The K-pop Round Up: February 2012

Hello, my k-netizens! My blog, for the longest, has been J-pop orientated–even more-so Hello! Project. H!P was the thing that got me into J-pop and I feel as though H!P news is the easiest to find the past few years–what lacks is some good opinions, which is why I created this blog. Even though there are big J-pop orientated websites that cover popular artists like Hamasaki, NEWS, etc. etc., I feel like they focus on a much broader stage rather than the artists’ music–which is crap I don’t really give a shit about half the time. On a different note, I’ve been much more involved in different Korean artists and am always broadening my listening range(sometimes). Plus, I’ve always wanted to expand my demographic of readers to K-pop lovers, being a K-pop lover myself. So, enough of this rambling and let me get down to business.

Instead of going crazy keeping up with billions of debut groups in one week, I’m going to wrap up everything that happened in the past month in one post. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s already the first few days of March but IDGAF! Now, I most likely won’t be going track-by-track through all the albums/mini-albums, but I’ll definitely be commenting on the promotional videos. I might not fit in every single new release of the month because it might not appeal to me very much, but I will try my best to fit as much as I can! Come aboard with me on this bumpy, long, time-consuming ride called The K-pop Round Up! :D

HALLELUJAH. Miryo of Brown Eyed Girls has finally released her solo work, MIRYO aka JOHONEY on February 1st. And so far, the second track, DIRTY, has been the promotional track for this album. With Miryo being my favorite BEG member, I was uber ecstatic to hear she was releasing a solo album.  Below is the music video for DIRTY.

The story version of the MV shows Miryo in an old-school-looking hospital room; it’s basically empty besides the bed she’s in, a monitor and some medical equipment. At first, I was thinking that it’s going to be a serious, hardcore song and I was confused about how the title related to the setting of the video. A male doctor gives a creepy smile to the female nurse and she scribbles some bullshit down on the clipboard. Then patient Miryo blinks with some sound FX–which caught me off guard. Now, I’m thinking, “Okay.. so is this a fun song now??” Next, we get a glimpse of the monitor and the music starts playing…

I totally wasn’t expecting this. I thought it was gonna be Sixth Sense-like with a grungey, hip-hop type feel. But wow…

This…

This…

THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME. This song is so friggin’ catchy. The 80’s feel is so smooth and addicting. Miryo semi-raps/sings the verses and semi-sings the chorus. The outfits are to die for. They have a 80’s and 90’s feel with a fantastic modern twist. It’s pure love.

Throughout the video, a couple new characters come to the room, one being a man and the other, a woman. They seem to have some sort of relationship with patient Miryo because they leave gifts and comfort her. But, it isn’t long until the “dirty” comes out. Apparently that creepy smile that the male doctor gave wasn’t a coincidence. Him and the nurse seem to have something going on because he “playfully” taps her on the ass/thigh. I dunno about you, but I wouldn’t allow that unless I actually wanted it(lol). And Miryo obviously looks irritated and annoyed at their “public display of affection.”

Soon enough, the chorus meets us and it’s super addicting. I dare you to listen to it and not be humming it later. Obviously, there isn’t much a dance to the song since Miryo is more concerned about schooling you in rapping rather than dancing. There’s also an unknown, slightly unnecessary bassist hanging around. Seriously, is he from anywhere? He looks like he would fit nicely into MBLAQ.

So as the song and video progresses, it becomes apparent that patient Miryo is paralyzed, barely being able to move anything but her head. As she sleeps, we get a clip of what she appears to dreaming of. A completely healthy and mobile Miryo smiles as she peers out the window in the hospital room. She turns around to see her paralyzed self and drops on her knees, crying. Dreaming Miryo is obviously pained about this as we see her face grimace.

The song continues and we see the woman and man together with Miryo. It’s pretty obvious that they are uncomfortable, but that feeling soon takes over patient Miryo when they move in for a kiss. After that, the nurse comes back in to give patient Miryo a shot. But just as she bends down, the doctor(who seems to come out of nowhere) grabs her ass! Miryo is highly confused and totally wants to smack them both. Then we move on to the man and woman who seem to just waltz into her room making out. The woman’s jacket comes off, then her bra–which…kinda makes no sense. Either way, they eventually stop and rush out of the room.

Miryo, sick of everyone pretending like she doesn’t exist, hatches an idea. She slowly grips the shot that the nurse dropped(and never picked up). And flips us the bird. And semi-sings the break part. I really, really hate how they autotuned her–it sounds so ridiculous, I don’t even know. Finally, she gets her revenge when the guy sits on the needle, trips over the equipment and throws the girl’s juice out of her hand. It lands on the monitor and starts an electrical fire. And somehow, the curtains catch on fire? Anyway, the nurse and doctor come in but end up tripping over everyone. Miryo flashes this hilarious “did-I-do-that?” look at 4:18. And quite frankly, she’s pleased. No more of their nonchalant attitudes around her! The video ends with patient Miryo chillin’ in bed, while everybody is laying on the floor with the room on fire.

All in all, this isn’t what I was expecting–and I’m so glad it isn’t. How boring is it to predict how a new song or video is gonna be? That’s called unpredictable and boring! Even though the video is comical, it definitely has a message–anything BEG has a deeper meaning that just what you see. I’m assuming it has something to do with nonchalant attitudes and our ability to get caught up so easily in certain things. The song has an amazing vibe, and I know it just might be on my top 10 list at the end of the year. I’m glad that Miryo didn’t do something we could have predicted for a promotional song/work. Awesome job.

I’ve loved Block B since the beginning. I think they’re an awfully talented group of guys with awfully catchy music. They released their 2nd mini album, Welcome to the Block, on February 2nd. I must say, I love this album. Almost every song does something for me, especially the promotional track, Nalina.

So, in the video, there seems to be a divide amongst the group into two teams of fighters. Apparently, Team Black Dragon gets an “invitation” from Team Red Tiger. At a bar-looking area, Team Red Tiger’s Zico is chillin’ while some dudes are harassing the bartender. He makes it seem like he’s ignoring but, he’s not. Zico spins a coin on the bar and in the time the coin is spinning, he kicks those dudes’ asses. Ha.

They walk out of the bar, and boom, music time! Very dancey, very catchy, loving just the first couple seconds of the damn thing. Oh, can I also say that I love Zico as a blonde? Seriously, out of all his hairstyles so far, short blonde hair is definitely the best. So, the chorus’s dance is pretty hilarious to watch. Come on, look at them! LOL!

Taeil looks like a fool, jus’ sayin’. P.O. makes hilarious facial expressions. Speaking of facial expressions, does anyone notice how Zico can change his face expression about 50 times in 5 seconds? It’s magical.

Most of the beginning of the song, until “nali, nali, nalina” is just them messing around, singing to the song. But eventually, the teams start making their way towards each other, including Zico handcuffing the bartender he previously saved and Jae Hyo looking like a goddamn fool. Wtf, they couldn’t have styled his hair a little better?

Now, the two teams meet. Zico is obviously pissing off Jae Hyo and doing a pretty good job at it. Then the guys start going at each other. Obviously, it’s nothing too violent, just a bunch of pushing and taunting. But then Zico does some sort of judo kick to the floor and everyone falls..?

ENTER DANCE BREAK! I guess it’s nothing super duper special but B-Bomb(or is that Kyung? Those fuckers look too much alike) does some solo dance and asdfghjkl. I nearly drooled. Don’t know why, but that was attractive.

The video ends with Zico taking a jumping punch and with Jae Hyo about to uppercut his ass. For obvious reasons, they cut it off ;] Zico didn’t even have a closed fist! LOL.

To conclude, I definitely like the video. The settings are a lot more attractive than in Tell Them and everyone LOOKS more attractive than in Tell Them. Especially you, Zico. *shivers at thought of Tell Them* The story didn’t make the much of a difference in the video but it definitely is a nice touch–it adds more of a reason as to why they’re in the settings that they’re in. I have to say the video was chockfull of Zico and P.O., but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing :D As for the song, I love it. It’s just Block B’s style in a nutshell. Fantastic album, boys.

I had never heard of LED Apple before February. I honestly thought they were another debuting boy group. And yeah, their name made me think of Led Zeppelin. After some research, I learned that they’ve been around for over a year. I was also pretty surprised to see that they’re apart of LOENENT‘s YouTube, along with Block B and a bunch of other artists upcoming on this list. Time is up is their 2nd single and released on February 3rd. Music video time.

The video starts out with a pretty girl with an unfortunate bowl cut and a wind-up thingy on her back. It becomes pretty obvious that the focus will be on clocks(remind you of U-KISS’s Tick Tack?) when the music starts–but I guess it’s suitable since the song is called Time is up.

The hilariously unattractive black-haired singer/rapper has some really awkward movements. But hey, I guess I can forget about him because two other much more attractive singers pop in. They still look a bit awkward, but maybe not as bad. By the way, I love that red-headed boy’s hair color. Aye yo, can I steal yo hair colurr?

While they sing/rap/be awkward, some pop art is included–which I find pretty cute. It’s quick enough to not notice, but if it wasn’t there, you’d definitely notice; it gives the video a little more pizzazz.

On a different note, CAN YOU STOP SAYING “YOOOUUUHOO~”??

Doing some more research, I’m appalled to see that these boys are older than 16. Seriously. They’re like skin and bones. Tae Min’s face looks older than all of their ages combined.

Okay. Semi-different setting with much better outfits. Looking good so far. Okay, cool, you look a little less awkward “dancing” with a jacket on. Mhm, mhm. Not too shabby.. Pretty go–WHAT? WTF? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS? They were doing pretty good until the instrumental break came along and they became stiff images on a screen. Not to mention, they’re wearing like purple and yellow against the neutral colored setting -___-

Unfortunately, the really awkward black-haired kid shows his face again, and swears he’s a DJ now. And more sad awkward movements…

The music ends with nearly a complete one shot–which makes me mad. How dare you be so lazy in editing!? And at the very, very end, the creepy wind-up girl comes back and looks completely astonished that time is up!

So…uh… This group is in some serious identity crisis. It looks like they want to be an idol group and a rock group at the same time, and I guess that’s not so bad. But, unfortunately, they’re just not doing it right. F.T. Island does it pretty well. And even Japanese rock group, SCANDAL can pull it off. Those two groups aren’t exactly idol-y, but they still do it right. Something is just deathly wrong here; they look incredibly awkward. For one, try to throw in a story part of your video; since you’re a “rock group,” it makes things a bit more interesting. Secondly, don’t have your singers/rappers dancing in front of the true band members–it looks awkward. Third, give said singers/rappers something to do instead of dancing–it looks awkward. And last, LOOK LESS AWKWARD. Honestly, the most interesting part of the video is the creepy wind-up girl. The song isn’t even that bad, execution of the video is very mediocre, however.

Spica, seemingly just another girl group of the possible 79 that will debut this year. Russian Roulette is their debut mini album released on February 8th. Upon research about where the fuck the name “Spica” comes from, I learned that Spica is the name of the brightest star in the Virgo constellation. Well, Spica, Big Bang is named after the scientific theory that created the whole goddamn universe, so, in turn Spica, you lose. But, let’s see how you do at Russian Roulette.

It looks like all the girls are sitting around the playing table. Barely 5 seconds in, the song starts playing. And quite honestly, it sounds very promising. There’s no irritating techno/electronic beat. It’s smooth and jazzy, but still sounds like it could have a great buildup.

The first singer has a weird face–she doesn’t really look full Korean. Moving along with the pinkish red haired girl…erm… She looks pretty disturbing. Someone picks up the gun and…takes all the bullets out? Wut? The first singer sings a bit more and then…

The pink/red headed girl sings.

Holy fuck. She has the voice of a goddess. Not even gonna lie.

Next, a blondie. She sounds a bit similar to the pinkie, but a little less goddess-like. But once she stops, the buildup comes. I knew this song was gonna have a great buildup. The chorus is pretty awesome. The girls are silhouetted in front of a bright light(one of my favorite types of shots ever), and pull it off effortlessly.

After, they are in a dimly lighted room, with just one spotlight on them(another favorite of mine). And, inevitably, a dance shot. I guess it was going to happen eventually. I was honestly enjoying the other shots alone, but hey, it’s a girl group. What do you expect?

Now, the dance isn’t 2NE1 status, but I guess it’s not super boring. Somewhere in the middle, the “any dance coverist can do this” dance.

Pinkie starts singing again, and WHOO, I am amazed by this girl’s talent. She doesn’t necessarily have the cutest face(at least not with that haircut), but man, she has the vocals. But after her, some fish faced girl sings, and she has some pretty powerful vocals as well.

And so, one by one, each girl is gone.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this impressed by a debut group. Maybe not since After School? I honestly was not expecting much. I was expecting just another girl group to debut with an irritatingly electro song, do some dancing, some close-ups, and some shatty ass story version. But no. Spica has fantastic vocals and a great image. I’m not all that convinced with dancing, but it’s a mid-tempo song–it doesn’t call for much dancing. The video was shot amazingly and didn’t keep me bored a bit. After more investigation on this group and its members, it seems as though Lee Hyori picked them up and whipped them into a group. I’m so beyond happy to see that they’re all rather experienced. One being a former T-ara member and another was preparing to debut with 2NE1. It’s fantastic that these girls have talent and aren’t just thrown into a group after some “training.” It proves that these girls mean business, and I’m hopeful they’re going to be big. You did an awesome job in proving me wrong, Spica. Mad kudos.

I truly never cared much for Chocolat. They didn’t appeal to me in any sort of way. Their debut, Syndrome, was annoying and I avoided it at all costs. I didn’t give a shit about their mixed race members or anything that had to do to them–their music and talent was generic. But, their newest single, Chocolat, released February 8th, has been the cause of controversy and I want in. And in particular, it’s been the promotional track One More Day that’s been getting a lot of talk.

Oh no. Here we go. That super annoying wannabe group trying to sound like their worth a damn with a faux-R&B song.

The dance setting is pretty simplistic. Just a white backdrop with some chairs. Very original… [/endsarcasm]

The story has something to do with a cheating boyfriend that Chocolat kidnap. And that’s basically it for that. Seriously, there’s no more development for the story.

The whole video is basically just centered around them humping chairs and Tia. I’ve never seen such favoritism in a Kpop group ever, nor have I ever been so angry at a management before.

I’m just gonna stop this “review” short, and tell you what is wrong here.

First off, I think they should rename the group to Tia and Others. Seriously. If you think I’m lying, I’m not. I was reading around and seeing how much people were irritated by this girl named “Tia.” And I’m just thinking, “There’s no way it can be THAT bad.”

It is.

All of their videos are Tia-orientated. You only see the other 4 girls for literally 3 seconds each. I was completely appalled. She has absolutely nothing that the others don’t have. They’re all gorgeous, they can dance, and majority of them have nice voices. Not only that, but Tia is only just about to turn 15. I understand that you look like you’re 25, but that still doesn’t change the fact that you’ve barely hit your mid-teens. And it definitely doesn’t justify the management to shoot close-ups of your ass and chest and make you hump a chair.

There’s a thin line between being a good dancer and going overboard. I don’t think that they’re going overboard with the dance, but considering that there are two 14 year olds in the group, it makes me uncomfortable to watch. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been as weirded out if they hadn’t zoomed in on their asses every time they did that one certain move.

One thing that I’m glad they didn’t do is skimpy outfits. If there would have been revealing outfits, I think I would’ve flipped my lid. But honestly, I liked the outfits; they were cute and edgy at the same time. Frankly, it’s the only plus side of this goddamn video.

Ailee is a piece of work. She came from just posting covers on YouTube, to training with Wheesung, and finally officially releasing solo work. Not only is she an American, but she’s from New Jersey–do you know how proud that makes me? I decided to look through her older videos and performances and…wow. This girl’s voice…is beautiful. I have never been so close to crying while listening to someone sing–ever. Ailee’s first official solo work, Heaven, was released on February 9th, and I’ve never been so excited to review a debut artist’s work.

This beautiful ballad starts with some gorgeous vocals by Ailee. The video features Ailee and Asian Jesus chillin’ together. Asian Jesus seems to be captivated by Ailee’s beauty(I would be, too), but somehow I’m getting a vibe that they aren’t truly a couple(guy looks 30+ anyway).

Asian Jesus and Ailee start sifting through some photos and in comes the actual boyfriend. I knew it! Asian Jesus looks a lil’ jelly, if I do say so myself. But what? What is this? A smile! He’s happy for them! Yay~ :D

As the video backtracks through all the events we just saw, it seems as though Ailee was actually alone. This Asian Jesus was just a mirage. At first I was thinking that maybe this Asian Jesus is just her way of getting over not being with her boyfriend. But after reading through the translation of the lyrics, I was kind of on the right track.

This Asian Jesus is actually a real person who passed away while he was with Ailee. Ailee, instead of crying over him and being emotional, is appreciative that he showed her love. She watches videos of them and looks at pictures, not in a sad way, but in a positive way. Unlike so many other sad love songs, she realizes it’s time to move on, which is the meaning of the boyfriend who gives her flowers. In turn, Asian Jesus is happy for her.

Even though the theme of a loved one passing away is overused, I like how Ailee uses it. The only other artist I ever liked when they used this theme was Bom. Ailee is such a gem. I swear, I’ve never been so emotionally moved by a song. It has a fantastic message that is much more unique than just being upset that a loved one died. The video is simple but still so complex. I have a strong feeling this girl will do amazing. I absolutely love her as of now.

Oh wait, here’s that unoriginal girl group I’ve been meaning to bag on. EXID is composed of 6 chicks thrown together by some dude named Shinsadong Tiger. Their debut single, Holla, released on February 16th, has a promotional track, Whoz That Girl. Besides the fact that the title was produced by some 5 year-old…well, there is no beside that fact–it still sounds unpromising. Oh, and did I mention they’ve already been accused of plagiarism? Let’s see just how bad this is..

Car. Guy with girl. Sees people. Veers off street. Mkayyy…

So the first girl isn’t that bad of a singer. But what the fuck is up with her face? She looks like she’s been abused by one too many boyfriends. *shot* Also, she’s pretty crazy for standing right in front of a possible crime scene.

The dance is almost immediate. Woo. Originality oozes. [/endsarcasm] Looks like different assortments of clothing in the same, strange dance setting. Bleh.

The “story” continues and it looks like these bitches are torturing some poor unattractive man. But it looks like they could even be the dude’s hallucinations. Every time one of the girls messes with him, he just looks like a nutcase.

Now, the most irritating part of the group is the rapper. The first thing I thought of was…yeah, you guessed it, CL. I hate comparing people with other more famous people, but it must be done. Other than the fact that this chick looks like a love child of CL and Zico, she’s total copycat. She has some faux hawk going on like CL did in Fire. CL is like, the only female rapper I know that wears enormous sunglasses, too. Oh, and you aren’t a holla back girl, Gwe–LE? Sure, she might be a fantastically lovable person on the inside, but girl, get your style straight.

So, the guy keeps hallucinating and the girls keep dancing overused dance moves. Then CL/Zico’s daughter raps, and some small chinned girl attempts, too. And…huh? What the…fuck? The small chinned girl…krunks. Why are you doing this to yourself? YOU LOOK LIKE A FOOL! Yes, you did better than what most chicks can do, but lawd. Next time you try to krunk or do some sort of dance break, OWN IT.

The video progresses and still makes no sense. The dude drives off the road or something and dies? I dunno. Then the girls break some mannequins(arguably the most interesting part of the video), and that’s basically it. Thank lawd it’s over.

Another group that is in dire identity crisis. Seriously, have a sit down with all the people in your management, sip some tea, and figure out who the hell you want to be. There’s too many elements of different groups in this group. Not only does almost every member look like someone else from another more famous group, but so does their style. Every other group has worn the studded jackets and worn leggings, the oversized pants and tank top–it’s all been done. I feel bad that everyone is comparing this group to 2NE1, but it’s so goddamn true. There’s too much confusion about what this group is supposed to portray. What they’re doing just isn’t working.

I’ve never really been a Miss A fan, but I’ve never denied their talent. They’re very great dancers and their singing is decent. Their music, however, has never really stood out to me. Most of the time, I feel like it’s just been songs with hooks to make them popular. But Touch, their 3rd mini-album released on February 20th, has been gaining a lot of press. So, I’m actually pretty amped to review this. Oh, can I mention that I absolutely love the dresses in the cover? MV time.

The video starts off pretty dark looking. Kind of like one of those horror movies you always stay away from. And frankly, that feeling doesn’t go away once the music starts.

The girls are dressed in some sort of mummy wrapping(lol) in a cave-looking setting. The dance has an aura of theatrical. It strays from their idol-like and R&B/hip-hop hybrid dancing. There are also moments when it’s sped up to give you a Rihanna Disturbia effect.

I can’t tell what the story is trying to portray at this point. At some points it looks like they found love, but then it looks like they’re hurt at other points. The story didn’t seem to progress too much throughout the video, either. Also, I thought the guy caressing them at one point looked a little uncomfortable. It just reminds me way too much of the beginning of a bad porno *shivers*

The rest of the video is mostly just singing and dancing in mysterious and dark areas. I didn’t like the bird’s eye view shot much, but the dresses they had on were gorgeous. The area where they sat singing was also very intriguing–I loved the projecting images.

The MV was pretty dark. It’s definitely a different direction for Miss A, but it wasn’t bad. I don’t think there was much visual explanation about the actual meaning of the song, but I suppose the imagery made up for that. I believe the settings and outfits were absolutely beautiful–especially the black lace dresses(is that the third time I stated that?). The dance was also very cool, IMO. The song was par; I don’t think it was particularly memorable and they used that repetitive line hook again. I think, altogether, it was a little better than decent. Unfortunately, something isn’t clicking for me.

Oh my Big Bang! I think I fall deeper and deeper in love with BB as the months pass. I don’t know what it is, but they have this thing about them that once they even just barely have you, they’ll lure you in most definitely. BB’s newest album, ALIVE, was released on February 29th. Two promotional tracks have already been released, but I will comment on the first, Blue.

I definitely didn’t know what to expect with a title like Blue and a group like Big Bang. But, they did stay true to Blue. The video has obvious blue mid-tones and highlights and honestly, looks gorgeous. As the song starts, I’m half disappointed and half satisfied.

GD starts running on a rooftop and so does some foreigner(is it crazy that just by her running, I can tell she isn’t Asian?). While GD looks like a goddamn goon, the girl honestly looks like she running from something. I’m adoring the song so far. I must say, Big Bang are the kings of ballads.

GD raps with his macaroni hair sticking out of his beanie and I swear, even though GD is about 4’11” and looks a little feminine half the time, he can be very, very attractive. I guess it’s his swag and his expressions. He just seems so confident but fragile at the same time. It’s like, “Yeah, look at me. I know I’m sexy. But don’t look at me too hard. I might get shy, blush, and turn away.” It’s so cute.

Daesung has a fantastic voice, but is that blonde working for him? Nah. He looks a little too…wannabe for my liking. It seems like people give Daesung a lot of crap no matter how hard he tries, LOL.

The video progresses and somehow the guys do the same things as the girl does. I don’t know how the hell that relates to anything, but it looks cool XD Seung’s Caesar cut actually doesn’t look that bad, either.

Oooooh…TOP…. *drools* Oops. Sorry. Can’t help it. But damn, is his hair really blue? LOL. Unfortunately, I’m not liking his wardrobe in this video. His legs look too long–looks unproportional.

Taeyang looks a little strange, too. But hey, he’s got an amazing voice and uses it well. I also love the move he does at 2:47.

The rest of the video consists of more running, walking, and shadowing this girl. I’m guessing this girl is a past love or something. The lyrics suggest something about longing and loved, so I just have to be right.

To conclude, I love this song. Then again, what ballad by Big Bang don’t I like? I think the setting is beautiful, the song is beautiful, and the message is beautiful. All the guys look pretty good, despite some questionable fashion choices, but I guess I could blame the stylists halfway. The only semi-complaint I have is the fact that this is the first promotional track to release a video. When you spend about a year out of the charts, you wanna come out with something BANG! POP! I love this song a lot, but I would’ve liked if they released something more dancey and upbeat first, before releasing this track. Other than that, I’m looking forward to listening to this album.

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