Saturday, April 14, 2018

[MUSIC ALBUM REVIEW] EXO-CBX - Blooming Days (2018)

EXO started 2018 with their sub-unit activities. On Wednesday, April 10th 2018, EXO-CBX (Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin) released mini album called Blooming Days. This is their second album after launching Hey Mama in 2016.

Blooming Days offers interesting album concept. It has seven tracks to represent days in a week. Each song has different theme, which based on certain day’s mood. EXO-CBX mentioned that this album could be a companion for people daily activities.

So, are you ready to spend your week with EXO-CBX? Here is my review for Blooming Days album………

EXO-CBX opens Blooming Days album with a surprise. They do not showcase funk or pop-dance genre like their previous album. Instead, they tackle reggae theme for Monday Blues. This song dominated by percussion sound, which gives chill vibe. It matches the song lyrics since EXO-CBX talks about laziness when Monday comes. They just could not wait for weekend already!

As a reggae song, Monday Blues only has similar melody throughout the end. This could make the song becomes boring. Luckily, EXO-CBX manages to create exciting dynamic with their vocal. It was impressive, especially when Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin continue to sing with higher key after each refrain.

Blooming Days is a title track for this mini album. This time, EXO-CBX is back with their usual pop and dance theme. It has groovy beat accompanied by electric guitar. The music would easily make people dance to it.

Although it still presents pop and dance genre, Blooming Days has different vibe than Hey Mama (EXO-CBX previous title track). It sounds calmer due to vocal arrangement. EXO-CBX sang in lower register for most parts. They only soars during refrain, which also makes more satisfying build up in Blooming Days.

Since the song title Blooming Days, the lyrics added various symbolisms about flower such as sprout and leaf. This symbolism is a way of EXO-CBX showcases their feeling. They fall in love with a girl and want to be her boyfriend.

The similar theme also presented on Blooming Days music video. You can see Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin sit or sleep between flowers. This followed by unique cinematography and bold color tone like yellow, green or red. It looks gorgeous.

Sweet Dreams mixes modern and old school sound. The 80s inspired disco beat starts this song. It uses drum followed by electric guitar riff and a bit of keyboard sound. This beat stays throughout Sweet Dreams verses, which talked about how EXO-CBX keeps thinking of one girl.

Then modern sound appears before Sweet Dreams refrain. It has synthesizer to create slower breakdown. Unfortunately, this addition disrupts the song flow. It sounds out of place. Sweet Dreams able to pick it up again during refrain because the old school sound comes back.

Thursday means time for R&B! This fourth track dominated by strong beat along with bass and piano melody. It has slower tempo as well as continuous arrangement. Since the music is quite simple, Thursday able to showcase EXO-CBX vocal.

If Blooming Days focuses on lower register, Thursday goes the other way. Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin challenge themselves with falsettos and harmonization. They nail it, especially when they exchange lines during bridge. It sounds soothing and fits the song theme about wishing to make it official with their lover.

EXO-CBX tries out another experiment with Vroom Vroom. This song mixes disco and trap genre. Disco sound comes through the usage of drum, synthesizer, and bass in verses. These instrumentals successfully lift up people’s mood. This matches Friday night fun vibe.

The uplifting spirit also shows due to EXO-CBX rap during second verses. You finally able to listen Baekhyun and Chen’s attempt! Both of them nail this part, which mention how their heartbeat goes faster when spending time loved ones.

Meanwhile, trap sound appears at refrain. It sadly becomes another blunder from EX-COBX after Sweet Dreams. The old school and modern sound still does not work well.

After disco, funk, and trap, EXO-CBX tackles jazz genre with Playdate. This song is full of strong guitar and bass line as well as lovely piano melody. It also has EXO-CBX harmonization during refrain. The arrangement sounds more cheerful yet fresh if you compare with previous songs.

The cheerful arrangement relates with Playdate lyrics. It tells a story about EXO-CBX preparation to have a date. The lyrics are cute and definitely suits Saturday mood where couple often spend times together.

EXO-CBX finally arrives at last day of the week, Sunday. They do not ready to work again the next day. This is why they want to spend the day doing nothing. This situation portrayed in Lazy lyrics.

Since the song talked about laziness, its arrangement also follows similar vibe. It goes on medium tempo beat that sounds chill. It also has old school tone through the usage of electric guitar and synthesizer. As a lazy theme, this song showcases repetitive melody that could potentially makes people bored.

Blooming Days is another solid album from EXO-CBX. Most of the tracks are pleasant listening. You could easily enjoy it when doing your daily activities just like what the boys want to achieve with this album.

Blooming Days also successfully shows EXO-CBX musical identity apart from EXO. They like to mix up disco, funk, and dance genre. Their songs sound more chill and groovy if you compare with the whole group. Well done, Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin!

My Favorite Tracks:   Monday Blues, Blooming Days, Sweet Dreams, Playdate
Rating:                          4/5

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

[MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW] TWICE - What Is Love (2018)

TWICE is ready to rock again in 2018! After releasing Heart Shaker last December, the girls are back with their new mini album called What Is Love on Monday, April 9th 2018.

This mini album has What Is Love as its title track. It is TWICE second single that produced by JYP. Anticipation as well as anxiety rose towards this single. Some people were curious whether JYP able to produce another hits. Meanwhile, the others were worried since JYP last single for TWICE, Signal only got moderate responds.

So how is the result? Will JYP magic finally work for TWICE? Check out my review of What Is Love below………

JYP decided not to recreate Signal formula on What Is Love. He stopped experimenting and followed TWICE signature style. What Is Love is a bubblegum pop song with addition of electronic music. It has simple dynamic and recognizable hook part just like TWICE previous hits.

The similar formula unfortunately prevented What Is Love to develop in the beginning. It sounded too safe and lack of kick. There was not much going on in terms of arrangement.

Things only started to spice up after What Is Love second refrain. This was the stood out part of this song. I love how they played out with different dynamic starting from rap, refrain to ending music. The vocalists shone too, especially Jihyo and Nayeon. They successfully sang in their own range.

TWICE also brought back their signature theme in What Is Love music video. It showed pop culture references like what they did on Cheer Up and TT music video. This time, TWICE tried to act in various movie scene.

There was Nayeon who did makeover like The Princess Diaries scene, Tzuyu and Momo who followed La La Land dance, even Jungyeon and Sana who showcased Ghost romantic sequence. It was cute yet hilarious since TWICE did not use male model. Beside that, it was fun to guess all the movie names.

The movie scene theme did not added randomly. In fact, it was in line with What Is Love lyrics. The lyrics talked about TWICE curiosity to fall in love. They wanted to experience it in real life because they could only feel it when watching movies. This was simple theme, but relatable at the same time. I am sure all of us have this experience at some point in our life.

What Is Love movie theme paired up with great cinematography. It dominated by bold colors such as blue, yellow, and red. The girls styling were different among one another. This made them shine on their own.

JYP finally nailed it with What Is Love. It is another catchy and pleasant listening track from TWICE along with unique music video. This will surely maintain TWICE status as one of the rising girl groups in K-Pop industry.

TWICE is currently walked on third year of their career. The girls already found their signature music, which achieved positive responds from public. It was good that TWICE did not lose their roots. But, I would like to see them branch on something new for the next comeback. Tons of luck, TWICE!

Rating:            3.5/5

Friday, April 6, 2018


After last year’s massive success, WINNER is back in 2018! The boys released their new album EVERYD4Y on Wednesday, April 4th 2018. This album has similar name title track, which called Everyday.

Everyday showcases WINNER ability to tackle different genre again. Last year, they followed tropical house trend with three consecutive singles. Meanwhile this year, WINNER chooses trap beat.

How is the result? Will WINNER able to follow last year’s success? Check out my review for Everyday here…………………

Since the beginning, Everyday definitely presented new side of WINNER. This song opened with Mino’s rap along with strong beat and electronic synthesizer. The lyrics also become simpler where WINNER talks about how they fall in love with a girl everyday and hope to spend long time together.

Jinwoo and Seungyoon then come to show their vocal. It sounds slower compared to rap part. I love this dynamic because it manages to build up the song momentum. Beside that, the changing lines between Seungyoon’s raspy voice and Jinwoo’s soft vocal sound pleasant.

Unfortunately, Everyday refrain part does not able to follow this solid dynamic. It becomes repetitive since the melody is quite similar with verses. Plus, the autotune effect disrupts Everyday flow. Why are they covering Seungyoon’s unique voice? At least, the hook part is catchy. I am sure it remains in our head.

The music video itself is Everyday saving grace. It successfully captures California scenery from swimming pool, resort to beach in day and night time. The cinematography is gorgeous, which emphasized on blue tone.

Aside from scenery, Everyday also shows the song choreography. We see all WINNER members dance to it in various locations. I love these shots since the choreography looks fun and easy to follow. The boys nail it too, especially Seunghoon’s. I can’t take my eyes off him!

Everyday is WINNER’s attempt in experimenting new genre. However, it does not end well this time. Everyday sounds messy. It is WINNER weakest title track to date. This is quite disappointing because WINNER always deliver solid tracks since their debut in 2014. Thankfully, Everday still get beautiful music video that showcases great scenery along with fun choreography.

Although it is lacking, WINNER maintains their last year success with Everyday. They take top spot on several music charts. It seems WINNER itself has becomes strong brand.

Hopefully, WINNER continues to try different sound that suits them in the future. Also, please bring us another ballad as title track. We miss it!

Rating:                        2.5/5 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

[MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW] TVXQ - The Chance of Love (2018)

After military service, Yunho and Changmin decided to fulfill their duty in K-Pop music scene. These gentlemen are finally back as TVXQ!

TVXQ released new album New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love on Wednesday, March 28th 2018. This is their eighth studio album as well as first album after military service. It explains why public has high anticipation to this comeback.

For this album, TVXQ choose The Chance of Love as its title track. Many people are curious to see whether TVXQ sticks to their signature style or attempts something new. Which side is TVXQ picking? Check out my review for The Chance of Love below…….

The Chance of Love began with the new side of TVXQ. Yunho and Changmin try to tackle pop-dance genre. It has fast exchanging line, which accompanied by strong drum beat and groovy bass line. The song production is sleek and it makes the dynamic interesting.

However, The Chance of Love takes different turn toward its refrain part. TVXQ decides to bring back their old sound. The song arrangement becomes much simple with catchy hook. Plus, TVXQ adds vocal harmonization that sounds soothing to the ear while gives more punch to The Chance of Love.

The combination between new and old sound of TVXQ flows well. It does not sound out of place. In fact, it makes the song become more exciting. I love how Yunho and Changmin vocal manage to complement the changing sound throughout The Chance of Love.

The similar combination could also be seen on The Chance of Love music video. It keeps the classic look of SM Entertainment’s music video where everything sets in the box. Fortunately, it does not look boring since TVXQ utilizes different type of setting such as studio, dance floor, and stair.

The Chance of Love music video also manages to represent the song theme. It talks about how TVXQ could captivate people attention. They show it through energetic dancing that dominated the whole music video. Beside that, Yunho and Changmin still got great stage presence. You could not help to watch them, especially with those suits!

Although it uses box setting and does not have exact storyline, The Chance of Love music video far from being outdated. This is due to the stylish camerawork with monochrome effect at several parts. It looks sleek, flashy, and able to present TVXQ strength.

TVXQ choose both old and new side for The Chance of Love comeback. These combinations were seen on its sound as well as music video. It resulted well where both sides able to complement each other.

The Chance of Love is definitely a strong mark from TVXQ. They finally here again and successfully show people why they manage to stay on top of their game for many years. Welcome back, one of the Korean Wave kings!

Rating:                        4.5/5


Sunday, February 4, 2018

[MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW] Red Velvet - Bad Boy (2018)

Red Velvet has great streaks in 2017. They produced hit after hit, topped various music charts, and achieved several awards. All of these achievements made people anticipate what they are going to do next.

Red Velvet answers people’s anticipation right away. They come back on January 29th 2018 with repackage album called The Perfect Red Velvet and Bad Boy as title track. Since this is a repackage for Velvet side, Bad Boy offers something more mature in terms of music and concept compare to their Red singles.

Through Bad Boy, will Red Velvet able to continue last year’s success? What is exactly the kind of image that Red Velvet presenting this time? Check out my review here………

Red Velvet attempts to do hip-hop and R&B genre with Bad Boy. This song dominated by strong beat along with unique yet alluring melody. However, the tempo is slower than last year’s releases to emphasize their Velvet side.

Bad Boy does not have a punch. The song keeps going on constant beat. This could made Bad Boy becomes boring. In order to avoid that issue, Red Velvet decides to play out with their vocal. There are various harmonization and vocal layering, which elevated the song dynamic.

Red Velvet also shines as individual. Each member’s vocal stands out in Bad Boy. We could enjoy Yeri’s lower register, Irene’s cute way of singing, Joy’s sweet vocal, plus Seulgi and Wendy’s vocal riff. All of those vocal arrangement complements the catchy refrain part. It makes Bad Boy more pleasant listening.

As for lyrics, Bad Boy represents the mature Velvet side. Red Velvet likes a bad boy and tries to flirt with him. But, they do not want it become obvious. It is a push and pulls game for the girls.

The mature theme continued in Bad Boy music video. Red Velvet describes mature with combination of sexy and rebel styling. We see the girls wear dress and crop top then added fishnets. They also applied smoky eye makeup and red lipstick. Each Red Velvet member looks gorgeous.

However, the girls need to work their presence more. Some of them still look awkward to portray sexy and rebel. They fall behind in dancing too. Only Seulgi and Joy who embodies confident throughout Bad Boy music video.

Similar problem happens with the whole Bad Boy concept. Red Velvet actually had great set up. The music video is full of various unique setting from bedroom, mannequin room to ice cliffs. It also has beautiful cinematography.

The styling, setting, and cinematography allow people to maximize wild creativity in Bad Boy music video. Unfortunately, it does not being developed. There is no concrete storyline there. This issue reminds me with EXO’s Monster music video. It has big concept, but there is not more than just pretty montage.

Bad Boy showcases different side of mature in Red Velvet. It shows sexiness through music and vocal arrangement. Then it adds rebellion if we see the music video. This is a fresh approach from Red Velvet although there are various issues that need to be fixed.

Red Velvet already on their comfortable state of career. Last year’s hit makes them becomes one of third generation top girl groups. The release of Bad Boy will make Red Velvet name become more know in general public. At the same time, it shows that Red Velvet could present different type of image.

Rating:                        3.5/5