On Episode 42 of Kultscene’s K-pop Unmuted, Gabriel Wilder joins Joe Palmer and Stephen Knight to discuss Kpop dance. We talk about the importance of dance in Kpop, memorable dance moments, top performance groups, great individual dancers, and much more. Our Unmuted Picks for the episode are Jo Jung Min’s Ready Q, Weki Meki’s Picky Picky, and Lim Kim’s Sal-Ki.
One year after releasing his first full length album Press It, SHINee’s Taemin made his comeback on October 16th with the title track “MOVE” off his second full length album of the same name. MOVE as a whole takes on a mixture of pop and R&B, exploring a variety of genres. But it’s in the single where the soloist truly lets his artistic colors show themselves.
“MOVE” is a sultry pop-R&B track that showcases Taemin’s breathy and soothing vocals. In the song, Taemin croons as he expresses the beauty of a person he has fallen for. The song itself gives me a sultry and sexy feeling, and it takes a couple of listens to finally get the true nature of the song.
Also on KultScene: David Anthony on songwriting & succeeding in the K-pop market [interview]
The production is reminiscent to what The Weeknd has been releasing over the past while, offering up a very groovy and pulse-pounding sound. Unlike “Press Your Number” and “Drip Drop” from Taemin’s first album, “MOVE” is a track that is slightly reminiscent of the ’80s thanks to its heavy bass sound.
There were three versions of the video released for “MOVE.” The main version contains shots of Taemin walking and dancing in the rain before shifting into another scene where he is wearing a bejeweled mask. The use of the rain and cinematography during the choreography scenes was terrific and brilliant.
The second video is the solo version, which showcases Taemin’s best quality: dancing. We get to see more of the choreography, which is perfectly synchronized and fluid with the beat of the song. The third video is a duo version, which features only Taemin and choreographer Koharu Sugawara.
Also on KultScene: DAY6 explores love & friendship through recent ‘Every DAY6’ releases
It was interesting that Taemin released three versions of the video instead of one because it seems like he wanted to showcase how each one would look in a different perspective, with the first one focused on theatrics while the other two focused on choreography. It was a unique attempt for K-pop, though perhaps differentiating each of the videos a bit more would have helped make the need for three videos more obvious. Even so, there was plenty of eye-candy choreography to make the appease the most ardent dance fans.
“MOVE” is a good comeback title track, and it’s different from what we have been hearing in K-pop this year. We’ve been getting releases that have been following the mainstream dance sounds for a while now, so it’s nice to see something for a change. Taemin has a style that makes him different from many other K-pop solo acts in that he is willing to experiment with sounds that the Korean audience isn’t used to hearing. It would be interesting to see if this style continues to make its way into the K-pop scene.
What did you like, or dislike, about Taemin’s “MOVE”? 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.
As mentioned in part 1, 2016 turned out to be a year full of surprises in the world of Korean entertainment. Groups we held dear disbanded or lost key members, but it does not do well to dwell just on the negatives. 2016 was a transformative year that saw K-pop’s generation shift, with second-tier groups rising to the top spots and the explosion of new groups, especially girl groups. This year may not had been the best for older fans and their groups, it was a tall glass of fresh water. K-pop’s all about innovation and reinvention, and that’s just what we got this year.
After 2015 being a nearly perfect year in music releases, 2016, on the surface, might seem like it didn’t live up to expectations. However, this was the year of more variety in the industry and a much deserved and needed shakeup. And after much consideration, the KultScene staff painfully narrowed it down to our favorite 50 songs of the year. Make sure to get all the way to the end to see a special year-end video!
25. “Monster” by EXO
The single off of their Ex’Act album, “Monster.” has the same air of self-seriousness as some of EXO’s most iconic works (“MAMA,” “Wolf,” etc.) while shedding the corny lyrics and audiovisuals. The distorted synths are eerie like the monster inside of them, and Chen’s repetition on the word “creepin’” at the end stresses this, well, creepy factor. But what carries the tune throughout are the up and down contours of the refrain, which are inevitably designed to be an earworm. Even if you have never been a fan of the group, you can at least agree this one has staying power.
24. “Drip Drop” by Taemin
In terms of Taemin’s 2016 singles, “Press Your Number” was an extremely digestible track. However, the lead-up single “Drip Drop” made for a much more interesting audible experience. “Drip Drop,” with it’s massive blend of R&B, pop, dance, and hip-hop, together with the beat shifts and whatever’s happening on the chorus, is a song you either love or hate. However, the juxtaposition of the smooth vocals and verses paired with the up-tempo, futuristic chorus and progressions on the second half of the song, and how it dips again on the pre-chorus is a masterpiece in itself. “Drip Drop” is a rollercoaster, but an exciting one we’d keep riding on and on.
23. “Letting Go” by Day6
The unofficial princes of breakup songs return with their sophomore release Daydream and the title track “Letting Go.” In this pop rock ballad, Day6 does what they do best: deliver a heart-wrenching song about young love lost. The boys create lovely harmonization between the vocals and instruments, with none of them overpowering or outshining the rest. But this release was a bittersweet mix of emotions for fans, with keyboardist Junhyeok leaving the group a month before the release. And though the song may or may not be about him, the music video surely plays homage to their lost member with the empty keyboards throughout the video. Overall, “Letting Go” is the perfect combination of music, lyrics, and visuals to get all the feels happening.
22. “Press Your Number” by Taemin
By the time Taemin’s first full-length album Press It dropped, audiences already knew SHINee’s maknae could hold his own from his previous mini album Ace. Moreover, much buzz resulted from the fact that Bruno Mars and the Stereotypes had produced his lead single “Press Your Number.” And while the artists didn’t get to actually collaborate, the American songwriter/producer gave Taemin a real gift, for it completely complimented his style. “Press Your Number” builds up perfectly, starting with snaps, light twinkles, and Taemin’s sorrowful vocals before exploding at the chorus into a full-fledged dance song. Plus, you don’t even have to understand Korean to feel the yearn behind Taemin’s interpretation. K-pop groups are a dime a dozen. So when a real performer comes out of a K-pop group, survives, and excels, they deserve all the kudos. While we all hold SHINee dear to our hearts, we can’t help and crave more Taemin solo singles for they show him at his absolute best.
21. “All In” by Monsta X
Following tradition, Monsta X’s “All In” retains much of the noisy ambitions and fighter attitude that the seven piece hip-hop group have shown in the past with hits like “Hero” or “Trespass.” The opening, with its yawning horns, revving engines, rhythmic claps, and warped electronic beats, is overwhelming, and the raps about patriotic loyalty and protection in the name of love lyrically manifests the song’s belligerent tones and war motifs. In both themes and music, the song is characteristically Monsta X, so then, what about it causes such a visceral reaction? It could be that this time, the clamor and riot of its heavy beats act as a thin veil for the song’s sublimely melodic undertones. The “go hard” sentiments of the past is only second to the optimistic pre-chorus and ballad-like chorus. Especially integral in these hopeful moments are the subtle percussive rings of increasing pitch, which provides us with a much needed contrast and softening effect. It is here where the song’s contours change when we least expect them to. Indeed, under all the polyphony is a delightful gem, a magnum opus.
20. “Angel” by Berry Good
Berry Good’s most glorious moment of the year is a triumph of personality over production. “Angel’s” cheap sheen is the first obvious thing about it. It’d be very easy to switch it off after 20 seconds thinking it won’t go anywhere. Yet the longer it goes, the more you get out of it. There’s a tenderness that grows to absolute euphoric love. The girls hold nothing back; every ounce of them is on this track. Their climactic vocals burst through any sense of balance. You forget everything else that came before and just want to hear it again and again.
19. “Knock” by KNK
Hands down and without a doubt, KNK had one of the most impressive debuts of 2016 with “Knock.” KNK couldn’t have debuted at a better time, considering how boring of a year we were having. With a noticeably catchy chorus on the mid-tempo, rich ballad, it’s no wonder they garnered fans so quickly. 2017 can be a blossoming year for these guys if they continue at the pace they’ve gone at in the last nine months.
Also on KultScene: 50 Best Korean Songs of 2016: Part 1
18. “The Rain ” by Ladies’ Code
Musically, Ladies’ Code had a fantastic year. “The Rain” is an incredible continuation of themes established by “Galaxy” in both song and visuals. While it is sad that the Korean public hasn’t taken as much notice of the group’s musical blossoming, we here at KultScene definitely have. Taking the soul, trance-influenced vibes of “Galaxy” and adding a dance element, “The Rain” adds another level to an already complex musicality and demonstrates the members’ collective prowess in both vocal and emotive performance. Bravo, Ladies’ Code. The three talents have come back from one of K-pop’s worst tragedies with some of 2016’s best music.
17. “Tell Me (What is Love) by Yoo Young Jin X D.O
SM Station hasn’t always worked out commercially, but it has done a great job as a platform for sometimes experimental and fresh K-pop. It’s also an avenue for several idols to collaborate with other singers, as in the case of EXO’s D.O and Yoo Young Jin’s remake of EXO’s song. Both singers are extremely skilled and they build on each other’s strengths successfully to create the beautiful soulful track “Temm Me (What is Love).” The song has a pretty complicated rhythm, but they sing so effortlessly, it’s just a work of art.
16. “Secret” by Cosmic Girls
After a rocky start, Cosmic Girls fulfilled the promise their otherworldly name suggested. “Secret” combines space age synths and symphonies to great effect, creating something befitting the cosmos. Despite this, it still moves with an insatiable groove. “Secret” is grounded by the rhythm section and soars thanks to its contrasts sounds. Similarly, vocals are put against each other to accentuate the range of WJSN’s voices. This works best in the lead up to the chorus with it moving from Cheng Xiao to Mei Qi to Seola. Quivering strings and fluttering voices make “Secret” one of the greatest songs of the year.
15. “Very Nice” by Seventeen
Seventeen had one of the most exciting debuts we’ve seen in awhile last year. And while “Pretty U” was a lovely song, “Very Nice” takes the cake for their best single of 2016. “Very Nice” is like taking a big bite out of a cotton candy ice cream on a summer day. It’s sugary, it’s big, and it’s fantastic. Seventeen single-handedly brought back bubblegum pop for K-pop boy bands in a time when everyone was trying to be edgy and swag-tastic. Seventeen, coming from a smaller company, is one of those groups that started from the bottom and have excelled purely based on their talent (and not on the prestige of their company, cough, cough). With “Very Nice,” Seventeen further cemented their brand and showed us all they’re here to stay.
14. “Pieces of You & Me” by Fromm ft. Giriboy
One word: woah. “Pieces of You & Me” is just one of those songs you question where has it been your whole life and is a great introduction to K-indie for anyone who has been thinking about testing its waters. From the gentle toots of the trumpets to the mellow acoustics of the guitars, the song uses grassroots instrumentals to stay true to the independent genre. The slow tempo and brilliant lyrics (Let’s build a castle of our own / I’ll drink all the sad tears) is reminiscent of a simpler time, and is quite fantastic in the word’s original “existing only in imagination” sense. I feel not only protected in Fromm’s fair vocals, but I believe that such a dreamworld exists. Likewise, I also find reassurance in Giriboy’s contrastingly deep and soothing lullabies, for to simply write them off as mere vocals don’t nearly do justice to his feature. Now if only the duo could collaborate on more music in the future, world peace may actually be an attainable goal.
13. “Free Somebody” by Luna
Keep in mind, everyone: Luna was recruited to SM Entertainment for her dancing, not her singing. And today, she is a main vocal and a lead dancer (a very rare sight in the world of K-pop), and also (occasionally, and thankfully!) a solo act. While Korea may not have exactly given this release two thumbs up, “Free Somebody” is incredibly infectious and addictive. Mixing traditional K-pop hooks with EDM and house, the song is incredibly innovative, perhaps ahead of its time even. Not just anyone could do a song like this — it takes the kind of multi-faceted talent that Luna wields so flawlessly to pull this off. Our conclusion: Luna is a gem, and we hope her solo efforts continue as the years go on.
12. “Russian Roulette” by Red Velvet
Red Velvet seems to have a thing for quirky tunes that repeatedly drill their hooks into your brain, and that’s not a bad thing at all. The underlying synths and catchy melody create a retro sound without feeling dated, while the video, like the song, is colorful and a bit strange in a good way. Who would’ve thought that you can make killing your friends look so cute and playful? The visuals of this song is also quite genius with the robotic acting and facial expression of the girls to match the electronic and repetitive beat of the music, making “Russian Roulette” a fun audio-visual experience.
11. “Why” by Taeyeon
Taeyeon showed in this song what she’s truly capable of. “Why” is energetic and melodious, but not in an annoying way that “I” often was; it’s downright addictive. The way Taeyeon’s voice sounds so natural in the midst of the funky instrumentals of the song and how every part of the song seems to blend so seamlessly is audible glory.
Also on KultScene: Top 50 Korean Songs of 2015
10. “Better Day” by 100%
After going from a seven member group to five members, to six, and then back down to a five all within the span of a few years, it’s amazing that a K-pop group could still be standing, let alone releasing music. With the return of the group’s leader from military service and the recent loss of another member, 100% held strong and released their comeback song “Better Day.” The song is about wishing to return to a past relationship and has a dark mature sound with a heavily synthesized backtrack. But this song is really all about highlighting the group’s amazing vocal abilities. The vocals on this track are mind-blowing (yes, they sound like that live as well), and Rockhyun and Hyukjin do an extraordinary job conveying that sense of longing that can be felt within every commanding note. The group does a good job balancing soft vocals with powerful notes all while lacing in solid and steady rap verses, creating a dynamic song that is something that should not be underrated.
9. “The 7th Sense” by NCT U
While the different NCT sub-groups released a few singles and even an album this year, NCT U is the clear ground breaking satellite that actually brought something new to the table. To say “The 7th Sense” is yet another K-pop song would be a tragic disservice, for it’s too great to be reduced to such confines. It’s a chaotic yet smooth trap-infused trance; an acid trip meant to mesmerize the senses with the R&B vocals. With every listen, you find new sounds — whistles, doors opening, yawns, monk-like chants — making it a true intricate piece of sonic art. SHINee is the known SM Entertainment group that handles the “experimental” releases, while the “dark” is reserved for EXO. Will NCT U have the “weird” and “interesting” down? One can only hope that this particular sub-group is a permanent one for it dropped the best SM song in 2016.
8. “Fly” by GOT7
2016 was an exceedingly busy year for the members of GOT7. They released their fifth EP Flight: Departure earlier this year, had their Fly Tour, circling throughout Asia and North America this summer, and released their second full-length studio album Flight Log: Turbulence this fall. It’s clear that they took their “Fly” concept to heart, because the guys definitely took flight this year. Ha-ha, get it? “Fly” showed off the members various skills and even charismatic personalities through their individual lines. Considering that they’re still under the control of their company, the members might not openly admit or even have the time to do this, but they’re all still at the prime stages of dating and wanting to be in love, so as cheesy as these lyrics are, can you really blame them? Why are you afraid of being loved, I’m next to you so why are you scared and afraid? Yeah, why would you be afraid of anything if it’s GOT7?
7. “Galaxy” by Ladies’ Code
Ladies’ Code may as well change their name to “Phoenix,” because “Galaxy” brought new life to the career of the girl group after one of the most devastating moments of recent K-pop history. In 2014, two members of Ladies’ Code passed away in a car accident, reviving interest in the b-list group and turning Ladies’ Code into martyrs. “Galaxy” turned the trio into survivors, and into one of the most musically innovative K-pop groups of 2016. Rather than return to their original colorful retro-pop styling, their comeback single brought Ladies’ Code into the realm of ethereal, jazzy R&B. The combination of gentle synths with jazz instrumentals, mellow vocals, and lilting chimes is a pure eargasm that doesn’t limit itself to K-pop banality. “Galaxy” doesn’t soar, and it’s not song to play at a party: it’s soft, and it’s simple, and it’s melancholic. And it’s safe to say, it’s near perfection.
6. “FXXK IT” by BIGBANG
Taeyang’s opening lines to “FXXK IT” definitely set the tone for the rest of the song. It’s a bright, delightful and cheerful song; all of which might’ve been purposely done in order to leave fans with positive feels as the members get ready to enlist in the following years. “FXXK IT” is all around carefree and simplistic, and despite this not being your typical BIGBANG adrenaline pumping tune, it’s smooth enough to make you want to get down, get drunk, and party (maybe one day with BIGBANG). This is a well balanced composition; the entirety of the song blends well with no excessive tunes or over usage of certain lyrics. Although it only took them a year and a half to finalize the MADE album, if that’s what it takes for full gratification and perfection, then we’ll happily take it.
5. “Oh NaNa” by K.A.R.D
From the first few seconds of this song, it was clear that K.A.R.D meant business. The quality of this song was both incredibly impressive and very surprising, considering that DSP Media’s groups have been on a downward spiral recently due to a lack of musical or popular impact. But “Oh NaNa” is an entirely different story. With two impressive female vocals and two charismatic male rappers, the song is balanced almost perfectly. Not to mention, the “na na na” hook is incredibly infectious. The fact that this song, released only a little more than ten days ago, has been able to make our top five says something tremendous about this group’s potential. Maybe co-ed groups are the future for K-pop. Only time will tell. For now, we can keep jamming and hoping that K.A.R.D will start a trend of stronger music releases from DSP on the whole.
4. “Save Me” by BTS
BTS has had an amazing year, chock full of quality releases with their Wings LP and the compilation album The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever, earning them the success and recognition they deserve. In particular, “Save Me” stands out with its addictive melody and instrumentals, which feel fresh while still being definitely familiar. It’s admirable how BTS’s songs are always instantly recognisable as theirs; their group identity as musicians is undeniably strong, which unfortunately can’t be said for many other groups in the K-pop industry. If they keep up the momentum, this identity, as well as the members’ individual talents and charms, will definitely keep the group at the top for a long while more.
3. “The Eye” by INFINITE
While it took INFINITE quite a long while to make a comeback, the wait was definitely worth it for their amazing album INFINITE Only. Its title track didn’t disappoint either, with “The Eye” being one of the group’s musically better releases in recent years. Accompanied with a heartbreaking and haunting music video, the song combined unique instrumentals with the emotive vocals of INFINITE’s members. In particular, rappers Dongwoo and Hoya really stood out for their vocal performances in this rap-less song, while Sungkyu’s quiet opening was pitch perfect. While the content of the song is pretty similar to other recent INFINITE releases, its dramatic melody is pretty arresting and makes the song an easy one to put on repeat. The way “The Eye” intensifies through the verse from member to member, building up to the chorus and several mini-climaxes that allow for cool dance breaks, is sonic perfection.
2. “Blood Sweat & Tears” by BTS
BTS came back with their widely successful Wings album in the latter quarter of the year, and with it, showed their maturation with the sensual “Blood Sweat & Tears.” At the intersection of the burgeoning Moombahton Trap genre and K-pop, the song about a boy who falls into irresistible temptation uses reggae as its base and finds the perfect blends of EDM and trap to form a wonderful medley of sounds accessible to fans and casual listeners alike. The near whispers of the vocals mesh well with its chill synths too, recreating an epicurean spirit in form and content. But the real highlight of the piece is in its chorus, where the trap influences can be found in rapper J-Hope’s intonation: wonhae manhi, manhi, manhi (I want it more, more more). It’s inexplicably charismatic and familiar. It’s easy to appreciate how the song’s individual parts work in harmony with each other to form a melodious fusion. The title cannot be any more telling of the ingredients that went into its production.
1. “TT” by Twice
Standing tall amongst the wreckage that is 2016 is Twice. The JYP girl group capitalized on a strong debut, turning into human memes, and delivering catchy tunes to become one of the strongest forces in K-pop. Musically, they didn’t really hit their stride until “TT,” though. Black Eyed Pilseung found his feet with them, giving them something quirky but not forceful. Their voices are not strained, but wrapped around the beat as if they are all one. Jihyo’s vocals are much better as a result; her inflection as she sings, “I eat all day and I’m still hungry” is the best part of the whole song. Numerous musical details litter the song that make every new listen rewarding. The synths are in constant flux along with the electro drum beat that becomes more physical as it signals an increase in tempo. “TT” is perfectly suited to be representative of its group. Twice’s joyous oddness was a constant comfort in a year where we all felt like TT. Don’t think twice. Get into Twice.
Make sure to watch our video countdown to the best song of 2016!
What was your favorite Korean song this year? Share 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.
By Sana Parvayz
K-pop is becoming a global phenomenon, and the bridge between Western Pop and K-pop is rapidly decreasing. 2016 has already kicked off as a year filled with Western collaborations, beginning with 4MINUTE and Skrillex on their latest album and now SHINee Taemin’s collaboration with Bruno Mars. There’s been hype for his newest album “Press It” since the teasers. And now that the music video for the title song “Press Your Number” dropped, we’re witnessing nothing less than perfection.
Taemin’s “Press Your Number” is produced by Bruno Mars and team Stereotypes, who have worked with various famous western musicians in the past. The single is an urban pop dance song about a man expressing his broken heart while waiting for the loved one. The song starts off with sensual sighs and a guitar accompanied by synths. Further, the song falls into an electronic beat. The song is amazingly recorded and the sound quality is rich. The chorus is catchy and the vocals are pleasing to the ears.
Moreover, as the title says, Taemin keeps on calling his lover, hence the pressing of the numbers. However, he never gets an answer from the other side. The following lyrical lines expresses the situation really well, “… I started talking to myself often. even though I call you, you don’t answer often. where are you now? Please come back to me….”
Also on KultScene: Jo Kwon’s ‘Crosswalk’ & Seulong’s ‘On The Way To Love’ Are Reminiscent of 2AM
The song definitely has those Bruno Mars vibes we all know with a hint of SHINee flavour. “Press Your Number” shows a mature side of Taemin as an artist. Interestingly, this song has some similarity with Bruno Mars’ “Press It” demo. The demo has a laid back tone, where as Taemin’s “Press Your Number” is more upbeat and lively.
The music video starts with Taemin robbing a convenience store. The idol played the part of the criminal and victim as well, from robbing the store to crashing his car. The video shows a lot of symbolism and artistic themes, such as the blue roses that followed him everywhere he went that referenced his past following his present. Eventually, his gang is caught by police, but Taemin escaped. Later on, Taemin started to hallucinate and reached a point where he could no longer bear himself. So, he sets himself and his car on fire. Although the video doesn’t show any direct relation between the girl and Taemin, it still signifies that there was something important between them. The girl casted in this video was also a part of SHINee’s “View.”
Furthermore, the choreography is unique and exquisite. Taemin’s dance moves showed Michael Jackson’s influence. The back-up dancers synced really well with Taemin. The music video captured heavenly landscapes which made it aesthetically pleasing. The cinematography of this video was graceful and the locations were beautiful. Also, the colour correction is mind-blowing; it was like blending the Victorian era with the 21st century. The castle, car, his suit and dial-up telephone gave a vintage feel to the video, blending with urbanization by showing cityscape and modern apparel. SM Entertainment really made sure to highlight Taemin as a promising artist. Taemin portrayed mature and intimidating image through his recent music video and album.
Also on KultScene: 8 Misheard K-Pop Lyrics Pt. 4
SM Entertainment also released two dance versions for Taemin’s “Press Your Number.” Both of the dance versions were shooted in different places and different costumes, following the theme of the music video. Have a look at the both dance versions which higlighted Taemin’s dancing skills.
Excluding BoA and Kangta, Taemin is the first SM Entertainment artist to get a solo full-album. Without a doubt, “Press Your Number” is remarkable in every perspective; from song to video, both are aesthetically pleasing. I think Taemin has raised the bar for other SM artists and K-pop idols alike. It definitely showed artist growth since “Danger,” and I can proudly say that I am in love with this work.
Let us know what do you think about this video? Would you look forward to Taemin’s stage performances or not? Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to stay updated.
Dancing is hugely important to a complete K-pop performance. It is what sets them apart from western pop stars and is one of the biggest draws for western fans. So it is appropriate that we celebrate the year in dances and showcase the best K-pop has to offer. There is a great amount of variety on show here from the most personal of dances to beautiful teamwork. Check out our top songs, videos and albums of the year along with this to get a sense of what we thought of this year in K-pop.
10. Got7 A
JYP rookies Got7 start off this list with their bubblegum hit A. While it is not as powerful or intricate as the rest of this list, A’s dance perfectly balances a sense of fun with great choreography. The boys effortlessly move from chit-chatting in a group to their proper moves all while retaining the fun side. The dance moves are simple, fresh but with quick timing. The choreography matches up with the youthful feeling of Got7 seamlessly.
9. EXO Overdose
With a group as big as EXO’s, the positioning of the members is always going to be hard. As they have released more songs though, they have gotten better and better at their use of the stage. Overdose furthers their reputation of delivering original choreography and inspired use of 12 members. Even after the loss of Kris and Luhan, EXO adapted and continued performing this song to the best of their ability. Plus, with someone as charismatic as Kai leading your dance it’s hard not to look good.
8. TVXQ Something
When it comes to choreographic perfection in K-pop you may look no further than the reigning kings, TVXQ. Something adds to this with a gimmick of microphones and strings. Yunho and Changmin are first held by the strings so they can lean back and look cool. They then use them like the strings of guitar in a charming way to start off the song. Apart from the gimmicks, the choreography is performed to perfection as usual. These boys are up there with the best pop performers in the world, not just K-pop.
7. VIXX Eternity
VIXX are known for their imaginative and relevant choreography and this year they delivered that on two singles. Eternity stands out over Error because of the sheer kinetic prowess on display. Everything that the members do seems connected from the lifting of the members at the start to the intense chorus. The energy and physicality VIXX brings to their performances is unparalleled. They even do the scorpion move made famous by INFINITE and make it seem like no big deal.
Also on KultScene: VIXX and its Successful Use of Themes
6. INFINITE Back
INFINITE’s members are easily some of the best performers in all of K-Pop. Of course, they are always helped out by excellent choreography and Back is no different. Their second single of the year marked a return to form in song and dance. They use classic techniques like the shadowing of member Hoya at the beginning and their own techniques like the first post-chorus breakdown, which is spectacular in its originality, to great effect. Also, the drop is EVERYTHING.
5. Nasty Nasty Knock
Star Empire’s experimental sub-group consisting of ZEA’s Kevin, Nine Muses’ Kyungri and trainee Sojin beat Trouble Maker at their own game this year with their single Knock. Nasty Nasty took Trouble Maker’s concept of the co-ed duet to portray a relationship in a performance but added another girl to up the ante. What sounds like a possible conceptual disaster turned out to be one of the sexiest and best performances of the year. The smooth moves are perfectly performed by the three with Kevin exuding charisma he’s unable to show in ZEA, Kyungri maturing into a confident star, and Sojin showcasing great potential.
4. Taemin Danger
SHINee’s maknae well and truly became a man with his debut solo release Danger. Taemin channels his inner Michael Jackson in the song and dance, and pulls it off as well as we might have expected. He brings power and precision to original, intricate moves. The dance moves from bouts of restraint before exploding into powerful actions for the climax. Taemin brought his energy and identity to his solo work and it paid off enormously.
Also on KultScene: Why Taemin Was First In SHINee To Go Solo
3. Nicole MAMA
Former KARA member Nicole’s debut song MAMA may not have been a huge hit but its lyrics about sexual frustration and choreography that matches were some of the best of the year. The whole focus of the song seems to be on the choreography, as Nicole knows where her strength lies. The dance plays as a symbolic move from the sweet, innocent Nicole of KARA to the confident, sexy Nicole we now see. She is alluring with the female backup dancers and is sought after with all the male dancers. Her stage presence and execution has only gotten better since leaving KARA. We may have the next BoA on our hands.
2. TVQX Spellbound
If TVXQ are some of the best pop performers in the world then they had to make two appearances on this list right? Both Spellbound and Something were incredible dances but Spellbound wins out because it does away with gimmicks. In it both Yunho and Changmin are given time to shine on their own with the best use of backing dancers in K-pop yet. The two really shine when together though, as in the incredible moves during the chorus and the breakdown that comes three and a half minutes in. This is the best executed performance of the year so what could possibly have beaten it to number one?
1. HA:TFELT Ain’t Nobody
In deciding a number one for this list it came down to measured brilliance or raw personal energy. Ultimately, Wonder Girl Ye Eun’s alter ego beat out TVXQ as she offered up something we had not yet seen before from any idol. Taking cues from Sia’s Chandelier, the choreography is interpretive and full of emotions. Feeling comes out of every slight movement of Ye Eun’s body which coupled with her intense voice makes Ain’t Nobody a truly complete performance. Every aspect of her performance created a personal story which has never been encountered in K-pop. For once, we are witnessing art rather than a product.
What 2014 K-Pop dances are your favorites? 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.
Taemin, member of popular boy group SHINee, debuted six years ago and has now blossomed into a solo artist. This summer, SHINee’s youngest member released his first solo album. Not only is it his first solo project, but Taemin is the first member of SHINee to have a solo album.
Six years ago, I don’t think anyone would have guessed that Taemin would go solo before his other group mates. Did you think this young kid…
… would turn into this grown man?
Let’s revisit Taemin as the first SHINee member to have a solo debut. First of all, Taemin’s solo was hush hush until the end of July when rumors speculated about a solo debut. SM Entertainment did later justify the rumor, but with little information given. Finally, a week before his debut, SM released his teaser photos (see photo gallery above).
Not much was provided in terms of build up for the debut. Maybe SM wanted to go with the element of surprise with this one. And who would blame them? If there was a lot of talk leading up to his debut, there would most likely be more people questioning why Taemin received a solo before Onew and Jonghyun, the main and lead vocals of SHINee.
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Publicly talking about and acknowledging Taemin’s debut months ahead of the release also opens up the door for a lot of speculation and expectation from fans. Doing the project in as much secrecy as possible allows for an organic process with little interference from fans and others not involved in the project. It also creates a better experience for fans as they do not know what to expect and will hopefully be impressed with the entire project.
Since SHINee’s debut six years ago, people haven’t really noticed (for lack of a better word) or talked about Taemin until SHINee’s most recent comebacks. Most notably, Dream Girl, when he famously went from Taemin to TaeMAN. With each SHINee comeback, fans have seen him grow in age, maturity, and not to focus on looks, but in his looks as well. But the most notable improvement from the dance machine, has been his singing voice.
Again, starting with Dream Girl, Taemin received more singing lines, and when Jonghyun was out during their Why So Serious promotions, Taemin sang his parts during their live performances. Maybe this was SM’s brilliant idea all along. Give Taemin more singing parts so fans can see how much he has improved, and one day, we’ll give me a solo debut. But that’s just speculation…
The meat of this article is about Taemin and his solo debut. Initially, when it was announced that he would have a solo, I questioned it. I thought Jonghyun would be the first SHINee member to have a solo. BUT after watching Taemin’s music video and live performance of Danger, I realized SM made a great decision.
Taemin has many qualities that make him a suitable artist for a solo debut. First, he can dance. We all know this. Since debut, that kid could dance. Obviously as he’s gotten older his dancing has improved and matured. He’s always fun to watch during the dance breaks in the music videos and at live performances. SHINee as a whole are AMAZING dancers, but Taemin just has that extra oomph that puts him above his hyungs. Although he is the best dancer in SHINee, he doesn’t brag about it or flaunt it. Yes, he usually shows how to do the dance moves before the other members, but he doesn’t go around stating he is the best dancer in SHINee. He’s humble, and that is what makes a great solo artist.
Second, Taemin has grown up. It’s hard to imagine what a 15-year-old boy will look like at 21. And Taemin clearly has good genes because he has grown into a handsome young man. Aside from being handsome, he has a tall and thin frame. And although he is thin, he doesn’t look fragile or weak. Instead, he is elongated and elegant, which adds to his powerful and impressive dancing.
Third, Teamin can sing. He is finally past puberty and actually has a great singing voice. It may not be very powerful or soulful, but that doesn’t matter because it’s own sound that’s different from others. In order to have a solo debut, it would serve that person best to have their own sound that isn’t like anyone else’s. Not only that, but he sings live while hitting his dance moves hard. That is talent.
Finally, when you watch Taemin perform his solo songs, it’s clear he is doing this for the love of music. The choreography for his songs are perfect for him. He puts his all into every dance move and makes the whole dance his own with his charisma and overall dancing skills. After watching his Danger music video (in the above playlist), it is also clear that Michael Jackson was the inspiration for the choreography, outfits, and even some of the singing in the song.
All of these qualities are what make Taemin a solid choice for a solo artist. The numerous videos SM posted of his dance practice with Ian Eastwood and the full choreography, and his Ace video concept show that he is a true performer. His stage presence is unbelievable, which he has had six years to craft and he surely has done that.
As fans and non-fans listen to Ace in it’s entirety, it’s clear to hear that this mini album is Teamin’s style. The vocals, the beats, the music, everything feels like a perfect fit. These are the types of songs Teamin was meant to sing and he does so with confidence and gusto. He has proven once and for all that he is more than just an exceptional dancer and a handsome maknae. He is a vocalist and I can’t wait to see his role in SHINee’s next comeback, whenever that may be.
Until then, listen to Taemin’s solo debut mini album Ace and you will see why Taemin is the first SHINee member to have a solo debut. What is your favorite song from Taemin’s mini album? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.