Weekly K-pop faves: Aug. 28- Sept. 3

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The last week of August and first few days of September saw a lot of good new music from South Korea, both from new and old acts alike. Former 4Minute member HyunA made her return, boy band of the moment Wanna One released a new music video, and Produce 101 finalist Jeong Sewoon made his debut. Check out what we liked about some of their releases.

“Just U” by Jeong Sewoon (Released Aug. 31)

It feels like every day there’s some new music from a Produce 101 Season 2 alum, and the last day of August brought about Jeong Sewoon’s debut with his first EP and the single “Just U.” While I would have expected generic acoustic pop from Sewoon after what he seemed to lean towards during Produce, his debut single is a guitar-driven smooth R&B pop hybrid that doesn’t sound so out of the wheelhouse of what someone like Lee Seunggi would attempt. There’s some funk and electronica elements thrown in, and Sik-K adds a melodic rap break, turning “Just U” into the epitome of K-pop’s freewheeling nature. Jeong showed a lot of promise during the reality series and though he didn’t make it into the final lineup for Wanna One, this is a promising debut and I can’t wait to see what he does next.


Also on KultScene: The story of LOONA: The first five girls

“Babe” by HyunA (Released Aug. 29)

I had completely given up on the trend before these last two weeks. Thanks to the work of the new gen girl and boy groups (Victon, DIA, and Pristin in particular) there’s been a resurgence of interesting tracks within the genre. The queen of K-pop brought the best though as she returned with “Babe” a song that uses the sound as her base and roams around it trying different things. Teaming back up with Shinsadong Tiger was Hyuna’s best decision in a long time. Alongside steel drum synths he packs the chorus with sawtooth synths to contrast the softness of the verses. “Babe” also represents Hyuna’s fight back against the haters. In her own version of IU’s “Twenty Three” she teases those who simultaneously drool over her and shame her. In a great reflexive moment in the music video she literally steps off stage during her routine seemingly fed up with it and walks off to a transcendent plane where maybe she can find some peace.


Also on KultScene: 7 K-pop music styles we’d love to hear more

“Wanna Be” by Wanna One (Uploaded Aug. 30)

While the boy group of the moment, Wanna One, released a music video for their fan song “Wanna Be,” it was their performance of it on one of the music shows that grabbed my attention. It usually takes groups awhile before they release a song dedicated to their fans, but given their finite lifetime and the fact that they actually exist because of their fandom, it makes sense that they’d feature one on their first EP. “Wanna B” might be a gift for Wannables, their fandom, but this performance is a gem in itself. All of the members stepped up their aegyo game all the way up with this one, and for having such a hectic schedule, the members look like they’re having fun while performing. The song, for its part, is bubblegum pop gold and super infectious. I especially like the fact that all the main vocalists got their chance to shine at the chorus — especially Seungwoo. If you’re a Wannnable, it’s impossible not to fall deeper for these dorks with this rendition of “Wanna Be.”


What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Let us know your picks and 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: August 20-27

kpop k-pop playlist songs august 2017 aug pristin

Things are starting to slow down in K-pop as they gear up for the big comebacks of the fall. This, however, doesn’t mean we didn’t like any new releases this week. Without a big K-pop group having a comeback this week, other artists who are a bit more low key or up and coming were able to shine. Here’s what we especially loved this week.

“We Like” by PRISTIN (Released Aug. 23)

As much as I’m easy to like girl group songs, I was honestly not excited about PRISTIN‘s “WE WOO.” “We Like,” however, really made up for the weaknesses and the excess of aegyos of their debut song, delivering something powerful and deliciously catchy this time. The chorus and post-chorus are the absolute foundation of the song. The combination of the rock’n’roll influenced instrumental, appealing chord progression, cheerleader-ish hook, and hectic post-chorus remind me of some girl power British pop songs of the 90’s. Another positive point for me is the insertion of the background vocals to the hook right in the start of the song, instead of saving them for later, like it’s usually done. The pre-chorus works perfectly; the verses are full of different variations, avoiding any possibility of boredom; the rap is on point; and the bridge is absolutely awesome. It’s everything a song like this should have, focusing on the vocals and creating tension to end the song with just the right energy. The writers and producers of “We Like” didn’t save intensity in any point of this track.

—Ana Clara

Also on KultScene: BlackPink & 2NE1: Unexpectedly Different

“Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Cherry Coke (Released Aug. 23)

Clicking random videos earlier this week on YouTube, I found this gem called “Don’t Kill My Vibe.” I was instantly drawn in by the lo-fi, chill R&B sound of the song. While the soft vocals are a given when it comes to female R&B singers in Korea, Cherry Coke’s works well with the song’s overall production, which is a lot more free. I don’t know a lot about the singer, but I’m definitely keeping an eye out for her after this song.


What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Tell us what you think 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: Aug. 7 – 13

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Each week, KultScene’s team gives you a taste of their favorite new Korean music of the past few days. The second week of August 2017 brought some new music from Gugudan’s subunit Gugudan 5959, the debut of Produce 101 group Wanna One, and a special anniversary celebration from former Girls’ Generation member Jessica Jung.

“Ice Chu” by Gugudan 5959 (Released Aug. 11)

Between this and their last single, “A Girl Like Me” Gugudan are proving that they can hold down chaotic tracks with relative ease, and they pack a huge amount of musical details into standardly structured songs. With “Ice Chu” the first (and hopefully not last) release from sub-unit Gugudan 5959, made up of maknaes (youngest members) Mina and Hyeyeon, the pair deliver a funky summery disco track. Brass takes the frontline for the gloriously fun chorus but as the song progresses more electronics are added to change the tone, notably at Mina’s second rap and the voguing breakdown in place of a bridge. The thing that really sets apart Gugudan is that they add personality to their music through their vocals, especially Mina whose raps here are just the right amount of sweet and cheeky. In what feels like a particularly crowded battlefield of new girl groups forming out of I.O.I’s corpse, none of the other groups can claim this yet.


Also on KultScene: Wanna One’s ‘Energetic’ song & music video review

“Burn It Up” by Wanna One (Released Aug. 10)

After participating in the second season of competition show Produce 101,Wanna One finally made their debut this week. And while fans voted for “Energetic” to be their debut track, they also released a music video for the runner up “Burn It Up.” On this track, the boys showed a darker, sultrier vibe than the bubbly and, well, energetic from the debut track to match the hard-hitting EDM sound. “Burn It Up” is not particularly bringing anything new to the table, but as a Wannable (their fandom name), I was obviously sold on the choreography, the styling, and the waterworks on the music video. Although Wanna One has plenty amazing dancers, with “Burn It Up,” the rest of the guys showed their growth as performers, mainly Guanlin and Jaehwan. For me at least, this video shows that Wanna One isn’t just a group of popular members who got through solely based on looks or likeability. And even with a couple of more seasoned performers, the group looks cohesive and proved they can go up against any other boy group.


Also on KultScene: BlackPink & 2NE1: Unexpectedly Different

“Summer Storm” by Jessica (Released Aug. 10)

With Girls’ Generation’s long-awaited 10th anniversary comeback crowding the airwaves this past week, the release of Jessica’s third mini album has been shown markedly less attention. And that is truly a shame, because My Decade’s single “Summer Storm” is nothing short of a pop confection, as Jessica’s signature sound becomes ever more clear with each release. The song begins with the musical twinkle of a Disney movie: she hits notes lightly but with poise and precision, mixing Korean and English lyrics with greater ease than most K-pop artists can (fitting of the Korean-American singer). While verses carry a building sentimentality and nostalgia, they quickly, but effectively, move into an infectious chorus, characteristically uplifting despite lyrics centered around what seems to be a breakup. But the conspiracy theorist and Golden S<3NE that I am, I can’t help but question Jessica’s lyrical motivations. “Will we be able to go back?” she asks, calling herself a fool “tied up with the memories.” Is she talking to a lost love, or maybe her former groupmates? As tension builds during the bridge and resolves into the final chorus, Jessica makes it clear that she still has mixed feelings towards someone. And on her 10th anniversary, she unwinds that anxiety into a song that is unapologetically her own, adding further definition to her budding career as a singer-songwriter.


What was your favorite K-pop song released this week? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop faves: July 31 – Aug. 6

k-pop playlist faves songs kpop august july 2017

The first week of August was filled with a lot of truly great releases from the K-pop industry, raising expectations for the month. In this week’s playlist, KultScene’s team liked new music by the rock boy band The Rose, girl group CLC, and GOT7’s JB from his solo on JJ Project’s new EP.

“Sorry” by The Rose (Released Aug. 2)

The song starts strong right off the bat with power vocals from guitarist Woosung, who sets the tone for the rest of this beautiful, moody song. His voice balances out very nicely with the other vocalist of the band, Dojoon, who plays the keyboard, and though they have unique and vastly different tones, the pair blend together to create great harmonies which really intensified the emotions of this rock ballad. The song feels like a cross between DAY6 and Jung Joon Young’s music style, but as a fan of both these artists, it’s pitch perfect to me. The music video featured gorgeous cinematography and visually striking sets as well, giving the band a very classy yet diverse image. This was a very promising debut for the band and if they keep churning out such tunes, they definitely have the potential to go far and make it big in the industry.


Also on KultScene: 4 things we can learn from K.A.R.D’s racist incident in Brazil

“Where Are You?” by CLC (Released Aug. 3)

Of the new generation of girl groups, very few people (nobody?) would consider CLC to be a contender. I wouldn’t have either until their most recent comeback with “Where Are You?” I have always liked them, but they remained firmly below a number of groups. What makes them stand out though, is their total disregard of an identity. Many use it to criticize them, but in an environment where groups like Blackpink and GFriend are totally redundant, it’s so refreshing. Especially so with a song like “Where Are You?” which brings the recent Japanese city pop revival trend to Korea for the first time. Produced by Armadillo, “Where Are You?” is a shimmering laid back track perfect for a relaxed summer evening. Its retro synths and saxophone are deployed to perfection alongside their best vocal performance to date. Sorn gets a special shoutout for her part in the chorus. It’s the chorus in general where the girls sing together is the detail that really makes this song work.


Also on KultScene: Sungha Jung mixes music with ‘MIXTAPE’ in Singapore

“Fade Away” by JJ Project (Released July 31)

Being an IGOT7, the thing that made me stan JB was his buttery smooth vocals and my faith in his ability to pull off an R&B song, if JYP ever gave him the opportunity. My belief was validated when the singer uploaded a few tracks to his SoundCloud account earlier in the year, displaying the smooth crooning that he doesn’t get to properly show off with his group. A JB solo is far fetched at the moment, so when the JJ Project comeback was announced, I was ecstatic. Verse 2 is a solid album, but the track that won me over is hands down “Fade Away.” On his solo song, JB brought the emotional rawness of his SoundCloud songs into the album. R&B is pretty hard to pull off in K-pop, but I’d argue that, in terms of idols (and excluding Taeyang), JB is the only vocalist able to do the genre justice. I don’t know where this man is pulling all these emotions from (it’s only imagination, right? *sobs*), but it’s quite refreshing in a scene that dribbles with the robotic. I just wish they’d bring some of this into GOT7’s music — or at least give JB the damn solo he’s always deserved.


”One Last Time” by Girls’ Generation (Released Aug. 4)

While there are many nice listening experiences on <b>Girls’ Generation</b>’s anniversary album <em>Holiday Night</em>, it’s “One Last Time” that kept drawing me back in. While not as epic as Ariana Grande’s single of the same name, the Girls’ melodic b-side is sheer pop perfection. The melancholic song has a pretty basic, and honestly simplistic, melody, but it’s the soaring vocals and beautiful harmonies that keep me coming back for more. I’m a sucker for a heartbreaking love song, and with “One Last Time” Girls’ Generation’s definitely achieved that; even if you don’t understand the language, it’s obvious that the eight women are expressing pain and heartbreak through the wailing, soaring expressiveness of their verses. (Also make to check out “Fan” on the album, if you’re looking for another great b-side!) 


What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Tell us what you think 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: July 3-9

k-pop songs kpop playlist faves july 2017 17 red velvet le exid super junior

Each week, the KultScene crew look back at their favorite new K-pop songs and performances of the past week. In the first full week of July, we liked new music from Red Velvet, and older versions of songs by EXID’s LE and Super Junior.

“Cream (Solo Version)” by LE (Released July 7)

When EXID’s Street album came out last year, a clear stand out for me was the b-side “Cream.” And while they never released it as a single in Korea, they did a Chinese version to promote themselves in said market. Being the queen of suggestiveness and double entendre, LE wrote this song about eating cream and it ruining their bodies because they get fat. It’s been said that cream stands for some other creamy substance, and with this solo version, she’s basically proving that theory right. And I’m living for it. Just by the English lyrics, “I love the cream cream cream/ All over my body” and “Baby boy love me up all night” at the chorus, we get a clear picture as to what’s she’s singing about. But lyrics aside, this stripped down version and the fact that she also sings makes the version more sensual. “Cream” solidifies my thought that LE needs *clapping emoji* a *clapping emoji* solo *clapping emoji*. Like, yesterday. Move over CL and Hyuna (who she actually taught how to rap and has written for, by the way), LE is the baddest queen in K-pop.

— Alexis

Also on KultScene: The ‘Wild K.A.R.D. Tour’ in São Paulo was as wild & hot as expected

“Red Flavor” by Red Velvet (Released July 9)

Over the years, Red Velvet has become that group in the K-pop industry. With quirky outfits and infectious hooks, the group has, throughout the past year, delivered addictive music and markedly unique stylings with impressive consistency. “Red Flavor” is trademark Red Velvet, but with tighter production than that of their previous release “Rookie” (at least in my opinion). While this release is very reminiscent of their past two promotional cycles, the electro-pop is notably smoother at some parts of the song, specifically the prechorus sung by Wendy and Seulgi, calling back to their first EP’s title track “Ice Cream Cake.” Still, the chorus preserves the brash, loud quirk that the group has pursued most ambitiously with songs like “Dumb Dumb” and more recently, “Russian Roulette” and “Rookie.” Overall, “Red Flavor” is a valuable addition to the group’s repertoire, albeit slightly exhaustive. This release makes me wonder how much further they can pursue this kind of concept before it wears down. As great as “Red Flavor” is, the song makes me want to see something new from RV, and hopefully their next comebacks will make that a reality.

— Kushal

Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 NY’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 2 Concert Recap

“Sorry Sorry & Bonamana” by Super Junior (Performed July 8)

There’s something incredibly sad about watching Super Junior appear on stage with only three members as they did at last night’s SMTown. Even when a fourth member, Heechul, appears mid-way through “Sorry Sorry,” there’s something disheartening about seeing what was once a revolutionarily large group be driven down to only a handful of people. (But don’t even get me started how they have nine backup dancers to get things up to SuJu’s original OT13. Or how Henry and Zhoumi could and should have most definitely been part of the performance, and Super Junior in general…) With the recent protest by fans against Sungmin, Kangin still on hiatus after the second drunk driving incident of his career, plus the rest of the members in the army, Super Junior’s available four members still delivered energetic performances, with the four —Leeteuk, Shindong, Heechul, and Yesung— stepping up to fill in the void left by the loss of the Super Junior’s mass of members. It’s not my favorite Super Junior performance by far, but seeing them persevere in spite of the virulent outpouring of hate they just received makes this one of their most memorable lives of all time.

— Tamar

What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Tell us what you think 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: June 12-19

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As summer is almost here, K-pop’s beginning to get busier and busier. Last week we sadly saw the Queens of the Summer bow out, and while we’ll miss them, that opens up the playing field for more artists. Some of the songs released this week aren’t necessarily “summer anthems,” but we liked them as if they were.

“What’s My Name?” by T-ara (Released June 14)

T-ara’s latest (and possibly final) release both maintains and builds on their sonic character in their eighth year together. While maintaining their usual high-voiced, electronic sound, the group manages to incorporate some EDM and eurodance-inspired themes on this new track. And coupled with a markedly different choreography when performing live (one that capitalizes on Jiyeon and Hyomin’s girl-on-girl appeal that was first showcased in their live cover of “Troublemaker”), the group undoubtedly shows growth, which is great to see as netizen comments and public reaction in general finally becomes the least bit more friendly. This is both an era of hope (one we never thought we’d see after their destructive scandal) and fear for Queens, who are seeing T-ara become more likable again while also being threatened by a possible disbandment. At least in my opinion, I’m hoping that the group continues. While netizens used to make fun of the group for having too much “determination,” I really do hope they maintain it and continue with it. They are a group worth keeping around, no matter what haters have to say at this point.

— Kushal

Also on KultScene: Goodbye, SISTAR: our thoughts & memories

“We Loved” by Bolbbalgan4 & 20 Years Of Age (Released June 13)

There’s really something special about Bolbbalgan4’s success. With each new release, the duo does phenomenally because of their sentimental, yet realistic, lyrics. For “We Loved,” the pair brought the mellow vocals of soloist 20 Years of Age into the mix to contrast with Ahn Jiyoung’s rather rough, but sweet, voice. The swaying melody belies swaying melody and snapping beat belie the song’s earnest, verge-of-break-up lyrics. A romance coming to an end is sad, but “We Loved” makes it feel natural. “Our time has stopped,” is such a poignant, mature approach to the end of a relationship in a way that few Korean love songs depict. It’s no surprise “We Loved” is topping Korean music charts; this is no idealized version of romance, it’s just straight and simple reality.


— Tamar

“Whiplash” by NCT 127 (Released June 14)

Throughout 2017, I haven’t been particularly excited about any entire K-pop mini album or full album. Until NCT 127’s comeback, that is. While “Cherry Bomb” is the, well, bomb single we’ve been waiting for as far as boy groups go, their b-sides are nothing to scoff at. But that doesn’t come as a surprise, as the group has always had fiery b-sides that rival the singles, and on this album, “Whiplash” is such song. It’s a mid-tempo hip-hop track lead by Mark and Taeyong’s rap and has an easy bounce that makes it fun to listen to. The composition might not be as intricate as “Cherry Bomb” or even “0 Mile” (another b-side on the album), but it’s this stripped sound what makes it fresh and so unlike SM Entertainment songs. NCT 127 truly are the super rookies to look out for.

— Alexis

Also on KultScene: KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted: May Recap

“Always” by the Top 20 Produce 101 trainees (Released June 17)

The second season of Produce 101 came to a shocking and extremely bittersweet end on Friday night, with exciting performances put up by the trainees right before the reveal of the final 11 members of Wanna One. The last performance of the 20 trainees, “Always” however, is definitely one which I will remember for a long time. The emotional performance, coupled by a beautiful song which showcased the much improved vocals of the trainees, was made even better because of the song’s heartfelt lyrics. Despite the various controversies and upsets that came along with this season, it was evident that through it all, these trainees have forged close bonds with each other and will deeply miss the time that they have spent together. The song was a fitting way to close off the season, and though I’m sad that it’s over, I’m looking forward to see the trainees continue to move towards their dreams.

— Anna

What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Tell us what you think 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: June 5-11

The boy bands cometh! Seriously, though, this past week had the KultScene team falling in love with a lot of new music courtesy of some old, new, and TBD K-pop acts. We enjoyed songs from idol bands FTISLAND and DAY6, and solo songs from two of B.A.P’s members as well as some music from this season of Produce 101. Take a listen and comment below to let us know what song of the week was your fave.

“Open Up” by KNOCK of Produce 101 season 2 (Uploaded June 8)

I think I’ve made my obsession for Produce 101 season 2 pretty clear throughout these lists since the show began. Last week, I chose “Never,” a concept evaluation song from the show, as my fave because it was the one that resonated with me the most. The dance and overall sexy concept, however, definitely went to “Open Up,” but I chose to go with musicality over thirst. So when M! Countdown gave me the opportunity to cheat the system and go for another Broduce song, I took it. KNOCK, the name the team made up for this evaluation, ultimately won on the show and got to perform “Open Up” on M! Countdown. And while, other than hairstyles, they didn’t change mostly anything, it was still a sultry performance. We already know Dongho (aka Baekho of Nu’est) has the sexy thing down, with his velvety smooth vocals. The surprise, however, was Daniel, who hadn’t shined vocally. “Open Up,” to me, sounds like Nu’est’s last album. Dongho singing the chorus is a big part, but musically, it could blend right in. At a time when a lot of boy groups are going the cute route, it’s nice to see the darker concepts are still alive and well.

— Alexis

Also on KultScene: ‘Coming Out! FTISLAND’ Takes Cues From American Reality TV

“Shadow” by Daehyun of B.A.P & “Try My Luck” by Jongup (Released June 8)

After receiving much positive feedback of their solo performances from their ‘Party Baby!’ World Tour this past spring, B.A.P vocalists, Daehyun and Jongup released a collab album for their fans, titled “DaehyunxJongup Project Album – Party Baby”. This special album includes two self written tracks, Daehyun’s “Shadow” and Jongup’s “Try My Luck”.

Daehyun is B.A.P’s first member to release a solo single and to perform it live on music programs (including Show Champion, M Countdown, Music Bank and Inkigayo.) There was a sense of newness seeing him going with a more dance focused track, considering how fans are used to hearing Daehyun belt out his high notes and killer falsettos, which were not the main focus but he still tried incorporating them into this single. “Shadow” has an addictive beat with narrative lyrics. “If I try to touch you, just as a dream I had yesterday, you start to become faint”, a love that is fading, a love that more or less becomes a shadow. Not only did Daehyun steer away from the expectant ballad but by featuring youngest member and rapper, Zelo, he added a distinctive tone to the song.

With Jongup’s well known admiration for Chris Brown’s music and dancing style, it was no surprise to see him release an R&B track. “Try My Luck” has a beautiful mixture of both hard and soft melodies with a few unexpected transitions (like everytime he starts rapping!) The lyrics are direct and bold, “I know that feeling, I know what you want. Only the two of us can do it, you know how I’m feeling” and along with hiss passionately infused odic voice, it’ll make anyone get weak in the knees. Jongup went from having very few lines in B.A.P’s songs, to now writing his own music and very much slaying at it.

Both “Shadow” and “Try My Luck” allowed Daehyun and Jongup to truly show off their depth, range and versatility as singers, outside of B.A.P. Hopefully there’ll be another project album in the future, this time with more solo tracks and from the other members!

— Tam

“I Smile” by DAY6 (Released June 7)

After six months of non-stop single releases, DAY6 finally dropped their first full album, “Sunrise” comprising of the 12 new tracks they released this year and two remixes of their previous title songs, “Congratulations” and “Letting Go.” Needless to say, given the fact that the album is literally made up of ¾ title track worthy songs, it is such a musical delight to listen to. The title track of the album, “I Smile”, in particular, is such a bittersweet and heart wrenching song disguised beneath its cheery sounding title. I may be wrong about this but this song is one of the band’s more musically complex tracks, with chord shifts occurring so quickly and the song constantly moving in an unexpected direction (that instrumental section!!!) The members definitely killed it with the vocals this time, especially Sungjin, who set the tone for the song right off the bat. The accompanying music video is also beautiful, both aesthetically and in terms of its meaning, and I’m proud to say that the members have really picked up some subtle acting skills since their debut. Overall, this has got to be my favourite DAY6 release of the year and maybe of all time, and I hope with this album people will start waking up to their talents.

— Anna

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“No Better Days” by FTISLAND (Released June 7)

Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of FTISLAND. So when I heard “Wind” as their 10th anniversary track, paired with a remake of their debut single “Love Sick,” I was a bit disappointed. Then I listened to it in earnest and was excited by the amazing instrumentals at the end. But I don’t want to talk about the title of FTISLAND’s anniversary album. Nope, I’m all about the first track, “No Better Days.” The power of the track is no joke and it’s exactly what I wanted. Powerful drums, soaring vocals– not just from vocalist Hongki but also from Jaejin while the other members provide backup harmonies– this is one of the most dramatic songs on the album. And I love it.

— Tamar

What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Tell us what you think 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: May 29 – June 4

Some weeks in K-pop are busier than others, and the beginning of June was definitely full of some interesting releases. Whether it was Sistar’s farwell or the first original releases from the boys of Produce 101 Season 2 or Baek A Yeon’s return with a new EP, KultScene’s team took note. Here are some thoughts on our favorite songs of the week.

“Never” by Produce 101 Season 2 (Uploaded June 2)

By now, a lot of people are over the deep house and dem bow hybrids plaguing the global music scene — but not me. So when the concept evaluations on Produce 101 Season 2 came up and “Never” was one of the songs up for grabs, I knew it would be one of my faves. But, of course, the trainees making up the team is what made this song. “Never” probably had the best popular to talented members ratio among all the groups. Plus, the fact that they had the most talented singer in the whole competition surely helped. I haven’t watched this ep of Produce 101 yet over lack of English subtitles, but I can make out that Jonghyun was once again the leader. It’s pretty endearing to see how time and time again, he takes on the leadership role and steps away from the limelight in order to let the other members shine. This is probably the first time that Guanlin gives us an idol-worthy performance in the competition, and Woojin held his own and stepped out of the shadows of the other Brand New Music trainees (his company). Even with its upbeat breakdown, “Never” is sultry yet powerful at the same time, and the members perfectly captured and conveyed this duality. Every single member in this group is a contender for the final 11, and with “Never,” they definitely made their case strong.

— Alexis

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“Magic Girl” by Baek A Yeon (Released May 29)

At first glance Baek A Yeon’s Bittersweet EP could be ballady banality. But it’s most definitely not, with each track exploring the dichotomy of a young girl’s heart, perfectly suitable for a 24-year-old who has won over South Korea with her mellow love songs. While all of the tracks are intriguing in their own way, “Magic Girl” is so compositionally fantastical that it quickly became my favorite. With it’s ethereal synths and lilting electronic beat, “Magic Girl” feels like it’s straight off of an ‘80s film soundtrack, perfect for a lighter moment of a film like Labyrinth or Neverending Story. Although there’s no translation of the song currently available, the track appears to be, well, about the otherworldly essence of Baek, and it’s perfect. Until that one moment when the imagination meets reality and turns into a choppy piano melody reminiscent of basic keyboard exercises much like a young child would learn–just as their imagination is freewheeling and innocent enough to create an magical song like “Magic Girl.” It’s just my interpretation, but I’m in love with it.

— Tamar

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“Lonely” by SISTAR (Released May 31)

SISTAR ends their legendary seven-year career with a single unlike the rest of their releases — an evocative, slow pop song, with no choreography or visual hook for listeners and viewers. Despite the more low-key nature of SISTAR’s final single, the song is conspicuously in tune with the group’s characteristic sound — loud, vocal, and powerful. As a dedicated fan of the group for five years, I am sad to see the group come apart, but thankful for the last stages and still finding myself getting hooked on this song, repeating it for hours on end and still enjoying it every time. SISTAR’s music has always had that quality, the ability to stick to your ears and invigorate no matter how many times you’ve already heard the song. Their performance and music have a valuable, long-lasting impact that will be missing from K-Pop from now on. For STAR1’s, it’s been a reflective and painful week, with fans talking about everything from the group’s long reign of success to the minute details of their music show stages this week. Thank you SISTAR, for everything. From your debut to your final stage on Inkigayo, you have officially failed to release a flop, and K-Pop will forever admire its queens of summer for that reason.


What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Tell us what you think 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: May 22-28

The final week of May 2017 saw a lot of musical releases in South Korea, ranging from rap to pop to ballads. We picked some of our favorite new songs, including music from Tarin, San E, Bolbbalgan4, and LOOΠΔ’s Kim Lip.

“Mohae” by San E featuring Bolbbalgan4 (Released May 23)

After a “Season of suffering” (title of his last album), summer brings us a softer San E. “Mohae” is a light hip hop song with R&B and trap traits, featuring indie pop group Bolbbagan4. It was a matter of time until Bolbbagan4 became a feature in a rap song, a field in which female vocals and indie groups often are featured and bring balance to the rappers’ strong vibes. In “Mohae”, however, both San E and Bolbaggan4 seem to vibe in the same wavelength, while they rap/sing about a boy messaging a girl.

— Ana Clara

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“Coffee Ending” by Tarin (Released May 22)

Say what you want about melancholic ballad drivel, but I’m a huge fan of Korea’s coffee house music and Tarin’s “Coffee Ending” was the perfect fix when I heard it midway through the week. Tarin’s mellow vocals and the song’s gentle, jazzy melody aren’t probably for everyone, but they were the perfect mix of sweet and bitter, just like the perfect cup o’ joe.

— Tamar

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“Eclipse” by Kim Lip/LOOΠΔ (Released May 22)

The Loona girls are paving a curious path since we can’t yet really sense homogeneity between the songs they’ve been releasing, but “Eclipse” is the most intriguing step of the journey so far – and also the best. Both the song and MV are more sensual than we’d expect from a young artist who will debut in a girl group, but whatever is the company’s intention, I can only congratulate them for this track. “Eclipse” is a smooth jam with a mature vibe that at first made me think Monotree Music (Sohee’s “Spotlight”; Ladies Code’s “The rain”) wrote and produced it. My guess wasn’t completely wrong: the song is produced by Daniel Obi Klein and Charli Taft (same duo that did Red Velvet’s “Automatic”, just as sexy as “Eclipse”), but Monotree’s lyricists Park Jiyeon and Hyun Hwang wrote the fancy lyrics, which works even more perfectly with Kim Lip’s soft and sultry vocals.

— Ana Clara

What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Tell us what you think 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: May 15-21

kpop playlist may 2017 songs k-pop k pop korean

As summer looms closer, K-pop has started to pick up the pace. This week saw lots of different releases, from soloists to idols to rappers; the game is on. And like every week, we took on the task of selecting our absolute faves, so here they are.

Also on KultScene: 12 visually appealing K-pop music videos

“Spotlight” by Sohee (Released May 18)

In all honesty, I clicked on “Spotlight” once it showed up on YouTube because I assumed that it was the former Wonder Girl member Sohee. I was wrong, but definitely not disappointed. K-Pop Star 6 finalist Kim Sohee’s single is a trendy R&B-tinged dance track that immediately made me think the queen of solo K-pop dance, BoA. And from other reviews I’ve seen, I’m not the only one thinking this. Sohee’s performance in the video is no joke, and her light pop vocals hooked me immediately. For a debut song, “Spotlight” is pretty impressive and I’m really excited to see what Sohee does next.


— Tamar

Also on KultScene: Kevin Kim talks ZE:A disbandment & new beginnings with radio show ‘SBS PopAsia Live’ [interview]

“Hyung (feat. Dok2, Simon Dominic, Tiger JK)” by Dumbfounded (Released May 16)

Korean-American rapper Dumbfounded dropped his first official Korean release and enlisted a roster of K-rap A-listers to feature on it. Dok2 and Simon Dominica bounce verses off of Dumbfounded, while Tiger JK addresses them shortly at the beginning (and maybe the chorus? Not sure). Essentially, the track can be summarized by the line: “Show me respect, I’ll show it back, that’s the code of conduct.” It talks about earning respect rather than being given to automatically on the basis of being a hyung, an older male. The music video stays true to Dumbfoundead’s funny aesthetic and uses lots of Korean culture references to emphasize that this is a Korean single. In short, “Hyung” is a bop.

— Alexis

What do you think of these songs? Let us know what your favorite song of the week was 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.