Flashback is the fifth single released by After School. It is their first to include new member Gaeun and their first not to include former leader Kahi. The title track was the used as the promotional song.
Released: June 21, 2012
1. Rip Off
2. Flashback [MV]
3. Eyeline (투시)
4. Wristwatch (손목시계)
Rip Off originally appeared on their debut Japanese album and was just translated over. It’s a funky pop tune with alien synths, a choppy vocal arrangement, strong beats and quite a bit of autotune. It’s an interesting opener, but it’s not the most powerful song. While I do find it quite catchy it seems there is something missing. The chorus feels like it needs to go somewhere, but it sorta falls flat. Actually the whole song feels that way. While the middle 8 brings in a nice change with it’s slower and more dramatic feel, the song goes right back to that flat sound. Nice, but a bit more seems to be needed.
Then we are thrown right into the title track, Flashback. Here we are given a sultrier sound, with heavy beats and “sexier” vocals. The opening mini-rap is a nice touch and the more graceful verses really help to contrast the power of the chorus. With that said, the chorus feels a little odd at times. I’ve listened to the song constantly and while I do enjoy it and it’s very catchy, there are times when the melody seems weak and seems to be missing the right hook for that section. The vocals were also a little odd and definitely not the strongest heard from some members, but it was nice to hear Jungah more.
Eyeline is actually a solo by member Nana, which is an interesting touch. I personally really enjoy the nasally quality to Nana’s voice and while she doesn’t have the best voice it’s certainly distinct and she can hold her own. Here she proves that with this dance / pop follow-up. The song has a club-like atmosphere to it with it’s funky beats and dramatic chorus. My only problem with this song is that it gets pretty boring by the end because nothing seems to be done with the song. It would’ve been nice to here a few adlibs from Nana or raise the pitch of the song at the end. And then suddenly we are brought to a ballad.
Wristwatch features all the members of After School and is your typical run-of-the-mill korean ballad. It has the sweeping strings, the piano, the attempts to make the chorus seem more exciting than it actually is and the stronger vocalists taking lead. After School has certainly done better ballads than this and I think this would’ve been better as a solo for Jungah or Raina.
Timeless is yet another slow song, but seems to have a bit more life to it. This one only features Jungah and Raina and is more pop with an acoustic R&B twist. It’s certainly a great song at showcasing their vocals and while I’m already tired of the single by this time, it’s a nice ending to it. I definitely think Jungah’s vocals work better for this song and it would’ve been nice to see a bit more power at the end from Raina.
Overall: This single just didn’t do that much for me. It had some good songs on it, but the production made the songs dull at times and the single just lost a lot of steam at the end. Also, the ballads were a bit boring and disappointing as the group has had great ballads in the past. The title track and Eyeline were the only tracks I really enjoyed.