I know that it’s been a whole damn month since W,HERE was released, but people wanted me to post a full review to it (see the poll results lol), so here I am, with my honest opinion on NU’EST W‘s latest release.
Release date: October 10, 2017
Title track: Where You At
01. 하루만 (My beautiful)
02. WHERE YOU AT *Title
03. PARADISE (REN SOLO)
04. GOOD LOVE (ARON SOLO)
05. WITH (JR SOLO)
06. 지금까지 행복했어요 (Thankful to you) (BAEKHO SOLO)
If you still haven’t figured out, I’m a belated NU’EST trash (an official 2nd generation L.O.Λ.E., btw), and I dare to say, NU’EST has one of the best full discographies out of all groups I actually listen to (there’s literally NO song that I dislike, only songs that I like less than others, but still, like), and I have to give thumbs up to the boys for NEVER neglecting music quality.
Okay, now back to album review.
Oh god damn. Just what Baekho and Bumzu do with NU’EST music every single time is beyond my imagination. Before I go into analyzing songs, let me just tell you one thing: nothing – NOTHING – up still, until now, can top Canvas album. I’m not saying that W,HERE is not outstanding, because it IS, but just those magical things Baekho and Bumzu did in Canvas album is unbelieveable. K-pop still has to go long way until they can mainstream what NU’EST did in 2016.
WHERE YOU AT is a Future EDM kind of track that perfectly shows NU’EST significant music style. When you listen to it, you might have a thought, “Oh, this is the music NU’EST usually do”, and you’d be damn right. Baekho mentioned in numerous interviews that with this album he had to work a lot more with members’ personal vocal traits that could be clearly shown in new songs, especially since Minhyun is absent until 2019. Now look at this line distribution:
Baekho did an excellent job at showcasing other members vocal skills, since ALL of them improved so much over 5 years.
There is an opinion that this song wouldn’t have been this good if not for NU’EST members unique vocals. And, to be honest, I completely agree. If Where You At was performed by any other group, I doubt it would receive this much attention. For me personally, there are two key factors for song’s excellence: Baekho’s high-pitch vocals, and JR’s low raspy rap parts. The combination of these two elements, blended by Aron’s higher-ranged raspy voice and Ren’s smooth vocals, makes the title track seriously outstanding. Moreover, I dare to say that Baekho’s voice is made for heavy Future EDM/dubstep kind of songs. (I can give you another great example: Open Up from Produce 101 season 2. Honestly, it was only that good thanks to Dongho’s vocals [don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to look down on other trainees efforts], because, as you can see, it’s really hard to win over a general public with a heavy EDM (and 2017’s trend, if you’re actually interested, was Tropical House – hence Never winning over music charts back in May-June).
The choreography for Where You At quickly became one of my favorites. There’s that thing with NU’EST dances is that they literally convey song lyrics (see Face, Sleep Talking, Overcome, Love Paint). Absolutely loved how the choreographer heavily involved back dancers into the whole thing, making living borders/walls in order to express the song meaning.
The aesthetics of music video is beyond amazing. It’s the first time Pledis investing THIS much onto the whole MV production, and let’s be honest: it was damn worth it.
Now onto other tracks in mini-album!
I really loved 하루만 (My beautiful), somehow a little bit more than Where You At. Maybe mainly because I love songs that showcases members’ vocal skills at its full scale, and Haruman definitely belongs to that category.
I apologize in advance to all Tokkidans/Ren’s stans because right now I’m about to say something that might hurt you all.
Out of four solo tracks, I liked Paradise the least. I know it’s Ren’s first time 100% committing to song lyrics, and I know he already said that his lyrics-writing skills are still lacking, but I really have to say that his solo was least attractive. Mainly because of lyrics. Too cheesy for me, although I acknowledge that it was screaming out Ren’s usual fancafe fairy-esque kind of cheesiness. It just wasn’t for me, then.
Baekho’s solo was sort of predictable. Doesn’t make it less valuable, anyways. I loved the strings progression throughout the song, probably that’s the reason Thankful To You managed to grab my attention (yes, I’m a sucker for strings). That strings break in the middle was so good I had goosebumps.
Aron’s Good Love and JR’s With are two on-par songs that I absolutely loved. In Aron’s solo I totally wasn’t expecting the electric guitar intro with a following transition to a R&B sound (and that guitar kept going on, which is loooove). I love Aron’s vocal tone, seriously. The sexy R&B vibe made me fall in love with the song, especially that iconic piece from highlight medley, where Aron goes, 말해 뭐해 그대는 내 은하수 별~, – I DAMN LOVED the manners Aron used to sing that part. It was sexy. seducing. luring. Call it however you want, but I was instantly sold at that part. His solo deserves a separate sexy choreography. Somebody please make it happen.
What makes JR’s solo the most outstanding is how effortlessly different vocal technics were used together, from whispering, to fierce rap, to soft half-singing/half-rapping, to Bumzu vocal featuring. Oh, and the damn STRINGS. And the lyrics. I don’t know a person who DIDN’T cry over JR’s rap lyrics.
Title track – 9/10
MV – 10/10
Album – 8/10
P.S. W,Here is the first album I ever bought in multiple amount (in total of 11) just because I wanted the boys to see their real success, to make them realize that all their dreams are coming true. Lastly, congratulations on getting 2 music show wins (we all cried, really), and receiving Best Entertainer Award (Singer sub-category) on AAA 2017! I'm so proud of you.