Album Review: I.O.I – Chrysalis

Release Date: 2016.05.04

Tracklist:

  1. I.O.I (Intro)
  1. Dream Girls
  1. 똑 똑 똑 (Knock Knock Knock)
  1. Doo Wap
  1. Crush
  1. 벚꽃이 지면 (When The Cherry Blossoms Fade)
  1. Pick Me

Total Runtime: 00:22:00

Recommended for: Ardent Produce 101/I.O.I fans, or fans of upbeat and catchy pop songs

NOT recommended for: Fans of high quality and unique pop songs, or anyone who dislikes and despises Pick Me!

Following the success of MNET’s Produce 101, rookie girl group I.O.I consists of Jeon Somi, Kim Sejeong, Choi Yoojung, Kim Chungha, Kim Sohye, Zhou Jieqiong, Jung Chaeyeon, Kim Doyeon, Kang Mina, Lim Nayoung, and Yoo Yeonjung; officially debut with their first mini album named Chrysalis. The tracks are produced by acclaimed producers and selected by the girls themselves!


Track Review:

Track 1 – I.O.I (Intro)

I.O.I “introduce” themselves and “welcome” us with a fiery and grandiose intro track. This track begins with old radio news sampling that you would’ve heard in World War 2 documentaries (at least it’s not Trump’s voice asking us to shut up), followed with a surprise Hollywood-like “What was that?” and a cute peekaboo at the end of this intro within an intro. They really like their intros don’t they? Bell is ringing and then the sound of trumpets accompanying leader Lim Nayoung’s rap topped with soothing vocals at the back, adding more to its prestigiousness vibe. Ladies and gentlemen, may I proudly present to you, I.O.I!

Track 2 – Dream Girls (Title track)

Of course, it’s not I.O.I without an intro, and Dream Girls begins with a cheerleader-like intro, a good warmup for your tympanic membranes. If you expect a unique title track with high replayability, then you might be a bit disappointed with Dream Girls as it offers nothing more than that. It won’t disappoint if you don’t have a high expectation for the track since Dream Girls is as catchy as many other girl group songs available for listening. Starting from the intro up until its chorus, the buildup is really nice considering its simplicity. Even without understanding its lyrics, you can tell that all 11 girls are working hard towards achieving their dreams. A very meaningful buildup. Nevertheless, the track is a good debut song for them because it’s an easy song to follow and remember though you might start looking for other songs to contemplate its unneeded simplicity and genericness. Dream Girls is a hit or miss. You might like it or hate it but I’ll tell you one big secret about this song, you’ll end up liking it after a few listen. Trust me! Watch the official of Dream Girls above for better experience.

Track 3 – 똑 똑 똑 (Knock Knock Knock)

Knock Knock Knock is a hybrid r&b/pop track, with jazzy and suave vibes. This song IS K-Pop and the main reason I proclaimed this is that most girl group’s b-side tracks sound like this. No kidding, but it’s a trend now and this track is good enough for me to not brand it as a filler track. It is not, because this song is really nice and enjoyable. It’s funny because I.O.I is better with slower beat songs compared to more upbeat and fast songs and that might come from their unique vocal colors.

Track 4 – Doo Wap

I feel damn sorry for thinking of Apink while listening to this track. It’s not bad but it’s not I.O.I. It’s really hard to appeal as unique while going for that retro genre without the likes of Wonder Girls, T-ara, Apink and other acclaimed acts of that genre overshadowing others. Aside from that, Doo Wap is an excellent retro funk song that might make you crave for an extra noraebang session. Side note: That Stone Buddha Nayoung’s ‘Ohhhhh’ is my new guilty pleasure.

Track 5 – Crush

Here comes trouble! Nah just kidding but yeah we all know that this track is controversial not because of the song itself but instead its music video. I’m not here to talk about visual presentation and editing skills so let’s leave it at that. Crush made me laugh at first because its genre is called Trapical Dutch Funk. YES THIS IS TRUE! People might misunderstand it as Tropical Dutch Punk and that’ll create more mess than having a name like that. Wait why am I still not reviewing Crush? Well to most this track is not new, but a remastered version of an already digitally released track. I.O.I is most probably the only act to have same songs charting on various online charts. It is charting because Crush is a total jam. It gives us a glimmer of hope of having I.O.I blessing us with more tracks like this, which never happened.

Track 6 – 벚꽃이 지면 (When The Cherry Blossoms Fade)

‘When the Cherry Blossoms Fade’ is definitely the best track in Chrysalis. Composed by talented B1A4 leader, Jung Jinyoung, it couldn’t be any more perfect to end our listening session with a heartfelt, warm, and beautiful mid-tempo track. It is one of fan favorite songs in Produce 101 along with Crush, Fingertips, In the Same Place (also produced by Jinyoung), and Yum Yum. This track redefined Kim Sejeong’s famous quote, “Let us walk in flowery path”. Those who appreciates sentimental ballad/pop song, When the Cherry Blossoms Fade would leave immediate mark on your heart.

Track 7 – Pick Me

*gasp*

NEXT!

Wait this is the last track in this album..so there’s no next..

Why would they end this album with Pick Me instead of When the Cherry Blossoms Fade? Why would they include Pick Me instead of other better tracks like Yum Yum, In the Same Place, Fingertips, and Don’t Matter. Such a waste from my point of view.

Guess I have no choice then. I’ll be honest, Pick Me is not a song. It’s just a noise. Sorry DJ Koo and Maximite (you’re hot by the way). Sorry I.O.I fans for giving Pick Me a disappointing review because it just sucks. Have you ever heard your school song sang by only a handful of students in a huge hall? This version of Pick Me would be fitting for that. It’s easy to tell that this version of Pick Me was produced while on a rush. It is very disappointing, and to think that having Pick Me in this album itself is already a disappointment. Let’s not forget that in this version, a misheard line was born. CAN YOU TORCH ME NOW..

Yes please.

p/s: English lines in Pick Me are terrible.


Overall Review:

The girls worked very hard for this album and their debut, but the production team might make it harder for them. All tracks are enjoyable and refreshingly nice to listen to except for Pick Me. Vocals are top-notch and honestly well-distributed so to their capabilities. Though the production and finishing qualities need more works, all in all Chrysalis is a good buy for I.O.I fans to celebrate and cherish their debut.   


Replayability – Yellow

All tracks other than Pick me is replayable

Cohesiveness – Yellow

Again, Pick Me dragged Chrysalis down

Originality – Yellow

Most of the tracks don’t provide uniqueness but tracks like When the Cherry Blossoms Fade and Crush (you can’t be more original than to have Trapical Dutch Funk as your genre name) are gems

Rinne
brutally honest | dry humor | sarcastic remark

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