[Review] Eight – IU ft. Suga (BTS)

You take the digital queen of KPOP. You take one of the members of the most popular KPOP group in KPOP. You put them together in a room and apparently that equates to Eight. If you couldn’t tell about the title of this post, I will be having a looking into the collaboration single that came about when we combine the likes of IU and Suga from BTS. And that collaboration single is set to dethrone every other song at the top of the charts, given the power of the two in the industry. After all, they have already debuted at the number 1 position for two of the domestic charts and they are rising fast on the rest of them. After all, it is what IU and BTS does best.

The song is produced by Suga and IU themselves and it all about being 28 (which is also the Korean age of both IU and Suga this year). The song takes the form of a pop rock track, which already sounds amazing. I liked how mellow Eight started off as and how fast it was to ditch that sound to become an epic pop rock song that I could rock out to. That is really big tick in my books. To me, it is like the song mashes up IU’s pop rock Blueming and BTS’ more modern influence. I do think Eight could have used some electric guitar riffs to really give the final chorus a little something different to the rest of the song. Or would this be a little cliche? The song just felt a little too consistent as I was listening to it after multiple replays. Though, this doesn’t stop me from pressing the replay button. IU’s vocals never seem to disappoint, with this song highlighting her vocal abilities in the same way as her ballads and well known hits have always managed to do. Her voice comes off very refreshing and suits this pop rock style a lot. Suga has a very limited section in Eight, but he comes in with a really cool whisper and he continues the momentum of the song without diverting to a new or different sound. The only other flaw of the song is how short it was. But after all, it is a short but sweet song.

The music video starts and ends off with IU in this futuristic world. It seems like the machine that she gets into is a memory machine that replays memories in her dream. The memory that we see on our screen is what I presume to be an experience at the age of 28. She takes care of a lizard or gecko that she really loves. One night, she has a dream that she is on a plane and her lizard is on the outside of the plane. The plane experiences turbulence, waking IU up. IU runs downstairs to find that her lizard pet has gone into the wild. IU, in another dream, goes looking for her pet. But soon realizes that her pet had evolved into a dragon like creature. Knowing that her lizard pet is well and moving on with its life, she moves on with hers as she flies away to her destination. I thought the video was really cool. I liked how they showed four versions of IU without confusing us as they used a different style of each. They used a human form for Futuristic IU and memory IU, while animated 3D IU (which may have included 3D animated Suga) and cartoon IU for the different dreams. Overall, a fantastic video.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist-Based Categories

It is that time of the year again where I announce the winners for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. In December 2019, I allowed the audience (you all), once again, to vote for their favourite songs and artists for the December 2018 to November 2019 period. Thank you to all who voted and particpated in the KPOPREVIEWED Awards this time around. Even more people voted this year, making this year more intense than ever in many categories. This post will focus on the artist-based categories, which will involve the New Artist categories, Elemental-focused (i.e. rap, vocals etc.) categories and Best Artist categories. The winners for the artist categories will be posted in an accompanying post today, while the Top 100 songs of 2019 will be posted tomorrow.

Here is how things are going to work. Each category (aside from the non-fan voted categories, which are specified) will have a WINNER (the song/performance/video that ranked first), a Honourable Mention (the song/performance/video that ranked second) and a KPOPREVIEWED Choice (my personal choice if I voted, which I didn’t include this year). And let’s go!


Best New Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Ha Sung Woon, HUTA (Lee Min Hyuk – BTOB), Kang Daniel, Kim Jae Hwan.

WINNER – Baekhyun (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Kang Daniel
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – HUTA (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB)


Best New Female Soloist

Nominees: Hwasa (Mamamoo), Jeon Somi, Kim Ji Yeon (Kei – Lovelyz), Oh Ha Young (APINK), Sulli

WINNER – Hwasa (Mamamoo)
Honourable Mention – Sulli
KPOPREVIEWED – Hwasa (Mamamoo)


Best New Male Group

Nominees: AB6IX, CIX, ONEUS, TXT, X1

WINNER – TXT
Honourable Mentions – ONEUS
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – AB6IX


Best New Female Group

Nominees: BVNDIT, Cherry Bullet, EVERGLOW, ITZY, PURPLEBECK

WINNER – ITZY
Honourable Mention – EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – EVERGLOW


Best Band

Nominees: DAY6, FT Island, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE

WINNER – DAY6
Honourable Mention – N.Flying
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – DAY6


Best Vocals

Nominees: AKMU, Brown Eyed Girls, Chen (EXO), IU, Mamamoo

WINNER – IU
Honourable Mention – Chen (EXO)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – IU


Best Raps

Nominees: J-Hope (BTS); Jackson (GOT7); Mark (NCT); Ravi (VIXX); Zico

WINNER – Mark (NCT)
Honourable Mention – Zico
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Zico


Best Subunit

Nominees: Block B Bastarz; EXO-SC, Jus2, NCT 127, NCT Dream

WINNER – NCT Dream
Honourable Mention – NCT 127
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – NCT Dream


Artist With Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Seventeen (5x)


Rising Star

Nominees: ATEEZ, CLC, N.Flying, UP10TION, VICTON

WINNER – ATEEZ
Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – CLC


Most Underrated Artist of 2019

Nominees: A.C.E, Dream Catcher, LOONA, ONF, Pentagon

WINNER – Dream Catcher
Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – LOONA


Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), Nam Woohyun (Infinite), Taemin (SHINee), Yesung (Super Junior), Zico

WINNER – Taemin (SHINee)
Honourable Mention – Zico
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Nam Woohyun


Best Female Soloist

Nominees: Ailee, Kim Chungha, IU, Park Bom, Sumni, Taeyeon (SNSD)

WINNER – IU
Honourable Mention – Kim Chungha
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Chungha


Best Male Group

Nominees: ASTRO, ATEEZ, BTS, DAY6, EXO, GOT7, iKON, MONSTA X, NCT, NU’EST, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, Stray Kids, The Boyz, WINNER

WINNER – EXO
Honourable Mention – BTS, ATEEZ
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Stray Kids


Best Female Group

Nominees: (G)I-DLE, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, IZ*ONE, LOONA, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

WINNER – TWICE
Honourable Mention – Red Velvet, Mamamoo
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Oh My Girl


And that brings us to the end of the Artist-Based Categories for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t seen the Song-Based Categories yet, click here.

Tomorrow, we will get to see which artist ranked on the Top 100 of the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Charts, where the song that ranks first becomes the ‘Best Song of 2019’. Remember this is decided based on the votes for Best Song of 2019 (50%) and the Weekly KPOP Charts that I post every Sunday (50%). You can find out by clicking here (hyperlink will be updated once the post is published).

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Song-Based Categories

It is that time of the year again where I announce the winners for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. In December 2019, I allowed the audience (you all), once again, to vote for their favourite songs and artists for the December 2018 to November 2019 period. Thank you to all who voted and participated in the KPOPREVIEWED Awards this time around. Even more people voted this year, making this year more intense than ever in many categories. This post will focus on the song-based categories, which will also involve the Performance categories, Best Music Video, Best Concept and the most voted song (by you all). The winners for the artist categories will be posted in an accompanying post today, while the Top 100 songs of 2019 will be posted tomorrow.

Here is how things are going to work. Each category (aside from the non-fan voted categories, which are specified) will have a WINNER (the song/performance/video that ranked first), a Honourable Mention (the song/performance/video that ranked second) and a KPOPREVIEWED Choice (my personal choice if I voted, which I didn’t include this year). And let’s go!


Best Special Performance

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Egostistic Cover (AOA) at Queendom


Best Concept

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – HIP (Mamamoo)


Best Solo Choreography

Nominees: Blue (Ha Sung Woon); Focus (Kim Dong Han); Gotta Go (Kim Chungha); LALALAY (Sunmi); L.O.V.E (Park Ji Hoon); Twit (Hwasa – Mamamoo); WANT (Taemin – SHINee); What Are You Up To? (Kang Daniel); What You Waiting For? (Anda & R.Tee); Ya (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB).

WINNER – WANT (Taemin)
Honourable Mention – Gotta Go (Kim Chungha)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – LALALAY (Sunm
i)


Best Male (Group) Choreography

Nominees: All Night (ASTRO); Boom (NCT Dream); HIT (Seventeen); Hollywood (AB6IX); Humph! (Pentagon); Love Shot (EXO); RPM (SF9); Say My Name (ATEEZ); Side Effects (Stray Kids); You Calling My Name (GOT7).

WINNER – Love Shot (EXO)
Honourable Mention – HIT (Seventeen)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Side Effects (Stray Kids)


Best Female (Group) Choreography

Nominees: Bon Bon Chocolat (EVERGLOW); Boogie Up (WJSN); Butterfly (LOONA); DALLA DALLA (ITZY); HIP (Mamamoo); Pinky Star (Run) (GWSN); Sunrise (GFriend); The Fifth Season (Oh My Girl); Violeta (IZ*ONE); Zimzalabim (Red Velvet).

WINNER – Butterfly (LOONA)
Honourable Mention – HIP (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Zimzalabim (Red Velvet)


Best Collaboration

Nominees: Blossom (Eunha & Ravi); Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey); Don’t Need Your Love (NCT Dream & HRVY); I Wanna Be (Key ft. Kim Soyeon); Spring (Park Bom ft. Sandara Park)

WINNER – Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey)
Honourable Mention – Don’t Need Your Love (NCT Dream & HRVY)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Boy With Luv (BTS ft. Halsey)


Best Music Video

Nominees: Abandoned (Brown Eyed Girls); Above The Time (IU); Crown (TXT); Feel Special (TWICE); HIT (Seventeen); Love Drunk (Epik High ft. Crush); Noir (Sunmi); Snapping (Kim Chungha); You Calling My Name (GOT7); Zimzalabim (Red Velvet)

WINNER – Obsession (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Feel Special (TWICE)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – HIT (Seventeen)


Best International Song By A Korean Artist

Nominees: Breakthrough (TWICE – Japanese); Flower (GFriend – Japanese); Lights (BTS – Japan); Moonwalk (WAYV – China); Someone’s Someone (Monsta X – US).

WINNER – Breakthrough (TWICE – Japan)
Honourable Mention – Moonwalk (WAYV – China)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Breakthrough (TWICE – Japan)


Best Official Soundtrack (OST)

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – We All Lie (Ha Jin- Sky Castle OST)


Most Viewed Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Goblin (Sulli)


Most Viewed Album Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – BXXX (Ha Sung Woon)


Songs With Most Win on Weekly KPOP Charts

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Time Of Our Life (DAY6)
WINNER – HIP (Mamamoo)


Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Ten Nights (Mamamoo)


Best Album

Nominees: Love Poem (IU); Narcissus (SF9); Purpose (Taeyeon – SNSD); The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6); Want (Taemin – SHINee)

WINNER – Love Poem (IU)
Honourable Mention – The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Book Of Us: Gravity (DAY6)


Most Voted For Song of 2019

WINNER – Obsession (EXO)


And that brings us to the end of the Song-Based Categories for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t seen the Artist-Based Categories yet, click here.

Tomorrow, we will get to see which artist ranked on the Top 100 of the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Charts, where the song that ranks first becomes the ‘Best Song of 2019’. Remember this is decided based on the votes for Best Song of 2019 (50%) and the Weekly KPOP Charts that I post every Sunday (50%). Will EXO’s Obsession become the ‘Best Song of 2019’ officially? You can find out by clicking here (hyperlink will be updated once the post is published).

[Album Review] Love Poem (7th Mini Album) – IU

IU is nominated for Best Female Soloist, Best Vocals and Best Music Video in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. To vote for IU and your other favourites, click the link here!

Rising to the very top of the charts upon its release last week is IU’s Love Poem. This is her 7th mini-album. The album also shares the same name as her pre-release single, which is featured as the closing track of the mini-album. The album is also IU’s first since 2017 and also features Blueming and the You & I continuation, Above The Time (links below). With chart-topping songs and album, let’s see what IU has to offer this time.

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Love Poem Album Cover

1. Unlucky – The first song on the album is Unlucky. What I really like about this track is that, as an opener, it puts you in a good mood for the rest of the album (regardless of how emotional the album could possibly get). The song features an upbeat and retro-centred instrumental that really compliments the softness of her vocals. The harmonies and melody are quite memorable and exude a pleasant feel, which helps the song become very appealing and enjoyable. (9/10)

2. The Visitor (그 사람)The Visitor is a slow jazz song that oozed a lot of personality. It was also quite slow, considering the tracks that surrounded it. But just because it is a slower song, it doesn’t affect IU’s vocal work, which is equally as captivating as the other tracks on the album. The use of the guitar as part of the instrumentation was very interesting and unique, giving the song a slightly creepy side. Her vocals also contributed to this feeling as well. In addition to that, I found the song really hold me in my place, as I feel the need to finish the song whenever I am listening to it (which is obviously a good thing). (9/10)

3. Blueming (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Blueming. (10/10)

4. Above The Time (시간의 바깥) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Above The Time. (10/10)

5. Lullaby (자장가)Lullaby is a beautiful and soothing track to listen to, fitting with its Lullaby title. The only two elements to this song are IU’s beautiful vocals and a piano that pairs extremely well with one another. And while these comments are practically enough to give you a small insight, I just wanted to stay on this song for another second (to keep this review somewhat balanced). I love its simplicity and her breathy vocals. (9/10)

6. Love Poem (Pre-Release Track) – If there are three words to describe this song, it would be ‘breathtaking and powerful’. So powerful that it is a song that you don’t even need to know what the meaning of the lyrics are as you can hear the emotions as IU captivates you. And there is no doubt that the song makes you reflect upon your emotions once it wraps up. The line ‘Here I Am’ is extremely memorable. Her vocals in this track are what gives the song the ‘breathtaking’ descriptor. I also like how the song doesn’t remain as a straightforward classical ballad, building up as it progresses and incorporating a rock component. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.5/10

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Love Poem Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Above The Time – IU

Yesterday, I reviewed Blueming, IU’s official comeback to the music industry and stage. And this song, along with every other song on the album has been rising to the top end of the digital charts in Korea, once again proving her power in the industry. In the Blueming review, I mentioned that IU had released another music video for Above The Time, which is observed as the follow-up to the storyline presented to us in You & I (IU’s 2012 hit). Before reviewing today’s comebacks, let’s have a dive into this song and video.

Listening to the start of the Above The Time, you are given the impression that it is going to be a ballad. We get an orchestral instrumental during the first verse and chorus, which really sounds amazing. This style is something we have heard IU do before and it makes her vocals breathtaking. After the first chorus, a drumbeat is incorporated into the song, giving hint that the song might not be as linear as we thought. And it still manages to pair well with her vocals. The biggest twist comes during the bridge of the track. It starts off like an orchestral instrumental break. But it switches it up completely with a folksy piece. It is a complete change-up but it manages to click into place without a hitch, which is rather intriguing. The two styles (folksy and orchestral ballad) end up merging together for a second before we go back to the ballad roots of the song. It is a rollercoaster to listen to. But you will not be disappointed if you listen to it. I particularly liked the ending, as it felt like another mini-rollercoaster in the song. The track slows down and then reincorporates a dramatic piece to give it that epic finish to an awesome ballad-like track.

As mentioned previously, the music video brings back the storyline in You & I (the one with the sleeping guy and the IU travelling through time with a goose to wake him up). Well, the same actor (Lee Hyun Woo) returns to reprise his role as the guy. Since waking up, he has been living in a similar building to which he was asleep. The calendar on the bookshelf points to the 31st of December 2019, which is the same date that IU travelled to the future in order for him to wake up. And so from the moment he woke up, he had been awaiting the arrival of IU. He shows us his wrist, which contains the clock face that IU had drew on his wrist in You & I (which might be a hint to the particular time). In preparation for her return, she drops a goose feather from the frozen goose in You & I, which started to bring Lee Hyun Woo’s memory back of the time before his deep sleep (i.e the bright scenes in which Lee Hyun Woo and IU were dancing), which results in his emotional breakdown. I assume that IU did this to not cause him any pain during the long wait. Not exactly sure how the clock face on his wrist disappeared but it became a picture of a flower on his hand (which IU had drawn in the past), signalling the that his memories were, in fact, true and that it was time for him to find a way to IU. This leads to the ladder and paper boat that I am hoping reunites Lee Hyun Woo and IU after all this time. That is my interpretation of the video but some details can be incorrectly interpreted. But it is amazing that You & I got its sequel, as I had never expected this actually occurs.

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

[Review] Blueming – IU

One of the most popular soloists in KPOP is officially back with a brand new mini-album!!! IU, dubbed as a digital queen and ‘nation’s little sister’, returned today with her 9th mini-album, Love Poem, and the lead title track, Blueming. Other notable releases from IU  and this mini-album is the pre-release single which shares the same name as the mini-album; and Above The Time, which is the followup track (and music video) to IU’s 2012 release, You & I (excuse my early days of reviewing)I will be reviewing Above The Time tomorrow, so make sure to check back tomorrow for the review!

I expected something a little softer from IU for this comeback for some unknown reason. Maybe it is her previous comebacks and song releases talking to me. So when I heard Blueming, I was pleasantly surprised by its upbeat atmosphere. The rock electro-pop instrumental had a fun vibe to it, which made me instantly smile while listening to it for the first time. And I could tell from the first listen that this song will be rather addictive to listen to. The addictiveness can be attributed to a number of elements. The instrumental for one, especially when it came to the amped-up chorus, really helped engrave the song into my mind. This section alone was my favourite part of the song. The ‘I Feel Blue/Bloom‘ repetition was a close second.  IU, herself, sounds amazing in the song. But this was highly expected. Together, everything went well together and it comes off as a perfect track. And perfection is something that seems to be associated with IU with every one of her albums and songs.

The music video is visually stunning. IU herself was extremely pretty during the video and I loved her acting and expressions throughout the three and a half minutes. My favourite part is the exploding lockers, which was a scene with both good acting and pretty looks from the artist. As for the plotline, I am not too sure about what is going on the video though. It seems like her crush is hitting on her and the feeling is mutual. But when she goes to reciprocate the mutual feelings, her crush takes it the wrong way. I think it is due to the fact that both don’t really talk to one another (i.e. we never see this person and they don’t interact). But once both realize that they need to interact with each other, they do so by ‘exchanging’ balloons (the only words we got from the other party is ‘Read Me’ on the grey balloon), which I am assuming is a metaphor for conversation.  That is my interpretation of the video but I would love to read others, so feel free to share below!

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

[Review] BBIBBI – IU

All bow down in the presence of the digital queen! IU has made her return to the music scene with BBIBBI. This new release celebrates her 10th year since debut and it quite clear what she has accomplished so far in her career. The last time we saw IU on stage was through Palette and more recently, in a collaboration with Zico.  And as we speak, her latest single has already topped some charts.

BBIBBI is a little different to anything we have gotten from IU in the past. I personally not sure how to exactly describe the song. It has those common pop elements that I associate with the genre but there is a certain level of aesthetics that doesn’t really make it fit into that category. I was going to say a tiny bit of R&B but once again, the aesthetic doesn’t make it fit into that label. Whatever the music style, the song is very nice sounding. It is modern and I like its soothing effects. IU’s vocals bring a certain level of innocence to the song but also some complexity. The chorus was quite addictive. I love the odd bumping synth in between the first chorus and the second verse, along with the very peculiar bridge that she presents us. It is a song that I don’t stay for the energy but rather for the interesting vibes that come off it.

The music video takes on a little odd factor but I think it is fitting for the message she is attempting to get across. The song is about giving a warning to others and being your individual self. It is a nice video. I would say it is rather plain but you are trying to guess what she means with the certain clothing she is wearing and what she is doing throughout the video. I thought her mini dance routine was really cute, with her facial expressions being the highlight during that scene. Overall, it was a good video.

Not technically sure if she will be promoting this track. Since it is just a digital single, I don’t think that seems to be the case but who knows!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

[Review] SoulMate – ZICO (Block B) ft. IU

This is probably the collaboration of the century. Zico is a very well-known producer known for his chart-topping hits such as I Am You, You Are Me and Boys and Girls. IU is the digital queen, with all her songs taking over the charts as soon as they are released. So it was no surprise that their collaboration rose quickly to the top of the charts. And that is why we are here today – to review this highly anticipated (yet very unexpecting) collaboration.

SoulMate begins with the vocals of both collaborators. Zico’s vocals seem to change a little each time, complimenting the style of the song. IU’s signature husky vocals are definitely impactful here. Together, there is this extremely smooth feel. The instrumental has this subtle jazz vibe, which was nice. I liked how despite the song being notably Zico (as he produced it), it could easily have slipped into IU’s albums. Zico’s rap was nice and I liked how IU sang along with some of the rap lines. The choruses wasn’t that memorable in my opinion, however, it reminded me of Spring, which is fast approaching. My favourite bit of the song was the bridge, where both singers seem to push themselves a little further, allowing that section of the song to resonate with me. Overall, the song does really speak volumes when you listen to it as a whole and with this quality of music, it is no wonder why they always top charts.

While this may look like the longest elevator wait ever, you all should come to my university. You will be able to replay the song a few times before any elevator opens up. Putting that aside, I thought the video was a nice way of presenting the idea of finding soulmates. I liked the small cameo that Crush made, with this blue hair being a very obvious giveaway (I know he recently returned but I couldn’t think of anything regarding his song). I was also surprised as both artists appeared in the video, which isn’t a usual case for some collaborations (i.e. one artist is usually absent).

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Review – 8/10

 

2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Results

**drum rolls please**

It is time to announce the winners of the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. This is the first year ever that you (the readers) got the opportunity to vote and pick out the winners of each category (excluding a few). Let me just start by saying thank you for all those who participated in the voting process, as you all made this possible.

This will be an EXTREMELY LONG post and it will be gif heavy so it may take a while to load up. If you have a slow internet connection (like me), you can still view the winners (along with the nominees if you missed the voting period/want a reminder) by clicking the link here.

The respective gifs for each category represent the winners which you voted for, while I have put down my pick for the category. I have opted to not do a commentary this year due to the already long length of this post.

BEST MALE GROUP DEBUT

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Wanna One

Author’s Choice – Wanna One


BEST FEMALE GROUP DEBUT

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Dream Catcher

Author’s Choice – Dream Catcher


BEST SOLOIST DEBUT

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Kim Chungha

Author’s Choice – Jung Sewoon


RISING STAR

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Monsta X

Author’s Choice – NU’EST W


BEST SUBUNIT

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SEVENTEEN Performance Unit

Author’s Choice – Gugudan 5959


BEST CO-ED GROUP

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KARD

Author’s Choice – KARD


BEST MALE SOLOIST

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G-Dragon (Big Bang)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

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IU

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Sunmi

Author’s Choice – Sunmi


BEST VOCALS

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BTOB

Author’s Choice – DAY6


BEST RAPPER

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Zico (Block B)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST JAPANESE SONG BY A KOREAN ARTIST

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One More Time – TWICE

Author’s Choice – One More Time (TWICE)


BEST COLLABORATION

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Honey Bee – Luna, Solar, Hani

Author’s Choice – Bye Babe (Chen & 10CM)


BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

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Don’t Wanna Cry – SEVENTEEN

Author’s Choice – Gashina (Sunmi)


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

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Peek-A-Boo – Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – You In Me (KARD)


BEST MALE GROUP

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B.A.P

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EXO

Author’s Choice – SEVENTEEN


BEST FEMALE GROUP

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Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – Red Velvet


BEST NON-TITLE TRACK SONG

Beautiful – Pentagon


BEST ALBUM

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Palette – IU (4th Studio Album)


And there you have it, the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Award Winners. Congratulations to all! Hopefully, the artist’s that you picked came out on top and were victorious.

As for the BEST SONG OF THE YEAR award, it will be published in a separate post. For this year, the winning song will be the song that tops the End Of Year Charts (to be published on the 15th of January).
NOTE: YOUR VOTES MAKE UP 50% OF THE END OF YEAR CHARTS, WITH THE OTHER 50% CONTRIBUTED BY ME.

[Double Review] Sleepless Rainy Night + Last Night Story – IU

After her promotions of Palette earlier this year, IU has made her surprising return to the music industry with another remake album. Her previous remake album, A Flower Bookmark, was released in 2014. This sequel to the album, A Flower Bookmark 2, features a number of singles. Autumn Morning was unexpectedly released earlier than the rest of the album and the two songs taken into account for this review are Sleepless Rainy Night and Last Night Story.

Sleepless Rainy Night is a remake of the same-titled track by Kim Gun Mo. Her rendition takes the track to a much slower tempo but also gives it a jazzier vibe. Like the original, she gives her tries are sing-rapping or rapping in general in some parts. And like any other IU song, she handles it pretty well. Her vocals make the song sound dreamy and smooth, which is something that I like. It is very easy to the ears. Compared to the rest of the song on the album, this one isn’t the best one. But it is still one pretty nice remake cover.

The original singers of Last Night Story are Sobangcho, a trio who made their debut in 1987. IU’s version is a lot cleaner, in terms of the instruments used, and the modern feel. But the same beat and rhythm seem to remain to the song. The upbeat nature of IU’s version make this song easy to get into and it makes me want to dance.  The short instrumental breaks make everything a lot more tempting. Once again, she shines, vocally, in the song.

Unfortunately, Sleepless Rainy Night does not have a music video (that, or it hasn’t appeared in my subscriptions yet). So I will be making my rating based on the song alone. On the other hand, there is a music video (and choreography) for Last Night Story and I love both equally. The video is extremely cute and the choreography is something that I would probably do at a party. No shame there. The video left such an impression on me for its crazy that I could actually put this down as one of the best music videos of the year. I know how it sounds, but I thought the elements (i.e. sets, use of backup dancers, props, IU’s acting) was amazing.

Sleepless Rainy Night 
Song & Overall Rating – 8/10

Last Night Story
Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10

 

 

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] Palette (4th Full Album) – IU

I said a few days ago that I would write an album review for IU’s latest album, Palette. And everything went perfectly okay until Ending Scene was released with a music video on Monday. Which reminded me that we also got a teaser for Jam Jam, which probably means there is a music video of Jam Jam as well. So the issue is now, when shall I do Jam Jam‘s review? Ultimately, I have decided to not do another full review for Jam Jam and will only do the song review part here as part of the album review. Let’s get this show on the road!

Palette Album Cover

1..Now (이 지금)  – The instrumental consist of classical instrumental which makes you remember the music of the past. It is a very bright song overall, with a cuteness element mixed into it somewhere. However, her voice does bring some elegance to the song, with its mature tone. It is instantly a song that makes me smile and I like it a lot. (9/10)

2. Palette (팔레트) ft. G-Dragon (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Palette (9.5/10)

3. Ending Scene (이런 엔딩)Click here to read the full review for Ending Scene (9.5/10)

4. Can’t Love You Anymore (사랑이 잘) ft. Oh Hyuk (Pre-release Track) – Though it was a pre-release, I actually never got around to reviewing it because there was no accompanying music video. But it is another track off her album that sounds amazing. There is a nice jazzy sound to it and right off the bat, I wouldn’t mind listening to this song in a cafe somewhere, with it playing softly. Oh Hyuk’s vocals fit very well into the song and it goes nicely with IU’s breathy vocals. Put the two together and you have another spectacular collaboration off this album (9/10)

5. Jam Jam (잼잼) – Her breathy vocals come into the play once again in Jam Jam. The song has a more upbeat instrumental which had disco vibes, which I liked quite a bit. I love the way she whispers for the pre-chorus and that launches into such a catchy chorus. I really want to see a live performance for this song because while it does have a distinct uniqueness, there is a Kylie Minogue feel coming from certain parts in the song. An artist that I grew up with because Kylie was constantly on TV when I was younger.(10/10) 

6. Black Out – This is going down as a personal favourite. There is something about this song that makes it so good. I am not sure if it is her vocals in the song. She is half singing and half talking for the most part. However, especially during the chorus, she lets her vocals out and they do all the modelling in this song. The instrumental is quite nice. Nothing too overpowering, almost relaxing. (10/10)

7. Machimpyo (마침표) – Another ballad joins the mix. This one sounds like something off the soundtrack of a popular movie that made everyone cry. It sounds like the background song for remembering someone you were extremely fond of. Her vocals were softer here, but the emotions were still strong. (10/10)

8. Through The Night (밤편지) (Pre-release Track)Click here to read the full review for Through The Night (10/10)

9. And So Love Is (그렇게 사랑은) – Boy, this song sounds sad. But it stills my breath away. The instrumental comprises of only guitar. With her emotional vocals in this song, the two elements leave a haunting sound. Even in the brief moments of silence, you can hear her voice echoing (probably was filled in my own mind) but it leaves a big impression on me. And it also proves her capabilities to anyone who still questions her in any way. (10/10)

10. Dear Name (이름에게) – The final song on the album is also another ballad. This one reminds me of Machimpyo (above) because it too sounded like it came off the soundtrack of a popular movie that made everyone cry. The orchestral feel in the song makes it sound so much more amazing. If it means anything, it is another song that gets me swaying along. And it took my breath away. (10/10)

Image result for Palette IU teaser image
Palette Teaser Image (Source: ALLKPOP)

Overall Album Rating – 9.5/10

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[Review] Ending Scene – IU

I am currently writing up the album review for IU’s fourth album, Palette. She previously announced her long-awaited comeback back March. And since then released two pre-release singles. Last week she finally dropped the album and the title track, Palette, which features G-Dragon. On Monday, she unveiled the accompanying music video for Ending Scene and hence the only reason why I am writing a separate review for Ending Scene.

IU has done it again with another ballad. Her voice suits ballads, so it is hard to find any fault in her songs (you know what situation I am in once my album review is released later today). Her vocals in this song seem to drift side by side, matching the swaying that my head can’t help doing once I start listening to the song. They are emotional, which you can hear throughout the song. The only issue if I were to overly critical with this particular song is that the instrumental sounds pretty generic. But the combination of her vocals and instrumental makes the song so impactful. It makes me want to go back and listen to it again and again. It’s another good song to add to the list from IU. And it is another good song off her latest album, which joins the other 9 songs on the album….

But as I mentioned earlier on, the reason why I decided to write a separate review for Ending Scene is the music video. I think it is an amazing video. It features Kim Soo Hyun, who previous stared alongside IU in the drama Producer. The video shows IU and Soo Hyun tied up in the clouds together, preparing for their breakup. They spent time watching the memories that they made together. Throughout these memories, you see Soo Hyun lipsync to IU’s voices, but with messages that “You will be able to sleep well soon” and that everything will soon feel better. As they watch, IU seem to have second thoughts on their breakup. In the end, we return to back to the scene where they are tied up again. And IU begins to cut some of Soo Hyun’s string and you see him start to drop, while Soo Hyun does the same to IU’s string. Cutting the strings symbolises moving on. Falling out the sky was the final step and after that, they could say they moved on. Soo Hyun administered the final snip, so he doesn’t make her feel burdened and we see him fall down. We then see IU attempt to cut her string, but the screen blackens before we see it happen, possibly suggesting she didn’t cut them. IU probably didn’t want to or wasn’t ready to move on. Overall, it is a very impactful video and it was quite interesting to watch.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating –  9.5/10

 

 

[Review] Palette – IU ft. G-Dragon (Big Bang)

The digital queen is officially back. This is her first major release in the last three years. On top of that, this is her first return to the stage in four years. Who am I talking about? It is IU, of course. And with her already (and always expected) chart topper, she is bringing out the big guns with one of the most unexpected collaborations to date. G-Dragon features on her title track and that will be reviewed today. And don’t worry, I will be getting an album review out for her fourth album, Palette, sometime next week!

Her last song was titled as 23, due to her age. This song seems to be an extension of that idea, but this time, IU is 25. However, the sound is completely different in comparison to her previous track. It’s a slow track that doesn’t much going on it. It doesn’t rely on a heavy instrumental. Instead, it is very minimalistic. The song reminds me of a white room or a blank canvas. Sure, it may sound boring to some people, but it can mean a lot and be interpreted differently by others. And with that minimal sound (or white room or blank canvas), it gives her vocals the chance to shine. We already know of her vocal capabilities, but with this song, she displays a much more mature sound that we haven’t heard from her. Her higher pitch during the chorus and the slowness of the song makes the track sound so much better. Furthermore, the song is addictive and extremely catchy. I have already replayed it a number of times and I am singing along (in my awful voice) every time the chorus kicks in. Finally, G-Dragon’s rap sequence sounds pretty cool, I can’t really deny that. It was extremely fitting and added an urban sound to the song. Something that brings the song down a bit, since IU was singing her parts at a higher pitch before G-Dragon came in. Overall, it is an amazing song, so do check it out.

I mentioned the idea of the white room before. And the video was shot is a white room, as well. And yes, while a white room may be boring, but it is what IU does in the room (besides stealing the spotlight, of course) does fill it up. It’s an odd idea and it’s one that didn’t occur to me until I started writing this part. But her presence fills the room. And in a sense, that does paint on the white walls. It is just a thought that I had while writing this, but it made me go back and watch the video a couple more times. We are also shown other shots. One that stole the show was when she appeared in her Good Day outfit (I think. It’s the one where she is wearing the pink dress with her name and the age ’18’ written at the bottom of the video). It shows how far she has come. From Good Day, which was her big breakthrough in the industry, to her current video and matured style. I think the video is amazing. Like the song, it is minimalistic, but that does speak volumes in certain cases and this is one of those cases. Watching the video many times already and I have yet to feel bored.

[UPDATED] The accompanying choreography isn’t a big part of the comeback. She only dances during the chorus of the song and it is that little segment seen in the video. It wasn’t needed but I didn’t mind it. It too showed a more mature side to IU, matching the mature sound of the song. She also rapped G-Dragon’s part for her first stage. That blew me away. Search up the performance to watch her perform Palette!!

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8/10 [UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 9.5/10 [UPDATED]

 

[Review] Through The Night – IU

My apologies for this somewhat late review. I totally forgot about IU’s pre-release for her soon-to-be-released album. I honestly didn’t remember until I was trying to schedule some reviews in and realised that IU’s song was missing from the list. Moving along, IU will be making her first comeback since 2015, when she released Twenty Three and her 7th mini album. She has been relatively quiet in the past year, with her primary focus on acting. Her 4th album is scheduled to be released on the 21st of April, and she is gearing up for another pre-release in early April (both I will not forget).

As mentioned previously, IU has been absent from the KPOP scene for two years. And usually, artists who stay away for an extended period of time become a distant memory. But despite all of that, IU has managed to topped charts and score perfect all kills with Through The Night. And I can see why. Through The Night is a ballad that sounds perfect with IU’s trademark husky vocals. The instrumental delves into acoustic, but it also sounds like there is a folk tone in the way the guitar is strummed. There isn’t much to it, but it sounds quite nice. It also sounds hollow to an extent. But a ‘hollow’ song doesn’t sound like a beautiful description of a song. To me, the ‘hollow’ nature of the instrumental compliments her vocals. To the point where the vocals seem to fill that missing core of the song. I can see the instrumental alone being incredibly boring. Her vocals are definitely the highlight of the song. The harmonies that she has with the background vocals make her sound like an angel. Currently, I am in Autumn, and this is the perfect song to be listening to. You can sit outside on a cloudy day, have this song playing and watch the leaves fall to the ground.

In connection with the final comments in the last paragraph, the video seems to play with that Autumn feel. The video uses colours that we tend of associate with the season of falling leaves. Maybe it is me trying to relate the video to myself (I say this because Korea is currently in Spring) but it does come off that way. The focus of the video is on her, and I am in love with that. She is a beautiful person and the video highlights that, despite the video being shot with a candle or dimmed lights. It is as if she is glowing. One thing I do with these reviews is that I keep on switching between watching the video and writing the reviews. While switching, I managed to see something quite nice. The ball of yarn that rolled down the stairs managed to be time with the beat of the song. While this may not be as spectacular for some of you, to me, it goes to show how nicely (with, of course, everything else in the video) the video was shot. The cinematography is fantastic and extremely fitting with the sound of the song. If you want to relax or calm down (for whatever reason), try watching the beautiful song and the equally as beautiful music video.

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

Twenty Three – IU

While this comeback overall cannot be described as perfect for IU (refer to the tons of articles regarding her “scandal”), I think this is perfect. Her title track, titled as Twenty Three, talks about becoming a woman, well for IU’s case. I personally am confused regarding how this song sounds alike to Britney Spear’s song (or voice). I don’t really hear it. I feel like it is a very pop influenced song, but it has that catchy sound that IU songs tend to have. As for the lyrics, I find them somewhat different to what I expected. In her past, she is singing about shyness and all sorts of innocent things. However for this song, she sings “I want to be a moist women” and the reality of a lot of things such as “Oh right I want to be in love, No I rather make money”. Kind of different to the IU I used to know. It’s addictive and unique in a way in which I cannot describe it. There is something regarding the song that has IU written all over it and it cannot be replicated by another artist.

The music video has nice imagery, Matches the lyrics at some parts. I love the start. It made me chuckle. Kind of like me when I realize something bad is going to happen. LOL. Like finding out my grades. I love how there are innocent representations of her in the video, which she does hella well. But at the same time, she pulls of that mature look really well. Her wardrobe in this video looks really ordinary and I am disappointed about that. I love the Alice In Wonderland theme that they had subtly going on. Overall, I think I enjoyed the video.

Really disappointed that this is not promoted. Though it would not work in her favor at this very moment, this particular song deserve some sort of recognition.

Overall, amazing and perfect song and great video. 9/10