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.
Seventeen returned last week with their fourth mini album and the title track, Don’t Wanna Cry. The mini-album consists of 8 tracks. These 8 tracks includes 2 tracks from the entire group, 3 tracks from each subunit, 1 track from Jun and The8 and 2 tracks on the CD version only. At the time I was writing this review, I could not find those final two tracks that are present on the physical album only, so they will be omitted. Maybe if I can find them in the near future, I will return to review them.
2. Habit (입버릇) (Vocal Team) – We all know what the Vocal Team of Seventeen is capable of. Their vocals of various tones and potential have all been highlighted in their past songs, either within songs as a subunit or as a group. Habit re-confirms that statement. Their vocals are amazing in the song. The song itself is soothing to an extent and it makes you want to sway along. The songs buildups quite suddenly, but it manages to work. While I do praise it, I don’t necessary think this is the best song on the album, but it definitely up there. (8/10)
3. If I (Hip-Hop Team) – For those who don’t know me, I tend to stay away from Hip-Hop rooted songs mainly because I don’t really enjoy them. The turn to more hip-hop centred songs has turned back that thought a bit, though. But Seventeen’s Hip-Hop subunit does an amazing job with this song, where they give the song a more deeper feel, which I actually enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed the instrumental, which does remind me of the title track for this album but still remains different in its own way. Their raps aren’t heavy sounding, which is probably why I enjoyed this style more. (8.5/10)
4. Swimming Fool (Performance Team) – Just looking at the title, I could tell it was a quirky track. Quirky just isn’t the right word for it, despite it being more energetic and vibrant compared to the other subunit songs. Instead, it utilises a very catchy and funky beat, which I am loving. The song provides the right bursts of energy at the right time throughout the song through the alternative western inspired instrumental and the team’s vocals. (8.5/10)
5. My I (Jun & The8) – For those who don’t know, Jun and The8 are members of the group from China. And so their Korean isn’t up to par with the rest of the Korean members. Hence, they tend to get the least amount of lines in their songs. And while I was very happy they were getting a song for themselves, I just can’t really fall in love with the track. The song just didn’t have any appeal to me and my mind seems to blank out when this song comes on. Their vocals are finally placed into the spotlight, where they sound pretty decent overall. (6/10)
6. Crazy In Love – This is my favourite track off the album. I am madly enjoying the song. It starts off in a way which I would not like. It’s not until Dino starts off the pre-chorus that has me swooning over this track. There is a very alluring sound with the pre-chorus. The chorus changes up the song giving it an amazing funk sound, which seems to be the highlight of the entire album. It’s super catchy and an addictive song to listen to. (8/10)
Seventeen is officially back with their brand new title track, Don’t Wanna Cry. The title track can be found as part of their fourth mini album, Al1. The new mini album consists of tracks from each of Seventeen’s subunits and also features a song performed by both Jun and The8. Seventeen’s last comeback was in December of last year with Boom Boom.
From the very first second, the song’s instrumental felt more western than KPOP and it is a complete change in the sound, compared to Seventeen’s past songs. The song itself sounds similar to some Chainsmoker’s more recent works and hits (emphasis on ‘similar’). But still quite different in its own way. The instrumental itself is right up my alley. What surprised me was that the rappers didn’t really rap, but they sang their lines instead, which caught me off guard the first time around. The vocal work in this song is quite good, but I love that small section just prior to the chorus where DK and Seungkwan sing. The buildup and rhythm there was amazing. I thought the silence just before the beat drops is quite nice, providing more strength to the song despite it also did feel like a gaping hole in the song. Finally, what I loved the most about the song is the bridge. Wonwoo and Minggyu’s part in the bridge provided the punch that the song needed and I thought that was pretty good. Overall, I think it is safe to say that I really like the song. It sounds cool and very modern.
The video was quite nice. I believe it was shot in the U.S (not too sure though). Overall, I thought the aesthetics that was present in the music video and the teasers preceding their actual release of their mini album were superb. There is a lot that is going, most of which I have very little clue to. Together, it is a bigger mystery. Hahahaha… I am really bad at interpreting hidden messages in music videos. The cinematography in this video is also amazing and I really liked the places where they shot the video, especially the choreography shots.
Once again, Seventeen is proving to be competition when it comes to the choreography. I personally think this is their most dynamic performance yet. Everything looks amazing from the very first second to the last. The choppiness present during the chorus matches the song really well. My favourite part would have to be when DK and Seungkwan sing the pre-chorus, which on stage, looked pretty cool.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 10/10 Overall Rating – 9/10
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!!
I am officially back everyone. And finally, I am moving along with the posts. This is the replacement to the normal Best of the Bests that I do at the end of each year. Essentially, they are the same thing, just a different name for them. This is just for fun and is just my thoughts relayed into a post. I did want to include you guys in the voting this time around, but because of my vacation, I had skipped over it. Maybe next year, if nothing pops up.
I usually post the nominees up in a separate post. However, because of time constraints, I have linked the nominees on a separate page by clicking the link below, instead of writing them out.
This award goes to the groups that have seen the most growth in 2016. Past winners have risen from the rookie status (usually) or ‘nugu’ status and conquered the year they were awarded in. Looking back there are a number groups that took over 2016. But the rising star award goes to Twice and Seventeen. It is quite obvious why. Both groups had a following already in 2015 but 2016 saw more success, proving them to be a force to look out for.
This award is self-explanatory, given to the song that has the best instrumental. This is something that I talk about in review and is vital to the song (though I have heard amazing acapella in the past). It seems like simple took out the award this year with the instrumental of The Rain by Ladies Code taking out the award. But don’t worry because the EDM based song Fire by BTS took out Honourable Mention.
The Rain – Ladies Code (Winner)
Fire – BTS (Honourable Mentions)
Comeback after comeback after comeback. It is like shifting through a needle in a haystack. Any artist could have been nominated for this but I chose VIXX as the winner for this. Their comebacks have been consistent but unique each time. Their releases have you asking what they have planned next. As for honourable mentions, BTS takes it. Given their releases in the past year, I have to say I was very impressed.
BTS (Honourable Mentions)
It seems like subunits have dropped off the trends list this year. Actually, they have become quite rare. That being said, there have been some notable subunits in 2016. My pick for the winner is EXO-CBX, which consists of Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin. Their song, Hey Mama, was extremely catchy and fun to listen to. Honourable mention go to NCT Dream for their release of the fun and equally catchy Chewing Gum (plus they performed on hoverboards).
NCT Dream (Honourable Mention)
Not a big fan of rapping but I have to be honest, there are many great rappers here that show me otherwise. A few rappers in idol groups have released mixtapes this year as part of their solo work, further showing their influence on the industry. The winner I have chosen is Zico (Block B). All of his solo releases and collaborations have been extremely popular and successful in the past year. Honourable mention goes Suga (BTS), whose mixtape and work within BTS have also amazed me this year.
Zico (Block B) (Winner)
Suga (BTS) (Honourable Mention)
Vocals are something that I admire the most. So, it was rather hard for me to narrow down just 5 nominees, particularly since there were more shows where vocalists of different idol groups and actors/actresses could participate in. My radar jumped when I heard the winner sing on those shows. I am talking about Sandeul (B1A4), whose voice sounded amazing in his solo work and collaborations on Duet Song Festival. I chose Mamamoo for honourable mention as their vocals are no joke, slaying with almost everything they release.
Sanduel (B1A4) (Winner)
Mamamoo (Honourable Mention)
Collaborations are still popular and with SM Entertainment’s SM Station in full effect for 2016, we saw a more diverse range of collaborations that have never been seen before. My pick for the best collaboration of 2016 is Hit Me by MOBB, which is a collaboration between Mino (Winner) and Bobby (iKON). Honourable mentions go to Tiffany (SNSD) and SanE for their SM Station track, Heartbreak Hotel.
Hit Me – MOBB (Winner)
Heartbreak Hotel – Tiffany (SNSD) ft. SanE (Honourable Mention)
BEST NON-TITLE SONG
These songs include songs that were simply released as a part of the album but forgotten as it was never promoted. Some of them were performed with the title track for one week but have since not been performed. Songs that deserve some sort of recognition as well. My pick of honourable mention is I Miss You by Mamamoo, which was included in their first studio album. The winner of the best non-title song goes to Sistar with their track: String. String is actually one of the few songs that are not a title track that was replayed constantly on my phone.
Seventeen made their comeback at the start of December with their title track Boom Boom and 3rd mini album, Make A Wish. They previously made their comebacks in 2016 with Pretty U and Very Nice, which earned them more fans and allowed the group to become more well known.
The song is pretty good. There are parts of the song which I thought were pretty cool. I love S.Coups’ rap in the song and thought DK’s adlibs at the end were quite cool. The song had that catchy vibe with the continuous “Boom Boom” repetition. It seems like the song was designed for the Hip-Hop Unit. Their vocals fit the song more than anyone else in the song. I just felt the song didn’t string together as well. The slowdowns didn’t match with the rest of the song and Dino’s rock part caught me off guard (that also didn’t match with the slowdown, but fitted with the rest of the song). It was another example of songs where there are a lot jammed into one. Also, the song lacked impact. The song just didn’t live up to the “Boom Boom” title. More “Boom Boom” please! I know the group is big, but something needs to be done about the line distribution. The same members keep on getting overshadowed, which is quite unfortunate. But besides those thoughts, I still enjoyed listening to the song.
The video raised one question for me. But what was in that box that led them to do the expedition? Like anything could have been inside that box. And I don’t know if that mission board (on the wall) could help that much either. Tells them what they will need to expect to get to it. I love it how everything is all thought out and going perfectly, until Mingyu steps on a hidden trap and screws everything up. But then they run from the explosions, with smiles on their faces. It looks like they are having fun, rather than worrying about getting blown to bits. But nonetheless, the video was very cool and fun to watch.
The dance is where I will be praising the guys the most today. The dance is quite awesome and looks cool. I love the final chorus with DK showing a little Michael Jackson influence and everyone else circling him. The start looks like a lot of practice for the level of precision. One person too late could make it look like a failure. S.Coup’s rap part fits perfectly with the song. (That final sentence was meant to be joined with another sentence. I just don’t know how to integrate it in anymore).
Seventeen has returned with their first repackaged album and title track Very Nice or 아주 Nice. They previously made their comeback with their first official album and title track Pretty U in April.
First time listening to the song, I thought it was rather weird and cluttered. It is a song that you would describe as multiple songs mashed into one. It turns out to be a typical pop song, but there are so many different elements in the song, that sometimes it catches me off guard. But I have grown to love it. It is a song that I constantly play and because of that, it topped the first weekly KPOP charts that I posted on Sunday. I did like the fast chorus and then the slow downs in the song. It worked in their favour. I particular like the start of the song (DK did a pretty good job there and the rest of the high pitch lines before the choruses), Woozi’s ballad breakdown/slowdown and Vernon’s and Dino’s rap in the middle of the song. The one part that I am not feeling is Jeonghan’s part in the bridge. It honestly does not match the rest of the vocals and the “explosive” nature of the song. For sure, I find the song extremely addictive and catchy. Overall, I really liked the song and I honestly recommend this song.
The music video was “Very Nice” to watch. Okay, I will refrain myself from the puns. That is one creepy girl. Of course, it makes senses with their heart exploding since they are singing about her and how she make their heart explodes. But damn, those shots where she appears out of nowhere and walks in the shot. Also, when the guys are dancing in the video and the camera zoom into her staring at them. Tell me that isn’t creepy. And how she stares blankly at them when their heart explodes. It is as if her goal is to kill the guys, rather than be with them. Really liked the exploding heart effect, though. I liked this video more than Pretty U, mainly because they are interacting with the camera. Not exactly sure about the ending when they are all running. KPOP has this odd fetish with explosions. First the lying dude from EXID’s L.I.E and now S.Coups. I think the question that should be asked is: who is next? I also wish to applaud Wonwoo. For a person who is sick and meant to be resting, he appears in the video multiple times and we probably cannot continue the review without some acknowledgement.
The dance was amazing. The chorus probably got some fangirls excited (i.e. hip thrusting and butts everywhere) but I thought the dance fitted the song extremely well. The chorus was amazing and looks too hard to even attempt an attempt. As if a key and lock. The suspenders (even though looked quite unstylish) were well used.
Yeah… I know May hasn’t ended yet, but to avoid posting another late ‘Rewind” post 3 weeks after the month finished, I have decided to April and May together. This one is going to be a little informal in terms of format for a few reasons that will appear apparent. And before we move on, just a little reminder that I will try to write and release reviews every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Okay, moving along:
Leaving the Group?
We became shocked with the disbandment (or what we dubbed at the disbandment) of Kara at the start of the year. However, it seems like certain groups are facing member line up changes after one of their members had decided to not resign with their company and have since departed ways with their respective groups. Former member of 2NE1, Minzy, and former member of Miss A, Jia, have both decided to leave their successful group and go onto their own paths. Minzy will (hopefully) make her solo debut in the near future after confirmation came from her new company in which she signed. Jia was announced today that she would be leaving the band after her contract finished. Miss A and 2NE1 faced disbandment rumours from these two events, but both their companies have stated that is not the case. Not only girl groups are facing these changes, but A-Jax (if we all remember who they were) recently lost 3 members (Sungmin, Jaehyung and Jihu). But the list does not end there. Hyunseung departed from Beast, leaving the group with 5 members. It was kind of expected after the numerous articles and petitions asking for his removal. Hyunseung is expected to return as a solo artist in the near future and is still signed with Cube Entertainment. It is always disappointing to hear these news and it has obviously shocked the industry a lot. These members have been with their band since the beginning, so it is always hard for fans. Hopefully, there won’t be any more of this and I wish the former members luck in their future endeavours (because that is something we all should do and not call them selfish).
Descendant of the Sun
Now this is something we all have heard about. The drama has taken Asia by storm and has been proven to be highly successsful. It stars Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Ko, as the main characters. Before you all die from shock, I have yet to watch this drama. So, no spoilers. But I don’t actually have any plans to watch the drama. Because I am not one to enjoy romance and all this lovey dovey sh*t. I just don’t watch the genre (or any mainstream and popular dramas). I prefer the cringeworthy daily dramas. Now, why am I talking about this drama? Well, the OSTs for this drama has literally taken over the charts each time they were released. Not complaining here, but the songs were really good. Like, I really enjoy listening to them and this is probably the first time I have been impressed with the OST for a drama. Anyway, the OST contains songs from Davichi, Gummy, K.Will, Yoon Mi Rae, Chen, Punch, Mad Clown, Kim Na Young, Xiah, MC The Max, Lyn and SG Wannabe. In OST terms, this is pretty much the star studded red carpet. Each song released topped the charts instantaneously and I can see these artists winning the Best OST awards at the award ceremonies already. That is all I am reporting on… Hahaha…
Comebacks and Debuts
For the past two months, many artists have made their comeback and they include ): Block B, Seventeen, History, April, Twice, AOA, Akdong Musician, VIXX, Lovelyz, Up10Tion and so many more.
For debuts, NCT is the big debut for April. I.O.I is probably the major debut for May. However, we have seen new soloists emerge in KPOP in the past two months. Notably, Jung Eunji from APINK, Woohyun from Infinite and Tiffany from SNSD had their respective solo debuts in the last two months.
May hasn’t ended yet, but it is about to. I will add other May songs to the June list (when I get around to it).
0. Pretty U – Seventeen (I have to. I have been trialling charts and Seventeen has been popping up every single week as the top song for the week).
1. Good Luck – AOA
2. Save Me – BTS
3. Nodding Nodding – Woohyun (Infinite)
4. I Just Wanna Dance – Tiffany (SNSD)
5. Fire – BTS
This one was a long one and I tried to keep it short. I am really behind in reviews and will get them out slowly. It will take me some time to catch up. Bad news is that I have exams coming up and I am going to be slower. I will review every major release eventually, so give me some time. Enjoy the rest of May and see you tomorrow!!!
Seventeen has returned to the stage after their last comeback last year with Mansae and their debut with Adore U. Now, they have returned with a brand new (and their first) album. And this time around they won a few trophies for their latest release. Proving to many (while some are quite sceptical of this) that Seventeen is gaining popularity.
Pretty U is a pretty ordinary track at first. I agree with many people, it just doesn’t sound as intense as Mansae or Adore U. It lacked a lot of power. It was, at first, a disappointment. But, the song grew on me. I’ll tell you why later on. Anyway, but the song grew on me and now I am pretty much addicted to the song. I tweeted last night about how I have been trialling a chart system (based on my preferences). For the past three weeks, the song has been out, it has topped those three weeks, proving how much I actually am addicted to the song. Vocals were amazing (with some of the members getting their moment to shine). The raps were a little disappointing. They just didn’t hit the right “notes” with the rap. It was only the end that I pretty much happy with. The rest of the rapping in the song just didn’t suit the members. Seungkwan’s massive IU style high note was amazing (as I said yesterday in Berry Good‘s review, I am a sucker when it comes to the high note). Even the instrumental had a nice ring to it. Overall, a pretty good song. But I still stand by my first statement, it just didn’t have the intensity as their last songs.
The music video was disappointing. I thought it was just not the right video to end off their “trilogy”. They have focused on that school boy look and this video just shows them off as being rebellious and fun. Nothing really connecting with the school boy look. Now I know their trilogy isn’t based on the school boy concept but rather the lyrics of the song. Just, when I first heard trilogy, I heard school boy look. The video showed the boys having fun, but the slow motion and camera work did not reflect that. The tone of the video (in terms of that Instagram-like filter) really dampens the mood. It just didn’t provide that bright or happy vibe that the boys were having. And I reason why I thought the song was really weak at first was the song quality that came with the video. I can’t watch the video anymore because of this. I honestly thought my speakers were broken, but seeing many people comment on this sound quality, I think my speakers are working just fine. Having a party looked quite fun but I did expect them dancing to the song (like a dance version) throughout the video, but I never got that. Honestly, sometimes those fake set videos really do a good job.
Where did I fall in love with the song? Well the stage, of course. The song sounds 100% better than alone or with the music video. Dance wise, I thought it was really good. I liked the sofa and how they used it. Not really unique, but hey, it made the stage look quite fun and enjoyable. I would describe the dance as easy and safe, though. To date, Seventeen has shown great dances, but they don’t consist of anything that I would describe as risky. Maybe it is just the concept talking to me, but I would like to see more variance in terms of the dance style next time.
Seventeen, you are fast becoming one of the top groups in the industry for me. And I think I am a little obsessed. I do have my doubts (namely, your company in general) and I hope you do stay for a long time. 7/10
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.
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!
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.
First of the last four reviews of the year. Q&A is a collaboration between Ailee, the vocal queen of KPOP and Seventeen, the rising KPOP rookie group. And honestly, it is a really nice song to listen to. It’s bright and vibrant to listen to. There is a strong American influence throughout the whole song, I think. Every time I listen to the song, I know that there is some sort of foreign influence to the song. The song flows quite well and is extremely pleasant to listen to. I love the pairing of vocals. Both Ailee’s and Woozi’s voice go really well together, and top of that, the member’s deep sounding raps really bring the song together. Some of you may be wondering about the title. Essentially, the song’s lyrics are like two people sharing their feelings, but through asking questions and seeking answers, hence Q&A. They are not asking literal questions, just the lyrics (when translated) seem like they’re having a conversation (asking questions and seeking answers). Very interesting concept and equally unique. The instrumental is a little bland, but overall, the song is great to listen to and chill.
As for the music video, the concept is a little clearer. Essentially the girl is making the boys sit through a test to probably determine who would be the most suitable to be her next boyfriend. The boys are studying extremely hard (or too busy posing for the camera). And then we see the boys take the test (but I don’t think they got that far). They even had to result to cheating (with very obvious means). Honestly, the concept of the video weaves into the song a lot more better than the song and I like that about it. Apparently, you get blood noses when you study in South Korea. Seen it in the video and also in many dramas. Funny, cause the only time I get blood noses is when I get I hit in the face with a ball. There also the guys represents different students. Woozi is the one that actually studies, Vernon is the one that looks like they are studying and S.Coups is the one that gives no crap about what he is doing (I am personally a mixture of Woozi and S.Coups. Who are you?). Disappointed Ailee was not in the video.
Seventeen is back with a brand new song for their first comeback in their career. It has only be a few months, but like Monsta X (yesterday’s review). They made their debut with Adore U back in May 2015. All I know is that Vernon has been on that rapping/hip hop show, Show Me The Money in the past few months. And according to Wikipedia, Jeonghan featured in a music video. The members have been uploading different versions of their debut song’s video on their YouTube video as well. Beside that, haven’t really seen much of them.
This song is really addictive and catchy as. I have been replaying this song non stop for the past few days. I am not disappointed with this song whatsoever. Everything from the rapping and vocals, instrumental to the beat, made the song a pretty nice song. The “mansae, mansae, mansae” part was really addictive. I also think some the members that were overshadowed in the debut song got some chances in this song to show off their talent. Joshua actually has a nice voice. He sang, like one line in the Adore U song, but here he got 3 lines, though each line is basically the same. But for some members to shine, other members had to be shoved to the back. I liked how the song started. It was just getting right into the point. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but it managed to do a great job in the song.
The music video was okay. I think the members were all trying to woo one girl, which is kind of weird, but that is the norm in KPOP videos. It could have been much better though. There really was not much to get me into it. Some of the acting was cringe worthy in this video. The basketball guy towards the end. He does a good job, but the way he plays his cocky character seems over the top. I did like that school hallway scene. The tennis court, even though it looks cheap, they managed to make use of that and I thought it made the video looked cooler and much more “real”. Most of the video was shot in a set that was “fake”, so it added a nice touch. But honestly, some the acting could have been better and the built sets could have been made to look realistic (or at least get rid the “17” on the fixtures at the back of the court – this is a music video, not an advertising gimmick (a pet peeve of mine)).
The dance was exceptional. I love the “Mansae Mansae Mansae” part where they spread out from the middle to the boundaries of the stage. Also loved their “smooth waving” ending. Don’t know what is called. The dance was cool and at the same time pretty addictive as well. It seems like they took one of the dance moves from Adore U and placed that in their dance this time as well.
Song and dance did not disappoint. While the music video could have been better, I think they did an amazing job this time around. 8/10