Monday, January 3, 2011

A Lot of K-Pop Releases (best saved for last)

K-pop Reviews

SM the Ballads' “Hot Times” has a smokey bluesy sound in parts; actually it’s a much better vehicle for the voices of the guys than their previous video release. It is clear that Jonghyun is the best of them, though. And I’m only a tiny bit biased.

One of the boys from B2ST with an incredibly stupid new hairdo and one of the women from Davichi has released a song called "Udon." It’s not a dance track, so it’s surprising that I sort of like it, I think mainly because the video is just too cute. The song is about udon (the noodles) and in the video the boy and girl alternate on who is able to eat a lot of udon, the successful eater is the object of love for the other person.

Strawberry Fields has released a new song, 별빛행진곡 which is quite different from most Korean pop music. First it really does have a Beatles flavor. It’s neither dance nor ballad but something else, with decent music and a very odd fantastical video featuring a small boy with a horn near a very interesting beach clambering on the on the rocks, sand and bluff. I like it. I don’t know how much I’d want to hear it, or see it, but it feels so refreshing compared to most Korean pop music.

John Park, most recent runner up of the Korean version of American Idol has released a jazzy pop piece, it sounds like he’s trying to copy Kim Geunmo, but he doesn’t have the pipes. The song is called “I’m Your Man” and the video is just him in the studio. I don’t know how well he’ll do with these non-traditional pop piece, but it does show off his voice, and I appreciate the fact that when he inserts English into his song it sounds completely natural and fluent (he’s Korean-American), whereas many stars just insert random English that might not mean anything, or be grammatically incorrect, and it can be said awkwardly.

Girls Generation has a new song,“Snowy Wish.” It’s truly annoying, full of product placement and recycled footage, there is no choreography and the song is ordinary, so unless you’re a maniacal fan you won’t find much in this new release.

F.Cuz released a new song “괜찮아” with the subtitle “for my fans.” The song is a syrupy ballad. Nuff said.

After School, a group notable only because their lead, Gahi, is amazing, released a “Love Love Love” in two versions. The first version shows clearly the story of the song. The second version has a video that is sort of like the music to accompany a composite scene in a movie or television drama that explains that the characters are models. But the music is obviously supposed to be Christmas with jingling bells and a melody that almost rips off that theme song from “Love, Actually” and it’s all delivered in this super sappy saccharine way.

New group Dal Shabet has released their first video, Supa Dupa Diva. I'm not sure if they know what the word Diva means. And Koreans say "Diba" not "Diva" anyway. The song is so annoying, I can't even barely watch the video. I hope this doesn't do well, but a sinking feeling in my gut says it will.

A new Chinese group has debuted but they're obviously going for a Korean look at sound, even to the extent of getting a Korean female singer to be a guest star in the video. HIT-5 is the name of the group, I'll give you only one guess how many members they have. Here's the link to the video, which really should receive money for product placement of the Apple iphone. The song itself? Only interesting if you want to practice your Chinese listening skills, in my opinion.

The men of MBLAQ are finally back with a sexy video full of ultra sexy dance moves. If you can get past the excessive eye make-up on the members, you'll be sure to notice the Rain inspired/choreographed movements with a very active and mesmerizing pelvic emphasis. Cry is a bit soft, almost ballad like, and not likely to do super well, but the boys sure look hot. Or wet. Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.

One Way, a group made up of three overseas Koreans- either one Australian and two Americans or I have the numbers wrong, have released an English language song. The song, “Rainy Days” is actually really awesome, they’re good singers and the acoustic sound of the song is refreshing compared to normal Korean releases. The guys aren’t going to win awards for being the hottest faces out there, but they should get more notice just based on their skills.

G-Dragon and TOP (two members of Big Bang) released their video "Knock Out" today. I have to admit, I hope this does well. In fact, I already downloaded the audio track a few days ago. The video has a very year of the rabbit feel. You should watch it even if you don't like rap because these two are super daring. Like CL for 2NE1 (a group with the same management company) they're known for their outrageous look/fashion sense. It's here in full flaming glory. They're so tongue in cheek and very very up to date. Let me put it this way, Johnny Depp at his most wild would fit into this video.

But the most exciting thing, I saved for last, is that DBSK/TVXQ (동방신기) (or what's left of a five man group, now only two) has released their new song, "Keep Your Head Down." It's pretty fantastic, the song grows on you as you hear it more. If amazing dance wasn't reason enough, the outfits are a reason to watch the video. First of all, the V-neck is taken to EXTREMES here. Second, psychedelic suits, seriously. Third, they wear tail coats that end up looking a bit more like sedate Dracula capes. So much fun just to look at the clothes. The weakest thing is the rap which should have been left out. And if you still didn't click the link, my friend Tim calls this video "the hottest Bromance the world has ever seen." Clicked now, didn't you.

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