SCHXXL OUT is the second mini-album released by PRISTIN. WE LIKE was used as the promotional song.
Released: August 23, 2017
1. WE ARE PRISTIN
2. WE LIKE
4. TINA (티나)
5. You’re My Boy (너 말야 너)
WE ARE PRISTIN is a powerful opening and brings me back to After School’s Bang with its marching band style. The verses are definitely more melodic and less chant-like, but the powerful beat really helps carry the song through and I love the powerful vocals showcased in the pre-chorus. The chorus is a little one-note, but it surprisingly works. It’s a fun start. WE LIKE is a tornado. It is like Wee Woo in the sense that it is just a fusion of different sounds, but I would say things feel even more disjointed in this song. I don’t think it’s particularly bad, just some of the parts don’t work together. The first half of the chorus is made up of the hook of “We Like Dubudubududu”, which is catchy but doesn’t quite fit the attitude of the strong percussion based music. What I absolutely love though is the light background vocals that flow underneath this part as it adds a really cool edge. The second half of the chorus is much more melodic and would have been great as the main chorus piece. It’s a fun song, just very confusing. ALOHA is another upbeat tune, but switches the blaring percussion for something on the jazzier and sweeter side. I’m terribly impressed by this song, but it is a decent tune. It has some out of place parts like the verses, but the rest of the song flows pretty well and I like the touches of R&B at parts. I wish the vocal performance had more energy to it though. TINA brings in some tropical house, which is a nice change. The verses are pretty forgettable for me, but the chorus is definitely the highlight. It’s simple, but works really nice. It’s a bit standard trop-hop flair, but it executes things nicely and in a memorable way. I wish it pushed things a little farther though. The bridge is the best part of the song with its great vocal arrangement. You’re My Boy is a cuter song, which is not what I was expecting. It reminds me of something that A Pink might do as it doesn’t quite go to the saccharine extreme, but does present a nice balance. It’s still a fun tune that works nicely for the summer with its blaring saxophone. However, like the last time, I wish everything was pushed a little more. The vocals are a bit too airy for this tune.
Overall: This is a decent mini and a good follow-up to the group’s last mini, which I really enjoyed. There still isn’t a song that I have adored as much as WE from the group, but there are solid songs on here. My main problem is that when the group goes full-out on a song, it gets a bit messy, but when they play it safe, it feels too safe. I feel like the girls got to keep taking risks but go through a bit of quality control.
Black Widow (Remix Ver.) is the second digital single released by PRISTIN.
Released: May 19, 2017
1. Black Widow (Remix)
The remix version of Black Widow is like a more dramatic take on the original. It has a few more elements in the music that include different synths, beats and also a more “Chinese” feel to it. The song was already really catchy and this only pushes it up to the next level. There are still some odd parts with the vocal arrangement, but it is generally a solid tune that also has some pretty clever aspects to it.
Overall: This is a nice follow-up and I like that the song was actually remixed extensively as there are some where it is so subtle and a bit boring. It worked out here as the song has more elements to it that really make the music sound more interesting.
HI! PRISTIN is the debut mini-album released by PRISTIN. Wee Woo was used as the main promo track, while Black Widow was also promoted.
Released: March 21, 2017
1. Be the Star
2. Wee Woo [MV]
3. Black Widow
5. Over N Over
6. WE [MV]
We open the mini with Be the Star, a pretty laidback pop/R&B tune. I’m actually quite surprised by this song because this is the style largely done by the K-R&B artists in Korea, so it’s nice to see an idol group do something. I do find the song has a bit of a jarring transition from the prechorus to the chorus though with the choruses’ use of the scratch-like synths. It does give it an interesting edge, but I feel like it could be smoothed over. Despite that, the overall song is pretty strong. I guess in a way, Wee Woo follows the same path with its more abrupt transitions. The verses are generally progressed with a nice funky beat lying underneath, however, it’s the pre-chorus’ rapping that just comes off a bit odd. It’s an interesting twist, but I do feel like the song would’ve benefited more had it been cut out and a separate rap portion was brought in later on. The chorus just comes and goes, but it does its job. It’s intoxicating and works well swinging right into that great beat and the repetitive hook. I think the only part I could do without though is the bridge, which just doesn’t work at all. It’s all a bit of a mess, but a fun one nonetheless. Black Widow brings us a more aggressive and seductive pop song. It has portions where it just has so much energy, especially the rapping prechorus. However, the chorus is much slower and relies heavily on some wicked synths and a pretty crazy beat. I do find the use of the dog barks in the chorus to be a bit odd, but it doesn’t detract too much from the rest of it, which is excellent. This is a pretty strong track overall. Running brings another change with something more lighthearted. This one is definitely on the cuter side of things, but it still utilizes a pretty heavy beat. I actually prefer the verses here. While the chorus is catchy, I do find some parts of it a bit grating, particularly the repetitive portions. The music is pretty good though with its touches of sparkling synths. It’s fun. Over N Over is the ballad of the album and it’s quite good. I’m a bit skeptical with idol groups doing ballads, but here the group is able to pull off something a bit different. It has the usual R&B vibe to it, but they do seem to make it a bit more contemporary and add some more interesting elements to it. The melody does bring a bit of repetition and everything is much more memorable. The chorus seems more thought over and the production is stellar. I like it. The album ends on a familiar note with WE. Released as a single prior to the album, this one features all ten members (the original had only eight). This is still the strongest song on the album. It’s a pretty straightforward pop tune, but it’s just so solid. It has a sense of nostalgia to it, but still remains contemporary. Great.
Overall: Wow, this was an impressive mini-album and debut. There was variety through the whole mini and each song provided something different. There were of course stand outs, but this is probably one of the strongest debuts I’ve listened to and it usually takes groups a while to release something this strong.
PLEDIS Girlz were the temporary name for PRISTIN before they debuted early this year. Many of the girls in the group were featured on the show, Produce 101, but this release only features 8 out of the 10 (two were busy promoting in I.O.I). WE is the group’s first digital single.
Released: June 26, 2016
1. WE [MV]
2. WE (Inst.)
WE is phenomenal. This was one of my favourite songs of 2016 and it’s not surprise. The song is pretty bubblegum pop, but doesn’t swing too far into the “cute” territory. The music is great with the heavy pop beats and the soaring synths in the background. I really love the strong percussion, but it’s the strings that really help take the song to the next level. While the verses are quite short, each member is still featured and the charming, melodic chorus helps to bring a sense of unison to the song. That and Seungyeon belting it out at the end really gives me some nostalgic feelings. It reminds me a bit of Into the New World by Girls’ Generation.
Overall: Great, great, great. This track is just such a solid tune and everything seems to be executed in such a clean and high-quality style. While the song isn’t something entirely new, it’s just done in such a well-done way.