August K-Pop Releases You May Have Missed

August K-pop releases cheetah
is just about over, but we’re still listening to a lot of the songs that came out from the K-pop world. Popular K-pop acts likeWonder Girls, SHINee, Big Bang, Girls’ Generation, HyunA, T-Ara, and B1A4 all released new songs, but so did a lot of other artists. Here are seven songs we think that everyone should have heard in August and maybe didn’t take note of.


After a four-year hiatus, the vocal trio SG Wannabe came back with the dual singles “Love You” and “Good Memory.” Keeping with their usual evocative ballad style, SG Wannabe didn’t disappoint. Both songs are perfect representations of the group’s style, but “Love You” climbed up Korean music charts with its bright, building sound.

Also on KultScene: May Music Releases From Korea That You Might Have Overlooked

Cheetah “My Number”

Cheetah won the first season of “Unpretty Rapstar” and released her first post-win song at the beginning of the month. “My Number” is a hybrid of pop and hip-hop that showcases Cheetah’s skill and feelings about becoming a celebrity. While the song isn’t as heartfelt as some of her raps on “Unpretty Rapstar,” it’s highly personal and has one of the most intriguing Korean music videos of the year, featuring drag queens, intense dances, and Cheetah herself in all her glory.

Primary “Hello” feat. Lena Park

Primary is arguably one of South Korea’s most up and coming producers and all of his latest songs are a reason to get excited. His latest, “Hello (I Got My Nails Done)” is a bright song with a steady beat and the powerful vocals of Lena Park. The song takes the talent of the Korean fairy of R&B and combines it with Primary’s producing skills and creates a fun summer jam all about nail polish. (And really, everyone needs a song about nails walking).


This song is ridiculous and cute and a gift to their fans, but FTISLAND’s humorous search for their “Puppy” can’t be overlooked. It’s like the Internet got rolled into one, with cute boy band members looking for puppies and pizza, with the talent of FTISLAND and vocals of Lee Hongki thrown in just for good measure. FTISLAND is one of the most underrated acts in K-pop today, but this over-the-top song and music video are just too adorable to overlook.

Baechigi “Shut Up” feat. EXID’s Solji

Combine Solji’s sultry vocals with Beachigi’s distinct rap style and you get one of my personal favorite songs of the summer. The song is about being used by people and the hardships of both general life and romantic relationships But rather than being a depressing tune, “Shut Up” is all about getting over things and doing what is good for you, even if others don’t understand you. “Shut Up” has a lot of soul, saxophone, and self -assertion, so what more is there really to ask for?

Also on KultScene: Simon D ‘Simon Dominic’ Music Video & Song Review

Tiger JK “Blazing” feat. Yoon Mirae and Bizzy

If you ever thought that you’d fall in love with a promotional song for a baseball team, then you must be a big sports fan. But that’s exactly what “Blazing” is — the absolute perfect pump up, sports anthem created by the members of MFBTY, Tiger JK, Yoon Mirae, and Bizzy, (although it is officially a song by Tiger JK.) The song is a passionate tune based on the anthem of Korean baseball team Hanhwa Eagles, “I’m The Eagles,” and both the song and the music video offers the fiercest inspiration to pursuing your dreams that you will ever see.

Simon Dominic “Simon Dominic”

Simon D came back this month with several songs, including the self-titled “Simon Dominic.” Like Cheetah’s song, it’s a personal take on what the singer wants to say those around him. “Simon Dominic” is a hook-filled song about Simon’s attempts at making it big in the Korean music world as part of the duo Supreme Team and continuing to make his way in the hip hop world. The song’s style and story led to “Simon Dominic” taking over Korean music charts.

What is your favorite lesser-known K-pop song from August? 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 Sound, American Style: Marcan Entertainment Is The K-Pop Production K-Pop Agencies Turn To [INTERVIEW]

Marcan Ent

They may not know it, but most K-pop fans owe their soul to Marcan Entertainment.

If you’ve ever heard SHINee’s “Lucifer,” U-KISS’s “Neverland,” or EXO’s “Love Me Right,” then you’ve heard a song that Marcan Entertainment had its hands behind. As a music production company that brings foreign producers and music writers together with South Korean musicians, Marcan Entertainment works closely with many Korean entertainment agencies. In particular, the company has a long-lasting relationship with SM Entertainment, and many of K-pop’s most popular groups have sung songs put together by Marcan Entertainment.

Marcan’s managing director Mark Yom spoke with me to discuss what the company is doing within the K-pop world.

So what is it that Marcan Entertainment does exactly?

“We facilitate music,” Yom said, as we sat in a cafe in the heart of Seoul, less than 100 feet from K-pop powerhouses SM Entertainment and FNC Entertainment.

“We have tons of writers and producers consistently sending us music, and we filter them and we see what will be good for SM or any other label,” he explained, describing the first way that Marcan Entertainment connects K-pop with songwriters. Marcan also works with Warner Chapell, which helps the company access thousands of musicians.

Foreign producers send their demos to Marcan, and Marcan decides where to pitch it. “We pitch songs that they [the agencies] don’t even ask for,” said Yom. “They’re always looking for something that is different.”

Also on KultScene: Meet iDR, The Man Behind EXO’s “Love Me Right”

Marcan Entertainment began in 2009, with Ryan S. Jhun as the creative producer and Yom as the managing director. Almost before things were underway, Jhun had already closed a deal with SM Entertainment, and the two have honored their loyalty to the Korean agency ever since.

“A mutual friend happened to know one of the staff from SM, and that person introduced Ryan [Jhun] to the A&R team leader,” explained Yom. “Lucky for us, he was able to close a deal and when he came back to New York, that’s when he asked me to work together with him, to partner up and I said ‘sure, why not?’”

Since then, the “sure, why not?” attitude has gotten Yom and Jhun working with a variety of K-pop agencies. Marcan Entertainment has produced songs for JYP Entertainment (15&’s “Somebody”,) B2M Entertainment (SPICA,) NH Media (U-KISS,) and more. According to Yom, YG Entertainment and FNC Entertainment have their own sounds and in-house producer that Marcan Entertainment doesn’t usually tailor to.

Regardless of the other agencies, though, Marcan works closely with SM to the degree that they provide music writers for multiple songwriting camps run by SM each year, the second way that Marcan generates K-pop songs.

“Every month, songwriters from all over the world come to write songs for them. We do anywhere from three to five song camps with SM per year. So the last one we did was March. This one [in July] is not as big, but normally we have 20 different songwriters and producers from all over the world for anywhere from 2-3 weeks.”

Marcan chooses producers and songwriters that they think will be able to tailor songs to SM Entertainment’s tastes and invites them to Korea.

“At the beginning of writing camps, SM A&R’s gives them leads, gives them reference,” Yom told me. “’Hey, these are the kind of songs that we’re looking for at this moment. These are the artists that we’re aiming for.’”

Those songwriting camps have resulted in some of SM Entertainment’s latest hits, including SHINee’s most recent single “View,” and EXO’s “Love Me Right.”

According to Yom, the songwriting process can take anywhere from a few hours to two weeks, but forcing the producers and songwriters to produce hundreds of songs during the songwriting camp isn’t what Marcan is there to do. “It doesn’t make sense for us to make 10-15 songs a week if they’re all – excuse my language – shitty songs. If it’s shitty, it’s shitty. … Sometimes they [the songwriters] can work on one song the whole day or a few hours, or a few weeks, cause that’s how long it takes to make a song.”

So what happens exactly when an agency like SM Entertainment hears a song at the songwriting camp that fits their image? “Love Me Right” is a good example, even though it took a bit longer than usual to create.

“As soon as they heard the hookline ‘love me right uh huh’ while we were having this songwriting camp, they were like, ‘we want to use this as a single so can you build more upon it?’” Yom recounts SM Entertainment’s interest in the song. “So we had iDR [the producer] working on just that song for two weeks, we had him do nothing else. We had other writers working on other songs, like Adrian [Mckinnon, who wrote SHINee’s “View] and other guys working on stuff for SHINee, with a lot of other stuff going on at the same time.”

For his part, Mark Yom is mostly involved with the business and legal side of things, but his relationship with Jhun is like to two hands attached to one body. One hand is better at doing one thing, while the other is good at another, but they still have to know what the other is doing and where they are at all times.

”I’ve learned that just because I’m on the business side of things doesn’t mean that I have to close my ears and can ignore what’s going on. Even though I’m not part of songwriting or producing, I’m there just to give them [the creative side] support.”

Working so closely with SM Entertainment, Yom has a good idea of what the company is angling for, and highlighted SHINee’s latest album, “Odd,” as SM’s ideal sound for the foreseeable future.

“They don’t want too much going on from the production side. They want something light and minimal, but with very catchy hook lines and melodies…For the last two or three years, trap and EDM style music was in but now they’re trying to phase that out. The recent single that we had with SHINee, the song called “View,” it’s very light and a mix of dance, R&B, and pop sounds. We did their song “Lucifer” too, and that was very electronic, EDM heavy, but that was almost four years ago.”

The deep house song became a huge hit in South Korea. If there’s more where that came from planned for SHINee, every music fan in the world should be excited.

So what exactly happens to all of those songs that they create that don’t get accepted by SM Entertainment or wherever they think they should go? They sometimes go unproduced, but Marcan Entertainment will re-pitch. “Just because it [a song] was rejected doesn’t mean it’s bad quality, but it’s not what they’re looking for or not in their musical direction,” explained Yom. “There were songs that were supposed to come out with SM but didn’t. For example, U-KISS’s ‘Neverland,’ was pitched for Super Junior but for some reason it didn’t get cut on time, and went to U-KISS.”

Even though that didn’t work out, Marcan Entertainment has worked with Super Junior on other projects, such as their single “No Other.” Marcan has worked with just about every top SM Entertainment artist in the past six years. Marcan Entertainment’s latest song for SM Entertainment was “Champagne,” a solo track by TVXQ’s Yunho prior to his enlistment in the Korean military.

Next up from Marcan are two of the biggest K-pop comebacks of the year.

Also on KultScene: Which Korean Entertainment Company Is For You?

“We have Girls’ Generation’s [comeback]. One of the songs, “You Think,” was produced by us and the songwriter, SAARA. She’s a Finnish artist. We brought her over, she’s working with Marcan, and she wanted to meet Girls’ Generation so she met Tiffany yesterday.”

“You Think” is one of the two follow up tracks to the hit single “Party” that Girls’ Generation will release later this summer. SHINee’s repackage album is also expected to be released soon, with a few Marcan Entertainment songs.

Marcan Entertainment is one of the only companies doing what it’s doing, and hard work has truly paid off.

Six years ago, when Yom and Jhun began their work, Yom admits that it was a bit more difficult to convince producers and songwriters to get on board the K-pop train. That’s not the case now. “We don’t even have to convince songwriters or producers to work with us because they’ve already heard about the K-pop market so we don’t have to sell them as much as we used to, because they didn’t know about the market.”

While Marcan Entertainment is a relatively small agency, Yom and Jhun have big dreams, and have around 30 songwriters signed to their company. “There’s a lot of other areas that we’re interested in getting into, for example having our own artist someday, and we’re going to continue producing music for K-pop. Clearly, we’re open to working with US writers. That’s eventually what we want to do and we’ll keep on pushing to reach that level. We want to not only be K-pop music producing team or company but we want to be able to produce all sorts of music, for anyone.”

What do you think of Marcan Entertainment’s work in the K-pop industry? 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.

INFINITE’s ‘Reality’ Album Review

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A year since their last return with “Be Back”, INFINITE is back with their newest albumReality“, which has topped music charts ever since it was released on the 13th of July. Through this album INFINITE shows development and growth, not just as a group but individually as well.


As with every INFINITE album, the first track is always an instrumental. It starts simply with a piano riff, but gradually increases in its intensity as more layers are added to it, finally cutting to silence at the peak of the short instrumental. It works effectively as a prelude because it is dramatic and delivers a lot of anticipation for the rest of the album.

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Former Skarf Member Ferlyn is Ready to Have a New Beginning [INTERVIEW]

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She made history in Singapore when she debuted in K-pop girl group Skarf in 2012, after passing auditions by JYP and Alpha Entertainment. However, two years later, Ferlyn Wong left the girl group and debuted as a soloist in Singapore at the start of 2015 with her EP “First”. Kultscene spoke with her about her experiences as a trainee, her time in Skarf, and her solo endeavours.

Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Firstly, what was your trainee period like?

It was overwhelming. Although it was suffocating at times, it helped me tremendously in terms of improvement in my stage presence and skills. I’ve also learnt how to humble myself and to be less self centred.

You’ve said before that it took you a long while to adapt to the Korean way of life, are there any memorable experiences you remember from that period of time?

Korean culture emphasizes a lot on hierarchy which is very unlike Singapore, where I was born and raised. Many times I was punished and scolded due to actions and behaviours I did unknowingly, as these actions were viewed as rude in Korea. It took me a while to get used to that part of Korea’s culture.

Also on Kultscene: BTS ‘Dope’ Music Video & Song Review 

How was it like working with the rest of Skarf?

They are definitely a bunch of awesome girls. I’ve learnt a lot while working with them. It is not easy for people who came from different countries and who have different backgrounds to work together. Although we did have conflicts at times, we never ended a day without clearing up the misunderstandings and problems.

How did you feel when you left the group?

I left on a good note and I have no regrets. It was hard for me to leave because I really love my members but I knew deep inside that I wanted to do more. I wanted to make my own music and to progress towards my dream in music and acting. As for my precious members from SKarf, I will still be cheering for them no matter where I am!

What were some changes in your life that came with your departure from the group?

I gained freedom in my private life–meeting people, attending church at a frequent basis, serving my church. Career wise, I got the chance to write my own music, to voice my opinions, and to try things I never thought I would do in my career. I became more independent and responsible as a whole.

What are some skills that you’ve picked up from this first half of your music career that you can use as a soloist?
I actually picked up rapping while I was training in Korea. Skarf’s leader, Tasha, was initially selected as the rapper for the group due to her husky voice. While Tasha was having her rap lessons, I secretly went into the room beside her and eavesdropped on the lessons. After much practice, Skarf’s producer felt that I made the cut for rapping and got me to rap instead.

What inspired you for “First”?

The idea of having a new beginning – I wanted to show that I was stepping out from my comfort zone and that I was ready to make my journey towards my dream.

There are rumors that you’ll be coming back as the leader of a new girl group. How accurate are these rumors?

There will be potential collaborations, but in the coming two years I am likely to be focusing on my solo career, improving myself as a songwriter and artist. For further updates, do check out my Instagram and official Facebook page.

Also on Kultscene: Meet iDR, The Producer Behind Some Of K-Pop’s Biggest Hits [Interview Part 1]

 What are some future works we can look forward to?

I am currently working on song compositions, DJ-ing, and I’ll be involved in upcoming screen works as well. I hope to be able to meet you with my new release soon.

Any final words for the readers of Kultscene?

여러분, 잘부탁드립니다! 많이 사랑해주세요. 정말 열심히 할테니깐 예쁘게 봐주세요. [Everyone, please take care of me and please do give me a lot of love. I’ll work hard to present myself well in the future.]
It’s an honor to receive this interview from Kultscene and please do keep supporting them! I hope to see you soon, but let’s connect on social media for now!

Check out Ferlyn’s shout out video for our KultScene readers.

Also, do check out Ferlyn’s latest music video for “Luv Talk” and let’s look forward to her next release!

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‘Miss Korea’ Season 2 Contestant Jojo Hung Discusses Trying To Make It As A K-Pop Star [Interview]

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Jojo Hung, also known as a Ga-in of Brown-eyed Girls look-alike, is an average Singaporean adult with an extraordinary love for K-pop. Currently a dance instructor at Celine Jessandra School of Performing Arts, this special 25-year-old was a participant of the second season of CJ E&M’s “Miss Korea” alongside 19-year-old Julia Wu, and is also a participant of ongoing reality competition ”Chinh Phục Ước Mơ.”

Not to be confused with the beauty pageant, Lee Hyori song, or the 2013 drama with the same name, “Miss Korea” is a reality program produced by Mnet and Mediacorp which followed the two talented individuals in their three months spent in Korea together. They received vocal and dance lessons from professionals and had the opportunity to audition at several entertainment companies such as Soulshop Entertainment. From this program, the girls learned a lot and had several memorable experiences, some of which Jojo shared with Kultscene, while also discussing her friendships, challenges, and dreams.

Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Could you introduce yourself to the readers who may be hearing of you for the first time?

Hi everyone! My name is Josephine (Jojo), and I’m from Singapore. You might have seen me recently on two reality TV programs, “Miss Korea” S2 by CJ E&M and another K-Pop singing competition currently airing in Vietnam! I’m currently a dance instructor at Celine Jessandra School of Performing Arts – a pop music school based in Singapore!

What made you decide to audition for “Miss Korea Season 2”?

As someone who loves travelling and the performing arts, I saw “Miss Korea” as an opportunity to challenge myself. Being part of a reality TV series was something that’s new to me, and when the producers of the program met up with myself to discuss, I knew it was going to be a platform where I could take on another adventure in a foreign land!

When did your interest in K-pop and dancing start?

I had begun performing from a young age, and my interest in K-pop started around the same time as the debut of the boyband TVXQ. A friend had shown me their video back then, and I was blown away by their ability to sing and dance, plus their awesome stage presence. I haven’t looked back since!

What were some challenges you faced during this show?

In the midst of filming ”Miss Korea”, I suffered a bad fall which required stitches just above my lips. The doctors said it was quite serious, and I wasn’t allowed to sing or dance for 2 weeks. I remember then I had an upcoming singing exam as seen in the episodes, and the injury affected me physically and mentally as I felt rather unprepared as the exam day drew closer.

Being primarily a dancer, having to focus on my vocals – and sometimes song-writing, threw me out of my comfort zone at first, but on hindsight, I really do appreciate the opportunity given to me to grow in these areas with the help of industry experts, not forgetting the help from my partner Julia!

Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: Livii

In what way did your life change after the show?

One of the biggest differences is that I’ve been getting encouraging messages from both new and old followers, telling me that they have watched the show, in and turn inspiring them to go out there and chase their dreams! I’ve had people on the street also recognise me, coming up to have a chat about my experiences, and wanting to find out more about what I’ve been up to.

Most memorably, I met a lady on the train who was hearing-impaired, and despite her difficulty in communicating with me, she made the effort to type out a sweet and meaningful message to me.

Ultimately, I cherish the fact that I’ve managed to help people see that chasing one dream isn’t that far off an idea. Because of their encouragement, I too have gathered more courage to continue pursuing my dream.  

What were some memorable experiences you had during the show?

The long lasting friendship I’ve gained with my partner-in-crime, Julia. Being locked in a house together with her for over 3 months, and then touring the sights and sounds of Seoul is something I’ll always fondly look back on. We grew really close during our time spent there, and during the last few days of filming, we would both get really emotional knowing that our experience was going to be over soon!

I had a lot of fun making the music video as seen in the series’ last episode, where we had to write and record the song “Bad” within two to three days. Almost immediately, we headed out of Seoul to a place known as Gangwondo, where we filmed the scenes, and had plenty of amazing bonding time with the production crew as well!

The trip was always going to be special as there was Julia alongside me. Two strangers crossing paths, so different from one another, yet hitting it off so well. Plus we were constantly creating havoc everywhere we went. We still keep in touch, and we know we’ll always be supporting each other in whatever lies ahead for both of us!

Jojo & Julia (the other “Miss Korea” participant) during their stay in Korea

How did you start working at CJ?

Celine Jessandra School of Performing Arts is an establishment of Pop Entertainment, a company that is well-known for pioneering the vocal and dance K-Pop wave in Singapore. It was founded in 2006, and I had the opportunity to be part of their performance crew shortly after. After training, I started teaching my first class around 2008, and I’ve been here ever since! Being here, I’ve been able to perform in front of groups like B2ST, BtoB, and several other groups who’ve performed in Singapore, so it’s been awesome.

Also on KultScene: Album Review: SHINee’s ‘Odd’

What do you do currently?

I’m currently focused on both teaching and performing with CJ, as well as catching up on several other passions like learning new languages – Korean and Japanese. I’m rather busy but definitely fulfilling!

Could you tell us about the singing competition that you are currently participating in?

It’s a singing reality program – a Joint Korean / Vietnamese collaboration known as “Chinh Phục Ước Mơ,” where six contestants representing the five ASEAN countries were selected to compete in Korea, with Vietnam serving as the host country.

What is your greatest takeaway from this experience?

I had the opportunity to be trained in the FNC training academy, where I worked with renowned instructors who have trained successful groups such as VIXX, BTS and G-friend amongst many others. I’ve also learned a lot from many of the other competitors, some of whom are recognised artistes in their own home country.

What are your plans for the future? Have your dreams/personal aspirations changed in any way because of “Miss Korea”?

I’m still very much into the whole singing and dancing concept, and I haven’t changed much. Maybe it has spurred me on towards working harder and better in order to be where I want to be. I’m currently working with my management company on my upcoming blog where I’ll be sharing my experiences with my followers soon and it’s going to be exciting so readers should watch out for it!

Any final words for Kultscene readers?

I definitely hope that “Miss Korea Season 2” has provided the readers with ample laughs and entertainment, and that they have gotten to know both Julia and myself better! Most importantly, I wish for all the readers with dreams like myself to continue to work towards them, and never give up. Cliche as it might sound, it’s still very sound advice!

Check out the first episode of  “Miss Korea Season 2”  right here, along with the music video created by Julia and Jojo.

Continue to look out for Jojo in the K-pop industry, and one day we may see her making her debut in Korea! What do you think of reality programs like “Miss Korea” ? Do you think there are ample opportunities for ordinary people to train and become K-pop artistes? 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.

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K-Pop & the Collective Body

If I were to pick one thing that makes K-pop stand out over other pop music it would be dancing. Not since the death of the boy and girl group in the 2000s has the West seen much dancing at all in music. Even at the heights of the nineties there was no collective dancing as what we see in K-pop. The effort put into dancing in Korea is unparalleled within pop music history. Each member of a group is required to be at least a great dancer. They must be able to pull off complex movements as an individual and as part of a group. The collective dance is key to K-pop but it is not always pulled off.

The many ways in which the collective bodies of a K-pop group moves can tell us things about a group. For some groups, the dance charts an evolution, for others it is a statement of unity.

Nine Muses’ troubles with members has been well documented yet the effect it has on their dances has not. They have consistently failed to do well on the charts since their debut in 2010, and we can find part of the reason for that in their dance. No Playboy is a complete mess. The production is cheap and it seemingly wants to play to the weaknesses of the group’s vocals.

The dance at first glance is what you would expect from the first ever supermodel-dols. Each members struts her stuff across the stage as if it were a runway. After this intro though, they delve into a cavalcade of awkward, erratic movements. The model like movements could have been something interesting to take away from an otherwise failure of a debut. But their long, skinny bodies end up hurting them when coupled with a dance like this. They are all protruding elbows and knees. What should have been elegant looks awkward as a result.

 Also on KultScene: When K-Pop Lineups Change – 9 Muses

Cut to their next single Figaro, which is in general a vast improvement, but brings up problems that would last a lot longer for Nine Muses than bad production. First of all, my least favorite thing in group dancing, the walk around. This is when the member who was last singing has to get back into formation by walking all the way around the group to the back. It is distracting to watch as usually not a lot is happening elsewhere and shows a lack of thought being put into the overall machinations of the dance. In nearly every case, it is clear that it could have been avoided. It ruins what it is otherwise a great mix of perfectly synchronised model and disco movements in this song.

It wasn’t until they were back to having nine members after a series of line-up changes that the dance come together. They returned with Dolls and continued refining their dance until their best yet, Glue. The shame of this is that it was also their last song with this particular group. The changes they went through prevented their dance from finding its footing for so long. It took four songs into their second run as nine to come back with something that really worked. Everything from No Playboy to Gun was mediocre at best.

Glue shows a group who are finally moving as one. They move from formation to formation swiftly and gracefully. A lot of the time they are split in two which is an efficient and satisfying way to control a large group. They even managed to use the walk around yet not let it distract due to these dual formations which can act like a kind of wall to those walking around.

Larger groups will always have this problem so I’m not singling out Nine Muses. One group has shown that coherence and quality can go together when it comes to big groups though. This may be due to their split nature, but EXO have consistently delivered when it comes to choreography and delivery. Their concept of a Korean half and a Chinese half becoming carries over into their dance. This plays out by first having one half performing the first part then being replaced by the other half. For the climax all of the members are on stage performing together. This has been their style for every single when all 12 members were performing. How they perform this is also interesting.

The changing of members here also poses some problems for EXO, but we’ll come back to that later. What’s really interesting is EXO’s manipulation of the stage and their bodies around it. Coming off the back of the ‘Growl’ music video, they began to interact directly with the camera. It would sweep in and out of their formations, giving us insights into places we hadn’t seen before. It adds a layer of participation that works so well with EXO’s fangirls.

 Also on KultScene: #CallMeBabyXWin: Korean Music Shows & the Songs That Win Awards

EXO also handle the shifting of groups within the one performance well. In ‘Wolf,’ they dramatically ran off stage while the rest run back on stage. It works to transition not only the dance but the song too. In ‘Growl,’ they used both sides of the stage as opposing groups. When the song changed, the camera just has to turn around and the switch is made instantly. ‘Overdose’ uses the same technique as ‘Wolf’ but also adds some new elements. The opening is especially great where the camera flows all over the stage to give time to each member. Each performance showcases great form and structure while sticking to the 50/50 theme. They contain some of the most complex moves in K-pop yet never let one move dominate a dance.

The problem of losing members has caused EXO to adapt their style to something functional but lacking for their latest single, ‘Call Me Baby’. Instead of 12, there was 10 (and now maybe 9, oh no wait 8). They kept the idea of not having all members on stage at once but this time it didn’t have to be half and half. Any amount of them can be on stage from 1 to 10 and every time it works. It helps build a more seamless dance as they are not slaves to a formula anymore. What they make up for in structure they lose in theme.

To find a group with a real unity in performance we can look to EXO’s labelmates, SHINee. In particular their most recent singles ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Everybody’ have shown an attention to detail that exemplifies their work. In both, they exhibit a manic kinetic energy between each of them. Seemingly every move they make is connected or passed between them. Even when one member is on his own, the others soon mimic a move he did. These songs are the best examples of a group as one. Each member is only part of a larger performance and each is integral to it working.

It is the ultimate advantage of a smaller group. Bodies move gracefully and collide on a K-pop stage in all manner of ways. When stripped down to five or six they do this with great beauty. SHINee’s ability and clarity of movement is the best example of this. They use their bodies in increasingly interesting and amazing ways to attach greater meaning to their work.

Nine Muses could certainly learn a lot from both of these groups of boys.

This is only a tiny window into what K-pop bodies can achieve. There are so many different takes on the type of dances I just talked about and then there are some that approach it completely differently. VIXX’s themes, miss A’s simplicity, Infinite’s synchronicity, and 2pm’s acrobatics are only some examples of the wide possibilities used by K-pop acts. Each one is as interesting as the last and they all offer new spins on old ideas, something so intrinsic to what K-pop is.

What do you think of these groups’ dances? What are some of your favorites we didn’t mention? 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.

Fiestar & Sex in K-Pop

Like some groups before them, Fiestar took the chance to change up their style with their first comeback after a member left. And, like many other girl groups, they took the route of coming back with sexy concept. However, unlike all the others, Fiestar went a step further in approaching sexiness and went all the way to sex.

Their two newest songs, both of which utilize sexy concepts, have tackled sex and feel like two songs that are part of the same story. The first One More is explicit, the second You’re Pitiful is not, but the two seem to be part of one story and chronicle a new, exciting chapter for Fiestar. This is something few other modern K-pop groups are doing or have done. Addressing sex directly within a sexy concept is a perfect conceptual match, this is why many people enjoy New XXX movies added every day on, but Fiestar have taken steps to execute it in such a daring way that few others have attempted. Ga-In showed us a personal touch, Stellar perfected the metaphorical route, but Fiestar will drag us into nitty gritty sex, so much so that we might as well just watch some movies.

The fundamental problem with sexy concepts in much K-pop music is the explicit lack of sex. While metaphors can always be interesting and a good way of discussing more taboo subjects in the mainstream, they can become easy to hide behind. And when everything is hidden behind metaphor, then it all becomes meaningless. So to counteract this, a more explicit take on the subject will provide the best and only insight into it. To do this Fiestar released a song about threesomes.

Also on KultScene: ‘Unpretty Rapstar’ Is Sexist & Promotes Girl-On-Girl Hate

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5 Occasionally Neglected Male K-Pop Idols

There are lots of K-pop groups out there, but not all of them are popular. What’s more, within a group, some members are always no more popular than others. But this doesn’t mean that some are greater than the rest, I mean, who doesn’t love an underdog? That’s why we’ve listed a few members from underrated, ocassionaly neglected groups that deserve the spotlight. Here are our picks of a few personal favorites that a lot of K-pop fans may be underestimating.

5. Yoon Doojoon (윤두준) known as Doojoon from BEAST (비스트)

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Rainbow’s ‘Black Swan’ Music Video & Song Review

The forever mid-tier girl group Rainbow returned earlier today with the moody Black Swan. Rainbow has consistently failed to achieve in terms of sales despite nearly always putting out interesting music. From the beautiful collaborations with Japanese producer Daishi Dance on To Me and Sweet Dream to the perfect duo mini albums Rainbow Syndrome parts one and two, they have excelled in many different styles. For Black Swan Rainbow leave behind the cutesy image to adopt an edgy, sexy concept that fits them well.

They also sound like they have left behind recent trends in sounds too, as Black Swan sounds like it came from the 2008-2010 era of K-pop. The lowkey electro pop has been replaced by crashing synths recently so it’s refreshing to hear something different. Especially since this song is weirder than one listen might make it seem.


The lyrics are an interpretation of the story of Swan Lake, focusing on the Black Swan. It’s about a woman who doesn’t know who she is anymore. Like in Swan Lake, she is fearful of who she is or might become. She ultimately finds herself again with the help of someone to tell her it’s all a bad dream.

While this idea of what we can assume is a man saving her is derivative and sexist, the ending of the song is interesting. Instead of a happy ending it feels more like the woman is telling herself a lie in order to feel better and more assured in herself, which is something I’m sure that we’ve all done in times of hardship. It offers a story that K-pop doesn’t give us often, and that is immediately interesting.

Also on KultScene: MYNAME’s ‘Too Very So Much’ Music Video & Song Review

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When K-Pop Lineups Change – 9 Muses

Since their debut in 2010 Nine Muses have gone through eleven changes to their lineup. Only three original members remain to this day and yet they continue to promote. The group’s latest single Drama is actually their most successful to date. Changes to group lineups are not uncommon in K-pop and have had varying effects on each group that have had to deal with it. The effects of these changes do not only affect the group though, as fans see their favourite group being dismantled and rebuilt within a short time. This can change their perception as they feel a loss of essence in the group.

First and foremost, losing a group member is always hard. Whether it’s the most important or least important member, their loss will be felt immediately in the live performances. K-pop performances are built around perfectly synchronized choreography where each person has their part to play. When one of these people is taken out, the system must be broken down and built up again with other members taking over. Whether the group leaves a gap in their dance like 2PM post-Jay Park or reboots it like EXO after Luhan and Kris left, the difference is palpable.

Fans watch their favorites perform but notice new movements or gaps in the dance. What was once one of the most fluid things known to pop music becomes jarring. The K-pop dance changes.

Of course, the majority of groups move towards replacing their lost member before they even have to think about rejigging their choreography or line distribution. Most companies have floods of trainees desperate for their chance to shine in the company’s flagship group. Each of these trainees will be as talented, beautiful and charming as the members that were chosen to debut in this group. Despite their readiness, plugging the trainees into an already established group has difficulties that have nothing to do with talent.

Also on KultScene: Why You Should Give ‘Blood’ A Chance

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