This Week in Kpop is all last minute because CL just had to release her song right before our publication! So we're backtracking a bit and giving this a listen, because if CL's involved, she immediately becomes the cover story. That's just how she rolls - so let's get started already!
How long have we waited for this solo release? Feels like ages already! While this is *just* a pre-release performance video to a highly-anticipated U.S. debut, we can't help but love CL's swagger. This release also gives more of a hint on how CL will fully transition to a western audience - and, honestly, the transition doesn't seem as jarring as we assumed. If that leads to success remains to be seen.
We've been considering the ramification of CL's American debut for some time now, and even wondering if this should be discussed as a "Kpop release" or something else entirely, but what's been interesting so far is how quickly some fans have immediately dismissed this release and bemoaned the direction CL has made with her music. Some are even longtime 2NE1 fans (or so they say) but it's taken only one dance performance pre-release video to decry this venture as a failure. It's as if some fans are so protective of Kpop that anyone branching out should be viewed with apprehension, or worse: disdain.
But listen. "Hello Bitches" has only been out for four hours, so calm down. This isn't even that far of a leap from what CL's done in the past (it might not even be far enough), but we should hold our breaths (and our tongues) just a little longer and see what else she comes out with in the next coming weeks. For now, "Hello Bitches" is a killer jam and CL looks like she's having a lot of fun here. Can we just enjoy that for now?
B.A.P is B.A.CK!
How great is it to see the return of B.A.P? There were fears that they'd be caught in years of litigation, or would disband completely, swallowed whole by the wrath of TS Entertainment. Instead, good things can happen in Kpop (well, good for us fans at least - who knows what was involved with the settlement). They're back, Jack, and they may just be better than ever - exploding with anger, but also seeming more measured and mature.
"Young, Wild, & Free" is a dark, heavy jam with a catchy hook that should push them up the charts and prove that they're "better together," and that Kpop is better with them around.
iKON is back (again)
iKON is back but have they ever really been gone? iKON's "Apology" has shades of Big Bang, but in style and music, and "Anthem" is a collaboration (sub-unit?) between Bi and Bobby. After a slow start, iKON is picking up steam and already has a ton of releases now under their name. Our feelings here at Critical Kpop are a bit mixed on iKON's debut as a whole (listen to our podcast for more!), but there's no denying that these are two strong releases - even with the cringe-worthy "iKON is coming to town" at the end of "Anthem," although Santa would surely be proud.
EXID's "Hot Pink"
EXID came back this week with "Hot Pink," friends, and it's already a hit! But...we don't quite get it. The song gets better with each listen, but still hasn't become our jam - we listen to the song and immediately forget it. The video is incomprehensible and that might just be something lost in translation. We talk more about this and EXID as a whole in the Critical Kpop Podcast, and speaking of which...
...Speaking of which, EXID, iKON, B.A.P, Purfles, and, yes, Jay Park are all discussed in this week's episode! So we have to ask you. What's the one podcast that asks you to listen harder? The Critical Kpop Podcast, you dummy! We touch on all of these releases and more in episode 12, which you can listen here!
We're very happy to introduce Kushal Dev into the Critical Kpop fold, and he's written two pieces for us just this week! Here he takes a look at the upcoming 2015 MAMAs and gives some of his predictions! You can check that out right here!
Kushal Dev also wrote this piece on SNSD's Yuri: perhaps the true rising star of 2015. Agree? Disagree? How about you read what he has to say first? You can do that right here!
There have been a lot of great releases this year, and some really stunning music videos. But we're coming to the realization that Oh My Girl's "Closer" is really something special. Let's take a closer look at this release, shall we?
November 15-21, 2015
And that was This Week in Kpop! We'll be listening to CL all week and waiting, patiently, with our fingers crossed, for her American rollout. In any case, we'll be here next week (and the week after that, and the week after that, etc.) Until then, have fun and be safe!