This Week in Kpop was a small lull in the major summer releases, but that doesn't mean we didn't get the likes of Beast and Miryo making their comebacks, with Wonder Girls and T-ara just on the horizon. Let's stop stalling and get started already!
We're rooting for Beast, honestly. Last year's "Good Luck" was an incredible comeback, and their album of the same name really showed the true range of the group's seismic talents. "YeY" isn't a huge step back, but does continue the concern we first felt with Hyungseung's solo "Ma First," one of the big missed opportunities of the year so far. Over-production. Cube needs to back off a bit and just let these guys work. While "Ma First" was hurt, we feel, by the unnecessary autotuning and boyish image (Hyungseung should be the KING of Kpop, not some hormonal prince!), "Yey" is stellar in every way except for the horrendous, noisy, over-produced chorus.
We gave this song many listens, hoping to finally click with the chorus, like we did with Big Bang's "Bang Bang Bang" this year. Some songs just take a few listens to really grasp, especially if the choruses are complex or inventive. But the "YeY" chorus isn't so much complex as it is ugly. Unpleasant to the ears. Like Girl's Days' "Ring My Bell," just about everything in the song is working until we get to that chorus, with no strong hook to hook onto; instead of being built organically through the song, the chorus feels like it was inserted via crowbar.
This isn't a terrible release, and the rest of the song, before the chorus, really shines with powerful vocals we are sure will be complimented with exciting choreography (we didn't see much of that in the video). Beast has incredible talent, and hopefully they'll get a better structured song for their next release. Are we way off base here? We'd love to read other views on this song and the chorus, and what we may be missing here!
Brown Eyed Girls' Miryo came out with a solo track this week with "Queen," and while we're not blown away with the song, it's always great to see any of the Brown Eyed Girls making music. Supposedly, there's going to be a comeback for the group later this year, and at this point the group's infrequency makes every release feel like a reunion special. All of the girls seem like they're doing their own thing, and doing that thing well, and Miryo looks like she's having fun with this video, with a catchy beat as accompaniment. Do you guys remember "Dirty?"
That was a killer release in 2012 (maybe not on the charts) and we're a bit surprised that we haven't seen more releases like this from Miryo in the subsequent years to build momentum for a solo career à la what Gain has done. Instead, a release every three years makes most fans go, "That was nice," and then move on. But maybe this is where Miryo gets the ball rolling? Time will tell, friends.
T-ara vs. Wonder Girls?
Okay, okay, these groups aren't really competing against each other, but they are both having highly anticipated releases next week, and we're very excited here at Critical Kpop.
Wonder Girls is going on an unprecedented new direction here - or are they? The album preview seems more funky and retro than rockstar, and we wonder how much the "band" will actually be incorporated into their live performances, or if it will serve more as a gimmick for a few songs?
Whatever way they go, Wonder Girls is back and that's what is important. The album, from the bits we can hear, sounds dramatic and old school, just what we love from the Wonder Girls.
But T-ara has been called retro queens themselves and have been making a years-long journey to redemption, friends. "So Crazy" likely won't take them back to the top of the charts, especially when last year's "Sugar Free," arguably one of the best singles of 2014, didn't shoot them back to the top-tier. But it seems like a fun, energetic release, so who knows? T-ara has had an excellent track release for years now, so we have high hopes. Either way: Next week? Is going to be HUGE.
MV of the Month: Infinite's "Bad"
Infinite's "Bad." As far as music videos, friends, you can forget the rest! And that includes Big Bang and Stellar's insane "Vibrato!" You can quote us on that. Here's why Infinite's spectacular, inventive 360 VR version of "Bad" wins our Music Video of the Month for July!
Toward a Transnational Kpop: A Look at the Past and Future of the Global Genre
Throw out your crystal balls! Your Magic 8 Ball has nothing on our very own Zander Stachniak, who breaks down the future of Kpop and how it hints towards a more transnational market. What does that even mean? Find out here!
July 26-August 1, 2015
And that was This Week in Kpop! Were we too hard on "YeY?" Too excited for Wonder Girls and T-ara? Too meh over Miryo's solo release? Let us know! We always love getting other perspectives. Next week is going to be huge, so be sure to check back! Until then, have fun and be safe!