After a year and 5 months, the iconic Epik High has returned with a brand new mini-album, Sleepless in __________, and the title track Love Drunk. Though, their absence seems to be for a much longer time period as their last stage promotion occurred back in 2014 (approximately 5 years ago). For this title track, they joined hands with Crush as a featuring artist, while IU and actress Jin Seo Yeon featured in the music video.
Love Drunk is a ballad that starts off with Crush’s delicate vocals over a simple piano instrumental. We also get a bit of Tablo towards the end of the start, just before the song picks up and adds extra elements to the instrumentation to give it a mid-tempo feel while still maintaining the stillness/peacefulness from the start. I find the piano start was very profound for something so little and it works well with Crush and Tablo. But the song kicks up to allow for the rapping of Tablo and Mithra Jin to come into play and they leave us with impactful sequences. While this is usually the case when it comes to Epik High’s ballads, I liked how they didn’t disturb the peaceful atmosphere with their deep tones. My personal favourite part of the song has to be Tablo’s bridge, which I think sets the tone of the song. If you don’t understand Korean in any way, the bridge is a clear taste to the emotional side of the song (The song is all about the first hard breakup and the feelings you may have). It isn’t in a heart-wrenching way, however. The stillness I mentioned previously makes this ballad more powerful and heartbreaking.
The music video, as mentioned previously features IU (who plays the student) and Jin Seo Yeon (the teacher). Seo Yeon seems to be the type of person who is cold and doesn’t want to teach anyone due to her strict standards. IU, on the other hand, wants to be trained by her. At the start of the video, IU is caught spying on Seo Yeon and they have a fight. No one is victorious in this fight as most likely Seo Yeon fought to scare IU away and IU was not able to overpower her. This causes IU to become upset and she screams, attracting the attention of Seo Yeon and breaking a few barrels of water. Intrigued, Seo Yeon starts teaching IU. And during one of these teaching moments (I assume – or maybe it was an actual fight), IU landed a punch which assumingly kills Seo Yeon. This plagues IU’s mind and leaves her devastated, as seen at the end. Rather than playing with a romantic relationship, the director chose a role model based relationship, as this would be the first relationships we, as people, would have. And the loss of this role model would be extremely devastating to us. Overall, I thought it was a well thought out video. The martial arts does throw you off a bit but the underlying plotline makes sense with the lyrics.
Song – 8/10 Music Video 10/10 Overall Rating – 8.8/10
One of the biggest names in the K-Hip Hop industry at the very moment is back with a brand new single. Crush, who coincidently crushes digital charts with his recent releases, unveiled his newest track, Outside, which also features Beenzino. I am just going to ruin the review for you right here, but this is one damn good comeback.
Outside is a fantastic song. Crush hasn’t had many (if not any) bright or Summer based songs. I know him for more dark or emotional forms of RnB, such as his tracks like Sofa, Hug Me and Don’t Forget. But this is a different side, and I actually like this sound from him. There is a much brighter feel and fits that Summer feels that I envy at the moment. His signature vocals that everyone loves sound so great here. The chorus is damn good. While there is a very non-mind blowing element, I actually like it. It is easy to get into the groove of the chorus, which actually makes me want to get up and dance (how lame does that sound?). And I love the short sequence that he has at the end of each chorus. I haven’t actually heard him rap that much, so it was unexpected. But it really gives an edgy feel to the song, which makes it even better. Beenzino’s rap fits into the song quite well and it also contributes to that edgy vibe. Overall, totally digging the song.
If there is an award for the most hilarious music video for 2017, this might just be the clear winner. Completely unexpected, given his past portfolio of music videos. I guess this video is the nightmare of pet owners who are trying to figure out if their pet is trying to kill them (i.e. all cat owners out there). But in this case, the dog wants to knock you out, torture you by locking you up in a suitcase and taking your place in all the fun activities of a vacation and Summer. It’s fun to watch a dog head go swimming, hang out with girls, skydive etc. It definitely made me laugh and made the overall comeback much more enjoyable to me. It gives the song a fun side, which makes it a winner in my books.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 10/10 Overall Rating – 10/10
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!
2016 has started and we are already one month into the year. Damn time flies. And by the time you are reading this, we already be 1 and a half month in. Is that Christmas bells I hear in the far distant? Hahahaha… This is my revamped Rewind post for the month of January of the year 2016. Let’s go!
Probably the biggest news of the month is in regards to Tyuzu’s controversy in China. Now, while most of this is political, here is just a brief run down of what I know is going on. Tyuzu was seen on a broadcast holding a Taiwan flag and saying proudly that she is Taiwanese. China (and I say its people) did not like the idea and decided to censor her. She issued an apology, but some people think JYP forced her to do so, as now all his artists (GOT7 and 2PM were reported in the news) have been “shut out the country”. It has gone far as Twice’s stage being left out of the Golden Disk Awards when it was broadcast live in China, which for who do not know, is a Korean award show that was supposed to be held in China, but due to certain circumstances was moved back to South Korea. All I have to say is that she is probably now scarred for life. Everyone always talk about equality and to be proud of who you are. And sadly this is a reflection of how hypocritical the world is.
GFriend made their slaying comeback in January with Rough and have since been stealing all the music show’s trophies this week (which happens to be February, but since they officially made their comeback stages in January…). They have proven to be a powerful force and given that they only made their debut last year, makes this an amazing feat. Congrats 여자친구.
Other artists that made their comeback in January are: Teen Top, Dal Shabet, Zico (Block B), Stellar, Cross Gene , The Legend, Shin Hye Sung (Shinhwa) and many other artists.
Ryeowook from Super Junior made his official solo debut this past month (28th of January) with The Little Prince, a ballad. While quite popular, he is currently competing with GFriend on the music shows and unfortunately been placing second.
IMFACT is also another rookie group that made their debut on the 27th of January. Their song, Lollipop, is currently one of my most played songs and I am actually listening to this song while I am writing this. Hahaha..
Other debuts in the past month include: Yezi (Fiestar), SUS4, & CocoSori
I did ask you all which iKON song you guys liked the most since their debut. The results are in and the most liked iKON song is: Airplane and Dumb & Dumber. Both scored 25% of the votes. My Type, Rhythm Ta, Anthem and Apology all scored 13%. What’s Wrong did not receive any votes.
Crush made his unexpected comeback with a brand new song. And this time, Tayeon from SNSD is featuring in his song. After sky-rocketing to fame with his collaboration with Zion.T and for the songs that were released last year under his name, he has returned with Don’t Forget. And he continues with his success, after topping charts and earning his first solo win on Show Champion.
The song is really good. Let’s start off with the instrumental. Damn, is it calming or what? The clicking sounds that continuously plays throughout the song, along with the simple sounds that we hear (in other words, there isn’t anything that is “loud” or complex sounding) gives it that really nice calming effect, which makes me want to listen to the song again and again. Next up is the vocals. Crush’s vocals really match this style and feels like it is floating on top of the water. Taeyeon’s part is extremely short, which is a little disappointing. But nonetheless, I feel like she took on her part really well. I expected some kind of duet with Crush, but it was only just a small solo part. Putting everything together, that calming feeling that I was talking about juts a few moments ago just comes back. It is a song that I would play constantly to calm myself down or would be a song to listen to on a dark and stormy day.
The music video was beautifully shot. I am not drawn to the video as I am with the song, but everytime I do watch the video, it just makes my jaw drops. The shots were amazing, the scenery really is quite beautiful. The video was shot in Japan and as a person who really wants to go to Japan, this video captures really nice places to go to (or at least see somehow) on snowy days. These are the type of videos that make me want to live near snow. Interesting fact: I have never seen snow before, so this video makes me very jealous. Everyone (like me) is in awe with the scenes which shows the giant fete or carnival park. Taeyeon does not feature in the video (which is somewhat disappointing). I can totally imagine her face in with the snow. It all matches really well. But overall, great video to watch (when I feel like it).
Overall, another amazing comeback. Damn with all these comebacks though. I feel like I have been giving too many 10/10s. This is the third one in a row. 10/10
Code: RED FONT – WINNERS BLUE FONT – HONOURABLE MENTION
BEST ROOKIE GROUP
2014, like the past few years, have seen so many new KPOP bands debut. So many new bands, so much that I have a really difficult job to select certain artists and also keep up with the old styles. 2014 saw the big 3 companies debut their own groups, but I have to be honest, the stand outs came mostly from the smaller companies. One group in particular stood out from the rest: Mamamoo. Harmony and totally different style from what we are used to. Honourable mentions go to GOT7.
The one song that is overlooked by everyone on the album is the instrumental. I freaking love instrumentals, and this year, KPOP decided to tease me with so many new instrumentals. That being said, this year the winner of Best Instrumental is Ain’t Nobody by Ye-Eun (Ha:tFelt). Honourable mentions go to Sugar Free by T-Ara.
KPOP = Singing. There for it is only right for this year to have an award for Best Vocals, right? Well, the winner goes to Ha:tfelt – Ye Eun (Wonder Girls). I was so amazed by here singing this year that it blew my mind, particularly her title track Ain’t Nobody. Honourable mentions go to IU (yes, I think most of us agree).
Many KPOP songs have many rapping parts. At the same time, rappers need some recognition. Though, I feel my choice this year could be a little odd, only one person (in my opinion) did a really amazing job. Junhyung from Beast did a wonderful job in Good Luck, 12:30 and the many songs he featured in. Zico from Block B takes Honourable Mentions.
Since 2013, many subunits have been on trend. Even though subunits have been losing trend, many bands this year debuted their own subunits. However, I think we should move away from the new subunits. Cause this year an old subunit wins. Orange Caramel steals Best Subunit with release of three different songs. Honourable mentions goes to Rainbow Blaxx.
The new trend for 2014. Collaborations between artists have been on the rise. This year though, if you were a KPOP fan for a while, you would know already who the winner is. Soyu & JungGiGo’s Some steals the show, topping the end of year charts conducted in South Korea and winning Best Song as well on the SBS Music Festival. Well of course they would win, considering that they SLAYED the charts. Honourable Mentions go to Sane and Raina’s collaboration, Midsummer Night’s Sweetness.
RISING STAR OF THE YEAR
This year there has been so many stars that have started to become more popular. The nominees tend to be bands that have debuted in the previous year, and with help of comebacks, started to become well known in the industry. I think for the first time ever, I am going to be honest and put forward two winners to this category. First of all, BTS say a boost in popularity and have become a band that I look forward to listening to. Second of all AOA saw new popularity with release of Miniskirt, Short Air and Like A Cat. Both bands, obviously, rose a lot this year and I found it hard to differentiate them.
BEST JAPANESE SONG
If you don’t know (I won’t be surprised) I also review some Japanese song. 2015 will be the year where I start to review more Japanese songs for you all. However, 2014 also had a lot of catchy and cool Japanese songs. The winner for this year is Korean boy band MYNAME’s F.F.Y. Such a catchy song. As for honourable mentions, it goes to AAA’s Showtime.
KPOP is also known for its dancing. 2014 saw some interesting dances, catchy dances, and some dances that have no words to describe it. And that can be a good thing or a bad thing. This year, T-ara took the position as best dance. It was probably the most addictive dance and it was pretty easy as well. It matched the song and most importantly, I loved it. Honourable mentions to Infinite’s Back.
A brand new category for 2014. Every award show or some kind of award giving platform has the “best album” award. And yes, this year, there are so many freaking great albums (like any other year). In my opinion, the best album of the year goes to F(x)’s Red Light. All, if not most, of the songs were amazing to listen to and were so great. Every freaking song was different, and though that maybe risky, F(x) pulled it off as a flowing album. Honourable Mentions goes to AKMU’s Play.
BEST MALE SOLOIST
Solos don’t tend to be the trend this year. Some bands saw new members branch into a solo career, however it seems like more and more KPOP idols (whether male or female) are branching out to acting or variety shows. However, the winner to this category is a person who started offically his own solo career with a lot of experience in the music industry. Crush is the winner. Damn, this dude’s songs are so good. You should check them out. Honourable mentions: JungGiGo.
BEST FEMALE SOLOIST
It seems like more and more females are branching out onto the stage. We saw many KPOP divas making their solo debuts on the stage with new and fresh songs from bands like T-Ara or Secret. We already have divas who have accomplished a start to their solo career and saw comebacks of very big names. This year, one solo stood out and that is Secret’s Song Ji Eun. Releasing her first solo mini album, she did quite well considering the competition she was going through. Honourable Mentions goes to Sunmi.
BEST FEMALE GROUP
Sexy concept by girl groups have been on the rise. If you know me well, then you probably already know my pick. However, so many girls groups made their comeback this year. Some picked up a lot of popularity and saw massive wins for the first time. Girl’s Day hitted big with their amazing single Something. They later went on to release Darling and I Miss You. Being one of the biggest girl groups of the year, they were sure to pick some prize up. APINK steals honourable mentions this year with their massive single Mr Chu and their latest hit Luv, which blew up and swept all the December trophies for 2014.
BEST MALE GROUP
There have always been a large influx of boy groups and this year it is no different. I was so impressed I was just going to choose all 10 nominees as winners. However, there can only be one winner (well, technically), so I guess I have to choose one. I am going to put down VIXX. They released Eternity and Error this year and both songs were hits for the band. Not only that, they displayed great dance moves and skills. Beast takes out honourable mentions with Good Luck and 12:30, both being very great songs that also delivered like what VIXX had to show. (Just VIXX nudged a head a little bit).
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
This year, most of my Best Music Video Nominees saw the depressing side of KPOP. 8 music videos had this sad or dark storyline to tell. 2 music videos were made in a soft hearted and were really cheerful. G.o.D’s music video for The Story Of Our Lives, told the amazing bond between family and that the outside will never be able to define the inside. Megan Lee features in the song and both band and soloist did an amazing job singing and pouring out their emotions. By the way, SM made a video outside of the box. F(x)’s Red Light, takes honourable mention.
25 songs were nominated for Best Song for 2014. All were to an excellent standard. There were clear stands out. Something by Girl’s Day, EXID’s Up and Down and Beast’s Good Luck are this year’s honourable mentions. However, which song took Best Song category for 2014? Check the song and music video down below.
One of my most favourite solo debuts of the year. Crush is a RnB artist that (and I believe) to have mix in some hip hop influence. He debut back on the 1st of April with Sometimes. He however went on to release Sofa towards the end of the year and the currently being reviewed song, Hug Me. Another stand out is that he is a very famous yet unknown featuring artists, who has worked with singers and rappers like Gary, Zion.T and Supreme Team. Essentially, he has a pretty good resume.
This song sounds so freaking good. I could not stop listening to it. At first, I thought it was a really generic song, however it started to grow on me and I saw a lot of potential in this song. On top of that, Crush’s voice in this song is also pretty good. The instrumental to this song was really good. I particularly love the part of the instrumental just before the “Hug Hug Hug Me” part. Never honestly was a fan of Dynamic Duo. And I really don’t like his featuring in this song. It fits in, just it sounded really boring and lacked the bumping beat sound that I like about hip hop/rap artists and really lacked the overall feeling of the song. Overall, I liked this song.
Music video is really generic. Actually, nowadays I find music videos really boring to watch. There really is nothing to comment about the video. It was niether great or crap. It did it’s job, just I honestly have no feelings towards it. Hahaha… But seriously, I have nothing to say about the video.
The dance was pretty cool. I actually found this dance pretty “sexual”. Maybe it is his face. His face pulls some of the most manliest faces. And considering he is still singing without any faults while dancing to this song is pretty good.
I hope I introduced a new artist to you guys with you guys have no or little idea who he is. Consider that as my job done. Hehehehe… 7.1/10