Let me tell you a story.
There’s this podcast called ThisweekinKpop where the two hosts (Stephen & Josh) talk about the latest music videos in K-pop. They’ve done it for quit awhile and has developed a genuine friendly atmosphere that invites people around the world to their passion for K-pop. I’ve been one of those people who tuned in for every new episode and what I’ve always appreciated is their honest opinion about what they like and what they don’t like. Stephen often goes for the up-tempo happy songs with the occasionally ballad-with-a-a-beat/soul-full r’n’b, while Josh is mainly into baby-making music and all things girl-groups touches.
With this said they do try to include indie-picks or just songs that the majority of K-pop-listeners tend to overlook, and while I can find music to help broaden my personal taste through the podcast, I feel like I can’t help to glance around for other types of songs than what they’re usually talk about. I personally like to listen to everything from nasty baby-making music to gangster-rap, sticky-sweet boy-groups to hard rock, singer-songwriter to dance-music. So instead of looking around after other podcasts/reviewers and trying to gather bits and pieces of other peoples opinions I thought “Why not take things into my own hands” and that is how this all started.
I guess it’s quite obvious that I’ll use Twik as an inspiration, but since I don’t really pay much attention to the music-videos this will be more of me highlighting a bunch of songs (hopefully 10 each month) that I think have discussion value. I will try to find out as much information about the songs/groups/labels as I can, and I might even talk about how a song itself fits in its album. I do however think it’ll be hard to find an even amount of information about every song due to the fact that some of my picks will be under the international radar and that might mean that all information will be in Korean. That being said I won’t forget to talk about my feelings about the music and I’ll try to explain why I like the songs I pick!
Twik tries to only talk about songs that have a music video and not sharing that trait is one thing that will differentiate me from Twik, another way is that I will not limit myself to new releases. I’m always on a hunt for music and I occasionally stumble upon older songs that I feel needs to be talked about and I’ll feel bad for not bringing awesome music up for discussion just ’cause they’re “old”.
I’ll try to gather all songs that I’ll talk about in my Spotifylist Like a Snowflake and link them in this blog, but in the case of songs missing from Spotify I’ll link the Youtube page instead. I’m not at all certain how this will work out, but Twik really inspired me to at least try it out so please bear with me while I gather experiences and maybe this will turn out good. Feel free to leave any type of feedback! So now that I have the presentation done I like to list who I’ll be talking about this month!
In the first part, where I’ve put the songs that has become my current favourites, we have songs from J.Fla, Yoon Do-hyun, Yellow Monster, Changmo and Flowsik.
The second part will be about songs from Grace, Zion.T, Beat Win and Shin Yongjae.
Let’s start of with J.Fla – Arrow
This is one of the artists that I’ve been struggling to find information on. It seems that J.Fla released Arrow as a single in late 2014, but the mini-album Grey Skies include Arrow and was released back in August last year and I found it late December if I remember it correctly. While she does a lot of covers on Youtube, it doesn’t look like she has put out more than a hand-full own songs. Her Spotify page consists of the mini-album Grey Skies, that’s it. I’ve found a teaser for this song on Youtube, but no full musicvideo. That teaser was from 2014 so my guess are that Arrow was pland to be released around that time but for some reason they delayed it. But enough of that, lets get to the good stuff!
This is my favourite song of the month! I get mixed emotions when I listen to this song, both calm and happy at the same time. Arrow is a ballad with a beat where J.Fla’s soothing voice and the amazing backing-track fits each-other like a glove. She sings with the song instead of on top of a bunch of instruments. I like the steady beat and the base that lures you in deeper into the song. My favourite part is the build-up to the chorus and the chorus itself. They both fits so well, the parts of the song with eachother and the lyrics with the backing-track.
I’m a bit surprised og the quality of this song. J.Fla and her team (whoever they are, I coulden’t even find out witch company she’s under) has probably workt on it for some months before it was teased twoalmostthree years ago. But that does not give Arrow an old sounding finish. I would actually go so far as to say that this song sounds timeless.
I can see myself listen to this song in every season without it conflicting with the mood of the weather. And I will probably listen to Arrow in the future as well. It’s a great song according to me to put it simple!
Next tune up is Sparks Fly by Yoon Do-hyun
Yoon Do-hyun is not mention in the K-pop scene often with the simple explanation that he is considered to be a folkrock/rockstar. Sure, he has done some featuring on songs by Tablo and LeeSSang, but he is mostly known in other forums than K-pop. He has been around in the industry since early ’90 with various commercial success.
I picked this song because it gave me a feeling of some of the songs in the movie Still Crazy. It is a sweet ballad with great fall-vibes, witch is why I found it strange to see it was released in early January. Another reason for me to find Sparks Fly interesting is that it is a Station song, SM’s weekly (?) music release system where they get to show-chase music that wouldn’t be prioritized by SM otherwise.
The song itself is, like I said, a sweet acoustic ballad with Yoon Do-hyun singing gently with the occasionally choir as back-up singers. It is a bit repetitive, and it is only Yoon Do-hyun’s voice that really sticks out. But if you are in need of a mood-setter, this might be just for you!
Moving on to Yellow Monster with I don’t wanna be with you
Now this song got me exited from the first time I heard it! Yellow Monster was a bit of an “all-star” punk-rock band, all of the 3 members came from previously famous punk-bands. I’m pretty sure they have disbanded by now but some of the stuff they’ve done is pretty awesome. This song is from their album Red Flag that was released November 12, 2013.
I don’t wanna be with you is the best song from Yellow Monsters in my opinion. This is straight up a happy punk song with an easy sing-along chorus. But the part I like the most is the numbers-part! It starts the verses of and is fun-sounding and they made it fit well with both the drums and guitar. The song has good instrumental parts, they let the guitarist have a good sling that repeats a lot, the drums are as loud as expected and the base is steady and good. It is not a song that will revolutionize the punk-scene. It is however a basic happy song about something that is hard and painful and it stays true to what punk is. Give it a listen and tell me what you think!
Let’s make a graceful leap to the korean hip-hop/rap scene and talk about Flowsik x Overwatch – Go Hard!
You might not know this but I love Flowsik’s deep voice and I love his rap-style! Go Hard is not the best song I’ve heard him in, but since it’s a song advertising for a game it might be overlooked and that’s why I’m brining it up. Flowsik was a in a 3 man strong group called Aziatix that mainly focused on ballads in english. And to be honest it’s so good seeing Flowsik rap in both korean and english in a more aggressive way, it fits his voice and persona more.
Go Hard is a rap/electronic mash-up and it’s a bit Frankensteiny, sadly enough. I really like the parts of the song where Flowsik gets to rap hard and fast. And the drop is pretty good, I just think that it lasts a bit to long and that the transition from verse to electronic drop and back again was a bit hard. I’ve heard some complaints over Flowsiks lack of flow when he raps in english contra his rap in korean. I can’t say that I hear what they comment on but I’m a bit bias to his voice and it might make me overlook details like that. This is a song I would like to listen to a lot right now, but it’s not on Spotify and I don’t really use Youtube as a music-player. I’ll check if I can buy it on iTunes, but if I can’t than sadly I don’t see myself jamming out to this song after compiling this list for you.
Jagger was released mid December last year on an album called DBSG 3. I have given that album a thoroughly listen since I like Jagger as much as I do, and it’s only this song and one other (AIYA feat. Beenzino) that are standable. As sad as that is, it seems that Changmo is one of the artists that releases songs pretty often so I’ll stay on the look-out for more songs like this one in the future.
Funny enough Maestro and Jagger is almost the opposite of each other. Jagger has a steady guitar sling in the backbone to the song, Maestro has a simple pinao sling. Jagger is a slow-tempo song that feels scaled down and Maestro is a bit more aggressive song with more things happening.
This song was released early this year so I haven’t listen to it as many times as some of the other songs in this mail. But I’ll try to explain the song in a good way anyway!
Changmo is still playing with auto-tune, I think that he thinks that it a good cover-up for the fact that his voice is far from awesome. But while I felt that Jagger was in the good field of auto-tune, Maestro has way too much auto-tune in it. And I think that me liking Maestro is more of a short-terme thing than me likeing Jagger because of that.
This song has an interesting drop with almost an insekt-like cricketing sound. And I like how Changmo raps with emotions, so if he could just loose the auto-tune it would be great!
That’s it for part one! And since I’m a bit late putting this out I’m gonna split January month in to two parts. I haven’t started on the second part yet so I’ll try my hardest to finish but I think I’ll need a day or two to get it done. I’m afraid of the shere length of this post and I hope that it won’t put you off to much. But if you have some comments or concerns, please feel free to send them to me and I’ll get back to you!