The K-pop Round Up: November & December 2013

I know it’s horribly late into January, but who cares! You’re never to late to enjoy some delectable K-pop goodness! November was quite a packed month for comebacks, even some more that I didn’t include in here for different reasons. I was able to squeeze December into the post since not much happened. Well, enjoy the jointed November and December edition of The K-pop Round Up!

FIESTAR‘s latest single, Curious, has the lead track, Amutgeotdo Mollayo, coming under heavy fire from a member of Seoulbeats for its demeaning portrayal of women. I loved FIESTAR’s debut, VISTA, so when I heard about some controversy spiraling around the rookie group’s latest release, I was a little disappointed. The single released on November 1st, 2013. I wonder how this is gonna go…

After one full watch, I could see how the video could make one uncomfortable. I mean, I love boobies as much as the next person, but how could this be a focal point when the girl on the date isn’t even wearing anything remotely revealing? Well, this isn’t exactly the reason why the video/song is such a turn off. I decided to look up the lyrics to further understand the point of the Seoulbeats author, and I was not disappointed. It has pretty demeaning lyrics.

As if young girls are these brainless bimbos that know nothing about sexuality. As if all guys are hormone-driven dogs that care about nothing but boobies. Come on, now. It would have been “hehe, haha” if it were done maybe once in the video, like in the video game scene where her cleavage was slightly visible. But it just was ridiculous when the girl on the date, who was fully covered, was being preyed upon. I just cannot handle the fact that the two genders are being highlighted in the worst way as if it were fact. If it were satirical, I would have giggled. But it isn’t. Yes, this is K-pop, and it probably shouldn’t be taken seriously majority of the time, but this is plain bad. What a sickening message they are sending with this video.

I mean, after all that, I can’t find myself watching it again. Some dance shots, yay. A couple close-ups, woo. I don’t even care. I just know the song is cringe-worthy. Let’s go back to the big-band, jazzy VISTA.

You guys remember, LED Apple, right? Those awkward pop-rock boys that just couldn’t figure out what their focus was? Well, they’re back for the 4th time this year with Baramttara, their 5th digital single. Interesting enough, nearly a year before this single released, another single entitled Barama Bureora was released–adding to the whole “windy” theme. Baramttara was released on November 4th, 2013. Just how strong is this wind, LED Apple?

There’s a package for average-looking Korean girl #1! Somehow, the chick picks up the package without even laying a finger on it. Creep. She decides to open the mysterious red box with a hammer. Oh, did I say open? I meant smash to smithereens. That’s what we’d all do, right? Let’s not ignore this eerie backing music to accompany the very strange gift-opening. Inside of the box, the girl finds two… uh, what are those exactly? Tapes? Round tapes? Well, she does what any of us would do. Listen to whatever is on the 1890’s tapes that she just pulled out of the creepy red box.

Okay, hold on. I was not expecting this. The song is… a ballad. Seriously, how can you kick off the MV with such a creepy intro and have such a mellow song to follow!? Even the setting where the boys are looks a little scary–red in the background, dimly lit. Smoke even starts spewing from somewhere! This video was meant for an oddball, streetcore song.

So, at some point, the box and tape sets on fire, which sends the girl into spiraling madness. It’s a fire for crying out loud! Anyone would be upset! Well, the video is fairly bland, only featuring shots of the unnamed, un-purposeful girl and the band. Oh, and everyone notices the odd red box floating on the screen, right? Yeah, it’s a little unnecessary. I guess it’s an interesting touch, but it was sort of distracting at times.

The song itself isn’t too shabby. Thankfully, the lead singer has a great voice to keep the song going. I mean, this isn’t anything special, but it’s not terrible. I’d prefer listening to the song without the oddly visualized video.

miss A. That one girl group that I can never bring myself to like. They just seem like a bunch of try-hards to me. If it’s not one thing, it’s the other. They’ve yet to prove their worthiness to me. Hush is their latest album and lead track released on November 6th, 2013. Hey, I just wish miss A would HUSH by now…

miss A clearly are sticking to this dark persona that they’ve established with Touch. Quite honestly, it suits them. Sure, fun songs like Breathe are good, but this sullen, black image is something very refreshing for JYP Entertainment. It works for miss A. Taking place in creepy places like abandoned showers, houses, trains, and stores filled with water adds a great foundation for the ominous video. Quite apocalyptic, isn’t it?

I love the fact that all of these areas then become dance shots. You can barely tell because of the added props and interesting camera angles that are used. It works wonderfully. The shower scenes from the beginning are definitely my favorites. They use the curtains to create the eerie shadows from the other side. It’s quite masterful.

Moving along through the video are more close-up shots and dance shots–all equally interesting to watch. However, dear lord, does anyone else agree that Suzy looks like a deer in headlights? I know the mannequin look is the focus for the close-up shots, but for the dance shots, too? I think not.

The costumes are fairly simplistic, sticking to all black, besides the white turtlenecks in the train. I quite like them. If there had been flashier outfits, it would have most definitely clashed with the already cluttered background. The simple, tight outfits work perfectly in the video.

Right now, I’m feeling a love-hate relationship towards the song, much like I do with Touch. On one hand, it’s really catchy and has a unique sound. But on the other hand, it uses the same repetitive chorus that miss A has used since their debut; not only that, but the song seems to have this very slow build up. It seems like it is going somewhere, but then it doesn’t. Could that be a reason why I like it? Either way, I actually very much like this release. Of course, it doesn’t change much of my opinion of them, but at least I now know they are capable of a lot than their previous release.

Like Big Bang bandmate, G-Dragon, Taeyang is also known for his eccentric style however still ends up being hella masculine. He’s also pretty easy to spot by his uber weird hair-dos. Taeyang’s latest is RINGA LINGA, released on November 8th, 2013. That title is just too entertaining to say.

So, YB starts the video and song off all emotional and deep sounding with the hilarious piano. But quick enough, we are met with the gangster hip-hop Taeyang. What else do you expect!?

Let me just mention: I absolutely loathe when artists spell out their names in raps. It rarely ever sounds good. Sure, GD can do it because there’s only two goddamn letters, but a whole paragraph(okay, not really) like Taeyang’s name? Ugh, no no.

Back to the video. I honestly really dig Taeyang’s get-up and long arm tattoos(even though they’re fake) in the first dance shot. He always looks so clean and fresh when it comes to his styling. A while back, I remember reading something somewhere which had complaints about G-Dragon being featured in the video. See, I don’t understand the problem. Taeyang and G-Dragon started out their careers together, so they’ve got quite the history. If Taeyang wants to throw in GD just for the hell of it, why the fuck not? Unfortunately, Taeyang ends up looking like the guy from Tron: Legacy next to GD… Also, what’s up with these dirty looking, dark-lipped girls? They all just look nasty! I must admit though, those fluorescent scene are mad cool.

So other than Taeyang’s over-zealous dancing, there’s some cool but dark looking scenes. Sometimes Taeyang can really turn me off. He has good style and charisma. but there are times in which I feel like he’s trying much too hard. He just doesn’t make my insides quiver like he seems to do to other girls. Honestly, GD does that more to me than Taeyang does. I seem to feel so much more passion and sincerity radiating off of GD than Taeyang. He makes me squeel.

Let’s get back to Ringa Linga. The song is alright. It definitely wasn’t my cup of tea when I first heard it, but it’s grown on me ever so slightly. I still wouldn’t listen to it on replay, but I won’t get upset if it plays. Decent job, YB.

If you read my end-of-the-year awards for 2013, you’d know that VIXX shot up to stardom the previous year. I don’t know how they were able to kick so much ass, but they did, and they did it well. Off camera, they aren’t the most “original” dudes around(face it, good-looking boys who act gay for each other is nearly the norm), but they’re still entertaining to watch. On November 25th, 2013, the boys released their first full-length album entitled VOODOO which featured their lead track, Jeoju Inhyeong. Shall we?

If you have a weak stomach, be sure to watch the clean version!

The video has its fair share of gruesome, spine-tingling visuals. Skin is pierced in disturbing ways, brains are stabbed, and blood is inevitable. All that said, it’s a really awesome video! It’s probably one of the first times I’ve seen anything so creepy and devious from a K-pop group. Instead of trying to be these sex gods or aegyo kings, VIXX has settled for a much more interesting stylistic approach: down-right dark. It’s working well for them.

There is one thing that I’m not too crazy about in this video, however–and that’s the girl. Why must girls–even the evil ones–be these “flawless beings?” I would have enjoyed this video even more if the girl looked creepy and ugly. Image her with no eyebrows and dark eye makeup and crazy curly hair. That would have been awesome! But of course, females have to be these beautiful, perfect mannequins 100% of the time. Ugh, look at me, sounding like such a feminist. *cringes*

Indeed this video is top-notch and the song wouldn’t have been able to stand without it. It’s a very basic song without much build-up, really. Hey, at least the choreography was pretty solid.

My girls, Nine Muses, released their latest digital track, Glue, on December 4th, 2013. The group has been getting pretty good press lately, which makes me happy! They’re an insanely talented group and I hope their stardom continues to grow! I’ve actually yet to listen to the song or watch the video, so I’m expecting something good!

The video is surprisingly simple. But, maybe I should have figured that considering it’s just a digital single.

The slow-motion spinning scenes are definitely a cute touch. And that’s honestly just about the only positive thing I have to say about the video. The brightness that flashes at times is a bit too blinding for my liking. The costumes aren’t particularly anything special and actually quite boring. Only the short-haired rapper really catches my eye, truthfully. Also, what is up with this overwhelming sensuality? I mean, the song is rather upbeat, so this butt thrusting and face caressing is a little odd to me.

Hey, at least the song is really good.

The 12-member supergroup EXO released Miracles in December on December 9th, 2013. We’ve got ourselves a mighty unit of boys, must I say.

Why is it that almost every EXO video has the same color palette? Gray, grey, and more gray. That slate color has to become boring to them at some point, right? Please?

So far, the boys are basically left to their own. Decorating trees by themselves, painting pictures by themselves, staring at puppies by themselves–quite the measly experience, huh? And on a different note, I have yet to find a genuinely good-looking EXO member. Maybe I shall figure it out in this video..

Eventually, the boys decide to stop moping and leave with each other their “gifts”(or so it seems). Seriously, if this song wasn’t so dramatic and powerful, this video would have been incredibly awkward. There’s one thing I definitely cannot put my finger on though… Why is each and every member of EXO sad? Like… are they all moping over the same girl, or do they all just have terrible luck in which made all their girlfriends vanish at the same time?

It looks like all of them went to meet their significant others at the same snowy fountain. Bad directions or just bad coincidence? They all don’t seem to notice that each of them arrived at the same time. Nope, the only thing they have their eyes on is the moon, which is slowly being engulfed by a shadow–a lunar eclipse, they call it. One member lifts his fingers, which reverses time. Why? What are you up to? Well, time seems to go back to normal as soon as he sees his “girlfriend.” Quotations because she disappears not even a minute later.

WELP. EXO JUST MIND-FUCKED ME. What exactly was the miracle here? Did the girl die and “miraculously” come back to life at a special time? Considering Korean music videos always have some odd twist, I feel like that’s the case.

The song was definitely beautiful. The three members that got lines surely proved that they deserved those solos. I definitely wasn’t expecting something so emotional. A+, EXO.

December was a very quiet month as far as music videos go. Sure, a lot of snowy, Christmas jams were released, but music videos were few and far in between. Oh well, less work on me!

One thought on “The K-pop Round Up: November & December 2013

  1. Pingback: Recommended Kpop Reading: January 22, 2014 | Idolminded

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