Posted by : cloudyday a January 22, 2014

3 of our k-pop female favourites have made their respective comebacks (not so) recently, and I'm glad to say that there's a pinch of sunshine across all 3 of them that make them worth at least a second listen. They are vastly different in terms of song style, mood and artist direction, so enough of my sweeping statements, below are the individual reviews of these 3 songs. 

IU - Friday
From IU’s repackaged third album Modern Times - Epilogue comes the new song Friday, a song both composed and written by the singer herself and featuring History’s lead singer Jang Yi Jeong. Perhaps because it goes back to her R&B roots which is a style she is comfortable with, I find that this acoustic song truly fits IU to a T, much more so than her recent title song The Red Shoes which was a tad too jazzy and had the whole concept of showing-a-matured-IU heavily overplayed. Instead in Friday, there's just this uniquely IU flavour that can be felt at the tip of my tongue throughout the song, which I'm thankful for, because it's great that IU is carving out a style for herself as she gradually matures artistically. Also, I liked how things were kept simple in Friday, because it shows how even with everything stripped down, IU can still shine. But more than that, in all its simplicity, Friday actually turns out to be an extremely relaxing, pleasant, soothing yet beautiful melody and love song to the ear.

The video features many cameos, including Jang Ki Yong (who recently starred in The Red Shoes MV), Sunny Hill’s Jang Hyun, K-pop Star’s Yoon Hyn Sang as well as Jang Yi Jeong (as mentioned above) and it is a one-take music video. It is overall pretty well-timed and filmed, with IU both lip-synching and acting at parts, with a good mix of acting scenes and effective camera work to keep us entertained from the beginning to the end. The overall colour scheme of the video created a warm ambience that complimented the song well.

As for the song, I just really like this song. It’s lacking so much in all the components that have come to become commonplace in k-pop - the dub steps, the auto tune, the electronic sounds - yet it still sounds brilliant. As compared to her previously self-penned song Peach, I much prefer Friday because of its medium tempo that keeps the song moving forward. Friday starts off with a solo acoustic tune, which remains as one of the main background instrumentals throughout the whole song, while IU’s lovely vocals floats at a notch higher. In a really sweet melody, IU sings about how she can’t wait for Friday to see a loved one, whom she can’t help falling in love with. Towards the end, her supposed love one replies to her in his own chorus, and I found that quite unique an idea yet great for this song.

Ailee - Singing Got Better
Ailee is no doubt a great vocal powerhouse, as seen through all of her impressive covers on live stages (please do check out her cover of Let It Go). Ironically, I find that it is sometimes her own songs that are limiting her vocal advancement. I have to admit that her previous 2 title songs I’ll Show You and U&I didn’t really work out for me, because there were too many parts of flat out blaring of her vocals. Yes the truth is that they did show off how she could pull of diva-loud-and-proud-near-screaming effortlessly, but I believed that they weren’t doing her vocal talents much justice as they failed to bring out the many more layers and colours to her voice (check out her debut single Heaven). So I was anticipating Singing Got Better when it was revealed that Wheesung, who previously helped to produce Heaven, has worked together with Ailee once again for this. Unknowingly, Singing Got Better really exceeded my expectations and for me it’s definitely proof that Ailee’s singing really did get better. Singing Got Better is a song similar to Heaven and different from I'll Show You and U&I in so many ways. In this song, the dance, back-up dancers, glitzy glamorous dance outfits are all done away with, yet what we're left with isn't anywhere near bland or stale, it's a beautiful song. 

The music video stars MBLAQ’s Lee Joon and it features scenes revolving around 2 main time frames - one from when Lee Joon and Ailee were happy together until things got messed up between them, and one on Ailee's side where she is now all successful and classy, having moved on from the heartbreak. At the start, we see Ailee all smartly donned in black and being led into a black car while flanked on both sides by bodyguards on a rainy day. This is presumably in the future long after everything happened. After which, we are led into the past with relationship between Lee Joon and Ailee. There are scenes of their happy days spent together, and how they are being united by music. But Ailee chances upon Lee Joon being kissed by a girl, and that's when breakup starts happening with all the pillow throwing (and this is where the bridge comes in as well, with the background instrumentals building up towards a climax). 

Singing Got Better is a pop ballad about breakup, and how Ailee has suffered (all of the song lyrics / seemed like my story so I sang them to death) but is eventually moving on (little by little, my tears dried). It is definitely not as catchy a song as compared to U&I and I'll Show You, but I think that it showcases Ailee's improved vocals really well. The song starts out simple with a piano instrumental, and even with Ailee's vocals added on, the song remains on a rather low note. As the song builds up towards the chorus, Ailee nails a high note and the song levels up to a notch higher. It is only towards the bridge that the song starts to really build up. However, everything still remains relatively toned down with the absence of a drum beat and a baseline. The only thing keeping the song anchored is Ailee's vocals, which is great because throughout this song, Ailee's vocals were truly impressive. The half sound half air technique was quite well done and even at the higher notes, it wasn't a scream but an emotional song that came through. 

Girl's Day - Something 
Girl’s Day has been making their name known through their recent stream of comebacks along the line of sexy concepts, from Expect Me to Female President, and they’re back once again with Something. Though all considerably 'sexy', the concept of Something leans much more towards Expect Me than Female President, because it is a much more suggestive, provocative and classier kind of sexy compared to the flat out blaring of sexy in your face in Female President. Honestly, I thought that Female President didn't work out that well for Girl's Day as compared to Expect Me because Girl's Day couldn't really bring out the fierce image in Female President well, so I'm glad that they've taken the step towards Something. For now, it seems that Girl's Day is still experimenting with various sexy styles to find one that they're comfortable with. I wouldn't say that this is the most suitable sexy per say, but it's clear that they are getting a lot more bolder (check out their teaser photos please), confident and a lot less awkward with this concept, which is definitely an improvement. 

The music video opens with the introduction of the telephone ringing (doesn’t this scene ring a bell?), and then moves on to the dance sets, which were all pretty neat and suitable for the somewhat dreary yet suggestive mood. There’s the glass-pannelled dimly yellow lit set for solo dancing scenes with a floor lighted by row of white bulbs, the dimly purple lit box with Girl’s Day in purple neon lights under the glass-panelled floor for the dance The outfits were quite well designed to be appropriately suggestive, especially the black costumes, with the crosses to reveal the midriff and the back, black mesh at the top and along the long sleeves, and the slit along the maxi skirt for the choreography. The lip-syncing scenes were quite well done too, and I found that I was thoroughly drawn in by their expression of pain and hurt. The choreography was overall pretty okay, though one part of the choreography that definitely has to go is the bouncing one (I'm sure you know this). 

Somethings is a pop-ballad song about a girl who knows that her boyfriend (I hope not husband please) is cheating on her (Your shaking face and words / Seems like something is up / A strange scent is all over your body / Seems like yore possessed by something) and so she wants to end the relationship with him (Your obvious lies, it’s over / Nothing, it’s something, stop it) though of course feeling hurt by him (Let go of my hand / Don’t lie to me). It is a rather heartfelt song, reminding me of Expect Me in many ways. The song opens up with that repetitive tune comprising of a few notes, and this remains present throughout the song as a background instrumental. Like Singing Got Better, this song lacks a baseline and a strong drum beat and has minimal background instrumentals, above which the 4 members deliver the half sound half air technique for most parts of the song. I especially loved Minah's lines towards the end of the chorus where she bursts in with her full voice. It injects a whole load of emotion and colour into Something, providing a strong contrast to the rest of the otherwise potentially dreary and lifeless song.

Cover Photo Credits

What are your thoughts on the 3 songs?

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