Published on June 4th, 2014 | by dinoseoul0
K-pop Roundup (May 16 – 30)
We are midyear through 2014, but before we launch headfirst into June, here are some notable comebacks from the second half of May. Idol groups INFINITE and VIXX have both made their respective comebacks, and 15& and Phantom have also released their first full-length albums since their debuts. We’re also swooning over Fly To The Sky‘s comeback (finally!), as well as Jung Joon Young and Younha‘s glorious duet single.
If you’re looking for even more fantastic ballads, there are a ton of great releases from artistes like Melody Day and 2AM‘s Changmin, as well as 2AM’s Seulong, Dia Tree & Johee of 8Eight, and Sweet Sorrow.
‘Phantom Power’ is Phantom’s first full-length album – and boy, are we really loving it. For one, self-written and produced lead single ‘Seoul Lonely’ featuring Ga-In, is our gloriously addictive slow jam. Filled with different elements and emotion singing, ‘Seoul Lonely’ perfect enraptures the wistfulness that follows a breakup. The rest of the album is worth a listen as well, with solo tracks from all three members, Kiggen, Sanchez, and Hanhae, as well as a ton of collaborations with artistes like Verbal Jint, San-E, Navi and more.
Trust the girls of Orange Caramel to bring an adorable song like this for summer. A CF song for ‘Baskin Robbins’ in Korea, ‘Abing Abing’ might just be intended for promoting the ice cream chain’s shaved ice and ice cream dessert, but it’s a bubbly track that has listeners easily hooked.
The first T-ARA member to go solo (fellow member Hyomin will be making her solo debut soon, so stay tuned), ‘Never Ever’ is a great first effort for Jiyeon. Title track ‘1MIN 1SEC’ (also called ‘Never Ever’) is produced by Duble Sidekick (of hits like SISTAR‘s ‘Give It To Me’ and T-ARA N4‘s ‘Countryside Life’), but isn’t excessively overloaded with stylistic effects like their previous works. ‘1MIN 1SEC (Never Ever)’ is a track that expresses the growing madness that one feels behind a broken relationship, and will remind most of Sunmi‘s ‘Full Moon’, a more stripped-down instrumental that focuses on the quiet, breathy nature of the singer’s voice.
Five years after ‘Decennium’, Brian Joo and Hwanhee have reunited after working on solo activities. The result? A glorious album of good ole Fly To The Sky – just the way we remembered them. With eleven brand new ballads, including the title track ‘You You You’, Fly To The Sky fans will love ‘Continuum’ and the familiarity the duo brings with their high-level vocal prowess will have you replaying this album.
If you’ve never heard of Chinese singer Bibi Zhou, it’s probably high time you did. The singer-songwriter has teamed up with Epik High for ‘With You’, which is a remake of Epik High’s 2010 ‘Fool’ (from their ‘Epilogue’ album). For this remake, Bibi takes over Bumkey‘s original lines in ‘Fool’ – and we really love the result. ‘With You’ retains the same smooth R&B goodness as ‘Fool’, and perfectly showcases Bibi’s slightly lower-range vocals as well.
‘That Man That Woman’ is a quiet ballad performed by ballad quartet boy group Dia Tree (consisting of Yi Han, Jeoll Yeong, Heuk Yeol and Dae Wan Ma) and 8Eight’s female singer Johee. The song maintains a mostly calm, soothing type of vibe throughout with no fancy crescendos, but it’s a beautiful alternative if you are looking for something to switch up a playlist of fast K-pop tracks.
Absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous track. The intro itself, a well-blended harmony of the four members’ (In Ho Jin, Song Woo Jin, Kim Young Woo and Sung Jin Hwan) voices, immediately draws any listener in. ‘Beautiful’ depicts the feelings one feels when falling in love, and the is just one of the five upcoming tracks off part one of Sweet Sorrow‘s fourth album ‘For Lovers Only’. Stay tuned for even more lovey-dovey hits from them!
Pre’Melo might be a completely new name to most of you (it is to us!), but there is really no reason to not check out this indie duo when fourth digital single ‘Will You’ is such a delight. The instrumental is a consistent, finger-snapping beat that quietly follows throughout the track.
When vocal girl group Melody Day and Changmin of ballad group 2AM get together, it’s evident we expect an epic sort of collaboration. ‘The Very Last First’ exemplifies just that. We love the meaning behind the track’s title, how a couple falls in love for the first and last time because they truly believe they have found the one.
It looks like at least half of 2AM have been busy with collaborations. Besides Changmin, Seulong of 2AM has just released new track ‘New You’ under singer-songwriter Yoon Jong Shin‘s monthly project (it has been running since April 2010). After three months of upbeat songs, we are back to Yoon Jong Shin’s signature ballads, and ‘New You’ is the perfect start to ease us back into his slower tracks.
Making their first 2014 comeback after last year’s ‘Destiny’, ‘Season 2’ is INFINITE’s second full-length official album. Title track ‘Last Romeo’ doesn’t stray very far from previous INFINITE hits because it’s still by longtime producer Sweetune. So don’t be surprised to hear the same 80s production style of electric guitar and synths scattered all over this track. We recommend checking out ‘Rocinante’ and Sunggyu’s solo ‘Light’ on the album as well, especially the latter for its upbeat R&B vibe.
Previously a YG trainee, Yuna Kim (Euna Kim) has finally made her debut with the help of MFBTY (Tiger JK, Yoon Mirae and Bizzy) with project album ‘Love Me Love’, as well as the incredibly catchy single ‘Without You Now’. While a ton of people are mocking YG for dropping a really talented trainee, we’re actually really glad that she’s debuting under the immense support of MFBTY instead.
We’re not sure if Yuna would have gotten a song as catchy as ‘Without You Now’, or have had enough attention directed toward her debut (Yang Hyun Suk does have a lot on his plate…) if she had stayed on with YG. Plus, while waiting for what seemed like forever, we nearly forgot just how adorable and talented this Superstar K3 darling is. ‘Without You Now’ has everything enough attitude to showcase Yuna’s broad talent, but doesn’t stray far from allowing her girlishness to shine through. We admit that for the most part, Yoon Mirae’s singing was one of the catchier parts of the track, but the song is thoroughly enjoyable as a whole.
We’ve got a full album review out for this amazing album because we love it so much. Read it here.
After their last collaboration in 2010 for the amazingly catchy ‘Can’t Breakup Girl, Can’t Breakaway Boy’, singer Jung In and Gary of Leessang have released new duet ‘Your Secret’. Yet another Duble Sidekick track (co-composed by Jung In herself as well), ‘Your Scent’ showed its popularity by scoring an all-kill once it was out. ‘Your Scent’ might sit amidst pretty generic R&B fodder, it works because of the pair’s great musical chemistry, and there’s an easygoing vibe to it that’s really lighthearted and fun.
There’s no escaping the mystical, supernatural theme that VIXX has introduced to fans since their ‘On and On’ single. ‘Eternity’ follows previous album’s title track ‘Voodoo Doll’ in being a concept album, this time utilising the concept of time. While ‘Eternity’ as a whole lacks the same gothic eeriness that previous tracks like ‘Hyde’ and ‘Voodoo Doll’ had, it’s still a fairly strong comeback considering it’s not only a decent song, but also reaches out to a larger audience who might not necessarily have a preference for fantasy-like themes. Ravi has also taken another step to be even more involved in providing lyrics for ‘Eternity’, ‘Sad Ending’ as well as ‘Love, LaLaLa’.
We’re tickled by The Barberettes. The trio likens themselves to a ‘time travelling girl group’ for the way they interpret old school sounds from the 1950s and 60s, drawing inspiration from The Andrew Sisters (American) and Kim Sisters (South Korean), both popular girl group trios during their time. ‘The Barberettes First Album #1’ is a joy to listen to, and will have you swaying along to the soothing sounds of yesteryear. ‘Little Gals’ (featured above) is their first officially recorded MV, hopefully the first of many to come.
Ahead of their official return after an eight month hiatus, six-member group N-Sonic has dropped the MV for ‘Crazy’. While the song isn’t anything to shout about, the retro-pop track does have a breezy, laid back vibe that makes for easy listening.
Good friends Jung Joon Young and Younha collaborating for a duet is one of the best ideas we’ve heard in a long time. ‘Just The Way You Are’ is pure musical perfection. We adore the instrumental’s mash of guitar and piano, which makes the cross between being part ballad and part pop rock piece really refreshing. Plus, Younha’s lighter, sweeter vocals also complement Joon Young’s lower register really well.
What were your favourites this second half of May?