TWICE – “Likey” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

TWICE – Likey

Reviewed on March 21, 2018

tumblr_inline_p5yy5sPI1C1sjg5ha_500

Unlike the group of TWICE songs where both composition and vocal execution are both questionable, “Likey” holds as vocally decent and definitely strong with its composition.

Continue reading “TWICE – “Likey” Review”

MAMAMOO – “Starry Night” Review

(Music Video)

MAMAMOO – “Starry Night”

Reviewed on March 20, 2018

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

Continue reading “MAMAMOO – “Starry Night” Review”

Infinite – “Tell Me” Review

(Music Video)

Infinite – Tell Me

Reviewed on January 16, 2018

Specifically for what amazes me, it is not just—as many fans are currently praising—the vocals or even how the song itself is structured. What grabs my attention is how the composers purposefully crafted “Tell Me” so that its flow is that of short, choppy bits. Whether vocally or instrumentally, by slicing up the song in brief pauses, this gives the song an impactful effect: “Tell Me” is now able to adopt two contrasting positions. One position is that the song is able to give off a calmer, smooth flow but equally, the song is also able to possess an exciting, energetic and powerful style—all simultaneously as well.

Continue reading “Infinite – “Tell Me” Review”

Sunmi – “Gashina” Review

(Music Video)

Sunmi – Gashina/Leaving

Reviewed on December 31, 2017

With “Gashina,” although it is not a weak song per se, I hesitate to praise it as a
stronger song. Overall, while the song certainly excels with its performance
value (such as with its choreography and on-stage appeal) and does have a
powerful, alluring instrumental, I find that—especially if focusing purely on
the music—there are two significant concerns: disappointing climaxes and excessively segmenting the song.

Continue reading “Sunmi – “Gashina” Review”

Jonghyun – “Lonely” Review

(Music Video)

Jonghyun (SHINee) – Lonely (ft. Taeyeon)

Reviewed on December 19, 2017

image

For this review, while I will be giving numerical values as per usual, I will not
write the analytical section that elaborates and explains the assigned ratings.
This is, in my view, to respect one of Jonghyun’s musical works in of itself: I
wish to focus less on a critical breakdown of “Lonely” and instead, I desire
readers to simply listen to the song and admire his vocals (and Taeyeon’s) and
his role in also working on the song’s composition. There are, after all, times
where music works—ironically—not in a musical sense, but in an emotional sense. The latter is what I want everyone to focus on for this review.

Continue reading “Jonghyun – “Lonely” Review”

VIXX LR – “Whisper” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

VIXX LR – Whisper

Reviewed on October 28, 2017

So, unlike the many fans and listeners who praise VIXX LR’s latest song, I argue the opposite: that, if we move beyond stylistic preferences, we will find that “Whisper” is an incredibly incoherent song. That lack of organization is why I struggle to critically enjoy the song—even if, as many have said, the vocals and the like are rather appealing.

Continue reading “VIXX LR – “Whisper” Review”

GFriend – “Love Whisper” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

GFriend – Love Whisper

Reviewed on September 23, 2017

While I do agree with many that this song is worth praising, I still find that there are some questionable aspects. Specifically, while many are praising the choruses in “Love Whisper,” I will challenge that point by arguing that, as beneficial as the choruses are, there are some downsides to them that fans have not necessarily discussed.  

Continue reading “GFriend – “Love Whisper” Review”

G-Reyish – “Johnny Go Go” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

G-Reyish – Johnny Go Go

Reviewed on August 17, 2017

And so, for where this review will be going, I hope to provide a more respectful and thoughtful argument as to why “Johnny Go Go” is a weaker song. After all, using the idea of “copying concepts” to claim that “Johnny Go Go” is a bad song would be akin to me arguing that my reviews are terrible because the blog is not aesthetically pleasing.

Continue reading “G-Reyish – “Johnny Go Go” Review”

EXO – “Ko Ko Bop” Review

(Music
Video)
/ (Live
Performance)

EXO – Ko Ko Bop

Reviewed
on August 11, 2017

And
so, despite fans’ massive praise towards and the song and even despite how the
song overall is not “bad” per se—indeed, it scores at an average as readers
will soon see—I find that the most disappointing aspect to the song is the loss of potential. In other words, “Ko
Ko Bop” could have been a rather
solid song, but in my argument, the post-chorus in the song is detrimental
enough to entirely limit the song’s potential appeal.

Personal Message:
Before getting further, as always,
thank you to the requester for sending this in. Furthermore—and arguably more
importantly—I also thank both the requester and readers for once again being
incredibly patient for content. August is certainly still the month where I am
planning to review many songs at a time, but there have been some slight delays
for the past few days. To explain the reasoning behind these slight delays, I
have been spending the last few days playing video games with my younger cousin—an
activity I personally wish to cherish while I still have some extra free time
left during summer. The upcoming university semester will by far be the most
rigorous and busy semester I will have ever experienced and thus, I am in a
situation where I have to temporarily put aside a few hobbies. Given that
reviewing K-Pop songs is vital to my well-being akin to breathing, that leaves
video gaming and perhaps even subtitling videos as the hobbies I will have to
give up for a few months. (Though realistically, I will definitely still have
time for those activities. Having a proper balance is what is most important—a tip
that should help readers returning to school. I will still subtitle videos and
find moments to relax with gaming.)

Dramatic speech aside—after all, I
make it sound as if I am about to undergo intense K-Pop trainee training—let us
focus on the review at hand. EXO’s “Ko Ko Bop” is indeed the men’s latest song,
and from the rudimentary research I have done, it appears that the song is
rather well received by fans. Many fans have been praising the song and in
particularly loving the song’s unique style—a style that meshes elements of EDM
and R&B if I am correct. That said, I personally remain a bit hesitant to
equally praise the song. EXO fans might be upset at the upcoming harsher
criticisms I have for “Ko Ko Bop,” but I will leave this as a reminder: music
reviews are never to leave objective answers; that is impossible in the fine
arts field where everything is, unequivocally, subjective. Instead, the purpose
of music reviews is to begin or add onto current discussions about a song.
Regardless of how fans emotionally feel towards this review, what matters is
the review sparks a discussion and allows fans to be able to analyze the song in
a more critical fashion.

And so, despite fans’ massive praise
towards and the song and even despite how the song overall is not “bad” per
se—indeed, it scores at an average as readers will soon see—I find that the
most disappointing aspect to the song is the loss of potential. In other words, “Ko Ko Bop” could have been a rather solid song, but in my argument, the
post-chorus in the song is detrimental enough to entirely limit the song’s
potential appeal. Additionally, although I have yet to see fans commenting on
this, I will also be comparing “Ko Ko Bop” to “Dancing King”—another song by
EXO. Certainly the two songs are stylistically different, but if we focus on
the composition structurally, both songs are quite similar and I find that by
comparing “Dancing King” to “Ko Ko Bop,” readers might have a better
understanding on exactly why the post-choruses are quite problematic.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 5/10


Sections: 5/10
(4.86/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 2/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Conclusion (Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 4/10

[Introduction instrumental]

Shimmie shimmie, Ko Ko Bop
I think I like it
Don’t be nervous, don’t be shy
I’m entering into your dizzy heart
As if I’m familiar, I’ll softly spread inside

Ah woo, it’s a silent night
Ah woo, it’s a night for you
I can’t hold back, I’m falling
I’m drunk from your body
Forget the typical me that you’ve known
My hidden instincts shimmie up

It goes down down baby
Trust your body
It goes down down baby
To the rhythm and shout
Oh oh oh, we are, oh oh oh
We going Ko Ko Bop

[Post-Chorus instrumental]

Shimmie shimmie, Ko Ko Bop
I think I like it
Little by little, down down, don’t be shy
No matter what anyone says, don’t listen
Just be beautiful as you are right now
I wish time would stop
Baby are you down?

Ah woo, it’s the last night
Ah woo, it’s our night
Don’t be nervous and come
Trust all of you with me
The reins are loosening
Just put it down today
Don’t be cautious, shaking up

It goes down down baby
Trust your body
It goes down down baby
To the rhythm and shout
Oh oh oh, we are, oh oh oh
Break it down now

[Post-Chorus instrumental]

You shine more as the night deepens
Your eyes tell me everything
On this nice night, I want you
I know, it’s okay, let’s start now
It’s about to go go

It goes down down baby
Trust your body
It goes down down baby
To the rhythm and shout
Oh oh oh, we are, oh oh oh
Going Ko Ko Bop

Down down baby
Whisper in my ear
It goes down down baby
Set my heart on fire
Oh oh oh, crazy, oh oh oh
Going Ko Ko Bop

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Now
before entirely getting into the criticisms I have, I once again wish to
heavily emphasize that “Ko Ko Bop” is not a “bad” song—bad in the sense that
the song is below average (a five) if we are to follow my numerical ratings. Certainly,
even if the post-choruses are extremely faulty, the song still has many strong
points that can partially compensate. For example, the instrumental is
effective in both its sonic and structural appeal. In fact, the instrumental
serves as the foundation to the song as many aspects are based on the slower,
heavier bass and strong rhythm of the instrumental. At the pre-choruses, the
bass line’s increased activity combines naturally with the vocals in order to
build up the song and guide it along. Even at the verses, the vocals are
constantly complemented with the rich, deep bass. All in all, the instrumental
helps create a stable flow to the song that helps keep it organized and aurally
pleasing.

Unfortunately,
the song’s post-choruses ruin those positive traits: the flow becomes entirely
shattered. For one, the post-choruses introduce sounds that entirely conflict
the established R&B stylistic sounds. To go from a slower, calm beats and
bass line to an ear-piercing electronic ring is far too abrupt and unfitting
without any forms of transitions to ease that very change. Additionally, on a structural
level we also lose a sense of organization when we consider that the choruses
already served as a climactic point—and yet, the post-choruses equally serve that
role considering how upbeat and intense the sections are. And this is where
comparing “Ko Ko Bop” to “Dancing King” is helpful: in “Dancing King,” it too
follows a similar structure with having an instrumental break—though there are
slight differences as that instrumental break took the role of a chorus rather
than a post-chorus.

Nevertheless,
the instrumental break in “Dancing King” was used effectively as it was not to pause
and divide the song; rather, the instrumental break was used as an extension of
the pre-choruses—a section that essentially held a climactic peak for the song.
Thus, on a structural level listeners are able to hear how the instrumental
break was still a core, connected section and factoring in how the utilized
sounds suited what the prior sections have used, “Dancing King” had a very
successful and appealing usage of an instrumental break. On the other hand, “Ko
Ko Bop” fails to replicate the same situation: as mentioned, it already becomes
confusing by introducing sounds that do not suit the established, deeper and
rhythm-based sounds used in every prior section. Furthermore, on a structural
level, “Ko Ko Bop” ‘s instrumental break (the post-choruses) does not serve as
an extension of the choruses; instead, it renders as a forceful dragging of the
choruses and the result is the song having the choruses and post-choruses
battling over which section is the climactic point.

What
would have been desirable to hear in “Ko Ko Bop” is if the composers abandoned
the post-choruses and instead opted for longer chorus or for the song to reset
its cycle after the chorus. Interestingly, the song does include an example of
what the former idea would sound like: at the ending of the song, two choruses
are played back-to-back to create, effectively, a longer chorus. What happens
is perfect: rather than having a post-chorus play, we instead get a chorus that
fulfills the usual climactic role of a pop song and the section also concludes
itself and would not need to be forcefully dragged out by a post-chorus and the
like. And, of course, the longer chorus would stay loyal to the song’s core
sounds and style and thus, “Ko Ko Bop” would retain its original organization
and cohesion.

Overall,
“Ko Ko Bop” may not be a “negative” song and essentially only possess merely
one troublesome feature, but that one troublesome feature is incredibly
problematic. Even if the post-choruses in of themselves do not entirely lower “Ko
Ko Bop” ‘s rating, I personally find myself quite disappointed in the song’s
composition knowing the potential it had if the post-choruses was scrapped away
or revised. But, once again, the song in its entirety is still functional and
enjoyable even if one section heavily impairs it.

_______________________________________________________

This
review is surprisingly and disturbingly short, but as I have learned over the
few years of improving my writing, length hardly matters. In fact, the shorter
length the better; what matters most is that ideas and arguments are
conveyed clear and concisely and thus, even if this review is quite short I
feel that I have focused on the main criticism I had and did not waste readers’
time with random details. (And admittedly shorter reviews that get to the point
are enjoyable on all sides—readers and I.)

Thank
you once more to the requester for being patient and sending this in, and thank
you to readers for taking any time to skim or read this review. I do sincerely
appreciate it. I will be promptly reviewing the last request I have received as
of this sentence: G-Reyish’s “Johnny Go Go.” That song will perhaps reveal that
my claims of “harsher criticism” here are, in comparison, quite lenient. With “Johnny
Go Go,” I find that it is a rather weak song not only with its composition, but
potentially with its production—assuming, though, that it merely is not the
music video itself having audio problems. More will be discussed in that review
itself.

Until
then, “We going Ko Ko Bop”—which I am assuming is referencing dancing. But,
since my dancing is actually some dark magic that inflicts blindness upon those
who witness it and years of horror, let us avoid that and instead just go with
the usual farewell: look forward to the next requested review, of which I will
work hard to finish soon.

Day6 – “I Smile” Review

(Music Video)

Day6 – I Smile

Reviewed
on August 2, 2017

Initially,
I did find it a weaker song but after spending more time analyzing it—and thus,
perhaps the delay was worthwhile—I found its composition to be quite effective
and even creative. Specifically for what this review will cover, I will first
actually explain why I and perhaps others might find “I Smile” problematic.
Afterwards, however, I will then explain why “I Smile” can be argued as a
stronger song and that the seemingly weak aspects are actually quite effective
and beneficial.

Personal Message:
There is a lot to discuss—both in
terms of the slight delays but also in term of songs to review. Nevertheless, I
do want to directly apologize once again to readers and requesters for being
slightly behind schedule. I have been busy practicing driving (and of which I
can finally do even if at a rookie level) but also, my girl (my dog to clarify)
had a stomach ache yesterday and thus I have been watching over her. On the
positive side, she is feeling better and in terms of reviews, August is the
month where I really prepare for university again and therefore it means
developing appropriate habits once more: sleeping early and waking up early;
having a set goal of writing every day; and so forth. For what I am also quite
excited about, GFriend’s comeback is a rather solid song and definitely redeems
“Fingertip” as, in my argument, it was a weaker song. (That said, I will credit
their company for taking the risk of changing GFriend’s conceptual style for “Fingertip.”
Conceptual changes can definitely be helpful as it allows artists to branch out
musically and with their dancing.) I will definitely be reviewing it promptly
after catching up on requests.

On topic with the review, this
request was sent in quite a long time ago and I greatly apologize for not
getting to it until now. Again, with the mentioned personal events I do hope it
is understood on why there is a delay—though to be fair, I did spend a lot of
free time watching Idol Drama Operation
Team
versus writing (and indeed I will be reviewing that show and its
resulting drama). Regarding Day6’s “I Smile,” this song has definitely been a
fascinating one to review. Initially, I did find it a weaker song but after
spending more time analyzing it—and thus, perhaps the delay was worthwhile—I
found its composition to be quite effective and even creative. Specifically for
what this review will cover, I will first actually explain why I and perhaps
others might find “I Smile” problematic. Afterwards, however, I will then
explain why “I Smile” can be argued as a stronger song and that the seemingly
weak aspects are actually quite effective and beneficial.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 7/10


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

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion: 6/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 6/10

It has been a while
I didn’t think you would call first
“If you’re free, let’s meet up”
How can I say no to that?

It’s half excitement, half fear
Because what if you notice,
that I still miss you?

But today, I smile
Even though it hurts, I smile
In front of you
I pretend that I’m fine
I pretend that I’m okay
I have to
I smile, I smile
So once in a while
We can meet with a smile
I must smile, I smile

You’re the same
Your smile is still so pretty

Really,
if I could be honest
I would ask you to come back to me
right away

But today, I smile
Even though it hurts, I smile
In front of you
I pretend that I’m fine
I pretend that I’m okay
I have to
I smile, I smile
So once in a while
We can meet with a smile
I must smile, I smile

(Oh whoa, oh whoa)
After we say goodbye
My smile will disappear

But today, I smile
Even though it hurts, I smile
Until the end
I pretend that I’m fine
I pretend that I’m okay
I have to
I smile, I smile
So once in a while
We can meet with a smile
I must smile, I smile

[Conclusion instrumental]

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Onto
the review, admittedly the main focus will surprisingly not be on the song’s
entirety at all; our main focus will instead be on the song’s choruses. This
can definitely come off as odd especially for those curious on how the verses
and pre-choruses and the like are functioning, but I find that what truly
brings an interesting discussion are the choruses and hence why I would like to
primarily focus on them. Besides, in terms of what can be noted regarding the
other sections, it is that every other section is arguably structured in a way
so that the choruses are indeed the song’s main highlight and presence. We can
see this in how the pre-choruses and verses are rather minimal in length, and
that most of their effects are orientated around building up the song to reach
the choruses—hence the shorter lengths and why the instrumental is
exceptionally passive until the choruses hit.  

Now
regarding an actual discussion on the choruses, I did mention that there are
some potential problems in this song and indeed it mostly comes down to the
choruses. Before discussing, though, why I think the choruses are actually
quite effective and are actually not problematic, it would first be helpful to
approach the choruses in a more negative manner. Specifically for what may
deter listeners, we have to acknowledge that the choruses are seemingly
disorganized and seem to lack a direction. For example, what is most peculiar
is how the vocals are not directly connected to the instrumental. While the
vocals are delivering a seamless line, the instrumental instead opts to deliver
in a rhythmic, wave-like manner. This can be most prominently heard by how the
bass and drums come in a pattern where the songs are strong but diminishing
over time and such a cycle repeats. On the other hand, the vocals do not follow
that manner at all and instead follow a more standard style of merely flowing
out. Especially as Day6 is a pop rock band, it would be expected that the
instrumental during the choruses would merely increase in intensity and supplement
the vocals rather than, as is, contrasting the vocals. (In fact, a simple
listening at “I’m Serious” showcases the traditional pop rock format—barring
the unique vocal editing that is done. But, that is a discussion for another
time.) Furthermore, this problem is further emphasized when the latter half of
the choruses arrives: the vocals and instrumental are even more divisive. This
occurs due to how the vocals follow a linear, belting style and yet the instrumental
continues to instead focus on being based on a rigid rhythm.

And
so, we now come to the supposed problem of “I Smile”: the choruses seem to be
performing two tasks and once and do not have a clear focus at all. After all,
in a more typical pop rock song, the instrumental and vocals would be
complementing each other and working as one unit rather than, in “I Smile” ‘s
case, as two units. The vocals aim to deliver a smooth, clean style while the
instrumental delivers a more rigid, rhythm-based style. All that said, I do
disagree that this is problematic: I find that if we focus merely on stylistic
differences then this argument would hold, but once we start understanding the context of what occurs, then will we
come to a different answer. And of course this holds true for all songs: just
because in a section not all the components are working as one unit does not
mean it is automatically bad; it all depends on the context. (Though to briefly
spoil an upcoming review, there are still instances where indeed the “lack of a
direction” can be very detrimental and that is what I argue is the case for EXO’s
latest comeback song.) But on topic, let us now view the choruses in a
different manner.

I
argue the choruses are quite effective despite its odd, contrasting nature
because we have to notice what the instrumental is actually offering to the
song. The instrumental does not have its own objective but rather we could
interpret it as the composers using the instrumental to further build upon the
song and vocals. While the vocals are taking place, the instrumental’s
stronger, rhythm form could be viewed as a way of building up the song akin to, for example, a pre-chorus does—though
obviously this is occurring within the choruses themselves. The slower nature
of the instrumental, then, is almost as if it is working as a staircase for the
song and vocals to climb even further up in terms of intensity and hype. This
would also then explain why the choruses are noticeably split into two forms:
the first half and second half. The second half also now ends up feeling more
logical as, while the instrumental still does sharply contrast the vocals by
still working in waves, the instrumental during the second half is distinctly
calmer and reduces the song’s excitement. It is like, if we are to continue
using the staircase analogy, a staircase that goes down rather than up. Overall, with this view of the instrumental,
rather than merely seeing it as unfitting or creating an unnecessary contrast to
the vocals and ruining the song’s cohesion, we can instead view the
instrumental as a staircase for both the vocals and song in general to ascend
and descend.

Ultimately,
though, this is where readers should be reminded that song reviews are never to
be objective but merely are to provide a discussion. Day6’s “I Smile” has the
perfect situation of where its choruses can be argued as both a strength and
weakness, and indeed: there are no right answers at all. In my case, I argue
the choruses are cleverly composed but one can also see the potential downsides
the choruses bring. Nonetheless, “I Smile” is a decent song if viewed from its
entirety. The verses and pre-choruses are concise in their structural function
of getting the song to its choruses—its core section—and yet are still
sonically appealing. Likewise, with the vocals being impressive and the lyrics
also delivering a relatively detailed story despite the ironic fact that the
lyrics are shorter, “I Smile” ends up holding well. Additionally, with being
the pop-rock genre, it can be difficult to distinguish one’s music but I find
that “I Smile” manages to very much render as its own, unique take to the
genre.

_______________________________________________________

This
review ended up being far shorter than I intended, but given that I focused on
purely one section, it is to be expected. To the requester, once again I
apologize for the delays and for perhaps not completely dissecting the song to
its every detail. But, since the choruses are what matters most to “I Smile”
and are where the composition decisions can be argued from various views, I
hope the review still brings some new insight to the song.

EXO’s
“Ko Ko Bop” is the next requested review. Afterwards we will have G-reyish’s “Johnny
GoGo” for review. Unfortunately, while recent reviews might lean towards more
praises than criticisms, I cannot say the same for the mentioned two songs. In
fact, these two songs might be the most critical reviews yet but that is the
beauty of reviews: it generates discussions and I hope to encourage
disagreements and to remind readers that there is nothing wrong with disagreeing
with others. What matters is doing such in a respectful, thoughtful manner.
Look forward to the next reviews, and until then, “I smile, I smile.” This
makes no sense whatsoever but neither would any other lines from the songs. Let
us just end the review here and instead focus on EXO’s “Ko Ko Bop.”