The After School Discography Rate • FINISHED

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#30
Spotlight

Grade: 8.524
Honor roll: 10×5 (@Slice of Life, @yuuurei, @Macsun, @GeiPanda, @Remorque), 9.5×2 (@Ana Raquel, @Oleander), 9×7 (@RUNAWAY, @Crisp X, @Wills, @Conan, @Cotton Park, @eatyourself, @vague)
Drop-outs: 5×1 (@Vixen), 7×3 (@roblognick, @eyeline, @Hurricane Drunk), 7.5×2 (@junglefish, @chrisjche)
@Love Deluxe's score: 8
@vague's score: 9

5 ballots: #40, 8.350 avg.
10 ballots: #32, 8.425 avg.
15 ballots: #32, 8.483 avg.
20 ballots: #31, 8.488 avg.
25 ballots: #30, 8.510 avg.
31 ballots: #30, 8.524 avg.

"Spotlight" is the eleventh track from After School's second Japanese album, Dress to kill, released on March 19, 2014. Its lyrics were written by Kyasu Morizuki; it was composed by Caroline Gustavsson, Hanna Söderberg, and Markus Bøgelund; and arranged by Markus Bøgelund.

Kyasu Morizuki also wrote the lyrics to "Shh" and "Triangle" as well as Orange Caramel's "Mahou Shoujo (Japan Ver.)".

In the lead-up to the Dress to kill release date, After School's official Japanese Facebook page posted a series of "director's notes" for each track on the album. For "Spotlight", the director stated, "I wanted this track to be gorgeous dance music but not too light. It's not too much to say 'sounds minor' is the sub-theme of this album. However, in order to produce various minor-style music, it was necessary to make gorgeous sounding tracks. We made the title 'Spotlight' in order to give a gorgeous impression to the track."

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(8) — "This song grew on me in the middle of prepping for this elimination and suddenly I'm bopping! The chorus feels so unusual at first, but slowly starts to make more sense as it builds."

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(9) — "Believe in my way~~~ is the highlight. A solid album track, for sure."​



@Macsun (10) — "FUCK YES! This is how you go out! A true banger. Wish there was an MV for this. It sounds cinematic (if that makes sense)."

@M24 (8.25) — "This is like a mix of the brash electropop of the first songs of the album (in the verses) and the more house-influenced ones (in the chorus), so it makes for a good closer, even if it's probably my least favorite of the album tracks."

@berserkboi (8) — "Some parts are great!"

@Vixen (5) — "This is surprisingly cheap sounding for them this late into their discography."​





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#29
Because of you (Japan Ver.)

Grade: 8.581
Honor roll: 10×5 (@RUNAWAY, @evilsin, @Slice of Life, @eatyourself, @GeiPanda), 9.75×1 (@BEST FICTION), 9.5×4 (@junglefish, @Wills, @berserkboi, @Cotton Park)
Drop-outs: 6×3 (@roblognick, @Vixen, @Oleander), 7×1 (@yuuurei), 7.25×1 (@Remorque)
@Love Deluxe's score: 8.75
@vague's score: 9.25

5 ballots: #23, 9.150 avg.
10 ballots: #26, 8.725 avg.
15 ballots: #25, 8.817 avg.
20 ballots: #25, 8.700 avg.
25 ballots: #24, 8.760 avg.
31 ballots: #29, 8.581 avg.

"Because of you (Japan Ver.)" is the second track from After School's third Japanese single, Rambling girls / Because of you, released on January 25, 2012. Its lyrics were written by Mutsumi and Kana Yabuki, it was composed by Brave Brothers, and arranged by h-wonder. "Because of you (Japan Ver.)" was also later included on After School's first Japanese album, PLAYGIRLZ, and both the original and a re-recorded version were also included on their final release, BEST, in 2015.

The Rambling girls / Because of you single peaked at #7 on Oricon, selling 12,110 copies in its first week of release. It charted for six weeks and sold 17,029 copies in total, making it the 400th best-selling physical single of 2012 in Japan.

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(8.75) — "Might be my favorite of the 3 re-recordings from PLAYGIRLZ. One gripe with this version is how everything sounds like it was smoothed over, losing some of the distinct grit from the Korean version. Also scream at how the producers for this version decided to forego any of the other's harmonies in the chorus making it solely a Raina affair ddd."

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(9.25) — "I really do appreciate the softer approach to this song in the Japanese version. I actually enjoy the Alternate Ver. from BEST a lot too; it's definitely the best of the 2015 re-recordings by far and has a much fairer line distribution than the original version. This song also houses what is probably Lizzy's best attempt at rapping imo nn."​



@RUNAWAY (10) — "ugh the way this song destroys me every time. I always gravitated toward this version more when it came out, because I was more familiar with Japanese than Korean, and still am to this day. Their actual voices and not autotuned ones helps as well. Literally I think this is one of my top played songs of all time, I'm not kidding."

@Slice of Life (10) — "am i becoming a japanese ver. stan omg."

@eatyourself (10) — "This is so smooth."

@GeiPanda (10) — "I like this as much as the Korean version, but for different reasons - it's not as #emotional, but I like that they changed up the rhythm of the rapping parts. It manages to capture a totally different overall tone than the original."

@berserkboi (9.5) — "Another one improved in Japanese!"

@Ana Raquel (9) — "I don't know why I like this better than the Korean one... I just do?"

@Macsun (8.5) — "Inferior without Bekah in this."

@singabob (8.25) — "The quality of this song really suffered cause of the rap. The Japanese rap is so... soft compared to the original."

@Attis (8) — "Unnecessary revision, the thumping beat take away the melodramatic of the original."

@M24 (8) — "I'm not a fan of this new production. It makes the chorus less potent. The vocals are a bit less filtered, which is a good thing, but their delivery is less emotional (I don't know if the lineup had changed completely from the time the original version was released). The same thing happened for me with the japanese version of Diva."

@SloMover (7.5) — "I really appreciate how J-Pop this sounds but a lot of the power of the original is gone."

@eyeline (7.5) — "Doesn't touch the original at all but I like the softness of the raps."

@roblognick (6) — "I think I'm just so used to the original version. I don't like the voices on this one."​








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#28
Ms.Independent

Grade: 8.597
Honor roll: 10×6 (@RUNAWAY, @Ana Raquel, @Slice of Life, @eatyourself, @GeiPanda, @Remorque), 9.5×4 (@Attis, @Macsun, @BEST FICTION, @Oleander), 9×6 (@singabob, @roblognick, @chrisjche, @SloMover, @Wills, @KimLippington)
Drop-outs: 3×1 (@Hurricane Drunk), 6.5×1 (@eyeline), 7×1 (@berserkboi)
@Love Deluxe's score: 8.5
@vague's score: 8.5

5 ballots: #32, 8.750 avg.
10 ballots: #20, 8.925 avg.
15 ballots: #20, 8.950 avg.
20 ballots: #26, 8.638 avg.
25 ballots: #31, 8.440 avg.
31 ballots: #28, 8.597 avg.

"Ms.Independent" is the third track from After School's second Japanese album, Dress to kill, released on March 19, 2014. Its lyrics were written by Kanata Okajima, it was composed by Albi Albertsson and Johanna Elkesdotter, and arranged by Mussashi. It was also later included on After School's final release, BEST, released March 18, 2015.

Starting in July 2013, "Ms.Independent" was used as the CM song for the MARUKO lingerie brand's summer 2013 campaign, which starred Juyeon. Because of this, Juyeon consistently chose "Ms.Independent" as her favorite song while promoting the Dress to kill album, telling VANITYMIX in particular, "Because it's the theme song for my MARUKO lingerie CM, it definitely left a special impression on me."

In the lead-up to the Dress to kill release date, After School's official Japanese Facebook page posted a series of "director's notes" for each track on the album. For "Ms.Independent", the director stated, "To emphasize the boomy kick and edgy synth, this track is sparsely arranged in order to shape its strong sound. The title 'Ms.Independent' describes the strength and freedom of women. So as to not to give a J-pop or K-pop impression, a lot of the lyrics are written in English."

A special live video of the song taken from their performance at the AFTERSCHOOL Gakuensai 2014 ~Jugyouhen~ fan meeting was released in October 2014 to promote the then-upcoming Dress to SHINE tour, which was sponsored by MARUKO. The full performances from the fan meeting were later released on the limited mu-mo CD+DVD edition of BEST.

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(8.5) — "You'll be sooo brand new when you knock my body. I'll never stop STOP when I switch into a naughty!!!!"

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(8.5) — "The MARUKO CM is gorgeous. The song? A cute girl."​



@Slice of Life (10) — "always and forever that bawp."

@eatyourself (10) — "Any song with lyrics like 'WHO'S THE BOMB? b-b-b-b-b-b-omb IN THE DUMPS? du-du-du-du-dumps' gets an instant 10 from me. This one happens to be extremely good!!!"

@Attis (9.5) — "Iconique tbh, probably my favorite trashy electro banger from them."

@Macsun (9.5) — "Snazzy, powerful and uplifting. However one of the more commercial tracks on this album. I feel like I've heard it before."

@roblognick (9) — "In the dump dump dump dump dump dump dump dump dumps..... This cracks me up every time. But I love it!"

@SloMover (9) — "A racket in all the right ways."

@M24 (8.75) — "Gosh, I love that beat! The chorus is pretty good too. In my top half of Dress to Kill."

@Vixen (7.75) — "Amazing bridge, but the rest is not up to par imo."

@berserkboi (7) — "Melody is lacking, sadly!"

@eyeline (6.5) — "This one never quite clicked with me."​








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#27
Rip off

Grade: 8.629
Honor roll: 10×5 (@Slice of Life, @yuuurei, @Macsun, @eatyourself, @Vixen), 9.5×3 (@Conan, @M24, @BEST FICTION), 9.25×1 (@singabob)
Drop-outs: 6.5×1 (@Hurricane Drunk), 7×2 (@eyeline, @vague), 7.5×3 (@Crisp X, @chrisjche, @SloMover)
@Love Deluxe's score: 7.75
@vague's score: 7

5 ballots: #47, 8.050 avg.
10 ballots: #36, 8.350 avg.
15 ballots: #34, 8.367 avg.
20 ballots: #32, 8.450 avg.
25 ballots: #29, 8.520 avg.
31 ballots: #27, 8.629 avg.

"Rip off" is the first track from After School's first Japanese album, PLAYGIRLZ, released on March 14, 2012. The song's Japanese lyrics were written by H.U.B., its Korean lyrics were written by Jung-A, and both versions were composed by Joleen Belle, William "Bleu" McAuley, and Windy Wagner and arranged by William "Bleu" McAuley.

The Korean version of the song was released on After School's fifth Korean maxi-single, FLASHBACK, on June 20, 2013. After School promoted "Rip off" on music shows alongside "FLASHBACK" during the single's first week of stage performances. Of all songs on PLAYGIRLZ, "Rip off" was somehow chosen to be re-recorded and promoted in Korea, likely due to the fact they wanted to showcase their cane dance to Korean audiences. The cane dance would serve as the "FLASHBACK" era's special "skill"-based performance that had become synonymous with After School comebacks.​

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In an interview with Oricon Style promoting PLAYGIRLZ, Lizzy chose "Rip off" as her favorite song from the album, saying, "For me, when I listen to 'Rip off', I receive a lot of power. It combines pop and fantasticness; it's the perfect song to open the album." While promoting "FLASHBACK", E-Young chose "Rip off" as the song she had the most attachment to in After School's entire catalog: "We performed it as the opening number at our concert and the response was very good. Also, I've always wanted to do a cane performance since way back. I have the most attachment with this song because this song was the opportunity to try it."

Though never officially confirmed, "Rip off" - and the PLAYGIRLZ album visuals as a whole - seem to be largely inspired by the Pussycat Dolls' burlesque beginnings in Las Vegas. There is a prevalent showgirl and casino theme throughout the entire PLAYGIRLZ era, most notably in the slot machine-themed visuals used for their first Japanese tour and the After School-themed playing cards that were included with the limited deluxe edition of PLAYGIRLZ.​

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(7.75) — "Love how they sound like Disney movie villains planning a sinister plot throughout the entire song."

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(7) — "One of my least favorite songs in their discography, to be quite honest! I like the verses, but nothing else sticks. That marble-mouthed 'dream world~' before every chorus is a nightmare... literally a nightmare."​



@Macsun (10) — "Fantastic vocals by everyone. Vocal and music production are perfection like most of their Japanese discography."

@eatyourself (10) — "Go off Kraftwerk! This is some professional sh*t!"

@Vixen (10) — "A bop... Like I cannot make the music NOT bop......"

@M24 (9.5) — "Something about this track reminds me of SNSD's first japanese album! I really like it, that beat is enough to get me moving, and then the chorus is full of hooks."

@singabob (9.25) — "This song could have been a single."

@Attis (8.75) — "Messy banger."

@berserkboi (8.5) — "A great basic bop!"

@SloMover (7.5) — "It's a bit one note and doesn't really go anywhere but it's a really great album track - sets the tone for the rest of the album."​








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#26
Time's up

Grade: 8.661
Honor roll: 10×4 (@RUNAWAY, @Wills, @Macsun, @Oleander), 9.5×2 (@Slice of Life, @BEST FICTION), 9.25×2 (@junglefish, @eyeline)
Drop-outs: 7×1 (@roblognick), 7.5×3 (@Crisp X, @Hurricane Drunk, @Love Deluxe), 7.75×1 (@KimLippington)
@Love Deluxe's score: 7.5
@vague's score: 8.75

5 ballots: #32, 8.750 avg.
10 ballots: #32, 8.425 avg.
15 ballots: #28, 8.617 avg.
20 ballots: #27, 8.625 avg.
25 ballots: #28, 8.560 avg.
31 ballots: #26, 8.661 avg.

"Time's up" is the fourth track from After School's sixth Korean maxi-single, 첫사랑, released on June 13, 2013. Its lyrics were written by Lim Sooho, Seo Yongbae (TENTEN), and DJ R2, and it was composed and arranged by Blacc Hole. Additionally, E-Young composed and arranged the piano melody used throughout the track.

In the press release for the 첫사랑 maxi-single, Pledis described "Time's up" as: "A piano melody that matches Raina's fresh vocals will be shown in the song 'Time's up'. The song contains lyrics about the moment when someone looks into the past and wishes to go back to a certain time, especially during maknae Kaeun's part which is expressed as a powerful intro. The girl who everyone thinks of as a young one shows off her maturity and sexiness, resulting in everyone's anticipation for Kaeun's boundless growth."

We talked about how E-Young was probably the most underutilized member of the group in her member spotlight back in October, and after over two years in the group, the "첫사랑" era seemed to be a turning point where she got to show off her musicianship a bit. Between getting to write and produce the piano melody used in this song and being showcased in an early "첫사랑" trailer where she teased the song on the piano, she finally got to do something by herself. But Pledis being Pledis, this was After School's last promoted comeback in Korea, so those seeds planted with this maxi-single never got to come to fruition.

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(7.5) — "Lizzy and Jungah sound amazing singing those lower notes. I've always thought this and Love Beat could've been T-ARA songs on one of their 2010-2011 mini albums."

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(8.75) — "I know Pledis was trying to showcase Kaeun with that intro, but it's actually the worst part of the song nn. It's a real shame E-Young never really got to showcase her songwriting skills like the Pledis artists who debuted in the years after After School went on hiatus 'cause the piano melody is actually really pretty."​



@Macsun (10) — "What a bloody track. JungAh and Raina killing it with those soaring vocals."

@M24 (9) — "One of their prettiest ballads because of the electronic production, the chorus and particularly the 'jekak, jekak, jekak' part. The middle-8 is actually quite upbeat too, that took me by surprise. Maybe I should reconsider if this is a ballad."

@Vixen (9) — "I don't know what it is, but this also sounds like and reminds me a little of 'Shampoo'. Maybe the synths, I don't know. It's not as good obviously, but it's a solid 9."

@berserkboi (8.5) — "More prettiness!"​





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Wow..No surprise that E-Young (Basement Baby) was done dirty… but by you lot?!

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I was really hoping this would make top 20. Yes their Korean tracks are more or less great but during this timeline, their Japanese catalog felt superior. This was their “comeback” as their EP was full of jems that could rival their Japanese tracks, especially for B-sides. The production really did an amazing job with vocals and arrangements(Thank you E-Young!). No offense but if you can get Kaeun to sound great when she dominates the track with her adlibs…? You’re doing a great job. All the girls sound amazing in this!
 
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#25
rock it!

Grade: 8.685
Honor roll: 10×8 (@roblognick, @Slice of Life, @yuuurei, @Macsun, @Cotton Park, @GeiPanda, @Oleander, @vague), 9.5×1 (@KimLippington), 9.25×4 (@singabob, @RUNAWAY, @Conan, @M24)
Drop-outs: 6×1 (@Hurricane Drunk), 6.5×1 (@eyeline), 7×1 (@evilsin)
@Love Deluxe's score: 8.25
@vague's score: 10

5 ballots: #27, 9.050 avg.
10 ballots: #29, 8.600 avg.
15 ballots: #29, 8.600 avg.
20 ballots: #29, 8.588 avg.
25 ballots: #26, 8.610 avg.
31 ballots: #25, 8.685 avg.

"rock it!" is the b-side to After School's sixth Japanese single, Shh, released on January 29, 2014. Its lyrics were written by KAJI KATSURA, it was composed by Eric Palmqwist and Erik Nyholm, and arranged by Anton Fahlgren and Erik Nyholm. "rock it!" was also included on After School's second Japanese album, Dress to kill, as track ten.

In the lead-up to the Dress to kill release date, After School's official Japanese Facebook page posted a series of "director's notes" for each track on the album. For "rock it!", the director stated "I wanted to make this track sound good at the live show, so the chorus has a roughness with shouts mixed in without losing overall dynamism. The heave of the sidechain compressor pulls the groove of this track superbly."

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(8.25) — "The staccato delivery of the lines in the chorus, that eventually descend into the chaos of the post-chorus drop is a highlight."

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(10) — "This may be blasphemous to admit but I've always preferred this to 'Shh'."​



@roblognick (10) — "I WANNA ROCQUETTE! Another great, quirky track for this album. Great for the gym!"

@Macsun (10) — "When I first heard this wasn't one of my faves, but it grew on me with just a few listens. I always love them singing anthem styled songs. Again a bit faceless but still a great track."

@M24 (9.25) — "This song kind of gets the album back into pure electropop territory after four house-influenced/R&B-influenced songs. It's one of my favorites of the album, the chorus is simple but effective. The drop-like post-chorus is pretty good too."

@berserkboi (7.5) — "Nice stuff!"​






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#24
Gimme Love

Grade: 8.742
Honor roll: 10×5 (@junglefish, @evilsin, @yuuurei, @berserkboi, @Macsun), 9.5×2 (@singabob, @Ana Raquel), 9×8 (@RUNAWAY, @roblognick, @SloMover, @Slice of Life, @Conan, @M24, @Oleander, @vague)
Drop-outs: 7×1 (@Cotton Park), 7.5×3 (@Crisp X, @eyeline, @Hurricane Drunk), 8×2 (@Mikl C, @GeiPanda)
@Love Deluxe's score: 8.25
@vague's score: 9

5 ballots: #23, 9.150 avg.
10 ballots: #17, 9.050 avg.
15 ballots: #21, 8.933 avg.
20 ballots: #18, 8.950 avg.
25 ballots: #22, 8.790 avg.
31 ballots: #24, 8.742 avg.

"Gimme Love" is the eighth track from After School's first Japanese album, PLAYGIRLZ, released on March 14, 2012. Its lyrics were written by Harumi Tanaka, it was composed by Fraktal and Masamichi Kono, and arranged by Fraktal.

In a now-deleted Tweet, Fraktal, the song's producer, stated that a Korean version of "Gimme Love" had also been recorded. Additionally, a Pledis manager also revealed that Raina had written the Korean lyrics. This version was ultimately never released.

In an interview with Oricon Style in March 2012, Raina cited "Gimme Love" as her favorite song on PLAYGIRLZ, saying, "Ten seconds after the song has begun, the beat makes your feelings rise." Raina had previously called "Tell me" her favorite song from the album, similar to how she couldn't make up her mind about her favorite Dress to kill song nn... so once again what is the truth dot jif.

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(8.25) — "So many of the songs on PLAYGIRLZ aged badly for me due to the production choices, but this is one that still holds up quite well. The 'dakishimete' parts are so catchy."

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(9) — "I don't love Nana's spoken word bit after the first chorus; it ruins the flow of the song for me. Otherwise, this is really good n fun."​



@berserkboi (10) — "Something incredible Girls Aloud about this - almost like a soft 'The Show' beat!"

@Macsun (10) — "Yaaas E Young out of the basement again and delivering with the little time she has."

@singabob (9.5) — "Another song that could have been a single. The chorus is such a rush."

@roblognick (9) — "Such a great chorus."

@SloMover (9) — "The peak of the first Japanese album. I love the power and urgency of the song."

@M24 (9) — "Another bop in this album, very 07-09 basic electropop, which is exactly my jam. I think for that reason overall I prefer this album to Dress to Kill, which is probably an unpopular opinion."

@Vixen (8.25) — "I thought I was going to be put off, but it's honestly such a good little bop that I can't be bothered."​






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God, this rate hurts like hell.

"rock it" is only fine to me, so I didn't even realize it was still in, while "Gimme Love" is probably the best song on "PLAYGIRLZ", at least an album exclusive one. The post-chorus with "You can Take ITO! Shake ITO!" is a one of the most definitive moments in pop music.
I can't believe how many better songs are leaving before Because of you ... it's not that good y'all ...
It is, though. It deserves a Top10 placement especially being their only #1.
 
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