EXO New Japanese Single – ‘Electric Kiss’

So this is a first for EXO whom have, in the past, been writing songs for their Chinese fans. With Electric Kiss, they are now showcasing their first Japanese single. The above official video, is the short version. I am guessing this is to market for the full version along with the Japanese album which will be released on January 24th, 2018. The album will be called Countdown.

What do I think of this song? I like. I am happy with the beat. I was okay with Power but to be honest, it didn’t stand up against Ko Ko Bop. Plus, they were contending with BTS’ huge huge release just before Power. The September EXO mini-album release paled in comparison to BTS’ Love Yourself.

Electric Kiss is promising. And the music video is visually stunning! I’ll give the rest of the album a chance for sure.

But I do have a question – will Lay return at all? He is still not among the rest of the 8 members in this video. I miss Lay. I loved his voice and he was such a good dancer. In fact, I prefer his dance skills over Sehun. And I felt both him and Kai complimented each other in their dance styles, like how Jimin and J Hope compliment each other.

Advertisements

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.

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!

A Playlist for Solitude

As Christmas is just around the corner (and for the first time in years, I still have so much shopping to do), I’m feeling more and more a need of solitude. It always happens  while my birthday happens to fall between Christmas and the start of the new year.

The cold air is refreshing. Yet the shorter days allowing darkness to envelope the city earlier and earlier, combined with the fast-pace activities all around, causes me to want to retreat into myself.

I told my husband yesterday, on my birthday, I am hoping to go visit our art gallery downtown. He asked, “By yourself?”

I responded, “Yes. Completely by myself.”

“Why?” My husband was surprised and perhaps even a bit disappointed I didn’t want to share the whole day with him and my daughter.

I, on the other hand, wondered why he hasn’t learned this about me after knowing me for 15 years.

It’s nothing personal. To anyone. I’m not necessarily an introvert. Nor am I an extrovert. I believe the new term is omnivert – one who is able to be in most social settings without feeling uncomfortable. Yet there are moments of needing to recharge themselves with introvert-like behaviors before facing the world again.

Christmas time is always so busy. When my birthday finally arrives each year, it’s the perfect time to retreat into my own little world. It’s how I pamper myself – by being alone. Maybe not for the whole day – I plan to have a celebratory dinner with my family but I really want to spend the day doing what I want to do without having to worry about others. I love my family but I have this side of me that does not enjoy being tied down. I like to sometimes have the freedom to move about without having some one follow me. Or for me to wait for. I want to go as I please. It’s not that I want to leave my family but I know in order for me to be happy, I have to, from time to time, appease this free spirit of mine. A spirit that can not feel trapped for too long.

And so, for my birthday, I plan to create a special playlist. Then I am going to go downtown on the subway and visit the art gallery. There, I will walk around by myself for the latter half of the afternoon listening to my playlist in peace. I might contemplate about my year but I probably won’t bother. I rather just be lost in the music and the art I see before me as I allow myself to feel whatever emotions the combined two conjure up.

My husband and daughter can then meet me somewhere for a really great dinner! Afterwards, weather permitting, we can head to the distillery as they normally adorn the cobblestone, pedestrian street with holiday lights. A walk there with a freshly brewed Americano (hot chocolate for my daughter) while walking off our dinner before we head home together would be how we end the night.

I would rather have all the above then any physical birthday gift!

Shy’s Spotify Playlist – Solitude

Silence – Delerium Ft. Sarah Mchlachlan
Enjoy the Silince – Depeche Mode
Artificial Nocturne – Metric
Zombie – The Cranberries
Playboy – EXO
Aritifical Love – EXO
Precious – Depeche Mode
Let U Go – ATB
Possession – Sarah Mchlachlan
Don’t Recall – BTS
Breathing Underwater – Metric
Tomorrow – BTS
Intro: Boy Meets Evil – BTS
Begin – BTS
Lie – BTS
Stigma – BTS
First Love – BTS
Reflection – BTS
MAMA – BTS
Awake – BTS
Lost – BTS
Cypher 4 – BTS
Butterfly (Prologue Mix) – BTS
Dreams – The Cranberries
9AM (Till I Come) – ATB
Interlude: Wings – BTS
Blood Sweat & Tears – BTS
House of Cards – BTS
Pied Pier – BTS
Decode – Paramore
MIC Drop Remix – BTS, Steve Aoki
Spring Day – BTS
Intro: Serendipity – BTS
Viva Forever – Tony Rich Remix, Spice Girls
Thousand Years – Sawyer Frederick

 

And Now I’m Hooked on K-Pop

It’s just very, very sad. Not only how k-pop has taken over our house but I’m now completely hooked! I can’t stop listening to the music – specifically from EXO and BTS.

EXO Review:

Compared to BTS, they are on average older. They’ve been in the scene for several years and I’m glad I caught them at this more mature stage of their career. When Chaeli first started to forward me videos they were all so very young, I couldn’t tell who was who and their performance, while good, was lacking. Now that they are a more mature-EXO, their individuality is much more evident making them more enjoyable to watch.

Singing and dancing is great – it’s obvious each members strength though, so while some may have a great solo career, others obviously will require to always be a part of the band to succeed.

Do I have a bias? Yes. Which pains me because my two biases are NOT the oldest ones. Even the older ones (late 20’s) are still too young for me but at least I can’t use the line that I’m old enough to by their mother (minus the teen pregnancy scenario that is – yes I’m stretching it). At least the one I like the most looks older, though.

I’m human. I can not turn away from this photo of Kai:

kai-exo-esquire-feb-2017-02

Kai (EXO)

Their more recent concerts have also shown a more sexier style of dancing. Once again, I AM HUMAN! I watch this and think of how much I would like to be that cane (Kai is the blond one who dances blind-folded in the end). Must watch both songs, “Playboy” and “Artificial Love”:

I’m just glad that Chaeli’s biases are so very different from mine. She likes the younger looking ones. At least I’ve got that! Sort of.

Their latest album “WAR” is fantastic! I can’t stop listening to this album – especially Ko Ko Bop, The Eve and What U Do.

BTS Review:

A much younger band but they’ve climbed their way to the top pretty fast, even winning a Billboard award this year and proving their ability to crack into the main stream scene.

Music is very energetic. THEY are very energetic. I have been working out to mostly their tunes and it’s benefiting my own energy level. I’ve also been obsessed with their dancing. These boys have fast and precise footwork. And their music videos are high quality production pieces.

Check out Fire – This is probably one of my favourite videos from them. It’s fun and energetic:

As for any biases, I will just let my daughter focus on her top 3 (V, Jungkook and Suga). They are young and they look young. And they act young. I’ll just focus on their talents and leave it at that!