[Mini-Album] MYTEEN – MYTEEN GO!

MYTEEN is a newer boy band that debuted in 2017. They haven’t really hit it big yet, but their music has a lot of potential and the guys were also featured on the show, Mix Nine. It’s unfortunate they are slow to release though despite being a newer group. MYTEEN GO! is the first mini-album released by the group. “Amazing” was used as the promotional track.

myteengo

Released: July 26, 2017
1. Amazing (어마어마하게)
2. Hyper (붕 떠)
3. You-reka (이 동네 왜 이래)
4. Take It Out (꺼내가)
5. Mr. Misery
6. 19.20
7. Day By Day (짜장면)

Surprisingly, the mini opens with the promo track, but it’s a great way to start things off. Amazing is a superbly catchy pop tune. It’s pretty generic and sounds like an off shot of something from Seventeen or another group that releases bright and poppy numbers, but it’s still a solid pop tune. The greatest part is the underlying funk bass, which helps give the music a bit of edge. Amazing really delivers in its sparkly chorus though as the energy is brought up and the catchy hook really works nicely and doesn’t overdo things.

myteengo

Hyper slows things down to bring something more midtempo, but there is still some energy in the musical delivery. The clap beat and gentle synths help to bring a breezier feel. It sounds as though it is taking some elements from tropical house, but instead of focusing on a drop to do the work, the song still keeps its melodic tendencies in the chorus. It’s not the catchiest song, but it’s a surprisingly sweet tune.

Bringing the energy back up, we get You-reka. The verses aren’t particularly interesting, but the chorus is quite nice. I do wish the chorus had a bit more punch to it in terms of arrangement, but the melody is still quite light and easy to take in. The switches into the raps bring some odd transitions, but they are short and don’t detract too much. It’s another solid B-side and helps keep the cohesion.

myteengo1

Not quite sure what to think of Take It Out. It brings something that drags on a bit and while it has some great ideas, I feel like it would’ve benefited from having a little more energy. I do like its slower R&B and soul vibes and there are some great parts in the melody, but it just doesn’t have to power to really make enough influence.

I think I like Mr. Misery more. It doesn’t quite have the same power as the first few songs, but there are some wicked parts to it. The music has more punch and that bass really brings a darker edge to it that I wasn’t expecting. The chorus is pretty catchy, but it doesn’t quite have the same punch to it because its delivered in falsetto. I feel like if it was delivered in chest or mixed, it would’ve been more exciting.

myteengo2

I was expecting a ballad by this point, but 19.20 keeps up the energy. This time we are given a pretty emotionally charged EDM-influenced pop tune. I was expecting the chorus is feature a drop into an instrumental, but instead we get another melodic tune with a melody that slithers around the high flashing synths and heavy beat. It’s a pretty cool track and keeps up the quality.

I think the slowest song comes in the form of Day By Day, which goes the light acoustic route. But even then, it is more midtempo than an actual ballad. I like how it has an almost Mediterranean influence to it in the verses and its unfortunate it lets that go in the chorus. This is probably my least favourite song on the mini as it just sort of lulls along. It has some great points like the rap, but I feel the other songs stand out more.


Overall: This was a pleasant mini. I wasn’t really expecting much going into it, but I ended up enjoying quite a few songs. All the songs are pretty generic, but it’s understandable as a debut mini and many of the songs were still of good quality. I do hope they continue to release such solid releases.

B+

[Repackaged] TWICE – TWICEcoaster: LANE 2

TWICEcoaster: LANE 2 is the repackaged version of the group’s third mini, TWICEcoaster: LANE 1. It includes all the tracks from that one as well as two new songs. A remix and three instrumentals were also added on the physical copies. “Knock Knock” was used as the promotional track.

twicecoasterlane2

Released: February 20, 2017
1. Knock Knock
2. Melting (녹아요)
3. TT
4. 1 to 10
5. Ponytail
6. Jelly Jelly
7. Pit-a-Pat
8. Next Page
9. One in a Million

Knock Knock fits the winter season perfectly. It continues the cuter vibe that the group has worked on since their debut, but sounds closer to the sound of “TT” than their other promo tracks. I actually really like this song. The guitar that plays throughout the song gives the song its much needed energy, while the beat and swirling synths help to give it a punch when needed. The melody is pretty sweet sounding and I like how the hooks are integrated throughout the melodic delivery. Another strong song.

Bringing a nice contrast, we get Melting, which goes brings the light R&B/coffeehouse kind of sound. I’m not a huge fan of these songs, but this is a surprisingly nice tune. I’m not really liking the editing on the vocals, but the actual melody is quite beautiful and fits nicely with the gentle arrangement.


Overall: The two songs added were actually quite nice and great additions to the original mini. I like that they fit the winter season, but bring two contrasting vibes. I’m hoping for more B-sides like “Melting” where the quality is up to par with the promotional tracks.

A (new songs)

[Album] Morning Musume – 3rd -Love Paradise-

3rd -Love Paradise- is the third album released by Morning Musume. It is their first release to include member, Goto Maki, who helped propel the group into stardom with their juggernaut hit, “LOVE Machine”. The album proved to be a great success, peaking at #2 and selling over 863,000 copies. The album includes two singles, both of which were incredibly successful with each selling well over one million copies.

3rdloveparadise

Released: March 29, 2000
1. ~Ohayou~ (~おはよう~; ~Good Morning~)
2. LOVE Machine (LOVEマシーン)
3. Aisha Loan de (愛車 ローンで; A Beloved Car on Loan)
4. Kuchizuke no Sono Ato (くちづけのその後; Right After the Kiss)
5. Koi no Dance Site (恋のダンスサイト; Love’s Dance Site)
6. Lunchtime ~Rebanira Itame~ (ランチタイム ~レバニラ炒め~; Lunchtime ~Liver Leek Stir-Fry~)
7. DANCE Suru no da! (DANCEするのだ!; Dance!)
8. Omoide (おもいで; Memories)
9. Harajuku 6:00 Shuugou (原宿6:00集合; Meeting at Harajuku at 6:00)
10. WHY
11. “…Suki da yo!” (「、、、好きだよ!」; “…I Love You!”)
12. ~Oyasumi~ (~おやすみ~; ~Good Night~)

~Ohayou~ is an interesting way to start things off. It is like an intro/short song, with it only clocking in at around two minutes. It starts off really nicely with the light strings and almost orchestral quality. It doesn’t feature any singing, but just has the girls talking.

morningmusumelovemachine

It oddly transitions into LOVE Machine (#1 / 1,646,000), the groups most well-known hit. LOVE Machine is a contrast to the more serious tone that the group’s earlier music was known for. I love how the song is just a lot of fun. The funky music with the crazy synths and over-the-top vocals just work together so nicely and it brings a catchy breath of fresh air. There are still some great melodic parts, like the pre-chorus, which is still my favourite part of the song. The song is just full of hooks.

I’m not sure about Aisha Loan de. It goes to the lighter pop/rock and I just find it totally lacking compared to the last song. This feels like it would fit better on the group’s first album. It’s not a bad song, but the verses are just poorly produced. The chorus is definitely stronger, but it’s just not that memorable. A bit of a disappointment.

Kuchizuke no Sono Ato continues that pop/rock vibe and I just don’t know what’s going on. I was expecting some more catchy and fun pop songs, but instead we get these serious and rather forgettable songs. This one is definitely better than the last song and I find it has a certain charm to it, but it’s not particularly impressive either. I like that it feels more focused and the production is stronger. This version is also way better than Goto’s solo one.

morningmusumekoinodancesite

I’m so thankful we get into the next single. Koi no Dance Site (#2 / 1,229,000) pretty much doubles down on the over-the-top silliness that was found in “LOVE Machine”. I feel like this is the clear point where the group really took on this role for better or worse. It has a stronger influence that seems almost ancient Egyptian. It’s a bit weird to be honest. I feel like the chorus is a bit lacking and doesn’t quite hit the same energy of the powerful music. Likewise, I feel some of the backing vocals were just a bit too much. It’s still pretty catchy though.

Lunchtime ~Rebanira Itame~ is so weird. This isn’t really a song itself either, but is just a long sounding commentary. It’s actually a bit disappointing because the sexier R&B sound that plays is actually pretty wicked and would’ve been a welcomed entry. Instead, we get another unnecessary track.

At least with DANCE Suru no da! we get back into the fun pop sound. Here, we go with a lighter pop song that brings some funk and disco into it. I quite like the energy of the music and while the melody isn’t particularly strong, it’s still a pretty solid tune overall. I feel like this is the kind of music I was expecting to hear more of from the album tracks. It’s just a bit too long for my liking.

I really like Omoide. It has a more dramatic pop sound that brings in some late 90’s R&B elements and it takes a sexier swing. It’s a cool follow-up to the last song because it brings some contrast as it is a darker tune, but still brings some of that wicked bass into it. I do wish the chorus pushed things a little harder as the vocals come off a tad light, but this is a pretty nice tune.

I was worried Harajuku 6:00 Shuugou was going to be another interlude type of song, but instead we get something more interesting. It starts off with a talking section, but soon switches things up to bring an almost explosive latin spin. It doesn’t seem as fluid as most latin songs, but the influence is clearly there in the brass and beat. However, this excitement all dies once the chorus comes in. It’s horribly boring, flat and kills all the momentum the music and the verses help to build.

WHY opens in a weird way with rapping. It’s a weird change, but the music is really great. The guitar is the focus here and brings a more organic feel. The verses are pretty lackluster though and sound more like a demo than the actual completed song. Things only start getting better for the pre-chorus. The chorus is pretty interesting and I do like that the song tries to change things up by having each member sing only a syllable instead of a line. It’s like a puzzle.

I like that “…Suki da yo!” brings a more positive sound. However, there is one horrible problem with the production. The music is great, the singing is pretty nice, but there is a huge disconnect between the two. It sounds like the music is far in the distance and the girls are singing really close. It really ruined things for me because this song has so much potential.

We end things with ~Oyasumi~, which is another spoken track. As the outro, it’s a bit odd and I’m just not fond of the guy’s voice.


Overall: This album was a bit of a disappointment for me. I was really expecting some great songs considering the singles were pretty fun and exciting, but most of the album tracks just ended up pretty flat sounding. I did like the experimentation in sound and there were many interesting aspects included in the songs, however, they just weren’t executed that well and there were some editing ideas that were just glaringly bad ideas.

B-

[Mini-Album] LABOUM – Love Sign

Love Sign is the first mini-album released by LABOUM. “Shooting Love” was released as the mini’s promotional song.

lovesign

Released: August 23, 2016
1. Shooting Star (intro)
2. Shooting Love (푱푱)
3. Ding Dong (딩동)
4. Sweetly (달콤하게)
5. Like U Love U
6. Shooting Love (instrumental)

Shooting Star (intro) opens with some sparkling synths. It’s not anything particularly special, but I do think it is quite cute and helps build things up for the next song.

laboumlovesign1

The promo track, Shooting Love, is a great follow-up to their last song just because it is another high quality track. It’s not the most unique song and has some similarities to the styles from f(x) or Red Velvet, but there is a great punch to it that is just so infectious. The chorus is especially fun and I love how the hooks are integrated nicely throughout the song instead of just a smack dump of it. I would say my favourite parts are when Soyeon sings because her voice just propels this song.

I would say Ding Dong is a bit of a weird twist, but I like that it follows the same energy as the last song with its retro pop/rock vibe. However, it isn’t as infectious as the last song. I feel like the verses are pretty powerful, but the melody sort of loses is effectiveness as it goes on and it gets overshadowed by the heavy guitar. It’s an average kind of song that definitely had potential for more.

laboumlovesign

Once again, we get another upbeat pop tune that follows the retro route. I feel that Sweetly follows its name quite well because the vocal arrangement is definitely on the sweeter and cuter side of things. The chorus has more punch than the last song, but I once again feel like it’s lacking in the hooks to really dig into me.

Soyeon has a solo song with Yun from Lunafly. I’m pleasantly surprised that Like U Love U is the fourth upbeat song in a row and this is probably the strongest song since “Shooting Love”. It has a touch of funk in the verses, which is a nice change. The chorus is a bit more on the bright pop side of things, but it is still pretty catchy and I like that both of their voices fit together nicely.


Overall: This is a pretty average mini. I was actually hoping for more considering the group has such strong title tracks. The promoted track here is exciting and fun, but the rest of the tracks just fall in the middle. They aren’t terrible, but nothing particularly outstanding to listen to.

B

[Digital Single] Dana – Touch You

“Touch You” is the first digital single released by Dana and the 15th release from SM STATION Season 1.

touchyou

Released: May 20, 2016
1. Touch You (울려 퍼져라)
2. Touch You (instrumental)

As I was expecting, Touch You is a ballad, but goes for a stronger orchestral sound. Considering this is her first solo release in many years, it is a bit surprising to hear her vocals still as sweet as ever. It is also a nice surprise to hear she hasn’t lost a lot of her power. I feel like it isn’t your usual K-Pop OST ballad and tries to change things up a bit by heightening the energy and making sure there is a steady and passionate pace to the song that is helped by the beat and piano. It’s quite wonderful.


Overall: This is a stunning piece as a return for Dana. It’s a beautiful ballad that tries to bring a more energetic take on things. I feel like Dana’s sweet vocals fit well with something with a brighter tone to it and it really works nicely here.

A

[Album] Jolin Tsai – Show Your Love

Show Your Love is the third album released by Jolin. While her first two were runaway successes, Jolin wanted to mature her sound and image. However, this resulted in the album not performing as strongly as the first two and the sales suffered as a result, with the album only selling 260,000 copies. Some songs were still rather successful and “Do You Still Love Me?” charted in the top 30 songs of the year.

showyourlove

Released: December 20, 2000
1. Show Your Love
2. Love is Near (快有愛)
3. Do You Still Love Me (你還愛我嗎)
4. Baby Face
5. If On That Day You Say You Love Me (如果那天你說愛我)
6. Reluctant (捨不得)
7. Fell in Love with a Street (愛上了一條街)
8. Pretty Pretty Day
9. See at a Glance (一眼就看見)
10. Feel Your Presence (感覺你的存在)

As with her last two albums, this one opens with an upbeat pop tune. I would say Show Your Love is better than her previous ones because it goes with a light disco sound that is reminiscent of pop in the late 90’s. The funky synths and beat work nicely and I like the energy of the music. I think Jolin sounds more confident and her voice is also stronger. It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty fun opening.

Love is Near is a really cool song that combines some different sounds into a calming midtempo pop song. I am pleasantly surprised with this song because I really like the mix of the synths and the more light acoustic vibe. I do wish the beat was a bit different, but I feel like this song is really calming and works nicely with her sweet voice. It’s not particularly catchy, but there is a charm to its hypnotic delivery.

jolinshowyourlove

The album’s hit song comes in the form of a slow ballad. Do You Still Love Me? is an R&B-lite pop ballad. I feel like it works nicely with Jolin’s voice and you can definitely hear her improved vocals in this song. The problem comes in with the chorus as there is a really weird jump transitioning into it that comes off a bit unnatural and sort of ruins the flow into the chorus. The melody is nice, but relies a lot on the power of the music as it comes off pretty forgettable later on. A bit boring to be honest.

I was really excited when I saw the title Baby Face because it made me think it might be an R&B song and I was right. This is her most aggressive song to date in terms of arrangement and it’s a welcomed change. The beat is pretty oldschool sounding and fits more in the 90’s, but I like how Jolin goes the whispery route. The chorus is surprisingly catchy and while it is repetitive, it is memorable. Pretty solid.

Bringing us another ballad, we have If On That Day You Say You Love Me. This one goes for a more acoustic sound as well, but what sets this apart from the other ballad is that the melody is stronger and more memorable. However, I wish the song was stronger near the end. It keeps feeling like it will build into something more powerful but it never reaches that point. It’s still a pretty song.

And yet another ballad comes in with Reluctant. This one is pretty standard and I find it matches the songs from her past albums more than this one. Unfortunately, that’s where it suffers. The melody isn’t bad, but there isn’t any power to it and it floats along, while the music is pretty bland.

Fell in Love with a Street is a really cool song and goes the midtempo route, but with a funky bassline. I like it’s dreamier vibe as it differentiates itself from the rest of the album in terms of vibe. The pre-chorus is a little odd with the focus on the “nanana”s, but I love how everything transitions into the stronger chorus. It has a slick R&B sound to it that I think would have benefited more from a stronger vocalist like A-Mei, but it is still pretty fun.

jolinshowyourlove1

The next song goes the fun and summery style. Pretty Pretty Day is a fun song with some light reggae elements, but it sort of lacks substance. I like the heavy drum and the energy of the melody, but the music is pretty bare and doesn’t have a lot of power compared to the vocal arrangement. It’s a bit weird and just not to my tastes.

See at a Glance goes the light R&B route, but it feels like a Mandopop ballad with an R&B beat. It isn’t bad, but it feels like it doesn’t totally blend together that well and there seems to be a bit of disconnect, especially considering the beat overpowers the vocals in the song. The melody is nice, but I feel like it would’ve been better if it wasn’t stomped on.

I do like that the album ends on a positive note with Feeling Your Presence. Here, we get a carefree and bright pop song it’s one of the stronger songs on the album just because it feels like one of the more clearly-focused songs. It also has a great energy to it despite not being particularly catchy. The odd talking parts that come in weren’t needed though.


Overall: This album wasn’t as positively received when it was released, but I think it is stronger than her first two. I didn’t feel a bit change in sound from Jolin here, but I do feel like the styles of some songs were different, like the added influence of R&B. I did like that more of the album was midtempo or upbeat and there were fewer ballads as they were the weaker points. The first half of the album started off quite strong but things started to teeter off by the second half and then we got some songs that sounded more fitting of her previous two, which was unfortunate. Still a stronger release.

B-

[Repackaged] T-ara – Mirage

Mirage is the repackaged version of T-ara’s mini album, Day By Day. This was their first release after the bullying scandal and didn’t include member Hwayoung. “Sexy Love” was used as the promotional track and the other new song, “Day & Night (Love All)” was released as a digital single on the same day.

sexylove

Released: September 4, 2012
1. Sexy Love
2. Day & Night (Love All) (낮과밤)
3. Day By Day
4. Holiday
5. Don’t Leave (떠나지마)
6. Hue
7. Love Play (사랑놀이)

Sexy Love is classic T-ara. It is an upbeat dance song and is most similar to their song, “Lovey-Dovey”, with its trendy sound. This one is a bit different because it matches its name with a more sensual vibe in the vocal delivery for the verses. The chorus doesn’t feel like classic hooks, but instead relies a bit more on the melodies delivery and the music. It’s bit on the sillier side of things, especially with that added synth riff, but it’s a clever tune that is a lot fun.

The other new song is a ballad that also features Shannon and Gavy NJ member, Geonji. Day & Night (Love All) is your standard K-Pop ballad and actually feels more like something from the early 00’s than early 10’s. It takes a similar vibe like that of the group’s last collaboration with Davichi, “We Were in Love”, but I don’t feel like it’s quite as strong. The melody is lacking and the vocally performance is rather sad but weak in energy. I was expecting something a little more powerful, so I’m a little disappointed.


Overall: The two new songs were contrasts to each other, but they were still two solid tracks. Sexy Love is amazingly catchy and another trendy highlight in the group’s discography. I wasn’t as interested in the ballad as it feels like a weaker rehash of the group’s past ballads. It’s still decent, just easily overshadowed.

B+ (new songs)