Weekly K-Pop Faves: 12-18


Only two weeks left of December, and K-pop 2016 isn’t anywhere near slowing down. (Although our writers are, as busy as they are with the holidays and finals!) This week, we talked a little about an EXO song and K.A.R.D’s debut. Take a listen below and let us know what your favorite song of the week was.

EXO “Winter Heat” (Released Dec. 18)

Each year, EXO’s special winter album is one of my favorite EPs. Their recently released For Life album isn’t doing it for me as much as last year’s Sing For You did, but the b-side “Winter Heat” is a groovy house track that I’ve been listening to all day on repeat. (Or at least since I listened to the album for the first time around 11am in NY.) The song provides some of the album’s more upbeat moments, and some of the group’s most melodic vocals this year that overwhelm the electric rhythm of “Winter Heat.” If you’re looking for a sultry song to heat you up on a cold winter day, well… “Winter Heat” could melt Antarctica.


Also on KultScene: 2016 K-Pop Inspired Gift-Giving Guide

K.A.R.D “Oh NaNa” (Released Dec. 13)

DSP Media’s new co-ed group K.A.R.D debuted this week with hard-hitting vocals, raps, and visuals, delivering a well-rounded combination of skills and charm in their first release. The song “Oh NaNa” is, frankly, much stronger than any of DSP Media’s recent releases (and by recent, I mean from the past two years). With strong influences from hip-hop, EDM, and mainstream K-Pop in general, the song fits the K-Pop mold while also incorporating some incredibly unique features — namely, a co-ed lineup. If KARD does well, maybe we’ll see more co-ed groups in the future? Only time can tell. For now, I respect DSP for this largely experimental release, and hope to see more of this quality from them in the future.


What was 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.

5 reasons to watch ‘My Annoying Brother’

Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

The Korean film My Annoying Brother is getting released in the U.S on December 8 at Los Angeles’ CGV Cinemas. The film is widely popular in South Korea and has built a lot of buzz because of its impressive cast. My Annoying Brother stars EXO’s D.O (Du-Young), Jealousy Incarnate’s Jo Jung Suk (Du-Shik), and Doctor Crush’s Park Shin Hye (Su-Hyun) at their very best as they ramble between love, hate, triumph, and despair.

Ahead of the film’s release, here are some things you to hopefully entice you into seeing the dramedy.

1. The Sibling Struggle Is Real

The film’s English title My Annoying Brother is actually quite different than the Korean one, Hyung, or “Older Brother.” The English expands on the meaning, introducing the film as one brother dealing with the other, implying that both D.O’s Du-Young and Jo Jung Suk’s Du-Shik find his brother irritating, but in the Korean version it’s a clear emphasis on the older brother being… Something. That something turns out to be a con artist who ran away from his family years ago, and gets out of jail pretending to be heartbroken over his younger half-brother’s sudden blindness.

My Annoying Brother D.O Jo Jung Suk


Also on KultScene: 2016 Gift Guide For Fans Of Korean Pop Culture [GIVEAWAYS]

2. D.O’s Acting Is No Joke

K-pop idols-turned-actors often have a bad reputation, but there’s no question that D.O’s portrayal of the blind judo athlete Du-Young is extremely powerful and impressive. D.O has played a variety of characters in the past, including the abused Han Kang Woo in It’s Okay, That’s Love, but depicting a blind character proved that D.O’s acting skills are just as impressive as his vocal prowess. (And perhaps even then some.) While the eyes are traditionally used in acting to depict a wide array of emotions, D.O was able to portray the smallest, most nuanced emotional shifts with the rest of his physique. Watching him outshine some of the other actors in the film was definitely a pleasure.

EXO D.O My Annoying Brother

3. There’s Something for Just About Everyone in My Annoying Brother

If you like sports films, con films, comedies, or dramas, My Annoying Brother hits all the categories. The film is about a con artist dealing with his estranged family situation, an injured athlete, a coach trying to support her trainee without ruining her own career, the Rio Olympics, comedic attacks at convenience stores, bath scenes in saunas, and so much more.

But, just note, if you’re looking for romance, that’s not really in this film. But there is whole lot of Bromance for you!

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

4. It Breaks Korean Familial Stereotypes

About 30 minutes into the film, one character points out that “there are many families that aren’t blood related.” In South Korea, where blood ties have been traditionally incredibly important in determining one’s place in society, My Annoying Brother is all about the relationship between siblings rather than the actual blood flowing in their veins. Du-Sik and Du-Young are only half brothers, and Du-Sik feels major resentment towards Du-Young, but at the end of the day the two learn to support one another as brothers. Su-Hyun also joins in on their little family, offering a maternal role to the two overgrown children as they struggle to understand one another.

My Annoying Brother via Tumblr

5. It’s A Big Hit In South Korea

Earning more than $14 million USD is no mean feat, but beating out Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is what’s really impressive about My Annoying Brother. According to Variety, the film was the best-earning film in Korea this weekend with Missing and Fantastic Beasts in second and third place respectively.

What do you think of My Annoying Brother? 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.

2016 Gift Guide For Lovers of K-Pop, K-Drama, & K-Beauty

KultScene 2016 Holiday gift guide feat TWICE!It seems like the holiday season already began as far back as September, but for many of KultScene‘s readers it kicks off in earnest on Thanksgiving day when the Black Friday sales jump into action in the US (and much of the rest of the world!) Every year, we’ve greeted the busiest shopping season of the year with our K-pop-oriented gift guide and once again we’ve put our heads together and come up with some great ideas.

Albums and K-pop swag may be a lot of fun (all the lightsticks and posters!!) for the music fans, and you may be tempted to see if that drama you know they love is available on Amazon, but there’s so much more out there! Along with our recommendations, we’re offering a few discounts and giveaways throughout the next month, so make sure to check back throughout the holiday season!

Scroll below to see our rotating giveaways. Currently we’re giving away a Korea Curated Box, so scroll down to enter!

For The Masking Fiend

There’s a lot of K-beauty-oriented subscription boxes out there (and on this gift guide), but Piibu Subscription Box is the answer to every masker’s dreams. If you know someone who has ever tried the 10 masks in 10 days challenge, Piibu’s box filled with different masks is perfect for that. The monthly subscription box comes with a variety of masks from different Korean brands.

Price: $19-108, depending on the subscription plan

Piibu is offering KultScene readers a chance to win a box, so enter below (begins at midnight 11/24). However, this is only available for those in the US, sorry!

Update: Thanks to everyone who entered our Piibu giveaway! Congratulations Naomi Pangelinan for winning!

For People Who Love Wearing Their Fandom Hearts on Literal Sleeves

Everyone loves T-shirts, right? TeePublic gives artists an opportunity to sell their designs for $20, and there are some really great K-pop themed ones available through the outlet so just dig around a bit. We’re fans of designs by sittinginclover and dekoreate, but there’s a lot more K-related items on the site. The site is called TEEPublic, but you can also get the designs on a variety of items, like cell phone cases and mugs!

Price: Tees for $20

For the K-pop Inept

Just in case someone in your life is completely lacking all knowledge of Korea’s music industry, Woosung Kang‘s recently released The KPop Dictionary is probably a good place to start. Or, you know, take a look at our other fact-finding suggestions.

K-Pop Dictionary

Price: $6 for Kindle version, $13 for paperback copy

Also on KultScene: 2015 Gift Guide For Fans Of Korean Pop Culture

For The Skin Tone Perfectionist

For some people, sunscreen is all you need before leaving the house. For others, you better have your primer, foundation, powder, and setting spray. Most of us are somewhere in between. Missha makes it pretty easy, with their BB Boomer primer setting things up as a great base for whatever you’re dressing your face up with. (Plus, Alexis swears by their Time Revolution Essence!). Everything on Missha’s site is 30% OFF between Dec. 1-27 and there’s a lot of free gifts, including sheet masks and samples of some of their Time Revolution products.

Make sure to enter our Missha X KultScene giveaway! We’re giving three winners a gift set worth $90 featuring the BB Boomer, Missha’s Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule, Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence. However, only U.S. residents can participate since the prizes must be sent to an address within the country.


Price: Regular $15, but on sale for $9

Thanks to everyone who entered our Missha giveaway! The winners have been notified.

For The Lipstick Loving EXO-Ls

Apparently, Sephora has shades in their Rouge Cream Lipstick line that sound suspiciously like they were named after songs by EXO, like “Call Me Baby” and “Lucky One.” It may or may not be related, but it’s a nice little token with an inside joke for anyone who wants a piece of K-pop in their makeup bag. [Let KultScene know if you find any other K-pop connections at Sephora!]

Sephora Lucky One EXO lipstick KultScene

Lucky One

Price: $12.50 each

For The Lipstick Loving Wino

No, I don’t mean a fan of WINNER (shout out to Inner Circle!). Style Korean has a lot of really cute products, but our favorite is their Labiotte Wine Tints. Or just buy them some soju or plum wine!


Price: $9 each

For The K-pop Fan Always Losing Their Headphones

Psy apparently tested these adorable brightly colored earbuds from Soul Electronics. So if that celebrity endorsement matters to you, here you go! They come in a variety of different neon hues so can suit just about anyone’s taste. (And maybe buy an album or two with them?)


Price: $50

For The K-Beauty Confused

What the heck is the 10 step solution? If your giftee, or yourself, are befuddled by the nuances of K-beauty skincare, the BomiBox is the perfect place to begin. Each box comes with eight full or deluxe sized Korean beauty products, ensuring that you’ll have a diverse range of items to peruse as you dig further into K-beauty.

Bomibox KultScene

Price: $37, but if you use the code KULTSCENE you get $2 off each order you make. For life!

Thank you everyone for entering and congratulations, Briana Fortunato!

Also on KultScene: 2014 K-Pop Inspired Gift-Giving Guide

For The Cuddle Buddy

Zombie Mamma makes some adorable K-pop plushies, specialized upon request. So if you know someone who wants to be able to brag about sharing a bed with their favorite Korean star… Here’s your chance! Contact Zombie Mamma through her Facebook page.

Zombie Mamma K-pop plushies

Price: Prices range from $50-$60, depending on how elaborate you want to get with the hair, outfit, etc.

For The Burgeoning Anthropologist

K-beauty and K-pop is good and all, but is that really what Korea’s all about? Definitely not! Korea Curated and Inspire Me Korea are two different subscription boxes that bring a little bit of Korean culture straight to your front door.

Korea Curated offers subscription boxes featuring Korean items that aren’t typically sold outside of Korea. Each month’s box can feature anything and everything, filled with things such as Korean snacks, toys, artwork, socks, craft projects, and more. (Plus it’s run out of Korea by a married couple, Cory and Marie, which you know it’s filled with love!) If you use the code KULTSCENE, you’ll get 20% off your first order.

Korea Curated boxes KultScene gift guide

Price: $43-75, depending on the size of the box.

Inspire Me Korea, on the other hand, offers the most diverse Korean subscription boxes around with their monthly culture boxes geared to both men and women, plus they also feature a beauty box. It’s UK based, but don’t worry, they ship their boxes around the world. If you use the code KULTSCENE you can get 10% off your first order.

Inspire Me Korea Box KultScene Gift Guide

Price: £13.99-40 (about $18-100 USD), depending on the subscription

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For The Foodie

Watched Let’s Eat or Drinking Alone? There’s so much food, how can you not want to try some Korean food firsthand? We spoke to the women who started Crazy Korean Cooking years ago, but they have these DIY kits that we think would be a great addition to any kitchen pantry.

They also have a great option to get meals shipped directly to your door , and if you use the code KULTSCENE you can get 25% off your first order. Or, if you’re looking for something more stocking-sized, there’s also the A Very Crazy Korean Christmas Gift set filled with some fun items, ranging from food to kitchen gloves. (Literally!) If you’re interested in that, use the code KULTCRAZY to get 10% off. Both codes expire on Dec. 18, so decide which delicious-looking foodstuff you want soon! There may be times when you want to get drinks such as Soju in very cute mugs. If you’re a K-pop and K-drama series fan, you could get custom mugs with photo of your favourite singers or stars making it even more personal to you.

DIY Crazy Korean Cooking

Price: $19-85

What’s your ideal holiday gift, either for yourself or for others? Share your thoughts (and pictures of your holiday shopping!) about this article 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: May 23-29

kpop playlist favorites may last week 2016
The final (full) week of May brought a lot of returns from some of our team’s favorite artists. Girl groups, boy groups, solo artists, and a wide variety of genres are represented in this week’s KultScene weekly K-pop faves.

“Windy Day” by Oh My Girl (Released May 25)

With “Windy Day”, Oh My Girl threatened us with a most dreaded coffee shop ballad. I nearly stopped listening after twenty seconds due to intense disappointment, especially this being the best and most exuberant of all rookie girl groups. I perked up by Yooa and Binnie’s angelic pre-chorus and was absolutely hooked by the Middle East-inspired break after the chorus. Between these parts, the song is driven by Oh My Girl’s perpetual dynamism. First by the chorus vocals in which seven of the members participate in and then by those wonderful strings (might be an Oud) and choreography. No group has exuded such youthful apathy towards musical norms quite like Oh My Girl. They are the rightful heirs to Girls’ Generation’s throne.

— Joe

“Life in Color” by Beenzino (Released May 26)

After the lackluster that was “We Are Going To,” it’s comforting to see that Beenzino is back at it making up for the lost momentum after his “Up All Night” album. It’s no secret that Beenzino is #artsy: one of his most artistic music videos is last year’s “Break.” Continuing the concept and, with another Digipedi music video, comes “Life in Color.” The track is more on the experimental, hypebeast hip-hop side rather than the Southern rap stuff Illionaire regularly does, which makes it that more refreshening. Korea is all about making rap music that doesn’t sound like rap music (mainly slow tempo tracks with a singer at the chorus), but Beenzino mastered this practice by creating something interesting and new while keeping it upbeat. I for one am now highly anticipating his new album (which drops tomorrow!) and hope we see more songs on par with “Life in Color” rather than “Break” and “We Are Going To.”

— Alexis

“so-so” by Baek A Yeon (Released May 23)

I accidentally came across this song while scrolling through Youtube. Baek A Yeon’s soothing vocals blended with the soft melody is easy on ears. This ballad track has R&B and soul effect to it which portrays the feelings of being single and lovesick. The lyrics are quite relatable and hold some bitter reality to them. The subdued effect of the song is neutralized by using pastel shades for the video. The music video has a cute concept and is pleasing to eyes. Baek A Yeon’s “So So” is skyrocketing the music charts, like her previous hits.

— Sana

”Monodrama” by Lay (EXO) (Released May 26)

I really missed hearing R&B from EXO, and even though he only makes up a ninth of the group, Lay’s “Monodrama” was enough to satiate that musical craving. Performed in his native tongue, this song is exactly what I imagine when I think of Chinese R&B. And like all quintessential R&B slow jams, this too makes generous use of layered claps and sensual guitars, giving it a very classic, old school sound. I don’t have to read into the lyrics (I mean, I did) to understand that this isn’t exactly a celebratory song because the instrumentals more than expressed the heartache that “Monodrama” is all about. Lay may not be the strongest vocally in his group, but with this comeback he definitely was able to brandish more than he did when he had to share lines with eight other members. Those several laudatory high notes alone probably made this one of SM Station’s best releases yet.

— Shelley

I was thoroughly absorbed in the music video for “All In” when I heard it the first time, to the degree that I honestly missed much of the song and had to go back to listen again. This music video, which appears to set up a dystopian trilogy featuring some of the members of Monsta X committing suicide, had me thinking of Nazi Germany, The Lord of the Flies, Japanese-occupied Korea, The Walking Dead, yaoi manga, and at least ten other K-pop music videos from the past decade. All at the same time. That said, because of the convoluted plot I feel like the music video honestly didn’t suit the song. As with all Monsta X singles, “All In” has an aggressive sound. Despite the pounding chorus and horn-heavy raps, the song isn’t actually about war or anger, so I feel like it should be accompanied by a music video about sports or some other difficult to achieve goal rather than a fight-for-life plot. The lyrics reflect being all in a relationship; translating this to being all in on a team or a competition makes sense while depicting it through revolution seems off the mark. But, back to the song, within two listens this pounding beat got stuck in my head and I really enjoyed the raps; It’s their most diverse single to date, while still retaining their specific style.


What song was your favorite 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.

EXO Made The Audience Feel Like One At EXO’luXion New York


EXO’s first ever North American tour came to an end on Sunday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. But while the performance was the fifth and final stop of the North American leg of EXO PLANET EXO PLANET #2 – The EXO’luXion, it felt like the start of something new for many in the crowd. With EXO and their East Coast fans coming together for the first time ever, the night was one filled with euphoria as the audience and artists built a bond through the night.

Amidst an outpouring love from EXO-L’s (EXO’s official fanclub), the energy was intense as EXO took the stage. Even prior to the start of the show, the excitement was palpable as fans screamed every time a picture of their favorite EXO member flashed on screen, with the loudest cries dedicated to MIA member Lay who is resting from an injury from a television shoot in China.

The Prudential Center filled up near maximum capacity with a white ocean of fans waving official lightsticks, chanting along to EXO’s songs playing prior to the concert. The show kicked off with a video highlighting the mythology of EXO’s members being extraterrestrial beings with supernatural powers, hyping the audience up for the energy EXO was about to showcase.


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

Throughout the next few hours, EXO showed the audience what made them worthy of that place in the Korean music scene. Despite the language barrier, EXO and EXO-L’s alike understood one another through shared passion as soon as EXO took to the stage. Beginning with “Overdose,” decked out in gold form fitting jackets, EXO performed the powerful dance track as fans let loose their frantic cries of adoration. The song, the group’s final single before several member departures, had been reworked artfully to accommodate the eight present members. While there were fewer members on stage than the dance initially called for, there was no lack amongst EXO’s introductory performance.

After the bombast of “Overdose,” EXO launched into two early songs, pre-debut track “History” and their debut song “MAMA.” Reigniting nostalgia for EXO’s early days, “History” and “MAMA” acted as a gateway into a journey through the group’s repertoire. The performances of older songs so early in the night set the tone for the rest of the concert, as the members reassured fans that they will continue to live up to the group’s slogan to always be there: “We are one.”


Following the three intro songs, EXO’s members took to the center of the stage and introduced themselves to the audience to their New York-New Jersey audiences for the first time. Giddy with excitement, the members showed off a bit by singing their names and a short rendition of “Empire State of Mind.” Several members spoke in English, with leader Suho taking on much of the MCing throughout the evening.


However, one recurring issue relating to EXO’s popularity and their intense fan base came to light. The introduction ended with one of multiple request by the group to the crowd in the standing area, with the members leading a chant of “One step back” as EXO urged fans to allow for breathing room and safe conditions amidst the pit. While security was ample and doing what it could, throughout the night, numerous fans in the standing area fainted and were injured in the struggle to get closer to EXO. Aware of their influence, the members raised awareness to the situation numerous times throughout the night, urging the fans to take care of one another to ensure that everyone was able to enjoy the performance in a safe manner.

EXO went into a series of their B-sides that showcased the group’s wide-range of skills, beginning with an interpretive dance-driven rendition of “Don’t Go (Butterfly Girl),” that showcased the group’s softer side as Chen was able to display his belting powers for the first time that evening. After breaking up into pairs to perform the sensual song “Playboy,” EXO followed up by the emotional ballad “Baby Don’t Cry,” which featured a dance routine featuring Kai and Sehun. After the dancers were joined by the rest of EXO, it was time for the first performance without the majority of the members, as D.O., Baekhyun, and Suho performed “My Answer.” Even though there were cases of overusing backing tracking throughout the night in order to ensure more perfect performances, the group’s talented vocalists didn’t disappoint throughout the night. While D.O and Baekhyun are two of the best singers in EXO, leader Suho surprised the audience by holding his own alongside the vocal giants. Despite a minor crack during a solo, Suho more than exceeded expectations.


EXO displayed a wide range of musical styles that best proved to the American crowd what the K-pop act had to offer. Newer songs like the jazzy “Exodus” and the seductive power track “Hurt” got the crowd riled up, while sweeter songs like “Peter Pan,” “XOXO,” and “3.6.5” had the audience swaying in their seats singing along to the music before hundreds of eyes watched as EXO changed on stage between stage outfits, hidden only by white paper, during “Lucky.”

After the stream of songs, EXO’s members once again spoke to the audience, this time relaying their experiences exploring New York City. A casual comment about visiting the Disney Store in Time Square and Chanyeol expressing his love of Elsa, which led to EXO singing bits and pieces of the “Frozen” soundtrack. While it didn’t appear pre-rehearsed, the “Frozen” reference segued into EXO performing several out-of-season Christmas themed songs from their special winter albums, ending with the highlight of EXO’s most skilled vocalists – Chen, D.O., and Baekhyun- coming together to perform “Miracles in December.” Coming three months after the holiday, the theme seemed out of date, but fans ate up the concept and the elf-outfits.


EXO continuously made efforts to interact with their foreign fans as the night carried on, continuously joking around and playfully joking with the audience. Following the Christmas-themed portion, Xiumin and Chanyeol came out to teach a responsive Korean chant to the English-speaking audience. Even though many people in the crowd had no idea what they were saying, it was clear that by the time EXO performed the pump up song “Drop That” that the language barrier didn’t keep everyone from understanding their passion.

The highlight of the night was easily their hit song, “Growl,” as the audience jumped on EXO’s most well known song and took the opportunity to join in, singing along. Even though “Growl” is EXO’s most popular song to date, the group kept it fresh and exciting by putting their all into the performance. Following it up with their newest songs “Love Me Right” and “Call Me Baby,” EXO ended the concert with the bright, upbeat attitude of their new songs as they said farewell to the East Coast audience and promised that they will get through all future hardships thanks to the love and support of their fans.


“It’s been a healing moment for all of us,” said Xiumin about the concert. “You guys are really so hot, so perfect, so beautiful, so lovely.”

“We will come back for a happier time,” Baekhyun promised.

Also on KultScene: Jo Kwon’s ‘Crosswalk’ & Seulong’s ‘On The Way To Love’ Are Reminiscent of 2AM

“I feel like we finally became one through our music show,” added Suho. “Don’t forget today. I will not ever forget today forever.”

But no K-pop concert is ever really finished the first time around, and EXO came back on stage to perform two songs released at the end of last year, “Sing For You” and “Unfair.” As if an extension of their earlier promises, the group displayed their tenderness and love for their fans through the ballad “Sing For You.” They then brought the evening to a close with the upbeat, final song of the evening, “Unfair,” as the members played with confetti and stuffed animals fans were throwing onto stage as gifts.


As EXO left the stage for the final time, there was a sense of sadness from the crowd that the evening had come to an end, but also the utter happiness at being able to see the popular K-pop act in person and the knowledge that they were one of the many people to share in something special with EXO that night.

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What do you think of EXO’s show? Did you attend any of the stops on EXO’s North American EXO’luXion tour? Let us know! Share your thoughts and what you’re wrongly hearing in K-pop songs 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.

Playlist Sunday: Game Day

12714112_10156740816255019_181376715_nIf you’re anywhere in the world, Sunday is pretty much always game day. But yesterday, if you’re in the United States or a fan of American football, you know that it was Super Bowl Sunday. There’s no way to avoid it, even if you don’t like the sport, there’s the likelihood that you went to (or hid from) a Super Bowl party. In honor of Super Bowl 50, we’re going to dedicate this KultScene Playlist Sunday to Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars.

Just joking!

This Playlist Sunday is all about the K-pop songs and music videos inspired by sports and sports uniforms.

EXO’s “Love Me Right” concept photos are practically perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, baseball hats aside. The upbeat song is all about being in love and loving someone in the right way, but the music video is all about the group, their teamwork, and the locker room. (Seriously, though.) EXO’s members are a little bit on the scrawny side when compared to the average football star, but maybe they’d be good quarterbacks? But, luckily, that’s not a concern, because EXO is killing the dance and music routine of “Love Me Right” in a way that definitely makes them win the game.

— Tamar

Also on KultScene: 5 Mangas That Need To Be Made Into K-Dramas

I am very much not a sports person. I am, however, into sportswear. Despite it being very dated now, when “Oh!” came out, Girls’ Generation rocked the hell out of those outfits. Those cropped varsity jackets were cute af — how did this oppa only see them as little sisters? So if you’re like me who doesn’t really care for sports but likes looking cute at all times, “Oh!” is the perfect song since the girls were just being their fabulous selves while the game is happening.

— Alexis

True to style, Orange Caramel didn’t use sports to look cool or athletic. They took table tennis/ping pong, nearly hobby more than a sport, and applied it to a fight for love. In cute matching uniforms, Nana, Raina, and Lizzy compete against a number of opponents to impress their crush. Their acrobatic skills are unprecedented as they crush them one by one. It’s a quirky use of the sport and is shot more like a level of Street Fighter than a sport, but it works perfectly thanks to it. It has boss battles, special moves, and Lizzy’s killer expressions. The song bears the same quirky touches to Orange Caramel’s original formula too. A more quirky effort with its bouncing europop synths and talkative chorus.

— Joe

Also on KultScene: 4minute’s ‘Hate’ Music Video & Song Review

Never would I have thought I’d obsess over a cheesy of a music video as I did with MyB’s “My Oh My.” Their cheerleading choreography is simple and easy on the eyes; from their quick one-two steps to their high kicks, nothing too flashy, with clean cut and smooth transitions. It almost looks better than some of the dance routines real cheerleaders in the NBA and NFL put on. This group really took the idea of uniforms to a whole another level with their cute loose cropped tops, pale pink jackets and matching blonde hairstyles! Usually, my brain only allows itself to take in a very small percentage of the girliness that comes from these ultra high energy Korean girl groups, and luckily, at no point during this video did I feel the usual sense of queasiness I normally would, which means they did well.


What’s on you K-pop game day playlist? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Everyday EXO Looks We Love [+ North American The EXO’luXion Tour Information]

EXO Simple Fashion

As far as K-pop acts go, EXO has kept it pretty simple when it comes to their stage outfits. While SHINee is the SM Entertainment poster boy for colorful skinny jeans, EXO is the company’s spokesperson for varsity prep fashion.

EXO keeps it typically pretty safe with less than shocking outfits (a la VIXX’s “Chained Up”), but they make the least-embellished outfits seem high class with a few key touches. Throughout much of last year, we’ve seen EXO keep it simple in the best way possible.

Jean on Jean

Jean on jean may make you think of Britney and Justin, but wipe that image from your mind and replace it with EXO’s take on the 2001 style. Because during their “Call Me Baby ” performances, EXO showed off a variety of different ways to wear the basic jeans and t-shirt combo.

From the members who kept it simple with a button down shirt paired with their jeans, or the more daring approaching like Xiumin’s vest-shorts combo and Kai’s zippered short-sleeved jacket, this may not be for everyone, but it works for EXO. (Except Chanyeol’s jumpsuit. Nobody should ever wear a denim jumpsuit except under threat of death.)

College Prep

Needless to say, 2015 was a busy year for EXO. So keeping it cozy was probably the best way to play it. They definitely did just that with their promotional images for their Japanese release of “Love Me Right.”

With button down shirts, sweatshirts, denim letterman jackets, jeans, loafers, and white socks, EXO could be mistaken for extras in a 70’s college film (“Animal House,” maybe?) Retro is the trend in K-pop, and this “Love Me Right” promo pic makes it blatantly obvious why. You take the style of the past, make it comfier for the present, put it on nine of the most popular men in Asia, then looking good is easy as 1,2,3.

EXO fashion 2

Also on Kultscene: Whales & K-Pop: EXO, BTS, & The Loneliest Creature In The World

Black, Black, and More Black

If other looks donned by EXO this year were low key to the nth degree, their ad campaign for KFC had the members of EXO back in black. This urban take on their jacket and jeans concept had EXO looking a bit like a group of biker wannabes, and that’s okay.

High tops and ripped jeans kept it comfy, but the different styles of black jackets and black shirts showed off the individuality of each EXO member. The detailing is nuanced, but appropriate for each member: Suho (peddled as the most high brow of the group thanks to his family background) still has a blazer on, while the rappers are in similarly draped jackets.EXO KFC

Colorblacked Shirts

Perhaps it’s not color blocking if it’s just a few parts of their shirts, but whatever it is, EXO looks good. Tight leather jeans aside, putting the EXO members in what could be boring button downs is one of the best things SM Entertainment’s stylists have ever done. Offering a new take on a simple, old school style is one of the things that EXO (and their stylists) are the best at and this is a look EXO should hold on to.

The shirts, each of which is differentiated to highlight each member of the massive group as individuals, are all white bases with black portions. Some come off as being more traditional, with just the collar or arms blackened, while others offer up a post-modern take on the white collar style. In the picture, Suho and Chen are in traditional white suit shirts that have been heavily altered, while Baekhyun’s shirt, with its rolled up sleeves and mostly black portions, looks more like a simple button down than something meant to be worn under a suit jacket.EXO Fashion

Also on Kultscene: Playlist Sunday: Dystopian K-Pop Music Videos

Twenty-Something Chic

EXO’s members definitely don’t pick all of their own clothes out, so it’s nice to see what they wear in between the live shows and in front of the paparazzi. SM Entertainment provides regular photos of its artists behind the scenes, which means that this is EXO camera ready, but on their own terms.

The outfits are all similar to what EXO wears on stage (likely because of personalized corporate gifts and sponsorship). There are the varsity tees, jackets, and button downs. But they look comfortable, and each member of EXO is doing his own thing, looking like the 20-somethings they are. Their personalities are obvious; it’s easy to tell which member doesn’t care at all about being anything but cozy (spot the member in sweats) while other members practice in leather jackets, dress shoes and/or parts of their stage outfits.EXO Fashion 1

Speaking of stage outfits, some lucky North American fans are going to see EXO for the first time next month at EXOPLANET #2 – The EXO’luXion – in NORTH AMERICA. MyMusicTaste is working with SM Entertainment to bring the group on their first ever North American tour, and tickets are going on sale later this week.

Here’s all the information that you need to know if you’re interested in buying tickets. Seating charts have yet to be released, but MyMusicTaste shared ticket prices through their Facebook page.

All tickets go on sale Saturday, Jan 16 at 8PM EST/5PM PST.

Feb. 10 Verizon Theater [Dallas, Texas] — Tickets on sale through Axs
Section A: 195 USD
Section B: 165 USD
Section C: 110 USD
Section D: 75 USD
Feb. 12 Thunderbird Arena [Vancouver, British Columbia] — Ticketmaster
Section A: 195 USD
Section B: 165 USD
Section C: 110 USD
Section D: 75 USD
Feb. 14 Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena [Los Angeles, California] — Ticketmaster
Section A: 195 USD
Section B: 175 USD
Section C: 160 USD
Section D: 130 USD
Section E: 80 USD
Section F: 60 USD
Feb. 19 Rosemont Theater [Chicago, Ohio] — Ticketmaster
Section A: 195 USD
Section B: 165 USD
Section C: 110 USD
Section D: 75 USD
Feb. 21- Prudential Center [Newark, NJ] — Ticketmaster
Section A: 195 USD
Section B: 175 USD
Section C: 160 USD
Section D: 130 USD
Section E: 80 USD
Section F: 60 USD
Which EXO look do you like the best? Are you going to their tour in North America? 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.

Top 30 Korean B-Sides of 2015

top best korean kpop b sides album cuts 2015

2015 is the year that could do little wrong when it came to Korean music, and just when KultScene’s staff thought we were done adoring songs from last year, we decided it was time to single out our favorite non-singles. The list, compiled by several members of our staff, takes into account personal taste and the overall quality of songs as we strive to highlight the overlooked B-sides from some of K-pop’s best albums.

30. Infinite – “Between Me And You”

Undoubtedly one of Infinite’s best ballads to date is “Between Me And You,” a song that allows all the members to show off their extremely emotive vocals. Less vocally impressive members, such as Sungyeol and Sungjong, held their own in this track and showed how much they improved since their last album. Unlike most ballads, this song didn’t get boring, mostly because of the drum beat that was present throughout the song and the passionate raps provided by members Dongwoo and Hoya. This track proved that Infinite is more than just a dance group as the members showed off their great vocal talent, revealing that Infinite still has a lot of potential to grow.

29. Red Velvet – “Lady’s Room”

You honestly cannot find a cuter song than “Lady’s Room” on Red Velvet’s stand out album “The Red.” The song is about friends opening up about the boys that they like, talking together in the “Lady’s Room,” and overall enjoying the company of one another. It’s perfect for Red Velvet’s fresh and youthful image, and the song’s composition is filled with synth undertones and absolute sweetness. It’s an adorable ultramodern take on the typical girl group pop song, with crisp vocals and playful back and forths between the members. The falsettos and harmonizations in the chorus show Red Velvet’s cohesiveness as a vocal quintet as opposed to the dance-ready choruses of many of their other songs. Seulgi’s “follow me” line is a standout favorite, but the song’s continual playing with different tones and styles is just absolutely fitting for the fun girl group known for its constant reinvention of itself.

28. TVXQ Yunho – “Komplicated”

2015 was Yunho’s time to shine. The dream-inducing rhythmic track “Komplicated” is a trip dance song that would be perfect at any club. Heavy house influences on the trippy song fit with Yunho’s vocal color and preference towards dance music. The song starts off slow with pounding beats and quieter wailing sounds before giving Yunho a moment to let his vocal color show. And then the listener is slowly drawn towards the spiraling, pounding dance breaks. The song is minimalistic with a true emphasis on the music rather than the lyrics, while still giving Yunho a chance to show why he’s considered one of K-pop’s most versatile singers. MonoTree is credited with editing the warped vocals on “Komplicated,” and he’s done an absolutely phenomenal job creating one of K-pop’s best house songs of the year.

27. Shinhwa – “Alright”

“Alright” has a feel-good vibe, one in which you’ll continuously find yourself twiddling your fingers and nodding your head back and forth. There’s an immense sense of sexiness that exudes from their (well) aged voices. What’s great about Shinhwa, and I say this in the most positive way, is their lack of skin exposure; their sexiness is purely in their natural charisma. The members are now well into their mid 30’s, and with that said, it’s admirable seeing them toy around with new genres of music. The incorporation of ChaCha Malone and GRAY from AOMG in composing and arranging this song, lightly sprayed a swag element to the track.

26. ToppDogg – “O.A.S.I.S”

When I think of ToppDogg, hard hitting, rap based songs like “Follow Me” come to mind, so when I first heard “O.A.S.I.S,” it was a pleasant surprise. Especially considering another artist, Crush, released his own yummy R&B song with the same title last year. But rather than being a carbon copy or a lesser version, ToppDogg’s “O.A.S.I.S” is a funky, disco-ey symphony displaying all the right sounds from the ‘70s. This track showed the boys’ versatility, how they’re not stuck in one genre and are open to more croony sounds. And even if the oasis in question is a girl, the true oasis is the song itself for being incredibly smooth and delicious to the senses.

25. GOT7 – “Put Your Hands Up”

Disguised as a party song, “Put Your Hands Up” doesn’t imply raising your arms in the air and waving them like you just don’t care. For this B-side on their “MAD” album, GOT7 play with the idea of arresting a girl who doesn’t realize they’re into her. Instead of relying on the talented vocal line, “Put Your Hands Up” is a rap-driven earworm reminiscent of their senior’s “Hands Up.” The hip-hop influence was very visible on this album, but the jumpiness and easy to follow chorus is what makes “Put Your Hands Up” super fun.

 Also on KultScene: K-Pop’s Competition: What Korea Also Listened To In 2015

24. GOT7 – “Feeling Good”

It seems as though GOT7 is all about making their listeners feel good nowadays, and it’s definitely working in their benefit! “Feeling Good” allowed members Bambam and Yugyeom, who are less likely known for their vocals, to give you a taste of their serene and soothing voices without taking the shine away from the already skilled JB, Jr., and Youngjae. “Feeling Good” is filled with charming melodies that’ll easily swoop in and wrap you up into a bundle of greasy GOT7 feels. Considering how young the group is, GOT7 certainly knows how to get your hearts fluttering with their pleasantly delicate voices and sweet compliments of one’s beauty and fullon wonderfulness. Instant swoon, is it not?

23. Kim Sungkyu – “Daydream feat. Tablo & JW”

Kim Sungkyu, the main vocalist of Infinite, released a great solo album in 2015 filled with songs of different genres, but “Daydream” was one of the standouts. Sungkyu’s calming voice along with the leveled rapping by Borderline (Tablo & JW) was perfect and created chill vibes for the whole song. Despite only having one main melodic strand, the song never got boring because of the various ways the repetitive melody was presented, a sign that shows the high production quality of this song. The emotions in the song were shown well through Sungkyu’s voice as well, which went from appropriately soft and mild to loud and full of feeling at different points in the song. It’s not a typical song to get hooked onto, but it’s definitely an earworm in its own right.

22. G.Soul – “Dirty”

Words can’t begin to express how amazingly versatile of an artist G.Soul really is. “Dirty” is different than anything that he’s done since debuting. Not only does it incorporate deep house music, but it’s also sung in English! I kept forgetting that I was actually listening to a Korean artist and not an American. The lyrics were slightly raunchy and in your face, not the norm for a number of Korean singers, but G.Soul’s always pushing different boundaries. And maybe it’s because “Dirty” was in English, but as soon as he let out that first soulful note, my heart started doing somersaults. It blows my mind as to how well he can continuously pump out all these EPs and transition from R&B to neo-soul to house music with little to none promotions and still make it all work.

21. Nine Muses – “Yes or No”

Nine Muses tried hard this year. Three albums but little to show for it in terms of success. What they do have, however, is this delicious slice of disco. “Yes or No,” for those who venture past their singles, is a song about waiting for a reply to that risky text you sent a crush. It’s a lighter look at Nine Muses. Luckily, their wide ranging vocals survive the trip and the sound here allows both high pitched and low pitched vocalists to shine. It even has an adorable Instagram video which matches nicely with the modern look at love the song gives us.

20. f(x) – “Diamond”

“Diamond” encapsulates what makes f(x)’s album cuts so good. Like many of the best songs on “Pink Tape” and “Red Light,” it starts off one way and slowly but surely becomes something completely different by the end. In this case, we start off hearing a plodding hip-hop beat, Luna’s vocals working to make it even heavier as she delivers each syllable with an assured confidence. The song is carried like this for a while longer before Luna herself turns up again to begin lifting the song off its feet. Her 30-second long pre-chorus with Krystal adds a growing sense of euphoria ready to burst after a long build up. It then drops into a fierce electro chorus. Only f(x) could carry such an array of elements in the one song and not allow it sound a mess. “Diamond” is full of surprises, each one of them a joy.

19. MFBTY – “Let It Go feat. Yoon Junhyung”

MFBTY’s “WondaLand” is a pop album unlike anything else from K-pop in recent years. Every song is different, and “Let It Go,” featuring Beast’s rapper Junhyung, doesn’t hold back. The travel-oriented tune starts off with simple enough piano tune that leads into Yoon Mirae’s English intro before turning into Tiger JK’s devil may care rap about finding happiness and throwing away burdens. Yoon Mirae picks up the song with a spitfire “f- you” rap that references Kelis’ “Milkshake” before returning to her singsong English lines. Junhyung joins the couple on the track with his own building rap. The song’s message is exciting enough, but it’s the constantly differentiating stanzas and musical styles each singer utilizes throughout the track that made us fall in love with this MFBTY hip-pop song.

18. Hyuna – “Get Outta My House feat. Kwon Jung Yeol of 10 cm”

For Hyuna’s solo work, we’ve come to expect the ultra sexualized EDM banger with a catchy chorus or hook. And that’s fine, we all grow into liking those earworms. However, for her latest solo mini album “A+,” Hyuna showed us she’s growing and exploring more sounds. The perfect example of this is “Get Outta My House,” a slow tempo almost ballad where she talk raps about kicking a guy out of her house and the relationship. Hyuna’s voice can come off nasally and borderline annoying at times. But with “Get Outta My House,” she’s finally found the right flow for her tone, which is even sexier and goes better with her overall image than what she normally does. “A+” was solid, especially coming from Hyuna. So if she continues to drop tracks like “Get Outta My House,” we might be able to fully take her seriously as a rapper.

17. EXO – “Promise (EXO 2014)”

EXO’s “Love Me Right” repackaged album definitely saved the best for last. Closing the group’s second studio album is “Promise (EXO 2014),” a track that is as poignant as it for the members as it is for the fans. Firstly, member Lay helped compose and write the lyrics for both the Chinese and Korean versions, while members Chen and Chanyeol participated in the lyric-writing of the latter, giving the song a great deal of personal meaning. The alternate title “EXO 2014” emphasizes the importance that the year 2014 was for the boy group, and it’s not difficult to figure out why. It alludes to former Chinese members Kris and Luhan’s departure, and as if that is not depressing enough the funereal piano melody and string sections only makes listeners feel worse. But this is not what the group wants us to take away from the sentimental track. Despite all the trials and tribulations, they want to convey their appreciation for the fans who have stuck by them through all of their trials and tribulations. “Thank you, I’m sorry, I love you,” raps Chanyeol. Even if you have a distaste for all things ballads, please make an exception for “Promise (EXO 2014).”

16. Kim Sungkyu- “Alive”

Sungkyu’s silky voice is at its very best in “Alive,” which showcases a perfect combination of wonderful music production and great vocals. The unconventional but wholly appropriate music instrumentals in the background of this track stand out on their own but also enhance Sungkyu’s voice, creating this addictive and touching track. With lyrics such as “I’m better off just longing for you, that’s right, I have no other choice,” the best part of this song is its emotional climax, where Sungkyu is singing passionately and the instrumentals are on the brink of overwhelming his voice. The hopelessness is conveyed in such a clear manner that even non-Korean listeners would be able to understand the pain and meaning behind the lyrics, a trait that makes this song a really amazing one.

15. GOT7 – “Good”

With such a positive start to the song, how can one not automatically feel good? Sure, when looking at the lyrics, some will probably question why and how GOT7 can be so “full” of themselves, but if the members are able to confidently sing it, then where’s the problem in that? If you’re well put together, whether it’s your outfit, hair, makeup or all of the above, then why not strut and show it off? Self-confidence and self-loving can only start with you. But lyrics aside, not only will “Good” have you in a delightful mood whilst listening to it but it also shows the diversity and unique vocal techniques with each member’s voices. The smooth blending of members JB, Jr., and Youngjae’s voices will surely have you swooning in no time. You don’t have to worry GOT7; we’ve already fallen for you.

14. Jonghyun – “Deja-Boo”

One of the best things to have happened to K-pop was SHINee’s Jonghyun’s album “Base,” and one of the best songs to have hit us was “Deja-Boo” off of said album. With this song, we see a smoother side to the SHINee leader that was previously masked in the group’s more dynamic productions. Throw in Zion T. as a feature into the mix, and now you can pretty much bet on a pretty solid R&B track. And as the intro song as well, it sets the right tone for the rest of the album. The song, laced with finger snaps and a mellow bassline, is flirty yet funky, just like its coy lyrics about a woman who Jonghyun swears he encountered before. There may not be a climax moment, but the varied structure – some singing abbreviated with soft murmurs – makes it nevertheless very addicting. Trust Jonghyun to deliver yet another well written and composed song.

13. BTS – “Boyz With Fun”

Sometimes I forget how young the members of BTS really are. Their lyrics and music are usually deep and transcends powerful messages to the listeners. One would think they’re all serious and no fun, but “Boyz With Fun” showed otherwise. This song does exactly what the title states. The members are cheerful from beginning to end. It’s easy to sense their playfulness towards one another, even without watching their live performances. With it’s hooking beat, who could possibly sit still and maintain any sort of calmness while listening to this? BTS doesn’t want to be bothered with someone who’s not down to having a good time, would you? What would life be like if it was just filled with humorless and full days? “Boyz With Fun” is reminder to always fill your days with as much enjoyment as possible!

12.5 Super Junior “Stars Appear”

Due to editorial oversight, “Stars Appear” was not included in the originally published version of this list. Our bad!
Super Junior’s known for their dances, but some of their most memorable tracks throughout the years have been power ballads. “Stars Appear” begins with a simple piano melody before building into a soft rock song that is all about the group’s decade-spanning career together. The member’s vocals come together in an emotion-wrought chorus over strings and clashing cymbals, along with a lot of subtle sounds. The song comes to a sudden with an acoustic, a nearly a cappella bridge filled with Kyuhyun and Ryeowook’s smooth crooning before returning to its previously-introduced tempo. The song has plenty of parts distributed so that Super Junior’s members each get a chance to sing, but the real beauty of “Stars Appear” are the choruses, which have several members showing off their vocal colors backed by the rest. Super Junior’s a big group, but this song gives each member a time to shine.

12. miss A “Love Song”

Despite JYP Entertainment having its best year in a long time, miss A still seemed to slip under the radar compared to their compatriots. This is a shame as their album “Colours” was fantastic and this track from it, “Love Song,” is one of the best of the year. The song opens with an atmospheric piano melody that transitions into a subdued but moody verse. The intro then returns as a pre chorus before what can only be described as a crunk classical chorus. It is merely oriental strings along with a bass drum and snare but manages to be instantly danceable and energetic. This unexpected turn transformed “Love Song” from a great filler track to a genre-creating masterpiece. ‘’Like a tornado’’ is right.

11. BEAST – “See You There”

2014 was BEAST’s year — no doubt about that. “Good Luck” and “12:30” won everything in music shows and rocked our worlds. So when 2015 came around, we were perplexed by their singles that were subpar to its precedents. I say with deep pain in my heart that BEAST was a disappointment in 2015, but at least they managed to release an awesome b-side worthy of their previous album, “See You There.” The synth beats effortlessly weave into the R&B influences, with the member’s velvety vocals bringing the whole thing full circle. Not only are the lyrics, about a man wishing to meet his lover where they first met, beautiful, but it’s the perfect example of BEAST’s flawless harmonization. It’s a sweet, feel-good song, but it’s also the best in the entire album “Ordinary.”

 Also on KultScene: 5 Must See K-dramas of 2015

10. Infinite- “Moonlight”

Perhaps the song most celebrated by Inspirits for having the best line distribution in Infinite’s mini album “Reality,” “Moonlight” is an upbeat dance track that has Infinite written all over it, mostly because it sounds familiar to their old hits such as “Paradise.” Surprisingly, this track does not have any raps in it, but perhaps this is for the better because it gave resident rappers Hoya and Dongwoo a chance to show off their amazing vocal ability. Dongwoo in particular had several high notes in the track and pulled it off very well. The producers of the track should be given credit as well because of how skillfully originally weak vocalists such as Sungyeol and Sungjong were used in the song. Yes, their parts were auto-tuned sometimes, but for once, the auto-tune didn’t sound out of place and fitted the song perfectly. They were also given parts which suited their voices and allowed them to sound really good. The track was also layered with many vocal ad-libs and strong instrumentals, all in all creating one of the best songs of the album.

9. EXO – “Hurt”

EXO’s “EXODUS” album from earlier this year was absolutely stuffed with addicting songs and “Hurt” is the highlight of the non-singles. The haunting instrumental opening drops into an electropop song that is addicting that leads into a dub-pop dance break. “Hurt” stands out by giving EXO everything that the members need to shine; there are individual, building solos, there are harmonization-filled choruses, some raps that don’t detract from the abundance of heartbreaking crooning. The moody, angsty song’s lyrics are like something out of late 2000’s MySpace pages, and the narrator of “Hurt” probably could use a few hugs. “Will you take me inside the veil that covers you?” sings EXO. “Can’t you make me live?” EXO does well at being the desperate lover, and “Hurt” is the epitome of that. EXO is an idol dance group first and foremost, but the artistry of “Hurt” with its ability to seamlessly introduce different rhythms and musical styles is a standout from EXO’s discography.

8. BTS – “Hold Me Tight”

BTS’s “Hold Me Tight” is easily title track material, if only their album “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 1” did not already have two other singles already. The song walks us through several distinct moments, from the opening with the delicate piano instrumentals, to the body’s snaps and snares, and finally to the bridge with the muffled rap. The members’ long vibratos and angsty raps makes it one of the group’s most emotional songs, and the harmonizations throughout the verses and choruses are exemplars to the group’s talent. Moreover, the passionate mood perfectly conveys the lyrics about the regret and the desperation that accompanies a foreseen breakup. But, wait, it gets better. In collaboration with Slow Rabbit, pdogg, and the rapper line, the song is composed and written by member V, making it his first time participating in a BTS production. For a first, it is pretty impressive, but then again it is BTS, so what else is new?

7. f(x) “Rude Love”

The love of British dance music didn’t end with “Four Walls” for f(x); “Rude Love” is a sprawling house ode to sex. While it is ostensibly a house track, it also seems to borrow from other British music of the same era. The satisfyingly simple piano is reminiscent of a Stone Roses or Happy Mondays track, and I assure you f(x) are picking the right influences. These pianos mix with the house beats to create an almost pure dance track only lifted by the dynamic vocals. The muffled refrains of “I’m wanting you baby” being particularly important to bringing it all together.

6. BTS – “Silver Spoon”/“Crow Tit”

BTS may not have a “Cypher Pt. 4” for us in their album “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 2”, but they do have “Crow Tit” (“Silver Spoon”), which is pretty much the same thing. On the surface, it’s one of those songs that make listeners feel bigger than life with its trap beats, but at the microlevel, it’s a track about originality, social expectations, and generational divides. The title refers to a Korean proverb “If a crow-tit walks like a stork, it will tear its legs,” which, in turn, translates into an expression about people who ruin themselves by trying to emulate those who are better. In this case, BTS are the crows who are condemned by the superior storks. But BTS embraces their crow-like position, as supported by the implementation of crow caw beats, and thank their haters (“Thanks to the stork, my legs spread”), which explains the members’ cocky tones. The track boasts of each member’s’ colorful voices, which are barely indistinguishable here, and it’s just one of their many songs that listeners have to see live.

5. GOT7 – “Back to Me”

Before GOT7 released “If You Do” and the album “MAD,” their thing was the cutesy and playful concept epitomized by “Just Right.” However, on that same album, we got other just as good lively and cute jams like “Back to Me.” Sprinkled with hip-hop, “Back to Me” is the sweetest song about wanting a girl back that allowed for the backup vocalists Jr. and Yugyeom to take the lead. It’s impossible to hear this strong and not have your heart immediately warm up and a big smile form in your face. While GOT7’s manly and fierce image was the true revelation of the year, we’ll always cherish their perfectly human boyfriend concept paired with bubblegum pop/hip-hop hybrids.

4. Red Velvet – “Time Slip”

Red Velvet has had a great year and their album “The Red” was truly a wonderful one. “Time Slip” is simply exceptional though, with its use of cohesive instrumentals and a great bass. It’s tempo is similar to that of English hits such as “Fancy,” but comparatively, “Time Slip” has more interesting sounds (a school bell was used at one point). The vocals of the members are also showcased well here and they brought out the meaning of the lyrics because they literally transported listeners to another world through this song. The song seems like a successful experiment which worked exceedingly well for Red Velvet and I’m glad that they’re defying conventional K-pop girl group standards. I’m really excited to see what else they have in store for us because they are a group with boundless potential.

3. EXID – “Thrilling”

EXID’s funk-dance songs like “Up & Down” and “Ah Yeah” are great, but the girl group’s vocal performance in “Thrilling” is one of KultScene’s favorite songs of the year. The alluring, haunting track offers up a bevy of everything that makes EXID the fierce group we know and love. The vocal talent, the seductive voices, the take no bullshit attitude… “Thrilling” is EXID at their very best. EXID’s distinct sound is clear throughout “Thrilling,” and is the grown up version of 2012’s “Every Night.” The song doesn’t hold back, and each member is given their chance to shine. The highlight is definitely the builds that lead into the singsong chanting chorus featuring Junghwa, and there’s an absolutely phenomenal harmonization towards the end of the song featuring Hani’s sultry voice lightly layered over Solji’s belting high note.

2. BTS – “Whalien 52”

BTS is known for being K-pop’s “social conscious,” as they often tackle heavy subjects such as oppression and the pursuit of happiness through their lyrics, so with their latest album “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt.1” this is not any different. In particular, “Whalien 52” uses a real life solitude creature, a whale who communicates at a disparate 52 hertz wavelength, as a trope to speak about loneliness and despair. Unlike what one would expect, however, the group approaches the topics in a hopeful manner. Behind all the light piano melody and synth sounds is an inspirational song also about how one day this whale’s tune will reach someone, just as how through the right effort and persistence one can leave a dent in this world. A repetitive wailing in the backing track resembling a whale song further supports the notion of how this whale should keep singing until its voice is heard, and continues throughout the tune until it ends on one resoluting cry. “Whalien 52” attests to how an unlikely muse like a marine mammal can be incorporated into both the greater message and the production of a beautiful track.

1. Brown Eyed Girls “Wave”

In the context of Brown Eyed Girls’ album “Basic”, “Wave” plays almost like a warm up for lead single “Brave New World,” but goes above and beyond the single’s radio-friendly take on ambient pop. With less bombast, “Wave” washes over its audience and allows a build of quiet tension to pervade its entirety. The instrumental intricacies are similar to “Brave New World” but work to give us something more chilled out but with a broken hearted bite, matched by breathtaking harmonies. “Wave” contains similar funk guitars and a gorgeous slinking bassline, but it’s more mellow in its overall sound. Simple keys open up the song before a perfectly tight rhythm section and eventually a funky scratching lead guitar. Each of these elements are balanced delicately, coming in and out of the song to build the aforementioned tension and also to create a heavenly climax during Miryo’s rap. “Wave” is one of Brown Eyed Girls’ most spectacular productions to date, and it is something we’d love to see more of this sort of song from the talented vocal group.

What were your favorite K-pop B-sides? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Video of the Top 25 Korean Songs of 2015


So far 2016 has been a slow year, aside from Dal Shabet nothing of any interest has been released. This has led us to looking back at how great of a year 2015 really was. To celebrate it, one of our writers cut together a video of the top 25 songs of the year as voted for by the KultScene writers. As you may have seen our top 50 list, this video takes the top 25 and edits them together in inventive ways. This is something to celebrate the year in music with, but mostly we hope you have fun watching it.

What was your favorite Korean song this year? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: Holiday Tunes

christmas songs playlist kpop

With Christmas and Kwanzaa right around the corner, and Hanukkah ending recently, we’re all feeling all kinds of cheery and warm inside. So for this week’s playlist, we’re listing all the holiday songs we love — or at least the ones we can stomach — by our favorite Korean artists.

GOT7’s formula for releasing singles since debut seems to be to release a powerful dance song, followed by cute and playful one. So after the release of their manly single “If You Do,” it’s time for the cute one. And since tis the season, the boys put out a Christmas song, “Confession Song.” The cool thing about it is that it’s not another lame holiday song about Santa and reindeer and all that nonsense. Instead, they take the non-Christian Korean concept of Christmas, a day to spend with your significant other, and give us a sweet song about writing a love confession to the person of their interest. But to still keep that Christmas cheer, bells ring throughout the track. In true GOT7 fashion, “Confession Song” is just the right amount of cute and cheesy that never taps into the ridiculous. It’s just a cute song that will make you feel like a middle schooler again.

— Alexis

Taetiseo made a relatively low key comeback recently with Dear Santa and still managed to make one of the best K-pop Christmas songs. In fairness, there’s not a lot of competition for this crown but Girls’ Generation’s subgroup TTS stuck to what they’re best at and slayed the concept. The opening harmonies are some of the best vocals they have ever done, and offer us something different to the saccharine that is to come. It is almost sickeningly sweet but this is Girls’ Generation meets Christmas. It had to be like this. There’s sleigh bells jingling, plenty of piano, and vocals that are as fun as Mariah Carey’s to belt out on Christmas day. In keeping with the more western version of Christmas they are portraying here, TTS also released an English version of the song, to make sure we don’t mess up the lyrics. How thoughtful.

— Joe

Also on KultScene: 2015 Gift Guide For Fans Of Korean Pop Culture

Usually I don’t expect much of K-pop holiday songs. Because, let’s face it, they all follow the same boring, slow ballad formula that it has become quite the science. But INFINITE’s “Lately” is the only exception to this. If it were not for the nutcrackers in the music video and the bells in the instrumentals, it probably could pass for any old K-pop track. The festive tune retains the same classic INFINITE sound, what with its guitars, chic raps, and warbly vocals, that it’s unmistakable who it belongs to.The rise and fall of the harmony gives the song actual contour, as opposed to the one flat mess of a song that is common nowadays. The video itself is also very endearing and warm, as it avoids the “let’s pretend we are having a blast around the Christmas tree and yule log” bit. I want to believe that the members actually exchanged gifts over a company dinner. I want to believe all the interactions in the streets with the civilians are genuine. Its low production cost is exactly what makes everything seem so much more relatable. Since its release in 2011, there has really been no other K-pop holiday song that has done it as well as INFINITE’s “Lately” has.


Being that there will never be a K-pop song for Chanukkah, picking my favorite K-pop holiday song is like picking a pair of shoes I’ll never wear. They’re all good, but I’m not personally invested. But Nell never disappoints, and their “White Night” reminds me of the winter holiday season (and not only for the title!) The romantic, building rock ballad depicts the perfect picture of this time of year. The twinkling, tapping sounds remind me of snow, and the lyrics describing someone you want to be around is just like every holiday film about not spending the season alone. It may not be conventional, but Nell’s ardent expression of being with the person they love, even if it means trying to turn back time, is something I just adore and listen to each December.


Also on KultScene: Playlist Sunday: Roaring Twenties

EXO came back recently with their winter special album “Sing For You” and while all the tracks on the album are amazing, their title song of the same name was the one which really touched me. It’s a ballad, which may seem typical of this season but with the soothing guitar instrumental and the wonderful voices of all the EXO members the song stands out and becomes something special. It’s a song about being in love and wanting to confess but always missing the chance to do so. The lyrics speak of regret and reflection, a feeling we’re all prone to experiencing at this time of the year, even amidst all the bright lights and hearty Christmas celebrations.


What’s your favorite holiday themed K-pop song? 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.