Teaser Post: Wonder Girls band era is upon us

WONDERGIRLS

In less than a week, the Wonder Girls will return after a two year hiatus. Needless to say I am excited!

So to celebrate here is a teaser post!

The first crop of teasers were the ladies with their instruments.

Sunmi on the bass.

https://www%20youtube.com/watch?v=cZuv_woHhb8

Yubin on the drums

Hye Rim on the guitar

Yeeun on the piano/keys

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Learning an instrument is intimidating. I play brass instruments, and I’m not terrible on the piano (not good, but not terrible). Strings however…scare me. I wanted to learn how to play the bass and violin as a child, but was too poor to afford the instrument, let alone the lessons. However in 6th grade, I enrolled into Concert band, and found a love for music. Not trying to brag, but I was one of the best in our small ass band.

Anyway the point I am making is that learning an instrument is hard. I spent my entire middle school and high school career in band. After a couple of years I thought I knew shit. Then came dynamics, and different scales, and syncopation, and shit. Like…I was thrown off. You are always going to be learning, and to see them playing like this…it got my Band Geek coming the fuck out to be honest. I love it!

It’s really cool seeing the Wonder Girls take this on. Do I believe they are masters on their instruments? Doubt it. Yeeun is the only one I know who has had extensive time behind her instrument, but I don’t think she played religiously. Even if they have been working on this for a while, and has a natural affinity for their instrument, it takes years to get to that point in my opinion.

On the front of promo, this was super effective. People in and out of the fandom are excited. Sunmi’s return and her teaser alone resulted in massive response. I think starting with that gave them the edge you can only dream of. This week they are going straight for the album teasers.

Starting with the album cover

WONDERGIRLS1

I liked it…but it’s the Wonder Girls, so I am obligated to like it. No but really, when I found out that this was going to be basically an ode to the 80’s…it made sense. Like who makes album covers like this now?

Here is the album tracklist

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The promo track was done by JYP, and has an 80’s feel. This…I think will work. JYP is a great writer, and has made some great tracks…the issue though, I find him to be musically dated. There is a reason why most of his bigger hits worked in the time, or were “retro”. And if that isn’t great, we got a teaser of what we are getting.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I think this might be everything I could hope for in a song that is pretty much going to cosplay the 80’s. I’ve always had issues when songs basically try to recreate the past…but it’s the Wonder Girls, JYP sounds like he finally got it right again, and…it’s the Wonder Girls. I don’t give a fuck if this was them vomitting and praising Satan…I am a big enough fan that I would support it.

That’s is my reality.

I have a lot to say but it’s nothing you guys want to hear, and mostly about feminism. Anyway, let’s enjoy this moment!

The album Reboot, music video of I Feel You and showcase will be released/held on August 3rd. Be prepared for me to review everything.

 

 

GFriend come hard with Me Gustas Tu

Gfriend started off the year with a bang with their debut song Glass Bead. They rose in popularity, two of their members have gotten public recognition, and they made a cute song I didn’t hate. Now they are back, with Me Gustas Tu and they are actually coming hard.

The song starts off really cute. It sounds like it’s going to be generic and sweet. Then comes that guitar taking over, and suddenly the song just swoops in and teabags you in the face. That’s how this song feels.

You got teabagged by a cute song.

If the opening didn’t get me, then the chorus sure as fuck did. Not only is it catchy, but it’s…big. Like it sounds so full when listening to the song. We don’t hear big choruses from girl groups, especially not cute ones.  I was bopping along and doing a cute two step. There is nothing about this song that sounds like a let down. How do you manage to do a cute song with a fucking electric guitar shredding in the back? Who the fuck?

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It’s like…I died and went to heaven. I’m getting everything I wanted.

 

The video is pretty standard. They are pretty girls, doing summer things, because who not? The video does it’s job. Whatever filter they used to make everything look ashy could have been kept, but hey it takes work off the fans in whitewashing them so… What does need to be noted is the fact that this choreography look like it would wind a mutha as soon as I would do a high step. They are killing it.

This will satisfy their fans, and honestly fits what we would expect from them. I don’t see them doing any sort of mature themes until 2017.

If I was not a fan of them before, this definitely pushed me in the right direction. Gfriend have really good momentum and will probably be leading at the End of the year awards. I do think like most groups who sit in the cute concept, they will eventually have to move away from that image (if only to make sure they don’t end up like IU during her scandal phase). But for now, we got to enjoy the fact that a cute group is coming hard in the paint while winking into the camera.

 

Sonamoo’s return with Cushion is okay

Out of all the 2015 debuts, Sonamoo kind of sit in the middle. Deja Vu wasn’t great…or really all that good. But it could have been worse. The issue for them is that there was several who came out the gate swinging much harder than they did, and they got washed out…quickly. With their first comeback ever, Sonamoo are hoping to rectify that…

I listen to this song and I can’t pinpoint why exactly I don’t like it, but I know there is a reason. Parts of the song reminds me of Red Velvet’s Ice Cream Cake (the opening verse and the chorus specifically). Seeing as this is their first comeback they have room to play around with their sound and image. Thankfully they stayed faithful to what they started with, and the song does sound different from what most girl groups are doing right now. But still…there is something about this that just doesn’t vibe well for me.

The video…well it exist. I don’t hate it, but it’s nothing for me to care about.

 

The biggest positive is that this group seems to be looking for a way to make their image work within the confines of K Pop, which hopefully means they are dedicated to pissing off Babyz. But I think Cushion, and Deja Vu treat the group as simple. Like they are one of the rare “hip hop” conceptual girl groups, yet musically they are being given light weight songs. If they were given a song that matched the intensity of their male counterparts, I might enjoy them more.

Cushion doesn’t do much to impress me, however I do find it better than their debut. Still maybe their talents are not being used  as well doing songs that are meant for the average group.

NC.A is back (yet again) with Vanilla SHake

I’ve got to handle it to whoever is running NC.A’s career. This is her third comeback this year, and things are getting progressively better musically.

So far…Cinderella Time> Love Shake>>>Coming Soon. Love Shake feels very standard. Like it was meant for a group (major emphasis on this), but given to her because no one wanted it. It’s okay by all means, but I that’s because I couldn’t find anything immediately wrong with it.

The video is trying to be overtly sexy in a cheeky way while staying in the confides of the cute concept. It’s fun enough, but eh…rather typical.

Overall, it’s another blip for NC.A. It’s not a bad song really, but it’s just not…great. Solo work seems to add a little extra pressure and I don’t think she handled the song well. The song sounds like it was meant for a group, and she was singing like the weakest link of said group. On top of that, I don’t think the song really had great potential in the first place, and at most would have just been an above average addition to this summer.

Eh well.

 

Stellar has achieved in making a video so uncomfortable to watch

Stellar are basically pushing for controversy because that’s keeping their names out there on the musical front.

https://www.youtube.com%20watch?v=pOmTdFpIDX8

I don’t really know what to say…so I’m going to use reactions images instead!

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This entire video is constipated. Like there is so much going on, but the end result is so backed up. Nothing feels accomplished, and I am uncomfortable. Obviously the song and video are a heavy sexual innuendo. If it wasn’t obvious at first, when we hit the imagery for vaginal metaphors….can’t really deny it.

The people behind this video obviously wanted to be controversial. The dance, the styling, their looks into the camera. All of it was meant to invoke some righteous anger (on both conservatives and liberal sides) to garner attention. The problem with this thinking is that you have to continuously produce content that is up to this standard, leaving little growth and potential for the group. The group has been out for four fucking years and apparently have not made a dent. So I am guessing these last few efforts have been trying to get the group’s name out there, and Stellar just doing what they are told.

I couldn’t enjoy the song (which sounds really fucking good fyi), because the video was too much. If y’all wnat to do sexual, and be overt about it, go ahead, but there was a lot going on in this video and it just didn’t pan out well for me.

Sadly this comeback will probably do nothing for them. So a watermelon was wasted for nothing.

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Various releases over the first half of the year

 

Running a k pop review blog means I get to listen to a lot of music and tell you guys what I think about them, and why I think that way. However there is a lot of music being released. On top of the idol releases, you have several non idol acts making names and carving lanes for themselves, and then there are the rappers, as well as oldies and goodies. There is so much content out there in just six-seven months. This summer alone has brought out a lot of big names as well as many rookies, and several debuts. So…I tend to miss a few here and there…be it by accident or simply because I was prioritizing something else…or I just didn’t care.

Well here is one post of songs from acts that I wanted to highlight. Of course this does not make up for the many releases I have missed. I am going to have to do a part two for the many nugu boy groups that came back but did not put a dent into the Korean Pop game.

Until that post shows up, these are just a fraction of releases done by non K Pop/idol groups of 2015.

San E. ft Yerin Me You

https://www.youtube.com%20watch?v=nUYu7SFzhBQ

The only reason I even cared about this was because of Yerin, who has pretty much dropped off the face of the earth (I’m kidding she has a private instagram, and discussed why she deleted most of her sns). Anyway, the song is pretty standard. The coffee shop love music. Very bright, R&B flavored meant to inspire positive feelings about romance. It’s one of those releases that was meant for the warm April month. The video is also standard. I think a lot of videos are using the same kinds of visuals. Strange isolated imagery in isolated rooms. Overall this is nice, nothing special. Both were kind of not at their best, with Yerin being mostly underutilized.

Rating: 3/5

Zion T.: Eat

https://www.youtube.com%20watch?v=Ibb5RhoKfzE

Zion T. is guilty for being very standard traditional R&B. I mean whatever works works, but I would have expected him to be a bit more experimental in sound considering his look. Still, his music is good, and this is no exception. Eat is simple and short. Not even three minutes, I kind of wish for more. The song is heavy on the metaphor, equating love with food, saying that if she misses him, listen to that song. As some reminder of how he feels about her. Cute. It’s not groundbreaking, but it works for him. Plus it’s Zion T.  and there isn’t much he could do to bother me. The video is cute too, with Zion T. just following her around at various places in her home, only for it to be shown that he is her phone (with a cracked screen, to match his cracked lenses). Eat is all about simplicity. The song never wavers, the video is isolated to a few rooms. It’s like a light snack…so to speak.

Rating: 4/5

Primary ft Beenzino and Suran: Mannequin

[embedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeGm7MDq2fo[/embed]

Mannequin is probably one of the best songs of 2015 for various reasons. The more I listen to Korean music, it becomes evident what are the preferred sounds. For R&B the sounds tend to be more traditional based. A lot of horns, less hip hop influences. You can hear the difference between them and R&B in the states (which osculates between dark electronic sounds and brighter contemporary Hip Hop influenced elements). Here there is a tinge of Jazz and big band that goes along with that nice sway in sound it has. Then there is the talent itself. The true focus is Suran herself, who has a voice that is childlike and edgy at the same time. Beenzino takes a verse and provides great coverage. Primary is of course the reason this song exist. Then the message of the song. Capitalism and how it can easily effect trends and image. All in the song about a girl envious of how someone looks. And with a catchy ass chorus.

Rating: 5/5

NC.A: Cinderella

https://www.youtube.com%20watch?v=MpjFI5a4tFA

I don’t remember if I actually talked about this or not, but…in case I didn’t. NC.A really made up for that mess she did at the beginning of the year. Although this is three months old, I still think this is cute. It was right before the craze over one of the dudes from BtoB happened. The song is a cute pop ballad, with a nice enough chorus. I do wish NC.A had some more depth vocally. Her voice is very childlike, and very pristine sounding as is most K Pop vocalist. I wished she would have flowed with the music a little more. Made it a little more lofty. Still, this isn’t bad. Hopefully she can make another comeback, it’s nice having a few soloist around here and there.

Rating: 3.5/5

ZoPD ft Bada: Candy

https://www.youtube.com%20watch?v=l5oSM4wxLyE

I listen to this a lot. I am mad at myself for not reviewing at the time. Released in the winter months, the song didn’t get any real play, but it still remains one of the finer releases of the year. There is this major positivity about the song that you can’t really find anywhere else. Also Bada is on it, and I love the fuck out of her as a singer and performer. I am not truly aware of who ZoPD is, but he apparently is a vet in the K Hip Hop scene. And it sounds like it, the song has that feel that you hear from older rappers who just speak about positive things and have major influences from old school sounds. The video is cute and really captures that nostalgia vibe running throughout the song. This is definitely one of my favorite releases this year by far.

Rating: 5/5

Yuk Ji Dam ft. Shannon Williams: Love Go Away

A relatively recent release in comparison to the others. Yuk Ji Dam got some fame from Unpretty Rapstar…did not watch it. Here there are only two things I can really say for certain. Shannon kind of stole the show. The song feels more catered to her as a pop singer. The sound is borderline OST, and is cute. Yuk Ji Dam does well, but the part that stuck out to me was Shannon going for those high notes. I also think the sound was maybe a little too…big. Like that is term played well for Shannon who could bring the drama as a vocalist. I think songs like this bold well for someone like Mad Clown who lives off of angsty rap songs. Yuk Ji Dam doesn’t have that audacity here. She was good for what she was though.

Rating: 3.5/5

 


And that is it. I doubt that I will suddenly be able to pick up the slack on other releases, so expect more post like this in the future!

Crush’s Oasis appeals to my 2000’s aesthetics

I pretty much missed this comeback because…well…reasons. But… due to the fact that Crush may now be in hot water for plagiarism, I decided why not.

Oasis pretty much is an ode to the entire decade of 2000’s. The song itself sounds like something Diddy would have had a hand in (before like 2005). The only part of the song that just…stands out for all the wrong reasons is the turn into a trap song. The fact that Zico or whoever thought that was cute was just plain sad. It also feels really gimmicky. Like that shit is hot over here, but all the artist that are getting attention are knee deep in the genre.

Essentially Zico (or whatever higher power thought this was a good idea) is doing what Rihanna did with BBHMM (Or the Keith Ape dude for a more direct Korean comparison), and just profiting from something that is hot at that moment.

Lastly shouts to the short and sexy Zion T. for coming in and stealing the damn show even though he just sung a small portion of the chorus. Like…slay anyway?

Other than that, the song is pretty much what I wanted from Crush. For him to continue with a more modernized consumable R&B sound. Contemporary R&B seems to like…not exist in the mainstream Korean pop world. There is a lot of traditional R&B sounds, and throwbacks to various decades, subgenres, and aesthetics. However R&B from the 2000’s seems like such a foreign concept over there. And if it isn’t, it must be hidden and not getting play in the international fandom.

Oasis is perfect for the summer…even if it may have been lifted from somebody else.

Goo Hara stays in her lane in her solo debut

That’s really the only big thing to take away from her solo debut.

When going solo, you essentially need to offer something that makes you not look like you are wasting space. Musically Hara doesn’t seem like she was going to be…well that wasn’t going to be her focus (although I’ve heard she has some skills with instruments).

Choco Chip Cookie isn’t bad, and not even in a “It could be worse” kind of way. It’s very solid. It’s easy on the ears, flows well and she sounds nice. It’s very breezy and noncommittal. I don’t actually feel like I have to try when listening to Hara sing. The song is going where it has to go musically, and all the pieces that make it just make it easy to sit back and enjoy the ride.  That’s all you can really ask for in these kinds of situations.

The music video fits the song to a tea. They managed to find a guy that Hara has chemistry with and doesn’t look awkward when interacting. The color scheme is like most videos, overly saturated, but here Hara is not stuck in being cute. Instead she comes off sensual in her playfulness.

And that’s it. Will this be hitting any end of year list? Doubt it…you would have to have a pretty bad year for this to end anywhere. But…it’s still better than what has been happening. Choco Chip Cookie is the kind of track you need when you don’t want to listen to people try. As shady as that sounds, that’s what this boils down to. Goo Hara gave a very relaxing and fun track. Like it feels almost effortless.

And that’s a good thing.

 

APink brings nothing to the table with Remember

This summer hasn’t been the best in terms of music. While I liked a lot of it, I do feel like it could be a bit more on the exceptional side. Still I am hoping for someone to join 9Muses in bringing something big…obviously APink doesn’t want to be a part of that.

Apink suffer from the same thing Sistar does. They are stuck in an image/sound/concept that has lost all appeal due to excessive use. For APink there was the problem that a lot of people outside of their fanbase did not even remotely care for it anyway (for various reasons). Still at least the songs were nice…or I thought so. And I was hoping for them to move past their cute/safe/boring image that they have had. Hell I thought with this comeback we would finally get past that. Did not happen.

The song doesn’t even make sense. It feels so off and misplaced. Like what about this song actually makes sense? The lyrics are both vague and choppy. Now I know I shouldn’t care about lyrics because they are translated and often times lose a lot in translation. Even the best of translation can never hold a candle to the original meaning. But here…no thank you. Like what the fuck am I supposed to remember? Like girl you just sound bent out of shape over nothing sis. And musically it just feels…like the only parts I am aware of are the verses and the chorus. That’s it. But there is so much to this song. The song starts off with what sounds like something out of a music box, which is actually the best part of this song (plus Eunji, but that’s a given). And then goes into the monstrosity of which I can only assume is based off of something in Japan.

And the part of the song that people should have to remember (the chorus) is not catchy enough to make me forget the rest of this song exist. This is essentially a lazy effort that doesn’t add up well. Even when the beat drops suddenly, which I am assuming was supposed to be some of shit moment, I am still left in a bored stupor waiting for something to actually happen.

The only upside to this is that the video makes them look their age, even though they are doing that let’s
“fake having fun in various places, even though we are completely alone”, and the colors are saturated to make everything look more pleasant than it probably is.