CNBLUE returns after a year with their new single Love Cut and mini-album, WANTED. The last time we heard from the band as a whole was their grand return to the music industry after military enlistment late last year with Then, Now and Forever. Since then, CNBLUE had been fairly quiet, with a Japanese release mid-year, titled Zoom.
This seems to be a week of pleasant songs. Love Cut is another addition to this list. For me, Love Cut tethers between the the sides of pleasant. For those who don’t know, I have used the word ‘pleasant’ in both a positive (the song indeed has been blissful and sounds very nice overall) and a negative manner (the song is limited at just that and doesn’t go beyond being pleasant). The instrumental features the iconic wild west whistle and acoustic guitar, and ultimately develops into a mid-tempo rock track. If I am being honest, this sound profile that the band has gone for isn’t original, but it does come off somewhat refreshing as it has been a while since we have heard a song that features such sounds. But I find it very catchy and I personally don’t mind it. I liked the kick that the rock gives Love Cut in the choruses, which makes the song more appealing to me. However, like many songs that I describe as ‘just pleasant’, I think there is room for the band to go a little harder. I wished there was more to the rock, especially during the end to give the song the bold ending that would have set it part from the rest of the competition. I also desire CNBLUE to return to their more powerful rock days, as that is what I prefer, and an amplified rock sound in this song would have been enough to satisify that craving. Similarly, I wished there was more character and profile to the vocals. I will touch on this more in the music video section, but I just feel like the Yonghwa’s vocals were just a bit dull. Overall, Love Cut is a pleasant song that could go either way.
The music video was one of those ones that started off good, but didn’t end good. With the wild west influence in the song, it made sense for the video to take on a wild west concept. Set in a saloon bar, it seems like the members are after the female bandit. She does a good job of distracting them, and ambushes them after a card game. All three members are tied up, but the members escape with scissors. I guess this a a visual way of saying that the members are severing the ties between them and the female bandit (i.e. their relationship). But I just thought the way they shot everything and made it all a tad too dramatic looked a bit too funny for my liking. I wished the guns were still there in some capacity, as I don’t think I would trust cowboys with scissors in a fight. My other issue with the song was the poor lip-syncing on Yonghwa’s part. When I mentioned that he sounded dull in the song, the video made it worse.
Song – 6.5/10 Music Video – 7/10 Overall Rating – 6.7/10
Back again with the International Song Review. I think I did flag that I might do a weekend of these a few weeks back, and I have enough releases to write two of the same post. For those who don’t know, this segment on the blog is where I cover songs released by Korean artists that are in other languages other than Korean. These songs are predominately Mandarin, Japanese and English. For this particular post, we will be checking recent international songs from TXT, MONSTA X, Kun & Xiaojun (from WayV), CN BLUE and BTS.
Magic – TXT
For those who visit my blog, you probably have seen Magic on my Weekly KPOP Charts, featured as the non-Korean KPOP Release of the Week corner of the segment for two or three weeks now. And it is obviously a song which I have really been dying to review for a while now. Magic is TXT’s first full-English track, featured on the group’s latest mini-album, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE. There is so much to enjoy in this track. The upbeat, groovy and funky energy we get in the instrumentation, the energy that comes off said instrumentation, the catchy and repetitive hooks that we get. All of these are reasons why I cannot stay away from the track. The chorus is an exceptional peak for this song, encapsulating all of the above into sequences that are literally keyed into my mind. I also like how the members deliver the chorus in a falsetto matter. I also like the addictive chanty ‘everybody clap your hands‘ lines that follows the second and final choruses. For the music video, I liked the futuristic concept and story that was being told. TXT are humans, sent from the white spaceship to rescue their fellow humans who were held captive by the robots. TXT ended up getting caught and information was being extracted from their while they were in captive. But being clever (and I think they were of a high status), the members escaped captivity and spread their message or ‘magic’ throughout the robot population (i.e. the robots went from robotic mannerisms to becoming very freeing, dancing along to the music). In the end, the members ‘freed’ the robotic population and were zapped back to their spaceship. Aside from the plot line, I liked the white sets (looked sterile, which is fitting for the robotic theme for some reason). But I also liked the use of the colour of blue, which really popped out. Choreography-wise, TXT really shows off their stamina with a routine that just keeps on going. I really like the ‘Oh, Oh, Oh‘ part in the choruses and how only one of them moves and then everyone joins in. It is a simple move, but it looks really cool. (10/10)
Flavors of Love – MONSTA X
Flavors of Love is the title of both MONSTA X’s most recent title track in Japan and the title of their 3rd Japanese studio album, released in May 2021. If you are looking for that intensity that MONSTA X, then this isn’t the right song for you (I recommend WANTED, which is also on the same album). Flavors of Love is more of a casual song, consisting of a mid-tempo pop acoustic guitar instrumentation and a light-hearted tone. If you are an avid MONSTA X fan (or Monbebe), you will realize that this is very foreign territory for the group. But it is a nice change of sound for the group, whose songs tend to be harsh and intense (as mentioned previously). The members vocals also reflect this change. I do find their voices to be more pure in this release, with less processing and autotune applied to it their voices as usual. They also sound much sweeter than usual. The rappers (Joohoney and I.M) also tweak their sequences to be softer and warmer. The song has a decent melody and hooks, making it a nice addition. I do prefer their harsher sounds, however, though this would be a nice b-side. The music video is cheerful and shows the members chilling and enjoying some free time as their leisurely record the song. Nothing really that interesting in the video, other than the fact that the video reflects well with the song. As far as I know, there isn’t a choreography for this comeback. There is a performance version, but they sit on chairs and happily deliver Flavors of Love to the audience. As a result, this wasn’t reflected in the final rating. (8/10)
Back To You – Kun & Xiaojun (WayV)
Next up is Back To You, a ballad performed by Kun and Xiaojun from WayV (which is a NCT subunit, for those who are wondering why I am reviewing a Chinese group). It is an extremely nice ballad, instrumented with classical instrumentation typical of the ballad genre. There is a bit of deep brass (tuba, I think?), which is different from other ballads which are usually piano and strings oriented. I really liked how the instrumental built upon itself. This is always a good sign, as it means the song is developing as it goes and the ballad isn’t just a ‘straight line’. But that is one half of the song. The other half is Kun and Xiaojun, whom brings beautiful vocals to Back To You. They helped make Back To You into a captivating piece. It followed the same development as the instrumental, with their vocals building as the song progressed. Kun and Xiaojun also do a good job of giving the group a slightly different spotlight. I am more used to WayV’s dance tracks and I wasn’t known that the group had vocalists had capable vocalists who could handle stunning songs like this. It definitely makes me more aware of WayV’s skillset. The music video was good, but not as stunning as I hoped. We see the pair hang out in the forest and along the shoreline. A lot of the video has been edited to be slow, which made sense. I liked the views of the setting they gave us (particuarly that night time shot in the forest) and the pair looks good. I feel the video could have included more breathtaking shots of the scenery, as this would have provided a slightly different dynamic but still keep true to the ballad style. (8.6/10)
Zoom – CN BLUE
CN BLUE makes their first Japanese release since 2017’s Shake. This is their first work since the release of their most recent Korean comeback, Then, Now and Forever. Zoom is the group’s first upbeat track in a while, which is very refreshing and more captivating that their ballad comeback in November 2020. That instantly says a lot already. I like the brightness that the song has and the lighthearted energy that it emits. Though I do think it is the least captivating track out of the bunch I am reviewing today. I do yearn for something more meaty from the band, though I guess I have wait some more for that. I do like Yonghwa’s vocals in this song. I miss his voice and am happy that I am hearing his vocals once again. I am also glad that Minhyuk and Jungshin also leant a hand in the vocal department, providing backing vocals for the chorus’ hooks and Jungshin rapping that sequence in the second verse. I wish there was more of this, especially in their Korean releases, as CN BLUE is not just a one-man band. Though sometimes, it feels that way with just Yonghwa singing. For the music video, we see the members alone and this is rather frustrating for them. They all get invited to something, but we don’t see the resolution of the frustration. I wished we got to see that, so that the video had some sense of closure. I did feel the lighting in this video was a bit much and wished it was toned down a bit. It made the video look a bit glary and took away the effect of the colours. (7.3/10)
Permission To Dance – BTS
The release everyone is talking about. I liked the message and energy they are spreading with this song. But out of their Western releases thus far, I feel Permission To Dance is their weakest. I really liked both Dynamite and Butter as they had that heftiness that helped make them catchy and addictive. Permission To Dance is nothing more than a lighthearted piece and pretty much side-track material. They could have been more intense in some parts, but I felt the song had too many ‘soft edges’. There are aspects of the song I did like, however. I liked how the instrumental didn’t rely on much synths. Rather, a hearty selection of ‘classical’ instruments were used to form the backing of the song. I find this to be different and gives off a unique appeal. It also enables the presence of various percussion effects in the song , which added a nice textural flair. The vocal processing is something that I think could have gone out the door, once again. It feels so heavy and icky. Knowing BTS’ skills, they don’t need it whatsoever. So I wonder why the producers feel it is necessary to process their vocals in such a heavy manner. There were some decent hooks, though they don’t have that same level of appeal as Dynamite or Butter‘s had. Though I do hear they added a bit of the Dynamite hook to the song (the ‘Da na na na‘). I liked how the music video had inserts of ordinary people ripping off their masks and dancing along to the music. It reflects well with the message of being free and able to do your own thing. I also liked how the music video isn’t in a ‘set’. It isn’t as fake as their previous music videos, which is a good thing. Choreography-wise, I liked how BTS brought that lighthearted feel to the routine. It looks relatively simple and it looks like the members have a bit of fun in the performance as well. I also like the inclusive nature of the choreography, as they incorporated internal sign language into the choreography. Not exactly the first time it happened, but definitely something that should happen more often! (7.7/10)
Many of the male groups that I ham a fan of are currently in their mandatory military enlistment phase. However, some of them are re-emerging in the industry after completing their enlistments, which is the case for the artist of focus for this review. CN BLUE has been inactive since 2017, which was when they released their last mini-album and title track, 7CN and Between Us. Military enlistment was not the only thing they experienced since 2017. They also underwent a lineup change, after Jonghyun withdrew from the group due to the chatroom scandal. Thus, this leaves Yonghwa, Minhyuk and Jungshin as the three members to continue the CN BLUE with Then, Now and Forever.
Firstly, it is super exciting to hear CN BLUE once again. There is definitely a lack of bands in KPOP. And while there has been a slight increase in the amount, I sometimes need that sense of nostalgia that only two bands in Korea can bring (i.e. CN BLUE and FT ISLAND) as two bands are the ones that I grew up with. Hearing Yonghwa’s voice is enough to fulfil that craving. Secondly, Then, Now and Forever is an alternative rock track that sounds blissful and captivating. Yonghwa’s vocals compliment the alternative style of the instruments played by all three members. I particularly really liked the peak of the song, which gives Jungshin and Minhyuk an opportunity to shine. They could have stuck with the alternative side of the track for the entirety of the song (which would have been fine), but I would have made a comment about it being plain or ‘is stuck in a neutral gear’. The peak just gives the song that icing on top to make it feel more satisfying to listen to. I liked how the sound helps shows themselves off as mature and refined, which works well with the lyrics. The song itself expresses the emotions one experiences and deals with when a person they love is no longer around. Hopefully, one day the trio will return with a more hard hitting promotional track. But in the meanwhile, Then, Now and Forever is a nice comeback for the band and satisfy my specific craving for nostalgia.
It is a nice video to watch. Not exactly the most attention grabbing or outrageous video there is, but it does the job complimenting the song’s mature and emotional sound. We see the members are quite expressionless with their lives, now that their special someone had left. And even with the changes in their lives (which I am assuming the colour blue represents), their emotions still take hold of them. I did like the transition between white and blue. It is a strong contrast and really sends off an impression to the viewer. I do have questions about Yonghwa’s milk though. It seemed a bit random to me (and I think alcohol would have been a more appropriate prop for the video’s intention). But then again, how do you show the transition to blue clearly and aesthetically. I also liked the ‘stage’ they performed in and the three rooms hidden by the curtains were their individual sets. I thought that was smart and provided a physical connection to everything to help give that a ‘whole’ feeling to the video.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8.5/10 Overall Rating – 8.2/10
After a 2 and a half year wait, Jung Yonghwa has finally made his solo comeback with That Girl. The main vocalist of CN BLUE previously made his solo debut in January 2015 with One Fine Day. That Girl is a track from the mini-album, Do Disturb, and the track itself features Loco, a well-known rapper and hip hop artist.
That Girl attracts similar comments to his solo debut tracks, Mileage and One Fine Day. While it doesn’t appeal to my personal tastes, what I did like about the song was the confidence that Yonghwa exerted via his lyrics and the vocalist’s vocals. The brighter sound compliments the catchy sound of the chorus and the melodies are pretty good. But besides all of that, the track just doesn’t seem to hook you in for long. Instead, the verses, which should have continued the momentum from the chorus ended up lacking that energy. Loco’s raps were a big no-no to my ears. It felt foreign and unexpected, which didn’t work with the rest of the track. Actually, his parts felt like a completely different song entirely. Although I only just listened to the track a few times (which means there is room to grow), I can’t stand his final remarks at the end of the song. It was 100% cringy and awkward to listen to. Overall, I guess you can categorise the song as ‘okay’ based on my comments.
The music video wasn’t too bad. I liked the colour and I thought the colour suited the atmosphere that the song had. The confidence, which I mentioned previously in the song part of this review, was portrayed nicely by Yonghwa throughout the video. It was totally evident once he entered the bar at the start of the video. But the side of Yonghwa that needed a little more confidence was Yonghwa in the choreography segments. Though I am not writing a section for the choreography, I can say that it looks pretty good. I know Yonghwa isn’t a dance idol but you could see it was very awkward for him to dance in the video and it made it awkward for us to watch. He starts off good, but that confidence or energy just disappears, which is disappointing. But overall, it was a good video to watch.
Song – 6/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7/10
7°CN is CNBLUE’s latest release and their 7th mini album since debut. So many releases over the years and I only just remember getting hooked onto their debut single. I wasn’t going to do an album review for this mini album, but I thought, ‘why not?‘. It is also a sign of thanks for your endless retweets, likes on Twitter and the huge amount of views for my review of CNBLUE’s latest track. To date, you guys made the 24th of March the most viewed day in the history of my blog and made the review the highest review of the year so far (865 views in just one day). The force of the Boices!
2. It’s You – It took me a few listens to like this song, but I am now a big fan of it. Usually, I prefer the rock and powerful sounds that the band is commonly known for, such as their title track. But this feels different and most importantly, it sounds fresh. It a lot more fluffy than what I am used to but that doesn’t affect the track in any way. The instrumental pulls the song together, which gives it a bright and sweet feel. Yonghwa’s voice fits this song perfectly. Whether he is singing or rapping, it doesn’t matter. Those “Woah” and “It’s You” are catchy and make the song addictive. (9/10)
3. Calling You – When I write every single review, I take my time so I can listen to the song multiple times to ensure what I am writing is what I feel and I could pick on a few more things that I may have missed out. But I can’t write this review while listening to the song. Don’t take it the wrong way, though. It just shows how good the track. Yonghwa’s vocals don’t stand out here, but Jonghyun’s vocals do instead. That part where they sing at a higher pitch (post-chorus) catches your attention. To me, the instrumental sounds very typical, but there is a happy vibe coming off it, which is something that is hard to miss. (9/10)
4. When I Was Young – It sounds like your typical KPOP song, but it’s jammed with more modern influences that one could imagine. The band’s influence is softer in this. It uses more electronic sounds, similar to the title track. And it makes the song stand out a mile away. To be honest, it sounds like a track that a dance group would have released as a B-side. But here, CNBLUE seems to effortless make this song work for them. I like this song because, like the title, it takes different genres that I grew up thinking wouldn’t work and make it work. (9.5/10)
5. Manito – This is the compulsory ballad that all album releases KPOP must have on their albums. Is there some law that enforces this? This song is probably the weakest track out of the lot. But that being said, it is still pretty good. The track does make you sway along, and their vocals make the song sound amazing. It does give you a chance to relax and take a step back from the epicness of the album. However, it just sounds quite typical and ordinary., which does make it disappointing. (8/10)
6. Royal Rumble – Besides the title track, when I first listened to this song, I was blown away by it. It’s not your typical track, and it isn’t something that I have heard from CNBLUE before. It adds an almost Latin or Spanish feel to the song, which does stand out a lot. I love the strumming guitar, which is addictive now that I come to the think of it. More importantly, is the buildup before the chorus. It may not be much, but it impressed me a lot. Also, the “Royal Rumble” which Yonghwa sings, sounds amazing. If he had a huskier voice, then the song would have been perfect. (9.5/10)
CNBLUE has returned with their 7th mini album, 7°CN. This is their first comeback to the Korean stage since You’re So Fine, back in April of last year. Since then, the group had another (5th to date) concert tour and released more songs in Japan.
This song is amazing. Am I too straightforward? At first, it sounded a little awkward to me. CNBLUE is a band and for the longest time focused on more traditional instrumentals when it comes to bands (such as guitars, drums, keyboards, pianos and vocals). But the chorus this time is dominated by synths and electronic sounds. This isn’t the first time the band has gone for this style, but it is done wonderfully in this song. It keeps true to the band’s roots and the rock sound that I yearn to hear from CN Blue each time they come back, something that was missing from their last comeback. The chorus is made to headbang along with, something that I have been doing when the song pops up on my playlists or as the next automatically played video on YouTube. Per usual, the song is dominated by Yonghwa’s vocals, with a small distribution going to Jonghyun. I am a little disappointed because it has been a while since we have heard Minhyuk or Jungshin in their title tracks. But this song suits Yonghwa and Jonghyun’s vocals very much. There is a big difference between their singing abilities, but in this song, both voices worked well with each other. Everything was really catchy and addictive. And I mean everything (vocals, beat, instrumental). It’s a really good track and is a track that I would be willing to recommend to new listeners of KPOP.
The music video was interestingly shot. I personally thought it was a cool video to watch. There isn’t much to it. For the most part, especially, the chorus focused on the band. The camera circled the band, who were playing the instruments. It complimented the more upbeat and faster tempo of the song at that point. The verses slowed down a bit and showed more of the individual members. They spoke on the phone to their lovers. They used a flip phone and a brick (for those who do not get the term ‘brick’, it refers to the old mobile phones that resembled the shape and weight of a brick) for those scenes and Jonghyun was featured in a phone booth. Next, you would tell me this video was shot 10 years ago. There was a lack of colour, but that didn’t ruin the video. Instead, it had other effects on the video. Either the scenes were presented using a black and white filter; or while filming, they directed quite a bit of light to focus only on one area. It looked stylish and focused the attention of the viewer at one spot, where the member(s) were in the scene. I just was not into the overlaps of scenes and images (see feature image above). It made it look too messy. The idea behind them was nice, but it just looked messy. Overall, the video fits the song perfectly and vice versa.
Song – 10/10 Music Video – 9/10 Overall Rating – 9.5/10
So much work to do and yet here I am procrastinating. It is funny. When I don’t have anything to do but write reviews, I procrastinate then and find work that I have put off for weeks and months. Wasn’t actually planning on writing a review until tomorrow since today was extremely busy, but hey, CN Blue cannot wait. Yep, the band is back with a brand new mini album. That being said and all this talk about being busy, the boys are extremely busy with promotions and also solo work.
It is officially Spring and you can tell by listening to this song. CN Blue usually goes for a powerful rock / pop track. Something with a little more energy and bass is a sound that I would associate with CN Blue. However, this time around, they went with a song that has a mellow feel to it (but in a cheerful sense). This is the song that you would sit outside on a grassy field, with blue skies all over and there is just a nice breeze. That or cheery blossoms. Oh wait the song. I really do like the song. I was kind of shocked when I first heard it, but I grew to like this song. I don’t love and I don’t think it is their best song ever, but it is still a good song. The vocals were great, though the small sections of rap or the short instrumental we got for the bridge were kind of awkward. It has that “throw your hand in the air” kind of feel, but they are just hanging down near my hips. Though, I do love the instrumental. Combining that band feel with the saxophone did wonders to my ears. It isn’t overpowering and the volume of the vocals and the instrumental is just right.
The music video was boring. The guys are in this lobby hotel. Minhyuk is getting his hair cut. Jonghyun is getting this poor kid to polish his shoes. Jungshin accidentally gets locked in the elevator. Yonghwa is the singer by the bar. Okay. A girl walks in and each guy is suddenly drawn to her presence. She some hows manages to interact with all of them indirectly (by giving people around them flowers). Then she goes and gets changed, and each of the guys decide to sit there and wait for her to come down and blind them with her beauty. Might have added that last part. But there wasn’t anything in the video to make me go wow. The video just had me thinking “So what?” throughout the video. It wasn’t climatic and it just didn’t do much to portray that spring feeling. I did like the set, very colourful. And there is what I liked the best regarding the video. Their clothing isn’t that great as well, but very retro.
Overall, great song. I’ll pass on the video though. 5/10
Probably one of the biggest award ceremonies for music and also probably one of the most prestigious, the 30th Golden Disk Awards (GDA) was held on the 20th to the 21st of January 2016. The GDA was supposed to be held in China but was moved back to South Korea due to the recent earthquakes that occurred there just 1 or two weeks before the scheduled event. Even though many people were shocked and feared the award ceremony would be either postponed or cancelled, the ceremony went off without a single hiccup and was broadcast live in both Korea and China.
What I like about this particular awards is that is focuses on both the physical albums and downloaded songs of the year. In other words, more awards for everyone. It is also nice to see who excelled in what (hahahaha…). The digital awards were handed out on the 20th of January, while the physical album awards were handed out on the 21st of January. The award show on the first night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Jong Kook and Seohyun (SNSD). The second night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Leeteuk (Super Junior) and Krystal (F(x)) I have recapped the award winners on the two nights below.
Disk Daesang (Album Of The Year) – EXODUS (EXO) Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) – Loser (Big Bang) Disk Bonsang (Best Artist) – APINK, VIXX, F(x), BTS, CNBLUE, Jonghyun (SHINee), EXO, Beast, Super Junior Digital Bonsang (Best Artist) – Red Velvet, EXID, AOA, Zion.T, Park Jin Young, Sistar, Taeyeon (SNSD), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Big Bang, Girl’s Generation Best New Artist – GFriend, iKON, Seventeen, Twice Popularity Award – SHINee Best Rap / Hip Hop – SanE Best Rock – Hyukoh Global Popularity Award – EXO Best Group Vocal Award – BTOB Best Solo Vocal Award – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue) Best Male Artist Award – Big Bang Best Female Artist Award – Taeyeon (SNSD) Next Generation Star Award – Monsta X
Once again, this wide spread of award winners seem to be more representative of main stream KPOP. Not that I am complaining. Most of the award recipients were similar to the Seoul Music Award 2016, however a lot more artists won in this ceremony, since their was more rewards. Not that I am being a hater or anything, but Kyuhyun’s bonsang award seems a little far fetched. From memory (correct me if I am wrong though), his song never charted high on the charts and likewise Super Junior barely makes an impact on the digital side of the music industry. So I am a little suspicious of how he managed to get an award for a digital bonsang. Saying that, he did sell a lot. Like a lot on the physical side. But beside that, I think it was a nice range of artists who won and I think it is accurate (as in which artists managed to shine the brightest in 2015).
I really need to think of ways to start off the different sections, but once again… I think out of the all the ceremonies that have already been broadcast (NOTE: I am typing this prior to the Gaon Chart Awards), GDA has the best performances. Why? Because many of the artists performed multiple songs and I really enjoy how some artists (or their producers) integrate different songs together. GFriend, Red Velvet, EXID, Seventeen and BTS had the best stages on the nights. Some artists performed some songs that were released in the past (in previous years, such as EXID’s Up & Down, VIXX’s Error, Sistar’s Touch My Body etc.), which I kind of liked, but, the songs were released last year… so maybe a little outdated. But overall, the performances, I think, were to a very high standard and pleased me (*points at myself* and *acting as the biggest critic of all time*).
Below are just the few performances that I found and slapped together in a playlist format in no particular order.
For a last minute change to the ceremony, it managed to do pretty well in my books. Awards, performances. Everything was just great. There is one more to go of this season’s award ceremonies, which will be coming out in the coming days. Until then, bye!!
Did you forget about the MAMA awards held by MNET in 2015? Or are we all trying to forget it for its bias and unfair system? Well, don’t fret, I am here to remind you of the disappointment or joy that you felt.
The MNET Asian Music Awards (or MAMA) was held on the 2nd of December in… Hong Kong. Again. Voting for the awards began in October of the same year and I thought there was a fair range of nominees and the committee selected a variety if talents for each award.
The following artists attended and performed at the awards ceremony: Taeyeon (SNSD), GOT7, BTS, Hyuna (4 minute), Park Ji Young, Seventeen, Monsta X, F(x), SHINEE, EXO, Big Bang, iKON, Zion.T, Crush, Sane. 2NE1 & Psy. Pet Shop Boys were invited as special guest performers on the night. Red Velvet, Twice, Tiffany and Seohyun from SNSD also attended by did not perform.
I have recapped the winners below. I shall give some comments afterwards regarding the winners. Best New Male Artist – iKON. Best New Female Artist – Twice. Best Male Vocal Performance – Zion.T (Eat) Best Female Vocal Performance – Ailee (Mind Your Business) Best Male Dance Performance – SHINee (View). Best Female Dance Performance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake) Best Solo Dance Performance – Hyuna (Roll Deep). Best Collaboration / Subunit – Zion.T & Crush (Just) Best Rap Performance – Sane (Me You)
Best Band Performance – CN BLUE (Cinderella)
Best Male Group – EXO
Best Female Group – SNSD
Best Male Artist – Park Jin Young
Best Female Artist – Taeyeon
Best Music Video – Bang Bang Bang
Best Album (Album of the Year) – EXODUS
Best Song (Song Of The Year) – Bang Bang Bang
Best Artist (Artist Of The Year) – Big Bang
Best New Male Artist is probably the category that has me shaking my head the most. iKON is slowly showing their capability, but I feel like Seventeen is already two steps ahead of them and deserve the award more. Best Female Vocal Performance should have gone to Taeyeon and Taeyeon should have received 2 awards that night. Not dissing Ailee, but it wasn’t her best song or vocal performance. Best Music Video should have also gone to F(x). Best Male Dance Performance is an iffy category for me. SHINee did have a great dance, but sadly, I felt that BTS was missing out due to the lack of nomination in that category. Big Bang took out most of the awards, but I don’t think it matters. Big Bang dominated summer in South Korea last year with their continuous releases and had one of the most popular songs of the year (according to download and streaming charts). JYP’s award caught me a little off guard but I guess out of all the nominees, he had a good song. Besides the categories I mentioned, I think the awards were “fair”. Okay maybe not, but who MAMA awarded that night, I mostly agree with (given the nominees).
But wait, there were a few more awards that were given out that night: Worldwide Favourite Artist – Big Bang Global Fan’s Choice Male Artist – EXO Global Fan’s Choice Female Artist – F(x) Best World Performers – BTS Next Generation Asian Artist – Monsta X Best Asian Style – EXO
Worldwide Inspiration Award – Pet Shop Boys There were also other awards which were awarded to artists from other countries as Best Asian Artist. Best Engineer, Best Live Entertainment and Best Producer awards were also given to 3 people for each award from different countries.
Out of these awards, I am a little confused with the Best Asian Style award. Out of all that walked the red carpet, I was shocked when EXO came along. Also, Pet Shop Boys. I am with majority of people who have never heard of the band before.
Per usual, there were many different performances on the night. The show opened up with Taeyeon’s I, which I thought was a really beautiful stage. She sounded flawlessly on the stage. BTS made their comeback on the night and collaborated with GOT7, who also performed If You Do. JYP had a special stage which probably scarred both GOT7 and Twice and he went a little wild towards the end of his performance. iKON performed a medley of their songs. Monsta X and Seventeen collaborated, while F(x) and Pet Shop Boys joined hands together. We also saw Sane perform with Hyuna and Jessi. Also a stage with both Show Me The Money contestants and Unpretty Rapstar. EXO, SHINee, Big Bang each had their stages with multiple songs and got the audience really hyped up. Psy also made his comeback and performed alongside with his new songs, Gangnam Style. Probably the most talk that night was 2NE1’s performance which caught everyone off guard. It was nice to see them, but whether it was appropriate is just another topic all together.
Out of all the stages, I thought Taeyeon had the most beautiful stage. For the dance aspect, Seventeen and Monsta X’s performance was really well polished and amazing.
Overall, I thought the night was worth it. It may seem like YG has a lot of influence over the MAMA awards and that is probably true. But whether it is right or not, is another discussion in its self. Just regarding the invitations to the awards, it did seem like someone did forget to invite people. Some stages seem like they could have used a little more attention to give it that grand feel that the MAMA awards is meant to uphold, like in previous years. But overall, I thought the night was pretty good. Wait… Did I just repeat the first sentence of this paragraph? Guess I am going to call it a day now. Hope you enjoyed my recap!
Welcome to the end of the year! Each year, I do this “End Of The Year Chart” where I properly rank songs via a personalised ranking system, which shows which songs I liked the most (and which songs I did not like at all – but I won’t name and shame). How do I rank the songs? Simply taking the score that I gave them in the review published earlier in the year, adding it to new review scores for the music, video and performance. Then I add those to other scores from “Songs of the Month” in my Rewind posts and to ensure that I can properly order them, I turn to my iTunes play count. And when I say “add”, there is a mixture of mathematical operations (and I am going to stop here, before I can bore you). In no way is this chart influenced by my choice of best song in the BOBs. But I do highlight them here :).
Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
If You Do
Oh My Girl
Love Me Right
I Need U
Sing For You
Taeyeon (SNSD) ft. Verbal Jint
Like OOH AHH
Oh Um Ah Yeah
Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)
Between Night n Music
Shake That Brass
Amber (f(x)) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)
VIXX LR (VIXX)
Brand New World
Brown Eyed Girls
Ring My Bell
Donghae & Eunhyuk
Catch Me If You Can
Me Gustas Tu
Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
Might Just Die
We Like 2 Party
Mad Clown ft. Jamsil (Mad Child Soul)
Ice Cream Cake
Kim Sung Gyu (Infinite)
I Feel You
Wow Wow Wow
Junjin (Shinhwa) ft. Eric (Shinhwa)
And here are some interesting facts about this year and the chart itself!
A total of 180 songs were ranked on this chart, but a total of 195 songs were reviewed this year (which I believe is a personal best).
The first song reviewed and included in the chart is BTOB’s The Winter Tale (released at the end of last year). The last song reviewed and included in the chart was EXO’s Sing For You
A total of 16 girl groups, 17 boy groups and 9 soloists are featured on the chart.
There is a better mix of boys and girl groups this year, compared to last year, where the first boy group did not feature on the charts until after 16th place.
BTS had the most songs on the chart (I Need U, Dope & Run). followed by: EXID (Ah Yeah & Hot Pink), GOT7 (If You Do, Just Right), EXO (Love Me Right, Sing For You), Kim Sung Gyu (The Answer, Kontrol) & Red Velvet (Dumb Dumb & Ice Cream Cake).
Rookies were actually a strong force this year with Oh My Girl, Seventeen and Twice ranking quite high up in the charts.
The following ranked after 50th place: IU, B.I.G, Crayon Pop, VIXX, Seventeen, Changmin, Big Bang, Brown Eyed Girls and CLC.
And finally, this year chart was actually reflected on the BOBs this year. I crowned EXID’s Ah Yeah as best song for both segments.
AND THAT IS IT!! 2015 will be ending shortly. 6 Hours To Go (for me at least)!!! Hope 2015 has been a great year for you all. I thank you all once again for another year of KPOPreviewed. Your support has been amazing. Every comment and like (heck even every view) makes me happy!! Nearly 5 years and still going strong!! Thank you 2015 and I wish you all a Happy New Year wherever and whenever it is time. Let’s make 2016 our year!!! (First review: 2nd of Jan).
CN Blue is back with a brand new album. This year, the members have focused mainly on solo work up until now. They have returned to acting and also launched solo careers in Yonghwa’s case. He made his overdue debut with One Fine Day at the start of the year. The band itself has been busy in Japan, releasing singles after singles that topped charts. They also have had many concerts in the few months in between Yonghwa’s debut and their second album release.
This song is a great song. Their last few songs have been quite mellow and more ballad like. This song picks it up quite well and adds that Summer feel that I don’t see much in CN Blue’s songs. This song is catchy and addictive to listen to. We don’t really see much bands in KPOP, so everytime we get something from CN Blue, I get excited. This song gets me really excited. It kind of reminds me of the tune of their debut songs and the few songs they promoted afterwards. I love the “ooo~”s that we get throughout the song. Jonghyun’s and Yonghwa’s voice compliment each other a lot in this song. In the past, Jonghyun was given a small part of the song, but in this song, he has parts that are spaced out more. Jungshin’s part, which was the “Somebody help me” was great as well. I am disappointed that Minhyuk did not get much of the song beside the drums and the “ooo~” that we aren’t really sure if it is his. They also nailed the English this time around. It was a great song and a nice throw back to the era of CN Blue which I liked.
As for the music video, Minhyuk’s arms. Damn, someone has been to the gym. Hahahaha… It is weird that the girl was there one minute and all of a sudden she disappeared, with a glass slipper to replace her. Like I get it for Minhyuk’s part where he looks away and then when he looks back to see that she is gone, but honestly Yonghwa’s part where she was halfway through shaving his non existing beard and then all of a sudden he leans forward and she is gone. What a teaser. And where on earth is that small laundromat? I have never seen a place look so small. Essentially, two washing machine are found in that small room and it looks so tight that they barely have any room to stand, yet somehow they made some room to sit down on the floor and chill for a while. Jonghyun’s part was also weird. He leans to the girl for the kiss, but she just vanishes and leaves a slipper behind. Jungshin probably got the short end of the stick and the only form of skin-ship with the girl, was a simple bump. But I love how dark the rest of the music video was. Does it match the song? Probably not. But I thought the test looks quite nice and reflected the mysterious nature of the girl that disappears and randomly leaves glass slippers. And how many pairs of those shoes does she have? Like why are there so many glass slippers at her disposal?
Beside that shocking music video review, I thought the music video was enjoyable and the song was incredible. CN Blue never shocks me. 9/10
Jung Yong Hwa is back. For those who don’t remember, Jung Yong Hwa, the leader of CN Blue, promised a solo album. He pre-released his first song, Mileage, a few weeks before, and has officially released the whole album, with One Fine Day being the title track. I need to address something however. Companies really need to get some word out regarding the status of some singles. One song is released first, and then they turn around and say it was a pre-release. This really ticks me off. (Yes, I know I haven’t reviewed Jonghyun’s other title track and I don’t plan to, because I did not read anywhere that there was dual title track thing going on). End of rant. Proceeding with review.
Once again, it was an okay song. I am still hoping for a rock themed song as I have said in my Mileage review. But oh well. This song lacked appeal to me. I can’t really say it had no colour since the song and the music video was built up with that idea of having no colour. It is a very slow ballad. I like ballads, but when they seem to be dragged out most of the time (like this song), it feels boring and bland. The chorus is quite nice, instead of building up the song, it kind of plateaued off. Though if you want me to say a good word about the song, I liked the piano instrumental in the background. The start really does not show off Yonghwa’s vocals, but at the end does. Overall, I like the ending of the song more than the start. That is a first for me, I guess.
The music video, as I said before, was built around the lack of colour. During scenes when Yonghwa is with the girl, there was a range of colours. But when he was alone, such as his close ups, there is definitely a lack of colour. Overall, I feel that the lack of colour contributed to the overall feel of the song and it made the music video more symbolic. In the video we see Yonghwa meet with a girl and start dating. However, the couples drift a part which leads to a sad video. In the end, they meet up again, but with another person they love. Just both can’t seem to forget each other. Yonghwa’s club scenes were a little creepy at the start. He looked like some creepy person smiling across the dance floor that would make you uncomfortable.
Overall, this debut was lacking in some parts. But it made fans think he was dreamy and romantic. Well, that is what I think he did to the fans. 4.6/10
After like a whole year of re-scheduling and a lot of articles about the new solo “coming soon”, Jung Yong Hwa has yet to make his official solo debut on the stage. However, CN Blue’s leader has teased us with a new song. This is just a pre-release, with the actual solo debut set to occur at a later date (later this month). Hopefully, they don’t push this around anymore and let him make his debut. And then make a CN Blue comeback!!! Asking too much? Getting too personal?
This song is okay. I always hoping for something along the lines of a rock themed song as that is what I grew up to know Yonghwa and CN Blue. Thankfully, this is just a pre-release, so I can still hope for the full album right? Anyway, this song also compliments his soft voice. I understand many people love him for his dreamy love songs and dreamy voice. Just this is a change that I really saw unexpected. The song is quite sweet but at the same time is also quite funny. The rapper was a little too passionate for this song. While Yonghwa was being dreamy via his voice, the rapper’s voice sounded hard and harsh to this song. This song isn’t catchy and that appealing on a whole. It as, to me, a one listen song, where I basically listen to it once and forget about it.
The music video was pretty cool. Some parts annoyed me. I know that for creative purposes they cutted out shapes and stuck them onto objects such as a soju cup or a vacuum cleaner. Yet why couldn’t they just used the vacuum cleaner or soju cup instead of “faking” everything. To you, it may not be a big deal and that I could be really picky. But hey, that thought stayed in my mind the whole time I watched the music video. Beside that, I thought the bed scenes were hilarious. It was really creative. It is the first time I ever saw a bed stuck to the wall and the dudes were playing around, but really they were walking around. That is pretty cool. Blew my mind for a wild (mainly because it took me forever to get).
Overall, a pretty cool music video for a song that was okay. 5.6/10
CN Blue has finally returned with a more softer image. Move over rock side of the band, welcome to the world ballad side. It has been a year since we last saw the band as a whole promoting a new song on the stage. Their previous song, I’m Sorry, was a major hit and did pretty well on charts. After countless number of individual activities through solo song promotions and dramas, we finally get to see them in flesh. Almost every song they have released has always been a hit and this song proves it. Despite the competition they have at the moment, the band managed to capture their first win this Wednesday. Congratulations!
The song is more of a ballad rather than that really addictive rock song that we tend to here. It has been toned down from their last song, which to me is really disappointing. But needlessly to say, this song is pretty good itself as well. I am just not used to this softer side of the band. However, this song I think is equally as good as their previous songs. The instrumental is really subtle and for some reason, i am not troubled by it. I don’t know why but a few songs (most of which I have not reviewed) sound kind of weird, but this song is pretty good. The piano at the start really suited the song. And I liked how the other instruments were slowly added to the song. The chorus was really cool and catchy. Not as addictive as other songs, but still pretty good. The vocals are kind of weak in my point of view. The voices are a little whiny in my opinion. Jonghyun sounds really awkward and I think he suits more of a fast paced song than any other. But still pretty good!
The music video was pretty boring in my point of view. Though the song was great, the music video dragged out for a very long time. Not sure about CN Blue’s obsession with foreign girls though. They look awkward together. I find it really weird that they chose the most popular member to be the lead actor, but I have to say he is pretty good. Looks like Yonghwa is a professional (I don’t watch K Dramas, well beside Melody of Love at the moment). He portrays the role pretty well. I like the whole idea of the mirror acting as a passage way into both worlds. There are two things I just find that does not work at all. Yonghwa makes a sound that is loud enough for her to hear. She looks towards Yonghwa, but then turns her head in the opposite direction. Like, I think a mirror making the sound would capture your attention straight away… I don’t believe it. Also, it really ticked me off how the smashed glass pieces became coloured balls. You know, how that just ruined the pleasant feel of the video. I expected literally smashed glass, not some randomly 2 year old play pen balls. But beside those two complaints, the music video was pretty cool.
8/10. Not bad, just some mild things that did not sit right with me. Go CN BLUE!!!
It is finally Christmas and I am excited! And the year is already up. Sadly though. However, shall we continue with a more different review this time around? But before that, I just would like to wish everyone who will read this post a Merry Christmas. Enjoy your time, with family, friends or anyone else. Be thankful and be safe. Let’s enjoy the final few days of 2013 and ready to party with 2014. Anyway, today, it is really more of an impromptu review. Not score will be given for these reviews. I have review Lonely Christmas by Crayon Pop and Miracle Of December by EXO. There are however four more Christmas songs that I want to review and today will be three song reviews in one! Shall we get started???
Christmas Song – United Cube
United Cube is back with a lovely slow Christmas song that showcases the groups under A Cube Entertainment and Cube Entertainment. The artists in this song include: Beast, 4Minute, APink, G.Na, Huh Gak, Roh Ji Hoon, BTOB and Oh Ye Ri. Wow that is a lot of artists. Also included is Kim Gi Ri, the comedian for Gag Concert. The song has this soft tune that reminds you of a warm Winter’s night, like Christmas Night. Though the song starts off really slow and it takes quite a while for it enter a more Christmas-like song, by the end, you are bound to remember those warm Christmas nights with your loved ones. I think the rap was handle really well in this song which is pretty good, considering how raps tend to ruin a good song. And the whole song, vocally, sounds amazing.
Love Falls – Romantic J
Now we are getting into the more festive songs. This song may sound like a love song, which it is. I really love the jingle bell feel of the instrumental and how the vocals in this song are not hard hitting as powerful vocals. Though Jonghyun from CNBlue does not have as much lines as Juniel, the song still sounds amazing. His husky voice fits the tone of Juniel’s voice which makes the song have this beautiful duet. The song is quite addictive and sounds really good. I have been lipsyncing to this song since it came out. Though the music video may seem more of a romantic story, the song still carries the Xmas cheer. Yay! Also, this is a duo that I would love to hear more from.
Winter Propose – Jellyfish Entertainment
This song is the only song that is really close to those Christmas carols we here every year. Not exactly what I like, but it still does. It features all the artists of Jellyfish Entertainment including: VIXX, Seo In Guk, Sung Si Kyung, Park Hyo Shin and also a mysterious female singer (do I hear a singer debuting next year?). This song sounds amazing and really has that festive cheer to the song. It combines all of the artists of Jellyfish Entertainment and amazes me a lot. Though I was not much of a fan of their previous Christmas song and also their more experienced singers, this song gives you that warm feeling that makes you remember Christmas day and eve a lot.
Snow Candy – Starship Planet
The final song which gives off the happiest Christmas feeling of the year. It features Sistar, K.Will and Boyfriend and seems the most enjoyable song out there for memories of family and friends. Again, this song, along with the others vocally sounds amazing and the rap seemed to be handle really well by Bora and the Boyfriend rappers. Of course K.Will and Hyorin holds the main vocal part of this whole company venture, but with this song, I am going to let it slide. The music video also seems to be the most festive one out of the four. Pity that Dasom from Sistar was not a part of the filming, but probably have featured in the he song somewhere. Not sure where though.
CN Blue has finally made their long awaited comeback. Not only is this one of the most anticipated comebacks of the month, it has also raised the bar of competition in the industry. Let’s just say, it is going to be a nasty battle. Lets also say that this comeback has lived up to its expectations. Cue review:
I’m Sorry is a really good song. As soon as I heard the song, lets just say I was rocking it hard. The start where the girl is like “It’s Over” over the phone is pretty unique. The guitar, drums and vocals in this song is superb, but what else are you meant to expect from one of the most popular KPOP groups yet To me, there was some kind of influence, that I felt in this song from American bands like Train etc. Really, this actually adds more competition to the game. If this song does not win, I will be disappointed. If you have not listened or watched the music video for this song, where have you been? This is one of the best songs of the month. The chorus is exceptionally catchy, especially those moments after each chorus. Pretty cool.
The music video was quite cool, but quite confusing. I guess if this music video became a drama version music video, like what T-Ara and Speed has, I guess added dialogue would’ve helped cleared up some confusion I have. Jungshin was the easiest to understand, as this is on the line of a love song, where the guy is sorry for breaking up. He takes a rose, which probably signifies his loneliness, and smashes it on a pole, scaring the living daylights out of his really, really annoying girl. Let me tell you one thing, buses and trains where I live, don’t have talking people on it. It is basically “Shut up or get off” kind of policy. That girl is quite… Minhyuk in this video is sorry, for smashing a chair and cutting his hands with broken glass shards, however, is it something that he said or heard from the people around him or a girl that angers him? Then, it gets worse. Jonghyun is sorry because he cannot busk for his girlfriend in a subway tunnel. I am sorry? I don’t quite understand. Yonghwa on the other hand is angry because he broke up with his girlfriend on the phone. I don’t see any logic in the anger there. They all join up, and end up throwing something that means a lot to them, like their relationship, for example Yonghwa: his phone, which was the last piece of contact for him with his girlfriend; Minhyuk and his bloody bandages; Jungshin and his lonely rose; and Jonghyun with his guitar pick. Yeah confusing as it is, the only thing I want to see live is the Engrish used by Jonghyun when he talked to those security guards. Classic.
He live is pretty good. First band, in probably a long time, to play live with their instruments as well. Jonghyun was pretty hyperactive in the performances as well.