Friday, May 25, 2012

[May 25, 2012] KBS Music Bank Highlights + Commentary

Lots of acts to cover on this week's recap, with comebacks and debuts to add to the already-packed line-up. I was really surprised at how long this recap turned out to be! New girl group She'z, boy band VIXX, and JYP's JJ Project make their Music Bank debuts, and we see the return of F.Cuz, B1A4 and G.NA, all armed with new material. No more 4Minute, so that means that SISTAR should start wrapping up promo for "Alone" as well. Also in attendance are now-regulars EXO-K, A Pink, B.A.P., TaeTiSeo, Hello Venus, and a host of others. Is it really a surprise who won today?

Video credit goes to shu35151229 and KoreanMusicTVLive.

VIXX - "Super Hero"
Yet another new group I've never heard about. I should really do my homework before writing these recaps, because I literally just added these guys in when they came on with JJ Project. From the performance alone they're pretty average, but being a new group I see potential. The song itself has a beautiful melody if they can sustain singing it right live, and individually, they move very naturally on stage. Group dynamics are a bit off for now, but it's good that none of them move like robots individually. I'm keeping my eye on them out of curiosity.

She'z - "My Way"
While major label girl groups seem to be at a standstill in terms of vocals, it looks like the lesser-labels are starting to understand the concept of a "singer", because these girls are all rather stable live singers. The voices remind me of some members from the ill-fated Black Pearl (who didn't really have a good debut either but yeah), which is an okay thing, but with the right songs these girls could really work. We need to work on the material and the choreography though, and get you girls more flattering costumes. But I'd rather that be the problem than a total lack of vocal ability.

JJ Project - "Bounce"
And that, my friends, is how you pull off a debut stage, complete with literal jumping and prancing around stage. It wasn't a perfect performance, but what makes them so much better as live performers is that the mistakes they made, and the problems I saw, aren't the type that needs continuous practice and drastic changes -- they're little problems that can be easily fixed by telling them where they went wrong, like slips with the words, not looking at the camera, the little details like that. I'm starting to really like JJ Project, with their old-school K-Pop sound and their apparent talent laced with a good group dynamic, which was what I was worried about the most. When I saw the video I couldn't really tell whether the two worked well as a duo, but after today's performance (and yesterday's M!Countdown one as well), I think it's safe to say that I worried for nothing.

Hello Venus - "Venus"
These girls are really growing on me. I hate the poofy skirts today, but everything else about the performance is on-point. Vocals are stable, presence is there but not overpowering, and they're starting to move more and more like a group. I just really hope they don't go down the Girls' Day route, because this is a dangerously few steps up.

This late in the game and they're still moving around like robots? I understand that it's partially the nature of the choreography, but EXO-M do it perfectly fine. It won't hurt to move with fluidity, and if anything, it'll make it much less of a chore to watch them perform if they show some semblance of delight or joy in their movements. Their vocals are doing a lot better, and they no longer sound like fighting pre-schoolers, which is a relief, but something has to be done about that scream at the beginning. If you can't reach that high, lower it!

B.A.P. - "Power"
Another strong performance from the five-piece today, and I really love how even if I'm not a big fan of the song, they literally peeled my eyes off my computer screen so I could watch the performance. I can't really comment on the rapping, but their vocals were stable today, and very gutsy. Not yet a convert, but I'm working on it.

A Pink - "Hush"
I love the outfits, but that's basically the only thing. Their vocals are getting much more stable, but it's of no help because this song was doomed from the very beginning. Just skipping along now.

Dalmatian - "E.R."
It's good that the whispering has been solved and I can actually hear actual, rather good, singing now, but E.R. is neither fresh, nor is it exceptionally gorgeous enough to catch my ear. And their stage presence isn't any stronger than groups of lesser stature, so they don't win me over with their performances either. Which is why Dalmatian is still meh for me.

B1A4 - "Good Night Good Night "
After last year's disaster of a single, it looks like B1A4 are starting to redeem themselves. "Baby I'm Sorry" was actually a pretty good song, and this new single isn't half bad either. It's a mess, but not as much as their previous releases. The chorus is... interesting, to say the least, anticlimactic if I were to be nice, and the rap middle 8 is a complete mess, but the verses are strong. Their performance is kind of understandable, and they've always had good stage deportment, so it was okay to watch. But that's all it is for now -- okay.

F.Cuz - "No. 1"
Oh wow, I haven't seen F.Cuz in what feels like ages. With one member moving on to musicals alongside my beloved Junsu, and whatever other drama they went though. I didn't particularly like them, but I kind of pity them because some of the other groups who debuted alongside them have already moved up the ladder, while they (and ZE:A) are still pretty nugu. Their vocals are nothing to write home about though, rather rough around the edges, and although this song is a massive step up from the stuff they put out in the past ("Jiggy", anyone?), it's still pretty generic. I'm putting them on probation for now. We'll see.

G.NA - "Summer Star" + "2Hot"
I pity G.NA so much, it's not even funny anymore. Because of all the crap Cube is giving her, she's basically regressed in terms of vocals. I mean she's never really had a stadium ballad-calibre voice, but old G.NA would've slayed "Summer Star", or even just pulled it off well. New G.NA did neither. Her vocals were thinner than usual, she let go at all the wrong places, and her belting wasn't even proper belting. And don't even get me started on "2Hot". The song itself is a disaster of a generic and cheap package (as usual), and it doesn't help that G.NA's vocals have deteriorated this much, so much that she has to sing like a 2 year-old to make up for it. Cheap song, cheap choreography, cheap everything. My only compliment would be that at least she's really cheap and pretentiously cheap like SISTAR.

Infinite - "The Chaser"
Brilliant performance today, and I love how they spiced up the entrance with the paper and all. Their vocals are getting better and better each week, and with the exception of some of the parts after the key change, everything was stable today. Infinite have come to the stage where they literally hold the audience in the palm of their hands, a stage I've been waiting a long time for, because it's a glorious, glorious time. They really move not only fluidly, but also as a group, and that makes it such a joy to watch them perform.

SISTAR - "Alone"
And I see SISTAR are no longer in the running for number one this week. Is this goodbye stage-week? Is it at least coming soon? Please? I mean, their vocals have become really stable and almost strong, and now one of the formerly-useless girls, Soyu I believe, is no longer as useless as she was before, which is one of the few good things to come out of this promo cycle, but "Alone" is just really boring now. Please, end my misery soon.

SNSD (Taeyeon, Tiffany, Seohyun) - "Twinkle"(WINNER)
Not much change from last week's performances, which were not much of a change either, but at least they've been stable since the beginning (when we talk about this song in particular, because the "Baby Steps" performance did the stunning song no justice), and it's a song that really matches majority of them. Seohyun's still lacking that one, valuable component. She has everything else really mastered, but she still lacks the power.

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