All About Luv, the English Debut Album by MONSTA X

With Korean Pop becoming more mainstream in recent years, it is not uncommon to see collaborations happen between Korean and Western artists. In 2018, girl group Blackpink and English singer Dua Lipa released the song Kiss and Make Up for the super deluxe edition of the latter’s debut studio album Dua Lipa; in 2019, boy group BTS and American singer Halsey collaborated on Boy with Luv for the former’s sixth extended play Map of the Soul: Persona; and in 2016, EXO member Park Chanyeol collaborated with American artists Far East Movement, Marshmello, and Tinashe on the song Freal Luv for Far East Movement’s fifth studio album Identity. 

It is also not uncommon to see South Korean acts release English versions of their tracks for international fans to enjoy. In 2018, Red Velvet released an English version of their highly successful single Bad Boy as a bonus track on their second extended play Summer Magic; in January, boy group Stray Kids released English versions of their two tracks Levanter and Double Knot for the digital release Step Out of Clé; even back in 2011, the nation’s girl group Girls’ Generation released an English version of their popular song The Boys for their third studio album of the same name. 

Boy group Monsta X, however, have blended both ideas together on All About Luv, their English debut album which was released on Valentine’s Day of this year. With features from American artists French Montana and Pitbull, Monsta X deliver a ten track pop-oriented album with “electro-pop and R&B melodies.” Monsta X debuted as seven members – Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon, I.M, and Wonho – in 2015 under the label Starship Entertainment, and have since then released five studio albums, seven extended plays, and over twenty-five singles. 

Unfortunately, though, as of November 2019, Monsta X has continued onwards as six, with member Wonho departing on October 31st following allegations Starship Entertainment dubbed as “malicious and distorted” which they would be taking legal action for. Since then, Monbebe’s (the name of Monsta X’s fanbase) have rallied behind the boys, having trended numerous hashtags on Twitter in support of Wonho and the rest of Monsta X. Monbebe have also shown their support by supporting Monsta X in their remaining promotional activities; in fact, All About Luv debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 this past week with 52,000 album-equivalent units (50,000 of them being pure sales)! 

This chart position is no surprise, too, considering the quality of All About Luv. Each song on the album has something to offer, and you can tell the producers, writers, and members of Monsta X took their time with this album. Each member (all seven of them, as the album was recorded before Wonho’s departure) poured their heart and soul into this album, and it’s not difficult to miss. 

Now that we’ve gotten a bit of background information out of the way, let’s get onto the album! As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I’m no music expert. I’m just an individual who loves listening to music and then rambling about it. Also, I’m not too familiar with Monsta X – just a casual listener, really – so I don’t think I’ll be able to say too much in regard to how each member performs, but I’ll comment on what I can!

  1. 1. WHO DO U LOVE? (featuring French Montana)

    The first single on All About Luv, WHO DO U LOVE? is a killer opening to the album. It’s a simple, romantic electro-pop song, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. It’s an easy-listen, and the member’s voices mesh well with the pleasant instrumental. French Montana’s verse also isn’t half bad, either. I sometimes worry whenever I hear about collaborations between artists, since I’m not sure if they’ll work together, but I can say this one fits well. On WHO DO U LOVE, the lyrics tell a story of an individual asking another who they love, a question they desperately want answered because they “can’t take the pressure anymore.” It’s a nice opening that left me excited for the rest of the album.

  2. 2. LOVE U

    Compared to the previous track, LOVE U is a more upbeat song. It also happens to be one of my favorites on the album, too. Released as the second single off All About Luv, LOVE U tells the story of an individual who has fallen for another, but is uncertain as to how they should reveal their romantic feelings. It’s a common theme in music, but the sweet lyrics, pretty melodies, and beautiful voices are enough to make one forget. Also, this is a romance album that was released on Valentine’s Day! There’s gonna be a lot of love in these songs, folks.

  3. 3. HAPPY WITHOUT ME

    HAPPY WITHOUT ME is another upbeat song, but compared to LOVE U, the lyrics don’t evoke the same emotion. In this song, the lyrics tell the story of two individuals who have ended a relationship, but one of them is unable to move on and is quite upset to see their former lover happy without them. I won’t lie, this track took a while to warm onto me. I’ve grown to like the song after a few listens, but I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorites. I can say the chorus is often stuck in my head, though. Hopefully this won’t be the case when midterms come up!

  4. 4. GOT MY NUMBER

    I can say with the utmost certainty that GOT MY NUMBER is my favorite song off All About Luv. While the lyrics made me raise an eyebrow at first, the song’s instrumental and member’s hypnotic voices were enough to draw me in. Out of every song off the album, GOT MY NUMBER is the one I’ve replayed the most, and I was surprised to see it wasn’t released as one of the singles (it’s definitely single material, I think)! Among Monbebe, the song appears to be a fan favorite, which is no surprise to me. It’s a good song that makes you want to dance.

  5. 5. SOMEONE'S SOMEONE

    One of the slower songs off All about Luv and released as the third single, SOMEONE’S SOMEONE is a sweet song with electro-pop qualities with lyrics that say we all want to mean something to someone. Personally, this song isn’t one of my favorites off the album (as I’m not particularly a fan of slower songs), but I do think the lyrics are sweet and leave an impact. Whether we realize it or not, we all want to mean something to someone – whether they’re a lover or not.

  6. 6. MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

    Released as the fourth and final single, MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT takes on a “chill” vibe that reminds me of summer nights, where you’re driving with the car windows down and just taking in the serenity around you. Even the lyrics, with lines such as “And I'll be on the way in the middle of the night'/Cause I can never wait for the morning to rise/We're kissing in the car underneath of the night” make me think of two lovers who have decided to throw away all responsibilities to spend time with each other. This is definitely the type of song I might listen to when studying or doing some creative writing.

  7. 7. SHE'S THE ONE

    SHE’S THE ONE brings us back to the upbeat songs of the album. Like HAPPY WITHOUT ME, I wasn’t sure about this song when I first heard it, but now I would consider it to be another favorite of mine. I like how the instrumental makes me want to get up and spin around my room, and the lyrics are also sweet as can be. Songs about a one true love and how they’re the only person you can think about and would do anything for are a weakness for me. This is the kind of song that can put a smile on your face and elevate your mood, and I’ll definitely be putting this on my Happy Playlist on my Spotify.

  8. 8. YOU CAN'T HOLD MY HEART

    Out of all tracks on All About Luv, I think YOU CAN’T HOLD MY HEART does the best at highlighting the group’s vocal abilities. While Monsta X (from what I have seen) has been a group known for their rappers, each member does a great job here at showcasing their singing. The instrumental of YOU CAN’T HOLD MY HEART is also quite interesting, and I always find myself bobbing my head whenever listening to it.

  9. 9. MISBEHAVE

    Another slower song, MISBEHAVE is a song that left me with mixed feelings at first. When I first heard the instrumentals at the beginning, I thought this would be an emotional, ballad-like song with lyrics that would leave tears welling up in my eyes. The instrumental was reminiscent of such thoughts, but the lyrics left me … confused, for lack of a better word. From my best understanding after analyzing the lyrics, MISBEHAVE appears to be about two individuals who are in a relationship that appears to have many ups and downs – one could say the relationship has become toxic. I’m always wary of songs that tackle topics such as these, and honestly, I’m not sure I can say much as I’ve never been in such a situation (or in a relationship at all). Overall, MISBEHAVE has pleasant instrumentals I enjoy and the group’s vocals are nice, but the lyrics are a bit questionable, I think.

  10. 10. BESIDE U (featuring Pitbull)

    Never did I think I would hear Pitbull on the same song as a K-Pop group, yet here we are. Probably the most upbeat song off All About Luv, BESIDE U closes the album off on a high note. The song reminds me of songs I liked listening to in the late 2000s and early 2010s, so that’s probably why it’s another one of my favorites off the album. Like with French Montana on WHO DO U LOVE, Pitbull fits well with the vibe of BESIDE U. His rap portion of the song doesn’t feel out of place, and Monsta X’s voices mesh well, too. It’s the perfect song to close the album out on, in my opinion.

As stated previously, I was more of a casual listener of Monsta X. After listening to All About Luv, though, I have felt a strong desire to check out the rest of their albums. If someone asked me to recommend an album in order to acquaint them with a K-Pop group, I think I would show them All About Luv. For a debut album, the songs are of top quality, and you can tell a lot of work was put into it. I can say with the utmost certainty that I will be looking forward to more of Monsta X’s work in the future.