Thursday, October 28, 2010

SNSD - Hoot MV

This is going to be a short post. Basically, I disliked this song when I first heard it. Bored me to death. Then it started to grow on me as the week went on. Now, seeing the video, I understand why SM chose this as the lead song. And, I might even be happy about it. Basically, with this song, SNSD has matured, leaving the cute and saccharine behind, hopefully for good. If "Gee" was their cute pre-teen phase, "Oh!" was their teenage phase and "Hoot" is when they've finally become young women in their twenties, which is what they are (but you'd never know!). And that, I can get with. The video isn't amazing, but I love the choreography and I appreciate Choi Siwon's hot self making an appearance. The mini-album wasn't bad either; that is, I actually listened to more than one song all the way through, and liked one of them. This is a big step for me as I have severely disliked any song other than their lead single since they debuted. Dare I say, I might be becoming an actual SNSD fan? (gasp!?) Okay girls, I'm onboard. Just... no more cutesy Christmas songs. They make me puke. Thanks.

Random side note: I am older than every single member of this group. Does that weird me out? Yes. It also makes me feel bad that I earn less money than them despite having gone to college. What is my life?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nicki Minaj - "Check It Out - We Speak Korean!" (edited)

Okay, Nicki Minaj and I love Nicki - she's extremely talented, and is probably one of the few quirky black women in the American music industry to have the amount of success she's had in her short career - I think she can open up doors for other black female performers with new ideas to move up in the industry. I find her constant quoting of Asian cultures interesting, but I was confused when everything in this video was in Korean. I thought,  Isn't she a fan of Japanese, not Korean culture? This intrigued me enough to do some research on the video and the inspiration behind it, and I found some pretty cool stuff. Check it out after the jump.

Midweek Music List

So my dear blogger friend Eccentric suggested I post some of the awesome music I've been listening to recently, so I figured I would :D I may make it a regular thing, I may not - Let me know! I listen to a ton of new music every week (too much, if you ask me) and occasionally I find some real gems. Here are the five top songs of mine that I discovered last week:

1. Sunwoo ft. 4Men - Eyes Nose Mouth

What can I say about this song apart from, it's amazing?!?! I absolutely love it. Pace changing in songs usually does not agree with me, but somehow it works in this one. It's got a lovely R&B/soul bent that really appeals to me. Plus all of the singers are killing it! This is the lead single from Sunwoo's debut EP, Harmony, and can I just say I love her voice? It's as beautiful as it is versatile - you have to listen to "Nella Fantasia" to really appreciate it. Her voice is unique among most k-pop singers in that she's a soprano (do you hear those Mariah Carey notes in the last chorus? damn.) as opposed to a tenor, and it blends perfectly well with the 4Men guys, who do well with the higher registers as well. I'm seriously falling in love with their voices, especially the guy who does the ad-libs in the last chorus (need to learn their names!) Epicness would be seeing all of them perform this live. If I saw that in person, I might die happy. Definitely my most-played track of the last week.

2. Psy - Right Now

Coming in a close second is veteran performer Psy's "Right Now". I absolutely love the music video for it's fun, I don't give a *bleep*, let's dance! feel and Psy's hilarious antics. Also, eagle-eyed YG fans will notice that it's chock full of YG dancers, who I have to say are an attractive and supremely talented bunch. Actress Seo Woo makes a cameo at the end, and has her own version of the MV where she basically looks sexy and makes me feel inferior, but it's still fun too. The song itself is infectiously catchy, and is accompanied by many more great tracks of the hip-hop, pop and dance variety on Psy's latest album PSYFIVE, released under YG Ent. in a new deal he signed with the music mega-company. Fans of his previous material shouldn't worry though - he has full creative control over his music and will still be bringing the awesome every time.

3. Crystal Kay - Flash

Crystal Kay - FLASH from xYao9x on Vimeo.

So I'm not really a J-pop fan, but I have to say that Japanese artists are coming out with some sick stuff these days. Crystal Kay is a Japanese artist of African-American and Korean descent who has been making music for the past eleven years (she's 24). This track is off her latest EP of the same name, and it's got a.t.t.i.t.u.d.e. This should be the theme song of every superheroine movie or TV show ever. This is really only the second release from Crystal Kay (or as the Japanese call her, Kuri-chan - how cute is that?) that I've listened to, aside from "Girl U Love" which a friend sent to me randomly, but I'm already hooked - this woman is talented. The rest of the mini-album is worth a listen too - my current favorite of the other tracks is "Happy", a self-composed tribute to Michael Jackson, which I think is so appropriate and so beautiful.
(Side-note: Notice the Rain doppelganger in the video - not the real thing, but hot nonetheless)

4. I Can't and 5. Even If You Leave Me - 2PM

My favorite tracks off their latest album. "I Can't" was written by Ra.D, who also composed "I'm In Love" which Narsha covered amazingly for her solo mini-album. It makes great use of 2PM's voices, better than any other song of theirs, and is such a chill vibe. Every time I listen to it I imagine sitting in a field in summer as someone strums the chords on their guitar. Lovely stuff. "Even If You Leave Me" was composed by the same dude who did "Maja" my fave track from their last mini-album. It's upbeat, yet heartfelt, which I like, and which I feel few songwriters manage to pull off without getting overly angsty and dramatic with it. It's not mind-blowingly awesome musically, but it's a really enjoyable listen, especially if, like me, you listen to it walking around in a big city, allowing the music to be the soundtrack to the hustle and bustle. Again, great use of their voices - I feel like in most tracks they try to stretch them past their vocal capacity and the result is just barely passable, but here, the song fits their abilities and they sound great. I like that in these tracks Taecyeon doesn't bark out his raps like he's a drill sergeant, but actually delivers his lines with style. It's actually kinda hot. As much as I appreciated the shirt-ripping antics of your Heartbeat days, Taec, this suits you better. Stick with it.

Done! What do you think? What were your favorite new tracks from the last week?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Willow vs. Rihanna... Fight?

Okay, time for some non-Asian music! Ever since 9 year-old Willow Smith dropped her fly girl single, "Whip My Hair" the internet has been ablaze with comparisons between her and pop music's current queen of all things hip, Rihanna. I have my personal biases, but I'm wondering if there's really any competition between the two. Let's take a look, shall we?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Erm... it's my birthday?

Happy birthday to me, I guess, lol. I don't really have a huge reason to post, except to let everyone know it's my birthday (so that I can have more birthday wishes - I'm greedy that way, lol). I don't really have any deep thoughts about turning 22, but I do want thank God for bringing me this far in life, and ask for continued guidance and blessings as I go into my twenty-third (eep!) year in life. To all you young'uns (and older people, who are still young too!) - remind yourself everyday of the good things about you and your life, appreciate them, and constantly strive for bigger and better things. Don't let a day go by without working towards some goal or dream of yours. Trust me, you'll be much happier that way. And if you're religious or spiritual in any way, frequently check in with that greater power - it helps to be reminded that you're not alone, and that there is something out there bigger than yourself that you're a part of. If you live your life mindful of that, good things will come to you. And lastly, for everyone - religious, spiritual or neither - live a life that you can be proud of. It won't be without regrets, but at least live so that when you look back, you can say that you did your best to make yourself a better person, and to make life better for the people around you.

I can't think of anything else big to say, but I did want to spazz a little because Beast won their very first K-chart win today for "Breathe"! I predicted this would happen, so I'm doubly happy at being right, especially since I think they truly deserve it. Congratulations, Beast!

Time to party! Here's a playlist I made for McRoth's Residence's one-year anniversary, and I figured it could be my birthday playlist as well (though I'd throw in some African jams, and some more house music personally) so if you're looking for some dance music (mostly Korean, with some Latin and American music thrown in), click here and enjoy!!! Since I made this for McRoth, I'll leave the playlist as is for now, and in a week or so, convert it to "My Global Party Playlist" and astound you all with my amazing DJ skills - be prepared :)

As a birthday present to myself, I should really move my personal blog to Wordpress already... except I now want to move this blog to Wordpress too, because there you can reply to comments and get e-mail notifications and stuff, and I think that's a much better format for my music and culture blog because I want to foster discussion and debate over this stuff. Do you guys agree? Or should I just shut up and get on with it? This is a major problem for me in general, though - I plan, but never execute. I have to change - this will be my goal for my next year of life.

P.S: Just found out that it's also Shaun Evaristo's birthday! So I share my birthday with him and Matt Damon, as well as some other awesome peeps. I think this is a sign that I am inclined by birth to be a creative and successful person. Or at least, I like to think that way :) If you don't know who Shaun Evaristo is, you're missing out - he's an amazing choreographer and dancer who just launched his own choreography management company The Movement Lifestyle, but he's best known in the k-pop world as having choreographed for Taeyang!! Check him out dancing with Taeyang and Lyle Beniga in "Where U At":

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Proof that you can sell music using a concept alone

Girls' Generation / So Nyu Shi Dae / Shoujo Jidai - Gee (Japanese Ver.)

SNSD is like the unicorn of the pop music industry - no matter what they do, everyone loves it because it's SNSD. They're giving Japanese fans an exact replica of their most popular song ever, except it's in Japanese. No other artist/company in their right mind would risk that, for fear that the fans would be expecting something new. But this is the power of So Nyu Shi Dae - nine pretty girls singing a cute pop song = money in the bank, even if we've already heard the song 50 million times (no, that is not an exaggeration). Only in Asia.

That being said, I really like the styling in this video, and they all sound a lot better than they do in the Korean version, so I can't hate. SM had better hire whoever produced/mastered this and get them to work on all SNSD songs in the future.

Monday, October 4, 2010

guess what just came in the mail??!!

Clara Chung's debut album, that's what!!!

And if you can't tell, I am super super excited. It's signed by Clara herself!!! I think this means I got one of the first 100 copies, but I can't be sure. Anyway, I came across Clara through my perusing of Asian American blogs, and fell in love with her sound. It seems as if all indie newcomers these days are trying to pull the quirky singer-songwriter card, but Clara C's music definitely stood out for me because it had a distinct character to it - the best way I can describe it is bright pops of color on an indie music canvas. I loved her collabos with Dumbfounddead and Jay Park, and Sam Ock, and I have a soft spot for up-and-coming artists, so I took the plunge and bought the CD. I'm sure it'll be worth every penny. I'm off to listen to "The Art In My Heart," and I'll leave you with the first music video from the album, "Offbeat". If you like what you hear, hear on over to Clara's website and order a copy for yourself!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Review: Break Time EP by U-KISS

Hey! So I have a ton of awesome posts lined up, but I'm really busy at the mo, so can't get to them right now. However, I did want to stop by and say a few things about U-KISS's new album, because I've never written about them, and I think there's something to be said about their new EP - I like it! If you had a "wut?"moment right there, don't worry - I did too. This is a first for me and U-KISS, so if you want to find out how this came to be, read on...