mini-album review: NewJeans “New Jeans”

Remember when Beyoncé surprised everyone with an album nine years ago, changing the music industry’s way of releasing music as we knew it back then? Nothing of the sort has ever made its tread into Korean pop waters until ADOR, a subsidiary label under HYBE LABELS (you know, the one that houses the likes of BTS, SEVENTEEN, and LE SSERAFIM), surprised us all with a gift of their own.

Enter NewJeans, a five-member girl group, and the first group under the label. On July 21, 2022, their label had dropped an MV for the pre-release single “Attention” without warning. It immediately became a hot sensation, with the group’s aesthetic and overall musical vibe being trending topics of that day and the following weekend. Of course, this came without any announcement that ADOR’s hotly-rumored group was even finalized… they just DID IT.

Following suit was the real announcements: the girls would be releasing each song from their first mini-album “New Jeans“, which takes the consumer through the aesthetics of the early 00s, now that that era itself is… ahem, 20 years old (yikes, I’m old). With “New Jeans”, the girls look to grab your attention with some cookie-cut tracks, but is this mini-album worth the album, or is the listener bound to be hurt by its tracks? Let’s get on some new jeans and find out…

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album review: Perfume “PLASMA”

The world is no longer the world we knew back in 2018, when electronic-pop trio Perfume released their album “Future Pop”. Performances could not proceed, concerts were cancelled or rescheduled or aired for television consumption, and Japanese pop groups faced threats to their longevity in the scene.

And yet, even when all else was uncertain, it was certain Perfume would continue on; the rise of TikTok dance challenges, a booking spot with the Japanese adaptation of The Masked Singer, an airing of their ‘polygon wave’ tour, and a continued slew of releases onward from 2020 to 2022 were all the girls needed to make sure they were standing tall in the midst of the pandemic. Eventually, there had to be an album, right?

Thus, enter ‘PLASMA‘, a culmination of released tracks of the last three years following ‘P Cubed’, with some sprinkles of new tracks for your enjoyment. Much like its name, this album is in a state of matter all on its own, but will its musical particles be full of energy, or is Perfume just resting on empty? It’s time to check whether these last three years were worth the charge…

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mini-album review: fromis_9 “from our Memento Box”

Summer has arrived, and the girl groups are not holding back with their summer concepts this year! Summer queens galore!

One of the many few releases for the summer comes from nine-member unit fromis_9, who have had their fair share of summer jams and bops throughout their tenure that started out with Idol School. The girls have continued to elevate their sound and concepts, this time opting for a ‘run-away-from-real-life’ concept that will have you telling your boss it’s high-time you go to the beach.

from our Memento Box” is fromis_9’s next mini-album, and they opt to take you through their box of memories that’s filled with the warm air, sunny skies, and sandy beaches of summertime. Will this memento box be worth opening and exploring, or is it empty of that summer feel we’re all craving this season?

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compilation review: Queendom 2 “FINAL”

I’m back!

After some false promises, and a bout with the COVID herself, I am back to give the children what they want! And I bet you have been waiting patiently for what I’ve been thinking about what’s going on in the South Korean pop music scene, with its insane amount of debuts and comebacks in the first half of 2022. There’s a lot to unpack!

So, speaking of comebacks, remember Queendom? You know, that Mnet program that had esteemed girl groups pit it out in a comeback war that had them pumping out amazing fan content all while trying to prove which one of them was worthy of being the “queen of all queens”? Well, if you were under a rock, Queendom had finally wrapped up its follow-up season, officially declaring a final winner – and let me tell you, it was a surprise, and one that I personally didn’t want, but it’s an Mnet program so… *cue shady backtrack*

With that said, I present to you my take on the final six tracks from the six girl groups of the program: “FINAL“. Perhaps there’s a slight ~*~bias~*~ but I’ll be as objective as possible; each group has brought a level worthy of the crown, but which of these six songs can Run the World?

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mini-album review: Brave Girls “THANK YOU”

Well, Fearless, we’re back at another comeback from the girls!

Brave Girls returns to the K-pop scene with a new mini-album, and this time, the girls take on a retro disco concept that will have you screaming ‘2nd-generation vibes’. Titled “THANK YOU“, Brave Girls aims this comeback right to the heart of their success, the fans, otherwise known as Fearless.

Continuing in a release series (starting with “We Ride”) that will probably have you getting sentimental, Brave Girls wants to thank you (and me, and us) for everything; but will the fans respond back positively? Or will we be thankful we don’t have to listen to this mini-album after its first try? Let’s take a look…

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single review: NMIXX “AD MARE”

I am back, and I’ve finally gotten things together to put full focus on reviewing! And, frankly, what a better way to get back into it than reviewing one of the most controversial debuts ever to hit the K-pop scene?

Introduced as a ‘blind package’ concept back sometime in early 2021 (probably even earlier, if I can recall), JYP girl group NMIXX became one of the most anticipated groups to enter into 2022, and each member was no joke – you’ve got your visuals, your charismatic performers, and perhaps some of the best vocalists of the generation. So, when their debut single “AD MARE” hit center stage, no one expected it to be received as negatively as it should.

I guess that’s what you sort of get for promoting it ‘blindly’, but can you blame JYP? He’s got your attention, whether it’s bad or not.

That said, what do I really think of this situation? Well, you’re just gonna have to read on…

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album review: hitomi “huma-rhythm”

We’ve reached album stage for the “huma-rhythm” series, and just in the nick of time! Did you know this album was released on this day in 2002? That’s… wow, 20 years ago!

Insane to think I’ve gotten to that point in my life where music I’ve grown up with is now 20 years old, but here we are. Of course, I didn’t find out about this album until a mere 3 years later, but the sentiment is still the same: imagine finding this at a young age, and several years later, you still find yourself able to listen to it (spoiler alert).

huma-rhythm” is hitomi’s sixth studio album (which is also crazy, since she herself is a 90s J-pop star), and it tackles a lot for an album, considering the time it was released, when the world took a deeper look at itself. I won’t say what it is but if you recall anything big that happened in 2001, you might pin it together. So without further ado, is “huma-rhythm” the album that is guaranteed to get us as human as possible, or is it a lost melody buried deep in itself? Let’s see!

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single review: Morning Musume. “SEXY BOY ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~”

Bet you thought there wouldn’t be another series to throw into the mix, but nope, I’m doing it now!

This time, I’ll be looking at a set of singles up to the release of an album known as “SEXY 8 BEAT”, from my ult-group and Japan’s mega pop-sensation Morning Musume., and more specifically, the set of girls that feature their 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th generation (and for later reviews, their 8th and 8.5th).

The first single in the batch is the springtime single “SEXY BOY ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~“, which oddly enough was a background track for the 2008 movie Jumper, and it also happens to be one of the very first songs I’ve heard from the Hello! Project umbrella. So, this begs to ask: Was I nestled by the breeze of this ‘sexy’ track or was it to risky for a ‘sexy boy’ like me (ugh)? Let’s look!

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single review: hitomi “SAMURAI DRIVE”

The final single in the ‘huma-rhythm’ series, skipping over “I am / innocence” as I previously reviewed it, sees hitomi tackling on cover territory with “SAMURAI DRIVE”.

With a fierce space-like image that will be further referenced in the album it’s part of, on top of it all with a sleek sexy samurai outfit, “SAMURAI DRIVE” is sticking to a fabulous concept and theme not seen in prior singles. A cover of an original track from Japanese rock band CUNE, “SAMURAI DRIVE” continues the pop-rock trend established in her previous singles, but with a bit of an edge.

Is this final lead-up single to the album going to slay us with its samurai drive, or are we in for a bumpy ride? Let’s take a look!

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