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INFINITE – ‘New Challenge’ album review: So in love

After a very busy 2011, which truly paid off for the boys, 2012 only saw one album release from INFINITE as a group. Busy as they were with other promotions, the end of last year saw member Sungyyu go solo with an impressive mini-album (“60 Seconds” and “Shine” were both brilliant songs!). Early 2013 saw Infinite H release a rap album (which I was quite disinterested in).

Being my favourite K-pop boyband, INFINITE’s comebacks are very high on my radar. I was pleased to know they continue to work with Sweetune, the producers responsible for every hit song of INFINITE since debut, and eagerly awaited to hear “Man in Love”.

Infinite new challenge promo group shotHere’s a track-by-track review:

01. “Welcome to Our Dream (Intro)” – This sounds like the music you hear in some Japanese RPG.

02. “Man in Love”

Sweetune are now in the same league as Brave Brothers in the world of K-pop production. Hit after hit, their popularity grows and the producers are at the call of every entertainment company seeking a potential hit song for their respective groups. And I bring this up because Sweetune’s productions have been sounding fairly uninspired off-late. They sound good, but not fresh. Too many projects means too many similar sounding productions. But like all major producers, they keep their best songs for the top few groups and pass on the leftovers to up-and-coming ones who just can’t cough up the money for the best the producers have to offer.

“Man in Love” sounds fresh, and yet, still maintains every element that makes a Sweetune song unique. Synth beats, 1980s-inspired keyboard hooks and the strums of guitar that are omnipresent in every Sweetune production for INFINITE. The song’s verses are evenly distributed and every member gets their chance to shine. The structure tries to be different but as with many Sweetune songs, the final chorus is sung in a higher pitch until end.

As good as the song is, the MV is just alright. Girls would appreciate it more, I guess. I’m a 31-year-old dude. But the one thing INFINITE has always impressed me with is their dancing, which is as in-sync as ever. That said, other than a few moves, “Man in Love”‘s choreography doesn’t feel as special as their earlier routines.

None the less, I’m in love with their comeback song and it will do the necessary wonders on the Korean charts. – 4/5

03. “As Good As It Gets” – Thumping beats for what sounds like a sped-up Christmas song. It keeps the tempo going soon after “Man in Love” and I found myself instantly clicking replay – which meant I liked the song upon first listen itself. – 3/5

04. “Still I Miss You” – Okay, time to slow things down. A mid-tempo ballad to remind us how great INFINITE’s vocalists are. – 3/5

05. “Beautiful” – Member Woohyun’s first composed song! It’s a nice trend I’m observing off-late. More and more K-pop idols are attempting to write and compose their own songs. Even though this track is album-filler material, it’s still a commendable attempt. – 2/5

06. “60 seconds” – This a group version of Sungyyu’s solo track. I don’t know, as much as the other boys do justice to their lines, I’m just used to Sungyyu carrying this song from start to finish. But considering how much I like this song as it is, it still gets a 3/5.

07. “Inconvenient Truth” – This is so ’80s! 🙂 Oddly enough, the lyrics are causing quite a stir among INFINITE’s fans. Apparently it’s a song about how a guy doesn’t appreciate his girl wearing super short skirts and the attention she gets from the other boys. Sexist or possessive as it sounds, interpret it as you wish. It’s just an okay song. – 2.5/5

Infinite Man in Love screens members

INFINITE are now one of the top idol groups in South Korea — which they deserve to be. But sometimes I wonder when we’ll get to hear their signature song. Like what “Sorry, Sorry” is to Super Junior or “Lucifer” is to SHINee. “Be Mine” was their breakthrough single but I don’t consider it a ‘signature’ classic as INFINITE has produced many songs that were just as good as that.

Not that a signature song really matters, because in INFINITE’s case, “The Chaser” and “Man in Love” seem to be in the same vein as “Be Mine”. Overall, ‘New Challenge’ – their 4th mini-album – is an alright collection of songs with no real stand outs other than the lead single. And that’s nothing new in K-pop.

My final rating for INFINITE – ‘New Challenge’: 3 out of 5 (Good)

INFINITE – ‘Infinitize’ album review: Great comeback, even greater success

Woo-hoo! My favourite K-pop boyband is back! After an amazing 2011, which I considered INFINITE’s monumental year, the seven-member group from Woolim Entertainment return to the Korean music scene with their third mini-album ‘Infinitize’.

Infinite Infinitize album group shot K-popAfter a string of good music, hit-after-hit and memorable victories, the rising stars of K-pop are set to continue their progress with a new album in Korean. But unlike some comebacks this year, will INFINITE’s comeback falter? Continue reading “INFINITE – ‘Infinitize’ album review: Great comeback, even greater success” »

INFINITE – “White Confession (Lately)” 하얀고백 review: 2011, this was their year!

Sorry Cassies, Blackjacks, VIPs, ELFS, Kamilias, Sones (disclaimer: I’m one). You can argue all you want about how impressive a comeback all your favourite artists made this year — but 2011 belonged to INFINITE!

This was their year. The year that kicked off with “Before the Dawn,” continued with “Nothing’s Over” and then, their best single yet, the one that won them their first award – “Be Mine“! After that, INFINITE were on “Paradise” with a few more awards and now, they end their year thanking their fans (in)spirit of Christmas with a new single.

I didn’t think I’d write a post for this song because I expected nothing special, since, you know… it’s just a holiday single. They’re usually cheesy right?

Nope, not this one.

I guess the reason I really liked “White Confession” is because if you listen to the song, it doesn’t reek of ‘that time of the year’. Even if it wasn’t chilly outside I still would have listened to it non-stop. I mean, who listens to Mariah’s cheesy Chritsmas pop hits in the middle of June?! “White Confession” fortunately does not have any jingle bell sounds, and the only hint you get it’s a Christmas single is the “Merry Christmas” at 2:58 and the guitars and humming beginning at 3:33.

I love the song structure too, the build up, the chorus – which isn’t a proper chorus anyway. The rappers – Hoya and Dong Woo – get a lot of rapping time, while the rest of the members still get to shine with their vocals – in fine form as ever!

Infinite members White Confession lately mv screencaps kpop boyband

Of course, the MV is as Christmas-y as it gets. Shot on the clean streets of Japan (and what looks like a nice suburb of Tokyo), the video is simple yet very effective. I can tell it was shot using a video DSLR camera as supposed to a usual movie camera. The depth of field in some shots, the frame-rate and the close-ups — whoever filmed this video really did a good job of giving the music video and the boys a very natural feel. I enjoy listening to the song more watching the video, it’s definitely one of INFINITE’s best MVs. Proof that a good music video doesn’t have to be an expensive production. The simplicity of this MV works for the song.

“”White Confession” is yet another production by top music duo Sweetune — the guys behind KARA’s “Mister,” “Lupin,” “Jumping” and the bright “Step”. Sweetune’s “Figaro” gave Nine Muses another shot at success (I really liked that song!). They are also responsible for Rainbow’s two best tracks “A” and “Mach” (ugh, I wish Sweetune had worked on Rainbow’s disappointing comeback). And of course, Sweetune are responsible for many of INFINITE’s songs including “Be Mine”. In short, I really like Sweetune’s production style!

Five singles. That’s how many INFINITE put out this year – and all five of them were top-notch! No other K-pop group can claim to have done that (or did). Even though I feel INFINITE will be ignored at this year’s Golden Disk Awards, or for that matter, any of the big year-end award shows (due to rival fanbases, which are simply too big compared to Inspirits) — I’m sure INFINITE will still be content with their achievements this year.

This judge awards INFINITE: 4 out of 5 (Very Good)

Infinite members white confession lately 하얀고백 new mv screencap kpop

You got to give credit where credit is due. Hats off to the people at Woolim Entertainment who work on INFINITE’s management! They really know how to set this group apart from the clutter of the zillion K-pop boy bands out there. Ever since their debut with “Come Back Again,” Woolim’s song selection for INFINITE’s singles have been good after good after good. Woolim’s not a big company, with hardly any money-making superstars on their roster. Their ‘low budgets’ showed in the MVs for “Come Back Again” and “She’s Back” — INFINITE’s first two singles. But as the money slowly rolled in, they invested in the right talent and managed to package INFINITE to stand out from the rest.

Woolim really pushed INFINITE to work their asses off to be the best in-synch group out there, and it’s paid off big time. INFINITE are in my opinion, simply the best performance group out there! I never tire of watching an INFINITE performance. Even it’s the same song every week on the usual music programs or the random concerts they perform at, the boys really work their muscles to deliver the best. Even SNSD, South Korea’s best girl group have admitted they genuinely love INFINITE. A lot of their peers do too.

2011 will surely be remembered by anybody who follows INFINITE as the year the boys ‘made it’. The members themselves will treasure this year too. The year they finally won their first award. The year they finally moved out of their dilapidated apartment and into a better one (with more toilets! ^_^). The year INFINITE debuted in Japan. And can you believe it’s not even been two complete years since they debuted in June 2010?

Imagine what INFINITE has in store in 2012!

Infinite christmas Santa outfits lately korean pop
Enjoy the holidays boys, you deserve the break! (Image:
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