Q is. is the fourth mini-album released by NU’EST. Overcome was used as the promo song.
Released: February 17, 2016
1. My Heaven (나의 천국)
2. Overcome (여왕의 기사)
3. In Fact (사실 말야)
4. Bickering (티격태격)
My Heaven is such a surprisingly strong starter. It has a heavy electronic dance sound and it shows a nice progression from the group’s older material. I love the music and the different synths tied with the pulsating beat really work nicely with the guys’ vocals. I do wish the chorus melody was a bit stronger, but everything does a great job of working together. Excellent! It also ties into the promo song, Overcome. This is one of my favourite title tracks from the group because it brings that urban electropop sound, but does it in an absolutely gorgeous way. The beat is pounding and it has some striking synths on top that all make the melody feel like it just floats above it. It’s a weird contrast, but works really nicely. Baekho especially sounds amazing here. In Fact is a midtempo pop tune. It’s the type of coffeehouse kind of pop/R&B tune that has become popular in Korea in recent years. I do like this one tries to change things up by bringing a more electronic feel to things. The song is really laid back and has a good vibe going on, although I don’t think the melody is as much of an ear worm as I would hope for. Not bad, but a bit forgettable. Bickering does bring something a bit more refreshing with its jazzier edge. It has a similar laid back vibe to it, but brings in a fuller set of instruments that keeps the song’s energy up. I quite like the music with its touches of brass and piano. The chorus is much stronger than the last song and while the hooks aren’t as strong, it seems more complete. It works in the long run. A solid tune. Rounding out the mini is ONEKIS2. Despite the weird name, the song is actually a ballad. I’m always a bit iffy with K-Pop ballads as they can be total hits or misses, but this one is quite nice. The gentleness of the music tied with the strong vocals really helps set the setting. Unfortunately, the song decides to keep this gentle vibe throughout and it ends up a bit dull. I wish the chorus had more energy to it as it sort of drags on by the end.
Overall: This isn’t their strongest mini-album, but it is solid. The first two songs are especially strong and I love the heavy electronic sound that the first half of the mini brings. I do wish the last three songs had a bit more energy to them and were stronger, but they were still decent tunes.
I’m Bad is the second single released by NU’EST. It was released to celebrate the group’s third year anniversary since their debut.
Released: February 27, 2015
1. I’m Bad
2. A Scene Without You (나와 같은 차를 마시고)
I’m Bad is a laid back midtempo pop/R&B tune. It’s the kind of song that is quite popular in Korea and the type that could be played in a cafe or as background music. It has some really nice parts to it though. The chorus is especially catchy with the “I’m bad” hook, which is cleverly used. This is nicely tied in with the arrangement that has some quirks. The touches of guitar and the odd brass-like synth that cover the backdrop really help to give the music a bit of character. It’s a relaxing tune. A Scene Without You starts off like a ballad, but it gains some steam as it progresses. Once the chorus hits, the music brings in some percussion and synths to help bring a fuller sound. I quite like it, although I wish the melody was a little more memorable. I don’t think it sticks as well as the last song despite the similarities between the two in terms of feeling.
Overall: This was a bit of a change from NU’EST as it doesn’t really have an “upbeat” song. Instead, both tunes are midtempo pop songs that would be heard in a cafe or something of this sort. These two songs are actually solid tunes, but they sort of just blend in with each other and in the grand scheme of things, don’t quite stand out in NU’EST’s discography.
Re:BIRTH is the first album released by NU’EST. Good Bye Bye was used as the promotional song.
Released: July 9, 2014
2. Big Deal
3. Good Bye Bye (굿 바이 바이)
4. Darkness (사랑 없는 사랑)
7. Give Me a Shoulder (어깨빌려)
10. Hello (여보세요)
11. Sleep Talking (잠꼬대)
Judgement is a really weird intro. I sort of like it as it has a funky beat, but it just goes all over the place and the rap is a bit awkward sounding. It doesn’t hype things up as well as it should. Big Deal is a solid tune though. It actually reminds me of something a little older and seems like an updated version of a boy band song from 2008 or 2009. It has a really heavy beat and blast of synths and strings to create a more dramatic sound. With that said, it does update things a bit with some dubstep popping in during the raps. My only issue is that I wish the chorus just went even more into it. I feel like the arrangement is a bit empty and just missing that one thing, which is unfortunate as the chorus delivers. It’s a cool song. Good Bye Bye is definitely more contemporary and focuses a lot on a pulsating dance beat. I really love the verses as that beat helps to drive the song along and gives the song a bit of drama. The chorus isn’t bad, but it is a bit of a letdown. I think the melody is just a bit too predictable and while the beat is great, the melody just floats above and doesn’t hit in the same way. There are still some nice parts to it though. It is still quite catchy and the second, more melodic half of the chorus helps to deliver something a little more interesting. Decent song, but just missing something. Darkness is really great though. I actually feel like this would have been a good follow-up to Hello. It’s more on the midtempo side, but it has a gorgeous guitar and plays well to the strengths of the members. The verses are nice and the chorus does a good job of providing a good contrast to them. It’s catchy and everything just flows so well together. Storybook gives us something a bit more on the generic pop sound. That’s not necessarily bad as these kinds of songs can be quite nice to listen to. In this case, it is a decent B-side. I think the arrangement isn’t particularly original and reminds me of something from U.S pop in 2009~2010. I do wish the melody was a little more interesting though. It has some nice ideas, but just comes off a bit flat. Not a bad song though. Climax has some interesting ideas, but everything comes off just a bit too messy. It has a nice piano pop sound to it with a cool blend of synths. Unfortunately, I feel like the pace of everything is just a bit too fast. If it was slowed down a bit, the song would actually sound a lot better. The chorus especially just zooms past and there is no time for the song to really sink in and the fast paced doesn’t quite match the more soaring quality of the arrangement. The weakest track on here unfortunately. Fortunately, the laid back R&B jam, Give Me a Shoulder, pops up next. Featuring vocalist Bumzu, I love the sound of this song as it is definitely something that is popular in Korea nowadays. It has that coffee shop vibe to it, but it keeps things interesting by upping the pace of things. The two rappers in NU’EST do an excellent job of providing their own stories and implementing that into their raps. It gives the song a more personal style. The rest of the album just features their older promotional singles. FACE and Action are decent electronic pop tunes, but they still aren’t my favourites from the group. Hello is more on the slower side and definitely one of the group’s strongest songs, whereas Sleep Talking a fun and catchy tune.
Overall: This was a pretty good album. I do think the score of it was heightened by the inclusion of the old promotional singles at the end, but the album tracks were still largely on the good side of things and there were a few that were even better than the promotional single. I do find the group to excel on the more midtempo, R&B side of things.
Sleep Talking is NU’EST’s third mini-album. The title track was used as the promo song.
Released: April 5, 2011
1. Sleep Talking (잠꼬대)
2. Beautiful Ghost
3. Pretty (예뻐)
4. Fine Girl
5. Love a Little More (조금 더 사랑할게)
6. Don’t Wear Revealing Clothes (야하게 입지마)
After the more serious Hello, NU’EST bring something a little more lighthearted with Sleep Talking. The song is a huge departure from their first two upbeat dance tunes as well. However, I sort of enjoy it. The song is quite disjointed as the rap and verses just feature a heavy beat and vocoder, whereas the choruses utilize more synths and a lighter beat. I do find the melody quite catchy, even if the second half of the chorus is largely repetitive. I just find the vocals to be a tad thin and I wish there was more power. Fun song though. Beautiful Ghost changes things up by bringing a bit of a rock edge to the pop tune. I do wish the verses had a bit more power to them though as I find the vocals don’t quite match the heavy guitar. The pre-chorus especially is a little odd as things slow down a bit. It gives a good contrast to the more energetic chorus, but it drags on a bit too long. The chorus is pretty good though. The melody is catchy and melodic, but I still feel a lack of power. Not bad though. Pretty is one of the highlights of the song. It has a more laidback electropop sound to it and does a much better job utilizing the boys’ vocals. I love the calm verses where Yoo Ara (formerly of Hello Venus) adds a few lines. The choruses have a bit more energy and the melody works great with that funk beat. Definitely the strongest song on the mini. Fine Girl has a great disco pop sound that uses some wicked soaring synths to get the work done. I think the fast-paced beat tied with the lighter sounding synths really gives the song some progression. I just wish the melody was a little more impactful. It just sort of glides on top of everything, which is nice, but sounds a bit weak. Love a Little More is the ballad of the mini. I’m usually not very impressed by idol group ballads because they are usually cookie cutter types, and this is just that. It’s nice with its soaring strings and gentle piano, but the melody is a tad forgettable. It isn’t very memorable. I don’t like the title of Don’t Wear Revealing Clothes and the lyrics are just as bad as I imagined. I think that pretty much ruins the song for me. It’s too bad because the music isn’t too bad. I don’t think the production is as streamlined as I would like, but there are some nice touches in the music such as cool refrain in the background.
Overall: I don’t think this mini is as strong as their previous one, but it still includes quite a few solid tunes. Besides the last two tracks, the other four are fun listens and also bring a bit of variety. I especially love the funk sound of Pretty, which I think is one of their strongest songs to date.
Hello is NU’EST’s second mini-album. The title track was used as the promotional song.
Released: February 13, 2013
1. Hello (여보세요) [MV]
2. Hello Hello
3. Introduce Me to Your Noona! (너네 누나 소개시켜줘)
4. Just a Little (조금만)
5. Beautiful Solo
Hello is such a departure from their last two upbeat promo songs. Here, we are given an emotional midtempo R&B ballad. I actually think this is one of their strongest promo tracks. The music is a nice mixture of a flowing R&B beat and touches of the piano and acoustic guitar. There are some really nice quirks that come in the music and it keeps the music quite interesting. Vocally, it’s quite well done and all the members pull their weight, although I’m not totally liking Aron’s rap at the end. Besides that, pretty strong. Hello Hello changes things up with a more EDM-influenced song. I do find the verses a bit forgettable, but the chorus is much stronger. It’s not the most creative, but the melody is quite catchy and is powerful to stand out against the heavy beat. I especially enjoy how the song takes it even a step further for the final chorus. It keeps the song from being too monotone. One of their strongest album tracks. Introduce Me to Your Noona! changes things up a little bit again but giving us a more lighthearted pop song. It’s not the strongest piece, but there are some really great qualities about the song. I love the inclusion of brass in the chorus combined with the jumpy chorus melody. I feel like JR’s rap really works great here and he brings enough character that makes it the highlight of the song. Everything seems to work out quite well here. Strong B-side. Just a Little brings us back to ballad territory with this piano-focused pop ballad that only features Baekho and Minhyun. I’m usually not the biggest fan of Korean ballads, but this one is quite nice. It actually reminds me of something done by TVXQ in their early days with its soaring chorus, relaxing R&B beat and use of strings. The boys do a good job when it comes to the singing as well, especially Baekho. Pretty decent. Beautiful Solo is a really cool change with its pop/rock sound. I actually like the verses because it does a good job building up into something exciting. However, the chorus is a bit of a letdown. It has the energy, but it feels too high-pitched, so the vocals come of screechy and the melody just seems too fast. I think if it was slowed down just a tad, it would have a stronger impact and be more memorable.
Overall: This is probably their strongest mini-album up to this point. Unlike their first two releases, the B-sides are much stronger. The melodies and the music blend together much better and it feels like there was more thought in the production of the song. Even the title track is much stronger and is among their best.
Action was released as the boy band’s first mini-album. The title track was used as the promotional song.
Released: July 13, 2012
1. Not Over You
2. Action [MV]
4. Happy Birthday (생일 축하해요)
Not Over You starts off the mini on a lighthearted note. It has that soaring pop sound that I really enjoy, although I do think this one is a bit more generic in sound. I do like the mix of singing and rapping in the verse. The chorus is really uplifting with its pounding beat and floating synths. The melody isn’t bad, but I don’t think it has as much impact as it could given the music. The boys do sound decent though and its a decent opener. Action is a bit of a change with its more aggressive sound. It is very much the follow-up to their debut single, FACE. With that said, this is definitely way more aggressive than that one. I like the electronic sound blended with that heavy pop sound, but I do wish the melody was more inviting. Everything is a bit too aggressive for my tastes. That and the odd breakdown really doesn’t do much for the song. Could be stronger, but it has attitude. Sandy at first sounds like it will be a ballad, but it does have a twist. The verses are very much slower paced and sound like your run-of-the-mill Korean ballad, however things turn around once the fast-paced dance beats come flying in. The melody isn’t so bad and there are some nice moments that work really well with the music, but I don’t particularly like the “Sandy, Sandy” parts. Who is Sandy? It’s okay, but everything is a bit forgettable in the long run. The best part is we hear JR singing. Finally the full-fledged ballad, Happy Birthday is your run-of-the-mill Korean ballad that I was expecting from the last song. This one is actually only Baekho singing, which is nice as he is the strongest vocalist in the group. However, my problem is that this song is really dull. The piano is really nice, but I don’t think Baekho’s voice is particularly made for these emotional ballads. He tends to work better in upbeat songs.
Overall: FACE wasn’t a bad single to debut with, but I felt like Action was just not memorable at all. Everything was rather generic sounding and even the title track wasn’t as strong as it could have been. I don’t quite remember much of the other songs except they weren’t up to the quality this group could bring.
NU’EST is a boyband that debuted in 2012 under Pledis Entertainment. Despite starting off quite strong, the group lost a lot of momentum over the years despite the fact they have some decent songs. FACE was their debut single.
Released: March 15, 2012
1. NU, Establish, Style, Tempo
2. FACE [MV]
3. I’m Sorry
The single opens with an intro, NU, Establish, Style, Tempo. It’s a pretty interesting opening with some dubstep beats. The only vocals really come from Aron and JR as they rap in English and Korean. It’s an ok listen, but everything just seems a bit sloppy. The dubstep doesn’t go that well with the music, while the rap seems a bit out of place, too. Luckily, FACE does seem to make things better. The song features a slight dubstep influence ontop of clap beats, which is especially heard during the breakdown two-thirds in. The melody itself is quite strong and the chorus is especially charming. I like how forceful it sounds and it really fits well with the music. The song ends with a rap that also sounds a bit awkward. While I do enjoy the song, I don’t think I’ve completely fallen for it. I’m Sorry slows things down with a calmer midtempo R&B tune. The music isn’t particularly exciting and is pretty standard idol R&B flare. I actually enjoy the verses more than the chorus here. The verses have a lighter quality to them that lends itself well with the music. The chorus is decent, but the melody just doesn’t stick that well, although there are some nice touches that come up every once in a while. The rap also blends into the song much better in this one.
Overall: FACE is a charming introduction for the group. It isn’t really much, but it does its job. The intro is explosive and despite being messy, it works well flowing into the title track. The title track is a fun listen. A bit on the standard side, but it also has a few nice surprises. The B-side is alright and at least brings a little variety to the table. Despite that, I’m not overly impressed by this release.