Not-So Daily Kpop Challenge 2019 – Part IV

[30 Day K-Pop Challenge 2019]

Question #8: K-pop song you know all the words to

Ha ha! Um… my answer hasn’t changed much. I have learned very little Korean since I started my love for k-pop. I think if I had the time I could learn the words to some of my favorite songs. But alas, when it comes to using my free-time to learn another language, I’m currently trying to just improve my Mandarin speaking skills (I’ve been watching a lot of C-Dramas on Netflix while trying to not read the subtitles).

Having said that, the other day while listening to Boy In Luv by BTS, I caught myself singing along to most of the lyrics! That surprised me. I suppose it was bound to happen so I thought that was pretty cool. I don’t know the full lyrics, though. And I’d have to sing along with it – as I can’t sing it on my own.

Question #9: Favorite k-pop performance

Well… there’s been a lot of phenomenal live performances. With BTS’ fast-growth not just in Asia but by international standards, they really have been given more and more stage time at the various main Asian music award shows. The MMAs 2019 gave them a total of 37 minutes allowing BTS to really show their artistry. And because they ended with Dionysus, this is currently my favorite live k-pop performance.

Some other honorable mentions:

BTS’ 2019 Golden Disk Awards performance of FAKE LOVE stood out due to the symbolic intro. Many k-pop fans, especially ARMY, understand the meaning behind their marionette puppets intro. Which was a subtle message at a huge k-pop industry award show. Idols face such harsh control by the industry and fans alike, they often lose who they truly are (at an age they are supposed to be finding themselves – alas that is another topic for another time).

BTS’ performance of IDOL at the 2018 MMAs showed a beautiful mix of contemporary and cultural dance as the intro. I love it when they do this! Plus we witnessed female performers which is a huge move for a male k-pop group to do (i.e. too many jealous fans).

Sunmi ft. Taemin’s Gashina performance was iconic! And damn sexy. I always love watching Sunmi live, though. Her facial expressions are point on. She’s stunning and certainly a queen.

AOA’s cover of MAMAMOO’s Egotistic remix must be mentioned. The performance was stellar but I loved how they brought out the drag queens in the end. AOA danced in tailored suits along with the drag queens and brought the house down!

I’m simply very happy for and proud of TXT for winning New Artist of the Year at the MMA 2019. Their extended New Rule and Run Away performance was a great show for such a rookie group. BTS supported them throughout the show, with a big stand-up applause and cheer from their seniors when they were announced for the win.

Congrats also go out to BTS for being the first to win all 4 Daesang categories at an end of the year Asian Award Show!

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

New in Recent K-Pop Scene – SUNMI and Amber Liu

First off, I will admit since mid-summer, I have been so behind on the k-pop scene. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again… to truly follow every comeback, release and debut, on top of TV or web show appearances and live performances, you would have to quit your job, stay home and order take-out just to survive such a crazy schedule.

Luckily, I follow Kultural Wave, who creates monthly playlists highlighting a lot of the k-pop action she’s followed herself. Her knowledge and list is one I’ll never be able to live up to. I’m too lazy. :p Check out her latest August Playlist.

As for me, I am only going to talk about two comebacks. I’m a month late, of course, but like I said.. I’m behind.

When SUNMI’s LALALAY first came out, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I didn’t hate it. It was just a bit different from her previous releases. And I knew that was a good thing. I just needed time to familiarize myself with this new sound.

Now, however, I find myself loving LALALAY! And her music video does not disappoint either. She’s so abstract with her video concepts. So many of them have bright colors and yet the message and actions have an edge to them. I would even say it’s a bit dark as far as the expressive meaning behind it all.

Perhaps Amber Liu doesn’t really count as being part of the k-pop world these days. She’s recently parted ways with SM Entertainment. Even under SM, I don’t believe she’s been producing anything in Korean. Not in awhile at least. When I went to see her in concert last year, her entire performance was in English.

She’s long moved back to the states, from what I can see, and has been happily doing what she loves to do, without the control of a very, well, controlling k-pop entertainment company.

Her latest song, released not long after her contract ended with SM was anything but cryptic in her message. Listening to the lyrics and watching the video, it’s easy to see she wrote this probably quite awhile ago but at the time, could not release it under SM. Since it’s her opinion of what it is like being a k-pop idol. For those who are not familiar with Amber, she used to be in a older k-pop generation group called f(x) under SM.

K-pop will always be a part of Amber’s history. And while I’m sure her maturity in the matter will admit it’s part of her journey, I along with the rest of her fans, are very happy for where she’s heading. She’s such a bright and talented artist who is also breaking through stereotypes and creating a safe place for people from all walks of life to come together and enjoy her music.

Her humble, down-to-earth attitude might shy away from being seen as a role-model, however, she truly is one especially to the younger generation. I can’t wait to hear more of her work! This last release, Hands Behind my Back, was so beautiful in a very bittersweet way, of course.

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.

Catching Up on K-Pop Comebacks!

While I’ll admit I’m still floored over RM’s PERSONA BTS comeback trailer there’s been some other great comebacks worthy of mentioning in my books. I’m going to rate them below based on both music and music video.

5. KARD – Bomb Bomb

I do root for KARD but truth be told when I listen to a lot of their music, they all start to sound similar. Still, a couple of my fave tunes from them circulates on my summer playlists just for that chill vibe. Bomb Bomb surprised me and in a good way! The beat is stronger… edgier. And I like everything but the main chorus. It’s not horrible but it’s something I can see myself getting tired with if I listen to it often enough.

Some people are hearing a Mediterranean influence. Others are saying Bollywood. I’m siding with the latter. Either way, whichever cultural music influence, it works. Until the chorus. And then I’m hearing more of a dance hall vibe. So this is where I start to falter with my decision of whether I love this song or not. It just doesn’t flow well and there seems to be confusion as to what the influence should be.

Music: 6/10
Music Video: 6.5/10

4. ATEEZ – Say My Name

I don’t love all ATEEZ’s music but this one has grown on me in the past couple of weeks since it was released. If anything, ATEEZ has great dance skills and their choreography is intense. The videos are also stunning so I felt they earned a spot in my recent top 5.

For a group who debuted the last part of 2018, they really seem to have a promising future. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more comebacks from ATEEZ!

Music: 7/10
Music Video: 8/10

3. Stray Kids – MIROH

The video concept is amazing in MIROH. The song, however, stands it’s ground without the visual concepts so I definitely added this to my music collection as soon as I could!

Stray Kids could have a great career. I believe they had a comeback between this one and District 9 which didn’t do it for me so in some aspect, I’ve been out of touch with them. But I’m still hoping for more greatness from Stray Kids in the near future.

Music: 8/10
Music Video: 8/10

2. SUNMI – Noir

SUNMI released Noir just days before we saw her live during the WARNING World Tour. I was pretty floored getting a chance to see this track performed right before our eyes because SUNMI is an amazing performer so nothing she did that evening disappointed us! And this video does not nothing less either – it keeps to SUNMI’s artsy ways and well, she’s just so cool!

I only wish female k-pop artists are backed up more by their companies to release more than just a few songs at a time. Solo artists have it even harder – releasing just a song or two each time. I’ll keep on supporting artists like SUNMI, though! Why wouldn’t I when she keeps on putting out great work?

Music: 8.5/10
Music Video: 8/10

1. Steve Aoki & Monsta X – Play It Cool

Okay – I’m not sure if this one counts as it’s really Steve Aoki’s version of Monsta X’s Play It Cool as this is the full-on English version. However, I couldn’t helped but to be completely giddy over this one since I fell in love with it from the start during Monsta X’s comeback, We Are Here.

I love the video for this version. The boys look stunning, as they did in Alligator, but there’s a more chill vibe to this video. And watching Steve Aoki bop along to the beat makes me happy. 🙂

Music: 9/10
Music Video: 8.5/10

Queen Sunmi – LIVE (Warning World Tour)

Yes – I did indeed have the opportunity to see Sunmi Live this past weekend. And she definitely ruled the whole room!

Honestly, I love her music. She produces some great tracks. What amazed me more was her fans, though. She has some seriously devoted fans – it was a fantastic level of energy!

We had row 6 seats which included Hi-Touch, She gave everyone a high-ten, actually. But when my daughter went up to her, Sunmi grabbed both my daughters hand for a bit and well, it was just the sweetest thing!

Below are three videos I took during the concert.

The only downer was the security. We paid good money for our VIP tickets but they allowed people from any part of the theatre the fill the front part of the stage/aisle even though this venue had no GA area.

My daughter is not very tall so had a difficult time trying to see over the people who were standing there illegally. And being married to a firefighter it was a huge issue against any building fire code.

Aside from that, Sunmi and her crew did a fantastic job performing! For one of the smaller k-pop concerts I’ve been to, the performance was definitely top notch! I recommend going if she’s passing through a city near you.