SHALALA - The 1st Mini Album
TAEYONG (former on screen but in his newest stardom) released earlier this month (05/06) his only album and solo debut. Taeyong, member of NCT and SuperM, was already present in the music scene with his singles on soundcloud (yes) and solo stations promoted by his company SM Entertainment. And even though a solo release by an NCT member in the industry was more than expected, we can't help but say that the announcement of this mini album came as a surprise to all fans. With a lot of Neo involved, 'SHALALA' is the face and brand of our dearest Taeyong. The album despite being largely produced and written by himself (he made this very clear with the 'copyright' Taeyong in all physical and digital media of 'SHALA') also has the presence of very famous producers within the music industry. Kpop and SM.
Breaking the vibe that Virtual Insanity gave us, we have 'Ruby', a beautiful tribute made to Taeyong's former and unfortunately deceased dog. The music is intense and very sentimental, you can feel all the emotion put into that music. Following the cyberpop aesthetic, after 'Ruby', we have '404 File Not Found' which, despite bringing the cyber concept to the title, is a relatively calm song but that brings us a lot of identification, mainly because it is a song that it deals with the life of the young adult, the problems that this new phase brings us and that's that thing; we are always too young for some and too old for others.
Unfortunately we reached the end of the album, but luckily we found the final track which is 'Back to the Past'. By far this track is, for me at least, the most sentimental on the album, and that's precisely what makes it so good. Taeyong shares with us his turbulent adolescence, his scarred past, yet he shows us his hope for a better future and his fondest memories. And, to be honest, in an industry as controlled as Kpop is, it is extremely rare and very precious that Taeyong felt brave enough to share with the world such remarkable and precious moments in his life.
In conclusion: to say that 'SHALALA' is just a good album would be to belittle all the feeling, creativity and affection that Taeyong shared with us throughout the journey that went into listening to this EP. We have to say, this is a great start to a very promising career that Taeyong will undoubtedly introduce us to in the future, as in this first album he manages to create a unique and very NEO universe, mixing cyberpunk aesthetics and his personal and unique composition . I can't wait to see (and hear) what TAEYONG will deliver in the future.
Written and corrected by: Livia (*¯ ³¯*)♡
aespa - MY WORLD 3rd mini album
aespa, the latest SM girlgroup (and also the darling of any experimental gay), released this Monday (05/8) their newest 'mini album', or EP for laymen. This comeback was undoubtedly a big change for all of aespa and their fans, considering that since 2020 the girls have released two minis and a few singles all in the same cyber futuristic aesthetic, being almost a trademark of the group. It's no wonder the fans' shock with Spicy, which despite not completely abandoning the classic bridge between virtual and reality (a connection that used to be so present in other MV's), is practically invisible in this music video. Leaving Kwangya a little aside in this new era, aespa dives into a new y2k concept and embraces the sound of girlgroups of this generation a little more with this mini album, but obviously without abandoning all the originality that fans love in these four girls.
Without further ado, here's a review of this new mini and this new era.
Welcome To MY World (feat naevis):
Welcome to my world, being the Intro for the mini, brings a lot of responsibility with it. With a loaded bass and synthesizer, the song clearly shows what we should expect for the rest of the album. Blending classical and modern instruments together with melodic vocals, the song takes you into another world. Well, their world. Together with our dearest naevis, the song takes you to an unknown and confusing but still pleasant and lovely place, it is certainly a song that manages to deal with expectations and raise them for the rest of the album.
Spicy, as mentioned above, brings a new, different and yet familiar concept. With the low use of green screens, aespa presents us with references to pop culture from the 2000s, re-enacting classic moments from teen movies and certainly carrying the weight of being a bad girl.
vivi: Spicy living with the expectations I created because of the previous song really made a statement to the group, bringing a new era without the old concept that prevented them from reaching another level as idols, in my opinion (go to hell black mamba!) really brought something refreshing to the aespa project as a whole. Without losing their initial charm, they innovate and please both critics and fans at the same time.
liv: Spicy does bring a whole new aesthetic to the group, which might be seen as happy for some or unfortunate for others. I particularly found the song to be very fun despite getting out of my musical comfort zone a bit, but I still hope that aespa doesn't completely abandon the whole idea and the cyber concept, which was one of the main reasons I became a fan of them.
Salty & Sweet:
The use of bass, synths and groans is the main concept of this track. Proving that aespa hasn't abandoned their roots, Salty & Sweet is clearly a song that would feature on their latest EP “Savage”. With much double entenders, the song sings of peculiarly delicious food, which is served for the profound benefit of the eater. Sweet and savory, your first bite may be awkward, but you'll soon get the real taste of it. Yes, those are phrases that are in the song.
vivi: While Salty & Sweet fits in with the rest of the album, the song as a whole didn't sit well with me… But let's see, it might grow on me over time.
Thirsty arrives to break the mood of the first three songs. Abandoning the somewhat heavy concept of the previous ones, Thirsty is a somewhat beloved song, at least in relation to the melody, the lyrics are as thirsty as the song above. With a pop sound and strong vocals, NingNing and Winter stand out even more with this track.
Thirsty is a cute song. It does what it promises very well and the vocals do not disappoint at all. I really liked the constant rapport between the girls throughout it, I think that's the highlight for me.
This is definitely the most touching and profound song on the entire album. Hip hop beats mixed with somewhat sad and soulful lyrics, I'm Unhappy confronts us with the harsh reality of feeling constantly disconnected from your own happiness and that of others when you create your “happy self”. ” virtual and leaves aside his real “self”. With the end of mini approaching, this is the time for you to stop and feel yourself.
vivi: I'm Unhappy for me was completely uninteresting. Its constant repetition and the tone of the vocals didn't really please me, but the instrumental was a big highlight for me. But then there's the question: is the instrumental really good or is it just the rest that's bad, making even the simplest thing stand out more?
‘Til we meet again:
Closing with a golden key, Til we meet again is a beloved closing song, with pleasant melodies and a somewhat soft beat, this song promises us a return of aespa while telling us about the importance and power of music, a true happy ending.
MY WORLD did not disappoint by any means. The sudden change of concept and look for the group was not seen in a bad way by the general public, as it was something necessary for them to remain in the spotlight, since, the SMCU concept was not being swallowed with flour by the fans, much less by the company idols. MY WORLD brought something new and necessary to aespa, but still bringing everything that makes them different from the rest and captivating for the fans. In most of the work it is possible to be very satisfied even if it has its quality downfalls, like any other kpop album. Another interesting point to highlight would be the linearity of the album. At no point does it break its aesthetic and every song feels like it was made to lead you to the next one, a true example of how certain albums should behave too.
Skipable: Thirsty (viter didn't agree with this)
Legendaries: Welcome To MY World
Final Rating: 9/10
Welcome To My World's M/V
Written and corrected by: Livia (*¯ ³¯*)♡