It’s time for Kpopalypse roundup! Let’s take a look at some new releases!
ITZY – Boys Like You
It’s nice to have an Itzy song with actual melody in it for a change, even if the chorus topline is just ripped right out of the bit in Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” where the guy pulls out the ring or whatever. Itzy are usually awesome or terrible so to hear something that’s just kind of average Olivia Rodrigo-lite is kind of weird coming from them.
ITZY – What I Want
Their other song does the f(x) “Dracula” thing where they add extra harmony to the end that puts a previous hook into a better context, and while I’m all for k-pop leaning on f(x) for ideas, it’s annoying to have a song be not-so-great for most of its running length just so they can do a big quality reveal just before the whole thing finishes. Like, why not just make the whole song not suck next time instead of just the last bit.
Mamamoo – 1,2,3 Eoi!
It’s dumb having a bassline that goes 1-b2 and moving it over a I-IV-I progression with a bunch of blues-style vocalising over it, but then I guess that’s what I’d expect from Mamamoo’s songwriting team who just seem to pin music ideas onto a dartboard and throw darts at them to write songs. The result is just another messy track where the songwriters can’t work out what melodic feel and tone they’re going for.
Stray Kids – Chill
At 1:10 we can see Stray Kids burning their contract to keep themselves warm. I guess JYP tried to put Fosters on their tour rider, nobody actually Australian drinks that trash. If you want to offend an Australian just imply that they drink Fosters, we are genetically hard-wired to respond with a 1000-word referenced essay about how nobody in Australia drinks that goat piss. I’m offended just by the mere thought of Fosters existing and I don’t even like beer in general, imagine how much more extreme it is for people who actually drink.
Pink Fantasy – Get Out
I like the creepy atmosphere of it, which makes it a good Halloween song, but in the absence of speed I could have gone some more heaviness. This song really could have used an injection of guitars.
Christopher, Chungha – When I Get Old
I don’t know who this Christopher guy even is but he might as well have sung the whole crappy song himself and spared Chungha the torment of being in it.
IVE x LANY – DNA
More sad, sad collabs with people who should not be legally allowed to be in the same room as k-pop performers at all. Sure, IVE have been good lately, but a group is only ever as good as who they have to work with. These two girls can’t get over the extreme handicap of having to hard-carry Mr. Generic here.
Jo Yuri – Loveable
Eh it’s very boring, the only good thing about this existing is lots of exploitable images for future Kpopalypse post headers, remind me this video exists if I ever say that I’m struggling for ideas for those.
Lee Chaeyeon – Danny
Well, it’s better than her song from last week. This is one distorted guitar away from actually being good.
Queenz Eye – Yummy Yummy
Another debut that suffers quite a bit from too many ideas crammed into too small a space.
mimiirose – Lululu
The “Roly Poly” chords are always a safe bet and it works well enough here despite the song also having the lamest rhythm ever. I had fun playing this on bass for a while and I kind of forgot that I was supposed to be writing reviews.
mimiirose – Kill Me More
Having a dance practice where you can’t actually see the performers is a cool idea because it makes you focus on the actual dance. Also it’s hard to identify who is who which means you can sub a performer out for a body double easily enough if they need to go to the Bad Thoughts Room.
Kihyun – Youth
I was all ready to shit on this but I’m actually pleasantly surprised by the pace of it. It’s hardly song of the year material but it moves at a decent pace and it’s listenable enough, why can’t this be the baseline for k-pop instead of “skkrt skkrt brrt brrt screech screech swag money bitches I’m so bad hold up genre change [insert breakdown with money note]”.
Adora – My Guy
Ukraine is one of the largest exporters of sunflower oil, so a lot of combat right now is actually happening in flower fields, making it the most aegyo conflict so far this century. Adora is seen here testing Ukraine’s latest camouflage idea and she fits right in, I feel confident about Ukraine taking back more territory from the Russian invaders soon.
Adora – Blue Blue Space
However if Putin gets even worse than he is now and starts dropping nukes or cutting off coolant to nuclear power plants, giving the world a global nuclear winter that sees temperatures plummet and 90% of the earth’s population die out, Adora has an outfit for that environment also. BTS should hit her up for some training after enlistment, oppar would be safe in her hands.
WEi – Spray
Damn, why didn’t they just cut to the chase and call it “Squirt”, or maybe “Iku Iku”. My thirsty readers are going to have some fun with this one, you’re welcome.
JO1 – Rose
Actually if JO1 do a cover of “Spray” I think most caonimas will never recover.
aespa – Girls (BRLLNT Remix)
This remix actually really sucked and was unnecessary so I didn’t include it here, if you want to improve aespa’s songs it’s easy, just cut out all the stupid sections like I did.
Sunmi – New World
I was really disappointed with Mirror 2 and their whole bait-and-switch where they didn’t even include any Wonho-approved content so it kind of fits that I’m also really disappointed in Sunmi’s song for some computer game with a Mirror 2 type of graphic art style.
Three White – Into The Light
Speaking of bait-and-switch, this isn’t what you’re expecting. To be honest it’s not terrible, but I sure laughed when the vocals started, and again later when the big reveal happens that shows who the musicians are. Those sneaky caonimas.
Rain x SMF – Domestic
I’m reliably informed by my song submitter that SMF is “Street Man Fighter, a Mnet dance competition between male dance crew”. So you already know not to watch the show because it’s Mnet, which of course means that k-pop fans will watch it anyway because they love being scammed and lied to and never learn.
Def. – My Abandoned Love
I wish I was def after hearing this.
DanJerous – High Five
The good news, it’s a duo co-ed group, how cool. The bad news – the song sucks, not so cool.
Dynamic Duo feat. Leellamarz – She Gonna Stop
For a veteran group that has been around long enough to know what hip-hop actually is supposed to sound like, Dynamic Duo sure produce some bullshit from time to time.
Second Star, Frix – Promise
You may have been a star in 1986 but you’re nugu now so stop with the reminiscing nostalgia montage videos and the shitty rimtaps thanks.
Soran – Fine
Despite how Korean music videos make it look, a subway train is a really shitty place to try and set up a rock band’s worth of instruments and play music.
qman (9.10000) – Supercar
Okay, what’s the joke here, what am I not getting, someone fill me in.
9001 – Mannequin
At 2:06 the drummer is playing the ride cymbal but the sound we hear is of closed hi-hats. This is a cancellable offence, I don’t want to hear from this group ever again thank you.
Kwon Il Hyeok – Life Over Flowers
Okay so he hasn’t quite got the microphone usage right here. I’ve seen worse angles, but a Super 55 is a “dynamic” microphone which means that it doesn’t have a lot of range, you need to be pretty close to the thing for it to pick you up well. You can’t just do your groovy head-swishing dance moves from a foot away and get a good sound, you need to actually be singing into the thing, not above and to the sides of it.
Huh Jee – Roller Skate
This guy on the other hand knows how to use it, he’s got the right idea – if you want to dance with the Super 55, take it off the microphone stand and just hold it. Pretty average song though, 912 Crew outsold.
Dongzasee – Good
Inaccurate song title of the week.
Monday Off With Bluesy – Caramel
Why do Koreans like elevator music so much? Is it because they have more hi-rise buildings per capita over there?
The Credit – L(ove)R
I wonder what tier of model you have to be on, to get a gig as “the girl doing random things in a music video so people don’t have to look at the dude who is actually singing this”. I hope they get paid well but they probably don’t.
Yeong feat. Greengrim – No Beggin’
As usual, when Koreans do retro rap they usually only copy the smooth laid-back stuff. Boring.
DOHU – Untitled
If you’re a prisoner in a prison with a pretty active gang environment and you refuse to join any of the prison gangs because you’re “an individual, man”, you actually will end up in a gang anyway whether you like it or not, because you just will get lumped in with all the other people who refused to join a gang like you did and that then becomes your gang by default because you’ll have to stick together with them in order to deal with all the other gangs. Likewise, if you call your song “untitled”, you might think you’re being all clever and artsy by not giving your song a name, but as far as everyone else is concerned you’ve actually given your song the name “untitled” which is a pretty shit name, so you might as well stop being a lazy pretentious cunt and spend the minimal amount of effort required to think up something better.
Illboi – Fallin’
Proof that R&B is bad for not just your mental but also your physical health. Look at this guy, I’m sure if he listened to better music his back wouldn’t be like that.
VINXEN – Fragrance
Smart guy, he bought an Epiphone and didn’t waste the extra money getting an overrated, overpriced inferior quality Gibson. That’s why he also has money to take the girl out on a date.
EXTRA IRRELEVANT GUITAR SHREDDING VIDEOS BECAUSE PEOPLE RESPONDED TO MY REQUEST FOR SHRED VIDEOS AS A REWARD FOR SENDING CAT PICTURES TO MY GIRLFRIEND
Lovebites – new bass player Fami
Lovebites have a new bass player now, it’s that YouTuber Fami who does all those dance and slap-bass videos to amine songs or whatever, you’ve probably seen her before at least once if you like clicking on random YouTube shit as much as I do. What a good decision to hire her. Yes I realised that I could have applied for this position myself as viewers of my bass channel will know that I can play their songs well enough, and the band did say that membership was open to any age and nationality when they were doing auditions, but let’s be honest the metal world would have collectively groaned super-hard had I actually got the job so I decided out of the goodness of my heart to spare you all the grief. I’m just glad Lovebites are back, I hope they get a new song out this year so I can contrast its undoubted high quality with the worst k-pop song of the year again.
The Doramatic Orchestra – Bloody Tears (Castlevania)
Pretty, isn’t it. I own this exact keyboard, I highly recommend the Roland V-Combo/VR-09 for people who want a super-lightweight workstation keyboard but don’t really care about programming, effects or sequencing but just want to actually put their fingers on the keys and play stuff. All the RPG Maker games that I write have music using this keyboard.
Sakura Yoshida – Van Halen medley
Sakura rips out iconic Van Halen solos one after the other like they’re nothing. They are not nothing.
Galneryus – Angel Of Salvation
Syu from Galneryus is for my money one of the most skilled guitarists in all of metal right now. Check the solo just after the four minute mark, completely ridiculous yet also very tasteful and fitting perfectly into the tone of everything around it.
Fraser Edwards – Stop Saying We Sound Like Dragonforce
Yeah the guitar is great here, but that singer HOLY LIVING FUCK. Nobody in k-pop has this sort of range and power, and when I say nobody I mean absolutely nobody.
The biggest shred collab song in the world III (2019)
A pretty impressive collection of players, with some pretty big names getting together for this collab.
Daisuke Kurosawa’s X Japan project – Dahlia
Daisuke Kurosawa’s X Japan covers project actually sounds better than X Japan themselves did. The reason for this is that the singing and playing is identical but the original X Japan studio recordings suffered some mushy reverb-laden production that dilutes the heaviness significantly, so I enjoy listening to these new studio recordings a lot more because I can actually hear all the instruments clearly. Note the drummer here is Tamu Murata from Nemophila, who is just an outstanding player and can’t stop smiling all the way through (neither can I).
Nemophila – Kurenai
Speaking of which here’s Nemophila having a crack at X Japan and they sound good too. This version is a little rough, the smiles during Hazuki’s solo are mainly because she misses a few notes, but I’ll take raw energy and enthusiasm over perfection.
Li-sa-X & Yoyoka – Satch Boogie
A note-for-note perfect rendition of the Joe Satriani song, and the drumming is amazing. I think Li-sa-X was about 14 when she recorded this and the drummer Yoyoka was about 12. You’re never too young to shred.
Michael Angelo Batio band – No Boundaries
You’re also never too old to shred. MAB has been playing guitar since the 80s and inspired the likes of Tosin Abasi and Kpopalypse to pick up the guitar, and he’s even older and crustier than me but he’s also a hell of a lot better at shredding. This one-take live performance with no edits shows that despite the odd wrong note (which I’ll forgive because it’s totally live) he hasn’t come down very much at all from his peak. If I can still play this well at his age I’ll be a happy man, especially because it would be a signifcant improvement as I can’t play anywhere near this well even now.
Animals As Leaders – CAFO
Just putting this here in case you don’t know who Tosin Abasi is. This is his band and he basically spearheaded the next evolution of guitar technique, doing ridiculous shit that no other human can do. I love his instructional videos so much because he’s just super nice and casual like “yeah, you just do this, this and this” but it’s all borderline impossible unless you practice it for a year and you have to be the biggest optimist to even take the task on. All those brain-challenged morons who are like “wow it’s so sus that Kpopalypse doesn’t like R&B gosh isn’t that odd wink wink nudge nudge” implying that I’m racist or whatever, actually I just don’t like boring shit weak waste-of-time music for fuckheads. Shred is black music just as much as R&B, rap or rock, but only R&B sucks.
RANDOM BONUS VIDEOS OF THE WEEK
Chuu Can Do It Episode 76
I made “combined aegyo assault with Billlie’s Tsuki” as a voting option on the “what is Chuu planning” question in my most recent survey and did I tell a fucking lie? Stick with Kpopalypse and benefit from the Super Boram ESP powers!
Arem – preparing for the comeback
The bass player from Rolling Quartz who always has the super low-slung bass and the super hot mega bitchstare in music videos has her own YouTube channel, and here she documents how her band recently did a video shoot inside the Paradise Diner, so you can watch this and get a good look inside the hot new #1 location for all Korean music big and small. If you want a career in k-music just go to this place ever day and order a burger, idols will show up eventually.
BoA – Hurricane Venus
People requesting their favourite songs for bonus videos should be very careful what they wish for. You’re probably not going to like what you read, because if I really loved any of these songs a lot, I would have covered them already, if something’s been left behind after all this time there’s probably a reason and that reason is invariably “it wasn’t that good”. As for this one, the constant repetitive hard Autotune is really grating on the ears and by far the song’s main weakness, it definitely dates this production to its time, but then so do the good qualities about the song like the fact that it has a consistent beat all the way through, no rapping and that BoA is somewhat more charismatic a performer than random 3rd-gen k-pop indentured slave x (we’re not in the 4th gen yet, don’t listen to what anyone says about that, I’ll tell you when it’s time). Too painful on the ears to actually listen to and enjoy, but also far too competently realised to actively dislike, like a lot of BoA’s songs it’s riding mainly on the fact that she’s the one performing it and that SM can throw money behind it, if your next door neighbour released this nobody would give a fuck.
That’s all for this week – Kpopalypse roundup returns next week!