With the first 6 months of 2018 officially over, it is time to look back at my personal favourite songs from the first half. Last week, I recapped the top songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts. But some songs that I personally liked didn’t really make that list. So here are 15 songs released over the last 6 months that are my personal favourites AND continually listen to (irrespective of the charts and the reviews – as opinions do change).
FNC Entertainment recently launched FNC Lab, which gives an opportunity, for artists who participate, to experiment with music and release new songs for listeners to hear. In a way, the program seems to be the company’s own version of SM Station. The first song to come from FNC Lab is Still Love You, a collaboration between FT Island’s Lee Hong Gi and N.Flying’s Yoo Hwe Seung.
Obviously, the main focus of this review will be on the vocals. But before we get to that, the song is a ballad with such an amazing instrumental that really gives the song that solid foundation to build on. And now we snap back to the vocals. We all know how capable Lee Hong Gi is with his voice. We have seen in it his amazing solo debut and through FT Island. Per usual, he sounds spectacular in this song. I really liked the way he started the song and the chorus. However, the true winner in this track has to be Yoo Hwe Seung. While he does seem like a capable vocalist in N.Flying, I did not expect him to outshine Lee Hong Gi by miles away. That high note was amazing. I may not be a singer but damn, that was something. I also listened to the audio before watching the video, so imagine the surprise I got when I realized who did the high note. Even after all this time, I am still blown away by that particular section. He managed to pair so well with Lee Hong Gi and this is a collaboration that I am happy to see again (fingers crossed) in the future.
It seems like the Lee Hong Ki and Yoo Hwe Seung is in some sort of love triangle with the lady. Interestingly, it seems like she parts way with both of them in the video after seemingly realized that both vocalists are in love with her. She is clearly distraught about making the decision and ends up leaving them both. It is a relatively simple video and storyline that still manages to be captivating but lets the song do the talking.
Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10
FT Island is back with a brand new album, which celebrates their 10 years since their debut. The group debuted back on June 7, 2007. Exactly 10 years later, the group dropped their 10-year anniversary album, which consists of Wind (the title track), a remake version of Lovesick and 11 other self-produced tracks. 10 years is a very long time and I wish to say congratulations to the guys for reaching 10-year milestone. While their album is quite lengthy, I too smell an album review coming your way.
Wind is amazing. Breath-taking. Spectacular. Throw in any other positive adjective that makes the song sound amazing. I think we all expected some grand and ultra high quality, especially given their recent releases and this being their 10th-year celebration. And I personally think they delivered. The song started off with the orchestral sound and Hongki’s raspy’s voice. And for a while, it does stay like that, up until the second verse. That was fairly interesting, giving how they are a band. The entrance of the drums and guitars lifted the song up even more. It also allowed the song to build up and feel more impactful, which made it even better. Likewise, I love the instrumental break/bridge of the song. You think that the start was slow, the rest of the song would follow suit, but rather, it ended up turning into a rock ballad, in the end, that was equally as jammable as other songs released by other bands. I think before I end the review anymore, I have to return to Hongki’s vocals. It was just pure bliss to hear him sing this song alone. And he does an amazing job at it (the live is even better, given his condition). If you want to listen to his vocals or to a great rock ballad, this is the one to check out.
Ahhh… another indecipherable music video. First of all, it is a beautiful video to watch (even though I had to watch it a few times to try to understand it – I got distracted by the music). The visuals and cinematography were just perfect. The burst of sound we get for the final chorus was paired very nicely with an exploding flower, which blew my mind. Moving onto the plot, my guess is that they lost their lovers and hence why they all look heartbroken. Not exactly sure if that is it, but it seems to be that way every time I rewatch the video. There seems to be more to it, especially since how eerie the start of the video was and how Jaejin was running after her in the end. My other guess would be that the members died (or only one of them) and might be the reason why she was running away (in response to the news) and why the members all looked heartbroken. I don’t know. But it didn’t take away from the aesthetics of the video, which made it worthwhile to watch.
Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10
Welcome to the end of the year! Each year, I do this “End Of The Year Chart” where I properly rank songs via a personalised ranking system, which shows which songs I liked the most (and which songs I did not like at all – but I won’t name and shame). How do I rank the songs? Simply taking the score that I gave them in the review published earlier in the year, adding it to new review scores for the music, video and performance. Then I add those to other scores from “Songs of the Month” in my Rewind posts and to ensure that I can properly order them, I turn to my iTunes play count. And when I say “add”, there is a mixture of mathematical operations (and I am going to stop here, before I can bore you). In no way is this chart influenced by my choice of best song in the BOBs. But I do highlight them here :).
|2||Paradise Lost||Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)|
|3||If You Do||GOT7|
|4||Closer||Oh My Girl|
|6||Love Me Right||EXO|
|7||I Need U||BTS|
|8||Sing For You||EXO|
|11||Dumb Dumb||Red Velvet|
|12||I||Taeyeon (SNSD) ft. Verbal Jint|
|13||Like OOH AHH||Twice|
|14||Oh Um Ah Yeah||Mamamoo|
|18||Insensible||Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)|
|21||Between Night n Music||B.I.G|
|22||Shake That Brass||Amber (f(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)|
|24||Beautiful Liar||VIXX LR (VIXX)|
|25||Brand New World||Brown Eyed Girls|
|26||Ring My Bell||Girls Day|
|27||Hurt Locker||Nine Muses|
|28||Growing Pains||Donghae & Eunhyuk|
|29||Run Away||Royal Pirates|
|32||Catch Me If You Can||SNSD|
|33||Me Gustas Tu||Gfriend|
|34||The Answer||Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)|
|39||Hopeless Love||Jimin (15&)|
|41||Might Just Die||History|
|42||We Like 2 Party||Big Bang|
|44||Fire||Mad Clown ft. Jamsil (Mad Child Soul)|
|46||Ice Cream Cake||Red Velvet|
|48||Kontrol||Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)|
|49||I Feel You||Wonder Girls|
|50||Wow Wow Wow||Junjin (Shinhwa) ft. Eric (Shinhwa)|
And here are some interesting facts about this year and the chart itself!
- A total of 180 songs were ranked on this chart, but a total of 195 songs were reviewed this year (which I believe is a personal best).
- The first song reviewed and included in the chart is BTOB’s The Winter Tale (released at the end of last year). The last song reviewed and included in the chart was EXO’s Sing For You
- A total of 16 girl groups, 17 boy groups and 9 soloists are featured on the chart.
- There is a better mix of boys and girl groups this year, compared to last year, where the first boy group did not feature on the charts until after 16th place.
- BTS had the most songs on the chart (I Need U, Dope & Run). followed by: EXID (Ah Yeah & Hot Pink), GOT7 (If You Do, Just Right), EXO (Love Me Right, Sing For You), Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer, Kontrol) & Red Velvet (Dumb Dumb & Ice Cream Cake).
- Rookies were actually a strong force this year with Oh My Girl, Seventeen and Twice ranking quite high up in the charts.
- The following ranked after 50th place: IU, B.I.G, Crayon Pop, VIXX, Seventeen, Changmin, Big Bang, Brown Eyed Girls and CLC.
- And finally, this year chart was actually reflected on the BOBs this year. I crowned EXID’s Ah Yeah as best song for both segments.
AND THAT IS IT!! 2015 will be ending shortly. 6 Hours To Go (for me at least)!!! Hope 2015 has been a great year for you all. I thank you all once again for another year of KPOPreviewed. Your support has been amazing. Every comment and like (heck even every view) makes me happy!! Nearly 5 years and still going strong!! Thank you 2015 and I wish you all a Happy New Year wherever and whenever it is time. Let’s make 2016 our year!!! (First review: 2nd of Jan).
2015 is at its end, and with days away from the new year, we must reflect on 2015. And per usual: excellent songs, videos and dances have gracefully entered our lives and probably have not yet left us. From comebacks from big name acts to debuts of new rookie bands, 2015 has been a splendid year in my opinion. This year I decided to do the BOBs differently. Usually, I post a list of nominees and categories, but I don’t get you guys to vote for them (nor do I have the capabilities and time to allow you guys to vote for them, but maybe in the future), so I thought I should change it up this year, but posting both nominees and winners in the same post. This is part 1 of the BOBs and part 2 will be released tomorrow with the rest of the categories. Also, the traditional End of Year Charts will be released on the 31st of December, at 11:55 pm, so please wait around for that. Let’s get the post on the road!!!
These awards do not reflect any review score that I gave out this year. My personal preferences will always change (i.e. an 8 review score can currently be a 10 OR a 10 review score can currently by an 8).
RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention
Each year, artists see a rise in popularity. May that be due to great songs or great publicity (after all: any publicity is good publicity), this year was no difference. Each of these artists, I have personally seen, some sort of boost in popularity this year. And I get to choose two winners (one male and one female) for this certain category. For this year, I have nominated:
My pick is: EXID and BTOB. Both teams saw a rise in popularity due to one particular member, and slowly each member in each group is become well known in the industry. Keep up the good work, EXID and BTOB!!!
A song is not a song without an instrumental. And in KPOP, the instrumental plays a massive part in hooking us in and getting us addicted to the music. Especially for foreign and international fans who don’t understand the Korean language 100%. So many great instrumentals this year, here are the nominees:
Out of all the nominees, there can be only one winner: Wonder Girls – I Feel You. The girls returned to the stage with a brand new band concept, which totally wowed me. This instrumental has its own retro vibe and I personally enjoyed it a lot. From the drums to the keyboard and guitars, the girls totally deserve this. By far one of the most underrated songs, that definitely deserve an award! Honourable Mentions: F(x) – 4Walls
BEST JAPANESE SONG
I also do some Japanese songs on this site. Hahaha… Yeah, I review some Japanese songs from time to time. The variety of singers that I listen to for Japanese songs is usually limited to only the Japanese songs released by Korean artists. This year, the category has been dominated by Korean artists and I hope next year, I can start to review more Japanese artists! Here are the nominees:
I think, I was most addicted to Beast – Can’t Wait To Love You. And that was my pick for Best Japanese Song. It was song that I felt did not fall into the typical Korean Pop or Japanese Pop genres and was pretty unique on its own. As for honourable mentions: BTS – For You.
Big name comebacks this occurred and they all managed to rock our socks off. Hahaha… I take into account: song, concept, promotions, looks, impact and a few more categories and suprisngly, the biggest artists that emerge from the Golden Age of KPOP were nominated:
Out of all the comebacks nominated, the one that fitted the criteria the most would have been Big Bang. 2015 was one big year for the band, and they had such an unique concept in terms of promotion. SNSD takes away honourable mention for this category.
Unfortunately, 2015 did not continue the 2014 trend of subunits. However, some new subunits formed from popular bands and some old favourite returned. Here is who I think should be nominated as best subunit:
This one was a little close for me. But I am going to say Donghae and Eunhyuk, which is a subunit belonging to Super Junior. Their song was by far an amazing and left a more long lasting impact on me than the others. The other subunit that gets honourable mention is VIXX LR, which is a duo made up of Leo and Ravi.
2015 saw a new wave of contestant based TV shows around rapping and hence many artists have seen a boost in popularity after appearing on these shows. Other rappers also remained on stage as part of their groups and amazed the audience continuously during each comeback. Here are the nominees:
Out of all the rappers on the light, I picked Mad Clown as a winner. His song was a hit, it was a great song (now) and while he is not part of some group, he still managed to be placed ahead of everyone this year. Zico (Block B) took out Honourable Mention for his active year. Interestingly enough, both selected artists had someone featuring in their song.
When there are rappers, there are also singers. 2015 also saw new programs (and our old favourites) made specifically for the vocalists of all groups. Some vocalists we know have always amazed us, but others have just emerged and became trends for 2015. Based purely on what they sound like, here are the nominees:
I think this category has the most obvious winner, Taeyeon (SNSD). Yeah, she was quite active as an artist, but her debut for I blew everyone away. As for honourable mention, it goes to Solji (EXID). Her performance of Maria still replays in my head. Her powerful vocals in EXID’s performance are also quite amazing.
BEST MALE SOLOIST
While the above category looked like at vocal performance, the Best Male Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:
There is only one artist on this list that managed to wow me the very moment I listened to the song and that artist is Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite). His whole album did wonders and is an album that I am continuously going back to. As for honourable mentions, Lee Hong Ki (FT Island) wins that. His solo debut song was well received and I reviewed it as an amazing ballad.
BEST FEMALE SOLOIST
While the above category(Best Vocalist) looked like at vocal performance, the Best Female Soloist looks at their vocal performance, song, impact and dance (if applicable) – i.e. their comeback or debut as a collective. To be nominated, the artists must have been active as a solo artist this year (while the above also included group vocalists). The nominees are:
Once again, I am going to give it to Taeyeon (SNSD). Vocally, stunning. It was memorable and lovely to listen to. Honourable Mention was a close call, but Amber (F(x)) stole it from Gain (Brown Eyed Girls). So catchy and bright.
And that is it for Part 1 of the BOBs. Check back tomorrow, where I will post the second part of the BOBs, with Best Song, Best Male and Female Rookie; and Best Male and Female groups (plus a few more categories).
*All images and gifs belong to their owners/creators. Only those tables are mine.
Lee Hong Ki, the main vocalist from the band FT Island, has officially made his long overdue solo debut with Insensible. As expected, he went with a ballad that really brings out his voice and vocal talent. To me, this sounds like a normal FT Island song. Mainly because FT Island songs usually have Hong Ki singing majority of it. But I feel like a band version (featuring all the members of FT Island) can happen with the instrumental. Talking about the instrumental, I am totally loving it. It has a grand feel to it and the orchestra adds a really nice touch to the song. Let’s focus back on the vocals. Superb. Hong Ki is one of the few artists in KPOP that I feel can spill all the emotions into the song and focus on singing really well at the same time. Usually, artists are known to sing really well, but sometimes lack the required emotions. But with this song, you can hear his heartbreak and sadness. I love the song and I personally enjoy listening to it. For a ballad, it is pretty catchy and the song remains in my head for a while. (So many songs are repeating in my head lately, it confuses me a lot as well).
The music video has a nice plot, but it is confusing to me. Hong Ki acts along side Park Shin Hye. We see them go through the ups and downs of a relationship, leading to the end, where Park Shin Hye concludes that Hong Ki is having an affair. She ends up taking her life (at the end, there is the present she finds in Hong Ki’s suitcase with blood on it under the curtains), and Hong Ki blames himself for not realizing what his girlfriend was going through. It makes perfect sense, compared to my understanding of the plot (which was not accurate). It turns out she was just imagining everything and Hong Ki had been faithful the whole time. Thank God for YouTube comments. I have to be honest, it was confusing to understand. The acting in this video was amazing. When Hong Ki threw his phone, you could literally feel the anger his character had. The video was beautifully shot and us the viewers had to pay attention to the smallest detail to understand it. Great plotline and video.
Overall, this solo debut is really great. It essentially collates everything that we had expected from Hong Ki and it proves that this is a solo debut that should have happened ages ago. 10/10