July 31, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Long time no blogging! I’ve been really busy with school, and I still am, but now I’ve decided to procrastinate by writing. Haha.
Anyway, a lot of stuff has been released and I have a lot of feelings about them, but I never really got a chance to voice them until now. So here it is, a mini-review of some of the singles out of K-pop this year. Starring: Super Junior, T-ARA, BEAST, After School, f(x), 2NE1, JJ Project, and the Wonder Girls!
Sexy, Free & Single – Super Junior
So I’ve warmed up exponentially to this single over time, to the point where I like it quite a bit now. It’s really low-key and mellow as a song, and because of that I’m surprised at how much I love the choreography for it. Although I don’t think it’s the perfect choice for a title song, what I love is how smooth and clean this entire song is (bar the hook). That silky and polished auditory sensation is something I haven’t heard from Super Junior since ever, especially since YYJ decided to take them on the SJ Funky Triology.
Of course, there is a reason why I was cold towards this song at first, and that reason was the hook. For lack of a better term, it trolls the entire song into that cheap and uninspired territory that Super Junior has dabbled in for the last three years or so. It’s like someone over at SM decided that this song desperately needed a hook (or that Siwon needed some lines), and just stuck the most generic and grating one in there. Which is a complete shame, the song is melodic enough to be able to stand on it’s own without having a shameless hook hammered over our heads. But, le sigh, what can you do? I guess it’s staple Super Junior by now.
The rest of the album is pretty meh. Maybe I’ll review it when I’m bored, but frankly it’s probably the weakest album Super Junior has put out in a while. It’s like, none of the songs (sans Gulliver and Bittersweet) are really crash-and-burn, but they have so little thought put into them. It’s like, there could have been a good album there, but SM didn’t bother. But hey, it’s Super Junior. Who cares about the music? Nonetheless, if I had to recommend songs from it, I enjoyed ‘From U‘ (which sounds like YYJ ft KRY) and ‘Daydream‘, and that’s probably it.
Day By Day – T-ARA
Everyone’s saying it, and so will I, it sounds like Britney Spear’s ‘Criminal. A song which I didn’t like either, so heh. I mean, Day By Day isn’t the most offensive thing to come out of T-ARA’s womb or anything, but it’s pretty boring and it makes for some really boring performances. Nikki always talks about ‘kick’ whenever she reviews songs, and what this song lacks is exactly that. Kick. Everything sounds so diluted, and that’s probably why Hwayoung’s rap sticks out so much, it’s the sole part of the song with even a bit of bite.*
Can I talk about how much I despise the processing on T-ARA’s songs? Especially this one. It’s like they compress all of their voices and they’re singing with their chins to their necks. I could understand it when they were doing their fantastic electropop thing, but now it’s just annoying. If you listen to other of T-ARA songs, all of the members (‘cept Hyomin) have rather open voices, and so why are CCM so hell bent on turning them into whispering chipmunks?? Soyeon’s voice is beautiful, but they make it sound so generic and flat here. As for Hyomin, I really like her voice when she sings songs that require straight up singing and none of that other nonsense. It’s smooth and has a unique texture. But she sounds like crap when she’s processed. For a voice that already has nasal qualities, processing does no favours for her. She’s talented, but both her and Eunjung are given no favours vocally by being in T-ARA. Everytime they get a song that requires singing, Soyeon is always given the bulk. Apparently Ahreum has a voice, but it’s hard to tell with this release.
‘Don’t Leave‘ is the only other song on the album that’s worth a listen. It’s a total mess live though, Soyeon sounds tragically strained.
*I find it funny that prior to the T-ARA scandal it was pretty much universal consensus that as a rapper Hwayoung was pretty mediocre. But now that she’s being bullied suddenly she has loads of potential and musical talent. Hmm…
May 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
So when choosing which video to embed, it was a choice between good video or clear audio. I chose the audio ._.
So basically, I caught onto this solo a while after it was actually revealed, but that’s what happens when you blip out of the SJ fandom for even a second. To be honest, I wouldn’t even have known this existed had it not been for an anon on tumblr who asked me what my favourite bromance in Super Junior is — I promptly replied Sungmin and Ryeowook, and in my quest for a gif I found this and flailed.
This is basically what I have wanted for ages~
So the thing about Ryeowook and Sungmin and why I love them singing together leans more towards the Sungmin side of things obviously. Ryeowook, is obviously strong enough to sing whatever he damn well wants and make it sound absolutely amazing. Sungmin on the other hand, although he’s good enough and can hold his own, is obviously not an amazing singer, and can’t exactly sing whatever he wants. Another problem is that whenever he does a duet with someone, it never sounds… right, and the contrast between his timbre and generally everybody else’s is really drastic. Anyway, god bless that he’s in a group with Ryeowook, because when they harmonise it fits together so well.
Although I don’t think this is the best song choice, since there are times where Sungmin tends to stretch a bit thin, and Ryeowook sounds amazing, but he tends to sound a lot more amazing on faster paced songs, I’m just glad that it finally happened. And honestly, there are parts of this song that actually gave me chills, to be specific from 3:00 – 3:14, and just the structure of the chorus before that section, with alternating parts sounds so pretty. The contrast between Sungmin’s grainy timbre to Ryeowook’s clearer one is fantastic.
Something else I love is that no one is outshining no one else, they’re just singing as one. I feel like with them (okay, just Sungmin), it’s easy for them to be outshined (see the duet with Beige for proof), especially since their timbres aren’t the most conventionally upheld. Something about that fact makes them singing together really touching, for whatever reason.
But anyway, I really liked the idea of this. And I hope SM chooses to pursue this, hopefully not give them a ballad, but honestly, if Eunhyuk and Donghae get to be a duo, then so should Ryeowook and Sungmin!
Also, this is so much less contrived than the saturated fanservice that was the ‘Oppa Oppa’ performance. That hug at the end actually warmed my heart <3
April 9, 2012 § 2 Comments
Okay, I’m really behind on BEDA, but I’ll make it up by combining a whole bunch of days tomorrow! In the meantime, I am working on something, I won’t say what, but keep an eye out on Nikki’s blog ;D I’ll aslo have a collaboration 4Minute’s EP review out on seoulbeats. I know some of you may be laughing at me right now *cough*EDGE*cough*, but I am making use of my time, not contributing to society or anything, but it’s something…
In the meantime, I really love this MV.
April 7, 2012 § 2 Comments
Okay, yes, I overestimated myself when I signed up for this. So now I’m just going to cheat and combine days together. In this case I believe it’s okay, since these two topics go hand in hand.
And now, what we’ve all been waiting for, the worst live singer in K-Pop! What a difficult topic! So many choices, and so little time to go through and burn them all on a stake.
For this topic, I decided to take a different route. See, most of the time the worst ‘live singers’ and generally just some of the ‘worst singers’ in general. I mean, we all know Hara, Hyuna, Dongwoon, half of T-ARA, Hyung Joon, whatnow, aren’t the greatest singers to begin with. Their live performances honestly shouldn’t surprise us in the least. So for days 5 and 6, I’m going to look at K-Pop’s worst live singers who actually do have some sort vocal competency. Basically, those singers with the biggest discrepancy between recorded and live.
Now, the winner for Male is…
DONGHAE OF SUPER JUNIOR
Donghae was my original Super Junior love and his voice is actually my favourite in the band if we’re not looking at technique. He has a very, very smooth voice, which is both a good/great thing, and in his case also sort of a bad thing. It’s a good thing because his voice is so mellow and velvety, and it’s sort of a bad thing because it’s thin. It’s thin and hence he can’t really push, which I would be okay with because every voice has it’s limits, but on top of that thin voice Donghae also uses his nose as a megaphone — and not only when he’s singing with choreography like most idols — but all the time. And has the stamina of a 54 year old chain smoker. A combination of all of those things makes Donghae’s live singing a complete hot mess. He sounded alright in Mr. Simple, because that was Mr. Simple, but as soon as you ask that boy to sing a song with an actual melody and choreography he keels over. And I get it, singing whilst dancing is rarely perfect and I do take that into consideration, but Donghae is just something else altogether. Beautiful recorded voice, not so much live.
Covering for Kyuhyun at 00:29, and then he dies again at 1:30.
This is a prime example of him using that nose of his as a microphone. Come on, Haebro. Also, Leeteuk is even worse here, think of him as an unofficial runner up.
Now, for runner up…
YOOCHUN from JYJ
I don’t really want to talk about Yoochun, because his slow demise as a singer is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. Yoochun used to have a very rich and unique voice, my favourite in the band actually, but since then the richness has turned into this nasally soup of blah. Don’t believe me? Check out JYJ’s discography — you’ll notice how little Yoochun gets in terms of lines these days. In fact, JYJ completely revolves around Jaejoong and Junsu, and every now and then they insert a pity line for Yoochun or something. He’s also pretty much a non-entity during harmonies these days. I mean, look at this live performance of Chajatta, I forgot Yoochun was even there performing with them. Which is understandable, because Yoochun’s voice these days is so congested, it completely detracts from the rawness of Junsu’s voice and the smoothness of Jaejoong’s. Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case), JYJ is hardly ever found promoting live these days so it was hard finding a video. But generally speaking, check out anything by DBSK after 2009.
He’s the dying chicken at 2:38:
Now, for the ladies…
BOM FROM 2NE1
Where do I start with Bom… First of all, her voice is absolutely stunning recorded. But once again, not so much live. Bom has a really unique timbre, and like Yoochun her voice is very rich and has dimension. However, she has poor technique and some of the worst breathing I’ve ever heard from a lead singer of a K-Pop band. Bom’s token style these days is to scream as loudly as she can and it ends up sounding like a dying animal. Bom also has the worst habit of straying from the melody, and it’s depressing since she’s meant to be 2NE1′s lead singer for god’s sake. Then there’s the fact she goes shrill whenever she tries for those high notes — and even though it all comes out sounding cleanly recorded, live she sounds warbly like a lamb attempting vibrato and screaming. And it isn’t only just when she’s attempting choreography, it is all the time, all day, every day. It’s not a sound for sore ears, and it’s safe to say that Bom is better of staying in the studio. I love her so, so, so much, but not when she’s screaming at me.
Her voice is all over the place, seriously
at 1:04 and 2:10, Can’t Nobody is probably the worst of 2NE1′s title tracks live simply because of Bom
SUNNY FROM SNSD
Sunny has a really nice and smooth voice, it’s very clear and feminine, and it’s actually my second favourite in the band after Taeyeon’s. Unfortunately, her technique isn’t the best. At all. She sounds okay on Gee and Oh!, where it’s like she’s swallowed helium whilst singing, but if you ask her to sing in a lower register she is completely off. It’s more prominent where she’s doing a performance with choreography, she chokes and most of the time sound doesn’t even come out, and when it does it’s very warbly. Yes, she is my ultimate bias, but I will openly admit in terms of technique there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to my dear Sunshine.
1:14, urgh, Genie was the worst
April 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
I know I missed Day 3, but I’ll make it up somehow on another day? ._.
To be honest, most idols will probably end up either inheriting a family business or becoming a hobo on the street after their short little musical stint is done. I mean, there’s so many options open for me, I can think of numerous idols and idolletes who would turn to living in a cardboard box if their career hypothetically fell through.
But, who needs hypotheticals when we have real life.
KIBUM FROM SUPER JUNIOR
If that isn’t the face of a hobo, I don’t know what is.
Where is Kibum, you may ask? Well, that’s what’s on everyone’s mind. I mean, yeah sure, he’s “acting”, but he hasn’t even made a splash. Which isn’t surprising, considering what a no-name he is. He probably camped outside the PDs’ houses in a cardboard box and chased them down the street begging for a part. More than that though, the guy looks like a mess lately — doesn’t look like he’s bathed for days. For all we know he probably is living on the streets. Forget most likely to be a hobo, Kibum probably IS a hobo. Let’s face it, the only thing he was good at in Super Junior was judging his bandmates’ stupid. A sighting of Kibum is more uncommon than a sighting of big foot. He could give Wally a run for his money.
Yes, that is Kibum in what is probably a stolen car, smoking what is probably meth. What more evidence do you need? I’m just waiting for the day this guy comes out about his hobo-like ways with a drunken and high status spree on twitter.
April 2, 2012 § Leave a Comment
And so with Day 2 of BEDA, we ask the age old question, which Idol is most likely to survive a Zombie Apocalypse? This was a difficult one, since most of our favourite pretty people are so prepped and micro-managed, I can’t actually imagine any of them being particularly street-smart. But, if we’re to look at everything as a whole, then I would say it’d be…
MINHO FROM SHINEE
SHINee’s Minho is essentially only decent at two things: making good face, and being an asshole athletic. The latter quality is what would save him in the face of danger. With his drive to not lose, Minho would outrun and slay those zombies in every game they try and play. Observe:
Flaming Charisma indeed.
April 1, 2012 § Leave a Comment
So BEDA has commenced! And what better way than to start off April, and April fools, with a topic such as ‘Most Likely To Win a Drag Queen Competition’.
This was a tough choice, especially since K-pop is riddled with so many pretty boys — and I’m of the unpopular opinion that most pretty boys cross-dressing just look like… pretty boys cross-dressing. But of course, there are the few who go above and beyond and make me as a woman feel aesthetically inferior.
So to start of the good month of April we have…
REN FROM NU’EST
I think everyone had to do a double-take when we saw Ren for the first time, everything about him was so feminized that he didn’t even have to dress in drag for us to be confused. I think that alone makes him the winner hands down. I mean, the boy doesn’t even have to try…
Now for a VERY CLOSE runner up:
KEVIN FROM U-KISS
As one YouTube commenter so aptly put it:
that awkward moment when you’re looking for Kevin only to realize he’s the chick at the beginning of the video…