Weekly K-Pop Faves: 12-18

exo-playlist-sunday

Only two weeks left of December, and K-pop 2016 isn’t anywhere near slowing down. (Although our writers are, as busy as they are with the holidays and finals!) This week, we talked a little about an EXO song and K.A.R.D’s debut. Take a listen below and let us know what your favorite song of the week was.

EXO “Winter Heat” (Released Dec. 18)

Each year, EXO’s special winter album is one of my favorite EPs. Their recently released For Life album isn’t doing it for me as much as last year’s Sing For You did, but the b-side “Winter Heat” is a groovy house track that I’ve been listening to all day on repeat. (Or at least since I listened to the album for the first time around 11am in NY.) The song provides some of the album’s more upbeat moments, and some of the group’s most melodic vocals this year that overwhelm the electric rhythm of “Winter Heat.” If you’re looking for a sultry song to heat you up on a cold winter day, well… “Winter Heat” could melt Antarctica.


–Tamar


Also on KultScene: 2016 K-Pop Inspired Gift-Giving Guide

K.A.R.D “Oh NaNa” (Released Dec. 13)

DSP Media’s new co-ed group K.A.R.D debuted this week with hard-hitting vocals, raps, and visuals, delivering a well-rounded combination of skills and charm in their first release. The song “Oh NaNa” is, frankly, much stronger than any of DSP Media’s recent releases (and by recent, I mean from the past two years). With strong influences from hip-hop, EDM, and mainstream K-Pop in general, the song fits the K-Pop mold while also incorporating some incredibly unique features — namely, a co-ed lineup. If KARD does well, maybe we’ll see more co-ed groups in the future? Only time can tell. For now, I respect DSP for this largely experimental release, and hope to see more of this quality from them in the future.

–Kushal

What was your favorite song of the week? 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.

Weekly K-pop faves: December 5 – 11

K-pop playlist winterThe winter blues may be affecting everyone as we move deeper and deeper into December, but Weekly K-pop favorites playlist, courtesy of KultScene’s staff, is all about beating the blahs via some of our favorite artists. 10cm, Suran, and Jessica, formerly of Girls’ Generation, all released new music this week that our writers were fans of.

“Winter Bird” by Suran (Released Dec. 7)

I really like when other artists bring Suran in to sing a verse or the chorus on their songs. A full length Suran track, however, is difficult for me to get through (namely, “Paradise Go”). Her tone is just too much to endure for me for 3 minutes straight, it seems. That’s why when “Winter Bird” dropped this week, I was pleased. I love her voice in small pieces, so I really wanted to like her solo work, and that was achieved with this release. The fact that it’s stripped of all frills and elaborate beats allows Suran’s voice to soar and stand on its own. Not to mention each note is full of every emotion imaginable. Am I sad? Am I inspired? Am I happy? I don’t know! But it got me in the feels. With “Winter Bird,” my will to keep rooting for Suran is restored.

— Alexis


Also on KultScene: B1A4’s ‘Good Timing’ Album Review

“My Eyes” by 10cm (Released Dec. 9)

I was thrilled to hear the gentle strumming of 10cm’s new song as it played in the background of one of the best dramas of the year, Goblin. Kwon Jung Yeol’s vocals set the mood perfectly in ”My Eyes,” a love song that, both through its lyrics and the light-hearted instrumental melody, relays the fluttering emotions related to the start of a new relationship. 10cm became associated with springtime thanks to their recent hit “What The Love?”, but “My Eyes” is a romantic melody for every season.

— Tamar

“Wonderland” by Jessica (Released Dec. 10)

For her sophomore mini album release, Jessica uses “Wonderland” to further cement her individual sound as separate from that of her Girls’ Generation days. The song follows a similar formula as that of her debut track “Fly,” but with more influences from EDM “Wonderland” establishes Jessica’s own signature sound and gives her some room for innovation and variation. Not to mention, the “Wonderland” theme creates a continuing story with her debut release, because Jessica longed to find a “winter wonderland” throughout the “Fly” MV. From visuals to music, Jessica is continuing to show us her own unique musical prowess through her solo releases.

— Kushal

What’s your favorite song of the week? 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.

Weekly K-pop playlist- November 28th – December 4th

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As 2016 reaches it’s end, K-pop releases start to slow down in light of the new year. In previous years, December was largely abandoned by artists and reserved for the kitschy Holiday tracks. However, over the last couple of years, companies have carried on throughout the month business as usual. We may not be getting an influx of releases like before, but we’re still seeing some comebacks and random singles. So, as per usual, here are a few of our faves from the week from acts including Seventeen, Shinhwa, Hyoyeon of Girls’ Generation, and more!

“Orange” by Shinhwa (Released Nov. 29)

“Orange,” title track off of Shinhwa’s 13th studio album “Unchanging,” is a song well worth the title. As a SHCJ (Shinhwa Changjo, their fanclub name), I’m quite honored that they chose to name a song after their fanclub color. Yes, you guessed it, orange! “Orange” is reminiscent of what everything ‘90s K-Pop was, bubbly and totally cringe worthy, but in all the right ways. It’s a cheesed out love song. “My floating and fluttering footsteps go to you/ Baby I’m in love with you,” yeah, it doesn’t get any more skin crawling then this and maybe it’s because I’m a die heart SHCJ, but I’m absolutely fine with the finger and toe curling lyrics.


Also on KultScene: 2016 Gift Guide For Fans Of Korean Pop Culture [GIVEAWAYS]

It’s probably safe to say that if you listened to the song with no previous knowledge of who Shinhwa was, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that they were six guys all in their mid thirties. but if you watched the music video first, then, well, that’s a different story. Why are these guys mega dorks? It might’ve helped with the recording session, considering the fact that the members are always acting like fools, on screen and off. They’ve been together for so long, that whatever it is that you’re seeing on screen, is literally how they always act when they’re around one another; sudden tickle attacks, everyone ganging up on leader, Eric, and six guys, who just can’t stay still. Now that we’re entering the winter months (here in the Northeast), “Orange” will be a nice song to listen to whenever I need some cheering up from the cold weather.

— Tam

“That Fool” by Jung Seung Hwan (Released Nov. 30)

The talented vocalist from the fourth season of Kpop Star finally made his official debut with Antenna Music recently with the album “His Voice,” featuring the title song “That Fool.” Within hours, his songs took the top spots on Korean music charts and for good reason. The ballads on his album, and this title song in particular, highlight the emotional and passionate way Jung sings. While his voice is stable and technically skilled, the feeling he pours into the song really touches his listeners. This has also been evident from the many popular OSTs he has released this past year, including “Wind” from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo and “If It Is You” from Another Oh Hae-young. Even better, he sounds absolutely amazing live. He promoted his album on Yoo Hee Yeol Sketchbook recently, and performed “That Fool” in a way which absolutely captivated his audience. Jung Seung Hwan is going from strength to strength and I hope this continues for a long time to come!

— Anna

“Mystery” by Hyoyeon (Released Dec. 2)

Every Hyoyeon fan has dreamed of this, but to be completely honest, none of us expected it. One of many surprises from SM’s STATION project this year, “Mystery” is Hyoyeon’s first solo musical effort. A mix of Indian instrumentals and influences from hip-hop and electronica, the song is both hypnotic and dance-heavy, perfect for a hard-hitting performer like Hyoyeon to break it down. While the song hasn’t received much promotional effort from SM (it is a STATION song, after all), she is promoting the song on music shows this week, showing everyone that the queen of girl group dancers can perform both choreography and vocals in a way that no one thought she could.

— Kushal


Also on KultScene: B1A4’s “Good Timing” Album Review

“BOOMBOOM” by Seventeen (Released Dec. 4)

Well, Seventeen has done it again. After “Pretty U” and “Very Nice,” you’d think they would be done with 2016, but oh no. Getting it in just right before the year comes to an end, the group put out “BOOMBOOM.” To say their new track sounds like all of their past singles sounds like a bad thing, but it’s actually not. Seventeen always find a way to take the most childish and saccharine beats and turn them into trendy, hyped-up songs. For “BOOMBOOM,” they took the bubbly guitar reminiscent of Disco era jams like “Play That Funky Music” and turned it into yet another pop gem in their discography. The amazing thing about Seventeen is that, with every release, they follow the same formula, but unlike other groups or producers, it comes out fresh every time. Seventeen’s song, with “BOOMBOOM” being no different, have the shift in beat and vocalists’ tempos that make it an exciting audible experience. Bubblegum pop has always been fun, but Seventeen have taken their signature brand to a whole new ball park of sugariness delight.

— Alexis

What was your favorite song of the week? 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.

Weekly K-pop faves: November 21-27

k-pop playlist November 27

As the end of the year inches closer and closer, so does the wintery weather and K-pop’s seasonal tunes have begun in earnest. Both B1A4 and Dok2 released wintery singles this week, while Sistar and Zico (plus Crush and Dean) also returned with songs that are perfect to listen to at this time of year.

“A Lie” by B1A4 (Released Nov. 27)

When it comes to B1A4 making a comeback, there’s no doubt that this group will deliver. They may be a bit lesser known internationally than some other K-pop boy bands, but the group’s production creds and their harmonious vocals actually make them one of the most solid acts in the industry. Their newest song “A Lie,” co-written by Jinyoung and Baro, combines B1A4’s quirkiness with their more soulful side, resulting in a wintery rock ballad that plays with with subtle electronic melodies before resulting in the building chorus. Like many of B1A4 songs, “A Lie” gets better with each listen so as to pick up on each nuanced beat. The accompanying music video is shot beautifully and combines seamlessly with the song to depict a short, yet meaningful, story.


–Tamar


Also on KultScene: Shopping for the K-Obsessed: KultScene’s 2016 Gift Guide [GIVEAWAYS]

“Put it Down” feat. Kim Hyo Eun, Chang Mo by Dok2 (Released Nov. 24)

Despite the new drama Entourage (yes, a “remake” of the American TV series) getting bad reviews, the soundtrack is pretty solid. One of the newest releases brings Illionaire Records’ Dok2, featuring rappers Changmo and Kim Hyo Eun. “Put it Down” strays from the heavy trap sound Dok2 has been using for awhile and slows it waaaay down. His flow has never been that hard-hitting, but paired with this almost dreamy beat makes it a pretty laid back track. For lack of a better word, “Put it Down” is a pretty refreshing track in Dok2’s repertoire. And since I’m already resorting to cliches, I’ll go onto saying it’s perfect for the season. It’s great to see Dok2 leave the club and the flexin’ for a bit.

— Alexis

“One More Day” feat. Giorgio Moroder by Sistar (Released Nov. 22)

I only realised it now, but Giorgio Moroder’s move into K-pop should have been something we were all looking forward to for a long time. His trademark electro disco sounds have influenced the majority of the big producers in K-pop and they would fit just about any group he could get his hands on. So it was great to see him pair up with vocal heroines Sistar for this project song, “One More Day.” He mixes his two favourite sounds for an EDM inspired disco track, where Hyorin’s “woah ohs” recall the discoballs, while his synths are modern and heavy. It’s produced as well as you might expect, but falls short of being great thanks to the attempt to meld these two styles. But its highs are greater than its lows and even better is the lesbian-revenge music video that comes with it.

— Joe


Also on KultScene: The new evolution lives on: 2NE1’s disbandment through a Blackjack’s eyes

“Bermuda Triangle” feat. Crush, Dean by Zico (Released November 27th)

This is the collaboration I’ve been waiting for. I’m also trying everything in my might not to type everything in caps lock right now — the feels! A few things I absolutely love about Zico, Crush, and Dean are their versatility and the passion that oozes out of their souls for music. We all know Zico is always 200 percent when it comes to his raps, and Dean’s vocals are sweet like honey, but, excuse me, Crush? What did you say? “Y’all fake bitches tryna act like me.” That part in the song caught me off guard the most but how is it that I actually don’t hate it and wish he’d spit more fire like that. At first, I was contemplating on not tuning in for the MAMA Awards coming up this week but, I mean, if their live performance is going to be as lit as this song and music video are, then hell yeah I’ll wake up at the crack dawn to witness what’s about to be an epic stage!

And, oh, I mean, I’m sure you’ve already noticed, but can we talk about how visually appealing these guys make this kind of plain video? Well, maybe minus Zico’s grills. Zico wasn’t kidding when he said “paint a perfect picture.” If these three showed up at my local church, then I’d attend mass every Sunday, even though I haven’t gone in over eight years. Whoops.

— Tam

What was your favorite song of the week? 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.

The new evolution lives on: 2NE1’s disbandment through a Blackjack’s eyes

I woke up yesterday morning with no knowledge that breaking K-Pop news had transpired overnight. Like most millennials, I immediately grabbed my phone upon waking, laying in bed and scrolling through Facebook and Messenger.

“Why is 2NE1 trending?” I thought as I clicked through the mobile Facebook app. I assumed it was news of another CL English release, or could it be something related to Dara? Tragically naive, I continued to believe the news would be minor and only related to one member of the group. That is, until I saw the words “2NE1 Disbandment” come up across my screen. In disbelief, my fingers immediately closed the app. Is it actually happening? I raced to check major K-Pop news outlets for answers.

“YG Announces 2NE1’s Disbandment and Nam Tae Hyun’s Departure from WINNER,” the headlines read, and my heart sunk. Don’t get me wrong. As a Blackjack who felt the heartbreak of Minzy leaving a few months ago, the frustration of Bom’s scandal, and YG consistently delaying comebacks — as well as the sobering dread of consecutive disbandments and member leaves come out of this year — I was aware that 2NE1’s untimely breakup wasn’t too far off. As a result, I think my K-Pop fanboy emotional turmoil has been spread out across this year, so the blow of 2NE1’s disbandment was small in magnitude, but still sharp, painful, and cold.

Unlike many other dedicated K-Pop fans, my story with 2NE1 didn’t begin with their debut. I wasn’t actually made aware of 2NE1 until December of 2011, when I still thought K-Pop was over-autotuned garbage (sorry, I was a bratty middle-schooler). My friend Alice, insistent on proving me wrong, sat me down in front a computer screen at our town’s public library. I watched, skeptical and stubborn, as she pulled up “I Am the Best” and jammed her headphones in my ears. She pressed “play,” and my life was instantly changed.

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To say I was absolutely amazed is more than an understatement. From the dazzling lights to the metallic outfits and shiny sets, I saw 2NE1 take music videos to a level that American pop stars rarely have. And the song — full of bombastic confidence, strong vocals, and unparalleled power — redefined my understanding of music. Until then, I was listening to the conventional mainstream American pop artists and, not to say that those artists aren’t talented or deserving of their fame, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my music options. In my search for a musical identity, 2NE1 filled a large, gaping void with a more refined sound and visual than I believed Western music could offer. From that one, fateful day, I ran forward into the world of K-Pop and I haven’t looked back since.


Also on KultScene: Shopping for the K-Obsessed: KultScene’s 2016 Gift Guide [GIVEAWAYS]

Yes, I believe I missed out on being a Blackjack during 2NE1’s formative years. That didn’t stop me, however, from watching all of their old music videos and performances, getting to know each member, and watching the entirety of 2NE1TV as an optimistic grade-schooler. And I was not only amazed by their music and performance ability, but also by their style, by their confidence, by their boldness. I was amazed by the stunning music videos, by the colors and designs they wore in their clothes and hair, by the choreography they seamlessly danced through in beautiful, eye-catching sets. 2NE1 was sharp and powerful, but still beautiful and evocative. Something about them was so fresh and refined, like they had completely reinvented pop culture and fashion to support their own extraordinary style and swag.

No, 2NE1 was not K-Pop’s first “edgy” girl group — the most frequently cited counterargument to that claim is simply the existence and legacy of Brown Eyed Girls, another girl group I deeply respect. But 2NE1 had a lot to do with breaking the girl group standard. They mixed hard-hitting sounds with loud personalities and fun performances to make themselves visibly and audibly infectious. I was pulled in by 2NE1 because they gave off an an aura of their own, creating a certain vibe that was entirely unique to them in the competitive world of K-Pop girl groups.

Now, I’m not saying they ignored every rule of the girl group world. For one, they definitely capitalized on the hook song trend — while Girls’ Generation sang the words “gee” and “baby” in rapid repetition and Wonder Girls did the same with “Nobody,” 2NE1 followed a similar formula with their songs “Fire” and “I Don’t Care.” But unlike other K-Pop groups, 2NE1 stood for more than wooing the boy.

They weren’t ‘cute,’ and they didn’t try to be likable or visually charming with their music. Instead, they came to make a statement, something K-Pop groups rarely do. Their refusal to follow the typical girl group formula of the time and ability to set their own trends has, no doubt, contributed to the empowerment of women, both Korean and international and growing confidence among all of their fans around the world. Watching their facial expressions, choreography and vocal color develop throughout various performances, I began to see that 2NE1 had created their own unique sense of femininity, one that wasn’t so focused on being delicate, innocent, and pretty. Even though each of these girls are visually stunning, they weren’t popular for their looks, as many groups are — they were popular for relatable and exciting music, and for carrying themselves with so much prowess and fierceness. Fans found solace in not only their confidence and unapologetic badassery, but also their ability to connect with listeners. I was captivated by every performance — I grew an attachment to their vibrant stages, high-quality music, and colorful visuals over time.

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And while they opted not to maintain the conventional charm that other girl groups did, CL, Dara, Bom, and Minzy showed that they were funny, loveable, and caring through 2NE1TV. From shopping trips to MV shoots, it was clear that they were hardcore onstage, but real, down-to-earth people offstage. I learned to admire them for both sides — I wanted to be just as confident, commanding, stylish and refined as they were when they performed, but also as loveable, friendly, and funny as they were when they weren’t on stage.

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In terms of the grand scheme of K-Pop success, I think it’s easy to forget just how successful as a group they were due to their lengthy absence and limited discography. The girls are considered digital queens for a reason — with only four major Korean album releases, they’ve had 12 number-one songs and many more within the top five of digital charts. To this day, none of their Korean singles have ever charted below #4 on weekly charts, something that no other Korean girl group has been able to accomplish. With the exception of their final album Crush,, 2NE1’s Korean albums have also sold in excess of 100,000 copies, making them one of the only girl groups in the modern K-Pop era to achieve both digital and physical success. During their most active years, 2009 through 2011, they were the most nominated and most awarded artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. Within only three years, 2NE1 had won four MAMA daesang awards, the highest of any artist in history (including legends like Rain, BoA, Girls’ Generation, TVXQ, etc.), until BIGBANG overtook them in 2015. And despite not having been awarded since 2011, 2NE1 is still tied for most awarded artist at MAMA for non-daesang awards. To anyone who watches the charts or award shows closely, 2NE1 is legendary for being able to command such popularity and success in such a short amount of time. Along metrics of public impact and numerical success, along with style and music, there is no other K-Pop artist like them.

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But as we all know, that success didn’t last forever. YG’s poor management steered them into a downward spiral, one that started with some delays, saw a drug scandal in between, and ended with a member leave before announcing their disbandment. To this day, I’m sad that I never got to see 2NE1 at their prime, performing daily on music shows or taking awards at MAMA. But the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

2NE1 effectively changed my life. As an impressionable student watching their videos and performances, I was inspired, and my ambitions shifted. I was now more immersed in the 2NE1 aura that was so beautiful, strong, talent-oriented, and well-presented. I worked to emulate it in my own, not-as-glamorous life — from buying some nicer clothes and working harder at my own singing, to doing better in school and becoming a leader in my school community. 2NE1 had and still does give me motivation to be the best version of myself, and that passion has permeated all aspects of my life. Watching 2NE1 on- and offstage has given me the determination to achieve the same level of quality and success in my life that they brought to every project they worked on.

Not to mention, 2NE1 is what started me on my journey as a K-Pop fan — from them, I hopped over to videos from f(x), Girls’ Generation, BIGBANG, SHINee, 4Minute, KARA, and more, each of whom modified my worldview and intensified my ambition. As an Indian-American, learning more about K-Pop exposed me to aspects of Asian culture I was unaware of as well. I owe all of that to 2NE1, and I’m eternally grateful. As they became less and less active, I watched their videos with love and a heavy heart, embracing the lighthearted nature of “Can’t Nobody” and “Fire,” and admiring the fierceness of “I Am the Best” and “Come Back Home.” I’ve fallen in love with all of their songs over the years, and I’ll never stop listening to them. That’s right, the New Evolution of the 21st Century (the core meaning of 2NE1’s name) does not end here. Whether it’s in Blackjacks’ hearts or ears, 2NE1 lives on.


Also on KultScene: You Too Can Be a K-Pop Producer Thanks to Makestar

In many ways, this disbandment could mean we might actually see more of them, now that the members are no longer under the group’s constraining framework that, given logistical problems and YG’s subpar management, just wasn’t working. CL is still working on English music, and while succeeding in the American music market is hard, it isn’t impossible, and I have faith in CL to give us some good music over the next few months. Dara is still signed to YG, and I’m excited to see her as an actress soon in her upcoming movie One Step. Minzy is now under Music Works, and her solo debut is hopefully only months away. And that leaves Bom, whose future is currently being called into question after it was announced that her contract with YG was not renewed. But I have faith — her recent Instagram post shows her “working on a song to sing” for us all soon. We can only wait, and hope that, in due time, Bom will regain the strength to come back and give us something new. While we probably won’t see them together anytime soon, the fact that each of them may have a future available to them in the entertainment industry says a lot about each member’s power, talent, and versatility. And as a Blackjack, that’s something I’m proud of.

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Thank you, 2NE1, for inspiring me to remain open-minded and receptive to different types of entertainment and music. Thank you, 2NE1, for giving a voice to the “Lonely” and “Ugly”, those of us who needed to be told that we are, in fact, more than what we see in the mirror. Thank you, 2NE1, for having such a transformative impact on my life. Thank you, 2NE1, for defining so much of my livelihood growing up.

Thank you for everything. Nolza forever!

How do you feel about 2NE1’s disbandment? 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.

2016 Gift Guide For Lovers of K-Pop, K-Drama, & K-Beauty

KultScene 2016 Holiday gift guide feat TWICE!It seems like the holiday season already began as far back as September, but for many of KultScene’s readers it kicks off in earnest on Thanksgiving day when the Black Friday sales jump into action in the US (and much of the rest of the world!) Every year, we’ve greeted the busiest shopping season of the year with our K-pop-oriented gift guide and once again we’ve put our heads together and come up with some great ideas.

Albums and K-pop swag may be a lot of fun (all the lightsticks and posters!!) for the music fans, and you may be tempted to see if that drama you know they love is available on Amazon, but there’s so much more out there! Along with our recommendations, we’re offering a few discounts and giveaways throughout the next month, so make sure to check back throughout the holiday season!

Scroll below to see our rotating giveaways. Currently we’re giving away a Korea Curated Box, so scroll down to enter!

For The Masking Fiend

There’s a lot of K-beauty-oriented subscription boxes out there (and on this gift guide), but Piibu Subscription Box is the answer to every masker’s dreams. If you know someone who has ever tried the 10 masks in 10 days challenge, Piibu’s box filled with different masks is perfect for that. The monthly subscription box comes with a variety of masks from different Korean brands.

Price: $19-108, depending on the subscription plan

Piibu is offering KultScene readers a chance to win a box, so enter below (begins at midnight 11/24). However, this is only available for those in the US, sorry!

Update: Thanks to everyone who entered our Piibu giveaway! Congratulations Naomi Pangelinan for winning!

For People Who Love Wearing Their Fandom Hearts on Literal Sleeves

Everyone loves T-shirts, right? TeePublic gives artists an opportunity to sell their designs for $20, and there are some really great K-pop themed ones available through the outlet so just dig around a bit. We’re fans of designs by sittinginclover and dekoreate, but there’s a lot more K-related items on the site. The site is called TEEPublic, but you can also get the designs on a variety of items, like cell phone cases and mugs!

sittinginclover Super Junior-inspired "Oppa" Tee

Price: Tees for $20

For the K-pop Inept

Just in case someone in your life is completely lacking all knowledge of Korea’s music industry, Woosung Kang’s recently released The KPop Dictionary is probably a good place to start. Or, you know, take a look at our other fact-finding suggestions.

K-Pop Dictionary

Price: $6 for Kindle version, $13 for paperback copy


Also on KultScene: 2015 Gift Guide For Fans Of Korean Pop Culture

For The Skin Tone Perfectionist

For some people, sunscreen is all you need before leaving the house. For others, you better have your primer, foundation, powder, and setting spray. Most of us are somewhere in between. Missha makes it pretty easy, with their BB Boomer primer setting things up as a great base for whatever you’re dressing your face up with. (Plus, Alexis swears by their Time Revolution Essence!). Everything on Missha’s site is 30% OFF between Dec. 1-27 and there’s a lot of free gifts, including sheet masks and samples of some of their Time Revolution products.

Make sure to enter our Missha X KultScene giveaway! We’re giving three winners a gift set worth $90 featuring the BB Boomer, Missha’s Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator AmpouleTime Revolution The First Treatment Essence. However, only U.S. residents can participate since the prizes must be sent to an address within the country.

misha-bb-boomer-kultscene

Price: Regular $15, but on sale for $9

Thanks to everyone who entered our Missha giveaway! The winners have been notified.

For The Lipstick Loving EXO-Ls

Apparently, Sephora has shades in their Rouge Cream Lipstick line that sound suspiciously like they were named after songs by EXO, like “Call Me Baby” and “Lucky One.” It may or may not be related, but it’s a nice little token with an inside joke for anyone who wants a piece of K-pop in their makeup bag. [Let KultScene know if you find any other K-pop connections at Sephora!]

Sephora Lucky One EXO lipstick KultScene

Lucky One

Price: $12.50 each

For The Lipstick Loving Wino

No, I don’t mean a fan of WINNER (shout out to Inner Circle!). Style Korean has a lot of really cute products, but our favorite is their Labiotte Wine Tints. Or just buy them some soju or plum wine!

 

Price: $9 each

For The K-pop Fan Always Losing Their Headphones

Psy apparently tested these adorable brightly colored earbuds from Soul Electronics. So if that celebrity endorsement matters to you, here you go! They come in a variety of different neon hues so can suit just about anyone’s taste. (And maybe buy an album or two with them?)

kpop_product_shot_pink

Price: $50

For The K-Beauty Confused

What the heck is the 10 step solution? If your giftee, or yourself, are befuddled by the nuances of K-beauty skincare, the BomiBox is the perfect place to begin. Each box comes with eight full or deluxe sized Korean beauty products, ensuring that you’ll have a diverse range of items to peruse as you dig further into K-beauty.

Bomibox KultScene

Price: $37, but if you use the code KULTSCENE you get $2 off each order you make. For life!

Thank you everyone for entering and congratulations, Briana Fortunato!


Also on KultScene: 2014 K-Pop Inspired Gift-Giving Guide

For The Cuddle Buddy

Zombie Mamma makes some adorable K-pop plushies, specialized upon request. So if you know someone who wants to be able to brag about sharing a bed with their favorite Korean star… Here’s your chance! Contact Zombie Mamma through her Facebook page.

Zombie Mamma K-pop plushies

Price: Prices range from $50-$60, depending on how elaborate you want to get with the hair, outfit, etc.

For The Burgeoning Anthropologist

K-beauty and K-pop is good and all, but is that really what Korea’s all about? Definitely not! Korea Curated and Inspire Me Korea are two different subscription boxes that bring a little bit of Korean culture straight to your front door.

Korea Curated offers subscription boxes featuring Korean items that aren’t typically sold outside of Korea. Each month’s box can feature anything and everything, filled with things such as Korean snacks, toys, artwork, socks, craft projects, and more. (Plus it’s run out of Korea by a married couple, Cory and Marie, which you know it’s filled with love!) If you use the code KULTSCENE, you’ll get 20% off your first order.

Korea Curated boxes KultScene gift guide

Price: $43-75, depending on the size of the box.

Inspire Me Korea, on the other hand, offers the most diverse Korean subscription boxes around with their monthly culture boxes geared to both men and women, plus they also feature a beauty box. It’s UK based, but don’t worry, they ship their boxes around the world. If you use the code KULTSCENE you can get 10% off your first order.

Inspire Me Korea Box KultScene Gift Guide

Price: £13.99-40 (about $18-100 USD), depending on the subscription

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For The Foodie

Watched Let’s Eat or Drinking Alone? There’s so much food, how can you not want to try some Korean food firsthand? We spoke to the women who started Crazy Korean Cooking years ago, but they have these DIY kits that we think would be a great addition to any kitchen pantry.

They also have a great option to get meals shipped directly to your door , and if you use the code KULTSCENE you can get 25% off your first order. Or, if you’re looking for something more stocking-sized, there’s also the A Very Crazy Korean Christmas Gift set filled with some fun items, ranging from food to kitchen gloves. (Literally!) If you’re interested in that, use the code KULTCRAZY to get 10% off. Both codes expire Dec. 18, so decide which delicious looking foodstuff you want soon!

DIY Crazy Korean Cooking

Price: $19-85

What’s your ideal holiday gift, either for yourself or for others? Share your thoughts (and pictures of your holiday shopping!) about this article 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.

Weekly K-pop faves: November 14-20

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Each week, KultScene’s writers highlight a few recently released songs from Korea that we’re big fans of. The middle of November has surprised us a bit and we picked some music featuring acts like KNK, Super Junior, Buzz, and upcoming girl group LOOΠΔ.

“U” by KNK (Released Nov. 18)

I’m about to make a bold statement, but it’s one I’ll stand by until the end: KNK is the only worthwhile 2016 male debut group. With their newest release, “U,” the quintet further establish what’s been clear from the get go: they’re really not doing anything new in K-pop, but what they do, they do it well. Angsty and powerful performances, tight choreographies, and killer visuals; what’s not to like? We all joined the K-pop fandom for some variety of these reasons. “U” is a dance track reminiscent of, like everything else they do (no shade!), TVXQ. It’s a solid piece, and like KNK, it’s not breaking any molds or offering anything new, but it’s good nonetheless.

— Alexis


Also on KultScene: This is the hardest K-pop quiz ever

”Sweet Dreams” by Kim Heechul & Min Kyung Hoon (Released Nov. 19)

Super Junior is known for their dance hits and main vocals, but I’m probably one of the few people in this world who think that most K-pop fans out there are sleeping on how good Kim Heechul is as a vocalist. Over the years, he’s released several collaborative tracks with popular rock vocalists and “Sweet Dreams” with Buzz’s Min Kyung Hoon is another solid rock ballad that emphasizes just how good Kim Heechul is as a vocalist. Plus it’s a really emotionally-wrought rock ballad that deserve multiple listens. The music video, featuring the pair, Twice’s Momo, and the cast of Knowing Brothers is comical and heartbreaking, and the perfect vehicle for this song. The video also was preceded by a teaser image that spurred many rumors of SM Entertainment featuring a same sex couple in the video, so watch closely for the quiet love triangle.

— Tamar

”I’ll Be There” by Hyunjin & Heejin of LOOΠΔ (released Nov. 16)

Exciting new girl group LOOΠΔ continues to tease their debut. While a group with 12 members, only two have so far been revealed and they already have three songs and music videos out. Their latest track “I’ll Be There,” a duet between the two known members Hyunjin and Heejin adds another element to what they have shown already. It’s a synth-infused disco bop that showcases a more fun, energetic side to them. No info is out yet but it also sounds like it continues their collaboration with producers Monotree. Whether Digipedi did the video or not is harder to tell. Given these three releases I am getting seriously hyped for LOOΠΔ despite the time it seems to be taking to debut them all.

— Joe


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Have you listened to these? Which song of the past few days did you like? 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.

This is the hardest K-pop quiz ever

impossible K-pop quiz

Think you are a K-pop genius? That may very well be so, but our latest K-pop quiz will put that to the test. There’s nothing as simple here as “what group is Umji a member of?” (Gfriend) or “what year did 2NE1 debut?” (2009). Know how many members there are in Super Junior? Too bad!! Oh no, this is all about the little facts, that only the most fanatical K-pop lovers will know.

Take the quiz and let us know how well you fared in the comment section! A word of warning: Most of KultScene’s very knowledgeable team of writers did pretty poorly when taking this quiz so… Take your time while answering the questions!


Also on Kultscene: Which K-pop generation do you belong in?

What was your favorite (or least favorite!) question? Have any other random bits of trivia you think we should have included? Share your thoughts and results in the comment section below or on Facebook, or Tweet us your results @KultScene. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop Faves: November 7-13

K-pop November 7-13

Each week, Korea introduces us to a variety of new songs. Each week, KultScene’s writers pick a few to introduce. In our latest article, some of our team focused on Momoland’s debut, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun’s finale before heading to the military, and Standing Egg’s recent foray into a bit of a different sonic style.

“Jjan! Koong! Kwang!” by Momoland (Released Nov. 9)

It’s not every week a debuting group makes history and it’s never usually as fun as Momoland. They are the first K-pop group to debut using the crowdfunding website Makestar, a platform made famous by charismatic girl group Stellar. Momoland used Makestar to raise money for their debut and they used it well. “Jjan! Koong! Kwang!” is a Duble Sidekick pop explosion of synths, catchy hooks, and the first ever Bora-inspired rapper. Not that we really needed that; the track still delivers thanks to its pure sweetness. I have a feeling Momoland could be coming for your cutesy faves. It pains me to say that, yet again, Kyuhyun’s new song isn’t as good as “

— Joe


Also on Kultscene: What Do You Find At The End Of A Rainbow?

“Still” by Kyuhyun (Released Nov. 9)

New material from Super Junior or a solo from one of its members generally signals the same thing: someone’s enlisting soon thereafter. And with one Kyuhyun left, his newest release “Still” (together with his other release “Blah Blah”) means it’s his last hoorah before he goes into the army. It would’ve been amazing if “Still” (or “Blah Blah,” for that matter) matched up to the perfectness of “At Gwanghwamun,” but alas, it’s still a solid track. Personally, the music reminds me of Mexican balladier-superstar Luis Miguel’s ‘90s-early ‘00s albums. Like the songs on those albums, “Still” has the air of romance and lets the vocals take certain stage — although with a full band, the performance would be to die for. Moreover, while somber, it still wraps you up deliciously in its melancholy, which, to be honest, who in the US doesn’t want to right now? (Apparently half of the country, but I digress!). It’s a weak send off, yet Kyuhyun showed what he’s the master at: gut-wrenching ballads and stellar vocals.

— Alexis


Also on Kultscene: 4 Reasons To Watch tVN’s ‘Society Game

“Voice” by Standing Egg (Released Nov. 10)

I’ve been a fan of Standing Egg for several years now (check out “Little Star”) and their newest song “Voice” offers something brand new . The group tends to be a bit mysterious, hiding their identity in favor of working with different artists, but “Voice” features Standing Egg (Egg#2, I believe) singing the powerful ballad. “Voice” keeps the group’s signature soft melodies but laid over the classically inspired strings is a heavy rhythm and strong, building vocals. Even though it switches things up from being the typical indie song Standing Egg is known for and heads into the realm of midtempo rock ballad, “Voice” is such a pleasure to listen to. The relaxing vibe is still there, albeit a bit hidden, and the music video is absolutely gorgeous. And heartbreaking.

— Tamar

Did you like any of these songs? What was your favorite song of the week? 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.

Weekly K-pop faves: October 31st-November 6th

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Just about every week is a busy week in K-pop lately, and this week was no different. We saw high profile comebacks from BlackPink, B.A.P, MC Mong, and many others. Some of our writers were big fans of these new songs and took a few minutes to praise the glory of this week’s K-pop releases.

“Still” by Loco featuring Crush (Released Nov. 3)

Loco is a rapper and in most cases when one hears the word “rapper” they tend to assume that that person has no filter, is loud, intense, and likes to incriminate others in their lyrics. However, Loco is quite the opposite. He has a quiet and shy personality which occasionally translates over into his songs, and in all the right ways. “Still” is a fresh, kick back track with a chill beat, which I can’t help but slightly bob my head to (Loco also a signature head bop, look at his live performances) whilst swaying my body back and forth to. The music video is sweet a delightful to watch, much like the lyrics behind it.

As much as I enjoyed the bromance and stage chemistry between Crush and Zion. T, I enjoy seeing Loco and Crush on a track together just a tad bit more. Both are apart of VV:D (pronounced Vivid) and have featured on each others singles before and although Crush had a smaller part this time around, it was just as impactful as any other piece. Loco and Crush’s familiarity and friendliness bounce off of one another, making “Still” a song filled with charm and warmth.

”Skydive” by B.A.P (Released Nov. 6)

There were theories floating around on social media within the BABY fandom in regards to B.A.P’s latest music video “Skydive,” the title track off of the group’s second full length album “Noir.” One that kept showing up was that this was going to be some sort of continuation to the group’s “One Shot” music video. It wasn’t a part two per se but it definitely felt like a blockbuster, considering it was a ten minute video!


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If I had kept my mouth open any longer, my jaw probably would’ve hit the floor. The production of the video was flawless and totally badass. The member’s acting, especially vocalists Daehyun and Jongup, were superb; they’ve all come a long way and grown (literally) a lot since the filming of “One Shot.” Although there was little choreography shown, it was enough for me to know that their live performances will be top notch. Due to all the cinematography, I had to watch the video several times before I could fully focus on just the song alone. “Skydive” is a thrilling and satisfyingly intense song, gunshots and all, beginning to end. Each member had a pivotal part in the song, especially some of Himchan and Youngjae’s high notes and Yongguk and Zelo’s slick rap breaks.

— Tam

”Visual Gangster” by MC Mong feat. Jung Eunji (Released Nov. 3)

For someone who really pissed off much of South Korea by trying to avoid his mandatory army service, things aren’t so bad for MC Mong. The rapper is back with a new brighter sound on “Visual Gangster,” combining saccharine EDM synths with his typical hip-hop braggado. While it’s honestly more of an EDM-pop song with rap laid over it, “Visual Gangster” is a verified earworm: The song has been in the top 10 on Korean charts since it was released. APink’s Eunji features on the song, adding an even softer tone to the cute love song and contrasting sharply with MC Mong’s rhythmic verses. Respecting MC Mong as a person is hard, but there’s no denying that he knows how to create great music.

— Tamar


Also on Kultscene: What do you find at the end of a Rainbow?

“Playing With Fire” by BLACKPINK (Released Oct. 31)

With the demise of 4minute and the uncertainty of 2NE1’s future, the void for a fierce, confident, and cool girl group in K-pop was a notable one — that is until BLACKPINK debuted a couple of months ago. While still very young and new, BLACKPINK’s got a long way to go, but their newest release “Playing With Fire” is a testament to claim the bad gal throne. They might be recycling 2NE1 formulas down to a T, but as a starved Blackjack who has 0 hope for a comeback, I’m here for it. With their first four singles, the girls are showing off the styles they excel in, and with “Playing With Fire,” we know they can pull off the mid-tempo ballad a la “I Love You.” “Playing With Fire” is no “Whistle,” but it was nice to see Jennie take on those vocals and the beat reminds me a bit of BTS’ “Blood Sweat & Tears,” which is good company to be with.

— Alexis

Did you like any of these songs? What was your favorite song of the week? 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.