Bite-Sized Album Review: VIXX – Error

VIXX - ErrorK-pop history is stuffed with great albums, and there’s only so many Buried Treasures and Battle of the B-sides features available to cover all these noteworthy tracks.

The album format has always been special to me. Whether it’s a full-length or mini, albums have the opportunity to tell stories and develop an act’s personal style. Occasionally, I dive in and offer in-depth track by track reviews, but sometimes a bite-sized overview is just as fun.

That’s what this feature is all about: sharing notable albums and offering some quick thoughts about what makes them tick.

VIXX – Error

VIXX - Error Promo

Released October 14, 2014

1. Steel Heart

Instrumental intro tracks won’t get the full Bias List rating, but I love how K-pop albums set the scene before hitting you with their first proper song. I’ve always enjoyed the descending (or ascending?) elevator sound here, followed by atmospheric dubstep. It feels like we’re being transported to another musical dimension.

2. Error

What can I say about Error? It deserves a longer post, because this is a bonafide legend. This is how you do a dark concept, people! The track pulses with such heartbreak, but never feels mopey or minimalist. The chugging synth forges a hurricane backbeat, supporting a stunner of a chorus. The song builds toward an emotional catharsis, never losing its focus or drive. It’s simply perfect.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10

3. After Dark

VIXX have always been strong album artists, and After Dark proves this yet again. It’s strong enough to be a title track, albeit a lighter, bouncier one than Error. I love how the percussion manages to be hard-hitting yet maintains a funky sound that isn’t needlessly noisy. The second verse rap break is a ton of fun, and that chorus pummels in the best way.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9

4. Blue Blossom (청춘이 아파)

I’m a big fan of mid-album ballads, but only if they’re strong. Blue Blossom is probably too groovy to be considered a straight-up ballad, but it calms the energy after those first two dance tracks. Casting Ravi’s percussive vocal as punctuation during the verses works so well. However, Blossom‘s soft, lilting chorus is its definite standout. The melody is so pleasing and memorable.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8

5. Time Machine

We’re back to upbeat fare — and another song that could have easily been the title track. Time Machine is the most buoyant moment on the album, and strongly recalls the group’s 2013 hit G.R.8.U. The two share the same musical DNA and race toward a similarly euphoric chorus. This is bright and energetic without being cute, and that’s an important distinction. Of course, I love it!

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9

6. What U Waiting For

Immediately, we’re hit with edgier synth textures as the album pulls us back into darker territory. As we blast into the first verse, the SHINee vibes are strong. In fact, this sounds like an outtake from that group’s Misconception series. That alone is very high praise, but VIXX imbue the track with their own personality. The call and response chorus works so well with its pair of ultra-catchy refrains.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.75

Album Rating: 9.1

24 thoughts on “Bite-Sized Album Review: VIXX – Error

  1. First time listening to this. I’d heard the title track before, but never listened properly – it’s excellent! After Dark didn’t land for me at all, sadly. Not sure how often I’ll return to Blue Blossom, but I appreciate that it sets itself apart from other ballads.

    The two closing tracks are both fabulous, I’d say your ratings are spot-on. Great mini overall! And loving this new blog feature!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vixx is one of those groups where the B-sides are always so strong. I’ve started a spreadsheet where I compare all the songs on my main playlist to try and find my favorite and I’ve had Vixx B-sides beating title tracks of some really solid artists. Like it’s just been an absolute slaughter whenever Vixx comes up in the shuffle. So far the only match for them has been Brown Eyed Girls who also fall in that category of artists with knockout albums.


  3. Everything about “Error” (the song) is perfect – even the whatever the hell that is on Ravi’s head. I hadn’t listened to the b-sides before so this was a great prompt to rectify that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh, I love this format. In fact, I’ve been sorta subconsciously wishing for something like this for a long time, specially since I’m too damn scatterbrained to follow the in-depth reviews; something like short introductions to releases (and groups, maybe) I didn’t even know existed. So this is a welcome feature indeed.

    I hope you can do a balanced mix of the oldies and current stuff. Sad to say, I only really know K-pop from 3rd gen on, and so I’ll be glad to be enlightened by knowledgeable Nick-sama *bows*

    Liked by 1 person

    • BTW, something that’s gotten me curious: Since you seem to consume quite a bit of Korean media, have you ever felt the need or desire to actually learn some Korean?

      (Psst, bring back the variety show recs from time to time *nudge nudge* I remember you did one of those at least once. Can’t find it now though.)

      For some reason I seem to have gotten into my head the idea that consuming media without knowing the language is in some way “inauthentic” or whatever, and now my dumb self feels slightly uneasy when doing it, nevermind the fact that it’s actually easier to access Korean (and Japanese) media in subbed version than the original. 🤷‍♂️


      • It’s interesting that you feel uneasy with not knowing the language because I’m definitely in the camp that finds not understanding the language a plus. I get easily distracted by lyrics so the fact that I’ve started picking up little bits of Korean is sort of a bad thing – there are songs I can’t listen to while I’m working anymore.


        • “I’m definitely in the camp that finds not understanding the language a plus.”

          Indeed. Understanding the lyrics’ meaning (or lack thereof) often seems to work to the song’s detriment, case in point being Just B’s Get Away recently. At times it makes me wish I didn’t understand any Korean at all, the flipside, of course, being that I can’t annoy my friends singing “Chinese” songs as much as I’d like to, bc I can’t for the life of me remember the lyrics. So I mostly gotta fall back on the same three songs. 😄


          • Hah, I’ll have to remember not to look up or listen too closely to the lyrics to “Get Away” then, because I really like that one. But I actually don’t really care if the words to a song are dumb or insightful or whatever, it’s just that I love listening to music as much as possible but my brain literally cannot process written and spoken language at the same time, and my job is 100% reading and writing. The occasional English lyric is usually okay, especially the more simple, repetitive stuff you get in most k-pop.


      • I actually did study it for about half a year — enough to read Hangul (which doesn’t take long to learn) and construct VERY basic sentences. But, I was just trying to do it on my own using various books, podcasts and websites so I sorta lost motivation after a while.

        One of my biggest wishes is to learn another language, but I find it so hard to stick with.

        I don’t think it’s inauthentic at all to consume media in a language you don’t understand! It may be inauthentic to brand yourself as an “expert” or spokesperson, but just being a fan and expressing your opinion as such doesn’t seem problematic at all. We’re all fans of something!


        • “One of my biggest wishes is to learn another language, but I find it so hard to stick with.”

          Same and same.

          Having already learned a language, the way I just can’t get myself to do it again is quite baffling, not to say frustrating. I seem to have gotten myself in the position of the proverbial monolingual American, because going from English to most any other language feels much like downgrading from a smart to a flip phone in terms of convenience.

          Personally, I think possibly only Spanish and Mandarin Chinese can compare to English in terms of variety and accessibility of content, which is paramount for me. Not even all the goodwill I feel towards the Japanese language can get over the sheer hassle of finding untranslated manga to read, for example (that and Kanji, I guess, but at least I kinda enjoy those).


  5. STARLIGHT MODE ACTIVATED !! vixx really gave us the perfect package while they were promoting. I wish I knew how good we had it at the time. this album is by the books perfect for me. so glad you reviewed it!


  6. Geez what the heck, why haven’t I heard this album before. I’m currently producing a futuristic dark EDM instrumental album with pretty much the exact same vibe, but this ‘Error’ album just annihilates mine. ‘Error’ is next level damn.


  7. Only a few days back was I checking out this ep and discovering how great the songs were after reading your top 10 vixx album tracks feature. This album is SOLID and this is how you do a concept right.

    Also, I’ve always wanted to read a feature like this and this is fabulous. Hope we get more of this


  8. Vixx Error 😭❤️ I discovered this song long before I was even following kpop keenly. I was searching for another song with the name Error and chanced upon this and I was simply blown away!!❤️ The chorus, the rap, the bgm – everything. It was melodious & soulful – mysterious yet with a certain intensity. That 10 is perfectly deserved!💎 Honestly this is my type of song and a style I really wish I would see in more songs someday!


  9. I realized I’ve never really went full on in whilst gushing about songs. But since this is one of my favorite K-pop Mini albums of all time, I’ve decided to put in a long comment! VIXX at some point used to be my favorite K-pop group of all time and Error was my favorite K-pop song of all time! So this mini album holds a special place in my heart.
    Moving on with the review:
    1. Steel Heart – I absolutely love when K-pop albums start out with intros. It has a sense of story-telling which sets the mood for what’s to come next. It’s like….entering a whole new world. Steel Heart ranks as one of my personal Top 100 K-pop Album Intros, it’s short, straight to the point and sets the mood right! It opens up with an atmospheric instrumental, shrouded by mysterious robotic sounds which feels as if it is dragging the entire song down. Using it’s empty space properly, Steel Heart is just…spine-chilling. But this quietness doesn’t last for long as an abrasive dub-step breakdown tears in and engages the listener even further. It feels otherworldly and starts the album with a bang!
    Intro Rating: 10/10.

    2. Error – VIXX had such an incredible single run throughout their career, but I’ll always argue that Error stands on top of the pack (and I am sure that not many people will be against me on that). It’s one of my all-time favorite K-pop songs and for good reason too. The Track has an exhilarating build, knowing when to pull back and increasing the energy to slap the listener on the face. Ravi’s Raps here are excellent and properly-utilized, The Vocal arrangement here is cathartic and That beat is a mammoth, augmented by chugging synth and twirling strings. It never trudges itself in needless directions and let’s its story-telling do all the work. And when the track fades into the Icy atmosphere, You can’t help but feel a rush of emotion filling you up. I can gush forever and ever about this song, but I’ll wait for a longer review post to come so I can go full on out in telling how this song is a vital component in keeping me alive.
    Song Rating: 10/10.

    3. After Dark – How great it feels when an album gives you two perfect dance tracks, back-to-back. Much Like Error, After Dark is flawless. The Abrasive electro-beat forges a killer groove, and acts as the perfect instrumentation to hold up that sucker-punch of a chorus. It’s One of those excellent examples of VIXX merging their aggressive musical choices with their bright melodies. Kind of Like The Hard-hitting On and On from 2013.
    Song Rating: 9.25/10.

    4. Blue Blossom – Pulling Back the energy after the one-two punch of After Dark and Error, Blue Blossom acts as the album’s ballad. I always either feel bored with ballads or I really love them. There is no in-between, I most definitely love Blue Blossom. Its melody is simple but swells with an emotion which feels as if it had all the warmth and love poured into it. Absolutely beautiful.
    Song Rating: 8.5/10.

    5. Time Machine – I’ve always preferred VIXX’s more aggressive side, but their bright sides were no slouch either! Time Machine gallops with it’s effusive dance-beat, The Melody here soars and makes me feel weirdly nostalgic…for a reason I can’t quite point out why. It has that euphoric feeling of washing you over, and it feels absolutely refreshing. This could’ve easily been a single!
    Song Rating: 9/10.

    6. What U Waiting For – Built on that jerky, off-kilter beat and that pulsing staccato hook, What U Waiting For is my favorite b-side in the mini album. The Synths here hit hard and I love how inventive the vocal arrangement here sounds. It kind of reminds me of TVXQ’s Mirotic and Super Junior’s Mr. Simple but that is not to discredit VIXX as they imbue this song with a bucket of personality. That Icy hook deserves all the praise. Its effortlessly cool and rhythmically tight. What a great way to send-off the album.
    Song Rating: 9.25/10.

    Album Rating: 9.3

    This was such a great review Nick! Thank you so much for doing this!

    Liked by 1 person

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