Epik High Set to Take Over North America

Atlanta. Dallas. Chicago. Seattle. San Francisco. Los Angeles. New York City. Toronto. Vancouver.

Fans and sponsors in each of these cities are gearing up for the biggest concert tour by a Korean artist in five years. Beginning next week, venues across North America will host hip-hop trio Epik High on their first tour on this side of the Pacific in six years. Demand for tickets in some cities have created the need for additional performances, and ecstatic fans living in areas that rarely see Korean artists are proving that the hallyu wave continues to sweep the nation.

Continue reading

Advertisements

[BIBIMBEATS] 2013 Round-Up: Looking back at the stories that defined the year in K-Pop

Wonder Girls Become Wonder Women

Wonder Girls' Sun posing with JYP labelmate JOO on her wedding day
Wonder Girls’ Sun posing with JYP labelmate JOO on her wedding day

This year, the Wonder Girls proved you don’t need to have a comeback to remain in headlines. These JYP darlings have enjoyed one busy year, both personally and professionally, beginning with leader Sunye’s storybook wedding. After meeting husband James Park in Haiti during a 2011 missionary trip, the two finally tied the knot in January. A long list of celebrities – including the rest of the Wonder Girls – attended, and 2AM’s Jo Kwon officiated the ceremony. In March, rapper Yubin made her series debut as genius hacker Lee Joo-young on medical thriller “The Virus”, while Yenny soon followed with a role in historical drama “Basketball”. Over two years after leaving the group, former member Sunmi finally made her solo debut over the summer. Her single “24 Hours” enjoyed #1 status on a majority of music sales charts. Later, on October 26, Sunye publicly announced the birth of her very own ‘wonder girl’ Hailey. While both the Wonder Girls and JYP Entertainment insist the group is still very much ‘on’, the only thing we know for sure is that newborn Hailey is about to be spoiled by some seriously cool Wonder Aunts.

The ‘Bar Bar Bar’ Heard Around The World

A popular YouTube video of policemen in Busan performing "Bar Bar Bar"
A popular YouTube video of policemen in Busan performing “Bar Bar Bar” and other Crayon Pop hits

By the end of 2013, if you haven’t heard about the criminally cute quintet Crayon Pop, you have successfully been hiding under a rock. With the unconventional outfits and addictively fun choreography of hit single “Bar Bar Bar”, the girls made waves as Korea’s latest viral sensation. To date, “Bar Bar Bar” has enjoyed over 9.3 million views and inspired 1.7 million covers on YouTube from fans all over the world, including Italy, Thailand, Australia, and the United States. Parodied by anyone from remote controlled robots to policemen in Gyeongbuk, the song even got “Thor 2” star Tom Hiddleston bouncing during his SNL Korea appearance. Social media popularity had “Bar Bar Bar” hitting #1 on major music charts several weeks after the song’s initial release, their win on Music Bank coming well over two months into promotions. What will be the big hit of 2014? It might be too soon to make predictions, but if Psy and Crayon Pop are any indication, it’s going to involve a whole lot of jumping.

Where’s The (Rap) Beef?

Supreme Team's Simon D (left) and E-Sens (right)
Supreme Team’s Simon D (left) and E-Sens (right)

In July, Korean hip-hop fans were shocked when it was announced that rap duo Supreme Team was disbanding shortly after the release of their EP ‘Thanx 4 The Wait’. According to official press, hip-hop label Amoeba Culture ended their contract with Supreme Team’s E-Sens due to creative differences. Well wishes were exchanged, both E-Sens and fellow rapper Simon D provided encouraging words for fans, and everything went back to normal – or so we thought. One month later, E-Sens self-released the song “You Can’t Control Me”, attacking Amoeba Culture founder Gaeko, one-half of Dynamic Duo. The song, a twist to New York rapper Kendrick Lamar’s controversial verse on Big Sean’s “Control”, accused Gaeko of industry corruption and extorting E-Sens, someone who had been a younger brother figure to him. A day later, Brand New Music’s Swings brought in “King Swings, Part 2”, a new diss track criticizing Simon D for loyalty to Dynamic Duo and Amoeba Culture over E-Sens. Soon Gaeko and Simon D both recorded their own responses, the former (“I Can Control You”) attacking E-Sens for his ungrateful behavior and drug history. The latter (“Control”) seemed apologetic in content, both rebuking Swings’ attack and expressing conflict over the duo’s disbandment. The series of disses sent the rap world buzzing, enticing more songs to be released from every corner of the genre. In fact, while the battle seemingly ‘ended’ not too soon after, it still remains in constant mention within the Korean hip-hop scene.

Solos, subgroups, and more solos!

 A scene from CL's solo debut "Baddest Female"
A scene from CL’s solo debut “Baddest Female”

2013 was definitely another year for amazing breakout solo and subgroup efforts from members of well-established K-Pop groups. The beginning of the year saw the return of SISTAR19 with the seductive “Gone Not Around Any Longer (있다 없으니까)” and the debut of INFINITE’s hip-hop subgroup, INFINITE-H. 2NE1 fans were treated to CL’s hard-hitting “Baddest Female”, and SM Entertainment made a big reveal when they reintroduced a member of SuperJunior-M as their newest solo artist Henry. As far as solo activities go, however, BIGBANG takes a pretty serious lead with all five members having promoted their own tracks by the end of 2013. Lastly, the year wrapped up with the long-awaited solo debut of SISTAR’s power vocalist Hyorin with the seductive “One Way Love” and lyrical ballad “Lonely”.

2012 and ‘Gangnam Style’ fever was a hard act to follow, but overall, 2013 carried its weight by far. As the year wraps up, more news about what to expect in the beginning of 2014 is emerging. Good news for some – a new boy group for JYP and a new girl group for YG – and bad news for others, as breaking news continues on Cube’s contract with KARA’s Nicole and JYJ’s eventual enlistment. Needless to say, there is a whole lot more music news to come, and BIBIMBEATS will be here to report it. See you next year!

[Sep/Oct] Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

[September/October]

Maknae Millie’s Top Ten K-pop Music Videos

With the domination of certain K-pop solo artists (*cough g-dragon cough*), there were not that many music videos to review. Therefore I have combined my review for September and October. September brought out the girls and their powerful vocals while October brought a variety of different genres and styles.

10. Kim Ye Rim – Voice [September]

Kim Ye Rim - Voice

Kim Ye Rim has one of the most distinguishable voices in the Korean Music Industry, and once again brings it forth, ironically, with her single “Voice”. But this song has nothing to do with her unique, husky deep voice, but with the voice of her ex, a voice that she misses the most when she thinks of him. The music video is simple but gets the message across; Kim Ye Rim is alone, listening to music in her room when an Earthquake begins. The Earthquakes coincidentally occur every time the chorus comes up, but symbolizes her erupting feelings everything she “hears” her old boyfriend’s love. It shakes her up and reminds her of the past.

 

9. Kara-Damaged Lady [September]

Kara - Damaged Lady

Kara returns with “Damaged Lady” – and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a Kara fan. Most of their songs haven’t stuck with me. “Step it Up” wore me down, and as soon as I heard “Damaged Lady” I was instantly won over. It’s catchy, upbeat, and fast-moving, and has a song message that I’ve never seen in K-pop before. It’s about a girl whose boyfriend has just broken up with her. She sees all the couple in love around her on this bright, sunny day and feels bitter, angry and pathetic. She warns the others that she is not nice today, because she is a damaged lady. Mixing between masculine outfits and feminine ones, the music video is not as strong as the song, but still does alright.

 

8. G-dragon –Coup D’etat [September]

G-dragon - Coup d'etat

G-Dragon dominated the charts when his new mini album came out at the end of summer, “Coup D’etat”, and likewise his same named title track music video stood out among the rest. Each frame is packed full of symbolism that I can’t even begin to understand. The song and cinematography are both hauntingly beautiful, and seems to have a yin-yang scheme of black and white (likewise with the song, a switch back and forth in the tempo from fast rap parts to a slowed down chorus). This is actually one of my favorite G-dragon solo songs, and I’m always impressed with the concepts he comes up with.

 

7. Block B – Very Good [October]

Block B - Very Good

Block B makes a banging comeback with “Very Good”,  finally having settled in a new company after their lawsuit. Scoring their first win with “Very Good”, Block B has proven to fans that they are here to stay and continue to make awesome music. Their latest title track is as upbeat and crazy as their last songs. The music video features the boys being troublesome again; from pirates to now crazy bank robbers. Lyrics contain their subtly, and not so subtly remarks towards culture events, and fans can’t help but also notice Zico’s tribute to G-dragon by copying all of his iconic looks. I’m glad Block B is sticking to their true colors.

 

6. Troublemaker – Now [October]

Troublemaker -Now

Troublemaker finally makes their return after a 2 year hiatus, and they defiantly made a grand appearance with “Now”. With so many scene and outfit changes (not to mention the expensive race cars) it seems like Cube Entertainment really went all out for this music video. Despite its similarities to Rihanna’s music video, this grungy, sexy but not glamorous style was brand new for K-pop. The dance and song were not as catchy as “Troublemaker” but I still really enjoyed this comeback.

 

5. Zia – If you loved me [September]

Zia - If you loved me

Zia comes back with her sorrowful ballad “If you loved me” featuring the vocal accompaniment of Hae-ri from Davici. The song is calm but desperately calls out to her past lover, wanting him back. She tells him if he ever loved her, then he will think about their memories and consider coming back to her. The drama version of the song has an equally sad story-line about a young couple that breaks up when the boy starts to go blind, and instead of wanting his girlfriend to be with someone disabled, he breaks up with her against his heart’s wishes and hers.

 

4. K.Will – You Don’t Know Love [October]

K.Will-You Don't Know Love

K.Will did it again and came out with another wonderful easy-going track. “You Don’t Know Love” is not a romantic song at all (besides it sounding like one), but he expresses his frustration and irritation over the girl who doesn’t seem to understand his feelings at all – he is not falling out of love with her, but it’s just the ups and downs of a relationship, and she broke up with him too soon. The music video seems to express the hope of fixing the relationship as the boy and girl in the drama version are packing up the things the other gave them during their relationship, to give back now that it is over between them. But while looking at these items, they remember the memories and good times with them and are able to be together again.

 

3. Piggy Dolls – Butterflies [October]

Piggy Dolls - Butterflies

Piggy Dolls have made a cute comeback with “Butterflies” – a very relatable song for most girls. They talk about the clichés butterfly feelings a girl gets when she is in love. The song message is very cliché, talking about being in love – as well as the music video (all the girls are camping, having fun and singing while roasting marshmallows), but nonetheless the song is very addicting and just pure-hearted fun. A late summer song, but a cute single anyways.

 

2. Jung Joon Young – Spotless Mind [October]

Jung Joon young - Spotless Mind

“Spotless Mind” was the first time I ever heard Jung Joon-young’s voice, and wow, I was instantly taken back. First of all, it doesn’t even seem like such a powerful dark voice could come out of such a skinny guy. But his voice is captivating and the song seems to lull you in like a powerful melody. The lyrics also standout- he has created a spotless mind and erased the memories of his loved one. I’m glad this rocker is able to make such a strong stance among the idol singers.

 

1. Spica – Tonight [September]

Spica - Tonight

Spica returned with “Tonight”, another underrated single with their signature power vocals. Spica has always had uniquely beautiful music videos, skimming the fine line between artistic and visually appealing to make a fine mixture of both. “Tonight” has the girls in bohemian style, outside with nature as their background and only laughter as the girls are enjoying life together as their song suggests one to do. The added pastel filter, dust paint splashes and slow motion moments added to the sensual and fun theme. “Tonight” is not only one of my favorite songs of the summer this year, but also one of my favorite songs from a female K-pop group.

Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos 

More fun summer tracks, with the return of the solo artists! SME, JYP and YG have recently focused on the debut of the solo artists, and I can’t decide which is my favorite, they are all good. Henry came with his follow-up track “143”, Kang Seung Yoon made a 180 degree change from his rocker image with “Stealer” and Sun-mi made her return to the K-pop scene as a solo artist with the captivating “24 Hours”.

10. Ladies’ Code – Hate You

Ladies Code - Hate You

Ladies’ Code debuted earlier this year, but this girl group caught my attention with their second single “Hate You”. As titled, this song is about hating the one who broke your heart, but at the same time, hating yourself for still being in love with them. This theme is clearly represented with the creepily artistic music video. Ladies’ Code is dressed up as dolls, and they are surrounded by dolls that inspired their “looks” for the music video. In the dark and gloomy background settings, the girls are destroying the dolls (in a similar fashion as how little boys destroy their sister’s dolls, by burning them or pulling them apart); but everything that they do to their dolls happen to them.

9. M.Pire – Can’t Be Friends with You

M.Pire - Can't Be Friends With You

Six-member, rookie boy group M.Pire (pronounced “Empire”) debuted with “Can’t Be Friends with You” on August 1, a debut song that is worth a listen to. The music video has a vampire theme – with props and costumes inspired by the gothic elements of the undead; a dark setting to match the angry message of the song. Finding out that the girl they are dating has been using them as a “safe” option while they flirt and date other guys. They scoff at the girl’s request to stay friends because they know it’s just another web of lies.

8. Kim Hyung Joon and Kota [Sunny Hill] – Always Love You

Always Love you

This collaboration was done well; nothing necessarily original with the whole “summer love” theme of cute and cheesy dating scenes (ie. Sharing ice cream, camping with friends, water fights). But still, the voices are beautiful, the lyrics are pure and whole-hearted, and this song is just a simple (but great) addition to any K-pop summer mix.

7. Nu’est – Sleep Talking

Nu'est-Sleep Talking

Nu’est came back with “Sleep Talking” – a colorful new look from their more mature songs and videos. In the video all the boys are sleep in what seems to be some type of experiment and are all experiencing similar dreams – chasing this beautiful girl that always seems to be getting away and disappearing. She is the optimal dream girl that vanishes when they wake up. The choreography for this video is fun and matches the sleep theme perfectly – from the back-up dancers forming a make-shift bed, to the alarm, nodding off and yawning dance moves, this dance becomes a literal translation to the phrase “sleep walking”.

6. Lunafly – Hey Fox

Lunafly

K-pop artists often go on location to shoot their music videos. Lunafly was not so different, except they went to a unique vacation spot; Tunisia, Africa. And to add to the unusualness, they talk about a different kind of love. They are in love with a bad girl, a girl with a prickly attitude. He knows he shouldn’t love her, but he can’t help but be attracted. As beautiful as the music video was filmed, it matched the feel of the song but not the meaning behind it.

 5. Seungri – Gotta Talk To You

Seungri - Gotta Talk To You

Making his long awaited comeback, Seungri returned with his album “Let’s Talk about Love” that already received a lot of love from his dedicated fans. His title track, “Gotta Talk to You”, fits with his past songs and style of music, which was a pleasant surprise for me because I rather like his style. Darkly lit, with blurred scenes and blinding lights, Seungri gives the opposite of summer with this sexual (creeper?) song (he IS watching a girl though a glass box insisting on talking to her).

4. Sunmi – 24 hours

Sunmi-24 hours

Former member of Wonder Girls, Sunmi made her debut as a solo artist this month with her single “24 Hours”. Sunmi has made a strong first impression; not only is “24 hours” a great song but it has a wonderful music video, with a sexy provocative feel I’ve only seen present in BEG’s music videos. The song expresses the frustration of their only being 24 hours a day she can spend with the man she loves. The symbol of time is shown with the cinematography of the video, as some moments speed up while others slow down, all of sensual and romantic scenes of Sunmi and the lead male actor. Another aspect that makes this debut unique is that the performance is done barefoot.

3. N.CA – My Student Teacher

N.CA- My Student Teacher

The drama version of “My Student Teacher” stars Girl’s Day Hyeri as the love-struck high school girl who is in infatuated with her English student teacher. She sits back quietly with her puppy-dog love, taking pictures of him during their lectures secretly and trying to do anything to get this attention, from changing her appearance to studying harder to ace her tests. Nothing works until another student comes across her cell phone and shows everyone, including the student teacher, all the pictures she had taken of him. Mortified, she runs off crying and the music video ends with a surprising futuristic plot twist.

2. Kang Seung Yoon – Stealer

Kang Seung Yoon - Stealer

YG Solo artist Kang Seung Yoon debuted this summer with “Wild & Young”, but the soft and mellow “Stealer” is what won my heart over. A Romantic fantasy video with the giddy sensations of a love returned. Fields of flowers and computer added effects of love make this video an artistic pleasure to watch, and a cute creative take on a popular theme. Kang Seung Yoon calls his girl a “heart stealer” – because she has won him over completely.

1. Henry – 143

Henry-143

A cute follow up song by SME’s new solo artist –Henry’s “143” is a song that manages to capture the feel of summer by being light-hearted and danceable. “143” expresses the modern day way of communication: texting. And as accommodating as this method is for the dating world, it also causes a lot of confusion and miscommunication with the vague interpretation that come from the simple worded messages. Confused as to what the girl is trying to tell him (via text messaging), he reverts back to the “old school” method of pagers and their teenage terminology, finally sending the message “143” meaning “I love you”.

All Things Korean for International Fans: Bekah’s Panel at K-Con 2013

Bekah (3)

Bekah, the former After School member, was one of the many guest panelists for the weekend K-Pop Convention in L.A, K-Con 2013.

On August 24th, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., she attended an interview (moderated by her close friend Ae-young), answered fan questions and signed autographs for the huge crowd that came to see her. I was lucky enough to be able to attend this panel, and with my press access, be closer to the stage. For those who weren’t able to attend, I’m here to re-tell Bekah’s experience as a K-pop Idol.

How Did You Become a K-pop Star?

Bekah told the audience the story of how she got scouted. She was playing at a Volleyball game, when afterwards an “unnie” came and asked her if she wanted to audition. Bekah was very excited for this opportunity; however, when she was told she would have to sing and dance at the audition, Bekah almost decided not to do it. She said she was confident in her dancing (since she was taking lessons and practicing at the time) but not singing. In the end, she did decide to go and audition, and sang a Christian song she knew from her childhood. “Most people don’t realize this since I was a rapper for After School, but I love to sing, a lot!”

Bekah passed and got accepted to be a trainee. However, she didn’t start her training until a couple years later. “I didn’t want to go to Korea until I finished high school; that’s where all your memories are at. I didn’t want to miss that kind of experience”. When she did begin her training in Seoul, Bekah was only a trainee for six months before she debuted with the K-pop girl group, After School, in January 2009.

 The Good and the Bad of being a K-pop Idol:

Bekah (4)

When asked to share her experience of being an idol, Bekah quickly said that it was a lot of hard work. They would have long practices, sometimes going as often as nine hours straight with little breaks. She herself didn’t mind the practices, because she enjoyed dancing and singing so much. She often got advice from her close friend, and fellow After School graduate, Kahi on how to handle the intense practices, “We work this hard, and this long for those five minutes on stage. Those five minutes on stage are what makes all of this worth it”.

Bekah’s least favorite part of being an idol was the lack of sleep. “Often we would get last minute events that were only a day or two away. So after our schedules, let’s say a schedule ended at 10 p.m., we would go straight to the practice room and rehearse until 5 or 6 in the morning. Sleep for an hour or two, and then wake up to go to the following day’s schedule. One time I got as little as 30 minutes of sleep. Enjoy your sleep while you can!”

Her favorite part of being an idol was the fans. “You guys are what make it worth it!” Moderator Ae-young asked if fans ever got too personal, and invaded her privacy. Bekah answered that luckily she has had very kind and polite fans over the years. If they ever see her in a restaurant, they would wait until after she was done eating to go up and ask to take pictures or sign something. She says that she treasures all the gifts she receives from fans, keeping them in boxes so they stay safe.

 Korea vs. America

Bekah expressed her move to Korea as a “culture shock”. Despite being full Korean, Bekah was born in Hawaii and was raised very much “American”. She claimed she never had the typical Asian parents who wanted her to be a doctor, but that they were (and still are) very supportive of her Artistic passions. Going to Korea however, helped Bekah become fluent in Korean and she got to know more about her own culture. She claimed that what she was going to miss most about Korea was the food; not only was it good but it was also cheap, and she loved the delivery service they had in Korea.

Dating and Friendship in the K-pop world:

Bekah (1)Fans were very curious if Bekah was close to any other K-pop idols during her time in After School. Bekah admitted that in the beginning she didn’t have any friends other than her members, and that it took her awhile before she got close to other idols. She stated her first friend (and who she is still close to even to this day) was Shinee’s Key. “We still text, but since he is so busy it often takes several days before I get a response”. Over the years she also became close to f(x)’s Amber, SNSD’s Sooyoung, and U-Kiss’s Kevin. When it comes to the After School members, Bekah stated that she was extremely close with Kahi and still keeps in close contact with her and some of the other members.

Fans were also curious, and very persistent, on trying to find out if Bekah dated any idol, and if she knew of any other K-pop idols that were dating during her time as an After School member. About herself, Bekah stated that she never dated another idol, “I was too busy practicing and working to date”. On the topic of other idols dating, she politely responded “All I have to say are that idols are humans too; if idols were dating each other then they really kept it secret because I never knew much about that stuff, but no, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. As I said, idols are humans too”.

She was asked then which idol she would personally date. Bekah took a moment to think before declaring U-Kiss’s Kevin. Fans quickly started shouting “Woo-young [2pm]”, surprising Bekah. When she asked fans why him, they reminded her of the 2pm episode of “Idol Army” when After School came in as guests. In that episode, Bekah chose Woo-young and the two became partners for that episode’s couple games. Bekah laughed and was surprised that fans remembered that. “Well Woo-young…yeah I could date him; he is very handsome and a good dancer”.

 Graduating After School, What Next?

After School is a K-pop girl group that has the “graduating” system; in which “senior” members rotate out, and new members comes into the rotation naturally. Bekah was the first girl to officially “graduate” from After School on July 1, 2011 and has been living back in her home town in Honolulu, Hawaii with her family. There she started her own online store, “I Crave You”, on October 26th, 2012, where she sells her handmade jewelry (a portion of the profits get donated to charity).

A fan asked Bekah the question that had been on most people’s minds, “Did you regret leaving After School?” Bekah was very quick and confident to answer “No, not at all. I thought about it for a long time, and I made sure to leave with no regrets. I was at a crossroad; at that time After School was getting ready to debut in Japan. And I thought to myself, if I don’t leave now then I’ll never be able to leave. I thought it was a good time when I left, and it also was a good time for the other girls to start over in Japan”.

But Bekah reassured her fans that leaving After School wasn’t the end of her singing career. Bekah is planning on a making an American debut! So far she cannot confirm any details of when she will be making her debut, but she hopes her fans will be patient and wait for her.

Bekah (2)

 Next there was a transition to the Question Portion of the panel, where the audience could ask Bekah any questions about her life as a K-pop star, and any other miscellaneous inquires. Many of the questions became requests to see female idol sing or rap her part in an After School song, dance, perform “aegyo”, and even twerk! Bekah promised that she would sing, rap and dance properly when she came back to meet her fans in L.A. However, fans were able to coax out a small rap from Bekah and she even stood and performed the first thirty seconds of “Bang” (which she also stated was her favorite After School title track).

Bekah stayed another full hour for the autograph session before she left for the day. However, on Day 2 of K-Con she reappeared to film for “Danny from LA” live first episode of the second season, along with other panelist guests (including Super Junior M’s Henry!).

IMG951038

You can relive the magic this week when M COUNTDOWN What’s up LA is televised in the U.S. by Mnet America on air and online at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT on Thursday, August 29.  

HanaTour Offers a One-Week Travel Package Deal to South Korea!

Have you been wanting to visit South Korea? Well now you can with HanaTour (USA) King Sejong Institute’s Korean Cultural Field Trip. This trip is ideal for all those with a passion towards the Korean Historical and Modern Culture.

HanaTour

From September 23 – 29, 2013, participants will get to visit a Korean Spa, National Museum of Korea, Gyeong-bok Palace, Ha-nok Village, Korean Folk Village, experience a Kimchi-making and a Korean Home Stay. Scheduled is a movie/drama shooting place tour for popular locations found in dramas like “Secret Garden”, “City Hall” and “Iris”. There is also a special opportunity to attend a live taping of “Show Champion”, a K-pop Music Program where over 15 different artists will preform in front of a live audience.

Package rate for round trip LAX airfare, 3 nights and 4 days Hotel Stay and Admission fees is $1,850. There is an additional $182 fee for a Single Supplement Hotel Room. Package Rate does not include travel insurance, unspecified meals and personal expenses. All participants must be 11 years or older.

For more information and full Itinerary of this tour, please check out the website here: http://www.usahanatour.net/htm/product_view.php?category_a=1&category_b=7&category_c=82&page=1&code=SPECIAL1

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

Anime Expo Con Recap (Continued): Catching up with the AX KPOP Dance Finalists

KpopCoverComp_zps7fb19d0c

Anime Expo Con Recap: Catching up with the AX KPOP Dance Finalists by Eli Shand

Last year I had the chance of reporting on the 2012 Anime Expo convention held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and let me say that this installment will be full of Hallyu goodness!   For the first time, Anime Expo has chosen to host a KPOP dance cover competition for all the fans looking to showcase their best moves for a chance at a $700 grand prize.   I had the pleasure of being able to root on two of my friends in the final rounds, as well as meet a new one in the process.

1048744_10151576673553300_1458629427_o

So I’ll start with this year’s champ, the 17 year-old Nikko Durian from LA.

So what exactly brought you into the world of KPOP Dance?

I’ve always been into dance, but the thing that caught my attention was the choreography in kpop. It has a certain flair to it that simply can’t be described in one or two words. I remember watching som2 perform I Wish back in elementary school and I was hooked.

Where did you hear about the contest?

My friend actually signed us up. We were supposed to be a 5 person group, but after a strange turn of events, I ended up performing solo in their place.

How do you feel you did during your performances?

Overall, I felt I did my best at the competition. I know there were places where my nerves got the better of me and I threw my moves, but I think I was able to recover well and come back even stronger.

What was the most memorable event that occurred while participating?

The most memorable event for me personally was walking into the room without my partner. I remember being so afraid because I didn’t know any of the other participants, but they all seemed to know each other. I sat in a corner debating whether or not I should just drop out altogether when one of the girls came up to me and handed me a good-luck Pocky stick. She was really kind and introduced me to the other dancers and that really helped to calm my nerves.

How do you feel the AX Dance event has helped you network with fellow dancers/talent scouts/etc?

AX Dance has definitely helped me connect to different people. I’ve met new dancers, new friends… It’s so easy to make that connection because we all have a common passion. Just being in the presence of so many great dancers and watching them do what they love is in itself inspiring. As for talent scouts… I’m not really sure about that one. I heard there were a few, but I didn’t really get a chance to touch base with them. Maybe next time!

As the winner of the first AX KPOP dance competition, how do you feel about competing in more contests like this in the future?

I would LOVE to come back and compete again. Being able to dance in front of people is what I enjoy the most and if the opportunity arises, you can bet I’ll be there.

Have any special plans in regard to where the prize money is going?

Most of the money will be going towards buying a car, since I’ll be needing that for school soon. But I have a teensy bit set aside for cosplay. And for all of the Mcflurries I promised my friends!

If given the opportunity to perform with any idol group or idol onstage, who would you choose and to what song would you dance?

It would be my greatest honor to perform Suspicious Man with Lee Jung Hyun.

Is there a special reason you chose to perform a girl group dance versus a male group dance?

Well, for starters, I’m not as strong in male group choreography as I am with girl group choreography. My forte lies in my body rolls~ I also felt that my personality was better portrayed with these dances. Ultimately though, I felt that a guy doing a girl song would be fun to watch, since it isn’t something you typically see everyday. I really wanted to surprise everyone!

Oh, and by the way.. what’s the secret to owning those girl group dances the way you do?

I think the secret is all in the attitude. Perform like you own the entire stage, don’t be afraid to throw it all out there because when it’s your moment, you are the stage diva. Embrace it and show everybody that you’re a force to be reckoned with!

942349_714697828556272_1353508772_n

Now moving on we have our runner-up, the 17 year-old Ryan Hsu from San Diego, CA.

 

 So what exactly brought you into the world of KPOP Dance?

I have loved korean music ever since my early childhood (2006) with artists such as BoA, Epik High and Big Bang, but what really skyrocketed my interest in the dancing aspect KPOP was SHINee’s dance for ‘Lucifer’ (2010). The choreography was so unique and mesmerizing. The main dancer from SHINee, Taemin (이태민), is/was my inspiration for dancing and auditioning. His audition video encouraged me to pick up pop and locking and hip hop. These dancing styles (along with kpop choreography) have been my greatest passions since.

How do you feel you did during your performances?

I feel like I did a relatively mediocre job. I practiced multiple hours everyday for a month before the competition. I think the hours of hard work paid off. I still have many flaws in my dance that I need to tweak out. I love to dance so it doesn’t seem like a chore to me.

What was the most memorable event that occurred while participating?

I met a lovely girl named Jane at the competition as we both decided to head to the room early so that we could practice. There, we danced and talked non-stop until I had to leave. I am so lucky and thankful to have met her.

How do you feel the AX Dance event has helped you network with fellow dancers/talent scouts/etc?

Going to dancing events is always fantastic and thrilling for me because I always meet the coolest people. I have met most of my greatest friends through dancing (and KPOP).  Dancing in front of large crowds of people always gives me a rush that makes me want to improve so that I may please the audience even better than before. At AX, I was scouted for the 2nd time by an anonymous Korean Talent Agency. They offered me an audition at their studio. I cried.

I know you’ve received a great response after having danced previously at KCON’12, how do you feel the AX experience was similar/different from that?

Because Anime Expo is a convention that revolves around Japanese Animation, I did not expect the turnout of people to be nearly as large. KCON is a convention that revolves around Korean Pop-Music, so my repertoire of dance choreography was a bit more useful when it came to dancing. Anime Expo is planning on holding another Dance Competition next year and I plan on winning this time.

How do you feel about being known as the “Lay Fanboy”, or any claim to internet fame?

As one of EXO’s greatest fans, I think it is quite the honor to have the amount of popularity that I do. Next to Taemin, Lay, Kai, Se Hun, Lu Han and Xiumin are all fantastic dancers and continue to inspire me to work harder as a dancer. All of EXO’s music speaks to me like no other group can. Many fans of EXO say that I look similar to Lay which is a HUGE compliment. EXO is also my inspiration for style. One thing that everyone should know is that I love ALL KPOP, not just EXO. KPOP is one what motivates me to keep pushing myself in life.

Are you planning any special performances for this upcoming KCON?

KCON is just around the corner and I am planning on performing a few covers (including group/couple covers) including Phoenix, Time Control, Only One, Wolf and more.

If given the chance to perform alongside EXO on stage, what song would you choose to do?

KJHASLDFKHALSDKFJAKLSJDFHLAKSJDHGLAKJSGHSDGLKJAH;SLK. It has always been my dream to perform alongside EXO (I have re-occurring dreams of this). I would be willing to perform any of their songs as I know the blocking for each member, but if I HAD to choose I would choose MAMA because I think that it has the most energy and impact of any of their other songs. The choreography for MAMA sits right next to SHINee’s ‘Lucifer.’

974189_10201518470393437_919788626_n

And last but not least, we have the 19 year-old Emily Tsou hailing from Chula Vista, CA.

So what exactly brought you into the world of KPOP Dance?

My best friend showed me a video of SHINee’s Amigo way back in 2009-ish and I’ve been in love with them since. SHINee has always had some of the best choreography.

How do you feel you did during your performances?

It was my first time performing in such a large crowd by myself, so I’m grateful for not messing up too horrendously out of nerves. That’s pretty much all I could say haha.

How do you feel the AX Dance event has helped you network with fellow dancers/talent scouts/etc?

The AX Dance event was surprisingly a great opportunity for making friends with similar interests and ultimately networking. I originally thought most of the attendees would be the average die hard Kpop fan like me, so I was surprised to meet people from various age groups and influential backgrounds.

I know that you’ve had experience being in school dance teams,so do you think that the experience has helped you along with your personal dancing endeavors?

My dancing experience in high school was a definite leg up in my opinion. Not only did it bring me experience in showmanship, but also comfort in different genres of dance and music.

I heard that you were approached by a YG trainee/scout after your performance, was this something you would’ve expected?

I completely did not expect to be approached by a trainee/scout!! Like I said, I had thought the event would be filled with average joe fans of Kpop so I was incredibly surprised to have gotten opportunities to talk to certain people about my future.

If you could choreograph a dance for any idol or group, who would you choose and why?  

Although I do not feel qualified at the moment, I’d love to choreograph for B.A.P or 2NE1. I’ve always loved powerful and charismatic dances that show a lot of character and are overall amazing to watch.

Also, if given the chance to collaborate with any choreographer, who would it be?

In terms of choreographers, Rino Nakasone is my idol as much as other celebrities. Being on par and choreographing with her would be a humbling experience and is a dream in itself.

How was it being the only girl in the final round?

I was a bit nervous about being the only girl in the finals since there are certain expectations and gender roles that may not have been advantageous for me in the beginning as male idol groups have usually more difficult and varying choreography than females’ (who either fit in cute or sexy). I feel as though the main factor in my advancing to the finals was that I had chosen to perform a very traditionally masculine style of song and dance that no one had expected of me to do therefore having the element of surprise. I mainly wanted to convey in the finals that girls could be powerful and cool and stand (or in this case, dance) as equals to boys. I hope it showed.

 

What To Read: “A year since Gangnam Style, K-Pop keeps getting bigger…”

Psy Gangnam StyleTo keep you updated on the latest stats, here’s a link to a great article posted on YouTube regarding the upward trend in K-Pop views since Psy’s Gangnam Style first hit the online scene. Complete with graphs and charts, the article, written by Kevin Alocca,  includes a Top 10 playlist for your viewing pleasure.

 

http://youtube-trends.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-year-since-gangnam-style-k-pop-keeps.html

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.