K-Pop and Quarantine Life – pt. 5

More Quarantine K-Pop Posts

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!

Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part I

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Okay! So this is start of my 2019’s 30 Questions K-pop Challenge. As with before, this is going to be random so lets just hope I finish it by the end of 2019!

I mentioned the last time, I would compare how my answers have changed since i did this almost two years ago. Let’s see!

Question #1 – Your favorite k-pop boy group

BTS Season’s Greetings 2020 Photoshoot

Ah, well, this one hasn’t changed at all. While I’ve picked up on many favorite boy bands since I started getting into k-pop, my favorite has not changed. Of course, BTS is still my favorite then and now. It’s been quite an amazing journey they’ve taken us on as well. When I first discovered BTS, they were not known outside of Asia and the ARMY fandom. Now, everyone and their grandparents have at least heard of them!

Where as back then I would have gotten a, what’s a BTS type response, now, three years later, they’ve won American music awards, did a speech at the UN, toured stadium (including 2 nights, sold out at Wembley), appeared on so many late night talk shows (and 2 daytime ones on Ellen), reached #1 on the Billboards multiple times, and well, the list is so long I’ve completely lost track! I’m extremely happy for all achievements by BTS as a whole and the individual members.

Question #1 – Your favorite k-pop girl group

This one is an interesting question to answer because when I first did this 30-day challenge, my knowledge of k-pop was of true amateur status. I didn’t know many groups, let alone girl groups. I was frustrated with the obvious, double-standard sexism between boy and girl groups within the k-pop industry. There were not as many bad-ass girl groups with equally bad-ass music and choreography to really grab my attention.

(G)I-dle LION music video

My first semi-favorite girl group was EXID and my first serious favorite girl group was (and to some extent, still is) Blackpink. At the moment, though, I would have to say (G)I-dle is by far my favorite.

For me, not only does (G)I-dle show their talents on many level, but I see them breaking the rules a bit. I noticed them in Latata and have been steadily following them while being impressed with each of their comebacks.

Their sound tends to show variety from comeback after comeback and song after song. Something I haven’t found as much in many groups aside from BTS. They really can dance, especially the leader, Soyeon. I watched their dance practice for Uh-Oh and was floored with how strong of a dancer Soyeon is. I have no doubt in my mind these ladies would kill any choreography given to them if, and I put an emphasis on ‘if’, given the opportunity. K-pop still has some ways to go before we see an all-female group dance circles around their male counterparts.

They are, however, under CUBE Entertainment. And we all know how CUBE managed ( or mismanaged) 4MINUTE and then the whole Hyuna and E’Dawn from Pentagon dating scandal. My hopes is they have smartened up with (G)I-dle. They’ve got themselves a really amazing group of talented women. For God’s sake, CUBE management! Wake up! Don’t f*ck up this one!

Day 3: Who’s your ultimate k-pop guy bias?

Left to Right: J-Hope, Jimin and Jungkook

LOL! This one definitely has changed drastically! I used to say Park Jimin from BTS but now, after seeing BTS live twice, it’s none other than Jung Hoseok!

Yes ’tis true, I am the category of ‘wait until you see him live’ – the J-Hope effect hit me strong after watching BTS perform the first night I went to see them. The unbelievable stage skills and strong persona emitted by J-Hope is hard to ignore. Plus the man is so talented on many levels, it’s difficult to not gravitate towards him! Well, the J-Hope stans get my point.

I think Jimin is a sweetie and still one of my favorite k-pop male dancers. But he’s almost too cute – if that makes any sense.

[Here’s my original answers from the first time I did this challenge.]

K-Pop October Comeback Catch-up

I was pretty hesitant in talking about all the bad news in k-pop which has surfaced lately. Honestly, I meant for this post to just be dedicated with recent comebacks yet at the same time it’s difficult to ignore some of what’s been going on with Monsta X.

I won’t get into the details because it is pretty easy to do a search about Wonho leaving Monsta X. The only thing I want to say here is that I feel bad for both Wonho and all the Monsta X members. I don’t understand why Starship Entertainment didn’t postpone their comeback schedule in light of what has happened. And I don’t fully believe Starship even thought everything through. I do wonder if there’s more to what we already know. But regardless, at the end of the day, the news was just bad news for all. I feel bad for Monbebes everywhere.

There’s been a slew of other negative news in the k-pop scene as well. And I’ve come to the conclusion to just wait for more information before formulating any final, conclusive thoughts on each matter. It appears the information which first comes out ends up not being the end of the story.

In the meantime, I’m happy about some of the recent comebacks which are making their way on my playlist.

GOT7 “YOU CALLING MY NAME” M/V

I was not hyped about GOT7’s next comeback. Their last two were lack-luster for me which pained me since I really wanted to support them. They were, after all, my very first k-pop concert experience! I’ve never found myself loving the full albums of any of their comebacks but should I find a handful of good tracks, I am considered satisfied.

You Calling My Name is a different sound from their previous works and this time, I feel it worked in their favor. Did they play it safe? I think so. But as it worked out I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

Other note-worthy tracks on their latest album, Call My NameRun Away and Crash and Burn.

(G)I-DLE “LION” M/V

Okay – (G)I-DLE is now my favorite all female k-pop group! Even though I hate the way they spell their name mainly because it’s a bitch to type out. It’s a minor annoyance though.

Though I’m still on an Uh-Oh high so LION doesn’t compare to it as much, I still feel this comeback song is amazing. The video is pretty slick, too. A caged, bad-ass Soyeon, is quite the sight to see (she’s totally my bias from this group). And Minnie’s low, sultry voice adds just the right amount of attitude for this song. Love it, love it, love it!

WAYV “MOONWALK” M/V

As I’ve said before, I”m not a big fan of NCT and their confusing sub-units. WayV, however, has caught my attention.

Their title track, Moonwalk, does not disappoint. The overall tune is somewhat haunting. That’s the best way I can describe it. And it works!

Other tracks I found note-worthy from their album, Take Over the MoonYeah Yeah Yeah and Love Talk.

DAY6 “SWEET CHAOS” M/V

I probably should have created a separate post just for DAY6’s comeback. Especially since I missed their last one 3 months ago – The Book of Us: Gravity. Not because I didn’t love it – I did. I just didn’t have much time to get into it.

With their latest song, Sweet Chaos, from the 2nd The Book of Us: Entropy, I’m such a happy camper! And while I’m thoroughly enjoying Sweet Chaos, it didn’t take long for me to find other tracks on the album which floored me even more so.

Very note-worthy mentions include: Deep In Love, Rescue Me, About Now, Not Fine and Like a flowing wind. Though I’d say the whole album is pretty good! I’m truly hoping DAY6 comes back to Toronto for another concert. I had such a good time the last time – and noticed Toronto was not on their last World Tour. So here’s hoping that will change next time around!

Summer K-Pop Playlist

I love seasonal playlists. The right type of tune with the right type of weather just does something for my spirit. Living in Canada and having four seasons helps as well.

Currently, here are my top favorite k-pop songs on my summer playlist:

Look by GOT7

My first k-pop concert was during this comeback of GOT7. Which happened to be in July of 2018.

Honestly by Eric Nam

Definitely summer days type vibe.

SSFW by Chanyeol

I know SSFW stands for spring, summer, fall and winter, but for me, this song suits the summer the most. However, I can see it extend to early fall playlists.

Ko Ko Bop by EXO

So I do keep on returning to this particular EXO song summer after summer. It has a special place in my heart. Not only does it scream summer music, with the laid back, chill feel – I mean it’s totally all lets do summer-lazy really well – it also happen to be my first k-pop comeback ever. Plus Baekhyun had the most iconic style what with his red hair and eye make-up. He pulled off the mullet well.

Play It Cool by MONSTA X & Steve Aoki

This one screams clubbing Friday summer nights. This is exactly the type of song I would be jumping up in down to in the middle of a crowded and sweaty dance floor. Possibly on the third floor of Whiskey Saigon (a Toronto club, now closed, where I spent many Friday and Saturday nights back in my 20’s)

Ma City by BTS

There was never an M/V for Ma City so I found this bit from their Red Bullet tour. Regardless of what city you are from, there’s no doubt a cool summer, energetic beat to go with the heat! And ahh.. I wish I knew BTS back during their Red Bullet tour. What a way to see them in a more intimate setting (way before they started to play stadium concerts).

BOOMBAYAH by Blackpink

BOOMBAYAH is probably one of my favorite Blackpink songs. It’s what got me hooked on them and my love for this quartet female k-pop group has been growing strong ever since! To be honest, most Blackpink energetic beats (and some ballads) fit the summer season.

24 hours by SUNMI

Another song which holds a special place in my heart. 24 hours is one of SUNMI’s older songs but I still love it. This was my first k-pop dance class routine. Plus SUNMI is my ultimate favorite k-pop solo artist! Seeing her live was a dream come true!

Uh-Oh by (G)I-DLE

Here’s my chance to also add one of my favorite recent comeback songs. I really do hope (G)I-DLE continues their strong streak in the world of K-Pop (and hopefully music worldwide alike). Uh-Oh has both the chill and energetic beat of a hot and sizzling summer street feel. Plus Minnie is giving off strong vibes for me in this M/V. Wow – hot! Just like the season!

RUN by BTS

I know. BTS is on here twice. But I am part of ARMY so how could I not? I actually held back because I wanted to add IDOL and FIRE. I’ve always loved RUN but recently I’ve been listening to this track after taking a break of sorts from it.

It suits my idea of summer because it reminds me of youth. Especially my youth. It reminds me of all the care-free, living in the now, carpe diem days with my group of friends. And really, underneath all those moments were problems and issues we didn’t want to face. So these summer days… and nights… made up a collection of distractions we used to prolong facing the music of what’s to come tomorrow.

It’s somewhat bittersweet yet now I look back and see it all as chapters of my life… my youth. Days of basically breaks from growing pains.

BTS Vampire WIP & (G)-I-DLE LATATA

After a much longer BTS Vampire World Part II than I had planned (sorry, it’s just that in order to explain Vampire Yoongi, I had to dive into a past love affair he had with a human), I’ve now started Part III, which is based on my vision of Vampire Jung Hoseok, who will be, of course, a colourful character.

Meanwhile, I’m loving the rookie group, (G)-I-DLE. Though… I’m having a hard time typing out their name. Is it okay to just type out G-IDLE? This new debut single has been all happy. And Minnie’s voice… wow! Just wow!