[album review] U-Kiss’s Only One

Cos they’re not anymore, you know what I’m saying?

If you don’t know what song this (slightly edited) line is from, then shame on you, you don’t know U-Kiss. Kidding, though I certainly wouldn’t blame you for not knowing. They’ve had quite a dedicated fanbase since their debut in 2008 but they really made a name for themselves with last year’s release of Man Man Ha Ni coupled with their new ‘electronic gangster hip hop’ (their words, not mine!) image and their new member Kiseob. A year and a half after their debut, they’ve finally released their first full album Only One and despite the fact that it’s been out for quite awhile already, theirs is the album I’ve decided to critique for the first actual review of K Reviews! Yeaaah! You ready for this?~

1. Intro – The idea behind Intro tracks is that it’s supposed to be able to summarize what the sort of sound that the album is about in a short period of time. This one is far too short and it feels really out of place given that the rest of the songs are upbeat dance tracks.

2. Bingeul Bingeul – I love this song and the only complaint I have about it is that Kiseob doesn’t have a single line, which makes for really awkward radio lives. And that “You make me tingle tingle, ” line. It’s catchy, not too repetitive, all in all a pretty strong track for the first promotion.

3. Without You – I’m on the fence with this song to be honest. On one hand, it doesn’t sound fresh – I listen to it and get the impression that I’ve heard this song before from another group – but at the same time, I appreciate the attempt to mesh their older, less-techno sound with their new image. Maybe it’ll grow on me, I don’t know.

4. What – One of my two least favorite tracks though I can’t really put my finger on the why. Something about this song just grates my nerves, probably because it gets repetitive not just in the lyrics but in the general tone of the song.

5. Bang Bang Bang – This is my favorite song in the whole album because it reminds me of a more old-school era of the boybands (think Get Down or maybe Everybody by Backstreet Boys) for some reason. It’s catchy, but not annoyingly so (though I do wonder about that one line of Alexander’s about having the fire or something like that – overkill?) and it definitely does its job as a dance track because it’s making me want to dance all over the room.

6. Dancing Floor – Again, not a favorite. I think it’s a little too repetitive for my taste, though it does sound like it would be fun to perform. Maybe if they do a live, I’ll like it more.

7. Man Man Ha Ni (Remix) – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I think Man Man Ha Ni was a strong enough song not to have needed a remix, though admittedly it did look cool when they were performing it live on music shows.

8. OK (Remix) – Okay, I listened to the original and the remix several times, I didn’t really hear a glaring difference but for some reason, I like the remix better than the original. I can’t explain it.

9. I Like You – Yeah, I totally do not get the purpose of this remix.

10. Talk To Me (Remix) – I liked the original better.

11. Not Young – I would’ve liked this better had they not added the techno beats after the first “OH-OHH.” and just before the first pre-chorus. I mean, I’m not going to lie, as lulzy as it was, I really liked the original. If they had kept the techno out of this, it would’ve sounded way better.

12. Give It To Me (Remix) – I love it except for that weird little kiddy voice in the middle. To be honest, I heard the original just after I listened to the remix and I think they got it right, this song is really meant to be more upbeat.

[Tracks 13 and 14 are instrumental versions of Bingeul Bingeul and What respectively]
General Comments: I honestly wish that the Brave Brothers would stop tagging their songs. I know who I’m listening to, thanks, and that bizarre robotic “Brave Sound~” is just really annoying.

I understand that because Kevin and Soohyun are lead singers, they get the most lines. It’s understandable – they’re the best singers, always consistent during lives (I don’t think I’ve ever heard either of them crack or go out of tune), but giving the both of them all the solo parts makes the other members sort of useless, especially Kiseob and Dongho. I mean, Alexander and Eli always get raps (and those really cheesy introductions) so they’re kind of okay in that aspect, Kibum gets a line or two in between, but I’ve heard that Dongho only got his lines in Bingeul Bingeul because Alexander agreed to split his part, and Kiseob gets none at all. I like Kiseob and everything, I think image-wise, he has no problem fitting in with the rest of the boys, but other than looking really good, nobody knows what he can do. I can’t even tell his voice apart from the other boys’.

The hardest part about critiquing this album is the fact that its genre falls more under techno/electronic pop than general pop so they’re all pretty heavily autotuned. Not only does autotune make it difficult for one to discern whether or not the singer actually sounds that good live, it also makes all the songs sound a little too similar, not just to each other, but to other songs by other artists in the same genre as well. Though I’m glad that U-Kiss has finally made an impact on the mainstream and that they’ve found their niche in K-pop, I think that this album was just average and I’d give it a 3/5. Still, not bad for a first attempt. They can only go up from here.

4 thoughts on “[album review] U-Kiss’s Only One

  1. I disagree with you about Without You and What, I really like those songs. :3 But I agree about the remixes, they were pointless to put on the album, so it's pretty much a 5 song album, which is disappointing. :/ At least I like all 5 songs!I like Kiseob too but he really doesn't do *anything* but stand around and look nice! Can he sing at all? I wonder.(and I can never make out the "brave" in brave sound, it sounds like they added a syllable or like "braven sound", haha. It's really annoying though, we get it already, it's produced by Brave Brothers, good job applause etc.)

  2. I pretty much like this album. Binggeul Binggeul is really catchy. They could do with less auto tune but hey, they're more popular now. They can work on reducing the auto tune as they go along.

  3. @mutatedpuffinWell, I'm open to liking them more as I go along. What I like about U-Kiss is that even though some of their songs may be a little lulzy, their performances are so tight that I always look forward to what they do next. Though yes, cut it out with the remixes. 😐 I heard Kiseob sing in Dancing Flow/Floor, I think. His voice sounds a little thick/phlegmy so…I don't know how his live is. Hopefully they promote that next so he gets to do more than just look pretty.Thanks for reading this!@smileyschaosAt the moment, I think U-Kiss is in the process of 'finding themselves,' thus the autotune. Hopefully they'll find a way to mix their older sound with their new sound with LESS autotune. Thanks for reading!

  4. Hm, well I like "What". I listen to "Dancing Floor" for the LULZ, especially the "SING IT DADDY!" part. Brave Brothers should have just let UKISS have "Finally". I like the new songs overall. I think "Without You" is an indecisive song, like you described, so I'm on the fence about it too.If you cut out the remixes (Why are there more remixes than new songs?) and instrumentals, then it's pretty much a mini-album. I think the album was rushed. Their company might have wanted to get the album out while there was still a lot of hype surrounding them. It's a shame really. They're talented and I'm sure with a little more time they could have made a much better album.

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