[Single] Jun Hyo Seong – TOP SECRET

It certainly is interesting to see bagel girl Hyo Seong making her debut and I’m not entirely surprised at the image she chose to represent this time around considering she has always been the “sexy” member of Secret. TOP SECRET is her debut single, with Good-night Kiss being the promo song.

topsecret
Released: May 12, 2014
1. You Don’t Know Women (여자를 몰라)
2. Good-night Kiss [MV]
3. I Hate the Night (밤이 싫어요)

You Don’t Know Women features rapper J-Kyun and is a fun pop song with hip-hop and funk elements. It is a bit repetitive at times, but there are some really killer parts to the song. The section after the middle 8 is especially fun with the interchanging lines between the singer and the rapper. I also really love the use of the saxophone that comes blaring in after the choruses. I also enjoyed the rap break. He sorta lacks energy, but it works with the feel of the song that is upbeat yet not entirely out in full force. The promo song, Good-night Kiss, brings something a bit sexier with its clap-beats and soft vocals. The verses are rather seductive and I really love the prechorus with the “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” chanting. Despite sounding somewhat jarring, it brings a bit of fun to the song. My only problem lies with the chorus. It just seems like a let down compared to the rest of the song. The melody is catchy, but there is no impact that really makes it standout. The second half the chorus helps to lighten things up, but sometimes it just feels like an awkward addition meant to add a bit of hook into the song. With that said, I actually enjoy the song quite a bit. I Hate the Night is definitely the most exhilarating song on the album. The dance-pop song has some funk elements and certainly catchy, but a lot of the song just seems to blur together. The melody isn’t particularly strong and coupled with a somewhat messy instrumental, the overall result ends up somewhat forgettable. It’s a nice song, just the weakest on the single.

Overall: I was actually surprised with this single. I really enjoyed how all three songs were upbeat, which fits very well with Hyoseong’s image and sound. The first two songs were fun listens and I have really grown to enjoy the promo song quite a bit. The last song was ok, but certainly B-side material.

A

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[Digital Single] U-KISS – AMAZING

AMAZING is the seventh digital single released by U-KISS. It was used as a teaser for their sixth mini-album.

amazing
Released: April 20, 2012
1. AMAZING

AMAZING continues U-KISS’ electronic sound, which is probably why it sounds so similar to their past songs. The biggest change though is the fact the song sounds much more lighthearted than some of their past works like Neverland. It’s really a good song though. It’s catchy melody, has a fantastic beat and makes you want to dance. There are times when the song really shines though such as the rapping and pre-chorus. At the same time, it could do without certain parts such as the repetitive hook in the second half of the chorus.

Overall: One of their stronger electronic offerings, which borrows characteristics from their past songs. Not fantastic, but a fun listen.

A-

[Mini-Album] SISTAR – Alone

Alone is the first mini-album released by girl group SISTAR. The title track was used as the promotional song and garnered them their biggest hit up to that point. It also seemed to cause a chain reaction as many other girl groups have since released similar sounding songs.

alone
Released: April 12, 2012
1. Come Closer
2. Alone (나혼자) [MV]
3. No Mercy
4. Lead Me
5. Girls On Top
6. You Will Love (널 사랑하겠어)
7. Alone (inst.)

As with most SISTAR releases, the release kicks off with an intro. Come Closer is interesting because of its heavy beat and sensual touch. The melody isn’t bad and would’ve been nice if it was flushed out more into a full song. What I like is that it transitions well into the title track, Alone. The first thing I notice about this song is how it doesn’t sound as generic pop as their past title tracks did. Not to say they weren’t good listens, it’s just it seems they amped things up this time around. Alone contains the same catchiness that their past promo songs had, but with a more sultry and darker twist. It matches perfectly with the sexier image that SISTAR displays. The instrumental to the song is quite intriguing given the repetitive piano chords. The thing that stands out most though is the underlying bass that helps give the song some funk. Vocally, the song is the usual SISTAR flair. I did wish the song would show a bit more of Hyorin’s voice, but it’s nice to hear her in a more restrained scenario. Soyu holds her own as well as Dasom (although she only has one part), but it unfortunately seems the rap overwhelms Bora’s efforts. Oddly enough, right after we get thrown into the funky disco-influenced pop tune, No Mercy. I actually really enjoy this song. It isn’t particularly anything new, but it does a good job of giving us a solid, catchy pop song. While the verses are a bit forgettable, the choruses are insanely catchy and the chant-rap at the end helps to give the song a refreshing break from the repetition. Lead Me is a midtempo R&B-pop song. Much like the last song, it’s nothing we haven’t heard from most groups out these days, but it’s just such a quality tune. All the girls sound really good here as well. Certainly Soyu and Hyorin impress, but Bora gives a surprisingly decent performance during the small rap snippets in the verses. Girls On Top isn’t the powerful dance track we know of from BoA. Instead, SISTAR gives us a rather awkward pop song that sounds like a f(x) reject. The only thing that saves it is the chorus is somewhat catchy. I wanna like this song. I think if things could’ve been tweaked in certain areas to make the melody have more flow, it would be a decent listen, but it’s a bit of a mess. You Will Love is actually a solo song by Hyorin and a cover I believe. Hyorin sounds great, as would be expected from the songstress. The song itself is pretty, but it is a bit dull and doesn’t match her voice that well. Not sure why this was added here.

Overall: Certainly, this is one of SISTAR’s most solid releases, if not their most solid. The first 3 (and a half) songs are stellar and solid tracks that are both catchy and help to mature the girl group’s image. Girls On Top and You Will Love are unfortunately a bit weak for me. Luckily their weaknesses are easily made up for.

B+