Weekly K-pop faves: Feb. 26 – March 4

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This week for our K-pop faves, we picked very diverse picks. From R&B, to soloists, to up and coming boy bands, here are the songs that stood out to us the most.

“Swimming Pool” by George (Released Mar. 3)

The last couple of years have seen a surge of R&B acts in Korea, and while not all of them are particularly good, there are a few that stand out. George is one of such artists I’ve been low key keeping tabs on. His latest release, “Swimming Pool,” is chill and depressing and is just such a #mood for colder days or when you’re PMS-ing. The singer produced the song all by himself, proving that he has the chops to join his contemporaries as a fave in the scene. It is, after all, barely his third single, so I can’t wait to see how his artistry and career play out.


“Idle Song” by Jeon Soyeon (Released Feb. 28)

Cube Entertainment’s plucky little secret weapon, Jeon Soyeon came back this week an interesting track called “Idle Song.” Written and produced by herself, along with “Flow Blow,” “Idle Song” is about a stagnant romance. After a long time, Soyeon and her lover have become too comfortable with each other. She’s reminiscing at times about how much she loved this person, but now it’s so far gone she can even criticize his Stussy hoodie (shock horror). The music follows her languidly. It’s basically just a continuous bluesy guitar riff, a beat, and a few scattered keys. Soyeon raps over with her irresistible charm. She switches between rapping and singing with such ease that they eventually seem to be the same thing. It’s a unique quality that even labelmate Hyuna can’t quite grasp. Everything combines to perfectly express the discontentment of her words. It’s not merely a sense of boredom that she’s conveying, the guitar gives it that feeling of love and the sense of a past. It’s a sad realization that even the best things must come to an end.


Also on KultScene: Stray Kids: JYP’s new direction

“Mamma Mia” by SF9 (Released Feb. 26)

SF9 got on the radar of a lot of people (including myself) with their last comeback, “O Sole Mio.” At first, “Mamma Mia” could seem that it would go for the same style of its predecessor, due to the title in Italian language. But instead, the FNC Entertainment boy group went for an upbeat song with reminiscences of rockabilly music and other 1960’s sounds this time. It’s definitely their catchiest release so far. I love how the chorus stands out from the harmony of the verses and intro/post-choruses, and overall, I absolutely love the spectacle, musical, and theatrical vibes. For someone who doesn’t really stan a lot of boy groups, I’ve been getting impressed by SF9 way too much, and if they continue to release songs like “O Sole Mio” and “Mamma Mia,” I think might become a big fan.

—Ana Clara

“Stuck On” by Kim Sungkyu (Released Feb. 26)

INFINITE’s Kim Sungkyu has always had solid albums, and his first full album 10 stories is similarly so. An elongated, perhaps not as tightly produced, rehash of his electro and synth-pop 2015 27 EP, my personal standout track is the hypnotizing “Stuck On.” Blending electronic beats and a simple piano melody, the B-side packs a powerful emotional punch and one of his best performances on the album, not at all diminished, and perhaps even enhanced, by the heavy vocal distortions. He chose to perform it at several music shows alongside the single “True Love,” and it’s absolutely glorious to hear Sungkyu’s clear vocals interacting with the echoing backing track.


Also on KultScene: WJSN’s “Dreams Come True” music video & song review

“Please” by Kim Sungkyu (Performed Mar. 3)

I first heard this song on the variety program All the Butlers, when Jeon In Kwon (vocalist of Deulgukhwa) performed it for the members at the end of their stay with him. It brought the members to tears, and the strong emotions of the song were indeed very moving, even if I wasn’t privy to the socio-political context of the song. On his recent appearance on Yoo Hee Heol’s Sketchbook, INFINITE’s Kim Sungkyu performed a toned down but equally touching version of it, displaying his musical-trained impressive vocal abilities through the entirely live performance. With his clear, sweet voice, Sungkyu conveyed in his own way the desperate sentiments of the song, and brought a new meaning to it.


“Daydream” by J-hope (Released Mar. 1)

After countless mentions, teasers, and false alarms, BTS’s J-hope was able to finally drop his debut solo mixtape, Hope World, this past Thursday, becoming the third member to do so after RM and Suga (aka Agust D). Along with the “Hixtape,” the colloquial name fans ascribed to the album, the rapper also released a pop-art inspired music video for “Daydream,” an artistic direction that suits the modern funky song to a T. It addresses the deep, unattainable desires with profound psychedelic elements, using bouncy beats as a framework for whispery vocals. Like the references he makes to Lewis Caroll’s psychedelic novel Alice in Wonderland, we are able to get a better sense of these mirage-like dreams when we take everything in holistically.


Let us know your favorite song of the week 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: Feb. 19 – 25

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This week for our K-pop faves, we turned to up and coming faces that we’re all familiarizing ourselves with. To balladeers to rappers to amazing SM Entertainment performers, these are our faves.

“Francesca” by Hash Swan feat. Dean (Released Feb. 21)

Earlier this week, the rapper and Show Me the Money alumni Hash Swan dropped his second mini album, Alexandrite. The record features a slew of famed producers, such as Cha Cha Malone and Gray. For the album cut “Francesca,” Hash Swan teamed up with Dean and delivered a “Havana”-esque tune. The rapper’s laid-back flow paired with Dean’s own signature crooning plus rapping create a mellow vibe and is a low key bop.


Also on KultScene: Female K-pop soloists owned 2017

“Baby Don’t Stop” by Ten and Taeyong of NCT U (Performed Feb. 24)

So it’s not technically out yet until tomorrow, but Taeyong and Ten‘s NCT U duet of “Baby Don’t Stop” premiered on the 24th, so it counts for this week. The minimalist track utilizes digitized drum beats and a smooth bass riff to provide a melody over which Ten and Taeyong alternate between smooth crooning verses and deep-voiced raps. Both are known as dancers in the group, and the performance perfectly pairs their dynamic grace. The best part about it, personally, is that it gives Ten a chance to fully show off his vocals, in a way he wasn’t necessarily able to do in NCT U’s “The 7th Sense” or even own solo “Dream In A Dream,” where the ambiance overtook his vocal delivery. But with a clear tone and his charisma that has made him NCT’s No. 1 Bias Ruiner, “Baby Don’t Stop,” at least the performance version if not the single and MV itself, give Ten that moment to shine while countering it with Taeyong’s smolder. It’s honestly one of the most mature sounds NCT’s shown off so far, and I’d love to see more of it.


Also on KultScene: Weki Meki’s “Lucky” album review

“Excuses” by Jung Seung Hwan (Released Feb. 19)

Coming off the success of his first mini-album “His Voice,” balladeer Jung Seung Hwan made his return to the K-pop scene with his first full album Spring Again. While it is mostly an album of slow ballads, “Excuses” stands out for the amazing vocal technique and range he displays in this song. From the instrumentals which come across more harshly here than in the other tracks to the overall more angsty mood of this song, there is ample room for Jung Seung Hwan to express himself here, and he pours in his emotions in a way that he’s never done before. For me, “Excuses” beats out even the title track of this album, “It’s Raining,” and it shows his immense growth as an artist even over the short span of this year, evidenced also by how he wrote the lyrics of this song (and others in the album) with his CEO Yoo Hee Yeol. It’s only the beginning for this talented vocalist, and I can’t wait to listen to more.


Let us know your favorite song of the week 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: Feb. 12 – 18

k-pop kpop new songs releases tracks feb february 20182018 is shaping up to be a great year for K-pop releases, given how strongly artists have started out the year. This week in February was no different, with a few comebacks from many familiar names we’ve been waiting on for awhile even amid the Lunar New Year industry-wide hiatus. Here are some of our faves.

“Boss” by NCT U (Released Feb. 18)

I went into this NCT U “comeback” very upset because I’m a Ten stan. Even though SM Entertainment announced that U’s lineup was rotational, I couldn’t understand why they weren’t including the talented dancer once again. Those feelings were momentarily interrupted once the music video for “Boss” finally dropped today. Though the focus is, predictably, on NCT’s trinity — Taeyong, Mark, and Jaehyun — we were introduced to two new members, Lucas and Jungwoo. Win Win was also added and, like with 127, was ignored (though the boy served major looks!). “Boss” resembles NCT 127’s concepts more than “The 7th Sense,” being hard-hitting and relying heavily on hip-hop rather than being experimental. And while the song’s arrangement and line distribution were pretty predictable, the surprises came mainly in the form of a rapper other than Mark and Taeyong (this time Lucas) having a verse all to himself (and murdering it, mind you) and Jungwoo’s vocals blending perfectly with Doyoung. “Boss” is yet another gem in NCT’s growing discography and, like with every release, further proved that there’s nothing they can’t tackle and completely own.


Also on KultScene: K-pop Unmuted: 2017 Awards — Part 2

“Sober” by Suzy (Released Feb. 14)

With the recent release of a music video for “Sober,” Suzy’s self-composed ode to blurting out your true feelings while drunk just about qualifies for this week’s playlist. Suzy’s solo career has been somewhat smaller than you’d expect from a star as big as her but it has luckily been extremely composed. She’s one of very idols who can walk around a stage and completely captivate with a mere glance. On the b-side to her second single “Holiday,” Suzy effortlessly whispers her way through a minimal track of precise sounds and movements. Produced by EJAE, Aaron Kim, Isaac Han, and Andrew Choi, “Sober’s” instrumental is mostly percussion and handclaps, with the odd bubble popping to highlight certain elements. It’s a song of pure confidence and comfort. Singing her own words Suzy knows her limits and beautifully blends with the music to create that easy feeling. It’s believable that a performer like Suzy could be this comfortable while drunk but it turns out she was tricking us this whole time. Her confidence is very real and not clouded by alcohol as she reveals in the last line, “Baby, let me be honest with you, don’t be surprised, I’m not drunk at all, I’m sober.”


Let us know your favorite song of the week 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: Dec. 4-10

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We’re nearing the end of the year so new releases by K-pop artists have slowed down. This, of course, does not mean they’ve completely stopped. While very few, as most artists are focusing on their end-of-the-year performances, we still could count on DAY6, GOT7, and Taemin to drop something to hold us on the year’s last stretch.

“I’ll Try” by DAY6 (Released Dec. 6)

One of the three last tracks released by DAY6 for their Every DAY6 project, “I’ll Try” is the closest to a conventional ballad this band has ever released. Composed mainly by keyboardist Wonpil, the instrumentation is very simple throughout the song, with Wonpil using many techniques normally found in classical piano here. What makes “I’ll Try” stand out however, is the acapella section found towards the end of the song. Stripped bare of all instrumentals, all five of DAY6’s members showcase their vocal abilities and create a breathtaking harmony which is just so beautiful to listen to. Coupled with the song’s heartfelt lyrics about receiving and giving love to others which Wonpil penned while thinking about his mother, this track is a wonderful way to end off the Every DAY6 project, and is appropriately placed at the end of their Moonrise album (not counting the final versions of their older songs included), acting as the curtain call to this era and showing the band’s gratitude to all who have supported them this year.

— Anna

Also on KultScene: K-Pop Unmuted: Super Junior – ‘Play’

“Teenager” by GOT7 (Uploaded Dec. 6)

I’m totally cheating, I’m aware, given this song was not only released last month but I also already chose it for a previous Weekly K-pop fave. But you know what? There’s still more to talk about! Better seasoned with the song, GOT7 focus on the fun yet sharp choreography and seducing the viewer — and I’m here for it. Completely absent in their last few comebacks, the group brought back their signature cute side, although it has matured and is now a damn tease. And, again, I’m here for it. It’s refreshing to see how a group that incorporated a cutesy concept since their start has evolved it and not gotten rid of it. Also, the looks they’re serving on “Teenager” are just the icing on the cake. Anytime we get to see GOT7 on a livelier, more fun performance —you guessed it— I’m completely, 100% here for it.

— Alexis

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

“Day And Night” by Taemin (Released Dec. 8)

Pulling a complete about-face from “Move,” Taemin returned this week with a follow up single, the stirring ballad “Day and Night.” While it felt more similar to the solo work of fellow SHINee-member Jonghyun, and a music video that looks a lot like DRP Live’s “Jasmine,” that aesthetic works for a tune to listen to at the end of a long day, or a night out when you need to unwind. It’s not as bombastic as some of his other singles, but there’s something tender about this strings-focused song that is lacking from other songs of the soloist’s. Though that isn’t surprising, considering Taemin co-wrote it.

— Tamar

What was your favorite release of the week? 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: Aug. 28- Sept. 3

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The last week of August and first few days of September saw a lot of good new music from South Korea, both from new and old acts alike. Former 4Minute member HyunA made her return, boy band of the moment Wanna One released a new music video, and Produce 101 finalist Jeong Sewoon made his debut. Check out what we liked about some of their releases.

“Just U” by Jeong Sewoon (Released Aug. 31)

It feels like every day there’s some new music from a Produce 101 Season 2 alum, and the last day of August brought about Jeong Sewoon’s debut with his first EP and the single “Just U.” While I would have expected generic acoustic pop from Sewoon after what he seemed to lean towards during Produce, his debut single is a guitar-driven smooth R&B pop hybrid that doesn’t sound so out of the wheelhouse of what someone like Lee Seunggi would attempt. There’s some funk and electronica elements thrown in, and Sik-K adds a melodic rap break, turning “Just U” into the epitome of K-pop’s freewheeling nature. Jeong showed a lot of promise during the reality series and though he didn’t make it into the final lineup for Wanna One, this is a promising debut and I can’t wait to see what he does next.


Also on KultScene: The story of LOONA: The first five girls

“Babe” by HyunA (Released Aug. 29)

I had completely given up on the trend before these last two weeks. Thanks to the work of the new gen girl and boy groups (Victon, DIA, and Pristin in particular) there’s been a resurgence of interesting tracks within the genre. The queen of K-pop brought the best though as she returned with “Babe” a song that uses the sound as her base and roams around it trying different things. Teaming back up with Shinsadong Tiger was Hyuna’s best decision in a long time. Alongside steel drum synths he packs the chorus with sawtooth synths to contrast the softness of the verses. “Babe” also represents Hyuna’s fight back against the haters. In her own version of IU’s “Twenty Three” she teases those who simultaneously drool over her and shame her. In a great reflexive moment in the music video she literally steps off stage during her routine seemingly fed up with it and walks off to a transcendent plane where maybe she can find some peace.


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

“Wanna Be” by Wanna One (Uploaded Aug. 30)

While the boy group of the moment, Wanna One, released a music video for their fan song “Wanna Be,” it was their performance of it on one of the music shows that grabbed my attention. It usually takes groups awhile before they release a song dedicated to their fans, but given their finite lifetime and the fact that they actually exist because of their fandom, it makes sense that they’d feature one on their first EP. “Wanna B” might be a gift for Wannables, their fandom, but this performance is a gem in itself. All of the members stepped up their aegyo game all the way up with this one, and for having such a hectic schedule, the members look like they’re having fun while performing. The song, for its part, is bubblegum pop gold and super infectious. I especially like the fact that all the main vocalists got their chance to shine at the chorus — especially Seungwoo. If you’re a Wannnable, it’s impossible not to fall deeper for these dorks with this rendition of “Wanna Be.”


What was your favorite K-pop release of the week? Let us know 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: August 20-27

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Things are starting to slow down in K-pop as they gear up for the big comebacks of the fall. This, however, doesn’t mean we didn’t like any new releases this week. Without a big K-pop group having a comeback this week, other artists who are a bit more low key or up and coming were able to shine. Here’s what we especially loved this week.

“We Like” by PRISTIN (Released Aug. 23)

As much as I’m easy to like girl group songs, I was honestly not excited about PRISTIN‘s “WE WOO.” “We Like,” however, really made up for the weaknesses and the excess of aegyos of their debut song, delivering something powerful and deliciously catchy this time. The chorus and post-chorus are the absolute foundation of the song. The combination of the rock’n’roll influenced instrumental, appealing chord progression, cheerleader-ish hook, and hectic post-chorus remind me of some girl power British pop songs of the 90’s. Another positive point for me is the insertion of the background vocals to the hook right in the start of the song, instead of saving them for later, like it’s usually done. The pre-chorus works perfectly; the verses are full of different variations, avoiding any possibility of boredom; the rap is on point; and the bridge is absolutely awesome. It’s everything a song like this should have, focusing on the vocals and creating tension to end the song with just the right energy. The writers and producers of “We Like” didn’t save intensity in any point of this track.

—Ana Clara

Also on KultScene: BlackPink & 2NE1: Unexpectedly Different

“Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Cherry Coke (Released Aug. 23)

Clicking random videos earlier this week on YouTube, I found this gem called “Don’t Kill My Vibe.” I was instantly drawn in by the lo-fi, chill R&B sound of the song. While the soft vocals are a given when it comes to female R&B singers in Korea, Cherry Coke’s works well with the song’s overall production, which is a lot more free. I don’t know a lot about the singer, but I’m definitely keeping an eye out for her after this song.


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: Aug. 7 – 13

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Each week, KultScene’s team gives you a taste of their favorite new Korean music of the past few days. The second week of August 2017 brought some new music from Gugudan’s subunit Gugudan 5959, the debut of Produce 101 group Wanna One, and a special anniversary celebration from former Girls’ Generation member Jessica Jung.

“Ice Chu” by Gugudan 5959 (Released Aug. 11)

Between this and their last single, “A Girl Like Me” Gugudan are proving that they can hold down chaotic tracks with relative ease, and they pack a huge amount of musical details into standardly structured songs. With “Ice Chu” the first (and hopefully not last) release from sub-unit Gugudan 5959, made up of maknaes (youngest members) Mina and Hyeyeon, the pair deliver a funky summery disco track. Brass takes the frontline for the gloriously fun chorus but as the song progresses more electronics are added to change the tone, notably at Mina’s second rap and the voguing breakdown in place of a bridge. The thing that really sets apart Gugudan is that they add personality to their music through their vocals, especially Mina whose raps here are just the right amount of sweet and cheeky. In what feels like a particularly crowded battlefield of new girl groups forming out of I.O.I’s corpse, none of the other groups can claim this yet.


Also on KultScene: Wanna One’s ‘Energetic’ song & music video review

“Burn It Up” by Wanna One (Released Aug. 10)

After participating in the second season of competition show Produce 101,Wanna One finally made their debut this week. And while fans voted for “Energetic” to be their debut track, they also released a music video for the runner up “Burn It Up.” On this track, the boys showed a darker, sultrier vibe than the bubbly and, well, energetic from the debut track to match the hard-hitting EDM sound. “Burn It Up” is not particularly bringing anything new to the table, but as a Wannable (their fandom name), I was obviously sold on the choreography, the styling, and the waterworks on the music video. Although Wanna One has plenty amazing dancers, with “Burn It Up,” the rest of the guys showed their growth as performers, mainly Guanlin and Jaehwan. For me at least, this video shows that Wanna One isn’t just a group of popular members who got through solely based on looks or likeability. And even with a couple of more seasoned performers, the group looks cohesive and proved they can go up against any other boy group.


Also on KultScene: BlackPink & 2NE1: Unexpectedly Different

“Summer Storm” by Jessica (Released Aug. 10)

With Girls’ Generation’s long-awaited 10th anniversary comeback crowding the airwaves this past week, the release of Jessica’s third mini album has been shown markedly less attention. And that is truly a shame, because My Decade’s single “Summer Storm” is nothing short of a pop confection, as Jessica’s signature sound becomes ever more clear with each release. The song begins with the musical twinkle of a Disney movie: she hits notes lightly but with poise and precision, mixing Korean and English lyrics with greater ease than most K-pop artists can (fitting of the Korean-American singer). While verses carry a building sentimentality and nostalgia, they quickly, but effectively, move into an infectious chorus, characteristically uplifting despite lyrics centered around what seems to be a breakup. But the conspiracy theorist and Golden S<3NE that I am, I can’t help but question Jessica’s lyrical motivations. “Will we be able to go back?” she asks, calling herself a fool “tied up with the memories.” Is she talking to a lost love, or maybe her former groupmates? As tension builds during the bridge and resolves into the final chorus, Jessica makes it clear that she still has mixed feelings towards someone. And on her 10th anniversary, she unwinds that anxiety into a song that is unapologetically her own, adding further definition to her budding career as a singer-songwriter.


What was your favorite K-pop song released this week? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop faves: July 31 – Aug. 6

k-pop playlist faves songs kpop august july 2017

The first week of August was filled with a lot of truly great releases from the K-pop industry, raising expectations for the month. In this week’s playlist, KultScene’s team liked new music by the rock boy band The Rose, girl group CLC, and GOT7’s JB from his solo on JJ Project’s new EP.

“Sorry” by The Rose (Released Aug. 2)

The song starts strong right off the bat with power vocals from guitarist Woosung, who sets the tone for the rest of this beautiful, moody song. His voice balances out very nicely with the other vocalist of the band, Dojoon, who plays the keyboard, and though they have unique and vastly different tones, the pair blend together to create great harmonies which really intensified the emotions of this rock ballad. The song feels like a cross between DAY6 and Jung Joon Young’s music style, but as a fan of both these artists, it’s pitch perfect to me. The music video featured gorgeous cinematography and visually striking sets as well, giving the band a very classy yet diverse image. This was a very promising debut for the band and if they keep churning out such tunes, they definitely have the potential to go far and make it big in the industry.


Also on KultScene: 4 things we can learn from K.A.R.D’s racist incident in Brazil

“Where Are You?” by CLC (Released Aug. 3)

Of the new generation of girl groups, very few people (nobody?) would consider CLC to be a contender. I wouldn’t have either until their most recent comeback with “Where Are You?” I have always liked them, but they remained firmly below a number of groups. What makes them stand out though, is their total disregard of an identity. Many use it to criticize them, but in an environment where groups like Blackpink and GFriend are totally redundant, it’s so refreshing. Especially so with a song like “Where Are You?” which brings the recent Japanese city pop revival trend to Korea for the first time. Produced by Armadillo, “Where Are You?” is a shimmering laid back track perfect for a relaxed summer evening. Its retro synths and saxophone are deployed to perfection alongside their best vocal performance to date. Sorn gets a special shoutout for her part in the chorus. It’s the chorus in general where the girls sing together is the detail that really makes this song work.


Also on KultScene: Sungha Jung mixes music with ‘MIXTAPE’ in Singapore

“Fade Away” by JJ Project (Released July 31)

Being an IGOT7, the thing that made me stan JB was his buttery smooth vocals and my faith in his ability to pull off an R&B song, if JYP ever gave him the opportunity. My belief was validated when the singer uploaded a few tracks to his SoundCloud account earlier in the year, displaying the smooth crooning that he doesn’t get to properly show off with his group. A JB solo is far fetched at the moment, so when the JJ Project comeback was announced, I was ecstatic. Verse 2 is a solid album, but the track that won me over is hands down “Fade Away.” On his solo song, JB brought the emotional rawness of his SoundCloud songs into the album. R&B is pretty hard to pull off in K-pop, but I’d argue that, in terms of idols (and excluding Taeyang), JB is the only vocalist able to do the genre justice. I don’t know where this man is pulling all these emotions from (it’s only imagination, right? *sobs*), but it’s quite refreshing in a scene that dribbles with the robotic. I just wish they’d bring some of this into GOT7’s music — or at least give JB the damn solo he’s always deserved.


”One Last Time” by Girls’ Generation (Released Aug. 4)

While there are many nice listening experiences on <b>Girls’ Generation</b>’s anniversary album <em>Holiday Night</em>, it’s “One Last Time” that kept drawing me back in. While not as epic as Ariana Grande’s single of the same name, the Girls’ melodic b-side is sheer pop perfection. The melancholic song has a pretty basic, and honestly simplistic, melody, but it’s the soaring vocals and beautiful harmonies that keep me coming back for more. I’m a sucker for a heartbreaking love song, and with “One Last Time” Girls’ Generation’s definitely achieved that; even if you don’t understand the language, it’s obvious that the eight women are expressing pain and heartbreak through the wailing, soaring expressiveness of their verses. (Also make to check out “Fan” on the album, if you’re looking for another great b-side!) 


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: July 3-9

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Each week, the KultScene crew look back at their favorite new K-pop songs and performances of the past week. In the first full week of July, we liked new music from Red Velvet, and older versions of songs by EXID’s LE and Super Junior.

“Cream (Solo Version)” by LE (Released July 7)

When EXID’s Street album came out last year, a clear stand out for me was the b-side “Cream.” And while they never released it as a single in Korea, they did a Chinese version to promote themselves in said market. Being the queen of suggestiveness and double entendre, LE wrote this song about eating cream and it ruining their bodies because they get fat. It’s been said that cream stands for some other creamy substance, and with this solo version, she’s basically proving that theory right. And I’m living for it. Just by the English lyrics, “I love the cream cream cream/ All over my body” and “Baby boy love me up all night” at the chorus, we get a clear picture as to what’s she’s singing about. But lyrics aside, this stripped down version and the fact that she also sings makes the version more sensual. “Cream” solidifies my thought that LE needs *clapping emoji* a *clapping emoji* solo *clapping emoji*. Like, yesterday. Move over CL and Hyuna (who she actually taught how to rap and has written for, by the way), LE is the baddest queen in K-pop.

— Alexis

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“Red Flavor” by Red Velvet (Released July 9)

Over the years, Red Velvet has become that group in the K-pop industry. With quirky outfits and infectious hooks, the group has, throughout the past year, delivered addictive music and markedly unique stylings with impressive consistency. “Red Flavor” is trademark Red Velvet, but with tighter production than that of their previous release “Rookie” (at least in my opinion). While this release is very reminiscent of their past two promotional cycles, the electro-pop is notably smoother at some parts of the song, specifically the prechorus sung by Wendy and Seulgi, calling back to their first EP’s title track “Ice Cream Cake.” Still, the chorus preserves the brash, loud quirk that the group has pursued most ambitiously with songs like “Dumb Dumb” and more recently, “Russian Roulette” and “Rookie.” Overall, “Red Flavor” is a valuable addition to the group’s repertoire, albeit slightly exhaustive. This release makes me wonder how much further they can pursue this kind of concept before it wears down. As great as “Red Flavor” is, the song makes me want to see something new from RV, and hopefully their next comebacks will make that a reality.

— Kushal

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“Sorry Sorry & Bonamana” by Super Junior (Performed July 8)

There’s something incredibly sad about watching Super Junior appear on stage with only three members as they did at last night’s SMTown. Even when a fourth member, Heechul, appears mid-way through “Sorry Sorry,” there’s something disheartening about seeing what was once a revolutionarily large group be driven down to only a handful of people. (But don’t even get me started how they have nine backup dancers to get things up to SuJu’s original OT13. Or how Henry and Zhoumi could and should have most definitely been part of the performance, and Super Junior in general…) With the recent protest by fans against Sungmin, Kangin still on hiatus after the second drunk driving incident of his career, plus the rest of the members in the army, Super Junior’s available four members still delivered energetic performances, with the four —Leeteuk, Shindong, Heechul, and Yesung— stepping up to fill in the void left by the loss of the Super Junior’s mass of members. It’s not my favorite Super Junior performance by far, but seeing them persevere in spite of the virulent outpouring of hate they just received makes this one of their most memorable lives of all time.

— 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: June 12-19

kpop k-pop k pop playlist songs june 2017

As summer is almost here, K-pop’s beginning to get busier and busier. Last week we sadly saw the Queens of the Summer bow out, and while we’ll miss them, that opens up the playing field for more artists. Some of the songs released this week aren’t necessarily “summer anthems,” but we liked them as if they were.

“What’s My Name?” by T-ara (Released June 14)

T-ara’s latest (and possibly final) release both maintains and builds on their sonic character in their eighth year together. While maintaining their usual high-voiced, electronic sound, the group manages to incorporate some EDM and eurodance-inspired themes on this new track. And coupled with a markedly different choreography when performing live (one that capitalizes on Jiyeon and Hyomin’s girl-on-girl appeal that was first showcased in their live cover of “Troublemaker”), the group undoubtedly shows growth, which is great to see as netizen comments and public reaction in general finally becomes the least bit more friendly. This is both an era of hope (one we never thought we’d see after their destructive scandal) and fear for Queens, who are seeing T-ara become more likable again while also being threatened by a possible disbandment. At least in my opinion, I’m hoping that the group continues. While netizens used to make fun of the group for having too much “determination,” I really do hope they maintain it and continue with it. They are a group worth keeping around, no matter what haters have to say at this point.

— Kushal

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“We Loved” by Bolbbalgan4 & 20 Years Of Age (Released June 13)

There’s really something special about Bolbbalgan4’s success. With each new release, the duo does phenomenally because of their sentimental, yet realistic, lyrics. For “We Loved,” the pair brought the mellow vocals of soloist 20 Years of Age into the mix to contrast with Ahn Jiyoung’s rather rough, but sweet, voice. The swaying melody belies swaying melody and snapping beat belie the song’s earnest, verge-of-break-up lyrics. A romance coming to an end is sad, but “We Loved” makes it feel natural. “Our time has stopped,” is such a poignant, mature approach to the end of a relationship in a way that few Korean love songs depict. It’s no surprise “We Loved” is topping Korean music charts; this is no idealized version of romance, it’s just straight and simple reality.


— Tamar

“Whiplash” by NCT 127 (Released June 14)

Throughout 2017, I haven’t been particularly excited about any entire K-pop mini album or full album. Until NCT 127’s comeback, that is. While “Cherry Bomb” is the, well, bomb single we’ve been waiting for as far as boy groups go, their b-sides are nothing to scoff at. But that doesn’t come as a surprise, as the group has always had fiery b-sides that rival the singles, and on this album, “Whiplash” is such song. It’s a mid-tempo hip-hop track lead by Mark and Taeyong’s rap and has an easy bounce that makes it fun to listen to. The composition might not be as intricate as “Cherry Bomb” or even “0 Mile” (another b-side on the album), but it’s this stripped sound what makes it fresh and so unlike SM Entertainment songs. NCT 127 truly are the super rookies to look out for.

— Alexis

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“Always” by the Top 20 Produce 101 trainees (Released June 17)

The second season of Produce 101 came to a shocking and extremely bittersweet end on Friday night, with exciting performances put up by the trainees right before the reveal of the final 11 members of Wanna One. The last performance of the 20 trainees, “Always” however, is definitely one which I will remember for a long time. The emotional performance, coupled by a beautiful song which showcased the much improved vocals of the trainees, was made even better because of the song’s heartfelt lyrics. Despite the various controversies and upsets that came along with this season, it was evident that through it all, these trainees have forged close bonds with each other and will deeply miss the time that they have spent together. The song was a fitting way to close off the season, and though I’m sad that it’s over, I’m looking forward to see the trainees continue to move towards their dreams.

— Anna

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.