Friday, June 11, 2010

Mel's Playlist, June 11

Okay, I should really be asleep right now, but before I bounce I have to share with you the AMAZING music that has come my way recently!!! It's all k-pop - yes, I'm still on the k-pop tip - but I promise you, it's really good. Try it! You just might like it!*

First up is the debut track by Epik High's protege boy band, Infinite, titled "Come Back Again". It sounds like no k-pop you've ever heard, I promise you - awesome guitars, great beat, good voices, and they can dance to boot! There's a reason why Epik High is one of my favorite Korean artists, and this is one of them. Also make sure to listen to "Wings" and "She's Back" off their EP - both amazing tracks in their own right.

Second is Code-V's "Addicition". I fell in love with this the minute I heard it, and it's been on repeat all week. I'm a sucker for good voices and heartfelt performances, and Code-V has it in spades. I'm particularly rooting for these guys because they originally debuted under the name Bless in 2007 but apparently flopped, so this is their second shot at fame. As far as I'm concerned, they've definitely made an impression, and I really hope to see more of them.

(Sidenote: I actually didn't like the music video at first, but then I watched it again and noticed the poison gas, which I LOVE - the song's about love being like an addiction or a poison, so it makes sense, and that's a nice way of interpreting it. Some of the shots are particularly awesome with it, too, like at 2:47)

Finally, two songs from a k-pop veteran who I fully intend to investigate in full, Lee Seung Hwan. First is "Dunk Shot 2009", a remix of his 1994 song done by JoKwon of 2AM (I love this guy) and Whale of W&Whale (another group I have to check out). I adore this video, really - it's so quirky and cool. The song is great too :)

Then, a song off his latest album, Dreamizer, which you should absolutely check out. McRoth's done a full review of the album here - if you like Mika or Paolo Nutini or Queen, or just good pop music, you will find something to like on that album. I am into electro sounds right now, so I gravitated to this funky song that reminds me of Clazziquai Project, a favorite group of mine since Eccentric introduced them to me last year. (No coincidence, I'm sure - they're signed to the same label :)

(For curious minds, the song is on the OST for a short promotional drama for a cell phone, featuring up-and-coming actor Yoon Si Yoon and the girl group T-ara - hence the video)

And that's all folks! Expect more soon though - some of my favorite groups, Korean and otherwise, are releasing new material this summer, so I'll be posting the best stuff here. Later though - I gotta get some sleep.

*Throwback to an old Christian video my parents used to show me, which had a segment teaching kids to eat the food they're given without complaining. "Try it! You just might like it!" was the main lyric in the song they sang. Hmmm, maybe I can blame that video for my foodie habits... and my flabby thighs....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Give a woman a powerful song to sing and she will sing it with power

Sorry I've been away! Reconfiguring my life has been complicated. I'm still kinda on a blogging hiatus, but I had thought of writing this post a while ago, and was reminded of it by James Turnbull's post marking the start of his research into k-pop girl groups and the reactions their fans have to their lyrics. Will post some more this weekend, as another hiatus is coming up - I'm taking a filmmaking class!!! And it's mad intense, so I may not be able to blog while it's going on. Don't worry though, I'll fill you in on this new direction of mine very soon :)

Kara - Mister [05.01.2010] from Matt Marasigan on Vimeo.

VAST difference between performances of "Lupin" and "Mister" at Korean Music Fest in LA last month. Wow. I like Kara, mainly because they're spunky, and Seungyeon and Gyuri have awesome voices. Mister is my favorite to listen to, but Lupin is unconventional and I enjoy performances (more than the song itself, actually). I refuse to believe that that's a coincidence, though. "Lupin" is thematically a more confident, powerful song than Mister. From what I gleaned from Youtube translations of the songs, they sing about being confident (in love?) and not being afraid in "Lupin", as opposed to simply trying to get a guy's attention in "Mister"; check here and here for respective lyrics) and it shows in their performances. They shine in "Lupin", but bore with "Mister". It might just be that "Lupin" is fresher, and they're bored of performing Mister (side effect of weekly live performances, a.k.a overkill, of songs in k-pop) but I doubt it's just that. Especially since 2NE1's performances of Fire seem to have the same energy as their debut performances (I say seem because TV camerapeople are notorious for wrecking performance videos with random sweeping tilted angles. I get motion sickness just trying to get a feel of the energy in a performance. *sigh. Anyway, check out their most recent performance here - a year later, and they're still on fire - yeah, I said it. I'm allowed puns sometimes.)

This may be part of the reason that 2NE1 does so well, despite criticism of Bom and Dara's stage presence. The songs are powerful, the girls feel powerful and embody it on stage. K-pop industry - TAKE A HINT!