Lee Hyori - H-Logic

I'm backkkkkkkkkkk! *waves* I was planning on writing something when I got home last Saturday but I was too sleepy, then I was gonna write yesterday but I was still so sleepy - coming home from 4 days without sleep singing your head off for 8 hours a day isn't exactly the most ideal situation. Camp was fine, for those who are asking (if I haven't already answered you on Twitter. wahahah) and I'm back to civilization now, only I think I'm getting a cold. Hopefully I don't, or you'll have to live without me for a few days again. hahahah. AAAAAAANYWAY.


Hyori Hyori Hyori, oh Hyori.

To be completely honest with you, as I was listening over to the album for the first time earlier this morning, I had a very hard time formulating an opinion about it - mainly because all this rap confuses my concepts of good songs and I have a lot of issues to take up before I discuss each song individually that I don't know where to start.

*sigh* Here we go, I hope I don't confuse anyone along the way.


The first issue about this album is the amount of collaborations - by my count you have more than half the album worth of duets. This can mean a couple of things, some good and some bad. Collaborations most often mean that the main artist can't do something like rap, which is why outside artists are brought in - the perfect example of the inability is Timbaland, Shock Value 1 and 2 were all collaborations. Duets can also mean that the the main artist is new and this needs hype from other, bigger artists but this obviously isn't the case with Hyori. Either way, it pretty much means that a certain artist can't carry a full album by him/herself, but who's to blame - you can't expect solo artists to sing, dance, write songs, jump through hoops AND rap, although it would be good. On the other hand, the album as a whole won't be the same without the artists who contributed parts - it would sound completely different.

There are songs on the album that are really, really strong and I mean potential pop staples, but there are also some that just make me fall asleep. I was listening through the album for like the 3rd time today and towards the middle of it all, I got pretty bored. The duet with Daesung got me interested again but by the last few tracks, I was bored to death again - the songs were just so-so and not up to par with the rest of the album. But we'll pinpoint them later.

Sound-wise this album is surprisingly very cohesive, considering that one, it's Korean and two, Hyori's changed image-wise once again. Come to think of it, Hyori has been pretty consistent with her music style over the years - she's a pop star and that's what she does, she makes pop. I think another reason why she's stayed consistent over the years is because her vocals are/have become so distinct - you hear one measure and you know it's Hyori. H-Logic as a whole is one of the few kpop packages I can actually call an album - the songs on this weren't just randomly selected and put together just because they show a wide range of styles (I've heard it too much before, don't give me that excuse puh-lease) - the album really tells a story musically, not lyrically. Although even if it's very cohesive, each and every song has it's own 'spice' so to say, and I think some of the collaborations give it that flare.

I'm Back is sort of her big statement - the title gives it away and the song sounds very Hyori with the heavy beats and the melody made for her vocals. She isn't the best vocalist in the world but you gotta hand it to her, she knows what melodies work for her and she uses them like hell. I like the song, it's catchy, it's strong and it's not necessarily single material but it starts the album well.

Love Sign is a duet from one of the guys from Mighty Mouth (Sangchu?) and I'm still not sold on the whole thing. It sounds very American hip-hop-y and I can pretty much imagine how the video's gonna look as I'm listening to it now - with an epic dance routine and all. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the second single (was that one with the clown even a single or just a buzz video?) and it's very, VERY Hyori - the trashy pop star-y thing? Oh yeah. The only thing I absolutely can't stand about this is that the video is way too trying hard Gaga. Look, she's got the music down and it's decent - why try to be something you're not, as well as something that isn't really that good to start with?

Feel the Same is the first slower song on the album and it's very staple kpop - repetitive chorus, 'lay low' verses and Hyori's unmistakable vocals make for a strong song. Possibly a last single? Bring It Back is the idol-fest, with rappers from After School and 4Minute taking most of the rap parts that pretty much make the song. I like the touch of electric guitars and the 'girl power' vibe - it sounds like some 80's heavy metal package with 2000's vocals and kpop rap, pretty good combination. Hmm.

Highlight reminds me of an updated popular Latino party song in the 90's/Ricky Martin number with the instrumentals and is that a cowbell I hear in the background? Whoa. I didn't expect it, but it actually sounds pretty good. The production has punch and conviction, which you need for songs like this, and the extra touches add that flavor to the song.

그네 (Keu Ne? I think.) is very Mexican-y - the lazy instrumental and vocals plus the very old-sounding production give it character. Not a big fan of it, but it's catchy in it's own way and like I said, it's got character which a lot of pop songs nowadays lack. Of course, they just had to put some rap in. *sigh* The start of Scandal reminds me of a more sophisticated version of Hey Micky or some 90's cheerleading movie theme song. I like how they used the whistle throughout the song and how it doesn't ooze cheese as much as all these other cheerleading images but that's pretty much the only think I like about the song - the idea is very cheesy and the conversation towards the end drives me off the wall.

100 Percent was where I started to get bored. The 2NE1 reference amuses me and all, but the song is pretty boring. The sound effects are OK, and the entire thing being so damn repetitive is very pop, but I'm not sold. I was so tempted to forward it when I first heard it but to be fair in my judgement, I had to listen to the whole thing. *sigh*

Want Me Back sounds very Chris Brown/Usher-y at the beginning, I've heard the tak-tung-tung-tak percussion part too many times before but I do like the epic-ness of the entire package - it has a tendency to be boring at certain points if you're not pre-occupied with listening to a specific part because the melody is what we call in Filipino 'lubog', the instrumental overpowers it, but it's OK.

Now the Daesung duet - How Did We Get. The song is very sweet and generic, but I like the sweeping melody and I REALLY like the harmonies - they're pretty. I think what gives the song the dimension it so badly needs is Daesung's vocals - without the guy this song wouldn't be anything special but DAMN THAT VOICE JUST MAKES ME WANT TO FAINT. Hyori picked well. Gorgeous, gorgeous voice Daesung - the guy should definitely do a proper solo album, none of that Trot stuff, because I'd most certainly buy it just for his vocals.

I don't like So Cold that much if all I'm paying attention to is the melody, but I do like the epic instrumental - it's very interesting to listen to. Hmm. I like the 50's-inspired feel of Get to Know and I like the sweet piano loop mixed with the modern percussion and bass - it's not my favorite song but it'll do. I personally think Memory isn't a very strong end to the album - not a big fan of the whole package. Although I do like the creepy vibe it gives off at the beginning but that's it. It's OK.

H-Logic is a pop album - no more, no less. It's not intellectual, it's not conceptual, it's not even ground-breaking, but Hyori has honestly perfected her craft and for that she deserves at least some praise.

So, to sum up the album:
Best Track: I'm Back and How Did We Get
Better Tracks: Love Sign, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bring It Back
My Least Favorite Track: 100 Percent or Memory
THE RATING: 3.9/5

7 comments:

  1. Nice review!

    But in my opinion, collaborations are usually done because an artist wants to provide a different feel for the song. The artist may be perfectly competent to sing and rap but wants a different air to the song. For example a male singer may want to feature a female artist to make it softer. More often than not. but that's just me :)

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  2. I haven't listened to the whole album yet but after reading this review, I will so that I can find out for myself if I agree with you. I do agree that Hyori knows what she can do, she knows what works for her and her voice but regarding the "concept" for the music vid, it was a bit trying hard. I don't think she needs to try hard or overdo stuff because whatever and whoever she is as an artist already works... why fix something when it's not even broke?

    I commend you for this well-written review. It's only my second time visiting this site and second time reading a review by you. I must say that seriously, I actually think you know what you're talking about...that's a compliment, by the way... :)

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  3. meeyamia - thanks! That's what I said - if there had been no collaborations on the album, it would sound completely different.

    P - yay! Agreed. 100% Aww. thanks! I hope you keep visiting. ; )

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  4. Hyori and her crew have been accused of plagiarizing songs from Canadian groups like Cookie Couture and Lil Precious. Apparently, Bahnus wrote these songs and gave them to Miss Hyori, but they sound very very similar to the originals.

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  5. What's the deal with her back up dancers looking like Gaga? LOL. I don't really know who is this but yeah, CCBB is kinda OK but is it any fantastic? I'm not sure, 2nd time around, I'm still not sold yet. But I'm interested in the Daesung duet track though, that fella's voice is heaven. Cotton Candy is amazing :D

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  6. oh, and I love the collaborations. I think it was a great idea. :)

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  7. I just published my own review of H.Logic and I'm now reading what other people have written. I'm surprised how different we saw the songs and the whole album. It's true, you've written this review only a little while after you bought the album. I bought it on April 14 and manage to write my review now, in June. And many songs, who sounded so so in the beginning, sound much better now. Especially "Swing" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", I didn't like those two. I love "Scandal", "Highlight" and "Get 2 Know", those would be my best tracks and all the rest would be put under better tracks. I think this album is awesome and her best so far. But that may be, because I've heard It's Hyorish too many times, hehe. Maybe I change my mind in few months. You can check my blog and my review, if you care so. If not, have a nice day and thanks for sharing. You were really thorough, I wasn't :)

    ReplyDelete

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