Sunday, February 13, 2011

Songs You May Have Missed (and that I Should Have Blogged about Last Week)

What The Hare Looked Like When He Finally Finished What He Was Supposed to Do and Was No Longer Late (Source)
Yup, that's me at the moment - I've finally finished all those reviews you guys requested, and some others I've been meaning to get to. Just one in a series of backlogged posts I'm finally getting to. Hope you enjoy them as much now as you would have... two weeks ago? :S

Anyway, today’s post features songs that are a little old, but still making the rounds on the charts: Yoon Sang-hyun, Kim Bo Kyung, Park Jung-min, Jewelry, Dream High OST, JQT, JYJ, some trot, SNSD, Walrus, TVXQ, G.Na, K.Will, and Navi. Onwards!

Yoon Sang-hyun (Oska) for Secret Garden OST: “Tears” is a really lovely song. It’s equal parts melancholy and pretty, and thus makes for a much more interesting ballad than you’d usually expect for a k-drama. I’ve said good things about the OST for Secret Garden before, so I won’t say much more about that, except to mention that at the end of this particular release, there’s a beautiful instrumental piece by Yiruma which just takes my breath away. Worth a listen if the ballads don’t do it for you.

Kim Bo Kyung – Haru Haru (watch: So I happened to catch M! Countdown live two weekends ago, and was confused as to who this girl was. Halfway through her performance I realized she was the same girl who was at the time sitting pretty atop the Soribada Real-Time Chart. A Superstar K2 competitor, she’s one of those who clearly didn’t need to win to be noticed. Funnily enough, she reminded me of Kelly Clarkson, and it turns out she did a pretty good cover of "Because of You" while on the show (there's a studio version too if you're interested). "Haru Haru" is a great song, and Kim pulls it off with her amazing vocals. Hope this is the start of bigger things for her. I haven’t listened to her whole EP but I’m sure it’s just as good.

Park Jungmin – Not Alone (EP): I’m not a SS501 fan, so I wasn’t really excited for this release. . The "Not Alone" is a decent track – I like the message, and the orchestral instrumental is pretty awesome. But I was hoping for a little more vocal-wise. He sounds pretty good - in fact, better than I expected, but doesn't do anything special with his voice. He doesn't need to in order to make this a radio-friendly, fun to listen to single, but it does need to if he wants to stand out as a solo artist. The live stages were a little dull as well, though I'm a fan of the music video. The ballad "Do You Know" was forgettable. I did like the indie-style track "Everyday Is Christmas" at the end of the EP – I thought his voice suited it better than it did "Not Alone. Overall, I wasn't too impressed, but it's not bad.

I really like this image for some reason. It's like the glasses and the writing are supposed to hide his emotions, but they come right through regardless.
Jewelry – “Back It Up” (watch): I feel like this song would have had more impact if Secret’s “Shy Boy” hadn’t come out first. It has that same sixties feel and cutesyness, only with a little more sass. It’s fun to sing along to, but instrumental is a little all over the place. As for the new members: Kim Hye-won has a great voice, and is a good addition to the group, but I feel that Park Se-mi is mostly eye-candy . In the end, the song is kinda forgettable for me. It’s their first time out with the new group, though, so I suspect it’ll take some time before they figure out what works for their new configuration.

(I just want to add that I absolutely love Jooyeon (Baby-J) and want her to go solo at some point. I loved her verse on 2Nise’s "She Said".)

Dream High OST: I was not expecting much from this drama, but here we are, a month into its run and I’m hooked. Not amazing acting, but well-written characters and great pacing. The OST is pretty good too. JYP doesn’t always write stuff I like, but recently he’s been on a hot streak. I LOVE IU’s “Someday”, and also really liked “If”, his own track. Also, “어떤이의 꿈” a cover of an older song for the OST is AWESOME. Love the electro-house influence, San-E does his thing, and the female vocalist (Sohyang from POS) is fire.


MusicPlaylist
Music Playlist at MixPod.com

My favorite track so far, though, is Suzy’s “Winter Child”. Not only was the context of her singing it adorable, but it’s also just a simple beautiful song that Suzy sings with just the right amount of emotion to make it appealing. I never thought highly of her vocal skills, but I have to admit she’s doing a pretty good job singing like the prodigy she’s supposed to be in the drama. I guess Miss A doesn’t make the kind of music that shows off her skills. Aside from the official OST tracks, there are a bunch of good covers thrown around in each episode. If you’re curious, you can find most of these songs in the drama’s recaps over at Dramabeans. Here's a fancam of the drama version of "어떤이의 꿈" performed by IU, 2PM's Wooyoung, 2PM's Taecyeon and T-ara's Eunjung:



JQTPeekaboo (EP): So everyone was going gaga over “Peekaboo” a month ago. I wasn’t a fan, but I decided to check out the full EP anyway. Verdict? Not to be mean, but they’re pretty much basic bitches. That is to say, they tick off all the right boxes - looks, dance, adequate vocal skills - but don’t bring anything new or fresh to the table. Every girl is like a clone from another girl group. They’re boring. THEN they go and drown their voices in autotune as if that’ll help. smh. I did think that “One by One” was cute – it reminds me of the kind of music Jojo used to make. Also, their song "놀란걸" is fun and dancey. Again, autotuned, but not too bad. However, unless they do something a bit different, I don’t think they’ll last long, not when they’re competing with more distinctive girl groups such as Girl’s Day, Miss A and Sistar.

Leetuk and Shindong – “해주세요” (listen): Okay, don’t judge me, but I find this song adorable. It’s probably the only trot song I will ever like. Leetuk and Shindong aren’t the vocal mainstays of Super Junior, but they definitely help fill out and balance the more distinct voices of Kyuhyun, Yesung and Ryeowook. It’s nice to hear them on their own: they sound pretty good! This song is really catchy and I can’t help but smile and sing along when it comes on. These guys are as fun in song as they are on stage as the resident comedy duo on Strong Heart, so good times all around :)

SNSD – “Visual Dreams” (watch): SNSD pours on the cute again, but I seem to dislike it less this time. I suspect the culprit is the producer – the song sounds like it was done by the same producer who did “Show! Show! Show!” and BoA’s “Game” both of which I really like. There’s something about the electro-glitter vibe that does it for me, I don’t know. Overall it isn’t anything amazing, but there are some good moments: Sunny sounding like she actually has a voice for five seconds? Priceless. The bridge and the part after the second chorus to the end are great too - you can thank Taeyeon for that, who’s awesome as usual. The stuttering beat in the middle eight is great too, as it breaks up the monotony of the rest of the song. Honestly, I’m just waiting for the Robotaki remix of this to come out so that I can hear how it’s supposed to sound (EDIT: Just came out!!! and it's epic, of course. See video below:). Trance fans can check out DJ Areia’s remix, which is pretty good too.

Walrus – To Be (EP): Lee Jae Wook, up–and-coming actor, basically becomes the real-life version of his on-screen rival, Jang geun-seok from Marry Me Mary/ Mary Stayed Out All Night, and releases a three-track EP with his band Walrus (named after the Beatles song). He’s not exactly a world-class singer, but he really doesn’t need to be, seeing as their music is very angtsy, full-on rock. It’s a nice change from the norm, as most actor-musicians do pop music. Of the three tracks, my favorite is probably “Mozaic” - it’s got a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe that I like a lot. The video of “To Be” is pretty cool, though. “서울마녀 (Seoul Witch)” is lighter than both tracks, and reminds me of summer – a good one for those not into the whole heavy rock stuff.



G.Na – Black and White (album): Sigh. G.Na. I want so much to like her, but she never does anything interesting. She’s cute, and she can sing, but she just blends into the background. I don’t think she’s cut out to be a solo singer. She’d do great as part of a girl group, but she doesn’t stand out enough to compete against more talented female solo singers, and it's mostly because of her music. Her album is nothing to write home about - dull, dull, dull all the way through. I do like “When I Have a Boyfriend”, which she released as a single last year, but I vastly prefer the Gayoon/Yoseob version to the G.Na/Rain version. Why? They’re simply better vocalists. I really don't have a low opinion of her as an artist though - I want her to do well, but somebody give this girl an interesting song to sing, please!

K.Will ft. Hyorin and Simon D – “Amazed” (listen): Okay, so I am a big fan of the Supreme Team. While their songs don’t always do it for me, I love watching them perform. Simon D’s verse on this is NICE. Skillful, yet understated enough to match the feel of the song. Hyorin and K.Will are a great vocal pair (see this performance of Mariah Carey’s "Whenever You Call") and both deliver. I love the pace changes, the violins and what I think is a sax. It reminds me of something, but I can’t place my finger on it right now… If I remember, I’ll edit.

TVXQ – “Journey” for Paradise Ranch OST (listen): I’m not watching the drama, but this song makes me happy. It’s got energy, it’s feel-good, and it’s Homin – what’s there to complain about? They sound amazing as usual. Seohyun complements them really well too. The quality of her voice is similar to Taeyeon’s, though she’s not yet as skilful. She’ll get there, though, I’m sure.

JYJ – Music Essay: Their Rooms, Out Story (album): I haven’t managed to find any high quality MP3s for this album (a sign I should purchase it, perhaps?) so I don’t feel qualified to write about this album for that reason. I’ll give you my overall impression, though – I like it! A lot! JYJ are pretty good songwriters for their first real try at it, and use their great voices to make up for whatever’s missing instrumentally. “Nine” is my favorite track, mainly because of the chorus, which is just beautiful. “Fallen Leaves” reminds me of a drama OST track instrumental wise, but with JYJ’s amazing vocals, it becomes something that really shouldn’t be relegated to the background of a film clip. You have the tell-all track, "Song Without A Name", which I like because Yoochun actually has a pretty decent flow. Then you have the more upbeat tracks like “Mission”, which I would love to see performed live; “Pierrot”, and “I.D.S” which I like despite its uneven feel. It’s the only song that reminds me that they’re very much rookies to this whole songwriting business. But while they could use some work technically, they’ve nailed the emotional part of songwriting, and that alone sets them apart and sets them up for future success. Barring a reunion with Yunho and Changmin, I see a bright future for these three on their own.

Finally, I don’t really have much to say about Navi’s album, Hello except that I really liked it! My favorite tracks are “다시 돌아가”with B2ST’s Junhyung, and “놀라워라”. It’s also got a bunch of her previously released singles, including the lovely “We Really Did Love Each Other” with K.Will. One of the best ballads and best duets of last year, as far as I’m concerned.

The end! Recent releases coming up soon.

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