Sunday, October 7, 2012

LIP MINKS - Profiling and "L" Debut Single Review

Sassy unit LIP MINKS is made up of 4 Kawanishi junior high students who passed the "TEENS DANCE & VOCAL PROJECT" audition. Each girl has won various dance contests, so they're all definitely skilled in dancing, something else I assumed from them. They debuted this February with their maxi single, "L".

Although they've only been active for about a year, the group has already gone through one member graduation. The members in the picture, from left to right, are:
Birthday - September 12, 1997
Blood Type - O
Talent - Penmanship
Hobbies - There's a lo~t
Dance Experience - 3 years

Birthday - February 22, 1997
Blood Type - B
Talents - Dance (Hiphop, pop), fake pantomime, fake crawl etc.
Hobbies - Making copies of lyrics, bicycle practice, walking my dog, drawing
Dance Experience - 5 years

Birthday - October 27, 1997
Blood Type - A
Talents - Dance, hula hooping
Hobbies - Watching movies at home
Dance Experience - 6 years, 6 months

Birthday - January 8, 1997
Blood Type - O
Talents - Dance, being able to sleep anywhere, K-POP sales pitch
Hobbies - Making sweets, tennis, listening to music, playing with dogs
Dance Experience - 11 years

Birthday - H.o9.oI/3I (She posted this as her birthday on the official blog for her self-intro post... Have no idea what it's supposed to mean, though.)
Blood Type - O
Talents - Snowboarding
Hobbies - Making sweets

"L" Debut Single Track-by-Track Review (Song descriptions translated from their blog)
1. Sweet Candy
"With a track that has a powerful beat and aggressive brass being overlapped, the lyrics talk about being assertive in love in this danceable song"

Similar to their visual image, the song's instrumental has an adult-like and hip-hop-ish kind of sound to it, which makes me wanna dance along to the beat. There's a beat that's very consistent throughout the whole song, which may make it seem repetitive. In addition, I don't think there were enough layers to the instrumental for the majority of the song, which made it seem very empty for me. Thinking positively, I like the layer of voices in the chorus, along with some sound effects in the bridge. The vocals aren't perfect, but they're still pretty good! I could hear they were trying to put in a kind of fierceness and attitude into their singing, and it's certainly very important to put in feelings that match the mood of the whole shebang. I'm interested to hear what they sound like once they have experience, since they are starting out, after all.

The PV itself starts out with the girls in slow-motion entering... A club, I guess, and pausing for each girl with their names on a black and white closeup. I have to say, they just exude confidence for me with their struts and facial expressions. This just further extends their mature image, which is no problem for me... And I also don't have a problem with their clothes. I WANT~! Especially Seika's cut sweater. ;D Continuing on, it then goes to a scene where they dance in front of what looks like... A warehouse? I don't know what it is, but besides that, there's also surrounding cars, guys, and flashy lights. Officially reminds me of a scene in a sterotypical Western Hiphop music video. Good thing or bad thing? It depends if the musical act can rock it. And for me, they rock it so much that all my attention is on them. How they do it is all thanks to the sexy choreography, they way they "work it out" (Hehe ^w^) when it's their solo line, and their appearances. One thing that kind of made me go :/ is some of the faces the girls pulled; they didn't pull off sexy, but awkward. Other than that, they continue to showcase their fierceness throughout, including in club scenes, making for a very flirtatious PV overall.

2. love imagination
"A pleasant melody to a mid-tempo beat, this song draws the feeling of a trembling girl in love"

Once the song starts, the beginning instrumental reminds me of a more modern and Hiphop-ish version of the beginning instrumental of SPEED's STEADY, which is one of my favourite songs from them. Not to be misinterpreted, though, I think the "main sound" of the instrumental still differs a little from STEADY, and still carries their particular genre of Hip hop. With the rest of the instrumental, I think it sounds very dreamy yet cool and now reminds me of just "old" Jpop or even "old" Western pop, too. I also like how it sounds more complex in layers than the A-side... or maybe it's just that I like this kind of lyrical hip hop sound in general. The vocals are really, really hard to hear, but it sounds like there may be some harmonizing in the mix, which almost always wins a song for me, and this is no exception. I also think their vocals sound better in this specific, if not in this style of, song. In addition, even with a slower song, the choreography isn't simple as one would probably expect, it's sensual and fits the song a lot. My favourite song off this single so far... But that's not saying a lot since I've only listened to two songs. Let's see what the other two have to bring!

3. Dear
"A ballad which has gently and, at times, powerfully played piano and strings. A song that sings about lost love and a broken heart that comes with tears."

True to the song's description, the song happens to be a ballad with very calming piano and strings... I've just now noticed, but whenever ballads have piano and strings playing in the background, they always seem to be instant winners for me. And this is luckily no different, as I love how both instruments add to the loving mood of the song. And as I find with most ballads, the instruments build up power in the chorus and near the end of the song, which also makes me like this song a lot. The composition is also personally amazing, and if they were harmonizing during the chorus, which they might have been though I'm not entirely sure, that makes it even more pleasant to listen to. The solo near the end of the song was kind of flat for me, but her voice is still "so special~". (Hehehe XD) I can really hear potential in her voice and especially in the ad-libs that she did. Now I really can't wait for her voice, and the others' voices for that matter, to mature and grow. I wish there was a full performance of this song up, since this video is only 3 minutes and I love this song, more than the main song once again.

4. Love Music
"Making you think of a New Jack Swing, the catchy hook to a casual beat is the feature of this 'upper' song"

Right at the time marker of 0:01 (Yes, one second), it instantly reminded me of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. XD Like the style of it is like old-school hip hop to me. It's so funky that it makes me wanna get up and dance. (Did I already say that for another song? XP) Then when it gets to the vocals of the song, (I'm assuming they sung the chorus) it once again reminds of something SPEED would've sung in their prime, and those songs were damn good!... To me of course. :P In the verse, it then reminds me of a mix of old-school Western hip hop and SPEED... So old-school Western SPEED hip hop! Anyways, I love this kind of style since it's very fun, hip, and fresh if we're comparing it to today's music with the consistent beat, "twinkles", and other instruments. Plus, the instrumental break with the unexpected voices being played makes it even better. When we're talking about the vocals, I actually think they showcased them best with this particular song. I think they sounded united and together in those group lines and full of attitude and sass with each solo line, as well as better control, I feel. They also performed the dance to it with bounce and sensuality, making this a great performance to watch, and a great song to listen to.

LIP MINKS are just starting out, but they're already pretty good, if not great, in singing, dancing and charisma. Plus, even if the A-side didn't really sound all that great, their debut single was also overall a pleasure to listen to. Their image is that like an adult, but I really can't wait to see what they're like once they become adults or at least a few years older than they are right now. So for now, I'll follow along on their journey to see where they go from here on out.

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