An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie and some underground artists within the scene and provide both factual and opinionated commentary. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your own.
A brief hiatus occurred last week to accommodate evacuations and other safety measures for hurricane Laura. Thankfully, many were spared danger. Many more, however, were not so lucky. If you or someone you know was negatively impacted by the recent storms, my heart goes out to you. I hope that today’s episode can put a smile on your face. Let’s continue on with the discography of Korean boy band A.Cian, right after the drop.
You’re tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.
Hey y’all. Per the teacher’s desk (aka our previous episode) it’s decided that the #A3Day Playlist will expand to Apple Music, Google Play, and YouTube on TheGreatMoments YouTube channel. This will be an effort that will take time to curate, therefore please continue to check out the show’s playlist on Spotify. While Patreon patrons have their own -- and sadly neglected -- Spotify playlist, that will be revitalized to provide a more well-rounded listening experience. Please anticipate more updates about all playlists throughout this season and Season 5.
Now, I told you during the first episode for A.cian that they earned a 5 as their A3Day ranking, yes? I said that the album wasn’t ranked so highly because it’s an essential part of your K-pop journey, but because it delivers on what it was made to do, and that is to get you moving at aerobic heart rate levels. How does the rest of the discography stack up? Since we skipped two days last week, we’ll look at both today. I’ll keep it brief, I promise. I intend to be more in depth during A.cian’s Final Thought’s episode.
First, is 2014’s “Ouch.” Released on October 31 of that year, the mini album consisted of three tracks, title track “Ouch,” “So Happy Together,” and “Up & Down.” This time, we know who’s featured on this album: Hyeokjin (혁진), Sanghyun (상현), Jin.O (진오), and Lo-J (로제이). This knowledge was acquired solely because of album cover images on YouTube. I'm grateful for this, because how could I continue not knowing?!
A.cian was on-brand with the aesthetics of 2014. Just a little over two months before their comeback, not-quite-meteoric BTS had released “Dark & Wild.” A.cian’s “Ouch” music video is within the same space as “Danger,” showing off the manly energy of the members dripped in HBA attire. Side note, I actually miss the Hood By Air fashion era that brought nothing spectacular to the K-pop scene. All the video concepts had the same attire, allowing the performance of choreography and lyrics to shine through.
That aside, you come out of the baseline-free “Ouch” -- and may I add, this was a time in music when many songs across the globe were lacking a pulse, minimizing bass lines for puffed up synths and MIDI accents -- and drop right into the bubble gum of “So Happy Together.” It’s joyous and fits whatever your happiness is in your mind. Maybe you’ll invision a road trip, maybe it’s time on a beach with friends. It could be just you thrashing around your home in undies or lounge wear while cleaning, I don’t know. Either way, the song doesn’t ask much of you but to smile and sing along.
The last track is a techno song called “Up & Down” and it’s such a jarring transition from the song before it. As the guys croon about a breakup, you’ve got a lightstick being tossed at you from the sides of the dance floor. Catch it. Catch it and dance. Be exhausted by it all.
K-pop fans, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being essential listening and 1 not worth mentioning, the A3Day ranking for this album is a 4. A 3 or 3.5 would be too low and a 5 is too great. It was too short of an album to see if the direction would curve into a better album experience. You can’t take a listener from dark factory emotions, to a happy place, and then into a hot discotheque so quickly.
It feels like the guys are gaining momentum at this point in their career. Wings Entertainment is distributing videos on Mono Music Korea and with this 2015 album “RelAcian,” LOEN Entertainment has stepped up. Things seem promising! Whatever promise it could have had, it was stifled. This is another three-track mini album, thus limiting the boy band from showing diversity in their vocals skills and sound.
Let me be clear: there is vocal diversity, but there’s not enough album to expound upon here. The mini album’s title track “Driving” carries on the happy vibes and the music video is cheery and bright. The song introduces a falsetto bridge that while isn’t crisp, it’s enjoyable enough. A real karaoke destruction moment, if you will. Second, “Mixed Up” lacks a dynamic music composition which doesn’t complement the vocals as much. And the final track, “Just Leave” would have succeeded tremendously if it would have stayed acoustic. K-pop fans, the A3Day ranking on this album is 4 as well.
Next episode, I’ll get into more of the nitty gritty for Final Thoughts. I feel like… yeah, I’ll leave it for the next episode. Bye y’all.
There’s sponsored ads and social media hashtags but this show is truly supported by the efforts of my MACGoalas, the most amazing fan base a lil’ entertainer could ever have.
Special shout out to my Patreon patrons -- the Student Body, the Scholars, and the Staff -- who keep my vision of becoming your favorite foreign Korean music historian, exploring all the industry from A to Z a real thing. If you’re interested in supporting the growth of this content, please visit patreon.com/multifacetedacg and for as little as $1.00 a month, you can get in on the magic.
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