Nine Muses – Wild
Release: May 9, 2013
Producer/Distributor: Loen Entertainment
Genre: Dance pop
It’s been almost three years since Nine Muses‘ debut, and the group has precisely one notable mark on its discography: 2011′s Sweetune hit Figaro. That really was a good single, but at some point there needs to be follow-up. Wild is the latest in a succession of Sweetune productions for the girls, and it’s a revelation compared to News or Ticket. The volumetric chorus is bold, the overlaid piano line gives off a touch of gravitas, and the performances – while nothing overly impressive – are punchy enough to prop up the heady atmosphere.
The crucial knock here, though, is that Wild sounds and acts exactly like a KARA-Sweetune single. It’s a formula that was already perfected in Step (2011), with the lyrics (which aren’t bad, by the way) transported into a club and the mood turned a couple notches more serious. The sing-along chorus is not as explosive as then, nor the instrumentation as exhilarating. Most problematically, Nine Muses show no compelling reason why this should be a Nine Muses song. There is no distinction and no trademark to be found here. The same feeling persists throughout the rest of the EP; while pop ballads like Paper Scraps are pleasant enough, countless groups have already done them better (and without the shaky performances). These are the tracks where this group’s nine-person structure could be exploited more explicitly, but no such attempt is made. Wild’s contribution to this red ocean is very slight.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold,
2. 와일드 (Wild)
4. 휴지조각 (Paper Scraps)
5. 사는 사람 (Living Person)
6. Wild – Instrumental
Pearl’s Day – Blind Letter
Release: May 9, 2013
Producer/Distributor: Pearl Music/Mirrorball Music
Genre: Modern rock
Pearl’s Day‘s first release since the band’s Top Band appearance (and the first since 2010) opens the right way. Turning on Dim Headlights takes a couple minutes to really get going, but the pay off is worth it. Two minutes in, driving guitars and pounding toms layer atop Son Min-jeong‘s resolute repetitions of “I won’t stop”, building up a bridge that turns out to be the song’s climax in the absence of a final chorus.
The rest of the album doesn’t fare as well, however. Individual tracks suffer from unrealized thematic potential (Sequel to a Dream) and monotonous flow (Can You Hear). The EP never really comes together either: case in point is Amour, a quality fusion jazz track that nevertheless gives the impression of drifting out to sea when inserted into an album of rock ballads. The genre-hopping sounds less like welcome spells from repetition and more like an ill-fitting mishmash. Bust as an EP signaling creative vibrancy, Blind Letter is at least moderately successful.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. 흐릿한 헤드라이트를 켜며 (Turning on Dim Headlights)
2. 꿈의 후속편 (Sequel to a Dream)
3. 들리나요 (Can You Hear)
Seo In-young – Forever Young
Release: May 15, 2013
Producer/Distributor: Seo In-young Company/CJ E&M
Color me impressed. Not so much at Seo In-young’s vocal prowess; that stopped being news years ago, when Seo, as a solo artist, backed up the boasts from her Jewelry days with unexpectedly adept ballad work. The surprise here stems from the completeness of Forever Young. Seo has only flashed pieces of potential in the past; Elly Is So Hot (2007) displayed decent quality alongside terrible marketing, while Lov-Elly (2010) and its sequel showed incredible improvements in song-selecting acumen and emotional performance. But there always were those blotches: Seo couldn’t pick out a dance track to save her life, and she couldn’t stick to what was a clear strength in pop-ballad. (Exhibits 1~3: Elly is Cinderella, Ellythm, Brand New Elly.)
Forever Young (note the dropped “Elly” brand) is where the 28-year-old finally puts it all together. The up-tempo arsenal is headlined by Kush-designed pre released single Anymore (which I named a Honorable Mention Dance/Electronica Song last year), a heady trance number combining delicious melody with bubbling backdrop. Retro-minded I Want You Back puts Seo’s sonorous performance at the forefront for great effect, and even Let’s Dance pulls its own weight in spite of that chipmunk-style vocal direction that has failed so spectacularly in the past. Taken together, the trio represents Seo’s best effort in the dance genre by a mile.
The ballads are still great, by the way. But here, the excellence has been more consistent. Letter has palpable groove atop faint strings and jazz guitar reminiscent of old-school regional soul music, and Let’s Break Up is Seo’s most deliberate ballad to date. The leisurely buildup and gorgeous melodic progression yield a track strong enough to hold down an EP full of potent tracks. Step by step, Seo In-young has been honing her craft and proving naysayers wrong; the next stop should be to resolve issues of overextension, perhaps through that elusive second studio album.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. I Want You Back
3. 헤어지자 (Let’s Break Up)
4. 편지 (Letter)
5. Let’s Dance
6. Anymore – Remix
7. 헤어지자 (Let’s Break Up) – Instrumental
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.
Sources: Photos – Daum Music
The winners of K-Pop Star Season 2, the sibling duo, Akdong Musician, have finally made their decision between the three big agencies in the music industry. After the long decision was made, the duo has decided to sign with YG Entertainment.
YG Entertainment announced through an official press release, “We cannot reveal the specific details of the contract. However we’ve met with Akdong Musician and their parents, and the negotiations for the contract went well. We plan to finalize the formal contract plans within a few days”. The contract took a longer time to process as their parents were in Mongolia and Akdong Musicians are minors, hence they require their parents’ consent.
YG Entertainment is well known for their unique artists and emphasis on artistic freedom. Being in YG Entertainment would give them the freedom to compose their own music. Hence the siblings stated “We thought the best entertainment agency that would support out music will be YG. We wish to make even better music in a good environment”.
Souce : News & Photo – OSEN
It is confirmed that Big Bang members G-Dragon and Taeyang will be featuring in CL’s (2NE1‘s leader) first solo music video that is due to be released on the 28th of May. YG Entertainment artists are known for their great bond and support for one another. This tradition can be seen in G-Dragon and Taeyang’s appearance in JinuSean’s music video for Phone Number back in 2004. Recently Se7en, Teddy and Taeyang also did a cameo in G-Dragon’s music video for MichiGO.
It is reported that the genre for CL’s solo song is not easily heard within the domestic music industry, which is the ‘Dougie’ genre with a dub step sound and will be of the latest style in the hip-hop genre. For years, the Korean music industry emphasizes girl groups with a cute or sexy concept. However, as a female rapper, CL’s concept is the opposite of what the industry usually promotes and there is a lot of anticipation from her upcoming solo debut.
CL’s solo debut will be concurrently going against strong female solo singers like Lee Hyori, Seo In Young and IVY. Despite the intense competition, CL was given confidence and extra boost from YG’s president, Yang Hyun Seok‘s words of encouragement: “Even if you’re last, enjoy the moment with all your heart.”
This will be CL’s first solo venture since debuting as the leader of 2NE1 back in 2009. It is expected that her debut will amaze and impact the music industry.
It has been reported that the former head of Block B’s former agency Stardom Entertainment, Mr. Lee, was found dead in the basement of his home on May 20. It was reported by enews that: “Mr. Lee committed suicide in the basement of his home on May 20. He was found dead by a friend, and the wake is currently underway.”
Mr. Lee garnered much attention as an important official in the lawsuit Block B had brought against its agency regarding Stardom Entertainment’s failure to pay a year’s worth of profit. Furthermore, it is reported that Mr. Lee received 70 million won from Block B’s parents last January and disappeared.
However, Stardom Entertainment claimed that Mr. Lee’s position in the company had been terminated two years ago. Thus the rumour of the suicide relationship to Block B’s lawsuit may not be true. As stated by a source close to Mr. Lee: “The suicide is true. However, rumours regarding the suicide relationship with Block B lawsuit do not relate. This was due to a personal issue. I think he felt that there was no other solution.”
The wake will be taking place in a university hospital in Seoul and the coffin will be brought out on the 22nd May.
On 18 May, Malaysian global pop artist, Mizz Nina, staged her first ever major concert with an unique theme entitled, Around The World. For this explosive concert, K-pop star Jay Park flew in to Kuala Lumpur as special guest to perform alongside for their previous collaborative track, Around The World, which has garnered massive thumb ups by fans; both Mizz Nina and Jay Park’s alike.
For a more grandeur show, Mizz Nina’s former hip- hop group Tek Tarik Crew, her husband Noh Salleh, and Hidayati Yusop from Ahli Fiqir were also invited to the stage, formulating a winning list of artistes’ appearances to the delight of the concert-goers.
Eagerly, Mizz Nina started her 90-minute concert first with a series of English songs such as Just Do It, Hit Me Up, Away With You, What You Waiting For and Take Over. She took mesmerizing control of the fans with her distinct vocal, along with skillful dancers, and had the fans chanting along as she performed passionately on that one spotlight. With many changes of eye-catching stage outfits, Mizz Nina had certainly won well-deserved praises from fans for her utmost efforts to make this concert a special one.
Prior to the opening of the segment of Malay songs, Mizz Nina thanked sincerely to all fans as she was surprised to see many fans coming for her first major concert, and not forgetting her respectful parents who were watching her from the second floor of the venue, supporting their gorgeous daughter.
After expressing her gratitude to everyone, she then took the stage with her husband, Noh Salleh of band, Hujan, with a sweet and warming song titled, Kurnia, accompanied with guitar playing by her husband. With blue soft lights illuminating upon them, the whole venue instantly turned into a romantic scene where love was presented among the artists. Fans were absorbed into the sweet surreal scenic as the couple performed a duet, creating unforgettable around-the-world moments.
Before everyone started to forget Jay Park’s presence, the atmosphere was then brought to another level when the song Around The World came on. Fans started screaming as they knew that it was finally their K-pop prince’s turn to spin their world.
Jay Park made his first special appearance of the night with Mizz Nina for the hit collaborative track, Around The World. Both artists heated up the stage dynamically as they also grabbed the chance to showcase their unique dance choreography for the first time on stage together with more than ten dancers. Fans were all pumped up because they knew they were now the only first few fans ever to witness the two performing together on the same stage live.
Right after, Jay Park continued to take over the stage with his recent release, Joah, melting fans’ hearts, especially with lyrics ”You know that i love you, I’ll always be with you baby”. He then later turned up the party mood with an upbeat track, Nothing On You by B.o.B. Jay Park continued to heat up the stage with his final and last track for the night, an English version of Girlfriend. Fans could hardly restrain themselves as Jay Park displayed one of his most highly well-known creative skills, b-boying, and wowed everyone with energetic and smooth moves.
After Jay Park’s solo performance, Mizz Nina reappeared back on stage, dressed in dazzling outfit for another few more songs before wrapping up the concert.
It was one of such unforgettable nights that fans can always remember fondly in which they were finally being taken Around The World by Mizz Nina and Jay Park together. The experience was out of this world, fulfilled.
Hellokpop: We express our congratulations to Mizz Nina for having successfully held her first ever major concert, and special thanks to YZ International for the media invite.
Event covered: Seckvoon@hellokpop,