[debut] VNT’s Sound

Once in a while, a group will debut with a rather lackluster song, but something about that group will keep me interested. It happened with ZE:A (who could ever forget Mazeltov? I certainly can’t – my sister and I still joke around with the Friday, Saturday, Sunday line) and Sistar, and it’s happening with VNT.

VNT stands for ‘Voices of Ninety-Two’ and the girls were thus named because they’re all born in 1992, which is a little younger than I like my idols to be, but still a slight improvement over 1994 and – God forbid – below. By my usual standards, there’s nothing particularly brilliant about their debut single Sound but I can’t help but bob my head along to the beat anyway. It’s just a really fun song! It’s hip-pop – pop-ified hip hop – and it doesn’t try too hard to be all srs!biz straight up gangsta. At the same time, it’s kind of in-your-face, which isn’t something you’d expect from a debuting girl group, because they usually stick with the tried and tested cutesy fluff.

I think that what’s interesting about this group is that there are only three members. In a regular sized group (this would be a group with 5 or more members), you can have maybe one or two members who don’t exactly have to contribute anything, musically or artistically, whereas in a smaller group, you absolutely must pull your weight because there’s no one else to make up for what you lack. Which isn’t to say that smaller groups are inherently superior, of course, just that the dynamics are a little bit more interesting to watch.

Strong live is strong. The black-haired one in particular is someone to watch out for. I’d love to hear the rapper sing though.

[mini-album review] SNSD’s Hoot

After making the rounds in Japan with culturally-appropriate versions of their hit songs Gee and Genie, Girls’ Generation is surprisingly back in Korea with their new mini-album Hoot.

To tell you the truth, I’m not a fan of SNSD at all. I only pay attention to them when it’s time for another round of promotions and even then I only care if the single is really good so that in itself makes me a little biased against. I’ve brought in my friend Ceej from Pushy for Sushi (and The Guidon – she wrote a feature on Kpop, which you can read if you look to your right) to write the review with me. This way you’ll have two perspectives: one from a girl who doesn’t like SNSD and one from a girl that does. Cool huh?

We’re both pretty long winded so I underlined the actual critique-y bits for the tl;dr crowd.
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Song of the Day

I’ve never actually been a huge fan of the Wonder Girls. I mean, I liked Irony when it first came out but for the most part, I thought that with the obvious exception of Sunye and Ye Eun, they were a little overrated.

Today I was Youtube hopping and I discovered this song So What featuring David Kim, or as he’s known these days, Dayday from Dalmatian. This song, I think, is the retro concept done a lot less repetitively. It’s catchy without being too annoying and the subtle harmonies really show off whatever vocal ability you don’t get to hear in songs like Tell Me, which capitalize more on the hook. Yoobin and Sohee in particular do good work in the rap bits. It would have been easy to fall flat, especially when you’ve got a featured rapper as good as Dayday (prior to his debut in Dalmatian, he was a rap coach so you know he’s got the skills) but they were able to keep up without letting him overpower them.

The Wonder Years is actually a pretty decent album, and yes, I realize this about two years late. I think the important thing to remember is that we shouldn’t judge a group by their promotional track. :\

Speaking of judging, I’ll be reviewing 2AM’s Saint O’Clock and SNSD’s Hoot soon! 🙂

[debut] Co.ed : Hot or Flop?

Is there a ‘meh’ option?

Co.Ed School (seriously, could they not have thought of a more creative name than that?) is Core Contents Media’s response to the positive reception of last year’s collaboration between T-Ara and Supernova, which spawned the hit single Time To Love. There are 10 members in the group, four girls and six boys, all of whom are between the ages of 14-19 if my math is correct. They debuted last September with Too Late, which they followed up with Bbiribbom Bbaeribbom and the softer I Love You a Thousand Times just this month.

If I were to be completely and brutally honest, T-Nova did the whole mixed group concept a hell of a lot better than Co.Ed did/is doing.

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This is a brain fart

Oh, what a difference a comeback makes.

I’m starting to think that this is a marketing tactic: start off with a horrible debut, come back stellar, allow people to marvel at how much progress you’ve made in between singles. Of course this would actually only work on people like me, who feel the need to watch every MV the idol industry churns out just to satisfy their curiosity, even if they had previously tagged the group as a flop.

In any case, when we last left Nine Muses, I had tagged them in my head as the Most Boring Group to Debut in 2010, as robotic and uncharismatic as the mannequins that they had to portray in their MV, and in dire need of nine cheeseburgers for each member.  No Playboy is not a terrible song per se, but it’s not a fun song, nor is it one designed to show off dancing or singing chops.  I believe I compared it to Ru Paul’s Supermodel (you better work…covergirl! If you do not know this song, I’m shaking my head at you right now) – it’s a song to strut down a catwalk to, nothing more, nothing less, and although the girls did their fair share of strutting in the choreography, I was bored to death halfway through the song.

Ladies is not a brilliant song by any means – choreography is not flashy and the girls aren’t required to do any complicated vocal acrobatics – but believe me, I was engaged. The ladies (see what I did there? Ha ha) are now a lot better at projecting their voices, and now I’ve noticed that they can actually sing quite well. Their dancing is a lot tighter and their smiles are incandescent. I mean, not to sound cheesy or anything, but the fact that they look like they’re actually having fun on stage is part of what makes this song for me.

And guess what? This song was on the same album No Playboy was in. And I’m now wondering what crack their producers were smoking when they chose that for their debut song.

So congratulations, Nine Muses – you’ve been stripped of the Most Boring Group to Debut in 2010 superlative.

I still think you all need the cheeseburgers though.

[mini-album review] 2PM’s Still 2:00PM

I’m sorry, but this concept is hideous. What’s with the random electrical tape across your face, Jun.K?

I have a confession to make – I recently deleted 2PM’s Don’t Stop Can’t Stop mini-album off my hard drive. As I am a 2PM fan, I think it was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make (lol no – but it was very hard). If you recall, I gave them quite a low review when the album first dropped but now that I think about it, I was being extremely generous because I can no longer listen to any of the songs without wanting to throw something halfway across the room. Let’s see if this new album will be any better.

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