Weekly K-pop Faves: Feb. 20-26

The last full week of February saw a lot of new releases from K-pop’s female acts, some of which caught the attention of KultScene’s team. Continue reading to hear which new songs by Lovelyz, TWICE, and Dal Shabet’s Subin won us over.

”Knock Knock” by TWICE (Released Feb. 20)

I’m not a TWICE stan but I can’t deny that their title releases have always been addictive and catchy, albeit sometimes a little annoying. When they made their comeback recently I was expecting much of the same, but “Knock Knock” proved to be a surprise. Yes, it has a concept and melody that we’ve come to recognise as TWICE. But this was the first time I genuinely liked every part of the song (especially the bridge!) and thought it suited the group very well. The accompanying choreography is definitely one of my favourites so far and this no-longer-rookie group definitely feels more comfortable now. Their comeback has felt a little undermined in light of BTS’s immense success but the song has still done remarkably well and I hope TWICE only goes up from here!


–Anna

Also on KultScene: Is K.A.R.D the future of K-pop?

”Circle’s Dream” by Subin (Released Feb. 23)

It seems like everyone I’ve spoken to about Subin’s “Circle’s Dream” either compares her to Lorde, Lim Kim, or both. The low-key instrumentals–including what sounds like a whimsically plucked ukulele– act as the backdrop of the Dal Shabet member’s vocals, which are somehow simultaneously sonorous and mellow. Even as playful as Subin sounds rolling her ‘r’s and singing sweepings “woos,” the song is actually about being hurt by love. The single’s style–and Subin’s solo work in general– is such a fresh approach to a topic that K-pop’s covered before, it’s really a pity that her solo efforts are getting essentially ignored. Dal Shabet had one of the best K-pop songs of 2016, and “Circle’s Dream” highlighted the fact that it’s not just by accident: Subin is an artist not to be overlooked.


–Tamar

”WoW!” by Lovelyz (Released Feb. 26)

Lovelyz are the best girl group of the new generation. Sadly rethreads of older groups are hogging the limelight so no one really knows this. “Destiny” was one of the most complete songs of 2016 and every single by Lovelyz since their debut has been good or great. “WoW!” is their biggest departure to date although nothing is lost in the transition. Lovelyz retain the synthpop style that dramatizes their potentially overbearing cuteness. On “WoW!,” produced by Lovelyz regular Onepiece, they add a level of quirk. The structure is odd, opening with a rhythmic talk-sing of the title with funky guitars. It then moves onto handclaps and eventually the surprising, but oh so satisfying, chorus. As usual Jiae is the secret weapon of Lovelyz. She perfectly captures the saccharine cuteness while still being totally weird. Her babyish, high-pitched “jyae ippeo” adds another whole level to the song, keeping it constantly exciting as opposed to maybe just a bit different. Lovelyz put effort into their music that goes unnoticed but revives the K-pop cutesy girl group sound every time.

–Joe

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: Feb. 6-Feb. 12

February’s seen an uptick in K-pop releases, and this week the KultScene team had a wide array of new music to pick from. Between rockers, hip hop artists, and pop groups, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite songs of the week.

“Princess” by Jung Joon Young (Released Feb. 7)

After an unfortunate scandal late last year, talented rocker Jung Joon Young took a hiatus from both his music and variety career and remained in France for a while until his name was cleared. He then proceeded to make his return to the variety program he was on (2 Days 1 Night) and recently made a triumphant comeback to the music world with his first full album The First Person. The entire album is a masterpiece, filled with explosive instrumentals as well as Jung Joon Young’s gorgeous unique voice. As a ballad fan, this album was really perfection to me, but in particular, “Princess” stood out as one of the most beautiful K-pop songs I’ve ever heard. The way the background instrumentals intensified with every verse (the addition of the strings in the second verse for example) as well as when Jung Joon Young reached higher notes (he did so marvellously too!) made the entire song so cohesive and enabled non-Korean speaking listeners like myself to understand the emotions of the song. “Princess” proved once and for all that Jung Joon Young never does conventional ballads; he always manages to add a spin to his songs which make them instantly recognisable. I’m so happy that he’s back with such amazing music and I’ll definitely remain a fan for a long time.

— Anna


Also on KultScene: Red Velvet’s “Rookie” Music Video & Song Review

“Crossroads” by Sunny Hill (Released Feb. 10)

As a long time fan of Sunny Hill, I honestly thought that last year’s “On The Way Home” was their final song, both because of its message and because Sunny Hill seemingly disappeared afterwards. But there was never any real closure or certainty regarding what was going on with the group and “Crossroads” seems to be an outward reflection of that. A jazzy soft rock song, the single appears to tell the story of the narrator, or Sunny Hill, deciding to move in a certain direction after not knowing where or what to do. Considering that Sunny Hill explored variety of different musical styles and visual concepts and saw little acclaim since they started off in 2007 (even though their song’s meanings and videos typically presented artistry rarely seen in K-pop) the new single comes across as the group’s explanation for leaving things up in the air: they simply don’t know where to go. It’s not really what I, or what I imagine any other Hillers, really want but it’s good to know that this introspective, insightful group isn’t just falling by without any rhyme or reason. Sunny Hill’s at a crossroads after a decade-spanning career, and, honestly, it’s great to see them admitting it. More Korean acts need to be as frank about their career, and societal issues, as Sunny Hill has been. If it’s the end, it’ll be sad, but honestly I’m just hoping this means we’ll see something even better than ever from this group in the near future. (Also, along with its importance for Sunny Hill, the song really, really hit home for me, since I’m amidst an in-between stage of my life.)

— Tamar

“Pattern (feat. Yoon Mirae, Tiger JK, Double K, Junoflo, myunDo)” by Superbee (Released Feb. 8)

Earlier this week, former Show Me the Money 5 contestant Superbee dropped a new song accompanied with K-hip-hop’s best and other up-and-coming rappers: queen Yoon Mirae, her husband Tiger JK, Double K, Junoflo, and myunDo. The beat on “Pattern” sounds like a lighter, less bombastic version of “YGGR,” with the bells and overall somberness of it, although it lacks the power. However, the mix of all the rappers’ different flows and pitches create an interesting; every artists brings something to the table. From Yoon Mirae’s confident hook, to Superbee’s squeaky verse and signature laugh, to Junoflo’s bouncy, spit-fire bars. “Pattern,” more than anything, brought a bunch of awesome rappers for an awesome track and I’m here for it.

— 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. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop Faves: Jan. 23-30

The end of January was a bit sleepy in comparison to earlier in the month, but KultScene still had a lot of music to listen to. Some of of our writers fell for lovely, tender tracks and felt like we had to share Mugamak’s new single and EXO member Chen’s collaborative track with K-hip hop royalty Dynamic Duo.

”First Time in Love” by Mugamgak (Released Jan. 24)

Despite its happier sounding title, Mugamgak’s second single turned out to be even more heart-achingly beautiful than his first. He really showed that he was coming into his own as a ballad singer-songwriter with this release and his skills have obviously improved tremendously from a few months ago, with the expansion of his amazing vocal range. His voice is tender and flows nicely with his piano accompaniment to bring out the emotion of the song. I love Mugamak’s style of music so far and I hope he’ll come out with more wonderful singles soon.

–Anna


Also on KultScene: From ‘Nation’s Producers’ to Actual Producers: The Many Futures of I.O.I’s 11 Members

”Nosedive” by Dynamic Duo (Released Jan. 24)

Some ballads are just nice, and then there are some that are sentimentally momentous. “Nosedive,” the collaborative track by Dynamic Duo and EXO’s Chen is most certainly the latter. The simple melody is beautiful to listen to, with the pair’s raps to offset Chen’s dulcet voice. But it’s the lyrics of the song where “Nosedive” really stands out: The intro of Chen’s choral verse (When it hurts, just cry / Cry all you want, it’s okay) is filled with so much warmth, something much of K-pop is missing. “Nosedive” is known as a “healing song,” and there’s an obvious reason why.

–Tamar
Which song was your favorite? 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: Jan. 16-22


A week of farewells had K-pop saying “Goodbye” to girl groups 2NE1 and I.O.I, while CLC revamped their image. This very estrogen-filled week’s playlist is rounded out by Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun, who released her first solo album.

”Goodbye” by 2NE1 (Released January 21st)

And that’s all, folks. 2NE1’s “Goodbye” hit me hard — I still can’t stop listening to it and feeling the same emotions I felt on the first listen. This group’s untimely end is chock full of rumors, scandals, possible discord, and more. But this song, with its soulful vocals and acoustic instrumentation, gives us the ability to look back on what really matters — the revolutionary career of a legendary girl group. As one of YG’s only immediately English-subbed music videos, “Goodbye” communicates the members’ feelings about disbandment to both domestic and international fans through honest lyrics “Don’t trust the broken stories,” “Even if things get rough, it will be okay,” “Come find me when you need someone to lean on,” and the song’s main refrain, “Goodbye until the day we meet again” hit close to home for millions of Blackjacks around the globe. The song is my pick for this week simply because it is so simple yet so evocative, and it embodies the iconic 2NE1 sound so well. It’s sad to think that I’ll never have a chance to write a Weekly Playlist about them again, but as CL says in the first verse, “Not everything lasts forever.” So, to Blackjacks everywhere, I hope your grieving period isn’t too hard. We will miss having all four girls together forever, but at least we have this song as a final reminder of the beautiful songs — both pop and ballad — that they’ve released since their debut in 2009. Goodbye, 2NE1. You won’t be forgotten.

–Kushal

”Love & Affection” by Seohyun (Released Jan. 17)

Of all the songs on her sultry Don’t Say No album, the showstopper is Seohyun’s “Love & Affection.” It’s the shortest track, but also the one with the most distinct sound: building rock instrumentals mesh with playful synths and electronic beats collide to create a playful cacophony of sounds. The track is dominated by Seohyun’s strong vocals as she express “I hate your love, love & affection!” before adding in a few vocal trills and whistled “oooh ooohs.” Even though it hasn’t received as warm of a welcome as some other songs on the album (like the jazzy, but slightly boring, “Bad Love”), “Love & Affection” isn’t just by chance a great electropop song: along with lyrics written by Seohyun, it was co-written by Fredrik Häggstam, who co-wrote the Chainsmokers’ recent hit “Paris,” Red Velvet’s addicting “Ice Cream Cake,” and TVXQ’s “Blink.” While it may not be to everyone’s taste, there are few flaws in “Love & Affection,” other than the obvious matter that it is far too short.

— Tamar

Also on KultScene: A Teenage Fangirl’s Farewell to 2NE1

”Meow Meow” by CLC (Released Jan. 17)

“Close your eyes, So that I can breathe, And pretend we have something”

Much has been said about CLC’s recent transformation into the new 4minute and it is sad to see them completely copy their sister group but more 4minute is never a bad thing. Their album “Crystyle” is a strong tight mini and I’ve been really enjoying their live promotions for lead single “Hobgoblin.” “Meow Meow” is the best of the lot though, a trop house cut about the arrogant young girls’ frustration with hesitant boys. It’s not a frustrated song though: the synths replicate relaxed steel drums. They’re prominent but remain languid and laid back. Elkie’s shrill pronouncement of being Harley Quinn and Yeeun’s continued Hyuna impersonation (she even goes as far as making a “Roll Deep” reference) add some great dynamics to the vocals. Even when becoming another group, CLC are still great.

–Joe


Also on KultScene: From ‘Nation’s Producers’ to Actual Producers: The Many Futures of I.O.I’s 11 Members

”Downpour” by I.O.I (Released Jan. 18)

In this tragic week of final releases, popular girl group I.O.I released their last song together along with a heartbreaking music video showing the formation of the group and their various experiences over the past year. Written by Seventeen’s Woozi, this emotional ballad was a perfect sendoff for this temporary group since it gave them the chance to show off their vocals as well as express their earnest feelings for the unfortunate disbandment. With the use of the simple and effective metaphor of rain to represent both difficulties and tears, “Downpour” is a sad but an extremely encouraging song, with lyrics such as “It’s alright, this shower is going to pass quickly” and “We shall smile again and be together,” promising fans that this won’t be the last they would see of these girls. Indeed it wouldn’t, since many of the members are already in new girl groups or are debuting solo in the near future. All good things really do come to an end but fortunately for fans, I.O.I provided a wonderful platform for the members to start their individual careers and they have bright futures ahead of them.

–Anna

Which song was your favorite? 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: Jan. 9-15

weekly kpop faves_january 2017 songs playlist

January’s shaping out to be quite the slow month for K-pop releases — or at least thus far. 2016 showered us with songs every other day, so this pace is definitely a big change. And while releases have been scarce, we got enough to pick out our faves of the week.

“Don’t Worry” by JB (Released Jan. 15)

In what may be the best present to fans to commemorate their third anniversary, GOT7’s JB dropped yet another couple of songs today (the 16th) for our listening pleasure. Out of the two, “Don’t Worry” stood out to me cause it balanced his soul interpretation with a more up tempo beat. After five solo songs I finally understand why JB’s always so extra in his GOT7 performances: the boy has all this emotion harboring inside of him, waiting for the right avenue to come out — and this is it, you guys! JB’s finally doing R&B and it’s fantastic.

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— Alexis


Also on KultScene: 2017’s artists to watch

“Without A Heart” cover by BTS (Performed Jan. 14)

BTS’s cover of 8Eight’s song was one of the highlights of the 2017 Golden Disk Award show for me. Both groups were created by BigHit Entertainment, so it’s fitting for BTS to remake the soulful tune. The “Without a Heart” performance was quite different from the original, considering the 8Eight was a co-ed vocal trio whereas BTS is a seven-member boy band. But the group was able to blend their voices together in the emotive performance, resulting in one of BTS’s best ballad performances ever. (Plus Rap Monster and J-Hope’s hard-hitting raps added a bit of a rougher feel to the tune). Their cover also offered a peek into BTS’s professional attitude: Suga’s mic failed during his line, but it was nearly imperceptible.

— Tamar


Also on KultScene: Why experiencing GOT7’s Turbulence in USA fanmeet may be better than a show

“Kiss Later” by Yeojin (Released Jan. 15)

Loona’s girl of the month strikes again this time with their most fun track so far. The creative dream team of Monotree and Digipedi come together once again to give Yeojin “Kiss Later” an orchestral pop explosion IU would relish. Yeojin’s vocals are not as strong as her predecessors but she gets around it with a playful delivery, going into talk-sing mode every now and then. Each moment is a blast with Monotree varying the instrumentation as much as they can. Horns and strings swirl in and out and they even throw in a guitar solo. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, get ready for Loona to be a girl group for the ages.

— Joe

What was your fave song this week? Share your picks with us in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop Faves: Jan. 2-8

The second week of January brought K-pop the busiest week of 2017 (two down!) so far, with a variety of releases from well-known acts. Long-lived boy band Shinhwa released a new album, while VIXX member Ravi dropped some solo music. Rookie acts Akdong Musician (aka AKMU) and Day6 also returned with brand new music that turns away from K-pop’s typical dancepop sound.

“I Wait” by Day6 (Released Jan.6)

Day6 kicked off their year-long release cycle with the first single, “I Wait.” The song is the most boisterous single from Day6 so far, and it changes the group’s sound up quite a bit with a blend of electro and alternative rock. The song’s title in Korean, “Aw Why?” (“아 왜?”) makes the stilted rhythm all that much more anxiety-inducing, but the English one actually makes “I Wait” seem a bit more sentimental. It’s an altogether heavier sound from the band, but still maintains Day6’s typical lovelorn lyrics and paired with their typically cinematic music video. It’s the first of 12 singles Day6 plans to release in 2017, so prepare to be overrun with this band’s ever growing discography.

— Tamar


Also on KultScene: WJSN, April, & MIXX: K-Pop girls trying to take 2017

“Touch” by Shinhwa (Released Jan. 5)

Shinhwa still manages to blow my mind with every comeback. As the members evolved over the last decade, so has their music, and “Touch” is no different. The song is heavily future bass influenced, which keeps the listeners in a trance from the beginning until the end. The group actually premiered “Touch” at the 2016 MBC Gayo Daejun, which was sort of a spoiler since viewers were able to see the choreographed version first instead of just the song itself but it was nonetheless a worthy performance. It’s even more applause-worthy to see these guys keep up with the ever changing music scene and the continuous efforts that they put into making it work, even after almost twenty years.

— Tam

“Bomb” by Ravi feat. San E (Released Jan. 8)

If you’re already immune to the rampant cultural appropriation in K-hip-hop and can get past the mildly cringey intro, Ravi’s first solo endeavour “Bomb” quite exceeds expectations. It looks and sounds a bit dated, not to mention it’s very similar to Zico’s “Tough Cookie” aesthetically. It’s really not that interesting sound-wise; your standard hard K-rap beat. However, Ravi’s delivery was spot on — miles away from his second hand embarrassment inducing verses on VIXX’s early songs — and showed he’s still growing as a rapper. Not to mention the chorus is easily sung a long to and has earworm potential. Furthermore, I’ve never heard a song featuring San E that I’ve liked, but I don’t mind his presence that much here. Overall, it’s nice to see Ravi doing better and working on the betterment of his craft.

— Alexis


Also on KultScene: What’s the deal with A.Leean?

“Will Last Forever” by Akdong Musician (Released Jan. 2)

Korea’s beloved sibling duo made a return this week with their third album “Spring to Winter,” accompanied with a music video and a beautiful musical short film. While their title track “Last Goodbye” pulled at my heartstrings a lot (I’m going to miss you Chanhyuk), “Will Last Forever” went a step further in actually moving me. There’s just something tragic about two young kids singing about lost hopes and forgotten friendships. It hits you with a cold dose of reality and forces you to wake up from your youthful dreams.

— Anna

”Fall Back” by A.Leean (Released Jan. 7)

“Fall Back” is different from Ailee’s previous songs for a reason. The single, produced by LA-based Westside Entertainment, was carefully engineered for a new audience; it sounds as if it was chosen specifically for its potential to climb the U.S. charts. Although an agency representative compared A.Leean’s vocal ability to that of Whitney Houston and Ariana Grande, Ailee’s new song “Fall Back” is more likely to evoke a Katy Perry feeling. From its urgent workout-worthy beat to the catchy refrain, it’s the kind of song you put on when you need to rev up your day. It’s memorably appealing but it was not designed to make the most of Ailee’s incredible vocal range. While the sections of “Fall Back” that give Ailee center stage may remind K-pop fans how lush her voice can be, the song’s production does not let her voice resonate as emotionally as it did in her recent hit “Home” featuring Yoon Mirae, or her OST contributions, “Goodbye My Lover” and “Day by Day.”

“Fall Back” is heavy on the percussion, which sometimes distracts from Ailee’s voice and other times successfully uses a tinsel effect to make the song sound celebratory, which is fitting for a debut. It may be just the formula to climb the U.S. charts, but “Fall Back” doesn’t really live up to K-pop’s standards. The lyrics are about wanting to revive lost love, trying to return to the moment when everything was good, and make things work out after all. The optimistic turn-back-the-clock lyrics may be just the kind of lyrics needed in 2017, and they’re easy to hum along to.

— Joan

Which song was your favorite? 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: Dec. 26-Jan 1

It’s a new year so, of course, there is new music! (Okay, but really they were mostly released last week.) This week’s K-pop favorite playlist features some old and new tunes from the likes of old-school K-pop boy band Shinhwa, JB of Got7, and rising vocalist Jin Won.

“T.O.P” by Shinhwa (Performed at MBC Gayo Daejejeon, Dec. 31, 2016)

It’s been almost two decades since Shinhwa released “T.O.P,” the first song to bring the group success after their debut a year prior. The usage of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” in “Twinkling of Paradise,” the song’s full name, gives “T.O.P” an everlasting magical aura, which puts listeners into an eternal trance. What made this performance at “MBC’s Gayo Daejejeon” even more special and raw was the addition of the live violinist. Shinhwa still oozes charisma, despite having performed “T.O.P” for what feels like an ungodly amount of times already. But no matter how many times, how many versions have been played, it’s timeless and continues to be a crowd favorite.

— Tam


Also on KultScene: 50 Best Korean Songs of 2016: Part 2

”So Beautiful” by Jin Won (Released Dec. 26, 2016)

I’m a sucker for ballads, and the moment I discovered Jin Won’s swaying rock ballad “So Beautiful” I knew I was about to be absorbed by it. Although I’ve never heard of Jin Won before, my first listen of “So Beautiful” was life changing. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but Jin Won’s expressive vocal performance on the wintery tune is enchanting. The track isn’t just a typical ballad though, as it features slight quirks like resonating wails and record-like scratches. Jin Won appeared on a season of Superstar K, and I for one would love to see “So Beautiful,” and other future releases from him, featured on the soundtracks of Korean dramas.

— Tamar


Also on KultScene: Best Korean Albums of 2016

“Holic” by Def. aka JB of GOT7 (Released Jan. 1, 2017)

2017 hadn’t even begun in the western hemisphere and GOT7’s JB, using his artist alias Def, dropped exactly what fans have been asking of him for years: solo R&B tracks. Out of the three uploaded to his Soundcloud account, “Holic” stood out for not using a rapper nor relying on the hip-hop elements to resonate. Instead, in “Holic,” JB captivates the listener with his heartfelt yet incredibly sexy rendition of the song. And while JB is never not immersed in his feelings during GOT7 performances, here is a new side to the singer that fans knew he had in him, but had never been able to put on full display in the group’s musical repertoire. “Holic” further proves that JB is an R&B singer, and that if given a chance, he’d kill it. Hopefully, he’ll continue uploading more solo songs, for he’s too good to stop now that we got a taste.

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— Alexis

What was your favorite song from the last week of 2016 and the first day of 2017? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

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.


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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


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“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.