Major January Releases: Part 1

Woohoo! Why is it that whenever I bring out a post, something good happens to me? I think you remember me freaking out earlier this month when I was accepted into the #1 university in the country, into my first course choice at my campus of choice, but apparently the fun didn't end there - I got into the #2 university as well! There's no way I'm gonna trade being a Fighting Maroon for a Blue Eagle, but I'm happy nevertheless.

Because I neither have the time nor the energy to put out a truckload of full reviews for all the music that's come out in the last few weeks, here's like a sum-up of the major releases. It's basically a full review of each without the track-by-track breakdown - just those first few paragraphs I put at the start.


HoMin (DBSK) - Why? (Keep Your Head Down)
Type: Full-length album
Single(s): Why? (Keep Your Head Down)
Tracks to take note of: MAXIMUM, Crazy, Confession, She, Athena
Rating: 3.9/5

The single, of the same name, was fantastic, but that's about it for me. Aside from MAXIMUM and maybe that Changmin ballad, everything was a blur to me - nothing caught my attention. Blame it on the mountains of schoolwork that was dumped on me on the first week of school, but if hardly any of those songs had the power to catch my attention at that time, then I don't think any of them will now.

As a whole the album is all over the place, but then again I could say that about Rising Sun and O Jung Ban Hap, but the way the songs were ordered on this has a lot to do with that, in my opinion. When I was a kid my dad used to rattle on and on about how the track order matters almost as much as the songs themselves, and I only realized how true that is. I mean hello, who would put a ballad right after something like Why? (Keep Your Head Down)? Right, SM.

I said somewhere that JYJ got the vocals and HoMin got the material, but now I think it's more like JYJ got the vocals and HoMin got the lead single and a spattering of album tracks, and the stage presence.

Secret - Shy Boy
Type: Single
Single(s): Shy Boy
Tracks to take note of: Shy Boy
Rating: 3.5/5

Secret are back, and to my dismay, not with the song they put on the teaser. What they did come up with is like a slightly modernized, Korean, Hairspray, and to a certain extent they did pull it off. It can get annoying at times and other times they're trying to be cute, which also annoys me, but the idea is cute and they don't exactly suck at delivering it, so I'm neutral on this.

The other song is the complete opposite of Shy Boy, and I do mean complete opposite. But then again it's a single, so in the western world this would be treated as the b-side. They sound good on this track, and I'm curious to hear them do this live, because the verses aren't half bad. The chorus is every possible stereotype and more, and it sounds like it was haphazardly put together, but I do think the verses are the strength.

Infinite - Evolution
Type: Mini-Album
Single(s): BTD
Tracks to take note of: Voice of My Heart, Can U Smile
Rating: 3.8/5

I have a love-hate relationship with Infinite, but I gotta say that this new package isn't as bad as I was expecting it to be. The lead single will do and there are album tracks that are blegh, but the album not only has cohesion, but identity as well. It's not a carbon copy of their previous EP (even if Hysterie uses some elements similar to their debut single), but when you hear it you know it's Infinite. I haven't had the time to sit down and watch a live performance of the lead single or even watch the entire music video, but the recording isn't half bad.

Let me just point out that Voice Of My Heart is gorgeous, and even if I think the start sounds like it's straight off a DBSK ballad, the song as a whole just works for them. I doubt they'll be able to pull this off brilliantly live, but it's worth a try - try and surprise me.

Type: Studio Album
Single(s): Cry, Stay
Tracks to take note of: Cry, 그대여, 이러지 않았으면 해, Tonight
Rating: 4/5

I don't like MBLAQ. If you followed my music show recaps last year, you'll know that I think they try way too hard to look good, at the cost of their vocals. I still think that way, and I still think their live performances are way too dramatic and put the focus away from the music that they aren't even that good at yet. However no matter what I do, I can't deny to myself that I genuinely enjoyed this album.

The only time MBLAQ sound good is when I'm listening to a recording of them, and that's obviously not enough for me to like a band, but it is for me to like the album as an album. Last year I was talking about separating the live and recorded, and it's during times like this that the argument is very much valid. As long as I don't watch MBLAQ perform any of these songs, I'll like them. The songs are competent, some strong and a select few good, and the execution, although a bit lacking at some parts, is enough to pull the album through.


  1. MBLAQ's music never really struck a chord with me, but I liked this album too! I think they were leagues better from their first attempts.

    However, I think the main reason why I liked this album was because it sounded a lot like Rain (I LOVE HIM OBVIOUSLY) -- so now in retrospect, I don't think that's a very good reason to like an album?

    Haha but seriously, Rain must've had upped these boys' doses of Rain pills - they sing and dance like little clones already! BUT I'M NOT COMPLAINING. With the real deal going to the military soon, I need 5 little clones to replace him for 2 years or so :P

  2. I think despite this full album of MBLAQ's, they still need to impress me compared to BEAST.

    And for DBSK's album, I think you should listen to Our Game again because that will stick into your head. But that's just me. ^^


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