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
JYJ, Super Junior, 2PM, 4Minute, EXO-M and B.A.P fans, we have good news for you – your favorite idols won on the recently concluded 2013 YinYueTai V Chart Awards!
The award show was held in China on April 13th, and the mentioned artists took home numerous awards. Check out the list of winners and awards below:
- JYJ’s Junsu - Best Korean Male Singer
- 4Minute’s HyunA - Best Korean Female Singer
- 2PM’s Wooyoung - Best Korean New Artist (Solo)
- B.A.P - Best Korean New Artist (Group)
- EXO-M - Best New Mainland Artist (Group) and Most Popular Mainland Artist
- Hangeng – Best MV
- Super Junior - Best Korean Group and Most Popular Korean Artist
The given awards were based on viewers’ participation on Yinyuetai’s official website for the past year – such as the number of views, comments and likes on videos – and internet voting. Although some of the artists could not attend the ceremony due to conflicts in schedules, the six members of B.A.P were present to claim their award and perform for the fans in China for the first time. Check out their performance below:
Congratulations to the groups for winning! Check out the full list of winners here.
In the good spirit of the South Korea-Indonesia friendship, Indonesian boy group S4 was chosen as the opening act for UKISS’ showcase in Jakarta on 27 April.
Debuted last year with hit song She’s My Girl featuring 4Minute’s Hyuna, S4 will sing their hits, along with other surprise appearances.
Watch their greetings here:
S4 is an Indonesian boyband which receives vocal, dance and Korean language training under Rainbow Bridge in South Korea for 6 months. Their debut song, She’s My Girl featuring 4Minute’s Hyuna, was produced by Kim Do Hoon and music video was directed by Hong Won Gi, who is well known for the music videos of Super Junior and Girls’ Generation.
The English version of She’s My Girl is written by G.Na. Their new album was released in more than 60 countries and as part of the promotion activities, S4 performed at many events in Korea.
Consist of Alif, Firly, Arthur and Jeje, the group is well-known with its cover of Big Bang’s Blue and collaboration with Teen Top in Music Bank in Jakarta last March
Pr: Oppa Oppa Live
Recently, a statistical organization about Kpop in Germany, K-Pop Statistics Germany, has created a poll in seven different categories: top 25 boy groups, top 25 girl groups, top 10 male singers, top 10 female singers, top 10 hip hop artists, top 10 indie artists, and top 10 Kpop entertainments.
About 2,065 Kpop fans from Germany participated in the polls, with 96,1% correspondents are female and 42,35% of the age range from 15 until 17. Most of the correspondents have started to listen Kpop since 2008-2011.
The result has been announced continuously from April 1 until April 5.
The first place of top 25 boy group category goes to Big Bang with a total 38.12% votes, followed by B.A.P. on the second place with 31.45% votes and Super Junior on the third with 30.99%.
For the next category, 2NE1 ranked first for top 25 girl groups category with 54.83% votes followed by Girls’ Generation with 47.73% and SISTAR with 28.35%.
Big Bang’s G-Dragon secured the first spot for the top 10 male singer category. K.Will became the second with 14.20% and JYJ’s Kim Jaejoong seized the third spot with 13.08%
The best female singer goes to Ailee with a total 41.51%, beating BoA and Hyuna on the top 10 female singers category.
Epik High saved their first spot for the best 10 hip hop artist category. The trio won against Jay Park who ranked second and G-Dragon who ranked third.
Nell won against Busker Busker and 10cm for the top 10 indie artists category with a total 40% votes.
The last category is top 10 Kpop entertainments and the first place goes to YG Entertainment with 68.68% votes. S.M. Entertainment ranked second while Cube Entertainment ranked third.
Congratulations to all the winners who made the lists!
Even though D-Unit deems to have its own colors as a group, its core members Ram, Ujin and Zin never miss a chance to blend in with their successful seniors. Ever since their debut last August, the talented hip-hop group from D-Business positioned itself as most insiders’ favorite. Though emerging from a new born company, their connections are well spread across the K-pop map and anchored in YG Entertainment where Ujin was still a trainee this time a year ago.
It is also commonly known that D-Unit inherited the prominent basis of their fans through Ram’s sisterhood with T-ara‘s Boram. And she isn’t the only CCM star linked to D-Unit as SPEED‘s Taewon recently uploaded a selca exhibiting a D-Unit stage shirt. After Hyuna and Lee Hi recently, none other than BoA, 2NE1, BIGBANG, Kara‘s Nicole and Jung Jun Ha have taken the time to capture a moment with one or some members of D-Unit.
This kind of exposure always benefit rookie artists and the members of D-Unit certainly hope it will help widen their reach as serious and talented artists. They have yet to make an impact on music charts though each new release has marked an improvement in sales. These are still early days for D-Unit and the simple fact that about half of its material is self produced, lessens the financial pressure rookie idols can face while boosting each member’s own profit.
From talent, support and independence, D-Unit seems to have all the keys to break into the major tiers of the K-pop scene.