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Have You Listened To Them Yet?: [27th Dec 2013 – 15th Jan 2014]

27 May

Disclaimer: All posts are just containing my OPINION. I don’t mean to offend. I mean to give only my honest feedback. Also, I do not listen to every song, although I try to. (I might have missed them or the site may not have posted on it. The ‘Discovered’ section exists for this reason.)

By the way, this link here is for those who wish to look at (almost) every song that came out in each week. Since I don’t like EVERY song that comes out, I thought the Soompi tag should reflect a better picture of the releases. 😀 Two other links here may help too: LINK #1 , LINK #2

Songs I Like and Would Like to Recommend 

Rapper Swings returns with two songs ‘For Mother (feat. Crucial Star)’ and ‘Bulldozer’ before the year ends. The former is a hiphop-RnB track and I really like the chorus and hooks by Crucial Star. (Hehe) ‘Bulldozer’ is a darker, more aggressive (diss-and-)rap-only song with a dope beat and instrumental. (I really don’t get why hiphop songs have to be vulgar. Le sigh.) 
Ballad trio, MC The Max makes a comeback after 7 years with their 7th album. In my opinion, MTM is a really talented band. But as some of you might know, I have a certain limit to ballads and thus, I can only recommend some of the songs in the album for now – ‘On My Way Home’ (it’s such a lovely ballad), ‘Wind That Blows’ (a really emotional song), ‘Night We Shine’ (a gentler ballad than the last), ‘One Day’ (a jazz ballad), ‘Towards A Love That Closed.

DBSK/TVXQ makes a comeback with their 7th album titled <Tense>. I recommend ‘Something’(a cabaret-jazz pop track. It’s very energetic and suits the duo’s vocals much better than ‘Catch Me’), mid-tempo RnB anniversary track ‘Ten (Y)ears’ (the countdown distracted me from the actual song which was not too bad. Nice that they added their old song titles – Oh how I miss ‘Rising Sun’), catchy Jazz-pop track ‘Moonlight Fantasy’ (Love the whole song, but…it sounded like a song SHINee would sing. Well, I’m not a huge fan of the quintet…so..), mid-tempo Jazz-RnB pop track ‘Beside’, RnB pop number ‘Off-Road’ (Lol. I thought it was going to be some sageuk OST at the start but as I listened, it did sound like a drama OST. Love the falsetto against the strong beats.), RnB ballads ‘Smoky Heart’ and ‘Love Again’ (The chorus was so good; The difference between the two songs is in SH having a richer instrumental, while LA used the duo’s vocals and harmonies.) and flirty hip-hop-RnB track ‘Stepping’. The full album LINK.

VIXX’s ‘Thank You For My Love’ (erm..the title…sounds…so egoistic. LOL. The korean title is Thank You For Being Born/ Happy Birthday) is a sweet and simple mid-tempo RnB ballad. The MV had this fan-meeting for Leo’s birthday and it was so cool to see them actually make the coffee for the fans. (Is this a norm? And Leo looks friggin awesome!!) LINK

GB9 returns with an OST for <Thrice Married Woman>, ballad track ‘I Hope The Wind Blows’. Their vocals are awesome!! (You can check out the drama MV from the link given. But for those who do not want to be spoiled:) LINK 

Son Dam Bi temporarily returns with Latin Jazz single, ‘Red Candle’ which depicts the ‘double’ life of celebrities through her. I must say, I am very pleasantly surprised and pleased with the song and MV, along with a more matured, understated image of her.

Kim Wu Ju returns with a classic ballad, ‘Winter Night’ (feat Yiruma and a female singer). I actually liked the auto-tuned section by the female singer (and it’s not that she can’t sing) because it gave something different to the genre and she sounds great towards the end. 

Four-member RnB(whoa) girl group Mamamoo shows potential with their debut RnB single ‘Don’t Be Happy(feat Bumkey)’. I think I love them. Haha. Well, I guess one could say they had me at Bumkey. 😛 From the vocals to the choice of debut track, they remind me of Spica with their ‘Russian Roulette’ debut. (Yay! Another group to like!)  And the ending jazz track in the MV? Su-weet. Can we have the full track, please?!

Hip-hop trio Airplane makes a comeback with ‘How R U (feat. Narration by Lady Jane)’ single, which hits on all the right notes for me. It’s not particularly refreshing, but I like that its sweet and fun to listen to, with some ballad moments to balance the song…. Something like a Korean romcom drama. Haha. (Ah, I miss ChAOs. :()

Female soloist Rumble Fish sings sultry, vintage rock-pop track, ‘The Virulent Song (feat. Kanto)’, with flair. What a stunning representative track to return with.I also recommend the other songs in her mini album – rock-pop ballads ‘Falling Out’ (something more intense), Call It In’ (something quieter, mellower), and ‘Don’t Do That’ (mid-tempo, something more engaging, like an OST out of an anime or manhwa), and vintage RnB pop ballad ‘One Snowy Day’ (something bittersweet).  

B1A4 is ready for the winter (it was winter then..hehe) with their 2nd album <Who Am I> and hip-hop-RnB title track ‘Lonely’. All of the songs are very easy to like and listen to, which is quite a feat for the group since the B1A4 members wrote and composed 8 out of the 12 tracks. I felt that everything in ‘Lonely’ came together very well – the song, the rap and sing-rap verses by Baro, the choreography(, and even some of their MV and live stage outfits). [Those who might want to see their album jacket photos to motivate themselves to buy the album. Me included >.<]CNU’s and Gong Chan’s soft vocals, San Deul’s control and Baro’s gruff, husky, low vocals in particular, makes RnB-pop-ballad track ‘Love Back Then (feat. Harim) a relaxing song to listen to on a cool rainy day. That’s not to say Jin Yeong didn’t do well, but I thought his vocals did not seem as suitable for the song as the other members. ‘Prologue’ is a light, bittersweet ballad instrumental piece. It also seems to paint a picture of a person reflecting on the happy times of his/her relationship, like a lead-up to ‘Lonely’. ‘Amazing’ is a more upbeat, youthful pop track that’s not too bad. RnB-ballad song ‘Baby’ is similar to ‘Lonely’, only that the former is mellower and more romantic. ‘Oh My God’ is an acoustic, pop-ballad track that Park Shin Won (Park Shin Hye’s brother) participated, with his guitar skills. I can’t get enough of the chorus. >.< San Deul and Gong Chan (Never thought he could sing this well. Omg) duets for a gentle, delicate piano(?) ballad, ‘Arduous/Too Much’, with their husky vocals. I love the duo’s mix of intensity and softness towards the end.♥ The playful jazz-pop song, ‘Pretty’ begins with CNU’s rap and that’s such a different start from the group’s songs. In my opinion, though still enjoyable, ‘Pretty’ is one of the weaker songs of the album. I feel the same way towards fun rock-pop track ‘Who Am I’. (It is the other track that Park Shin Won took part in.) CNU’s solo song is a RnB-Pop track ‘Drunk For Music’ – very smooth and sexy. ;D RnB-pop track ‘Road’ has a distinct 90s, pleasing sound to it, especially at the chorus. RnB track ‘Seoul’ is so sensual! Love it. (LOL) For the full album, I’ve gotten the link from Soundcloud. I like how B1A4 varies the kind of tracks they have in the album and I get the feeling they know how to satisfy the crowd. Despite the different genres they try out, the group (and their other music-making crew) knows how to give the songs an amiable quality.

Female comedian Song Eun Yi and FT Island’s Song Seung Hyeon debuts under Two Song Place with their first single, ‘Age-Height’ (Na-i-Ki). The rock-pop song is a cutie but which talks about how men usually do a ‘lust-before-love’ sequence that it frustrates Song Eun Yi (or girls in general). I like how the song doesn’t mince its words and it’s even more honest coming from a man. The MV on the other hand is something different – it’s ‘loud’ and wacky, as the duo adds in parodies of popular songs like Exo’s ‘Wolf’ and Seon Mi’s ‘24 Hours’, alongside Song Eun Yi’s female comedian friends and some drool-worthy half-naked male models having a ball by themselves and together. Lol. So in a way, the MV is also trying to say that girls do the same thing…which is…pretty ironic…and true.. (Haha. Did anyone see how Kim Saeng Min got to be in the MV? It was due to him interviewing the duo during their MV shoot for KBS’s Entertainment Weekly that he got invited. LOL so random that it’s funny too.^^)

Gary releases his first solo mini album, comprising a total of 4 songs and 2 instrumentals, 2 of which are the rapper’s title songs. Though not straying away from the hip-hop genre, all 4 tracks are distinctly different from each other. ‘Shower Later(feat. Crush for the vocals, feat. Gray for the production)’ is of the hip-hop and RnB genre. I love the song – it’s got this sensual, quiet quality to it, and I think Crush was a great choice as he complemented Gary’s rap and the instrumentals. With regards to the MV, it is somewhat related to the lyrics but it’s..trashy. LOL. As in, it’s no surprise to expect a sexual video. But I thought it would (and would have preferred it to) be something more of a romantic but hot night between Gary and his lover. (I know, the video thumbnail totally tricked me. zzz.. But the lyrics..) I always object to girls (and for guys as well, unless it’s relevant – like underwear models.) being overtly objectified. Here, it is especially so because I don’t see how cheapening girls (esp how they are supposed to be doing it willingly), adds value to the song. (And Gary’s rap lyrics clearly read: I like your small but cute breats…and there are so many big chested women around in this MV…zzz)Hip-hop song ‘Zotto Molla (or XX Molla in korean)’ has Gary rapping and singing in this second title track. The MV and lyrics are more toned down than ‘Shower Later’. But it’s rather ironic how I have to admit I preferred ‘Shower Later’ to this, song wise. ‘Zotto Molla’ is still good though. ‘Drunken Night Tune (feat. Jeong In)’ is a hip-hop track with spanish(?) harmonica and latin tunes. I’m not too fond of the song, especially when the instrumental ‘took over’ Gary’s rapping. I liked the playful chorus done by Jeong In (and Gary) and the ‘Oh oh x4. Sulchwihan Bameui Norae Norae’ lines, which was what drew me in when I listened to its teaser in the first place. In my mind, the song took a different route – darker hip-hop stuff, after hearing the ‘Oh oh….Norae Norae’ line, with the spanish harmonica still included in the song. Hip-hop track ‘Mr Gae(feat. Juvie Train, Kye Beom Ju)’ had a dope start and I really like the raps. Kye did well, but his part seemed detached from the way the song was going – those kind of songs where all parties are doing their part fine, just not smoothly coordinated. But it does get better the more times one listens to it. All in all, it’s a generally positive reaction from me. I like the fact we get varieties within the same genre (now, someone has to do that for ballads..for me..hehe) and the quality of the songs are decent. If I have to choose the most unforgettable track, it would be ‘Shower Later’ (ahem).

Royal Pirates is a relatively new mainstream-rock band in the korean music industry, having debuted with ‘Shout Out’ (there’s 2 versions of the song) and ‘On My Mind’ in late 2013. Since I didn’t ‘review’ them when they debuted, I will be doing a joint recommendation for their 2013 debut and 2014 January comeback. Rock track ‘Shout Out’ has two versions (non synth and synth rock version), with both sharing about the same musical structure and then slightly differing in the chorus. I preferred the synth rock version with its softer instrumentals and smoother, more engaging chorus. I also really enjoyed that they gave a solo time for the instrumentals. (The MV made me think of vampires. O.O’’’)Rock-pop song, ‘On My Mind’, is an ear-friendly and sweet-sounding piece. I preferred the lounge mix version in their 2014 EP as it’s got less of the pop-genre and more of the relaxing, classy jazz genre that I felt suited the song better. For their 2014 comeback, the trio released their EP, ‘Drawing The Line’, consisting 6 songs that are up to standard. ‘Drawing The Line’ is an outgoing, light-hearted mainstream rock-pop track. The MV takes an amusing, crazy behind-the-scenes approach for their ‘comeback’, stealing laughs along the way unlike ‘Shout Out’’s MV that had a darker, gothic-like theme. The English version of the title track is just as good. 🙂 (I think it would have been great if they had the band-version MV done with the English version of the song, as that would more or less prevent cannibalisation of the views. ) ‘You’ is a spring-like(?) rock-pop track, that has a sweetly satisfying chorus. I predict it’s going to be on repeat for awhile. Haha. ‘See What I See’ is a bittersweet rock-ballad track with a hopeful message. I always liked this kind of rock-ballads and Mun Cheol’s falsettos are just simply wonderful. ‘Fly To You’ is a cute and romantic retro rock-pop song. It’s not too bad. 🙂 In short, I think Royal Pirates have released songs of reasonable quality and appeal. Although they aren’t particularly innovative, the songs are good enough for me. 🙂 What I also got out from the trio is that they are such good-looking pretty boys (James plays the Bass and backup vocals, Mun Cheol for Vocals and Su Yun takes the Drummer role and sub-vocals) , with Mun Cheol resembling Sterling Knight really like using Mun Cheol’s falsettos. Haha. But they use it well and I love it, so no complains. 🙂

Topp Dogg returns with their 2nd mini-album <Arario>. ‘Open The Door’ is a Pop-RnB track and I didn’t it as it was rather messy and I never liked singers straining their voices. I prefer their hip-hop or pure RnB tracks. (Which makes me wonder if the group can split into hip-hop and RnB subunits..) Hence, I recommend RnB song ‘I Know’ (The chorus is my favourite and the vocals go very well together too.), electronic-pop ‘Eschatologist’ (The instrumentals were overpowering for me, otherwise I think the song is very catchy.) and joseon-style(?) hip-hop track ‘Arario’ (I wonder why they only released an MV for it after about a month. And, lol, I thought A-Tom was wearing a female hanbok when he was rapping in the car. Heh). Full album here!

Not Too Bad/OK

Superstar K2’s Kim So Jeong (seen on many of Dream Team Season 2’s swimming episodes) and male duo J2M (Previously MTOM) sing ‘You, The You Then (part 1)’, a bittersweet lightly catchy RnB track with an light but addictive chorus. I prefer this more to part 2, which is about the same, minus the male duo’s participation. For those who want a song from J2M: ‘Only At This Moment(feat. JQ)’

M.Pire’s T.O releases his own solo single ‘Lie’, a medium-tempo hip-hop ballad with a smooth musical flow. I also like how the start of the chorus changes from keotjimal/lies to kajima/don’t go.

I think….Rain’s 6th album isn’t for me. I can tell he is experimenting, but it isnt really the kind of quality I’m looking for. On the other hand, Rain has a really suitable voice for the RnB genre. (Perhaps that was what JYP saw in him, since the producer is great at RnB.) I really liked his quiet RnB ballad, ‘Marilyn Monroe’, which has an instrumental that does half the job and is completed by Rain’s vocals. For some reason..it sounds like a christmas ballad to me…lol. I would also like to point out ‘Dear Mama Don’t Cry’ for it’s a song for and about mothers instead of lovers. PLAYLIST

VOS’s Kim Kyeong Rok and P.O collaborate for a mid-tempo pop ballad single ‘It’s No Big Deal’. The MV takes scenes from a webtoon drama called ‘Aftermath’. (OMG Kim Min Seok’s too cute >.<, esp at 0:40 when he’s looking at the couple. LOL.)

Dal Shabet’s makes a comeback with their 7th EP. Title song ‘B.B.B’ (and its remixed version) was generally ok. (I just really really disliked the big baby baby lines>.<) My favourite part has to be when Ka Eun sing-raps (which is also getting some attention from the public). I didn’t really think they were thaaat sexy and I totally like what they are wearing. *Clothes for the win. Haha* I do like Su Bin’s solo pop ballad ‘Just Pass By (feat. Il Hun)’ better than the title song but Su Bin was too soft such that it wasn’t as engaging as it could have been. (Sigh) But that electric guitar, was awesome!!

TopBob, an ex-TBNY member releases his mini album and out of the 3 songs, I recommend ‘Run Away’. The hip-hop track is quirkier and more interesting. Hehe.  Both the song and MV reminds me so much of Epik High’s ‘Wannabe’ for some reason. ‘My Darling (feat. Bumkey)’ has got this laid-back, chillax sound to it. But it was nothing special for me. On another note, the actress was so natural in the MV and she complements the song. It can be sooo awkward. Lol. ‘It’s Okay To Cry (feat Ben.Z)’ has a subtle rock instrumental with heavy beats. It is not too bad, but I’m not a huge fan of the song.

Ballad singer Wax, returns with single ‘Coin Laundry’.

Ballad soloist Zia, returns with her 3rd full album <11 Days Have Passed> (and on a later date, a repackaged album), that includes pure, emotional ballads and combinations of other genres with ballad. The female balladeer no doubt has a great voice, but I just don’t think she’s doing anything new. The songs are generally not too bad and I do have my favourite: pop ballad ‘Farewell Is Easy’. It’s just, I suck at appreciating (not hate, mind) heavy ballads. Heh. Tracklist

Lee Hyo Ri and Lee Sang Sun collaborate for INR 3’s OST ‘Don’t Cry’, which has an acoustic version that I think is better. It’s a soothing ballad that I have never heard from Lee and it’s not too bad. (By the way, the soloist also has a dance-pop song,‘Don’t Cry’. Funny, that.) LINK

Got7 debuts with ‘Girls Girls Girls’, an electronic pop song, with hip-hop-y instrumentals that remind me of the song to JYP’s Hammer Dance. GGG is not too bad and I think it can become quite addicting. But it lacks that oomph a debut really needs. (If you think about it, G.Na hasn’t been putting out stellar songs. But it was because her debut song was good that we remember her [This is coming from a woman who only focuses on songs, k? Lol], that her fans still expect something great out of her.) I enjoy the way the vocalists (wait..I think everyone sang..LOL) sang in this song. What I’m even more shocked about is that almost half of the group are non-koreans (Chinese members Mark and Jackson, Thai member Bambam). The way they pronounce, sing and rap the Korean language with such confidence and ease really surprised me. Moving on, the omg-part dance was cute. The MV just wasn’t my cup of tea. It felt like it was trying to be cool and everything, which didn’t work out for me. Excluding ‘Like Oh’ and ‘Playground’, most of the septep’s songs are pop tracks with some hip-hop influences. I recommend ‘Hello’(I preferred this to ‘GGG’, as the former balances the gruff raps out with the sweet, romantic singing verses, making it an overall better song.) and ‘Like Oh’ (One of the better songs on the whole. Though not the best, it is still worth a try. It’s not easy to ‘get into’ as the direction is somewhat unpredictable.). The other songs of the album aren’t bad, especially the singing verses. ‘Follow Me’ is a playful song that initially gives the impression that it’s a follow-up song of ‘GGG’. ‘Playground’ is the single ballad of the album. Though it is a nice break from the other songs, it is neither good nor bad. I didn’t really like ‘I Like You’ as I got disinterested with the rap and annoyed with the electronic chipmunk. (Lol)The chorus is its redeeming factor. For the most part, I do think Got7 is a balanced group. It’s a pity the tracks and especially ‘GGG’, aren’t stellar enough to wow the crowd, despite the unusual choice of genre(s) the group debuted with.

A-Prince’s ‘Kissing Scene’ is a saccharine-sweet RnB-pop track from the quintet. (I know the song has an MV but I didn’t like it. Hehe)

Discovered

Jerry K‘s ‘Pierrot’ (feat. Kim Jae Seok of Wanted)

Soompi’s Edward1849 recommends some 20 songs that have gone under the radar for 2013. Since I know most of them(..I think I have been a good girl..hahaha. :P), I will only list the ones I have not heard and found them nice myself. They are #19: 21GRM’s ‘Goodbye Sweetie’ (a simple but pleasant track by the trio), #15 : Pearl’s Day’s ‘Can You Hear Me’ (an acoustic track with a mild rock tendency), #14: Ailee’s ‘Scent of A Woman’ (a fun jazz track that…reminds me of Big bang’s ‘Lalala’..hehe), #5: W&JAS’s ‘Green’ (electronic, jazz track), #2: Various Artists’ ‘Brilliant Is’ (a pretty long song at 15 minutes, but worth the watch :D).

Soompi’s monthly underrated releases for the later part of November has good songs, but my picks are:

#4: Momentale‘s ‘Scary Monday’, #8: Heenain‘s ‘Midnight’, #9: Like (Sidus HQ’s new male group) – ‘Go Back’, #11: Yena‘s ‘So Hard (feat. Din Din)’, #14: Journey‘s ‘That Spring Day’, #15: 2LSON‘s ‘Emotion’ (feat Din Din and CryBaby), #22: Rose Motel‘s ‘The Man And Woman Who Want To Marry (feat. Song Eun Yi)’, #23: So Ryang‘s ‘Away’, #25: The Tourist‘s ‘Walk Alongside’, #26: Taru‘s ‘Rainy’, #27: 40 & Eluphant – 니네집(as a replacement for the one in the Soompi post; I was thinking..Kye Beom Ju could sing this well too), #29: Lego‘s ‘You Make Me So Crazy‘ and #32: IPT‘s ‘Girl Talk was not bad too. 

Others

Year End Performances:

Exo’s ‘Growl’ with a comedic twist by Park Jun Kyu, Kim Jong Min and Kwang Hee (starts around 1:27). It’s too cute not to share. >.<

MBC’s Year-End performances for 2013 were quite awesome. Though it was a pity there were some videos that were blocked or faulty, there are still some that cannot be missed! I particularly enjoyed the off-stage performances and collaborations from:

Niel and Ailee‘s 4 Minutes – LINK

Crayon Pop‘s ‘Bar Bar Bar’ flash mob –  LINK

BTS performed SechKies’ and HOT songs and their ‘No More Dream’ – LINK

Lee Hyo Ri, Tiger JK (Not RM’s Tiger Jong Kook. Haha. That was pretty witty from the hiphop RM episode), Yun Mi Rae and BizzyLINK

Interviews:

Dabit is a new singer-songwriter who debuted in December last year. While watching his interview with Soompi, I noticed there’s a down-to-earth, modest charm about him. Here’s the link.

Gary had an interview with Loen/1theK, and also talked about his humble beginnings and how far he has come to be the hip-hop veteran he is now.

Covers:

Taeyeon sings ‘with’ Bieber for the latter’s ‘Be Alright’. The ballad suits the ‘duet’ (and vice versa), JB included(his voice is maturing :)).

Spica’s Boa and Eric Nam‘s soulful duet cover of Christina Aguilera and A Great Big World’s ‘Say Something‘ is a beautiful, emotional effort. I never expected the two singers to collaborate. But I sure got blown away. I wished Boa had a part on her own, but that’s nothing major. Eric’s sweet vocals and Boa’s husky ones are a perfect match. It’s even better that both knew the kind of control each needed, without any party unintentionally overwhelming the other.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!

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6 Comments

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in General updates, k-drama, Kpop, news, Others, reviews

 

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6 responses to “Have You Listened To Them Yet?: [27th Dec 2013 – 15th Jan 2014]

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