Unflinching Reviews

[Review] SPICA’s “Ghost” is predictably and unfortunately flawless

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If there is a fear to be had when it comes to SPICA, it’s that the group may have already maximized what it does best. There is comfort in finding one’s comfort zone in pop music and SPICA has seemingly known theirs from the start. Strong ballads and R&B tunes worked together perfectly when paired with SPICA’s five great vocalists. ... Read More »

Indie Focus: Startline continue down the same great path with ‘Across The Night’

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When it comes to melodic pop punk, Startline have established themselves firmly as a band to watch. With their previous EP, ‘Light My Fire‘, and single, “Time Goes By,” they’ve shown that the three members know how to craft really great songs. ‘Across The Night‘ isn’t anything different from past releases, and that’s perfectly fine. —– “Great Escape” is the ... Read More »

Indie Focus: J. Rabbit’s music has continually progressed, and ‘Stop & Go’ is no exception

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I have been a big fan of J. Rabbit since they released ‘Looking Around‘ two years ago. “Happy Things” is still one of my go-to feel-good songs, and I am always excited when they release a new video. So, I was really surprised when I had not heard about their new album ‘Stop & Go‘ until now. With every album, ... Read More »

Indie Focus: Unchained’s ‘Thorn’ is a bold and convincing debut album

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Unchained is a Busan-based rock band that has been around for quite a while, releasing EPs and singles here and there, yet I had never heard of them before. Their last EP was in 2005, and they’ve been relatively quiet ever since. So their recently released full-length album, ‘Thorn‘, really came out of the blue — but at full force. ... Read More »

Indie Focus: Urban Zakapa’s collab with Soyu on ‘Space Between’ improves on ‘Some’

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Urban Zakapa released a lovely single, ‘Space Between’, featuring SISTAR‘s Soyu, and it’s supposedly the part two of hit song, “Some“, sung by JungGiGo and Soyu. Although some may argue differently, I think that “Space Between” is much more interesting piece than the highly sensationalized “Some”, and there are a few reasons why. —– Despite “Space Between” being it targeted ... Read More »

[Review] Jieun’s ’25’ is the risk of ‘trying something different’

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With “25”, TS Entertainment and Jieun attempt to branch out and give their resident lead vocalist something a little more “pop-py” than they have in the past. And while “25” is a departure from Jieun’s other solo efforts, it’s sadly not nearly as memorable. For better or worse, the best aspect of “25” is a delightful little Duble Sidekick horn ... Read More »

[Review] Ailee’s “Magazine” mini-album represents creative & dynamic growth

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Ailee is, hands-down, one of the most effortlessly talented acts in K-pop today — she’s proof that pure talent can and will take you places. I admit that this usually makes me slightly more lenient towards her releases because her vocals take precedence over whatever repertoire-related issues her EPs have, but it’s not as if her material has been especially ... Read More »

[Review] Ailee’s ‘Don’t Touch Me’ is some good ol’ fashion ear candy

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The best thing about Ailee is that she understands exactly what she’s good at and how to best utilize her talents. While her taste in R&B music can run the risk of sounding derivative, Ailee’s latest single “Don’t Touch Me” manages to put together a music video which is so competently made that concerns over its relative lack of creativity ... Read More »

[Review] TaeTiSeo’s ‘Holler’ mini-album hits all the right notes

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If there’s one thing I’m thankful for with regards to how SM Entertainment has been handling TaeTiSeo, it’s that they don’t just put out boring ballads on the grounds that they’re “the voices” of SNSD. While “Twinkle” wasn’t exactly a masterpiece — it lacked the spunk light-heartedness that material like that demands — I’d like to think that “Holler” is ... Read More »

[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 »