MAMAMOO  – “Decalcomanie” Review

Video – Dance Version)

MAMAMOO – Décalcomanie

on November 8, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Vocals: 8/10

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

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 8/10

3.     Chorus: 9/10

4.     Rap: 8/10

5.     Bridge: 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 9/10

Instrumental: 8/10

Lyrics: 5/10


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

DIA – “Mr. Potter” Review

DIA – Mr. Potter (Music Video)

DIA – Mr. Potter

on September 17, 2016

There are no changes that occur be
it in tune or pacing, and as a result of such the instrumental, contrary to the
magical sound it possesses, is an instrumental that becomes easily overlooked
as mere background. In other words, the instrumental merely fulfills the concept of an instrumental; it exists because
in a sense it has to exist. Couple
that idea with also how it horrendously pairs with the vocals to further accentuate
its mundane sound and the result is what is seen: a two for a rating.    

Personal Message:
With my rather erratic schedule of
reviewing songs, although this review was to be after Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette,” I have decided that despite “Russian
Roulette” ‘s review being almost finished, I will instead begin a whole new
review. Why the abrupt change? To use a cliché term, I found myself extremely “rusty”
with reviewing songs and given the new format I will be following (and of which
is discussed in Red Velvet’s review; in short, I plan to discuss only relevant
points I find), I needed a song that would be more easily dissected. With Red
Velvet’s “Russian Roulette,” although I do have a general sense of where I wish
to guide the review, I unfortunately cannot articulate it and thus, am taking a
break on it. On the other hand, the ladies of DIA and their latest comeback
prove to be a solution: “Mr. Potter” is a song that I can more easily
articulate and deconstruct. But, that said, this is a review DIA fans may not
necessarily welcome.

Explaining what I mean by that, in very
blunt terms: “Mr. Potter” scores poorly. Given fans’ loyal support to artists, a
lower rating for songs tend to be received negatively; after all, should fans
not stand by their artists? Of course, though, as discussed in past reviews
such as in Oh
My Girl’s “Windy Day” review
—of which also scored poorly—it is not about
the ratings that matter but instead the discussions that occur. Why do I score a song as is? Why do fans disagree or agree? Those
questions and the answers to them are what matters; what the scores are end up being irrelevant in the end. And
thankfully, with the linked review, I am glad that readers engaged on a more
critical, deeper level and that is what I hope—and expect—will occur in this

With all of that covered, let us now
focus on DIA’s “Mr. Potter.” From my personal knowledge of DIA as I have followed
a few of their comebacks and even attendance on Weekly Idol (and to that, Eunjin, their main dancer, awes me), I
expected “Mr. Potter” to perhaps be a significant improvement over, for
example, “On the Road” (their prior release). Most of their songs, from again
my personal take, have been average and thus, I predicted that “Mr. Potter”
would be the song that would push DIA
to a higher level. Unfortunately, their latest comeback is a magic show gone
wrong: “Mr. Potter” is by far DIA’s weaker if not weakest song.


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

Vocals: 2/10

Sections: 3/10
(2.71/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 2/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 3/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 3/10

6.     Rap: 3/10

7.     Conclusion: 4/10

Instrumental: 2/10

Lyrics: 5/10

Accio Mr. Potter, in front of my eyes
A sweet forest called you, I’ve fallen into it
I can’t get out because of this instinctual pull
I wanna wanna wanna
Wanna get your mind
Descendo, will you show me your honest heart?
I try to escape but I can’t, so ridiculous
I’m addicted to your sweet magic
Lalala don’t wanna confess

Don’t hide and show me, boy
Light on me, lumos
So my heart can touch yours, go

That’s right, I got a feeling today
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Where are you looking? Focus on me
Don’t look anywhere else, impervious
Only I am chosen to go to this sweet forest
To me, to me, to me
To me come closer, boy
I can’t get out because of this instinctual pull
I wanna wanna wanna
Wanna get your mind
I’m addicted to your sweet magic
Lalala don’t wanna confess

Don’t hide and show me, boy
Light on me, lumos
So my heart can touch yours, go

That’s right, I got a feeling today
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Give me give me give me
Give me your love
Give me give me give me
Give me your love
I’ve fallen for your charms, I can’t escape
Cast a spell on me so only I will know
You, for you I want to hold you in my heart
Come closer to me, so I can feel you
I can’t let you go now, I like you

Past the deep forest, I discovered a sweet ocean
Like hail, you flew into my heart like sweet magic
This is a rational degree, sucked into this black hole
This is your spell, I’ve fallen into it, ‘holic

That’s right, I got a feeling today
(Oh, Mr. Potter)
I can’t hide it anymore, no
Only look at me, I’m casting a spell on you
(I’m casting a spell on you)
That’s right, you felt my heart
I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go
Your charms cast a spell on me so only I will know

Give me give me give me
Give me your love
Give me give me give me
Give me your love
I’ve fallen for your charms, I can’t escape
Cast a spell on me so only I will know


Analysis: For
what my argument will be in this review, I assert that the main, overarching issue
with “Mr. Potter” is overall its lack of complexity. “Mr. Potter” is unrefined
in its sounds and lacks creative composition in terms of its structuring. It is
a song that appears to have been rushed in production and hardly given effort
in terms of adding unique, creative features outside of stylistic points.

example, when it comes to the instrumental, it showcases twinkling, lighter toned
sounds. Certainly this creates the stylistic
tone of the song and is indeed creative; I cannot recall another song that uses
fantasy, magical-like sounds, after all. However, as said, this is only stylistically
creative and provides minimal benefits to the actual song’s sonic appeal and
this separation may be what many fail to observe. Ignoring the atmosphere the
instrumental establishes, if we focus purely on its sound, we come to realize
it lacks in variety. The electronic twinkling provides little more than a
repetitive and at times even vexing noise. There are no changes that occur be
it in tune or pacing, and as a result of such the instrumental, contrary to the
magical sound it possesses, is an instrumental that becomes easily overlooked
as mere background. In other words, the instrumental merely fulfills the concept of an instrumental; it exists because
in a sense it has to exist. If it
were more dynamic in any aspect—pacing, flow, tune, and so forth—then it would
be distinguishable. As is, though, with minimal changes around, it is difficult
to heed attention to. Think of a ticking clock: sure it exists, but soon
enough, the sound becomes irrelevant and blocked out. Sadly, that analogy
applies to “Mr. Potter” ‘s instrumental. Coincidentally, the vocals also follow
a very similar trend and hence why it also earned a two.

terms of the sections, many have also scored poorly. The main reason behind
this is the result of meshing the vocals and instrumental: repetitiveness on
top of repetitiveness. Both categories—vocals and instrumental—are already
mundane in of themselves, but now with gauging them as a working unit via the
sections, the outcome is horrendous. Yes, both the vocals and instrumental are
fitting one another due to their lack of variety, but unlike other instances
where synergy is desired, in “Mr. Potter” this specific synergy leads to an
even greater amount of staleness. Vocals are unchanging and likewise the
instrumental is unchanging; this means that the entirety of the song—the entirety­—remains a stagnant clump.
Furthermore, even on a more individualized analysis of the sections, each also
fares poorly. Take the introduction for example. Believe it or not, but the
music video’s introduction is not for the sake of the music video; indeed,
after watching a few live performances (none are linked as none are official
uploads from music broadcasts), the introduction is truly an excessive length
and additionally fails to truly establish the song’s style. With other sections
such as the choruses, verses, and the like, many are structured in a simplistic,
linear form. Alone that is not problematic, but with how the vocals and
instrumental are already too plain, the sections’ structure do not mediate that
problem but rather adds onto it.

truly is disappointing that the only redeeming factor is the lyrics—and even so
it is merely average. Although the following is difficult to say and even
unwarranted, “Mr. Potter” is one of the weakest songs I personally have yet to
hear. It lacks in sounding sharp, diverse, and is ultimately one of the most generic,
stale songs I have heard. Now, is this all to mean that DIA is terrible and
bereft of skills and should not be supported? Absolutely not. “Mr. Potter” is
merely one song out of the many DIA has released so far, and as always, songs
are not necessarily representative of a group’s skills. Nevertheless, for how
this song individually stands, it is a lackluster one. In the future, I expect
a stronger comeback from the ladies. And of course, fans should very much
continue to support DIA. After all, it is through fans that groups continue to
release new songs. All in all, though, DIA’s “Mr. Potter” is a magic trick gone
wrong: nothing impresses the audience.


am uncertain on whether this review brings justice to both DIA and my idea of
further condensing reviews. More practice, as usual, will be required. Optimistically, though, I am glad that the review is moreover two paragraphs than of the usual–this being a sign that my new format is taking place. Regardless,
I do hope readers find this review engaging and that readers are equally
critical of my critique towards “Mr. Potter.” And as usual, thank you to all
for reading or skimming.

Velvet’s “Russian Roulette” is the next upcoming song review, and depending on
how dedicated I am it might even be released today. If not today, then expect
it to be released in a few more days. Afterwards, I will be reviewing 2PM’s “Promise”
especially as male artists have not received much spotlight as of the late. In
fact, VIXX’s “Fantasy” is another male group I have in mind to review.
Hopefully more concise reviews will allow them to all be reviewed by this
month. Until then, “I can’t let go of you, I don’t want to let you go.” Look
forward to Red Velvet’s comeback review.

Mad Clown x Kim Nayoung – “Once Again” Review

Clown x Kim Nayoung – Once Again (Music Video)

Mad Clown x Kim Nayoung – Once
Again (Descendants of the Sun OST)

on September 10, 2016

From the verses and choruses and
even in the bridge, the singing remains overly
simplistic. While this may create contrast with the rapping and therefore
enhance Mad Clown’s parts, it still remains problematic, and more so with how
it affects the song structurally.

Personal Message:
It has been quite some time since
the last review—a week, if being specific. Although that is not as drastic as,
say, two weeks, it is still a rather lengthier period given that reviews should
be coming out every four to five days. As such, I do apologize for slightly
lacking. But all that said, I have been incredibly busy. It is already
difficult enough to be consistently atop of school work, let alone reviews and
subtitling videos. I will do my best to balance both university and personal
activities, but as many would expect, university does have a priority. Thus, I
ask for readers’ (and viewers’) patience and understanding, and specifically
with this review and perhaps a few that follow, for being even more concise
than usual.

On topic, though I have said that
GFriend’s reality show, Look After My Dog,
was going to be next, I have decided instead to focus on this request. To the
requester, once again thank you for sending this in and moreover for being very
patient. If the show would have been reviewed first, this current review would then
be pushed back even farther and that is rather unfair to do—hence why this
review is occurring now. Nonetheless, I will review the show at one point if I
find myself busy to the extent that a bonus review is necessary. Focusing on
the song now, personally I was surprised to find that it was a drama OST (for Descendants of the Sun) and not an
actual single. (And on an irrelevant note, I plan to watch Cheese in the Trap at one point and to perhaps review it so as to
mark the first drama review of the blog and first drama I would entirely watch.
And yes, I am unfortunately that
viewer who flails and clenches his hands wildly during romantic scenes along
with chanting “Kiss!” all while probably simultaneously crying. I obviously am
very emotionally stable during dramas.)

Jokes aside, though my knowledge on
dramas is limited, from past experiences and coincidentally past requests, I
have found that drama OSTs tend to be quite solid and as a result have high
expectations for this song. But, once again as in every review, we have to ask:
does this song meet said expectations—both high and standard? And once again,
we will have our answer—but in the review, of course. And, once again, I need
to quit the awful puns if no reader has yet caught them.


Song Score: 6/10
(6.25/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

Vocals: 6/10

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

Chorus, Rap, Verse, Chorus, Rap, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion  

1.     Introduction:

2.     Chorus: 4/10

3.     Rap: 7/10

4.     Verse: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion: 7/10

Instrumental: 5/10

Lyrics: 8/10

Will I see you again?
I’m standing in front of destiny
that has passed me by again
Was it a dream that we couldn’t wake from?
You’re getting farther away and I couldn’t tell you
Not even once
I love you
Deep inside my heart
Don’t let me cry

You’re a dream that’ll disappear once I touch you
Like snow that melts
When I missed you, I became you
I didn’t hold onto you
because I thought you’d come back
I thought I’d see you again if I kept longing for you
The start and end of my feverish feelings
I’m standing at the start and end
Like an emergency light,
I’m the only one with the light on in the darkness
No matter how much I think about it, the answer is you
But I’m writing the wrong answer in my heart
I try pushing you out but you’re still there
And now you’re inside my dreams

(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)
I thought hard but I don’t know
how to live without you
(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)

Will I see you again?
I’m standing in front of destiny
that has passed me by again
Was it a dream that we couldn’t wake from?
You’re getting farther away and I couldn’t tell you
Not even once
I love you
Deep inside my heart
Don’t let me cry

If only I can go back for one day
If only I can live that day
If only I can turn back the words and actions that hurt you
If only I can make you less lonely and hug you tight
If only that day I crazily regret is given to me once more
I would never let go of your hand again
I only need you to beautifully bloom
I’ll be a thorn for you
Damn it, why didn’t I know back then?
If I held onto you, would things be different?
It’s you anyway for me
Even if I leave you, it’s you anyway

(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)
I thought hard but I don’t know
how to live without you
(I don’t wanna lose you,
be without you, anymore)

I’m standing in front of destiny
that has passed me by again
Was it a dream that we couldn’t wake from?
You’re getting farther away and I couldn’t tell you
My heart

I’m still crying
(Don’t let me cry)
I’m waiting right here
until my heart gets exhausted
Don’t say goodbye
Come back to me
Come to me whenever


Analysis: Although
an overall rating of a six is nothing to dismiss, I will admit this song was
rather disappointing in terms of what I personally expected. Given the ballad
style of the song with inclusions of rapping, it would, on a superficial level,
seem to be both very unique all while sonically holding well. But,
unfortunately as we will cover, this is not the case.

though, for the strengths of this song, the vocals and the lyrics are of the
stronger aspects. With the latter, it flourishes in the two main features I
look for: details and plot. As noted the rap sections especially but also the
other sections, the lyrics in these parts are very diverse and seldom repeat
identical ideas. Furthermore, even if the plot is of the usual heartbreak,
tear-inducing story (and perhaps to relate to the drama), due to the level of
depth involved and the peculiar composition style—both monologue and dialogue—the
plot is still very exceptional. Focusing on the vocals now, it is a rather
interesting case. Mad Clown’s vocals in his raps remain solid, but on the other
hand with Nayoung’s singing, it does render as stale. Now that said, I will
acknowledge the opposing viewpoint: Certainly the style of the song—and of
which cannot be critiqued directly as discussed in past reviews—elicits a singing
style that is moreover linear and passive, and thus, I should not be critiquing
Nayoung’s singing as stale. However, for my argument, even within a
stylistically linear song, there can—and should, in most cases—be some variety
in the vocals. Nayoung’s vocals, while sonically soothing and charming, lacks
in just that: variety. From the verses and choruses and even in the bridge, the
singing remains overly simplistic.
While this may create contrast with the rapping and therefore enhance Mad Clown’s
parts, it still remains problematic, and more so with how it affects the song

that note, the sections and instrumental are “Once Again” ‘s weaker components.
The overall issue with these would be how all of them are conducive to creating
an excessively linear flow. Again, linearity as a style is not bad; likewise, a
fast, upbeat song is not automatically good. What matters is the delivery of
said style, and in “Once Again,” the style is absolutely fine but the delivery
of it is a bit weaker. On topic, the instrumental is similar to Nayoung’s
singing: individually it sounds well, but on a larger scale the instrumental only
provides basic transitions and more importantly does not quite progress the
song. In blunt terms, the instrumental is just there; the instrumental provides
a background for the song, but nothing more with adding extra dynamics. That is
why the score is average. Now with the sections, though statistically it is at
a six, the choruses are perhaps the weakest point in the entire song. Reason
behind this is that the choruses are, unfortunately, the result of all of the
mentioned weaknesses: a dull instrumental, duller singing, and a duller
structure. The choruses merely exist and carry on the song, but little is
delivered in terms of actual content itself.

“Once Again” is not a song that is flawed by its style; as discussed, the style—as
is any—is fine and the rapping is very much augmented by its form. What is
lacking, however, is that many parts are left and being too simplistic; even within simplicity, unless if properly managed and
executed, there should be some minor variety and changes occurring. Otherwise,
the result is what “Once Again” showcased: a section (or more) that ends up
holding space without providing much else. After all, shouldn’t each aspect to
a song be somewhat memorable and distinct? All in all, “Once Again” is still a
decent song despite these rather significant drawbacks, and indeed the rapping
and ballad combination is, in an overarching view, enticing—even if a more
critical hearing reveals some weaknesses.


always, thank you to the requester for sending in this song and thank you to
others for reading, both in full or short. I truly appreciate it all, and it is
unfortunate that my robotic, tedious repeating of the earlier line does little
to showcase that. Finally to add, I will apologize if this review proved a bit
less in-depth than usual, but as mentioned due to being quite busy I have no
choice. On the positive side, however, I find it may be best to cover more
songs and to discuss the more critical, provocative points than to dive into
all of the details (as I slightly did in this review). More experimenting is to
occur, and with that, the next review will be on Red Velvet’s “Russian
Roulette.” It will be the first time I review the ladies, and it will also be
the first time I have personally and critically enjoyed a song by them.

then, “Come back to me / Come to me whenever” for a review on Red Velvet’s
recent comeback.

Stellar – “Crying” Review

Stellar – Crying (Music Video)

– Crying (Dance Practice)

Stellar – Crying

on August 24, 2016


It is ultimately this category that limits “Crying,” and though some may claim this is a harsh score for a supposed non-sonic aspect, one should also keep in mind it can—and does—impact the sonic aspect to the song: having to hear very similar sentences over and over.

Personal Message:
There is so much to discuss with
Stellar, both musical and social. However, for the sake of ease in this review,
the social discussion I had in mind—specifically that of slut-shaming and
double-standards—will be saved for Hyuna’s “How’s This?” as that song, if any
reader has been following it, greatly elicits those topics. And indeed, topics
of slut-shaming and double-standards should in fact be directly discussed since,
in addition to these topics being quite relevant in general and especially in
(Korean) pop culture, these topics are oftentimes misunderstood. To leak where
the discussion would go, while slut-shaming will be rather straightforward as I
assume most readers understand it is unacceptable, double-standards is a much
more complex topic. In fact, it is akin to how even within feminism there are
huge divisions of stances. But on topic, for this rather late review on
Stellar, we will instead focus on the ladies themselves and on their latest
release and their overall history so far. The mentioned social and ethical
topics will be focused on in Hyuna’s upcoming review.

With Stellar, I personally have
desired to review them ever since “Vibrato,” and later with “Sting.”
Fortunately, even after missing those two opportunities, I am finally reviewing
the ladies with “Crying,” their latest song and, as the review will cover, arguably
their best song as of yet—or at least that I can speculate. Perhaps the prior
statement is a bit biased as admittedly “Crying” is now one of my favorite
songs (and recall “favorite” is not “best”) and, from a superficial take, their
prior releases have been slightly weaker. Nonetheless, I personally have much
respect for Stellar given their many hardships: not having their own practice
room for a while; struggling financially—both individually with lacking incomes
but also with producing songs and videos; and for, at various points in their
career, being slut-shamed to the point of it negatively affecting their
popularity (and this being why I planned to discuss the topic in this review).
Overall, though, for what might be the most difficult struggle for them is how
they still lack in popularity despite how long they have been around and with
having multiple releases. Regardless, what is most admirable is that despite
all these setbacks the four members continue to pursue their work of being
idols and continue with much optimism—even if it is a rather harsher form of
optimism, such as working hard on each comeback because they assume it is the

All that said, let us take a look at
their recent song in a more critical lens. After all, even with much empathy
towards the ladies, it would obviously be unfair to inflate their scores out of
pity. Besides, what the ladies desire is not pity but instead appreciation
towards their skills and hard work. In terms of the review, this might be perhaps
a rather interesting one given how unique “Crying” is when it comes to its
ratings. Indeed, ratings here are unlike usual reviews; there are extreme
ratings in this song and of which leads to many discussion points. For example,
this review is one after months in which a category scores a nine. Emphasis: a nine, the goddess number on this blog as
it truly is extremely rare. Likewise, though, on the other hand there also
appears a very low rating. What exactly are the sections with these scores?
Before fans and readers begin crying due to this awful attempt at creating
suspense, let us finally begin the review.


Song Score: 6/10
(6.25/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

Vocals: 6/10

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

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge: 6/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10

Instrumental: 9/10

Lyrics: 3/10

Whoa oh yeah
Baby I don’t wanna cry
(Brave Sound)
(Let’s go, get it)

Why is the weather outside so nice
unlike my heart? Oh
Today, I resent you even more
But so quickly, I miss you again

I wanna go back to those days
When you looked at me and brightly smiled
I wanna love you
That’s it baby, but where are you? Oh

I was listening to a song then I cried so hard
Cried endlessly because it sounded like my story
I had a drink and then I cried so hard
Because I remembered the past, oh baby
I was eating then I cried so hard
Because I thought of you, I couldn’t swallow
Because I thought of you, I couldn’t sleep
I’m crying because

Do you know how I cry so easily?
How are you these days after you left me?
Without you, so much of me has changed
Without you, I cried every night

I wanna go back to those days
When you looked at me and brightly smiled
I wanna love you
That’s it baby, but where are you? Oh

I was listening to a song then I cried so hard
Cried endlessly because it sounded like my story
I had a drink and then I cried so hard
Because I remembered the past, oh baby
I was eating then I cried so hard
Because I thought of you, I couldn’t swallow
Because I thought of you, I couldn’t sleep
I’m crying because

I prayed again today
that I would see you in my dreams
When I wake up, I’ll cry again
Because I miss you

I was listening to a song then I cried so hard
Cried endlessly because it sounded like my story
I had a drink and then I cried so hard
Because I remembered the past, oh baby
I was eating then I cried so hard
Because I thought of you, I couldn’t swallow
Because I thought of you, I couldn’t sleep
I’m crying because


Analysis: Truthfully,
this song could have potentially scored quite high as its sections and
instrumental are solid, and that the vocals are decent. Unfortunately, the lyrics
are the main downside to the song, and this does extend to the point of
affecting the sonic aspect. With that, in this review the sections will not be
covered in depth as much as the lyrics and instrumental as these two are the
most distinct, key features to the song.

on the lyrics, many would probably disagree with the current rating. While indeed
it is a sad story and does have some descriptive qualities that make it so, as clarified
in past reviews, with lyrics it is not the meaning or story itself that is the
focus but instead the details and the uniqueness of the plot itself. In other
words, even if “Crying” excellently portrays the hurting one goes through after
a relationship breakup, this cannot be used to gauge the lyrics’ overall
quality. Doing so requires interpretation and of which is very subjective, and
furthermore there could be much bias involved if lyrics are to be rated on the
story itself. For example, there could be songs that are about doing drugs and,
despite all odds, these lyrics can
score very well if the plot itself is creative and if the given details are
likewise creative and thorough—even if the story itself of doing drugs is not
necessarily appealing.

topic with “Crying” and its lyrics, the first issue is that the story itself—again,
while definitely saddening—is not quite unique in the context of the many other
pop songs. Breakups without significant background are a commonly reused plot,
and thus that already limits the lyrics. Either expanding the plot so that
there are more details or deviating away from the breakup theme would greatly
enhance the lyrics. Most impairing, however, is that the details are the most
repetitive I have yet to encounter. Take the choruses for examples: the same
idea recycled within the same sentence structures. Of course, though, all of
the other sections are equally at fault with replaying identical details—details
of simply relentlessly crying. Again, this is not to downplay that the plot is
indeed sad and that the main character is in deep anguish. However, even so, with
a more critical, general look at the plot and looking at the details involved,
unfortunately the lyrics are incredibly redundant and lack creative aspects
that would push it to a higher score. It is ultimately this category that
limits “Crying,” and though some may claim this is a harsh score for a supposed
non-sonic aspect, one should also keep in mind it can—and does—impact the sonic
aspect to the song: having to hear very similar sentences over and over.

regarding the song itself and ignoring how, for example, the choruses can
lyrically sound dull due to excessive repeating of lines, the actual sound to
the song is spectacular. The instrumental in particular is phenomenal and this
is where I want to focus our attention to. After all, it earned a nine—arguably
the “highest” score possible since tens are near impossible to obtain. Why the
instrumental is so potent is not just due to its sound—though this is also
solid; the actual reason for it thriving so well is due moreover to its
structure and how said structure augments every aspect to the song.

one, the instrumental aids in seamlessly transitions the sections. For a
walkthrough example, at the introduction the instrumental is arguably at its
most amped up state. Nevertheless, the transition to the verse is subtle and
quick—all while sounding excellent. From here, this style of being subtle and
quick continues: from the verse to pre-chorus, hastened beats are used but all
while having the vocals still retain the attention; from the pre-chorus to
chorus, the same as the latter occurs; and finally, from the chorus back to
verse or even bridge, the usage of distorted vocals and a slight pause are used,
but all is still discreet. Overall, all of the transitions are fantastic and
much if not all of that is in credit to the instrumental. In terms of another
positive, the instrumental significantly helps Stellar’s vocals—and of which,
while not bad at all, are somewhat lacking in variety when it comes to “Crying”
and hence the current score. Focusing on the instrumental again, the synergy
between the vocals and instrumental are solid. During the verses for example
the pacing between both are linked, and on top of that the involved sounds are
complementing of one another such as with the piano keys creating a layer to
Stellar’s initial passive singing. Another solid point is that the instrumental
is of the very few that can individually cover a section on its own—particularly
that of the introduction. With this section, the follow-up that occurs after
the vocals essentially takes on the role that introduction vocals would
normally do: hooking in listeners all while establishing the song’s style and
tone. Indeed, the instrumental does both excellently and it does so all while
delivering controlled, melodic, and exciting beats and sounds.

that note, for where the instrumental stands with its sonic component, it never
becomes unsuitable to “Crying”—both stylistically and with relating to Stellar’s
singing. For example, despite being upbeat and hasty at times, it is all within
context of Stellar’s vocals as covered earlier: verses are met the instrumental’s
piano being emphasized to build intensity while choruses are met with much
faster, harder beats to complement the climactic point of the song.
Additionally, for perhaps an intriguing part, the instrumental is also quite
balanced in its range of pitches but with a carved out room—if that can be said—for
Stellar’s vocals to enter. Clarifying what I mean, lows and highs are covered
with the instrumental through the bass or piano sounds, but when it comes to
middle pitches while they do exist, they are less emphasized in comparison to
lows and highs. However, for the effect of this setup, it allow Stellar’s
vocals to—perhaps quite literally—be surrounded and at the center of attention
as their vocals lie moreover in the middle range (and again hence why I argue
they lack some vocal variety in “Crying.”)

so, with an instrumental that holds a fundamental role to the song both
structurally and sonically, and with sections that are solid due to that, “Crying”
would appear to be a very strong song—even if the vocals can be slightly dull.
But as covered, the lyrics are by far one of the weakest I have yet to hear in
a song and this does negatively affect the song’s own sound due to repeating
stale lines over and over. Nevertheless, despite what this review may claim, I
will biasedly say that “Crying” is a solid song if at least focusing moreover
on just pure sounds. The instrumental is amazing and one of the most influential
ones I have yet to hear in a song. If not for the instrumental’s complexity and
effects, it is difficult to say “Crying” would sound as exceptionally as it
currently does. But, in a more realistic view, the instrumental is balanced out
by the weaker lyrics and that does bring “Crying” to a slightly above average
song. Nevertheless, Stellar should be a group whose songs are cared more for
(in addition to empathizing with the ladies and continuing to support the
ladies themselves). I very much look forward to their next song as they are
showing constant improvement with each comeback.


Sharing random news, SPICA is having
a comeback on August 25, and I will definitely be reviewing their song. It has
been two years since their last release (“Ghost”—and of which is tied with BTOB’s
“It’s Okay” for the highest overall score as of yet on the blog), and as some
readers may know, I am a huge fan of them. And no, it not because I still have a
crush on Boa and am still waiting for her to one day propose to me. And no, I
am obviously not delusional at all. Jokes aside, SPICA’s comeback song is
called “Secret Time” and I very much am glad to be able to hear the five
wonderful ladies’ voices again.

Addressing the current review, I do
apologize to readers for not reviewing it when “Crying” was recently released,
and I also apologize for delaying this review for another song. Optimistically,
though, it is now here. Also to note, with university coming soon, I will now begin
delaying posts so that there is at minimum four to five days. This is to allow
me to have time to write reviews and to keep the blog as active as possible since
reviews can be “stored.” With the next review, look forward to another bonus
show review or Hyuna’s “How’s This?” And as always, thank you for reading. I
appreciate it all and even if “I wanna go back to those days” of summer break,
I will do my best to keep reviews coming out.

Yuri x Seohyun – “Secret” Review

Yuri x Seohyun – Secret (Music Video)

Yuri (Girls’ Generation) x Seohyun (Girls’
Generation) – S

on August 20, 2016

This is ultimately why “Secret” is
potentially held back: it lacks extra qualities that make it distinct from
being another generic EDM song. Certainly it does have interesting points as
discussed in the pre-choruses, but with those parts the execution does come

Personal Message:
I am currently reviewing Stellar’s “Crying,”
but indeed I am taking a temporary pause on it to write the current review as
it is a rather highly debated one in terms of song quality. With this song to
clarify, while many fans are considering it a sub-unit of Girls’ Generation—and
certainly in many ways it technically is one—this song is not officially that; “Secret”
by Yuri and Seohyun is simply a song for an upcoming commercial by Pantene, a company
focused on hair-related products. Nevertheless, fans and viewers are certainly correct
that “Secret” provides a glimpse at a potential, official sub-unit by the two
ladies. Would it ever happen? Given that a foundation now exists, it might be
possible but of course no one but SM Entertainment will know.

On topic for why I have been greatly
motivated to review this song—after all, as said, I am halting another review
for this one—it is due to the overwhelming debate of where this song stands. As
of now, there appears to be quite a range of stances: those who claim this song
is utterly fantastic, and those who claim this song is utterly horrendous. For
where this review will take readers, I hope to showcase that—akin to social
topics—songs can be very complex. What is the secret? Simple: this song is both strong and weak—and that because the
ladies are endorsing Pantene there is a subtle message that the “secret” for men
and women to have good hair is to buy and use their shampoo. I am obviously
joking with the latter statement, though it arguably is true if we consider the
purposes of idols endorsing products beyond the context of just money for

And this would lead to an
interesting ethical discussion on whether endorsement carries unintended
negative outcomes and if so what are idols’ responsibilities, but we will save
this for another time. Addressing this briefly, as I urge readers on this blog
to be, applying critical thinking is always necessary and in this case, just
because Yuri and Seohyun endorse Pantene does not mean they themselves necessarily endorse the company. One should always do
personal, thorough researching along with critically challenging potential
subtle messages said when it comes to idols’ endorsements. With this aside and
my personal orders of Pantene shampoos coming in soon since my hair will obviously
now be as majestic as Yuri’s and Seohyun’s hair if I use this endorsed product,
let us focus on the more serious matter. Where does “Secret” stand? Is it a
song where, given its style, its current polar views are unavoidable? Or is
there, perhaps, a middle-ground despite it all? For what I hope to bring into
the current discussions, I will argue the latter: that “Secret” is arguably in
the middle—average, to be specific.


Song Score: 5/10
(4.75/10 raw score) – “Average”

Vocals: 6/10

Sections: 4/10
(4.17/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 4/10

6.     Conclusion: 3/10

Instrumental: 5/10

Lyrics: 4/10

A secret to make your heart tremble
(Only I know)
A secret that has a slight feeling
My little, shh
Little secret

Even if we stay up all night
I won’t tell you
Only I know
I hide myself among the crowd
But you always find me in the end

Look up and down
Look back
But this scent continues
The closer you walk to me
Hidden in my heart, my little secret
A little secret that I want to keep to myself
Will you whisper to me, my little secret?
A little secret that will make you shine like me
(Don’t ever tell)


Be confident
Be prepared to look better
It’s not hard
Somewhere, somehow, I shine
As if I’m hiding something special

The eyes on me have grown
It’s always overflowing
So I confidently enjoyed it even more
But why do you, that’s all there is to see?
Hidden in my heart, my little secret
A little secret that I want to keep to myself
Will you whisper to me, my little secret?
A little secret that will make you shine like me
(Without you knowing)

Come come come away
In that short time
It’s a secret that will make you change (shh)
Come come come away (come on)
While everyone’s asleep (suddenly)
A secret that will make you dazzle more

Should I just tell you?
You’ll be surprised
Can you follow me?
I’m pulling you
It’s a party you’ve dreamed of
In it, it’s me and you

Hidden in my heart, my little secret
A little secret that I want to keep to myself
Will you whisper to me, my little secret?
A little secret that will make you shine like me
(Without you knowing)

Come come come away
In that short time
It’s a secret that will make you change (shh)
Come come come away (come on)
While everyone’s asleep (suddenly)
A secret that will make you dazzle more
Come come come away
In that short time
It’s a secret that will make you change (shh)
Come come come away (come on)
While everyone’s asleep (suddenly)
A secret that will make you dazzle more

(No one will know)
(Little secret, shh)


Analysis: Before
beginning as a note, since this review should have been appropriately queued
and not cutting ahead of Stellar’s review, I will not go in as much depth so
that Stellar’s review can be finished in time.

topic, one of the more fundamental flaws of current arguments about this song is
the overly emphasized critiques toward its style than its actual execution. For
example, many have been saying the EDM genre of “Secret” is completely
unfitting and thus the song itself is weak. Conversely, many have been praising
the EDM take as the positive point and claiming the song is strong due to that.
However, while to some extent stylistic-focused critiques can be viable at
times, in many cases and such as the mentioned ones, these are too superficial
to be used. It is not about the content
itself, but it is about the delivery
of the content—the execution, if that
is clearer. To use an example, how the choruses flow and sound in “Secret” is its
content; these simply exist as is and form the overall tone and style to the
song. Where delivery comes in is when one listens to the sounds and attempts to
understand the intricacies involved: how does the chorus fit in the entirety of
the song; is the chorus’ structure in conflict or in match with the rest of the
song; are the choruses properly transitioned to as to not be abrupt or overly
predictable; and so forth. If we are to critique content in of itself that
leads to the issue of pure subjectivity: what I like and dislike when it comes to how a song simply sounds. Moving the focus to delivery is
still subjective as what one deems a “good” execution is in fact subjective,
but it does dive deeper as it now involves asking why the effects of the
style and sound matter, not whether one simply likes or dislikes the style and
sounds involved.

with that covered, for actually reviewing the song, the song predominantly lacks
in its sections and lyrics. Regarding the lyrics, many lines and details are
repeated excessively and thus, a loss of variety in this case translates to a
loss of appeal. Furthermore, however, the plot—while mysteriously enticing—is highly
undeveloped. Combining both of these factors and the lyrics now score slightly
below average. Now with the sections, “Secret” does heavily lack in this
regard. Worse, though, is that the weaknesses here have an effect on the
vocals. After all, the vocals in the song are not, in of themselves, problematic
at all. Both Yuri’s and Seohyun’s singing are tuneful, diverse in pacing and
pitches and even style. The issues, then, is with how the sections construe the
vocals: requiring extremely repetitive, dull vocals such as at the choruses in
order to keep the song cohesive and organized. Further explaining this, during
the choruses the instrumental and section are structured in a specific way so
that the current vocals are suiting to it—even if, sonically, the vocals are
very redundant. But, unfortunately, this is necessary as any other type of
singing would cause heavy conflicting and that is far more undesirable than its
current state. With all of this, let us focus a bit more on the sections.

the introduction and verses suffice, the rest do not. With the pre-choruses,
even if there is a peculiar yet creative take of merging a vocal-orientated half
followed by a whispering, slower half, it is inefficient for its role and hence
the lower the score. While it is not impossible to combine those two styles
into a single pre-chorus, how the song delivered it is simply redundant: the
first half of the pre-choruses could transition the song to the choruses, but
instead it transitions it to a figurative second pre-chorus. One, consistent
form would have been more organized. Furthermore, along with sounding sonically
weaker, the whispering portion will be a trait that becomes overly used, as
heard in the choruses. And on that note, for the rest of the sections, the main
downfall to them all is excessive repetition. This is ultimately why “Secret”
is potentially held back: it lacks extra qualities that make it distinct from
being another generic EDM song. Certainly it does have interesting points as
discussed in the pre-choruses, but with those parts the execution does come

in all, “Secret” is a song that mainly suffers due to its tedious structuring.
In of itself, the sounds to it are appealing: the heavy bass instrumental with
spikes of various electronic noises combined with vocals that shift between
tuneful singing and passive whispers can indeed lead to a solid song. However,
with how “Secret” fails to execute said variety, it all almost no longer
matters. The vocals’ shifting styles are hard to appreciate when both are
predictably switched and from there excessively used in a single duration. Likewise,
the instrumental is hard to appreciate when the flow to the song itself is
already emulating a heavy bass line—specifically, that there is little
variations throughout. And so, where does lead “Secret”? Although I oftentimes
end up biasedly disagreeing with my own review’s ratings, in this case I do
agree to it: average. This song is average; it is neither strong nor weak. “Secret”
possesses strengths in the vocals, but its sections—its structuring—is where
the song lacks in pushing beyond a generic form and sound.


might be the fastest I have yet to review a song, but because of that I will
also hastily review another song I had in mind: EXO’S “Lotto.” Again, to
clarify, this review is not meant to provide a more objective take to the song
per se, but instead it is intended to merely provide another view to the
current discussion of Yuri’s and Seohyun’s “Secret.” As always, thank you for
reading or skimming the review, and as mentioned look forward to Stellar’s “Crying”
which should come out today or by tomorrow depending on if I decide to write a
review for EXO’s “Lotto.”

Blackpink – “Whistle” Review

Blackpink – Whistle (Music Video)

Blackpink – Whistle

on August 11, 2016

Likewise with the sections, the verses
and raps and choruses also all fall into a generic category: nothing of these
sections standout from usual hip-hop songs. Furthermore, and for why the
ratings are even lower, the sections succeed in delivering the stage of the
song but not the appeal: the sections indicate “Whistle” ‘s hip-hop style, but
the format and sound of these sections are lifeless, mundane, and ultimately
leave no impression on listeners as it all sounds too standard.

Personal Message:
If all goes according to plan,
another review is already being released—specifically this one, to clarify. It
is actually quite astonishing how a different approach to reviewing songs can
greatly hasten up the review rate. From the usual rate of a review per week to
now at least one every few days, I am still surprised that by discussing a song
and not overly breaking down a song that reviews can come out much more easily.
But that said, much more practice is necessary and, for the technical side of
reviews, more changes are to come. And so before focusing on Blackpink’s
“Whistle,” let me share with readers some of my current ideas on how I plan to
clean up the outline even more. (Skip a few paragraphs to where I actually discuss

The two changes in mind are rather
drastic: potentially removing the choreography category and the section
distribution. Regarding the first part, I do wish to clarify that I still find
the dances with K-Pop exceptionally important. K-Pop is not just about the song
itself but also the performance involved with it. In fact, as perhaps some
reviews have covered, there are some songs where the audio is not the focus at
all; instead, the choreography is the main piece and the audio is secondary and
thus, dances can be very important to consider. However that said, as of the
late it appears that I oftentimes do skip over the dances. This is both due to
personal decision and technical issues; there are times where I value going
through the song more than the dance itself, but more frequently I run into the
problem of there not being a dance
practice or live performance released yet. Therefore, should the latter occur,
I have to either delay a review for a while, or to simply go on ahead and
exclude the dance. Another factor to also consider, however, is that I no
longer actually discuss the dance. Yes I include a score and a dance practice
or live performance, but I never actually discuss it in the review itself
unless if it was one that genuinely impressed me to the point that I do have words to say. Otherwise,
admittedly, I am much more versed in discussing a song than its dance (though I
would love to one day gain skills on how to gauge a choreography’s strengths
and weaknesses).

Now, should I end up permanently
removing the choreography grading portion to reviews, doing so does not mean
the dances are no longer included. The links will not change; I will use a dance
practice video if possible, and if not then I will use the standard pairing of a
music video and a live performance. The only change, then, that removing the
choreography category would bring is improving the aesthetics of reviews: no
longer will there be empty scores in this category (indicated by *) nor the
oddity of never actually discussing the dance despite giving ratings. Although
I planned to test this in another review, I will give Blackpink’s “Whistle” the
first trial. (In fact one could scroll down quickly and see how the
choreography portion is now gone in this on.) If this does not prove troubling
then it is highly likely this will become the new outline.

As for the much more impacting
change, I have recently greatly pondered over keeping or removing the section
distribution. Ever since the blog began, this category has been around and has
provided a crucial role in songs’ total scores—both fair and unfair. Before
even continuing, though, I will quickly remind readers on why the section distribution
exists. In short (for more detail refer to Sistar’s “I Like That” review): in a group, having only one or
two members covering a vast majority of a song’s duration leads to the lack of
potentially more diverse vocals—both skill and voices. After all, for the
general example I tend to use, if there are two songs that sound exactly identical (some leeway on
“exactly” as there would be different voices) but Song A has nine members
equally singing and Song B has one out of nine members equally singing, it
appears that Song A is deserving of a higher rating. To be able to have so many
vocalists/rappers involved and properly delegated (if that word makes sense)
and to still produce a phenomenal song is more impressive than just a song that,
while a single singer/rapper might be individually excelling, is not obliged to
concern over which member should get which part based on ability, transition,
and so on.

But, even so, I sometimes—and more
so lately—wonder about the opposite viewpoint to this: Why does the
distribution matter if, for example, Group A has nine singers but only one is currently
capable of stunning vocals? Would it not be better to have the best singer
carry the bulk of the song? Because according to my review outline,
statistically speaking, I am indeed saying: “I would rather hear worse singing and overall song
production with an equal distribution than to hear good singing and overall song production with a poorer
distribution.” And, if we are critical with that, admittedly it sounds silly.
Currently, a song has a much higher chance of being rated above average (and
higher) as long as its members have a perfect distribution—song quality in the
realms of vocals, sections, instrumental, and lyrics can be neglected.
Conversely, a song can be refined in the mentioned categories and yet, should
the members have a large disparity, then that song—while sounding amazing
sonically and structurally—could become quite poor in its rating. Perhaps the
ultimate question is whether having an equal distribution can significantly impact a song’s quality and
if having an equal distribution requires much skill and intelligence over
actual song production. To personally answer, I do feel that an average
sounding song getting ranked highly because of an equal share is not fair to a
song that sounds fantastic and yet is ruined by a lower section distribution
score. It, boldly and even arrogantly said, appears to take much more skill and
effort to have solid vocals, structures, and so forth, than to establish an
equal distribution. Weeks could be taken just for an idol to record her/his
appropriate chorus, but to change up which member sings which part can happen
much more hastily and without much struggle.

While Blackpink’s review will not
have the section distribution removed, I plan to test it in the upcoming
reviews and to see if the scores become significantly skewed in some form
without section distribution ratings being applied. (I think all should be fine
considering solo artists already have the section distribution excluded, and
indeed their reviews are very fair as it is about the song itself, not who
sings what.) For perhaps why I am overall hesitant to remove it, doing so would
potentially nullify the ratings of all past reviews. There have been reviewed
songs where the total score is limited by the distribution even if the song
itself was fabulous. On the other end, there have been reviews where a total
score is almost wrongly inflated by a distribution even if the song itself was
rather poor. Certainly past reviews’ content and argument points still remain
viable and likewise the ratings except for the total score, but nonetheless
this is something to consider. But, as I personally believe, even if initially
uncomfortable it is much better for a positive change to occur than to
continually remain in a less desirable state just for the purpose of comfort or
normality. The next review after this will experiment with removing the section
distribution, and I do predict it being better for the blog in the long-run.  

Finally, though, let us focus on the
review. Blackpink has been garnering much attention lately. In fact, this debut
might be the most hyped I personally have experienced. But, it is understandable
on why given the teaser clips of the members singing and dancing. Regardless, for
where I hope this review stands, I hope to provide a more serious, neutral
perspective to Blackpink and not for Blackpink as the wonderful, skilled young ladies
they are (I recall listening to a singing clip of a certain member when she was
fourteen and yet she was outstanding),
but instead for them as artists. All in all, their debut might have been
greatly anticipated and is currently cherished, but even so I do wonder how
much of that is moreover on pure support (which should occur; even if a group’s
songs are not the best, they deserve support) than of a more critical approach.
To already leak the review, “Whistle” might score at average, but this is
largely due to the section distribution compensating (and coincidentally that
was what we discussed earlier). Without it, “Whistle” is—contrary to the many
views—a rather lackluster song.


Song Score: 5/10
5.00/10 raw score) – “Average”

Vocals: 4/10

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

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 3/10

3.     Rap: 4/10

4.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

5.     Chorus: 2/10

6.     Bridge: 6/10

7.     Conclusion: 4/10

Instrumental: 3/10

Section Distribution: 8/10

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

Rap, Verse (Total: 2)

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

Introduction, Verse, Rap, Conclusion (Total: 4)

Chorus, Chorus, Bridge

Equal Value: 3.25 sections per

Lyrics: 6/10

Hey boy
Make ‘em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh
Make ’em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh

You’re so beautiful
I can’t forget you
Your eyes still
make my heart flutter, boom, boom
24, 365
I only want to be with you
During the day and at night,
I want you like this, ooh, ooh

Every boy checks me out everyday
They all think they can get me
I don’t want a lot of things
I want your heart
Cut out your heart and show me
Confidently, sometimes chic, chic
So hot, so hot
Make me not know what to do
Softly call out to me
Like a whistle in my ear

Don’t pass me by
If you can’t forget
me either, whoa
My heart for you is fire
My heart is beating so fast
You can hear it closer and closer

Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle
Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle

Hold up
Don’t say anything
Just whistle to my heart
That sound makes
my heart flutter boom, boom
Thoughts are boring
Feelings are shh–
Every day all day
Only stay by my side, zoom, zoom

Uh I’m always stylin’
I’m chic but in front of you, darlin’
It’s getting hot like a desert island
The more I get to know you, the more my heart rings
Stop hesitating, come over to me
Boy, it’s checkmate now
I win this game
I choose you, I’ll hug you harder
Before someone
takes you away

Don’t pass me by
If you can’t forget
me either, whoa
My heart for you is fire
My heart is beating so fast
You can hear it closer and closer

Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle
Uh whistle, whistle, whistle
(Can you hear that)
Whistle, whistle, whistle

This beat got me feelin’ like
I hope we won’t just
pass by like the wind
No need for many words
Now just take me
to your side

Make ’em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh
Make ’em whistle like
a missile bomb, bomb
Every time I show up, blow up, uh


Analysis: Although
the rating says otherwise, “Whistle” being rendered as average is arguably
excessive. The main, detrimental factors to “Whistle” is its overall generic sound,
lack of cohesion, and lack of depth. With this review, we will go through each
of those points and discuss both positives and negatives. After all, every song
has its strengths and weaknesses no matter what the total score holds as.

the first point about its generic sound, although this song does firmly grasp a
hip-hop style and tone, the instrumental, vocals, and sections are somewhat horrendous
at expanding that. An example will be used to clarify that. Focusing on the
instrumental, whiles its slower, echoing and deeper beats deliver the presence
of the song—that it is hip-hop—it fails to do anything beyond that. The
instrumental in of itself is nothing exclusive in either sound or structure. It
is, although I dislike being repetitive, quite generic for an instrumental.
Likewise with the sections, the verses and raps and choruses also all fall into
a generic category: nothing of these sections standout from usual hip-hop
songs. Furthermore, and for why the ratings are even lower, the sections
succeed in delivering the stage of the song but not the appeal: the sections
indicate “Whistle” ‘s hip-hop style, but the format and sound of these sections
are lifeless, mundane, and ultimately leave no impression on listeners as it
all sounds too standard. And this leads to the vocals’ issues: seldom changing
in vocals styles—as noticed by how all the raps sound the same and likewise
verses, choruses, and so on—and seldom fluctuating in intensity so as to provide
some fluidity to the song and to prevent stagnant moments.

the second point—the idea that there is a lack of cohesion—I find this perhaps
the most significant of the flaws. Even if the instrumental and vocals are
weaker in “Whistle” and even if the overall song is too generic in sound and
structure, the lack of cohesion is ultimately what breaks the song. To understand
this argument, consider how each of the sections is vastly distinct from the
other. The verse, rap, pre-chorus, and chorus—and even the introduction and
conclusion to add—are easily distinguished. On the surface, this would appear
to be good—and absolutely in a vast majority of situations that is true. After
all, songs that tend to have overly similar sections tend to be very
repetitive, and that is seldom a benefit. But, with “Whisper,” the differences
between sections are excessive to the point that said differences become

reason for that is the song loses its cohesion; the song is no longer able to flow from section to section, but rather
it jumps from section to section.
This is why, for example, the pre-choruses are extremely enticing on their own
rather than being considered enticing in the song in whole. Indeed, the
pre-choruses are impressive and the structure and singing of them are
brilliant, but the disappointing aspect is that their appeal come not so much
from building up to them but instead, from contrasting them from the more
stagnant, dry sections. This is what I mean when I claim there is no cohesion:
the sections have to conflict with one another rather than work with one
another, and that none link to the other. There is no seamless flow from the
rap to pre-choruses or from the pre-choruses to the choruses. It is, after all,
rather difficult to see how a smooth, melodic pre-chorus leads to a chorus that
moreover chants and relentlessly repeats “whistle.”  

for the final point, the song lacks depth. In addition to how “Whistle” fails
to deviate away from the ubiquitous pop hip-hop genre mix and how the song
fails to bind itself together, the song is overly simple. Now certainly simplicity
in of itself is not a flaw, but the downfall of being overly simplistic is the lack of taking risks—the lack of depth.
The bridge, for example, fulfills the traditional idea of a bridge, but nothing
more. For the vocals, lacking depth is also problematic. The rap vocals could
have been more intense and dynamic, but instead the rapping remains as linear
and static in pacing, intensity, and so forth. Even the singing at the
pre-choruses, while decent currently, do not provide more complexity besides
tuneful singing that escalates the song.

if “Whistle” expanded on the current vocals so as to provide more appeal and if
the song modified its format in a way so that it provided a new, creative and
unique take to hip-hop and pop, and finally if it was able to connect its
sections so that all were aiding and supplementing each other, the song could
have been a promising debut. As it stands, though, unfortunately it—at its best—is
another average debut, but more critically one might even go as far as to claim
it is disappointing review. If the section distribution was removed, then a
less desirable total score would be in place and this is something to bear in

even if “Whistle” is a weaker debut song, I find it extreme to call this debut
a disaster or completely disappointing. Likewise, I also find it unreasonable to
claim “Whistle” is the best debut in K-Pop history. If anything, this debut—while
very much anticipated—is average and more so towards the lower range of average
(slightly below average or below average). However, in the end, as this is a
debut Blackpink does have room for growth and to eventually find their concept.
(And to note, it is also unfair to leave them the burden of being called “2NE1
clones”—their labelmate senior group of which is extremely popular—when
Blackpink are still attempting to find their concept in the first place.) This
very notion—the idea that the group will continually improve—is why one should
not dismiss the group even if “Whistle” is poorer than many other songs. But,
to sum up this review, “Whistle” leaves much to be desired but with Blackpink
being a new group, our desires for better and more will very likely be met in
the future.


always, thank you to all for reading whether in full or short. Any attention is
greatly appreciated. For ending notes, it should be reminded that my reviews
are not to objectively label songs. Doing so is impossible as music always
carries biases due to cultural differences and such, but nonetheless I hope I
provide a more critical view to the song than those who are arguing its quality
based on emotions or preferences. Again, how a song rates is never indicative of
a group’s skills and capabilities, and even then reviews are not to bash groups
at all. As said earlier, even if a newly debut group releases a poorer song,
being supportive is essential in this sensitive period as only through support
will people even receive songs that are improvements. And without doubts, I
have yet to find a group that has not
improved from their debut.

terms of the upcoming reviews, I plan to catch up on July songs but also there
are many recent songs I wish to also review. Also, given that female groups
have been receiving most of the attention, I plan to cover Taemin’s “Goodbye”
(which, for a note, very much surprised me; its execution of a specific style
is amazing to say the least) and Monsta X’s “Stuck.” Before that, however, a
Korean hip-hop artist might be reviewed ahead of time: Basick’s “Nice.” Until
then, remember that “Your eyes still make my heart flutter, boom, boom.” Look
forward to whichever review is next, and for reviews to continually become more
concise and frequent.

I.O.I – “Whatta Man” Review

I.O.I – Whatta Man (Music Video)

I.O.I – Whatta Man

on August 9, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Vocals: 7/10

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

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

1.     Introduction
(Chorus): 3/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Rap: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge: 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10

Instrumental: 6/10

Section Distribution: 9/10

Rap, Rap (Total: 2)

Rap, Verse (Total: 2)

Rap, Verse (Total: 2)

Verse, Verse (Total: 2)

Rap, Verse, Rap (Total: 3)

Verse, Verse, Bridge (Total: 3)

Verse, Verse, Verse (Total: 3)

Introduction (Chorus), Chorus, Chorus, Conclusion (Chorus)

Equal Value: 2.43 sections per

Lyrics: 6/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

GFriend – “Navillera” Review

GFriend – Navillera (Music Video)

– Navillera (Live Performance)

GFriend – Navillera

on August 9, 2016

And so, with all that understood, why does this all matter? Where am I leading this review? Now that readers have a general understanding of my connotation of a “hill” progression and GFriend’s mastery of it since “Rough,” it is this said mastery of it that allows “Navillera” to fly (pun somewhat intended). “Navillera” takes this progression form and, unlike the past songs of “Glass Bead” and “Me Gustas Tu,” sharply refines it so that each category is enhanced by the progression versus being impaired (or at least passively used). With this understood, let us now finally focus on “Navillera” in its whole and parts.

Personal Message:
If there has been a review that is
long overdue, GFriend’s “Navillera” might just be it. Especially given how this
song is now officially my personal favorite song of all-time and that it does
overtake Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful,” my prior favorite (and recall that favorite is not best; BTOB’s
“It’s Okay”
and SPICA’s
are still the top songs I have yet to hear even if they are not
favorites per se), it is a bit surprising that this review has not taken place
sooner. But nonetheless it is here. Likewise, a reader was also curious on my
take to the song, so for them I do hope this review provides an answer.

For more important topics—though not
to dismiss GFriend in of themselves since they are brilliant, hardworking and
loving ladies who very much are excellent role models for males and females—this
review will be another trial on compacting reviews akin to ones months ago. Given
that university is soon arriving and that this year I will be even busier than
the last (I am taking three English classes, so readers can imagine the amount
of essays and reading required), if I am to keep the blog fairly active and to
expand its range of comebacks covered, I should be able to review at least two
songs per writing session. As such, for how I plan to do so, I will attempt to
avoid systematically analyzing a song and to instead focus on aspects that
provide discussion. Consider the following for example: in the past few
reviews, many verses have been “adequate in sound and structure.” While I could
cover that and explain why that is the case for each song that coincidentally
has that, I noticed I have been repeating that said explanation ubiquitously.
The result? It is very likely that readers are tired of that, let alone myself.
Thus, I will instead attempt to make each review distinctive for the song at
hand; while I will cover strengths and weaknesses, I will attempt to do so in a
way that it highlights the song itself and not just an input-output form of
having to explain each section, the vocals, and so on.

For a simple example to illustrate
this, say that a song scores fives in every category (vocals, sections, etc.).
Indeed, I could still go through each category and explain why they are average,
but a more concise take would be to instead talk about why the song in its
entirety is average. Certainly there is less depth as sometimes readers may
wish to know the very core reasons behind my claims, but it cannot be helped
and I do believe that readers would desire to read three reviews of sufficient
depth than to read one review of a song that is excessively in depth. Feedback as always will be crucial and I do encourage

With all of this said, although I do
wish to personally discuss my stance towards GFriend, I will save that for,
once again, an upcoming show review involving the ladies. For now, let us focus
not on “GFriend”—the amazing ladies of Sowon, Eunha, SinB, Umji, Yerin, and
Yuju—but instead on GFriend—the group as skilled artists. “Navillera” was their
comeback a few weeks ago, and even if it is my favorite and is a song I
continue to relentlessly play, it is not without flaws as are any song. Let us
fly away like butterflies and see if “Navillera,” arguably the best song yet
from the group, will maintain its flight.


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

Vocals: 7/10

Sections: 7/10
(7.29/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Bridge: 7/10

7.     Conclusion (Chorus): 8/10

Instrumental: 7/10

Section Distribution: 6/10

Verse, Bridge (Total: 2)

Verse, Bridge (Total: 2)

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

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

Verse, Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus (Total: 5)

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

Equal Value: 3.67 sections per

Lyrics: 7/10

I could tell the moment I saw you
You’re something special
I could feel it in your eyes
I could feel my heart dropping

Fly like the butterflies, Na-Na-Na-Navillera
Let the wind blow
Fly way away
So I can reach you
with all my heart

Let’s start fresh, you and me
The love I envy, please don’t let me down
I’m going to show you how I’ve been feeling
I won’t wait any longer

Back at the starting point
Let’s speed things up a little
Let me get myself together
and I’ll come forward

Bloom like the flowers, Na-Na-Na-Navillera
I’m still just a shy girl
I’m nervous too
Our voices, so full of excitement
with all our hearts

Let’s start fresh, you and me
The love I envy, please don’t let me down
I’m going to show you how I’ve been feeling
I won’t wait any longer

I’ve been waiting for this moment
And I’m with you who has always kept by my side
I’ll make it come true, like I always do

Wake from the dreams, Na-Na-Na-Navillera
Someday, you and I
I hope we can
build a future together
You’re more than enough for me

Let’s start fresh, you and me
The love I envy, please don’t let me down
I’m going to show you how I’ve been feeling
I won’t wait any longer

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

– Syncing: 8/10

– Key Points: 7/10

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


Analysis: Numerically
glancing at the song, indeed “Navillera” is extremely balanced: all but one
category rate at above average. Even the lower rating category, though, is still
noteworthy. What features to the song grant it these impressive scores?
Although there are many to look at—and we would if we were following standard
review procedures—the largest strength to “Navillera” is its progression: “standard
pop” but at a very refined form.

what am I referring to when I mention the prior sentence? Since it is crucial
to understand this point to then understand my analysis toward the song, let us
begin here. Overall, for what may best clarify my meaning, I will confidently say
that GFriend has mastered a music style that is very “audience-friendly”; the
style of songs in all of GFriend’s title releases—“Glass Bead,” “Me Gustas Tu,”
and even “Rough,” follow a peculiar form that very few can necessarily hate—even
if one cannot say they “like” it. It is a form that, at its worst, remains
neutral, but at its best is one where there are many fans and very few who are
at neutral—let alone disliking. For what this progression form is specifically,
it is none other than the “hill”: songs that buildup and have a climactic point
only to then cycle through those “hills.” Furthermore, however, couple that progression
with an upbeat tempo and acoustic instrumentals versus that of, for example,
EDM, and indeed if all is executed well the song should end up being easily
accepted by most as it is fun, exciting, foreseeable without being entirely
predictable, and not extreme. In a rough sense (no pun intended), these aspects
are the main building-blocks to “Rough,” “Me Gustas Tu,” “Glass Bead,” and even
the current song of “Navillera.” This is why, as many fans have noticed, the
title songs to GFriend have all sounded identical: they are identical. The only difference, then, are the details involved:
the vocals, instrumental, and the subtle details of transitions, how sections
are structured, and much more.

continuing, readers might now ask, “If this progression form is supposedly so
great that it attracts nearly everyone, why is it not used in every pop song?”
Although I could be pessimistic and claim that many pop songs do in fact use
this progression and thus that the genre of pop is about recycling with added
twists, for a more serious answer: if it is excellently executed, the reward is
a song that few can dislike and where most do like it to some degree; if it is
poorly executed—and harshly said, examples being “Glass Bead” and “Me Gustas Tu”—the
song becomes incredibly average and
is “another, ordinary and negligible pop song.” GFriend’s attempts with this
progression were an utter disaster for their first two title songs; the listed
two are, contrary to many fans’ take, too generic. In fact, if it was not for “Rough,”
I would continue to overlook GFriend. But, that said, when GFriend did finally
delivery this progression in “Rough,” it was then that a beautiful, charming
and well-rounded song came—and indeed, “Rough” is a very iconic song (in South
Korea/K-Pop at least) and netted GFriend multiple wins on music shows.

so, with all that understood, why does this all matter? Where am I leading this
review? Now that readers have a general understanding of my connotation of a “hill”
progression and GFriend’s mastery of it since “Rough,” it is this said mastery
of it that allows “Navillera” to fly (pun somewhat intended). “Navillera” takes
this progression form and, unlike the past songs of “Glass Bead” and “Me Gustas
Tu,” sharply refines it so that each category is enhanced by the progression versus
being impaired (or at least passively used). With this understood, let us now
finally focus on “Navillera” in its whole and parts.

simple example of how the vocals are aided by the progression is by looking at
the members themselves. As is the case in a majority of groups, there are
certain common roles: sub/support vocalists; lead vocalists; and main vocalists.
Although I will not focus on labeling the members of GFriend and their roles
(as, excluding Yuju as the official main vocalist, the rest are up for discussion),
this idea is important to bear in mind. On topic with “Navillera” and how the
prior point applies, since the song follows a format of building up each section
to a climactic point such as the choruses, GFriend is no longer forced to “compensate”
for members but instead are allowed to have specific members specialize in
their roles. And indeed, the latter is generally always better than the former;
it is oftentimes much more efficient for members to sing what they are suitable
for than to overextend outside of their role. After all, as much as I love
Sowon, I would find it more fitting for Yuju to handle intensive, vocal belting
and high notes than for her to. And so, what is the result of the progression
in relation to the vocals? Simpler sections of the song that are orientated
towards purely setting up intensity—examples being the first parts of the
bridge and verses—are covered by members whose abilities perfectly mesh with it
(though there are some who appear all over, such as Eunha), and for sections
that tend to be more rigorous, the appropriate member sings. This, overall,
results in what we hear vocally in “Navillera”: a range of singing styles,
intensity, pacing, and alluring tunes—all in credit to having members
appropriately sing what is suited for them, and this being in credit to the
progression of the song.

the sections, as already covered the progression of the song allows each
section to not fluently connect to each other, but also for each one to
individually flourish structurally and sonically. One additional feature to
note, however, is that while “Navillera” ‘s progression is well executed, the
song does impressively cover a potential issue of repetition. After all, even
with a fun, climactic-based format, a song can easily lose its charms if that “hill”
progression becomes overly predictable. To handle that aspect, the song itself
varies each section through minor details. Arguably most momentous example is
the second verse: the instrumental this section has a brief period of being slightly
passive only to then return in full force. This subtle detail is not enough to disrupt
the flow of the song, but likewise it is significant enough to help prevent mundaneness
that could occur—such as with claiming that the choruses become dull, even if
they are in of themselves supposedly a climactic point.

the final details of lyrics and sections, the lyrics earn a higher rating due
to—akin to the vocals and sections—its diversity of details. Although
admittedly the plot remains minimally developed, it is a stunning aspect to see
that nearly all of the sections in the song use new lines rather than the
traditional method of merely recycling them. Regarding the section
distribution, two members are in the excess while two members are in the
deficient. While it is only one section per member that would need to be
switched for a perfect distribution, since it is two members and not one, a
slightly heavier penalty is given.

this review, GFriend’s “Navillera” is truly an incredible song. Biasedly, it
has become my favorite song of all-time—this being an impressive feat as my
prior favorite, Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful,” held that status for about one and
a half years. Neutrally, though, “Navillera” is definitely not without its
weaker points. While I am skeptical to say there are “flaws,” I do find that
the song could have pushed for an even stronger score. Nonetheless, it is an
above average song and is one that I will argue few can genuinely hate as its
style and progression is of the pop archetype—but of course, with added details
that ensure its specialty all while it has the safety of cherished pop song


readers who have been curious on my take to the song, I am glad to finally
finish the review. That said, I do feel as if I overly rushed the analysis and
specifically during the sections individually. But, in doing so, we would have
returned to the old format of reviews which not only would have taken longer, but
would have been a usual “input-output” review where a song goes in only to then
have numbers come out. Here I attempted to deliver a more particular insight to
“Navillera”: that of its excellent progression and execution of it. Feedback
will be desired, but I find that more experience would help future reviews.

terms of the next reviews, I have many in mind and plan to attempt to review
two or even three in this entire day. We will see how that goes. Look forward to
them to come, and “Let’s start fresh, you and me” with this new reviewing

Vromance – “She” Review

Vromance – She (Music Video)

Vromance – She

on August 2, 2016

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

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

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

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

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


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

Vocals: 8/10

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

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Bridge (Pre-Chorus): 7/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 8/10

Instrumental: 6/10

Section Distribution: 8/10

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

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

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

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

Bridge (Pre-Chorus), Conclusion (Chorus)

Equal Value: 4.75 sections per

Lyrics: 7/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Fei – “Fantasy” Review

Fei – Fantasy (Dance Practice—VLive)

Fei (Miss A) – Fantasy

on July 28, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Vocals: 6/10

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

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

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Chorus: 6/10

4.     Bridge: 5/10

5.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10

Instrumental: 6/10

Section Distribution: X/10


Equal Value: X sections per member.  

Lyrics: 5/10

Tell me whatever you want
Whatever it is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Syncing: 7/10

– Key Points: 8/10

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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