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To Younha: “i am listening”

Since my review of Supersonic, i have made it no secret how much i love Younha and her music. Nevertheless, she is pretty underrated in the kpop music scene because it’s called kPOP for a reason. Though i won’t go so far as to call her music indie-style, her music certainly does not merely fall into the ‘pop’ category. You either like it or you don’t.

This album is no exception.

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‘Just Listen’ is Younha’s latest mini-album and without further delay…

Track List:

1. Just Listen

2. Fireworks

3. The Real Reason We broke Up

4. Spring

5. It’s not that

6. One Fine day

7. Sea Child

Just Listen

Just (no pun intended) like her previous album, Younha makes full use of her introduction song that you can hardly call it an introduction when it stands out that strongly. Like i said, Younha’s music tends to be pretty subjective and this is probably one of them. Featuring ‘Skull’, a reggae-style korean rapper which explains the mix of reggae music influences (to put it easily, it’s pretty much what your hear at the beginning of the song). So the song is carried by the strong percussion beats and piano riff that you hear throughout the song as more layers of music blends in with it such that only thing that really stands out eventually is still the beat you hear at the beginning of the song. Then there is a short ‘pause’ where you hear the piano riff again before Skull comes in reggae-style. The contrast between Younha’s singing style and Skull’s obvious rougher-voice reggae-rap-style is pretty artistic if you ask me and it definitely did it for me. It was pretty surprising to hear Skull take up such a large part of the song in Younha’s song that it becomes closer to a duet than a feature, not that i am complaining. And it definitely didn’t stop Younha from hitting all the right buttons during her parts. Like i said, this is a pretty subjective song and almost experimental in her case. I have to say that when i first heard the beginning, i was a bit skeptical, but those thoughts immediately flew out the window one minute into the song. So i’m not about to convince anyone that they should love this song but i say you give it a shot or two.

Fireworks

…is a much faster tempo pop-rock (and probably more accepted) song. Here, we are back to the electronic-music-style and sounds reminisce of the likes of Supersonic though hardly similar in outcome. The overall musicality is actually pretty simple and doesn’t contain as many layers as it may sound like. It only seems that way because of the abrupt-ness of the song. If you listen carefully, it is nothing as confusing or complex as you might have thought it to be and can be done with just a normal rock band with maybe a little help here and there.

The Real Reason We Broke Up

… is the single of this album and i can see why. It not only works as a kind of part II to ‘We Broke Up Today’ (to me), it is definitely an easier listen. The song starts off with an acoustic ballad feel before the pace quickens and the guitar plucking transits into strumming. In the chorus, instead of the usual drum beats, clapping is use, making is kinda flamingo-ish and really interesting to say the least. This makes the song feeling happier than the lyrics said it should. Either than that, it is a pretty simple but effective song and need i say more of Younha’s vocals? Just to make it more unique, this is a song that doesn’t have a ‘proper’ ending as the song kinda fades out into nothingness leaving a serene after taste.

Spring

A more traditional kpop ballad using piano and strings, this song sets out to be different most obviously by length of song. Frankly speaking, i never really did notice the lengthiness of this song until it was pointed out. Until i really listened, i realised how many variations of build-ups they had that made it easier to listen to the same song for such a long time where the instrumental parts were pretty much stretched out. When it’s Younha doing this outrageous ballad, it just seems to justified, accompanied by a good song arrangement of course. And unless i really paid attention, i hardly noticed how long this song was =X

It’s not that

…is another tradition ballad song. Every Younha album has one of these. Nevertheless, i thought the later part of the song was a bit too oversung for me, making it a tad too shrill for my ears. Sure i know you have a powerful voice (and i love it) but err, i think you literally used the concept of ‘belting out a song’ too overboard there.

One Fine Day

… is a more light-hearted summer song after that a-bit-too-much-for-me previous song. It’s fun, it’s youth and it’s in just the right place on the album, coming in just after the more somber ‘It’s not that’ and just before a stronger song like Sea Child. Yes, it’s like breathing after you’ve held your breath for too long. Younha does this summer-theme song in her rock style and lends her song for the harmonica to shine and i say it packs a nice punch. Ending the song with her rock voice is the perfect last-liner.

Sea Child

… immediately comes off as a very emotional song as the music starts of grand right at the beginning without any build-up. There are times when a song starts with it’s chorus, but in Sea Child, it almost seems like the chorus and verse are practically one thing and there isn’t a clear line between normal segments of a song (i.e verse, pre-chorus, chorus etc). This song seems to be segmented more into flow of emotions. However, what makes it comfortable to listen to with the lack of a ‘proper’ song arrangement is probably the beauty of the melody, layers of instrumentals and the main beat that ties it all together without making the listener feel lost.

After listening to another Younha album, it reinforces my love for her music though the only song i had to close one ear to get over ‘It’s not that’ the rest of the album more than makes up for one-too-much-shrill. Younha has once again proven that she is one of the best female solo artiste in the Korean music industry. Sure, there are many good female singers out there, but no one does/experiment with music like Younha and comes out as successful as this and her previous albums. Not to mention that she is still so young. It’s a pity that people who merely scratch the surface of kpop or jpop rarely discover this jem. Younha’s music poses a sophistication that should be seen in more kpop songs (but sadly do not posses) due to lack of time? effort? talent? More importantly, because she has the musical freedom and is not bound by the rules of idol-dom that she is able to explore different musical options. Though she may still not be fully appreciated by the masses in the near future, it is safe to say that those who do will remain as true fans.

 

On a different note, Younha was chosen to participate in the ‘NOWorkend’ project, collaborating with Producer Philtre the end results is the song ‘Fade’

It’s a really emotional/sad song where the music stands out a bit more than Younha’s vocals (pretty much like a Nell-style song if you know what i mean) but makes use of her vocals perfectly. Or rather, she perfectly portrayed the emotions and feelings of the song. This is a must-listen for fans! Enjoy!

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EXO finally comes back with Hugs & Kisses!

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The wait is finally over (since about 2 weeks ago)!!! All eyes on these boys-turn-wolves after their teaser was released as fans and curious people like me counted down to their MV release and comeback performances.maxresdefault

Let’s not forget about the tree of life…

Before I start on the album, I would like to claim that though I love how good looking these boys are and how I did pay them quite a bit of attention during their last promotional activities I have to say as a neutral fan of the big 3 I wasn’t going to overlook the fact that B.A.P was winning the fight… until now. (This would probably be a good time to warn you about the lengthiness of this post, there’s just too much to say after holding back for 18 months or so)

After their last mini album and slightly disappointing live performances (because of the constant lipsyncing and probably lack of that ompfphh in their performances) I wasn’t expecting much from them especially not after they kept me waiting for a year and a half. But now all is forgiven and I can say confidently that I love this album to bits. (Which is probably a very big compliment coming from me because I have high standards and the only full album that did it for has only been Supersonic).

Non-Exo fans might be initially turned off by Wolf like I was because of the messy arrangement of the song courtesy of the same guy who composed I Got A Boy which I had disliked very much. Luckily for me, I like the boys enough to give it a few more chances and I would say that the live performances of Wolf was probably what did it for me. I gradually got used to the song and it became a pretty good song to my ears. I guess you just gotta get used to it. Not to mention that the singing parts really showed off the vocal skills of the main vocals! Basically, everyone got a slice of the song which is probably why SM chose this song to promote out off the other easier-to-listen-to songs.

The perf with the most live-singing!~

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Track List:

1. Wolf

2. Baby don’t cry

3. Black Pearl

4. Don’t Go

5. Let out the Beast

6. 3.6.5

7. Heart Attack

8. Peter Pan

9. Baby

10. My lady

11. Wolf (Exo-K)

12. Wolf (Exo-M)

tracklist of the Kiss version with slight differences in the order of the title track

Baby don’t cry

One out of the 3 amazing teaser songs that makes this album, this is the first one to make its appearance in this album. Every EXO fan definitely waited for the full version of this song after hearing the first verse and chorus of this song, including me. The saying that teasers only use the good part of the song is so inapplicable here as this song definitely lives up to its hype and I love it even more thanks to a pleasant surprise by Chanyeol. Not only his rap but his backup vocals took the song to a higher standard from the teaser it was. Because i sure as hell never noticed his backup singing in the teaser (sorry, too busy listening to the live version in their showcase). After hearing D.O and Chanyeol harmonize a few times (check out their billionaire cover), i’m convinced that they are musical soulmates.

Black Pearl

The title totally reminded me strongly of the movie the Pirates of Caribbean. (It still does…) This song ups the pace after Baby don’t cry and definitely has a darker vibe to it. The slower pace of the verse was a good transition from the slower Baby don’t cry its faster chorus. This is one song that also needs a bit getting used to before you can really appreciate it. The constant ‘Hey’ part of the chorus definitely stood out like a sore thumb on first listen and the rap was at an awkward musical location but you get over it fast. Most people tend to forget that this also appeared in Se Hun’s teaser because what was used in the teaser doesn’t really represent the actual song

Don’t go

Is one my favorite song! It’s light, happy and sounds of youth. Not to mention that we get to clearly hear Kai and Chanyeol (Exo-K) and Tao and Xiu Min (Exo-M) sing! As if Baby don’t cry didn’t make me drool over Chanyeol’s voice, this song definitely reinforced his position of ‘the voice’ in Exo. I am just a jelly when it comes to deep voices after all! (How cute he is and how sexy his voice is, is just so…… I don’t know if I should pinch his cheeks or just melt into pudding) Enough with that cute little thing. Though people may say that there is nothing outstanding about this song, i stand true to my motto that a good simple song is still good. There’s nothing wrong with non-experimental songs that follows the master formula of all pop songs if it has a good melody.

Let out the Beast

Is another teaser song that appeared as a full song. Frankly speaking, I didn’t have a very clear memory of this song as a teaser probably because I was more caught up with Baek Hyun (oops!) song teasers like Baby don’t go and My Lady. This song probably falls under the same type of more manly and tough song like Wolf with a much neater and easily accepted musical arrangement. After comparing it to the teaser, it turned out a bit more different but definitely more wholesome as a full song. My only complain of this song is that there isn’t a proper layout and the song basically retains the same beat and feel throughout the whole song much without a climax of any sort. But that’s just the prim & proper part of me complaining because i’m just so used to the standard format of a pop song. (You wouldn’t catch me complaining about the format of a jazz song)

3.6.5

The song I call the One Direction song. Eek! As you might be able to tell I am far from being a fan of One Direction because I do not warm up to cutsy happy songs like this one. Luckily the song blends into the album and because I’m being fed in little portions (in conjunction with the rest of the songs) I can handle it, though I won’t give it the time if the day if it was a single. Be thankful to the album, you song!

Heart Attack

…is another darker vibe-d mid-tempo song that i liked from the first listen. The feeling it gives off is slick and smooth as the fast-paced lyrical melody blends into the slower, draggier beats and echo-y bass line in the verse. The whole song speeds up at the pre-chorus as the vocal melody matches the faster and louder beats and slides into the same draggy feel even with a faster beat and lyrical melody at the chorus. For me, this has been a pretty interesting song as the song plays around with not just each part of the song as a whole but with the different layers of a song eg. the beat, the lyrical melody, the base line etc. (it’s always great to hear all of them singing!)

Peter Pan

To me, this is probably another song border-lining One Direction (again 😦 ) But somehow i’m adapting pretty well to this song i would have otherwise shunned. It’s a fun song to say the least and it has a kind of oldies musicality to it coming mainly from the background music.

Baby

The pace of the album slows down at this song and i have to say this is probably one of the weaker songs of the album and does little to contribute to the otherwise already fantastic song line up. In fact, its presence just before My Lady only serve as an appetizer to make My Lady that much better in contrast. It isn’t bad per say, just boring? Where Wolf could have held back, this song definitely was a tad too plain. The ‘baby, baby’ definitely reminder me of a certain someone with the intials J.B (zomg… why.)

My Lady

is like the most amazing song that can definitely stand alone even when it was a teaser. I can’t even begin to count how many times i listen to it when it was just a teaser -.- And i’m sure as hell i wasn’t the only one looping the teaser like there was no tomorrow. As an audiophile, i would definitely be sifting out every detail of this song into my brain. I can’t even begin to explain it, you’d just have to listen to it yourself.

The teaser that started it all…

Instead of talking about how well each song really stands out on its own, it’s the mix of different kind of songs that make this album great. On first listen, they somehow all go together very well even though they all have different vibes but you don’t really understand why. After listening to the whole album with all the songs in order of the track list a million times (though I would usually shuffle then if the order of the songs weren’t so damn good) I finally understand what was the key factor tying the whole album together! It’s the character of the songs. All of them represent the phase boys go through at their age. *light bulb moment* No wonder their promo photos are of them in school uniform! From boyish One Direction moments to when they just want to act tough or cool in front of the girl they like. Wow, was SM always this capable of tying a whole album together so well? Concept and all. I could go on and on about Exo, their album and them, but i’ll spare you guys the time to go check it out yourself!

P.s: Come to think of it, with 3 amazing teasers being turned into full songs, i should have known the album would already be 1/4 great.

Congrats to Exo for their consecutive wins!

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Lee Hi: What this young singer has to sing about…

Let me see… i can’t put my finger on when i actually found out about Lee Hi. I think i was first introduced to SuPearls and Kpop Star and somewhere along the article i read that the runner-up Ha Yi signed with YG (and SuPearls minus one). The next thing i remember was singing along to 1, 2, 3, 4.

Back then, i still didn’t know anything besides that she was from Kpop Star. While watching the MV i was thinking that she definitely looks different compared to other idols and her voice eventually made me curious. I must say i was a bit shock when i found out she was that young because she does have a mature face (or maybe it’s the voice) though she really looks younger if you try to get past all the make-up. (Or maybe knowing she’s young changes my perspective unconsciously) Either way, she is really young!

1, 2, 3, 4 was just one of those songs that could fit in a musical, even the style of the MV has ‘muscial’ written all over it. This song definitely put her (and her voice) out there for all the kpop world to see allowing her to fly to the top of the charts in no time. I guess her kind of voice is considered really unique (and of course really nice-sounding) which makes her stand out even more. YG did a good job in debuting her asap while she was still much recognizable and remembered by the public after kpop star, saving the money on extra promotional tactics.

Her next promotional track, ‘It’s over’ had a similar feel to 1, 2, 3, 4 where it was about ad-libs and basically showing off her voice. The dressing of Lee Hi was also better here. I guess they heard about how we felt about that lace/semi see-through top in 1, 2, 3, 4. (I mean for goodness sake, the girl’s only 16) Though watching her live performances, i still think her skirts are too short. Call me old-fashion!!

I must say, i enjoyed both above songs, but i think i really fell in love with her latest single ‘Rose’

Not just the song, but the MV itself is beautifully made. The colours (and the whole MV) was as successful as can be when it can portray the emotions and message of the song. With a little inference skill, any non-korean-speaking person should be able decipher the message and the song content. It’s one of those MV that doesn’t have any dancing but can get your just watching it over and over again. (cue: Love Song by Big Bang). Also contributing to the success of this MV is the change of scenes which are totally in sync with the beat of the song, pay attention and you will see how together the MV and song is. Of course there are bound to be little question marks about the MV but it does what it sets out to do eventually.

Did i mention how beautiful the sets and props were (again)?

Though i think they could have done away with that rose print dress, that scene with the dancers in their white fabric. Her face is not the smallest so having her hair blown back and a frontal shot does nothing to flatter her face shape and neither those that awful dress help when she look like she was drowning in it. Maybe they noticed that and thus it lasted for a few seconds. Phew.

With ‘Rose’, it wasn’t just about showing off her voice but rather her musical direction? I guess you could say that the song didn’t just try to test all her vocal abilities and it felt like it was a comfortable song for her to sing. Both song and her voice definitely complimented each other here. In the end, even though people say that she still can’t express herself visually (in her making-mv video, she says this MV is easier cause all she has to do is stare blankly haha.. and look beautiful) that well, her voice does it for her. In her singing, you can feel and hear the push and pull (restrain) and it’s the little details that determine the atmosphere and feeling of the song. Then again, her songs are so far either-you-like-it-or-you-don’t kind because they have a really strong musical stand.

As much as i liked her previous titles, ‘Rose’ definitely pulled me all the way in. What do you guys think? Do you prefer her older songs or her latest one?

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SuperJunior M with “Break Down”

The next big thing after ‘Super Girl’ is ‘Break Down’, and SM is finally doing it right again. Well, maybe not with the box. To make the introduction short: people, meet SM’s dance box; box, meet people. With that out of the way, let’s get to breaking down the song.

When i listen to songs like this, it makes me think that i guess SM isn’t one of the big 3 for nothing, when they have to (or feel like it), they actually can produce pretty good songs while reusing the SM-song formula. Somehow, this song make it seem like SuperJunior got the short end of the stick compared to SuperJunior M, the irony…

The song bases itself along a particular music (or electronic music) phrase that is probably repeated throughout most of the song. I say ‘probably’ because my instincts tell me it’s always there but not necessarily for the human ears to pick out after all that layering. Though there are tons, i mean TONS, of different (i’d like to think musical) things going on, it sits on the fine line between messy and wholesome. Frankly, in any kind of arts, genius almost always happens on that line.

The music picks up with only one melody phrase before slowly building up to the chorus where that melody fades out into oblivion and back again in the second verse. The format of the instrumental is pretty much standard though the beats work really well with the synthesizer. Though the instrumental and the vocal melody goes hand-in-hand, i think the vocal melody in this case stood out against the background instrumental very well.

The fact that the vocal melody of the chorus is perfectly in sync with the beats makes it more catchy and memorable. Though the first verse (or raps) was good and i liked that thing they did in the chorus, i think things really started becoming interesting from the second verse with Ryeowook’s part. Then the greatly timed parts by Henry and Eun Hyuk and back to the chorus. By the time we hit the second chorus, you’d probably be singing along. And then comes the highlight: Ryeowook’s and Zhou Mi’s part where they do like a change from major to minor or it is changing keys (i’m not sure if it’s the correct description. Musical people, correct me if i’m wrong). Yes, and what would we do without a dance break (these things are what companies think are a must now). Then we get more of those cool singing techniques that is probably the thing that really makes this song stand out in all the right ways.

All in all, i would say good job SM, good job Suju-M. I believe that this is the first step to stepping away from the old SJM. Hopefully, they will continue to produce good music because when it comes to chinese music, they’re all i got right now =X

P.S: if you really listen closely, you can hear their foot steps at the beginning of the MV, somehow it really appeals to me how they are really in-sync.

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tvN: Shut Up Flower Boy Band

phew… it’s been ages since i actually completed a post decent enough to post, what with all that school load. The drafts are piling up.

It’s been a long time since i had the time (and privilege) to just lie on my couch the WHOLE DAY doing nothing but moving my fingers (and going to the kitchen or toilet) if nothing but just to stream the next episode of the drama. I finished this drama within 2 days and it was good enough and too underrated that i had to advertise it here.

i knew of this drama when it just came out but i guess the cast didn’t do it for me, and with L (Infinite) as one of the main character, i had to admit i was a bit skeptical that it was going to turn into some idol nonsense. Not to mention that it was part of tvN’s flower boy series. i remember watching the first 5 minutes and being turned off by the way they begin the show, i guess it reminded me of how a show i had watched before had the same kind of start and turned out to be really stupid. In the end, out of curiosity (and growing appreciation of tvN’s original dramas), I finally was patient enough to sit through that first 6 minutes to eventually watch it this holiday.

The show was definitely much better than I had expected (since i did go into it with low expectations) and is surely quite underrated. It is definitely better than the previous flower boy series Flower Boy Ramyeon Shop in terms of storyline, logic and naturally, musicality.

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The story basically revolves around a group of friends in a music rock band, though the leader of the band gets the bulk of the storyline. They are not your usual high schoolers (obviously) but the bad boy gang of the school. Talk about typical drama bad boys that girls just adore, this show has them aplenty. From the cool guy who doesn’t give a shit to the playboy and the ice prince, there wouldn’t be a problem in finding your favourite guy from this band of guys. The boys’ have decent acting skills and i didn’t find myself cringing anytime of the drama, their portrayal of angsty youngsters were all under control. L almost had me believing that he was that angsty all the while and i totally forgot about his usual sweet and peaceful self in Infinite till he had to pull the ‘idol-face’ during the later part of the show did i remember… “Oh, that was how he usually was.” For the guy viewers, the main actress is overflowing with sweetness and those eyes(!!), even i think she’s mesmerizing. (haha, i summed it up with one sentence, can you blame me? At this point, i’m smitten with Ji Hyuk’s character) Alright, i like her character too, she doesn’t drag her feet in the water and is a brave and straight forward girl, one that is all-so-suitable for Ji Hyuk

If i had to point out a problem with this drama, the only one would be the length of the show. At one point, i thought the show was dragging around too much when the show could have been wrapped up in less than 16 episodes. Well, it just served as more ‘eye-candy’ for me. The ending was not typical since most of us would not have expected them to actually disband. Since most drama would have ended with a ‘happy’ ending. Instead, i would say the ending served as an enlightenment and was really meaningful for a teen drama.

The only time when a korean drama doesn’t have mostly ballads as their OST is when the band involved is a rock band. As the pop rock/ rock music lover that i am, i couldn’t be happier with the OST. Talking about music, i guess what i love best about Korean music dramas are that the actors and actresses themselves can sing (and some of them actually can play musical instruments, the drummer in this band is a real drummer!) just as well as any kpop idol out there. (Dramas: I am legend, Dream High, Beautfiul You etc)

All in all, it was a ‘pretty’ good watch for a drama i took up on a whim, all that eye candy! Not to mention that i walked away with new music to add to my iPod. This is definitely a (sometimes) more mature teen drama, but nonetheless is an easy watch. Kind of a great drama to watch when you don’t want to use your brain or emotions too much. Not to say that there weren’t some touching moments in there, but it’s surely not one of those too brainless dramas. A summer/winter break drama maybe?

(Listening to the OST while writing this article: music director from one of my favourite rock band: Loveholics! no wonder the songs are this great)

Music:

Eye Candy – 무단횡단 (Jaywalking) and Wake Up

Eye Candy (Byung Hee as vocals) – Not in Love

Ye Rim – 소녀곡예사

Ye Rim & L – Love U Like U

Sung Joon (Ji Hyuk; written by Seung Hoon) – 오늘은 (Today)

Sung Joon (sung and written by Ji Hyuk) – 몰라야 할 말

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tvN: Answer Me 1997

tvN is on the row, having lately produced great shows after great shows. When I thought their previous show Queen In-Hyeon’s Man did a lot for me, Answer Me 1997 started climbing the charts like crazy. Though it took me awhile to finally sit down with this drama (what with my hectic schedule!)it took just one episode to get me hooked on to it. Luckily for me, all the episodes were already out, and the only obstacle was sleep.

The show is about a group of 6 friends – 4 guys and 2 girls, with a couple as the leads where they take turns to narrate. The show kicks of the lead actress going to a class reunion where she introduces her closer friends to us. The story evolves into the 1997 after we get introduced to her 4 closest guy classmates when we see them walking in together wearing black suits (flashback to A Gentleman’s Dignity). We get thrown back into 1997, just like what the title says.

The show takes the trend of time-traveling and makes this drama a realistic version of it. Who says time travel can’t mean reminiscing the past. Most flashback shows would normally be done along the lines of how the flashback only occurs when they reminisce about that particular incident. In this show, they take it up a notch and weaves the present and past through ideas of ‘who married who in the end’. When the show is in the present, we are told what to look out for, or at least observe, while we watch the past unfold. It’s keeps us guessing and is a very good tactic to keep us watching if we want to know the answer.

We got the first answer in the first half (or less) of the show while the 2nd question mark dragged till the end of the show. In getting to the first conclusion, we weren’t really given hints on the way, more like remainders. For the 2nd conclusion, we were given physical clues which I thought was pretty genius. Though at one point, the 2nd answer was practically in our faces, yet they still tried to keep that guessing game going on. Let’s just say that the present caught up with the past a bit too soon.

The actors and actresses weren’t exactly famous nor would anyone have guessed they could pull this off. In fact, a few of them were idols, who as I remember, don’t usually do well in their first drama. Eun Ji from A Pink has gotta be my current most respected idol. The girl can sing damn well (as the lead vocal of A Pink) and in this show she was just so lovable. She made me totally believe her character, I mean, no one can be that in-character! According to her, her accent is that strong and authentic because she was always listening to her elders talk. And who said Saturi (accent of people who do not come from Seoul but other parts of Korea) wasn’t cool. I can almost see it becoming a trend (hahah.. Maybe not).

The rest of the characters are just as lovable. I like the Eun Ji won references to the character himself, and I can’t believe that guy can pull off a high school look! How old is that guy anyway! choding forever (elementary school kid)

The camera work was pretty good, seems that tvN is really putting more efforts than the likes of local channels.

All in all, this has gotten be one of the must watch of the 2nd half of the year. I definitely feel more excited watching this than some other currently airing dramas. The ratings definitely serves as evidence to that!

I hope you give this show a chance if you haven’t, and of you just started, look forward to the rest of it!

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D-Unit: debuts with ‘I’m missing you’

One of the anticipated hip-hop girl groups of this year has finally hit the stage as they release their first track and MV titled ‘I’m missing you’.

The groups consists of 3 members Wooram (T-ara’s Boram’s sister), Ujin and Soojin. As announced earlier on that this groups wants to follow a hip-hop style and concept in terms of fashion and music. But did they? Granted, the song was a pretty great one for a debut, which may put them near the status of SPICA, calling it hip-hop is a bit of a stretch. But then again, this is kpop we’re talking about.

The MV has a more edgy concept with the whole MV shot in darker tones, including the girls’ all-black fashion with the only colour in their hair. The MV wasn’t bad per say, it just wan’t unique or original enough. The tunnel shots were nice at first, but they got pretty boring later on. Thankfully, they then decided to switch to some dancing which is always nice to watch. Nevertheless, the MV did it’s job if it was set about for us to identify the girls -the hair helped too. As much as Wooram tried to look edgy and punkish, she can’t hide her cute-ness (though the poor girl looks like she was drowning in that white over-sized shirt) Watching the MV while listening to the song can’t help but reminds me of 2NE1. Maybe it’s the blonde hair and sunglasses even in the dark.

The song uses electronic music and even the auto-tuned parts reminds me of 2NE1’s songs. But before anyone throws a knife at me, i have to admit the song is way beyond a rookie, and D-Business definitely deserves some credit for giving them such a great debut song. The phrase ‘I’m missing you’ is, i must admit, pretty addictive. The only problem probably lies with the abrupt ending that felt just too anti-climaxed for an ending.

D-Unit has shown potential in terms of their debut song and charisma. Even though trios never seem to work out most of the time in kpop world, it looks like these girls might just be the one to break that trend.

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BEAST: gives us a ‘Beautiful Night’

First off, I have to apologize for being inactive for about a week now. I had a camp outside of my laptop and though I tried to keep updated on Kpop affairs, they proved to be a bit out of reach. Now that I’m back, the first thing I want to write about is none other than my major favorite band BEAST.

The boys had their huge break after ‘Shock’ and with the release of ‘Fiction’ they certainly stepped up onto a new level of stardom. After about a year since ‘Fiction’ (and doing their beautiful concert) the boys are finally back with their new title track: ‘Beautiful Night’.

‘Beautiful Night’ is definitely something new for the boys as they dip their toes into electro-pop and auto-tune. Though the bright colored sets and flashy clothing reminds me of Big Bang, the two groups’ music still clearly distinct itself from each other. In ‘Beautiful Night’, even though the main genre we pick up is electro-pop, there is a hint of rock (i’m talking about the chorus), and I really dig that. In the musical genre sense, Beast did what JJ project did in their debut song ‘Bounce’ by combining rock and electro-pop. However, Beast has the upper hand in the music arrangement department. JJ project’s debut song made the two genres into rather distinct parts whereas Beast blended them together. Music and blend can never be bad when they appear in the same sentence.

Another issue I have to address would be the o-mighty auto-tune that works miracles for vocalists without vocal skills. Though I have always looked upon auto-tune with disgust, I can’t say I hate it here. Why? Because it’s not being abused to cover up flaws but used musically. We all know Beast don’t need cover ups in terms of vocal skills. Though thankfully it wasn’t overused because I won’t want to test how much auto-tune I can take.

The concept of the MV is pretty much street style as we see skateboarders and bikers ‘hanging’ around. The boys even have their own street concert and rooftop party with people jumping to the music. It’s all a very fun MV to watch (maybe just because i like the boys enough)

Hairstyles is always an important topic and this time Beast leans towards the blond with 2 out of 6 members having blond hair (though not totally) and Yoseob with orange hair that, amazingly, suits him and just increases his cuteness level. And Doo Joon is too manly to have colorful hair. i didn’t really liked the purple hair on Jun Hyung though, the guy looks better in black. Just Saying. Hyun Seung’s hair mainly revolves reddish colours and it’s a good thing to stick to that if that’s what suits him the best.

I must say I didn’t really see that Beast was going in this direction this time round, because we all know they eventually will. I was pretty surprised when I saw the teaser because after seeing them since debut I didn’t figure they were street style material. Luckily, they fit in perfectly into their new bright colours which they don in this MV rather than the usual darker tones we’ve seen them in in the previous releases.

With this song, Beast has officially delve into a new level of stardom as they continue to climb to the top, hopefully reaching Big Bang status… is what i like to say, but i have to face the music (not music music). So i heard Beast wasn’t the best this time, but well, it’s not that this song is not great. It’s more like people were expecting more, much more than Shock, much more than Fiction. It’s difficult to beat others, but it’s probably more difficult to beat yourself. The truth is, after their overwhelming success and thus stability in the kpop world, the boys are ready to step out of their comfort zone and experiment. Beast has the technical skills, they just need to find the niche they feel comfortable in (though Shock and Fiction might have been it, they probably don’t want to be stagnant musically). What Beast’s problem is, they are probably trying to hard to become like a Big Bang 2. Here, i would like to remind them that, BoA isn’t anything like Big Bang, but that doesn’t stop  her from being at the top.

So i say we give them their well-deserved chance as let them experiment (though not out of hand) away. As long as there’s no crappy music, i’m not complaining.

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Younha: ‘Run’s to my heart

Younha is finally back with her latest album Supersonic and i am happy beside myself. The girl is truly one of the geniuses in this industry that i respect and admire. Her latest MV comes in two different versions: coloured & black-white

The MV is pretty artsy as the main theme of it is ‘running Younha’. It’s actually quite amazing how one can just stare at an MV that just features pretty much running, makes you realise how beautiful running can look even if Younha doesn’t have the longest of legs.

The running theme is linked to the music as she only runs when it comes to the climaxes (i.e the chorus and the bridge). So at the beginning of the song, we see her just standing still with her eyes closed while the camera zooms in. As the chorus starts, she opens her eyes, turn around and we see something resembling a whale and she’s off. We see furniture come hurling her way, thankfully, she doesn’t get hit by them, imagine the controversy. In the second chorus, her running is speeded up and then comes the cute little part of the famous E.T scene. It’s here that we see the whale making it seem like it was chasing her all this while, as it’s outer layer splits into little pieces revealing a white whale. The MV ends as Younha continues running, or jogging now.

The song itself is very interesting and unique (just the breather I need in Kpop sometimes). The song opens up with some synthesizer, the tempo of it actually feels like it matches the light flashes we see in the MV at the beginning, and Younha sings in a bit of a robotic way. The whole experience is really quite different. The chorus opens up with a stronger beat against electronic music, and the chorus maintains Younha’s style. The song arrangement is perfect and the melody is pretty. Even Younha is caught up with the trend of using funky bass chords, but she sure showed a lot of kpop songs how to use the synthesizer and funky chords in a more refreshing way.

As usual, Younha does a good job with every album produced. This is one CD i have to get.

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Sistar: is ‘Loving U’

Following the success of their previous title track ‘Alone’, the girls are back with ‘Loving U’. With this round of promotions, it looks like the girls are surely ready to stand on the same level as the likes of girl groups like T-ara.

In accordance with the season of summer, the girls show us a good time with their summer song ‘Loving U’ with the extra effects of Hawaii (in the MV). I couldn’t be more envious.

The MV is pretty much based on the concept of summery fun on the beach with the sun, the sand and lots of hotties (including the girls themselves of course). We watch the girls take selcas (self-shots), try to hitch a ride and basically enjoy themselves (while we hide in air-conditioned places to avoid the heat). It’s all a mindless watch unless you’re a guy.

The girls look great in just tank tops and shorts with the occasional sailor outfits. I must say Hyorin has the voice, the looks and definitely the body. Compared to their previous more outrageously cheap outfits, the girls look almost sweet and innocent in this MV. Who says simple can’t be nice.

The choreography seems a bit more fun than usual, though we are still reminded of their asses in some moves. Nevertheless, I can feel the summer in the choreography and i can finally say: ‘i feel comfortable watching them dance.’ (which is so much more than i can say for G.Na’s 2Hot performances)

The song itself is decent, but definitely loses to ‘Alone’. I see they’ve decided to stick with the ‘Whoo whoo whoo’ part that was definitely catchy in ‘Alone’. Whether because of their own improvement in their vocal skills or something else, the girls seem to finally be able to better showcase their talents (since ‘Alone’). From Hyorin’s amazing voice to Bora’s rapping here (she probably suits this sort of rap more than the one in ‘Alone’). Like in ‘Alone’, the song doesn’t push Hyorin too hard as she gets a range that is more comfortable to her, not to mention that the other members get to contribute to the vocals more so that Hyorin doesn’t over-exhaust her vocal chords.

The song does have a bit of a Big Band music but generally just stands for fun music for a fun song. The arrangement is good enough that i doubt anyone would be complaining about. All in all, it looks like Sistar’s big break is in this year.

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f(x): Electric Shock + MV

First of all, this is a rare time where i listened to the official audio before i get to see the MV. It doesn’t really changes how well i access the song, but i guess it changes my perception of the song unconsciously. I’m sure there have been times when you like to listen to the song while watching the MV or times when you hated the MV but loved the song. I’m not sure how much the MV may affect my judgement of the song, but for the song review, i’m doing it without watching the MV (yet) this time.

The song seems to be an evolvement of f(x)’s music style (just a bit). When I watched the teaser, I must say the pink digital set reminded me very much of online dance games.

The music style is very still unique to f(x) with added edgy-ness to it. There was more singing and less talking in this song (always a good thing), and in this song, SM made use of the slower pre-chorus to build up the climax of the chorus, which prevents the song from sounding too monotonous at the same time. A little push and pull in music can be a good thing. Well, the song is very much f(x), so for fans and people who already know f(x), i won’t linger on the music too long.

The MV just screams. SM. f(x)’s MV sets have always been more than just a box set, though we know it is in a box, but they have always played around with the sets. In this MV, it’s almost as if f(x) has taken SuJu’s place in the MV part of kpop as the group who uses a box set in every shot of the MV. Yup, in this MV, it’s one colourful box after another. Another ultra turn off for me would be the solo shots of the girls holding shocking equipment with CG electricity coming out as if SM has become crazy enough to want to electrify as through the computer or TV. Hold on while i chock on my own saliva. (cause that’s not happening any time soon even with 3D tv) The MV has got to be one of f(x)’s most boring looking MV. The choreography seemed to have potential at the beginning (parts where 4 members turn their backs to the camera with only one member facing the camera), then its potential slowly withered away (However, after seeing Jet’s choreography, the choreography for Electric Shock has shot up to ‘god-like’ status) . The chorus’ choreography made me go.. Erm. Though the 2-people choreography near the end might be called different and unique, but it didn’t work for me because it felt a bit awkward (MV and Live). Speaking about live, how sad is it that SM now makes all their artistes lip sync for their comeback. Pfft.

Overall, the song is catchy, and Luna is looking better than ever, while i can still never be fond of Sulli, Amber gets to sing more. Most of the outfits were nice, the only one i hated was Sulli’s cheerleader-thing-of-an-outfit, it looked cheap and didn’t do anything to make her look great. I’m glad that f(x) is finally back, because it seemed like SM were neglecting  them for a while now. While the title track wasn’t the best, their mini-album holds nice surprises.

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Cross Gene: La-Di Da-Di

Newest boy band to land on plant kpop is Cross Gene. Since the announcement of this boy band, 3 words have always accompanied their headlines. Korean. Chinese. Japanese. This is one of the first kpop group to have members of 3 nationalities. So far, SM has debuted a few chinese artists, but i think it’s a first for a Japanese in a long time. So far, the more famous or well-known members would be Shin Won Ho (or Shin) and Takuya. Shin was been in a couple of CFs already and has 2 dramas under his belt – Bachelor’s Vegetable store and more recently, Big (no, it really is a drama name), while Takuya appeared in Dream Team. So far, Shin has proven to be a pretty good actor (and who said idols couldn’t act). Even if Cross Gene doesn’t make him famous, acting already has.

On to the MV and song. So far i’ve seen people already starting to trash the MV, song, choreography and whatever (as usual), but i think this group deserves more credit than that. This year has seen a lot of rookies with great potential and many have come up with debut singles listen-worthy, to me, this is one of them. Firstly, the song has it’s own style (thankfully no dubstep or disco) and the concept used in this song and MV is quite unique. I’m not sure if many of you realised but they are obviously going with a (japanese) temple concept. This might sound funny but take a look at the symbols used in the MV (e.g umbrellas, Shoji screen door with a circle in the middle). And finally, within the music, there is a hint of temple. I’ll remind you again when we reach that part of the music.

When the music first starts, it seems like a pretty generic kpop style of using electronic music, but as the verse starts, the melody points in another direction. (Do you hear the monk knocking on the wooden moktak here? which is recreated into an electronic sound) Overall, this was a great arrangement of a dance track which is generic in it’s genre but unique in it’s style. Even though there have been comments about the english, i think it was already better than some other kpop songs, it was tolerable and frankly speaking, there wasn’t much of a grammatical error more than a slightly uncomfortable expression. The boys’ english pronunciation seems to be decent and there wasn’t any heavy Korean accent.

(wooden moktak)

Moving on the choreography, it also follows the temple concept closely as we see part of the choreography involves sitting on the floor cross-legged. Later on, there is also a part where they stand in a row so we get to see the first person, then making it seem like he has a lot of hands, this gesture is commonly associated with buddhism which of course occurs within a temple. I also sported a bit of kungfu actions (like the tiger-claw-stance-thing and the flying-eagle-or-something-stance, i’m really not sure what those exact names are, but watch kungfu movies and you’d definitely know it), maybe in relation to the Shaolin Monks (is what i’d like to think anyway) Anyway, the choreography is infinitely unique and interesting to watch. The MV, is done in a simplistic way but effective for us to identify the boys more easily, which is important at the debut stage. The blend of colours was nice (is boyband and pink the trend? Not complaining if they look nice in pink though) and stayed true to their concept.

Nothing is set in stone as of yet since live performances have not started. I’m curious and worried about their choreography. Why use chairs when you can sit on the floor?… is what i’d like to say but sitting on the floor and trying to deliver a convincing performance is so much more difficult. It’s like as if trying to stand out in the sea of kpop wasn’t hard enough, you’re diminishing your presence by sitting on the floor. In order to succeed, the boys have to do strong arm actions and do it right! Can’t wait to see their live performance!

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Queen In-Hyun’s Man: Ep 7 – 13 (spoiler)

Since episode 7, the drama has progress steadily and things have gotten interesting again. At one point of time, memories were lost and some replaced, and we were horrified to think that our love birds would never meet again. Thankfully, we didn’t have to sit through too long for another one of those (almost) horrible kdrama favourites: Boy and Girl almost together, but had to split because of memory loss. Seriously? Then again, i wasn’t too worried about that happening because i know this drama is more than that, and so far it has never disappoint. After 2 or so episodes of long-lost lovers, the two finally found each other again. Nevertheless, it’s not like we can stop at happy ending here when it’s only at episode 10.

First obstacle was Han Dong Min. His pride and ego is not something to be messed with, not to mention, childishness. Luckily, Hui Jin is all about thinking of happy things and as long as she has Bung Do, she is one happy girl. (i would be too if i had a guy like him) Nevertheless, their short happiness comes to and end when things in Joseon takes a turn for the worst which puts Bung Do at risk again. And in episode 13, we see him going back to his time once more to face head on with whatever is to come and whatever damage done.

One of the special traits of this drama is that they consider the fact that changing the past will change the present but they don’t try to complicated the hell out of us with the butterfly effect, choosing to portray the inevitable changes through the script changes of Hui Jin’s drama remake of the story of Queen In Hyun -even though we know that those can’t be the only after effects if the past could really be changed. At the same time, the drama also tells us that nothing comes free. He can’t simply use the tailsman for his own desires.(watch the show if you didn’t get that) I mean, we were all probably wondering, can’t he just stay in the present world then? He could so simply just ignore whatever happened in his time since technically, if he’s in the present, it is already in the past, but of course, if he did that, he won’t be the character we all fell in love with.

As the series closes in on the end, as much faith as i have in this drama so far, i can’t help but waver. Time fusion story lines are pretty hard to end because they are such an abstract idea, it’s hard to come up with an ending that is purposeful, believable and satisfying overall. Rooftop Prince was an example of a decent show ending with a totally “What? Seriously?” kind of ending (as in the Tae Yong replacing In Gak part). It’s like they were doing it just to create a happy ending that they thought people would like. Well, i wasn’t really satisfied anyway. I’ll keep my disappointments away since this article is for Queen In-Hyun’s Man.

Fingers crossed!

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Big Bang: are ‘Monster’s

And… the long awaited ‘Monster’ after all the teasers.

The intro the MV looks like a footage of an online RPG shooting game when gamers change the viewing settings to make it as if they were in the game. I’m guessing that we were looking through the eyes of a ‘Monster’ (or the Big Bang members) trying to escape as (possibly) humans try to shoot him/it down, as when the ‘Monster’ burst through the doors, the next scene shows the Big Bang members in some sort of a bunker. (Big Bang’s MVs these days seem to include some form of violence weather in ‘Fantastic Baby’s riot scenes or this ‘being-shot-at scene’ -i thought i was watching a thriller). The MV is shot in a pretty Big Bang style: zoom out views of the members standing in a empty plot of land, though this time, we don’t get to see all 5 members in one scene. In this MV, because pretty much everything is in shades of grey, the coloured contact lenses of the members are the only bright coloured thing, besides GD’s red hair. The funny thing is, i’m sure everyone noticed (and is actually concerned over it) how GD is the only one with two different colour hairstyles. Well, the guy does look good in any colour hair (i love that small red horn hair-of-a-thing)

When the piano music start, with no beats, i was convinced that they should release an instrumental with just the piano music. The rock-ballad aspect of the melody (almost Evanescence) makes it so tranquil and beautifully sad. TOP’s low voice sets the song into motion with GD’s rap as the transition for the rock-ballad to become something more -electronic ballad. The verse falls into Big Bang’s favourite electronic beats and the piano riff is a variation of what we heard before and mainly consists of TOP’s and GD’s alternate rapping. Tae Yang preps for the chorus and the synthesizer is on.

I love you. Baby, i’m not a monster” 

The chorus is actually more weak compared to the verse (contrary to the usual weak verse-strong chorus format), and the gaps are filled with more beats. The style of power verse/weaker chorus is does not sit totally comfortably with me so i’m preferring all the parts of the song more than chorus, though i’m getting used to it (as usual). The concept of the lyrics is of a guy who has turned into something he wasn’t before and the woman he loves apparently starts to look at him with different eyes -a monster. In this song, he tries to convince her that he is still the same or even if he did change (for the worst) he still needs and loves her. As the lyrics hinted, the guy is lovesick. Ah… the power of love.

With a ‘Monster’ song, of course we have to choose the best ‘monster’. That would be TOP and Seungri. TOP is everyway a monster albeit a gorgeous one. did you see the way he moved his head. Creepy. And Seungri did creepy eyes too.

This song is every bit Big Bang’s style. Nevertheless, they never fail to impress with their piano music as with ‘Lies’ and “Haru Haru’. The problem (or miracle) with Big Bang is that, as long as you do kpop, Big Bang’s songs are no longer about if it’s super original or amazing. As long as they are not horrible (which should not happen), Big Bang’s songs have become the air of kpop, there is no way to not listen to kpop without listening to Big Bang. These guys have become more than just idols.

Even now, i don’t consider myself a VIP, but listening to Big Bang’s song is no longer just an option, it’s a must.

 

P.S: The intro of the MV (with earphones) is not for the weak hearted.  ^^

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M.I.B: Only Hard For Me

I think they meant “only difficult for me”?

M.I.B is another band of artiste from the entertainment company that brought us Leessang, Tiger JK and Tasha (Yoon Mirae) consisiting of 4 members. This group debuted last year to ok success. Partly due to their music not being very mainstream, the group, even though talented, might have been overlooked by the general public. Not to mention that they are indeed different seeing as they have 3 rappers vs 1 vocalist. However, this year, the group has released something a bit closer to mainstream while still maintaining their own style with their new single: “Only hard (difficult if i may add) for me”

If i liked this song, it would be for the rap accompanied by the good music. As nice as the melody of the chorus might be, the english is a bit weird for me. (it could be worst) The music is like a mix of R&B, hip hop and maybe a bit of rock (in the music). I liked the higher notes played on the piano contrasting with the lower sounds of the electric guitar. Overall, this is a very non-kpop kpop kind of song. I can’t really fit this song into a specific genre right now but i think the rappers really did a great job. This is probably one of the first kpop song i’ve heard (from a boy band) that is mostly rap with only the chorus being in melody, which is something like an Eminem song feat. a vocalist (which i love), that makes it refreshing to listen to. Though i have to say, i would have liked it if they smoothen out the english (or engrish) starting with the title of the song.

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INFINITE – The Chaser Review (MV, song and live performances)

First of all, i just need to say:

“I’m finally back!”

I was actually away from the internet for a whole week and while i was in some jungle, i was already getting my heart and mind ready to review this, so let’s get it on!

Ok, so i just listened to it today (the moment i gained excess to the mighty Internet), and i must say the intro had my mind running around in circles because i was confused. A lot was happening in that intro, too much actually. So i’m not sure if it was just my earphones or what, cause it got better when i came home and listened to it on my computer. Though i have to say, when i first heard it and when i hear it now, the guitar riff at the beginning is still really sexy. I tend to believe the first few listens more (because you always get accustomed to it and it becomes nicer most of the time) so i guess my conclusion is that the intro was a little too messy (for first time listeners anyway). There were a bit too many layers stacked on top of each other and i wasn’t sure what exactly i was listening to initially.

Then, so maybe they want to make the intro a part of the actual song, but i thought the transition between them was too short for comfort. It was like a ‘what?it’s-the-actual-song-already? kind of moment. The start of the song (referring to the part after they say ‘Infinite’) is the same as the teaser so since i liked the teaser my ears are already in tune with that part.

The song is backed up by a constant 80’s music feel with funky guitar chords and some electronic music. It’s not the most catchy song and the chorus can get a bit whiny (which reminds me a little of Supernova’s previous song) at times but the song definitely possesses something no other kpop music currently has. Some people have commented that the song has more of a jpop/jrock feel (which is not necessarily a bad thing), because the important thing a band needs to stand out is to not produce homogenous music, and INFINITE definitely has that done nicely (partly thanks to their company too). Dong Woo, again, does a really good rap and Hoya is decent. According to Koreans, the lyrics are unique as they actually used some old korean ‘slang’ in some parts of the lyrics. (In this case, it might be a bit difficult for non-Koreans to appreciate, but it is nice to know, nonetheless)

The choreography of this song is not the most complex or hardcore compared to what they have done before (i.e. scorpion dance in BTD), however, when done as sleekly as they have done so, they still shine. Nevertheless, it would have been good to have a key-point dance movement. The MV is done prettily but the plot is unclear and a bit confusing for fans, making the MV more of an eye candy video. In this case, i’d rather watch their live performances.

I have no doubts about their singing and dancing abilities and i am proven right once again. In fact, i think i might prefer their live performances to the official audio. During live performances, the balance of their vocals and the music seems better, and Leader Sunggyu sounds less whiny here (yay!).

All in all, i’m glad that the boys are back. Hopefully they get to do some variety or radio shows so we get to see them off-stage more.

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Exo-K MAMA album review (without SM)

It’s probably a little late to do this review but seeing as I did one for B.A.P and they are one of the most popular boy bands, I figured I should do one for MAMA too ( It’s not too late if they are still promoting their first single right?) Anyway, on another note, i have read quite a few reviews on Exo-k’s first mini album and i must say that even though it’s right (i’m not sure if that’s the right word to use), but i think that i want to do this review without going on and on about SM (will do my best). After all, this is Exo-k’s album review, not SMentertainment review!

Track List:

1. MAMA

2. What is love

3. History

4. Angel (Into your world)

5. Two Moons

6. Machine

MAMA:

This song differs from other songs with its georgian chant (thingy) at the beginning and not to mention a screamo portion. Something i haven’t heard before in (recent) kpop songs is D.O’s part at the beginning where he sings through all the notes (what i mean is if you look at the guitar, it’s like plucking one string and running your finger down the neck of the guitar on that string which means you just played through all the notes in one beat). The heavy strings riffs create the atmosphere of a rather dark one which is quite suited to the theme of the song, which is the darker side of society. The beat of the song is strong, matching the heavy strings riff (which i like a lot because i prefer the lower strings: cello instead of violin). The style (and overall feel) the boys sing in adapts to the song very well too. Not to mention that the screamo part is actually quite well planned out in terms of the volume in comparison to the music and the part of the song it was placed at. (they even do harmonising during the chorus) Frankly speaking, this is a better song than most people give it credit for. I was attracted to it after the first listen and still am now (after listening to it for a good few hundred times).

What is love:

Their first prologue song, or more like D.O’s and Baek Hyun’s teaser. The music itself isn’t anything complex, the thing that really gives the melody -and life- of the song is really the vocals (hooray for D.O and Baek Hyun for the good job). At the same time, this song is apt in showcasing the vocal talents of both members without needing them to overdo it. On first listen, if you weren’t paying attention, it’s a little difficult to differentiate their voices from each other, but after a few listens, Baek Hyun’s voice is a tad rougher than D.O (if that’s the right word; but you get what i mean). They do still sound like one when they sing together. Overall, this song itself is beautiful, but i’m not sure about it being placed right after MAMA.

History:

Straight after is their 2nd prologue, where all the members actually take part in. Musically, this song doesn’t stand out that much from other kpop songs. (thankfully it’s just a prologue). i’m thinking this song’s purpose is to be catchy (to catch our hearts? haha). What with parts like “every, every, everyday” and “oh-oh oh-oh”. This song also rely a lot on it’s strong beats rather than melody, throw in all those little hooks, and you have a nice catchy song. Well, as a prologue, i guess it’s good enough. After all, they have to make sure the prologue doesn’t overshadow their debut single.

Angel:

Oh gawd, i loved this song the moment i heard it (during their showcase). How can anyone not? It’s so easy on the ears and the feeling of sweetness just overcomes you, what with the sweet melody of the piano. What i found interesting at the beginning was the way Baek Hyun (i think) sung off-beat. And Su Ho sounded like a angel (so suited to the song) when he sung his first part (it was so light and echo-y). This song gives off such an innocent feeling that is suited to Exo-k as rookies that fans can’t help but love this song.

Two Moons:

This song kind of caught me of guard because it sounds so much more like an english hip hop song than something i would hear in a kpop album. But thanks to this song, fans have come to really notice (and love) Chan Yeol’s deep voice (which is not what you would expect from the kind of face he has). Unfortunately, with Kai’s and Chan Yeol’s deeper voice, Se Hun’s slightly higher pitched voice gets lost in this rap-based song. At first i thought this song was kind of awkward but after listening it to a few more times, you get used to it and it doesn’t seem as out of place as it seemed. This song does seem like a teaser for the rappers like how What is love was for the lead singers.

Machine:

For this song, i CANNOT help but to mention at least Shinee because gawd does this song scream Shinee so much it took me ages (about 2 weeks or so?) to be able to realise straight away that it is an Exo-k song and not Shinee’s every time my ipod shuffles into this song, before it finally begin to differentiate itself. ( ok that’s the only thing i’m going to say about anything not Exo-k) I think this is one of those song where the title of the song really matches the song. True to it’s title, when you hear the song you immediately get a mechanical feeling song (not in a bad way). The boys inject a kind of mechanical feel into their singing helped by the mechanical feel of the background music (it’s as if the music is created with mechanical sounds, you don’t hear any normal percussion or musical instruments) with it’s little machine beeps and what-nots. The chorus becomes a bit more smooth and less machine-like. We also get a glimpse of some Two Moons feel rap.

Individually, i hardly think most of the songs in their mini-album can be deemed as lousy. However, as a whole, the album seems to be more experimental. In this album, we got so many different styles thrown at us it doesn’t feel anything like an ‘album’ per say. Most of the songs, besides History and MAMA and maybe Machine got me wondering how they can perform any of the other songs live without either leaving out the rappers or vocalists. Well, i hope that their second single/ promotional song wouldn’t be something from this mini-album because as far as i can tell (or listen), none of these songs should be used if they want to even out the screen time of all the members. Besides that, i personally thing the arrangement of the track list is… a bit messy. It was like fast song, slow song, fast song, slow song. It highlights even more the experimental value of the album.

My conclusion: Listen to all the songs on Shuffle with other songs and not as an album.

Disclaimer: My opinions only

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Clash of the rookies: EXO-K vs B.A.P

This weekend has almost passed and we have witness the inevitable clash of the two most popular rookie boy bands: B.A.P and Exo-K. Since, EXO-K debuted, there have been non-stop comparisons between the two boy bands who have made a significant splash in the kpop music scene. In this article, i am going to discuss the live performances of the two group of rookies because they have finally gone head-on after B.A.P decided to promote their new single POWER while EXO-K is still promoting MAMA. I’ll compare between MAMA and POWER only since they are promoting these songs currently at the same time. It’s fair because EXO-K had History (and What’s Love) before their debut.

Round 1: MV evaluation

I really think the english introduction is a WASTE OF TIME for fans when all we want to do is to see the boys strut (dance) their stuff. Furthermore, even though i understand that SM is thinking of international fans which is why they did the narration in english, it doesn’t make sense when the song is in Korean. Just putting english subtitles would have done it for us. I think most, if not all, of us skip the introduction after we hear it for the first time just because we didn’t want to miss out any bits of the MV in the beginning. Frankly speaking, i can’t say much about SM’s favourite dance-box-set for their MVs, since just about every SM artist has used it already. The plot, if you are going to do one, wasn’t even really a plot. It was just a display of their supernatural abilities. Using the ideas of legends and superpowers isn’t the problem here, the problem lies in the fact that you could have made them look cooler. Some were cool and some looked pretty lame, which makes me feel bad for those who got the lame ones. And well, if you had such an elaborate introduction, the least you could do was follow up with the ‘story’ in the rest of the MV. (or maybe that will happen later on?) I think what really held up the MV was the good-looking guys and cool dance moves.

The first thing i’m going to say to SM: “Dude! They’ve got real sand and real fire!”. Ok, back to serious business. So, B.A.P’s POWER MV doesn’t have any plot, more like their favourite alien theme. The whole MV is really about their choreography and cool poses. If you haven’t notice yet, the MV is centered around the action of covering their mouth and nose in a very cool way (i can’t believe i just wrote that). The whole MV covers 5 different background scenes, 3 of which are for dancing. Truthfully, there is usually nothing that can go wrong if a MV shows mainly dancing, it’s normally the plot that drags the MV down. I mean, which would you rather watch? People acting cool or dancing cooly. (Though i must say, in both MVs, the boys’ close-ups are nice to look at).

Winner of Round 1: It’s hard for me to decide because i can’t help but watch both MVs a million times. But, i think i am leaning more towards B.A.P because (they are just so cool!!) we get to see practically every part of the dance and the sets are more real plus there wasn’t any lousy plot to bring the MV down.

Round 2: Choreography

B.A.P: In POWER, back-up dancers are employed quite often in order to complete the choreography. There are a lot of variations in levels (as in, standing up, kneeling, squatting, even lying down) in their choreography which is not very common in kpop choreographies. The are also no literal movements translated from the lyrics or objects. ( for e.g when they say “aniya” which means “no” they don’t do any action which directly translates to “no”). There is a dance break. All in all, as usual of the, it is a very strong dance that requires a lot of energy and stamina to execute especially during live performances.

EXO-K: In MAMA, we get to see something like a ‘canon’ (well, i’m not too sure if the dance term for this type of choreography is the same as the musical term, but i am referring to the part of timing 2:20, 2:51, 4:20 etc in the MV) a few times, which is actually a very nice type of choreography to look at. They have a key point in their dance which i think is probably during the chorus. They have literal dance moves like that of playing the violin. Their choreography also does not require back-up dancers. Needless to say, i’m sure it takes up much of their energy too.

Winner of Round 2: Even though i love the power in B.A.P’s dance, there isn’t a strong main key point in their dance, which is actually very important to stand out. Look at how Suju’s Sorry Sorry dance turn out to be a phenomena. When you think of MAMA’s dance, you remember the part where they freeze and turn their heads and there’s also the touch-lip-and-raise-your-hand move.

Round 3: Song evaluation

MAMA: This song differs from other songs with its georgian chant (thingy) at the beginning and not to mention a screamo portion. Something i haven’t heard before in kpop songs is D.O’s part at the beginning where he sings through all the notes (what i mean is if you look at the guitar, it’s like plucking one string and running your finger down the neck of the guitar on that string which means you just played through all the notes in one beat). The heavy strings riffs create the atmosphere of a rather dark one which is quite suited to the theme of the song, which is the darker side of society. The beat of the song is strong and very clear.

POWER: I thought the transition between the intro and Yong Guk’s rap was a bit awkward, but the rest was good. I think the basis of this song is rock as there is a very strong electric guitar riff during the rap and for most of the parts of the song. The song doesn’t emphasize on the bass beat but rather uses the electric guitar and the vocals to create the tempo of the song. I also love the “warning warning warning” part. They even have a tribal percussion part and then back to their rock music when they sing “follow me”.

Winner of Round 3: is probably B.A.P for me. Even though MAMA made use of the georgian chant to stand out it is still pretty kpop, i think POWER uses more musical styles to create this song. However, these different musical styles become quite subtle after the layering of music that you really have to pay attention to the details. Nevertheless, the fact is that they are there. (But, i still love both songs)

Round 4: Execution (aka live performances)

This is probably the MOST important aspect for me. The downfall or uprising of a band essentially bolls down to their live performances, where they cannot hide behind the editor of the videos or sound engineers. I shall do my best to compare their live performances with the limited amount of live performances they have done so far. (So, i shall only compare 120427’s live performances)

So EXO-K, i see you’ve suddenly gotten much better because of something like… a little direct competition (is always healthy). Aside from the fact that finally both lead singers (D.O and Baek Hyun) are singing almost perfectly on the same day itself, it somehow seems that they have become better performers. I’m guessing that they have finally gotten more comfortable on stage and because it’s rookies battle day.

OMG is what i’d like to say to B.A.P. Watching the MV with them singing and dancing at the same time is totally different from them doing those two things simultaneously live. It’s like when they starting kicking around and jumping around so much, i was kind of worrying about how they were going to project their voices. But. They did it, and they did it with close to perfection standards. What the hell is wrong with these kids is what i want to know but i’ll just nicely accept their talents. (No, but seriously, Jong Up, how the hell did you do that half back flip thing AND sing at the same time.) The TWO things i had a problem with this live was that i hated their clothes and it seemed as if the stage was a bit too cramp.

Winner of Round 4: is kind of (still kind of) decided now. I think Exo-K has really improved a lot. Right now, i’m choosing them because i’m basing this more on improvement level. And i realise how B.A.P’s cool MV is a flaw in the sense that their choreography is made more for their MV than their live stages. AND i still hate their outfits. Chocolate (apparently their stylist’s nickname) and i need to have a one-to-one talk about their clothing. (WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GIVING THEM TO WEAR!…. is what i’d like to ask, thankfully, 120505’s clothes were better just a bit).

Honorable mentions:

Jong Up’s crazy CRAZY backflip. Like really insane crazy.

Congrats to D.O for finally being able to do that voice slide thing in the beginning.

The truth, and irony, is that i like this two rookie bands a lot, so i think i can safely say that i’m totally not biased towards one of them.

Some of you probably might disagree on certain parts which i do wish you will tell me about because i might not have notice some stuff that i should, which may lead me to change my opinions. So, do share.

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SORT: Songs On Repeat This week

Hello~~

I’ve decided to have a special weekly post where i share what songs i was hooked on in no order.

15 Apr – 22 Apr:

Exo k – MAMA

The first single of Exo – k differs from other songs because it has a georgian chant (thingy) at the beginning and not to mention a screamo portion. The heavy strings riff  is a plus for me because i love the sound of the cello more than the violin. I think after many comments on how their initial releases of “History” and “what is love” sounded too much like what their seniors from the same company had produce, this song really brings out their whole style and gives them back their individuality. Not to mention, the song really grows on you.

Superjunior – Andante

Composed by Henry (Suju M) and Lee Teuk, this is probably one of the better slow songs in their latest album. Actually, i feel that is has a more ‘english song’ feel to it. Especially the verse part where the songs open up with the sounds of the acoustic guitar with the ‘slap on the guitar’ technique to create the beat. There isn’t anything particularly unique about this song but it wins with it’s simplicity when kpop songs nowadays are filled with riffs, driffs and whatever.

Baek Yong Guk feat. Yang Yoseob – I remember

The piano riff followed by the sounds of the electric guitar then the voice of Yoseob. When Yong Guk starts rapping, only the piano and percussion is left. As the song climbs to the chorus, the guitar comes in again with single notes and the music climaxes at the chorus. The music is simple, the rap and vocals is what is really carrying the song. Yong Guk’s low voice is a nice contrast to Yoseob’s higher range of vocals.

B.A.P – Warrior

“HUU!”

This song practically speaks for itself and i have nothing to say except that it’s definitely a warrior song i tell you. One of my favourite part has got to be Zelo’s ultra fast rap. That guy looks so adorable but when he raps, he means business! Vocals in this group is super strong too. AH! They are like one my favourite rookie group this year that’s for sure.

B.A.P feat. Secret Ji Eun – Secret Love

Yes, i know another BAP song. Who can blame me. Well this is no war song no more as they show us their softer side. The song starts of with a mexico feel acoustic guitar. The entry of the vocals could have been a little smoother but Ji Eun’s voice really brings out the lightness of the song. We also get to see a different kind of voice from the two lead vocals. The 3 of them match each other well vocally.

Nell – Go

One for the indie bands! I must say that the music and melodies of this song doesn’t see the most variation. Nevertheless, the melody of the piano and vocals is nice, i just wished they played it up a bit more. Here’s a good song for relaxation.

Yang Yoseob – No

The Ost to Poseidon (korean drama), it’s a ballad as it is for most korean dramas. I admit it’s a pretty typical korean ballad. But who can get sick of those. Before there was kpop there were (korean drama) ballads. Many. many (korean drama) ballads. I love the emotion in Yoseob’s voice. Just singing the right words can’t make a song become a (korean drama) ballad, you just got to have that much emotion expressed just by your voice.

4 Men – Baby Baby

This is no new song, many idols including G.Dragon from Big Bang and Jong Hyun from Shinee, and Yoseob from BEAST (hehe..). But. Here is the original! The lead vocal in this song is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Listen to his live and you will understand what i am saying. Well, not to mention the harmonizing is absolutely perfect. I think this song really suits Yoseob because both him and the original singer have kinda the same range and not to mention they have the smooth kind of voice. Jong Hyun voice is on the rougher side. All in all, the song is great on it’s own without anyone needing to cover it.

Well, that’s all folks. Look out for the next sunday’s update of my SORT.

Remember to go to my Recommend Me page if you have any good songs you want to share! Otherwise, you can always comment below. =)

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BEAST: Why recycling is good.

From recycled apples to super idols, BEAST is a group that has gone through many hardships to get to where they are today. I admit that they are one of my current favourites after DBSK (as 5) left the scene, and who can blame me. Even with their incredible dance choreography, the group still delivers vocally. They might not be the most good-looking group of boys, but they each have their own charm. I would say that their popularity shot up when they promoted the single from their 2nd mini album: ‘SHOCK’. Check out their amazing vocals and dance below.

I am not usually a fan girl, i would rather admire from far. But not with BEAST. Heck, i even went to their Beautiful Show concert recently, and that means a lot from me. And i can tell you that they were amazing. Half the time i ask myself if i’m actually listening to their CD. They, are that good. My favourite member always happens to be the lead singer, probably because i can appreciate a talented vocalist more than a dancer. Yoseob is an incredible singer. I normally love lower voices like Kyu Hyun’s (Superjunior) voice, but there is just something about Yoseob’s singing that captivates me, and his voice is not exactly low, that shows how much of a great singer i deem him to be.

A brief summary of each member’s history that made them the ‘recycled group’:

Doo Joon (leader): he almost debut as a member of 2PM but got eliminated on television in the last round.

Hyun Seung: he too almost debut as a member of Big Bang.

Jun Hyung: he was previously in a band called Xing

Ki Kwang: he debut under the name of AJ

Yoseob: he got rejected by many companies

Dong Woon: he too almost debut as a member of 2Pm.

The best way to access a group’s vocal talent: Ballad

Of course, their success must also be attributed to the songs they get. But i must say, most of the raps are written by Jun Hyung. Up to this day, he has even composed a couple of songs on their albums. Hyun Seung is also a member of the super amazing prepix dance group, which explains their unique dance choreographies.

After talking to a few BEAST fans, i realise we all share the same ideas as to why we like them. They are still down-to-earth even after achieving commercial success in the entertainment industry, they are hard-working-dols, and they are unlike other successful groups who have experienced success right from the beginning (ahem SM). I guess being ‘recycled’ isn’t always bad. Look at how good they were from their debut, partly because most of them had some sort of exposure to live performances i suppose.

Give them a chance and i promise they won’t disappoint. Don’t say i didn’t tell you if one day you suddenly start to like them and end up thinking to yourself ‘what have i been missing out all this while!’

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DBSK: Not 2 but 5

Dong Bang Shin Ki easily known as DBSK(Korean) or TVXQ(Chinese) or Tohoshinki(Japanese) and if you don’t already know, their name actually translate to ‘The Rising Gods of the East’.  First of all, just seeing that they have 3 different names, albeit not being that different from each other, you should be able to imagine them being popular enough in those countries that people actually come up with names in their own language. Of course, they are actually more famous than just 3 countries. But i probably won’t go so far as to call them international stars because during their era, the Hallyu wave was only starting to rear its head which makes me think that most would have missed out on them unless you were into kpop since 2006. Nevertheless, did i mention that they once broke the record in 2008 for having the most number of official fans in their fan club (Cassiopeia), and what about their unofficial fans(myself)? And that’s The Fact.

There is just so much about this group that i have difficulty settling my thoughts to write this post. First of all, i only got into them roughly during their Japan promotions and before “Purple Line” which was probably around 2007. But that didn’t stop me from hunting down all their previous music, after listening carefully to their singing, most would. I can confidently say that i have heard every single of theirs and watched every MV. (This is probably a good time to make a disclaimer: I am purely writing this article because of my love for their talent and i want to share their songs with you).

They started out as a pop boy band cum acapella group. That was quite a rarity no matter in which country’s entertainment industry. Instead of me writing words about their vocal (and dance in Junsu’s and Yunho case) talent, let their singing do the ‘talking’. Here’s a clip of their live acapella during one of their concerts.

Okay, so maybe you’re not an acapella fan, how about ballad?

Might i add that THIS VERY LIVE is what most fans (including me) have acknowledged as one of their best lives. The emotion and heart they put into singing this is hard to see in most idol boy bands. No matter how talented i think BEAST is, this live performance put me to tears. I consider myself an old timer of kpop after 6 years of full-on kpop, and back in 2006 they were the best.

Because of their amazing popularity in Japan, they are probably one of the few foreign bands that have released that many japanese songs. They have broken so many records of a foreign band topping countless number of Japanese Music Charts namely the Oricon chart (a super famous music chart in Japan). Actually, one of my all time favourite song from them is actually this Japanese Song:

If you are into faster paced songs, you can check out famous singles like ‘Rising Sun’, ‘Purple Line’ and ‘Mirotic’.

Another thing newer kpop fans might not know is that, it was around the peak of DBSK that lipsyncing on music programmes gradually became ‘demolished’. DBSK was one of the more prominent groups to set the standards for this new generation of idols in the sense that you needed to be able to dance and sing live perfectly if not decently.

After all is said and done, when i look at the present DBSK -or what is left of it- an old fan like me can’t help but sigh and reminisce the old times when there was 5 not 2. No matter how other fans may argue and say otherwise. No one can deny without guilt that the 2 without the 3 is now and will be always incomplete. I really wished that SM changed their name instead. Using the same name when more than half the band is gone is just not letting go of the past and not allowing Changmin and Yunho to move on as a new duo. On the other hand, even though i was skeptical about JYJ when their collaboration with Kanye West stood out for all the wrong reasons, i’m glad that they are reverting back to their original music roots and moving on.

Most of us have given up on any reuniting but their fan base is still as strong, seeing that JYJ and DBSK came out at the top during their album releases. I have turned my attention to other groups but will forever the good old times of

DBSK: before, there was 5.

Disclaimer: Forgive me if i have miswritten anything for i am purely writing from memory.

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Dance Practice Videos: Trending Right Now

In this day and age, MVs are no longer enough in the world of Kpop where Dance Practice Videos are another good way to promote yourself. Dance Practice Videos (DPV) give idols chance to show their silly/fun (apparently cute) sides, super dance moves and hopefully no-make-up-face without their companies costing a bomb. DPV used to be serious business back in DBSK days, now it’s all about how idols interact with the video camera (and supposedly their fans watching the video) because fans just loooovvveee how silly and funny their idols can be. Nevertheless, most DPV still live up to their name of being dance practice videos and most importantly, they allow people all over the world to learn their dance moves within the comfort of their house -talk about brain washing made easy. Today i analyse the different types of DPV out there and how useful or practical they actually are.

Case Study 1: Acting silly/funny to your own song just because… they can (and probably fan service).

Purpose: Fan Service 100% and relieving stress?

Usefulness: Without fans… zero

Case Study 2: Interaction with video camera but dance is taken seriously

Purpose: Fan Service and Monitoring themselves

Usefulness: Very useful in letting us know how good their dancing is especially when it’s not obvious during live performances’ broadcasts

Case Study 3: Promoting the men behind-the-scenes

Purpose: Definitely entertainment

Usefulness: Just for laughs

Case Study 4: Dance Tutorials

Purpose: Brain-washing!!

Usefulness: Very (B.A.P’s tutorial reminds me of the emergency demo on airplanes)

Honorable Mention: One of the first (or first, actually) groups to start the DPV trends… DBSK!!

Ancient DPV: before there was HD; you needed to be a big fan to even recognize who is who

Combination of fan service and dance tutorial!

Most of the DPV can be pretty useful especially for fans who’d like simplicity and to just enjoy the dance choreography. After all, they are just as appreciated as MVs, the fact that they cost zero makes it one of the best way of promotion.

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G.na is so much better on a “Beautiful Day”

It became a beautiful day after G.na and Sanchez released a duet titled “Beautiful day”.

In this duet, we get a glimpse of everything G.na could and should have been before ‘2Hot’ days (i cringe at that name). This duet is like the occasional reminder we need to remind ourselves how great G.na is. Not even ‘Oops’ could save the poor girl, especially not when her manager snatched up more attention than her in her practice video.

Right at the beginning of the song, with Sanchez hitting the first note, it is plain to sight that this is just the type of song for Sanchez. (See ‘Hole in your face’ and ‘Burning’) When G.na started harmonizing with Sanchez, it’s that moment when you think to yourself… ah, this is going to be a good song. Not only were the harmonizing parts great to listen, but the overall feel of the song is pretty catchy. It helps that they both have great English pronounciation so i can actually sing along to the chorus in proper english. The amount of difference it makes when you can actually differentiate ‘lego’ and ‘let go’…

Sanchez’s english was so spot on that the english rap didn’t feel out of place nor did it make for some laughs. It was all serious business.

The MV is really nothing special as both of them just sit and stand around most of the MV. The only applaudable aspect of the MV would have to be it’s editing. With it’s smooth changing of scenes and how the editing synced nicely with the rhythm and beat of the song, it’s simple videos like this that really test the skills of the director and editor. Though i did wish that they played around the colours more as practically all of the MV was shot in an orang-y light which got a bit boring since the video was already very simple.

Though i liked the song quite a bit, i have to admit that it isn’t the most original nor special song. It’s just one of those ‘safe’ song that won’t go wrong even if you tried. Still, i’m glad G.na finally got to do something actually productive with her career. Cheers for lack of asses!

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B1A4: songs “In The Wind”

Alright, alright.. i know it’s really late of me to write about B1A4’s latest album only at this time, but it’s never too late if someone starts listening to this album because they saw this! (cross fingers)

Usually, if it’s way beyond the album’s release date, i would not feel the need to review the album. However, in this case, this is one of those albums that i find the need to recommend to the rest of the world because it is not appreciated enough. Albums from the top Hallyu stars like Big Bang get out there naturally and hardly needs much pushing.

coverptu

I would not say that i am a diehard fan of B1A4, but i believe i know enough about them (knowing their names at least means a lot) and their previous works. Needless to say, i came to appreciate them only after ‘Baby, i’m sorry’, and finding out that their leader Jin Young had a big hand in producing that song made me more attracted to them. (i love singers who write their own music) Their previous full length album ‘Ignition’ was decent, and i could hear the potential in them which made me keep my eyes (and ears) open to them. Though i would say that their second single “Baby Good night’ of that album was a bit of a turn off for most almost-fans i’m sure. Not only was the content morally wrong in every way, the musicality did nothing good enough to save it.

With my heavy workload in school, it was only during the later part of their promotions did i finally hear their latest single ‘Tired to walk’ on Music Bank when they were already the top contenders. The first listen got me interested but not hooked yet, the second listen caught me, and the rest was history. i was (and still will be) hooked on to this song like how a fish gets caught on bait.

(When idols can actually sing, i usually prefer their live performances):

Tell me that is not GREAT!!!

The choreography is part of the reason why i love the live performance. It’s unique, and really fits the song and beats even if it’s not the most difficult choreography, it captures your attention right from the start and is all in the details. Considering the MV for this song didn’t show any choreography, it would be a pleasant surprise if you had watched the MV first.

Back to the album… this time, not only Jin Young, but Baro (rapper) also had a bigger hand in the production of the whole album. And i’m wondering what took the company so long to do that, when obviously these guys produce better songs than the company (i must say). Though, i’m sure credit has to be given to the company for training their songwriting skills, not to mention, even allowing them to write their own songs unlike a certain entertainment company. I know i will be stoned for this, but since ‘Baby i’m sorry’ i can’t help but to hope that B1A4 will be almost as big as Big Bang. I think they deserve at least that amount of recognition.

This is one of the rare moments when i would like to comment on their album cover. As somewhat of an art lover, i usually give up on most CD’s cover because what’s important is inside and the covers usually don’t speak out to me. This time round, i felt that B1A4’s album cover was both mystical (child-like fantasy image) and mature (black & white) at the same time. And the album cover actually somewhat relates to the MV of their single.

Track List:

1. Intro – In The Wind

2. Tried to Walk

3. If.. (If you were here)

4. I won’t do bad things (narration by Suzy from Miss A)

5. What do you want to do?

6. Be My Girl (Jin Young feat. Jea of BEG)

7. In the Air

8. Tired to Walk (inst.)

Intro – In The Wind

Even though this intro is just a musical one (feat. maybe one of the members’ footsteps?), it feels appropriate for the title ‘In The Wind’ which is also the album title. The guitar harmonics sound and synthesizer creates a very light sound that is a good reflection of how one feels in the wind. The music not only acts as an intro to the whole album but also the next song which is also the single.

Tired to Walk

Continuing from the intro, the song starts off with the sounds of wind and continues with the same guitar sound we heard in the intro before throwing us into their signature strong synthesizer beats. This song slips smoothly from softer sounds to strong beats, weaving in and out to form the overall feel of the song. In this song, we finally get to hear Baro sing and i think most of us get blown away with the sexiness of his voice (like what TOP did to me in Love Song – low voices are just sexy without a doubt). The members tuned their voice and emotions perfectly to suit the song as they use a more frail kind of voice.

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJsq91JVkyg

MV: Just like the album cover, the colours of the MV has contrasts between the brightly coloured set filled with flowers and the darker tones of the night sky and the snow scene. This is in-sync with the theme of fantasy/dream and reality.

If

This is a more light-hearted-sounding song compared to the previous track. The simplicity of the sound of the music (created by an ingenious way of blending all the sounds together) allow the boys to shine vocally which they do very well. Baro’s rap comes in at the right time, preventing the song from sounding too repetitive.

I Won’t Do Bad Things

I only wondered about the necessity of Suzy’s narration after I saw that some thought it was unnecessary. However, on a closer listen, I won’t say that it was totally useless. It was used as an intro and allowed the building up of the first verse. It probably also functioned as a transition between the previous track and this track. In this track we get to hear Baro singing again and I could really get used to It. The sound of this song leans towards a bit of old school mixed with reggae and jazz. It’s just the kind of music to laze around to.

What do you want to do?

The beats pick up just a little in this song but still has that bit of off-beat jazz feel. The guys portray a kind of sexy confident feel as the words roll of their tongues into my headphones. Jin Young’s rougher voice probably does sexy best here. The harmonisation of Baro and narrator Shina-e added a nice touch time the song and creates a nice pause in the song.

Be my girl

The next track is a solo by Jin Young where he shows off his newly acquire and improved skill of falsettos where CNU was better at the last time. And when we talk about falsettos there is probably no better person than BEG’s Jea. Though my bias lies with Jin Young. This song probably didn’t appeal to me as much as I would have liked to.

In the air

The last sing song of the album, the boys turn it up a notch after all that lazing around in the middle. This song is wavering between wanting to be a party song yet trying to keep that light feel we heard in the previous tracks. Because it can’t make up it’s mind, i felt that it wasn’t the smoothest arrangement. I would have to place this track as my least favourite only because the rest are so good.

With that, the promotions have ended and we are left with a great memory of B1A4’s new image – of a more mature and sophisticated feel and music. I never had a thing for cutsy, and since i wanted to like B1A4, i’m glad they took a step out of that. This album was definitely just ‘In The Wind’ but firmly grounded in the music charts and fans’ hearts.