Champion (Remix) | Fall Out Boy ft. RM

So this sort of just came out of nowhere. Or – there’s just so much going on with BTS it’s starting to get hard to keep up with all their latest news! Honestly, I’m going with the latter.

While this release was low-key, I was pretty excited. For one, I’m a fan of Fall Out Boy. I have liked them for awhile but really fell in love with their single Immortals from Big Hero 6.

Champions was already a pretty good song. And yes, perhaps my bias is making my opinion a bit slanted here. But I felt RM’s intense rapping made this remix even better!

BTS is certainly not slowing down. 2018 is going to be crazy big for them and I believe the world of kpop is just going to explode!

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BTS Danger Mo-Blue-Mix ft. THANH

One of the benefits of discovering BTS later than most is finding past gems. While I feel that I’ve caught up to the basics of BTS history, albums and great songs, there’s still little surprises waiting for me to discover.

When I saw this by chance in my YouTube feed (as a suggested video), I had to click. Because I had thought I had seen every single BTS video out there. Even the Japanese versions. And even the Bangtan boys own fun production of Spine Breaker.

So I clicked. I watched. I listened. And wow – I LOVE this remix and collaboration! THANH’s voice is beautiful along side the boy’s own vocals and rapping. His softer, passionate singing mixed with Taehyung’s deep and angst voice was so powerful. As well as the rapping against a softer piano instrumental base.

So this is the song I’ll be playing on repeat all day long.

Just saying. 🙂

How K-Pop has Ruined Me for Main Stream Music

I suppose ‘main stream’ is subjective depending where one is from. Being here in Canada/North America, however, k-pop is definitely not main stream. I also see main stream just like movies – what’s capturing The Grammy’s and The Academy attention. Of course, it’s nothing to go by what should be considered good entertainment but it tends to be what makes it to the ‘media buzz’ or what is considered radio play-worthy.

And from what I’ve heard from the radio at least in most major cities, well, personally the selection of over-played tunes leaves something to be desired.

Anyway, here are some of the ways k-pop has ruined me from main stream music:

Rapping

To be fair, I was never HUGE into rap songs. Except Eminem. The man might have had a rough life style to start but boy was he passionate when he rapped. Other than him, I was okay with minimal rapping in a song but I wasn’t big on most rap songs.

Cue k-pop rapping. And now, I’m a fan. But ONLY when it’s from one of my fave k-pop artist. So much so where I found myself slightly disappointed with the BTS MIC Drop Steve Aoki Remix ft. Desiigner.

It was Desiigner that had me not loving the remix as much as the music video remix with just Steve Aoki. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still something I would listen to but I’m looking forward to the day I can purchase the version which does not ft. Desiigner. As much as I love and want to support BTS, I did not enjoy Desiigner’s rapping. I feel like he zapped that high energy level which MIC Drop encompasses. I almost have to apologize for this as BTS seemed so excited to collaborate with him! I am, however, happy that they reached 28th of Billboard 100. BTS’ hard work has paid off – they deserve the spotlight.

The main point is, a lot of rapping here in North America falls under two styles which just doesn’t sit well with me. 1) Gangsta style and 2) Non-energetic, almost-lazy, rapping. Yeah, I said it. Drake? Shit. What the hell, Drake? He’s got a great on-camera personality during interviews and whenever he M.C. for something but his somewhat whiny and way too chill rapping just sounds lazy.

And then there’s BTS – Each and ever single member of the rapper line is so passionate and energetic in their rapping, I get lost in it. I also love LE from EXID and Chanyeol from EXO. Suga gets me Every. Single. Time. Ahh, Suga’s solo, First Love – his performance was so amazing!

Music Videos

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it until I’m proven wrong.

K-pop music video production is like no other. It’s partly due to much of it having great choreography. Yet even the ones I’ve watched with no choreo is just beautiful. The story it tells is like a mini-movie.

What main stream music video did I see the other day that had me almost disgusted? U2. And I LOOOOVE U2. Classic U2 music brings me back to when I was in university, heading to their famous Zooropa Tour concert. Ah… Bona decked out as the devil and pretend prank calling then said US president. Those were great times.

Yet this recent video they released was crap! It was of them just being shot in various scenes of NY or some major US city. They are either just walking around, standing around, or playing their instruments/singing. I don’t know how many main stream bands and performance artists have this exact story board (if you can even use the word ‘story’ here) as the main strategy for their music video.

Then there’s the amazing visuals from EXO (Monster, Ko Ko Bop), Monsta X (Beautiful, Dramarama), BTS (Spring Day, Fire, Blood Sweat & Tears, Run, DNA, MIC Drop, the list goes on).

To top that, compared to main stream boy bands, k-pop choreography is REAL. I actually went back to some of the choreography of tunes I use to like from N’ Sync or Backstreet Boys. Re-watching them, they seem so slow and well, there wasn’t really any true dance talent from what I could see. BTS dance skills, even the weakest dancers, far outshine the past boy bands.

Lyrics

This is biggie. For me to forever love a song 10 years from now, it helps for the lyrics to mean something to me. Take Sarah Mclachlan’s Possession. I have not gotten sick of this song and it’s mainly due to the haunting and poetic lyrics:

Through this world I stumble
So many times betrayed
Trying to find an honest word
To find the truth enslaved

Oh you speak to me in riddles
And you speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath
Your words keep me alive

 

Awhile back, I was excited to download No Doubt’s latest album after Gwen Stefani collaborated with her old band again. I remember their lyrics use to be pretty sweet. Either I was right or my memory sucks. All I know is that there’s a handful of catchy tunes on their album but when I went to do a deep dive with one of my fave songs from their album, I found this:

I’ve been wasting all this time
But I can’t let go
Cause it’s just the way i feel
Getting used to your mistakes
But I can’t let go
Do you ever think I’ll heal?
You could be right
I could be wrong
Year after year always rewinding where we’ve gone

And it’s basically similar like the above for the entire song. I felt so let down. Could the lyrics not be phrased with more effort? With more care?

Now I want to post the translated version of BTS’ Blood Sweat & Tears:

Peaches and cream
Sweeter than sweet
Chocolate cheeks
And chocolate wings
But your wings are wings of the devil
In front of your sweet is bitter bitter

Kiss me, I don’t care if it hurts,
Hurry and choke me
So I can’t hurt any more
Baby, I don’t care if I get drunk, I’ll drink you in now
Your whiskey, deep into my throat

It has that haunting yet beautifully poetic verse like that of Mclachlan’s Possession.

Okay – I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say. Hopefully, I’ve been quite fair with what I have shared here. Obviously, this is just my personal opinion and it’s not an argument of why k-pop is better than main stream music. It’s just basically how I am having an even harder time accepting main stream music myself these days. It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped listening to my fave tunes – but it’s added to how I am already so picky when it comes to what I hear on the radio.

Christmas Decorating, Sunday Brunch & Weekend Warrior Workouts

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Hobbes loves when we decorate for Christmas. It’s just another reason for him to nap surrounded by coziness.

This weekend was busy as we caught up on some shopping, decorated and well, I spent Sunday afternoon with a well deserved 2 hr nap. I’ve been feeling zonked lately. Perhaps with all the BTS excitement that’s been non-stop for the past two weeks! And it’s not over what with the recent record-breaking 28th spot on Billboards 100 for any kpop group, BTS included (beating their previous top 100 for DNA). Plus there is the new Japanese single they are releasing in a couple of days.

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Brunch at our favorite spot – Black Dog Pub

Anyway – it was a great weekend though. We ate Sunday brunch at the Black Dog Pub which is our favorite pub usually for dinner. And while it does serve traditional pub fare, it is a more upscale version from most pubs. Their wine list is amazing! Rather than having to settle for one or two choices of red wine in most pubs/bars, they actually have a good vintage selection. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t go for the cheap stuff if I can help it. Yup – I’m a bit of a wine snob. I never meant to be one – it just sort of happened. As I got older, my palate started to change.

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Hobbes always makes a great backdrop for my manicure posts!

To start the weekend, I went to get my nails re-done. And I managed to also go early both Saturday and Sunday to the gym for 1.5 hrs cardio sessions each day. Saturday, I also did a 50 minutes push-up and delts + tricep weight session. On Sunday, I rounded the weekend off with 40 minutes of yoga. My poor body was too sore to do much else by then!

And of course, between all that, we ended Saturday night decorating the house – all but the tree since we always get a live tree which needs to be bought a week or so before Christmas day (to stay fresh for the holidays).

Christmas time always comes by so quickly. I hope this year it takes its time a bit as I won’t complain if it even drags itself out. I have a lot of wrapping to do this year and I admit I went ahead and spoiled my daughter with a crap-load of kpop merchandise. I hope I did not over do it but as her obsession over BTS has not slowed down I’m sure she won’t be disappointed. Hell, even I bought the BTS Live Trilogy EPISODE III THE WINGS TOUR DVD for myself! I’m wrapping it up and putting it under the Christmas tree with the message, “Dear Mommy – Hope you like this! Love, Hobbes!” Don’t worry, I’ll share it with my daughter. She can also have any posters/photo cards it comes with. What am I going to do with BTS posters, anyway?

MAMA and Melon 2017 Awards

Melon Music Award 2017

Just as I was catching up on all the exciting activities with the final MAMA 2017 winners and performances, I woke up to news about results from the Melon 2017 Awards. I want to first express how happy I am upon learning our very own talented BTS member, Min Yoongi a.k.a. Suga, winning the Hot Trend Producer award for Wine (performed by Suran). I’ve really been focusing on Suga lately as his talents, especially as a song writer, has been blowing my mind. I’m so happy he is being recognized. This young man deserves the spotlight and it makes me giddy to see his Bangtan family cheering him on!

I haven’t browsed through all the Melon 2017 performances (just BTS’ performance below) but I do want to mention a congratulations on BTS’ wins – Best Song of the Year for Spring Day, Global Artist Award, Top 10 Award, and Best Music Video Award for DNA.

Also, congratulations goes out to EXO for their Melon award take homes: Best Artist of the Year (a Daesang award), Top 10 Award, Netizen Choice, and Best Dance Award (Male).

BTS Melon Awards – Intro + DNA + YNWA + Spring Day

Another lit intro with Jimin and J Hope showing their mad dance skills. And I love watching the softer side of BTS during the Spring Day choreo. I have no idea how Jimin can hold such a steady singing voice during his solo tumbling sequence. Yeah – I know they do a lot of tougher moves but still… I’m sure it’s way harder than he makes it look!

 

MAMA 2017

Now, moving on to MAMA 2017 wins, I am ecstatic BTS received another daesang award (last year they received Album of the Year for Wings); this year being Best Artist of the Year. They also won Best Music Video for Spring Day as well as Best Style. EXO won the Album of the Year daesang award with War. As well as Global Fan’s Choice.

A quick shout out should also go out to GOT7 for the Worldwide Performer award. And I’m extremely happy for Monsta X’s for Best Concert Performer award – things are starting to really look up for Monsta X who, compared to some of the lead winners, are still a bit new in the scene!

I have not watched all MAMA performances either but of what I have watched so far of my favorite kpop groups, I wanted to share.

GOT7 & DAY6 – Never Ever (Rock Version)

Oh my – this rock version with DAY6 is just soooo good! What energy! Damn.

 

KAI Solo and EXO – I See You + Power

Kai is my EXO bias. I have a weakness for dancers. Especially ones with background training as Kai has grown up with ballet and jazz (hence my bias for Jimin who grew up with modern dance training). So yes, I love watching a solo by Kai. And EXO’s Power performance was just that – powerful!

 

BTS – Intro + Not Today

Oh man. OH MAN! That intro? What the… how amazing was that intro? And how did they do that intro?

 

BTS – Cypher 4 + MIC Drop Remix (Steve Aoki)

Of course I had to save the best for last. As Cypher 4 leading into the MIC Drop remix is like a dream come true! But then wait – that new choreography sequence they added just blew me away as it wasn’t just amazing but extended MIC Drop further by prolonging the song. Even though I knew they were going to surprise us with new choreo I was still not prepared!

 

Up next, the 27th Seoul Music Award on January 25th!