TWICE succeed with Knock Knock

Four months after another hit with TT, a slew of wins at the end of the year festivities, and JUST finishing the first set of concert tours, TWICE have come back with a repackage. The lead single is called Knock Knock

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Fei’s Fantasy feels like a let down

With Miss A looking like more of a distant memory than anything, JYPE seems to be finding ways to keep careers afloat. Suzy has not been jobless since she debuted, and Min…well…Min. The real curiosity was instead the now lone Chinese member Fei who had resigned (while her former groupmate Jia decided to get the fuck out and find new career growth somewhere else). In a twist Fei has been pushed as a soloist with her first single having been released.

Alright here is the thing…I will give this song a safe C. It doesn’t rise to the occasion as an exceptional release and quite frankly does what JYP has done before musically without being fresh. That being said, it isn’t lifeless and there are some worthwhile parts. The chorus itself is the strongest part of the song, being slick and sensual with Fei singing in the standard hushed whisper like vocals. The part that catches me is the very beginning of it with the OOh where it sounds like several voices singing in a tight space. But then Fei stands alone on a song that moves quite slowly.

The song feels like a very bare Janet Jackson song from the late 90’s (and up to now, her sound only changed so slightly). The difference is that Janet would have stacked the song with harmonies to compensate and give the song a more fuller, vibe like feel.  Another issue is that the song kind of has nothing to offer. It comes on, it happens, and then it ends. I don’t really remember much outside of the chorus, which isn’t remarkable.

The video…well I rarely talk about videos now because there is no point, but here is an unfortunate example of where there video matches the song a little too well. The video hinges on the fact that Fei is sexy and a fantasy. It plays up the whole male gaze and objectification thing but comes off so dull. You can’t even be offended because the video is garbage. Most of the video takes place in the virtual reality where Fei does nothing but dance. The fact that they didn’t play up the contrast between the real world and the virtual one was a real loss of opportunity. Why does the guy have to go to a seedy likely underground area to get his fixing for Fantasy Fei? The video is a waste, hinging on the hope that people would be satisfied with the fact that Fei was pretty, and likely cause controversy for clicks.

Fantasy isn’t the ideal debut for Fei. It’s not bad, but feels sparse and lacking of something that may not even exist. Fei does a well enough job on her own, but ultimately is not convincing enough on this track. Hopefully (God willing) she gets another chance with a more assertive track to her name.

Baek Yerin plays it too safe with Bye Bye My Blue

Baek Yerin of 15& is developing herself as a soloist while the duo are on some weird hiatus. Here is her second single Bye Bye My Blue

The song is nice. It has a sweet, but very typical groove and is an okay RbB offering. That being said, this is one in a million when it comes to R&B releases in Korea. There’s a lack of audacity in a lot of them, or they follow an unfortunate ballad like style, which leaves R&B to sound as monotonous, narrow, and quite frankly…bland. Here Yerin follows that to a T, moving through the song with as little complexity as possible. What bothers me is that this idea that you can’t be complex without being big or loud. Intricate harmonies, twist and turns in the melody…anything could have made this song something better. But it is just simple and straight forward. Which works for Yerin I guess.

Bye Bye My Blue is very safe. It plays to the typical expectations of Korean R&B, mixing softer lounge room and adult contemporary pop to give a sweet and lightly muted feel. Yerin motions through the song with depth, and skill that fans are well aware of. Sadly she doesn’t find any new ground to set her apart, which leaves her with a product that isn’t bad, but Bye Bye My Blue doesn’t lend itself to being great either.

 

Twice is off to a decent start with Ooh Ahh

So the build up for TWICE has been on going and the hype is real. So the time has finally come for the group to debut with their debut single Ooh Ahh.

When the instrumental teaser came out, it was unfortunately a stark difference between what was already given in the Music video teasers. This left me with some trepidation. The transitions in the song did not really…well there was a lot going on. The song is very reminiscent of the year 2013 where transitions and changes in the beat was all the rave. While there are elements in all of them, the song does come off like a clusterfuck to give the girls something to work with, while the chorus was essentially the only part that wasn’t altered.

That being said, I liked it. What really saves this song is TWICE themselves. While I liked the song, I could see myself growing tired of this in a week or two. TWICE is essentially why I haven’t fully said something completely negative. The song isn’t bad, but it is muddled and while trying to give everyone their shot, it ultimately remains with little to no rhyme or reason (essentially it’s comparable to a Red Velvet release, only SM knew not to go beyond five members). The only cohesive part is the chorus, which is cute.

The video plays off the of what everone wanted to see…TWICE. They have two different outfits (all school themed), each giving them a character to work with (while also beginning branding their personalities). Really the only one that didn’t get much love was Jungyeon, who was regulated to a section in the chorus, but inbetween the stronger and more screen blessed Nayeon and Jihyo. I am also suprised at how little Tzuyu was shown. Once again, nine girls is not a small number and it can be a little taxing to have to juggle them all. But I would have thought focus would be put on the most popular girls. Instead it was rather even with MoMo getting a slight edge because of her dance break.

The MVP’s of this video has to be Jihyo, Sana and MoMo. While the entire group did their thing, these were essentially my favorite girls.

Overall Jihyo was way more present than I thought she would be (a bigger group, was not as popular as other members, and JYP tends to regulate main vocalist to the chorus), but she was in that song a lot. 10 years of training might turn into 10 years of favoritism.  Which I am not complaining about because she was one of my favorites.

JihyoOA

MoMo has never been my favorite (she as a dancer has never really…appealed to me and the dances she did choose to do were okay at best), but her dance portion was a highlight of the song and video. I do wish they handled her blonde hair better. Some bundles and a darker shade of blonde (like a honey colored) would help. Still she came off grown and powerful throughout the video, and I might end up changing my opinion on her after this promo round.

MoMoOA

Sana is one of the weakest members from a musical standpoint, but pretty much excels as a personality. In fact she was the true fun of this video. While a lot of the girls played up being tough and smirking. Sana was the class clown, bubbly cheerleader combo. Her defining moment is the contrast she plays to both MoMo and Mina (both skilled dancers who are more mature in image), where she tries to be flexible and fails. It works and gives the video some much needed humor.

 

 

SanaOA

Overall the video was fun, but felt drier than I anticipated. It essentially was the girls dancing around a broken down school in the middle of a zombie apocolypse. That sounds great in theory, but once you take into account that there is nine of them (I cannot stress this enough), with the need to showcase all of them, and their parts musically in the frame of a four to five minute song…eh…Yeah the video is standard, but it is cute enough.

And Sana makes it better.

Sana1 Sana2

Anyway this was a decent enough start. Songwise, I don’t know. I like it enough, but do I like it because of TWICE, or because the actual song? I actually think it isn’t bad, but is a bit cluttered and musically loses direction. The most interesting part was the beginning with the flute. I do think TWICE handled the song really well, and the distribution was much better than I had expected. The video was pretty standard, but…I like TWICE so I let it pass. Bias is showing…and I am okay with that.

I’m placing bets on an early return (February at the latest), so in the meantime let’s enjoy the group’s debut.

Sources: jypentertainment Youtube, gifs are mine

A long and extensive TWICE teaser post

So in Five days, JYPE will officially debut their latest group, the reality show made girl group, TWICE. As such they have begun their promo train, releasing teasers for their nearing debut. I had promised to do a teaser post for them, and with all their individual teasers released, I think it is time to bring it all together!

TWICE group shot
TWICE Group Shot

First off there was a schedule released:

Twice promo schedule teaser

Then came their tracklist:

TWICE-Tracklist

A lot of these songs we have heard before: Truth, Do It Again, and Must Be Crazy. I personally have grown to like them, yet am thankful none of them are the single.

We have gone through most of the teasers already.

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Also there is their video teasers which hint at a lot of things going on.

This is all ten teasers, from their individual videos (and zombie companions) to their most recent release from today that shows them dancing in front of a broken down carny bus.

We still have six days left of teasers and I am kind of excited. Hopefully they release another one at noon (KST, 11 pm over where I’m at).

To finish off this post I want to do a little thing where I guess their positions!

Nayeon: Main/Lead Vocalist, Face of the group

Jungyeon: Lead Vocalist

MoMo: Main Dancer, Lead Vocalist, Lead Rapper

Sana: Vocalist, Lead Dancer, Rapper

Jihyo: Leader (confirmed), Main Vocalist

Mina: Lead/Main Dancer, Vocalist

Dahyun: Lead Rapper, Vocalist

Chaeyoung: Main Rapper, Vocalist

Tzuyu: Visual, Vocalist

I generally tend to leave certain roles out because eh. But…might as well get into the K Pop spirit. TWICE seems like their debut is going to go well. The biggest thing is their song being likable by the public. While we can try to look at typical patterns, sometimes that one off song can come in and win. We don’t have enough to worry about it. From my end, I just want to like it. If I like it, I will support them (they already got me in their corner with three of their songs anyway).

TWICE makes their official debut October 20.


 

Sources: TWICE official Facebook page, jypentertainment Youtube 

 

 

Got7 returns with the edgier If You Do

Just Right hadn’t even cooled off yet and JYP is already onto their next try with Got7. Here is If You Do

Do y’all really want to read my thoughts on this? No you don’t…

So let me just say this.

This is passable. This is very…generic. I have heard this song before. Not the same song or production, but the entire feel of the song has been done and done and…done. The chorus doesn’t pop for me…It’s not bad though, just not my absolute favorite from them.

EH.

Anyway I hope this brings them success.

G. Soul aims for diversity on the far too soft Crazy For You

If JYP has done one thing completely right, it is allowing G. Soul to flourish in J. Studio.

With his lack of presence in K Pop, each of his releases feel so distant from each other, that one would forget that G. Soul has done two releases prior to his new one. Each of them have taken on a new life musically.

Here is the video until I can fix this.

Crazy For You feels like a track that could be more with a little more assertiveness. The beat is nice and simple really. There isn’t a lot going on but it still has this dance vibe. It isn’t hard to bop to it, or simply just get lost in it. The only part of the song that I didn’t like was the bridge which did a complete musical 180, and went from a bass drop and trap vibe. I like trap, but it feels almost lazy to have added that into the song. It was abrupt and frankly ugly. Still that isn’t Crazy For You’s biggest problem. No the problem comes from G. Soul himself, who tends to sit on the less than aggressive side of singing. He is so passive as a singer that I equate him with singing in his sleep. Muttering bits and pieces of the verses in his sleep, but never truly putting the required effort into the song. His style is so nasally and so light that it lacks impact if he doesn’t try himself. That can work well to his advantage, and he has songs on his last two projects that do work well with his style. But it is not a consistent thing when listening to him. Janet Jackson proved it can work, but she also proved to have a very emotive albeit tiny voice. There was a force in a soft velvety singing. With G. Soul he tends to just teeter around the possibility of giving some effort beyond the minimum. However he doesn’t detract from the song, instead adding really nothing to it. In fact that can be a theme of his musically. A good song where he does nothing but sway in the background vocally.

This song could easily be better if G. Soul put more emphasis in his singing. Add a little flare somehow. The music feels just right for me. Soft and moves fluidly, sans the bridge portion.Instead the song is very light and comes off as the most pleasant dance music that can be described as background.

 

Day6 debut with Congratulations

2015 has been quiet a year for JYPE. With all that has happened in the company one would think they would have little time to debut any new groups. But they have…

Day6 is JYP’s second step out of the normal K Pop boundaries (third if you count Yeeun), being a traditional band (the second one after the Wonder Girls). After a couple of months of them slowly pushing their names out there (by getting them on the festival circuit, which is pretty smart for several reasons), their debut came in September with their first ep The Day, and their first single…Congratulations

Once again, this is different than what JYP is used to releasing. Normally they are R&B and Urban flavored pop tracks focused on the importance of the hook more than anything else. Here they have gone done the pop rock road. It works for the song. Congratulations is the type of song I would see regularly on MTV and VH1. It has a nice appeal, and while it isn’t outstanding or amazing, it still is really good.

The only thing that bothers me is the constant need to push the idea that everyone needs to sing. The only person who didn’t sing on this track was the drummer apparently (who shows up on other songs off their ep), and I am not bothered by that. MOST bands typically don’t have the entire group leading a song, and up until the turn of the century, most pop/vocal groups didn’t either. The constant need to prove everyone’s talents in this industry is kind of redundant for a group where everyone is showing a skill. Plus songs tend to get cluttered with voices that are not all exceptional or sound good.

However that is not to say Day6 isn’t talented, I just lost count/stopped caring about who is singing what past the first chorus. Sometimes it is okay if not everyone in the group gets a part. It doesn’t affect the quality of the song, I promise you.

Other than that, the song is really good. The video is easy to watch and understand. I liked how the story went with the song, and the scenes of them as a bad was kept to like maybe two or three important places. I do wish they would have filled up the train with more people to make it look natural. He is staring right at her, when they are the only three people on the train. Her boyfriend would have noticed that and beat the shit out of him or something. Like it was way too obvious.

Congratulations is a good debut. Musically it stands apart from their contemporaries (it’s not like there are many bands in K Pop mainstream awareness anyway), and it’s just a good song. The video is nice and fits the song’s sarcastic sadness well. The songs had no actual problems that I could hear, and that speaks well to the band. Hopefully the rest of their album is just as good as their debut, because if so, they might just have a fan.

Faves doing things: 15&’s Yerin finally does something after a hiatus

*Insert something about JYP not properly managing 15&*

*Insert something about their talent*

*Insert something about how JYPE managed to completely kill the hype that Park Jimin got from K Pop Star*

*Insert tagline, “But I’m not bitter”*

Here is Yerin performing Sia’s Chandelier.

Here is her new version of Chrisette Michele’s Like A Dream

Trying really hard not to air some frustrations. Not even from a fan perspective and admitted bias, but 15& really has potential to do something. I say they still have it because look at Ah Yeon. She got a hit three years into her career, and while JYPE still managed to drop the ball on capitalizing off of that, people at the very least know her name (Even if only for five minutes). Nobody is truly out for the count, and I think 15& could have something if they were invested in for more than five minutes at a time. But…that means actually caring about their careers.

Especially since you went on these damn shows to scout people, and you not even doing anything with them outside of bare minimum…you know what…

Hopefully with JYP’s sub label (Studio J) which is for the artsy kids and less K pop oriented music…Yerin will finally shine and get more jobs.

Or something…

 

 

Teaser Post: Wonder Girls band era is upon us

WONDERGIRLS

In less than a week, the Wonder Girls will return after a two year hiatus. Needless to say I am excited!

So to celebrate here is a teaser post!

The first crop of teasers were the ladies with their instruments.

Sunmi on the bass.

https://www%20youtube.com/watch?v=cZuv_woHhb8

Yubin on the drums

Hye Rim on the guitar

Yeeun on the piano/keys

arianaappreciate

Learning an instrument is intimidating. I play brass instruments, and I’m not terrible on the piano (not good, but not terrible). Strings however…scare me. I wanted to learn how to play the bass and violin as a child, but was too poor to afford the instrument, let alone the lessons. However in 6th grade, I enrolled into Concert band, and found a love for music. Not trying to brag, but I was one of the best in our small ass band.

Anyway the point I am making is that learning an instrument is hard. I spent my entire middle school and high school career in band. After a couple of years I thought I knew shit. Then came dynamics, and different scales, and syncopation, and shit. Like…I was thrown off. You are always going to be learning, and to see them playing like this…it got my Band Geek coming the fuck out to be honest. I love it!

It’s really cool seeing the Wonder Girls take this on. Do I believe they are masters on their instruments? Doubt it. Yeeun is the only one I know who has had extensive time behind her instrument, but I don’t think she played religiously. Even if they have been working on this for a while, and has a natural affinity for their instrument, it takes years to get to that point in my opinion.

On the front of promo, this was super effective. People in and out of the fandom are excited. Sunmi’s return and her teaser alone resulted in massive response. I think starting with that gave them the edge you can only dream of. This week they are going straight for the album teasers.

Starting with the album cover

WONDERGIRLS1

I liked it…but it’s the Wonder Girls, so I am obligated to like it. No but really, when I found out that this was going to be basically an ode to the 80’s…it made sense. Like who makes album covers like this now?

Here is the album tracklist

WONDERGIRLS2

 

The promo track was done by JYP, and has an 80’s feel. This…I think will work. JYP is a great writer, and has made some great tracks…the issue though, I find him to be musically dated. There is a reason why most of his bigger hits worked in the time, or were “retro”. And if that isn’t great, we got a teaser of what we are getting.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I think this might be everything I could hope for in a song that is pretty much going to cosplay the 80’s. I’ve always had issues when songs basically try to recreate the past…but it’s the Wonder Girls, JYP sounds like he finally got it right again, and…it’s the Wonder Girls. I don’t give a fuck if this was them vomitting and praising Satan…I am a big enough fan that I would support it.

That’s is my reality.

I have a lot to say but it’s nothing you guys want to hear, and mostly about feminism. Anyway, let’s enjoy this moment!

The album Reboot, music video of I Feel You and showcase will be released/held on August 3rd. Be prepared for me to review everything.