Weekly K-pop faves: December 5 – 11

K-pop playlist winterThe winter blues may be affecting everyone as we move deeper and deeper into December, but Weekly K-pop favorites playlist, courtesy of KultScene’s staff, is all about beating the blahs via some of our favorite artists. 10cm, Suran, and Jessica, formerly of Girls’ Generation, all released new music this week that our writers were fans of.

“Winter Bird” by Suran (Released Dec. 7)

I really like when other artists bring Suran in to sing a verse or the chorus on their songs. A full length Suran track, however, is difficult for me to get through (namely, “Paradise Go”). Her tone is just too much to endure for me for 3 minutes straight, it seems. That’s why when “Winter Bird” dropped this week, I was pleased. I love her voice in small pieces, so I really wanted to like her solo work, and that was achieved with this release. The fact that it’s stripped of all frills and elaborate beats allows Suran’s voice to soar and stand on its own. Not to mention each note is full of every emotion imaginable. Am I sad? Am I inspired? Am I happy? I don’t know! But it got me in the feels. With “Winter Bird,” my will to keep rooting for Suran is restored.

— Alexis

Also on KultScene: B1A4’s ‘Good Timing’ Album Review

“My Eyes” by 10cm (Released Dec. 9)

I was thrilled to hear the gentle strumming of 10cm’s new song as it played in the background of one of the best dramas of the year, Goblin. Kwon Jung Yeol’s vocals set the mood perfectly in ”My Eyes,” a love song that, both through its lyrics and the light-hearted instrumental melody, relays the fluttering emotions related to the start of a new relationship. 10cm became associated with springtime thanks to their recent hit “What The Love?”, but “My Eyes” is a romantic melody for every season.

— Tamar

“Wonderland” by Jessica (Released Dec. 10)

For her sophomore mini album release, Jessica uses “Wonderland” to further cement her individual sound as separate from that of her Girls’ Generation days. The song follows a similar formula as that of her debut track “Fly,” but with more influences from EDM “Wonderland” establishes Jessica’s own signature sound and gives her some room for innovation and variation. Not to mention, the “Wonderland” theme creates a continuing story with her debut release, because Jessica longed to find a “winter wonderland” throughout the “Fly” MV. From visuals to music, Jessica is continuing to show us her own unique musical prowess through her solo releases.

— Kushal

What’s your favorite song of the week? 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.

Weekly K-Pop Faves March 27-April 2: Boys Repbulic, Dok2, DAY6, N-Sonic, 10cm


Every week, our writers pick their favorite songs and share them. This week, four songs by male Korean acts caught our eyes.

“Get Down” by Boys Republic (March 29)

The title track of Boys Republic’s third mini album, “BR: evolution,” combines a pulsating tribal drum beat and edgy hip hop with unconventional jazz elements. The guys display incredible vocal harmonies alongside fierce and hardcore rapping. It comes as no surprise that “Get Down” was co-produced by renowned songwriter Ryan S. Jhun, who has previously worked with the likes of numerous popular K-pop acts, ranging from EXO to U-KISS. The music video presents a very dark concept, with the band members cast as a rebellious faction in a post-apocalyptic scenario; they are sullen, brooding characters living on a knife edge and the intense choreography highlights their harsh environment perfectly. (It is important to note here that the video has a 19 + rating, as it features bloody decapitation). This new facet to the band could prove disturbing to some fans unused to seeing Boys Republic as anything other than wholesome and appealing but it is a testament to the members’ talent that they are so convincing in their roles. It’s a brilliant comeback by the group, who have upped the ante in every way possible!

— Eve

“Bad Vibes Lonely (feat. DEAN)” by Dok2 (March 27)

As far as Korean rappers are concerned, Dok2 isn’t among my favorites. His music style and lyrics, for me, come off as a little try-hard and he seems more like a caricature than an actual rapper. With that said, “Bad Vibes Lonely” is a whole other thing. For this release, Dok2 slowed it down and penned more humble lyrics about him wanting to be happy and not forget his roots. Not to mention Dean’s input at the chorus makes the song sound that more compelling. Because even without knowing what the lyrics say, that Dean verse finds it way to your feels. Overall, it’s nice to see Dok2 step away temporarily (because, c’mon, we know that’s not his actual style) from the #YOLO, swaggy, #turnup vibe.

— Alexis

Also on KultScene: Reading The Political Signs of ‘Descendants of the Sun’

“First Time” by DAY6 (March 30)

This track is vastly different from DAY6’s title track “Letting Go” in terms of its tone and lyrical content but similar in the high production quality of the song. While DAY6 members have always had a hand in the creation of their albums, this is the first song in which all five members collaborated and wrote the lyrics together, making it extra meaningful. The instruments are also layered very nicely, creating an overall uplifting and full sound in which all the varied vocals of the members are able to shine. It’s an addictive track and stands out amongst the various different styles displayed in this album.

— Anna

“Excalibur” by N-SONIC (March 29)

N-SONIC’s “Excalibur” is exactly the type of song I would have ignored if it wasn’t for this feature. An unknown boy group with a title linked to mythology. I’ve had enough of that with VIXX alone. “Excalibur” however, is not something to be missed. It contains the most satisfying rolling drums that at first sound like they could come from a 1950s dancehall but are used to drive the electro hip-pop. Sustaining these drums allows the song to transition easily between parts and vocal styles. The choreography also reflects this by having a natural quality to its movements and transitions too (despite silly things like the air drumming). A solid release that is, along with Boys Republic, by far the strongest boy group song of the week, easily beating weak offerings from more popular counterparts.

— Joe

Also on KultScene: DAY6 ‘Letting Go’ Music Video & Song Review

“What The Spring??” By 10cm (April 1)

One of the most bittersweet spring-themed songs out there, “What The Spring??” is a comical attack on people who are in love during. The duo’s typical acoustic sound turns into a query of why some people expect perfect springtime relationships, why some people are alone, and why springtime is perceived as the time of love. “Do you think cherry blossoms are pretty, you stupid?” sings 10cm’s vocalist Kwon Jeong Yeol. The song did well on Korean music charts despite the bleak lyrics because the song’s style and the amusing, realistic take a single person’s attitude towards the happiness of couples (“Actually, your boyfriend loves games more than you” is one of the bitterest but bemusing lines of the song.”) The music video, featuring “Little Prince”-inspired graphics, is an added bonus. The anti-romance song, both for its sound and unique opposite to many of the love songs popular in Korea, is one of this year’s most popular springtime Korean songs.

— Tamar

What was your favorite song from the past week? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and Tumblrto keep up with all of our posts.

10cm & Okdal Slow Down The Concrete Jungle Of NYC With Korean Indie Concert [PICTURES]

10cm3New York City is no stranger to top K-pop acts, but it is pretty rare for Korean indie acts to make the long trip to the east coast of the United States. Despite the distance, popular indie duos Oksangdalbit (Okdal for short) and 10cm shared their music at the concert Hall in the New York Society of Ethical Culture on June 5th.

Several hundred people ranging in age, but predominantly Korean, gathered at the intimate concert hall, filled the benches, and waited for the show to begin. Kim Yoonju and Park Sejin of Okdal along with a support violinist was first up on stage. After a brief introduction, they began “Enchante.” Sejin skillfully switched between playing a variety of instruments such as the melodeon, xylophone, bells, and triangle, while she perfectly harmonized with Yoonju, who was playing the piano and occasionally the keyboard.

Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: A.KOR


Their songs have the uncanny ability to transport the listener to scenes from Korean dramas of couples shyly smiling while gently holding hands in a cozy café or while walking through a park on a nice spring day. There was a good mix of mellow songs such as “I Wish I Could Disappear” and upbeat songs like “Strange Times,” where the audience clapped along. Sejin found the audience participation particularly funny, even missing a beat because she burst out laughing.


Between songs, the girls would interact with the audience, telling funny stories which added to the intimacy of the show. After a little over an hour into, Okdal’s set was finished. They thanked everyone for listening and then left the stage.

Between acts there was a short intermission where the audience was treated to complimentary chips from one of the sponsors. After the break, vocalist Kwon Jung Yeol (who happens to be married to Yoonju) and guitarist Yoon Cheol Jong of 10cm as well as a jembe player made their way to the stage and went straight into “Tonight, I’m Afraid of the Dark.”


Though it was getting late into night, the audience seemed to become energized as 10cm played on. Like Okdal before them, Kwon Jung Yeol would tell stories and make witty comments to the audience between songs to keep the audience’s interest. Kwon Jung Yeol sang favorites like their popular song “Americano” and even sang a Coldplay cover despite the lack of English throughout the whole night, while Yoon Cheol Jong happily played the guitar.10cm1

Towards the end of the night, everyone sang along, especially to songs like “Caress (Sseudam Sseudam)” and “Hug Song,” a song that the duo originally sung with Orange Caramel. When Jung Yeol announced that the next song would be their last, he listened to recommendations from the audience and decided to play “Sticky Rice Cake.”

Also on KultScene: Korean Variety’s Hidden Gem: ‘Crime Scene’


The show clocked in at just under three hours. Though the show was long, each band brought something different to the small stage. Okdal’s set was relaxing and mellow, while 10cm’s was more energetic and exciting. And even though each band had a different style and sound, they both complemented each other and had that raw, down to earth indie sound that is refreshing to hear.

What’s your favorite song by 10cm or Okdal? What Korean indie acts would you like to see come to your country? 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. Read more

Artist Spotlight: 10cm [NYC Concert Update]

Since 2010 the Korean acoustic indie band 10cm has been making waves in South Korea, offering the perfect coffee shop tunes to the most coffee-obsessed nation in Asia. It’s no surprise that the duo’s big break came from a song about coffee.

10cm, comprised of main vocalist and percussionist Kwon Jeong Yeol with secondary vocalist Yoon Cheol Jong on the guitar, tambourine, and anything else they decide to include in their folk-inspired songs. The two worked together in the early 2000’s while part of the rock band, Hyerung. The two left that path, and rejoined in 2010.

With simple jazz and folk-inspired sounds and soulful voices, the group is one of South Korea’s most promising, musically innovative musical acts. Many of 10cm songs are filled with bits of humor, sarcasm, and evocative lyrics, matching the nostalgic feel of their music.

Americano I like I like I like

The group’s most prominent hit, Americano is an upbeat, addicting song filled with 10cm’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics, which resulted in the song getting blocked from airplay in South Korea.

Also on KultScene: MFBTY Talks To KultScene About ‘Wondaland,’ Watching Reaction Videos, K-Pop As Escapism, And More

When getting some air after fighting with your girlfriend
When getting a smoke after kissing another girl

Despite being banned about a year after being released (due to the slow process to ban many songs in South Korea,) Americano became one of the most popular songs of 2010 and 2011. It, and the group’s other hit song Tonight I’m Afraid of the Dark, helped 10cm win multiple awards, including “Best Pop Song” at the 2011 Korean Music Awards.

10cm has a generally upbeat yet melodramatic, style of music, and songs like I’m Fine Thank You and You became hits in South Korea. The simple acoustic strumming of the guitar matched with and the beats of the jembe, a barehanded-played drum favored by Kwon, are reminiscent of the type of songs that made Jason Mraz and Ed Sheeren famous.

10cm occasionally introduces some new elements to its songs, and a few more rock-esque sounding are certainly in the duo’s retinue, but creating beauty out of simple chords and lyrics is what 10cm thrives at. For coffee addicts who were drawn in by the coffeehouse style (and focused) tunes, 10cm’s harmonica-utilizing Love in the Milky Way Café is an example of 10cm’s songs that offer midway point between the upbeat, faster-paced Americano and the band’s more emotional songs like Tonight I’m Afraid of the Dark.

Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: Fromme

10cm’s latest release was 2014’s 3.0, the follow up to the pair’s previous albums 1.0 and 2.0. The title song, Missing You, is a softer song with a more melancholic, mature message while other songs on the album offer a range of sounds, including creating a unique 10cm style of acoustic-rock music on Cigarette Smoking King, which includes elements typically associated with screamo songs. The album goes together as an ode to 10cm’s experiences, but nothing is filled with as much self-mockery as the first track,3rd Album Burdens.

10cm has collaborated with a variety of artists (Leessang, Yoonmirae(Tasha/T) of MFBTY, Haha, Orange Caramel, Verbal Jint) over the years, and has teamed up with the female duo Okdal for a concert series. The two bands will be performing in New York City on June 5, thanks to Urbansiders. You can find out all of the information on the concert’s website page.

What song of 10cm’s resonates with you? 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.