Huzzyspeaks: Understanding Public Relations in K Pop

One of the most fascinating things I have seen in K Pop so far is how they manage to get away with shit that should put a business out. There is no way in the states had the information about the “supposed” (I believe it to be true) mistreatment been released that full scale coverage about said places would not have been an option.

Disclaimer: I’m going to say PR a lot. I have some opinions in here. This is very basic and bare to the bones. It is going to take three post to write so…enjoy!

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KuzzReviews: Red Velvet’s debut is short and sweet.

Look I have been caping for this group, so I had a lot of expectations musically. By that, I didn’t want to be here saying they are a decent group and then hear their first album and be mad about it. To be honest, I was a little worried.
Thankfully those worries were unfounded and Red Velvet pretty much exceeded my expectations musically.

Ice Cream Cake

So I was right in my exertion that SM once again fucked up the chorus. Musically that entire sections takes the song into a different genre for no reason…More than likely they sprinkled the trap in there just to make it sound more SM…which they’ve done before and pretty much all resulted in being messy in some way. The music actually reminds me of an ice cream truck. Like it is simplistic childlike and kind of like a nursery rhyme. Couple that with the lalalas and some of the lyrical content and you have a big ole allegory…for ice cream trucks. Listen to the demos and that is what is said is said “vroom vroom vroom in an ice cream truck. Rolling through your neghborhood, something about the flavor good…I don’t know). I got five dollars in the pot that SM had one of their writers baisclaly write the lyrics in Korean and make them fit. Ice Cream Cake doesn’t fit when you hear: I scream, you scream, gimme that gimme that ice cream.” Nobody thinks about an ice cream cake when they hear that. They just think of Ice Cream by itself. They should have just went with the ice cream truck and left it at that…but whatever. The song is doing well.

Automatic

Automatic is the pallet cleanser of Ice Cream Cake. The album is very sugary and pop, where has Automatic goes a different route looking to be a mellow R&B track. I love everything about it. As a single and as an album track. The only problem is that Automatic stands alone. To play off their supposed dual concept, I wish they would have added more tracks for Automatic to assist off of. I don’t know…The song is a fave. It lacks intensity and I end up just meandering with it, which I like doing. ICC is the intense track, this cools us down.

Something Kinda Crazy

If there was an option for another lead single, Something Kinda Crazy would probably be first choice. It’s very sweet and cute. It doesn’t have the vivacious energy that ICC has, but it still moves really well. I think the only thing I really didn’t care for was the ugly loud whispering Wendy was doing. Also the lyrics are really literal in a fictional situation which is hard to take seriously. Of course it is a metaphor, but still…eh…too literal for my taste. Other than that…nothing really to rant about. It maintains the quality the album has so far created, which is a plus.

Stupid Cupid

The sound of an SNSD song with the lyrical quality of an f(x) song. It’s nice for what it is. The song pushes through, and I appreciate it enough. I do think it really sticks out in a good and bad way. The album

Take It Slow

Take it Slow is the cheesy pop song you hear in a teen movie, specifically at the scene where they are at a school dance. Which fits perfectly with the song’s lyrics. The song is about a younger fellow trying to run game on the ladies of Red Velvet. Considering Yeri is only 15, that means some 14 year old trying his hardest to impress her with the allowance he saved up. It’s cute. I can’t really find anything wrong with the song, but I don’t want to just sit and give endless praise. It works for what it is.

Candy

I don’t hate this as the album finisher. It reminds me of very late 90’s early 2000’s pop. I really like that.  I appreciate that Take It Slow really set it up for this song. Candy is a really sweet song, and works nicely as a cute pop ballad. The bridge and final chorus was lovely. Gave the song some life that brought the song out of it’s possible monotony. I do think the chorus is a little eh…I like my chorus to be as simple as possible and leave the complexity to the verses. Outside of that, I was really into it.


 

Ice Cream Cake is surprising because there really isn’t a surprise. ICC is possibly their shock factor song, but outside of that…the rest of the album is a no calorie sweet treat. I waited for them to do something…SM like. SM can’t just make an uncomplicated album…they can’t…but I was wrong. They can and they did.

(This is ignoring their solo and sub-unit projects)

If I could actually compare them to someone else it would be AoA musically. Both groups are staying in their lanes, and make cute songs. When you do that you are bound to hit the mark.

This is not to say that the album is without fault. If you were looking for a banger and a half, you are looking at the wrong album. To be honest, I want to see Red Velvet take on something edgier. They float by on this entire album, and that works for them, especially with the youngest Yeri added to the team. Eventually that frill and floatiness will get old (see SNSD), and they will have to grow up. But for now, Ice Cream Cake is a solid start for them. Also some of the lyrical content isn’t exactly the best

I didn’t speak about it in the song discussion, but Ice Cream Cake…well…I doubt that the song was meant to come off as lewd, but it does at some points, and for people that see the worst, they will see that. Also despite being one of the best songs on the album, Something Kinda Crazy is really too literal in it’s meaning for me. The whole star thing is just…I had the same problem with Exo’s Moonlight. And the chorus to Candy just feels like an extra verse to me.

(Sidenote: Keep in mind that these are all translated so somethings tend to get lost in translation)

With all the little nitpicky things in mind, the album is till rather solid. Just listening to it since it came out, and I have yet to really dislike any of the songs. Of course I prefer some more than the others, but this album isn’t anything less than a pop confection.

Ice Cream Cake isn’t some sign of the new pop order, nor does it come off that way. It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s colorful. It’s the right start for this group in my opinion. There are no major expectations, and Red Velvet can grow from here. I do hope their next album takes what happened in Automatic and makes that the next sound.

Catch Me If You Can only reinforces what I think of SNSD

Girls’ Generation have released a new Japanese single that has a Korean and Japanese version. This is smart for several reasons. Most notably is that it allows them to stay in the Korean spotlight while not actually having to actively promote in the Korean spotlight as a group.

However the song itself is well…lackluster.

This is the Korean version.

Anyway, when listening to it, I don’t actually hate it. However the song is lackluster for several reasons. First I want to bet that the original beat actually sounds a lot better than what we got because SM loves to tamper with the production for whatever reason. Regardless of that there is nothing about the music that is at all appealing to me. It is not only generic but at the same time grating.

Second I like the verses and chorus for the most part. Well lack of chorus to be honest. It is just EDM with the phrase Catch Me If You Can repeated. I don’t actually hate it because it works.

The part between the verses and non-chorus is the part that feels…inserted into the production to 1) give the vocal line something to do, 2) add some sort of break in the slightly obnoxious monotony. I feel like if they went for a less rough sounding beat (by rough I mean something that doesn’t sound like electrical appliances in a blender), while maintaining the same energy behind it…it would be better.

But overall I don’t hate it. I even listened to it a couple of times for fun now. It doesn’t seem bad, and in fact I actually like this for them. (But more on that later)

Video wise, it got real old real quick watching them do the dance. And by old real quick, I mean after several watches. The big issue for me is that they had all that space and stayed in the confines of what I assume is the same amount of room they will have on stage or in the practice studio. I think what would have made this video great is some cliche moments of high fashion on the construction site.

To be honest Ciara was the one that got it right for the most part

The song is definitely not one of her best, and the video is more of a blip in an era where she was scrambling to keep her place (Name the album without looking it up, and the one massive hit she had from this era).

However, Ciara’s aight Work is better than SNSD’s well CMIYC.

Okay now moving on to the slight rant portion of this post. As I said earlier, this may not be the best song, but this is the best in terms of everything else for them. SNSD have been going for a much more electronic based sound since 2011; The Boys, IGAB, Mr. Mr. single-wise were all more electro-pop influenced to varying degrees. And I think that has been a major upgrade to them soundwise. I don’t know, I like what they have brought in terms of sound, but the execution has always been spotty for various reasons, and said reasons may not all be the same for every case.

Sometimes it is the fact that the song just sucked.

Sometimes the producer put too much emphasis on this instead of that.

Sometimes the ladies of SNSD just have no spark.

Whatever it is, it has always been a consistent theme for me even if I do accept and like some of their post 2011 efforts (I like all of them to be honest).

And this isn’t a promo single, so it can be argued that SM isn’t trying right now. But I hate that CMIYC is something that I want from them, but like many times before it, the final product feels very below expectations.

It’s like I am getting what I would want from SNSD, but at the same time I am not satisfied at all. Something is always missing with them, and it is unfortunate because what they bring is never terrible. Just rather plain for the Nation’s Girl Group.

To end this post I just want to celebrate how much emphasis was put on the dance line. The fact that Yuri and Hyoyeon got to sing in BOTH verses (And I think Yuri got to participate in the bridge) is a moment worth recognizing. Kind of fucked up they get a semblance of a chance after the “incident” and on a non-promo track, but you know what…take it in strides.

Esna creates a track for a conversation that I had no idea was happening

So Esna is/was steamed about something…and I don’t know what.

The biggest problem is that her words seem directed at criticism of her, but once again we have not seen that criticism?
The only one I can remember is people were not feeling how much she was in the song when they thought it was a Mamamoo comeback. I actually love the song and her but I did think Mamamoo were under. They felt completely secondary to Esna in my opinion. And I enjoyed it that way after awhile.

(The song was pushed as a collaboration, I just think that Esna didn’t have the name for it to not being over shadowed by Mamamoo…which says a lot because they are just rookies themselves).

This does not mean that Esna isn’t valid in her thoughts (I don’t think she cares if we thought so or not), but the main issue for me is that this comes out and there was no build up to it. And likely no follow up.

In fact this is less about that and more so that her looks were not up to par with Mamamoo (all young and skinny…and probably perceived as beautiful), therefore bringing problems between her and whomever is the actual target of this song. Te entire thing was based around the idea that she is not beautiful enough (for what? to carry the song, for her to continue stages with Mamamoo? we don’t know), and that she is okay with not being up to societal standards because she rocks and writes the songs that people love anyway.

But the problem is… we still don’t have context to it. So it just feels out of nowhere. That’s it though.

Maybe they were on her youtube page/ social media being rude as fuck.

 

Exid releases the teaser to their upcoming comeback

After last year, Exid have been on the up and up with the release of UP and Down. Origianlly I didn’t have many positive thoughts of the song, but after a few listens I kind of changed my tune. Nevertheless Up & Down helped the group gain popularity. And they have done a good job milking it. I have seen Hani quite a bit, and the other girls as well (outside of like three of them…no names).

Anyway, the big question for this group now is if they can strike hot twice. The delayed reaction to Up & Down helped get them a chance to make a bigger impression, will it be worth it?

Judging from the teaser…it kind of sounds a little like Up & Down. God bless.

The video looks like it is going to be fun to watch…eh well.

This does feel like it’s going for the make the statement that we the shit and we here to snatch a top spot to be honest. Which could work for them as a group. Maybe they don’t need to go the extra mile. I’m not saying they are not going that extra mile, but this feels like they are hoping for a repeat success with something they have already brought.

BUT it is just a teaser. And it sounds like it’s going to be catchy. So whatever.

 

Jimin shines by herself in Hopeless Love

Jimin has just released her solo effort, Hopeless Love…and I got to say. Loving it.

I listen to this song and try to find something, and that is a good and bad thing. The good is that I find the song near faultless…damn near flawless. The bad side is that in it being near flawless there is something still missing. Like it checked off all points for a good song, but doesn’t soar to greatness (good ole rhetoric).

The song is simply missing one little thing. I was waiting for that one moment when the song would just seal the deal. Maybe in the final chorus, maybe throughout the entire song…I don’t know. It is a good B+ that is just short of A status in my opinion. But I am still really into it.

This is like a really good album track that would come near the end. As a single, it isn’t a complete hit, but not really a miss either.

Jimin really deserves a lot of credit. I think she has improved. Of course she has the voice, but I always thought she seemed less confident in who she was as a singer. Especially in comparison to Yerin who from the jump knew what she was, who she was (in a sense that she is a singer), and her preferred style. THese last three years have really seemed to do both of them good, and for Jimin it is a sense of self.

Even if this song isn’t necessarily for her (which I think it is), she does a great job getting into the song. Once again something a little extra could have been utilized to make the song effectively pop, but Jimin is nothing less than great here.

 

 

The video is nothing out of the ordinary, but does nothing less than bring excitement. In fact the video actually provides that extra oomph I was looking for in the song. I do wish the video had started with the tv. Why was it important? We know that her tale felt like a tv movie (some scenes had static running across the screen). There was one thing that seemed to bother me…who was Jimin in love with?

I would usually go with heteronormative standards because…well it’s the standard. But the video left it kind of vague about who she was in love with. In some scenes of course the guy. In others there was a lot of focus on the girl.

Not trying to start shit but like…I didn’t have an answer for me…(maybe because I am gay, and lowkey do be looking for gay shit in everything).

I love Hopeless Love. I think as a single, it may need a little more to get that immediate spark that most great singles have. It isn’t your ordinary Korean Ballad, and comes off much more haunting and lacks that K op color, which works for it. The video provides a little oomph that is very much needed, but left me asking questions. Still I am a supporter of 15& (who are about to get a post because they have been killing it), and Jimin has not disappointed me with this.

 

It’s pretty much Esna featuring Mamamoo on AAH OOP!

I appreciate Mamamoo…but I wouldn’t buy their music. I have not been sold on any of their releases. Not a single one. However they are nothing less than a A-grade group. Talented performers that look good together. I just don’t want to listen to their music.

AHH OOP! is however a new release so I might as well take a peak.

I like this more than the last release. There are several things that need to be discussed though. Let me hit the positives first.

I like the beat. The beginning sounded like 50’s rock (don’t ask for a name). It then became this big band+old school rock hybrid. I liked it. The two acts involved (Mamamoo and Esna) do well. Esna talk sings, but is nothing less than killer. Her darker, slightly heavier voice actually worked on this song more than the other ladies. That doesn’t mean that Mamamoo were some push overs. Once again, we are looking at a very well-oiled machine of a group. They are no slouches in terms of performance (not just visually, but musically). In fact Weein and Whasa tackle the chorus for most of the song and they are slinky and provocative. Moonbyul is not only the resident rapper, but bites hard as well. Solar then ends the song with a booming version of the chorus that the other two vocalist were handling.

And now for the bad

First off…there was a lot of Esna for Mamamoo to have been the main focus of the promotional teasers. Once again, I think she is nothing less than good on this, and even better suited for the song than Mamamoo (which says a lot for a group like this one). But she is still the feature artist…in a sense. It doesn’t make sense that Esna get not only the verses, but does trade off with ole girl in the fried blonde. Her presence was made explicitly as if she was the fifth member of the group. Mamamoo as an entity doesn’t really develop until the very end of the song, thanks to Moonbyul taking over as the rapper.

Second the chorus is so lowkey. If you actually listen, Solar sings the same exact thing that Wheein and Whasa were singing. The difference? Solar’s version was executed in a way to stick out. Probably because that was pretty much her only identifiable part (She did contribute a bit to the song). The chorus doesn’t feel like it exist until it is absolutely nothing else to sing. Also…once again, this is the only part of the song that Mamamoo seems to be as a group.

Lastly…I just think the song is not exactly promote a single material. I am very aware that sometimes you just got to remind people that the group exist, and that the next project is the one that people will need to be more interested in. I just think this would make a good album record. Like something I could hear on an album and be into.

As for the music video…eh. It fit the theme of them as a group and theirs style musically. The video actually sells me on the song more to be honest.

Mamamoo and Esna work great together, but AAH OOP! is not the best they could do.

Call Me Baby feels like nothing’s changed for Exo.

Exo’s comeback has been news since the end of last year/beginning of this year. After 2014 hit them with the loss of two members, a kissing scandal, and an aight comeback, Exo’s return is nothing less than a spectacle.
…well…

Exo-M version

Exo-K Version

I personally don’t see an issue with Call Me Baby, and in my opinion, it is kind of their best singles yet. Well at least the one I like the most. What is great about this song is how it manages to avoid the melodrama that one would expect them to have brought. Like I said, I would have thought Exo/SM would have went the drama-theatrics-full stop approach just to prove their cahoonas were still big and mighty even after the hit they took last year, and if we were to look at their album teasers, you would have thought for sure some crazy shit was going to go down. Instead this feels like nothing really happened. Like they moved on and gave us one of the very few R&B tracks from K Pop that I actually like. I was not emotionally invested in this song. I like it enough that I really don’t have much to say about it, and more than likely I will probably claim this song on the end of the year list (it’s a good song) but I do think that they as a group can be a little bland to me. This probably also has to do with the fact that I don’t like big groups really, and that big groups can be a little hard to listen through (for me).  Exo are no better or no worse than the average group, and are good for what they are worth. Still I wish I was so into their songs because they do have some good tracks.

Music video…it’s Growl with better clothing options and a smoother dance to watch. To be honest since Growl, Exo have been doing the same music video (albeit with a slew of minor details changed), so I really don’t mind/care at this point. To be honest to see them do something different would be a surprise.

Call Me Baby is a personal favorite. Despite me not really feeling Exo, the song really does it for me. Also