I’m late, I know.
This week has been a relatively lazy one on my end because college is picking up, but also becausee I started writing for some other endeavors unrelated to Kpop (which is why there was no full reviews this week).
But here we are, and here’s my take on last week’s releases:
Niel – “Love Affair” (January 15th, 2017)
I honestly thought that this was Niel’s solo debut, but it turns out this is either the second or third. It’s no wonder that I hadn’t heard the other ones – they sucked.
But I like this one a lot. With an emphasis on Spanish guitars and synth-drums, this song doesn’t sound out of place in Michael Jackson’s later work. Niel continues the trend of Michael Jackson copycats in Kpop, and I’m living for it. He’s also the most convincing because his tenor fits with Michael’s voice better than others (Taemin, or most recently in Rain’s “The Best Present”), and he delivers the dance moves in a way Michael would’ve been proud.
However, that doesn’t mean that everything about this is good. The music video sucks in comparison to the song and dance sequences, and that’s solely because of the relationship portrayed within it. Niel goes from being terrible to pathetic in all his shots dedicated to trying to get his girl back, i.e. the car scenes. I’m sorry, but no girl is gonna tolerate the following:
- Kicking her out of the car (which I can only assume is what happened because Niel slows down and the girl storms out).
- Changing your mind, getting out of the car, running up to her, and then suddenly throwing her wrist in such a way she has to turn around.
- Trying to take her back by gingerly (and creepily) touching her cheek.
- When girl says “no, I don’t want you,” going down on your knees and grabbing her waist like it’s the only thing left. There is always just something so…wrong about this. And no, it’s not because “mrrr, guys shouldn’t ever be weak in front of a girl, mrrr.” No. More times than not this feels like a guilt-trip method, especially in the context of the video, which implies that this girl really doesn’t want to be with Niel anymore.
All of this in mind, as well as the wound on Niel’s cheek that appears at the beginning of the music video, a fight very well could have ensued and she just got sick of it. I know that this video is supposed to make the audience feel sorry for Niel because of a breakup, but this video makes it look like this wasn’t a healthy relationship in the first because of him. It’s another unfortunate example of a great song with a terrible music video, and I wish it was a trend that didn’t keep happening in Kpop.
On the bright side: at least you can play the song and just not watch the music video. So that’s cool.
CLC – “Hobgoblin” (January 16th, 2017)
At first I disliked this despite some serious hype because it felt like a discount rendition of 4Minute’s legendary “Crazy.” However, after I gave it a few listens I noticed the hooks embedded in this song and have kept listening ever since. However, it doesn’t seem to have much momentum in Korea (which is pretty weird after I heard they’re from CUBE Entertainment. Like, home of 4minute and previously B2ST???).
However, with this kind of image/sound, I think there needs to just be a tad more attitude. You can’t get away with this without being able to own it (which is why it fit 4minute so well). Next time you do a song like this, lay the badassery on thick and you won’t need the baseball bats and dark makeup to look it (even though they do help tremendously).
Seohyun – “Don’t Say No” (January 17th, 2017)
Last year I reviewed a song called “Mystery” by Hyoyeon under SM Station, and in the review I mentioned that I never really cared for Hyoyeon as a member. The same story goes for Seohyun (and in fact, most of Girls’ Generation). The song borrows from a lot of American trends via Ariana Grande, but Seohyun doesn’t have quite the same vocal power, leaving Seohyun almost lost in the big instrumental. This is another song I looked at and initially disliked, but my personal love for Ariana makes this song get over the line.
The music video is good too, as it portrays Seohyun with some guy and kills him by making him eat chain link “spaghetti,” but her dance outfits look tacky as hell with the cage thing on her hips. Beyond that, no complaints.
I.O.I. – “Downpour” (January 18th, 2017)
I didn’t really listen to this ballad the whole way through , but it’s hard to deny how sad this is. I.O.I. had a really good run in 2016 and it’s too bad they were only a temporary group because beyond TWICE they would have been a pick for the next biggest girl group. While their disbandment doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing any of the girls afterwards, it stills sucks we’ll never see them again as a cohesive unit.
Luna, Hani, Solar – “Honey Bee” (January 18th, 2017)
I was kind of excited for this but I think Asian Junkie got it right when he pointed out this feels like three girls trying to outshine each other. Also, the horns trend continues and I still hate it with every fiber of my being.
The good part is the girls are serving with visuals.
2NE1 – “Goodbye” (January 20th, 2017)
I wanted to like this song. It was from a band that led the Hallyu wave alongside Big Bang, Girls Generation, Wonder Girls, etc. and is now no longer with us. The problem lies in the repetitive guitar instrumental and chorus.
Also, the lack of Minzy here is sad and the visual at the end of Dara and Bom laying on the bed while CL is sitting up says a lot about where YG is putting their money for solo careers.
And that’s it for this week. I apologize for the lack of full reviews this week, but with any luck they should be returning shortly. After all, Suzy has an upcoming solo release and I’m kind of excited to see where JYP will put her on the solo spectrum. I’ll see you next time!