Thoughts on some recent (and not so recent) music

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.

Single: 4/5
Album: 2/5

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…

Single: 2.5/5
Album: 2.5/5

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Ryeowook & Sungmin: It’s about damn time

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

[General K-Pop] Kids React to K-Pop, I Grimace

Just so you know, I don’t like any of these kids react videos. Mostly because of the pretentious air that comes from most of them — whilst I don’t hate them for acting pretentious (being a former Queen of Pretentiousness myself) — it isn’t something I particularly like to watch. So basically I headed into this video expecting to be irked, and I got what I expected.

There seems to be two stances to this video. K-Pop fanboys/fangirls are butthurt, threatening the kids, deluded, can’t take criticism. And the rational K-Pop fans are supposedly laughing their asses off and rolling on the floor.

Well, I’ve always considered myself to be a rational K-Pop fan, but I’m not laughing.

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[End Of Year/Album Post] Play the Song Again – Jams of ’11

I always knew I was special. Australia is a whole day ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to New Years, and I’m still two days delayed. That’s talent, it really is.

Most bloggers I realised, do a really epic year-end post outlining the best of the best. They also usually do this a a day or so before, or on the day, of New Years — not two days later like me. I wanted to outline some of my favourite things this year, but in the midst of writing things I realised I’m way too type-happy and to finish the post would take several days. So instead because I’m a special, I’ve decided to try something different. So as a New Years gift for everyone, I’ve made an end of year album, so without further ado:

Play the Song Again – Jams of ’11

Play the Song Again – Jams of ’11

Tracklist:

  1. Superman – Super Junior
  2. Me, In – Wonder Girls
  3. Before U Go – DBSK
  4. Fiction – BEAST
  5. Na Young – ALi
  6. Please – Kim Hyun Joong
  7. In Heaven – JYJ
  8. Cry – MBLAQ
  9. Tonight – Big Bang
  10. Virgin – After School
  11. Neverland – U-KISS
  12. Trick – Girls’ Generation
  13. Roly Poly – T-ARA
  14. STEP – KARA
  15. Hate You – 2NE1
  16. VVIP – Seung Ri
  17. Sixth Sense – Brown Eyed Girls

Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?pavnevry5n29tdu

I hope you guys enjoy it! The title ‘Play the Song Again’, came from the song ‘Virgin’ by After School, and I decided on it as the album’s title because well, it pretty much sums up the effect all these songs have had on me.  Also, I’m horrendously uncreative.

Honestly a lot of thought was put into making this album, and I realised it’s harder to make a cohesive album than I thought (not that it excuses the entertainment companies). I had so many thought processes going on — because by now everyone should know I take K-Pop and music seriously — and everything is where it is for a reason. To break it down for everyone:

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[Hyuna and JS: Trouble Maker] Keyboard Smashing

As per the title: awesrdtfygklopdho

So let’s just pretend this and this never happened, and that the official teaser is the only clue we have of the MV (in retrospect, this might be a bad idea considering how amazing teasers tend to be compared to the final result). Can I just say…

CUBE, YOU ARE A GENIUS

Okay, first of all. The concept and idea isn’t anything new. What’s so fantastic though, is the fact they’ve gotten two already established stars, FROM THE SAME COMPANY, and put them together in a sub-unit. They did it with Junhyung and Hyuna before — but this is something else. Hyunseung isn’t a second wheel or anything (though, five bucks says he’s going to become overshadowed by Hyuna), and this is an official subgroup.

The idea of pairing off idols together to create a love line isn’t something new, but the thing is, they rarely ever pair up idols who come from the same company. And the thing is, WHY THE HECK NOT?! Well I know why, because they’re more susceptible to scandals and the like. But honestly, the result you have in the end is worth it. Cube artists in particular, have a-ma-zing chemistry with eachother when they’re performing together.

Maybe it’s because their company is so small and have yet to cash in on the 5000 member group idea yet, but either way, they’re both explosive.

It’s like honestly, 9PM is great, But it has nothing on Super Generation. And what sucks is, Super Generation is rarely cashed in on. They have what? The SEOUL song? They hardly have any stages together — and WHY NOT?! SM Artists are some of the most charismatic on stage around, holy cow. The SEOUL song was pretty much nothing, and I squealed all over it, because I love seeing idols from the same company get cuddly with each other. It’s always fun to watch. It could be from training together for so long, but idols who stem from the same agency just click together. Or it could be the idea of a scandal behind it all, but I don’t know. But honestly, we need more interagency performances and collaborations happening — and not just at family concerts. But I have a feeling the lack of Super Generation stems from the tensions between ELF and SONE, since f(x) has had a fair amount of stages from with the SuJu boys. Probably because the difference between the average age of both is like 7 years?

hnnng Victoria.

Now that I think about it — f(x) gets stages with everyone. Their lack of relevancy in the grand scheme of things does them some serious good. Because I am telling you. Mixed gender stages from the same company are always at least 50% better than other stages of the same quality.

This Hello stage was superior to half of the Hello stage SHINee ever did. Just saying — even though Key sounds horrible. And Amber sounds great (beat Taemin and Minho at their own game), but is wearing pyjamas. And you can’t hear half of them. But it is still better than half of the Hello stages SHINee has done.

And 2NE1 and Big Bang need to get it on, Lollipop was great (unpopular opinion), but it really did neither of them justice.

They need to perform something with the same amount of bang both of them are worth. I’m desperate, I will take anything.

So what I’m saying is this. Cube is amazing, and if other companies know what will sell, then they will all make mixed gender units with their groups too. Personally, I want a 2NEBANG, f(SHINee), DBJH, and Super Generation one.

2NEBANG: T.O.P, Taeyang, G-Dragon, Bom, and CL.
f(SHINee): Amber, Luna, Key, Jonghyun, Krystal, Taemin (actually, I’d want a 10 member group. Yeah.)
DBJH: Jaejoong, Sunday, Stephanie, Junsu, Yunho
Super Generation: Donghae, Sungmin, Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, Eunhyuk, Tiffany, Taeyeon, Seohyun,  Hyoyeon.

Yesung and Lina need their own mixed gender duo unit. J’saying.

In the end, I want to say this. GO TAP SOME HYUNA HYUNSEUNG.