Exam season is coming around (or has arrived), so here is a what is hopefully a fun playlist of songs to keep you all in good spirits. While this may not be a great studying playlist while doing actual work, it does help me revive my concentration! If you were to create a studying playlist, what would you put on it?
2PM | “Hands Up” (Aeria Remix)
This is a pretty lackluster song in its real form, mostly because if you’re wanting to be a club song, you have to go all out. Seriously, how can one sing about getting drunnnk and crazy in a club (not that I necessarily condone such behavior) when the song is about as crazy as your grandma knitting socks? Synths are not a bad thing if you use them right, and this particular remix is amazing for injecting life into “Hands Up” without losing its integrity. Honestly, I just pretend the real one doesn’t exist.
Younha | “Houkiboshi”
Can we have a playlist around here without Younha? (Answer: Nope.) Out of all of Younha’s songs, I’d say that “Houkiboshi” is the greatest pick-me-up. It’s a classic for a reason.
Shinee | “Everybody” (Idiotape Remix)
You may know Idiotape as a K-indie band better than as a source of remixes, but I really like what they did to “Everybody.” The original song had trouble with creating dimension within the “loud factor” and this remix manages to create it. If you didn’t like “Everybody” the first time around, maybe this remix will change your mind.
Wonder Girls | “Stop!”
I recently rediscovered the Wonder Girls’ Wonder World, one of the best K-pop Albums ever. It’s sadly one of those albums that also went under the radar–I kind of ignored the whole thing after hearing “Be My Baby” (which is not my thing at all). “Stop!” is a run of the mlll pop song, but it’s so ridiculously addictive. I can’t understand why I like it so much. If anyone else can figure it out, let me know!
Kiss&Cry | “Domino Game”
I’m super disconnected with K-pop these days, but I managed to catch the debut of this pocket full of potential. If you look across K-pop recently, there are actually a lot of Girl Groups with singing talent, the biggest of which is Spica. Kiss&Cry can sing as well, but what set this group apart (for now) is that they aren’t afraid to sing a pop anthem that throws their voices out there. Spica has serious talent, but they keep getting music that’s not memorable, or too retro/hipster. “Domino Game” pushes Kiss&Cry away from the shortcomings of Spica and toward the likes of boy groups even if it’s not anywhere close to boy group songs. Obviously “Domino Game” has its fair share of other (compositional) problems, but it’s at least a start to creating Girl groups with presence.
Koda Kumi | “Lalalalala”
I admit to only knowing Koda Kumi by proxy–i.e. the Tohoshinki collaboration she had. As a result, I decided to check out her latest album Bon Voyage, and what I ended up getting was not at all what I expected it to be. It’s not bad, but the modern pop sound was felt jarring when I went in expecting something like BoA. (In retrospect, BoA is not far from pushing herself in the same direction.) “Lalalala” is a vibrant summer pop-rock track that will hopefully lift your spirits like they’re supposed to.
BoA | “Call My Name”
Speaking of BoA, I kind of ignored this song last year, even when it showed up on Nikki‘s end of the year countdown on Pop Reviews Now. I went back to it a while back and now I seriously can’t get enough. I love how the main chorus is actually a layering of two different “choruses,” and that the simple verses serve to frame the “intricate” chorus. The layering effect is pretty simple as well, though it sounds interesting each time you listen because your ear latches onto different parts with every pass.
From the Airport | “Timelines”
From the Airport is a relatively new band on the K-indie that is getting a lot of exposure for their most recent single (and corresponding mini) “Chemical Love.” While I do like that song, “Timelines” ended up being my favorite song from them. Simple and catchy, I can’t see why one would actively dislike it. If you like a lot of western bands similar to The Fray, Coldplay, and especially Imagine Dragons, this song may be up your alley.
Nell | “환생의 밤”
No lie, I spent a good three hours listening to this song on loop. “환생의 밤” may not be “artistic” or revel in its cadences, but this is by far one of my favorite songs from Nell for its earnestness. It’s a song a that would do wonderfully in a concert because it has a fabulous chorus that uses “electronic distortion” well (to the point that you don’t even notice it) and is easy to build audience energy with. Anyway, this is my go-to power anthem.
(Media credits go to respective owners. Cover Image is “Studying,” by Junhaihai on Deviantart)