Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Big Bang - Gara Gara Go

The past 18-20 hours for me is best described as crap in every possible way. It started last night when I got home real late after my voice got a beating singing hi re's and fa's over and over again. Since I'm the oldest in my 'voice' and my cousin was there watching(she's a very good choir person, mind you) a lot was resting on me to sing those solo parts naturally. So last night I lost my voice of all horrors. At around 4 AM, maybe earlier, I felt like crap - like I had a fever. When it was time to wake up for school I couldn't get up, I was way too sick. So here I am, lying down on my bed and wallowing(and my insecurities are starting to bite back..) with a MacBook Air and unlimited wi-fi by my side. The one thing that made my morning somewhat pleasant was this song:
I honestly adore Big Bang and if it weren't for the rapping like 60% of the time they'd most probably be my favorite Korean boyband but alas, they rap way too much for my taste.

This is their new Japanese single slated for release on July 8 and I absolutely adore it. The processing seemed a bit unnecessary (especially for the guy who sings first - his voice is absolutely gorgeous that I don't know why they even thought to masking his brilliance) when I first heard it but after I listened to the whole thing I was convinced that this may be one of the most brilliant mainstream K-pop (or J-pop if you take into account which market this is aimed at..) songs this year. The song as a whole sounds very techno/R&B-like, a far cry from my favorite song of theirs but I can see the appeal of an arrangement like this. Being me, the melody won me over before I could even weigh the good and bad of the arrangement so I'm afraid this song is brilliant to my ears.

The chorus is absolutely divine and they sell the song amazingly well, being catchy and all but the verses are outstanding beyond words. The processing during the verses becomes slightly bearable but I honestly can't wait for them to sing this live so I can actually hear the song without auto-tune.

At the moment, it's a 4.9/5 but it might go up to a perfect score pretty soon.

I've finally found a Demi Lovato song I like.

I don't like Demi Lovato as a whole - I never thought I'd hear a song worthy of my time because I've heard her first album and it's not my taste. Little did I know that a mere bonus track(which are most often the best parts of American albums..) would make me change my opinion on her even just a teensy bit.

Gift of a Friend is corny and Disney-like in every possible way but that's what draws me to the song even more. The vocals are one of the main reasons why I can stomach this song - she doesn't scream that much (but still does, a bit.), use that annoying side of her voice or breathe like she's having an asthma attack (that much..) that I can't stand so if you really listen to her vocals here they're actually very good. Melody-wise this song pushes all the right buttons - it's somewhat beautiful, to tell you the truth.

If she actually stops the screaming, breathing and annoyance I'd actually be OK with the girl - she actually has a voice underneath. Now Disney, when will you stop making all your acts go haywire in one way or another? It's like that's all you know how to do. For Demi's sake, please don't ruin her anymore - I have to admit, she actually has talent.

4.4/5

Monday, June 29, 2009

Top 20

Last week's number one, JoJo sinks to number three while The Saturdays zoom right into number one. SNSD also debut at number two with a song off their new mini-album and Super Junior's second single this year replaces Miracle and rises to number four. Big Bang dip from number 2 to 5 while Britt Nicole also goes down three places to number six this week. BSB are a new entry at number 7 with Bye Bye Love and I've finally found a Demi Lovato song I can stomach - it debuts at number 8. Jessica Mauboy and BoA finish off this week's top 20.

20. Ju-Taun - Let Me In
19. Stephanie Carache - Mr. Playa
18. JLS - Beat Again
17. IU - Missing Child
16. KSM - Read Between The Lines
15. Girls Can't Catch - Keep Your Head Up
14. Pixie Lott - Without You
13. Girls' Generation/SNSD - Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)
12. Agnes Carlsson - Release Me
11. Industry - My Baby's Waiting
10. BoA - Etude
9. Jessica Mauboy - Do It Again
8. Demi Lovato - Gift of a Friend
7. Backstreet Boys - Bye Bye Love
6. Britt Nicole - The Lost Get Found
5. Big Bang - A Fool's Only Tears
4. Super Junior - It's You
3. JoJo - 25 to Life
2. Girls' Generation/SNSD - Boyfriend
1. The Saturdays - Unofficial (1 Week)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Saturdays - Unofficial

I've been bugging myself to write something up on this since I woke up this morning but the content only came to me now - it's 4 in the afternoon. Shows how lazy I've been over the past few days. Moving on.Oh yes, The Saturdays. They're one of those few bands/artists that I've seen go from support act with a few demos on MySpace and a debut single to a full-fledged pop sensation with an album and a huge following of fans, me included. I like many others saw how brilliantly new yet familiar If This Is Love was and simply fell in love with the girls to the point where I can actually recognize who's singing what on a song.

This song marks a new phase in their music but unlike countless others who've made the transition and failed, it seems so effortless and natural for them. They're growing musically because they need to up their game and show us exactly why they're Britain's hottest girl group but everything's falling into place, I think. With GA not releasing an album this year and Girls Can't Catch slowly gaining momentum, we need to hear something even more mind blowing than Work will ever be and we all know it's the most brilliant thing since anything. We've heard the stuff they're doing on tour(in bad quality so I'm not absolutely no position to judge) and now we have this - I think it's safe to say that their next album will be remotely amazing at the very least.

Unofficial is something I haven't heard from the girls before but it has traces of their other stuff. Take the piano part of Fall, it's quite similar to the one on this song. The melody also reminds me of an even more epic Why Me, Why Now at certain places but the thing that makes this unfamiliar to me is the fact that is sounds so much less processed and computer loop-based or guitar-influenced than their other stuff, probably somewhere in between the two. It's got a much more R&B-ish edge to it but it seems like this was the logical thing to do.

Aside from that I honestly adore the song. It has the potential to seem boring and overplayed after a few listens but to my surprise I kept on looping it. The vocals are epic, Vanessa sounds absolutely breath-taking and the rest of the girls are in great shape - they do the song more than the needed justice. My dream of ever hearing this sung live will most probably not happen though, dammit.

5/5

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'd like to freak out now, if you don't mind.

Weeks ago I thought BoA's Milky Way was it - there was no other BoA song that could match its severe pop-y-ness. Little did I know that the year after she stunned us with Milky Way and the accompanying album - she was to make something worthy of rivaling her poppiest song yet. The song made me smile so wide it got creepy but that's what happens when you hear songs like this - they won't stop until you smile.

If Milky Way is the ultimate sugary sweet hip-hop song, Etude(the song in question) is the ultimate sugary sweet Disney princess movie theme song. Imagine princes and princesses dancing in the ballroom complete with swinging skirts and magic dust rushing in from the balconies then the camera zooms out to a castle and fireworks where they all live happily ever after.

I'm NOT in any way kidding. If you still don't believe me, here's the song:
See what I mean?

5/5. It's a crime to make a song this outstanding, it really is.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jessica Mauboy - Do it Again + Kristina DeBarge - Song On the Radio

Brief reviews today, I'm sleepy but classes were suspended AGAIN!

OK, so this is the b-side to Because - not a big fan of it but this song however, has made my day.

It's another R&B mid-tempo and the melody will make you melt but what I love about this song is that it has the edginess and groove of Been Waiting mixed with Back2U or Used2B. And it's one of those songs that subconsciously make you smile, again. Because is such a heavy song and it's not really my cup of tea so I wasn't expecting a song like this to be paired with it. The combination's good though - Do It Again is like a breath of fresh air after Because.

4.8/5
The piano at the start made me fall at this song's feet - you know I'm a sucker for songs with gorgeous piano parts at the beginning. The melody is gorgeous but her voice doesn't hit you over the head - it's just there and it's gorgeous. The middle 8 is sub-par, I was expecting something that moved me.

4.4/5

Top 20

A brief summary of the top 10:

JoJo stays at number one holding off Big Bang who enter at number two this week while Britt Nicole enters at number three. 2PM rises to number four with I Hate You while The Saturdays fall to number 5 and Super Junior sinks to number six with Miracle. JLS falls lower to number seven as well as Pixie Lott who finishes at number eight this week Agnes Carlsson falls to number 9 while SS501 close off the top 10 this week.

The K-pop special is over, no more links to the reviews.

20. Ashley Tisdale - Switch
19. Justin Bieber - One Time
18. Girls Can't Catch - Keep Your Head Up
17. IU - Missing Child
16. SHINee - Noona is So Pretty (Replay Boom Track Remix)
15. Kara - Pretty Girl
14. DBSK - Mirotic
13. Rain - Only You
12. BoA - Milky Way
11. Industry - My Baby's Waiting
10. SS501 - 4 Chance
9. Agnes Carlsson - Release Me
8. Pixie Lott - Here We Go Again
7. JLS - Beat Again
6. Super Junior - Miracle
5. The Saturdays - Work
4. 2PM - I Hate You
3. Britt Nicole - The Lost Get Found
2. Big Band - A Fool's Only Tears
1. JoJo - 25 to Life (2 Weeks)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to normal.

So I'm sitting here in front of the computer after a 13-hour day that started at 6-ish AM with a horrendously hot and uncomfortable flag ceremony in an impossibly small and crowded function hall. For the rest of the morning all the way up to lunch time I had a nagging headache that was throbbing so hard the pain was excruciating. Then after a boring PE class about the history of volleyball I had an absolutely torturous drafting class that involved me drawing all these messy lines in the strangest places followed by a fun journalism class - the only problem was that I have to work with the girl who ruined my freshman year, turned my life upside down and made me swear to beat her at everything she ever loves and wants to do as revenge (which is pretty much writing - I can easily cream her at that.) for the rest of the semester. Probably the best part of my day was when during choir rehearsal we were given this song that made me want to faint while I was singing the melody.

That was my day. Phew.

The point is, I thought I'd unwind first before attacking the mountains of homework I have yet to even start (and a spanking new textbook with the plastic still on.) because it's not use trying to study when I'm this tired. I even drank like two bottles of tea!

So anyway, here's what has happened during my 'lock myself into KPOP mode for the next month' phase that I didn't even bother to mention. I guess this is a long overdue new music post.
  • First thing's first. Towards the end of May(iTunes tells me May 27..) I come across a new Pixie Lott song that was probably the most beautiful one out of her current repertoire - Without You. It's a melodic piano riff-based R&B mid tempo but the melody and Pixie's voice make everything that says this is just another one of those songs seem irrelevant. Gorgeous middle 8 as well. YAY.
  • I do love Iceland's Eurovision song - it's so nice for lack of a better term. I have the girl's album but I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet. I'll make time over the weekend, I promise.
  • I'm slowly falling into the Kristina DeBarge bandwagon. I've never actually heard the first song that came to attention over the blogs but I do love Powerless, it's so much like Battlefield but not in a really good way.
  • Ashley Tisdale. Ashley, Ashley, Ashley. I've heard her new album in full and I'm not impressed at all. There's probably one or two songs worth listening to but nothing that'll make me adore her for as long as I live for that one song. These HSM sophomore albums are really disappointing me - first Vanessa with the horrid excuse for a song that was Sneakernight then Corbin with a boring album and now Ashley with no brilliant songs. I still think Headstrong was and still is the best HSM alumni album EVERRRR.
  • My beloved Karina leaked a new song - Love Is. I do love this song but she should really get the attention she deserves, she's so freakin' talented and her songs are like really, really, really brilliant. I cannot wait for her second release - if she does get one.
  • Really late but I just found ex-Clique Girlz(What's happened to them? I haven't heard anything new.) member Ariel's solo song and it's not bad at all. Not what I was expecting from her but this is certainly better than anything I'd imagine she'd do. It's a gorgeous song but the verses need a little tweaking - over time the chorus has a tendency to be too sharp on the ear but other than that, it's good.
  • Oh yes, The Black Eyed Peas(are they still number one?). They were the gigantically legendary group here when I knew nothing about music and only knew what I was being fed over the news and stuff like that - not a very good time for me. Not that I've developed my own tastes in music I'm not so much for them anymore. I despise rap, remember? They're not bad, they make great music if you take the technical and musical aspects but the music just doesn't appeal to me.
  • I tweeted this a few days back but I just discovered recently that Usher has a protege. He's Canadian and FOURTEEN. When I heard that I was like 'you have got to be kidding me'. Another one of those YouTube sensations (although he kinda murdered Elliot Yamin's Wait For You) and if controlled a bit the boy can sing. What's more, he sounds his age! Hurrah. I love the song - it's so, so, YEAH.
  • One of the songs that really moved me during the special but I didn't have the time to write about was Britt Nicole's The Lost Get Found. I don't know if I discovered it late or something but I absolutely adore it to the point that it was all I'd listen to for a whole afternoon while writing up posts and making homework. This was one of the songs that moved me partially because of the lyrics but more because the melody is insanely brilliant. It's honestly become one of my I'm in a bad mood so I need some cheering up and inspiring songs.
  • I've said on a few comment sections that the new Mariah song has not impressed me. I've heard this all before, the auto tune, the melody - it didn't move me.
  • I honestly can't believe I didn't bother listening to Girls Can't Catch earlier - I LOVE Keep Your Head Up. It makes me think of Up but it doesn't completely sound like it. Dammit. WHY make songs this brilliant? WHY?! Hahah.
I'm exhausted even after drinking tons of caffeine - I'll just go to bed now and do my homework tomorrow morning. I'm a delinquent student when it comes to geometry, algebra, chemistry, history and pretty much anything that doesn't have to do with English and writing. Hahah. Good night guys!

Monday, June 22, 2009

FOR THE END OF THE SPECIAL: What is Kpop?

With you guys and the world(well I'd like to think that way..) to see, I've spent the past few weeks submerging myself in Korean Pop - YouTube hopping, listening to albums, reading Kpop blogs and doing my fair share of research. I've discovered heaps of new artists and songs, shared my favorites with you guys and learned even more about this new music industry. In the end, exactly what really seeped into my brain?

Korea is insanely full of amazing music and talented people - people who aren't afraid to try new things with their music but still retain what defines them as a culture. They've adapted to the internet and used it to their advantage - they only have an album chart that counts sales figures, all singles are ranked by the TV stations' music shows(MBC, KBS, SBS and MNET). They've built a friendship with the internet and even if they take down a lot of videos on YouTube, albums hardly ever leak before the release date (at least I don't think they do..).

They also like Rap (hahah). A lot.

Their music industry works differently from the UK and the US and a lot of bands are manufactured to the point where the talent agency will force the band to go into another genre(Kara, the girl group.) but for some reason I don't mind. It's bad, but at least the transformation is done well - not lackluster or confused.

The music itself is not something that can be put to words but thanks to a lot of the songs I featured on the special, I got a clear idea of what it sounds like. You can't really describe what music of a certain country sounds like - you feel and hear it which is why I think ears and a brain to process it are the most important things to have when you're listening to music from an unfamiliar country. Above all the research and blog-hopping you do to get a feel for the industry, the only surefire way to know who a country is musically is to listen and feel. I've heard K-pop's musical identity - that's the most important think I can take with me. Even if I hear only the melody and instrumentation of a song without the lyrics and the language(the biggest giveaway), I'll know it's from Korea.

It would take me forever to appropriately answer what Kpop is. Heck, I haven't even answered what UK Pop is! For now though, I've answered a few of the questions that point me to that direction - not bad for a few weeks worth of music and reviews, eh?

So that's it - the Kpop special is officially OVER. Tomorrow I go back to my regular schedule of single reviews, promotional material and rants. With my knowledge of Kpop continually growing and my adoration for it staying - I'm optimistic about the next few months of blogging. (was that corny?)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A crash course in Korean Pop V 2.0.

Hold on, hold on. Didn't I say yesterday that the last K-pop special post would come today? Well I changed my mind. There's one last thing to do before I write up a sum-up post and that is revise my crash course post. Over the past few weeks I've found out a lot more about K-pop than I knew when I made that post and discovered the good songs from artists I didn't like previously so I think it's appropriate to make a newer version.

The gauge is pretty much the same except that I added 'insanely famous' between legendary and extremely famous.

LEGENDARY
INSANELY famous
EXTREMELY famous
REALLY famous
MODERATELY famous

Big Bang didn't move me until the tail end of the special - I wasn't much for an 80% rapping boyband but when I heard the instances when they actually sang, let's just say the melodies moved me. I've learned to overlook some of the rap but I've only heard a song of theirs with like 80% of singing once - this is it.
There are parts in this song that make me want to faint and scream like a fangirl - the whole thing absolutely gorgeous and it made me subconsciously smile the whole way through! That's a REALLY good sign. I cannot believe I just heard this song yesterday, if I had found it earlier I would've written about this the minute I finished watching the video. Heck, even their rapper/leader sings a line or two! This is what I'm talking about - why can't they make more songs like this? If they made even like 4 songs like this they'd be my absolute favorite boyband in the entire world right next to Westlife and they're practically gods for me. (INSANELY famous)

Well, well, well. Girls' Generation are back after a surprisingly short period since they finished up their last album - that seems to also be a norm in Korea. They sound a lot more grown up than they did with Gee but I think I'll really, really like the new song once I finally hear it.
This new teaser and the new promo pics have been causing all the kpop blogs to either freak out or feature the girls in some way, shape or form. Not bad, really but will SM Entertainment PLEASE let us all hear the new song for crap's sake?! I'm getting way too excited. (INSANELY famous)

OK. 2PM is JYP's attempt to create a singing, dancing, acrobatics-doing boyband. He's done well, thank heavens.
That's their new single/song their singing on all the TV shows (it doesn't have a music video, WTH?! hahah.) and during the first performance of this there was auto-tune all over which means that they were probably miming 40% of the time. That has stopped though because I hardly heard any non-live sounds identical to what the guys were singing - I heard one during the start of the second verse but I think that's it. (INSANELY famous)

Lee Hyori back when she was a little less slut-y. Of course you can't completely rob her of that quality (I think even when she was in a girl group she was like that..) because then Korea wouldn't have a Britney equivalent! I do love the song, it's so un-like what the horrid U-go Girl is.
She's been in a gigantic girl group, hosted a ton of variety shows, kissed a guy from Big Bang, been rumored to have dated Rain and accused of plagiarizing Britney's Do Somethin'. Not bad. (LEGENDARY)

So since Rain isn't under JYP anymore, Park Jin Young decided to get a new one. The guy isn't directly under JYP like 2PM and the Wondergirls - he's under Cube Entertainment, the subsidiary of JYPE, a nicer way of saying 'JYP doesn't care that much about you and you won't get that famous so he threw you into the small, unknown company'. I never knew subsidiaries of talent companies existed.
He doesn't show THAT much of his 'amazing dancing skills' on this video. Yes, it may not be an uptempo but even Rain had to dance like crazy to the occasional ballad - I though this guy was supposed to be 'the next Rain'? Apparently there are a lot of guys claiming that title so let's see who actually becomes 'the next Rain'. (MODERATELY famous)

Kara are the other cutesy girl group in Korea but unlike Girls' Generation, they used to be really, really serious. I mean serious to the point of Fin.K.L.. Wanna see that video? It's here. The one below is the cutesy song.
OK, that girl who sings the first line of the bridge can't really hit the high part live(she can't, I've watched like five performances and she can't hit the damn note.) but over-all the song will get stuck in your head whether you like it or not. Liking it isn't really an option because even if the song kind of sucks at certain places, it's so freaking catchy. This is what I mean when I say that if you're gonna go into a completely different and new genre, you better do it well - I honestly couldn't tell that they used to rap and all before this. (EXTREMELY famous)

Rain is obviously a very, very, VERY good performer but there was one performance in particular that convinced me and made me absolutely adore the guy. He may get a lot of negative comments but the guy has certainly made something of himself.
He doesn't have the best voice in the world even if it's ensured for $10 million but you can tell he tries - I've only seen one or two mimed performances, he hits the notes and he has some brilliant songs behind him. Look at it this way, if he doesn't have the songs he can't dance like that and do what he does - he'd just be a backup dancer for life. Smart decision, Rain, smart. (LEGENDARY)

2PM has I Hate You, Super Junior has It's You. They're both good songs but Super Junior makes the less processed, less padded and non-headache inducing songs. It's You wasn't on the version of the album that I originally had which is why I didn't know of its existence until it became a single(dammit. I could've predicted it! Ugh.) but at least I did!
It's one of those songs that don't sound American or British or non-Korean - I do adore it. I still wonder how all 13 members actually get a solo or if they do at all. (INSANELY famous)

For real this time, catch the last post in the K-Pop special TOMORROW.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

ALL the songs featured during the K-Pop Special

Well, almost.

For sampling purposes and so you guys can hear the songs in HQ to really find out what you like and what you don't, I've put all the individual songs featured during the special and two tracks from all the albums featured - the lead single and my favorite non-single track into two handy .zip files! Hahah.

Below is the COMPLETE list of all the K-pop special posts with links to the respective pages so you can look back at the 20+ Kpop special posts (the songs with Korean titles/artists with Korean names have the characters in a parenthesis so when you download the file you know which is which). The post titles with * mean that I don't have that song and it wasn't included in the .zip file. The download links are at the end of the post. Enjoy!



DOWNLOAD:

(Rainism to Miracle)
(Noona Is So Pretty Remix to Four Chance)


Watch out for the last post of the K-pop special TOMORROW.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rant: I'm extremely annoyed and pissed off..

So I got home after a tiring day of school to find a blogger DMCA takedown notification in my inbox. I used to be a music blogger and I've heard a million times about these 'notifications' getting sent to my peers them but I never got one - I did not want my first time to get one of them to be when I stopped posting download links. It happened.

Apparently it was for the Andy Bull post I made before I left for summer camp - it had what I was told by the promotional team as a LEGAL download so I posted it. Who am I to doubt someone whose best interest is the artists'? It was the logical thing to do.

I wrote that post, I made an effort to listen and weigh the good and the bad of a song someone sent me and how does blogger repay me for that? THEY TAKE THE DAMN POST DOWN. I really feel like swearing right now - it's taking a lot of control for me not to start cursing all over this post and crying as I write this(I kinda cried in the bathroom a while ago but whatever..). I'm a teenager, my feelings are at an all-time high but more importantly, my principles and what I believe in was violated - I hate it when people do that.

It annoys me even more that one of my posts was deleted now that I'm a serious writer - not the owner of a blog that posts download links. Unlike the download blogs who oftentimes post the tracklisting, a picture and the link so if their post gets deleted it's easy to re-post, I write. I don't know exactly what I wrote and the reason why I don't re-write posts is because when I made the original post that was what I thought of the song of the album at the time - I'm able to see how my taste in music matures or changes over the years and more importantly I see how I grow as a writer. Because of blogger I'll never be able to see how I wrote that week anymore - it's like losing a part of my identity, really.

The internet is the main medium where artists get discovered - why do all these businesspeople think it's their biggest enemy? People who want to get noticed here will give away their albums for nothing, what's the big deal? Everything got complicated when these stupid businessmen who call themselves 'experts in the music industry' but actually know nothing about music think that you should put a price on every single song.

What really pisses me off is when we start talking about the industry is when all these people know is how to sue and take down everything that stops them from earning money - don't they have any musical principles? Doing that may be fine if you sell groceries or school supplies or something but NEVER WITH ART/ANYTHING CREATIVE - music, literature, paintings, clothes, the works. Who says how much music should cost? MUSIC IS MUSIC - it can function without the industry but the industry can't function without it. Let's take out the music from the music industry and lets see how desperate these guys are for money, they might start selling the people themselves(which they're kinda doing now). It's possible.

I was raised to always, ALWAYS value the music itself over everything else. I was exposed to every possible genre of music and was free to choose what I liked but I was never shown what the artist looked like, how many albums he/she sold, how much money the album earned for the company and all those things people nowadays care so much about. It's hard to believe that when I was a kid I absolutely adored Swing Out Sister - I had no idea who they were, what they looked like or how popular they were before but I loved them then and I still listen to them every now and then. I was not brainwashed to only like what the industry says I should (*ahem* Billboard top 10 *ahem*), I was given the freedom to say what I like and what I don't. Im a Filipino who loves British pop - there aren't that many of us here but I don't care because I listen to anything as long as it moves me, why would I go against principals I myself live by? I know I'm going a little too far from the takedown notification thingy but it's still about the stupid recording industry so forgive me if you're confused.

I hate the fact that a lot more than 70% of the MUSIC industry has become all about the money. Sure, if your job is being a musician you need to earn money to survive but since when did the WHOLE THING revolve around the money? Music is music - I know I always say it but it's true, it can exist without money or material wealth. Our ancestors did it, why can't we? People will starve just to sing or make outstanding music and what do these stupid executives do? They call it crap just because they can't sell it. I heard my dad saying once, can't a good businessman sell anything? Why do they choose the bad songs that are injustice to music over the songs that are actually worth taking time to listen to just because it'll sell quadruple the amount or some unimaginable amount of money?

This is why I'm considering trying to be a record executive - to teach these stupid people that music is more important than the industry because it can function without business. It did long before and it can now.

I can't pinpoint exactly why but I'm seriously very, very depressed right now. Writing this didn't help as much as it usually does when I get angry and whenever I listen to a song I can't help but think about the damn industry - I honestly don't know what to do. I cried already, if I cry any more my head might start pounding so hard I think I might die (blame my blasted allergic rhinitis..) and I'm waaay too full to dig into a big, fat bar of dark chocolate. I might go study or do something mindless if I don't have anything better to do.

I didn't schedule any post for tomorrow and I don't think I'll be able to write anything tonight so take a rest from the Kpop for now, you and I deserve and possibly need it. Sorry about the ranting, I just had to try and get this off my chest without crying in front of my parents. Hahah.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sugar - Secret

I just noticed something. It's like the girl groups in Korea came one after the other - there was most probably no period since 1998 that K-pop was without a reigning girl group. Look - Fin.K.L debuted in 1998, Chakra(this Indian-inspired girl group. Nothing special.) and Baby VOX followed in 1999 and in 2000 those three were the relatively big groups. In 2001 Jewelry followed while in 2002 Fin.K.L. split and in 2003 Sugar sprouted out. For the next few years they were releasing singles and all then they slowly started splitting up - first Baby Vox in 2005 then Jewelry went on hiatus in 2006. The Brown Eyed Girls started in 2006 and by 2007 a new generation of girl groups started. Girls' Generation, The Wonder Girls and Kara all debuted in 2007. 2008 came and Jewelry were back with two new members who formed another girl group - Jewelry S.

Phew. That was long - on to the song.

I completely forgot how I found these girls but it might've been while I was looking for Jewelry videos. All I remember is that the first time I saw them and the very start of the single that broke them into Korea(in 2004, same year as Jewelry..) I though 'these girls must've been Jewelry's rival girl group' and I was right. Although it does seem that Mnet Media spent a lot more money on Jewelry than Sugar's small-name talent agency, Starworld spent on them.

Plus, Sugar sounded a lot more pop-y than Jewelry even if it's the pop I'm not that crazy about. The instrumentals sound like they were lifted of a Britney track and the melody sounds like some American pop song I don't really like(can't remember which one though..).
The song might grow on me but in my books it'll never, ever be as good as the Jewelry song. It's the early BoA-type songs that I don't like - like ID Peace B or one of those. Secret doesn't have a melody that can make me fall at its feet and the instrumental doesn't do it any favors.

Relatively short review today. Hmm.

3.9/5

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SS501 - 4 Chance

SS501 are one of those boybands in Korea that aren't insanely popular to the point of legendary like 2PM, DBSK, Super Junior and Big Bang but they've had moderate success in Korea and Japan - tickets to a date in their Asian tour were sold out in half an hour. They also happen come from the same talent agency that made Korea's biggest late 90's to early 2000's girl group - Fin.K.L. where Lee Hyori came from. Not too shabby, eh?

Their leader(I still don't get why boybands and girl groups need 'leaders') is more famous for being the mysterious musical guy in the Korean F4 - this insanely rich and bratty group of guys then the cold and even more insanely rich leader falls in love with this poor girl. It's been remade as a TV series in Taiwan, Japan and Korea - talk about repetitive but when I was a little kid I adored the Taiwanese version even if I didn't know what the crap was happening in the story and now it's extremely lame.

Even if they got a 'sub-unit' - a bunch of guys who took the band name and promoted a new single while the original members were out earning way more money and becoming really popular on their own in 2008, the original group does have some brilliantly made pop songs under its belt. They came back this year with a new Japanese album filled with quite good songs and the title track was a capella - it's honestly not as bad as I thought it would be. Not as good as Westlife, I have yet to find a boyband who can do it better than them but SS501 singing a capella is pretty good, I'd love to hear what they sound like live.

4 Chance is one of those songs that I don't like when I first hear it but because it's a pop song I kinda force myself to like it and it works, sort of like Girls Aloud. Of course my first impressions on these songs are always wrong because once I actually like the song I get the album and curse myself for not hearing it earlier. Me and my stubbornness.

It took me some time to notice this but it has become a rarity over the past few weeks - THERE IS NO RAP PART. Rejoice! My ears are thanking these guys. haha. The melody is less repetitive but extremely catchy - the type that makes you want to hum along by the end of the song.

The structure of this song has been driving me to insanity ever since I first heard it. So you have your standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-dance break-middle 8-dance break(One is enough for heaven's sake! Unless you're Rain and you NEED more than one dance break to properly do yourself justice.) structure for the first 2 and a half minutes or so but then what sprouts out of nowhere after the second dance break? ANOTHER VERSE. What the effin' crap was that? First the song has two dance breaks and now this?

I'm going nuts trying to figure out why the songwriter put another verse at the friggin' end of the song. It could be to accommodate 5 solos but you can make the verses 2 stanzas long(which he/she already did), split them between two members and make a different guy sing the middle 8 - it's been done but noooooooo, the third verse HAD to put in AT THE END so the 'leader' gets 2 stanzas worth of solos on the song. Makes no sense.

Oh but I do love the melody. Hahah.

All the music videos of the song on YouTube can't be embedded so this is a live performance. If you want to see the video, it's here.
4.2/5

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jewelry - Superstar

It's only hit me now that I've found over twenty K-pop songs/albums worth writing about and featured them all - that's a lot of new music and yet I'm still looking for more. This special is ending in the next two weeks or so, I'm afraid. There's so much other stuff to blog about and so many things I haven't done because of this and I originally said it would last for more or less a month.

OK so this is an older song around 2004/2005 - the album was released in 2005 and this song was the lead single from it. Jewelry were part of the girl groups one generation after Fin. K.L and Baby Vox(although Baby Vox were 2 years into their career when Jewelry showed up.) and they took about 3 years to actually become gigantic. Unlike Kara who used to be very serious then became cutesy later('ll get to them in the next few days), these girls used to have the cute/sweet image and I personally thought the songs were really bad but then in 2004 they came back with this really seriously amazing pop song and everyone fell to their feet.

They kinda wasted their hype though 'coz after the release of the 2005 album that launched them into superstardom, two members left and the other two launched solo careers - the group was put on hiatus. They came back in 2008 with two new members and a cover of this European dance song(not sure which country but I'm pretty sure it's European) and the success of that matched that of their 2005 album. So back to that album - I'm getting carried away.
I'm not surprised at all that this song was made in the same year that Rain's It's Raining was. Apart from the obvious similarities in the video, the feel of the whole song makes you want to go and listen to the Rain song. At least that's what it made me do when I first heard it!

It's very girl group-y, the song and the dancing. This is what a lot of girl groups in Korea were doing around that time while all the ones in the US and UK were either split up, splitting up or on the verge of splitting up - Atomic Kitten had their greatest hits out in 2004 and Destiny's Child followed suit the next year.

The feel of the song reminds me a lot of early Girls Aloud mixed with the 'real' guitar sound that Just A Little from Liberty X had and some song off the soundtrack of a Disney superhero/save the world-type show. The melody didn't amaze me right away but over time I began to really, really like it - it has its strong points.

4.4/5

Monday, June 15, 2009

Big Bang and 2NE1 - Lollipop

Big Bang are the rapping boyband in Korea - they live for it but apparently a lot of people are also really attracted to the genre. Hm. 2NE1 are the female version of Big Bang and the biggest new girl group in Korea, why not just advertise it to the whole effin' universe by making a video with the two? Genius, YG Entertainment.
The song is everything I hate - repetitive to the point of negative annoyance, way too much rap and excessive processing but a few things about Lollipop make listening that much bearable. It sounds really Korean, to start - they've subconsciously created something I can clearly equate to Kpop.

The first thing that makes this song bearable is the fact that one of the girls from 2NE1 has a gorgeous voice for someone in a girl group - take that Hyoyeon of SNSD(she's the one who dances..)! She really gives the song and the band another dimension - she sings lead during the chorus. Here's a live performance of a Big Bang song and I'm pretty sure there's no processing here - it's on a radio show! The girl I'm talking about is on the far left and is the first one who actually sings.
Believe it or not, when the guys from Big Bang actually sing notes they get some of the most brilliant melodies. If they rapped a lot less and added verses with actual melodies they'd probably be one of my favorite boybands - there are some songs on their album with minimal rap and they're divine. Seriously, it's such a relief to only have one line of rapping on a Big Bang song. And may I say that Daesung(guy in the neon orange vest top who sings the last line of the middle 8 of Lollipop) has an amazing voice.

Same goes for this song - the middle 8 is probably the best I've heard on a song with rap.

Moving on. While reading up on Big Bang history and getting familiar with the members, I came across something so brilliantly amazing that I can't keep it unwritten and un-raved about. BIG BANG WRITE THEIR OWN SONGS. Never in the few weeks that I've been endlessly YT-hopping have I seen a boyband/girl group who write their own songs. I guess I just found it. And the fans seem to really like the songs I assume - why are they so big in Korea? That's another thing these American and British record companies should learn from the Koreans - LET BOYBANDS WRITE THEIR OWN SONGS. Is that so hard to do? NO! Because if it was, why can Big Bang do it and still be so effin' famous? Heck, even Lee Hyori adores the guys(random, much?).

I don't know if they wrote this song but heck, if they write even 40% of their material I'm happy - things like this don't happen everyday.

4/5. The rap still weighed everything down I'm afraid.

Note for my friend(Aljibe, ikaw kausap ko - alam kong binabasa mo 'to.) who I told that it's just a matter of time before I got into 2NE1 - Ayan ha, adik na yung kausap mo nung Friday. I publicly admitted to all my friends and readers that I think super ganda ng boses ni Park Bom. Masaya ka na? Sabihin mo na rin kay Pauline - maloloka yung babae.

Sorry about that, I just HAD to put that it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Top 20

A lot of movement, new entries and replacing this week. Blame my sudden change of number one song on JoJo's new material leaking during the weekend. Dammit.

Here's a brief summary of the top 10:

JoJo zooms into the top spot, bringing last week's number one, JLS down to number four while The Saturdays are still comfortably at number two. In celebration of Pixie Lott hopefully getting to number one in the UK this week, Here We Go Again debuts at number three. Super Junior's two songs are at 5 and 6 while Se7en makes a big leap from 12 to 7(HAHAHAHAHA.). Agnes Carlsson sinks this week but is still safely in the top ten at number 8, 2PM's Again and Again is replaced by their new single - I Hate You which comes into the chart at number 9 and IU's Missing Child just makes the top ten. Here's the complete countdown with links to the KPOP Special posts:

20. Big Bang - My Heaven (link is to the video)
19. Justin Bieber - One Time
18. Esmee Denters - Bigger Than the World
17. SNSD - Gee
16. Ashley Tisdale - Switch
15. SHINee - Noona is So Pretty (Replay Boom Track Remix)
14. DBSK - Mirotic
13. Industry - My Baby's Waiting
12. Big Bang and 2NE1 - Lollipop (KPOP Special - coming soon!)
11. SS501 - 4 Chance (KPOP Special - coming soon!)
10. IU - Missing Child
9. 2PM - I Hate You
8. Agnes Carlsson - Release Me
7. Se7en with Lil Kim - Girls
6. Super Junior - Sorry Sorry
5. Super Junior - Miracle
4. JLS - Beat Again
3. Pixie Lott - Here We Go Again
2. The Saturdays - Work
1. JoJo - 25 to Life (1 Week)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

JoJo - 25 to Life

I don't know why I'm so emotional about this new album. Maybe it's because JoJo was the first artist whose career I followed from the very beginning and I bought both of her albums within months of them coming out. JoJo shaped my taste in music - her first album allowed me to explore what American pop/R&B sounded like and showed me how a beautiful melody could make me melt like butter.

I said this when the clips were released but it's true. Her sophomore album was out, promotion ended and The High Road took a backseat in the music library - I discovered thousands of other songs until I eventually stopped listening to her for months. I learned to live with the fact that it's taking ages for her new album to finally be released but now that I've heard this song I can't imagine how I survived.

This is what I mean when I say a kid's voice will grow over the years. Her first album showed that her voice was just a bit on the squeaky side and her had less color and depth - a kid's voice. There were times when she tried to sound like a 40 year-old but the young qualities of her voice were still there, you knew she wasn't old. Once The High Road was out her voice got a little deeper and developed some color - like how a proper teenager should sound. Suddenly you heard power when she hit the high notes that you didn't know existed but she still had some soft spots and squeaky parts.

The difference of her voice on this new song from her first album is gigantic though - she sounds like a young woman. Her voice has color and when she hits the high notes the squeaky-ness is gone, replaced with certainty and confidence - this girl knows what she's doing now and she's not afraid to show it.

This new song is an absolute pleasure to listen to. It's everything JoJo is as an artist and it makes you want to tap your foot along or snap your fingers. The hook isn't infectious and a lot of people in the Philippines most probably won't like it because it doesn't sound like crappy Rihanna or overrated Lady GaGa. The song at certain points can become the most gorgeous thing in the world but at other times it's probably the most brilliant thing ever. It has the ability to suck you in and make you worship the song and that's what makes me like it so much.

You know what angers me the most though? If JoJo needed three years to make an album I'd understand that - as long as by the end of those three years we'd get an album filled with songs like this but she finished the album in a year in a half. So what happened? Well she switched labels which shouldn't take another year and a half to fix(it would take some time, yes but not A YEAR AND A HALF.) but you know what went wrong? Watch JoJo ranting about it below.
Damn you Universal Music. You think Rihanna's one of your top priorities? She's nothing compared to this girl and even if the album wasn't JoJo's, you can't make someone wait that long without reassurance.

Sorry about that. Like I told Ken on Twitter last night, I'm a JoJo fan first and foremost. My opinions on her may be prejudiced, I may freak out when she has a new song and if someone is preventing her from putting music out I'll become a very angry fan girl - record labels haven't seen the worse of me yet(I don't think they've even heard of me but whatever.).

Naturally, 5/5

Friday, June 12, 2009

IU - Growing Up

Yes, the girl's stage name is IU. Strange but that can be forgiven.
This girl was fifteen when this album was released. When she finished promoting what I think was the first single(her live performances were quite good as well..), her record company forced her to change her image - she went from gorgeous ballads and somewhat serious music to fun, perky bubblegum pop. The album is like two of those genres crossing, some songs got it right some completely wasted it but I always have ulterior motives for writing reviews - you'll find out soon enough.

The album begins with that I assume is a cross between her earlier serious/ballad-based style and her later perky, mindless bubblegum pop thing. There are points where it can seem like there's no end to the song but there are moments and the melody is worth two or three listens at the very least.

The second track was the fun, 'young' image song I was talking about a while ago - Boo. When I first listened to the song without knowing what she used to make I thought she was a sweet girl and that the whole thing is cute but after some research and more YT-hopping I found out that this song had a video that was a complete rip-off of Kylie's Come Into My World. When the record company found out that people had noticed it, they completely stopped all promotion for the single. Sad, really. If she had gotten a different video her venturing into the fun side of things would've been quite popular. I don't know what happened after the promo stopped but this girl seems to be posting a lot of covers on YouTube. Let's see where it'll take her.
A not so bad ballad follows and at this point you won't be able to tell what she used to sing. It's the light ballad with not that much heartbreak and revenge injected in the melody so I assume this was also her record company's doing. After a confused jazz-sounding track comes along, Every sweet day - a gorgeous, gorgeous light R&B-influenced song bursts out of nowhere and when I first heard it my jaw dropped wide open(literally). It's sweet and light-hearted but there's a part of this song that tells you she's NOT a little girl singing about butterflies and rainbows(Even if I don't really know why she's saying. Whatever.) even if the melody is a bit like that. It's confusing in the right way, I think.

So the next song was the infamous serious ballad she had during the early, early days of her career. The first time I heard Missing Child I thought it was gorgeous - there were moments in the song where I just wanted to burst but it wasn't like the other songs I had featured. Most of the other songs I featured had made me want to write about them from the minute the vocals kicked in. So with a new song discovered but not blog-worthy, I moved on. Then hours after I thought of giving the song a second chance - that's when something worthy of my time and effort came along.
This is not the most gorgeous thing you will ever hear but it's close. The best part is the very start before the extra instrumentations kick in - it makes me want to pull my hair out.

The song that follows this has a nice melody and more of the light instrumentals but it's nothing special, there's nothing that makes me jump out of my seat. The ninth track(don't know what it translates to in English, sorry) reminds me a lot of Every Sweet Day and they're tied for my affection at the moment so much that these two are probably the only songs I'll listen to for the next day or so.

The remaining tracks don't make an impact to me - there's another jazz-y thing and a ballad with an OK melody that turns into a jazz-y thing(what is with all the jazz-y stuff?), a bunch of remixes of the songs I don't like and instrumentals. Even if the album is not the best in the world and there's so much I can start attacking her for, I wanted you to hear IU for one reason and one reason alone.

This is how a fifteen year-old should sound - slightly squeaky, a bit vulnerable at certain registers and not completely mature(kinda like me.. hahah.). I've been told that a fifteen year-old who sings like a fifteen year-old is harder to find in the pop music industry than a fifteen year-old who sings like she's in her late twenties. People think that just because someone has a voice that makes them sound like an old woman, that voice is exceptional and beautiful. Most of the time I don't agree with them - does it mean that if you make someone look older than they really are it's beautiful as well? I don't think so.

Beauty is an opinion - what you find beautiful and ugly is none of my business but you're reading my blog with my opinions.

I'm sick and tired of hearing Charice's voice. She may be from the Philippines as well and people have told me to be proud of her but how can I be proud of someone I don't like to start with? She's probably a very nice girl when you talk to her but what's really important in music - personality or vocals? Vocals. I don't like her voice - I never will because I myself don't think it's beautiful. It's big and deep, yes but to me it's not beautiful. She doesn't sound like a sixteen, seventeen year old - she sounds like she's forty.

I like this girl because she sounds like a fifteen year-old. I think her voice is beautiful because she sounds her age and because it's really gorgeous. Her voice will change over the years(hopefully we hear more of that change.. here's one of her more recent live covers), by the time she's in her early twenties the squeaky-ness will be replaced but I have a very good feeling that when it does morph it'll be just as beautiful if not mind-blowing.

No sum-up. I'm lazy and I've written way too much.

3.9/5 For the album as an album.

BUT

4.8/5 For IU's voice.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I interrupt the special(again) for something BIG.

JOJO JUST RELEASED THREE ALBUM CLIPS YESTERDAY.
For me they're not just album clips of an artist I like, they're album clips from the artist who fueled my love for pop music - the first pop album I ever bought was hers. Hearing clips of an album that I've been waiting for since The High Road was released(three years ago) made me tear up a bit.

Because the wait was worth it. JoJo might have said herself on her MySpace that the clips may or may not be on the album but anything is something after 3 years.

Over the years I've gotten addicted to many other artists who've been more productive than JoJo but she's instrumental in my love for music, sooner or later I would've gone back to being the JoJo fangirl I once was. I think that's now.

She's grown an awful lot, Touchdown sounds like an even more serious and more R&B-based The Way You Do Me mixed with This Time. I wasn't surprised to hear something like that though - it had to happen sometime because she's not that fourteen year-old who first burst onto the charts, she's turning nineteen this year.

The song that made me tear up a bit though was Fearless. No, it's not the Taylor Swift song - it's an R&B/Pop mid-tempo gearing more towards the R&B side. Although I do think that Underneath is a better song over-all. Same thing - it's an R&B/pop mid-tempo but with less of the pop. Think Coming for You mixed with say, a bit of Battlefield.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Se7en with Lil Kim - Girls

I'm not extremely excited about Koreans trying to break the US mainly because I don't think it's superior to breaking the UK or an artists' own country - it doesn't change who he/she is. I am however curious about how different countries and companies in Korea approach breaking the territory. BoA's US debut wasn't my type - I found the lyrics disturbing and I'm not someone who looks at lyrics very often, Rain's debut has mainly been acting-based so nothing especially interesting there and Se7en - I never really noticed him until recently.

A little background on the guy - whenever a new solo guy singer who emphasizes the dancing element of the equation comes along, he is always and I mean always compared to Rain AND Se7en. For valid reasons - because of the explosion of the two around 2002(Rain) - 2003(Se7en), every company that ever existed in Korea has sought out to create their male-singing-dancing machine to counter them. What I've observed is that dozens tried but in the end Rain and Se7en showed that they really were worthy of the hype they had created - they survived long after the average shelf life and were actually good at what they did. His last full-length album was in 2006(but the singles from it weren't really that good..) and from what I'm reading he's been working on a US debut since then.

This is what he came up with.
That's more like it. I mean, if you're gonna make a song that's tailored for the US market (although I'm with Craig David on this issue - I don't see why an artist has to change to crack another country..) - you better do it well. With the BoA song being odd and Rain getting a role in the flop of a movie that was Speed Racer and a role in a movie whose release date keeps on being pushed back(Ninja Assassin) - I'd say this guy isn't doing that bad in the 'cracking the US' movement.

The song is somewhat generic but he has the style and genre correct - I'd say it'll reach the top 15 with enough promotion and airplay(although who am I to judge?). He's almost got the English thing, apart from a few parts with an accent(which aren't that bad as well..) the vocals are strong. The hook is short and repetitive, I've come to know a lot of number one hits that have that element. Melody-wise the song is competent, it's not something to faint over at the start but listening to it might give you the sudden urge to dance - not bad at all. The more you listen though, the more you like - it's a slow burn which may or may not be good for him.

A slow burn could mean that it'll take time for the Americans to like the song so it'll start low but once it hits them it might do well OR it'll take too much time for them to like it so they move on.

Then of course there's another name in the song - Lil Kim. I personally think it's a good strategy because the Lil Kim fans might get curious about this mysterious new guy singing with her so they'll hear the song - possibly like it and possibly buy it. Smart YG Entertainment, smart.

4.6/5

Monday, June 8, 2009

Super Junior - Miracle

Sorry for the abundance of boybands but I haven't discovered this many since I did the special! It's astonishing how these South Koreans just make the Americans look lazy.
Super Junior are the male counterpart of Girls' Generation and as I've said many times, they're the world's biggest boyband. They were patterned after a Japanese girl group by the name of Morning Musume - the members were supposed to change every few years but I don't think that happened. From what I know the guys who were there when the group debuted are still there, they just added a few guys.

For some reason this song sounds very Japanese to me. I don't know if it's the instrumentation or the melody itself but I think a boyband like Exile(who I kinda like for making the video linked and have a heck of a lot of members as well..) wouldn't have a hard time slipping this into an album or a single. What I do love about this song is that even if the melody has the possibility of sounding really sharp on the ear, it doesn't. The higher parts during the chorus are surprisingly light - it has to be their voices that do it.

The verses, oh dear, the verses. I could spend months just talking about how brilliantly beautiful and 'we've made it this far - we're not giving up'-ish they are but I'll keep it short. Wait, I just said what I liked about it, dammit. So there, it definitely sounds like something a band would release on their fifth anniversary or something(this was the last single off their first album, makes a little sense..) and you know I have a soft spot for songs like that. But it's genuinely a great song with an absolutely to die for melody.

And the music video just does wonders to the song, the good cinematography and the dancing make everything fall into place for this song. Absolutely fantastic.

4.7/5

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The top 15 is back, as a top 20!

Yes people, I'm bringing the charts back - mainly because I think we all need a slight break from the Kpop special, me included. There will be no KPOP Special-related post for today. Instead, the songs from the special that made it onto this new Top 20 will be linked to their respective reviews - some sort of a recap of songs so far. 

The new top 20 will be posted every Wednesday or Monday(here, duh.), depending on when I have the time and how many songs I've gotten addicted to over the week. As it was before, it's based on my personal favorites for the week - not how many times I've played it, not based on sales figures and stuff like that.

In line with the current special, Korean songs have links to my reviews.

My Top 20 from June 1, 2009 - June 8, 2009:

20. Industry - My Baby's Waiting
19. The Script - The Man Who Can't Be Moved
18. 2PM - Again and Again
17. Super Junior - Sorry Sorry (the link is to the video, tell me if you want it reviewed)
16. Yohanna - Is It True?
15. Kevin Borg - Street Lights
14. Pixie Lott - Without You
13. Backstreet Boys with Pitbull - Helpless
12. Se7en with Lil Kim - Girls (KPOP Special - coming soon!)
11. Mitchel Musso - Hey
10. Alesha Dixon - Let's Get Excited
9. Elliott Yamin - Don't Be Afraid
8. Super Junior - Miracle (KPOP Special - coming soon!)
7. Agnes Carlsson - Release Me
6. SNSD - Gee
5. DBSK - Mirotic
4.
Esmee Denters - Bigger Than the World
3. SHINee - Noona is So Pretty (Replay)
2. The Saturdays - Work
1. JLS - Beat Again (1 Week)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SHINee - Noona Is So Pretty (Replay)

Note: Noona is used by Korean guys to address an older woman.

After all the heavy, serious R&B songs I've heard from the boybands it's nice to hear something different from them.
From what I'm getting, SHINee are the younger boyband in Korea - they're probably just a little younger than the new US boybands(just found out, one of them is 15 - FIFTEEN. My age - I'll be 15 this year.). The first video of them I saw was Juliet which is surprisingly a cover of Corbin Bleu's Deal With It. Judging by the two videos I've already seen, my guess is they're also the sweet, light boyband who can really dance(isn't the video on top enough proof? If it's not - see this. It's the dance cut of the video and it's just as brilliant.)

For some strange reason they so remind me of the new boybands in the US - I don't know if it's the video or the vocals or even the dancing but the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the video were NLT who are gone., V Factory who're finally getting somewhere - the video for Love Struck was out a few days ago and Varsity Fanclub who lost a member and replaced him with a guy who has the same name. SHINee just released a new mini-album(their second) and have had a full-length album out within a year. What's that to say about the boybands of the world?

The song is a nice mid-tempo song and the chorus very American - something Usher-type singers wouldn't have a problem singing but the verses are very Korean(of course I can't clearly say what's Korean and not yet but from what I know..) - I can't imagine any other country coining the style. The middle 8 is short but sweet, I love it. As a whole it grows on you - the first time you hear the song you'll think it's nice or OK but as time passes and you have time to notice every single detail, it will blow your mind.

Another thing that really made me want to write about this song - did you notice? THERE IS NO RAP PART. There's talking at the end but that's under the vocals so it doesn't really count as a rap part. Just goes to show that these boybands can make a song without rap.

A few days after I first heard this I got curious so I listened to the remix that comes with their first mini-album and it's even better than the original one. It's not one of those dance-y remixes where they just stick in a lame, over-used trance loop behind the a capella version - they completely restructured the instrumentals and made it into a song that leans more toward the Mirotic-esque songs of the world. For crap's sake - THIS BOYBAND IS BRILLIANT.

4.8/5

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kim Jong Kook - Today More Than Yesterday

I haven't written about that many guys so I suppose now would be a good time to start.
A little info - this guy used to be in a duo(forgot the name, sorry.) and he's widely known for his high-pitched voice. At first I was kinda iffy about him but the song is too beautiful to be overlooked.

At certain points his voice gets a little annoying for me and I don't find the high-pitched thing special - the song has it's quirks. It's a cutesy, light-hearted song, something you'd want to put as the background music for a vacation or something like that. Sweet, I think that's the right word for it. But it's not sweet to the point of our ears overflowing with it - it's a song you'd want to listen to over and over again but not because it's banging into your head.

Probably the best part of this song is the start, it's nice and light and there's nothing much happening with the instrumentals - the melody makes a big impact. The chorus is nothing to rave about but it's competent and somewhat good, enough for me.

3.8/5