K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 8

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From Netflix.

We’ve been spending some of our free time before bed watching Itaewon Class. We’re so addicted to this show. For one, it is not like a typical k-drama. I’m all for the fun tropes normally displayed by k-dramas but it’s refreshing to see one with diverse characters focusing on leadership and teamwork… with a dash of revenge and corporate sabotage, as well as yummy food, of course.

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Since my last post ended with two teasers – SuperM and ONEUS – I’ll definitely start with both releases because I’m all smiles for them!

Yes, I know. SuperM’s 100, like Jopping, is not deep. And that’s okay because I’m really just looking for a fun, energetic, visually stunning music video. I gotta say, I do like 100 better. While I haven’t gotten into line distribution I’m happy to see Lucas and TEN getting more screen time thank you very much. They only happen to be two of my faves from SuperM (all respects to Taemin and Baekhyun for their stunning vocals of course).

I’m also excited we’re getting this preview of their first full album, Super One, which will contain 15 tracks (including 100). Drop date will be September 25, 2020.

Not only was I pleasantly surprised with ONEUS’ TO BE OR NOT TO BE, the video concept was gorgeous. The song has some angst – my favorite part comes at the moment leading up to the chorus. The rest of the song flows well from verse to chorus, from chorus to rap. I look forward to diving more into ONEUS’ music.

Finally – Dreamcatcher! They stayed true to their rock style with BOCA. Do I like it more than Scream? I don’t think so – it’s enjoyable and I”m happy to see them pushing more music out, but I didn’t get attached to this song from the get-go. Still, there’s a possibility it will grow on me.

Next up, I hope to share some of the fun and comedic k-pop videos which have been occupying my spare time. Stay safe, people!

BTS (방탄소년단) ‘Dynamite’ Official MV… times TWO!

And BTS does it again – breaking the most views in 24 hours for music videos, DYNAMITE explodes this weekend! They also broke 100 million views sometime mid weekend and the video is not far off from the 200 million mark.

This is their first all-English song, which they mentioned in one of their many streamed American interviews, was a great challenge for the group. It didn’t sound like it, though. They did a great job with pronunciation. They also expressed they wanted to give the world some hope and upbeat mood with DYNAMITE, so I gather this was not planned prior to the pandemic. In other words, while they prepare for another album to be released end of the year, they put together this amazing single just for us.

And it’s definitely amazing! Will this be my favorite BTS song? I don’t believe it will be. It’s a great song and I think it has top charts potential, as well as more playtime on the radio. It is a great summer, upbeat song to get up and just dance to. And they added some retro beats including that disco feel.

My personal taste has always been more of BTS’ harder and edgier sounds. Or a very emotional ballad. But I will enjoy DYNAMITE in years to come even though it won’t make it to my top 10 BTS tracks.

Now, about this music video – when it dropped midnight my time last Friday, I played it three times in a row because I could not get over how extra they were! I mean, damn! I never liked the 70’s style but BTS makes it look GOOD! At 2:38 I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. I laughed because they really pulled off the disco-era look! Taehyung gave off that cheesy, slick and what should be also the greasy look. Yet it came off both sexy and fun. ALL AT THE SAME TIME! What the hell, Taehyung?

And speaking of the 70’s look, that part really reminded me of That 70’s Show – Taeyhung is Hyde, Jin is Eric and Jimin is Fez.

I have to give props for Jimin and Taehyung’s amazing vocals in this – both really stood out for me and also complimented each other.

Not only did we get this great video, BigHit just dropped the B-side music video as well…

This B side looks like the scenes that did not make it into the original music video, along with some bloopers and just BTS having fun. What more could we ask for?

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 7

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As our city enters phase 3, we finally had a chance to host a very small family, dinner party, within our social bubble. It was great timing as my dad turned 86.

We love hosting and spoiling our guests. Nothing gives us more pleasure than to ensure they are well fed with a pre-planned menu. I took this as an opportunity to do some pandemic tutorials – flower arrangement and creating a proper charcuterie board.

I had been doing the charcuterie board all wrong before. I used to just throw together all my favorite cheese and cured meats, then organized them in rows or groups by types of food on the board. This time, I got creative and ensured the board look like it was exploding with food. I also hadn’t realized the importance of the accompanying tastes – something tart, something sweet. I had a lot of fun and while we also provided fresh Maritime lobsters as the main course, the board was the superstar of the evening.

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I have been promising my daughter I would give ATEEZ a chance. The timing was perfect with their recent comeback.

INCEPTION, their comeback song, is exactly the style I love so much. The beginning starts with I’m in love… and it builds and moves from there. I wouldn’t say it’s a happy love song. It’s perhaps a one-sided love at first site, and then seeking this person out from there on. To be honest, I would say it’s more an obsession rather than true love.

I downloaded their comeback album, FEVER, and while I still have not fully given it 100% of my attention, I know enough, for me at least, ATEEZ will be a group in which I like some of their songs. As for the rest, I won’t ever hate their music but their style includes too much of the trap-inspired genre for me to enjoy. INCEPTION works for me because it’s not far from my other two favorite ATEEZ songs, Promise and Answer. These songs have more melody, less edge yet maintain high energy.

Once again, my favorite k-pop girl group, (G)I-DLE, has come out with another amazing single, DUMBI DUMBI! This time, unlike their last two comebacks, LION and Oh my god, we find a more lighter and fun song. I not only love this summer-vibe track, but it shows how diverse these ladies can be.

There are a couple of comebacks I’m also looking forward to…

SuperM’s 100 drop August 14th 1PM KST. I’m not expecting a lot but I am still excited. SuperM’s Jopping was a lot of fun – but that’s how I see SuperM. They are a fun and energetic group. I don’t expect anything deep.

ONEUS’ TO BE OR NOT TO BE drops August 18th 6PM KST. I’m not normally a follower of ONEUS but this teaser really caught my attention. I look forward to being introduced to this group!

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 5

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Hello! So – Going into the 16th week of social distancing and working from home (and generally what is the new norm due to the pandemic). Sixteen weeks, folks!

Granted, we’re slowly moving to phase 2 which means restaurants are allowed to have ‘in-dining’ though technically it’s not really in-dining because they are only allowed to seat people in their patios. Hair and nail salons are also now open. And camping – we finally get to go camping! It’s still slow but they now allow two bubbles (2 households) to interact physically but only with each other. This means after over three months not being able to see my parents outside of porch dinner drop-offs, I’ve finally had a sit-down dinner with them. It was so great!

Hugs between these bubbles are also allowed. And yes, I realize how weird that sounds. Being told we now have permission to hug our parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. But these are strange times indeed.

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I wanted to dedicate this update centering around women-power!

(G)I-DLE released their latest song, Oh My God, almost 3 months ago and I’m sorry it’s taking me this long to do a deep dive into it, even though I had already posted the video. I’m really, really sorry because I hadn’t paid attention to the lyrics until just recently. Mind you, I loved the song from the get-go. (G)I-DLE continues to impress me. They continue to show how they are striving to be different both from their past work and from other k-pop male and female groups.

I have to give credit to Danny Kim from DKDKTV, a Korean living in South Korea who broke down the lyrics as well as giving insight to the Korean culture.

At first, the lyrics, while interesting, didn’t seem to out there. A general story of infatuation which is described as an addiction. The protagonist expresses an internal torment from falling deeper and a fear of losing herself as she gives herself over to temptation.

I’m falling endlessly
And you’re playing with me
You got me losing my mind, you intruder
It’s so dangerous I want it
Even if it costs all the pain
And now I have you at last, I

But then the chorus comes and I’m blown away…

Oh my god
She took me to the sky
Oh my god
She showed me all the stars

To explain my thought process here, I’m not shocked this is about a same-sex love affair. It’s 2020 and as we celebrate Pride Month, this is not some big revelation in the grand scheme of themes. However, lets go back to how I mentioned (G)I-DLE being different from other k-pop groups while keeping in mind, in South Korea, the culture as a whole is not as friendly towards the LGBTQ+ community yet. It’s getting better – I believe mainly due to the younger generation.

As far as k-pop, it’s always been an interesting dance as idols do a balancing act between old-culture beliefs and their younger more liberal fans. They play on the fence where they show ambiguity as far as what their true sexual orientations are. I urge anyone who has not watched Danny Kim’s explanation to give it a try. And of course, decide for yourself if the explanation makes sense.

Next up… Blackpink in your areaaaaa!

Finally we get the comeback track to the start of Blackpink’s 2-month comeback. Recall I mentioned we will be getting a FULL album (I heard 10 new songs) this September, with releases and teasers in the months to come.

Two days ago, Blackpink dropped their track, How You Like That:

As normal Blackpink style goes, they released what I call one of their dancy-energy songs. Their style and music video alone is impressive as the four ladies show all their sass and attitude. Overall, I love this song! It’s going to be a perfect summer beat on my playlist.

The downside is that it’s nothing really new. I would say they followed their formula for catchy beats. I will also say I don’t expect anything deep with Blackpink. For those who hope this, it may be awhile before they are released from the YG grip of control. Having said that, I will say my favorite part is Lisa’s rap verse with an East Indian beat.

In summary, Blackpink is fun! That”s the type of music I expect from them even though I know they would be talented to go deeper if allowed. They are the type of group where if I had to listen to their music for a couple of hours, I’d prefer it during a live concert rather than listening to their albums one after another. I tend to ‘sprinkle’ a Blackpink song or two mixed in with other k-pop groups in my playlists.

Finally, I’ve been getting into Dreamcatcher lately. They debuted in 2017, the same year I got into k-pop. I heard their name quite a lot back then, as they were one of the rookie female groups up for MAMA 2017 voting. I hadn’t, however, given them the time they deserved.

I don’t know a lot about Dreamcatcher but with our Family Apple Music subscription, which I’m very thankful to have during quarantine, I’ve been listening to their latest album, which happens to be their first full album, Dystopia: The Tree of Language.So far, I’m impressed. I would say they capture more of a rock sound (with some pop as well). Perhaps that’s why I like them. They differ from a lot of the popular female acts.

Next up – ATEEZ. I promised my daughter I would give them more of a try outside the 2 to 3 songs I know from them.

Stay well, everyone!

K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 4

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As I warned in my previous post, I may be talking about WayV’s comeback for awhile now.

So WayV came out with their own stage performance – akin to a choreography video. This is what I love about k-pop in general. Just when you are blown away with a music video, you get to relive it all over again with a choreography video.

And not just once, but twice as WayV did with a second version. I happen to like this one better as I prefer a variety of style and colours rather than the uniform look. Plus TEN’s hair falling over both sides looks ultra-cool! The man can perform no doubt about that.

For those pressed on time, you can watch both versions mashed into one…

It’s a Sunday as I enjoy day 3 of my extended long weekend. We had a late brunch and while it’s 1pm here, I’m still in my pj’s as I finish my coffee. While watching k-pop videos.

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