Wednesday, 31 July 2013

[Single Review] VIXX release yet another great song 대.다.나.다.너

When VIXX first debuted, I pretty much ignored them. Like alot of the k-pop community. With the debut of a crazy amount of each week, I don't always listen to those not from the big companies at first. But I listened back over their discovery after they released 다칠 준비가 돼 있어 and realised they hadn't released a bad single yet they were still relatively unpopular still. With the release of Hyde they're picking up popularity now and this song can only make their fanbase grow even further. 

대.다.나.다.너 is the cutsey concept done right. Designed to contrast their last comeback, this song is a perfect catchy summer tune. It's popping with life, catchy and they do this cool thing in the MV where it's reversed but their mouths still match the words (for the most part). 

It was written by the same guy who wrote SHINee's Dream Girl and I can see that. It's not particularly inventive but it's just a plain old pop song. Definitely give it a listen and their other singles if you haven't checked VIXX's stuff out before. 

Score 7.5/10

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

[News] f(x) release possibly the best song of the year so far

f(x) are back after over a year. I'm gonna do a proper review later but basically you all need to listen to it now. The production is amazing, infusing elements from all over the world, I can her some indian, spanish and western elements in there. I love the contrast between the verses and the chorus. It's super catchy and just super amazing and I'm so happy. The MV is boring though which is a shame but it shows of the choreo nicely and the girls look amazing. 

I need to give it a few more plays before doing a review but this might actually my favourite k-pop song of the year so far. Give it a listen and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

[News] f(x)'s new album is gonna slay

Just listen. 

Looks like SM are finally giving them good album tracks. Their first full album was average at best. But this.. I can't wait. It's out 29th July apparently but their first comeback stage is 25th. 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

[Single Review] Beast are back with the interestingly crafted "Shadow"

K-Pop in general has a short shelf life. Songs are designed that way, promotion cycles last a few weeks, lead (and often only) singles have super catchy hooks. If I like a song I'll generally play in on repeat for a month or so after which it enters the abyss of my itunes library that isn't in my recently added playlist. 

From the first play I can normally tell if a song is going to be on repeat. Not in this case. The first time I heard "Shadow" I was quite unimpressed. I thought sure it's nice but where's that super catchy hook that Beast normally have? I finished the first play thinking.. great.. but I don't particularly want to play it again. 

But I did. 

Slowly I started to realise that the chorus melody is in fact very interesting and crafted so well. Yoseob's vocals are allowed to shine by the production. I think this marks the first time rapper Junhyung has written and produced a title track for Beast and he really shows his talents. My favourite part of the song is also his second rap verse. The vocal modifications make something interesting. This song slowly infect itself into your head and I think it may in fact be one of the best things Beast have ever done, second only to Fiction, but I don't think they will ever top that. 

The whole thing also feels very Breath/Fiction era Beast which is good because that's Beast at the best. Beautiful Night was fun and all but this is better. They show off their dark charisma with some interesting imagery. What do you think? Comment below! 

Score: 8.5/10

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

[News] Marina & the Diamonds releases video for best song off Electra Heart

Incredible. This is my favourite song off Electra Heart and I never thought it was going to see a video treatment but here it is! The video is simple but effective and fits the emotion of the song perfectly. Produced by Dr. Luke and Cirkut with Diplo, Lies is a very raw and passionate song and tackles a topic about love that most people will relate to. 

Also check out the acoustic cover of the song that she did a while back here that some might say is ever better. 

[News] Flawless hipster queens f(x) are making a comeback.

f(x) are finally making a comeback more than a year after the brilliant but kinda generic "Electric Shock" with a full album "Pink Tape"

SM released this "art film" to tease us and it's kinda hipster and amazing. There's random english from krystal that kinda makes sense and they tease one of the tracks from the album as they pose while shit is projected on them. I mean Krystal has bright red hair. Flawless. Watch below. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

[Single Review] Infinite make a stomping comeback with "Destiny"

Infinite are back and they definitely didn't hold back! "Man In Love (남자가 사랑할때)" is one of my favourite releases this year. Infinite never really ever seemed to disappoint me since so how does "Destiny" shape up?

"Destiny" is a hard hitting dance song filled with strings and dubstep wobbles, the chorus consists of insanely catchy "woooh woooh". Dubstep wobbles are not really new and can often just feel like a bit of a gimmick but I think they actually work really well here, it's really catchy and powerful. 

One thing that Infinite's management learnt early on is how to distribute the parts to members, the know which members have better voices, you never feel that any member has been left out but also that the members with less vocal talent have too many lines. Dongwoo and Hoya deliver excellent rap verses as always. 

In terms of the MV this comeback is a 180 degree change in image for Infinite (when is that not the case in kpop). Man in Love was all about being in love and a cutey image was potrayed with bright colours and aegyo smiles everywhere but this is all about fighting for the girl that's leaving you. The dancing is good. In terms of synchrony and cleanliness Infinite are the best dancers in kpop. 

I think this is also the first Infinite single not produced by Sweetune which makes for an interesting change. There are definitely some influences from them though and Infinite still keep their signature sound while changing it up a bit. The Sweetune 80s sound that was sounding a bit stale has been ditched for something much more modern which is definitely a good thing. 

Score: 8/10

Friday, 12 July 2013

[Single Review] Falling In Love - 2NE1

Blacksjacks have been waiting a very long time for the return of 2NE1. A new album was promised last year but was pushed back in order for the girls to have a world tour. Rumours had been circulating since then as to when they would be back again and the day is finally hear.

"Falling In Love" is a step into reggae for 2NE1 who normally stick to electro-pop for the most part. The song was actually teased way back last year when CL performed it as an intro to their "I Love You" performance on Inkigayo. You know the one where she had a parrot on her shoulder.

2NE1 were the group that introduced me to k-pop. There "western" sound made for an easy transition into the crazy world that is k-pop. There isn't a song that I don't like from them, you are guaranteed no filler from them. I hold them to quite a high standard and I was quite worried about the comeback. "I Love You" initially really didn't impress me too much although I have come to feel that it is actually very good, for the production alone if anything.

So how do I feel about "Falling In Love"? I like it. I really do like it. CL gives probably one of my favourite rap deliveries I've ever heard from her. Boms vocals are utilised perfectly on the chorus. Often I feel she's often reaching for notes that she can only just get but you really get to hear her amazing tone on this. Dara's parts are ok, I would have liked no autotune, we know she can actually produce some really nice vocals (see I Love You) but not here. The star of the show for me here though is actually Minzy, her voice fits that reggae style so well and the contrast between her slow delivery and CL's fast paced raps works well.

Can 2NE1 do better though? Definitely. That is why I know this song has fallen flat with a lot fans and reviewers. It doesn't have the punch of "I am the best" and isn't quite "quirky" or "experimental" enough which seems to be the trend in k-pop right now. It's very catchy and lot of people are enjoying it but it's not pushing any boundaries like SNSD's "I got a boy" did. Maybe it's the fact that it's actually a year old song that was meant to be released last year. The music video is also amazing if you haven't seen it. Standard YG affair but with a more tropical vibe. I look forward to the rest of the singles and album. I know 2NE1 will deliver something special.

Score: 8/10

Thursday, 11 July 2013

[Opinion] Are Core Contents Media the worst company in kpop?

Core Contents Media have just announced that Areum, the newest member to join T-ara, is now leaving after just a year with the group. Areum herself annouced the news via a youtube video you can watch here.

I don't know how I feel about this. I've actually really enjoyed Areum in the group and she's pretty talented at both singing and rapping and I think she could be pretty successful as a solo artist. My worry is that CCM are just bullshitting. They no longer want her in the group and "going solo" is an excuse that fans of Areum can't get too upset about but whether it actually ever happens is another matter.

I myself have no problem with members being added to a group after they have debuted. I think Pledis do this really well with After School. From the beginning we were told there were going to be member changes and a "graduation" system. Many fans were sad when Bekah and Kahi left but we knew it would be coming. CCM on the other had just seem to chop and change members of T-ara without much thought just to build some exposure just a week doesn't go by when there isn't some sort of scandal involving their artists. Two of their other groups 5dolls and SPEED (originally together as the brillant Co-ed school) have gone through more line up changes. 5dolls are coming back with 6 members (lol wut?) only which two were actually part of the original Co-ed group, and I've lost count of the amount of changes SPEED have gone through. I just get this feeling that whenever CCM feel that a group isn't doing well they change to the lineup to see if it gets people talking about them. 5dolls are also nothing without the flawless Chanmi so I don't know why they are even trying (I joke, I'm actually looking forward to the comeback, I'm just gonna miss Chanmi). 

We already know they're an awful company. They handled the Hwayoung scandal pretty badly. T-ara have gone from being one of the biggest and most popular girl groups in korea to the bottom. Half of their fans were convinced of their bullying (even though most of these claims have been proven wrong) and Korea now hates them. It would be a real shame if T-ara were to collapse, they have consistently produced good singles and obviously work extremely hard. 

There are now rumours that Areum is actually ill because of her severe weight loss. Something like 25lbs during the T-ara N4 promotions. That's a crazy amount seeing as she couldn't have been much to start with. I just really hope her departure from the group was her choice and that her weight loss was just down to hard work rather than anything more sinister. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

[New Song] More perfection from Ellie Goulding with "Burn"

Holy crap! Ellie is rereleasing one of my favourite albums of 2012 "Halcyon" with some new songs and Burn is the first single. Obviously it's pretty incredible. Quite different from Halcyon which was quite dark for the most part. This on the other hand is a pretty much the opposite full of happy synths. Check it out.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

[Single Review] Ciara is slaying again with "I'm Out"

Back in 2005 my 13 year old self was in love with Ciara. Her slick dance moves really impressed me back then and still do. 1, 2 step and Goodies were such jams but recently she hasn't been impressing me  Sorry and Got Me Good just weren't good enough and where scrapped in favour of a the new single Body Party, which I pretty much fell in love with. Mike Will Made It is definitely one the producers I look out for now.

I'm Out serves as the second single off her new album Ciara due out July 5th and features the queen of features herself Nicki Minaj. When I first heard this song a while back I thought it was alright and the highlight for me was actually Nicki's verse. But over the weeks I kept going back to it and I became a little bit obsessed. Then the video came out. Sometimes a video can make a song and I think this is one of those occasions. Ciara and Nicki look great, the choreography is on point and basically you need to watch it right now.

I will definitely be checking out her new album when it comes out and hopefully this means Ciara is back on form.

Score : 7/10

[New Song] Tinie Tempah - Trampoline (Feat. 2 Chainz)

Tinie Tempah just premiered his new song "Trampoline" produced by Diplo and is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a collaboration between the two. Lyrically it's average but it's an absolute banger that will no doubt invade clubs everywhere. Check out the official lyric video below.  

[Single Review] 4mintue - 물 좋아? (Is it poppin'?)

4minute were one of the first groups that I became a fan of when I first got into k-pop back into 2009. They had however never seemed to establish themselves as a top tier group despite having been around for quite a while (Apart from Hyuna's solo career).

That however all changed with the release of their last single 이름이 뭐예요? (What's Your Name?) produced by brave brothers which dominated the charts for over a month (years in k-pop). However despite the success many fans and myself included felt it actually wasn't their best single and didn't match up to previous flawless releases such as HuH & Volume Up. Does their latest single do the trick?

물 좋아? is again produced by Brave Brothers, no doubt in hopes of repeating the success of What's Your Name? and is both extremely similar but also quite different. It's a bit less in your face than What's Your Name? Gayoon once again provides her excellent vocals on the hook that will get stuck in your head after the first listen. It's a perfect chilled out summer jam that I've had on repeat for since it was released. Does it come close to the perfection that was HuH? Probably not but it's a very nice single indeed. Let me know what you think? 

Score: 8/10