This Week in Kpop: January 18-24, 2015

Nine Muses Drama

This Week in Kpop stars Nine Muses, all eight of them! We've been waiting anxiously for a Nine Muses return for a year now! Now that they're back, they've taken over our cover story and our hearts. But this week didn't belong to Nine Muses alone - Lizzy had her solo debut! Clara's having her scandal! And U-KISS came back with their quiet, smooth "Playground." Why don't we just get started already!

Nine Muses' "Drama"


Nine Muses knows a thing or two about drama! We've been worried ever since Sera "graduated" from the group, and not only her, our favorites Lee Sam and Eunji "graduating" just before her. That was after a truly inspiring 2013, where Nine Muses dominated the year with "Dolls," "Wild," "Gun," and "Glue." That's FOUR COMEBACKS. When was the last time your favorite group had four strong comebacks? We were spoiled in 2013, given a bounty of Nine Muses.

But we really haven't seen Nine Muses since, except for the gorgeous Kyungri and new member Sojin in the Nasty Nasty subgroup. So how does "Drama" hold up? And, more importantly for us, with our three favorite members gone, does it even feel like Nine Muses anymore? The good news is: Yes, it does! For one, this isn't a total turnover for the group - there's still Kyungri (who now seems like the alpha in the group, sliding effortlessly into that role), and the rapper, one of our favorites, Euaerin. Hyemi, Minha, Hyuna (not HyunA), and lovely Sungah fill out the core, welcoming Sojin and Keumjo to the fold. Just eight, but give them some slack.

We'll give a more extensive look at the video next week, but for now we'll just say that while we weren't really blown away by the song, "Drama" does what is intended, introducing us to the new look of the group and proving to their fans that they're still the Nine Muses they know and love. Ultimately, "Drama" may be a safe, unspectacular song, it's no "Ticket," or even "Dolls," but it's still an effective release too.

Lizzy's "Not an Easy Girl"


We absolutely adore this video for Lizzy's solo trot song, "Not an Easy Girl." The time it must have taken to intricately edit Lizzy into this classic movie is truly impressive here, and while we're not loving the song especially (it is growing on us), we like that it somehow keeps that absurd "Orange Caramel" feel. Lizzy is just wonderful here. See her brush off advances, smile incredulously, endure torture (don't worry, it's all in good fun). We sometimes take for granted how charismatic the idol is, and we're happy that she has a chance to show her stuff with her solo debut. Learning that she has a real affection for trot instead of trot being thrown on her, really makes us smile. You know what else makes us smile? Check out her #hashtag interview. Thank us later.


Jay Park's "GGG"


Didn't we say that This Week in Kpop is starring Nine Muses? Well, here's three former members, who model and...stand around for Jay Park's "GGG." Bini, Rana, and Jaekyung. Rana, as you may have remembered, was briefly the leader of the group after Sera's title was taken away during the group's debut "No Playboy." Now the former members do what they have done Pre-Muses, model. We honestly didn't even remember these girls at first (some YouTube comments pointed out the factoid), but since Nine Muses has such a high turnover rate, we really can't be blamed can we? As for the song itself (sorry, Jay Park), we're happy that Jay is still releasing videos from last year's album, Evolution. But "GGG," Get it Got it Good and everything isn't our favorites of his, and this video feels on the cheap side, like Jay and his crew decided, hey, we have some free time, why not film a music video? Still, in a sparse period for boy groups and male idols, we're just happy to see Jay Park again, as it is to see these three former muses, now that we remember who they are. 

U-KISS' "Playground"


U-KISS came back this week with the low-key "Playground." After their dramatic and highly-sexed "Quit Playing," we were expecting something a bit more scandalous. But we're happy that they're back with a video that doesn't make us blush, especially in these dark, quiet times where boy groups are scarce. Also, we love hearing U-KISS singing "ice-cream" in a video that's so serious. Check out U-KISS' "Playground," friends!

B1A4's Scandal and the Cost of Morality


Remember how B1A4 was our scandal of the week last week? Well, Zander Stachniak gave a closer look at the situation this week, putting Kpop's very morality into question. See what he found here, friends.

The Physiology of Goo Hara: A Look at the Second Episode of Hara On & Off


We're continuing our examination of Hara On & Off, this week asking the question: Who is Goo Hara, really? Easy question, right? WRONG. See what we've discovered here!

MV Review: Lee Kwang Soo's "FruTips"


Lee Kwang Soo, Lee Kwang Soo, Lee Kwang Soo. Get used to that name, folks. He's about to dominate Kpop. You read it here first. Now read our review here!

King and Queen: Episode Three


You've already gotten plenty of drama from our fan fiction drama, King & Queen. In our next killer episode, an event changes Kpop High...forever. Check out what everyone's already talking about right here!

Scandal of the Week - Clara


We're not going to get into the sexual harassment scandal that is quickly tipping into Polaris' favor, with evidence from text messages showing that maybe there wasn't so much sexual harassment going on after all. We're not going to jump to conclusions with Clara here. We're not going to write something that we may later regret. But if the accusation turns out to be made up, as evidence is leaning towards now...well, Clara will have some apologizing to do, to say the least. That's all, moving on!

January 18-24, 2015

And that was This Week in Kpop! Nine Muses is back and all is right in the world. But we were also happy with Lizzy's solo debut and with U-KISS back, maybe we'll see 2015 really start to kick off already. Here's hoping! We'll see you next week! Stay safe!

3 comments:

  1. With the beguiling Sera gone I don't anticipate actively following Nine Muses, but I must say, 'Drama' sounded good to me straight away, once I got to the place in the movie where it actually starts. I like the rap opening with that booming beat, which immediately sets things rocking. Things soon get softer and that's nice too, though I do think it's a pity we never return to that stronger opening rap sound, which strikes me as the sort of "good bit" you'd more usually be looking forward to part way through a song. Also the track seems rather short at almost exactly three minutes - assuming the end was at about 3:22 (curtain closes, brief silence). I could've done with more, but the three minutes were good, so musically I'm on board.

    Visually however, the movie wasn't my cup of tea. There was a whole truckload of outfits but they mostly didn't appeal to me as a guy, especially the main ones (for the group dancing). There was an interesting black leather zippy item around 2:02 which brought Secret's Hyoseong to mind from 'Talk That' times - no bad thing - but it was only seen briefly. I got the impression the movie was mainly designed with a female audience in mind; and having checked out a few TV performances and heard the mass of screaming girls, I guess the makers knew what they were doing on that score. It was funny really, because I've been watching so many Tahiti fancams lately, I'd forgotten what a female audience sounds like!

    I can't help mentioning a few continuity errors - partly for fun. At 2:44 Minha throws two bits of popcorn at once, but Hyemi is initially only hit by one. A second does follow, but way too late - and with a bogus third bit too. Also, see the "POPCORN" lettering? Sometimes it's facing one way, sometimes another. Ok these are only small things, not too distracting, but it's not as if it would've been hard to make sure things match, from shot to shot. That's rudimentary stuff.

    On a heavier note, there's a Financial Times headline visible at the start - "Gunmen on the loose after 12 killed in Paris magazine attack" - complete with an instantly recognizable picture from the video in which the perpetrators were seen killing a police officer. Seems a dubious choice of newspaper cover for such a light movie. It's not prominent, but still, would you want the association? Do you want your movie to feature a picture of notorious gunmen in action? Is a brief reminder of the Charlie Hebdo massacre going to help put me in the mood for what follows? Hardly. I don't know if it makes any more sense in light of the lyrics, but somehow I doubt there was any serious social commentary going on amidst that whirl of dancy froth.

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  2. Wow! I didn't see that before - good catch on the Financial Times headline! Weird newspaper headlines in the background seems like a strange ongoing problem in Kpop lately - with Red Velvet and the old WWII newspaper clippings with Japanese slurs in "Happiness" and Soyul's "y-Shirt" video having similar headlines in the background (I forget what they were exactly, but they've been edited out). It's an odd phenomenon that makes me wonder what the production teams are doing! I feel like they're probably just overlooked, and that they rush through filming to get the videos out as soon as possible. But how hard would it be to check?

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    1. I suspect the inclusion was indeed deliberate though, i.e. not something "overlooked", because there's another rather emotive event involved on one of the other newspapers (from last year, unlike that very recent FT cover). The Korea Herald: Parties on collision course over Sewol, P.M. nominee. At least in that case it wasn't coverage of the actual tragedy, and there's no iconic picture to recognize, and viewers are unlikely to spot the emotive word 'Sewol' when playing the movie at normal speed. But still, it's there - and it's too hard to believe that nobody noticed the content of either of the covers.

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