As mentioned previously, EXID will be going on an indefinite hiatus after wrapping up promotions for their latest mini-album, WE. This is due to Hani and Junghwa not renewing contracts with their current company. However, despite this headline, the group have continually stressed that the group is not disbanding and that they will be continuing as a five-member group in the future. As this will be the group’s final mini-album for some time, I jumped on the opportunity to review the mini-album, which features 7 tracks, including an urban mix of their previous single, Lady, and the instrumental version of their title track, ME & YOU (Note that these two tracks will not contribute to the ‘Overall Album Rating’).
2. We Are – Reading the lyrics to this song, We Are is a song for the fans. The members thank their fans in the song and remind that ‘We Have Each Other’ no matter what. It is definitely touching and at certain times, you can hear some emotions behind their voices (particularly Solji’s part of the song). The song itself features an R&B influenced instrumental and a chorus that continually repeats the title of the song in a heavily autotuned fashion. I am not too troubled by this as it gave the song an interesting texture. But I do see how it does chip away at the emotive side of the song. Personally, my favourite part of the song is the ending, with each member singing one line to the outro. It is definitely a nice way to leave us for the time being. (8/10)
3. The Vibe (아끼지마) – Impact is delivered from the very first second with The Vibe. Hani starts off the song in a spectacular manner that I cannot stop replaying. And her vocal performance throughout the rest of the song is outstanding. Usually, Solji is the member that gets the attention for vocals. But Hani is the real winner in the song. The other members (including Solji) do display great vocals. And while I really like the bluesy feels of the song, I felt the song was lacking in the instrumental domain. Sure, a complex instrumental would have been detrimental to the song and hide the vocals in this track. But I think the one they stuck in The Vibe was relatively plain and almost bland (if it wasn’t for the vocals). (8/10)
4. How You Doin’ (어떻게지내) – This is probably my pick for best song on the album. How You Doin’ has a groovy beat that I cannot help but enjoy. The upbeat atmosphere was something missing on this album (excluding the title track), so I am quite appreciative of the energy it brings. Junghwa’s ‘How You Doin’’ repetition was addictive and hooked me onto the song. The vocals and rapping were amazing in this track, drawing me in from the start as well. Some of the members brought a husky tone to the song, which I really enjoyed. I personally do not think there is any disappointing second in this song, which is an excellent thing. (9/10)
5. Midnight (나의밤) – Midnight closes out this album review, but it isn’t the final song on the album. Midnight has a pleasant tone to it. I cannot deny that. The song just doesn’t have any aspect that I think it is worth diving in for a second or third listen. In other words, I find it to be the weakest song on the album. The vocals were okay, but they don’t offer anything interesting, as per the other songs on the album. Likewise, the hooks weren’t strong or memorable enough. The ‘Bam Ba Bam’ was probably my pick for the highlight for the song but it just didn’t stick around for much due to the progression of the lyrics. (6/10)
EXID returns today!. If you haven’t heard yet, EXID will be entering an indefinite hiatus as Hani and Junghwa chose to not renew their contracts with their current company, Banana Culture. Despite the label changes, the group will be remaining together (just under various companies). But given how groups who are scattered between companies don’t make comebacks, it does look quite grim for EXID (even though they are still contracted in Japan as a five-member group and seem confident that they will be returning as a quintet sooner than later). But this means that this will be their last comeback for some time. And as an avid EXID fan, I am very saddened to hear this news.
Their latest title track is titled Me & You and I think it is another fantastic song to their portfolio. It is a little different (like I Love You) from their more popular hits like Up & Down and Ah Yeah. Firstly, the song seems to conform to trends in the industry nowadays. I am referring to their instrumental only chorus, which I thought was a really good beat drop. It particularly contrasted nicely with the more acoustic start and almost still-like verses. Secondly, I also liked how the song focused more on vocals/raps, rather than repetitive hooks. In particular, Hyerin managed to use her vocals that she built up during Solji’s absence in the song, which I was slightly worried that she would not be able to anymore. All other members sound really nice and LE’s rap provided a very appealing rush of energy and intensity. I like that buildup to the party-like and dynamically instrumented ending of the song, once again contrasting nicely with the verses of the song. It does cap off the energy well. Personally, I don’t find the song as catchy as their previous tracks. But I do predict that the song will become very addictive very soon (especially after writing this review due to my repetitive listens).
I think the contrast between the verses and the more upbeat chorus/ending was shown well in this video. The verses were highlighted by the use of black and white scenes, along with the lack of movements within the red sets (with the latter being very elegant looking). I thought the members looked very beautiful in their wedding inspired outfits during these closeup scenes. But the chorus and end take a turn by showcasing more of the choreography, shaky camera shots and the neon party outfits. Both are highly fitting with their parts of the song. I like the music video and thought it was rather cool.
Due to an injury, LE’s participation in the performance was quite limited. While this can’t be helped, I did miss her during the chorus. I really like the elegant nature of the choreography during the pre-chorus, before they get into the more intensive chorus. I thought the ending section was really cool and definitely the moves made the ending feel more bombastic.
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.8/10
This is the comeback that I have been waiting for all week. EXID has finally returned, along with Solji who has been absent from group promotions for almost two years now! Welcome back Solji! Their comeback single is titled as I Love You and is their first comeback since Lady, which was released back in April. Since then, the group (with Solji) made their official Japanese debut with their hit track, Up & Down.
I Love You opens up with the most addictive hook of the year. I have no idea if I will find it annoying in the future, but at the moment, I am totally digging it. It is definitely attention-grabbing. The verses were good but there isn’t much to talk about. I like how the chorus comes into play. Both Hyelin and Solji have ‘louder’ sections with their vocals jumping right at you. It is unexpecting but it manages to fit in. To avoid being too repetitive, the song takes a change for the second verse, becoming a lot more techno-y and much sexier. I love Hani’s whisper that comes at the end of the verse, which I thought was another highlight of the song. I do think the Solji’s high note at the end clashed with the song, making the ending appear slightly messy. But other than that, I Love You is probably my next favourite song.
Hopefully, you did not gag throughout this music video. EXID did a lot of gagging, which seems a little odd at first. I had a quick look at the lyrics but they don’t really fit the gagging into the song. It seems like there is some sort of regret going on, as Hani changes the course of the video to prevent each member from gagging/throwing up by editing some footage, which allows everyone to spend a more enjoyable night. And the worst thing after a night out is the hangover in the morning! I liked the comedic effect the video touched on and the Elmo character in the background for some of the scenes. The music video was also very colourful, which I thought added to the atmosphere of the video.
And I love the choreography. The moves associated to the hook were simple and can potentially rival their Up & Down hip thrust that drove them to the top of the charts. It was also sexy and oozed confidence, which is right up EXID’s alley. I also thought it was rather interesting they staggered the same dance move in the middle of the song, which I thought was a nice effect.
Song – 9.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9/10
Making their first comeback of 2018 just a few hours ago is EXID with Lady. This is EXID’s latest comeback since DDD, which was released in November last year. EXID is still 4-members, with Solji sitting out of this comeback entirely due to health reasons. With not much else to say, let’s get right into this review.
Lady is a 90’s throwback song. The song features new jack swing instrumental which literally takes you back to that era. Despite retro being a very large aspect of the Korean pop scene, Lady was surprisingly fresh and interesting to listen to. It features great vocals and raps, which is usual for EXID. The song also managed to throw in a few ad-libs by Hyerin (just before the chorus), which has confirmed how far Hyerin has come since he had to cover for Solji. While it only has been out a few hours, there were a few things that I noticed to be potential flaws. The first being the chorus. Don’t get me wrong, it is melodic and a decent chorus. But it isn’t as strong or catchy as their previous title tracks. On top of that, the chorus would have felt more lively if the jump into it was more exciting and attracting. Instead, what we go made the song feel almost ‘one-sound’. It may take a few more listens to warm up to the chorus but overall, it was still a decent track.
Like the song, their fashion in the video is extremely ’90s. It is a trend that I am seeing amongst some idols nowadays, with the reemergence of baggy clothing. However, this video does it extremely well, with each member looking stunning (what else do you expect from EXID). Also liking the pixelated quality of the video, which is similar to the VCR or just normal boxed television you would get back in the day. Some of their transitions (such as the star and the slow motion is distinctively ’90s. It is a very cool video that suits the song very well and honestly, there is nothing to else to add to the video to make it feel more like the ’90s.
I even think some of the moves they included in the instrumental are directly related to the ’90s. While I don’t think it has anything to rival their past popular dances, it looked fun.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7.6/10
EXID has made their return with DDD. This is their first comeback since Night Rather Than Day and their Eclipse mini-album. This is also their first comeback with Solji since she announced her hiatus due to health issues. However, despite featuring on the album and in the actual title track, she is not promoting alongside the group this time around, so fans must wait a little longer. But regardless, it is great to have her back with her group and (somewhat) in her element.
I personally think DDD is an excellent song. Yes, it feels similar to their past hits like Up & Down and Ah Yeah but it can stand alone. I really like how they surround LE’s rap with the vocals, something they did in Ah Yeah that blew my mind. That structure shows off some creativity. The good thing is that they haven’t done it with every single comeback since then, so it feels somewhat fresh. Plus the contrast between the high-pitch vocals and LE’s edgy raps add a nice appeal. The chorus takes a turn to standard pop while the verse felt more grungy and tough. But that also has a nice contrast with the upbeat instrumental that featured in the chorus. The vocals themselves are definitely another standout to the song, particularly the addition of Solji’s to the mix, which was definitely missed (but Hyerin has been doing amazing covering for the missing member). The best part of the song was the “Dul Dul Dul“. So catchy and addictive. It is up there with all my favourite EXID songs.
덜덜덜 (I know, I am including Korean in my review. This is a first.) is basically a slang way of expressing the shaking feeling you get when you are surprised or shocked (Source). And the way they managed to represent it in the music video is by coldness. It goes hand in hand. But the girls manage to take it all back to their sexy days (which started their fame in the first place) with this video. I pretty much thought this was a great video. Through the different camera angles (check out the see-through floor) and the cinematography throughout the video, you can see that this video is well-produced and put together. I love the concept and how all the members stand out in it. It does remind me of Up and Down quite a bit but with a different flare to it.
The most disappointing part of the choreography is the lack of key dance moves. I don’t find anything that stands out as a moment that would make me think and say ‘this is the DDD dance’. It just felt ordinary.
Song – 9.5/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 6/10 Overall Rating – 8.65/10
EXID has returned with their newest mini-album. Unfortunately, the group is promoting as a quartet due to Solji’s hiatus. The group recently explained the meaning behind the name of their mini album, Eclipse, which you can click here to find out. This album sees the group attempt an entirely different and mature sound, that also shows a different side to the girls.
1..Boy – Opening the album is Boy, a very different track from what I have heard from EXID (or any artist that I have listened to). I feel wrong for describing a track as ‘creepy’, but this description fits the opening of the song quite well. Once we enter the instrumental chorus, you will understand how good this track is. It is a little foreign, but once you get used to the track, you will love it. I must applaud the vocal work and LE’s rap. Their vocals, along with the emptiness of the instrument (which in this case, is another good aspect of the song) actually contribute to those haunting vibes I was talking about. LE’s rap always sounds the same to me, but yet they fit into any song that you throw at her. (8/10)
3. How Why – Before starting these album reviews, I re-listen to the entire album (regardless of how many times I have already done so). The one track that stood out for me was this one in particular. I love the buildup that LE and Hyelin contribute to during the chorus before the beat drops, and the very catching instrumental sequence is brought into play. The song itself seemed to start off as a ballad, but as the song progressed, it seemed to become more upbeat and brighter. It is easily their best track on the entire mini album. (9/10)
4. Milk(Hani solo) – Time for the obligatory ballad on the mini album. This one seems to be mixed with RnB as well. While it does sound nice and the connection between milk and the lyrics are quite smart (like what everyone is saying), the song is an either a hit or miss. There really isn’t much that makes this song that captivating and was easily forgettable. Her vocals are quite nice. (5/10)
5. Velvet (L.E. solo) – It may not be my cup of tea, but Velvet actually sounds very good. It is a very sensual song and that already compliments the lyrics of the song. The instrumental also felt very smooth, further complimenting the sensual nature of the song. The chorus was also catchy. But there wasn’t enough for me there to really enjoy the track or fall in love with it. (6/10)
EXID has returned with a brand new song. Their latest mini album, Eclipse, is their 3rd mini album. Their title track for this promotional run is Night Rather Than Day. This is also their first comeback since their L.I.E promotions last year and their Chinese debut. Unfortunately, Solji will not be participating in promotions this time around due to her health. Hence why we see 4 members on stage and in the video instead.
For Night Rather Than Day, the group opted for a more retro sound, with a much smoother instrumental. Compared to their past songs, this one seems to be more subtle in nature. That being said, this change is nothing too concerning because EXID handles it amazingly. The question that remains is if EXID can handle performing without Solji, who is the powerhouse main vocalist of the group. Hence, probably another reason to why they shifted towards a more softer tone. Hyerin takes over the reigns of the main vocalist and as heard, she can take on the role with ease. She might not be the powerhouse vocals we know from EXID, but with a more softer song, Hyerin does a pretty good job during the chorus and ad-libs. Talking about vocals, all members saw an increase with lines and each member did a decent job with their parts. The different tones that each member has give the song depth, which makes it interesting to listen to. The contrast between a low pitch to a higher vocal pitch was showed in the song. LE’s raps are pretty good, but the ending seemed a little awkward. The song was quite catchy. By the second listen and I was already singing along to the chorus.
The video is more on the boring side of the spectrum. There really isn’t a storyline or anything to talk about the video. Their past videos have all had things going on in them that make them worth talking about. Here, they are either on a rundown train, on the street dancing or in their rooms. Things I have talked about in the past, such as the use of coloured filters, cinematography etc., don’t really apply much to this video (from what I see). The closeups, which shows off their looks, are the only things that I remember from the video. But then again, those bold colour jackets are quite memorable, but I am not a big fan of them. I am just going to stop here (just trying ramble now).
The dance is quite good. However, there isn’t anything that is memorable about the dance. All of EXID’s dances have been memorable to date, so it does disappoint me a tad bit. I like it though, because there is a bit of cuteness in the dance, while still keeping things sexy as always.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 4/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7/10
Honey Bee is a cross-company collaboration, which features Luna (from f(x) – whose is under SM Entertainment), Hani (from EXID – who is under Banana Culture) and Solar (from Mamamoo – who is under Rainbow Bridge World). The producer of the song (Park Guen Tae) is under Mystic Entertainment and is the same producer/writer for Baekhyun and Suzy’s collaboration, Dream.
Just by looking at the artists who participated in this song, you can definitely expect an amazing song which shows off the vocal abilities of each person. Sure, you may not expect Hani to be in that mix but she did a really good job of the song. She gave the song stability and kept the song grounded. Solar and Luna were exceptional in the song themselves but they kept making the song go higher and higher via their high notes. Hani’s vocals is sort of a platform to start at and as the other two hit the higher notes (starting from Hani’s level), it highlighted the high notes and allowed the song and vocal talents to further blow us away. The song itself uses a heavy dosage of saxophones, which gives off a nice jazzy vibe. I love the snaps in the song, as it was definitely needed to make sure the saxophones don’t dominate the song. The song does seem to lack something and it goes back to the vocals. The song needed something deep, either some bass or deeper tone. It just kept on getting higher, which in the past, I would have love. But since listening to more songs, I am starting to love songs with a much more darker or even gothic sound (I am referring to songs outside of KPOP here). It probably weird to want a deeper tone (probably just a phase) to accompany this song. It probably won’t work because it would just make the song feel standard. But what the girls have presented us with sounds pretty good and do showcase their vocals.
The music video is okay. It was shot in a bowling centre, which also showcases pool and possibly other games. Maybe it was meant to add to the fun vibes the song had going on. The girls each add their own charm to the video, in my opinion. Luna had a very mature yet charismatic gaze, Solar had a bright smile and Hani made the surroundings a lot hotter (and sexier if you didn’t understand what I meant). I liked the one shot video layout that featured for part of the video. It was definitely lacked a lot and honestly, I thought it could have used a little more colour to match that fun and vibrant vibe. They didn’t have to go full on bright because it wouldn’t match the sensual nature, but a little more probably could have lifted the video from the darkness it suffered. But besides that, I don’t have much else to say about the video.
The dance is quite simple. A lot of hip snapping to the side and running on the spot. But in a more dancey way and not exercising/sweaty way.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 7/10 Choreography -7/10 Overall Rating – 7.5/10
Last year’s hottest group is officially back. EXID has returned with their first ever full album in their 4-year career.
Big fan of the group, but when I listen to the song, it doesn’t blow my mind. I kind of go “meh” every time I hear it and just listen to it. It doesn’t have me head banging or bouncing around in joy. It isn’t as catchy (which they are known for) nor addictive. According to some people Up & Down, Ah Yeah and Hot Pink sounded very similar, which I disagree with. This song sounds a lot weaker than any of their previous singles. I do have to say it is a great mash-up of the classy and electronic genres. There is definitely some class in the verses and chorus. As for the electronic additions, you can hear them in the instrumental break down. It is a little weird as it barely matches up, but it still manages to work pretty well. I personally liked them a lot, but yeah, it did make the song sound awkward. The vocals seemed to be held back. Not bad, but once again, I do miss that powerful vocal style. I do agree with many people and say that LE’s rap gave the song more meaning (and is probably one of the few reasons to why I would actually listen to the song). And if you cannot tell how I feel about the song so far: I am disappointed with it.
The music video is pretty nice to watch. It does fall a bit on the boring side, but I actually put up with it every time I listen to it. I just want to start off with the “sexual controversy” that the video had. Many people (netizens) have complained about the many sexual references made in the video. The director responded with “it was deliberate” and that pretty much made my day. Anyway, those sexual scenes were probably my favourite parts of the video. Hani, seasoning the meat so suggestively and LE in that bathtub. OMG. The music video starts off with a couple checking into the hotel. It seems like the girls are searching for the guy, who probably from the title is lying to a lot of people. I love Hyerin in the black dress, who instead of picking petals off the flower, is ripping hair out of a Ken Doll. Their acting in this video is quite nice and very bright. I just felt something else in terms of the plot should have made the video more interesting. The guy exploding at the end was a little alarming and confused me quite a bit, but they should have included what happened in between, like “why did the guy explode?” and “how did that occur?”.
The dance was okay. Not as memorable as their previous dances. Loved the dance break but felt the chorus was a little lacking.
Probably one of the biggest award ceremonies for music and also probably one of the most prestigious, the 30th Golden Disk Awards (GDA) was held on the 20th to the 21st of January 2016. The GDA was supposed to be held in China but was moved back to South Korea due to the recent earthquakes that occurred there just 1 or two weeks before the scheduled event. Even though many people were shocked and feared the award ceremony would be either postponed or cancelled, the ceremony went off without a single hiccup and was broadcast live in both Korea and China.
What I like about this particular awards is that is focuses on both the physical albums and downloaded songs of the year. In other words, more awards for everyone. It is also nice to see who excelled in what (hahahaha…). The digital awards were handed out on the 20th of January, while the physical album awards were handed out on the 21st of January. The award show on the first night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Jong Kook and Seohyun (SNSD). The second night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Leeteuk (Super Junior) and Krystal (F(x)) I have recapped the award winners on the two nights below.
Disk Daesang (Album Of The Year) – EXODUS (EXO) Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) – Loser (Big Bang) Disk Bonsang (Best Artist) – APINK, VIXX, F(x), BTS, CNBLUE, Jonghyun (SHINee), EXO, Beast, Super Junior Digital Bonsang (Best Artist) – Red Velvet, EXID, AOA, Zion.T, Park Jin Young, Sistar, Taeyeon (SNSD), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Big Bang, Girl’s Generation Best New Artist – GFriend, iKON, Seventeen, Twice Popularity Award – SHINee Best Rap / Hip Hop – SanE Best Rock – Hyukoh Global Popularity Award – EXO Best Group Vocal Award – BTOB Best Solo Vocal Award – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue) Best Male Artist Award – Big Bang Best Female Artist Award – Taeyeon (SNSD) Next Generation Star Award – Monsta X
Once again, this wide spread of award winners seem to be more representative of main stream KPOP. Not that I am complaining. Most of the award recipients were similar to the Seoul Music Award 2016, however a lot more artists won in this ceremony, since their was more rewards. Not that I am being a hater or anything, but Kyuhyun’s bonsang award seems a little far fetched. From memory (correct me if I am wrong though), his song never charted high on the charts and likewise Super Junior barely makes an impact on the digital side of the music industry. So I am a little suspicious of how he managed to get an award for a digital bonsang. Saying that, he did sell a lot. Like a lot on the physical side. But beside that, I think it was a nice range of artists who won and I think it is accurate (as in which artists managed to shine the brightest in 2015).
I really need to think of ways to start off the different sections, but once again… I think out of the all the ceremonies that have already been broadcast (NOTE: I am typing this prior to the Gaon Chart Awards), GDA has the best performances. Why? Because many of the artists performed multiple songs and I really enjoy how some artists (or their producers) integrate different songs together. GFriend, Red Velvet, EXID, Seventeen and BTS had the best stages on the nights. Some artists performed some songs that were released in the past (in previous years, such as EXID’s Up & Down, VIXX’s Error, Sistar’s Touch My Body etc.), which I kind of liked, but, the songs were released last year… so maybe a little outdated. But overall, the performances, I think, were to a very high standard and pleased me (*points at myself* and *acting as the biggest critic of all time*).
Below are just the few performances that I found and slapped together in a playlist format in no particular order.
For a last minute change to the ceremony, it managed to do pretty well in my books. Awards, performances. Everything was just great. There is one more to go of this season’s award ceremonies, which will be coming out in the coming days. Until then, bye!!
The Seoul Music Awards is one of the award ceremonies held the year after for the year before. For example, the award ceremony for the 25th Seoul Music Award was held in 2016, but celebrates the flourishing artists of 2015. Understand yet? Well now that hard to understand concept has been dealt with, the 25th Seoul Music Award ceremony was held on the 14th of January 2016, in Seoul. It is said that this award ceremony is one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies for the year as it recognises the popular and talented artists of the year. Selection process for winners on the night are as follow: 20% mobile votes, 10% Popularity Polls, 40% music sales (both digital and physical album sales) and 30% judging panel’s scores. Only artists who released singles or albums in 2015 are eligible to win.
Like all ceremonies, a number of actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the event to give out awards. The night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, EXID’s Hani and Honey Lee. All artists that received the award on the night performed on stage (minus those whose awards were accepted on their behalf by label mates – Big Bang is who I am trying to refer to).
Just to recap the awards winners of the night: Bonsang Awards – EXID, Red Velvet, Taeyeon (SNSD), VIXX, Yoon Mi Rae, Zion.T, BTS, EXO, APINK, Sistar, Big Bang & SHINee.
Best New Artist – iKON, GFriend, Seventeen
Performance Award – Hyukoh
Best Trot Award – Hong Jin Young
Best RnB Award – Sane
Best Ballad Award – BTOB
Best OST Award – Jang Jae In (performed with Wonwoo (Seventeen) on the night)
Male Dance Performance Award – Monsta X
Female Dance Performance Award – Ailee
Mobile Popularity Award – Kim Junsu (JYJ)
Hallyu Special Award – EXO
Record Of The Year (Digital Release) – Bang Bang Bang (Big Bang)
Record Of The Year (Physical Release) – Kiss My Lip (BOA)
Daesang Award (Best Artist Of The Year) – EXO
The Bonsang awards seem to be more representative of the mainstream KPOP this year. Finally, Seventeen get their Best New Artist award that I think they truly deserve. Most likely they got it for their record breaking album sales. And finally some people decided to pay attention to BTOB. I am not technically fond of their ballads in the past year, but hey, it looks like South Korea is finally paying attention to them. Ailee’s award is one I am not exactly sure of. I don’t think it was the best dance performance of the year. I think that belongs to a particular rookie who was present on the night as well. Regarding Kim Junsu, who was apparently not invited to the ceremony despite winning a key award on the night, there is some shady business going on. But hopefully, when this matter is resolved, justice for Junsu and JYJ will occur. 2015 was a step forward for them, with the introduction of the JYJ Law.
Ailee should not have been pestered for the cameras catching her “on her mobile”. The netizens make it sound like she was too busy texting another person or was too busy looking at pictures of food. Put simply, she was just downloading an app to support SHINee and was later seen supporting Boa. People should really see the bigger picture (or in this case, wait for it) before making a big deal out it. Also, Boa’s award. Even though it was nice to see her win something, I agree with a lot of people who say she got the award just because of her senior status. It was her 15 year anniversary and she probably wouldn’t have received any award for her album if she debuted later on. Also, Starship should not deprive Sistar of any chances to get on the stage. They looked like they really enjoyed being there and were probably excited for their first stage together in what seemed to be 6 months.
Performance wise, I actually did not pay that much attention to the performances in this ceremony. Some of them were disappointing to watch, while others just did not appeal to me or make me want to watch. All I am going to say is the few that I did manage to watch (mainly the first half) were okay. Just minus the introduction for EXID’s performance. That was shocking. Stand out was probably GFriend’s intro. While their fan chant came to a close second. I don’t why I feel that way regarding the performances, I just was not feeling it. For the past few years which I have been watching the SMA ceremonies, their performances are by far the weakest of all ceremonies. Below I have put a handful of performances that I could quickly find into a playlist from the night.
Well, that is it for my wrap up of the Seoul Music Awards 2016. Hopefully, next year is better. Less controversy and better stages required to make this an award ceremony that I can look forward to.
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.
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 :).
Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
If You Do
Oh My Girl
Love Me Right
I Need U
Sing For You
Taeyeon (SNSD) ft. Verbal Jint
Like OOH AHH
Oh Um Ah Yeah
Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)
Between Night n Music
Shake That Brass
Amber (f(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)
VIXX LR (VIXX)
Brand New World
Brown Eyed Girls
Ring My Bell
Donghae & Eunhyuk
Catch Me If You Can
Me Gustas Tu
Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
Might Just Die
We Like 2 Party
Mad Clown ft. Jamsil (Mad Child Soul)
Ice Cream Cake
Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
I Feel You
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).
015 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 2 of the BOBs and part1 was released yesterday (Click Here). 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
BEST MALE ROOKIE
Once again, 2015 saw many debuting groups enter the KPOP scene. And this category obviously allows me to pick who i saw as the best new male artist of 2015. And boy were the standards high this year. The nominees are:
I have to give it to Seventeen. They were the only new boy group on the block that left a massive long impression on me since their debut at the start of the year til now. At first 13 members may have sounded a little too much, but the songs they were releasing proved otherwise. Honourable mentions goes to Monsta X who only popped on my radar in the past few weeks. Yeah, their debut did not do much, but what they released after did a lot.
BEST FEMALE ROOKIE
Same as the above category, many new girl group emerged from the shadows and wowed a lot of people. Most not if all female rookies managed to amaze me and picking the nominees for this category had been one of the hardest things to do this year. The nominees are:
Hands down, it automatically goes to GFriend. As soon as they started, they had the press all over them and their comeback proved to be highly successful, ranking high on the charts. As for honourable mention… I am literally torn between Oh My Girl and Twice. Yeah, Oh My Girl did not do as well for this debut, but their comeback exceed my expectations so much (why? Find out later) but I am going to give it to Twice, as they have only released one song and also ranked incredibly high on the charts.
One of the things that make KPOP so unique is obviously the choreography and performances. And this year saw an amazing variety of performances and dances that made fans all for certain groups harder than ever. Each of the nominees that made it onto the list truly deserve to be the winner as they were all equally unique and amazing. I nominated:
Screw the MAMA awards. The male category was a mess for Best Male Dance Performance. However, I am here to fix it. I am putting BTS – Dope as the best dance of the year. Yes. BTS was not nominated at all and that is so disappointing. Dope was such as “dope” dance that was in sync and perfectly executed. As for honourable mention, GOT7 – If You Do takes it away. Though it was nominated, but it did not win. And I was incredibly disappointed. Anyway, I can say this: all of the nominated dances deserve an award.
Albums. Not my favourite thing to talk about. Mainly because there are songs on some albums that disappoint me, and hence I sometimes stay away from albums because of that. Each album is looked at as a whole and also each individual song is looked at in detail. I don’t listen to entire albums a lot, but here is a list of just some albums I did manage to listen to as a whole. The nominees are:
At of all of those albums above, there were two stands out. The winner was F(x) – 4Walls, their 4th album. I have to say each and every song on this album I adore to the point where all the songs on there have become more memorable than certain comebacks of big name artists. Honourable mentions goes to Brown Eyed Girls – Basic, their 6th full length album. The album came extremely closely to being the winner, but I do not personally feel the same level of excitement when I listen to the album.
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Music videos per usual is an artists main form of promotion. And this year, the music videos released were to of an extremely high standard. Each of these music videos have some unique about them and that is what stood out to me. I chose these based on plot, cinematography, sets or scenery, acting (if applicable) and editing. The nominees I saw fit these categories were:
I think the simplicity was the key for me this year. G.Soul – You won Best Music Video in my point of view. There is essentially nothing in this video beside the singer himself and some lights. But yet it managed to become such an amazing video. Honourable mentions goes to FT Island – Pray. Their concept was so amazing that it was incredibly hard to pass up this video.
BEST FEMALE GROUP
Now let’s get down to business. I like to call this and the next category “the best artist of the year”. But since KPOP is highly populated with groups, I split them up into genders and call the categories “group”. The female groups this year have successfully wowed me (and probably everyone else this year), with many people being able to pick a favourite. The nominees for Best Female Group are:
I think I am going to agree with the ongoing trend and give it to EXID. From Up and Down, released last year, EXID shot into the limelight with a fancam of Hani and have since re-promoted Up and Down, came back with Ah Yeah and more recently Hot Pink. Each time they make a comeback, they go on to prove their popularity. As for Honourable Mention: Red Velvet. Their successful year yet, and I am 100% sure that better years will come. Ice Cream Cake and Dumb Dumb will remain as favourites for me.
BEST MALE GROUP
Now let’s move onto the guys. The competition was so tough this year. At first, I managed to list around 20 different male groups that I think deserve this award, but I only ended up choosing 10 nominees. It was so hard. But here are my choices:
I am going to choose GOT7 as the best boy group of the year. GOT7 released three songs: Just Right, If You Do and Winter’s Confession. Put together, GOT7 had one busy year and I saw a very large amount of growth in terms of the boys’ talents and sound. As for honourable mention, it would got to BTS. For this year, BTS has definitely matured and showed an ever fiercer and more powerful side of the group.
This category, each year proves to be my worst enemy. It is so hard to choose my most favourite song. This particular category is not influenced (in any way) by the charts that I am releasing tomorrow. The “best song of the year” chosen here are like my subconscious mind speaking, whom I really want to see be given the title. The charts tomorrow are more calculated and take into account my reviews during the year and what my current thoughts about them are. But as I said choosing this category is the hardest. So many songs deserve this title and if I could choose to give out multiple “Best Song” awards I can. The nominees are:
Let’s start with the honourable mentions: GOT7 – If You Do, Oh My Girl – Closer, EXID – Hot Pink & Seventeen – Mansae.
And finally, I give to you, 2015’s Best Song of the Year, which you can probably tell already by the video linked below.
EXID – Ah Yeah
Congratulations, EXID. 2015 has been proven to be your year. You can watch the music video for this year’s Best Song below!
And that is it for Part 2 of the BOBs. Check back tomorrow, for the End Of Year Charts. And then, lets all wait for the New Year to come rolling through? Got your New Year’s Resolution yet?
*All images and gifs belong to their owners/creators. Only those tables are mine.
2015 is at its end, and with days away from the new year, we must reflect on 2015. And per usual: excellent songs, videos and dances have gracefully entered our lives and probably have not yet left us. From comebacks from big name acts to debuts of new rookie bands, 2015 has been a splendid year in my opinion. This year I decided to do the BOBs differently. Usually, I post a list of nominees and categories, but I don’t get you guys to vote for them (nor do I have the capabilities and time to allow you guys to vote for them, but maybe in the future), so I thought I should change it up this year, but posting both nominees and winners in the same post. This is part 1 of the BOBs and part 2 will be released tomorrow with the rest of the categories. Also, the traditional End of Year Charts will be released on the 31st of December, at 11:55 pm, so please wait around for that. Let’s get the post on the road!!!
These awards do not reflect any review score that I gave out this year. My personal preferences will always change (i.e. an 8 review score can currently be a 10 OR a 10 review score can currently by an 8).
RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention
Each year, artists see a rise in popularity. May that be due to great songs or great publicity (after all: any publicity is good publicity), this year was no difference. Each of these artists, I have personally seen, some sort of boost in popularity this year. And I get to choose two winners (one male and one female) for this certain category. For this year, I have nominated:
My pick is: EXID and BTOB. Both teams saw a rise in popularity due to one particular member, and slowly each member in each group is become well known in the industry. Keep up the good work, EXID and BTOB!!!
A song is not a song without an instrumental. And in KPOP, the instrumental plays a massive part in hooking us in and getting us addicted to the music. Especially for foreign and international fans who don’t understand the Korean language 100%. So many great instrumentals this year, here are the nominees:
Out of all the nominees, there can be only one winner: Wonder Girls – I Feel You. The girls returned to the stage with a brand new band concept, which totally wowed me. This instrumental has its own retro vibe and I personally enjoyed it a lot. From the drums to the keyboard and guitars, the girls totally deserve this. By far one of the most underrated songs, that definitely deserve an award! Honourable Mentions: F(x) – 4Walls
BEST JAPANESE SONG
I also do some Japanese songs on this site. Hahaha… Yeah, I review some Japanese songs from time to time. The variety of singers that I listen to for Japanese songs is usually limited to only the Japanese songs released by Korean artists. This year, the category has been dominated by Korean artists and I hope next year, I can start to review more Japanese artists! Here are the nominees:
I think, I was most addicted to Beast – Can’t Wait To Love You. And that was my pick for Best Japanese Song. It was song that I felt did not fall into the typical Korean Pop or Japanese Pop genres and was pretty unique on its own. As for honourable mentions: BTS – For You.
Big name comebacks this occurred and they all managed to rock our socks off. Hahaha… I take into account: song, concept, promotions, looks, impact and a few more categories and suprisngly, the biggest artists that emerge from the Golden Age of KPOP were nominated:
Out of all the comebacks nominated, the one that fitted the criteria the most would have been Big Bang. 2015 was one big year for the band, and they had such an unique concept in terms of promotion. SNSD takes away honourable mention for this category.
Unfortunately, 2015 did not continue the 2014 trend of subunits. However, some new subunits formed from popular bands and some old favourite returned. Here is who I think should be nominated as best subunit:
This one was a little close for me. But I am going to say Donghae and Eunhyuk, which is a subunit belonging to Super Junior. Their song was by far an amazing and left a more long lasting impact on me than the others. The other subunit that gets honourable mention is VIXX LR, which is a duo made up of Leo and Ravi.
2015 saw a new wave of contestant based TV shows around rapping and hence many artists have seen a boost in popularity after appearing on these shows. Other rappers also remained on stage as part of their groups and amazed the audience continuously during each comeback. Here are the nominees:
Out of all the rappers on the light, I picked Mad Clown as a winner. His song was a hit, it was a great song (now) and while he is not part of some group, he still managed to be placed ahead of everyone this year. Zico (Block B) took out Honourable Mention for his active year. Interestingly enough, both selected artists had someone featuring in their song.
When there are rappers, there are also singers. 2015 also saw new programs (and our old favourites) made specifically for the vocalists of all groups. Some vocalists we know have always amazed us, but others have just emerged and became trends for 2015. Based purely on what they sound like, here are the nominees:
I think this category has the most obvious winner, Taeyeon (SNSD). Yeah, she was quite active as an artist, but her debut for I blew everyone away. As for honourable mention, it goes to Solji (EXID). Her performance of Maria still replays in my head. Her powerful vocals in EXID’s performance are also quite amazing.
BEST MALE SOLOIST
While the above category looked like at vocal performance, the Best Male Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:
There is only one artist on this list that managed to wow me the very moment I listened to the song and that artist is Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite). His whole album did wonders and is an album that I am continuously going back to. As for honourable mentions, Lee Hong Ki (FT Island) wins that. His solo debut song was well received and I reviewed it as an amazing ballad.
BEST FEMALE SOLOIST
While the above category(Best Vocalist) looked like at vocal performance, the Best Female Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:
Once again, I am going to give it to Taeyeon (SNSD). Vocally, stunning. It was memorable and lovely to listen to. Honourable Mention was a close call, but Amber (F(x)) stole it from Gain (Brown Eyed Girls). So catchy and bright.
And that is it for Part 1 of the BOBs. Check back tomorrow, where I will post the second part of the BOBs, with Best Song, Best Male and Female Rookie; and Best Male and Female groups (plus a few more categories).
*All images and gifs belong to their owners/creators. Only those tables are mine.
The girls, EXID are back with Hot Pink. From what I heard, so people think this song was just released to keep the group relevant, but I am totally digging this song. After all their past hits, I think Hot Pink has to be one of the best songs the girls have released so far. This song, like all their other songs, have been super addictive and it just keeps replaying in my mind. The cows bells, I thought they be annoying, but they give the track its addictive nature. Yeah, their English isn’t that great in this song: “I like the way you pink it”. Cringe worthy, but they add that KPOP feel to the song. Cause it ain’t a true KPOP song until we look at its English. The instrumental, vocals and raps are all great. I love how some articles are dubbing Junghwa’s part as the “virgin verse” so all their oppa fans still believe that someone in the group hasn’t had sex yet. Hahahaha… I like her part. It does changes the song up quite a bit and sounds like there was something wrong in the recording session (like they played the wrong song entirely fro Junghwa) but if you look at the song as a whole, it flows pretty well.
As for the music video, the girls seem to be sellers of an illegal substance known as Pink Oil. They influence drivers and bring in the bank by selling the Pink Oil with their good looks. But when policemen come by and inspect the station, the girls just simply turn of the lights. Ummm… I think they need to retrain the police officers (and check their eyesight). In the end, the police officers find some suspicious substance and we see at the end, the girls are closing in with tools of the trade. It ends there, but the scene at the start seems to finish of the story, with the girls successfully killing the policemen and have put them into the boot of a car. Yeah, another cheesy video plot, to be honest. I am more impressed about the set. How they managed to replicate the scene of a dark highway seems really extraordinary. And that goes to show how easily impressed I am. Honestly, I think their sets look pretty cool. And I think the best comment of the day is: “Pink Oil is made up of a pink liquid and Junghwa?”. Yes, they squeeze the essence of Junghwa into the Pink Oil, and hence it is seen as an extremely expensive commodity. Hahahaha.
The dance isn’t that great. It is just wiggling the butt and biting on the thumb to look sexy. It really isn’t going to be iconic compared to Up and Down, but it is as simple. Not really impressed with the dance part when Solji sings her part. Especially in the music video, it just looks like the girls are throwing their arms around the place and just for the sake of it. It just begs everyone to ask the question: how do you make a more iconic dance than Up and Down?
Overall, love the song. The music video is good, but the dance really does not exceed my expectation. 8/10