Unflinching Reviews

[Review] “Sugar Free” highlights the best and worst of T-ara

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The best thing about T-ara’s single, “Sugar Free”, is that it’s a prime example of what T-ara brings to the table musically. The worst thing about “Sugar Free” is that it’s a prime example of the absolute worst tendencies of T-ara music videos. I’m not sure how we reached this point, but T-ara may be underrated musically. “Sugar Free” finds ... Read More »

[Review] TaeTiSeo’s “Holler” is basically SNSD on cruise control

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For all the opportunities that a sub-unit offers groups (chances to experiment with looks, concepts or genres), TaeTiSeo eschews them in “Holler” in favor of a look and sound that is almost all too familiar and safe. Like everything in “Holler”, the track itself is well made and competently sung but it ends up sounding a bit too calculated. Horns ... Read More »

[Review] Super Junior’s ‘MAMACITA’ album falls short of expectations

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So Super Junior got around to releasing ‘MAMACITA‘ after over two years of a Korean release drought. Two years! And my oh my did we deserve a little better than this album. Just a little. —– Perhaps that introduction was a little harsh, but after two years of no releases as a full group in Korea, you would expect that ... Read More »

[Review] SISTAR’s “I Swear” is SISTAR at their highest level of SISTAR

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SISTAR’s second release of the summer, “I Swear”, is predictable and safe but it’s also damn good. Editor’s Note: Glad you were able to write this after the blood deprivation to your brain for the past day. So dedicated. The first ten seconds of “I Swear” may be the most interesting bit of the song, but what follows isn’t bad ... Read More »

[Review] Orange Caramel’s “My Copycat” predictably (and unpredictably) marvelous

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At this point, Orange Caramel operates in a gleeful paradox. The group is consistent but their concepts are not like anything else in the K-pop scene. They don’t shock, but it’s incredibly hard to predict what they’re going to do next. The only thing that can be confidently predicted about each Orange Caramel release is that it will be memorable ... Read More »

Indie Focus: Beenzino effectively delivers a concept rap album with “Up All Night”

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Beenzino has been blowing up big time. Ever since debuting with ‘24:26‘, the third leg of 1llionaire Records has worked with so many people, from Hi Lite Records’ Okasian and Sean2slow to big names like Verbal Jint, Dynamic Duo, and Hyori. Seriously, the kid’s on fire, and he hasn’t even released a second LP yet. Fucking bonkers. While working on ... Read More »

[Review] SECRET’s “I’m In Love” a great example of basic K-pop executed flawlessly

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SECRET may not be doing anything new with “I’m In Love”, but when everything is working in sync like it is here, that ends up not mattering much at all. SECRET has made a career out of repurposing retro 50s and 60s tunes and putting a modern K-pop twist on them, and “I’m In Love” wisely continues that tradition. The ... Read More »

[Review] HyunA’s “RED” works against all odds thanks to the impossibly charismatic lead

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In many ways, “RED” follows in a long line of HyunA hip-pop projects. It has the requisite hip-pop hooks and verses, and the visuals are bright, colorful, and often hot in ways that still manage to surprise. Of course, when a project goes for bright, colorful, and shocking, it can often unfortunately veer off into the realm of the nonsensical ... Read More »

[Review] SISTAR’s “Touch My Body” brings fantastic simmering summer heat

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With their latest comeback “Touch My Body”, SISTAR proves that even their more easygoing singles can bring enough heat to power the long summer months. If “Touch My Body” surprises, it’s with its relatively laid-back hip-pop beat. SISTAR singles usually vacillate between sensual disco numbers and energetic pop songs, so a more subdued, warm backing track is a pleasant shift. ... Read More »

Indie Focus: leeSA thrives with breezy pop hooks on ‘Where is leeSA?’

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I will be the first to admit that I did not care for leeSA‘s ‘Wiv Hcube‘, which I thought did not blend the r&b and singer-songwriter elements very well. I enjoyed her original songs, but her covers didn’t quite hit home with me. Her latest album, however, puts all of my worries to rest. —– Leaning more on her singer-songwriter ... Read More »