Rundown: FT ISLAND, Weeekly, Cignature, XODIAC, Hur Youngji, KEY, Lee Chae Yeon, Rocket Punch, CRAVITY, more

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Hello and welcome to me getting bogged down with work and catching up on a couple weeks worth of releases again.

Fortunately, that means there’s a lot in here that ranges from solid to good, though of course there are still the usual stinkers.

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Cignature – “Smooth Sailing”

A peppy, breezy summer song. Like many other songs in this mode recently, it would benefit from the first section of the chorus not being pitched so high, though it really takes off towards the end. Pleasant summer jam, and it’s potentially even more if the hook works for you.

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XODIAC – “LEMONADE”

The hook is definitely repetitive but … I rather like the overall flow and rhythm of this. It has the good kind of idiosyncrasies associated with K-pop.

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Lee Chae Yeon – “LET’S DANCE”

While I eventually came around on “Knock“, I don’t think the shuffling chorus and the endless repetition of “dance” is going to win me over in the same way. A shame cause the rest of it is fun in a playful way.

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Jaechan (DKZ) – “Hello”

From the first lyric, I knew I was gonna hate this based on the vocal effects. Weird solo debut in that now I still have no idea what he sounds like and this going-through-the-motions track is anonymous in terms of style.

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Rocket Punch – “BOOM”

There’s something funny about doing a cute concept and still including a sweggy rap break. Had some potential with the “Boom!” centerpiece to lead the chorus, but sorta misfires on the rest of it. The melody simply isn’t rhythmic/catchy (ketchy?) enough, and the annoying squiggles in wiggles standout more than the rest of the production.

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FT ISLAND – “Sage”

Nothing special here in terms of a rock ballad production, and it’s entirely carried by Hongki, but that’s not the worst place to be and he does what’s necessary here. Sure, it’s paint-by-the-numbers a bit, but it’s something I could at least see myself listening to in the future because it executes what it’s supposed to.

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CRAVITY – “Ready Or Not”

Has a solid if not forgettable melody, but also includes two unnecessary changes of pace that only stall the swelling momentum. Still, a perfectly cromulent single.

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KEY (SHINee) – “Good & Great”

An oddly smoothed out vocal performance from him, as he likely toned it down to capture that sing-talk over an upbeat club beat vibe that’s en vogue right now. Perhaps the bigger problem is that no hook is close to embedding itself, as “I’m good, I’m great, because I’m greaaaaatfulll” certainly isn’t doing it.

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Weeekly – “Good Day”

Within the context of being a fan song, this is likely in the upper echelon. Not quite at SEVENTEEN’s “Thanks” or Dreamcatcher’s “Full Moon” territory, but a bit more of effort into what surrounds the hook — as opposed to just repeating it a bit too much — would probably do it.

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Hur Youngji – “L.O.V.E”

Was pretty surprised that Youngji made a solo debut, but it’s a cute and harmless track. If I’m being honest, my affinity for it is carried more by me liking Youngji than anything the song itself does, but it could at least tickle some first generation nostalgia vibes as well.