Whales & K-Pop: EXO, BTS, & The Loneliest Creature In The World

EXO "Sing For You" BTS "Whalien 52"What does EXO and BTS have in common?

Ask me this yesterday, and I’d have said a variety of things like, “K-pop boy bands, good looking, talented, etc.” Ask me today and I’d have to say “they’re lonely.” Or, alternatively, both BTS and EXO are fans of the 52-hertz whale, known as the loneliest creature on this planet.

It is pretty well-known that K-pop idols are dedicated to their craft and their fans. Fan service, the shows of affection that Korean singers put on for their fans that range from throwing hearts into crowds to getting down on one knee and mock-proposing to fans with roses, is commonplace. As entertainers, it is the job of Korean idols to make fans believe that they are happy; showing anything less than a large smile is often seen as unprofessional.

But within the past two weeks though, two of K-pop’s most up-and-coming idol groups both addressed loneliness verging on depression, using the lonely 52-hertz whale, the world’s so-called loneliest whale to do just that.

The Loneliest Animal On Earth

“It’s as if he speaks his own language– a language of one. Even stranger, 52 Hertz does not follow the known migration route of any extant baleen whale species. He sings alone and travels alone.” — Bryan Nelson for Discovery.com

The 52-hertz whale was first heard in 1989 by a team of scientists, singing a whale song that was more than double the average frequency of whale song from other species of the animal, which sing between a range of 15-25 hertz. Since then, the 52-hertz whale has been identified as single, solitary whale. He is the epitome of loneliness on this planet, and has been this way for at least twenty years.

And BTS and EXO have each tied this lone creature into their recent songs, turning the 52-hertz whale as a symbol of both depression and hope.


Also on KultScene: Which BTS Member Are You? [QUIZ]

BTS – “Whalien 52”

BTS’s “Whalien 52,” from their latest album “The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part 2 “ is a song about being misunderstood and not being able to fit in. The title is an amalgamation of the 52-hertz whale’s name and the idea of “alienation,” or being apart and different from those around you.

“Alienation- A withdrawing or separation of a person or a person’s affections from an object or position of former attachment : estrangement. (Alienation…from the values of one’s society and family.-S. L. Halleck)” — Merriam-Webster

BTS’s song was produced by Pdogg in collaboration with members Rap Monster, J-Hope, and Jungkook, giving “Whalien 52” a personalized touch that is usually missing from K-pop songs. BTS has set themselves aside from most new K-pop groups for this reason, with members taking a role in just about every song of their latest album. Which means that the final message of “Whalien 52,” to be the best “whale” you can be, and do your own thing even if it means being alone, is a message directly from the mouths of these K-pop idols themselves.

The everyday loneliness that people feel isn’t something that is a typical part of K-pop, which more often than not offers up love songs or bombastic anthems. “Whalien 52” is one of the few songs out there to discuss how each and every person has their own life that is unlike that of anyone else in the world.

BTS’s lilting take on “Whalien 52” takes a harsh subject and gives it a lighter feel, with an ultimately inspiring ending. The initial dark, solitary lyrics and meaning of “Whalien 52” bely the harmonies and raps interspersed with tinkling keyboard and synth sounds, which innately give the song an uplifting vibe to match the song’s final message rather than the initial feeling of being alone.

EXO – “Sing For You”

The lyrics of EXO’s most recent winter ballad, “Sing For You,” describes someone who has regrets towards the person that they love and expresses the desire to sing a confession song for that person. But the music video, an entirely black and white production, initially shows EXO’s members enjoying their winter days and then hints to the darker feelings that people repress under their surface.

The music video depicts literal loneliness, anger, and misunderstanding through the actions of EXO’s members, some fighting, some disappearing etc. And Sehun explores space as a lonely astronaut who meets a solitary, 52-hertz whale.

This isn’t a case of possibly misunderstanding the music video plot; the 52-hertz whale is a symbol of loneliness and the wintery scenes likely hint to depression, particularly seasonal depression, a condition that accompanies the winter months and affects millions of people. The video ends with EXO’s members coming together and Sehun befriending the whale, showing that loneliness can be beaten with the help of others.

Cultural Meaning

EXO is currently one of K-pop’s most popular groups and has spent much of this year competing with Big Bang to take first place. To address the loneliness that people feel, both when they’re on their own (figuratively in outer space,) and when they’re with others, is a big step for the K-pop industry.


Also on KultScene: Meet iDR, The Man Behind EXO’s “Love Me Right”

Whereas BTS is a relatively independent K-pop group (if such a thing were possible,) with members having real roles in creating their music, EXO is the exact opposite. The group is perfectly produced by SM Entertainment with only a few instances throughout their career where EXO’s members have been able to try their hand at playing a part in their artistic career (such as Lay’s hand in the beautiful song, “Promise 2014.”)

But, regardless of their differences, both groups have recently addressed loneliness, comparing the individual’s struggle for understanding to that of a solitary creature who roams the world without literally being understood by its peers.

Both EXO and BTS have offered inspiration in the face of estrangement (BTS- keep persevering, EXO- Find others who understand you), and that’s all good and dandy but there is something deeper behind these two songs than just the normal K-pop/hip hop ballads.

South Korea, the country that makes bubblegum K-pop for all of us to enjoy, is one of the most depressed countries in the world. It has the highest suicide rate by country, with 24.7 people out of 100,000 committing suicide each year according to the Washington Post. According to the OECD Better Life Index, South Korea has the lowest ranking community support in the world, with only 72% of South Koreans feeling that they have people to turn to in times of need. Additionally, South Korea’s work-to-life ratio is lower than that of many other countries.

By offering up inspirational tracks in the dark of the winter, BTS and EXO offer their own sort of 52-hertz whale to their fans. “Whalien 52” and “Sing For You” feature aspects of loneliness, offering understanding to K-pop fans, both Korean and otherwise, who need support in the lonely world.

But, even more so, the message of each song/music video also shows that even the perfectly coiffed K-pop world is a lonely place.

BTS’s members personally partook in writing “Whalien 52” and EXO’s members vividly drew attention to their own battles with loneliness while still trying to keep their smiles on their faces at times. It’s almost expected that BTS has a harder time, because several of them were underground artists and because the group is still under a relatively small entertainment agency, and members of the group have addressed depression in interviews.

But because EXO is under SM Entertainment, the largest entertainment agency, they’re expected to put on a good face the majority of the time and the meaning behind the video of “Sing For You” is almost shocking.  It’s been some time since an SM Entertainment artist discussed depression (several members of Super Junior and Girls’ Generation have addressed it in the past), and it’s the first time that this writer can recall where an SM Entertainment music video hit on something related to mental health.

Because it breaks the illusion of what it means to be an idol, and EXO is arguably the most popular young male K-pop idol group in the world today, depression has been taboo to the group (despite former members leaving and others visibly struggling through performances). But throughout the music video for “Sing For You,” EXO depicts the sort of inner turmoil that isn’t about the love-related lyrics of the song, and instead depict the struggles that go along with the world that they (and the rest of us) live in. “Sing For You” is the opposite of an upbeat anthem; the music video shows suffering and loneliness in a way that just doesn’t let the viewer ignore it.

The 52-hertz whale may be alone, but he’s also a symbol of hope, of resilience, when feeling alone. By bringing out their inner whales and depicting loneliness that is on par with that of the 52-hertz whale, BTS and EXO not only helps their audiences understand that each individual isn’t the only one struggling in this world with loneliness, but also helps people relate more to the very human K-pop idols.

What’s your interpretation of the BTS and EXO songs? How do you deal with loneliness? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

B.A.P’s ‘Young, Wild & Free’ Music Video & Song Review

B.A.P, Young, Wild & Free
It was a painstaking 12 months for B.A.P’s B.A.B.Y’s world wide, but all the frowns were turned upside down when the K-pop group announced their official comeback for November 15th. Fans were on massive pins and needles waiting as teasers were dropped weeks before “Young, Wild & Free” was released. Was the grueling anticipation all worth it? Let’s find out!

Meaning

Even if the sun sets and the darkness comes, keep running til the end.

What’s your goal in life? Happiness? Success? Love? Whatever it may be, there’s no reason as to why you can’t achieve it, that’s what B.A.P is telling us. Maybe you’ll get it right in just one try or maybe you’ll fail 99 times before finally succeeding on the 100th try. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you get there; the most important thing is that you get there. Don’t let your past failures cast shade on your potentially brighter future. Even if you feel like all the doors of opportunity have closed, just keep knocking because sooner or later one will open up and that’ll be that one that’ll lead you right to where you should be. Read more

13 K-Pop Videos to Get You into the Halloween Spirit

K-Pop Halloween BTOB ThrillerLadies and Gentlemen, the time of all things dark, spooky, and strange is upon us. With Halloween just around the corner, whether you want to party till the sun chases away the monsters or curl up in a dark corner watching a horror movie marathon, here are a few Korean music videos to help awaken your inner ghoul.

1.BTOB – “Thriller”

It can’t be Halloween without a few zombies. BTOB brings us a dark video that starts out in a creepy cemetery with their “zombie dance” opening. From the sharp and haunting dance moves to glowing eyes, “Thriller” perfectly expresses the dark theme while still remaining stylish and fresh. The song features powerful vocals from vocalists Hyunsik and Eunkwang mixed with fast and steady rap verses from Ilhoon and Minhyuk that accentuate the idea of invincibility and the fact that frightening things can be exciting, which is what Halloween is all about.sup

2.100% – “Beat”

This literal heart-wrenching video from 100% puts a dark spin on the classic Frankenstein story which features a girl harvesting parts from other members to bring the one she loves back to life. “Beat” prompts viewers to question how far would they go for love and dealing with the consequences. The smooth almost monotone feeling of the song explodes with the chorus,
where the group’s lead and main vocals Rokhyun and Hyukjin do a great job in expressing the pain and dark side of love.

3.BOYFRIEND – “WITCH”

BOYFRIEND’s “WITCH” is a dance song with a catchy hook about liking a girl that they probably shouldn’t. The video features a hot gang of vampires and Little Red Riding Hood the vampire slayer. . . It’s K-Pop so why not? The eerie background sounds mixed with the upbeat dance track and vampire visuals do well together to create a dark atmosphere perfect for any spooky
dance party.


Also on KultScene: f(x)’s “4 Walls” Album Review

4.VIXX – “VOODOO DOLL”

At the climax of their dark/horror concepts, VIXX released the video for “VOODOO DOLL.” Unlike the typical bright bubbly  mages K-Pop is known for, VIXX did a complete 180 with everything from blood to voodoo possession. If you’re not a fan of the all the blood and gore, then you can opt for the clean version and admire the dance moves and large pin prop that VIXX incorporates, going along with the whole voodoo theme. But since it is Halloween, why not embrace the stunning visuals that VIXX created in all of its gory awesomeness?

5.BEAST – “Shadow”

BEAST totally embraces the whole dark and brooding theme with “Shadow.” A song written by BEAST’s very own rapper and composer genius Young Jun Hyung about being in darkness (or shadows, if you will) after losing a loved one. The song features great vocals and rap verses, not to be outdone by the dark post-apocalyptic imagery of the video.

6.Sunmi – “Full Moon”

Vampires are definitely a popular thing this time of year. Instead of a heart-pumping adrenaline rushing vampire image, Sunmi takes a more sexy dark approach to the whole blood sucking thing. “Full Moon” is a slow jazzy song perfect for those cold dark nights.

7.Kim Jae Joong – “Mine”

Kim Jae Joong, 1/3 of the popular group JYJ, stepped out with a solo rock song. From snowy forests to random evil foreboding animals and Jae Joong as a bedazzled Doctor Doom/Vampire/Angel. The video is filled with everything your dark goth-y heart would desire.

8.F(x) – “Red Light”

Now “Red Light” isn’t your typical Halloween spooky song full of pumpkins and monsters, although the video does have a black cat in it. The song and video gives off a dark and mysterious vibes that are perfect for this season.

9.Block B – “Jackpot”

Many people find clowns delightful, but if they are not really your style then the opening of Block B’s “Jackpot” will probably freak you out. The whole strange freaky theme is carried throughout the video with the band tormenting a girl with their crazy antics (though I wouldn’t mind at all).

10.Sunny Hill – “Midnight Circus”

Another group that likes to hang out at creepy circuses is Sunny Hill. In “Midnight Circus” the girls take a more sexy approach in a strange vintage looking circus in the woods. With an eerie intro, “Midnight Circus” plays nicely into the Halloween theme.


Also on KultScene: 5 Korean Actors Who Can Carre A Tune Better Than K-Pop Idols

11.Lee Jung Hyun – “V”

The video begins as any other horror movie; guy is stranded and wanders into a creepy old house were mayhem pursues. The Techno Queen Lee Jung Hyun takes a more fun approach to the whole creepy obsession thing and puts a fun quirky spin on the traditional haunted house.

12.LADIES’CODE – “Hate You”

Whenever girl groups do a dark concept, it usually comes off as sexy. On the contrary, LADIES’CODE does the dark concept in a more artsy way. Their whole doll concept is both strange and beautiful at the same time proving that you don’t have to be crazy or gory to send chills down someone’s spine.

 

13. Super Junior – “Opera”

Super boy band Super Junior puts out a dark Phantom of the Opera-esque video with “Opera.” In the video the boys vanishing and appearing like very stylish ghosts. Yes, this is the Japanese version, but the video fits the whole Halloween theme than the Korean dance version.

What’s your favorite Halloween song? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

TWICE “Like OOH-AHH” Music Video & Song Review

Twice debut review

JYP’s new girl group, TWICE made their debut on the 20th of October with their mini-album “The Story Begins” and their title track “Like OOH-AHH”. This debut comes highly anticipated due to the competition show “Sixteen”, in which this group of nine members was first formed. Did they live up to their potential with this title track? Here is my review on it.

Song

I love the instrumentals throughout the song, especially at the beginning and when it was building up to a climax. Most of the girls showed off their great vocals as well, in particular members Jihyo and Nayeon. It is a very catchy song and has a youthful feel with the girls cheering lines such as “I want to fall in love!” The chorus has a good hook, is filled with energy and is my favourite part of the song. The track is far from perfect, however, especially because of the massive overuse of autotune for non-vocalist members such as Momo. The rapping done by Chaeyoung and Dahyun was rather underwhelming however, especially because I’ve seen better rapping from Chaeyoung during “Sixteen”. So is the surprisingly sombre bridge, which got the original highly energized song screeching to a halt. It felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the song, which is unfortunate.

On the bright side, the lyrics of the song and cheers are cleverly worded. Apart from throwing in JYP Entertainment references (“Who’s Your Mama?”), there are puns on their name being used as well. Take for example the cheer they shout out before they sing the final chorus.

Better think about it TWICE
Let me see how you gonna treat me
I ain’t no easy
Better think about it TWICE

The song was good as a whole but was disappointing because TWICE has a lot more potential than they showcased. It was a surprise to me as well how the lines were quite evenly distributed, considering the fact that there are nine members in the group.


Also on Kultscene: Which TWICE member are you? [Quiz] 

Videography

I really didn’t understand the use of the zombies in this video and their relation to the song, but I’m happy to report that the rest of the music video is solid. It takes place in what is supposed to be a school but ends up looking more like a club. It’s pretty hilarious how there is a gigantic hole in the wall of a classroom and how the toilet has pink and purple lighting complete with glow in the dark scribbling. The video is colourful just like the personalities of the TWICE members and I really enjoyed the transitions from member to member as the specialities of each member was showcased.

via momoohirai on tumblr

via woozi-melon on tumblr

My favourite part of the video would be when the girls were gathered in front of the school bus dancing together with Momo (main dancer) standing inside the bus. Apart from showcasing her awesome skills (she was really shortchanged on the vocal part) it also featured TWICE dancing together as a group, instead of having them separated like they were for a majority of the video.

via boxxsaltz on tumblr

The humor incorporated throughout the video also stands out to me because it gave the TWICE members a friendly and cute image, particularly when cheerleader Sana attempted to mimic the flexible movements of her members Mina and Momo and failed horribly at them. When the rest of the members got off the bus coolly Sana also managed to fall on the ground (in a cute manner of course). It just seemed so true to her playful character that I found it adorable and endearing.

via momoohirai on tumblr

via glocchan on tumblr

I have two main complaints about the video though. Firstly, the zombies were really unnecessary in the video. I’ve read some explanations online regarding the meaning behind the zombies and how they relate to the song but I would argue that this video would have been better off without them. It didn’t help that they were quite scary looking, or maybe I just have a low threshold for horror, but they somewhat ruined the aesthetic and fun vibes of the video. If TWICE had gone for a truly scary concept from the start the addition of the zombies would definitely have been more logical.

Next, it may be because TWICE are rookies, but there were some instances where the members’ lip-syncing was quite obviously off. While it did not really affect the video very much, it did take out some of my enjoyment of it.


Also on Kultscene: HEO’s Ambient Rock Sound Takes The Stage At Seoulsonic 2015 [Interview]

Styling

I absolutely love the styling for this video, be it their academic attire or their rooftop attire. The outfits were vibrant and interesting, in some cases they were even catered to the individual personalities of the members. Jungyeon, her messy hair and her gym tracksuit is a great example of this.

via sanaesthesia on tumblr

I appreciate the fact that the TWICE members are not just trying to look pretty but that they want to be unique and have their own style. I can say with satisfaction that they have certainly succeeded in doing.

Overall Thoughts

TWICE was a group that I was expecting a lot from, especially because I had watched them in their trainee days through “Sixteen” and I was already a fan. There were many flaws evident in both the song and the music video, but as a whole I enjoyed it. This may not be the best work put out by JYP Entertainment this year, but it is a great start for TWICE and I hope that they will only grow from here.

Did you enjoy TWICE’s debut? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Flash Music Video Reviews: Taeyeon, 24K, Oh My Girl, MFBTY, Ailee, Melody Day, iKon, AA

iKONI tried my hand at flash music video reviews earlier this year and I’m back for more. This week, I reviewed music videos released by Korean artists including Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, AA (Aoora & Hoik,) MFBTY, Oh My Girl, 24K, AileeMelody Day, and iKon. Each mini review doesn’t offer up in depth critiques of the music or music videos, but instead represent this writer’s first impressions.

Taeyeon “I”

First off, this music video has four million views already, so I know it’s going to be good. Taeyeon is a very talented singer and looks mad adorable as a waitress. The earthy elements and cinematic videography is really lovely. This soft rock thing that seems to be going on is new for Taeyeon, but it’s a nice change and it suits Verbal Jint’s featured rap. Those sheep are adorable, and I want Taeyeon’s outfits to laze around my house in.

I’m not sure if this is a complaint, but it took over a minute to get to a main stanza of the song and hear its sound other than its chorus. I’m a big fan of this sound. The lyrics are inspirational and shows of Taeyeon’s powerful vocals in a great way, while offering a really nicely made music video (obviously filmed in Portland.) With fuzzy sheep and a pretty butterfly, there’s really nothing I can fault.

The song isn’t typical K-pop, which is really great to see SM Entertainment attempting as its artists mature. Also, did she just steal her boss’s key after quitting? It doesn’t matter, this is a beautiful song and a beautifully shot music video. SM Entertainment really knows what it is doing with these solo debuts and taking time to make sure that everything is stellar.

24K “Super Fly”

This music video got a lot of attention because it was erroneously reported that a member was caught fighting in a club. But oh, they’re not in a club but instead being school delinquents. We’re going the really strong and powerful, hip hop oriented route that’s been so popular in K-pop lately. Am I watching Monsta X? What happened to my adorable “U R So Cute,” 24K?

This rap at the beginning is pretty powerful and the visuals are great. I’m a fan of this singing part that bridges into the chorus, but the whistling and thumping sirens could be brought down a few notches. This is a pretty high quality video, which is really nice to see from a group that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while, but it seems like they took out all the big guns to just go with what has been trending lately and try to get popular. (Is taking out hip hop tropes K-pop male groups the same as wearing scanty clothes is for K-pop girl groups?)

This is a love song, but it seems like the powerful images and sounds would be better put to singing against the establishment. 24K hold their own in this music video, and this is really a step up in their game.


Also on KultScene: Flash K-Pop Music Video Reviews: Jonghyun, Jung Yonghwa, Mad Clown, From The Airport, Eddy Kim, GFriend

Oh My Girl “Closer”

“Cupid” was probably my favorite rookie girl group debut of the year, so hopefully “Closer” will live up to that, both plot-wise and musically.

Nope, we’re getting away from the adorable cupids to a really beautiful setting and lovely outfits. Nice dance moves, but I feel like we’re moving away from what made Oh My Girl stand out and moving stylistically more towards the trends. Oh wait, I take that back. These vocals are on par with what I expected from this group. The fairytale elements are really nice, and you can tell that WM spent a lot on this (that company never really disappoints).

I’m two minutes in and I’ve already decided that Oh My Girl should probably be Red Velvet’s real competition for the next generation of K-pop queens (okay, maybe that’s too much but they really deserve to be acknowledge). This song has really clear vocals that I feel like aren’t what most girl groups are putting out today and the members each have distinct images to the point where I don’t feel like I’m looking at plastic surgery monsters. Side point, the dance at the beginning and end are really good.

MFBTY ”6am”

“WondaLand” is easily one of the best Korean albums of the year, so now that MFBTY is out with a music video for “6am,” I hardly need to review this. So this plot is pretty simple, but this is kind of fun to see Bizzy act lovelorn. Oh, and angry. Wow, he’s really angry now. This back lighting is a bit irritating and I’d like it for a few seconds, but I feel like it doesn’t really feel like “6am” but more likely gives the sleezy bar at 1am feel.

This love story is really nicely done, although I definitely need to watch this again to figure out what is going on at what point in the relationship. This is definitely one of MFBTY’s most basic music videos to date, but that’s not really such a bad thing. Keep it simple sometimes.

I have to confess that “6am” is probably my least song from “WondaLand,” and since I’ve already confessed my love for this album, I don’t have much to say about the music except that I wish MFBTY used less autotune on this song.

Ailee “Insane”

Watching a girl while she sleeps isn’t exactly alright and this room is pretty creepy. Oh nevermind, maybe. Work it girl, do rhythmic modern dance moves while some creeper is watching you sleep. Obviously you don’t realize he’s there. Oh! He’s her dream guy, that’s kind of cute for a plot of a music video with a really simple setting.

Straight off the bat, this isn’t my favorite Ailee song, but she’s rocking this dance and I’m very happy that she is getting to sing some R&B, since that’s definitely her strength. These lyrics are really pretty and I love this back up chorus. This song definitely reminds me of Mariah Carey, which isn’t a bad thing. I see why Ailee is promoting “Mind Your Own Business” more, but this song is a really stellar addition to her repertoire.


Also on KultScene: Taeyeon’s ‘I’ Music Video & Song Review

Melody Day “Speed Up”

Melody Day is well known for their vocals, but I saw a screen cap that showed this is a dance song, so let’s see how this goes. Because right now, all I see is GOT7’s JR. I’m not complaining. Oh wow, this is really a spin.

They look good and not showing too much skin, but they’re definitely going the sexy dance song route instead of keeping to their typical ballads. I’m really not in love with this song, it seems very typical and Melody Day has much more talent than this song or video showcases. Maybe if this was three years ago, I’d love the styling and video, but this is just basic K-pop at this point. The outfits are pretty great and they’re showcasing a lot of different looks, but it seems just like a really busy music video.

The breaks in the song to tone things down are really cute, but I can’t tell where this song is supposed to be going and the music isn’t ideal for showcasing their talent. There’s a lot of potential, but it feels like every time I expect Melody Day to show off what they have, the song disappoints by taking a vocal group and giving them a KARA or Girl’s Day Concept.

Aoora & Hoik of AA “Afternoon Morning Evening” feat. Taeyeon of she’z

The fact that something happened and AA never had a proper comeback after a member left was really disappointing to me, because their previous songs were really great. But now they’re back, to some degree, with this. Aoora’s had a few solo releases (most of which I was shocked by), but Hoik’s voice was the the thing that really caught my attention when AA debuted and this song is starting off soft and gentle, giving him the perfect way to showcase his voice.

This song is really just perfection, it’s like AA’s “Rollin’ Rollin’” all grown up. The video looks like it has a pretty low production value, but it’s simple and adorable. The song gets a bit quieter towards the end? I can’t tell if that’s my audio or something, but regardless, the combination of the pair’s voices with Taeyeon’s of she’z go really well together.

iKon “Rhythm Ta”

Let’s see, YG, bring your game. Oh, I don’t love basketball jerseys as outfits in K-pop just because it kind of seems a bit lazy. I get that their comeback is basketball themed, but this comes off as a bit too 90’s to me. Definitely not my type of song, but it’s nice to see YG trying to get back to its early hip hop routes.

Compared to Winner’s debut music video, I feel like this looks pretty cool, but I’m a little bored. Oh, hey, there’s a dog! The members look good, but wow there are a lot of dogs in this: I’ll take it. This song is groove-able, but definitely not one of my favorite debut songs of 2015, which is a little bit disappointing considering how much YG Entertainment has hyped up iKON. The groups look good, but the repetitive nature of this song doesn’t seem like something that we should be waiting for. I’d love to hear more of the vocals from this group, because these few moments where the vocalists sing is really great. Side note, why are only the vocalists blonde? This group has a lot of promise and I see why people like them, but I’m going to wait a bit to see if I like iKON’s other songs.

What’s your favorite recent song out of Korea? Are there any upcoming songs you’d like to see a quick review of? Let us know in the comments and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Taeyeon’s ‘I’ Music Video & Song Review

Taeyeon music review

I am not a Sone (official fanclub name for Girls Generation) but I have always enjoyed Taeyeon’s solo releases, especially popular OSTs such as “Missing You Like Crazy” and “And One”. That was why I got excited when I heard about Taeyeon’s solo album, and even more so when I heard that her title track “I” achieved an all-kill on local and international music charts. With well-known rapper Verbal Jint featuring on this track, I knew that it would be something special. Without further ado, here’s my review of “I”.

Song

The track opens right away with the addictive chorus but is immediately followed by Verbal Jint’s short rap. The first time I heard it I found the transition a bit abrupt, especially since the chorus is repeated again after his rap. Taeyeon’s style of singing the chorus, or mainly the word “I,” reminds me of country music and Taylor Swift (in her first few releases). While it is nice to listen to, initially, I got quite tired of it by the time the song was over. The song picks up considerably during the other verses and the bridge though, both in terms of melody and the emotions in Taeyeon’s voice. I especially love how Taeyeon’s voice grows stronger and more free in the bridge as the song comes to a climax, as it clearly empathizes the meaningful and inspirational lyrics of the song.

Flower petals wilt
I had difficult times, but followed a small light
Distant day, let it go far, faraway
I fly splendidly
Sky that pours light
Renewed eyes (Renewed eyes)
Fly far away (Fly high, fly high)
Beauty that belongs only to me

The instrumentals were pretty amazing from start to finish as it started out softly but gradually built up and really enhanced the track; it honestly blew my breath away towards the end of the song. I would probably have enjoyed the song more if Verbal Jint’s presence was more prominent because he definitely added a level of intensity and depth to this otherwise catchy but musically shallow track. That’s not to say that it was bad, because Taeyeon exceeded my expectations entirely with this release.


Also on Kultscene: Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart” and “You Think” Song Review

Videography

The music video for this song is simply gorgeous, mostly because of the natural scenery featured frequently in it. The music video was shot in New Zealand, a country famous for its physical beauty, and the videography certainly did justice to it.

taeyeon review 3

I love the fact that this music video has an engaging storyline and an empowering message. Featuring Taeyeon as the protagonist, she plays a waitress who hates her dreary life in a cafe and is constantly dreaming about frollicking freely in nature. She eventually quits her job at the cafe (in a totally bad-ass way) and gets to live out her dream.

Don’t be afraid to follow your heart and fulfill your dreams is the beautiful and inspirational message that Taeyeon is conveying through this video. As can be seen by the comments left on her video on Youtube, this message is encouraging and relatable to many viewers who feel stuck in their tiring daily lives. It is rare to see K-pop music videos these days that have such meaning and it is certainly refreshing.


Also on Kultscene: 8 Jessi Songs To Get You Ready For Her Los Angeles Show

Styling

Taeyeon wore a few outfits throughout this video and definitely looks gorgeous in her waitress uniform even though I think she had too much jewellry on. However, her styling when she was in the fields leaves much to be desired.

During scenes when Taeyeon is surrounded by nature, she sports a country-style white dress and a cute braided hairstyle, but the make-up splattered on her face does not suit her attire at all. The choice of the feather earring for these scenes was also a bit unfortunate because it kept flying up her face due to the strong winds.

taeyeon review 2

I love this look on Taeyeon though, she pulls off the girl-next-door vibe very well. It looks comfortable but still extremely glamorous on her with her flawless beauty.

Overall Thoughts

This was a good solo debut for Taeyeon and she certainly deserves the success she is getting from it right now. The song and video were not perfect but they undoubtedly brought out the right tone and message befitting the lyrics. She has set a high bar for her future releases and I cannot wait for her next comeback.

Have you heard ‘I’? What do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

GOT7’s ‘If You Do’ Music Video & Song Review

got7, if you do
Is Park Jinyoung (founder and CEO of JYP Entertainment) prepping Got7 into becoming the next 2PM? The probability is high considering the guys of Got7 are stepping away from their cute and somersaulting high kicks concepts into a more mature and sexier phase in their careers with their latest music video and song “If You Do”. Let’s see if Got7 is successful at channeling this new profound sexy concept!

Song

“If You Do” is considerably the most “low energy” and closest to a ballad that Got7 has promoted as a title track. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! If anything, this is probably their best song to date. It starts off slow as Jr. slowly reels you in with his lustful voice, to a distressed JB in the chorus, an aggressive rap shared between Mark and Jackson, then to a sorrowful Youngjae who’s afraid of getting close to love. It doesn’t matter whether or not the members of Got7 have encountered the problematic situations with relationships like the lyrics are stating because you can feel the raw emotions and genuine feelings in their voices.


Also on KultScene: Got7’s “A” Music Video Review & Rundown

With so many great vocalists in Got7, the distribution of lines tends to get a bit teetered, going usually to JB, Jr., and Youngjae. So it was great hearing Got7’s maknae (youngest member) Yugyeom getting more than the one whimsical line that he usually gets. If you know Got7, then you know that Yugyeom is a dance maniac — their energetic dance machine — but he also gets cheated of lines, especially with their last track “Just Right.” Surprisingly enough though for someone who is as hyperactive as this 17-year-old is, he has a notably tender voice, which was quite pleasant to listen to. Read more

Fly to the Sky’s ‘It Happens To Be That Way’ Music Video & Song Review

FTTS, fly to the sky, love & hate first mini album, love & hate, it happens to be that way
On September 14th, the ballad princes better known as Fly to the Sky released their mini album titled “Love & Hate” with “It Happens to be That Way” as one of their two title tracks. Why one of two title tracks you may ask? Brian and Hwanhee explained that they were rather troubled with the task of choosing one title track and the thought of having two just seemed to make sense. They further went on to explain that although both title tracks are ballads, with both have similar and different feelings, these songs will cause a wet autumn, filled with emotional rain. Let’s see if it’ll be literal rain or tears as we review “It Happens to be That Way”.

Meaning

I talk about our goodbye like it’s no big deal
But my heart is still filled with you.

In the aftermath of a bitter break up, sometimes the most natural reaction that one can make is by shrugging it off like it’s really no big deal. The last thing you want is for those around you to continuously pester you with a million and one questions as to why the two of you broke up, how it all came about and whose at fault. The best way to avoid these questions and without getting too in-depth when answering is by ending the conversation as quickly as possible in order to make it seem as though you’re actually doing okay. But what happens when you know that you’re not okay?


Also on KultScene: Playlist Sunday: K-Pop Songs Named After Movies

It’s rare for one to walk away from a relationship and not feel any sense of remorse, sadness or heartbreak; that space in your heart won’t be vacant until it’s fully repaired and ready to move on. So what do you do in the meantime? What happens when denying reality no longer works? Should you continue shrugging it off and act like you’re not pained by the situation or do you let your emotions take over, that way you can let your heart heal? Whichever decision you opt for, just remember that things will eventually work themselves out, so it’s okay to be angry, sad, and bitter. Don’t let your heart be consumed with all these feelings on it’s own. Express it and let it all out.

Song

As if ballads don’t get a rep for being emotional enough on it’s own, you know a song will be pulling at your heartstrings when it starts off with an orchestra of string instruments. There’s something about those violins in the beginning of “It Happens to be That Way” that quickly engulfs you in an ocean of emotions. Brian and Hwanhee are both extraordinary vocalists, they each have their own distinctive and unique techniques that blend extremely well together, hence how they’ve managed to perform and work as well as they have for the last 15 years. With Brian’s impassioned tone and Hwanhee’s commanding notes transcending throughout the song, these guys will for sure take you on a whirlwind rollercoaster of untamed emotions. Read more

Jun Jin’s ‘Wow Wow Wow’ Music Video & Song Review

Jun Jin, Wow Wow Wow, Jun Jin Real
After a six year hiatus from his solo activities, Shinhwa’s, Jun Jin, popped back onto the music scene with his newest song and music video titled “Wow Wow Wow,” which also features fellow member Eric. Due to the lengthy wait, fans all over rejoiced in excitement at the announcement of his comeback. Many hoped to see how much Jun Jin had matured musically since the release of his first solo debut single back in 2006, dating to his last solo project in 2009 before he left for his military enlistment. With the wait finally over, let’s dive right in with this KultScene writer as she reviews the long awaited Jun Jin comeback.

Song

Hearts stopped beating and quickly came back to life from the moment Jun Jin started the song with the “looking at looking at looking at you” along with the overlapping of Eric’s sexy whispers of “I’m looking at, I’m looking at you”. When was it ever okay (but in fact it really is okay) for an artist to start a song in such a seductive manner as Jun Jin and Eric did in “Wow Wow Wow”? Read more