As I mentioned last week, this month will be an extremely busy one for K-Pop. That remains true this week with new releases from TWICE, EXO-CBX, and many others. Let’s get started.
K-Pop Roundup 4/14/18
TWICE – What is Love?
One of the biggest (maybe even the biggest) current K-Pop girl groups, TWICE is back with What is Love? Before we even delve into the music, the music video itself is amazing. If you are a film nut, you will find yourself watching the video many times over to catch all of the references to iconic movies. Besides that, the title track “What is Love?” itself is catchy. It’s the type of song that grows on you. The first time I heard it, I was somewhat let down, but after my second, third, fourth play, I was starting to really love it. TWICE has a tendency to include a catchy or memorable hook in their songs. The second track on the album, “SWEET TALKER” is also good, with a more electronic sound to it.
The song “HO” felt boring to me for the first minute or so, but once the hook kicked in, oh my. The high note that it hit was shocking. This song was overall good, but nothing superb. The fourth track “DEJAVU” was similar to “SWEET TALKER,” with quite an EDM influence in it. The final track on the album, “SAY YES,” is a very chilled out tune, which felt like a fine change of pace from the tracks that preceded it.
EXO-CBX – Blooming Days
Blooming Days is the latest project by EXO-CBX. The title track was a great listen. Along with a great music video and dance routine, the song was set up to be a hit. By the looks of it, this song is going to be on Korean charts for quite some time. The first track on the album is “Monday Blues.” It’s relaxing and very enjoyable. Many of the songs on this album had a very relaxed mood to them.
UNB – BOYHOOD
UNB, best known for being The Uni+ contest winners, released their first mini-album. The first song on the album, “Feeling,” is an energetic pop song which sets the tone for the highly anticipated album. “ONLY ONE” was a slower song than the first one, but still good. Even though this group’s releases haven’t done the numbers that some expected, the future is bright for UNB.
Primary & Anda – Do Worry Be Happy
Primary and Anda released a four track album called Do Worry Be Happy. I liked the first track on the project, called “The open boat.” No real song on the project shined through as amazing, but it’s worth the listen.
NOIR – Twenty’s Noir
NOIR release a 6 track album as their debut. The main song on the album, “GANGSTA,” felt a little too busy, but was still enjoyable. The other songs on the album, though, were more enjoyable for me. “Magic” and “Travel” are the two songs on the album that I enjoyed the most.
Hyungseob X Euiwoong – Color Of Dream
Hyungseob and Euiwoong collaborated for a mini-album. The two released a two-track mini last year. This release did not get much attention. The main song, “Love Tint” came with a colorful music video. The album wasn’t huge to me; the songs were decent, but all so similar. Too similar, almost. The title track is the best song of the album by far.
Eric Nam – Honestly
Male soloist Eric Nam is back with his album Honestly. The music video for the track “Honestly” was good, but the song wasn’t up my alley. Other songs on the album like “Potion” and “Don’t Call Me”.
Changmin Lee – The Bright Sky
Out of all of the albums that I discussed this week, this was for sure the smallest. Not in album length, but in popularity. “Think Too Much,” the title track, is pretty good. The mellow, slower paced, vocal-oriented style of music is enjoyable.
Yoo Seonho – Spring, Seonho
In his debut, Yoo Seonho released the mini album Spring, Seonho. His music style is very similar to Changmin Lee, in that it has a sleepy mood to it (and that’s not meant to be derogatory in any sort of way). This was enjoyable as well, but not that unique within its genre (or sub-genre).
This section of the article puts a spotlight on the singles and collaboration projects released this week.
Monsta X & B1A4 – Sugarman Man2, Pt. 11
The first song of the two singles, “As I Told You,” has an intense sound that I enjoy. It is very short, but hard hitting. This song won’t get much press, if any, but it’s a decent track. The second single is by B1A4, titled “Eternity.” This track is very slow and offers a very mellow rap segment halfway through. Calming, yet catchy is the order of the day for this track.
PungDeng-E – Caramel Macchiato
This upbeat single isn’t that good in my opinion. The chorus is catchy, but nothing about the rest of it kept my attention.
Shin Yong Jae – BEAUTIFUL
BEAUTIFUL is the latest single from Shin Yong Jae. I thought this song was good at sounding chill and upbeat at the same time. The vocals really shine through in this song as one of its more impressive aspects.
YDPP – Love It Live It
YDPP make their K-Pop debut with the track “Love It Live It.” The song came with a music video release. This lighthearted song is accompanied with visuals of a disco-type of venue and a hip-hop themed street. The video has an unusual amount of Pepsi-Cola product placement, but it is unclear if an actual sponsorship was penned for this video. The music video also included female actors, which feels like a rarity for boy group music videos to have. The song includes a rap breakdown, which adds to the party-like sound of the single. The sound is somewhat “cookie cutter,” but still makes a decent debut for the group. I am excited to see where they go from here.
BADKIZ – Just One Day
Girl group BADKIZ has a new release under the title “Just One Day.” The song has a tropical theme, but the video is shot in what looks like a warehouse. The visual mixed with the audio seems somewhat out of place. This is somewhat nitpicky, but the camera that was used to film the video provides footage that seems too raw, like I’m watching a YouTube vlog and not a music video; the budget was obviously not extraordinary. This video also went under the radar of many people, not even cracking 50,000 Youtube views. When you strip the song of the video, it’s a really good release with a catchy beat and lyrics.
Park Bo Ram X Lil Boi (Geeks) – Please, Stop Me
Soloist Park Bo Ram collaborates with Lil Boi to create “Please, Stop Me.” The music video is really well done, maintaining a throwback theme in present time. The rap by Lil Boi feels half in and half out of the video. He is rapping too fast to fit the song, then settles in a little better for the conclusion of his part. Park Bo Ram did well on the vocals.
Ten (NCT U) – New Heroes
In a SM Station release, NCT U’s Ten made “New Heroes.” Out of all of the singles this week, this was one of the largest. As of writing this, the video is on the brink of cracking two million Youtube views. The song has an EDM sound, and is fully in English. I really liked this song. I have never been a big fan of NCT’s subunits, but Ten carved out a niche for me with this song. Also, the music video is pretty good.
VROMANCE – Oh My Season
VROMANCE is back with the single “Oh My Season.” The song is a middle ground between slow and fast. It feels welcoming when I listen to it. Nothing huge about the song, but it’s a good listen if you like feel-good, healing songs.
Heo Young Saeng – Dream; Fly
The two track release by Heo Young Saeng is magical. The title track, “Destiny,” is a somber, sad song with a great hook. The rap portion by Mad Clown seems somewhat out of place, but wow, the hook of this song is hard to not love. The music video that accompanies the song does a good job at telling a story. The other song on the release, “Fly Away,” is good, but doesn’t scale up to its companion.
GreatGuys – GANDA
Boy group GreatGuys are back with the song “GANDA.” Pointed out by a Reddit user, the word Ganda means translates to “Beauty” in Filipino. The colour scheme of the music video was so light and night. Also, a member of the group hits an extremely impressive high note during the chorus.
EXID & Weki Meki – Sugar Man2, Pt. 12
In another series of Sugarman releases, EXID and Weki Meki both make singles. The song by Weki Meki has a very interesting retro sound to it, with a chorus that I really like. This felt like an underrated song, furthering Weki Meki as a contender for most underrated girl group out there. EXID’s song called “Now Hips” was very rap-centered. Personally, I did not find much about the EXID release that was too fantasitc. It doesn’t measure up to their release last week, “Lady.”
Hongki (FTISLAND) X Hoeseung (N.Flying) – Still Love You
In a FNC LAB release, Hongki from FTISLAND and Hoeseung from N.Flying team up for the song “Still Love You.” This was a slow and sad song, as I expected, but it was still enjoyable.
Mad Clown & Ailee – Thirst
Mad Clown and Ailee made a song called “Thirst.” The song was okay, but the visuals in the music video made up for whatever the song lacked. The video was so well made, and made a good partner for the song. This was an obvious Gatorade ad, since it made like 6 appearances. The video was cute, and the song was happy.
Well, that wraps up the music for this week! Come back next week for what should be an equally crazy slate of new releases!
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