It’s here! Another week of delightful K-music coming your way on K-Music Thursday. The Korean music industry scene is so hot right now that a slew of new music has hit us these past few weeks – my ears are thankful and having a blast, but my fingers beg to differ. In this week’s edition, we have the lovely Miss A, the delectable Mamamoo and the alluring Esna (yes, I’m are all over them), new R&B duo Pretty Brown make their debut featuring Kanto, Iron from SMTM3 makes a debut, solo artist NC.A, Rap Monster, and the R&B artist Tael.
Miss A Tell Us “Only You,” And We Agree
Musically, the song is a resounding A+. Suzy and co have us jumping over bridges, flying over meadows, and have us putting a little more pep in our step. The prominent vocals are immensely appealing. And, Min, 더 예뻐지네요? You have become more pretty?!
From a music perspective, this song is just amazing! I think I said that already – oh well. Released on March 29, 2015, the song has different facets that are beautifully stitched together. Whoever did the production and arrangement must have a PhD is music – Park Jin-young is that you? The arrangement could easily have been disjointed, and if you listen carefully enough you see were the producer jumped over those pot holes.
And, maybe because it must have taken close to forever to get those transitions and joints seamlessly arranged, that the music video was off the mark. It seemed a bit rushed to make. Definitely, the amount of time put into the music video did not match the amount of time invested in producing the song. But then again, it’s better to have an amazing song and a half-a$$ music video, than a half-a$$ song and an amazing music video. As, 4 million views attest, as of today, April 2nd.
For one thing, if you’re are going to show the Manhattan skyline – then show up in Manhattan and film the video there. Switching to props and stages made the video look “cheap”. They could have skipped the skyline and kept it consistent.
And, here’s the kicker, it’s not only the Manhattan skyline used – the second clip is Chicago! Manhattan doesn’t have any canals. The order of skylines in the video is, Manhattan, Chicago, Manhattan. Boo, JYP, boo.. ha ha – we kid.
Interesting, it does seem apropos to throw Chicago in there. That underlying sound used at the beginning and later in the song, is a throwback to the prohibition era sounds of the street. And, no better city encapsulates that era that the city of Chicago.
Click here to listen to the rest of Miss A’s new album – it’s a beautiful work of art. Can we say, Miss A US Tour 2015!
Mamamoo and Esna “Aah Oops!”
Mamamoo have mesmerized us yet again, in this brassy-jazzy-sexy comeback published today, on April 2, on YouTube. The song features Korean-American Esna in her enchanting, dark and husky vocals. Also, the rapping section is pretty strong too.
Musically, it’s a pleasure. The video, rich in gaudy 60’s fashion, push-up bras, and brash colorful makeup, comes off as a feminist anthem where everyone’s a winner.
Mamamoo, who debuted on June 14, 2014, hard to believe, are still a rookie group. Their sound and look are very mature. The girls have not been afraid to show-off that big-girl style. This makes them pleasantly unique, and less of a guilty pleasure. And vocally, when they bring the goods, the marketplace shutsdown.
Esna for her part, in the video comes off as that worldly aunt your parents always try to keep you away from, but you can’t get enough of. “Aint nobody got time for that”
Oh… Esna, Who’s “Tim Smith?”
R&B Duo “Pretty Brown” – “Break Up With Break Up”
This is the debut single from Pretty Brown, the new R&B group from our favorite label Brand New Music. The boys striking vocals are strong and engaging. The beat of the song are steady and mesmerizing. With an accompanying guitar that makes the song fresh. The chorus is pleasantly upbeat. Kanto’s bass voice and rapping nicely contrasts with the duo. The song, called “Break up with Break Up” was released on March 29, 2015 on YouTube.
The group is made up of Hyun Jung, and Gu In-hwe. And in true Brand New Music style, the two artists compose their own music and write their own lyrics.
NC.A(앤씨아) is Cinderella in “Cinderella Time(통금시간)”
With Miss A Suzy dating, and I.U. compromised in a picture with a half-naked Eunhyuk, South Korea may have found their new “nation’s little sister”. All the pretenders can go home now, NC.A is here.
This is a happy song meant to take you happy places. The song starts softly enough, and steadily picks up as it rises with increasing pitch, allowing NC.A to show us those graceful vocals. Her gently demeanor adds to the tone of the song. It’s innocent, it’s puppy love, it’s harmless – and that’s the beauty of it.
CN.A who turned 18 last year, debuted in 2013 and is signed to JJ Holic Media. Never heard of them? Don’t worry, with more songs like Cinderella Time, you will soon.
But then, what’s up with the recurring black stallion in the MV. I know a guy whose friends used to refer to him as black stallion- just saying.
Iron Debuts a Dark and Morbid “Blu”
With that large black tattoo on his chest, a contrast to the easy smile he had on SMTM3, there is a dark side to Iron. And less than 10 seconds into the video – he reminds us of it. Many will recall on SMTM3 that YDG originally failed him, because he didn’t like that aggressive side of iron. Eventually, Iron and YDG would come together again, Iron having persisted as the dutiful disciple.
Musically, how underwhelming is this debut. It seems this single released on March 30, 2014 on YouTube, has too much YDG and too little Iron. If you’re gonna be aggressive, please run over us. If you’re gonna take a chill pill, YDG-style, then be chill. Of course, there is always room for innovation, especially with the rock band. But, a debut song, under new management, is not necessarily the time to go left field.
In a recent interview on Hiphopplaya (translated here), a recurring phrase from Iron was “…thinking about it now, I’m a bit embarrassed…” He said it about four times. This shows someone who’s no longer being sincere with himself. Someone who’s listening to other people. He may well be saying “thinking about it now… I am ashamed of who I was before… I met all these idols and agency executives.” “Thinking about it now… I want to be a different person…like all these shiny and sparkly idols.” “Thinking about it now… I am a fake person, now.”
On the plus side, Iron is young and still humble. He’ll find his way. Hopefully, in his searching, he will not let the dark side completely overwhelm him. Iron, may the force be with you.
Exo Still Want You To “Call Me Baby”
SM Entertainment is trying to get back in stride, after a disastrous 2014. And, one way to get back to normal, is an Exo comeback. Exo, now 10 members having lost two of their Chinese members, has returned with a single that’s a little lacking when you compare with some of their previous comebacks. But that’s what happens when you continually deliver the moon to your fans. Let’s just say, this comeback is great, but it’s stuck in orbit.
Exo, though a young group, have a masculine calling card – neutral-toned suits, and hard charging choreo. Here, they’ve lost the suits, and exchanged them for leather jackets – still masculine, but not as compelling.
Musically, the song is arranged around the heavy recurring beats. Although it’s not their best work, it still has that essence of an Exo comeback. Exo comebacks usually have lofty vocals that drip with honey as in “What is Love.” So here, they’ve falling short a little.
The choreography also isn’t there – almost a little contrived. Again, probably because we’ve seen better, like in Growl. This choreography has the signature of Lyle Beniga, who choreographed Exo’s debut Mama. He was either directly involved in the choreography of “Call Me Baby,” – or Exo’s choreographical DNA is forever linked with him.
Even though their Chinese members have been decimated from 6 to 4, Exo have maintained their commitment to the Chinese market by releasing the Chinese version along with the Korean Version. All ten boys feature in both videos.
The comeback was released on March 30, 2015 on SM Entertainment’s YouTube channel.
Rap Monster Isn’t Joking In “Joke”
Rap Monster has no chill. Once the beat drops, he’s off and gone. Chorus?! What’s that? Hook?! What’s that? Bridge?! What’s that? Well, he warned us, “I told you I’m a monster, that’s why I be rapping non-stop”.
The beat is innovative and unique, and the eeree feeling it creates really works with the concept of the MV, with Rap Monster as both the patient and guard in a mental facility.
The MV was released on March 26, 2015.
TAEIL (태일) Releases “Inspiring”
This is such a beautiful ballad. With Tael’s passionate and stirring vocals, the piano infused single couldn’t be anymore moving. The setting of the music video is charming, and the haunting footsteps of the girl at the beginning sets up the video well.
The music video was published on Mar 26, 2015.