[Album Review] Love Yourself: Her (5th Mini Album) – BTS

BTS has already broken records in just a matter of hours after their comeback, so it only makes sense to have a closer look into their album. And I am not disappointed with Love Yourself: Her. I can definitely see why fans are really into the music, despite it being a changeup. Scroll down for the entire album review. Please note that for certain reasons, I have decided to leave out their skits once again, mainly because they wouldn’t be classified as music.

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Love Yourself: Her Album Cover

1..Serendipity (Intro Track) – While the style of the track isn’t to my taste, Jimin (who is the only singer in this track) opens the album with a breath-taking song. His vocals are amazing in this song, with just the first few seconds branding a deep impression into your mind. It is a song that can be very sensual, given the lyrics and overall sound of it. (9/10)

2. DNAClick here to read the full review for DNA (9/10)

3. Best Of Me – Following DNA is this track. Out of all the tracks on the album, my favourite vote goes to this one. It has a very Western feel to it and I think that is mainly attributed because this is a collaboration between BTS and The Chainsmokers, who happens to be one of my favourite Western artists at the moment. The beat drop is amazing and that “Haru Haru” part just before the drop just takes my breath away. The only word that can describe the instrumental, vocals and raps: perfect. (10/10)

4. Dimple (보조개) – This is probably another hidden gem of the album. The song only features Jimin, Jungkook, Jin and V. And they did a great job with compensating for the lack of rappers in this song. It gave a chance for us listeners to hear something more hearty and wholesome from the vocal line, which was clearly the intended highlight. I really like the instrumental for this track. (9/10)

5. Pied Piper – This is one track to groove to. You can tell that there is a hip-hop influence, but there was also a little bit of funk mixed into it, which made it very interesting (in a good way).  It was easy to get lost in this track due to its great melody and rhythm. Both the vocals and the raps for this song were on point. It could have used some speed, but that may change up the song up a little too much. (8/10)

7. MIC Drop – The one track that was influenced by Barack Obama. That must be the first. I wasn’t much of a fan of the song at first but it grew on me. Quite a bit. It isn’t the first song I think of when I want to listen to the album,  but who knows what a few more listens can do. The track itself is a hip-hop influenced but with an oriental/Middle Eastern twist to it, which makes it memorable. The rappers steal the show in this track (originally, I thought the vocalists were also in the song, but luckily I fact-checked myself) (8.5/10)

8. Go Go (고민보다 Go) – By now, you can tell that the album has a been given a huge dosage of hip-hop. Go Go continues on and it is another song that I don’t think of when it comes to the album but it wouldn’t mean I would shy away from this song. I saw the performance of the song, which attracted my attention to the song. The chorus was probably my favourite bit of the entire song as it sounds weird (in a good way) but very intriguing at the same time. (8/10)

9. Her (Outro Track) – The rappers take the reins and end the album (“officially”) with another hip-hop based song. The rappers did an amazing job (once again) but I personally think the highlight of this track is the instrumental. It is my style of jazzy music and the raps that lay on top goes really well with it. (8.5/10)

11. Sea (Hidden Track) – Sea is a very deep track. I praised many of the BTS solo tracks in their Wings album for their lyrics and deepness and this is the equivalent of this album. The vocals are beautiful, as usual, and the raps are equally as impactful. But despite the emotion-filled lyrics and vocals, the instrumental was quite calming and interlinked well with each other (9/10)

Overall Album Review – 9/10

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Serendipity Teaser Video Screenshot

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[Review] DNA – BTS

BTS has made their return to the stage with their latest mini-album release, titled as Love Yourself: Her. The lead title track from Love Yourself: Her is DNA. Ths is their first major release since winning the Billboard’s Top Social Artist award and Internation Artist at the Teen Choice Awards. Congratulations to BTS once again for their wins but for also representing KPOP at the big stage!

Once again, BTS has put out a great song. It is their most upbeat song, in my opinion. You can tell from the song’s brighter start with the guitar and pop-based instrumental. The whistles at the very start capture your attention and give a little mysterious vibe to the song. Interestingly, the song takes a turn and becomes EDM based, with a pretty good drop only after the chorus. I personally thought the mix between the two was quite nice and refreshing even though it seems a little mainstream nowadays. Per usual, the vocals and raps were quite good but they don’t seem as captivating as their previous songs. I am in love with the bridge where V, Jin, Jungkook and Jimin slide in for their parts and that jaggered instrumental that followed for the final chorus was amazing. Overall, I liked the direction in which the song was going, up until that point. The “La La La‘  that followed was the most awkward part and didn’t fit in with the rest of the song. But minus the disappointing ending, the song was amazing overall.

This is their most colourful video to date. The colours that they used in the background popped out to grab your attention, which was like the song. I also liked the member’s interactions with the camera, which I thought was pretty cool. Even Suga smiled for a second in the video. The camera work was definitely another wow factor, especially the tricks used to film the V to J-Hope transitions at the start. And while I have only watched the video a few times so far, I wonder how they told the story this time. A part of me like BTS releases because of their concepts and storylines. And the fan theories, which make the video different each time you view them. So if you know cool ones, pop a link in the comments below so I can read about them!

[Updated] The performance for DNA is exactly as we all expected. All very cool moves and quite sophisticated in some parts. My favourite part was when they tangled their arms together and moved their arms as if an electric wave was passed through their arms.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10 [Updated]
Overall Rating – 9/10 [Updated]

[Album Review] Wings / You Never Walk Alone (2nd Studio Album) – BTS

My vote for best album of 2016 went to Wings, BTS’s second studio album.  Hence, today I decided to take some time to look back on their award-worthy album. However, as the album was re-released with new songs in 2017, I have decided to combine the two albums and make one long album review for it. The Wings album was dropped on October 10th of 2016. It was then re-released as You Never Walk Alone on 13th of February 2017. Please note that this is a very long review and that I apologise for that.

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Wings Album Cover

1..Intro: Boy Meets Evil – J-Hope opens the entire album with Boy Meets Evil. And while it is just an intro track, it deserves to be an entire song on its own. J-Hope does not hold back, throwing his lines out at us in a manner that makes it sound so dark and intense. That intensity matches the string/dubstep instrumental of the track. The lyrics themselves are quite deep. (9/10) 

2. Blood, Sweat & Tears (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Blood, Sweat & Tears (9.5/10)

3. Begin (Jungkook Solo) – While Jungkook does seem to go down the ballad route, he manages to add synths and elements that could potentially make it into a dance song. The lyrics are definitely something to look at here, as he references the members whom he basically grew up with. The track is amazing but there is just one minor detail. It seemed a little repetitive. It kept to itself, which was good, but I was expecting some change up to make it more interesting to my ears. (9/10)

4. Lie (Jimin Solo) – That classical orchestra instrumental. It gives the track a very grand and epic feel. I love the twist and turns that this track provide. Everything felt so mysterious and dark through the verses, but the chorus caught me off guard because it went higher than what we have heard. Jimin’s vocals have always shined throughout BTS releases, but it managed to shine brighter here. Good enough that I give it a (10/10).

5. Stigma (V Solo) – Out of all the BTS members, I always thought that V’s vocals were the most interesting out of all the members. And this song proves just that. His raspy vocals and higher tones just blow you away. The slow jazz based instrumental is quite good. But if you ever get the chance, try looking into the English translation for this song. Following the other tracks, this one is equally as deep, dark and mysterious. (10/10)

6. First Love (Suga Solo) – I am not really into songs that are mainly based around raps. But there is always something about Suga’s songs that catch me off guard. The instrumental is relatively quiet at the start but his voice adds the dynamic side to the song. As the song progresses, the instrumental build up into a grand orchestral piece, which I thought was spectacular. Listening to it by itself, you can hear the emotions. But once you look up the lyrics, you can tell the level of emotion that was put into the song. (10/10)

7. Reflection (Rap Monster Solo) – The instrumental of this song is 100% eerie and I love that. It slowly becomes a nice instrumental that is calming and soothing. However, it was still powerful enough to fit Rap Monster’s delivery of his lyrics, while maintaining that calmness. Once again, the lyrics leave a huge impression on you. Just try searching up the translations for these songs and you will be blown away. The just felt very neutral throughout and after listening to Suga’s solo, it needed some sort of buildup to keep me there. (9/10)

8. Mama (J-Hope Solo) – Unlike the previous songs, which went down the emotional route, J-Hope takes a different direction with a more upbeat and happier sound. That being said, the same level of emotions are present, just delivered in a different manner. It was super easy to get into the groove of this song and it was really catchy. He writes about his mum in the song, which made it extremely touching. His voice sounds so good and it shows a softer side, compared to his powerful and strong raps that we hear often in BTS title tracks. (10/10)

9. Awake (Jin Solo) – The most underrated member (vocally, that is) finally get justice by having his own solo track. That is a celebration in itself. This song just proves that the group needs to use his vocals more. Here it is so dreamy and so damn amazing. The melody of the song is the type that I really enjoy. That is, the type that gets you swaying along to it. He also appeals to my taste of violins and classical type instrumentals, which I love. Combine them together and you got a winning combination. (10/10)

10. Lost – This is a song that features the vocal line of BTS (Jungkook, Jin, Jimin & V). Given their vocals in the solo songs that featured before this track on the album, it was a given that they would sound amazing. And they did. The song delivers a burst of energy, that was needed after listening to the slow, ballad-like tracks. It was a song that was easy to get into and the second half of the chorus (the ‘lost my way, way, way~’) was super duper catchy. (9/10)

11. BTS Cypher Pt. 4 – I am quite sure this is meant to follow on from the rest of the Cypher tracks in which BTS releases on their albums. I don’t really listen to them, so I am not going to include this track in the final album rating score. But if you want to hear a hip-hop centred track from the 3 rappers of BTS, do check this one out. It is pretty good from first glance.

12. Am I Wrong – My most favourite track off the entire album. And no, it is not wrong to fall for this song. I first heard it watching it on stage at one of the weekly music shows. While the rest of the album was serious and on the emotional side of things, it was nice to hear a few lighthearted and fun sounding songs to lighten up the mood. The raps and vocals in this song are pretty good as well. And most importantly, it is really catchy, which makes me go back for more. (10/10)

13. 21st Century Girls – All you ladies put your hands up! I personally thought the song was quite good. It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, though. The song itself provided empowerment for the female listeners, hence may be the reason why I am not into the song as much. But the rapping here was good and the vocal work was amazing. I feel a little rude to describe the song this way, but it had a carefree feel to it, while also maintaining a level of seriousness. (8/10)

14. Two! Three! (Still Wishing There Will Be Better Days) – From what I am reading, this particular track is a song for their fans. And it one pretty good song. Just the lyrics alone already pack a punch with their meaning. The rapping fitted the more mellow song, while the vocals contributed to the sweeter melodies during the chorus. What makes the song even better is that it ends with all the members singing to the chorus, making it a worthwhile song for anyone who identifies as an Army. (10/10)

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You Never Walk Alone Album Cover

16. Spring Day (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Spring Day (9.5/10)

17. Not Today (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Not Today (9.5/10)

15 & 18. Outro: Wings – This track is the Interlude on the Wings album but an extended version is present on the You Never Walk Alone album. And it too is a damn good track. It ends both albums on such an upbeat and fun-sounding note. The instrumental is striking and BTS sounds amazing. (10/10)

19. Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone – We have reached the final song on this review. And they managed to finish off the album with one fantastic song. Suga and J-Hope sang in the song, which caught me off guard. What I loved about the track was the “Walk, Walk…Walk, Like it, like that” part which the vocalists each sing. It was super catchy and gave the song a nice pop vibe, which I totally dig from time to time. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

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You Never Walk Alone Teaser Image (Source: ALLKPOP)

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[Review] Not Today – BTS

Unlike the title of the song, it is a review that needs to be released today!!! For this repackaged album, BTS returned with two title tracks. The first, Spring Day was reviewed last week as its accompanying music video was released. With today’s release of the music video for Not Today, I can now review their second title track for their repackaged Wings album.

Not Today is a very intense track. Literally, it doesn’t hold back with its intensity. To me, it feels a lot like Fire’s sequel. It is as if they felt they didn’t do justice with Fire (which they obviously did) and decided to go with a track with that same intensity, but with a much cleaner and consistent sound. The instrumental is all EDM based and it standing alone packs a punch. Throw in their (per usual) rapping and vocal work and you can guess what type of track this would be. That being said, due to the intensity and instrumental, the vocals (including the rapping here) did feel a little inferior, as opposed to Spring Day, where the vocals/raps were at te forefront of the song. But regardless, I am totally digging it. I have been replaying it constantly this past weekend and getting hyped for the music video release. I love the transition between the rapping and vocals in this song. While EDM does have a reputation for not being smooth at times, the transitions give it a very smooth feel. And even though it feels smooth, the buildup of the track is something that catches your ears. But what makes this song so good is the ending. Even though it returns to the exact same chorus that we have been hearing in the song, it ended perfectly and left me at the edge of my seat.

My assumption is that Not Today and Spring Day will go hand-in-hand with each other since Spring Day provided us with a 1 or 2-second teaser of the Not Today video. Knowing BTS and Big Hit Entertainment, there will be some sort of connection that I am going to need help interpreting. I rely on fan theories for BTS music videos because there is so much to research and make sense of. The video starts off with them running (along with a group of ninjas or what I am going to assume – their bodyguards). And they are running away from someone or something that is out to get them. And that is all I have. Maybe they are trying to say “you will not catch me, not today”. But even though the plot doesn’t make sense, the video is still good on its own level. Why? Well, have you seen the cinematography and camera shots in this video? They look spectacular and stunning. You wonder how an underground car park or concrete slab can look good? Well check out this video and you will find out!

Like the song, the choreography is equally as intense or even more! The choreography that I saw in the music video has left me speechless and I can’t even get my thoughts for this section into words. But regardless, I smell a potential ‘Best Male Dance Performance” award for this. They have set the standard for 2017 pretty high.

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

[Review] Spring Day – BTS

BTS has returned with their repackaged version of Wings (title track was Blood Sweat & Tears), which was probably one of the best albums of 2016. Spring Day is their title track off the repackaged album. The group will also be releasing a music video for Not Today (another track off their repackaged album), which I will review next week (once the video is released on the 20th). I was also planning on doing an album review for their repackaged. But since I am already reviewing 2 of the 4 new songs and I think it probably too late to do an album review for the entire Wings album, I’ve decided to cancel it instead. My apologies if you had expected it.

Spring Day is a lot different to the group’s past hits. This time, they went with a song that is more vocally centred. And they do a smashing job of it. The song is something right up my alley. It has a really emotional melody, which you can hear through both the softer instrumental and vocal work. The instrumental is toned down (as already mentioned) quite a bit, almost resembling a soft electronic track infused with a ballad (also really like the drums). Even the rappers, who are known for their extreme toughness and power raps, have toned it down. The star of the show has to be the vocals of Jungkook, Taehyung and Jimin. Their vocals work, in the song, is amazing. You can hear the emotions in the vocals, being consistent throughout the song. J-Hope seemed to get the short end of the stick. When I first listened to the song, I noticed that I could not detect J-Hope’s voice anywhere. It turns out that J-Hope was the backing vocals for the chorus. While that does seem a little unfair, once you notice it, you can’t really unhear it. Now when I listen to the song, I move my focus between the different vocals, especially during the chorus. His backing vocals do a really good job of echoing the member who was singing at the time (usually Jungkook). It added a level of complexity and depth to the song. And honestly, if you strip J-Hope’s backing vocals from the song, the song would have felt empty and too simplified.

Let’s all put forward our best theories, shall we? Hahaha.. As per usual, this BTS music video is confusing as heck. So I decided to do some reading and watching, trying to see what others make of it.  I found a video that really explains the story quite well. Watching the music video by itself made no sense. But with someone breaking it down (and basically doing the hard work for me) made more sense and more understandable. Now, I am unfamiliar with the story of Omelas (the name of the motel in the video) and will probably do a shocking job at explaining it. So for an explanation of the video, CLICK HERE!!! I think what BTS (and when I refer to the band, in this case, I am also referring to the producer, director etc) has been doing with their reference to these mythological stories is really cool and unheard of (as a series) in KPOP. Now moving away from the plot, this video is beautifully shot. Everything from the camera angles, wide shots to the quality of the video made it look amazing. It makes the video look stunning and worthwhile to watch.

[UPDATED] The dance for this song is amazing. I am not too sure, but I am assuming they did a form of interpretive dancing and every time I watch the performance, I am in awe at their stage presence and fluid motions. I loved how the song is more on the softer side, but their dancing is leaves a very strong impression on you. It might be a tad early, but this is worthy of a Best Dance award already.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10 
[UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 9.7/10
[UPDATED]

 

KPOPREVIEWED 2016 Awards – Part 2

Click here to see the list of nominees for this year’s awards and scroll down to find out who wins!!!

If you have yet to see Part 1 (which also explains this corner) please click here.


BEST MALE ROOKIE GROUP

2016 saw a lot of new boy groups make their debut on the stage. Compiling the list of nominees for this section was extra hard because there were so many great debuts that just missed out on a spot on the list. The winner of the Best Male Rookie Group 2016 is Astro, who made continuous comebacks after their debut, pushing them into the spotlight. Honourable mentions are given to VRomance for their debut song, She.


BEST FEMALE ROOKIE GROUP

Like the male rookie group section above, a lot of girl groups made their debut in 2016. And a lot of them provided us with the hottest tracks of the year. WJSN, otherwise known as Cosmic Girls, made their debut with Mo Mo Mo and came back with one of the best tracks of the year: Secret. They are my pick for Best Female Rookie Group. Honourable Mentions goes to BlackPink and I.O.I (It was very hard to choose for this category).


BEST MALE SOLOIST

As every other year, solo artists are debuting and making comebacks. 2016 saw the long-awaited debuts of some main vocalists of different idol groups and the return of solo artists that we have known for a while. The winner has to be Zico (Block B) with his ballad track: I Am You, You are Me. This one track alone has been a chart topper and gave the rapper a new side. Honourable mention goes to Eric Nam and his surge in popularity this year with his releases.


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

2016 was a very big year for female solo artists. Like the male solo artist awards, big names came back, while long-awaited debuts were made. My pick for the winner of Best Female Soloist goes to Taeyeon (SNSD). Her singles have been remarkable thus far. Honourable mentions goes to Hyosung (Secret), whose song is still being replayed, half a year after release.


BEST MALE GROUP

So many to consider. Can’t count with my fingers for this category and the next. But it has been a big year for male groups (and likewise female groups). Out of all the artists, I have to pick Seventeen as the group that stood out the most and hence are the winners here. As for honourable mentions, GOT7 takes it this year.


BEST FEMALE GROUP 

As mentioned above, girl groups have also had a very big year in KPOP. And there were too many to count as well. But my overall pick for Best Female Group has to be Mamamoo. 2016 has been their best year yet and I hope there are even better years to come. Oh My Girl receives honourable mentions for their releases of high quality and catchy songs.


BEST ALBUM

Now, I promised album reviews this year and my apologies, I failed to deliver. I asked you guys again (thanks to everyone who contributed to the survey) and album reviews are still something you guys want. I can’t review every one of them, but I will try my best to cover the main and biggest releases. As for 2016, Wings released by BTS as their 2nd Studio album is my pick for best album. I also thoroughly enjoyed the songs released by B.A.P as their third studio album, Carnival, which also takes Honourable Mention.


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

Many great videos were released this year. From amazing plots to great cinematography, or just the standard video that looks amazing, 2016 had it all. My picks for both the winner and honourable mention were videos that were long in length, but one focused on an action-packed story and the other for its complexity. The winner is B.A.P‘s Skydive and honourable mention goes to BTS‘s Blood Sweat & Tears.


BEST DANCE/PERFORMANCE

And as with every year, KPOP groups and solo artists have amazing dances that should be commended. There were so many top contenders, that it was quite hard to compile the list of ten. But nonetheless, my pick for best dance would have to be GOT7‘s Hard Carry and honourable mention goes to The Eye by Infinite.

 


BEST SONG OF THE YEAR

The hardest award to decide for. Hahaha… I put down 22 songs for this award. 22 amazing songs. And now I have to narrow the list to just 1. The difficulties. That being said, I won’t announce it words. Just watch the video below. But before that, let’s look at the honourable mentions that I manage to narrow down from that list of 22. Hover over the pictures to find out who and which song were picked. Note that these honourable mentions or the winners are not chosen via the end of year charts, but my thoughts alone.

And my pick of Best Song of 2016 goes to……

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VERY NICE – SEVENTEEN

Congratulations to all winners, honourable mentions and nominees. Everyone in general!!

KPOPREVIEWED 2016 Awards – Part 1

I am officially back everyone. And finally, I am moving along with the posts. This is the replacement to the normal Best of the Bests that I do at the end of each year. Essentially, they are the same thing, just a different name for them. This is just for fun and is just my thoughts relayed into a post. I did want to include you guys in the voting this time around, but because of my vacation, I had skipped over it. Maybe next year, if nothing pops up.

I usually post the nominees up in a separate post. However, because of time constraints, I have linked the nominees on a separate page by clicking the link below, instead of writing them out.

CLICK FOR THE NOMINEES AND CHECK OUT THE WINNERS FOR PART 1 BELOW


RISING STAR AWARD

This award goes to the groups that have seen the most growth in 2016. Past winners have risen from the rookie status (usually) or ‘nugu’ status and conquered the year they were awarded in. Looking back there are a number groups that took over 2016. But the rising star award goes to Twice and Seventeen. It is quite obvious why. Both groups had a following already in 2015 but 2016 saw more success, proving them to be a force to look out for.


BEST INSTRUMENTAL

This award is self-explanatory, given to the song that has the best instrumental. This is something that I talk about in review and is vital to the song (though I have heard amazing acapella in the past). It seems like simple took out the award this year with the instrumental of The Rain by Ladies Code taking out the award. But don’t worry because the EDM based song Fire by BTS took out Honourable Mention.


BEST COMEBACK

Comeback after comeback after comeback. It is like shifting through a needle in a haystack. Any artist could have been nominated for this but I chose VIXX as the winner for this. Their comebacks have been consistent but unique each time. Their releases have you asking what they have planned next. As for honourable mentions, BTS takes it. Given their releases in the past year, I have to say I was very impressed.


BEST SUBUNIT

It seems like subunits have dropped off the trends list this year. Actually, they have become quite rare. That being said, there have been some notable subunits in 2016. My pick for the winner is EXO-CBX, which consists of Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin. Their song, Hey Mama, was extremely catchy and fun to listen to. Honourable mention go to NCT Dream for their release of the fun and equally catchy Chewing Gum (plus they performed on hoverboards).


BEST RAPPER

Not a big fan of rapping but I have to be honest, there are many great rappers here that show me otherwise. A few rappers in idol groups have released mixtapes this year as part of their solo work, further showing their influence on the industry. The winner I have chosen is Zico (Block B). All of his solo releases and collaborations have been extremely popular and successful in the past year. Honourable mention goes  Suga (BTS), whose mixtape and work within BTS have also amazed me this year.


BEST VOCALIST

Vocals are something that I admire the most. So, it was rather hard for me to narrow down just 5 nominees, particularly since there were more shows where vocalists of different idol groups and actors/actresses could participate in. My radar jumped when I heard the winner sing on those shows. I am talking about Sandeul (B1A4), whose voice sounded amazing in his solo work and collaborations on Duet Song Festival. I chose Mamamoo for honourable mention as their vocals are no joke, slaying with almost everything they release.


BEST COLLABORATION

Collaborations are still popular and with SM Entertainment’s SM Station in full effect for 2016, we saw a more diverse range of collaborations that have never been seen before. My pick for the best collaboration of 2016 is Hit Me by MOBB, which is a collaboration between Mino (Winner) and Bobby (iKON). Honourable mentions go to Tiffany (SNSD) and SanE for their SM Station track, Heartbreak Hotel.


BEST NON-TITLE SONG

These songs include songs that were simply released as a part of the album but forgotten as it was never promoted. Some of them were performed with the title track for one week but have since not been performed. Songs that deserve some sort of recognition as well. My pick of honourable mention is I Miss You by Mamamoo, which was included in their first studio album. The winner of the best non-title song goes to Sistar with their track: String. String is actually one of the few songs that are not a title track that was replayed constantly on my phone.


To find the second part of the 2016 KPOPREVIEWED Awards, Click Here!!!

 

[Rewind] April 2016 & May 2016

Yeah… I know May hasn’t ended yet, but to avoid posting another late ‘Rewind” post 3 weeks after the month finished, I have decided to April and May together. This one is going to be a little informal in terms of format for a few reasons that will appear apparent. And before we move on, just a little reminder that I will try to write and release reviews every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Okay, moving along:

Leaving the Group?

We became shocked with the disbandment (or what we dubbed at the disbandment) of Kara at the start of the year. However, it seems like certain groups are facing member line up changes after one of their members had decided to not resign with their company and have since departed ways with their respective groups. Former member of 2NE1, Minzy, and former member of Miss A, Jia, have both decided to leave their successful group and go onto their own paths.  Minzy will (hopefully) make her solo debut in the near future after confirmation came from her new company in which she signed. Jia was announced today that she would be leaving the band after her contract finished. Miss A and 2NE1 faced disbandment rumours from these two events, but both their companies have stated that is not the case. Not only girl groups are facing these changes, but A-Jax (if we all remember who they were) recently lost 3 members (Sungmin, Jaehyung and Jihu). But the list does not end there. Hyunseung departed from Beast, leaving the group with 5 members. It was kind of expected after the numerous articles and petitions asking for his removal. Hyunseung is expected to return as a solo artist in the near future and is still signed with Cube Entertainment. It is always disappointing to hear these news and it has obviously shocked the industry a lot. These members have been with their band since the beginning, so it is always hard for fans. Hopefully, there won’t be any more of this and I wish the former members luck in their future endeavours (because that is something we all should do and not call them selfish).

Descendant of the Sun

Now this is something we all have heard about. The drama has taken Asia by storm and has been proven to be highly successsful. It stars Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Ko, as the main characters. Before you all die from shock, I have yet to watch this drama. So, no spoilers. But I don’t actually have any plans to watch the drama. Because I am not one to enjoy romance and all this lovey dovey sh*t. I just don’t watch the genre (or any mainstream and popular dramas). I prefer the cringeworthy daily dramas. Now, why am I talking about this drama? Well, the OSTs for this drama has literally taken over the charts each time they were released. Not complaining here, but the songs were really good. Like, I really enjoy listening to them and this is probably the first time I have been impressed with the OST for a drama. Anyway, the OST contains songs from Davichi, Gummy, K.Will, Yoon Mi Rae, Chen, Punch, Mad Clown, Kim Na Young, Xiah, MC The Max, Lyn and SG Wannabe. In OST terms, this is pretty much the star studded red carpet. Each song released topped the charts instantaneously and I can see these artists winning the Best OST awards at the award ceremonies already. That is all I am reporting on… Hahaha…

Comebacks and Debuts

For the past two months, many artists have made their comeback and they include ): Block B, Seventeen, History, April, Twice, AOA, Akdong Musician, VIXX, Lovelyz, Up10Tion and so many more.

For debuts, NCT is the big debut for April.  I.O.I is probably the major debut for May. However, we have seen new soloists emerge in KPOP in the past two months. Notably, Jung Eunji from APINK, Woohyun from Infinite and Tiffany from SNSD had their respective solo debuts in the last two months.

Top 5 songs of April

As per normal, these are my top 5 songs of April:

  1. Pretty U – Seventeen
  2. Journey to Atlantis – Laboum
  3. Dynamite – VIXX
  4. Queen – History
  5. Toy – Block B

Top 5 songs of May

May hasn’t ended yet, but it is about to. I will add other May songs to the June list (when I get around to it).

0. Pretty U – Seventeen (I have to. I have been trialling charts and Seventeen has been popping up every single week as the top song for the week).
1. Good Luck – AOA
2. Save Me – BTS
3. Nodding Nodding – Woohyun (Infinite)
4. I Just Wanna Dance – Tiffany (SNSD)
5. Fire – BTS

This one was a long one and I tried to keep it short. I am really behind in reviews and will get them out slowly. It will take me some time to catch up. Bad news is that I have exams coming up and I am going to be slower. I will review every major release eventually, so give me some time. Enjoy the rest of May and see you tomorrow!!!

 

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recap of MelOn Music Awards 2015 and Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Recap of MAMA 2015 and Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Of Year Chart 2015 + Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

2015 BOBs (Best Of the Best) – Part 1

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

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

RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention

RISING STAR

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

risingstar

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

BEST INSTRUMENTAL

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

bestinstrumental

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

BEST JAPANESE SONG

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

bestjapsong

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

BEST COMEBACK

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

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

BEST SUBUNIT

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

bestsubunit

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

BEST RAPPER

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

bestrapper

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

BEST VOCALIST

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

bestvocalist

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

BEST MALE SOLOIST

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

bestmalesoloist

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

BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

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

bestfemalesoloist

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

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

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

 

 

 

[DOUBLE REVIEW] Dope + For You – BTS

Probably if you are hardcore followers of BTS, you probably would know that BTS made two comebacks just in the last month. What??? Am I crazy??? No. The truth if BTS finished their promotions for I Need U, which was released back in April. They recently announced that they would be following up with Dope (Sick), which was released as a part of the new album. However, BTS also made a comeback in Japan with For You. So essentially I am reviewing a Japanese and Korean song. And both songs show two different sides of the group. BTS is getting really popular, scoring a whole week full of music show wins and topping album charts with their new songs.

Both songs to me were equally amazing. As I said above, both songs managed to bring out two sides. Dope brings out the side that we know BTS best for. This song is very upbeat and sounds very grand. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but the song is a very strong. Especially the introduction to the song made it seemed like a song that a group would debut with. The move from rapping into vocals and back was pretty good for this song. I just don’t see anything to complain with in this song. Honestly, I felt like Jin and V should have gotten more lines. And here I go again with this line distribution topic again. I don’t know. I just like Jin’s voice. Jin has a nice voice. -fan boys-

However for For You, the line distribution for this song was more equal. And this where my proof to why Jin should get more lines. He carries the chorus for end of the song and manages to chuck in some ad-libs in it as well. And he pulls it off very well. This song brings out more of a softer and mellow-er side of the group, something that is not seen whatsoever in the fun and happy Dope track. You can feel the emotion quite well in this song as well. Not only that, but the piano instrumental was pretty nice in this video. Jimin’s part in this song was pretty nice as well, even though he kind of forgotten in this song. For the instrumental, I can imagine some standing there hitting the same note repetitively for some reason.

Both music videos were okay. I preferred the Japanese music video more. If there is one thing I hated about the Dope music video was that the focus on the face made it stand out more and kind of left everything else out. I don’t know, it reminded me of cartoons a lot, but when I look elsewhere, it isn’t and I guess that disappointed me. But I totally love the concept and how it matches the lyrics. And the one shot video thing, which has died down a bit in the industry, made the video quite pleasant to watch. As For You, the acting was pretty good, but not award winning. I have a feeling like For You occurred during the weekdays, but when it came to the weekend, Dope was where the party was at.

Dope’s dance was amazing. I have no complaints whatsoever with both dances, but Dope dance has more of the style I like. Both dances managed to fit the beat and kept up to the speed of their respective songs. I did like For You’s “rewind ending”. That looked so awesome. Dope had that in-sync feeling that I assoictae with Infinite and I guess BTS is another group wanting to challenge the “in-sync” title.

Don’t make me choose between the two. Too hard for me. Both songs were equally amazing and both totally rocked in terms of everything else.

Dope – 9/10

For You – 9/10

I Need You – BTS

Moving along with more reviews now. I just had a whole list of them, but because I have been skipping so many scheduled days, I just had to dump them all. Just for your information, BTS’s new song was not a part of that list. But there were so many songs and comebacks that I thought that I need to review, but sadly can’t. Don’t know why I am going on about this now. BTS. Yes, The group that we know of is finally back with a brand new song. Their comeback, known for their songs and amazing choreography, has wowed the viewers once again and have finally been nominated and claiming the number 1 spot on the weekly music shows. Congratulations!

Also congrats on such an amazing song. I don’t think that there is anything bad about this song. I genuinely enjoyed the song from start to end without being distracted by odd vocals or irrelvant parts of the song that could have been left out. The one thing that I did notice about this song was that it was much different compared to their past songs. Their past songs were more focused on the beat and the dance. This is a song that displays their rapping and vocals to an emotional standard. It mirrors a dance style ballad in a way and that is basically why I like this song. It is something that is different but at the same time, works really well if their image. As I said their vocals and rapping were focused more on the emotional side this time around. BTS’s rappers tend to be hardcore and fast paced, but with this song, the rapping was slowed and made to match the slow and dark nature of the song. The chorus and verses were good and the instrumental gave the song that more electronic feel, and ties the song together quite nicely.

The music video was released as two versions. The “normal” version which was rated as 15+ and the 19+ version. I prefer the 19+ version. And no, there is no sex (though I think some fans wouldn’t have minded). It was just the way the boy’s characters in the music video dealt with heartbreak was pretty extreme and pretty sure no on would want youngsters to “copy” or mimic them. There is more of a plot line and it makes senses rather than the heavily edited 15+ version which left chunks out. I have to say, that scene with Taeyung killing the dude was quite full on and graphic. Not too graphic, but nothing that I am sure Korea would want people to see at dinner time. Their acting in this music video was very captivating. It got me asking questions and I actually see a whole future for the band in acting. The one thing did tick me off, but Suga (Did I get the right member? Or is it J-Hope? Apologises if I got it wrong) drowsed the whole mattress in gasoline. So why was everything around the mattress burning and not the mattress? Kind of got me there. But the 19+ version was really nice to watch. Not in that way, but it was very intriguing.

Did I say the song was a ballad like song? That doesn’t mean there was a dance. It was definitely toned down but I thought the dance was still pretty nice. It still had the BTS feel to it and matched the vocals, rapping and beat of the song. Yeah, not going to lie, but the body waves were really good. Caught me by surprised, but it is the one part of the dance that I remember.

BTS should keep this style. It is a fresh look on the boy groups that many expect abs and full on crazy dances that could leave them with broken bones and twisted ankles. Though I still love the dance centred BTS that we all know of. 10/10

Below are the two versions! Which did you like more? (Just a retrial of the poll system. Also haven’t done a poll in a long time!!!)

15+ version

19+ Version