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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Monday, March 19, 2018

[MV & Album Review] UP10TION – 'Invitation'



Track List:

3.  Target On
4.  Finally
5.  Habit
6.  Mixed Signals
7.  Always
8.  Superstar
9.  Love Sick
10. Still With You
11. I Need You (Unreleased)

UP10TION is extending an 'Invitation' to check out their newest album. It's their very first full-length LP, with the title track "CANDYLAND" and even a previously unreleased track "I Need You."

"INVITATION" is their title track. I like the industrial influence here and even though it's a bit muted, it's still a fun listen. "CANDYLAND" is the first club banger on the album, and every second of it is totally worth being a lead single. I love the generous rap lines here, and not only are they meaty they are sick. The bold chorus, the loud instruments, they all pulled me into that lush soundscape. 

The second in a row of energetic tracks, "Target On" also tickled my tympanic membrane. I love a good club banger, and as good as "CANDYLAND" is, this is a close second. An awesome jam. I like "Finally" because it starts out with rapping, but the hip-hop stylings quickly give way to more traditional pop rhythms. It's noticeably slower, a good comedown from the excitement of "Target On" and the title track. "Habit" is a ballad, but it keeps itself even throughout and doesn't go where other ballads seem to. The boys are particularly emotive, and you can almost feel the pain in their voices.

"Mixed Signals" is an upbeat, cheerful song, kind of a direct counterpoint to what we've heard so far. A playful tune, it's a good little bop. I like the synth flourishes and the repetitive hooks. "Always" is a soft pop tune. The sharp vocals and the heavy amount of rapping give it an uncharacteristic edge. Its placement is interesting, given that the next tune, 

"Superstar," is another powerful club banger. Angry raps and an explosive chorus help this song seriously pop. The next song, guaranteed not to leave you ill, is "Love Sick." R&B inspired, that doesn't stop it from having some interesting chords and definitely offbeat breakdowns. You have to hear it to understand what I mean. "Still With You" is another ballad. While the falsetto and expressive vocals are all there, I don't like how it ends up. I think it would have more impact if they just left it tender and raw. "I Need You (Unreleased)" has a liberal amount of falsetto driving the chorus. It's catchy and ebullient, and I like the synth effects.

This is a solid album. There's only maybe a tune or two I didn't care for, but it doesn't swing the overall feel. When they're at their best they are loud and in your face, and they do that several times here. While their ballads are okay, it's the bangers that do it for me. UP10TION is a pretty underrated group, and this release deserves much love.


The sad thing is that I've seen a lot of MVs like this. They do some dancing sequences, some individual shots of the members, but they don't actually do much beyond that. And it's the furthest thing from the original. Here you have them dancing in a couple locations (including outside a faux-storefront), and shots of darkened rooms with mini-Christmas lights.

But here's where I lighten up some. Part of it may be the music, but I enjoyed watching this. The dancing was athletic and interesting, the colors were rather original (there's something about seeing that anime-inspired cloud sequence that gets old after about the third time), and it was fun to watch.

The dancing was really well done. In a club-banger like this, you can really cut loose, and the movements were swift, decisive, and full of variety. Boy bands seem to do better than most girl groups in this area. And UP10TION cleans up here.

So, of course, this MV loses points for originality. But I didn't get bored watching it. Not once. And if one or more of your biases are in the band, you won't either. Thumbs up.


MV Relevance...........9
MV Production..........8
MV Concept..............8

Album Production.....9
Album Concept.........8


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