Album Review: VIXX – Shangri-La

Release Date: 15 May 2017

Tracklist:

1: 도원경 (桃源境) (Shangri-La)

2: Into the Void

3: Black Out

4:  다가오네 (Almost There)

5: 우리에게 (To Us)

6: 도원경 (桃源境) (Shangri-La) [Instrumental]

Total Runtime: 0:20:52

Recommended for: Those who enjoy an interesting blend of genres, fans of VIXX’s “darker” side.

NOT Recommended for: Those looking for something upbeat and light, fans of VIXX’s older sound from their rookie days.

Known for captivating audiences with their never-ending string of intriguing concepts, VIXX has returned to the music scene with their 4th Mini Album, “Shangri-La” that features five new tracks and one new instrumental, marking their first release since the completion their 2o16 series “CONCEPTION”.

Track Review:

Track 1 – 도원경 (桃源境) (Shangri-La)

“Shangri-La” is a song that can best be described as an art piece. Its sound isn’t one that can simply be enjoyed as a song. The performance that accompanies it is necessary to getting the full experience out of this track. Blending traditional Korean instruments with modern pop, there’s something particularly beautiful about the way these sounds mesh together. It may not be the best track they’ve put out in-terms of something you can jam out to casually (such as “On and On” and “Dynamite”), but it certainly marks itself as one of the best performance tracks VIXX has come to release.

Track 2 – Into the Void

“Into the Void” brings back the sound most people associate with VIXX; dark, eerie, and just a bit creepy. It’s something the group does well, but in comparison to older releases of the same style (“Voodoo Doll, “Hyde”), it doesn’t quite have the same impact. This is not to say the track is a bad one, but it’s definitely one that could easily get lost in their discography come their next release.

Track 3 – Black Out

This is a track that is easily one of VIXX’s best b-sides, which says a lot, for they certainly have some gems littered across their albums. “Black Out”, however, provides fans with just the right amount of synth and sex appeal. It’s one of those songs that can completely entice you on the first listen, with the line, “I’m thinking your body” getting stuck in your head for days to follow.

Track 4 – 다가오네 (Almost There)

“Almost There” slows things down with it’s R&B style and smooth vocals. With lyrics that describe the acceptance of an impending break-up, “Almost There” takes a few listens to warm up to, but once one learns to appreciate it, it becomes a delightful palette cleanser from the tracks before it.

Track 5 – 우리에게 (To Us)

“To Us” is more or less your typical love song that has that “k-pop ballad” sound. It’s not lacking by any means, but it’s definitely a song that sounds very run-of-the-mill in many aspects. However, it does tie up the album nicely. 

Review overview
Summary "Shangri-La" gives the listener a mix of songs they'd be compelled to replay over and over, and ones they might not fancy to give another try. This album can easily be considered middle ground in VIXX's discography; it's not their strongest release, but not their weakest either.
3.5
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