ZE:A - Phoenix

Okay, okay - I know what you're thinking. Mel blogs for the first time after like, two whole months, and she's reviewing ZE:A???! Whatever. I wanna talk about it.

I got on the ZE:A train after they greatly improved on their awful debut single with the follow-up, "All Day Long," which showed that there were actually some singers in this hot mess of a group. I decided to stick around and see what they could put together. Sadly, the string of singles that followed were either poorly constructed, forgettable or both. This is the first ZE:A single since "All Day Long" that I actually want to listen to again after the first go-round. It's also their first number one single, which is huge.

That #1 spot is well earned, if you ask me - though more for the improvements they've made since their debut than the song on its own. Relative to other releases from other groups, it's not all that, but it's a huge leap forward for ZE:A. For one thing, the song is constructed so much better than their older stuff. They finally moved the raps to the middle eight, allowing the vocalists to do the work in the earlier parts of the song. The vocal treatment is much improved, and the song's actually catchy and dancey. Basically, the producers finally figured out how to write a song, and ZE:A is reaping the benefits. Maybe everyone who's struggling to get to the top spot should name their albums after mythical creatures who rise from ashes.

The video is still boring and low-budget as all hell get out, but it's easy on the eyes, which is more than I can say for their promo photos (shudder). The choreo doesn't look awful, so that's a relief.

Also, Hyungshik looks amazing (the singer with the flipped up black hair), and since he and the Dongjoon (the Han Ga-in doppleganger) are the only ones I care about, I'm satisfied. Also, they do have pretty good live stages, so I think they can make this song work to their advantage.

I'll be real for a moment: The only reason they got to #1 is because they timed it really well. They're probably really happy that 2PM and Ailee delayed their comebacks, otherwise they wouldn't even smell the top 10 of the charts. That being said, ZE:A has put out good tracks before, and this is one of their better ones. They're coming closer to being contenders - we just need a few tweaks here and there. Like a better vocal trainer, a bigger MV budget, new stylists, songwriters, choreographers.... Kwanghee and Siwan's drama salaries can cover that, right?


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