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This week is the time for the newest Ayumi Hamasaki video for her song Feel the love from her upcoming 51st single (yes, her new single) Feel the love / Merry-go-round which is set to be released on December 25, 2013. This song is a collaboration between Ayu and DJ Hello Kitty.
Feel the love is a dance track, but I should use the term “house dance track”, because it’s influenced by house music, which is not surprising because it’s a collaboration with a DJ. The lyrics are telling the story about love in present and past. We have to feel the love in the present and forget about past days and memories that can hurt us. It’s a positive message, I think (maybe there are people who think otherwise). The song is sung in two languages. The chorus is sung in English, which Ayu is doing more often than before, but the rest of the song is sung in Japanese. There are some misunderstandings because, personally I think, Ayu’s English is not good. Instead of “Night ‘n’ day” I hear “Loving me”, and I didn’t know what she is singing until I read the lyrics. Nevertheless it’s not ruining the song.
The music video shows the story of a girl who is overweight. She’s in love with a cute boy (I know, girls, you can call him handsome or something, but I prefer using the word “cute”). The video starts with the scene where the girl is cutting herself out of a photograph and pastes that part on a photograph with this cute guy. After that she’s looking at that so-to-speak new photograph, kisses it and suddenly she stands up and leaves the room. From this moment on she is running to lose weight. In my opinion, she is doing it for her love interest. She wants him to notice her. She is running through various places like a beach, a playground, a gym and even through a pool.
Those scenes are mixed with cartoon scenes, which are showing the same girl doing the same thing, running, but in a way she could not do it in the real world. For example in the pool scene, she’s running to the pool and jumps into it. Then it changes into cartoon and the girl swims in the pool which suddenly changes into the ocean, she passes by a shoal of fish. In another cartoon scene the girl is flying on a broom and she’s dressed like a witch, but suddenly the broom breaks because of the girl’s weight.
Ayumi also takes part in the video and the storyline. In some scenes, we can see her with DJ Hello Kitty on TV screens where Ayu is singing and the DJ is playing on his DJ console. In the end of the video when the girl finds her love interest, she calls him but he seems to not notice her. The girl hits the balloon seller and after it the camera shows the sky and the balloons floating into the clouds. Then the camera is showing the ground and the girl is fit now. Why? Because now Ayumi is portraying the girl. After this change, the guy notices the girl and they hug each other.
DJ Hello Kitty appears more often in the video than Ayumi. It seems like he (or she) is observing the road the girl is running. He appears with her in the gym, during the yoga scene, in the pool, in the street, in the park and at the hairdresser.
The video doesn’t have much dance choreography which disappoints me a lot. We can see only 2 scenes with dance: during yoga and when the girl meets two girls in the street. She has a fight with them but suddenly she’s dancing with them. During the yoga practice the scene is shown in slow motion which ruins the magic of yoga scene (or maybe it’s pilates).
I have to admit I like the story that the Feel the love music video is showing, but checking the internet I saw that the fans are seeing different messages. It’s difficult to say what Ayumi wanted to show in this video, because we can find both – positive and negative messages. The positive message could be “whoever you are and however you are looking, you will find your love someday and you have to fight for it.” While the negative message, that shouldn’t be taken too serious, is for sure, “if you are fat, you will never have a boyfriend or you have to be Ayumi Hamasaki to catch a new boyfriend.” You can have other opinions (and we will be thankful if you’d share it with us), but I think the video is really great and it had to be a funny video instead of video with hidden message. The real ending of the video released some time later shows us that the hidden message in it is - whoever you are, fight for your dreams. I wouldn’t be myself if I found anything bad in it. This video is not what I was expecting, nevertheless. This track should show more dance scenes or it should be at least more like Avicii’s Wake Me Up or I Could be the One. Now we can only wait for the Merry-go-round music video.
This week’s music video review features the heartbreaking Weak Child by Heo Youngsaeng. The music video for Weak Child was released on October 15, 2013. The song is part of Heo Youngsaeng’s special album She, a gift for his fans before his army enlistment, released on October 16, 2013.
The lyrics express the regrets of a guy who has let his girlfriend slip away. He always took care of her but at one point it was too much for him and he wanted to be free again. Yet, after letting go, he regrets it so much that he wants to go back to her. He, furthermore, thinks of himself as a selfish person because he has always put himself first; when he wanted to be apart from her as well as when he wanted her back.
Before I had read the translation for the lyrics, I actually thought it was another of those extremely creepily pseudo-romantic music videos that fill me with secondhand embarrassment, but knowing about the lyrics actually made it a lot better. But seriously, do Korean girls actually like it when their boyfriends tie their shoe laces for them? I can only speak for myself, but I would be so embarrassed. Like, am I four years old or why can’t I tie my own show laces? Anyway, sorry for the little rant but this just annoys me about many k-pop music videos. After reading the lyrics translation, I actually think that this one particular scene corresponds somehow with the image of the clumsy girlfriend.
So, let’s move on to the real stuff now. The video mostly portrays the lyrics. In it, the different stages of the relationship of the couple are documented, just like the present-day boyfriend, played by Heo Youngsaeng, who regrets the end of the relationship in form of memories and video material that he had recorded while the relationship still lasted. All settings are not only used for scenes from the past and present but Heo Youngsaeng also performs the song at all those places.
The different stages of the relationship are in chronologic order. On Day 1 the couple meets for the first time by coincidence in a forest where Heo Youngsaeng takes photos of nature but the girl offers to be his muse instead.
On Day 24 they are on the date that I already mentioned above, where he ties her shoe laces and they also try to hold hands.
After this date, many days are skipped and the story is continued on Day 153 where the relationship is already starting to fall apart. When the girl tries to build something out of toothpicks, her boyfriend surprises her and accidentally destroys what she was building. To soothe her anger, he builds a cat’s face with the toothpicks and everything seems to be alright again.
Day 180 is the last one in the chronicles of this relationship. The couple spends a day at the beach, where Heo Youngsaeng is making a video of his girlfriend. Both really seem to enjoy this day, smiling and having fun at the beach. But when they are shown holding hands, the girl lets go of him and this marks the end of their relationship.
Yet, no matter how much I like this music video and no matter how well-made it is, I found one small mistake in it. When the couple sits at the beach, Heo Youngsaeng wears the wrong outfit in one small scene and in the next scene they also magically switch their places. Before and afterwards he wears the clothes that are supposed for this scene, the denims, but in between he’s shown in the outfit he’s wearing in most of the post-relationship scenes.
Overall, I think this song and video are perfect for Heo Youngsaeng, since the song showcases his flawless vocals while the music video presents his acting skills. Even though there is this cheesy pseudo-romantic scene, I still like this video a lot, especially considering that I’ve seen so many other music videos that over-used this sort of stereotypes way more. And maybe I’m also the only person on this planet bothered by things like that. Therefore, if you haven’t watched the music video yet, or really feel like watching it again after reading this review, here it is!
Daughtry - Baptized
All albums for this week have something in common and that’s: a general catchiness that makes you hit the repeat button way too many times. Rock band Daughtry return with Baptize, which is really fits well into their discography, since it is just as wonderful as all of their other albums. The album is a beautiful composition of melancholic and widely positive songs with gorgeous lyrics that easily get stuck in your head. Furthermore, songs like Long Live Rock & Roll simply make the album perfect for road trips. Favorite Song(s): Undefeated, Battleships, Long Live Rock & Roll, Broken Arrows. Rating: 5/5.
Shane Filan - You and Me
So, here’s an album that will make you generally feel good. It’s cheering and most of the songs are extremely supportive and if you feel bad right now, then you should really listen to this album! The message that most of the songs convey is that you should enjoy your life and live it to the fullest without regrets or worries. Musically, this album is a well-composed mix of pop, ballad, pop-rock and even country-influenced songs or something that I’d call beach-music (you know, that sort that just makes you feel like you’re on holiday on a faraway island, sitting at a bonfire). Favorite Song(s): About You, In The End, Everything To Me, Always Tomorrow. Rating: 4.5/5.
Busker Busker - Busker Busker 2nd Album
Can we talk about the level of catchiness that this album reached? This album is really 100% catchy from beginning to end and I just couldn’t stop nodding my head to the beat. And by now I regret that I missed out on Busker Busker’s first album. Anyway, this is a wonderful combination of acoustic/rock tracks, and therefore ballads alike fast songs. And because of the catchiness of each single track, all the songs make you wanna sing along or at least hum along, which makes this album extremely recommendable. Favorite Track(s): Love, At First, Beautiful Age, Too Much Regret. Rating: 4.5/5.
Kim Jaejoong - WWW
So, this is the first ever request I’m doing by someone who isn’t part of RE:me. First of all, thank you for requesting, and second thanks for recommending something that I truely loved! And now, let’s move on to the album. The album really surprised me in the most positive way because 1) I wasn’t expecting a rock album and 2) I love rock and this is such a wonderful composition of songs. There are ballads, rock tracks, some I’d even call hard rock tracks (but that’s as usual discussable), and also wonderfully arrangements. Kim Jaejoong adds up to the wonderful music by giving it a sort of personal touch with his voice. I can’t actually believe that there is anyone on this planet who dislikes this album, but that’s just my opinion! Favorite Song(s): Just Another Girl, Let The Rhythm Flow, Paradise, Butterfly. Rating: 4.5/5.
Kahi - Who Are You?
I’ve been so excited about this release, because I wasn’t sure if Kahi will ever make a comeback and then she did and it was awesome. There’s just one thing that sets me off and that’s the fact that the mini album only includes 6 songs. After such a long time, she should’ve at least released a full-length album. Anyway, 5 of the 6 songs feature other artists and all of those really add to the greatness of the songs. I’m mostly happy than one of the feature artists is Bekah, since I always hoped that she would come back to the kpop scene, even if it’s just such a small feature. Apart from dance tracks, the album also features the ballad Slow, which rather rounds up the whole mini album. Yet, it’s a shame that the album will be mostly famous for it’s promo track It’s Me, since it has got more to offer than just this one gorgeous track. Favorite Track(s): It’s Me, Slow, Sinister. Rating: 4.5/5.
miss A - Hush
So, miss A released their second full-length album. And even though you could criticize them for including some of the songs from their two previous mini albums, you’ll have to admit that this album has some sort of changed style and also class. Some of the songs don’t sound like the usual dance pop that is released nowadays and that’s what got me mostly excited. Spotlight, (Mama) I’m Good and even the title track Hush, for example, sound like pop songs that could have as well been released in the first decade of this century. The instruments used in those songs, like the guitare vibes, are at least reminding me on the music from that particular decade. The album comes along with a couple of very catchy songs, slow as well as upbeat, and the members of miss A once again define themselves as talented at singing as well as rapping. Favorite Song(s): Spotlight, Like U, Hide & Sick. Rating: 4.5/5.
F-ve Dolls - First Love
With First Love, F-ve Dolls released their first mini album. I call it their first because I don’t think you could count their previous releases under the name 5dolls as actual part of their discography. In my opinion this is a totally new group, but this is, of course, arguable. The strength of the album doesn’t lie in its promo track (or tracks), though. Can You Love Me? (which features Dani of T-ara N4, and is the only feature on this mini album) and Deceived are both great tracks, but they don’t even come close to their previous debut single Soulmate #1 which is also included in this mini album. Yet, in my opinion, the best among the new ones are those that aren’t mentioned nor promoted, which is a shame since those have a lot of potential. Nevertheless, this is a great album with a rather cute concept which fits the voices of the members well. Favorite Song(s): LOV, Soulmate #1, NONONO. Rating: 3/5.
Kelly Clarkson - Wrapped In Red
Kelly Clarkson brings us the Christmas spirit early this year with Wrapped In Red, a collection of Christmas songs, some old, some brand-new. All of the songs showcase Clarkson’s strong vocals. I’m particularly happy about the selected Christmas classics; one would usually expect Last Christmas on a Christmas album, but you won’t find it on Wrapped In Red. Instead “real” classics like White Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Silent Night are featured, songs that aren’t too over-played yet. Furthermore, the new songs feature very beautiful lyrics and melodies that merge perfectly with Clarkson’s vocals. I don’t have many Christmas albums by just one artist, and this is definitely my favorite, not only because it’s Kelly Clarkson, but because the arrangements of the songs bring up the perfect Christmas mood in me (and I don’t even like Christmas that much). Favorite Songs: Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song), Underneath the Tree, 4 Carats. Rating: 4.5/5.
K.will - Will In Fall
K.will is also already releasing his second album this year… well, practically it’s a mini album. Anyway, K.will never disappoints me. Will In Fall is really a good soundtrack for the season. All of the ballads are extremely pretty and well-arranged and fit his vocals perfectly. The r’n’b/soul stuff from The 3rd Album (Part 1 & 2) are not included here, just like no real collaborations - I’m saying “no real” because SISTAR’s Bora has lent her voice for a little conversation in Bubble - but this doesn’t affect the quality of this release at all. Favorite Song(s): A Slip of the Tongue, You Don’t Know Love, It’s Not You. Rating: 4.5/5.
Trouble Maker - Chemistry
The hot duo Trouble Maker returned to the kpop scene with their new mini album Chemistry. In my opinion it’s just as good as their self-titled debut mini album, just the title track Now is a little bit weaker than their previous one. But actually all five tracks are quite catchy and even if Now isn’t an instant hit for me, it will most definitely grow on me, I just need to give it some time. Just like before, Trouble Maker also included two solo songs on this release, of which I think that they are just as good as their duets. Yet, I’m not sure if I really want to call them solo tracks, since Hyunah is featured in Hyunseung’s solo and another rapper, Flowsik of Aziatix, is featured in Hyunah’s. To sum it up, catchy pop/dance tracks that won’t let go of you. Favorite Song(s): Now, I Like. Rating: 4/5.
Avril Lavigne - Avril Lavigne
After what felt like forever, Avril Lavigne finally releases a new studio album. It is sort of combines the style from her debut album with her matured, grown style. Therefore it seems to me like a way of time travelling for her, to revisit who she was and who she’s now. Everybody else can have their own opinion about this of course, so let me know if you feel different about this! The album features rock tracks and ballads alike, and scores with catchy as well as deep lyrics. Furthermore, Avril Lavigne does collaborations with Chad Kroeger of Nickelback and Marilyn Manson, the latter was actually a huge surprise for me. Favorite Song(s): Let Me Go, Hello Kitty. Rating: 4/5.
SHINee - Everybody
SHINee are back again this year with a new mini album. To my personal disappointment, I don’t think this comes even close to the gorgeousness of “The Misconceptions of You, Me and Us.” But it is nevertheless a good mini album and I hope it’ll grow on me the more I listen to it. To me it seems like Everybody more or less lives on its title track; the one that got stuck in my head for 2 weeks straight and on some days I still wake up in the morning and am like “everybody wake up wake up” which is pretty weird, I suppose. Favorite Song(s): Everybody, Destination. Rating: 3/5.
I know it’s already a little bit late and not Sunday anymore, but it’s time for some more mini reviews. This week I’m going to start off with a release that I really want to talk about, even though it’s just a single and not an album.
2PM - Winter Games
2PM are back with a new Japanese single. And let me tell you it’s a gorgeous one! It includes 3 songs; the title track Winter Games which is extremely catchy, the b-side Stay Here which was actually supposed to be released on one of their previous singles, but then sadly was postponed till now, and the Japanese version of Come Back When You Hear This Song which is just as good as the Korean version. For me this single is just as good as an album and that’s why I had to include it here. I also want to add, if you haven’t watched the PV for Winter Games yet, you should definitely check it! The overall concept fits the song title so well… and the choreography is also quite appealing. I think by including this single, I lost against my “no fangirling” rule, but whatever. Favorite Song(s): all of them, but if you forced me to choose one I’d decide for Winter Games. Rating: 5/5 (my very personal fangirl opinion lol).
KARA - Full Bloom
Another week, another KARA album. In my opinion the album is a little bit short, like 2-3 more songs wouldn’t have hurt anyone. But for the songs I can say that they are really good. Especially the title track (Damaged Lady) and the pre-release song (Runaway). But all of the other songs are also catchy. Yet, for the perfect rating it lacks something… I just don’t know what it is as off now. Maybe someone else has a suggestion? Anyways, … Favorite Song(s): Damaged Lady, Runaway, In The Game. Rating: 4/5.
MBLAQ - Love Beat
I know, I’m fairly late on this one again but it’s a really awesome album, so I need to share my opinion! First of all, are MBLAQ going to release all their mini albums in this way? They already did it with 100% Ver. which was released as a repackaged version a while later and now they did it again with Sexy Beat. I think this is a bit confusing and it taught me to wait a little longer for the repackaged version because then I have all the songs at once. Anyway, let’s move on to the music. This is really an awesome album and all the songs are extremely good. I like that there aren’t only normal upbeat pop/dance songs but that MBLAQ are showcasing their very own style; there’s funky music that I really didn’t expect and I totally love and there are also ballads which I could listen to for weeks! All the songs that were previously released on Sexy Beat are already awesome, but those three new songs that were added for Love Beat actually make this release even better. Favorite Song(s): Smoky Girl, Prayer, R U OK?. Rating: 4.5/5.
Jessica Mauboy - Beautiful
Wow that’s an album I love! At first I thought “oh no, not another dance pop album” but right after listening to the third song I was totally absorbed by the rhythms, lyrics and Jessica’s voice. This album is really indescribably catchy and for me it contains everything I was expecting. Apart from the fresh dance pop/electro pop songs, it furthermore also includes beautiful slow r’n’b songs and ballads; there’s even a funky dance song included. The title is really fitting because this album is indeed beautiful. Favorite Song(s): Honest, Kiss me Hello, Barriers, Pop A Bottle (Fill Me Up). Rating: 5/5.
IU - Modern Times
It really blew my mind that the title of the album contradicts its actual style of music! And this is the reason why I really enjoy listening to this album; it sounds old, like music from the mid-20th century or even earlier stuff. With Modern Times IU invents herself new and goes a step further than she did with Last Fantasy, and releases a whole album with music that is just relaxing and makes you feel like you’re part in a black and white movie. Furthermore, many artists, from obviously very different genres, are joining IU for collaborations. Favorite Song(s): The Red Shoes, Modern Times, Obliviate, Everybody Has Secrets. Rating: 4/5.
This week’s review features the music video for False Hope (Torturous Hope, depending on the translation) by Secret’s Song Jieun, released on September 27, 2013. False Hope is Song Jieun’s first solo single album which was released on September 30.
The lyrics for False Hope basically contain what one would expect after reading the title. Even though their relationship has already ended and the girl tries hard to forget her ex, he continues coming back to her which only causes her pain. No matter how often she pushes him away, whenever he gets drunk she already knows that he’ll turn to her again.
Instead of following a fixed storyline, the music video is a rather artistic piece of work. It shows Song Jieun perform the song in various room settings.
Since she is playing the female lead role in the music video, she is also shown suffering because of the guy.
Furthermore, the music video plays with a lot of images, like time or that of a nail that painfully connects Song Jieun and the guy.
Different colors are also used, e.g. the pink and red liquids that are shown dripping, the color that seems to come out of the phone in the bathtub and the black ornaments that suddenly come out of the wall next to the mirror/picture.
All those elements really turn this video into such a beautiful piece of art that I keep on watching it over and over again. Additionally, I can only say that I’m very happy with the production of this song, the really well-included English parts, Song Jieun’s wonderful vocals and the overall concept of the video. This sort of artistic music video is also of better effect than one with a storyline would be. Mostly, because a storyline music video would distract the viewer from Song Jieun’s voice, and for those of us who speak Korean, from the lyrics.