Kurayami Monogatari

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U-KISS – LINK May 13, 2018

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 4:50 pm

link

Track Listing

  1. No Regret
  2. Compass
  3. FLY
  4. Beginning
  5. Prologue
  6. I’ll be there
  7. STORY feat. Jun
  8. WILD&TOUGH feat. Jun
  9. YOURS
  10. Anniversary
  11. Rain
  12. Only Ever Yours
  13. Try Everything (bonus track)

1. No Regret

Opening the album, we get this cool jungle beat for No Regret.  There’s just something about the song that’s mysterious and cool about it.  Doesn’t help that that this is only one of two songs that only feature the quartet due to Soohyun being in military leave.  It is really interesting to hear Kiseop get featured so heavily alongside Hoon here, hell I’m proud he got the first lines!.  Though of course Eli & Jun get a lot of lines as well.  It’s a pretty unique dance track (as is most of the time with U-KISS’ more upbeat track).  I quite liked it and promoted the album well.

2. Compass

The other new track of the album, Compass seems to follow trends in K-pop by having a little bit of a tropical house kind of groove behind it.  It’s a bit mellow though and it seems the rappers have a little more appearance.  Though they are interjected with Hoon & Kiseop’s more melodic lines.  It’s a safe album song so it’s not bad, but compared to “No Regret” this is the lesser liked track.

3. FLY

I’m pretty much disappointed that at this point the rest of the album are older songs that all were released prior to the album, luckily I haven’t heard most of these songs but seeing as they’re right down the tracklist from their singles, it’s just a little lazy from avex’s part to not have at least shuffled them a bit.  Onto FLY, this was the lone single to release for it and the last of Soohyun with the group before his enlistment.  It’s nice to see the 3 singers get a lot of push here with the rappers as support.  I thought it’d be a softer track, but that chorus is explosive and hits you hard.  It’s a really powerful track and one of my favorite A-sides from the group.

4. Beginning

Seeing as we’re going by tracklisting from the singles, it’s like reviewing the single all over again essentially.  Considering it hasn’t been too long since I reviewed this, the song more or less has the same thoughts I had from the single.  I like they went for a little more edge by adding electric guitar to the mix giving it a rockin’ vibe.  There’s also a lot of Soohyun here which is nice too!  Aggressive and cool, it’s still one of the more decent B-sides they’ve had in quite a long time.

5. Prologue

It still baffles me why they have two songs back to back that kind of mean the same on the same single lol.  Though unlike the aggressive nature of “Beginning”, Prologue is a much lighter affair taking more from their poppier side like the songs from “Action”.  I kind of like the 90s vibe I get out of this song and even though it’s not my kind of song being cutesy and whatnot…it’s not cringey and the vocals are pretty so I’d say they did a good job here!

6. I’ll be there

The next four tracks are solos from Soohyun, the first 3 from his solo single he released back in July of 2017.  I actually am not surprise Soohyun is more of a ballad singer after his previous singles.  Sad to say, but the song didn’t leave much of an impression on me despite his silky vocals filling the tune out.  Just was a sleeper song.

7. STORY feat. Jun

Which felt weird moving to the B-sides from the single which featured Jun.  STORY unlike “I’ll be there” is more acoustic but somehow retains that light, poppy nature about it which means I’m still not buying into it very much.  Jun surprised me because he’s actually singing the song instead of rapping…who knew he had a decent singing voice (does this mean Jun might be pushed as a singer?).  Still, the song is just as whitewashed as “I’ll be there” sadly.

8. WILD&TOUGH feat. Jun

At least there was some hope for the 2nd B-side from his single with WILD&TOUGH which has a faster tempo and pulsing beat.  You can still hear the poppy blemishes in the arrangement, but this already beats out both the previous songs.  I will say the dubstep breakdown in the afterchorus is bizarre and doesn’t suit the song much, but I still think it’s a decent track!

9. YOURS

Released as a digital single in December (prior to him leaving for military) YOURS is more or less an upbeat ballad and it sounds a LOT like “I’ll be there” which already put me off from the song.  I guess it has a bit more oomph behind the arrangement, but I already feel tired from the song and it just doesn’t work for me.

10. Anniversary

The next two tracks are solos from Hoon (his single that was released back in January).  I really don’t know why the Soohyun & Hoon want to do these lowbrow ballad tracks (a total departure from their songs while in U-KISS).  Don’t get me wrong, Hoon has an amazing voice, but I don’t know about these songs…they just aren’t memorable outside of the notice that yes, Hoon can do ballads lol.

11. Rain

Which is made worse by the B-side, Rain.  Unlike the piano ballad of the previous, this one features acoustic guitar making it a much harder listen for me to keep attention.  The tune while feels a little more fresh than the purely boring, “Anniversary”, it just doesn’t stand out to me sadly.

12. Only Ever Yours

Released digitally back in July of 2017, this was meant to be the song to send off Kevin as he was graduating from the group.  Though as the album’s closer, it was nice to include this kind officially say goodbye to Kevin and his 8 years of being in U-KISS.  That said, outside of the meaning of the song it’s your usual piano/strings ballad here and it is the ONLY song to feature Kevin so I guess that’s a thing too.  Appropriate way to conclude the album, but on its own, it kind of doesn’t grab me.

13. Try Everything

As a bonus track to the album, I guess they had to throw this song in.  Found on a Disney tribute album, this Shakira cover from Zootopia has somehow ended up in U-KISS’ hands.  I wasn’t sure what to think because I knew it was going to be peppy and upbeat and odd on this album (especially after “Only Ever Yours”).  It’s kind of basic it feels like and it could’ve used Kevin’s voice here because the Engrish is thick here as well.  It’s awkward and yeah…odd for a bonus track IMO.

Tracks Recommended

  • FLY
  • No Regret
  • Beginning
  • WILD&TOUGH feat. Jun
  • Prologue

Song of Avoidance

  • YOURS

Maybe it’s me but this album screamed straight up lazy this time around.  I mean all but two tracks were released prior to the album (even then most of that was from solo releases) just made this album feel super lazy.  I mean I guess you kind of had to especially with one member that left (Kevin) and another on military leave (Soohyun) I guess you had to use what you got.  The new songs were decent and the FLY single itself was good…but past that all but one were just hard to listen to because of boredom and cheesiness.  Yeah this was a bad mistake, but maybe this’ll give U-KISS a break (though they could continue as a quartet as shown by the new tracks here).

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