Hello, my playboys and girls~ Here is a brand spankin’ new review! I wish I could get these out quicker but, ugh. They take up so much time. Whatever. Anyway, this one is my first K-pop review, Virgin by After School. The release date was April 27th, 2011. This release was their first full length album and was the last to feature my beloved Bekah. All my favorite songs are bolded.
01. Let’s Step Up!
Indeed, After School are the queens of intros. This track incorporates tap dancing with the usual hip-hop dance song. It’s definitely exciting and upbeat. It really embodies what After School has to offer–their fierce and fiery style. Unfortunately, it isn’t a very good representation of this album specifically.
This is a really throw off track after the intro–which is part of the reason the intro doesn’t fit well with the rest of the album. However, it is my absolute favorite track on this album. This song has a gorgeous piano playing throughout with a reminiscing quality. It’s very trancey and dance-like with a sweet melody and sound. Not to mention, all the girls sound fantastic–I was pretty blown away by Nana’s little rap piece. It’s such a beautiful song, and I absolutely adore it.
Next is a song quite a bit different than Shampoo. Virgin is a bit like the album’s intro in a sense that it has a touch of hip-hop flare. It’s very danceable and keeps an intense sound. And then there’s this strange quality about it… I’m pretty sure it’s the lyrics. They’re like…out of place. It almost sounds like the lyrics come from a whole different song. I don’t know how, but quite frankly, it works. And the super repetitive parts stick in my head like glue. The chorus is definitely the catchiest part of the song.
04. Bang! (2011 New Recordings)
This being just a new recording of a previously released song, there isn’t much new here–except the singers. I’ve loved this song since it first came out. It’s super catchy and fun. And again, the whole lyric thing works its magic here, too. Ever since the beginning, I was like, “Wtf is up with these lyrics?” Don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with the translation or anything, it’s about the tempo/how they matched up the lyrics with the song. It just sounds out of place, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The “uh-huh”‘s are so hilarious to listen to, too.
05. Play Ur Love [Kahi, Jung Ah, Raina, Nana]
I’m not gonna lie, just the very few beginning seconds of the song(“I just wanna stay with you, baby I just wanna stay with you, baby“) and the title made me NOT want to listen to this. It honestly sounded super corny from the very beginning and I HATE when song titles use shorthand–it’s so fucking ugly. But then I actually sat down and listened to it, and it wasn’t even that bad. However, the chorus is the only thing that saves this song, IMO. Even though all the singers in the song are fantastic, I didn’t find the song very memorable.
06. Dream (feat. Pre-School Girl Yun Jo)
Despite the fact that this unknown chick who might be some AS trainee is outlined clearly, it doesn’t take the fact away that this song is super sweet and fun. It’s energetic without being annoying. I can just picture all the girls smiling and singing in an awesome convertible car. It’s an After School-esque song without being super hardcore or fiesty–like Diva in a way.
07. Neo Ddaemunae (Because of You) (2011 New Recordings)
Another remake. This one is one of the most listenable ballads of all K-pop. Or maybe semi-ballad. First off, Kahi’s and Bekah’s rapping is orgasmic. Nana and Raina knock out that instrumental break. And lastly, the instrumental of this song is so beyond beautiful. The piano, oh my lord, the piano. You all know I’m a sucker for pianos. It’s just so pretty. Seriously, one of their best(if not, best) songs ever released.
08. Sigane Gidae eo (Lean on Time) [Raina]
Again, I didn’t really like the starting music. And quite honestly, I didn’t like it as the song progressed. It’s pretty at best, but nothing very memorable. And to put it bluntly, neither were Raina’s vocals–and we all know Raina has some of the best vocals in AS. The song didn’t really do her much justice.
09. Jarjinaego itjyo (How Are You Doing?)
The slowest song in the album, it kind of sounds like there are only about 4 singers actually singing in this one. They all suit it perfectly. I’m glad some crappy singer(s)(coughueecough) wasn’t thrown in here for no reason–it would’ve seriously ruined it. Even though the song is really nice and everyone sounds great, I can’t say it is one of my favorites. It doesn’t have much of a hook, therefore, nothing truly memorable.
10. Funky Man (feat. Pre-School Girl Yun Jo) [Nana & Lizzy]
Okay, once again where the very beginning makes me wanna skip the song. But then the song gets a little better, very catchy and cute–head-bobbing at best. The chorus isn’t that bad–pretty cute like the rest of it. However, the autotuned parts kind of butcher its image. Even though I like funky, disco-esque songs, I don’t think it really works here. I really have no idea why–probably because of its determination to sound cute.
11. My Bell [Jung Ah]
Starts off kind of corny at first–the 90’s piano sound is really ugly. As the chorus approaches, it’s a rather weak build-up. Jung Ah doesn’t sound very different during it, either. I love Jung Ah, but like Raina’s song, this song didn’t do much justice for her. She has a sweet yet raspy sounding voice(think Risa Niigaki) and I don’t like the whispery-ness of this. Not really feeling it.
12. When I Fall (2011 New Recordings)
When Bang! came out and I heard this song, I immediately skipped over it. I did not like it–it was just corny sounding to me. Now, while listening to the new version, I wonder why I did that. So I decided compare the two and I could hear that the percussion sounds are sooo much better and the build up of the chorus is wayyy more interesting. I definitely love this one more than the original.
The last track is just a radio edit of Shampoo, which is basically just a shorter version of the song–leaving out the best parts, IMO.
Overall: The album contains some of their best and not so best songs. It’s fairly good album, only truly depending on your preference. I liked about half of the album, however, only 3(and 1/2) of those songs were new ones. I also think the title and intro are pretty misleading. When I think of an album entitled Virgin, I think of songs with a more hardcore, grungey sound. But with this album, it’s more R&B, sweet, and upbeat. I can’t think of a metaphoric way to take this name either, considering the fact that the girls have been in the business for 2 years by the time of this release–so they’re basically no “virgins” to the business. It kind of loses points for that. It also loses a high rank for the lack of particularly memorable songs. Most of the second half of the album was, quite frankly, boring. Nothing really stood out. I loved Shampoo the most and My Bell the least. The only two reasons I won’t give this album a low score is because of Shampoo and the amazing photoshoot.