Friday, 30 March 2012

There used to be a time like this [Happy Face]

Post update:
I was pleasantly surprised with Lee Seunghoon's performance on Survival Kpop Star Auditions two days after I had posted this. Why? Both Big Tone and Pilkang were involved in helping stage his performance! Oh, the happy coincidences in life ^^

The last two days there was a song that kept nudging into my head. I couldn't remember what it was but the sound kept pushing in. I finally figured it out last night and raked through YouTube to find it.

There was once a time like this

The group was Happy Face, consisted of members Pilkang and Big Tone. They released an EP in 2009, with songs like Happy Face, See (보여), and Be My 1004 Part II. They were active previously in about 2005 (I can't remember) under a different name, iM, where they released Be My 1004 Part I (1004 read in Korean sounds like chun-sa, meaning 'angel'). They had a distinct Linkin Park-like sound which I really liked. Now the two members are producers at YG Entertainment, Big Tone keeping his name and Pilkang's name being shortened to PK.

Performing [See] on Music Core

There used to be a time like this, when music broadcast shows didn't depend on their giantic LED screens backing every stage; when Jay Park and Nichkhun rocked to a song together; when even kpop artists rocked on stage with endless energy, out of breath but still unrestricted from confining choreography.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

SPICA - new stars?


I think it's safe to say everyone was a little skeptical of this music video as soon as they got a glimpse of the opening scenes. Especially if you're familiar with 2NE1's Ugly M/V. However, SPICA's Painkiller did not disappoint, or even make it comparable to 2NE1's video.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

John Park

I've really been loving this guy's voice lately. Love love love him!

If anyone remembers a couple of years ago, John Park made it to American Idol's Top 10.

After that, he went to Korea and participated in Superstar K2, where he placed second overall. I never followed the competition but I did see clips of him and the first place winner Huh Gak on other TV shows, so I was still aware of his transitioning into the Korean music industry.

Then, on the day that Big Bang was scheduled to release their first track and music video from their much anticipated comeback, I noticed John Park's music video on my YouTube stream. Watched it while I waited for Big Bang, and I fell completely in love.


After hearing his other tracks where he doesn't sing as high as he does in Falling, I felt reassured and decided to call myself a fan. He has a good range and a wonderfully deep voice which I love. His debut EP Knock has a jazz/blues tone to it, and he's not a ballad singer, which I loved to hear in the midst of all the synths and pop/dance tracks that are coming out in Korean music right now.

I very much look forward to what he'll come out with next. John Park fighting!

Friday, 23 March 2012


There are no official rules stating that I have to the 30 day challenge in 30 consecutive days. Then again, I did just start it to get me in my blogging zone.

I just watched SHINee's newly released music video and their comeback stages. I guess I wasn't surprised at how impressed I was with their amazing ability to dance in perfect synch like that, as well as pull off some of the funkiest moves in the idols scene. I wouldn't say the same with their hair and outfits, but I do love the for the incredible sound and dancing that the group delivers every time.

Sherlock (Clue + Note)

I've also followed SHINee from their debut. They weren't always a favourite partially due to the fact that half the group looked like they never went through puberty yet (ahem Taemin), and I wasn't really used to hearing their style of music. They have a distinct style from the rest of the idol groups that I am very pleased to see have been maintained throughout all of their music, but at the same time it's not that distinct in the pop genre in general. They're probably the first group to really introduce that into the kpop idol scene.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

[Day 4 Epik High]

I'm going to have to pre-write some of these posts in preparation for the upcoming week and a half. Exam period is near and I'm feeling the pressure :(

Day 4 // Your favourite non-idol Korean singer/group

Korean music is not all idols. The younger generation of singers typically promoting in groups, all of the members have to sing and dance on stage despite their role within the group. Thankfully, there are very talented non-idol artists in the industry as well. They're the ones that have me still sticking to kpop.

There are multiple non-idol groups that I absolutely love, such as Clazziquai Project, Winterplay, and Brown Eyed Soul. But Epik High is the group that I love the most. I've been following them the longest, and I have great respect for them, having witnessed all of the out of the norm risks they've taken with their career to express what they feel and think through music.

Epik High is a trio of a hip hop/rap/pop genre. Member DJ Tukutz creates their beats, and Tablo and Mithra rap to it. All three write lyrics and compose their songs, they also feature some amazingly unique voices in Korea in their tracks. The contrast in their voices (Mithra generally sounding like a wild husky voiced lumberjack) and their clever lyrics with Tukutz's style of beats combine for some amazing songs of love, politics, fears, hope and some random topics of pure amusement. Tablo, having done an English degree at Stanford in the States not only manipulates the Korean language in his amazing lyrics but also English, in the couple of English tracks they have done.

Monday, 19 March 2012

[Day 3 Alex]

I had to think a lot for this one. A LOT.
There are so many solo acts in Korea that I love and I really wanted to focus on a singer that debuted as a solo artist from the beginning, but I love this guy's voice too much.

Alex Chu.

<미쳐보려 해도 / Can't Be Crazy - Alex>

Day 3 // Your favourite solo Korean artist

Alex debuted in 2004 as a member of DJ Clazzi's project group Clazziquai Project. Fun fact: Horan wasn't an original member until their official debut. Alex's sister Christina Chu was friends with Clazzi and the brother/sister pair sang in Clazzi's songs until Christina left to the States for her career. Alex stayed and Horan was introduced. Christina still features in a couple of their songs, and she also featured in a couple of tracks from Clazzi's recent album Infant.

Alex was known for his smooth voice and loving yet masculine charm through his appearance on the first season of We Got Married. Although many people called him out for being "느끼해" (which can be interpreted to being an extremely cheesy romantic), you couldn't really help but to fall in love with him.

<Ping - Clazziquai Project>

Sunday, 18 March 2012

[Day 2 2NE1]

At this point, there's already a pretty clear bias forming here. I am clearly in love with YG artists over the rest, but I try to be fair. In terms of favourite girl groups though, this one dominates.

Day 2 // Your favourite kpop girl goup

Ever since there were even talks of a Big Bang sister group forming in the depths of the kpop industry, I was taken. When they released short "trainee videos" of the members, I watched them in awe and anticipation.  2NE1 represented a fierce girl power right from the beginning, and I loved the fact that they were different from all of the ultra feminine girl groups sporting uniform stage outfits prancing around with their long wavy hair. Although I'll admit that my first impressions of them were slightly tinted with influence from my Big Bang bias, but I was completely in love.

2NE1 sticks to their style, not only with their bold fashion sense and the confidence to pull it off, but there's also a level of continuity in their title tracks with the various use of "eh eh eh eh". They have incredible versatility and they know how to bring something different to the kpop scene. They're successfully transitioning into the Japanese market with a Japanese concert tour already under their belt and planning their English album release, produced by

I love Big Bang as a die hard fan, but with 2NE1 they were really role models for me. There are lots of things about them that I wouldn't copy, such as their outfits, their hair or makeup, but the energy that they bring and the way that they conduct themselves in front of the camera is just great. All 4 have such different personalities, but there's an aspect of how they keep their privacy that I admire (and I just love their adorable nature). I really admire artists that can bring it to the stage, which is exactly what these girls can do. I am a proud viewer of all three seasons of 2NE1 TV, which clearly depicts how much love and energy they bring into their amazing stage presence. Although I wouldn't say that they can't bring it as much as Beyoncé (yet!) they're pretty close when looking at the any of the female singers in Korea.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

kpop 30 day challenge [Day 1 Big Bang]

While I share my love for Korean music through this blog, I'm also going to try to improve my blogging skills. So, I've decided to take up the 30 Day Kpop Challenge. I've also decided to change the list a little (full list after the jump break) to cover all of Korean music, not just Kpop (I know it makes me sound a little anal about wording but a lot of the good music is not in the pop genre!). My modifications also include the Canadian spelling of 'favourite'...

Day 1 // Your favourite kpop guy group

My all time favourite guy group is Big Bang. They debuted back in 2006, right before I started my ventures into the world of Korean music. I've witnessed all of their evolving in fashion, hairstyles and maturity in front of the camera. They're a group that I feel like I've grown up with, through my crazy high school years and their scandals concerning plagiarizing, car accidents and pot.

The 5 member group is YG Entertainment's prize boy band, having extremely successful rounds of promotions in Korea and Japan. They are also planning their world tour this year, which I am extremely excited about (they're coming to Toronto!!). Their music is rooted in the hip hop style, but they've infused a lot of genres like rock, electropop, and R&B into their style. All of the members have done multiple solo tracks, which further displays their experimenting with the different genres.

Members (names in brackets are their secondary stage names, used during their Japanese promotions) :

Wuddup world it's a kpop blog

Kpop is my guilty pleasure.

Considering that I am Korean, I was a bit late on catching on to the kpop scene. To be fair though, I didn't grow up with a lot of Korean kids around me. I never went to a big Korean church, which any Korean immigrant knows is the number one way to make Korean friends. All of my schools had next to nothing of a Korean (or East-Asian in general) population, so I didn't meet many fobs until I got to high school.
[clicking on the captions will take you to a music video from the album. They get better, I promise.]

That being said, I did watch a couple of Korean dramas with my mom during middle school, but I didn't like them very much because they were like super dramatic soaps infused with a bit of comedy. What I did like were the ballads that they used in their soundtrack, which was basically where I started my interest in Korean music. I managed to get a hold of some drama OSTs (official sound track), and from there I was introduced to Clazziquai Project, Epik High, SeeYa, SG Wannabe, and Brown Eyed Girls. In high school, there was a sudden increase in the East-Asian population around me and my new Chinese friends were asking me if I liked Big Bang and Epik High. That basically sparked the explosion of kpop domination in my world. Because of my advantage of being able to understand Korean, I understood songs, dramas and variety shows without having to wait for subtitles (a service that took a  lot more time to provide back then). I was slowly able to reconnect with my Korean side through the Korean entertainment industry.

From about Grade 12 until now I've grown just a tiny bit weary of the whole thing. I stopped jumping on all of the new groups pretty much after 2PM because I couldn't deal with all of these 5+ member groups that all sang and danced in perfect synch. I stuck with my bias groups and gave a chance to the groups that were recommend to me by multiple people. I've definitely slowed down my drama consumption since high school (which was more out of responsibility than anything), but I still like to pop by Dramabeans to keep myself updated.

Alex - Just Like Me (2011)
Big Bang's Alive (2012)
Clazzi - Infant album (2012)
Tablo - Fevers End (2011)
2NE1 - 2nd Mini Album (2011)
Winterplay - Touché Mon Amour (2010)

That being said, I still can't let go of Korean music, which is why I've started this blog. I want to share thoughts and favourites from the Korean entertainment industry in general. I like to laugh at Engrish and I love following a lot of the fashion that explodes out of that scene (Eiffel in Seoul is a pretty good blog for that). 

So tell me, how did you start listening to Korean music?

[all images from Bugs, a Korean music site]