Sunday, October 3, 2010

Review: Break Time EP by U-KISS


Hey! So I have a ton of awesome posts lined up, but I'm really busy at the mo, so can't get to them right now. However, I did want to stop by and say a few things about U-KISS's new album, because I've never written about them, and I think there's something to be said about their new EP - I like it! If you had a "wut?"moment right there, don't worry - I did too. This is a first for me and U-KISS, so if you want to find out how this came to be, read on...

I'm not really a fan of U-KISS or their music, but I have always admired their live performances. I really hate their choreography, yet they put their all into it. Soohyun and Kevin have great voices, and the other members give their all, whether they have 5 lines or 1 line to sing. Their music is purely dance music, and I've always found it strange that they need a seven-member group to promote and sing dance music, but whatever, they're fun to watch. I vaguely remember listening to their last album, and not really feeling any of their songs, so I was surprised that I actually liked this EP, overall. They've parted with the Brave Brothers, which I'm kind of sad about since I like them as producers and their songs for U-KISS have been their most popular hits to date. But listening to the album, I can see why they did it. Brave Brothers music was very much the sound of 2009, but not so much of 2010. Now that the industry seems to be turning it's back on the electro-dance-pop that characterized the last year and a half in music, U-KISS have wisely decided to change their sound, or at least alter it so that they don't get left behind.

Their last three singles, "Man Man Hani", "Bingeul Bingeul" and "Mworago" were three very similar sounding songs, but their latest single "Shut Up" thankfully has a  different feel to it. The best way I can describe it is that it's no longer just an assault on your eardrums with a catchy chorus to get you on the dancefloor - it's a carefully crafted assault on your eardrums that leans more towards a pop track than a dance track. I could see a group like T-Max or another boy band from an earlier time coming back with this track. It's more mature, is what I think I'm saying, and I like it a lot more than their previous singles.

"Avatar" just doesn't sound good to me. It's all attitude but no substance. Processed voices over an unimpressive instrumental, with a few tricks to make you more interested. But I just don't and can't like this song.

"Rock Ya Body" surprised me. I don't remember U-KISS ever having songs like this - the first thing I thought about this was, "Omarion would sing this song." Thing is, I like Omarion. It's got a very American R&b/pop sound to it, and I don't know if it suits U-KISS's established sound, but they pull it off. Could have done without the autotune, but I was bopping along to this song by the end of it. I doubt they'd perform it live though - U-KISS dancing to this song is not an image that I can form in my head and believe in. I'm too used to their dance-pop image. A cool music video might sell it to me, though.

Their last full song, "Light It Up" impressed me the most, because it's the first time U-KISS has ever given me a nice, slow build to a chorus. Kevin's smooth vocals at the beginning paired with the euro-pop-ish instrumental drew me in and then the hook prepared me for the hyped up chorus as opposed to slapping me with it. This has got to be the most appealing U-KISS song I've ever listened to. It reminds me a lot of some other R&B dance song, almost like Ne-Yo's "Closer", but I can't be bothered to sift through my massive music library to figure out exactly which one that is. My favorite song off the EP.

Lastly, their intro/outro song, "Before Yesterday". I heard this in their MV teaser, and was like, "Whaaaaat?? There's no way this is U-KISS's lead single, or even them singing." Kevin steals it in this one, but the group's harmonizing was a nice surprise. I'd have loved it to be longer than 51 seconds though. They could have given me a minute and a half, at least, if not a full song. I don't think they would be able to do R&B as well as BEAST, but they don't do that badly at all.

To sum up, Break Time sees U-KISS taking a step towards maturing their dance electropop sound, and dabbling a little in R&B. And they don't do half bad. It hasn't converted me into a fan just yet, but it has got me thinking that maybe there's more to this group than their live performances. I just hope they fired that choreographer...

P.S. Coincidentally, today I found a song that U-KISS did with Brave Brothers in December 2009 called "Finally". It's actually quite nice, though the video is a little disturbing. Behind all the processing and electrobeats, they actually have pretty nice voices.

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