My favorite MX era 🥰
Oh yeahh, I’m sooo excited to talk about “Beautiful” and “Shine Forever” era. This is one of those eras similar to SHINee’s Odd where I just have tons of fond memories of. I remember interacting with so many fan and everyone was vibing and having fun. And stressing over getting them that first music show win,
we got sooo close, but vibing the rest of the time.
The photos alone, this era, had me hooked. I had the photoshoot for the magenta/dark pink (Beautiful) version inclusions all over my room. I’ll link an unboxing video here of all three albums. I meant to get the Beside version (the blue one) eventually to have all three albums, but it’s been 6 years as of writing, and I still don’t have it, lol. Idk if I’ll go back and collect that other version. I got the main two I wanted, so I think I’m good.
I have a bad habit of getting merch, and not looking at it after my first look through. Like, if I don’t have it hanging on my cork board, I forget it exists. And I have MX merchandise I bought back in 2016/2017 that I haven’t gone through, STILL. Like that damn Temperature photobook, omgg.
Alright, enough rambling, let’s get into the album!
Ready or Not
The first song on the first album and it’s a banger. I remember when I saw MX in concert, I was excited to hear this song live. It was just as high energy and loud as I hoped it be. I love Jooheon’s part at the beginning. I can’t help but to hear his voice every time I hear or see someone say something about being ready, lol.
I’m including this M Countdown performance despite the video quality being kinda junk. They look good here and I love the styling. “Ready or Not” isn’t a song I listen to a lot, like when it was still a year or two old, but when it does pop up on shuffle, I jam.
We have almost the same people who worked on pt.1 and pt.2 work on pt. 2.5. And I think that’s mainly why this album is so amazing. You have the best of both worlds, as Miss Hannah Montana once said.
It’s just a continuation of what works, and an elevation of Monsta X’s sound. So in addition to I.M and Jooheon having song credits on every song, we start seeing Wonho have credits on three songs. Very exciting. I love when you start seeing more members outside rapline have credits on songs when it comes to the production side. It never not makes me smile.
When it comes to the first batch of familiar names who also worked on this song and album, we have 리시 (Lish according to Wiki, but I found a translation from a fan site that also called them Risi, so I’m using both, lol), Esbee, and Studio 14. We last saw them on pt.1.
They really don’t make them like this anymore. The song, choreography, and styling:
You knew that Lady Gaga gif was coming, lmao. Trying to articulate the absolute brilliant construction and care that was put into this song and music video is difficult. From the first few seconds of hearing the instrumentals, you know something major is about to go down. You’re about to witness a life-changing experience. It’s just a song and video, you come out the other end of a different person.
On the Wiki, it sites Dubstep and Trap to describe the sound of “Beautiful”, genre wise. And it’s that dubstep and loud ass horns, bass, drops, that have me hooked on early Monsta X. It’s interesting that Dubstep still had a mainstream presence like this in 2017, considering in the west, it was pretty much back to being a niche genre.
And other forms of House music started to become more trendy and popular, like Tropical House. I think the way Monsta X was able to add a touch of Hip Hop (with Trap, which was also becoming more mainstream at this point in the US and internationally), made this song sound fresh and current. Taking a “dying” trend and mixing it was something up and coming. Something I didn’t really take into account at the time.
So now I gotta bring Galactika into the conversation. They’ve worked on some a few other songs I really enjoy in that have that dubstep/noise music category of Kpop. I noticed on their site,
loveee the layout, they have Wanna One’s “I.P.U (I Promise You)” listed. BANGER. I loveeee the pre-chorus and chorus on that track so much.
Anyway, the production duo made up of Friday (ooo he worked on “What Is Love” by TWICE) and Chang (“Dalla Dalla” by ITZY makes sooo much sense now). The production studio they’re tied into, Studiø Instinct, has worked on Apink’s One & Six album that has “I’m So Sick” on it. So Galactika is the one keeping the noise music trend alive, love to see it. Athena, who is also tied into Studiø Instinct, also has credits on this track. And she also has credits on Apink’s album.
So let’s get into this music video. One of the reasons why I wanted the Beautiful version of the album is because most of the styling and visuals we see in the music video for “Beautiful” are in the photobook and inclusions for that version. I love the suits in “Beautiful”. This was during that trend of like Victorian era vampires getting custom modern suits. I love the silk/satin fabrics with like swirly fleur de lis patterns.
Hair color and styling this time around I think suit each member well. I liked that most of the members have brown/natural hair colors. Jooheon and Hyungwon’s curled, slightly permed hair is cute. Shownu’s hair looks different based on if you’re looking at the music video or the photoshoot. In the photoshoot, it’s more of a cool light brown, and it’s sooo cute on him. I want a wig, this hair color.
Kihyun is another member, I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a color on him. His light brown amber hair here is cute. I am partial to dark brown/black hair on I.M though. That’s easily my favorite hair on him. The longer, the better.
Minhyuk’s photos in particular were breathtaking. I don’t think there has been a hair color I haven’t liked on Minhyuk, but this red burgundy color suits him so well. The photo of him with glitter on him and his head in his hand, nothing but 10s.
Choreography for “Beautiful” is one of my favorite MX routines. I’m not a Kpoppie who learns choreo, but if I was, this would be one I’d learn. Around the 1:20 mark, that part where Shownu is in the middle and stretches his arms out and moves them up and down and the members follow it, omggg. The shimmy part when the chorus starts is also a favorite part of the choreo.
I haven’t watched the music video for “Beautiful” in years, but similar to “All In” and “Fighter” it plays out exactly how I remember it (overall). I forgot how much I enjoy the scenes where the film angle turns into a bird’s eye view, and they look smaller.
The choreography scenes remind me so much of the dance version of SHINee’s “Your Number”. I also forgot about them taking their jackets off as part of the choreo near the end. The lighting too stands out to me. I love the blue and purple lighting.
It goes with the album theme and calls back to the previous music videos in this saga. You also get some yellow and gold for the Brilliant album version representation. I’m a huge grayscale fan, so anytime we get black and white moments in a video, I’m sold.
I can’t talk about this era and not mention the We Bare Bears episode. ICONIC. I was a huge fan of the show back when it was airing. I knew Panada was kin, but when he said Wonho was his bias, I knew that this was the bear I shared the most commonalities with, minus being vegetarian, lol.
Even if you’re not much of a WBB fan or Monbebe, I think this episode works well to establish to explain briefly who Monsta X are and showcase the dynamic of the bears without needing to watch multiple episodes to understand their own lore.
If you haven’t watched this episode in full, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s not very long, it’s about 12 minutes. I also had to add that the creator of We Bare Bears, Daniel Chong, reacted on Twitter saying Panda was deviated by Wonho’s departure of the group. We love the commitment to the lore.
There was just so much to cover for “Beautiful” on its own. It really is too beautiful to handle. Let’s move on.
My faaaave song on the album. This popped up on shuffle a few weeks ago, and I felt like that food critic in Ratatouille while listening to the first few seconds of this song. I used to drive this song into the ground listening to it.
It’s phenomenal. So much power and emotions put into this performance. The pre-chorus and chorus are hands down the best parts of this song. You have more dubstep drops, but like with “Beautiful” it’s genre mixing. To me, “Incomparable” is like a power ballad but with house and pop elements.
The back and forth between the members singing? Chef’s kiss. This is what I mean with MX and small details they add to songs to keep your ears engaged. So Discogs doesn’t have everyone who worked on this song, but Wikipedia got us covered. XEPY, 5$, zomay, Lee Jiwon, Lee Kyungmin, and Vo3e.
Need U (니가 필요해)
My third favorite song on The Final Chapter. I didn’t talk about this during “Beautiful”, but I love when Kpop songs include a Korean phrase so frequently that you pick up that phrase naturally.
When I was looking at the song titles on Spotify, they just have the English titles. So when I saw “Need U” my first thought was, “Is that 난 니가 필요해?” and it was. I used to listen to this one a lot too. It’s a slower paced song. A step up from midtempo. But not high tempo like “Beautiful”.
A bit slower than “Incomparable”. “Incomparable” is faster than “Need U” but closer to “Beautiful” in pacing. Lish/Risi, Esbee, and Megatone worked on this track. I’ve realized I’ve finally gotten the English translation of 리시 ‘s name, lol.
Time to make those edits. Actually, I’m also just keeping the Hangul just to be safe, lol.
This is a hype ass song. The hype tracks on this album really go off. I loveee the high energy on “Oi”. I couldn’t wait to see this one performed live too at the time. This is the first Wonho song credit we see on The Final Chapter. He worked on music and lyrics.
As mentioned earlier, Jooheon and I.M have credits on every song on this album. Brother Su (not sure why they don’t have more songs credited with him on here), JJB, XEPY, and Vo3e worked on this track.
“Miss You” is a song I enjoy, but don’t revisit much. Ye-Yo! is back, and I totally can hear it now that I have a better idea of what their sound is like.
It’s not a full slow song. But like a slower song for MX. Midtempo for anyone else. I would also list this as like a light power ballad.
“Calm Down” is another hype song and I freakin love it. Fourth fave song on this album. Mafly, Keyfly, and Davey Nate is back. RE:ONE and Delly Boi also worked on this track.
I’m realizing I haven’t listened to most of this album in full in years 😳. I need to fix that.
All I Do
“All I Do” is probably my fifth favorite song on this album. Pacing, I’d say it’s closer to “Need U”. It’s upbeat and catchy. Lish/Risi, ESBEE, and 9999 is back.
I don’t have much to say on this one other than it’s a tune.
5:14 (Last Page)
Ayyy special clip video. “5:14” is one of those thank you to the fans songs, but also a thank you to the members’ song, and I love it. Monsta X debuted on May 14th 2015. That’s where the 5 14 comes from. If I think too hard about the lyrics, I’ll tear up.
It’s a sweet song that isn’t super slow, so you can still sway while being in your feelings. I don’t remember if I saw this special clip video back when it first dropped. But I do have the black shirt in the thumbnail. Mine has cracks in it because I used to wear it all the time. I still wear it from time to time. Mostly as a lounge shirt now.
Wonho’s second song credit on the album is on this track. We also got Hyuk Shin, MRey, and Jayrah Gibson (back) on “5:14”.
I’ll Be There (넌 어때)
Another song I instantly recognized by the Korean title first. I haven’t listened to this song in years. It was never a favorite song of mine to listen to regularly. It’s the slowest song, on the album.
Very sentimental and sincere. Wonho also has song credits on this one for lyrics and music. I like that two out of three songs he worked on were emotional. The Pisces jumped out, lol.
Okay, let’s get to the repackaged songs!
The dramaaaaa. The girls were FIGHTING. I forgot the drama going on in this music video. I never rewatch this music video. I listen to “Shine Forever” constantly still and “Gravity”. Both are two of my favorite MX songs ever. I think I might have watched this a few times back when it first released for streaming purposes.
I gotta talk about Jooheon and Wonho’s hair. Minhyuk’s too, actually, let’s start with him. I love white/platinum hair! Minhyuk so much. And in “Shine Forever” they gave Jooheon a similar look and I love it on him. Not the fried version like in this thumbnail, but later on like when he’s wearing that flamingo shirt.
I love this black and dark green hair on Wonho. This was the era I really became a Wonho main, and I changed my Tumblr user name to Shine Forever Wonho for a while there. My love for Monsta X was at its peak during this era. They were easily in my top 3 fave groups.
After rewatching this music video, I think it was a bit forgettable, minus the fighting, lol. The styling isn’t my favorite, and we have zero dancing in this video. There is a dance practice version. I think that’s why I don’t come back to this video.
Omg I never knew BiNTAGE worked on “Shine Forever”??!! This is an interesting development. I knew BiNTAGE from some of those underground KR&B YouTube playlist videos. Back when I listened to Soundcloud more, “Give” was my favorite song of his. I found his insta, and it looks like he does more producing and behind the scenes stuff in music creation now. Lish/Risi and Stereo14 are back for this song.
My favorite “slow” MX song. I’ve loved “Gravity” from my first listen, and I still listen to it constantly. It’s probably categorized more as a midtempo song. Like closer to downtempo. Very vibey song. I like when you don’t have as much “noise” and you get to hear more of their voices in songs like theses.
Mafly, RE:ONE, and Davey Nate are all back on this song. Again, my favorite songs are typically by the same people, it’s so funny to me. I love to see it.
So I also have a physical copy of the repackage album as well. My biggest complaint about this packaging, despite the cool look, is the lack of practical use of storing it. I got the one of the left, and it’s a pain, thing is ALWAYS leaning on my bookshelf, lol.
I had a feeling once I started working on this article, it would be at least 3k words. I wanted to include some funny memes and moments I remember from being on Tumblr at the time. I think I had a Twitter account at the time, that thing has been super deleted, lol. But let me include some screenshots and gif set links for y’all to check out. The light gray text are my tags.
This was the concert me and one of my best friends went to at Cobb Energy. Hyungwon was injured, so he didn’t participate during this tour.
My thoughts after the show, rip to me not getting to see ot7 live because I put that money towards KCON 2018 😪.
I used to have this photo saved as my phone wallpaper.
Imma bring this back. One Hope used to be the GOAT for Wonho fan pics.
Okay, let’s include some videos and links from this era.
I remember being sooo happy about MX getting love like this from this loud ass fan chant.
I’ve discovered how to embed gifs y’all, I’m indestructible. Also, they way it shows my tags too? Love that. Anyway, I think this was my favorite livestage look this era. We know I’m a sucker for pink.
fymonsta-x on Tumblr was another goat for keeping us updating on MX things. Shout out to them for their service.
Okay, and I’ll end this with a graphic of the track listing for The Final Chapter (not including “Shine Forever” and “Gravity”) for y’all interested in the song production details. I love the graphics they created for this era so much.
There still were some things I ended up leaving out, but I had sooo much fun working on this article. I hope y’all enjoyed reading this. This took me a few days longer to put together than I expected. I have a few articles planned for the next few days.
I’m behind on watching shows from Seoul Fashion Week. I haven’t decided on if I’m gonna review some of the red carpet looks I’ve seen. It’ll depend on how many looks are out and if I can get enough looks that I like, and can talk about. But I’ll definitely have a review of my fave collections.
Anyway, thanks for checking out this post! Let me know your fave songs in the comments. This is the last full Monsta X album/era review of this series. The next MX article will be my fave MX songs from THE CODE onward. Well, we’ll go back to TRESPASS, then we’ll talk about THE CODE and everything I liked onwards.
You can buy both of these Monsta X albums with my Amazon links ⬇️
See ya next post!