[Review] Ka-Ching – EXO-CBX

EXO-CBX will be making their official debut on the 24th of May, with the drop of their first min-album, Girls. While that date is two weeks away, they have already released the short version of the music video and gave a full performance for their debut track.  The EXO subunit previously made their Korean debut with Hey Mama last year. This is the third JPOP review of the four I promised, with the last one being released later today.

I was genuinely curious what style the subunit would go for. Hey Mama was so good and was a song that was more up my alley. Given that this release is more for the audience in Japan, it would be interesting to see what style the song delves into. And I am glad that I clicked on this song. Ka-Ching really catchy to listen to. Even after the song ends, I want more of it. The instrumental sounds like a soundtrack for the playboy who just arrived at a Las Vegas casino and has a bit fun in the casino. Which is obviously appropriate for a song that revolves around money. I love the vocal work in the song, especially the buildup during the pre-chorus. The “Ka-Ching” that is engraved into our minds by the end of the song sounds alluring and does a good job of keeping that catchiness of the song. Trust me, but “Ka-Ching” is probably the one thing you will remember for a while after listening to the song. The one thing that doesn’t sit well with me is the rapping in the song. It was pretty bad, to the point where I has to be one of the worst rap sequences I have heard in a long time. The song needed a rap sequence, just not that one. But overall, the song was pretty good.

I am honestly not too sure about the music video. A part of me likes it. Another part of me wants to ask what was going on during the circus scenes. Not exactly sure about those backup dancers and their creepy makeup. Sure, they added a little colour to the video to give it a more vibrant feel, but it looked really scary. The green screen for the circus background has a lot going on, so it felt overwhelming and complicated. The casino scenes looked a lot simpler and felt more open but those backup dancers were still there. I like the speech bubbles and the comic themed writing that appeared. Just not the word art for the line “We’re on a payroll”.

Getting on the trend of body rolls, Ka-Ching makes use of the body rolls during the chorus. It actually looks quite cool. My favourite part of the dance is the end, which isn’t shown in the music video linked below but rather the live performance that you can search up on YouTube, where Baekhyun starts off, then Chen and Xiumin, then the backup dancers.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

 

[Review] Take Me Home – Baekhyun (EXO)

Baekhyun’s recent solo release is the third song in the SM Station Season 2 project. Red Velvet’s Would U and Ten’s Dream In A Dream are also other songs in the project. For a review, I don’t think I ever repeated the artist’s name so many times before.

Baekhyun went with a ballad that does a pretty good job at bringing out his vocal’s capabilities. His vocals are on point throughout the song. Take Me Home fits perfectly into the season of Spring, with its more upbeat and brighter melody. Complimenting the Spring season, you can hear the romantic vibes that Baekhyun and the instrumental try to get across to the listener. But the instrumental is pretty standard, and there isn’t anything to comment on. I love how his voice buildups in the song, rather than the instrumental. That, or you can hear the buildup in his voice more apparent here. The song doesn’t have me coming back for though. It is the type of song that you would be happy to listen to, but you don’t necessary go back to replay it. There wasn’t a memorable moment that I tend to look for in ballads. Overall, it is a beautiful song but probably not one for me.

The video compliments the song quite nicely. I expected the video to be more on the dull side, but it wasn’t. The entire song was about how Baekhyun wanted to help his friend (the girl) get over her ex. The whole video shows Baekhyun’s attempt of moving her attention away. In the end, he successfully drags her away from the memories that sadden her by getting her to do a small dance and finally sharing a smile with each other. The end shows him holding the picture and the flower, but no friend was present, suggesting that she had moved on and his job was completed. My initial thoughts of Baekhyun’s attempts to get her mind off of things was that he was flirting and was consistently rejected. I guess lyrics and some fan comments do go a long way. As I previously said, it is a nice video to watch.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7/10 

[Review] Let Me Love You – Junggigo & Chanyeol (EXO)

Another cross-company collaboration has been unveiled (last week). Last time it was Soyu & Baekhyun’s Rain. Recently, I reviewed Honey Bee, which featured Luna, Solar and Hani. Now, Junggigo and Chanyeol from EXO has come together to give us a new song. Both of these artists are quite successful in their solo work. Junggigo is one-half of the ‘Some’ collaboration and Chanyeol has been ranking high on the charts with his solo OSTs. Hence, making this song something to look forward to.

Let Me Love You is a ballad and RnB infused track. It sounds very smooth and ‘easy on the ears’ (if you understand what I am trying to get at). The song itself is pretty simple, with no aspects of the song overcomplicating it, hence something that is quite nice to listen to. The song also is the type that gets you swaying along to the music. That is one of the signs it is a pretty good ballad, in my point of view (which when I say it, sounds a little odd). Both Junggigo and Chanyeol sounds amazing in the song. This is expected of Junggigo (just haven’t been digging his recent releases) but I get surprised every time I hear Chanyeol sing, though. He is a rapper in EXO yet he has a very nice voice when singing, which was unexpected when I discovered that he could sing. There really isn’t much else to say about the song. I will just happily listen to the song in the background, while I continue on with the review.

When I saw images of the music video, I thought the song was a soundtrack for the new Power Rangers film that is due to come out this year (who else is excited about the new Power Ranger film?). But then it turns out to be just a simple music video with a Power Ranger type of setting. The video does make me chuckle a bit, though. The moustached Power Rangers battle a giant cockroach. Actually, now I think about it, the Power Rangers are probably just pest control dressed in funky clothing to make their work a little more interesting. But it turns out there is a romantic twist with the guy playing the cockroach having a mad crush on one of the rangers. It seems like she is also interested as she is the only person to pay attention to him (the other rangers and staff don’t seem to care about him). While the two hang out, everyone packs up, leaving the two ‘friends’ behind. They spend even more time together, to the point where the girl can’t seem to kill her love when they working on set for the film or show they are shooting. They are a very cute couple and watching the guy walk around with the costume on made me go “awwww” for most of the video. Couple goals 2017? Wait… Sorry, it should be #CoupleGoals2017. That’s the way to write it in 2017.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10

[Review] Rain – Soyu (Sistar) & Baekhyun (EXO)

Another collaboration between two of the biggest idol names in the business at the moment. Soyu (from Sistar) has many collaborations to her name, such as Some with JungGiGo and Stupid in Love with Mad Clown. Baekhyun (from EXO) collaborated with Suzy for Miss A for Dream and have participated in OSTs for popular dramas in the past. All the collaborations and songs that the two have participated ended up being successful and high charting songs.

As expected given their portfolio, the two went with a ballad. It is one of those extremely slow ballads that people tend to shy away from. Even I do that to some of the songs of that nature sometimes. The combination between Baekhyun’s sweet vocals and the huskiness you hear with Soyu’s vocals is something you expect to be fantastic. And for the latter half of the song when they sing together for the final chorus, we got that fantastic feel. But the start of the song just didn’t have that same feeling. You could hear their vocals in the purest form (i.e. there is nothing shadowing or covering their respective parts) and that is good. But with a slow ballad, that seemed to drag out the song. While I am not too troubled by that now, it was something that I had to get used to after multiple listens to the song. But there is something else. Changing from Soyu to Baekhyun felt too instant and too fast. There was a second of silence and that was it. That silence felt like it two songs were ‘joined’ together as the two have different voices. A nice transition that eased in Baekhyun’s part would have made the song nicer as I felt the song needed that transition.

I am not a big fan of the video. There wasn’t anything of interest in the video. I just play the video mainly for the song. But you guys may like it. The video simply shows a young girl wandering around in the rain (or course with an umbrella). We do see that she is thinking about someone as shown via her drawings in her book and on the blackboard. While the video is not my cup of tea, the video is beautifully shot. Just by watching the video, you can’t help but smile when the girl in the video is happy and joyfully jumping around, which is quite cute.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[Review] For Life – EXO

EXO made their return with a special Winter album and the title track, For Life. This is not their first time releasing a Winter album, with Miracles of December and Sing For You preceding the track. The release also serves as their 5th mini album, to date.

EXO returned to their ballad songs with the release of For Life, which makes the most sense as ballads give you warmth and suit the colder season in South Korea. And what they are doing is amazing. Not saying that they should just go to ballads now on (I don’t think many people would react well to that), but what they do every Winter with their ballads is amazing. For Life consists of a very nice balance of strings and piano in its instrumental. It doesn’t sound grand, but rather simple, which I think is a charm of the song. The guys sang the song beautifully, even the rappers participating in the vocal work this time around. The verses sounded a little dry and boring. But the chorus was what blew my mind. It caught my attention from the very start and it sounded amazing. It is a little hard to explain in words here, but if I were you and you wanted that ballad fix of yours, this is the song to go to at the moment.

I like the plot of the video. One-half of the video was made to look like the guy was looking for the girl, with the bracelet as motivation to finding her. The second half consisted of her looking for the guy, to give the bracelet to so he can find her in the future. The video stars an actress to whom I don’t know the name of and the following EXO members: Chanyeol, Kai and Suho. Each of the members and the actress did an amazing job in the video. While the song is quite slow (and the video is quite fitting in terms of tempo), the video was surprisingly interesting to watch. I thought the video would be boring, but in the end, the video was a stand-out for ballads overall.

Rating – 9.5/10

[Review] Hey Mama – EXO-CBX

EXO has made a comeback with the reduced form of 3 members. Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin had joined forces to form a new subunit and perform as a trio on stage.  It has been previously rumoured that EXO would launch a subunit.This is not their first release as a trio. The three has released an OST for the drama – Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. As per any EXO release, the song and album have topped charts as soon as the release was dropped.

The song is freaking amazing. I liked everything about it. I had my doubts about some aspects, but those doubts were crushed as soon as I started listening to the song for the first time. The song has a very dominate retro vibe (very funky and reminds me a lot of the disco era), which I like a lot. I loved the very dominate guitar sounds in the instrumental. It made the instrumental interesting and added an extra layer of depth to the song. Even the vocals of the song were really good. Baekhyun and Chen are known to be the powerhouse vocals in EXO. This song does justice to that fact very nicely. Chen even got the spotlight on him for his amazing high note at the end of the song, which does show to the world the hidden gem in EXO. Xiumin sounds amazing here and it is a pity that the line distribution for EXO songs isn’t in his favour sometimes. Even his rapping caught me off guard (but for good reasons). Baekhyun rapping is something that I am on the fence with. Works in this song, but sounded weird. An excellent song, in my books. And extremely catchy. Definitely, a song that will be replayed constantly.

The video shows a more playful side of the trio. EXO music videos are quite dark or masculine. This video moves away from that and gives the members a more colourful side to them. Have little to no clue on what is going on in the video. It seems like Chen and Xiumin are hard at work, but with a little persuasion from Baekhyun, they join Baekhyun in some sort of rebellion against society. The red papers seem to be important, but the pages are ultimately trashed. Even the rest of society are too busy banging their drinks on the tables. But with the trio stepping up onto television, everyone breaks free from the really boring drinking-banging ritual and join on in with the fun. Because life is only great, when you have fun. They even threw in a side romance for Chen in there. There is also a nice refreshing feel from the video. I feel like this is a music video that is easily relatable to and it isn’t over the top or complex to read. It’s simple and straight to the point (provided my interpretation is right).

The choreography is pretty cool as well. It looks cool and fits nicely with the song as well. The love their hand movements during the “Ooh, Ooh” that appears at the end of each chorus.

Rating – 9.5/10

 

 

 

[Review] Lotto – EXO

EXO has returned with their latest repackaged album, Lotto. If you don’t remember, EXO made their previous comeback with Monster and Lucky One back in June. In the brief absence, the band have been busy with international and domestic concerts (both solo and company). Unfortunately, though, this comeback have been riddled with problems. The majority of the members have been injured or currently sick. Yet they still manage to pull through and perform every week for this promotion run. It shows their passion and determination for the fans, but like any human being, they need rest and a break. A long massive break! And that goes for all artists, KPOP or not!!!

For those who don’t know, I am not a big fan of autotune. Yes, I do enjoy it to some degree, especially when it is used interestingly and in small doses. However, a song that is autotuned from beginning to end really irks me. Not all the time, as a few songs with autotune all the way through it, have been my favourites. But from experience, the majority of the songs of that kind do disappoint me. Moving back to this song, though, I am a little torn. I am extremely disappointed with the copious amount of autotune, but I am digging the instrumental and it is quite catchy. From the vocals and rap, everything has been laced in autotune and I can’t help but shiver from it. I do much prefer the live versions (or the stage version) where the autotune is reduced and you can clearly hear the vocals and rapping work. With that alone, the song is quite good. We (and I) already know that the group is capable enough with the autotune. I just cannot get over the autotune. The instrumental (at the start) sounds a lot like RnB back in the day. I do like the electronic components in the background. I am totally in love with the short instrumental bit for the dance break.

The music video is a lot dark and shot in a way that resembles Monster’s music video. The camera angles, the wide panning and the overall way the camera moves (should have said that from the start) seem quite similar (probably the same director). I like it very much in this video. It captures the scenes pretty well and gives the video a nice “story” feel to it. Anyway, like the song title suggests, the video is made purely with the idea of gambling and money surrounding it. Yes, even Suho is burning money.  The guys went for a more edgier look and style for this concept and I do think it suit them. I am a little surprised about the content of the video. For a video which promotes gambling, the people who rates the music video put down a rating of 15+. That’s okay an all but doesn’t this video send a bad message to the younger kids. I am quite sure there are many mature fans who know what is right and wrong. But I am a little concerned about the younger generation. I won’t hate on the video for showing all of that plus some activites that are illegal (in my country at least), but I think something should be said about those who puting ratings on the video. Minus the ethics of behind the video (will refrain from going into a huge debate), I actually do like this video quite a bit (more so the imagery and viewing pleasure).

As for the dance, I like it as well. It suits the song pretty well. Love the “pokie machine handle” dance. It fits in with the sound/concept of the song but at the same time, emphasises the sexy and ediger side of the guys. I do also like the dance break they have. That is probably the most memorable part of the dance. If I were to use a word to describe the dance, I would say “cocky”. Their facial expressions and some of their dance moves give off that vibe.

Final Rating – 6.5/10

[Review] Monster – EXO

EXO is back and I will be reviewing both Lucky One and Monster. Not in the ‘double review’ format, though, since I want to talk about both songs. Their album has managed to break records that the group has set themselves including massive pre-sale numbers and the highest selling numbers in the first week alone. They, of course, conquered the charts and once again, proved to Korea and the world that they are not a force to be reckoned with.

Monster is the track that is more associated to EXO. It is a powerful track that is more of EXO’s style than anything else. Once again, the vocals and the rap roll smoothly in this song. The raps, in particular, suit the song a lot more. Chanyeol’s and Sehun’s husky and raspy voices really do wonders to this song. The vocals come together quite well and the power behind the vocals suit the song quite well. It is a song that oozes energy and the vocals exhibit the perfect amount of that power needed. I can’t say this song is catchy. It is fine as it is at the moment, but the chorus needed more of a hook to reel me in. It just doesn’t wow me or amazes me in any way. Just a standard chorus to be honest. I particularly love the ending of the song. It is a complete change up from the powerful side of the song. The song becomes much slower as Chen’s “creeping” dominates the foreground of the song. It kept the song interesting and yeah, it hooked me to the song. However, a hook at the end of the song doesn’t really mean anything to me, because the song is basically finished and most likely I have made my mind up in regards to the next song I want to listen to.

Okay, here is what I see from the video. EXO is some sort of squad that goes to war with the force. We see them sitting around a table at the start. I assume that war or fight occurs a little after that table shooting scene because the table and all the things on it is badly damaged at one point in the video. In the end, Baekhyun remains at the table, while the rest of them is being carted off to jail. This means Baekhyun betrayed the others (for his freedom, I assume). But wait! Plot twist alert. It is revealed that Baekhyun is a double agent and he ends up letting everyone go. That is my basic rundown of the video and what I saw. I think it is a great video overall. The story is there and everything was chaotic, as expected. The really like the dance scenes. Another fine video, where the darkness works really well. I also liked how in all the scenes, despite the darkness, they emphasised all the members that were in the scene. I liked the use of colour and the contrast between them. Also liked that huge pole with all the security cameras. Don’t know why, but it seems cool to sit on top of that.

Dance wise, I thought it was pretty cool as well. Fitting the song, it was quite powerful. It wasn’t obvious and the ‘power’ was very  subtle, but it was there. I loved the start of the dance with the violent swaying and the ending with Chen’s “creeping” part. And everything in between. Particularly the X formation they did in the first chorus. That blew my mind.

Another long review. Final Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] Lucky One – EXO

EXO is back and I will be reviewing both Lucky One and Monster. Not in the ‘double review’ format, though, since I want to talk about both songs. Their album has managed to break records that the group has set themselves including massive pre-sale numbers and the highest selling numbers in the first week alone. They, of course, conquered the charts and once again, proved to Korea and the world that they are not a force to be reckoned with.

My favourite track off the entire album. Lucky One caught my attention almost immediately and I essentially fell in love with the track. It is so damn catchy and addictive to listen to. The song brings you back to the funky days of disco. It is a style that is more retro than any of their other tracks or releases, so it is quite different from the normal EXO sound we would associate with them. The funky instrumental is also a favourite of mine. The vocals and rapping were smooth and fitted the song quite well. I love the change in tempos for different parts of the song. Even the change in tempo matches up with the vocals and I think that gave the song a great effect overall. Usually, different tempos do not string together well, but everything in this track flows quite well. Out of all the EXO tracks that I have heard, I think this has to be one of best ones (for my personal taste) and put it up there with Love Me Right, which I loved so much from last year.

The video here is quite good. The video opens up with these futuristic nurses or experimenters rolling in EXO, who are lying in bed. They get injected with some blue magic fluid, which seems to awaken something in their body (I wrote that last part 5 different times, each time giving off a perverted and dirty feel). There is a moment where scenes of the moon and space. Kind of links it back to their original concept from having superpowers and being from another planet. Something clicks and they start to escape from the hospital/experimentation centre. Using superpowers that they probably recovered and from what I see from the majority of the second half of the video, their good looks. It is as if they tempt the nurses/experimenters in the video. Once the girls get distracted by the guys, well, they self-destruct. In the most painful (but instantaneous way possible. Kind of similar how fangirls/boys will “self-destruct” of their favourite band or bias looks at them. They find every way possible to escape and tempt the females (for example, Kai dancing. Pretty cool yet no one (I repeat, NO ONE including Kai) knows why he was to dance there). The other problem was finding a way out of the area. Well, because it (and quite cleverly) is a maze in the form of the EXO symbol. Overall, I thought it was a great video that matched the tempo of the song. When the song was slow, the video was slow and so on. I love the different camera angles at the start as if the camera man was floating in space and the use of editing in the video.

I am starting to realise that there are no flaws to Lucky One. Everything so far is just perfect. And if you are wondering about the dance, I think it is was perfect as well. I would have liked something with more power (maybe more hip thrusting). So many hip thrusting in the video. But what we see matched the song perfectly. And the start where they are all moving their heads side to side (it looks funny, but it fits the song).

Longest review I have written in ages. Final Rating – 10/10

Rewind: March 2016

OMG. I am so delayed. This was meant to be out earlier in the month, and now look at the calendar, April is almost gone. I’m still tweaking this segment, but I don’t know if I should any thing or get rid of anything existing, so if you can provide feedback, it will be greatly appreciated. Lots to talk about, to let’s go.

Major News

EXO’s Kai and F(x)’s Krystal were caught dating and SM Entertainment confirmed that the two were in fact an actual couple. After this confirmation, people started to post pictures online as “proof of Kai and Krystal’s relationship”, which I think are either fake or just a blatant invasion of privacy (but what isn’t? They are watched 24/7). But some of these picture claims to have Kai and Krystal kissing in public in a pool and catch the two “checking in” into hotels. Anyway, while this probably heartbreaking to fans of both, we all should be happy for them. Oh and did I mention Dispatch was the one to tell the world about this couple (once again). Who are your reporters and why are they so good about finding these things?

And the industry has been rocked by news of certain singers suspected of being a part of prostitution, which involves dodgy sponsors. I am not in tune with the whole thing and I am quite sure that the news has died down now. It is very hard to retell everything here, so I will just cut to the chase. These singers either go or are introduced to these sponsors that will make an investment into the singers career, in exchange for you know what. That is my understanding of it, and these singers were caught. They were brought into questioning and the news (of course) leaked a description of a particular artist who recently left her company and faced financial hardship in the past. It is sad that people have to result to this (that is if they chose this path) or just horrible if they were tricked into it, which I believe of some of claim to have been.

Comebacks & Debuts

March saw big name bands make their comebacks. GOT7, Jun Hyosung (Secret), Lee Hi, Fiestar, Red Velvet, Hyomin (T-Ara),DAY6, BTOB, Oh My Girl and Eric Nam are just to name a few.

We cannot forget about the rookies can we? KNK made their debut with Knock, which it garnering a lot of interest in the band, and I am too.

Polls

A few polls (including the ones in Febuary as well). I asked you guys:

  • Which Winner song did you guys prefer? And the results is as follow: I’m Young (30%); Sentimental, Baby Baby & Pricked (20%); and finally Immature (10%).
  • Which Taemin song did you guys like? Both songs (Drip Drop and Press Your Number) received the same amount of votes.
  • Which Lee Hi song did you guys like? Hold My Hand had an overwhelming amount of votes (87%) and Breathe got 17% of the votes.

Top 5 Songs Of March 2016

Here are my top 5 songs that were released in March 2016, taken straight from the amount of plays in iTunes:

  1. Find Me – Jun Hyosung (Secret) ft. D.Action
  2. Fly – GOT7
  3. Mirror – Fiestar
  4. Spring Love – Eric Nam & Wendy (Red Velvet)
  5. Knock – KNK

As you can tell, review releases have decreased so much in the past month. I apologise. Just a heads up, I will be releasing reviews on Sundays Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays (provided I am free and have time on those days). The other days are far too too busy for me. I also mentioned on Twitter that once this semester ends, I will be doing a revamp of the site (much needed), so if there is anything you want to see, comment below. All feedback will be appreciated.

 

Call You Bae – Jimin (AOA) ft. Xiumin (EXO)

Jimin from AOA has made her comeback with a brand new song as a solo artist. For those who don’t know, she made her solo debut last year with GOD, along side N.Flying’s J.Don. Now, for this comeback, she enlisted the help of EXO’s Xiumin. Such a surprising collaboration.

As I said the collaboration was unexpected. But the quality of the song and the collaboration itself  is pretty good. Not once was I disappointed with the song, the vocals, the rapping or the concept. I usually complain about Jimin’s rap, but she sounds fine in this song. It didn’t give me shivers or causes any headaches for me. Xiumin’s vocals (in this song) just shows to you how he deserve more lines in EXO. Someone commented somewhere (forgot where) that he got more lines in this song than his entire EXO career. Seems a little far fetched to me, but in reality, we might as well believe it. I do pray that was Jimin was singing (not exactly sure she can, but I assume she can sing) at the chorus when they both go high pitch (and not some stand in). The song made me smile. My only complaint is not really a complaint, but the lyrics seems a little childish in my opinion. Not immature, but the part where Jimin asks Xiumin whether he wants chicken (I assume this is KPOP’s version of Netflix and Chill) and how she raps about “Beep Bop” (alarm) in the second verse, kind of felt more like a child’s song than anything else. But those lyrics do fit very well with the song and make sense, so I am not going to make any deal of it. Oh another reason why I like the song, because I can relate to it. Not going to say much, but currently, I am in Xiumin’s position everytime I see a particular someone.

As for the music video, it matched the song really well. Don’t really have much to say about the video. It is bright, cheerful, happy. What more do you want? That chicken and alarm all played a part in the video. The emojis’ were cool, but I don’t know. Angry face when they were together doesn’t seem like that guy wanted them two together. And Jimin’s wall (or window) just conveniently became some sort of stage for Xiumin to sing on and jump into the frame. Also, I have yet to read any articles or comments that curses the daylight out of Jimin. But I am not going to say anything beside that, because that is obviously a good thing. Let’s leave it there. If you are confused, I’ll explain another day. But great video, which made sense with the song.

I think I have given it a near-prefect review. Disappointed that there are no live performances for this song, because I would love to see it. And is doesn’t matter if Xiumin is unavailable. Other artists can fill in. 10/10

 

Tell Me (What Is Love) – Yoo Young Jin & D.O (EXO)

This is the second song from SM Station, where new songs from SM artists constantly. The previous song released from this Station project was Taeyeon’s Rain, which has performed wonderfully on the charts, as expected of the main vocalist of SNSD. Now the baton has been passed onto D.O (otherwise known as Kyungsoo) from EXO, who collaborated with Yoo Young Jin for his first solo release.

And damn, is this a good song or what? Both artists are so good, it is was pretty hard to differentiate between the two as they sang and as the song progressed, it got harder and harder to do so. For a ballad, there is a lot of different things going on at once, and that makes this track really good, but for some reason, it just seems like a simple song. It isn’t monotone or relies heavily on the instrumental. A song with “colour” in it. Actually, it sounds like a RnB type of song, which consists of lots of body rolls. From my guess, the really good high note or adlib at around 1:53 in the song was performed by Yoo Young Jin and was amazing. Actually, their vocals from start to end were amazing. The adlibs from the start gave the song a really nice impact to our ears from the start. There is no other way to describe their vocals, just amazing and it blows you away. They have this really nice vocal chemistry and they harmonise together really well. Not a single flaw could be found in the song. Might not be your cup of tea, but it was mine and I would recommend this to anyone, any day.

The music video was a little disappointing. The song first of all, was around 4:42 minutes long. But the video only lasted for 3:19 minutes, so the song was awkwardly faded out at the end of the video. Don’t know why and we haven’t got any clue to why that was the case. But beside that, I think it was a nice video. The girl goes along and puts down pictures of what seems to be the two singers recording and producing the song. Have no clue what’s going on, but it seems to go hand in hand with the song. The video was shot entirely in black and white (well, edited I think). Minus the short video, I think it is a nice video that fits in well the style that the song was going for. Simple yet artistic.

Overall, I think this is a great release from the two and it just makes me want to know what SM Station has coming our way. 9.5/10

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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!