Kpop 2018

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it's been fairly slow january again

Jonghyun's posthumous track is nice, "Always Be With You" indeed, RIP

other highlights so far:

LOONA's Go Won should release her track in a week or so to hopefully continue their excellent run of singles

ufo, Tuesday, 23 January 2018 04:53 (ten months ago) Permalink
this is good too

ufo, Tuesday, 23 January 2018 05:02 (ten months ago) Permalink

Chunga's good, good do well at a Eurovision, I like that we have a couple of popular female solo pop stars doing their thing now.

abcfsk, Tuesday, 23 January 2018 06:56 (ten months ago) Permalink

sigh, that Jonghyun video is making me sad all over again. He really was one of the best.

Roz, Tuesday, 23 January 2018 12:19 (ten months ago) Permalink


Just can't get behind Ravi as a rapper (he's an OK producer) but nice to see Park Jimin getting some work.

hurricane weather (forapper), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 02:30 (ten months ago) Permalink

Jonghyun's entire album is out:

Proceeds are going to his mom, you can read up on how to support here:

hurricane weather (forapper), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 02:41 (ten months ago) Permalink

I really like Jonghyun's Rewind off of the new record:

fragglerock, Sunday, 28 January 2018 01:50 (ten months ago) Permalink

The whole album is great but I can't quite bring myself to replay it. It's #1 on iTunes BTW.

hurricane weather (forapper), Sunday, 28 January 2018 01:59 (ten months ago) Permalink

I'm really enjoying the fanscreams for East Light, they sound like elementary school students...

hurricane weather (forapper), Sunday, 28 January 2018 02:03 (ten months ago) Permalink

new red velvet is ok but their r&b 'velvet' singles are never as good as the pop 'red' ones

ufo, Monday, 29 January 2018 10:23 (ten months ago) Permalink

loona continue to be excellent

ufo, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 04:58 (ten months ago) Permalink

Loona stuff continues to sound quite different from release to release but maintain its cool, and a conceptual consistency.

Velvet song seems ok, but yeah, when they're not 'Red' they tend to get more generic

abcfsk, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 09:07 (ten months ago) Permalink

I guess I'm in the minority that likes Bad Boy more than their last two singles... winter is the best season for RnB and the production on this is so nice.

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 1 February 2018 03:10 (ten months ago) Permalink

I really like the Go Won track too!

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 1 February 2018 03:12 (ten months ago) Permalink

I like Bad Boy a fair amount, and more than Peek-A-Boo, but it's summer here. it's probably their best r&b single so far but Red Flavor is my favourite single of theirs.

ufo, Thursday, 1 February 2018 06:06 (ten months ago) Permalink

Thoughts on Holland, the first openly gay idol? song isn't great imo but am glad there's actual making out in the video.

And I really like how breezy this iKon track is (their actual title track was bleh). The fun choreography helps:

Roz, Saturday, 3 February 2018 15:46 (ten months ago) Permalink

He has a nice voice (Holland). The BF is cute. There have been other idols who were all-but-out but it's something different to have a scene that purposefully removes the ambiguity. I wonder if he'll end up with a niche audience like Double A (never forget).

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:58 (ten months ago) Permalink

or the fabulous, Kazaky-inspired N.O.M :D

yeah someone on omona pointed out that even Adam Lambert hasn't had any gay scenes in his videos, which honestly surprised me considering how long he's been out.

Roz, Sunday, 4 February 2018 05:25 (ten months ago) Permalink

I'm reading that most of Holland's fans are international, which could be a problem for him financially (again similar to Double A). A solo singer is a lot cheaper to produce than a group though, hopefully he'll make it.

I have to say that I like Love Scenario more than Beautiful... on the one hand Love Scenario is really minimal and sparse, so on that count it's kinda boring but on the other hand it's got the old-tyme-country feel with the weird off-beat rhythms like Bae Bae had and that's a recent YG production trend I enjoy and support.

hurricane weather (forapper), Monday, 5 February 2018 04:56 (ten months ago) Permalink

Another excellent single from Sunmi:

New Suzy is good too, kind of Bad Liar-ish:

Roz, Thursday, 15 February 2018 15:46 (nine months ago) Permalink

Finally an NCT release that fulfills the promise of the project:

It's young, hip, melodic, retro, current, and has an easy chorus. And for once the easy chorus/dense throwback harmonies aren't at odds with the rest of the song!

Though I do like BOSS too.

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 27 February 2018 03:45 (nine months ago) Permalink

Like here, they are still making unusually melodic hip hop over a decent beat, but they don't know how to incorporate the more traditional "kpop" melodic content, except by suspending the beat for a few bars.

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 27 February 2018 03:55 (nine months ago) Permalink

great sunmi track
the riff reminds me of 'fight for this love'

nxd, Tuesday, 27 February 2018 10:52 (nine months ago) Permalink

Sober is quite good but I think I'd like it more if it had a moment of cartharsis like Bad Liar does with "oh baby let's make reality actuality" etc.

I really like all the overlapping vocals in the Baby Don't Stop chorus, definitely one of the best NCT singles.

ufo, Tuesday, 27 February 2018 15:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

Right??? And right before it ends, there's some straight-up jazz do-wop harmonies.

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 1 March 2018 03:35 (nine months ago) Permalink

Be ba da loo bob beep bop ba

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 1 March 2018 03:36 (nine months ago) Permalink

Lol this is the first time I'm watching the "BOSS" video - that is both great and hilarious.

And "Baby Don't Stop" is just great, period. Those vocal arrangements are incredible.

Roz, Thursday, 1 March 2018 14:26 (nine months ago) Permalink

Bad Boy has grown on me quite a lot. Roller Coaster still great, glad to see Chungha killing the charts.

abcfsk, Saturday, 3 March 2018 09:39 (nine months ago) Permalink

Interesting to see if Momoland can follow up BboomBboom and become a truly major group. I enjoy their Egyptian Shumba-like screams live. Seems Japanese interest is high.

abcfsk, Saturday, 3 March 2018 10:03 (nine months ago) Permalink

@Roz that's not the official video for BOSS, it's just something MNet does. I kinda prefer it tho lol.

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 3 March 2018 22:17 (nine months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Is there some brand value to putting "ft Jay Park" on a Loco song? Because I'm not sure what he adds to this lmao.

hurricane weather (forapper), Friday, 23 March 2018 00:39 (eight months ago) Permalink

whoops forgot the v=, here's the link :

hurricane weather (forapper), Friday, 23 March 2018 00:40 (eight months ago) Permalink

OMG guys... this is the most brilliant marketing scheme of 2018...

What's the 1 thing preteen girls love more than Boyz?

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 27 March 2018 00:09 (eight months ago) Permalink

The spoiler sounds awesome too, I'm excited:

GIDDY UP, guys!

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 27 March 2018 00:11 (eight months ago) Permalink

Also JYP on a roll with the self-produced boygroups... this one has a rock/hiphop sound as if some Korean American kids who grew up on eminem and linkin park were later given a chance to produce an idol group.

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 27 March 2018 00:47 (eight months ago) Permalink


hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 27 March 2018 00:48 (eight months ago) Permalink

this one has a rock/hiphop sound as if some Korean American kids who grew up on eminem and linkin park were later given a chance to produce an idol group.

oh good, i was trying to figure out where that familiar sense of secondhand embarrassment was coming from.

Roz, Wednesday, 28 March 2018 12:36 (eight months ago) Permalink

middle section of the new LOONA is maybe a little too disjointed but I love the rest of it

ufo, Friday, 30 March 2018 03:17 (eight months ago) Permalink

chorus seems a bit lacking, but it's a lot better than the last one (GoWon's). The other song on her single is great too:

Their sound design is incredible - i can't wait for their group debut.

Roz, Friday, 30 March 2018 14:33 (eight months ago) Permalink

I think she's a little weaker than other vocalists in LOONA, which makes the chorus sound lacking. But her emoting on the verses is good. I like the last section starting at 3:45 when they put all the echo effects on, other sections were a little predictable.

hurricane weather (forapper), Friday, 30 March 2018 20:49 (eight months ago) Permalink

Dunno if EXID's new jack swing will bring back all their fans who drifted away but I really like it, it's chill without being boring (lots of breaks for vocalists to show off):

Could use maybe a change in tempo or volume though. I was a bigger fan of DDD.

hurricane weather (forapper), Monday, 2 April 2018 14:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

I really like that too, it could use a more distinctive bridge or something to change things up as you said, but I prefer it to DDD

ufo, Monday, 2 April 2018 14:58 (eight months ago) Permalink

Love this track, sounds very SHINee-esque.

Roz, Thursday, 5 April 2018 11:16 (eight months ago) Permalink

that's pretty good, I love the bridge especially

ufo, Thursday, 5 April 2018 11:49 (eight months ago) Permalink

Helpful youtube commenter:

Once * Army
6 minutes ago
Movie references in the MV:
0.31 Ghost - 1990
0.49 Pulp Fiction - 1994
1.07 Romeo and Juliet - 1996
1.14, 2.43 Love Letter - 1995
1.23 La La Land - 2016
1.42 La Boum - 1980
2.19-2.31 Leon:The Professional- 1994
2.39 The Princess Diaries - 2001

abcfsk, Monday, 9 April 2018 15:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

decent but it's pretty TWICE-by-numbers

ufo, Monday, 9 April 2018 20:02 (eight months ago) Permalink

TWICE-by-numbers >>>> 90% of K-pop

Roz, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 13:58 (eight months ago) Permalink

Plus the video really is a delight

abcfsk, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 14:22 (eight months ago) Permalink

it's a total earworm even if it's not as exciting as Likey

ufo, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 16:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm a fan of Giddy Up, even if they didn't put the horses in the actual MV.

hurricane weather (forapper), Monday, 16 April 2018 03:22 (seven months ago) Permalink

I've never really been able to get into GOT7 but that's quite nice.

Roz, Monday, 17 September 2018 15:00 (two months ago) Permalink

I like it, it kinda sounds like Teenager (fan favorite off the last album):

I think I'd like it more if it was just a touch more relaxed

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 18 September 2018 01:45 (two months ago) Permalink

dirrrrrrrty bass (but the chorus is poppy):

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 25 September 2018 01:18 (two months ago) Permalink

Doesn't quite stick the landing but I love the first 2 minutes of this...

hurricane weather (forapper), Tuesday, 25 September 2018 01:20 (two months ago) Permalink

i like this way more than the components

ufo, Saturday, 29 September 2018 18:39 (two months ago) Permalink

this is a very good r&b track with a great keyboard solo that i'd completely missed until now

ufo, Tuesday, 2 October 2018 10:07 (two months ago) Permalink

listened to the GOT7 album and it's really great, one of the best kpop full lengths i've heard. nearly every track could have been the single

this is one of the highlights

ufo, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 01:12 (two months ago) Permalink

Oh yeah Lee Jin Ah pitched as this piano genius could be very noodle-y but she's shown a great pop sensibility too, even in the songs where she IS doing jazz piano throughout

abcfsk, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 05:49 (two months ago) Permalink


abcfsk, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 05:50 (two months ago) Permalink

Her album this year is beautiful

abcfsk, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 08:49 (two months ago) Permalink

I've been listening to a lot of Lee Jin Ah on my jazz(y) Kpop odyssey this year, it's bubbling up from the Korean underground to the idol scene.

Random is my favorite Lee Jin Ah track.

hurricane weather (forapper), Friday, 5 October 2018 04:55 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah her album was quite enjoyable too

ufo, Friday, 5 October 2018 04:56 (two months ago) Permalink

Working toward a theory of how these idol groups are positioned for an audience... not just on a cute/sexy axis for girlgroups (or a puppy love/possessive love axis for boygroups), but thinking about that axis in terms of the (sexual) agency allowed to the artist (the x axis), and also adding another axis for the age/sophistication of the target audience (the y axis).

So you can have a group with a pretty sophisticated presentation, using sounds from the indie scene or otherwise outside the idol scene, with MVs that use indie film tropes (clever transitions, artsy black and white, unexpected juxtapositions, or maybe tried indie tropes like filing at the laundromat), but because the artists are young, the target audience is also young (or are people who are into "young") - so the portrayal of the relationship will lack agency on the part of the artist, and they will be in the bottom left corner of the graph. (Ex: Infinite forever complaining about how they are controlled by Bad Girls, IU adding musical complexity while still appealing to the uncle fans, Stellar going meta about how they are objectified while being poked by computer mice in the music video).

The ultimate goal of this exercise is escape to the quadrant in the bottom right, where you can have a sophisticated image (y-axis) AND sexual agency (x-axis), the only way to retain fans after aging out of your original image, whatever it was (young and sophisticated, young and cute, or sexy but in a simplistic, 1-dimensional way). Because as an older artist, you not only want to be more true to your actual lived experience, but you also can't compete with the younger artists to be MORE cute or MORE inexperienced or in a MORE kdrama-rama relationship, right?

This isn't to say that the bottom right quadrant is actually more sophisticated or sexy, more that it's a Justin Timberlake going to "Suit and Tie" type of deal, where you successfully keep your audience into adulthood.

So examples of artists who succeeded here might be G.o.D, IU, Suzy from Miss A (and actually, Miss A as a whole, although they disbanded shortly thereafter), Taeyeon from Girls Generation, EXO-CBX and the other EXO subunits, Red Velvet, VIXX, Minah from Girl's Day, Sistar both as a group and as individual artists, Big Bang (maybe, they can also be self-reflective without being emotionally mature).

Just a thought, and since the pop culture website I used to write for went under, I figured I'd put it here.

hurricane weather (forapper), Sunday, 7 October 2018 18:11 (two months ago) Permalink

ANyway in the young but sophisticated (but lacking agency) quadrant we have MXM, who I am enjoying quite a bit these days:

hurricane weather (forapper), Sunday, 7 October 2018 18:12 (two months ago) Permalink

Or it could be that this is the new young-and-cute puppy love quadrant, updated with what the kids are actually into these days.

hurricane weather (forapper), Sunday, 7 October 2018 18:18 (two months ago) Permalink

And speaking of that sexy/tasteful quadrant, here's another one for the Continued Mainstreaming of Jazz Piano Watch:

hurricane weather (forapper), Sunday, 7 October 2018 19:14 (two months ago) Permalink

Interesting theory, but time to get to paint and start filling in the names so we can tell you why we disagree

abcfsk, Sunday, 7 October 2018 19:43 (two months ago) Permalink

Much as I dig Red Velvet not sure they've escaped to the bottom right just yet? Sophisticated presentation, but lacking agency, a bit all over the place, still very much dancing at the whims of SM. They're also just a few years old.

Lee Hyori is/was the ultimate example, I guess, going from a squarely cute 'n innocent concept group to major success in the mature phase of her career as something completely different and now in the 'do what she pleases' phase. Although she's mostly done with music by now.

abcfsk, Sunday, 7 October 2018 19:47 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, for Red Velvet actually I think you are right, they are bouncing back and forth between the top left (cute & upbeat) and top right (sexy bad girls) as a group, as planned from the start of their careers. Because when you establish from the beginning that you're going to be switching up your image, it makes the final transition easier & more credible.

Seulgi as a solo artist might be a better candidate for escaping to the bottom right, and SM Station in general seems to be an outlet for SM artists to try out some different sounds and maybe gain credibility as mature artists so they can escape whatever image they started out with.

For boy groups, I think the textbook example would be VIXX - they were video game characters at debut, then did some Jekyll/Hyde concept switch stuff, and now are playing up the 'sexy, mature, tasteful, and/or musically adventurous' image both as a group and in their solo releases.

hurricane weather (forapper), Sunday, 7 October 2018 20:05 (two months ago) Permalink

Subbed, but IU's difficult to translate, puns and poetry aplenty

The song is great. Surprisingly catchy.

abcfsk, Thursday, 11 October 2018 05:48 (two months ago) Permalink

^ i love this one! thanks for pointing it out.

fragglerock, Thursday, 11 October 2018 09:22 (two months ago) Permalink

APRIL have moved away from their usual cutesy innocent sound here with great results. 80s-influenced but still pretty distinctive in sound and it flows fantastically

ufo, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 11:39 (one month ago) Permalink


nxd, Friday, 19 October 2018 08:32 (one month ago) Permalink

oh it didnt embed, but ^ thats the new dua lipa x blackpink song

nxd, Friday, 19 October 2018 08:32 (one month ago) Permalink

wow that song really sux

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 20 October 2018 01:00 (one month ago) Permalink

duua lia x blackpink obviously, not APRIL or IU. We don't even get Lisa rapping in English! Total money grab.

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 20 October 2018 01:01 (one month ago) Permalink

The John Legend x Wendy rnballad is superior in every way and an actual collab.

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 20 October 2018 01:08 (one month ago) Permalink

The APRIL song is really good... the production is hypnotic and it really suits their (lighter) voices.

The song kind of sounds like something Wondergirls or TWICE would do, with a vaporwave (or the 80s Jpop sound that inspired vaporwave) sensibility and updated with modern production.

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 20 October 2018 01:35 (one month ago) Permalink

re APRIL: love how movie trends tend to permeate throughout k-pop - a few years ago, it was all the Batman stuff, now clearly it's Clueless (see also, LOOΠΔ/yyxy's look/MVs)

Roz, Saturday, 20 October 2018 10:44 (one month ago) Permalink

I've actually never heard of this group - came across via Youtube autoplay. Extremely enjoyable!

Roz, Saturday, 20 October 2018 11:11 (one month ago) Permalink

They're from the survival show Idol School, I think. Kind of CJ E&M's answer to Mnet's Produce 101 or KBS's The Unit, but not as popular as either of those. I think this is the first fromis_9 track that's gotten any traction with the general public.

hurricane weather (forapper), Monday, 22 October 2018 00:16 (one month ago) Permalink

Love Bomb is quite good, much better than the previous fromis_9 singles i'd heard which i barely remember at all

the Batman trend in kpop videos was really so odd

ufo, Monday, 22 October 2018 00:54 (one month ago) Permalink

EXO doing some crowd-pleasing current hip hop trends, but then there's an extended barbershop call and response bridge:

hurricane weather (forapper), Friday, 2 November 2018 23:47 (one month ago) Permalink

new TWICE is fun, certainly one of their best singles. feels kinda Kylie-ish?

ufo, Monday, 5 November 2018 09:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Really like 'Tempo'

Frederik B, Monday, 5 November 2018 11:07 (one month ago) Permalink

Me too Frederirk, me too.

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 8 November 2018 09:01 (one month ago) Permalink

I think TWICE might repeat the chorus many one or two too many times, but it's pretty enjoyable. TT is their best song I think.

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 8 November 2018 09:08 (one month ago) Permalink

Speaking of songs that will please fans, Key x Soyou is everything you'd want and expect from that collaboration, they both have such nice/contrasting voices and the song sounds like it could have been a b side on the last SHINee album.

Also, my boys MXM out there doing their MXM thing, I love how consistent they are with the shout vocals, simple hooks and indie visuals:

Both songs are simple but I like them.

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 8 November 2018 09:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Forever Yours is fun!

my top three TWICE singles are pretty easily Likey, Yes or Yes, and What Is Love?

ufo, Thursday, 8 November 2018 11:59 (one month ago) Permalink

I'm really glad Key is doing well in this post-Jonghyun world - for a while there, it seemed like he might have been the hardest hit by the loss.

Yes or Yes is great, and more Clueless-esque plaid skirts and berets! I like Tempo too, not least because SM has finally realised how popular Sehun is and decided to give him double the number of his usual lines haha.

Roz, Thursday, 8 November 2018 13:51 (one month ago) Permalink

Have I mentioned before that I'm into the jazz trend in Kpop? Because I'm into the jazz trend in Kpop. US producers, you need to get on this.

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 17 November 2018 19:37 (three weeks ago) Permalink

That's a collab between Park Jiyeon (ex-GLAM) and Park Kyung, by the way.

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 17 November 2018 19:38 (three weeks ago) Permalink

EXID come back with one of their best earworms yet

abcfsk, Wednesday, 21 November 2018 15:32 (three weeks ago) Permalink

NCT putting melody in their hip hop again, the producers have nailed the formula, this is really good:

It kinda has a similar aesthetic to EXO's tempo, but younger / edgier / trendier.

hurricane weather (forapper), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 02:20 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Really like Hani on the bridge of that EXID song

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 1 December 2018 03:10 (one week ago) Permalink

For those of us who miss old school BAP... plus one of these guys has a really impressive ability to shout on pitch:

If 5 minutes is too long for you, they shortened it to 3 1/2 for the broadcast version (this is worth watching IMO):

hurricane weather (forapper), Saturday, 1 December 2018 03:45 (one week ago) Permalink

So have there been any consensus stand out hits this year? Out of curiosity and also, of course, looking forward to the ilx best of the year voting.

abcfsk, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 08:46 (yesterday) Permalink

nothing's been quite as exciting as last year's highlights in LOONA's amazing run, and Red Velvet, Twice and Blackpink all releasing their best singles but there's still a lot i like

a quick list of some favourites:
BTS - Idol
Oh My Girl - Remember Me
NCT U - Baby Don't Stop
NCT 127 - Touch
LOONA/Olivia Hye feat. JinSoul - Egoist
(G)I-DLE - HANN (Alone)
Sunmi - Siren
Yubin - Lady
Apink - I'm so sick
Red Velvet - Bad Boy
Red Velvet - Power Up
Brave Girls - Rollin' (New Version)
Hyolyn - See Sea

out of those, i'm certainly voting for "Idol", "Remember Me" and at least one NCT track, and maybe a few of the others

ufo, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 09:28 (yesterday) Permalink

I could support GIdle, maybe Sunmi, BTS, well, they've had a year anyway. Will probably add IU, though still disappointed we didn't get her top 77 last year. I'll be voting for BoA's Woman in the album poll.

abcfsk, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 09:47 (yesterday) Permalink

'power up' for me

nxd, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 10:49 (yesterday) Permalink

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