K-POP / REVIEWS

[Review] [Mini-Album] NU’EST – ‘Hello’

2013_nuest_hello second mini album

written by: MystifiedBulb

The second album always proves to be difficult. The real problem is in terms of definition: is it best to follow the musical direction carved by the first production or is it in the artists’ (and therefore, their respective entertainment company’s) best intentions to move into a new genre? Obviously, NU’EST are faced with this obstacle for their second EP ‘Hello’ and it could cause a relatively early demise for this fresh faced group.


It seems appropriate to discuss lead single “Hello” first. It provides a sweet and mellow opening to the album and the blend of acoustic R’n’B with meticulous electronic flourishes create a relatively interesting (unfortunately, not intensely gripping) listen. A particularly nice touch to this track is the gradual sense of evolution that is felt throughout – it is held together in a unifying way but still remains satisfying and contrasting between sections.  Despite being pleasant overall, the track is not without its flaws, for example, the vocals are rather undynamic and lack the emotional capacity required to carry the song successfully. Perhaps this something that the group could work on for future releases as the issue of vocal delivery is prevalent throughout the album and somewhat reduces the overall quality.

NU’EST appear to have taken a rather risky move by avoiding to form a distinctive flavour for the whole album and have instead opted to make each track sound completely different to the last. Whilst this adds the benefit of being full of variety and not being monotonous, this does mean that each performer needs to be a jack of all trades which is incredibly difficult. Evidently so, it appears that NU’EST aren’t as proficient as it was anticipated (it should be noted that this isn’t entirely their fault; producers and managers should also be to blame) as they lack the diversity and distinction required for such a bold move. For instance, I found it incredibly difficult to determine one singer from another whereas with other groups such as SHINee or BIGBANG this is a lot easier and thus adds to the enjoyment of the music.

Continuing on from this point, tracks like the saccharine sweet “Introduce Me to Your Noona” eventually leave a bitter taste – the production is uninspired and the tone doesn’t fit with rest of the album. Similarly, “Just a Little Bit (feat Yoon Han)” feels unoriginal and doesn’t help to identify with the purpose of the group. For a ballad that should be intense and dramatic, the delivery is rather drab. Don’t misinterpret these criticisms, the song is pleasant enough, but it’s unmemorable.

Still, there are some joyful moments on the album. As mentioned before, “Hello” is pretty decent. Second track, “Hello Hello” is okay too – the track thrusts itself into EDM territory, but the production suffers from being watered down and sounding dated. “Beautiful Solo” is again, another contrasting genre. This song moves into a rock/dancepop crossover, which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Super Junior production (if we’re being specific, it could be a light version of “A-Cha“). This track is probably the highlight of the album, serving as its catchiest song, but that doesn’t necessarily say much for the overall quality of the production.

==

The lasting impression of this album isn’t brilliant, to say the least. It seems to be confused, under-produced and lacking in definition or musical distinction. ‘Hello’ does indeed have its moments, but when those occur, they are hindered by either poor vocals or a sloppy production. Previous single “Face ” is much better than any track on this album and at times, there is a sense that “Hello” aims to replicate Face’s sound note-for-note. However, this ultimately leaves the record sounding like a poor knock-off rather than a strong musical statement.

==

Scorecard

Hello
.75
Hello Hello
.5
Introduce Me to Your Noona
0
Points scale
0 – could do without
0.5 – mediocre/filler
0.75 – pretty good/grew on me
1 – liked immediately
Just a Little Bit
0
Beautiful Solo
.75
Total Points
2

Points to stars conversion: [(2/5) x 5] + 0.25*

2.25/5


*there is a 0.25 bonus for every album. The logic is that, if every song were “pretty good”, it’s a 4-star album.

Stay connected! Follow and like McRoth’s Residence on Twitter and Facebook!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “[Review] [Mini-Album] NU’EST – ‘Hello’

  1. I have to agree. As much as I liked “Hello”, the single, the EP didn’t grab me any which way. It seems like Pledis keeps throwing things at Nuest to try and see what sticks, only to keep the group floundering in the experimental stage of their evolution. Sucks to see this happening.

  2. Is it strange that Hello was what pulled me back into Nu’est? I’ll be the odd one out and say I thoroughly enjoyed the album.

    I thought FACE sounded like a loud, dynamic headache with its moments, but something about Hello really gripped me. Definitely felt like I could connect with the lead vocals Baekho and Minhyun (moreso the former) much better after hearing that lead single. Their live performances added the pizzazz which ultimately drew me into their comeback.

    = Begin TL;DR long discussion about Nu’est members =
    = Apologies in advance, just felt like this would be a nice forum to share my $0.02, but it turned out quite long =

    Aron could use a lot of work in terms of vocal delivery and conviction. I find it hard to catch his parts simply because his singing is very passive (his chorus in “Noona”, although very fun, sounds empty). Still needs a lot of improvement during live singing, not to mention a better connection with the camera (his confused and scared expressions are not his best look). I will have to follow his evolution closely to see if there’s something salvageable in there. He seems to employ a never-ending use of English language fillers which def needs to be corrected if he’s going to get any credibility for knowing the language. However, that goes without saying I still appreciate his status and contributions to the group. Judging from where he was raised, I thought he was going to be very arrogant, but after catching him in variety, I began to empathize with him a lot more and his ‘journey’ of assimilating into the Korean culture and expectations.

    Ren’s got to instill some passion to transform that nasal voice into something smooth (think Hyunseung’s vocal evolution). In terms of presence, this guy has obviously got the goods. His dancing is quite smooth in Hello and I find his character very endearing. There’s obviously a lot more to this group than our resident androgynous Ren, but he’s the popular idol foundations down which is what makes him attractive. I think he would be a better sell, talent-wise, if he had additional musicality (producing, instruments etc). I would like to see his energy and vocal levels improve during lives. He’s got to channel something more magnetic than a stare (albeit, still very effective) and the femininity.

    JR for the most part, sounds solid with enough edge and roughness in his rap to add a cool factor. Should be interesting to see his progression, but as of now, no big qualms about the leader. Hasn’t been put on the spot yet or done anything stand-out, which is why he’s been floating under my radar. Pledis, take note and take a risk with this one since he’s already proven to win the popularity contests. He’s got to develop and own a signature swagger if he wants relevancy in the sea of other talking, rhythmic idols.

    Minhyun is a head-scratching case. His debut feature clip was angelic and he was presented very favourably in my eyes. When I watched the boys perform FACE during SSTRS, I cringed when he started singing … and I’ve been left with that bitter taste ever since. Although, he has proven to deliver on better lives. He has the airy, light voice, however, I’m often left debating if it’s Aron I’m listening to in the lines where he does not need to give a passionate delivery. I do think he deserves a spot as a NU’EST member, despite looking like the better-than-average Korean guy you could find walking on the streets. I also enjoy watching him dance, in fact, he’s quite good too. His variety isn’t bad either, very cute to watch. Minhyun is well-rounded, but still a diamond in the rough that shouldn’t need tremendous effort to work on improvement.

    Baekho is quite simply the stand-out of this group. This boy bleeds talent. His lives are energetic, his singing is consistent and he carries the weight of the group performances with ease — a natural this one. From what I can deduce through interviews, he’s in this business because he loves what he does. Although, he does hog a lot of the screen time during variety and filming (he’s good at it though). Not to mention, he has that typical abrasive masculinity in his personality that contrasts some of the other members. I’m glad he’s not considered the best looker in the group either, gives him that “hard work pays off”, talent-first character. I reckon if his build was comparable to his slim counterparts, he’d probably be recognized for his looks, look what a slimmer face did to Hyunseung (he’s a popular example I like to use in comparisons). Although, that is not needed of course! I expect great things to come out of Baekho.

    – – –

What is your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s