Monday, August 14, 2017

[MUSIC ALBUM REVIEW] Girls' Generation - Holiday Night (2017)

Girls’Generation (SNSD) just marked another milestone. In the midst of peer group hiatus and disbandment, SNSD managed to reach 10th years anniversary of their career.

SNSD celebrated 10th years anniversary on Saturday, August 5th 2017. In order to celebrate this special event, the girls released their newest album called Holiday Night one day before.

Through Holiday Night, SNSD promises to bring back their old sound. It seems they want to remind public about what makes them popular in the first place. Are you ready to get nostalgic with SNSD? Check out my review of Holiday Night here……………..

Girls Are Back

Girls Are Back is a strong opening for Holiday Night. This song combines R&B and funk genre. Bass, guitar, and drum become its main instrumental, which created punch to the song dynamic.

Girls Are Back dynamic continues to be interesting because of SNSD vocal. Each member successfully plays her part well. They know how to differentiate between strong and soft tone in singing. The girls able to complement each other well. Plus, they surprisingly nail rapping part. It keeps the song interesting.

The last punch of Girls Are Back is its lyrics. Just like the title, this song is a declaration of SNSD comeback. They want everyone to watch and pay attention to them because they are back. I love this confidence and yes, we are ready to hear the rest of Holiday Night!

All Night

All Night is title track of Holiday Night Album. Through this song, SNSD tries to play with retro and modern type of music. They mix disco with electronic dance music. Check out my review of All Night along with its music video here.


This is another title track of Holiday Night album. Holiday brings nostalgic feeling to early days of SNSD. Check out those catchy hook part and strong beat. However, SNSD tries to put a spin by channeling retro vibe. Curious? See the full review here.


SNSD throws a surprise with Fan. It is an electronic pop song, which dominated by synthesizer, bass, and guitar sound. The usage of these instrumental is unique on this song. Instead of creating modern vibe, it tends to be more old school type.

Fan reminds me with 90s era pop song. Aside from its music, the way SNSD sing the song supports this theme too. They show nice harmonization and little bit of talking at the end of several parts.

Meanwhile for its lyrics, SNSD gets sentimental. They talk about how fans always guide their path and become their place to lean on. This is another unique aspect of Fan since other groups usually sing this kind of lyrics in emotional ballad. As a result, Fan stands out and not becomes usual pop song.

Only One

SNSD slows down a bit by offering medium tempo type of songs through Only One. Similar with Fan, this is another 90s inspired track. Those lovely harmonization and simple acoustic guitar sound brings reminiscence feeling.

This added with Only One sweet lyrics. SNSD mentions their closeness bond. They feel that they know each other really well and grateful for their existence. It’s a song that nice to listen to.

Still, Only One has several lacking part. The chorus is quite let down after its nice verses. It sounds generic and could not pick up the song. Moreover, there are too many ‘Only One’ words. It sounds repetitive and could make people bored.

One Last Time

One Last Time is the first ballad track in Holiday Night album. This song brings us back to early 2000s era since it combines pop and R&B genre. Catchy piano melody represents pop music while strong beat gives R&B flavor.

One Last Time arrangement is quite simple. This becomes advantage for SNSD to showcase their vocal strength. All members’ vocal improves, particularly Seohyun, along with their ability to display emotions. We could feel their sadness because of separation, which is One Last Time main lyrical theme.

Sweet Talk

If One Last Time represents emotional side of R&B, Sweet Talk does the opposite. It is a strong and sexy track. Bass and guitar sound dominates Sweet Talk, which is effective to build up the song. This added with interesting vocal arrangement. Each SNSD member takes turn to sing and talk during verses.

Sunny shines the most because of her vocal versatility. She knows how to use her light tone well. It is SNSD powerhouse vocal, Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun that find difficulties when sing Sweet Talk. The high note does not always match these three. Plus, it sounds too similar, which makes it hard to differentiate their voices.

The sexy vibe of Sweet Talk continues to emphasize through its lyrics. Just like the title, it is about how SNSD wants the boy not to be shy and flirt with them directly. It sounds mature, especially coming from Seohyun as youngest member. Guess she is all grown up after all ;)

Love Is Bitter

SNSD tries out jazz genre with Love Is Bitter. This genre represents through the usage of piano and trumpet instrumental. It sounds playful yet festive at the same time, especially during chorus part. SNSD vocal suits this type of song too. Hyoyeon and Yuri becomes the biggest surprise. Both nailed their chorus part!

In contrast with its light music, Love Is Bitter actually has sad lyrics. It tells explains that love does not always equal happiness. Love slowly fades away and becomes bitterness. The opposite theme between music and lyrics creates interesting point to Love Is Bitter. In fact, it is actually bittersweet just like the song title.

Love Is Bitter was pleasant listening. However, there is a chance that it could make people bored. The music keeps playing out similar melody throughout the song. There is not much going on since SNSD vocal does not have interesting change too.

It’s You

Similar with Only One, It’s You is another early 2000s inspired track. It has strong beat and synthesizer as its main element. This added with sweet harmonization, which sounds like bubblegum pop song at that era. The lovely theme also showcases through It’s You lyrics.

Yuri writes this song, which is about how SNSD want to stay together with their fans and never change. It’s simple lyrics, but SNSD manages to make it more personal with several gestures. For example, the Korean title of It’s You mentions ‘Sowon’ word that describes pronunciation of their fans, Sone. Then it also talks about pink ocean, which is the light stick color during SNSD concert.

Although sweetness becomes highlight, SNSD still spices up some parts of It’s You to make it different. The tempo picks up and the synthesizer sound changes during chorus. Moreover, the vocal part on bridge seems unique yet old school at the same time.

Light Up The Sky

Light Up The Sky is the last ballad in Holiday Night album. This song brings out nostalgia feeling since it resembles SNSD songs on their early debut days. Once again, the girls showcase beautiful piano melody and strong beat throughout the song.

Light Up The Sky manages to stand out among other ballad songs in this album. Aside from bringing nostalgia feeling, this song also has great dynamic. The verses are solid while the pre-chorus serves as effective build up. The chorus becomes strongest part where SNSD vocal soars along with its dramatic music. This added with catchy hook part that will instantly stuck in your head.

The great dynamic also supported by SNSD vocal arrangement. The girls’ vocal pairs up nicely, which makes their different tone complements each other. Plus, they know where to put emotional punch.

SNSD tries to describe the touching lyrics of Light Up The Sky through their singing. The song shows their wishes to be together with fans as time goes by. Even though drifting apart is a natural process, SNSD still hope fans do not forget them.

Holiday Night finally shows how SNSD want to take their music. The girls present great balance between sweetness and versatility. The first one is SNSD signature style since debut. The girls maintain their sweetness theme through lovely melody and catchy hook part in most of Holiday Night songs.

At the same, SNSD challenges them by singing various types of song.  From jazz to disco to sweet bubblegum pop, SNSD eats up all of them. It shows their maturity as performers. The song transition does not sound jarring because each song showcases similar nostalgia or retro theme.

Consistency while also adapting trend was SNSD key of existence in K-Pop music scene. This direction does not change anytime soon. The girls have not giving signal about shifting their style. This is actually not a bad thing as long as the girls continue to evolve.

Rating:                        4/5     

Favorite Tracks:        Girls Are Back, Holiday, All Night, Fan, Love Is Bitter, Light Up The Sky

Sunday, August 6, 2017

[MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW] Girls' Generation (SNSD) - Holiday & All Night (2017)

Happy anniversary, Girls’ Generation (SNSD)! The girls celebrated their 10th year anniversary on Saturday, August 5th 2017. It is amazing to see them come this far. Throughout 10 years of their career, SNSD manages to break records as girl group, compete fiercely with boy groups, stand tall above risk of disbandment that happens on their peer group, and set legacy to their juniors.

Since 10th years anniversary is a special occasion, SNSD has prepared special gift for public. The girls released their sixth full album called Holiday Night on Friday, August 4th 2017. This album has double title tracks, which are Holiday and All Night.

With Holiday and All Night, SNSD tries to showcase different side of them while also give a sense of nostalgia to public. How does their double title tracks sound? Check out my review here……….

SNSD embraces retro theme again with Holiday after Lion Heart success in 2015. However, their approach is little different this time. Holiday sounds grander and bolder because of brass, saxophone, and trumpet domination. Beside that, it has stronger vocal too. Listening to Holiday reminds me with Broadway production.

Aside from Broadway, Holiday gives a nostalgic feeling to SNSD older tracks. The loud beat as well as repetitive chorus seems like homage to Gee and Oh!. This song maintains SNSD signature pop style. At the same time, it does not sound overly cute since the main retro theme keeps its elegance.

Holiday is a solid and catchy single from SNSD. But, it is still lacking in some parts. The transition after chorus could be smoother. They need to work on drum arrangements at chorus ending. It sounds like the song will end soon although it is actually not. Moreover, Hyoyeon’s rap and Tiffany’s bridge create jarring transition after chorus since their part has different tone from rest of Holiday.

Other than that, Holiday also has too many ad-libs from Tiffany, Taeyeon, and Seohyun. This becomes problem because some of their parts sound like Taetiseo song with all those retro and elegant vibe. It seems they still need more effort to differentiate SNSD and Taetiseo sound.

As for music video, it successfully captured Holiday lyrics. Seohyun write its lyrics, which talked about how you must have fun and go on holiday with SNSD. We see SNSD act to make you join various activities in front of camera throughout the music video. They pick clothes in their room, go to restaurant then dance in studio.

Their activities give interesting charm to Holiday music video. Most of them related with their previous music videos. The bedroom setting resembles I Got A Boy, elevator scene looks straight up from Hoot while mannequin properties appears as icon in Gee.

Holiday music video becomes more fun with its musical inspired concept. Throughout the video, SNSD walks around and sings while changes their activity. They also add retro vibe to incorporate with the song through cinematography. It looks a bit blur to emphasize old school feeling. Then SNSD also appears in bright styling although some of the outfits is a hit or miss.

SNSD plays out with disco music in All Night. They brings us back to 70s era through synthesizer and keyboard sound. All of these instruments dominated the song verses. It accompanied with delicate yet sultry vocal from Sooyoung, Yoona, Yuri, and Hyoyeon.

When it reaches chorus part, the music changes. SNSD put modern touch by including electronic dance genre. Their vocal tone changes too where Seohyun and Sunny take the lead. The transition sounds smooth because there is constant melody. I love this combination! It works well and builds up the song. Moreover, it is nice to see SNSD adapt with trend while still maintain their signature hook during chorus.

As a whole, All Night is better song than Holiday. It sounds more fresh and sophisticated. Still, All Night is not a perfect song. It would be better if SNSD removed rap part and dance breakdown. Both look outdated and not match the song flow.

Meanwhile, All Night music video comes with two versions. The first one has longer duration, which includes SNSD interviews. They talk about their experiences and meaning of their group. Unfortunately, the interview bits do not work well with the rest of All Night music video. It was because the song displays fun vibe while interview describes SNSD emotional moments. It would be better if they put the interview in slower song.

The second video cuts SNSD interview bits. We get more glimpse of All Night choreography. It looks sleek and energetic. Plus, it emphasizes on party scene just like All Night disco genre. SNSD tries to have fun together in club scene throughout music video.

All Night music video also displayed retro theme. It has blurry cinematography to match old era. This supported by SNSD styling which full of sequin dress along with curly hair. Their looks are on point and gorgeous.

In the midst all of these fun aspects, SNSD still shows their emotions in subtle way during All Night music video. Some of them look lonely and distant although they are in crowded place. This gesture is actually matches All Night song lyrics. It is about how SNSD misses their lover and want to spend the night with him.

SNSD delivers solid comeback on their 10th year anniversary. Holiday brings out nostalgic feeling while All Night shows new side of them. Both songs successfully represent SNSD in mature way.

Also, the girls look enjoyed performing it on the music video. This attitude makes their presence stronger, something that they lack of since several years ago. I wish they could maintain this kind of energy on next release.

It’s impressive to see SNSD still kicking it after 10 years. They manage to show great gift on their anniversary. Congratulations and looking forward for your future endeavors!

Rating:                        4/5 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

[MUSIC ALBUM REVIEW] WINNER - Our Twenty For (2017)

It’s a promising year for WINNER fans! After creating success with Really Really on April, the boys set up another comeback. WINNER just released their newest album called Our Twenty For on Friday, August 4th 2017.

Our Twenty For is a single album with two title tracks, Love Me Love Me and Island. Both have upbeat tempo and summer theme music video. This approach is quite unique since K-Pop groups usually released two different vibe songs as double title track.

So, how does Love Me Love Me and Island sound? Check out my review of WINNER newest album below………………….

WINNER attempted to take on disco with Love Me Love Me. Similar to the usual disco songs, Love Me Love Me dominated by synthesizer sound. They used it as base for main melody along with electric guitar riff. The addition of latter instrumental was effective to maintain WINNER signature style.

The combination of synthesizer and electric guitar varied throughout the song. It toned down a bit during verses and pre-chorus, but picked it up at the chorus. This created enjoyable dynamic for Love Me Love Me. Another thing is it offered dual charm. Love Me Love Me sounded chill where you could enjoy listening when driving in the car. At the same time, it sounded cheerful and you could easily dance to it.

Love Me Love Me supported with good vocal too. Seungyoon shined the most in this song. Who knew his deep and raspy voice fitted disco track? I love the versatility of Seung Yoon vocal in Love Me Love Me. He managed to sing in softer tone at several parts while still showed his signature high notes. Jinwoo and Seunghoon also got their own spotlight although Mino sounded a bit off. His vocal style during chorus disrupted the flow.

As for Love Me Love Me music video, it continued to display fun theme. It described how WINNER played around in Hawaii. We saw them dance above the car, waited inside baseball stadium, and ran around construction site. Their activities did not offer something new. However, Love Me Love Me still managed to stand out among similar theme music video because of its great cinematography.

Love Me Love Me music video suited the song lyrics too. The element of love story could be seen in unique way. The song mentioned about how the boys fell in love with a girl. Their love showed through exchanging text message with cute emoji. It did not look out of place since the explanation appeared in the beginning scene.

Still, Love Me Love Me was not a perfect music video. The WINNER styling looked questionable in many scenes. Those wide pants needed to go. Plus, I was not really feeling Seunghoon’s long hair.

Compared to Love Me Love Me, Island has faster tempo. This was because WINNER combined tropical house with electronic dance music genre. The usage of keyboard, synthesizer, and percussion became highlight. These instrumentals successfully pumped up the song.

The high-energy music of Island accompanied with strong dynamic. Mino and Seunghoon rapping part opened this song followed by Seungyoon and Jinwoo solid vocal during verses. Their parts matched and managed to create build up prior to chorus.

Then Island chorus came where music breakdown took the front stage. This kind of chorus was hit or miss in K-Pop music. But this time, it worked. The chorus was smooth and enjoyable. Plus, the ‘woo woo’ part at the end was addictive too!

My only complaint for Island was its main sound. The mix between tropical house and electronic dance could be too generic. This was because many K-Pop groups have released similar type of songs beforehand in past year.  There was nothing new here.

Much like Love Me Love Me, Island music video also emphasized on great cinematography. They managed to make frequently used setting for summer theme music video looked fresh. Check out the beauty of ocean as well as sunset near the beach that showcased throughout Island music video.

Moreover, the throwback tone added interesting aspect to Island music video. All those flashy shots with zoom in reminded me with old school boy group music video. Their styling fitted this theme too where WINNER member dressed up in all white attires.

Lastly, Island music video kept its relation with song lyrics. This song was about how WINNER wanted to take their girlfriend to an island to spend time together. Throughout music video, we saw WINNER had several romantic moments with models.

WINNER successfully cheered up summer with Our Twenty For. Love Me Love Me and Island was catchy track where you could easily listen and dance to. Both songs have different charm although the main concept was similar.

With Our Twenty For, WINNER seemed to find their comfortable range in upbeat songs. It was nice to see them expanded in another genre after going into ballad route in early days of their career. Still, I missed their ballad side. Hopefully WINNER could balance it out between these two genres in the future!

Rating:                                    3.5/5