Review

Song Review: AREAL – Wake Me Up

Debuting on the same day as a new BTS single is an intimidating prospect. With so much of K-pop fans’ attention diverted to Dynamite, many may miss girl group AREAL’s first foray into the industry. The girls hail from JZ Factory Entertainment, which is also home to Right Said Fred-meets-K-pop act N.O.M. In other words, the small agency has made a name on pushing the envelope. AREAL’s Wake Me Up becomes more daring as it goes on, and that’s a good thing.

The track opens with a brash chant underpinned by clattering electronics. This settles into a compelling beat, powered by insistent kick with a more complex rhythm pulled deeper in the mix. The sound of this percussion feels unique, almost like pots and pans with effects laid over the top. It’s a lively – almost improvisational – energy. Chaotic, but not overwhelming or grating. The accompanying melody isn’t all that memorable, but this instrumental compensates.

Fortunately, this complex percussion deepens as we enter Wake Me Up’s chorus. Bass helps to fill the spectrum here, lending this hook a robust, satisfying groove. The chorus itself is a standard 2020-era girl group chant, but I think that works in this context. However, Wake Me Up really earns its stripes from its bridge onward. Much of the production filters out as the girls deliver more dramatic melodies, only to build back as a massive surge of EDM. This finale has a hypnotic appeal, as that kick becomes more insistent and the vocals are given a heavy, chorused effect. It’s an unexpected transformation, and one that works extremely well.

 Hooks 7
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5


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26 thoughts on “Song Review: AREAL – Wake Me Up

  1. Wow a song that doesn’t use the same Snare 8th note, Snare 16 note (pum, pum, pum pum pum pum ppppppppp….) into instrumental breakdown, play the same horn sample a billion times and even the part into climax is very creative? IMAGINE MY SHOCK! Also singing and “rapping” is something in the style I very much prefer.

    That said, please work with digipedi, this MV looks a bit sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The hooks are the most important factor for me so I am not sure If I like it ……..
    I’ll give it 8 for now!

    Off topic , Have you heard the teaser of CRAVITY’s Flame?

    If you haven’t
    here is the link:

    Like

  3. .
    The vocal is basic girl group
    but HEY holy cow wow! Someone had a helluva lot of fun with that instrumental.

    I hear the percussion more as chopsticks on tin cans with occasional rim shots on drum corps line here and there, moreso than pots and pans which have a deeper sound. But it sounds crafted on a drum machine – synthesized – format, which makes it even more impressive. That took time. It would have been faster to hire a percussionist and say, here, have at it.

    This old soul is also going to bring up how it sounds like old school Stewart Copeland percussion (of The Police) who played it on real drums – for example this live version of Synchronicity I ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMmCJ6-uu3M Also, Real Jung.

    Yeah, good debut. Pity that it had to happen today. Well at least some of us are listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So, in your opinion this “I have a few untalented friends and a big pink posh-wannabe house: let’s play some random stuff with ugly vocals and a royalty free midi Nokia ringtone and let’s see what happens” deserves a better rate than Dynamite?!
    This sounds really weird.

    Like

  5. The production is amazing, I love it! Unfortunately its originality and power is not matched by the vocals or the music video quality. Hopefully they’ll continue with this style while growing vocally.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. God this music video… there is always something about an awkward, low-budget debut video that tugs at the heart strings, don’t you think? It almost doesn’t matter who it is, you just want more for them. I see someone up-thread hoping for a Digipedi release… I think that’s a beautiful dream 😭 Let’s stay positive like that.

    As for the song, um…. it is not for me 💓. The chorus is cool, but everything surrounding it was a difficult listen for me. But I really liked the switch-up at the very end. I agree it is a cool transformation, but couldn’t the whole song have been more like that? I would have preferred it anyway.

    Like

    • Ha, you nailed that feeling that a low budget MV gives the viewer. It all just looks a little awkward and I want to see them shine with some better filming& editing!

      Like

  7. My overall: 3/10

    Poor EDM because K-pop EDM still went out of fashion for a bit. Low-budget music video is great but unfortunately, in my opinion, Areal seems still lack of energy in choreography.

    Like

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