[Digital Single] Song Ji Eun – Tell Me

Tell Me is the seventh digital single released by Song Ji Eun.

tellme
Released: March 28, 2017
1. Tell Me
2. Tell Me (Eng. Ver.)
3. Tell Me (Inst.)

When I first heard that Ji Eun had a new single, I was really excited. I was expecting something a bit more on the daring side, as her last promotional song was much darker and sexier than her previous ones. Unfortunately, despite Tell Me being a decent song, it just comes off forgettable. It’s a nice midtempo pop tune that works well in a Korean coffee shop. That’s not necessarily bad as there are some charming points to it such as the cool guitar and touches of synth, however, the overall song just doesn’t have much impact. The melody isn’t particularly strong on the hooks. Ji Eun’s voice sounds great, but she could better utilize it for something more daring.

Overall: Compared to a lot of her material, this is a bit of a forgettable tune. It has some nice points, but I was hoping for something a bit more exciting. I hope she releases something along the lines of Bobby Doll or Pretty At 25 next time.

C+

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[Mini-Album] Jun Hyo Seong – Colored

Colored is the second mini-album released by Jun Hyo Seong. Please Find Me was used as the promotional song.

colored
Released: March 28, 2016
1. Follow Me
2. Please Find Me (나를 찾아줘) [MV]
3. Busted (딱 걸렸어)
4. So Good
5. Dear Moon
6. Hello

Follow Me reminds me a bit of the material from her last album, but in a more bombastic way. The song has a marching band kind of sound with percussion and blast of brass. This is all mixed in with some rock elements as well. The verses are quite good at bringing up the energy, but I sort of wish the chorus had a bit more power. I feel like it needs to be even more explosive but it sort of leaves it at the same level. It’s quite catchy, but just could be stronger. Please Find Me brings us the synth pop sound that Hyo Seong has brought with her last two promo songs. This time, we are given the most upbeat version, but it is in my opinion, the weakest of her promo songs. It’s still quite nice with its dance beat and blast of synths. This type of song fits her voice very well. My only gripe is that I think the melody could be stronger. The melody just sort of floats above the music and doesn’t really make much impact. It’s still a solid song though. Busted gives a bit more attitude, but it still has that synth pop sound to it. It has some really interesting features to it like the second half of the chorus being computerized in an odd way. I really like the electropop aspects to this song, which give it a bit of edge. The melody is also very catchy. Pretty good song! So Good is a lighthearted dance/pop tune. I quite like how the beat is a bit heavy, but works well with the lighter aspects of the rest of the music. The vocal arrangement is decent and has some nice hooks to it, but the first half does lack that really strong and catchy one and the second half is just too repetitive. It’s still a decent pop song, but one of her weaker songs. Dear Moon is a bit different as it leaves behind the dance/pop elements and brings something a bit more organic in its music. Heavily reliant on the acoustic guitar, the song does add a bit of percussion half way through, but this is a pretty laidback song in general, especially from Hyo Seong. With that said, I don’t find her vocal performance that enchanting and the song ultimately ends up a bit dull. Hello keeps up the more laidback sound, but with a loungey R&B/pop tune. It reminds me quite a bit of the kind of music popular in Korea at coffee shops. This type of music isn’t really my favourite type as I do find it comes off a bit boring and forgettable in the long run. It’s cute, but the melody just isn’t enticing and the vocals aren’t particularly outstanding.

Overall: This isn’t a bad mini at all, but it is the weakest among Hyo Seong’s releases. I just find that the songs are decent, but the melodies aren’t as strong as her last mini-album. And while her last mini had some slower tunes, they were much stronger. It’s a solid release, but nothing particularly standing out.

B

[Mini-Album] Song Ji Eun – Bobby Doll

Bobby Doll is Song Ji Eun’s second mini-album. The title track was used as the promotional song.

bobbydoll
Released: September 20, 2016
1. I Wanna Fall in Love
2. Bobby Doll (바비돌) [MV]
3. Off the Record
4. Oasis (오아시스)
5. It’s Okay (괜찮아요)
6. Bobby Doll (Inst.)

I Wanna Fall in Love is a bouncy pop tune with some R&B elements to it. The chorus is quite repetitive, but it is still very catchy and the music sounds great. The beat is quite strong and there is this underlying piano that makes it a little bit more lighthearted. Ji Eun also sounds fantastic. I also enjoy how the song just doesn’t seem to give the listener a break. Great starter. Bobby Doll is fantastic. It keeps the upbeat nature of her last promo song, but infuses it with the darker sound that she tends to release. It’s probably her sexiest title track as well. My favourite parts are the pre-choruses where she does a bit of rapping as well. The choruses are especially catchy and I love the wicked guitar in the background that blends with the odd beat and touch of piano. The use of the background vocals is also excellent. Off the Record is a slow, relaxing acoustic ballad. While these can sometimes be a bit boring, the melody is very nice and Ji Eun sounds really good. Her sweet tone fits the song very well. I also like how the song adds a bit of percussion by the end, so it isn’t entirely one note. Beautiful. I love Oasis. It brings back that slightly darker sound that Ji Eun does best. It’s like Bobby Doll’s midtempo sister. The beat is fantastic and there is a bit of funk in the chorus due to the nice guitar. The chorus is a bit repetitive, but it is done in a well-executed manner. It’s catchy and fits so well with the smooth music. It’s Okay is probably the most lighthearted song on the mini. I like how jumpy the beat is and it works really well with the touches of brass that pop up. It’s a bit jazzier than the other songs. I’m not totally buying the hooks in the chorus, but they are still moderately catchy and the music sounds fantastic. Not bad and a good ending.

Overall: I only expect the best from Ji Eun and she once again delivers. This is another fantastic mini-album. I love how there is variety in her songs, but she always seems to pick some great songs. They all have good melodies and the music is often full and well-produced. Great.

A+

[Mini-Album] Jun Hyo Seong – FANTASIA

FANTASIA is the first mini-album released by Jun Hyo Seong. Into You was used as the promotional song.

fantasia
Released: May 7, 2015
1. Come See Me (날 보러와요)
2. Into You (반해) [MV]
3. Taxi Driver
4. Been Your Dream (꿈이었니)
5. 5 More Minutes (5분만 더)

Come See Me is a sexy R&B pop tune. I love the saxophone refrain used as it reminds me a little of Careless Whisper. The whole song is really full when it comes to its arrangement and while Hyo Seong isn’t the strongest vocalist, her airy vocals work really well here. The chorus is quite melodic and features quite a few strong hooks to keep the song going forward. Excellent. Keeping up the sexy sound, Into You, is one of my favourite songs ever. Unlike the last song, this one is more in the pop territory, which is heard in the funky synth refrain. The beat is strong and the music has some cool brass elements about it. My favourite part of the music are the quiet synths heard in the background that help the song feel so full. The melody is really as well and superbly catchy. Also, Hyo Seong raps! To be honest, this song reminds me of something by Koda Kumi at the start of her career. Taxi Driver is a midtempo R&B tune. While the song is slower than the last two, I love how much attitude the vocal arrangement has. The music is also quite cool with its spanish guitar and harmonica. It has some aspects that really make it stand out and give it this kind of haunting quality. This is another solid tune released by Hyo Seong. Been Your Dream brings us a relaxing pop ballad with a nice R&B beat. I love really like the acoustic quality of the song as it gently overlays the heavy beat. The melody is also quite nice and there are some nice hooks that spring up. However, I do feel the song does get a bit slow and can be a bit dull. I do really enjoy Hyo Seong’s vocals though. 5 More Minutes is a funky midtempo pop tune. I love the beat as it is quite bouncy and works really well with Hyo Seong’s airy vocals. My favourite part of the song is definitely the small rap section though, as it surprisingly ties into the song really nicely. The melody is quite fun, although it isn’t as memorable as I would like in the end. Still a good tune.

Overall: The girls of Secret always seem to be pulling out quality releases and FANTASIA is no different. While Hyo Seong’s voice isn’t as strong as Ji Eun’s, she is able to hold her own and each of the songs seems crafted to work with her airy voice. I love how the mini is quite consistent in quality as well as in sound and all the songs have this full arrangement that is able to allow different quirks to spring up. Solid mini.

A

[Mini-Album] Song Ji Eun – 25

25 is the first mini-album released by Secret’s Song Ji Eun. Pretty At Age 25 was used as the promotional track, although Don’t Look At Me was released as a digital single prior to the mini’s release.

25
Released: October 14, 2014
1. Janus (Intro.)
2. Pretty At Age 25 (예쁜 나이 25살) [MV]
3. Don’t Look At Me (쳐다보지마) [MV]
4. La Boum
5. Star (별)

I wish Janus (Intro.) was a full song. It is probably the most aggressive tune that Song Ji Eun has released and it’s really strong. Unfortunately, it is only a minute long. The vocals sound great and the melody is really catchy. Right after, we are swung into Pretty At Age 25, one of my favourite K-Pop songs. Unlike the intro, this one maintains the upbeat sound but in a much more lighthearted way. I love the saxophone refrain used during the instrumental breakdowns as it gives the song a bit of life. The arrangement is quite fun as I love the clap-beats of the verses that blends with a few other different sounds and explodes with the saxophone and heavy beat in chorus. The chorus is definitely the highlight and the hooks are clearly divided into two parts, but everything pieces together surprisingly well. Amazing. I already reviewed Don’t Look At Me, but it brings us what Ji Eun does best. This emotional ballad is reminiscent of her hit song, Going Crazy. The heavy beat tied with the haunting quality of the synths and Ji Eun’s voice really help to express the emotion in the lyrics. It’s a strong song. La Boum is a nice change of pace. Here we are given a fast-paced pop-rock inspired tune. The quality of this song is really high and could’ve easily been the promo track as well. I love the attitude that Ji Eun gives and everything flows together well. The cool guitar riffs tied with the strong percussion really keeps the song moving. I love how catchy the chorus melody is, but I do wish the music here was a bit stronger. The song also has this really weird dance break part, but it surprisingly ties into the song well. Very solid. Star is the calmer ballad and is probably the best song to match with Ji Eun’s sweet voice. It’s primarily acoustic driven, but it does bring does gain some steam as it progresses. It does sound a bit empty at first, but the melody really gets up there when the chorus comes in. A great way to end the album.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised with this mini-album. It is literally K-Pop perfection. Every song is really strong, even the intro (which I wish was a full song)! The best part was that there was so much variety, but each song was of high-quality. I love Ji Eun’s sweet voice and she really showed that she can bring some variety. She might not be a powerhouse vocalist, but she knows what works with her voice. One of my favourite K-Pop releases.

A+

[Digital Single] Song Ji Eun – Don’t Look At Me

Don’t Look At Me is the fifth digital single released by Song Ji Eun. It was released right before her first mini-album, 25.

dontlookatme
Released: September 24, 2014
1. Don’t Look At Me (쳐다보지마) [MV]

Don’t Look At Me is pretty much a follow-up to Ji Eun’s 2011 smash, Going Crazy. The music is pretty much in a similar vein with it’s dramatic atmosphere, except this time we don’t have Bang Yong Guk to pair her off. Despite that, she pulls of this song quite well. I love how heavy the beat it and I really love how the song goes in such slow way that it almost feels like the melody is dragging along. It really works well with the music. While I do feel Ji Eun gets a bit overshadowed by how powerful the music is, her sweet tone provides an interesting contrast and she is able to express the emotion of the song well.

Overall: An excellent follow-up to her other material. It keeps up the whole dramatic and dark feel of her previous releases, but keeps it fresh. The song does get a bit slow at times, but it’s all well put together and a solid example of what she is capable of.

A

[Mini-Album] Secret – SECRET SUMMER

SECRET SUMMER is the fifth studio released by Secret. I’m In Love was used as the promotional song.

secretsummer
Released: August 11, 2014
1. Feel The Secret (INTRO)
2. I’m In Love [MV]
3. Look At Me
4. U R Fired
5. Could Do Well (잘할 텐데)
6. I’m In Love (Inst.)

Feel The Secret (INTRO) is a minute long intro. It’s really not that amazing. It has some brass, so it’s quite funky, but it’s not anything noteworthy. I wish there was a little more to it though as there are times when I feel the song gets a bit empty and doesn’t have much going on. Fortunately, it isn’t too long and we get right into I’m In Love. The promo track is probably my favourite from Secret. Unlike some of their past work, it isn’t totally retro (although there are some qualities of it that are like the brass) and it isn’t a cute song. It’s definitely sexier than their last few releases and it’s a nice change. I do find the song’s sound a bit simpler than their other mature promo tracks, but the best part is that the arrangement sounds full, powerful and dynamic, whereas some of their other “sexy” releases seemed to be missing something there. The song is really catchy and I think it works well with the girls’ vocals, too. Look At Me is a catchy tune and a decent follow-up, however, it doesn’t have anything special about it. It’s not particularly catchy and seems like an attempt to throw different hooks into one song. The beat is a bit heavier than the last song and the song has some R&B elements to it. There are some cool qualities about it like the violin solo that opens into Hana’s rap. It’s not particularly good though. Just a filler. Fortunately, U R Fired comes up right after. Starting with Ji Eun and an acoustic guitar, the song is soon joined by a beat and some synths. The chorus is really great and has an intriguing opening with its “I don’t wanna get you fired” line. I really like the melody here, but I do think it does get a little overpower by the music which has a strong foundation and a lot going on. A solid album track and has potential for promo track material. Could Do Well slows things down with a simple pop ballad. I like the simplicity of the song and its a nice change after all the excitement of the rest of the mini. With that said, the song is forgettable in the long run. It reminds me a bit of TVXQ’s Hug, but the melody just isn’t as charming and I don’t really like the vocal editing as the producers took a lot of color out of the girls’ voices by layering them too much. A nice change on the album, but ultimately dull.

Overall: SECRET SUMMER isn’t the group’s strongest work and is actually a bit of a letdown. I do think this one is a bit opposite of their last release since the title track is really strong (if not their strongest yet) but the rest of the mini wasn’t as good.

C+