This Week in Kpop brought some spectacular returns as we fall deep into summer. Big Bang continued to impress, but they're not alone out there, with Nine Muses making a killer comeback of their own. Could this finally be the song that pushes them to the top? Let's take a look!
Nine Muses' "Hurt Locker"
The story behind our favorite models-turned-idols has been tumultuous from the start. It's hard not to think about the documentary that followed their debut, Nine Muses of Star Empire, and the horrors they've had to endure from their horrible agency. More recently, they've had to survive the departure of their unofficial leader, and moral center, Ryu Sera, and two other popular members (and our favorites) Lee Sam and Eunji. But, after darkness, there must come light. And Sera's recent tweet of support may just be the good juju Nine Muses needs to finally smash through the competition:
http://t.co/xhxUC01hDL 봐바 또바 300번봐— 류세라 (@ryusera103) July 2, 2015
Which is to say, this is a release deserving of some heavy recognition. Out of all the recent girl group releases, this may actually feature the strongest song, which shouldn't be a surprise if you're familiar with Nine Muses' "Wild," "Ticket," "News," "Glue," "Gun," "Figaro," to name a few. The only middling recent release may just be last year's "Drama," which happened to be one of their more successful songs, but to us, was missing that fiery energy and undeniable hook that accompanies their best work. Ironically, it seemed to be missing that "drama" the song promised.
"Hurt Locker" has that hook. "Hurt Locker" has that energy. It has the drama. To call this a summer song, even with the vibrant colors, bright skies, and Euaerin in a bathing suit, would be an insult, and would denote a fun, albeit generic release. This release is not all happiness and killer bodies, there are no beaches in sight - this song emanates with drama and emotion, the vocals are on fire, the choreography is on point. Nine Muses, at their best, takes themselves, and their music, very seriously. We don't believe they'll ever quite fit with cute concepts and it doesn't feel right when they insert cheesy aegyo acting bits in their videos (like in "Drama"). These women, and yes - this is a group of women, are at their best when they're at their most badass. And that's exactly what this release is.
NS Yoon-G's "Honey Summer"
The summer hits keep coming, and this week we have one of our favorite idols ever, NS Yoon-G embracing the season! We've always been frank about our love of NS Yoon-G and our boredom with summer releases, so forming an objective opinion for this release was doubly trying. But, looking at this fairly as we can, this is a serviceable and fun summer song, that find NS Yoon-G alone, posing, dancing, and smiling, the happiest last person on Earth ever. There's a lot of cheesecake in this video, and many are comparing this to a Sistar video, which, really, is saying more about Sistar being caught in a rut than NS Yoon-G having a summer song.
Still, we're a bit bummed that we're not getting the NS Yoon-G as rock goddess that made us fall for her to begin with. Perhaps it says more about the market and societal norms that she has taken this shift in her work. Whatever it is, we hope she shifts back to something more in common with "I Got You" or "Reason to Become a Witch." Until then, we have summer. And we can't wait until summer is over (for Kpop's sake).
Big Bang's "If You"
We don't usually post here about songs not accompanying a music video, but it's Big Bang, folks, so we feel we have to make an exception here! Listen to it and be...in awe.
Roundtable Review: Big Bang's "Sober"
Speaking of Big Bang, their "Sober" song and music video also came out this week (as part of "D") and left us stunned. Our roundtable of writers and editors break down all the symbolism, references, and social statements they can wrap our heads around and you can check that out here!
Critical Kpop Podcast - Episode 4.5: Fight of the Valkyries
The Critical Kpop Podcast continued this week, and this time we tackle scores of new releases, we're talking 2PM, BTS, Teen Top, AOA, Mamamoo, Sistar, and more! You'll also get to meet our new contributor: Claire! Check out episode 4.5 right here! Listen Harder!
MV of the Month: Big Bang's "Bang Bang Bang"
Yes, there's a lot of Big Bang this week and there's a reason for that - as far as Kpop is concerned, they are just DOMINATING right now. "Bang Bang Bang" wins our MV of the Month for June. Click here to find out why.
Help! AOA Fanservice Is Making Us Uncomfortable!
Speaking of DOMINATING, AOA seems to be on a sharp rise to the top. And a lot of that could be the result of calculated, brilliant, a little bit evil fanservice! Here's our take on AOA's brilliant plot, which you can check out here.
June 28-July 4, 2015
And that was This Week in Kpop and now it's July 4th weekend! That means absolutely nothing in Kpop, but if you're in America, we wish you a happy Independence Day! We'll be looking at a ton of major releases next week, so until then, have fun and be safe!