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Hey all! Me again. And holy crap? Another Kep1er comeback in the year of our lord 2022? Only a few months after their first comeback, Doublast, and their debut, First Impact. Troubleshooter was released yesterday, Oct. 13, with another five songs by one of my favorite groups.

…Which, as much as I love new music from a great group, I have to wonder about how overworked Kep1er might be, especially considering they recently had their Japanese debut on Sept. 7, and a special single with UNIVERSE Music on Sept. 23. This isn’t even to mention that they’re apparently going to have “original content” called KEPtain Heroes, coming out on Oct. 21. It’s quite the tight schedule, don’t you agree? Especially since a good number of the members are still minors…

“We Fresh”: 9/10

As I kind of expected, “We Fresh” reminds me a lot more of First Impact than it does Doublast, but that’s not a bad thing. The kind of balanced sounds that come from a more powerful concept and everyone’s voices is something that not every group can full off. With that said, I’m honestly not as big a fan of this song as I was of “Up,” but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time for this to grow on me more. For now, I think an eight is fair.

…It’s an hour later. I take it back. This is getting a nine and it’s going on my “Best Of” playlist.

“Lion Tamer”: 7/10

So while, as usual, the vocals are amazing, I was kind of bored by this song. The chorus kind of reminded me of an antidrop, though I’m not entirely sure that’s what it was, and I’m not the biggest fan of those. It’s one of those songs I wouldn’t skip when I’m listening to music, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to add it to my playlist, y’know? So I’m going to give this one a seven.

“Downtown”: 8/10

This song is more in line with some others I’ve been listening to recently, so it grabbed my attention quickly. It’s the kind of song that, while pretty strong in terms of beat and vocals, is one I would put on my “calm down” playlist. I think it has to do with the beat, actually; it reminds me of those lofi music videos. I don’t think I would go out of my way to listen to this, but I wouldn’t mind if it came on while I was doing homework or something. I think this one deserves an eight.

“Dreams”: 8/10

“Dreams” actually had a stage performance at a fan meeting on Oct. 10, three days before this EP came out, which is pretty special (and helps me out with line distribution). This song again reminds me of a lofi music videos, especially because of the instrumental this time. Nowhere near a bad thing, especially because this one to me felt more right to listen to than “Downtown.” It kind of reminds me of their recent song “Rewind,” which makes me want to add this to at least one of my playlists. I’m thinking an eight for this one as well.

“THE GIRLS (Can’t turn me down)”: 8/10

“THE GIRLS (Can’t turn me down)” was first performed by Kep1er when they competed on Queendom 2 in April and May of this year. I only listened to it once before, and it wasn’t really my favorite, but I’m here to give it a second shot!

This version is referred to as a “remastered” version, and while it sounds more or less the same to me, I can say that it 100 percent fits the concept of this comeback. I think it was a good idea to include it on this EP to round it out. So even though I’m still not the biggest fan of this song, I think I feel alright giving it an eight. This song understood the assignment.

Music Video: 9/10

The music video for “We Fresh” perfectly showcases what I believe the concept is—that balance of powerful and soft. There’s definitely power and strength in just about everything they’re doing in the music video, and reminds me a lot of the outfits they wore for their performance of “WA DA DA” on Queendom 2. It also had a good balance of choreography with other scenes. All in all, pretty good music video, though personally not as visually appealing to me as all the colors in “Up.” That said, I think I’m going to give this a nine, since at least they didn’t do the action movie thing where everything is so dark that I can’t see anything!

Concept: 9/10

From Kep1er, we’ve already seen the concepts that I would equate to street music and summer for First Impact and Doublast, respectively. That said, I’m not the best at identifying concepts, especially for First Impact, so perhaps take that with a grain of salt. Just like Oh My Girl, I’ve come to see Kep1er as concept queens, a group that could fit just about any concept, since I’ve seen so many different concepts from the members on Girls Planet 999.

This concept, from some of the concept photos, reminded me again of street music—that comparison is drawn because I’ve been playing a lot of Project Sekai and one of the bands is themed around street music, but again take that with a grain of salt. There’s a certain power behind everything, portraying strength even more than First Impact. I think it works for them as concept queens, though it’s not one of my personal favorites—but that’s not what I’m looking for here anyway. Kep1er definitely pulled off this concept; I’m giving them a nine.

Showcase Stage: 10/10

Only “We Fresh” was performed on MNET so far for the comeback, so that’s the only video I’ll be using for this category. I have to say, as usual, the girls absolutely slayed when it comes to stage presence. It’s all in the confidence, in the facial expressions. The outfits for this stage are pretty great, too, all individualized but in the same kind of style, fitting the concept perfectly. I’m actually thinking this should be given a ten.

Choreography: 10/10

Now THIS choreography seems more complex than the last two comebacks, which is what I’ve been looking for! I’ve been looking forward to seeing a more choreography-heavy performance, since we all know that these girls are great dancers. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the choreography for this song; it’s hard not to get caught up in the energy of it while watching. This, too, is getting a ten.

Line Distribution: 7/10

*This may not be 100 percent accurate due to voice placements on my end.

Allow me to take you all back to where we are in terms of line distribution. Averaging the last two comebacks together, we get these averages of lines per song:

Dayeon has an average of 10.3 lines; Chaehyun has an average of 8.2 lines; Mashiro, Yeseo and Xiaoting all have an average of 7.5 lines; Youngeun has an average of 7.4 lines; Hikaru has an average of 7 lines; Yujin has an average of 6.5 lines; and Bahiyyih has an average of 6.4 lines.

So here we see that there’s an average range of ~4 lines per song, which isn’t the most drastic. In fact, just First Impact alone had a larger range of ~6 lines per song.

Now, with Troubleshooter—not including “Downtown” because I could not find any resources to help me with line distribution and I’m not as confident with that song—we have this:

Dayeon has an average of 10.25 lines; Chaehyun has an average of 9.75 lines; Hikaru has an average of 9.25 lines; Youngeun has an average of 8 lines; Mashiro has an average of 7.75 lines; Bahiyyih has an average of 6.75 lines; Yujin has an average of 6.5 lines; Xiaoting has an average of 5.75 lines; and Yeseo has an average of 5.5 lines.

So there’s a range of ~5 lines this time, larger than the difference for Doublast but smaller than First Impact. It’s interesting to me that Xiaoting and Yeseo both lost lines while Hikaru gained some; other differences are too small for me to mention. I think Bahiyyih still needs more lines, especially since she ended in second place, but maybe that’s just me.

I think overall this isn’t a horrible distribution, especially since I wasn’t able to include “Downtown,” so I’ll give this a seven.

Overall: 85/100

85! A B in terms of letter grading!

I’m kind of surprised that this comeback scored better for me than First Impact did (which got a 77), but not really surprised that Doublast got a 90 overall. Definitely not a horrible score, but I didn’t think it would add up as well as the other two comebacks have.

As usual, I’m looking forward to more music from them…but maybe after they’ve all had a break. My gosh are their schedules packed.

Nina Fichera

Geneseo '24

Nina Fichera is an avid writer and reader, and can often be found writing somewhere (usually in her room) with her trusty journal. She is working towards an English degree, with the hopes of becoming an English teacher.