With a number of Japanese releases unveiled in the last few weeks, I thought it would be nice to actually get some of these reviews out in weeks that follow the release, not months. One of these is Monsta X’s Spotlight, which happens to be their first original Japanese single since their debut in Japan last year.
As soon as we hear the first seconds of the song, it reminded me of their debut single, Trespass. It had a similar type of synth for the intro, which I thought was cool. The song is quite intense and you get that feeling from the very first second. But for a very intense feeling song, the chorus was rather weak, which is pretty ironic. The drop back into the chorus was underwhelming and it just didn’t have that element to make it memorable. If it had a more powerful drop and something that gave it a catchy touch to it, I would have been won over. All the other parts (verses and bridge) is what gave the song its definition and I pretty much liked that. I liked their contrasting sides within the verses, how they start off with the tough powerful raps and then allow the song to drop down to a slower yet smoother vocal sequence. It is a little different to what we are used to. The raps were amazing and the vocal work throughout the song was quite nice.
I like the simplistic route that they were going for when it came to the video. The most important equipment in the entire video was the spotlights, which I thought gave off a really cool effect in some sections of the video. It reminded me of BLANC7’s Yeah, which I already had liked. Clearly, this one had more money injected into the budget and this allowed it look more defined and flashy in a way to watch. This flashiness made the roughness of the song stand out.
Monsta X has been standing out recently for their performances and this just cements that idea. That intensity is definitely featured heavily throughout the song. While I did not enjoy the chorus of the song, the choreography stood out for me.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 8.5/10
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.
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
Author’s Choice – Wanna One
BEST FEMALE GROUP DEBUT
Author’s Choice – Dream Catcher
BEST SOLOIST DEBUT
Author’s Choice – Jung Sewoon
Author’s Choice – NU’EST W
Author’s Choice – Gugudan 5959
BEST CO-ED GROUP
Author’s Choice – KARD
BEST MALE SOLOIST
Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)
BEST FEMALE SOLOIST
Author’s Choice – Sunmi
Author’s Choice – DAY6
Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)
BEST JAPANESE SONG BY A KOREAN ARTIST
Author’s Choice – One More Time (TWICE)
Author’s Choice – Bye Babe (Chen & 10CM)
Author’s Choice – Gashina (Sunmi)
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Author’s Choice – You In Me (KARD)
BEST MALE GROUP
Author’s Choice – SEVENTEEN
BEST FEMALE GROUP
Author’s Choice – Red Velvet
BEST NON-TITLE TRACK SONG
Beautiful – Pentagon
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.
Time to catch up on the backlog of albums that I should have reviewed over the last few weeks. First one up is Monsta X’s The Code, which is their latest release. Their title track, Dramarama, has earned them their first win on a weekly music show a few days ago. On with the review.
2. Now or Never – Now or Never seems to be that track that fits nicely within typical song lineup that Monsta X usually puts out. It has that toughness and intensity that you would associate with the group. It is a pretty standard track for the most part but there were moments when I thought the track was ‘lit’. The bridge added a nice touch to the song as well. (8/10)
3. In Time – In Time is that compulsory ballad that I keep on mentioning. Mixed nicely with it, however, is some RnB, which makes the song feel a lot more emotional. The chimes were somewhat creepy at the start, but they felt like the perfect ending. Overall though, the track does seem like it can easily be forgotten. (7/10)
4. From Zero – The track taps into that tropical house genre that we see in every other release in KPOP at the moment. I love the contrast between the minimal verses to the upbeat chorus, which makes it extremely addictive to listen to. The drop is awesome and I think it is because of that minimal verse that makes the drop sound so much cooler than what it would have been if the verses were not stripped down. (9/10)
5. X – The hidden gem on this entire mini-album. X is everything you would want in a song. Everything felt perfect in the song. From the intensity to the vocals/raps, everything came together to form one damn good head-banging track. I would love to see this performed as the energy that comes off it is something you should not mess around with (10/10)
6. Tropical Night (열대야) – What I love about this song is that chorus. It doesn’t go in that direction that you expect to go from the verse. But it works and it sounds so much cooler than what I had intended. I.M and Jooheon deliver smashing rap sequences that felt just right for such a cool song. (9/10)
7. Deja Vu – Not part of my usual vocabulary, but the best to encapsulate the song is by saying ‘badass’. The chorus was jaw-dropping and like in the past few songs, the rappers were the main highlight. But that doesn’t say that the vocalists didn’t shine as well. Another stand-out track to end the album. Woo! (8/10)
Monsta X has returned with their latest mini-album, The Code (album review coming soon). The title track of the mini-album is Dramarama. This is their first comeback since their release of the Summer single, Newton. This particular comeback was met with a speed bump, with Wonho missing out on the comeback showcase due to illness. But Wonho managed to pull through and promoted alongside the rest of the members for their comeback week.
The opening of the song was just a teaser to what was to come. Dramarama had an epic start, leading to another excellent song. The intensity of the song was just right. It didn’t feel over the top but it wasn’t underwhelming. The guitars in the instrumental were extremely catching. The vocals (starting off with that introduction) was extremely nice and showed off some technique which I don’t think the entire group has given to us yet. The chorus was pretty decent but I don’t think that was the standout of the song. I am completely drawn to the rappers in the song. Jooheon and IM do a fantastic job with their segments but the bridge of the song was definitely the amazing bit. It gave the song hype and built up perfectly to the final chorus. Dare I say that I think I found the best rap sequence for 2017?
But what I think has got everyone talking is Monsta X’s video. It is set in the future (2047 to be exact) and time travel is possible then. And it seems like the way to get through time is by using old-fashion watches, which seemed to be outlawed in the 2047 society, judging by the AI voice in the background at the start. But some of the members end up with the watch. And it seems these members go back in time to specific points. Wonho goes back to a Kendo match, where he battled against Shownu. Kihyun goes back to when Jooheon was killed in a car accident (The Chaser vibes, anyone?) and Minhyuk goes back to when IM was killed. I am not exactly sure what happened with the Minhyuk and Wonho scenarios but their attempts just didn’t work out. Kihyun, on the other hand, managed to swap places with Jooheon (with the help of Hyungwon, the mysterious and missing time traveller) and he ends up dying instead, as we don’t see Kihyun at the end when Jooheon appears in the broker workplace. A tad confusing but it sounds like a great storyline.
The performance was pretty nice. You could feel the seriousness and focus through their facial expressions. Once again, I don’t think the performance had enough to make it memorable. It isn’t that mind-blowing like their jacket routine earlier in the year with Beautiful.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 8.5/10
Monsta X has already had an action packed year. They have made two comebacks, Beautiful and Shine Forever, this year. On top of that, they have been busy going on tour between comebacks and even after their most recent comeback. Now, the group has returned with Newton, a Summer single, just weeks after their Shine Forever comeback.
Even Summer won’t stop Monsta X from releasing an EDM song. And it is a pretty good one, as well. I honestly don’t have much else to say about the song because the song does feel very standard. There really isn’t any amazing aspects that make me go wow or amazes me. But that being said, it is not a terrible song. The Summer feel is very fresh and vibrant. Once the beat drops for the chorus, I couldn’t help bouncing my head along to the music. The vocal work here is quite good, but I felt the verses could have been more memorable. The raps were good but it felt like there could have been more. Even from my comments, it sounds like a typical Summer song. But overall, it is still decent to listen to.
The music video is being described as the prequel to Shine Forever video. If that was the case, then the difference in terms of concept escalated quite quickly. I did like how the colour was vibrant, especially Kihyun’s yellow shirt. Totally suiting the Summer concept. To me, the video felt like a standalone video. The guys were just travelling in a van and having fun on a trip. Not really much else to say about the video. Though, it seems like they shot in the same place where Snuper shot their music video for their most recent comeback. The colours here made the scenery look so much better in comparison to the Snuper video. But both are still pretty good videos, suiting their respective songs perfectly.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7.5/10
Can you already believe it? That we are already in July. Half the year has gone by and it felt like a blur. A lot has happened in the last 6 months that has just past. So, as a treat, I have decided to compile a list (my top 10) of the songs from the first half of 2017. There is no ranking or charting system that has allowed me to come up with this list (though, you might notice it may correspond with the Weekly Charts that I publish every Sunday). This is all just my personal preference and it is simply my opinion. So, in no particular order whatsoever, here are my top 10 songs from the 1st half of 2017.
Explained previously, due to time constraints, I missed the opportunity to do a review for the first album released by Monsta X. The Clan 2.5: The Final Chapter was released back in March this year, with Beautiful as the main title track. The group then went on to release a repackaged version, Shine Forever, last week, which features two new tracks. Today’s full album review will consist of comments for all songs present on both albums.
2. Gravity – Gravity is a much more slower and melodic song, compared to the first song on this album. It’s not a bad thing, though. Monsta X nails this song as well, as it shows that the group is versatile and can easily accomplish that. The vocals are amazing here and the rapping fits the slower style spectacularly. I normally hear Jooheon and I.M in more hard and impactful songs, yet here they sound more soft and soulful. Honestly, Gravity is an amazing song that catches you by surprise, given the group’s known tracks. (9/10)
3. Ready Or Not – The original album opened up with Ready or Not, which is a great kick starter to the album. It’s title literally asks the right question: are you Ready or Not for the group’s album. Though a part of me would love to hear more intensity in this track, it does hype you up for the rest of the album. The song itself is quite catchy. (8/10)
5. Incomparable (넘사벽) – To me, the song feels like a RnB infused dance track, which sounds good. But rather than an infusion or mix, the song tends to be either RnB or dance. There seemed to be no in-between. It also wasn’t memorable. Often, I forgot about the song as soon it was over or was more invested in picking another song off the album to skip to. (6.5/10)
6. Need U (니가 필요해) – What I like about the song is the simple chorus. Clean, simple and not overcomplicated by various (and sometimes un-needed) components. It also had a catchy and cheerful tone. All their previous songs have been more serious in nature, so it was nice to have a song that feels cheerful. Though, there were times that it did feel like a generic KPOP song. (8/10)
7. Oi – This song reminded me of their earlier stuff. From the instrumental to the intensity of their vocals, it all felt like a throwback to their debut title track. Saying that I wasn’t much of a fan of their debut tracks. Yet, I thought this song was dynamic and felt like it matches more of their recent stuff as well. The rappers felt like they belong to this sound, as well. (8/10)
8. Miss You – I think I found the first gem for this album. I love the sound of this song, in general. Sounded like music that I grew up with. The ‘Where you at?” and “Baby, I Miss You” lines were super great hooks for this song. It’s instrumental was pretty good as well. And the vocals and raps were on point throughout the same song. (9/10)
9. Calm Down – First listen in, I thought the track felt like a Beautiful 2.0. Is that a good thing, I don’t know. But I am totally digging the track. It packs a punch with the intense instrumentals and hypes you up (somewhat). But then the song cuts to a more dynamic sound once they start telling you to “Stop” and “Calm Down“. Also loved that rap sequence by Jooheon in the song. (9/10)
10. All I Do (너만 생각해) – The track comes off as a poppy number, which has its moments. Its sound fits the Summer vibes quite nicely. But overall, it felt very bland and forgettable for the most part. The rapping felt a little too serious for the rest of the pop centred song. (7/10)
11. 5:14 (Last Page) – Following the dominating and intense songs, we finally reach a slower pace song. It sounds nice. From the vocals to the instrumental, everything felt just right. And that is the most descriptive way I can put the song. It was still upbeat, so it wasn’t a sudden move between genres, which is also one of the positives to the song. (8/10)
12. I’ll Be There (넌 어때) – The mandatory ballad cannot escape the synthetic synths that were used consistently throughout the album. But there is a strong melody in this song that any other song on the album and their vocals/raps are pretty good in this song. There is a very annoying “Hi” present in the background, which really distracted me from the song. (7.5/10)
Monsta X recently returned with their first full-length album and Beautiful in March. Fast forward a few months and the group is officially back with their first repackaged album ever, which includes two songs, Shine Forever and Gravity, along with all the tracks were part of The Clan Part 2.5: The Final Chapter. Though I did miss out on the opportunity to review their first album, I will be doing a full album review for their repackaged album, which you can expect at the end of the month (can’t say exact day, just expect it to come :))
Following Beautiful‘s EDM influence, Shine Forever goes for another hard hitting track. While they do accomplish that very easily with the intensity and music genre, the track falls short in a few minor aspects. The instrumental felt very generic and failed to be mind blowing. Beautiful was good because there was an addictive melody, which made it much easier to enjoy. Shine Forever doesn’t seem to have that and felt more like a flat line. The vocal work for the group. It only seems like Kihyun could manage to drag himself to the forefront of the intense moments in the song (i.e. chorus), where the rest of the members felt like they were embedded in the instrumental, which made their parts seem less memorable. The verses share the same fate and just didn’t have enough energy to make it feel memorable as Kihyun’s parts in the song. The raps were pretty good and seemed to go well with the instrumental during their parts. But that is just my breakdown of the song. Do I like the song? Yes. Not their best, but still a great track to listen to.
I actually like the video. It seems like Kihyun and Minhyuk got into an accident, which left Kihyun blind (hence he was wearing blindfolds). It seems like Minhyuk is constantly reminded of the events, which leave him very guilt ridden. Somehow, Wonho finds out the truth and turns away from Minhyuk, with the rest of the members learning of the accident, which they all leave Minhyuk feeling guilty and sadden. Kihyun, though still blind, doesn’t blame him for the accident and comforts him, who I also assume also convinces the others that Minhyuk was not to blame. In the end, they band together and help Kihyun either regain his sight or provide some sort of light to allow him to see again. Though, it doesn’t necessarily amaze me, the plotline was good and cinematography was cool as well. Their acting isn’t the best but they did a pretty good job overall.
[UPDATED] Their performance does look a bit bland on the outside. But it does pack a punch as it progresses along. While there isn’t anything that memorable in this routine, there is something that I can’t pinpoint, but it makes this performance captivating. Their past routines had a key dance move, but this doesn’t. Yet, I still can’t take my eyes off them.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 7/10 [UPDATED] Overall Rating – 8/10[UPDATED]
Monsta X has returned with their third part of their trilogy. For those who don’t remember, the group made their comeback with the first part of the trilogy, All In, in May 2016. Fast forwarding to October 2016, they released the second part of the trilogy, Fighter. Now, they are officially back with Beautiful, the title track off their latest and first studio album, The Clan Pt. 2.5: The Final Chapter.
Another great song released this week. Monsta X follows their consistent sound and delves back into the world of EDM. It’s a fierce track that doesn’t hold back in anyway. The distorted introduction sounds very catching, and it then throws the listener into a more stable yet powerful rap sequence. The song slows down for a brief second and then builds up (in a matter of seconds) to the really addictive chorus. An instrumental break follows the chorus, giving us a break from the insanity that they just made us go through. What makes this song stand out is that chorus. I loved Jooheon and I.M’s rap, which provided the intensity needed but I personally loved the chorus more. As I said, it’s really addictive and catchy. You expect it to be overlaced with the EDM sounds (given the start and the verses). But instead, the vocals shine quite nicely throughout, and they weren’t overshadowed by a ‘loud’ and obnoxious chorus. Thr bridge is also quite interesting. Not their best part of the song, mainly because it did feel a little empty without the rappers and their own added intensity. But it is the first bridge of a dance song that I have noticed is made up of only vocals in a very long time. It isn’t unheard of, but the bridge is usually the safe-haven for producers to slide in a misplaced or (sometimes) unneeded rap sequence. Here, they swapped things around and made it sound more grabbing, which is amazing. As mentioned, everything in the song sounded fantastic. I did post in my review yesterday that I would recommend CN Blue’s latest song to any new listeners. And I will gladly do the same with Monsta X’s newest song.
When it comes to the music videos of this particular trilogy, I am a little confused. Personally, I see very little connection between this video and their previous two videos. I am absolutely certain that with each video, they are all somehow connected with each other, but I am really bad at picking out those connections. The only thing that I see as a running theme is the blue flowers used throughout the trilogy. Besides that, I don’t have anything (Please help and explain on is happening in the videos for other readers and myself in the comment section below). But the video is quite nice to watch. It is quite aesthetic with each member’s individual scenes. The lighting shines on the members in a different way that I have never seen before in music videos. It makes them almost shine, which looks quite cool. What is more impressive is the choreography scenes. I really like the zoomed out perspective, where it made the platform and the members on it look small. As we zoom in, it looks massive and entirely different. A significant portion of the music video is dedicated to the choreography, so it only makes sense to move onto that aspect of the comeback. Overall, the video is worth watching, but connections aren’t that apparent to me (yet).
Guess who is a mega fan of the dance? I liked everything about the dance. But I want to skip to the end of the song. My favourite part has to be the one in the gif below. I don’t know why, but it made my jaw drop. It looked cool and tough (but in a subtle way). It impressed me and will forever be engraved into my mind. And it is the one part that I will keep on (and have been) going back to in every performance.
Song – 9.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 10/10 Overall Rating – 9/10
What’s this? I am writing a review a few hours before midnight, not with less than an hour before midnight like for the 5 reviews? I am surprising myself today. Like how Monsta X surprised me with a brand new comeback, especially when it felt just like they were on stage promoting Stuck a few weeks ago… Wait… They were! Man, all these KPOP idols need rest, not comeback after comeback after comeback.
Another amazing song to add to the list. Monsta X is officially killing it this year. I have been impressed with every song they have put out this far in the year. Fighter is a very powerful and strong song that really captures your attention from the very start. The song starts off with the sound you would here from the boxing competitions in movies. Throughout the song, you get that boxing and fighting sound from the song, which kind of exerts its dominance from the very start. I love the impact coming from each of the rapping and for once in my life, I think the rapping overtook the singing. The singing is quite good as well, but it doesn’t seem as powerful as the rapping. I would have liked if the vocals were a little better, so they are on par with the rapping. They honestly do not hold back in the song. Just listening to the song gets your adrenaline pumping.
I just finished watching Stranger Things today and I totally forgot about the start of this video, until I started watching it for the review. Don’t know what is going on with the intro of this video with the title screen quite “similar” to Stranger Things. Moving away from that, I think the video is lost in its sense of direction. This is definitely a continuation of All In, but it also feels quite detached and completely disconnected. You can tell there are parts that go with All In (such as the flower), but others seem completely irrelevant and make the video look more complicated that what it should be (‘running in the hospital’ scenes). While I think the video is interesting, the components don’t really come together. That or I am just really bad at seeing things. I am not going to list everything in the video, there is just too much. Though, if you have a theory on what’s going on, please enlighten me? I like the video due to it being intriguing and I try to guess what is going on each time, but it doesn’t add up in my head. Jooheon in a doctor’s outfit is creepy and the cinematography in this video is amazing.
The dance definitely matches up with their image and the sound of the song. Powerful and very ‘alpha-male’. It also looks very complex. Moving away from the dance, Wonho in a crop top… Hmmm… I am honestly a little weirded out by it. It just doesn’t look good.
Monsta X previously made their comeback with All In. Another song that was released with All In was Stuck. Stuck was chosen as another special release and was promoted on shows for 2 weeks. While it does not have an official music video, there is an accompanying “special” video that I will dive into very briefly.
With that last statement, I feel like I am reviewing Stuck mainly for the song. Stuck is such an awesome song. How did I not notice it before? I think Stuck is a very unique song, despite it being somewhat similar to their previous releases. Monsta X is doing pretty well with this rough and edgy eletronic EDM sound. All their songs so far that I have listened to tend to fall into that genre. Stuck is more sophiscated, in the fact that the song isn’t as simple or clear cut. The vocal work in this is amazing and so are the raps. But let me focus a little on the vocals. There is something about each time they start the chorus. It stood out for me from the get-go and I think it makes the song amazing. It leads into the rest of the chorus quite well and I like that for that. The song is (obviously) powerful and from the start to the end, you can definetely hear that load of power. Regardless if you are listening to it on full blast or full blast with your earphones is (don’t judge – and it was by accident). Personally, I really like the song and think (as mentioned above) it is really awesome.
The video that was released with it includes a few close up shots but majority of it is cheorprgaphy. Nothing to mention about the video. Would have loved a full music video however this still does the job nicely. The video was filmed in an abonaded place that when paired with the song, matches the edgy feel I was talking about before.
Moving to what Monsta X does really well. The dancing is extraordinary. There is no arguments against that. It fits the song perfectly (from the power feel to the clean cut moves that matches the clean cut beat). It hit the expectation bar quite nicely. I just do not watch it enough to bang on about it. I write this review more for the song (as I said) than anything else.
Monsta X have made their comeback with an improved and mature sound/look. They made their debut last year and have soon become one of the hottest rookies in the industry. Their comebacks have each showed improvement. I say this to about just every group out there, but Monsta X is a prime example that there is so much potential underneath what we actually see. They have the likes of becoming one of the biggest groups in the industry in the future and it seems like they going down the right path.
As I mentioned above, each track of their’s gets better and better. All In showcases a more mature sound to the guys, while still maintaining the style of the music that they debuted with and made comebacks with. The track itself boasts a really hard and deep sounding trap-genre instrumental. Vocals were so-so in my opinion. There wasn’t anything regarding the vocals that had me going “wow” or “amazing”. However the rapping in the song had the opposite effect. I was blown away with the rapping. The times where the rapping were integrated into the song were spot on and if made the rest of the song fall into place. It was as if the song was built around these rapping parts. But hey, whatever they did managed to work and I liked it a lot.
The music video has an interesting storyline to it. But I barely can decipher what is going on in it. From what I can get, the guys are standing up towards resistance or the troubles that they are facing. Some are facing violence issues, while others are struggling with their sicked love ones. In the end, they seem to group together and take on these issues themselves, which seems like their own option due to the heavy police presence. The video is in parts, which makes it harder to decipher. I am going to link you guys a post (by another writer: ADATB) which does a complete breakdown of the music video’s plot (better than what I have done and what I will ever do). But overall, the cinematography and even the imagery in the video (like the use of the masks) was pretty smart. They draw you into the video and make you ask questions. The has to be a part 2 to the video though. It only makes sense. We are left at the end with that odd looking heart floating mid air at the end of the video, which intrigues me (and you guys as well!). This mini album is only part 1, so it all makes sense for the development of part 2.
As for the dance, they are pretty much going down the route of sexy. The exposed backs and body rolls pretty much have every fan swooning. I personally watch of these performances with a straight face, but Monsta X’s made me go wow. As for the dance itself, the guys were in sync and I could barely see any flaws in any of the performances. The standards just get higher and higher with every band.
In summary, the comeback was amazing. It made me speechless and amazed at the talent they are pulling out. Fingers cross for that part 2 of the video. Maybe, then I can understand everything. 9/10
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!!
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.
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.
Did you forget about the MAMA awards held by MNET in 2015? Or are we all trying to forget it for its bias and unfair system? Well, don’t fret, I am here to remind you of the disappointment or joy that you felt.
The MNET Asian Music Awards (or MAMA) was held on the 2nd of December in… Hong Kong. Again. Voting for the awards began in October of the same year and I thought there was a fair range of nominees and the committee selected a variety if talents for each award.
The following artists attended and performed at the awards ceremony: Taeyeon (SNSD), GOT7, BTS, Hyuna (4 minute), Park Ji Young, Seventeen, Monsta X, F(x), SHINEE, EXO, Big Bang, iKON, Zion.T, Crush, Sane. 2NE1 & Psy. Pet Shop Boys were invited as special guest performers on the night. Red Velvet, Twice, Tiffany and Seohyun from SNSD also attended by did not perform.
I have recapped the winners below. I shall give some comments afterwards regarding the winners. Best New Male Artist – iKON. Best New Female Artist – Twice. Best Male Vocal Performance – Zion.T (Eat) Best Female Vocal Performance – Ailee (Mind Your Business) Best Male Dance Performance – SHINee (View). Best Female Dance Performance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake) Best Solo Dance Performance – Hyuna (Roll Deep). Best Collaboration / Subunit – Zion.T & Crush (Just) Best Rap Performance – Sane (Me You)
Best Band Performance – CN BLUE (Cinderella)
Best Male Group – EXO
Best Female Group – SNSD
Best Male Artist – Park Jin Young
Best Female Artist – Taeyeon
Best Music Video – Bang Bang Bang
Best Album (Album of the Year) – EXODUS
Best Song (Song Of The Year) – Bang Bang Bang
Best Artist (Artist Of The Year) – Big Bang
Best New Male Artist is probably the category that has me shaking my head the most. iKON is slowly showing their capability, but I feel like Seventeen is already two steps ahead of them and deserve the award more. Best Female Vocal Performance should have gone to Taeyeon and Taeyeon should have received 2 awards that night. Not dissing Ailee, but it wasn’t her best song or vocal performance. Best Music Video should have also gone to F(x). Best Male Dance Performance is an iffy category for me. SHINee did have a great dance, but sadly, I felt that BTS was missing out due to the lack of nomination in that category. Big Bang took out most of the awards, but I don’t think it matters. Big Bang dominated summer in South Korea last year with their continuous releases and had one of the most popular songs of the year (according to download and streaming charts). JYP’s award caught me a little off guard but I guess out of all the nominees, he had a good song. Besides the categories I mentioned, I think the awards were “fair”. Okay maybe not, but who MAMA awarded that night, I mostly agree with (given the nominees).
But wait, there were a few more awards that were given out that night: Worldwide Favourite Artist – Big Bang Global Fan’s Choice Male Artist – EXO Global Fan’s Choice Female Artist – F(x) Best World Performers – BTS Next Generation Asian Artist – Monsta X Best Asian Style – EXO
Worldwide Inspiration Award – Pet Shop Boys There were also other awards which were awarded to artists from other countries as Best Asian Artist. Best Engineer, Best Live Entertainment and Best Producer awards were also given to 3 people for each award from different countries.
Out of these awards, I am a little confused with the Best Asian Style award. Out of all that walked the red carpet, I was shocked when EXO came along. Also, Pet Shop Boys. I am with majority of people who have never heard of the band before.
Per usual, there were many different performances on the night. The show opened up with Taeyeon’s I, which I thought was a really beautiful stage. She sounded flawlessly on the stage. BTS made their comeback on the night and collaborated with GOT7, who also performed If You Do. JYP had a special stage which probably scarred both GOT7 and Twice and he went a little wild towards the end of his performance. iKON performed a medley of their songs. Monsta X and Seventeen collaborated, while F(x) and Pet Shop Boys joined hands together. We also saw Sane perform with Hyuna and Jessi. Also a stage with both Show Me The Money contestants and Unpretty Rapstar. EXO, SHINee, Big Bang each had their stages with multiple songs and got the audience really hyped up. Psy also made his comeback and performed alongside with his new songs, Gangnam Style. Probably the most talk that night was 2NE1’s performance which caught everyone off guard. It was nice to see them, but whether it was appropriate is just another topic all together.
Out of all the stages, I thought Taeyeon had the most beautiful stage. For the dance aspect, Seventeen and Monsta X’s performance was really well polished and amazing.
Overall, I thought the night was worth it. It may seem like YG has a lot of influence over the MAMA awards and that is probably true. But whether it is right or not, is another discussion in its self. Just regarding the invitations to the awards, it did seem like someone did forget to invite people. Some stages seem like they could have used a little more attention to give it that grand feel that the MAMA awards is meant to uphold, like in previous years. But overall, I thought the night was pretty good. Wait… Did I just repeat the first sentence of this paragraph? Guess I am going to call it a day now. Hope you enjoyed my recap!