Posts

Weekly K-Pop faves: August 22-28

august kpop faves playlist songs 2016

Every Sunday, the KultScene team puts together a playlist filled with their favorite new songs from the past week, ranging from singles, b-sides, and live performances. Over the past few days, we fell in love with tracks by Laboum, Park Jimin, Triple T (aka Park Jin Young, Hyoyeon, Min and Jo Kwon), and SPICA.

“Shooting Love” by Laboum (Released Aug. 23)

Laboum have been working hard to stay relevant since their strong debut in 2014. Still without a considerable hit yet, they have been consistently releasing music of varying quality. Their latest “Shooting Love” is their best since since sophomore single “What to Do.” Produced by Command Freaks, who have been given a chance with a single after being so used to b-sides for some time now. “Shooting Love” is blistering bubblegum pop propelled by hip-hop beats and swollen with horns and bubbling synths. It moves at such a constant high pace and has a feeling of going on for longer than it really is. This is great when everything about it is so enjoyable. Vocally it sticks out as well with the repeated sugary raps being the most fun.

— Joe


Also on KultScene: Puer Kim discusses her return with ‘Gem,’ inspiration & loving her body [interview]

“Young 해” by Park Jimin ft. Young K (Released Aug. 23)

15&’s Park Jimin returned with her second solo mini-album “19 to 20” featuring a wide range of songs showcasing her versatility and beautiful voice. “Young 해” is my favourite of those songs with its lively nature and a fantastic feature by DAY6’s Young K, whose amazing chemistry with Jimin overflows into the track. Park Jimin shines through this release and I hope she won’t be as underrated in the future!

— Anna

“Born to be Wild” by Park Jinyoung x Hyoyeon x Min x J Kwon (Released Aug. 25)

Despite the fact that SM Station’s existence and purpose remains an enigma, it has been putting out so many amazing releases that those answers are irrelevant at this point. The newest is the brilliant collaboration between miss A’s Min, Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon, 2am’s Jo Kwon, and Mr. Park Jinyoung (JYP) himself, “Born to be Wild.” I generally stand clear of EDM bangers, but the amount of sass and fierceness overpowered it whole; I was slayed. Min and Hyoyeon are known to be awesome dancers, and Jo Kwon brought back his “Animal” concept (which is his true artistic self), proving that they are the true queens of K-pop. I don’t really know what JYP’s doing on the track, but I love the fact that he did his signature whisper on an SM Entertainment song. “Born to be Wild” proved that Hyoyeon, Min, and Jo Kwon are all underrated, underappreciated, and misused in their respective groups. This supergroup needs to be a permanent thing since they pretty much brought back the slayage to K-pop (which has been dead since 2NE1 is on “hiatus” or whatever).

— Alexis


Also on KultScene: Who’s your ‘Cinderella & Four Knights’ ideal guy? [QUIZ] [EXCLUSIVE CLIP]

”Secret Time” by SPICA (Released Aug. 25)

It’s no secret that SPICA is one of the most vocally expressive girl groups to ever descend on K-pop, but for a variety of reasons their songs have never brought the group much success. Their latest, “Secret Time,” is their first since the group’s 2014 attempt to break into the English-language market with “I Did It” and it’s exactly what fans have come to expect from the group: a belt-filled, pop R&B track. A bit more upbeat than many of SPICA’s songs, “Secret Time” seems a lot like something I’d expect from EXID, which makes a lot of sense considering the two groups have a lot of similarities. Incorporating a bevy of electronic sounds, including a full-fledged EDM bridge, it’s clear that SPICA’s trying to attract a larger audience than just their dedicated fanbase. Unfortunately, the sound comes off as a tiny bit dated so it’ll be interesting to see if this is the song that will be able to relaunch their career.

— Tamar

What’s your favorite song from last week? Did it make our playlist? 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.

5 Vocally Impressive K-Pop Girl Groups

EXID, Spica, Brown Eyed Girls, Mamamoo, Lovelyz
In a world where K-pop girl groups can have anywhere from two members to 100, it’s a given that not every single one of them is made up of award winning vocalists. Despite this, each K-pop idol brings something to the table and has crawled their way past other trainees to get where they are today. But from amongst the crowd of the beautiful and the talented, there are those surprising vocally impressive K-pop girl groups whose combined singings skills are outstanding.

SPICA

This female quintet stands out from amongst the K-pop crowd even before they debuted in 2012. Bohyung, who nearly was part of 2NE1’s final line-up, and Bora, a vocal trainer of many K-pop stars, alone would make SPICA outstanding as a group, but Sihyun, Jiwon, and Narae’s skills are also nothing to overlook. There’s no vocal hole within the girl group, where each of these singers would be phenomenal on their own as a soloist. Put them all together and you get one of the most overlooked K-pop acts of all time. 2014’s “You Don’t Love Me” is one of SPICA’s particularly outstanding songs, that gives each of the ladies her own moment to belt her vocal colors in the best way possible while showing off her retro-inspired assets.


Also on Kultscene: 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching ‘INFINITE Showtime’

Mamamoo

If SPICA is all about the bombast, Mamamoo is all about the sweet, girly vocal power. This girl group has done everything, including cross dressing to singing about having a “Girl Crush,” all while making South Korea take notice of them from amongst all of the K-pop competition. Without a major agency, getting people to notice another girl group in South Korea would be nearly impossible without these talented vocalists. While Solar is all around perceived as the best singer in the group (and one of the best female idols in K-pop overall), Hwasa, Moonbyul, and Wheein have all stood their own over the years. Each member of the girl group has featured on countless songs by other artists. And that’s without even touching Mamamoo’s own songs, like the groundbreaking “Um Oh Ah Yeh” and “Mr. Ambiguous.”

EXID

EXID is that K-pop girl group that just has it all. It took them awhile, but this quartet shot to fame overnight thanks to a viral video of their dance from “Up & Down.” And then only afterwards were they recognized for their vocal talent. We already highlighted how all of KultScene’s staff was impressed by EXID’s vocal performance in “Thrilling,” but it’s not just a one off. The girl group’s range overall is insane, with even rapper LE’s vocals being entirely unique. Solji’s vocal range is the very backbone of EXID’s latest songs, but Hani, Hyerin, and Junghwa aren’t just there to look pretty. Instead, the three add their own powerful, melodious voices to the mix. Need proof that this girl group is more than just “Up & Down?” EXID’s impromptu acoustic, drunken rendition of their latest single “Hot Pink” is out of this world.

Brown Eyed Girls

If you’ve somehow missed out on how phenomenal Brown Eyed Girls is, just take a look at this 2009 ballad rendition of their hit song “Sign” featuring. K.Will. Brown Eyed Girls originally debuted in 2006 as a faceless R&B group, and kept their faces unknown by the public, even after their song “Hold The Line” became a hit. Ten years later, Brown Eyed Girls have remade themselves numerous times, and explored numerous genres of music, but they’re still very much the five women who just own their singing.


Also on Kultscene: 10 Baby- Making K-Pop Songs

Lovelyz

While they’re still rookies, Lovelyz garnered international attention after a video featuring the eight members singing an a capella version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” So far, Lovelyz’ songs have been cutesy and sweet, and have yet to grasp the attention of South Korea overall, but the member’s vocal talent just can’t be denied. 2015 brought us a lot of great female K-pop rookie acts, but Lovelyz just has that vocal talent that we have our eyes on.

Honorable Mentions

When we make lists like this, it doesn’t mean that there are no other talented K-pop girl groups. Stellar, Sunny Hill, Bestie, Wonder Girls, Ladies’ Code, and many more are also some of our favorite groups with truly talented members.

Which of these groups are your favorite? Did we miss anyone? 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.

Review: SPICA’s GAMeBOi Show in Los Angeles

South Korean girl group SPICA gave an intimate performance at gay club RAGE’s Friday event, GAMeBOi, on August 8th in West Hollywood, CA. With their recent American debut, I Did It, SPICA had a pre-KCON party with fans and non-fans in a new, atypical to K-Pop setting.

Set in a regular gay club in WeHo, the audience SPICA geared up to perform for consisted of 18+ gay men and women — something different from the teenage crowd K-Pop is normally targeted to. GAMeBoi is a weekly Friday event at RAGE, popular amongst the Asian community. And since the brand is venturing into the K-Pop scene, it’s a great platform for SPICA to promote their American debut to what, I imagine, is the audience they want as fans to the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Rihanna.

Organizers recommended hopeful attendees to arrive early, as the event had a cover and would operate on a first-come, first-served basis. SPICA was scheduled to perform until 12:30 AM, so the DJ and two dance crews warmed up the audience for Boa, Juhyun, Narae, Jiwon, and Bohyung. The DJ played a mix of top 40 songs alongside a few K-Pop songs like I Am the Best, Fantastic Baby, and Sorry Sorry, which garnered an excited reaction from the crowd. The K-Pop songs played were so well intermixed with, let’s say, Beyonce and Trey Songz, that it didn’t feel like they were forced fed to non-fans; it was more of a mere suggestion.

The first dance crew to perform was NorCal twin duo Henry and Miles, who were featured guests at KCON 2014. The boys performed a medley of BTS’ Boy in Luv, Beast’s Good Luck, and a girl group song complete with its original choreographies. The next crew was UC Davis’ SoNe1 (also special guests at KCON), who performed the original choreographies of a T-ara’s Number 9, Teen Top’s Rocking, CL’s Baddest Female, and 2NE1’s I Am the Best medley.

As the main performance grew closer, the crowd in the dance floor increased, and SPICA’s label mate, Eric Nam, was even spotted hanging out in the second floor balcony with the ladies as they chilled before hitting the stage. Eric, Boa, and Juhyun all waved and danced along with the audience to f(x)’s Electric Shock, while the rest of the members sat back in their lounge table.

SPICA balcony 2

At 12:30 AM, organizers cleared the stage and warned the crowd not to touch the idols. When the group finally hit the stage, the five of them looked hot and fierce, with Juhyun and Boa decked out in DIMEPIECE LA (where they had hung out earlier on the day for interviews). With smiles and a friendly, “Hi, we’re SPICA,” they greeted the audience. Jiwon even tried her hardest to speak as much English as she could, and with Juhyun’s “Let’s go!” cheer, the show finally began.

SPICA performed only two songs: Tonight and I Did It. Throughout the first song, Bohyung engaged with the crowd, and they all sang into the multiple fan cameras they spotted. For their second song, the girls threw most of their choreography out the window and focused on enjoying the moment. They walked all over the stage, dancing and singing with the audience. Boa noticed a male fan jamming to I Did It, walked over, and sang with him while holding his hand.

SPICA 5

While the event originally said that SPICA would host a meet-and-greet, they were unfortunately unable to do so. Once the performance ended, everyone was rushed out of the venue with Eric Nam and the rest of their entourage. Lots of fans went after them, but their management ushered the ladies into the vans and departed quickly.

After the show, the DJ resumed playing his top 40 repertoire. Some people left once SPICA’s showcase had ended, but others stayed and enjoyed the rest of their night.

Here’s a video of SPICA’s performances and from the overall night:

What do you think of SPICA’s show at GAMeBoi? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

[Update on 8/12/14: Video from the event was added]