Lovelyz is back to the kpop scene after a 10 months hiatus with a second full album! After finishing the promotion of Destiny, the group took their time before releasing another album, taking a break after being quite busy in 2015 and the beginning of 2016. It's quite a risky decision to take this a hiatus this long, especially since they haven't really established their name and had only gained momentum from their sleeper hit, Ah Choo (which is still quite strong). It's such a pity that Ah Choo is a late hit, only blooming into popularity after the group finished their promotion. I have always liked the song since the first time it was released, but at the time of the release people were calling it boring, and the song got appreciated very late (You were veeery late, people). But well, it's time to move on from Ah Choo and it's time to embracing their other songs!
P.S: I'm not good at music and my likings to songs can be random at times, perhaps this will be my first and last music review.
The Title Track
Before the release of the song, I felt curious about how "WoW" is going to be like since it was media played as having similarities to "Ah Choo". I was skeptical about that since I don't want them to think that they need to release a song that is similar to "Ah Choo" to succeed, and I don't want them to try to copy "Ah Choo". Turned out, "WoW" is not copying "Ah Choo", which made a lot of people feels disappointed, but actually made me feel relieved. The song is kind of a combination of Lovelyz' past songs, especially "Ah Choo" and "Destiny", without copying them. A lot of people thought that it sounded similar of "Destiny", but there were only a few bit that sounded like "Destiny". The song has an instrumental that is a reminiscence of "Ah Choo" in the synths, but the vocal and the way the girls sing has the serenity of "Destiny".
I didn't like the song right away, in fact, I have mixed feelings about it the moment I listened to the song. It sounded like two songs mixed into one, so there are parts that seemed disjointed. But as I listened to the song more, the more I got addicted to it and the more I appreciated the song. It's not the kind of songs that will hook you in on the first listen, but as you listen to it and analyze it more, the more you can feel that 1Piece, the composer of the song, put a lot of thought into the song. I have fun picking apart the instrumentals, as I started to hear not only the intro of the album, but also a lot of retro, synths, and electro influences. The instrumental is well made, and I have grown to really love it.
I like the contrast between the melancholic vocals and the cute instrumental, even though it was jarring for a lot of people, weirdly for me it was the one thing I like about the song. It was actually the repetitive part that made me have mixed feelings about the song--so far, this was the most repetitive title track Lovelyz ever had. Their previous songs don't have forced catchy parts, in fact, the catchy parts grew on you. But for this one, it was apparent that they were trying to put a purposely catchy parts. Those parts did grow on me, as it made the song so weird, unique, and special in a sense. It's a very experimental song.
The song itself reminded me of the b-tracks in Lovelyz' first full album, Girl's Invasion, such as Secret Journey, Goodbye Chapter One, and the song in the repackage, Amusement Park. They were similar in a sense that they were unusual and weird, but those songs are the reason why I finally decided to put faith into Lovelyz' discography. Honestly, if you are a Lovelyz fan, you shouldn't be surprised at how weird their songs can be if you remember the songs in their first albums.
My number one complaint is the song is a quite repetitive and ends quite abruptly, it makes me feel like I don't have enough time to marvel at it, feel like I am being left hanging. For me, this is a weaker title track than Lovelyz' other title tracks, but even at their worst, the song is still good. It's unfortunate that Lovelyz' songs would always be the kind of songs that people appreciated late, or never at all, because those songs don't catch you at first listen and most people only judge at first listen, when the songs are usually too complicated to judge at first listen. It received a lot of negative comments, unfortunately. But it was not strange for a Lovelyz song, even Ah Choo the legendary song got quite negative reviews at first. Not everyone could appreciate their songs.
Even if you don't like "WoW", you should go check out other songs. This is one of the best full albums I have ever listened to. All songs were good, and it was obvious that a lot of work was put into the album, especially when you look at the range of composers who works on the album. The album has songs that have the usual Lovelyz sounds ("Cameo", "Knock Knock", etc), but at the same time, it also delves into a more mature Lovelyz through songs like "Day and Night". The review of the songs in the album will be very short because I am sleepy, haha.
"Cameo" is the song that can be a title track (there is always at least one song on every album), in they way it seemed more cohesive than "WoW". While I did admit that it can be a title track, I also felt that there is something lacks about it that would still make it not a so perfect title track. But it's still a very strong side track, which I'm sure will be in a lot of people's list of favorite songs. If it's a title track, though, I bet there will be people who call it boring, lol. "Emotion" manages to combine the mature side and the fun side of Lovelyz, it has a perfect balance of being melancholic and yet at the same time fun. "First Snow" is one of the slower songs on the album, and it's a good song that exposes Lovelyz' fantastic harmony (I freaking love their harmony). I think "Hide and Seek" will make a good concert song, it reminds me of first love, somehow, lol. This and "Knock Knock" shows off Lovelyz' Whimsical side, which I have always loved. "Day and Night" are the type of songs that Lovelyz had never really tried before, and it's freaking fantastic. It's my favorite group songs from this album, it's a nice song to listen to before sleeping. Lovelyz also fit this kind of song and I hope they will do more similar songs in the future.
Other than groups songs, the album also has unit songs, meaning songs that only sung by several members of the group. Jisoo and Jiae's song, "My Lover", is one of my favorite songs in the album. Even though they are two of the weakest singers in the group, this song utilizes their voices well and makes them stand out. Their soft voices fit this kind of song and it showcases their voices, making the song feels haunting. Jiae's voice fits this song and "Doll" from their past album, "A New Trilogy", so I hope she and Jisoo would get to do more songs like these in the future. "The" is influenced a lot by soft rock, and it's a really good song that showcases Yein's improvement in singing. Personally, I think Yein is the member that showed the most improvement on this album, although everyone else also improved. Sujeong has always been a strong singer for me, and her voice fits the song the most. Mijoo also has always been a decent singer, but for some reasons, her voice always sounded a little weird and out of place in Lovelyz' songs, including in this song. But it was only in several parts, for most parts this is one of the songs where she doesn't sound so out of place. The song itself is a fun song that reminded me of Disney Musical Movies osts, haha.
Unfortunately, for me, the weakest song on the album is the main vocalists' song. It's not a bad song, per se, but for me it's almost too basic compared to other songs and the three members who sing the song has other songs that showcase their vocals better...which is why I am glad that they are the main vocalists, because they have a lot of other songs that can be used to judge their vocals, unlike the other members. Jin and Baby Soul's vocal especially stands out for me on this album, Jin has gotten better at hitting high notes, not sounding like she is straining anymore. Baby Souls' vocals also finally shine on this album, after previously she doesn't have a lot of prominent parts in Lovelyz songs despite being the third best singer in the group. Kei's voice is utilized lesser in this album than in previous albums, I think, but she really stands out when she is leading the harmonies in the album. Everyone knows that she is a very good singer, anyway, so even though she is utilized less I think it doesn't matter much. (I should fangirl over her performances in Girl Spirit again when I have time...)
As I say, this is a very solid album which has a variety of genres. Some of the songs are very Lovelyz, but there are also songs that are experimental for them. I am sure if people give it a chance, they will find some gems. My ranking of the songs:
- Night and Day
- Knock Knock
- My Lover
- Hide and Seek
- First Snow
- Dawn Star
You know...I'm actually surprised that Cameo is quite low, and maybe people are surprised too that I like WoW better. I don't know, my ranking ends up like this, haha.
Listen to The Album: