[Single] f(x) – Chu~♡

Chu~♡ is the first single released by f(x). The title track was used as the promotional single.


Released: November 9, 2009
1. Chu~♡ [MV]
2. Step by me
3. You are my destiny

The title track, Chu~♡ is a funky pop tune that seems to ride more on the cuter side of things. The song makes me laugh at times because it is just ridiculous at times from the random popping up of “Chu~’s” everywhere to the odd 80s beats layered in the back. The majority of the vocal arrangement during the verses involves singing in a chopped up way as well which adds a little attitude to it. Vocally, it’s an ok piece since it’s more straightforward in its delivery. It’s an overall ok track that seems more bent on being catchy and stuck in your head. At times it seems a little dry as well but I find that a lot of that has to do with how the song was arranged. Step by me cools down on the dance beats and gives us a little more midtempo. What I find really odd about this song is that it feels they took some of the odder aspects of the last song’s arrangement and put them here. With that said, it’s an overall stronger song than the last since it has a more complete feel although it’s not anything stellar. The vocals are well placed and the melody it doesn’t really on repetition and flows well. It’s also nice to here the adlibs at the end. You are my destiny is a duet between f(x)’s Luna and Krystal and as expected it is a ballad. It’s pretty much the typical SM ballad and features a rather progressive feel to it. What I do like about it though is that despite the typical instrumental arrangement, the song’s melody is actually well nice and is reminiscent of the early 00’s K-Pop ballads. The vocals are of course very well done and the song really helps showcase their talent and I was really quite surprised at how well Krystal caught up to Luna.

Overall: This was an ok single altogether. In all honesty I actually thought the title track was the weakest song as the other two just seemed pieced together better. The ballad was definitely the standout and despite sounding rather typical it did its job by showcasing the vocals.

B+

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[Digital Single] Rainbow – Mach

Mach is the second digital single released by Rainbow. It was seen as a follow-up to their last single A.


Released: October 20, 2010
1. Mach
2. Mach (Inst.)

Rainbow stepped up and brought us a great quality song with A. Mach, which was used as the follow-up really helped solidify Rainbow as a contender by bringing yet another striking track. Here we are given a rather darker sound that almost sounds sci-fi. The heavy beats mixed with the haunting background vocals and electric guitar chords really blends together that just gives the whole song some kind of power. Vocally the girls sound great and work well with this song especially when they sing in unison for the chorus. I do wish the rap was a little longer as Woori’s voice works perfectly for this.

Overall: As much as I love A and how great it was, it’s hard to choose whether I like that or this one more. Mach is just such a powerful piece and brings something totally different to K-Pop. It’s just such a haunting track.

A+

[Mini-Album] Secret – Secret Time

Secret Time is the first mini-album released by Secret. Magic was used as the promotional track and was also their breakthrough hit. The mini also includes two new versions of the songs from their debut digital single.


Released: April 1, 2010
1. My Boy
2. Magic [MV]
3. Spot Light
4. Do As You Please (알아서 잘해요)
5. I Want You Back (Acoustic Ver.)
6. 3 Years 6 Months (Acoustic Ver.) (3년 6개월)

My Boy opens up the album and gives us a nice R&B pop song. What I like about My Boy is that despite their shift in image and sound (as in publicly known sound) this song fits well with the material they released on their debut. I have to say though that I actually enjoy the verses more than the chorus mostly because the melody isn’t as strong as it could be in the chorus. The added background vocal layers also make it a little distracting and it wouldve sounded better without it. With that said, it’s a solid track and shows off the vocals. Magic brings us a total switch. This retro inspired dance song also features a slight jazz mix and is both catchy and well structured. It focuses mostly on repetition as heard in the chorus, but it’s well done. My only gripe might be that at times the arrangement doesn’t sound as polished as it could be. After two strong songs we are given Spot Light. I don’t know what they thought about adding this in because it’s certainly the weakest track out of Secret’s discography up to this point (mini and digital single). It’s a dance/pop tune that features a more aggressive melody and while that sounds intriguing in the end it comes off as a cheap 4minute filler. It does have its nice points like the rap but in general the song is weak and has no real flow. Thank god we are given Do As You Please. Here we have a nice progressive pop tune with R&B undertones. I do feel like the chorus isn’t as memorable as I want, but it’s an improvement over the last song because everything flows together nicely and it doesn’t sound like random parts were thrown in just to attempt to make it sound catchy. It also shows off the members’ voices nicely. The next two songs are acoustic versions of the songs off the group’s debut digital single. The first, I Want You Back (Acoustic Ver.) is nicely put together. The song is slowed down and really relaxes things. What I enjoy most about this version is definitely the chorus and how it brings a totally different feel from the original which seemed to rely on the chorus to bring in that catchy quality. It’s nice to see the verses also sounded strong. I would say though that the rap would’ve been nicer if it was so strong. 3 Years 6 Months (Acoustic Ver.) was the song I was most excited to hear  but I was most disappointed with it. It features a lighter (and slightly jazzier) arrangement but I think it would’ve been nicer if they had relaxed it even more. My main problem is that the song totally loses the emotion that was found in the original because they lightened it up too much and added too many odd synths.

Overall: Secret Time was certainly an interesting mini. It had it’s fair share of strong tracks but there were also a few bumps along the way. The acoustic versions were a nice touch, but I was still disappointed with the second one because of its loss of emotion. Still overall the mini is alright and features quite a few nice songs that work well with Secret’s image and general sound.

B

[Mini-Album] F.Cuz – No One

No One is the first mini-album released by F.Cuz. The title track was used as the promotional single while their debut digital single, Jiggy, is also included.


Released: March 11, 2011
1. Go
2. No One [MV]
3. Because of You (너 때문에)
4. Boy Meet Girl
5. Jiggy [MV]
6. No One (Inst.)

The mini-album opens with Go, a pumping dance tune that relies heavily on a pounding bass. The verses are a little weak and don’t really don’t have much going on, but the chorus has a fast paced melody that is quite nice on the ears. It’s nice because it focuses mostly on the hooks and despite not having anything very standout, it’s a strong straightforward dance/pop song. Vocally there isn’t much going on and you don’t get a strong sense of the group’s voices since it’s all covered by autotune but that’s ok, the song is just so good that it makes up for that. It actually reminds me a little of SNSD’s Show Show Show but stronger. The title track, No One, is also used as the promotional track. With that said, it’s just ok. This dance/pop tune has a strong bass like the last and has the same general sound, but it lacks the hooks in the chorus. It’s catchy nonetheless, but focuses a lot on the repetition of the phrase “No One”. The rap brings in a nice break and the vocals are pretty ok. I like it, but there is something missing to the song. It’s just not that strong and sounds like the generic boyband tune. Because of You brings a little something new to the mini-album by not giving a bass heavy dance/pop tune. With that said, we are given a 2PM ripoff since it sticks strongly to that sad sounding pop song that the group was known for. I’ll be honest that it’s not bad and has a little more life than the last song but I seriously thought I was listening to another group’s song. The song does allow the group to showcase their vocals when compared to the last two songs although there are some heavily autotuned parts. Boy Meet Girl brings us back to tha heavy bass. This song is much better than the last two and reminds me more of Go than of No One. It’s catchy although the melody isn’t as striking as the former. I do think the song would’ve sounded a bit better with a rap though. The heavy beat is nice but it causes the song to sound a little flat by the end. Last but not least we have Jiggy which was already released earlier (and was reviewed earlier). It’s still that catchy pop tune and despite not fitting in at all with any of the other songs on the mini, it brings a bit of the much needed personality. It’s fun.

Overall: The first mini by F.Cuz is a good start. I wasn’t terribly impressed by any of the songs except maybe Go but they are all solid nonetheless. I just feel that the mini is lacking something and much of it is a generic mess. And as much as I enjoy Jiggy it is an odd ending considering it doesn’t fit in at all with the rest of the songs.

B+

[Digital Single] Rainbow – A

A is the first digital single released by Rainbow and their second release altogether.


Released: August 12, 2010
1. A [MV]
2. A (Inst.)

A is a departure from Rainbow’s debut release due to its more refined sound. Unlike the mini-album which was more pop-oriented, this song gives us a spunkier dance tune. What I love most about this song is that it just seems like such a step up from their previous sound and gives them an “it” song. It’s focused and sexy, but also has the right amount of energy that doesn’t make it annoying like Gossip Girl. The use of guitar during the rap break as well as the use of the odd synths placed throughout help keep the song on a more positive note and makes sure it isn’t all too straightforward and dull. Vocally, it’s an ok piece. The girls sound better than they did in their debut and they finally give Woori the rap. She adds the right energy.

Overall: A is impressive and one of the strongest pieces in idol K-Pop. It has flair and sexiness but without sounding overdone and not losing any production quality. Great.

A+

[Digital Single] F.Cuz – Jiggy

F.Cuz is a boy band that debuted in early 2010. They originally had four members but after one of them left in 2011, their company added two more. They’ve yet to have a breakthrough hit and have been overshadowed by quite a few newer groups. Despite that, I do enjoy quite a few of their songs. Jiggy is their debut digital single.


Released: January 8, 2010
1. Jiggy [MV]

What did I expect with this song? Jiggy is a really interesting song to say the least. It’s pretty much a upbeat pop tune with dance elements although more on the “cute” side. At times it is actually humorous with the awkward use of background vocals and the consistent clap-beat. It’s certainly catchy to say the least but I think a lot of that has to do with the repetitive use of the word “Jiggy” because the rest of the song seems rather rough around the edges. The thing that irks me the most about the song though is definitely the ending, which switches the chorus into all autotune. It’s unnecessary and that part would’ve sounded better without it. The vocals are nothing too impressive and at times it feels like the members are struggling just to get the notes just because of the odd melodies. The rap….

Overall: I won’t say Jiggy is impressive, but it has some redeeming factors. It lacks a strong melody and instead relies on repetition. With that said it’s quite catchy and gives the group an image of something for upbeat and lighthearted.

B+

[Digital Single] Secret – I Want You Back

Secret debuted in 2009 in the midst of the girl group domination but were largely overshadowed by bigger names. It wasn’t until their second release in 2010 that helped them establish the name. I Want You Back is the debut digital single by the girl group.


Released: October 13, 2009
1. 3 Years 6 Months (3년 6개월)
2. I Want You Back [MV]

The single starts off with 3 Years 6 Months, a pretty depressing ballad about waiting for one’s love, but the lyrics also underline the struggle the group’s training process was and waiting to debut. This is one of the best ballads done by an idol group because the chorus is just so captivating. The verses are also really striking but its the chorus with Jieun’s piercing vocals that really do the job. The whole song is quite haunting and puts quite a bit of focus on the piano to give it that sound. The title track I Want You Back gives a complete different feeling. Unlike the haunting piano ballad, we are given a upbeat pop tune. Compared to the other girl groups’ songs of 2009, I Want You Back is more laidback and has less focus on dance. Vocally, the song isn’t anything big, although we do get a taste of Jieun’s adlibs around the end. Zinger also gives a great rap that fits well with the song.

Overall: As the debut release from the group, I was quite surprised and very satisfied. Both songs on here bring different feels giving the group variety while also being quality releases. The ballad is haunting and is one of the strongest idol ballads I’ve heard. The title track isn’t an in-your-face song, but it’s very charming and has much replay value.

A+