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[Review] U-Kiss “Neverland” (***1/2)

31 Aug

Right after the release of a track from their new album, Someday, which I raved about previously in a post, U-Kiss released their second album around 4-5 months after their first one, which did the job of reintroducing the boys after departures and additions in their roster. This new album continues with that initial introduction albeit with a different vibe.U-Kiss’s new album “Neverland” sounds like on Europop album, which I’m delighted about. The songs go beyond what normal K-pop music offers nowadays and U-Kiss has settled into a more mature style. Whether or not it works for each song is another story.

After the harmless introduction, we move to the lead single “Neverland”, a pop song that hinges on destroying everything U-Kiss have improved on with their last album and lead single “0330”. The track is fine as a dance-pop track but it’s not as elegantly composed as some of the tracks in this album. The verses work quite well but the chorus is quite jarring and didn’t hook me enough and I think choruses are the heart and soul of songs. Furthermore, there is so much autotuning and manipulation of vocals that I wasn’t pleased.

The second track, “Baby Don’t Cry” is better but not much. It’s abrupt ending leaves me a little cold and distant but the European vibe is still present. The boys work well when they all sing harmonies and together. The rap at the end is a little random that I felt made the song seem rushed.

The third track is “Someday”, by far one of the best songs on the album. I won’t give more detail than to simply say I love the song so much because it’s a master class of emotion. It also makes sense in the album’s theme and production.

“Take Me Away” continues what “Someday” started with its  melancholy piano and it’s restrained but moving vocals. I love the backup vocals with the “oohs” of the guys while one of the main singers sing. This is a beautiful track and sounds super mature.

“On The Floor” brings the tempo back up and it’s less jarring than the first two because there isn’t as much autotuning mixed with the song. If anything, I prefer the song to the first two.

“Friend’s Love” slows down the pace to bring a midtempo track that makes use of the boys’ trademark group vocals and the lyrics are sweet. There is a lot of emotion in the boys’ vocals and I’m quite impressed with this song.

“April Story” features a female singer at the beginning and then transitions to the boys after. The song is harmless but it’s sang quite well. I enjoy it but it’s a little too sweet and innocent to be part of the album. Also, I don’t think the sound fits well with the European vibe of the album.

“Obsession” brings up the pace again and it’s again much better than the first two tracks. There’s a lonely feel to the vocals but I’m grateful for the boys being able to pull of English quite well in the English parts. It’s a chirpy song but the European vibe is very much present here.

“Top That” starts off with some thunder rumbling and some yelling that instantly reminded me of “Bohemian Rhapsody” but doesn’t quite work as well (obviously). I found it annoying and the production seems like they put too many beats and sounds into one song. Instead of coming off as a masterpiece it comes off as annoying.

“Tell Me Y”, despite it’s stupid title is actually a good song. It’s another midtempo track and I love the falsetto chorus at the beginning and the rap is fabulous here that is both spunky and energetic.

“Let’s Meet Again” is a huge annoying mess and it’s a closer that I don’t think was necessary in the first place.

Overall, the album has a great European vibe mixed with some duds that I felt downgraded the strengths of its album. U-Kiss has matured considerably since they debuted and I’m happy that they’ve done this direction. Still, there is room for improvement and I hope that I hear nothing but good songs from them in the future.

Grade: ***1/2/5

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