... Oh good lord, it's been a while... Shit >o>
So, we're back to the Request Chronicles, which I started all the way back last year in November... like, I have yet to hit the 1-year mark for when I started this, but it's close... too close, and I haven't even finished this thing. I do blame procrastination, of course.
Life, too. But Life is procrastination in itself!
Of course, I have been procrastinating so hard on it, I have had people comment asking when I would get back to it. Well, I'm back on it, I just need to keep it consistent, which I am terrible at... we'll see how it goes for now though, but I hope to keep on Top of it for a while. Speaking of Top...
Today I shall be taking a look at Top Combine! The next group on my list, this Mandopop boy band was requested by an Anonymous commenter, who suggested four PV's from two different groups (two PV's per group, to be exact!) with Top Combine's Grandness Equal to Heaven being the first song on the list, so the first to review it is! Though, as you may know, I will only review three of these songs... depending on how much I have to say about them, that is.
So... Top Combine. Just who are they? Well, Top Combine are a Mandopop group made up of four (formerly five) members, and the group itself was created in 2007, with a 2008 debut. The group is still around now, and the group specialises in Mandopop and dance-pop sounds. So far, the group has released four albums to date, with Grandness Equal to Heaven being their second album release since their debut.
And, given that I have already told you we are reviewing this PV today, this is the song and video I shall be looking at. Just how will the group fare this time around? Will they rise to the Top of my list, or crumble to the ground from their grand mountain to Heaven? Let's take a look and see with Grandness Equal to Heaven. Let's START!!!
... I swear, all boy bands have tried to pull this style of opening off before. Heck, girl groups have even done it!
Wait a second... this isn't Heaven! This is the fiery blue depths of Hades dungeons!
You tricked me!!!
Eyebrows: "Baby, don't cry... I'll hold you."
Hey... are those Adobe After Effects behind you?
Eyebrows: "What!? How the heck did you know that!?"
It's called shitty effects and Chroma key.
Oh fucking yay, lens flare/background lighting... my absolute favourite!!!
Oh Christ, it looks like the Matrix meets H!P in here!
And is this a mandatory Mandopop/Korean boyband thing to wear some form of a leather jacket/bolero? Yeah, I thought as much.
Sekushii-Hurr: "... I hate these effects so much, please, just... shoot me..."
Nope, not gonna, you're the hottest damn fine fella in this entire thing. Yowch, you turned up the heat in here! <3
Sekushii-Hurr: "Look into ma EYES!!!"
I would, but the damn effects are kinda distracting me from looking at you~
... I swear, this dude just popped out from Grease! Hey, Danny Zukko!
Oh good Lord, it's Mushroom Head!!!
So many... effects... it almost stops me from noticing... the men...
ONLY PELVIC THRUSTS CAN SAVE ME FROM THIS!!!
Yummy McNumNums: "Come hither, darling~"
Okay, you're pretty yummy looking... hi~
Okay, where the fuck are my Pelvic thrusts? I mean, sure, do the whole upper-body turn thing, whatever, but where are my Pelvic THRUSTS?
Oh, I didn't realise that we had entered the Chocolate Disco era of Perfume in this PV. My bad.
Mushroom Head: "Hey, baby... wanna get with this?"
I have to say, he works that hideous 'do.
Awww yeah, Water bending time!
Eyebrows: "Hello, camera~ I missed you <3"
"Come and get it, baby~"
Okay, if you beckon me that way... I might just pounce...
"But you shoulda put a ring on it!!!"
We gettin' our Beyonce on in here! Oh yeah, baby!
Is it ridiculous of me to immediately think of Sayumi's little "HELP ME!!!" line from Resonant Blue when I see this image?
Hell, I'm even imagining her voice coming from his mouth now!!! Argh!!!
Awww shit, these effects are the bomb-diggity! Look at how expensive they are!
BOOM! Lightning! It's almost like the elements have all come into the PV!
I don't know what it is with men in Korea or China and this hair-do... but dayumn, you da sexy, Mushroom-Head! Work dat hideous hair like it's sexy!
Mushroom Head takes centre stage in Chocolate Disco... I mean Grandness Equal to Heaven!
Yeah... you earned that Centre spot, Mushroom Head. Work that hair and work that group!
Closest thing I'll ever get to Pelvic Thrusts and being driven insane in this music video.
... Oh shit, the fiery gates of Hell have opened! Quick, Top Cobine, RUN! Save your Hair and your leather jackets!!!
... Nope, not gonna. Instead, they decide to walk away from Adobe After Effects. Good choice, men. Good choice.
Okay, so honestly speaking (er... writing), I have to admit that the first time I saw this PV, I really was not impressed. In fact, I'm still not overly won over by Top Combine... at all. Neither this song nor Lucky Boy, which I actually don't care for at all, have really appealed to me, which is pretty saddening because I quite like Mandopop when I do listen to it, and these guys have a good sound, but... they just have yet to win me over, is all. I guess the video and the quality of Grandness Equal to Heaven is a reason behind why I'm not overly set on the group, though they did manage to keep me inerested in the video thanks to one grand little quirk they seem to have... but more on that later.
So, the video; unlike many modern videos we see from groups today, Grandness Equal to Heaven is one of those heavily-chroma keyed videos that tries to put a focus on the dance, but instead overwhelms the viewer with the editors overuse of effects within the background of the PV. This brings us back to when the use of such effects seemed to be pretty popular, but right now, it's pretty outdated and of course overly tacky... and sadly, given that this is pretty much 100% of what the PV is made up of, it does cloud my judgement greatly, especially when it distracts me a good 80% of the time when watching it.
Yep. The effects basically captured my attention more than the members of Top Combine, because they were just so outrageously noticeable and down right gaudy. Not fun, if you ask me. Then again, I seem to have a vendetta against horrible, tacky effects...
That said... the members do grab my attention at certain points in the video, mostly when they have a solo shot. I mean, the solo shots are pretty cool themselves, and they work better with the effects of the background than they do during the group sequences. I like that it seems each guy has a different background/element to work with that represents the personality of that person, though this seems to be a rather frequent thing within Chinese boy groups, because I swear, MAMA had a few elements thrown in there...
It's all about the comparisons today, boys and girls.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the members themselves... as I said, they did grab my attention, but mostly when they went solo. And it had nothing to do with how cool or sexy they looked, because on the contrary, it was how funny an silly they looked.
I don't think that I have ever seen a less serious PV from a boygroup, and yet... I think they were taking it seriously, but it translated so differently to the point where it was just so funny to watch. I mean, the way they express themselves through their facial features at some points, and even the dance, it became fun for me to watch because it looked a little silly to watch! This was basically the high point of the video for me, because despite all of the crappy background effects, there are some seriously funny facial expressions thrown in there that just add charm and personality to the video, and allow me to kind of forget (not completely, of course) how bad I originally thought it was, and lets me enjoy the added bit of fun that this video has. Forget professionalism, forget the lack of pelvic thrusts in the dance and forget how bad the video itself looks... the expressions make up for it, and so does that mushroom-shaped hairdo. Mhm!
Also, before I dissolve into a mess of words about the song itself, that opening is also pretty awesome; it starts off as if the video is like a cheesey 80's Inspector Gadget-esque show, before rewinding and heading into this rather cool-sounding song... and then the monkey laughter. Oh lord, the background monkey laughter.
... I was a gonna by that point, I believe. I won't look back, either!
Okay, fangirling over the opening over, I want to talk about the song, which is honestly the strongest thing about this entire PV/Song release... other than Mushroom Head and the wonderful facial expressions, that is. But I digress (even more)!!!
The song has grown on me. I admit it, it grew on me. Like the tree in MAMA. I at first was unsure about it, I wondered if I liked it or not, but after a few more listens, I have found that I enjoy it quite a bit... especially those vocals. The vocals make me melt, I swear.
I don't think that the song is the best or worst, in fact it's a rather generic tone in my opinion, but it has it's little charm points that make it likeable, such as the random laughter and background noise in the beginning of the song as well as the different tones of the members' voices and the random use of auto-tune and effects on the vocals. It's also pretty catchy and memorable I guess, because even after the song stops I'm still playing it in my head and enjoying it... though I doubt I will listen to it again unless pushed to, because it isn't as memorable or catchy to listen to as other songs I have heard. I mean, it's certainly no AOA GET OUT, but it's still a pretty good song. It has a nice dance beat behind it, and it's fun to listen to.
... And that's all I have to say about the song. Pretty short, I know, but that is all I want to talk about when it comes to the sound. I like it, but not enough to continue pursing Top Combine in terms of their music.
In fact, whilst I found charm and hilarity in this song and PV, I'm not overly keen on Top Combine as a whole right now. I guess it's because of my personal music taste, as well as my personal opinion towards the PV. They are an okay group, and they have a quirk about them that I quite like, but they just aren't my cup of tea... the video is a bit of a let down (then again, EXO's MAMA has obscured how I think and feel towards Mandarin boy groups thanks to their high-ass quality) and the effects of said video drown out the boys and their talent thanks to how in your face everything is.
I think that, if the video were kept simple and instead only used the effects for the solo shots, with a regular studio or backdrop for the dance shot, this would have been a better PV, because it would have given us as the viewers more of a focus on the members themselves rather than drowning them out with bright colours and shapes that drag us away from their dance sequence, ultimately forcing us to look at something that is just so obnoxiously obvious and tacky.
It truly is a pity that this group was overtaken by the effects of their backdrop, because I really paid little attention to them thanks to that, as the group is pretty good at dancing and they have some wonderful vocals. At the end of the day though, they were overshadowed... and it kind of proved to be their downfall with me as a viewer.
Grandness Equal to Heaven? More like the crumbling of Heaven and its untimely downfall with this PV.