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Amber Liu’s ‘Rogue Rouge’ album review

Resultado de imagem para amber liu rogue rouge

F(x) has always been one of the most distinctive groups in K-pop, experimenting with sounds and elements not often seen until their debut, in 2009. Taiwanese-american artist Amber Liu seemed a good fit for this group that was born to be different – from haircut to clothes, the group’s rapper had her own cool style that differed from what female idols used to look like, and apparently SM Entertainment, the group’s agency, respected that.

But was it enough? Was Amber happy? How would Amber sound if she could make art in her own terms? With the release of Rogue Rouge on April 15, we have some answers.

This sixtrack mixtape was not the first time fans could see a different side of Amber, though. While in f(x) she had the position of main rapper, a role she also played in her bright/energetic solo release “Shake That Brass,” Amber has released several singles showcasing her singing voice: “Beautiful,” “On My Own,” “Borders,” and “Need to Feel Needed.” Amber also directed the Music Video for f(x)’s “All Mine,” and released a duo with f(x)’s colleague Luna, “Lower.”

One could say Amber has had multiple opportunities to do something different than what she does in f(x), and that’s true. But one can also say that, as an artist, she still has more to show and has the right to seek for creative freedom, and that’s true too.  

That being said, Rogue Rouge may not have come as a total surprise for those who paid attention to Amber out of f(x); however, the mixtape can still shine new lights on what we know about her life and career.


Also on KultScene: 2017 HYUNA WAS THE BEST HYUNA

Format

Releasing a mixtape nowadays might have some sort of a charm, like a countercultural alternative to the polished and well planned release of albums and EPs. It’s also a popular way for a group’s member to show their individual colours, like what happened with the solo mixtapes released by BTS members Rap Monster, Suga, and more recently, J-Hope.

In Amber’s case, though, a mixtape released on a democratic platform like Soundcloud says a little more. Rogue Rouge is an independent work, made without any connection or money from SM Entertainment. Everything about Rogue Rouge was 100% the result of Amber’s personal efforts and collaborations with friends, such as Singaporean artist Gen Neo, who co-wrote “Closed Doors” and “Right Now,” who also provided vocals for this last one; and model and photographer Stefanie Michova, who directed the music video for “Closed Doors.”

There is no confirmation that Amber is still under SM Entertainment. Therefore, the very fact that Amber is able to do this mixtape suggests that her contract with them allows the space for a bit of artistic freedom. But, if the mixtape is available for free download, it could also mean that Amber isn’t allowed to make money out of her agency.


Also on KultScene: K-RAPPER ARTLOVER TALKS BLENDING MUSIC & FASHION, BRITISH & KOREAN INFLUENCES [INTERVIEW]

Music

If you’re waiting to hear anything near K-pop or f(x)’s past music on the mixtape, just know that you won’t find it here. Sonically speaking, Rogue Rouge is quite an homogeneous piece of work, sticking to R&B tunes (“Get Over It,” “Closed Doors,” “Right Now”) and pop (“Three Million Years”), with little presence of EDM elements (“High Hopes,” “Lifeline”).

The production is far from the grandiose that K-pop instrumentals sound like.ut whether it’s due to being independent work or just Amber’s personal choice, it doesn’t really matter. The simplicity works perfectly fine here. Amber’s beautiful voice and interpretation are the big stars of every single track. Even the simpler songs sound so meaningful because it’s obvious that she’s putting a lot of love into them. It is possible that her choice to go for smoother jams could be saying something about how she feels towards the effusive, loud music she has been doing as an idol. But, just like any artist who has to deal with limited creative freedom (or no freedom at all) when they’re under a group, maybe she just wanted to do something for herself.  

Lyrics

Amber wrote all the 6 tracks, with the help from Gen Neo in two of them.

They’re all in English, her native language, and most of them about heartbreak. Yes, it seems like someone broke Amber’s heart – and while such person deserves to be punched (!), seeing such a stripped and honest side of Amber’s lyricism is a delight.

amber kcon 2016 los angeles red carpet

by Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum

It’s a not a side often seen from K-pop idols: they have to act, speak, sing in a certain way. No matter how bold is the concept, they can only go so far – and even if it’s very far, it’s only to cause an impression.

But in Rogue Rouge there’s just an adult woman being an adult woman, and it includes occasional cursing, heartbreaks, desire, the dilemmas of public versus private life etc.

Overall Feeling

From the emblematic instance when Amber spoke on social media about being neglected as an artist to how independently Rogue Rouge was done, it seems that Amber’s main wish is to just sing a story that’s all hers, rather than to prove anything to anyone.  

Rogue Rouge has no climax or wow moments. It sounds genuine, though. The lyrics for “Closed Doors,” the best track, sums up the whole purpose of Amber with this mixtape: no overthinking or reinventing the wheel; no need to run, hide or “keep on choosing sides.” This is just Amber being Amber and doing what she feels like doing. If that really is her purpose, then, indeed, she wouldn’t need sumptuous instrumentals and complex songs to do that.

In Brazil, we have a saying for when we’re gifting someone we care about yet we can’t afford something expensive: “It’s simple, but it’s from the heart.” That seems to be the case here: simple (compared to K-pop) but meaningful music. Again, I don’t know if money has anything to do with the crude sonority of Rogue Rouge, but I don’t even care, and it seems like Amber doesn’t care either. She’s pouring her heart out, and for a project that aims for expressing individuality rather than charting, that’s more than enough.

Let us know what you think of Amber Liu’s “Rogue Rouge” 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.

50 Best Korean Songs of 2016: Part 1

After experiencing one of the best years of Korean releases in 2015, the expectations were high for 2016. This year, however, we were all bamboozled on every front imaginable, making 2016 a monumental year but not necessarily for the reasons we expected. Big names in K-pop disbanded, Korean R&B arose as hip-hop did in previous years, and a dominance of new girl groups became evident. It also marked the year the generational shift began, with older groups falling to the wayside to make room for newer acts. Even though we didn’t get to see strong comebacks by more established acts, the newer ones started, or continued, with a bang.

As every year, the KultScene staff determined what songs we thought were above the rest. And after fierce competition, we narrowed it down to the 50 best of 2016.

50. “The Closer” by VIXX

VIXX made a name for themselves with dark, weird concepts that they’ve developed throughout a few comebacks after their debut in 2012. However, ever since last year, the sextet has been experimenting with their sound. And after last year’s releases and another one earlier this year where they veered towards SHINee’s funky pop territory, VIXX went back to more somber, fantasy concepts with “The Closer.” This time, however, instead of relying on the pop-heavy vocals, they mixed it up with early 2000’s R&B for a smoother sound. This track showed just how much the group has grown artistry-wise and proved that what they do, they do it well. A group known for two power vocals in K-pop, the highlight goes to Ravi who, thank goodness, has been on a steady non-cringeworthy rap stride as of late. Now that the cutesy boy band trend is coming back, a concept group like VIXX is highly appreciated. Stay weird, kids.

— Alexis

49. “Secret” by Yuri and Seohyun of Girls’ Generation

There has never been a better commercial jingle than “Secret,” Yuri and Seohyun’s collaboration with Pantene. Yes, the shampoo. “Secret” is a full-blown EDM song that veers towards generic, but the execution by the pair is filled with energy and surprises. Seohyun’s well-recognized as a great vocalist, but Yuri comes into her own in “Secret,” and the song never falls flat, despite the song’s chaotic composition. Pounding beats come to near complete-halts before sonic builds to the whispery choruses. The song is a glorious show of the pair’s diversity as singers and leaves us wanting to see what this duo could do together as an actual Girls’ Generation subgroup. Hint, hint, SM Entertainment.

— Tamar

48. “Don’t Believe” by Berry Good

Perennial underachievers Berry Good rounded out the best year of their careers with this superb slice of tropical house. Jettisoning their trademark big vocals, they let producers Nassun and Big Tone weave “Don’t Believe” into something altogether more professional sounding than usual. The girls bring a restrained pain that rises with every part, starting out with some sort of hope but eventually concluding that “all of me is meaningless.” It makes the catharsis of the dance break more down to earth. Instead of the euphoric joy of “Angel,” Berry Good eke out a final goodbye to love through music and their bodies.

— Joe

47. “Why So Lonely” by Wonder Girls

This song breathed life into the Wonder Girls brand, which had been fading even after the group’s return last year with “I Feel You.” A self-composition mixing K-pop’s trademark sultry female vocals with a unique retro reggae sound, “Why So Lonely” gave the group new relevance as the song blasted up the charts and into fans’ ears. In both band and dance form, the song is catchy and relaxing, and proves that an older group can, in fact, survive and thrive in the constantly changing world of K-pop. After “Why So Lonely” received so much success this year, fans are excited that at least some remnants of Second Generation girl groups will remain intact, but with their contracts expiring in January, we can only hope that Wonder Girls will continue to develop their self-composed sound in the future.

— Kushal

46. “I’m Good” by Se7en

Feels like a current K-pop trend is to go with the kind of instrumentals present on the song, but I’ll admit it’s a great trend. The song feels a bit more current and there’s just enough variation artists can spin on this type of instrumental to make it sound different from song to song. Where “I’m Good” excels isn’t on the instrumental however; it’s on Se7en’s emotional and silky vocals. I also like the use of repetition in the song, it fits in with the beat and adds a layer of depth to the lyrics of the song.

— Anna

45. “Flower” by Bada feat. Kanto

To celebrate her 20th anniversary since debuting as a member of first generation girl group S.E.S, Bada released her Flower album, and the title track is one of the most invigorating electropop tracks we’ve seen this year. The composition is subtle, but intense thanks to gentle synths and the pounding beat. Bada’s soft vocals blend with the building electronic rhythm, reminding listeners why she was one of the most popular K-pop singers of the ‘90s, while rapper Kanto aids a snappy rap to the mix.

— Tamar

44. “Sting” by Stellar

Charismatic girl group Stellar continued their great run of singles and staked their claim to be one of K-pop’s greats with “Sting.” Produced by Monotree member GDLO, “Sting” utilizes tropical house to create a breezy inquisitive mood. A multitude of sounds combine to great effect, giving layers to the song that build with each listen. Synth wails, funky guitars, and simple bass grooves highlight Stellar’s incisive manner of questioning. Along with Digipedi’s best video of the year, Stellar confront male ineptitude with brazen confidence. Their sting, both satisfying and necessary, lingers in the skin.

— Joe


Also on KultScene: Top 20 K-Pop Songs of 2014

43. “Hold My Hand” by Lee Hi

Lee Hi’s debut will forever remain as one of K-pop’s best, and because she raised the bar so high for herself already, it was going to be understandably difficult for her to outdo herself. “Hold My Hand” comes close, though. The song is the latter of the two title tracks off of her Seoulite album, and is yet another stellar throwback to Western soul influences. Lee Hi’s husky voice suits the doo-wop vocals and bassline of the track well, not to mention that the harmonization of her backup singers lends it some musical authenticity. The diminution on “again” towards the end of the song resolves the overall ‘60s girl group vibe she was going for effortlessly, at the same time leaving listeners on a soaring high with the progression in the background vocals. “Hold My Hand” is one song we can all listen to again and again.

— Shelley

42.”All Mine” by f(x)

f(x) may not have formally promoted in 2016, but their clapping EDM SM Station song “All Mine” was one of the year’s best party songs. After 2015’s onslaught of EDM, K-pop took a step back from the genre, but f(x) has always been able to take tried and trued genres and put their own spin on them. “All Mine” is bright and uplifting in its electricity, with the foursome’s voices belting (plus Amber’s rap) above the pounding beats. Plus, f(x) released it with a self-made video featuring Krystal scaring Amber and their friendship is absolutely adorable.

— Tamar

41. “Love Paint” by NU’EST

As far as underrated male groups go, NU’EST, by far, takes the top spot. Truth is that since debuting, the group has consistently delivered complexly crafted pop perfection, and “Love Paint” is no different. This song starts out with orchestral elements before turning into a smooth yet futuristic R&B ethereal experience. The juxtaposition between the first part of the song and the chorus is one of the most layered and interesting transitions of the year. It’s a real K-pop tragedy that NU’EST is slept on popularity wise. One can only hope that they survive another year and drop more pop defying jams.

— Alexis

40. “Home” by Ailee

Unlike her usual K-pop sound, Ailee showcased the more sultry side of her with R&B release “Home.” Listeners are probably used to hearing uptempo and lively songs from her, but her best vocal performances are the ones like this. “Home” might not have an impactful punch or intense climaxes throughout the song, but it’s still enjoyable and still allows Ailee to apply her versatile vocals. For someone who’s been called Korea’s Beyonce on multiple occasions and still puts on outstanding performances, she’s still rather underrated. This song had so much potential, especially when you have a powerhouse vocalist like Ailee and the legendary Yoon Mirae on the same track. Unfortunately, the song was not as well promoted this time around as previous songs. It could’ve done better, especially with non K-pop listeners, if there was a little more promotion than what was done. It kind of makes one wonder if this song would be better recepted if there was an English version? Hey Ailee, how about that?

— Tam

39. “Take Me Now” by FT ISLAND

With a definite lack of rock representation on Korean music charts, FTISLAND does their best to fill that gaping void. The band continues to move far far away from their Korean pop rock roots with their latest self-produced album Where The Truth. The title track “Take Me Now” is probably the hardest rock song they have put out to date, at least in Korea. Although it’s not a sound that most fans are used to, it definitely shows the direction the band has been driving towards these past few years. Throughout the song, Hongki’s voice alternates between haunting verses to a blaring chorus that showcases all of his vocal abilities to a T. The rest of the band does a great job keeping up with the intensity of the song through combined soft and hard vocal progressions to make the dynamic song complete. From the looks (and sound) of it, FTISLAND definitely shed their pop idol band label to make the music that they want. So throw your fists in the air and get ready to rock out!

— Katherine

38. “Crying” by Stellar

If you’re going to play it safe after two years of being the most divisive girl group in Korea, then Brave Brothers is your man. With “Crying,” Stellar have shown they can a rock a classic Brave Sound track just like the rest of them. The tempo is high, the synths aggressive, and the vocals diverse. Like all great Brave Brothers tracks, the details are what make the potentially generic songs not so generic. Especially the delay in Hyoeun’s vocal in the second verse and the layers of synths in the chorus. Even when playing it safe, Stellar are still one of the great K-pop girl groups. You can catch me crying at the club listening to this.

— Joe

37. “Rough” by GFRIEND

Rookie girl group GFRIEND is known to release catchy dance tunes and “Rough” is no exception. With the mix of synth and orchestral instruments, the song creates a more sentimental melody while still remaining upbeat and catchy. The lyrics and the vocals are crisp and bright and seem to have greatly improved from their last release giving a more matured feeling, leaving fans excited to see what else the girls can accomplish.

— Katherine

36. “Someone Like U” by Dal Shabet

2016 kicked off strong with Dal Shabet dropping “Someone Like U” early in January after losing a couple members. They made their comeback by going back to their 80’s synth-pop sound by way of a Brave Brother’s jam and delivering pop flawlessness. The dance track is a big fuck you to that ex who you didn’t even like that much in the first place and now is breaking up with you. And what’s more relatable than a spiteful song dedicated to your ex you can dance to? “Hey! Go meet someone stupid like you,” is truly what we all would like to tell our exes. Dal Shabet is one of those girl groups who sadly don’t get the recognition they deserve. However, “Someone Like U” goes down as one of the best songs in their discography ever.

— Alexis

35. “I Am You, You Are Me” by Zico

Zico has already established himself as a rapper of speed and power, but here he brings it back down to a crawl, preferring grooves over hard beats. Everything about Zico’s “I Am You, You Are Me” is hypnotic and infectious. Something about the chimes or the fingersnaps or the ooh’s of the backing track makes me feel like I entered a place that I should not have, and to say the least, it’s indulgent. The song confirms the Block B frontman’s versatility and artistry, and not for nothing his solo career is one of the best there is in K-pop currently.

— Shelley

34. “Me Like Yuh” by Jay Park

It seems like you just can’t go wrong when Jay Park sings over a Cha Cha Malone track. This time, Cha Cha and Jay tried their hand on one of 2016’s biggest trends, the Caribbean inspired, tropical dance song. After establishing himself as a rapper last year, Jay dropped his album Everything You Wanted and is, well, everything we wanted: an R&B album, which is what the performer does best. His clear standout of the year, “Me Like Yuh,” is somewhere between Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling” but with Jay’s signature high-pitched, honey R&B vocals that’s all about the groove and how the song feels. Jay may rap about asses and sex all the time, but there’s just something about when he gets a bit romantic and vulnerable that comes across genuinely. Jay and Cha Cha are a match made in heaven that we can only hope lasts for a very long time and results in many bomb releases.

— Alexis

33. “Very Very Very” by I.O.I

This song is the epitome of addictive. Bringing all eleven members of I.O.I back together, this song served not only to diversify I.O.I’s limited discography, but also reassert their dominance as the monster rookies of 2016. The song uses a fast beat, infectious repetition, and an occasional rap to bring out the members’ various charms — whether it’s Yeonjung’s vocals in the prechorus, Doyeon’s killer aegyo, Yoojung’s outgoing stage presence, or Somi’s powerful roundhouse kick, each member gets to shine in ways that prove I.O.I’s unique and lovable group character. While the group may not be around for much longer, “Very Very Very” is clearly unforgettable, whether you liked it or not.

— Kushal

32. “Toy” by Block B”

They may be better known for their fun, hip-hop songs, but Block B really exceeded expectations with “Toy.” The sedate, dreamy track showed a softer side to the boy band through jazzy piano notes and mellow, scattered synth beats. The song’s composition layers different rhythms and melodies with sentimental vocals, to create the overwhelming, lovelorn ambiance of “Toy.” It’s different than what we’ve seen from Block B in the past, but the Zico co-composed song shows maturity to the group’s sound and we hope to see more of this style from the septet in the future.

— Tamar

31. “Galaxy” Bolbbalgan4

From the first note, it’s clear that this isn’t K-pop as most people think of it. In fact, calling it “K-pop” would be a disservice to this sweet song, since K-pop typically describes songs sung by K-pop idols. But Bolbbalgan4 is an indie duo that appeared on Superstar K6 in 2014 and shot to fame with this single after its release in August. The song begins with an otherworldly, high pitch tone that sounds similar to what one would expect if they licked a finger and ran it around the edge of a glass filled with water. Ahn Ji Young’s sweet, breathy vocals are backed up guitarist Woo Ji Yoon, who also provides harmonies and a quirky rap, and ‘60s inspired instrumentals blended with a medley of soft electronica sounds. “Galaxy,” the fun and innocent sound of the indie rock track, ended up making it one of the most popular songs of 2016 in South Korea.

— Tamar


Also on KultScene: Top 50 Korean Songs of 2015

30. “Bermuda Triangle” by Zico x Crush x Dean

“Bermuda Triangle” is a great fusion of captivating sounds and diverse talents. The combination of these three artists is truly a match made in music heaven. The transitions between the sick beat along with Zico’s killer raps, Crush’s (sudden and shocking) badass verse and Dean’s velvet-like vocals were smoother than butter. All three artists consistently show up and always give a stellar performance in their own individual songs, so it was no surprise that “Bermuda Triangle” was done to pure perfection. If you didn’t love this song right away, then you need to get on it. One of Zico’s earlier lines is “What happened in 1992?,” well, basically, the birth of three phenomenal musicians happened, that’s what.

— Tam

29. “Whistle” by Blackpink

While this song may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it gave the K-pop world a much-needed dose of attitude. With the rise of TWICE, GFriend, and I.O.I and the disbandment of acts like 4MINUTE and 2NE1, there’s been a tragic dearth of edgy, badass girl groups. With the exception of BLACKPINK, that is. With addictive melodies and fast-paced rap sections, this song brings back hip-hop dance themes so reminiscent of K-pop a few years ago, while also including some newer, unique musical elements. As the generational shift brings us back to cutesy, feminine girl groups on top, Blackpink and their songs like “Whistle” do the important work of carving greater musical and stylistic diversity into K-pop’s current era.

— Kushal

28. “Overcome” by NU’EST

The saddest part of NU’EST’s history is that people think their heyday was their debut with the phenomenal “Face.” 2016 was, without a doubt, filled with the group’s most avant-garde singles “Love Paint” (no. 41) and “Overcome.” This is electropop at its finest, and NU’EST’s members at their best; their vocals and adlibs are near flawless on this brassy synth track. Layers upon layers of overdubs flit throughout “Overcome,” as if it challenged the listener to pick out the individual elements. After beginning with punctuated beats, the song incorporates scattering synths, brassy percussion, falsetto, digitized piano notes, and much more to overwhelm the senses. Then, “Overcome” ends off on a gentle, sleepy melody in a way that seems to put the whole sonic experience to rest. NU’EST, we’d like to see more of this in 2017.

— Tamar

27. “Navillera” by GFRIEND

Few do synthpop dance songs as well as GFRIEND, and “Navillera” was an ideal follow-up to the more sentimental “Rough” from earlier this year. The bright, rock-tinged “Navillera” wouldn’t seem out of place on an INFINITE album (and the opening drum beat callback to the opener of “Man in Love”), with its retro-tinged electronica sound. The song’s title is a reference to a Korean poem about a butterfly, and the high-pitched synths and underlying electric strings help create a quirky, fluttering sound. There’s a few verses, but the majority of the song is built around a soaring pre-choruses followed by the speedy chorus, which in actuality serves as an intro for the fast-paced dance break. The guitar solo at the end is so atypical for K-pop that it helps “Navillera” further hone in the idea that this song, and the group, is a long-awaited breath of fresh air.

— Tamar

26. “Bonnie & Clyde” by Dean

Where’s the sign up sheet to be Dean’s Bonnie? Because as long as Dean is Clyde, he’ll be winning over hearts. Every song he’s released has been absolute gold, and this one is no exclusion to the rule. “Bonnie & Clyde” leaves you feeling such a natural high, sitting on a cloud not wanting to get down. It’s just so damn easy to be engrossed in that sweet, bewitching voice of his.

— Tam

Also make sure to check out the first half of this list, featuring our picks for the 25 Best Korean Songs of 2016.

What was your favorite Korean song this year? 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.

Weekly K-Pop Faves: July 18-24

Weekly K-Pop Faves

Summer’s well underway and K-pop took a bit of a vacation over the past week. While we’ve recently received an onslaught of new releases, the middle of July lagged a tiny bit. Our writers highlighting songs by the likes of Hello Venus, Amoeba Culture artists, Stellar, and f(x) in our weekly column. Look at all those girl groups!

Take a listen and comment at the bottom of this page to let us know what song you like the most from the past week!

“Paradise” by Hello Venus (Released July 18)

To few people’s attention, the girls of Hello Venus released the song of the summer this week. Produced by team Devine Channel, “Paradise” is a tropical doo-wop track made for days on the beach. Its music is lowkey with sporadic guitar licks and bursts of brass. “Paradise” really beckons with its vocals however. There’s a great range and assurance of voice on display. New girls Yeoreum and Seoyoung open brilliantly with a cheeky rap and an enticing vocal respectively. The rest of the girls go on to show their own takes on similar styles all while adding a new hook of their own. Throughout the day I could get any part of this song stuck in my head and be more than happy. It’s a perfectly pitched summer track made for only a digital release.

— Joe

“highfiVe” by Dynamic Duo, Primary, Boi B, Crush (Released July 21)

After a string of disappointing songs released this summer, Amoeba Culture artists came to the rescue. Dynamic Duo, Primary, Boi B, and Crush teamed up and put their amazing chemistry to good use to come out with “highfiVe”. It makes you want to grab a drink and dance the night away in an outdoor bar or club — and not only because it’s an ad for the Korean beer Cass. Seriously, how can you go wrong with Crush’s buttery vocals, Dynamic Duo and Boi B’s fiery verses, and Primary’s hyped up beats? It might not be anything groundbreaking, but it’s a fun track. And given the spot for summer anthem has yet to be grabbed, I’ll take it.

— Alexis

“All Mine” by f(x) (Released July 22)

f(x) is back! Well, kind of. This past week, f(x) unleashed this single as the next installment of SM Entertainment’s weekly STATION project. The EDM banger is produced by LDN NOISE, some of K-pop’s more well-known EDM producers. With a memorable melody, the song is matched with an equally cute music video, which shows the four members singing along to the song at various parts of an SMTOWN concert venue. And while they aren’t promoting it on music shows, the song is actually doing amazingly well on the charts (unlike most other SM STATION releases this year). It’s nice to see f(x) together releasing a song, especially considering that the group has been under a lot of speculation in regards to disbandment. Whether the members renew their contracts or not (and it’s likely that they will), it’s great to have this song to get us through the remainder of the summer.

— Kushal

”Crying” by Stellar (Released July 18)

While I’ll let Joe and Kushal be called our resident girl group experts, I was intrigued by Stellar’s latest release for the sole reason that it was giving me major 2010 K-pop feels. While an extremely different song, producer Brave Brothers utilized similar synth chords and autotuning on both “Crying” and NS Yoon-G’s “Just Dance” of that year. Since I’m obsessed with NS Yoon-G and think she’s been robbed of her career, I played “Crying” and “Just Dance” alongside one another for about a half hour before I realized it was the mellow dance pop sound of both songs that really drew me in as a listener. This is clearly a 2016 take on what Brave Brothers has done best for much of his career, but I felt like it wasn’t a far enough step to give Stellar the leap they need to propel themselves to the height of popularity. Sweet and soft is fine, but please bring back Stellar’s biting unique sound and style for their next release!

— Tamar

Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us onFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The K-Pop Phoenix: The New Generation of Girl Groups

Girl Groups

K-pop is one of the fastest-changing industries known to man, woman, fanboy, and fangirl alike. Just think about it: two years ago, MAMAMOO’s derpy quirks, Sana’s “Shashasha” and GFriend’s stage falls were almost or entirely unknown to the public, Korean or international. But fast forward a few debuts and comebacks later, and the world of K-pop has changed immensely. I recently explained why the Second Generation of K-pop Girl Groups is slowly (and painfully) falling apart. And now, some seven or eight years since the fateful debut stages of legends like Girls’ Generation and 2NE1, the New Generation of Girl Groups is here carry the torch forward.

The advent of a new generation is pretty exciting — it essentially only happens once every few years when a wave of popular girl groups hits the scene around the same time. Starting in the late 1990s, the First Generation consisted of groups like S.E.S, Fin.K.L, and Baby V.O.X. It was about ten years until the Second Generation came around, with Girls’ Generation, KARA, Wonder Girls in 2007, joined by 2NE1, SISTAR, 4Minute and more in 2009-10. Now, we finally see the Third Generation, starting with MAMAMOO and Red Velvet 2014 and joined by TWICE and GFriend in 2015. The exact breakdown and timing of the Generations is something commonly debated by K-pop fans (and believing it breaks down differently than I described is totally cool, too), but it’s pretty clear that, regardless of how you define the generations, a new wave has come to dominate K-pop post-2014.

While our past faves may be beginning to fade, the K-pop phoenix is reborn again with the advent of the Third Generation. And the new groups both parallel and differ from their predecessors immensely. Let’s take a closer look at four of K-pop’s newer stars, and see how they stack up next to top Second Gen groups SISTAR, f(x), 2NE1 and Girls’ Generation.


Also on KultScene: Intro to Red Velvet

SISTAR has quite a reputation in the K-pop world. With unforgettable hit-after-hit, the four member act has asserted its place among girl group royalty since their debut in 2010. Most notably, SISTAR is known for their memorable hook songs, which tend to define an entire season of the year. They are affectionately considered the Queens of Summer Bops, launching 2012’s “Loving U,” 2013’s “Give It to Me,” 2014’s “Touch My Body, ”and 2015’s “Shake It” to the number-one spot on the Korean charts every summer. And, as this is being written, the group’s latest release “I Like That” inches closer and closer to a perfect all-kill as well. Few groups have been able to cultivate such a long string of hits. [ed note. It is currently within the top 5 on numerous Korean music charts.] With so much public recognition for their songs, SISTAR has one considerable weakness in the spectrum of girl group success: fandom strength. Since the group is so known for its public popularity, it lacks a strong fandom to buy up albums and sell-out concerts when the chance comes around.

Sistar and Gfriend

GFriend, a six-member girl group debuted only last year, boasts a similar situation. So early into the game, the group has two very well-known songs: the cute, catchy and stage-fall inducing “Me Gustas Tu,” and the intense and memorable mega-hit “Rough,” which dominated charts early this year, becoming February’s monthly number one song against frighteningly powerful artists like Taeyeon of Girls’ Generation, who released her single “Rain” around the same time. Digitally, GFriend shows a lot of potential, and boasts a lot of public popularity and recognition as well. While they are quickly being noticed as a top girl group, GFriend isn’t exactly known for having a huge domestic or international fandom. While this could definitely change in coming years, and the groups are stylistically and musically very different, GFriend seems to line up with SISTAR’s legacy right now — captivating the public with a stellar title track and leaving the albums to a small, dedicated group of fans.

Like SISTAR, f(x) is one of K-pop’s Second Gen giants, but for a different reason. While SISTAR is more public-friendly and promotes music that people can quickly find fun and engaging, f(x) is known for an experimental style, bringing in exotic musical styles that are less familiar to the Korean crowd. They brought some alternative electronic with “Rum Pum Pum Pum” in 2013, EDM with “Red Light” in 2014, and house with “4 Walls” last year. The now four-member group has introduced and familiarized diverse musical styles among the South Korean music scene. For a K-pop girl group, it’s pretty impressive that they’ve maintained relevance for so long even though their songs aren’t the most public-friendly off the bat. The SM-produced group also has a huge fandom behind it, as albums regularly sell in excess of 80,000 copies and concerts quickly sell out.

f(x) and Red Velvet

And as f(x) enters its later years (it’s now been about seven years since their debut), labelmates Red Velvet are poised to follow in their footsteps. With distinct R&B, alternative and electronic influences, Red Velvet has become one of K-pop’s newest jewels, with multiple top 10 singles “Happiness,” “Ice Cream Cake,” “Dumb Dumb” and, most recently, “One of These Nights.” With a very distinct and eclectic musical style, Red Velvet sets itself apart and succeeds. Much like f(x), Red Velvet has established a unique musical color with a strong fandom behind it, as their two mini-albums and studio album have all topped album charts and sold about 50,000 copies, much more than other girl groups at the moment.

Now we get to the really big leagues — digital and talent monster groups with strong domestic and international fandoms. With the most number-one singles of any act in South Korean history, 2NE1 is exactly that. Iconic hit after iconic hit, the group was known since 2009 for promoting multiple singles from the same album (something very rare in K-pop, but typical of YG groups), and succeeding with each and every one of them. Since their debut in 2009, 2NE1 have launched immensely successful songs to the forefront of K-pop trends, starting with their debut single “Fire,” is one of the best-selling songs of all-time in South Korea. To date, the group has never promoted a single that charted below number four on weekly charts (that totals to seventeen top-four songs), and consistently sold albums into the 100,000s. They are also the only of K-pop’s girl groups to complete two full world tours, demonstrating their fandom power both within and outside of Korea.

2NE1 and Mamamoo

While a stylistic 180 from 2NE1, MAMAMOO aligns most closely with where 2NE1 stood in the K-pop world a few years ago. With a similar four-member structure and powerful vocals, rap and dance, MAMAMOO has the incredible stage presence, talent and personality that made 2NE1 so successful to begin with. The group already has two top-three singles “Um Oh Ah Yeh” and most recently, “You’re the Best,” and MAMAMOO is known particularly for having a large and supportive fanbase. While Daum Fancafe isn’t always the best metric to determine how many fans a group has, the numbers tell us something interesting here: MAMAMOO currently has about 75,000 members in their fancafe and counting. They were the fastest girl group to 50,000, and their numbers exceed other majorly successful girl groups including AOA, 9MUSES, f(x), and even 2NE1. Going off of that, all 8,200 tickets to their first solo concert sold out in only one minute. And considering that 80% of the ticket sales were to female fans, the group is definitely finding its place as 2NE1’s successor.

There are, however, some major differences. While 2NE1 went for badass electronic pop music, MAMAMOO is one of K-pop’s only jazz-influenced pop groups, bringing in some of those elements in “Mr. Ambiguous” and “Piano Man.” The group also regularly performs on shows like “Immortal Song” and makes appearances on varieties like “We Got Married,” something 2NE1 rarely did (another YG custom). With impressive talent and stage presence, MAMAMOO is all set to rise up in the Third Generation of K-pop, just as 2NE1 did in the Second.

Last but the opposite of least, Girls’ Generation epitomizes what it means to be a successful girl group in Korea. With nationwide public recognition, a frighteningly large fandom, international acclaim, and strong digital sales, the group definitely led the Second Generation. Once GG made it big in 2009 with iconic title track “Gee,” no one stood a chance against them in the fight for the number-one spot among girl groups. From Korea to Japan, Girls’ Generation has become a household name and a nationwide craze. Speaking of Japan, GG was arguably the most successful Korean girl group there, as their debut Japanese album sold a whopping 870,000 copies. Even the Korean version of their 2011 album The Boys sold 140,000 copies in Japan — yes, the Korean version — not to mention over 450,000 album sales within Korea itself. As we can tell, it’s pretty hard to live up to a monster girl group like GG. So who is the ringleader of the Third Generation?

Right now, it seems to be none other than JYP Entertainment’s TWICE. Right off the bat, the groups are structurally similar — three strong vocals (Taeyeon, Tiffany and Seohyun line up with Jihyo, Nayeon and Jungyeon), a visual center (Yoona lines up with Tzuyu), an aegyo-centric attention-grabber (Sunny lines up with Sana) and a strong dance line (Sooyoung, Yuri and Hyoyeon line up with Mina, Tzuyu and Momo). The groups also wield a similar, glamorous girl-next-door vibe, looking for love and accessing their femininity. TWICE’s success is comparable as well — in fact, they are the only girl group other than Girls’ Generation to have an album selling above the hundred-thousand mark, which their most recent mini-album Page Two did very quickly. Along with a fierce fandom, TWICE’s digital sales are nothing to laugh at, either. After two months, “Cheer Up” still remains in the top ten of most charts, which is an incredible success in the K-pop world.


Also on KultScene: Let’s Discover: Mamamoo

Going off of these facts and stats, some have been quick to call TWICE an SNSD-copy, trying to emulate their success by emulating the group itself. The differences between the groups, however, throw this accusation right out the window. While TWICE may have successfully become the Third Generation frontrunner for having a similar vibe as SNSD, they definitely aren’t the same. The most glaring is the member dynamic — while Girls’ Generation is all Korean or Korean-American, TWICE has five Korean members, three Japanese, and one Taiwanese, making international expansion that much more logical and accessible for the group. Dahyun and Chaeyoung also serve the roles of Lead and Main Rapper, respectively, which are positions that weren’t very defined at GG’s debut. TWICE title tracks also deviate incredibly from the GG mold as well, employing diverse vocals, rhythm-changes and instrumentalism that GG’s more musically homogeneous tracks don’t use.

Girls' Generation and Twice

Fundamentally, all of these groups show similarities to their predecessors, but the differences make it clear that K-pop isn’t simply repeating itself with the Third Generation. Our Second Gen faves aren’t being replaced and forgotten. Instead, they’re being honored and built upon with new sounds and ideas. Such is the nature of the K-pop phoenix — not only being reborn again, but also with new talents, music and charms to share with the world, learning from past mistakes and successes. As the girl group landscape changes yet again, we can only hope that our new faves become just as well liked as the ones before them, and carrying the K-pop legacy forward for the man, woman, fanboy, and fangirl alike to enjoy.

Who are your Third Generation faves? 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.

13 K-Pop Videos to Get You into the Halloween Spirit

K-Pop Halloween BTOB ThrillerLadies and Gentlemen, the time of all things dark, spooky, and strange is upon us. With Halloween just around the corner, whether you want to party till the sun chases away the monsters or curl up in a dark corner watching a horror movie marathon, here are a few Korean music videos to help awaken your inner ghoul.

1.BTOB – “Thriller”

It can’t be Halloween without a few zombies. BTOB brings us a dark video that starts out in a creepy cemetery with their “zombie dance” opening. From the sharp and haunting dance moves to glowing eyes, “Thriller” perfectly expresses the dark theme while still remaining stylish and fresh. The song features powerful vocals from vocalists Hyunsik and Eunkwang mixed with fast and steady rap verses from Ilhoon and Minhyuk that accentuate the idea of invincibility and the fact that frightening things can be exciting, which is what Halloween is all about.sup

2.100% – “Beat”

This literal heart-wrenching video from 100% puts a dark spin on the classic Frankenstein story which features a girl harvesting parts from other members to bring the one she loves back to life. “Beat” prompts viewers to question how far would they go for love and dealing with the consequences. The smooth almost monotone feeling of the song explodes with the chorus,
where the group’s lead and main vocals Rokhyun and Hyukjin do a great job in expressing the pain and dark side of love.

3.BOYFRIEND – “WITCH”

BOYFRIEND’s “WITCH” is a dance song with a catchy hook about liking a girl that they probably shouldn’t. The video features a hot gang of vampires and Little Red Riding Hood the vampire slayer. . . It’s K-Pop so why not? The eerie background sounds mixed with the upbeat dance track and vampire visuals do well together to create a dark atmosphere perfect for any spooky
dance party.


Also on KultScene: f(x)’s “4 Walls” Album Review

4.VIXX – “VOODOO DOLL”

At the climax of their dark/horror concepts, VIXX released the video for “VOODOO DOLL.” Unlike the typical bright bubbly  mages K-Pop is known for, VIXX did a complete 180 with everything from blood to voodoo possession. If you’re not a fan of the all the blood and gore, then you can opt for the clean version and admire the dance moves and large pin prop that VIXX incorporates, going along with the whole voodoo theme. But since it is Halloween, why not embrace the stunning visuals that VIXX created in all of its gory awesomeness?

5.BEAST – “Shadow”

BEAST totally embraces the whole dark and brooding theme with “Shadow.” A song written by BEAST’s very own rapper and composer genius Young Jun Hyung about being in darkness (or shadows, if you will) after losing a loved one. The song features great vocals and rap verses, not to be outdone by the dark post-apocalyptic imagery of the video.

6.Sunmi – “Full Moon”

Vampires are definitely a popular thing this time of year. Instead of a heart-pumping adrenaline rushing vampire image, Sunmi takes a more sexy dark approach to the whole blood sucking thing. “Full Moon” is a slow jazzy song perfect for those cold dark nights.

7.Kim Jae Joong – “Mine”

Kim Jae Joong, 1/3 of the popular group JYJ, stepped out with a solo rock song. From snowy forests to random evil foreboding animals and Jae Joong as a bedazzled Doctor Doom/Vampire/Angel. The video is filled with everything your dark goth-y heart would desire.

8.F(x) – “Red Light”

Now “Red Light” isn’t your typical Halloween spooky song full of pumpkins and monsters, although the video does have a black cat in it. The song and video gives off a dark and mysterious vibes that are perfect for this season.

9.Block B – “Jackpot”

Many people find clowns delightful, but if they are not really your style then the opening of Block B’s “Jackpot” will probably freak you out. The whole strange freaky theme is carried throughout the video with the band tormenting a girl with their crazy antics (though I wouldn’t mind at all).

10.Sunny Hill – “Midnight Circus”

Another group that likes to hang out at creepy circuses is Sunny Hill. In “Midnight Circus” the girls take a more sexy approach in a strange vintage looking circus in the woods. With an eerie intro, “Midnight Circus” plays nicely into the Halloween theme.


Also on KultScene: 5 Korean Actors Who Can Carre A Tune Better Than K-Pop Idols

11.Lee Jung Hyun – “V”

The video begins as any other horror movie; guy is stranded and wanders into a creepy old house were mayhem pursues. The Techno Queen Lee Jung Hyun takes a more fun approach to the whole creepy obsession thing and puts a fun quirky spin on the traditional haunted house.

12.LADIES’CODE – “Hate You”

Whenever girl groups do a dark concept, it usually comes off as sexy. On the contrary, LADIES’CODE does the dark concept in a more artsy way. Their whole doll concept is both strange and beautiful at the same time proving that you don’t have to be crazy or gory to send chills down someone’s spine.

 

13. Super Junior – “Opera”

Super boy band Super Junior puts out a dark Phantom of the Opera-esque video with “Opera.” In the video the boys vanishing and appearing like very stylish ghosts. Yes, this is the Japanese version, but the video fits the whole Halloween theme than the Korean dance version.

What’s your favorite Halloween song? 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.

f(x)’s “4 Walls” Album Review

f(x) album review four walls 4 walls
After abruptly ending promotions for their last album, “Red Light”, and becoming a quartet instead of a quintet, f(x) is back. The four members Luna, Krystal, Victoria, and Amber are ready to show their new sides with their latest album, “4 Walls.” It’s an album full of experimental pop, deep-house, EDM, techno, and even some Latin influences. f(x)’s return is better than ever, showing that they don’t need to be a five member group to shine.

“4 Walls”

The album opens with the title track “4 Walls,” which was cleverly accompanied by amazing marketing for presenting f(x) as a quartet. The girls have us going back to what SHINee did with their comeback for “View” earlier this year.

“Four Walls” sees the girls singing on a deep house track with sultry and raspy vocals combined with added sound effects to impact the mystery of the song. The lyrics are unclear about who the girls are professing their love to but the title’s idea of keeping things between “4 Walls” leads to interpretation of a secret love affair.

The continuous drum beat in the background creates anxiety and adrenaline for the listeners, mimicking the feeling of being with your lover behind four walls. The chorus quickly comes in with the members singing “love is four walls…” behind a heavy bass and synth. But the best thing about this track is Amber’s rap after the first chorus drops. She keeps improving over the years and this track convinces the listeners of how important her role in the group is. There are also seapunk influences, very a la Jamie XX and Blood Diamonds, on this song that make “4 Walls” great.


Also on KultScene: Topp Dogg’s ‘The Beat’ Album Review

“Glitter”

With the next track, “Glitter,” f(x) has all the ’90s kids nostalgic for one of the best cartoons, as the first three beats seem very familiar to “The Rugrats” theme song. The girls leave their sultry and raspy vocals from the past track behind and their vocals become sweeter for this record. The track is a hybrid of electronic and organic sounds, from guitars to applause and synthesizers. A quick song, which falls under the average industry run time of three minutes, about falling in love that uses glitter as a metaphor for the bright future you can see in a romantic relationship.

“Déjà Vu”

“Déjà Vu” quickly explodes into a heavy EDM beat as soon as it starts. The song feels a little chaotic with all the crazy heavy beats in the back but they mix very well with the girls vocals and give that crazy feeling of when you get a déjà vu. A great song that seems familiar to what we are used to hear from f(x), that crazy experimental pop that they pull off so well. The chorus is very addicting and has a great flow that almost feels like a rap. The fast beats never seize in the track, making it a perfect dance song to get crazy to.

“X”

With “X”, f(x) slows us down after the chaotic “Déjà Vu,” and gives us some more ’90s cartoon refrences –Chemical X from “The Powerpuff Girls.” This track has the members singing very seductively, which is probably their sexiest vocals yet. Pay close attention to how the girls stretch their vocals throughout the song, making them increasingly sexier and sexier. The subtle bass that repeats in the backtrack has heavy influences from the late ’70s and early ’80s funk tracks. The record is dark, sexy, and mysterious in many ways, feeling retro and modern at the same time.

“Rude Love”

The following track “Rude Love” carries the tropical deep house theme of “4 Walls.” It’s a track that seems to come from the late ’90s and early 2000’s when techno and house where at their peak. The repetition of the title in the chorus gives that feeling of being a song from those era but still feels very current and fresh. It’s a sound style that SM Entertainment started experimenting with SHINee that definitely suits f(x) very well. Amber is being used more as a singer than as a rapper on this song and her voice is very nice as we had seen in her solo track “Beautiful.” The chorus is so catchy and addicting, it makes the listeners keep singing “I want your rude love” repeatedly. This song is definitely a contender for the best record on the album.

“Diamond”

“Diamond” has a very interesting sound, it almost feels like an older and mature sister of their debut track “La chA Ta.” Luna’s vocals on this track aresolutely aboutstanding. Her voice really shines through in the bridge and blends seamlessly towards the trap section before the chorus. This song is the one on the album that Amber raps in the most. It’s not one of the best tracks in the album, but it’s certainly not a filler. The complex beats and the trap elements mixed with Amber’s raps and the girls vocals create a very interesting track that’s worth a few listens.


Also on KultScene: TWICE “Like OOH-AHH” Music Video & Song Review

“Traveler”

The next track has a collaboration from Block B‘s Zico. “Traveler” takes the album back to the ’80s with its experimental synth pop era and industrial music influences. The heavy synth sounds alongside Zico’s rap reinforces the juxtaposition of the song’s dark and happy feeling. Zico provides a certain darkness with his strong voice while the girls offer a sweeter feeling with their vocals that explode into a happier chorus. I only wish we could have heard more rap from Zico and also get an Amber rap in this song. But, nevertheless, the record is incredible and a great contender for one of the best tracks released this year.

“Papi”

“Papi” is the track where we see Latin and tropical house influences coming out. The song has the girls in the chorus cheering atop of a brass soundtrack with dubstep and Latin sounds. The music is difficult to understand at first, but the nonsensical combination of influences works very well with f(x) making this a very fun track for their fourth album.

“Cash Me Out”

The next track in the album is “Cash Me Out,” which is probably the most EDM-influenced track on “4 Walls.” The record mixes seapunk beats with dubstep and typical EDM drops and buildups. The track could have gone without the heavy EDM in the chorus; in all honesty it makes the song mediocre. They could have kept the seapunk vibe and mix it with either deep house or 80s’ synth pop and would have made a much more interesting track.

“When I’m Alone”

The album ends with “When I’m Alone,” an upbeat ballad that serves as the perfect conclusion for this album. The track is full on synth pop and R&B and has f(x) fully engraved in the experimentation of this genre. The repetitive chorus brings the listeners back again to those early 2000’s songs that had choruses repeated over and over and are stuck with us until this very day. Their vocals are back to the sultry and mysterious tones of the title track “4 Walls,” but “When I’m Alone” has their voices exploding in the chorus, showing great harmony between the girls.

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Playlist Sunday: Father’s Day

kpop sex songs raunchy naughty
To celebrate Fathers’ Day today, at KultScene we wanted to put together a playlist in dedication to the leading men in our lives, whether it be our fathers, uncles, or grandparents. Although they are rarer than songs dedicated to mothers, there are still a few touching and meaningful K-pop songs for our fathers.

It won’t take much for tears to well up in your eyes when listening to Insooni’s “Father”. Whether you understand the lyrics or not, just knowing that this song is written about a father, whether he was a present one or if not, will automatically tug at your heartstrings. We loved each other, we hated each other, but you held me precious more than anyone and I miss you; what child doesn’t bicker with their parents, what child doesn’t have moments of fury and resentment towards their parents? And at the same time, what father wouldn’t want to protect his child? It’s all a part of growing up; it’s all a part of learning. No matter how much you guys may argue and bicker with one another, just don’t forget to say your “I love you’s” at the end of it all.

–Tam


 Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: ZPZG

The lyrics for the song “Sorry” by f(x) really stand out because of how honestly and clearly they express a relationship a lot of us have with our father. Maybe it’s because our fathers don’t always understand us or because they do things which irritate us, but we constantly find ourselves doing things to hurt our fathers, intentionally or not, and sometimes it’s difficult to open our mouths to apologise. The constant repetition of “Sorry, I’m sorry” brings across this meaning very well.

–Anna

He’s a mother, father, gentleman, that everyone knows, but Psy’s actually a really big daddy’s boy, or at least he makes the case for everybody being one in his song, “Father.” The song is about Psy’s father, who stands in as a representative of all hardworking fathers who work so hard for the success of their children. “Father” describes the admiration and pain of a son looking to his father who worked hard all his life, but due to the amount of time he has spent focusing on work he is disconnected from his children. The song ends with Psy saying “don’t be lonely anymore,” urging people to recognize how hard their parents work for them.

–Tamar


 Also on KultScene: Gyuri & From The Airport’s ‘The Little Prince’ Review

I can’t be the only one who cried reading the lyrics right? Off of the Asia special edition of their album “Born to Beat,” BTOB’s “Father” is an obvious addition to any Father’s Day playlist. The heart wrenching song describes the fatherly love that we often take for granted as a youth and emphasizes the sacrifices our fathers make for us. His wrinkled eyes, his beaten hands, his lonely back. Why is it that these things only become apparent as we grow up? The lyrics are very poetic, and the powerful notes of the seven members could not convey the pain any better. These are the words we all felt, but never been able to voice out loud. The ballad ends with the very sentimental line “I love you forever my father,”and after a listen, it’ll have you repeating the same.

— Shelley

When we first picked this theme, I was nervous because I didn’t know any K-pop songs about fathers. That didn’t improve much after everyone else picked the ones in existence, so I had to get creative. And the most that my imagination allowed me was Psy’s “Gentleman.” Yes, it’s not about dads or anything even close. It does however say “mother, father, gentleman,” and that’s close enough for me!

— Alexis

What’s your favorite K-pop song about father’s? 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 Songs That Should Have Music Videos

Singers usually promote one or two songs from their mini or full-length album. And in many cases some of the songs are left without a music video or the love they deserve. Every artist has at least one song that fans think should have a music video. People’s choices will most definitely differ, but here are a few we think would make great music videos if not just for the extra promotion of the song.

Jay Park I Love You

Jay Park music videos can be extremely sexy and steamy, cute and sweet, or fun and having a good time. I Love You could be one of his sexy ones, or a video that goes the really sexy route, or one that plays with the chance of romance and steaminess. Jay actually did do a video that shows off a killer dance routine for the R&B-inspired song. And based on the dance, the whole music video can just focus on the dance in different settings with different outfits; keep it crisp and simple. The beat and music make I Love You the perfect song to showcase a sensual yet hard hitting dance routine. Sometimes all we need is a great dance music video to give us life.


Also on KultScene: MADTOWN ‘New World’ Music Video & Song Review

f(x) Spit It Out

Any f(x) song would have an equally awesome music video. They somehow manage to make most, if not all, of their songs stick with fans. Spit It Out is a fun, upbeat song that offers many different directions for a music video. An avant garde concept might work best based on the beat, use of ‘80s synths, and the video game sounds that are prevalent throughout. The heavily processed sounds would match a quirky styled music video and the ladies of f(x) can pull off any concept. Out-of-the-box hairstyles, clothing, accessories, and almost cartoon-like settings would create an unrealistic world that corresponds to the lyrics and the reaction of the narrator of the song.


SHINee One Minute Back

In all honesty, SHINee could make a video for any of their songs and it would be well received (in most cases). But One Minute Back has a different sound and musical pattern compared to their other singles. The guys’ vocals sound wonderful together and the chorus is inviting and somehow manages to make everyone sound like a great singer when they sing along. A One Minute Back music video would benefit with close-ups of each member as they’re singing and looking into the camera. A dance routine that utilizes a prop, possibly a chair, would have to be a stop-and-go type dance to match the music and the beat, but the perfect prop can create a memorable dance (similar to Dream Girl with the mic stands) and showcase different performers than what we may be used to.


VIXX B.O.D.Y

VIXX have intense concepts for their songs. They’re mainly dark, futuristic, and creepy in an artsy way. But B.O.D.Y is an upbeat song that’s not too cutesy or sugary. The video would definitely have a lighter theme than some of their most recent ones, but it would showcase the boys’ fun sides without being over-the-top bubble gum pop. For B.O.D.Y, a dance that has one or two moves as basically the whole dance might work best. The song itself isn’t groundbreaking in any way and an intricate dance wouldn’t fit the tone and neither would a super cute one. The guys don’t even have to dance in the video, just having a fun and upbeat VIXX song with a video would be a nice addition to their other singles.


Also on KultScene: Victim Mentality Brings Glam Rock To South Korea And SXSW [Interview]

Seungri Let’s Talk About Love

Seungri did end up performing Let’s Talk About Love, but he never released a music video. In this music video, a concept that uses black, white, and red as the main colors for wardrobe and setting would create a classy atmosphere. Some silhouettes when Seungri sings the chorus and when G-Dragon and Taeyang appear in the song would create a sense of mystery and take the focus away from their facial features. Also close ups of GD and Taeyang as they’re singing/rapping with minimal lighting would emphasize their facial features and play with the shadows and angles on their faces; a sexy yet classy concept for Let’s Talk About Love.


What songs would you love to see have their own music video? 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.

The Colors Of K-Pop: Red

K-Pop is a musical genre that is as colorful as music can be. There are a lot of bright colors in music videos, K-Pop acts with color in their name, etc. Here are some of the most popular songs in Korea that have the color red in their name.

HyunA Red

You may know this song. It has over 16 million views on YouTube, and Hyuna’s Red made a lot of headlines for its sex-filled concept. Red reached number one on several music charts, and the music video stayed atop of China’s Yin Yue Tai V-Chart for four days. The rapid-fire rap, HyunA’s twerking, and electronic-EDM-hip-hop elements seems like a mess at first, but Red is an enthralling song, filled with red-related passion.

SMTOWN Red Sun

One of SMTOWN’s from 2006, multiple SM Entertainment artists including TVXQ, BoA, Kangta, The TRAX, Super Junior etc. lent their voices to the song. Some of the artists are no longer active or have since left the company (the three members of JYJ, ex-Super Junior members, The TRAX, Black Beat, CSJH The Grace,) but the song is still an upbeat summer song that will make you want to head to the beach and enjoy the sun. Fun fact: Pre-Girls’ Generation SM Entertainment had only less than ten active female singers.

Shinhwa Red Carpet

Shinhwa may be one of the longest running groups in K-Pop, which made its comeback in 2012 after a four year break. On that comeback album, The Return, Red Carpet stood out as a strong dance track. The song was written by member Minwoo (known as M,) and is a synth-dance mix up that emphasizes Shinhwa’s vocal line.

f(x) Red Light

One of the most experimental songs out of SM Entertainment in years is f(x)’s hit song Red Light. The song is an electronic house song with a rhythmic beat that is addictive. Red Light‘s promotional period was cut short due to member Sulli going on hiatus, but it still did well on multiple music charts, including reaching the top 5 on the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 chart.

IU Red Shoes

A song meant to show the transition of IU from Korea’s little sister to a more mature singer, Red Shoes describes a woman trying to find her way. Red Shoes uses a big band sound, evoking swing and jazz music. It, and other songs from IU’s Modern Times album, won multiple awards and gained much acclaim in South Korea.

Heyne Red Lie

Not to be confused with Hyuna, Hyene is an up-and-coming solo singer. Her cute voice may be typecast to sickeningly sweet love songs, but Red Lie is anything but, with lyrics like “love please go away.” The song and cinematography of Red Lie are really unique and definitely worth listening to. Fun fact: There’s very little red in the video. Perhaps a shout out to red being the color of lies, as the title suggests.

Son Dambi Red Candle

Composed by SHINee’s Jonghyun, Son Dambi’s Red Candle is a sophisticated track that depicts celebrity life. The gentle intro into the song seduces the listener to the gentle Latin-fusion style that’s different than Son Dambi’s typical dance song. Dance is prevalent and the music video is absolutely beautiful with a black-and-white film noir feel to it.

Did we list all your favorite “red” songs? Look forward to the rest of this ROGYBIV series in coming weeks. 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.

Let’s Discuss: Sulli & f(x)’s Future

For some time prior to the actual announcement, fans were wondering where Sulli was. While idols sometimes miss a promotional cycle due to injury or illness, it is extremely rare for an idol to just disappear without any warning.

When Sulli stopped appearing with f(x) to promote Red Light, fans assumed that it was a temporary thing. But then it became apparent that f(x) was in an awkward position when, after winning first place, the members didn’t mention Sulli’s name at all.

After SM Entertainment announced that Sulli would be taking time off from f(x), a lot of rumors were flying: she’s pulling another “Kris,” she’s embarrassed by her rumored relationship with Choiza (her picture was found in his wallet, found by a fan), she was jealous of the success of the other members of f(x), etc.

The list goes on, as do the questions regarding Sulli’s absence. But one question is really at the forefront of everyone’s minds:

Will f(x) disband?

The simple answer?

Probably not.

Even if Sulli doesn’t return as an active member of f(x), f(x) will most likely still thrive. Five members used to be ideal for idol groups (TVXQ, SS501, g.o.d, NRG, Baby V.O.X, Big Bang, The Wonder Girls, SHINee etc.) but SM Entertainment proved with Super Junior and Girls’ Generation that size wasn’t everything. Even though four member groups are uncommon nowadays, it’s not unheard of- especially with four members like Amber, Victoria, Krystal, and Luna.

 

Each member of f(x), Sulli included, has their own unique set of traits that they bring to the group. Luna as the singer, Krystal as the actress, Victoria as the dancer, and Amber as the MC provide a well-rounded group of girls that doesn’t really need another. Add to the fact that Krystal, Amber, and Victoria are immensely popular overseas means that the group won’t really lose international popularity if Sulli leaves. (In comparison, if Amber or Krystal left, f(x) would suffer horribly abroad.)

In Korea, Sulli was definitely the most popular member of f(x) for a long time; she was a child actress and model. After deciding to become a singer, Sulli still acted, appearing in dramas like To The Beautiful You, and set to appear in an upcoming movie, The Pirates. But her fame as an actress hasn’t really spread to the rest of f(x)’s members – f(x)’s members tend to promote extremely successfully as individuals.

Which means that Sulli’s identity is more of her own than as a member of f(x). So if she decides to withdraw from the group, Sulli herself will be fine.

And the rest of the group, still filled with a lot of talent and personality, will also be able to function, especially since Sulli’s role in f(x) was never truly clearly defined.

Originally, Sulli was touted as the acting member of f(x), but since then, all of the members, excluding Amber, have appeared in dramas. Krystal’s success in The Heirs may have overshadowed Sulli’s own acting career, making Sulli’s role in the group a little bit less solid.

Sulli wouldn’t be the first SM Entertainment artist to take a break from her group in order to focus on acting – Super Junior’s Kibum took a “break” and never returned to the group. Although he never officially left the group, or even really took off on his acting career, neither Kibum nor Super Junior were extremely harmed by his absence from the group.

Based on the facts, that Sulli is good in f(x) but not entirely necessary, it seems unlikely that f(x) fans really need to worry about Sulli’s departure from the group.

The rest of f(x) was able to promote Red Light  without Sulli, and the only awkwardness was the fact that they didn’t mention Sulli’s absence.

So should f(x) fans really worry? Not really; f(x) can manage with or without Sulli. If she really is just taking a break, which could still be an option, then she’ll hopefully be welcomed back with open arms. And if she leaves, with minimal drama, it’s unlikely that f(x) will suffer.

In fact, it’s even unclear why SM stopped f(x)’s promotional cycle. Perhaps the biggest threat to f(x) right now isn’t Sulli’s absence, but SM’s desire for upcoming girl group, Red Velvet, to be successful…

What do you think? Will Sulli be missed from f(x)? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.