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Primary & Anda’s “Do Worry Be Happy” Album Review


After a year and a half of no official releases, soloist Anda returns with the help of superstar producer Primary. They have released a four song EP, the ominously titled Do Worry Be Happy, with each song getting a music video. Known for her controversial portrayal of lesbians in her video for “Touch” and for charming Middle Eastern billionaires without ever meeting them, Anda is an artist of unique sound and visuals. Her height and distinct facial structure help her to stand out from most Korean female soloists. Her music up to now has been stuck somewhere between pop and indie though leaving her with no distinct audience. Working with Primary is a great idea then as whatever you may think of him, he is probably the most successful producer at bringing indie sounds into the mainstream. Luckily, he’s matched his best style (the British indie inspired 2 album sound) with the compelling Anda.

Sounding like a more laboured version of something off of the Drive soundtrack, Primary and Anda open with “The Open Boat.” Featuring colde, the vocalist from R&B duo offonoff, “The open boat” is lumbering melancholic electro pop. The constant rolling synths are almost suffocating, their deep tones recalling vast oceans of nothingness. They restrain Anda, her trademark whispery style of singing tries to call out. She tries to scrape it back by pitching higher. “Touch the sky” she repeats in the chorus, her voice now more ephemeral. As the song grows she seems to be winning the fight, colde helps her break free, “Don’t stop and push forward.” Yet it is overwhelmingly cold. Together they have arrived at some sort of peace but musically not much has changed. The brisk synths continue, they have become a home for the intrepid pair but we remain locked outside.


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Following this is “Zeppelin,” a song that works with Primary’s funk roots to move away from the wintery tone. “Zeppelin” is about how Anda gets out of her previous rut from “The open boat.” Her love takes her higher and higher. It’s not drastic though, it comfortably floats atop funky guitars and wavy ‘80s synths. Anda’s vocal is more childish here, and is really the only thing of interest going on. While she is distinct, it would be hard to call her voice actually good. She seems to be connecting with the wispy nostalgia of the track but not making it believable. Without hitting those feelings she would at least need to bring something strong which she can’t. “Zeppelin” should have felt fresh against the oppressiveness of “The open boat,” but it’s a mere respite rather than refresher.

The duo find their feet directly after, though, on lead single “Dressroom.” It picks up where “The open boat” left off with sombre electro pop. It immediately recalls Primary’s work on Uhm Jung Hwa’s “Ending Credit” but a little less clear. There’s a lot more space and reverb to the track. Anda, like Uhm Jung Hwa, is coming to the end of a part of her life. Where Jung Hwa is nostalgic, Anda is bitter. Her voice is vulnerable, she reverts to shouting instead of singing in the chorus. Trying to find a way out she bellows into the ether, “I broke down but I still couldn’t let you go.” It’s beautifully performed vulnerability. Anda never feels out of control, just conscious of her pain and finding ways of healing it. She has the same control in the video. She looks like she was born to be a model. Her body is being watched closely, she doesn’t take pleasure in it but doesn’t look uncomfortable either. She takes off her oversized jacket and keeps her composure. Bearing her own scars so we can forget our own.


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Album closer “Moonlight” (featuring electro soloist Xin Seha) documents the effects that these troubles have on Anda. Primary keeps the mood down but plays with the track a bit more. The beat is alive this time, a constant stream of cymbals add the subconscious texture that causes Anda’s insomnia. “It’s not the coffee you drank in the afternoon,” she struggles to get out at the beginning. Primary uses Jai Paul-like details to give the song a sense of mystery. The bubbling bassy synths and warm guitar suggest strange feelings swirling around Anda and guest Xin Seha. Together they try in vain to understand but eventually decide “I will not sleep.” A resignation to the hypnotic beat.

This unlikely pair have created an album drenched in sensitivity by coming together. Anda and Primary seem like a mismatch given the producer’s usual clientele of the best vocalists and rappers Korea has to offer. Anda pulls him down to emotional depths he had never explored prior to this, though. Her voice is so light usually, almost always a whisper, and when strained to these heights it carries so much hurt. It doesn’t break but bends against the cold electronics of Primary’s music. Sometimes it’s too cold and sometimes it’s too slight. When it hits though, everything connects for a stunning look at a disaffected youth.

What do you think of Primary and Anda’s Do Worry Be Happy? Let us know in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

August K-Pop Releases You May Have Missed

August K-pop releases cheetah
August
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.

SG WANNABE “Love You”

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.


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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).

FTISLAND “Puppy”

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?


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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.

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.


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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.


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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.

Playlist Sunday: Weird K-Pop Songs

kpop playlist songs heroesTo people outside the fandom, K-pop is weird. And yet, for us in the know, it’s funny, because we know they haven’t seen anything yet. That’s why this week’s playlist is dedicated to those truly odd music videos that actually deserve the “bizarre” tag.

I remember feeling some slight anxiety and excitement while waiting for T.O.P’s “Doom Dada” to be released. Prior to this single, the last time he had a solo song was back in 2010, therefore, the anticipation was riding pretty high. “Doom Dada” was a roller coaster of emotions. My friend and I listened to the song first and watched the music video afterwards. There were moments where we both gave each other really puzzled “WHAT THE HELL?” looks and then there were moments where we were both in tears from laughing at the bigheaded masked baby. T.O.P’s fandom knows that he has strange characteristics; it’s hard to really figure what goes through his head most of the time, so I can’t say I was completely surprised by this song and music video. If anything, it just makes me want to dig deeper and ask him a lot of questions.

— Tam

No collection of weird K-pop songs is complete without the Godfather of Weird, Seo Taiji. In 1992, along with his Boys, he ushered in a new age of Korean pop music. And thanks to his roots in rap, metal, and pop, that age would go on to be a profoundly weird one. So it is because of him that we now have such a diverse of music within K-pop. To show he’s still got it, I picked his most recent single “Christmalo.win” for today’s playlist. “Christmalo.win” combines all of thes influences into one rip-roaring piece that somehow works. It’s the perfect mix between Halloween and Christmas sounds coming off like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” except good (yeah, I went there!). The song bounces between genres with electronics taking up the most of it with interjections of metal and rap. It is a perfect summation of the man and K-pop that a song like this can be released in 2014 and not be considered utterly groundbreaking. To Korea, it’s just Seo Taiji, the President of Culture.

–Joe


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If your first thought after watching “Bae Bae” wasn’t “WTF??” there’s something far more wrong with you than with BIGBANG. Seriously, where do I even begin? How about the fact that they made the fangirls’ minds run amok when they said the video would be 19+, only to be surprised with G-Dragon getting handsy with furniture, T.O.P having a very metaphorical sex scene, and all of the members lifting girls’ skirts? I mean, did anyone even pay attention to the actual song –which is quite good, by the way — on their first viewing of the music video? Not this girl. “Bae Bae” is an overall mind fxxk, but a very interesting one. You can watch it multiple times and you will always find something funny or weird you hadn’t noticed before. Some boy bands get cutesy or funny on their music videos to cater to fans. BIGBANG gets weird, and that’s perfectly fine with VIPs.

— Alexis

Of all the weird, early K-pop concepts that I’ve seen (H.O.T, I’m looking at you,) Lee Jung Hyun has always been the weirdest of them all. She is the queen of performances in South Korea, after all. “Wa” is iconic in K-pop but not truly because of its musical style instead, it is primarily famous because of Lee’s live performances. The song is a rhythmic pop-techno fusion song and extremely catchy, and the music video is absolutely insane, with space ships and kimonos and who really knows what. But it’s when Lee performs “Wa” live that I think all of her crazy, weirdness comes out. Definitely check out the music video sometime, but you can’t miss out on Lee dancing her iconic fan performance and using her pinky finger like a microphone. If you’re interested in seeing her perform the song more recently, Lee performed the song on “Infinite Challenge” Totoga earlier this year.

— Tamar

If it weren’t for the sensual reggae vibes of the song, I think I would be a little nervous watching the music video for PRIMARY’s “Don’t Be Shy.” Let’s just say that if I were a parent, I would think twice about letting my girls have a sleepover after this. The video revolves around a less than average sleepover with AOA’s ChoA and friends, where we witness them rip apart Barbie dolls, play ghost dress-up, and summon spirits in the dark; I bet somewhere in there there is a satanic message waiting to be decoded. The whole music video is a nod towards ‘90s grunge, if the Pokemon cards and the gritty quality were not enough indication of that. And even if you don’t fully understand the subculture you can’t deny how much of a total babe ChoA is looking. Her unmatched talents will have you revisiting the video again and again, and saying creepy is the new aesthetics anyways.

— Shelley


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Yes, we already have them in the list, but we can’t help it. BIGBANG are known for being weird and crazy most of the time, but with their newest release “Zutter” by GD & T.O.P., they hit a home run. First of all, what does zutter even mean? The video not only starts with them peeing, but it also has this crazy story, that after seeing the video repeatedly, I still don’t get what the video and song are about. I’m pretty sure T.O.P.’s slimey slaughter of something blurry and the puing of guts has somewhat of a metaphorical artsy meaning. Nevertheless, the video is not only weird, but it’s funny in a really crazy way. What gets weirder than T.O.P. peeing on G-Dragon? I honestly don’t think anything could top that. The song is really good and it seems as if it could have been in their first debut album as a duo.

— Alejandro

What’s the weirdest K-pop song you’ve ever heard? The weirdest K-pop music video you’ve ever seen? Let us know 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.


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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.


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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.