “I” in its entirety is a song that is
meant to give encouragement. Every line in “I” is momentous and impactful. This
song may be discussing the heartache of a breakup, but simultaneously, it may
be positivity for someone who is attempting to pursue their passion in life, or
for someone who needs the critical reminder that they are valued and loved.
Summing up the lyrics, with it being rich in details and meaning, a high score
is rightfully earned.


“Critical Corner”:
As the discussion of “self-love” is a vast one, I will refrain from discussing
it until a future review, such as in GOT7’s “Just Right.” That review will dive
into, arguably, the most controversial aspect of K-Pop: body image. I will not
shy away from how race, gender, and class affect beauty standards, and
additionally, for what many would desire to discuss, plastic surgery. That
review may end up being my most controversial writing yet, though controversy
is merely incentive as it showcases people’s care.

On topic with Taeyeon’s “I,” as the
song is of being able to love one’s own being and to be one’s own self, as
stated, GOT7’s review will discuss such. Nonetheless, for a reminder, everyone deserves
to be able to appreciate and love themselves. A seemingly easy task, but that
is far from true and is something many are still discovering. After all,
Taeyeon would not have released a song dedicated to this subject if it were as
simple as “self-confidence,” of which is, arguably, a faulty statement. One
lacks “self-confidence” not due to self-disgust with one’s own being, but
rather, from internalizing extraneous factors that claim so.

Already shared at the beginning of
the review, and as I believe in full intimacy with readers, with being a
heterosexual male who is interested in fashion and makeup, if not for beloved
teachers and professors providing an education that discussed these seldom,
sensitive social topics, I would still heavily struggle with self-love. It is,
blatantly, more than lacking personal confidence that would have—and had—made
me loathe myself: outside influences are to account for. Similarly, those who
feel “ugly” do not feel such because of their own mentality, but instead, because
of how certain factors have shaped said mentality. Even those in social
privilege, such as by being wealthy, male, and of a dominant race (White in
America, Korean in South Korea, and so on), are not excluded from this issue,
though there is certainly still privilege that will reduce the chances of
self-loathing. (Refer to Girls’ Generation’s “You Think” for a slight discussion on
privilege and how a privileged person should begin understanding their
position.) More will be discussed in the future, but for a personal message, I
yearn that all of my readers are able to find love for themselves.

_______________________________________________________

Choreography Score: X/10
– Since this song is a ballad, no
dance exists—though not to say ballads cannot have choreographies. It is just
unexpected for this genre of music to have one, and with “I” being within that
genre, having no dance should not elicit any form of surprise.

_______________________________________________________

Overall Score: 7/10
(7/10 raw score) – As
solely the Song Score is accounted for, Taeyeon’s solo debut of “I” can be
considered an above average song, and I absolutely agree. “I” is a phenomenal
song in every category, whether lyrically or with the vocals. Confessing,
however, this song was to be an eight if not for decreasing the Instrumental score.
If the mentioned score was shifted to a seven, “I” would have been at an eight,
and thus, held the throne of being the highest rated song yet for the blog assuming past, atrocious reviews are
ignored
. Numerical values aside, “I” is very much an impressive,
meaningful song.

Wrapping up, thank you very much for
reading, as I will relentlessly say for as long as reviews are made. Read in
full or briefly, I appreciate any given time towards reviews, so thank you. Currently,
I am on a week break, and thus, will attempt to release one more review within
this period. Two more reviews are needed to meet my goal of five reviews, and
optimistically, it appears that goal will be met. Since a bonus review is in
mind for the delayed song of F.T. Island’s “Severely,” that goal is very much
plausible. GOT7’s “Just Right” may also be reviewed in “bonus” form if the
format proves successful. Sharing ideas, for perhaps the most optimizing that
can be done for reviews, I plan to give all numerical ratings at the start, and
afterwards, to have one general, essay-like analysis for a song in whole.
Though on break, I still have homework and therefore that format will be
helpful, and if readers do prefer it over current review formats, I would adopt
it as the new standard. Reiterating prior points, I am hoping to release more
reviews at the cost of less thorough (and excessive) analysis.

Nonetheless, it is personal
discipline that matters moreover than review format; it matters moreover that I
actually dedicate time to work on reviews versus merely shortening reviews’
format. But, as I hope readers understand, with how busy I am and finally
having break, I do intend, and need, periods of pure relaxation, so the
remaining two reviews may not all be released during this week. Positively,
though, I have finally been able to finish watching Girl’s Day’s appearance on
the reality show, “One Fine Day.” A review will not be made, but to share, it
is decent. Enjoyable definitely, but it is far from the most entertaining show
I have yet to watch. On the other side, however, shamelessly shared, the ladies
did induce tears. Many tears. Without entirely leaking the end, with Girl’s Day
sharing their love for one another and all equally severely crying, I could not
help but to follow suit. Love is—as cheesy as it may sound—sometimes all the
thing we need in life.

Embarrassing moment ignored that serves no purpose other than for
readers to tease me
, I hope readers will “want to embark on the road for
a trip again.” That road trip is to continue returning to this blog. GOT7’s “Just
Right” and F.T. Island’s “Severely” are to be finished as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for the upcoming discussions for the songs.

Hyosung – “Good-night Kiss” Review

Hyosung – Good-night Kiss (Dance Practice)

Hyosung – Good-night Kiss

Reviewed on August 26, 2014

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Personal Message: Amazingly, I really did take an exact week off. I’ve been quite busy working on some scholarship essays and such. Back to school soon, and if things work out, I should still be able to have a review every three days or so. Anyhow, even though I was away from reviewing, I’ve still been keeping up with new K-Pop songs. Sistar’s “I Swear” is something I plan to review soon. Lots of incredible singing there, and it definitely has a “final summer days” feeling to it. Anyhow, I had a promise with reviewing a male group soon, but I’ll just delay it for next time. 

In terms of what I’m reviewing today, we’re taking a look at Hyosung, the leader of Secret (check out my previous review of their group song, “I’m In Love”) who made a solo debut a while back. After seeing her on the variety show, “Weekly Idol”, I just had to review her solo song. She won me over with her humor, and definitely captured my eyes with her insane dancing. She was the first idol I saw on “Weekly Idol” to go absolutely crazy with the “Random Dance” section; she’s definitely talented and one can see how much effort she puts into practicing. Quite admirable. Anyways, “Good-night Kiss” is a very catchy, upbeat song with a sweet lullaby flow. The dancing is also quite solid. Is it flawless? We shall see.

Let’s take a look and see if this song truly gives a “Good-night Kiss" 

______________________________________________________

Song Total Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 8/10 – The vocals in this song are definitely above average; there is nothing outstanding in them to give a higher score, but it’s still solid nevertheless. 

Hyosung gives off a softer tone for the song. This gives "Good-night Kiss” a unique lullaby feeling to the song, it almost sounds dreamy due to that. It’s very soothing and works perfectly for the song. 

When it comes to certain sections of the song, such as the chorus, Hyosung picks up the intensity and does deliver some stronger vocals. She doesn’t show off any spectacular note holds or extreme high notes, but she does remain consistent with having higher pitched vocals along with maintaining the melody.

Overall, solid vocals from Hyosung. 

– Song Structure: 8/10 (7.71/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

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

1. Introduction: 8/10 – At the start, a snapping beat is given along with a strange, uncomprehending background voice. That strange voice is going to haunt the song later. Anyhow, eventually more instruments enter the song. I have to give credit to the bass here; it completely slides in well and adds a great foundation to the current melody. For the last bit, some quick beats occur and that transitions the song to the verse.

The snapping beat and instrumental work very well together; it creates a catchy melody. What does bother me about the introduction is the annoying background voice; while it provides some filling for the introduction, it is very repetitive and becomes quite tiring. Thankfully, since the length is somewhat short and that the instrumental does an excellent job of setting up the song, it’s still a decent introduction. And despite how annoying the background vocal is, at least it’s exposed and allows listeners to anticipate the dreaded voice to come back later in the song.

2. Verse: 8/10 – Before we get any further, there are two verses in “Good-night Kiss”. However, the second one varies quite a bit lyrically and somewhat on the melody side. Nevertheless, the style is exactly the same and the melody isn’t completely different.

For the verses in the song, this section gives off the strongest “lullaby” feeling. Hyosung’s voice is very gentle and soft, as if she was singing to a baby. Her pitch is on the higher side. The beauty in the verse is how gentle it is; the instrumental does a great job of remaining very quiet and passive. 

Now besides being soothing and gentle to the ears, this place is also a great spot to manipulate the song’s build-up; with such a peaceful part, it allows lots of room for the song to create hype in preparation for the chorus.

Overall, a solid piece that gives “Good-night Kiss” its lullaby tone. It’s very sweet and gentle, especially in contrast to other song parts. 

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – The song instantly picks up the intensity and energy level the moment the pre-chorus occurs. 

The flow of the pre-chorus is also quite interesting and definitely makes it unique. With the pre-chorus, Hyosung initiates it with a loud and powerful “Oh my”. From there, she has a standard line that still contains some strength. Now after that, there’s a chanting of “K.I.S.S.I.N.G”. The chanting section augments the intensity even more, and it adds a nice contrast to Hyosung’s standard singing. 

After that, it repeats that flow once more. This flow allows for a lot of build-up. The two-word-start kicks things off, the standard line that follows balances and stretches the length, and finally the chanting gives it a final tint of energy. 

Now at the very end, there’s a quick line of “Kiss me baby” which allows for a perfect transition to the chorus.

Overall, a very solid pre-chorus that has a diverse flow in order to keep the song desirable. The build-up done here is solid along with the transition. 

4. Chorus: 9/10 – Now this is where the song gets to finally release its build-up. The chorus is quite upbeat. The instrumental steps it up and Hyosung follows suit with her vocals. It’s a very energetic part.

At the start, Hyosung delivers the key phrase in a strong line of “Good-night Kiss neon neomu dalkomhae”. For the next few lines, her singing is essentially the sweet lullaby tune, except powered in with sharpened vocals. This is excellent since it allows “Good-night Kiss” to not deviate from its special lullaby theme, yet it still allows the chorus to be very exciting and energetic. 

Eventually the song moves onto the part of “Baby kiss on my, kiss on my, kiss on my lips”. After lengthier, melodic singing, a change would be required to prevent any staleness from occurring. “Good-night Kiss” was one step ahead, though, and was prepared for that. This part of the chorus changed up the pacing. It’s still quick and powerful, but there were now chunks instead of one smooth flow of singing. This chunking continues for a few more times. 

Finally towards the end, Hyosung’s line of “niga jami deulgi jeone, kiss me baby” allowed the song to relax itself. This also allows a smooth transition towards the next part due to how she went back to a gentle singing style.

All in all, the chorus is the highlight of the song; it’s extremely catchy with so much fun, energetic singing and instruments. The lullaby melody is still kept here, but is simply upped in terms of power. A very solid section that will linger around in your head. 

5. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – Right. The part that ruined the “Good” in “Good-night Kiss”. This part heavily impairs the song.

The post-chorus is where the bass becomes more prominent and heavier. Pretty much a “bass drop” if I may coin that term. Now usually a bass drop works phenomenally well in certain songs, typically the songs whose genre is within the electronic zone (dubstep, drum & bass, etc.). However, for it to be properly executed in any other genre is extremely rare and I have yet to see that. “Good-night Kiss” would’ve been much better off without including this part at all. 

Firstly, in defense on why this part is here, it does allow the song to properly recycle itself; after coming from such an intense chorus, to match up the intensity level of the verse, it makes sense to have a section that soothes the song back into the soft, gentle state. However, a short pause with the instrumental would’ve been much better. “Good-night Kiss” did not need to include a lengthy, erroneous part of a bass drop. The producers fell short here. Any other solution would’ve most likely been better. 

Anyhow, the post-chorus starts off with the instant bass drop. The bass becomes heavily prevalent and every other instrumental goes passive. The beat still exists, although it has become quite heavy as well. If a basic bassline and beat wasn’t dull enough, don’t worry, throwing in the same, annoying background vocal in the introduction will spice things up. For the worse. 

Even though I’ve listened to this song for quite a while, I still have no idea on what the voice is even saying. It’s pretty horrendous if I can’t even decide if it’s in English or Korean, let alone actually distinguishing what’s being said. Moving past that, the post-chorus is pretty much just the structure of a heavy bassline, heavy beats, and horrible background vocals.

Overall, one of the worst “bass drops” I’ve heard in general, and definitely the most unfitting I’ve seen placed in a song. Very disappointing. Knowing that the purpose of this section was to allow the song to recycle its energy/intensity, a different solution could’ve been found. This was straight up disappointing and it nearly murders the song. 

6. Bridge: 8/10 – A lovely part done by Hyosung. It’s not the strongest I’ve heard, but it’s still solid.

The first few lines are very sweet and angelic; it’s quite soothing and gentle. Hyosung utilizes her soft vocals for the earlier lines. The instrumental also does a graceful job of replicating Hyosung’s gentleness. The snapping beat is still there, but everything else becomes quite sweet. Eventually, Hyosung brings our stronger vocals in order to allow “Good-night Kiss” to transition into its conclusion. Her line of “geudae ibsul wie, hold me tight” were backed up with stronger vocals this time around. The instrumental also picks it up and comes back full force as well. Fantastic chemistry is heard there with Hyosung’s voice and the song’s soundtrack. 

Definitely a solid bridge.

7. Conclusion (Chorus): 9/10 – As how the norm goes, the conclusion is typically where a final, climatic moment happens for the song. That is seen via two-part singing, crazy note holds and such, however, “Good-night Kiss” does neither, and that works out beautifully.

For the conclusion of Hyosung’s solo song, it was the exact same chorus replayed once more. No two-part singing added, no note holds, no funkier instrumental. It was the same. 

Looking at the song as a whole, this is completely fitting. The song wouldn’t benefit from being too intense; the song in general has a sweeter tone, especially with the lullaby melody. The chorus itself is where it’s the most intense, but it’s still the lullaby at work. As a result, “Good-night Kiss” has a conclusion that keeps the current theme of the lullaby. Going overboard would’ve demolished the style, so this was perfect. 

In terms of the very last moment, there’s a final “Kiss me baby” and then the song is completely wrapped up. A perfect ending that doesn’t leave anything hanging nor does it abruptly chop off any part. Well done.

A solid conclusion for fitting its general theme and for a perfect end. 

– Line Distribution: X/10 – Hyosung is singing solo for this song, so can’t be scored.

– Instrumentals: 7/10 – To be consistent with my reviews, I will have to unfortunately grade the bass drop as well.

The instrumental has a graceful feeling attached; it’s very gentle and catchy. There are lots of moments where it perfectly syncs with Hyosung’s vocals. Transitions are also supported by the instrumental.

Of course as expected, the bass drop section is what drops this score. That part was atrocious; the instrumental work there was poor. 

Ignoring that piece, however, the soundtrack for “Good-night Kiss” is still solid.

– Meaning: 7/10 – It’s hard to decipher the meaning of the song, it could mean a plethora of things. Let’s take a look at the lyrics. These lyrics aren’t 100% accurate with Korean to English translation, but they give an idea:

Good-night Kiss, you’re so sweet
Goodnight my baby
Your sleeping face is so sweet
Can you hear our story?

(Oh my)
Your lips are sweet like candy
K.I.S.S.I.N.G.
(My my)
This is a lullaby for you
K.I.S.S.I.N.G.
(Kiss me baby)

Good-night Kiss, you’re so sweet
Goodnight my baby
Your sleeping face is so sweet
Can you hear our story?

Baby kiss on my
Kiss on my kiss on my lips
My heart goes boom boom that zoom zoom
Let’s dance dance like this
Baby kiss on my
Kiss on my kiss on my lips
Before you fall asleep
(Kiss me baby)

You’re sleeping so well
I want to listen
To you breathing closer
It’s getting getting so
Hot in here hot in here

(Oh my)
Your lips are sweet like candy
K.I.S.S.I.N.G.
(My my)
This is a lullaby for you
K.I.S.S.I.N.G.
(Kiss me baby)

Good-night Kiss, you’re so sweet
Goodnight my baby
Your sleeping face is so sweet
Can you hear our story?

Baby kiss on my
Kiss on my kiss on my lips
My heart goes boom boom that zoom zoom
Let’s dance dance like this
Baby kiss on my
Kiss on my kiss on my lips
Before you fall asleep
(Kiss me baby)

Our lullaby is like
a soft tune singing
I’ll tell you with our own language
On top of your lips
Hold me tight

Good-night Kiss, you’re so sweet
Goodnight my baby
Your sleeping face is so sweet
Can you hear our story?

Baby kiss on my
Kiss on my kiss on my lips
My heart goes boom boom that zoom zoom
Let’s dance dance like this
Baby kiss on my
Kiss on my kiss on my lips
Before you fall asleep
(Kiss me baby)

The lyrics seem to be a very, sweet and cute story of a couple. A lady or gentleman is wanting to give their loved one a “Good-night Kiss”. She/He is just admiring their partner’s beauty and lulling them to sleep with a nice pluck on the lips. 

While these lyrics may be cute and all, it does lack quite a bit of deeper meaning. The chorus in specific lacks anything sophisticated, minus the first part anyways. Anyhow, a solid, sweet story, but with very few detailed lines, it comes out on the average side. 

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – The choreography for “Good-night Kiss” does thankfully live up the standard of Secret. They’ve been known for being able to execute harder, fast paced dances exceptionally well.

For this song, Hyosung and her backup dancers do a great job.

There are lots of syncing between the music and movements, something that’s always pleasing to witness. The backup dancers do an incredible job of supporting Hyosung. The formations and positions were changed throughout the song as well. Another amazing aspect is seeing how the dance reciprocated the song’s intensity; the dancing at the verse was quite calm and gentle, but when the chorus hit, the ladies were definitely putting out some powerful, charismatic maneuvers.

This song hits multiple categories; it’s sexy, cute, graceful, pumped-up. Speaking of sexy, while “Good-night Kiss” does have a butt-shaking part, it is probably the best one I’ve seen. It syncs perfectly and flows well, and it wasn’t executed in any awkward fashion. I’m personally still not a fan of any blatant sexual dance moves such as that, but at least it was pulled off decently. The key points are solid as well.

Although the dance is extremely solid, there are still weak points. The very end is quite unnecessary. Towards the end, Hyosung walks away in a “sexy” style. Or at least I think it was supposed to be sexy. It came out as somewhat awkward. Anyhow, the final blowing kiss she did was perfect, and a final pose would’ve suited more since the song does completely end. The walking end is questionable. Another part is the post-chorus. Now despite how horrible that part is musically, the choreography still does a nice job of syncing. The issue, though, is how plain and strange it looks. Dive down, back up, change directions, repeat. It seemed strange, but that’s the best Hyosung could’ve done with a mediocre part. 

Overall, it’s a solid dance. While it’s well composed, the dance personally doesn’t stick itself as the strongest, but it’s still up there. The syncing and connection with the song’s intensity is amazing.  

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Overall Score: 8/10 (8/10 raw score) – A solid 8/10 song. I’m actually thinking that perhaps the choreography should’ve been a 9, but I’ll go with what I currently have.

I still recommend the song, it’s very catchy. Just prepare your ears for the horrendous post-chorus and all will be fine.

“Good-night Kiss” is definitely a great kiss; the song is fantastic. With soft vocals backing up the lullaby melody, it becomes very soothing to listen to. The dancing is also fantastic and is well executed with syncing to the song, whether it’d be the movements or matching the intensity. Again, the post-chorus is the only part that is unbearable. 

This review took quite a while. I think it took two hours, but it’s not a big deal since K-Pop is amazing and sharing it is quite fun. As always, thank you so much for reading this, it means a lot. Thanks for also sticking around even if my reviews come a little bit slower. I appreciate it, thank you.

For my next song, I’m probably going to go for Sistar’s goodbye song for the summer, “I Swear”. If not that, I’ll try getting the male groups some love with EXO’s “Growl”. When will my next review be? I’m not quite sure, probably this upcoming Saturday at the latest. I still have a lot of essays to write, but I found that after making this blog, writing comes a lot more naturally. For that, I am quite grateful for what this blog has done for me.

Anyhow, check out the dance practice of “Good-night Kiss” if you haven’t already. Then again, I’m not sure what you’re doing if you read this all without even listening or observing the song/dance at least once.

That also reminds me, feel free to check out the MV for this song. It is on the sexier side, but when I watched it, I couldn’t take it seriously. Why? Not because the MV is bad, but because the behind-the-scenes were very humorous, and seeing that before the actual MV made me recall how jocular certain scenes were (silly Hyosung).

The end has arrived so, as always thank you once more, and remember, “This is a lullaby for you” along with a sweet “Good-night Kiss”

Jiyeon – “1Min 1Sec” Review

Jiyeon – 1Min 1Sec (Live Performance)

Jiyeon – 1Min 1Sec/Never Ever

Reviewed on August 8, 2014

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Personal Message: Alright, it’s been quite a while so I’m quite sorry for that. I’ve been busy with finishing up some summer homework, spending time with my amazing cousins, and recently I’ve been bundled with re-adjusting some technology stuff. While I’m on this topic, a very special person gave my blog a shoutout/advertised it, so if you’re reading this, thank you again and love you! You rock! 

Anyhow, what am I reviewing on this lovely night? Well since T-ARA is making a comeback in September, it’s time to give the “Retro Queens” some love. I’ve already reviewed “Number 9” by them, and I’ve also gave their member, Hyomin, a lot of attention. However, Jiyeon also went solo and I think it’s well deserved she gets her own review, so let’s do it. Oh and before we start, although I didn’t link the MV, I still think it’s worth checking out. It’s a symbolic, meaningful one, however, I’m personally not a fan of it. But check it out anyways. But for now, I’m just linking a live performance. And one last thing, the song title is “doubled” in that it technically has two titles: “1Min 1Sec” and “Never Ever”. For some reason, T-ARA is a big fan of those things (ex. “Do You Know Me?/What Do I Do?”, “I Know The Feeling/Because I Know”, maybe more as well) but it’s not an issue.

Anyways, let’s see how Jiyeon handles singing solo for “1Min 1Sec” and let’s hope she “Never Ever” stops.

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Song Total Score: 8/10 (8/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 8/10 – Before this song, I never thought Jiyeon was too strong of a singer, but I knew she was holding up her weight at least. However, ever since I heard this song, I’ve been quite impressed with her and started to really pay attention to her singing. 

For “1Min 1Sec”, she delivers very solid vocal skills. She’s not pulling off any insane talent to net her any score higher than this, but she’s definitely not falling short. She’s singing in quite a high pitch, but it’s quite soothing and soft. It has a sweet melody to it and it lingers for quite a while. Very solid vocals in this song.

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

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

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

A very standard song structure. Something to note, though, is that after the first chorus, there is technically a “post-chorus” with the “huuhuu~” melody part, but just to keep things simple, I’ll just consider that in with the chorus. 

1. Introduction: 8/10 – I feel that lately for a lot of my reviews, there hasn’t really been a “true” introduction for songs, most just take a few seconds to warm things up and then the verse happens. “1Min 1Sec” takes a very different approach by actually having a legitimate introduction; Jiyeon is following a melody with “hoo hoo~” and eventually we hear “Never ever, ever never” and then the same “hoo~” melody continues until a final “Never ever, ever never”.

Now this introduction sets the stage perfectly; it showcases Jiyeon’s softer vocals and it builds up the mood of the song. It gives a sadder emotional feel and the instrumental does a fantastic job supporting that as well. 

Overall, a solid start that prepares listeners for Jiyeon’s gentle vocals while setting up the tone of the song completely.

2. Verse: 8/10 – I’m a huge fan of this verse, it’s extremely catchy in terms of the flow and Jiyeon’s vocals are quite nice here.

For the verses, Jiyeon begins singing in a slightly fast pace, but she still remains in the higher pitched range. She’s still keeping the softer, gentle style. The flow and melody here are extremely catchy; there’s a lot of “note tossing”, by that I mean how she goes from one note to a second note, but then swaps back to the first note and then goes back to the second note; it’s quite hard to describe but if you ever try playing this on an instrument, you’ll instantly understand. Anyhow, this effect due to the flow makes this part very luring; it lingers and it just baits you in for more. Very solid verses in this song that plays off its catchy note tossing. Jiyeon does a great job with her vocals here. She remains very sweet and high pitched and that further aids the melody and tone of “1Min 1Sec”

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – A short pre-chorus, but it’s to the point.

As expected from a pre-chorus, lots of build up starts occuring here. For this section, Jiyeon starts to deliver a lot more power for her singing; she’s bringing in a lot more energy/intensity. She’s still maintaining the melody and keeping the same high pitch as well. A key detail of this pre-chorus is also the final English lines used at the end: “I wanna be with you, but I will pray for you baby~”

This is a beautiful part. Firstly, it’s in English which creates emphasis due to the contrast of the regular Korean lyrics. Furthermore, the meaning of it also augments the song a lot; it adds more to the lyrics’ story/meaning and it also aids the song’s tone as well. 

Now ignoring the theory/significance side, in terms of singing aspects, it still remains beautiful. For this part, Jiyeon executes it very fluently; for English speakers, it’s completely smooth. This is always a hard task for Korean speakers, so well done Jiyeon for that. But of course besides proper pronunciation, her last part at “baby~” was a solid note hold. It was on the shorter side, but it added enough intensity for a proper transition to the chorus. The note hold itself was also nice to hear since she had a few pitch changing to do there. 

Anyhow, an exceptional pre-chorus that does its job with transitioning to the chorus. However, that wasn’t it; instead, we get to see some great lyrics work along with some stunning singing from our lovely Jiyeon.

4. Chorus: 8/10 – Finally, we’ve come to the center of the song: the chorus. The well known part, in both terms of dance and song.

The flow here is very melodic and it has multiple ways of getting people hooked.

The chorus kicks off with a decent amount of power. Jiyeon starts things off with “Never ever”, the key phrase of this song. Anyhow, after saying that, she resumes singing in Korean but still possesses decent power. She’s still bringing the sweet, softer melody. Anyways after that, the stronger, slower pace of “Never ever” occurs again followed up with the usual line again.

Now after that, Jiyeon brings her vocal intensity down, and has a weaker, slower paced line with “han ja han ja jeogeonaejanha ne ireumeul tto”. A greatly placed line since this allows the chorus to “reset/recycle” itself once again; the same structure starts over once again after this pause in the middle.The very last line, however, does differ. She brings some final power back for her last line of “sumdo swiji motae neo eobsin 1bun 1chorado”. It’s not too much power, but on the bright side, she didn’t abruptly drop the song’s energy. This allows for a smooth transition to the post-chorus, which is the “hoo hoo” melody that occured at the introduction.

The post-chorus, while I’m not grading it necessarily with its own score, I will say, it serves a great purpose. Since the verse is a lot slower and softer than the chorus, it’d be way too contrasting to have a verse follow up immediately after the chorus. As a result, having this post-chorus with the “hoo” melody is perfect to let the song relax itself back and to match itself once again to the verse. Well planned out.

Anyways, a very solid chorus for “1Min 1Sec”. For listeners, the key phrase “Never Ever” happens here and it definitely lingers around and remains catchy. There’s a lot more power in this area and the intensity is increased here. A well satisfying chorus.

5. Bridge: 8/10 – Now we’re at the bridge. Before we start, the transitions to and after are well done. Despite coming straight from the chorus, it merges in completely. In terms of ending it, that goes smoothly as well.

For this bridge, Jiyeon has some interesting singing to do. She would be singing in quite a high pitch for one line, but then for her next line, she’d sing in a middle-high pitch. This repeats for practically the whole bridge, but it creates a very unique contrast between lines. This boosts the intensity without going overboard. For “1Min 1Sec”, it has to stay within its borders since it’s a sadder song. Adding too much energy/intensity would ruin that balance. Anyhow, the bridge does a perfect job with adding just the right amount of extra intensity through the switching pitches between the lines. A very unique thing done here with that swapping of pitches.

Now coming towards the end, I want to highlight the instrumental work done as well. While Jiyeon is doing an amazing job singing, let’s not forget the instrumental backing her up. There’s lots of great syncs with the instrumental, the violins(?) match up completely with Jiyeon’s choppier lines near the end, but with this sync, it further increases the intensity. 

Overall, a solid bridge that plays off its unique line-pitch-swapping tactic. Jiyeon does an exceptional job with carrying the flow and melody, and the instrumental supports her very well. Furthermore, the transitions to and after are flawless. A solid bridge.

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 8/10 – For “1Min 1Sec”, it recycles its chorus for the final conclusion.

I was actually afraid of some two-part singing happening here; the beauty of “1Min 1Sec” is it’s a calmer, yet powerful song. It doesn’t play off intenser vocals, but rather, it just utilizes the synergy between the vocals and instrumental along with its melody/flow. 

Thankfully, nothing overboard happens here. In fact, it’s practically just the chorus once again. While this may seem plain, the top-peak climatic moment shouldn’t be anything too high; that would completely ruin this song’s tone and style. Now moving to the very last few seconds of this song, Jiyeon does her final “Hoo hoo” melody and gradually, it begins to fade out. In terms of the instrumental, the main instruments die off right when she begins the “Hoo hoo” melody but it all truly dies down when Jiyeon is done as well. 

A completely sound ending; it wraps things up completely, it stays in its realm of intensity/energy level, a well suiting conclusion.

– Line Distribution: X/10 – Unfortunately, Jiyeon isn’t with her T-ARA members so can’t be scored.

– Instrumentals: 8/10 – The instrumental for this song is very graceful and classy; in fact, listening to the instrumental by itself is really interesting. Firstly, there are a lot of symbolic sounds, such as thunder and rain. Actually, not sure about the rain. Anyhow, it plays off a piano melody and other classy instruments. I’m rather shocked at how “subtle” the instrumental is; like Jiyeon’s voice, it’s gentle. Nothing too rigorous. A perfect fit with her voice and it does its role of providing for transitions and complementing her singing.

Very solid.

– Meaning: 8/10 – So we know this song contains a sad tone, but what’s the meaning? These English translated lyrics may help us. Not 100% accurate but we’ll get an idea:

huhu huuuu
huhu huu
huhu huuuu
Never ever ever never
huhu huuuu
huhu huu
huhu huuuu
Never ever ever never 

Rain falls then the sun rises
The weather is just like my heart
I cry then I laugh, walk then I run
Disappearing like a dream
Rain falls then the sun rises
The weather is just like my heart
It’s cloudy then it’s clear, tears fall
Then I pretend I’m fine

I’m a nice girl, already wishing for your happiness
I wanna be with you
But I will pray for you baby

Never ever, I can’t give up on you
Never ever, I’m writing down
each letter of your name
Never ever, don’t hide from me
Never ever, don’t leave me
I can’t breathe without you, not for 1 minute 1 second
huhu huuuu
huhu huu
huhu huuuu
Never ever ever never

I hope this is a dream when I close my eyes and open them
I pray and pray then I get tired and fall asleep
I keep having the same nightmare
I can’t escape from it
I hope this is a dream when I close my eyes and open them
I pray and pray then I get tired and fall asleep
Then it repeats again
Please just leave me alone

I’m a nice girl, already wishing for your happiness
I wanna be with you
But I will pray for you baby

Never ever, I can’t give up on you
Never ever, I’m writing down
each letter of your name
Never ever, don’t hide from me
Never ever, don’t leave me
I can’t breathe without you, not for 1 minute 1 second

It’s foolish but you know I’m this kind of girl
So please, this is my last favor
If you ever run into me
Will you please smile at me, who can’t forget you?

Never ever, I can’t give up on you
Never ever, I’m writing down
each letter of your name
Never ever, don’t hide from me
Never ever, don’t leave me
I can’t breathe without you, not for 1 minute 1 second
huhu huuuu huhu huuuu

These lyrics tell the story of a lady (although it could be a male, but in this story specifically, a female) who just can’t seem to forget her ex-partner. She seems to be attached to him and just can’t let him go. As a result, she’s all over the place. She’ll be fine one second but then the next, she’ll be in tears. 

There are some notable lines such as during the verse. It describes her emotions like the weather; the sun comes out (normal, happy) but then rain comes (sad, thinking of the past again).

Now where does the title come from? The line of “I can’t breathe without you, not for 1 minute 1 second” and the second title comes from “Never ever, ——” where she’s refusing to let go of her previous lover.

Anyhow, not the most sophisticated lyrics; I do love the examples, though. It’s a sad story, but I think, although unfortunately, some people can definitely relate to the lyrics. Giving up and trying to forget an ex-partner can certainly be taxing on your emotional and mental health. 

Solid lyrics.

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – I’ve never been so torn between choosing an 8 or 9. So difficult. I think overall, an 8.

The choreography is very, very well synced. It fits in completely; whether it’s snapping maneuvers to match a beat, or fitting hip rolls to match the “hoo hoo” melody, it’s all there. Lots of synchronicity between the dance and song. I’m always a huge fan for that. 

There are some highlighted dance parts, such as the “mirror” dance where Jiyeon has a backup dancer reflecting her movements. There’s also a male dancer who appears a bit and later at the bridge, has a duo dance with her which was unique. 

Now what does throw this dance off a bit are these smaller details. For one, the hip rolling part during the “hoo hoo” melody seems to be slightly out of place; it matches the song but it doesn’t seem fitting. And in fact, it looks slightly awkward. Another thing is one of the key dance points: bat dance! Using her own label for it (I think she called it that), it’s quite unique and the hip movements there completely sync, but it overall does look rather strange. At least it’s one-of-a-kind. Lastly, my last complaint would be the conclusion (chorus) where Jiyeon and the backup dancers all get on their knees and bring their jacket down and just fling their hair like crazy. While it’s synced and I guess arguably matching with theme (going crazy?), it just seems a bit too hectic and what it doesn’t fit, is the “classier” and gentle mood that has been established.

But other than those things, this dance is super entertaining to watch. Lots of great syncing but I wouldn’t say it’s the most spectacular dance I’ve witnessed. 

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Overall Score: 8/10 (8/10 raw score) – Literally a perfect 8 everywhere. I laughed a bit since who would’ve guessed I’ve found the perfect above-average song? Although I think there was another review where it was practically pure 8s all across, but I don’t recall getting straight 8s even inside the Song Structure part.

Anyways, I think this describes “1Min 1Sec” quite well: the perfect above-average song. It’s definitely above average, but nothing incredibly out of this world. Nevertheless, it’s a song worth listening to. If you ever want a song that focuses more on the melody and pacing versus lots of build up and climatic moments, this is the perfect song. It’s a really relaxed song in comparison to a lot of other ones.

It took me 1.5 hours this time for this review, but no problem. It’s always a pleasure to write, but of course, thank you very much for reading. You reading this makes it well worth writing. So thank you once again.

Anyhow, check out Jiyeon’s solo song, “1Min 1Sec”. She does a fantastic job, and if you want to see her other member’s solo, Hyomin with her “Nice Body” (no pun intended) is also another fantastic solo release. I’m really happy with Jiyeon’s work for this song and I hope more can come from her or other members go solo. That’d be quite exciting. At this point, I really can’t pick a “favorite” member of T-ARA. Jiyeon and Hyomin have capitivated me with their solos while the rest of them are still adored. Anyhow, favorites aren’t worth picking since every single one of those ladies are beautiful, smart, and extremely hardworking. Although I have to say, I can relate to Jiyeon with not going out often since she said that she stays home versus going out. Do what makes you happy, whether that’s staying home and being a nerd or going out and having fun. Whatever makes you happy.

Anyways! T-ARA is definitely on a roll I would say, and I can’t wait for their comeback in September. Let’s see how the “Retro Queens” will return. 

Hopefully I didn’t get too dull on this review. I’ll be honest, I’m writing this even though I’m in a more tired state. But it’s all worth it thanks to my readers and since K-Pop is amazing. 

For my next review, I think I’ll spice things up and review a not-so-good song. Which will it be? I have no idea, although I’ll try to get a mediocre song from a group who I still consider very decent. (See my review of “Jeon Won Diary” by T-ARA N4 for an example of what I mean. Amazing group but, not quite that for the song)

Lots of ideas around, so who knows. 

Anyways, the end has come, thanks once again. Hopefully I “Never ever” stop and that you guys keep coming back. After all, “I can’t breathe without you, not for 1 minute 1 second”

Hyomin – “Overcome” Review

Hyomin – Overcome (Live)

Hyomin – Overcome

Reviewed on July 24, 2014

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Personal Message: I’ve wanted to review this song for quite a while since it would be a nice contrast to her other song, “Nice Body”.

Don’t quote me on this but, from what I’ve heard, Hyomin wrote this song by herself along with a few artists helping her. 

And I have to say, just wow. I find the song to be very, very meaningful and deep. In fact, on any rough day, such as today, hearing this gives me some strength. Since the mood is also quite fitting, I might make the personal blog post on why K-Pop means the world to me. 

Anyhow, I’ll do my best not to sound negative and to stay positive and happy as I normally do for my reviews. Just listening to this song gives a lot of encouragement and honestly, I can heavily relate to the lyrics. Just listening to it as I write right now, it really hits me personally. Today, and probably for a few weeks, I’ll probably be replaying this song. 

I’m not sure if Hyomin wrote the lyrics to personally reflect her life, but either way, this rap is incredible. And actually, this is a rap. Reviewing it will be interesting, but let’s give it a shot.

 So let’s see if this rap helps people “Overcome” their problems and if it provides the needed strength to keep moving on. 

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Song Total Score: 9/10 (8.75/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 8/10 – While I’m a huge fan of Hyomin’s voice, she doesn’t have anything extremely outstanding. For this rap, she sounds nice nevertheless. She has great control over her vocals and provides a diverse range whether it’s soft, rougher, powerful or lighter.

Hyomin is definitely a solid singer/rapper, and this song further proves it.

– Song Structure: 9/10 (8.5/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

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

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

Note: Well since it’s a rap song, the structure is a bit interesting. First of all, the introduction is going to just be the instrumental part at the start. Now, the verse is pretty much the sections where Hyomin is rapping full time. So, quite a lengthy verse. Pre-Chorus is the section right after her rapping, where she sings softer. The chorus is when the “La la” occurs. 

1. Introduction: 10/10 – This introduction is beautiful. Because of how well crafted it is, I’m going to have to give it a perfect score. This part is practically perfect.

So at the start, we hear the piano melody that builds the song’s melody and flow. That isn’t it. Next we hear a pencil scribbling away; this sets up the tone of the song very well. We all know this specific sound. It isn’t the sound of writing a to-do list or homework, but it’s the continuous non-stop movement of a pencil scribbling away the writer’s thoughts. A journal, a memo, etc. An essay, even. But anyhow, this is quite a symbolic sound to hear and it truly places the mood of the song.

As for transition, there’s a moment of pausing but then beats kick in. A smooth switch and then Hyomin starts. 

Overall, a very tone setting introduction. The piano melody would’ve sufficed, but the song went further, it added a very symbolic sound of a pencil scribbling. It’s also not some regular scribbling, but instead, it’s the scribbling of someone writing their pain and suffering away. The transition is also excellent. Overall, due to how meaningful the start is, I have to give a 10/10. 

2. Verse: 9/10 – The verses in this song are incredible; Hyomin proves to be an exceptional rapper.

The flow of the rap is solid, there’s excellent pacing and emphasis on certain words. Hyomin’s melody is still there and it complements the instrumental quite well. For the first verse, her line of “Life is pain but I live till I die” was also extremely powerful; vocally she added a bit more intensity there and meaning-wise. Overall, there’s just so much flow and charisma from her; the lyrics had emotion, energy, and power.

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – This part provided a nice break after the continuous melodic, and intenser verse. 

For this part, Hyomin utlizes softer vocals. The transition went smoothly since the instrumentals became more passive. The vocals and instrumental blend well together here. In summary, though, this part was focused on as a break and a less energetic section to contrast the rapping verses. Nevertheless, the singing here was very relaxing; it was almost a whisper and her lines of “Maybe…Maybe” also added onto the calming flow.

4. Chorus: 8/10 – The chorus is a unique mix of singing and rapping; overall quite solid.

For the chorus, we do hear a repeated “La La La” followed up with some rapping. Now, while most of you may know by that I despise any chorus that utilizes non-sense with “La la la/oh oh oh”, this provides a VERY nice fit. It allows the instrumental to flow and work freely with the vocals aiding it there. The follow up rap that occurs further refines it; smooth to a rap flow and repeated is a really interesting flow. 

Overall, really solid chorus that utilizes breaks through chunking “La La…” while still having rapping. Furthermore, it soothes the song into fitting its lyrics and mood.

5. Bridge: 8/10 – A solid bridge here. For this part, it’s completely rapped still. Nevertheless, the bridge follows the norm. The vocals and instrumental go passive. The rapping flow is still there, but the melody is somewhat lost since Hyomin’s voice is “filtered” a bit here. Thankfully, near the end, the filter fades away slightly and the melody is heard once again along with Hyomin stepping up the pacing and intensity to bring a smooth transition back to the song and to the next part, the conclusion.

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 8/10 – Not the strongest finish, but it wasn’t awful. I’m glad it stayed within limits in terms of intensity; with a meaningful, ruminating feel established, having a super hyped up conclusion would’ve thrown that away.

Anyhow, the conclusion practically repeats its chorus. Everything seems very similar, which is completely acceptable for this song’s mood. The conclusion plays off the piano melody that appears throughout the rap and near the end, we can hear it once again. Slowly, everything else fades out until the piano is the last one remaining. Then slowly, the piano fades out as well.

So overall, a sufficient conclusion; the ending faded out properly. The only issue is it felt like I was listening to the chorus once again, but taking the song’s tone into consideration, it’s acceptable since anything to add a final climatic peak of energy wouldn’t fit the serious, sadder mood.

 – Line Distribution: X/10 – Can’t be applied since she’s going solo here.

– Instrumentals: 8/10 – The instrumental was quite solid, it provided nice transitions and it definitely accompanied Hyomin’s rapping/singing. Nothing super extraordinary, but it did its job and aided Hyomin’s vocals.

– Meaning: 10/10 – Perhaps one of the more meaningful songs I’ve stumbled upon. Here are the lyrics, not 100% accurate, but clear enough:

The life I wanted, my earnest wishes
After betraying myself and leaving far away
I became alone because the world turned against me
The last leaf that fell outside the window
It was hard even to look at myself in the mirror
So I only chased after unimportant things
It was better when I was younger
An existence that was as small as dust
What good is it if wounds heal when scars still remain?
I’m looking for a happiness that can’t be seen
Staying away from anything
other than work, money and love
After losing my way, I’ve come here
Life is pain but I live till I die
The blood and sweat I shed to make my flower bloom
I was scared in front of you and change
But when I closed and opened my eyes, morning came 

The day passes and night comes, like the shining stars
Maybe Maybe
It’s a star that I forgot about for a moment
Like a star that falls for today
Maybe Maybe
I will shine from today on

La La La La La La La La La
Just like a star falling at night for the next day
I’m a star that fell just for today
La La La La La La La La La
Just like a star that shines after
the day ends and night comes
I will be a shining star from today on

The setting sun that shines through the steel window
Mixes with my loneliness
I tied my shoelaces to get ahead than others
But it gets tangled up and I can’t even go home
I can’t even resent anyone
The long haired girl now cuts up her own hair
Standing in front of a split road
Skin hardened out of emotion, heart feeling frustrated

My dreams are hidden by darkness
I barely made it alive
I wanted to hide myself anywhere, seclude myself
I thought I was being wise but I was being dull
But failure gives you new opportunities
Don’t forget how to get back up again
I’ll say it proudly after I get back up
As you can see, I can get up by myself

The day passes and night comes, like the shining stars
Maybe Maybe
It’s a star that I forgot about for a moment
Like a star that falls for today
Maybe Maybe
I will shine from today on

Loneliness reflects off of me
The pain seemed like it’ll end some day
In the end I came all this way
I trust myself in excitement rather than anxiety
Loneliness reflects off of me
The pain seemed like it’ll end some day
In the end I came all this way
I trust myself in excitement rather than anxiety

La La La La La La La La La
Just like a star falling at night for the next day
I’m a star that fell just for today
La La La La La La La La La
Just like a star that shines after
the day ends and night comes
I will be a shining star from today on

I really, really want to know her inspiration for this song. Was it to personally reflect her life? Others she knew? So many questions. Anyhow, these lyrics are very, very meaningful and deep. 

Personally today’s a rough day but, looking at these lyrics and being able to relate to it and its message, it’s a really nice way to gather my strength once again and to keep pushing on with life. After all, “Life is pain but I live till I die”.

Anyhow, the lyrics tell a story or someone. Perhaps Hyomin, herself, or any other regular human being. Since I’m into the lyrics, I’ll break it down.

The life I wanted, my earnest wishes
After betraying myself and leaving far away
I became alone because the world turned against me

So the person had a certain life they wanted; it was their sincere wish. What kind of life? That’s up to you to decide. Perhaps they wanted to be successful, perhaps they wanted for once a happy family, etc. Anyhow, after the person fails with something or perhaps achieving this wish, they run away from their problems. The person feels alone since it just seems like the whole world is against them. No one is by their side.

The last leaf that fell outside the window
It was hard even to look at myself in the mirror
So I only chased after unimportant things
It was better when I was younger
An existence that was as small as dust

For this part, the “last leaf” is hard to exactly label. It could be representing how time is passing by after all the incidents this person went through or it could be symbolizing a “last chance”. Anyhow, this person starts becoming ashamed of themselves. As a result of this low self-esteem, they go after things that are unimportant in life. This could be a really useless job, chasing after another bottle of alcohol, etc. The last part is something we all can relate to. Life when we were younger. Your existence wasn’t a big deal; not in the idea of how your life doesn’t matter, but the idea of how you didn’t need to worry about the future of your existence. 

What good is it if wounds heal when scars still remain?
I’m looking for a happiness that can’t be seen
Staying away from anything
other than work, money and love
After losing my way, I’ve come here
Life is pain but I live till I die

The next part is also quite meaningful. Here, there’s the sophisticated, philosophical idea on scars and wounds. I can definitely relate as can anyone else. While the initial injury always fades over time, scars don’t. They will always be there. For me, that’s something I’m still trying to get over. Scars will always be there. Anyhow, this person is searching for their happiness. It’s invisible, after all, how can there be happiness if this person is only concerned with work, money, and love. After this person has went through the unknown trauma, this is what their life has become.

Seemingly pain. But, “life is pain but I live till I die”. Very meaningful.

The blood and sweat I shed to make my flower bloom
I was scared in front of you and change
But when I closed and opened my eyes, morning came 

Now here is some ruminating. The hardwork this person has done is what allowed their flower to bloom. After that that thought, this person thinks back perhaps to the incident/trauma. A figure is their fear; change was also a fear. But, what this person realizes is, that’s in the past. When they went to sleep, the morning still came. Life still continues.

Anyhow, I just wanted to show off how these lyrics can be quite meaningful and I wanted to express my own take on what they could mean.

Something to be noted, though, is this:

But failure gives you new opportunities
Don’t forget how to get back up again
I’ll say it proudly after I get back up
As you can see, I can get up by myself

In hardships, we all have to remember to get back up. And Hyomin is there to remind us of that. 

Overall, very, very meaningful lyrics. These are my favorite lyrics of all time and in rougher times, songs like these is what keeps me getting back up.

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Choreography Score: X/10 – A…rap ballad…?

Anyhow, this wasn’t a pumped up, have fun rap. It was a more serious one with quite some meaning. As a result, there is no choreography whatsoever.

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Overall Score: 9/10 (9/10 raw score) – No choreography, so the Choreography Score isn’t included here.

So purely the Song Total Score.

A solid 9/10 which I agree with. 

The rapping and singing from Hyomin are incredible. The rapping is very solid, there’s excellent flow, power, and melody.

The lyrics are extremely meaningful and can definitely provide the needed strength to keep people pushing on with life. 

Overall, I cherish this song. For my current hardship, this will be what I need to get up. Also, looking up to Sera (my role model, former Nine Muses member/leader) and thinking about how she got through her tough periods also gives me encouragement. 

Hopefully I didn’t sound too depressing, writing this ended up helping me out. Expressing myself through songs is just, it’s an indescribable feeling. As usual, thank you for reading this. That also keeps me going.

While Hyomin is known for her “Nice Body” (no pun intended), let’s not forget the intelligence and realistic side of her through “Overcome”.

I hope you find a song that gives you strength, for me, I hope to “Overcome” my problems through Hyomin’s words.