Saturday, April 22, 2017

K-pop MVs With Floral Aesthetic

Many times the objects that appear in a music video can be symbolic and are an extension of a song's meaning.  Flowers, for instance, can be used to represent love, innocence, friendship and a budding season. Here's a bouquet of flowery k-pop music videos to brighten up your spring!

1. Taeyeon - Make Me Love You

Make Me Love You is a pop ballad from Taeyeon's first repackaged album. It explores a genre and a style, unlike her other projects. The music video, which is a perfect welcoming for spring, features delicate pastels, roses, and dainty pleated dresses. Taeyeon was filmed in a dim lighting which gives her an ethereal look and makes the film look dated. It's not just for show though, all of this beauty has metaphorical purposes and reflects the apprehension, but willingness in the lyrics. Seoulbeats puts it,"[Taeyeon] is a reluctant spring blossom who has to be nurtured by the light she shies away from before she can truly grow."
These delicate visuals don't undermine the song itself though, as the sound is just as delicate. So much so that the track lacks a significant point of intensity. Taeyeon sings the verses with substantial emotion, but the actual chorus is monotonous and robotic.
Positives: The music video is very beautiful: from the styling to the sets and the flowerbed!
Negatives: I don't like the lack of emotion, even if it was intended the be that way,

2. Nu'est - Love Paint (Every Afternoon)

In 2016, Nu'est released their 5th mini-album, 'Canvas'. True to the title, the album is laced with references to painting, colors, and drawings. The lyrics compare imagining an ideal relationship to sketching and compare getting to know someone to painting a picture. Each song on 'Canvas' represents a time of the day, Love Paint being "every afternoon". It is a serenade to a girl who "paints color" into his monochromatic life. The music video looks sunny, but not overwhelmingly bright, and has soft notes of color. Ironically, the sound of the song is random and takes an unexpected path, just like an abstract painting.
Positives: The art concept is fresh.
Negatives: The styling could've have been better. I'm not a fan of the pajama-looking clothes or Ren's pink hair.

3. Laboum - What About You

What About You is about a girl dealing with the pain after her man breaks her heart. She is stuck wondering what to do with him and is left lifeless from the relationship. This is reflected in the doll-like choreography: with glassy eyes and faces void of emotion, the girls of Laboum teeter and bend like mannequins.  The concept is completed by the winding and music box sounds that open and close the track. Really, there's a slight bounce in the sound, but the 'What About You' still has a melancholy vibe that is true to the feeling of heartbreak.
Positives: The mannequin dance is done really well and is very realistic. Also, the vintage outfits add a feminine and delicate touch to the music video visuals.
Negatives: None.

4. BTS (Bangtan Boys) - I Need U

Like many k-pop acts, BTS release Japanese versions of their songs. I Need U is an angsty song in which the singers experience emotional turmoil without the one that they love. Apparently, that emotional turmoil leads to burning things, taking pills and drowning in a tub as shown is the Korean music video. The Japanese version, though retaining the same lamentations as the original, has a music video that is much less dark and gritty. In fact, the bright floral arrangements may even seem like an oxymoron when paired with such a depressing song. Perhaps though, the flowers that are ever present represent how BTS are constantly reminded of the girl that they are missing. I also noticed some scenes with white lilies, which represent death in some Asian cultures. It's as if the BTS are saying, "I'm dying without you."
Positives: I prefer this music video over the original because of the bright visuals.
Negatives: None.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Asian Pop Stars With Blue Hair

Pop stars tend to be daring when it comes to fashion, and with hairstyles too. In k-pop. it's very common for idols to have bright hair in unnatural tones. These K-pop, J-pop and C-pop stars went for aqua, turquoise, teal and electric blue locks!

1. Lisa
Group: Blackpink
Song: Whistle, Stay

2. Mademoiselle Yulia
Group: N/A (Soloist)
Song: Harajuku Wander

3. Meng Jia
K-pop & C-pop
Group: Miss A Soloist
Song: Candy

4. T.O.P
Group: Big Bang

5. G.E.M
Group: N/A (Soloist)
Song: Oh Boy

6. Luna
Group: F(x)
Song: Red Light

7. Wonho
Group: Monsta X
Song: Fighter

8. Mami Sasazaki
Group: Scandal
Song: Departure

9. Lime
Group: Hello Venus
Song: I'm Ill

10. Wendy
Group: Red Velvet
Song: Happiness, Rookie

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

March In Music

With March comes spring, so it's not a surprise that we were graced with songs and music videos that have a spring atmosphere. There were also awaited the awaited returns of popular boy groups Got7, B.A.P, and Monsta X. Moreover, Beast rebranded themselves as Highlight, Taeyeon dropped her first full album and SM kicked off season 2 of SM Station. Here are my Asian pop picks of March, not limited to Korean music.

1. B.A.P. - Wake Me Up
Released: March 6th
B.A.P. go darker and deeper in 'Wake Me Up'. The song, which is a combination of edgy rock and rugged rap, urges listeners to be awakened to reality. I found the music video to be...interesting but creepy. There are frightful scenes of people who are depicted with mental issues and emotional turmoil. Out of all the dark imagery and serious message, though, there is a hidden positive message: an emotional revolution. "putting back together the messy puzzle pieces in this game...Vive la revolution...Free, love, real, ill."
Review: Song - 4.5/5  MV - 2.5/5

2. Kisum X Cao Lu X Yerin - It's Spring Again
Released: March 15th
'It's Spring Again' is a three-person collaboration with Fiestar's Cao Lu, Gfriend's Yerin and soloist Kisum. It has a sweet, acoustic-based melody and a pastel music video that suits the current lush season. The lyrics express not being able to enjoy spring because they don't have a boyfriend. The girls also make other funny complaints, 'Why is it spring again? I’m allergic to pollen.Who does this benefit?"Overall, I really like 'Spring Again' because it's an all-girl affair. Such projects between female idols of different companies don't happen often!
Review: Song - 3/5  MV - 4/5

3. Apink - Bye Bye
Released: March 21st
In their 7th Japanese single, the girls of Apink say farewell to a flawed relationship and enjoy each others' company instead. 'Bye Bye' starts with warped sounds of a music box and turns into a mid-tempo bubblegum pop track, that is much like their Korean releases. Apink is as pure and girlish as usual, in a garden with cherry blossoms while wearing pastel tones that are perfect for spring.
Review: Song - 3/5  MV - 3/5

4. Monsta X - Beautiful
Released: March 21st
Monsta X complete their album trilogy with the release 'The Clan Pt. 2.5: The Final Chapter'. 'Beautiful' is the lead single of the group's first full album. It opens with bubbly electronic synths which are followed by a barrage of abrasive rap from members Jooheon and IM. The song. which shifts between hip-hop and electro-pop, recovers from the roughness and welcomes a smooth chorus. What's more is, Monsta X demand your attention with their impressive choreography that exudes style and manliness!
Review: Song - 4/5  MV - 5/5

5. Shiny - Trainer
Released; March 27th
Shiny (姚亦晴) is a fresh-faced 20-year-old soloist from Taiwan. She has shown herself to have a powerful alto voice which she puts together with the music of the ballad and techno genre. Currently, Shiny is promoting her first full-length album 'Getting Stronger' which was released in January. 'Trainer (馴獸師)' is the record's latest single and features groovy synths with a mature, but hipster sound.
Review: Song - 3/5  MV - 2.5/5

6. Red Velvet - Would U
Released: March 30th
'Would U' is the leading single of SM Station Season 2 and is sung by the vocal angels of Red Velvet. This medium tempo track tells of a girl's shyness as she approaches the one she has fallen for. Hopelessly smitten, she starts to imagine how her love would come true. Red Velvet's Irene stars in the music video with Kim Min Jae of BtoB as her love interest. Irene roams around in a garden, reading notes until her future beau ultimately finds her amongst the flowers.
Review: Song - 3/5  MV - 3.5

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