Kurayami Monogatari

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U-KISS – Inside øf Me November 23, 2013

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 9:37 am

insideofme

Track Listing

  1. Intro ~Something Special~
  2. ALONE -with the appearance of AJ-
  3. Real Love
  4. The Only One
  5. PASSAGE
  6. Interlude I ~Possession~
  7. Play Back
  8. Distance… -with the appearance of AJ-
  9. Thousand Miles Away
  10. Dear My Friend
  11. One of You
  12. Interlude II ~Now and Forever~
  13. Inside of Me
  14. A Shared Dream ~Orchestra ver.~ (CD only First Press)

1. Intro ~Something Special~

U-KISS opens their sophomore JPN album with a chilly introduction with some ambient chants before someone types on a keyboard and the arrangement gets a bit more alive and you hear some singing and some fast synthwork alongside AJ talking a bit!  Which is pretty nifty for a 2 minute intro.  I kind of wish they turned this into a full track to be honest!

2. ALONE -with the appearance of AJ-

Moving onto the 4th and final single they released prior to the album, ALONE was a pretty awesome song at release and was something I was missing so much in this era because of the other 3 singles that came before it.  I also LOVE hearing Soohyun in this song because his smoky vocals just suit such a dark atmosphere (like it did in “Tick Tack”).  Now you maybe wondering what’s with the title, well if you remember, AJ was on hiatus for quite some time in 2012, so for the album he was placed in the songs he missed out on and here he took over some rap lines originally sung by Eli.  Necessary? No, but I suppose it works.  It’s still an amazing song, though I still loathe that overly auto-tuned line from Soohyun near the end of the song.  Freaky right?

3. Real Love

Moving to the first new track on the album, it keeps up with their dance tracks, but isn’t as awesome as “ALONE” was but I’m loving the mechanical feel with the horn lines.  It actually kind of reminds me of a less aggressive mixture of “Shut Up!” and “Man Man Ha Ni”.  I’m really impressed at how much Soohyun, Keseop, and Kevin sang in this track…it’s just a very cool song from the group and was a nice surprise overall!

4. The Only One

Oh well another song to really cater to their K-pop fans.  This one has some pretty cool guitar riffs and finally Kevin decided to lead the track alongside Hoon and Soohyun.  It’s got a gritty sound, but the chorus is surprisingly poppy in comparison and that might turn some people off, but the song works and everyone does get solos so it’s quite nice to listen to.  I just found this song to be good, but “Real Love” and “ALONE” was stronger as songs!

5. PASSAGE

Kind of strange to have 3 straight up dance tracks and then suddenly stop for PASSAGE which is the first ballad to appear on the album and it’s a Hoon and Soohyun fest up in here.  Actually it’s really only these two and AJ present in the song so it’s a split song in the group.  As a whole the song kind of wasn’t the best track for them and the rap from AJ wasn’t benefitting to them either.  The first misstep on the album it seems and tbh, sounds like a rejected song from their first album, “A Shared Dream”.

6. Interlude I ~Possession~

We come to our first interlude and it’s actually a rap from Dongho and AJ and I was kind of surprised at how nice they sound in English (more Dongho because AJ was in America for a year basically >.>).  Soohyun also does some ad-libbing behind AJ’s rap but it’s a nicely done interlude and love that it was in English.  Another 2-minute but let’s see if this works out for our next track.

7. Play Back

Makes sense since our next song is sung by the remaining members: Kevin, Keseop, Dongho, and AJ.  They also seem to get the dance track which already is more impressive than “PASSAGE” was.  I’m actually happy to hear AJ sing here since I’ve missed his singing voice rather than his rapping voice and it’s also amazing to hear more Keseop as well.  Though Kevin was at the front of the pack, it’s a rather catchy tune from the four of them and it stuck out well!

8. Distance… -with the appearance of AJ-

Moving to the 3rd single and was the first time AJ went on hiatus, Distance… was probably my least favorite of the A-sides released.  Slow jams are not my thing with boybands and with Distance… it kind of just bored the hell out of me.  The inclusion of AJ is also tacked on what was originally AJ’s lines and sadly it goes over my head so it’s not like the change was THAT noticeable.  So yeah this song was just meh and nothing changed on the positive sign.

9. Thousand Miles Away

Moving on, we get into another slow jam from the group and we’re brought to the normal setting with Kevin, Soohyun, Hoon, and Keseop singing it up while AJ, Eli, and Dongho are rapping!  It’s a good song to get used to the vocals and the nuances of the group.  The song itself is rather unmemorable because once again this is a song that I know U-KISS has done many times before so it comes off bland and pale for me (though for new listeners, it might be a treat to hear a ballad that isn’t sung by only three members before).

10. Dear My Friend

As the first single that begun this era, Dear My Friend was a rather disappointing single because it did come after “Tick Tack” and “Forbidden Love”.  After going through a timely era with all their releases (both in Korea and Japan), Dear My Friend did slightly grow on me as that happy-go-lucky pop track from them.  I really like the feel of the song and that Kevin led a lot of it was pretty nice as well.  Not bad I guess!

11. One of You

I kind of forgot about One of You almost before coming to this album.  It’s like another “Dear My Friend” but leaning towards more the dancier side of their music.  It’s quite catch though and Soohyun sounded good in this song but so did Kevin.  It’s slightly grown less on me over time strangely enough in comparison to the previous track, but I can totally see how fans would love it so I haven’t pushed this song away fully.  Though the dubstep-y parts when the Eli, AJ, and Dongho have their parts kind of ruin the flow of the song for me.  It’s alright, my 3rd favorite of the A-sides.

12. Interlude II ~Now and Forever~

Then comes the second interlude before the finale and it’s a short monologue with Kevin, Soohyun, and Eli.  Though Kevin sings his part and I thought that was dreamy <3!  I’m more surprised that of all the members, Eli has no accent on his English…LOVE IT!  Overall, not a bad interlude.

13. Inside of Me

The final track on the album is also the title AND promotional song for the album.  I’m also surprised it’s the longest track off the album being a little over 5 minutes in length.  I wasn’t too enthusiastic to hear auto-tune on Kevin in the beginning but it gets better afterwards!  The song is mid-tempo ditty and I quite like it because while it’s not a meh ballad, it’s ending the album off on a good note.  It’s really the same U-KISS formula on line distribution, but it was a great solid promo song for the album!

14. A Shared Dream ~Orchestra ver.~

On first press editions of the CD only, it comes with a bonus track which is of the title track of their last album, A Shared Dream.  In a way, I was kind of surprised that the song needed to have a new version but in a way made the song a lot more personal!  I still do think the rapping kind of takes away from the song, but the lines sung were great and the added orchestration definitely helped out the song.

Tracks Recommended

  • ALONE -with the appearance of AJ-
  • Real Love
  • Play Back
  • Inside of Me
  • Dear My Friend

Song of Avoidance

  • Distance… -with the appearance of AJ-

Usually with 2nd albums, most of the time, they’re quite the flops…however with U-KISS’ Inside øf Me, it was 10x better than their debut!  They didn’t fall into the obscure boredom of songs they pulled off with “A Shared Dream” and almost everything fell into a good place here. Sadly with all good things, there is an unfortunate thing.  This is actually the final album with Dongho as he left the business to go back to a normal life and with rumors that AJ is going on hiatus again due to schoolwork, it’ll be really something to see what’ll happen for the group.  Still, Inside øf Me was a great sophomore effort!

 

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