[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist-Based Categories

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

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


Best New Male Soloist

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

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


Best New Female Soloist

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

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


Best New Male Group

Nominees: AB6IX, CIX, ONEUS, TXT, X1

WINNER – TXT
Honourable Mentions – ONEUS
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – AB6IX


Best New Female Group

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

WINNER – ITZY
Honourable Mention – EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – EVERGLOW


Best Band

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

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


Best Vocals

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

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


Best Raps

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

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


Best Subunit

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

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


Artist With Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Seventeen (5x)


Rising Star

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

WINNER – ATEEZ
Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – CLC


Most Underrated Artist of 2019

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

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


Best Male Soloist

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

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


Best Female Soloist

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

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


Best Male Group

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

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


Best Female Group

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

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


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

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

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Song-Based Categories

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

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


Best Special Performance

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Egostistic Cover (AOA) at Queendom


Best Concept

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – HIP (Mamamoo)


Best Solo Choreography

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

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


Best Male (Group) Choreography

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

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


Best Female (Group) Choreography

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

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


Best Collaboration

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

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


Best Music Video

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

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


Best International Song By A Korean Artist

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

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


Best Official Soundtrack (OST)

This is not a fan voted category.

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


Most Viewed Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Goblin (Sulli)


Most Viewed Album Review of 2019

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – BXXX (Ha Sung Woon)


Songs With Most Win on Weekly KPOP Charts

This is not a fan voted category

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


Best Non-Title Track

This is not a fan voted category

WINNER – Ten Nights (Mamamoo)


Best Album

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

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


Most Voted For Song of 2019

WINNER – Obsession (EXO)


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

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

[Special] My Favourite Performances from the 2019 End Of Year Music Festivals

At the end of each year, the three major broadcasting companies in South Korea (SBS, KBS and MBC) organises and broadcast a very fruitful and dynamic music festival, bringing together the top KPOP acts of the year. 2019 is no exception and with a year as busy as 2019, it is often quite hard to get invited to these festivals. And with each show running for a couple of hours, different stages/performances/remixes of the year’s hits and one-of-a-kind collaborations, it is often hard to keep up with these festivals. Today, I have decided to organise a list of performances from each of these three festivals that I thought were excellent, different and worthwhile in checking out. I have done this before but over the years dropped it as I had very little time. Now that I have some time on my hand, I thought I return to this segment for the 2019 festivals.

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

When we talk about the SBS Music Festival, we need to address the issue of safety. After all, it costed Red Velvet full group promotions for their Psycho comeback, due to injuries sustained by Wendy due to the unsafe nature of SBS stage. We did manage to get one full lineup of the group performing Psycho on stage as it was pre-recorded. because of that, I put Red Velvet’s Psycho performance on my list of favourite performances from that day. Other performers also had falls on the SBS stage, from what I remember reading. Other stages at stood out for me were:

  • Stray Kid’s Miroh – I did not know how Stray Kids could top Miroh’s intensity by rearranging the performance to be even more intense.
  • NCT Dream’s Boom & NCT 127’s Superhuman – Both tracks had a really cool dance addition to it. On top of that, we got to see the same ‘switching of jackets’ that Mark did at the 2018 SBS Music Festival between Dream and 127’s performance. Only this time, it was Haechan!
  • Oh My Girl’s Bungee (X-mas Version) – Always good to have a X-mas themed remix on Christmas Day. It made Bungee, an already vibrant and colourful track, more suitable for the season.
  • Mamamoo’s Gogobebe – The rock remix for this performance was superb.
  • Seventeen’s Home and Snapshoot – We got to see a warmer side of the group and the more joyful side, especially after all the darkness we got from HIT and Fear.
  • TWICE’s Medley of Tracks – I really liked the band element to their performance and how they tweaked the concept for Fancy and their more light hearted tracks. I just wished the band was DAY6 (where is DAY6 in all of these festivals), which would have made the performance even more worthy of a view.
  • BTS’s Dionysus – I have always been a fan of BTS’s darker side. This performance is a return this side, which I greatly appreciate.

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

I personally did not have much interest in the KBS Music Festival as I thought the stage looked really bad and the camera work wasn’t the best. This wasn’t also the only problem that occurred that same night. APINK’s %% performance was cut short, disappointing fans, APINK and viewers in general. If I were to choose one standout stage, it would have Golden Child’s Wannabe stage. Their dance intro was very good and showed off intensity that was aligned with their new look/concept. And I really liked how smooth the transition between dance intro and actual song was. Only a few toehr performances caught my attention and they include:

  • Song Gain’s Introductory song – Song Gain, for those who don’t know is a trot singer that trended this year. For Song Gain’s performance, she managed to incorporate all artists into her song, which I think would be a challenge.
  • NU’EST Love Me – It wasn’t so much their choreography or song that caught my attention. But I thought the raised stages for the end really highlighted the good parts of their overall choreography, providing what could be said as an epic end to their stage.
  • ASTRO’s All Night + Blue Flame – I was waiting for ASTRO to do All Night in some capacity during these festivals. But with Moonbin out of action, it seems like the group would opt for the 5-member Blue Flame instead. So automatically, ASTRO’s stage for All Night alone would make this list. Blue Flame ended up being very epic as well, which is why their entire segment is on this list.
  • Oh Ha Young, Joy and Yerin Mr. Mr. collaboration – I haven’t heard this song for some time now and I really enjoyed this throwback. Also surprised that they covered the entire song, which usually isn’t the case.

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

MBC’s Music Festival is one to always watch. Their stages always have a look that shows that they have been planning for a while. The collaborations for this festival are always something to talk about. And why not watch it live as the year goes out! There is nothing like ending 2019 and start 2020 with KPOP! However, the MBC Music Festival was also plagued with an early termination issue. This time around the victim was Kim Jae Hwan, who only got to perform Nuna (he should have performed The Time I Need as well. For standout performance, I am putting down ASTRO and Oh My Girl’s creepy and jazzy cover of IU’s Red Shoes. It was different and colourful. Other stages to check out:

  • Stray Kid’s Side Effects – Another intense song that they managed to upgrade and make darker. The creative minds that put together these stages for Stray Kids are killing it (and need a pay rise instantly).
  • Seventeen & Mamamoo Collaboration – Two of my favourite groups have come together to form one dream team. And this was such an amazing stage.
  • Seventeen’s HIT – Mingyu shouldn’t be playing with fire. It is dangerous. But one epic opener to the stage. Also, somehow Seventeen managed to insert a dance break in the midst of the stage, which I think earns a mention at the very least.
  • Hyuna’s Flower Shower – Her choreography is essentially the same as the one she performed in the past. But the chorus instrumental is changed slightly, which I thought made the stage a lot cooler for the end of year festival.
  • Taemin’s Move & Famous – MBC’s Music Festival had a theme, The Chemistry. And you can’t have a theme about Chemistry without Taemin. While he didn’t do anything special to Move‘s stage, his dance alone is already 100% fitting for a ‘Chemistry’ themed music festival.
  • (G)i-DLE’s Lion – Another reason to why we need to look out for this girl group is their special stages. Lion is practically a game changer for the group.
  • Lovelyz’s Beautiful Day – I really like their ballad start to their stage and how they built it back up to the original song in an effortless manner.

[Review] Famous – Taemin (SHINee)

Taemin the only member of SHINee who has yet to enlist in the military. And it seems like he will be holding that phase of his life off a bit longer. He will be officially releasing his 3rd Japanese mini-album tomorrow (4th of August), which shares the same name as his latest title track, FAMOUS. On top of that, there are currently rumours floating about that Taemin will be joining Kai and Baekhyun (from EXO), Mark and Taeyong (from NCT) and Lucas and Ten (from WAYV – the Chinese subunit of NCT), forming a super collaboration male group in the near future (though we will find out this week with SM Entertainment confirming that an announcement is coming in regards to this).

Taemin has continued to wow me time and time again with his unique dance tracks. Famous seems to approach this unique vibe again, but it doesn’t really go that length like his Korean and previous Japanese releases have. Famous starts off with a simple beat. But as the song progresses, the song moulds itself into a very interesting and subtly upbeat track. I found the chorus to be very straightforward and it lacked that complexity that Taemin’s track tends to go for. While I have stated that simplicity is good on a number of occasions, it just doesn’t leave me 100% satisfied. I did like the hook (‘Famous’ repetition, which is still growing on me. I also like the ‘No Drama’ deep autotune that is featured throughout the song. I thought that was a nice detail. I thought his vocals were pretty good and that slight rapping sequence in the second verse was awesome! Apart from the simpler chorus, I thought Famous was a great track, overall.

It seems the simplicity feels that I had were compensated through the music video. It does not take a simple approach. Instead of going for a lot of complexity on a visual level. There is a lot going on in the video, despite it all being Taemin close-ups. Very aesthetic, might I add. He starts off being tied up. He then is seen posing in a broken-down car. And then surrounded by half-eaten apples. There is definitely meaning behind all of these different scenes but I am not confident in trying to decipher any of these (as I am usually wrong). The camera work and the dark lighting made every feel more profound and intense. My favourite bit has to be when he rips the ribbon. Paired well with the songs and definitely a peak in a visual manner, as well.

Taemin is one of the best dancers in KPOP. There is no doubt about that. The choreography for Famous takes an aesthetic approach as well, similar to how his music video does. Based on what can be seen in the music video, everything looks stunning and he further proves his status as one of the most established dancing idols out there, once again.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] Want (2nd Mini Album) – Taemin (SHINee)

Taemin made his comeback last week with Want, which is the title of both his title track and second mini-album (the focus of today’s album review). There is a total of 7 tracks on the album, but the seventh track is an outro track, which is also titled as Want. Due to the nature of the track, I have omitted it from the album review for today. Also, if you are a little busy to read this album review, I can essentially summarise everything in a few simple words – I highly recommend this album. I think that says a lot but if you want a little more detail, start reading below!

taemin-want-2
Want Album Review

1..Want (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review of Want. (10/10)

2. Artistic Groove – The song starts as an aesthetically pleasing track but it slowly builds into something a lot more than just that. I would personally recommend this to potential listeners. I really like the funkiness in the smooth and slick instrumental. And if you are a fan of any previous Taemin title tracks, then you will very at home with this track. But that is not the reason why I would like to recommend this track. It is due to the amazing choruses we get. I state plural because there were the ‘Artistic Groove’ chorus and the chorus that ended the song (with the two joined together as the centrepiece of the track). I don’t know about you but my jaw dropped when I first heard the first chorus and was amazed at how effortlessly the second one was brought into play. Overall, my recommendation to you all. (10/10)

3. Shadow – To me, the word Shadow, seems to be a word surrounded by darkness. Countless times a track has been named ‘Shadow’ and the song ended up being something else that didn’t fulfil my expectations. But Taemin’s Shadow is everything that I have wished for in a song named Shadow. The dramatic and creepiness (attributed through the ‘La La La’ that started and ended the song) really sets this song apart from the rest. I love the instrumental of the track, with the thumping drums and the orchestral details. Throw in his vocal work, you have a very powerful combination. I think if we are ever given the opportunity to see a live performance for this song and Taemin delivers the same exact dramatic and creepy feelings we got, while also appreciating the beauty of the instrumental, I think this could become an iconic stage. (10/10)

4. TruthTruth starts off as an unsuspecting ballad with only a piano based instrumental to really kick things off. The song takes a turn during the chorus as EDM become prevalent. For the first chorus, this only lasted a few seconds before returning to the ballad-y nature that the song started off with. The second chorus onwards is when the song stays within the EDM realm (despite it having that piano instrumental break, which I thought was a nice switcheroo from the start). Also featured alongside the instrumental is the vocals of Taemin, which sound nice here. I have to admit that this combination has been done before (so I can’t really brag about this new formula) but it is done in a way that leaves an impression and builds up suspense. (9/10)

5. Never ForeverNever Forever takes a different approach compared to what we have heard on the album thus far. It is a soft pop song with an acoustic guitar led instrumental. And because of its differences (i.e. the song does not rely heavily on a dance beat or any EDM sounds to show theatrics), the song does stand out a fair bit. But it stands out for good reasons. The song has this mellow vibe to it and after many dance/intense songs, it is nice to have a breakthrough an acoustic sound. But makes this song even better is Taemin’s vocals, which feel wholesome and showcases a new side to the artist. Pity the song was 3:00 minutes long. (9/10)

6. Monologue (혼잣말) – Listening to the first few seconds, I was lowkey waiting for the EDM drop, as Truth had crept up on us. But I can confirm that this is a true ballad. And it is one of the types to leave your heartbroken just by listening to it. One of the reasons why I find the track so heartbreaking is the piano and violin combination. Another reason was regarding his vocals (once again). He conveys so much emotion in the song that you cannot help but feel sad. It is his best presentation of vocals in the entire album as if does feel very strong and impactful. I also loved his harmonies, which make this song even better. Overall, it ends the album review on a saddening but impressive note. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.7/10

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Want Teaser Image

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[Review] WANT – Taemin (SHINee)

Finally, after a year’s wait, Taemin has finally returned to South Korea with his second mini-album and title track of the same name, WANT. His last Korean comeback was back in 2017 with the sexy Move and Day and Night. But Taemin wasn’t completely absent from the scene in the year break from his solo Korean works. In fact, he participated in SHINee’s 10-year anniversary comeback last year and also released a solo album in Japan.

The first thing that popped into my head while listening to WANT was how perfectly suited Taemin was for this track. In fact, it fits extremely well into his portfolio of songs so far. It is a powerful track but the powerfulness into explicitly apparent. Instead, it takes a subtle approach, which is similar to what Move ended up demonstrating. Want has this element of funkiness to it, which I thought was alluring. The song is described to be ‘space disco’, which I think is a new genre to really discover. His vocals are amazing in this song as they sounded flawless throughout the track. My favourite bit has to be the peak at the very end of the bridge (and the end of the second verse). It caught me off guard as it doesn’t fit the atmosphere but it left an impression on me where I ‘wanted’ more of the song.

How aesthetically pleasing is this music video? I am extremely amazed at the quality and work put into this video. The song calls for an aesthetic video and that is what we definitely got. The video seems to play on temptation, which is essentially what the song is about. We got Taemin acting all sexy and homme fatale throughout the video as if he is tempting fans with his sexiness. The inclusion of snakes in the video hints back at the temptation of Eve. The sets were elaborate and looked breathtaking, especially that final choreography scene with the big screen behind him and the dancers.

The dance takes on sexy once again. It is what Taemin does best. His movements are rather sharp when needed but smooth when it is time to be tempting, which I think was quite fitting for this entire comeback. The dance looks quite complicated yet Taemin manages to pull it off effortless, especially during the choruses, which I quite liked form the music video.

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

[Review] Under My Skin – Taemin (SHINee)

For this week’s Japanese review, we will be covering Taemin’s Under My Skin, which the music video was released last week, despite the actual album being released digitally on the 5th of November. Under My Skin is one of the lead title tracks off Taemin’s first solo album, titled after the singer himself. The other two singles are Eclipse and Mars. You may recognise some other tracks on the album including the Japanese versions of Taemin’s Korean hits such as Drip Drop, Press Your Number and Danger.

Unlike any of his other singles,  Under My Skin focuses on one major element, vocals. And this emphasis creates an epic song. Sure, they may not be powerhouse vocals like from other vocalists in the industry. But they are definitely very strong. The song is a ballad but it mixes in some soft yet grand electronic influences throughout the song. Combining this with some piano and drums, and you have what I would consider being a modern take on a ballad. But it is his vocals that make the song feel loaded and aesthetically pleasing. I like that throughout the song his vocals done push into a higher note, which keeps the song grounded yet extravagant in many ways. While I do enjoy this track (and style choice), I do think this choice is rather mediocre in comparison to his Korean releases. I feel like the linked Korean releases in the introductory were much more impactful and well suited for Taemin.

There isn’t much to the video besides the fact that is quite aesthetically pleasing. Taemin is shown to be singing on top of a mirror, which is placed along the beach or a field. The strong breeze makes everything feel so cool and epic, though I am not much of a fan of his black outfit. His red jacket though.. We don’t have much choreography in the song but the ending was extended to allow Taemin to do his thing in the dance department. You don’t really get to see much, however, as it is cut short due to the presence of more closeup shots of Taemin and well, it is too dark to really see anything.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Day & Night – Taemin (SHINee)

Have you voted for the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED AWARDS yet? If you haven’t, click here right away to get voting

Taemin has made his unexpected return with a repackaged album of his second studio album, MOVE-ing. He previously returned with Move (which is the title of both his second studio album and title track) in November. His latest title track is Day & Night, which is one of the four new tracks on this repackaged album.

Day & Night is a mid-tempo song that seems to draw attention to Taemin’s vocals. It is a lot different to his previous comebacks and title tracks as it doesn’t employ dance elements or synths. Instead, everything is stripped back and made to sound more acoustic. And it is a style that I would love to hear more of from Taemin. It has never occurred to me that he should do this style, but hearing it once just confirms that we need more of these songs. His vocals are extremely well done and it definitely shows the road he took to get here. Them ad-libs at the end of the song were really good. I have to say, despite the guitar-based instrumental, the song has this very chill vibe to it. It does lack a good hook to make this song memorable but I will be replaying this song regardless.

This is the first music video under Taemin’s belt that does not feature a choreography. Instead, they contained various shots of the artist himself in nature. It makes for an artistic video. On top of that, it is loaded with aesthetics especially with the colour palette that was used. Besides that, there isn’t much else to say about the video.

Despite my wording in the review so far, it isn’t a Taemin comeback without a choreography. If I were to pick one word to describe it, it would be ‘elegant’. The way his body moves to the music is captivating and this song is great for displaying that.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10 

 

 

[Review] Thirsty (Off Sick Concert Version) – Taemin (SHINee)

This is my third and final pick for the SM Station releases that I missed in the past few weeks. Taemin returned with his second full-length album and the title track, Move, in October. Thirsty featured on the album but the concert version for the song was released under SM Station a couple of weeks ago.

For the most part, both versions were quite similar. The major difference that I could hear was the addition of some trap elements to certain parts of the song. Without the trap elements, the original was quite sensual in its delivery and sound. Even the lyrics were quite suggestive (but not as bad as other songs). With the trap elements, there is an additional intensity that makes the track more interesting. It also felt fitting for the track, overall. There is also an added dance break that didn’t appear in the song but the stage version which he promoted, which sounded awesome. I liked how he kept the original instrumental in the song and how the new synths went well with the piano sound in the original track. His vocals are also a must to talk about. When I said there was a sensual vibe, his husky vocals are partly to blame, going well with the piano or trap elements for both versions. I just felt the song was a little too linear. The dance break did help fight that but I don’t think it helped that much.

Usually, SM Station music videos aren’t given the same level of attention compared to other music videos produced by SM. More simplistic approaches are employed (as like the previous 3 reviews I have done). And while SM Station has had their fair share of actual high-quality music videos, this could easily be passed off as an actual main music video for his second album. The way it was shot and the sets seemed well chosen for the song. It focuses on his dancing and doesn’t go overboard in any unnecessary manner. Overall, a great video to watch.

His choreography doesn’t really wow me this time around. It just didn’t feel memorable or as impressive as his previous choreographies (Move, for example).

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Review] Move – Taemin (SHINee)

Taemin has made his solo comeback with some new “Move(s)”. And that is the last of punny me for today. Taemin’s latest full-length album, which also shares the same title as the title track, Move, features songs in which he had already performed at his solo concert, a day before the release.

Taemin goes out of the box once again with Move. This time around, he tries a more sensual sounding song that pairs well with the dance background that he is known for. His vocals go surprisingly well with the concept, which was probably one of the highlights of the song.  The aesthetics of the song are definitely a captivating aspect of the song. Moving to the more negative side of the song. The instrumental doesn’t scream ‘major hit’ and remained subtle and non-progressive throughout the entire song. The song also doesn’t rely on a catchy hook or line to get listeners going. But despite all of that, my mind is telling me to say that it is a good song, regardless of what I considered to be its flaw. Instead, every time I listen to the song, I end up being in awe with what he has put out. And I  think that is enough to say how good of a song it is.

Taemin shot 3 music videos for this comeback. One main video. One solo dance performance video and another dance video with a partner. That’s quite a lot, in my mind. What is great about the video, in my opinion, is that it matches the song in terms of its subtleness. There are barely any major changes in the video. From start to end, he dances in the alleyway in the rain. It doesn’t progress much, just like the music. But yet, he pulls the concept off quite well. Awesome, abs and biceps alert for you fangirls out there.

The dance performance is great. We have seen him, time and time again, putting out great choreography for this solo work. This is no exception. There is definitely that sensual nature to it. And while he does perform the same dance as the female back up dancers (that hip swaying tho), there is a masculine side that he puts on display, which I thought was great.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] Get The Treasure – SHINee

Source: http://www.allkpop.com/upload/2017/01/af_org/SHINee_1485622735_af_org.jpg

I want to delve back into JPOP releases and hopefully extend my review base to artists who are not KPOP originated groups. It’s a promise that I have been making each year. While I don’t really see myself keeping that promise due to my commitments, I do want to keep doing a few JPOP reviews each year. And since SHINee just made their Japan comeback two weeks ago, why not? This is their 5th full album, titled as 5. SHINee has also released songs in 2016 that form part of the album.

Get The Treasure is something you expected from SHINee. Their Korean tracks have been more experimental in the last few years and the few Japanese tracks I have heard seemed to more consistent, with Get The Treasure fitting SHINee’s portfolio quite nicely. The song starts off abruptly. Not a big fan of that. It just felt too sudden and odd, compared to the rest of the song. Another part that I am shaking my head to (as in saying ‘no’) is the rapping sequence for the bridge. It felt disconnected and doesn’t flow well with the rest of the song. But everything else is pretty good. I love the grand and classy feel that the song has going on. It suits the casino concept that the video featured. The instrumental was spectacular. When they launch you into the chorus, they do not hold back with anything. Horns blaring and their vocals, being the forefront, was particularly strong and powerful. The instrumental here gave it a really nice funky and almost jazz-like flare. The verses did feel a little underwhelming, but it didn’t affect the overall listening experience. The chorus was the main show and they did manage to wow me during the main show.

One thing did jump out at me when watching the video. Their lip-syncing sucks. Not exactly sure if it is the language, but some of them barely moved their lips. But besides that standout issue, everything else in the video was really cool. First of all, the guys look really cool in their suits and black outfits. The mannequin challenge or the ‘pausing of everyone else’ while SHINee roamed around looked amazing. The editing done here has to be one of the most complicated processes ever. And also one of the best. I really enjoyed the choreography scenes. The chandelier dropping and then pausing midway just so the guys could dance with the glass pieces flying about really looked cool. Obviously, they did hold back in the video making process as well. Not even shooting guns could stop these guys!

The dance looked cool and fitting for the song. But it wasn’t as memorable as any of their past dances.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10 
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

Rewind: March 2016

OMG. I am so delayed. This was meant to be out earlier in the month, and now look at the calendar, April is almost gone. I’m still tweaking this segment, but I don’t know if I should any thing or get rid of anything existing, so if you can provide feedback, it will be greatly appreciated. Lots to talk about, to let’s go.

Major News

EXO’s Kai and F(x)’s Krystal were caught dating and SM Entertainment confirmed that the two were in fact an actual couple. After this confirmation, people started to post pictures online as “proof of Kai and Krystal’s relationship”, which I think are either fake or just a blatant invasion of privacy (but what isn’t? They are watched 24/7). But some of these picture claims to have Kai and Krystal kissing in public in a pool and catch the two “checking in” into hotels. Anyway, while this probably heartbreaking to fans of both, we all should be happy for them. Oh and did I mention Dispatch was the one to tell the world about this couple (once again). Who are your reporters and why are they so good about finding these things?

And the industry has been rocked by news of certain singers suspected of being a part of prostitution, which involves dodgy sponsors. I am not in tune with the whole thing and I am quite sure that the news has died down now. It is very hard to retell everything here, so I will just cut to the chase. These singers either go or are introduced to these sponsors that will make an investment into the singers career, in exchange for you know what. That is my understanding of it, and these singers were caught. They were brought into questioning and the news (of course) leaked a description of a particular artist who recently left her company and faced financial hardship in the past. It is sad that people have to result to this (that is if they chose this path) or just horrible if they were tricked into it, which I believe of some of claim to have been.

Comebacks & Debuts

March saw big name bands make their comebacks. GOT7, Jun Hyosung (Secret), Lee Hi, Fiestar, Red Velvet, Hyomin (T-Ara),DAY6, BTOB, Oh My Girl and Eric Nam are just to name a few.

We cannot forget about the rookies can we? KNK made their debut with Knock, which it garnering a lot of interest in the band, and I am too.

Polls

A few polls (including the ones in Febuary as well). I asked you guys:

  • Which Winner song did you guys prefer? And the results is as follow: I’m Young (30%); Sentimental, Baby Baby & Pricked (20%); and finally Immature (10%).
  • Which Taemin song did you guys like? Both songs (Drip Drop and Press Your Number) received the same amount of votes.
  • Which Lee Hi song did you guys like? Hold My Hand had an overwhelming amount of votes (87%) and Breathe got 17% of the votes.

Top 5 Songs Of March 2016

Here are my top 5 songs that were released in March 2016, taken straight from the amount of plays in iTunes:

  1. Find Me – Jun Hyosung (Secret) ft. D.Action
  2. Fly – GOT7
  3. Mirror – Fiestar
  4. Spring Love – Eric Nam & Wendy (Red Velvet)
  5. Knock – KNK

As you can tell, review releases have decreased so much in the past month. I apologise. Just a heads up, I will be releasing reviews on Sundays Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays (provided I am free and have time on those days). The other days are far too too busy for me. I also mentioned on Twitter that once this semester ends, I will be doing a revamp of the site (much needed), so if there is anything you want to see, comment below. All feedback will be appreciated.

 

Press Your Number – Taemin (SHINee)

As I promised, the second review for the night is Press Your Number. If you are looking for the other Taemin review which I did for Drip Drop, simply CLICK HERE.

When I first heard the song, I was genuinely confused about what I was hearing. But I think I got my mind around the song. The song opens up as a slow dance kind of feel, with a nice RnB style background instrumental. Not much is going on and honestly thought I would’ve gotten pretty bored of the song. A few clicks and what seems to only be a piano. It soon starts to get a little more electronic with a few “drum” sounds. But then, bam, the chorus comes along and changes it up completely, with the funky retro sounds. After the chorus, it goes back to being that slow RnB style. But then that funky beat comes in and then it continues to alternate for one more time. It is an interesting combination, and one that works quite well. It literally brought me to the edge of the seat when I was listening to it, wanting more funk and then wanting more slow RnB. Taemin’s vocals were okay in this one, not his personal best. A few times, it came out a little too soft for my liking, but other times, it was loud and clear. It also didn’t have its own style within the song. For Drip Drop, the huskiness played really well, but in this, it sounded more normal than anything else. Overall, as a song, it is a pretty good song. You might not get into it the first time around, but you get there eventually. If I were to choose between the two songs. I go with Drip Drop, since it was a song that I got into much faster than this one.

But the song sounds amazing when it is paired with the drama version of the video. Taemin goes onto the path of a thief after SM probably did refuse to pay him for the past year. Hahaha.. Love that joke. Props to whoever started it off. The video starts off with him robbing a bank. His car is later found crashed with no one else in it. From there, it gets a little confusing. We see him “enjoying” the “fruits of his labour” with his friends in a freaking mansion. And then he gets kidnapped by somebody. Afterwards, we see some kind of flashback or forward of his friends/colleagues getting caught and he feeling bad about it. And then there are scenes of two Taemin (Taemin robbing Taemin and Taemin getting away with the help of Taemin). Urgghhh… And then at the end, he ends up burning his car in an attempt to get rid of any evidence. So much to look at. Really genuinely confused. I don’t think there is a clear timeline at all, which is why it is confusing. But it draws me in. Once again, the cinematography and editing of the video makes it amazing. Oh, did I also mention that this video has this Justin Bieber feel to it? I think it is a great video, like Drip Drop and while the drama is confusing, it pulls me in and I just want to continue watching.

The dance is also great. Actually, amazing since we are talking about Taemin. Some of it, just blew me away. The rest of it, had my jaws on the ground. Some of his moves, I can only dream of doing, like that part at around 3:10 of the performance video. Damn.

Hmmm… So hard to choose between Drip Drop and Press Your Number. Such great releases and glad I found time to review them both in their whole flesh and everything. 8.5/10

Answer the poll below, which Taemin song did you like more? Drip Drop or Press Your Number? I know, possibly an impossible question to ask.

 

Drip Drop – Taemin (SHINee)

Taemin is back with his newest and first ever full album. He has released two songs with music videos, with a total of 8 other songs on the album. The two songs with music videos (and I am assuming will be his two title tracks) are Drip Drop and Press Your Number. This is the review for Drip Drop (duh?) and the review for Press Your Number will be released later today. I can guarantee that.

While SHINee and Taemin’s last solo release were hard sounding songs, this one is surprisingly calm and soft. But I am not exactly fond of the choppiness that the song has going with it. The start of the song was just perfection. Even the first chorus was great. But afterwards when the song started to pick up and have that choppy effect, I just did not feel it. Great in a musical sense, but it just doesn’t sit well with me. If I were to listen to this continuously, I probably get a headache. Not in the sense it is bad, but because of the choppiness. But when that effect stops, the song is suitable and I don’t have any issues with the song. The husky vocals of Taemin goes really well with the song’s style. Even his high notes at the end fit in well, despite it being more a dance song than a vocal centred song. Minus the choppiness, I would put this as a perfect song.

That drone camera plus scenery action at the start is amazing. But him in that bright red tracksuit, is kind of a bit too bold for my liking. Beside that, all the rest of the video falls into place. Great scenery selection, great cinematography, great dancers, great choice of Taemin, wait. Hmmm… That is it to the video. Nothing else. The video had great camera shots that complimented the choreography. Moving onto the dance, this video shows how great Taemin is at dancing and how he is capable of such artistic looking dances.  It is totally in sync with the dancers, but also with the song as well. Great to know that he is not afraid to get his clothes dirty during the dance. And the ending seems simple, but with the rest of the dance just before that, that “grand” bow is much needed. And a standing ovation!

Song is great minus that one problem and the video was just too beautiful with the dance. 9/10

Answer the poll below, which Taemin song did you like more? Drip Drop or Press Your Number? I know, possibly an impossible question to ask.

Married To The Music – SHINee

SHINee has returned to the stage after promoting View back in May. This time, they are joining the retro train with a throwback to music in the 80s, with Married To The Music.

This is a pretty nice song. It is definitely very different due that 80s feel it is going for. I love those small sections just before the start of the chorus. They add a more 80s feel to the song, even more than what the song is already showing. Not a big fan of the verses in this song. Not that they are bad, but they are pretty bland compared to the rest of the song. I really enjoyed Onew’s voice in this song. His vocal style and sound really fits in well with this song. The group’s harmonising in this song is pretty amazing as well. While the song is pretty unique, I don’t think this has the potential to turn into an iconic song. And honestly, I enjoyed listening to it the first few times, but then it was just forgotten for me. It really did not have much for me to go back to and I don’t find it catchy. But nevertheless, it is a pretty “popping” song that takes us back to probably the biggest era in music for today’s pop. But that is pretty debatable.

I enjoyed the music video. It had that Rocky Horror Show feel to it, which was quite big at the time (and I think it was big a few years back as well). I love how the whole music video can literally be turned into a movie. And how it was shot with a movie like feel. It is pretty creepy when you think back to it. Having your head lobed off or have your facial features stolen by some pretty and mysterious girl. To me, this has to be one of the best music videos this year to date. Everything that came together for this video worked really well with each other. The concept, the angles, the members, the editing and the really cool effects played well with each other. Jonghyun’s lips singing while in the bowl was pretty cool. Probably one of the most unique music videos to date. But if you don’t like heads getting chopped off (there is no blood in this video though), then you might not want to watch this.

The dance was really cool as well. Using back up dancers as your support is a pretty good idea to give off that impression of floating. Well, at least that is what I think they are trying to get at. I enjoyed how they interacted with the camera for the dance this time. It suits the fun side of KPOP that we are clearly missing.

Overall, a pretty good comeback but it got forgotten quickly. But it was hella unique and gave everyone memories to the 80s. 8/10

View – SHINee

-whispers- SHINee’s Back. Yeah… I just had to. After over a year of no promotions as a group in Korea, the 5 member boy group is finally back with a brand new album. Let’s see what the band has done since their last promotions of Everybody back in 2013. Taemin and Jonghyun made their respective solo debuts in 2014 and 2015. 2014 was essentially SHINee’s year in Japan with loads of promotions, releasing numerous songs in Japan and having tours and concerts in the country. And they recently had their 4th Korean tour in May. So they have been busy even though as a group they were more in Japan than Korea.

This song is pretty amazing. At first I thought it would be a very weak song. It lacked a lot the first time around. But when I got to listen to it more, I have to say it grew a lot on me. It was a powerful song is a very subtle way. It is a song that I would expect attract a lot of young teenagers nowadays, mainly because that is what they are all listening to now. And I said that in an elder’s voice. Hahaha… Not but seriously, I now think that this song can top so much. It is catchy and addictive. The instrumental is quite strong on its own and the vocal work is adds another dimension to the song entirely. I may have wanted a rap sequence somewhere in the song, mainly because that is what I expected from Minho, not just three lines. The ad-libs really did not go overboard in this song. The high pitch vocals were not needed, because I can imagine them singing at a lower note and still rocking this song. But overall, a pretty amazing song.

The music video made entirely no sense to me. I got the really obvious parts, but beside that, I felt it did not match the lyrics that well. From the music video, the boys are kidnapped by a group of girls somehow. Don’t know how because they kidnapped the guys in the city, with guns and masks on. Wouldn’t that be obvious? And where was the security team? Anyhow, it looks like they were taken to a more tropical jungle and released. To which they decided to stay with the girls, do some illegal work and partying up a storm with their kidnappers. Oh, and making out with them. Ummm.. Yes, the view was nice, but they are your kidnappers. Just a kindly reminder. AND YESS!! SM has finally unleashed SHINee out of the box. Can you believe it? I expect a brand new trend with SM music video’s. F(x), Red Velvet, SHINee and from memory, EXO as well. Good work!!!

The dance was okay. It matched the song really well. It just doesn’t have that SHINee feel that I am used to. There really were no iconic parts to the dance, like Ring Ding Dong, Sherlock, Everybody etc. But it did do the job for the song and comeback.

Song was amazing music video was okay (minus the confusion) and the dance managed to do well. Minho’s biceps agree with me. So do many Shawols. 7/10