[Album Review] After School’s “Playgirlz”

After School has always been my favorite kpop girl group. I like their style; not particularly the member system in place, but mainly their musical concepts. And as much as I like them, I never allowed that to overshadow my judgement on any of their releases. If the song sucks, I'll be honest and admit it just as quick as I am to admit when it sounds pretty hot. After School, more precisely their leader, has tasteful elements in whatever it is they deliver to their target market. Unfortunately, the group hasn't received greater recognition for their hard work, still they continue to strive for that wish they sought out to achieve. Recently, AS has ventured into the Jpop market in hopes of acquiring a wider range of feedback not yet completely felt in their homeland. So far, I'm not necessarily impressed but I believe they'll improve because in all honesty, they usually do. Thus the birth of their first Jpop album 'Playgirlz'.

Aside from the inclusion of some forgettable remakes/converted singles Diva, Shampoo, Bang!, with Because of You as an exception, ‘Playgirlz‘ is a wonderful first try with sexy new music that rocks. 

カヒ(Kahi)ジョンア(Jung-A)ジュヨン(Juyeon)

Rip Off‘ is a groovy intro. The track kicks in with a banging drum beat that would explode on your stereo, and those sound effects are cray. After School is known not only for their sex appeal, but a lot more for their fierceness and that’s been brought. I love the energy and aggression in the chorus, while their vocals are kept smooth in the verses. The track is cooly composed.

The first time I heard ‘Rambling Girls‘ I was mesmerized. This track is sick. The beat is like ecstasy; whenever I listen to the song I feel as if I’m being illuminated by club lights. There’s something very erotic about the song as a whole, not sure if that’s “after you baby…” part or that “here we go now fly,” but whatever it is, I’ve found my new addiction. 

BROKEN HEART‘ gave me an 80’s vibe initially, but once everything flowed in you got that modern electro pop feel. I think only four of the members recorded this song but all the same its still hot. There’s other aspects of this track that’s popping; the shout of guys before the hook, the sound of a record scratch, the urban pop style, and overall the dance beat. You also can’t dismiss the sweet harmonies by the strongest vocalists of the group, Raina and JungAh. 

ユイ(U-ie)レイナ(Raina)ナナ(Nana)

This is definitely a fun pop/dance album and I was a bit worried it would get too boring if no other style was incorporated in the mix, but I’ve enjoyed it without complaint so far and ‘Just in Time‘ in a way gave me variety. The track is fast pace at start but once it gets to the hook there’s a break down in beat and the pace is tamed. I have to say this is absolutely how Jpop sounds; very cheery and sweet. Good work ladies!

I detest the auto-tune in ‘Gimme Love.’ I know the group is guilty of using the vocal effects but this track did not need any foolishness it sounds just fine without it. Anyways, with that to the back, the song’s catchy, yummy, flavorful, and rocking. Again, I have to stress on how good their harmonies sound together. 

Miss Futuristic‘ started out like Tic Toc but whatever. The auto-tune and annoying sound effects are understandable here because the song is emphasizing on a more advanced time. The part that I gravitated more towards was that hook and the strengthening line “wanna be stronger cause i’m a soldier.”

リジ(Lizzy)イヨン(E-Young)

Here comes the only mellow track on the album. ‘Tell Me‘ has sensual vocals and butterfly like melodies. I truly love the sincerity in this song and how believable they made it sound. It would’ve been a beautiful ending to a awesome album but then I’m taken aback by the addition of a surprising track.

Why was Orange Caramel’s ‘Shanghai Romance‘ included? I was dumbfounded to hear it right after the previous track and it doesn’t fit the rest of the album at all. Aside from the opening oriental melodies, I like nothing else about this song, nor do I care for any other Orange Caramel tracks because their style of singing annoys the air surrounding me. This was a horrific way to conclude the album and I’ll pretend this track wasn’t added by simply pressing ‘STOP’ at the end of ‘Tell Me‘.

All in all, I like After School’s first Japanese album. I’m only displeased with the  lacking of new songs, and the inclusion of failed remakes and one odd ball. The new tracks sounded great in terms of production and tolerance. Their pronunciation is great on record as well. If you toss those five tracks aside this would be the definition of what a fantastic album sounds like. ‘Playgirlz gets a rating of 4.7/5

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Track listing:

01. Rip Off
02. Rambling Girls
03. BROKEN HEART (JungAh, Raina, Nana & E-Young)
04. Diva (Japan ver.)
05. Just In Time
06. Shampoo (Japan ver.)
07. Because Of You (Japan ver.)
08. Gimme Love
09. Miss Futuristic (Kahi, Juyeon, Uee & Lizzy)
10. Bang! (Japan ver.)
11. Tell Me
12. Shanghai Romance (Japan ver.)  [Orange Caramel]

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Click the image to purchase

Playgirlz / AFTERSCHOOL

www.after–school.jp

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About Kai Morgan @embraceyoumag (1746 Articles)
Creative chick with an open mind and an open heart :)

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