Secret – Madonna ( EP review)

I wasn’t so well familiarized with the whole kpop concept when I first saw a Secret performance. It was around their debut time and they were doing some Magic tricks to appeal the audiences. With Madonna they did more than just that, they went down the “seduce-them-or-prepare-the-retreat-way”.

I have to admit I was seduced at first. By the choreo. After the song ended I remember there were also sounds coming out of my

That's some girl attitude right there

computer while I was busy staring at their wigglely moves. I felt ashamed of my shallow attitude and gave the song a good listen. Yes, without the video. Just the music. Purposely trying to be serious and to keep my hips from doing the shaky shaky move. Of course I failed. Even badly considering I was doing this while laying on my back in my bed. All I got from the entire experiment was a terrible back and neck ache and a serious addiction to all of Secret’s songs. As a conclusion, Madonna comes with a trojan attached. Once it gets installed inside your head, every song by Secret activates the hip extension and you start the wiggling. Please, tell me I wasn’t the only sucker in this world that doesn’t have a competent antivirus system !!

Of course I am capable of delivering an objective opinion about the song. It’s solely my problem if I do it while remaining static or not. So, here it goes : the introduction is stunning, from the jazzy instrumental, the adlib again Madonna inspired up to the insertion of the chorus, altogether make up for the other flaws the song has. And there’s plenty of them. The stanzas are weakly delivered, the rap parts are sometimes too annoying and not because I don’t like Zinger’s rap skills, it’s the verses that are tedious at times and, lastly,  there’s too much breathing going on. Other highlights are the last part of the pre-chorus and the bridge.  Mami mai mami aaah.. aha, that incredibly catchy thingie that added the neck aches. Madonna is a great dance song. Its single main problem is that it was released after Magic. And here I rest my case.

Lalala songs are great for live performances.  Just point the mic towards the audience and keep doing the slow headbanging while giving them the mandatory approval winkie.

I was ready to enjoy the Do Better!! feat Baek Chan from 8eight whole bad-ass attitude but the hearing of a “it’s a boy” somewhere around the chorus area really spoiled all the fun I had. I know they’re supposed to say It’s you X-Boy, but that’s miles away from what I’m hearing. However, the song gains points for being quite addictive.

Hesitant is both generic and a subliminal indication that cutesy is next on the list. See Shy Boy.

The best these girls can do is to add more soulful ballads to their repertoire like the fifth and last track on this EP, Empty Spice. They could take it one step further and add more orchestration and layering of the vocal parts. Yes, that would be a nice touch.

Sadly the EP manages to draw only a faint sketch of what’s the real secret behind Secret. And, to make matters even worse, Shy Boy comes right after Madonna.

Final rating : 6.3/10

Wiggling alone is awkwaaaaaaaard.


Miss A – A Class (album review)

The one girl group that manages to impress me is Miss A. I have all the confidence in the world when it comes to JYP‘s capability as a producer. He’s a master at polishing rough talents and at discovering all of the out of the ordinary traits hidden inside those artists he works with. You could say that this is a must for any producer, but you really have to be a genius in order to make 2PM that succesful. Geesh, is so obvious the boys are nothing more than mediocre singers. But the moment they start taking those tops of and doing all those group acrobatics…

Why is it that the perfect abs of 2PM boys are a recurring topic on this site ??

Miss A’s latest release, the A Class album is exactly like the title says, nothing less than A Class. I really dig that whole feet fetish thingie, especially in the video. They’re slim, they’re young, why shouldn’t they flaunt it ?

Out of the 4 girls I’m more familiar with Suzy‘s role in Dream High and that hilarious bad-ass attitude of Min. That girl can seriously kick some ass with just a bat of an eye.

I’m impressed of how convincing these girls in their late teens or early 20s sound. This is why Miss A is so much better than most of the other girl groups : they refuse to play cute, yet don’t try to be too seductive. They’re natural when performing live and give an overall impression of a mature and full of girl-power group. It also helps that they have strong vocals, I’m guessing Min‘s the most prominent one.

The overall mixing is done nimbly, some mediocre melodies are saved by the arrangers, the exact case of  Blankly, the, oh, so plain ballad without that orchestral intro.

I have some favourites, One To Ten, Help Me, Goodbye Baby of course, a wonderful breakup song, Love Again and Good Girl Bad Girl an even more wonderful break up song, keke “Shut Up Boy!!”. Break it, Play The Music DJ and a few others don’t rise to the awesomeness of those before-mentioned.

A Class is a very good pop album. It has all those elements that worked well in the 80s but wrapped in the finest up to date orchestration. The kind of album I would recommend to anyone that thinks pop isn’t all that complicated.

Final rating : 9/10

2ne1 – First Mini Album ( review )

As I said before, I am definitely not a fan of YG and most of its artists. 2ne1 and Big Bang, both fail to impress me, only some of the solo acts do sometimes break this wall of indifference between us. What is it that the girls from 2ne1 do to annoy me ? Well, they promise much but deliver almost nothing. Same way a politician would do. They’re supposed to be this hip and powerful girl group, a kind of empowering role model for young girls and women. Instead their music fails to be something out of the ordinary.

I really have the impression their first album set the bar in terms of composition for the latter ones. The excessive use of autotune, the plethoric adlibs  and the simplistic melody lines do manage to appeal by means of catchyness, however they fail to remain memorable. Yes, I know it’s a paradox, but bear with me.  After a complete listening of the album I don’t see any of the songs as the prominent one, the main track or at least the track that should be the supporting element and reason behind the release of a mini album. Is it because I try to be most objective that I refuse to have any contact with other info about these albums before the first listening, including MVs. This way, at the moment I’m writing these words I have no idea which of the songs was used as a debut track.

So, by the time I reached this 3rd paragraph I had listened to the first track for 5 times in a row and it still sounds unfamiliar every time I press play again. Why in hell’s name does it have to be like this ? Can’t I get over my hate for YG and deliver a decent review of their artists ? Or is this grudge really justifiable ? I developed this hatred over the course of long hours of fastidious efforts to get into the Big Bang craze. I tried hard to make the difference between a solo song by Taeyang and a  Big Bang song. I’m not that insensible, wait a minute, I’m referring to the compositions. If you try to ignore the vocal parts and occasional use of rapping, the melodies and arrangements are practically the same in the cases of many of their songs. Of course, it isn’t a such an unusual practice, everybody does it. Still, in the case of YG songs it is more palpable because they hardly give their artists any r

I'm gonna kill myself out of so much joy with this tiny tiny gun!

oom to test their boundaries. They’re always kept inside the fragile shelter of “what’s hip at this very moment”.

I’m making one last appeal for divine guidance in my arduous task of writing an objective review of this mini album. Fail. The songssound so generative kpopish, so plain and boring that they manage to turn that last

song, Lollipop, featuring Big  Bang into an obscenely good song in comparison to the first 6 tracks. Albeit the fact that it was created for a CF.

Final rating : 3.5/10

Ha, that first forgettable song was indeed their debut single !

SNSD – Hoot

I’m not a big fan of any girl groups out of superficial reasons : boys and boybands give me the element of eyecandiness, girls and girl groups at the most make me jealous of their perfect figure and looks so, instead of concentrating on liking the song, I usually end up drowning in my personal pool of frustrations. ( Girl, why so dramatic ?? ). In spite of all this, I’ll talk a bit about SNSD, and, in particular, about Hoot.
World’s biggest girl group rivalry : SNSD vs Wonder Girls. I could make this the theme of my thesis but I will content myself to only writing about SNSD. Anyway, if somebody asks, I believe Wonder Girls deserve more praise.
The girls are almost complete strangers to me. I was in a hypermarket in Bucharest at the electronics corner and there was a CF featuring the girls on some of the LCDs. I tried to make use of my variety shows acquired knowledge and recognise some of them. It was too big of a challenge. Besides Sunny’s face the whole experiment was one big blur. Let’s forget this epic fail and move on.
The true problem lies in the fact that there is an obvious lack of interest in showing each member’s own individuality. This doesn’t come as a cheap excuse for my ignorance. Of course, hardcore fans know their shoe sizes and are able to recognise each girl’s voice, but I can’t. And I won’t.

I feel very uncomfortable seeing 9 girls dressed the same in silly clothing. I’m not asking for haute couture or individual styling but the way they do it it’s like a show with one weird looking girl multiplied by 9. It’s ok to dress a group of 3-4 maybe 5 girls in a similar way. There always is enough space between them not to make the view too much of an eyesore. But in the case of 9, and by arranging them in a single row or 2 parallel and complementary rows, the whole dance floor is filled. There’s really no room left for choreography mistakes.

Because of Siwon’s impersonation of an American ’50s police inspector, I have a motive to watch the MV for Hoot. He really seems like sliding into his own shoes while playing that role. It suits him so well that’s making me a bit uneasy to keep on trying not to sound too cheesy while complimenting him. Although it was a big hit, partially because of the Cupid’s arrow dance moves, I can honestly say it’s the weakest track I’ve heard from them. For once, the only ones that managed to go succesful on the retro path were the Wonder Girls and secondly, Nobody did actually have a retro sound. Hoot is nothing but a parody of retro.

The hair, outfits, gestures, choreo, image and plot of the clip turn my stomach upside down. It’s like on a doomed day, Austin Powers met all 3 of Charlie’s Angels and 9 months later we welcomed to this world 9 weird-looking children. ( Well, this would imply at least one of the Angels having triplets or sextuplets, but in fantasy world anything is possible ). All of the 60’s kitsch is put together and the most bizarre things are obviously those identical outfits, both the red/black and the silver ones, the most horrendous inventions in kpop since 2PM’s Matrix look.
The idea of splitting them into groups of 3 with separate concepts it really isn’t a bad one. Not unless you are the director of this video and you plan on doing the “weird retro American concept” on of them. If only he would have incorporated Siwon into the girl party and make him work his charms on them…
The prize for ugliest item on this clip goes tothis blonde wig.

Final rating : 4.5/10 ( They should thank Siwon )
When I was searching for a photo of Siwon from Hoot, google made fun of me saying I was actually looking for : Siwon Hot.
I’m sorry, but isn’t that a pleonastic structure ?
P.S. I feel the need to say that this was in no way a review on Siwon’s appearance in Hoot. Definitely not!

Siwon knows he's hot