Brown Eyed Girls - SIXTH SENSE (2011, South Korea) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Sixth Sense, Hot Shot, Lovemotion
After "Abracadabra", the girls have finally made a comeback to end the year. "Swing It Shorty (Intro)" brings us into a retro jazz lounge club vibe with amazing vocal presentation to seduce us into the album. "Sixth Sense" was the promo piece for this album. It opens with a strong instrumental presentation and fierce vocal delivery. "Hot Shot" was apparently also used for promotional purposes. It brings back that smooth jazz lounge club sound with a little sass. "La Bohème" takes some elements from the previous track, but slows and minimalizes it. It almost sounds like those light hearted inspirational Michael Jackson pieces. "불편한 진실" slows the album down to a beautiful ballad that incorporates deep emotional vocal delivery tied in with accordion. "Lovemotion" brings back the elements I loved about Sound.G. "Countdown (Interlude)" is a strong vocal interlude that brings us back to those "Dream Girls" era. "Vendetta" has powerful horns and equally fierce vocals. It's definitely a different direction for the girls. Too bad it reminds me of something Wonder Girls should be doing, but whatever. The album closes out with an instrumental of "Sixth Sense". Overall, I thought this was a decent comeback for the girls, but I think they could've been just a little stronger.
HyunA - Bubble Pop! (2011, South Korea) Rating: 1.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Follow Me
You're probably wondering why the heck I'm reviewing HyunA's mini album if I dislike her so much. Well, the only reason I listened to it is because I wanted the last track featuring Dok2 and if I can find an mp3 version with ZICO, I would have that too. Nonetheless, I figured I might as well listen to everything else and throw a review out there for you HyunA fans. *rolls eyes* Now in the beginning I had no real opinion about HyunA. I like 4Minute and I enjoyed "Change", even though the lyrics made no sense whatsoever, but whatever. Anyway, "Attention (Intro)" gave me a little hope, but the rap or whatever was a bit weak and seemed a bit weird in places with the music. "A Bitter Day" is a slow song featuring the vocal talents of G.NA and Yong Junhyung. It has some interesting vocal work with singing, rapping, and beautiful piano work. Then there's "Bubble Pop!"...the song that made me dislike her, at least one reason. It's a very...bubbly song, I suppose. Let's just move on. "Downtown" is an electro-hop song with Jeon Jiyoon. The music is decent, but the vocals are not the best and the chorus is too...simple. Now for the reason I bothered with this mini, "Follow Me" featuring Dok2! Honestly, I don't think HyunA is that great of a "rapper" or whatever, but her delivery in this track seems more natural and convincing. Of course, Dok2 makes it all better! Even ZICO did a decent job teaming up with the 4Minute beauty.
Zoro - POLICE (2011, Japan) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: POLICE, more, 109
I was curious how this band was going to fair after half of their members left, but they decided to be a duo and keep their electronic love going strong. "POLICE" brings back the essence of fun, electronic sounds that were represented in "KITSUNE" and "HOUSE OF MADPEAK". The PV is pretty badass and capsule influenced. There's minimal vocals, but what is presented doesn't take away from the song. "more" keeps the autotune, but brings in more instrumentation with clear guitar, bass, and drums. It's a slightly slower song, but still rather upbeat. "109" is very electronic base. It's quite speedy and has some great guitar work that makes you feel like you're trapped in a bizarre, psychedelic video game. Great recovery, guys!
DEATHBIE - Senketsu no MARIYA (2011, Japan) Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite Tracks: 鮮血のMARIYA, もうヘドバンなんてしないなんて言わないよ絶対, la gueule de bois
I was a little nervous to listen to this single, because I haven't been overly impressed with AYABIE. I mostly got lured to this due to the image of the band, my history with them, and BLOOD STAIN CHILD'S Sophia's promotions of it on Facebook, because she's featured in the PV. "鮮血のMARIYA" starts off pretty haunting with basic piano and then a band build up with generic visual kei hype screaming. Soon Yumehito's vocals kicked in and...whoa! Was not expecting such a change. It reminded me of this other j-indies band I have yet to place, but when it comes to me I'll post it or something. Anyway, the song's pretty fast and a great introduction to those not familiar with this alternate version. "もうヘドバンなんてしないなんて言わないよ絶対" shows a more aggressive side to the band with fast pace instrumentals. It's still bothering me what band they remind me of. Something about "la gueule de bois" hooked me hard. The musical arrangement and vocals are just amazing~ And how the music trails at the end made me crave more. Definitely preferring DEATHBIE over AYABIE after that track. "コトリノサエズリ" closes out the single with more haunting elements of darkness and powerful guitar and drum ties. The vocals still remain powerful and I'm convinced that AYABIE should go away so they can focus on more DEATHBIE stuff. It's just better.
YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz - THE END OF THE DAY (2011, Japan) Rating: 5/5
Favorite Tracks: THE END OF THE DAY, Mind Forest YFC Edition
Everyone knows that crazy Gackt kid...I mean man child...I mean...you know. So, he gathered some musicians from some places and snagged FACT's vocalist to create one of the most interesting projects of the year. Of course, somehow through Gackt's golden touch, the band was pretty cool. "THE END OF THE DAY" gave us a wonderful introduction to what this band was about. It has a catchy melody and a great collaboration of vocals between Jon and Gackt. Who would've thunkit? I must admit, this song gets stuck in your head quite easily. So, they brought back a classic Gackt solo track and made it...extra epic! "MIND FOREST YFC EDITION" features a great orchestral intro and stuck with the original musical arrangement, altering it only slightly. The lyrics...are in English. Omg! And Jon's voice with Gackt's. Omg! Then then...the acoustic detour with Gackt singing before the song ends. Omg! *dies* Yeah...I promise I'm not a Gackt fangirl, but sometimes he blows my mind and I forget how great of an artist he truly is. The rest of the single features various versions of both tracks that take out Gackt, Jon, or both of their vocals out completely. In the end, may I have more YFC, please?
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