It is time to announce the winners of the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. This is the first year ever that you (the readers) got the opportunity to vote and pick out the winners of each category (excluding a few). Let me just start by saying thank you for all those who participated in the voting process, as you all made this possible.
The respective gifs for each category represent the winners which you voted for, while I have put down my pick for the category. I have opted to not do a commentary this year due to the already long length of this post.
BEST MALE GROUP DEBUT
Author’s Choice – Wanna One
BEST FEMALE GROUP DEBUT
Author’s Choice – Dream Catcher
BEST SOLOIST DEBUT
Author’s Choice – Jung Sewoon
Author’s Choice – NU’EST W
Author’s Choice – Gugudan 5959
BEST CO-ED GROUP
Author’s Choice – KARD
BEST MALE SOLOIST
Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)
BEST FEMALE SOLOIST
Author’s Choice – Sunmi
Author’s Choice – DAY6
Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)
BEST JAPANESE SONG BY A KOREAN ARTIST
Author’s Choice – One More Time (TWICE)
Author’s Choice – Bye Babe (Chen & 10CM)
Author’s Choice – Gashina (Sunmi)
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Author’s Choice – You In Me (KARD)
BEST MALE GROUP
Author’s Choice – SEVENTEEN
BEST FEMALE GROUP
Author’s Choice – Red Velvet
BEST NON-TITLE TRACK SONG
Beautiful – Pentagon
And there you have it, the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Award Winners. Congratulations to all! Hopefully, the artist’s that you picked came out on top and were victorious.
As for the BEST SONG OF THE YEAR award, it will be published in a separate post. For this year, the winning song will be the song that tops the End Of Year Charts (to be published on the 15th of January).
NOTE: YOUR VOTES MAKE UP 50% OF THE END OF YEAR CHARTS, WITH THE OTHER 50% CONTRIBUTED BY ME.
BTOB has returned with their second full-length album, Brother’s Act, which is based on the movie, Sister Act (starring Whoopi Goldberg). The album returns to the group’s ballad roots that earned them recognition for this vocal and rapping skills, which they previously displayed in their ballad trilogy. And given their performance so far on the charts, this return is much appreciated by fans. Please note that I will not be looking into the Prelude or the Interlude of this album.
3. My Lady – My Lady is one of my favourite tracks off the album. The instrumental is definitely my style of music, so I started liking the song before I started paying attention to the other elements. Vocally (for both the singers and rappers), the song is on point. There was a nice balance between the members and the soft pop instrumental. My favourite parts of the song were definitely the “Give It Up” lines at the start of the pre-chorus and when Peniel started singing his lines. Finally, some light on who I think is probably one of the underrated members of the group. (10/10)
4. Red Lie(새빨간 거짓말) – Red Lie is a track that literally begs their significant other to stop lying to them and just break up because there is nothing more between them. My assumption with the title is the Red Lie is referring the girl’s red lips. The instrumental is quite nice, with the guitar giving the track a little colour and avoiding the ‘typical’ ballad trap. I would like to see them perform this song, as well. The upbeat instrumental of the chorus makes me very curious about that accompanying dance that they could add in alongside the song. (9/10)
5. Blow Up (신바람) – You can always expect BTOB to throw something quirky in the mix. Their performances for Blow Up were amazing. It is exactly what I would have expected if their personalities off stage and their music clash. Blow Up is the party track that definitely gets the party started. It is also a nice change for the album, which places a great focus on ballads and softer forms of music. (9.5/10)
7. Na Na Na (나나나) – Catching me off guard with this song is the fabulous intro that Sungjae delivered through his vocals. His vocals are so fitting for this song. Nonetheless, the other members do a great job but the real winner has to be Sungjae in this song. The song is essentially that Autumn track that you would listen to while having a walk in the park. And it is also a great track to sway along to, especially with that consistent thumping and guitar strumming instrumental. (9/10)
8. Dream (꿈에) – While it is good music, Dream fits right in with that typical ‘ballad’ stereotype. It is the one track on the entire album that I thought they could have spruced it up a bit. Most likely they composed the song that way to mimic a lullaby, but to me, it is the weakest song on the album. That being said, the vocals do add an element of appeal to the song. It is the raps that I thought were a little awkward for the song. (6/10)
9. Guitar (Stroke Of Love) – For a song with the title “Guitar”, there isn’t that much guitar in it. Until I looked into the lyrics and realized that they weren’t really talking about the instrument. Instead, the lyrics a little suggestive. Okay, not a little. They were downright sexual and it was not a misunderstanding scenario. “I’ll hit that G precisely, We’ll be making sweet music tonight, Let your neighbours know your name right now”. But musically, it is a more upbeat track that gives you some relief from the ballads you have been exposed to. (8/10)
10. Running Into Breakup (이별을 만나다) – The song is about when the guy is accepting the fact that they can no longer be together. Running Into Breakup does feel a tad bland in my opinion. But what saves it is the rappers, who display a great example of how raps should be in ballads, along with the swaying element that you probably know I seek in ballads now. (7/10)
11. Fly Away – This particular track is definitely one of the more pleasing tracks on the entire album. There is some warmth that comes from the sounds of it. The contrast between the minimal verses to the explosion of sound you get for the chorus was definitely one of biggest highlights of the song. The only thing that I have to say (once again) that does take the appeal away from the song are those autotuned parts at the end of the choruses. (9/10)
12. Finale: Our Concert (Finale: 우리들의 콘서트) – The album ends off with another sweet pop ballad, written for this fans. And it is extremely fitting to end on a more happier note, rather another love story. All the members shine brightly in the song, with the feel of inclusion quite prominent in the song. I love the epic instrumental and that section where everyone is singing in the chorus. (10/10)
BTOB is back with their brand new full-length album, Brother Act. The album is their first major release after Movieearlier on in the year. Since then, however, they embarked on giving a different side of themselves through solo releases. This project, known as Piece of BTOB, started in April and ended in September. I did a quick review of each track and you can find that review by clicking the link above.
Missing You is described to be a ballad and it turns out, it is a really good one. BTOB has flaunted their skills through their ballad trilogy in the past but there is something about this one that makes it sound better. The instrumental is already a big plus in my books. The guitar and the soothing nature of it just make me feel warm. But the bigger winner when it comes to ballads are the vocals. Listening to the track, you can feel the emotions that oozes from the song. And don’t get me started on how good they sound. The raps actually give off an interesting feeling. While they add a little more variety to the song, it also adds a contemporary feel and uplifts it, to an extent. But what got me was that final chorus, where everyone chants the lyrics. It caught me off guard and I had to take a moment to settle myself down from the grand feel I got from it. Overall, amazing song.
Personally, it was a good video to watch. It opens up with Hyunsik playing the piano and writing some music. For some reason, the scene was quite haunting but the notes he played were so familiar. The video then shows each member reflecting on losing a loved one. A lot of screaming and anger ensues. They end up coming together and have a walk in the desert, which was interesting but confusing at the same time. The darkness and brown hazy colour palette of the video made it make serious and emotional to your eyes. Their acting is phenomenal and probably made the video much more enjoyable to watch.
[Updated] Due to some requests and more information coming to light regarding the performance, I have decided to redo my updated performance review. BTOB had incorporated sign language into their choreography, which definitely makes the whole performance more intriguing to watch. The way they managed to include the language was incredibly smooth, fitting right in and flows well with the other elements of the comeback.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 [UPDATED] Overall Rating – 9.5/10[UPDATED]
With BTOB making their return in a week or so, I thought it would be nice to take some time to look at some of their solo tracks that they have been releasing since April. Piece of BTOB is a project where each member released a song each month (or so). While I could have reviewed the songs as they were released, I decided one massive post once all the songs are out. And without further ado, here are the short reviews for all of the Piece of BTOB project singles.
At The End – Changsub (Release Date: 24th April 2017)
To start off this review, I have to declare that this is my most favourite single out the entire project. Despite this being out for longer, the pop-rock track is extremely addictive after just a few replays. I love the build-up in the background with the instrumental. But it is Changsub’s vocals that make me come back for more.
Fancy Shoes – Ilhoon
(Release Date: 30th May 2017)
Ilhoon brings his signature raps to the table with Fancy Shoes. And we know how good he is, given his track record through the many BTOB releases. But it seems like I am the only person who thought the song was a little disconnected. Like the instrumental and Ilhoon’s rap doesn’t seem to go with each other. Compared to the other songs, I just didn’t feel a connection to the song.
That Girl – Peniel
(Release Date: 27th June 2017)
Out of all the members, I wanted to listen to what Peniel would release, mainly because there has never been a chance for the rapper to shine in the main title tracks. That Girl is entirely in English (yes, I can finally understand) and it was a catchy track to fit in the Summer season. I was caught off guard when Peniel went into the chorus singing, as we know him to be a rapper. He has pretty good vocals and it gave the song that refreshing feel.
Swimming – Hyunsik
(Release Date: 24th July 2017)
The ‘Alternative’ genre is very rare in KPOP, but it does exist. And since it has been a while, Hyunsik’s Swimming is a very fresh sound. The alternative rock sound makes the song implant the feeling that you get when you float on water into your mind. It is almost dreamy. I have only stumbled upon Hyunsik’s vocals more recently and this song just further proves his vocals skills to me.
Purple Rain – Minhyuk ft. Cheeze
(Release Date: 10th August 2017)
Minhyuk’s solo is the only release that has a featuring artist, Cheeze, who brings her husky vocals to the song. Minhyuk does a mixture of singing and rapping, which does sound awesome. Paring the two together, you get quite an intense track. Cheeze brings an emotional sound, while Minhyuk brings intensity. Personally, the track was quite good but it just doesn’t have that addictive nature, like other ballads in this mix.
Paradise & Tell Me – Sungjae
(Release Date: 30th August 2017)
Paradise is an upbeat love confession type of song, which I think fits Sungjae’s personality nicely. The sound just feels very cheerful and bright, something that you come to associate with Sungjae. His vocals just don’t stand out in the song. The more emotionally centred ballad, Tell Me, seems more suitable for his vocals. It is the song type that gets you swaying alone, which is something I like I lot in ballads.
One Day & That Time – Eunkwang
(Release Date: 19th September 2017)
Ending the entire projects is Eunkwang, tackles the very big feat with two ballads. That Time is a spectacular ballad that drew my attention with Eunkwang’s vocals and the impactful instrumental. It ticks all the right boxes in my books for a great ballad! Especially, the choruses which blow me away each time I listen to the song. One Day seems to replicate that exact same feeling, despite it having a different melody and sound. The chorus is equally as impactful and Eunkwang’s vocals are just spot on.
Due to this week’s lack of releases, I have decided to take some time and focus on the Japanese releases by KPOP groups. For the next two days, I will be releasing reviews for Japanese songs released by Korean boy groups. I will find some time (most likely after my exams) to do some reviews for JPOP songs released by Korean girl groups. Today’s focus is BTOB’s L.U.V, which was released in June last year. This is BTOB’s first single to top the album charts in Japan.
Out of all the song that I have chosen to review, BTOB’s L.U.V is the only one from last year. That is becaucse in the four songs, L.U.V has been my favourite and left the biggest impression. This song alone cements their vocal capabilities and continues on from their ballad trilogy (It’s Okay, Way Back Home and Remember That). The raps in the song are equally as great. But I think the vocals still steal the show. The ad-libs, which are commonly found at the end of the song, feature after the first chorus, which makes it different. Out of all of the BTOB ballads that I have heard, I think this one showcases the most emotions in both vocals and raps. I love the layering towards the end of the song. The ballad has the traditional ballad instrumental, which isn’t anything fancy, but it accompanies the vocals and raps gave a really dramatic theme to the song. Overall, I pretty much enjoyed the song, from when it was released to even today!
Matching the emotions felt in the song, the video showcases the same emotions into a story format. The main story featured was with Hyunsik and his partner. She had already passed away and Hyunsik cannot stand being without her. So he jumps off the top of a building to his death. At the end you see him running to his girlfriend in the afterlife, which I supposed shocked her. The other members are also featured in the music video and are there for more symbolic reasons, such as Changsub with the ballons, which represents the loss of one, then two lives. The use (or lack of colour) in the video was amazing as well, showing both sides of life in a very intresting way. The member’s acting is quite superb. Overall, it is a well thought out video that accompanies the song perfectly.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 10/10 Overall Rating – 9.5/10
A few days ago, I posted my personal review for BTOB’s newest title track, Movie. I also mentioned in the review that I had plans to do an album review for their 10th mini album. And I am trying extremely hard to keep my promises. But needlessly to say, here I am with the album review!
1..Just Say It (말만 해) – The mini starts off with a jazzy number. It actually sounds quite good. I know this may be only me, but it sounds similar to their title track. The only difference is that Just Say It sounds better. Everything fitted perfectly into the song. From the easily transformed vocals to the (harder to fit in) rap sequences. You really do not expect raps sequences to fit in with a jazz number, but here it works. The vocals are superb, especially those higher notes sung during the chorus. While there was a more defined and ‘louder’ beat in the title track, everything about the instrumental in this song is perfect. The snaps to the guitar dominated instrumental, everything felt right. (9/10)
3.About Time – The ballad track sounded good. The sudden silence acted like a drop, before launching back into the chorus. It should have worked, but I felt it was an unnecessary feature of the song. Once again, the raps sequences are quite nice. The vocals are held back to fit the nature of the song. And while it does compliment the song, it makes the song feel extremely weak sounding. (6/10)
4.Rock N Hiphop (빨리 뛰어) – The song seems like your standard B-side track. It doesn’t sound like a track that would stand out but still fits in with the rest of the album, hence it is included in the tracklist. Listening to the song, I wasn’t that fond of it. The vocals and raps sounded standard. It wasn’t until the end of the track did I start to take notice but by then, I thought it was a little too late. Given the title, I thought this would be a more upbeat and funky track but sadly it wasn’t. (5/10)
5. Someday (Pre-release Track) – The mini album ends with probably the strongest song on the entire release. It is a pity that there is no music video because I would have jumped at the chance to review the song. While it is a slower ballad track, everything (vocals and raps) sounded quite nice. But I feel like the vocals stole the show here. The instrumental was traditional in the sense that is how most slow ballads end up sounding like, but it gave the song a much grander feel. Everything complimented each other and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the track on repeat. (9/10)
BTOB has made their return to the stage with their 10th mini album, Feel’Em and the title track Movie. They last promoted I’ll Be Your Man in November of last year and Remember That in March of last year. The group was also active in Japan during 2016 with multiple releases. And if you are looking for an album review for their 10th mini album, which will also include their pre-release track, Someday, expect it this weekend, if time permits.
Movie brings the guys back to their fun and lighthearted days in music. While you may argue that is probably every other day in their lives, I am referring to the period where they released songs like You’re So Fly or Beep Beep. Unlike though songs, the group utilises a more funky instrumental, which uses more standard instrumental rather than synths or any electronic sounds. That alone brings out the lightheartedness and brighter vibe. While BTOB has shown off their vocals through their past releases of ballads and subunit releases, the group’s vocals for the song are quite underwhelming. The same goes for their raps. While both fit the song quite nicely, I personally wasn’t blown away or impressed with what I heard. However, the vocals and raps do show how much they have improved and grown since debut. There was, however, parts of the song that I enjoyed quite a bit. The small sequences that Ilhoon and Minhyuk have after each chorus, for example, do seem like they mismatch with the overall sound of the song. But for some reason, it fits in quite nicely and gives off a much-needed ‘palate cleanser’. In other words, the parts do keep the song interesting and make the song, along with its catchy chorus, quite memorable. For how long though, I don’t know. It all depends on their promotional cycle now (and my randomising playlist for 2017).
Like the song, the music video also goes for a more fun and lighthearted concept. The video itself is about the guys having fun by filming themselves. However, in their minds, their acting is Oscar award worthy. Oh, how imagination can take you a long way. The video is quite heavy on the comedy and it actually makes the video worth watching. While the sets and individual scenes plain and boring, their comedic acting (or is it really acting? These guys are already like this in the real life – or at least when they are off stage) save the video from boredom. But as I just said, there isn’t anything else that is flashy or impressive in the video.
Likewise, the choreography didn’t stand out. It isn’t as memorable or catchy as some of their previous dances. The song doesn’t really have any parts that could lead to a more eye-catching choreography, but what we see is something that fits the feel and sound of the song. I do think they also inserted a bit of their previous choreography for I’ll Be Your Man. Not sure if it was just a coincidence or intentional.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 6/10 Performance – 5/10 Overall Rating – 6.5/10
BTOB has returned with their brand new 9th mini-album. They last returned with a ballad, Remember That, at the start of the year. This is also their first comeback in 2 years with a dance track. The group become popular for their romantic ballads which they have been releasing for the past two years.
The song is pretty good. You can really tell that they took what they became known for (their vocals) and did an amazing job with combining it with the dance track. That high note where all four of the vocalists join together sounds amazing. It also allowed their rapping to shine a bit more. Their rapping in the past in the ballad songs have been pretty good as well, but this song allows them to become a lot fiercer and more powerful. That part of the bridge where the vocalists are all belting out their high note and the rappers are rapping quite furiously sounded really amazing and probably gave the song that peak it needed. The actual song was a wonderful mashup between a ballad and a dance track. Gave the song a more grand and darker feel. I loved the classical mash-up with the electronic sounds in the song. The song just did not seem to be catchy enough. There wasn’t much of a hook to it, unfortunately. That being said I will (and have) continuously relayed the song because I want to listen to that fierceness and powerfulness that the song has since I missed it so much. I did think Peniel’s rapping after the first chorus was a little weird but listening to the song a few more times made that part fit in perfectly into the song.
The music video tells an interesting story. The video matches that grand feel and epicness that the song oozes with. It seems like the guys are trying to escape some sort of regime. Within the confines of a church, the group assumes they are safe, but become under attack. Also within the church, they meet a girl, who is played by Elkie from CLC. It seems like Minhyuk falls for her. You think everything is okay until the plot twist is revealed. The girl turns out to be part of the regime that the guys are running away from and in the end, Minhyuk is caught, stripped and hanged upside down in the snow. I assume they are all killed in the end. I actually like these types of plots. They should be made into movies. They sound pretty cool and perfect for the big screen sometimes. I really thought the way they shot the video was pretty cool. Some of the camera effects occurred at the right time with the beat of the song.
While I do rave on how powerful and grand the song was, the dance felt short of that. It was quite underwhelming and looked a little off. Sure, they were tried to show off their masculine charms, because this is a song about being a woman’s man, but it seemed quite weak. I am not actualy referring to the part of the choreogrpahy where they are praying, but rather the parts where they actually directly show that they can be a man, such as the chorus. It seemed like they were trying to hard.
BTOB, for the last year and 9 months have been garnering a lot of attention for their ballads. From their latest promotions to their Immortal Song stages; Eunkwang, Sungjae, Hyunsik and Changsub have been showing their talents (in terms of vocals) for the industry and world to listen to. The 4 members have formed a subunit, releasing the song, Stand By Me.
BTOB has great songs. They don’t consistently put out good songs, but they do every now and then. This song is, unfortunately, one of the songs that are more leaning to the not-so-good side. Not saying it is terrible, it just leans to that side because it isn’t as memorable as I want to be. BTOB is vocally talented (as seen per their latest Immortal Song stage). This one really does not showcase the same level of talent. It almost sounds like they are holding back. The song sounded very dull and didn’t consist of any parts that I would consider as “highlights”. There was a hint of catchiness to the song, though, but it wasn’t enough. To me, if the vocals were mindblowing or the song had a very strong melody to go along with the vocals, then yes, I will be going back to the song many times. All of that being said, the song is still good to listen to. The instrumental does make you sway along to the song. Maybe if I listened to the song more, I would grow to like it, but what I have explained above, is what I currently feel about the song.
Likewise, the video is incredibly dull. Emphasis on ‘incredibly’. I understand that there is a very limited amount of space to move about creativity when it comes to a song that is much slower than others. But I have reviewed numerous slow songs with such amazing videos, so this falls quite short. The video only consists of shots of the members singing. That’s about as exciting as the video gets.The video is well edited. To me, I am quite sure that the video was shot in individual sections and edited into a one-shot video, so some effort was placed. I do have two minor problems with the video, though. The dry ice / fog was not needed. It just made the video look odd. And the other thing, the lighting in the video. It just did not fit the emotion the song had. It was more of a distraction. I also imagine someone standing in the corner and turning the knob to adjust the dimness for some odd reason (I know this isn’t probably what happened). Yeah, I am odd like that.
BTOB has finally returned after a highly successful year last year. The last year allowed the boys to sweep the ballad awards at the start of the year, for the previous year (there was so much grammatical errors there, don’t judge). And once again, BTOB has returned with a Spring ballad to warm everyone’s hearts. Solo wise, Sungjae and Minhyuk have been enjoying a lot of popularity through their acting. Not exactly sure of the other members, but I have seen them here and there, every now and then.
Once again it is a RNB ballad. My same opinion applies: I preferred hip hop and pop music BTOB. However, this is an excellent song that sounds really good. The song has this very sweet vibe to it (despite the lyrics singing the total opposite, as the song reminds of the happy times they once had and cannot get back). While listening to the song, I cannot help but smile, as it has the tune which you would associate with happy memories. Or at least, that is what happened to me. I think that is due to the vocals. There is no hint of sadness in their vocals and that brings that sweet vibe into play. Vocally, this song is stunning. Even Ilhoon took a stab at singing. Sure, he isn’t the best singer out there (he is their main rapper), but he manages to sound really good and suits the song really well. I would have thought that Minhyuk would sing instead, but he stuck to rapping the very last part of the song. Sungjae, Eunkwang, Changsub and Hyunsik all sound really good (mentioned it already, but you must know). Peniel, still a little confused on his role in the group, but those small lines he gets really fit his voice and rap really well. The instrumental also gives off that Spring feel, which I really like (It is Autumn and cold here. I need the sun and warmness. This song delivers). Overall, great song.
This is a nice video, but a little boring to watch. Minhyuk reflects upon his past relationship when Spring comes rolling by. He unlocks the room, as if he is unlocking his memory bank. Inside the room there are objects that he associates with those happy, but at the same time, heartbreaking moments. The other members just look pretty and end up noticing the Spring rolling through. Though it looks like they are experiencing the exact same thing and having the exact same feels. Love the use of the cherry blossom, which is used to symbolise the Spring (and is often used as symbol of love in a lot of Korean associated media). The wind was really nice (and probably felt nice, especially under all that nice sunshine). Minhyuk’s and Jo Bo Ah’s (the lead actress) acting was pretty good, but it did make the video feel very dead. Their chemistry wasn’t protrayed as well and the addition of the members made it feel very detached from the song. Just my thoughts though.
The dance… Yeah, there wasn’t much of a dance. Finally, ballads without the dance. I smell the fresh air already. It was actually more like “movement around to microphone stands to get everyone a chance to stand in the middle and have the spotlight on them”.
Overall, I think it was an excellent comeback. Definitely a song to “remember”. 9/10
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!!
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.
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
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:
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!!!
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:
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:
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.
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:
Out 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
BTOB is back with a brand new ballad, just months after their hit It’s Okay was released. I honestly expected that the boys would have returned back to their upbeat more pop like songs this time around, so when I found out it would be a ballad I was disappointed. But I did kind of liked their last ballad and this one was pretty good as well. But once again, the ballad theme, does not really win me over like their past dance songs. This song has that more Autumn feel with it, which reflects the season in which Korea is in right now!!! Solely judged on a ballad, I thought the song was quite soothing and nice to listen to. I am finding that I am listening to this song constantly. I feel like the rap blends really well into the song and the bridge, while it changes the song up a bit, manages to still keep the flow going and allows the song to progress smoothly. Overall it is a good ballad, but once again, not a sound that I associate with the group.
As for the music video, there is an actual plot line in it. It is a rather long video and each member appears in it (just a small fact). Okay, the plot. Ilhoon leaves home for quite some time, leaving his mother to worry for him. During that time, he and Changsub (the duo) steals money and ends getting attacked for the money. They join a gang after meeting an old friend (Hyunsik), but realize soon after that the gang is attacking the people who live in the same area as his mother. So he turns against the gang (and his old friend), in order to protect his mother during the fight. Their old friend finds out after to why they turned against the gang and apologises for what his done and with the help of Changsub, rekindles their friendship. Essentially the video is about finding the “way back home”, where home refers to the people around you. In this case, Ilhoon’s home was his family and Hyunsik’s home was his friendship with Ilhoon. Such a happy ending for a video that almost made me cry during the middle. Though you might not understand anything, give the video a try. The acting was great and the cinematography was amazing. I personally think the video is giving out a good message.
I don’t think a dance was required for the song. Though it would look weird for them just to stand there, I personally think they should have just foregone the dance and has the live performance of just rapping and singing.
Overall the song was great. but not a BTOB style song for me. I personally recommend the video. Catch the moral of the story hahaha… 7/10
Hyuna’s back. Now sing it like how she sings it in Red. Hahaha… The sexy soloist is back with a brand new mini album. This time she has enlisted more people to help her with their mini album. Her title track features Jung Ilhoon, the rapper from BTOB. Now her group is rumoured to be having a comeback sometime towards the end of the year. They made their last comeback in February, with the really popular and successful Crazy. But let’s focus on the rapper of the group. She has taken sexy to a whole new level this time around.
There are always a few things that annoys me when I listen to Hyuna’s song. The first is that she is a rapper and her singing is not the best. To be honest, it is whiny and really disappointing to listen to. However, this track seems to prove me wrong. Her voice, to me, has been manipulated in a way that allows her to take advantage of it. I don’t think her vocals in this song is at all whiny nor terrible. Sure they can use some work, but damn, her vocals fit in this song really well. Would people described this as “dirty” dubstep or electro? Cause that is what I think I would catergorise it. Is it even a genre? I don’t even know. Her English needs a little bit of work. Sometime I hear “You Can Touch Me” instead of “You can’t touch me”. Ilhoon’s rap is pretty good in this song. It is quite short, but after all he is featuring in this track and not forming some kind of subunit. The song is catchy and addictive. It is a pity that it is not ranking high on the charts.
As for the music video, wow. Hyuna has gotten a little… kinky. Whips and different outfits (even the leashes) all point to some sort of kinky concept. Though I do think it suits her, maybe for this video, it is going a little over board. There is one outfit/scene that need to be removed from this video. Hyuna’s money bathing suit. It looks bad. It doesn’t suit her. Nor does the set of money decorating the table. As for Ilhoon, I want to talk to the stylist or director. If you need tattoos like that to look cool and sexy, there is obviously something wrong. I don’t mind one or two tattoos. But as soon as I see them over the body, there is some rethinking that needs to occur. The rest of Ilhoon’s appearance though, they can be removed. While I don’t mind him, the things he do draws attention way from Hyuna. But beside all of those minor complaints, I think this video is pretty good. The lighting and sets highlight the concept further and brings a lot of attention to her.
I do hope 4Minute is not recycling their dance moves. There is one dance move that I saw in Crazy, that occurs here. Not saying she or 4Minute owns the dance move, but really? I’m talking about her “head down, butt in the air” shaking move. Actually, while the dance break fits the song, I think it would draw more criticisms than compliments for this video. But the dance, once again, does a pretty good job at highlighting the extent that the “sexy concept” has been brought up for this comeback.
Sexy enough? I probably think so. It is a solid comeback. Minor complaints here and there, but I just want to know why it is doing poorly on the charts! 7.5/10.
BTOB has returned to the stage with a Summer ballad. It’s Okay is their first release for 2015, since their Christmas special album which was released in December 2014. This new release is also their first to hit the number 1 spot on multiple music charts in South Korea. Sungjae, the youngest member of the group, has also been enjoying a large rise of popularity for his acting in many dramas in the past year.
The song is good. But I don’t feel it this time around. The ballad is very refreshing and has the summer feel to it. It is a pretty good ballad with great vocals and the rap blends in quite well into the song. The song actually reminds me of Second Confession that they released a while ago, just this song is a lot slower and not as aegyo. The song carries a lot of emotion and I think they pulled the song off quite well. But in terms of appeal, it lacks a lot. I don’t feel motivated to turn on my computer or phone to just listen to this song. I prefer songs from BTOB with the more dance beat or more a dance influenced song, if you understand what I mean. So this song is good, just I don’t think it is a song for BTOB to actively promote as their title track.
The music video is okay. The acting is quite exaggerated in this music video, but we were given the heads up to it. We see them struggle with normal lives. One of them doesn’t know how to propose to his girl, another is probably struggling with fees to study, while another is stuck doing jobs etc. So there is a lot of struggling with the characters. And I can relate to most of them with the struggles. However, Peniel’s one really takes the cake for me. He is doing his job as an ambulance officer. He gives CPR to the person, which might be weird since she is breathing. And then the main ambulance officer or Peniel’s supervisor runs over and be like “You idiot”. That I can understand. HOWEVER the main officer proceeds to wipe the blood off the girl with a freaking small cloth. If anything tells me that there is something wrong with this scene, it is most likely that. The lady was just in an accident. I’d give credit for Peniel going through CPR, but wiping blood away with just a small cloth does not do your job for you. Yeah… But it is an okay video. It fits in with the emotion of the song and matches with the Summer feel. And also that customer that ordered chicken. Great that you are angry about he lateness, but chucking the food on the floor really doesn’t do much, since you were hungry and ordered the chicken to eat. But throwing on the floor kind of means you are still hungry and probably have to wait longer for food.
As for the dance, was it needed? I feel like the group could have stood on stage and made the whole thing work quite well. I like their idea with the one microphone pole though.
Overall, it was a nice comeback, but I just don’t feel like it is a BTOB song. But oh well. 7/10.