Infinite-ly Entertaining: Infinite Makes a Successful American Debut in Los Angeles

infinte tour

 

The general feel of the production of that of a finely tuned theatrical performance with a live band on stage and live music.

Yes folks, you heard me right, the performance was amazingly live.

 

 

November 8, 2013, Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE

“Infinite 1st World Tour – One Great Step” was the title of a cohesively produced performance that included not only the majority of Infinite’s globally popular songs, but solo performances, two showcase songs by the rap duo, Hoya and Dongwoo, and a video drama tie-in that opened the show and continued with segments throughout the evening.

But there were a few things that really set Infinite’s performance apart from the norm in Kpop performances.

production Incredible Production

In a world where perfection is everything, the KPop gurus seem to feel that audiences want to see the stars perform exactly what they see and hear on CD’s and music videos, so lip-syncing is an industry standard. Even when vocals are live, they are usually done over the original track.

If such “cheats” were used at the Infinite concert they were much less apparent as the vocals were truly live, and the band rocked. Gone were the strings and horn section that usually accompany Infinite tracks. The music, while different, was familiar yet subtly changed and exciting. The fans were not disappointed.

In fact, minor changes to the tracks did not stop the largely American demographic from enthusiastically busting out lyrics to all of their favorite songs along with their idols – a fact that was not lost on Infinite, some of whose members were moved to actual tears as they realized these crazy Americans really liked them and avidly followed their music.

IMG_6209Incredible Dancing

There are few Korean pop bands with choreography as clean as Infinite. Their live performance was no exception, and the boys danced their hearts out, not just as the beginning of the performance, but even at the end of a 3-hour show, they danced as if they were fresh on stage. Not all of their moves are incredibly complex, but the dynamic of the seven young men synchronized perfectly is compelling. They dance with gusto. They dance as if they love dancing. They dance with smiles on their faces.

choreo3Incredible Fan Service

Venue issues aside, it seemed every single act took giving the fans extra attention into account. The boys actively engaged the fans at every opportunity. They were not shy about climbing down into the crowd. Even when fans threw themselves at them, they took it with a smile and politely let security peel them off. During one song, each young man was equipped with a basket filled with little stuffed animals they gleefully tossed to the crowed. Two walked through the crowds personally handing out animals to their fans.

Every opportunity was taken to reach out and touch hands, snap selfies with fan phones, pick up fan gifts. In short, they were everything a fan-girl or fan-boy would want in an idol group at every step.

choreo1Incredible Effort to Speak to Fans

Most of the boys spoke English or tried very hard. Perhaps some of the lines were rehearsed, but no one cared. Hearing English, even if it was stilted or a little broken, was eminently charming and endearing. The effort made to try and speak in the native language was much appreciated by American fans that were visible moved by Infinite’s efforts.

Upon leaving the theatre we were greeted by crowd of patiently waiting parents. One couple, whose teenage son and daughter had yet to emerge, had been looking forward to this night. They are big Infinite fans. (OK, they like Big Bang, too! Shhhh.) Mom and dad had a date night while they waited. How do they feel about their kids listening to Korean music? “It has a great beat. If the music is good, it doesn’t matter. And there are some English words thrown in.” (laughs) “My daughter has taken it as an opportunity to learn some Korean.”

Before they left the stage, Infinite was already talking about coming back. I think they were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic welcome they received. Or perhaps by how American the audience was? Regardless, there is a large crowd that will be waiting for them to 다시 돌아와! (“Come back again!”)

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Millie’s Top Ten July K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten July K-pop Music Videos 

July gave an overload of Summer K-pop Music that made it hard to keep up. But among the pack of flashy videos, there were a lot of unique videos that caught my eye at first glance. With rookie, and veteran girl groups dominating my music charts.

10. Kim Hyun Joong – Your Story

Kim Hyun Joong- Your Story

Back with a new wardrobe that specializes on no shirts (but we are not complaining) is Kim Hyun Joong. This time around he came back with two songs; “Unbreakable” and “Your Story”. Both music videos give off a manly and dramatic feel, as well share in common the amount of time he shows off his six-pack (which is a good half of each video). But despite the eye candy that is Kim Hyun Joong, he came back with two interesting title tracks, “Your Story” being my favorite of the two. The Music Video screamed 90’s Romance Novel cliche; with the waves/beach fading footage and the rotating camera as Kim Hyun Joong stands on the sand serenading the…air? But even though the song was slower, I enjoyed listening to it a lot. Does it stand well on its own? No, Kim Hyun Joong being shirtless and sexy helped a bit. But is it still nice and worth listening to? Yes.

9. AOA (Black) – Moya

AOA-Moya

Ace of Angels Band unit, AOA Black came back with their first original song “Moya”. The group had previously preformed the band versions to AOA’s two title tracks “Elvis” and “Get Out”, but this was the first time the group appeared by itself. “Moya” has to be my favorite of the AOA songs; it’s memorable, extremely likable, and just the sound of an all-female K-pop band is unique in the K-pop music industry. In the Music Video, the girls are getting ready to go out and have a good time, while singing about how frustrated they are with their boyfriend who is no longer giving them attention. He always claims to be busy, and never wants to talk, so the girl feels like is getting ready to break up and tells him to hurry up and do it, to stop breaking her heart. The Music Video has a funny twist at the end, and overall does a good job of expressing the girl’s emotions.

8. 2NE1 – Falling in Love

2NE1-Falling in Love

2NE1 made their long awaited comeback with “Falling in Love” – a summer reggae track that is quite different from 2NE1’s regular fast-paced, loud sounding dance music. They slowed it down for the fans with sensual dance moves and beautiful tropical scenery backgrounds, but still brought their confidence and unique fashion tastes in all of their outfits. The girls expressed the sentiments of summer love; falling in love at first sight and the strange way it makes the heart race. Added also with a fierce determination to win over the boy and make him feel the same way. Even though this song brought out a new color for 2NE1, I enjoyed it a lot and was excited to see this new side. It’s not my favorite song, but I applaud the girls for being able to try something, and pull of a concept like reggae so well.

7. Junsu – Incredible

Junsu-Incredible

Junsu released his second full length album with the title track “Incredible”. Incredible is right, as this dance track is loud, fun and extremely colorful – a complete 180 degree change from the darker single “Tarantallegra” that he released last year. The song itself is alright, but what sold me was the party-like music video. Usually these kinds of videos already exist (and are in fact quite boring with just attractive people jumping around, dancing and drinking) but Junsu brings an international cast of dancers for this video, making this music video expand on a global scale. The only down part was the rapping of Quincy, the featured artist in the song. His part really didn’t do anything special to the song so it might have been better to do without. The dance is highlight of the entire performance for me, and makes me wish I could learn these for the next time I go to a pool party.

6.  Stellar – Study

Stellar - Study

After a member change, 2011 rookie girl group Stellar came back with their second song “Study” – a cute song of advice for a boy that is trying to win the girl’s heart. She tells him to “study” her, so that he knows what to do to gain her attention, and she confesses that she is starting to cave into his affections. This sweet and adorable music video is filmed inside, as all of the girl are in different parts of the house, trying to do their work but are too distracted by the thoughts of their admirer. Surrounding them are crumpled pieces of paper that symbolize their frustration and their inability to focus on their current situation. Stellar has finally caught my attention, but can they keep it?

5. A-Pink – No, No, No

A-Pink-No No No

After a year, the girls of A-Pink have returned with their cute title track “No, No, No” off their third mini-album “Secret Garden”. This was the first time the girls performed after the departure of one of their members, Yookyung, but the girls came back strong, continuing with their “innocent” images that made them so popular. “No, No, No” is an encouraging song to the boy they love; they tell him no, no, no, don’t be sad and to lean on them – they will be his strength and his light. While the music video was bright and colorful to match the encouraging lyrics, it seemed as though the plot of the video was too ordinary and they could have been more creative with the story-line. None the less, this is a very catchy song with an adorable dance that matches the girls perfectly.

4. EXO – Growl

EXO-Growl

EXO came back shortly with their follow-up track “Growl” for their repackage album “XOXO”, a tamer song and video from the beastly “Wolf”. Reflecting their original teaser photos (and the drama version of “Wolf”), all 12 members were dressed in grey school uniforms and danced in a parking garage like empty room. The music video was centered towards the dance; as the camera solely focused on the choreography and the video did not switch back and forth to shots of these pretty boy’s faces (nor were there any weird outfits/accessories, flashing lights, or sound effects to distract from the amazing dancing). “Wolf” only grew on me after a while, but “Growl” was an instant hit for my ears. More simplistic – sometimes music industries need to take a step back and come out with great songs that can stand on their own.

3. Ailee – U&I

Ailee-U&I

The Jersey girl is back! Ailee made another powerful return with “U&I” the title track off her second mini-album “A’s Doll House”. This song hit the “All-Kill” status within the first day, and I could tell why. This song is uplifting, with a funky tune and highlights Ailee strong personality and voice. Her outfits and sets are very “shiny”; objects decorated fully with rhinestones and bright lights everywhere for a stage performance theme. “U&I” is about a girl who is tired of her relationship; it makes her unhappy, stressed, and situation never seems to change between the two. She wants to end it now, and leave the mess behind.

2. Infinite – Destiny

Infinite-Destiny

Infinite members made a speedy return with “Destiny”, a music video filmed in a unique background – California’s very own Universal Studios. Infinite became the first Korean artists to be granted permission to film their music video in same place as the settings for some of Hollywood’s most iconic films. They made great use of this location as the music video switched between different scenic locations and added CGI effects to give the member’s “powers”. One word to sum up this comeback is dramatic; a dramatic background, with a dramatic song and complicated dance to match Infinite’s high reputation of choreography. The lyrics are about a man who regrets his decision to break-up with his girlfriend and now that she wants to leave him for good, he is pleading with her to stay.

1. Brown Eyed Girls (BEG) – Kill Bill

BEG-Kill Bill

The queens of the sexy concept have returned to promote as a group, after a year and half, with “Kill Bill” a song from their fifth studio album “Black Box”. This song continues to brand the confident, seducing reputation their previous songs (Abracadabra/Sixth Sense) have formed. “Kill Bill” carries a memorable tune; quite upbeat compared to the dark, somber tone the music video starts off with. In the Music Video, the girls are different killers who while all four try to kill each other, only end up wounding each other. Four years later, the girls are at it again. Holding onto their signature fatal weapons the girls try to finish each other off only to be faced with the same fate as before, showing that history has the habit of repeating itself. The lyrics are about getting revenge on someone they loved who betrayed them, and how satisfying it is to watch them break down. Not only was the music video filmed beautifully with the scenery, action shots and costumes, but the dance creatively provocative and the music video touched down on a deeper message of the song – sometimes getting revenge is not the answer.

~Millie

All Things Korean For International Fans – Global Concerts

As the Hallyu Wave has grown, so has the number of International fans. Luckily for us foreign fans, many K-pop idol groups are expanding to world tours to be able to meet the dedicated fans outside South Korea.

TVXQ World TourTVXQ began their world tour TVXQ! Live World Tour “Catch Me” in late 2012, holding concerts in Seoul, and then venturing off to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Malaysia in early 2013. Now, the duo is making its way over to the United States for a concert in Los Angeles, at the Nokia Theatre on July 5th. After that South American fans are in for a treat as TVXQ will make its way down to Santiago, Chile on July 7th and Lima, Peru on July 9th.

In early June, seven-member boy group Infinite released a group teaser video for their first ever world tour. Infinite has only performed in South Korea and Japan, so Infinite is making sure to visit as many places as they can. 2013 Infinite World Tour “One Great Step” will start off in August with concert venues in South Korea and Hong Kong. In September, the boys will visit Japan and Thailand. In October, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and China will get to see the boys. And finally in November the boys will make their way over to U.S.A (L.A, New York), Peru, U.K and France.

infinite-world-tour

 

SNSD World TourFanboys are in for a treat as one of the most popular K-pop Girl Groups, Girls’ Generation, has just embarked on a World Tour. 2013 Girls’ Generation World Tour – Girls & Peace is the first world tour for these nine beautiful ladies and they already began their journey by holding several concerts in Seoul and are moving onto Taiwan in late July. They have reassured their international fans through a press conference on June 8th that they plan on continuing their tour to several cities in United States and make their first appearance in South America. Although the concert dates have not been released, Girl Generation is expected to make their way to American fans in the Fall.

 

[BIBIMBEATS] June 2013: The Rap Heavyweights of K-Pop

Think K-Pop is just flashy clothes and cool choreography?  Think again.  Beneath all those layers of BB cream lie quite an intimidating pool of talent.  In fact, the genre is home to some of the most versatile rappers the country has to offer.  Evident recently in PSY’s booming popularity, K-Pop rappers are a force to be reckoned with.  Here are a few that Bibimbeats ensures can make the most skeptical hip-hop fans nod their head.
 

First we’ve got maknae-leader duo Bang Yong-guk and Zelo of B.A.P.  The group has seen increasing success since debuting earlier last year, from selling out international venues to earning Best New Artist recognition from four separate award shows in 2012.  Some critics attribute their early success to Yong-guk’s solo collaborations and Bang & Zelo’s sub-unit work prior to B.A.P’s debut.  But then again, maybe it was Zelo’s killer 16-syllable-per-second rap in smash single “Warrior”.  Either way, it’s safe to say Bang & Zelo are only getting started.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “Rain Sound”

As a member of a group that’s seven strong, it’s probably easy for a guy to get lost in a band like INFINITE.  But with debut album “Fly High” released this January, rappers Dong-woo and Hoya of sub-unit INFINITE-H were able to do so effortlessly – and with some pretty well-respected back-up.  Enlisting veteran hip-hop producer Primary and the talent roster of Dynamic Duo’s Amoeba Culture brought the album an ‘old school’ feel.  Title track “Special Girl” enjoyed public praise from idols and rappers alike, and “Fly High” even bumped national darlings SNSD’s comeback off the top on charts across the board.  (Whoops! Sorry, girls!)

Bibimbeats Recommends: “I Can’t Tell You” with Gaeko of Dynamic Duo

Next up we’ve got the only idol to make it as one of CNN’s “50 Reasons Why Seoul is the Best City” – BIGBANG leader G-Dragon.  GD’s no newbie, beginning his rap career when he was just 13 years old.  Citing Wu-Tang Clan as a major influence, his love for hip-hop doesn’t stop there – his vibrant, ‘fashion forward’ music videos being something of a reinterpreted nod to that of mid-90s Hype Williams.  Last month, his second solo album “One of a Kind” reached platinum status in South Korea, selling over 225,000 copies and breaking a record that – and here’s the kicker – he previously set with his 2009 solo debut “Heartbreaker”.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “A Boy”

Maybe he doesn’t have a string of solo album successes, but B2ST’s Jun-hyung is easily one an idol rapper to watch.  His determination as a lyricist has taken him to a holding his own in collaborations with esteemed rappers like Beenzino, Verbal Jint, and Outsider.  Fans can currently check him out in production duo Brave Brothers’ project Absurd with fellow idols LE of EXID and FeelDog of BIGSTAR.  With a 19+ language rating, Absurd’s “You Got Some Nerve” definitely breaks him away from the squeaky clean B2ST image.  It will be interesting to watch Jun-hyung continue to evolve.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “Be Quiet” with Kim Wan-sun

When someone’s a protégé of one of the genre’s greatest, they’ve got to have something going for them – especially when it comes to Cho PD-trained Block B leader Zico.  While Block B and their record label are currently in quite the legal battle, Zico remains a top rapper, evident in both his 2012 mixtape ‘Zico on the Block 1.5’ and pre-debut work with bandmate Kyung.  Zico fans can check out rookie group OFFROAD’s comeback “Head Banging”, a summer anthem he both composed and produced.


Bibimbeats Recommends: “Feel So Young” with Ugly Duck & Crush

Millie’s Top Ten March K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten March K-Pop Music Videos

K-pop this year has already made so many comebacks. In March, there are many “spring” themed music videos, which means….pastel pants, beautiful scenery, and cute male and female artists, bringing out the “aegyo” they kept away during the sorrowful winter ballads.

Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales. 

10. Lee Hi – It’s over

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Rookie singer Lee Hi returned to the K-pop scene after her success with her debut track “1,2,3,4” with a cute music video that matches her young age. “It’s Over” is full of fresh pastel outfits, funky headpieces, stuffed animals and of course the highlight of the video being a giant blue teddy bear that symbolizes the boy Lee Hi is breaking up with (and that bares an awfully close resemblance to fellow YG artists, GD and Taeyang. A mere coincidence? I think not). And while I am not a huge fan of the jazz/soul music, Lee Hi defiantly knows how to belt out those low notes that leaves me speechless.

9. G.NA – Opps

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Sexy icon G.NA returned once again with her latest single “Opps” as a…cat? (That’s right, because what’s sexier than a black cat). G.NA plays a cat that turns into a human when her handsome male owner goes out during the day. She dresses up and heads out to a club where he is at and they catch eyes, instantly feeling a connection. But before he can get too close she hurries back to change into a cat once more. By far, this is G.NA’s strangest music video (I’m even including the weirdness of the bodybuilder firemen of “2Hot” and this beats it). However, the song is cute without sounding overly sexy. And of course, before realizing all of this I spent the first couple of times watching this acting like a fangirl over BtoB’s Ilhoon who was featured in the song and music video for rap portions.

8. Davichi – Turtle

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Pop-ballad duo group Davichi came back with their second studio album and two music videos; “Turtle” and “Just the Two of Us” with Turtle being my favorite of the two, due to its artistic fantasy music video that was inspired by “Alice in Wonderland”. 5Dolls’s Hyoyoung starred in the music video as a pink-haired “Alice”. As soon as vintage music box was wound up from the “mad hatter”, Alice begins to explore her surroundings. Traveling through baby-pink rose portals, following a cute white bunny with a pocket-watch, and landing in a tea party, this music video follows the familiar story line but has such beautiful visuals backing it up. The song itself is sung beautifully while telling the sad tale of a girl who finds comparison in a turtle who hides in its shell from the world.

7. Heo Young Saeng – Art of Seduction

Heo Young Saeng

Solo artist Heo Young Saeng came out this month with “Art of Seduction” – a very eccentric music video that shows the possessiveness of fangirls. One particular fangirl had gone past the point of no return and kidnapped her precious “oppa” (Heo Young Saeng). The music video went back and forth between the fangirl’s point of view where she somehow became delusional and really believed that he came of his own free will and was gladly partaking in her couple-like activities  But in reality, it shows the same instances with Heo Young Saeng tied up and forced to please the crazy girl who kidnapped him.

6. Glam – In Front of the Mirror

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Rookie group Glam came back with “In Front of the Mirror”, their new single after debut song “I like that”. And while their debut was very funny and quirky, their latest song and music video took on a more serious note. The music video shows the different members coming home; they take off their high heels, wipe off their make-up and change into some more comfortable clothing. Yet, as they do so they are sad, because in front of the mirror they don’t feel pretty and have no confidence about themselves. Glam have proven so far to be strong rookies this year.

5. Rania – Just Go

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Rania came back with a new sexy single “Just Go” and only five members once again. None the less, they still brought their sexy moves and seducing stares with their new captivating music video. “Goodbye being the new hello” as their anthem, this song because very catchy and popular with the famous butt moves throughout the chorus.

4. Girl’s Day – Expectation

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Girl’s Day made a 180 degree turn with this new comeback. Known for their over the top cute “aegyo” songs, Girl’s Day came back with a more serious note with “Don’t Forget Me” and now their latest “Expectation” has the girls giving sexy looks to the camera with their suggestive moves. But even with this drastic change, the girls pull of this mature concept with their red lipsticks and signature “suspenders” dance. The song talks about a girl who is captivate by a guy she is determined to make come after her.

3. 2am – One Spring Day

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2am always have beautiful music videos to match their beautiful voices, with “One Spring Day” being no exception. Yet, their ballads usually bring sorrowful messages along with them. “One Spring Day” is about a long-term couple that just broke up and the man does not know how to get over this break-up (because he still cares deeply about the girl he was with), and decides that he has to leave behind the memories and traces of her in his life. This music video stands out among the rest for being a “spring” themed video with snow falling.

2. U-Kiss – Standing Still

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Underrated U-Kiss came back once more with “Standing Still”, the title track to their third full length album. A simple dance music video in which the U-Kiss boys are homeless (once again) in an abandon building, in agony over the girl who is just watching him burn (figuratively, not literally!). The song, dance and music video are all simple in comparison to U-Kiss’s previous work but the song still finds a way to get stuck in my head at odds times of the day. And this was the song where member AJ returned after taking a six month break to study in the United States.

1. Infinite – Man in Love

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Number one on the charts and number one in my heart ( shh, don’t tell Shinee and U-Kiss…), Infinite came back with “Man in Love”. And if you could not already tell by the title, the song and music video both portray young men in love; from waiting for a text message, to planning a surprise event, to buying her gifts or making her food, the boys show cute ways that they would please the ones they are in love with. the song fit perfectly with the rest of Infinite leaving them with their very consistent track record. The dance group did not fail to disappoint with another great, complicated dance, and in the traditional K-pop style had funky clothing, weird hats and pastel pants. Oh yes, and there was an adorable kitten that rivaled the boys as being the cutest character in the music video.

2013 KPOP Recap!

An overview of top songs from this year so far and at April’s upcoming releases.

 

Unbelievable, it’s already 4 months into the New Year! At the start of each year, I always anticipate what kind of music will be released and after last year’s success for Kpop I am even more thrilled to hear what’s to come. So far this year, we’ve already seen many great music releases that I am eager to update my iPod with.

igot-a-boy

The year started right with SNSD’s ‘I Got a Boy’, their first Korean single in over a year. They broke free from their usual girly and innocent concept and instead showed a mature, hip-hop style. While the song may not appeal to everyone’s tastes with its dynamic sounds and verses which reminded me quite like a musical, it was very visually appealing and the choreography was more complex.

One of my favorite soloists currently is the young and great Lee Hi with her song ‘It’s Over’. This jazz-style song is completely addicting and unlike typical pop songs today. I definitely predict that this 16 year old talent will have a long successful career and contribute great music to Kpop. If great vocals from a solo singer and a soulful sound aren’t your taste, then you just can’t deny the video of this song is entertaining with the adorable dancing bear.

Boy group Infinite finally returns with their recently released song ‘Man in Love’. Trying something new from their usual cool and edgy style, they finally cave into the cute concept. Infinite from the get-go has always had such charismatic looks and a unique quality which I think this song delivers. What I enjoy most about them is that even if this is a different concept from their previous songs such as ‘The Chaser’, it doesn’t seem out of place and maintains their distinctive style. Occasionally when a group modifies their style to maintain
the appeal of fans, they seem to lose the quality which we love about them and appear as just a product being rebranded and sold. This on the other hand just has that “Infinite” feel to it.

Amongst all the songs from these past couple months, I’d have to say my personal favorite so far is from hip-hop trio MFBTY (My Fans Better Than Yours) and their song ‘Sweet Dream’. I’ve always been in love with collaborations, trios and duos such as Infinite H or TaeTiSeo because they have the opportunity to experiment and delve into other styles. This collaboration features hip hop masters Yoon Mi Rae, Tiger JK, and Bizzy in this upbeat song which is certainly not to be defined as Kpop.  As someone who enjoys listening to a variety of genres, I recommend this song to anyone interested in broadening their Korean musical tastes, and especially looking into each of these artists’s solo work. ‘Sweet Dream’ is definitely a song I’d like to blast while cruising around with friends over the summer!

Expected to make a comeback to the music scene within this month is Psy, who has diligently been working on his next song to prove he isn’t a one hit wonder in the American market. People all around the world are anticipating his next song with the hopes that it will be on par with the success he garnered from ‘Gangnam Style’. Other artists who are reported to be returning this month are 2pm, with their long-awaited comeback since nearly two years ago, EXO, SECRET, 4Minute, and Shinhwa, who will be releasing a new album for their 15th anniversary.