Weekly K-pop faves: Sept. 18-24

The middle of September brought us a lot of good music, and like each week the KultScene crew rounded up some of the songs that really caught our eye. New music courtesy of the ladies of Loona, Teen Top’s NIEL & JUSTHIS, and a cover of an EXO song by soloist Gummy really caught our eye. Take a look at our thoughts and let us know in the comment section below what your favorite song of the past few days was.

“Girl Front” by Odd Eye Circle (Released Sept. 20)

The LOONAverse continues in earnest with their second official sub-unit, Odd Eye Circle. Consisting of the last three girls to debut, Kim Lip, Jinsoul, and Choerry, Odd Eye Circle is the girl crush side of LOONA. Produced by Ollipop and Hayley Aitken with some lyrics by Monotree, “Girl Front” is essentially a combination of those three girls’ solo tracks. Both musically and lyrically it takes from each of them, the propulsive percussion of “Singing in the Rain,” the brightness and slap bass from “Love Cherry Motion,” and the smooth as hell bridge from “Eclipse.” It’s a testament to LOONA and their team that they can create a concept as complex as this while still producing great tracks. “Girl Front” is the most energetic of all their songs to date; their vocals bounce off one another with ease, a variety of synths and drums samples seem buoyed along with the girls. It’s the fizziest most exciting kind of pop there is.


“Ko Ko Bop” by Gummy (Performed on Sept. 23)

There are few things I love more about K-pop than covers that completely recreate the original song. While EXO’s “Ko Ko Bop” was a feel good summer song, Gummy swooped in and made the hit her own during a recent episode of Park Jinyoung’s Party People drenching the track with her effusive blend of sultry vocals. Paired with the accompanying live band, the soloist offered up a more mature, jazzier take on the track, an alternative to the boy band’s reggae-tinged track. If this is the sort of thing that Party People will be offering up each week, I am very much here for it!


“What’s Good?” by NIEL, JUSTHIS (Released Sep. 21)

Teen Top has always been one of those groups I casually like but never actually stanned. Most of their singles are bops, so when the members go solo, I most definitely keep an eye out for them. I wasn’t particularly impressed by Niel’s past solo, so I wasn’t expecting much this time around. And while “What’s Good?” is not particularly anything groundbreaking, it definitely shows a new side to the singer I’m here for. I especially liked that Niel’s channeling his inner Kikwang and going a more pop-R&B route, both musically and through the choreography. “What’s Good?” caught me by surprise because I had always seen Niel as a singer and not really a performer. But with this comeback, it’s clear that Niel means business and he’s gearing up to what may be Teen Top’s upcoming disbandment.


What was your favorite release of the week? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop faves April 10-16

Every week, the KultScene crew share some of our favorite K-pop releases of the past week and discuss why exactly we were impressed by them. This week, we liked new releases from Teen Top and Super Junior’s Yesung.

“Love Is” by Teen Top (Released Apr. 10)

It’s the sad truth that very few K-pop groups are able to recover after their peak popularity, but Teen Top is attempting just that with “Love Is.” Their first song without former member L.Joe, their latest single is an angst-driven synthy dance-pop track that sounds like it would fit in the group’s repertoire of a few years ago more than some of their recent releases. The single is a throwback to their earlier Brave Brother-produced hits, which is fitting since they’re working with the producer once again. It thrives where you’d least expect it, playing one rhythm against one another, most prominently during the sweet chorus when the vocal melody contrasts sharply with an angered “No, no” response. They didn’t reinvent K-pop, but this group needed to show that they still can release a good, Teen Top-style song even with one less member, and that’s exactly what they did.


Also on KultScene: WINNER’s ‘Really Really’ song & music video review

“Hibernation” by Yesung (Released Apr. 10)

Even though I’m an ELF (Super Junior’s fandom) and love the KRY subunit, I haven’t enjoyed Yesung’s solo ventures thus far. “Hibernation” didn’t really change that, but it’s definitely a step in the direction of slow songs I can stomach. It’s a pretty mellow, easy going, little song. It’s devoid of Yesung’s usual powerhouse vocals, which actually benefit the track. He sticks to a flat, sweet tone that compliments the sentiment of the song. It’s not flashy or meant to destroy your feelings, like he usually does. “Hibernation” is literally and figuratively a warm up release for Yesung’s upcoming album. There, we will find those powerhouse belts he’s known for. And while it’s not my usual cup of tea, I’m not deaf; I can recognize talent, of course.

— Alexis

What was your favorite song of the week? Let us know 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.

Teen Top Spoke to KultScene & Delivered an Exciting Show in New York City

Photo Credit Anna Lai

Photo Credit Anna Lai

Bringing their charisma and typical flare, Teen Top hyped up audiences aplenty in New York City on Saturday night. The RED POINT 2016 Teen Top US Live Tour brought Niel, L.Joe, C.A.P, Chunji, Changjo, and Ricky to Terminal 5 to perform in front of their dedicated fans, reuniting the group and New York area K-pop lovers for the fourth time in three years. Moreover, in a special pre-show interview, KultScene spoke to the act.

[Read the full interview at the bottom of the page.]

“Are you watching our performance today?” Asked Niel through a translator in the middle of the interview. “Scream loud and get excited.”

Starting off the night draped in passionate red suits with “It’s No Joke (Rocking),” the six twenty-something K-pop idols launched into their two-hour long set that switched off between frenetic dance songs, crooning ballads, and some show stopping hip hop numbers. The connection between the group and their fans was apparent as purple fanlights waved by hundreds of Angels, Teen Top’s official fanclub, lit up the concert hall as Teen Top performed old and new hits alike. The energy was clearly there, living up to a promise made by Teen Top earlier that evening.

“What’s different from our last time we were here [is that] we’re promoting our new songs and on top of that each individual has songs that they’ve written or produced so we want to perform that to for the fans in NY,” said Teen Top ahead of taking the stage. It was a lot to promise, considering that many concertgoers had seen Teen Top perform during the group’s 2014 tour and twice in 2015, during a free concert and KCON NY.

Also on KultScene: HISTORY Talks Teamwork & Upcoming Releases [INTERVIEW]

The six members of Teen Top carried through on their words, with each song, from the beautiful rendition of ballad “Day” to the debut New York performance of their newest song “Warning Sign,” were presented in a fresh way, highlighting Teen Top’s maturity as a K-pop act that had reached the sixth year of their career. Although they were suffering from jetlag, Teen Top had Angels cheering with delight through songs like pump up anthem “Hot Like Fire” and the fan-dedicated “Angel.”

“This tour, we’re looking forward to providing energy to our audience,” said Teen Top. “We want to return the feedback we’ve gotten from our fans and give it back to them.” And Teen Top did just that, despite being visibly exhausted from their transcontinental flight and hectic tour schedule. Interspersing powerful group numbers with individual solo stages, Teen Top took the night at a steady, businesslike pace while offering up a variety of different interpretations of their iconic sleek sound and style.

The highlight of the night was clearly the solo performances. While coming across as a cohesive group during their group routines like “Ah-Ah” and “Don’t Drink,” Teen Top’s individual members spent much of the night reminding the crowd of the specific skills that make Teen Top’s members worthy of being members of a popular idol group.

L.Joe’s English took center stage as the rapper MC-ed the night, broken into group performances and solo stages, like Niel’s springtime “Affogato,” Chunji’s melancholic power ballad “Dream of a Doll,” Ricky and Changjo’s cover of Crush’s R&B tune “Sofa,” Changjo’s solo of “I Fancy You,” and C.A.P’s powerful ad-lib filled take on Action Bronson and Chance The Rapper’s “Baby Blue.”

With 27 songs, including encore song “Clap,” Teen Top’s show took New York Angels on a journey that ended far too early. But the fans there at the intimate concert that night were some of Teen Top’s most dedicated fans this side of the world and are sure to remember it for the rest of their lives.

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Our interview with Teen Top below.

KultScene: Welcome back to New York City. You’ve been here several times. How have you prepared something new for the Red Point tour?
Teen Top: What’s different from our last time we were here [is that] we’re promoting our new songs and on top of that each individual has songs that they’ve written or produced so we want to perform them for the fans in NY.

Also on KultScene: K-Dramas Continue to Explore LGBT Themes With Coy Devices

KS: Can you tell us a bit about “Warning Sign” and how it’s something different from your other singles?
Teen Top: The difference between our new song and our previous songs is that they have different characteristics and different styles of music and different physical concepts.

KS: What are you looking forward to this trip?
Teen Top: What we’re looking forward to this tour is providing energy towards the crowds, we want to return the feedback we’ve gotten from our fans and give it back to them.

Niel: Are you watching our performance today?
KS: Yes.
Niel Scream loud and get excited.

KS: What does Teen Top have planned for the rest of the year?
Teen Top: For the rest of 2016, you can expect individual members to perform solos and star in dramas and musical. Very excited to see individual performances.

What do you think of Teen Top? Have you ever seen them perform live? Who else would you like KultScene to interview? 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 Reasons Why Teen Top is Awesome [+ US Live Tour Info]

teen top kpop korean us tour 2016

One K-pop group that we can say we watched grow up in the spotlight is Teen Top. Debuting as fetuses, the boys have slowly but surely grown with each release, both musically and individually, and have become well-rounded performers. They’ve given us more than a handful of songs to jam to over the years, as well as serenaded us with outstanding vocals. In a genre where the competition is fierce, it’s hard to stand out. Teen Top however, shines for their greatness. Whether we’re talking music or personality-wise, we can’t get enough of them.

Fortunately, fans in the U.S. have been #blessed with many Teen Top shows. And with a new year comes a new tour, and this upcoming April the guys will embark on a U.S. tour. They’ll be performing on the 2nd in New York at Terminal 5, Chicago at Copernicus Center on the 5th, McFarlin Memorial Auditorium in Dallas on the 8th, and at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on the 10th. Tickets for Chicago, Dallas, New York, and L.A. are now on sale. And while prices vary with each stop, they range from around $234 to $60. For more details, check out KPOPLive.TV’s Facebook page.

But now, as we were. Here’s why Teen Top is awesome and hence should attend their shows.

1. Buttery vocals

Teen Top are great dancers, no doubt about that. However, their backbone is truly their main vocalists. Niel and Chunji both have interesting high voices, which one would think would deepen as they age, especially given they all debuted at a very young age. And yet, instead of going up, their voices have only matured without losing their pitch. Niel nailed it with his solo “Lovekiller,” while Chunji held his own on “King of Masked Singer.” While both vocalists have high voices, each of them is distinctive and adds character to every Teen Top song.

 Also on KultScene: HISTORY Talks Teamwork & Upcoming Releases [INTERVIEW]

2. Knife-like choreography & fancy footwork

Right from the get-go, Teen Top was branded the nickname “knife choreography.” And with intricate footwork as in “Rocking (No Joke),” what do you expect? There’s no such thing as an easy-breezy choreography for them. Even the slower tempo “Missing” featured some chair action and moves. The boys murder each comeback with their performances as if it were nothing.

3. Singles are always flawless

Since their debut “Clap,” Teen Top has released jam after jam. Whether we’re talking about the earworm “Supa Luv” or the catchy “Crazy,” we can count on the boys (and Brave Brothers) to deliver an outstanding single. Seriously, think about it. There’s probably no other group as consistent as them. Their latest, “ah-ah,” is not the exception.

4. This behavior

If you’re into Teen Top, you know about the pettiness they have exhibited during their various stints on “Weekly Idol” during the Random Play. Yeah, I’m talking about the vicious and hilarious violence they inflict on one another. I don’t think any other group has gotten physical with each other on broadcast, let alone make us laugh as hard. However, it’s clear it comes from a place of love, showing they truly have a siblings-like relationship.

 Also on KultScene: 8 Misheard K-Pop Lyrics Pt. 4

5. Their concerts set records

Three years ago, Teen Top performed in Paris and broke a decibel record. Why? Fans got a little too excited and screamed their lungs out, for it was recorded as being the loudest the concert had ever been. We can only imagine how amazing their show was for it to break a record. We can, however, break some here in the U.S. with their upcoming tour ooh-ing to “To You” or la la-ing to “Miss Right.”

Are you planning on going to a Teen Top show? Share with us in the comment section below why you like Teen Top 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.

The Other Top 10 Korean Songs of 2015

2016 rumbles on even longer with still little to show for itself, but that’s okay! The year is still young. What it does however, is lead me back to 2015 to continue remembering what a great year it was for K-pop. The multiple top songs of the year lists that were put out (including ours) were wonderfully varied and each one managed to honor great music. It’s a testament to 2015 that I still felt there were many songs that deserved some end of year recognition. So I decided to make my own alternative best of list in order to celebrate some of those artists.

In this case, alternative does not necessarily mean alternative music. There is still room for K-pop here. Rather, it means anything that didn’t garner as much attention last year, as I personally thought it deserved. To further restrict myself, I also didn’t allow any songs that I had previously written about before. So that counts out BESTie, D.Holic, Fiestar, Purfles, Blady, A.Kor Black, and many more. Instead of mourning all of those amazing girls, let’s move on to the first category.

Idol Solo Debuts

Finally making that long awaited jump to a solo career can be tricky for some idols. There are those who are so popular that no matter what they do it will be a success (G-Dragon, Taeyeon). There are also those who are so talented and charismatic that it’d be hard to mess up an opportunity (Yonghwa, Choa). For the next idols though, their groups were either on the way down or stuck in the one spot. Having a solo career gave them a chance to stand out.

Teen Top have consistently been on the fringes of success. More popular than their immediate contemporaries like Dalmation (DMTN) and Z:EA but less popular than newer groups like B.A.P and BTS, they have yet to carve out a niche for themselves. When lead vocalist Niel went solo this year, to his credit, he did not play it safe. “Lovekiller” is a slow burn that I almost didn’t fully listen to because it was straying very close to ballad territory. That said, the stripped back opening of acoustic guitar and Niel’s sweetly distinct voice is better than what most ballads. If that was all Niel could muster though, it would have been forgettable. Halfway through the song however, a disco drum beat is introduced followed by a funky but subtle electric guitar. Essentially, “Lovekiller” becomes a Michael Jackson tribute. If the music wasn’t enough to signify this, the choreography also literally tips the hat to MJ. This change of pace invigorates the song and is a testament to Niel’s talent. His delicate high pitched voice perfectly suits both musical styles and helps him stand out among other idol soloists.

Also on KultScene: Top 30 Korean B-Sides of 2015

Any of the 2AM members could have gone solo and easily held their own. They were a ballad group and so they had to be great singers. Seulong took his solo work in a completely different direction than previously explored by the group with “Mood Swings.” The song doesn’t take its title to heart — it’s moody but laid back, not making any big jumps to unsettle the tone. Carried by a simple hip-hop beat, the song is tinged with lowkey piano and gorgeous guitar licks that are sparse enough to create a sense of loneliness. The lyrics mirror this. Seulong repeatedly whines lines like “there’s no me.” It’s an almost uncomfortably calm look into a man’s depression. It works precisely because there are no mood swings. It is measured in a way that shows a man who understands his problem. “Feeling the darkness even more,” Seulong yearns for a change. “Mood Swing” is at once beautiful and disturbing.

I don’t think there could be a song more different to “Mood Swing” than Goo Hara’s “Choco Chip Cookie.” It takes its title literally by being a super sweet slice of R&B. It’s the perfect summer song with a laid back electro vibe sprinkled thoroughly with twinkly pianos and synths. Hara does not stick to conventions though, as the structure is not immediately obvious. If you were to identify a chorus you might say the part at 1:15, signaled by the lightest triangle ting. That sounds more like a pre-chorus though, which eventually moves the songs back into its chilled out groove. While the lyrics could definitely be seen as childish, the song is anything but. It is a mature and risky move from Hara to put out a summer song that defies pop music standards, and is more daring than what Kara’s done in the past.

New Takes on the Cutesy Girl Group

Following A Pink and Sistar’s growing success in the last two years, a rise in aegyo (cute) filled girl groups occurred again. Most, however, took from A Pink too much, as very few of them tried to play with the formula at all. Groups like April are great at what they do but have yet to distance themselves from the herd of Fink.L wannabes. K-pop wouldn’t be K-pop without them though, so it’s especially refreshing when groups to take the time to project new ideas onto old trends.

UNICORN came to us with this sole intention, to heal. Not just this tired genre, but to heal us all with their music, just like a unicorn would with its horn. That is their actual concept; can I just say that I love K-pop? Unicorn’s debut single “Huk” is the dreamiest bit of synthpop you will ever hear. Fantasy like guitars mix with the synths and breathy vocals to create this tone in the intro. The production value is much higher than your average rookie group, and it’s the first thing that sets them apart. The second is the use of their rapper. It’s hardly uncommon today to make the rapper the main focus of a group, but here, it changes the song and slips us out of the cute girl group mindset. It is not jarring however, the rap maintains the effervescence of the song by being delivered in a more conversational way. The contrast in the verses between the usual saccharine vocals and the rap give “Huk” an added dimension elevating UNICORN above their peers.

While UNICORN were trying to lull their way into your subconscious, myB was shouting at you to get up and dance. The platinum blonde sextet burst onto the scene this year with “My Oh My,” a song that instantly caught attention due to its energy and cuteness. It wasn’t until follow up “DDO DDO,” however, that did their style really work. The two songs are essentially the same, infectious bubblegum pop that whizzes and bangs at every corner. “DDO DDO” is superior though, merely because its production is a little bit tighter and more organic. Vocally, all the members suit this style, and even the raps are made to be adorable. What myB do best of all the rookie girl groups is dance. The choreography for both songs is intense and, like G-Friend, they can look like a small army when on stage. Next time someone complains about cute girl groups being boring just show them myB.

Europe + Korea = The Perfect Match

Europop has been long been a staple genre of K-pop. It dates back to the earliest groups like H.O.T and Turbo, who just made a fantastic comeback with “Again.” Here we take a look at a classic europop track as imagined by K-pop and something a little more alternative shall we say.

If there was anyone who could be responsible for europop’s ubiquity in K-pop, it’s Sweetune. The producer duo have cultivated the success of groups like INFINITE and KARA off the back of their skills with synthesizers. They brought this sound to Romeo, a rookie boy group who probably had high hopes for this year. Unfortunately, they didn’t go very far but, fortunately for us, their debut single “Lovesick” is a smash. “Lovesick” has a relentless beat but never gets too strong. It’s held back by the retro synths and the sometimes sweet vocals. The problem is that it’s honestly hard to defend “Lovesick” from being little more than an rip-off of 2011-2012 Infinite. Although that is one of the greatest eras for any boy group, it’s also hard to say that’s a bad thing. Romeo ultimately make it work with though their rookie energy and adolescent emotions by taking something tried and true and attempting to make it their own.

Waltzsofa Records are one of the most interesting labels working Korea right now. The music they have released so far is all tinged with the same retro genre sounds, mostly disco. Male vocalist Ban:Jax is one of their artists. He released a number of retro inspired songs this year, each showcasing a different aspect of him. The standout is his collaboration with label mate and producer Humming Urban Stereo “Mid Summer Night.” HUS’s sound is immediately recognizable on this track. His nu-disco synths pop with such clarity, they are one of the most satisfying sounds in pop today. Ban:Jax’s vocals harken back to American soul and are filled with passion. It even features backing vocals that appear to be provided by another label mate, female soloist Risso, whom you should check out too. Each of these elements gets its time to shine in the song before melting together for a strange but amazing climax. “Mid Summer Night” exemplifies what Waltzsofa are about while also offering something new to the great retro collection of 2015.

Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: April

The Many Facets of Korean Hip-Hop

If retro sounds are not your thing, then I’m sure you found solace in the mountains of hip-hop that 2015 also had to offer. Thanks to the success of shows like “Show Me The Money” and “Unpretty Rapstar,” hip-hop is becoming mainstream, and, for better or worse, that means we are going to get a lot more of it. Due to the fast turnaround of those shows, simple rap songs that focus on a beat and flow have become popular. It would be a shame if tracks like that become the norm, though, as they can never be more than just alright. Since that’s not the case at the moment,  let’s see what else Korea can offer.

As a kind of warm up song for her appearance on “Unpretty Rapstar,” Sistar’s lead vocalist Hyorin enlisted the help of rappers Paloalto and Zico. “Dark Panda” mixes retro with hip-hop to become something entirely modern. It takes cues from British house music and more American hip-hop sounds. The production is masterful, repeating synths create the atmosphere while shorter electro licks come in and out breathing life into the song. Hyorin leaves the rapping to the boys, as she does what she does best. Her vocals here are as beautifully hoarse as usual, but the slow build of the song lets her notes fade out ethereally giving the song an ephemeral beauty. The raps are just as impressive. Hyorin’s vocals and Paloalto’s nasally delivery contrast with Zico’s sharp bites, which at first makes Zico sound out of place. On repeated listens though, it becomes apparent as a way of lifting the song, priming it for a climax. He brings us to that end that is so important.

Zico returns (seriously, how many songs did he feature on this year?) to rap on a track for up and coming soloist Dean, known as Deanfluenza when producing. If Dean’s popularity had started to rise a few weeks earlier, I think he would have made it onto a number of year end lists. That’s no matter to him, though, as he is clearly on the up. “Pour Up” is as smooth as they get. Its electro R&B drips slowly throughout, exuding a serene sexuality. Dean’s voice does nothing to stop these feelings, perfectly measured over the hip-hop beats, as he tells us about his sexual encounters. If Dean does become big in Korea, my great hope for him is to make sex mainstream.

For sure, Supreme Team rapper E Sens has been through a lot the last few years. This year, he produced a great album seemingly on the way back up. When it came time for it to be released however, E Sens was in jail for smoking marijuana. Not great for his promotional chances, but that doesn’t taint the record. Title track “The Anecdote” is the standout for sheer raw emotion. E Sens can lay himself out on a track, exposing his frailties. “The Anecdote” is about his father, who died when E Sens was only nine years old. Any song about a topic like this would be poignant, but E Sens is more revealing than most. He spits about his shame at never being close to his father, about the shame of being poor, about how his father’s death shaped his life. E Sens’ flow suits songs like this. There’s an anger to it, a cathartic energy that drives his honesty. His voice is well accompanied by haunting pianos that repeat over and over. They loom like a ghost as E Sens remembers one.

Are there any songs you think were overlooked in 2015? 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.

KCON 2015 NY’s M! Countdown Concert Recap

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

This year’s KCON might have been the best one to date for American K-pop fans as they learned that not only would the annual event in Los Angeles be expanding into a three day experience and moving into the legendary Staples Center, but that it would also become bi-coastal. For the first time in its four year history, East Coast K-pop fans could finally rejoice over the fact that they would not have to fly out over to California just to see their favorite acts since the con would be bringing their M! Countdown concerts to the just-as-legendary Prudential Center in NY’s metropolitan area. This didn’t change the fact that some die-hard fans still attended both events, though.

Being the forerunner to anything carries a lot of weight and responsibility to set the standard for the following years, which is why KCON NY saw less acts than its LA counterpart on August 8th. It took four years for KCON LA to grow to where it is, so the hope is that the East Coast con will also continually grow. Planning for KCON NY could have been better as attendees saw repeats in acts from the previous years as well, though none of that really mattered once the crowd of 17,000 KCON-goers started trickling in through the metaphorical gates. With this particular event, KCON proved that groups like Teen Top still got it, while confirming the popularity of relatively newer groups such as VIXX. And like the fanboy turnout at KCON LA, KCON NY too observed a very noticeable testosterone-heavy presence for the alluring and sexy Girls’ Generation and AOA.

 Also on Kultscene: Inside KCON NY 2015

But before we get to the main attraction, we have to give a warm mention to the other performers of the night. Prior to the concert’s official commencement, attendees were treated to a performance from the winners of the K-Pop World Festival in New York, The Class. Based in NY’s own Washington Heights, the group danced to VIXX’s “Hyde,” giving the original pioneers a run for their money later that evening. Popular Youtuber Jun Sung Ahn, who is better known by his social media handle JuNCurryAhn and who also attended KCON LA the week before, followed up with a morose cover of BIGBANG’s “Loser” on his trademark violin. It’s not really a song to dance to, yet that did not stop some from getting up from their seats to groove along to the tune.


Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

After much teasing and prolonging on the host’s part, Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany finally made her grand entrance via stage lift to introduce KCON. Considering how she was the only native English speaker out of the four groups due to perform, it was really no surprise the organizers would select her to act as MC. Regardless, her appearance and the positive reception it elicited from the crowd indicated that the show was finally on the road.

VIXX – The Kickoff or the Grand Finale?

Going in order of seniority and following a boy-girl-boy-girl pattern, VIXX was the obvious choice as the opening act. Based on the way they put on a performance, however, they might as well have been the closer. The night started off with the boys lined up in a row, standing chicly until the spotlight shone on each individual member. With all eyes on them, they took turns to break out in powerful dance as the screens overheard flashed their names. This transitioned fabulously into their song, “Error,” which requires the same sobriety that was seen in their introduction. “Error” really got the crowd riled up, and this enthusiasm was equally seen throughout their next two performances for “On and On” and “Eternity.”


Courtesy of CJ E&M America

With their darker songs out of the way, this left room for some of their more lighthearted songs, so what else but the loveable “G.R.8.U” and their latest release “Love Equation?” Member Leo lived up to his title as main vocalist in the former song time and time again as he belted those high notes, filling up the whole of the indoor venue, and the group took no breaks as they delved right into the latter song. Though the single was released earlier this year and went by largely unnoticed, the group was able to change that with their aegyo (cute display of affection) that made all the fangirls in the building swoon. The high-spirited nature of the song allowed the members to wing their performance, which inevitably meant running around on stage (like the goofballs that they are) and getting closer to the audiences. At the climax of the song, the center was nothing but a rainstorm of streamers and screams, which just goes to show that this is one song that is better live. Whoever decided on ending their set list with “Love Equation” definitely deserves a golden medal.


Courtesy of CJ E&M America

AOA as The Chaser

Immediately after VIXX had exited the stage, the members of AOA strutted confidently to own the stage for the next half hour. The anthem of the summer, “Heart Attack,” heralded in the group’s first performance in the States (okay, so technically the first performance was at KCON 2015 LA but close enough…), where the girls delivered harmless girly fun. And just like their stage at KCON LA, they also revealed their provocative side in hits like “Like a Cat” and “Confused.” As expected, the fan boys chose these moments to declare their undying love for the members and were very on point with the fan chants.

AOA NY (1 (2)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

They continued their sensual concepts with other favorites, such as the booty-shaking “Short Hair” and the sultry “Miniskirt.” While AOA debuted the same year as VIXX, the girls stood out more as the supporting act due to a lack of variety in their songs. No fancy celebratory streamers here. Nevertheless, the girls earns props for making sensual look so natural, especially with their closing song “Miniskirt,” in which sub-vocalist Hyejeong got down low – and I mean real low – on the stage floor. With the flawless execution of each song that left audiences in an uproar that night, AOA is certainly the next hot girl group to watch out for. Girls’ Generation, y’all better watch yo backs.

AOA NY (1 (9)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Teen Top is the Dark Horse of Live K-Pop

When you are getting goose bumps all over your body during a concert, you know it’s good. And when it’s during a slow song, you know that’s even better. The “M! Countdown” concert in NY has been an exciting and hot-blooded one thus far, but Teen Top was able to extinguish those flames with the mellow performance for “5 Seasons,” straight off of their most recent album. With such as easy-going song, the members kicked it back on the stage’s steps and swayed their bodies in time to the guitar strums of the instrumentals. It would only make sense that the subsequent performance would be for another track fresh off of their latest album, which is exactly what they did with “Ah-ah.”


Courtesy of CJ E&M America

After their member introduction, where lead rapper L.Joe showed off his limited English from his five years living in the States, the group threw it back to their Brave Brothers collaboration days with “To You” and “Miss Right.” Other than the upbeat melodies, the beauty behind Teen Top’s songs that always make for a captivating live performance lies in their intricate choreography. Despite the fancy footwork that the group is known for, the moves for the upper half of the body are rather straightforward, which is why many fans in the audience were able to follow along easily in their seats. Indeed, “Miss Right” had the fans shaking their hands in the air, engaging hundreds of attendees with the idols in this one simple gesture.

The group concluded with “Rocking,” which could not have been a wiser choice, seeing as how this was the song that started their dance image and is the closest thing they have to a club banger. The free step may look impressive done behind the computer screen, but done live? That’s next level. The mix of hard synths, adrenaline, and their go for broke attitude had everyone singing along to the addictive “jangnan anieyo” (”it’s not a joke”) hook and hollering for more. It also helped that L.Joe is an insane mood-maker, what with his repeated ad-libs. Teen Top may not belong to any big name entertainment company or have the largest fanbase, but they sure know what it means to have a good time. Maybe it’s time to book them again for KCON 2016 for the fourth consecutive year.


Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Also on Kultscene: Breaking Down KCON ’15 LA’s Red Carpet Looks

When in New York, Sing a Song About It

While Girls’ Generation were preparing for their performances, and in order to hype up the girls who were headlining the concert, the special stages that have always been critical to the “M! Countdown” concerts were scheduled right after Teen Top. Unfortunately, SONEs (Girls’ Generation’s official fandom) would have to wait just a little bit longer before they get to see their eight angels. Because the annual event was also held in New York this year (to be precise, it took place in New Jersey but how many songs about the Garden State can you list off of the top of your head?), AOA’s Yuna, Hyejeong, and ChoA did the East Coast proud by bringing a strong yet abbreviated rendition of Beyonce’s and Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” to the table.

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Teen Top’s Niel and Chunji collaborated on a duet as well, but since English is not exactly their forte, they opted for the safe, slow-tempo “When I First Kissed You” by Extreme. The emotional song left audiences in as much of a hush it was ever going to be that evening.


Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Girls’ Generation Shuts Down the Show

They’re the poster child of girl groups, at least in our generation. And in a sea of pink that illuminated the arena here and there, it’s clear who many were here for. With eight years of experience under their belt, it’s really no wonder that Girls’ Generation was saved for last. When the group finally emerged in their (American) patriotic sequined colors, the crowd went wild, and when they opened with “Catch Me If You Can,” the song that marked their comeback as eight members, the crowd went berserk. In a similar vein of recent songs, they followed up with “Check,” the smooth RnB number that demonstrated a more mature side of the girls. They’ve come a long way since their flight attendants and jegi-kicking (shuttlecock-kicking) days, but if their next song, “Genie,” is any indication of anything, it’s that they also have not forgotten their roots. And of course, what is Girls’ Generation without “Gee,” the hit that practically created them? It’s a requisite in every Girls’ Generation set list and if it were not for the fact that the girls had recently comeback with a new single, it would’ve been the cincher like it was in the previous year to an amazing KCON.

Girls generation (18)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

But they did comeback with “Party” last month, so naturally it was the closer of the night. They were all smiles as they had the honor of concluding the first ever KCON NY on a lively note. Concert-goers expected the burst of yellow streamers that permeated through the air, yet we were still caught off guard when it happened after leader Taeyeon hit the intense notes during bridge. And we all still cheered like mad.


Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Just like that, KCON 15 NY came to an end. As the first installment on the East Coast, there were some things this “M! Countdown” concert did right that should continue in the ones to come, such as the proportionate distribution of set times in spite of seniority and the high security. But then there are other things the concert could have improved upon, including more opportunities for a solo/sub-unit stage and more line-ups. With room to grow, fans can only anticipate for an even bigger and better KCON 16 NY.

Check out more pictures from the night:

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Teen Top “Ah-Ah” Music Video & Song Review

Teen Top Ah Ah Natural Born
The bright boys of Teen Top are back with an entrancing dance track and music video titled “Ah-Ah” fresh off its sixth mini album, “Natural Born.” Check them out as they bring the true meaning of funk back!


“Ah-Ah” has an upbeat disco funky tune which is reminiscent of music from the ‘90s. Despite starting off a bit slow, the beat gradually speeds up and stays catchy which in return keeps you feigning for more as it goes on. It’s refreshing, smooth and energetic; a perfect summer jam!

Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: HISTORY’s Jang Yi Jeong


The members of Teen Top are known for their youthful and angelic faces. Because of that, sometimes it can be rather difficult trying to take them seriously, especially in some cases where they’re trying to act hard. Although each member is trying to garner the attention from their potential love interests’, because the members are naturally goofy, that even if you were the one they were pursuing in the music video, you’d probably have a hard time trying to accept their affection. Read more

K-Pop Release Cheat Sheet 09/14/14-09/20/14

Each week, KPOPme compiles a list of K-Pop and overall Korean releases so that you don’t have to look far to find new music. This week, Ladies’ Code’s final music video was released; it is a memorial to EunB and RiSe, who passed away in a tragic car accident.

Taetiseo, Verbal Jint, Teen Top, and others made their comebacks. There were also several girl group releases, from groups like N*White and a girl-rock group, WAX. Check out all of the amazing songs from the week here.


Ladies’ Code – I’m Fine Thank You

Verbal Jint – I Smell Autumn feat. Eddy Kim

Teen Top – Missing

Taetiseo – Holler

Rhymer- 무슨 말이 필요해

N*White- Hello Boy

Peejay- After Summderday

Linus’ Blanket- Love Me

Kim Jin Ho- 사람들

MC Sniper- Go to Sleep

EVE- Mystery Love

WAX – Fly High

Park Mi Young – Going Crazy (My Lovely Girl OST)

Yoonsang- If You Wanna Console Me

Born Kim, Artisan Beats – Jimmy Chu

Switch – Bikini

Road Girls – Crush

Satbyeol – Woo Baby

Mandip, Soul-Jay, –Ready To Play Remix feat Newday

EZ- Looking Around

T.E.N – Thank You

NewUs – Get Away

Basterd – Look Around


Swings & Sung Eun Ypp – Trap

A.KOR Jiyoung – Going Crazy cover (Hyorin of SISTAR)

What was your favorite song released this week? 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.