(From 2017-03-25, I was really late with this one)
Hello my friend/s/!
Welcome back again for a new months worth of discoveries by me, your (host? entertainer? guid?) Madeleine!
Let me start of by saying that February was weird. This month has been a bit hard on me personally, I’ve had a few highs and a lot of lows. I’m not going in to details too much but the conclusion is that sleep is a good thing! We all know that music helps us deal with stuff and boy do I want to say that K-pop held my hand through all of this, but K-pop has been a bit under the whether to put it nicely. February started out really slow with mostly ballads, and while the end had much more releases (and by more well-known names), girl groups seams to have missed the mark through-out the whole month. My taste isn’t gg based so it didn’t bother me personally that much but a lot of people have made their disappointment obvious.
This month has provided a handful of songs that are really strong, and while the minority of them are from lesser known artists/producer, I’m quite confident that you’ll find something that suits your taste! I’ve been focusing more on information about the company behind the artist/group in this post, lately I’ve become more aware of how much the company and the producers affect the sound. Please let me know if you like this new format or if you are more interested in other parts of the work behind the scene!
As February is coming to an end we’ll have March to look forward to, and maybe the korean music scene has recovered and start sending out strong & happy spring tunes by then! But what better way to start a new month of than by going through note-worthing songs from the last? So lets start!
The songs I like to talk about this time are by SF9, Jong Shin Yoon (feat. Zico), CLC, Red Velvet, BTS and Klang. We also have strong songs from Lim Jeonghee, OBroject & Standing Egg, Eden (feat. Babylon) and lastly Infinite.
Let’s start with a quirky one by SF9, called Jungle Game
Oh boy, where to start? Let’s get the formal bit out of the way, I’ll introduce them as a 9 member strong dance unite from a company called FNC Entertainment. They are the only male K-pop idol group in that company, FNC mostly focus on bands and I was really shocked by SF9’s content when I realised that they are from the same company as FTIsland, CNBlue and N.Flying. The only association that made sense where that AOA is under the same lable, and they don’t sound anything like this anyway so it’s still a bit weird for me.
The guys in SF9 are all younger than myself (I guess I should start getting used to it, it’ll only get worse from here on) with the oldest born ’93 and the youngest ’00. This song is from this young groups first ep since their debut, and it was released Febuary 6 with the name Burning Sensation.
Jungle Game is extremly electro-beat heavy, witch is a logical card to play when you have a group that focus on the visual (dance and looks) more than vocals. There is a lot of sounds all at once, the group sing-talks/rap-sings more that actually hit a note and the chorose is mostly composed by nonsense lyrics and shouting in funny voices. This song has all the stereotypical assumenations of korean boy group rolled up in one, and I like it! The base is simple and repetitive. Jungle Game’s strongest point is however that it sound like another song, and that my friend is the introsong for Inspector Gadget! I didn’t notice it at the beginning, but after my friend pointed it out I can’t stop hearing the similarities :p The bottom line is that I get happy listening to this song! What’s your opinion?
As for the ep as a whole.. Roar was the lead single and it got a mv that was really dance heavy if I remember it correctly, but I found that song to be quit boring to be honest. And while I liked some parts of the song 4 step it was the first song of the ep, Tell me what it is, that was my second favourite. Give them a listen, SF9 might be a group to look out for in the future!
Let’s stick with the unique sound as we move on to Jong Shin Yoon feat. Zico with their song Wi-Fi
Jong Shin Yoon is a veteran in the korean music industry, debuting back in ’90. After some digging I found out that Jong Shin Yoon started a label in ’01 called Mystic Entertanment (or just Mystic89) and I’m gonna go ahed and assume that he himself isn’t under another agency. I could only find 3 listed artist under Mystic E. so it’s a really small company! I belive that JSY has been putting out these so called “monthly project” since 2010, often with other singers as the vocalists. This one however only featurs Zico as the rapper so JSY gets to show his vocals and I have to say that JSY has an unique voice and a old school feel to his singing technique.
And guess what I just learnd? Jong Shin Yoon is the producer of the wonderful song Trainee with Y.E.T. as the singer, and he produced and sings in another song called The First with Tablo that I fairly liked. So there you go, I had 2 songs from his monthly project before this one and didn’t even know it. I can’t say that there’s a whol lot of simularities between these three songs other than the fact that JSY had something to do with them, but hey, I still like them ^.^
I really like these odd and quirky songs that I’ve been able to discover recently! JSY draws the connection between a relationship that’s cracking up with a bad Wi-Fi connection on the streets in this song. Yeah, in Seoul there’s free Wi-Fi on the streets, crazy I know! Anywho, the Wi-Fi connection is shown in the song when JSY singing a note and the sound disappears like when an internet connection wavers. If the sound was to go completely on and off again repeatedly I think it would be annoying, but in Wi-Fi it’s only the singing that disappears while the backing track going steady. I think it’s a great way to tie the meaning of the song into the backing track without it being tacky and I’m loving that specific sound right now. Sometimes you get so hung up on what you can hear/see that you forget to listen to what’s being left out/seeing what isn’t there.
Zico does his part in a particular low-key voice for beeing Zico surprisingly enough, and while it dosen’t ruin the song it still feels a bit out of place in my opinion. I’m gonna go with the classical Twik phrase and say that this song didn’t need a rap part! Luckaly that part isn’t too long and Jong Shin Yoon builds up momentum fast after Zicos part. Wi-Fi is one of my favourite song of 2017 so far!
Some say that girl/group/s haven’t done anything note-worthing this month but I would like to beg the difference, starting with CLC‘s Liar
CLC is from Cube Entertainment, a company who houses groups like BTOB, Pentagon, Hyuna (former 4minut) and they used to have Beast as well but that didn’t really work out well.. CLC is a young group, they debuted 2015 but the group got two new members in 2016 and that almost counts as a reset in my eyes. The group is also young in the meaning of the members age, one of the members are a ’00 line and the rest of them range from ’98-’96, but again, I just have to get used to it ’cause I’m gonna keep ageing and the debutants are gonna continue to debuet around 15 years of age!
Liar is from their album “Crystyle” witch is a really messy album in my opinion! This was the only song that I liked, the rest of the songs from the album sufferd from lack of cohesion and production-value. Good thing I’m here to talk about the songs I like instead, let’s move on to Liar. The girls sing in a low register without wierd yelling insted of singing that has been the trend for girl groups for a while. This song is electro based with this dirty base in the backing track that gives the song a strong hit without it becoming boring. I think the song would’ve sounded a bit better without the rap-breakdown, but at least it’s a short one so I guess I’ll accep it.
The lyrics is sadly garbage, the girls are talking about how the boyfriend always lies so when she suspect him for cheating on her and when he straight up says Let’s break-up she whises that he’s lying. Makes sense huh? That aside, the brigde and the choures itself is really addictive!
So this next one is Body Talk by Red Velvet
I always forget how young of a group Red Velvet is, it feels like they’ve existed for a long time based of their large fanbase but they only debuted in 2014 and they aded a member 2015. This song is from their new album called Rookie (read Lookie) wich is a good represetive of what Red Velvet musicly is about in my meaning. Their go-to sound is labled (by me) weird electro songs. And then they tossed in some ballads ’cause koreans loves ballads. But it gets so messy (again, acording to me) and I have a hard time figuring out what they put out. Out of six songs, Rookie includs 2 ballads that are just reagullar and quit boring ballads, 2 songs that I could listen to and 2 songs that are so wierd and electro heavy that I just lost intrest
Body Talk is the one I like the most out of this album, it’s still a electro based song but more a slow pased retro synth electro song than a everything happens at once electro dance song. The girls sings in a way that I really like in this song, when they sing in the chorus they sing with the beat/backing-track, but in the verses they sing to a melody that they make by just singing above the backing-track. I don’t know if I put that the right way so you could understand what I mean, but listen to the song and focus on the space between the electro beat and the melody that the girls makes by singing and let me know if I make any sens at all! I found that doing just that it felt more moving when they actually sang with the backingtrack since they almost only do it in the chorus.
I’m surprised of how many girl group songs I listen to recently, I’ve gone from letting around 5 songs to be in my go-to list but rarely listen to any of them to actively listen to a lot more than that, and actually choosing to play girl group songs!
The biggest group of the month that I’ll talk about is undoubtebly BTS with their song Not today
(This is all improvised, I forgot to write about them in my original text so I have nothing to work with but my feelings about the song/mv today, which is totally different from when I was planed to write about Not Today!)
BTS came back with two mvs, one being a deep-symbolic-heavy mv to a sad song and one being this song, Not Today, a more hard hitting dance track. When it comes down to the songs I like the more sad of the two, Spring Day, but mv wise it’s Not Today. And what I like about the mv is the choreography they do with all the backup dancers. I don’t think the moves they do are the most brilliant/hard/newest moves you can bust out, I do however think that it looks cool when 50+ dancers does it at the same time.
And since it’s the mv I like the most, not the song, I’ll link the mv on Youtube instead of the song on Spotify.
If we move on to the song itself, I’ve alreaddy said that I prefer the mv over the song, but that don’t mean that I don’t like the song at all. It’s just that I find the backing track to be heavier than the sining. And that woulden’t be a problem if I where to listen to the istrumentalls of the song and judging that, but then it woulden’t matter that the song is by BTS now would it?
Sadly, the song is nothing more than okay for me. Maybe I was expecting more than I got, but the poit is that if I’m on the mood for BTS I have other songs I listen to before I think of Not Today. What’s your thoughts on the matter?
Moving on to a strong song from a solo female artist, let’s talk about The Wanted by Klang
I had no luck in finding information about Klang in english, the funny thing is that most of the comments on the mv on Youtube are people asking who she is and why they haven’t heard about her sooner. I guess we’ll get some type of information about her down the line ’cause people liked this!
The Wanted is the first korean western song I ever heard. I don’t know if you are going to like it but it’s original and done in the right way so it totally deserves a shout-out. Klang has a full voice that can stays strong with this type of backingtrack. You need some type of oumph in you to not blend in when the melody is this demanding, and she pulls it of nicely. The music video to this song was a bit of a mind-fuck for me. Here you have a song with a heavy western beat with a voice that sounds quit mature, and then you get to see a young-looking skinny girl in fanshionble clothing walking around in the city. It clashed a bit but hey, I’ll always remember it so I guess that’s good?
So this is kinda the second part of the post were I’ll move on to songs that I really like. I’ll work on a better lay-out/structure for my posts til next post ’cause I’m not all that happy with this sloppy formate but I’m just happy if I get this one out there before March is over to care about it too much right now.. But enough of bad-mouthing myself, let’s get on with my favourites!
We’ll start of with the best song of the month in my opinion, and that’s Crazy by Lim Jeonghee
Jeonghee debuted under JYP Entertainment back in 2005 where she did little note-worthing. She moved on to Big Hit Entertinment 2012 where she had some more sucess but after the mandatory 3 year contract ended she joined Oscar ENT instead (a company I can’t find anything about..). And when I say that this song was the best from this month I mean that it’s the best song that I found this month, Crazy was released one year ago (28/2 2016) and sadly it has not been getting the attention I think that it deserve.
You might not like my way of describing Crazy, but it gives me a Eurovision song contest-song vibe. A really good one, you know the typ of song that’s when prefomed you get the feeling in you that this is the best, no discusion, and then the song ends up barly making top 10? Jeonghee sings with so much emotion that you get the feeling that she’s been through the songs meaning and she does it with great vocals so it all sums up to an amazing song. It’s a good power ballad that I rearly see in K-pop with the vocals to back it up. I keep finding kpop songs were I get the feeling that they were going for a full-on power ballad, thinking grand and wonderful, but then they hand it over to a person who lack the vocal range to make the song come alive. Crazy by Jeonghee is the oposite of that my friend!
I knew the first time that I heard it that I would love Crazy and here I am, 4 weeks later and I have been listning to it non-stop. There is a mv to this song but it’s a bit weird and sadly not good weird but just awekward. The lesson I learnd here is to never under-estimate older singers and don’t assume that lesser known artists can’t put out songs you’ll come to love! Another really good song by Jeonghee is I.O.U, a more ballady type of song, but get the same good voice and feeling. I recommend them both strongly!
Crazy may be the best song of the month, but my favorite song of February is by far Obroject and Standing Egg – Those were the days
I was early to the game for once when I found this song on the day it was released (7th February) and I was expecting a new wonderful tune by Standing Egg without knowing who Obroject was. Well, even the name of the song shows Obroject first so I don’t know why I didn’t get the message but it’s the other way around, Standing Egg might have written the backing track/composed it (I’m not sure who did what behind the scene actually) but it’s Obroject that makes this song so good. I heard the live clip first and was totally caught of guard by the guys vocals but found the over-all song a bit to slow, it missed something to bring it all the way to the top.
And then I heard the recorded version where the guitar sounds incredible! Now I just wish there were a way to combine the two..
Obroject are two brothers who raps and sings together. One of the brothers appeared on SBS KPOP star and the other are apparently a member of an underground hiphop crew. And Standing Egg are a loosely put together group who mostly produce music for other singers. In Those where the days Standing Egg stands (I just had to :p) for the music and Obroject for the singing and rapping.
I really love this song. It feels soothing and comforting, I haven’t found any eng subs and by the title I guess it could be a sad song about the good old days but it feels almost uplifting. I feel more positive after listening to this song than sad. Granted, I feel a bit low/small (?) but it’s more like the song brings me back to my center than me feeling insignificant. I’m quit interested in your opinion so please give me feedback on this one! ‘Cause here I’m am thinking that this is a top 2 songs of 2017 for sure, and then I realise that nobody ells is talking about it. And I’m not sure if it’s because people just overlooked it or if this is a pocket pick of mine.
A close runner up is Edens song Stand up witch features Babylon
Take this information with a grain of salt ’cause I can’t seem to confirm it anywhere, but I think that Eden and Babylon is signed with the same lable as Block B? In the clip below Eden says that Babylon fits Edens voice and music style and that’s a big reason why he chooses to work with him, but at the same time it was an easy decision to make since they are under the same label. That didn’t help me in finding out witch company they are from ’cause I can’t find Babylons company either… But Block B is under KQ Entertainment, witch concists of two sub-lables, Seven Seasons (where Block B is signed) and KQ Produce (wich might be the home of Eden and Babylon if I’m right).
Anyway, Eden has worked as a producer for quit some time and this is his first time producing a song that is meant for himself. The song itself is solid, Eden is as a good producer, but I can see where it made sense for Eden to stick with producing instead of pursuing a signing career. His voice is not uniq. It’s a good base, but there’s nothing that makes his voice stand out. It’s not a real problem when you have a good song (like Stand up), sometimes a song needs a blander voice to let the backing track shine. And in this case we have Babylon that provide us with a voice as well.
Speaking about Babylon. He does not only sing in this song, he raps as well. I knew somewhere in the back of my head that he could do that, but I was still a bit surprised of it. ‘Casue the Babylon I like is the Zico feat. Babylon Boys and Girls Babylon, the sweet hook singing Babylon. And he sings the chorus really well with a more sweet tone in his voice, he just raps in a whole verse before that.. He doesn’t do it badly, the rap is decent! I’m just not used to describing Babylon as a rapper :p
I like how full this song feels. Edens voice matches well with Babylons, the beat is solid and the rap part is actually good! I can’t help it, I just want to yell/sing with them when the chorus hits. The random piano fits really good with the synth and bass and the song is just high quality according to me. The only downfall the song has is that Eden auto tuned his voice a lot in the recorded version and I don’t think there were a reason to do so in the beginning and if he did it for production value I think he did it too much so it borders to ruin his own part. I guess the big question here is which version did you like the most, the live one or the recorded one?
The last one is “not really a song” but it clearly is one, and it’s Infinite – In the summer
I think this is an advertising song for one of their tours? Anyway, I found this song while hyping over Kpop in general in a “funny live mishaps” thread on Reddit. Some things I found there were just cute funny things that got wrong on live performances, included one girl from Girls Generations throwing a baseball on a fan during a performance and being so embarrassed over it so she ran and hide behind a basket. So this clip came up, and I was a bit blown away by their harmonizing skills. I’ve never really listen to Infinite so I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was really good and I got really interested in the song itself.
In the summer is a fun and cute summer song with a lot of aegyo. It’s almost like a korean boy group version of In the summertime by Mungo Jerry in the sense of how the song feels. I know that it’s not usually what I listen to and the song itself might not have that much of production value or things like that.. But it’s catchy and sneaks up on you! I’ve found myself having the harmonizing part in my head from time to time :) I’ll link the mv, bare in mind that it’s sooo sugar sweet that it’s hard to wach it, it’s so full of grown men doing aegyo with waaaay more eye-contact than I could handle. If that’s your thing then you’ll love it, if not, than have fun with the cringe fest!
That was it for February, I’ll hope that you like this new format and that you learned something new today! If you have a comment on my info or an input on what I should write more/less on, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!
Have a nice day!