[Album Review] Pink Tape (2nd Studio Album) – F(x)

Due to the number of songs on the album, the album review will be quite long. 

F(x) is probably one of the groups that KPOP fans want to see return to the stage. Their last release was with All Night back in 2016, so a comeback is definitely long overdue. To mildly fulfil my hunger for another F(x) comeback,, I have decided to write an album review for F(x) as part of the Past Album Review (PARs) segment. Pink Tape is the group’s 2nd studio album and was released in 2013. It features Rum Pum Pum Pum as its title track, which I absolutely hated back in 2013. Have my thoughts changed? You will see below!

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Pink Tape Album Cover

1..Rum Pum Pum Pum (첫 사랑니) (Title Track)Rum Pum Pum Pum is an example of a track that I started to enjoy way after reviewing it. I think it took a few years for it officially warm up to me. It ended up being addictive for a while and I really like the cute sound that came off it. Now, to me, it is just a showing of another side of the extremely versatile F(x). However, it is definitely no Electric Shock or Red Light. So, I decided to up my review score for the title track from the low 3 to a 7. Click here to read my original thoughts of Rum Pum Pum Pum. (7/10)

2. Shadow (미행 (그림자)) – Probably the biggest miss opportunity of the entire industry is not promoting this track in any way. Shadow has to be one of the most unique tracks in KPOP. I have to admit; the song was rather weird at first. But once you get past that hurdle, Shadow is just a creepy yet cutesy track. How so? Well, the lyrics revolve around them being their lover’s shadow (i.e. being with them all the time). However, the song is presented to us with a cutesy tone (i.e. the higher pitch vocals, delicate voices and the music box based instrumental. Sure, it isn’t 100% terrifying. But the song makes you imagine flowers and smiles but the lyrics manage to make those imaginary objects very twisted. (10/10)

3. Pretty GirlPretty Girl isn’t the prettiest track that I have come across. Once again, F(x) strays away from expectation, going for the least pretty genre of music out there, rock. Besides that, I felt that Pretty Girl wasn’t pretty in the ‘neat sense’, as well. I found the rock elements in the instrumental to be too overpowering, as the members during the chorus were being drowned out and they had to push themselves to be heard. I did like the vocal work (minus that last point), the rapping and the melody, so it wasn’t a terrible track. Maybe it could have been a little more polished to be more appealing. (7/10)

4. Kick – I think Kick falls under the same trap that Pretty Girl did. While it doesn’t overpower the vocals, Kick’s jerky instrumentation just felt like it was too much. And this makes the song feel quite uncomfortable. It does manage to pack a punch, which I guess is an advantage of a loaded track like this. I did like the effects the way the song infused a bit of choppiness to the track during the bridge, as it complements the style choices from the rest of the song. I just think Kick should have found a way to pack a punch but in a manner that was a little more toned down, so we could enjoy it more. (6.5/10)

5. Signal – The instrumental for Signal has the potential to be a pop diva-like song. There is that Kylie Minogue or Madonna type vibe that comes from the verses. But it doesn’t stay for long, as the chorus seems to opt for a typical pop approach and loses this diva feel, which I am disappointed with. However, there is a little disco groove to the track, which I think the chorus ends up turning to. So, it isn’t all bad news for the track. I just still think the track would have been more appealing if they kept with the diva-like sound, as I think this would potentially be an undiscovered territory for the group. I was lowkey expecting a rap sequence within the track, which could have lifted this song to another level. But overall, it is still a good song. (7.5/10)

6. StepStep is a groovy track. I find it to be quite fun and has a nice club vibe to it. It just a few steps away from falling into the infectious category. To me, most colour came from the instrumentation. It is repetitive but done in a way that reminds me of any trendy ‘one hit wonders’ that we have come across in the KPOP industry. I am glad that it didn’t become of those tracks as I would think the song would get annoying with multiple listens. Currently, it is catchy to an extent. Vocally, I felt the song was on the weaker side. Only Luna shined for me and that only occurred towards the end of the track. But Step does a good job of continuing the upbeat vibes on this album. (7/10)

7. Goodbye Summer (Amber, Luna & Krystal ft. D.O (EXO)) – Sadly, I didn’t get into the song until after I heard the English version sung by Amber and Eric Nam. Now, it is one of my favourite summery pop ballads ever. The vocals are probably one of the selling points of the track. Firstly, the song features D.O from EXO, whom at the time was part of the leading boy group of the industry. So, the track got a lot of fanfare. Secondly, his vocals blend extremely well with Luna and Krystal, which upped the fanfare even more. You would think rapping wouldn’t necessarily fit into the breezy track but it somehow effortlessly did, making Amber’s rap memorable. Thirdly, the track was rather pleasant and refreshing, so it eased well into my playlist. (10/10)

8. Airplane – Somewhere on this blog, I am 100% sure I have reviewed Airplane (twice). But it won’t be a complete album review if I simply just bypassed the track. Especially since it is one of my favourite songs off this album. In hindsight, the track nowadays would be considered very straightforward, simply because it doesn’t deviate much from its starting sound. Back then, I thought the track was ingenious. The choppy start of the chorus (‘Come With Me. Airplane, Love’) was quite dynamic and ended up being on the catchiest hooks of the song. There is also a subtle fun tone to the track that I find very appealing. Despite it using an electronic instrumental, the song is rather light as well, meaning it was quite pleasant. The vocals and were simple and easy to follow, making this a catchy tune to hum along to. (10/10)

9. ToyToy isn’t as playful as you expect. Instead, it managed to be very intense and straight forward, matching the lyrics of the track (the members liken their lives to toys, which have a set appearance, always belong to and assumingly miss their owner). I think a better way to describe the track is that it is similar to a stereotypical rock track. Just without the rock elements. Another cool aspect is the classical and EDM mashed up instrumental break. I felt it just went a little longer than what I had anticipated and this didn’t allow the ‘return to the chorus’ to be as dynamic as it should have been. (8/10)

10. No More (여우 같은 내 친구) – The song’s music profile isn’t as interesting and felt more like a typical pop track. So, I won’t discuss it. Instead, I found the lyrics to be the most interesting aspect of the track. The girls sing about their female friend, someone who changes her personality depending on the guy who she is dating (e.g. she is an atheist but ‘becomes religious’ to be with her church oppa). Hence, she is described to be similar to a sly fox. For the most part, it makes fun of their friend. But the members do feel a little sympathy for her when they find her crying over her breakup. My favourite part has to be when they ask her ‘Have you found another guy yet?’, which makes for a perfect transition lyrics-wise to their original lyrics that dominated the earlier parts of the song. (7/10)

11. Snapshot – This had to be the poshest introduction to a song, courtesy of Amber herself. I thought the song a weird mix after that (a common trend back when the album was released). The verses felt like it was a song from a musical. However, the choruses felt like it was taking a hip-hop infused pop sequence instead, losing that unique musical-like sound. They managed to integrate the two sounds together well as the transition points didn’t sound awkward or too apparent. But when you consider the entire track as a whole, it just doesn’t sound right, if you understand what I mean. (7/10)

12. Ending Page – Surprisingly, I think Ending Page is their most neutral track on the album. The rock ballad doesn’t really develop as it progresses, which is a little disappointing. It isn’t overloaded with too much of one element, striking a very fine balance in any aspect that you can think of. The rock instrumental isn’t overpowering or overwhelming. This, along with the lack of development, allows for the focus to be squarely on the vocals. It doesn’t rely on powerful vocals to be track’s main driver. Instead, the song’s melody is extremely nice, and I find this to be a pleasant ending for the entire album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

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Pink Tape Teaser Image
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[Review] Even So – Luna (f(x))

It has been years since an F(x) comeback and with 2019 just starting out, we are hoping 2019 is the year for a comeback. But it hasn’t been a complete absent from the industry with Amber and Luna dropping music here and there since their 4 Walls comeback, while Krystal and Victoria have been focused on their acting careers. Luna returned today with her second solo single, Even So.

Even So is an R&B pop track, which I think does a good job at showing off Luna’s vocals. There is a hint of sweetness added to the song via the vocals, which I thought went hand-in-hand with the message of hope that was portrayed in the lyrics of the song. It also matched the pleasant vibes from the instrumental. Talking about the instrumental, it had a warm feeling and I really liked the mellowness of the music, which I think made this song very easy on the ears. I think the main issue with the song is its memorability. The said vocals were good but they didn’t that mind-blowing nature about them to really make the song unforgettable. Though, I am not sure what they could have added to give Luna’s song that memorability factor. But despite that, it was a good song.

I thought the video was decent, at best. It seems to tell a story, flashing between a sadden Luna in her solo shots and a more lively Luna during the scenes with other people. I did like how they used colour to represent that, giving us hints towards what is going on. Though, I am not 100% sure what this all means. I did also like how the cinematography was used throughout the video to really give the video some action. It really creates a level of appeal to the video. However, I did like think the video shared a similar fate as the song. It lacked that memorability factor, as well.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

5 Favourite Non-Title Tracks (Part 2)

Welcome back to this week’s ‘Favourites’ post. We are back to non-title tracks because my list of non-title track songs are overflowing and need to be reduced. I am officially keeping the Favourites post as a list of five because it is more manageable to write in a short amount of time.

Please note that I am open to suggestions of what else I can do with this segment. So far, I have decided on non-title tracks, choreography and K-drama OSTs. But I know there are many other topics that I can write about. I have a few in mind but am happy to see what you all suggest! Also open to any positive or constructive feedback! But let’s get the show on the road!


Airplane – F(x)
Pink Tape (2nd Studio Album)

Airplane is one of the few songs that I did put a review out for, despite it not being a fully dedicated promotional track. That shows you that one mention of this song on this site isn’t enough. Airplane will need a lot more than two mentions and it might just get another in the near future. I love all the elements from the vocal work to the undeniably ear-catching instrumental.


Time’s Up – Miss A
Independent Women Part III (2nd Mini-Album) / Hush (2nd Studio Album)

If you want your electro music fix, you have come to the right place. Following Airplane, this hidden gem was featured on both Miss A’s  Hush album and Independent Women Part III mini album. It required many mentions because of its addictive nature. Once the beat dropped, the song was sold instantly to me. The instrumental, too, caught my ears back when it was released and has been on my playlist since then!


 

Secret – IU
Last Fantasy (2nd Studio Album)

If you have been reading these posts and my reviews for a very long time, you will know that I love anything with orchestral vibes. And that favouritism was probably awakened by this one song. I thought it was one amazing song that displayed IU’s vocals wonderfully with the orchestral background. And once you think the song had finished, she comes back with one extra line to finish you off once and for all.


Beautiful – Pentagon
Ceremony (3rd Mini Album)

Beautiful was the pre-release single to Pentagon’s latest comeback. And it is one ‘beautiful’ song to listen to. What drew my attention to this song was the amazing melody that the song’s instrumental and the members brought together. Each member, regardless if they were part of the vocal line or the rap line of the group, shined brightly in the song. The harmonies were definitely a highlight of the track and the rap segments fitted snugly into the track without being awkward or foreign.


For You – Sistar

If I got my way, this would have been the track that I would vote to be their farewell track. Lonely was already amazing, but I feel like For You meaning suited the girl’s departure and was more directed towards the fans. Even Bora, who is usually limited to the raps, was given an opportunity to sing alongside the others. I think the song overall was very touching and it was definitely a pity to hear that they would not perform this song as part of their farewell stages.

 

[Album Review] 4 Walls (4th Full Album) – F(x)

It has been a while since we heard from F(x). To be precise, 4 Walls was their last release in 2015 and while they have had a few singles as a group or as soloists, it does not fill the void of what is missing from the KPOP industry. Honestly, there are many groups out there that end up experimenting with their sound, with some groups doing pretty well as a result. But I don’t think I have come across an artist who does it so well and effortlessly like F(x). 4 Walls was their 4th full length album, which was released in October 2015.

 

4 Walls Album Cover (Source: YouTube)

 

1..4 WallsClick Here for the full review of 4 Walls (10/10)

2. GlitterGlitter has a very playful vibe, which sounds like your traditional pop song. But while it doesn’t really stand-out of the crowd, I do like the song for a number of reasons. First, that playful vibe. Secondly, when they all sing for the chorus. And thirdly, how they sing the words ‘glitter’. It feels like glittering is fluttering down. I love the bridge of the song, which brings another element to the song. Not the album best, but it is definitely up there. (9/10)

3. Deja Vu – A super catchy song to listen to. Even just sitting at my computer and listening to the song while writing the reviews is hard because I have the urge to get up and dance. I have literally listened to the song so many times that I can accurately lip-sync to the song pretty well. Like the previous song, similar comments can be said. But I am bumping this up with a higher rating because it is so damn catchy. (9.5/10)

4. X – If you want the funkiest song on the album, you have stumbled across it. X opens up that retro saxophone sound. It follows with a groovy disco instrumental, which is intriguing. Their vocals are quite good here, as well. In its own way, the song is catchy and one that I always go to when I put this album on. They displayed a more feminine sound in this song, which contrasted nicely with the funky sound of the song. (10/10)

5. Rude Love – The introduction to the song is very intriguing. It does a pretty good job of appealing to me with its piano style introduction. The song quickly builds up and turns into a dance track. It is also quite catchy and fits in nicely with the rest of the songs on the album. There is a little something missing from the verses of the song, but overall, it is still decent to listen to.  (8/10)

6. Diamond – From just one listen, I thought it would a song that I avoid due to its trap influences. And I admit, it took a while for me to get into the song. But I did manage to get into it. It isn’t the best song on the album, but it does have its own dynamic and different sound that sets it apart from the rest of the song. There is a definite serious tone to the song, if you are wondering what makes it different from the rest of the album. (8/10) 

7. Traveller (ft. Zico (Block B)) – Zico opens the song with his (per usual) rap and his following segments does add a more bolder and masculine sound to the song. F(x) instead sounds more feminine and sweeter compared to their other songs. It is quite nice to hear a more different side, but more traditional side, of F(x), who are known for their concepts and individuality. (9/10)

8. Papi – Another super duper catchy song. This album is clearly a goldmine with so many catchy songs. I thought the start of the song was quite funky and different. It was also quite striking and it definitely caught my attention. There is a really nice bright sound, which suits to parties and (maybe) clubs. Their vocals are spot on and it is loaded with energy to hype you up for the dance floor. (10/10)

9. Cash me OutCash Me Out takes it time to build up to the drop. I can say that once it does drop, the song ends up being tied together nicely. However, I think the song could have been a lot more epic if there were a harder drop and a more intense instrumental segment, rather than repeating the same segment a number of time throughout the song. (8/10)

10. When I’m Alone – The song starts off with a slower beat, than compared to any of their previous songs. The chorus is the main deal that gives it boldness and definition. Compared to the rest of the songs, this one does end up being forgettable due to its slower tempo. But it does manage to make up in terms of vocal work and it is still decent enough to listen to. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

 

Image result for f(x) 4walls album
4 Walls Teaser Image

 

 

10 Favourite Non-Title Tracks (Part 1)

Welcome to the first ever ‘Special’ segment of my website. Though I have used the category ‘Special’ for other purposes in the past, I thought I could use to expand the content of what I write. So I thought I would make various lists of different aspects of the KPOP sphere, starting off with non-title tracks that should be more appreciated. I have other ideas lined up like “favourite OSTs’ and ‘favourite dances’ etc. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below and I may just look into your idea. In no particular order, here are 10 (and this particular will be expanded in further editions) favourite non-title track songs by KPOP artists.

Crying – Sistar

Sistar leaves behind many great tracks, so of which barely get enough attention. What makes Crying a great track are the vocals. They were dynamic and gave the song a very unique feel. I thought the chorus was extremely catchy and interesting with how it starts off with a striking delivery of the word “Love”. The instrumental was pretty simple and their vocals/raps matched it perfectly.

One Step, Two Step – Oh My Girl

I personally thought this song has a very nice blend of instruments. It also felt like angels were singing to me.  The track ended up being very addictive, becoming a song that I would search for on YouTube for a while. I loved how the track started off very sweet and nice. But as you approach the chorus, we enter a more upbeat phase, making the build-up sound amazing. The violins in the bridge were also amazing, with it being another highlight of the track.

Albatross – B.A.P

Adding to the fun vibes of their 5th mini album, Carnival, Albatross is one track to jam to. It is a very down to earth feel and listening to the song makes you wonder how fun the recording process would have been if there was a stage or music video accompanying it. It was released in February but there is a very vibrant and Summer feel to the song, making it a track that I constantly listen to during Winter when I want to feel some warmth.

Shadow – F(x)

I think out of all the non-title tracks out there and the songs on this list, this is the song that everyone will agree on as the most underrated song ever. It literally catches your attention with its very creepy lyrics. But the lyrics are smothered with the sweetness of the instrumental and their vocals, making the creep factor exceed the highest possible limit. It is extremely addictive and I totally love it.

I Wanna Fall In Love – Song Ji Eun (Secret)

Song Ji Eun’s tracks have always been intriguing for their dark messages. Her more recent releases haven’t followed that path, which is quite disappointing. But there are a few that have caught my attention, such as I Wanna Fall In Love. It is much better than many of her recent title tracks and her strong vocals resonate throughout the entire track. It dominates the entire track, which I think is amazing and the song is quite catchy after a number of listens.

Get The X Out – Sunny Hill

Judging from the title, I would never have thought of the song being what it is. It is extremely unexpected, as the instrumental is reminds you of toys and dolls. Very innocence. But instead, it holds a very scary message telling their partner to just leave. I love how they cut the swearing out (or else it would be banned) but it makes everything feel more intense. And this is another reason to why I love Sunny Hill’s songs. They take uniqueness to a whole new level.

Before The Song Ends – JJ Project ft. Suzy (Miss A)

To hear that JJ Project will be getting a unit comeback stage before the end of the year makes me extremely happy. But before that, I must show you all this extreme party-vibe track. Sure, it may be overpowered by autotune but it one hell of a song to jam to. Suzy’s featuring in this song makes it so much better. But the real winners are JJ Project, who has such a dynamic track under their belt.

Maze – VIXX

I tried to include some old tracks and some more recent tracks on this list. Maze falls under the “more recent” category, with it being one intense track to listen to. That is mainly because every time I listen to the song, I feel a rush of adrenaline as if I am actually running through a maze myself. It is a super catchy track and dynamic at the same time.

Switch – NCT 127

Switch is the only song on this particular list that has its own music video. From memory (and what I read a few months back) that this song and music video was recorded before the debut of NCT. I was totally into (and still am) the instrumental of the song. It sounded different to other songs that I have listened to. It’s another track that gives off a nice Summer feel, which I am totally digging at the moment, as I freeze each morning.

One Minute Back – SHINee

This, by far, is up there as one of the best songs ever released. It is such a unique song on so many levels. Their vocals are on point throughout the track, especially during the entire chorus. The lyrics of the song depict a guy catching his partner cheating on him and wanting to turn back time. Overall, listening to just once will not be enough as it leaves a very long lasting impact that makes you want to go back and listen to more.

 

 

[Review] Honey Bee – Luna (f(x)), Hani (EXID) & Solar (Mamamoo)

Honey Bee is a cross-company collaboration, which features Luna (from f(x) – whose is under SM Entertainment), Hani (from EXID – who is under Banana Culture) and Solar (from Mamamoo – who is under Rainbow Bridge World). The producer of the song (Park Guen Tae) is under Mystic Entertainment and is the same producer/writer for Baekhyun and Suzy’s collaboration, Dream. 

Just by looking at the artists who participated in this song, you can definitely expect an amazing song which shows off the vocal abilities of each person. Sure, you may not expect Hani to be in that mix but she did a really good job of the song. She gave the song stability and kept the song grounded. Solar and Luna were exceptional in the song themselves but they kept making the song go higher and higher via their high notes. Hani’s vocals is sort of a platform to start at and as the other two hit the higher notes (starting from Hani’s level), it highlighted the high notes and allowed the song and vocal talents to further blow us away. The song itself uses a heavy dosage of saxophones, which gives off a nice jazzy vibe. I love the snaps in the song, as it was definitely needed to make sure the saxophones don’t dominate the song. The song does seem to lack something and it goes back to the vocals. The song needed something deep, either some bass or deeper tone. It just kept on getting higher, which in the past, I would have love. But since listening to more songs, I am starting to love songs with a much more darker or even gothic sound (I am referring to songs outside of KPOP here). It probably weird to want a deeper tone (probably just a phase) to accompany this song. It probably won’t work because it would just make the song feel standard. But what the girls have presented us with sounds pretty good and do showcase their vocals.

The music video is okay. It was shot in a bowling centre, which also showcases pool and possibly other games. Maybe it was meant to add to the fun vibes the song had going on. The girls each add their own charm to the video, in my opinion. Luna had a very mature yet charismatic gaze, Solar had a bright smile and Hani made the surroundings a lot hotter (and sexier if you didn’t understand what I meant). I liked the one shot video layout that featured for part of the video.  It was definitely lacked a lot and honestly, I thought it could have used a little more colour to match that fun and vibrant vibe. They didn’t have to go full on bright because it wouldn’t match the sensual nature, but a little more probably could have lifted the video from the darkness it suffered. But besides that, I don’t have much else to say about the video.

The dance is quite simple. A lot of hip snapping to the side and running on the spot. But in a more dancey way and not exercising/sweaty way.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Choreography -7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Free Somebody – Luna (f(x))

Another long-awaited solo debut. Luna, the main vocalist from f(x), has finally made her solo debut. It has been years since fans wanted a solo album under her own name and finally the wait is over. Who’s excited? I am!!!! Though, SM Entertainment promotional runs are becoming extremely short. We only saw her for a short amount of time and it is such a pity.

Another song to add to the favourite list. I am not a big fan of Luna, but I agree with many people that she is a person that deserves a lot more attention from her company. She is definitely very talented and it is such a shame that we had to wait for this song for her solo debut. And regarding that, I don’t think I can think of another song that can encapsulate her amazing vocals and talents on the stage. I love the retro sound that the song had going on in it. Throw in Luna’s explosive vocals and a very simple but catchy chorus, and you have a killer song. Every time I listen to the song, I cannot hear a single flaw. I bang on things that sometimes you guys probably see as too harsh or just plain stupid. But Free Somebody ticks the boxes for everything. It is the perfect song for her and definitely an amazing song to listen to. I just can’t help but to bob my head along and sing the “Free Somebody” lines with her when I listen to the song.

The music video is really unique and it stands out for me. It has that retro and funky vibe channelling through the video. I absolutely love the animations (even though they did weird me out). Luna jumping into your mouth and all is not part of the normal day living. I love it how the dude was just like checking out Luna the whole time (and who wouldn’t) when she was dancing outside the elevator. I also love how the whole thing was basically set inside the elevator. Though it really looks constricting, the camera angles and their chemistry made it look like an infinite amount of space. It is such an interesting video. Though, I did expect something scandalous from the two the whole time they were in the elevator (if you know what I mean). We did see a little glimpse of it at the end but come on. More! More! More!

And the true reason why I wanted to see a little more is because of the dance. Damn, can Luna dance or what. She made such a simple choreography quite sexy and manage to still belt the song out. Them squats were just too much to handle hahaha…

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.

 

Borders – Amber (F(x))

The next SM Station release. Just to put it out there, I am not going to review every single SM Station release, just stand outs. Now for this particular review, I have been asking all week whether it should be reviewed or not. My major consideration is: is it KPOP? Not in my opinion. But I can’t seem to let this song go without reviewing it. This release is written and sung by Amber from f(x). We have been hearing rumours of a solo comeback and this is probably what the rumours were on about. While not a comeback, it is great to see Amber back in the solo car.

And why are I am so glad to see Amber back in the solo wagon? Well, f(x) has amazing music, but most of the time, Amber is very limited to a certain sound and pop style. We really don’t see Amber shine 100% and show her true talents. Not saying that she doesn’t do that in f(x), just she shows her talents and her 100% in a f(x) style. This is  track that I would describe as a  RnB infused with many different genres that sound like bliss. And it is all in English. And when you think it is the pinnacle of the whole comeback, you are wrong. The lyrics, her vocals and rapping are all so amazing. It really reflect upon the message she is trying to deliver. It is a song that you need to listen to. Sometimes words cannot describe things, and this is one of those times. The song talks about being yourself and that sometimes being on that “rough path” is the only way to get to your destination. As I said her vocals were amazing (for those who say she cannot sing, this proves you wrong). Her husky voice really brings the song to a whole new level. Even the instrumental is really impressive and love the different electronic sounds and influences I can here.

Music video wise, I love it. We see Amber sitting in a cube structure. And the cube acts like borders or the “pressures from the outside” closing in on her. I love it when she sings about her mum, you see this caring image of a mother (doing her job right) and supporting her daughter/son in the video. We see two different people. One guy is depressed and one fixated on her body. While we do not see the aftermath with the girl, who I assume managed to pull through after she realized what she is putting herself into, the guy we see attempts to take his life at the climax of the song. However after, we see him smiling and looking into the distant at the exact spot of his attempted attempt on his life. The video ends nicely with another mother/child seen. I find this a truly beautiful video with the mother/child scenes probably the most powerful.

Overall, a beautiful message within a beautiful song and video. Just listening to the song and watching the video renders me speechless. 10/10

 

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 MAMA 2015 and Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Of Year Chart 2015 + Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

2015 BOBs (Best Of the Best) – Part 2

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:

bestmalerookie

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:

bestfemalerookie

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.

BEST DANCE/PERFORMANCE

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:

bestdanceperformance

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.

BEST ALBUM

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:

bestalbum

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:

bestmusicvideo

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:

bestfemalegroup

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:

bestmalegroup

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.

BEST SONG

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:

bestsong

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 BOBs (Best Of the Best) – Part 1

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

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

RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention

RISING STAR

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

risingstar

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

BEST INSTRUMENTAL

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

bestinstrumental

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

BEST JAPANESE SONG

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

bestjapsong

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

BEST COMEBACK

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

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

BEST SUBUNIT

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

bestsubunit

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

BEST RAPPER

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

bestrapper

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

BEST VOCALIST

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

bestvocalist

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

BEST MALE SOLOIST

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

bestmalesoloist

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

BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

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

bestfemalesoloist

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

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

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

 

 

 

4 Walls – F(x)

It has been a long wait, but the girls are back. With their unique and interesting concepts and stages, F(x) has returned with an EDM based title track and a smashing album that is something that you all should be listening to. After the withdrawal of Sulli, the girls have relaunched as a 4 member group and are currently promoting their new album.

I love this song. I am addicted to this song. Someone get me help, because the songs this month are just slaying me one by one.Everything about the song is perfection for me. Every single aspect does wondrous things in my head. Let’s start off with the instrumental. When I first heard the EDM concept, I thought it would be like a more heavier track like T-ara’s Sugar Free, but instead it had a much softer sound. A lot of EDM tracks don’t go the right way with me, but this one had a pleasant sound to it and did not hurt my ears. Thanks friends and parties. As for the vocals and rap, I thought they sounded great. They did need to make their vocals a lot softer to fit in with the track, but they managed to keep their own colour and style. The song is pretty unique and it (at the moment) is a one of a kind in the industry.

The music video is really artsy fartsy as people might say. It was very confusing to watch it but I think that was the intention. They start off in their house or apartment and they seem to start off their day as usual. I really like it how pretty down to earth they were in this video. It seems we are witnessing the members in their natural environment. Then all hell breaks loose with Amber breaking her tea cup and the other members pour excessive amounts of tea and suddenly throwing themselves onto the floor. The screens widen as we move out into the forest where the girls wonder around. It all seems like the girls act as if they are all 1 particular person OR they are each other in alternative universes. But the ending says otherwise. Anyway, they get lost but somehow make their way back into the very same apartment at the start and Victoria prevents the same events as Amber tries to break the cup again (as she passes by everyone). Yeah, still have no idea what the video is about. But the cinematography and the shaky focus goes hand in hand, adding confusion to the video. I liked it

The dance is pretty cool. It matched the sound and stlye of the song. I was really interested in what the dance would be like since the music video did not show any of the dance, but it all makes sense and I like it a lot now that I know. I just want a freaking dance version of the music video, or at least some sort of dance or performance version. It is a lot more feminine than I thought it would be and I thought Amber would have some trouble fitting in, but she manages to pull it off with ease.

Perfection. Even the whole album can be described as perfection. 10/10

Shake That Brass – Amber (F(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)

F(x) has to be one of the most overlooked bands of Korean Pop. Well, not overlooked by fans but by their own company. Last year, F(x) made their comeback with Red Light, but promotions were cut short after Sulli “went on a hiatus” and that is basically code for “going against your company”. But now, I guess we will see the revival of F(x) with Amber, the group’s resident rapper, making her solo debut with Shake That Brass, which features SNSD’s Taeyeon. Amber is the first member of the group to undergo formal promotions for solo work. Other F(x) members are widely known for their OSTs and also acting works.

I think anyone listening to this song could tell it is very Americanized. There is no KPOP feel to it, but really a very big mass American appeal to it. In my last review, I did talk about the ongoing trend about mashup between various genres. For this song, I think all of the sounds went really well together. This song flowed soundly and I could not feel awkward or did not cringe at some places. Amber’s rap is pretty good and I really love the “na na na”part. That is pretty cool. Taeyeon’s part was okay. I am sure it could have been left out and Amber put in another rapping segment or another “na na na” part. As for the title, I am 100% Amber changed the wording around to avoid getting cricisted and banned from the networks. That or she really wants to shake some brass. Literally. But it was a very catchy songs and those trumpet sounds were really appealing to my ears.

This is one very bright and colourful video. You can tell that Amber brought the youth to her video. I like it how she invited most her friends to the shoot. It is pretty smart and at the same time, shows that she is very connected in the industry. So many people including Jackson, Joon from G.o.D, Rome from C-Clown, Min and Jia from Miss A, Brad from Busker Busker and many more celebrities that I cannot name from the top of my head attended. I love the little comic sound effects that they added in. That laundro-mat scene was pretty interesting. I would like some glasses that gets everyone to party, but that last part was embarrassing. Guess the glasses last only a few times. I like it how they took the gold brass colour and used that throughout the video. I believe in every scene there was something gold or made of brass. Nice video.

The dance was cool. I honestly don’t know what to say. It guess it is catchy. I just can’t really imagine a different dance routine in place of this one.

A very vibrant and colourful comeback. 8.5/10