Musings

Sunday Spam: The October Wrap Up Edition

It is time for the one day a week where I spam your feeds with Kpop (honestly give it a try if only for the whimsy inherent in it).

Apparently another month has come and gone and it is time for me to go through all of the music that came out in the past month and give you a taste of my favorites.

This month was a doozy.  We have a weird trend of black, white, and red color schemes, idols as cyborgs, idols as animals, idols as … vampires? maybe werewolves? … perhaps shifters? Well you can see for yourself and tell me what you think.

As always I made a playlist of all the videos I’m going to be discussing which you can watch here!

1. 알맹 – 반시간

Just a note that these are going in reverse chronological order, the newest music is on top and we go backwards through time as we continue.  OOOOH SPOOKY TIME TRAVEL.  I’m trying guys, its not working.  Anyway.  This is a new coed duo that I actually really like.  I appreciate the fact that this video is so simple.  Its like a lyric video.  It makes the song seem tangible in a way.  It surprised me how much I like just the two singers doing what they do as the lyrics pop up around them.  It was super effective.  I do have to say that the guys voice grates on me a little bit because it can seem very nasily when he speaks (Half and Hour line I’m looking at you), but overall I really like the way this sounds.  I am looking forward to a coed group rather than just collaborations, I wish there were more groups like this because it can add a cool dynamic to songs.

2. ToppDogg – Annie

 

ToppDogg are mixing hiphop with other genres again, although this time it is late 80s/early 90s pop.  Which had a lot of hip hop influences to begin with.  While their last comeback with Top Dog was doing something new, mixing hip hop and classical sounding music, this could be just another old school song.  That isn’t to say that I don’t like.  I actually find it quite catchy, but last time they brought something new to the genre they emulated, and now they just seem to be fitting into another category.  The other thing I wanted to say was that this video was so hard to follow.  That is to say that for a group of 13 members I wish it were a little clearer who was singing.  They did have their names on the front of their shirts from time to time which helped but they still allude me except for the few that I really like.  I want ToppDogg to do well because I do like their music but they seem like they are floundering a bit.  I also want to add in a side note that I don’t feel their dancing is as strong as a lot of groups in their debuting class and even some of the newer boy groups that came out this year.  They need to step up their game.

3. Super Junior – This is Love

Speaking of weak dances.  There was a dance break in this song and the two dancers weren’t even in time.  I’m not the biggest Super Junior fan, not because they aren’t good but because I wasn’t around when they were in their prime and feel disconnected from them.  I have to say that I like this song more than I liked Mamacita and I felt Mamacita was pretty good.  I like the way this video was shot because it made SM’s usual box set music videos interesting.  Part of me wants to have a house set up similarly to the way this video was set up though I would probably get very dizzy.  I feel like Super Junior is the only SM group to not have a scandal this year and it might have to do with their seniority in the industry.  They are definitely one of the cannon kpop groups and I wasn’t disappointed with anything other than the dancing here.

4. 퍼펄즈 – 1,2,3

We have a hot debut right here.  I have to say that I really love their voices.  This is such a strong debut.  I feel like the girl groups that have debuted this year are so much stronger than their male counterparts because they are so unique and memorable.  I don’t think I can recall a single boy group from my mind but there are three debut girl groups, the Purfles included that I can say from memory as being fantastic.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the fact that the dubstep in the background overshadowed their voices at some points because their vocals are so strong.  I really love the way their dance is sexy but not overtly sexy.  Its confident.  They seem confident which is a huge feat for a newbie group.  I see these girls going far.

5. BTS – War of Hormone

BTS are back with another song from their first full length album and lucky for me it was one of my favorite songs from the album when I first listened to it back in August.  I have to say that this music video more than any other showcases why I love BTS.  They always have strong music and dances but really I love them for their personalities.  Much like VIXX or Block B the members of BTS are giant idiots who aren’t afraid to show the fact that they are human.  They act like silly boys, which they are.  This makes them more real.  V gets to smack Jimin’s butt in this video.  You would never see that happening in a TVXQ video.  This was such a fun song with an even better video and if you haven’t yet gotten into these boys, I highly recommend it.

6. B.I.G. – Are You Ready?

B.I.G. are back with their first comeback.  I have to say that while I was intrigued by them when they first came out I was not a big fan of the song itself.  I definitely like this song better than their first.  I’m still not a major fan of theirs but they are improving and that is what we want from our rookie groups.  The problem is that this year much like last year has created a market over saturated with new groups.  They can’t all survive.  While B.I.G. weren’t the least memorable of the debuts of this year, they definitely weren’t the most memorable and mediocrity is not lucrative.  I hope they continue to improve because they could become great but they need to find their niche and break out of the pack otherwise they will disappear.

7. Beast – 12시 30분 (12:30)

Beast are back.  This might be a controversial review because there is nothing wrong with this song or this video really, but I’m more a fan of Beast when they perform fast tempo upbeat songs.  To be fair it takes a really strong ballad to win me over and while this ballad isn’t bad it isn’t fantastic either.  Beast have been around for a while so they don’t really need to win me over, I will look at their new music no matter what.  I would have if I wasn’t making this post either.  However it is more likely that I will like another song on this mini album better than I liked the promotional track.  Their dancing is also fine.  They perform their routines flawlessly.  They have the look and the voices, they are doing fine.

8. 서인영 – 생각나 (Feat. Zion. T)

I added this song to the list even though I’m not the biggest fan of the music itself because the video for this song was so good.  Despite not liking the music I stayed for the whole video because it was filled with such beautiful scenes and imagery and editing.  That is a successful video at that point.  It got another view despite the person viewing it not enjoying the content in its entirety.  I love the visuals, I’m not a big fan of the song, but it isn’t a bad song for its genre, it just isn’t for me.  If you like this kind of music I’m sure it was pretty good.

9. 조형우 – Someone I Know

Alright I think this is my favorite music video on this list.  Not only is the song on its own really great but there are so many layers to this video.  For starters the tone of the visuals and the tone of the song don’t match at all.  The song sounds kind of sad, the music itself bring up people staring wistfully out at oceans.  That is most definitely not the visual we get in this video at all.  The video is actually very creepy.  We get images that don’t seem to quite line up and its trying to paint a picture that we might not be able to put together.  Did he kill a girl?  Did he kill himself?  Was it the coffin lowering down or the piano?  There are so many questions that come out of an initial viewing of this video.  The fact that the music doesn’t match that creepy tone in a way intensifies the creepiness of it.  In the same way that some horror movies love to put bright happy music over gorey scenes.  It creates a disconnect.  It was successful in this in my opinion.

10. Strawberry Milk – OK

Alright here we have a music video that perhaps plays into what we imagine kpop to be when we first heard of it.  So uber saccharine that it rots your teeth.  Its a very pleasant and happy song.  Taylor and I both said that we would like the song on its own but neither of us were able to make it all the way through this video.  It is so cute and so sweet that it induces in me a feeling of nausea.  This was definitely an image they were going for.  It was successful in what it was trying to do.  If they wanted to make the cutest video ever they definitely did that, however it might be too cute.  I didn’t think there would come a day when something was too cute.  Unless you are talking so cute its creepy, then again too cute.  This isn’t creepy at all though.  Its a little funny, but mostly just so sweet it hurts.

11. Girl’s Day – I Miss You

I actually really like this song.  Which was a little surprising.  I like Girl’s Day songs in general but this song in particular was pretty good.  I felt that the imagery was very beautiful.  I want to live in that studio apartment they shot in, even if I had to have the bedroom with fifty lightbulbs hanging down in it.  Its a very sweet and sad song.  I liked the fact that there were scenes with all of the girls doing something in their heartbreak and then a close up on them singing.  It allows for a fluidity between the acting and singing that some kpop videos lack.  The closeups seemed like a part of the scene rather than a cut away.

12. DGNA – Rilla Go!

 

Alright, new boy group in the house.  They definitely wanted to make a statement with their debut.  Holy cow did you see those outfits.  Crazy right?  Personally I think its a little too far into the side of the theatrical it distracts from their dancing and singing skills.  Their dancing isn’t half bad and I actually really like the song itself.  It was a pretty strong debut.  I can’t take them seriously in those outfits though.  A little too crazy.  That’s all I have to say.  Good debut, not flawless.  Although I think the only flawless debut so far was MAMAMOO in the spring.

13. VIXX – Error

*shouts from the rooftops* VIXX IS BACK!  Guys, VIXX is back.  *claps* I really love every single song on this album but I haven’t had a complaint with anyone of VIXX’s albums so far.  Their dancing is strong just like usual and the music video. The music video guys.  From what I understand of the plot both Hongbin and girl were human, then the girl died and Honbin turned himself into a cyborg to stop the pain, then he built a robot in her image and inserted her memories so they could live forever.  Apparently this is illegal, but not self cyborgination and they both commit robot suicide by being taken apart by the machines.  So sad.  I love this comeback. I’m so proud of them.  *fangirls all over the place*

14. 송지은 – Twenty-Five (예쁜 나이 25살)

This to me felt like something that should have come out two months ago.  It just feels like a summer song.  This is the time of year where most of the songs become darker.  Groups put out either ballads or darker/stronger concepts.  With the exception of Strawberry Milk up there doing the cutiest thing.  This was a good song, it just wasn’t the tone I was looking for in October.  I really like Song JiEun’s singing and her dancing isn’t half bad.  This was a pretty good song and video all and all, just not really a fall listen.  I think I’ll add it to my summer playlist for next year and rediscover it then.

15. Boyfriend – Witch

I have to say while I have never been a fan of the phrase “Boom Badda Boom”.  It will always make me do a cheesy 1920s New York Newsie accent in my head this isn’t a bad song.  Its actually a pretty decent song and I haven’t been Boyfriend’s biggest fan.  However, their music video guys.  I was so confused.  I saw the stage of this performance before watching the video and the stage was so cool.  The dance is A+ in my opinion but what was the story in this video.  Are they causing problems?  Is the lady witch causing problems?  What is happening?  What even are they?  I don’t know.  It was entertaining to watch if nothing else.  I would say that really their performance is much stronger and that’s probably a good thing.  More people will find them through their performances than the video in Korea.  I would have been alright with just a dance version on this though.

16. Raina – You End, And Me

I had been waiting for this solo debut for a while.  It felt like I could hear it coming like a train a couple miles away.  Raina has such a strong and beautiful voice.  I wasn’t surprised at all by the style of music either.  While I think that Orange Caramel is still the strongest image she has.  I think that she will become a great solo artist as she grows and develops.  I want Orange Caramel to stick around forever, but I also want her to get the recognition she deserves.  This was a great song and the video was very pretty. Nothing really blew me away, but it wasn’t bad in any aspect.  A solid solo debut for sure.

17. 로이킴 – Home

This song almost moved me to tears, and I am not strong enough in Korean to understand all of the lyrics.  The imagery and the tone of his voice alone was able to elicit that much emotion from me.  This is such a beautiful song and video.  I feel like there is such truth about what it is like to be a person in this video.  Not just a person in Korea because many of the scenes depicted here could take place world wide.  It shows how families are far reaching and important.  I read that he wrote this after watching his manager interact with his family.  Its such a sweet song and I’m sure it made his manager proud.

18. 윤하 – 내 마음이 뭐가 돼 (Wasted)

We have another beautiful ballad with equally beautiful music video.  I’m not sure if there was a story being presented here or if it was just meant to depict the different forms that heartbreak can take.  The vocals were strong and emotional.  The visuals were striking.  There were some moments where I felt the vidiography could be a little stronger, it didn’t seem professional all the time, it was like something I would see made from a wannabe filmmaker on YouTube.  I do have to say that I liked the way the memories were in letterbox format while the solos filled the screen.  That was an interesting choice in editing.  This video also branched out from the usual black, white, and red color palette that so many of these videos have had to add in purple.  Although to be fair, this was the first.  The rest came after.

19. Madtown – YOLO

Can I just say that I can already tell how cool this album was in person based on the holographic nature of the still itunes image.  I would want it just for that.  However, I’m not that big a fan of the song itself.  I have to say that everyone in America hissed as if they just watched somebody get hurt when they saw the title of this song.  YOLO isn’t a good thing over here any more.  I’m not sure it was ever a good thing.  Korea doesn’t quite have the stigma against it, but it distances the American audience a little bit.  I kind of like the song though.  Its cool.  I wanted to dance to it.  New Khip-hop group to look out for

20. IU – 소격동

Last but definitely not least, IU’s new single which came out at the very beginning of this month and is actually available to you in three formats.  The first with IU singing, the second with a male artist and the third focusing on the guy who did the music for this song.  The video itself is heartbreaking.  It was really painful to watch.  IU always has strong vocals and every new song she comes out with has a completely different sound.  I really loved everything about this song and video.  It was one of the strongest of the month, a great way to start out, or in the case of this post to finish.

It is a little late, but I finally got everything rounded up.  I hope you either found something new to listen to or just liked seeing the trends that appeared in the industry this month.

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