As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.
Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
Q&A – Cherry Bullet
Woowa – DIA
Side Effects – Stray Kids
The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl
Zimzalabim – Red Velvet
Valkirye – ONEUS
No – CLC
Sunrise – GFriend
L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon
I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.
Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!
It is quite surprising to see how long some artists are active in the industry before they get to release a studio album. For Oh My Girl, it has been four years since their debut back in 2015 and the group has just released this first studio album. It has definitely been a long time coming, especially after all the great mini-album releases we got from the group over the years. The Fifth Season contains 9 songs including the title track of the same name. The album also contains an instrumental track for the title track as well but due to the nature of the review, I won’t be having a look at it. So let’s start off the album review right now!
2. Shower (소나기) – Opening the track up is typical pop instrumentation that doesn’t differentiate them from other girl groups. And this typicalness flows onto their chorus, so there was that feeling in the air throughout the length of the song. I think similar comments can be made about the vocals and rapping. I did hear some attempts to disrupt this typical feeling with some textural changes in their voices, particularly around the second pre-chorus. But they weren’t that successful. There isn’t anything bad about a typical song, Just Shower ends up being a song to attract some yawns. (6/10)
3. Case No. L5VE (미제) – Now this is the type of song that I want. It does fall within that typical nature once again. But this one has enough to keep the yawns away (hahaha…). There is also a lot of textures in this song, which keeps it interesting and makes the song fun. Firstly, the chorus has this cheerful and happy pop tone to it, which I am enjoying. Secondly, there is a lot more rapping (and they last for longer periods), which I thought was a really nice build up to the chorus. Thirdly, I really liked the elegant nature of the vocals, which made the rest of the song so flowy. Overall, Case No. L5VE was definitely an ear-catching piece. (9/10)
4. Tic Toc – As soon as the song opened, and I heard the first member, I honestly thought I was listening to the wrong artist (I had to make sure I wasn’t listening to Twice). Tic Toc was a catchy and upbeat pop song that really gets me into a cheerful mood. Mimi’s rapping, once again, worked wonders in this song, giving it a needed injection of intensity. I also like the vocals and the melody that they have in this track. I find the melody to be an attractive part of the song. I also enjoyed the ‘Tic Toc’ Mimi (I think) says throughout the song and the mini outro we get, which dragged the song out by a few more seconds with an instrumental that I enjoyed. (8/10)
5. Gravity (유성) – So far, we have heard of a lot of pop tracks, but they do fall under that typical nature (sorry for the repetitive use of that word). Gravity changes it up slightly. While the song does delve headfirst back into the pop genre, the song does have a very dynamic appeal that comes from the chorus. I thought the ‘Gravity~’ hook they used was beautifully done and it sounded like you were floating away while listening to it. The instrumental ‘felt very wide’ and spacious, making the ‘Gravity~’ repetition very impactful. I also really think the elegant melody returns in this song, which I think is another positive aspect of the track. (8.5/10)
6. Crime Scene – Crime Scene is another fun sounding and vibrant track. I thought the title was very intriguing, given that I do enjoy crime myself. So, naturally, I gravitated towards the lyrics for this song. The song is being attracted towards your lover and the confusion that surrounds it. In the song, they question why they are being pulled to their partner. Though, I don’t get why they are ‘Chillin’ your love’. That is the only clue I haven’t cracked yet. Even though it does sound very odd in the song’s context, I found it to be very catchy and almost addictive. I really like the vocals and rapping in this track. I also like the slight change in tempo they gave us for the second half of the chorus. It made the song feel less linear. (8/10)
7. Underwater Love (심해 (마음이라는 바다)) – Underwater Love directs itself towards the ‘mandatory ballad’ of the album. It doesn’t get there exactly as it diverts with a pretty R&B instrumental. While I don’t regularly enjoy the ‘mandatory ballad’ track on the album, I find this one to cut the vibrant and upbeat nature of the album thus far quite well. I don’t find it as boring as I had expected it to be. The vocals are nice and I really like the soft whisper-like rapping tone in the song. Overall, I find it to be a decent track. (7/10)
8. Vogue – Vogue is sung by Mimi, Yooa, Jiho and Arin. And it is my pick for the best song on the album. Like I don’t think you can keep me away from this track. Vogue pays either pays homage to Madonna or the artist and her song heavily influenced the production of this song. But either way, it is done in a spectacular fashion as it goes straight for Madonna’s well-known style. It has this very mature sound to it that I did not know Oh My Girl had in them. The vocals are on point and damn, the verses are so good. They manage to give the chorus an upbeat feel, which I think manages to get the song to fit in with the rest of the album (and Oh My Girl’s releases) but at the same time make the song even more dynamic. (10/10)
9. Checkmate – Ending the album is another vibrant track that is bound to get you ready for any event. I think the use of brass in this song really makes it appropriate for parties. YooA is proving to be the star of this album. While I haven’t singled any member this far into the review, YooA has continually showcased herself in a very bold manner. Her vocals at the very start of the song was definitely a wake call for me. I also liked how the chorus was very sharp. This gives off a nice and impactful punch every single time, making it a very powerful track. I think the song had a lot of great hooks, making it extremely addictive. It is a great and very strong ender to the album (10/10)
Returning yesterday is Oh My Girl, with The Fifth Season (SSFWL). This is the title track off their very first studio album, The Fifth Season. Based on the title of the album (and lyrics), it seems like the members are making reference to Love being the fifth season, in addition to the commonly known Spring, Summer, Fall (or Autumn) and Winter. The idea of the 4 Seasons seems to be a popular concept this year, with Taeyeon and Chanyeol each releasing songs about the seasons. But we are here to review SSFWL, which is their first comeback since Remember Me.
SSFWL returns to the fantasy-theme tracks that have been the centre of Oh My Girl’s portfolio. And I found this return to be quite strong, supported with amazing melodies and beautiful vocals. The chorus was by far my favourite part of the entire track. The melody at the start of the chorus was very profound and woke you up from the slightly bland verses. The second half of the chorus (i.e. the ‘La La La…‘) gave an extra kick to the song. And it was this combination that really made the chorus feel bold but perfectly fitting for the fantasy sound they were aiming for. And as I said, vocals were very nice, as proven by the chorus (and bridge). Mimi’s rapping was probably the surprising limit. I really liked how husky her parts were and this was quite impactful. I also enjoyed how they ended the song, which really the cherry on top for SSWFL. I think it is extremely safe to say that I really enjoyed this song and wouldn’t be surprised if this dominated my playlist for the next few weeks.
The music video shows the members in sets that can easily be identified as the different seasons. Binnie is experiencing Winter, due to the amount of snow available. Hyojung is in Summer, shown through the availability of a refreshing drink from the fridge and the vibrant green fauna. Fall is experienced by Jiho, who is on a train in appropriate attire, surrounded by a warm golden vibe, while Spring is experienced by Arin, as she walks through the fields and flowers. I assume YooA, Seunghee and Mimi are in certain seasons as well. But it is when the members join each other, does the fifth season (filled with joy and happiness) come apparent. Thought it was a very nice video to showcase this.
I thought the performance was pretty good. I really thought that running-like move in the chorus was cool. The entire performance looked very graceful, which fits in with the fantasy tone and concept of this comeback.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9/10
I hope you have been enjoying these album reviews as much as I have been enjoying them. Today’s album review is for Oh My Girl, who recently returned with a brand new title track and mini-album, both titled Remember Me. This is the second time I have revied their mini-albums, with the first being their Secret Garden mini-album earlier this year. And before I start waffling along for this introduction paragraph, let’s just move on to what we are all here for – the actual album review.
2. Echo (메아리) – A part of me says that I would totally jump on board if the song was released in the midst of other Summer releases. But I am held back from completely investing myself in the song. Echo has a very carefree vibe to it, which suits the season of holidays and sun. But there is something within the song which keeps stagnant. Maybe it is the lack of energy. And it is this ‘stagnant’ feeling that makes the song not reach its full potential. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd, instead opting for the hidden route, which doesn’t honestly help the song. I thought the vocals and rapping were good. Overall, it was a good song, but I just didn’t feel 100% for me. (7/10)
3. Twilight – Twilight goes for a club beat instrumental. But before you think it is a completely different changeup to the group’s regular sound, the song feels very Oh My Girl’s territory. The song has a super catchy hook and I liked the build-up to the chorus. I thought the drop to the chorus was a little lacking (it should have been something like the drop at the bridge). The song features great vocals, especially Seunghee’s high note and Mimi’s rapping in the song (the latter’s part felt very fitting for the atmosphere). It’s their best song (following the amazing title track) on this album. (9.5/10)
4. Illusion – I feel like Illusion is the sequel to their fantastic b-side track, ‘One Step Two Step’ to an extent. It gave off that feeling, which I thought was nice. There was a rap sequence in the song which did feel a little different, but I am not too bother by it. I thought the chorus has a nice melody and the song has this innocence sound to it, which I liked. The vocals were nice, but I am not too keen on that anthem chanting that featured in the song, which felt misplaced for this style. (7/10)
5. Our Story (우리 이야기) – Our Story is the ballad that you get on most albums. It has a nice melody. It was a little bland for my taste at first but as I listened to more of it, I enjoyed its soothing nature. The song a beautiful instrumental and features great vocals from all the members. It isn’t too much of a stand out track (as it is the ‘mandatory ballad’ on the album), but it allowed the album to end on a lovely note. (8/10)
One of the many comebacks and releases for today, Oh My Girl have returned with their latest title track, Remember Me. It is featured on the group’s 6th mini-album, which shares the same name as the title track. This is the full group’s second comeback after Secret Garden earlier in the year and the first comeback since their extremely cutesy subunit release, Banana Allergy Monkey.
Remember Me has a different sound, one which we have yet to hear from the group, given their past title tracks. That being said, the song does fall neatly within the group’s boundaries as it isn’t technically an extremely changeup (like their subunit release mentioned above). The start may be misleading but once we reach the pre-chorus, we find ourselves in familiar territory. The song features nice vocals, adding a nice melody to the song, and we finally get to hear decent rap sequences from Mimi. I thought the instrumental was quite cool. It allowed the group to show an edgy side at different moments but return to their ‘normal’ self at other moments. Overall, I thought the song was pretty well done. I thought it was extremely catchy and it will probably grow on me further in the coming days. There might be a reason to why I picked this as the first song to review today and it might have something to do with how appealing the song is.
The music video is a little out there but not as bad at their subunit release (I think that has become the reference point of weirdness). I am a little lost with the plotline of the video. But it seems like everyone is doing their own thing but still making the party at the end of the video. Despite being confusing, I thought the video was fitting for the song. And hands up if you think this is Binnie’s era because she looks so good in that hairstyle. Very elegant and mature, if you ask me!
I honestly do not have much to say about the choreography besides how perfect it fitted for the song. There were elegant moments in the dance to match the melodic sections of the song and a little edge when the rapping came into play. Big ticks for this comeback.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9.2/10
Oh My Girl has made their unexpected return with a special subunit release. Dubbed as Oh My Girl BANHANA, the subunit consists of 3 members (Binnie, Hyojung and Arin). While the promotional track, Banana Allergy Monkey, is performed by the trio, the other songs on the release feature the other members of Oh My Girl as well. This is Oh My Girl’s first release since Secret Garden earlier this year.
Let’s start off with the title of the song. ‘Banana Allergy Monkey‘ is one randomly put-together phrase. But when you think about, what if there is a monkey that is allergic to bananas out there? But let’s stop right there before I go searching for one. BANHANA’s delivery of the song has to be one of the cutesy deliveries that I have heard to date. For the first listen, you get a really extremely childish sense from it, which works against the song. But once you listen to the entire track, it is quite catchy. The melodic hook is bound to get you humming to the track. And surprisingly, I got used to their vocals quite fast. The song could have used more harmonies, which could have given the verses a stronger backbone. The instrumental was quite retro with its 8-bit and video game styled sound, which works well with their concept (which I will discuss later on). Overall, the song is growing on me quite rapidly, so who knows if this can top the Weekly charts that I post regularly every Sunday.
The music video goes for that video gaming concept, which works well with that 8-bit sound that song has. But it gets very cutesy fast. My assumption is the trio portrays the monkeys who are unable to eat bananas, with the rest of Oh My Girl making their appearance as banana eaters. As a result, they go out to find alternatives (such as Banana Milk) in the far away places of the universe. That is my guess for the meaning behind the video. While I thought the sound was childish, I thought the cutesy concept was done relatively well. As a whole, I thought it was a fun video to watch.
Can I just give them their 10/10 for choreography here? I don’t think you can score any number lower than 10 if you are going to scratch your buttocks as part of the dance. Hahahaha… It made me laugh and I found it incredibly cute. Hopefully, this becomes a dance trend causing I can see it making the rounds, infecting every single KPOP idol out there.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 10/10 Overall Rating – 8.7/10
From what I can see from my notes, I don’t do many female artists album reviews, which is quite a disappointing aspect of this site. This year, I will strive to do more album for female artists (and hopefully do more album reviews in general). Starting off this goal is my album review for Oh My Girl’s latest mini-album, Secret Garden.
2. Love O’Clock – What drew me to this song is definitely the clock sounds at the very start of the song. They were extremely fitting, not just for the title but the overall feel of the song. The vocals were nice but it was best showcased in the pre-chorus. To me, there was a beautiful feeling that I felt through the catchy chorus. The one part that felt mind-blowing was Mimi’s raps, which had such good intensity but managed to work perfectly with the rest of the song. (9/10)
3. Butterfly – Compared to the previous two tracks, Butterfly takes a mid-tempo approach. For the most part, it was another forgettable track. The only comment I could make was in regards to the sweet melodies. But the bridge was the very part of the song that had me coming back. It felt like it shouldn’t work with its different rhythm but it worked, which was definitely intriguing. (8/10)
4. Sixteen – To me, this song felt like a continuation of Perfect Day, which was released last year on their Coloring Book mini-album. I know they are completely different songs, but I got the same vibes from them. The piano was incredibly striking and the vocals were good. There was a good build-up leading up to the chorus. Chorus itself was catchy. The only letdown was the rap of the song. (7/10)
5. Magic – Ending the album is a much softer song, a complete change-up compared to the rest of the album. What I like about the song is how the vocals and raps felt like they were being whispered, which gave the song some character. I thought the bridge was quite quirky, which made the song intriguing. Overall, it allowed the entire mini-album to end on a great note. (9/10)
Oh My Girl have made their return to the stage with Secret Garden, which also shares the same name as their latest (and 5th) mini-album. This is Oh My Girl’s first comeback after the departure of JinE, who was still included in the lineup prior to this comeback despite not participating in the promotions.
Secret Garden is actually a pleasing song to listen to. With just a few listens already, the song has managed to grow on me quite a bit. When I first heard a snippet of the song, I was wondering what happened to the aesthetic or energy filled song that we are used to hearing from Oh My Girl. But I guess I was too quick to judge. Secret Garden is orchestral influenced with its dreamy instrumental. With Oh My Girl’s twist, they added a slight presence of a band to make it more upbeat, suitable to incorporate a dance into their stages. The use of electric guitar during their dance break is quite nice, giving the song some variety rather than just the classical instrumentation. The instrumental particularly evokes nostalgia within me, but I cannot pinpoint where this nostalgia is coming from. Their vocals were extremely clear with this song, which makes the song feel so crisp. I liked their chorus but felt like they could have added harmonies to give it a grander effect. Overall, Secret Garden definitely adds to the group’s portfolio as another standout track, in my point of view.
If it weren’t for a particular YouTube comment on the video, I would have completely missed a major detail regarding the music video. It seems like the music video for Secret Garden includes various details that link the past music videos by Oh My Girl to the present video, which ties in nicely with the lyrics of the song. Essentially, what the song is about is one’s ‘Secret Garden‘, which is a reference to one’s imagination. And the entire portfolio of Oh My Girl music videos have been based largely on imagination. Hence we can see different items shared between the videos. The presence of the deer is a reference to Closer and the clouds outside the window reference Coloring Book, to just name a few. If it is the true intention of the imagery, the videos are clearly thought out and interestingly intertwined. I like the video for that fact.
Fitting nicely with the song is the graceful nature of the choreography. I like how some of the moves are fast and sharp, while others were quite slow and fluid. The best part would have to be the dance break, which like the song, gives the choreography a nice kick.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 9/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8.3/10
Welcome to the first ever ‘Special’ segment of my website. Though I have used the category ‘Special’ for other purposes in the past, I thought I could use to expand the content of what I write. So I thought I would make various lists of different aspects of the KPOP sphere, starting off with non-title tracks that should be more appreciated. I have other ideas lined up like “favourite OSTs’ and ‘favourite dances’ etc. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below and I may just look into your idea. In no particular order, here are 10 (and this particular will be expanded in further editions) favourite non-title track songs by KPOP artists.
Crying – Sistar
Sistar leaves behind many great tracks, so of which barely get enough attention. What makes Crying a great track are the vocals. They were dynamic and gave the song a very unique feel. I thought the chorus was extremely catchy and interesting with how it starts off with a striking delivery of the word “Love”. The instrumental was pretty simple and their vocals/raps matched it perfectly.
One Step, Two Step – Oh My Girl
I personally thought this song has a very nice blend of instruments. It also felt like angels were singing to me. The track ended up being very addictive, becoming a song that I would search for on YouTube for a while. I loved how the track started off very sweet and nice. But as you approach the chorus, we enter a more upbeat phase, making the build-up sound amazing. The violins in the bridge were also amazing, with it being another highlight of the track.
Albatross – B.A.P
Adding to the fun vibes of their 5th mini album, Carnival, Albatross is one track to jam to. It is a very down to earth feel and listening to the song makes you wonder how fun the recording process would have been if there was a stage or music video accompanying it. It was released in February but there is a very vibrant and Summer feel to the song, making it a track that I constantly listen to during Winter when I want to feel some warmth.
Shadow – F(x)
I think out of all the non-title tracks out there and the songs on this list, this is the song that everyone will agree on as the most underrated song ever. It literally catches your attention with its very creepy lyrics. But the lyrics are smothered with the sweetness of the instrumental and their vocals, making the creep factor exceed the highest possible limit. It is extremely addictive and I totally love it.
I Wanna Fall In Love – Song Ji Eun (Secret)
Song Ji Eun’s tracks have always been intriguing for their dark messages. Her more recent releases haven’t followed that path, which is quite disappointing. But there are a few that have caught my attention, such as I Wanna Fall In Love. It is much better than many of her recent title tracks and her strong vocals resonate throughout the entire track. It dominates the entire track, which I think is amazing and the song is quite catchy after a number of listens.
Get The X Out – Sunny Hill
Judging from the title, I would never have thought of the song being what it is. It is extremely unexpected, as the instrumental is reminds you of toys and dolls. Very innocence. But instead, it holds a very scary message telling their partner to just leave. I love how they cut the swearing out (or else it would be banned) but it makes everything feel more intense. And this is another reason to why I love Sunny Hill’s songs. They take uniqueness to a whole new level.
Before The Song Ends – JJ Project ft. Suzy (Miss A)
To hear that JJ Project will be getting a unit comeback stage before the end of the year makes me extremely happy. But before that, I must show you all this extreme party-vibe track. Sure, it may be overpowered by autotune but it one hell of a song to jam to. Suzy’s featuring in this song makes it so much better. But the real winners are JJ Project, who has such a dynamic track under their belt.
Maze – VIXX
I tried to include some old tracks and some more recent tracks on this list. Maze falls under the “more recent” category, with it being one intense track to listen to. That is mainly because every time I listen to the song, I feel a rush of adrenaline as if I am actually running through a maze myself. It is a super catchy track and dynamic at the same time.
Switch – NCT 127
Switch is the only song on this particular list that has its own music video. From memory (and what I read a few months back) that this song and music video was recorded before the debut of NCT. I was totally into (and still am) the instrumental of the song. It sounded different to other songs that I have listened to. It’s another track that gives off a nice Summer feel, which I am totally digging at the moment, as I freeze each morning.
One Minute Back – SHINee
This, by far, is up there as one of the best songs ever released. It is such a unique song on so many levels. Their vocals are on point throughout the track, especially during the entire chorus. The lyrics of the song depict a guy catching his partner cheating on him and wanting to turn back time. Overall, listening to just once will not be enough as it leaves a very long lasting impact that makes you want to go back and listen to more.
Oh My Girl reaches new heights with their latest comeback. They have returned with their latest and 5th mini album, titled as Coloring Book. Their title track shares the same title as well. Oh My Girl became a group to look out for back in 2015, when they released Closer. 2016 confirmed their presence on my radar with the releases of Windy Day and Aing~.
And it seems like Coloring Book is another track to add to that list. It is a really good song. The track literally launches right into the energised and upbeat track. There is no holding back. They don’t give us a break at all, but instead they push ahead with it. The song falls into the same category as any of their past songs. Bright, funky and addictive to listen to. What makes the song a little awkward is the chorus. I am not sure if it is awkwardly placed but it seems to be a little premature. But besides that, I genuinely liked the chorus. It’s the more of the progression into the chorus and how they do it that throws me off. Maybe I am just not used to the style as it is different from their past songs and more traditionally structured songs. It’s just a minor detail that honestly didn’t affect my listening experience. Literally, the second listen in and I was bouncing along in my chair. Maybe I should have left that ‘bouncing’ detail out. Anyway, like yesterday how I mentioned about Red Velvet’s song making you smile, this does the exact same thing. The vocals sound really good in this song. I have enjoyed their past vocal works, but here, they sound like they have worked on perfecting their vocals. Overall, it is a catchy song that, to me, is a worthwhile listening to. Just give it a few tries before you make up your mind!!!
From the title of the song, I assumed that they would start off with a blank canvas. And that is what we saw in the video. Just the blank canvas was a floating house in the sky. And while they attempt to make a cake (a rainbow cake, as shown at the end of the video), they end up colouring or splashing themselves with paint. I honestly want to know how many dresses were stained in the making of this video. They proceed to leave the house and paint more of the world by adding more colour. How they went outside, though, was with a physically impossible bridge. Watching it the first time, my geekiness came through and I just randomly thought “That bridge could not hold according to physics. It wasn’t even complete“. Thinking about the video, it’s the type of video that I would find boring. There really isn’t much in the video to talk about. However, for some unknown reason, I keep on coming back. Maybe Oh My Girl is rising in the list of groups that I stan. Or that the video pops with the rainbow colours that they use. I don’t know, but I am rewatching the video for the fifth time today, which is something that I don’t often do for that type of video.
Something I didn’t mention in the song part of the review, but it is a very intense track. And likewise, the choreography is just as intense. As I always say, it’s fitting for the music and it maintains that cute image that the girls have, without going overboard.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 7/10 Overall Rating – 8/10
2016 saw a lot of new boy groups make their debut on the stage. Compiling the list of nominees for this section was extra hard because there were so many great debuts that just missed out on a spot on the list. The winner of the Best Male Rookie Group 2016 is Astro, who made continuous comebacks after their debut, pushing them into the spotlight. Honourable mentions are given to VRomance for their debut song, She.
VROMANCE (Honourable Mention)
BEST FEMALE ROOKIE GROUP
Like the male rookie group section above, a lot of girl groups made their debut in 2016. And a lot of them provided us with the hottest tracks of the year. WJSN, otherwise known as Cosmic Girls, made their debut with Mo Mo Mo and came back with one of the best tracks of the year: Secret. They are my pick for Best Female Rookie Group. Honourable Mentions goes to BlackPink and I.O.I (It was very hard to choose for this category).
WJSN (Cosmic Girls) (Winner)
I.O.I (Honourable Mention)
BLACKPINK (Honourable Mention)
BEST MALE SOLOIST
As every other year, solo artists are debuting and making comebacks. 2016 saw the long-awaited debuts of some main vocalists of different idol groups and the return of solo artists that we have known for a while. The winner has to be Zico (Block B) with his ballad track: I Am You, You are Me. This one track alone has been a chart topper and gave the rapper a new side. Honourable mention goes to Eric Nam and his surge in popularity this year with his releases.
Zico (Block B) (Winner)
Eric Nam (Honourable Mention)
BEST FEMALE SOLOIST
2016 was a very big year for female solo artists. Like the male solo artist awards, big names came back, while long-awaited debuts were made. My pick for the winner of Best Female Soloist goes to Taeyeon (SNSD). Her singles have been remarkable thus far. Honourable mentions goes to Hyosung (Secret), whose song is still being replayed, half a year after release.
Taeyeon (SNSD) (Winner)
Hyosung (Secret) (Honourable Mention)
BEST MALE GROUP
So many to consider. Can’t count with my fingers for this category and the next. But it has been a big year for male groups (and likewise female groups). Out of all the artists, I have to pick Seventeen as the group that stood out the most and hence are the winners here. As for honourable mentions, GOT7 takes it this year.
GOT7 (Honourable Mention)
BEST FEMALE GROUP
As mentioned above, girl groups have also had a very big year in KPOP. And there were too many to count as well. But my overall pick for Best Female Group has to be Mamamoo. 2016 has been their best year yet and I hope there are even better years to come. Oh My Girl receives honourable mentions for their releases of high quality and catchy songs.
Oh My Girl (Honourable Mention)
Now, I promised album reviews this year and my apologies, I failed to deliver. I asked you guys again (thanks to everyone who contributed to the survey) and album reviews are still something you guys want. I can’t review every one of them, but I will try my best to cover the main and biggest releases. As for 2016, Wings released by BTS as their 2nd Studio album is my pick for best album. I also thoroughly enjoyed the songs released by B.A.P as their third studio album, Carnival, which also takes Honourable Mention.
Wings (2nd Studio Album) – BTS (Winner)
Carnival (5th Mini Album) – B.A.P (Honourable Mention)
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Many great videos were released this year. From amazing plots to great cinematography, or just the standard video that looks amazing, 2016 had it all. My picks for both the winner and honourable mention were videos that were long in length, but one focused on an action-packed story and the other for its complexity. The winner is B.A.P‘s Skydive and honourable mention goes to BTS‘s Blood Sweat & Tears.
Skydive – B.A.P (Winner)
Blood, Sweat & Tears – BTS (Honourable Mention)
And as with every year, KPOP groups and solo artists have amazing dances that should be commended. There were so many top contenders, that it was quite hard to compile the list of ten. But nonetheless, my pick for best dance would have to be GOT7‘s Hard Carry and honourable mention goes to The Eye by Infinite.
Hard Carry – GOT7 (Winner)
The Eye – Infinite (Honourable Mention)
BEST SONG OF THE YEAR
The hardest award to decide for. Hahaha… I put down 22 songs for this award. 22 amazing songs. And now I have to narrow the list to just 1. The difficulties. That being said, I won’t announce it words. Just watch the video below. But before that, let’s look at the honourable mentions that I manage to narrow down from that list of 22. Hover over the pictures to find out who and which song were picked. Note that these honourable mentions or the winners are not chosen via the end of year charts, but my thoughts alone.
Decalcomanie – Mamamoo
Hard Carry – GOT7
Find Me – Hyosung (Secret)
Secret – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
Windy Day – Oh My Girl
And my pick of Best Song of 2016 goes to……
VERY NICE – SEVENTEEN
Congratulations to all winners, honourable mentions and nominees. Everyone in general!!
It has definitely been a very busy year for Oh My Girl. They previously released Liar Liar and Windy Day, this year. Some of the members have been busy with their other appearances. Seunghee is garnering attention for her very successfully and highly skilled performances for Girl Spirit. YooA, just the other day, joined Block B’s U-Kwon for Hit The Stage. And on top of the promotions for their title tracks. Wow.
I don’t exactly sure, but it kind of feels like Oh My Girl and their company have found a new niche – bringing in different cultures into the realm of KPOP. Windy Day had this addictive Arabian and ethnic sound to it. This song combines the innocent sound of KPOP and the reggae sounds of Jamaica. It is an interesting mix and it works in their favour. A lot of attention was directed to the track. One way or another, but I am quite sure fans are loving it. It felt awkward at first, but it ended up working perfectly. Skull and HaHa featured in this track and provided that reggae sound to the song by the two small parts they had. Overall, it set the Summer and beach theme of the song quite nicely and provided the girls with the right platform to “launch” into the song. While the vocals were soft and cutesy, can I just point how amazing Mimi’s rap was? As I was listening to the song, I was in awe with her rap part and the transition between reggae, the rap and the rest of the song was amazing. Maybe the only downside to the song I could see was the awkward idea of the two sounds together, but honestly, I am currently in love with this song.
The music video was interesting. It is set in a swimming pool and shows that a little imagination can go a long way. Okay, maybe that isn’t the actual message of the video, but it was the first thing that popped into my head. From the lyrics of the song plus the video, I guess the girls want their friends (lover or social friend) to listen to their story (well I just ripped that out of the English translation provided), despite how crazy it may sound (like sailing in a swimming pool). Honestly, quite a cute video, though. There were some things that caught me off guard, but nothing bad. First of all, Mimi’s rap scene. Love the set there. However, one of the scenes where the girls are standing behind Mimi and those questionable shelves with the plants looked quite freaky and scary. And that English translation on 1TheK’s YouTube video. Wow. Might want to check them out. Quite interesting to read. (I understand that OMG’s company is in charge of the translations).
Dance wise, it was to the boring side, but still enjoyable to watch. Wasn’t as amazing at Windy Day’s dance. However, it kept that cute and innocent concept quite well. And yes, the girls looked quite cute. On stage and throughout the video.
Final Rating – 8.5/10
[NOTE: I also know OMG consist of more than two members. I couldn’t find a decent picture of the whole group from the music video or the teaser images]
A sudden return for this girl group. But I am not complaining. Oh My Girl returned with Liar Liar in April and have made a sudden comeback with the repackaged version of their album. Their newest track, Windy Day, is a song that you will listen to every single day, not just on a windy day.
I just want to say how freaking amazing this track is. I am jumping for joy as we speak. I have been jumping for joy ever since the song was released. This song probbaly has to be my vote for Best Song of the Year. I love everything about this song, from the lyrics to the instrumental, to the vocals. Everyone sings at such a high note in this song, it amazes me. It blows my mind. There is a very nice ethnic feel to the song, when the beat drops. It gives a fresh feel to the song and isn’t something that you find often in the industry. The song itself resembles the weather. It starts off calm, but as the chorus kicks in the weather starts to get a little breezy. Once that beatiful ethnic sound comes, the breeze turns into 100 km/h winds, that blow you away. Hahahaha…. I sing along to it everytime I listen to it and it is a song that I have yet to get tired of. By far, one of the best songs of the year so far. And probably an example of the “perfect song”. Oh and it sounds like the summer sequel to Closer, which is also by them. Listening to the song, I get the same goosebumps that Closer gave me.
The music video has the Alice In Wonderland feel to it, with a side of craziness. But first of all, let’s look at the beautiful scenery that this video has to offer. It looks very beautiful and breathtaking. Not a big fan of the dark filter placed on top of the shots, but hey, it adds to the breathtaking view. The shots are a little incoherent. I make no sense of the girls in red and the girls in white; some with antlers; while others love the wind and some find it an inconvience. They come together for a reason though, but I have no idea what. I checked some comments, and no one knows what is going on. Like what I said about the weather in the previous paragraph, the song and weather idea fits in with the video. Also love, how the introduced the wind into the video. The use of the gun and opening the box to release the 1000 year old wind. Even though I could not make any sense of the video, I loved it nonetheless.
The dance is defintely amazing. It fits the song quite nicely and I have no complaints. It picks up appropirately with the song and slows down when it is required. It fits the sweet and beautiful nature of the video. The moves themselves look hard, along with the formation that they use.
Overall, one of the best songs, videos and dance put together. Overall, it makes me smile and speechless at the same time. 10/10
After releasing one of the best songs of the year, last year, Oh My Girl is back. Closer is by far (and still is) one of the best songs I have ever heard in KPOP to date. Yes, I am going that extra mile to say that. They have taken a break and have returned with a brand new mini album for all of us, so let’s get cracking.
The girls go back to the cute concept with a funky and catchy song. The instrumental of the song reminds me of the marching drums in Cupid. The song is quite upbeat already (with the instrumental only), but adding the vocals, there is more depth to the song and it makes it sound even more retro. Vocally and the rap were all really good and stood out. The level of instrumental and vocals was perfect. As I said before, the song is super catchy. I probably know when the girls would sing “Liar Liar” because I am singing along at that part (since it is a line that I can understand – the life of an international fan) and only that part. Play it now and I will slay the “Liar Liar” part. While I think it is a good song, it does seem to lack the appeal needed in KPOP. It has that KPOP feel to it, but it doesn’t sound like something that would be a hit with the audience over there. Beside it being catchy, it really doesn’t draw you in. That is my only complaint with the song, but overall, I thought it was a really good song.
Music video is amazing. So colourful. Such boldness in the set. The cuteness in terms of the concept is channelled from the bright but bold colours present throughout the video. Beside I love how the girls portray the lyrics. I believe they are singing about a guy who they know is cheating on them, but in the video the song shows the girls knowing that everyone is dating the same person. Really confusing, but off the bat, I thought it was very interesting. The girls hide pictures of their “guy” in anyway possible without anyone seeing, arousing suspicions of everyone around them. Like I said, confusing, but it reels me in. Really enjoyed the scene where they are all at the table, with their hands behind their backs, holding onto the picture of the same guy. And the girl with the sunglasses. Highly creative, but I don’t think it is that practical. And that is one massive bed.
Dance wise, it is so cute. But I have a question! Why are they wearing roller skates? They dance around in them and it confuses me. I don’t recall them skating around the stage. But they are probably are just wheels stuck to some shoes.
Overall, great song, video and dance. Loved it all. 8.5/10
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 :).
Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
If You Do
Oh My Girl
Love Me Right
I Need U
Sing For You
Taeyeon (SNSD) ft. Verbal Jint
Like OOH AHH
Oh Um Ah Yeah
Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)
Between Night n Music
Shake That Brass
Amber (f(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)
VIXX LR (VIXX)
Brand New World
Brown Eyed Girls
Ring My Bell
Donghae & Eunhyuk
Catch Me If You Can
Me Gustas Tu
Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
Might Just Die
We Like 2 Party
Mad Clown ft. Jamsil (Mad Child Soul)
Ice Cream Cake
Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
I Feel You
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).
015 is at its end, and with days away from the new year, we must reflect on 2015. And per usual: excellent songs, videos and dances have gracefully entered our lives and probably have not yet left us. From comebacks from big name acts to debuts of new rookie bands, 2015 has been a splendid year in my opinion. This year I decided to do the BOBs differently. Usually, I post a list of nominees and categories, but I don’t get you guys to vote for them (nor do I have the capabilities and time to allow you guys to vote for them, but maybe in the future), so I thought I should change it up this year, but posting both nominees and winners in the same post. This is part 2 of the BOBs and part1 was released yesterday (Click Here). Also, the traditional End of Year Charts will be released on the 31st of December, at 11:55 pm, so please wait around for that. Let’s get the post on the road!!!
These awards do not reflect any review score that I gave out this year. My personal preferences will always change (i.e. an 8 review score can currently be a 10 OR a 10 review score can currently by an 8).
RED FONT – Winners, BLUE FONT – Honourable Mention
BEST MALE ROOKIE
Once again, 2015 saw many debuting groups enter the KPOP scene. And this category obviously allows me to pick who i saw as the best new male artist of 2015. And boy were the standards high this year. The nominees are:
I have to give it to Seventeen. They were the only new boy group on the block that left a massive long impression on me since their debut at the start of the year til now. At first 13 members may have sounded a little too much, but the songs they were releasing proved otherwise. Honourable mentions goes to Monsta X who only popped on my radar in the past few weeks. Yeah, their debut did not do much, but what they released after did a lot.
BEST FEMALE ROOKIE
Same as the above category, many new girl group emerged from the shadows and wowed a lot of people. Most not if all female rookies managed to amaze me and picking the nominees for this category had been one of the hardest things to do this year. The nominees are:
Hands down, it automatically goes to GFriend. As soon as they started, they had the press all over them and their comeback proved to be highly successful, ranking high on the charts. As for honourable mention… I am literally torn between Oh My Girl and Twice. Yeah, Oh My Girl did not do as well for this debut, but their comeback exceed my expectations so much (why? Find out later) but I am going to give it to Twice, as they have only released one song and also ranked incredibly high on the charts.
One of the things that make KPOP so unique is obviously the choreography and performances. And this year saw an amazing variety of performances and dances that made fans all for certain groups harder than ever. Each of the nominees that made it onto the list truly deserve to be the winner as they were all equally unique and amazing. I nominated:
Screw the MAMA awards. The male category was a mess for Best Male Dance Performance. However, I am here to fix it. I am putting BTS – Dope as the best dance of the year. Yes. BTS was not nominated at all and that is so disappointing. Dope was such as “dope” dance that was in sync and perfectly executed. As for honourable mention, GOT7 – If You Do takes it away. Though it was nominated, but it did not win. And I was incredibly disappointed. Anyway, I can say this: all of the nominated dances deserve an award.
Albums. Not my favourite thing to talk about. Mainly because there are songs on some albums that disappoint me, and hence I sometimes stay away from albums because of that. Each album is looked at as a whole and also each individual song is looked at in detail. I don’t listen to entire albums a lot, but here is a list of just some albums I did manage to listen to as a whole. The nominees are:
At of all of those albums above, there were two stands out. The winner was F(x) – 4Walls, their 4th album. I have to say each and every song on this album I adore to the point where all the songs on there have become more memorable than certain comebacks of big name artists. Honourable mentions goes to Brown Eyed Girls – Basic, their 6th full length album. The album came extremely closely to being the winner, but I do not personally feel the same level of excitement when I listen to the album.
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Music videos per usual is an artists main form of promotion. And this year, the music videos released were to of an extremely high standard. Each of these music videos have some unique about them and that is what stood out to me. I chose these based on plot, cinematography, sets or scenery, acting (if applicable) and editing. The nominees I saw fit these categories were:
I think the simplicity was the key for me this year. G.Soul – You won Best Music Video in my point of view. There is essentially nothing in this video beside the singer himself and some lights. But yet it managed to become such an amazing video. Honourable mentions goes to FT Island – Pray. Their concept was so amazing that it was incredibly hard to pass up this video.
BEST FEMALE GROUP
Now let’s get down to business. I like to call this and the next category “the best artist of the year”. But since KPOP is highly populated with groups, I split them up into genders and call the categories “group”. The female groups this year have successfully wowed me (and probably everyone else this year), with many people being able to pick a favourite. The nominees for Best Female Group are:
I think I am going to agree with the ongoing trend and give it to EXID. From Up and Down, released last year, EXID shot into the limelight with a fancam of Hani and have since re-promoted Up and Down, came back with Ah Yeah and more recently Hot Pink. Each time they make a comeback, they go on to prove their popularity. As for Honourable Mention: Red Velvet. Their successful year yet, and I am 100% sure that better years will come. Ice Cream Cake and Dumb Dumb will remain as favourites for me.
BEST MALE GROUP
Now let’s move onto the guys. The competition was so tough this year. At first, I managed to list around 20 different male groups that I think deserve this award, but I only ended up choosing 10 nominees. It was so hard. But here are my choices:
I am going to choose GOT7 as the best boy group of the year. GOT7 released three songs: Just Right, If You Do and Winter’s Confession. Put together, GOT7 had one busy year and I saw a very large amount of growth in terms of the boys’ talents and sound. As for honourable mention, it would got to BTS. For this year, BTS has definitely matured and showed an ever fiercer and more powerful side of the group.
This category, each year proves to be my worst enemy. It is so hard to choose my most favourite song. This particular category is not influenced (in any way) by the charts that I am releasing tomorrow. The “best song of the year” chosen here are like my subconscious mind speaking, whom I really want to see be given the title. The charts tomorrow are more calculated and take into account my reviews during the year and what my current thoughts about them are. But as I said choosing this category is the hardest. So many songs deserve this title and if I could choose to give out multiple “Best Song” awards I can. The nominees are:
Let’s start with the honourable mentions: GOT7 – If You Do, Oh My Girl – Closer, EXID – Hot Pink & Seventeen – Mansae.
And finally, I give to you, 2015’s Best Song of the Year, which you can probably tell already by the video linked below.
EXID – Ah Yeah
Congratulations, EXID. 2015 has been proven to be your year. You can watch the music video for this year’s Best Song below!
And that is it for Part 2 of the BOBs. Check back tomorrow, for the End Of Year Charts. And then, lets all wait for the New Year to come rolling through? Got your New Year’s Resolution yet?
*All images and gifs belong to their owners/creators. Only those tables are mine.