Thursday, 29 November 2012

KPOP STAR WATCH: McKay Kim, 2 Thousand Won, Akdong Musicians

Favs so far (age in Korea are counted one more than in North America because at birth you are one years old...):

McKay Kim (20)

How adorable is he? and he composed that song himself. After his performance during the judges' commentary (which is not included in this clip) JYP asked McKay what that chord he looked impressed with was. He obviously passed.

2 Thousand Won (Kim Il-do & Kim Hyobin both 23)

In this clip they explained that they are called 2 Thousand Won because they performed on the street when they were in the 8th grade and all they could make was 2 thousand won (which is almost 2 USD). Kim Hyobin (the singer) was recognized by JYP because he actually sang back up for his concert tours. JYP thought Kim Hyobin performed with him for only 2 stops when he did for 9 stops and about 4 TV performances. They performed JYP's uber popular song "I Have a Girl But..." from 2001, with some new rap verses. They also passed with flying colours.... but we can only hope they'll be able to stick together throughout the competition.

Akdong Musicians (siblings Lee Chanhyuk 17 & Lee Soohyun 14)
This duo (from the first episode) live in Mongolia, where their parents work. They came to Korea for this competition but have already captured the attention of the nation with their original piece titled "Don't Cross Your Legs". They originally started off singing "Breathe" by Miss A (with Miss A in the audience!) but were stopped by JYP because after being impressed with their musical interpretation of the song he was too curious about their original piece. They were much loved by the judges and the general public because the lyrics are witty and fun (and kind of hard to translate with the same effect). It was revealed in the beginning of the second episode that their song was the top searched in many of the Korean search engines after the first episode had aired. The song was composed by Lee Chanhyuk (the brother) and essentially is about the static feeling in when you cross your legs for too long.

Survival KPOP Star Auditions is back!!

Hyundai Card - sneaky producers of great music videos

Sneaky, Hyundai Card. If that name looks familiar, it may be because you've seen credits to them on popular music videos like Big Bang's Monster m/v. Because Soundholic is such a small company (compared to the power players like YGE), it seems like they didn't get to upload this to their YouTube channel. I never knew that Glen Check had a music video for '84 until I scoured YouTube for everything Glen Check, but I am so glad that I found it.


I also found a video for Addicted, and a live performance of Vivid. Now I really want to see them live.

For another fancam of the same performance but a close-up of the singer BECAUSE HE'S ADORABLE click here :)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Exid vs. Chérie - Every night



I don't know what this music video means. It's ridiculously bizarre and I would never have watched it if I wasn't curious to see the original dance after seeing Chérie's cover. Obviously he's some bad guy and their genius form of revenge is to make some formulate that makes girls sneeze and spit their champagne to sprinkle and splash artistically on the bad guy's face. WEIRD.

But looking at the dance, who did it better?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Survival KPOP Star Auditions is back!!

Just in case you missed or even avoided KPOP Star Auditions and its impact during the last year... you really should revisit it. It may have been 'just another audition/singing competition program', but it was really truly awesome with all of the young talent that turned up on the show. Kpop Star was really more of a mission to find young talent and exploit go on this journey with them of learning and training to become professional singers and performers. Korean vocal wonders like Lee Hi and Park Jimin debuted out of this show, and other artists like Su Pearls and Lee Seunghoon were brought to fame.

If you did watch KPOP Star and did not know they have a YouTube channel... you've also been missing out. They began to upload the performance clips aired on the show separately onto YouTube almost halfway through the first season, and they seem to be doing the same thing for the second season but right from the beginning. The noteworthy performances from last week are on their YouTube and should be checked out.

I'm going to end this post with a song by Jenny Suk, the first auditionee on the show. She's freaking awesome and I know people will take the judges' side because they are the industry professionals and blah blah blah... but people, KPOP Star is still a show and you have to take things into perspective. What would have happened if this girl went on in the competition? I really do think she's meant more for shows like The Voice or American Idol.

Jenny Suk - Parables

Swings and SPICA are Lonely

Swings - Lonely feat. Yoon Jong Shin

Swings is awesome. He's been around for a couple of years, and you'd probably remember him from being that feature rapper in Taeyang's After She Goes to Bed, Phantom's Homeground, and Ailee's My Love.

He recently released a song with Yoon Jong Shin, although I don't really see why he has to be in the song, considering Swings has an amazing voice himself. However, despite the cheesy video production (and the super cheesy Yoon Jong Shin) I love this song. It's awesome in how it's so meaningful in telling Swings' personal story, which we just don't seem to get enough of in this industry.

Speaking of loneliness...

SPICA - Lonely 

All of the YouTube comments seem to be about how similar this is to Sistar's Alone... I must say I prefer this one better. I really like the classier colours and sets used in this music video, and I really really hate velvet but I like their outfits a lot more than Sistar's tight hot pink or black pleather outfits. However, I have to say SPICA sounds pretty flat in this song and they really just don't match up to expressing their loneliness through their singing as much as Sistar does.

SPICA gave such an impression with Russian Roulette, but their edge seems to have been a one time thing. They've since dissolved into the demands of the kpop industry by jumping on the cutesy track bandwagon with I'll Be There which sounds a bit like a Spice Girls song. They have yet to impress me as their first songs did, but I must admit that I still have hope for them.

Kpop Instrumentals

I personally am someone who always gets distracted and carried away with singing along to the songs that I listen to. This makes it a problem when I'm trying to study.. unless they're instrumentals :D

Music with no lyrics like that of Ratatat, Deadmau5, and other electronic artists (Justice) or bands (Glen Check) with minimal singing makes it possible for me to do some studying while jamming to music. I actually have found Deadmau5's music really good for when I'm blogging and Ratatat's beats keep me on track when I'm reviewing study notes. However, this is also possible with kpop. Kpop instrumentals that is.

A lot of kpop artists actually release instrumental tracks with their originals in their EPs or albums. A lot of ballad singers do that as well as smaller rookie groups. Some other companies who don't release their instrumentals in the EPs or LPs sell them online, like YGE. Instrumentals, acapella, and music removed versions of their artists' songs can be found on their website, up for fans to buy.

There is also a channel on YouTube that has been uploading all of these versions of YG hits to share. It's AWESOME. go check it out.

They also have another channel where they upload gems like this. OMGTOP.

Big Bang - Candy (H.O.T. cover)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

WTF 15000 views

KPOP COMMENTARY has reached 15 000 views, mostly in thanks to my blog post on Psy's sunglasses which makes up about 85% of my pageviews. That's awesome and was totally unexpected for me when I first made that post. I think it's really cool because I've been thinking and have been involved in a lot of strategizing at work for increasing views for blogs, since the Internet is such a big place. This is first-hand experience gained with amazing timing and has become yet another reason why I think the Internet is so awesome.

Of course I guess whether I make my entire blogger existence a one wonder hit really depends on my persistence and consistency, which I've already proven to myself that I completely suck at (I've tried  blogging since the beginning of high school so that's almost 6 years already....). I will try though, for the love of kpop. hah.

I started a new blog called Cynic & Crazy with my friend J. We're both people-watching loving creeps and will be posting such situations we observe through life with witty drawings and hopefully just show how you can find amusement in just the little things in life. There's also the posting things we like on the Internet part too.

I guess I should thank you Psy fans for all of the views. Perhaps 15000 isn't that big of a number for the Internet nowadays but I think that's mind blowing for something I've done. So yeah. Thanks ^^

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Golden Girl Lee Hi

If you hadn't watched Survival Kpop Star Audition that started late last year and wrapped up early this year then you have definitely missed out. If you have, OMG WASN'T IT SUCH A GOOD SEASON?! I can only hope that the second season - which is to premiere on November 18th - will be half as good as the first.

Second-place Lee Hi (actually pronounced [Yi Ha-yi] or [ee ha ee]) was signed on with YG Entertainment and has captured everyone's hearts with her feature in Epik High's 춥다 (It's Cold) and her official debut as a solo vocal wonder with her song 1, 2, 3, 4. In the music video, her acting and dancing is kind of awkward but that was made clear during the show so it was kind of expected. Her voice on the other hand is absolutely amazing and I think it's wonderful we get to hear that kind of voice from Korea, and from a girl so young. I do agree with the complaints that the makeup jobs in the video make her look way too old (she's only 16) but at the same she's so adorable with her shy smile and her being so petite :)

Here's her debut performance on SBS Inkigayo. She's definitely a lot less awkward and she totally upped the sexy on this one. And the super fast wardrobe change? Magic of video editing my friends :) debut performance

The winner of the show, Park Jimin was signed on with JYP Entertainment and also her debut early October. She debuted as a duo called 15& with Baek Yerin. I think she received the short end of the stick despite her winning the show, but I also think it was appropriate considering the style of her voice compared to Lee Hi, as well as her age. I also think JYP took it as an opportunity to get Park Yerin off the trainees list - she seems quite shy and inexperienced as a singer/performer and it probably would have been difficult to find a  chance to debut her at such a young age.

I also find it amusing that Park Jimin is probably the only one that can pronounce 15& as "fifteen and", considering her perfect English pronunciation. Everyone else around them (except for JYP himself and the Wonder Girls) would probably be pronouncing it... pi puh teen an duh (basically just butcher everything up into consonant-vowel pairings and you'll get a Korean accent).

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Korean hip-hop at it's finest

Primary - Poison ft. E-Sens of Supreme Team

Primary is a producer that has been part of huge Korean hip-hop acts; he released a new album last week titled "Primary and the Messengers". This track featuring E-Sens of Supreme Team is one of them and it is absolutely beautiful.

One of the lines that really struck me was near the end of the track -

If you need to stop/pause, then stop now
We miss too many of the important things

Another music video released with the album is for "?" (or "Question Mark") featuring Choiza of Dynamic Duo and Zion.T.
I love the minimalistic set. It's absolutely wonderful.

Bringing back them Epik High favs

Recently Epik High performed at a club. They filmed the thing (somewhat professionally, with good angles and audio) and put up all of the performances on YouTube.

They performed most of their amazing hits, but what got me super excited was when they performed their past hits. The most amazing hits that were a solid part of my middle-high school adolescence. Gawd I love them.

Go here for the full playlist of the performances in order, and I've linked some of my favourites down below.
If you do watch the playlist, notice the girl at the front near-center where she has bangs in the beginning but they progressively disappear into stringy bits of hair in her face as she sweats and gets hit by water.




As you may have noticed, I just really love seeing these boys on stage together. They're hilarious and Tukutz really brings this energy that makes them so fun to watch. And I didn't know he was such a dancer...