Kurayami Monogatari

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U-KISS – One Shot One Kill January 20, 2017

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 6:19 am

oneshotonekill

Track Listing

  1. Opening ~in-mono~
  2. CRY BABY
  3. One Shot One Kill
  4. Rock Me
  5. Super Special Lady
  6. Kissing to feel
  7. Interlude ~plug in-plug out~
  8. DON’T BREAK US DOWN
  9. HEART STRINGS ~Ienai Kotoba~
  10. Kimi Dake wo (ALBUM version)
  11. Shining Stars
  12. Illusion
  13. Stay Gold
  14. Ending ~in stereo~

1. Opening ~in-mono~

What a dark and mysterious way to open up an album with repeated descending harp chords and then a march rhythm jumps in with who I think is Jun that takes up the introduction before Eli joins alongside some dance beats and a heavier sound.  After them, Kevin joins in with the melodic part of the track and it just feels like it rising to some climax, but really it kind of just ends.  A 2 minute track, but I KNOW it could’ve been its own full song.

2. CRY BABY

At least the feeling continues into our first new track on the album.  While it doesn’t have a dark atmosphere as the intro, the song itself has a cool dance style that is something U-KISS always seems to excel at and I appreciate the track being as straight to the point as it is.  I really like hearing the main singers (Kevin, Soohyun, and Hoon) just mixing things up and sounding as good as they normally do.  Even Keseop finds himself with some decent lines too!  Even the bridge features some aggressive rapping from both Jun and Eli and that turned out pretty well.  Great way to kick things off!

3. One Shot One Kill

Chosen to promote the album with a PV and such, the title track of the album changes things up a bit being changing from being a full-on K-pop inspired track into something a little funkier and cooler for the group.  I really LOVE the verses where the bass takes center stage behind Kevin & Soohyun and the song just has a fun and sleek vibe that really pulled me in!  Definitely a great choice to promote this album!

4. Rock Me

As the B-side from “Stay Gold”, I was happy to at least the B-side make it (especially seeing “Shining Stars” making it too but we’ll get to that later.  Rock Me is a bit more aggressive in nature due to its more rock-centric arrangement and just punchy beats.  I do like some of the parts like the pre-chorus where the sound lightens up and then once again Eli & Jun seem to REALLY click with one another when they rap one after the other.  It’s just a very powerful song for the group and sticks out amongst the best of the album.

5. Super Special Lady

I was expecting this song to be a ballad due to the kind of cheesiness one brings with such a title.  However, it’s a bit like the last couple tracks, having a dance beat and fun atmosphere akin to “One Shot One Kill”.  I do have to say though, while I did love the vocals here a bit more, the song itself doesn’t really stick to me.  Not bad for a track, but it could’ve been better IMO.

6. Kissing to feel

As the 2nd single released prior to the album’s release, Kissing to feel was THE song that I was missing from the group and I’m happy they prioritized this as a leading track because it’s just edgy and badass almost feeling like the group hitting their stride like they did in “Tick Tack” and “ALONE”.  There’s just something powerful about that chorus that pulled me in so quickly.  Great song overall!

7. Interlude ~plug in-plug out~

A 2 minute interlude comes next and it begins like the intro with the foreboding strings and synth mixture, but it grows into something a little more funkier that sounds like it could’ve been placed before “Stay Gold” if anything.  The jazzy mix and Kevin’s dialogue is interesting, but this does go on or a little too long going into a fade out of the instrumentation towards the end (a long one at that).

8. DON’T BREAK US DOWN

Ah, so while the interlude didn’t really help move onto our next track, I like that DON’T BREAK US DOWN brings the group back to its R&B roots.  Actually, I was surprised I’m hearing a LOT of Kevin in this song (actually I think this is a solo…oh wait Jun is rapping in one section).  I think this song is unique especially for its arrangement and styling and I kind of dug it for the most part!

9. HEART STRINGS ~Ienai Kotoba~

Despite that we had a preview (or well a live version of it) back on the “Kissing to feel” single, we have our studio cut of this ballad!  As this is pretty much your vanilla K-pop-esque ballad here, I was happy to see Hoon up in the front and taking the lines here.  Actually I think it’s a solo for him which we’ve seen before.  I do like the guitar solo during the bridge, but beyond that it’s pretty plain.

10. Kimi Dake wo (ALBUM version)

What I didn’t know was that originally this was Soohyun’s debut A-side that was brought in for this album, apparantly filling it up with some new things.  The opening has a very serene and slightly Disney-like feel.  Actually compared to the original single cut, this was definitely changed for the better as Soohyun’s voice is just pretty to hear in such a setting.  Funny enough, it made “HEART STRINGS” sound like generic trash in comparison.  Definitely the preferred ballad of the album.

11. Shining Stars

Ugh, why did they have to bring this B-side to the album?  I mean it was most of the reason the whole of the “Kissing to feel” single was just in the middle.  Now we have to hear it after “Kimi Dake wo” with is sheer grandness.  Just like I said above, that song is also making this track feel generic and one-dimensional.  It’s like a leftover from “A Shared Dream” and those slower songs also felt a lot bland.  Maybe not the worst song in their discography but definitely one of the most forgettable.

12. Illusion

The last of the new tracks, Illusion continues with the slow jam R&B tracks, but unlike “Shining Stars”, it actually feels more like it follows “DON’T BREAK US DOWN” but without the acoustic or super laidback vibe.  I will say of the new songs, this one kind of felt weak and passes over me.  Didn’t help that Jun’s rap section felt so lifeless too.  Yeah, kind of blah too.

13. Stay Gold

I find it strange they decided to wake up listeners with Stay Gold at the end of the album.  After listening to it more, I’m kind of surprised at how poppy and boyband it comes off.  Luckily since I had time with this and “Action” drifted off and I was able to focus on this only and I still find it slightly uncharacteristic for the group AND its place on the album.

14. Ending ~in-stereo~

So the outro to the album is 3 minutes?  A good length to a full track?  I think its Eli that starts with a monologue (with good pronunciation, might I add) and then he starts to lightly rap to an rolling beat before Kevin sings some lines too a much brighter arrangement.  It could have been a full track and I would’ve been OK with this length…actually it might as well just be a track and not an outro.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kissing to feel
  • CRY BABY
  • Kimi Dake wo (ALBUM version)
  • One Shot One Kill
  • Rock Me

Song of Avoidance

  • Shining Stars

With the group’s hectic schedule of recent (releasing an album a year, only days apart from one another ie: “Memories”, “Action” and now this), I was worried that their rushing for this album would end up poorly and in some ways it sort of did.  The first half, Kimi Dake wo, and DON’T BREAK US DOWN were great songs and showed that spark that got me into U-KISS when they debuted.  The rest of the album though kind of felt flat and I’ve never really thought of the group as good balladeers (especially with who produces them most of the time) and the ballads, minus Soohyun’s were generic as hell and Stay Gold had nowhere to fit BUT the end…Either way, now that we officially know that AJ is gone from the group, I think the 6-nin group is pretty good and gel well with one another.

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