Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas and New Year Special: EXO - Universe vs TWICE - Heart Shaker

Merry Christmas for those of you who celebrated it! How’s your Christmas Eve? Is it fun? Have you make preparation for New Year’s Eve yet? Well whatever your activities are, I hope it turns out well J

Just like you, K-Pop idols also celebrated Christmas and New Year. They do it in a way which showcase their best ability, performing. Some idols put out new music for this occasion. This included EXO and TWICE.

EXO released Universe album with same name title track on Tuesday, December 26th 2017. This is their fourth winter special album. Meanwhile, TWICE is a first timer. The girls released repackage album called Merry & Happy on Monday, 11th December 2017. It has Heart Shaker as title track.

How is EXO and TWICE’s Christmas as well as New Year’s special single sound like? Check out my review here……………………

EXO – Universe

Universe is a melancholic song about the regretful feeling of losing someone. EXO still could not let go of their past lover. They will do anything to get her back even if it means searching in the universe.

Since Universe has sad theme, EXO keeps it consistent by singing in ballad genre. Piano melody takes front step throughout the song. However, EXO tries out something new starting from the first chorus.

EXO adds rock touch through electric guitar and drum sound. The combination of rock-ballad is new thing for EXO and it does not disappoint. Universe becomes more dramatic without being too much.

This mix of rock-ballad music is accompanied by soaring vocal. Each EXO member manages to deliver their line while shows their vocal growth. I am particularly impressed yet surprised with Suho and Xiumin. They get more lines and successfully shine during chorus part.

As for music video, it represents the melancholy tone of Universe song itself. There are many shots that describe EXO loneliness. They wander around with gloomy expression on their face. This theme could be more fitting if EXO use different type of setting, not the limited one like in Universe music video.

Related with theme, warmer colors like brown and cream also dominate Universe music video. It appears on setting, properties, and clothes. The usage of warmer color is quite rare because winter usually described with white color that looks like snow. But, it successfully brings calming feeling in Universe music video.

Warmer color is suitable with symbolism in Universe music video too. It shows various types of coffee and rope. Cup of coffee becomes universe representation. The dark color is similar with galaxy scenery. Meanwhile, disorganized rope might be a symbol of chaos in universe.

Rating:                        4/5

TWICE – Heart Shaker

If EXO expresses gloomy winter with Universe, TWICE does the opposite. Heart Shaker brings out festive theme of Christmas and New Year. It is a high-energy pop song that command attention since the first listen.

Heart Shaker continues TWICE’s signature to present a song with interesting dynamic. It is quirky yet easy to listen. The verses are sharp that full of fast exchanging lines. Meanwhile, the chorus has strong grip. This successfully represents Heart Shaker lyrics about TWICE braveness to confess love to their crush. 

The chorus itself stands out among TWICE title tracks since it relies on the whole melody, not only hooks. It also showcases Nayeon and Jihyo’s powerful vocal although some parts sound too high compare to their vocal range. All of these elements accompanied by electric guitar and drum sound.

The cheerful spirit of Heart Shaker shows on its music video. It is full of bright colors styling and properties in various setting. It’s great to see them mark each property with different color to avoid dullness. TWICE members seem having fun too, which makes them more engaging to watch and increases their stage presence.

Aside from that, Heart Shaker music video manages to show TWICE quirky style. Look how TWICE multiplies on the last scene. Then watch Heart Shaker choreography, which each member gives affection to others. It is bizarre yet fun at the same time.

Rating:                                    4/5

Both EXO and TWICE has release solid music at Christmas and New Year 2018. It is hard to pick the better one since they shine on their own way. Plus, their material has different style too.

Universe fits a cold and quiet winter experience. EXO’s pop-rock ballad with soaring vocal will wrench your heart. On the other hand, TWICE lifts up your Christmas and New Year spirit. Heart Shaker strong dynamic and catchy lyrics suitable for joyful event.

So, which one is your pick?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

[MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW] Red Velvet - Peek A Boo (2017)

Following TWICE and Seventeen, Red Velvet also conducted another comeback in 2017. Red Velvet released their newest album called Perfect Velvet with Peek-A-Boo as title track on Friday, November 17th 2017.

This is the third comeback for Red Velvet in 2017. The girls are currently enjoying consecutive success after releasing Rookie and Red Flavor. Because of this, people anticipation for Peek-A-Boo rose.

With Peek-A-Boo, will Red Velvet manage to create another hit and fulfill public expectation? Find the answer through my review below……………………….

Red Velvet took on tropical house genre with Peek-A-Boo. This was quite unexpected since the joyful tone of that genre usually appeared during summer. However, Peek-A-Boo did not sound out of place in fall season. It has whistle tune, which gave dark and mysterious feeling just like the current gloomy season.

Red Velvet combined between tropical house genre and their signature music style. Peek-A-Boo verses represented Red Velvet characteristic through the usage of loud percussion and bass sound. This successfully built the song dynamic, which was why verses became the strongest part of Peek-A-Boo.

Unfortunately, Peek-A-Boo chorus part did not follow through. It fell flat due to the domination of one repetitive phrase and tropical house beat. They should put after chorus as the main base because it has more interesting melody and vocal. Speaking of vocal, I felt Wendy and Seulgi’s capability did not maximize in Peek-A-Boo. There were barely challenging part for them.

As for its lyrics, Peek-A-Boo talked about playing game of love. The music video managed to represent while twist it in creepy way at the same time. Red Velvet acted as group of mysterious girls who lived under same house. They often ordered pizza and invited the deliveryman to stay in their house. The deliveryman happily accepted their offer. But, little he knew that the girls actually prepared something crazy for him.

The creepy storyline of Peek-A-Boo kind of reminded me with Russian Roulette music video. However, it has darker tone in terms of color and setting. Red as well as brown color dominated the architecture of Red Velvet classy house. Moreover, the mysterious aspect also emphasized with fast editing and unique cinematography.

Red Velvet themselves managed to capture people attention with their presence in Peek-A-Boo music video. Each girl has great styling and looked gorgeous on her own way. At the same time, the styling seemed coordinate with overall music video theme. Look at how red became the main color of Red Velvet dresses and its shades showcased through their makeup.

Peek-A-Boo proved how Red Velvet became more comfortable with their color. It has a mix of quirkiness and catchiness in terms of music and music video. This would easily make Peek-A-Boo got good reception in public. However, Red Velvet should not easily become satisfied. The girls still have many potential that did not showcased fully in this single. Way to go, Red Velvet!

Rating:                        3.5/5

Saturday, November 11, 2017

[MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW] Seventeen - Clap (2017)

Seventeen is back again! After filling our summer with Don’t Wanna Cry, the boys released Clap for fall time. Clap is the title track of Seventeen newest album called Teen, Age that released on Monday, November 6th 2017.

Clap offered something different from Seventeen. Since its first teasers, we already knew this was not melancholic and angsty Seventeen just like what they portrayed on Don’t Wanna Cry. Clap teasers gave us a glimpse of rebellion from Seventeen.

So, are you curious to see Seventeen’s transformation? Check out my review of Clap below……………..

Seventeen’s rebellion first came through Clap music. The boys moved on from electronic dance music and branched into rock genre. Electric guitar sound and clapping hands dominated this song. It gave more grit to Seventeen’s song. Plus, Clap sounded fresh since not many K-Pop groups experimented with rock genre nowadays.

Clap brought something new in Seventeen. But at the same time, it did not lose the group original color. The song dynamic still screamed Seventeen where vocalists and rappers took turn in exchanging lines. I always like how this group utilized large number of members through its arrangement. Each member got line and chance to shine. Clap also has anthem like refrain that reminded with Seventeen previous hits such as Very Nice.

Still, Clap is not a perfect song. Some part seemed lacking because it was only relied on electronic guitar sound. The climax felt flat too. This was a pity since Clap rock foundation has many potential to be explored at the end.

Seventeen’s second rebellion showed on Clap music video. The boys decided not to be serious and just have fun. We could see them played around in various setting. Moreover, Seventeen wanted us to keep up our spirit like what described in Clap lyrics. We did not have to worry too much although various unfortunate things happened today.

Clap music video got more interesting because of its cinematography. The whole music video dominated by quirky scenes. Colorful background and styling accompanied them. This combination managed to emphasize Clap fun theme while also pleased eyes.

Clap is a great blend between two sides of Seventeen. The boys successfully tried out something new with rock genre and rebellion theme. However, they did not leave their signature style. Youthful look and sleek song arrangement still there, which reminded us what we love from Seventeen in first place.

Rating:                        4/5

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


TWICE is on a roll this year! After releasing Knock Knock and Signal, the girls are back with their newest single Likey on Monday, October 30th 2017. This song is a part of TWICE first studio album called TWICETAGRAM.

For Likey, TWICE bring back again their long time collaborator Black Eyed Pilseung. This is a composer who successfully created TWICE massive hits such as Cheer Up and TT.

With Likey, will TWICE and Black Eyed Pilseung manage to produce another hit? Check out my review for below……………………

Since the first listen, we could definitely tell that Likey is TWICE and Black Eyed Pilseung’s song. Their signature hook straight up attacked us. Its ‘likey likey’ lyrics appeared repeatedly in the beginning. It would surely stick in our head.

Then verses came along with electronic music companion. Black Eyed Pilseung showed their capabilities to produce different verses throughout Likey. Each verse managed to stand out on its own. My favorite would be Jungyeon and Tzuyu’s verse in the beginning.

Beside verses, Black Eyed Pilseung also changed Dahyun and Chaeyoung’s rapping part. It did not appear after the first refrain like previous TWICE singles. Instead, it placed towards Likey ending. The way the girls exchanged line seemed different this time. It was a fresh attempt and able to cover their weakness including Dahyun’s flow.

Verse is the strongest part of Likey. Its bridge and refrain part unfortunately did not follow through. Both fell flat after its build up verses. It sounded uninspired too since the music arrangements quite similar with TT. Another problem came from vocal arrangement. It was uncomfortable to listen TWICE sang higher than their range.

As for its lyrics, Likey tackled social media issue. TWICE mentioned how they always put effort in order to look beautiful on their social media account. I like that they are honest and not shy away from insecurities. It felt relatable on their personal level too since they still teenagers who lived in this digital era.

Likey social media theme showed on its music video. We see Jihyo recorded her activities and talked to the camera. We also pay attention on TWICE choreographies. The girls acted as if asking us to like their photo on Instagram.

However, it appeared briefly. Most scenes on Likey music video only showed TWICE walked with colorful background and styling. I wished TWICE maximized the social media theme and their opportunities to shoot in Canada. It has so much potential and could provide interesting twist.

Likey maintained TWICE signature style. It showed all those catchy hook, quirky lyrics, and easy to remember choreography. But at the same time, it did not offer something new from TWICE. It still has similar vocal and music arrangements like TWICE previous hits.

It is good to have consistency, but I wish TWICE did not stick to repetitive formula. Their decision to showcase similar formula eventually made people bored. The girls need to explore more, they have long way to go in this music industry.

Rating:                                    2.5/5