GOLDEN CHILD YES.: In-Depth Album Review – Breathe

As usual, Golden Child gets the “bias group advantage” on this site. This means not only their title track and a buried treasure will be reviewed, but I’ll be taking a look at the entire new mini album YES.

1. YES. // 2. Burn It // 3. Cool Cool // 4. Round N Round // 5. Milky Way // 6. Breathe


Woollim Entertainment’s boy groups have a history of ending their albums with a big, satisfying dance track. Whether it’s Infinite (Shower, Zero, An Inconvenient Truth, Up To You), Golden Child (Sea, I’m Falling), or even DRIPPIN (Light), I love when an album ends with a bang rather than a whimper. And make no mistake about it… Breathe is definitely a bang!

Now, I do think Golden Child chose the right track to promote. Burn It is just incredible and showcases their talent so wonderfully. But for me, Breathe is a close second. It’s a great exclamation point on the album, and harnesses their bright, funk side without feeling juvenile.

Breathe is produced and polished to the hilt, but the arrangement of the instrumental gives it the looseness of a live band. Woollim’s acts often tour with a band, and that live instrumentation imbues their music with a different feel. Breathe breaks free of the rigid production that makes up many of today’s pop hits, and that sense of spontaneity is really refreshing. This is no more apparent than during the song’s explosive bridge. This brief breakdown is unbelievably funky, and gives Jangjun and Tag’s rap a delicious groove to chew on. A few well-placed percussive stabs elevate the second verse as well, along with a gorgeous, harmonized intro that lets us know we’re in for something more than the expected skrrt skrrt boy group dance track.

I also mentioned this when writing about Round N Round, but one of YES’s strengths is how it emphasizes its lyrical themes musically. Even as an English speaker who pays little attention to K-pop lyrics, I appreciate this attention to detail. Breathe’s ebullient chorus cracks open the track, delivering an ascending melody that really feels like the clouds are parting and we can all exhale. What an invigorating way to close out an album!

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.25



21 thoughts on “GOLDEN CHILD YES.: In-Depth Album Review – Breathe

  1. Pingback: GOLDEN CHILD YES.: In-Depth Album Review – Milky Way | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Pingback: GOLDEN CHILD YES.: In-Depth Album Review – Cool Cool | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  3. Pingback: GOLDEN CHILD YES.: In-Depth Album Review – Round N Round | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  4. Woollim has a family tradition of closing their albums with a stunner dance track. And thankfully, YES continues this tradition with the pop sucker punch of Breathe. Golden Child have always delivered some dynamic tracks which harnessed their aggressive side. Songs like She’s My Girl and No Matter What showcased the amazing potential, but Breathe tears that sense of expectation wide open! It’s the most daring statement the guys have ever offered in their discography and a style I hope the guys would pursue.

    Breathe starts off with flair, as the guys vocals layer over each other to create an ascending airy harmony. Then we are hit with blasts of funk before moving onto the song’s robust centerpiece. I always love when a song starts with its chorus, It’s a pop music trick I am very fond of and shows that the song is confident in its delivery. My heart had started soaring when this segment had came on. It’s taut, emotional and incredibly rhythmic! I just really love how The guys sing so forcefully here, It offers so much emphasis and grabs you by the jugular, refusing to let go.

    The pre-chorus also offers a breathless climb and I really love how the instrumental changes its shape but always retains it groovy pulse. Jangjun and TAG offer a fast-paced sleek funneled performance bridge. But the real star of the show is the explosive Chorus, I can’t praise how good it is enough. The guys pass off the lines so effortlessly and the instrumental weaves in different places for an extra layer of rhythmic texture. It all adds up to the song’s Show stopping finale. I really hope the guys would release this for a follow-up or have a makeover with the exact same sound. It suits them perfectly!

    My Rating would be a 9.5!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Big difference.

        Autotune is vocal processing by a certain company. It is meant to turn out-of-tune voices in tune, with the side effect of robotizing them and creating that weird sound.

        Staccato is a beat held for a very short duration, almost as a sort of bump or jump, with a small break between the notes between and after. Staccato is a good thing, autotune is not (usually)

        Sorry I know I am not Nick, but I thought I’d give my thoughts anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

          • There is certainly autotune through the whole track, and there is also a staccato beat. It has both. Often times, a staccato beat can create that edgy effect autotune is used to create, and using both could go wrong. Sorry Sorry is the rare instance where both work together great.

            In the SHINee cover of Sorry Sorry, there is no (or extremely minimal autotune). In fact, SHINee rarely use autotune in their singles (Ring Ding Dong is the exception). I feel that this is because they have a diverse range of voices, and don’t need autotune to create that edgy effect.


          • Sorry Sorry is both staccato and autotuned to deliberately make that robot voice effect. They sing it live all the time, so its not like they can’t sing it.

            Bonamana also uses the same effect of both staccato and autotuning and perhaps a vocoder for the robot effect, as well as parts of Lucifer – the chord build in the second half of the refrain for example at 1:03 is a vocoder.

            A vocoder takes a vocal signal and wires it through a synthesizer so a keyboardist can make a chord or melody with that snippet of sound sample. Imogen Heap is the classic example, but I would love to share this Vienna Teng walk through.’

            Both of these go way back to the late 70’s or early 80’s – Herbie Hancock used vocoder a lot back when ‘ Autotune for that robot effect had a resurgence in popularity in the late 90’s – Cher “Believe” is the classic example here.


  5. After two tracks that did not resonate with me, I am glad that I can wholeheartedly say I adore this song. Like Cool Cool, I prefer this over Burn It but unlike Cool Cool I believe this would have made for an amazing title track.

    The chorus is explosive, beautiful, the melody is solid- it SOARS. I really like that the song starts with it – I appreciate a song that grabs me right off the bat. Following that amazing start, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that the verses keep up the tempo. The verses are groovy throughout, no slump and wait for the chorus here. Especially the second verse is great, I love how funky it is. My favourite part of the production, though, is the stomping percussion and the descending scale that cues in the chorus.

    This is fantastic as the closing track, too. It really feels like an ending somehow – a feelgood final number at the end of an awesome show.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right now, Golcha are my favorite active male group, but Infinite will probably always be my favorite group.

      I’m not sure that I have a “favorite” female group in the same way, but those in contention would definitely be: SNSD/Kara/2NE1/GFriend/Lovelyz


      • oh okay….was just wondering….my favorite male kop groups are: 1. a tie – Big Bang / EXO – 2. BTS – 3. Got 7 – 4. iKon….of course, Got 7 are not together anymore and I am not sure what’s up with Winner….

        my favorite female kpop groups are: 1. Girls’ Generation – 2. CLC – 3. Mamamoo – 4. GIDLE – 5. A-Pink – 6. Everglow – 7. ITZY….i honestly do not believe that Girls’ Generation is still together with them kicking Jessica out, (or her leaving voluntarily, whichever story one chooses to believe) and with three of their members signing with another management agency a few years ago, but we all know that SM does not really disband groups….they just let the faithful fans of their groups agonize about what’s going on with them….it really pisses me off because GG is not only my favorite female kpop group, they are my all-time favorite girl group in general, including any American girl groups!

        although GIDLE is one of my favorite female kpop groups, i still hate how CUBE Entertainment is treating CLC!….Elkie already left the company and i would not be surprised if the other 6 members decided to leave CUBE Entertainment sometime this year as well….so, for me, with CLC’s future still in the balance, i can see Everglow and ITZY moving up on my top female kpop group list….Mamamoo got the vocals, Girls’ Generation will probably always be my #1, CLC took the place of Spica (really hurts that they disbanded) as my #2 favorite female kpop group, Apink – especially with Eunji – are timeless beauties and talents, GIDLE is good and will probably always be in my top 10 female kpop groups (Soojin!), Everglow, in my opinion, will be one of the the top female kpop groups of all-time, if they continue charting like they do, and oh how i love me some ITZY (Lia!)….


  6. I’m watching a showcase of some of Golden Child’s live stages and I’ve concluded that they’re vocal gods. I could listen to them all day. That’s my profound analysis.


  7. Pingback: Song Review: Golden Child – Breathe | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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