Release Date: February 22, 2018
- Black Dress
- Like That
- 선 (Distance)
- To the Sky
- 일곱 번째 (7th)
Total Runtime: 00:16:35
Recommended for: CLC fans, Girl-crush fans
NOT recommended for: Fans of CLC’s cute concept.
Ah, CLC. The K-Pop community is becoming increasingly alarmed about their future status in the industry. Despite having only debuted in 2015, their standing is already incredibly shaky given that their album sales are woeful and their label Cube are gearing up to debut a new girl group later this year. However, it’s more than fair to say that sloppy management is to blame for CLC’s lack of success rather than their discography. CLC have released some of the best girl group B-sides of the new generation, and have consistently impressed with their talents. This time around, CrystaL Clear have returned with a powerful girl crush concept. So, is their new mini album “Black Dress” up to CLC’s usual standards?
Track 1 – Black Dress
Whew. “Black Dress” is one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Right from the first couple bars, the song holds nothing back and immediately delves straight into full fledged aggression. The intro successfully engages the listener with a crescendo of descending notes spiralling into a disjointed drop. Make no mistake, “Black Dress” is hardcore. This track has received polarising feedback since it’s release, and that makes sense because this type of in-your-face sound is either something that you love or hate.
The hook’s intense momentum is carried on throughout the song, to the point that it’s almost suffocating. Whether it is indeed too overpowering or holds just the right amount of intensity is ultimately up to the listener’s own taste. Personally, I think that the song is well balanced enough to ensure that it is gripping and doesn’t fall flat. In fact, there’s almost no room for it to do so given how jam-packed the song is. Furthermore, the track’s line distribution is to be praised; it’s pretty rare to hear such a fair and even distribution among girl group releases. The vocal performance is great and the intentionally exaggerated use of autotune is thankfully used sparingly and tastefully in the first verse.
The song utilises EDM and Trap elements present in “Hobgoblin,” the title track of their EP “Crystyle,” but perhaps isn’t quite as catchy as it’s predecessor. With that said, “Black Dress” is ultimately an exciting track that is bound to make an impact on the listener.
Track 2 – Like That
The first few bars of “Like That” are delightfully misleading. You think you’re getting a snoozy ballad, but the beat quickly picks up and propels the song somewhere that you didn’t see coming. Main rapper Yeeun’s rap performance in the first verse is her best on the album. The flow of her high-tone rapping is great and establishes the pace for the rest of the track. The vocals in the pre-chorus are somewhat soothing, and smoothly transition into an ambitious EDM hook.
“Like That,” is a sexy and titillating song, and the drop feels like a perfect culmination of all of the desire that’s been held back. The song is essentially the soundtrack of an intimate encounter, and the atmosphere is executed flawlessly. Admittedly the song isn’t perfect; it’s lacking just a little energy and innovation. However, “Like That” is ultimately a sensual and enjoyable track that perfectly compliments the title song.
Track 3 -선 Distance
There’s not a whole lot to say about “Distance” other than that its defining characteristic is how dull it is. The melody in the first verse is okay, but lead vocal Elkie’s voice sounds a little nasally which (although not typical of her) is off-putting. The pre-chorus continues the trend of dreariness which carries on throughout the rest of the song. The song’s stripped back bridge is great and offers the only change in pace, but its so short-lived that it makes me want to tear my hair out. The lyrics of the song are the standard “You don’t love me anymore and I’m sad” and offer absolutely nothing that we haven’t heard a million times over from a token ballad track. Overall, “Distance” is okay, but for sure is the most skippable song on the album.
Track 4 – To the Sky
“To the Sky” (released before the release of the full album) is described as a “nation’s cheer song for the new year.” Well, I can definitely see that intent reflected in the song. “To the Sky” is a ridiculously upbeat and motivational song that encourages the listener to overcome hardships. However, the song is so strikingly different to the other songs on the album that it sounds out of place. The encouraging lyrics of the song are in stark contrast to the sultry themes of the other tracks. That aside, there are some really great melodies in the song. Furthermore, the silver-lining in the lack of cohesiveness is that “To the Sky” provides the mini album with some very necessary energy.
Track 5 -일곱 번째 (7th)
“Seventh” does what “Distance” failed to do exceptionally well. The song is inviting and captures the essence of a love who makes you feel at peace. It’s the sort of chill song that makes you want to lay in the sun and listen to it with your eyes closed. The scattered ad-libs, peaceful sighs, and stacked harmonies are heavenly, and the overall vocal performance is wonderful. Particularly in the chorus, the singing skill of the members is showcased perfectly. Not only that, but the song is well paced and takes a few pleasantly unexpected turns. You can even hear hints of Bossa Nova in there, which is awesome. I haven’t heard Bossa Nova in a K-Pop song in a while. “Seventh” is testament to the fact that not all ballads have to be boring filler tracks, but can be tranquil bops infused with gorgeous harmonies and melodies.