Sunday, December 30, 2012

Debut 2012: Must Listen 'Top K-Pop Idol Groups'

Everything is normal once again in the world K-Pop, there's high flying action left and right with new groups debuting seemingly every moment. For the companies, it's about making profit of the huge 'Hallyu Wave' extending across the globe while for the youngsters involved, it's about achieving the age old dream of being an idol star with the added benefit of making money. Even though I try my best to give each group a serious listen, there has been too many groups debuting that it's been a little hard keeping up. However, the talent pool this year among debut groups has been the best it's ever been in my experience.
In this post, I will share with you the debut groups that have not only managed to appear on my radar but has left me impressed wanting for more. To be fair, I will not include the stellar rookie acts such as Ailee, Busker Busker, John Park, Juniel, Baek Ah Yeon15& and Lee Hi. since all of them are not specifically idol groups. This post will feature the bands that you should definitely must listen to because they have serious talents that may put them on top some day. New groups are walking a fine line because everything rides on their impending debut with companies putting all their stakes in making the group prominent through release of strong debut tracks and creative concepts. Through out the year, newer and younger stars will join the older ones while others will be forced into fading out through the back door. Afterwards, be sure to check out these new budding idol groups.

Let me know afterwards which groups you thought deserve spots at the top.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The 10 Best Korean Drama OST Albums of 2012

This year's notable OST albums, as selected by your one and only k-ballad crazed admin. If a plot of a drama makes up its body of work, then the soundtrack provides it with the much needed soul. This year was a good year in terms of the variety aspect since more than 90 South Korean dramas were released this year. There indeed was something for everyone and while I did not watch that many dramas, I definitely kept up to date with all the OST (Original Sound Track) releases so I could precisely make up such a list as this. 

Don't let the adorable picture faze you, this is serious business!

On a personal note, hope this new year brings forth lots of happiness and meaning. Let me know your choices for top Korean drama soundtrack albums and what you liked this year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

[Review] [Single] Lee Hi 'Scarecrow'

November has turned out to be a huge month for Lee Hi, the adorable 16 year old YG soulster. On the eve of Scarecrow's release, Lee Hi danced, albeit awkwardly, to win the Triple Crown on Mnet's M! Countdown. 1,2,3,4 achieved monstrous success on the monthly chart and proved the rookie powerhouse was here to stay. On a more softer and mysterious note, YG had previously no plans for a second single release until CEO Yang Hyun Suk decided he had found the right person that could carry a JYP produced, circa 2008, song originally reserved as a solo debut song for Park Bom

Was Scarecrow an appropriate release after the success of 1,2,3,4 and who were those singing choir girls that were heard right near the end of the track? All I can say is, Lalisa Manoban danced her way expertly to the top to be one of them.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

[Solo] Best K-Pop Idol Solo OST Releases

Flying Petals

This second post in the series detailing idols' solo ventures will focus on Solo Ost Releases. The first part [read here] detailed the individual solo track releases. Within the last decade, the film industry, particularly drama-land, has with open arms been welcoming a huge influx of idol actors. In addition to taking over roles reserved for veteran actors, the newer generation idols have also been popping in the OST market. Nowadays, music directors are without hesitation bringing in idols from popular groups to sing for the OST of their dramas. Due to the changing market, popular idol singers are nowadays preferred because the drama in the process gets some exposure as well.

Whenever quality starts withering away from the kpop world, I turn to the massive OST land for solace because it doesn't disappoint quite as often. This year alone, releases such as Taeyeon's Missing You Like Crazy and Lee Jong Hyun's My Love managed to take top spots on music charts, further solidifying idol stronghold in this huge market. Without further ado, check out this extensive list to feel an appreciation for when talents meet expectations.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

[Review] [Single] Lee Hi '' and Debut Single All-Kill

YG Entertainment

Making it look as easy as 1,2,3,...4, another little digital monster has stepped out of YG and made a phenomenal splash. Released on the 29th of October, Lee Hi's quickly swept the online music charts and earned an all-kill in the process. Known for her soulful and deep voice as a contestant and runner-up to Park Ji Min on SBS's 'K-pop Star', Lee Hayi had amassed much popularity even prior to signing with YG due to her care-free attitude and singular personality display on the show. Now that Lee Hi has finally debuted with a single and conquered the digital charts, does it foreshadow greater things to come from YG? Particularly, did the song raise your anticipation on the soon to debut vocal group SuPearls? deviates just enough in its effects and little techniques that it succeeds in establishing its own unique charm, something rare in K-pop. In the process, the track brings something significant and much-needed to the music scene, just as 2NE1's I Love You did and does it even better to some extent of mixing and matching something familiar with something retro. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

[2010-2013] Korean Dramas with the Best Soundtracks (OST)

Korean Dramas were one of the earlier premier exports of the Hallyu Wave beginning at the turn of the century. To this date, it is riding high on its popularity with the music industry along its side. It has continued to achieve global recognition that began with classics such as Winter Sonata, Autumn in my Heart and Dae Jang Geum. Often times, the sound track of a Korean Drama plays a pivotal role in its perception and recognition. Within its scenes, music scores are blended in onscreen to tell a deeper story, foreshadowing a lurking evil or returning happiness. In the case of Autumn in my Heart, it can move the viewer to tears with its sad instrumentals accompanying the heart-breaking scenes.

As a fan of Korean Dramas, I am often times captivated by many original soundtracks with its quality sound and complete package. I often like soft ballads with piano tunes that often makeup the track-listings of an OST. Therefore, I have decided to make a list of OSTs that in my opinion are the most enjoyable and feature several valuable tracks. Let me know as well which soundtracks were the most enjoyable in your opinion.

Alphabetically. Yearly.

Friday, September 7, 2012

[Stills] G-Dragon's 'That XX' is 'One of a Kind' Indeed

After reading my rave reviews about G-Dragon's One Of A Kind and That XX here, all of you should have gotten a pretty good idea of what I thought. Even though I liked both music videos, artistically, That XX has to be one of finest. Its images and what it shows are simply breath-taking. Both Jennie (16) and G-Dragon (24) look really good and show the right emotions in portraying their characters. Look through the following stills that I captured to showcase the beauty of the music videos, which I decided to dedicate a post to. To scan through all the stills, click on one and scroll through the rest. Enjoy!

Stars of That XX music video: G-Dragon & Jennie Kim

Sunday, September 2, 2012

[Review] G-Dragon's 'That XX' is 'One of a Kind'

In terms of incorporating variant elements in one piece and composing quality tracks, G-Dragon has to be hands down one of the best idol at composing and producing. Coming from YG, G-Dragon made his official debut under Big Bang in 2006. As a leader of Big Bang, he is at the helm of the production team composing songs for the band alongside T.O.P, who has always written his own rap parts in songs. In the early year under YG, G-Dragon was granted full artistic freedom and found himself among the mix of up and coming YG producers Teddy, Perry and E.knock (Kush). The positive influence clearly showed when G-Dragon and other members of Big Bang were revealed to be the writers and composers for their first studio album 'Big Bang Vol. 1 - 'Since 2007'. From producing critically acclaimed solo debut album Heartbreaker and sub-unit album GD&TOP to 2012's best releases, Alive and Still Alive, G-Dragon has managed to impress everyone with his production skills. As expected, G-Dragon started off his second solo venture with the music video release of the prologue track One Of A Kind on August 24. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

[Album Review] Super Junior 'SPY' (Repackage)

SM Entertainment

After 11 months of hiatus, Super Junior finally released their sixth studio album Sexy, Free & Single on July 4. Right after that release, they released Spy, the repackaged version of the 6th album on the midnight of August 5th. SM has been busy the first part of the year with the continuation of Girls' Generation's The Boys activities extending into 2012, the comebacks for SHINee and  f(x) taking place and EXO's debut finally after countless number of teasers.  Sexy, Free & Single was a catchy dance track being the normal generic title as expected from all SM, but Spy in the repackage does a total 180 degrees change in terms of the overall feel. Spy exudes a certain originality but lacks in creative arrangment. The repackage contains four new songs with all the tracks from Sexy, Free & Single included. 

Let's see if this repackage delivers...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rooftop Prince and the Case of a Missing Song

The plot line was more than complicated, Lee Gak, a Joseon crown prince transported to modern day Seoul along with his three loyal colleagues where he tries to solve the mystery behind his wife's death in Joseon. Rooftop Prince (Romanized: Ok-tab-bang Wang-se-ja) aired from March 14, 2012 to May 24, 2012 on SBS and competed directly with 'The Equator Man' and 'The King 2 Hearts'.

Now that the series is over, I have been gripped by another aspect of the show, a missing song...

Friday, July 6, 2012

[Album Review] ZE:A 'Spectacular'

Star Empire Entertainment

Following their debut in 2010, ZE:A, also known as 'Children Of Empire' under Star Empire Entertainment (which also houses Nine Muses and Jewelry), kept a resilient effort, trying basically everything by the book in order gain better success. The nine member boy group has come a long way from their auto-tune ruined Mazeltov single days but before this release, they seemed to be stuck with self-imposed bad luck. Their title tracks after Mazeltov were much better but  due to some stroke of bad luck, they failed to attain the recognition they deserved and struck out. Their career path in some form shares stark similarities with U-Kiss in that they both lacked a solid debut due to lackluster songs releases with the above mentioned Mazeltov and the latter's Not Young. U-Kiss were finally able to come into their own and shine with their second studio album 'Neverland', which featured some great songs. Since U-Kiss has escaped Neverland and ventured into a much better place, let's examine if ZE:A will step up and prove themselves to be Spectacular. After listening to the title track Aftermath, I'm excited about how the whole album will turn out.

Let's see if their second studio album Spectacular will finally prove to be the breakthrough they were hoping for after its release on the 4th of July.