This Week in Kpop: December 13-19, 2015

Hyolyn Loveline

This Week in Kpop is all about the special releases and side projects, as the year crawls to a close! But even the side projects can be major - when some of our favorite divas take the reins. Who are we talking about? Like you didn't know already. Let's get started!

Hyolyn, Bumkey, and Jooyoung are all about the Loveline

Hyolyn has had a strange year, in most respects. Although she found success (and redemption) in her appearance in Unpretty Rapstar 2, she didn't really steal the show in the same way that Jimin did in the show's first iteration (Who did? YEZI). We're still scratching our head at her inclusion, as it felt like a slap in the face to Bora. But no harm, no foul, right?

What's hurt Hyolyn this year is undoubtedly the stagnation of quality Sistar's releases. "Shake It" certainly found success, but not acclaim, and we can't imagine that Hyolyn has much more love for these fun, bubbly releases and the limbo state of endless summer. If there's any hint of her discontent (which, to be fair, we're only imagining here), it would have to be in her variety of solo projects, like this year's collaboration with Zico and Paloalto, "Dark Panda" and now, "Loveline" with Bumkey and Jooyoung. There's a stark difference in her solo projects, which are darker, more adult, and embrace, fully, a hip-hop sensibility, which seems to be her raison d'etre this year, if you include her inclusion in Unpretty Rapstar.

"Loveline" is a welcome release in the throws of holiday songs. It's sexy, smooth, and Hyolin, Bumkey, and Jooyoung are just a dream together. The hook of the song is killer. We're glad that Bumkey's recent legal problems seems to be in the past, seemingly forgotten, as his absence would have been sorely missed. But we're most excited for the prospect of Hyolyn's recent solo moves bleeding into Sistar's music next year. How cool would that be? After seeing her rendition of Adele's "Hello," we'd almost be happy with a ballad! At least a ballad from Sistar would be a change.

ChoA's "Flame"

ChoA is one of our favorite idols, so when we heard rumors that she was set to make a solo debut, we were ecstatic. Well, it turns out that this isn't quite the case here, and that "Flame" is a part of a project for remaking songs initiated by, we believe, 1theK. Which makes sense, come to think of it - why give ChoA a solo release in the midst of the holiday season?

Still, "Flame," much like this year's "Don't be Shy," gives a tantalizing hint at ChoA's viability as a solo star - viability but also range. "Don't be Shy" is like a sexy Reggae thriller, dark and moody. While "Flame" is more of a traditional ballad, which, apparently, is the project: turning popular rap songs into old-school ballads. It's like reverse engineering here.

The video embraces the melodrama the ballad brings out - with a young vampire dreaming of sunlight - with ChoA making the requisite faces of an idol entrapped by her misery. In that way, the release is serviceable, although we're still hoping to see a solo debut that really lets ChoA break out. She already carries AOA vocally and is a fireball of charisma. Her potential for super-stardom is undeniable.

Yet Another Fan Theory of the BTS Trilogy: I Need U/Prologue/Run 

You've read hundreds of theories, we know. But how about you let our biggest BTS fan right here in Kpop take a crack at the connections between BTS' recent releases? You may be surprised at her conclusions. Or maybe, just maybe, you'll be in awe. You can check that out here!

Critical Kpop Podcast - Episode 16: Goodbye 20(15)

2015 has been an amazing year for Kpop and Critical Kpop in general. Our latest podcast examines our past predictions from last year, as well as our favorite releases. We also look inward at Critical Kpop and our hopes for the coming year! We're also a bit drunk, so bare with us. You can listen to all that right here!

December 13-19, 2015 

And that was This Week in Kpop! We're inching towards the end of the year, and we're getting more and more excited for the beginning of the Kpop cycle to being early next year. What are your hopes for the new year? Think we're in for some big surprises? Let us know in the comments! Until then, have fun and be safe!


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