The K-pop Round Up: February & March 2013

As you probably could already tell, I had to take a bit of a break from writing during March & April. The months have brought about a hideous amount of work and little time for my online deals. But! This means a special edition of The K-pop Round Up! See that title? Nope, you’re not hallucinating. This is the first time I’ll be combining two months in one edition! That calls for quite a bit of writing. Can you handle all the K-pop!?

We kick off this special edition with a group I hadn’t heard of before Simon and Martina interviewed them about a month or two ago. Clazziquai Project has been around for more or less a decade releasing music with an infusion of electronica, house, acid jazz, and groove. Consisting of two males and one female, the trio has also been active in Japan, collaborating with artists like m-flo. Blessed is the title of their most recent album which released on February 5th, 2013. Love Recipe is the lead track. I’m honestly super excited…

Alright. I can’t be the only one who thinks Alex looks like an Asian version of Jeremy Renner(love him, btw. 8D) Oh shit… And Alex’s voice is extremely attractive? Crushing. Good-looking, sweet personality, and nice ass voice. Totally crushing.

Okay, okay, enough side-tracking. The video makes me hungry. Seriously. I haven’t been a big eater lately but holy crap, I could go for some pasta and chocolate right now(not the tastiest sounding combination…). Regardless, this music video is truly a breath of fresh air. There’s no crazy ass dancing, no bright lights, no intricate camera work. It all feels natural. What’s more natural than food? Let’s also recognize how simple the editing is. A little unf here and there but ultimately, they use split screen for majority of the video. Despite that fact, it’s not boring in the least to watch. It’s cute, simple, and very soothing.

Onto the song itself. I was honestly surprised. With a group that defines themselves with electronica, house, etc. etc. I really wasn’t expecting a jazzy mid-tempo ballad. Well yeah, they do incorporate jazz into their music but I wasn’t really expecting actual lounge music. It’s a pleasant surprise and I don’t mind it a bit. A soothing, sweet love song is necessary once in a while. And not one with a R&B beat or electronic melody–a real one that makes you stop and smile to yourself.

Gorgeous, CZQ. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of this album.

B.A.P have become a little soft lately. Bissori was nice and easy on the ears but it wasn’t a damn thing like the POWER-ful impression they left on me back in early 2012. Even though Hajima was earcandy, I can’t help but be a little disappointed in the direction they’ve been going lately. Their newest mini-album, ONE SHOT–released on February 12th–features a few par tracks that don’t have me too convinced. The title track is one the which.

LOL. Boat scenes always crack me up. Like… You know you did not buy that yacht. You know you do not own that yacht. You know you don’t even know where that yacht is going. Plz stahp.

Oh ard, now you come out of a plane. Did the yacht take you to the plane where you proceeded to change clothing, fly to an undisclosed location, and walk toward the camera like badass action movie protagonists? Yes? I knew it. I can’t lie though, it is kinda sexy.

Like Boyz N The Hood(jk, idek, I never saw that movie), a couple homies try to make a drug trade which immediately gets halted by a group of Korean Bloods ready to stop the party. One dude gets knocked unconscious while the other bro shakes his neck as if choking the air out of him is going to make any positive difference.

The boys reassemble in their secret hideout to discuss the events that took place earlier that day. What is this? One muchacho conveniently pulls a flash drive out of his butt which allows the story to flow even more! Oh no! The Korean Bloods are holding a member hostage! Looks like those bastards put a price on his life… 10 million dollars! Speaking of which, what the hell are a bunch of Korean Bloods going to do with American money? The logic…

So what do the boys of B.A.P do? They assemble a plan using toys(rip off of A-team, much!), play with a real car using a monkey wrench(like that’s gonna do anything…), and dive into a boatload of plastic guns. The hell is up with Korea’s addiction to fucking guns? Gosh. There are children watching. Put that shit away.

Random side note but can someone tell me why I feel like I keep seeing Dongho in this fucking video? Seriously, who is that motherfucker?

Somehow the guns go to hell when the boys raid a truck filled with money. But it looks like the boys are filled with hesitation. Do we go through with the plan? Do we stop and turn back? Do we look for some Korean money to give to the Bloods? Doushiyou!?

And now… It’s time for the face off. The suitcase is dropped and the Bloods gladly accept the money. “Here ya go.” They hand over the hostage and off they go into merry wonderland!!

Not.

Of course, the Bloods are never to be trusted! One pulls out a gun and treacherously shoots the former hostage right through the gut! YOU BUNCHA BASTARDS. Main hero dude pulls out his pistol and starts firing, launching a full blown bullet storm! Let’s recognize how ridiculous those effects look, by the way. The last fucker thinks he’s gonna get away? Not on main hero dude’s watch! BAM! U DEAD. Wait a second…

It wasn’t real!? The hostage ends up being a detective who busts the boys for… for… Saving him?? What a load of shit! This is why no one likes cops…

The song itself isn’t too shabby. I still don’t think it matches up or exceeds POWER but it’s a step in the right direction–a direction they should have stayed on all along. It falls just a tad short but hey, it’s better than a ballad or something.

The video is a bit laughable. The plot was okay and all, but gosh, that acting. The only one I really enjoyed watching was the main hero dude–he seemed to be the only one that knew what he was trying to portray. All the others looked like they were in a bad YouTube wannabe action movie–not exactly something you’d strive for. Regardless, it was an entertaining 7 minutes.

No one understands how badly I’ve been waiting for Rainbow‘s Korean comeback. Their Japanese songs are nothing to bark at and quite frankly, I couldn’t care less for them. I’ve been ready for their comeback since last summer! And now, it’s here. It’s finally here… Rainbow Syndrome is the title of Rainbow’s February 13th mini-album which will soon have a counterpart. Tell me Tell me is the lead track. I’ve already had the song on repeat so now it’s time for the MV.

The video is a bit random. There’s writing here, talking here, eating here, baking here, looking, pooping, scooping, all that stuff. And what in the hell is up with Jisook and Hyun Young? Why do they look like Tae Yeon and Jimin lookalikes? My eyes hurt…

I gotta say, I am quite surprised by the girls’ visual transformations in this MV. It seems as though the promotional photos were taken some ways before the MV was recorded. Jaekyung’s hair color is a bit too candy-ful for me. It’s a color that only looks right on Kyary. It also makes her look too young for my tastes. I know Asians like to maintain their youth but it’s not attractive to be 25 and look 17. Woori looks absolutely… odd. I honestly really don’t like her haircut. She looks kind of sickly. She’s almost unrecognizable.

I’m loving the outfits for the video. Although I’m kind of iffy about the ones with their jackets tied around their waists, the others are very pretty. The flowy white shirt and jeans looks so simplistically gorgeous on all of their thin physiques. The colorful dresses are intriguing as well. I like how they fill out the girls a little more than the other outfits. They don’t look super thin or anything–just perfect! Also, how did Jaekyung get her hair like that? She has no bangs one shot and then bangs the next? What in the world.

The dance is kind of mediocre, but I guess Rainbow have never been known for dancing ability. What I really dislike about the dance is the bridge right after the choruses. That freakin’ butt move. Like seriously? I feel like groups nowadays–majority girl groups–completely throw away strategy and formation to do something that showcases a suggestive feature. Sure, butts aren’t really that sexual or suggestive but in other cases, it might be the chest or crotch. It gets a little repetitive and boring to watch sometimes. Look, I don’t want to stare at closeups of your ass. Just friggin’ look pretty and sing, dammit.

The one thing that I must get off my chest is my slight discomfort with the aegyo. Of course, it’s nothing I can’t handle but coming from a group like Rainbow… it’s sort of odd. Rainbow have never really been a cutesy group so to see them making googly eyes and winky faces… it’s weird. Sure, the group has had their cutesy moments like in Hoi Hoi, but never really to this degree–especially not on a lead track. Hopefully this doesn’t lead to more unicorns and butterflies down the road…

Other than all that, Tell me Tell me is a really fun and energetic song that maintains Rainbow’s jazzy flair that I love. I can’t wait until the next piece of this album.

SHINee‘s third album is similar to Rainbow in a sense that it is split up into parts. Release one of the album is Dream Girl: The Misconceptions of You which released on February 19th. Its lead track is obviously Dream Girl. I haven’t been up on many reviews of the album or video so this is all brand spankin’ new to me.

Did Taemin just sing first? My god. No matter how many years go by or how distant I am with SHINee, I will never fall out of love with this boy.

Hey! The boys went back to looking sort of normal! SHINee seems to have these weird bouts where they’ll dress as females one single, then like weirdos the next, and then back to looking like boys. Part of the reason why I’m not up on them as much as I used to be.

The video is filled with oddball visuals and strange movement along with the lone girl’s face being covered as well as only being seen inside the frame. It all definitely adds up to the main focus of a “dream girl.” A girl who will never actually be found and might only exist in their imagination. It’s cute! I also love how quirky the guys are here. They’re not looking longingly into the camera or shooting the camera man serious, seductive faces. They’re giving :O and :3 and it’s so adorable!

Their wardrobe is something not to be taken too seriously. Although I found myself cringing throughout the video–it’s all meant to be quirky and weird. I mean… Taemin is wearing high-waisted floral shorts. Do you honestly think he’d EVER go out in public in those? No way! It’s all in good fun and adds onto the mysterious, odd feel of the video. I’d love to borrow Key, Onew, and Jonghyun’s jeans in the second dance shot some day.

The dance is a bit obscured majority of the time but the fact that they incorporated mic stands into it shows how versatile these boys are. It’s awesome!

The song itself isn’t anything too flashy, which might be a good thing. I think the fairly sweet and funky vibe of the song has a nice appeal and matches with the video very well. It’s refreshing to hear something so upbeat and fun compared to SHINee’s hard and serious songs. Very cute, boys!

I’ve never really been fond of Teen Top. Despite being a very talented, seemingly cool group of guys, I’ve hated the way they’ve been marketed. There are very subtle sexual strategies when it comes to this group and I dislike it a lot. These are kids we’re talking about. And it doesn’t make it okay just because they’re boys. Anyway, No. 1 is the title of their first studio album which released on February 25th. Its lead track is Gin Saengmeori Geunyeo (Miss Right). Let’s see how “right” Miss Right is…

Somehow we’re supposed to believe that Teen Top are locked in jail with a gorgeous stylish girl? You’ve got to be kidding me…

At first, it seems a little shallow. The way the guys look at her feels doggish and immature, which further proves my point of the way TT are marketed. There’s also a point where one of them pretends to be sleeping so she gets undressed(or something) and he looks at her like a piece of meat. Yes, yes, I know it’s for comedic effect, but it bothers me to some extent. Teen Top feel like a group of dogs, just chasing after girls with little respect for them. Remember No Perfume on You? That song was about cheating–yes, cheating on your girlfriend. And continually, this group releases songs and videos that feel so misogynistic. I honestly dislike feminists quite a bit, but with this group, it feels so necessary to act like one…

And at the same time, the setting feels a little moralistic, as if to say, “You can find the love of your life at any time and any place.” When I think about it that way, it feels a lot less ridiculous and unrealistic, but who knows if that’s what they were going for? Maybe I’m just being too analytic.

The only thing I really enjoy when it comes to Teen Top is the dancing. I’m always hypnotized whenever these boys start moving and I’ll never deny that. Teen Top could give SHINee a run for their money–yes, SHINee. They could! No lies! The song is fun and sweet but it’s not something I’d have on my iPod. Really, the only Teen Top song I have is To You. No way this one could ever surpass that song.

The month of March brings us the return of AJ from my beloved U-KISS. The boys released their third full-length Korean album entitled COLLAGE on March 7th, 2013. The lead track was Standing Still. Considering the over-saturation the boys committed last year, I’m really hoping for something more meaningful than rushed and iffy tracks.

Already. 5 seconds in and I’m already in love.

It’s safe to say that Kevin was barely seen in this video–and I ain’t even mad. For the past while, Kevin has been a real center boy when it comes to videos and songs, it’s about time the other members get a shot to belt out some lines and camwhore in the video! I’m blown away by Hoon in this video, I might add. He almost looks unrecognizable–but in a good way of course.

U-KISS continue to amaze me with their transformation into a rock-solid boy group to be reckoned with. Their wardrobe gets better and better each time, the settings never cease to blow my mind, and the choreography has significantly improved. If you look at the choreography to 0330 and this, you’ll be shocked that it’s even the same group. I adore the visuals in this video. There’s a lot of flashing and smearing. It’s very dark and mature, which suits the group oh so well.

When it comes to the song, praise the lord. It’s actually good! This isn’t to say that other U-KISS songs from 2012 were bad or crappy, but quite a few felt rushed and underdone. But Standing Still feels complete, like they actually worked hard on it. It’s serious and polished–I love it.

This release is nearly flawless. A perfect way to kick off their 2013 releases. I love my U-KISS!

I’ve finally pinpointed who G.NA resembles… Miki Fujimoto! Don’t you see it!? Just me? Eh… Anyway, the very talented 25 year old who captured my attention with 2HOT released her fourth mini-album entitled Beautiful Kisses on March 14th, 2013. The lead track was Oops! featuring Jung Il Hoon, a member from BTOB. Shall we?

I really can’t help but notice how awkward this rapper is. I don’t know what it is but it looks like he’s a 12 year old in a Mariah Carey video. It’s just odd.

The video contains a lot of subtly sexy G.NA visuals which is always nice. This is something that I really appreciate from G.NA. She’s sexy, she knows she’s sexy, but she doesn’t try so damn hard to be sexy–she just is. There are very subtle angles and movements that aren’t in your face or over the top where you just think, “Damn, she’s hawt.” I love it and I’m really starting to love her more and more.

Along with the G.NA visuals, we see a “happy” lonely guy with his cat who one day decides to go clubbing and spots the gorgeous G.NA. He closes his eyes for a kiss but she ain’t havin’ dat. Where’d she go? We see her enter a house in a cute oversized sweater when the guy walks in and gives a :D look. We are made to believe that G.NA cutely stole his keys and is waiting sexily on his bed but no. He touches his pussy…cat. Gosh, if you’re that excited to see your cat, maybe you really do need some pussy…

Okay, enough of my vulgarity! It turns out that G.NA was the kitty cat! She has magical powers that allow her to transform like a Super Senshi! Hiya! But seriously, she’s the cat. I’m serious. Don’t look at me like that.

Gosh, G.NA is so gorgeous! All of the outfits and costumes flatter her perfectly(well, maybe not those leather pants). I also adore her short red hair–is it a wig? I was a little disappointed with her hair in the club scenes; it made her look really messy and a lot older. But the last outfit–OMG, it’s so adorable! Red shirt and checkered shorts: LOVE! Totally making some cat ears just like that.

I wish we could’ve seen a little more of the dance but from what I see it’s very subtly sexy and sweet. I like it. It works for G.NA. She doesn’t seem like much of a power dancer so the easy dance steps and hip twists work perfectly for her.

The song is great. It’s definitely not for those who enjoy the hardcore, strong K-pop songs. G.NA has a very R&B, jazzy flavor to her music which I adore. 2HOT was upbeat but the brass influence kept it classy. This song is very mellow and calming but has very addicting qualities.

Love this release, G.NA! She continues to impress me~

The K-pop fanverse has been reeling over Girl’s Day‘s recent release, their first album entitled Expectation which also released on March 14th, 2013. I’ve heard the full album and am pretty shocked. So let’s take a look at the lead track, Gidaehae.

Whoa.

Like.

What a second.

Isn’t this supposed to be Girl’s Day? The cute little girls in Twinkle Twinkle? And Oh! My God? What is this??

It’s pretty good though. I’m surprised that these girls, who have been sporting the cutesy, aegyo image for the longest, are this comfortable and able to shine in such a sexy, bold look. And I can’t deny that they all look amazing. The outfits are sexy without being too revealing, their makeup isn’t crazy or out-of-the-ordinary–everything is just right.

I can’t say the settings are anything particularly amazing. There’s a white dance setting, an LED background setting, and the usual sweet/romantic-looking setting. It’s nothing extraordinary but they’re nice and simple.

The dance is suitably sexy and mature–especially for a group like Girl’s Day. It’s not in-your-face, but there is quite the emphasis on body parts, ha. But of course, when aren’t girl groups pointing to their non-existent asses and chests?

The storyline seems to revolve around one member and her fiance. It’s rather short and obvious, but it seems the dude was cheating. And of course, pretty Asian lady don’t take no shit, so she dumps him! Good fer ya, gurl!

Overall, it’s quick and to the point. It’s a little odd to see Girl’s Day so sensual and mature, but they didn’t do bad at all. I wonder if this is their strategy from now on without their 5th member?

2BiC are back with a full length album entitled Back to Black, which released on March 15th, 2013. I’ve been in love with these guys since the get-go but finding their music is so difficult! Anyway, the track Bye Bye Love was used as a lead. And here we go!

WHOA. A BLACK GUY. WHERE THEY BE!?

Well, the video features the boys wandering around with no real destination. It ties into the song with its message of loneliness and desperation. Hoping their significant other won’t leave and move on, the lyrics sing about that need for someone in their life. Moving on is hard no matter how the situation comes about.

The video didn’t have much to it other than what I mentioned. The song has a very throwback, R&B ballad feel, so those who enjoyed the R&B craze of the 90’s to mid 00’s would love this. I can’t say it’s something I’d have on repeat.

The K-pop universe has gone bonkers for this girl named Lee Hi. A lot of people were amazed by how talented and young she was but I didn’t really pay attention. She was under YG so I figured it was just a bunch of White Knights fluffing up some girl. But when I finally looked her up, I found out she was younger than me and then realized she was featured on one of Epik High’s tracks for 99! First Love is the title of her first official album that released on March 28th, 2013. The first lead track was It’s Over. I gotta see what people are flipping over.

She’s got a voice beyond her years! I love it!

The song is very casual and sweet, which is very refreshing coming from a new artist, especially a female. I didn’t really expect anything too fancy or crazy anyway. Either way, it’s a great way to start off a solo career being as young as she is. I’m glad YG is marketing her in a delicate, innocent way rather than a harsh, strong vibe like most of their other artists have. Adding in her fantastic vocals makes the song even more enjoyable and easy to the ears.

The video is very cute and simple. Apparently, Lee Hi’s in a bad relationship with this foul-lookin’ bear. He’s a meanie. But Lee Hi is fed up with it and is ready to move on from the nonsense. It’s over! The bear should be bitter–I mean, look at the cutie that left him!

Considering she’s my age, I feel a little connection to her(hopefully that doesn’t sound weird, lol). She doesn’t feel forced or overdone. There’s a very natural and kind vibe that emits from this girl. She’s not doing cutesy, aegyo beams or striking the duck-face pout or showing off body parts as if she’s 26. She feels real! I’m adoring her so far–I’m so excited to see what else she brings to the table.

And cheers to an awesome end to a long ass post!

One thought on “The K-pop Round Up: February & March 2013

  1. SHINee, Teen Top and UKISS have bought in some good albums :) SHINee’s Part 2 album is really interesting as well. G.NA’s song is nice but it sounds more like a duet and the sexual dance (to the eye) wasn’t good.

    Lee Hi’s intro and Special really intrigued me but I wished Part 2 of her album had songs similar to it.

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