This Week in Kpop: July 19-25, 2015

AOA Don't Be Shy

This Week in Kpop is brought to you by AOA's Choa. Is there anything she can't do? She leads a variety of releases that spell out POTENTIAL for the future of Kpop. This week also had many stellar (get it?) comebacks, so let's stop stalling and get started already!

Primary's "Don't Be Shy" (featuring Choa and Iron)

Did anyone know about this release and just didn't tell us beforehand? Why didn't you tell us?? This release came out of nowhere for us, but is just what we needed in the throws of summer. Quite frankly, we can always use more Choa in our lives. Primary is a popular producer in Korea and he assembled the creepiest sleepover ever, starring Choa (with Iron making a prerequisite appearance). When the song begins it almost sounds like it's gearing up to be something chill with its reggae-inspired beat, which makes the horror elements and the song's build even more surprising. Extra points to the old school "found-footage" that's planted throughout. Halloween in July never looked so sweet!

But let's talk a little about Choa here. It's not a surprise that she thrives in a solo arena, as she already holds AOA together with her iconic vocals. Seolhyun may be the most popular member, but she can miss a performance here and there because of scheduling conflicts, and AOA is fine. Can you even imagine AOA without Choa though? Absolutely not. Choa is the most essential member of the group and it's hard to picture another group that depends on one member more (this is not a slur against AOA, just an observation on Choa's importance). They probably depend too much on her, as she looked beat towards the end of promotions for "Heart Attack."

Here she deftly proves that she could make it as a solo star, and it's great to see a more sultry, mature side to her with this song. And Primary? How many amazing songs has he produced? We're hardly experts on his work (we've actually missed most of his recent releases like idiots), but you should check out some of his music videos here, here, here, and here. He's actually having an amazing 2015 and it's criminal how we haven't covered him more. Extra points for having beautiful videos for these releases too (are you keeping score?). Pictures this, if you can: What Primary could do with breathing new life into some of these stagnant girl groups. We're talking Sistar, Kara, even Apink, and etc. How cool would that be? Answer: Very.

GFriend's "Me gustas tu"

GFriend is doing some interesting things here with "Me gustas tu," showing us, once again, why they're probably one of the best rookie groups of 2015 (the competition hasn't exactly been fierce this year, unfortunately). For one, the song itself is epic, even though it's not really in the sub-genre of Kpop we're into. We notice a strong release when we see/hear one though, and these girls are on point with their vocals and choreography, shaking off any rookie doubts with their confidence and irresistible energy. And having Spanish in the title and the chorus? Brilliant. Because really, why not? English is used all the time in Kpop. Why not Spanish? It sounds more natural anyway. And do you know how many Kpop fans occupy Latin America? Devoted ones at that? We don't have the numbers, but giving a wink and a hug to them is something more Kpop groups should be doing already! Come on!

Kisum's "You and Me" (with Jooyoung)

How wonderful has Unpretty Rapstar been for female rappers, especially the ones who participated on the show? We had our doubts and found some elements problematic, but, overall, the show seems to have done more good than harm. Here's Kisum now with her first major solo release after the show (and really ever, right?), and the song, accompanied by vocals from Jooyoung, quite simply slays. It's also a surprisingly beautiful video with some striking images. Ultimately, it's a sweet release, but not one that makes us gag, which can be the tendency in Kpop.

Z.Hara's "XOX" (featuring Gaeun)

Speaking of potential, Z.Hara really shines here with this energetic release - but we're also loving Gaeun (from Dal Shabet) appearing here and impressing with her rap skillage (tm). We're seeing a shift here, probably brought on, again, by the popularity of Unpretty Rapstar, of hearing more talented female rappers taking larger roles in Kpop. They're not just here for indie cred or awkward interludes in popular pop songs, friends. We've turned a corner here and it's wonderful.

From Slay to Shred: Anticipating the Wonder Girls Idol Band

Notice we haven't been writing a lot about Wonder Girls' upcoming comeback and transition to idol band? We've been holding back until we've gotten more of the facts, Jack! And now that JYP has released numerous teasers, we have a better idea what an idol band really means for the Wonder Girls. Or do we? Zander Stachniak takes a look at what we can expect, and what we should fear, right here!

Exploring Realities in Infinite's "Bad"

Infinite has had an incredible week and has been winning big on the charts and music shows. The intrepid 'L' gives a detailed look at their amazing 360 VR version of "Bad," which you can read, in its entirety, right here.

Clash of the Girl Groups: GO BIG OR GO HOME

Notice how we haven't written anything about Stellar's amazing/insane "Vibrato" yet, or Apink's latest release, or even GUHARA? It's because we already have, you dummy! Clash of the Girl Groups, a new semi-regular column by Timothy Moore, dissects the latest girl group releases, which you can read right here!

July 19-25, 2015

And that was This Week in Kpop! We focused a lot on emerging groups, rappers, and producers here, but if you click on our various links, you'll see us tackling these major releases too. We're all over the place. We're here for you, friends. And we'll be here next week and it looks like Beast is just around the corner. Until then, as always, have fun and be safe!


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