K-Pop Roundup

Published on April 30th, 2014 | by Scott Interrante


K-Pop Roundup (April 11 – April 25)

The second half of April saw a lot of strong comebacks from rookies and veterans alike. But after the tragic sinking of the MV Sewol, the K-pop community slowed down activity to pay their respects. Many companies pushed back releases or delayed music videos for their artists. While we mourn the devastating losses, there’s still a lot of great music that can try to raise our spirits.

Making his return with some help from his Co-CEO of AOMG Simon D and vocalist Gray, Jay Park reminds us why he’s one of the best. ‘Metronome’ is a sleek, sexy, and sophisticated R&B/hip-hop song that deals with troubled relationships. Using the metaphor of a metronome, Jay Park raps about how he feels out of sync with his girlfriend while Gray sings in the chorus that they “need a metronome” to get back in rhythm. The video is equally as sleek, using fast edits and off-kilter camera angles to emphasize the imagery of the metronome.

Following up their debut single ‘Beautiful’, a collaboration with Ailee, duo 2000 Won are back with a heartbroken ballad. “I Hate Seoul” is a song about being reminded of your ex by seeing all the places in Seoul they used to go together. The tender track shows off a more mellow and sombre side of Hyo-Bin and Il-Do, and they both sound great. The video features Hello Venus Nara as Hyo-Bin’s ex as he walks around the city remembering what they had.

After making their debut in 2012, duo 15& (Park Jimin and Baek Yerin) have finally announced that their debut album is coming this May. Ahead of the full album, the JYP Entertainment group gives us a new single, ‘Can’t Hide It’. The song has a strong R&B beat that shows a new side for 15&, but their amazing vocals continue to be the focus. With their impressively powerful voices, the two singers trade off lyrics about how they “can’t hide” how in love they are. It’s especially amazing when you remember that the girls are only sixteen!

Brother-sister duo Akdong Musician (or AKMU) made their debut last month with the irresistibly cute and fun title song ‘200%’. But for their follow up single, the siblings have chosen the introspective ballad ‘Melted’. The song laments the cruelty in the world, asking “Why are they so cold?” And the music video brings this to life by showing an old man thinking back on his life and the hardships he faced as a young man. The video is beautifully shot and very different from anything else in K-pop. Choosing to debut with such contrasting songs is a risky move, but I think it shows how versatile and talented AKMU are.

New Champ, a member of the hip-hop group New Block Babyz, made his solo debut with ‘Yahage’. It’s a playful about a guy telling his girlfriend how she should dress, but instead of asking her to dress sexy for him, he’s asking her to cover up. The hilarious video features After School‘s KaeunBESTie‘s U.JI, and Hello Venus‘ Lime, coming in and out of a dressing room trying to impress New Champ. By the end of the video, though, we find out that it’s all new Champ’s imagination, and that he’s watching the girls on TV imagining they were his girlfriends. Sad!

The song itself is just OK, and New Champ’s rapping is nothing special here. But with the funny music video and satirical subject matter, ‘Yahage’ makes for a strong debut.

For their latest comeback, the seven member boy band Block B returns with the quirky ‘Jackpot’. It’s super catchy and shows off everyone’s charisma. The song is exciting and unique in how it switches between a shuffle rhythm in the verses and a straight-ahead dance beat in the chorus. For the video, they play with a colorful, creepy circus concept, showing the boys scaring a girl — played by actress Kim Sae-ron — who shows up to their carnival late at night. After using her as a ventriloquist dummy, throwing knives at her, and chasing her around the carnival, she gets the last word at the end of the video. She flipping them off and walks away, leaving the Block B boys shocked and confused.

It’s a bold move to release a 20-minute short film for your second music video, but that’s just what JACE has done. The four-piece pop/rock band made their debut earlier this year with ‘Come Up’, but for their follow-up, the group turns to a ballad, ‘Goodbye My Ray Of Light’. The accompanying short film shows leader Seunghyun as a struggling songwriter who meets a beautiful girl on Jeju Island. She helps him finish the song he’s working on and they fall in love, but by the end of the film, they break up. It’s a beautiful and emotional film and it shows off the guy’s acting skills. It might be hard to convince people to watch a 20-minute short film when they barely know your music, but if you give it a chance, you won’t be disappointed!

CLEF Music is releasing a series of songs called Tiny Bits of Life, and the first song from the series is ‘Day Dream’, featuring the vocals of Yozoh and guitar playing from Hong Jun Ho. The short song talks about wanting to stay in bed to dream a little longer. It’s catchy and simple and the music video is cute and lighthearted. It’s not a song that will change your life, but it’s nice to hear Yozoh again and it points to good things for the rest of the Tiny Bits of Life series.

As the K-pop community continues to deal with terrible tragedy, we should start seeing more new releases to look forward to next month!

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About the Author

I’m currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Musicology where my research focuses on contemporary pop music and gender. Outside of academia, I’m obsessed with K-pop, binging on tv shows, and cats. My writing can also be found on PopMatters, and Short and Sweet NYC.

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