It’s time for Kpopalypse roundup! Let’s take a look at some new releases!
Aespa – Black Mamba
It looks like Aespa are now “in our area” with this slow, dragging debut song that is basically just one riff and not much else. They’re clearly competing against a certain other four-member girl group’s recent output, but the general one-note repetitiousness of it sounds more like a rejected K/DA feature. Even the much hyped CGI Aespa avatars are a huge visual letdown compared to K/DA who at least always get that part right if nothing else.
K/DA ft. Aluna, Wolftyla, Bekuh Boom – Drum Go Dum
Speaking of which, those other virtual k-pop idols are still virtually not very good. They’ll probably never change, I’m sure Tencent gives the songwriters a pretty restrictive template to work with. If only they applied that same level of creative restriction to the people responsible for building some of League’s new overloaded champion roster.
BTS – Life Goes On
This is a coronavirus-themed song called “Life Goes On” and I guess it does unless you’re one of the 1.39 million (and counting) people worldwide who has fucking DIED from it. What charming lads. Apparently they write all their own lyrics! Just lovely.
Loona – Star
Now that their contractual obligation to put Lee Soo Man first is over, we get the Loona comeback we always wanted. I’ve already reviewed this (the Korean version is called “Voice” in case you missed it a while back) but just a heads up that there’s a video for it now, plus it’s in English, which doesn’t really make any difference to how obviously great it is. The official audio certainly sounds a lot crisper here than the muddy live stages though – which is another reason why I really dislike reviewing “live stage” songs.
Momoland – Ready Or Not
The retina-burning super-bright colour ensures that I couldn’t enjoy looking at this video any more than I could enjoy listening to this tired Spice Girls retread.
Bling Bling – G.G.B
These nugus don’t sound any different to Aespa really, which just drives home how far Aespa have fallen short.
Keembo – Scene
By far the best song yet from Spica 2.0, with them finally recapturing some of what made their old songs great. What a pity that probably only three people will notice, and in a month two of them will have forgotten this exists.
Q.O.S – F.A.W
K-pop videos sure look weird when they don’t get the look quite right. There’s nothing wrong with the girls, but there’s tons of makeup, styling and cinematography decisions here that make no sense.
Dreamcatcher – No More
Dreamcatcher’s Japanese output has the exact opposite problem to their Korean output – the riffs are decently heavy enough, but the vocal melodic smarts are lacking. A better chorus could have made this truly amazing. Also it really didn’t need a rap break, just like every song ever.
Uza – Clockwork
It’s not her best work but it’s still pretty cool. Look at how tiny Uza is, if she had a wardrobe malfunction I reckon that she could quickly wrap herself in the microphone cord and it would cover her entire body and she could keep right on singing.
Uza & Shane – Shine
I don’t usually like Uza’s stuff with Shane as much as her solo work, but this week the song with Shane is slightly better, just because it has a better chorus. I hate this type of pop-funk thing usually but they make a good fist of it. Also the black and white uniforms are seriously stylish.
Lee Young Ji – Compromise
I have a habit of leaving the gas stove on because I have a poor sense of smell, but I reckon I’ve got nothing on Lee Young Ji who is probably ringing the fire department as I type.
Jang Jane – Dust
These two songs aren’t bad but I’m not sure if squeezing them into the one song was the best idea.
Saay – Player
Super boring, also why is she dressed like a stress ball.
Saay – Are&Be
Super boring, also why is she dressed like about 50% of these dogs.
Got7 – Breath
Shout out to the very hopeful GOT7 fan collective or whatever who kept me in the loop that this was being released, thanks to them I was able to join the live premiere of this song on JYP’s official channel and drop thoughtful comments on the livestream like “settle down folks it’s not really all that good tbh” and watch them scroll off the top of the chat window at light speed before anybody could read them. I’d like to think that my comments are still out there in cyberspace somewhere, doing good deeds.
NCT U – 90’s Love
Saying in the lyrics “gosh look how 1990s we are, gee I love the 1990s” every two bars isn’t really a very 1990s thing to do, because everyone in the 1990s was actually cynical and had undiagnosed mental health issues. When your mood stabilisers actually start working it’s not really a 1990s retro concept anymore.
Bae173 – Crush On U
Why do Korean idol boy groups have better beats this year than most of the Korean underground rappers.
Drippin – Shine
It’s a boy scout concept, oh yuck. This is the male equivalent of April’s “Dream Candy” and you should be terrified that somebody thought of this.
CNblue – Then, Now And Forever
I live the obviously Fender guitars with the logo removed from the headstocks. CNBlue’s fortunes have sunk so low guitar companies won’t give them free instruments anymore.
2Z – Stand
If I want to look at your shit social media page I can do it myself, cunt.
2Z – All I Need
Wow these guys provide subs in 11 different languages, now that’s putting in work. The video also has zero dislikes so I guess that’s the way to do it.
Norazo – Bread
Norazo have cool different concepts but they rarely make that transition from “look ma, I added a techno beat and some guitar to a trot song” into music you’d actually want to listen to.
Taemin – Think Of You
I actually checked to see if he wasn’t singing in front of the same house that he does in SHINee’s “Hello“, but that street was a fake one whereas this is the real deal. I guess this is how you know you’re important in SM Entertainment, they finally let you outside.
Woodz – Bump Bump
Not much is going on here except a furry not getting hit by a skateboard.
Henry – Radio
Today I learned that Henry can run at deer speed, which I’m sure is good for something when you’re an ex-SM Entertainment employee.
Ahn Dayoung – Usual Person
Some really cool ideas both visually and musically, but strip away the high-dynamics window-dressing and it’s a three-chord song with a very average melody.
The Midnight Romance – I Don’t Want To Live Without You
One group’s dull lighter-waving stadium rock ballad sounds much the same as another group’s. You really need next-level songwriting skills to make a template as generic as this actually work.
O’Doyle – Slide Away
This sounds like all those shit bands I’ve forgotten about that Australian TV’s Rage used to play in the 90s at 3am while I was waiting for the heavy metal hour to come on.
Balloonfish ft. Nadaeun – 52hz
A video that looks like crap is no fun when it’s self-aware.
Jang Yoon Jeong – Pig Rabbit
The difference between good trot and bad trot is always melody and harmony choice, because texturally it’s always exactly the fucking same so those are the only differentiating factors that matter. This is good trot, in case you’re wondering, although I highly recommend NOT watching the video.
Cha Cha – You Are Alone
You know how it is when you see some video and it’s of some fugly old dudes in a band and you think to yourself “well they sure don’t look too marketable so they must be some rock legends I’ve never heard of and they must have one hell of a song”? This totally isn’t one of those times.
B-Free ft. Munchman – Resurrection
This guy always gets his stuff downvoted to hell because he called some EXO and BTS boys smelly or whatever, which of course makes me want to like him more, but the track here is weak as piss. People think these days “a good beat” just means turning the subs up but no.
Changmo – GJD
Look at these miserable angsty fucks. Relationships aren’t that big of a deal. Get over yourselves.
Brown Tigger ft. Skull, Koonta – Boosta Mode
Digital Dav – Weekend Getaway
Oh my lord this is dreadful. Click at your peril.
Code Kunst, Choi Jung Hoon, Simon Dominic – For The Gone
Oh fuck it’s another Coronavirus song. Do not want.
015B ft. BenAddict – Sliding Door Moments
Stop romanticising cassettes. They sound like crap, they wear out, the tapes chew in your stereo, they’re bad for the environment, they’re expensive to make because moving parts, can we move onto the feeling retro vibes from CDs instead please because CDs were actually a good idea.
Bromel – I’m Always Grateful
Turn your electronic devices off while the plane is taking off and landing you piece of self-absorbed balladeering shit. This is the kind of person who pulls the “don’t you know who I am” line when they can’t get into the club just because they have a song out. Fuck this guy.
Yang Da Il – Darling
I was waiting for this old dude to meet the MILF of his dreams at the end of the video but it didn’t happen, probably because Korea is so fucking ageist and sexist and they were terrified of the thought of giving any similarly old woman screentime.
Lee Jun Hyung – Flower Garden
We need one of these drama videos where the guy turns out to be a serial killer or something, just to mix it up a little.
Lee Minhyuk – Kissing You
Or what about someone who abducts women and sells them into the international sex trade, or maybe harvests their organs… I don’t know, I just feel like these ballad video makers have no imagination. Davichi had the right idea, but that was quite a while ago, lift your game, drama MV directors.
“LIVE” VIDEOS THAT REALLY AREN’T SECTION
Benzamin – Free
Look at him fuck up the miming at 0:31 where he takes the microphone away from his lips just a fraction too fast. What a fraud.
Treasure – Orange
I love it how they’re singing with those wireless microphones as if we’re supposed to believe that there’s a sound system somewhere nearby. K-pop fans will believe anything.
Oh Saebom, Kim Yejoon – Remember
Now here’s something new – I have no idea what “live visual” is supposed to mean. As opposed to what, “dead visual”? It’s both looking and sounding pretty dead to me.
The Stray – Milky Way
Here’s one where the guy really tries hard to be convincing but watch at 1:55 where his mouth changes from the “ooh” to the “ahh” tone but the vocals don’t follow the same pattern until the next syllable. It’s the old saying “what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive” – if you lie, you have to keep track of and remember all your lies to be convincing. If you pretend to sing a vocal line, you’ve got to remember how you actually did it for real when you were wanking off with all that extra crap the song didn’t really call for, and fake it the exact same way each time. It’s a strange talent in itself, just not the one you might have paid for.
BONUS RANDOM VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Mina being a hardcore gamer for 8 minutes straight
I’m not sure if gaming for 8 minutes is really considered all that “hardcore” but Mina likes Minecraft and PUBG and so do I so that’s good. Looking at this I wonder if her hiatus from Twice was just an excuse so she could finish off her Minecraft house without being interrupted by pesky schedules. If so, I can only admire her gamer skills, clearly JYP lost the game that matters.
That’s all for this week’s roundup – more next week!