March 31, 2015 at 10:23 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment


1. Bang!
3. Rambling girls
4. Because of you
5. Just in time
6. Lady Luck
7. Dilly Dally
9. Heaven
10. Shh
11. Ms. Independent
13. Bang! [Alternate Ver.]
14. DIVA [Alternate Ver.]
15. Because of you [Alternate Ver.]
16. Just in time [Alternate Ver.]
17. Tell me [Alternate Ver.]
18. Heaven [Shinichi Osawa REMIX]

♦ ♦ ♦

BEST is the second Japanese best album by South Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on March 18, 2015. The album peaked at #8 on the Oricon charts and has sold 5,643 copies to date.

I love reviewing best albums because they’re a perfect way to show off an artist’s or group’s timeline. Bang! starts the Japanese timeline of AFTERSCHOOL, and it was apparent they still had to get into the Japanese language. A little more confidence would’ve been amazing and I’m a little bit too much used to the original Korean version (Bekah did a much better rap there as well than the one who replaced her here). Other than that, this remains one of my fave AS songs, albeit in Korean please.

Now DIVA is where the girls have found their voice and the differences from the Korean versions are huge. The music relies more on electropop instead of a cuter vibe that was heard previously and the entire song has had a mature makeover. I think I like this version more, it has great energy! Still, kinda hate that ‘I love my boy‘ line at the beginning, what’s the point of that anyway.

Rambling girls was their very first original Japanese song and it stays true to the electropop genre they had created for themselves on the Japanese market. It’s what I’ve always been used to when it comes to AS music: catchy as heck. The chorus is mostly made up of ~la la la~’s, but that’s what makes it so memorable.

The Korean song ‘Neo Ttaemune’ had a Japanese makeover into Because of you, and I instantly noted how all the vocals (including Kahi’s raps in the verses) felt more into place because they sounded much lighter. This song does kind of struggle to be either a ballad or an uptempo song, so I’ve decided it’s pretty much both. I still love it after three years!

Just in time wasn’t released as a single, so I actually had to look up really fast where it’s from. It was actually on the PLAYGIRLZ album, I completely forgot about it. Perhaps it’s because it’s not as special as the previous couple of songs and it’s quite a generic R&B/pop song with some electropop influences. Very soft and forgettable if you ask me.

Oh my gosh it’s here, one of my favorite AS songs! Call me crazy, but I totally adore Lady Luck because of its light and uplifting melodies and cuter quality (they hadn’t done that before in Japanese releases). The synths did give it a bit more spunk, but it’s girly at its best. So, sorry boys, not your cup of tea, I’m sure 😉

Dilly Dally is another great song that should’ve been on an album (I really don’t know why none of the Lady Luck / Dilly Dally single songs were represented on an album). It’s one of the more fierce AS songs with amazing and edgy vocals and danceable beats, the chorus is bound to stay in your head all day.. Sounds like the formula for a perfect AS song to me?

I remember appreciating SLOW LOVE so much because it was so different from what they had released in Japan up until then. Most of all, the girls get a lot more room here to actually perform than rather serve the energetic musical arrangement, so that’s a plus. Also, they tackle the R&B ballad genre very well here. Very pleasant song to listen to.

Officially entering the latest era, there is the funky Heaven. It draws similarity to Bruno Mars’ latest work (including ‘Treasure’ and ‘Uptown Funk’), although it’s catchy in a more humble kind of way. It’s sort of 70s sounding with its bass and groovy guitar riffs, different but I love it.

From 70s to 80s, Shh bares more resemblance to 80s synthpop (something I don’t hear very often in Japan). It seems as if AS went for a little more variety after their first era, also their vocals sound even more mature and sultry, it suits them so well! What an amazing change compared to, for example, Bang!.

Another new sound for the girls was introduced with Ms. Independent, a track on their latest Japanese studio album ‘Dress to kill’ (which, by the way, I didn’t like all that much). Following more of a House music arrangement, and although it can be a little repetitive at times it really pumps up the jam a lot. Enjoyable nonetheless!

Wow, SHINE was released just a few months ago and I’m pretty sure it was just for this best album. It sounds like no other song here and I mean that in the most positive way. It has the most beautiful and uplifting melody and from the beginning I’m sure this is probably the best AS ballad track I have ever heard. Very much my style, I’m in love with this song!

I’m gonna skip most of the ‘alternate versions’ on the tracklist, since they’re actually quite the same as the original. If someone could just point out to me which note they changed (xD), that would be great. Anyway, I haven’t heard Tell me [Alternate Ver.] here yet (in any form). It was the closing song for the ‘PLAYGIRLZ’ album and I remember loving its light and almost angelic R&B sound. It’s one of those simple yet very effective songs because it’s solid at the same time. I still like it as much as I did before.

What a treat, two remixes. Heaven [Shinichi Osawa REMIX] actually starts off pretty annoying, so I’m bound to take that last comment back. The remix strips away everything that I love about the original song, the funky arrangement is gone and it is replaced by a repetitive and empty dance track. I don’t even wanna talk about it.

The original song wasn’t even on the album, but we do get a remix: FLASHBACK [OTOGLIOD REMIX]. I can barely make out the vocals due to the loud dance music, but other than that this remix actually makes sense. It’s pretty fierce and it kicks butt like no other, so even though I’m not too fond of dance music I can actually appreciate this take on the (already very good) song!

So it was very interesting for me to check out this BEST album (I often get the question why I review best albums), because you can actually see where an artist or group came from and where they are now. AS started off in the Japanese music industry as some insecure girls who released some self covers, but then discovered their true spirit. Most of the time they did stick to electropop music, but every once in a while they released something completely different. Most of the A-sides where that different, and they are represented here which I love. They do release more generic songs on their albums if you ask me, but that just means that this album is just what it says on the tin: their best Japanese music on one disc. Enjoy!

Favorite tracks: Bang! | Because of you | Lady Luck | Dilly Dally | SLOW LOVE | Heaven | Shh | SHINE | FLASHBACK [OTOGLIOD REMIX]

4 stars

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



April 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment


1. Shh
2. rock it!
3. Shh (Instrumental)
4. rock it! (Instrumental)

Shh is the sixth Japanese single by South-Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on January 29, 2014. The single debuted at #7 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 16,483 copies to date.

AFTERSCHOOL has been releasing some really good Japanese stuff lately, and I have definitely been wondering about this single. Shh bears some resemblance to ‘Heaven’ in terms of 80s synthpop sound, but I think that’s exactly what Japanese music sometimes lacks. It’s pretty laid back for a song of that particular genre, but it’s catchy nonetheless. It takes me back in time to the 80s, when music was probably at its best if you ask me. Very good approach to that!

Jung-Ah, Raina, Lizzy and Kaeun take on rock it!, the B-side of this single. Raina and Lizzy are good vocalists, I have got to know their styles a little better by listening to ORANGE CARAMEL, but this song is definitely not that cute. It has a more aggressive approach, more dance/pop than Shh and less of the 80s vibe. Great way to have two uptempo songs that are completely different. Although this song ‘rocks it’, it’s not too special or anything. Just nice as a B-side.

4 stars



November 12, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment


1. Heaven
2. Crazy Driver
3. First Love
4. Heaven (Instrumental)
5. Crazy Driver (Instrumental)

Heaven is the fifth Japanese single by South Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on October 2, 2013. The single debuted at #6 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 19,884 copies to date.

Just like the cover already suggested, Heaven has a more oldschool kind of style when it comes to the music. The guitars playing in the background play around the bass to make it funky, and the girls emphasize deeper and sultry vocals this time. It makes me think of Bruno Mars’ ‘Treasure’ or the collab songs by Pharrell and Daft Punk, so these girls know how to stay up to date. Compared to their previous released, this is a much more mature effort. Love it!

Crazy Driver then brings in the dancepop music they have been releasing every now and then, including some very heavily autotuned vocals but that’s quite sassy anyway. This song brings out the Namie Amuro in all the girls when it comes to the vocals and the overall style of the music, it’s so different from the A-side. Again a very mature effort for the group, but there’s not a real highlight in the song that keeps me interested through the entire song. Still, good enough.

And ofcourse, there is the Korean single ‘Cheos Sarang’, or First Love. I totally love this song and its laid back, sultry R&B style. It’s just as oldschool as Heaven so they couldn’t have brought it back better than on this single. It needs a little switching as a listener to go from Japanese to Korean for this song, but once you get used to it after a couple of lines this is just one of the more perfect songs AFTERSCHOOL has ever released.

4 stars

After School – First Love

June 13, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

After School – First Love

1. 8 Hot Girl
2. Cheos Sarang
3. Dressing Room
4. Time’s Up
5. Love Beat
6. Hwajangeul Hada Ureosseo

First Love is the sixth Korean single by South Korean girl group After School, released on June 13, 2013.

8 Hot Girl serves as the introduction track for this comeback single, and although it’s nice and laid back I think it’s kind of a vague track because there are some guys in here that ain’t members of After School. Who are these dudes…

Cheos Sarang, the title track, is where the single really begins to interest me. The guys are still in the background but finally I can hear the real girls from After School singing with sultry voices. This track is connected to the introduction when it comes to the soft and relaxed R&B style, and although it’s not something I’m used to in After School’s music I think it’s very cool and yet simple in it’s own way. Very cute.

After two relatively smooth and slow tracks. Dressing Room brings around the dance/pop on the single. I always love it when this style comes with a lot of heavy synths, which give a song a lot of power. Another nice thing about this track is that it isn’t very uptempo, it’s fierce but the tempo stays a bit more in the middle. It makes it all very interesting and the girls are amazing here as well.

Ah, this is what I was waiting for. Time’s Up is one of those typical uptempo After School songs with a distinctive pop sound and maybe a little cuteness here and there. When the song develops it becomes more powerful and interesting altogether, including some raps in the bridge section and more synths in the chorus and bridge too. I think this is my favorite song on the entire single, love it!

Love Beat pushes some boundaries here with it’s more aggressive dance sound. The synths are much deeper and darker here, and the focus might even be more on the music than on the girls’ vocals (which are ofcourse great, as always). It’s not a mind-blowing song or anything, but it’s definitely one of the better tracks with its clubbing qualities.

Closing the single, Hwajangeul Hada Ureosseo is a collab between Raina and Jung Ah and it sounds exactly like its title, which means ‘crying after putting on make-up’ or ‘make-up and tears’. It’s the only ballad on the single, but they go full out with a piano power ballad. This song becomes stronger and stronger near the bridge, and there the girls just let go with their adlibs an vocal acrobatics. Raina will always be one of my favorite members, but Jung Ah proved herself here as well! Great song!

4½ stars

AFTERSCHOOL – Lady Luck / Dilly Dally

September 4, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

AFTERSCHOOL – Lady Luck – Dilly Dally

1. Lady Luck
2. Dilly Dally
4. Lady Luck [Instrumental]
5. Dilly Dally [Instrumental]
6. SLOW LOVE [Instrumental]

Lady Luck / Dilly Dally is the fourth Japanese single by South-Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on June 13, 2012. The single debuted at #3 on the Oricon charts, selling a total of 17,572 units.

I haven’t heard a cute song from AFTERSCHOOL in quite a while, and actually I never heard one in their Japanese discography, so Lady Luck is a first-timer. It’s such a fluffy, cute and uplifting song, but you’ll probably like it when you’re a girl like me, this is definitely no guy stuff.  I really like the melody in the chorus and the way A.S.’s girly vocals sing it, everything fits together and the synths make it a little poppier. I really enjoyed this.

Dilly Dally isn’t a cute song at all, it’s a little more fierce and quite like ‘Rambling girls’ toned down a bit. This song fits their album ‘PLAYGIRLZ’ a lot more than Lady Luck did for example, but this is an entire new era and they’re free to experiment. After hearing the fluffy track before this one, Dilly Dally is pretty enjoyable too, putting the group in a completely different perspective.

SLOW LOVE takes the single to a slower spot, it’s a smooth and soft R&B ballad with light and vibrant vocals by the girls to make it a little airy. I like the percussion in this song, consisting of bass kicks and handclaps, it goes very well with the very light synth sound as well. The piano plays light notes in the background and the bridge even features an acoustic guitar. The music is more sensible than audible so I can really appreciate this arrangement.

Lady Luck / Dilly Dally is veeeery close to perfection, so close I’m just gonna give it 5 stars right away. The first track will remain my favorite, but the other two tracks weren’t less amazing or anything. It’s a well balanced single, it feaures everything a good single should have. We have a cute uptempo, a sexier uptempo and a smooth R&B ballad, everything these girls are actually good at. I can’t be more proud of them.


5 stars


September 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment


1. Rip off
2. Rambling girls
3. BROKEN HEART feat. Jung-A, Raina, Nana, E-Young
4. Diva [Japan Ver.]
5. Just in time
6. Shampoo [Japan Ver.]
7. Because of you [Japan Ver.]
8. Gimme Love
9. Miss Futuristic feat. Kahi, Juyeon, U-ie, Lizzy
10. Bang! [Japan Ver.]
11. Tell me

♦ ♦ ♦

Playgirlz is the Japanese debut album by South-Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on March 14, 2012. The album debuted at #6 on the Oricon charts, selling 28,489 units to date.

This is the original version for Rip off, but I already knew the Korean version from their later single ‘Flashback’. It’s a little bit different since there’s actually a solo singer in the chorus this time and I really think they should’ve sung everything together there but oh well. The song is still pretty fierce and is a great continuation of their electropop style of the past months. Great opening track to draw attention.

Ramling girls had to follow since it’s one of their best Japanese A-sides, the first original (non-translation) one too. I love everything about this track, from the deep synths to their ~la la la~’s in the chorus, everything is pretty damn catchy. The song as a whole just has more punch to it than some of their older material and it’s like a complete 180. Gotta love this.

Apparently they split up two songs between the 8 members, and Jung-A, Raina, Nana and E-Young got BROKEN HEART. I think it’s great they did this, especially since these four girls sound pretty hot together. The music accompanying their lovely vocals is also electropop, but a bit more relaxed than the previous two tracks. The synths are less dominant but the beat is still pretty heavy and it has even deeper synths that almost sound like low electric guitars.

I love my boy, I love my boy‘, yes I know that by now. That line still doesn’t make sense. What DOES make sense now is the new arrangement for Diva and I’ve loved it since I first heard it in the new Korean version last year. It’s such an improvement from that simple ‘school girl version’ they did a couple of years ago. Now, the vocals are better and the ~diva, diva, di- di- di- diva~ in the chorus is finally ‘sung’ by an altered voice instead of some cheerleading A.S. members. It couldn’t get any better than this, really.

Just in time slows things down a little bit with a more R&B/pop influenced sound instead of the danceable electropop ambience. It’s a super cute song in the style of, well, pretty much what they did before their Japanese debut. It features some high pitched synths, bells and even the line ~twinkle twinkle twinkle~, how fluffy. It’s not one of the best songs on the album but still it’s extremely enjoyable at this point.

Shampoo [Japan Ver.] is, doh, the Japanese version for the Korean song ‘Shampoo’, featured on their Korean debut album released in April 2011. It was one of my favorites on that album and I’m pretty sure it will be among my favorites on this album, but still there is something iffy about the vocals. They are a little too cute when compared to the Korean version, really. A.S. on helium? Anywayz, I still think this is one of their strongest songs when it comes to the music.

I still think this version of the song Because of you [Japan Ver.] is way better than the original since it’s way more balanced and the vocals are fuller. The Korean version was very agressive to me because of Kahi’s fierce rap in the slow ballad part and some other vocal problems, in this version all of those issues are gone and what’s left is a very nice vibrant song, very light too.

Gimme Love takes us out of the cute songs and back into the fierce dance sound that dominated the first part of the album. Heavy beats and deep synths make up this track, incluing some altered vocals from the girls in the pre-chorus as well. It’s not overused, they just used it in a very smart way. If it wasn’t for the language, this song would really have a K-pop vibe, love it.

The second split song is Miss Futuristic by Kahi, Juyeon, U-ie and Lizzy, LET THE BATTLE BEGIN. This song just dropped right in and it has a lot of auto-tune going on which I don’t really get… This is also the first song that felt a little too empty to me, I mean it’s there but it doesn’t have a very special sound to it so I must give the prize to the other four girls.

Ahhhh, Bang! [Japan Ver.] is already here to save the day. I love this track as you all probably know by now and although the Korean version is the freaking QUEEN this one is pretty hot as well. I can’t even talk about this track without acting like a complete fangirl, so I’m gonna keep it short with three words: recommended, sexy, perfect.

Tell me has definitely got the most unique sound on the album, following a clear and smooth R&B flow. It’s pretty cute but not overly, it’s just the perfect way to close this album in a sophisticated way. Even though these songs aren’t always best for a large group, the girls nailed it with their light vocals and they almost made it a bit angelic. Loved this as well.

Playgirlz was a way better album than I initially thought. I already knew half of the songs on the album, so that gave me enough room to form my opinion about the other half consisting of new tracks. I felt like they outdid themselves with this album, taking older songs and re-arranging them, while also adding some new complementary tracks. The ambience as a whole was perfect, it felt like one complete concept because some of the older songs were altered to fit their new style. I loved that, and I think I’m becoming more and more of a fan now. All I need to do is learn how to tell those chicks apart…

Favorite tracks: Rip off | Rambling girls | Diva | Shampoo [Japan Ver.] | Because of you [Japan Ver.] | Bang! [Japan Ver.] | Tell me


4½ stars

AFTERSCHOOL – Rambling girls / Because of you

September 2, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

AFTERSCHOOL – Rambling girls / Because of you

1. Rambling girls
2. Because of you [Japan Ver.]
3. Because of you [Korea Ver.]
4. Rambling girls (Instrumental)
5. Because of you [Japan Ver.] (Instrumental)

Rambling girls / Because of you is the third Japanese single by South-Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on January 25, 2012. The single debuted at #6 on the Oricon charts and has sold 14,437 units to date.

Their first original Japanese song! It’s clear by now that these girls are tackling the synthpop and electropop style for their Japanese career, and they completely nailed it. Rambling girls is amazing, it’s like this isn’t AFTERSCHOOL at all, they sound so different and totally not like cute school girls anymore. The lyrics in the chorus are mostly ~la la la la la~, but it’s so damn catchy I really don’t mind. For their first Japanese song that isn’t a translation, this was more than just good.

Amazing they featured a translation of one of their prettiest songs. Because of you [Japan Ver.] is like the Korean version ‘Neo Ttaemune’ gone down the perfection road. This Japanese version is way better balanced and sounds more vibrant and lighter. Kahi’s rap finally isn’t out of place, because she does it with a lighter voice instead of instantly putting all of her energy in it right after an emotional opening section. I still don’t know what this is though, a ballad or an uptempo… It’s both. Done.

I don’t know if this is a newly recorded version (it probably is but I’m not sure since it sounds so different and exactly like the original), but Because of you [Korea Ver.] features all the hitches the Japanese version didn’t have. Kahi’s rap is way too fierce again, the balance is gone a bit and the vocals sound so different I bet this is the older generation of the group. Don’t get me wrong, besides those little details I still think this is one of their best songs for its use of both a slow an emotional piano section and a dance/pop orientated chorus.

Rambling girls / Because of you featured everything a good single should have in the case of AFTERSCHOOL: a sexy new track and an old reliable returning in a new form. This single deserved its double name because both tracks are amazing and they fit together perfectly on one release. Rambling girls was the amazing new single to show the audience how they matured, in both image and sound, while Because of you brought back an oldie in an even better form than it already was. The new version definitely tops the older Korean Version, I’m not saying that one’s bad but the Japanese version is just…  better.


4½ stars


September 2, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment


1. Diva [Japan Ver.]
2. Ready to love
3. Diva [2011 New Korea Ver.]
4. Diva [Japan Ver.] (Instrumental)
5. Ready to love (Instrumental)

Diva is the second Japanese single by South-Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on November 23, 2011.

Even though I still hate that opening line ‘I love my boy, I love my boy‘ (it just doesn’t make sense in this context), the ambience of Diva [Japan Ver.] is so much better than the original Korean version, it’s much more mature. The arrangement follows a more synthpop style instead of the cute pop style it used to have, and the ~diva, diva, di- di- di- diva~ chanting is done by an altered voice instead of the girls as well. The vocals are more confident, everything about this version just screams that these girls have grown up.

Ready to love is the B-side on this single, and even though it has the same musical style as the A-side and it’s uptempo too, I think it’s a bit more chill and it shows off both a cute and fierce style of the group. The music reinforces their confidence and they sometimes sound even quite sexy when singing their lyrics in a husky voice, but their high pitches and the bells in the background make it rather cute. Nice hybrid and definitely a good song.

And then there’s the version that was featured on their Korean debut album: Diva [2011 New Korea Ver.]. It’s exactly the same song as the Japanese version, except for the language ofcourse. I always say singers sound better when singing in their own language, and this is no exception. The vocals just sound a lot fuller and better, bolder. Still, when you put everything together, I can’t help but putting this language together with the older arrangement and the Japanese language with the new arrangement.

With Diva, AFTERSCHOOL had a strong sophomore single and I think they really proved they were ready to take over the Japanese music world. It’s great they gave the original song a makeover to fit their contemporary style a lot more, they’re not really the cute girls they were back then anymore. They are more experienced now, ready for a new sound and this was the first time they actually got it since ‘Bang!’ never really changed. The B-side complements the A-side perfectly, using the same musical sound but with a slightly different feel. Good single!


4½ stars


September 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment


1. Bang! <Japan Ver.>
2. Super sexy
3. Bang! <Korea Ver.>
4. Bang! <Japan Ver.> Instrumental
5. Super sexy Instrumental

Bang! is the first Japanese single by South-Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on August 17, 2011.

I think they did a great job by picking Bang! as their Japanese debut single, since I have always loved the original Korean track. Hearing it in Japanese is a bit weird for me, but I still like it pretty much and their pronunciation is very good. Whoever replaced Bekah in the rap section was a complete dork and it was totally out of place, but that’s okay since the concept for this song was so much better than the one in the original version. It’s still the very same big band concept I loved so much from the girls.

Super sexy is the B-side, an original song, and I think it’s funny I still remember this song while I only heard it once last year so it must have made some kind of impression on me. Still it’s a pretty generic pop song with a lot of synths and fast beats, and the girls are singing in more of a singsong style than a melodic style, so I have my doubts about this one despite liking the fierce feel of it.

And ofcourse the forever best version is the original: Bang! <Korean Ver.>. The Japanese version can never beat this one, even though this one has the creepy introduction that the Japanese version left out. The music for the Korean version sounds somewhat fuller, the vocals are more confident and I always thought the girls sounded like a 15 member group instead of just 8, they’re simply amazing. Bekah’s rap, Raina’s high note, everything about this version is just so much better. No doubt about it.

Even though nothing can beat the original, AFTERSCHOOL at least tried to top it with this version of Bang!. They didn’t really succed, but when I stop comparing the two versions, they really nailed the Japanese one as well. The introduction is much stronger than the one featured in the Korean version (without that freakish guy), but the vocals are a bit too careful and that rap was just so dorky. WHO DID THAT xD
Other than that, pretty good Japanese debut and I think they really captured the Japanese music industry with this. Not perfect, but still good enough.


4 stars

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