The student news site of Francis Howell High School
  • Comeback Reviews
    • B.A.P "Honeymoon"
    • Pentagon "Demo_01"
    • Hyuna "Following"
    • Day6 "I Loved You"
    • EXO "Power"
    • JJ Project "Verse 2"
    • GFriend "Rainbow"
    • Red Velvet "Peek-A-Boo"
    • CLC "Black Dress"
    • J-Hope "Hope World"
    • Stray Kids "I Am Not"
    • Bigbang "Made"
    • BTS "Love Yourself: Answer"
    • Day6 "Feeling Good" & "Shoot Me"
    • SHINee "The Story of Light"
    • GOT7 "Present: You"
    • Pentagon "Thumbs Up"
    • Oh My Girl "Remember Me"
    • Cosmic Girls "WJ Please?"
    • Dreamcatcher "Alone in the City"
    • iKON "New Kids: Final"
    • The Rose "Dawn"
    • NCT 127 "Regular-Irregular"
    • BTS Concert
    • Blackpink "Kill This Love"
    • Twice "Fancy You"
    • Winner "We"

BTS “Love Yourself: Her” Comeback

September 8, 2017

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BTS “Love Yourself: Her” Comeback

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Billboard Music Award winning kpop artists, BTS released a trailer for their comeback Sept. 4 at midnight KST (Korean Standard Time).

BTS’s last comeback was in March with the release of their single and music video, “Spring Day”. Now BTS is preparing for their next album, Her, to drop on Sept. 18. BTS is working on a project called Love Yourself which Her is apart of.

Bighit Entertainment, BTS’s company, has been dropping teaser images and videos since Aug. 10 on their twitter. Everything is released at 12:00 am KST, or 10:00 am CST (Central Standard Time).

A “Note” was released in the point of view of group member Jin which told a story relating to the album concept. Then four trailers for the Love Yourself dramas/short films, another aspect of the project, dropped.

The preorder for the album was released on Aug. 28 for U.S. and Canada residents. The preorder managed to get over a million orders within the first week in South Korea alone with no trailers, concept images, or posters for the actual album.

Then on Sept. 3 the Bighit Entertainment website turned into a countdown of 24 hours with doors that opened slowly every two hours. At the end of the countdown, the official comeback trailer was dropped. The trailer was the track and music video “Serendipity”, which was a solo for group member Jimin.

Bighit Entertainment released concept pictures for two of the different packagings for the preorder; there are a total of four packaging versions: L, O, V, and E. The other two concept sets of concept pictures should be coming soon.

B.A.P “Honeymoon” Review

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B.A.P “Honeymoon” Review

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Popular kpop artists B.A.P. released a music video for “Honeymoon”, a part of their newest EP, Sept. 5.

The EP, called Blue, features three songs all with a more relaxed feel: “Honeymoon”, “All the Way Up”, and “Rewind”. “Honeymoon” has an acoustic sound but with a prominent beat. “All the Way Up” is more of a house music song with a techno sound. Finally, “Rewind” is a soulful song with a slower, jazzier beat.

The music video spends most of it’s shots in an aesthetic field with the members all in white. The other visuals in the music video are of oceans and forests with and without the group members, adding to the overall relaxed feel.

Unfortunately, B.A.P.’s company, TS Entertainment, fell to the cringy, current kpop trend of mullets. Two of the members, Himchan and Jongup, have mullets for this comeback.

Although the styling choice is questionable, B.A.P. has had four albums on Billboard’s World Albums chart. Warrior hit number ten in 2012, Power also came in at number 10 also in 2012, One Shot was ranked number one in 2013, and First Sensibility topped the chart in 2014.

The group continued to rank on top charts while going through many scheduling conflicts. Group leader, Yongguk, went on a four month hiatus due to anxiety and other mental health issues. For his first comeback after the hiatus, B.A.P. released the album Rose, which features songs about mental health issues and tears down “perfect societies” calling them all illusions.

The group put together Blue while members Daehyun and Jongup were promoting their solo careers and while the group was on a worldwide tour. B.A.P. has proved time and time again that they deserve their popularity and recognition.

Pentagon “Demo_01” Review

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Pentagon “Demo_01” Review

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Fairly new, ten-member kpop group, Pentagon won both New Star Award and New Korean Wave Rookie Award with their latest EP Demo_01.

The group first debuted in Oct. 10 2016 with Pentagon. The EP had seven tracks including the single, “Gorilla”. Then came, Five Senses featuring “Can You Feel It” in Dec. 2016. In March 2017, Pentagon released their first Japanese EP, Gorilla. It contained six tracks including Japanese versions of “Gorilla”, “Can You Feel It”, “Pretty Pretty”, “You Are”, and two new Japanese tracks. The single “Beautiful” was dropped May 18, and a third EP, Ceremony, was released June 12.

Sept. 6, Pentagon came out with Demo_01 that is composed of five songs: “Like This”, “It’s Over”, “One More Night”, “Get That Drink”, and “When I Was In Love”. “Like This” and “When I Was In Love” are the only two to have music videos at the moment.

“Like This” starts off the EP’s EDM style with a catchy chorus. The song does a good job incorporating the rap line and vocal line without making the transitions stand out. The music video takes place in rundown sets of parking lots and warehouses, and the focus is on the members and the intricate group dance more than on a plot line. The light effects in the video also stand out and add to the overall feel to the song and music video.

Both “It’s Over” and “One More Night” carry the EDM style but with a slower, more somber tone. “One More Night” has a clock-like beat that carries throughout the song but is more prominent in the intro and bridge of the song. While the two songs are similar in sense of tone, they contrast and contradict each other when it comes to meaning. “It’s Over” is about the members telling a significant other that the relationship isn’t working anymore and it’s time to move on. On the other hand, “One More Night” features the group trying to convince the other person in a relationship that everything will work out and to just keep trying in the relationship.

“Get That Drink” takes a break from heavy-hearted topics of the previous two songs and drifts a little from the EDM style of the other songs. This song only includes the rap line: E’Dawn, Yuto, and Wooseok. The song focuses more on the rap itself; therefore, the EDM takes a back-burner so the lyrics and bass can stand out. The theme changes from “relationship problems” to a “we’re the best” vibe.

The other song with a music video is “When I Was In Love” which brings back the slow, EDM style but with a piano mixed into the melody. The music video is left up to fan interpretations as the ending is a little unclear. Not featuring any of the members, the music video follows a woman using “make-a-wish” matches. Her life goes right while she uses them until the run out. The video shows her face fall and a screen of bright white appears until doors slowly close shut.

Hyuna “Following” Review

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Hyuna “Following” Review

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Korean solo artist Hyuna, landed a spot on the Billboard World Album Chart this week with her latest EP,  Following, coming in at number five.

Hyuna first debuted as a member of Wonder Girls in 2007 at age 14. She later joined the girl group, 4Minute after leaving Wonder Girls in 2009. Hyuna started her solo career while still apart of 4Minute in 2010 with her single “Change”.

Bubble Pop!, her first EP, sold more than two and half million copies, and Hyuna became the first female kpop solo artist to reach 100 million views on a single YouTube video in 2011. Hyuna then went on to appear in Psy’s  “Gangnam Style” in 2012.

4Minute disbanded in 2016, but Hyuna is now apart of a group under the same company called Triple H. Pentagon members Hui and E’Dawn are also apart of Triple H which was just formed in 2017.

Following was released Aug. 29 and is Hyuna’s sixth EP release. The EP consists of five songs: “Party” featuring Pentagon member Wooseok, “Babe”, “Purple” featuring fellow Triple H and Pentagon member E’Dawn, “Dart”, and “Mirror”. The tone of the EP transitions from upbeat, hip-hop rapping with “Party” down to a more chill, techno house music feel with “Mirror”.

Day6 “I Loved You” Review

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Day6 “I Loved You” Review

Korean rock band, Day6 continues with their year-long project, Every Day6, with the release of “I Loved You” along with the music video and the song, “I’ll Remember”.

In Dec. of 2016, the band announced their project for 2017. Every sixth day of the month, Day6 will release two songs and a music video. First for Every Day6 January, “I Wait” and “Goodbye Winter” were dropped. Then came “You Were Beautiful” and “My Day” in Feb., “How Can I Say” and “I Would” in March, “I’m Serious” and “Say Wow” in April, “Dance Dance” and “Man in a Movie” in May, “I Smile” and “Lean On Me” in June, “Hi Hello” and “Be Lazy” in July, and “What Can I Do” and “Whatever!” in Aug.

June 7, Day6 released their first full album having only released EPs in the past. The album consists of 14 songs; 10 of the songs were from Every Day6. Also on the album is a rebooted version of “Letting Go” and the final version of “Congratulations”.

“I Loved You” follows the tone of most of Day6’s songs. The verses are a slow, soft rock and the beat picks up with the drums and guitar during the chorus. “I’ll Remember” keeps the vibe but the intro of the song heavily features the guitar and keyboard. The “I Loved You” music video goes back and forth between the band playing in a school gym and the members pursuing a girl, again in a school setting.

Band member, Jae also started a Youtube channel, JaeSix,  and uploaded his first vlog on Sept. 6. He tweeted his plans for the channel; he’ll upload once a month until the end of Every Day6 and then “starting Jan. yall better be ready”.

 

EXO “Power” Review

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EXO “Power” Review

The music video for “Power” by kpop artist EXO recently hit one million likes and 16 million views after being released Sept. 5.

Under SM Entertainment, EXO debuted as a Korean-Mandarin group with a total of 12 members; four Mandarin members and eight Korean members. They released their first album XOXO in 2013 and sold over one million copies. The album also won them both the Disk Daesang at the 28th Golden Disk Awards and Album of the Year at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. EXO was ranked as “the most influential celebrity” by Forbes Korea Power Celebrity in 2014 and 2015.

Unfortunately, SM Entertainment has had some legal issues with the Mandarin members and three out of the four Chinese members left. The only Chinese member left, Lay, is now speculated to be leaving the group as well. Lay was not present for either the “Power” comeback or the “Ko Ko Bop” comeback in Aug. He has been promoting and working on his solo career.

“Power” is a part of a repackage of the album The War, called The Power of Music. The repackage includes all the songs from The War with three extra songs: “Power”, “Sweet Lies”, and “Boomerang”. The War has an overall slower beat and a more soulful sound. The three extra songs add contrast due to the very techno feel to them. “Power” and “Boomerang” are upbeat songs while “Sweet Lies” carries over the slower beat from the original album.

The “Power” music video plays into a concept that EXO and SM Entertainment have been building on since their debut. SM Entertainment wanted EXO to have an ongoing theme of space and out-of-this-world; not all of their comebacks or music fall into this concept but it does keep popping up. All of EXO’s tours are called Exoplanets with their first tour being The Lost Planet, the second being EXO’luxion, and their most recent tour being EXO’rDIUM. The members each have an “outworldly” power as well: Kai’s power is teleportation, Chanyeol’s is flame, Suho’s is water, D.O.’s is force as in gravity, Baekhyun’s is light, Sehun’s is wind, Chen’s is thunder, Lay’s is healing, and Xiumin’s is frost.

In the music video, EXO is seen fighting an evil robot of some sort with their powers. The music video overall is very fun with scenes of members acciendtly shocking or blowing themselves up. The techno vibe from the music matches nicely with the futuristic, spacey visuals from the video.

At the end of the music video, member Baekhyun is seen falling from space, where most of the video takes place, into an ocean. The ending scene is of him floating while the beginning of the song “Sweet Lies” begins to play.

JJ Project “Verse 2” Review

Kpop duo, JJ Project released a new album, Verse 2, after a five year hiatus, surprising many fans.

The duo is composed of GOT7 members, JB and Jinyoung. Formed under JYP Entertainment, the two released their first album, Bounce, in 2012. After both of them joined GOT7, it looked like JJ Project ceased to be a thing since they haven’t released anything since then. Many fans were shocked and excited when JYP announced JJ Project’s comeback.

Verse 2 has eight tracks: “Coming Home”, “Tomorrow, Today”, “On & On”, “Icarus”, “Don’t Wanna Know”, “Find You”, “Fade Away”, and “The Day”. “Tomorrow, Today” has a music video that is currently at 7.6 million views. “Fade Away” is a solo for JB and “The Day” is Jinyoung’s solo.

The album incorporates a throwback feel with modern music. JJ Project decided to use the distinct sound of 80’s synth pop and mixed it with EDM styles, creating an interesting sound. The album opens up with “Coming Home” which sets up the unique sound for the rest of the songs. The song has a slower paced beat that helps to blend JB and Jinyoung’s voices well. The song is sad yet optimistic as it goes through the feelings of losing hope towards seeing someone again but still holding on because it’s worth it in the end.

The music video for “Tomorrow, Today” just cements the the overall 80’s style for the comeback. Everything was very simple and retro from their clothes to the props. Even the production level was lowered to make it seem more authentic. There was no fancy camera shots, angles, or transitions that usually accompany kpop music videos. Also, the post-production team lowered the resolution to make the video come out more grainy, just how it was three decades ago.

“On & On” follows more of the EDM style but features a prominent guitar melody. There’s a quicker beat than the other songs on the album and it includes more harmonizing portions of JB and Jinyoung’s voices. The song lyrics focus on being oppressed by fame and others opinions but to, instead, express yourself however you want.

The song “Icarus” provides the 80’s feel with background noises that sound very similar to arcade game sound effects. Meanwhile, JB and Jinyoung’s voices have a bittersweet tone as they sing about how they can never give up even if their “bodies break down” and how they feel need to prove themselves.

Both “Don’t Wanna Know” and “Find You” center around relationships. “Don’t Wanna Know” is about the feeling of numbness and being in denial over someone leaving you. The beat and EDM style fade more into the background and let JB and Jinyoung’s voices carry the song. “Find You” talks about regretting a break up and trying to mend the relationship because “everything is meaningless” without them. While keeping the same style, “Find You” picks up the pace after the slow beat of “Icarus”.

JB’s solo “Fade Away” showcases a lazy beat, abrupt ending, and JB’s voice with a careless tone. The lyrics mention the realization that you’ve been changing yourself for a relationship and are being blamed for everything. The careless tone helps push the message that JB’s done with that feeling and relationship. “The Day”, Jinyoung’s solo song, has a relaxed, blues mood to it. Jinyoung sings about how he wishes things were better and how he’s forgetting what it was like when he believed everything was good.

GFriend “Rainbow” Review

Kpop girl group GFriend released two music videos for “Glass Bead” and “Me Gustas Tu” on Nov. 2.

GFriend released the repackage of their fifth mini album, Parallel, in Sept. called Rainbow. The repackage is composed of 10 tracks including the editions of “Summer Rain”, the instrumental version of “Summer Rain”, and “Rainbow”. The other seven originally on Parallel are “Intro (Belief)”, “Love Whisper”, “Ave Maria”, “One-Half”, “Life Is a Party”, “Red Umbrella”, and “Falling Asleep Again”.

The fact that “Glass Bead” and “Me Gustas Tu” aren’t apart of the most recent album release has fans curious. “Glass Bead” is off of GFriend’s first mini album, Season of Glass, released back in 2015. “Me Gustas Tu” is from the group’s second mini album, Flower Bud, which was also released in 2015.

“Glass Bead” was shot in a school setting. The music video switches from seeing the group perform the dance to the song in the school gym and seeing the girls in various school situations. First, they all participate in gym class which is followed by their lunch period. During a class scene, the group is caught passing notes and receive a detention where they are seen making the best of it and are having fun. The song is very upbeat and has a strong synthesizer sound in the mix.

“Me Gustas Tu” does a good job of mixing two contrasting sounds. The song features both rock and an orchestra into an upbeat song. The music video’s strong points are two very pleasing, aesthetic shots and a nice element of carefree fun. The girls perform their group dance in the two shots. One being a field with them wearing a contrasting white and the other being a white room with the back wall made of windows where a forest is on display. The girls seem to be having a typical summer day the other half of the video as they play with a water hose, get ice cream, have a sleepover, tell scary stories, have pillow fights, etc.

Even though the two new music videos weren’t from the most recent album, it was nice for fans to finally see songs from the group’s beginnings get music videos.

Red Velvet “Peek-A-Boo” Review

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Red Velvet “Peek-A-Boo” Review

On Nov. 17, kpop girl group Red Velvet released their fifth album Perfect Velvet along with the music video for the title track, “Peek-A-Boo”.  

Red Velvet has an interesting concept with the sounds of their music because there are two sides. There’s the “red” side that has a more upbeat, pop feel, and then there’s the “velvet” side where the songs are much slower and feature the vocals of the members. The difference between the two are very prominent when listening to the group’s second album The Red and their third album The Velvet.

“Peek-A-Boo” kicks off the album with the “red” side incorporating an EDM beat as the girls show off their rapping and singing skills. The music video gives off a creepy, mysterious vibe as the groups is seen kidnapping a pizza delivery guy. Little things like a room filled with various pizza delivery restaurant shirts and a missing-persons poster filled with pictures of pizza delivery guys has fans theorizing and playing with the idea of Red Velvet being serial killers.

“Look” and “I Just” fit more under the “velvet” side with a slower beat and an overall relaxing feel to the songs. Keeping the “velvet” feel, “Kingdom Come” has a very smooth tone with the members voices showcasing their harmonies. “My Second Date” brings the sound back to the “red” side with a pop beat and rapping coming back into the music. Then “Attaboy” really picks up the pace with a hip-hop sound but right after that “Perfect 10” slows everything back down again. “About Love” walks the line of both sides being a slower song but still having a strong beat present and Red Velvet’s vocals don’t quite slip into the “velvet” side. Lastly, “Moonlight Melody” closes the album on the “velvet” side with a slow, soft song.

Overall, Red Velvet pleased many fans with an engaging music video and by mixing both of their sounds together to create Perfect Velvet.

CLC “Black Dress” Review

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CLC “Black Dress” Review

Kpop girl group, CLC, had a very important comeback Feb. 22, dropping their seventh EP (extended play), Black Dress.

With rumors and speculation that their company will disband the group if this comeback doesn’t do well, the pressure was on for CLC and their fans. The group has had an unfortunate time trying to hold onto fans since their company, Cube Entertainment, changes their concept with every comeback. People become fans liking one side of the group only to have it change months later. With their careers riding on this comeback, CLC rose to the occasion delivering a trending, catchy title song with an eye pleasing music video.

“Black Dress” itself is an upbeat, EDM song that incorporates the group’s skills of rapping and singing. The track follows the current trend of little to no lyrics in the chorus and instead focuses on the catchy beat, leaving the few lines of the chorus stuck in your head. The song also gives off a darker tone with its heavy bass influence. The music video mixes together aesthetic color palettes, hypnotizing backgrounds, and many outfit changes that allow the viewers eyes to always have something pleasing to look at. The content of the video itself switches between showing the group dance and seeing the group members in various spots and situations in the illusion-like setting.

“Like That” and “To the Sky” follow “Black Dress” in being faster-paced, catchy EDM tracks. “Distance” still has the EDM influence but has a much slower tempo that calms down the beat but still allowing it to be catchy. Finally, “7th” leaves the EDM category and produces an acoustic sound that leaves a relaxed tone that flows with the lyrics.

CLC and kpop fans alike are hoping that Black Dress does well on the charts, sales, and competition shows so no one will have to see these talented girls go.

J-Hope “Hope World” Review

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J-Hope “Hope World” Review

Kpop idol J-Hope, a member of the global sensation BTS, released his first mixtape Hope World March 2.

J-Hope has been teasing fans with the idea of the mixtape for the past year. With much speculation, fans have been guessing as to when he would release “hixtape” as the fans affectionately begun to call it. J-Hope did not disappoint as he delivered a mixtape and two music videos that pleased fans yet still matched his personality.

The title track “Hope World” starts off with a unique, underwater sound that develops into a funky, bright, techno beat. J-Hope raps a lighthearted song about how he’s overall a happy person and that he’s going to portray that into his music. He also says “hello to my hope world” while introducing his mixtape to fans. Keeping the unique techno sound in “Piece of Peace”, J-Hope talks about the hardships in life but wanting to be the strength, light, and support for others. He tells his fans that “I’ll help you, because I was like you, because I had passion.”

“Daydream” was the first music video that was released for Hope World and it managed to become the fastest kpop music video to reach one million likes. The music video features many bright colors and creative transitions along with a cartoonish editing style that matches the mixtape’s album cover. The song itself features J-Hope discussing how he lets loose, forgets about work letting, and lets his imagination run wild while urging his audience to do the same.

J-Hope changes the tone to his mixtape with “Baseline” producing a much darker and more hip-hop rap song. He raps about how he was a street dancer in the beginning of his career and how he rose to this level of fame through his hard work and effort. Maintaining the hip-hop sound, Hope World features Supreme Boi on “Hangsang”. J-Hope and Supreme Boi have collaborated before when Supreme Boi was featured on BTS’ “Cypher Pt. 3: Killer”. The two rap about how much money and fame they’ve gained since the beginning of their careers.

In the next music video, “Airplane”, J-Hope talks about being at his lowest points then looking at the sky, wishing he could fly like an airplane. The music video contains various shots of J-Hope on rooftops with aesthetic skies behind him or in parking lots with aesthetic skies above him. For his final song, “Blue Side: Outro”, J-Hope slows down the beat and turns the tone somber as he raps about wanting to be with someone in his dreams even if they can’t be together in real life.

J-Hope put out a successful first mixtape, making it onto the Billboard 200 at number 63 becoming the highest ranked kpop soloist on that chart, as well as becoming the second kpop soloist ever to get onto the Artist 100 chart after Psy.

Stray Kids “I Am Not” Review

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Stray Kids “I Am Not” Review

Kpop group Stray Kids had their debut on Mar 26 with their second album I Am Not following their pre-debut album Mixtape.

The group was formed under JYP Entertainment through a reality tv show called Stray Kids. The show put Stray Kids and another group from JYP against each other to see who would debut first. Stray Kids won the show and managed to keep all nine members even after Minho and Felix were eliminated. After the tv show, Stray Kids put out Mixtape along with with three music videos for “Hellevator”, “Grr”, and “Spread My Wings”. Even with the album and the music videos, JYP didn’t officially have Stray Kids debut.

Keeping their sound and vibe from Mixtape, I Am Not is an EDM influenced album with a darker tone. Title song “District 9” showcases the group’s typical style with a heavy beat, EDM choruses, rap verses, and vocal pre-choruses. The music video has a dystopian affect. All the members are wearing bright white in contrast to the dark colors of the environment around them. The members are seen escaping from an asylum-like building onto a bus as they break through a glass encasing into the real word.

One of the more softer songs, “Grow Up”, mixes up the tone to a more light hearted feel. The music video is much brighter with softer colors and tones. Stray Kids spend the music video in various places alone until the end where they all come together in a touching sense of being there for each other.

The music video for “Mirror” was released on April 22, going back to the tone and style of “District 9”. The music video contained the group performing the dance to the song in an abandoned warehouse, and was produced in black and white. The choreography had some interesting formations where two members stood in the middle of the others and mirrored each other matching the name of the song.

As Stray Kids’ fan base continues to grow with their debut, JYP Entertainment becomes more hopeful that they have created another successful group.

Bigbang “Made” Review

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Bigbang “Made” Review

World famous kpop group, Bigbang are going on one last tour performing their Made album before their official hiatus begins for South Korea’s mandatory two-year military service.

Bigbang released Made Dec. 12, 2016 after three years since their last release Alive. The album caused the group’s following called VIPs and their fame to grow. Made up of eleven tracks, Made pleased fans and showed that Bigbang are still considered the “kings of kpop”.

“Fxxk It” starts off the album with a EDM pop track that has a relaxed beat during the verses but picks up in the pre-chorus and chorus. The music video shows the Bigbang members just hanging out and having fun with each other doing things such as riding a five-person bicycle and creating a dog pile on group member T.O.P. Slowing things down, “Last Dance” sobers the mood as Bigbang sings about falling out of love, being alone, and wanting to have one last moment with the person you love. The members are all separated in the music video in various rundown places and scenes where the world is passing by them as they remain still. Clips of what made Bigbang happy and what they no longer have are interwoven within the video. “Girlfriend” transitions into a soft rock song about having a girlfriend who’s always there and helps them through their struggles.

The music video for “Let’s Not Fall In Love”, another slower but happier song about the nervousness going into a relationship, features all the Bigbang members each on a date with a girl and enjoying their time together. “Loser” voices Bigbang’s fears of being and becoming nobody calling themselves “sad clowns” and “dirty trash”. The music video takes a dark turn with T.O.P. killing his girlfriend, Daesung being beaten and left in the street, G-Dragon laying down in the middle of a busy intersection, Taeyang curled up in an alley clutching a cross, and Seungri getting into a major fight with his girlfriend.

Returning to the EDM pop sound, “Bae Bae” switches the tone back to a lighter one. The music video produces a whimsical “Alice In Wonderland” vibe with bright colors, strange sets, and outrageous outfits. Keeping the same EDM pop style, “Bang Bang Bang” provides many beat changes from the verse to the pre-chorus, the pre-chorus to the chorus, and then from the bridge to the last chorus. Bigbang decided to make the music video a little more Westernized than their typical videos including many female dancers and club scenes. “Sober” gives a very light-hearted and carefree feel as the Bigbang members mess around in fields, work places, and jump around on mattresses. “If You” goes back to the heavier, sadder tone as the members sing about losing someone you love and regretting the decisions you made with them.

“Zutter” switches to a hip-hop track featuring only the rappers of Bigbang, T.O.P. and G-Dragon. Lastly, “We Like 2 Party” brings back the EDM pop genre and is another lighter, carefree song and the  music video shows all the members having fun together through their daily lives.

All in all, Made was pleasant surprise and treat after three years of no new content from Bigbang. Since Bigbang was able to come back after three years bigger than ever, fans have hope that they can return after their hiatus for their military duties.

BTS “Love Yourself: Answer” Review

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BTS “Love Yourself: Answer” Review

The kpop boy group, BTS, has continued to break records in both the western music scene and the eastern with their new album Love Yourself: Answer.

Apart of their “Love Yourself’ series, the album acts as a conclusion of the story they have been telling for two years. First came a series of videos titled “The Highlight Reels” which showed the members each getting entangled in romantic relationships that quickly fell apart. Then the first album of the series, Love Yourself: Her, provided the beginning of the story and what happened before “The Highlight Reels”. Next came the second album, Love Yourself: Tear, which was the aftermath of the broken relations in “The Highlight Reels”. Now the final chapter, Love Yourself: Answer, serves as a reflect as to why those relations fell apart. The answer: you have to love yourself before you can love others.

The music video for the title track “Idol” hit 56.2 million views in only 24 hours, placing second in the record of “Most Viewed Videos in 24 Hours”. They even managed to beat Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” which was sitting third prior to the release of “Idol”. The music video also beat the group’s two previous music videos that were also on the record list, “DNA” and “Fake Love”. BTS also climbed the U.S. iTunes chart the first day of release taking 12 of the top 15 songs, and the album jumped up to the number one spot on the top albums. The GRAMMY museum has invited BTS to host a private concert and interview on Sept. 11. The event was announced Aug. 27 and sold out in seconds. The fans, called ARMYs, are anxiously awaiting the update of the music charts for Billboard.

“Idol” incorporated traditional Korean music along with traditional African beats and was fused into the heavy EDM song, creating a fast-past, beat-heavy song. The music video itself was bright and colorful with weird, yet impressive editing effects. The group also made many allusions to their previous songs and music videos such as “Anpanman”, “Fire”, and “Not Today”. Along with the editing style, audiences were also entertained by the group’s intense choreography that comes along with most kpop songs. The best part of the song and music video is that BTS has their fans all around the world shouting “Can’t stop me from loving myself”.

Love Yourself: Answer features a lot of previous hits from the “Love Yourself” series including “DNA”, “Best of Me”, “Mic Drop”, “Fake Love”, “The Truth Untold”, and “Anpanman”. Each member also gets a song to themselves: Jin has “Epiphany” which was the trailer to this comeback, Suga has “Trivia: Seesaw”, RM has “Trivia: Love”, J-Hope has “Trivia: Just Dance”, Jimin has “Serendipity” which was the trailer for the Love Yourself: Her comeback, V has “Singularity” which was the trailer for the Love Yourself: Tear comeback, and Jungkook has “Euphoria”. The album ranges from upbeat EDM songs to relaxing ballads to heartbreaking slow songs to jazz, giving listeners a variety of genres to enjoy.

ARMYs are very pleased with this album and are excited for the chance to see their favorites perform as BTS goes on their second world tour.

 

Day6 “Beautiful Feeling” and “Shoot Me” Review

Day6 released a lyric video for their song “Beautiful Feeling”  Sept. 9 after their hit kpop album Shoot Me: Youth Part 1.

The lyric video is done in an old-school 80’s style fashion where edited lines and dots are placed on the screen, and under the lyrics are polaroids and film strips of pictures of the members performing at various concerts. “Beautiful Feeling” has a soft, acoustic sound and focuses on the all the reasons that the band has fallen in love with someone. The band emphasizes that even though “Right now, this song seems like many other songs” they still want to “sing this feeling right now”.

“Beautiful Feeling” is in major contrast to Shoot Me: Youth Part 1 especially the title track, “Shoot Me”, that has a dark, heavy rock sound. Both the music video and the lyrics of “Shoot Me” preach that words can hurt like a gunshot. Following Day6’s typical music video style, the shots go back and forth between the band playing and a story that follows the message they are trying to send. “Shoot Me” focuses on a couple fighting in a restaurant and whenever something hurtful is said, the restaurant explodes into a war scene with bullets flying everywhere. The edits also incorporated slow-mo and strobe light effects that matched in perfect time with the music.

The album as a whole focuses on the dangers and struggles of navigating being in a relationship. Day6 keeps their unique rock base for their music that isn’t seen in the kpop scene but is popular with western kpop fans. “Warning” and “Shoot Me” have the same darker tones to them meanwhile “Still” takes on Day6’s signature softer yet sad tones. “Somehow”, “Feeling Good”, and “Talking To” all have a brighter tone to them that shows off the more fun side of the band.

While not hugely popular in Korea, Day6 fought their way on the charts and pleased their western kpop audiences with Shoot Me: Youth Part 1 and their new release “Beautiful Feeling”.

 

SHINee “The Story of Light” Review

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SHINee “The Story of Light” Review

World famous kpop group, SHINee, released a music video for their song “Countless” that’s on their newest album The Story of Light Sept. 10.

The group made all their fans emotional as they released the music video on International Suicide Prevention Day as a tribute to their member Jonghyun, who committed suicide Dec. 18, 2017. The music video itself though wasn’t sad, but was instead uplifting. There video featured all the members standing together majority of the time along with lots of bright blues and yellows. “Countless” focuses on being in the moment during the relationship, not calculating when the other shoe will drop.

“Good Evening” is another song off of The Story of Light that has a music video. The video consisted of the members hanging around in a studio and a filming set while they performed parts of their choreography to the song. Interesting effects were used as well including making the members floating through nothing and having a paint-like liquid run down their faces and bodies that showed parts of a different set. The lyrics of “Good Evening” are about racing against the darkness to reach the person you love.

“Our Page” is a tribute to Jonghyun and the members express their grief and sadness yet they say that their story isn’t over “until the end”. The music video shows the members going through what their day-to-day lives without him and at the end, they all gather on a platform where five microphones stand. One left open for Jonghyun.

The album as a whole has an EDM pop sound that most of the time takes on a bright tone. “I Want You” also has a music video much like “Countless” featuring a bright color scheme with the group’s choreography. Other tracks on the album are “All Day All Night”, “Chemistry”, “Electric”, “Who Waits For Love”, “I Say”, “Retro”, “Drive”, “Undercover”, “JUMP”, “Tonight”, “You and I”, and “Lock You Down”.

SHINee’s comeback was much need for fans as it showed that even though they were faced with a major tragedy they are still together and are producing music.

 

GOT7 “Present: You” Review

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GOT7 “Present: You” Review

Kpop group, GOT7, released their seventh album Present: You Sept. 17 along with a music video for the title track “Lullaby”.

Following their most recent sound, “Lullaby” is of an EDM pop style. The music video shifts back and forth from focusing on the group choreography and the members discovering all the impossible things that can happen while one is asleep. From driving flying cars to being on a planet made of books to waking up in an oasis, the video included many interesting sets. A nice contrast between black-and-white sets and bright colorful sets was also present throughout the video. Showing their diversity, GOT7 added an English, Chinese, Spanish, and instrumental version of “Lullaby” on the album.

On Present: You, each member also got their own solo song. “Sunrise”, JB’s solo song, showcases his beautiful vocals as he sings about how his love is his universe with an EDM, R&B sound. Mark’s solo track, “OMW”, features a house-like sound as he raps about how he’s doing everything for his dream and he’s not giving up. Taking on a more hip-hop rap sound, Jackson’s solo song is similar to Mark’s in the sense that he’s rapping about how hard he’s work to get to where he is. Shifting back to the vocalists, Jinyoung’s solo track, “My Youth”, comes next. It’s a soft rock ballad about how you’re your own hero when you were a kid and how much he wants to go back to that time. Youngjae’s song, “Nobody Knows” goes back to the EDM style with another ballad as he sings about how nobody knows about the lonely and dark side of him. “Party”, BamBam’s song, changes up the tone again with an EDM song that has a strong beat and funky undertones to it. He spends the song convincing his romantic interest to relax and have fun all night. Lastly, Yugyeom’s solo track, “Fine”, was interestingly set in the minor key and was a slow R&B song with a strong beat that allows him to focus on his speciality when performing: dancing.

Other tracks on the album include: “Enough”, “I’ll Protect You”, “No One Else”, and “I Am Me”.

GOT7 pleased both their audiences and themselves by staying true to their sound yet experimenting with they like individually.

Pentagon “Thumps Up” Review

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Pentagon “Thumps Up” Review

Kpop group Pentagon released their seventh EP, Thumbs Up, Sept. 10 with only eight out of the ten members present.

Yanan, one of the members, was missing due to health reasons, and E’dawn was missing because of the controversy with his relationship with Hyuna, a popular kpop soloist. E’Dawn and Hyuna, both under the entertainment company Cube, are also apart of the trio Triple H along with Pentagon member Hui. Earlier this year, Cube denied the rumors of the two’s relationship, but a few days later E’Dawn and Hyuna came forward saying they’ve been dating for two years. Cube immediately put the two on probation because of the strict rules within kpop companies and because of the hate the Korean fans were directing towards the relationship. In mid-Sept, Cube announced that they were terminating Hyuna’s and E’Dawn’s contracts, but later retracted that statement and said they were “still deciding” what to do with the two artists after the company received backlash and their stocks dropped by 9.34 percent.

Thumbs Up is consistent with Pentagon’s sound as it fits in the EDM pop genre. The title song, “Naughty Boy”, matches Pentagon’s characteristics because of its carefree tone and it’s “fun” sounding chorus.  “Just do it yo!!” is a tad bit more somber since the base of the song is an acoustic guitar during the verses, but it picks back up during the choruses with some rock elements mixed in with EDM. Then, “Skateboard” dips into the EDM hip-hop genre a bit, but still goes with the album as the Pentagon members clearly have some with the song based on the extra vocals they added in. Adding some contrast in the album, “When It Rains At Night” takes on the ballad side of kpop with pianos and violins making up the background during verses and the bridge, but the choruses do pick up slightly with a stronger beat and a faster tempo. “Thumbs Up!” goes back to the light tone and EDM pop sound as the group sings about having fun even when it seems like the world is against you.

The music video for “Naughty Boy” keeps Pentagon’s signature music video style. Going back and forth between the members sitting in various spots around an auto-body shop and the groups’ choreography, Pentagon showcases their aesthetics and fun dance moves. Some of the aspects of the music video, such as the heavy integration of frogs and the randomness of eating fried chicken out of nowhere, were quite strange and left fans stringing theories together.

Although the album was missing the rapping style of E’Dawn and Yanan’s vocals, the fans managed to set aside their anger towards the company and supported the group’s comeback.

Oh My Girl “Remember Me” Review

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Oh My Girl “Remember Me” Review

Kpop girl group Oh My Girl released their sixth mini album, Remember Me, Sept. 10 along with a music video for the title song of the same name.

“Remember Me” starts off with a heavy, dark synth base that contrasts Oh My Girl’s typically light, pop sound, but once the song hits the pre-chorus the brighter tones appear giving fans the sound that they’re used to. The base and the contrasting tones makes the song interesting and something new in the kpop scene. The music video fits along with the group’s usual style of music videos with brighter colors and many different sets, although the style theme for “Remember Me” seems to dip into a retro style with older cars, furniture, and technology.

“Echo” also provides kpop with some new sounds with a slower funky beat that gives the song a tropical kind of vibe, but completely drops out during the pre-choruses as Mimi raps meanwhile the beat is strongly present throughout the rest of the song. The tropical vibe matches with an aspect of the music video since one of the sets is a tropical island, creating an unique tie between “Remember Me” and “Echo”. The next song on the album, “Twilight”, continues with the retro, synth beat that is reminiscent of the genres of music produced in the 80’s and 90’s, yet still has the essence of modern EDM music. During the chorus, the mixture of the beat, melody, and lyrics has listeners unable to keep their heads from moving. “Illusion” changes to a more ballad type of song as the main source of the beat is a piano and the members make their vocals softer than the previous songs on the album. The song also has a slower tempo with a softer melody. The last song, “Our Story”, goes fully into the ballad genre as the song slows down the album, and the melody becomes more present than the beat. Although the song is fairly different from the rest of the album, it keeps the same sound in the sense that “Our Story” sounds like a ballad that would’ve been popular in the 80’s.

Oh My Girl gave their fans an interesting comeback as they delivered a throwback to the 80’s with how they produced their album.

Cosmic Girls “WJ Please?” Review

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Cosmic Girls “WJ Please?” Review

Kpop group Cosmic Girls (also known as WJSN) had a comeback Sept. 19, releasing their fifth mini album WJ Please?.

The music video that came along with the album was for the title track, “Save Me, Save You”. Following the twelve members as they seemingly attend a school for magic, the music video takes on a cult kind of vibe. The members are seen making pacts with each other and doing magic in secret, while the settings all have a darker tone to them. Throughout the music video, the lighting was kept brighter close to the members as it continually got darker the further from it got from the girls. Contrast was also kept throughout the video since the girls’ outfits were always the opposite of the background. If the scene behind them had lighter colors such as beige, the members wore mostly black clothing; if the background was mostly black, the members wore light blues and pinks.

Being the first track, “Save Me, Save You” starts off the album with a sound that’s reminiscent of 80’s arcade music. The intro of the song is heavily techno, but then the verses and choruses add a stronger beat that tunes out a bit of the techno. Although the beat balances the techno out, there are still prominent aspects of the song that remind the listener of a video game, such as techno riffs. Following “Save Me, Save You”, “You, You, You” continues with the arcade/video game sound, but has brighter tone than the previous song. The beat is also stronger, and the tempo is faster than “Save Me, Save You”. Moving into a ballad, “I-Yah” mixes the techno sound with a ballad style that gives the song an interesting and unique sound. “Masquerade” fits its name as it follows a waltz time signature and a carnival type of vibe that transitions into a pop sound that still follows the theme. Then, “Hurry Up” falls into a jazz style with brass instruments making up the fast-tempoed melody. Finally, “You and I” goes back to the original techno sound but in a ballad format.

Cosmic Girls produced an album with many unique and different sounds for their fifth comeback.

Dreamcatcher “Alone in the City” Review

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Dreamcatcher “Alone in the City” Review

Kpop girl group Dreamcatcher released Alone In The City, their third mini-album, Sept. 20.

The title song “What” was the music video released on the same date and is, currently, the only music video to be released for this comeback. The music video went along with the darker tone of the song as the members were seen trying to navigate through crime scenes, storms, and rooms full of blood. Like most kpop music videos, half of the video was focused on the group choreography that, of course, was in perfect sync with the music and the members were in sync with each other. The outfits that each member wore stood out more than the outfits typically do in kpop music video. It seemed like very high-end fashion with outrageous pieces and combinations, yet the patterns somehow worked together and made the outfits as a whole look very fashionable.

“What” is a heavy rock-influenced song that makes a major contrast between the heavy rock sounds and the lighter, higher pitched vocals of the members. This type of sound is unique in the kpop scene as only a few groups showcase this type of sound. Day6, a lesser known band, bases all their music on the genre but more so in the lighter area, and B.A.P., a more popular group that has been rumored to be disbanding, has majority of their songs follow the darker side of the rock genre. Kpop girl groups hardly ever have a rock base to their music which makes Dreamcatcher an interesting group to keep track of whether you like rock or not.

The first song of the album, “Intro”, is strictly an instrumental piece that sounds straight out of movie as it has all the main parts to a film score. The builds and cresendros hit at all the right places, and the song perfectly layers an orchestra with electric guitars and techno elements that make gives off an “epic” type of vibe. After “What”, “Wonderland” slows down the album as it goes into a slower tempo and more into the EDM style. Then, “Trap” goes back into the rock genre with calmer verses where the rock is very subtle in the background to almost heavy metal chorus that are mixed with techno. “July 7th” follows “Wonderland” as the tempo and vibe of the song tones down the album as a whole. The song incorporates elements from the reggae genre especially with the beat and the flow. The last track on the mini-album is an instrumental version of “What”.

Dreamcatcher came back with a nicely balanced mini-album, and it’s clear that the girls experimented with different genres, producing an album that reaches to many types of audiences.

iKON “New Kids: The Final” Review

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iKON “New Kids: The Final” Review

Popular YG Entertainment kpop group, iKON, released their second extended play (EP), New Kids: The Final, Oct. 1 wrapping up their three album series titled New Kids.

The series begin with the release of New Kids: Begin May 22 that was followed by New Kids: Continued released on Aug. 2.

The title song for New Kids: The Final, “Goodbye Road”, continues with iKON’s soft pop style that is featured in “Love Scenario”, a previous iKON hit. Although for “Goodbye Road” the overall sound is soft pop, the melody is made up of rock and ballad style instruments such as drums, guitars, violins, and other various string instruments. The mixing of genres is a unique factor of kpop that allows kpop groups to appeal to a wider range of audience.

“Goodbye Road” has a music video that is done in a style that is often found in kpop music videos. Part of the video is dedicated to telling a story, in “Goodbye Road” it’s that of relationships falling apart. Meanwhile, the other part of the music video focuses on the group performing their choreography. For this comeback, iKON tied in some very fitting elements into the choreography such as a subtle shooing of goodbye during the chorus.

The other tracks on the EP include “Don’t Let Me Know”, “Adore You”, and “Perfect”. “Don’t Let Me Know” follows “Goodbye Road” by using rock instruments to make up the beat and the melody, but the song falls more directly into the pop genre and gains an 80’s synth sound during the choruses. Then “Adore You” mainly relies on the use soft rock bordering on acoustic sounds and the member’s vocals creating a brighter type of ballad. Putting a close to the album, “Perfect” keeps the vibe given off from “Adore You”, but incorporates more rock elements producing a soft rock ballad.

iKON finished their New Kids series with a balanced album of various genres with a focus on soft rock, a genre that isn’t seen in large numbers in the kpop music scene.

The Rose “Dawn” Review

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The Rose “Dawn” Review

The Rose, a South Korean band formed under kpop entertainment company J&Star Company, released their second mini-album Dawn Oct. 4.

Being a lesser known band in Korea, The Rose’s fanbase comes mainly from overseas which lead the band to have a European tour despite the rarity for even popular kpop artists to do so. The Rose also is one of few groups in the kpop music scene to be known for playing their own instruments and focusing solely on a rock sound.

“She’s In the Rain” takes on the role of a title track for Dawn, and had a music video upload on the album’s release yet it was taken down by the streaming company Stone Entertainment. Unfortunately, the music video cannot be found anywhere else leaving fans frustrated. The song falls under the rock ballad genre as the verses are backed by acoustic guitars and other string instruments and the chorus features rock instruments. “She’s In the Rain” delivers a powerful message as the two vocalists of the band, Sammy (Woosung) and Leo (Dojoon), sing about sticking with someone through the darkest times and instead of one person being in the rain, they are “both in the rain”.

“I Don’t Know You” slips into the groups typical soft rock sound as it cheers up the vibe of the album through focusing on wanting to know someone by the little things noticed from a first interaction. Then “Take Me Down” maintains the soft rock sound but changes to a darker subject as Sammy and Leo ask “Can you take me down?” due to how much pain they’re in. The last song on the album, “Insomnia”, returns to the the soft rock ballad and creates a bittersweet ending to the mini-album.

Despite not having as big as an audience as most kpop groups, The Rose produced a powerful mini-album that is sure to impact all their fans with Dawn.

NCT 127 “Regular-Irregular” Review

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NCT 127 “Regular-Irregular” Review

Popular SM Entertainment kpop group NCT 127, a subunit apart of the larger group NCT, released their first full-length album, Regular-Irregular, Oct. 12.

While Regular-Irregular is the subunit’s first full album, the group has previously released three mini-albums (NCT #127 – The First Mini Album, NCT #127 – The Second Mini Album, and NCT #127 Cherry Bomb – The Third Mini Album), and have been around the kpop scene since July of 2016.

What NCT 127 did with their title track “Regular” is unique in the kpop industry as they released both a Korean version and a full length English version. A few groups have done this before, but NCT 127 released a music video for each version with the English version dropping first. The timing was convenient as the group is currently in the United States going to events such as the American Music Awards, performing on late night talk shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and hosting interviews for famous radio stations and entertainment news sources.

Both versions of the “Regular” music video feature the same clips and aspects. The main focus is on the members enjoying their lives after “making a bag on the regular” and having “just made a million” while telling their haters they can’t even compete. The editing and effects were outstanding, even for a kpop music video which typically have top-notch production. Everything in the video looked a hundred percent real, even though aspects such as rapper Mark walking with a tiger and vocalist WinWin skydiving were done with CGI and green screens. The time spent in the video focused on the group’s choreography showed how talented NCT 127 is at dancing and the level difficulty that their choreography is at.

The song itself features a strong influence of a Spanish beat that underlines the entire song. Perfectly timed rap bars flow into melodic vocal runs that creates a smooth flow. The lyrics themselves show off how confident and comfortable the group is and proves to their western haters that kpop is a legitimate form of music.

NCT 127 created a lot of buzz from eastern and western fans alike as they smashed down barriers that separates kpop from the mainstream music scene.

 

BTS Concert Review

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BTS Concert Review

Through the rain and cold, thousands of fans gathered outside the Soldier Field Stadium in Chicago for the BTS concert, May 11. BTS fans (ARMYs) traveled from all over the midwest and even other countries to see the global kpop sensation.

As part of their 2019 world tour, BTS performed twice, May 11 and May 12, for their Chicago stop. Unfortunately for ARMYs, the weather remained wet and barely above freezing for both days. This did not stop ARMYs or the BTS members from enjoying themselves. RM, the leader of BTS even joked saying that the May 11 concert was the “first ever BTS winter concert”. RM also told fans that he would always remember the concert whenever winter came to South Korea. Luckily for ARMYs attending that concert, the rain stopped an hour before the concert started, and RM thanked fans for “stopping the rain” as he predicted they would. During the May 12 concert though, the rain did not stop. Although most artist would balk facing the task of performing high intensity dances in the rain, but BTS actually embraced it and have deemed the May 12 concert as their “favorite concert” they’ve performed.

Starting off the May 11 concert, the group performed “Dionysus” followed by “Not Today” and “Wings”. Throughout the concert, BTS showed VCRs were each member was featured and gave a hint at who’s solo song was coming up. Along with all the solo songs (“Trivia: Love”, “Epiphany”, “Trivia” Seesaw”, “Trivia: Just Dance”, “Serendipity”, “Singularity”, and “Euphoria”), the group also performed various songs from their Love Yourself albums (Her, Tear, and Answer) and their most recent release and first of their Map of the Soul series, Persona. Included were “Best of Me”, “Boy With Luv”, “Idol”,  “Fake Love”, “The Truth Untold”, “Outro: Tear”, and “MIC Drop”. Going back to some of their older albums, BTS also performed “Dope”, “Baepsae”, and “Fire”. For the encore, “Anpanman”, “So What”, “Make It Right”, and “Mikrokosmos” were performed. BTS made sure to make their concert unique by doing things like bringing out bouncy houses to jump around on, having Jungkook, one of the vocalists, zipline through the stadium during his “Euphoria” performance, and synchronizing the ARMY Bombs (the official lightstick of the group) which created intricate patterns of colored lights.

Even with the less than perfect weather, ARMYs and BTS alike seemed to have the times of their lives during the May 11 concert.

Blackpink “Kill This Love” Review

Kpop girl group Blackpink released their third album, Kill This Love, April 5, along with the music video for the title track also named “Kill This Love”.

Although the wait between albums was slightly less for fans this time around, the length of time between the groups previous album Square Up was about a year, a time gap that is odd in the kpop community. Furthermore, Blackpink’s albums only contain four songs, so the group only releases four songs a year, disappointing many. Fans were hoping for a longer album this time because they believed Blackpink’s company, YG Entertainment, would have gotten the hint after fans were outraged when they were forced to wait a year for any new content only for the album to be four songs long. Unfortunately for Blackpink fans, they did not get want they wanted.

Besides the disappointment of the amount of new content, fans were still fairly pleased with what they got. “Kill This Love” followed Blackpink’s other title tracks, “Ddu-ddu-du” and “Boombayah” with a powerful beat and a darker tone to the music video. “Kill This Love” also provided some new sound within Blackpink’s style as they messed around with a big band style to underline their beat. The song was filled with various brass instruments that added to the songs impactfulness. “Don’t Know What To Do” reigned back after “Kill This Love” and featured a more upbeat, lighter tone as they went back to the typical EDM/pop infusion that is seen in kpop. Then “Kick It” maintains the chiller vibes from “Don’t Know What To Do” as it switches back and forth from a more acoustic sound and a slower EDM beat. Finally, “Hope Not” slows the album down for a more ballad style song with rock elements making up the composition of the song.

Even with some backlash from fans towards YG Entertainment over what was not produced, Blackpink managed to please their fans with what they did produce.

Twice “Fancy You” Review

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Twice “Fancy You” Review

Kpop girl group Twice released their 13th album, Fancy You, April 22 with a music video for their title song “Fancy”.

Based on the teasers and trailer for the comeback, fans were excitedly expecting a darker tone to Twice’s album as the group has really focused on their cute concept for all the other albums. Although the “cutesy” concept has made Twice successful and is popular in South Korea, fans (called Onces), especially those overseas, are starting to want a more grown up concept. Onces believed that Twice’s most recent Japanese comeback, #Twice2, was going to show the girls branching out into other concepts, but with no luck. Now with Fancy You, fans are disappointed again. The teasers and trailers incorporated darker elements and the outfits the members wore for the “Fancy” music video even suggested a darker concept, but once the chorus begin, fans realized they were not getting what they wanted.

“Fancy” started off with a more toned down “cutesy” sound for the verses with an EDM background, but the pre-chorus and chorus go back to Twice’s very upbeat, lighthearted pop sound. Although disappointing, “Fancy” possesses the power that almost all Twice title tracks have: catchiness. “Stuck In My Head” manages to deliver more of what fans wanted. The tone is not necessarily dark, but is devoid of the overly cute vibes from Twice’s music and actually stays that way for the entire song. Twice decided to go with a rock/EDM blend for “Stuck In My Head” that worked for the diversity they were attempting to go for. “Girls Like Us” and “Hot” follow “Stuck In My Head” with the change of Twice’s sound. While “Turn It Up” and “Strawberry” could still be deemed “cute” Twice toned down their level of cutesy a lot even compared with “Fancy”.

Even though “Fancy You” is not actually what fans wanted out of Twice, it was evident that strides were made towards breaking away from the 100% cute concept.

Winner “We” Review

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Winner “We” Review

Kpop boy group Winner released their sixth album We May 15 along with a music for their title track “Ah Yeah”.

The music video and song embrace the fun side of the group and the approaching summer. The beat of “Ah Yeah” is fast and the tone bright as the music video shows the group dancing around in various fun, summer settings like the movies, the beach, a cruise ship, and playing video games. The music video also shows of the ridiculousness that Winner can sometimes be as they show rapper Mino with lobster claws as hands and feet, and as the group rides a train made out of yarn. “Zoo” then slows down the tempo but still keeps the tone lighter, and more fun. The group made use of interesting percussion instruments and brass instruments to carry out the beat in a well-blended mix with the EDM background of the song. Then “Mola” picks the speed back up and shifts to a slighter darker tone, but makes up for it in the fast pace of the tempo. Slowing it back down, “Boom” once again uses unusual percussion instruments to produce the beat. During the chorus, the song transfer to a heavy EDM sound. The tone in “Boom” returns to the lighter feel that’s seen in the rest of the album after “Mola” even though the tempo is slower than the others. Winner also included a remix of their song “Everyday” on We that is heavily influenced by EDM and sounds much more techno than the original. The final song on the album “First Love”, follows “Boom” with a slower tempo, but still maintains that light-hearted feel.

Overall, Winner released a lighthearted and fun album in preparation for summer.

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