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Archive for the 'Korean Music' Category

Outsider - Korean Rapper Famous for Ultrafast Rapping

After way too long, 아웃사이더 or Outsider is back! He debuted in 2004 with the EP Come Outside, releasing the Speed Star single in 2006, and then his first album Soliloquist in October of 2007. It’s been a long wait since then, but now he’s back, with his second album MAESTRO.

Outsider is a hiphop artist, and one of the things he’s best known for is his ultrafast speed rapping. I love it. I have no idea how anyone can possibly rap that fast.

His first album featured other hiphop artists such as my personal favourites MC Sniper, 배치기 and Simon Dominic, as well as Mr.room9, BK and 샛별. His second album was a little different from his first, a bit less nittygritty hiphop and with slightly more pop and dance influence. I love pure hiphop but I also love it when hiphop artists aren’t afraid of branching out and trying some different beats and styles. His second album features the talents of Basick, Swagger, JOY, 배치기, MC Sniper, L.E.O and plenty more.

The first single to be promoted from MAESTRO is 외톨이:

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And here’s 남자답게, from his first album Soliloquist:

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너라고 (It’s You)

Super Junior are gearing up to release the repackaged version of their third album SORRY, SORRY. It’s being called ‘Version C’ since they know how to suck all your money out of you, and already released two different versions (different covers and booklets, same tracks) of the album back in March. This repackaged version though comes with a new photo concept, as well as four new songs.

One of those songs is 너라고 (It’s You), which will be promoted as their next single, now that SORRY, SORRY (the song, not the album) is ending it’s run. It’s written by E-Tribe, the composer behind the super catchy will-never-get-out-of-your-head Gee, by 소녀시대, as well as pop queen 이효리’s U-Go-Girl.

But fear not, because 너라고 (It’s You) isn’t cute lollipopbubblegum pop like Gee. It’s still pop, but the sort of strong dance beat and style that fits Super Junior really well.

The MV for the song was released yesterday - in two versions, an ‘unfinished’ leaked version and the official version shortly after. I’ll show the leaked version because the official version didn’t do it for me. It had some lame shiny effect on the boys during the dance sections, and I don’t need even one sparkling vampire, let alone a whole boyband of them.

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I think we should play a game. For the uninitiated, there’s 13 members of Super Junior. Now pause it during one of the dance segments, when you can see them all, like around 10 seconds in. Now count them. XD

With Kibum’s lack of dance and zero lines, I suppose fans at least know this time that Kibum won’t be joining in the promotion activities. Heechul does make a brief appearance in the dance for his line of the song, so I guess he’ll be pulling the same magically appearing on stage at the end thing he was doing for SORRY, SORRY.

So what do you guys think of the song? I actually really like it, I definitely think its one of Super Junior’s better songs, and it might even have crept up to the level of Favourite for me.

May is Family Month - Save 30%!

The Month of May in Korea is often called Family Month. There’s Children’s Day, Parent’s Day, and Teacher’s Day. Korea takes Mother’s Day to a whole different level! On these days you give your Children, Parents and Teachers gifts to show them how much you appreciate them. Children often benefit the most with candy and money being popular gifts. Teachers get quite a lot of gifts as well as they have many students and parents to receive gifts from. And that’s why the month of May is called Family month in Korea!

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2NE1 - was their debut hot like Fire?

Are you a fan of Epik High? Over at KoME we’re in the final stages of putting together a video shoutout for Epik High and MYK, consisting of videos, pictures, and messages from fans. You can participate in English, or in your native language. If you’re interested in taking part, you can check out the project here. Submission deadlines are May 10th but if you really want to take part but need a few extra days then just email me and I’ll wait for you.

So, YG Entertainment have a new group. Marketed as the ‘female Big Bang’, 2NE1 first appeared not too long ago, promoting one of the new LG cellphones. The promotion campaign involved the catchy song Lollipop, which they performed with Big Bang, and an accompanying MV. Although I quite liked the outfits, as eye-meltingly bright as they were, Sandara’s outfit and palm-tree hair pretty much ruined the whole look for me.

Fast forward several weeks to the beginning of May, where a new look for 2NE1 was revealed, as well as 10 second teasers for their proper debut song Fire. Each day another 10 seconds of the song was released, until yesterday when the whole thing was made available and MVs released. Yes, MVs. They made a Space Version and a Street Version. Written by Teddy, of 1TYM fame, I was expecting a pretty awesome song. I wasn’t alone with this expectation, though others had their hopes up for a variety of reasons - it’s YG, it’s the female Big Bang, etc. YG helped get hopes up higher by promising that 2NE1 would be like nothing we had ever seen before. There were promises of fresh, new, awesomeness from CL, Dara, Bom and Minzy.

So, did they deliver?

Street Version:

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Space Version:

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What do you think?

I personally think no. The potential is there, but so is that freaking palm-tree hair. CL (the chick on the bike in the space version) doesn’t seem to know if she’s G-Dragon, T.O.P or herself - it feels like YG has decided “alright, you’re the jailbait, you’re the sexy bunny girl, you get the palmtree hair, and you’re the GD/TOP clone”. I personally would rather see the girls displaying an image that is their own, and I don’t feel they are. Yet. I’ll keep my eye on them, but I’m really not digging them as much as I was hoping that I would. They have a mini-album coming out later this year, so maybe that will deliver what the single doesn’t quite manage. To me, they just don’t quite manage to stand out.

When the music starts, all people are the same

Before I say anything else: over on KoME we had the chance to interview the very successful, and my personal favourite, hiphop trio Epik High. We asked them about their upcoming album Map The Soul, their musical influences, and they even gave us their opinions on issues such as censorship in the Korean music industry (something I wrote about last year right here), and music in the digital era.

You can check out the interview here. They had plenty to say!

So. 서태지 is on a mission to foil my plans every Wednesday. The MV for Juliet still isn’t out yet (okay, so I have no idea when it’s even supposed to be released, but considering how long the single has been out now I just assumed the MV would be out already too). But there is a 15 second teaser for it!

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And last week, 13 member boyband Super Junior released the MV for SORRY, SORRY, the first single from their third album, SORRY, SORRY.

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Anyone else notice how 은혁 looks a lot like in this? XD (If you don’t know who’s who, 은혁 is the one at around 2:25 with the patterned pants, white shirt, one black glove, and black sunglasses - with the haircut, the whole look was rather reminiscent of 비’s look for RAINISM)

I actually really like this song. It’s not amazing but it’s catchy. This is the style that suits Super Junior pretty perfectly, it’s upbeat and full of energy, and the type of song that lets them show off their dancing moves in the lives (because with 13 members you can’t really show off your vocals). Unfortunately the rest of the album didn’t follow along in this same style - it was a little more laid back, more along the lines of R&B than anything else. There were some ballads, but they were balanced out well and the ballads themselves were pulled off a lot better than they were in Super Junior’s second album. I didn’t enjoy the album as much as I enjoyed the bubblegum pop of their first album, but it was a decent enough album overall.

If you want to read a review of the album, Rinoa over on KoME reviewed it here.

Sohee vants to suck ur blud

8eight are an R&B group with both male and female vocals. Their lineup consists of 이현, 백찬 and 주희. They debuted in 2007, and have just released their third album Golden Age. The first single from the album is 심장이없어, and Sohee from the Wonder Girls plays a role in the music video:

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Not the most amazing music video, but at least I liked it more than Se7en’s Girls MV featuring Lil Kim. I’m not a Se7en fan but I was expecting more from the guy, considering how long his American debut has been in the works. The lyrics are pretty trashy and self-absorbed too, though I suppose it fits in just fine with the American R&B scene.

Rockstar 서태지 has just released a new single, 8th Atomos Part Secret. It’s the follow up to 8th Atomos Part Moai, both singles are from his upcoming eighth album. Juliet is the main track from this 8th Atomos Part Secret single, but sadly there’s no MV out for it yet. You can check out the single’s teaser though.

And over at KoME, we recently got ourselves an interview with the electronica band Casker. Check it out!

Dear Cloud

I recently heard 디어클라우드, or Dear Cloud, after a friend of mine posted the group’s Lip MV on her LJ. I had never heard them, or even of them, before this so I thought I would share them today.

Dear Cloud are a rock group made up of 5 members: 나인 on vocals, 용린 on guitar, 이랑 on bass, 정아 on keyboard and 광석 on drums. They debuted in 2007 with a self-titled album, and released their second album, Grey, in October last year.

The single from Grey was Lip, which was the MV that my friend posted. Check it out:

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(Anyone recognise creepy chin dude? He was in 박효신 & Hwang Project’s The Castle of Zoltar. I have no idea what his name is. He can just be Creepy Chin Dude.)

Dear Cloud reminds me of a female-vocal version of Nell. Very laid back and mellow, and so easy to listen to. 나인 also has a really nice voice, she suits the style very well.

You can see the MV for their first single, 얼음요새 here. And if you’ve got a Naver account, you can check out a couple of their songs here (you’ll need to use IE and install the Naver Player. Make sure you’re logged in!).

두근두근

It’s been another week of good stuff being released, such as Fly to the Sky’s latest (and last) album Decennium. I’m personally still feeling rather heartbroken that they’re breaking up, although they have said that they will be coming back together to release smaller releases sometimes. That’s like ending your marriage but still dating that person! I wish that they were staying together properly, because Decennium had so many amazing songs on it, they just keep getting better and better - I suppose it’s good to go out on a high note, though.

신화 member and ballad singer 신혜성 also released an album this week. Keep Leaves is the ’second side’ of his third solo album. The first side, Live and Let Live was released last year and had 신혜성 showing us that ballads weren’t the only thing he can sing outside of 신화, and that an artist should never be afraid of trying something different and stretching their own horizons. The second side, Keep Leaves, has 신혜성 returning to his usual ballad style. I actually haven’t listened to the album yet, but I’ve seen the MV for the first single from the album, 왜 전화했어.

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I think it should be called “Why does the girl always die?”.

리오 (also known as L.E.O) also released an album, 검은띠. I really like it, and it features a couple of artists that I really like, such as Supreme Team, MC Sniper, Verbal Jint, Dynamic Duo and 배치기. Good times!

The first single from the album is Love Train, a little more pop-ish than the rest of the tracks but still pretty fun:

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And a new duo, 점퍼, debuted last week. They’re produced by 신화’s Andy, and have a pop/dance style. It turned out that YES! wasn’t actually going to be Eric’s single like it was being made to sound like it would be. He simply featured on one version of the song.

Despite misleading and disappointing me, the song was alright. Very standard stuff but I’ve heard worse.

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Upcoming Releases

A few exciting things have been happening for me on the music fandom front, and there’s quite a few things that I’m looking forward to in the next week or so as well.

FT Island came out with a new MV, 나쁜 여자야, from their latest mini-album Jump Up. It’s a little weird without 오완빈, and a little strange to see and hear 송승현 in his place, but the new guy fits in quite well and FT Island’s sound hasn’t suffered from the member change. If anything, their music sounds a little more mature than it did before, which is never a bad thing.

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Epik High’s Tablo released a book last year in November, 당신의 조각들, which was a collection of short stories he’d written in 1998-2001. Originally in English, these stories were translated and published in Korean. But today the original English version of these stories were released in the English version of the book. I’m really excited! And there’s plenty more Epik High on the horizon too, with their latest album coming out next month.

신화’s Eric has a single coming out tomorrow, which took most of us 신화 fans by total surprise. Eric has been saying for a few years now that he’ll release some solo works, and he never actually did it, just featured in other people’s stuff instead. Last year he said that he would release something after he had finished filming 최강칠우 and before he entered the army, but he didn’t do it then either (although I think the sudden death of friend and actor 이언 had a lot to do with that). I think most of us 신화 fans had given up expecting any music from Eric now that he’s serving his military time, but yesterday a video teaser was released!

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YES! should be released in full tomorrow, and was recorded before he entered the army. It’s exactly the style expected from Eric, and I am really looking forward to it. It seems like a catchy beat!

Fly to the Sky also have a new album coming out, on the weekend. It will be their 8th album, and this year also marks the duo’s 10th year together.

FT Island

I know, I know. I promised last week that I’d come with some hiphop today. But there’s something else I want to write about today instead.

I’ve been a fan of FT 아일랜드 or FT Island since their debut. They’re a five member boyband - and by band, I mean an actual band. They don’t all sing and dance - they actually play their instruments, and generally suck pretty bad at dancing. There’s 이홍기 on vocals, 최종훈 on guitar, 이재진 on bass, 최민환 on drums, and 오원빈 on guitar and backing vocals/’rap’, and my favourite. They debuted in 2007 and since then they’ve released two albums and repackages, and a Japanese mini album and single, as well as performing songs on a couple of drama OSTs.

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The above is the first single, 사랑후애, from their second album Colorful Sensibility.

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They are also awesome live. This was shortly after their debut, doesn’t 이홍기 have a great voice?

Sadly though today it was announced that 오원빈 has decided that he’ll be leaving FT Island. There’s been a lot of different rumours flying around about it, but the official site mentions musical differences.

They will apparently be replacing him with one of the company’s other recruits, though details about it haven’t been confirmed yet as far as I can tell.

I’m so sad about this, I’ve spent the last few years watching them together and seeing each of them grow into who they are right now, they have come so far since debut and the thought that one of them would leave never actually crossed my mind. But at the same time it doesn’t completely surprise me, and I hope that 오원빈 will do well in whatever he decides to do after this point. I honestly hope though that he isn’t thinking about a solo career, because his voice isn’t strong or good enough to be solo or lead vocals - but if that’s what he wants to do, then I hope he does well.