Epik High is Here!! With “Rosario” (Feat. CL & ZICO)

On January 18th, Epik High returned with a new album titled Epik High is Here (Part 1). This record has ten songs, including the two title tracks – “Rosario ft. CL & ZICO” and “Based On A True Story ft. HEIZE”. I couldn’t skip reviewing this iconic hip-hop group, so let’s get right into it.

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to each song.)

Reaction to “Rosario” (Feat. CL, ZICO) Official MV –

  • They are back with their trademark vertical videos, and for some reason, I feel like I’m watching a 3D clip. Maybe this is due to the way they filmed this music video.
  • Okay, I am 0.26 seconds in, but I already know that this song is a certified BOP.
  • I love the slight Spanish influence, and DJ Tukutz’s acting is on point.
  • Trying to pay attention to both the lyrics and visuals at the same time is impossible. For my first listen, I’m going to focus on the visuals alone.
  • Wow, the beat for this song + that guitar in the background is exquisite.
  • Tablo is flowing as expected. I love how they amplified the bass during his second verse.
  • CL came into the mix smoothly. I love her raspy voice, and her outfit is giving QUEEN VIBES!!!
  • Kudos to whoever designed the set for each artist. It’s so detailed and stunning👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼.
  • Of course, ZICO came in with the heat and that three-piece suit is doing him justice😎.
  • The production on this song is serving 100% quality, and I’m in LOVE.
  • The shots for this music video are insane. Did you see the way the camera moved during ZICO’s scene?
  • From what I’ve seen, I feel like this video has a deeper meaning. Hopefully, I can get the gist of this once I read the lyrics or else, I’ll watch an explanation video on YouTube later.
  • CL truly brings the right amount of sauce to the chorus section.
  • Now it’s Mithra’s turn to kill things. Oh, the beat got even nastier on his part, and I love his intensity.
  • This music video looked simple at first because of the vertical format but Nah!! This is some A+++++++++ direction and filming work.
  • I love the instrumental outro after Tablo says “moment of silence.”
  • After paying close attention to the lyrics, I feel they’re calling out people who rudely criticize every little thing celebrities do. These same individuals turn out to be hypocrites once something terrible happens to the same artist they once hated. They try to sympathize and act like they didn’t partake in what led to the demise. Just as Tablo mentioned in his verse, their actions are equal to murder.
  • I love the message. Inconsiderate people that call themselves ‘fans’ need to know their place. PERIOD!!!!
  • “Rosario” is a solid title track. Every person on this song came through and served.

Reaction to “Based On A True Story” (Feat. HEIZE) Official MV –

  • A slower track than “Rosario”, and once again, I am in awe of the music video. It’s visually pleasing to watch.
  • HEIZE sounds beautiful, and the pianist backing her is incredible. You all know how I love a good piano instrumental.
  • I am getting chills from the soothing harmony between the piano, violin and HEIZE’s vocals.
  • “Based On A True Story” serves pure bliss energy, and I am here for it.
  • I love how Tablo came in singing before switching into a slightly upbeat rap section.
  • Nah, at this point, Epik High is just disrespectful, but what did I expect? They are killing the production on these songs. Every aspect screams excellence, from the vocals to the rap sections, the beats, and most notably, the violin & piano sections on this track.
  • I think this music video’s filming style comes off quite personal, which makes sense considering this song’s title.
  • I keep getting goosebumps because the melody for this song is so beautiful.
  • The lyrics for “Based On A True Story” are sad, but I truly enjoyed every second. Big ups to Epik High and HEIZE👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼.

Album Review:

  1. Lesson Zero – Another soothing track from Epik High. The opening vocals are so serene, and the visuals for this video is beautiful. “Lesson Zero” is a befitting opening for this deep-felt and solid album. Yes, I said solid because I know Epik High doesn’t disappoint. Tablo stays spitting facts. This song holds some profound insights into the world and the systems that run us. I feel “Lesson Zero” is about tracing back to who we want to be rather than focusing on what society has set for us to become.
  2. Rosario (Feat. CL, ZICO) – No need for too many words because this is my song!!!  
  3. Based On A True Story (Feat. HEIZE) – It still gives me chills, such a beautiful song. 
  4. Acceptance Speech (Feat. B.I) – Okay, Mithra Jin started this song right off the first second, + the beat came in hard. It’s nice to hear B.I’s voice after so long. He nailed the chorus section, making me reminisce the “Born Hater” era. Yet another song with deep-felt lyrics. When you’ve met a lot of fake people in life, you begin to build up walls and, in turn, become immune to anyone that tries to mess with you again. The sad aspect is that these fake friends tend to feel entitled as if you owe them something. 
  5. Leica (Feat. Kim Sawol) – Quite an intriguing keyboard entry for this song. Tablo is riding the beat so well, and his flow is sick. The melody for the instrumental is very catchy. I think this is my first time hearing anything from Kim Sawol, and she has such a calm vocal tone. I need to check out more songs from her. “Leica” has a groovy beat; it makes me want to body-roll. Nah, this was too short. I needed more time with such a fantastic track. From the lyrics I read on genius.com, I think this song is about living in the moment rather than being consumed with storing everything in a photobook or taking countless pictures on a camera.
  6. In Self-defense (Feat. Woo, Nucksal, CHANGMO) – Ooo, this one is a hardcore rap zone, and I live for this type of energy. I love how Woo came into the mix, and his flow is impressive. All the features on this song are serving it hot. “In Self-defense” gives me cypher vibes because of how quickly they move from one rapper to the next. No time to waste on this beat, and this song is LIT🔥. I believe this song is hinting at the high level of competition in the music industry and how chaotic it can become + just showcasing that Epik High paved the way for many other rappers.
  7. True Crime (Feat. Miso) – Open up your chest for another person’s entertainment🤨? Now that’s some toxic relationship, in my sincere opinion. I love Miso’s soft voice and how the EDM drop wasn’t too intense because the lyrics seem dark. After reading the English translation, I think my initial take was wrong. This song is about two people in love that are criticized continuously due to societal norms? So far, “True Crime” is my least favourite. I need more time to appreciate this song’s sound.
  8. Social Distance 16 – Another track but very befitting for our current times with the constant lockdowns, social distancing, mask life, depression and uncertainties regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
  9. End of the World (Feat. GSoul) – Alright, let’s talk about it because I’m confused. He was G.Soul, then it switched to Golden, and now he’s back to GSoul? Anyway, I love the guitar intro on this track, and GSoul’s amazing vocals stay constant no matter the stage name. This song is my kind of vibe, I love the instrumental, and the vocals + rap sections are groovy. Tablo’s flow on this one is sweet, and Mithra Jin went in on his verse. GSoul’s vocal runs are pure eargasm, and I could listen to this man sing all day. “End of the World” is that song!!! 
  10. Wish You Were – Okay, this is an outro; hence I don’t mind that it’s only 1 minute and 33 seconds long. We got some smooth vocals, a groovy beat, Haru’s sweet voice and honest lyrics. “Wish You Were” served its purpose as the perfect closing to this fantastic album.

Final Thoughts:

I had to take my time on this review because when Epik High releases anything, they serve vibes and give free life lessons. I am delighted to have them back, and I hope everyone enjoyed reading this post. There’s no need for me to comment more at this point. Epik High is Here (Part 1) is an album that speaks for itself as a complete MASTERPIECE. Hence it gets a bulletproof 10/10 from me.

CHUNG HA Teases Upcoming Album With Her New Digital Single – “X”

I finally got some time on my hands, and I didn’t want to miss out on reviewing CHUNG HA‘s latest single, “X”. This song is a pre-release to her 1st full album titled Querencia, which drops on February 15th.

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to this song.)

Reaction to Official MV:

  • Right off the bat, I love the instrumental for this song.
  • I truly missed Chung Ha’s voice.
  • I know she’s been releasing singles since last year, but I didn’t have the opportunity to check them all.
  • So far, I’m enjoying the soft vibes of this song + Chung Ha sounds lovely.
  • The visuals for the music video are fascinating. I love how the base is black & white with a few splashes of chromatic colours. These all add to the striking presence of the music video.
  • Wow, Chung Ha is stunning, and her outfit is also beautiful. I would love to buy all the jewelry she has on.
  • I like the message of this song. If someone doesn’t support you during the downtimes, they don’t deserve friendship or love once you’re in a better place or position.
  • It’s always refreshing to hear Chung Ha’s vocals on a ballad, + the instrumentalization on this track is superb, so “X” is playlist worthy.
  • I give this song a 10/10.

U-KNOW Returns With A Cinematic NOIR – Kpop Album Review

Earlier today, U-KNOW released his 2nd mini-album titled NOIR. This EP has five songs, including the title track “Thank U”

Jung Yun-ho, popularly known either as Yunho or U-Know, is a South Korean singer-songwriter and actor signed to SM Entertainment. He was born on February 6th, 1986 and is currently a member of the duo act – TVXQ. U-Know debuted with TVXQ as the band’s leader in 2003. 

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to each song.)

Reaction to Title Track/MV:

  • From the teasers, I know this will be a very cinematic music video. I’m excited to see the production quality.
  • U-Know looks good!!! The man is FINEEEE.
  • So he was betrayed by his fellow gang members? Damn, the acting is superb.
  • I wouldn’t mind if they produced an actual film with a similar storyline.
  • Okay, I expected him to open the song with some smooth singing, but his actual intro is still intriguing.
  • The production quality for the visuals is insane. SM spent good money on this one.
  • The chorus is catchy, and U-Know sounds beautiful on the track.
  • I wasn’t so into the sound when this song first started, but the chorus won me over.
  • The choreography for both his dancing and fight scenes is smooth and aesthetically pleasing to watch.
  • Can we give props to the music producer for that lovely jazzy instrumental bridge + U-Know’s charming vocals? I’m in love.
  • 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 The cinematography & storyline for this music video is off the charts brilliant. It kept me entertained from beginning to end.
  • “Thank U” is a masterpiece and an excellent comeback for U-Know. Now I need someone to give this amazing man a similar role in a film or drama because I’m itching to watch.

Album Review:

  1. Time Machine – I am here for the electronic-hip-hop sound on this song. U-Know is serving vocals!! on this one, and I am living my best life. The beat for “Time Machine” is sick🔥. I need to know who wrote and produced this track because I am enjoying every moment of it. It’s a whole vibe.
  2. Thank U – This song is a certified bop that I see myself coming back to a lot. The production on U-Know’s voice + the beat is perfect. Plus, the song has a nice message, so what’s not to love? 
  3. Loco (House Party) –Ooo, I adore the rich bass on this track. It makes me feel like I’m actually at a house party with loudspeakers blasting the best music ever. Nice production👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. The classic call and response technique was also a brilliant touch. “Loco” is a lit disco track, and I am digging all the energy.
  4. Need You Right Now – Okay, it looks like things are slowing down with this song. I was not expecting the chorus to be such a vibe!!! “Need You Right Now” is more chill than the previous tracks, but the melody & quality is beautiful. I adore how U-Know sounds on this track. It feels intimate because he’s almost whispering in some sections.
  5. La Rosa (Feat. SHIN YE EUN) – Okay, the guitar on this serving the right dose of Spanish flavour and the vocals/harmonies are pure bliss. I sound like a broken record by now, but I AM IN LOVE😄. I can’t even pick my favourite yet from all five songs, but “La Rosa” is hitting the feels hard for me. What a song and a very befitting closing to this album.

Final Thoughts:

I didn’t mention it earlier, but this album marks my first time listening to U-Know’s solo material. I love TVXQ, hence why I decided to check him out finally, and I am genuinely impressed. The production quality on this album is impeccable. NOIR is a straight masterpiece. U-Know served vocals and divine energy on every track. No single song on this record was a letdown, so I’m going to enjoy them without stressing about which is better than the other.

With all that said, my rating for U-Know‘s 2nd mini-album NOIR is a solid 10/10.

LeeHi & Crush Have A Festive Tune Just ‘For You’🎄

This Christmas melody from LeeHi came at the perfect time. It’s such a sweet birthday gift + Crush is on this. I’m so excited😄. Now let’s see what “For You” has to offer.

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to this song.)

Reaction to Official Live Video:

  • Just one note from LeeHi, and I am in love.
  • She sounds lovely, and her English pronunciation is clear.
  • The set designer for this live video did such a fantastic job. The place looks magical with all the beautiful Christmas decorations.
  • LeeHi is stunning. She’s ageing like fine wine, and I love her so much.
  • The drum sections on this are excellent, + the soft guitars/piano are a perfect combo.
  • Ooo, I love the chorus. It’s so soothing, and the backing vocals on there are top-notch.
  • I also love the instrumental transition after the chorus.
  • I just realized that this song is entirely in English, which means I can understand everything.
  • Yes, Crush came in smoothly with his sweet voice.
  • I want similar earrings to the one Crush has on because he looks good.
  • It’s a nice touch to have LeeHi back up while Crush sings. Their harmonies are beautiful.
  • Did you all catch that cute fist bump at the end? Crush and LeeHi’s friendship is adorable.🥰
  • I love everything about “For You”, therefore it gets 10/10
  • LeeHi Crush did a great job as a duet.

King TAEYEON Returns With ‘What Do I Call You’ – Album Review

Hello everyone🤗🤗🤗

It’s been exactly 23 days since my last post. I had to take time off to sort out some essential things, and I also needed quality ‘me time.’ I feel a lot better now, and I am so pumped because Taeyeon is back + tomorrow is my birthday!!!! Yaayyy me!!!🎉🎉🎉. I love this early birthday gift. Honestly, 2020 has been a lot, hence why I am super grateful to have reached this point of the year.

Enough about me, let’s get into TAEYEON’S new release. What Do I Call You is her 4th mini-album. This record has five songs, including the title track of the same name.

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to each song.)

Reaction to Title Track/MV:

  • I can never get over how pretty Taeyeon is. How can she be so gorgeous and talented?
  • I didn’t watch any of the teasers, so I wasn’t expecting an upbeat sound.
  • The instrumental is beautiful. I love how well the guitar pairs with the bass beat +Taeyeon’s perfect vocals.
  • The music video’s visuals are so crispy clear with a hint of earthy tones—effortless but stunning aesthetics.
  • This song is about figuring out how to relate to an ex-lover because that person can’t exactly be called a stranger after spending together. At the same time, an ex cannot always become a friend after the breakup, which means they’re just someone you know?
  • I adore this song’s progression, most significantly, the way the beat deepened during the chorus.
  • Wow, smooth backing vocals!!! In general, Taeyeon’s sounds so captivating in this song.
  • The bridge is the standout point of this song for me. The way Taeyeon’s voice scaled throughout that section is pure bliss.
  • I LOVE “What Do I Call You” It’s catchy and beautiful as expected from TAEYEON. Trust that I will be replaying it for a long time.

Album Review:

  1. What Do I Call You – I already added this to my playlist. It’s such a groovy song even though it’s about a sad topic.
  2. Playlist – Exciting intro. I also got a similar vintage-jazzy vibe from the title track, but it was quite subtle. I enjoy this style of music, and Taeyeon is pulling it off so well. “Playlist” is the perfect mid-tempo dance song. The instrumentalization/production on this track is excellent, + the smooth top-notch vocals add an extra touch of perfection. I love everything about this song.
  3. To the moon – Ooo, another captivating entry + the vocal quality is serving already. This song is a bop and a half!!! I am over here, body rolling💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼. YESSSS!!!! TAEYEON. She did not come to play with anyone on this track. I have nothing more to say than “To the moon” is THAT SONG!!
  4. Wildfire – Not to come off repetitive, but I adore how catchy the intros are for each track. In my opinion, the first few seconds can make or mar a song because not everyone has a long attention span. Getting any listener’s interest in the first few seconds is crucial, and Taeyeon has been doing that for me on this album. “Wildfire” has an odd, quirky, but intriguing sound + Taeyeon’s voice on this is very powerful. It’s something that I would love to jam out to during a road trip. 
  5. Galaxy – Okay, are we getting a slow jam to wrap up things? I’ve noticed that this record had guitars as one of the main instruments in all five tracks, and I love the soulful vibe that brought to each mix. “Galaxy” is just a chill song and a perfect way to close this sweet album. I love it.

Final Thoughts:

First off, I am so happy to be back. I didn’t realize how much I missed doing music reviews. I sincerely enjoy discovering new songs/artists and having a good time. With that said, TAEYEON did such a fantastic job with this mini-album. She served quality vocals, + the production on all five tracks are excellent. I appreciate the subtle vintage-jazzy vibe for “What Do I Call You” & “Playlist”. I think those two, along with “To the moon”, are my favourites on this record.

Overall, TAEYEON’s 4th mini-album – What Do I Call You, gets a solid 10/10 from me.

Sibling Duo AKMU Returns With New Single ‘Happening’

Yesterday AKMU returned with their 3rd single titled “HAPPENING”, and I am so excited!!! It is time to enjoy some beautiful sibling harmonies.

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to this song.)

Reaction to Official MV:

  • I love the guitar entry combined with their harmonious vocal runs.
  • Chanhyuk’s voice deserves more recognition. I can hear significant growth with each comeback.
  • Suhyun looks beautiful as always. Her solo release – “ALIEN”, is the perfect quirky dance anthem.
  • Chanhyuk is rocking the mullet. His voice keeps catching off guard because it’s so rich and captivating.
  • The music video set is intriguing, especially the lighting for the darker scenes + the transitions.
  • “Happening” is a soft rock song, which is right up my alley. So I’m enjoying it a lot.
  • The transitions between scenes are so smooth. 
  • Wow, the synthesized guitar for the bridge is such a sweet touch. Awesome production.
  • AKMU’s harmonies are always the highlight of their songs for me, and they never fail to deliver.
  • I also love that each new song sounds very different from the previous release. Chanhyuk is killing the songwriting & production game.
  • “HAPPENING” is a vibe, and I loved every second of it. I am so happy that AKMU is back, and I can’t wait to get more music from them.
  • On that note, this song gets a 10/10 from me.

XIA (Junsu) Returns After 4 Years With ‘Pit A Pat’

Lately, I haven’t been feeling up to writing reviews or making any post in general because I have a lot on my mind. All the same, I’m taking each day slowly and praying for the best. So pardon my late reviews😊; I will get back into the groove of things with time.

Alright, on November 10th, XIA released his 2nd mini-album, Pit A Pat. This EP has four songs + two instrumentals. The title track of the album is also called “Pit A Pat”

Kim Jun-su, popularly known by the stage names XIA or Junsu, is a South Korean singer, dancer and musical actor born on December 15th, 1986. He is a member of the pop group JYJ and was part of the original member line-up for TVXQ. C-JeS Entertainment currently manages him.

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to each song.)

Reaction to Title Track/MV:

  • No English subs. I sometimes forget to pay attention to the lyrics anyway, so it’s no big deal.
  • I don’t know if I’m about to use the right word, but I love the pixeled edit for this music video.
  • This song is quite heavy on the electronic sound.
  • Xia’s voice is strong and beautiful, as expected.
  • The choreography is intricate and well-executed.
  • My favourite outfit is the red suit. It complements Xia’s skin tone so well.
  • Overall, “Pit a Pat” is a solid dance track, but I think it’s one of those that I need more time with because I’m not too in love with it after my first listen.
  • Okay, I gave it a second listen, and It does get better with each new play. I enjoyed the instrumentalization more this time around, and Xia’s vocal runs towards the end are lovely.

Album Review:

Highlight medley videos –

  1. Pit A Pat – Yea, this song is a grower because every replay leads me to notice something new and exciting.
  2. Days – Okay, this is the kind of soothing energy that my mood desires right now. Also, it starts with a piano, which I always adore. Xia’s voice is so beautiful and calming. I love how we got some smooth drumbeats/guitar riffs to lighten things a bit during the hook. This song has a graceful melody, and I could hear this playing in the background for a romantic Kdrama scene. Ooo, I love how the guitar came forward towards the end. “Days” is my first favourite on this album. I LOVE IT.
  3. Writing you – Yes to another ballad. I am living for the serenading section going on right now. Bless me, XIA, bless me!!! Awww, his voice is so beautiful and powerful. His control is top-notch, and it’s like he’s singing to me personally. Hold up; I wasn’t expecting that guitar riff after the chorus. This song is pure bliss. I LOVE IT SO MUCH😢. The instrumentalization + production on “Writing you” is excellent. 
  4. When it snows – Ooo, another ballad. You all can’t even imagine how happy I am right now. I’m getting three therapeutic songs in a row. What did I do to deserve all the beauty??😆Once again, with a soothing keyboard entry. I’m in love with this song; in fact, I’m in love with this album. I’m inspired to create a winter playlist. Xia got my creative juices tingling. Wow, the vocal runs on this track are like butter. Nothing more to say here because Xia served👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼.
  5. Pit A Pat (Inst.) – This is just an instrumental, but I love that he left in some backing vocals. Many Chinese artists tend to include instrumental tracks with all their backing vocals, so it’s nice to see Xia doing this.
  6. Days (Inst.) –  Similar concept but without the inclusion of backing vocals.

Here is the album on Spotify:

Final Thoughts:

I’m so glad I reviewed this album. Honestly, I was considering skipping it, but this record was worth my time. It gave me a sweet mood reset. After hearing XIA serve pure vocals on each song, I feel very light and at peace. You can tell that the ballad tracks were my favourites, and those will be on replay for a long time.

On that note, XIA‘s 2nd mini-album, Pit A Pat, gets a 10/10 from me.

TREASURE – The First Step: Chapter Three – Kpop Album Review

On November 6th, TREASURE returned with their 3rd Single Album – THE FIRST STEP: CHAPTER THREE, which includes the title track “MMM” and the B-side, “ORANGE”

(Please note – this is a real-time review, meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to each song.)

Reaction to Official MV/Title Track:

  • Okurr!!! The way they came in with “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm. Let me treasure you, treasure, treasure you.” is doing a lot for me.
  • I have a feeling that this song is going to be a BOP and a half.
  • Honestly, the beat is sick.
  • Haruto!!! Every single song!!! If you’ve read my previous reviews for TREASURE, you will know that he has been on my neck since day one.
  • The boy doesn’t have any chill, and I’m living for his energy, voice and presence.
  • All the other members are equally astounding, but Haruto does something extra for me. So excuse me as I continue to fangirl, ahhh!!!🥰🥰🥰.
  • The rappers are insanely on point. I love how Hyunsuk came in after Haruto. His flow was smooth and very rhythmic.
  • The vocalists also blend into the mix very well.
  • I’m still not familiar with everyone’s name, but they keep impressing with each new song.
  • “MMM” is hands down my favourite song from TREASURE.
  • The choreography is tight and fits well with the heavy electronic sound.
  • Ooo, the bridge is 🔥🔥🔥.
  • I LOVE THIS SONG, and it’s been added to my playlist already.
  • “MMM” gets a solid 10/10 from me.

Reaction to B-side:

  • It looks like this song is on the softer side.
  • So there will be more space for vocal appreciation.
  • I’m sad that I can’t recognize all the members yet, but I’m working on it.
  • For some reason, this song’s instrumental sounds very 2000 R&B to me and I love it.
  • The melody for “ORANGE” is lovely.
  • The vocalists sound beautiful, + I’m enjoying their harmonies and soft vocal runs.
  • I also like how they layered the vocals under the rap sections.
  • Once again, I have to mention how much I adore the rappers in this group. Each one has a distinct flow and tone that adds a nice texture to TREASURE’s songs.
  • “ORANGE” is a song that I see myself coming back to a lot. Therefore, It gets 10/10 from me.