It’s time for Kpopalypse roundup! Let’s check out some new releases!
Redsquare – ColorFull
An English-language intro that is right up there with k-pop’s most cringeworthy, and that’s saying something. Don’t worry too much though, once the colour-wheel stupidity finishes it’s just the usual “shouty bullshit with random nursery rhyme melodies” that all the girl group comebacks are like these days.
Secret Number – Who Dis?
Oh hi, I’m from the music store, I’m here to pick up the saxophone riffs sample CD we left at your recording studio five years ago.
Ryu Su Jeong – Tiger Eyes
An obvious lifting of ideas straight from Kylie Minogue’s “Cant Get You Out Of My Head” (aka the one song out of the 200-odd she made over 30 years that people not in Australia or the UK actually give a shit about), with less repetition (good) but also less catchiness (bad).
Minzy – Lovely
Easily the best song Minzy has had since leaving YG, but that’s not saying much given how awful the other post-YG songs of hers are. It’s hard not to watch this and feel extreme pity. She’s gotta be looking at Blackpink right now and thinking “fuck – what happened to my life”.
Swervy ft. Paloalto – Waerae
A bit more of a beat wouldn’t have hurt, but the atmosphere of this track is satisfying and Swervy continues to be the best thing in Korean hip-hop at the moment.
Agust D – Daechwita
Certainly better than this crap. Apparently all it takes to make everyone think you’re doing something “traditional but revolutionary” is grabbing four seconds of some random CD from the “world music” section of your local library and slapping a typical trap beat and the usual non-specific lightweight diss raps over the top (because we want to sound “real hip hop” but we don’t want those lawsuits now). At least Lim Kim made some sort of genuine effort even if she failed miserably, Agust D isn’t even trying.
Yubin – Yaya (Me Time)
Basically Hyomin’s “Mango” if someone gave it a wipe-down and vacuumed out all the dust and dried jizz.
Keembo – Scandalous
Just because you were in a group that had good songs a few times back in 1963 doesn’t mean that we’re going to like your new songs by default. Wishing for the tough, moody feel of Spica’s better songs back but I don’t think I’m going to get it soon.
Victoria Song – Up To Me
This is just a PSA to let you know that f(x)’s Victoria is still alive in China somewhere.
NCT 127 – Punch
I’ve worked NCT out, they seem to be all about really weird, different and quite compelling backing tracks with a whole lot of cringe vocals thrown over the top. I guess if you can ignore the chanting it’s a net positive, hey it worked for “Cherry Bomb” I guess.
OnlyOneOf – Angel
Only one of is one too many.
D-Crunch – Pierrot
The best thing about this one is the subliminal messages in the video, and the weird square rectangle one of the boys has to hold his tie in place. Now there’s a new look to rock in the office once lockdown is over.
DKB – Still
That guitar riff driving the tune is genuinely very cool, it’s just a shame about literally everything else in the song.
Baekhyun – Candy
Come on – be honest now. Nobody ever really listens to music like this, do they? I mean, if your main squeeze from EXO wasn’t in it, but this was some random American or Nigerian or whatever with the exact same song, would you give a fuck? And if you would, where is your collection of songs from around the world that sound exactly like this to prove it?
Kim Woo Seok – Red Moon
This song is a little better. I mean I wouldn’t exactly say that I like it, but it’s got some reasonable guitar at least, and I could imagine someone in the real world actually listening to this in their free time if it wasn’t someone they were mentally conditioned into accepting every single piece of musical output from by a faceless two-to-three-initial corporation.
TXT – Drama
Another worthless B-side music show song. Give up submitting these, please.
Stray Kids Changbin ft. Bang Chan – Streetlight
Actually really good – sure it’s not earth-shattering and the Autotune is a bit ill-advised but it’s balanced by a reasonable tempo, sensible dynamics and melody writing that actually makes sense, instead of the “let’s drop a nursery rhyme/schoolyard chant melody here just because we can” methodology that a lot of songwriting is succumbing to lately. See, I don’t “hate everything”, you softcocks. If you can’t handle the reviews here, why not go read something else that caters a bit more to your delicate sensitivities, like, I don’t know, every other k-pop music site ever.
Stray Kids Han – Close
The other Stray Kids solo song is a big ball of nothing however.
NC.A, Tikitik, Yoo Jun Ho, Jian – Flashback
NC.A actually looks great, how they manage to make her look so ugly in 90% of her music videos I have no idea.
N.Flying – Amnesia
Why is there a weird trumpet noise doing a messy countermelody all through the chorus that totally doesn’t mesh with anything around it. This song would be better if it was an instrumental.
015B, Wyne – #BNTK (Better Not To Know)
A near-perfect recreation of all those absolutely horrible shitty ballads that clogged up American chick-flick OSTs in the 1980s.
Miso – Alone
I don’t really like Miso’s music much but full marks for at least being adventurous.
Muang – Pathetic
Accurate song title of the week.
Crush ft. Joy – Mayday
They say that this song “features Joy” but I listened to it all and I couldn’t find any joy anywhere.
Ken – Just For A Moment
VIXX fans your “wholesome porn” has arrived. Everyone else can probably skip it.
Jung Yong Hwa ft. Lee Joon, Doojoon, Kwanghee – Would You Marry Me?
Steady on there. Dinner and a movie first, geez.
May – Bye
Actually a little better than most songs of this type mainly due to the songwriting here being a bit more disciplined than the usual aimless coffee-shop meandering.
sEODo – Leebyul-ga
Imagine if Jambinai really sucked.
Lil Cats – Blue
Not enough cat content here to mrcs.
Hwang In Wook – I Think, I’m Drunk
Here’s this week’s “everybody watching this only cares about the model in the video because she’s in some other much better project” song.
Universe Mongae – Shower
A painful song but I like how this video reminds me that some people probably really do think JYP’s plastic pants look sexy, and their opinion should be respected.
Xydo ft. Ravi – Mint Chocolate
Stop eating ice cream while you’re shooting your video, have some decorum on set you fucking grot.
Woogie ft. Golden – Better
Remember how I talked about Eyedi’s “& New” and explained how the pitch waver on the track was a bit of a risky move but it actually worked in context? Well, here’s a song where it doesn’t work.
Standing Egg – Friend To Lover
One of the best things about recently quitting my radio show is that nobody can request Standing Egg anymore.
Woogotsa – How Did A Hero Become A Normal Human Being
By joining a rock band and making sleepytime music like this instead of actual rock, I suspect.
KOREAN HIP-HOP IS WEIRD SECTION
Rohann – Webster B
The problem with Korean hip-hop has always been the lack of consistency. A rapper will do something like this which is actually alright…
Rohann ft. Leellamarz – Whee
…and then the very next song they put out will be some bullshit like this, and they don’t have a problem with that. Embracing music variety I guess is nice, but when it means “every rapper ever no matter how ‘underground’ does soft crap 95% of the time” it gets a bit tedious.
Valance – King Lebron
Not sure what the go is with that annoying static noise in the background of the entire track. But can you even imagine a western rapper putting out something like this…
Valance – Irony
…and then a track like this, at the same time? It’d never happen. In the USA, the trap guys and the real rap guys don’t even talk to each other.
Valance – Black Sneakers
I guess this is what happens when you divorce something from the cultural context in which it was made. Everything loses attached meaning and just becomes a grab-bag of “musical stuff”. There’s actually nothing wrong with that, and in fact I prefer the cultural baggage to be gone, but it sure breeds interesting – and inconsistent – results.
BONUS RANDOM VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Non-Asians & Foreigners In K-pop
This girl’s video is a little bit more nuanced than the “Koreans good, Kaachi bad” takes that are out there by the truckload, but the main reason why I’m shouting out to her is that she references my interview with Chocolat’s Melanie Lee extensively in this video (starting from around 5:30). The girl clearly did her research for this video, bringing up lots of names that most people don’t even consider when they think of “westerners in k-pop” so I’m happy to return the favour, even if most of those YouTube float-ins probably just skim-read my interview before getting offended by all the titty posts on the sidebar and then leaving again, never to return. Anyway YouTuber Angelina does a few videos a week and if you wanted to see more of them you could check out her channel here.
That’s all for this week’s roundup – more next week!