K-POP / KOREAN CULTURE / REVIEWS

[Review] Level Up by ZE:A (Children of Empire)

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Until now, Children of Empire – or ZE:A for short – has been seen as the group who rose from a disastrous debut with ‘Mazeltov‘ (I’m not even kidding, it was atrocious), to the surprisingly well produced sophomore single ‘All Day Long‘.   So where does a group with an unstable musicality go from here?

Apparently into the realm of pop-rock…or something to that effect.

In its entirety, ‘Level Up‘ is a decent comeback single.  The instrumentation does disappoint.  It’s generic and redundant and it stays like that about 97% of the duration of the song.  I believe that’s where the production failed, because if it had a much more engaging instrumentation, ‘Level Up‘ would have really wowed the masses.  The verses themselves aren’t bad at all, nor is the chorus, but they get lost in all the noise.

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As much as this song sounds like it just keeps going on and on, it ironically lacks a sense of direction.  It’s kind of like walking in a giant circle.  You’re moving, yes, but going absolutely no where.

The memorable point in ‘Level Up‘ has to be right at the middle 8.  I almost wish it was part of another, more intriguing song because it’s really well put together.  It gives me a total different vibe from the verses and it completely drew me in when I first heard it. The guitar interlude is a nice rock element that you don’t hear that often in Kpop.  Interestingly enough, a lot of listeners aren’t pleased with the rock-ery going on in this song, which totally baffles me.  Kpoppers always complain about what’s popular and plead for something different, but reject a new sound right out of the gate.  Hell if I know what you all want, but for me, ZE:A played it out nicely here.

ZE:A are still at that point in their career where they don’t know where the hell they see themselves in the music industry.  But even if this song fails to impress the scary Kpop fans out there, their ambitions wont go unnoticed.  I admire ZE:A‘s efforts and their pursuit of making good pop music.  There are definitely good aspects of this song, it just needs refinement and a large dose of creativity.

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