The K-pop Round Up: March 2012

It’s late, it’s late, I know, I know. But my reasons are always super valid(ahem). Anyway! This is the second installation of The K-pop Round Up! If you aren’t familiar with my brand-spanking new, monthly series, I’ll tell you what it is. The K-pop Round Up is a collection of new Korean releases debuting the past month. Each release usually has a lead MV and that’s what I will be reviewing. I won’t really be going into too much detail about the group itself, unless they’re a debut group/soloist. Not everything released in that month will be reviewed either–sometimes it just won’t interest me enough. But don’t worry, I’ll try my best to capture the juicy stuff.

Thankfully, March wasn’t filled to the brim with releases like February was. Most of those mainstream artists released Japanese singles and albums. So now, I’ll be able to dive into the world of talented underground K-pop!

Nine Muses are an 8-member girl group that I’ve probably heard of but have never really given the time of day. I was very happy to see that their members are all over the age of 20; so if there are any sexy themes, I won’t feel like a creep staring at a 14 year old’s ass. Anyway, their March 8th release of Sweet Rendezvous birthed the music video of Ticket, the second track on the album. I have no idea what I’m in for, so let’s just start the MV.

The video theme seems to be very dated. The guy is at what seems to be a very vintage-looking train station. But with the way everyone is dressed, it’s hard to say if that’s the true theme or if they just wanted it to look vintage.

The guy buys what is supposed to say “one way ticket”(ho, ho, cleverrr), but for obvious reasons, “ticket” is emphasized. I don’t know if he’s trying to look for the girls considering the paper he was holding, but, he buys the shit regardless.

The members are also “waiting” for the train. But, for whatever reason, they look like they just saw someone die. And the guy seems pretty lonely, considering his sulky face and aloneness on the train. He must be living at the same apartment 2NE1 did.

I’m not really catching the drift of this video. Maybe the “one way ticket” represents something? Maybe the dude just broke up with his girlfriend and he has a one way ticket to Loserville? But then how do the girls play a part in it? I don’t know. Maybe it’s 10am on a Saturday and I’m too fucking hungry to think hard enough.

There are two dance shots: one with retro cop uniforms and another with red and brown uniforms(I don’t even know what to call this). The dance isn’t anything special, honestly, and you probably could have gotten the same feel of the video without it. Three of the girls look exactly alike to me, too. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the one with the shortest hair–she’s cute.

The song isn’t too bad, though. It kind of strays away from the usual heavily electro, auto-tuned K-pop. The fact that the girls are decent singers is a plus, too. Unfortunately, the one downfall of this song is the chorus(“ticket one way, ticket one way. one way one way one way one oneoneoneonoeeo wayyynwjdnwuidns”), it’s super annoying.

Overall, Nine Muses didn’t make me wanna barf. Of course, they aren’t the most original group in the world(they have a pretty typical girl-group formula), but they look like they’re trying to do their own thing. The song isn’t half bad and the video as a whole was interesting to watch.  And I haven’t seen a train used in any other videos so far. I might just give them a try~

Ah, the awkward, skinny boys that are LED Apple. Sadness is the name of their March 9th single. Let’s see if their awkwardness has diminished a bit.

Yes! I’m not being killed by the awkwardness! Seriously, it’s not as bad as Time is up at all. And…wait a minute…

Are they all the same person now!?

They’re all redheads! What is this noise!? Also, are like three of the members gone? Or is that just the hunger speaking?

I love how this kid wakes up at 12:28 in the afternoon. Talk about lazy.

Throughout the whole story, all the members are playing the main character. Considering their hair color and similarity in weight, you wouldn’t notice unless you really paid attention.

Speaking of the story, it’s very obvious that it’s about a lost love. The girl broke up with him for obvious reasons: “Your band members look too much like you. It’s over.” Mr. Main Character is sad and wants her back. But in the end, he believes it was just a nightmare, waking up with the girl next to him. Happy, he hugs her, and she hesitantly(with her nasty-looking fingernails) hugs back. Turns out, his dream was just a premonition, and yeah, the girl ends the relationship. With a hug. ;c So sad.

The area where the members “play” the instruments is awesome. It’s well lit with great effects. And I must say, they all look really nice, even though they aren’t the most attractive bunch. Even the weird ass colors of their suits look nice. The drummer has the most swag, btw. I like him.

Overall, this MV is a million times better than their last. They heeded my advice and created a story version. They weren’t dancing awkwardly in front of the instruments. And they weren’t awkward! Yay! Plus, they even added in a cool twist by rotating the members for the main role. The lit setting was superb as well as their outfits. However, the only thing that’s missing is the song. The song lacks. I don’t hear much “rock” as I would like to. It’s a bit too poppy/electro for their style. Their vocals are up to par, fortunately. Not a bad single, boys. Thank you for listening to lil ol’ me!

I didn’t know what I was in for when I decided to listen to debut duo 2BiC. Considering their name stood for “2Bi Continue”(shouldn’t there be a D there?) and the sketchy logo on the bottom of the cover, I was thrown off. Was this a dance group, like a TVXQ sort of thing? But their March 12th release of I Made Another Girl Cry has a completely different vibe than what I expected.

Ballad. Totally unexpected.

A young man and woman enter a seemingly abandoned home( it looks a little too much like a sitcom set, however). They sit on the step and giggle & smile at each other–which is extremely cute considering how real they make it look. Soon, they start dusting off the house’s books and photos–one might start to think that they plan on staying there.

The young girl finds a photo frame with a  photo of the possible previous owners. At first I thought the young guy was the same person as the one in the photograph, but make no mistake, they’re different. A flashback confirms that the photo indeed pictured the previous couple who owned the house. That couple sits on the step in the almost exact same way the young couple did, proving that this may be more than a coincidence.

After a little more cleaning and messing with the old telephone, the young couple hear someone trying to force their way in the way they came. Startled, the young man grabs his bag and hides behind the couch with his girlfriend, keeping an eye on the door.

Another flashback shows that the previous couple went through the same thing. Two men dressed in camouflage and another two dressed in lab coats barge through the door. The male homeowner receives a paper with some writing that I wish I could read. The men in lab coats whisk away the girlfriend while the boyfriend can do nothing but struggle. Realizing there’s nothing he can do, he sits on the ground, crying.

Back in the present, the young girl finds the paper the homeowner was given. The young boy seems to have done something wrong as he stares off, putting money back into his bag. The girl seems to support him and tries to cheer him up. His or her phone vibrates and the girl quickly puts it into her pocket, probably to reassure him of something. They go back to cleaning up and the girl finds a diary dated all the way back to 1984.

A flashback shows the other male reading his kidnapped girlfriend’s diary. While reading, she limps into the room. Frightened, he lunges toward her, wondering if she’s okay or not. Apparently, she escaped the “hospital” just to come back to him–which is amazingly brave of her. He vows to take care of her even though he most likely has absolutely no idea what to do.

The current couple revel in their new home. The girl reads the diary as her boyfriend sits on the step. Suddenly, the entrance of the house quietly opens. A suspicious man peeks his head in and devilishly smirks at the young man. This is it.

The young man quickly grabs the girl and his bag and take off for the nearest room in the house. He urges his girlfriend to hide in the closet, worried for her safety. Hysterically, she does so. The apparent gang make their way to the room. The “leader” takes the money from bag and another man stabs the young man. Like a walk in the park, they leave the home.

In 1984, a similar situation rears its ugly head. The sick girlfriend coughs up blood while her boyfriend sleeps soundly next to her. She looks at him, in tearful pain, not upset by her own situation but that she’ll be leaving him for good. In the present, the stabbed man dies in his girlfriend’s arms.

To wrap this up…whoa… This was such a powerful and moving MV with a fantastic song to match. The MV effortlessly showed how different and how similar these two love stories were, both with the same final result. And quite frankly, the MV wouldn’t be the same without the song. It was beautiful. The men’s outstanding, yet different vocals blended seamlessly with the powerful melody of the song. I haven’t been so moved since Ailee’s Heaven. An absolutely tremendous release.

NU’EST has been a topic of choice lately, and I think one member has already outshone the rest. That blonde girl, Ren. I don’t see why girls like pretty boys so much. Might as well go lesbian if you dig guys prettier than you. Anyway, these young ducks(all of them are barely a year older than myself) are Pledis Entertainment’s first boy band. Their debut single, Face, deals with the major issue of bullying and was released on March 14th. Let’s just see what all this hype is about.

The video starts out with our victim going to his locker only to see his belongings trashed. He’s pushed around by some guys but some other guys stand up for him. If one didn’t know better, one would think they wanted something else rather than to beat him up. All of them looked like they wanted to make out. But I guess that wouldn’t be a bad thing for the creepy female fans.

The dance shot incorporates “bullying”, like throwing punches or the boys laying on the floor. It actually looks interesting rather than super staged. Honestly, it’s more interesting to look at than the story version–considering we barely see it.

The break dance wasn’t too bad, but unfortunately, it had nothing to do with the song, video, or message. At least it wasn’t that boring.

So, I guess the story stops progressing because the guys just sit around as people fight around them. They dance, and dance. La di da. Then one of the members help up the victim off the floor. The end.

Um, let’s see here. The video was dance shot orientated, as most K-pop groups are. The story barely progressed, only showing us quick glimpses with dancing constantly smacking our faces. The message was barely portrayed, unless you can understand Korean. And well…yeah… That’s basically it. I have no idea why Pledis is making it seem like we have never seen this before. Young guys dancing sharply with eccentric style = Teen Top. We’ve seen this before. It’s common. Just because you say their style of music is “urban electro,” doesn’t make them the most original group on the planet. What the hell do they think urban electro is anyway? Normal K-pop music with dubstep sprinkled in? Yes, very clever. Sorry, but I’m not seeing what all the fuss is about.

Lyn is a successful R&B artist that’s been around since 2001. I haven’t heard of her until now since it’s so hard to dig deeper than the mainstream K-pop nowadays. Anyway, her 7th album entitled Love Fiction was released on March 15th. Teddy Bear is the lead song off the album. Let’s take a look-see.

We start out in a very simple yet beautiful setting. A white room filled with white, curvy chairs. Lyn wears a simple white dress. Unexpected, eh? But slowly, more settings arise. All of which are simple but still so intriguing.

Some girl comes out of nowhere and starts rapping. The way she raps doesn’t fit well into the song, imo. And she just has a weird face.

While enjoying alone time in the white room, Lyn is approached by a doctor and a nurse. She sits in a different white room facing a lone monitor while the weird girl raps some more. The doctor turns on the monitor and Lyn watches a deranged version of herself rip up a teddy bear. Horrified, she continues to watch herself write on the walls.

Soon, black petals(or something) fall from above and Lyn gasps. Lyn is surrounded by candles in one shot, which makes me think that the version she saw on the monitor might have died.

While in a different room, the doctor turns toward the door to see a man peeking in. After a few moments, Lyn suddenly starts a fire. The man who was peeking through the door grabs the nurse and doctor and rush out the room. Lyn is left there in the fire.

In conclusion, Lyn is an extremely talented singer. There is not one moment where she sounds bad. I also love that she stays true to herself. You can tell that she has her own style, but isn’t trying to be someone eccentric or younger(even though she’s only 30). I have no idea what the meaning of the video is, but it seems really deep. Lastly, the song is very pretty. It’s soothing and sweet, and Lyn’s vocals top it all off.

I’m not much of a SHINee  fan, anymore–and I haven’t been since Lucifer came out. But, thankfully, their latest release, Sherlock, isn’t as weird. Released March 16th, here is my take on this mystery.

The boys appear to be detectives whom get a message from someone. Apparently, they have to investigate some place. They arrive at the…library? along with some cops. They inspect the statue in the main area and notice a marking that is the same as the seal on the message they received.

Suddenly, while looking around, a girl appears and disappears as quick as she came. Then, Key finds the same seal that the boys received.

More and more, the girl keeps reappearing and leaving behind clues. Finally, Minho has an idea. He takes a picture of the girl when she appears. But she inevitably disappears and he looks unfazed.

Finally, the boys find whatever was missing, a ring or whatever. While reviewing what they came back with, Minho’s pictures actually captured the girl. And as Key looks at a digital newspaper with the headline, “1910, THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL AND JEWELRY”(sounds weird) and notices the girl and the statue. All of them are surprised by the photo and we are basically left guessing.

All in all, a pretty entertaining MV. I like how there was no definite answer to the disappearing girl and it just kept you guessing. There were no stupid or awkward moments. Plus, I gotta admit, they all look so damn fine. No matter how much I try to stray from SHINee, I can never deny their good-looks and talent. Also, the dance shot…was pretty great. I expect no less from SHINee–the definition of talented male dancers. However, their one set of outfits bug me. Taemin looks like a drunk hillbilly and Key’s pants piss me off. Fortunately, the song distracts me. It’s good. It’s definitely catchy. I like it. It’s strong and upbeat. The only thing I don’t like about it is, “I’m so curious, blahblah.” But, honestly, it was a pretty good MV.

I was definitely drawn in by this adorable cover. But make no mistake, Jang Nara is a 31 year old artist that has been around since 2001 and has been in quite a few dramas and movies. Of course, I haven’t heard of her until now. Her newest release, I Only Think of You, was released on March 23rd. Onto the video~

The video starts out with Nara reading a diary or something. Then a snowy landscape appears and there sits Nara looking like an adorable strawberry.

She’s featured with a guy but this guy looks like he wants nothing to do with her. Nara keeps a smile on her face and either is ignoring it or just doesn’t know. She keeps cuddling and smiling, but man, this guy just wants to run in the opposite direction. Dude, if I had a girlfriend who was 30+ and looked like she was 22, I’d be chillin’.

In a less snowy scene, Nara frolics around in a suburban area. The dude appears  again and actually smiles! WHOA. APOCALYPSE.

While on the bus, Nara puts a picture of the couple in his wallet. Still, the dude looks depressed and stupid, even after she insists on buying matching duck sweaters.

They walk on the beach and the guy puts headphones on her head. He barely kisses her and disappears. She looks around the beach, remembering everything. Oh man. The look on Nara’s face when she opened her eyes. It almost made me cry.

The video ends with Nara standing near a merry-go-round, crying.

To end, the song was beautiful. It was a pretty ballad with a gorgeous piano. Jang Nara’s vocals don’t compare to Lyn‘s but they definitely are not bad in the least. The video is nice as well. It’s simple but has a sweet meaning behind it. Even though there was no definite answer to why the guy left, it keeps your eyes glued. Nara is also the most adorable woman I’ve ever seen.

Oh, my Spica. Even though your name is awful, your talent is undeniable. Painkiller is the repackaged version of their debut album that released on March 29th. The track is just added on. Now, onto the MV.

I have to admit, the beginning of the video reminded me a little too much of 2NE1’s Ugly. Yes, yes, I know, I don’t like comparing obvious things, but come on, it’s obvious. Luckily, it didn’t last very long.

The video is filled with mainly solo shots and a dance shot. A few shots look as though they were filmed from a security cam, which is a nice touch. I thought the shots where the mic stands were included in the dance shot were a little awkward. I don’t think it flowed well. I think it would’ve been a little more appropriate if they were just thrown around of something.

There isn’t much of a story to the video, so I guess it kind of end here. Overall, I like the song and video. I thought the settings were perfect and added to the mood of the song. Of course, I love their outfits–this group has some great style that isn’t underdone or over the top. However, I’m not digging those cornrows. Of course, this being a mid-tempo song, the dance isn’t anything crazy, but I think it fit the song well. And as for the song, it’s definitely catchy and tasteful. I don’t know if it was worth the whole repackaging nonsense, but it definitely wasn’t bad.

Phew! Hope you enjoyed all that guys! Don’t worry, the April edition won’t be as late. Until then, stay tuned, netizens!


One thought on “The K-pop Round Up: March 2012

  1. Pingback: Recommended Reading: April 28th, 2012 | Idolminded

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