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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lovelyz: R U Ready? 2nd Full Album Review

Lovelyz' first comeback of 2017 was on February 26th, with their second full length album titled R U Ready?. The concept and title track "WoW!" are quite different from their previous releases, but it shows the group's diverse talent and variety in their genres.

I pre-ordered this album on Ktown4u for just under $25USD including shipping. It shipped on February 27th and delivered on March 14th, taking 15 days. My album arrived in an orange waterproof bag lined with bubblewrap, and inside it was wrapped in an additional 4 layers of bubblewrap.
The album cover is very bright and poppy, matching the vibrant tone of the concept and title song.
The backside is simple and includes the tracklist at the bottom. The stripes, lettering, and toothpaste are all embossed.

Here is the tracklist:
1. R U Ready?
2. WoW!
3. Cameo
4. Emotion
5. 새벽별 (Morning Star) - Baby Soul, Kei, Jin
6. 첫눈 (First Snow)
7. 똑똑 (Knock Knock)
8. The - Mijoo, Sujeong, Yein
9. Night and Day
10. 숨바꼭질 (Hide and Seek)
11. 나의 연인 (My Little Lover) - Jiae, Jisoo
12 - 26. (blank)
27. Hidden Track

Tracks 12 to 26 are all 5-second blank tracks, leading up to the 27th hidden track. There is one hidden track per member, which is an audio message. I received Jisoo's! Hers is 1 minute 18 seconds long. Note that there are some CDs without the hidden track - I'm not sure if only first press has random member hidden track, or if it's simply random if you receive a hidden track or not.
The album is packaged like a gift box (similar to Lovelyz' first repackaged album Hi~). Contents include (from top to bottom in the box) 10 postcards, the photobook, and then the CD.
There are 10 postcards, including a group card, 1 for each member, and then 1 random member postcard out of 8. None of the member postcard photos are included in the photobook. Here is the order of the 9 postcards that come with every album (left to right, top to bottom).

This album contains photos from 3 different photoshoots. The first photoshoot is used in the album cover and in the first postcard; I'll refer to this as the album cover photoshoot. I'll refer to the second photoshoot, which is used for the standard individual member postcards, as the plaid photoshoot. I'll refer to the last photoshoot, which is used in the random member postcards (like below), as the professional photoshoot.
The random member postcard is placed below the 9 normal postcards. I received Yein for my random member postcard. The postcards are glossy on the front, matte on the back.
The backside of the postcard is either hot pink or bright orange.
The album also includes 2 random matte photocards out of 16, slipped inside the photobook.
The images are like fun behind-the-scenes photos, hence none of the photocard images are included in the photobook. Each member has 1 pink photocard and 1 yellow photocard.
The backside of the pink photocard has Sujeong's printed autograph while the backside of the yellow photocard has Jisoo's message. I'm not sure if this is the pattern for the rest of the photocards.
The photobook is 86 pages long and contains photos from all 3 different photoshoots. The photo and text are embossed with a gloss finish while the yellow is matte.
The backside of the photobook is cute with the toothpaste design, which also has a glossy embossed finish while the rest is matte.
There are 2 group photos from the album cover photoshoot.
There are also 2 group photos from the professional photoshoot. There are no group photos from the plaid photoshoot.
The remaining pages contain individual photos from all 3 photoshoots. Above are photos from the album cover photoshoot.
Here are some photos from the plaid photoshoot.
Above are a couple of photos from the professional photoshoot.
The lyrics and song credits are spread out throughout the photobook.
2 pages are dedicated to the members' special thanks.
The last 2 pages includes the other group photo from the professional photoshoot and the album credits.
First press also includes 1 of 2 random posters. The poster has the same dimensions as Lovelyz' usual posters, 77cm by 53cm, or 2.53' by 1.74'. None of the photos from this poster is included in the photobook. The other poster is vertical and is the same as the album cover.

"WoW!" and the overall concept are definitely different from Lovelyz' previous title songs and concepts, however it fits so well for them! I'm happy to see them broadening their genres.

[Update] Golden Child: Gol-Cha! 1st Mini Album Photocards

I had originally preordered 3 copies of Golden Child's debut album Gol-Cha!, which I reviewed here. Each album comes with 2 random photocards out of 11 and 1 random frame card out of 11. Somehow I convinced myself to buy 2 more copies and try to collect OT11.

I ordered 2 copies of Gol-Cha! from Ktown4u on Friday, September 22nd. The biggest selling point for me was this order only cost $30.62 USD including shipping, which makes each card $5.10 USD. This is cheaper than my original order of 3 copies costing $48.86. However that makes each card $5.43, which I now realize is actually not a big difference...

As the album had already been out for 3 weeks, there were no more posters available with my purchase. My order was shipped out on Monday, September 25th, and arrived on Tuesday, October 10th. My albums were wrapped in several layers of bubblewrap and placed inside a relatively flat cardboard box.
For the first album, the cards were slipped in pages 11 and 12. So much Seungmin^^
For the second album, the cards were slipped in pages 23 and 24. Hehe another Bomin peeking out^^
Here are the cards I pulled from these 2 albums. In all my years of unboxing Infinite goods, I had the worst luck pulling my bias Myungsoo. Not only that, I consistently pull Sungyeol who I still have conflicted feelings about since my experience in the summer of 2014. I wasn't sure how my luck would carry over to Golden Child, but now I was able to pull my bias Bomin...twice! 
To summarize, from my first 3 albums I pulled the following above.
Now with my new pulls, after several trades and in the middle of another trade, my current collection looks like the above. 

I am still trying to collect OT11 without being too excessive in buying more albums. It makes me worry how many albums I'll buy for future comebacks...

I'll do another post as my Golden Child photocard collection grows. I decided that buying 5 albums is enough, and for the remaining cards it'd be easier to purchase individually or continue to trade.

For those interested in trading:

Have:
Photocard: Bomin

Want:
Photocard: Jibeom, Donghyun, Joochan
Frame Card: Y (Daeyeol, Jangjun, Jaehyun, and Donghyun all on the way via eBay bidding; Joochan on the way via a trade)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Golden Child: Gol-Cha! 1st Mini Album Review

Woollim has been gearing up all year to debut their latest group, Golden Child, on August 28th, 2017. From the release of the W Project to the variety show WoollimPick to the various V live videos, I have fallen hard for Golden Child and can't wait to begin this exciting new journey stanning them^^ While Infinite dismissed my frugality, Golden Child has pushed me over the edge as I have bought 3 copies of their debut album.

Once again I'll go off-topic to talk about Ktown4u's cancellation policy. I had previously talked about this back in December 2016 here, but it has changed. I had originally pre-ordered 1 copy of this album from Ktown4u with unregistered small packet shipping for $18.04 USD. When you make your order and submit it, they give you a warning saying if you cancel your order on your own terms, you will be refunded in mileage (store credit). I ignored this warning and continued anyways. Somehow I was convinced instead to buy 3 copies in order to support OT11 (and collect more photocards). Because the shipping cost would be different, I figured it'd be better to cancel the original order and reorder, instead of going through customer service. So I used the 1:1 service, sent an order (shipping) inquiry email to cancel my order, and within a few hours got a response saying my order was cancelled. However, I didn't receive any mileage reimbursement, so I submitted another 1:1 service email to them. Within half a day they gave me 20,530 mileage points which equals $18.04 USD. They also said that the exchange rate is 1,137 mileage points equates to $1 USD.

My package shipped in the earlier hours of August 29th (PDT) and arrived on September 8th, taking only 10 days! My albums were packaged in the typical orange waterproof envelope lined with bubble wrap. Inside the envelope, my 3 albums and folded posters were wrapped in several more layers of bubble wrap. All my albums arrived in great condition, with only the corners of the middle album slightly dented.
Golden Child's debut album, titled Gol-Cha!, is a mini album containing 6 tracks. One album comes with 2 of 11 random photocards and 1 of 11 random frame cards. First press also includes 1 of 3 random posters.
I'll talk about the posters first, just so I can identify the 2 different photoshoots which I'll continue to discuss throughout this post. All posters are matte and are the same size as Infinite's and Lovelyz's usual poster dimensions, 77cm by 53cm, or 2.53' by 1.74'. This is the only poster image that is also included in the photobook. I refer to this photoshoot as the colorful/Gucci photoshoot, because the outfits are more colorful than the other one, and a lot of their clothing here is Gucci.
This poster is very similar to the album cover, however it is slightly different and not included in the photobook. I call this photoshoot the pink photoshoot.
This is the third poster, which is also not included in the photobook. I really like this image - it gives off a more mature and serious side than the others. I also really like the angle of the shot. Before Golden Child debuted, my friend noticed that the members are usually standing in this order: Daeyeol - Jangjun - Jibeom - Donghyun - Y - Bomin - Jaehyun - Joochan - Seungmin - Tag - Jaeseok. This was apparent during the group shot from filming the "SEA" music video on Jeju Island, and during their Guerrilla Concert, and now in all 3 of these posters. They were also in this formation during their Music Core fan meeting on September 2nd.
The album is really high quality and sturdy, and the album cover is so beautiful. The dimensions of this album are 6.5" x 6.375" x 0.75".
The back cover is just as beautiful. And I'm happy that Woollim got the members' names and order correctly, unlike with Infinite's debut album.
Opening up the album, the CD is secured on the left in a hard cardboard casing with a foam middle, and the photobook is on the right.

The tracklist is as follows: Gol-Cha!, 담다디 (DamDaDi), 나랑 해 (You and Me), 내 눈을 의심해 (I Suspect My Eyes), 네가 너무 좋아 (I Love You So Much), and SEA. There is no hidden track. All the songs are legit amazing as I've been playing the album on repeat since its release on iTunes.
The photobook contains 118 pages of gorgeous perfection. I really like how artistic this photo is, but sadly there are no other photos similar to this in the photobook.
The first 64 pages are from the colorful/Gucci photoshoot. Most of these photos are individual shots, however there are subgroup photos as well. The song credits and lyrics are also dispersed among this first section.
This photo of Seungmin and Jibeom is really adorable.
Also the way Y and Jaeseok are looking at each other is so adorable.
The remaining pages are from the pink photoshoot. The first photo is a group photo similar to the album cover and poster.
All other photos from the pink photoshoot are individual shots.
And here is a gorgeous photo of Y and such an adorable photo of Donghyun.
6 pages at the end are dedicated to the members' "Thanks To" messages. Each member wrote so much!
The last two pages are the album credits and one last adorable group photo.

Now I'll go one and talk about the frame cards and photocards~
For my first album, I received Jibeom's frame card and Tag's and Jangjun's photocards tucked in page 71.
For my second album, I received Y's frame card and Tag's and Jangjun's photocards again tucked in page 59.
For my third album, I received Jaeseok's frame card and Daeyeol's and Jaehyun's photocards tucked in page 69.
Here are all the cards I received.
As stated before, each album comes with 1 of 11 random frame cards. These cards are really cool - they're made of transparencies and look like you're about to shoot a video of the member. All of the frame card images are from the colorful/Gucci photoshoot.
Here is the backside of the frame cards.
Each album comes with 2 of 11 random photocards. All of the photocards are from the baseball photoshoot. The photocards have a matte finish.
The backside has the member's printed autographs and messages. All of their autographs are really adorable!

I'm so happy that Golden Child has finally debuted and I wish only the best for them as they begin their musical career!