김형준 Kim Hyeongjun from SS501 (a group that is taking a serious if not permanent hiatus) has released a solo mini-album, the first music video from the album is "Girl." It's a dance track, with average music, fairly competent singing and a video that's a bit disappointing (Hyeongjun dances well, but this video spends a lot of time close to his head watching him sing). The song would be better without such singing the word "girl" too many times and the section where he sings L-O-V-E. I understand that Koreans like some English in their pop, but sometimes it really just makes them either sound incredibly unoriginal or it detracts. The odd English (like "Bring, Bring" in Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra" tends to work better musically than many of the English words and phrases that they think will work but in fact have been so overused in English that they pull the song down. A few days later Kim Hyeongjun released a second single, "Oh, Ah." Of course I approached it with anticipation, however the song is merely ordinary. It is the video that sets it apart with it's really unusually eye-catching visuals. I would definitely recommend giving it a watch.
동방신기 Dongbangshin'gi (TVXQ) has released a new video, 이것만은 알고 가(Before U Go). I think it's not enormously successful because it's a ballad with a mafia/assassin themed video, which really doesn't go well together. Watch it and see what you think. I'd definitely have preferred another dance track. A few days after I made the above note they released a 16 minute extended video incorporating three tracks from their newest release in a story format. It's actually pretty good-- if you understand the Korean dialogue, at any rate.
Wheesung has released a video with B2ST's Junhyeong, Heart Aching Story or 가슴 시린 이야기. It's just more of Wheesung's admittedly fairly good singing, but it's ballad and I'm not a fan of ballads in any language.
Kim Taewoo has released a video of "Me and My Brothers" with Rain and JYP as the other brothers. It's another ballad. Is there nothing good coming out these days?
Wonbin (not the actor, the guy who used to be in FT Island) has released "C'mon Girl" a light poppy dance track with a somewhat satisfying sound and a video of him looking handsome and metrosexual.
Teen Top's latest, "Angel" is a boring ballad. What a sad follow up to their last release.
Song Jieun's "Going Crazy" is not bad, although the craziest thing might be her bright blue hair. It's true, as this review from allkpop points out, that she has a thin voice, but so do many other K-pop singers.
INY, a brand new group, has released "Shake it, Shake it." The video features ING's three members, with a filming style that is supposed to be from the first person perspective, so you're perpetually at arm's length from the other performers. I found it ineffective and not even particularly clever, partially because the perspective keeps switching without a clear reason (other than letting the camera show all the characters). Oh, and the music isn't that good. You're so busy watching the weird video you barely even hear it. Not catchy enough.
CN Blue has "comeback" (it always cracks me up the way they talk about "comeback" in Korea. Seriously, a comeback is when Guns and Roses releases their first CD in 15 years or what Michael Jackson was preparing to do before he overdosed. A comeback is not when a group that promoted a single six months ago and then took a break to create new material re-emerges on the scene). I also freely admit that I think CN Blue is overhyped. The new song is "Intuition" or 직감, however, is definitely their best work yet. I still think it's silly to call them a band. Yes, they have instruments. But when you listen to the music you do not hear guitar, bass and drums. Seriously. You hear the same sound you get in all K-pop music, not a "rock" sound at all. If only they didn't look like such children. Maybe they'll grow up soon?
ZE:A released "Here I am" which is a sappy poppy love song. The boys look cute, but not half as masculine as they did in some of their releases last year (weird, cause they're older now). I don't find it that good, but I bet it will add to their popularity with tween girls.
Girl's Day released "Twinkle Twinkle" which if you combine the group name and the song name you already know what to expect. It is annoying and worse, I bet it will become too popular for me to avoid. The one thing I can say is these girls can actually make black and yellow stripes look good, that's impressive!
Yi Ashi has come out with a syrupy ballad. The song, 눈물이 마르면 has been praised because it doesn't digitally alter her voice, we're just hearing her. Am I supposed to be impressed? Only in Korea is digital manipulation so common we are amazed when someone doesn't use it up the wall.