[Digital Single] PRODUCE 101 – 35 Boys 5 Concepts

35 Boys 5 Concepts is the second digital single from the second season of Produce 101. 35 boys were split into five teams that had songs with their own unique concept.

Released: June 3, 2017
1. It’s – Showtime
2. Boys Under Moonlight – I Know You Know
3. Knock – Open Up (열어줘)
4. Slate – Oh Little Girl
5. Nation’s Son – Never

Blasting off right away, we have Showtime, an upbeat and explosive pop tune with some nu-disco elements. I love the energy of this song and there is something about it that really gets me into the song. The chorus is a bit repetitive and feels like it rushes right through, but it is really catchy. My only gripe would maybe be young Woojin’s voice as it sticks out so much. Definitely a great pop tune.

I Know You Know is one of my favourites of the five songs. I love the funk vibe that its got going on. I do think the abundance of falsetto is its downfall as it causes areas to end up weak vocally and I do wish that the chorus had more power in the music. It doesn’t really pop from the rest of the song. However, the verses are great and I love how cool they sound.

Open Up was popular for its dance and it is a cool mix of pop and EDM. I actually really like the verses and the bouncing around of sounds. Baekho also has a really nice tone that suits this song. The chorus is lacking though. It feels like the melody doesn’t quite fit with the tempo of the music and I always think its off. I think the music is really interesting, but the melody leaves me wanting more.

Actually, Oh Little Girl is the one song I always forget about. I feel like it doesn’t have a really memorable sound compared to the other songs despite it having more R&B/hip-hop elements. The chorus isn’t bad though and I do feel like it reminds me of some older J-Pop songs in terms of melody. It has a really relaxing vibe, but it comes off more like a B-side.

NEVER was my favourite of all the songs. With its deep house sound, it stands out, but its the sadder quality to it that I feel really sets it apart. It feels more emotional than the other songs and how it was constructed makes it feel like it was organized well. The gentle verses, intense raps and finally that flaring chorus really meld together so well. Jaehwan especially does well here as his voice just takes the song to the next level.

Overall: This is a great collection of songs and I feel like its a good follow-up to the girls’ version. I do think this one is a bit weaker though as some of the songs just don’t sound like promo material and would be more suitable as album tracks. With a bit of tweaking, I think some of these songs could have showed their true colours. Still, I did enjoy most of the songs.


[Mini-Album] GFriend – Snowflake

Snowflake is the third mini-album released by GFriend. Rough was used as the promotional track and became the girl group’s biggest hit.

Released: January 25, 2016
1. Intro (Snowflake)
2. Rough (시간을 달려서)
3. Say My Name (내 이름을 불러줘)
4. Luv Star (사랑별)
5. Someday (그런 날엔)
6. Trust
7. Rough (inst.)

The mini opens Intro (Snowflake), which is pretty dramatic with its ticking and synths. It has a lot of power to it and ties in to the next track perfectly.

Rough is essentially GFriend’s biggest hit and it’s not surprising to see why. It has a powerful arrangement that focuses on string-like synths to give the song a very uplifting feel. What’s so great is that the chorus has a melody that is not only catchy, but intense. It fits so perfectly with the music that they both complement each other and it really makes things feel like an anime opening. The girls also sound really great, although its Yuju’s performance that really escalates the song in its final section.

Say My Name is different. While it is another upbeat pop tune, this one has some Spanish elements in it. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this song as it doesn’t have the power of the last one. However, it has an old school quality about it and it reminds me of something from the early 00’s. The chorus doesn’t blast off, but it does have a smooth charm to it that is only heightened by that nostalgic hook in its second half.

Luv Star is definitely more on the cuter side of things. The verses are a bit forgettable, but the chorus does have a great sound to it. I wasn’t expecting to like it that much, but this one does have a late 00’s sound to it that reminds me of Girls’ Generation’s older material. It is catchy and I like how the chorus is in unison. A solid tune.

Someday starts off sounding like a ballad but soon explodes with some energy. I feel like this one is the most similar to their usual title tracks as it has that J-Pop quality to it with its focus on flaring synths and flying Yuju vocals. I really enjoy the pre-chorus and the build-up into the chorus, which dips down from the vocal climaxing before building things up again. It’s a really interesting style to go with.

Trust is the mini’s ballad and has a gentle R&B beat under the piano and sparkling synths. I think the verses are dull and not memorable at all, but the chorus is much better. The melody is stronger and the harmonies in the back really help to elevate the vocals. I would say the bridge is the highlight of the song as Yuju’s voice really brings a lot of colour to the song. A decent ending.

Overall: This is a great follow-up to their great second mini. All the songs on here are solid and there are two stand out tunes. Even if some of the songs weren’t totally my style, there were elements to them I really enjoyed. I would just like some of the verses in the songs to not be so forgettable.