Music Review: Teen Top "NO. 1"

Teen Top released their official full length album just a few days ago, making quite a few people very happy! Even though the group has been around for a while now, they've only made Mini and Single albums so far. From their debut until now, Teen Top has really matured their look and sound, and I was really pleased to see another album from them. Since this is a full length album, there are quite a few songs on it. So, I'm going to attempt to keep this short in order to talk about all of the songs without making you doze off. "Finally, they release their full album. It's not a Mini, it's not a Single, it's a Full Album. So check this out, Number One."

Teen Top's first full album Number One, released February 25th 2013! 

Teen Top debuted in 2010, after the members were selected from the Lotte World Open Audition, and are under the TOP Media label. The first time I personally noticed them was with their song and video for Super Love, in early 2011. The group is composed of six members, all male. First are Ricky (Yoo Chang Hyun) the "Lovely Vocal" born in 1995, and Niel (Ahn Daniel) the "Emotional Vocal" born in 1994. Both of them had experience with musicals when they were younger, when they were featured in different Plays. The leader of the group is C.A.P (Bang Min Soo), who was born in 1992 and is the "Charisma Rapper". L. Joe (Lee Byung Hun) the "Bad Boy Rapper", and Chunji (Lee Chan Hee) the "Power Voice", were both born in 1993. Finally, the youngest member of the group born in late 1995 is Changjo (Choi Jong Hyun), the "Dancing Boy". The group has their own YouTube Channel named "TeenzOnTop", where they post their Music Videos, along with their self made program "TEEN TOP On Air". They are really dedicated to their fan group "Angel", and try their best to stay connected with them. Although the group is comprised of pretty young members, they still do really well in the music world, and can compete with some of the older groups for fans. Enough about their names and information, and on to the music! 

- No. 1 

This is the intro to the album, which I quoted earlier (if you didn't notice). A ridiculously deep synthesized voice let's you know what this album is, and what it isn't. "It's not a mini, it's not a single, it's a full album". It's about a minute long and has a remix sound to it, full of record scratches and effects. They also released this track early on for their teasers for the album, which you can watch Here! It's not really supposed to be a song that you play on repeat, but it does a great job as an intro into the album, and the next song. 

- Miss Right (긴 생머리 그녀) 

The next song, more or less, starts where the intro left off. I hope you're a fan of "Lalala's", because this song is chalked full of them! Honestly, I had to listen to this song a couple times in order to really "get" this song. The kind of tone that they use isn't for everyone, but it grew on me after a while and I do enjoy it now. They also made a Music Video for this song, though it's not the only MV that comes from this album. It's starts off with them all in prison, and some really cool harsh lighting, for the intro. They move onto different sets and all take notice of "Miss Right" at the same time. The colorful and bright clothes are really their style, and I love the dance for this one as well (especially the one right at the beginning)! Everything about this just radiates "Teen Top", from the video to the beat and rhythm of the song. If the video isn't your style, you can also check out the Dance Version, and get to know the moves better. Although I didn't absolutely love it as first, it gets addicting because of how catchy it is. 

- Missing You (니가 아니라서)

The next song takes it down a notch with a slower, R&B sound. I especially like the lower and more raspy vocals in this song during the verses. Instrument wise, the Piano is my favorite part of this song! It really added a lot to the overall sound of the song, and even though it's not prominent throughout the entire song, it really stands out when it is featured. The lyrics for this song are so deep and profound, I was seriously impressed by them! The basic story behind the song is that the man is with another woman, after either a breakup or loss of their previous love, and he's trying to change his new girlfriend into his old one. He dated her because she looked a bit similar, and ended up trying to change the girl, even her perfume, to be like the last one. The guilt is overwhelming and the man is so sorry that he can't love her the same way, and is also sorry for his old love because he's trying to replace her. It's really emotional and honest, and the music reflects the lyrics really well. (They also performed this song live for M-Countdown.

- I Wanna Love

This is another song from the album that is also a Music Video, though this one was released before their album was. Whenever I watch this MV, I want to find some canned Pineapple to eat right away because of the opening. (In fact, I just opened up a can. Really.) Of course, when you're sad it's probably better to go on a Pineapple binge instead of Ice Cream or Cheesecake. I Wanna Love was the video that let me know that Teen Top was maturing these days. Although I really like Miss Right, personally I prefer this song and video. The muted colors, mixed with the mismatched clothes that would have been bright, if it weren't for the filters, and just the overall look and feel appealed to me more. I also love the chorus, and the softer tone they used for it. The Bridge is also great, and I'm a fan of the rapping style they have. Sure, "I Wanna Love" isn't the best English hook, but "I Want To Love" doesn't have a nice ring to it. Also, Teen Top doesn't have a history of having song titles that contain perfect grammar, with Supa Luv, I'm Ganna Crazy, and Be Ma Girl. That's the young and carefree element that I like to much about them though! Overall, the sound of this song is balanced and fresh, everything flows nicely, and the way they fade out at the end was quick and clean, yet not abrupt.

- Stop Girl

When I hear the words "Stop Girl", I'll admit, I think of U-Kiss automatically. That being said, I also like Teen Top's song Stop Girl! It has that Jazz influenced Hip-Hop sound, yet has it's own flair to it, making it stand out. The phone effect for the intro was a nice touch, and that electronic synth-guitar and you can hear sporadically added that special something. While the main sound is electronic with a heavy beat, there are so many smooth undertones which keep it from being an R&B type song. I'll say it again, the sound is pretty mature! I'm really happy with this type of music from them, and their different vocal ranges are what took this type of song to the next level.

-Why (왜)

Since their first song was "Clap", and I immediately thought of that when I heard "Clap your hands" in the beginning. (That may just be a coincidence though...) Anyways, after a more relaxed song, this one is more upbeat and playful. The way that they alternate between the Korean word for why (왜/Wae), and the English word why every now and then, was clever, especially since they sound so similar. The lyrics are pretty simple, they keep wondering why they keep thinking about the same person over and over. The electronic/keyboard sounds are really high, compared to the other songs, and have a kind of music box quality to the pitch. The beat is steady and doesn't change much throughout the song, and I like it. The rap breaks with the other members echoing the lines has to be my favorite part, though I also really like the chorus. They alternate between a peppy sound and a hip-hop beat, and then repeat the opening for the final verse, ending the song abruptly.

- Hello

Next, the album gets slow for a bit, starting with this song. I loved the intro for this one, the effect that warps you into the song, gently, and the hushed tone for the opening line. This song has different points in it where you just hear them breathing, and everything else goes silent, and it adds a lot of feeling to the track. Most of the song has a hushed tone to it, especially during the chorus. I really appreciate the restraint that they had to hold back and not make their voices as powerful as usual. If they had come on too strong, vocally, it wouldn't have suited the song and probably would have taken away from the emotion of the song as a whole. The song is so painful, because you don't even want the person to say hello, because you know they eventually leave you in the end. The music is soft, making the vocals stand out more, and has a melancholy sound. I also loved the way they mixed the Chimes with the sound of the wind, so they sounded like they were being played naturally by the wind. It's a really beautiful song, and a great ballad addition to the album.

- Never Go Back

This song starts off with the same Chimes, but the music is different so they sound different than they did in the last song. This is still a slower song, but the meaning is pretty much the opposite of the other ballads. It's about being single, and how great it is to be single again, and that they don't even want to go back to that painful relationship. You can really interpret it any way you want, that they really mean what they're saying and are genuinely happier, or that this song is just bitterness getting to them, so they feel like love is a joke. Either version of the lyrics that you choose to believe, the music somehow suits them both. It doesn't have that same hurt, gentle sound that the last one does, and is more like an R&B song. Instead of it being a song you would hear in a coffee shop, it suits a club more. The rhythm is faster, but other instruments are incorporated to give it a more complex sound. What I feel makes it similar to the previous song the most is that their voices are the focal point of the song, and not the music.

- Mad at U (너 땜에 못살아)

If you don't think that Never Go Back was a song about bitterness, this song makes it obvious that it's about being angry with someone. Because of the theme of the song, I'm happy that they highlighted the lower voices instead of the softer or higher ones. I also liked the way that they added a line from their song "To You" in this one ("It's like every day"), and sang it the same way and everything! The music for this has that classic Teen Top sound, very electronic and effect heavy, with a bright and futuristic sound. During certain parts of the song the music even sounds like it's being stretched out because of how the notes are held out. Even though it's not really fast paced, it's still a good dance or club song. In case you were curious, the song is about being mad at the person because you gave them your heart and they just caused you pain in return. While part of the person is hurt and confused, they're also angry at what that person did to them to make them feel that way.

- So Sweet

Now, they let you take a break from the depressing and angry songs for a bit. This is the kind of song that I've come to expect from Teen Top, and I mean that in a good way. The entire song is a compliment, comparing the girl to different sweet things and desserts! Things like chocolate, cake, candy, and also expensive and cute things like diamonds and teddy bears. Instead of simple saying they think the girl is sexy or something, they are a bit more creative and see her as a sweet and innocent girl to be treasured, in a way. Or course, that's not the only theme to the song. They also say, "Learn from me, this is how players talk", so while they're complimenting girls, they're also teaching guys how to compliment girls properly to pick them up. That attitude is kind of a theme to Teen Top's music in the past, and I suppose you just get used to it after a while. The main component to why this is a Teen Top sounding song is that, despite the underlying theme, it's still so catchy and fun sounding that you want to dance and sing along, especially at the "Oooo" parts! Finally, their use of vocal effects were really cool in this song, and the techno accents that are throughout it.

- Get Crazy 

Speaking of songs that you want to dance and sing along to, this is the perfect song for that! Both the music and singing for this one are at about the same level, and neither one really stands out too much above the other. The song is about partying, getting crazy, and jumping around! So it shouldn't surprise you that it's so funky and fun. The music has that same futuristic sound to it, like something from a Dance Dance Revolution game, and the "whoosh" effects and video game type sounds are especially great. I also really love the say they skipped their voices at parts, and echoed each other for the harmonies. Honestly, I'm surprised that there isn't some kind of dance video to go along with this song, because it's so perfect for one! If you need something to dance, or take a drive to, and get crazy, look no further!

- Mr. Bang (Feat. Maboos and Chakun from Electroboyz) 

Finally, we've reached the final track on the album! This song features two of the members from Electroboyz, and is more their style than Teen Top's. The song has a heavy Hip-Hop/Rap sound, and the music is mostly just a heavy beat, that echoes a bit at the end. It's a bragging song, about who they are now, and how great they are. I'm really happy that they added Chakun and Maboos to this one, because they can do this type of Rap really well. It really sounds like an intro, so I thought it was interesting that they used this as their closing song instead. The song seems pretty short and goes by fast, bringing this album to a close.

There you go, the first full album by Teen Top! Although it still has the same flair and flavor as their previous music, they've matured their sound for this album and really put a lot of effort into it. If you've been a fan of them from the start, or were just waiting for their sound to grow a bit, this album is really worth checking out! You can buy the album digitally on iTunes for around $10, or physically. There are two versions of the album, which have the same songs on them, either the regular or limited version. I like to buy from Kpop Plus myself, and the Regular Version would be around $20 with shipping, and the Limited Version is around $40, you can check them out yourself to see which you prefer. You can also buy from Yes Asia, and get the regular album either With or Without the poster for around $20-$30, or at any other store that you prefer! For not I'm enjoying my Pineapple and this CD, and I hope you can get a taste of at least one of those things!

See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,

(P.S. I've added a new tab labeled "K-Sponge", which is a weekly video that I put out on Sundays about the Korean Music from the past week!)