After the disappointing “Dora Dora,” I was hoping U-KISS would make a comeback with a better track. Hopefully one produced by Ryan Jhun – the producer behind last year’s “Neverland” and “Tick Tack” – both of which made me really like the group. Thankfully, this comeback sees U-KISS return to form!
Here’s a track-by-track review:
01. “Imma New Thang (Intro)” – A thumping 30-second instrumental opening to the album
02. “Stop Girl” – Production duo Ryan Jhun & JD Relic team up again for this smooth mid-tempo jam:
For the first time in their nearly 5-year career, U-KISS has a contemporary, mature, slick lead single – instead of their tried and tested hook-driven dance songs. The teasers hinted “Stop Girl” would be paced a little slow and sexy, and it is. The vocals and rap fit beautifully, and although the first released MV is a ‘black & white’ edit, the choreography is good enough to be judged (the inclusion of female dancers is a welcome change).
The overall production is top-notch and the instrumentals feel really crisp. Definitely leaps and bounds over “Dora Dora,” but then again, I guess that’s difference you get with Marcan Entertainment‘s production. A really good song. – 5/5
03. “Time to Go” – An intro first heard in 2011, now extended into a full-fledged track on this album. The beats are thumping, the melody is consistent with the ‘dark and sexy’ vibe, but other than that, this feels so much like an album track. One that would have never had a chance as a single. – 2.5/5
04. “Remember (Acoustic version)” – A ballad originally featured on the OST of K-drama ‘Syndrome,’ the acoustic version gives an even better showcase of the power vocals within the group. Soohyun and Kevin prove they have the vocal chops to be taken seriously among idols (especially Kevin) and this ballad is otherwise a really good listen. – 3.5/5
05. “Sexy Baby” – Keeping with the sexy vibe, the last Korean track on the mini-album is a mediocre album filler. “You’re my sex-y babe-ay“. Erm, there’s little else I can say about that. – 2/5
06. “Stop Girl” (English version) – It was fairly obvious from the sound “Stop Girl” (most likely) was written in English first. And having two members fluent in English (Eli and Kevin), it would have been an opportunity lost if they had not recorded an English version. Sure, the native Korean members have accents that are easy to make out, but some members like Dong Ho ace their lines. Imagine if they could all sing in English, U-KISS could have truly been an international idol group. – 3/5
07. “Stop Girl” (Instrumental) – Not rating this.
Bonus mention: “Cinderella” – Released a few weeks ago as a digital single, this mid-tempo track has been on my mp3 playlist ever since! I don’t know why it wasn’t included in this mini-album as an album track. Although “Stop Girl” is a better single, “Cinderella” is a great track on its own. – 4/5
With their seventh mini-album, and a member gone (AJ is studying in the US), U-KISS are still without a win on a music program in South Korea. Down to six members, the group still have the core essentials needed for an idol group and are doing well with each successive release – be it in Korea or Japan. And as much as their international fanbase remains loyal, I can’t help but pray “Stop Girl” nets these boys their first award. Heck, they deserve at least one after all these years!
‘Stop Girl’ the mini-album isn’t much of a compilation to speak off. One great single with a bunch of left-over remixed and thrown in. Still, reviewing it a whole, U-KISS’ latest effort – and probably the last one for 2012 (man, time flies!) – still gets a 3 out of 5 from me. That means ‘Good’.