It’s Okay to Not be Okay 사이코지만 괜찮아

Title: It’s Okay to Not be Okay 사이코지만 괜찮아

Language: Korean

Episodes: 16

Release Date: June 20 – Aug 9 2020 (Netflix Canada)

Starring: Seo Ye Ji, Kim Soo Hyun, Oh Jung Se

Here’s the trailer

Plot

This Kdrama follows the lives of a children’s author and a community health worker- two people who appear to be complete opposites. While this leads to many clashes and differences in opinion at first, the two discover that by finding a middle ground, they can help balance each other out, helping one another to heal their psychological wounds.

This is in many ways the classic Kdrama- as we watch an unlikely pair fall in love. It is soon revealed that they are deeply connected through their childhood – something that both brings them together and threatens to tear them apart.

The Lead: A Familiar Villain with a Twist

You know that evil girl in every K drama ever? The rich, self important girl, who is often the daughter of the CEO and has a claim to the main lead before our leading lady comes into the picture? This character will often be the lead’s fiance (or trying to be) and is constantly fighting the leading female character to win his attention.

This character acts as the leading lady’s rival and is at some point defeated much to the viewer’s satisfaction. But what if the roles were reversed?

In It’s okay not to be okay the mean b**** plays the lead while the nice girl who has a hopeless crush on the lead male is swept to the sidelines.

While this is unusual, one might still expect that the mean girl will become nicer as the show goes on- that being around the main lead will make her the the sweet leading lady we are used to- but that is not the case.

It is refreshing to see that while her relationship does help her to grow, she does not feel the need to change who she is to please others. Instead as an audience we learn to accept her for who she is recognizing that it is okay not to be okay sometimes and that people need to be accepted for who they are. This is truly something special and we’ve got to give this drama a round of applause for it!

Mental Health

The majority of the drama takes place in and around the OK Psychiatric Hospital where Moon Gang Tae works as a caregiver. This setting gives us the opportunity to get to know many residents at the hospital and the various challenges they face.

The leads are challenged by trauma and antisocial personality disorders that become difficult to navigate as they intertwine with one another.

Ultimately the characters discover that it is by loving and supporting each other – by working together that they can become stronger people.

Butterflies 나비

Butterflies play a key role in the story as they come to represent the trauma Moon Sang Tae experiences as a child.

We learn early on that Gang Tae and Sang Tae must move every few months because of Sang Tae’s fear that ‘the butterfly’ will find them and kill him.

While this does become a tangible symbol by the end of the film- there is still a lot more to it than that.

Greek Symbolism

In the drama, the butterfly is periodically referred to in its Greek form- that it represents “psyche”.

In this sense the butterfly represents a deeper understanding of a person- getting at ideas of psychology, philosophy and the soul.

Psyche from mythology was a mortal woman who Zeus took pity on and released from death by transforming her into a butterfly – granting her immortality and the ability to fly freely. In this way the butterfly symbolizes the soul of the dead who must endure trials and tribulations before achieving immortality.

Taking this interpretation into consideration, it is easy to make the connections between who the butterfly is, why they identify as a butterfly as well as Sang Tae’s uncertainty and fear.

(https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0004-282X2017000300176&lng=en&tlng=en)

Korean Symbolism

As a western viewer, I was missing out on what the butterfly could represent culturally in Korea – here’s what I learned:

Butterflies appear frequently in traditional Korean art and are often paired with flowers (this explains Lee Sang In’s insistence that the flowers in Sang Tae’s mural must be paired with a butterfly).

While butterflies depicted on their own represent joy and pleasure, butterflies paired with flowers symbolize prosperity, contentment and harmony within a family or between a couple.

This symbolism knits together the drama’s key thee of finding love, contentment and balance within a family.

(https://snackfever.com/blogs/magazine/animal-symbolism-in-south-korea)

The Butterfly Effect

With the butterfly as such an important symbol, we can’t help but think of the Butterfly Effect. This concept was formulated by Edward Lorenz who asked the question “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”.

The idea that one small event can hugely affect the outcome of the future has been widely adopted and has since been coined “the butterfly effect”.

Without giving away too many spoilers- it is clear that Moon Gang Tae and Sang Tae’s mother’s small misstep set off a series of events that would deeply affect the future.

(https://www.americanscientist.org/article/understanding-the-butterfly-effect)

The Fairy Tale

Fairy tales are an important element in this drama. Sure- Ko Moon Young is a children’s author, but WHY the fairy tale genre?

What is a Fairy Tale?

Fairy tales are short stories that stem from myth and folk stories which typically involve creatures such as dwarfs, fairies, goblins and other mythical entities. While the details of the stories often seem surreal and unlikely, fairy tales at their heart reveal truths about human experience and nature which is often universal.

Ko Moon Young uses the grotesque to express herself for at the heart of her violent stories she reveals her own struggles through harsh lessons she learned as a child.

The Grotesque

You may have been confused realizing that Moon Young stories do not at all resemble our familiar understanding of the fairy tale in stories such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. But Disney has made a lot of changes to how we understand these classic stories.

Fairy tales are originally much darker than you might think!

For example- did you know that in the story of Cinderella the step mother cuts off the evil sisters toes and heels in order to squeeze their foot into the glass slipper?

Did you know that in Sleeping Beauty, princes and knights who tried to rescue the princess before the allotted 100 years were caught up in the rose thorns and strangled?

Disney has completely redefined how many of us understand fairy tales- romanticizing the genre. In this way, Moon Young’s children books thought it may at first seem strange to you, are actually much more accurately depicting the genre.

The Ending

It wouldn’t be a good Kdrama without a twist at the end! And while you should have seen it coming- we’d be surprised if you figured this one out before it is revealed.

I was surprised and that I really should have caught it- but this twist was right under my nose!

Overall, this was a relatively unique drama in which I learned something about myself and something about others.

While it isn’t an all time favorite, I defiantly enjoyed the drama and would recommend it!

Crush 크러쉬 and Coronavirus

Feeling the pandemic blues?

While we find ourselves stuck inside, confined to our apartments- there’s never been a better time to crank up the kpop and binge a kdrama!

While the kpop industry continues to release new albums and singles during this trying time, there is one artist who has really stood out: Crush (크러쉬)

While other artists seem to be moving on with a business as usual attitude, Crush has chosen to confront pandemic blues directly and has offered us some lyrics that we can’t help but identify with.

Take a listen to some of this artist’s recent work Mayday and Ohio

  • “Awake or asleep| drowning in my own thoughts”
  • “bored like a pebble stuck in a crack, yeah | I wanna enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass”
  • “eat sleep repeat, not much is going on| sitting still on the sofa, you know the stress”
  • “I did nothing today but I’m exhausted”
  • “How can it be so hard to relax”

  • “still nothing has changed”
  • “Frankly I’m not feeling much”
  • “Tired of how slowly time passes| Just wanna run like crazy| Hate myself for being anxious”
  • “I’m not fine, I’m not alright oh girl I know”
  • “Can’t remember the last time I was out”

All I can say is that Crush has pinpointed pandemic vibes and I can’t help but listen to these songs on repeat. He understands our pain.

Whoever is out there reading this- wishing you guys all the best as you tackle this difficult time.

Stay safe!

 

 

MONSTAX: A New Sound

SO those of you who are MONSTAX fans may have noticed that they have recently been producing a new sound.

Whats going on?

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This isn’t the band we are used to- but we still love it!

As it turns out- MONSTAX has signed a contract with an american company and as such, have been producing some all English songs!

Its pretty cool to have a band that can perform in so many languages. MONSTAX- a korean band has been known to sing in Japanese, and now they are building an English collection.

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Check them out and share them with your friends!

they are becoming more versatile, international and trying to get into the global music scene.

English

Spanish

 

We can’t wait to see more collaborations and more multi-lingual music from this group!

Looking For a New Drama?

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Are you looking to start a new drama? Here’s a running list of some of the drama’s we’ve watched!

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We’ve highlighted some of our favourites in blue

Action/Crime

  • Abyss
  • Decedents of the Sun
  • Healer
  • Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
  • Suspicious Partner
  • The K2
  • Vagabond
  • Live
  • Private Lives

Romance

School Romance

  • Accidentally In Love
  • A Love So Beautiful
  • Hello My Twenties (Age of Youth)
  • Love 020
  • My First, First Love
  • Weight lifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Historical/Fantasy

Sci Fi

  • About Time
  • Are You Human Too?
  • While You Were sleeping
  • My Holo Love

Film

  • Fabricated City (Ji Chang Wook)
  • I Belonged to You (Yang Yang)
  • Jurors (Park Hyung Sik)
  • Once Upon a Time (Yang Yang)
  • Parasite

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Got any Recommendations for us?

What are some classic must watch dramas?

What is your favourite drama?

Let us know in the comments below!

PENTAGON PRISM CONCERT 2019

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Pentagon kicked off the North American portion of their 2019 World Tour in Toronto Canada!

Pre-Show

As huge fans of “Shine” and “Naughty Boy” we quickly snatched up tickets when we heard that Pentagon was coming to Canada.

We spent weeks listening to all of Pentagon’s recordings and studying the members faces to prepare for the event.

When the day finally came, we headed out.

The theatre was unexpectedly TINY!

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SPOTTED!!!! BEHIND THE SCENES!!!!

While this truly isn’t a great shot- we truly DID see Hui a few hours before the concert started! We were so surprised that by the time we pulled out our phones, we were unable to catch a good shot.

We noticed some large unmarked vans coming in, and a conspicuous looking police officer who kept eyeing us sternly. So we watched…. and were rewarded!

As it turned out, a big van pulled up and people started taking out suitcases and looking through them. They looked confused and shortly Hui himself came out and started rummaging through them. He was crouched close to the ground and surrounded by production people which made it hard to capture in a photograph.

Just the same- we were ecstatic to have seen him!!!

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The Venue

The theater was a mere 33ft X 45ft with a stage only 25ft long. We have NEVER BEEN SO CLOSE before! It was absolutely surreal!

There weren’t any screens- and honestly- we didn’t really need them! While it was difficult to see over waving light sticks and cell phones, we were able to see ok.

OMG

I can’t emphasize how close we were!

Pentagon Names

WHAT TO EXPECT: The Line Up

1. Sha La La
2. Gorilla
3. Like This
4. Runaway
5. Just Do it Yo!
6. Humph!
7. {Cover} Havana
8. {Cover} Uptown Funk
9. Critical Beauty
10. Skateboard
11. Can You Feel It
12. When It Rains In Night
13. Beautiful
14. Lost Paradise
15. Till
16. Fantasystic
17. Pretty Pretty
18. Spring Snow
19. Naughty Boy
20. Shine

then, much shouting, screaming and chanting brought on an encore:

21. Thumbs Up!
22. Spectacular

The Concert

We were absolutely blown away. The venue was small- so we were able to see the dancing and facial expressions close up! It was PHENOMENAL

You’ll find our recording of their performance of Havana below:

We were blown away by the high energy the guys had on stage- they sang and danced their hearts out for us- one song after another with very minimal breaks.

Despite being short a member, the show went on without a hitch.

We loved how cute they were as they struggled to communicate in English and were proud of their efforts. Kino did much of the translating.

The energy and intimacy this concert offered, truly made it one of the best I’ve attended.

Are you going to see PRISM? I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!

Did they switch up their line up? Which was your favourite song?

We’d love to hear from other Canadian and American Kpop fans!

Please let us know in the comments below!

 

Drama Drop: That Winter, the Wind Blows 그 겨울, 바람이 분다

thewinter_thewindblows

Title: That Winter, the Wind Blows 그 겨울, 바람이 분다

Language: Korean

Episodes: 16

Release Date: February 13 – April 3, 2013 Netflix

Starring: Zo In Sung, Song Hye Kyo

Plot

Oh Soo never thought much about his best friend’s claims to fortune, until he is suddenly killed. Oh Soo gets into hot water and has 100 days to come up with $7 million. Driven to desperation, Soo, a con man by trade, plans to win his deceased friend’s fortune by fooling his blind sister into giving him the money.
Complications arise when Soo grows a conscience and begins to fall in love with the blind heiress Oh Young.

Thinking Deeper

This drama asks ‘whats the point of living?’. Soo examines his empty life and cannot explain his intense struggle to live when it would be so much easier to give up and accept death. While Soo will do despicable things just to keep living, Young on the other hand, continually plans her own death. In the midst of this contrast, both characters learn to understand and appreciate the brevity of life.

 

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Overall

To be brutally honest, this drama just doesn’t hit the mark.

Zo In Sung doesn’t act, cry, kiss or withstand injury well.
While I was interested in the plot, and the suspense as Soo’s character slowly earns Young’s confidence is good, this does not make up for the bad filming and acting.

 

Drama Drop: Abyss 어비스

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Title: Abyss 어비스

Language: Korean

Episodes: 16

Release Date:  May 7 – June 25, 2019 Netflix

Starring: Park Bo-Young, Ahn Hyo-Seop

We were really excited when we first saw the trailer for Abyss-and the show did not disappoint.

Plot

When Cha Min is accidentally killed, he is suddenly transformed into a handsome young man, yet when Ko Se-Yeon is murdered, she comes back to life without her stunning beauty.

The two life-long best friends work together to live anonymously in their new bodies as their ID cards, friends and families can no longer help them.

The two are determined to hunt down Ko Se-Yeon’s murderer in order to reveal their true identities and get their life back on track.

Suspense

I personally prefer Kdramas that are full of mystery and suspense- dramas such as The K2 , Healer and Suspicious Partner.

If you are a fan of any of those dramas, then ‘Abyss will not disappoint.

The suspense and mystery is excellent and you will be on the edge of your seat!

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Romance

If you’re looking for romance- that is not the central focus of this drama. HOWEVER it is quirky and cute and there are plenty of ADORABLE scenes as the couple grow closer together.

If you enjoyed ‘Strong Woman Do Bong Soon’ you’ll enjoy this drama.

Provocative Questions

************SPOILERS************

When Cha Min is pushed off a roof by a supernatural being, he is given Abyss, a magical marble that brings back the dead. But there’s a catch- individuals are revived in the form of their soul.

Cha Min has always had a kind heart and as a result, he is reborn as a gorgeous man while his best friend Ko Se-Yeon, a self centered girl, is revived with “plain” features when Cha Min uses Abyss to bring her back to life.

This is a really interesting thought: what if our bodies were a reflection of our personalities?

How would you make a living if you were not recognized or registered in the world? After Min and Yeon are killed, they cannot return to work, visit their families, use their ID or even withdraw money since their bodies no longer recognizable.

What would it be like to attend your own funeral?

How do you choose who to bring back to life and who to leave deceased?

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Park Bo Young

Recognize the name? The face?

Its our favourite Park Bo-Young of ‘Strong Woman Do Bong Soon’ and ‘Oh My Ghost’!

While I didn’t love her character at first, you will definitely warm up to this spunky, sassy character.

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Ahn Hyo Seop

WHAT A HEART THROB

This has been my first introduction to Ahn Hyo Seop- and he’s my new favourite guy ❤

Born April 17, 1995 in South Korea, Seop is a rising talent.

Its no spoiler that Park Bo Young’s character quickly falls in love with Seop’s kind heart and good looks.

While watching the drama- we suddenly realized that Seop had begun speaking in (nearly perfect) ENGLISH! He sounded so natural that we had to go back and re-watch the scene.

As it turns out, Ahn Hyo Seop spent a few years living in TORONTO, CANADA we were exctatic to discover he had visited Canada- might he possibly return? How many future stars might we have in our very own midst HERE IN CANADA?

You’ll fall for him just like Ko Se-Yeon after watching this clip

Overall

If you are looking for a Kdrama that will give you something to think about, a drama full of action and suspense- then this one is PERFECT FOR YOU. Give it a try!

Do you agree with our review?

What did you think of ‘Abyss’?

Have you heard of Ahn Hyo Seop before?

Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!

Is New Netflix ‘Love Alarm’ Like Black Mirror?

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Title: Love Alarm 좋아하면 울리는

Country: Korea

Episodes: 8

Release Date: August 22 2019 Netflix

Starring: Kim So-Hyun, Jung Ga-Ram, Song Kang

So here’s the scoop!

Netflix is releasing a new kdrama on August 22 2019- and after watching the trailer, it looks like something straight out of black mirror!

While I’m not really one for high school romance, this drama looks like it will be addressing our whole concept of dating.

The concept seems simple: what if you could tell when someone liked you? How would that change your life?

I have really high hopes for this drama and am excited about the thoughts and solutions it will explore.

Whether it will be any good, or whether it will be a twist on the classic Pride and Prejudice, we’ll have to wait to find out. I for one will eagerly be tuning in on August 22!

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Is Arthdal Chronicles Korea’s Game of Thrones???

Arthdal=GoT

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The highly anticipated Korean Drama Arthdal Chronicles was just released through TvN and Netflix on June 1, 2019.

And after just the first two episodes, there has already been some backlash with some viewers complaining that the show is copying the high profile show which just recently came to an end: Game of Thrones.

I have to admit that the moment I began watching, Game of Thrones immediately came to mind even before I heard about the controversy. While there are some definite similarities, after completing (lol like the only 2 available episodes) I don’t think it is fair to make such assumptions.

Lets take a look at why people are saying this, and debunk the arguments.

The Visuals

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Tagon = John Snow
So what? They are both wearing fur.
John snow wears fur for two important reasons. Firstly its damn cold in the north and secondly, his house’s sigil is the wolf.
Tagon wears fur because fabrics would have been expensive, taken a great deal of time to create and, is not as durable as leather. Early people wear leather and fur, that’s all there is to it.
For both men, the fur gives them distinction as leaders. It is a common trope that the leader is strong and fierce. The fur symbolizes who is the head of the pack by drawing on wolf behavior.

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Taealha=The Red Woman
Red is a symbol of power and sexuality. Caeser and his armies wore red.  Jessica Rabbit? Red. The Moulin Rouge? Red.
Put a woman in a red dress and the viewer instantly knows that this woman is confidant, powerful, sexy and a force to be reckoned with.
As for the “hood” well,
The Red Woman the hood keeps her out of the cold. She only wears red- so what other color would her hood be?
Taealha these are early times and if you look closely, clothing / sweing/ tayloring is kept pretty simple. What could be more simple than draping a square cloth around yourself? Nothing I tell you. we are evoking the elegance of Greece- which hasn’t even happened yet. fairy.PNG

Flower Crowns=Children of the Forest
Why is this even being compared?
Children of the Forest they are thier own kind of being- they are like fairies or nymphs or something
Flower Crowns you’ve got a tribe of humans dressing up for a festival. No fairies. This is not everyday wear.

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Neanderthals=White Walkers
To be honest- I think that opening the show with this as an introduction is what started this whole comparison in the first place. Game of Thrones is just so fresh in our minds after the final season, that we can’t help but see the comparison. I think we’ll all be afraid of our blue eyed friends after the trauma GoT gave us.
BUT belive it or not- piecing, glowing eyes, blue or any other color for that matter, are NOT NEW. GoT did not invent this. Lets look at superheros for example.

We could play this game all day.

Take a look at the visual comparisons yourself and see what you think:

The Plot

The Battle For the Throne

Groups struggleing to be the leader is not exactly a revolutionary idea. That is how cilvization works. Look into recent history and you’ll see imperialism- how is that any different?

While in Game of Thrones you have different houses fighting for the throne, here we have tribes seeking to dominate one another- and to be honest, that seems a lot more plausible. Driven by a desire for wealth, comfort and resources, the tribes fight hopeing to build a more stable nation- its not all politics and title seekers like GoT.

We’ve got to agree with Forbes that “battles at the dawn of time do not make the Arthdal Chronicles Game of Thrones“, in fact the Arthdal Chronicles takes place eons before the world of GoT would ever have existed.

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The Wall

I have to admit that if anything- this one is a bit of a struggle. But I’m going to attempt it anyways.

I can definitely understand that the wall- isn’t really NECESSARY and that it seems like a GoT copy. BUT while it may have visually been inspired by GoT, you can’t deny that big walls like that are part of many other stories and shows (Think of Attack on Titan, Donald Trump etc)

The concept that a civilization builds/uses a wall to protect itself from the ‘other’ is not new. What do you think moats are for in castles? If anything, this wall is different since it is a natural barrier to unexplored territory rather than a deliberate attempt of protection.

But yeah- I’ll give it to you- this aspect does ring Game of Thrones.

The Point?

Lets not get carried away by trying to find similarities between the two. Its complicated to do worldbuilding and creators often resort to classic tropes and symbols as ways of organizing ideas and to imply character traits etc.

Think about how the Divergent series are organized- organized traits given to different groups. Game of Thrones does EXACTLY the same thing (see this video If you don’t believe me).

Think of colors- black is usually associated with evil or mystery and is usually worn by men, whereas white is usually associated with goodness and is often worn by women. Since your Game of Thrones fans, think of John vs. Dany- black and white right there.

My point is, it is easy to find similarities when these authors are trying to express and convey a lot of information in s short period of time. They are definitely playing off what you as an audience already know.

SO? Don’t get too worked up. The tropes you see repeated from GoT- arn’t exactly Game of Thrones originals anyways.

Overall, we really wouldn’t say that Arthdal Chronicles is Korean Game of Thrones.

 

Have you watched this new TV series yet?

Do you agree or disagree with us?

Let us know in the comments below we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

NCT127 New Album “We Are Superhuman”

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NCT 127 came out with a new mini album “We Are Super Human” on May 24 2019.

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The album is comprised of six tracks:

  1. Highway to Heaven
  2. Superhuman
  3. Fool
  4. Jet Lag
  5. Paper Plane
  6. Outro: We Are 127

A New Style

After listening to the album in its entirety, we can’t help but feel surprised- this is not the NCT that we are used to. The songs have a very different vibe. We are used to NCT as bad boys in songs such as “Boss” and “Stop Baby Don’t Stop”, but here we’ve been pleasantly surprised with a more relaxed, and cute repertoire. Click here to listen to “Fool” to get an idea of what we’re talking about.

‘Superhuman’

‘Superhuman’ is spearheading the album and is in the spotlight with its own music video.

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Visuals

‘Superhuman’ is a throwback to the 90’s. We can’t help but feel Star treck, Star wars and Spy kids echoing throughout the video.

The costumes are appropriately out of this world as the idols dance, defying gravity. Nods to space suits and moonwalks are scattered throughout, and we can’t help but smile- it feels new yet familiar, new and vintage all at once.

We especially like the close attention to detail, the bubbles floating upwards as well as the subtle and not so subtle silver accents.  AI and lasers paired with familiar ‘robot’ moves completes the song’s feel.

All we can do is nod and say bang on.  Well done.

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Sound

Enter Candace and your brilliant musical knowledge

 

 

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/international/8513025/nct-127-we-are-superhuman-ep-review