The month of February has given us a plethora of K-pop releases. From veteran artists such as Shinhwa to rookies such as Rubber Soul, it has been a busy month for music. We feel it is important to show the shortest month of the year some love and now that February is over, it’s time to take a look back at some personal favorites by KultScene’s staff.
I’m not going to lie, I may or may have not spent the entire month listening to songs released by the competitors of No.Mercy. But while picking a song for this playlist, while trying to convince myself that I should probably not force my taste on other people, I discovered Kris Leone’s The End and I’m absolutely obsessed. Kris Leone is South Korea’s rock princess, the daughter of Boohwal’s Kim Tae Won. Kris Leone’s The End is the perfect answer for someone looking to take a break for a few minutes from bubbly K-pop. With crisp instrumentals and Kris Leone’s powerful vocals, The End is hopefully this singer’s beginning.
The legendary Shinhwa is back! This is a rather dark concept for the group, one in which they stepped outside the box and dared to try something completely different than what we’re all use to seeing from them. Every member displays a sexy and mature vibe, reminding the audience that although they’re in a “boy band” they’re fully grown men who mean business.
Moreover, each member had his own peculiar and bizarre role. You have cool guy Eric whose smoking a cigar, Minwoo crotched between his leading lady’s legs, Dongwan who is apparently up to no good in his ‘lab,’ Junjin walking into a room to a girl sitting on top of a table, Andy who’s playing guard with his cane, and Hyesung who doesn’t show his aggressive side until the end. The members are able to portray each individual persona, and because these are men are in their 30s, that makes it all the more believable. This recent comeback has taken everyone by surprise; I can only imagine what else they have in store for us!
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In all honesty, I didn’t really keep up to date on the comebacks for February. Is it because there wasn’t much promotion from companies and groups beforehand or was I just not paying close enough attention? One comeback I was surprised about was NU’EST. They haven’t released anything in a while, and then all of a sudden I see they have a new music video on YouTube. When did this happen? The group will celebrate their third anniversary together on March 15th, hence the digital release. Their R&B styled song I’m Bad was released on February 27th. The slower tempo shows off the guys’ soft and sultry vocals and rapping. Unfortunately, Baekho does not sing on the title track due to the fact that he was still recovering from surgery, but he does sing on the B track. Although February is a short month, and I somehow missed the majority of the comebacks for the month, there are a lot of good songs that came out throughout February. NU’EST’s comeback is definitely a welcomed one.
It took me a few listens to really like Rubber Soul’s debut track Life. But after a few plays and listening to their debut album, I started to notice these girls’ potential. Choi Cho, Lala, and Kim show their rapping skills throughout the song, but Choi Cho also shows us her soulful voice. The three member girl group is clearly inspired by ‘90s hip-hop and rap and give us ‘90s lovers a nostalgic feeling while listening to the song. Madclown starts the song by spitting out his rap followed by the girls. The chorus is extremely addicting and very uplifting. Every time I sing along the chorus “Life is like a song of happiness” it instantly brings a smile to my face.
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Even if the format of Unpretty Rapstar sucks a bit, there’s no denying that the girls are absolute badasses and incredibly talented. And out of all the contestants, the two baddest females, in my opinion, who are the best are Cheetah and Jessi, who won the second challenge and thus got to release a collaboration song with M.I.B’s Kangnam. On their M! Countdown performance, the ladies looked like accessories to the guy — but don’t get it twisted. On the original performance of My Type on Unpretty Rapstar was all about the girls’ verses. Jessi and Cheetah both exude confidence that comes with being a strong female rapper. A real one, none of that K-pop star thing. So even though the performance on the music show was a bit weak (remember these girls aren’t tained idols), they both slayed the song. Here’s to hoping more flawless releases from these rappers.
Rainbow finally came back after over a year away in February with their mini album Innocent. I liked the single off it Black Swan but the highlight of their comeback is another track from Innocent. Pierrot mixes danchall and Europop to great and weird effect. Its transitions have little build up but seem to work because of the quality of each part and Woori’s rap. It also marks the first ever time I’ve heard Rainbow make good use of No Eul. Her visual and voice are uncommon in K-pop but here her sympathetic voice fits the pre chorus so perfectly.