[Digital Single] Suzy – Pretend

Pretend is the second digital single released by Suzy. It was released right before her first mini-album.

pretendingtobehappy
Released: January 17, 2017
1. Pretend (행복한 척)

Pretend is a slower tune that fits with the light R&B/pop sound that is popular in Korea. What sets it apart is the chorus, which changes things up a bit by adding some distortion on Suzy’s voice and bringing in some synths. It’s a really nice touch and works nicely with the melancholic melody. While Suzy is an adequate singer, I wasn’t really expecting her to blow this song out of the water, but she does a really nice job here and her tone fits the sadder nature of the song.

Overall: This is the kind of song I was expecting from Suzy, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it is changed up a bit in some areas so that it doesn’t totally sound like the usual light-pop/R&B music from Korea. It’s a nice tune where the music fits nicely with the somber lyrics.

A-

Advertisements

[Digital Single] Suzy – Wind Wind Wind

Wind Wind Wind is a digital single released by miss A’s Suzy. It was used as a CF song for Beanpole Outdoor.

windwindwind
Released: March 10, 2014
1. Wind Wind Wind (바람 바람 바람)

I’m really surprised with this song because it has a nice Mediterranean vibe that I wouldn’t have expected from Suzy. It’s a bit on the midtempo end, but has such a dynamic instrumental that things never get too boring even though it is laid back. The thing I was most surprised about was just how good Suzy sounds in this song. She doesn’t sing that much, but when she does, her tone really suits the song and helps elevate the song. Wind Wind Wind is gorgeous!

Overall: This isn’t my style of music, but this is a really nice tune and I’m pleasantly surprised by how gorgeous it is. Suzy sounds great and the guitar throughout the song is magnificent.

A

[Mini-Album] miss A – Colors

COLORS is the third mini-album released by girl group miss A. It was their first release in almost a year and a half. Only You was used as the promotional single and was a big hit for the group.

colors
Released: March 30, 2015
1. Step (한걸음)
2. Only You (다른 남자 말고 너) [MV]
3. Love Song
4. Melt (녹아)
5. I Caught Ya
6. Stuck

The mini opens with Step, a seductive midtempo R&B tune. I think this is something I wouldn’t expect from this group, but it surprisingly fits them well. It’s a bit oldschool and could easily come from K-Pop from the early to mid 2000s. I love how the beat in the song and it matches so well with everything. The girls sound quite good, although I am not a fan of the slight autotune over their vocals. Overall, it is a solid song and a good opener. After, we are thrown right into the promo track, Only You. I definitely think among their promo singles, this is among their most generic in sound. It’s just pretty straightforward pop. I do really like the squeak that goes on in the back throughout the verses. It definitely gives the song’s instrumental a little more life. The chorus is definitely the highlight though as it is just so catchy. The hook is really sweet sounding and works well with Suzy’s vocals. Nothing new, but definitely a solid pop song. Love Song is definitely an interesting change. This R&B/dance tune has some really cool parts to it. I’m not a huge fan of the chorus since it is a little lackluster, but the verses are strong and the instrumental break is a fun twist even if the transition is a little jarring. The only thing that has to be taken out though is the middle 8 as it does not fit the rest of the song one bit with its a sweeter sound.  A mess, but a fun one. Melt is a fun listen, as it adds some hip-hop elements to the R&B backdrop. It’s really catchy, but I don’t think it hits to the point I want it to. It always stays in a safe zone. It’s a pretty solid song, but I wish there was a little more to the chorus as it just goes on repeat with the nanana’s. I Caught Ya helps to keep up the nice diversity with its slight rock tinge. I really like the buildup to the chorus because it definitely gets the tension up and the guitar riffs help to create a nice backdrop. The musical arrangement is definitely the highlight of the song. It’s a lot of fun and provides a nice contrast to the other songs. With that said, the chorus is again lackluster for me. I think there should’ve been a little bit more strength in the chorus with both the music and vocals. Stuck is the slowest song on the album and is a coffee-house pop songs. I’m usually not a fan of those songs since they are a bit too boring for my tastes, but this one is nice because of the inclusion of the brass instruments in the background. It definitely gives it some life. Actually, the song reminds me of something from mid-2000s J-Pop. It is a nice ending.

Overall: miss A did well with this release. I think the whole album is quite solid and every song is a decent listen. With that said, I did find some of the album tracks to be a little lacking in their execution of the choruses. They never really hit the level that I wanted them to be at and probably won’t revisit them anytime soon. There are some really fun songs here such as Only You and Step, though.

B

[Album] miss A – Hush

Hush is the second full-length album released by girl group miss A. The title track was used as the promotional single and the album includes five songs from their last two mini-albums.


Released: November 6, 2013
1. Come on Over (놀러와)
2. Hush [MV]
3. Love is U
4. Spolight
5. Hide & Sick
6. (Mama) I’m Good
7. Like U
8. Hush (Party Ver.)
9. Touch [MV]
10. Over U
11. Time’s Up
12. If I Were a Boy
13. I Don’t Need a Man (남자 없이 잘 살아) [MV]

miss A’s second album opens with Come on Over, a sensual R&B song. I was expecting something a little more hardhitting, but I gotta be honest and say this is a fantastic song. The melody is surprisingly catchy and the arrangement is really beautiful. I don’t think the rap works that well in this song though and although all the girls sound good it would’ve been nicer to hear a bit of adlibbing towards the end to give it an extra push. I’m surprised people didn’t take to Hush as well as I thought they would. I think it’s an amazing pop song and one of miss A’s strongest offerings. I really like how it builds up with the eventual inclusion of the acoustic guitar and then the heavy beat. The vocals were also much stronger in this one than the last and the group’s lack of standout singer is not really noticeable. Excellent. Love is U gives us a lighter change in sound. The midtempo pop song isn’t my favourite sound, but there are parts that I really enjoy such as when the title is repeated. This part also surprised me because Min actually has a bit of soul in her voice here. Not bad. The verses of Spotlight bring back some early 00s R&B vibes, but the song then switches into full pop mode. While I do like that it is really upbeat and fun, there are areas of the arrangement that I just find annoying like the beat and the weird buzzing noise in the background. It’s still a nice listen, just filler material. Hide & Sick brings the aggressive pop sound and has similarities to that of Hush. I think there are parts of it that are somewhat messy, like Jia’s rap which just doesn’t have much flow. At the same time, there are parts that I enjoy a lot such as the chorus, which has a little bit of a country flair to it. If it was cleaned up a little it could’ve been a promoted song. (Mama) I’m Good is really great and probably the best song since the title track. It’s a bit oldschool and has some rock qualities to it that differentiates it from the other songs. All the girls sound great as well. A great uplifting tune. The last of the brand new tracks, Like U is probably the slowest of them. The modern R&B ballad offers a nice change of pace, however, I find it to be rather dull at times. To melody is decent, but not hardhitting enough and gets lost in the heavy beats and synths during the chorus. It’s an ok listen, just not something I would return to often. The Party Version of Hush is an interesting twist to the somewhat bare sound the original had as it features a stronger trance sound. I think it would be fun to dance to, but it is a bit tiring and overwhelming and the melody is heavily overshadowed by the music. The album also includes five older songs released off the girls’ last two mini-albums. Touch is still one of my favourite miss A songs, although Over U still hasn’t grown on me too much (the chorus is eh…). I really enjoyed Time’s Up so I’m happy it was chosen to be on here whereas I Don’t Need a Man is charming and If I Were a Boy is ok.

Overall: I was actually surprised by this album. It was nice to see a lot more new songs and even if they all weren’t the most amazing, each had its charm and were listenable. It was also good to see that the album consisted largely of upbeat songs. Not too sure why the older songs were included though. I could understand Touch and I Don’t Need a Man, but I found the other ones were unnecessary (despite their varying levels of enjoyability).

B+

[Mini-Album] miss A – Independent Women Pt.III

Independent Women Pt.III is the second mini-album released by JYP girl group, miss A. I Don’t Need a Man was used as the promotional song and I’m guessing the title is a homage to Destiny’s Child’s song, Independent Women.


Released: October 15, 2012
1. I Don’t Need a Man (남자 없이 잘 살아) [MV]
2. Ma Style
3. If I Were a Boy
4. Madness
5. Time’s Up

The mini opens with the promotional song, I Don’t Need a Man. The song brings back the quirkiness of Breathe but in a slightly slower form. It features some funky beats with some fun but charming vocals overlaying it. While I do enjoy the song, it is probably their most forgettable promo song for me. It’s catchy, but it doesn’t leave much of an impact and the girls had done this style better before (Breathe). I’m also not a big fan of how the vocals are sung because there are times in the verses where the girls sound rather uncomfortable with the range. Still a nice listen though. Ma Style follows it up with something similar. I really like the melody and the song has potential, but it falls short because the background vocals ruin a lot. They are really annoying and ruin what could be a perfectly simple and rather sensual sounding song. The bg vocals cover the great guitar riff that lies under the mess and the rap is also horribly awful too. Besides that, it’s rather charming though. If I Were a Boy is another good followup in sound to the last two songs and it’s at least better than the last one. My problem with this one is it’s too slow and boring. The melody sounds like it would’ve been better slightly sped up because the arrangement sounds like its being dragged down. There are parts that I really liked though such as the Nanana’s that pop up after the chorus. Madness includes 2PM member Taecyeon and is the slowest song at this point. It has some oldschool R&B qualities to it that are a nice touch, but I don’t think the girls have the vocal power to take this song to the next level. They sound good, but too weak to really bring the strengths of the song out. Time’s Up brings back the upbeat flavour and is definitely the best song on the album. It’s catchy, modern, but sleek and could be heard today. I don’t know why this wasn’t chosen over the promo song since it’s just a fun delivery and has the most impact out of everything on the mini.

Overall: This mini was an interesting combination of different sounds, but was unfortunately not as consistent as their last one. With that said, although I have been rather critical of the album, I really enjoyed quite a few of the upbeat offerings on the album and they have grown on me quite a bit. There are just some things that I would switch around (and get rid of).

B

[Mini-Album] miss A – Touch

Touch is the first mini-album released by miss A. The title track was used as the promotional song.


Released: February 20, 2012
1. Touch [MV]
2. Lips
3. Rock N Rule
4. No Mercy
5. Over U
6. Touch (Newport Mix)

I know some weren’t a big fan of this song, but the title track, Touch, is quite good imo. I think it has a different flair to it that is dark but interesting and while it’s not as catchy as their last few releases, it doesn’t drag on as bad as Goodbye Baby. I especially enjoy the interesting synths used in the background that are present throughout the entire song as they keep the arrangement from being too bare and uninteresting. My main problem though is that the production doesn’t sound as clean as their past stuff like the vocals sound off at times. Lips is a nice followup to the title track and has a stronger American edge to it. It has a stronger club feel to it than the previous song and also features quite a bit more autotune. I’m not a fan of the verses though as they are lackluster, but the chorus is really nice especially the opening line. The middle 8 is also quite nice too and slows it down a bit. I definitely think Rock N Rule is great. Their vocals sound better here and the song itself is quite fun. The song has a clearer pop route than the last two and while it is cheerful, it keeps it sane. The dubstep addition was a little out of place, but this is definitely my favourite song on here. No Mercy is funky and charming and features a stronger percussion backing. I really like the verses to this song as they are quite edgy sounding and the repetitive hook in the chorus is really great. With that said, I don’t really like the first part of the chorus as the melody sounds quite odd and doesn’t really fit with the music as well as it could have. Over U is a change as it features a stronger electronic sound. I think in terms of the fast moving K-Pop sound, this one sounds a bit outdated for me in the sense that it reminds me of something from ’08 or ’09 than it does from ’12. I like that it has a more aggressive sound to it, but the chorus is pretty weak to me. The mini ends with a remix of Touch and what a great remix it is. The Newport Remix slows things down a bit but makes it even more haunting than the original. And the rap is surprisingly really cool sounding here too.

Overall: Touch was an odd release for me. I heard that many people really like it as a whole and weren’t particularly impressed with the title track, but I think the overall release was more on the middle ground. I think every track was decent and some were better than others, but it didn’t really push for anything and there seemed to be things in every song that needed to be worked on.

B+

[Album] miss A – A Class

A Class is the first album released by miss A. Good-bye Baby was used as the promotional song and the album features only 5 new songs out of the 12 (excluding the remix). Love Alone was released right before the album’s release.


Released: July 18, 2011
1. One to Ten (하나부터 열까지)
2. Good-bye Baby [MV]
3. Help Me
4. Break It
5. Mr. Johnny
6. Play That Music DJ (그 음악을 틀어줘요 DJ)
7. Step Up
8. Breathe [MV]
9. Blankly (멍하니)
10. Love Again (다시 사랑) [MV]
11. Love Alone [MV]
12. Bad Girl Good Girl [MV]
13. Good-bye Baby (Silver Mix)

I was worried One to Ten was going to be an intro, but thankfully it’s a full song especially considering it’s only one of five new songs. It starts with a flowing piano line before going into an almost 4minute Heart to Heart melody, but this song seems more like the more mature sounding sister. It’s a decent opener, but I just can’t get H2H out of my head now that it sorta ruins everything. It’s a good song though, but a little empty sounding. The arrangement is rather weak for the melody and I don’t think they really work well together. I really like the vocals though, especially around the end. Good-bye Baby is a much stronger song. The promotional song has a heavy beat and is more reminiscent of Bad Girl Good Girl than of Breathe. It’s quite addicting and I like the odd mixture of beats with the electric guitar undertone. The song is also very catchy and the repeated title throughout the chorus is nicely done with good singing breaks in between so it doesn’t become too annoying. My only problem with the song is that I’m not a big fan of songs that open with the chorus because I feel by the end they tend to sound like they drag on, which happens here especially since they don’t take the song to the next level at that time. It’s still a strong song though. Help Me is a great follow-up and in my opinion, one of miss A’s stronger non-promotional songs. This midtempo pop tune features a bass line with a clap-beat over top. I really enjoy how the background vocals were utilized during the pre-chorus’ although there are times when the verses and pre-chorus just seem too long. The chorus is just so funky and catchy that the long wait takes away from it. Vocally, it’s a good song that shows off their vocals like the first track. The next new song is Mr. Johnny, which is a nice change from the more midtempo dance / pop songs up until now. It’s a fast-paced and catchy electronic dance song with a fun atmosphere and striking array of synths. I’m not a big fan of the chorus because it’s a bit weak compared to the verses, which are quite strong. I think the rap is a nice touch here though and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb like in some of their other songs. The last of the new songs is Good-bye Baby (Silver Remix), which is an interesting take on the song. Everything is slowed down and the arrangement comprises mostly of a powerful beat and some weird Spy-like synths, giving it a more “mysterious” quality to it. To be honest I don’t like this at all. The song is way too slow for me and it loses its punch. The rest of the album is basically full of their songs from the past two singles excluding one song, Just Fall Across. The promotional songs, Breathe, Bad Girl Good Girl and Love Alone are probably the strongest here. Love Again, Step Up and Blankly are also two songs that I enjoyed from their releases. I was not happy with the inclusion of Play That Music DJ and Break It though, more so the former, which I find quite annoying and I actually would’ve liked it more if Just Fall Across was on this album instead. The latter has grown on me, but I don’t know whether or not I like it.

Overall: miss A’s first album was somewhat disappointing in one way, which was the lack of new tracks. I can understand the inclusion of their promotional songs, but it seems like such a waste for people who got the singles considering almost all the songs are included on the album. It would’ve been nice to hear some more new stuff too since the majority of the newer songs were quite good. Besides that it is a decent release with some ups, downs and in-betweens.

B+