There have been so many things going on in the Korean music world recently that I thought I’d just glaze over some that really stood out to me. These, oddly enough, are not necessarily my favorite songs/albums but I do find them worthwhile if only to broaden musical perspective. So let’s get at it!
Jung Joon-young, 1st Mini Album:
Fascinating debut album from a voice I had never heard of before (I tend not to follow talent scouting programs). I think the last time I covered someone like Jung Joon-young is when I briefly highlighted Yoo Seong-eun‘s debut mini, and while I was mildly impressed with that one, this one leaves me pleasantly intrigued about Jung. I don’t find anything that particularly stands out, which is more of a personal feeling more than anything else, but the songs are solid. If rock is something that you take a liking to, definitely check this one out. I really enjoyed it.
Favorite Songs: “Be Stupid” (Sounds VERY Japanese; like REALLY Japanese.)[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVYsyIo8pDU&feature=player_embedded&list=PLs9uLoq8HdtBrVSY5CtKfzQy7XM-FXHrM]
Love the visual concept, not too happy about the mini. I didn’t feel the kind of cohesion I did with the Misconceptions package, though this one does a lot of things right musically. Props to SM for managing to not suck at putting out a title, albeit I’m not all that happy with “Everybody.” There’s a difference between hating a song and not appreciating a song, and I find myself in the latter category. Anyway, Everybody tackles a wide range of Shinee, which is both great (helps diversify audience) and limiting (cripples album cohesion). What I especially liked is that in taking a broad stance, they can utilize an abstract unifying element, Shinee’s “esoteric” brand of maturity in electronic-pop. (“Symptoms,” anyone?)
Favorite Songs: “1 Minute Back” (love the chorus) and “Symptoms” (Onew is the best voice in Shinee, I don’t care what anyone else says.)[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rluhd_hIGLQ]
Can someone please explain to me why Taemin is the one shirtless in the “Everybody” MV when it’s clearly Jonghyun who’s the one with the six pack??? I may not like fan-service, but if you’re going to do it anyway, at least do it right.
Standing Egg, Shine–Vol. 3:
I admit to not being an avid follower of Standing Egg, though I do like their music. It’s something I have to take in controlled portions, because acoustic dominated stuff kind of bogs me down rapidly. I guess I like my music to have things flying everywhere at once, so this album took a while to grow on me. The most attractive aspect of the album, at least to me, is how Standing Egg doesn’t sink into one particular musical style. If I had to listen to “Once Again” type songs for the entire album, I would never make it through, but to have “Runner’s High”‘s style dominate the album isn’t great either. In any case, Standing Egg’s new album deserves at least one listen, it’s very self-assured.
Favorite Songs: “Runner’s High”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrroAtTNkXI&list=PLOiXMllDzAg9qWqiyAsUHzyf10eq3wKlt]
John Park, “Firelight”:
This song is so great. The drama, on the other hand, I’m ambivalent about, but that’s another story. I would pay so much to have more of this kind of music in OST, but what can you do? Take what you get when you get it is my philosophy. I have to admit however, that I do find the song a little lacking in some areas and a touch too cyclic, but still good. And hey, it’s John Park. Can’t hurt to give it a listen.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyaSH7dpaOs]
Shoujo Jidai, “Galaxy Supernova”:
So I know what you’re thinking–“Give me the fluff already!”
What, you’re not? Well, screw that, because this stupid song will not get out of my head and I’m going to subject all of you to my pains. But really, it’s too addicting. The music video is a complete waste of time, like most of SM videos are, but the song… that chorus…is cotton candy in every sense of the word. I can’t get over the dance and the “do do do do” stuff that is totally meaningless yet totally critical to the song’s catchy factor. When it comes to all things SNSD, it’s best that you just give up on finding sense behind why you like the song, because you’re just going end up beating yourself over it.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6FPJOgfCkc]
Kahi, Who Are You?:
Bizzare? Is that the right word for this? I just can’t find myself liking this personally, but there’s something interesting enough about the whole package that I thought that it might be worth adding the album here anyway. I’m not too familiar with Kahi besides her last title track, which I did like, so I’m not exactly well-versed to have a interesting opinion about her. Take a listen for yourself and let me know what you think, because I don’t even know what I think about it.
Favorite Song: “Boys and Girls”[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTeLxVkvHf8&list=PLTvFaMfdKwUuMcTzuooGNcP7OrfdGe_-A]
- Nine Muses, Prima Donna — A surprising effort from the group that turned out well. “Gun” is a great title track, though I don’t think this album is going to take the group anywhere. I like the jazzy flair it has though.
- Teen Top, “Rocking” —Don’t ask. I’ll stick to the story that it was the live performance that got me.
(I own nothing here but the words!)