Picture is from Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash!
(This was written DAYS ago btw. I meant to post it much much earlier)
August was quite the transformative and interesting month personally. I got a new job making pizzas and I’m currently on a road trip with my family discovering and exploring U.S states and some Canadian cities and towns that we’ve all been eager to visit. As far as states, we recently went to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming which are some of the most looked over states. Excluding Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (which was super gorgeous in person) and horse ranches in Montana, there’s nothing much to do in these 3 states and it’s common for people to say “Why are you going there?”. Considering that all 3 of these states are Republican states, I never considered how overt these states were about their political views until I actually saw them myself. The demographic changes of young and racially diverse Millenials/GenZers to white baby boomers became more and more apparent the more we drove into the rural areas. Also my brain can never erase the amount of Trump flags I’ve seen so far where 10 flags would be on one car with a sterotypical hillbilly at the wheel. Besides from that the people were very friendly and the natural landscapes were beautiful. Nothing beats listening to Lovesick by gugudan as tons of mountanous terrain passes you by. NOTHING. That was truly a theraputic experience! (I’ll talk about the Canadian experience in the female portion!)
Song 1: After Midnight by ASTRO (Comeback)
This is such a nice change from their previous release that lacked a lot of character. The “bowow” guitar strums with the jazzy house piano really give After Midnight a comfy retro feel to it. It feels like a camoflauge song that could fit with any season, not just for summer!
I’d give it a..
Song 2: Ra Pam Pam by Golden Child (Comeback)
If a song makes you feel like surfing the waves of Hawaii, running through the fields of the Swiss Alps or in this case dancing at a beach club in Mexico, then it’s doing a superb job at genuine immersion. This is without a doubt the BEST title track Golcha has released so far. Usually adding Latin influences to a song (i.e most KARD songs) really does affect whether it’s a hit or miss. But RPP is an out of the park hit! Plus can we talk about Y and Joochan?! They took every part they had with their barehands and devoured every single line.
Esta canción es muy excelente! I’d give it a…
Song 3: Shut Up 받고 Crazy Hot! by ONEUS (Comeback)
What an incredible lead up after BLACK MIRROR! Also that is quite the song title. That hook really is unbelievably strong which is something that doesn’t come by a lot in kpop. “Shut Up 받고 (Get) Crazy Hot!” with the exclilerating piano makes for a genius hook and I can’t thank the composers and members RAVN (who composed and wrote it) and Leedo (who also wrote the lyrics) enough for conjuring up such a masterpiece. The Mad Max MV set really elevates the song’s energy. That unique set plus the song’s thrilling character feels like a play’s act where the protagonist runs into a bunch of ragtag rebels. And by looking at the album name it seems like they are going for that sort of theatre concept.
I’d give this song a…
Song 4: Ready Now by Kim Woojin (Debut)
Okay I’ll admit it. I was one of those “Stays” who took those false allegations about Woojin at 100% face value. I liked comments calling Woojin “Woojail” (cringy I know) and I watched as many “Woojin bullys the other members” videos that were suggested to me. I actually watched an interview he had with DKDKTV about that situation and it was kind of insightful. And as insightful as it was, I’m really trying to look at Woojin as an artist instead of a person. He seemed like a sweet guy in the interview but we really don’t know who he truly is when the cameras are off and that mindset should be installed for every kpop fan really when it comes to our faves.
Ready Now is a basic pop song that talks about Woojin facing the painful experiences in his past and he’s “ready” to face them now. That’s pretty inspirational and I’m glad he’s found the strength to talk about all he’s been through. Basicness doesn’t always mean something is bad but it can sometimes be just as satisfying. I’m still sad about his departure as he had my favorite vocal color in Stray Kids, but at least I can lavish in it’s charm all I want during his solo career.
I’d give this debut a…
Song 5: 여름쏙 (POPPING) by ONF (Comeback)
I’ve never heard such a bad intro from a “”nugu”” powerhouse group like ONF. If you compared it to Ugly Dance it like night and day. Why does the intro sound like it came from a children’s show? The lyrics and their tone of voice honestly made me think that it could be from one. I’m not gonna lie, that with the underwhelming energy of the song completely turned me off from it for a while until I came back to it and enjoyed it a bit more.
I’d give it a…
Song 6: Paint Me Naked by NCT Ten (Debut)
Ten is an incredibly talented man. He can dance, he can sing, he just oozes charisma and did I mention he can DANCE?! So for such an ace like him, why does “Paint Me Naked” sound like every other Western pop song that plays on the radio? Why does a song with such a sultry title not match up with the song itself? The guitar is there but I only get “generic summer song” vibes from it which I think defeats the purpose of having a song title and lyrics like that. PMN is like one of those songs that randomly blows up from an artist you’ve never heard of that became a top hit for whatever reason. It’s like those types of songs but in one of the worst ways possible.
This debut song unfortunatley gets a…
Song 7: Gas Pedal by CRAVITY (Comeback)
Never would I see the day that CRAVITY would actually release a title track I would genuinely enjoy. I usually aim for their bsides as their title tracks so far have all been outright disappointing. But Gas Pedal was a nice change of pace! With a name like that, I was expecting My Turn 2.0. My Turn wasn’t too bombastic but the execution and structure of the song was what made the song unenjoyable to listen to. But Gas Pedal was a decent suprise. The subduedness was something that turned a lot of people off but I actually didn’t mind. I didn’t really think that it had to have a loud accelerating pace all the way through. The pre-chorus and other R&B parts were the shining highlights of the song and I feel like if it wasn’t for that, Gas Pedal would either have a high 7 or low 8 score.
I’d give this a…
Song 8: Flex by T1419 (Comeback)
Woah this is the 3rd release T1419 has released so far and it’s only August. I understand that they are brand new and they’re trying to establish themselves but I hope MLD isn’t ignoring Momoland.
That second part of the intro was interesting with the satisfying/suspenseful violins mixed with intense hypeman adlibs. So I was like okay where is this going, until we got to the mosquito synth drop. I don’t mind mosquito synth drops (i.e nanana by MCND) but this feels extremely messy and isn’t packed with as much energy and umph like MCND’s nanana. As per usual with messy boy group songs, the pre-chorus is the saving grace of the song before we’re doused with more tarnished “noise”.
I’d give this a…
Song 9: Splash by MIRAE (The First Comeback)
Ah! What on Earth happened? Hello MIRAE? What happened to the futuristic space boy concept/sound you were going for? This is verbatim T1419’s Flex but with better execution and structure. Unlike Flex, this song did make it to the playlist but this doesn’t feel distinctly MIRAE at all. Yeah they just debuted and it’ll take some time for them to find their sound but this feels like it could be done by Stray Kids or NCT 127. KILLA felt a bit more different which is what made it so memorable. Let’s just hope they’ll come back around and give us something distinctive.
I’d give this a…
Comeback/Debut Total: 8.4/10
Thanks for reading and apologies for the lateness. The female version will come very soon alongside with 2 other posts!