It’s been a while since I’ve written anything – this is mostly my fault. Work has been hectic at the moment and I’ve been struggling to make the time to update the blog. But I’m going to start making a conscious effort to update you now that this week is my week of death [e.g. Beast are back, Seventeen are back, NCT 127 will debut, Monsta X are releasing videos left right and centre, and BTS are doing everything in their power to kill me]
Before I delve into this week, I want to tell you about what I’ve been listening to this month seeing as you guys haven’t heard from me. [I also want to tell you that I got tickets to meet and see VIXX in September!]
I have fallen head over heels in love with KNK after their release of ‘Awake’. This is an extremely talented and hard-working group of tall males who are going from strength to strength and gaining fans everywhere. Out of the ‘Awake’ album, I adore ‘Day n Night’ the most. I would definitely recommend listening to them. Below you will see their MV for Back Again which I wholeheartedly support.
Of course I have been listening to EXO’s new album EX’ACT. I can tell you my EX’ACT (ok that was supposed to be funny) reaction when they released ‘Lucky One’ and ‘Monster’. ‘Lucky One’ was released first and I was sat over here wondering why Kai was dancing in front of Earth and why there were ice cubes falling out of nowhere – I think it distracted me from the song (which by the way, I adore now – click here for the video). Then ‘Monster’ pops out of nowhere a short while later and I’m instantly in love – this is the EXO that I crave and adore – something edgy and dark and slightly bad-boy to kick start their new era without Kris, Tao and Luhan [don’t look up the lyrics if you don’t want to die inside]. EX’ACT has some similar undertones to it and has a very modern sound which I think shows their maturity as a group. I wouldn’t be surprised if many fans didn’t understand their new album, but I think its a very brave new direction and personally, I feel like it has paid off. This is the start of the road for EXO [without their subunits] and I think I prefer them like this. I would fully recommend that you check out ‘Heaven’ and also ‘Stronger’. [Before people start asking me AGAIN what I think about ‘They Never Know’, I will just address it here briefly. As it sounds similar to BTS’ ‘Autumn Leaves’ a lot of people have been asking me my opinon but I have to let you know that the argument was settled as BTS had sampled another song for ‘Autumn Leaves’ so EXO did not plagiarise from BTS and had actually sought permission to use the sample too].
Sistar are back! I have been listening to Sistar a lot. With the fear that our girl groups are at risk, I have been trying to cling onto any hope that might save my favourites and Sistar just came back with this absolute hit. ‘I Like That’ is a punchy track that will get you shaking your shoulders along to the rhythm. The chorus is what caught my attention first – you will not be able to get it out of your head, its quite a unique sound but Sistar have always been somewhat different. Plus you can’t deny that their voices are like melted ice [is that a phrase?] and gel so well together in such a sultry way – Bora’s rap, Hyorin’s show-stopping vocals – what a group!
I didn’t get a chance to talk about U-Kiss’ comeback! U-Kiss are back with the song ‘Stalker’ which is a fairly contentious issue I have to say, because are they condoning love in the form of stalking? That’s not really ok. Having said that, this song is incredibly catchy and is the right kind of music that U-Kiss should be releasing in this current climate. I won’t lie, I really like it, even if the content of the song is a bit questionable. I think they have the potential to compete against other boy groups of today, and I also think with Kevin on ASC and Eli still doing Simply KPop [and gracing our headlines with his fatherhood], U-Kiss are well primed to build more popularity. You go boys – you deserve it!
I have been listening to Tiffany a lot recently too. I just adore every single thing she has come out with lately. Her collaboration with Simon Dominic on ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ has to be one of my favourite songs at the moment. It’s an easy listen and the perfect follow up to ‘I Just Wanna Dance’. Tiffany creates this dreamy atmosphere with her solo releases that I completely am on board with. Plus collaborating with Simon D was a smart move as it opens her up to the K-Hip Hop world in a way that many idol artists don’t get an opportunity to do.
Speaking of an AOMG artist, I want to quickly discuss ‘Good’ by LOCO and GRAY (feat. ELO). This has nothing to do with how much I adore Gray (or does it?). No, besides that point, this song is such a catchy and accessible R&B track. Lots of people that I know who like Korean music struggle to get into K-Hip Hop because its so different to the genres that they are used to. The minute I mention AOMG, its like I’m scaring vampires away with a crucifix. But this is the kind of song that permeates different genres and has and will continue to garner fans from all areas of the music world. The MV has a good plot line too, not to mention that it features most of the AOMG clan, so that keeps little old me happy.
OH! A song that has completely grown on me and possibly taken over my summer is ‘No Matter What’ by BoA and Beenzino. When they released it on SM Station, I opened it in excitement, thinking that I might fall in love instantly, but instead I wasn’t struck on the house sound and I shelved this song for a few weeks. It kept cropping up up in playlists everywhere and all of a sudden I couldn’t deny it any more – summer is here and I need a bit of BoA’s house influence in my life. I do wish that Beenzino played more of a part in this song because he does add a certain edge to it but, BoA, what can I say – you’ve done it again, you’ve taken over my summer.
DIA came back with ‘On The Road’ recently too. You all know that I have a soft spot for really girly girl groups (no matter how much I protest) and DIA are no exception! I have had my eye on them for a while as they have a T-ARA vibe about them (understandably, as they are dubbed T-ARA’s younger sisters). DIA have got a bit confusing lately because Seunghee left, then Eunchae joined recently, and then Chaeyeon joined I.O.I but is still in DIA – all very confusing. But all of this complication has not hindered the quality of this release because this is the perfect summer girl group song, with all the fun, energetic components encapsulated within. This might be the next girl group song I have been after and I’m sure that if you are a fan of the pure girl group, you will love this too.
A boy group that have been on the fringes of my consciousness but I have never really checked out have been Romeo. I only listened to ‘Miro’ as my friend Jess forced me to give them a go – plus, Minho from SHINee is in the video [as I found out weeks after I wrote this post and have come back to add it in]. This is an upbeat anthem that is so easy to fall in love with. There are no frills, it is just pure undeniably good KPop with some really strong vocals throughout the chorus section. I think Romeo are a group we are going to have to watch out for!
Support this song by San E and Raina! ‘Sugar & Me’ is a gentle and feel-good summer R&B tune, with Raina’s angelic vocals softening San E’s bars. It is a mid-tempo chill-out track that can accompany your lazy summer afternoons and is a sound that is completely synonymous with San E. He is always so skilled at releasing music to appeal to multiple audiences and his collaborations never fail to impress. I am completely hooked to it and foresee this song being repeated a lot over the coming months. The MV is really bizarre though – don’t look too into it!
Finally – Babylon, one of my favourite male R&B soloists, has stunned us again with his vocal range and stability in ‘Girls I’ve Never Seen Before Are All Pretty’ (or is it called ‘Crush On You’ I don’t even know). Lil Boi adds his skilful rapping ability to the smooth vocals to create a perfect summer mid-tempo R&B jam. I also like that Babylon hasn’t held back with choreography despite the track being slightly down-tempo. Babylon has yet to disappoint me!
Taeyeon’s back! But I think I’ll review her separately ^_^ Her releases have been fairly recent anyway. And I will write a separate review for Astro’s album too, as well as everything coming out of SMTM5.
A lot of music has come out in the past month and I have been keeping up with most of it but the above songs are the ones that I can say have impressed me/stuck with me the most. So on that note, I now leave you with one of my favourite performances of recent weeks. For those of you that do not know, Monsta X are one of those boy groups that has just infiltrated my heart, my house, my home over the past year – so now I want them to do the same to you. Watch the video below and then tell me that you don’t like them.