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.

EXO – “Call Me Baby” Review

(Music Video)

EXO – Call Me Baby

Reviewed
on April 15, 2017

Nevertheless,
despite how creative and effective the instrumental is to the song and even
despite the song’s massive popularity during its promoted era, I argue the song
in its entirety is not as strong as people perceive it to be. In particularly, while
the song efficiently and effectively establishes a rhythmic, smooth and
coherent style towards the beginning, near the end of the song completely contradicts
itself but not in an augmenting
manner.

Personal Message:
For a fun fact: as of this sentence,
I have spent six hours in the library at my university catching up on work, and
miraculously, I am now relatively caught up with everything I was behind on.
The best part? No caffeine involved. For readers who are students—whether at the
university or high school level (or perhaps even younger; again, I welcome all
readers)—a tip I have is that working in a “productive environment” truly makes
a huge difference. Personally, working in the library makes it so that I am not
suddenly procrastinating via watching a marathon of Fiestar and TWICE videos—of
which is why I sometimes am drastically behind work. But that aside, before
getting into today’s review and updates, I do hope that readers enjoyed the
horrendous April Fool’s joke I wrote. Admittedly compared to previous years
where I was able to convince readers an artist made a comeback when they did
not, this year’s prank is much more disappointing. Nonetheless, given that the
prank was actually me addressing in a subtle manner my current thoughts on the
state of the blog, it is at least a productive prank—and indeed, saying
“productive prank” is relatively rare.

On topic, huge apologies to the
requester for the delay—a delay that is as long as a month. This is completely
shameful on my end and I sincerely apologize for the review taking this long. With
my university semester soon ending, the workload has become quite large. Furthermore,
coupling that with time I spent preparing informal lessons (as my “cooperating
teacher”—the teacher I am working with—is such a wonderful person and allows me
to have the chances to practice teaching) and we find that my time is quite
limited. When my summer break comes around, however, I intend to make a very
strong return with reviewing very frequently given that I have no summer
classes and desire to begin “stockpiling” reviews as my next semester will by
far be the most difficult as of yet. (Though, I hope, the most interesting.) In
terms of where readers can find me during times where I am incredibly busy,
there is one place where I most likely still exist: subtitling videos for
Fiestar. As noticed, while reviews have been scarce, I have been able to upload
lengthier videos of Fiestar. Now this does sound like a poor excuse or even a
subliminal way to advertise videos of Fiestar (which admittedly is not a
complete lie; Fiestar deserves more popularity), but the point is this: if I am
not writing reviews, readers can find me subtitling and uploading videos; if I
am not subtitling and uploading videos, readers can find me writing reviews.
And if neither of those are
occurring, I am most likely crying and drowning in homework and then attempting
to stay mentally healthy via watching an unhealthy amount of, as of the late,
TWICE videos.  

Pitifully (and humorously) shared,
the only reason I am not completely mentally broken down is because I have
lately been watching many videos of TWICE and have developed a delusional crush
for the ladies’ leader, Jihyo. She is personally one of my “ideal types” (along
with SPICA’s Boa) as, perhaps as readers have been able to gauge over time, I
find myself highly attracted to older (Jihyo is five months older than me) “womanly
women”—or to not be hypocritical as I constantly challenge readers to not use
gender-based labels (such as “manly men”), I am connoting “strong women.” To
explain what I mean (and once again, in a delusional manner though I obviously
am still waiting for Jihyo to propose to marry me), Jihyo provides a sense of
security and comfort. After all, her leadership as seen for TWICE is proving of
such. She is overall incredibly caring, funny, hardworking, and unlike the
general—and pathetic—consensus that she is apparently not physically attractive
particularly because of her weight, I personally find her very beautiful both
physically and non-physically. And, despite her not having, say, SPICA’s Boa’s
husky, deeper voice, I still find Jihyo’s voice very charming. Quite obviously
I am very delusional but a boy can dream, can he not? Thus, in my delusional
world, indeed one day Jihyo will get on her knees and propose to me and we will
live happily-ever-after. I suspect readers are now questioning if I truly am
still mentally healthy because of university.

Now for a serious point if readers
feel that I have cheated time and intellectual points out of them and this
review, for an interesting topic that even I am still attempting to reconcile
that I sure readers might also be curious on, the topic of race when it comes
to dating is a peculiar one. Sure, while readers might desire to praise me for desiring
to one day marry an older, “strong woman” and not feel emasculated at all
because of such, there is still a controversial component to my ideal type: I
admit I strongly prefer to not date and
marry an Asian woman. I would prefer, as the phrase is, to “date outside of my
race.”

Now obviously race would never be a
deciding factor—and neither would, say, age—but race does go along with my ideal
type preferences akin to age. The main reasons behind this “race preference”
are that, for one, I personally cherish raising a family that has multiple
cultural views within the family and I have a desire to learn cultures beyond
what I was raised with. Furthermore, I desire to share my own cultural values
with someone who equally desires to learn more about my culture. Nonetheless,
the tension as readers can tell is this: am I being racist or not? Personally I
do acknowledge both perspectives, and again while these preferences in the end
would never be deciding factors, these are still biases in mind that are worthy
of critically examining. But, in the end, these preferences can only go so far:
for example, if Jihyo proposed to marry me—and even if she were a few months
younger than I—indeed readers can expect me to be a married boy. All in all, I
am sure a few readers have pondered this topic before (and I know many of my
older cousins have as their partners are all non-Asian) or might even feel a
desire themselves to “date outside one’s race(s)” (this term can be problematic
for those who are multi-racial and I do apologize for such). There are no easy
answers at all, but consider this a social topic to ponder in addition to the
following musical discussion.

All that aside and onto the review
itself, before receiving this request, a year ago (or two), I did plan to review
“Call Me Baby.” It definitely was a very popular comeback during its time—after
all, this is EXO and their popularity is enormous in general. In terms of the
song itself, however, I did want to review it as it is a slightly peculiar one:
as even the requester of this review noted, the song incorporates a lot of
interesting components especially in terms of how its instrumental is
functioning for the song in whole. Thus, this review will indeed focus a lot on
particularly the rhythm at play and what functions it serves and we will
speculate what the composers had in mind when creating the song. Nevertheless,
despite how creative and effective the instrumental is to the song and even
despite the song’s massive popularity during its promoted era, I argue the song
in its entirety is not as strong as people perceive it to be. In particularly, while
the song efficiently and effectively establishes a rhythmic, smooth and
coherent style towards the beginning, near the end of the song completely contradicts
itself but not in an augmenting
manner.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(5.25/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(4.83/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Chorus: 4/10

4.     Bridge: 3/10

5.     Rap: 5/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 4/10

This street is completely crazy
Strangers in between people
Every moment that we’re together,
like boom boom boom boom boom
What up?

Hey girl, that one moment felt like eternity
(The fate-like moment)
When you pierced into me in just one moment
(Like lightning, in this world)
You called my name and came to me
It’s amazing, like a flash of light,
you fill me up the moment I see you, oh my
Sit here comfortably and listen to my story now
Oh I don’t care
Even if I have to go far,
I’ll be the one man to be by your side
You seeped into my dry lips
and woke me up
The time’s wasting, girl
So don’t wait, don’t wait too long

There are many who shine,
but look at what’s real among them
Call me baby, call me baby,
call me baby, call me baby
My heart grows bigger for you
and it closes its door for everyone else but you
Call me baby, call me baby,
call me baby, call me baby
Even if it’s many times, call me, girl
You make me exist as myself
You’re the only one in my world
You’re the one, you’re the one
There are many who shine
but look at what’s real among them
Call me baby, call me baby,
call me baby, call me baby
Even if it’s many times, Call me girl

Baby girl
Even among all the greed
and all the words
You showed that you believe in me
Even if everyone changes and leaves me,
you are my lady
All I need is for you to hold my hand

There are many who shine,
but look at what’s real among them
Call me baby, call me baby,
call me baby, call me baby
My heart grows bigger for you
and it closes its door for everyone else but you
Call me baby, call me baby,
call me baby, call me baby

I was once trapped in a dark maze
(In the darkness)
But I hear your voice that woke me up
You made me be born again, yeah
E-X-O
Listen

Say my name
(Louder)
If you become my light and
pull me through this chaotic place,
(What up?)
I’ll hold you and never change
I’ll hold you and face those who left me
Don’t ever mind about a thing
You came into the big emptiness in my heart

In this shaking world
You were the only one who became my light
There are many who shine
but look at what’s real among them
Call me baby, call me baby,
call me baby, call me baby
(I’ll be your baby)
You make me exist as myself
You’re the only one in my world
you’re the one, you’re the one
Girl, you’re the one I want
There are many who shine,
but look at what’s real among them
Call me baby, call me baby,
call me baby, call me baby
Even if it’s many times, call me, girl

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
First of all, before getting right into the function and effects of the
instrumental, we first need to realize “Call Me Baby” follows what I term a “linear-based”
song—or at least, for the first portion. In other words, rather than containing
various shifts in terms of pacing or intensity, the song—even if by default is
already at a more energetic state—remains relatively stable. After all, already
readers should notice there are no explicit pre-choruses in this song—a section
of which oftentimes is when songs go through a significant shift (a buildup).
Because the song lacks that traditional, transformative section (as again, the
pre-choruses are oftentimes a “spike” in a song’s flow), “Call Me Baby” is able
to run a more straightforward path with going from the verse and right into the
chorus.

With
this in mind, let us now discuss the importance of the instrumental. Already, one
strong function of it and especially with the stronger, heavier beats is that the
instrumental serves as core transition piece for the song. Especially as there
are no pre-choruses, it is vital for an aspect of the song to still handle the
role as a hastily recognizable transition piece. In the song, the stronger
beats serve this role—prominent, obvious examples include the introduction to
the first verse, and that verse to the chorus. But, besides just serving as
transition points, what the instrumental deserves much praise for is how it
shapes the entirety of the song—or,
once again, at least the first portion of the song. For example, one aspect to
notice is that unlike many pop songs where the vocals are clearly overriding
the instrumental be it by being more active or intense, in “Call Me Baby” I
argue it is the opposite: the instrumental are, interestingly, at the forefront
while the vocals are backing up said instrumental. I make this claim as we need
to notice the beats’ volume and impact come off much harder and—quite literally—louder
than even the singing. This is especially emphasized whenever the members are
providing beltings versus chunked, singular singing. Oftentimes, the opposite
holds true where vocal beltings, for example, are louder and more prominent
than the instrumental. Furthermore, the vocals’ rhythm is very much based on following
the instrumental’s pacing and seldom do
the vocals necessarily deviate away from strictly doing such—this being something
we seldom find as the opposite oftentimes holds true instead: vocals are the
ones to first change with the instrumental then adapting.

And
so, why does this all matter? For one, as discussed in perhaps a few prior
reviews—one in mind is BTS’ “Spring Day” to some extent—having a highly
coordinated instrumental and vocals combination allows a song to maintain a
strong sense of cohesion. Predictability, for example, is possible when a
listener is able to clearly track what is occurring on both ends and thus, this
aids in making a song “make sense” versus it sounding as if the song had no
structure to it. Besides that, though, with the instrumental essentially
leading the song, we have to credit the composers for this as this in of itself
is already a creative idea. As even the requester noted, it seems that the
rhythm and instrumental in this song is particularly
important—this distinction is something I argue can be found rooted in how
the instrumental is in fact the leading aspect of the song, and again, this is
a creative take as traditionally it is the vocals—the tune—that lead a pop
song. And as I have addressed before, having a creative aspect to songs is
highly beneficial and to some extent almost necessary if a pop song is to stand
out among the hundreds of thousands of existing pop songs.

All
this praise aside, however, “Call Me Baby” still carries many flaws and
unfortunately, it seems that these flaws almost entirely overshadow the stronger
aspects to the song. To already discuss what the major flaw to the song is, it
is the fact that towards the end of the song—from the bridge and after—the song
abruptly steers away from its established, linear and rhythm based flow, to one
that is far too erratic and different. And while this is not necessarily a
weakness—and in fact, some songs can turn such contrasting points into strengths
as noted in my review of TWICE’s
“Knock Knock”
—the issue is that the song does not resolve this tension. Therefore, listeners are left with a
song that, in perhaps a harsh statement, collapses itself. Let us examine and “actively
listen” to the bridge and rap for examples.

With
the bridge, right from the start we come across a bridge that, though suiting
in a traditional sense of pop songs “needing” to have a bridge, the section’s
form is one that highly contrasts the rest of the song. It is a dramatic pause
to “Call Me Baby,” and most distinctively, the instrumental becomes an
incredibly light, minimal aspect as the vocals are in the spotlight—and of which
already contrasts what the song initially established in its entire run prior
to the bridge. Additionally, even when the bridge transitions to the rap, we
have to notice the note belting that occurs and likewise how “E-X-O” in its
rough, segmented delivery once again ruins the linear, smoother flow
established. And to finish this all, the distorted instrumental and vocals that
follow up as the transition point to the rap once again highly conflict with
the song’s original, intended sound. Regarding the rap, similar critiques can
be said as—even if sonically it is viable—the distortions throughout the rap
and more so how intensive the rap is all go against what “Call Me Baby” set up
at the beginning.

Overall,
while the song is certainly strong in terms of its creative take to having an
instrumental-led song and that the instrumental is very effective at doing
such, the composers’ decision to have the song undergo drastic changes to its
established concept is where my main criticism lies. Now, it is understandable
on why the composers most likely opted to do so—after all, composers are very
intelligent, diligent women and men. I believe their idea with this sudden
change in the song is to address one main problem linear-based songs have: a
strong sense of monotony. Given that “Call Me Baby” is an incredibly
straightforward song, lacking points of a shift in the song’s overall flow
could, indeed, deter away listeners. Thus, a simple solution to that is to in
fact include points of shifts that would make the song predominantly linear, but also inclusive of more diverse aspects.
Unfortunately, I argue the composers failed with that goal: especially because
of how strongly established the song is with its original flow and given that
the rhythm is the driving force of the song, there could have been ways to add
more variety without necessarily compromising the song’s concept towards the end.
For example, at the choruses—in other words, at moments that are still within
the song’s established, smoother flow—there are still some issues with a
mundane sound occurring. Therefore, if some changes or additions were made so
that the choruses in of themselves were more varied, then the pressure for
drastically different bridge and rap might have disappeared.

All
in all, EXO’s “Call Me Baby” is still a song worthy of listening especially as
it is unique to hear such an instrumental-orientated song, but it does possess
a multitude of weaknesses that come from solutions that went, I argue, awry. Nevertheless,
as this song is very much “performance based” with having a very charming
choreography, it still deserves much respect on that end even if musically I
find that it comes short.

_______________________________________________________

It
has been almost a month and a half since this request was sent in. For readers
who wish to send in requests, it might be best to wait until May as that is
when I will be on summer break and have time to quickly review requests. For
the requester of this review, I greatly apologize for this delay. University is
truly quite rigorous as of the late.

In
terms of upcoming reviews, PRISTIN’s “Wee Woo” is in mind along with Day6’s “I’m
Serious.” Both songs will provide not only new artists on the blog—as both of
them are relatively new groups if correct—but also new, insightful reviews as
both songs are quite different from the many I have reviewed in the past. Thank
you to readers for being patient with me, and thank you for reading this
review. I know summer break will be perhaps my most active reviewing period
yet, so look forward to such but until then, I expect to wrap up April with those
two reviews and a few Critical Discussions regarding “MR Removed” and even line
distributions. Until then, “My heart grows bigger for you”—especially for the
requester who had to wait far too long for this review. Look forward to PRISTIN’s
“Wee Woo.”

EXO x Yoo Jaesuk – “Dancing King” Review

EXO
x Yoo Jaesuk – Dancing King (Music Video)

EXO x Yoo Jaesuk – Dancing
King

Reviewed
on September 26, 2016

The result, then, is that the pre-choruses seemingly sound extraordinarily more amped and vocally intensive. In reality is it the contrast—going from an indistinctive verse to an exciting pre-chorus—that is at play, but nonetheless, this composition decision is admirable.

Personal Message:
I am a hypocrite as my initial plans
of reviewing both 2PM and Infinite has changed: I will review the two groups
after this one. Furthermore, so many comebacks have occurred that I simply am
feeling overwhelmed: MAMAMOO, Apink, Jieun (from Secret), and others. Perhaps
reviews that are limited to one paragraph may be necessary, but that is
impossible if I am to dive into any form of details. Again, focusing on
critical points versus filler-details—a writing skill that is vital everywhere—will
be how I follow through with these reviews. (But of course, I will devote a lot
of time in Hyuna’s review to discuss slut-shaming and misunderstandings of “double-standards.”)

But on topic, how could I resist reviewing
a song involving South Korea’s “National MC” and arguably one of the national
boy groups? Yoo Jaesuk, for readers unfamiliar, is an MC and comedian and many
have praised him—I equally—for being phenomenal at both. For example, Happy Together is a show he hosts and
indeed, he is wonderful at that and is simply a very wonderful man. Likewise,
EXO is one of the most popular male groups and thus, reviews on them always
tend to be desired on the basis of popularity. All that covered, EXO and Jaesuk
have indeed collaborated for a song: “Dancing King.” Personally, I am surprised
at the song in both realms of the collaboration but more importantly, that
despite the song’s style being one I tend to steer away from, “Dancing King”
essentially takes what I most hate in songs and makes those very traits
desirable. In other words, the EDM-club genre where songs follow the
progression of building up a song which then climaxes in an instrumental break
tend to be songs I just personally dislike. There is no exact reason per se; I
just do not like them as a preference. However, “Dancing King,” despite
following that exact form, is one I enjoy. Furthermore, and for what actually
matters, on a more critical level I still find “Dancing King” very impressive.
It truly is well composed and produced, as this review will hopefully explain.
After all, the point of music reviews is to dive into those deeper components
and to then create a room for discussion via disagreeing and agreeing.

Enough said, let us take a look at
the dancing kings’ song.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(5.75/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.33/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

3.     Verse: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey

My heart is beating from the hot rhythm
My heart is heating up right now
Come on, shake it, wake up your instinct
Before this moment is over
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night

Oh throwing the boring day far away
Keep the joy that was sleeping inside of me
Hop into here, the magic of rhythm
Señorita, I’ll give you a surprising night
Give yourself to the clumsy gestures
Just get crazy
(Ooh ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Feed the fire in your exhausted heart
Let’s dance together, ‘cause tonight

My heart is beating from the hot rhythm
My heart is heating up right now
Come on, shake it, wake up your instinct
Before this moment is over
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night
(Get ready)

[Instrumental]

When you want to forget all annoying things
Don’t worry, you can just come to me
Yeah Mambo, Tango, Rumba, Samba
Tell me whatever it is, buona sera
I’ll invite you to a wonderful world
Give yourself to the clumsy gestures
Just get crazy
(Ooh ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
Just for this time, forget everything
Let’s dance together, ’cause tonight

My heart is beating from the hot rhythm
(Don’t hesitate)
My heart is heating up right now
(Heating up)
Come on, shake it
Wake up your instinct
(Shake it together)
Before this moment is over
(Oh yeah)
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night

Shake it to the left, now shake it to the right
Until the moonset, don’t stop yourself
Shake your body, oh my, dancing all night
Blinded by you, I can’t let you go

We only live once anyway
Shall we run to that end over there?
Come on, shake it, wake up your instinct
We’re happy like this right now
Ayaya, tonight I’m the dancing king
Falling for me
Ayaya, tonight dance with me all night
(Get ready)

[Instrumental]

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Perhaps my praise is misguiding; readers might have expected an above average
rating (seven) but instead it is a six.

For
what is ultimately the song’s biggest strength, the setup for the choruses—the instrumental
break/solo—is fantastic. Statistically, this is seen in the pre-choruses’
score, but I encourage readers to be analytical versus merely observational.
The “setup” I refer to is not just the pre-choruses but also, counter-intuitively,
the verses. The verses being merely average is what provides a foundational
start for the pre-choruses: contrast is able to be manipulated. With the verses
carrying minimal significance, the change to the pre-choruses’ playful and
tuneful vocals along with the suiting instrumental makes that very transition—that
contrast—quite contrasting, but all in a controlled and positive manner. The result,
then, is that the pre-choruses seemingly sound
extraordinarily more amped and vocally intensive. In reality is it the contrast—going
from an indistinctive verse to an exciting pre-chorus—that is at play, but
nonetheless, this composition decision is admirable.

Additionally,
for another excellent point and one that allows me to both biasedly and
critically enjoy the “bass-drop” or “instrumental break/solo”—in other words, the
choruses—is how the very choruses sound. Unlike many other songs where these
instrumental solos are roughly inserted into songs and sound awfully chaotic, “Dancing
King” mediates it quite well. For one, during the first verse, the instrumental
solo is actually playing. Although this seems minor, doing so eases the
incoming instrumental solo—this being quite important to keep these solos from
becoming chaotic or unexpected. Now when it comes to the choruses themselves
where the instrumental solo does occur, there is another reason for why it is
appropriately managed: the instrumental itself is scaled to fit the song. The
tempo did not suddenly multiply nor are there random, blasts of electronic
noises. Indeed, “Dancing King” ‘s instrumental solo is at most a funkier moment
if I may say so, but all in all it maintains a suiting, controlled sound.

Even
with these praises, though, there are still downsides to the song that I will
cover. Marginal critiques would be that the vocals are, while decent, nothing
beyond that; the vocals at certain sections—examples being the verses and
bridge—provide a sufficient role but do not go to the extent of surprising me
via vocal belts, very smooth and pacifying tunes, and the like. On that note,
the verses and bridges were partially lackluster and rendered average due to
moreover continuing the song versus leaving noticeable appeals. Finally, what
perhaps holds the rating back by a decent portion would be the lyrics: lyrics
that simply focus on letting loose and dancing. Certainly the message is one
that should be cherished and very much so as an important aspect of living is
to in fact live, but with applying my
criteria equally for all reviews—in other words judging how unique the lyrics’
plot is and how diverse and thorough the lyrics’ details are—the lyrics come
short.

“Dancing
King” is one of the few songs where, as stated earlier, I can openly say I
enjoy it biasedly and seriously despite its style being one that normally
deters me. It is not the strongest song per se, but indeed it is a decent one
and perhaps one that many would enjoy for the purposes of having an upbeat,
EDM-club song. In the end, I greatly applaud the coordinated use of the
pre-choruses and how properly managed the choruses/instrumental solos are. I
would be even more allured to the song if its lyrics contained more depth and
if the vocals and specific sections were slightly more refined, but overall, “Dancing
King” is very much an enjoyable song.

_______________________________________________________

Because
writing three essays was not enough for me in the past few days, I will add
this review to the writing batch. All is well, however, and after watching and
listening to all of the recent comebacks occurring, I could not help but to
finish up this review. 2PM and Infinite are next, and afterwards I will focus
on either Jieun or MAMAMOO—it all depends on whether I wish to please or anger
fans. To leak my message, reviewing Jieun would lead to many praises, and when
it comes to MAMAMOO’s recent song, as much as I love the ladies, I am
incredibly disappointed. All will eventually be reviewed, however. (And of
course Apink and Hyuna will be included.)

Until
the next review comes, “Let’s dance together.” Thank you to all for reading
this any length. Expect 2PM and Infinite to both have their reviews published
around the same time.

EXO – “Lucky One” Review

EXO – Lucky One (Music Video)

EXO – Lucky One

Reviewed
on June 10, 2016

image

Personal Message:
I was going to review Fiestar’s
“Apple Pie,” but given the social digression that is going to occur there, I
decided it would be best to have the musically-focused reviews finished first. As
seen here, EXO’s latest comeback, is one of those said reviews (and along with
EXID’s “L.I.E,” to share). With EXO, from the moment the teaser was released, I
kept my eyes—and ears—on the comeback, and finally “Lucky One” is here. Especially
as I have yet to review EXO, a group that is incredibly popular and arguably one
of the most popular male groups, there are extra incentives to review the song.
That said, this will also be the first time I review a song with minimal time
spared towards listening to it. Clarifying, though, I am not hopping right into
the review and writing based on initial reactions; this, as discussed in Sistar’s “I Swear” review, would be atrocious due to writing
with pure biases. My review protocol is to give a song at least three days
before reviewing as that would be enough time to truly analyze a song along
with stripping any biased take, but to be truthful, this song only has a day’s
worth of listening and deconstructing. Thus, in comparison to every other
review on this blog—all of which have had multiple days before being actually
reviewed—this current review might be less reliable and accurate. Nonetheless,
this will be my fastest review yet, and considering how popular EXO is, it may
be best to prioritize speed by a slight margin as many readers may be curious
on how “Lucky One” holds up.

Before diving into the review, for
another disclaimer in addition to the one above, I will be skipping the
choreography. Given how early I am reviewing the song, official live
performances and dance practice have not been uploaded. Nevertheless, if you
are reading at a time well past this review’s date, I would recommend searching
up the dance—even if I am unable to comment on it in this review. And on a side
note, I have been contemplating as of the late if I should even continue having
the choreography category; given how lackluster my analysis towards dances have
been these past months, it almost seems best to focus solely on a song’s audio.
Feedback, however, is always appreciated and if readers have ideas and
opinions, I would be glad to hear them. Removing the choreography score section
would of practically no change to reviews as the core focus has always been
towards the song itself, but likewise I do understand that dances are a major
component to Korean pop songs and thus, I feel obligated to give the dances
some attention. Perhaps a middle-ground works best: keeping the choreography
score category (and thus the overall score), but simply leaving the ratings
versus actually writing about the dance (unless, of course, if I do have
discussion points)—this is an uncomfortable idea, though it is better than
providing filler details.

On topic with the review and
regarding EXO, although I have not been following the men with their
activities, I am well aware of events such as members leaving (though that was
two years ago if accurate), and furthermore, their iconic songs of “Growl,”
“Overdose,” and “Call Me Baby.” With that, I would claim I have a general sense
of EXO’s musical style, and with confidence I can claim that “Lucky One” will
now be another iconic song for the group—or is that so? I may biasedly claim
this is EXO’s best release as of yet, but that does not inherently mean “Lucky
One” is strong in of itself. Or is it? Horrible suspense-making aside, let us
take a look at how EXO’s latest comeback holds. Hopefully it is lucky with
earning high scores.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.60/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


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

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Rap: 6/10

6.     Conclusion: 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Section Distribution: 5/10

D.O:
Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Chorus, Conclusion (Total: 6)

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

Sehun:
Rap (Total: 1)

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

Chanyeol:
Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Chorus (Total: 4)

Baekhyun:
Verse, Verse, Chorus, Chorus (Total: 4)

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

Lay:
Verse, Chorus (Total: 2)

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

Equal Value: 3.44 sections per
member.  


Lyrics: 8/10

Oh
The sun is rising
I hold the map that will find you
I follow the coordinates and follow course
No matter what, this silver compass
will point to you
The sky is beautiful because it resembles you
Today, today you are dazzling
This familiar yet strange path, that I will bend

The parallel lines that are you and me
I will climb, over and over, I don’t mind
I’m swept by big waves,
at the end of this voyage

The moment I rage like the storm
And you stop in my world
You are my only one
The moment I discover you
You shine more radiantly
I’ll be the lucky one
You and I
(Livin’ it up)
Here
(Just livin’ it up)
Keep on coming
(Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa)
In the same time
Oh the moment we become one
We’ll be the lucky ones

Girl
(Oh girl)
You’ve been secretly hiding your confession
(Just tell me right now)
I will come to you
Step by step to your side baby
Today, today I’ll never, never go back
I will change the rule that only I know

The parallel lines that are you and me
I will climb, over and over, I don’t mind
I’m swept by big waves,
at the end of this voyage

The moment I rage like the storm
And you stop in my world
You are my only one
The moment I discover you
You shine more radiantly
I’ll be the lucky one
You and I
(Livin’ it up)
Here
(Just livin’ it up)
Keep on coming
(Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa)
In the same time
Oh the moment we become one
We’ll be the lucky ones

You are my lover, among countless people
I was lucky to find your four-leaf, clover
I feel like you will come to me
Your luck is cool no matter what anyone says
The more I get to know you, yeah, let’s go
There is no place we can’t coexist in
You are my only one
I am your lucky one
‘Cause I–I–I

The moment I rage like the storm
And you stop in my world
You are my only one
The moment I discover you
You shine more radiantly
I’ll be the lucky one
You and I
(Livin’ it up)
Here
(Just livin’ it up)
Keep on coming
(Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa)
In the same time
Oh the moment we become one
We’ll be the lucky ones
I am the lucky one

I am the lucky one

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

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

A
dance does exist. However, as of the time of review, no live performance or
dance practice has been uploaded. Thus, this will not be scored in this review.

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Looking
over the Song Score, I admit: I am pleasantly surprised. I say that as, if I
were to review “Growl” and EXO’s other popular songs, the Song Score would most
likely be at a five or at most a six. With “Lucky One,” EXO definitely
surpassed my expectations. Let us peer into why this song manages to earn a seven.

Gauging
from all other reviews, sixes tend to be what most lyrics earn, but in “Lucky
One” ‘s case, its lyrics score exceptionally well. Although the plot, overall,
can be summed up as a person attempting to become the “lucky one” through having
a relationship with a certain woman (and of which is not an impressive plot per
se), the strength of the lyrics lies not in this aspect, but instead, its
details. Consider, for one, the lyrics’ main metaphor: finding their—this person’s
and woman’s—relationship is akin to a voyage journey. Cliché it may be, but
this is generally more enticing than lyrics that are entirely unembellished.
After all, would the lyrics be as interesting if it went, “I am looking for
her, and it’s not easy”? Furthermore, what arguably is most effective is that
lines seldom repeat. The two verses, for example, are similar but yet greatly
different. Factor in the rap’s lyrics and how the pre-choruses and choruses are
detailed on their own, and the lyrics in whole render quite well. All in all,
despite a simplistic plot, the diverse details and lack of repetition is able
to bring the score up to an eight—a very admirable score.

To
discuss the song itself, if one aspect has been noticeably improved from past
songs, I would claim the vocals is that aspect. Unlike in past songs, EXO’s
vocals in “Lucky One” are able to keep the group’s main vocal style, but this
time around the men deliver it with extra, strong points. First, to clarify
what EXO’s usual style is, it is: dynamic singing. A very vague term, so let us
break it down. By “dynamic,” I am referring in this case to the stylistic
connotation rather than the audio connotation—though that, too, is there; what
I mean is that EXO’s singing methods—not the sound—are constantly varied. Specifically for what the men do, they
are able to switch from unison singing to individual singing to then
alternative singing seamlessly. Understandably this vocal style might have
derived from when EXO used to have twelve members and thus, this style may have
even been essential to allowing lines to be shared. Either way, it serves well
sonically. Returning now to what have improved, EXO’s vocal style is now
incorporated with usual solid traits: vocal beltings, sharp control over
pitches, two-part singing, and so on. Combine those with EXO’s stylistic
dynamic style and indeed, a very pleasing result comes: vocals that are highly
melodic, playful, precise, and yet vocals that are constantly in change with
flow, pacing, and emphasis. Even bettering this combination, the instrumental
also aids in providing the rhythmic pacing style that the vocals carry. That
alongside with sounding well individually leads also to a promising
instrumental rating. And in the end, combining both components definitely
ensures that “Lucky One” sounds fantastic—though now we should glance at the
sections to see how those sounds are laid out.

Unfortunately,
the sections are weaker in juxtaposition to other categories (minus the
sections’ distribution, as we will get to). Nonetheless, it is not all
disastrous. In terms of the positives, the introduction and conclusion both are
remarkable—though the latter more so. With the introduction, credit is deserved
towards its somewhat unique and effective style: an echoing, hollow distortion that
becomes less so as the introduction progresses. What falls short, though, is
that while its method practically guarantees a hook, the sound involved is not
as enticing. However, for the conclusion for when that component is covered—in other
words, that the conclusion ended on EXO’s solid vocals and that the
instrumental carries it through—the same style of hollow, echoing now becomes properly
supported and thus even more effective. Other decent sections include the verses
and rap. The verses perform extremely well with accommodating the instrumental’s
stronger bass and beats to the vocals’ pacing. As for the rap, its dual purpose
of being both a decent rap but also serving as a pseudo bridge, if I may say
that, may hold well individually, but specifically at that moment the “bridge-rap”
holds an invaluable role of helping transition the song through that point
without sacrificing “Lucky One” ‘s established style. What, along with the
section distribution (as, once again, we will get to), potentially hinders the
song would be the pre-choruses and choruses. With the pre-choruses, the abrupt
change in style between the verse and it are not smooth whatsoever, and overall
the pre-choruses take away from what the verses provide the song. To explain,
the verses progress “Lucky One” through following a playful, deeper sounding
bass and beats, but when the pre-choruses come around, everything is notched up
in pitch while the pacing is suddenly halted to a stop—a complete opposite to
the verses. In other words, and to put it all in simple terms: the verses led “Lucky
One” in one direction, but when the pre-choruses come, it leads “Lucky One”
into the utter opposite direction. While this might work in certain songs, in
this one, this contradicting style puts both sections at an absurd position and
thus is not desirable. For the choruses, a similar issue exists though with instrumental
and vocals. Whereas the verses are a solid example of the two categories
complementing one another, the choruses feel inconsistent with its
instrumental. Overall, the vocals are performing their own role while the
instrumental performs its own role. Again, while this is not inherently an
error for songs, in terms of how “Lucky One” handles it, it creates
distractions rather than perhaps a cohesive, dynamic style.

Lastly,
for how the sections are shared, it is average. A numerical look at the
quantities is rather self-explanatory for why the rating is as is. Considering
there are nine members, however, readers should be aware of how difficult it
can be to provide an equal share. Nevertheless, no leniency can be nor will ever
be made for group sizes. Besides, it certainly is possible to have a near equal
share with many members, and more promising is the result that can come with
that share.

In
the end, EXO’s “Lucky One” scores at above average, an impressive score and
furthermore an impressive improvement over past songs. Biasedly I have been
enjoying this song, and I believe I will find it even more enticing once the
choreography is released (if not already). “Lucky One” holds strongly when it
comes to everything but the sections distributions and some specific sections,
but overall it is a stellar song. Concluding, EXO’s comeback, while already successful
due to a large fan audience, certainly deserves attention. I look forward to
hearing EXO’s other releases such as “Monster” (I will not be reviewing it
unless requested), and if correct that they have released a mini-album, I will
also be listening to it.

_______________________________________________________

As
always, thanks to all for reading. Whether skimmed or in full, I appreciate any
time given. Furthermore, I do apologize for some delays especially for those
waiting for Fiestar’s review, but that will indeed be the next one. As such,
look forward to “Apple Pie” by Fiestar as the next review. Afterwards, I do
plan to review EXID’s “L.I.E,” but plans may change once again as I wish to
review a few unpopular male groups after Fiestar’s review. Look forward to
whatever is to come. Besides, “you are my only one”—and by “only one” I mean I
value you as a reader and do not wish to scare off people from this horrible,
awkward ending. Just look forward to the Fiestar’s sweet comeback as the next
review.

Jimin x Xiumin – “Call You Bae” Review

Jimin x Xiumin – Call You Bae (Music Video)

Jimin (AOA) x Xiumin (EXO) – Call
You Bae

Reviewed
on March 6, 2016

Personal Message:
Before diving into this review, in
highlight of the prior one, congratulations to MAMAMOO for
their first music broadcast show win. I am so joyful and proud of them, and
admittedly even cried for the first time with watching a winning
announcement
. (I
think first, anyways; I’m admittedly a huge crybaby so I no longer can keep track.
And if correct, this is also the first time MAMAMOO has cried on camera.) 2016
for the ladies will definitely be a momentous year. They have worked incredibly
hard, and it is endearing to know that “You’re the Best” and MAMAMOO are finally
receiving the attention they have deserved. On topic, however: yes, I was quite
serious when I said I would be devoting my entire free time during spring break
to catching up on reviews. A few readers may be surprised to see a review so
soon, but I truly am following through with my goal by being as dedicated as,
perfectly timed, MAMAMOO are. (Nonetheless, this is a challenging task as I am also
balancing university homework and catching up on subtitling videos. In fact,
after this review, I will be attempting to subtitle the remaining parts to “FNC
Picnic At Night.”) Now, I did claim that Rainbow’s mini-album of “Prism” was to
be reviewed (and afterwards MAMAMOO’s album), but unfortunately I need more
time to brainstorm a new album review outline. Thus, in the meantime, I will
focus on another song to review: “Call You Bae” by AOA’s Jimin and EXO’s
Xiumin.

To confess, I was concerned that
many fans would oppose this song for various reasons (I will discuss this later),
but thankfully, that is not the case: “Call You Bae” is receiving an overwhelming
amount of positivity and support, and furthermore, so are both idols. The song and
music video are truly adorable, and Jimin and Xiumin delivered the romantic,
lovely concept very well. In fact, they delivered it too well: I am now
reconsidering that falling in love and marrying one day may be worth it.
Perhaps I may one day meet a special lady and as many readers know, that is guaranteed to happen as
the lady is SPICA’s Boa
 who proposes to me and wins my heart, and
with whom I will be able to have my first kiss with, akin to what “Call You
Bae” hints at. Excusing my romantic, delusional and naïve dreams, to transition
to a more solemn tone, I will clarify what I meant earlier with how I was
afraid that many fans would oppose this song. The opposition I had in mind is
not due to music: I was thinking of how occasional fans become overly defensive
of idols and will strongly oppose them being in a relationship—real or
fictional.

Though a sociological perspective is
always interesting in this regard (such as with seeing how gender influences
whether fans accept or reject an idol being in a relationship), on the simple layer,
respect has to take place. Idols are like any other human and deserve to be
respected for their decisions—unless of course their decision is an atrocious
one, such as harming someone. Otherwise, however, being supportive should be an
instinctual reaction when it comes to hearing of idol dating news and so forth,
or in “Call You Bae” ‘s case of supporting both Xiumin and Jimin working
together as a fictional couple. Thankfully, as mentioned, the two seem to be
very well supported for this work. After all, it does become ridiculous to hear
fans bashing, for a hypothetical and simple example, “Idol A” for simply
touching “Idol B” during a show. Showing respect is what matters, and in the
future case that SPICA’s Boa is dating a special someone, I would live up to my
own words: I would hunt
down the person she is dating; after finding them, I would kidnap them and hide
them in a closet; and once all of that is done, I will once again resume being
content knowing that my delusional, obsessive and immature behavior—though harmful
to Boa—will make her single and therefore will make me, her number one fan,
happy
 I would be very supportive and incredibly joyful for her, and
in no form be jealous. Right?

Bad comedy aside (and of course I do
respect Boa as a human; though I love self-deprecating myself with sharing how obsessed
I am with her, I would never do anything extreme), to focus on the review,
although I absolutely adore the concept, musically the same cannot be said.
Once the squeals and stuffed-penguin-squeezing are pushed away, I am afraid
that I am unwilling to call the song “Bae”—or so I biasedly claim.

_______________________________________________________

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


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.4/10 raw score)

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

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Rap: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Bridge: 4/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10

– Instrumental: 7/10


Line Distribution: 9/10

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

Xiumin:
Chorus 1, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 3)

All:
Pre-Choruses, Post-Choruses, Bridge

Equal Value: 2.5 sections per member.  


Lyrics: 8/10

Baby I’m pretty young and wild and so fine
Can we just be “bae,” you and I
This awkward distance between us is making
it weird to walk together
Otherwise we’d be closer
You are taller than I am,
you see me as a kid, why, why?
You tell me to go home before 12
Mom and Dad went on a vacation
I’m hungry, want to eat chicken with me?

“Are you going to be like this to me?”
Even though I look young, I like you baby
From now on I’ll call you “bae” and not “oppa”*
Whatever
I want, to, call, you, bae!

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

State of emergency, oppa is here
Take a deep breath, my heart is running fast
You look fancy, but not too fancy
I like that so much that it makes me laugh
You are shining and coming closer
The smell of soap is around my nose
I feel like I’m walking on clouds
State of emergency, just a kiss

“Are you going to be like this to me?”
Even though I look young, I like you baby
From now on I’ll call you “bae” and not “oppa”*
Whatever
I want, to, call, you, bae!

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

When my eyes open, I think about you
Until I fall asleep, I think about you
When I’m hungry, I think about you
My oppa’s song, cue

Why are you like this today, making me excited
You look different from other days
You look much prettier today
Really, what’s up with you my baby?
My heart feels like it’s going to burst
Your smile makes it run faster

Sit closer, whatever it’s okay
You can’t hide it, I want to know more about you
I think it’s now, the atmosphere is good
It’s just the two of us, I want to kiss you

*“Oppa” is what females refer to older males as.

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

– Syncing: X/10

– Key Points: X/10

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

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Contrary to my personal stance, “Call You Bae” miraculously scores much higher
than anticipated. However, my initial opinion is still somewhat sound:
musically, the song is not the strongest even if enjoyable. But that said,
non-musically “Call You Bae” flourishes. The line distribution, for example, is
near perfect in this song—as expected as there are only two singers. Now technically
the song is indeed perfect; the sections cannot be any more evenly divided. But
as explained in past reviews, unless if the quantity of sections is exact—the same
and not just divided as much as possible—then a nine is the max possible.
Nonetheless, a nine is nothing to ignore. In this song’s case, the duo’s equal balance
of sections greatly aids in the Song Score holding well. Furthermore, the
lyrics are rather detailed, even if in the realm of romance—a very typical topic
for songs. Playfulness and flirtatiousness are unique factors to the lyrics,
and synthesizing those aspects with how the lyrics maintain an interesting dialogue
format and is overall diverse in details, a high score is granted.

Switching
focus to the musical component of the song, the instrumental remains admirable.
Contextually, if that term makes sense (I am referencing how the instrumental renders
in an overarching view), the gentler yet faster paced beats and tuneful piano
notes perfectly suit with the song’s flow and vocal style. Additionally, for moments
where the song does become energetic, the instrumental perfectly adapts and
continues providing “Call You Bae” its sweeter sound. Individually, the instrumental
also still holds well. All of the sounds involved are soothing and melodic, and
most notably, even if vocals are absent, the instrumental continues to prove its
appeal. In terms of where the song languishes, as noticed, the vocals and sections
are the weaker points: a six and five, respectively, are the scores—scores that
are much lower in comparison to the other ratings.

Before
discussing the vocals, however, I do wish to clarify one aspect: there is a
difference between critiquing a musical voice and a voice itself. The latter is
never permissible while the former is open. (And if readers wonder why a
musical voice is excused, there are multiple reasons. For one, musical voices,
be it in rap or singing, do tend to greatly deviate from normal conversational
voices. Take Sistar’s Hyorin as example. In singing, her voice becomes much
more sharp and clear, but if she is normally speaking, she possesses her iconic
deeper and huskier, raspy voice. As a result, because of the distinction, if I
critique her singing voice, it is critiquing her singing and not so much on how
she herself sounds. Secondly, a voice’s sound does have, obviously, significant
implications for how singing turns out. So, it cannot be avoided that voices
are critiqued, but it must be done so in a singing context as, once again, that
is critiquing a skill and not a personal, physical identity aspect.) If I
recall correctly, when I reviewed AOA’s “Like a Cat” mini-album, I did address this
topic as, sadly, Jimin does oftentimes face criticism for her voice—and I do
mean her voice itself. This is never warranted. To insult her voice would be to
insult her hair, skin complexion, eye color, and so forth: it is uncalled for
and everyone should be able to feel physically beautiful—be it visually or
sonically. Point is, although I will be critiquing her voice, I wish for
readers to know that it is in the context of music, and even more specifically,
in “Call You Bae.” (In “Heart Attack” for example, Jimin’s voice was one of her
strongest strengths.) No one’s voice or visual appearance should ever be a mark
for degrading and mockery.

With
that in mind, the vocals score is lowered not on part of Xiumin, but rather,
Jimin. In fact, if not for the gentleman, the vocals score would be seeing an
even lower rating. Xiumin’s singing as showcased in the choruses are
exceptionally tuneful and well controlled. There are no glaring issues with his
singing. In contrast, Jimin fails to show vocal maturity unless if in her rapping.
Her raps from a vocal standpoint are solid, but in for example the
pre-choruses, the vocal delivery is unpleasant. Jimin’s higher notes prove
unfitting to the section, and overall, are arguably excessive. Essentially, the
melody is fine but the pitch remains too high and therefore, vexing to
listeners. Worsening that, the transition point is questionable not only structurally
(as to discuss later), but also sonically: obnoxious one-syllables (or “words”
if looking at it from an English perspective) that are unappealing in a singing
context. Nevertheless, with the dual-singing post-choruses holding
exceptionally well and similarly Xiumin’s choruses and Jimin’s raps, the vocals
are not utterly doomed. This explains why despite the unattractive vocals at
the pre-choruses the score is still decent.

Now,
for the sections, many score averagely. The pre-choruses were previously
highlighted as being undesirable vocally, but simultaneously, they are also
undesirable for their format—specifically the chaotic transition point. As for
the others, staleness becomes an issue. For example, the choruses and raps,
though vocally delivered well, are too plain in structure. There are no unique
pacing and fluctuations, and though linearity is not inherently a flaw, “Call
You Bae” fails to address the issue of how the two sections become mundane over
time. If the raps were more lively and dynamic with flow for example, then the
issue of repetitiveness would be easily solved. Overall, the post-choruses hold
as the only strong section. What greatly benefits these sections is, as
mentioned, the dual singing involved: both Jimin and Xiumin sing, and this
creates a unique blend of tune and voices, and also, a distinctive point of how
individual singing (Jimin’s own raps and Xiumin’s own choruses) is combined
into one.

Overall,
though “Call You Bae” earns a seven, it has to be noted that it is
predominantly due to the non-musical side: the lyrics and line distribution.
Musically, mainly the instrumental fares well as the vocals are impaired by the
pre-choruses’ delivery, and with the sections, many are overly tedious. Though
the concept is cute and Xiumin’s singing vocals and Jimin’s rapping vocals
shine, “Call You Bae” is, despite its “above average” rating, not an alluring
song in terms of sound. The two deserve support and attention, but much
stronger songs will be hoped for in the future.

_______________________________________________________

This
review did end up much shorter than anticipated, but I cannot complain as I
will now be busy finishing up a book for my education class, and of course, to
finish subtitling “FNC Picnic At Night.” Tomorrow, I will be reviewing Rainbow’s
mini-album of “Prism,” and hopefully the new album review format is effective
and organized. As always, thank you for reading whether in full or skimmed.
Look forward to the upcoming two bonus album reviews: Rainbow’s “Prism” and
MAMAMOO’s “Melting.” I will continue preserving with the amount of tasks I have
since “your smile makes [my heart] run faster.” Stay tuned for more reviews
(and videos).