[Album Review] i DECIDE (3rd Mini Album) – iKON

It is finally time for me to sit down and knock out some album reviews that has been sitting on my to-do list. First up is for a comeback that occurred in early February, which means this review is almost 2 months late (really sorry for this). For those who may not remember this comeback, iKON returned with Dive at the start of February, their first comeback since the departure of B.I from the group. It was reported that the group had to re-record the album again and hence the comeback delayed to earlier this year. Let’s have a closer (and belated) look at the album.

i DECIDE Album Cover

1. Ah YeahAh Yeah kicks off with a rolling marching drumbeat. It gives the song an epic lift-off. While there was a bit of dramatic flair to it, the song moved into more of a rock sound, which makes complete sense. More unexpectedly was that there was a perky melody and tone to the song, which I don’t mind. But I would have loved for the rock sound to add onto the dramatic flair we got. The group handled the song well, despite it containing parts that we all know B.I once filled. There were two parts that I didn’t enjoy. First the trap-like breakdown for the bridge. We all know how overused this is now and it is becoming more and more obvious with each song. And second, iKON keeps on pulling out the anthem card. It is becoming slightly overused and this might ruin the appeal that card has. (8/10)

2. Dive (뛰어들게) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dive. (7/10)

3. All The World (온 세상) – We get a blast of 90s energy in this song at the very start, before the song settles for a pop sound. Everything in All The World is very vibrant and lively, a side of iKON that we get to see from time to time. The group’s rapping and vocal delivery really made this song feel so much more energetic and appealing to fans. And based on the comments from other listeners on YouTube, the song’s lyrics add to that regard, as well. Once again, they pull out the anthem card for the end. Here, however, it did feel like it made more sense and helped create a wholesome profile for the song. (8.5/10)

4. Holding On (견딜만해) – Following the same tone and energy as the previous track, Holding On brings in the vibrancy with some brass. Within the instrumental seems to be also some orchestral and classical instruments, all built to form an upbeat and playful track. This is a vocal centric track, containing no rapping sequences. The raspy vocals brought to you by Ju-ne and Bobby was an amazing texture. The ad-libs at the end were pretty good and I loved how the instrumental moulded around them. The chorus was catchy and definitely got me in a good mood (especially since the lyrics give empowerment to those who recently broke up). The song also pulls the anthem card out towards the end, but it was more for a backing rather than straight up singing the final chorus (as previously done in the above songs). (9/10)

5. Flower (너란 바람 따라) – The album ends with a song that is almost like a ballad. When I look at the lyrics of the song, I can’t help but think that iKON is paying homage to their former leader. Lyrics like ‘Hope your way is not painful, Hope you just smile happily’ strongly suggests that mentioned meaning. And I am sure this provokes tears in loyal fans of the group. I really like how the instrumental takes a slightly heavier tone, suitable for the song’s message, as opposed to following the upbeat tone that preceded the track. I also find the instrumental to be rather soothing with the acoustic guitar and violins and in despite the drum beat we do get. Vocally, the group did amazing and Bobby’s rap gave it that little push. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

i DECIDE Teaser Image

[Review] Dive – iKON

After an exceptionally long wait, iKON has finally returned to the music industry. It has been rough year for iKON. For those who missed it, B.I withdrew from the group after it was revealed that he tried to buy drugs in the past. This effectively put a stop on the group’s 2019 comeback. Fast forward to 2020, the group has returned as a reformed 6-member group with Dive and an album produced by B.I (along with many others). It was revealed that this album was originally the comeback slated for 2019. But due to the ‘controversy’, the group had to re-record everything.

I definitely find it interesting that YG Entertainment decided to keep B.I’s song despite the controversy. There could be a number of reasons for this. iKON could have pushed very hard to keep the songs that B.I had put his sweat and tears into. Or YG Entertainment kept the songs as they came from a very trendy producer. Whatever the reason, the song seems to take on a growing trend in the industry. The song features traditional instruments on top of its standard hip-hop backdrop. I think majority of songs that adopted this trend have only featured one instrument. Dive seems to have a few. There are definitely some sort of string instrument and a horn of some type. It gives the song a very appealing and unique profile. This also gave the song some lightness, as I found the song not heavy handed as some of their past tracks. While I do find this side of the song interesting, the vocal and rap work was not as exciting. Instead, it didn’t have the impact it needed and it just didn’t feel captivating. It did try to get there at the end when they brought everyone together, but it just wasn’t enough. On a personal level, I think the song will grow on me. It just needs a little more to it.

One thing that is always a promising sight when it comes to music videos from YG Entertainment are the sets. And this one features some really awesome. A flaming bridge, a non-flaming bridge, a ring of fire just to name a few. Essentially, these are all dangerous and this plays neatly into the lyrics. The members sing that they will be willing to go through anything to be with their lover. If their lover was a thorny bush or a fire, they will dive right into it because they will be willing to do so.

The choreography was good. It was toned down to fit the song’s lighter and melodic nature, which I quite liked. It just doesn’t ping me as a memorable one, unfortunately.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Review] I’m OK – iKON

2018 has been the busiest year for iKON yet. Love Scenario, Killing Me and Goodbye Road were all promoted in 2018 by the YG male group. And now the group has kicked off 2019 with the release of I’m OK, which is the title track off their first repackaged/compilation album, The New Kids. The song also serves as the final release as part of their New Kids series, which has been ongoing since 2017. I’m OK was also due to be released on the 31st of December 2018 but it was postponed until yesterday.

I’m OK is a hip-hop ballad, something that we all know iKON will nail given their past releases. And out of the songs in this series, I’m OK goes heavy handed with the emotions. You can hear the pain and emotions they put forward during the rap sequences and the way the chorus sounds. I really like the instrumental for this track despite it being quite soft in nature. It features an orchestral influence, which is an instant hit in my books (if you know my taste in music). But it is the pairing of the instrumental with the vocals and raps make the song sound extremely worthwhile. I particularly like the piano in the background, especially the heavier notes we hear at the start of the chorus. Maybe they could have added more to the instrumental to build it up or had a more dramatic climax. But over than that, I’m OK is another great song from the group.

In line with the emotive side of the song, I’m OK is filled with scenes that go perfectly with that concept. And with each individual scenes, the video becomes very aesthetic, which is highly expected of any YG video. Definitely, the most epic moment of the video has to be the exploding car. There might be a story involved, as I think all the members interact with the car throughout the video in some form but it isn’t as explicit as I had hoped.  Overall, I thought it was a nicely done video.

While the ballad side of the song doesn’t need choreography, the hip-hop side invites the opportunity to arise. But because of the ballad side of the song, the potential for a set of moves is hugely limited. For the most part, iKON does a pretty good job at handling the motions. But it felt standard for the most part.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Album Review] New Kids: The Final (2nd Mini Album) – iKON

As mentioned previously, iKON has returned with their third release of the year. The group started off the year with Return, their first studio album and the insanely popular title track, Love Scenario. In August, the group returned with their first ever mini album, New Kids: Continue, which featured Killing Me. And now, the group has returned with New Kids: The Final and the title track Goodbye Road (link for this is posted below). Today we will be having a look at their latest mini-album, so let’s not delay any more.

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New Kids: The Final Album Cover

1..Goodbye Road (이별길) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Goodbye Road. (8/10)

2. Don’t Let Me Know (내가 모르게)Don’t Let Me Know falls into the category of an upbeat track, very different to their title track. But while this was upbeat, the song wasn’t as intense as their past dance tracks. Instead, it felt like a traditional pop sound. The song was quite plain, without much to really make it feel that special. The chorus was relatively simple yet addictive. The group opted for their anthem style ending for the chorus that they do regularly (i.e. when all the members sing together). Vocally, the song was quite good, and the rapping was, per usual, amazing. I personally like iKON’s more intense side, but this was still pretty good. (7.5/10)

3. Adore You (좋아해요)Adore You combines the bright nature of the previous song and matching it with the tempo of the title track. This becomes a winning combination as it manages to develop a very powerful ballad. I like the simplicity of the instrumental, going for a raw and acoustic sound instead of the usual synths. Like the previous two songs, amazing vocals and rapping once again from all the members. I particularly love Yuhyeong and Jinhwan’s vocals during the bridge, which gave the song a nice peak. Once again, the group opted to sing together for the final chorus, which felt very fitting for the song. (9/10)

4. Perfect (꼴좋다) – The initial comments made for Adore You can also apply to this song. But it ends up having a completely different sound, which I think was a nice relief. I think this song is more ballad-y than the previous track as it doesn’t really move anywhere. Great vocals once again and the rapping was quite good. I like the ad-libs for this track, as they felt improvised rather than rehearsed. I think if I were to be critical about anything, it would be the ending. It just didn’t feel right. I felt like a fade-out would have been nicer (and less sudden) but also it would complement the stylistic choices of the song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

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New Kids: The Final Teaser Image

[Review] Goodbye Road – iKON

iKON has already been through a very busy year and they haven’t finished just yet They have just dropped their latest title track, Goodbye Road. Multiple comebacks within the span of less than a year from a YG Entertainment group are rare if you do not know. The previous 2018 iKON comeback title tracks included Love Scenario and Killing Me. I can’t really find any information on this but I am not too sure if these releases were intended to be a trilogy but all of these songs (including Goodbye Road) featured on the New Kids series.

Goodbye Road can be described as an emotionally driven track with elements of a ballad and a dance track combined into one. It just doesn’t top the insanely epic drop that we got in Killing Me if you are going to ask me to pick favourites.  The instrumentation combines an orchestra and a mid-tempo beat that allows the song to fit neatly into iKON’s iconic hip-hop portfolio. I also like how it fits in with the season of sad songs that we might have just stepped into. I like how impactful the vocals are and the rapping was toned down to be more fragile than rough and growl-like. However, there were two sections of the song that felt out of place. The first is the ‘Check it Out‘ line, which just felt like it was filling the void and out of context. The second had to be the ‘Na Na Na‘ which attempted to make it feel more cheerful than what it could ever be. But other than that, it was a nice song.

The music video had this Autumn and dull colour tone to it, which felt fitting for the song’s direction and the season. I applaud the acting from the lead actress, who alongside the group members, did a wonderful job of captivating me (and possibly the rest of the audience) with their acting abilities. They managed to summarise the heartbreak and sorrow within a few minutes without fluffing up the storyline or going overboard in any way. Thought the setting was quite nice, though I wonder why they opted to go outside for this video whereas their previous music videos stayed within the confines of a studio.

As mentioned earlier, the song has elements of a ballad (i.e. the orchestral instrumentation) but there was also a mid-tempo beat allowing for the song to be transformed into a dance track without the unnecessary synths of today’s music. From what we can see, it looks nice and fitting for the song. Definitely well-balanced.

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

 

[Album Review] New Kids: Continue (1st Mini Album) – iKON

As you may tell, I am currently prioritising some of the albums released earlier in the month, hence if some of your favourites recently came back, their album reviews should be out around mid-September. iKON is one of the artists who made their return to the stage at the start of the month with Killing Me and their first mini-album, New Kids: Continue.

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New Kids: Continue Album Cover

1..Killing Me (죽겠다) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Killing Me. (9/10)

2. Freedom (바람) – I thought the song would have had great potential with its rock influence, if only it didn’t take on a chorus that felt like it resembles something that came from the Disney channel. The verses and bridge were good, just the chorus felt like a letdown. Nonetheless, it was good head-banging music despite being described as a soft rock. I did like the fast-paced nature of the song and everyone sounded quite good. (7/10)

3. Only YouOnly You takes that Summer sound that you get throughout the Summer season and mash it with iKON’s traditional hip-hop sound. In the end, we get a decent song. There was a slight reggae feel to the song, from what I heard. It did feel quite generic around the chorus but it wasn’t too bad that it affected the rest of the track. I liked the rapping in the song and the vocals were still quite good. (8/10)

4. Cocktail (칵테일)Cocktail is probably my most favourite track on this list. The atmosphere that comes from this track makes you feel quite happy and lively. I thought the tiny quirk (where they go for a quick falsetto) at the end of each vocal line during the verses was nice. The vocals and rap combination was also quite cool in this song. And I like how they bring everyone together at the end of the song for the outro. And you can’t really help but sing along to it. (9/10)

5. Just For You (줄게) – Just For You is a nice ballad to end the album with. I like how the resident rappers also sing in this song (which they have done with other ballads in the past). But their vocals are top notch here, giving the song some interesting textures. The vocalists themselves did a nice job. The instrumentation was also quite nice and the launch back into the final chorus was quite impactful. Overall, it is a nice song. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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New Kids: Complete Teaser Image

[Review] Killing Me – iKON

It is rare for a YG group to make multiple comebacks within a year. IKON actually acknowledged this in an interview today. But it seems like YG Entertainment has finally allowed their groups to fully take on the industry with comebacks within months of each other. IKON returned at the start of the year with Love Scenario and Rubber Band. And within 5 months, iKON has returned with their 1st mini-album and the title track, Killing Me.

The song took me by surprise. Not in the sense where I was caught off guard by the style of song but rather how the instrumental just creeps up at you. The song opens up with a very minimal instrumental and it slowly builds up. The buildup isn’t anything that special taking on a more typical approach. However, once the chorus drops, we get this funky concoction that draws your attention in and delivers an impactful blow of addictiveness to your ears. And it is this chorus that really holds me in my seat for the entirety of the song. The vocals were really good and the rapping was superb. The ending feels more like a club and anthem vibe combined together and I think this makes the song feel a lot like iKON’s usual sound. Overall, I thought the song was amazing.

YG Entertainment always releases high-quality music videos. So expectations were quite high for this video. But out of all the music videos I can think of, this one feels the most typical of a KPOP music video. There aren’t any elaborate sets that really make you go wow. And there are no really smart shots or amazing editing that grabs my attention. So I am a little disappointed. I did like the camera work, with the more upbeat parts getting the shaky camerawork whereas the rest of the video gets smoother camerawork.

The performance looks good, from what I can see in the music video. I don’t think there was a live performance yet, as the song just came out. I particularly like how the choreography for the chorus goes as it channels the change of energy quite well. It is a complicated drop but the simple change in the choreography was definitely impactful.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Review] Love Scenario – iKON

Making their long-awaited return to the stage is iKON with their second full-length album, Return. There is only one title track of this particular YG album, the title track being Love Scenario. This is the group’s first comeback since their promotions of Bling Bling and B-Day in May last year.

Am I the only one surprised they went with a more mellow track as their promotional single this time around? I did expect a more hard-hitting track, similar to how Bling Bling or debut was. But that being said, we know that iKON can handle this softer sound through some of their other singles in the past. I feel like the group did a good job with mixing it with their usual hip-hop style, which is definitely what they are known for.The instrumental was nice, definitely stripped back in comparison to their previous songs. The vocal work here is superb and the raps were (per usual) really good. For me, the best part of the track is when the members sing together during that final chorus. The harmonies there were really nice and it made the chorus feel a little catchier. To me, the only thing the song lacks is a catchy element. If there was something more prominent, I would have liked this track so much more. 

It is only the fourth week of the new year and I think we already have a contender for the Best Music Video awards for this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The way this video was shot in a way I don’t think we see much. The shots at the start of the bus stop, B.I’s slow-motion spinning shots, the lighting for Ju-ne’s solo moments and the choreography shots, all looked quite cool. I might be lousy when it comes to explaining the awesomeness of videos so I guess it is best if you all go watch this video to understand what I am getting at.

[Updated] The performance is quite fitting for the song. It doesn’t call for an intense choreography routine, which is exactly what the choreography avoids. I did like some of the moves, such as the one I saw at 0:32 – 0:35 of the music video or Ju-ne’s solo part.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8/10 [Updated]
Overall Rating – 8.9/10 [Updated]

[Double Review] Runaway + I Love You – Bobby (iKON)

Bobby from iKON is finally making his solo comeback. Runaway and I Love You are the two title tracks off his self-composed full-length album, which is a surprisingly amazing feat from a solo artist. The album itself is titled as Love and Fall and consist of 10 tracks in total. He previously promoted as a solo artist with Holup!, just before debuting with Mino from Winner as MOBB.

Let’s take a moment and give Bobby an applause for Runaway. Just by reading the title of the song, you can tell that this song is going to go deep. The lyrics are just proof of that. But moving to the song, the main reason to why I asked for an applause because it ticks all the right boxes. The instrumental/melody/ beat was intense and built up to be quite epic. His delivery of his lines and his vocals just fit the song so well, channeling the emotions of the lyrics soundly. I really liked the roughness his voice added, which contributed to that intensity that the song had. Bobby nails this one perfectly.

As for I Love You, the song is more upbeat and less serious compared to Runaway. But it stands out for its own reason. The tropical house sound goes nicely with Bobby’s vocals, which he has turned the roughness down a bit for this song. The song is quite catchy and has a nice drop. I like his changes in tempos, especially during the bridge of the song where he goes from fast to slow and then back to fast. It makes sense and feels right. I do like the song quite a bit, but don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t sound as spectacular and epic as Runaway.

Runaway‘s music video consists of a lot running. Just in case if that wasn’t obvious. But the video, overall, left a deep impression on me. Along with the lyrics, the video is something that I  relate to. Sometimes, you just want to run away from everything that surrounds you. The literal meaning of the quoted Bible verse seems to go well with the video as well. The music video for I Love You is a complete turnaround. Like the song’s sound, it reflects the Summer season nicely. Watching it makes me miss Summer. But honestly, it felt like a standard Summer video, with nothing else to offer.

Hopefully, there will be some performances of these songs. Ideally, Runaway won’t have one and I Love You demands one. I won’t include the numbers for now (because things do look a little bleak with the music shows) but shall return if he does get around to performing them!

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

I Love You
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Review] B-DAY – iKON

I previously reviewed iKON’s Bling Bling, which you can view by clicking the link. But this is the review for iKON’s second title track for this promotional run, titled as B-Day.

To me, B-Day is a more dynamic track that sounds a lot better than Bling Bling. Maybe it is because I enjoy the more upbeat feel. But I personally think iKON sounds a lot better with the more upbeat and hyped up songs, which I touched upon in my last review. The instrumental isn’t that amazing but it provides a more fresher and vibrant sound to the group’s portfolio. There is also something familiar about the instrumental, which I can’t really figure out. The vocal work and rapping in this song is a lot better in this song. The raspy voices fit the song quite nicely, giving it a rougher side. But to me, the vocals were at the forefront and not at the back of the song (which I also touched on). Doing that, it gives the song a more active sound and definitely a better push to a more powerful sound. The track itself is pretty catchy. The “Waeng Waeng Waeng” chant catches on pretty quick and it definitely drew my attention to the song straight away. Now, I just cannot get it out of my head. And that goes for the song as well.

I thought the concept of the music video was a little odd this time around. Little being an understatement, as I discover the scenes of bees. Not saying the video is terrible, because it was actually quite nice to watch. Actually (not considering the lyrics in anyway) but the video maybe looking at discovering an ancient civilization (and then they moved into it as well). Just a theory.  It was just the concept that had me second guessing things. Minus the thoughts regarding the concept, the scenes in the video were quite good. Once again, YG has done it again with their music videos. While this one may not be better than Bling Bling‘s, it definitely suits the song and intensity.

Talking about intensity, I felt the choreography was a little lacking. It might have been the editing of the music video, but when the “Waeng Waeng Waeng” started, the dance was great. But towards the end of the line, the energy just plummeted and that disappointed me. But it still looked cool. I may update this part once a full performance is uploaded somewhere.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Bling Bling – iKON

iKON has officially made their first comeback since their debut in 2015. The group, since 2015, have had toured across Asia and made their official debut in Japan. They also previously released #WYD last year. Some of the members have also changed their stage names since debut, which surprised some fans. Jinhwan changed to Jay, Chanwoo changed to Chan, Donghyuk changed to DK and Yunhyeong changed to Song. Bling Bling is also promoted alongside B-Day (and a review for that will be published sometime today or tomorrow morning).

If there is one word that I can think of when it comes to Bling Bling, it has to be ‘swag’. While I am not an everyday user of the word, the song embodies the word quite accurately. From the very first listen, it is an extremely intense track. The instrumental of the track is very interesting, despite it being slow at some parts, which overall made it feel quite dull. The use of brass provides the song something more, which accompanied the drawn out ‘Bling Bling’ repetition. The song remains the same from start to about the bridge. Starting at the bridge of the song, the song turns into a much more upbeat track/anthem style track, which I think sounds a lot cooler. However the contrast between the two segments and tempo is pretty cool. As for the raps and vocals, I am not really into that aspect of the song. They seemed to be on the back burner rather than the forefront of the song. It just didn’t seem to capture my attention. Only the ‘Bling Bling’ does. While I did say it was intense and tough, I think the dullness is probably the main aspect that turns me away from this song. I don’t mind it, but if there was a more hyped up sound, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

The music video is another video that is okay, at best. YG Entertainment have always put out great videos. And they are great for a specific reason. Here, I thought the great aspect are the sets and the backgrounds. It looked pretty cool and provided support to that toughness and intensity in a more subtle way. But I am not too sure why I think this, but they felt awkward in front of the camera. The interactions with the camera didn’t seem to feel natural and more like they were thrown in front of the camera with no guidance. Maybe it was the song style that didn’t allow them to be as natural or the editing just didn’t make it seem right, I don’t know. And that is essentially the video. The choreography shots with the amazing backgrounds but awkwardness for the solo shots.

I think there is enough in the video to write about the dance and possible performance. I don’t really talk about stage sets, but YG always seem to have an amazing idea which makes the stages for their artists look stunning. I particular enjoyed the more faster parts of the song, hence I am more drawn to the dance at those parts. However, the slowness in their choreography matches the song really well!

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 4/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6/10

[Review] Holup! – Bobby (iKON)

The first member of iKON to go solo is Bobby. He debuts as a solo artist alongside Mino from Winner, who released his own solo single the next day. The two go on to form the subunit, MOBB, and released their subunit debut album the day after Mino’s solo debut. It has been a long time coming, with rumours of the two forming a subunit and talks of Bobby’s solo debut for quite some time now.

For those who don’t know me, I find it hard to get into hip hop or rap based songs. Not exactly my style. But nonetheless, here is what I thought of the song. It is honestly not that bad, but it really isn’t the best. Bobby does have a great husky vocal which this song did justice to. Some parts almost sounded like he was growling and that gave a tougher feel to the song. I did like the rhythm and instrumental. It does give a party-like vibe to the song as expected. You would expect this to be played at a party or club. It is perfect for that setting and bound to get everyone bouncing to it (I assume people bounce to songs at parties or clubs. And when I say bounce, I mean dance). Not a big fan of the autotune in the song. Very little times have I felt the autotune was meant for the song. Particularly that part towards the end with him singing and straight up autotune, not feeling it.  The autotune was probably the biggest turn off for me. But then again, the autotune was needed to keep up with that tough and masculine feel. For a rap song (in my books at least), it is okay. I do prefer the other releases though.

This music video just backs up the fact that I hate dreadlocks. Sure, they will look good on certain people, but when Asians do it, I just stare blankly at them and just fade away from the situation. Okay, with the video. I guess that house looks exactly like other houses after a house party. Like a really wild and “lit” party. I don’t know, I am only assuming, because the parties I have been to, we all clean up and make it look presentable before leaving. Anyway, another thing (if you haven’t watched the video yet) that may draw your attention to watching it later on is the abs available in this video. The background does distract you quite a bit but I am sure if you focus strongly enough, you will see only the abs. Hahahaha… Though yes, Bobby does have good abs. Yeah, there really isn’t much else to talk about beside pointing out every single detail now. So I am just going to end it here, before I start boring you (if I haven’t yet).

Final Rating – 6/10

[Review] #WYD – iKON

iKON has returned with a brand new song. And then they disappeared. Like, where are they at the moment? Isn’t a pre-release? Where is the actual release then? Why am I asking these questions, when I know they are from YG Entertainment? But honestly, this was released in May and it is the start of July. And all these teasers were released in between for Bobby’s solo debut, so what is really happening?

It sounds a lot like a sadder version of My Type, which they debuted with last year. Didn’t like My Type, but I dig this song. It has a better beat and flows a lot better. The vocals here are a lot smoother and the rapping is pretty nice. The only problem I see with the track is the bridge of the song. It isn’t bad, but it sounds completely different from the song. It does contribute to the flow, but every time I hear it, it takes me by surprise, as if it comes from another song. The ending of the song was nice. The title is what you would commonly use in a text message and the ending of the song makes it sound like the whole song was part of a text message. Bobby signs off with “Good Night” and I think that is a pretty smart thing to do. I also noticed, but finally an iKON song, where the rappers aren’t singing and they just stick to rapping. It is one of the things I pointed out with My Type and I am glad that there is a change in their song.

For the music video, it just compromises of shots of the guys playing around with their love. Damn, it makes me want to be in a relationship. Can’t really complain about anything in the video. The only thing I will complain about is Bobby’s 70s style shirt and his hair. I have to be honest, though, I personally think B.I look hot in this video. Fanboy in the making? But then again, Korea has a lot of hot men (and ladies… you can never talk KPOP without the ladies) and if you are a dude into KPOP, there is probably a guy out there in the KPOP industry that you have felt some sort of attraction towards. I’ll end it there.

Wow, I wrote started this review yesterday and I was meant to spend a good amount of time on the music video part today. But, guess who wrote the music video part in less than 10 minutes? 7/10

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recap of MelOn Music Awards 2015 and Thoughts

The MMA or MelOn Music Awards were held on the 7th of November 2015. MelOn does not refer to the fruit but rather the music chart and on-line music store in South Korea. It is held by LOEN Entertainment, which owns the music distribution company. The music award has its own unique criteria where it only calculates digital sales of artists in the past year and incorporate these sales with on-line votes of fans.

The following artists, groups and actors attended the ceremony: Big Bang, Yoona (SNSD), Hyukoh, Hyorin & Dasom (Sistar) (did not perform), Toy (did not perform), APINK, Zion.T, Sane, iKON, GFriend, Mad Clown (did not perform), Hong Jin Young, BTS, Red Velvet, EXID, Monsta X, Winner (did not perform). Actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the night as presenters.

The show on the night was hosted by Yoo Byung Jae and Seo Kang Joon. They were shortly joined by Lee Boo Yi, Kim Shin Young, Kim So Hyun & Irene (Red Velvet). The red carpet was hosted by Youngji (Former Member of Kara) and Seo Yuri.

Below are the winners on the night. Afterwards, I have left some comments regarding some awards:
Top 10 Artist – SHINee, Girl’s Generation, Hyukoh, Toy, Big Bang, Sistar, EXO, APINK, Zion.T, Sane.
Best New Artist – iKON & GFriend
Best Rap/Hip Hop – Mad Clown ft. Jinsil (Fire)
Best Ballad – Baek Ah Yeon ft. Young K (Shouldn’t Have)
Best RnB – Naul (Living In The Same Time)
Best Rock – Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer)
Best OST – Loco & Yuju (Spring Is Gone By Chance)
Best Trot – Hong Jin Young (Love WiFi)
Best Pop – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk)
Best Male Dance – BTS (I Need U)
Best Female Dance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Folk – 10cm (Sseudam Sseudam)
Best Indie – Standing Egg ft. Wheein & Obroject Yundak (The Sunlight Hurts)
Netizen Popularity Award – Big Bang (Bang Bang Bang)
Hot Trend Award – Infinite Challenge (Yeongdong Expressway Music Festival)
Best Music Video – Park Jin Young ft. Jessi (Who’s Your Mama?)
Song Writer Award – Teddy
MBC Music Star Award – EXID
1theK Performance Award – Monsta X
Album Of The Year (Daesang) – EXODUS
Song Of The Year (Daesang) – Bang Bang Bang
Artist Of The Year (Daesang) – Big Bang

I personally think above is a fair spread for award winners. While I am not knowledgeable to comment on categories such as Best Indie and Best Folk, the rest show 2015 in its glory. Once again, I think Seventeen deserves the Best New Artist award and GFriend finally got what they deserved (it’s a good thing. Kind of sounded like I was hinting at something bad). Sistar and APINK’s Top 10 awards caught me off guard since they were quickly taken over by other artists on the digital charts and failed to be up to par with the other artists. I am glad to see Kim Sung Gyu win something for his album. It was really good.

And as per usual, there were performances that night from the groups who won awards. Performers included: Hyukoh, Big Bang, APINK, Zion.T, Sane, BTS, EXID, Red Velvet, Monsta X, iKON and GFriend. It would have been nicer to see some more artists who won from the night perform. I think best performance of the night was BTS with their cool jackets that had light coming off them. A very large portion of the show was dedicated to Big Bang, which had people talking. Sure, they won a lot of award, but I agree with majority of the audience. Big Bang’s performances just made it feel like one Big Bang concert. Sure, they won prestigious awards, but it just robbed the other artists of their night, who also put hard effort into making 2015 their year. Would have I gotten angry over the fact they turned the award show into a mini concert? No, but maybe they should have dropped one or two songs.

Overall, I think MMA15 was pretty fair. They had a large variety of winners (mainly because they have a lot of categories) and minus that small complaint regarding the performances, the show was great. Oh, but damn was the presentation of the awards cringe worthy. Probably this ceremony takes the award for  “Worst Presentation of Awards” award. Could have done it in a way where the presenters did not feel that ashamed of themselves.