Friday, April 14, 2017

K-Pop Monthly Spotlight: Jan/Feb 2017

K-Pop Monthly Spotlight: Jan/Feb 2017


Disbandments: Rainbow, 2NE1, 4Minute, Wonder Girls and Spica are gone. The goodbyes were all sad but some were: pleasant and acceptable (Rainbow and Wonder Girls), upsetting (4Minute and Spica) while 2NE1 got the short end of this stick. I will never accept the sh*tty way that 2NE1 ended as they deserved better. 2NE1 were pioneers for their generation and to get this kind of a.....ugghhh....'disbandment' is a disgrace and slap in the face of all that the diligent and hard work the 4 (YES 4!) members did for those 7 years. Hmph!

T-ara 'bullying' scandal: FINALLY the truth behind this witch hunt comes to light (5 damn years later) even though the truth had come out immediately when the story first broke but everyone wanted to jump on the 'hate' wagon at the time and became so irrational that they ignored the truth and believed ill-informed and falsified information regarding GIFs of tiny moments of certain events involving the members that were made to tell one story when there was no story to begin with. Honestly, I'm glad the truth came out but at a time like this all it's doing more harm them anything. It's been 5 years of unwarranted hate, which started from a witch hunt from someone who just didn't like T-ara, and it accomplished one thing......it showed the power of a made up mind. That regardless of truth or facts laid out right in front of them as long as they choose they not accept it they carry on on their merry way regardless of who they trample. T-ara lost so more than we can imagine and if that was the end goal of the original perpetrator, they already accomplished it.



Music (mainly follows girl groups): title tracks

JAN 2017



  • APRIL - April Story 

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Nice haunting opening leading nicely with an echoing but soothing verse. Vocals are sweet and nice. Almost gave me a "Closer" by Oh My Girl feel but not as in your face. It seems April is going for a fantasy/mythical concept and (if I'm on the right track) I'm all for it. It's like they are solidifying who April is and that's a good sign. DSP needs this as they lost KARA and Rainbow. Good thing is that April doesn't resemble them in one bit. 

Song 4/5; MV 4/5

  • WJSN"I Wish" (너에게 닿기를) 'From WJSN' 

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I really like the planetary themed concept they have going and I have liked every title track release except Momomo. "I Wish" is simple and sweet. Surprisingly I thought I wouldn't care about this group's
releases as I only really know Exy and 
Yeonjung but with every release it's like they are luring me back to them. Sadly for me it's slowly but surely working. The song is simple and to the point, a sweet girly song with nothing extra. I like that. Going for something that simple and sweet is nothing bad. Hopefully they'll continue on this upward path because they have a nice concept that I hope starship utilizes properly. 

Song:3.7/5; MV: 3/5 only interesting part was the choreography. 


  • [CHINESE] Meng Jia - Single - 'Who's That Girl' 

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Now that she's back in her home country, I wanted to like her debut. Jia was bae in Miss A, along with Fei, but this song felt lackluster and only showed her doing a pretty mediocre dance that's an insult to her capabilities. Looked really good though so that counts for something.


  • [ENGLISH] A.Leean (Ailee) - US Debut Single - 'Fall Back' 


All I can say about this is....Ahem!.....Ailee, girl, please, you are worth so much more than this. This is embarrassing and I'm glad that it's not your name on this but it's still you and I think you should cut ties. Seriously though, cut them ties!!



  • Dreamcatcher - (Re)-Debut Single - 'Nightmare' 



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Wow! I was not expecting a hard rock feel from this group and it was a surprise well appreciated. Formerly known as the group MinX, their company revamped the group in what I believe to potentially be the best revamp of a group and decision of a K-Pop company. Look forward to me gushing about this group in the future.

Song:4.5/5; MV: 4/5


  • CLC - Mini Album - "Hobgoblin" from 'CRYSTYLE' 



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CLC,CLC,CLC.......Cube.....what the hell are you doing?!?! WHY ARE YOU MAKING THEM INTO 4MINUTE 2.0?!?!? JUST WHY?!?!? It's not that the song is bad or anything but it's literally giving them a song that COULD'VE/WOULD'VE/ MOST LIKELY was a song designed with 4Minute in mind. I really wish Cube would've have stuck with their 'Pepe' image because that had a really nice and quirky sound that wasn't prevalent in the K-Pop scene when they debuted.



  • Seohyun (SNSD) - Solo Debut Mini Album - 'Don't Say No' 



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I wanted to love this one but I just couldn't. I really like it. The beginning got me hooked but then the chorus kinda let me down. Visuals are on point. instrumental is nice but overall the song left a lot to be desired. The breakdown verse with the claps I really liked as it added a nice touch of excitement, but it's not a song I'll remember. I love Seohyun's vocals and how there are used in TTS's albums. I know they wanted to go for a different image and style for her but it was Alright for me. I still will look out for any of her future releases though. 

Song 3.6/5; MV 4/5 just cuz she looked amazing and everything else did as well. No clue what was really going on. Don't really care either.



  • Suzy (miss A) - Pre-Release Single - 'Yes? No?' 



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I have always liked Suzy's voice. Sweet but not diabetes inducing. Smooth and melodic. This track utilized it to it's fullest potential. It's sultry. it's captivating. It's alluring. The instrumental is good and captivating. Everything is just perfect. Vocal and lyrical performance along with the instrumental was pure gold. Did I mention I liked the MV? I didn't? Well, yea....I really like it. Everything together was like a journey through a story that Suzy was telling and showing. I read that the MV was influenced by a Chinese director she loves and that made me like it even more. 

Song: 4.5/5, MV 4/5 would rate it a 5 if I knew more about the director who influenced it.


  • I.O.I - Final Single - 'Downpour' 



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I.O.I is no more! But they left us fans with a promise of their return....in 5 years!! Heh, it could've been worse but honestly this song was to be expected. A melancholy goodbye song. Not their best and I would've preferred something like 'Hold On' but hey they chose this song as it represented what they wanted to share with their fans. I got the message and I await your return I.O.I. 



  • 2NE1 - Final Single - 'GOOD BYE' 



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I don't want to talk about this song as makes me remember why it exists as a 2NE1 song but I really liked it. It showed what made 2NE1 unique with vocals from Bom and Cl. Even with Dara's more light and airy tone it worked well with what the song was trying to portray. However, it really lacked that solidifying vocal prowess that Minzy had while she was in the group. I already spat out my annoyance with this song at the beginning so I won't repeat myself here.

Song 4/5; MV 2/5 like what the hell MV director!!! it's like you're trying to make it even more obvious that 2NE1 became CL and the crew or what!! Only positive about it was the visuals!! I'll give them that!

FEB 2017


  • Red Velvet - Mini Album - "Rookie" 



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The title track, "Rookie", is one that took me for a surprise roller coaster ride and I didn't know how to feel. The "Lookie Lookie" (obviously Rookie Rookie) sound irritated me at first but on my 2nd listen I was hooked. I have not stopped playing this track (and album) since it came out. It's another defining track for the combination of the 'Red' and 'Velvet' concept that worked for them with "Russian Roulette" and it's another plus in my bias group book. The production on this album shows how to utilize the vocals of the RV members and showcase in such a fun and captivating way. Looking forward to what else they come up with. 


Song 4.5/5; MV 3.9/5. 



  • Wonder Girls - FINAL SINGLE - "Draw Me"



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Well, an era has come to an end. After 10 years in the industry, with a few member changes, the Wonder Girls have officially disbanded. Honestly, it's not a surprise but with their last comeback that was winning awards and such I had some hope that things could've worked out. In the end, it didn't. However, it was a beautiful way to go out. They literally won 'Best Pop Song' at the 2017 Korean Music Awards for "Why so Lonely" and it's one of the best gifts they could've gotten to finalize their end as one of the greatest girl groups in K-Pop history. "Draw Me" is a simple and sweet goodbye to fans. Nothing more and nothing less. No video (which sucks) but song gets a 4/5 from me as it was pleasant enough to listen to it brought nothing new to the table of "solemn disbanding group" songs nor do I think I'll listen to it frequently (not up for 24/7 emotional distress!).



  • BTS - Full Length Album - "WINGS: You Never Walk Alone"

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Two of my best friends are avid fans of BTS and have been trying to convert me. It has yet to work but with each new release BTS has, I feel like that 'that day' is fast approaching. I listened to 'Spring Day' on Spotify before I watched the MV and I fell in love. The vocals, the harmonies, the instrumental, just everything about it I loved. It's a song I can see myself replaying for the foreseeable future. Same thing with 'Not Today'. Listened to the song on Spotify first then watched the MV at a later date. This song is a jam! It's hard and powerful! It makes you just want to get up and move. Not much for a MV as it's mostly their choreography (which is FIRE!!) but BTS never disappoints and this reissue of WINGS definitely shows that along with their musical growth.


  • TWICE - Special Album - TWICEcoaster: LANE 2, "Knock Knock"



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Twice. Oh Twice. You have a special place in my heart and wallet. I always love their title tracks (only Cheer Up being my least favorite) and 'Knock Knock' has joined the list. The MV showed that this is a prequel to 'TT' and it did not disappoint. That JYP cameo was funny and slightly disturbing.....like why you wanna have a slumber party with girls who could be your daughters.....but the director of the MV should be given a pay raise because all the effects (which some people detest) are beautifully done. My favorite parts are the knocking parts that seem to have a delayed reaction, that is prominent in entire video, the shadow effects with delayed effects. Just beautiful. The girls are gorgeous and the winter/mythical/fairy tale theme just upped that by like 1000%!! Song was it's catchy, the effects on their vocals don't make my ears bleed and the overall package was perfect.

Song 4/5; Video: 4/5


  • Lovelyz - 'WoW' from Full Length Album - "R U Ready"



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Lovelyz has been a group that just never really captured my interest. Reasons vary from the 'school girl' image (which I don't normally have issue with but with them I felt overloaded) to the overly sugary-sweet songs in their inventory. 'Wow' seemed to be the song that would change that. It did but not to the extent that I would've hoped. It still has that "sugary-sweet' vocal aspect to it but it's accompanied by instrumentals and disruptions in that help balance it out. On my first listen I really didn't like this song. The opening had me hooked and then sugar got shoved in my mouth that I had to run to the restroom and gargle. Exaggerating? Yes, but the sentiment was still accurate. However, listening to it again for this review, I'm actually really like it now. Maybe I just have phases where some songs irk me at certain points in my life and then I come to love them when that period has passed or been dealt with. I listened to the entire album and it's safe to say they are now on my radar.

Song:3.7/5; MV: 4/5 (quirky and fun especially the mini versions of themselves. So cute!)

  • gugudan - A Girl Like Me from Mini Album "Act 2: Narcissus"

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Gugudan....what can I really say about you? They are still new on the block and their debut (which I personally liked) didn't really hit a home run. Most only knew about Sejeong, Mina and Nayoung as they were part of the now disbanded "nation's" girl group I.O.I and the Produce 101 TV show, respectively. What I had previously assumed to be Gugudan's trump card, their "Theater" concept, turned out to be somewhat true. Their debut had them doing a specific concept/act. The Mermaid concept for Wonderland. The teasers were similar to what AKB48's live theater performances are about and that's what initially intrigued me. Now it seems they (or management) is keeping up with that theater performance concept with their comeback "Narcissus". Well, me not knowing what the hell that word meant went to find it's meaning. Wikipedia! Everyone's best friend! Learned that is the origin word of Narcissism and that's exactly what you get from the title track 'A Girl Like Me'. Sassy, confident, self-absorbed and all the rest that comes with seeing yourself as the best thing that happened to the world. The song is catchy and honestly caught me from the opening. Vocals on point (Nayoung!!! and there are 2 other vocalists can't remember their names but dang! I really like their voices.) Overall, really like the song and the video (fun, sassy, filled with color and texture). 

Song:4/5; MV: 3.7/5



This is a new segment I'm trying to do but I think I bit off more than I could chew as this is coming out 3 to 4 months late. I'm still tweaking it and hopefully by the middle of the year I can have a definite format down and a proper schedule.

Let me know your thoughts if you wanna let me know and till next time.
Take care and God bless!

Chibi J





2 comments:

  1. January and February had most of my favourite releases this year so far. I thought it was gonna be a good year then March happened :(

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    Replies
    1. LOL! March had more interpersonal drama than interesting music releases. April seems to be picking from where February left off though!;)

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