Thoughts on some recent (and not so recent) music

Long time no blogging! I’ve been really busy with school, and I still am, but now I’ve decided to procrastinate by writing. Haha.

Anyway, a lot of stuff has been released and I have a lot of feelings about them, but I never really got a chance to voice them until now. So here it is, a mini-review of some of the singles out of K-pop this year. Starring: Super Junior, T-ARA, BEAST, After School, f(x), 2NE1, JJ Project, and the Wonder Girls!

Sexy, Free & Single – Super Junior

So I’ve warmed up exponentially to this single over time, to the point where I like it quite a bit now. It’s really low-key and mellow as a song, and because of that I’m surprised at how much I love the choreography for it. Although I don’t think it’s the perfect choice for a title song, what I love is how smooth and clean this entire song is (bar the hook). That silky and polished auditory sensation is something I haven’t heard from Super Junior since ever, especially since YYJ decided to take them on the SJ Funky Triology.

Of course, there is a reason why I was cold towards this song at first, and that reason was the hook. For lack of a better term, it trolls the entire song into that cheap and uninspired territory that Super Junior has dabbled in for the last three years or so. It’s like someone over at SM decided that this song desperately needed a hook (or that Siwon needed some lines), and just stuck the most generic and grating one in there. Which is a complete shame, the song is melodic enough to be able to stand on it’s own without having a shameless hook hammered over our heads. But, le sigh, what can you do? I guess it’s staple Super Junior by now.

The rest of the album is pretty meh. Maybe I’ll review it when I’m bored, but frankly it’s probably the weakest album Super Junior has put out in a while. It’s like, none of the songs (sans Gulliver and Bittersweet) are really crash-and-burn, but they have so little thought put into them. It’s like, there could have been a good album there, but SM didn’t bother. But hey, it’s Super Junior. Who cares about the music? Nonetheless, if I had to recommend songs from it, I enjoyed ‘From U‘ (which sounds like YYJ ft KRY) and ‘Daydream‘, and that’s probably it.

Single: 4/5
Album: 2/5

Day By Day – T-ARA

Everyone’s saying it, and so will I, it sounds like Britney Spear’s ‘Criminal. A song which I didn’t like either, so heh. I mean, Day By Day isn’t the most offensive thing to come out of T-ARA’s womb or anything, but it’s pretty boring and it makes for some really boring performances. Nikki always talks about ‘kick’ whenever she reviews songs, and what this song lacks is exactly that. Kick. Everything sounds so diluted, and that’s probably why Hwayoung’s rap sticks out so much, it’s the sole part of the song with even a bit of bite.*

Can I talk about how much I despise the processing on T-ARA’s songs? Especially this one. It’s like they compress all of their voices and they’re singing with their chins to their necks. I could understand it when they were doing their fantastic electropop thing, but now it’s just annoying. If you listen to other of T-ARA songs, all of the members (‘cept Hyomin) have rather open voices, and so why are CCM so hell bent on turning them into whispering chipmunks?? Soyeon’s voice is beautiful, but they make it sound so generic and flat here. As for Hyomin, I really like her voice when she sings songs that require straight up singing and none of that other nonsense. It’s smooth and has a unique texture. But she sounds like crap when she’s processed. For a voice that already has nasal qualities, processing does no favours for her. She’s talented, but both her and Eunjung are given no favours vocally by being in T-ARA. Everytime they get a song that requires singing, Soyeon is always given the bulk. Apparently Ahreum has a voice, but it’s hard to tell with this release.

Don’t Leave‘ is the only other song on the album that’s worth a listen. It’s a total mess live though, Soyeon sounds tragically strained.

*I find it funny that prior to the T-ARA scandal it was pretty much universal consensus that as a rapper Hwayoung was pretty mediocre. But now that she’s being bullied suddenly she has loads of potential and musical talent. Hmm…

Single: 2.5/5
Album: 2.5/5

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