Posts

August’s Best K-Pop B-Sides

August B-sides
As another month comes to an end we can safely clock August as another great month for K-pop. To celebrate I’m going to look back at some b-sides that might have unfortunately gone unnoticed. With another slew of high profile releases there’s plenty to discover. This month we have lots of retro goodness, with influences coming from all over the world giving a new lease of life to K-pop.

Primary feat Sunwoo Jung-A and Gaeko “Paranoia”

If there is one artist continually releasing great work this year it is Primary. He’s had songs out nearly every month since the start of the year and there has always been something interesting amongst them. These have culminated in the fantastic album “2” and my favourite from it “Paranoia”.

“Paranoia” is a wonderfully slow and restrained piece of trip hop. Primary has never been afraid to show off his parade of influences within the genres he has worked in. He invigorates these with a new modern life while never forgetting what made them special in the first place. This time he takes on that very British style of trip hop. The echoey drums recall Portishead and give the song its gloomy feeling. What really makes it though is Sunwoo Jung-A’s mournful voice and Gaeko’s energetic rap.They seem to be directly referencing the British artists of that time like Thom Yorke of Radiohead and rapper Tricky. It lends an authenticity but mostly makes the song work totally.


Also on KultScene: Sunday Playlist: K-Pop Beach Songs

B1A4 “You Are A Girl, I Am A Boy”

More 90s alternative influenced music here with B1A4’s “You Are A Girl, I Am A Boy”.

Okay that may be a bit of a stretch this time but it was the first thing that came into my head when I listened to this track. The reverb laden guitars immediately brought Sonic Youth to mind. This thought was quickly dispelled but that doesn’t lessen the effect of the guitar. It’s an entirely new sound to be found within K-pop and is why this song is on the list. This use of the live band sounds are what set apart B1A4 for me. Amongst many samey hip-hop influenced boy groups they stand out thanks to this and their distinctive voices.

SHINee “Chocolate”

Retro was certainly a major theme for august. SHINee as always delivered an amazing throwback with the whole of the “Married to the Music” album. Jonghyun’s effortlessly sexy “Chocolate” stands out.

“Chocolate” goes for retro synths in a big way. They sound almost 8-bit and hit with a strong but smooth force. There’s layers to them that feel almost physically tangible. The verses that change tempo and general intricacies of the song make it something more than your average album cut. It’s clinically sexy yet has delicate touches that elevate it above other sexy sounding songs.


Also on KultScene: June K-Pop B-Sides That Should’ve Been the Lead Title Track

Wonder Girls “One Black Night”

Speaking of retro, I don’t think any K-pop group has ever pulled it off as well as Wonder Girls have with “Reboot”. With that “Reboot” and “I Feel You” they have released probably the best album and song of the year all while also learning and playing instruments for it.

With an album this good it’s hard to pick just one b-side. So I’m just going with my mood right now which means “One Black Night”. Ever since I first listened to “Reboot” I felt like it was a soundtrack album to some amazing 80s movie that never existed. If so then “One Black Night” would play when the main character is at their lowest point so they go out to get totally wasted for one black night.

The song starts off slow with a plodding piano and stripped back drum beat. It recalls member Yenny’s solo work as HA:TFELT, mixing solemn piano melodies in the verse with crashing electronic sounds in the chorus. The emotions are also similar, ones of pent up angst finally being released in cathartic acts. In this case drinking and embracing.

Girls’ Generation “Bump It”

Girls’ Generation came back again before the summer officially ended with their album “Lion Heart” and there’s a lot to get stuck into. Most may have assumed that with a double single release there wouldn’t be much left of interest. They would be wrong.

Album closer “Bump It” is the highlight as it cleverly walks the line between the Girls’ Generation we know and love and the Girls’ Generation many want to exist. By that I mean it starts off like a fairly standard sweet ballad before turning urban pop at Tiffany’s request. With the singles being a great signifier of what Girls’ Generation can be, this is the perfect song to close out the album.

What it does really well is using both styles within the song. Once the ballad part at the start ends it would have been easy to leave out but the piano remains and reinvigorates the song at the chorus. Similarly towards the end when Taeyeon is about to begin her crooning, Sooyoung cuts in with a rap to make sure one style does not win over the other. Girls’ Generation are at their best whee unpredictable like this.

Is there any other August K-pop B-sides you loved? 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.

Primary’s ‘See You’ Song Review

Primary‘s latest release See You sticks to a funk style that will engage you from the opening notes. Kim Bum Soo lends his absolutely beautiful vocals to the song with Gaeko making an appearance toward the end of the song. Spring is the season when love is in the air and See You tells a story about a potential relationship.


Also on KultScene: 5 Reasons ‘The Girl Who Sees Smells’ May Be This Year’s Surprise Drama

Vocals:

Kim Bum Soo’s (BSK) vocals are smooth and a perfect fit for this style of song. His high notes are effortless and he sings each word with such ease, which makes for an enjoyable listening experience. BSK’s vocal range is also showcased in the song, with moments of low and very high notes. It’s clear that he is a talented singer with a mix of pop and R&B style vocals that will make listeners swoon.

Gaeko has a brief rap appearance in the final third of the song (he also wrote the lyrics). And if Gaeko is behind the rap it’s bound to be good, and it is. It perfectly fits into the break of the song and continues with the funk style for continuity. The rap may be brief, but it adds an extra element and more depth to the song without changing the concept or style.

Lyrics:

The lyrics of See You depict the starting stages of a crush that one party definitely wants to turn into a relationship. BSK sings the narrative of the male’s point of view. The lyrics show the beginning stages of a crush from the awkward silence to the vague “see you soon” phrase. The excitement of a crush makes the narrator question when he’ll see his crush and whether or not he should call her and make it seem like he dialed her by mistake. Then at the realization that nothing more will come of the crush, the narrator becomes confused and angry and wishes he could share all of his feelings and that they’d be reciprocated by the girl.

The Music:

The song starts similarly as other Primary songs, letting us know that primary is behind the production. Then it goes into a funk inspired sound with the bass and the horns. The percussion and keyboards work well with the funk style to incorporate a pop style as well. The two styles compliment each other and there are enough elements of both so as not to overpower each other or take away from the vocals. The music only adds to the overall story of the song and acts as the perfect backup for BSK’s vocals.


Also on KultScene: Best K-Pop Girl Group B-Sides Of 2015

Overall Thoughts:

Being a Primary fan, See You is a great song. Kim Bum Soo has the perfect voice to deliver the lyrics of the song. The music and production of See You is high end and has created an addictive sound. See You has a great vibe for the Spring season and is a great song to add to your music library.

Are you loving Primary’s new 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.

Gaeko & Yankie ‘Cheers’ Song Review

Gaeko and Yankie have collaborated with Beenzino and Babylon on the new track Cheers for Amoeba Culture’s NEWorkend project. The four artists worked together to give us life during theses cold winter months. Cheers will take you away to a tropical location to forget about the Winter blues.

Music:

The music that makes up Cheers automatically gives off a summer, laid back vibe. You can instantly feel the warmth of the sun and the air of summer nights. The instrumentals are all basic, but the way they are being played adds to the summertime feel. The electric guitar is used in a more subdued manor than in rock and punk songs. It sounds so subdued and calm with the amp turned up. The percussion, again, is pretty simple and basic. It keeps the beat going while adding in some wooden blocks that adds the beach vibe to the song. The exhaling (ahhh) throughout the song is not creepy nor distracting, instead it reminds listeners of the almost automatic reflex of exhaling with joy after quenching one’s thirst. There are trumpets that come in throughout the song, and clapping and a piano toward the end. They all continue to keep the summer feel and only add a little more instrumental thickness to the song.

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

Rapping:

Yankie starts the song off with a smooth flow that adds to the laid back vibe of the music. His verse sets the mood of the song perfectly, which is on the weekend everyone is ready to let loose and enjoy themselves. People are quite different from their work selves and their party selves. Yankie starts out the night, which includes meeting up with your friends at the club.

Beenzino then raps about what happens next in the second verse. In the club drinks are ordered and free flowing, and the lust that comes with the weekend party scene is at an all time high. Beenzino’s rap flow has a bit of punchiness to it, but nothing too extreme or intense to throw off the groove of the song. The tone of his voice gives off the feeling of having a good time and not caring if he breaks the law or not.

Gaeko’s rap is at a slower pace than Yankie and Beezino’s. He crisply articulates each English word with a little more punch than the Korean words. During Gaeko’s verse some of the instrumentals are cut out creating a shift in the song that breaks up the monotony of the music. The change is a cue that tells the listener that there is a slight interruption in the flow of the song, which then encourages the listener to pay more attention.

Also on KultScene: 4 Amazing Talents To Watch For From ‘K-Pop Star 4’

Singing:

Babylon sings the chorus throughout the song and his vocals have a higher pitch and vocal tone. Although his tone is higher, his vocals are full and easy on the ears. Babylon’s vocal quality matches the overall vibe of summertime and having a good time. His falsetto oohs at the end of the song briefly show off his vocals abilities. The chorus clearly shows that he is capable of singing and singing well, but his oohs at the end tease listeners into wanting more music from Babylon.

Conclusions:

Cheers not only displays the multiple talents of all of those involved with the song, but it gives listeners happiness and the feeling of being carefree and enjoying one’s self. Whether you listen to Cheers in the summer, the winter, or throughout the entire year, it will always make you feel great and let you escape to a warmer place with friends, fun, and drinks.

Do you like Cheers, do you feel like you’re taken away to a warm Summer’s night partying with your friends? 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.