Published on August 3rd, 2014 | by dinoseoul0
K-pop Roundup July 16 – 31
Just like the first half of July’s roundup, we’re still seeing quite a number of summer hits toward the end of July, which include SISTAR, Block B and Bob Girls. Fans of Wonder Girls‘ Ye Eun will also be happy to know that she has just released her first EP ‘Me?’ under the alias HA:TFELT (she first introduced as her name as a producer in 2011). Both Homme and JYJ have also returned after a three-year absence with new albums, and K-pop’s dancing diva HyunA is back to charm with a sizzling new concept.
Dynamic Duo and American record producer and DJ, DJ Premier, have joined hands for collaboration album ‘A Giant Step’ – and a giant step it is, because the result of merging both Korean and American hip hop influences has paved excellent results. Title track ‘AEAO’ is stellar, a showcase of years of dedication and skill from both Dynamic Duo and DJ Premier. You’ll be hooked on the majestic horns and vintage rich sounds for sure! Be sure to also check out the rest of their album, as well as other title track ‘Animal’.
Summertime sadness? Not for SISTAR and comeback single ‘Touch My Body’. The quartet is known as one of the sexier groups in K-pop, and it’s not hard to see why. Hyorin, Soyou, Bora and Dasom are unabashedly cheeky in shaking all they’ve got for this upbeat track, and we are completely won over. The song doesn’t top any of their previous work – we actually consider it pretty average – save for SISTAR’s fantastic, fun delivery. These girls might be sexy, but what’s great is that they are more than just sexy, which is what allows them to shine with confidence and perform…pedestal-level.
If ‘Last Romeo’ didn’t strike you as anything fantastic, INFINITE‘s repackaged ‘Be Back’ and title track ‘Back’ will surely change your mind. It’s a song that not only showcases the best of each member’s vocal ability, it draws you in with a slow intro before diving into synth-infused dance hooks. An orchestra-esque sound underlies the entire track and accompanies the heart wrenching lyrics to a T, making it one of our favourites of the list.
Following the release of ‘To Violet’ earlier this month, fans of rapper Rex.D will be pleased to know that ‘Ordinary Love’ is a lot tamer. Free of any violent scenes, ‘Ordinary Love’ is a more mellow track that has Phantom‘s Sanchez as the fantastic featuring voice.
We were really excited for Homme’s comeback because in case you’ve forgotten, the duo have been absent since they blew us away with ‘I Was Able To Eat Well’ and ‘Man Should Laugh’ three whole years ago. ‘It Girl’ is a laidback track that doesn’t show off Lee Hyun (8eight) and Changmin‘s (2AM) voices like their previous releases, but its feel-good vibes make for easy listening. We love that the MV also showcases racial diversity – go get em girls, boys!
If you thought the Block B boys wouldn’t touch cute with a ten foot pole, ‘HER’ will change your mind. Jumping on the bandwagon of summery songs, the members continue to show their penchant for the fun and wacky, but tailor it to a funkier sound instead of their previous brand of hard-hitting hip hop. We’ve really got to give it to leader Zico for continually impressing us! The MV is every bit as fun as the track, dousing us in florescent hues throughout for a visually popping experience.
You know you’ve made it when you can brand yourself. HyunA’s ‘Red’ is a testament to that. Many might still argue that the 4MINUTE member isn’t the best vocalist around, but she oozes a type of charisma and confidence that not everyone possesses, and that sets her apart from everyone else. ‘Red’ (off new EP ‘A Talk’) might not contain a hook that is as catchy as ‘Bubble Pop’ or ‘Ice Cream’, but the song’s rises and falls utilises HyunA’s voice well, complete with the usual package of drums, synths and bass mix.
FINALLY. Three years after ‘In Heaven’, JYJ is back. ‘Just Us’ aims to showcase Junsu, Yoochun and Jaejoong in their most simplistic selves. The results are R&B influenced, dance and a cappella tracks that clearly demonstrate their polished voices. There are plenty of tracks on ‘Just Us’ that satisfy, but while it’s a well-produced album it’s not the best they’ve ever done. I was really disappointed by title track ‘Back Seat’ (just like how I was disappointed with ‘Ayyy Girl’ back then) because let’s admit it: it’s pretty lukewarm. The members do sing well enough to utilise the song the best they can, but the track’s arrangement is so bland that I found myself constantly trying to find a part of the song I actually enjoyed. I recommend checking out the other tracks on the album instead, especially their individual solo tracks, as well as ‘Dad, You There?’ and ‘Dear J’.
We’re really proud of Ye Eun. She fought hard to make ‘Me?’ what it is today – and we’re absolutely glad that she managed to convince Park Jin Young over production matters on her album. This isn’t an EP of one catchy title track and a couple of B sides, it’s a well-produced album of seven meaningfully selected songs, all of heart and gripping messages. Title track ‘Ain’t Nobody’ is one of those crescendo-like tracks, building up from a slow drawn-out lyrics before bursting into an emotional chorus.
Bob Girls‘ ‘Summer Repackage’ takes previously two released tracks ‘No Way’ and ‘Why Is It Like This’ and puts a new spin on them. The acoustic version of ‘No Way’ is pretty infectious, but we like both versions of each song in a different way!