This Week in Kpop: January 24-30, 2016

4Minute Hate

This Week in Kpop is One Big Tease. We're talking 4Minute, Winner, and Taeyeon, all waiting in the wings. But we're not just waiting around for the big releases, folks. Yezi had her solo debut, GFriend had their comeback, and SM had a bunch of big news (and not so big news). There's a lot to go over, so let's get started already!

The Big Tease 

4Minute brings the Love/Hate

4Minute starts us off this week because 4Minute is Crazy and full of Hate, friends. As excited we are for Winner, we might be even more excited to see what 4Minute will be doing next. "Crazy" was a revelation and really cemented 4Minute, once again, as the coolest girl group in all of Kpop. With no knowing how long 2NE1 will be before they come back, 4Minute may be holding onto that crown for quite some time.

But what about "Hate?" When we first heard the teaser audio tracks, it seemed like it was going to be a slower, more nuanced jam. Even the music video teasers seemed more darkly understated - like we were getting something closer to "Volume Up." Which would be fine, because "Volume Up" is a masterpiece, friends.

Now we're seeing in teaser two that we may be getting another "Crazy," or maybe a mix of the two? We've been fooled before. HyunA's teasers for her last album were quirky, weird, and salacious, while "Roll Deep" itself was murky and a bit bland. But we still hold faith: "Hate" will be the fist slayer of 2016.

Winner Gets Dramatic

Winner's been teasing us for weeks now (weeks? or is it years??) and you may have heard us, during these long cold weeks, scream at the top of our lungs, "Just release your album already!!" And they're finally listening to us. February will be all about Winner, folks. And 4Minute. And, maybe, Taeyeon too?

Jinwoo stars in this teaser film and boy, is he sad. Maybe he's sick of waiting for their new album too! The music is creepy-religious-gothic and we have no idea if it has anything to do with Winner's album, but color us intrigued. Intrigued? Color us excited.

Taeyeon Goes Mellow

For our last teaser, we had to take a look at Taeyeon's unexpected "Rain." Taeyeon doesn't do much in this teaser, except for dropping a magic book in the floodwater, but Taeyeon has so much charisma and presence that she can brighten a room while fully asleep.

We don't know quite what to expect with this release, although it does seem to be more on the emotional ballad side of things, which we think is just fine, although we'd love to be surprised here. Taeyeon with another solo release this soon is so unexpected that we'll be happy with anything we get. While Winner makes us wait forever, SM makes sure to squelch our tears.

Yezi's Cider

Now onto some actual releases now! Yezi had her long-anticipated solo debut this week with "Cider." And yes, some of it does in fact slay. But there's a reason that it's not the cover story for This Week in Kpop, friends. As cool and as rich of a flow Yezi has in "Cider," and how much this song wants to just jam, it never really takes off. It feels a bit flat, and it may be because we've watched the music video first, where Yezi's lack of affect makes every act of wanton destruction feel muted. That affect is intentional to show how much Yezi doesn't give a f*ckkkkk - but when there's movement all around her, when the music video itself is following her every movement, the effect is like crawling underwater.

Perhaps that's the reason we find the special clip more enjoyable?

Are we off-base here? Do tell.

GFriend's Rough

We've made no secret that we don't quite get GFriend and the appeal of this corner of Kpop. But we can't deny that this is a fun, poppy song that really rides on full power to the end. We're not quite getting this music video either, but if anyone wants to write about this group, and why people should love them, we'd love to hear a pitch.

What the Heck is Going on at SM Entertainment? 

SM Entertainment had a slew of new news this week, and it took us a while to figure out what was really being said here. Zander Stachniak breaks down the top SM stories for all of us, right here.

Blossom Tears: That Time The MV Was So Plot AF That Not Even Leo and His Fine Self Could Deter Us

That title says it all, doesn't it? Hafsa and Gayathri are back to break down another crazy music video! This week they're taking on the plot of Leo's "Blossom Tears." Check out the conversation right here!

Critical Kpop Podcast - Episode 22: Deep Cuts

This week's podcast we're introducing a new series we're calling "Deep Cuts," where we delve deep into an underrated classic. Up first is T-ara's Absolute First Album. Tim and Zander also discuss the news from SM Entertainment, and get a bit drunk in the process, which you can listen to right here.

January 24-30, 2016

And that was This Week in Kpop! This was truly jam-packed this week but next week may be even bigger! We're so excited that we wish next week had started already! But before we know it, it'll be here! Until then, have fun and be safe!


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