As always I made you a very helpful playlist. Aren’t I sweet? You don’t have to look things up or figure out how to type things in Korean. It is all done for you.
Also immediately following the week where I mulled over the idea that I might be writing too much and these posts might seem like a wall of text I follow up with a 20 song playlist (twice my usual length) filled with artists that I had never heard of before.
That’s right I did research for this weeks post, and it was painful for my wallet let me tell you.
I wanted to learn about this artists and I am going to share what I found out with you.
1. VIXX – 기적 (ETERNITY)
VIXX are back! Internally I am running around and screaming like a small child, just so you know. I am not going to talk about these guys because I have already spoken about them enough in my past Spam’s which you can find here: (I. II. III.). Instead I am going to discuss the song and the video because NEW!
So VIXX are known as Fantasy Idols they love doing concepts that are fantastic (vampires, Jekyll and Hyde, voodoo dolls), this time the boys are back as time travelers and not the voluntary kind. It reminds me of The Time Travelers Wife really (tying in the fact that this is mainly a book blog with that statement). I think that this video is a good expression of time travelers if you already know that is what they were trying to express, otherwise you might get the idea that all these boys are in love with a ghost, who poofs out in the latter third of the video. I think that it would have been more obvious if they had shown the boys with her through different time periods, but it all seems to be happening at once. In any case, it is still a great video to watch with a lot of interesting shots, not to mention VIXX has some of the best choreograpy I have seen from an Idol group.
As far as the song goes I really like it, but I might be a tad VIXX biased, or entirely VIXX biased, I think I would enjoy anything they came out with. When I first listened to the song I felt that the music in the background was a little loud. I couldn’t really hear the guys singing. I mean I knew they were singing but the music was in my face more than their voices were. This was a tad annoying but as I listened to it, their voices began to shine more and more and I think the song fell into a good rhythm. I like it, and I preordered a physical copy of the CD so hopefully I will get it some time soon, though it does have to travel all the way from Korea. I might post pictures of it to my twitter, in fact it is pretty much a guarantee that I will.
2. IU – 나의 옛날이야기Naui Yetnal Iyagi : My old story
You might recognize IU from some of my previous playlists as well. Taylor has a major crush on her and you know he has already ordered the vinyl of her new Mini Album 꽃갈피 Kkot-Galpi : A flower bookmark. In this album IU takes old songs and makes them new again. They are all songs that have been sung by other artist but she brings something new to it. My personal favorite of the album is the third track 삐에로는 우릴 보고 웃지 (Pierrot Smiles At Us) but she made a music video for the first track and I love IU’s music videos for being incredibly well put together.
The video stars IU who is singing her heart out while viewing stills of herself and presumably the lover of which she is singing. The tone of the film matches the sweet sadness that resonates through her voice and the lyrics. I also really like the softness of the lighting even if they did add some lens flares (the bane of a cinematography geeks life). When the camera “turns” to show, presumable what it is that IU is looking it, instead we see a living version of it. This of course emulates what IU is really seeing, the memory rather than simply the photo. All in all it is a beautiful video to match a beautiful song.
While I was thinking about what I wanted to say about the song itself I always started with: “Now I don’t usually like ballads” and it is true, I don’t usually like ballads, however I have a soft spot of piano and cello which both play a huge part in the accompaniment of this song. I really think that IU’s voice suits a ballad more than anyone I’ve heard Korean or otherwise. I think that even if I wasn’t infatuated with the instruments I would have enjoyed this song. Her tone is flawless. I don’t have any more words for it. It is just beautiful, truly stunning, perfect creation, listen to it and find yourself equally infatuated.
3. EXO-K – 중독(Overdose)
Of course there is the Mandarin version of this song as well, however I always prefer to listen to this song in Korean (all of my favorite members of EXO are in M though). EXO is currently going through a hard time as the leader of EXO-M is suing their label. The fans are worried and it is understandable. I really enjoy EXO’s music and I hope it all works out well in the end.
The video is pretty self explanatory, the members are stuck in a maze. They also appear in a glowing box (which is trademark for videos to come out of their label). I don’t have much to say about it other than that some of the acting in the maze bit is a little weird. When one member is given a box from the heavens, it is full of sand? Helpful? Other members run into invisible walls and begin pounding them in distress. Once again, helpful? It is a little weird, not my favorite EXO video by far, check out Mama if you want an interesting video.
As for the song I really like it. It is catchy, I was singing it a lot in my last week of school. The clapping in the background always has me swaying and the percussion overall is really great. The guys singing is great. The electronic music that weaves in out is also great. It is reminiscent of alarms that I associate with nuclear power plants having a melt down or rockets taking off. I feel it is appropriate for a song where love is being equated to a drug overdose. It is good. It is catchy. A- overall. Not bad. If you want to hear my favorite song of their Overdose album give Run a listen. That one is an A+, no question.
4. Infinite – Last Romeo
While I had heard about Infinite and seen them around the KPop sphere on tumblr I was not particularly a big fan of their old music. While I was looking through the new music that has come out in the past couple weeks I came across this song and really enjoyed it. Upon doing some research around their fan-sites I have learned that they debuted in 2010 and are signed under Woollim Entertainment.
The video has a handful of shots that I really enjoyed. There is a theme to this playlist so far. I feel like I’m being repetitive “music video pretty wow, directors good wow, lighting great wow, pretty idols wow”. Well, except for Exo’s up there. Let’s try saying something new: the sets in this music video are stunning, at least the ones you can see through all the fog they are running and falling through. The set that looks almost like a library or a museum is really great, I also appreciate all of the partially green screen or painted in backgrounds of Ancient European looking architecture, and candles, very Gothic -wow-.
The song is pretty standard for a Kpop boy band. There wasn’t really anything about it that stood out for me. I mean, I enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t dislike it, it just, doesn’t have very much oomph too it. I’m not head over heals for it. I rather enjoy the horns. I also think that I rather enjoy the rappers tone of voice. Sometimes I can feel like the rapping is added in to a complete song because the group has a rapper and they need to show off their skills as well but it seemed to fit in well here. They definitely laid out a place for it ahead of time, it wasn’t an after thought. It was alright, give it a listen.
5. 어반자카파(Urban Zakapa) – Like a bird
I had never heard of this Co-ed Trio before watching this video. The internet tells me they are an R&B group who were formed in 2009. They were originally going to be a nine piece group but split up over creative differences in what direction they wanted to take their music in. Interesting.
Ooh, another pretty music video guys, are you excited. I have a few feelings about the editing though. There are a lot of jump cuts that make it look like the people on screen are glitching around. While I think this was done to enhance the feel of the video, it bothered me a little. It might just be me though. I kind of liked how it looked desaturated the whole time. The film is a bit lighter and the muted colors make it seem softer as well. It is a good look.
As far as the music, I feel like it would be perfectly at home in an indie coffee shop somewhere. It seems like something you would listen to while drinking a warm drink and staring out of a window onto a street while it rains in the afternoon. This mental image may come hand in hand with the way I associate desaturated film to rainy gray skies. It is something that I think my boss would let me play in our store although we mostly play french bistro music (we are not a french bistro we are a gift and clothing store). It is interesting. I don’t know if I would say this song is R&B though, it has more of an indie jazz feeling to it. What do you think?
6. Orange Caramel – 아빙아빙(Abing abing)
You should know my feeling for Orange Caramel by now. If you don’t where have you been? Scroll up and click on those previous blog post links in the VIXX section. These girls can make music that I would listen to forever. Plus they are cute all over, all over I tell you.
Their last music video was devoted to sushi, this one is devoted to Ice Cream. There isn’t much to say about the plot or cinematography of this video, except perhaps the first few seconds. It sets the tone for the video and give the whole think context, even though the rest of the video is just them dancing and looking cute with Ice Cream. The editing addition of the lyrics and almost comic book like pop ups make the video that much cuter in my opinion. A solid video, not much else to say.
The music is great. Like I said these girls could make anything and I would love it. They have serious talent. Their voices are what stands out to me. While they are singing as cute as possible it still sounds great. The music itself isn’t particularly special, but as a whole I really enjoy it. It is catchy, and upbeat. It reflects something light-hearted and fun, to listen to in the summer, perhaps while you eat ice cream. They might be sending subliminal messages, I’m not sure.
7. 민혜 – 연상연하
I hope that is a picture of her, because I cannot find anything about her in English on the internet, and unfortunately my Korean is not strong enough yet to let you know anything about her. That might be her, it kind of looks like the girl in the music video, but I can’t even be sure if the girl in the music video is the singer, sometimes they hire actresses to do things. Instead I am going to talk about the video and the song, as they are.
The video was a little confusing for me. Girl with pig tails tied up with string, traipses around a forest, and comes across an outdoor bedroom. It was a very serene video. The visual were stunning per usual. It on again off again switches to a weird almost cartoony animated version of what is happening live action. It is a bit strange and doesn’t have much of a plot to mention. It was definitely interesting to look at. Perhaps I am missing some the context by not knowing most of what she is singing about. The lyrics might unlock the video for me. I’m not sure.
8. 지연 – Never Ever[1분1초]
When I first found this video I didn’t know that it is a solo song for one of the members T-ara. She along with Hyomin are having solo comebacks this year. This is her first solo song although T-ara has been around since 2009. I am not so impressed with the sexiness of the video, but Korean agencies have gone into a phase where they are trying to sell sex instead of simply their music and honestly they shouldn’t.
If you can get past the sexiness of the first minute the rest of the music video is really great. I love the editing that makes it look almost like stop motion. Where all the jump cuts in the music video earlier was a little off putting there are so many here that it merely seems like a stop motion film. Perhaps it is. The scenes in which we get to glimpse the choreography for the song are also incredibly strong. I love the idea of an idol dancing in front of a frame with another dancer there to imitate a mirror. It is a really interesting concept. I don’t think that they needed the awkward sexy hip swinging in the beginning because everything else is so much stronger and more entertaining for me to watch.
The song itself is a little plain for my taste. I don’t dislike it, but its a little slow for me. Ji Yeon’s voice isn’t bad, it is actually quite pretty but it isn’t something spectacular either. It’s nice to listen to. The strings are pretty in the background. I don’t have much to say about it. That much is apparent. I don’t think this is a song I will listen to for a very long time but it is pleasant to hear every once and while. A lot of songs I like to have and listen to them repeatedly, this is not one of them. Some of T-ara’s songs are in the former group though, like Lovey-Dovey and Number 9 check those out if you want.
9. Standing EGG – 그래 너
It was difficult to do research on this group. There was not a lot out there despite them having debuted in 2010. This seems to be a pattern so far as Korean indie groups go. They aren’t in the media as often as the idols are, which makes sense, they are indie groups after all. I did find out that they write their own songs and lyrics, which is rare among idols but more common among the Korean underground.
This video is so freaking cute, from the band and the actors, to the cute animated images that pop up every now and again it is just so freaking cute. The camera is a little over exposed at times, but I don’t really mind it, I think they wanted it to seem bright and cheery. It is so fresh and happy I just have to smile while watching it. They stand there dancing awkwardly while holding fake mustaches in front of their faces at one point. Come on, you have to enjoy it.
The music is great. This was one of the songs that I knew I needed to have right away, along with everything else they have released so far. The singers voice has a great tone and the accompaniment is lovely as well. It sounds like the music I like to listen to english, which my stepdad likes to describe as the kind of acoustic pop music you hear in the background of television commercials. This is true, but it isn’t bad. It is easy to listen to and enjoy. It is happy music. That is what I would like to call it, easy listening happy music.
10. M. Pire – 그런 애 아냐
I heard one of M.Pire’s songs when I first started listening to Kpop because they were promoting around then (although their outfits were horrible). I like that song and when I saw that they were coming back last week, I got very excited. This is definitely different from their last song, like they were trying to go for more of a 90s pop sound. I still like it, perhaps better that their last promotional single which wasn’t as strong although their debut single was not bad.
There are few transitions in this video that don’t quite jive with me. It will change from scenes dancing in a night club to outside on a bright sunny day in a plaza, it is a little awkward, but not all around terrible. I don’t really have anything to say about the cinematography it is pretty standard, pleasant but nothing special. There isn’t really anything special going on in this video either way. It is an idol groups songs, switching between glimpses of plot where the boys woo a girl and them dancing together or standing around and singing together. What did you expect something new? Why fix what isn’t broken, even if it is getting a bit old and stale.
The song itself, like I said, I enjoy for the most part. It is catchy and upbeat. I like to bob my head while I listen to it. Their voices are great. I really like the some of their dance moves, though others are a bit awkward and possibly reminiscent of Michael Jackson. The outfits are as well in the video. Maybe that’s why it reminds me of 90s Pop. Though its probably more like 80s Pop if that is the case.
There are ten more songs on this playlist and while I would love to go into detail for each of them I don’t want to make this post any longer than it needs to be and I already feel super redundant. I will give you the title and artist, an image of the artist if I can find it and a short reason that I liked the song or video. Okay?
11. 팬텀 – 오늘따라(Seoul Lonely) feat.가인
For me the way this video tells the songs story is the best part. I love the way it was shot, every scene holding a tone and emotion. It was just generally great.
12. MR.MR – BIG MAN
For me the shooting of this video was a little off, however I really enjoy the song itself. The singing sometimes grates on me a little but it isn’t really a big deal.
13. Megan Lee – 8dayz (Feat.Yong Junhyung of BEAST)
This video gives me so many strong feelings about summer. It just seems to have soaked up the very essence of summer, in the way it is sometimes just out of focus and the lights make her look as if she is glowing. The song isn’t half bad either, very happy and upbeat.
14. BTL (Beyond The Limit) – 투지(鬪志) 뮤직비디오 공개
These boys give a good performance of supernatural super heroes? villains? something in this video. I really love the hard rock feel of this song. There are some really great tonal parts in the music. There are several bars of harmony that convinced me to buy this song instantly.
15. 서인국 – 봄 타나봐
This video is an editing master piece. I freaking love watching it. The song isn’t bad either, but make sure to watch the video. It has everything that I loved about the editing of stranger than fiction. So good.
16. KISS&CRY – 나쁜여자 REVENGE
I love this song. The video is a bit strange, very avante garde. A lot of zooming in on the girls with another image super imposed over them. I think if you spent enough time watching the video and paying attention to everything you would understand what is going on. It might be hard with one watch though.
17. 휘성- Night and Day(나잇앤데이)
I’m not sure how I feel about the song. I have listened to it a few times and sometimes I like it, but the chorus man … I don’t know how I feel about that chorus. The video is beautiful though so its worth it for that at least.
18. 갈릭스(GARLIXX) – 바베큐 (4악장)
I couldn’t not include this song, it was too freaking cute and spunky. Just listen to the song and enjoy. Let it make you happy. It is too awkward and funny. Just … yes … that is all I have to say.
19. Collige Label – The Seoul Cats
I think that is them? It might be an entirely different group. The site was entirely in Korean. I’m sorry if it isn’t. It was difficult to find this. Indie groups, although making beautiful music are super obscure to give information on. The animation in this video is super amazing. It made me happy. Plus the guitar is weird and I like that in this song.
20. Sweet Revenge – Melo
I have to say that indie groups like this one definitely know how to make a music video that tells a story. It’s pretty good. I had some minor issues with the lighting in a few shots, but other than that … solid video. The song is tops as well. It has a super sweet sound with some soft rock accompaniment. It is indeed mellow.
Oh my gawd. That was an endeavor, but we have reached the end. I don’t think I will be doing a playlist this long again for a while. Ten is more than enough.
Did you like hearing some of the new music coming out in the Korean scene? Do you prefer the idols or the indie artists? I think they are all awesome and there are pros and cons to both styles of music.
I’m sorry this was my only “serious” blog post this week. Come back tomorrow for our Bibliomancy post. It is worth it I promise.
Let me know in the comments below if you found a new artist you enjoyed!