[Review] L.U.V – BTOB

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

[Album Review] Feel’eM (10th Mini Album) – BTOB

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!

Image result for BTOB someday
Feel’eM (1oth Mini Album)  Cover

 

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)

2. Movie (Title Track)click here to see the full review for BTOB’s title track (6.5/10)

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)

Image result for BTOB someday
Someday Pre-Release Album Cover

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)

Overall Album Rating 7/10

Teaser Image for BTOB’s 10th Mini Album

 

 

[Review] Movie – BTOB

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

 

[Review] I’ll Be Your Man – BTOB

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.

Rating – 8/10

[Review] Stand By Me – BTOB Blue

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.

Rating – 4.5/10

Remember That – BTOB

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Way Back Home – BTOB

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

Roll Deep – Hyuna (4Minute) ft. Jung Ilhoon (BTOB)

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.

It’s Okay – BTOB

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.

The Winter’s Tale – BTOB

BTOB recently made an unexpected and sudden return to the stage to promote their special winter mini album. Though it was released at the end of 2014 (where 2014 was only a few days ago) in regards to the Christmas season, the song is still being promoted and has taken the boys to whole new levels debuting on charts at higher positions then they ever had done before. That being said, this (if you have not noticed) is the first review for 2015. Welcome to the new year guys!!!

This song is pretty pleasant to listen to. It is has soothing piano sounds and really fit in with the whole season of Christmas. That being said, it had a warming feeling to it. However, there were a few complaints with the song. The intro by Peniel, to me, was unneeded. I thought it really did not fit the actual song and at the same time sounded awkward and distant from the overall song. The rapping should have been kept to a minimum. I know that Minhyuk can sing, so I would rather have seen the rap shortened and have Ilhoon do it. Then we would get to see Minhyuk sing for a bit. But there were some good points in the song. The song’s chorus is pretty nice sounding and I loved the instrumental. Overall, an amazing song, just with some parts disappointing me.

The music video was a little boring to watch. To sum the video up in a few words, (for me) it is just a bunch of guys acting cute around a girl. Though the music video did make me smile, I don’t really know what to say about the music video. Part of me like it for its fun and light-hearted portrayal while the other half of me feels like yawning. Though there is one thing I can say: I hate music video that are just that small band in the middle. Those white space on the top and bottom to me is a waste of space. Though yes, it is made to look like a movie, it just looks cheap to me and unappealing.

There was one thing I disliked as well but I thought it would belong to the performance section. Them character onesies that they where in the video and on stage look absolutely awful. Not how the guys look in them, but rather how it bands the song with the music video and dance. I actually prefer the normal jackets that they are wearing. Though I think the onesies are cute, the onesies really look awkward on stage. Dance was pretty good as well.

Song was very Christmas-y. Music video and costumes could have been worked on a little more, but overall, this was a pretty good comeback knowing that they, only a month ago, was still promoting their single You’re So Fly. 6.4/10

End Of Year Charts 2014

Welcome to the end of the 2014 charts. This chart has every single song that was released from the 1st of January 2014 to the 1st of December. I left the nitty gritty stuff out (aka. the numbers I used for the ranking) and made sure that everything was fair. So that means for songs that were released towards the end of the year would have received some extra increment to make sure that they were levelled out with the songs released in January. Other numbers used included whether songs were on the YouTube Playlist of The Month and each song was re-reviewed in categories of “song, music video and dance”. Below are just some interesting facts that you may enjoy in regards to this chart.

  • The very first song released to be included on the charts are Rain’s 30 Sexy and La Song. The last song released before the cut off date was Infinite F’s Heartbeat.
  • T-Ara’s Sugar Free (2) was the only song throughout the whole chart to score the maximum of 40 for the song re-review.
  • VIXX is the first boy group to appear in the charts at 14th place with Eternity.
  • As touched on above, this year the charts are dominated by the girl groups, with 13 boy groups versus 37 girl groups (repeated groups not excluded).
  • Heavily promoted songs tend to rank higher than songs that were released as a single and not promoted.
  • The following artists achieved the next few positions after 50th place: SPEED, Crayon Pop, Z:EA, Zhou Mi (Super Junior), BTOB, Infinite, UKISS, AOA and Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
1 Something Girl’s Day
2 Sugar Free T-Ara
3 Up & Down EXID
4 Monday Blues Sunny Hill
5 Piano Man Mamamoo
6 Darling Girl’s Day
7 I’m In Love Secret
8 Mr. Chu A Pink
9 Yasisi NS Yoon G
10 Red Light F(x)
11 One More Fiestar
12 Good Night Kiss Hyosung (Secret)
13 Ain’t Nobody HA:TFELT (Yenny – Wonder Girls)
14 Eternity VIXX
15 You Don’t Love Me Spica
16 So Wonderful Ladies Code
17 This Is Love Super Junior
18 Luv APINK
19 Like A Cat AOA
20 B.B.B (Big Baby Baby) Dal Shabet
21 Good Luck Beast
22 Cha Cha Rainbow BLAXX
23 Full Moon Sunmi ft. Lena
24 Error VIXX
25 Catallena Orange Caramel
26 My Copy Cat Orange Caramel
27 Don’t Look At Me Like That Song Ji Eun (Secret)
28 Back Infinite
29 8Dayz Megan Lee
30 What About You? Laboum
31 Dont Touch Me Ailee
32 I Swear Sistar
33 Singing Got Better Ailee
34 1004 (Angel) B.A.P
35 Danger BTS
36 12:30 Beast
37 Mr. Ambigious Mamamoo
38 Lonely B1A4
39 Beep Beep BTOB
40 Mamma Mia Kara
41 I Need You Bestie
42 Solo Day B1A4
43 Whatcha Doing Today? 4Minute
44 Pretty Age 25 Song Ji Eun (Secret)
45 1 Minute 1 Second Jiyeon (T-Ara)
46 Peppermint Chocolate Mamamoo ft. K.Will & Wheesung
47 FxxK U Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
48 Touch My Body Sistar
49 Evanesce Super Junior
50 Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms HIGH4 ft. IU

THAT’S IT!!! 2014 IS OVER AND 2015 IS APPROACHING. WISHING YOU ALL (IN YOUR RESPECTIVE TIME ZONES) A HAPPY NEW YEAR. I only have 6 hours to go and I am excited. Party hard (but not too hard) and I will see you next year!! aka. in the next few days ^^

Catch Up Review #8 – Teen Top, BTOB, VIXX, Boyfriend

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These groups are seen as the next generation boy bands and are currently rising to be the next top boy groups in South Korea. And this review consist of 4 songs, let’s move along now.

Missing – Teen Top

To fans out there, I am going to apologise to you guys. This song was much a bore for me. It was not appealing. I just listened to it once and then forgot about it. The vocals were so so and the rapping was okay, however it was not as great as Teen Top’s last song Rocking. The music video was pretty dark. I have to give points for such an amazing set though, which enhanced the darkness. From what I can see, CAP and this girl used to go out, but then CAP got a little addicted to partying or something, which caused his girlfriend to break off. He then (and I only assume) takes his life. L.Joe is a friend of both (as per seen in flashbacks) and is deeply sadden by both the death of his friend but also sadden to see the girl sad. He helps her get back on their feet, however both cannot forget CAP. Fortunately enough, L.Joe and the girl realized that both are there for each other and bond. The dance was pretty cool, however it just felt empty. 4/10

Witch – Boyfriend

This song has a latin feel to it, which makes it sound pretty nice. The “Cause your body goes boom bara boom” is pretty catchy. The music video on the other hand… The band suits the dark theme (why haven’t they attempted this when they debuted?) but the acting in this is so horrible. Everything was exaggerated from what I saw.  That final fight scene, made the whole group look so pathetic. Moving away from the music video. The dance was phenomenal. The use of the curtains made the whole thing fresh and original. I was so amazed. And the curtains were not just in the background, they were used to cover up the people not dancing or singing. Just wow… 5/10 (most taken away because of the video, but the song is definitely one to check out.)

You’re So Fly – BTOB

This is a pretty catchy song. It just lacked the ability to be very memorable. I honestly expected something like Beep Beep, which had a more serious tone to it. Though, the vocals and rapping were okay, just they don’t yell out at me. The music video is protrayed in a humorous way, where the shop keeper tries to get the boys to recognise the beauty in the more “ugly” girls. And she does this by giving them coffee. Poor Sungjae though, only getting one drop and hence the love potion not working on him. Dance was also pretty cool. And I guess chairs are the new trend. 6/10

Error – VIXX

I think I am starting to become addicted with this band. Every title (note the word title) song that they released, I get strangely addicted to. However this song, really does not have that VIXX feel that we all know of. Though, the vocals are pretty good as per usual. The music video for this song tells a story of this dude (Hongbin) and his lover. The lover dies, and Hongbin decides to create a robot version of the lover, to save him from the pain. Everything works out, just the authorities come in and finds out that the lover robot is illegal. Hongbin saves her from the authorities and then take their lives to be together forever. Great acting from the characters though.  The dancing here was really cool, especially the ending where they pull the plugs out of their necks. 7/10

Ahhh.. finally. Done this review. The next review actually does not have a theme to it. Sadly. However, I can tell you that AOA, Hello Venus and Zhou Mi from Super Junior M will be reviewed. See you then!!!

Beep Beep – BTOB

BTOB is finally back with a brand new song. The last time they were on stage, they were promoting Thriller. But after a year of successful promotions, it seems like the band is going back into time, back to their WOW days. I find this song distinctively familiar to WOW for many reasons and it seems like their concept change has actually paid off. I smell awards for this band and they have never ranked as high as this before. The funny thing is, I actually wrote this review before. But my phone was being weird and it did not save, so here I am retyping out my review. Forever sad.

I really like the hip hop phase this group is going through. Well, it is more of a pop song in my point of view. But it definitely reminds me of  WOW, which has to be their best song in my point of view. This song also is rivalling that top position. The vocals in this song is really cool. And so is the rapping. The chorus is somewhat catchy, but as we get to the “Beep Beep Bang Bang” part, then that stays in my mind forever. Peniel actually gets solid Korean lines that he finally deserves. Sungjae and Eunkwang confuses me sometimes. Who is the main vocalist of this band? There is a bit that I don’t actually like that much. Compared to BTS with their latest song, Boy In Luv, BTOB does not do a good job of combining their pop song with that ballad bridge. BTS does it really well, but BTOB makes it quite lacking and out-of-place. Sungjae’s high pitch note was okay, but wow, was that even necessary in this song? Overall, with the odd complaint, the song is really good. Check it out!

As for the music video, wow, how long have we seen such a great setting? For freaking sake, they are driving in the middle of the road. OMG, G.Na and now this? Seriously Cube, teach your artists to properly drive a car. I know it is meant to look artistic, but how about Sungjae’s close-up and then panning to the road and houses? What does that do? There really is no plot to the video. And why should there be? Well, beside road rage and the parking fine. It is nice to see a video without much of a plot. I actually found some parts pretty funny. Such as the guys at the back trying to get the car in front to move. Not entirely the use of girls in the video. I guess they tried to get the male demographic then? Those small cars look really cute, but the guys make themselves look like really weird weirdos.

As for the dance, wow! I really like the dance. It is so easy (well, only for a single part), but really addictive. And I think you know which part we are all thinking about. “Beep Beep, Bang Bang” everyone!

8.5/10. Really well done. Loving the song, music video and dance. Perfecto!