Welcome to Transcendental Side! This is where I confess my deepest, heartfelt and authentic feelings of songs I just couldn’t stop thinking, listening and crying about.

I have been taking a rest at writing reviews for some time. I admit, I don’t have the words to say what I have to say anymore. Critiquing feels more like a chore for me now than I was a year ago. I just don’t feel writing is the best avenue to make assessments about the music industry anymore. I felt like writing is boring, tiring and just repetitive anyways. I was stuck like a rock. So, I took some time off and honestly, I don’t know if I still could write sentences after sentences of content anymore. It seems that I have reached the ceiling.

However, I didn’t stop listening to music, as no matter how tired I was just writing all the words my brain could push, my love for music doesn’t falter. It actually strengthened. 2022, is a very interesting year. It is already so amazing in a way I haven’t seen since 2019. That is a high reach especially from me. But I never predict to fail anyway. I listened to my most played title track for 205 times in just 3 weeks. I have really never done that kind of thing until now. Surprisingly, this song isn’t my most played, but it will be for the coming weeks.

JUICE starts with a joyful electric guitar hook and a pick up from Khael. The countdown from him starts the song and off the bat, Siyoung takes us for a effervescent ride. His vocal performance reeks of a child being delirously brought out after the pandemic, to the rollercoaster and shrieks in joy and freedom. Douhyun, Dongpyo and Lien all take the cue on sustaining the momentum and it just naturally bounces on the word yeah. The choral oohs from MIRAE are imaginative but childish in a way. Douhyun continues with a sudden palpitation of the beat and the style and he just rockets to the moon with the gradual but decisive entry of the drums, that bildungsroman synth instrumentation and the tantamount kiss of pop, and we enter the chorus.

i gamjeongeun Lemon Juice
eoseo Choose hae nal
kkok shinbiroun Magic Juice
heulleoneomchin kkumgateun mat More want it
sum makhil deuthan nunbit
neomu Sweet hae
Choose hae bwa neon You and me
Oh oh oh

This part, at first listen, really stunned me. This was so well crafted, executed and arranged. It was like everything aligned perfectly, not a single note was awkward, opaque and rough. Everything was so powerful, charming and sweet. The chords of this section is so catchy, it might as well end up on one of the most recognizable chords of all time. It is just perfect. However, it was too short, and the rap part got along.

Junhyuk enters and delivers his bars on a very freewheeling approach. It also felt organic and natural at first, although after a few listens I kind of realized how distracting it was for the flow of the song, which felt out of place too. Anyway, his rapping was decent and nothing was too heavy or choppy about it. The verse after it, headed by Siyoung and Lien, felt like a saving grace and a return to form from the whole unit. The jubilant expression and execution of both of them was really attractive and well thought out for this part which parallels what they did just before the chorus enters.

The second chorus hits and it just slams the table more powerfully this time around. You can thank the ever so bullish drum instrumentation which really resonated with me and the amped up authenticity and sincerity from everyone that created this symphony of eargasm that is the chorus of Juice. BUT WAIT! We are not done yet. In a surprise turn of the arrangements we get a freaking post-chorus, and its double!

This post chorus continues the amazing belt that Siyoung did on the last line of the chorus. Yubin just magically appears and continues the symphony, with his stoic staccato singing bringing out the best of the paramount meter-per-meter perfect rhyme, Cho Yoon-kyeong wrote. This moment is where I just needed to cry. The bright and vibrant keypadic synths paired with the chord progressions of the blithesome bildungsroman synth is just nirvana-esque. I did not expect to feel so much liberation, anarchy and self-detachment as this song did to me. This is just peak record making.

Strawberry Lips, so shiny
tteollimeun Piece of Lime
naegen neomu nunbushin
I got the Juicy, Choose it

Green apple Feel so fresh
mweonga jom seotun neukkim
geunde meomchul su eopji
You got the Juicy, Choose it

The short, calming but cathartic bridge continues the trajectory of the song but now in a different angle. Douhyun innocently tells the audience how this moment was unforgettable. As he belts the ohs once more in a very parallel arrangement of the song, we enter the chorus outro for the song. Now we come out and its night time. The lyrics have changed drastically from the two previous choruses to emphasize that the song is ending. MIRAE, the producers and the writers put their all to the final set piece. The final chorus is repeated twice and the post-hook is introduced one last time and the song ends. This interesting arrangement choice is so that the audience can savor the last final moments with great nostalgia and gratitude. It is one of those directorial decisions that feel so perfectly right.

I actually noticed just now, that this whole song felt like a musical of some sorts. Every word, lyric and verse meant something and continued the journey of another in a cohesive and thrilling manner. It is amazing how full this song is. It is never undying, it is persistent and it is galantly creative. It’s very simple. The song told us how the protagonist felt first love and compared it to tasting the ubiquitous but refreshing lemon juice. Each juice flavor is anthropomorphized in a unique way. This personification is a metaphor for teenage love and coming of age. MIRAE perfectly gave soul and authenticity to every part of this record. It’s definitely a stellar project.

This song is so personal for me. It’s one of those rare gems in music that while it is a super fun and hopeful song, it can make me depressed, cry and go into catharsis. I don’t have words anymore, JUICE is just a Transcendental Side.

Objective Rating: S-

Personal Rating: 10

Producers: Christian Fast, Gusten Dahlqvist, Jes Meinertz