Most fans would agree that the ability of K-pop to reduce English to a nursery-school level is one of the most criticised elements of the genre. However, no one can deny that we all very much enjoy these WTF moments and, most of the time, in spite of their English snafus, we end up singing along with our favorite K-pop idols anyway.
The list of such songs is, basically, never-ending. So, I have selected the top 10 songs that I think represent the ‘best of class’ English.
10. TVXQ – Purple Line
Purple Line includes probably one of the most amusing abuses of English ever, which is curious, because the best lines and worst abuses were given to Yoochun, who is supposed to be able to speak English reasonably well, because he lived in The States for quite some time.
“It’s looks like purple line,” would simply be given an F-grade for grammar, but the best line ever is, “really wanna touch myself.” (Yoochun, don’t you worry. A lot of us fan-girls really wanna touch yourself, too!) The line does make me wonder, though, if the lyricist somehow accidentally mixed up the lyrics with a porn movie script. Hm.
9. U-Kiss – Dancing Floor
One of the most amusing “techniques” found is when lyrics sound like English, but when you look closer, they’re total rubbish. U-KISS sings things like, “I’m a dancing floor,” “Hey everybody let’s keep a music on,” and most interestingly, “Can you feel the floor.” Well, maybe they mean you were dancing so hard you ended up on the floor, so you can feel it? Erm…
8. Beast - Shock
I love this song, but some of the lyrics look like a first-grade rhyming lesson.
“I can’t breath, like freeze / hey dear, stay here.”
Best of all, though, is the chorus.
“Every day I shock (Shock! ), every night I shock (Shock! )”. Wow! I shock, too!
7. Kara - Pretty Girl
Some lyricists obviously need to take an English Grammar 101 class.
“If you want a pretty, every wanna pretty.” Um. No.
6. SHINee - Ring Ding Dong
Even the title sounds hilarious. Okay, yes, I know it’s supposed to be onomatopoeia, but these lyrics make me fall out of my chair every time I hear them:
“We gonna go Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rock
We gonna go Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rock
I get that it rhymes, but what does it mean?! Not to mention the rocka-rocka part sounds like ‘cola cola’ to me.
5. Super Junior - Mr. Simple
Actually, we could pick any Super Junior song, because all of them are filled with nonsensical English, but I particularly like Mr. Simple:
“Because I naughty, naughty,
Hey! I’m Mr. Simple
Because I naughty, naughty(…)
Just Grab It Grab It”
Based on word choice, it really does seem like SM lyricists get some kind of inspiration from erotic movies, doesn’t it?
4. ZE:A - Mazeltov
I cannot figure out why any Korean band would want to sing about good luck in Hebrew. I mean, they might as well sing in Russian next time. But hey, to each his own. Even when seasoned with bad grammar, WTF moments, the names of the days, and a hilarious list of girls from different countries, I still find myself singing along.
“It shut it down, Love
It shut it down, Blind
It shut it down, Passion
Break it down, Red beat down, Knock you down, Here we go.
Latin girl, Mexican girl, Korean girl, Japan girl.
Mazeltov, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday”
3. EXO - Mama
In the most notorious abuse of English, this little gem, again by SM Entertainment, attempts to sell us nonsensical sentences as–Latin? Well, you know you could have just used a real Latin text, right? Really.
No one who care about me
2. T-ara - Yayaya
Next, is a textbook example of how NOT to sing in English. The lyrics to T-ara’s Yayaya mixes random English words with “sounds” that are supposed to mimic–what exactly? Native Americans? Something. Poor No Min-woo, he probably went through hell at the music video shooting. To top it off, the Korean lyrics don’t seem to make all that much sense, either.
“Yo ma Yo ma Lova Lova
Yo ma Yo ma Supa Nova
U Hee U U Hee
Oh Go it Go it Go it Go Go it Go Go it Go”
1. JYJ - Mission
The ‘Number One Abuse of English Award’ goes to one of my favourite bands, JYJ. As much as I love these guys for their vocal talents, their English lyrics writing skills are terribly lacking. While Mission’s main lyrics were written by JUNO (Kim Junsu‘s twin brother), the rap section was penned by Yoochun who, again, is supposed to speak English well. Really? In any case, I am just unable to make any sense of these lines at all. Some of them actually seem to suggest the use of Google Translate.
“Mission make it mission lets go mission make it make it go~
I must go make it mission lets go mission make it go~
I must go make it mission lets go mission make it go~
I want u screaming JYJ verse2
What’s that baby what u baby
Probably you’re money is unpublic
Try to save my life like a puppy & cream
Another hot movie character bumble bee treat me
like a slave & I pray is it Halloween
Trick or treats oh please
don’t even try to pull my head own you’re way
Brand new person,
A man? So fuck off no more talk
Yeah no another sounds can’t make it your body mores
Just one truth is without you’re mind
and you heart there is no me”
So, which song with nonsensical English lyrics is your favourite? Come on. You know you’ve got one. Tell us all about it in the comment section below.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the reviewer and not of hellokpop as a whole.
Huh Gak – Little Giant
Release: February 5, 2013
Producer/Distributor: A CUBE Entertainment/CJ E&M
It’s partly a genre thing, but Little Giant is one of those albums that’s great for some and completely forgettable for others. Do you enjoy Huh Gak‘s reliably crisp voice crooning through well-polished ballads? You’ll like this album. If you don’t get much mileage out of that, then this probably isn’t for you. To be fair, the album does try to appeal to a variety of listeners - 노래하고 싶다 (Want To Sing) is a pretty good R&B ballad in the Brown Eyed Soul vein, and lead single 1440 incorporates a little danceability à la Kim Jong-guk. But Huh Gak’s forte is still medium-tempo pop and ballad, and that’s what the album converges to in the end. Now, he doesn’t ever really take ownership of the album; ultimately, the level of artistry here is middling. For now, Huh Gak is a talented vocalist, but it’ll be a while before the results really start living up to that talent.
Track list (recommended tracks listed in bold)
2. 노래하고 싶다 (Want To Sing)
3. 모노드라마 (Monodrama) – Featuring Yoo Seung-woo
4. 헤어질걸 알기에 (Because I Know We’ll Part) – Featuring Jung Eun-ji of A Pink
5. 술 한잔하면 (Your Wedding)
6. 간단한 이야기 (Simple Story) – Featuring Miryo of Brown Eyed Girls
7. 사랑하고 싶어서 (Because I Wanted To Love)
8. 백수가 (The Unemployed Song)
9. 눈물이 되어줄게 (I’ll Become Your Tears)
10. 1440 – Instrumental
11. 모노드라마 (Monodrama) – Instrumental
Rossy PP – 로맨티카 (Romantica)
Release: February 8, 2013
Producer/Distributor: Old Record/Sony Music
Genre: Indie pop, modern rock
Romantica is infectiously full of life; each track crackles with vitality and various hues of warmth. Rossy PP‘s EP is a concept album in the same way that Lucia‘s Décalcomanie was one: an exercise in giving voice and sound to a single emotion. If Lucia’s theme was exhilaration, Rossy PP’s is romance. In 늦지않았길 (Hope It’s Not Too Late), she paints love in the air with pleasant piano pulses and driving melody; in 몽상가들 (Daydreamers), she soothes and lifts up spirited artisans and artists, dreamers and lovers; in 낭만의 계절 (Season of Romance), she sings an ode to the happiest time of the year and offers humorous friendship to various seasonal illnesses in cozy jazz.
The instrumentation is impressively rich and detailed throughout, branching out into modern rock, bossa nova, and jazz at various points. But the album’s real star is Rossy PP’s gorgeous lyricism. She turns exasperated longing into thoughtful introspection (“To grab by the wings and put you aside me, and call it love // No, merely to hope for love that I can dream with // Is it such luxury to want that”) in 드물게 피는 꽃 (Rare-Blooming Flower) and describes her music in colors with corresponding moods in노래해볼까 (Shall I Sing). She’s good at plain old imagery too, if you were wondering – “In that place where foreign aromas bloom // Our minds too bloomed crimson, like red wine // Old tales that shone dotted // Embroidered above the waters” (Season of Romance) is already one of my favorite lyrical moments of the year. Romantica would have been welcome any time of the year, but the fact that it’s so timely just makes it all that much better.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. 늦지않았길 (Hope It’s Not Too Late)
2. 드물게 피는 꽃 (Rare-Blooming Flower)
3. 몽상가들 (Daydreamers)
4. 낭만의 계절 (Season of Romance)
5. 노래해볼까 (Shall I Sing)
Rainbow – Rainbow Syndrome
Release: February 13, 2013
Producer/Distributor: DSP Media/CJ E&M
Genre: Dance pop
Despite the name, Rainbow‘s musical color is not so strong that it determines the style that fits them. The upside of that is, of course, that the group can handle a variety of genres decently well; DSP Media seems to recognize this, and has put its seven-member group on a new trajectory with Rainbow Syndrome. Lead single Tell Me Tell Me is a lot more bubblegum pop than the Sweetune-powered releases of old, featuring a simple beat, happy-go-lucky mood, and sing-along chorus.
This is where the downside of not having a strong color comes in: if the song written for your group is bad, the members’ performance cannot save it. Tell Me Tell Me is way too stylistically pedestrian to make mainstream impact, and its quality is not high enough for non-fans to appreciate it in general. For the same reason, Rainbow Syndrome’s ballads are not very productive. The album’s best moments come in brassy Golden Touch and electric club tune Cosmic Girl, not because Rainbow is better at those styles (although Go Woori does don more charisma in these kinds of tracks) but simply because they’re better and more polished tracks. If DSP won’t pair the girls up with consistently high-quality songs, it seems urgent that the group obtains a coherent identity.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. Golden Touch
2. 두 눈을 감고 (Closing Both Eyes)
3. Tell Me Tell Me
4. Cosmic Girl
5. 나만 아는 너는 절대 모를 이야기 (A Story That Only I Know And You Won’t Ever Know)
6. In Love
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the reviewer and not of hellokpop as a whole.
Agree or disagree? Or have a recent release that you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know with your comments below! Requested albums will be considered each week and may be selected to be reviewed in the subsequent week.
Korea’s Most Prestigious K-Pop awards ceremony ends with a bang!
The final day of Samsung Galaxy The 27th Golden Disk wards in Kuala Lumpur (GDA) started off with a collaboration duet of Way Back Into Love by emcees FT Island‘s Hongki and Dasom from SISTAR, originally sung by Hugh Grant and Haley Bennett. Long-waited fans were treated to the final line-up of artistes such as T-Ara, Miss A, Lee Hi, Ailee, Secret, Heo Gak, Teen Top, Epik High, f(x), K.Will, SISTAR and G-Dragon.
T-Ara then took over the stage with their Sexy Love, Lovey-Dovey and Roly Poly. Miss A performed Touch and their song from latest mini-album Independent Women Pt 3 : I Don’t Need A Man.
New Rising K-Pop Star winners, B.A.P, Lee Hi and Ailee captivated the crowd with each of their own uniqueness. B.A.P blows the stage away with their song Power and Warrior. Lee Hi performed 1,2,3,4 and sang Mamado which was originally by a British singer Pixie Lott. Meanwhile, Ailee with her hands cuffed, performed Rihanna’s Umbrella and her own single I Will Show You.
Dressed in their classy and sexy outfits, Secret lit up the stage with their Talk That, Poison and Love Is Move. The idol group had a Special Stage Performance with B.A.P for Starlight Moonlight and Crash. f(x) lighten up the stage with their performances Jet and Electric Shock and not long before Teen Top came out and performed To You and Crazy. K.Will and HyoLyn then had a Special Stage Performance together, Endless Love. SISTAR performed Alone and Loving You.
After Epik High performed Get Out The Way and Love Love Love, Epik High’s Tablo and G-Dragon teamed up to perform Light it Up for their special stage. Touching the hearts of many, vocals powerhouse K.Will performed Please Don’t Go and I Need You while Huh Gak soothed the audience his love ballads. The Person I Used To Love and One Person which was one of the OST in the Korean drama titled: BIG. Calling the 2 Special stage performances LEGEND K-Pop <GIRLS> , the beautiful & gorgeous ladies Miss A dances to S.E.S I’m Your Girl and T-Ara performed I Can’t Cry by Fin.K.L.
All wait is over. G-Dragon had the stage all by himself performing One of a Kind, Light it up, Crayon and last but not least, Heartbreaker.
After the performances by G-Dragon, Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen graced the awards show as she stepped on stage to announce the winner of the Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) Award. The award inevitably went to global phenomenon K-Pop artist PSY for his record-breaking viral hit Gangnam Style. Even though PSY was unable to attend the awards show, he left us a video message to thank all his fans for showing so much support and love for him and that he would come back with a more addictive choreography and music video in 2013. He added: “This is my first time that I’ve received the Daesang Golden Disk Award since my debut in 2001. I will continue to work hard to sing and bring better performance in the future.”
Attended K-Pop stars and their fans all rocked the venue with Gangnam Style in celebration for PSY.
Photograph by Kenny@hellokpop.com
List of Winners for Day 2 Samsung Galaxy The 27th GDA in Kuala Lumpur
Song of the Year / Digital Daesang Award
PSY (Gangnam Style)
Golden Disk Award Song Division
T-ara (Lovey Dovey) / miss A (Touch) / Sistar (Alone) / 2NE1 (I Love You) / Heo Gak / f(x) (Electric Shock) / BIG BANG (Fantastic Baby) / K.Will (I Need You) / Secret (Poison) / G-Dragon (Crayon) / PSY (Gangnam Style)
New Rising K-POP Star / Rookie Award
B.A.P / Lee Hi / Ailee
Single Album of the Year
Teen Top (It’s)
Best HIP HOP Star Award
Epik High (Up)
MSN International Award
Galaxy Star Award
CeCi Popularity Award
InStyle Fashionista Award
Lee Hong Ki
** In no particular order
Congratulation to all the winners for Day 2 of Golden Disk Awards!
About the Golden Disk Awards
Dubbed as “The Korean Grammy Awards”, GDA was founded in 1986 and it is South Korea’s most prestigious K-POP music awards show and is presented annually for outstanding achievement in the music industry. Award categories are based on the most popular K-POP music from the past year based on the digital downloads industry whilst bolstering the creativity of pop music and finding talented artists.
Candidates of the Golden Disk Awards 2013
Artistes who released their albums after December 2011, as well as albums and songs that are released or sold between January 2012 and December 2012 will be qualified for the awards. The awards are given based on the total combined sales volume of the albums, songs and judges’ votes.
Also, if you have missed what happened on the first day, do read our coverage of the Day 1 : GDA Red Carpet & Short Interview & Day 1 : GDA Concert. 2 hours before the concert, check out our coverage at Day 2: GDA Red Carpet & Short Interview.
Special thanks to the organizer, Joongang Culture Media, Mediartncomm Co. Ltd, RougePR known as Rouge Creative Boutique (M) Sdn Bhd/
Event covered & Photos credits : kenny@hellokpop
2013 is finally here. I hadn’t thought the year 2012 would be over so quickly. A lot has happened, in the real world and the world of Kpop, both good and bad (and sometimes a bit questionable). 2013 is a new year and so a blank slate. A lot can happen in the next 12 months. I myself have created a bucket list and hope to cross off a few more things this year. What will you be doing in the new year? What wishes do you have for the future? Here are my Kpop wishes for 2013:
1. JYJ performs on music shows again/getting the entire story of the rift between DBSK and JYJ
Now that the lawsuit battle with SM Entertainment is finally over, the members of JYJ are free to appear on music shows again. And I must say I’m very anxious and excited to see them perform again. They have had concerts of course – and trust me those were amazing – but it’s still not the same. Performing on music shows is a kind of promotion, which they haven’t had for three years.
And though I loved to see them in dramas and commercials, I am ready for them to take to the stage again and fire it up. (Maybe there will even be a new album in the making). Also a few variety show appearances wouldn’t hurt. I remember the people from Come to Play being enticed by Jaejoong‘s humor, right after their Mirotic comeback.
But what I’m wishing for the most right now, is some kind of recap from the boys themselves about all that has happened during and before the lawsuit. I’m really curious to what caused the rift between the five members of DBSK and why Yunho and Changmin chose to stay with SM. And I’d like to know if that beautiful brotherly bond they all had, will be able to mend now. Seeing how hurt all five of them were about being on opposite sides, I wish for them to heal their wounds and become friends once again. Whether or not that will actually happen, I can’t tell. A lot has happened and a lot of things have been said – and not just by the five involved.
2. Global recognition of Kpop – but not entering the mainstream
Now that Psy has unintentionally but successfully broken through all the different culture barriers in the world and united everyone with his hilarious horse dance in Gangnam Style, people are becoming more interested in Kpop. And that is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because that means Kpop might become a bit more accepted by the global community, which means no more annoying side-eyes for Kpop fans. Kpop might even get recognition for its perks: no drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll, catchy tunes, and often fun synchronized choreographies.
But with global acceptation and recognition, it will be harder to hide the uglier side of Kpop. The suicide petitions, Black Oceans, sasaeng fans, slave contracts and sometimes ignorant and hurtful remarks by people from the Korean entertainment scene. Think of the instances when Blackface was used quite innocently (at least so it seemed to the Korean population) that got international fans upset and hurt. If the eyes of the world are now tuned to Kpop, Kpop will have to think about the cultures of the world. And that means the Korean public and its entertainers will have to get more educated about the rest of the world.
And let me be honest here: I want global recognition for Kpop, but I don’t want it to become mainstream. It might be a bit selfish of me, of course, but I feel that if Kpop becomes mainstream in the rest of the world, it will lose that special something – that ‘X’ factor if you will – and it will become normal. It’ll be just like liking Beyoncé or Coldplay or Britney Spears. There’s nothing special about that. And let’s not forget that the people who are now interested in Kpop because of Psy will be in for one hell of a shock. Because as Kpop fans know: Psy isn’t Kpop and Kpop certainly isn’t Psy. And people are now led to believe that.
3. 2NE1‘s Minzy finally gets a solo
I’m still waiting for Minzy to have a kick-ass solo single or album. This girl has it all: amazing vocals, good rapping voice, dancing abilities one just has to respect and the attitude of a pro. The maknae of 2NE1 hasn’t gotten as many opportunities to show off her skills as the other girls have and I think that’s a shame. She is very talented and I think she’d do great on her own. I can see her being the new Taeyang or GD&TOP of 2NE1 – if she were to team up with Bom perhaps – and her material would sell like hot cakes. If she were to have a solo project, I’d love for it to be R&B or hiphop. She’s very suited for those genres of music. She could even tackle a mournful ballad without breaking a sweat.
I don’t really care what kind of music it is, as long as Minzy gets a solo project of quality. It’s about time, YG Entertainment! Let the maknae be more than just the maknae.
4. A stop to the enormous rookie group debuts
I know I’m probably not the only one who is getting a bit tired of all these new rookie groups entering the South Korean music market. There seems to be a new amount of them debuting every year! And it just won’t stop. So now I’m saying STOP. Just stop. Enough is enough. Even if I were a very dedicated Kpop idol not wanting to miss out on any new groups, it would just be too much. I could never keep up! Instead of providing Kpop fans with more and more new shiny stuff, how about labels and entertainment companies just let the groups and solo acts they already have on the market establish themselves?
Let the rookies become veterans of the Kpop scene, before debuting another group. Give them a chance. So they might not get the record sales you’d wished for when you put them together. Give them time. If they have actual talent and the will to go on (dramatic turn of phrase, I know) then they will eventually become that stellar group or solo act you were hoping for. Give their fan bases time to grow and time to get to know each member as an individual. This might mean you can’t give them all the same outfits and hair color – B.A.P. I’m looking at you! – and you might have to spend more time letting them be themselves than having them conform to the image you want, but it’ll be for the better.
So please, labels and entertainment companies, give your idols some slack and let them become who they were meant to be in their own time. This way everyone gets what they want. No more rookies. More time to establish themselves. More money. How does that sound?
5. More expanding of idols’ skill sets when it comes to lyrics and composing
I’ve always liked it when artists write and compose their own songs, mainly because I get the feeling I can glimpse into their unconscious. To know how an artists or idol really feels about something, it’s always interesting to listen to the songs they’ve created themselves. And make no mistake: there already are idols who have been writing and composing their own songs, and some have been elevated to ‘artist status’ because of that.
I’m not saying every idol has it in him or her to compose and write masterpieces, that’s absurd. Not everyone is skilled in that area. But some are and I’d like to hear their songs and their thoughts. Taking JYJ as an example, I’ve come to realize that many of the songs th members have written and/or composed themselves are my favourite songs of all time. Think of Pierrot, Nine or In Heaven. Those songs have meaning, because the artists themselves have poured their hearts and souls into them.
Some rookie groups have already gotten the opportunity to present their own work, like Block B and B.A.P. I’d love to see more idols develop their writing and composing skills, if they have any.
6. 2NE1/Miss A collaboration
Doesn’t the picture really say it all? These two groups have always been putting themselves forward to empower women. Though both groups do it in different ways: 2NE1 has developed a more in-your-face kind of style, while Miss A keeps it a bit more sophisticated and ladylike, both groups are very successful in what they do. Whenever I think about female empowerment I think of those two groups (and the Brown Eyed Girls, of course).
JYP and YG would probably have a blast with trying to mix the groups’ styles, not just musically but in terms of wardrobe as well, and the end result would be amazing. All the members of Miss A and 2NE1 are vocally talented (some maybe less than others) and I think they could really make a collaboration work. They might even set a trend of similar groups collaborating!
If it were up to me, I’d have a 2NE1/Miss A collaboration album, filled with all kinds of songs: from up-tempo beats, to electric pop, to soulful ballad and perhaps even a bit of opera. We know Suzy can sing opera, as she showcased in Dream High 1.
7. Less pop, more hip hop and R&B
Now I know it’s called Kpop, but I must say I sometimes miss some nice R&B and hip hop thrown in the mix. It’s out there, of course, but it’s never very much in the limelight. And that’s a shame. Because these two genres have so much to offer, as well as the artists who make the music. Take BIGBANG‘s Taeyang for example, he’s dabbled in those two genres – especially R&B – and look at his international fan base now!
If you are talking to people who aren’t Kpop fans, the one name they might now is Taeyang. Both R&B and hip hop are very popular genres and if tackled right, idols and artists could really put out some amazing and quality work. It might even help establish or build international fan bases, because as a fan of hip hop and R&B before I was one of pop, I can tell you that it doesn’t matter what language it’s in. If the beats makes you want to dance or bounce and if the artists have great timing and rhymes, I’m going to listen to it.
With Tablo under YG right now, it might make hip hop a more popular genre in Korea. YG Entertainment is the go-to-label for all things hip hop (though what BIGBANG and 2NE1 have been putting out isn’t really considered hip hop any more) and they might be able to create some sort of comeback for the hip hop and R&B genres. There are a lot of underground artists; they might want to collaborate and make that happen.
8. SPICA goes big
Say what you want about the last two comebacks of SPICA, you can’t deny that this is one talented group. Every woman in this group has vocal talent and some of them have the most powerful vocals I’ve ever heard in the world of Kpop. Boa, Jiwon, Juhyun, Narae and Bohyung deserve a lot more recognition and praise than they have gotten so far. In my opinion idols need to able to sing and boy, can these ladies sing!
I can see these five young women going places, while kicking ass and taking names. They have it in them to become one of the biggest groups in Korea and if they were managed properly, maybe even of the Eastern hemisphere. Because we all know you don’t have to be able to understand a song to be touched by it. SPICA is very good at bringing out emotions in people, by providing the emotions with their voices. I have not once looked up the lyrics for Painkiller, and I don’t have to. I know what they are singing about, because of the emotions these girls portray.
And that is a very special ability that not just anyone has or can utilize. But the members of SPICA can, and I’d love to see them capture hearts from all over the world with it.
What are your Kpop wishes for the year 2013? Sound off in the comments below!
Sources: Photos – colorguard.org, seoulbeats, all-about-korea18.blogspot.com, confessyourkpop.tumblr.com, allkpop, unfinishedman.com, en.korea.com, cellobello.com, koreaboo; Videos: officialpsy, LOENENT, s3adolphin
3호선 버터플라이 (3rd Line Butterfly) – Dreamtalk
Release: October 8, 2012
Distributor: Mirrorball Music
Genre: Psychedelic, post-rock
After 8 years in the making, Dreamtalk is pretty appropriately titled. Its lyrics are pervasively hazy – sometimes acutely lucid, but often just confusing like nothing else. Sometimes, the lyrics manifest in subtler forms of meaning, as the obscure allegory of 향 (Aroma), the unfinished narrative of J Says, or the outright gamesmanship of 끝말잇기 (Connecting Words). At other times, the nonsense is simply a form of 3rd Line Butterfly being faithful to the old vocals-as-instrument philosophy. There are lots of onomatopoeia, meaningless repetitions, percussive utterances, and rhythmic wordplay all throughout Dreamtalk; I’d even say that this is the primary mode of lyricism. Weiv already has a detailed, informative breakdown of the chaotic flow and effectiveness of 스모우크핫커피리필 (Smoke Hot Coffee Refill)‘s lyrics, but even apart from this exercise in deconstructionism, elements like the hypnotic ad-libs in 니가 더 섹시해 괜찮아 (It’s Okay, You’re Sexier) and solely positional exposition of 너와나 (You And I) meld slyly into the instrumentation and influence the album’s mood not by message but rather by sound.
The instrumentation is brilliant, by the way. It just takes a back seat in light of what 3rd Line Butterfly is doing with language in this album. The band gets pretty creative with its structures, for starters: Smoke Hot Coffee Refill and 꿈속으로 (Into The Dream) are both ambitiously scaled multi-movement scores that effectively travel between introspection, elation, energy, and in case of the latter, even haunting unease in the space of four or five minutes. The experienced hands of Sung Ki-wan and Kim Nam-yoon perform evocative guitar work and tantalizing effecter usage throughout; some of their most handsome payoffs appear in lead single 헤어지는 날 바로 오늘 (The Day We Part, Today) in the form of a deliciously layered, soaring outro. (I can’t shake the feeling that this is what Deli Spice‘s single earlier this year should have been.) Nam Sang-ah‘s relaxed performance adds to the nebulous combination.
Like dreams themselves, Dreamtalk is easy to identify with but difficult to interpret. Sometimes it just throws eight minutes of a post-rock sound experiment like The Hitchhiker-reminiscent 제주바람 (Jeju Wind) 20110807 at you. Like with any great album, unraveling Dreamtalk is an involved process, but it helps you out. Its ambience and psychedelia are immersive. The lyrics (when they make sense) are thoughtful. And perhaps the best of all, unlike an elusive dream, none of it is fleeting.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. 스모우크핫커피리필 (Smoke Hot Coffee Refill)
2. 꿈속으로 (Into The Dream)
3. 넌 어느새 난 또다시 (Already For You, Again For Me)
4. 니가 더 섹시해 괜찮아 (It’s Okay, You’re Sexier)
5. 너와나 (You And I)
6. 헤어지는 날 바로 오늘 (The Day We Part, Today)
8. 향 (Aroma)
9. J Says
10. 다시 가보니 흔적도 없네 (I Go Back And There Isn’t Even A Trace)
11. 쿠쿠루쿠쿠 비둘기 (Cuckooroocuckoo Pigeon)
12. 제주바람 (Jeju Wind) 20110807
13. 끝말잇기 (Connecting Words)
Miss $ – Miss Us?
Release: October 25, 2012
Distributor: Neowiz Internet
Miss $ rappers Oh Yumi and Jace have had some problems in the past, but rap tone has not been one of them – rather, the main issue has always been an inability (or lack of demonstrated ability) to consistently build engaging flows and lyrics. (In this they are joined by several present and past idol rappers - Zinger, Hwayoung, and Chae Rina come to mind most readily.) Miss Us? doesn’t help tremendously in this department. 몸인지 맘인지 (Body Or Soul) immediately rehashes all the familiar problems: simplistic (or nonexistent) rhyming, trite subject matter, ill-fitting touches (such as the floating intonation in the second verse), and overcooked performances – from both rappers as well as Kang Min-hee, the new vocalist. By now, I want to conclude that drama doesn’t help this group much – there seems to be a recurring tendency towards superfluous emotion in ballads.
On the other hand, the groove-minded tracks on the EP work much better.안자고 뭐해 (Good Night), which frames itself as an advisory message much like Nam Soo-rim‘s 그는 너를 사랑하지 않아 (He Doesn’t Love You), benefits from the rappers’ steely delivery and a easy-flowing beat that takes some of the burden off of lyricism. 내 전화 좀 뺏어줘 (Please Take Away My Phone) likewise frees up room for some creative dynamics between the girls and the two featured rappers, and has the EP’s best verse when Jace breaks off for a pushy, no-breath four bars reminiscent of Tiger JK‘s style. So I think there’s a glimpse of what will work for Miss $ in Miss Us?. But until they bring up their fundamentals more, the ceiling doesn’t appear all that high for this group.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. 몸인지 맘인지 (Body Or Soul)
2. 안자고 뭐해 (Good Night)
3. 니 남자가 아니야 (Not Your Man)
4. 내 전화 좀 뺏어줘 (Please Take Away My Phone) – Featuring Huh In-chang; Kanto of Troy
5. 안자고 뭐해 (Good Night) – Instrumental
6. 담배 좀 줄여 (Cut Down On Smoking) – Bonus Track
Primary – Primary And The Messengers LP
Release: October 31, 2012
Distributor: CJ E&M
Genre: Rap, hip-hop
In hindsight, this really isn’t the best album to try to review in anything less than full length. At 20 tracks, Primary And The Messengers really puts the “L” into that “LP”. Heck, it’s the longest I’ve tackled since last year’s 32-track behemoth, Art & Business by Cho PD. I’ll throw out some key words to streamline the discussion: funk and R&B, topics that don’t stray too far from modern love stories, the most insane supporting cast to grace a single album this year. Okay, now let’s go through these.
The beats are all hand-crafted by Primary, as expected. He embraces a wide spectrum of instrumentation, with the first disc focusing on funk and jazz and the second shifting towards soul and R&B . They’re always solid and often nuanced; each track is created with attention to staccato-laden, bass-layered, brass-sputtered detail. The knock on the instrumentation, if anything, might be that no track stands out with killer beats, but that’s as much a result of quality consistency as of composition. And it doesn’t help that the majority of the album’s subject matter revolves around the recent hip-hop trend of soft, sensitive love songs. Yes, these are smart lyrics that approach stories from diverse directions, but even that can lead to monotony in an album this long. Some welcome changes-of-pace are found in the vintage Garion beatdown in 말이야 (What I Mean) and the rousing, triumphant soliloquy of 독 (Poison).
But then again, a lot of people who listen to this aren’t going to care about any of that. If there’s one album this year to listen to just based on name value, it’s this. A total of twenty-five artists appear on Primary And The Messengers to lend a hand, and it’s like a who’s who of Korean hip-hop today. The cast is diverse – young and old (from G.O. to MC Meta and Nachal), rapper and vocalist (from Gary and Yankie to Mellow and Jinsil), mainstream and indie (from Jay Park to Deez). Many of the country’s most influential crews, including Hi-Lite, Amoeba Culture, 1llionaire, Movement, Bulhandang, and by a stretch Jiggy Fellaz, are all represented. The performances all meet, if not exceed, expectations (E-Sens, Garion, and Zion.T have the most memorable contributions), but that’s not as important as the fact that listening to this album is like experiencing a demographic confluence of Korean hip-hop. This is a fine album, but an even finer snapshot and archive of where this scene stood in 2012.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. 요지경 (State of Affairs) – Featuring Supreme Team, Yankie, Mellow
2. Happy Ending – Featuring Jinsil of Mad Soul Child, Gary of Leessang
3. 말이야 (What I Mean) – Featuring Garion
4. 만나 (Meet) – Featuring Zion.T
5. 멀어 (Too Far) – Featuring Beenzino
6. LOVE – Featuring Bumkey, Paloalto
7. 씨스루 (See-through) – Featuring Zion.T, Gaeko of Dynamic Duo
8. Mine Tonight – Featuring Jinbo, Dok2
9. 입장정리 (Clearing Things Up) – Featuring Choiza of Dynamic Duo, Simon D of Supreme Team
10. 하이엔드걸 (High End Girl) – Featuring Deez
1. 2주일 (Two Weeks) – Featuring Rhythm Power
2. ? (물음표) (Question Mark) – Featuring Choiza of Dynamic Duo, Zion.T
3. 축하해 (Congratulations) – Featuring Dynamic Duo, Jay Park
4. I’m Back – Featuring Yankie, Double K, G.O. of MBLAQ
5. Playboy’s Diary – Featuring Junggigo, Dead’P
7. 독 (Poison) – Featuring E-Sens of Supreme Team
8. 3호선 매봉역 (3rd Line Maebong Station) – Featuring Paloalto, Beenzino
10. 거기서 거기읾 (All The Same) – Featuring Dynamic Duo, E-Sens of Supreme Team, Boi B of Rhythm Power
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the individual and not of hellokpop as a whole.
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