Friday, May 5, 2017

This or That? {8th Edition}

Ever hear a song that reminds you of another? This is a friendly comparison of videos and songs with similar genres, concepts, and themes.

IU Palette v. Song Ji-Eun Pretty Age 25

As the lead single from her new album, 'Palette' is IU's subtle, yet bold self-proclamation of her newfound maturity. In this, she compares her 25-year-old self to how she was in the past. Instead of hot pink, IU now likes purple and instead of long hair, she prefers short. Palette is almost like a diary entry that shows her thoughts and hobbies. The song has a pop r&b composition that complements IU's soft, airy vocals. It also features a rap from G-Dragon, which gives an extra element of surprise.

Similar to IU's song, Pretty Age 25 is a song about reaching a fresh age in adulthood. Song Ji-Eun (Secret)  makes the point that she is no longer a young girl. She focuses very much on her appearance and is absorbed with the beauty of her age. The fast rhythm makes it a nice dance tune and Ji-Eun flaunts her beautiful vocal register.  

IU - Palette
Song Ji-Eun - Pretty Age 25

My Choice: 
I prefer the sound of 25: it's fun, has a catchy chorus and shows off Ji-Eun's clear and controlled voice. However, I appreciate IU's song more. Palette is self-written and shows her true feelings. She focuses more on her inner self rather than the vanity of appearance.

Info: 1
Images: 1,2,3,4

Thursday, May 4, 2017

April In Music

In April a lot of my expectations were fulfilled! Winner and IU made their comebacks, former I.O.I Chungha had her solo debut and Taeyeon dropped her first repackaged album. All of this and more!

1. Winner - Really Really
Released: April 4th
Winner returns as a quartet in "Fate Number For" with two new singles: Really Really and Fool. Both tracks, penned by group member Seungyoon, are both of good quality and a timely boost for the group after having lost a member. However, Really Really is what gained my attention the most because of its compelling beat and confident charisma. In the lyrics, Winner cooly confesses their feeling to a girl, hoping to gain her affections without being too pushy. This is backed with a mild tropical house beat and a musical-esque music video filmed by the famous American director Dave Meyers.
Review: Song - 3.5/5  MV - 3/5

2. Ten - Dream In A Dream
Released: April 6th
NCT member Ten makes his unofficial solo debut through SM's music project 'SM Station'. 'Dream In A Dream"' is an ethereal song that is heavily influenced by Oriental art and tradition. Ten sings in English, and while there are very few lyrics, listeners are kept entertained with the sounds of Asian instruments, echoes, and synths. The music video expands on the artistry: Ten, who is known to specialize in dance, showcases his skills through elegant choreography. Overall, even if one does not like the song like I do, the artistry is hard not to appreciate!
Review: Song - 5/5  MV - 5/5

3. Meng Jia - Candy
Released: April 6th
'Candy (糖果)' marks Meng Jia's (孟佳) third song and strive to brand herself as a soloist. Unlike her two previous singles, Candy has a playful energy and features a barrage of sounds: marching band drums, lips smacking and xylophone notes. This style was achieved by the composer, Shinsadong Tiger (a famous k-pop producer) and LE (of k-pop girl group EXID). Here is the lyrics video, colorful and vibrant. By now, I think they would've have released a real music video already if they had planned to.
Review: Song - 3/5  MV - 3/5

4. Luhan - On Call
Released: April 19th
The "King of C-pop" tries his hand at contemporary R&B with added electronic elements. Luhan, whose voice is particularly smooth, effortlessly delivers without the auto-tune he used in 2016.  As always, his music video is very visually appealing and complementary to the song. Its scenes show a world in between reality and fantasy. There are visuals of an infinite flow of mail: letters that never get opened.
Review: Song - 5/5  MV - 4.5/5

5. Kim Chungha -Week
Released: April 20th
After competing in Mnet's trainee survival program, "Produce 101", Kim Chungha earned a spot in the girl-group I.O.I and has made a name for herself. Now that that I.O.I has disbanded, Chunga has started to follow her own path as a soloist. I believe she will do well because she is a good singer and a great dancer. 'Week' is a slow-rolling r&b ballad that expresses loneliness. It is only a pre-release single so I'm curious as to what is coming next.
Review: Song - 3/5  MV - 4/5

6. K.A.R.D. - Rumor
Released: April 24th
K-pop's one and only co-ed idol group debuted with 'Oh Na Na', followed-up with "Don't Recall" and have now completed their trilogy pre-debut project with 'Rumor'. Up until now, K.A.R.D's songs have been narrating a story. First, a boy and girl begin a relationship, then the guy messes up and the couple breaks up, and in "Rumor", the couple is hearing rumors about each other and are regretting their break-up. It has an obvious latin influence and is not far in genre from their previous two songs. In the future, I hope to see them try a new genre, now that the trilogy is over.
Review: Song - 3/5  MV - 2/5

Images: 1,2,3,4,5,6

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.

Info: 1
Images: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8