[Review] Darling – Taeyang (Big Bang)

This is the second review for Taeyang’s latest comeback. The previous post for his other promotional track, Wake Me Up, can be found by clicking the name title. As mentioned in the previous post, This is Taeyang’s first comeback since Eyes, Nose & Lips.

Compared to Wake Me Up, Darling does have that same level of energy or suspense to it. However, despite it being a ballad, it does leave a very deep impression on your mind and has an impact, in its own way. The song, overall, is brilliant. I liked how striking the piano is, in the background.  I also liked how the piano was the main instrumentation for 2/3 of the song.  The final 1/3 of the song brought in some drums and percussion.  It have the song an extra dimension, which I thought was quite cool.  But what stole the slow was his vocals.  I really like how he projected his voice throughout the song. We know how capable he is with his vocals but here, it felt beautiful and like no other song that he had released in his career so far.  

The video does feel underwhelming.  For the most part, it did suit the song quite nicely.  The different scenes through the video made it feel amazing.  The drone -aerial shots looked spectacular and added aesthetics to the video.  The scenes with the female model was what I felt was the underwhelming part of the video.  They didn’t seem to be that much going on with her and Taeyang.  While i didn’t expect them to hold heads and skip in a field, her addition felt like it wasn’t needed, especially when majority of the video featured Taeyang and beautiful shots. But overall, the video was still quite nice to watch. 

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Review] Wake Me Up – Taeyang (Big Bang)

Taeyang has marked his return to the stage with his latest solo comeback. Taeyang attempts to make another successful comeback with Wake Me Up and Darling as successful as his previous solo tracks, like Eyes Nose and Lips. But since we are talking about Taeyang himself, there is no doubt that he will reach that same level of success or even possibly go higher this time around.

Wake Me Up is one epic song. I don’t know what other words could describe the song better than ‘epic’. Compared to my previous comments for his last comeback, Wake Me Up is a song that sounded unique and unexpected at the same time. It started off very silent in terms of the instrumental. I almost thought he would have gone towards an acapella type of song. But instead, it was all for the suspense. Once the beat dropped for the chorus, it felt like bliss. The suspense throughout the start was amazing. The chorus itself (with the beat drop) was what gave it that epic feel. He maintains the momentum and his signature vocals are on full display in this song. So, what more could you ask for? The impact was there and the lasting impression is strong.

Well surprise, surprise. Taeyang is not wearing a shirt in this video. To add to the oddness, Taeyang doesn’t have some weird or wacky hairstyle. On a more seriousness vote, I thought the video was very elegant. There is an obvious lack of colour in the video during the more slower parts of the song and once the beat drops, you get that golden colour that is replayed constantly through the video. It is a little confusing to piece everything in the video together (and I am sure there is a story to be told) as the editing was made to match the upbeat and fast pace music. But besides that minor detail, it is a great video to watch.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10

[Review] Untitled, 2014 – G-Dragon (Big Bang)

Within just an hour of release, there are only a few artists that are capable of debuting at the top of charts in South Korea. Actually, that might be incorrect, since I am only aware of one occurrence of that happening (just yesterday!). I am referring to the long awaited comeback of G-Dragon. And he has been topping charts everywhere around the world with his latest mini album, Kwon Ji Yong. The main track is Untitled, 2014 and is the first YG artist in a while to only come back with one main title track (not exactly sure if promotions will actually occur).

And of course, the Digital King himself went with a completely unanticipated style with this track. Though I am quite sure G-Dragon has released ballads in the past, I don’t think I have heard anything from him that is this heartfelt. Just by listening to it, you can tell that it goes deep. There are two parts of this song. The melodic piano instrumental receives big ticks from me. It’s simple and clean. Nothing too fancy. But the real winner has to be his dominating and amazing vocals. If the instrumental received big ticks, then G-Dragon’s voice has to receive massive golden stars. I think that description alone tells you what I think of the song entirely. I  am literally just staying still for the entire song, every time I replay it. I am in awe and am speechless at the same time. There is no highlight. I usually point out to a certain section of the song that I love the most. But it is evident that for the very first time, I think the entire song is the highlight. We all know what G-Dragon is capable of, but yet he manages to blow everyone (including myself) in one away or another, majority of the times he come back.

The music video showed his professionalism and skills. Essentially, the video was shot in under an hour. That is something unheard of. According to the new articles I am reading, the idea was extremely simple (which matched the simplicity of the song). The video focuses on G-Dragon’s performance, not content or complexity. And that is what is delivered. I love a good old simple video and this one probably one of the few that does it right. While we do not see G-Dragon that clearly, it is an amazing video to watch that matches the song perfectly.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10

[Review] Palette – IU ft. G-Dragon (Big Bang)

The digital queen is officially back. This is her first major release in the last three years. On top of that, this is her first return to the stage in four years. Who am I talking about? It is IU, of course. And with her already (and always expected) chart topper, she is bringing out the big guns with one of the most unexpected collaborations to date. G-Dragon features on her title track and that will be reviewed today. And don’t worry, I will be getting an album review out for her fourth album, Palette, sometime next week!

Her last song was titled as 23, due to her age. This song seems to be an extension of that idea, but this time, IU is 25. However, the sound is completely different in comparison to her previous track. It’s a slow track that doesn’t much going on it. It doesn’t rely on a heavy instrumental. Instead, it is very minimalistic. The song reminds me of a white room or a blank canvas. Sure, it may sound boring to some people, but it can mean a lot and be interpreted differently by others. And with that minimal sound (or white room or blank canvas), it gives her vocals the chance to shine. We already know of her vocal capabilities, but with this song, she displays a much more mature sound that we haven’t heard from her. Her higher pitch during the chorus and the slowness of the song makes the track sound so much better. Furthermore, the song is addictive and extremely catchy. I have already replayed it a number of times and I am singing along (in my awful voice) every time the chorus kicks in. Finally, G-Dragon’s rap sequence sounds pretty cool, I can’t really deny that. It was extremely fitting and added an urban sound to the song. Something that brings the song down a bit, since IU was singing her parts at a higher pitch before G-Dragon came in. Overall, it is an amazing song, so do check it out.

I mentioned the idea of the white room before. And the video was shot is a white room, as well. And yes, while a white room may be boring, but it is what IU does in the room (besides stealing the spotlight, of course) does fill it up. It’s an odd idea and it’s one that didn’t occur to me until I started writing this part. But her presence fills the room. And in a sense, that does paint on the white walls. It is just a thought that I had while writing this, but it made me go back and watch the video a couple more times. We are also shown other shots. One that stole the show was when she appeared in her Good Day outfit (I think. It’s the one where she is wearing the pink dress with her name and the age ’18’ written at the bottom of the video). It shows how far she has come. From Good Day, which was her big breakthrough in the industry, to her current video and matured style. I think the video is amazing. Like the song, it is minimalistic, but that does speak volumes in certain cases and this is one of those cases. Watching the video many times already and I have yet to feel bored.

[UPDATED] The accompanying choreography isn’t a big part of the comeback. She only dances during the chorus of the song and it is that little segment seen in the video. It wasn’t needed but I didn’t mind it. It too showed a more mature side to IU, matching the mature sound of the song. She also rapped G-Dragon’s part for her first stage. That blew me away. Search up the performance to watch her perform Palette!!

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8/10 [UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 9.5/10 [UPDATED]

 

[Review] FxxK It – Big Bang

Big Bang has made their long awaited comeback with their latest album, M.A.D.E. The album consists of all the song released in 2015, such as Loser and Bae Bae (just to name a few), along with 3 new tracks. This is their final release as a 5-member group as T.O.P will be enlisting in the near future. This is the review for just FxxK It. A review for Last Dance was released earlier, which you can access by clicking here.

Compared to Last Dance, I don’t fancy this song as much. However, I still like it. There were a few things that did leave me a little bored with this song. The song fits the party setting quite nicely and has certain parts have a nice kick to it, giving the song a pumping feel. While the rest of the world continues to praise G-Dragon’s rap, I think of the opposite. I don’t have a problem with his rapping. It is just his part feel a little empty. I am a guy who enjoys listening to vocals more than rapping. But we all know how epic GD’s rapping can be (you would have to be in denial if that is the case). So I was a little disappointed. T.O.P’s fitted perfectly with the song.  However, Taeyang’s and Daesung’s part built up quite nicely to the chorus (and in my opinion, did the song a huge favour). The chorus was quite simple but still catchy, like all Big Bang’s choruses. Singing along to it every time it plays. Seungri was left with the bridge and he did an amazing job. My other disappointment with the song (as a whole) felt a little repetitive. It was more prominent here than other songs because I felt it most at my two favourite parts (Daesung and Taeyang’s). But besides all of that it is still a solid party song when you just want to go and have a good time.

Many people are comparing the music video to We Like 2 Party and I do agree with this. Just everything looks more planned out and staged. This music video gives a nice contrast to Last Dance and shows the more typical side to Big Bang that we are used to. Which is the crazy and fun side, like they made a disco into a club within seconds. Just moments before, they were peddling down a market on a 5 seater bike, with a bunch of shop keepers (mainly old folks) standing around awkwardly. Besides that, there really isn’t much to say. I am not disappointed with the video in any way. Everything matched the song and lyrics of the song.

Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Last Dance – Big Bang

Big Bang has made their long awaited comeback with their latest album, M.A.D.E. The album consists of all the song released in 2015, such as Loser and Bae Bae (just to name a few), along with 3 new tracks. This is their final release as a 5-member group as T.O.P will be enlisting in the near future. This is the review for just Last Dance. A review for FxxK It will be released very soon.

Despite being released in December, this song leaves a long last impression on you. First time listening to the song, I was blown away. And now it is a song that I am wanting to listen to every time I plug my headphones in. Big Bang has a few excellent ballads up their sleeve, but there is something a little extra with this one that makes it one of their best. I think it might be the circumstance (impending military enlistments) that the band finds themselves in, which gives the song a more emotional and powerful feel. The vocals in this song are superb. Every member takes part in the song vocally, ending with a small yet deep sounding rap sequence by T.O.P. I personally think this would have to be one of their best songs (vocally) ever. The song has a very nice, soft piano instrumental as well. It added to that emotional side that I mentioned earlier and also gave the song a nice swaying effect, which I love. To me, there are no flaws in the song. Nothing is missing, overdone or underwhelming. Everything feels just right with this track.

The music video is visually stunning. Per usual, YG Entertainment did their thing when it comes to music videos. The video fits the song perfectly. You will be surprised how smashing everything and giving the sets a post-apocalyptic feel goes hand in hand with most ballads from a YG point of view (Check out Love Song by Big Bang for reference). I love the cinematography in this video. Everything is shot on an angle and I think it gives a nice effect to the video. G-Dragon’s reunion with his girlfriend for that one last dance at the ending during T.O.P’s rap sequence is quite haunting. But still really something that adds to the video. Someone should just change Taeyang’s hair for crying out loud. I am not a big fan of dreadlocks (refer to any review with someone who has dreadlocks).

Rating – 10/10

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

Probably one of the biggest award ceremonies for music and also probably one of the most prestigious, the 30th Golden Disk Awards (GDA) was held on the 20th to the 21st of January 2016. The GDA was supposed to be held in China but was moved back to South Korea due to the recent earthquakes that occurred there just 1 or two weeks before the scheduled event. Even though many people were shocked and feared the award ceremony would be either postponed or cancelled, the ceremony went off without a single hiccup and was broadcast live in both Korea and China.

What I like about this particular awards is that is focuses on both the physical albums and downloaded songs of the year. In other words, more awards for everyone. It is also nice to see who excelled in what (hahahaha…). The digital awards were handed out on the 20th of January, while the physical album awards were handed out on the 21st of January. The award show on the first night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Jong Kook and Seohyun (SNSD). The second night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Leeteuk (Super Junior) and Krystal (F(x)) I have recapped the award winners on the two nights below.

Disk Daesang (Album Of The Year) – EXODUS (EXO)
Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) – Loser (Big Bang)
Disk Bonsang (Best Artist) – APINK, VIXX, F(x), BTS, CNBLUE, Jonghyun (SHINee), EXO, Beast, Super Junior
Digital Bonsang (Best Artist) – Red Velvet, EXID, AOA, Zion.T, Park Jin Young, Sistar, Taeyeon (SNSD), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Big Bang, Girl’s Generation
Best New Artist – GFriend, iKON, Seventeen, Twice
Popularity Award – SHINee
Best Rap / Hip Hop – SanE
Best Rock – Hyukoh
Global Popularity Award – EXO
Best Group Vocal Award – BTOB
Best Solo Vocal Award – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue)
Best Male Artist Award – Big Bang
Best Female Artist Award – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Next Generation Star Award – Monsta X

Once again, this wide spread of award winners seem to be more representative of main stream KPOP. Not that I am complaining. Most of the award recipients were similar to the Seoul Music Award 2016, however a lot more artists won in this ceremony, since their was more rewards. Not that I am being a hater or anything, but Kyuhyun’s bonsang award seems a little far fetched. From memory (correct me if I am wrong though), his song never charted high on the charts and likewise Super Junior barely makes an impact on the digital side of the music industry. So I am a little suspicious of how he managed to get an award for a digital bonsang. Saying that, he did sell a lot. Like a lot on the physical side. But beside that, I think it was a nice range of artists who won and I think it is accurate (as in which artists managed to shine the brightest in 2015).

I really need to think of ways to start off the different sections, but once again… I think out of the all the ceremonies that have already been broadcast (NOTE: I am typing this prior to the Gaon Chart Awards), GDA has the best performances. Why? Because many of the artists performed multiple songs and I really enjoy how some artists (or their producers) integrate different songs together. GFriend, Red Velvet, EXID, Seventeen and BTS had the best stages on the nights. Some artists performed some songs that were released in the past (in previous years, such as EXID’s Up & Down, VIXX’s Error, Sistar’s Touch My Body etc.), which I kind of liked, but, the songs were released last year… so maybe a little outdated. But overall, the performances, I think, were to a very high standard and pleased me (*points at myself* and *acting as the biggest critic of all time*).

Below are just the few performances that I found and slapped together in a playlist format in no particular order.

For a last minute change to the ceremony, it managed to do pretty well in my books. Awards, performances. Everything was just great. There is one more to go of this season’s award ceremonies, which will be coming out in the coming days. Until then, bye!!

 

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

The Seoul Music Awards is one of the award ceremonies held the year after for the year before. For example, the award ceremony for the 25th Seoul Music Award was held in 2016, but celebrates the flourishing artists of 2015. Understand yet? Well now that hard to understand concept has been dealt with, the 25th Seoul Music Award ceremony was held on the 14th of January 2016, in Seoul. It is said that this award ceremony is one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies for the year as it recognises the popular and talented artists of the year. Selection process for winners on the night are as follow: 20% mobile votes, 10% Popularity Polls, 40% music sales (both digital and physical album sales) and 30% judging panel’s scores. Only artists who released singles or albums in 2015 are eligible to win.

Like all ceremonies, a number of actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the event to give out awards. The night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, EXID’s Hani and Honey Lee. All artists that received the award on the night performed on stage (minus those whose awards were accepted on their behalf by label mates – Big Bang is who I am trying to refer to).

Just to recap the awards winners of the night:
Bonsang Awards – EXID, Red Velvet, Taeyeon (SNSD), VIXX, Yoon Mi Rae, Zion.T, BTS, EXO, APINK, Sistar, Big Bang & SHINee.
Best New Artist – iKON, GFriend, Seventeen
Performance Award – Hyukoh
Best Trot Award – Hong Jin Young
Best RnB Award – Sane
Best Ballad Award – BTOB
Best OST Award – Jang Jae In (performed with Wonwoo (Seventeen) on the night)
Male Dance Performance Award – Monsta X
Female Dance Performance Award – Ailee
Mobile Popularity Award – Kim Junsu (JYJ)
Hallyu Special Award – EXO
Record Of The Year (Digital Release) – Bang Bang Bang (Big Bang)
Record Of The Year (Physical Release) – Kiss My Lip (BOA)
Daesang Award (Best Artist Of The Year) – EXO

The Bonsang awards seem to be more representative of the mainstream KPOP this year. Finally, Seventeen get their Best New Artist award that I think they truly deserve. Most likely they got it for their record breaking album sales. And finally some people decided to pay attention to BTOB. I am not technically fond of their ballads in the past year, but hey, it looks like South Korea is finally paying attention to them. Ailee’s award is one I am not exactly sure of. I don’t think it was the best dance performance of the year. I think that belongs to a particular rookie who was present on the night as well. Regarding Kim Junsu, who was apparently not invited to the ceremony despite winning a key award on the night, there is some shady business going on. But hopefully, when this matter is resolved, justice for Junsu and JYJ will occur. 2015 was a step forward for them, with the introduction of the JYJ Law.

Ailee should not have been pestered for the cameras catching her “on her mobile”. The netizens make it sound like she was too busy texting another person or was too busy looking at pictures of food. Put simply, she was just downloading an app to support SHINee and was later seen supporting Boa. People should really see the bigger picture (or in this case, wait for it) before making a big deal out it. Also, Boa’s award. Even though it was nice to see her win something, I agree with a lot of people who say she got the award just because of her senior status. It was her 15 year anniversary and she probably wouldn’t have received any award for her album if she debuted later on. Also, Starship should not deprive Sistar of any chances to get on the stage. They looked like they really enjoyed being there and were probably excited for their first stage together in what seemed to be 6 months.

Performance wise, I actually did not pay that much attention to the performances in this ceremony. Some of them were disappointing to watch, while others just did not appeal to me or make me want to watch. All I am going to say is the few that I did manage to watch (mainly the first half) were okay. Just minus the introduction for EXID’s performance. That was shocking. Stand out was probably GFriend’s intro. While their fan chant came to a close second. I don’t why I feel that way regarding the performances, I just was not feeling it. For the past few years which I have been watching the SMA ceremonies, their performances are by far the weakest of all ceremonies. Below I have put a handful of performances that I could quickly find into a playlist from the night.

Well, that is it for my wrap up of the Seoul Music Awards 2016. Hopefully, next year is better. Less controversy and better stages required to make this an award ceremony that I can look forward to.

 

Recap of MelOn Music Awards 2015 and Thoughts

The MMA or MelOn Music Awards were held on the 7th of November 2015. MelOn does not refer to the fruit but rather the music chart and on-line music store in South Korea. It is held by LOEN Entertainment, which owns the music distribution company. The music award has its own unique criteria where it only calculates digital sales of artists in the past year and incorporate these sales with on-line votes of fans.

The following artists, groups and actors attended the ceremony: Big Bang, Yoona (SNSD), Hyukoh, Hyorin & Dasom (Sistar) (did not perform), Toy (did not perform), APINK, Zion.T, Sane, iKON, GFriend, Mad Clown (did not perform), Hong Jin Young, BTS, Red Velvet, EXID, Monsta X, Winner (did not perform). Actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the night as presenters.

The show on the night was hosted by Yoo Byung Jae and Seo Kang Joon. They were shortly joined by Lee Boo Yi, Kim Shin Young, Kim So Hyun & Irene (Red Velvet). The red carpet was hosted by Youngji (Former Member of Kara) and Seo Yuri.

Below are the winners on the night. Afterwards, I have left some comments regarding some awards:
Top 10 Artist – SHINee, Girl’s Generation, Hyukoh, Toy, Big Bang, Sistar, EXO, APINK, Zion.T, Sane.
Best New Artist – iKON & GFriend
Best Rap/Hip Hop – Mad Clown ft. Jinsil (Fire)
Best Ballad – Baek Ah Yeon ft. Young K (Shouldn’t Have)
Best RnB – Naul (Living In The Same Time)
Best Rock – Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer)
Best OST – Loco & Yuju (Spring Is Gone By Chance)
Best Trot – Hong Jin Young (Love WiFi)
Best Pop – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk)
Best Male Dance – BTS (I Need U)
Best Female Dance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Folk – 10cm (Sseudam Sseudam)
Best Indie – Standing Egg ft. Wheein & Obroject Yundak (The Sunlight Hurts)
Netizen Popularity Award – Big Bang (Bang Bang Bang)
Hot Trend Award – Infinite Challenge (Yeongdong Expressway Music Festival)
Best Music Video – Park Jin Young ft. Jessi (Who’s Your Mama?)
Song Writer Award – Teddy
MBC Music Star Award – EXID
1theK Performance Award – Monsta X
Album Of The Year (Daesang) – EXODUS
Song Of The Year (Daesang) – Bang Bang Bang
Artist Of The Year (Daesang) – Big Bang

I personally think above is a fair spread for award winners. While I am not knowledgeable to comment on categories such as Best Indie and Best Folk, the rest show 2015 in its glory. Once again, I think Seventeen deserves the Best New Artist award and GFriend finally got what they deserved (it’s a good thing. Kind of sounded like I was hinting at something bad). Sistar and APINK’s Top 10 awards caught me off guard since they were quickly taken over by other artists on the digital charts and failed to be up to par with the other artists. I am glad to see Kim Sung Gyu win something for his album. It was really good.

And as per usual, there were performances that night from the groups who won awards. Performers included: Hyukoh, Big Bang, APINK, Zion.T, Sane, BTS, EXID, Red Velvet, Monsta X, iKON and GFriend. It would have been nicer to see some more artists who won from the night perform. I think best performance of the night was BTS with their cool jackets that had light coming off them. A very large portion of the show was dedicated to Big Bang, which had people talking. Sure, they won a lot of award, but I agree with majority of the audience. Big Bang’s performances just made it feel like one Big Bang concert. Sure, they won prestigious awards, but it just robbed the other artists of their night, who also put hard effort into making 2015 their year. Would have I gotten angry over the fact they turned the award show into a mini concert? No, but maybe they should have dropped one or two songs.

Overall, I think MMA15 was pretty fair. They had a large variety of winners (mainly because they have a lot of categories) and minus that small complaint regarding the performances, the show was great. Oh, but damn was the presentation of the awards cringe worthy. Probably this ceremony takes the award for  “Worst Presentation of Awards” award. Could have done it in a way where the presenters did not feel that ashamed of themselves.

 

 

Recap of MAMA 2015 and Thoughts

Did you forget about the MAMA awards held by MNET in 2015? Or are we all trying to forget it for its bias and unfair system? Well, don’t fret, I am here to remind you of the disappointment or joy that you felt.

The MNET Asian Music Awards (or MAMA) was held on the 2nd of December in… Hong Kong. Again. Voting for the awards began in October of the same year and I thought there was a fair range of nominees and the committee selected a variety if talents for each award.

The following artists attended and performed at the awards ceremony: Taeyeon (SNSD), GOT7, BTS, Hyuna (4 minute), Park Ji Young, Seventeen, Monsta X, F(x), SHINEE, EXO, Big Bang, iKON, Zion.T, Crush, Sane. 2NE1 & Psy. Pet Shop Boys were invited as special guest performers on the night. Red Velvet, Twice, Tiffany and Seohyun from SNSD also attended by did not perform.

I have recapped the winners below. I shall give some comments afterwards regarding the winners.
Best New Male Artist – iKON.
Best New Female Artist – Twice.
Best Male Vocal Performance – Zion.T (Eat)
Best Female Vocal Performance – Ailee (Mind Your Business)
Best Male Dance Performance – SHINee (View).
Best Female Dance Performance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Solo Dance Performance – Hyuna (Roll Deep).
Best Collaboration / Subunit – Zion.T & Crush (Just)
Best Rap Performance – Sane (Me You)
Best Band Performance – CN BLUE (Cinderella)
Best Male Group – EXO
Best Female Group – SNSD
Best Male Artist – Park Jin Young
Best Female Artist – Taeyeon
Best Music Video – Bang Bang Bang
Best Album (Album of the Year) – EXODUS
Best Song (Song Of The Year) – Bang Bang Bang
Best Artist (Artist Of The Year) – Big Bang

Best New Male Artist is probably the category that has me shaking my head the most. iKON is slowly showing their capability, but I feel like Seventeen is already two steps ahead of them and deserve the award more. Best Female Vocal Performance should have gone to Taeyeon and Taeyeon should have received 2 awards that night. Not dissing Ailee, but it wasn’t her best song or vocal performance. Best Music Video should have also gone to F(x). Best Male Dance Performance is an iffy category for me. SHINee did have a great dance, but sadly, I felt that BTS was missing out due to the lack of nomination in that category. Big Bang took out most of the awards, but I don’t think it matters. Big Bang dominated summer in South Korea last year with their continuous releases and had one of the most popular songs of the year (according to download and streaming charts). JYP’s award caught me a little off guard but I guess out of all the nominees, he had a good song. Besides the categories I mentioned, I think the awards were “fair”. Okay maybe not, but who MAMA awarded that night, I mostly agree with (given the nominees).

But wait, there were a few more awards that were given out that night:
Worldwide Favourite Artist – Big Bang
Global Fan’s Choice Male Artist – EXO
Global Fan’s Choice Female Artist – F(x)
Best World Performers – BTS
Next Generation Asian Artist – Monsta X
Best Asian Style – EXO
Worldwide Inspiration Award – Pet Shop Boys
There were also other awards which were awarded to artists from other countries as Best Asian Artist. Best Engineer, Best Live Entertainment and Best Producer awards were also given to 3 people for each award from different countries.

Out of these awards, I am a little confused with the Best Asian Style award. Out of all that walked the red carpet, I was shocked when EXO came along. Also, Pet Shop Boys. I am with majority of people who have never heard of the band before.

Per usual, there were many different performances on the night. The show opened up with Taeyeon’s I, which I thought was a really beautiful stage. She sounded flawlessly on the stage. BTS made their comeback on the night and collaborated with GOT7, who also performed If You Do. JYP had a special stage which probably scarred both GOT7 and Twice and he went a little wild towards the end of his performance. iKON performed a medley of their songs. Monsta X and Seventeen collaborated, while F(x) and Pet Shop Boys joined hands together. We also saw Sane perform with Hyuna and Jessi. Also a stage with both Show Me The Money contestants and Unpretty Rapstar. EXO, SHINee, Big Bang each had their stages with multiple songs and got the audience really hyped up. Psy also made his comeback and performed alongside with his new songs, Gangnam Style. Probably the most talk that night was 2NE1’s performance which caught everyone off guard. It was nice to see them, but whether it was appropriate is just another topic all together.

Out of all the stages, I thought Taeyeon had the most beautiful stage. For the dance aspect, Seventeen and Monsta X’s performance was really well polished and amazing.

Overall, I thought the night was worth it. It may seem like YG has a lot of influence over the MAMA awards and that is probably true. But whether it is right or not, is another discussion in its self. Just regarding the invitations to the awards, it did seem like someone did forget to invite people. Some stages seem like they could have used a little more attention to give it that grand feel that the MAMA awards is meant to uphold, like in previous years. But overall, I thought the night was pretty good. Wait… Did I just repeat the first sentence of this paragraph? Guess I am going to call it a day now. Hope you enjoyed my recap!

End Of Year Chart 2015 + Happy New Year!

Welcome to the end of the year! Each year, I do this “End Of The Year Chart” where I properly rank songs via a personalised ranking system, which shows which songs I liked the most (and which songs I did not like at all – but I won’t name and shame). How do I rank the songs? Simply taking the score that I gave them in the review published earlier in the year, adding it to new review scores for the music, video and performance. Then I add those to other scores from “Songs of the Month” in my Rewind posts and to ensure that I can properly order them, I turn to my iTunes play count. And when I say “add”, there is a mixture of mathematical operations (and I am going to stop here, before I can bore you). In no way is this chart influenced by my choice of best song in the BOBs. But I do highlight them here :).

1 Ah Yeah EXID
2 Paradise Lost Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
3 If You Do  GOT7
4 Closer Oh My Girl
5 You G.Soul
6 Love Me Right EXO
7 I Need U BTS
8 Sing For You EXO
9 Shake It Sistar
10 4 Walls F(x)
11 Dumb Dumb Red Velvet
12 I Taeyeon (SNSD) ft. Verbal Jint
13 Like OOH AHH Twice
14 Oh Um Ah Yeah Mamamoo
15 Mansae Seventeen
16 Just Right GOT7
17 Crazy 4Minute
18 Insensible Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)
19 Run BTS
20 Yey Beast
21 Between Night n Music B.I.G
22 Shake That Brass Amber (f(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)
23 Hot Pink EXID
24 Beautiful Liar VIXX LR (VIXX)
25 Brand New World Brown Eyed Girls
26 Ring My Bell Girls Day
27 Hurt Locker Nine Muses
28 Growing Pains Donghae & Eunhyuk
29 Run Away Royal Pirates
30 Black Swan Rainbow
31 Congratulations DAY6
32 Catch Me If You Can SNSD
33 Me Gustas Tu Gfriend
34 The Answer Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
35 Dope BTS
36 Pray FT Island
37 Cinderella CN Blue
38 You’re Pitiful Fiestar
39 Hopeless Love Jimin (15&)
40 Bad Infinite
41 Might Just Die History
42 We Like 2 Party Big Bang
43 Chained Up VIXX
44 Fire Mad Clown ft. Jamsil (Mad Child Soul)
45 Bell Bottoms PSY
46 Ice Cream Cake Red Velvet
47 Break Ya LU:KUS
48 Kontrol Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
49 I Feel You Wonder Girls
50 Wow Wow Wow Junjin (Shinhwa) ft. Eric (Shinhwa)

And here are some interesting facts about this year and the chart itself!

  • A total of 180 songs were ranked on this chart, but a total of 195 songs were reviewed this year (which I believe is a personal best).
  • The first song reviewed and included in the chart is BTOB’s The Winter Tale (released at the end of last year). The last song reviewed and included in the chart was EXO’s Sing For You
  • A total of 16 girl groups, 17 boy groups and 9 soloists are featured on the chart.
  • There is a better mix of boys and girl groups this year, compared to last year, where the first boy group did not feature on the charts until after 16th place.
  • BTS had the most songs on the chart (I Need U, Dope & Run). followed by: EXID (Ah Yeah & Hot Pink), GOT7 (If You Do, Just Right), EXO (Love Me Right, Sing For You), Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer, Kontrol) & Red Velvet (Dumb Dumb & Ice Cream Cake).
  • Rookies were actually a strong force this year with Oh My Girl, Seventeen and Twice ranking quite high up in the charts.
  • The following ranked after 50th place: IU, B.I.G, Crayon Pop, VIXX, Seventeen, Changmin, Big Bang, Brown Eyed Girls and CLC.
  • And finally, this year chart was actually reflected on the BOBs this year. I crowned EXID’s Ah Yeah as best song for both segments.

AND THAT IS IT!! 2015 will be ending shortly. 6 Hours To Go (for me at least)!!! Hope 2015 has been a great year for you all. I thank you all once again for another year of KPOPreviewed. Your support has been amazing. Every comment and like (heck even every view) makes me happy!! Nearly 5 years and still going strong!! Thank you 2015 and I wish you all a Happy New Year wherever and whenever it is time. Let’s make 2016 our year!!! (First review: 2nd of Jan).

2015 BOBs (Best Of the Best) – Part 1

2015 is at its end, and with days away from the new year, we must reflect on 2015. And per usual: excellent songs, videos and dances have gracefully entered our lives and probably have not yet left us. From comebacks from big name acts to debuts of new rookie bands, 2015 has been a splendid year in my opinion. This year I decided to do the BOBs differently. Usually, I post a list of nominees and categories, but I don’t get you guys to vote for them (nor do I have the capabilities and time to allow you guys to vote for them, but maybe in the future), so I thought I should change it up this year, but posting both nominees and winners in the same post. This is part 1 of the BOBs and part 2 will be released tomorrow with the rest of the categories. Also, the traditional End of Year Charts will be released on the 31st of December, at 11:55 pm, so please wait around for that. Let’s get the post on the road!!!

These awards do not reflect any review score that I gave out this year. My personal preferences will always change (i.e. an 8 review score can currently be a 10 OR a 10 review score can currently by an 8).

RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention

RISING STAR

Each year, artists see a rise in popularity. May that be due to great songs or great publicity (after all: any publicity is good publicity), this year was no difference.  Each of these artists, I have personally seen, some sort of boost in popularity this year. And I get to choose two winners (one male and one female) for this certain category. For this year, I have nominated:

risingstar

My pick is: EXID and BTOB. Both teams saw a rise in popularity due to one particular member, and slowly each member in each group is become well known in the industry. Keep up the good work, EXID and BTOB!!!

BEST INSTRUMENTAL

A song is not a song without an instrumental. And in KPOP, the instrumental plays a massive part in hooking us in and getting us addicted to the music. Especially for foreign and international fans who don’t understand the Korean language 100%. So many great instrumentals this year, here are the nominees:

bestinstrumental

Out of all the nominees, there can be only one winner: Wonder Girls – I Feel You. The girls returned to the stage with a brand new band concept, which totally wowed me. This instrumental has its own retro vibe and I personally enjoyed it a lot. From the drums to the keyboard and guitars, the girls totally deserve this. By far one of the most underrated songs, that definitely deserve an award! Honourable Mentions: F(x) – 4Walls

BEST JAPANESE SONG

I also do some Japanese songs on this site. Hahaha… Yeah, I review some Japanese songs from time to time. The variety of singers that I listen to for Japanese songs is usually limited to only the Japanese songs released by Korean artists. This year, the category has been dominated by Korean artists and I hope next year, I can start to review more Japanese artists! Here are the nominees:

bestjapsong

I think, I was most addicted to Beast – Can’t Wait To Love You. And that was my pick for Best Japanese Song. It was song that I felt did not fall into the typical Korean Pop or Japanese Pop genres and was pretty unique on its own. As for honourable mentions: BTS – For You.

BEST COMEBACK

Big name comebacks this occurred and they all managed to rock our socks off. Hahaha… I take into account: song, concept, promotions, looks, impact and a few more categories and suprisngly, the biggest artists that emerge from the Golden Age of KPOP were nominated:

bestcomebackOut of all the comebacks nominated, the one that fitted the criteria the most would have been Big Bang. 2015 was one big year for the band, and they had such an unique concept in terms of promotion. SNSD takes away honourable mention for this category.

BEST SUBUNIT

Unfortunately, 2015 did not continue the 2014 trend of subunits. However, some new subunits formed from popular bands and some old favourite returned. Here is who I think should be nominated as best subunit:

bestsubunit

This one was a little close for me. But I am going to say Donghae and Eunhyuk, which is a subunit belonging to Super Junior. Their song was by far an amazing and left a more long lasting impact on me than the others. The other subunit that gets honourable mention is VIXX LR, which is a duo made up of Leo and Ravi.

BEST RAPPER

2015 saw a new wave of contestant based TV shows around rapping and hence many artists have seen a boost in popularity after appearing on these shows. Other rappers also remained on stage as part of their groups and amazed the audience continuously during each comeback. Here are the nominees:

bestrapper

Out of all the rappers on the light, I picked Mad Clown as a winner. His song was a hit, it was a great song (now) and while he is not part of some group, he still managed to be placed ahead of everyone this year. Zico (Block B) took out Honourable Mention for his active year. Interestingly enough, both selected artists had someone featuring in their song.

BEST VOCALIST

When there are rappers, there are also singers. 2015 also saw new programs (and our old favourites) made specifically for the vocalists of all groups. Some vocalists we know have always amazed us, but others have just emerged and became trends for 2015. Based purely on what they sound like, here are the nominees:

bestvocalist

I think this category has the most obvious winner, Taeyeon (SNSD). Yeah, she was quite active as an artist, but her debut for I blew everyone away. As for honourable mention, it goes to Solji (EXID). Her performance of Maria still replays in my head. Her powerful vocals in EXID’s performance are also quite amazing.

BEST MALE SOLOIST

While the above category looked like at vocal performance, the Best Male Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:

bestmalesoloist

There is only one artist on this list that managed to wow me the very moment I listened to the song and that artist is Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite). His whole album did wonders and is an album that I am continuously going back to. As for honourable mentions, Lee Hong Ki (FT Island) wins that. His solo debut song was well received and I reviewed it as an amazing ballad.

BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

While the above category(Best Vocalist) looked like at vocal performance, the Best Female Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:

bestfemalesoloist

Once again, I am going to give it to Taeyeon (SNSD). Vocally, stunning. It was memorable and lovely to listen to. Honourable Mention was a close call, but Amber (F(x)) stole it from Gain (Brown Eyed Girls). So catchy and bright.

And that is it for Part 1 of the BOBs. Check back tomorrow, where I will post the second part of the BOBs, with Best Song, Best Male and Female Rookie; and Best Male and Female groups (plus a few more categories).

*All images and gifs belong to their owners/creators. Only those tables are mine.

 

 

 

Zutter – GD&TOP (Big Bang)

Another Big Bang review. This time. the song was not released by Big Bang, but it served as the comeback for the popular duo GD & TOP. For those who don’t know, GD & T.O.P formed their subunit in 2011 and made their subunit debut back in the distant 2010. That was five years ago. Like, we age pretty quickly.  Out of all the subunits to date in the whole of KPOP, I don’t think any subunit had surpassed the popularity of this subunit to date. They debuted with Oh Yeah, High High and Knock Out. Since then, we never saw the subunit again as they focused on regrouping Big Bang and a lot of solo work.

I was never a fan of the whole GD&TOP album and the songs on there weren’t that great in my opinion. I feel like I’ve seen better days with the duo than that album. So when I heard that they would be returning, I just groaned. But after so long, I thought they would branch off to a new genre (as their new album has been hinting at). But I was very surprised. This song, at least to me, mirrors their song, Knock Out. This song is much more subtle though. It does, however, have a more edgier sound and a more chilled vibe. I think this song can definitely come and go with trends.  The song is a lot catchier than Let’s Not Fall In Love, but then again it is really stupid to compare this song with a ballad. This song has it perks. Sounds a like a title track (see yesterday’s review) and it is a nice “pick me up” from the groups ballads and slow songs. I would listen to it continuously, no. I am already bored of it.

Lemme take a 3 minute toilet break. Hahahaha… Well… 3 minutes toilet break and they were probably still going. And it seems like they have been holding it in for quite sometime.  And it nice to see them close. Like very close. Like “let me check your dick” close. And also “let’s pee all over the toilets” close. Hahahaha… To me, it either looks like a remake of the Hangover series (without the waking up part and the hangover part as well)  or a terrible Chinese Mafia oriented story. Yeah, once again they show their wild side in this music video. It seems like G-Dragon is addicted to gambling in this video and T.O.P is some sick killer. But nevertheless, the ending shows how the two, from different worlds, can have fun and a nice dance off. Hehehe… T.O.P’s “I must try” dance vs. G-Dragon’s “zoned out dance”.

It is nice that they incorporated some of their amazing (this is a T.O.P reference) dancing skills in the performances. Yeah, there really is not much of a dance beside the fact that they can become crazy just about everywhere.

Nice song, out of this world video and Bingu TOP is always there to embarrass his colleagues. 8.5/10

Let’s Not Fall In Love – Big Bang

Once again, Big Bang has made their comeback, for the 4th time this year. Talk about that Big Bang drought we had, I think that has cleared up totally. Yes, their MADE album is about to end. Now, the full album and the final songs are meant to be released in September (next month), but since the comebacks have been quite tiring on the members, YG has decided to delay (hmmm… why is delay and YG always in the same sentence?) the full album release, to let the members rest and to make way for iKON’s long awaited debut. But these are the song released for August. Which I am reviewing at the end of August because I am that slow (and busy). Lots to catch up on.

Big Bang have been experimenting with different sounds for these few comebacks. They continue to return with unique sounds. This time, they went for a much happier sounding (?) ballad, something that we don’t actually hear much of the band. It is probably one of their slowest songs ever. I think the vocal mix in this song is pretty nice. We have all the members singing and of course rapping from G-Dragon and T.O.P. It is a nice sounding song, which I would love to hear on a summer night when it is raining. There is something so dreamy about T.O.P’s singing voice for rainy days… It just lacks that appeal that Big Bang songs usually have. To be honest, this is just a B-sided track. It is good, but it really is not good enough to be the title track. There really isn’t a hook or anything to grab our attention. But still, nice song.

If there is another thing I like this for, I guess how the lyrics mis-match with the sound of the song and the music video. The lyrics have that sadness factor, but the sound and the music video do contradict that. Not in a bad way. But in a way that could be described as artistic. While the members sing about “not falling in love yet” and “just be my friend” or “remain friends or else I can hurt you”, we see the members play around with the girls. They have fun and no hint of sadness. No tears, no arguments. I have a feeling that Big Bang always know how to have a good time. Their company always bring along these foreign girls into their music video. Not only that, but the girls change each time, so I would expect there to be some sort of awkwardness. But the guys and girls seem to have a great time and their chemistry together seems pretty nice.

Nice song and music video. Pity that they haven’t really promoted this song at all, compared to Zutter. 8.5/10. Zutter review will come tomorrow.

[DOUBLE REVIEW] If You + Sober – Big Bang

Once again, it has been a month since their last release. And now they are back at it with a more toned down comeback. But I am not going to use “comeback” anymore to describe Big Bang’s album’s promotion. Let’s call this a promotional run. They are going head to head with many big name groups this Summer with Super Junior, SNSD making their comeback in the coming weeks. Not only that, but other upcoming big name groups are making or have made their comeback: Sistar, AOA, Teen Top, Girl’s Day, A-Pink, Infinite etc. So essentially, this summer is going to be one very chaotic battlefield.

If You is a really nice song. Not one that is expected by many fans, however. When the song starts we hear T.O.P and G-Dragon sing. Normally, they raps. However his voice adds a really nice deep element to the song. As the other member move in to sing, we get a very peaceful ballad. I have to be honest though. I did say Taeyang did not have a suitable voice to be someone to take most of the lines, but in this song, his voice was delivered in a way that has me doubting myself. Even though it was a pretty long song and slowed down compared to the other Big Bang songs we have gotten, this song seemed to go quite fast for me. I have no complaints with this song.

Sober is a completely different song. It is toned down compared to their last releases, but it really isn’t a song that I again would associate with Big Bang. It’s more upbeat and I think I enjoyed it more than their other songs. It is quite addictive and catchy to my ears. It fits in quite well to their previous releases and it also has this strong Summer feel to it. Not as impressed with the vocals of this song though. I can see how some people are saying this song is quite similar to another song out there. Don’t remember the title of the other song though. And I get it. It does sound similar to me, just the style of Sober and the sound of Sober is a pretty much recurring sound in many music industries.

There is no music video for If You, which is quite disappointing. But then again, the company and band are filming quite a bit. Sober did get a music video which leans towards the crazy side. In other words, no where near what Sober’s definition is like. I personally like this video. It is quite wacky but it doesn’t overdo it like Bae Bae did. I did notice a few things. Why are there beds outside? What happens when it rains? T.O.P is not being T.O.P no more in any of the videos. Daesung looks pretty cool on the drums. Taeyang has been shirtless in 100% of the music videos that were released in 2015. I would like to now how they filmed the scenes where the members are in those spinning rooms. Not exactly sure if it spinning but it looks quite cool.

Not exactly sure if there are any dance to Sober. I can guarantee there be no dance for If You. But then again, I guess a lot of things and still manage to get things wrong.

If You – 9/10

Sober – 8/10

So what did you like more? Sober or If You?

[Double Review] Bang Bang Bang + We Like To Party – Big Bang

Big Bang is trying to kill all fans out there with their continuous comebacks for the next 3 months (5 comebacks in total). Each song they release is being promoted and I am thankful I am getting this review out now, with just days until the next two releases. Wow. After Loser and Bae Bae, Big Bang returned with songs that they believed was more their style and more like their last comeback, Fantastic Baby. And I think they are right. But that is to be discussed below. Let’s just brace ourselves for the next few months.

First song was Bang Bang Bang. I find this an awesome song, but like everyone I know and see commenting, the chorus for the song was just an ear sore. Yeah, but only the chorus. I love the club and dance instrumental song the sound goes for and I feel like the lines are more evenly spread this time around. Beside the chorus (even though it has grown on me), the rest of the song was just amazing. The vocal work and rapping for this song was amazing. I feel like this is a more modern version of Fantastic Baby, with an upgraded instrumental. The ending was superb as well. Just I want to change the chorus so badly.

As for We Like To Party, guess who just found their new favourite song. I am currently digging this song so much. It just is done so well. Did not expect for Big Bang to put out a party anthem like song, but it worked really well. The vocals and rapping per usual with the band was amazing and I was not at once disappointed with the song. I honestly feel like this should have been the more promoted song than Bang Bang Bang. And to those One Direction fans who are accusing Big Bang for copying their band’s song, these songs have been out for a long while.

The music videos were pretty amazing. I feel like both music videos, while different concepts were happening in both, were still pretty solid efforts, considering they were promoting their previous songs and had to film these as well. They did not look tired at all. I love the seriousness of the Bang Bang Bang video and the contrast between the red and black. We Like To Party was a more fun filled music video and I thought it fitted the song pretty well. They were apparently a little tipsy during the music video filming for some scenes, but I feel like it paid off very well. We see them go on a road trip and have lots of fun, which is what the song suggests. I am just glad they did not go off topic for any of the music videos.

I believe Bang Bang Bang had an actual dance to it. Beside the ending, I thought the rest of the dance was pretty boring to watch. We Like To Party had a dance as well, it seems kind of lazy, but managed to fit in with the song. But only the chorus got the dance for it… so…. And poor Seungri, everytime he tried to sing in We Like To Party, he was sabotaged by the other members.

If I was to choose out of the two, I would pick We Like To Party. Bang Bang Bang was great but the chorus… Sorry for rambling on about it. But a review is a review.

Bang Bang Bang – 8/10

We Like To Party – 10/10

What Big Bang song did you like this month? Pick out the two and the results will be up on the Rewind: June 2015 post (coming soon).