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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Golden Child: 1st Generation Official Fanclub Membership Review

2018 has been a big year for Golden Child fans as we've been officially given the fandom name Goldenness on May 4th. Then beginning on August 9th, open recruitment began on Melon to be an official first generation fanclub member. Initially the recruitment period was supposed to close on August 26th, however they extended the period to September 13th.

Ordering the membership was fairly straightforward using Melon's international website, as it was all in English. I recommend triple checking you enter your name correctly, as it will be printed on your membership card. The membership itself was 40,000₩ and EMS shipping to the US was an additional 47,000₩. Shipping price and carrier depends on your country.

On September 17th, Woollim tweeted something along the lines of those who have ordered a membership of being able to change your shipping address if necessary, possibly indicating that shipping of our official first generation would begin soon!

Those in Korea (and probably who ordered on the Korean Melon site) received their official goods around October 10th, in time for the Goldenness Founding Ceremony fanmeeting on October 14th. The lightstick (named 룬봉 (runebong) because 골 (Gol) upside down is 룬 (rune), like how we have to hold the lightstick upside down) was also sold at the venue for 35,000₩.

I received a shipment notification and tracking information via text from DHL on December 7th. Some of my American Goldenness friends received their text notifications a few days before me, and some a few days after me. My package finally arrived on December 10th!
The inclusions of Goldenness first generation came in a cardboard box with dimensions 15.625" by 8" by 6". My friend who pays good attention to detail noted that "10.06.2018" is printed on the exterior label, indicating that our Goldenness packages were already packaged up in early October. From word of mouth it seemed like international shipping was delayed (by 2 months >.<) due to the lightstick battery. Also I heard some packages that Korean Goldenness received had defeats such as missing photocards or photocards not cut correctly. With such a delay for international shipping to begin, I was hoping there would be greater quality control. But so far I haven't heard of any international Goldenness receiving defeated goods. As a side note, my tracking stated that this package weighed 1.8 pounds.
Goldenness first generation includes the lightstick, personalized membership card, photocard set, letter, and tote bag. Opening up the package reveals the membership card and all other contents inside a plastic bag. The membership card isn't secured and could have slipped through the box; luckily mine remained inside the box.
Here are the contents of the package. Bonus points if you can identify the poster in the background^^
The membership card was placed inside an unsealed soft plastic sleeve. The card is hard plastic like a credit card with a metallic beige hue, and the front has the unique ID number and name printed in black. The sleek gold design is embossed on the card. I love how our Goldenness logo matches the Golden Child logo and even says "SINCE 2018".
The backside of the card has a spot to sign. The alternative Goldenness logo is printed at the top. The Woollim authentication seal is at the bottom left, and general information is printed in black.
Inside the plastic bag are the remaining inclusions, placed inside the tote bag and then rolled up.
Unraveling the tote bag reveals the lightstick (which I already took out), letter, and photocard set.
The photocard set was also placed in a sealed soft plastic sleeve, containing one card per member, in age order from Daeyeol to Bomin.
The backsides have each member's printed autographs and messages. These photocards have a matte finish and have the same dimensions and roundness of the corners as the photocards from the albums Goldenness and Wish. Here you can tell that the cards are a bit curved due to being placed with the lightstick inside the tote.
The letter is made of thick paper. It was wrapped directly around the lightstick box, making the letter curled. This is the flattest I could get it after flattening it for 3 days. This letter is a bit big (too big to fit in a regular binder) with dimensions 11.875" by 10.625". The front side has each member's printed message.
The backside of the letterhas a cute design of Golden Child's logo mixed along with bowling pins and bowling balls; I love how they're using this similar style again, from Golden Child's 2018 Season's Greetings.
The tote bag is a nice heather beige hue and seems quite durable. The front has one of the Goldenness logos printed on top while the back is blank. There are no pockets inside. The tote is quite roomy with dimensions 14.5" by 15.875" and hangs comfortable around the shoulder with around 9.75" between the top of the straps and the lip of the bag.
The lightstick box was placed in a clear plastic bag. This box is about 3.5" in diameter and just under 11.5" tall.
The lightstick box is a cylindrical cardboard tube. The design on the box and lid matches the backside of the letter and is slightly embossed, creating more depth. The Golden Child logo and wording are embossed with a copper finish.
The bottom of the box has the product information and authentication sticker.
The lid is held securely by a Golden Child sticker. It was a dilemma deciding whether to peel the sticker off or slice it at the slit to minimize damage; in the end it was cleaner to slice the sticker.
Lifting up the lid reveals the contents of the tubed box.
Inside is a packet containing the pamphlet and accessories, along with the lightstick.
Inside the lid is a 3D cardboard cutout to secure the lightstick. Inside the bottom of the tube is a foam liner to also stabilize the lightstick. They really thought about maximizing the protection of the lightstick, which I'm really happy about especially since they had to ship these all over the world.
The accessories and pamphlet were inside a plastic bag and taped off.
Inside is the lightstick strap and mini USB cable. The strap is like a thick ribbon, with "GOLDEN CHILD" printed on top. I wish the quality of this were better, like Infinite's lightstick where the strap was made of a thicker woven material (but the downside of that was the logo and wording wore off easily).
The lightstick was placed in a plastic bag and taped off at the bottom.
And finally, here is the lightstick! Like many Goldenness' initial reactions, I was a bit hesitant with a bowling pin as a lightstick, but I've completely fallen in love with it now. This lighstick has a lot of neat features that make the runebong very unique and top of its class, all of which I'll go over. First of all, I like how the lightstick can stand on its own since it has a base. The side with the buttons also has the Golden Child logo upside down (but right side up once you're holding the lightstick to cheer). Oddly enough there are two black dots inside the runebong around the logo (and I'm not talking about the dots to the sides of "SINCE 2017"); it's a minor flaw but a bit aggravating to look at sometimes.
The runebong is over 10.5" tall and is 1.5" wide at the base. Notice that I've turned the lightstick 180 degrees from the previous photo - on this side (without the buttons) the Golden Child logo is right side up when the lightstick is standing up. The handle is made of a smooth white plastic. Next is a navy silicon strip with embossed stars. Then there is the lighted part of the runebong, which is on the opaque end of the transparency spectrum.
The very base is a smooth navy plastic with "GOLDEN CHILD" embossed.
At the top of the handle is the slot to plug in the mini USB cable. Another nice feature is that you can charge the lightstick rather than using batteries. The package includes the mini USB cable to charge. The large dot will light up red when the lightstick is charging and the light will disappear when finished charging. On the side is the slot to attach the strap. And toward the base of the handle is the unique QR Code, which can be used to pair with your phone. I discuss this more further down.
The provided pamphlet is entirely in Korean, though there are a few key English words. One side of the pamphlet explains the functions of the lightstick. Honestly I just keep pressing the buttons and hold them for various lengths of time until the lightstick does what I want.
There are two buttons: a smaller one with the power symbol embossed, and a larger one with the Golden Child logo embossed.
Pressing the power button once turns on the lightstick to a solid red.
Pressing the power button again switches to Reaction Mode, where it cycles through all the colors while "reacting" to sound. Here's my runebong rocking out to "It's U"!
Anytime while the lightstick is on, holding down the Golden Child button for a few seconds turns on the spotlight. Press and hold down this button again to turn off the spotlight. This is personally my most favorite feature; I've been using this as a flashlight to get around my home! And last night I had a power outage, which was the perfect time to really test out my lightstick!
The other side of the pamphlet explains how to pair your lightstick with the app. I'll give a brief tutorial here:
  1. Go to the App Store (for iOS) or Play Store (for Android) and download the app "Golden Child Light Stick".
  2. Make sure your phone's Bluetooth is on.
  3. Open the app and press the "Scan" option.
  4. I'm not sure if your lightstick needs to be on or not, but I had mine on so I could see if it worked or not.
  5. Make sure your lightstick is standing up (so the handle is at the top) and use your phone to scan your QR Code. Have your phone just a couple inches away from your QR Code at the most.
  6. The app should say that it has connected!
Features of this app:
  • Search Light: turns on the light at the base of the lightstick. The icon turns from white to yellow when on.
  • Light: Light Up, Flash, Party, and Candle features. This page has a color selection circle where you can simply tough any color of your choice. Underneath is a bar indicating how much light you want emitted from your lightstick (left is no light and right is full light). These two functions are for Light Up and Flash modes. Light Up mode simply displays the color and amount of light that you selected. Flash mode is similar to Light Up mode, however it flashes the color and amount of light selected. Party mode flashes through all the colors. Candle mode uses a warm yellow and lightly flutters like a lit candle!
  • Reaction Mode: sets your lightstick to Reaction Mode by cycling through the colors and reacting to sound.
  • Image: two Golden Child group photos from the Golden Day fanmeeting photoshoot that you can select as the background of the app. You can also add your own images here to use as the app background image.
  • Scan: scans the QR Code (as used in the above tutorial).
  • Battery: indicates the lightstick's battery percentage.
Here is a closer look at the Light page of the app and runebong on Candle mode. It emits such a beautiful warm glow!

Goldenness first generation is my first time officially joining a fanclub, and it truly feels like an honor to be a part of one! The shipping cost seemed ridiculously high at first, but knowing that the membership includes the lightstick makes the price much more reasonable. I'm so happy to be an official Goldenness and to have runebong to cheer for Golden Child!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Golden Child: Wish 3rd Mini Album Review

2018 has been a big year for Golden Child, and it's only getting better with the release of their third mini album Wish on October 24th. This will be Golden Child's third release this year, following mini album Miracle at the end of January and single Goldenness at the beginning of July. Golden Child recently held their Fanclub Founding Ceremony on Sunday, October 14th where they announced this comeback. I think the announcement of this comeback was supposed to be weeks earlier, with the video teasers announcing the original targeted release date at the bottom. On Monday at midnight KST just a few hours after the fan meeting, Woollim released the comeback teaser video (dated for 9/27). Woollim released the album preview on Tuesday. On Wednesday, individual photos of all 10 members were released. The next day, 5 individual trailer movies were released (dated for 10/8). And On Friday, the remaining individual trailer movies were released (also dated for 10/8). On Saturday, Woollim released the second set of concept photos. On Sunday, the short version music video teaser was released (dated for 10/19). On Monday, Woollim released the long version music video teaser (also dated for 10/19). The official music video was released on Wednesday at 6PM KST, and to my surprise, dated for 10/22. I guess Woollim postponed the comeback date. With the comeback announcement only 10 days before the album release, Goldenness are being showered with so many high quality teasers everyday leading up to the comeback.

I shared my ordering experience for this album here, as well as the photocards and book in books that I pulled. I also want to apologize for the poor lighting in some of these photos; I was too excited to wait for a time with good natural lighting.
This album comes in 2 versions. Version A is on the top and Version B is on the bottom. All the photos in these albums were taken over the two days in LA after Golden Child's schedule at KCON LA. Knowing that American Goldenness were the last fans that Golden Child saw and interacted with before this photoshoot makes these albums even more special!
The spine lists the album title. The exterior feels like it's made up of the same material as those paper drawing pads. These albums are also quite large at 11.875" by 8.75" by 0.3125".
The back cover displays the tracklist. Depending on the version, the image reflects that version's album cover photoshoot.
The photobook has 112 pages. The first page has the album title.
The next pages contain a 2-page spread of the group. The design of these albums is like a fashion photobook with a street fashion concept. Both versions contain photos from two photoshoots. The first photoshoot is from the cover of Version A and was shot in an urban area of LA (more specifically, the cover shot was taken in front of the Federal Courthouse on Spring Street), while the second photoshoot is from the cover of Version B and shot in an industrial area of LA.
The next 2 pages contain the album credits. Here you can continue seeing that Version A has a white theme, while Version B has an orange theme.
The following pages list the song credits, along with the page numbers for the lyrics pages.
The song lyrics are spread throughout the photobook and are always on the same pages in each version. I like how it's labelled as "SCENE 01", "SCENE 02", etc. It's also really nice having the lyrics on such a large layout so that we can learn the words and sing along!
Majority of the photos are individual shots. I can't get over that photo of Jaehyun!
All pages with individual photos contain "GOLDEN CHILD M03" (3rd mini album) on the top left page and "WISH" on the top right page, with the page number printed at the bottom.
It's so beautiful how they captured the LA sun setting in the background!
Bomin and Jibeom's photos here from Version A are so powerful! And Jaehyun on a train was such a beautiful concept.
There is always only one photo per page (unless if it's a 2-page spread), so it's really nice seeing all the photos so large and in such high quality.
The page layouts differ too, like how here one photo is overlapping another and using it as a frame.
There are also a few 2-page spreads that showcase a member's photo over two pages. I absolutely love this photo of Seungmin, but it's a bit unfortunate how he's a bit disproportionate due to the binding.
There are 6 pages dedicated to the Thanks To section. These pages are the same in both versions, of course except for the color schemes.
I love the beginning of the group Thanks To: "Golden Child's father, CEO Lee Jungyeop".
The following pages is a 2-page spread of the group from behind. This is the only other group photo in the album.
The very last page houses the CD.
Here are the designs of the discs, matching the color themes of their respective album versions.

This mini album contains 7 tracks. I'm so proud that Jangjun and Tag worked on the lyrics for all 6 tracks (excluding the intro)! The English titles for these songs are a bit unsettling for me, so I've put the translations of the Korean titles instead.
  1. Wish - is the intro track leading up to the title. I'm surprised that the composer for the intro is different than the composer for the title, but it still flows well into the title track.
  2. Genie - is the title, co-written by SEION, who also worked on Golden Child's "Thank You" and Infinite's "왜 날 (Why Me)" within Woollim. As these are very slow ballads, I'm excited hearing the range of talent SEION's has also writing such an upbeat pop song that fits so well with Golden Child's musical color.
  3. 너 (You) - is another track by SWEETUNE, who also worked on Golden Child's tracks "기적 (Miracle)", "너라고 (It's U)", and "Lady"! I'm so happy Woollim is continuing to work with SWEETUNE, as their songs always fit their artists so well.
  4. 너만 보인다 (Only Look At You) - is another track by Woollim's own composer Razer(Strike), who also worked on "I'm Falling"! UPDATE 20181130: today I learned of a rumor that Golden Child will follow up with promotions for this song AND that Jaehyun has no lines on this track. This is beginning to be like "Lady" all over again, where Bomin and Jaehyun had no lines and were always in the back for the choreography, but at least on October 20th they performed "Lady" with new choreography where Bomin and Jaehyun are the center. I guess we'll have to see where Jaehyun is for this choreography. This was honestly becoming my favorite track of the album, but I can't even listen to it anymore, knowing they're doing Jaehyun wrong again.
  5. 들어봐 줄래 (Listen) - Golden Child performed this track for the first time at their latest fan meeting, a song dedicated to Goldenness! I'm really happy that this is the B-track that Golden Child has been promoting along with Genie; it's a beautiful pop ballad and after discussing with my friend, concluded that its matching choreography is like a modern, interpretive dance piece.
  6. 넌 모를 거야 (You Won't Know) - It took me the longest to appreciate this track; the style is just so different from what I'm used to from Golden Child! But the chorus is definitely a bop and I love it now.
  7. Would U Be My - Both this track and "Listen" were co-composed by MARCO, who also worked on Lovelyz' "Fallin'".
All the songs on this album have a large genre range, and besides "Genie", the other tracks don't sound like the classic Golden Child sound, but it just shows that they're able to grow and expand their vocal color. To be honest, this is my least favorite album from Golden Child's discography, but after putting the album on repeat a few times, I've grown to love all of these songs.
Each album comes with 1 photocard out of 20, slipped somewhere within the photobook; there are 2 photocards per member, denoted as a white version and an orange version.
I believe all images were taken while the boys were taking their photoshoots in LA, and it looks like the white version is from the Version A photoshoot while the orange version is from the Version B photoshoot except for Donghyun's and Joochan's photocards where both images are from the same shoot.
The photocards have a glossy finish, just like the Goldenness album photocards. While these cards may look more polished than Golden Child's previous matte cards, these glossy cards seem much more prone to scratches and dents if you were to buy or trade these cards. I ran into this issue while buying several Goldenness cards, to my great disappointment. Here's a comparison of a glossy card versus a matte card.
The backside denotes the photocard version based on the color and includes the member's printed autograph and message. These photocards have the same dimensions and roundness of the corners as Goldenness.
Each album also comes with 1 in 10 "book in books", which is basically a mini photobooklet of a member. The book in book is always placed at the very end of the photobook.
The front and back covers of the book in books are all the same. These book are all 4.125" by 5.875" and have 4 colored sheets stapled at the spine.
There are a total of 12 pages of photos in each book. Here I'll reveal all the pages for Daeyeol, Y, Seungmin, Jibeom, and Joochan. As I collect more books, I hope to share them all on a future post!
I like how the photo layout is unique per member, mixing up the formatting.
All these book in book photoshoots were taken sometime after Golden Child's time in LA.
This concept matches well with the mature, sophisticated concept given off in the regular photobook.
Why must that photo of Jibeom be made so small?!
Seriously, again with the small Jibeom photos and the wasted space.
And here are the last pages of the book in books.
I also briefly got my hands on Jangjun's book. Each page lists the member's name and "WISH" on the left margin, and "M03" (3rd mini album), "GOLDEN CHILD", and the page number on the right margin.
This era also comes with 2 external first press posters, which are the same image as the album covers.
The poster dimensions are the same as Gol-Cha! and the image quality is still a little grainy, which matches the rustic look and is no where near as grainy as the Gol-Cha! posters.

Overall, like with every album, this album holds such significance to me especially because the main photoshoots took place in LA shortly after KCON. While Woollim continually teased a dark concept for this comeback, I'm eternally grateful for Golden Child to continue their youthful, bright, and energetic concept. And lastly, I'm so happy to see that Golden Child is continuing their own branding with the music video based at "Golden Factory" and one of the stage outfits being Golden Child-branded jumpsuits. It's been a busy year for Golden Child and I'm so happy they were able to squeeze in this comeback though I really hope they'll get some much deserved rest!