BLACKPINK’s ‘The Album’ song ranking by a Blink

By Maddy Myer

Following a night of jam-packed content from BLACKPINK, including an exclusive Apple Music Interview and the premier of YouTube Released, one of the most anticipated albums of the year is finally here. 

BLACKPINK finally released their debut full album The Album and it quickly shot up to No. 1 on the US iTunes Chart. Blinks have been waiting for this moment for ages now, and let’s just say Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa did not come to disappoint. I’m kind of obsessed with the album at the moment and have been listening non-stop.

I love ranking new albums, especially ones I’ve had on my radar for a long time. The eight song album might be a little short, but that just means it’ll be easier to stream. The album is filled with bop over bop and it was extremely hard to rank since I believe each song is stunning. There could be a few exceptions, but I think my personal ranking for The Album is set in stone for the next few weeks.

8. “Ice Cream (with Selena Gomez)”

Ice Cream is the only pink song on the album, and that usually isn’t my cup of tea. It’s a perfect pop radio song that easily gets stuck in your head. But regardless, out of all the tracks on the album, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the theme. I think it should have been released as a single prior to this album release cycle rather than a pre-release for the album. The beat is fire, though, and the vocals plus Lisa’s rap shine through. I also think Selena Gomez was the best choice for this song because her voice matched well with the girls. However, it may have done better as a separate single or even as a song on Selena’s album.

7. “Bet You Wanna (feat. Cardi B)”

It was a cute catchy song, that like “Ice Cream,” I think will do well on pop radio, especially since it’s all in English. This may be the one song on the album that may rank higher if I start hearing it on the radio, seeing as it may get pushed as a single. I just wish Jennie and Lisa would have had a chance to rap alongside Cardi B for an unforgettable moment. Cardi B’s rap was a little different than most of her raps, but it remained fierce, referenced one of her own songs “Please Me” and left you wanting more. Since Cardi B is notable for her heavy cursing, the thing that threw you for a loop was the lack of curse words — she even tweeted about how hard it was to keep her verse clean. I also saw Cardi tweet about envisioning this song in a movie, and I agree, it would really fit a comedy or even a rom-com. We do need to talk about Rosé’s vocals, though. She served throughout, but her ad-libs, harmonization, and high notes at the end of the song were unmatched. It was great to see her show just how powerful and stable her voice can be. 


6. “How You Like That”

I called it the song of the year when it came out, but after hearing the other tracks on the album, there are several that I liked better. “How You Like That” was a good representation of what most people think of when they hear a BLACKPINK track, whereas they experimented more in other tracks. The EDM beat drop with dance break gets a little tiring after listening to this song alongside previous BLACKPINK releases so many times. However, I will say that this was my favorite music video out of all the music videos for singles. The visuals, outfits, and the snow scene — my favorite— are all very memorable.

5. “You Never Know”

Jisoo starts off this song with her husky lower register and sets the tone beautifully for BLACKPINK’s only “slow” song on the album. This song reminded me of how astounding the girls’ pure vocals are. I actually teared up a little while listening. The way Rosé’s voice is so soft, yet powerful at the same time speaks volumes. The lyrics are also very touching and express how a lot of people hate on the girls, which made me even more emotional.

4. “Crazy Over You”

I don’t know why, but I can picture some bomb ass choreo and accompanying music video for this song. The beat variation and ad-libs make the song so enjoyable. This song is a banger and is the most experimental on the album. They aren’t just singing and rapping well, they’re using different styles such as slowing down the end sentences of verses and high pitch repetition of the letter “e.” In addition, the differing flows between the rappers make this song so great because it shows their separate rap styles. In this case the first is slower and the second picks up the speed, while also exhibiting their joint power with a back to back rap. It reminds me of the ending on their song “Kick It,” when the girls all sing in unison, but in a fun rather than serious way. My only complaint is its short length. While most of the songs on the album are on the shorter side, this is the only one that you actually realize it in.

3. “Lovesick Girls”

This song has the nostalgic BLACKPINK style, name dropping the title of the song in the chorus. Yet it is still so different from both of their previous pre-release singles. The music video was one of which the girls were acting, and one that was filmed outdoors for the majority of it. Thinking about the music video, I got “Playing With Fire” vibes. “Lovesick Girls” is a song that gives a black and pink feel. Backed by heavy acoustic guitar, the intro of the song is a steady build up to the energetic chorus. The post-chorus brings that mood down a little before being followed by English raps then returning to the intro feel and emotional bridge. It was nice to see Jisoo and Jennie writing on the track. And the fact that in addition to writing her own rap, Jennie also produced and delivered vocals is amazing and speaks to her versatility. I think it was a good pick for the title track, but I can also see another song on the album as a title track.


2. “Love to Hate Me”

“How you love to hate me” essentially describes BLACKPINK’s antis; the girls are calling out their haters, and I’m here for it. One of the early lines says “see me making waves, and you don’t like that.” They’re making waves by accomplishing so many things only four years in their career with limited songs. Because of these accomplishments, there are people hating, and the song implies that they recognize it. This was actually the song I claimed would be one of my favorites just by the title, and I was right. Because of this, I broke my rule of listening to new albums in order and went straight to this song first. Jisoo’s sultry and husky vocal tone really stuck out to me in this song, which I really enjoyed. Also, umm, Lisa’s rap… My god! I’m still shook from it, and it may be one of my favorites from her. Her flow differed from her previous raps in delivery because while those focused were mainly speed raps backed usually by EDM beats, this was all about emphasis on the words she spoke and had more of an honest delivery. In other words, you could feel she meant every word when she rapped, similar to a rap from a western act such as Eminem. The only reason why this isn’t my No. 1 pick is because “Pretty Savage” exists with multiple raps, and I’m a rap fan.

1. “Pretty Savage”

When people say BLACKPINK makes women feel empowered, listen to this song and you’ll get it. Lyrics such as “If you mad stay mad, we not alike,” “F boys not my boys,” and “we some bitches you can’t manage” cater to the idgaf attitude. “Pretty Savage” makes me feel like a bad bitch who can do anything. If the group is looking for a song to promote on music shows as a B-side, this would be it. The girls mentioned it on V Live, but I agree that the song fits perfectly with BLACKPINK’s image. They’re not just pretty faces, but also talented hard-working savages. This is definitely the song on the album for rap fans, and it is a song I could also see being a BLACKPINK title track. Rosé’s contrasting vocals to the raps at the end is the perfect wrap up before the song has the best outro of the whole album. Due to the whistle sounds and drawn out harmonization on the word savage, the outro remains catchy and memorable. Her voice is soft and soothing and backed by light guitar strums that calm you before the outro.

Final Thoughts

BLACKPINK has put out previous EP’s Square Up and Kill This Love that saw success in their own right, but The Album is the first time listeners could hear more than a few tracks in a work. This feels like a complete project with some familiar BLACKPINK flair that hooked fans in the first place, but also experimentation. 

The album had new producers working on the tracks, which helped the production level of the project rise. With new producers, not every song followed the typical BLACKPINK formula: intro verse, rap, pre-chorus, chorus, etc., which proves the group grew into trying something they weren’t familiar with. The inclusion of all English songs also adds to this new feel, as does the collaboration with Cardi B since this was their first with a rapper. Hopefully they’ll keep this growth and openness to new things for their next project. 

Moreover, the members’ strengths shined through, whether that meant trying vocal notes never heard by them before, synchronized harmonizations, or unfamiliar rap flows. They got to represent BLACKPINK as the girl group of the moment, and they do so with such strong, confident, and meaningful songs. With two members taking part in the making of their title track, it could be an indication that future songs will feature more of their creative input in the future. 

The Album is an indication of the members’ artistic growth and willingness to go against what we would expect from them or any other K-pop group — which has always been key in their artistic identity.  

What are your thoughts on BLACKPINK’s The Album? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KultScene is a writer-driven website dedicated to creating a platform where diverse voices’ takes on K-pop can be heard. If you like this post and would like to see more by helping support KultScene’s writers fund, please email us for more details.

A closer look into the messaging behind BTS’ ‘Map of the Soul: 7’

Last week, BTS released their long-awaited album Map of the Soul : 7 on Feb. 21. At its heart, 7 is a celebration of BTS, their fans called ARMYs, and the love they have for each other and the art that BTS creates.

Seven years into the group’s career, it’s time for some reflection on their time as BTS. They call back to their previous eras, including elements and samples from Skool Luv Affair, 2 Cool 4 Skool, and having 7’s lead single title “On” come from O!RUL8,2?’s “N.O.”

The last message BTS promoted was to “speak yourself” and this full Map of the Soul era can be a follow up to that, continuing their journey. Along with reflecting on the group’s career, 7 ponders how to deal with speaking yourself if you may not have answers to the questions asked in “Intro : Persona” (which officially started the Map of the Soul era last march): “Where’s your soul? Where’s your dream?” 

Suga’s solo “Interlude : Shadow” is the first of 15 new tracks on 7, and truly continues what was started with Map of the Soul : PERSONA. “Shadow” brings a darker mood to the MOTS era (which was previously light and pink with PERSONA), both lyrically and musically. Suga raps about wanting to be at the top with fame and success, and the dark shadow that ends up coming with it. Even once you achieve your dreams, there will be difficulties. That shadow and fear that stays with you, and will conflict you and leave you wondering about what you truly want in reality. 


Following that, “Black Swan” discusses a possible side effect that shadow might bring: passion and the loss of it. The death of passion is something that is unfortunately far too relatable. This far into their lives as artists, the members of BTS have had their fair share of questioning; as have ARMYs in their many passions. After you realize what you’re going through and admit that you’ve lost passion or motivation, you’re just stuck asking “what’s my thing?” Hearing these global superstars ask the same is quite comforting, and makes it so easy to connect with the band.

The first solo track from the vocal line is Jimin’s “Filter.” This song is definitely a step away from his previous solos “Serendipity” and “Lie.” Jimin sings of presenting himself in different ways and being seen in different perspectives. Jungkook’s solo “My Time” brings us back to the main theme of the album, as he reflects on his time in BTS from his early teenage years to now. Similar to Suga, Jungkook speaks of a negative aspect to his career: trying to find time within his hectic life. Both of these tracks represent the singers and their talents well. 

Next track “Louder Than Bombs” brings up the shadow again. Echoing the crux of “Shadow,” this track explores the pain that comes with fame, but this time offers a light to it all: ARMYs. BTS promises to “sing endlessly to [ARMYs]” because the pain they feel is also felt by their fans that have been with them during these seven years. Lead single “ON” continues that promise, challenging life to “bring the pain on.” Musically, this song perfectly encompasses that energetic determination to carry on and fight through whatever pain following your passion throws at you. 

The rap line’s track is often one of the most powerful songs on each album, and 7’s “UGH!” is no exception. RM, Suga, and J-hope rap about the empty rage that comes from haters and the rage the artists feel in return.Contrasting the rap line’s track is the vocal line’s “00:00 (Zero O’Clock)” directly after it. This song is like a sweet reaffirmation to ARMYs. It re-enforces the relationship between them and BTS, and the amount of love there is. Having your favorite band tell you “you’re gonna be happy” provides that special kind of connection that BTS has with their fans that they’ve built in their seven years. “Zero O’Clock” also fits into the group’s story, almost like a sister song to “ON,” saying that even though today was full of pain, the clock will reset and a new day will bring better ones. 

V speaks to himself from years ago on his solo track “Inner Child.” V’s previous solos “Stigma” and “Singularity” were sultrier, but this one packs an emotional punch. The opening notes sound like the stars he sings of being speckled in the sky one by one, showing the song’s inspirational and dreamy feel. “Inner Child” is a beautiful look at V’s life, from being the dreaming kid who worked so hard and was fearful of his outcome, to the happy and successful person he is today. 

V and Jimin team up for the happy track “Friends” that celebrates their unique relationship. Stories from over the years about the two “soulmates” show that being in BTS has allowed them to find themselves and know that they will always be together even throughout their personal difficulties.


Jin continues the band’s promise to ARMYs in his solo “Moon.” This focus on the fans is different than Jin’s “Epiphany” and “Awake,” where he explored his relationship with himself. Comparing himself to the moon orbiting ARMYs’ earth, Jin promises to always stay by their side and be the light in their lives. 

On “Respect,” RM and Suga discuss what the meaning of ‘respect’ is. This track just seems fun at first glance, but can also fit into the album’s theme. As they begin to understand “respect” as being able to look at someone and their flaws and still see them as good, they ask to not be respected so easily because they’re not sure they should be or in case the weak them ends up coming out. ARMYs can go on and on about how much they love and respect BTS, but there’s still the apprehension of being praised that can make it hard to believe. The pain of fame and success contributes to that, and “Respect” is an interesting, but fun, take on that struggle.

“We Are Bulletproof : the Eternal” plainly states the relationship between BTS and ARMYs that has come from these seven years and encapsulates Map of the Soul : 7’s purpose. “We were only seven, but we have you all now.” After seven years of hard work and even doubt, BTS knows they have their fans with them and always will. No matter what happens, no matter what pain the group faces, they will always have their reason for all of it: ARMYs. 

Closing out the album is J-hope’s “Outro : Ego.” J-hope has the more cheerful style of the rap line, which absolutely shines through on “Ego.” On this track, J-hope looks at the hardships faced as what made him him. 
Map of the Soul : 7 looks back on the past seven years of BTS, their experiences, and what has come from them. Although there has been, and is, pain, BTS always has ARMYs to remind them of what they have achieved and the massive amount of love they have earned. Utilizing different genres and the members’ varying personalities, this album shows the connection between BTS and their fans, and why it continues to exist. There is not just one piece that fans hold onto, but an array of reasons to love the group that come together to speak their message. No matter what new project BTS could explore, ARMYs will continue to support them because their message of love and perseverance will always stay the same.

What’s your favorite song on the album? Let us know 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.

Being a fan of BTS & their youth-oriented music as an adult

by Yasamine Entesari

Becoming a BTS fan is not exactly the smartest decision to make when you don’t have much free time. Between albums, music videos, live performances, Bangtan Bombs and Run BTS episodes, just to name a few– BTS puts out such an overwhelming amount of content that it might literally keep you as busy as a second job. If you join the fandom (called “Army”) a bit “late,” like I did, it becomes near to humanly impossible to catch up with years of content.

But falling in love with BTS is not exactly something you decide – it’s just something that happens; you can never predict when or how. With me, as much as I’ve been listening to their music for years, the obsession started when I went to research what was the deal with this BTS guy being promoted as a full member of the KOMCA.

Regardless of your motives, getting to know BTS is indeed worth it for anyone in any age group. However, there is something so peculiar about being a BTS fan when you’re in your late 20’s or older. You find yourself taking a break from a business essay to watch an old performance of babyface Bangtan singing about being in “2nd Grade.” You accommodate coloured merch, albums, and photo cards between power and rent bills in your budget.

I’m not alone in this – I dare say a big part of BTS’ fanbase is made of adults (mostly females) in their late ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s; regardless of people who say that pop sensations’ fan bases are made up of dumb 12-year-old girls, a belief often used to delegitimize an artist’s talent or success.

The music of BTS, and the personalities and stories of its members can inspire love and admiration for people of any age. The same probably could be said about any K-pop group or pop star of any culture. However, in the case of BTS, something adds a particular meaning to the “older fanbase” passion for the group: the interesting (and maybe contradicting) fact that BTS’s entire purpose is focused on youth. I can’t speak for all the adult fanbase, but as for me, this particular aspect of BTS’ artistry is one of the things that made me love them – even if I am, supposedly, no longer young enough to relate to their narrative.


Actually, I’m not that old  – I’m only two years older than Jin, BTS’s oldest member. However, a few years can make a lot of difference when you are in your teenage or young adult years. For example: the disproportion between the fact that the youngest member, Jungkook, won an “Artist of the Year” award at 19-years-old when I was 26 and still trying to figure out what to do with my life, could be enough to make me feel like a loser. But, actually, the more I dug into BTS’s story, I ended up feeling the opposite.

Maybe some of us older fans think that it’s too late for us to pursue our dreams and do meaningful things like BTS. But through their music we find out that they, too, feel insecure and scared, even after achieving so much.

How ironic is it that BTS has chosen to speak about the beauties and sorrows of youth, yet they are so overloaded with work that they barely have the chance to enjoy their own? We’re talking about a group that is releasing their fourth album in less than 12 months, while they get ready for a world tour with more than 20 sold out stops. These guys don’t rest. Yet, they seem so passionate about what they’re doing, it doesn’t seem like they think they’re “wasting” their “best years.”

As young people, we have so many things in our favour and so many against us at the same time, and we end up not knowing what to do with the gift of youth – like the famous quote often attributed to George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde: “youth is wasted on the young.” Youth might be, borrowing the words from the title of a BTS’s album series, “the most beautiful moment in life”; yet it’s also so full of contradictions. Society expects an adult to know everything about life; yet, everyone agrees that before you turn an adult you have to enjoy being “young, wild and free.” How are we supposed to learn and build everything we need to be a successful adult, and have the most amount of fun possible at the same time? Which one should we choose?

Sometimes it’s inevitable to think if anything could be different today if I had been more of less “myself” in the past; if I had worked/studied more, or if I had worked less and “enjoyed” more of my youth. Nevertheless, I somehow feel at ease when I see Jin, Suga, RM, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. Just like everyone else, they’re doing the best that they can with their “best years.” They’ve decided to follow their biggest dream, because they have one – but they say it’s okay if you don’t have one too. They’re giving their all and trying to be okay with the fact that even that all might not be enough to make them feel proud and content. And if like is like this with these seven amazingly talented beings, why wouldn’t it be with me? When I think of it, I too can find comfort and stop blaming my younger self. Because I too did my best. I did what I could being the person I was at that time.

Seeing the member’s personal colours also help fans to relate to BTS in so many ways. In “Reflection,” for example, a boy confident enough to name himself “Rap Monster” confessed that, even after achieving so much, he still wishes that he could love himself. In “Awake,” the member with the most unwavering self-esteem in the group (Jin) sings that he’s aware that he may never fly as high as he’d like to. It’s sad, but it’s also empowering because it sounds human; it sounds genuine


The fact that insecurity and fear coexist with confidence and determination, for the group, is what makes their music and their individual personalities relatable to 12 to 60-year-old people. And the fact that they share it with us gives us a feeling of “we’re all in this together,” regardless of age, gender, race, or culture. It makes me think we’re not that different after all – and if people who feel “lost” can relate to seven guys that inspire such amazing feelings, then, well, maybe we are not so lost. Maybe we are doing something right.

When you’re 28, like me, you think you should already have life all figured out. Younger friends, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry, but I have to spoil something: it is possible that five, 10 or 20 years from now, you still won’t have figured everything out. And it’s okay. We all have doubts, insecurities, and challenges in life, regardless of having found ourselves or not. With due proportion, life is the same for everyone: nothing is guaranteed, the fight gets harder after each battle you win. And it’s okay.

I remember watching one of the many interviews BTS gave while they were in the United States for their first US performance at the American Music Awards in 2017 and I felt really touched by one of the comments in the video. It was from a 60-year-old woman who said: “I just found out about these boys and I am feeling so much joy from watching them, they make me feel young again.” I thought that was the same reason why I grew to love and respect BTS so much. They make me feel okay about not being what I thought I should be right now – and this is feeling young too.

After all, regardless of age, we can all be young as long as we’re okay with the fact that we don’t know everything and that we can always learn and improve – like Suga says in “Nevermind:” “We are still young and immature, don’t worry about it.”

What do you like the most about BTS’s concept? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop faves: April 9-15

April picked up in a big way over the last week with releases from some of our favorite K-pop artists. In this week’s K-pop faves list, the KultScene team wanted highlighted some music from soloists and boy bands alike.

“Honestly” by Eric Nam (Released Apr. 11)

Eric Nam made his long anticipated comeback with his first EP in two years this week, and the amount of effort he put into it is evident, especially from his title track “Honestly,” which he co-wrote and composed. A departure from his usually sweet and gentle image, “Honestly” features the stronger use of electro-synth to create a colourful track that allows Eric to show off both his moves and his vocals. Accompanied by a vibrant music video filmed in Mexico, the track is very dynamic and sets the tone for the rest of the EP, which is a masterpiece in itself.


“Me & U” by Super Junior (Released Apr. 12)

This week, the legends Super Junior came back with a repackage of last year’s Play. Along with the latest single “Lo Siento” and all the previous songs, Replay has a few new songs, including “Me & U.” This song perfectly blends the pop sounds we know and appreciate Super Junior for modern lite-R&B. “Me & U” perfectly exemplifies how the group, with all the members over 30 and a 13-year-old career under their belt, are moving forward sonically. It’s a great spring song to bop along to.


‘Yet’ by Drunken Tiger (Released Apr. 13)

The king is back, and he’s going hard as always! I am not a “today’s music sucks, bring back old school *insert music genre name*” kind of person, but wow, how I missed Tiger JK’s powerful deliver and deep lyricism. Since “Yet” marks the last album he’ll release under the name of the group that changed the scene for rappers in Korea, he surely has a lot to say – and he says it with a furious, cathartic flow, with the little “drunken” vibe that is his trademark. It is a blessing to see Tiger still going strong, almost 20 years after his debut. I’m all for having different styles and generations shining together. If hip-hop has welcomed new trends, it is because people like him paved the way for the genre to be what it is today, and Tiger’s story is definitely one worth listening to.

—Ana Clara
What was your favorite song of the week? Let us know in the comment section below. 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: Feb. 26 – March 4

kpop songs playlist k-pop k pop march february 2018

This week for our K-pop faves, we picked very diverse picks. From R&B, to soloists, to up and coming boy bands, here are the songs that stood out to us the most.

“Swimming Pool” by George (Released Mar. 3)

The last couple of years have seen a surge of R&B acts in Korea, and while not all of them are particularly good, there are a few that stand out. George is one of such artists I’ve been low key keeping tabs on. His latest release, “Swimming Pool,” is chill and depressing and is just such a #mood for colder days or when you’re PMS-ing. The singer produced the song all by himself, proving that he has the chops to join his contemporaries as a fave in the scene. It is, after all, barely his third single, so I can’t wait to see how his artistry and career play out.


“Idle Song” by Jeon Soyeon (Released Feb. 28)

Cube Entertainment’s plucky little secret weapon, Jeon Soyeon came back this week an interesting track called “Idle Song.” Written and produced by herself, along with “Flow Blow,” “Idle Song” is about a stagnant romance. After a long time, Soyeon and her lover have become too comfortable with each other. She’s reminiscing at times about how much she loved this person, but now it’s so far gone she can even criticize his Stussy hoodie (shock horror). The music follows her languidly. It’s basically just a continuous bluesy guitar riff, a beat, and a few scattered keys. Soyeon raps over with her irresistible charm. She switches between rapping and singing with such ease that they eventually seem to be the same thing. It’s a unique quality that even labelmate Hyuna can’t quite grasp. Everything combines to perfectly express the discontentment of her words. It’s not merely a sense of boredom that she’s conveying, the guitar gives it that feeling of love and the sense of a past. It’s a sad realization that even the best things must come to an end.


Also on KultScene: Stray Kids: JYP’s new direction

“Mamma Mia” by SF9 (Released Feb. 26)

SF9 got on the radar of a lot of people (including myself) with their last comeback, “O Sole Mio.” At first, “Mamma Mia” could seem that it would go for the same style of its predecessor, due to the title in Italian language. But instead, the FNC Entertainment boy group went for an upbeat song with reminiscences of rockabilly music and other 1960’s sounds this time. It’s definitely their catchiest release so far. I love how the chorus stands out from the harmony of the verses and intro/post-choruses, and overall, I absolutely love the spectacle, musical, and theatrical vibes. For someone who doesn’t really stan a lot of boy groups, I’ve been getting impressed by SF9 way too much, and if they continue to release songs like “O Sole Mio” and “Mamma Mia,” I think might become a big fan.

—Ana Clara

“Stuck On” by Kim Sungkyu (Released Feb. 26)

INFINITE’s Kim Sungkyu has always had solid albums, and his first full album 10 stories is similarly so. An elongated, perhaps not as tightly produced, rehash of his electro and synth-pop 2015 27 EP, my personal standout track is the hypnotizing “Stuck On.” Blending electronic beats and a simple piano melody, the B-side packs a powerful emotional punch and one of his best performances on the album, not at all diminished, and perhaps even enhanced, by the heavy vocal distortions. He chose to perform it at several music shows alongside the single “True Love,” and it’s absolutely glorious to hear Sungkyu’s clear vocals interacting with the echoing backing track.


Also on KultScene: WJSN’s “Dreams Come True” music video & song review

“Please” by Kim Sungkyu (Performed Mar. 3)

I first heard this song on the variety program All the Butlers, when Jeon In Kwon (vocalist of Deulgukhwa) performed it for the members at the end of their stay with him. It brought the members to tears, and the strong emotions of the song were indeed very moving, even if I wasn’t privy to the socio-political context of the song. On his recent appearance on Yoo Hee Heol’s Sketchbook, INFINITE’s Kim Sungkyu performed a toned down but equally touching version of it, displaying his musical-trained impressive vocal abilities through the entirely live performance. With his clear, sweet voice, Sungkyu conveyed in his own way the desperate sentiments of the song, and brought a new meaning to it.


“Daydream” by J-hope (Released Mar. 1)

After countless mentions, teasers, and false alarms, BTS’s J-hope was able to finally drop his debut solo mixtape, Hope World, this past Thursday, becoming the third member to do so after RM and Suga (aka Agust D). Along with the “Hixtape,” the colloquial name fans ascribed to the album, the rapper also released a pop-art inspired music video for “Daydream,” an artistic direction that suits the modern funky song to a T. It addresses the deep, unattainable desires with profound psychedelic elements, using bouncy beats as a framework for whispery vocals. Like the references he makes to Lewis Caroll’s psychedelic novel Alice in Wonderland, we are able to get a better sense of these mirage-like dreams when we take everything in holistically.


Let us know your favorite song of the week 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: Feb. 19 – 25

kpop k-pop k pop playlist songs faves favorites february feb 2018 18

This week for our K-pop faves, we turned to up and coming faces that we’re all familiarizing ourselves with. To balladeers to rappers to amazing SM Entertainment performers, these are our faves.

“Francesca” by Hash Swan feat. Dean (Released Feb. 21)

Earlier this week, the rapper and Show Me the Money alumni Hash Swan dropped his second mini album, Alexandrite. The record features a slew of famed producers, such as Cha Cha Malone and Gray. For the album cut “Francesca,” Hash Swan teamed up with Dean and delivered a “Havana”-esque tune. The rapper’s laid-back flow paired with Dean’s own signature crooning plus rapping create a mellow vibe and is a low key bop.


Also on KultScene: Female K-pop soloists owned 2017

“Baby Don’t Stop” by Ten and Taeyong of NCT U (Performed Feb. 24)

So it’s not technically out yet until tomorrow, but Taeyong and Ten‘s NCT U duet of “Baby Don’t Stop” premiered on the 24th, so it counts for this week. The minimalist track utilizes digitized drum beats and a smooth bass riff to provide a melody over which Ten and Taeyong alternate between smooth crooning verses and deep-voiced raps. Both are known as dancers in the group, and the performance perfectly pairs their dynamic grace. The best part about it, personally, is that it gives Ten a chance to fully show off his vocals, in a way he wasn’t necessarily able to do in NCT U’s “The 7th Sense” or even own solo “Dream In A Dream,” where the ambiance overtook his vocal delivery. But with a clear tone and his charisma that has made him NCT’s No. 1 Bias Ruiner, “Baby Don’t Stop,” at least the performance version if not the single and MV itself, give Ten that moment to shine while countering it with Taeyong’s smolder. It’s honestly one of the most mature sounds NCT’s shown off so far, and I’d love to see more of it.


Also on KultScene: Weki Meki’s “Lucky” album review

“Excuses” by Jung Seung Hwan (Released Feb. 19)

Coming off the success of his first mini-album “His Voice,” balladeer Jung Seung Hwan made his return to the K-pop scene with his first full album Spring Again. While it is mostly an album of slow ballads, “Excuses” stands out for the amazing vocal technique and range he displays in this song. From the instrumentals which come across more harshly here than in the other tracks to the overall more angsty mood of this song, there is ample room for Jung Seung Hwan to express himself here, and he pours in his emotions in a way that he’s never done before. For me, “Excuses” beats out even the title track of this album, “It’s Raining,” and it shows his immense growth as an artist even over the short span of this year, evidenced also by how he wrote the lyrics of this song (and others in the album) with his CEO Yoo Hee Yeol. It’s only the beginning for this talented vocalist, and I can’t wait to listen to more.


Let us know your favorite song of the week 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: Feb. 12 – 18

k-pop kpop new songs releases tracks feb february 20182018 is shaping up to be a great year for K-pop releases, given how strongly artists have started out the year. This week in February was no different, with a few comebacks from many familiar names we’ve been waiting on for awhile even amid the Lunar New Year industry-wide hiatus. Here are some of our faves.

“Boss” by NCT U (Released Feb. 18)

I went into this NCT U “comeback” very upset because I’m a Ten stan. Even though SM Entertainment announced that U’s lineup was rotational, I couldn’t understand why they weren’t including the talented dancer once again. Those feelings were momentarily interrupted once the music video for “Boss” finally dropped today. Though the focus is, predictably, on NCT’s trinity — Taeyong, Mark, and Jaehyun — we were introduced to two new members, Lucas and Jungwoo. Win Win was also added and, like with 127, was ignored (though the boy served major looks!). “Boss” resembles NCT 127’s concepts more than “The 7th Sense,” being hard-hitting and relying heavily on hip-hop rather than being experimental. And while the song’s arrangement and line distribution were pretty predictable, the surprises came mainly in the form of a rapper other than Mark and Taeyong (this time Lucas) having a verse all to himself (and murdering it, mind you) and Jungwoo’s vocals blending perfectly with Doyoung. “Boss” is yet another gem in NCT’s growing discography and, like with every release, further proved that there’s nothing they can’t tackle and completely own.


Also on KultScene: K-pop Unmuted: 2017 Awards — Part 2

“Sober” by Suzy (Released Feb. 14)

With the recent release of a music video for “Sober,” Suzy’s self-composed ode to blurting out your true feelings while drunk just about qualifies for this week’s playlist. Suzy’s solo career has been somewhat smaller than you’d expect from a star as big as her but it has luckily been extremely composed. She’s one of very idols who can walk around a stage and completely captivate with a mere glance. On the b-side to her second single “Holiday,” Suzy effortlessly whispers her way through a minimal track of precise sounds and movements. Produced by EJAE, Aaron Kim, Isaac Han, and Andrew Choi, “Sober’s” instrumental is mostly percussion and handclaps, with the odd bubble popping to highlight certain elements. It’s a song of pure confidence and comfort. Singing her own words Suzy knows her limits and beautifully blends with the music to create that easy feeling. It’s believable that a performer like Suzy could be this comfortable while drunk but it turns out she was tricking us this whole time. Her confidence is very real and not clouded by alcohol as she reveals in the last line, “Baby, let me be honest with you, don’t be surprised, I’m not drunk at all, I’m sober.”


Let us know your favorite song of the week 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: Dec. 4-10

kpop songs playlist k-pop december 2017 day6 got7 taemin

We’re nearing the end of the year so new releases by K-pop artists have slowed down. This, of course, does not mean they’ve completely stopped. While very few, as most artists are focusing on their end-of-the-year performances, we still could count on DAY6, GOT7, and Taemin to drop something to hold us on the year’s last stretch.

“I’ll Try” by DAY6 (Released Dec. 6)

One of the three last tracks released by DAY6 for their Every DAY6 project, “I’ll Try” is the closest to a conventional ballad this band has ever released. Composed mainly by keyboardist Wonpil, the instrumentation is very simple throughout the song, with Wonpil using many techniques normally found in classical piano here. What makes “I’ll Try” stand out however, is the acapella section found towards the end of the song. Stripped bare of all instrumentals, all five of DAY6’s members showcase their vocal abilities and create a breathtaking harmony which is just so beautiful to listen to. Coupled with the song’s heartfelt lyrics about receiving and giving love to others which Wonpil penned while thinking about his mother, this track is a wonderful way to end off the Every DAY6 project, and is appropriately placed at the end of their Moonrise album (not counting the final versions of their older songs included), acting as the curtain call to this era and showing the band’s gratitude to all who have supported them this year.

— Anna

Also on KultScene: K-Pop Unmuted: Super Junior – ‘Play’

“Teenager” by GOT7 (Uploaded Dec. 6)

I’m totally cheating, I’m aware, given this song was not only released last month but I also already chose it for a previous Weekly K-pop fave. But you know what? There’s still more to talk about! Better seasoned with the song, GOT7 focus on the fun yet sharp choreography and seducing the viewer — and I’m here for it. Completely absent in their last few comebacks, the group brought back their signature cute side, although it has matured and is now a damn tease. And, again, I’m here for it. It’s refreshing to see how a group that incorporated a cutesy concept since their start has evolved it and not gotten rid of it. Also, the looks they’re serving on “Teenager” are just the icing on the cake. Anytime we get to see GOT7 on a livelier, more fun performance —you guessed it— I’m completely, 100% here for it.

— Alexis

Also on KultScene: Astro ‘Dream Pt. 02’ Album Review

“Day And Night” by Taemin (Released Dec. 8)

Pulling a complete about-face from “Move,” Taemin returned this week with a follow up single, the stirring ballad “Day and Night.” While it felt more similar to the solo work of fellow SHINee-member Jonghyun, and a music video that looks a lot like DRP Live’s “Jasmine,” that aesthetic works for a tune to listen to at the end of a long day, or a night out when you need to unwind. It’s not as bombastic as some of his other singles, but there’s something tender about this strings-focused song that is lacking from other songs of the soloist’s. Though that isn’t surprising, considering Taemin co-wrote it.

— Tamar

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: Nov. 13-19

It seems the K-pop gods had the best saved for last, for we have been bombarded with great single after great single in the last couple of weeks.

“Beautiful” by Wanna One (Released Nov. 13)

Not that fans didn’t already know this, but still, “Beautiful” was a cute reminder that the OngNiel ship is real and sailing. For Wanna One’s latest comeback, instead of veering towards the typical love story that accompanies a ballad, the group gave us the romance Wannables actually wanted: the one between bros Daniel and Seong Woo. But music video aside, “Beautiful” shows yet another facet to this wildly successful group. Known for their energetic performances, Wanna One came out with a ballad that highlights the members’ vocals —especially those on the sub vocal and rapper lines. It’s so interesting to see the members’ development as performers and singers before our eyes, considering some of them hadn’t been training for that long. With “Beautiful,” we get to see that all their hard work is paying off.


“Twinkle” by Lovelyz (Released Nov. 14)

While Red Velvet are a little late to the Halloween game, Lovelyz are ahead of the pack with their (sort of) Christmas song “Twinkle.” It’s not a typical Christmas track thanks to Lovelyz inability to stray from their electronic influences. Produced by 1Take (who takes a lead single for the first time after producing a number of b-sides for various groups including Wanna One’s only good song “Wanna Be (My Baby)) and Tak, “Twinkle” uses an incredibly dense backing electro track under typically lovely bell and string details. The electronics change as the song goes on, adding 8-bit moments and classic big euro synths for the chorus. What makes “Twinkle” a little bit strange is the way Lovelyz’s vocals are the same as always. They are used to synths but not quite an intense rhythm section. Jiae, Jisoo, Yein’s rap part is particularly important than as it adds a great amount of personality to a vocal section that could veer towards Disney territory. That being said they are just setting the stomper of a chorus which the unstoppable Kei knocks out of the park. It feels like the chorus happens five or six times but it’s so good you want it to keep coming anyway.


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 Kpop Faves Oct. 9-15

Each week, the KultScene team writes about some of the songs and performances that made an impression over the past few days of K-pop’s busy cycle. Last week, we liked new music from GOT7, SF9, and the cast of the new television show The Uni+. Take a listen now, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

“Teenager” by GOT7 (Released Oct. 9)

It’s been a trend on the last few GOT7 albums to contain a fun song written by the members where they just act a fool. On 7 for 7, said song is “Teenager.” A little bit more upbeat and hip-hop-lite than the rest of the album, “Teenager” embodies Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” through the male perspective, essentially telling some girl they make them feel giddy inside. I personally really liked “Teenager” because, ever since the first listen, I could picture the members going around the stage greeting fans and taking pictures with them. The feeling was only enhanced with the live performances on music shows, where they all look visibly happy and pleased with themselves (especially that darned “I can do anything if you tell me good boy” line). Like the lead track, JB wrote “Teenager,” and if anything, 7 for 7 is the first album where we actually see a bit more artistry to this JYP Entertainment boy band.


“O Sole Mio” by SF9 (Released Oct. 12)

People are calling “O Sole Mio” the K-pop “Despacito”, which I’m not sure it’s fair to say. I understand it’s because it has a Latin approach, but we can’t ignore the fact it has so much more than this! Even if it might be intentionally channelling the huge Luis Fonsi hit, I think it still holds more complex features. The lyrics speak in 5 languages (Korean, English, Spanish, Italian, Latin) and the instrumental blends EDM, tropical house and hip hop with a beautiful Spanish Guitar– by the way, my salute to the producer for putting the guitar instead of the now-cliché tropical house drop after the chorus. Besides, I can hear the old-school K-pop feels in the melody of the chorus. “O Sole Mio” is a mix of so many things, but they all work very well together.

—Ana Clara

“My Turn” by The Uni+ Cast (Released Oct. 13)

Perhaps not as addicting as the theme songs of either season of Produce 101, the promotional pre-release for The Uni+ is a bright batch of co-ed colorfulness put to light EDM form. AKA, exactly what the doctor ordered. The twinkling, retro-styled synth and funk elements is perhaps the most cheery form of electropop we’ve seen out of K-pop in a while, and honestly one of the most innovative sounding takes on a trend that we’ve all seen done to its depths. I wasn’t particularly interested in the show aside from a few vocalists, which I still don’t think necessarily shine in this song thanks to some flat tones, to be honest. But the melody’s production is a nice change from the trends of the moment, and feels more K-pop to me than much of what is getting put out today. Which is definitely a good thing, at least in my book.


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.