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.

What’s the deal with A.Leean?

On Jan. 5, f(x)’s Amber Liu posted an image on Instagram to promote a “famous singer, new alias.” The image announced that a singer, using the alias A.leean, will make her U.S. debut on Jan. 7 with the single, “Fall Back.” Amber’s fans were quick to offer options as to whom the mystery singer A.leean might be. Many of the guesses veered towards Ailee, a K-pop singer known for her outstanding vocal performances.

A.Leean’s chosen alias offers clue to her identity, but the fact that Amber posted the image also suggests that it might be Ailee. Amber and Ailee are close friends and have performed together. At KCON NY in 2016, Ailee, a Korean-American singer raised in New Jersey, did mention that she was angling to release music in the United States.

To find out a bit more about A.Leean, Kultscene reached out to David Kim, a Hollywood-based entertainment lawyer promoting the singer’s debut in the U.S. When asked to reveal the singer’s identity and confirm her K-pop credentials, he chose not to comment. However, he did say he’s not worried about the singer’s existing fans outing her and revealing her identity. “We’re not afraid of fans,” he said. “Because we’d actually like more fan participation. We just won’t be making an official statement until later.”

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

For a few weeks, A.Leean won’t publicly state her identity or make promotional appearances. The release of the song’s music video will also be delayed, leaving listeners free to speculate on her musical background. According to Kim, the decision to release music anonymously enables listeners to judge the singer on the merits of her voice and not her background.

If A.Leean is, in fact, already a K-pop star, she has chosen a different route than other Korean or Korean-American singers attempting to debut in the U.S. As yet there is no predictable formula for a successful crossover. Psy dominated the charts with his Korean language “Gangnam Style,” while 2NE1’s CL released the English language single “Lifted” in Aug. 2016 and reached 94 on the Billboard Hot 100. Even Korean-American bands have until recently met with limited success; the most successful was Far East Movement. The group’s record “G6” reached first place in Billboard’s Hot 100. Any k-pop singer trying to break into the U.S. market will confront complicated concerns, including misleading preconceptions and the possibility of racial prejudice.

“We wanted to focus more on the music and not so much on the person behind the song, which is what musical pop culture has evolved into,” said Kim. “Not that pop culture is a bad thing, but we wanted to focus on her talent. When the song gains traction and becomes popular, we will reveal her identity.”

Also on Kultscene: Inside KCON 16 NY [PHOTOS]

The international platform that YouTube offers can make a formal music release in the U.S. seem less important to some recording artists, but A.Leean’s team sees it as the logical next step toward global recognition.

“The U.S. music market is still the official authority on what music is broadcast all over the world,” Kim told KultScene. “Our artist is not an amateur. She’s been singing for years. We felt like the whole world could be seeing her perform and not just a segment of the world. We wanted to broaden her base and felt we had to do it through U.S. market first. “

Kim is working with LA-based Westside Entertainment to launch the singer he describes as “having powerhouse vocals” and “being a mix between Whitney Houston and Ariana [Grande].” Westside Entertainment is the company behind The Notorious B.I.G., Nelly, MASE, Lil Fizz, and Keyshia Cole. After playing the single for members of his music industry family, Westside Entertainment VP Stephen Umavitz is confident that this singer has what it takes.


This gonna be ? #ALeean #FallBack #AleeanEncounter

A photo posted by Amber J. Liu (@ajol_llama) on

“A good handful of Hollywood legends and entertainment music industry veterans have already personally listened to the song,” said Umavitz in an official statement. “They said it has a crazy hook and that it’s gonna be a hit record.”

“Fall Back,”A.Leean’s single about falling in love again has a Jan. 7 release date. On Jan. 11, the lyric video will be released on YouTube. The official video will be released at a later date, depending on how “Fall Back” performs in the U.S.

A.Leean is not the first recording artist to anonymously release music. Electronic dance producer and DJ Marshmello is currently at 84 on the Billboard Top 100 and his real identity remains unknown. But while anonymity creates hype at first, that won’t matter if the singer does not ultimately climb high on the charts. Luckily, if this is who we think it is, we’re sure A.Leean’s vocals are going to impress America.

Do you think A.Leean has what it takes to succeed in the U.S. market? Can you guess who she is? 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: October 3- 9

K-pop Playlist Sunday: October 3-9

One week into the whirlwind of October, we’ve seen just a hint of the oncoming storm that we’ll see later this month. For this beginning of the month playlist, we have a list for you featuring a few of our writers recent faves. Jersey girl Ailee returned with her new “Home,” and K-pop legends SechsKies returned the promise of their “Three Words” to both old and new fans. And, of course, fans of the drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryo should check out Jung Seung Hwan‘s addition to the soundtrack.

“Three Words” by SechsKies (Released Oct. 7)

If you talk about the early beginnings of K-pop, there are a few names that come up. SechsKies, the six member group from the company now known as DSP Media highlighted for their intense popularity in the late ‘90s and their sudden breakup in 2000. So when they released their first single in over a decade earlier this week, it was something I definitely had to check out. Up until this point, my knowledge of SechsKies was primarily thanks to the drama Answer Me 1997 (sorry!) and the individual members, particularly Eun Ji Won. But then I was floored by how heartfelt ”Three Words” felt to me, a brand new fan. Combining the melodic ballad-rock sound we’ve been seeing from YG Entertainment — SechsKies’ new company– lately (particularly with WINNER) with an old school rap would have been enough for me, but I absolutely love how the song and music video begin with the group’s final farewell from more than a decade ago since the song is the fulfillment of their three-word promise: Here, Now, Us that they reassured fans with, promising that SechsKies would have a second wind. This little splice of K-pop history resonates with me, so I definitely suggest everyone should check it out even if they’re not necessarily a big fan of ballads.


Also on KultScene: Stephen Alain Ko talks K-beauty chemistry & why there’s no magical skincare recipes

“Home” by Ailee feat. Yoon Mirae (Released Oct. 5)

What’s fall without an Ailee comeback? This song is much different than the rest of her music — it’s not as slow as the ballad singles she frequently drops, but certainly slower than her usual power-packed (Beyoncé-esque) sound. And it works brilliantly. The delivery of her vocals is especially fantastic on this song, mixing her lower and higher registers to make the track both powerful and emotionally evocative. I totally applaud Ailee for managing to both maintain and differentiate her sound with this release.


”Wind” by Jung Seung Hwan (Released Oct. 4)

I’ve been in love with Jung Seung Hwan’s voice ever since I heard it on K-pop Star 4 and I’m more than happy to hear the numerous releases he’s had over the years, mostly consisting of OSTs for various successful dramas. His latest OST, for the currently airing Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is one that I’m extremely addicted to this week. His strong vocals flow perfectly with the rich instrumentals in this track and perfectly expresses the sadness of this drama as a whole. Among the numerous stunning OSTs released for this drama, “Wind” stands out because of Jung’s emotional and distinctive voice, especially when the OST is used effectively in scenes featuring our tragic fourth prince Wang So.

What was your fave K-pop release this week? Share 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.

KCON 2016 NY’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

It hasn’t even been a year yet but it’s already that time when all things Hallyu are celebrated in one convenient location here in the States. After its first installment last August, KCON returned back again to the East Coast, bringing its M! Countdown concerts to the famous Prudential Center in the NY’s metropolitan area. This time, not only did the convention grow from being a one day event to a two day event, spanning from June 24 to June 25, but KCON 2016 also saw a lot of new faces and talents. KCON 2015 NY felt like a pilot episode in comparison.

On Day 1 of KCON 2016 NY alone, popular rookie group Seventeen met senior boy group BTOB at both their first KCON experience. Soloist Ailee drew both female and male Korean pop fans in throngs, while Amoeba Culture’s Crush and Dynamic Duo made their second KCON appearance and welcomed Korean hip-hop philes to the 18,000+ seat venue. The roster this year was a significant upgrade from last year, which haphazardly seemed to throw together a bunch of repeated acts from previous cons. What’s more, the lineup for KCON 2016 offered more diversity, reflecting the careful planning that went into maximizing concert turnout (as of now, the attendance is still TBA).

But the music is just one aspect of Hallyu, with K-Drama as another. A new addition to KCON 2016 NY was the special guests, which included idol actor Yim Siwan (“Triangle,” “Misaeng”) and actress Park Bo Young (“A Werewolf Boy,” “Oh My Ghostess”). Together, the two stopped by the South Korean entertainment network tvN booth during the convention and acted as special MC’s for a segment of the night, giving the regular hosts a break.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

As per usual, the MC’s were selected from the pool of performers. Ailee, a native English speaker slated to perform during the first night, was an obvious pick. As the she ascended from the stage lift, however, the fans cheered doubly for not only her but also for co-host, Rap Monster from BTS, who made an early appearance ahead of his scheduled Day 2 performance (in hindsight, the two also served as MC’s for KCON Abu Dhabi back in March so perhaps it was my bad for not seeing it coming). While introducing the event in both Korean and English, the bilingual duo quickly became half the attraction with their charming chemistry. And with their rallying cry “Let’s KCON! Let’s M! Countdown,” the other half was shortly set in motion as well

Rookie King Seventeen Makes Their KCON Debut

Emerging out of 2015 as one of the hottest rookie groups, Seventeen didn’t fail to deliver a remarkable performance. Under the dim lights, a VCR of the members dancing to the intro song “Shining Diamond” segued into the real deal. A chorus of screams at the appearance of 12 (rapper Wonwoo is sitting out of promotional activities at the moment due to health problems) half clothed in black, the other in white, indicated that the show was finally underway. They wasted no time as they dove right into their latest hit “Pretty U,” blithely working a couch into their choreography in front of a color pop of city streets backdrop. They really set the standard for the following track, the EDM-trap mix “Chuck,” which varied stylistically from the musical-esque number from before, but still sustained the same austerity of in-sync choreography.

Also on Kultscene: KCON 2015 NY’s M! Countdown Concert Recap

To finish off their half-hour set, the boys threw it back to the classics that shot them to where they are now (though would it be much of a throwback if it was only to last year?). Starting with “Mansae,” the audience transformed into a sea of arms swaying to the beat of the “mansae,” the point choreo that the members took time out to teach beforehand. It’s always a welcome sight to see the union of fans and artist, even if it’s just in such a simple gesture as waving an arm. Even in “Adore U,” which marked the end of their set, there’s that familiar point dance – a literal point dance – during the hook that’s easy enough for even the average caveman to follow. When they are on stage, Seventeen just exuberates overflowing youth and spryness. The only drawback to this, however, is because they are still maturing as a group, they are still stuck playing by the books, which means they couldn’t make full use of the stage that was given to them. A forgiving qualm, though, for the group with the insane vocals and an entertaining live show to boot.

Crush Gives New Meaning to One Man Show

Being a soloist on a stage of such a grand scale is always going to be nerve wracking. Projection becomes all the more important, and hyping the audience up requires extra effort. Fortunately for Crush, he’s got that covered, and all in just a-less-than-usual three songs too. No introductions were needed here for the R&B singer who went straight into his 2014 slow jam “Sometimes” as soon as the music cued him to the stage. From start to finish, he single-handedly turned the M! Countdown concert into a lounge party, belting out a string of long notes and ad libs to a round of cheers in the process. Besides his interesting Canadian Tuxedo x French beret collaboration that he donned – which must be a fashion faux pas in at least ten different cultures – the guy really did no wrong.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

“Sometimes” was only warm-up for what’s to come. The palm leaves that decorated the LCD displays behind him were very appropriate for the summer vibe-y single “Oasis.” Crush even revealed his knack for rap when covering for an absent Zico in his “It G-Ma”-styled verse, during which he doused crowds with bottled water while jumping around on the extended stage. By this time, the crowd was already so amped up that his request for the audience to put their hands up seemed superfluous. This revelry continued well into “Hug Me,” which featured help this time from Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko, and even more of a water show. Things were only now just getting heated.

Queen Ailee Makes Her Return Home

Ailee’s just one of those artists where even if you are not a fan, you are a fan. Her vocal prowess cannot be denied, and she was able to demonstrate it once again during an incident that happened while she was performing her routine to “Mind Your Own Business.” About halfway through the song, a technical malfunction caused the backing track to stop, leaving a visibly rattled Ailee to finish her verse acapella. Audiences applauded her diplomacy, even when she stepped backstage to resolve the issue (one concert go-er in my section made the snide remark that someone was getting fired that night) and when she came back for her second take.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

“This has never happened to me before,” the New Jersey native says before making light of the situation and viewing the glitch as a welcome home gift. One thing remains certain, and it’s that we can at least count on Ailee to provide fans with honest stages, which is something that cannot be said about all idols in the K-pop industry.

After going through both break-up power anthems “Don’t Touch Me” and “I Will Show You,” the diva also disclosed how nervous she was to perform that night (“I’ve never been nervous before, not even my debut performance, not even my first solo concert”) in front of all her friends and family for the first time, all the while holding back tears. The sincerity of her words compounded by the overall pathos of her homecoming were probably what compelled audiences to stand for her closing song “U & I.” Fans could not even be pressed that she did not perform “Q&A” with Seventeen like some thought she would. Cute as it may have been, this was all about her.

BTOB Did That!

Ever since their first music show win with “It’s Okay,” BTOB has swapped out their charismatic boy band image for something more softcore, which has still been working out in their favor. Presented by an enchanted forest visual display and a LCD light show that signaled the coming in of the members clad in rose quartz suits, they opened with the ballad “Remember That,” riding on the same success the aforementioned “It’s Okay” amassed for them. Rappers Minhyuk and Ilhoon still served with their subdued raps, while the vocalists never once faltered in their department.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

The group also filled their slots with their lesser known singles, such as “All Wolves Except Me” and “Beep Beep,” the former a jazzy swing track bursting with all kinds of brassy sounds and the latter a similar funky saxophone-centric piece that seem more in line with their personalities. The youngest member Sungjae even worked in some aegyo (a cute display of affection), sneaking a quick “bbyu” before the lights lowered, causing fans to giggle.

Personally, the main highlight of their stage wasn’t even their live performances off of their own discography, but their impromptu rendition of One Direction’s “History.” As if he was not already savvy in the art of rap, main rapper Ilhoon wowed the audience with his overwhelming high notes. Sometimes it is actually stressful how underrated this group is, but hopefully KCON bringing them out for the first time will lead to future invites and more recognition.

If You Didn’t Stan Seventeen Already…

…Then you probably did after seeing their special stage. Part of the appeal of KCON’s “M! Countdown” concerts are their exclusive performances in which the acts cover the hits of others or collaborate together to produce something greater than the sum of their parts. This year, in a phenomenal medley Seventeen returned back to the stage with a cover of After School’s “Bang,” the bop that made being in a marching band cool again. They even looked the part in their ornamental navy military jackets topped with epaulettes, cheering “S-V-T” with Pledis pride. This transitioned smoothly into a modern, more synth-y (if that’s even possible) version of Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry.” It may not be the first time the group has shown us their spin on the iconic dance (check out their “Weekly Idol” appearances), but it’s exciting nevertheless seeing it done on American soil. To wrap it all up, Seventeen paid homage to the reigning kings of K-pop TXVQ with their bubbly render of the 2006 song “Balloons,” which is, like, oh my god, the last time they did this was when they were still trainees shooting for their mini series “Seventeen TV.” Not tied down by any choreography, the twelve were finally able to make full use of the extended stage, merrily greeting their U.S. fans for the first time.

Also on Kultscene: Tips on How to Maximize Your KCON 2016 Experience

Dynamic Duo Brings the Club Over to KCON

Debuting in 2003, Dynamic Duo made the most sense as headliners. But more than just seniority, they also possess the attitudes and the finesse of a headliner. Before they even stepped foot on stage, their digital selves were already initiating a call and response tactic, asking “Who Are We?” followed by concert attendees hollering out their names. When they did make their noble entrance, they came in full-force from the get-go with “BAAAM,” employing more call and response approaches. Jiving freely to the upbeat tempo that the DJ on stage was mixing, they had genuine fun on stage and the audiences reciprocated that.

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Courtesy of CJ E&M

By the time they were performing the EDM infused hip-hop jam “Shoot – Goal In” the crowd were already on their feet, dancing in place. Again, who knows how many folks actually knew the song, never mind the lyrics, but the manner in which members Choiza and Gaeko were able to hype each other up (e.g. – rapping to each other as opposed to with each other, echoing each other’s words, etc.) was entertaining to watch and exhibited real artistry.

The rest were an honest blur. The duo picked up enough momentum and was not about to break it as they went straight into Gaeko’s own percussion based “Rhythm is Life.” When the time came to conclude the night already, they were bouncing around to their dance party anthem “Friday Night,” which could it be any more fitting? In the midst of the smoke and light sticks, the place was a full fledge rave, and everyone was high.

And with the customary shower of confetti, Day 1 of KCON 16 NY was over. A vast improvement from last year’s KCON NY, it really set the bar high for future ones. One day of KCON NY fun still remains, however, who knows what will happen then?

Did you attend KCON 16 NY? What’s your favorite KCON artist? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

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

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

Taeyeon “I”

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

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

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

24K “Super Fly”

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

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

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

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

Oh My Girl “Closer”

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

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

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

MFBTY ”6am”

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

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

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

Ailee “Insane”

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

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

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

Melody Day “Speed Up”

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

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

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

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

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

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

iKon “Rhythm Ta”

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

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

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

5 Tear Inducing K-Drama OSTs

the moon that embraces the sun, brilliant legacy, cinderella's sister, fashion 70s, fated to love you
I remember watching my first K-drama series, “Autumn in My Heart,” starring heartthrob actors Song Seung-heon and Won Bin and charming actress Song Hye-kyo in 2001 on VHS with my mom. Aside from crying every other episode as the result of a heartbreaking plot, I remember falling madly in love in with the melodic ballads and acoustic OSTs (original soundtrack). I was young and didn’t want to ask my parents for money to buy the OST album, so as a result, I made my way onto Limewire (once an online file sharing downloading website) and downloaded the 13-track soundtrack and became completely immersed, day in and day out.

Also on KultScene: 4 K-Dramas That Discuss Korean Social Stigmas

Going into this drama, I wasn’t expecting to be so mesmerized by the somber songs and tender guitar and piano acoustics considering this was my first time being exposed to the Korean culture and the Korean music. My love for these sappy, heart wrenching, and emotional OSTs surely hasn’t slowed down. One of the reasons why I’m usually drawn to a drama nowadays is because I’ll hear the OST elsewhere, become completely absorbed in the music, and then watch the drama itself. Considering that I’m such a sucker for a great soundtrack, it was quite difficult for me to create this list, but if I let it go on any further it wouldn’t have ever ended. So with that said, here are my top 5 choices. Read more

K-Pop Idols Who Need to Release Holiday Songs

This Holiday season we all need some music to fit the mood. It’s about time that some K-Pop idols release a Holiday song or even a Holiday CD. The idols listed below are known for being able to sing in both Korean and English, which is beneficial for this particular concept considering there are a lot of Holiday songs originally sung in English. English or Korean, or another language, it would be great to see these songs happen this year.

Eric Nam

eric nam holiday songs

via jjigaehouse @Tumblr

Eric Nam is well known for being the main host of After School Club. His quirky and fun personality keeps fans engaged and entertained throughout ASC and the After Show. Not only does Eric have the personality, and looks, but his voice is spectacular. Winter Wonderland, The First Noel, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and others would all be great choices for Eric Nam and he would be do justice to all of them.

Also on KultScene: Best English Covers By K-Pop Artists


ailed holiday songs

by kpopcorngifs

Ailee could ace any Holiday song coming her way. Her voice is so powerful and regal that any song would sound great. But a few that would sound amazing are Silent Night, O Holy Night, and the Holiday classic All I Want For Christmas Is You. She has actually already sang the latter song choice, but I wouldn’t mind a solo performance where fans can really feel her power.

miss A

suzy holiday songs


miss A is a group that doesn’t have many comebacks and are extremely talented. Instead of a full on comeback before the Holidays, we’ll settle with a song or two for the season. Carol of the Bells would really show off their abilities vocally and would sound great with a girl group at the helm. It would be hard to pull off, but miss A can definitely sing Carol of the Bells beautifully. For a more fun route, they could take on Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree as well. The fun and upbeat Holiday tune would be much more fun with miss A singing it.


cnblue holiday songs

via cnbjonghyun @ Tumblr

CNBLUE would be a great group to add a rock vibe to the Holiday classics. They really could pick any Holiday song and pull it off. They have the looks, the sound, the talent, and the vocals to make any Holiday song a smash hit. Little St. Nick, Feliz Navidad, and Jingle Bell Rock are a few classics they could rock on a small stage or a huge arena.

Also on KultScene: The Colors Of K-Pop: Red


mama moo holiday songs

via @lovelyhari99

The all female rookie group would bring Holiday classics to a whole new level. Their sultry and soulful voices would only enhance current classics, such as White Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, and more. Mamamoo would have the best stage for a Holiday classic. I can see it now, they would be in a red dresses with white faux fur trim and their makeup and hair would be spot on (as usual).

The ultimate Holiday gift would be if all of these artists got together to create a Holiday CD and collaborate on a few songs with each other. If only, if only.

What Holiday songs do you want to hear from the K-Pop world, and who do you want to sing them? 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.

K-Pop Release Cheat Sheet 09/21/14-09/27/14

Each week, KPOPme compiles a list of K-Pop and overall Korean releases so that you don’t have to look far to find new music. This week, we saw some comebacks and collaborations from popular female artists (Ailee, Song Jieun, Soyou, Zhang Li Yin), and several comebacks from older groups (Buzz, Clazziquai Project, Ulalasession.) There were also some comebacks from boy groups, like GOT7 and TROY, as well as a member of ToppDogg going solo.

Check out all of the amazing songs from the week here.


Beat Burger – She So High starring TVXQ Changmin and Goo Hye Sun

SoYou, Kwon Soonil, Park Yongin (Urban Zakapa) – The Space Between

Buzz- Train

Zhang Li Yin- Not Along starring f(x) Victoria and EXO Tao

Crayon Pop – C’Mon C’Mon (High School Love On OST)

NORAZO Evolution No. 7- 만병통치가

Kim Geurim & Bang Seungho – No Tabacco

TROY – Why are We

T-ARA – Sugar Free (EDM Club Edition)

Kim Bum Soo- Teardrop of my Heart

Bestie- I Need You

Clazziquai Project- Call Me Back

Wheesung & Bumkey- How Much Is Your Love

ZPZG – Go Crazy

GOT7 – Around the World (Japan short MV)

Song Ji Eun – Don’t Look At Me Like This

Kidoh (ToppDogg) – Taxi On The Phone feat. Sangdo of ToppDogg

Ulalasession – 1 Minute

Ailee– Don’t Touch Me

Yoon Jung Shin – Gray City feat. Swings

JK Kim Donguk – Dirty Dancing


Plastic – Because I Love You

What was your favorite song released this week? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.