K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 15

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

I mentioned a couple of posts ago about how I am now subscribed to Les Mills on Demand. At the time, I only joined because I really missed Bodyflow. My gym has the Les Mills program classes but even prior to the pandemic, I hadn’t been able to go to a Bodyflow class. The one that they had during Friday lunch was changed with another class I wasn’t interested in. And it was the only class that fit my work schedule all week.

I started exploring other types of programs since I have access to all Les Mills workouts now. I zeroed in on Bodycombat – a smart move! What a fun but intense workout! It focuses on core, it focuses on agility, balance, power and above all, cardio.

And to make it even more fun, the 3rd track for Bodycombat #77 surprised me with a cover of MIC Drop Remix! How cool is that? It’s fate. I know it.

********

I have a lot of k-pop updates I want to dive into. So much, I don’t know where to start. I’ll most definitely need to split it all up in at least two posts.

For now, I want to talk about what’s been giving me the most joy.

J-Hope gave us the best gift!

I, along with ARMY all across the world, woke up on March 1st to a surprise. It was something I had to really digest because I couldn’t believe my eyes – or my ears – to find an extended version of Blue Side waiting for us on BANGTANTV!

What was a short track (the Outro) on his mix tape, Hope World, now exist as a 3 min 19 sec long song (from 1.5 minutes).

I’m simply in heaven! Not only do I have a full version of this track, but we’re hearing new material we didn’t hear from the previous recording.J-Hope’s vocals are heaven. The ambiance follows the same chill feel and deep house influence which was one of the biggest reasons I was so attracted to the shorter piece before. It’s so rich with layers, I simply can’t stop listening to it.

And I’m dying to learn which one came first and what was the decision on releasing this longer track. Did it always exist? Was he waiting for a specific moment to release it?

Well, whatever the reason, I thank Mr. Jung Ho-seok for this amazing gift!

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 14

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Hello World! I don’t really have much to report as far as pandemic life – at least my pandemic life. All I can say is I’m still very blessed my family and I are healthy and have what we need to continue on-wards. And like everyone else, we hope it ends. After all, this too shall pass.

In the meantime, my husband and I have talks about our dream vacation – where would we go, what would we want to do? I don’t foresee us traveling until it’s safer and/or we’ve all been vaccinated (and the vaccination proves to have a positive impact). It’s nice, however, to talk about it and ‘dream-plan’. Studies have shown this gives people a mental break and something positive to look forward to.

********

As far as k-pop updates, I really only want to talk about one thing. One performance. Well, one unplugged performance on MTV.

I’m sure even those who are not fans of BTS know what I”m talking about (given the recent trend in social media, ‘the guy with the pink mic’).

I love these types of performances – we get to see the raw talents of BTS. It’s more mellow. And while they played their hits, Dynamite and Life Goes On, they also spoiled us with B-side tracks, Telepathy and Blue & Grey. All stellar performances!

Yet the big surprise from this past Tuesday evening, was a Coldplay cover, Fix You:

Everyone is talking about it. That’s how good our guys performed this song. I even saw it on e-talk here in Canada the next evening. They even said they felt it was a better performance compared to the original artists.

Yikes! I wouldn’t go that far! Don’t get me wrong, it was fantastic! But BTS did it in their own style, different from Coldplay’s version. Neither are better than the other – simply because each performance is based on the artists’ visions of how to deliver the song. So if there’s any chance a Coldplay fan is out there (I’m actually one of them), please don’t listen to such nonsense.

Anyway – I have watched the above video countless of times in the past two days. I’m sure I’m not going to tire of it anytime soon.

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 13

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Whoa! Has it really been two months since my last post?

Yes. Yes it has. I’m at awe how January just whipped by. February is going even faster.

And the pandemic… ah, well everyone is aware, the pandemic is still here. Toronto continues our strict lockdown. In fact, ever since the Christmas holidays, the government issued a 24 hr curfew – meaning we’re not allowed to go out aside for essentials or for those who must work outside of their home (basically for essential businesses and services).

Personally, I haven’t really felt affected. I’m not only thankful to still be working, but also at a job I enjoy and one that keeps me so busy, time just flies.

I’m now also subscribed to both BeachbodyonDemand.com and LesMillsonDemand.com – a combination of workout programs from both platforms have been giving me a better workout routine than when I was at the gym. My cardio has definitely improved and better yet, I’m having way more fun working out than I ever have. And without the need to deal with annoying and strange characters like I used to at the gym.

********

Speaking of working out, I’ve recently been getting into Les Mills Bodycombat – a mix martial art style guided workout class. I am only on one of the releases as I get used to the punches, jabs and kicks. While working out, the 4th track comes on – and the song sounds awfully familiar.

Not long into it, I recognize it as BTS’ MIC Drop Remix! Hell yeah!

One of the successes of Les Mills programs is how they craft the routines to the best music selection. The songs are covers of popular tunes by their own artists as a way to avoid copyright issues. However, they always give credit to the original artist in the release description.

In other k-pop news, I’m quite excited about some upcoming comebacks. I’m so excited, I don’t even know which one I’m most excited for!

I mean… SHINee’s’ concept photos sparked my interest right away. Their teaser m/v looks sooo good I just can’t wait!

Of course, how can ignore my solo-queen, SUNMI?

But then there’s BIGBANG, 2PM and BEAST. With military services coming to an end, these groups have been getting ready for their long anticipated comebacks. I will admit I’ve never followed these groups as they were before my initial k-pop time, but hey, any k-pop fan at least knows who they are and probably have heard a couple of their more popular songs.

I’m looking forward to all comebacks. Comebacks are a time where I hope to explore new music and new styles.

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 12

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Despite Toronto and other Canadian cities extending lock-down into the new year, we’re still keeping our Christmas traditions going as much as we possibly can. Our outside lights and indoor decorations have been up since the start of the month. The live Christmas tree has been front and centre for two weeks now. My in-law gifts have been wrapped and mailed out. And yesterday, we dropped off my family’s Christmas gifts as well.

We’re going to do a video call with my family on Christmas day to open presents together. I have some fun xmas trivia for us all to play. We’ll also drop off some food the day after. It won’t be the same. But it’s still something!

********

One thing I”m discovering, all these Asian music award shows are making it feel like Christmas too. I suppose it’s just been a constant in my life these past few years – they just happen to start and lead up to the holidays. I’m not complaining.

BTS gave another long and outstanding performance at the MMA’s. With four songs, sadly without Suga as he recovers from his intense shoulder surgery, they did such an exceptional job. Not only did their intro with an orchestral remix of Black Swan completely take my breath away, but the Dynamite extended dance break was something both unique and welcoming:

Torn between Black Swan intro and Dynamite extended dance break

Is 2020 the year of disco-inspired k-pop? Maybe. Along with BTS’ Dynamite, I also discovered a bit of 70’s retro vibes from TXT’s Blue Hour, GFriend’s MAGO and one I’ve been a bit obsessive about, JYP & SUNMI’s When We Disco. Man do I love that song!

Enjoy!

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 11

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

Lock down… again. It starts tomorrow. We’ll be seeing a similar type of lock down we saw since the beginning of the pandemic. Some differences – retails will probably be more prepared for curb-side pick-up, which didn’t start right away back in the spring. And they won’t be shutting down any parks or outdoor trails since research now shows the risks are only theoretical. Schools also will continue their hybrid programs. Everything else that is not an essential public business will be shut down.

I feel I will survive another lock down simply because even as businesses started to open up again, I mainly stayed home. Other than one patio dinner, we did take-out/pick-up to help support our local restaurants. I’m more bummed about possibly not spending Christmas dinner with my parents, aunt and uncle. They are limiting holiday or any indoor social gathering to just household members. Previously, we could have no more than 10 from our social bubble (2-3 close knit households who would remain as the agreed social bubble). Unfortunately, this rule was severely broken by some during Thanksgiving and other festivities and weddings. I’m hoping more people will understand the sacrifices those have made to help keep the pandemic at bay. I know many who have gone on months without seeing their parents or those who haven’t been able to hold their grandchild. All for the greater good with the hopes of being able to see their families for Christmas dinner.

********

K-pop updates!

As usual, I’m thankful BTS has given us a message of hope and healing through their music and artistry. No surprise to many, they came out with another meaningful song:

It’s a lovely song, with the music video directed by non-other than Jungkook himself. I admit it’s not my favorite song from the album. At the moment, Blue & Grey and especially Stay are really making waves for me! But I still love this song for its soft vibes and vocal lines harmonizing with one another.

Also, a big congrats to BTS for winning Best Duo/Group (2nd year in a row) and Social Artists (4 years in a row) at last night’s 2020 American Music Awards! Their performance of Life Goes On and Dynamite was nothing short of amazing! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – BTS are so good live. Their level of professionalism just never fails to amaze me!

I never thought I would ever be an NCT fan (aside from the sub-unit WayV) but their latest album RESONANCE Pt 1 is a game-changer for me. At the moment, I’ve been watching and listening to their rapper line track, Misfit:

Damn. I had to watch it more than once to see Yang Yang and Hendrey. Both of them just killing it! I’m not completely familiar with the full album because I keep on listening to both Misfit and Make a Wish back and forth.

EVERGLOW came out with La Di Da a couple of months ago and I really need to add this to my k-pop comeback update because the tune is catchy as is their style in the music video.

This is the first EVERGLOW song which caught my attention. I’m always happy to add new artists on my playlists!