[Review] Sorry To Myself – Baek A Yeon

Baek A Yeon is the second artist to make their comeback today. The soloist from JYP Entertainment returned with Sorry To Myself, which is the title track off her fourth mini-album, Dear Me. This is her first comeback since Sweet Lies (featuring The Barberettes), which was released at the start of last year.

Sorry To Myself, as expected from the title, is a very emotionally driven ballad. Baek Ah Yeon’s recent title tracks have been of the brighter nature, so it is nice to see something different than the usual. Honestly, I had the chose to two ballads to review today and I chose this one because I was more drawn to it. There is something about her voice that makes the song sound so heartbreaking and desperate. Maybe it is because you can hear a hint of innocence, which makes the song so much more impactful. I really like the melody in the chorus, which I believe to be the strongest peak of the song. As for the instrumentation, there isn’t anything special about it. Instead, it is rather standard. But besides that, it is a good song.

The music video shows a heartbroken girl, who is reminded of her ex-partner through many things. We are treated to a number of flashbacks during their happy memories, to make sense to why apples and a rubber duck keychain makes her sad (i.e. fond memories of her partner). We are then shown the moment they break up, which is the start of her devastation. I thought the actress’ acting was amazing, especially during the scenes where she is all alone. She took the emotion behind the vocals and portrayed it successfully in the video. From what I saw I think there was a turning point where she started to retreat in a confident manner, which went extremely well with the ‘He doesn’t deserve to be hated’ lyrics.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Review] Sweet Lies – Baek Ah Yeon ft. The Barberettes

In the past few years, Baek Ah Yeon’s singles have topping charts. Shouldn’t Have and So So have become her most well-known songs. And now, the soloist is back with her third mini album, titled as Bittersweet, which features the title track, Sweet Lies. The Barberettes (who are a trio, known for their retro and barbershop music) also features on the title track.

The song sticks out in the crowd of releases for its more simple and soothing instrumental. Not once does the instrumental seem to be a loud component of the song. It rather stayed subtle in the background. There was a calming and enjoyable indie sound, which seems to be on the trend nowadays in the Korean Music Industry. At the forefront of the song are the vocals of Baek Ah Yeon, which dominate the song. However, there is still that balance between her voice and the background instrumental, which why I think it sounds so great. Overall, the style isn’t my cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean that I think the song sucks. Instead, I think it is amazing. I am a little confused about the featuring of The Barberettes. I don’t really seem to hear them except for that one part prior to the choruses. Their harmony was great, but I expected them to harmonise with Baek Ah Yeon as well. Compared to her past tracks, I don’t think there was much of a hook anywhere in the song. There was something catchy about her past songs, just this one doesn’t have that, which leaves the song feeling a little forgotten.

I haven’t watched the music video yet, so this is my first-hand experience with the music video. The video itself plays on the ’empty promises’ that Baek Ah Yeon makes references to. At the start, she sings about things that her lover has said to her, to which she agrees and waits around (hence only one Baek Ah Yeon in that room). But in the second verse, she sings “When was the last time you said it?”, to which we are shown multiple Baek Ah Yeon’s still waiting around (and clearly bored) in that same room. I am not too sure about the use of the bouncy ping pong balls. But I feel like you trying to suggest that if you replace her with them (hence it appears in places where she used to be), the guy wouldn’t notice. That’s just my theory though. I am quite sure there is another accurate and better theory out there. I wasn’t into the video as I liked to be. There was some dryness to it and it felt loaded, compared to her more soothing and calming song.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

[Review] So So – Baek Ah Yeon

It has been a very long time since I lasted talked about Baek Ah Yeon. Actually, I have never talked about this gem in the Korean industry. Baek Ah Yeon does not fall into your typical South Korean group. She is a solo artist who was formerly a contestant on KPOP Star, making it to the top 3. While her early days as a solo artist failed to put her out there, the previous two years have been highly successful for her. She made her comeback (in 2015) with Shouldn’t Have, which featured Young K of DAY6 and earned herself a position on the charts. With this comeback, she has gone further and topped charts with her single, So So.

Baek Ah Yeon has a pretty good discography of songs that I like. This is just another addition to the list. I am usually not into these flowery ballads, but her song is just so amazing. To me, Baek Ah Yeon has the voice that will fit this song. Probably no other artist will ever do a rendition of the song that will make me feel satisfied. There is a perfect balance between the vocals and instrumental.  None of the two overpowers the other and that is a sign that a good ballad (and song). The lyrics are easy to understand and I think make the song relatable to everyone. Those feelings of your past relationship lingering around to the point, where you don’t know what love ever felt like. That is the essence of the song. The song is also very easy on your ears, but that is expected of any ballad. Nothing felt over the top and I think that is why I liked the song a lot.

One of the ways to make an excellent video is to simply take the lyrics and form a video from it. This particular video does just that and I think that makes it an amazing video to watch. We have Baek Ah Yeon, admitting herself into the hospital because she feels “so-so”. It makes sense and is logical.  She doesn’t understand why nothing feels the same anymore, so she undergoes treatment. The hospital brings good food, but just can’t taste the goodness in it. They find (or he happened to wander to them) a handsome guy, but he failed cure her heartbreak. However, who let the dog out? She manages to focus her attention on the dog and at the end, when the dog leaves, she follows after to the owner, who we all suspect “cured” her heartbreak. This is a storyline that matches the lyrics and made the video feel right (for once). I find the scenes of her playing with the dog extremely cute. It makes me want to get a dog.

Overall, amazing song and video. I just want to continue praising it. Take all my compliments. 10/10

Recap of MelOn Music Awards 2015 and Thoughts

The MMA or MelOn Music Awards were held on the 7th of November 2015. MelOn does not refer to the fruit but rather the music chart and on-line music store in South Korea. It is held by LOEN Entertainment, which owns the music distribution company. The music award has its own unique criteria where it only calculates digital sales of artists in the past year and incorporate these sales with on-line votes of fans.

The following artists, groups and actors attended the ceremony: Big Bang, Yoona (SNSD), Hyukoh, Hyorin & Dasom (Sistar) (did not perform), Toy (did not perform), APINK, Zion.T, Sane, iKON, GFriend, Mad Clown (did not perform), Hong Jin Young, BTS, Red Velvet, EXID, Monsta X, Winner (did not perform). Actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the night as presenters.

The show on the night was hosted by Yoo Byung Jae and Seo Kang Joon. They were shortly joined by Lee Boo Yi, Kim Shin Young, Kim So Hyun & Irene (Red Velvet). The red carpet was hosted by Youngji (Former Member of Kara) and Seo Yuri.

Below are the winners on the night. Afterwards, I have left some comments regarding some awards:
Top 10 Artist – SHINee, Girl’s Generation, Hyukoh, Toy, Big Bang, Sistar, EXO, APINK, Zion.T, Sane.
Best New Artist – iKON & GFriend
Best Rap/Hip Hop – Mad Clown ft. Jinsil (Fire)
Best Ballad – Baek Ah Yeon ft. Young K (Shouldn’t Have)
Best RnB – Naul (Living In The Same Time)
Best Rock – Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer)
Best OST – Loco & Yuju (Spring Is Gone By Chance)
Best Trot – Hong Jin Young (Love WiFi)
Best Pop – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk)
Best Male Dance – BTS (I Need U)
Best Female Dance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Folk – 10cm (Sseudam Sseudam)
Best Indie – Standing Egg ft. Wheein & Obroject Yundak (The Sunlight Hurts)
Netizen Popularity Award – Big Bang (Bang Bang Bang)
Hot Trend Award – Infinite Challenge (Yeongdong Expressway Music Festival)
Best Music Video – Park Jin Young ft. Jessi (Who’s Your Mama?)
Song Writer Award – Teddy
MBC Music Star Award – EXID
1theK Performance Award – Monsta X
Album Of The Year (Daesang) – EXODUS
Song Of The Year (Daesang) – Bang Bang Bang
Artist Of The Year (Daesang) – Big Bang

I personally think above is a fair spread for award winners. While I am not knowledgeable to comment on categories such as Best Indie and Best Folk, the rest show 2015 in its glory. Once again, I think Seventeen deserves the Best New Artist award and GFriend finally got what they deserved (it’s a good thing. Kind of sounded like I was hinting at something bad). Sistar and APINK’s Top 10 awards caught me off guard since they were quickly taken over by other artists on the digital charts and failed to be up to par with the other artists. I am glad to see Kim Sung Gyu win something for his album. It was really good.

And as per usual, there were performances that night from the groups who won awards. Performers included: Hyukoh, Big Bang, APINK, Zion.T, Sane, BTS, EXID, Red Velvet, Monsta X, iKON and GFriend. It would have been nicer to see some more artists who won from the night perform. I think best performance of the night was BTS with their cool jackets that had light coming off them. A very large portion of the show was dedicated to Big Bang, which had people talking. Sure, they won a lot of award, but I agree with majority of the audience. Big Bang’s performances just made it feel like one Big Bang concert. Sure, they won prestigious awards, but it just robbed the other artists of their night, who also put hard effort into making 2015 their year. Would have I gotten angry over the fact they turned the award show into a mini concert? No, but maybe they should have dropped one or two songs.

Overall, I think MMA15 was pretty fair. They had a large variety of winners (mainly because they have a lot of categories) and minus that small complaint regarding the performances, the show was great. Oh, but damn was the presentation of the awards cringe worthy. Probably this ceremony takes the award for  “Worst Presentation of Awards” award. Could have done it in a way where the presenters did not feel that ashamed of themselves.