Reviews written by Banana
DalShabet Mini Album Vol. 10 - FRI.SAT.SUNJune 24, 2017 Possibly the most underrated album of 2016
DalShabet has a tenancy to drop mini albums where the main draw is the title track, which works well enough because they always promote catchy songs. It figures that the moment people stop paying attention, they release a 5-track album with nothing but great songs.
"Ya Heart" is an upbeat synth-pop track good enough that a lot of up-and-coming girl groups would use it as a title track. The title track here is "FRI.SAT.SUN", which perfectly combines DalShabet's sherbet-sweet sound with a show-stopper dance beat. "Hard 2 Love" competes with the title track as the biggest bop here, with a super high energy classic K-pop sound and an infectious chorus that makes it really hard to believe this song wasn't an enormous hit (or that it didn't even have a video). "Fly Boy" cools things down with a brassy hip-hop and bubblegum pop fusion. "썸, 뭐?" ends the album with what feels like a nod to DalShabet's original sound, 1960's pop meets unstoppable Hallyu charm.
The artwork for the album is classy and perfectly packages this solid album.
Brave Girls Mini Album Vol. 3 - High HeelsJune 24, 2017 The Brave Girls comeback we were waiting for
To be honest, I still can't believe this album exists. I loved Brave Girls from their debut in 2011, but I was sure they had completely broken up. After years of silence the group came back in 2016 with the absolute perfect track, "Deepened". Although Brave Girls has always struggled to establish they're exact identity, they've always had a mature edge compared to most other girl groups. Only two of the original members remain on this album, but Hyerin's bullet-rapping and the overall melancholy but contemporary vibe of the track remind us why exactly Brave Girls was just too cool for the public.
The other title track on the album is "High Heel", which completely changes gears to deliver a fun summer bop - the kind that would have gotten a more popular group a number one hit. "Help Me" sounds like a classic fun K-pop b-side. "Whatever" is a club banger closer to the mature sound of "Deepened". "만나지 말걸" is a breezy hip-hop throwback, again more on the mature side.
So Brave Girls don't resolve their identity crisis, delivering two upbeat summer songs and three moodier tracks. Maybe that's why this album got overlooked, but make no mistake that this short EP packs more jams in than a lot of full albums do, and it's a completely welcome album for anyone who - like me - was waiting years to hear back from this group. The packaging is really nice and simple with a red and white color theme and some very fun pictures of the group.
This is one of my most recommended albums of 2016.
Girls' Generation: Tiffany Mini Album Vol. 1 - I Just Wanna Dance(1)Our Price: US$19.99List: US$25.99Save: US$6.00 (23%)May 11, 2017 Tiffany surprised me with this album
To be honest, I've never cared a whole lot about the individual members of SNSD (even though I love the group), and I didn't know what to expect from Tiffany's solo album. But when I heard it, I was stunned.
The songs on the album are a synthpop/R&B mix that blends in with American music more than most SM albums, but the production still has the clean and well-structured mark of Korean pop. "I Just Wanna Dance" lives up to its name as a fresh sounding retro song that makes you want to dance. "TALK" is a moody slow and thumping pop track. "FOOL" is my absolute favorite from the album, which may or may not have made me cry when I first heard it... It's an epic power ballad, although the power is really in the perfectly crafted landscape of synthesizers and light percussion while Tiffany's vocals, as always, blend right in without overpowering the backdrop nor fading too far into them. "What Do I Do" is the banger of the album, a funky and punchy pop track which uses the right mix of retro sounds, new sounds, and negative space to make something super catchy. "Yellow Light" slows things down for an R&B ballad, which isn't my favorite track but cools you off nicely after the first half of the album. Using that ballad as a transition, the last track "Once in a Lifetime" leaps away from the glamorous synth-pop world of the rest of the album to a dewy acoustic but upbeat ballad with pretty vocals, reminiscent of the signature bossa-nova gems tucked away in some of SNSD's albums.
The packaging for the album is your usual K-pop hardcover photobook with a CD inside, and the art matches the album perfectly. Tiffany looks effortlessly beautiful in trendy pictures of her frolicking in flowers and rolling around in some kind of bohemian apartment.
For me this was one of the must-have albums of 2016.
Nine Muses - DramaMay 11, 2017 Nine Muses is known for quality
The formula for most Nine Muses albums:
2. Stunning title track bop
3. Surprising bop that is just as good as the title track
4. The more forgettable song... until it gets stuck in your head
5. The surprisingly listenable ballad
This album absolutely sticks to the tried and true formula! "Drama" is an ultra addictive and upbeat pop song, with a nice tinge of French metropolitan sound. "Choice" is a super funky classic Nine Muses track that you will fall in love with when you hear it. "주르륵" (I think it translates to tears) is the least notable song on the album, but it's still a catchy song and it will get stuck in your head just as all their songs do. The last song, "9월 17일" (September 17th) is a beautiful and bright ballad. Unlike a lot of girl groups which throw in dull ballads just to fill out the album, Nine Muses always delivers unique ballads that you actually want to hear because of their charming melodies and interesting instrumentals - and this one is no exception. In fact, the album includes the instrumental of the ballad because it's a nice song on its own!
The packaging is your standard K-pop hardcover photobook with the CD inside. I really like the photos in this one, because they're bright and colorful with a slightly French white dress theme.
Nine Muses albums look like they have short track lists for the price, but instead of a long album of forgettable songs you get a handful of wonderful songs that you'll want to hear over and over. Their albums are never available in many copies, though, so you'd better grab it right away if you want it!
Nine Muses Special Summer Album - 9Muses S/S Edition (CD + Photobook)(1)Our Price: US$28.99List: US$37.99Save: US$9.00 (23%)May 11, 2017 Two incredible jams make this album shine
Initially I didn't want to buy this album because it's so damn expensive. But I noticed that Nine Muses albums have very small print runs, and once they sell out they become RARE AND EXPENSIVE. So if you love Nine Muses, I highly recommend you buy this album right now!
While I mainly recommend buying it because it will end up being very rare, it also has two incredible jams on it. "Hurt Locker" was a bit of a change up from the usual style of their songs, but it is one of their most addictive and repeatable tracks ever. It was my 2015 summer jam and.. who am I kidding, it's still my summer jam. The other amazing jam is "너란애" (Someone Like You), which has become one of my all time favorite Nine Muses songs. There are two more full tracks on the album: Fancy is kind of a silly and frilly song, but it will get stuck in your head for sure. Yes or No is a very nice, laid back finish to the album.
The packaging for this album explains the price tag: You get TWO big photo books of the girls. One is thinner and has the CD inside, the other is a hardcover photobook. You can tell from the pictures and from the beach theme that they were intended to grab the straight male audience, but it's a nice addition to the collection nonetheless.
Consider yourself a MINE? You HAVE to get this album, because (1) it will probably go out of print soon, and (2) there are two incredible jams and another couple of nice songs on it.
Uhm Jung Hwa Mini Album - The Cloud Dream of the Nine(2)Our Price: US$14.99List: US$19.99Save: US$5.00 (25%)March 6, 2017 Uhm Jung Hwa is back and in full form
Between the two art house music videos with passionate dancing and the four awesome tracks on this album, Uhm Jung Hwa clearly hasn't lost a single ounce of flair since her last mini album dropped. The title track "Dreamer" is melancholy and vogue, and the other title track "Watch Me Move" is a grungy progressive house track. "Oh Yeah" is a funky and laid back duet made in heaven featuring Jonghyun of SHINee, and the album finishes with "버들숲" which is a sultry and extremely elegant dance track.
The album packaging, similar to the packaging for D.I.S.C.O., places a regular jewel case inside of a sleeve (cardboard instead of plastic this time). All the pictures included perfectly suit the sultry sexiness of the album.
The album was originally meant to be a full album, which water later decided to be two separate EP's. It's too bad, because a full album of this music would have been an absolutely legendary release. Still, this mini-album is incredible and I cannot wait for part two to come, if it's anything like part 1!
9Muses A Mini Album - Muses Diary2 people found this review helpful
August 25, 2016 A short and sweet comeback from Nine Muses
I'm a HUGE fan of Nine Muses. Even so, I hesitated to get this album because it only has three full songs (plus one intro and one instrumental) and it's not even the full group, it's a sub unit with 4 members. I eventually decided to get it just to support them, and now I'm so glad I did.
The title track, Lip2Lip, grew on me so much that now I can't stop humming it. It's a song like candy, which you can hear over and over again. The second full track, Shh!, is also super catchy. It is a little more mature and dramatic sounding, but it has an infectious beat and chorus. MONSTER is the ballad here, but it's infused with the classy-sexy feeling of Nine Muses songs, making it a very enjoyable ballad instead of a track to skip.
The physical album comes in your classic K-pop packaging: A paper hardcover that opens up to the CD on your left and a photobook on your right. As for the design, I think they did a great job. All the photos of the girls are great, and the overall concept is a little bit of retro and a little bit sweet. The cover and the inside are very bright and colorful.
This album is sure to please fans of Nine Muses, but also shows a new side of them which we haven't seen yet.
T-ara - EDM CLUB Sugar Free EDITION (2CD) (Limited Edition)(2)Our Price: US$25.99List: US$33.99Save: US$8.00 (23%)July 8, 2015 Worth having but not a necessity
This album has nine powerful mixes of Sugar Free. It plays like a good EDM set, perfect for jamming out or working out to, with the bonus of T-ara's vocals in the songs. You get the nine mixes with Korean vocals and the same nine mixes on a separate CD with English vocals, which is pretty cool. The packaging is nice: It's a metal tin with a stack of postcards inside. The postcards include some cool pictures of the members as well as an info card for each of the producers who worked on the album (though its in Korean, not so useful for international fans!).
For fans and collectors, it's nice to know that it's a limited edition album and you have one of them.
....BUT NOT A NECESSITY
T-ara fans, don't be too concerned if you didn't get this before it sold out. The mixes are really nice, but they aren't particularly unique EDM, nor do they have a lot to do with T-ara other than having their vocals in them. It's a great addition to your collection but not a must have T-ara release.
Cho PD Mini Album - In Stardom V3.0June 28, 2015 A cool hip hop mini
Honestly, I bought this album because it was only $3 and I really like the song "Made in Itaewon". I'm glad I bought it now.
There are some nice beats in the album and Cho PD puts a nice flow on them. It never feels like his best quality (like when he keeps repeating an awkwardly Engrish line on "It Was a Very Good Year") but it's a fun album to listen to. "Made in Itaewon" is a really fresh synth-pop jam and makes the whole album for me.
The coolest part of getting the album was discovering that it's a MINI CD! I've collected over 200 albums and have yet to come across one. It comes in a little gold-lettered black box. If you like collecting albums too, then you should without a doubt grab this one.
Tahiti Mini Album Vol. 1 - Five Beats of hearts (Autographed CD)(1)Our Price: US$16.99List: US$22.99Save: US$6.00 (26%)2 people found this review helpful
August 30, 2013 I'm Love Sick for Tahiti!
I've liked Tahiti from the beginning. They released Tonight (included in the ablum) which was an odd club song but had a really unique colour. Later they released Hasta Luego (also included in the album) which was a bodacious, heavy dance track. But now with their first mini album, they've been groomed down to a solid 5 member group and given a strong release. The title track, Love Sick, is a well produced and alluring dance song with an equally dreamy video where they look good and sound good. Now I think people who see them will wonder "who are those girls?", which is exactly what they said they were hoping for in their interview.
With those three flavorful songs, Love Sick being the most undeniably addictive, the album features Blow My Speakers Out, a stereo blaster true to its name, Pretty Face, a surprisingly husky and forthright ballad that you won't forget, and a floor filler remix of Love Sick.
The album packaging is beautiful. The outside, front and back, is very attractive. The photobook is thick and has three appealing sections. The first portion has colourful, vibrant pictures that are cute but never too sweet. The second portion has pictures that match their MV, which is great considering how good the MV looked. The last portion surprises with a classy set of member photos in black and gold.
Tahiti hasn't gotten much attention yet, but they are definitely not a group to be forgotten now. You might not have heard of it but this album is a must have for the K-pop collection, and you cannot go wrong with a sig ned copy!
C-REAL Mini Album Vol. 1 - Round 11 people found this review helpful
August 20, 2012 Overlooked Gem
With so many Korean pop acts appearing, some genuinely good groups go unnoticed. C-real is one of those groups. The combination of them being young rookies AND having a cute theme probably made many people look right past them, but C-real actually has good vocals.
The album's highlights are the smooth dance song "No No No No No" and the surprisingly fresh R&B ballad "내 남자친구에겐", but every song in the album is vibrant and fun. If you want a solid dance album, get this one and support a talented new group.
Wonder Girls Vol. 1 - The Wonder YearAugust 10, 2012 K-pop Essential
I got this album because I considered it a legendary K-pop album, only knowing a few of the songs. But once I listened to it a couple of times, I realized that this is one of the best pop albums ever! I honestly listen to at least a couple of songs from it every day. It has the great hits like Tell Me and Irony, but every song on the album is unique and colourful.
Do yourself a favor and get this one before they stop printing it.
JQT Mini Album Vol. 1 - PeeKaBooJuly 21, 2012 Last chance to get JQT
It's really too bad that JQT disbanded. This CD (their first and last CD release) has a lot of good songs, and the album art is cool too. They had a unique electronic sound. If you get it, you'll be one of the few people to hold a copy!
Make sure to look out for the upcoming group that will feature 3 of the former JQT members, currently title S the One.
Sistar Vol. 1 - So CoolJune 25, 2012 One of my favorite albums!
This is one of my favorite CD's.. And I have a lot of them! I got the album mostly for So Cool, Push Push and My Boy. But I ended up loving every song. I was especially surprised by Girls Do It and New World.
Overall, this is a really fun album. Even the slower songs are full of life thanks to the group's great vocals. The only problem I had with it was the packaging. It's wide cover with 2 photo books inside. The problem is that the larger photo book is too big and ripped a bit where the staples are before I even took off the packaging. It still holds together, though, and the photos are still intact and awesome.
If you're looking for a good CD to dance to, get So Cool!
Lady Jane Mini Album - Jane, Another JaneJune 23, 2012 Good Songs
I got the CD for Janie, a song you can't help but dance to, and Love Treatment, an upbeat and unique track. After listening, I ended up really liking the two ballads as well. Over all, it's a fun CD you should definitely add to your cart.
T-ara Vol. 1 - Breaking Heart (Repackage)June 21, 2012 Doesn't get much better
This album is great in so many ways! It has a lot of good songs (Tic Tic Toc for example), it has NO bad songs, it has 16 TRACKS (no intros or outros) and it has great album art. Not a lot of albums, Korean or otherwise, accomplish that. At the price of most decent MINI-albums, there is no reason not to put Breaking Heart in your shopping cart.
BoA US Vol. 1 - BoA Deluxe (Repackage Album) (Korea Version)(1)Our Price: US$16.99List: US$22.99Save: US$6.00 (26%)1 people found this review helpful
April 1, 2012 Amazing Album!
While BoA might not have gained much attention for her US venture, she certainly dropped an extraordinary album. Every song on it is worth listening to. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of it!
A Pink Mini Album Vol. 1 - Seven Springs of A Pink(2)Our Price: US$14.99List: US$19.99Save: US$5.00 (25%)January 1, 2012 A Piece of Heaven
A Pink and their producers proved a lot in this one mini album. With only 5 tracks, one of them being an intro, they've shown vocal talent, dedication to a concept, careful production and a level of versatility.
Unlike most mini albums, Seven Springs of A Pink is not an awkward ensemble of songs with one or two gems. Each full song is a joy to listen to, and with the intro it all wraps up into a beautiful listening experience. It feels like you are being carried away somewhere nice when you listen to it.
The intro is not really a song, it's really an intro. With words in English accompanied by a violin ensemble, it sort of sounds like you are being welcome to a ball! The first song is 몰라요, which is a very pretty and upbeat song. It has a lovely composition and has been noted for its organic feeling. There is no auto-tune, only the sweet voices of the 7 members. The next song is It girl, my personal favorite. This is where the CD exits the realm of purity and introduces a more techno feel. The song has a very sweet and heavenly quality, but is also a dance song. The next song is Wishlist. For a ballad, Wishlist does a good job of keeping the energy and avoiding any whining or sorrow. The album ends with Boo, a very electronic song that sounds just as good as the first.
Wrap this lovely album up with the appropriately sweet packaging and a nice photo book, and you get a must have CD for your collection!
f(x) Vol. 1 - Pinocchio (CD+Photobook)January 1, 2012 One Big Treat
At first I was a little annoyed that I had ordered the album JUST before the repackage came out. However, I've come to love the packaging for this one. The photo book is a really cute collection of pictures from their dorms, with added doodles and crayon scribbles to give it a scrapbook feeling. The case literally shines from my CD rack.
As for the songs, all I can say is that this CD is perfect. There isn't one song on here that I haven't been addicted to or that I get tired of. My favorites, though, would be Sweet Witches (a peculiar, upbeat track), Love (a brooding but energetic dance song), Stand Up! (a sweet, acoustic song that doesn't let the dance energy drop), and Lollipop. All ten tracks are worthy of praise, though.
I can honestly say this is one of my favorite albums, and I have over 60 albums in my collection! I'm still planning to get Hot Summer, but if you are a big f(x) fan then make sure you pick this album up, whether or not you have the repackage. It's nice to have a relatively short album packed with good songs to inject some fun into my day.
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