Apologies for my week-long absence from the site. I have been busy all week and by the time I got home, I would already be too tired to function. So I will be dedicating time this weekend to catch up on reviews. FT Island was the first of a few comebacks this week, returning with their last mini-album before the impending enlistment of the members. Quit is the band’s title track and it is also the first release from the band since Summer’s Night Dream, in 2017. This is also the band’s first comeback since the departure of Choi Jang Hoon due to the chatroom scandal earlier this year.
One of the most satisfying things in KPOP is when an artist or group returns to a sound that the group had successfully pulled off in the past. For FT Island, this could be a range of sounds given their many different concepts and genres that they have attempted. Quit reminds me of Severely, a rock ballad that the group nailed in 2012. And given that thought, there are high expectations surrounding the song. Were those expectations achieved? I think so. Hongki’s vocals (as per usual) were at the forefront of the song, with a really interesting melody that allowed the incorporation of new sounds into the instrumental. His voice is so loaded with emotion that it makes the song so much more impactful, which is the case of his solo ballad releases. The repetition of the title ‘Quit’ (Gwandwo) is evidence of this. The song started off like how a classical ballad would, with some piano and strings. Then they bring a rock influence into the song through the chorus and maintain this throughout. The pre-chorus was probably my favourite bits in the song, as I thought it was a nice and fast transition between the two genres.
The video is very confusing as it plays with time. And I am not exactly sure if my interpretation is right. The video starts off in October, which I think is when the female character walks out of her relationship. In October, we see her place the clock down on the ground, turning it back to September. It seems that even though she is leaving, she still remembers her time with the male character (and hence this might explain their date at the end of the video). Throughout the video, we see the past few months. March is probably the most significant, as this is when he gives her the clock, which my guess is the ‘beginning of the end’. The way she accepts it gives me that type of vibe. Furthermore, in Chinese culture, you don’t give a clock or watch as a present as it signifies that time is up to the person who receives the present. This might play a part in this video. The rest of the video shows her acting lovey-dovey with the male character but is very alone when she is alone (e.g. she moves from two cups on the table to just one as the video progresses). As I said, the video is confusing and I may be wrong. But that is the storyline that I managed to determine from the video, given the lyrics of the song.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 9.2/10
As previously mentioned, I will be posting a review for Lee Hong Gi’s collaboration with Cheetah. It actually took a lot longer than expected due to various reasons and I apologise for that. I Am was released a week before Lee Hong Gi’s official solo comeback, Cookie, was released. It is one of the three collaborations on his solo mini album, Do n Do.
Now, this is a collaboration that really works. Lee Hong Gi brings his perfect vocals to the party, while Cheetah brings her well-known rapping style (which felt more like rap-speak for this song. But I am not too troubled as I thought was an excellent touch for this song). And the two really drive the song forward. The party occurs over a really funky backdrop which has brass and energetic vibes which really make the song feel impactful. The song is quite catchy and the chorus is engraved into my mind. It has to come to the point where I become very excited when I know I am going to be listening to the song. And the way they overlap each other at the end of the song, gave the song the perfect ending in my opinion.
The song felt like a party but I didn’t really get that feel from the video. Both Cheetah and Hong Gi sat in a barn and then stood in front of a green screen. I did like the camera work during the scenes in the barn, with the zoom-ins and panning really making up for the lack of liveliness in the video. However, I was less impressed with the camera work in front of the green screen, as it felt too shaky for my liking.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 7/10 Overall Rating – 8.2/10
Another solo return from another artist! This time, it is Lee Hong Ki with Cookie. Lee Hong Gi made his solo debut back in 2015 with Insensible, which earned him two weekly music show awards. And while it has taken him 3 years to return, Lee Hong Gi has been active in dramas, variety shows and also FT Island comebacks (the most recent being Summer’s Night Dream.
I personally expected Lee Hong Gi to release a ballad for his solo comeback. So it was very unexpecting to hear tropical influences in his song. It feels like an attempt to modernise his sound for the current market, which is a complete opposite to what FT Island is doing. But it is still a fairly decent song. And even though it is a tropical house sound, Hong Gi brings his signature husky vocals, so you can’t really go wrong there. I personally really like the bridge as it brings out the best out of the vocals and instrumentation. Jung Ilhoon (from BTOB) also makes an appearance in the song. Surprisingly, his section is earlier on in the song and was fairly short. As the song progressed, I was kind of expecting Ilhoon to rejoin to fully complete the song, Just it never happened. I am also not too sure about the odd whisper of ‘You should wait for the cookies‘ at the end. What context is this in?
I am not too sure on what is going on in the video. It looks like Hong Gi is some alien with anti-gravitational powers that he may not be able to control. When he walks inside the building, the things around him start floating away. When he is supposedly meant to face off with Ilhoon, he causes both of them to float around. And everyone comes around him for some floating experience. I guess it would be cool. It isn’t the most interesting video but it boring in any way. Fun observation: Hong Gi also released a pre-release single with Cheetah featuring on it (review coming soon), which was also shot in a barn (and I assume it is the same one).
What perked my interest with this comeback is that it was going to feature some choreography Lee Hong Gi doesn’t dance when it comes to FT Island comebacks, so it was going to be interesting. I have to admit, while it isn’t much, he pulled it off well without looking awkward (which is the case for first-time dancers) and he looked really proud of himself. Good job!
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 7/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7.5/10
FTISLAND is officially back on stage with a brand new single, Summer Night’s Dream, which is featured on their 6th mini-album, What If. The band, celebrated 10 years last year, with the release of Wind marking the milestone. And they didn’t stop after that, as the group released an album in Japan earlier this year. Minhwan became a father to a young boy back in May (and became engaged to Yulhee – former member of Laboum).
Summer Night’s Dream doesn’t really appeal to me. I found the song conforming to the sound of some of the younger band’s in the industry, which really feels like it was a backwards move in my mind. To me, FT Island releases these intense songs but this one feels too sugary for me, in comparison. It does lack energy and definitely that intensity aspect that I know FT Island for. The song took on a light reggae sound and they managed to throw in some rock, which I thought was decent, towards the end. Hongki’s vocals were good but they weren’t amazing as in the past. I did like how some of the other members contributed to the song throughout the song, which was a first I believe (usually one of them only get a small section). Maybe if the rock was more prevalent with a side of reggae instead, I would have enjoyed it more but sadly that was not the case this time.
The music video shows Hongki falling in love while working with this lady, who is also in the same line of work (mascots giving out flyers). He picks up with magical magnifying glass and it shows him this alternate reality where he does manage to take her out on a date and kind of woo her with a spectacular onstage performance. Once the credits roll, we see Hongki wake up in her presence but in reality, he wakes up with the rest of FTISLAND kicking him. I am not too sure what the purpose of the rest of the group was in the video, though there were some weird vibes given out. Going back to the sugary vibe from the song, the video is practically coated with it. I myself am not too keen on it but it was quite fitting for the song.
Song – 5/10 Music Video – 6/10 Overall Rating – 5.4/10
FNC Entertainment recently launched FNC Lab, which gives an opportunity, for artists who participate, to experiment with music and release new songs for listeners to hear. In a way, the program seems to be the company’s own version of SM Station. The first song to come from FNC Lab is Still Love You, a collaboration between FT Island’s Lee Hong Gi and N.Flying’s Yoo Hwe Seung.
Obviously, the main focus of this review will be on the vocals. But before we get to that, the song is a ballad with such an amazing instrumental that really gives the song that solid foundation to build on. And now we snap back to the vocals. We all know how capable Lee Hong Gi is with his voice. We have seen in it his amazing solo debut and through FT Island. Per usual, he sounds spectacular in this song. I really liked the way he started the song and the chorus. However, the true winner in this track has to be Yoo Hwe Seung. While he does seem like a capable vocalist in N.Flying, I did not expect him to outshine Lee Hong Gi by miles away. That high note was amazing. I may not be a singer but damn, that was something. I also listened to the audio before watching the video, so imagine the surprise I got when I realized who did the high note. Even after all this time, I am still blown away by that particular section. He managed to pair so well with Lee Hong Gi and this is a collaboration that I am happy to see again (fingers crossed) in the future.
It seems like the Lee Hong Ki and Yoo Hwe Seung is in some sort of love triangle with the lady. Interestingly, it seems like she parts way with both of them in the video after seemingly realized that both vocalists are in love with her. She is clearly distraught about making the decision and ends up leaving them both. It is a relatively simple video and storyline that still manages to be captivating but lets the song do the talking.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 10/10 Overall Rating – 10/10
A few weeks back I wrote the review for FT Island’s latest title track, Wind. Now that my schedule has cleared up, I am finally knocking down those album reviews that I have specified that I will write. FT Island also celebrated their 10-year anniversary with this album, which an incredible feat considering the constant break up once the groups reach their 7th year. But we are not here to dwell on those unfortunate events, but rather the high-quality album that FT Island always releases.
1..What U Want (원해) – It’s a tad slow but easily a number to rock to. I love the opening riffs to the song and the lead into the rest of the song. Hongki’s vocals compliment the song really well, launching the song a bit further alongside the burst of energy from the instrumental. The instrumental break here is your typical rock out session but hyped the song up even more (which is expected, but it dragged me to the edge of the seat). It was an excellent song to open up the album! (9/10)
3. Travel – It is still a pretty good song, but compared to the first two, it does feel quite generic and dry. One of the other members sing the bridge (not sure though) but from their past releases, their voices bring in a different colour to FT Island songs, which does make it more awesome to listen to. (7/10)
4. Champagne – This is what I would call the “hidden gem” of the album. We all know FT Island for their rock style. Occasionally, they will throw in a different style, like a ballad. Champagne is another mix-up in their style. Keeping the band side of their name, the song experiments with a more funky sound, which I am totally digging. Not exactly sure if there was any Korean in the song (it sounded like it was pure English) and because of that, the song did stand out for me. And Hongki’s raspy vocals are amazing here! (10/10)
5. The Night – If you want another great track to headbang to (but at a slower pace), this is the track to go. Not a big of autotune, but it works well in this track. The drums were probably the highlight of the song, with it providing a very dramatic and western feel to the song. Its solo part was also what I would call the pinnacle of the song. Actually, the whole song feels like it would fit on a Western artist’s album tracklist any day. (9/10)
6. Imagine You (너를 그린다) – Back to being a sucker when it comes to violins, this track also sounds amazing. It also has that ballad side of the band that I mentioned a few songs back. If I was to be honest, the song doesn’t have that much appeal to it and the orchestral feels only last for a few seconds (though it is still there). (7/10)
7. Save Me – If you are looking for a longer burst of that orchestral feel, Save Me is the way to go. I love the violin overlay with the band instrumental during the chorus and the piano sounds amazing here. The entire instrumental combination gives the song an epic feel, which sounds amazing. (9/10)
8. Still With You – And that orchestral feel gets stronger. This song is a lot more fast pace, which gives a little more speed to the entire album (the previous few songs have been on the slower side of the spectrum), so it was nice to see something more upbeat (in a way) but keeping in line with the songs around it. It’s also the first time I have heard another member have multiple parts (vocally) in the song, which is amazing nonetheless. (8/10)
9. Voice – Another track that shows a completely different style to FT Island’s traditional portfolio. There is that band feel, but it throws in a more electronic sound to the song, which sounds amazing. And while it is nice to hear something different, the song falls short compared to the other higher rated songs. It just doesn’t have the same amount of epicness when the chorus kicks in. (7/10)
10. Parade – Listening to the introduction of the song, I had no idea what was going on. It sounds completely foreign and futuristic, compared to FT Island’s portfolio. The electronic feel is more dominate in this song and in conjunction with the band, the song is much more intense. Not exactly fond of that slowdown and the bridge overall, but the rest of the song was quite good. What the song needed was a more epic beat drop after Hongki’s 1,2,3,4. (8/10)
11. No Better Days – This song returns to the song that you could rock or headbang to. The chorus doesn’t provide that feel, but the verses do. The chorus leant to more of the intense side of things, but still quite good. The repetition of the “No No No No Better Days” is extremely catchy and gives that extra hook the song needed. (9/10)
12. The Wood (나무) – Another swayable song to sway to. It more of a song for fans, given the audience cheers that faded in and out of the song. There is also a nice hook in the vocals that made this song worthwhile to listen to. Though I don’t tend to read translations for the song when I review them (I didn’t here), I am not exactly sure if I should include my next statement. But the song brought a smile to my face with its melody. (8/10)
13. Love Sick (사랑앓이) (ft. Kim Na Young) – This is a remake of FT Island’s debut single of the same title. Though I was not a big fan of their earlier works, listening to it makes me wonder why I did not. Both of them sing separately at first but when they joined forces, I was blown away. With the orchestral instrumental, it was an amazing and touching way to end the special album. A music video for this particular remake was released prior to the release of the album, which you can view by clicking here. (10/10)
FT Island is back with a brand new album, which celebrates their 10 years since their debut. The group debuted back on June 7, 2007. Exactly 10 years later, the group dropped their 10-year anniversary album, which consists of Wind (the title track), a remake version of Lovesick and 11 other self-produced tracks. 10 years is a very long time and I wish to say congratulations to the guys for reaching 10-year milestone. While their album is quite lengthy, I too smell an album review coming your way.
Wind is amazing. Breath-taking. Spectacular. Throw in any other positive adjective that makes the song sound amazing. I think we all expected some grand and ultra high quality, especially given their recent releases and this being their 10th-year celebration. And I personally think they delivered. The song started off with the orchestral sound and Hongki’s raspy’s voice. And for a while, it does stay like that, up until the second verse. That was fairly interesting, giving how they are a band. The entrance of the drums and guitars lifted the song up even more. It also allowed the song to build up and feel more impactful, which made it even better. Likewise, I love the instrumental break/bridge of the song. You think that the start was slow, the rest of the song would follow suit, but rather, it ended up turning into a rock ballad, in the end, that was equally as jammable as other songs released by other bands. I think before I end the review anymore, I have to return to Hongki’s vocals. It was just pure bliss to hear him sing this song alone. And he does an amazing job at it (the live is even better, given his condition). If you want to listen to his vocals or to a great rock ballad, this is the one to check out.
Ahhh… another indecipherable music video. First of all, it is a beautiful video to watch (even though I had to watch it a few times to try to understand it – I got distracted by the music). The visuals and cinematography were just perfect. The burst of sound we get for the final chorus was paired very nicely with an exploding flower, which blew my mind. Moving onto the plot, my guess is that they lost their lovers and hence why they all look heartbroken. Not exactly sure if that is it, but it seems to be that way every time I rewatch the video. There seems to be more to it, especially since how eerie the start of the video was and how Jaejin was running after her in the end. My other guess would be that the members died (or only one of them) and might be the reason why she was running away (in response to the news) and why the members all looked heartbroken. I don’t know. But it didn’t take away from the aesthetics of the video, which made it worthwhile to watch.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9.5/10
KPOP’s rock kings are finally back with a brand new album. Their last comeback was way back in March last year. The group has been busy in Japan with multiple releases (as usual), however recently complained publically about the lack of domestic activities and chances to make comebacks in South Korea. Remember reading that somewhere, just don’t know where. Anyhow, it has been a while, so let’s get cracking.
I really enjoy listening to this song. Every time I hear the song I can’t help but head-bang my way through the song. It is the perfect song for 3 minutes of pure head banging. Singing along to this song is amazing. The song just keeps you up and going the whole time (lol). Though I am not fond of the way Hongki pronounces some of his words, the song still manages to exceed my expectations. Remember last year when I bragged about how good Pray was? This song is like the more levelled up version. I really liked the fluctuations in the song. Some parts were fast, some were slow. But the bigger picture ended up being amazing. I could hear some American influences into this song. If there was an English version of the song, I think multiple bands (sorry, this is just based off minimal knowledge of American rock bands) would fit this song perfectly. The fact that FT Island has gone down this route with Pray and now this (when they used to be more about ballads and toned down rock songs) really give me a good impression of them (which I don’t really need because I know what these guys are capable of). So yeah, currently the perfect song to head-bang and rock to in KPOP.
A little confused with the music video. The music video alludes to breaking away from tradition. I don’t know, it makes sense for the majority of the video, but I don’t know how that little girl plays into it. Is she the young lady we see who “conformed” to society but ends up going against the norms? The burning guitar and how everyone else is wearing protective gear and a gas mask makes me think that way. Is the little girl the symbol of hope and freedom (too much Hunger Games here) and rebels against the government? The video is so symbolic, but it is quite open ended in my opinion. Some different scenarios can fit the video and that is probably a reason why I am so drawn to the video. I, for some reason, have thought of a few possibilities. Some of which (when thinking back) makes no sense whatsoever. At first, I thought the video was alluding to a new beginning, particularly regarding the guitar on fire. I really like the set which they guys perform in. Though it is the same set all the way through, they change it up a few times. Once with a standard normal camera, then a red filter and then fire everywhere. It is really cool and a pretty smart thing to do.
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.
Lee Hong Ki, the main vocalist from the band FT Island, has officially made his long overdue solo debut with Insensible. As expected, he went with a ballad that really brings out his voice and vocal talent. To me, this sounds like a normal FT Island song. Mainly because FT Island songs usually have Hong Ki singing majority of it. But I feel like a band version (featuring all the members of FT Island) can happen with the instrumental. Talking about the instrumental, I am totally loving it. It has a grand feel to it and the orchestra adds a really nice touch to the song. Let’s focus back on the vocals. Superb. Hong Ki is one of the few artists in KPOP that I feel can spill all the emotions into the song and focus on singing really well at the same time. Usually, artists are known to sing really well, but sometimes lack the required emotions. But with this song, you can hear his heartbreak and sadness. I love the song and I personally enjoy listening to it. For a ballad, it is pretty catchy and the song remains in my head for a while. (So many songs are repeating in my head lately, it confuses me a lot as well).
The music video has a nice plot, but it is confusing to me. Hong Ki acts along side Park Shin Hye. We see them go through the ups and downs of a relationship, leading to the end, where Park Shin Hye concludes that Hong Ki is having an affair. She ends up taking her life (at the end, there is the present she finds in Hong Ki’s suitcase with blood on it under the curtains), and Hong Ki blames himself for not realizing what his girlfriend was going through. It makes perfect sense, compared to my understanding of the plot (which was not accurate). It turns out she was just imagining everything and Hong Ki had been faithful the whole time. Thank God for YouTube comments. I have to be honest, it was confusing to understand. The acting in this video was amazing. When Hong Ki threw his phone, you could literally feel the anger his character had. The video was beautifully shot and us the viewers had to pay attention to the smallest detail to understand it. Great plotline and video.
Overall, this solo debut is really great. It essentially collates everything that we had expected from Hong Ki and it proves that this is a solo debut that should have happened ages ago. 10/10
I am finally get on top of these comebacks. There are just so many. But in the midsts of all these comebacks, FT Island has finally made their long awaited comeback after 1 year and 4 months. That is quite some time away from the industry. But they are back, with one of their own produced songs for the very first time. Actually, their whole album is actually self produced, which I read somewhere that they forced their company to allow them to do. Besides that, what has the members gone through since the last time we heard of them. Hongki was acting awfully cocky in the media (I got that impression, but he probably did not mean it) and the members had some solo activities. Beside that, they probably were too busy producing and writing new songs.
This is the first time FT Island made their comeback with a full on hard rock style song. And this is a side that I have been dying to hear about since I first listened to them. They had rock ballads and songs that were of the subtle nature of rock (Hopefully, you understand) but nothing like this. I was so freaking amazed when I heard this song. Them notes that Hongki hits during the song just blows your mind. Though sometimes I get very pissed off how the rest have very little to sing or rap about, but I think their rocking style and their “stage presence” says it all. There is this grand feeling of the entire song that I can’t manage to shake off. I am not disappointed in this song at all. In fact, I would describe it as the “perfect song”. This is something that has never been done in KPOP. I have nothing to compare it to, since I am not a vivid listener to rock music, but I am 100% this sets the bar pretty high for future bands.
As for the music video, so much meaning behind it. My take of the music video is this. They are put on display, after being in crates. The way they express themselves is amusing to the others, who stand around and watch. The others uses lies to cover up dark secrets and expresses themselves in this way. Despite all of this and being oppressed, they continue and finally win their battle. Just because people who lie rule the world, does not mean that those who express the truth or expresses their opinion in a different way have to be oppressed and “quiet” for that reason. It ties nicely in with the high notes and the references to “how cold the world is”. The whole music video is shot in a dark place, giving this cold and eerie feeling to it. I actually liked it. The “others” as I call them, look mighty creepy with their white faces and dark crosses. There is probably more meaning and depth that I have yet to discuss. But overall, my feelings towards this music video was “amazing”.
Needless to say, 10/10. No complaints with this song what so ever. Honestly, FNC should let Ft Island do their own thing. I am just dying to see what they have up their sleeve.
Through this new segment (Finally got to use that one word), we will be looking back at the second month of 2015. I get to rank my top 10 songs. But we also get to look back at other events that happened in the Korean music industry. This way, I can talk about big events in the KPOP industry and rely my thoughts to you all.
YG says comeback for Big Bang will happen in April
This month, YG “promised” us that the first artist to make their comeback would be Big Bang, who has been scheduled for April. Yes, I put “promised” in quotation marks because half the time, we really cannot take his words as the final story. Hopefully, this time Big Bang will make their very long awaited comeback in April and for once Yang Hyun Suk say something we can actually could have relied on. iKON will always be make their debut this year, just we don’t have a clear time frame yet.
Comeback announcement for April?
About 343425946 bands in the KPOP industry have announced their comeback in April. Yes, there have been so many already that I can’t remember. As mentioned above, Big Bang is. Joining them is Girl’s Day, Miss A and Dal Shabet. B1A4‘s sister group will be making their debut in April as well. FT Island is also due to make a comeback in April as well. iKon is also another band rumoured to make their debut in April. As we look further into the future, SNSD and Infinite are both aiming for May comebacks. April is going to be one hell of a month with all the bands coming back for me. And April is going to be one busy month for me already…
Kim Hyun Joong’s Domestic Violence Scandal + Pregnancy rumours
Another turn for the worse for Kim Hyun Joong. Late last year, it was reported that his former girlfriend was a victim to domestic violence attacks from the KPOP star. She sued him for what she had alleged that he has done to her. Now, it was revealed that the former girlfriend had withdrawn the lawsuit and the two proceeded to meet up with each other. Now the ex girlfriend is claiming to be pregnant with Kim’s child as he prepares for military enlistment. His side has been asking for the girlfriend to come out and do pregnancy tests, which from what I read, she refused (but she ended up, through her lawyer, giving out “her” test results). I am going to be honest, this sounds very suspicious on her part. Since she had sued and withdrew the lawsuit basically means she has a free ticket to get away from Kim Hyun Joong. Unless she is that crazy in love for him, this progression in their relationship is putting both parties in a bad light.
Top 10 Songs Of The Month
1. Black Swan – Rainbow
2. Crazy – 4Minute
3. Shake That Brass – Amber (f(x)) ft. SNSD Taeyeon
A hot new duo collaboration for those who still have not seen their song. Both of the two are under the same company, FNC Entertainment. And it seems like this duo is quite popular from the reaction that they were given recently. One of them, the female, is actually a comedian, Song Eun Yi, who is ridiculously funny and is all over Korea with the many comedy shows that she participates in. The other half, the male, is actually FT Island’s rapper, Song Seung Hyun! This comeback, stage, song and video are really funny and I urge you guys to check them out.
Though I do not understand a single word in this song, the song itself talks about how guys focuses on more of the age and height rather than personality and other factors. So basically, if your hot and beautiful, more guys are going to take notice in you more than those who are less hot or beautiful. I guess there is more of a meaning when the comedian sings this song. Honestly, even though I understand zilch of the song, I actually find it really cute and catchy. After a few listens, you are bound to be singing along with the song. The song’s instrumental is pretty cool, but the start seems rather awkward. I am not going to judge her singing talent, mainly because this is probably her first time singing, but the Seung Hyun’s raps are pretty cool (The raps also seem to be a response to the lyrics. Just my thought)!
The music video is amazing. Not epic amazing, but hilariously funny amazing. Though I don’t think the parodies have much to do with the song, it fits the comedic concept that they have gone for. They had parody many different top Korean artists in this video. The parodies include: Miss A’s Hush, EXO’s Wolf, EXO’s Growl, Trouble Maker’s Now, Sunmi’s 24 Hours, 2NE1’s Missing You and probably many others that I have yet to pick up. On top of that, the music video contains so many famous comedians in the video such as Park Ji Min and Shin Bora. It is funny because they look all awkward dancing around and stuff. You all should check this video out.
The dance is pretty simple and I actually like it. You are bound to start dancing around when you hear this song as well. Or am I seriously the only one?
9.5/10. Really recommend you guys check it out in the playlist below.
Hi all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wow, 2013 is finally over. Can you believe it. With days to go, I will be unable to update this over my “break”. Beside that I have scheduled a whole heap of reviews. I promised you guys an End Of Year Charts, and with that very day 3-4 days away, I think it is time unleash the beast. Party hard! Welcome the new year in style! I will wish to see you all back on the 2nd of Jan 2013 (subject to change). At the very bottom of this post, there will be two links. One is a playlist for the winners of the BOB’s and the other is the top 20 songs of the year, as selected by this chart. Yay!!!!