After School – Flashback

September 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
After School – Flashback

1. Rip Off
2. Flashback
3. Eyeline (Tu Si) (Nana solo)
4. Sonmoksigye
5. Timeless (Jung-A and Raina solo)

Flashback is the fifth single by Korean girl group After School, released on June 21, 2012.

Rip Off is the Korean versio of the Japanese song of the same name that’s featured on their first Japanese album PLAYGIRLZ, but since this is my first encounter with the song, I’m not gonna talk about that version. This track is quite fierce and puts the group in another perspective, leaving the cute pop style for and electro and dubstep inspired tune with deep synths and cute high bells decorating it. Some of the girls’ vocals are a little too soft, but the lead vocals are clear and very solid.

Flashback follows the same kind of style, uptempo with a lot of pumping beats and loud synths. The vocals are sassier this time, which makes total sense since this is the title track. When it comes to the song as a whole, it consists of many different parts and that’s a lot to take in, but luckily there is a great dubstep break too, the long awaited one this song needed. Jung-A and Raina ofcourse came out strongest, as always, but everyone contributed to make this a great lead track.

Nana gets her own solo with Eyeline (Tu Si), which is great since she has amazing vocals and doesn’t always get enough credit for that. Again it’s another uptempo electropop track, but this one is a little bit influenced by disco and I love the agressive synth lines in the chorus. Nana should definitely leave the cute pop songs behind and pursue a career in electropop music since this fits her like a glove. Great chance that’s gonna happen: a solo on a single by eight members? Pledis has big plans for this girl. Small wonder!

Ah, the ballad I had been missing is finally here. And After School didn’t make it a small one, they made Sonmoksigye grand and emotional. Soft piano, dramatic strings and a soft beat make up the arrangement, and as the song progresses the strings crescendo into a melodic and somewhat dramatic sound, which leaves the idea this is quite a moving ballad. I love me some good A.S. ballads.

Jung-A and Raina, in my opinion the best vocalists of the group, collaborated on the acoustic R&B flavored track Timeless. It has slight country aspects too, but that’s probably the closest they’ll get to that genre since it sticks to slick drums, piano, strings and soft guitar tunes most of the time. It’s actually quite guitar-driven, which is beautiful for songs like these. Jung-A and Raina deliver the best harmonizations in an A.S. song yet, these girls should definitely form a duo when they graduated. No, they must. Period.

Flashback, give ’em hell! Obviously After School took on a new sound after experimenting with cute pop, R&B and big band music, now they’re tackling electropop with great flair. I was surprised to see the girls so strong on the cover, let alone hearing them so fierce on the record. The first two songs were amazing, with the title track being the queen of this single. I loved that dubstep influence. After three tracks I was almost afraid this single wouldn’t have a ballad or midtempo song, but I got more than I asked for with 손목시계. Finally Nana, Jung-A and Raina deserved their time in the spotlight as well, being the three top vocalists in the group. Look out for these girls, they’re gonna make it even bigger.

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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