The Growth of an Artist and the Honest Vulnerability of Their Work

Okay, for the record, I never thought that I’d be writing a blog post about Taylor Swift. And yet, when I finished my homework and checked YouTube and saw that she dropped her new single after a three year hiatus, I was curious and then promptly shook.

(man, I didn’t think I’d use the word shook in a blog post either but let me explain)

I didn’t see this coming. I don’t follow Taylor closely and I don’t really know what she did during her three year hiatus, except that one lawsuit against that DJ. I think there was some beef between her and some others? Not sure.

It seems like this is the product of fermentation of what happened because the words are hard hitting and the song is extremely well crafted. And very unlike anything we’ve seen from her before. Sure, there were other angsty-style songs but this style is fresh and more relevant to today’s music, so maybe that’s what throws me off? But also, I was getting kind of K-Pop vibes? More than that, though, the atmosphere the song created is really well done like wow.

And the artwork for the lyric video further accentuates the beating heart of the song and the repetitive nature of the chorus gives a glimpse of someone who was pushed over the edge, crazy, maniacal, but going to get what she wants, what she thinks she deserves as vengeance.  Continue reading “The Growth of an Artist and the Honest Vulnerability of Their Work”

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Let Them Shine: JJ Project’s “Verse 2” Album

For a while I waited for this album. Not necessarily this album, but an album like it, that would finally let JB and Jinyoung do whatever they wanted and let their voices shine and resonate where they’re meant to.

I didn’t ever really follow Got7 closely. I randomly reviewed their album for a class and that made me pay more careful attention to the songs’ structure, style, and the members’ voices. I felt like JB’s voice in particular was strained at points to hit high notes in songs that are often trendy/following the latest music craze. I was frustrated because I knew that his voice could sound better, richer, smoother, if only he could do what he wanted to do with it, craft a song around it rather than fit it into something.  Continue reading “Let Them Shine: JJ Project’s “Verse 2” Album”

Implications of BTS winning a BBMA

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Last night, history was made. Today as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, all of a sudden, I saw video clips by CNN International, Buzzfeed, NowThis, and other such websites that had seven familiar faces on them. And then, the articles, one after another trying to figure out who BTS is, how’d they even get here, what is ARMY, etc etc

BTS, or Bangtan Boys or, in the original Korean, 방탄소년단, were the first K-Pop group to be invited to the Billboard Music Awards ceremony. They won the Top Social Media Artist, a position that also had artists like Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, and Shawn Mendes. PSY was the last Korean artist to be invited, in 2013, for his smash hit “Gangnam Style”.

As someone who instinctively analyzes everything and is in a major that encourages such mentality, I naturally saw this as both an exciting event as a BTS fan and also as a social scientist in training. Allow me to unwrap the BBMA win and it’s implications in several fields: Continue reading “Implications of BTS winning a BBMA”

Era-Themed Concepts!

Kpop is famous for its different concepts; one day, a group can be cute, the next day, they can be distressed, angsty teens frustrated over a breakup, then later they’ll be someone deep in love. And then there are some groups who take it up a notch and, say, will dress up like sushi or be cyborgs.

All today, I was listening to groups that took a dip into musical concepts shaped by eras. It started with the song “Whoo” by Rainbow (a group I haven’t had must interest in, until now):

I loved the music! It reminded me of something in the past, like maybe the taste of a lollipop or a sunny summer day years ago. It was refreshing and had hints of musical elements that reminded me of music from another era.

Continue reading “Era-Themed Concepts!”

K-Pop’s New iTunes Page

Before, I had to go search each K-Pop/Korean artist by name, and sometimes even by the Korean name. And before, keeping track with what was (finally) available on the American iTunes was nearly impossible (unless I wanted to check iTunes daily…).

But now. Finally.

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K-Pop has earned its own iTunes genre page! While I am very thankful that this has finally happened, I can’t help but stop and wonder if K-Pop, the magical, marvellous beast of sparkles, sometimes angst, and a good sprinkling of English words, is its own genre. I definitely agree that K-Pop deserved its own page because Hallyu (the Korean Wave)  is spreading like wildfire across the world, but what exactly is K-Pop?

Continue reading “K-Pop’s New iTunes Page”

The Honesty of Solo Activities

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Hey you, fellow Kpop listener! Did you hear that Taeyeon (yes, the girl from SNSD) just dropped a solo mini album? If you didn’t, well now you have no excuse for immersing yourself fully into that album because wow. I’m listening through it now and I’m extremely impressed.

*update: literally right after I posted this I checked Facebook and bam there was the music video, which is beautifully shot and perfectly compliments the song. And, there’s hints of a plot and the rapper is actually part of it (his face shows up). Excellent, excellent, excellent!-

Click here to be impressed :)*

Isn’t it interesting, though, the large difference between an artist by themselves or in a group? With this album, Taeyeon shows as an extremely mature side of her, the part that is freer to move around, with less restrictions and it’s so much more real and honest that it’s forcing me to just listen. It’s such a stark contrast from the Girl’s Generation concepts. In fact, I don’t think that it would be appropriate for the group, because this album, this sound is Taeyeon, it is her. It is by her, made for her voice, and stemming from her.

But then, that begs the question…isn’t this how music should be in the first place?  Continue reading “The Honesty of Solo Activities”

iKON “Airplane” and “Rhythm Ta” MV Reaction and Review

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AND Y’ALLS THOUGHT I MIGHT HAVE BEEN DONE WITH THIS SECTION OF MY BLOG MWAHAHAHAHA. Sorry to my readers who are like bruh why she keep doing all this kpop stuff. But Korean music/Kpop/K-Indie is here to stay~

I actually totally forgot about iKON (don’t hate me guise). It was actually my friend Charlie who reminded me that oh yeah they’ve *finally* debuted. So thanks Charlie for giving me a fun break and chance to react and review them!  Continue reading “iKON “Airplane” and “Rhythm Ta” MV Reaction and Review”

At What Cost? Female Idols

I’ve wanted to write a post about this for a while, but this article finally gave me the push to finally do it.

The Korean music scene is extremely over saturated. In a place where groups are constantly debating, promoting on music shows, and competing for prizes, the importance of standing out is even more crucial than in America. In 2012, 33 male groups and 38 female groups debuted. I can’t even list them and honestly, the majority probably disbanded by now. The Kpop scene is ruthless and you need to be worthy of attention, to be frank.

Continue reading “At What Cost? Female Idols”