2PM – Saint O’Clock (album review)

Saint O’Clock aims hard for granduesque. Does it actually achieve its goal ? We’ll see about this. The boys may not be the best looking fellas in the industry, but for what they lack in looks they surely make up for with their singing abilities. They don’t make ballad bands

Diva skills, I has them

without actual singers, do they ? I have my favorites :  Jo Kwon‘s lyrical voice ( he’s not only the drama queen among the Korean Icons, he’s the drama king in 2AM too as you can clearly see in Like Crazy’s PV ), he may look frail, but I’ve seen him working out crazily at the gym, and I have a thing for Changmin and his nasal trills. Also his quirky sense of humor cracks me up. Too bad KBS canceled the broadcast of Star Golden Bell. I have no knowledge of the other member’s sense of humor or diva-skills.

A few thoughts on the album as a whole before I begin dissecting one track at a time : although it contains a variety of musical influences  and the arrangements are top-notch, at one point the songs might start to sound a bit boresome. To sum it up the album consists of a serious amount of tear-jerkers. There are too many songs fighting for the most epic of them all spot. This is what happens when you add previous releases to the next album and you make little changes to the concept. Because of this, songs like No More or For Love Again fail to impress in spite of being decent songs.  Actually, now that I give the 2 a better listen I find them quite hard to digest and redundant to the context. Anxious at least has a nice low-key instrumental and a strong beat and manages to stand out of the crowd for a bit.
And another thing I’ve noticed : the boys do mostly solo parts, so not so many harmonies as I would like to listen, especially in a chorus and it is a pity because  those would round-up better some songs.

Now let’s discuss the ones I did enjoy listening to. For once I enjoyed an intro track. Phone really does makes sense in disclosing whatever secrets this album may have. You Wouldn’t Answer My Calls is sorrowful, as sorrowful as 2AM can be at its best. It is a great song indeed, but wait till you’ve listened to all of them.

Like Crazy. I wasn’t expecting another epic song to come right next after You Wouldn’t Answer. They’re quite similar and this does somehow level down my expectations.

Just Me. The song has a more positive feeling to it and it features ( at last ) some harmony in the chorus sung by Jo Kwon and Glam. Surprisingly how well a sexy female voice sounds alongside the boys.

Mirage is one of my favorites, we get some r&b, a slightly increased pace and the thing that startles me most is Changmin’s middle 8 part. Believe me, the first time I listened to it I had goose-bumps. It’s that good.

This album was in desperate need of a song like Love U, Hate U. It’s fun, it’s upbeat, it has swag and the rap parts are surprisingly good. It features a collabo with, I’m guessing 2 rappers from 방탄소년단, but I’m sensing 1 or 2 of the boys are delivering some lines too. After all, Jinwoon and Changmin are mentioned as rappers too in the description of the band.

With of Without You has a 90s feel to it, it’s more of a dance song and if they were to ask me I would have switched it with Like Crazy, just to balance the album a little bit. I love how well the piano and the sinths get along in this song, but I love them even more in the next one.

I Can’t Say That I Love you is my other favorite track. The instrumental part is kept low-key, the sinths and beats are old school, but the thing I like best are the chorus and Changmin in general. He really does a beautiful job towards the end of the song.

Final rating : 9.5/10

Boys, don't cry. I'm gonna start crying too if you do...


Jo Sung Mo – Meet Brave (album review)

Jo Sung Mo was already one of my favourite Korean singers but after watching his live performance of I Want To Cheat On You on Music Bank I was blown away mostly by his dandy look, but also by his sincerity. Tell a girl she’s not the only one then be ready for the violent consequences. Do it through a rock song, wrap it in pure manly attitude and give her this gesture, then still prepare for some violence, but in the intimacy of your bedroom.
I Want To… is greatest when performed live. I love the manipulation of the vocals and the heavy use of electric guitars.

The Evening Passes counterbalances perfectly the aggressiveness of the first track. I am actually so infatuated with the sexyness in his voice that I’m more than willing to get past the fact that the songs don’t really impress me and give the mini album a good listen. I smoothly get pass Increasingly and get to my favourite track ( besides I Want To ), Why Do We. It may not sound so great the first time you hear but do me a favour and put it on repeat for a few times. You will know what I mean.

U&Me, the last track, is a electronic dance track  that comes as a perfect ending to a mini album which, to put it in a nutshell : feels like a soft breeze. ( Mona, you reap poetic talent ! ) Really now, it’s his voice that’s so different I get very confused. Do I like the songs because he’s the singer or I only enjoy them because of his voice ? Does it really matter if it’s one way or the other ? I think not.
Final rating : 8.5/10

B1A4 – Let’s Fly ( Album review )

Is it B1A4 or A1B4 ?? I can’t seem to get it right. I know it has something to do with their blood types or the fact that they are all for

one and whatever but it’s still hard to pronounce and to remember.

Anyway, earlier this year they debuted with the Let’s Fly mini album and for a rookie band I think this was a nice start. The fact that I wasn’t expecting something too pretentious helped. The boys are young, they still play the cuteness card and are full of energy. I like that in a band. I want all performances to be about them enjoying the singing, the audience and everything in between. Most kpop artist lack that. Being overly protective with your choreo and showing it, that isn’t a nice view.

The songs are fun to listen and I like the fact that they tried different styles. My favourites are Remember and Only You. The black

Weird and funny reaction on stage during choreo malfunction

sheep has to be Bling Girl, way too similar to O.K. and with a  much weaker composition.
I hope that with the next project they will get out of the comfort zone and target an older audience, not just adolescents. Not with a more mature look, but with a more mature sound.
Final rating : 7.8/10( just to encourage them to be more than just O.K. )