AFTERSCHOOL – Dress to kill

July 5, 2014 at 7:16 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

AFTERSCHOOL – Dress to kill

1. Dress code ~Theme of “Dress to kill”~
2. Dress to kill
3. Ms. Independent
4. Triangle
5. Crazy Driver
6. Shh
7. Yes No Yes
8. Heaven
9. in the moonlight
10. rock it!
11. Spotlight
12. Killing eyes ~End of “Dress to kill”~

♦ ♦ ♦

Dress to kill is the second Japanese album by South-Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on March 19, 2014. The album was released in three versions. It debuted at #14 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 4,813 copies to date.

Dress code ~Theme for “Dress to kill”~ is just an intro, let’s not get too emotional about it.

The first full song Dress to kill sounds a little more interesting then. For a title track it is still a little too minimalistic to my taste, but it has potential. It has a sexy and seductive vibe to it and I loved the central role of the guitar in this song. It’s well produced but it could’ve been better than this.

Ms. Independent on the other hand really pumps up the jam! With a modern house production it’s a new road for AFTERSCHOOL but they can sure deliver this very well. Don’t mind the lyrics and repetitions in this song, this is one for just going with the flow and forgetting everything. I’ll just let this track be the catchy one that it is and okay maybe this is repeat material.

While the previous song was a bit more on the lighter side, Triangle is AFTERSCHOOL’s attempt to pull off a darker and edgier dance song. Although it’s pretty catchy, the overall production of the vocals isn’t as good as some other songs by the group. Still, I’m not gonna whine about this one since I really love the vibe of the track. I could get used to this to be honest.

I can’t remember dubbing Crazy Driver the best song off the single ‘Heaven’, especially since it was so different from the A-side, but now on the album it just fits on this exact spot. This is probably the first time the girls’ vocals have been heavily autotuned, but it’s actually kind of sassy and it reminds me of some Namie Amuro-ish quality. Short, but a good enough song in my opinion.

Shh is the A-side from their latest single with the same name, and if you ask me this is a good approach of 80s synthpop with a modern house twist, the former style being something that is often still missing in the Japanese pop scene. Sometimes this song needs a little push to be a little more interesting than it is now, but it’s not terrible. It could’ve been a little bit shorter too, but the repetition makes it a little catchy on the other side as well.

After a lot of upbeat songs, Yes No Yes takes the album to a more relaxed spot with a soft jazz tune. That laidback quality in this song is what draws me to it so much. Ofcourse it’s the type of song you forget the moment it’s over, despite the lovely guitar solo, but I’ll enjoy it for the time being.

I was already wondering how they were gonna place Heaven on this album with all those dance tracks, but right after Yes No Yes is the best place. It’s very oldschool and funky and it could’ve been produced by Pharrell Williams if you ask me. That funky style is what makes it very infectuous at the same time, and yet it feels like all the other songs on the album: a little too empty to really love it.

I don’t like the vocals in the opening of in the moonlight, and that same feeling stays throughout the song. It’s like a filler track, nothing special too much of the same to me. The music is catchy if you view this as an independent song, but in the context of the full album this does little for me.

rock it! served as the B-side for Shh, and when I reviewed the single I thought it was a nice song but good enough to be just a B-side. Now on the album it gets a little more value because of its better aggressive approach than some of the other songs. This is one of the catchy songs that isn’t just catchy on the moment you hear it, but also afterwards when it’s over. Because of that, I’m starting to appreciate this one more.

Closing the album, there’s Spotlight, and it feels too much like a continuation of every single track that came before it. True, it’s catchy and well produced and the vocals come out a lot better, but right now I’m just tired of the same old thing every time. Give it a chance whenever you decide to play it, but for me it’s over by now. All that’s left is an uneventful Killing eyes ~End of “Dress to kill”~, and it’s really done.

AFTERSCHOOL has really let me down with this album. Don’t forget this is just a personal opinion and I usually love this group, but this album is filled with forgettable songs that all sound the same to me. There were some standout tracks and exceptions, but overall this album just doesn’t capture me. I’ll just hope for the best and we’ll see if they come up with something better than this.

Favorite songs: Ms. Independent | Triangle | Crazy Driver | Heaven | rock it!

2 stars


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