ASHLEY - HERE WE ARE
ASHLEY is one of the members of the girl group Ladies' Code. Upon hearing that she would be getting a solo debut, my curiosity was undoubtedly piqued. As she began to release more and more teasers for this, I actually began to get a little worried. As I've said many times in the past, blatant sexualization is just something I don't find compelling or appealing, and this seemed to be headed in that direction. Still, I figured that the song might better than I was expecting it to be, so I went in with an open mind.
Well, my hopes were pretty much dashed a little sooner than halfway through the song. It's about as expected as a song can get, really. Synth tones pinging in to bring out a summery vibe, slapping percussion, piano pieces to replace the synths briefly during our pre-chorus, and then a refrain with a fairly uninteresting instrumental hook attached. This track honestly just sounded like a b-side rather than a title track that's intended to draw you in and keep you interested.
That being said, there's at least one good thing about this song - the vocals. They are crisp and clear, and ASHLEY's voice has a great balance of power and delicateness to it. I'll admit that whenever the background vocals cropped up I felt they were a bit awkward, but in terms of their actual delivery, I don't think there's much to complain about with this song.
Overall I think the song could have been more interesting and had less of a by-the-numbers feel, so I feel disappointed. The vocals are solid and really show ASHLEY's capabilities quite well, so hopefully the next time she drops a solo track, we'll get a more deserving instrumental to accompany that voice.
Well, as I said earlier, the music video is what initially got me worried about this debut. Even from the teaser pictures it was quite obvious that was going to go for a more matured theme, and one that would undoubtedly include a gratuitous show of skin. And that's pretty much exactly what the music video delivered. That and the choreography. And not much other than that for the most part, sadly. A lot of the angles used, outfits incorporated, and even the scenes themselves only further push that sexualization. There's definitely other parts, particularly towards the end of the video, that aren't pushing on it, but those scenes have significantly less screen time devoted to them. But hey, if that's what you wanted to see, that's what you got, so enjoy.
Apart from that, I don't really think there was much in this video that's particularly memorable. Mostly just ASHLEY in a few outfits. There was the not so triumphant return of the colored smoke grenades that haven't really been interesting since years ago, and past that, the general colors and scenery weren't anything new.
Random thought: This tennis court thing is getting out of control in music videos.
I can't help but feel a little let down with this release. Ladies' Code is always releasing music that feels incredibly different and unique among the huge swaths of groups, and this solo debut sadly didn't do that. Instead of stepping out into her own, it felt like ASHLEY was given a song that was measured to be a safe bet, and it ended up being something that ultimately felt like a re-run instead of a new episode.