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50 best K-pop songs of 2017: 50-26

While the year may be closing in a very sad and unfortunate manner with the passing of a K-pop icon, artists consistently delivered memorable songs throughout 2017. This year saw a lot of great moments from some of Korea’s most popular new acts, while newer acts also proved their worth with addicting, sleekly-produced music. Trop was the king of this year’s K-pop trends, but far from the only genre of music that saw its moment in the limelight.

Check out the first half of KultScene’s 2017 best K-pop songs list below:

50. “Circle’s Dream” by Subin

Subin is trapped in an endlessly repeating contradictory cycle in her self-written and composed single “Circle’s Dream.” She is told that she is round and that’s good, but then that it’s not. She wants to be angular, to pierce her lover, to make him feel like how he made her feel. Yet she is also trapping herself within a recurring musical structure, as an acoustic guitar plucks an incisive riff throughout the song. It is the only angular part of Subin’s song yet has no variation. Her stark synths come in late but their slow rhythm only accentuates the repetitiveness. Each element is perfectly realised to tell her story. Her voice completes it. Its soft and sweet but particular pronunciations like denggeureureu are key. This word alone combines both the round and angular sides to her. It has repetitions but in order to say it properly she still has to roll her tongue. Subin has enwrapped her whole song with the confusing ideas in her head. No solo idol has ever produced something of such pointed precision.

—Joe

49. “Wee Woo” by Pristin

If “Wee Woo” had been released at the 2012-ish heyday of Hallyu, Pristin’s debut song would be considered legendary right now. It’s barrage of shifting sounds and onomatopoeic vocals are absolutely classic. The Pledis Entertainment regular songwriter Bumzu brings a bright and breezy feel to the whole production with disco electric guitars taking the brunt of the work. This allows the girls room to deliver the most hooks in a single song EVER. Each part is so complete on its own you could take them individually and create five more songs around them. The fact that they all come together for something that doesn’t feel so monumental is the greatness of “Wee Woo.” It’s arrogant in its effortlessness all the way down to making the primary hook out of the most simple term of jowahae nol jowahae (“I like (you) I like you”).

—Joe

48. “Beautiful” by Monsta X

Monsta X’s cultivated sound and signature unruly charms finally comes together for the consummate “Beautiful.” Perhaps because it is supposed to be representative of the group’s first studio album, the single feels particularly significant. For one, there’s really nothing quite like the opening out there. Scattered with a prominent distorted electronic beat that is quickly followed up by Jooheon’s explosive raps, the real hook is not in the chorus but here in the introduction, where the task for the listeners to not mimic the unique noises or the clever near-rhymes is near impossible. The vocalists dwindle down the excitement sometimes without sounding monotonous, almost acting like the Apollonian restraint to the Dionysian madness. The constant shower of peculiar oscillations, whirs, and horns all make up the perfectly organized chaos that Monsta X is known for, and though “Beautiful” did not grant the boys their first music show win like it should have, it will always remain a tour de force in our hearts.

—Shelley

47. “Where You At” by NU’EST W

With their revival in popularity following some of the members’ appearance in Produce 101 Season Two, this subunit of Nu’est (missing member Minhyun who debuted in Wanna One) released this flashy track which stayed true to their unique music style. Bursts of electronic instrumentals are mixed with a calm piano backing track and adds a lot of contrasts to the song. It also highlights the strengths of each member, with Baekho’s explosive high notes complementing Ren and Aron’s softer and sweeter voices. JR’s rapping is as stable as ever, and he definitely shines more back in his own group. It’s wonderful to see this talented group get more recognition for their talents, and I can’t wait to see the full group back together again soon.

—Anna

46. “You Were Beautiful” by DAY6

The February release of the band’s “Every DAY6 Project” can be said to be their most successful, especially domestically, and it’s not difficult to see why. The raw emotions brought out by the members coupled with the sincere lyrics create a sentimental rock ballad which truly tugs on the heartstrings of listeners. The end of the bridge in particular, where Young K and Wonpil’s voices are layered, is such a beautiful and emotional climax of the song. Even though it appears simple to sing along to (and is apparently a favourite among other JYP singers for karaoking), the song is actually very vocally challenging due to the large range required, and the effortless way the DAY6 members sing it shows just how skilled and well-trained they are.

—Anna

45. “Tomorrow, Today” by JJ Project

After debuting ahead of GOT7’s debut with the exuberant “Bounce,” JB and Jinyoung returned as a more matured rendition of JJ Project this year and it was absolutely glorious. The two vocalists released this sweeping, introspective song about the very-millennial topic of making decisions and fearing regrets. The track provides the perfect forum for the pair to show off how well their vocals work together, with the duo harmonizing over guitar riffs, tapping percussion, and mellow synths. “Tomorrow, Today” is reflective in its warm approach to soft rock, and hopefully we’ll see more of this from JJ Project in 2018. It was a complete turnaround from their first iteration, and definitely more suited for the pair’s artistic style and capabilities.

—Tamar

44. “Don’t Know You” by Heize

Heize’s “Don’t Know You” is a very groovy song full of percussions with a slight mixture of disco, hip-hop, and R&B, which features the soloist using deeper vocals than what we’ve been used to hear from her. The overall appeal of this songs starts at the beginning of the track with the repetitive beats and the introduction of the synth drums that follow different tonalities on the record that give great texture to “Don’t Know You.” Her famous ad-libs are also present on this song as she goes from high to low tones, which are achieved by the reverbs added on the vocal track, that create great contrast between her sexy sweet voice and her solid rap parts. The harmony is very steady throughout and creates a great chill up-tempo track perfect to dance and groove to. Heize continues to show great promise with her experimental sound.

—Alejandro

43. “Tequila (feat. Hoody)” by G.Soul

One can’t help but want to book an immediate flight to somewhere like Bali while listening to “Tequila,” especially with the brutal winter quickly approaching much of the States. Hoody’s bewitching voice alongside G.Soul’s multifaceted vocals make for the perfect combo in this dancehall track, ideal for both a cookout and the club. Lyrically wise, “Tequila” might not be appropriate for all age groups, as G.Soul sings about only wanting a one night stand. But if you’re someone who’s over the generic “let’s fall in love” type of style that is prevalent in K-pop the majority of the time, this song’s for you. The lyrics aren’t candy coated or sleazy, but come off rather… inviting. This wasn’t meant to be a flashy song, which is what made it even more enjoyable. Although G.Soul wasn’t hitting those high notes (that I love so much) like he usually does, it wasn’t a lack felt by this song.

—Tam

42. “Wake Me Up” by Taeyang

It is no news that Taeyang can hold a ballad like no other, and in 2017, he gave us two great ones. “Wake Me Up” doesn’t have the same degree of emotional complexity of “Darling,” the other single from the album, but it’s its apparent simplicity what makes this song amazing and addictive. Objectively speaking, it’s a very linear song with no surprise factors when it comes to its structure. It might even seem like Taeyang doesn’t have much to say in “Wake Me Up,” but it’s definitely not because he’s lacking emotions. In reality, what we see is that he just doesn’t know what to do with them. Everything in “Wake Me Up” sounds gorgeously inconclusive and mysterious — from the airy sounds and atmospheric, echoed beats, to the lyrics that offer more questions than answers. No wonder the most touching moment of the song is when he’s constantly repeating “Is it love?” while delivering breathtaking high notes. Overall, Taeyang’s vocal performance amidst the ethereal instrumental creates just the right vibe for a song that is about love, but mostly about confusion and doubt. After so many years, you can still count on Taeyang to get you in your feels.

—Ana

41. “Honeymoon” by B.A.P

Coming out during the fall when it should’ve been a summer jam, “Honeymoon” is a delightful EDM track from B.A.P’s seventh album Blue. The whistling at the beginning of the song left the remainder open for interpretation; this song could’ve been a sweet one, much like the title suggests, or a somber one. I’m glad it wasn’t the latter. “Honeymoon” puts listeners in a lighter mood, whereas previous songs were dark and heavy, all the while still executing a clear message. “With the overflowing stars from beneath the palm tree. A film on the shining freedom and bright youth,” they sing. Through this track, B.A.P wants to remind us to live life to its fullest, fulfill your heart’s desires to its grandest and emphasises that today’s youth will be the game changer in society going forward.

—Tam


Also on KultScene: DAY6 explores love & friendship through recent ‘Every DAY6’ releases

40. “Chase Me” by Dreamcatcher

Taking the bubbly girl group image and tossing it out the window, MINX re-debuted early this year under the name Dreamcatcher. Not only did the group have a new name, but they also gained two new members and an interesting concept and sound. Taking the term re-“vamp” quite literal, the group came out with a dark and creepy concept straight out of a horror movie. The video for “Chase Me” takes references from classic horror movies like The Shining but also has cuts to choreography to showcase the girls dance moves. The song begins with pianos and then picks up at the chorus. Adding31 to the darker image, the song melded hard rock elements with a dance pop track to create something very dynamic. There’s something about the mixing of heavy rock instrumentals and feminine voices that is very appealing. Although the song sounds like it’s straight out of an anime, it is also an interesting new sound that’s refreshing to the K-pop world.

—Katherine

39. “Never Ever” by GOT7

Ever since debut, GOT7 have switched up their sound with every release, experimenting with different styles and concepts, and their first comeback of the year was no different. “Never Ever” follows in the same angsty direction as “If You Do,” yet this track mixes electronic and trap sounds while giving it their signature bubblegum spin. Vocally, JB and Youngjae can always be counted on to deliver outstanding choruses and ad-libs. But reveal of the year was that “Never Ever” is probably the song where the rap line is collectively most stable and the flows, while different, work together. GOT7 is building up a name as a dance group whose choreographies are insane, and “Never Ever,” with its glitches and heavy bass, is the perfect performance track in their building discography.

—Alexis

38. “Love Story feat. IU” by Epik High

One of the two title tracks off of Epik High’s new album, “Love Story” is a beautiful song about love lost. The steady drum beats coupled with the sometimes frantic sounding piano and, later on, the smooth orchestra creates a complex yet easy sounding melody that balances well with IU’s sweet voice and the rap verses of Tablo and Mithra Jin. Along with the concept video of a girl reminiscing about her past relationship through videos and photos on her phone, it sets the perfect setting for a song about heartbreak and loss. As expected with most of Epik High’s collaborations, the group and the featuring artist blend perfectly to portray the story being told.

—Katherine

37. “Wake Me Up” by B.A.P

A lot of the times, K-pop consists of clichéd lyrics and similar concepts. There are times when a number of artists will put out a string of songs, music talking about love, relationships and breakups. Again, the repetitiveness. Just when you feel like you’ve had enough of that sappy stuff, B.A.P appears with an eye opener like “Wake Me Up,” a track that touches on societal issues and mental health to stimulate one’s ear buds. The song has a compelling beat, a sound so strong, it’ll act as the pillar that will hold you up when one is fighting off their inner demons and struggles in life. “This is an endless tunnel, in darkness with no light. Wake me up, wake me up. I need to find myself,” they sing. B.A.P wanted to push awareness and wake up a society that looks away and pretends that issues like racism, judgement, and depression aren’t real issues because these things are very much on going and continue to be real life problems.

—Tam

36. “Palette feat. G-Dragon” by IU

As one of Korea’s most prominent artists, IU on “Palette” seems to be comfortable with her fame and life, assuring both herself and her listeners that she’s changing in ways she embraces. Her lyricism uses cute examples, from changing color preferences to hair length, to demonstrate that she, “Knows a little bit about [herself] now.” The song’s instrumentals are a more alternative play on classic, theatrical IU releases. While the trademark ticking noises and sound effects are present, the song itself is slower and wispier, updated to match a more modern vibe that she seems to have grown into. The top female star of Korean music in the past decade, IU demonstrates that she remains focused on making hits, but now, on her own terms. With the help of a strongly performed and well-placed rap break from G-Dragon, IU on “Palette” lets us further into her excited, changing young adult world. Where she goes next from here, however, we’ll be watching.

—Kushal

35. “Dinosaur” by AKMU

AKMU is known for creating beautiful music, but with “Dinosaur,” the duo really surprised us: they finally added some EDM to their music while managing to make it their own. The electro beats and synths that appear through the track’s melody seem very stripped down and almost make it feel like an acoustic electronic song. The opening guitar in the beginning of the song especially feels like an homage to their earlier music. The synthetic kickdrums that blast before the beautiful notes from Suhyun during the chorus melody and are present through the whole track, giving it an unique mystery to the track. We also get more singing from Chanhyuk instead of his typical talk-like rap, which was surprisingly beautiful. Their voices blend and harmonize perfectly with the synthetic beats that made it an upbeat chill song for the summer. AKMU really had a lot of fun creating this track and used every tool that electronic instruments can give you as a producer. The song is simple but very detailed with a beautiful, heartwarmingly catchy harmony and a light beat that is very uplifting and instantly makes you feel good.

—Alejandro

34. “Dream In a Dream” by Ten

SM Entertainment’s Station project has produced a bit of a mixed bag this year, delivering some truly great pieces of music amid a majority of lackluster ones. But “Dream In a Dream” was one of its glorious high notes. The ambient, east-meets-west styling of the song serves to relay the performance-heavy music video, which highlights Ten’s immense dance skills. Providing a soundtrack to the highly-stylized, contemporary dance video, it’s a song filled with drama and passion. But even as a stand alone track, “Dream In a Dream” delivers something truly special through its symphonic instrumentals relaying Ten’s echoing declaration of love. Lush synths and pulsating beats guide the track as it layers traditional Asian strings and into the atypically-structured melody. So far, Ten has participated in both this and NCT U’s “The 7th Sense,” two hauntingly beautiful, choreography-focused singles, and if this is the direction SM continues pushing him in, it may be the thing that could breathe new life into this era of all-too-similar K-pop male acts.

—Tamar

33. “Shall We Dance” by Block B

Ever since Zico cemented his status as a hip-hop icon in Korea, Block B has pretty much taken a backseat on the ride. And after a couple of quirky, even cutesy releases, it seemed the group had gone awry of the sounds and concept they made a name with. That’s why when they dropped “Shall We Dance” it was way more impactful. More in tune with the “trendy” sounds Zico is known to produce for his solos, the track explores different urban Latino sounds, which particularly stood out this year when artists are still releasing trop-house songs. “Shall We Dance” is groovy, smooth, and just as the title suggests, dance provoking. Being an older male group with a diverse lineup of talented members, it’s important for Block B to color outside the lines and continue to push the envelope as they have always done. And with this song, they did just that.

—Alexis

32. “Girl Front” by ODD EYE CIRCLE

“Girl Front” felt like a particularly important moment for LOONA. When LOONA ⅓ debuted as a unit they were still fairly unknown, a weird project group going about their own thing. By the time of ODD EYE CIRCLE, they had significantly grown with more people both at home and internationally taking notice. The fact that they absolutely nailed it came as no surprise to me, but how they did it was so impressive. By combining the songs of three girls (Choerry, Jinsoul, and Kim Lip) producers Ollipop and Hayley Aitken created something unprecedented in K-pop. “Girl Front” has the peppiness of “Love Cherry Motion,” the dense, propulsive beat of “Singing in the Rain,” and the electronic sheen of “Eclipse.” It’s a miracle that it all comes together to form something coherent let alone this good. The girls give it the last edge of excitement with non-stop vocals as they bounce off one another with glee, building a climax of unstoppable motion and further push forward the most exciting story of the year.

—Joe

31. “I Wait” by Day6

“I Wait” was the first release of the group’s ambitious project, which set a high bar for their following monthly singles. The opening of the song draws the listener in with somber synthesized keyboard notes and dreamy vocals. The mellow beats gradually increase to the more aggressive instrumentals of the chorus, showcasing a much harder sound than what the band has been previously known for. The song continues to bounce back and forth between a softer sound and the heavy chorus, which creates and interesting medium. The video itself isn’t really anything special but somehow still complements the song with the changing graphics and effects. Overall, “I Wait” fulfilled its purpose of drawing in the audience with a new sound, showcasing the band’s versatility and ability to deliver quality songs throughout the year.

—Katherine


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

30. “MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix feat. Desiigner)” by BTS

“MIC Drop” was already a good song before Steve Aoki’s remix, but with his production, the producer added the aggressiveness that the track needed to be fully solidified as an anti-haters anthem for BTS. He did this by converting the hip-hop track into a hip-hop, R&B, and EDM infused song that made us remember the old BTS from their debut era. The track is energetic and gets you pumped up as soon as you listen to it; V’s deep voice and RM’s raps are major highlights from this record. The lyrics take a very sarcastic tone that even if they seem cocky it makes us sympathize with them. With the new added English lyrics in the chorus, the song makes everyone want to stand up against haters and face them off. BTS creates yet another ode for outcasts and bullied kids all over the world by once again taking on topics that usually K-pop bands don’t talk about.


Also on KultScene: Astro ‘Dream Pt. 02’ Album Review

—Alejandro

29. “Darling” by Taeyang

This ballad stands out with its somewhat unconventional structure and chord progression, but it’s truly beautiful and addictive when listened to in its entirety. The way that Taeyang’s smooth voice connects the various parts of the song elevates it and showcases his impressive range and ability. His raw emotions are showcased front and center here too, especially with the way the song “progresses” in intensity from verse to verse. It’s soothing and intimate all at once, and allows Taeyang to present a more honest side of himself, as compared to being a charismatic star glorified by the limelight.

—Anna

28. “Hola Hola” by KARD

Over the course of three project singles, KARD was able to develop a musical formula that worked. The tropical house and dancehall that undergirded “Oh Nana,” “Don’t Recall,” and “Rumor” provided a strong foundation for when they finally did make their official debut with “Hola Hola,” a timely and bright synthy number perfect for the summertime. Being co-ed is more than just a gimmick for this group; the exchange between tender vocals and throaty raps is the contrast listeners need to keep engaged. The chorus, on the other hand, shifts its weight onto an island beat, and while it would be easy to dismiss this sudden move as overly simplistic, the hypnotic effect is undeniable. It sweeps the carpet from under our feet and displaces us in a chimerical paradise. It is a nice recess from Jiwoo’s spunky rap midway or from any other strained moments, providing us with a sensual and personable comfort. “Hola Hola” only marks the beginning, but already the internationally beloved group has been dealt a good hand, and are making all the right plays to keep momentum going.

—Shelley

27. “Cherry Bomb” by NCT 127

Without a doubt, “Cherry Bomb” definitely encapsulates the sound of NCT127. The different mixes of genres that create a very fresh and futuristic sound create a unique style for the band that has everyone falling in love. The track starts off with a heavy bass and the repetitive “Hurry, hurry, avoid it, right Cherry Bomb feel it yum,” then goes off to Mark’s and Taeyong’s rap, with the pair proving to be the real standouts for this track, while the bridge explodes with Taehyun’s, Doyoung’s and Taeil’s beautiful vocals that melt any listener’s hearts. The song is filled with background synth noises, singed hooks, and creepy sounds that create a very chaotic but interesting track that is reminiscent of the album cover and the title of the song. It’s a classic, sassy and rebellious track and shows great direction for the boy band.

—Alejandro

26. “O Sole Mio” by SF9

Is it possible for someone who lacks rhythm AND coordination to find themselves swaying ones hips and body with precision to the entrancing latin sounds of “O Sole Mio”? This track comes from SF9’s third mini album, Knights of the Sun, only one year after their debut. Rather then SF9’s usual upbeat dance tracks, “O Sole Mio” is captivating in it’s own mellow way. The transitions between the vocal and rap lines were smooth and well-versed, building up to a tender climax without it ever being over the top. The fusion of latin pop to K-pop is still new, but, let’s be real: we all could’ve used a break from some of the generic sounds we’ve heard this year, and the fresh sound of “O Sole Mio” delivered just that.

—Tam

Stay tuned for the second and final half of our Best K-pop Songs of 2017 list, which will contain the top 25.

What was your favorite release of the year? 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.

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: October 31st-November 6th

kpop-faves-november

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

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

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

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

”Skydive” by B.A.P (Released Nov. 6)

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


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

— Tam

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

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

— Tamar


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

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

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

— Alexis

Did you like any of these songs? What was your favorite song of the week? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-Pop Faves: August 1-7

Weekly K-pop: B.A.P, Monsta X, Nine Muses A, Y Teen (Monsta X + Cosmic Girls)

As summer comes to a close, K-pop releases are beginning to slow down. However, we still racked up a short list of our weekly faves, which have proven to be a bit biased, but oh well! Gotta work with what we’re given.

“Shh” by Nine Muses A (Released August 4)

Considering their seemingly imminent demise, it’s a great relief to hear anything from Nine Muses, even if it is a sub-unit. Nine Muses A consist of Kyungri, Hyemi, Sojin, and Keumjo and are debuting without the usual tag of a cute or badass or whatever version of their parent group. Their album “Muses Diary” is a superbly tight work of sexy and sweet pop. The standout is “Shh,” a blistering mix of euro pop and orchestral music. It has an anime theme song feeling to it with its pulsing bass drum and swirling strings that build momentum. Each moment brings back different memories of pop for me. The aforementioned anime influences, the rapping in pop which K-pop has revolutionised, and best of all the Max Martin-esque chorus with its little delay before the beat kicks in again.

— Joe


Also on KultScene: KCON 2016 LA’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

“That’s My Jam” by B.A.P (Released August 7)

Throughout the years, B.A.P has experimented with music a lot. Their discography has a diverse range; from fighting everyday injustices, innocent first loves, to just down right having fun. The group’s latest EDM infused release “That’s My Jam” is unlike anything they’ve ever delivered before. Prior to it’s release today, fans had already gotten a taste of the group’s strong interest in EDM and rock during their recent Live On Earth 2016 World Tour.

This energetic song and it’s consistent overflowing addictive beat will without a doubt get you on your feet! Even without watching the music video, you can easily sense the members high enthusiasm and “fighting” spirits. Their delightful (and Yongguk’s heavily attractive) voices will quickly absorb and hypnotize one into a deep trance. Oh but if we had to talk about the music video, all I have to say is “VISUALS.”

“That’s My Jam” showcases a brand new side of B.A.P, which can only make us anticipate for what’s to come in the future. As the members matured and grown, so has their styles. It’s great seeing them getting away from their darker concepts and actually enjoying themselves, even with fake beers in hand. If you were in search of summer anthem, then this is your jam!

— Tam

“Stuck” by Monsta X (Released August 7)

Monsta X was clearly busy while in Los Angeles earlier this week. Between opening up the second night of KCON 16 LA and flying between the US and Korea, they had the time to film the music video for “Stuck.” They pulsating track brings Monsta X’s style of aggressive dance music that they’ve been promoting over the past few months, but their vocals really shine and the distribution between the seven members may be the group’s best yet. (There’s no “Trespass”-style dominance by rapper Jooheon and vocalist Kihyun). “Stuck” is a gift to fans but even people who haven’t heard their other songs will be grooving to this track. (Plus, the music video has an insane dance break with Shownu flaunting his abs so if that’s your thing make sure to watch).

— Tamar


Also on KultScene: KCON 2016 LA’s M! Countdown Day 2 Concert Recap

“Do Better” by Y Teen (Released August 5)

I promise we don’t have an agenda to push Monsta X down your throats. But since last week’s KCON 16 LA, I have to admit I’ve been paying more attention since coming face to face with Shownu’s arms. Alas, I digress. The point is that now that I’m paying attention I found this collaboration with a few members of fellow Starship Entertainment’s girl group Cosmic Girls called Y Teen. Their collab song, “Do Better,” is a CF for… something requiring them as models… and sounds like your regular Monsta X song with the EDM-y, clap ridden jam. However, I could’ve done without the cutesy element Cosmic Girls brought into the mix. And while it may not offer anything new necessarily, it’s still a fun song where the rappers dominate and excel — especially Exy from Cosmic Girls who hasn’t been allowed to showcase her full potential. Monsta X kill it though, but what else is new?

— Alexis

What’s your favorite song of the week? Share your pick 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.

Which B.A.P Member Are You? + Live On Earth World Tour North America Info

B.A.P Live On Earth 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, April 14, is the kick off show of B.A.P‘s Live on Earth 2016 World Tour in North America. San Francisco’s BABYs (official fans) will be the first to greet the sextet to the country, while K-pop aficionados in Los Angeles, Vancouver Dallas, Chicago, Toronto, New York City, and Atlanta will also have the chance to meet B.A.P throughout the month. And for all of those BABYs in Mexico City, B.A.P will have one show in Mexico at the start of next month. Brought to the U.S in coordination by Powerhouse, the tour marks B.A.P’s first stateside appearances since a legal dispute that ended, happily, with B.A.P remaining as a whole and putting out the music fans have come to love.

So ahead of their concert, find out now which member of B.A.P you are most like!

Tickets are still on sale for the tour through Ticketmaster, AXS, and Powerhouse, so if you want to see B.A.P while they are in this hempisphere you still have a bit of time to make your plans!

B.A.P’s 2016 North American Tour Dates

April 14- San Francisco, The Warfield

April 17- Los Angeles, Microsfot Theater

April 19- Vancouver, Orpheum

April 21- Dallas, Verizon Theater

April 23- Chicago, Rosemont Theater

April 24- Toronto, Massey Hall

April 25- New York, Playstation Theater

April 27- Atlanta, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

May 1 – Mexico City, Pepsi Center WTC

Did you get who you thought it’d be? Are you going to any of B.A.P’s concerts or have you seen them in the past?? 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.

Playlist Sunday: Valentine’s Day

valentine's-day-playlist

This day, once a year, when couples are lauded and told to eat chocolate and do something fun, is all about love. So, for this year’s Valentine’s Day, our KultScene Playlist Sunday is all about love and relationships. Each of our writers has a different take on the perfect love song and what love is. Pairing individual opinions and matching them to their favorite songs, we put together a perfectly romantic playlist for the holiday.

Whether you’re single or taken this Valentine’s Day, B.A.P will be sure to make your heart flutter with their enjoyable and bright song “Crash.” “I can’t believe it, it’s really perfect,” they sing. “I am breathless, it’s not fair. Your eyes, your lips, you’re everything really left me shook up.” Have you ever met someone who put you in an instant daze and left you completely mesmerized? Is it your current significant other or perhaps someone of the past? Or maybe, even someone famous? Regardless of who it was/is, it’s a great deal of feelings and emotions that can’t fully be expressed and put into words. The members hearts are thumping so hard that it’s about to erupt and burst out of the bodies at just the mere thought of meeting someone with such great qualities and characteristics. Does your heart do the same notion whenever you think of or if you’re around that person?

— Tam


Also on Kultscene: 5 K-Dramas To Get You In The Mood For Valentine’s Day

What better song to dedicate to that special someone this Valentine’s Day than IKON’s “My Type?” An ode to the members’ ideal girl, the lighthearted song describes everything about her that they love, including her fashion sense, her voice, her smile, and even her yawn. And though the lyrics describe her body movements as “slightly awkward,” they also let her know that she has no flaws. She can literally be mute, and they would still have the hots for her. But I guess that’s when you know that the love is real, when you are able to look past the other’s faults and appreciate all of his or her nuances, such as the look on his or her face when spacing out. “My Type” works well whether you are confessing for the first time in a “some” relationship or for the thousand and first time in a long-term one, because who would not like to hear how perfect they are?

— Shelley

I’m not much of a romantic, but how can anyone resist an ode to your beauty like in Big Bang’s “Bae Bae?” I mean, next to my intelligence, if you want me to fall in love with you, highlighting my chicness and my doe-like eyes is the way to go. Both the song and the music video for “Bae Bae” are weird, no doubt about that. But it’s awesomeness relies in the fact that it’s different and not cookie-cutter. “Bae Bae” is a testament to the girl they’re so enamoured by, how they wish she won’t change ever because in this moment, she’s perfect. During the honeymoon stage of a relationship, what’s not romantic about that?

— Alexis


Also on Kultscene: Girl Crush: Grace

Sometimes it’s important to constantly remind a person that they are your valentine and you are theirs. Even if they don’t agree, you can do what AOA Cream do and keep shouting, “I’m your baby.” The subunit’s debut single “I’m Jelly Baby” is about a jealous girl who is afraid her boyfriend is looking at other girls. Maybe it’s not the most romantic of songs for Valentine’s Day but the sheer devotion on Cream’s part is admirable and romantic in a creepy way. The song itself is a wonderfully inventive bit of pop rock built on top hip hop beats. Guitars drive the song but it flits in and out styles and contains a chorus which takes a while to get to the point. It also features maybe the most beautiful bit of vocal so far this year with Hyejeong’s second part in the long pre-chorus build up.

— Joe

Park Hyo Shin’s “Wild Flower” is pretty sad as it comes post-breakup, but the vocally expressive song is lyrically beautiful to the point that it is quite obvious that this is love. The ballad, beginning with strings then pausing completely to allow Park’s crisp vocals to be begin backed only by a simple keyboard accompaniment, is about lost love and the future of a new spring together after the “wild flower” returns to bloom again. The song is one of Korea’s most popular songs in the past few years thanks to the poetic lyrics that describe the feelings of love and heartbreak: “Love is a fiery flower that blooms and withers,” he sings at one point. “…On top of the dry land, my entire body is burning. Your scent that remained on my fingers is scattering away.” At a time when many of the most popular Korean “love” songs are nothing more than hook-filled dance songs, Park Hyo Shin’s “Wild Flower” reflects the passion of love and anguish of a break up, while still depicting faith in finding happiness again. So, even though it’s Valentine’s Day and “Wild Flower” seems like a sad song, it’s actually something we should all hope we experience in our lives. We are all secretly waiting for our “Wild Flower”-like emotions of love.


–Tamar

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day Song? How did you spend the day? 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.

Playlist Sunday: Dystopian K-Pop Music Videos

dystopian K-pop playlist

It’s no secret that K-pop is full of futuristic elements, and sometimes that future is bleak. This week’s Playlist Sunday features a variety of K-pop music videos that offer up a dystopian take on things. Whether it’s a bleak, post-apocalyptic world or a police state, K-pop doesn’t really think that this world is going to end well and we have a lot of dystopia to deal with. But this dark view of things has given us some of the most creative K-pop music videos of all time.

Not only is B.A.P known for their forceful sounds but also for their lyrics and influential messages that they convey to the listeners and public alike. The lyrics are, if not, even more powerful than the tunes itself. “Badman” lyrically and visually shows a side of reality that we as citizens sometimes tend to brush aside, much like this world’s corrupted governments. People only see what they want to see instead of trying to dig out the hidden meanings that’s been tucked away on purpose. “The despair that I hear in the darkness. The world that is ridden with fear,” sings B.A.P. It’s hard not to see what’s going on in the world everyday. Yet we turn the other way and ignore the fact that, although all these arising issues may not be affecting us directly as individuals, there are things that are ineed affecting and disrupting the society that surrounds us. What good will it do if we keep looking the other way, not batting a single eyelash, as if all the wrongs in the world will naturally go away on it’s own? B.A.P wants you to know that they too, see and hear everything that’s going on, but unlike some, they’ll be the ones to take things head on and fight for what’s right, right then and there.

–Tam

INFINITE is one of my favorites and they are famous for their in sync dances. Since their debut, they have been striving hard to produce unique music. In January 2011, the band released the music video for “BTD (Before The Dawn).” While many of the fans and viewers are only familiar with the dance version of this song, “BTD” has a dark take on things. This dystopian music video shows the members imprisoned in an inescapable place, where a person has to kill another in order to free himself. Being friends, none of them are willing to harm each other. The lyrics describe the situation really well: I can’t let go like this, it’s suffocating. And I don’t know what to do….. I want to have you in the end no matter what. The members further question why they ended up in these circumstances? The title and music video of the song emphasizes on leaving this place before the dawn. The music video got +19 rating for being too violent. The group’s agency, Woollim Entertainment, stated that its intention was to visualise the inner conflict of the characters in the video, and not to display gratuitous violence.

–Sana

Not many groups can pull off a dystopian concept well, but as mentioned above B.A.P certainly can. Their 2012 release “POWER” is a song filled with loud instrumentals and a forceful performance from the group in all aspects, singing, dancing and rapping. The accompanying music video is appropriately dark and graphic, filled with backdrops of war vehicles and fire. The whole video serves to bring out their strong lyrics, a call for action against the people who are oppressing and filling our world with lies. We got the power. Fight against them and don’t look at me with your angelic face. Everything is a lie. There’s probably no better fight song for a revolution than this.

–Anna

If we’re talking dystopian, you can’t go without a casual mention of XIA Junsu’s “Flower.” The song itself is a fabulous, haunting track featuring Epik High’s Tablo, and all about finding light in the darkness. (It’s also the second collaboration of the two, since their equally dystopian AnyBand music videos.) The music video keeps the eeriness of the song, and transposes it into a post-apocalyptic world where Junsu is the god in a crumbling world. The world is quite literally falling apart as the devil dances, so to speak, with a king who doesn’t care about anything other than his own haven amidst a ruined world. There are hints of an anti-nuclear message (the mutated fish) from Junsu, but the whole music video is full of symbolism against excess, even towards Junsu himself, even while he is clearly on top of his game as a member of JYJ and a former TVXQ member. There are questions of innocence, there are questions of morality. It’s an artistic, philosophical take on the K-pop dystopian music video and we love it.

–Tamar

B.A.P’s ‘Young, Wild & Free’ Music Video & Song Review

B.A.P, Young, Wild & Free
It was a painstaking 12 months for B.A.P’s B.A.B.Y’s world wide, but all the frowns were turned upside down when the K-pop group announced their official comeback for November 15th. Fans were on massive pins and needles waiting as teasers were dropped weeks before “Young, Wild & Free” was released. Was the grueling anticipation all worth it? Let’s find out!

Meaning

Even if the sun sets and the darkness comes, keep running til the end.

What’s your goal in life? Happiness? Success? Love? Whatever it may be, there’s no reason as to why you can’t achieve it, that’s what B.A.P is telling us. Maybe you’ll get it right in just one try or maybe you’ll fail 99 times before finally succeeding on the 100th try. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you get there; the most important thing is that you get there. Don’t let your past failures cast shade on your potentially brighter future. Even if you feel like all the doors of opportunity have closed, just keep knocking because sooner or later one will open up and that’ll be that one that’ll lead you right to where you should be. Read more

Playlist Sunday: Best Absolute Perfect

boy group covers kpop

After a lengthy hiatus and lawsuit, the K-pop idol group B.A.P is back in the game with their new album, ”Matrix.” To celebrate their comeback, this week’s KultScene Playlist Sunday is inspired by B.A.P’s name. All of these songs fall under the category of being best, absolute, or perfect.

While it’s hard to pick a personal favorite, one of the songs that I think falls under the category of being absolutely perfect is HISTORY’s “Dreamer.” The group’s 2013 debut song is a retro-inspired dance tune that really gave HISTORY’s members a chance to shine vocally and stand out from amongst the crowded K-pop boy band world. The upbeat swing sounds and harmonizations are reminiscent of show tunes. I honestly think it’s a pity that HISTORY hasn’t put out more songs along the lines of “Dreamer,” because the song truly goes places that are rare to find in K-pop.

— Tamar


Also on KultScene: Here’s Why The Wall Street Journal Is Wrong About K-Drama Fans

It’s virtually impossible to choose my favourite K-pop song, but if you twisted my arm I would have to say “Tarantallegra.” For me, Xia Junsu has the best voice in Korea and there’s no doubting his 100 percent commitment to his craft, whether or not the song is to your taste. The scope and execution of the video are breathtaking, so in my opinion Junsu’s vocal talents plus his breadth of vision equal absolute perfection.

— Eve

For me, best, absolute, and perfect came this year in the form of Brown Eyed Girls’ “Brave New World.” Everything about this song is larger than life and in true BEG fashion. The music video –with all its colors and glitter and amazing fashion — is visually stunning and that beat, I mean, sampling a Michael Jackson song was genius. They took a classic like “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” and gave it a fresh spin to make it sound contemporary. And, of course, it goes without saying that the girls absolutely slaaaaaaaay everything from their vocals, to the choreography, to being their fantastic selves. Overall, this is, in my humble opinion, one of the, if not the, best comeback package of 2015 so far. I’m actually bummed out they’re promoting the other single rather than this one. “Brave New World” crosses over the K-pop boundaries into the worldwide pop spectrum that should be as relevant as our favorite Western pop divas.

— Alexis

As of writing I still have not listened to the new B.A.P song, so I figure I’ll add their best moment to make up for it. When I heard they were finally coming back, I hoped that they would come back strong and angry just like in “Badman.” Anger is an uncommon sight in K-pop so when it’s executed as well as it is here, it makes an impact. Never before has the distinct tonal shifts in seemed so appropriate. Yongguk’s crushing rap moves abruptly into serene vocals from Daehyun and Youngjae, creating dissonance that perfectly mirrors the weariness of the lyrics. This is all even before the siren synths of the chorus that signal impending doom or saviour depending on your mood. This is what B.A.P bring to the K-pop world and I’m glad they’re back to hopefully shake up a comfortable environment.

— Joe


Also on KultScene: 5 Songs to Get You Ready For Beenzino’s North American Tour [UPDATED]

B.A.P always finds ways to surprise their audiences with their various music styles. Since they are heavily influenced in hip hop, these guys are always trying to incorporate portions of that genre into their music, while still bringing different elements to the table. “No Mercy” offers a great blend of their universal skillsets, everything from members Yongguk and Zelo’s unique satoori (a certain accent/dialect from South Korea) raps, to Daehyun’s stellar vocal stamina and Jongup’s weightless yet forceful dance moves. The song reels you in the second the first beat drops; the addictive “boom clap boom boom clap” will make even the most terrible of dancers, I’m guilty as charged, get on up and prance around like they’ve been dancing for years!

— Tam

What are your best absolute perfect K-pop songs? Share your picks 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.

6 Songs to Get You Ready For B.A.P’s Comeback

B.A.P, BAPisBACK, B.A.P Comeback

B.A.B.Y’s worldwide can finally rejoice because B.A.P’s long awaited comeback is finally underway! After a turbulent and what felt like a never ending 12 months, the guys are finally back and is set to release their latest music video for “Young, Wild & Free” on November 15th. In order to properly prep you for this overdue comeback, here are six songs to get you ready for it!

[Disclaimer: As a B.A.B.Y myself, I suggest you seclude yourself in a room with a box (or two) of tissue, seeing as you’re about to experience some serious “feels” with these songs.]

1. “Warrior”

B.A.P sure knows how to make an entrance! They set the tone for the rest of the 2012’s rookie groups the moment they released their debut music video and track, “Warrior.” Most people’s first impressions were probably something along the lines of, “who are these six blonde newbies?” Sure, it was probably hard to tell them apart in this music video, considering all the uniformed outfits and non stop choreography that prevented the viewers a chance to take a peek at their faces. But that was it! There was something about all of that that reeled potential fans in.

During the time of B.A.P’s debut, it was beyond uncommon to see Korean boy bands or “idol” groups in general tampering with hip hop as much as they did. This song came out during a time where other boy bands were all about that flower boy image and cute concepts, whereas “Warrior” was the polar opposite. It showed strength, determination, and power; it was refreshing and completely unexpected. Not only did B.A.P set the bar high with their debut for the rookies that followed, but “Warrior” was a way of them setting their own standards, raising the bar sky high for their own comebacks. Read more