ZE:A J’s Music Video – “Marry Me” Review

Reviewed on August 22, 2015

ZE:A J – Marry Me (Music Video)

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Personal Message: After skimming my prior review of Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You,” I do feel rather shameful. While the length is more concise, I feel that the conducted analyses were poor in quality, and thus, the reason for the conciseness; rather than the review being shorter due to proper compact writing, it is, most likely, due to the lack of given analysis. Of course, however, instead of glooming over a horrendous review, moving on through reflection and correction will be done (and it was the second trial of a newly adjusted review outline). That said, in attempts to bring the blog back to its usual rate, and to slightly redeem the past review, a bonus one has been prepared: ZE:A J’s music video, “Marry Me.” Furthermore, to build upon the idea of “bonus,” rather than this being a Korean Pop song, it is a Chinese Pop song (or ballad, more accurately, and it is in Mandarin). To clarify, though, the group is a Korean group, and specifically, a sub-unit.

Partially continuing the latter topic, although ZE:A may be a Korean group, there are no issues with them deciding to tackle a Chinese song (minus potential pronunciation mistakes, but based on many, the men did well for this song). In fact, by them doing so, in a social lens, it is highly beneficial as it showcases acceptance of multiple cultures, languages, and so forth. Coincidentally, the miniature digression in the review of Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You” reflects here: music can be a catalyst to promote understanding and acceptance of differences. Due to already discussing this subject, for those interested, reading the mentioned review should be done.  

For what has yet to be discussed, however, and in the review itself, will not be as it is a music video review, to address “Marry Me” in a musical context, although it is not an exceptionally outstanding ballad, it is still rather solid. If it were to be reviewed (for its audio), I predict a seven for “above average.” The vocals are to ZE:A’s usual, high standard, and for other categories, such as with the instrumental and sections, all are equally promising. Now, in terms of the music video, offering brief opinions, biasedly, I adore it as I absolutely love romantic plots and wish, one day, I will be able to experience love due to its overarching theme, and furthermore, its appealing visual content. However, for what is disliked, a weaker plot does exist. Admittedly, however, with ZE:A being in spotlight, with the men being my favorite male group, automatic support is granted. Nevertheless, the review will determine, unbiasedly, if the music video is worth praising.

Before truly beginning, for a short digression based on ZE:A being a personal, beloved group (for those interested in solely the review, feel free to skip to it), interesting remarks were made from a friend when I shared the music video, and additionally, from discussing “ideal types.” As always, I do not intend to antagonize my friend or anyone, but, for the purpose of critically challenging certain replies, a discussion must take place. Many readers may relate to the given scenario, and thus, it is worth spending time to dissect it. With such, to offer context, though I was certainly quite excited with sharing the video, a friend responded with: “Stop fanboying this much, it’s not right and gross.” Peculiarly, though, when it comes to female groups, I have not received this reply from her, hence why this is can be considered more than a request to quit acting excessively (and with past “fanboying,” I was certainly more excited, such was with AOA’s “Heart Attack,” of which she accepted).

First of all, to humorously continue the use of the term “fanboy,” nothing is wrong with, as a male, “fanboying” over male groups (or persons). There is no shame in admiring the men of ZE:A for their skills, sweet manners, intelligence, and even physical beauty. As shared in a past review, I greatly adore Kevin from ZE:A for his attitude and work ethics, and furthermore, for providing me confidence with using makeup as a male. Blatantly, there is nothing “gross” or “wrong” with that admiration (or using makeup, as discussed in Infinite’s “The Chaser”). Offering a disturbing find, for an opposite example, females “fangirling” over females tends to be accepted, or at least, more so than when a male does it, and most likely, that is not a mere coincidence. Arguably, gender norms are the reasons for why males tend to be shamed for admiring other males, and diving deeper with such leads to unfortunate discoveries.

Summarizing two main parts, male standards and, once again, undervaluing femininity, are the reasons for why it is “gross” for a male to highly admire males. Addressing the component of male standards, homophobia arrives: males are supposed to be heterosexuals; not being a heterosexual as a male can be equated to not even being a male. Therefore, with the possible chance of being associated with homosexuality, such as through affection for other males, many opt to hide any form of affection for males. The current result from such reflects in that, for males admiring other males, it is considered “gross.”

On that note, there are many issues with this current norm. Most importantly, for one aspect, homosexuality should not be considered as disgusting. It is highly inequitable for heterosexuality to be considered “right” when there is never a “correct” sexual orientation (heterosexuality has been socialized and pushed as “normal”). Furthermore, assumptions towards sexual orientation can never be made; it is impossible to gauge a person’s sexual orientation through behavior as, unlike what is often time showcased, sexual orientation does not relate to a person’s behavior (current stereotypes exist to degrade homosexuals as if they were savages and so forth). As I have already allocated much time towards the discussion of homophobia and its connection to masculinity, I will link the review that discusses it: Teen Top’s “Ah Ah.” Perfectly timed, the review uses an example of “fanboying,” and thus, for the purpose of time, I will halt the discussion here. (For a side note, it is pleasing to be able to link reviews that have already discussed certain social topics. This showcases how much I digress that many important, rarer discussions are taking place.)

That said, for the second piece of undervaluing femininity, though that has been ubiquitously discussed in my reviews, I have yet to do so in the context of male gender norms. In terms of how male-to-male admiration shaming reflects such, being affectionate is connoted as feminine; acting caring and loving is considered an act that females do. To clarify, though it is worth challenging why that trait has been socialized as a gender norm, it should also be acknowledged that being affectionate is not negative. In fact, it is a highly beneficial, essential trait that, arguably, the world is in shortage of. But, returning to the main topic, if being affectionate is far from negativity, it would then appear illogical for males to be shamed for showcasing such. Masculinity, or more accurately, toxic masculinity, and, as stated, undervaluing femininity, are why male affection is disapproved.

Males are socialized to be dominant, and with defining dominant, being open to opinions and displaying care, for examples, are not a part of the description (and if asking why males are taught that, it can be linked to continuing the idea of male superiority, and with it being continually perpetuated, it allows sexism to keep thriving). Therefore, for one aspect, being affectionate, especially towards another male, is failing to uphold the “manly” standard of being dominant and authoritative. Now, connecting the piece of undervaluing femininity, due to how affection is associated with females, males doing so are downgrading in social rank; a male acting feminine is disliked as, for androcentric societies, females are not rendered as equal to males, but rather, inferior. Disclosing an example, a woman who acts dominant and apathetic is often time praised as, with those behaviors, masculinity is in place, yet when a man displays emotions, such as crying to shows or greatly adoring male idols, he is insulted and shamed as, based on current norms, those feminine acts are repulsive, and more so when by a male and in no way am I coincidentally mentioning that I have fell into the latter via crying a river to “Jessica & Krystal” and highly adoring ZE:A.

For additional discussion, a much older review on Apink’s “Luv” dives into this gender value disparity. Overall, it is shameful that positive, feminine traits are disliked when, as explained, feminine traits are not poor. Also, to explain, masculine traits in themselves are not horrendous, but rather, current standards of those traits are. Instead of teaching males that being authoritative and dominant is to shut down various opinions and emotions, males should be taught that being authoritative is to advocate for those who are, indeed, ignored, and that it means to be open to opinions. Furthermore, males should not be limited to being taught “masculine” traits, but also, “feminine” ones, and anticipatedly, females should follow suit with being taught both “masculine” and “feminine”  traits as, if standards were equitable, both labels are worthy of praise, unlike the current standard where one is not.

Delivering a final message, and the one I simply told my friend (and could have stated at the start to save two hours), there is nothing wrong with “fanboying” over ZE:A, or other males, since, real men know how to love people, regardless of who they are. Rather than continuing the toxic trends of masculinity, it is best to reconstruct it so that, in the future, both masculinity and femininity is admired. In this specific case, and for a personal message to male readers, remember what “being a man” is truly: being sweet, friendly, smart, open for opinions, helpful, expressive, and so forth. It is manly to cry, to love, and to compliment other males. That said, it is also manly to love sports, cars, and other, typical male-related activities, but likewise, it is still manly to be into makeup, fashion, and so forth. In the end, being a man is to be able to embrace femininity and masculinity, and to be a kind, decent human being. It should not, and  does not, mean what the current, perplexing standards showcase.

As this digression has ran a longer length, I will save the embarrassing discussion of “ideal types” for a future review (in short, my friend and I shared qualities we would love in a partner, and with my list, she found it highly “absurd”). On topic, with the sub-unit group of ZE:A J, the five, lovely men, in addition to unveiling what real masculinity is, will also, hopefully, showcase a decent music video.

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Plot Score: 4/10

So that readers understand my personal interpretation of the plot, and thus, the reasons for possible criticism, I will offer my personal summary of the music video. Concerningly, however, the plot can already be summarized in one sentence: five men are followed, and each presents their own method on how they propose to their partner, or charmingly phrased, soon-to-be-wife.

Diving into specifics, the video opens with (for the purpose of simplicity, members’ names will be used for the characters) Dongjun and his partner walking under serene, vivid trees. The two hold hands, and later, decide to take pictures. Afterwards, a transition is made to another character: Heechul. He and his date enjoy a dinner. Hastily progressed, the music video then switches to Minwoo, the third character. Differentiating from the prior scenes, his date and him are not on land, but instead, on water: the two are in a rowboat in a pool. Fast forwarding, the song’s title is finally upheld: a toy boat arrives with a ring, and as depicted, Minwoo proposes to his love-interest. Continuing to the fourth character, Taeheon and his partner are witnessed playing games, such as pool and, for a lack of name, the “lucky alligator.” Lastly, for Kevin, a magic performance is given by him for his partner. After mystically changing his clothing and turning a rabbit plushie into an actual one, he unveils a final trick: placing a wedding veil over her head, of which can be considered his way of proposing.

With the remaining duration, and likewise, for other segments throughout the video, standard singing is showcased. Nonetheless, in terms of the music video’s plot, its end will be assumed at the wedding veil placement.

– Analysis: Although the plot is infatuating, that moreover is due to the general, sweet and romantic theme, not the plot directly; the plot, in essence, is plain, though on the surface, it appears as enticing due to its love concept. Praising a few notable aspects, however, for one, the use of five characters’ perspectives does allow variety. If the music video was centered on solely one member, a more stagnant, linear plot could have potentially been the outcome. Positively, with five characters in spotlight, rather than one affectionate relationship, five are observed. Furthermore, although it would be predicted that every character was to propose, solely Minwoo and Kevin did (or at least, for the depicted scenes). While inconsistency from such may seem troubling, in the case of “Marry Me,” with solely two characters proposing, redundancy is prevented. A few of the characters’ relationship were at the point of marriage, but for the others, different points existed, and that diversity aids in keeping “Marry Me” unique and interesting.

Switching to the negatives, and for why the score is a four, of which indicates a slightly below average plot, reiterating the earlier point, though the plot is lovely in the context of genuine love and marriage, that is solely what is displayed. There is no complexity to the music video’s plot. Utilizing the term of “eye-candy,” that is “Marry Me” ‘s music video; the video to ZE:A J’s song is one that focuses moreover on visual appeal than a mentally stimulating story. The plot is, sadly, lackluster, and even with the exclusive methods of proposing and the adorable scenes, there is a minimal story.

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Structural Score: 8/10

Optimistically, despite a lower score for its plot, for the structural score–the category that relates to visual content and how the music video is edited or “structured”–a higher-end rating exists: solid. “Marry Me” is fantastic in the realm of visual appeal, as stated earlier.

Addressing a usual, yet effective, component for music videos, “Marry Me” manipulates transitions between plot scenes and singing scenes. Elaborating, the loving, cuter scenes involving a character and partner would alternate to a single shot, or, at specific times, an entire group shot, involving the ZE:A J members. With a plethora of scenes lasting for shorter lengths of seconds, the constant alternating allows more visual content to be compacted in the music video’s timeframe. Additionally, with minimal time to truly consume every scene thoroughly, this constant switch maintains visual appeal as, overall, analyzing is relentless.     

Focusing moreover on the visual content, in the lens of settings, the multiple backgrounds were attractive: the walk under the blossoming trees; the single and group shots involving an ostentatious mansion; the outdoor, shining pool; the inside of said mansion where games were played; and lastly, the outdoors, though specifically at night. Although, overarchingly, the settings were of a single, general one involving a mansion and its surrounding, with precise attention towards certain points of the overall background, variety is still in place. Also, it is preferable that “Marry Me” adopts its current background route: rather than backgrounds that would be highly abstract and random to one another, with all of the settings relating, organization is in place, and of course, general consistency, both of which greatly build upon the music video’s romantic theme versus, for an undesirable outcome, distracting viewers.

For an ultimate piece to the video’s structural layer, for how the members and actress appeared, needless to state, all are very chic. The copious, stylish clothings and equally stunning hair styles for the men and lady are gorgeous, and furthermore, with it all flawlessly meshing with the given backgrounds, all of them unequivocally contribute to the music video’s visual appeal.

An eight will hold as the structural score. Though “Marry Me” possesses a weaker plot, with its visual component, much compensation occurs.

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

Averaging out the two categories, ZE:A J’s music video of “Marry Me” can be considered a slightly above average video, and that I partially agree to; biasedly, I hold this video at a seven, but realistically, as with the review, I do accept that it holds at a six. For a new release, the men of ZE:A J continue to showcase their charms, both with vocals and their acting, and personally, I am glad the group is active once more. It has been more than a year since the group as a whole returned, and although this is a sub-unit release, it is better than none. ZE:A is highly underrated despite their consistently proven talents.

Before proceeding further, once again, I am writing past midnight. Therefore, should the writing significantly falter, I do apologize. On topic, thank you very much for reading. As there has been a significant delay with the blog, I am relieved to have finished this within two days of the prior review. Nevertheless, with this being a music video review, and thus, exceptionally shorter than standard song reviews, that is to be expected. One more bonus review is planned: Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart,” and specifically, akin to this review, the ladies’ music video will be of focus. Due to a request for both of Girls’ Generation’s latest releases, “Lion Heart” and “You Think,” as time will restrict both songs from being reviewed, I have decided to split the request: “Lion Heart” will be reviewed for its music video, and “You Think” for the song itself. To the requester, I greatly apologize for modifying the request, but with time restraints, I hope for understanding.

Afterwards, unless if more requests arrive, the current, personal list will be continued. Because of university coming up on August 31, I will be attempting to post as many reviews as possible, and with this review taking solely two days, I feel encouraged. That said, as this is the end, thank you once again for reading, and stay tuned for another music video review. And though I would normally insert my reviews’ iconic conclusions, as I unfortunately do not speak Mandarin and that no translations have been posted, I am forced to confess my emotions: I hope readers “marry me.” And by the phrase, I do mean that many will continue reading my reviews. Keep checking back for a review on the music video to Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart.”

Wonder Girls – “I Feel You” Review

Wonder Girls – I Feel You (Music Video)

Wonder Girls – I Feel You

Reviewed on August 19, 2015

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Personal Message: Once again, I am slightly delayed with a review. In truth, offering excuses, I have allocated my writing time towards video time; rather than writing for reviews, for a few days, I have used that time to watch videos, and specifically, ones of Apink. Furthermore, besides nearly squealing and squeezing the “life” out of my stuffed penguin calmly enjoying videos of the group (“Apink Diary Season 2” is excellent), I have also come across a ballad by the ladies that I absolutely adore: “Deja Vu.” Surprisingly, the leader herself, Chorong, wrote the lyrics. Also, to clarify, it is shocking not on the basis of questioning her capabilities, but rather, surprising due to the higher leveled composition skills. The lyrics to “Deja Vu” are thorough in detail, possess an intriguing plot–even if it follows the standard story of love, and lastly, sonically, the lyrics flow well with the song’s melody. And, of course, for the song itself, musically, it is lovely.

Now, while awed by Chorong’s intelligence and talents, a question does linger: how did she develop her lyrics? Perhaps out of creativity, but also, potentially, personal experience. The latter seemingly ignites much discussion or, at least, in a friend’s case, her humorous delusion that she is Chorong’s supposed, lost love. That said, however, if her admiration towards Chorong is embarrassing, I follow suit with adoring Eunji from the group, and more pitifully, after listening to “Deja Vu,” yearning that, one day, a lady will find me lovable, as Chorong does for her real or figurative boy. Pushing aside hopeless, romantic dreams, and, most likely, the most random digression to exist for a review, to truly focus on the current review, an exciting one is in place: Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You.”

On a serious note, with finishing video subtitling and nearly a summer assignment, this review did become delayed. Thus, I do apologize to the requester as, with this song being requested for review, high priority should exist. Optimistically, with a new outline in place (as tested in Apink’s “Remember”), I do hope this review is hastily published, all while maintaining quality, of course. On the subject of Wonder Girls, there is much to discuss: the song, the group, and also, music in a general scope.

In terms of Wonder Girls, admittedly, I do lack familiarity; due to the group residing towards an older generation of K-Pop groups, I simply lack exposure. However, though Wonder Girls’ era has faded, for their trending period, they were exceptionally popular. In fact, if correct, current, highly popular groups, such as Girls’ Generation, Big Bang, and 2NE1, for a few examples, fail to provide an equivalent example of Wonder Girls’ prior popularity (emphasis towards “if correct”). Overall, Wonder Girls are often time considered a very noteworthy, senior K-Pop group, and for many, the ladies are considered the epitome of K-Pop due to their previous, sheer popularity. Now, regardless of my words’ accuracy, certain aspects are in place: I find it an honor to be able to review an older generation group, and though the degree of popularity may be unclear, the group was certainly so.

Focusing on “I Feel You,” I foreshadowed the song to be of modern style; I predicted the ladies to possess a comeback that would replicate the many ongoing ones: a summer themed, upbeat, and cheerier song. Interestingly, the traits are correct, but differently, “I Feel You” is not of modern style, or even the group’s own period’s style: Wonder Girls’ latest comeback adopts a 1980s pop style, if accurate. As a result, although I enjoy the unique concept, I do fear that, with my reviews being calibrated for current K-Pop songs, the rubric may be slightly harsher for “I Feel You.” Nevertheless, for purpose of consistency, I will have to maintain the review outline’s strictness, and joyfully, even with an older style of pop music, “I Feel You” should hold decently.

Abruptly beginning a new topic, as is the trend in my Personal Message category (feel free to skip to the review itself), Wonder Girls’ comeback instills a discussion that, unlike other reviews’ digressions, is not akin to social topics directly, but rather, simply music, though admittedly in a cultural lens. Music is a peculiar, fantastic phenomenon. Music is able to garner attention through its sheer sounds, but furthermore, it is able to discreetly, yet potently, deliver messages, of which relate to social aspects. Considering how the blog has yet to dive into music in a more general, open discussion, this review will do so as, with “I Feel You” specifically, the subject of “music evolution” arises.

With being exposed to older pop during my childhood (will share more later), it is astounding to track how, for the genre of pop (and other genres), changes have occurred, and more accurately, are occurring. In fact, recalling my professor’s words, summarizing his message: a book written of music is, by the time publishing happens, outdated; writing a book regarding music will become irrelevant when it becomes published. Music evolves quickly. Returning to why such is worthy of discussing, two reasons: one, the significance of said music evolving at a speeding rate; and two, how people follow changes in music.

Addressing the first portion, with music continually, gradually changing in styles, sounds, and so forth, it can be confidently assumed that music is not a random, abstract trend that will eventually fade out. Therefore, it can be concluded that music is permanent, and this, to be explained later, has significant connotations. In terms of the latter, while music evolves hastily, people, in contrast, tend to follow more slowly; music may sound entirely different in a few years, but often time, a person will remain in the era of which they prefer. This, as a result, leaves a thought: music is taught, or more generally, socialized into a person. After all, if music was bereft of cultural and social influences, people would equally adapt to trends, but that is not the case as, for example, many still listen to older pop, rap, and other genres.

While this argument may seem incoherent as of now, I will clarify towards the end. But, returning to the idea of music socialization, if that phrase may be used, the concept appears as legitimate. Tracking my personal history with music, I believe I was socialized to love certain genres, specifically pop and ballad (and even EDM). Expanding my socialization process in terms of music, from childhood, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese) ballads were constantly played, whether at home or in the car (there is a Chinese ballad I sincerely love and will share with readers one day, though I can only find an English version as of now). And, of course, to address my enjoyment of pop music, homogenous to Chinese ballads, I was also consistently exposed to pop, though in the lens of America. Listing three major American pop artists I listened to as a child, C.C Catch (if accurate on her artist name), and for very notable, famous ones, Madonna and Michael Jackson, were the pop artists I constantly heard. Expectedly, pop became a favored genre, though now it has shifted to that of Korean Pop versus American Pop (which requires another review to discuss).

Now, arguing why music is socialized and not self-taught (as in personally finding one’s preferences) as a few would claim, during my exposure to Chinese ballads, I, ironically, loathed the songs. As a child, ballads soothed me to sleep, and not out of comfort, but jocularly, boredom. Nevertheless, with my current age, I adore ballads, even with hating the genre when younger. The genre simply grew into a musical preference over time, and for pop, the same applies. On topic, for the ultimate message: if music is universal and permanent, as showcased by the constant evolution of it, and if music preferences are socialized and not merely individually discovered, for an intriguing idea to ruminate over, music can be an effective medium for creating understanding among one another.

Whether as basic as accepting and respecting a person’s own genres, or as complex as embracing songs in foreign languages, music provides a bridge for understanding differences. Despite not personally knowing Mandarin, for example, and comically, even with knowing Cantonese, for ballads in either languages, although comprehension is none to minimal, I still highly adore the songs. Likewise, K-Pop follows suit, and many readers may also feel similarly. Furthermore, in addition to embracing different cultures’ music in a sonic context, music is capable of delivering social messages, implicitly and explicitly, hence why a vast majority Personal Messages in reviews discuss a social topic that, often time, derives from the song in review.

Overall, summarizing the most disorganized digression I have yet to venture into, should people understand and embrace differences in songs, such as via genres or even language, and additionally, if songs provide positive, equitable ideas, as observed in MAMAMOO’s “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” for example, then music may be the catalyst for shifting societies to exactly such: equity. By being able to respect multiple genres and languages of songs, said respect could easily translate to accepting and understanding differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, and so forth.

For the many who invest time into K-Pop but are not Korean, for example, no shame should exist (Girls’ Generation’s review actually discussed the topic of shaming K-Pop). Music is universal; music exists in every culture (ignorantly stated, that is; there may a culture without music, but from gauging many, a form of music often time exists). Thus, for what can be gleaned from this random digression, respect music. Respect different genres (that is, even if a genre is not preferred, outrightly bashing is erroneous), different languages in songs, and such. Doing so is more than accepting sounds, but more critically, is accepting different cultures and customs.

Finally returning to Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You” after the most confusing writing I have composed, addressing the link, I am including the music video for the purpose of audio. Remarking on the music video, although it maintains the theme of 1980s summer pop, it is rather perplexing, and from what I have interpreted, it is solely random visual content that directly reflects the song’s lyrics. Regardless, the audio is what should be of focus. With that, although I feel a 1980s concept, in truth, I do not feel a strong song.

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

– Vocals: 6/10 – Before genuinely beginning, foremost, I apologize to both requester and readers for this review’s overwhelming delay. With university arriving incredibly soon, I have been preparing via finishing work, refining personal schedules, and other, miscellaneous details. Thus, reviews have been halted. Once everything is settled, I have plans to quickly review two additional songs, and afterwards, to return the blog to a usual pace. Also, if the blog is seemingly inactive, as stated in the past, if I am not writing, often time for a different activity, I am subtitling videos. Therefore, should readers desire a temporary filler for reviews, I suggest watching a few of my YouTube channel’s videos.  

Pitiful excuses aside, for the vocals in “I Feel You,” generously, a six is the rating. Clarifying the word “generously,” I am referring to the word since, biasedly, a five would seem more suiting. Realistically, however, the vocals are decent. First, the vocals do adopt a distinctive style: whispering and soft. In addition to crafting the song’s 1980s pop theme, in a sonic lens, this delivery style augments the melody, and furthermore, creates a soothing, fluent flow. For example, at the verses, the raspier singing accentuates the ongoing note stretches, and thus, a more enticing tune is in place. In other sections, the singing style also aids the melody: the choruses benefit from contrast of standard singing and the whispered words of “I feel you.”

Now, addressing the other component, for how the vocals’ flow is affected, with the whispering singing demeanor, it becomes exploited to grant a gradual, seamless progression. Elaborating with an example, the verses’ singing begins in a noticeable, raspier style, but with the upcoming sections, the hefty breathing discreetly fades: the pre-choruses, though possessive of the prior sections’ vocals, is moreover short segments than full lines, and for the choruses, the whispering style nearly disappears. As an overall outcome, “I Feel You” ‘s vocals follow a cohesive, organized route, and also, more variety is in place as no section sounds akin to another.

Unfortunately, issues are still in place, hence a six and not a higher score. Returning to the vocal style, while helpful to the melody, simultaneously, it is also impairing. With the pre-choruses, although the sections suit in the realm of vocal progression, mechanically, the sections sound monotonous. The raspier singing that occurs is, unlike the verses, rather linear. Rather than changes in pitches, pacings, and other traits, the singing at the pre-choruses recycle a singular, plain melody. Expectedly, mundanity accumulates. Furthermore, the post-choruses contain an identical issue, though to an even larger degree.

Accounting for the mentioned incidents will prevent a higher score than a six. Nonetheless, with notable,  serene singing in other sections, “slightly above average” still holds.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.14/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10

2. Verse: 5/10  

3. Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4. Chorus: 6/10

5. Post-Chorus: 3/10

6. Rap: 5/10

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10

– Analysis: In terms of the song’s weakest category, its sections prove so. Many of the sections in “I Feel You” are rated as average, and disappointedly, for one, below average. Optimistically, however, a few are slightly above average.

Starting with the introduction and conclusion, both are regarded adequately: sixes, or in actual words, “slightly above average.” Both fulfill traditional roles, and furthermore, carry pleasing tunes. Specifically with the introduction, for setting the song’s concept, the 1980s pop sound to “I Feel You” is instantly showcased via its solo instrumental. Additionally, with such preserving the vocals, anticipation is gained, of which is always vital for an introduction as it is responsible for luring in listeners. Similarly, the conclusion follows suit, though in its own context. “I Feel You” naturally fades out with, akin to the introduction, a solo instrumental, and besides the mentioned instrumental serving as a flawless, precise closure, it allows the song to conclude with its distinctive qualities: old pop music. In the end, for what prevents a higher rating for the two sections, sonically, the occurred instrumental hinders the score. If it were partially more alluring, then, perhaps a seven would hold.

Switching to the verses, although the Vocals category noted admirable singing, sadly, for the remaining component of structure, it falters. The verses may contain pleasing vocals, but with the sections’ format, redundancy is rife. A single melody is reused twice, and as a result, accounting for the lack of deviating factors, and also, utterly captivating singing (the vocals are still decent, but not enough to compensate), the verses quickly lose appeal. Offering a desired outcome, the choruses provide an example: a reused melody, but delightfully, accompanied with minor fluctuations. Like the verses, the choruses replay its melody twice, however, with the second playback, vocal intensity increases, even if marginally, and furthermore, a final, minor note stretch is given. These changes, though exceptionally subtle, are significant enough to prevent the staleness that the verses face. Thus, respectively, the ratings are five and six. If the verses possessed variety throughout its duration, a six would have been plausible, and in regards to both sections, even higher scores would have been earned if the sections were more attractive sonically.

Transitioning to a section that has yet to be discussed at all, for Yubin’s rap, average serves as the rating. Many attributes to the rap are, reiterating the rating, average. The rap’s pacing, tune, and flow, for a few, are relatively stagnant. Specifically with the pacing, the rap in Wonder Girls’ comeback does reside on a slower rate. Obviously, in the context of standard vocals, the rap is seemingly hasty, however, in comparison to many raps, it is, indeed, somewhat sluggish. Though this in itself is not problematic, in this case, it proves hindering to the flow. On that note, the flow of the rap is mediocre, and overall, the reason for a five. The rap’s rhythm and flow remain undynamic; there are no changes throughout the rap. Utilized pitches lurk in similar, if not the same, ranges, and adding the aspect of a leisure pacing, a straightforward, tedious rap is constructed. Should the rap have differed in speed at certain points, or if more lively, melodic vocals were included, then the rap could be improved. As of now, however, it does render as average.

Critiquing the final two sections, the pre-choruses and post-choruses, both are rated five and three, respectively. First, for the pre-choruses, despite its positive attempts, a glaring issue is still present: the sections are insipid, and more so than the singing itself. To prevent repetitiveness, side vocals are utilized, such as through “woo.” Foreshadowed, however, doing so is futile as, ironically, more dullness builds up: in addition to the plain vocals that normally occur, equally plain side vocals now also contribute to the overarching issue. Of course, sadly, few solutions exist as the pre-choruses are based on the whispering vocals, and as explained, the vocals’ style is critical to ensuring a natural progression of the song as a whole. Thus, for a positive remark, the pre-choruses’ standard role is still achieved, though in a highly ineffective manner.

In terms of the post-choruses, a three holds for below average, of which is rather concerning. Justifying the score, both layers of mechanical and structural are lackluster to notable extents: mechanically, the sections sound bereft of tune, and structurally, the sections are abruptly placed and poorly formatted. With the disclosed vocals, the pre-choruses’ vocals carry over, though as stated in the Vocals category, to a larger degree: the whispering is exceptionally distinctive. From such, melody is utterly lost as, essentially, the post-choruses are formatted of basic, whispered phrases and words. Addressing the final piece, the sections are also peculiarly placed. Coming after the choruses, the sudden change in tempo, intensity, and overall style, render the sections are unsuiting. Though unsure on whether this was an older concept for pop music, that will not serve as excuses. Overall, the post-choruses, while certainly observed as their label, do not fulfill their roles. If the sections were completely removed, more benefit than losses may be the outcome, especially when considering a solo instrumental break already occurs for the “post-chorus” role.

Averaging all of the sections, for the conclusive score, five holds. Therefore, the sections in “I Feel You” can be labeled as average, and pitifully, that is observable and understandable.

– Line Distribution: 10/10 – Shamefully, I have not mentioned that, although Wonder Girls made a comeback, not every member returned. There are more than four members in the group–two have chosen to retire. On the positive side, with solely four members, a higher score will, most likely, be obtained.

First, for the group’s rapper, Yubin’s sections include the introduction, two post-choruses, and a rap. Four is her total, and with that value often time resulting in an equal share, no issues exist.

For Yeeun, miraculously, akin to Yubin, four sections is her count: two verses and two post-choruses. A perfect distribution is currently showcased.

Sunmi’s spotlight is at the three choruses and two post-choruses. While five is her total, should the remaining member follow suit, a perfect score is still possible. Nonetheless, a high score will be earned, even if not a ten.

Hyerim, the final member to gauge, possesses four sections, and, retracting the earlier statement, even with not replicating Sunmi’s quantity, a perfect distribution does exist.

Summing all of the members’ sections, 17 is the number, and with that split among the ladies, every member should hold 4.25 sections, and realistically, that is apparent: three members have four sections while one has five. Therefore, a ten will serve as the rating. Though the prior song review of Apink’s “Remember” had a ten as well, this is a rare feat that, astonishingly, both groups have managed to acquire.

– Instrumental: 6/10 – The instrumental to “I Feel You” does render as a six. Though a six is nothing negative in itself, considering “I Feel You” adopts old pop music’s style, and thus, due to the review outline, may be unfairly and strictly graded, the score is highly respectable.

Focusing on the sonic layer, excluding the stagnant post-choruses, the instrumental maintains a soothing, delightful tune, of which can be credited to its electronic keyboard (if accurate). With the mentioned instrument, a catchy, light melody is granted. In terms of other sounds, deeper and soothing beats accompany the electronic keyboard, and with this combination, it proves effective: contrast. Besides differences in pitch, the pacings of the two main sounds differentiate: the beats utilize a faster pace while the electronic keyboard resides on a slower rate. Although these disparities would seemingly create a disorganized mesh of sounds, variety is, instead, the outcome as multiple aspects remain diverse and unique. Rather than a singular rate, for example, a spectrum of slow to fast is unveiled, and for the trait of pitch, both deeper and higher notes are disclosed. Overall, with the sounds themselves remaining pleasing, and additionally, variated, high appeal is gleaned.

Analyzing the structural side to the instrumental, in terms of how vocals are complemented, with the singing equally featuring a calm, smooth style, the instrumental flawlessly suits. Also, with every section, the instrumental accommodates accordingly, though, interestingly, it is merely a coincidence; while all of the sections possess an instrumental that suits, it is not because the instrumental directly adapts to suit the vocals, but rather, the instrumental simply happens to suit. Explaining, and to also showcase why the score is limited at a six, the instrumental is linear. Though sonically the instrumental varies, and thus, is musically intriguing, in an overall scope, the instrumental fails to change. The sounds played at a verse, for example, is incredibly, if not exactly, similar to the sounds played at a chorus. Due to such, over a longer span of time, while the instrumental itself fluctuates with its instruments’ sounds, it renders as plain and undynamic, and therefore, unalluring.

In the end, slightly above average fits as the instrumental’s rating. Sonically and even structurally, “I Feel You” ‘s instrumental is sufficient, but on a more general scale, it does prove dull as it fails to significantly fluctuate throughout the song. Nevertheless, with an older style of pop music, this concept is understandable, and of course, a six is still worth regarding.   

– Lyrics: 4/10 – “I Feel You” holds as an intriguing title, though as is the general trend, its plot can be predicted as one of romance. Perhaps a main character is flirting with a love-interest, and as a result, “feels” them, or conversely, a main character may be in a situation of vague love with said love-interest. Uncovering the sincere plot, the following Korean-to-English lyrics will provide such, even if not 100% accurate on translations:

JYP
And the Wonder Girls
We’re back

What is this spell you cast on me?
I can’t get out of it
I’ve never been like this before
I’ve never been shaken up before, no

(Woo) I’m like this all day, drunk with thoughts of you
(Woo) I’m just waiting to go see you
(Woo woo baby) What do I do?
I don’t think I can live without you, woo baby

(I feel you)
Even when I’m alone, I feel your touch
All day, you touch me
(I feel you)
I’ve fallen for you and I can’t escape
I only think about running to you

I’m falling for you more and more
I’m going crazier and crazier
More and more, what do I do?
Baby

It feels like your touch is still
brushing over me
It seems like your voice is
still whispering in my ear, no

(Woo) I’m like this all day, drunk with thoughts of you
(Woo) I’m just waiting to go see you
(Woo woo baby) What do I do?
I don’t think I can live without you, woo baby

(I feel you)
Even when I’m alone, I feel your touch
All day, you touch me
(I feel you)
I’ve fallen for you and I can’t escape
I only think about running to you

I hear you even when my eyes are closed
I feel your sweet breath
Stop looking at me and turn off the lights
Your look is making me red
My hands and feet feel tickled
My rising temperature quickens my breath
I can’t hold it in anymore
Now please, baby, be mine

(I feel you)
Even when I’m alone, I feel your touch
All day, you touch me
(I feel you)
I’ve fallen for you and I can’t escape
I only think about running to you

I’m falling for you more and more
I’m going crazier and crazier
More and more, what do I do?
Baby

Correctly envisioned, the lyrics do depict a romantic plot. A main character questions a “spell [the love-interest] cast on [them].” Of course, however, the spell is not one of magical fantasy, but rather, figurative language; the main character feels as if she/he is under one as they are constantly “drunk with thoughts of [the love-interest],” and are simply living life to “go see [the love-interest].” Additionally, for other effects of the “spell,” the main character, as is the title of the song, feels the love-interest, even without actual physical contact. Due to their infatuation, the main character relentlessly “[feels] [the love-interest’s] touch.” Other details are also included, though most fall within the idea of endless touching and affectionate feelings.

For a score, a four for slightly below average will hold. While the main character feels a persistent touch, for the lyrics, listeners also feel a similar, persistent, and overly excessive touch: mundanity with lines. Many sections are entirely repeated, and for the sections that do not follow suit, homogenous ideas are still present, such as with the two verses. Therefore, with a duller, basic plot and equally plain, repetitive details accompanying it, a lower score will be earned. If more variety existed for details, or if the plot was more complex than a lover being hypnotized over their attraction, a higher rating would be in place.

– “Critical Corner”: Although the lyrics are not engaging, for a positive point, no pressing social topic derives from them. Resultly, the “Critical Corner” will serve no purpose for Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You” as the lyrics are of pure, simplistic romance.

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Choreography Score: X/10 – Technically, a choreography does exist for “I Feel You,” but with it being similar to a band performance, as unveiled with merely shifting around with instruments, I will exclude a rating.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – With solely the Song Score, Wonder Girls’ comeback after a hiatus can be considered as slightly above average. Truthfully, if not for the perfect Line Distribution category, the song could have netted a worse score. Biasedly, I render this song moreover as average, though nonetheless, I highly admire the ladies’ take on older pop music. And on that subject, for reviving an older style of music, while a higher numerical score is not earned, I will confidently state Wonder Girls managed to properly conduct such.

As this is the end, necessary words must be given: I am incredibly sorry to readers and requester for the longest delay yet for a review. Due to finishing schoolwork (one hour’s worth of work is left), and also, preparing for college, I have been busy and unable to write. But, that said, I still greatly apologize for the huge delay, and in compensation, two bonus reviews will be granted to return the blog back to a usual pace. August is, so far, the worst month yet for the blog, but like the ladies of Wonder Girls, I am striving for my own, jocular “comeback” through multiple, spontaneous reviews.

With all that stated, thank you very much for reading, and again, to readers and requester, I apologize greatly. For those who continually check the blog, I appreciate it all and cannot express enough gratitude. Bonus reviews will be posted to correct the blog’s current rate, and afterwards, the blog’s standard schedule will be back into place. Leaking the next post, a music video review will occur, and it will be on my favorite male group, though for their sub-unit: ZE:A J. Afterwards, depending on rate, a standard song  or an album review will be next. Once again, thank you for reading, and also, apologies for excessively poorer writing in this review. At the very least, “I’ve fallen for you and I can’t escape, I only think about running to you” with more reviews. Stay tuned for an upcoming music video review.

Teen Top – “Ah-Ah” Review

Teen Top – Ah-Ah (Live Performance)

Teen Top – Ah-Ah (Dance Practice)

Teen Top – Ah-Ah

Reviewed on July 22, 2015

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Personal Message: Glancing over the blog’s archive page, I am relatively flustered: solely three reviews have been done so far, and with more than half of the month over, a sense of urgency is taking place. But, as long as I use said urgency in a positive, beneficial manner, I foresee no problems, and in fact, reviews should be arriving much sooner as a result. Also, sharing personal life updates, I am now officially transitioning to university life in one perspective: the arrival of summer homework for one of my classes. Though labeled as homework, it is an exciting one. In short, I have to read a book about, as it is for my education class, education, but excitedly, gauging from given questions, a social lens will be taken, such as how race, gender, class, and even varying environments, examples being out-of-school or in-school, impact the education one receives. Admittedly, however, I have yet to purchase the book, though I will be doing so very soon, and thus, cannot make thorough claims.

In terms of how this affects readers, besides providing intimacy, reviews will be more prioritized. Lately, rather than investing time into writing reviews, I have opted for pure leisure time, such as mindlessly gaming or watching videos. However, with university arriving quite soon, I am now shifting back into a student mindset, and therefore, will strive to be productive in the form of writing reviews and, needless to say, finishing homework. On that note, focusing on the review, a sense of awkwardness does, strangely, exist, but that may be in part to not conducting a standard song review in a while (nine days, as seen by MAMAMOO’s “Um Oh Ah Yeh”). Nevertheless, those feelings will gradually fade as the review continues, and that said, Teen Top’s summer comeback of “Ah Ah” is the review in focus.

Many readers in the past have requested for more male groups to be reviewed, and considering solely female groups have been covered for July, Teen Top will redress such. After all, both male and female groups are equally talented and worthy of praise. Offering brief opinions towards “Ah Ah,” while far from being exceptional, it is certainly not mediocre. The vocals remain charming, and furthermore, an impressive, distinctive choreography accompanies “Ah Ah” as the dance focuses on footwork (if that is an accurate label). Addressing the links, both a dance practice and a live performance are given, and while seemingly redundant, similar to a much older review on Apink’s “Luv,” the audio in the dance practice is unclear, and therefore, the live performance is to compensate in that regard (although searching for the  audio itself will provide the best quality). But, with being a dance practice video, the choreography is clearly showcased, hence why it is still included.

In terms of other songs by Teen Top, I have browsed through a few, and for, debatably, their most notable release yet, “Missing” is a highly captivating song, both sonically and visually. “Ah Ah,” in juxtaposition, is vastly miniscule. Digressing further, on the subject of “Missing,” I have watched their visit to “Weekly Idol” during that song’s promotional period, and while Teen Top was incredibly jocular, a few pressing topics worthy of discussing did arise (for readers interested in solely the review, skip below). Before elaborating on such, to clarify, should readers feel that the following words antagonize Teen Top, that is not my intent; the upcoming discussion does involve the group, but as to be explained, they are not the negative pinnacle of the discussed issue, and in many ways, were, in fact, providing the more desirable example for what should occur. Ending speculations on what the topic is, homophobia, specifically with men in this case, is what I would desire to venture into. Surprisingly, out of the many social topic digressions I have embarked on, I have yet (or at least from memory) to discuss homophobia in depth, of which certainly needs to be discussed, even if uncomfortable to many.

With such in mind, for the Random Play Dance segment of the variety show, “Weekly Idol,” rather than the usual punishment of not receiving wishes, in Teen Top’s case, kissing claimed that role: if a member made a dancing mistake, another member, or in one case, the hosts, would deliver a kiss to the cheek. Anticipatedly, the group was mortified, but optimistically, arguably, their initial disagreement derives from the embarrassment of a kiss being an intimate gesture and not one of, as is the main topic, homophobia. Now, positively, Teen Top, and in fact, the hosts, showcased this “punishment” in a comical, yet welcoming, demeanor: while awkwardness was rife, it would be false to claim the members were “disgusted” when they kissed, and furthermore, the hosts excitedly reinforced the kissing via exhibiting excitement towards the chance to kiss one of the members. Especially in contrast to another show, as will be discussed later, with both parties displaying that kissing among males is, at most, awkward and comical, but not disgusting or an act that requires grotesque mockery, homophobia does become challenged, even if highly discreetly.

In essence, males kissing was normalized on the show; unlike current standards of males kissing being unacceptable due to roots in homophobia, the “Weekly Idol” episode, due to the lack of exaggeration and side remarks, reiterated that, even with a more affection gesture, males should not feel any sense of horror. Everyone could have followed the current inequitable norms towards homosexuality (as the other show, which will be discussed): signs of utter repulsion, of which would indicate homosexuality is worthy of disgust; comments that tied into masculinity and heterosexuality, and specifically, that any other sexual orientation is inferior; and of course, blatant remarks that homosexuality is bad. However, quite obviously, neither Teen Top or the hosts engaged in such behavior, but instead, as stated, they embraced the kissing in a positive, mockery-free mindset. This, as a result, does leave significant connotations: acts that are associated with homosexuality and emasculation (another topic to dive into is gender and behavioral acts; my older review on Apink’s “Luv” slightly addresses why males tend to be more scrutinized for sexual orientation) become deemed as “normal” and acceptable, and that equitable standard is what needs to be ushered.

Homosexuality, and any other sexual orientation that is not hetereosexuality, are, against what societies claim, worthy; a sexual orientation that is not heterosexuality is not inferior to heterosexuality as, inequitably, it has been socially constructed for heterosexuality to be the sole acceptable sexual orientation. Thus, this discussion is taking place as, similar to what Teen Top and the hosts showcased, an equitable standard needs to be established; the current trends of homophobia, or in general, the treatment towards minoritized sexual orientations, needs to be challenged as, blatantly, it is wrong to reinforce that heterosexuality is the “right” sexual orientation. Every sexual orientation is “right,” it is social norms that create the “wrong,” and therefore, are what needs attention and critical challenging.

As a message to readers, being open, accepting, and critical, are necessary attributes if societies are to progress to ones that become inclusive versus exclusive, and it all begins on a miniscule level. Seemingly harmless remarks of “no homo,” for one example, should never be used as, for that phrase in specific, it reiterates multiple issues: that homosexuality is negative, and secondly, that sexual orientation equates to behavior when that is false as, it is solely who a person finds attractive, nothing more or less. Therefore, even with minor statements, being aware of the implications is vital, and with the case of “no homo,” from basic understanding, loving someone, even of the same gender, is far from negativity, and thus, a phrase that minimizes love and non-heterosexuality is never warranted.

Although this Personal Message is becoming rather disorganized, with the earlier, constant mentioning of “the other show,” I will now address it, and with such, it will provide more clarity as to how discreet, and toxic, the idea of homophobia (and anti-nonheterosexuality, if that label is accurate) is. With that, the show is “Hello Counselor,” and although utterly irrelevant to Teen Top, many discussions exist. For the episode where Infinite’s Sunggyu and Secret’s Hyosung (and others) guested, with the show utilizing the format of “concerns and counselors,” a very distinctive concern was sent in–if “concern” is even accurate: a lady was worried of her younger brother due to his interests. The younger sibling’s anxiety-inducing interest was, against the generated suspense, simply being a huge fan of Infinite’s Sungyeol. Already, however, homophobia was widespread from the start as the concerned sister and others whispered, “he can’t be, he can’t be…”

That he can’t be gay. That she hopes his brother is not gay, though she did not finish the statement. Providing a harsher comment, it is absurdly ironic that many are capable of stating “straight,” a word that, debatably, discreetly promotes heterosexuality as “correct,” and yet, when it comes to the word “gay,” suddenly, it is regarded as if “gay” promotes anti-heterosexuality as no one dares utilize it (unless if equating something to “bad,” which is another large issue; “that is so gay” is incredibly pathetic to ever say), but, obviously, it merely means a homosexual male, and nothing is wrong with such. Sadly, however, this was the mere beginning of the relentless homophobic statements.

Summarizing the entirety of the concern, the sister was in trepidation as, overall, her brother was moreover interested in Infinite’s Sungyeol than women. Offering a rebuttal, first, even on the sole basis of the brother being a male, that should not automatically entitle a forced attraction; though the brother is a male, it does not mean he should be purely restricted to being interested in females. There is no issue for being interested in men as a male, on both levels of regular admiration, but also, that of romance. Social standards, inequitable social standards, is the reason for why the prior statement is highly controversial.

Addressing one component, a male admiring another male is not shameful or homosexual, and dissecting where the shame derives from, once more, homophobia comes into light (and also “toxic masculinity”). The fear of being related to the idea of homosexuality is to the degree in which males are, for what is truly shameful, actively avoiding affection towards one another, but critically, this fear is due to the social emphasis that homosexuality is unfavorable, and that standard is, indeed, an issue. As mentioned, sexual orientation is purely who a person finds attractive (on a deeper level, as to be explained), and thus, behavior, such as affection for others of the same gender, cannot be assumed as acts of homosexuality or any other sexual orientation. Horrible stereotypes are in place not due to truth, but rather, due to their effectiveness at minoritizing, exaggerating, and dehumanizing people who are not heterosexuals, and very clearly, that is an issue as, regardless of sexual orientation, every person is valuable.

Lastly, for a final aspect to the show’s segment, assumptions of one’s sexual orientation is certainly a key topic to discuss. After all, it is, unfortunately, rather common to hear mutterings and rumors of one’s sexual orientation on the premise of behavior when, as ubiquitously stated, sexual orientation does not relate to behavior whatsoever. Focusing on “Hello Counselor,” the brother did explicitly state that he was a heterosexual, and ridiculously, many were still skeptical. A 26 year old man adoring Infinite’s Sungyeol had to be due to homosexuality and not, as he tiresomely stated, regular admiration towards a person who happens to be of the same gender. Even the brother stating how beautiful Sungyeol is does not suffice as “proof” for how the brother is a homosexual; sexual orientation cannot be proven or assumed as, behavior associated with sexual orientations is socially constructed, and furthermore, precisely constructed in a way that often time pits non-heterosexuals as inferior. Other examples, such as males using makeup, also cannot be used for assumptions (and as mentioned in a few reviews, as a heterosexual male, I do plan on actively using makeup in the future, and tying into the earlier point, I can confidently claim that ZE:A’s Kevin is very physically attractive, even with personally being a heterosexual as homophobia should not forbid me from complimenting others).

Ending on, miraculously, a positive note, for the ending of the siblings’ segment, equity is instilled as a vast majority of the audiences and guests decided that this concern was far from one. Especially with the guest idols’ words, such as Hyosung using herself and Beyonce (an American singer; I personally am awed by her singing) as an example and explaining that there should not be concern, and humorously, Sunggyu stating the lady’s concern is viable, but not due to the brother’s attraction to Sungyeol, but instead, his dancing skills (as the brother attempted to replicate Sungyeol’s dancing), positive messages are unveiled: homophobia is wrong, and that assumptions towards sexual orientations cannot ever be made. These types of remarks, ones that urge equity and, straightforwardly put, basic human kindness towards one another, are the ones that need to be constantly repeated until, hopefully, societies have progressed to the stage where diversity is accepted, embraced, and understood.

Returning to Teen Top, if readers have not skipped this digression, while I greatly appreciate the men disengaging homophobia and showcasing equity, I will admit, I am not entirely grateful for “Ah Ah”; Teen Top’s latest song release, though not horrendous, is, most likely, also not stunning. As is the purpose of the review, it will be determined if “Ah Ah” is “ah” good song a notable song, but definitely, it will not fall to the poor standard of my puns.

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Song Score: 6/10 (5.6/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 6/10 – Confessing a claim, due to the time away from standard song reviews, once more, a sense of unusualness holds, but that will quickly and easily fade away. On topic, Teen Top’s vocals in “Ah Ah” can be rated as slightly above average. While captivating to an extent, repetition prevents a higher score.

Expanding on the stronger features, “Ah Ah” does possess distinguished vocals: the occurred singing retains an exceptionally smooth aspect. Excluding the raps, all of Teen Top’s vocals orientate towards a slower paced, deeper noted, and whispering demeanor. Though power remains absent from such, vocal strength is, rather than a necessity, merely supplementary, and in “Ah Ah” ‘s case, losing that aspect is miniscule. With the smoother vocals, stability is granted as the vast majority of lines follow a clear, crisp route; rather than spikes in the vocals’ flow, as would be if note holds or more intensive singing occurred, the calmer vocals allow “Ah Ah” to maintain a predictable, gradually progressive pace, of which allows the vocals’ pacifying effect to exist. Furthermore, as a result of a more simplistic flow, the melody is augmented: the deeper vocals are able to replicate the soothing, delightful effect of a bassline, except, blatantly, in the form of vocals; a rhythmic melody is established as the vocals’ overall concept suits the accompanying, equally smooth, soundtrack; and lastly, overarchingly, additional emphasis towards the exhibited lower notes is created.

However, though musically charming with the lower, smooth notes, as mentioned, repetition remains impeding, and in many ways, the reason for a six versus a seven. First, though rapping does occur, it does not provide sufficient diversity; the occurred rapping, while a near antithesis to the rest of “Ah Ah” in that it contains higher notes and, significantly, a much hastier pacing, cannot compensate for every other section on the sole basis of duration. Additionally, although occasional higher notes are given, as during the first verse, akin to the rapping, overall, with the remainder of “Ah Ah” recycling similar sounds, those points of differences, be it the singular high notes or rapping, are, unfortunately, negligible.

Now, focusing moreover on why the vocals are dull in the first place, with nearly the entire song following the slower, lower noted singing style, the smoothness carries a major drawback: pure linear singing. The song fails to deviate as there are minimal note changes, and furthermore, for the pitch range, it is a tight, centralized cluster versus that of a full spectrum. For an outcome, much of the emanating vocals are now overly identical to each section. For example, the choruses’ vocals are very similar to the verses’ vocals for characteristics of pacing, flow, and notes, and thus, from there, repetition collects and that results in the vocals becoming relatively mundane over time.

A six will hold as the score as slightly above average is accurate. Though highly stagnant, the vocals are, individually, still appealing as the smooth style does prove effective, though for short-term versus long-term.

– Sections: 6/10 (5.67/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10

2. Verse: 6/10

3. Rap: 5/10

4. Chorus: 6/10

5. Bridge: 5/10

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10

– Analysis: Glancing over the numerical ratings, six does hold as the most common, but slight deviation occurs for the raps and bridge, both of which are rated at a five.

Before addressing the latter pair, however, focusing on the verses and choruses, as both are rather akin sonically and even structurally, the two sections do rate as slightly above average. Similar to the explanation at the Vocals category, the same concept translates: while the two sections are musically  appealing with the smooth, lower noted singing, it all becomes monotonous due to the lack of variety. To prevent redundancy and to preserve time, I will not dive into details as the Vocals category does, in essence, address the verses and choruses.

Nevertheless, for the rapping sections, as they have yet to be discussed, while the raps provide “Ah Ah” minimal diversity, in terms of the section itself, it is, as its rating, solely average. Neither C.A.P or L.Joe provide stunning raps; both members deliver raps that are plain in multiple attributes. For example, the pacing of the raps follow a static rate: the pacing, while still allowing the label of “rap” to be viable, is on the sluggish side, and thus, an enticing flow is lost. On the note of basic pacing, attempts at garnering variety are equally futile. For example, while the ending of the raps partially accelerate in speed, it is vastly minimal. Furthermore, with the melody retaining the same notes and format, and also, the rapping vocals failing to change in intensity, the raps’ flow become exceptionally dull and, in general, as a result, the raps become bereft of appeal. If the rapping lines changed noticeably, and desirably, in rate, or if the melody proved more dynamic, or even if, at the very least, the rapping vocals fluctuated in power, perhaps a six would be possible. But, with neither of those traits performing so, average will hold for the raps.

Continuing the trend of average, the bridge also holds as such. Unlike the rapping sections, however, the bridge remains rather lively and diverse, but peculiarly, yet understandably, it still falters. Shortly phrased, variety may be beneficial, but if said variety is not alluring, then even if many different traits are active, it is all irrelevant. Specifically, in context of the bridge, as for why the diversity is copious: dramatic, slow singing occurs at the start; rapping, of which is accompanied by a gradually speeding beat, is then showcased; and lastly, the instrumental transitioning the song into its conclusion via the soundtrack’s beat conducting at its maximum rate. In standard sight, the bridge appears, and in truth, is phenomenal–structurally, that is. The bridge’s structure is highly diverse, and that is advantageous, but, for the other main component, its mechanical layer, that portion thoroughly fails to thrive.

Mechanically, the listed points of variety are not musically pleasing. First, the initial, slower singing roughly contrasts the entirety of the song; “Ah Ah,” while not vastly upbeat, is still a more animated song, as observed through its raps, choruses, and even instrumental. Thus, the sudden change in pacing, and overall, style, as the bridge’s beginning adopts pure passivity, renders as musically unsuiting. Peering at the second point, for the bridge’s rapping, as are the other raps in “Ah Ah,” once more, average takes place: the tune, tone, power, and rate, are all stale and linear. Although, optimistically, a rhythmic flow now exists as the instrumental and rap link to one another, without other essential traits of being melodic or alluring via rate, the rap still holds averagely. Finally, for the third and last portion to the bridge, though seemingly an excellent transition, although credit is deserved towards its effectiveness, it is highly conventional and musically vapid. It is unequivocal that the final, fastening beats act as a transition as a minor climactic point is constructed, but doing so is lackluster; there is no uniqueness in utilizing this form of transition, in both format and sound. Homogeneous to, for a somewhat abstract example, post-choruses that relentlessly chime “lalala” (so far, on my personal list, AOA’s “Like a Cat” is the sole song that, unbelievably, properly executes such), the bridge’s transition falls within an identical category, and thus, no appeal exists in either structure or form. Anticipatedly, for the overall outcome, average holds as a result. If the diverse points in the bridge carried equally sonically enchanting pieces, the bridge would have earned a high rating, but with the mechanical layer falling short, average remains.

Switching to the two remaining sections, the introduction and conclusion are both scored with a six for “slightly above average.” The two remain incredibly alike: mechanically, both fare decently, and structurally, both accomplish standard roles. However, as the score is a six and not a seven, the degree to which the sections are appealing is not momentous, though nevertheless, the introduction and conclusion are certainly still pleasing.

That stated, in focus of the introduction, the instrumental takes full spotlight, and musically, it is seducing. From the start, the instrumental emanates a fainted sound, and while this possesses structural perks, from a sonic lens, it provides a twist to the original instrumental, and thus, variety is gleaned, but furthermore, the veiled instrumental itself contains appeal as an energetic and bouncy (if that term may be used) rhythm plays. Afterwards, however, with the actual instrumental presented, it still retains its charms as the hastier beats, prominent, yet scoped, bassline, and muffled, electronic sounds, carry delightful tunes. Now, in the context of the introduction’s structure, the standard role of an introduction is served: an enticing element exists to lure in listeners. Mentioned previously, for the first few seconds, the faded instrumental generates anticipation and attention towards the soundtrack as, due to vagueness, curiosity ignites. Additionally, for the layer of setting the song’s atmosphere, that factor is also met as the conducted instrumental offers insight towards how “Ah Ah” would play out, be it its intensity, flow, and so forth.

Lastly, addressing the closure to the song, the conclusion also follows a similar pattern to the introduction: the mechanical and structural layers are decent, but not entirely stunning. As the conclusion takes the form of a chorus, the Vocals’ category will suffice for coverage, but for the remaining layer, it can be deemed as both positive and negative; the role of the conclusion is met, and more accurately, exceeded, but for a drawback, the song’s largest issue is further accentuated. Towards the final seconds to “Ah Ah,” the conclusion does end smoothly: the ending is neither abrupt or excessive; the ending is concise and precise. Therefore, in that regard, the default role is served, but for what holds as impressive, as the song’s choruses are its main sections, being able to finish on such leaves “Ah Ah” with a remarkable, distinctive, and lingering end. Often time, for the most ensured, fluid halt to a song, a conclusion often takes the form of a calmer section, such as a post-chorus or even a separate conclusion section. Seldom is a more energetic section, as are the choruses in “Ah Ah,” used as, blatantly, it would be excessive for a clean close. However, Teen Top’s song differs in that, miraculously, its most intense section concludes the song, and thus, while a high risk, in “Ah Ah” ‘s case, the high reward of ending on a signature section is achieved.

Regardless, however, a six is the score for both sections, and explaining so, glaring points prevent higher ratings: the introduction’s instrumental, while decent, does not manage to push to the pure state of being thoroughly musically charming, and for the conclusion, although finishing on the song’s main section, doing so also indirectly accentuates “Ah Ah” ‘s most menacing issue of repetition. Nonetheless, a six still represents moreover a positive score than one of negativity or neutrality, and as their representation of “slight above average,” those ratings prove reliable for the introduction and conclusion.

– Line Distribution: 5/10 – For a side note, as will be explained later at the end of the review, this review has been delayed for multiple days. On topic with Teen Top however, with a moreover average group size of six, Teen Top should face minimal issues with their distribution.

Gauging Teen Top’s leader (if correct), C.A.P, his sections include the second rap and the bridge. Two is his total, which, admittedly, is concerning. However, considering there are fewer sections in “Ah Ah” than in most songs, this may be excusable and of minimal issue.

In terms of Chunji, four sections is his quantity: one verse and three choruses. Already, a disparity is present, but as it is fairly earlier, solely minimal comments can be made. The remaining members will either widen or lessen the gap from Chunji and C.A.P.

For Niel, one of the main vocalists for Teen Top, if not the only one (I am still unfamiliar with members’ roles), his sections consist of the second verse, the bridge, and the three choruses. Thus, an alarming five holds as his total. With half of Teen Top showcasing differences in sections, a gloomy outcome for the Line Distribution score is in place.

For L.Joe, a replica of C.A.P’s sections is seen: the first rap and bridge are his lines’ locations. As a result, two is also added to the list.

Ricky’s lines appear at the second verse and bridge, and therefore, more contribution towards the “two sections” range exists. A gaping disparity is becoming visible.

Changjo, the final member to be assessed, has his spotlight during the first verse. Purely. One, disturbingly, is his count, and thus, with the current distribution, a lower score will be in inventory.

Granting the rating for Teen Top’s share of lines in “Ah Ah,” as the perfect distribution resides towards two or three sections, if Niel and Chunji have their count reduced to three, and if Changjo was pushed towards, at minimal, a total of two sections (a few of the other members gaining one section), a perfect score would have been earned. However, as how it currently holds, average will hold as, in essence, half of Teen Top were excessive or insufficient in amount.

– Instrumental: 6/10 – Sustaining the trend in “Ah Ah,” the ubiquitous number of six appears for the instrumental’s rating. Teen Top’s latest comeback does carry a pleasing instrumental, but sadly, it does not reach the standards of a seven.

To address the sonic component to the instrumental, simplistic, yet notable, sounds are granted: a soothing bass, consistent beats, and even tuneful, minor tints of guitar plucking. Expectedly from the bass and beats, the song’s general smooth and soothing rhythm is granted, and accounting for the song’s main musical appeal is through its calmer flow, as explained at the Vocals category, it can be concluded that the instrumental’s bass and beats are pleasing on a sonic lens. For the other prominent but subtle aspect, the traces of guitar support, versus pure rhythm, “Ah Ah” via tune; the repeating plucking guitar string sounds help augment the song’s tune, whether through granting a passive melody or by complementing Teen Top’s vocals.

On the subject of complementing vocals, for the structural layer to the instrumental, the assumed role of reciprocating vocals is achieved: intenser vocals, such as during the choruses, are accompanied with an equally upbeat instrumental, and conversely, for the more passive sections, as are the verses and the bridge’s beginning, a calmer instrumental is established to suit. Furthermore, for other perspectives, in a general scope, the instrumental to “Ah Ah” carries an invaluable role of setting the song’s overall style. Identical to the vocals, the instrumental also carries a smooth, lowered pitched and slower rate, and thus, that distinguishing feature to “Ah Ah” is further developed. Even under the circumstances of energetic sections, such as the choruses or raps, the instrumental, while adaptive via increasing pace and complexity, still, overall, preserves the main concept of being slower paced and deeper pitched.

But, as is the score, a six still exists despite the noteworthy structural positives. Sonically, while far from mediocre, the instrumental fails to be utterly captivating as the given sounds are moreover basic, and structurally, though it syncs to vocals and converses the song’s style, it is, as the musical layer, straightforward as, by merely remaining calmer, the instrumental automatically supplies for “Ah Ah” ‘s concept. Nevertheless, slightly above average is not poor, and thus, the instrumental can be deemed moreover as positive.

– Lyrics: 5/10 – With a rather peculiar title of “Ah Ah,” a wide range of predictions are viable. Honestly, however, even after analyzing the lyrics, the title still remains perplexing. At most, for a potential reason for why “Ah Ah” is the title, it may be due to the lyrics’ actual sounds: the words of “in my,” as with “in my eyes” and “in my heart,” and additionally, the Korean words that contain an “ah” sound (readers who know the actual answer, such as perhaps through an interview, should feel free to send in a message explaining the title). Ignoring the hopeless debate, for what is relevant, the following Korean-to-English lyrics will provide not a justification for the song title, but instead, the plot itself. The following lyrics are not perfectly accurate:

I just called you because
I was wondering what you’re doing
I don’t have anything to say,
maybe I miss you
I don’t know about you but I’m thinking of you
I’m sorry, you weren’t sleeping, were you?

Aren’t you hungry?
Wanna go get something to eat?
It’s alright if you don’t want to
Let’s just get a cup of coffee and talk
I’ll go to your house or you can come here
I’ll buy everything
If you hesitated for a little, baby girl,
just come out,
I’m actually already in front of your house

You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes
I miss you, I can’t even sleep
You, baby, you excite me, baby, in my heart
I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you
From morning to morning, just us two
Don’t go anywhere, baby
You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes

When you’re standing up,
I like your behind that’s about to burst
I like your butt
I love you girl, don’t just go today
Don’t leave me alone

A good car, a good house
But you’re first, you’re number 1
I really want you
You don’t know my heart
You think you know?
But you don’t know like Uhm Junghwa
Can’t know, it’s so much
I don’t wanna be
just nothing anymore

You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes
I miss you, I can’t even sleep
You, baby, you excite me, baby, in my heart
I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you
From morning to morning, just us two
Don’t go anywhere, baby
You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes

Love me, take me, away from here
Love me, take me, away from here, babe
Today, I wanna go farther with you
Girl I want you for a whole day
Will you tell me, “okay”
Feels like everything has frozen but us
Let’s play just us two
The night sky that I see every day looks nice today
It greets us but where are you?
Hurry up, hurry up,
even if you don’t get ready, you’re perfect

You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes
I miss you, I can’t even sleep
You, baby, you excite me, baby, in my heart
I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you
From morning to morning, just us two
Don’t go anywhere, baby
You, baby, are beautiful, baby, in my eyes

“Ah Ah” depicts, as may be foreseen by general trends, a romantic plot. A main character expresses his love towards a love-interest, though more accurately, partner: “You, baby, are beautiful…in my eyes,” and that she “[excites him] in [his] heart.” In fact, his infatuation is to the degree of desiring to be with her “from morning to morning,” and that, humorously, without her, “[he] can’t even sleep.” Besides complimenting the partner, the main character also proves attentive, though, admittedly, slightly obsessive. He tends to call even if he “[doesn’t] have anything to say,” and also, for a scenario, despite an unspoken answer to whether the partner is hungry, the main character has preemptively arrived “in front of [her] house.” Other details are included, but it all falls within categories of either complimenting the partner or his burning love for her.

Although sweet and comical in a few aspects, the portrayed plot does render as average. Main ideas are repeated, as mentioned with the latter two categories, and furthermore, the plot itself remains unembellished as it is highly basic with details and events. Thus, a five will hold.

– “Critical Corner”: For the bonus section of the “Critical Corner,” a few topics to discuss have arised. Directly discussing the most prominent one, as embarrassing as may be, the verse regarding the partner’s butt is worth dissecting. Offering my opinion: context. Context is the determining factor. While many have been partially shocked at the lines, with the entirety of the lyrics as background, the second verse can be considered acceptable. In a genuine loving relationship, sexual attraction towards one another is certainly fine. Should the relationship, however, be one-sided or if uneasiness exists, then an issue would be present, and though the latter is potentially true for “Ah Ah,” optimistically, it will be assumed the relationship is loving, and thus, the main character’s remarks are appropiate.

That said, though to be eventually discussed in a future review, as the following topic is, sadly, frequent, the topic of sexual “complimenting” is one that needs to be discussed, but anticipatedly, is rarely mentioned due to uncomfort. Regardless, though the situation in “Ah Ah” is, assuming the relationship is sound, acceptable, should a different situation be present, such as with strangers, then quite transparently, the second verse’s lines are disturbing. “Catcalling,” as the term follows, is never acceptable, and unfortunately, it does apply inequitably: females tend to be harassed more frequently than males, as to be explained. In short, complimenting on a person’s body in a derogatory, highly sexual manner is objectifying; through supposedly complimenting a person’s body, it merely sets a standard of dehumanizing a person, and with social layers involved, gender disparity, as males feel permitted to objectify females, is also promoted. Thus, for a final message, sexual comments are never acceptable unless if within the right context, such as a healthy relationship or if the parties involved are, unequivocally, comfortable (with proper flirting, for example). Due to time, I will save this for a future discussion as the social components are very much critical to discuss.

Addressing another subject, for the second rap, quickly stated, comparison of the partner to materials, such as a “good car” or “good house” is, harshly put, pitiful. Of course the partner is “first.” While “Ah Ah” may have meant this neutrally with no negative implications, the subject of equating females to material wealth is still present, intentional or not. Never should a female, or anyone, be compared to materials as, no person is meant to be “collected” or “obtained.” But, with social influences, females do tend to be more juxtaposed to objects due to gender disparities, and thus, this portion of the lyrics should be regarded critically, and overall, not perpetuated.

And, for the last topic, though minor in contrast to the prior ones, the main character does seem to be obsessive. Although his attentiveness may seem attractive and loving, to appear at the partner’s house, without her reply, is questionable. Therefore, in regards to the main character’s behavior, sweet acts should certainly exist, but not to the extent of preventing voices to be heard, as in “Ah Ah.”

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – To be said from the start, the choreography is impressive. Syncing and key points are both above average, and especially with the dance practice video, Teen Top’s footwork, if that is a proper label, is exceptional.

On the note of footwork, an array of key points are exhibited in the choreography: every section type differs from the others, and more specifically, within the section types, minus the choruses, on the individual level, each section is different; the verses both differ in dance, and equally, the raps, and so forth for the introduction, conclusion, and bridge. As a result, the choreography is able to maintain high appeal as, constantly, a new dance is introduced. Mundane moments are not seen in the song’s choreography, even despite the choruses, the sole repeating section, recycling the same dance set. With the choruses’ exclusive key point, rather than repetition, as in the song itself, being impairing, for the choreography, it is supportive. Due to the choruses utilizing the mentioned dance style of footwork, a recurring dance set for such creates emphasis towards it, and in the case of the song’s footwork, that is desirable. Out of many groups, regardless of male or female ones, very few have utilized a key point that orientates towards footwork, and thus, in this aspect, “Ah Ah” gathers appeal through their conspicuous dance, and in relation to repetition, additional spotlight towards a rarer dance style is far from horrendous

Critically, however, while the footwork is unique, it requires more than such to be considered at a high standard, but for Teen Top, the group provides the necessary work to their feet in order to grant the footwork its fascination and label. For the category of syncing, specifically with the choruses, the dancing remains fast yet smooth, similar to the musical style of “Ah Ah,” but for the actual linkage to sounds, the sections’ quicker beats are connected via the members’ flashing feet, and adding on, for moments where the choruses partially pause, as during Niel’s single line and towards the end, rather than pure footwork at play, standard dance motions are conducted, or at certain times, footwork but at a significantly slower rate. Remaining sections are also accurately synced to the song, though in comparison to the choruses, rather than relating to the song’s pacing, it is moreover dance maneuvers that synchronize to the song’s flow, such as through arm motions or even walking to different positions. Nevertheless, a high level of accuracy remains, even if focused towards thorough movements and not snaps.

Overall, above average confidently holds as the score. The men of Teen Top are highly adept dancers. What prevents a higher score would be the syncing of the sections, excluding the choruses, being partially lenient and not to the precision of every passed second, and that the key points, while varied, are not to the level of pure, outstanding amazement. But, in multiple ways, the group nearly meets an eight for the choreography, and even with a seven, it is still, overall, a higher-end score, and that is the dance to “Ah Ah”: higher-end.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – Averaging the two main scores of Song and Choreography, seven, after being rounded up does hold as the score. Therefore, Teen Top’s latest comeback of “Ah Ah” can be considered above average, and personally, I do hesitate. Slightly above average, as is the song, would seem more proper, but factoring in the stellar dance, the Overall Score is suiting.

This review took significantly longer than expected. I have worked on it nearly every day, but despite such, it still required multiple days of work. Thus, I do apologize for the delay. Other tasks, in addition to this review needing more analysis time, may have contributed to the delay. I have recently subtitled a video of Fiestar, and another one is expected to come shortly (Jei sang a beloved childhood ballad, and as a result, I feel obligated to share it). Furthermore, as stated at the very beginning of the review, I do have summer homework, and needless to say, education comes first. Definitely, however, reviews will still be a priority.  

Upcoming reviews are Apink’s “Remember” and Stellar’s “Vibrato.” The question is which one will be first, but in the end, both will be, unless if changes occur, reviewed. Afterwards, album reviews are in mind to conclude the month of July (I am attempting to reach a total of six reviews). As I have surprisingly not stated so yet, thank you very much for reading. I greatly appreciate the given time. As this is the end of the review, though I am behind schedule, “I’ll be honest, I wanna be with you from morning to morning” though new reviews. Stay tuned for one of the mentioned songs.

MAMAMOO – “Um Oh Ah Yeh” Review

MAMAMOO – Um Oh Ah Yeh (Live Performance)

MAMAMOO – Um Oh Ah Yeh (Audio)

MAMAMOO – Um Oh Ah Yeh

Reviewed on July 8, 2015

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Personal Message: Although I am, once again, a day behind my intended schedule, I will be able to compensate via longer writing sessions. MAMAMOO’s summer comeback, “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” has been indirectly requested; a reader desired a review on MAMAMOO, and though no specification was made, I have personally chosen their latest song. Nevertheless, with a friend recommending it the day it was released (and, with her being a huge Chorong Apink fan, I am now aware that Apink is having a comeback soon, of which I will cover), and also, a reader mentioning the song as well, I highly anticipate “Um Oh Ah Yeh.” I have already reviewed MAMAMOO in the past with “Piano Man,” a song that, despite the four ladies being classified as rookies, held an astonishing nine for the Vocals category. Although my past writing most likely failed to bring them justice in regard to their extraordinary talents, I will, hopefully, correct such through this review. MAMAMOO’s vocals are incredibly potent and, astonishingly, even arguably surpassing veteran groups’ vocals.

Sharing brief opinions on “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” for a more jocular comment, a disclaimer will be made: If within the review I misspell the title, I do apologize as, for unknown reasons, I desire to call the title “Um Oh Ah Yeah” or “Um Uh Ah Yeh” versus “Um Oh Ah Yeh.” Ignoring personal worries, for the song, while I did not instantly find it alluring, as I began to brainstorm for the review, I have come to enjoy “Um Oh Ah Yeah.” Vocals, expectedly, are to MAMAMOO’s standards (though, once the review begins, there will be thorough discussions). the sections are, as of minimal deconstruction, enticing, and other categories are equally pleasing.

Addressing the links, an official live performance is included, though there is an audio link should readers desire to hear “Um Oh Ah Yeh” in its clearest quality. On the subject of links, I have watched the music video to “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” and while it is somewhat perplexing at first, once deciphered, I do enjoy its message of claiming males are obsolete humorous plot, as will the Lyrics category explain, and for a more subtle layer, the positive social messages “Um Oh Ah Yeh” brings (on a serious note, the music video does not suggest males are obsolete, but rather, that every male, specifically those not well regarded socially, is worthy, as will be explained at that category).

Transitioning to an utterly off-topic digression, one that is, intriguingly, not akin to social topics (for those uninterested, skipping to the review should be done), a reader did ask a very exclusive question (summarized): “Any tips for how long I should write for and how do you organize your writing?” As answered to the asker, since other readers may be curious, I delayed personally answering so that I could now publically disclose my personal tips. That said, I do apologize for the delay, especially with the answer being implemented in a review, and therefore, being even more delayed. Nevertheless, I am very thankful for this question, and with how I intend to be an English teacher, I am exceptionally zealous to discuss writing related topics. Of course, however, while English holds as one of my passions, it would be erroneous to label me as an expert as I am far from such, and thus, my advice should be taken moreover as one perspective, not as an indisputable one. Much growth is still necessary on my part, and more accurately phrased, constant growth is necessary, but nonetheless, I will offer as much help as possible.

In focus of the first portion of the question, a simple answer exists: none. A solid question, but as stated, there is no ideal duration for writing. Factors include due dates, what is being written, and so forth. Sharing my personal writing sessions’ durations, there have been days where I would write for ten minutes at most, and for other days, a relentless session of six hours since I had a ten-page research paper due in three days that I irresponsibly put off, my highest record (though I did have five minute breaks per hour). Currently, for my average length, four hours a day tend to be the time, though, more precisely, it is broken into two sessions, each of two hours (two hours around afternoon, and then resume the remaining towards the evening).

On topic, to give a more helpful answer to how long one should write for, I have developed a personal guideline: no matter the hesitation, always write, undisturbed, for ten minutes. Explaining why, often time, these two general situations occur: a person barely writes, and as a result, is unproductive, or secondly, for a seldom mentioned perspective, a person excessively writes, and while seemingly productive, will often time be mentally exasperated and, more importantly, unproductive in the context of writing decently and enjoyably. How the “ten minute rule,” my newly invented title, aids such is it provides a gauge; with forcing a time span of writing for ten minutes, a writing session’s duration can be determined. For example, attempting to set a time span without engaging in writing first would lead to shorter sessions; many would, without a proper writing mentality, decide to lethargically write for perhaps twenty minutes at most when, potentially, much more time would be needed. In truth, very few are instantly driven to write. While many certainly love the activity, it is mentally draining, and therefore, very few would be able to promptly write in a very focused, passionate state from the start. Thus, with the “ten minute rule” being forced, regardless of a person’s desire to write, a genuine writing state will become established (or not, which will be addressed later), but now comes the following piece.

If, at this stage, the “writing state” has come in place, such as the feeling of sincerely caring for the written topic or that the writing possesses a desirable flow of thoughts and mechanical work (the actual writing, like syntax and diction), deciding to continue for the longest, realistic session should take place. Endlessly continuing until the drive naturally fades out is what I have found to be most effective. This, blatantly, does highly vary per person and due to topic; a person with more writing endurance may be able to maintain hours once engaged in writing, but a few might only be comfortable with thirty minutes, and if a topic is rather uninteresting, a shorter time will also exist. Regardless, once the “writing state” dwindles, as experienced by how the writing feels significantly more taxing or if little to no writing is taking place at all, taking a break should occur, whether that is walking, a snack, or giving the eyes relaxation. After, at maximum, a ten minute break (I personally have found five minutes to be the best; any longer and I utterly lose desire to write), resuming writing should take place, and from here, two options exist: the “writing state” is once more at play, or writing becomes excessively laborious. Should the latter occur, with judging a deadline and if sincere progress was made, opting to quit should be acceptable. In cases where writing must still take place (due date, for example), then, loathingly, forced writing will have to take place, which, while distasteful, must be done.

Addressing the mentioned side of if, even after the “ten minute rule,” no drive to write exists, once more, after gauging deadlines (if existent), not writing should be the adopted route. Writing is an enjoyable activity, even if mentally expending, and therefore, if no drive to write exists, unless if a threatening due date exists, taking a day off with retries at a later time (if wanted) is a more desirable path. Forced writing, as in its tone, is far from pleasant, and therefore, unless if sincerely pressured, writing is best preserved for a genuine, desired drive, not one of pure dreaded work. After all, during May 2015, I personally can disclose the result of consistent forced writing: burnout. May 2015 for the blog possessed minimal reviews, and of the reviews, horrendous writing was in place, and I do blame forcing myself to write per day as the culprit. Should I have, during the month, waited for genuine desires to write, I could have, surprisingly, wrote more, even if I wrote on less days (as I would have wrote productively for longer on days I did want to write).

However, before ending the first answer, there is one final point to mention: writing is a mental discipline. By constantly writing, stamina for doing so does build up; at the very start, a person may be capable of solely writing for thirty minutes before feeling entirely deprived, but with continually writing, a session of three hours becomes miniscule in terms of feeling weary. Therefore, for those who do wish to be able to engage in more productive, active writing sessions, practice, as trite as the word may be, is key. Continually writing for longer will result in more writing endurance. Also, since I have not mentioned so, a workplace for writing should exist. Though it varies per person for criterias (no noise, some noise, lighting levels, and more), having a space of pure focus on writing and work vastly helps, or, accounting for diverse lives, to attempt to create the most focused work area. There are many who do not possess the privilege of, for example, owning their individual room of solitude and quietness, and as a result, attempting to minimize as many distractions will be the best option. Lastly, for those heavily struggling with becoming engaged, I also have another tip, of which relates into the next answer.

In terms of how I personally organize my writing, once more, content will be the catalyst for how I outline. For larger academic works, I tend to dedicate a full day to outlining a thesis and how to support said thesis (and if readers are curious on how I do so, sending in a question will help; due to it being relatively difficult to explain, I will hold off unless if a reader desires for it). However, in the scenario of shorter writes or less rigorous ones, such as “writeups” or, for my example, reviews, I utilize a very jocular strategy: “caps lock.” Stating overarching ideas, or, based on interpretation of capitalized texts, yelling overarching ideas, are my methods to brainstorming a writing. I will create an example for understanding:

[EXAMPLE] MAMAMOO’s VOCALS IN “UM OH AH YEH”

SUPER MELODIC (EXAMPLE 1, 2, 3) + SUPER POWERFUL (EXAMPLE 1, 2) + OTHER GOOD QUALITY STUFF (MORE EXAMPLES)

With this being a random example (I have yet to deconstruct “Um Oh Ah Yeh”), many may be confused at the obscene writing, however, I will elaborate. Relating the prior point of struggling to become engaged, in the situation that basic writing (as is this sentence for an example of “basic writing”; the actual act of writing/typing) becomes difficult to begin, turning on the “caps lock” key and typing general, encapsulating ideas tend to encourage a “writing state” to become established. With this brainstorming strategy, for less complex writings (for a research paper, for example, dedicating a full outline would serve more efficiently and effectively as stated), main ideas of what will be written are already placed, and thus, the work is no longer generating ideas, but rather, merely putting those ideas into actual words and sentences. With the main obstruction to writing often time being the mechanical writing itself and, for many occasions, not the ideas, this specific brainstorm strategy helps with temporarily evading the mechanical writing while, in certain aspects, still continuing productivity, and eventually, creating a firm writing drive.

Reiterating it once more, this will vary on the writing material, but for many cases (such as for reviews), this is how I personally organize my writing. Ultimately, while I do hope to give insight, I expect solely such; my tips are given to not become standard protocols, but instead, to give ideas for those wanting to improve their own writing experience. Everyone possesses their own preferences and styles for writing, and as such, finding strategies and methods that work best for personal needs should take place, not thoroughly adopting a different person’s routine (unless if it equally helps and works). That said, to the asker, thank you very much for a question that, very interestingly, is neither related to K-Pop or social topics, and for being exceptionally patient. While, as stated, I do hope to help, the best aid for writing is to discover what works best for personal needs, and of course, to practice. Utilizing my analogy, writing is makeup; continuing to use it will lead to improvement, and in a plethora of aspects, makeup and writing are incredibly similar. In the future I may expand on this comparison, but in short: writing can be split into “mechanical” (makeup products) and “ideas” (makeup application and styles). Also, for those finding this comparison highly absurd, I would consider it equivalent to “normal” analogies of, for examples, sports or even cars. The fact that makeup would be rendered a “strange” comparison does unveil concerning connotations, but this discussion will be saved for a future time.  

Returning to MAMAMOO and “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” with the four members, Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein, and Hwasa, being exceptionally talented vocalists, high anticipation exists for the song, but as a song is more than pure vocals, dissecting “Um Oh Ah Yeh” in its entirety will be necessary to decide if it is moreover “Ah Yeh” than “Um Oh.”

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

– Vocals: 8/10 – In a past review, MAMAMOO earned a nine for the Vocals score, and in “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” peculiarly, it does fall short. Most likely, it may be that during the review of “Piano Man,” I was still blindly scoring songs excessively generous with ratings, and thus, MAMAMOO might have received a faulty nine. But, it may also be that, due to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” itself, the vocals in this specific song are not to the previous standards of “Piano Man.” Nevertheless, for what remains pressing, the vocals in their latest comeback are still impressive for multiple reasons.

For a very potent attribute, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” discloses variety: the notes range from low to high, power and pacing fluctuate, and overall, a copious amount of singing styles exist. Focusing on the vocals’ note range, with both assets of voice and skills, MAMAMOO is able to showcase a vast spectrum of pitches, one that many groups seldom possess. For example, with Moonbyul and her deep voice (and for an obligatory compliment, she has an incredibly beautiful voice, as does everyone, and I personally very much love it), blatantly, the lower notes of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” are covered. Furthermore, however, besides merely manipulating a member’s natural voice pitch, intentional lower notes are also heard, such as at the verses. With the deeper pitches covered, middle and higher notes are obtained via, for examples, the second rap and choruses, respectively. Due to the larger spectrum, much appeal is constantly maintained throughout the song as, unlike songs oriented towards a specific note range, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” utilizes a versatile range, and therefore, each section does not sound akin to the prior.

Addressing the second component of change in power and pacing, and relating a more overarching topic, the various styles of vocals, each section in the song possesses its own unique concept for vocals. The verses, as examples, focus moreover on slower, lower notes, and additionally, more passive singing. Conversely, however, the choruses orientate towards being energetic and higher in notes, and for another section, the raps possess their own style as, blatantly, rapping vocals are conducted versus singing vocals. Similar to the prior point of various notes, with each section containing not only their own tune, but furthermore, overall vocals style, ample appeal is given.

Accounting for the amount of diverse traits the vocals in “Um Oh Ah Yeh” possess, a nine would seemingly hold, but, strangely, even with the variety, one component fails to reach such: the mechanical portion to the vocals, and more specifically, at the choruses. Every other section does prove enticing from a sonic standpoint, and in fact, potentially to the caliber of a numerical nine rating as discussed earlier with the adept, variated singing, but for the first half of the choruses (as will be explained in more depth at the Sections category), contradictingly, it is repetitive. Each section’s vocals does vary from the other sections, but in terms of an individual section, the choruses do hold tedious singing that, though a minor issue, will prevent a full nine. Should the choruses’ vocals be more dynamic, a nine would most likely exist, but with it not, an eight will hold which, overall, is still an admirable rating.

– Sections: 6/10 (6.17/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10

2. Chorus: 6/10

3. Verse: 7/10

4. Rap: 7/10

5. Bridge: 5/10

6. Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10

– Analysis: Truthfully, this review has become heavily delayed due to personal activities, such as preparing for college via materials (a new laptop is arriving, which I am very excited for) and checklists, taking a small trip to a relatively far restuarant, and, as honesty is necessary, watching “Unpretty Rapstar” versus writing. I have already watched, if correct, approximately seven hours of the show within a concerning amount of three days (two episodes are left to finish), and thus, this review would have been finished many days ago if I were dedicated. On that note, I do apologize, and addressing “Unpretty Rapstar,” I will review the show in the future as, astonishingly, despite its overarching theme of being a rap survival contest, I have come across many thoughts, whether related to social topics or plainly the show itself and, admittedly, a few tears surprisingly dropped during a certain scene, though “scene” may become plural as I have yet to finish the show, and considering I have created a more efficient show review outline, even more reasons exist to review it after a few more summer comebacks are covered. On topic with summer comebacks, in focus of MAMAMOO and “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” for the song’s sections, an overall six does hold. Though the vocals are to a high standard, many sections are lacking in comparison.

First gauging the more sound sections, both the verses and raps rate at a seven. Glancing at the verses, with both its mechanical and structural components rendering decently, such a score is understandable. Mechanically, the contributed vocals grant “Um Oh Ah Yeh” a smooth, lower pitched melody, and furthermore, with the instrumental equally replicating the vocals’ style, it leads to a combined pleasing and cohesive sound. In terms of the raps, predictably, with both Moonbyul and Hwasa conducting the sections, a strong mechanical component also exists, as in the verses. Moonbyul’s deeper voice emanates a hefty presence as more seldom notes are disclosed, and of course, with her voice itself, a delightful tune is already possessed. Hwasa further contributes to the rap sections’ sonic layer via providing a contrast to Moonbyul’s voice; her rapping lines reside on lighter pitches and faster pacing while Moonbyul adopts the utter opposite. Synthesized from the contrast is extra emphasis towards both members: Hwasa’s hastier rap becomes more sleek, and Moonbyul’s lower notes carry more distinction.

Now, for the structural portions to both sections, both contain a homogenous role: serving as “pre-choruses.” Unconventionally, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” does not possess any pre-choruses, and with such a section traditionally owning the role of fluently carrying a song to its chorus, it does prove concerning for MAMAMOO’s song to lack it. But, with how the verses and raps carry out, discreetly, the standard pre-chorus role is still fulfilled. The verses play in a passive manner, and thus, standard progression is created, however, once the raps occur, the song gradually escalates to a more upbeat fashion, as are the raps, and relating the choruses, a natural, mellow transition exists to it as now the choruses’ own intensity is matched by the rap sections.

Swapping to the three sections that have all scored a six, the introduction, choruses, and conclusion, all hold as “slightly above average.” In focus of the introduction and conclusion, explaining their scores, for one aspect, while both adequately serve their roles, it is to such a degree: adequately. With the introduction, though it does snatch attention via initiating the song steadily with a gradual, awakening instrumental, and furthermore, by veiling MAMAMOO’s full vocals, the musical component does lack. An overly sluggish rate for the instrumental, though effective for creating anticipation, is ineffective for disclosing an appealing musical trait as, with “Um Oh Ah Yeh” specifically, hollowness and lifelessness are attached traits. For the conclusion, the same issues arise, though conversely; the conclusion, being in the form of a final chorus, clutches an exceptionally potent mechanical layer, but for a drawback, its main role of concluding “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is unmet. Elaborating, with the closing chorus possessing high tier vocals, such as with two-part singing and note holds, and certainly, the default ongoing singing for the section itself, the sonic layer thrives as MAMAMOO delivers powerful, exceptionally melodic vocals. However, for a conclusion, while it may leave a climactic point in the song, an abrupt ending does take place as the conclusion’s intensiveness does not fade out. Resulting from such, a poorer end exists, but similar to the introduction, the stronger component does compensate enough to bring it to its rating of a six.

On the note of choruses, the choruses proved most difficult to grade, but, in the end, as stated, a six holds. Mechanically, the choruses flourish: stronger vocals are utilized along with an endearing melody. Especially towards the later half of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” where the choruses in their entirety are sung, the vocals are to a high caliber. A variety of traits occur, be it the change of paces or fluctuation in power, or the general, harmonious singing. Overall, with every factor merged, a solid score would seemingly be deserved. That said, a six holds as, for the purpose of consistency, the half-choruses must be accounted for, and once doing so, the half choruses hinder both the section’s score as well as the Vocals category from achieving a pure nine. Expanding on such, while the full choruses are successful, disturbingly, losing the second half does create multiple issues. For one, the structure becomes highly mundane; “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is repeated relentlessly, and overarchingly, the first half of the chorus is a basic repeat of a single line. Thus, without the second half bringing in variety, the choruses do languish. Furthermore, the second half contains vocals that progress from the initial singing, and thus, the more potent, melodic and powerful singing resides in it, but with the half-choruses losing such, the mechanical layer equally loses charm. With averaging both the half-choruses and regular choruses, a six becomes the score (five and seven for scores respectively).

Lastly, for the bridge, as its numerical score implies, average is how the bridge renders. Both the section’s format and sonic components are neither stunning or thoroughly loathing. Focusing on the format first, a typical form occurs: the bridge follows a slow, paused and lighter concept, as how many archetypal bridges are. The calm, lighter tune from the instrumental and vocals, and in a general scale, how passive the section is, are nothing unordinary. Though viable, with it being completely standard, lack of uniqueness does hinder a higher score as now, sonically, the vocals and instrumental are restricted, and structurally, it is exaggeratedly simplistic. At most, the dialogue, which will be addressed at the Lyrics category, is partially striking, but in whole, it is miniscule and is not influential enough to compensate. Therefore, a five for average holds for the bridge.

For the net value of every section, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” possesses slightly above average sections, which, though short to the Vocals score, is still respectable, though admittedly, it could be higher considering the given singing.

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Skimming the prior review on “Piano Man,” the group did snatch a perfect score. However, with the critiquing being rather vague (estimating took place versus actual counting), I do believe that the previous ten is, most likely, inaccurate. On the positive side, and in focus on “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” four members is a lower quantity, and therefore, lines should be able to be distributed equally with minimal issues.

Focusing on MAMAMOO’s leader, Solar, her sections total as seven: four choruses, two verses, and the bridge. Though alarmingly high, with solely four members, it is reasonable for a higher count as more is to be covered. Therefore, if a proper distribution occurs, every member should possess a similar, high number. As of now, Solar’s count creates no concern.

For Wheein’s lines, her moments include the four choruses, the two verses, and the bridge. Incredibly, her entire sections replicate Solar’s (understandably as they sing simultaneously, based on the live performance), and additionally, with that, seven also holds as her quantity. Should Moonbyul and Hwasa follow suit, then perhaps the ten in the past review was not a mistake.

In terms of Hwasa, six sections for her distribution. While it is one less than Solar and Wheein, no issues should arise. In terms of her specific sections, Hwasa’s lines appear at the two raps, one verse, two choruses, and the single bridge. If Moonbyul’s count results in a six or seven, a perfect score will hold.

Ending suspense, for Moonbyul’s count, unfortunately, it is slightly below the desired count. With five sections possessed, as observed at the two raps, the two final choruses, and the bridge, it will prevent a perfect score. Nevertheless, Moonbyul’s spotlight is sufficient, and overall, the line share in “Um Oh Ah Yeh” is astounding.

Giving a concluding score, should Solar or Wheein have given Moonbyul one of their lines, a pure, perfect score would hold, but with an incredibly minor disparity, the score will be restricted at a nine. Due to consistency of reviews and the rubric, unless if a genuine, thoroughly perfect share exists, a ten cannot hold. Regardless, even with a nine, their distribution can be considered practically perfect, and with four exceptionally talented vocalists, having an equal share is desirable. Reiterating it once more, a nine will be the rating.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Discussing the instrumental to “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” it is the song’s most lackluster category. However, though mechanically the instrumental falters, its structural layer does fare well. In focus of the latter, for one aspect, the soundtrack perfectly reflects the sections: verses are accompanied by a more prominent, heavy beat in order to suit calmer vocals; raps are complemented with a slightly faster instrumental, of which suits the raps’ own hastier rate; choruses are, as foreseen, coupled with a lively soundtrack to connect with the upbeat vocals. As a result, the instrumental can be considered an invaluable asset to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” as every sections’ style and their overall musical components are influenced by it. Furthermore, in juxtaposition of vocals and soundtrack, both aspects perfectly mesh with the other; the vocals are still able to leech the main attention, but concurrently, the instrumental still possesses a noticeable, distinctive presence and, sonically, neither harshly contrasts the other, but instead, both provide a similar, lighter and upbeat tune.

Now in terms of the weaker aspect, one that does hinder a higher rating, the mechanical portion of the instrumental is, as its overall rating, average. While energetic and catchy, the instrumental does lack musical appeal as its main sound is a simplistic, dull electronic noise. Most clearly heard at the choruses, the electronic sound follows a straightforward melody, and additionally, other instruments are also equally plain with tune. Even sections of the verses and raps are dull as, though the bass, beats, and subtle electronic sounds are rhythmic, once more, a basic melody is given. Though this is understandable as the vocals are the main spotlight, and thus, are responsible for delivering “Um Oh Ah Yeh” ‘s melody, and in many ways, why the instrumental’s structural side is solid, it does cost the instrumental in the form of its mechanical layer.

Unfortunately, with a poorer musical aspect, it will lower the score to a five as, while the instrumental’s structure is impressive, in the end, it becomes negligible if the instrumental fails to offer alluring sounds that aid the entirety of the song rather than, such as in “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” purely the vocals. That said, even with average, it does not indicate a mediocre instrumental, but instead, one that is neither promising or loathing.

– Lyrics: 7/10 – After listening to many summer comebacks, most of the recent songs’ lyrics are rather dull (for a side note, I am overwhelmed by the number of releases; unless if I add different forms of reviews, it would be impossible to cover the more popular comebacks), but optimistically, for “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” more desirable lyrics may exist. After all, with a highly vague title, many speculations exist of the song’s meaning. Through the following Korean-to-English lyrics, even if not 100% accurate, the story to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” will hopefully become discovered, and additionally, on why that is the title:

Um oh ah yeh

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace

You passed by me, our eyes met
I like your style, I like this feeling
Nothing’s different today
It’s getting hotter because of you
I like it today, um oh ah yeh

First plan
I’m marveling
You’re the guy I’ve been looking for
um oh ah yeh
You look good on me like my many clothes
These soft words, what do you think?
Second plan, I’ll pull you in first
My eyes are shaking, stand by, cue
If you have time, wanna get some tea?
Yes, how about this?

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace

I’ll follow my instincts, I won’t hide myself
Today is different, I’ll go to you first
My walk is chic, my words are cute
Your eyes that look at me, um oh ah yeh

Help me
Do you have some time? Help me
Because of you, my five senses are acting up
Because of your unpredicted smile
Your manner would make even Colin Firth weep
Your skin might get mistaken for a woman
Your existence alone makes me marvel
Um oh ah yeh
Without knowing, it’s getting hotter
Holy sh–

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace
Your voice, oh yes
Your eye smile, oh yes
Everything about you
From your head to your toes, oh yes
When I see you, oh yes
When I see you, oh yes
Just us two, oh yes
Oh yes

It’s getting hotter
The distance between me and you
One girl is walking in between us
Is she his girlfriend
or just a friend?
“Unnie, who is that girl?”
It was a girl? Oh my God!

Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you
Oh yes, um oh ah yeh
I will go to you, you are just my taste, ace
Your voice, oh yes
Your eye smile, oh yes
Everything about you
From your head to your toes, oh yes

Before discussing the lyrics, I feel compelled to share that I have recently watched a video of MAMAMOO (it does have English subtitles), specifically the one of them having, indeed, a music session. In a car. Ignoring the wishes for the wellbeing of the driver, especially for her ears, while I am incredibly impressed by their phenomenal live rapping and singing, I am at a lost for words to describe their incredibly jocular and sillier moments. In short, the ladies are hilarious, and now I am tempted to find more videos of the group.

On topic, for the lyrics of “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” a peculiar plot is in place. Though the depicted plot revolves around love, it is not, for example, basic as is the one in AOA’s “Heart Attack,” but instead, vastly complex and exclusive, as will be explained. In terms of the scenario, a main character, specifically a lady, is “falling for [a love-interest], [she keeps] reacting to [him].” It all began when the two “passed by” one another and “[their] eyes met.” From the encounter, she was able to claim: “I like your style, I like this feeling,” even if, as the song’s title, she was anxious yet excited with “um oh ah yeh,” of which are sounds that describe her emotional state. Continuing, she then developed plans as she will “go to [him] first”, but more correctly stated, rather than “plans,” flirtatious phrases were created: “First plan…you look good on me like many clothes,” and for another, her “Second plan…if you have time, wanna get some tea?” Diving into why the main character is highly infatuated with the love-interest, she adores “[his] manner [that] would make even Colin Firth weep,” “[his] skin [that] might get mistaken for a woman,” and, sweetly, his “voice” and “eye smile.” Eventually, the main character catches the love-interest and his friend, but a concern arises: “One girl is walking in between us, is she his girlfriend or just a friend?” With the love-interest’s friend witnessing the main character, she asks a question, one that marks the climactic point in the plot: “Unnie, who is that girl?” Jocularly, while the lyrics conclude with a reiteration on the main character’s love for said love-interest, in the perspective of the main character, it is a despairing end as her love-interest is, sadly, not her dream male since, surprisingly, the love-interest is not even a male. The love-interest was a female the entire time. (In case of a few readers unfamiliar with some Korean, “unnie” is a title by which younger females refer to older females as. In the plot, since the friend referred to the love-interest as unnie, it implied that, humorously, the love-interest was an older female, not a male as the main character thought.)

The main character’s reaction of, “It was a girl? Oh my God!” (and for those who do feel offended by the lyrics’ use of the latter phrase, I will state my personal desire of how I do wish the lyrics were “oh my goodness” so that no offences occur) does summarize the plot’s effectiveness; the lyrics to “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” while aimed towards a certain route, did make an unpredicted turn, but resultly, the plot twist proves priceless for the song. With the sudden change of events in the story, a large bonus does become reaped since, as mentioned earlier, many lyrics fail to contain any element of uniqueness. “Um Oh Ah Yeh” highly differing in plot allows it to become individual, and thus, additional appeal is granted. However, for what will prevent a higher score of an eight, the given details, while decent, are not thoroughly diverse. For example, the verses and choruses restate identical ideas; both sections simply repeat the idea of initiating the first move, or in the choruses’ case, even the exact words. Anticipatedly, due to such, the lyrics become partially mundane. But, because of the raps and bridge providing further insight, and overall, the entire plot possessing an unexpected turn, the lyrics will hold as above average.

Seven will be the rating, and so far with listening to the many copious summer comebacks, MAMAMOO’s song does contain, as of my personal list, the most admirable lyrics out of all the comebacks.

– “Critical Corner”: Slightly discussed at the very beginning of the review, the lyrics to “Um Oh Ah Yeh” are very empowering; MAMAMOO’s latest song is one that embraces femininity, a concept that, as discussed in many of my reviews (even the recent one of AOA’s “Heart Attack”), is undervalued in comparison to masculinity. More significantly, the song addresses a more seldom angle of femininity: “feminine” men. Although in the future I hope “feminine” and “masculine” transform to terms that are all positive and gender-neutral, as of modern times, for the discussion of “feminine men,” following the current socialized connotations of feminine, males who follow so tend to face heavy opposition. While I will not dive into depth as of why that occurs (I have lost track, but prior reviews explain why males receive hate from being “feminine”; if accurate, my review of Infinite’s “The Chaser” covers that), I will redirect attention on why the lyrics in “Um Oh Ah Yeh” are, unlike the general structure of androcentric societies, supportive of femininity, especially towards males who also suit it.

Although the love-interest in the song was, comically, a lady after all, a pressing, momentous message still exists: the main character is attracted to men who, like the love-interest, is “feminine.” Clarifying, critical readers may be challenging the term feminine and its meaning (which is excellent and many should question gender labels), but for understanding, for this portion, I will assume feminine to connote to its current standards. Resuming, that message in itself carries much weight as, uncoincidentally, males who do fall within the feminine category tend to be incredibly repulsed. Bringing in further understanding, seldom does the opposite scenario exist; it is rare for a masculine female to be disliked as, unequitably, masculine is rendered normal, and thus, she would be a “usual” person. A main example exists: a female who does not use makeup would, usually, face no repercussions, but should a male use makeup, he will face harsh comments. For another example (as, after pondering over the last example, criticizing females for not using makeup can actually be fairly common), females are accepted for wearing “male clothing,” such as a suit, and should a male wear “female clothing,” much backlash would occur. Referring to past reviews in which this topic is discussed in depth will provide more understanding.

Relating the earlier point, for an overarching argument, feminine males are exceptionally loathed as femininity in general is disliked, but with “Um Oh Ah Yeh” showcasing a female zealously interested in a male who is, indeed, feminine, the overall idea of how femininity is equal to masculinity can be gleaned. Even with the circumstance that the male was, in truth, a female, with the intended idea of the main character pursuing, assumingly, a male, the same message is still viable. With “Um Oh Ah Yeh” being a pop song, its subtle yet critical lyrics become even more exceptionally meaningful, and with that, it is enlightening to witness the song conveying lyrics that promote equity in the form of gender. Personally, as discussed in the review of Infinite’s “The Chaser, since I believe in honesty and intimacy with readers, as a heterosexual male, I do plan on actively using makeup in the future, and thus, this song does send encouragement as I do fall moreover into the current standards of “feminine” than “masculine,” and rather than being relentlessly rejected, as “Um Oh Ah Yeh” claims, there are people, and specifically, partners, who will find my “femininity” attractive.

Sharing more of my personal thoughts on that subject, while I do plan to live a more independent life, I do cheesily believe in very romantic love stories hope that, in the future, that changes as I would fall in love with a very special lady, but being realistic and factoring in social layers, though I would not branch into dressing in “female clothing” (which, in general, should not be an issue nor should that gendered label exist), my basic use of foundation, concealer, eyeliner, and some eyeshadow would, seemingly, deter many partners (and also that I do wish for her to be proposing first). Positively, however, as “Um Oh Ah Yeh” advocates, even with utilizing makeup and being “feminine,” there is a chance of meeting a special lady who, lovingly, does accept that, and of course, my general self in terms of non-physical aspects. Ending the blush-inducing discussion of my personal perspective towards love, for a concluding point, “Um Oh Ah Yeh” deserves much praise for promoting gender equity that, as often time forgotten, aids males as much as it does for females.

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Shamefully, this review will be, technically, even one more day behind schedule as, from when I wrote this sentence, it is nearly midnight, and thus, the next day has arrived (and that my writing is perishing). Complaints aside, the choreography for “Um Oh Ah Yeh” renders as slightly above average, though it does nearly reach a seven for above average.

Gauging the two main categories of syncing and key points, no alarming problems exist, but equally, no outstanding aspects are unveiled. Remarking on the syncing, every movement does, in some form, relate to the song. However, the level at which it is synced is, while not lacking, far from being utterly visually enticing. For example, at the choruses, though all of the dance motions follow with the song’s flow and intensity, it is not to the degree of fine, minimal details being synced. Rather, large, general maneuvers take place versus ones where every faint musical minutiae would need to be accounted for. Nevertheless, the syncing still remains sufficiently appealing, and more importantly, apparent throughout the entirety of “Um Oh Ah Yeh.”

In terms of the key points to the song, a split occurs: in an overall scope, the song possesses much variety, but within each key point, each one is slightly stale. First, addressing the diversity of the key points, in “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” nearly every section individually (more than section types of chorus, etc.) varies from the other. The first verse is unalike the second, both raps are different, the bridge holds its own key point, and for the choruses, though a few repeats occur, even those sections vary from one another, most notably with the full choruses. Therefore, in the sense of appeal from variety, the choreography excels as a new dance set is constantly displayed. But, as stated, within each of the individual sections, the key points are not to an incredibly high appeal. With each key point being moreover simplistic, visually, the key points do not hold as extremely alluring. For example, most of the movements relate moreover to the lyrics’ plot; much of the choreography revolves around miniature acting skits. While this exponentially works in favor of MAMAMOO as singing becomes prioritized, it will, for consistency of reviews, cost the choreography slightly as, sadly, it is not entirely infatuating.

Nevertheless, a six holds to represent slightly above average. Each section possessing its own key point is one exceptionally admirable characteristic to the choreography, even with the other somewhat lacking attributes.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – As the vapid phrase goes, “time flies when you are writing past midnight for a review on a K-Pop group known as MAMAMOO and their, as the scores claim, overall above average summer comeback song.” I may just be faintly sleep deprived. Faintly. Ignoring horrible attempts at comedy, on a serious tone, MAMAMOO’s latest song of “Um Oh Ah Yeh” concludes with an overall score of seven, of which indicates the song is above average, and I do certainly agree. Both dance and song are respectable, and with MAMAMOO, their singing and rapping prowess are once more flaunted. Despite being newer to the K-Pop industry, the four ladies have much potential to exceed, and arguably, they already are on the path of being an exceeding group. And, of course, with all of them being very humorous, MAMAMOO deserves much positive attention.  

As always, thank you very much for reading, and to the requester, thank you for sending in a request for MAMAMOO. I do sincerely apologize for the slower publishing rate. As explained, I had some personal activities, and thus, less writing time, though in truth, it was moreover watching “Unpretty Rapstar” that consumed my time. I do apologize for being selfish in that regard. Optimistically, I will be returning to a faster rate, especially with the upcoming laptop serving as an extra incentive. With that said, since I am reminded of college, unequivocally, reviews will not be halted. Though there may be situations of greater delay, I would not cease reviewing K-Pop songs. In fact, most of my free time is now allocated towards writing (and, admittedly, watching videos and the occasional gaming) as I do very much treasure the blog, as the upcoming review will reflect over. Now in focus of college itself, I am both nervous and ecstatic, as are many students. I look forward to a new learning environment and to classes that I am quite excited for, but, for the nervousness, the workload and academic difficulties of college are intimidating. Once a structure is set up, I do plan on sharing my experiences of university as a few readers may also be following a similar path soon, and thus, I wish to give insight on such.

Finishing the review, once more, thank you very much for the given time and support. I do truly appreciate it all. Also, apologies for the slower publishing rate, and for this review specifically, horrendous writing. I do feel that my writing here was exceptionally poor, and therefore, I will place extra emphasis on ensuring the upcoming review is a decent read. That said, for the upcoming review, I will use a song that is not explicitly stated on my review schedule, but is one that would certainly fit, and for its theme, it does serve as a celebration to the blog’s one year anniversary (I will reflect over the blog in the review). Stay tuned for the upcoming review as, “Oh yes, um oh ah yeh, I’m falling for you, I keep reacting to you,” and that “I will go to you” with a new review since “you are just my taste, ace.”

AOA – “Heart Attack” Review

AOA – Heart Attack (Live Performance; unofficial upload)

AOA – Heart Attack (Music Video)

AOA (Ace of Angels) – Heart Attack

Reviewed on June 28, 2015

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Personal Message: As promised, AOA’s “Heart Attack” will be reviewed, and with an obligatory pun, indeed, I experienced a “heart attack” due to the ladies (though on a more serious note, AOA’s leader, Jimin, did give me a “heart attack” as she almost fell during a live stage). On topic with AOA’s latest comeback, I truthfully have not felt this level of excitement for a comeback, let alone a review, in quite some time. Even the excitement towards Infinite’s “The Chaser” hardly breaches my current feelings. However, understandably, reasons do exist for why I am incredibly zealous: AOA is one of my favorite groups as I admire the members and adore their songs, “Heart Attack” is a song I biasedly love, and of course, this will mark the beginning of reviewing upcoming summer comebacks. Nevertheless, despite personal influences, I will remain impartial when grading the song from a systematic standpoint.

Before entirely engaging in “Heart Attack,” to digress about the group, I have started watching their latest reality show, “One Fine Day.” Already from the first episode, the show appears enticing, and certainly, more so than their prior one of “AOA Open Up,” which, sadly, is a rather poor reality show, as will be explained in the future due to a review of it (if I follow through with the review). In short, explaining why “AOA Open Up” lacks, labeling it as a reality show, while still viable, is technically false as it was, in multiple aspects, rather scripted in the sense of forcing the members to partake in random events versus, utilizing “One Fine Day” as an example, simply recording the group with their own decisions and plans and interactions, even if the overarching vacation was placed upon them. And of course, “AOA Open Up” was simply, bluntly stated, boring; the activities the ladies participated in were not interesting or comical, and the usual interactions with one another ceased as they were often time split. More will be said in a future review of “AOA Open Up.”

Digressing to a new topic, as I have tediously stated in copious reviews, I credit much of the blog’s growth to the ladies. Their prior song release, “Like a Cat,” was reviewed in the past, and from there, an increase in popularity did take place for the blog as the conducted review turned out to be well received. Thus, I am incredibly grateful to AOA for indirectly helping, though realistically, I am more thankful to readers for being the true reason for why the blog significantly grew. Embarrassingly, however, after skimming the review on “Like a Cat” during April’s Fools Day (since I did use AOA for an April’s Fools joke review), I did feel utter shame at my atrocious writing. Nonetheless, the beauty of growth and improvement is to be able to reflect on past activities and to feel shame. After all, in the future reflecting on this review, I would hope for the same embarrassment to occur.

Finally addressing AOA’s latest song, sharing my personal reactions, “Heart Attack” rendered in two phases: the first one of slight disappointment, and then the second one of utter captivation. Expanding such, “Heart Attack” possessing a highly upbeat, electronic, pop-like concept was not initially appealing. With applying my personal preferences for songs, I did feel as if “Heart Attack” was overwhelming, but after giving it a second hearing and partially deconstructing it, I began realizing how solid it was, and predictably, I am at my current point where I do love the song and even its style. Of course, however, it is not flawless, and while I do predict it leaning towards a seven or even an eight, there are most likely some significant errors. A closer analysis will begin once the actual review begins.

That said, before embarking on the review, the music video deserves much praise (I will link it). Due to my current planned review schedule, I doubt I will review it unless if a request is sent in, but as a result, I will leave my comments in this review. With the music video for “Heart Attack,” I have enjoyed a vast majority of its general layer. For example, the plot, although cliché with the theme of high school love, is exceptionally adorable and has room for various interpretations. As for how the music video is constructed, the mixture of dance and plot prove appealing and complementing, and indisputably, the music video in general contains beautiful aesthetics in terms of colors, scenery, and such. For a more critical layer, the connotations of the music video are exceptionally positive, based from my personal deconstruction. In summary, gender equity is vastly promoted via the used colors, the clothing AOA wore in context to the plot, the main character (Choa) choosing to make the first move for a date, the sport game (as a side note, while I do respect sports, I am exceptionally ignorant of such and thus, do not know the name of the sport in the video) and setting involving it, characters’ interactions, and other aspects. Due to length, I will not elaborate on each of these points and how it ties into promoting the idea that both females and males are worthy, but as stated, for those curious, a review request for the music video will grant me time to do such.

There is one additional social layer given by the music video, and that is some racial diversity, but due to yet analyzing the music video in that regard (and needing to account for South Korea’s race demographics and such), I will hold off offering my opinion as I currently possess none on the subject. However, to leave a quick point, and a topic that will be discussed in a future review, for a medium to be considered socially equitable and positive, it requires more than merely possessing diversity in the sense of quantity; if a medium, be it a music video or show, is to be promoting equity, it is more than having a racially diverse cast as it is about the depiction of said diversity. More discussion will arrive in the future (though for “Heart Attack,” I will say it does lean towards the positive side for many reasons).

Now, to share a comical story before perhaps venturing into more serious ones, since I had only heard “Heart Attack” during its initial release, I did watch the music video with a friend after two days of its release. Note, though, that by the word “with,” I am referring to the idea that we purely watched the music video at identical times as she would not want to associate herself with me as I practically made a compliment and squealed to AOA members every five to ten seconds, while I was certainly quite mature with my viewing experience, I did offer relentless feedback. Once the end arrived, we did share opinions of the music video, and humorously, her response was intriguing (and this sharing is with her permission as I do not intend to humiliate her at all after all she was not immature as I was with squealing). Paraphrasing her opinion: “It was nice and AOA is beautiful but, the music video’s so unrealistic, look at what they’re wearing.” Summarizing what I replied, while she is in her second year of college, and thus, might have forgotten her high school years already, “if AOA’s clothing is the only ‘unrealistic’ part of the music video, I’m concerned about your time in high school.” Perhaps, however, I am being restrictive with my understanding as, according to her, blatantly staring at a crush a desk away and writing proposals are the sole given tasks in high school, not learning and work. Ultimately, we, hopefully, gained a few years of life due to excess laughter and mockery of one another.

Eventually, though, a more serious discussion took place (and expectedly, for those who wish to focus on AOA in a pure musical and dance context, skip below): high school dress codes. This topic has traversed a lengthy route of various opinions, and from my understanding, it has reached a stalemate. With this topic affecting predominantly female students (for a reason, as will be explained later), many have come to these two main points: students should be free to wear whatever they please, and for the opposing perspective, dress codes exist to reinforce professionalism, and thus, should be followed. Offering my opinion, first, for the foundation of my argument, I will emphasize a specific point. Stated before in some review and in credit to my senior year English teacher, context is what matters, and in the scenario of dress codes, in order to apply a social lens, context of the overarching topic must exist.

Directly announcing my stance, I am in full favor of a realistic dress code; I believe students should be free to dress in whatever they please as long as it is reasonable, such as miniskirts, crop tops, and similar ideas. Noticeably, many of the listed apparels are socially rendered as female clothing, and thus, an issue should already be elicited: dress codes do affect female students more often than males, and this is sadly not a coincidence. High school dress codes, and arguably, dress codes in general, are more than the issue of professionalism; dress codes in many cases are simply symptoms of the more general social issue of gender inequities. Critically deconstructing dress codes, finding why it is established as such reveals the sad truth of living in a boy’s world; dress codes are based on valuing masculinity over femininity (will explain), and thus, I would stress the point that dress codes are more than “professionalism” or “teaching students how to properly dress” as, in truth, in an education context of dress codes, it is teaching that masculine appearances are “proper” while feminine appearances are “improper.” Essentially, these dress codes are telling female students their bodies are worth shaming and need to be covered.

Before continuing, I will now address a rebuttal that many, such as my friend, gave: “Professionalism is what matters, it is not about telling girls that their bodies are shaming, it’s just that in the ‘real world’ they won’t be accepted for what they currently wear.” Seeking a deeper answer is what will reveal the disturbance of this response. Professionalism. Defining professionalism, and specifically with clothing, goes as follows: a suit. Strangely, if, for example, a lady “wears a miniskirt” and “risky high heels and black stockings,” as sung by the amazing ladies of AOA, it is suddenly no longer professional. This is not based upon the idea that revealing skin is unprofessional, but rather, what males have constructed and proposed.

To bring full understanding, an assumed scenario will take place: men wear what is currently socialized as female clothing, and vice versa for women in that they wear what is currently socialized as male clothing. Now a question: what is professional clothing? Many would instantly remark that women are now the epitome of professional clothing as, through the imagined scenario, they are wearing suits and not revealing skin. Incorrect. Professional clothing will be, against what many believe, revealing clothing since, rather than the clothing itself, it is the people who wears them that makes the clothing “professional.” Because masculinity is valued over femininity, as seen in every aspect of life, revealing clothing would, being deemed masculine in my depicted story, therefore be the standard, and thus, miniskirts would suddenly be professional versus, in current times, controversial when they should not be. Therefore, for an overall point, dress codes are not teaching “professionalism,” it is teaching professionalism that is linked to androcentrism; enforcing strict dress codes upon young ladies in school, a place to learn and gain empowerment, is ironically teaching them that masculinity should, and will, be valued over femininity (as seen in arised punishments should a dress code be broken), and more generally, that males are superior to females when, as I always and will repeat, both genders are worthy of praise.

With that said, I will continue with the topic of dress codes in more exact scenarios (and being honest, I do mean what my friend and I did discuss). A main defense for skin revealing clothing has been “to keep cool,” of which is certainly a realistic point, but many have argued against such via claiming that, in order to keep cool, it does not require “that much” revealing. Presenting my take, with every body being different, what is “cool” to one person could be “hot” to another. Therefore, this argument is already false in the sense of how, depending on a person, she (or he) may need less covering in order to feel more comfortable. Pushing aside the more technical argument, to offer a more controversial statement (which should not be so, and that I am already rather controversial with my opinions so it would not matter), to be even sexier is another reason for being less covered. Being more revealing does not, and should not, come with repercussions (such as sexual assaults or boys pathetically “cat-calling”). Correct, I am encouraging that, if a female feels more sexually attractive by being less covered, then that is a viable reason for why she would dress as so. The topic of body shaming females applies here as, by showing skin, many are labeled as “sluts,” “whores,” or trepidatiously warned of being potentially raped (versus teaching boys not to rape). Furthermore, there is also the issue of boys’ standards being applied in that, if a female fails to fit in their standard of a “body,” there will be harassment in that regard when, as long as basic decency and intelligence exists, all bodies should be appreciated, praised, and simply deemed sexy, and of course, that respecting more than a physical body should occur via genuine relationships and not objectifying females.

Onto the final discussion point that my friend and I covered, a very interesting counter-argument was given: “What about boys sagging, if girls can be revealing then boys should be allowed to sag.” Although  during the time of conversation I did not possess an answer at all, after ruminating over it, I have finally come to one. Rather than construing “sagging” so that it is homogenous to, for example, a miniskirt, I would classify it as a different topic. Additionally, sagging is banned for both males and females, and thus, the real issue still thrives: both genders sagging is prohibited, yet mainly females are scrutinized and punished for what they wear while most males are not. Unless if boys were chastised for “being too covered,” I would not acquaint sagging as an equivalent to females’ unfair treatment with dress codes. And of course, arguing that females would become privileged over males should revealing clothing be allowed is merely undermining femininity (and ignoring male privilege). Many would be content with the current scale of how masculinity is the professional standard when, unfortunately, that should not be the case as it tips in an unfair balance (hence why many embrace it as it is easier to follow “normal” even if “normal” is inequitable).

Once more, context is key, and overall, sagging can be deemed unprofessional. However, as the main issue is, utilizing miniskirts once more due to AOA’s song title of it, it is an issue for that clothing article to be deemed unprofessional due to its feminine value (since skin equals femininity in our current social norms). That is moreover the issue of dress codes; for a regular, normal clothing, to be shunned and deemed unprofessional due to its femininity, is why dress codes are an issue. Sagging fails to fit as, from what I am aware of, it is not a standard fashion, and that, it is not shamed due to being “too masculine” (since that phrase is nonexistent in androcentric societies), but rather, simply unprofessional in the sense of general properness. Reiterating it once more, miniskirts are deemed unprofessional due to femininity, and femininity should be considered “properness,” but society deems otherwise.

That said, males still possess issues with dress codes, but in the form of, like females, attempting to value femininity. Therefore, I do not wish to neglect males who undergo their own struggles with dress codes (and social consequences in general). For example, men who face common death threats and dress code issues for wearing clothing deemed “female-only” deserve respect and equal attention, and for an example that I may perhaps face, makeup provides a transparent example of how dress code issues can apply to men. Similar to K-Pop male idols, as discussed in my review of Infinite’s “The Chaser,” I plan to adopt and actively use a similar makeup style (ZE:A’s Kevin, my favorite and most adored male idol, provides a perfect example, such during Nasty Nasty’s period), but should a future boss reject that, it would be exceptionally upsetting (and, with becoming a high school teacher, a major lesson lost).

For an overall, concluding message, relating back the whole scenario of dress codes, both females and males should be free to dress as they please. The main issue with dress codes is that, while its intent is respectable (“professionalism”), its objective needs to be redefined in order to truly embrace and accept true professionalism. Currently, “unprofessional” equates to femininity when that is far from the truth, and thus, dress codes are an issue. Should it be revised so unprofessional clothing is in reference to articles that promote racism and negativity in general, for examples, then it will be free of troubles. Until then, dress codes in their current forms should be challenged and redressed, and of course, for the overarching issue, gender inequities need to be challenged.

Finally returning to AOA and their latest comeback (I do apologize for a lengthy digression; I did feel quite strongly for the topic), much credit towards the group, music video director and crew, is deserved. Pop culture is more than eye-ear candy (in thanks to two teachers and one professor for showcasing such); the social layers involved with pop culture is as equally important as the entertainment component it brings, and for AOA’s “Heart Attack,” I admire the ladies for promoting equity (and during “Miniskirt,” “Short Hair,” and many other releases). Now, while I do biasedly enjoy “Heart Attack” (I would rate it at an eight), it is definitely not flawless. Nevertheless, I anticipate a higher score since “it goes a little something like this,” “let’s, go.”

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

– Vocals: 7/10 – Ignoring the previous sentence of perhaps the worst transition I have ever used in writing, AOA’s vocals in “Heart Attack” continue the group’s standard tier: above average. Although AOA in whole cannot push towards a higher score, a seven is nothing to belittle. Specifically focusing on “Heart Attack,” the song continues to use AOA’s vocal lineup: Choa and Yuna handle more intensive lines, Chanmi and Jimin provide their usual raps, and Seolhyun, Hyejeong, and Mina perform the supporting vocals.

Deconstructing why the vocals hold well, to first begin with the support vocalists, especially in juxtaposition to previous releases, “Heart Attack” does showcase more refined vocals for the three: higher notes are sustained with more stability, and most potently, their vocals prove exceptionally melodic and crisp. Despite less intensive lines than the main vocalists, the members are nearly to an equal standard as many of their lines are utterly harmonious. The predominant difference is absence of a stronger vocal presence, but regardless, the support vocalists exceed expectations as all of their lines carry a significant role to “Heart Attack.”

Switching over to the main vocalists of Choa and Yuna, the two’s vocals emulate the support vocalists, but to a higher degree; like Seolhyun, Hyejeong and Mina, both members remain exceptionally melodic  and stable, however, their singing renders as even more so, and furthermore, the added component of power exists. Pinpointing examples, the pre-choruses unveil the two’s stunning vocals of reaching and carrying high notes, and additionally, with the sections’ structure accentuating melody (as to be discussed later), both Choa and Yuna are heard with vastly tuneful lines. Lastly, a rhythmic flow is attached to their vocals due to multiple sections, and thus, more appeal exists towards their singing. Now, in terms of power, the choruses and conclusion grant conspicuous examples. During the choruses, quick and lengthy note stretches are manipulated, as observed via the sections’ choppier rate, and therefore, vocal strength becomes uncloaked in addition to the extra layer of tune. Also, with the ending, though it is the chorus replayed, the layer of two part singing further aids the two’s singing as minor note holds occur.

With the remaining ladies of Jimin and Chanmi, their vocals, anticipatedly, also rate well. For Jimin, though she has garnered much negativity for her voice (I believe I did discuss this before, but in short, musical criticism of a voice is acceptable, but beyond that it is not; Jimin’s voice can be critiqued as long as it is in the context of music, but to mock her voice in general, as many do, is utterly unacceptable as every voice is indeed beautiful), in “Heart Attack,” her vocals prove charming and complementing to her rap. While I will expand on it in the Sections category, Jimin’s nasally, higher pitched voice allows her rap to possess an incredibly fluent, hasty flow, and in addition, the tune granted from such perfectly suits the song as a whole. Mechanically, miraculously, Jimin’s iconic voice proves to be very alluring and not vexing. Chanmi equally follows suit, though blatantly, conversely; opposite to Jimin, Chanmi’s rap utilizes a lower pitch, but nevertheless, her vocals remain tuneful and, with offering diversity via new notes, more appeal is granted to the vocals.

As stated at the start, above average will hold. AOA’s main vocalists are shining with melody and power, the support vocalists follow a similar route, and the rappers display equally pleasing vocals.   

– Sections: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction (Pre-Chorus): 7/10

2. Verse: 7/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4. Chorus: 6/10

5. Rap: 8/10

6. Bridge: 6/10

7. Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10

– Analysis: Before addressing the sections in “Heart Attack,” after, humorously, making a huge blunder, I have discovered the music video’s sport name: lacrosse, as stated explicitly in the video’s description. Focusing back to the song, for “Heart Attack,” many of its sections are worthy of thorough analysis, and thus, in this regard, I do wish for the previous outline (feedback is still desired for this current outline). Nevertheless, “Heart Attack” ‘s sections do score in the higher range: sixes and to the maximum of eight. Furthermore, two sections do possess an eight, and if correct, that has not be an achieved feat in many recent reviews although in the past, nines were liberally given.

To begin with the song’s stronger sections, both the pre-choruses and rap rate at eight (though biasedly I hold the rap at a nine), of which indicates that the stated sections can be remarked as solid and very enticing. Faint details are the sections’ empowering point. For example, in focus of the rap, while there is the direct mechanical layer of Jimin’s excellent pacing, melody, and fluency, and for Chanmi, similar traits, vocal layering takes place: as both members’ rap progresses, their vocals become duplicated to deliver amplification. As a result of said vocal layering, the structural component of their raps exceptionally flourish: variety is given as the rapping vocals constantly transform, transition points are given such as Jimin to Chanmi or even the rap to the upcoming verse, and the mechanical piece to the rap is augmented. Elaborating the latter, the vocal layering provides tints of vocal strength and points in which the melody and pacing can modify. In terms of the melody and pacing, with the layering occurring towards the end, changes in those aspects take place naturally as the layering grants a minor pause, and thus, a more seamless, complex rap is created overall. A strong set of the rap’s sonic and structure parts allow the section to possess a higher score.

On that note, for the other section that scored highly, the pre-choruses by Choa and Yuna are equally admirable, and deriving why that is the case, subtle details, as stated, are the reasons. With the two members already exhibiting adept, potent vocals, the pre-choruses’ structures exploit such, and therefore, further emphasis towards their tune and power is gleaned. For example, the beginning of the pre-choruses offer repetition in the form of syllables; “wanjeon banhae banhae beoryeosseoyo” (“I’ve completely fallen for you”), the starting line to the sections, has a repeating “ba” sound. From this, a rhythmic, catchy flow now also accompanies the members’ singing. Now, with a more hasty, upbeat start, it allows the remainder of the section to adopt a more stalling route as the risk of staleness is nonexistent, and thus, with the ability to add multiple, short note stretches, the pre-choruses then become exceptionally melodious, as is.

Regarding the sections that hold as above average, the introduction, verses, and conclusion, all three provide their usual utility along with a captivating musical component. In terms of the more utility-based sections, the introduction, peculiarly yet effectively, uses a modified form of the pre-chorus. Accounting for how pre-choruses tend to be efficient at garnering hype for a song, the same concept applies but for, instead of a chorus, an entire song. Miraculously, it proves successful as “Heart Attack” commences in a vastly upbeat demeanor, is able to instantly establish its style, and furthermore, the aspect of luring in listeners still holds true as, unlike most songs creating anticipation via hiding vocals, “Heart Attack” directly discloses its sonic piece: exceptionally tuneful, stable vocals, and thus, attempts to attract listeners occur in this form.

The conclusion also follows a similar route to the introduction, one that is dissimilar to general routes. With the two-part singing, Choa’s individual note holds, and the sections’ usual vocals, the conclusion is, concerningly, rather energetic, and though such would normally impede a conclusion from achieving a smooth end, it proves viable in “Heart Attack” for various reasons. First, the climactic point in “Heart Attack” resides not in the bridge, as in most standard songs, but instead, the conclusion. Therefore, a final peak of intensity fits comfortably, and with it occurring towards the final seconds, it grants “Heart Attack” its final, fading sparks to end on, of which plays out naturally. Also, with the song still fading out, even if speedily, towards the very end due to the instrumental, more assurance exists to grant “Heart Attack” a smooth closure. Combining its structural aspect to the decent vocals of the chorus, the conclusion holds well, as does the introduction.

In terms of the verses, while structurally nothing proves pressing, the verses contain a strong mechanical aspect that pushes their rating to above average. Vocals hold as melodic and appealing, but even so, the singing is not necessarily to a high tier. However, once paired with the instrumental, the verses’ musical component blooms: the stronger, heavier beats serve as a foundation for the vocals. For example, the vocals’ pace reflect the beats’ rate, and thus, the section in whole becomes incredibly rhythmic and contains an alluring flow. Overall, the combination of singing and instrumental heavily complement one another, and thus, while both are decent individually, as a combo, the result is a section that proves mechanically and structurally compelling.

Finally addressing the weaker sections, the choruses and bridge both hold a six which, while not bad in the scale of zero to ten, is the lowest number in context of the other sections. Gauging the bridge, the singing and format are both, as its rating, “slightly above average.” In focus of the vocals, while Choa’s part holds its weight, Seolhyun’s singing does falter. Antithetical to the verses where Seolhyun’s singing maintained appeal due to the instrumental’s support, in the bridge, without a more energetic, electronic soundtrack accompaniment, her vocals have greater emphasis, and unfortunately, her slightly lacking melody therefore becomes unveiled. Although it is not to the degree of distaste, Seolhyun’s vocals emanate a monotonous sound versus, for example, Choa’s part of being rather tuneful and even powerful. Ignoring the layer of singing, the bridge’s format is also marginally above basic as, while functional, it remains partially undynamic. Minimal changes to lines or singing characteristics occur.

Continuing the latter claim, for the glaring issue of the choruses, a linear style overshadows its positive features; although the choruses possess exceptionally melodic and strong vocals, the structure of the sections create mundanity. Specifically, while the choruses do change in pacing, the switches render as miniscule and, ironically, impairing. During the paused, chopped lines of the section, although it varies from the usual singing rate, a sluggish delay is given, and thus, repetition builds up. Furthermore, for the vocals, though extremely seducing with high power, notes, and an upbeat melody, minimal fluctuation occurs. An outcome from that lack of flexibility is, predictably, a more stagnant section, even if, on the individual level, many attributes exceed. However, the choruses, and for earlier, bridge, are all still decent, but only to the extent of their rating: slightly above average (though biasedly I do hold the choruses at a seven).  

Leaving a side note, reflecting once more over this new Sections outline as this is the second trial, I am feeling more confident and at ease, and in comparison to the prior, I do feel this is a vast improvement. More flexibility is given for my writing and analysis versus, in the prior outlines, pure restriction and much repetition.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – Seven members are in AOA, and if I recall past reviews, AOA has slightly struggled with possessing an equal distribution of lines. Being a new release, a high score will be hoped for, and truthfully, with seven members, that quantity will not significantly ramp up sharing difficulties.

Starting with Choa, the introduction, three pre-choruses, two choruses, bridge, and conclusion are her sections. Numerically, eight is her count, and though the rest of AOA has yet to be gauged, I do foresee this being troublesome. Four tends to be the desired number for equal lines, and thus, Choa is already an outlier, and more specifically, twice the average.  

Gauging Yuna who, hopefully, will be similar to Choa, her sections include the first verse, all pre-choruses, all choruses, and the conclusion. Therefore, seven is her count, and thankfully, it closely resembles Choa’s quantity. However, the remaining members will, most likely, create a disparity via possessing less sections.

Peering at the rappers in AOA, starting with the group’s leader, Jimin, her count will be much less as she is only responsible for the introduction, rap, and conclusion. Three is her total, and while it is understandable as she is the rapper, for the consistency of reviews, this will most likely hinder the score. Digressing swiftly, besides being responsible for her sections, she deserves much respect for also keeping AOA on track. After watching a few recent videos such as interviews and even “One Fine Day,” and, admittedly, her nearly falling, I feel both admiration and concern for her. Jimin has been working exceptionally hard via individual activities and group activities. Much praising goes towards her.

On topic, for the remaining rapper of Chanmi, one section exists: the rap. The sharpest, most piercing disparity has occurred; with Choa’s high number of eight to Chanmi’s miniscule count of one, the scoring may be severely mitigated by the gaping disparity. Remaining members will further determine the issue.

For Mina’s “spotlight-light-light,” and if this allusion/pun was already used in my review of “Like a Cat” (“spotlight” stems from Mina’s lyrics in “Like a Cat”), I do apologize for my lack of creativity and humor, her sections involve the two verses. Two will be her count. “Heart Attack” does appear in despair as of now.

Hyejeong, one of the final hopes left, has lines at the first verse, the first chorus, the second verse, the second chorus, and one word at the conclusion. Interestingly, the music video’s audio does conceal most of Hyejeong’s lines, but based on a live performance (as linked earlier, though it is liable to be copyrighted as it is not uploaded by an official music show), these are, unequivocally, her sections. Therefore five sections is her count, which will most likely alleviate the disparity, even if marginally.

Lastly, for Seolhyun, AOA’s actress (if correct, she has been involved in many dramas and even movies lately), her count is four: the first verse, two choruses, and the bridge. A middle-ground is given by her, and thus, it may be helpful towards the group’s distribution.

Synthesizing all of the sections for an overall rating, with the average, perfect share of lines holding at four or five sections per member, AOA’s share does remain split. If Choa and Yuna lost a few sections and Chanmi, Jimin, and Mina gained said sections, the group would have a perfect dispersal. Due to major gaps, a very disheartening score will be given: four for slightly below average. “Heart Attack” musically flourishes, but in terms of members’ spotlight, much more improvement is necessary.

– Instrumental: 7/10 – For the instrumental in “Heart Attack,” while its style utterly differs from my personal preferences, I have found it exceptionally pleasing, and even from a neutral, systematic standpoint, the instrumental still remains highly successful.

Despite the main sounds stemming from an electronic style, unlike most instrumentals that follow an akin concept, the given heavier beats and electronic sounds are vastly tuneful. The beats provide the lower pitches of the song, but in proper scope as it is neither too deep or too high.. Furthermore, for the electronic sounds, while in most cases this soundtrack’s style, such as in, guiltily stated, KARA’s “Cupid,” results in being either vexing or simply bland, in “Heart Attack,” the opposite holds as the sounds do retain a melodic aspect, as disclosed by how the instrumental dictates the song’s overall melody. Additionally, the instrumental perfectly suits AOA’s vocals: every sections’ complementing instrumental synthesizes with the vocals to create a further enticing, enchanting song rather than merely being an additional, separate component. Offering direct examples, the verses’ beats create a pacing to which the vocals follow, and from such, the created synergy allows the sections to contain an incredibly rhythmic melody. Another example is the pre-choruses: the instrumental’s lighter tone suits with the vocals, of which are also equally lighter in juxtaposition to the entire song. Even the rapping section benefits as the instrumental provides a prominent, brisk rate that simulates the vocals’ rate, but for what remains significant, the instrumental is conducted in a manner that does not leech attention from the rapping vocals.

Above average will hold for the overarching score. Even with a concept that tends to falter, the instrumental in “Heart Attack” strongly prospers.

– Lyrics: 5/10 – Keen readers who have read previous reviews may notice a difference: “Lyrics” and not “Meaning.” Though this minutiae is negligible, the new label does provide a more encapsulating idea as it is more than a song’s “meaning,” but furthermore, the lyrics in themselves via details and such. And, comically admitted, the new label sounds more sophisticated, and thus, was the main motive. Returning to AOA, however, for a song title of “Heart Attack,” while many might have received such from the ladies’ comeback, it is impractical for the song title to be in reference to that. Therefore, for assumptions, “Heart Attack” will most likely depict a scenario in which, similarly to how fans feel for AOA, a person is in love to the magnitude of having a figurative heart attack.  

Ah yeah (Brave Sound)
And it goes a little something like this

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your soft voice
I’ve fallen for it
I’m trembling
(AOA, let’s go!)

I think I’m crazy, why am I like this
My heart is like an 18 year old girl’s, it keeps pounding
I can’t hide it, I’m like this every day
When our eyes meet, my ears turn red

You don’t understand? It’s because you didn’t see him
I totally understand how people fall in love at first sight
Now I know,
the first time I saw you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your broad shoulders, your sharp eyes,
your soft voice
I’ve fallen for them
Just looking at your thin and long fingers
makes me tremble

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
the more I see you
My heart keeps pounding, I don’t know
It’s like a heart attack, what do I do?
I keep wanting to be in your arms, baby

When our eyes meet, my heart pounds
I try to get even the tiniest bit
of your attention
“What about him do you like so much?”
my friends ask and I answer:
“Don’t talk if you don’t know”

You don’t understand? It’s because you didn’t see him
I totally understand how people fall in love at first sight
Now I know,
the first time I saw you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your broad shoulders, your sharp eyes,
your soft voice
I’ve fallen for them
Just looking at your thin and long fingers
makes me tremble

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
the more I see you
My heart keeps pounding, I don’t know
It’s like a heart attack, what do I do?
I keep wanting to be in your arms, baby

Oh my prince, where are you looking?
I’m right here
You’re so handsome, I just need you
I can’t live without you

I’ve completely fallen for you
Your soft voice
I’ve fallen for it
I’m trembling

Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack
(Everybody say what, AOA)
Pounding
(And it goes a little something like this)
Heart attack
(One more time say what, AOA)
I wanna be in your arms baby

Exact with predictions, the plot of “Heart Attack” revolves around a main character and her love-interest. Though the main character’s love originates from “love at first sight” (already discussed multiple times), she has “completely fallen for [him]” and his “broad shoulders, sharp eyes, soft voice.” Even his “thin and long fingers makes [her] tremble.” Due to the level of her infatuation, it is as if she is “getting a heart attack,” thus explaining the song title. After all, “when [their] eyes meet, [her] heart pounds,” and she attempts to “get even the tiniest bit of [his] attention” whenever possible. Not even her friends comprehend her feelings: “What about him do you like so much,” they ask, but the main character is ready with her rebuttal: “Don’t talk if you don’t know.”

Overall, although the lyrics are very lighthearted and romantic, and in certain ways, unique with its heart attack comparison, it does reside as average. The given details for “Heart Attack,” even if the general story is pleasing, are highly repetitive. A vast majority of the song focuses on the main character’s feelings, which are parallel to a heart attack, or why she is highly infatuated, such as with the love-interest’s characteristics, but variating details are nonexistent. Identical ideas are relentlessly restated, and thus, in terms of details, “Heart Attack” remains lackluster. Nevertheless, with the exclusive idea of comparing love to a heart attack, some uniqueness holds, but unfortunately, it is insufficient for pushing the score to a pure six.

– “Critical Corner”: Besides the delayed reminder of how the lyrics, as all, are gender neutral, for the topic of “love at first sight,” I will redirect readers to my review on KARA’s “Cupid.” With that point being covered, no other subject arises from “Heart Attack.” In defense of the song its concept of “love at first sight,” arguably, once adding the music video component, the lyrics are more than pure physical love as, perhaps, the main character was vastly charmed by the love-interest’s kind gesture to help her after colliding with her. However, with purely the lyrics as content, it is worthy to challenge the notion of the claimed phrase.

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Choreography Score: 6/10 – Critiquing the choreography of “Heart Attack,” though biasedly I do adore the dance as it is incredibly simplistic, and in many ways, if the terms may be used, cute and sweet, it does not hold to a high mark. Nonetheless, it still remains decent. Also, if I had not addressed the link yet, for a late clarification, the first link is a live performance, but with the uploader not being an official music show station, it will be liable to removal. Therefore, if, for future readers, the link is unfunctional, searching up the live performance or, by that time, the dance practice, will be methods to find the dance.

Dissecting the choreography, for the category of syncing, a perplexing scenario takes place: the syncing is accurate, but unlike every other choreography where accuracy equates to excellency, in “Heart Attack,” though every movement connects to the song, it lacks prominence; despite how every maneuver syncs to the song, the given syncing is simply plain. For example, though the verses are synced to the song as observed by the turning and arm motions, it is not stunning syncing as it is vague on exactly what is being synced to. The beats or the flow are possible candidates, and thus, with that indefinite image, the syncing does surprisingly falter, even if it still exists. Another example, the chorus, provides more insight on how the syncing lacks impact. Syncing is apparent and accurate, but once more, it is rather loosely synced as there is no specific linked sound.

Equally, the key points also contain their own set of issues. Although the simplicity is admirable, the dance is repetitive. Every section recycles its key point, as seen by, for examples, the verses, choruses, and pre-choruses following the same dance, and thus, “Heart Attack” suffers with maintaining appeal. Furthermore, with many movements emulating every other movement in categories of speed, style, and direction, greater staleness occurs. The choruses’ slower, gentle dance maneuvers are similar to, for example, the bridge, and from there, while both sections utilize separate key points, the same, overarching concept is still in place: slow and gentle.

Despite the glaring errors, the choreography still scores at a six for slightly above average. The syncing is still consistent, even if not impressive, and the key points are still viable, though lacking in higher appeal.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – With both main scores rating at six, the Overall Score will follow suit as the average is, blatantly, six. Therefore, based on the blog’s review rubric, AOA’s latest comeback can be deemed as solely slightly above average, and personally, I fervently disagree. At lowest, a seven should be true, and for what I did anticipate, I expected an eight. However, with a satisfactory choreography and a poorer distribution of lines, it is understandable on why “Heart Attack” scored lower. Regardless, for the song itself, it truly is a stronger release by AOA, and in general, it is solid. As of now, for the current summer comebacks, AOA’s “Heart Attack” holds the title though this may be entirely biased. Optimistically, however, I do hope another group challenges my claim.

On that note, I already have a few songs lined up for review, all of which are in the realm of “summer comebacks.” With only two days left before June ending, I will finish with an album review (though that is an arrogant statement; I doubt I will be able to finish a review in that time span) so that, though I shamefully failed to reach eight, at least six out the eight will be met. It will be on either BTS’ older album or AOA’s latest one. Considering the slower start at the beginning of June, for a positive idea, I do know it is certainly possible to reach eight reviews (assuming it is summer and therefore I do not have classes) as, if I was on schedule, my goal would have been obtained.

Ending technical discussions, as always, thank you very much for reading. This review did become delayed by two days as I am currently working on subtitling AOA’s most current visit to “Weekly Idol,” and therefore, I apologize for later post (six hours went towards the videos versus writing). For those interested in the videos, my linked YouTube channel in the blog’s description will have the episode uploaded with English subtitles. Of course, however, I am exceptionally thankful for readers’ patience (and for those watching, for a slower subtitling rate). I appreciate the given time.

Upcoming reviews will be on, though liable to change, the recent releases from Sistar, Teen Top, and Nine Muses, but specifically for the next review, it will be of a mini-album from either AOA or BTS. Thank you once again for reading, and stay tuned for the upcoming reviews as, “Oh my, I keep getting a heart attack the more I see you.” Many reviews and the usual questionable closures will take place for July.

KARA – “Cupid” Review

KARA – Cupid (Dance Practice)

KARA – Cupid

Reviewed on June 23, 2015

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Personal Message: This review is, admittedly, one day behind schedule due to personal tasks (researching for a laptop, specifically an “ultrabook,” if being exact with labels) and deciding to take a short break after my prior review of SEVENTEEN’s “Adore U.” Nevertheless, I am prepared for a new review, and in many ways, am incredibly excited for various reasons: this song was requested (thank you to the requester), KARA has been a group I have always desired to review, and lastly, a new, experimental review outline will be tested (and of course, writing reviews is a very fun activity). Summarizing what is different in this current review outline, rather than analyzing each section (verse, chorus, etc.) in depth, though I will still leave numerical values as always, and thus, still manage to retain the importance of the Sections section, with the current revision, rather than overly spending hours elaborating each section, I will do a general analysis for all of a song’s sections. As a result of this outline, consistency is granted; the Sections section will now be more similar to the other grading categories in that it is not excessive. Secondly, much time will be freed. The linked review’s Overall Score section covers the new outline more thoroughly, and thus, I encourage curious readers to read it there for more information.

On the topic of freed time, if the new outline behaves as planned, I anticipate being able to cover a vast majority of the July comebacks. Many groups are releasing new songs in July, and simply stated, if I do not change my review outline, I will barely cover what will be released. It would be near impossible to review all of the songs with the older outline unless if I decided to vigorously write for an entire day (eight to nine hours), and though that feat is not entirely impossible in the sense of being unobtainable, it is certainly unrealistic. Eight reviews are already my current goals for June, but I predict that July will need eight reviews as well, or perhaps even more, in order to cover the more popular comebacks. Therefore, I do hope this new outline works, but of course, receiving feedback from readers will be what helps the most. Following my current hypothesis, with new reviews being unaltered in the context of scoring, there should be minimal issues with the new outline. At worst, losing detailed explanations per sections is lost, but biasedly, I would rather receive that lost and be able to create additional reviews. Of course, once more, feedback is what will help guide the blog.

Partially digressing with July comebacks, while I am enthusiastic with the amount of upcoming songs, there is one comeback that allures me, and more specifically, it is not a song: Girls’ Generation’s upcoming reality show which will be conducted by a familiar production crew, OnStyle. The theme of the reality show will be similar to OnStyle’s other hit shows, “Jessica and Krystal” and “The TaeTiSeo,” both of which also focused on Girls’ Generation members. In short, fashion (clothing, makeup, and more) and following the beloved ladies of the group will be what the upcoming Girls’ Generation show will revolve around. Knowing OnStyle’s previous works of the mentioned shows, I do remain highly zealous for it, and of course, will plan on creating a thorough, solid review for the show unlike my past show reviews, of which all have been, in truth, atrocious writes. If I had the ability to revise past reviews, I would instantly rectify my summary review of “Jessica and Krystal” as, after watching more shows, I have come to realize how phenomenal it is. Though I may be biased as I do love fashion (for readers who are bothered by me, a male, being into makeup and clothing, I will link a review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” for a discussion on such) and, jocularly, the show made me cry a miniature lake, the camerawork, events, and the overall production in general, are all to an exceptionally high standard. Definitely, “Jessica and Krystal” is my favorite show, and for my personal list, the best show I have ever watched.

However, rather than leeching the spotlight away from KARA, focusing back on the four ladies, nearly a year ago, I did plan on reviewing one of their songs (back with KARA’s original lineup). Luckily, I decided not to, and therefore, spared the group from my earlier horrendous writing though now they will face less-than-before-but-still-somewhat horrendous writing. Addressing their latest comeback of “Cupid,” while I personally do enjoy the song, once the review begins, it is not necessarily a higher scored song. In fact, compared to their huge hit song of “Step,” and even to their other prior release of “Mamma Mia” with the group’s current roster, “Cupid” can be seen as a downgrade. Both “Step” and “Mamma Mia” can be classified as stronger songs (I have yet to see the choreography for “Step,” but “Mamma Mia” is worthy of watching as well as listening; it has been a song I have been listening to lately), but unfortunately, the same cannot be said for “Cupid.”

Digressing more on the group (and if my understanding is inaccurate, I do apologize and yearn that readers will send in corrections), KARA used to be a five-membered group. Despite being highly popular, even outside of their home country via Japan, three members (was four until Hara opted out) filed a lawsuit against DSP Media, their label company, for unfair treatment, or a similar issue (in the future, I will discuss why idols’ struggles with companies matters; there is a deeper, social connotation versus just that of merely caring for idols/people, though that is still very much an important piece). Progressing on, the company did manage to resolve issues, but further in the future, two members, Nicole and Jiyoung, decided to permanently leave. With three-out-of-five members remaining and a fading popularity, it was assumed that KARA would, dishearteningly, disband. Miraculously, the ladies and company managed to continue by recruiting one more member via a survival-reality show, and thus, the active KARA that exists today is of the four members.

Before returning to KARA’s survival-reality-recruitment show, to quickly digress on the topic of shows, I have watched their latest visit to “Weekly Idol,” and promisingly, it proved to be highly humorous, especially with KARA’s leader, “Everything Gyuri.” Gyuri’s confidence and ability to improvise on spot for many activities was incredibly comical. On a more serious tone, in addition to respecting those traits, she also deserves much respect for her time enduring KARA’s near fallout and for continually showcasing maturity and care towards her members.

Now returning to KARA’s survival-reality show, with an upcoming sensitive topic, for those who do wish to proceed to the review itself, I do encourage doing so at this point. Although this Personal Message may be the longest in length for generally speaking of a group, the current topic I wish to embark on is rather solemn, and in multiple ways, quite saddening. Nevertheless, it needs to be discussed, and at the very least, some form of respect can be given to a deceased, potential member of KARA. Sojin, a trainee in DSP Media, was one of the participants of the show, and blatantly, she did not win as Youngji, the newly added member, was the winner. One month after the show ended, Sojin was found dead from, presumably, suicide. In fact, a classmate told me of this news during class, and needless to say, it was not pleasing news to hear. Edit: “Sojin (Baby Kara) didn’t kill herself a month after Kara Project ended. DSP terminated her contract in January (2015), and then announced their new girl group “April” (debuting in April until this happened) with Baby Kara members Somin and Chaekyung being a part of that group. Sojin ended her life shortly after that announcement, in February (2015). Kara Project ended July 1st of 2014, for the record.” – A reader sending in corrections.

Although this news has dwindled away, the social layers involved with this incident must be discussed. Sojin was a talented trainee, loved by many, and her feeling the need to end her life is extremely grieving. Sadly, though she has the technical label of being an idol, this type of incident is not restricted to solely her; many struggle with depression, as she did, and suicide occurs regardless of person. In her case, her suicide can be understood–to the extent of motivation, that is (understanding the utter sorrowness she felt is impossible unless if experience is possessed): after working her entire life for the moment to debut as an idol and failing to achieve such, adding on the component of depression, she most likely did perceive her life as worthless, when that is far from the truth, and from there, chose to suicide.

While moving on is certainly a necessity in life, I do feel as if the scenario could have been prevented, and that is in reference to a large, general social scale. Understandably, there are many factors in this specific incident, be it her personal life, company treatment, and more, that could have ushered her towards suicide, but regardless, little attention, and even more accurately, proper attention, is seldom given to those who suffer from depression or other mental illnesses. With Sojin living in South Korea, it would not be appalling to know she received minimal, if at all any, help for her depression.

Elaborating on the latter phrase, though in many Asian cultures (this is a very, very large generalization, but from my understanding, it truly is widespread for Asian cultures) mental illnesses are not regarded as sincere issues, other places are not exempt from the same mentality; even in places such as, for example, America, where mental illnesses are rendered as serious and treatment is available, disturbingly, the idea of mental illnesses being minor is still rife: social views of mental illnesses has created a stigma for such, and thus, even if there are blatant centers and resources to receive help, in an overarching picture, mental illnesses are still not regarded properly. For a more coherent example, racism will provide a parallel comparison: many claim racism is nonexistent or is certainly unacceptable yet, ironically, it still heavily thrives via subtle mediums, such as racist jokes or remarks. Similarly, mental illnesses fall into the same trend. Though people consider it as a genuine issue, many perceive depressed people, for example, as utterly tearful, heartbroken people when, against common perceptions, people who are the most outgoing and comical can be depressed. Thus, it is in these discreet manners that, unlike the blatant surface, mental illnesses are still underwhelmingly cared for.

Relating back Baby KARA’s Sojin (“Baby KARA” being what the trainees were referenced as) and for the overarching social topic, ableism is (ableism is society’s preference of a “normalized” body; in other terms, having society’s current perception of a “normal” person physically and mentally), overall, the rooted cause for why she died. Surface-wise, Sojin suicided due to failing to debut in KARA, but with diving into the social layers of her issue, rather than isolating her case as unique, once relating multiple suicide cases together, it can be argued that society’s structure with ableism is the overall culprit. In focus of ableism in the form of mental health, society lacks ample care for those mentally ill. For example, while certain institutions provide sincere treatment and medical attention, there are those who, quite directly, profit from it: mentally ill people are connoted as serial killers, as depicted from news and movies, similar to how certain groups of people are constantly rendered as terrorists; mentally ill people are assumed “strange” or “socially awkward,” when, for example, it is someone having an anxiety attack; on the note of anxiety attacks, utilizing it as an example, many false perceptions of mental illnesses exist as many assume an anxiety attack is hyperventilating or breaking into tears when, in reality, it could be as discreet as someone refusing to talk.

For an overall point, with society simply creating inferiority for those who fail to fit into the normalized (and notice, not “normal” but rather “normalized”; society socializes what is “normal”) standards of being able-bodied, those who do not fit are ignored and not treated properly. If societies were structured in a way to help and accept humans of all bodies, mental and physical, and thus, not ableist (if that is the right term), Baby KARA’s Sojin might have received the proper support necessary that could have sincerely saved her life. Of course, my current argument may seem rather controversial as many desire to blame her failure to debut as the reason for suicide, but reiterating my point once more, with societies shunning and failing to sufficiently aid those who are not able-bodied, chances are, Sojin did not receive the aid she needed. She might have never disclosed her depression, for example, due to current social standards, or perhaps, even if she did, she did not receive adequate care that would have allowed her to continue living since society does not prioritize those who are not able-bodied. Of course, varying opinions exist, and therefore, I hope my words are interpreted as a new perspective and not forcing views.

While I personally am privileged with being able-bodied (though before junior year of high school I did feel as if I had social anxiety), I know far too many people who do suffer from mental illnesses, and it truly is upsetting knowing such as, though banally stated, I wish everyone is constantly happy and healthy, and the same can be said for readers. With life being oriented towards a stressful routine, I believe it is an obligation to spread kindness whenever possible. In terms of ableism, being aware and critical and open for understanding is what is necessary if societies are to progress to one that does indeed genuinely care for those not able-bodied. Even though it appears miniscule, ableism is promoted constantly, hence why I encourage readers to care. After all, horror movies are a clear example of ableism: “monsters” tend to be people who are not able-bodied, as seen by possessing a different body structure (it is interesting to ponder over; the “scary movie monster” is, in essence, a human with missing/extra limbs), and those with mental illnesses are equally seen as monsters when, as stated earlier, they are, unlike what society claims, “normal” people.   

Finally returning to “Cupid,” in hopes of bringing back cheerfulness if at all possible, the review of KARA’s “Cupid” will begin (though Sojin should not be forgotten and should be very well respected). While everyone should shoot Cupid arrows at one another since compassion is vital, this review will decide whether KARA’s latest comeback is worth equally shooting.

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Song Score: 6/10 (5.8/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 5/10 – Leaving a short, comical message, I feel as if I am somewhat “cheating”; after drinking coffee for a nice, comforting drink, the caffeine turns out to be rather effective as I have been able to relentlessly write for three hours (though expected as that is what the drug does). On topic, focusing on the vocals of KARA for “Cupid,” it does rate as plain.

A menacing aspect to their vocals is the lack of individuality; although the ladies are adept in their own regard, for “Cupid,” they all adopt a similar sound to one another: a nasally, higher pitched voice. Before divulging their vocals in a mechanical sense with melody and such, the similarity of the group members’ singing voice for “Cupid” creates a tendency for the song to become vocally mundane. Unlike, for example, their prior song of “Mamma Mia” where each members’ own individual sounding voices were heard, the vocals in “Cupid” are all exceptionally akin, and as a result, much charm is lost as “Cupid,” in essence, is sung by one person, one voice.

Peering at the singing from a systematic standpoint, the vocals showcase a catchier, lighter melody. Most singing notes in “Cupid” linger towards the higher range, but nevertheless, fluctuation still does occur, most prominently at the verses and pre-choruses, as the pitches do increase and decrease, even if still within the realm of highs. However, even with a dynamic flow, the note range is still restrictive as mainly higher notes are heard (though it does suit the song’s tone). For a more pressing matter, the choruses and post-choruses, while enticing due to catchiness, unveil weaker vocals. Those sections’ vocals possess a tedious nature, and furthermore, the frailty given by adopting an excessively nasally style proves hindering. Juxtaposing this song to “Mamma Mia,” a clear discrepancy is witnessed: “Cupid” ‘s vocals are the opposite; rather than unique, powerful and tuneful, diverse singing, “Cupid” discloses frail, undistinctive and limited pitched singing.

Average will hold as the score. KARA has proven their vocal prowess in “Mamma Mia,” but for “Cupid,” tune is sacrificed for tone as, while the vocals in “Cupid” are not mesmerizing musically, they do suit the song’s mood.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 5/10

2. Verse: 5/10

3. Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4. Chorus: 5/10

5. Post-Chorus: 6/10

6. Rap: 5/10

7. Conclusion: 6/10

– Analysis: With this being the first trial for this Sections format, it will most likely be incoherent. Nonetheless, I greatly adore the conciseness that will, hopefully, occur.

Notably, many sections in “Cupid” score as average: the introduction, verses, choruses, and rap. Overarchingly, the vocals in all of those sections can be pinpointed as the reason, and for a few, the structure of the section itself. With the introduction, while it remains effective at initiating the song, the mechanical sound, the instrumental, is relatively plain as the beats are not musically enchanting in melody or rhythm. Similarly, the verses also fall short, but conversely: vocally, the singing, while still not to a high tier, is adequate in variation via tune and pacing, but structurally, the verses falter. Technically, the section could be deemed as a double verse; one verse occurs but is then followed by another verse.  Although this could be effective in other cases, for “Cupid,” this style of having a vastly lengthy verse, or for the other interpretation, two consecutive verses, creates redundancy as two nearly identical sections are played back-to-back.

On the note of redundancy, for the choruses, redundancy is redundantly repeated. Emphasis: redundant. The given vocals retain a lifeless, dull melody, and furthermore, with an incredibly nasally style, the ongoing staleness becomes further accentuated. Also, having the section’s format replay once also induces more mundaneness. For the last section that rates as average, the rap is homogenous to the chorus in that both vocals and structure are equally dry. Focusing on Youngji’s rap, although her section’s concept of utilizing deeper notes is soothing and alluring, the sonic component of a section is more than how a voice sounds; melody, pacing, power, and other factors are essential, and unfortunately, the rapping section in “Cupid” lacks those. The rap adopts a linear route: the melody maintains the lower notes with minimal fluctuation, the pacing fails to increase or decrease in speed, the same amount of vocal strain exists throughout the rap, and so forth. Even the overall structure of the rap is unadorned as every lines’ length is near identical, and adding on, the whispering demeanor, though useful for the atmosphere of “Cupid,” simply shifts more attention to the tediousness nature of the rap.

On the more positive side, three sections do rate as slightly above average, those being the pre-choruses, post-choruses, and the conclusion. In focus of the pre-choruses and post-choruses, the vocals, in comparison to the other sections, are significantly improved. A more dynamic style takes place as the pacing, power, and notes change. For example, at the pre-choruses, Seungyeon’s vocals begin softly, but towards the end, rise in power as a short note stretch is given. The post-choruses likewise follow a versatile path, as noted by the lines’ quickening or slowing in pace in order to accommodate to the beats. For the conclusion, although it is nearly, if not exactly, a replica of the introduction, while the sonic layer remains the same, it does perform a respectable job at concluding the song. “Cupid” ‘s overall tone is still maintained via the beats, and also, a lingering aspect is left. However, for what is most impressive, the beats’ rate decrease; the tempo plays at a certain rate, but as the song reaches the end, the rate begins to diminish until it utterly stops. This, while naturally a part of the instrumental’s sonic aspect, works in favor of delivering a smooth, clear cut as, blatantly, the song is fading out. Nevertheless, “slightly above average” holds over, for example, a firm “above average” due to a main reason: sonically, the sections, while not completely lacking, are still not to the point of being captivating.

Overall, with five averaging out, the sections in “Cupid” as a whole can be considered average. Most of the sections lack sonically, be it in vocals or instrumental, and for the structures of the sections, many are not enticing, or in a few cases, obstructing.

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Giving my opinion of the new Sections outline, though organization will need refining, I appreciate that, in one hour or so, I was able to complete what would normally be two or more days of writing while still, for the most part, preserving the Sections category’s purpose. But, in focus of KARA, for their distribution of lines in “Cupid,” accounting for solely four members, a high score should be earned. One note to bear, I will render the choruses as conducted by the group as a whole, and thus, it will not be added to the members’ individual sections quantity (I am referencing their live performance on Mnet).

Beginning with KARA’s leader, Gyuri’s sections include the two verses and one post-chorus. Three is her total count, and while three and four have been the general, desired average, it will depend on her members. Also, digressing, Gyuri has recently done a collaboration for, interestingly, a “synth pop”/”house” genre, assuming I am correct with my labels. “The Little Prince” is the song’s title for those curious (I would review it if time permitted as this genre is seldom heard).

Back to KARA as a whole, however, for Seungyeon, her moments include the two verses, the two pre-choruses, and one post-chorus. Therefore, five will be her total, and while Youngji and Hara will further determine if a large disparity holds, certainly, Seungyeon has a noticeably higher count than Gyuri.

That said, for Youngji, KARA’s newest member, her count holds as five: the first and second verses, two post-choruses, and her solo rap section. Hara will be the final factor on whether five for a count is excessive.

Hara’s lines consist of the two verses and final, singular lines at both post-choruses. Therefore, four sections is her total.

Gauging the distribution, if either Youngji or Seungyeon lost one line and Gyuri gained it, the distribution would be flawless. From solely one minor, minimal difference, a nine for a score will hold. The distribution is near perfect, and though line duration in terms of time is not necessarily accounted for in the score, for ”Cupid,” even in that regard the song remains admirable with its share of lines.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – While the Line Distribution score did deviate from the streak of fives, sadly, for the Instrumental category, a five returns to represent average.

A heavier bassline along with prominent beats provide the foundation for “Cupid,” but once the song hits climactic points, such as during the choruses and post-choruses, an electric-based hum occurs in addition to the prior main sounds. Mechanically, beginning with the bass and beats, although it grants “Cupid” the lower pitches as the vocals reside towards the higher range, nothing utterly infatuating holds. Nevertheless, the sounds are not distasteful, and for the structural component, it does dispense a vital role of giving “Cupid” a diverse range of notes, even if highly subtle, and furthermore, with being lower pitched, it proves complementing to KARA’s singing. Swapping to the electric humming sound, mechanically, a vexing, buzzing noise does take place, and thus, it renders moreover as musically agitating versus attractive. At its strongest point, it does deliver the song’s climactic transition as the sound occurs solely during the choruses and post-choruses, both of which are the song’s most intense points.

Glancing at the instrumental in its entirety, it holds averagely. If the utilized sounds proved more sonically enticing, a higher score would be gained as, from many aspects, the mechanical layer is what is hindering, not the structural component.

– Meaning: 5/10 – Automatically, with a title of “Cupid,” a flirtatious, love related plot is foreseen. Most likely, knowing the story of how Cupid has the ability to create love via shooting arrows (or at least the story I have assumed for my entire life), I anticipate a main character is frustrated with being overlooked by a love-interest, and now as a result, is wishing Cupid’s arrows were true. Halting my poorer prediction skills, through the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics, the real story will unravel. As always, the lyrics are not 100% accurate:

(C.U.P.I.D)

The moment I first saw you, “-holic,” I got a feeling
I’m secretly looking at you
My lips dry up at just one word
My heart stopped, get you Cupid chu
Pull the arrow without holding back, shoot it out
Trust destiny, don’t hesitate
I’m aiming for that empty spot,
though I tried to pretend I wasn’t interested

I’m ready, it’s all over,
at the blink of an eye

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move (it’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
Pull the arrow of destiny

Now shoot it out, shoot it out, right now
I’ll never give it up, give it up tonight
I’m trembling, I’ll carefully go to you,
I’m ready, oh Cupid chu!
(C.U.P.I.D)

The moment you first saw me, “-holic,” did you get a feeling?
It’s a little awkward
Maybe it’s you who fell for me
In my hidden heart, get you Cupid chu
Tell me honestly, be a man, shoot it out
Why can’t you say it? I’ll pretend I don’t know
I’m aiming for that empty spot,
though I tried to pretend I wasn’t interested

I’m ready, it’s all over,
at the blink of an eye

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move (it’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
Pull the arrow of destiny

Oh even from far away, I’m falling into your eyes
I’m getting addicted, no more pain
Shoot the arrow, Cupid,
at him who looks here and there, stupid
So he can only look at me (because I’m getting jealous)
So he can only look at me (because he’s too good)
So no one can touch him (forever you’re mine)

(It’ll pierce your heart)
It’s dangerous, you are breathtaking (pierced)
So you can’t move
Shoot it out in your heart
It’s electrifying, like I’m bewitched by you (pierced)
Shoot the arrow of destiny

Now shoot it out, shoot it out, right now
(Cupid, Cupid, arrow, arrow)
I’ll never give it up, give it up tonight
(Cupid, Cupid, arrow, arrow)
I’m trembling, I’ll carefully go to you,
I’m ready, oh Cupid chu!

(C.U.P.I.D)

Accurately, the prediction holds: a main character, specifically a lady (but as always, lyrics are gender-neutral), possesses a love-interest who, unluckily, does not reciprocate her feelings. Her story began “the moment [she] first saw [the love-interest]”; upon seeing him, her “heart stopped” and she hoped “Cupid [would] pull the arrow without holding back” as she desires for him to also fall in love. But, as stated, the love-interest, implicitly, remains oblivious and uninterested as the main character yearns for him to “shoot it out”; she craves that he would shoot his own Cupid arrow, and thus, also be attracted to her. Other details exist, though most aim towards the main character’s frustration, infatuation, and, as by the title, the idea of Cupid’s love arrows.  

For a rating, average will hold. While the story is lighthearted and comical, the lyrics are tedious and lacking thoroughness. Both verses are the only sections with disclosing details to the song’s plot; the choruses, post-choruses, pre-choruses, and even rap, are all centered around the theme of Cupid, but in terms of the plot itself, minimal details are gleaned.

– “Critical Corner”: For the Critical Corner, despite this bonus section having no influence on the Meaning score, there are some crucial topics to discuss. One that relates to “Cupid” in its entirety, the idea of “love at first sight” is one that is incredibly erroneous, and if memory serves correctly, I have already addressed it in some depth at a much older review when my writing was equally erroneous, more so than currently though I still require significant improvement. Summarizing my argument on why the concept is false, love is more than physical attraction; to truly love is to welcome both components of physical and non-physical, and of course, the latter is where practically all love should stem from. Thus, “love at first sight” fails in that it focuses purely on physical attraction when, sincerely, it is non-physical qualities that drive romance. Until everyone is psychic and capable of extracting non-physical characteristics “at first sight,” the discussed phrase will never be viable.

Progressing to the next topic, due to length, I will most likely continue it in a future review. However, to begin the subject, there is an infuriating line in “Cupid”: “Tell me honestly, be a man.” Be a man. Blatantly, the lyrics are not proposing that the love-interest should change their gender, and thus, “be a man” in that sense, rather, the lines are connoting a social meaning, and sadly, this phrase is outstandingly common despite how, once critically dissected, toxic the social connotation is (or at least in modern times; a future review will discuss labels of “feminine” and “masculine” and if they are negative or not).

Living to the standards of “be a man” includes many aspects and traits, but all of those, as of current times, are significantly negative (though sharing a digression of an occasion where it was moreover humorous than negative, my sophomore and junior year English teacher and I overheard a student proclaim, “Don’t wear a [sports] cup, be a man,” and with being the witty, sarcastic teacher he is, he muttered, “Yes, because we don’t want people like you reproducing”). On topic, “be a man” is associated with these examples: not crying, being harsh and violent, being dominant and in full control, and more. In various ways, the phrase is purely socializing males to be inhumane. Crying is not pitiful, harming and degrading others, however, is pitiful, yet it is what gender norms, and more specifically, male patriarchy, reinforce. Furthermore, in addition to holding males accountable for unrealistic, malicious standards, there is the layer of gender superiority; being a man implies placing women as inferior. After all, it is not a mere coincidence that “be a woman” is nonexistent. As discussed in multiple reviews, with femininity being undervalued to masculinity, the stated phrase is one used for degradement, as noticed when males are insulted by being labeled “girly” when, if equity was in place, it would be a sign of a compliment.

Unless if masculinity standards are transformed to one that welcomes gender equity and positive points, many issues will continue. The phrase should never be used, and males should never be pressured to “be a man” as the implications are, in truth, not being a man, but instead, lesser in the sense of not even being a basic human. If “be a man” meant to be caring and not “protective” and obsessive, or if it meant to be tearful versus tearless, or if it was synonymous to “be a woman” as both genders are worthy of praise and neither is inferior to the other, then it should be permitted for use. Sadly, as of now, it perpetuates hostile behavior and gender value disparities, and thus, should never be used. To “be a man” is to be human, and to be human is to genuinely be accepting and open, and therefore, I do urge many readers to be wary and critical of current gender norms, and that perpetuating positive, equitable norms should be what occurs, not the opposite. Personally, though many have aggressively told me to “be a man” and to quit liking, for example, makeup, I heavily refuse to “be a man.” Instead, I opt to “be human.”

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – The dance in “Cupid” is impressive even though the song, in an overarching mechanical layer, is lackluster (and this review could have been posted a day earlier if I finished this before sleeping).

Focusing on the syncing, “Cupid” ‘s choreography faultlessly relates every movement. For a plethora of examples: the introduction and conclusion showcase distinguished, slower movements that flow to the beats and bass; verses are excellently synced via snaps for beats, and quick, sharp movements for the sections’ sudden pace changes; the pre-choruses follow a graceful, steady flow to emulate the song’s tone; choruses link the beats to maneuvers that follow an identical tempo. In sum, “Cupid” contains adept, consistent syncing.

In terms of the key points, simplicity becomes embraced. Nevertheless, it works in favor of the song as it allows ease of syncing, unambiguous transitions, and exclusiveness per section (for example, it is unequivocal that the choruses follow a certain dance while the pre-choruses follow another). However, unlike the stunning syncing, the key points slightly falter in terms of maintaining high appeal. In a general scope, many key points are recycled; each section reuses its own dance set endlessly. As a result, the dance becomes repetitive and thus, loses its engrossment. On a more specific scope, in terms of each key point individually, the absence of styles, such as at the choruses and post-choruses, also slightly impedes the choreography. During those sections, the key points predominantly focus on slow syncing to the beats, as seen with the sways and hip bouncing, but with minimal deviation from such occurring, dullness arises.

Above average will still hold as the score despite the slightly weaker key points. With exceptionally accurate syncing and key points that are still decent and pleasing, a higher score is granted.  

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – With an Overall Score rounding up to seven, above average will, surprisingly, be the score for KARA’s “Cupid.” I do disagree and, at most, slightly above average should hold, but considering its strong choreography and near perfect distribution of lines, this score is understandable. Regardless, KARA is certainly a solid group, and even if “Cupid” fails to showcase the ladies’ abilities, their prior release of “Mamma Mia” does serve them properly. If it were to be reviewed, I would predict a seven or even an eight for its Overall Score.

As always, thank you very much for reading, and to the requester, for sending in this song. I have been watching KARA on many variety shows and am disappointed that I have not paid closer attention to the group. Thus, thank you for enlightening me on such. And for readers, I highly appreciate the given time and support. Words will never be able to express my gratitude. On that note, I do hope for feedback regarding the new review outline. Although this review is two days late due to events (the earlier statement, and the next day, finding a test center and then going out to eat), this outline has greatly decreased the time necessary to write. Five to six hours of writing is now the standard versus the usual eight to nine. 

On that note, four reviews are left with a week left in June, and sadly, making it to six may be what occurs versus the intended goal of eight. However, with a new outline in place, it may be possible. That said, summer comebacks seem to already be occurring: AOA’s “Heart Attack” has been released along with Sistar’s “Shake It.” I will review both, starting with AOA, but I am quite thrilled to analyze both songs.

With this being the end, thank you once more to readers and requester, and of course, stay tuned for a future review on AOA’s “Heart Attack.” Depending on feedback, I will decide if this current outline continues. For the upcoming review, I will quickly “shoot it out, shoot it out, right now,” and “I’ll never give it up, give it up” as readers deserve the review and less cringe-worthy conclusions.

SEVENTEEN – “Adore U” Review

SEVENTEEN – Adore U (Dance + Mashup Version)

SEVENTEEN – Adore U

Reviewed on June 18, 2015

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Personal Message: Though my prior review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” was published a day ago, I will already resume writing. Three major motivating factors are active: For one, this is a requested review, and thus, I do not intend to revive past mistakes of highly delaying requests. Secondly, a friend’s comical reminder of “papers don’t write themselves” (comically speaking, it is a bit concerning that my reviews are synonymous to “papers” due to length), but thirdly, for the largest factor, AOA’s comeback of “Heart Attack” will occur on June 22, and with biasedly loving the group and sentimental value of my old review on their hit song of “Like a Cat,” I do feel obliged to instantly review their comeback. And of course, writing reviews is something that is fun and a few readers are anticipating them.

On topic, this review will be on SEVENTEEN, a newly debuted 13-membered male group, and as the requester humorously put, there are many members. Many. How this will affect the review will be unclear, but I already anticipate hassles in terms of tracking who remains in charge of which sections (for readers, however, it will all be sorted out and therefore not an issue). Briefly describing my overarching opinion of their debut song, “Adore U,” while the usual trend in debuts is that, due to various reasons such as it being the first song, a vast majority are moreover average or worse, I do admire SEVENTEEN’s debut for being thorough and, impressively, for not even appearing as a debut. “Adore U” plays out as if it were any regular song, not one of introducing the group or one that overly emphasizes a group’s general style and concept. However, though I will praise it in that regard, once the review begins, I do predict this song to be either “average” or “slightly above average,” which for a debut song would be impressive ratings as the men could only improve from such.

To address the video link as it is partially different from the usual ones, it is a dance version of their music video, but towards the end, it does become a “mashup.” Nevertheless, the choreography remains sufficient in length so that the video is still viable. Drifting to a new topic, for one that is surrounding the men of SEVENTEEN, I will discuss an interesting point involving one of their members (and as I always say, for those who desire to focus purely on the music, skip to below): Vernon, and more specifically, him being biracial. Pitifully, him being half Korean (father’s side) and White (mother’s side) elicits the current upcoming discussion when that should not ever be the case; by simply being biracial, he has faced tremendous racist remarks, and furthermore, in recent times, is being bashed by many for “pulling the race card,” but realistically, I should not have to venture into the subject because there should not be any instances of racism in the first place. Nonetheless, clearly, there are apparent issues, and rather than shying away, I will be diving in depth with this topic. Topics of race are uncomfortable, hence why they are vital to discuss and to understand on a social scale and in detail.

To begin, I will first offer context of the situation: Vernon, in his younger days, explained how he was often time called a “halfer,” was stared at, and of course, faced other subtle yet racist treatments (and as a side note, this was in South Korea; this serves as a prime example of how the “dominant” group varies per place, as briefly discussed in my post of EXID and TMZ, but needless to say, still exists). Now, although this incident was moreover in the past and shared when he was a child, for current times, many have decided to belittle his past experience, and thus, are claiming Vernon is simply “pulling the race card” as his shared experience is merely to garner attention. Sadly, however, this “belittling” of his story is unacceptable; his experience is what every person of a minoritized race undergoes, even to the extent of a daily basis, and to claim his story is for attention utterly defeats the purpose of why Vernon’s younger self had to share such.

Dissecting the “race card” phrase, in this specific scenario, first of all, it is already erroneous to claim Vernon is “pulling” anything as, from what I understand, he has not done so; Vernon has not brought up his experience with racism in modern time, but rather, people have found his old, childhood story, and thus, to claim he is “pulling the race card” is incredibly false as he, blatantly, has not done anything, and therefore, to claim he is seeking attention through such is simply illogical. If he did indeed recently claim and told his story (which will still not be seeking attention, as to be explained below) as the current matured Vernon, then at the very least, the current accusations would partially hold as, correct, he is bringing up the story. But, as stated, with him not conducting any discussion of his experience in current times, he should not be accused for “pulling the race card.” At most, accusers are the ones that are “pulling” something by digging up archaic news.

Nevertheless, even if he did bring his experience into discussion in recent times, irrationally claiming Vernon is “pulling the race card” to seek attention undermines his story, of which is costly. In essence, utilizing that phrase is identical to saying: Vernon’s (or anyone) experience with racism is miniscule; racism is nothing major, and those who claim they face racial discrimination are merely stating so for sympathy and attention. This is also exceptionally akin to the idea of justifying racist claims and jokes: “it is simply a joke, don’t be so sensitive,” or “I didn’t mean you, though,” for examples, work in a similar fashion to the “pulling the race card” phrase as, once more, undermining racism, and in many ways, justifying and encouraging it, is what occurs from utilizing those related phrases.  

Rather than viewing Vernon’s past story as him seeking attention, the more critical, open approach would be to understand his perspective. Acts of racism are still highly prevalent, but in juxtaposition to older times, are much more discreet. Members of minoritized races constantly endure microaggressions: relentless questions of “where are you from,” widespread exposure to racist “jokes” and comments, and overall, simply the feeling of inferiority to the dominant race. Racism, unequivocally, still exists. Though it is now socially unacceptable for blatant racism to occur, the version of veiled racism thrives. Relating the phrase of “pulling the race card,” this phrase’s sole existence is to defend subtle racism, and thus, for an ultimate point, it should never be used as incidents of racism are not shared for the sake of attention, but instead, attention so that proper, humane changes can occur. No one “pulls the race card” because of desiring attention; the “race card” is “pulled” by those who wish to continue perpetuating racism.

Until my senior year in high school, I had always believed racism (or any oppressions for that matter) were solely feelings; I had perceived “-ism” terms as people being overly emotionally sensitive. Truthfully, however, and for why these labels are coined as “social issues,” as the name, they are on a social level, not one of emotional feelings. These issues cannot be shoved away as “just jokes” or “pulling the card,” these issues need to be confronted directly, regardless of how uncomfortable. As an overall point, to tie into SEVENTEEN and Vernon’s case, his words and story are important and are not to seek attention; he is bringing attention to an ongoing social issue that needs to be challenged so that, in the future, no child or person would have to tell a similar story to what Vernon’s younger self had to share.

Of course, varying opinions are desired, and thus, I do hope readers who read the earlier portion develop their own understanding and care. Returning to “Adore U” in a musical lens, though, in honesty, I am very intimidated by the number of members and the number of song sections to analyze, their group size will not be a factor in the song’s rating (until the Line Distribution). “Adore U” may be promising in the category of vocals, but once the other aspects are included, I do remain skeptical on how well the song as a whole holds. Ending the anxiety of waiting, this review will determine if “Adore U” is worth adoring.

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Song Score: 5/10 (5.4/10 raw score) – “Average”

– Vocals: 7/10 – With 13 members existing, rather than individually critiquing every member, I will analyze the vocals in “Adore U” collectively. That said, SEVENTEEN’s vocals in “Adore U” are admirable. Though they may be new in the K-Pop industry, the same cannot be said for their skills; SEVENTEEN’s singing possesses higher-end traits, as would be seen in more experienced groups. Expanding on those traits, for the strongest point, the vocals remain exceptionally diverse: notes range from lows to highs, the melody is versatile via being lively and dynamic but also calm and slow, rapping and standard singing alternate, and overall, with many members, every line possesses its own voice, and therefore, more appeal exists. Ignoring the layer of variety, the occurring singing and even rapping are musically enchanting. Deeper pitches, as during the first verse, grant a soothing effect, and as for the higher pitches such as during the choruses, a desirable, energetic flow is in place. Furthermore, moments of staleness are nonexistent; with the vocals’ melodies constantly showcasing a flexible style, be it common changes in pacing or adding in note stretches, every moment of singing in “Adore U” remains adoring.

Variety is arguably the men’s best trait for their vocals. Above average will hold as the score. Although the following categories (Sections, Line Distribution, etc.) may lack, the vocals certainly hold well. If the prediction becomes a reality, “Adore U” will serve as a transparent example of how even though high talent may be in place, a song requires more than 13 members delivering excellent vocals since 15 members are needed.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 6/10 – Five members cooperate for the introduction (and as a disclaimer, I do apologize if I am inaccurate for labeling who remains responsible for which sections; tracking 13 members is not an easy task): S. Coups, Vernon, Jun, Mingyu, and Hoshi.

Addressing the structural component, the introduction shines with fulfilling its role. Rather than introducing singing vocals, a familiar concept, as in many previous reviews, is used. Regular speaking, and later, whispering, are used. As a result of preserving the actual singing, anticipation becomes created, of which is a necessary outcome for an introduction to be enticing. In focus of the section in itself, the progression deserves praise for following a suiting pace and development: standard phrases are thrown while tints of an electric guitar accompany them, but later, once the whispering occurs, heavier beats become included. Many favorable outcomes exist due to the progression. For a basic example, a perfect level of intensity is gleaned; the introduction does not fail to transition to the verse due to being too passive, nor is there an issue of the introduction being too upbeat and lively as if it were a chorus. Another desirable point, however, is the song’s tone is clearly given. The song’s general rate and pacing is reflected in the introduction’s own progression rate. Heavier and medium-paced beats can be assumed as the song’s flow and pacing, and with this, the introduction becomes additionally appealing and cohesive.

Though the introduction should be numerically rated highly, the sonic aspect does falter, and it is more than merely the lack of singing vocals. Though the latter point does not directly hinder the score, it does significantly increase difficulties of possessing a section that is sonically infatuating. In “Adore U,” the lack of singing vocals is detrimental as the speaking and whispering phrases do not compensate; their voices, while on an individual level are nice and worthy of hearing (as are all voices in general; every voice should be loved), are not musically attracting as, blatantly, it is merely speaking (for a side note, solely one song has been an exception: Secret’s “I’m In Love” where Hyosung’s introduction of speaking was, miraculously, indeed musically charming, though she was accompanied with some tuneful humming). Even with the instrumental, which, once covered later, will showcase that it is moreover average, and thus, is also incapable of improving the introduction’s sonic layer.

Slightly above average will be the score. Considering how the introduction is nearly bereft of a sonic component, this score should be noteworthy as it indicates the structural portion is very much admirable.

2. Verse: 5/10 – For the verses, Seungkwan and DK handle the first, and for the second, S. Coups, Hoshi, Vernon, The8 (yes, this is his stage name and not a typo), Jun, and Joshua are all responsible. In truth, if the first verse was repeated, the score would be vastly higher. For how I will dissect the verses, I will follow the default protocol of mechanical and structural, but from there, I will analyze the first verse then second verse, and afterwards, offer an overall conclusion.

With that, for the mechanical layer to the verses, peering at the first verse, beautiful singing occurs. Both members’ notes range from low to middle, and furthermore, they remain exceptionally melodic. Their first seconds of performing a lower note stretch, and also, additional note stretches at the end, are prime examples of how the couple creates, emphasizes, and accentuates, the first verse’s captivating melody. Simply stated, solid singing is unveiled. Unfortunately, for the second verse, the first verse’s seducing traits are displaced: the second verse is bleak of not only attracting singing, but also, rapping. In the context of the second verse, the first two members, in truth, were not quite singing or rapping, but instead, practically speaking, though a tune was attached. Nevertheless, due to such, little appeal is given from the two. Following up with the next member, Vernon’s short rap is as impactful as its length; although it would be false to label his rap as horrid, it is solely average. Now afterwards, the remaining members adopt the first two members’ style of speaking, but at the very least, a slightly more melodic approach exists. Nonetheless, a monotone, tedious style becomes in place.

For the structural layer, once more, the first verse proves better. Though both verses do repeat their lines’ formats, the first verse benefits while the second suffers. Elaborating, in terms of the first verse, while both members replicate one another, with their singing holding favorably, recycling a similar format is increasing the time span of said singing, and that is no issue as fantastic singing occurs for longer. However, conversely, for the second verse, with relatively poorer vocals showcased, reusing similar lines is solely pushing more weaker vocals, and thus, is not appealing. Even on a more individual level, the first verse’s lyrics variate and are more than a single, basic tune. The same is not applied to the second verse: the rapping lines are not thorough with melody and flow, and blatantly, the moments that of speaking phrases were monotonous.

Average will be the score. Should the first verses have been reused, “Adore U” would possess very prominent, marvelous verses, but unluckily, the second verse does hinder the overall score.

3. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – Vernon and Dino pair up for the first pre-chorus while Wonwoo and Mingyu handle the second. To already reveal the rating, average is how the pre-choruses hold. Both components of mechanical and structural neither have pressing issues or solid points.

Focusing on the mechanical side, the pre-choruses take the overall form of rapping, although slower than typical ones. While the lines are not lacking melody, the existing melody fails to be enticing. Additionally, the traits of the rap are equally in a state of average: The pacing, though unique in the sense of being slower, is nothing phenomenal. Lines remain relatively unchanged from one another, but due to a shorter length, rather than being impairing, it holds as average. Both of those aspects have the potential to influence the mechanical layer positively or negatively, but in “Adore U” ‘s case, nothing is modified; the rapping in a musical sense remains plain as no aspect is remarkable.

Structurally, the same trend of average continues. Although members alternating between lines do provide variety, with how similar their lines are to one another, it is not potent. At most, a pause is granted from the alternating. Nevertheless, it is not entirely mundane, and in a few ways, is still effective as noted by the mentioned pause, but overall, this aspect is, as the trend, average. In terms of the pre-choruses holding up to their roles, predominantly the ending is where the actual transition occurs; solely at the end of the pre-choruses are moments where it is clear that the section carries into the chorus. Though it is preferable for the entire section to be connoted with the role of transitioning the song into the chorus, in “Adore U,” it is still functional. Thus, rather than it failing to suit its role, it acquires it, although in the end it is an average route.

If the word average has not been stated enough, I will reiterate it once more: the section will be rated as average. The mechanical and structural layers are both plain; nothing renders as menacing, but nothing is praiseworthy.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Jeonghan, Woozi, and DK are responsible for all of the choruses.

Excluding the first verse, the choruses are the song’s most appealing section on a sonic layer. Undeviating, basic vocals are nonexistent as variety exists: stronger vocals are apparent, but softer ones are also established. Furthermore, a catchy, flowing melody is in place. Focusing on the melody, with multiple note stretches occurring, such as at the end of the first line, or more explicitly, during “yoohoo” by Woozi, the melody becomes exceptionally detailed, diverse, and simply appealing. Adding on, in addition to an infatuating melody, variance occurs in the form of power: DK and Woozi’s final lines during the chorus are slightly more prominent than the earlier lines, and thus, more variety is gleaned, and of course, traces of power are pleasing to hear.

Structurally, many points translate over. As the two categories are related, due to the structural side succeeding, the musical portion equally thrives and becomes amplified. The listed multiple aspects, such as note stretches, regular singing, changes in power, and for what is not listed, even changes in pacing, are all in benefit of the structural side, and as a result, the mechanical side is also indirectly aided. But, on an individual level, the structure renders as marvelous due to being extremely thorough. On that note, for how it holds as a chorus, it suits “Adore U” with providing an energetic, upbeat and climactic section in the song.

For another aspect that suits “Adore U,” a seven for above average will do. The singing and format in the choruses are pleasing.

5. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – The first post-chorus is handled by Woozi and Mingyu, and the second one involves Woozi but with Hoshi.

For the sonic component to the post-choruses, it can be rendered as mediocre, sadly. While traces of power in the form of vocals are disclosed, the overarching singing holds as unadorned; moments of singing involve either stronger, chopped words, or a basic phrase. Regardless of the form, both can be considered stale. The instances of power in vocals remain moreover isolated than in combination to genuine singing, and thus, is now miniscule. As for the following phrases, with nearly standard speaking in place, little appeal exists in that regard, similar to the moments of paused, stronger vocals.

In terms of the structure, there are points of positivity. For one, the section serves its traditional role: bringing the chorus to a proper point so that “Adore U” can begin anew with another verse. In comparison to the choruses, the post-choruses are significantly calmer, and furthermore, perfectly transition to the upcoming verses via having similar, plain vocals, and because of the sections’ format of being slower paced and chopped, both of which allow the song to easily shift style (such as into a different section).

Nevertheless, slightly below average will hold as the score. The sonic piece of the post-choruses is incredibly insipid, and even despite a decent structural side, the lacking vocals are too impairing.

6. Bridge: 6/10 – Seungkwan, DK, Vernon, and S. Coups collaborate with each other for the bridge.

Spotlighting the bridge’s prime point, the structural side prevails with its variety and progression. Variety is observed due to the added layers of softer singing, a rap, more impactful singing, and eventually, a note hold. Sufficient appeal is created from such. Now, in focus of the progression, each specific style of vocals (soft singing, rap, and impactful singing) possesses a critical role: the softer singing introduces the bridge and lays the foundation, the rapping then serves as a bridge (no pun intended) for the bridge to escalate in terms of more active vocals, and finally, the stronger vocals and the note hold occur to leave a climactic point in “Adore U.”

Transitioning into the mechanical aspect, unlike the structural layer, it cannot be equally considered as solid. Initial vocals, in credit to the same duo at the verses, Seungkwan and DK, are exceptionally alluring, as expected from the two. Progressing further, when the rapping occurs, it does hold well as, dissimilar to the prior moments of rapping, melody and fluctuation are added attributes. However, for the final seconds, the note hold is dissatisfying. Though it remains in scope and suits the song’s overall tone, the note hold’s strain is excessive; a crisp, clear note hold would have been more sonically pleasing as the current, exaggerated strain is overly prioritizing power and not other necessary traits, such as melody.  

Slightly above average will be the rating. The mechanical layer, while hindered by the note hold, still remains decent when accounting for the softer vocals and rap, and of course, the structural portion holds well.

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 5/10 – As in the regular post-choruses, Woozi, Mingyu, and Hoshi return. What remains fundamentally different, however, is that they all participate.

With the conclusion reusing an exact replica of the earlier post-choruses, the mechanical layer will not be discussed as it has already been covered. Summarizing the prior point: the vocals are not tempting. That said, for what will be scrutinized, the conclusion’s structure is still valid. Although on the individual layer, the conclusion is weak as, directly, the post-choruses’ structures are not enticing, for the role of a conclusion, the section provides a proper end to “Adore U.” A calmer state is gleaned from the conclusion, and due to the post-choruses’ format of pauses, points of ending are widespread as it would be possible to, in essence, abruptly end the song as the section is already replicating a closure via a sluggish rate. Lastly, “Adore U” ‘s traces still linger; with the lyrics including “adore you,” the song ends with its key phrase/lyrics.

Should the mechanical layer somehow improve, the conclusion would hold a better score, but due to the post-choruses being reused, those impeding aspects carry over and thus, average will hold for the conclusion.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – 13 members in SEVENTEEN should, assumingly, bring issues with how lines are distributed. Putting aside apprehensive feelings, this category will discover if there are truly any issues (and a rather daunting task that is).

Starting with S. Coups, his section count includes the introduction, second verse, and bridge. Three is his count, and due to the copious amount of members, I will cease adding comments until the end (or near the end).

For Jeonghan, all of the three choruses are possessed. Three is also his count.

Joshua’s lines consist of the second verse. Nothing more or less. One is his count, and depending on the remaining members, this may be an issue.

Jun’s count involves the introduction and second verse. Two will be his number of sections.

In terms of Hoshi, the second verse and two post-choruses were where his lines appeared at. Three is his count, and so far, considering the number of members, it appears a high score is plausible.

The sixth member to be analyzed, Wonwoo, has lines at solely the second pre-chorus. One is his value.

Woozi’s sections includes the three choruses and the three post-choruses. Six, disturbingly, is his count. A disparity is apparent from this.

Gauging DK next, the first verse, the three choruses, and the bridge are his moments. Thus, five is his total.

For Mingyu, and I do apologize for briskly gauging the members, the introduction, two post-choruses, and one pre-chorus are his sections. Four is his count.

The8’s count is not quite an eight, and surprisingly, is far from it: one is his count, of which is at the second verse.

Seungkwan’s spotlight includes the first verse and the bridge. Considering his stunning vocals at the first verse, it is intriguing that he possessed few sections. On topic, two is his count.

For Vernon, the introduction, first pre-chorus, second verse, and bridge, are his sections. As a result, four is his value.

Lastly, for the final member, Dino’s parts are heard at the first pre-chorus. One is his count.

Finally delivering a score for SEVENTEEN, with the perfect distribution being at two or three lines, the group is rather off. Three members possess 3 sections and two members possess 2 sections, and the remainder, four members at 1 section, and two members with 4 sections and one member for 5 sections and 6 sections. With the current large disparity, slightly below average will have to be the rating. Many members are not in the range of two or three sections, and in some cases, relatively far away from such. Accounting for the extremely large group size, this is to be expected.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Glimpsing at “Adore U” ‘s instrumental, while it is far from horrendous, it is equally distant from being superior.

Mechanically, the beats and bassline provide much: the heavier, slower beats and bass during calmer sections offer a tranquilizing effect, and with the smooth, subtle aspect it possess from manipulating lower pitches, it remains further pleasing. For more upbeat sections, such as the chorus, the deeper bassline and beats still exist, though modified; during the choruses, rather than fully disappearing, the bass and beats adopt a higher pitch, but nonetheless are still apparent. Due to such, the same pleasing traits carry over, but furthermore, are even more suiting. Lastly, tints of electric guitar occur at the post-choruses, and in addition to providing more instruments, it results in an exceptionally fitting tune with the sections’ vocals and flow.

Structurally, more direct flaws are available. While vocals are flawlessly accommodated based on intensity (for example, a calm instrumental exists during the verse, and expectedly a more energetic one for the choruses), in focus of the instrumental itself, the structure is stagnant; the instrumental fails to fluctuate as, for the most part, solely pitch changes occur, but actual change in the instrumental’s form does not. Highlighting an example, for sections that are not the chorus, the same, slower paced soundtrack occurs, and once the chorus plays, it simply alters in pitch. Afterwards, the same style is utilized.

Once factoring in the somewhat unmalleable structure of the instrumental, and furthermore, the mechanical layer as, while the deeper beats and bass are soothing, they become mundane quickly, the instrumental holds averagely. Five will be the score to represent such.

– Meaning: 6/10 – With a song title of “Adore U,” a flirtatious one is in mind. Perhaps the main character is “adoring” their love-interest. But of course, it may not even be a lover they adore, perhaps it is a role model for instance. Ignoring my shameful assumptions, the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics will offer the true plot to “Adore U.” The lyrics are not 100% , but it should be valid enough to discover the song’s story:

Ayo ayo (Seventeen) Yo! You know what?
These days, I have a lot of thoughts
These days, I have so much to tell you (these days)

I feel weird, I’m not talking as much
My friends are all worried (these days)
My heart races only when I’m in front of you
So I’m sorry about my clumsy actions

I still can’t control it
Please don’t play with me
Why are you keeping a front?
I don’t know, I don’t know what will happen

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

How can you dazzle so much?
You’re so pretty it’s selfish but your personality
is so humble
This is not the place to joke around
I’m announcing the fact about your charms
Is it because I like how you smile at me?
Or do I just seem light to you?
Yeah, if you’re finding a spot
Yeah, right next to me is good
Yeah, I have a lot of interest in you
Even your shoe size, oh oh

I’m on fire right now because of you
It’s impossible to cool me down
I’m on fire right now because of you
I don’t know, I don’t know, it’ll happen somehow

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

You can lean right here
You can cover your pain with me
Tell me your feelings
Don’t hold back, it’s not enough
Can’t fake it no more
Crank up the speed
Stop playing hard to get
Now let me call you
Baby you are my angel

I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

Not too surprisingly, the first guess holds true: a main character, a lady or gentleman, is adoring their love-interest. “Adore U” initiates the story with the main character expressing themself: “These days, I have a lot of thoughts” and “I have so much to tell you.” Both statements are understandable as, jocularly, the main character is “not talking as much,” and thus, “friends are all worried.” Explaining the new, peculiar behavior from the main character, she/he is, if the following word may be used, lovestruck: their “heart races only when [they are] in front of [the love-interest],” hence why the main character has been acting differently. Continuing the story, the main character endlessly shares his feelings of captivation, such as by describing the love-interest and their attractive qualities, and trepidation, as witnessed by their unease of not knowing if the love-interest reciprocates homogenous feelings. Answering why the title is called such, if not blatant enough, the main character very much adores their love-interest, and from such, the title is created.

Although I did not quote many lines from “Adore U,” doing so would have been plausible, and thus, that speaks for much; with the potential to use many lines, it indicates the song is thorough in detail. Many aspects are included in the lyrics, and many lines add new details. Since solely the choruses and post-choruses repeat, every other section possessed new lyrics, and as a result, rather than merely repeating identical ideas as in many songs, more of the plot is uncloaked for interpretation. Especially in a flirtatious, love related story, the lyrics are remarkable. The very minimal and slight issue that prevents a higher score is, overall, though many lines carry their own weight to the story, the overall story is still relatively straightforward as it can be easily summarized with: a main character has a love-interest and is now expressing their worries and affection.

On the positive side, however, slightly above average still holds. At the very least, for a personal note, the lyrics in “Adore U” may be the best I have yet to see in a flirtatious-based song.

– “Critical Corner”: Unlike the past review of Infinite’s “The Chaser,” as linked at the start of the review, there are no urgent issues arising from the lyrics in “Adore U.” Anticipatedly, this bonus section will be skipped over. In juxtaposition to “The Chaser,” the main character here is not obsessive, is attracted for the proper reasons (physical and non-physical beauty, as discussed in past reviews if correct), and focusing on the depicted plot in general, it is a sincerely sweet, adorable one.

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – Although “Adore U” in audio form may be average, the associated visual in terms of the dance is wonderful.

Syncing remains consistent and clearly visible throughout the entire song: for a plethora of incidents, the introduction’s hesitant motions replicate the whispering, the first verse’s choreography connects to spikes in notes, the first pre-chorus’ tunnel movement is based on vocals, and other sections follow through. High accuracy, if not flawless, syncing is discernible in the choreography.

Switching to key points, the dance can be divided into two pieces: dance and story. Dancing is in relation to the choruses and other moments involving rigorous movement, but for the part of story, instances of acting are akin to it. Already, the dance in “Adore U” is unique in the aspect of including acting versus, as a vast majority of K-Pop choreographies are, pure dance. Added skits aid in allowing the choreography to be further diverse, and of course, humor and depth to the lyrics are included. On the subject of diverse, for moments orientated towards usual dancing, variety still flourishes. Especially with 13 members, the choreography does properly and positively exploit such by creating key points that, for the most part, would be nonexistent without a high quantity of members. Examples are the “tunnel” during the pre-choruses and the post-choruses’ formations of having crouched members, and if including the acting, the ability to have a genuine setting of actors.

As a final score, above average will hold for the choreography. Though the song itself scored lower, the dance compensates for much of it.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – And on the note of compensating, for the Overall Score, six is the average of the Song Score and Choreography Score. Therefore, “Adore U” can be considered a slightly above average song in the entire picture of song and performance, and personally, I can agree to it. With this being their first song, much room for further refining is possible, and even at their current stage, the 13 men are already skilled. I will be scouting out for them in the future to gauge how their dancing and singing improve.

Needless to say, I am incredibly thankful to the person who requested this review. Thank you so much for sending in this request. In truth, if it were not for it, I would have never known of SEVENTEEN (and same for the other request of KARA’s “Cupid”; I was utterly oblivious that KARA had a relatively recent comeback of that song). Also, comically put, I am glad that this request was on a male group as many have been wanting such (BTS, another male group, will be reviewed in a week or so), and that said, for readers in general, thank you very much for reading. I heavily appreciate the given time, support, patience, and feedback. I do feel partially guilty for this review, however; although it was not delayed, I do feel that my writing progressively deteriorated as the review continued. As such, I do apologize if the writing becomes horrendous. I am aiming to improve, and thus, I hope for understanding.

Sidetracking to the mentioned point of delays, for consecutive days, I have worked on this review in order to ensure any delay would not occur. Four days was the time span of this review as every day contained a writing session of a few hours (nine or so hours is the total time it took if I am correct). Though I have conducted in further self-discipline, preventing request delays is my main priority. That said, for the upcoming requested review of KARA’s “Cupid,” it will also be finished in a hasty, yet thorough, manner. In fact, a surprise will occur for the review: it will, optimistically, be finished in two or three days, and it will not be in credit to ridiculously staring at a screen for nine hours (not that creating reviews is “ridiculously staring at a screen”; though it is challenging at times, I would never equate writing and reviewing to a tiresome job). Instead, though I had desired to create the outline for a while, it has only been of now that I have found a potential trial: a “Speed Review Version” outline.

Feedback and actual testing will be necessary to truly gauge how it will carry out, but if correct, it will still allow my reviews to be thorough, and in many ways, unchanged. What will be different in the Speed Review Version is that, though my writing will still be detailed, it will be less lengthy. More specifically and being honest, as truthfulness is essential, a certain section (pun may be intended) will be optimized so that reviews are not excessively dragged on. Rather than allocating my stamina and time towards just one chorus, for example, it would be more realistic to give numerical values per sections in a song, as I currently do, but then afterwards, to have an overall, general analysis versus one per section.

Doing this would, in numerous ways, improve my reviews: For once, it would be possible for me to sincerely keep up with songs; many comebacks occur nearly constantly, and sadly, I can cover, at most, perhaps 5% of the more popular group comebacks. With this, at the very least, I could double that and now cover the top 10% popular comebacks, for example. After all, for “Adore U,” two and half days were spent solely on the Sections section. Two and a half. For being one-out-of-five categories, one has taken slightly more than half of the writing. Although it is understandable as a song is, overall, deconstructed at its core via its sections, I am most likely overly prioritizing the analysis. The impact of the Sections category will still hold as I will include each section’s rating, but the analysis is what can be reduced so that more reviews are in place. In short, it is as if I am writing three reviews in one in the context of time; due to how lengthy the Sections category currently is, I could shorten it and condense it (using a tip from my amazing English teacher, sometimes the shortest, compact writings are better than longer ones), and from there, still possess the same message and significance as before, but now, more time exists for other reviews. Overall, however, receiving feedback from readers is what will help direct the blog. I am already in favor of the Speed Review Version and hope, soon enough, it becomes the default review outline, but testing it out and having feedback will be what is preferred and the only way to make a sound choice.

Of course, regardless of what review outline stays or goes, it is always a huge honor and pleasure to be writing. Eight reviews for June is still the goal, and though three-out-of-eight is seemingly low, I will reach the mark of at least seven. Truthfully, shortcuts will be taken in the form of album reviews and even a music video review, but variety would never hurt. Finally ending perhaps the longest conclusion/Overall Score section I have written, thank you very much once again to readers and requesters. KARA’s “Cupid” will be reviewed next and the first test for a new outline. “Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this”: “I adore you, I adore you.” Stay tuned for such and keep checking back.

Infinite – “The Chaser” Review

Infinite – The Chaser (Dance Version)

Infinite – The Chaser

Reviewed on June 14, 2015

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Personal Message: Due to a set schedule, there is some pressure to finish this within three days, but even with deadlines, I am glad to begin what many readers have been desiring: male groups/artists. Infinite’s “The Chaser,” an older song by the men, will be reviewed. Although this song is relatively old, it still holds well and can be considered a highly admirable song. In fact, Infinite in general is an impressive group. Many solid songs have been released (“Last Romeo” has been another song I have personally enjoyed), and for the group’s assets, the seven members prove to be phenomenal singers, rappers, and dancers.  

Focusing on “The Chaser,” in terms of reviews, it has been quite a while since I have last reviewed a song that I personally adore. BESTie’s “Excuse Me,” though reviewed for its music video, and partially, Dal Shabet’s “Joker,” have been notable songs for my preferences, but most prominently, March is when I last reviewed a song I utterly loved: Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” (as stated in a few reviews, “You’re Pitiful” is my favorite song as it perfectly and thoroughly suits my taste of music). On topic, while most songs of the late have been “slightly above average” at most, Infinite’s “The Chaser” will, with high confidence, most likely change that trend; “The Chaser” is a very solid song, both in a systematic, logical layer (as the review will show), and on a personal level.

Considering my review rubric is now relatively strict, the latter statement should be noteworthy. Possessing a rigorous guideline is essential to my reviews since, as seen in archaic reviews, the purpose of a music review is to elicit thoughtful discussions, not endless, exaggerated praises. That said, though there are readers at times who do become upset at my ratings (and this being more than disagreeing with me, which is definitely acceptable and what I wish for; I do occasionally receive comments of being “unfair” for lower ratings), I would like to personally request understanding that reviews are meant to bring thinking and criticism, and both are neither bad, and in fact, are rather crucial. Labeling a song as merely “average,” for example, should not be correlated to insulting a group or belittling their potential, but rather, interpreted as an opinion that is backed up with, hopefully, evidence and logic (of which I hope exist for my reviews). Reiterating it once more, my personal goal with reviews is to bring discussions; whether there are conversations of music or even social topics, I hope my writing is not to force opinions, but instead, to open up different opinions and such.

Returning back to Infinite and before embarking on said social topics, I will leave an obligatory compliment: the gentlemen of Infinite are incredibly pretty. Now for those who feel uncomfortable with me complimenting the group’s appearances due to being a male, I will address this topic in another review, but in short, it is pitiful that current masculinity and homophobia shames males praising other males, physical looks related or not. With this scenario, though I am a heterosexual, my sexual orientation should not inhibit me from saying my earlier claim as, blatantly, there is nothing wrong with complimenting people; as a friend said, in many ways, we should all be held accountable to bring positivity to one another, such as in the form of complimenting whatever is worth complimenting. I will address the topic of homophobia in a later review.

Before this Personal Message becomes as incoherent as the one in EXID’s “Ah Yeah” too many digressions occur, though I am rather guilty of praising solely Infinite’s appearances as I lack familiarity with their personalities, as stated, they are very physically beautiful. In the linked video of “The Chaser,” the members showcase exceptionally chic, stylish clothing that I am highly envious of, but furthermore, another very seducing cosmetic: makeup that I am also jealous for. Their makeup, however, is not one of basic, public airing (every male on TV uses foundation and concealer, those are a given), but slightly extra via eye makeup. Anticipatedly (and for those who wish to focus on the musical side of the review, skip to below), for what is necessary of discussion, males using makeup will be the topic. Such as with Infinite or practically every male K-Pop group, the trend of insulting and degrading male idols, or simply males in general, for using makeup will be something to deconstruct on a social level.

Explaining the hatred many male idols or male makeup users face, the idea of “emasculating” takes place: many derogatory terms are utilized, and overall, the idea of not being “masculine,” but instead, “feminine,” serves as the foundation for degrading. As already addressed in multiple reviews, with femininity being considered worse than masculinity, which, obviously, is a highly unfair scale, males using makeup are following femininity (in a Western perspective that is, as to be explained below), and thus, are downgrading socially in rank, and as a final outcome, are now liable to insults since society has collectively decided that femininity is worth hating. A key, contrasting example further highlights this disparity: a female following masculine norms is “upgrading” in a social rank, and therefore, is accepted, but the moment a male follows feminine norms, many are highly repulsed. If equitable standards were in place, a “feminine” male would be equally accepted as a “masculine” female, but with the latter being more valued, the “feminine” male is rejected.

However, besides the pressing issue of how androcentrism establishes hatred towards femininity, there is a cultural layer to makeup: those foreign to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean culture, for examples (I am certain there are way more), associate makeup with femininity, yet in those cultures, makeup is considered both masculine and feminine. After all, though the following words would potentially undermine a lot of my claims and beliefs of removing gender labels, Infinite are perhaps the most “manly” men I have ever seen; their exquisite eye makeup, and sleek, clean fashion are incredibly “masculine” (another review will discuss the terms of “masculine” and “feminine” in depth and whether they should exist or not). Now of course, from a different perspective and culture, the opposite would hold: many would render the men as “girly,” and sadly, that would be connotated as an insult. But, as depicted, it is based on culture, and thus, as an overall point, males using makeup should never be shunned, even if the current culture they are in deems it unsuitable. Male makeup is considered a norm in certain places, and therefore, being culturally accepting should occur, and as for places where it is not a norm, insults that take place is correlated to how femininity is undervalued to masculinity, and in that context, it is still an issue to shame a male for using makeup in those locations as it degrades femininity.

For a future outcome that is to be yearned for, makeup should simply be considered makeup; there should be no terms of “female makeup” or “male makeup” as makeup is simply cosmetics that enhance physical looks, nothing more or less. Gender, or additionally, even sexual orientation, should not play a role as to whether someone will use makeup. If equitable standards were in place, males utilizing makeup would not create the current disturbance it does. For example, if femininity was equal to masculinity, for places where makeup is socialized as feminine, males would not face consequences as no “downgrading” would exist. In terms of sexual orientation, if equity was in place so that every sexual orientation was valued, makeup would not be automatically associated with homosexual males since, strangely, homosexual males equates to femininity, of which is considered a low status (as explained). Furthermore, however, with the lack of equity for sexual orientations in general, it allows improper stereotypes to thrive in order to devalue those who are not heterosexual; by not being a heterosexual, certain types of behavior, often time displeasing, exaggerated ones, will be automatically assumed when, obviously, heterosexuals do not possess their own exaggerated and offensive stereotypes. A future review will dive into a discussion of sexual orientation.  

That said, focusing back on makeup, similar to EXID’s Hani idea of “no filters,” to be intimate and truthful to readers, as hinted in past reviews, I am familiar with makeup, even if society socializes the norm that heterosexual males should not be. Though I currently do not actively use makeup, I do plan on doing so in the future (or perhaps even sooner). Also, admittedly, I have more knowledge of makeup products than, for example, standard “masculine” tasks; given the task of applying makeup or fixing a car, I would not hesitate to choose the initial option (I sincerely have no idea on how to repair vehicles and hope a future wife will handle that I eventually learn in the future).

Expanding on my personal digression, many have been curious on why I would use makeup, and relating this review, a simple answer exists: to look nice, the same reason as to why Infinite members, or anyone, would use makeup. There is no issue with desiring to look as stunning as the men (their makeup serves as a prime example for mine), but due to attached social layers with makeup, as briefly discussed earlier, the act of using makeup as a male carries repercussions. Nevertheless, though I am highly aware of the given dangers I would face in America (if I lived in, for example, South Korea, this would not be an issue at all), if I must receive public bashing so that femininity is equal to masculinity, and overall, tolerance and understanding occur, those are risks I am willing to accept.

Too many subtle issues exist in the lens of gender (and with other areas), and though my use of makeup is moreover to enhance physical appearances, the social connotations I would deliver, intended or not, are necessary: the phrase, “be a man,” would be challenged, a toxic concept that definitely needs to be critically analyzed (will discuss this in another review); with being a heterosexual, I would showcase that makeup is not a shameful, pitiful application that homosexual men use, but rather, one that is for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation since all orientations are equally worthy; and all in all, the act of using makeup when I could easily slip by without it since, due to male privilege, bluntly and jocularly put, being physically hideous is acceptable, would be my method to remove my personal privileges of being a heterosexual and a male. And of course, it would be rather amazing for my two future daughters to be able to reply, “Oh, my dad,” to a question of “Who did your makeup?” during special occasions.

Leaving an overall final message, though I am certain many readers are not entirely surprised at my personal news since, quite clearly, this is a K-Pop review blog, and therefore, many should be familiar with male groups using makeup due to Korean (pop) culture, I do hope a slightly deeper understanding on this social phenomenon is gleaned. Sadly, it is not rare to hear exceptionally derogatory remarks made to male idols from those who lack knowledge with cultures that embrace makeup as gender neutral, and thus, I hope, at the very least, I was able to shed light on exactly why that hatred occurs.

Considering this Personal Message has ran its course (I applaud those who do read this, and of course, I hope a personal opinion is created regarding this topic, whether it agrees or disagrees with my opinion), it will now be time to focus on Infinite and “The Chaser” in a musical sense. With Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” being the last song I highly enjoyed, I am ecstatic to find another song that meets a high standard. Or at least, it will be hoped it reaches a higher mark in a numerical context, as the review will show.

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

– Vocals: 8/10 – Confessedly, I am not utterly familiar with the member’s individual singing talents, but regardless, based on “The Chaser and “Last Romeo,” Infinite definitely possess higher tier vocals. Peering at the rappers, both Dongwoo and Hoya deliver direct, fluent vocals for their parts. Feebleness or hesitant, pausing voices are nonexistent, all of which are generally unwanted traits in raps. Slightly higher-end rapping vocals are granted due to the two.

In focus of the regular vocalists, Sungyeol, L, and Sungjong showcase, overall, average vocals, or most optimistically, slightly above average ones. Their lines, though to be discussed in depth at the Sections, possess an awkward sound: roboticness. The disclosed lower notes may be pleasing in the sense of note range, but the robotic style in which the three sing is not impressive. Vocals are partially hindered by such, and even with the desirable lower notes, this aspect does not become overlooked.

Nevertheless, Infinite’s vocals are still to a high caliber for “The Chaser,” and it is rather doubtful that the rappers’ vocals are the reason. For the two remaining members, the group’s main vocalists, Sunggyu and Woohyun, and in truth, Infinite as a whole, the vocals from the two and the group’s unison singing are outstanding. Focusing on Sunggyu and Woohyun, many respectable aspects occur: high power, and an exceptionally lively melody due to their utilized notes, pacings, and other components. As for the mentioned unison singing, similar traits as in the main vocalists return, but for what remains distinctive, further emphasis towards power exists.

If correct, it has been a while since a high score has been granted for Vocals, but Infinite redresses such via earning an eight. The vocals in “The Chaser” are, simply put, good. Multiple, flourishing traits allow the given vocals to remain musically enchanting and diverse.  

– Sections: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 7/10 – The introduction is solely the instrumental. For a side note, I have officially graduated, and thus, this review is four days behind as I have taken a short break to celebrate (though one day was helping with technology). To describe my feelings, as I have stated to many, for an encapsulating word: bittersweet.

Before completely digressing (I will return to this at the end if I remember to), focusing back on “The Chaser,” for the mechanical component of the introduction, it remains enticing. Diving into its specific aspects, the given beats provide a rhythmic, pleasing flow, and furthermore, the unique electronic-based sounds allow the introduction to thrive with a lively and energetic melody. Tints of electric guitar also aid in refining the instrumental’s melody. For another strong point, though akin to the structural side, the duration of the introduction benefits the section: the introduction remains sufficiently lengthy as to allow the soundtrack to thoroughly develop and unfold, but it is also not excessively long so that the soundtrack becomes overly dragged. Elaborating, if the length was any shorter, it would be highly unlikely for the instrumental to naturally progress and disclose its melody as the instrumental would be compacted, and conversely, if any longer, much of the instrumental’s current charms would fade out and become detrimental as it would be overplayed.   

On the subject of the structure, even under the pessimistic perception of the mechanical layer being slightly basic, this component holds well enough to compensate (but the mechanical side is still solid itself).  In terms of setting the song’s atmosphere, “The Chaser” ‘s introduction easily does so. It becomes blatant that the song is one of upbeatness, and this idea is unveiled via the electronic sounds instantly offering their melody, the beats immediately giving off the song’s general rhythm, and by the traces of electric guitar arriving shortly after the prior two. Furthermore, the overarching tone of an electronic-based song is, clearly, given right from the start. Gauging another crucial trait to the introduction, as is the general role of an introduction, attracting and hooking in listeners is a job to meet, and “The Chaser” manages such. Notably, solely the instrumental is used, and thus, while this may seem minor, it does have a considerable effect as listeners now anticipate the missing layer: vocals. No singing is given, and with an energetic, upbeat instrumental, many would become interested in how the vocals would follow suit. Therefore, in this context, the introduction potently accomplishes its role of luring in listeners.

Above average would be fitting for a score. The mechanical layer remains melodic and, if correctly stated, dramatic, and the structural layer holds impressively due to excellent delivery of style, and more importantly, how well it attracts listeners.

2. Verse: 7/10 – For the verses, before listing who remains in charge of the them, to clarify, while there could technically be a pre-chorus section (“could” is more likely “is”), for simplicity sake and consistency, I will consider it all as verses. The current pre-choruses adopt the verses’ style for the most part, and overall, simply labeling it all as verses would be more coherent. Finally listing the members responsible for the verses, specifically with the first, Sunggyu, L, Sungjong, and Hoya are the ones. For the second verse, Sungyeol and Woohyun, and lastly, for the final verse (not including the conclusion), Sunggyu handles it alone.  

Addressing the sonic component to the verses, though practically all three variate, a general aspect holds: lower, rhythmic singing. This proves effective as a soothing quality is attached, and furthermore, with the rest of the song being in higher pitches, the verses allow “The Chaser” as a whole to possess variety in terms of the song’s pitch ranges. Now, though hearing the lower notes is pleasing, the vocals’ style and delivery are a bit weaker: a nasally, robotic-like demeanor is showcased during the verses. While the pitch of the singing remains unchanged from this style, it does hinder the verses as a monotonous tune becomes established, and thus, a dynamic melody is absent. Nevertheless, it is not entirely impairing, and towards the end of verses, standard, lively singing does occur to redress the earlier monotone vocals.

For the structural side, similar to the introduction, even if the first layer is underwhelming, this component can be considered solid. Progression, for example, is one promising feature. Verses begin with lower notes, but gradually, the notes becomes higher, and in addition, quickening paces of lyrics and even instrumental occur. Furthermore, the final line provided a finishing touch via a crisp, clean and prominent line. Due to this setup, the verses remain versatile; as the usual verse, it allows the song to progress, but in terms of the missing sections, the pre-choruses, though transparent pre-choruses lack, the role of transitioning to the chorus is still met in credit to the verses becoming invigorated in a gradual manner. As for another significant point, the verses are highly diverse. Though this may be due to overly generalizing sections as all verses, all of them variate from the other; no verses are the same. The second one, as an example, remains more higher pitched and fast paced, and for an opposite case, the final verse takes the route of being exceptionally passive. Once accounting for each verse’s uniqueness, high appeal is garnered from such.

Above average once more returns. Although the vocals are moreover average, the structural side of having individuality per verse and flawless progression allows the sections to flourish overall.

3. Chorus: 8/10 – Arguably the most captivating part of “The Chaser.” Infinite as a whole sings for them, though for a few choruses Sunggyu and Woohyun both have solo spotlight.

Mechanically, many factors are worth praising: the power, melody, flow, pacing, for a few. Overall, the choruses in “The Chaser” are fantastic. Deconstructing the attributes, the men display a highly dynamic and flowing melody. In contrast to the verses, the utilized pitches are higher, but additionally, with the constant use of note stretches, extra emphasis and accentuation occurs for the melody; the sung lines are seemingly even more harmonious since a longer duration exists, and with the pacing being more complex than standard, linear words, the melody also has more flow. As for the mentioned trait of power, with all seven members contributing, vastly impactful vocals are gleaned. Combined with the melodic note stretches, the added layer of power simply refines the vocals to an even higher merit. Summarized, the mechanical layer unveils impressive vocal skills that are exceptionally seducing.

Miraculously, the choruses are also captivating in the realm of its structure. Meeting the traditional role of a chorus is seen via the section serving as a climactic point in the song, as distinguished by its intensity of high notes and power, and of course, the unison singing. Ignoring this characteristic, for the more pressing points, homogeneous to the verses, multiple versions of the chorus exist: unison ones, a mixture of solo and unison, and even more in depth, each chorus maintains its own exclusiveness in terms of intensity, pacing, and other musical aspects. As a result, appeal endlessly cycles as every chorus possesses its own charms.

With splendid singing and an equally impressive structural side, this score will be on the higher side. The choruses in “The Chaser” are solid.

4. Rap: 7/10 – Rap sections are conducted by, as hinted in the Vocals section, both Dongwoo and Hoya.

Before elaborating on the duo’s vocals, peering at the structural layer to the rapping sections, the raps perfectly blend in with “The Chaser.” Considering the placement of the raps is after the choruses, a section that is rather intensive and energetic, the raps are able to easily continue the trend; raps are generally faster paced, and overall, relatively energetic, and thus, in the scenario of “The Chaser” ‘s choruses, the rapping sections can be rendered equal to the choruses in terms of intensity. The outcome from the raps’ placement is a proper, smooth and seamless transition from chorus and eventually back into a verse. Therefore, the rapping sections deserve much credit for this subtle detail. Glancing at the raps themselves, Dongwoo and Hoya’s raps maintain variety through fluctuation of pacing and power; the two’s rapping alter in speed so that lines are not linear, and for power, different portions carry different levels of emphasis and presence.

And with pacing and power stated, those traits carry their benefits for the mechanical layer. Multiple pacings and adapting surges of power allow the raps to constantly remain enticing musically as there are no moments of staleness. Also, for another gained positive side, the melody is able to thrive due to the rap being malleable. If the raps were straightforward, the melody would have to replicate such, but with the rap adopting an adapting concept, the melody would have to be equally dynamic to follow suit. Lastly, the rappers’ vocals deserve highlight for stability; despite the constant fluctuations and changes, the vocals consistently prevail with quick, melodic rapping.

Another high score will anticipatedly be given. Above average returns. The sonic piece along with the structural are both respectable. Solid rapping is in place.

5. Conclusion (Verse): 6/10 – If correct, this may be the shortest Sections I have yet to write (though not complaining as this review is multiple days behind and I am forcing myself to finish it in one session). On topic, with the conclusion, Infinite as a group concludes the song.

Unfortunately, the streak of higher scores does come to an end. In terms of the conclusion’s sonic side, though the vocals emulate the first verse’s singing, there is a significant change: the instrumental is ramped up as if it were at the chorus, and similarly, the vocals are also more hyped. An absurd contrast spawns from this pairing as the singing takes the form of lower noted, tedious and robotic-like vocals, but the overall tone creates expectancy of standard, intenser singing, such as the one at the choruses. Thus, with this, the mechanical layer does falter from the created contrast.

Positively, however, concluding the song is still accomplished. Duration plays a critical role as the conclusion allows “The Chaser” to naturally fade slowly rather than forcing an abrupt, harsh ending. Rather than entirely stripping the song’s intensity, playing it out in a very slightly calmer fashion, and ultimately, using a distinctive closing mark, as given by the final, consecutive beats, allows the song to end properly and smoothly.

Unlike the prior scores, this one does partially fall. Slightly above average will hold. Accounting for the difficult task of ending “The Chaser” properly, the song does do so, though it could have been more musically pleasing.

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – Seven members are in Infinite, and since the group’s quantity does not live up to its name is nothing unusual, ignoring questionable attempts at humor, I foresee a decent score.

Beginning with the group’s leader, Sunggyu, his lines are at the first verse, the second chorus, and the third verse. Three sections is his count, and with his role of being one of the main vocalists, this number is welcoming. No issues should exist on his part.

For the next member, Dongwoo, his spotlight appears at solely his rap, and thus, one will be his numerical count. Assuming the rest of the members provide a bridge between him and Sunggyu, no severe problem will be in place, though admittedly one for a count is rather low.

Continuing with the rapping members, for Hoya, his lines are at his rap sections, as expected, but also at the first verse due to his single contributed line. Two will be his count, and thus, assuming the remaining members balance out, current disparities should be minor.

Woohyun, Infinite’s other main vocalist, has his sections at the second verse and the final chorus. Two, like Hoya, will be his numerical value. As of now, there will be no problems.

Sungyeol’s lines consist of the second verse. Strangely, that is all, though considering Dongwoo also had one section, this should not be a pressing matter. Nevertheless, a final check will confirm.

For L, one section is also his value as the first verse was his spotlight. If the remaining member also contributes a one, the current disparity may prove menacing.

Sungjong does, sadly, contribute to the disparity as the first verse is his sole section. Since a few members are in the higher range and many are in the lower range, the discrepancy may cost the Line Distribution score.

Delivering an overall score for their distribution, even with the unison singing occurring, there is a notable imbalance: one member possesses three sections; four members possess one section; two members possess two sections. With the average, perfect distribution being one or two lines, against my personal concerns, the current distribution is not overly split. If Sunggyu lost one line, the group would be perfect as four members would have two sections and the remaining three members with one. In this perspective, a higher score will be granted. Nine will hold well as the group nearly meets a perfect share of sections.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – Focusing on the instrumental in “The Chaser,” many genres would be viable: pop, electronic, and rock. Though the accurate label would be pop since, obviously, “The Chaser” carries a prominent K-Pop tone, in terms of how those descriptions translate into the song’s instrumental, for the mechanical layer, the instrumental is quite diverse. Focusing on the three main qualities, the electronic sounds grant “The Chaser” its overarching atmosphere and melody; the “pop” in “The Chaser” derives from such, and the electronic sounds provides the main melody in which the song follows. Furthermore, despite being electronic-based, it retains a rather melodic trait versus being that of catchiness. As for the electric guitar, it provides an irreplaceable role to the instrumental’s mechanical layer: transitions are granted from such (will be more addressed in the structural side), and for moments of intensity, the electric guitar utterly suits those times along with simply providing its own delightful, rigorous tune.

For the structural layer, returning to the mentioned topic of transitions, for “The Chaser” in its entirety, the instrumental provides the usual foundation of creating clear transitions between sections. Other roles are also met, such as properly syncing to the vocals. Sections with calmer, slower singing, such as the verses, for example, are met with a soundtrack that is also promoting an identical trend. With that, variety is also gleaned for the soundtrack as it alternates between more passive segments and more active ones.

Surprisingly, a higher score will be in place. The instrumental fulfills its standard roles, but for what is most extraordinary, the mechanical layer is exceptional. Diversity appears, and overall, the instrumental is extremely mechanically enchanting with its unique traits and excellent meshing with vocals.

– Meaning: 5/10 – It is midnight as of the time I am writing this sentence, and thus, I do hope my writing does not progressively worsen to the point of incoherence. Focusing on “The Chaser,” and humorously, exactly on “The Chaser” in terms of the title, the song does spark questions: what will the plot be, and who, or what, is “the chaser.” Ending hopeless inquiries, to deliver an answer to the song’s meaning, the following Korean-to-English translations will provide such. As repeated in all reviews, the given lyrics are certainly not 100% accurate. In fact, a few lines are technically untranslatable; after asking a friend, she clarified that a few lines at the verses are, simply put, cheers versus that of actual words and meaning. Therefore, rough translations of those cheers will be given:

Don’t be sorry, you can abandon me spitefully and leave
If that’s what you want, yeah, goodbye
But that doesn’t mean I have given up too
My love wins
Let’s go, go first, carry on
Be strong, I will win her back
Even if you’re ahead for a bit, I will catch up

Protect her, so she won’t forget me
I will go till the end to the place where my person is

Forget it, I knelt down and beat my heart
that paused in front of the words of separation
Go away, I drag myself, who is burnt with sadness
that is like rotten firewood
Why is your cooled heart making my heart race
and wander every day?
I’m calling you, making myself stronger with love

Let’s go, go first, carry on
Be strong, I will win her back
Even if I’ll hurt for a bit, I will smile once again

Protect her, so she won’t forget me
I will go till the end to the place where my person is
Narrow the streets so I can catch you
I will risk everything to find my person

Yes, I tried to cast you out with a spiteful heart
As I trampled on my instincts,
my obsession toward you became faint
And I’m calling it all love once again
Again today, I can’t let you go or cut you out
As if I’m possessed, I chase after you, who is filled in my eyes

I’m sorry girl, I don’t ever want to let go of the line that is you
But it’s okay because I will turn back your heart
It’s not a big deal even if my heart is ripped apart

Protect her, so she won’t forget me
I will go till the end to the place where my person is
My heart is like that, I only know one thing
So even though it is bent and in pain, it will love you

Don’t be sorry, you can abandon me spitefully and leave
If that’s what you want, yeah, goodbye
But that doesn’t mean I have given up too

Returning to the lyrics after pitifully sleeping after all, “The Chaser” depicts a main character who, based on one of Infinite’s interviews, is in despair over love (for a side note, I find it interesting that, from the group’s interpretation, the same main character is used for all of their songs; essentially, all of their songs are of this fictional character and thus, a somewhat thorough story does exist). Offering an overarching summary, the main character had their love-interest “abandon” him, and now, in response, he is unable to find peace as his heart continually chases her, hence the title of “The Chaser.”

Providing a deeper perspective to the lyrics, the main character accepts his love-interest’s abandonment; after all, he claims: “Don’t be sorry, you can abandon me spitefully and leave. If that’s what you want, yeah, goodbye.” Nevertheless, despite a more mature outward appearance, on the inside, he “has not given up,” and after cheering himself on, vows to “win her back,” from supposedly, another person who is “ahead” of the main character (the Critical Corner will discuss this idea, and the upcoming one, in much depth). As such, the boy begs his love-interest’s current partner to “protect her, so she won’t forget [him]” and that he will “go till the end to the place where my person is,” even if she is already with someone else. Other details are included, especially the raps of thoroughly describing his feelings, but overall, simplistically, “The Chaser” merely sheds a story of a boy losing his love-interest, and as a result, is now figuratively “chasing” her to win her love back since his affection for her is relentless.

Though I do adore the raps for being compact yet incredibly detailed, the remaining lyrics are overly basic, and for the story as a whole, the same applies. Thus, average will sadly be the score. The musical component to  “The Chaser” may be phenomenal, but the lyrics do not equally hold to the previous standards.

– “Critical Corner”: Now to have fun with the lyrics, while this section will not influence the score, it would be ignorant and pitiful to ignore the deeper, critical messages of the song. First, the concept of “winning her back” (or “him,” though it is usually “her,” as will be explained later) is one that needs to be challenged and analyzed closely. Harshly stated, for the more blatant layer, if someone fails to reciprocate equal feelings, rather than attempting to “win” them back as if they were trophies, moving on and proceeding with life would be the more realistic route. Jocularly, even the men of Infinite have stated a similar idea to this recurring main character: “[The main character] is really desperate.”

Diving into the more serious subject, the lyrics in “The Chaser” are not foreign; the concept of “winning” love-interests, most prominently done by males, is one that is rather rife. This is not a mistake; males have been socialized to view themselves as superior, and these acts of “flirting” merely perpetuate that standard, even if unintended or unrecognized. Explaining, too often males view dating as not an intimate bond and connection, but instead, a game: dating is about “owning” and “winning” a lady, not having genuine love and compassion. This is seen in “The Chaser” via the male character attempting to win her back from her current partner, almost as if she were a trophy or toy to be tossed around. Instead of viewing and respecting her and her current relationship, the male character views her as, stated earlier, a game of “winning” her love, not a human. Furthemore, if not explicit yet on how a poor standard exists, the “protecting” piece will showcase the current issue blatantly.

While many would argue it is romantic to feel “safe” because of a partner, I would argue that the “safe” in this context should not be of physical protection, but rather, one of emotional and financial stability. Manipulating an example, to use myself in a hypothetical situation, I will conjure up the idea that I have a girlfriend. She, however, is rather protective, and of course, utilizing society’s standards, it will be considered that she is romantic by doing so. After all, if any females happen to touch me, or in fact, speaks with me, she would exclaim “hands off, he’s mine,” and from there, proceed with physically harming those females who interacted with me. Quite sweet. If my sarcasm has yet to be picked up, this scenario will sound familiar. Even from the female’s perspective, the same concept applies: a boy is protective and harms every other male that interacts with said female. 

This, sadly, once deconstructed, is far from romance. I would not desire my hypothetical girlfriend to harm other females. (Now, in the very rare incidents of needing actual protection from a partner, that falls within a standard category of safety, and thus, to clarify, this scenario I am discussing is one where a partner feels the constant need to protect.) Furthermore, besides the issue of safety of others, there is a very clear, pressing issue from this behavior: ownership. If I had a partner who acted aggressively in attempts to “protect” me, in truth, it would not be her displaying care and affection and therefore protection, but sadly, ownership of me. Therefore, the protection concept, as seen in the song, is not one of romance, it is of dominance and possession, and with how society socializes genders, males are often time the ones performing said “protecting.” Clarifying once more, if a situation arises for genuine protection, that is a different context, and of course, it is not harmful to have a partner feel even  more romantic for giving a protecting vibe as long as it does not extend to the point of control and ownership, and that genuine love, respect, and care are established as the primary, largest romantic aspects.  

I will link my review on “Channel Fiestar” for those curious on related topics. Sexism (and other oppressions), disturbingly, does appear even in the realm of dating, and thus, I urge readers to constantly bear a critical, open mind. The “romantic” lyrics in “The Chaser,” once stripped to its core, are not full of love and affection, but instead, ones that are filled with the identical, inequitable standards of society: males are to dominant females and are to act superior. Thus, this is why the “Critical Corner” exists, to showcase to readers why being wary and critical is vital. Rather than having listeners continue to perpetuate the scenario in “The Chaser,” being critical allows the truth to be seen, and as a result, to cease the endless cycle of female objectification, and overall, to begin a more humane route. After all, if males were taught gender equitable ideas and ushered such, “winning” females would halt, and instead, sincere affection would take place. It is frustrating to witness boys become enraged and obsessive at females for “leading them on” when, once critically deciphered, gender inequities are to blame for this type of behavior (a “win” relationship causes this reaction; after “investing” so much into a female as if she were a machine, the output would be a relationship, but with females being humans and thus not following through, males negatively react as they are taught they would receive a “win,” a date).

Before finally closing this section, on the subject of “leading on,” for readers who have had this incident, male or female (though as stated, it generally falls towards females as males are the ones socialized as the “better” gender), guilt should never occur. There is no obligation to play a shameful game of dating, and therefore, “repaying” their kindness, and more accurately, exaggerated kindness of subtle sexism, is not ever necessary (and the topic of “friendzone” does come to mind, though I will redirect readers to the linked review of “Channel Fiestar” for more depth).

As an overall point, human decency should always be in place. Never should a person be “owned” in a relationship. Equitable standards need to be pushed for as, without it, constant harassment in the specific scenario of flirting and dating will forever occur.

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – Leaving a comical comment, I do wish the writing that takes place when I am digressing on social topics occurs for when I am writing in a musical lens. Ignoring this, for a lens that is not of musical but rather visual, the choreography of “The Chaser” is splendid.

Every movement in “The Chaser” syncs to a musical component via the beats or even flow. For examples, the verses’ dance connect to the slower, heavier beats with similar paced motions, but for the choruses, a more hyped and powerful dance occurs to reciprocate the song’s intensity. With high precision apparent for the group’s syncing, the choreography becomes stunning and visually alluring.

As for the key points, the choreography remains properly complex; it is neither too simple or too perplexing. Every section utilizes a different formation from the other, and even on the inner levels of the same section (chorus, verse), each one still differs. Like the choruses in the song utilizing different versions per chorus, the dance is also unique per each one, and thus, high appeal is in place as many dances are new. Adding on, though related to the category of syncing, every key point proves fitting for its accommodating sonic component. Utilizing a visible example, for the second chorus with the members kneeling down, in addition to providing new, diverse key points, it also renders as perfectly suiting considering the song did indeed possess a pause.

With a very powerful, beautiful, energetic and reflective dance, a higher score will be gained. “The Chaser” manages to contain a dance is as equally charming as the song, if not even more.

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Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – With the average being rounded up to an eight, it signifies “The Chaser” is a solid song, one worthy of praise. Personally, I do agree to it, and in fact, the Song Score would have been even more than “above average” if the lyrics were slightly better. Nevertheless, as stated much earlier, “The Chaser” is a highly admirable song, and one I have personally very much enjoyed.

With the end being here, I will leave an apology of a delayed review. This time, however, it is not due to freely slacking off, but as mentioned, I did graduate from high school, and thus, had to spend a day doing so and afterwards I did decide to relax a bit. Eight reviews is still in mind, and with six left, I will optimistically claim it is still possible to do so, though admittedly shortcuts will be taken in the form of album reviews if need be. I have received two requests, and I will hurriedly begin and publish them quite soon. There are readers who do genuinely desire to read my writing, and thus, with that, thank you for reading this review, and for the requesters, thank you for sending in requests. Huge motivation exists from such, and of course, knowing people are willing to spend time to read my reviews is a high honor I am exceptionally grateful for.

Before forgetting, to address a bit on how I do feel about graduating, I am excited for university, and for those curious, I may track my experience with it via posts (or at least for those who are anxious for their own year, I will be able to offer my upcoming experience in a question-and-answer). It is a new experience that I am welcoming, and knowing it is the start to beginning a future career path that I do feel passionately for, I am excited. However, for what I do feel sorrowful about, I will miss teachers, professor and classmates, but of course, visits will occur (and the factor of student teaching), and overall, though I may not see those I miss often, it is better to cherish the positives of the growth and maturity they helped me gain. I cannot express enough thanking for my teachers and professor.

As for one final side note, a few more subtitled videos are coming. Particularly those fans of Fiestar, I have two videos for uploading (one left in fact), and therefore, I do hope they are enjoyable. Also, before entirely finishing, I will leave another apology: the writing and analysis in this review was poor. Infinite’s “The Chaser” is an excellent song, and while I gave proper enlightenment of such through the ratings, explaining so is not as solid. The two upcoming requested reviews will redress this.

Thank you once more for reading this review. SEVENTEEN’s “Adore U” will be released between two to four days, and after that review, KARA’s “Cupid” will follow suit with a similar timeline as well. Once those are finished, assuming no other requests are sent, I will perhaps add multiple album reviews for the sake of time, and if dedication is truly with me, a show review may also be done. “I will go till the end to the place where my person is,” of whom are readers, and though “my heart is like that, I only know one thing”: “it will love you.” Stay tuned for the upcoming review of “Adore U,” and for, hopefully, less cringe-inducing conclusions.

EXID – “Ah Yeah” Review

EXID – Ah Yeah (Dance Practice)

EXID – Ah Yeah

Reviewed on June 5, 2015

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Personal Message: EXID’s “Ah Yeah” has been requested twice: nearly a month ago, and additionally, a few days ago as another reader sent in a request (and I have yet to respond publically as of the time I wrote this sentence). However, for the first requester, I am incredibly sorry for the longest delay I have created. My schedule has not been friendly for reviews, though that is no excuse for the ridiculous delay of a month. As such, I will attempt to deliver a promising review to compensate, but of course, I will need to genuinely begin fixing my rate. To deliver some positivity, considering summer break will occur very soon, I will have much free time, and thus, reviews will, hopefully, return to the rate of two per week, and that would be incredibly enlightening. But, with attending university afterwards, I will definitely have to create a consistent and viable review schedule. While education has first priority, ensuring this blog still continues and improves is one of my personal agendas.

Focusing on this review and EXID, I am in truth quite excited. EXID holds an interesting position: though I am not an utter fan of their songs (I still do enjoy them), the ladies themselves have won my affection. Although the famous “fancam” of Hani (“fancam” is a focused recording of one idol) launched the group into popularity, and arguably, the higher tiers of said popularity in the K-Pop industry, EXID remains incredibly, if the term may be used, down-to-earth. While that may be due to reflecting and understanding their personal hardships when the group was practically unknown, or perhaps since the ladies themselves are very modest and humble, EXID remains as one of the very few groups that are genuine and open about themselves, of which is a highly brave feat considering public scrutiny.

More clearly phrased, rather than acting or appearing as the standard, perfect idols, the members opt to be truthful. Many humorous, or to a few, disturbing, moments are leaked from their honesty. Key examples include Hyerin shyly and hesitantly admitting the group only attended a show due to it being on their schedule (though afterwards she added that it was also to “receive love and show off charms”), and most commonly, Hani’s filter, or lack thereof, and thus, her comical responses regardless of how absurd a topic, such as “bowel movements” or revealing a pungent dorm. As many readers familiar with my reviews may know, similar to Hani, I strongly believe in pure honesty and do not believe “filters” should exist (minus some exemptions). As such, I highly admire her acts and openness, especially when considering, as mentioned, the risk of public criticism.

On another note, with the subject of challenging norms, for a more serious discussion (and, predictably, feel free to skip to the review now), while EXID deters away from the usual K-Pop group behavioral norms, the ladies also challenge more critical ones: gender norms. Using Hani once more as an example, as many familiar with her may know, she is often time considered “tomboyish” (and as a side note, I heavily loathe this word as it promotes androcentrism and gender norms; notice that “tomgirlish” is nonexistent, and if it does for a male, it is in the form of just “girly” and typically used as a degradement while “tomboyish” is used to merely describe characteristics, not as an insult, and overall, gender norms are established). Correcting the label, Hani does blatantly showcase something utterly desirable: a gender equitable mindset. Through possessing both “masculine” and “feminine” traits and displaying such openly on broadcast, the idea of gender restricted behavior becomes disengaged as attributes are no longer associated with gender, but instead, are based on a person themself. Therefore, the labels of masculine and feminine are stripped away as behavior is simply behavior; rather than claiming a person is “feminine” or “masculine,” and more poisonously, expected to follow through with such, Hani provides an example of how behavior should be bereft of gender influence. (For another discussion, if time permits, I will explain my personal opinion of “feminine” and “masculine” and that, overall, the labels in themselves are not bad, but rather, the current social connotations are the issues).

For more direct examples, Solji and LE, though embarrassed from the topic, confidently gave insight on their opinions of the most attractive body part for males (or at least Solji did and LE supported her claim): hips. Precisely, however, Solji progressed from male hips to, eventually, thoroughly admitting male butts were what she found to be the most attractive. If that in itself is not blunt for challenging gender norms, LE elaborated with their belief of how, summarized, “both boys and girls need to have pretty butts.” Now though seemingly minor (and in fact, I do hope readers find this situation minor due to already having a gender equitable mindset), this claim wholeheartedly reinforces gender equity. Generally solely females are scrutinized for appearances, and furthermore, with one specific example, butts, since that is also generally purely rendered as a “feminine” beauty trait (in a future review, socialized beauty and sexual attraction will be concepts to deconstruct). Akin to my prior review on CLC’s “Pepe,” with the Personal Message in that review discussing shaving and my personal opinion of it in a social realm, Solji and LE are promoting a homogenous idea: femininity should be equal to masculinity, as set by their claim of how males should be equally held to standards of females in the form of having “pretty butts.” To save time, for readers curious on this topic, I will recommend reading the previous review for further understanding and explanation.

To now venture onto a new topic I have yet to discuss, I have never quite expanded on why challenging gender norms, and moreover, social issues, is essential, and thus, I will now explain so. Delivering a personal story, as being intimate with readers is always necessary, a week or so ago, while I was thankfully not the target, a classmate was; a classmate was being insulted, quietly (which is better than outrageous yellings), by some males: “Oh he’s queer.” Although nothing physical or direct took place (my reason for not confronting these males), muffled laughter and pure ignorance did occur. Explaining why my classmate, of whom is a heterosexual (he has openly stated such and has a female partner; assumptions of sexual orientation can and should never be made), was accused and mocked for being “queer,” he wore a pink dress shirt and had some flashy shades. On the sole basis of appearance, and of course, the lack of education on important social topics, the two males automatically followed what they knew: society’s norms.

Returning to challenging social issues and relating the short event, if social issues are never questioned, these types of incidents will constantly occur, and this personal incident is in the luckiest form; in regular cases, the situation could have easily escalated to direct insults, and expectedly, physical confrontations. After all, females being sexually assaulted, homosexuals being murdered, and equally killed, members of minoritized races, are all due to the lack of challenging and caring of social issues. Scoping back on the more specific incident, what my classmate did is nothing erroneous at all; wearing pink and fancier shades, as a male, does not constitute insults. Unfortunately, due to current ways of society, it does, and thus, this is why caring for social issues matters: people who do not fit into incredibly restrictive, unmalleable social norms will face consequences that otherwise would be nonexistent if everyone cared and challenged the current inequitable norms so that, one day, social norms are ones that promote equity, not punishment and ostracizing for those who fail to conform (and of whom simply cannot “conform”; minoritized races cannot and should not turn into the dominant race, homosexuals cannot become heterosexuals, and more).

Bringing in EXID, if reasons for admiring their deviation from gender norms is not yet justified, simply put, with the five ladies being incredibly popular, and therefore, influential, their acts are additionally potent with providing society examples of how to behave, and in their case, gender equitable behavior is what is advertised. If society is to progress towards a more equitable state, steps against the current inequities of society must first be made, and that is, blatantly, a difficult task, though one that is essential.

Since this Personal Message is all over the place, rather than introducing more social topics and concepts in one review, I will bring in cohesion by only addressing one per review. That said, for my next review, and perfect timing with the upcoming group, I will be discussing makeup, and more specifically, males using makeup (since it is related to the idea of deviating away from social norms, and personally, is a subject that is close to me; also, this does mean a male group will be reviewed).

Returning to “Ah Yeah” in a musical sense, though EXID has already appeared on my blog due to a post regarding TMZ and them, I am glad to finally be reviewing a song by the group. I have been listening to many of their songs, such as “Pat Pat” (the result of mixing hip-hop and ballad) and “Without U,” and furthermore, “Every Night” (though the second version), and while their songs are not utterly infatuating (“Every Night” might be the exemption; the second version is incredibly admirable), most are still satisfying. Focusing on “Ah Yeah” specifically, while I personally do render their previous release of “Up & Down” as the better song, “Ah Yeah” still holds its own assuming certain weak points are ignored. With that, this review will determine whether “Ah Yeah” is an “ah yeah” song or an “oh no” one.

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Song Score: 6/10 (5.8/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Vocals: 6/10 – While EXID cohesively is a very balanced group in terms of vocals, on a more individual level, members vary with vocal capabilities: in the lens of  “Ah Yeah,” LE, Hyerin, and Solji disclose solid vocals, and conversely, Hani and Junghwa with the weaker vocals (in another context, both are still decent singers).

In terms of the main vocalists, to first highlight a unique trait of the two, Hyerin and Solji continue their lovely trend from “Up & Down”: solid chemistry. Both members’ vocals augment one another due to possessing similar styles and by possessing lines right after the other. In “Ah Yeah,” Hyerin provides the opening for prominent and melodic vocals, and Solji follows suit, though to a higher caliber. Their level of synergy vastly aids the song’s vocals as, once the choruses arrive, exceptionally solid, explosive, and well coordinated vocals exist. Now to focus moreover on the individual layer, ignoring their teamwork, Hyerin, while not up to par with Solji, still holds an equal role of being a main vocalist: her singing remains incredibly stable, even in the context of more demanding and powerful singing. For Solji, while the latter attributes are also possessed, as mentioned, it is to a higher caliber; Hyerin’s singing is replicated but further refined as higher notes are showcased, a stronger presence is delivered, and a slightly more lively tune is given. Nevertheless, both ladies offer “Ah Yeah” desirable, pleasing vocals, and in many ways, the most significant singing that occurs is from the two.

Addressing the other members, for EXID’s rapper, LE, her vocals, while mechanically peculiar, are still respectable, and overall, can be rendered as equal to Hyerin and Solji. Elaborating, with LE providing the rapping moments to “Ah Yeah,” the utilized vocals for delivering the rap remain enticing: melodic yet impactful vocals are used. In fact, her nasally voice that I have come to love improves her vocals rather than the predicted outcome of worsening it. A distinctive tune is granted due to her voice, and thus, the rapping’s melody and flow are innately affected positively as a lighter, hasty style is attached. Furthermore, an impacting sensation is given; LE’s voice, even if on the nasally side, still discloses a direct and heavier tone, and thus, the rapping’s vocals remain highly appealing.

Finally focusing on the weaker vocals of “Ah Yeah,” both Hani and Junghwa impair the song’s vocals’ rating. The two adopt a highly absurd and almost abstract sound, and in a few ways, are antitheses to Hyerin and Solji; instead of possessing melodic, stronger vocals, Hani and Junghwa unveil lifeless and frail singing. Diving into specifics, the shown vocals are simply exaggeratedly high pitches. Whether it is Hani’s verses or Junghwa’s pre-choruses, their vocals are simplistic high and hollow notes. Very minimal appeal exists as there is no dynamic melody, and the strange hollowness that occurs further accentuates their lack of melody.

Overall, for an overarching rating, slightly above average will hold. Solji, Hyerin, and LE carry the pleasing vocals, and the remaining members, Hani and Junghwa, lug the more distasteful vocals.

– Sections: 5/10 (5/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 5/10 – An outside voice is responsible for the introduction. Also, while “outside voice” on the basic level is in reference to vocals outside of a group, I would like to include “creepy” along that.

On that note, mechanically, the introduction is far from alluring; a whispering male voice, one that is not attracting, composes the a vast portion of the mechanical aspect. No singing occurs as this voice is stating basic phrases, and regardless, the voice itself is incredibly dull. As for the instrumental, heavier beats play, but similar to the voice, it also remains plain.

For some positive features of the introduction, besides reiterating how society needs more female voice actors and shoutcasters “Ah Yeah” does own an extremely unique and effective start, and as a result of such, structurally, the adopted style lures in listener. Elaborating, the unknown voice creates curiosity as, blatantly, seldom are eerie voices used in songs, let alone an introduction. Additionally, for the instrumental, with very basic sounds at use, room for expansion exists, and thus, attention is snatched as listeners are now intrigued at how “Ah Yeah” could progress.

Overall, though “Ah Yeah” ‘s type of introduction is incredibly unique, and in many ways, still effective, the mechanical side does impair it. Miraculously, average will hold as the rating considering how enticing the section is. After all, many would naturally be curious on how a song progresses after lines of “Where do you live, do you live alone?”

2. Verse: 4/10 – For the first time in reviews, I will not be following a chronological order. While the post-chorus does occur promptly after the introduction, due to the standard context of it being after the chorus, for the purpose of simplicity, I will skip over the first post-chorus and begin with the verse. And with that, Hani is responsible for all of them.

On topic, partially leaked at the Vocals, the singing that occurs for the verses is, in truth, rather poor. While the vocals remain dynamic via fluctuating with tune and pacing, the overarching melody remains pitiful: higher noted, hollow, abstract sounds are showcased. Hani is unequivocally capable of more strenuous lines, but absurdly, in “Ah Yeah,” her verses fail to bring her skills as the singing is incredibly lacking with depth. If more stability and force were added, perhaps the verses would be pleasing. However, with the absence of both of those traits, and instead, hollow, light notes being present, even despite the vocals possessing liveliness, it is all in vain. At most, the earlier vague and ominous tone is continued.

On that note, for the verses on a structural level, the atmosphere is preserved; the style of the introduction’s voice is translated over as Hani replicates such. Though musically unappealing, a connection is established between the stated two sections, and therefore, “Ah Yeah” thrives in the category of possessing a distinctive tone. Ignoring the song’s atmosphere, however, for what does  remain admirable, the verses naturally flow into the rap, and vice-versa for the rap to verse. Highly fluent transitions exist due to such, and furthermore, with an alternating manner, both the verses and raps become additionally appealing considering only tints of both sections are given, and of course, beneficial contrast is given.

Slightly below average will still be the score. The mechanical layer is mediocre (though to clarify once more, Hani’s skills are high; she has many clips showcasing her singing potential) and heavily lowers the score. The verses’ structure of meshing with the raps is what allows them to still be tolerable.

3. Rap: 7/10 – Expectedly for the raps, EXID’s queen rapper (as I biasedly say), LE, is responsible for them. For a side note, if being a phenomenal rapper is not impressive enough, LE is also a song composer. A few examples are EXID’s songs, but also, others groups such as T-ARA’s highly popular “Sugar Free.”

On topic, addressing her rap and not her amazing talents and intelligence, sonically, as anticipated, the raps remain promising. Standard yet desirable rapping traits appear: power, melody, fluency, and flow. Addressing each trait individually, LE’s rapped lines remain infused with presence; despite a shorter time span, her words remain hefty as a bolder, direct demeanor is utilized, and vocally, that is heard as no moments of hesitation or frailty exist. As for melody, her voice mechanically deserves credit: the nasally, lighter pitched vocals work in favor of delivering appealing melodies. Uniqueness holds as one factor, but also, the higher tune granted from such renders as charming. If lower pitches were instead given, the raps’ tune would depreciate as a more sluggish style would hold. Now with that topic, lastly addressing LE’s fluency and flow, the opposite of sluggish holds true: the rap sections flawlessly stream words. As a result, smooth, coherent and crisp rapping becomes showcased as LE’s fluency and flow remains at a high caliber, and overall, those two aspects may be what allows the rapping sections to prevail.

Already partially addressed earlier, for the structural breakdown, in the scope of “Ah Yeah,” the mentioned alternating of rap and verse sections prove effective. A hypothetical example highlights such: the verses and raps could have been their own lengthier sections; Hani could have sung her entire lines, and then LE could have followed suit with no switches. However, doing so would provide a more linear approach, and thus, in the current setup of the two swapping back and forth, specifically with LE’s rap, her sections become augmented as they are not a pure, relentless flow of words, but instead, sprinkles of words, and that minor isolation further highlights the solid features, such as the pacing and power. Now on the individual level, with the rap itself in focus, variety exists in the form of pace changes, and furthermore, the instrumental reflecting the rap’s rhythm also proves suiting.

Not surprisingly, above average holds. The rapping that occurs are phenomenal in both aspects of mechanical and structural.

4. Pre-Chorus: 4/10 – Junghwa is responsible for the main portion of the pre-choruses. LE does, however, assist in terms of adding the final line.

Homogenous to her beloved member of Hani, Junghwa’s contributed vocals are identical; the pre-choruses are granted with the same hollow, lighter noted lines, as heard in the verses. On that note (no pun intended), the pre-choruses are penalized by being bereft of complexity and flexibility. The given melody is exceptionally straight-forward, and as a result, minimal appeal exists in the category of the sections’ sonic layer. Including LE’s line, equally it is lacking, though more understandably as it derives from the post-chorus, of which is moreover statement orientated than of tune.

For the structure, and once more, related to the verse, while the musical component remains lacking, this category holds well. With the pre-choruses opting for an overall lighter tune, the standard role is served: a section hyping for the chorus. For example, Junghwa’s lines and the instrumental create a foundation for “Ah Yeah” as a pausing point exists, and therefore, the ability to transform into a more energetic section, as is the chorus, is possible and natural. Furthermore, LE’s final line further smoothen out the transition: the following words of “ah yeah,” with a lengthier duration, grant the upcoming choruses sufficient spacing from the prior section, and as an outcome, abruptness does not occur.  

Unfortunately, slightly below average will still hold. Like the verses, the mechanical aspect falters heavily, even if the structural side is decent.

5. Chorus: 6/10 – Hyerin and Solji, the main vocalists of EXID, return with an identical setup as the one in “Up & Down”: Hyerin sings the first portion while Solji follows up the remainder.

Needless to say, the sonic layer of the choruses are to a high merit. Both ladies showcase exceptionally captivating melodies, note stretches, and powerful vocals. With their lines, a variating tune is in place; utilized notes, while within the similar range of highs, still fluctuate around. From such, appeal is garnered, especially in the context of the other aspects. Including those traits, to focus on the note stretches, towards the end of certain lines, the members execute a short note stretch. Additional emphasis towards the pleasing melody becomes generated, and additionally, the pacing becomes diverse as the lines now vary in speed. Adding a final aspect, the disclosed potent vocals are more so once complemented with the note stretches as, similar to the melody, doing so allows more power to be developed, and ultimately, displayed.

Switching to the choruses’ structure, though akin to the earlier category, the provided instrumental properly syncs to the section; an equally upbeat instrumental in juxtaposition to the vocals exists. Besides aiding the section’s mechanical layer, for the scope of “Ah Yeah” as a whole, the instrumental provides the song a proper scale of intensity: the choruses in “Ah Yeah” are neither overwhelming nor underwhelming. As such, the standard role of a chorus remains viable as the sections grant “Ah Yeah” a lively, hyped point, but likewise, it is within an appropriate scale as to prevent the choruses from feeling exaggerated or unsuiting to “Ah Yeah” in general. Focusing on the choruses more precisely, lines remain diverse due to the changes of pacing and notes, and while the two members do emulate one another, progression exists and thus, it is not a direct replication; Hyerin’s lines follow a certain route, however, Solji’s lines differ in that, while overall it is similar, Solji provides higher notes and longer note stretches.

Overall, though this section would seemingly deserve a seven as both components are solid, the mechanical aspect fails to possess the extra necessary charms to bring it up to that score. “Up & Down” is a perfect example for what would be desired: their prior song release holds a highly similar chorus to the one in “Ah Yeah,” but it differs in that the sections are moreover melody-orientated than power-oriented, and the latter is what occurs in “Ah Yeah.” Therefore, that change, even if minor, does prevent a seven as the choruses now slightly lack in having a highly captivating melody. Six will be the score as it represents “slightly above average.”

6. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – LE returns in the form of handling all of the post-choruses.

“Ah yeah, ah yeah,” it is time to induce cringes by horrible attempts at humor and puns deconstruct the post-choruses by the structural layer. The post-choruses simply relentlessly loop a phrase: “ah yeah,” if that was not blatant enough. Although the key phrase of the song is given, the post-choruses lack depth; two words are repeated in this section, and thus, complexity is limited. For what minimal positivity does exist, the post-choruses do provide “Ah Yeah” a respectable, natural point of relaxing the song as the prior sections, the choruses, are more energetic and intense. As a result, the upcoming verses seamlessly flow back into the song versus abruptness.

Now for the mechanical layer, equally bleak it is: the occurring singing and instrumental are both plain. Rather than LE contributing her singing vocals (she is a highly capable singer; many forget her versatility of being a solid rapper and singer) or even rapping vocals, casual statements of “ah yeah” are given. Therefore, as covered in the introduction, with minimal musical appeal present, this category will also falter heavily.

Slightly below average will be the score. The structural layer of providing a proper point to recycle the song is admirable, but ignoring that specific trait, both layers are on the poorer side.

7. Bridge: 5/10 – Three members contribute to the bridge: Junghwa, LE, and Solji, all respectively. For a highly irrelevant note, I am rather pleased to find myself being dedicated; though this is the fourth day of writing this review, I have committed each day to working on this review versus, in May, writing every other day or every two days.

On topic with EXID and “Ah Yeah,” and more specifically, the bridge, the section succeeds in one category while slightly faltering in the other. Addressing the mechanical layer–the partially inadequate category, glancing at the members individually, for Junghwa’s lines, though stability is finally unveiled from her unlike the hollowness in the pre-choruses, the melody resides as average; little complexity or intensity exists, and thus, her singing, though now viable, is still relatively plain. Surprisingly, for LE, her minor rapping lines are bereft of her usual strengths, though time is the main culprit. Due to the shorter time window, thoroughly developing the rap becomes a difficult feat, and with such, the previously observed rapping is absent as time is vital to allowing LE to emanate with her usual rapping zeal and prowess. Lastly, for EXID’s most prominent vocalist, Solji, although her singing is not sufficient enough to entirely compensate for her fellow members in the bridge, the section’s mechanical aspect greatly benefits from her: an exceptionally crisp and powerful note hold is revealed. With it, in addition to granting a climactic point in “Ah Yeah,” highly intensive, refined vocals are another gleaned aspect, and of which positively contributes to the mechanical layer. Nevertheless, with the majority of EXID exhibiting duller vocals, this component to the bridge does become lacking.

Predictably, because of earlier words, for the structural component, it is respectable. Variety allows the bridge to flourish: four voices are heard (I will elaborate later), and every said voice retains its own unique attributes. For example, Junghwa’s vocals are aimed at simplistic, calmer singing, LE handles rapping vocals, Solji with outstanding, explosive vocals, and for the mysterious fourth voice, the introduction’s vocals return (and with forgetting to address it, quickly doing so, it does hinder the mechanical as well). Since sound is irrelevant for this component of structural, what remains pressing is the quantity of variety that is showcased; with multiple styles and formats of singing, the bridge excels in the aspect of remaining constantly enticing. Furthermore, though there are four distinctive parts, a natural, flowful progression exists: the more basic singing at the start easily transitions into the rap, the rap then quickens to Solji’s lines, and finally, the ending allows the bridge as an entirety to drift back into “Ah Yeah.”

In the end, unfortunately, average will be the score. While the structure is worthy, the given mechanical layer fails to be equally captivating, even under Solji’s singing, and thus, the score is impaired in that sense.

8. Conclusion: 5/10 – While LE is responsible for the genuine conclusion, the final chorus deserves some highlight in terms of the minimal yet pleasant two-part singing. Nevertheless, the actual, final conclusion itself will be of focus.

Easily phrased, the conclusion is the introduction merged with the post-choruses; lyrics from the post-chorus are used, but the overall format replicates the introduction. Following that, however, it does indicate the conclusion suffers mechanically. Although LE’s charming voice is significantly more pleasing than the introduction’s vocals, it is still, in essence, a whispering, quiet voice muttering a phrase, and thus, no musical appeal exists.

Continuing with the structural side, it is equivalent to the introduction as well in that there are some positive features. Ignoring the negatives of the structure, or practically lack thereof considering it is solely “ah yeah” being looped, for a conclusion, the usual fundamental role is served: concluding the song, anticipatedly. The key phrase is reiterated, becomes lingering, and impressively, is able to have a direct connection with the introduction since, predominantly, solely LE’s voice and the lyrics are what differs, and from such, a blatant end is discreetly implemented, as paradoxical as that may be. Clarifying, with the conclusion replicating the introduction, it marks the end of “Ah Yeah” as, overall, an entire cycle of the song has been played (start point and back to the start point).

Average, like the introduction, will hold. The musically absent aspect may hinder the score, but the basic role of concluding the song gradually and smoothly occur, and furthermore, unique specks are added in the form of how the conclusion emanates a sense of the song restarting.

– Line Distribution: 6/10 – Five members are in EXID, and based on that quantity, I do anticipate a fairly high score for the Line Distribution.

Beginning with EXID’s “crybaby” leader, Solji, an incredibly admirable leader despite her proneness to crying since, obviously, nothing is wrong with such (I am a “crybaby” as well), possesses lines at the three choruses and single bridge. Four will be her total count, and considering she is the main vocalist, and that four has generally been the most preferable, equal number, an enlightening distribution is palpable.

Peering at Hyerin’s lines, EXID’s other main vocalist, though in truth, lead vocalist is the proper label (in a future review, I may discuss group member labels/roles for those confused), has lines at every chorus, and therefore, three will be her total count. Assuming the following members do not deviate from a three or four, no issues will occur.

For the regular vocalists of the ladies, to begin with their beloved member of Hani, her spotlight occurs at all of the verses, and statistically, that leaves her with a count of four. As mentioned, four has been the more promising value and with Hani holding that value, assuming Junghwa and LE are within a similar range of three or four, a very high score is plausible.

Junghwa, on that note, will be gauged. Three is her value: the two pre-choruses and the bridge. A perfect score is currently the rating; Hyerin and Junghwa have three sections while Hani and Solji have four. Assuming LE follows suit with either, a ten would exist for the score.

Disturbingly, a ten for the score may not be possible as LE has been given that ten and an extra; eleven is her total count as she is responsible for three post-choruses, four rap sections, two pre-choruses via one line, and lastly, the bridge and conclusion. Summing the numbers, eleven is her count, and that is absurdly high. Considering the post-choruses, conclusion, and even pre-choruses all increase her value excessively as her lines are merely the two words of “ah yeah,” it is understandable on why this disparity occurred (without those “ah yeah” parts, her total would be five). Nevertheless, for the sake of consistency in reviews and leaving out personal biases, this will lower the score to slightly above average.  

Six will be the Line Distribution grade. Every member excluding LE had perfectly shared lines, but for LE, a large imbalance is in place, though understandably why. If LE’s lines were singing and not rapping, the score would be significantly lower, but thankfully, with her lines being raps and therefore hasty and relatively shorter from such, the score has some leniency. Overall, however, a major disparity is still apparent.  

– Instrumental: 6/10 – If my memory is correct, my initial reaction of “Ah Yeah” was along the idea of “This sounds similar to ‘Up & Down,’ “ and not off was I.

Focusing on the instrumental’s sonic component, the key instrument in “Up & Down” returns: a saxophone (assuming my ignorance on instruments is not at play). With that, originality is granted considering saxophones are seldom used (for the most part in K-Pop songs), but furthermore, with the exclusive, rarer sound, the sonic layer benefits as appeal is higher, and of course, the saxophone itself leaves a pleasing tune. In terms of other mechanical aspects, every section of “Ah Yeah” can be rendered highly. Rhythmic beats occur at the verses, raps, and pre-choruses, and for the more energetic parts, the instrumental follows through via equally showcasing complex, vibrant sounds.

Since sections have been mentioned, for the structural side of the instrumental, the format of how every section in “Ah Yeah” possesses its own unique soundtrack is worthy of praise. Regardless of whether it is the verse, introduction, chorus, or even bridge, the instrumental perfectly accommodates each section: verses are met with calming, simplistic beats while the choruses are complemented with an impactful saxophone, similar to Solji and Hyerin’s singing. As a result, the mechanical aspect prospers, and additionally, it allows each section to remain more appealing as each one carries its own specialty.

Slightly above average will be the rating. Although the instrumental’s structure is quite remarkable and vital to “Ah Yeah,” it very slightly lacks in providing a more alluring sonic component.

– Meaning: 6/10 – If “Ah Yeah” is the continuation of “Up & Down,” and, if memory serves well, the latter song is about a main character feeling “up and down” about a love-interest, and more specifically, the vagueness of whether interest is reciprocated, EXID’s current song of “Ah Yeah” would seem to be a celebration. After all, “ah yeah, ah yeah,” the main character seems to have found their love-interest to be equally interested. However, ignoring personal speculations, through these Korean-to-English translations, the following lyrics will reveal the “true” story (though as stated many times, nothing is ever right or wrong about lyrics and many things in general). Also, the following lyrics are not 100% accurate:

Where do you live? Do you live alone?
Where do you live? Do you live alone?

Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

Why can’t you get it?
I don’t know why I’m telling you this

You softly smile and keep pestering me
Treating me like another girl
Man don’t do that
I don’t wanna answer those kinds of questions, no way

How many times did you ask me today?
Baby stop
What are you saying?

I can’t understand a single thing you’re saying
Your attempts make me despair every time
How about you pay attention and look?
Everyone but you can see this signal

Don’t take all day, hurry up
Come here, hurry and come here, you
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

These moments are so typical, it’s making me uncomfortable
Stop asking me those kinds of things
Do what you what, that’s what makes me comfortable,
before this moment passes

Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

Why are you stuttering?
I don’t know what you’re saying

You pretend to be innocent, stuttering your words
Your bad habits are coming out
My head shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes
I can predict 100% of it

Why do you have so many questions?
What are you, a child?
What is it that you know?

I can’t understand a single thing you’re saying
Your attempts make me despair every time
How about you pay attention and look?
Everyone but you can see this signal

Don’t take all day, hurry up
Come here, hurry and come here, you
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

This way is typical, this way is uncomfortable
Stop asking me those kinds of things
Do what you what, that’s what makes me comfortable,
before this moment passes

Things you haven’t been able to tell me yet
Before you lose your chance,
tell me before I get tired
Now come by my side
(Where do you live? Do you live alone?
Where do you live? Do you live alone?)

These moments are so typical, it’s making me uncomfortable
Stop asking me those kinds of things
Do what you what, that’s what makes me comfortable,
before this moment passes

Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah

(Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah
Ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah ah yeah)

After spending some excessive time over the lyrics in order to thoroughly deconstruct the blatant layer, I have come to my personal interpretation: my initial prediction is correct, though skewed. “Ah Yeah” can be linked to their prior song, but even without background, the same plot still holds. The song depicts an overarching story of how a lady has a love-interest, however, with her harsher personality, the love-interest, who does feel equally for her, is incredibly intimidated.

Enlarging the story in more depth, “Ah Yeah” starts with the love-interest. The song’s introduction is not, contrary to many, a “creepy” male, but instead, the love-interest, and specifically, his consciousness; he desires to ask the main character those questions for the purpose of dating and romance, not for licentious reasons. For further evidence, the conclusion reinforces such: “ah yeah, ah yeah” is the main character’s consciousness, and thus, once setting the introduction and conclusion next to one another, it becomes justifiable to claim that those whispering voices are the characters’ consciousness.

However, before returning to this sudden, abrupt and confusing idea (it will come into action later), continuing with the plot itself, “Ah Yeah” begins with the male character’s consciousness: he is in utter trepidation on how, when, and will he even ask the main character those phrases. Eventually, implicitly, he did ask since the main character offers her reply, though in a scary manner as she feels “[pestered]” by his questions: “Treating me like another girl, man, don’t do that, I don’t wanna answer those kinds of questions, no way.” Despite the rejecting reply, the love-interest continues to pursue a relationship as it ushers the main character to once more reply with “How many times did you ask me today? Baby stop, what are you saying?” This scenario then relentlessly occurs, but interestingly, the pre-choruses reveal that, though the main character is seemingly repulsed by the boy, she is fond of him as she wishes he would “hurry up” and “come here” to, assumingly, her. Thus, the key phrase of “ah yeah” is created as, jocularly, the lady is celebrating her manipulation of the love-interest via a love-chase game.

Thankfully, after an unknown amount of time, the main character decides to finally open herself to the love-interest as she grants him a “chance” to “tell [her]” his love, but he must do so “before [she] gets tired.” With the final section of the lyrics taking the form of the main character’s consciousness of “ah yeah,” it can be concluded that, most likely, the two are now together as she is celebrating, though pessimistically, it could also be her cheering for, once more, the manipulation of the love-interest.

In terms of a rating for the lyrics, with being able to derive multiple scenarios, that does showcase the lyrics’ complexity. Proper vagueness is present, and thus, the plot(s) become highly enticing. Details may be obscured, but not necessarily lacking. Due to a plethora of ways to decipher the song, a decent score will be given. Though “Ah Yeah” is seemingly a linear story, upon viewing the plot from multiple perspectives and finding them all viable, it does create questioning on what the lyrics are truly about. Slightly above average is the fitting rating. If the given lyrics presented even further complexity, a higher score would be possible.

– “Critical Corner”: Besides the more basic, love-related topic of “push and pull” (otherwise known as, if correct, for the non-Korean term, “playing hard to get”), I currently do not see any aspect of the lyrics that are pressing to discuss. However, for the sake of discussing “push and pull” relationships, it is, overall, just a game, though more sensitive as it is tied to emotions. To offer my take, with my belief in utter honesty and cheesier, romantic music videos and stories of pure love and affection, if a couple has genuine fun with the “push and pull” concept, then there is no issue. However, for those preferring serious relationships, the concept does not seem desirable as, blatantly, a relationship is viewed as a source of entertainment in the “push and pull” concept. That said, however, there is a distinction between attempting to win someone’s love and the “push and pull” concept as it is done moreover for the sake of manipulation. Overall, for readers seeking love advice (though my words are based on love songs and stories no experience), relationships should be taken seriously and not as games. Starting as friends and developing and bonding closer,  and thus, reaching an intimate relationship, would be the most desirable route, but of course, for the overarching message of relationships, sincere love should be the foundation.

Now ignoring my pitiful love advice, for a more serious topic, the one of “friendzones” is heavily insulated with social layers, but considering I have discussed it in a prior review of Channel Fiestar, I will not explain here (refer to the linked review if interested on why the “friendzone” idea is highly false and, overall, socially negative as inequities are promoted).

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Choreography Score: 7/10 – Though this review has taken longer than desired, I do feel the previous passion I felt with writing and discussing songs (which as stated in my May 2015 reflection, I did lack for that month).

On topic, the choreography to “Ah Yeah” is rather solid. Both layers of sync and key points remain attractive, and most prominently, simplistic. In focus of the syncing, every section consistently relates to the song in both forms of snaps and motions. For example, a beat in the song is met with a flicking, snapping dance, as seen vividly by the post-choruses and verses, but also, the choreography consists of flowful motions that are reflective of, expectedly, moments in the song that are also dynamic and vocally intensive, such as the choruses. Regardless of the key point at play, every single one precisely follows the song.

On the subject of key point, in addition to EXID’s accurate syncing, the existing key points are equally seducing. Simplicity is the highlighting trait. Every key point is basic. While complexity is generally desired, simplicity, if conducted properly is equally, and at certain times, more potent than an exceptionally intricate choreography. In “Ah Yeah,” with the dance following simple, easier dance moves, visibility of syncing becomes more transparent, and furthermore, being able to simply track the dance is plausible. Adding another strong point to the key points, in focus of the formations, there is an interesting setup: the member in spotlight certainly has the spotlight. Rather than other choreographies that merely place the singing member in front, “Ah Yeah” creates distinguishment. Members not in attention are exhibiting different moves than the member who is the center of attention, and thus, the differing contrast creates more emphasis towards the one in spotlight. While there are still moments of unison dancing, with a mixture occurring, the style of sub-dancers to main dancer is still vastly beneficial.

Seven for above average will be the score. “Ah Yeah,” while not necessarily the most musically charming, still does obtain a higher score for its dance as the syncing and simplicity are incredibly effective and pleasing.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (6.5/10 raw score) – With an average of seven, “Ah Yeah,” in its entirety of dance and song, can be labeled as above average. Though I do consider this song moreover a six in total, EXID’s latest song is worthy of listening (and certainly dancing for those capable of following its choreography).

One out of eight reviews are done, and while that may seem miniscule, it is a start. I am dedicated to reaching eight reviews and will be continually mentioning it as a personal incentive. That said, though I am technically committing two month’s of work into solely one, I am officially on summer break (though my graduation ceremony has not taken place yet; it is a bittersweet moment as I nearly cried it is exciting yet I will heavily miss teachers/professor and classmates) and therefore have additional time. However on topic, eight reviews will be a goal, and if I do reach that feat, I will attempt to create something for readers as a celebration (and speaking of feats, I do hope to have a relatively popular review this month, similar to how my archaic, poorly written one of AOA’s “Like a Cat” was).

In terms of my next review, as stated on my Review Schedule (I am still debating on whether to keep this or not, feedback would be greatly appreciated), Infinite’s “The Chaser” is in mind. Considering many reviewed songs lately have been of around average, I do hope “The Chaser” challenges that trend as it is a very solid song and personally, I have been adoring it. Nevertheless, an unbiased, logical deconstruction of it will have to take place to truly gauge its rating. Also, I will finally be beginning a streak of male artists as addressed a month ago, and Infinite will begin said streak. There will also be quite a few interesting social topics to discuss due to male groups, and as such, I am also equally excited in that aspect.  

Before forgetting this current review, however, this one was enjoyable. It has been a while since I have reviewed a group that I am more personally familiar with, but it has been done in credit to EXID. As stated in the disorganized Personal Message (I had to shorten the copious amount of social topics I wanted to discuss), EXID is a unique group to me in that I render their songs (minus “Every Night (Vers. 2)”; this song is fantastic) as slightly above average, but due to the ladies themselves, I have become rather fond of the group. After all, even on the individual level, all EXID members are incredibly admirable: LE, as mentioned, is a strong rapper and a very creative, intelligent song composer, and she has an utterly infatuating voice, and overall, simply wins my love and is perhaps my current “artist crush” Solji was originally a vocal trainer/teacher, Hyerin is a very solid singer, Junghwa shines with non-musical work (modeling, variety shows, and more) along with Hani, though Hani is also definitely capable of more rigorous singing.

Brushing aside my poor attempts at comedy, for those curious on this review’s time, I wrote for five days (perhaps a total of ten hours), and strangely, this has been the longest review I have yet to write. Regardless, with this being the end, since I have surprisingly not said so yet, thank you very much for reading. I will work hard to ensure the next review is published on schedule (four or so days after this one). Even despite how many readers may claim, “I can’t understand a single thing you’re saying,” I do hope my reviews are truly cohesive and coherent enough to provide a decent read. Infinite’s “The Chaser” will be the upcoming review. Thank you once more, and keep checking back.

CLC – “Pepe” Review

CLC – Pepe (Dance Practice)

CLC (Crystal Clear) – Pepe

Reviewed on May 24, 2015

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Personal Message: Though I have already begun deconstructing the song in a musical sense, I have yet to write at all for the review. Thus, I am writing this after my review on BESTie’s music video of “Excuse Me.” On topic with CLC, two readers did request this review, and with that, thank you very much to both for requesting it and for being utterly patient. I am hoping, and realistically, working, to ensure that this review is finished around the weekend or at least by an earlier part of the week.

Ignoring technical updates, this is, blatantly, the first review on the group, but moreover, the first time I have heard of their group at all. It appears that the 5 ladies of Seunghee, Yujin, Seungyeon, Sorn, and Yeeun, are newcomers to the K-Pop industry and, if correct, in the same company as their senior groups of 4Minute and Beast (readers should check my words and send in corrections if I am inaccurate). Nevertheless, despite being a newer group, and in fact, for being young ladies (their ages range from 17 to 20 if I am correct), they have already showcased decent abilities with singing and dancing (to an extent; the review below will analyze how “Pepe” holds).

Finally addressing “Pepe,” this may be the first song that I personally heavily dislike, but of course, that is solely personally; in a realistic, systematic perspective, “Pepe,” even if biasedly loathed, is relatively respectable and possesses its strengths (though overall “Pepe” is still a weaker song). Although reviews are overall based on opinion, bringing a logical, argumentative layer is essential or else it would be merely spitting feelings, not thinking. Somewhat archaic reviews are prime examples of such, though there is no need to talk of past, horrendous work (on a serious note, however, I am pleased to have embarrassing and awful work in my archive; growth is important to gauge and continue, and learning from past experience matters so that my reviews, which still have much room for growth, improve).

On a highly irrelevant subject (feel free to skip to the actual review now; the upcoming digression, unlike every other review, is not directly related to the song or group at all), one that does not involve the incredible, talented and intelligent ladies who have accomplished more in their lives than me despite being of a similar age, their group name, CLC, is a stylization (if that is a word) of “Crystal Clear,” and on that note, it does remind me of an arguably jocular situation, but one that is necessary yet rarely discussed: shaving. Out of every subject I have digressed about, shaving, correctly, is one that is vital to discuss, and of course, besides the blatant layer; I do not wish to focus so much on the act of shaving versus the social layers associated with it. To deliver context on what prompted this topic, in short, a friend and I discussed Fiestar’s shaving video, and the remark of “crystal clear legs” was made. However, for what matters, she became disturbed upon hearing my reply: “I do, actually” in response to “You wish you had the shaver.”

Elaborating this topic and its attached issues, for one, her response is not, sadly, surprising (and equally for readers who are also shocked); due to gender norms, the idea of males shaving is rather repulsive, and thus, reactions of disgust are foreshadowed. As for why male shaving is rendered as such, many previous reviews (examples are the earlier linked review and countless others) cover the overarching concept: valuing masculinity over femininity. With shaving being labeled as a feminine trait and act, males doing so are downgrading socially in rank, and furthermore, risking the standards of masculinity (this will be discussed as it is arguably the main catalyst for opposition), and with both of those factors, it is rather blatant that hostility will exist. Since many reviews have covered the idea of androcentrism (where masculinity is valued over femininity), I will not digress further on that, but the latter point is one I have yet to discuss in full depth, especially with a rather basic context of shaving.

For the subject of risking the standards of masculinity, male privilege, the highly subtle benefits given by simply being a male, is a concept akin to such, and is one that is also necessary to understand before deconstructing “risking masculinity.” In the context of shaving, male privilege works in a blatant yet disregarded method: the absence of needing to shave. Though I will later provide my opinion on whether shaving is essential or not, focusing on the main topic, males, noticeably, are bereft of any requirement to shave; males are free to possess hair over their legs, face, arms, and should females have any hair in the stated areas, utter backlash occurs in the forms of verbal, and in extreme yet unsurprising cases, physical (this will be addressed). Rather than viewing shaving as merely gender-based acts or attributes (that is already an issue in itself), through critically analyzing it via a social perspective versus a direct one, shaving is more than removal of hair; accounting for the social dynamics involved, the connotations of shaving are discreet messages that perpetuate gender inequities.

Now, resurfacing an earlier discussion, there may be slight confusion in terms of females not shaving: if not shaving is deemed a masculine trait, females, according to the androcentric scale, should be praised as they are now in a desirable position, and essentially, ranking up. While this applies to clothing, behavior, and other aspects, shaving, rather than being an exception, falls into a new category: bodies, specifically, female bodies and policing of such by, expectedly, males. A female’s body is, disturbingly and perplexingly, “masculine.” This statement appears rather counterintuitive; a female body should be, based on logic of female versus male, feminine as it is blatantly a female’s body. Unfortunately, that is false and androcentrism falls in place: a female’s body is “masculine” since femininity is controlled by masculine standards; males decide what is considered “sexy” or “pretty” in a body, and thus, a female’s body is seemingly feminine, but once tracked to the roots, as depicted, masculinity is the originator for those traits. Therefore, to answer the very initial question, females not shaving is not considered masculine, ironically, since it highly combats what males have set up, and overall, serves a threat to masculinity and male superiority in that sense.

On that note, many have created solutions, and one in particular advocates for females not shaving. After all, doing so would challenge male’s policing of female bodies, and additionally, set females equal to males in that one aspect of male privilege is disengaged. To finally leave my opinion, although I may offer somewhat radical and controversial statements in my reviews, be it in the Personal Message or the song review itself, this will potentially be the most outrageous stance to date: I disagree with the idea of females not shaving. Females should shave. However, that is not all of my stance; to potently create a gender equitable situation with shaving, females and males should both shave. Realistically, of course, the true equitable situation is both females and males are bereft of any social pressure, and as a result, shaving is a choice based on an individual, regardless of gender, but as I believe in honesty for readers (and in general), I will disclose and explain my personal stance.

Often time, strangely, solving gender inequities revolves around the gender that is already dominant and advantaged: do not wear revealing clothing as a female or else boys will attack and rape, do not use makeup as there is no purpose to please males, do not act flirtatious or else males will slut-shame. And, of course, do not shave since males expect shaving. All of these acts, while seemingly against androcentrism, is, highly ironically, filled with exactly such, a society that revolves around males. Rarely is the opposite stance, one that places females to the standards of equality versus to males, given: wear revealing clothing if desired to since, as a female, a human, personal decisions can be made; use makeup as there is no issue with desiring to appear pretty in the standards of females; the decision to flirt should be done, as a female, if there is a love-interest. Following the trend, as a female, shaving is not an issue if desired since, rather than basing it on male standards, a new standard, one from a female point of view, considers shaving “pretty” and thus a desirable activity.

To now focus moreover on shaving and why I believe females and males should both be held accountable (once more, the most equitable situation is what I stated earlier; this is my personal opinion), unlike the plethora of examples that are orientated towards males, this idea focuses on females, and in specific, femininity; if males are expected to shave, an act deemed feminine, a new standard is in place as femininity would be held equal to masculinity (in this situation of shaving). Thus, rather than having females conduct a “masculine” trait that ignites hostility due to challenging the policing of females via not shaving (which, in essence, is still a viable idea), if the scale utterly flipped and males were expected to do a “feminine” trait, and in a few ways, became policed to follow such, in the context of shaving it would create an equitable scale as males must now value femininity equally to masculinity, and furthermore, the policing that would occur additionally perpetuates that ideology. If the inequitable standards of valuing masculinity over femininity is to be directly challenged, rather than attempting to depreciate masculine concepts so that balance is met, it would be more effective to instead empower femininity so that equity is met through equally cherishing feminine concepts, not because masculinity is equally dreaded as femininity.

Overall, with this digression being a topic that is rarely discussed, and furthermore, highly irrelevant to CLC (except, obviously, on the levels of how the group consists of ladies), I do apologize in the sense of it being a somewhat foreign topic. Nevertheless, I do encourage readers that read this portion to ponder over the section and to develop a personal stance. Though this review itself will focus on “Pepe” in an industrial, musical context, shying away from important, seemingly minor yet major topics is not an option, especially when, overall, this digression still stemmed from pop culture (and of course, day-to-day life in general). Due to time restraints, I will save another discussion for my next review. During EXID’s “Ah Yeah” review, the topic of challenging social issues will be glanced at. Also, for readers who are now genuinely curious on whether I shave or not, as always to be truthful, I do not since I am guiltily exploiting my male privilege, as of now, I place minimal emphasis on my physical appearance. However, that said, when I do begin to care and date (though slight irony in that my future actions will probably deter potential dates), shaving and, for another topic to be discussed in the next review, makeup, will not be alien materials. My review on “Ah Yeah” will dive into the topics of challenging social issues, and if time permits, cultural differences on “masculine” and “feminine” (such as in the case of personally using makeup as a heterosexual male).

Finally returning to the ladies of CLC and not an utterly random subject of shaving, “Pepe” has been requested by two readers and the wait has been excessively long. Thankfully, that will now change: “Pepe” will be reviewed, obviously. Reiterating earlier points, though this song is highly loathed due to biases, it still remains sufficient in a few categories, but overall, “Pepe” is still a somewhat weaker song.

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Song Score: 5/10 (4.6/10 raw score) – “Average”

– Vocals: 5/10 – Addressing the vocals of “Pepe,” for an overarching label, basicness holds. Diving into specific characteristics, in terms of stronger points, the pacing remains diverse. Different sections possess different singing rates, and thus, a lively flow exists for the vocals. Furthermore, despite being a newer group, CLC manages to disclose powerful singing: many sections showcase high, lengthy note holds. As for sections that are not orientated towards presence, much of CLC’s singing remains stable; in general, throughout “Pepe,” the vocals that exist are not frail or excessive, and as a result, provide a clean, smooth pathway for delivering adequate vocals.   

Nonetheless, even with stable singing and added tints of power, “Pepe” still possesses moments of substantial issues: powerful notes are overly exaggerated, and though the vocals are stable, the component of being melodic is absent. In terms of the stronger notes, strain is present, and though that may be beneficial if manipulated properly, in the case of this song, the existing strain pierces rather than pleases. As noted at the end of the choruses, the final, lingering note hold is not one that grants a delighting tune, but one that is overwhelming. Switching to the vocals’ lacking melody, though “Pepe” still blatantly possesses its tune, the degree of such is insufficient; the singing remains highly simple with the utilized pitches, and while a song is still plausible under the current vocals’ conditions, thriving beyond the standard is impossible. A prime moment of the unembellished melody is at the post-choruses: a melody clearly exists, however, it is highly plain and not enticing on a musical level.

Though the ladies’ singing are not stunning, neither are their vocals atrocious. The foundation of singing is in place; CLC is capable of delivering a song at a professional, industrial level. But, at most, the least is met. Thus, average will hold as the score. Impressive points are hindered by impairing points, and with both balancing out, average is suiting as the score. But, considering CLC is a newer group, room for growth exists, and hopefully, in the future, a different song will be reviewed and this score increases.

– Sections: 4/10 (4.29/10 raw score)

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

1. Introduction: 3/10 – The introduction consists of purely the instrumental. And a few seconds.

Due to being incredibly short, a full, comprehensive look will be difficult. For what is given, mechanically the instrumental remains incredibly dull: minimal, hasty and semi-heavier beats are played. Though the time limit is to blame, the mechanical side simply possesses no depth; solely beats are carried out. As a result, the mechanical aspect suffers as there is minimal exposure to any sound, let alone if the sound is even pleasing.  

Structurally, however, this type of introduction, though impairing to the mechanical layer, is positive. To an extent. With being incredibly short, “Pepe” is able to promptly begin, which is both aiding and damaging. Focusing on the positive aspects, with a short duration, a transition, or more accurately, the absence of a connecting pathway, occurs and thus the song flows seamlessly into the first verse. The drawback, however, is suddenness: “Pepe” begins excessively quickly, and thus, while the song progresses from one point to the other, there is minimal appeal attached. If more depth was added, whether in the form of seconds or a more complex instrumental, the intended role of transitioning would still exist, but furthermore, a musically alluring aspect would be included.

Below average will be the score. The utter lack of an appealing musical component heavily hinders this section, even with the most optimistic view of the structural component being beneficial.

2. Verse: 5/10 – Seungyeon and Sorn are responsible for the first verse.

Though the two verses slightly differ, an identical, overarching concept occurs: emphasis towards lower notes. Sonically, a deeper pitched melody is utilized and offers “Pepe” a soothing, lively flow. Furthermore, miniscule yet prominent note stretches occur, and thus, the rich, lower notes are accentuated to deliver an even more tuneful section, especially during the second verse. Also, though akin to the structural layer, in terms of the first verse, a unique rhythm takes place: the singing stutters in order to reflect the song’s piano beats. Due to such, an appealing, unique trait is created.

Swapping to the structural side, with the verses possessing a slower pacing, compensation for the introduction partially exists, but in addition, the slower rate allows expansion; “Pepe” ‘s verses beginning calmly grants the song a foundation for it to develop, as seen by the upcoming pre-choruses that build upon the prior section (the verses). Also, mentioned earlier, the chemistry of instrumental and vocals, in the context of the first verse, is admirable and augments both sonic and structural layers. Sadly, despite some diverse traits, the structural component remains, overall, stagnant; while the lower notes do fluctuate, the length per line, the pacing, and the entire format regardless of stutter or regular note stretches, are all identical. Solely the melody roams freely, but in terms of the verses’ outline, it remains relatively basic.

Overall, average will hold as the score. The sonic component, while incredibly infatuating, does not redeem the highly simplistic structure of the verses.

3. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – Yujin and Seunghee handle the first pre-chorus, and Sorn, in substitution to Yujin, works with Seunghee for the second.

In terms of the pre-choruses’ sound, as presumed for a pre-chorus, the sections do become more upbeat in contrast to others, and thus, multiple traits become amplified: the melody begins to flow more fluently, the pacing starts varying, and the vocals’ power are finally showcased. For example, with the melody, multiple notes of lower and higher are now disclosed as “Pepe” possesses an energetic state, and furthermore, pacing variety exists to further reflect that. In terms of the vocals being impactful, towards the end with Seunghee’s final line, a lengthier yet perfectly balanced note stretch occurs, of which also follows the trend of a more hyped, upbeat section. Addressing another potent aspect, though related to the structural side, the occurring background vocals vastly aids the mechanical layer. Proper contrast, unlike in the post-choruses (to be explained later), incredibly refines the pre-choruses’ sound: main vocals against background vocals sound additionally prominent and stable, and vice-versa, background vocals against main vocals offer variety, but also, lower notes and a calmer style are gleaned aspects.

Continuing the topic of background vocals, as mentioned, the structural side benefits as variety is heard; main vocals produce the higher pitches and prominence, and background vocals offer the lower pitches along with a more relaxed state. As for other positive traits, in an overarching view of the pre-choruses, the progression remains impressive: the verse to pre-chorus remains fluid since the pre-choruses gradually uplifts, and additionally, with that smooth, natural advancement, the section itself allows “Pepe” to arrive to its chorus flawlessly. And on that note, the final note stretch at the end further depicts the exceptional progression. With a properly scaled note stretch occurring, a blatant transition to the chorus is provided. To finally address the weaker side to the pre-choruses, though the progression is admirable, overall, the section remains highly stale: main vocals occur which are then backed up with background vocals, and after recycling that format, a final note stretch takes place. This is also more impairing once accounting for the mechanical layer; although the vocals are not negative in any means, neither are the vocals outstanding, and thus, in the situation of a stale structure, dullness becomes rife.

Average will be the score. If the mechanical component was slightly more enticing, the structural layer would easily thrive, and equally, the section as a whole.

4. Chorus: 4/10 – A mixture of promising and languishing points are apparent during the chorus, which are conducted by both Seungyeon and Seunghee.

Mechanically, the choruses, jocularly, sound pleasing to dreading as the sections run their length. First, towards the beginning, the vocals possess an endearing amount of power; following the norms of traditional choruses, “Pepe” ‘s choruses bring the singing to a higher caliber. Because of such, the delivered upbeatness and vocals become welcoming, and furthermore, besides sheer power, a noticeable variety of higher notes, specifically of mid to high, are disclosed. Now, as stated, once the choruses drag to the end, the power does not follow through: rather than power that gradually fades, the vocals continually add onto its intensity. Although this would seem to be a desirable route, by excessively raising the vocals’ power, the melody lessens; since power becomes the focus, the tune begins losing attention and, overall, simply cannot compete with exploding vocals (however, this is not always the case as seen by, for examples, Ailee and Wheesung). For a transparent example, at the very ending of the choruses, with the final note hold containing a remarkable amount of power, strain naturally occurs but, as a result, utterly dampens the melody as an exasperated voice is left, not one of luxurious melody.

Continuing the topic of the final note hold that occurs, while dreadful in a mechanical sense, through the lens of the sections’ structure, a blatant transition does become provided, and thus, the post-choruses that follow up flawlessly flow with the song as a whole. Furthermore, on a general level, the choruses exhibit a proper level of intensity for a chorus: energetic and dynamic.

Sadly, while the structure is respectable and equally the mechanical component to some degree, the power added is unscoped. Should the vocals have been in proper scale in terms of power, the score, and ears, would not be as pierced. Slightly below average is the rating.

5. Post-Chorus: 3/10 – Yeeun and Seunghee, and the group as a whole during specific moments, contribute to the post-choruses.

Perhaps the song’s most prominent downfall occurs here. The post-choruses in “Pepe” are, harshly stated, appalling. For the mechanical attribute, it utterly falters; the singing that takes place is moreover vexing than melodic. Though the song’s tone, a mockery, sarcastic one, is created through the vocals’ style, musically, this style highly obscures the melody: an annoyed, sharp and high pitched whine is in place versus legitimate soothing, alluring singing. In addition, another pressing problem is, contradictingly, variety. Although the structural side will address this in depth, with the post-choruses being highly tedious, variety via background vocals is added in order to redress such. However, how the background vocals are utilized is not beneficial towards the mechanical layer; with the background vocals taking the form of a single, childish and whined word, the main singing that occurs, of which is already irking enough, has its poorer sound further emphasized. Two forms of mediocre vocals contrasting one another does not alleviate the weaker delivery, but instead, clearly highlights the weaker qualities of both.

To now address the mentioned point of repetition, for the structure, while repetition is not necessarily negative, in the scenario of “Pepe” ‘s post-choruses, it certainly is. If the vocals were respectable during this section, repetition would strengthen such, but with the opposite taking place, somewhat horrendous vocals are now heard for a longer duration. Also, regardless of the vocals’ rating, the structure during the post-choruses are incredibly stale: linear main vocals occur, then a sole word follows up. Of course, however, with the vocals already lacking, this type of format and repetition drains the post-choruses further. At most, a positive feature of the post-choruses is the overall role of providing an equalizing, calming bridge between the chorus and verse.

Below average will be the score. The mechanical layer is not pleasing, and the structure simply reiterates the poorer mechanical side.

6. Rap: 7/10 – Yeeun runs solo for the rapping section.

Truthfully, the rapping section may be the strongest section in “Pepe.” Both its mechanical and structural pieces are solid. Focusing on the first point, Yeeun’s rap in terms of its sound is equal to many other high caliber raps, as noticed by the excellent speed, flow, power, and melody. Expanding those aspects, her speed remains perfectly swift; the rate is not excessive so that the rap loses traces of melody, but also, it is not lacking so that the rap label would be inaccurate. In terms of flow, no points of awkward pauses occur. Every word flows seamlessly. Power, though more accurately coined would be stability, is another delivered, desired aspect. Throughout the rap, the vocals remain palpable with presence, and as a result of the given power, a lingering aspect is attached. Lastly, the rap remains highly melodic. Malleability plays a key role in allowing the melody to thrive; portions of the rap vary with traits, be it speed, power, and more, and as a result of those variations, the melody naturally transforms to accommodate such. Quicker segments have a lighter melody, and for the slower, rhythmic moments, a tranquil melody is in place.

Swapping to the structure, on the subject of diverse segments in the rap–the main reason for why this category holds well, rather than the rap being a pure, unchanging section, incorporation of different chunks grant it diversity. A prime example is towards the later half: one-word stutters become used, even if short, and once juxtaposed to the prior segment, both the rap’s mechanics and structure are enhanced via extra appeal. Examples: pacings become more abundant, the flow is more than sequential, and both power and melody fluctuate due to the change in style.

Overall, above average. Yeeun’s rapping remains remarkable, and while “Pepe” is seemingly a lower tiered song, its rap section does bring in a strong point.

7. Conclusion: 3/10 – Every member contributes for the conclusion, or at least it will be assumed so.

The conclusion, though its own section, is awfully familiar to the post-choruses. “Awfully” is also not simply meant to emphasize similarity in format. Ignoring the strident statement, to focus on the conclusion’s sonic layer, the concept in the post-choruses translates over: a repetitive, higher pitched tune is given, but in an even more downgraded fashion. “Lalala,” an exceptionally mundane line, is tiresomely repeated with a highly basic melody. In summary, the vocals in the conclusion are homogenous to the post-choruses, but with an even duller line, the lackluster vocals are even more absent of appeal.

Expectedly, the structural side also languishes. Once more, the issues apparent in the post-choruses reappear: repetition in the context of faulty singing emphasizes the poorer quality of both mechanical and structural components; the “lalala” becomes extremely obnoxious with its sound, and of course, the line itself as well. Now in terms of it serving as a proper closure to the song, that is met, miraculously. With the final solo instrumental, “Pepe” is properly closed, and in fact, has its lingering aspect, even if in the form of the instrumental and not vocals.

Should the final instrumental have taken the entirety of the conclusion, this section would be rather effective. However, with the addition of, overall, a modified post-chorus, this section falters. Below average is the score. The mechanical aspect is inadequate, and furthermore, the structural role would have still been met even if the “lalala” was removed.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – Five members exist in CLC, and through assumptions based on the group size, a high score should be in place.

Seunghee’s lines consist of, absurdly and disturbingly, eight sections: the two pre-choruses, the three choruses, and three post-choruses. Four sections, from multiple reviews, have been the most efficient number; with four being the value, it is not lacking or dominating. Depending on the rest of her members, Seunghee’s lines may be overly abundant, and unfortunately, that anticipation might become reality.

For Yujin, a horrible disparity occurs: she possesses one section, the first pre-chorus. With a difference between one and eight (Seunghee), this will significantly and negatively impact the score. Even if the rest of the members provided an equalizing bridge between Yujin’s lines and Seunghee’s lines, the current difference is far too high to truly rectify.

Peering at Seungyeon’s lines, she is responsible for the two verses and the three choruses. Five is her total, and though it does instill a median between the prior members, the gap is still highly prevalent.

In focus of Sorn and in hope of her quantity providing a middle-ground, the two verses and the second pre-chorus are her sections, and therefore, three will be her total count. Though the number of lines currently consist of one, three, five, and eight, Sorn’s quantity, while aiding in terms of providing a bridge between Seunghee and Yujin, will not entirely fix the current, flawed issue.

Lastly, for Yeeun, her sections include, notably her rap, and the three post-choruses. Four is her count, and while there is now a spectrum (one, three, four, five, and eight), the minimum and maximum values are simply too varying.

On that note, for a score, considering 4 is roughly the average, equal number of lines that every member should have possessed, Yujin and Seunghee are mainly the two members who significantly deviate from such. If the other members further contributed to the prominent disparity, an even lower score would be possible, but with the opposite occurring, slightly below average will be the score.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – The instrumental of “Pepe” is average. While it does not lack in multiple categories, neither does it excel in any, and thus, average would be a proper label. Analyzing the mechanical aspect to the soundtrack, a main piano melody appears, and while decent in its tune and flow, it is not outstanding. Another aspect, the beats, follow suit: the beats in the song are moreover plain than intriguing. Overall, no major flaws or strengths exist in a musical sense for the soundtrack. Not surprisingly, for the structural piece, the same, homogenous, standard trend is in place: ordinary. Fundamental roles are covered, such as the instrumental providing transitions and accommodating the vocals accordingly to the sections, be it by becoming more fast paced to suit the rap, having a stronger, intenser stance for the chorus, and so forth. Nevertheless, nothing is utterly extraordinary; the instrumental supplies what is necessary to allow “Pepe” to function, but not necessarily to engross listeners.

Average, as throughout the song, will once more be a given score.

– Meaning: 5/10 – “Pepe,” though seemingly a name, is instead a sound, and one that emanates of mockery, or at the least, not one of affection. In credit to the following Korean-to-English lyrics, the story behind “Pepe,” whether it is a flirtatious plot or one of hatred, will, hopefully, become revealed. The following lyrics are not 100% accurate:

What can you give to me?
This is your limit
You’re stupider than I thought
You’ll always be like a child

Guys are all the same (what you want)
When you’re looking for it (you become impatient)
Are you a patient? Talk to a doctor
Stop pretending to be sick

Why are you provoking me, shaking me up?
Ooh ooh, what to do
You’re so crazy, your acting is amazing
Never look for me again

Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
This is your level

Move back, what’re you looking at?
You’re a tree that can’t grow
Please, just quit it
Look for your girl somewhere else

Guys are all the same (what you want)
When you’re looking for it (you become impatient)
Are you a patient? Talk to a doctor
Stop pretending to be sick

Why are you provoking me, shaking me up?
Ooh ooh, what to do
You’re so crazy, your acting is amazing
Never look for me again

Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
This is your level

Typical guys, howling like wolves
Poking around like they’re starved
I’m losing interest, losing heart
I’m not even getting mad now
After breaking up with you, I’m singing
Even my family and friends sing hurray
Bye now baby
Forgetting you is so easy

Why are you provoking me, shaking me up?
Ooh ooh, what to do
You’re so crazy, your acting is amazing
Never look for me again

Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
Hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny
This is your level

La la la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la

“Pepe” presents a story of a lady who, as predicted, is mocking her former love-interest, and more accurately, partner. Although the rap occurs later in the song, its lyrics provide an overview of the plot: the lady is frustrated with “typical guys howling like wolves,” and specifically addressing her former partner, she claims: “After breaking up with [him], I’m singing.” While it is unknown on why the couple parted, her insults are clear and sharp, of which is essentially the song. The main character vents her frustration, such as by stating that her former partner is “stupider than [she] thought” or that he will “always be like a child.” Other remarks are included, but addressing where the song’s title derives from, the main character’s mockery of “hubiruae pepe pepe, you’re so funny” is her most significant, direct comment. Furthermore, “this is your level,” the following statement after the latter, further unveils the main character’s hatred, and also, how pitiful her former partner was.

Scoring the lyrics, average will hold. While questions regarding the relationship exists, the song mainly focuses on the degradation of the boy, and thus, not much depth is given. In many ways, Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” relates; both “Pepe” and “You’re Pitiful” focus on a former partner and the pity of them after splitting up. Nevertheless, with that, both lyrics do remain average as complexity is missing.

– “Critical Corner”: Though I do wish to embark on the discussion of relationships, and more specifically, how males are socialized with, truthfully, a toxic idea of relationships (which is potentially why the main character in “Pepe” is frustrated), for the sake of time, I will simply redirect this “Critical Corner” to a review: Fiestar’s reality show, “Channel Fiestar.” Ignoring arguably the worst review and writing I have done for “Channel Fiestar,” I do digress to the topic of how males have been taught to date (in short, objectifying females and not being socialized to have a genuine intimate relationship). In the future, perhaps I will elaborate more deeply on this subject, but for now, the linked review will suffice.

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Choreography Score: 5/10 – Though I will explain at the Overall Score portion, this review has been written in the most incoherent manner possible. On topic, for the choreography of “Pepe,” as is the current trend for this song, average is suiting.

Syncing in “Pepe” is, for everything excluding the chorus, solid. Beats are reflected consistently for multiple sections, whether it is the verse, pre-chorus, post-chorus, or even rap. Furthermore, movements also reciprocate the song’s intensity; more energetic musical sections, such as the pre-chorus, are met with faster motions, and conversely, calmer sections follow a slower choreography. Returning to the earlier point of the chorus, though every other section remains in sync, the chorus remains bleak of any proper matchings; there is simply no correlation between dance and song. At most, the first few seconds have maneuvers related to the lighter snaps, but in terms of the rest, the following moves do not reside with any beats, and additionally, even the flow of the dance fails to reflect the song’s own flow.

Focusing on the key points of “Pepe,” the existing dance sets are relatively plain. Most of the choreography relies upon snapping movements, and while a flashier, powerful dance is seen due to such, variety lacks as predominantly one type of movement is spotlighted. Furthermore, many key points are repeated: the verses, pre-choruses, choruses, and so on, recycle the uniform dance set (or at least an incredibly similar one), and as a result, the lack of deviation impairs appeal. Although it may be considered a standard to relentlessly reuse the same key points, for a choreography to thoroughly thrive beyond average, as is the score for “Pepe” ‘s dance, variating key points are essential. The verses, for example, while technically different, could certainly divert more from one another. In addition, if repetition is to be kept, existing key points need to be distinctive in themselves; if every key point in “Pepe” was more than snaps, and therefore, already visually intriguing and unique per every section label, looping the same key point would be of no issue.

Overall, average holds as the score. The syncing renders averagely, though the choruses are to blame, and the key points are also average.

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Overall Score: 5/10 (5/10 raw score) – With both main scores holding a 5, the Overall Score will follow suit. CLC’s “Pepe” can be considered as average, and that, in a very optimistic and realistic setting, is what I do personally label the song (though as stated, I personally heavily dislike this song).

With the review now over, I will leave many messages regarding this review, and for readers, the lack of reviews. If correct, it has been ten days since I have last posted, and many excuses exist (yes, not reasons as I desire to hold myself accountable). First, however, addressing this review, I did not write judiciously at all. The quality of this review is significantly poorer than others, and considering this was a requested review by two readers, I do feel incredibly guilty. That said, explaining why that may be the case, I decided to write this review in an utterly random fashion; rather than logically and chronologically writing the review in a top-down form, I decided to write different pieces at different times. For example, I wrote the Vocals piece many days ago, and then the next day, wrote the Line Distribution, and then afterwards, skipped to the Instrumental, and so forth. After realizing the disorganization, it made writing even harder, especially when analyzing and writing the Sections part (for example, it is hard to truly gauge the choruses’ structural aspect when I have yet to analyze the prior section, and thus, cannot properly create context on whether it is a “suiting” section and such). Overall, with my poor decisions making the writing process and breakdown of the song significantly harder, it caused delay as I either took more breaks, needed more processing, or whatever else.

Mistakes, however, are not issues when learning occurs afterwards, and in this case, I have learned a valuable lesson. Lastly, I also did strip away about four or so hours away from writing; rather than using a dedicated time for writing, I ended up working on subtitling a video (feel free to watch it: T-ARA: Weekly Idol – “Sugar Free”). Due to that, a delay of about two days was added. And, of course, some finishing schoolwork exists, though that is a lesser factor than the latter two. Nevertheless, huge apologies to readers and requesters for this review’s delay.

On that note, thank you very much for reading this review, and for those who were anticipating it, for being incredibly patient. EXID’s “Ah Yeah,” the last requested review in inventory, will be finished as soon as possible. For the requester of that review, I apologize for practically a month’s delay, but considering the length of reviews, I would like to think of quality over quantity (though the current quality is still rather poor; I will continually work to improve my reviews). Of course, however, I will attempt to finish “Ah Yeah” in a couple of days (I typically need 6 to 8 hours worth of writing per review).

With this being the end, though many readers may now say “You’re stupider than I thought,” I hope that readers are not “losing interest” or “losing heart” due to a slower rate. EXID’s “Ah Yeah” will be finished shortly, and I will attempt to work diligently for it. Afterwards, as promised, many male groups are in mind, and thus, I hope many readers look forward to that. Thank you once more for reading. Keep checking back.