I feel obligated to write this review. When I wrote the review for U-KISS’ last Korean album ‘Neverland,’ I never imagined it would become my blog’s
most popular post (Edit: SuJu’s back on top :-/)! ‘Neverland’ made me stand up and take U-KISS seriously as a group. Last year saw the emergence of the current member line-up and all seemed well for the group. I loved “Neverland” and even their Japanese single “Tick Tack,” so I looked forward to hearing more such music from the boys.
Here’s a track-by-track review:
1. “DoraDora” (도라도라) – The lead single…
First of all, I was kinda hoping U-KISS would continue their collaboration with Ryan Jhun and JD Relic, who worked on most of the good songs on ‘Neverland’ and even their debut Japanese album. But this time around, NH Media chose a song by Kim Hyung Suk, Brian Kim and Hur In Chang for U-KISS’ comeback instead. I’ll be honest, even when I heard a snippet of “DoraDora” in their teaser, I wasn’t expecting a great single. The chorus somehow reminded me of “S(h)uper Girl” by SuJu.
When I heard “DoraDora” in full, my opinion didn’t vary by much. It still sounds like a song you’d hear from Super Junior. An okay track, but nowhere near as good as “Neverland” was. I’m all for trying out new sounds, but “DoraDora” doesn’t sound fresh by 2012 standards – and no, the dubstep during the bridge doesn’t help much either. I wish U-KISS had comeback with a better song to keep their rise to greater fame on track. – 3/5
As for the music video, it’s actually one of their better ones. The dance choreography is pretty good (especially when they begin) and I like the whole flipped out room concept. Watching the MV does make “DoraDora” sound a little bit better.
2. “4U” (For You) – Another reason why I awaited this album’s release was to hear the song Jay Park penned for U-KISS. If you snoop around my website a bit, you’ll know that I’m huge fan of Jay! But truth be told (again), my expectations weren’t too high for this as well. There are two reasons why Jay would have given his song to some other artist: either it’s not good enough to be included in his own album – or – it’s a musical style that’s not what Jay is about these days. “4U” is a bit of both. It’s an ‘okay’ upbeat pop song, but definitely more suited for a k-pop boyband. – 2.5/5
3. “When Love Stops” (사랑이 멈출 때) – Generic power ballad that sounds like countless OST ballads out there. There is little else I can say about this track. – 2/5
4. “Amazing” – The first song off the album the group unveiled prior to releasing ‘DoraDora’. Although it’s of album-filler quality, I have to give credit to AJ, the U-KISS member who wrote the song. It’s not a bad effort, and encouraging to know the members are taking up songwriting. A sign that one day could produce a song good enough to be a lead single. – 2.5/5
5. “Tick Tock (Out Of Time)” (Korean version) – One of the rare occasions when a Japanese version sounds so much better than the Korean version. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve heard “Tick Tack” so many times, that every bit of the song is in memory. So when I hear “Tonight we gonna party” instead of “Tonight I shall be here” at the start, it just feels like something’s off. The English, although perfectly accentuated, seems a bit excessive for a K-pop song. Musically it sounds the same, but the entire message of the song feels a little different. I’m definitely going to continue listening to the Japanese version more. – 3/5
6. “DoraDora” (Instrumental) – Not going to rate this track.
I know U-KISS is a K-pop boyband that seems to have a bigger fanbase outside of Korea, but that shouldn’t mean they don’t deserve the praise and wins back in South Korea. U-KISS promoted the hell out of “Neverland,” performing it on just about every music show week-after-week for months. It won nothing. They tried with another single, “Someday,” but that effort failed too. I felt really bad for them. I hate it when good quality music gets ignored and instead drivel like “Mr. Simple” steamrolls over everybody because a group like SuJu have a militant fanbase to back them.
Anyway, my hope was that U-KISS – who debuted in 2008 but have never won an award on a music show – would hopefully win one with their comeback single. “DoraDora” isn’t winning any praise from me, but I hope the boys get something out of it this time around. I loved Teen Top’s “No More Perfume On You” – which didn’t win that boyband anything. Instead it was the lousy Brave Brothers-produced “Crazy” that netted Teen Top their first music show win. And as much as I want quality to thrive, clearly the way these awards are given out, I hope KissMes do their best in helping U-KISS experience that winning feeling.
I really wanted to like this comeback, I mean it. Sadly, I don’t. Everything about ‘DoraDora’ is just ‘okay’ and it’s definitely not an album I’ll be listening to over and over again.
My final rating for U-KISS’ sixth mini-album is…